Archive for Opinion

The new iPad, first impressions

iBrothers today grabbed a couple of new iPads to replace an iPad2 and an original iPad. While specifications are all good and fine, we thought it would be worth sharing our own impressions for people considering an upgrade to the new iPad. Read more

Victoria – The Place To Be For Smartphone Applications

 

With over 36% of the Australian mobile phone population owning a smartphone, and with an expected growth to more than 50% within 12 months, it’s no wonder the number of applications (or “apps”) being made, continues to increase rapidly. It is becoming more common for websites to offer a mobile version of their website or a dedicated app and this trend has continued with our local Government agencies getting onboard.

In Victoria, we are spoiled with almost every Government department offering something. From the Department of Health’s fantastic Better Health Channel application, which I have personally used many times to locate a 24hr Chemist or gain health advice for my children, to VicRoads SmartPark application, which helps me to avoid being fined by reminding me that my parking is about to expire, and it even tells me the exact location I parked my car! Read more

Christmas Gift Guide 2011

Here we are again, right in the middle of the silly season ready to give those of you who aren’t completely organised some last minute shopping advice.

This year seems to be better than ever for bargains with all retailers conducting an all out assault to keep you buying local and not overseas. So without further ado, here are our top picks for Christmas 2011 Read more

New Year’s resolution: “I will get my photos, video, music and backups in order” with a NAS

With low prices and greater demand for “internet connected” devices such as smart TVs, gaming consoles, smart phones, tablets and of course computers, home networks are fast becoming more complex than what you may encounter on a small business network. On a business network, the cornerstone to the network is the file server, a system where all network connected computers can access common files and programs. Often, these can be complex beasts to setup and configure and for the most part, a traditional file server is generally considered overkill for a home network. So, for the home network that craves a centre point to store files such as documents, photos, music and movies and access them from a multitude of devices we turn to a low cost, low complexity solution offered by a NAS. Read more

Make your smartphone smarter with FREE Turn-by-turn navigation software

With just about every smartphone on the market these days; from the $188 unlocked Huawei Sonic to a high end iPhone or HTC Sensation, you are more than likely to find it sporting an internal GPS. While the GPS functionality is used for more than just navigation (at iBrothers, finding a decent coffee in an unknown location is impossible without a GPS based social networking app) turn-by-turn navigation is still considered the most useful application of this technology. Turn-by-turn navigation of course requires an app and the good news is that the choice available keeps on growing.

The list of features for each application vary considerably. Aside from simple turn-by-turn navigation, vendors have been looking to add other functionality to give their product an advantage over their competitors. Buying a GPS device or app can give you some interesting things such as speed camera locations, multipoint routing, school zone warnings, text-to-speach, custom or celebrity voices and navigate to photo just to name a few. While some apps continually download the maps they need live, some have have the map data built into the application with the benefit of off-line usage (no need for a data connection). The trade off is that the application weighs in at about 200 to 400MB and vary in price from $19 MetroView (Map data provided by PMSA) to $80 for TomTom (Map data provided by Sensis)

What I am looking at today is two free options on the market suitable for the occasional user that while basic in their offering, work extremely well and above all are FREE! Read more

Top 10 Free Software Applications for Windows and Mac


If there is one thing iBrothers likes to do is recommend software that works well and has proven to be beneficial to us. We believe in paying for software that offers value but it’s always a bonus to find something that works well and is free. Read more

Three pieces of Tech and a baby – Is the iPad ready for handling photo publishing in the field?

A couple of weeks ago I found myself preparing for the birth of my daughter. By preparing I mean selecting the lenses for my digital SLR camera, deciding if I should have another camera as a backup and gathering all the necessary chargers for various devices such as mobile phones and wifi hotspots. I sometimes believe I must be the only person who packs a 6 port power board as the first thing in a suitcase. The one thing that did give me pause was deciding if I should take my 15” MacBook Pro this time or rely solely on the iPad for sharing those precious and early photos with my family and friends. Read more

“Are we there yet?” A road trip with an Android smartphone

Most people I know would peg me as a bit of an “Apple fanboy” and I’ll be the first to admit, for the most part I really do like Apple products. I love the design of the hardware, software and their simplicity in flow and usability while still being able to accomplish all my needs.

Prior to the iPhone I had a problem. A “mobile phone addiction”. It was like a drug and for more than 10 years, I found myself upgrading every 6-12 months to get the latest and greatest phone on the market. That was until the iPhone 3G launched in Australia.

Being a phone junkie and already well equipped with the Mac/ iPod combination, I lusted over the iPhone ever since Steve Jobs unveiled it back in 2007. It was sexy and different, and totally blew away my Windows Mobile something or other I had at the time. I have been a proud iPhone owner of the iPhone 3G, 3Gs and 4, upgrading contracts for every revision.

Even with the satisfaction of my iPhone, Android based smartphones had also entered the market and the inner geek in me was intrigued. The first offerings though had no pinch-to-zoom, no real enticing application market and very limited availability of handsets in Australia which tended to stay my hand from my wallet. It wasn’t until Telstra and HTC released the Desire with 2.1 (Éclair) that I felt the platform appeared mature enough to be a contender for my hard earned cash when next I upgraded my mobile phone. With the Desire’s launch, a number of friends started to move away from either their iPhone 3G or from their other feature phones. While tempted, I chose to hold out for the iPhone 4.

Lately more and more people have joined the chorus of those hyping the Android platform. This, along with the work we are doing at iBrothers, aggravated the tech itch. The talk of “open”, “rebellion” and the choice of multiple manufactures started to get the better of me. At this stage, I was already using the iPhone 4 and I couldn’t really afford to take the punt on a second smartphone, but like an addict I couldn’t help myself and (on a budget of course) I managed to pull some strings and I chose the HTC Wildfire. The cheapest Android device and the time but meeting all the requirements for a full Android experience, it was even one of the first Android devices to ship with “Flash” preinstalled. The Wildfire was the little brother of the HTC Desire, just with slower CPU, less memory and smaller display. Read more

Keep your email address portable

When you really think of it, it’s amazing that in the ever-changing space of the Internet, the humble email address has stood the test of time.

When you consider how embedded email is to your online presence and how essential it can be, it continually baffles us at iBrothers why people still insist on using the email address given to them by their ISP (internet service provider). Our reasoning behind this is that when you really consider how your email address is extended into nearly every part of your online life, wouldn’t it make sense to have an address that can move as you move house or internet provider?

Before we go into how to do it, I think it’s important to really explore how entrenched your email address is to your online identity.

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iBrothers Christmas Gift Guide

While this entry might be cutting it a little bit fine for Christmas, I am sure there are still some people out there trying to think of something to stick under the christmas tree. iBrothers have put their heads together to come up with a list that will satisfy  a few different budgets.

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