Category Archives: Industrial Technology

VMware: The Basics

What is a virtual machine?
A virtual machine is a set of virtual hardware and files. The virtual hardware gives us the possibility to install a Guest OS on top. This Operating system must be “supported” by the Hypervisor, although many times you can install unsupported Guest OSes.

Virtual machine files:
So, let’s take a look at some of the most important files that constitute a VMware virtual machine:

• .VMX file – This is the configuration file for a VM.I In this file all the properties like number of vCPUs, RAM, Virtual Nic interfaces, Guest OS, etc. are contained.

• .VMDK file – This file is also known as the virtual disk descriptor. Here the geometry of the virtual disk is described.

.VMDK File

• –flat.vmdk – This is the data disk file where all the information of the VM is stored.
• .nvram – This file contains the “Bios” of the virtual machine (settings, etc.)
• .vswp – This file is the VM swap file. It is created once the VM is started and is used by the hypervisor to guarantee the assigned memory to the VM. This file is equal in size of the vRAM (RAM assigned to the VM). The only situation when it can be different is when you have a memory reservation configured to vm. In that case the .vswp file will be the same size as the defined reservation.

• .vmtx – this file is only present when you mark the VM as a template, when you set a VM as a template the only thing that happens is that the .vmx file is converted into a .vmtx file

vsphere

• .vmsd – this file is a snapshot descriptor. You can find the different snapshots that you have for that VM, the files of those snaps, etc.

vmsd

• vmss – this file is known as the “snapshot state.” Here the configuration state (.vmx information) of the VM at the time when the snapshot was taken is stored. So for example, if I took a snapshot when the VM was configured with just one vCPU and then I take a snapshot with 2 vCPUs the change in number of vCPUs will be known by the hypervisor using this .vmss file.

vmss

• -delta.vmdk – this file contains the changes of the VM after a snapshot was taken, so we essentially have the “base” disk and the delta files that store all further changes on disk.

delta.vmdk

As we can see, a virtual machine is easy to migrate and manage because it is a set of file, instead of a physical server. There are other VM files like .log files and .lck lock files.

Resources that can be assigned to a virtual machine:

Virtual machine hardware:
A virtual machine requires a set of “virtual devices.” These devices or virtual hardware provides access to the underlying physical resources. It is important to note that the access to hardware is controlled by the hypervisor. Currently VMware presents the following hardware devices to the virtual machines:

• SCSI adapter – This virtual SCSI adapter allows the use of “virtual disks, with a maximum of 4 SCSI adapters per VM and 15 targets (disks) in each adapter (60 disks). There are different types of adapters: LSI Logic Parallel, LSI Logic SAS, BusLogic Parallel and VMware Paravirtual SCSI (PVSCSI). PVSCSI adapter is a Paravirtualized virtual adapter that can give us greater performance. I If you want to know more about it take a look here.

scsi

• USB controller – A vSphere VM can have three types of USB controllers: UHCI (USB 1.0), EHCI (USB 2.0) and xHCI (USB 3.0), with a maximum of one controller of each type (3 controllers) per VM (3 controllers different version of USB). Each controller can have up to 20 different devices.
• Floppy controller – This floppy controller can have up to two devices. Usually this virtual floppy is used to insert drivers in a floppy image (.flp).
• Network cards – Also known as “vNics,” vSphere supports up to 10 network cards per VM. There are different types of vNics that can be available to a VM depending on the virtual hardware or “VM compatibility,” vlance (emulated 10 Mbps nic), E1000, Flexible (can change between vlance or VMXNET), VMXNET2 and VMXNET3.The VMXNET adapters are “paravirtualized” adapters, that allows better performance. If you want to know more about the different types of virtual nics take a look at this great blog post. Also we can have SR–IOV compatible devices (virtual interfaces of a physical nic/PCIe device) that can be presented to a VM reducing the overhead and increasing the performance.

network cards

• AHCI controller (SATA) – This type of controller is only available in vSphere 5.5. A VM can have up to 4 SATA controllers with a maximum of 30 disks per controller.
• Video card – provides video for the VM. We can also add 3D hardware rendering and software rendering to this “vGPU.”
• Other – a VM can have up to three parallel ports and up to four serial/com ports.
• RAM – the maximum amount of RAM that can be assigned to a VM in vSphere 5.5 is 1TB.
• CPU – the maximum number of vCPUs that can be assigned to a VM is 64. This is true for vSphere 5.5.
It’s very important to know that the CPU is not virtualized by the vmkernel. The hypervisor only assigns the different vCPUs to different cores on the physical system leveraging the CPU scheduler.

Virtual Disks
As we already know, a virtual machine can have virtual disks that are attached to a vSCSI adapter or a SATA controller, but we can add different types of virtual disks that will reflect directly in the physical storage.

virtual disks

Let’s start by explaining what is Thin Provisioning at vSphere. Thin Provisioning enables the hypervisor to assign disk space to the VMs on demand. This allows over allocation of the physical storage. With Thin Provisioning the Guest OS (the Operating system installed in the VM) sees the full allocated space but in reality only the consumed space is allocated on the physical storage.

Example:
John creates a VM with a thin provisioned virtual disk. He assigns 80GB of space to that disk. John installs an Ubuntu guest OS and several applications that consumes a total of 40GB from the 80GB allocated so it’s only 50 percent. Only 40GB of space is consumed at the physical disk/storage as we can see in the following image:

exaMPLE

Basically the hypervisor “tricks” the gOS and reports the total size of the disk without really occupying all the space in the physical storage.
Now that we know what is Thin Provisioning lets take a look at the current supported types of virtual disks or VMDKs:

vmdks

• Thick provision lazy zeroed – this type of disk allocates the total space assigned to it on the physical disk/layer (datastore). If there was previous data on the disk it does not get over written due to the fact that with this type of disk there is no writing of zeroes to the blocks that constitute the virtual disk. In this case the “erasing” or writing of zeroes is performed on demand on first write.
• Thick provision eagered zeroed – in this type of disk all the space is allocated on creation and a write of zeroes is performed on all blocks that are part of this virtual disk. Because of this the time to create an eagered zeroed vmdk is longer.
• Thin provision – with this type of disk space is allocated on demand.

Now it’s time to talk about the different disk modes on vSphere. This “modes” define how a vmdk (virtual disk) will behave when we want to take a snapshot of the VM. The following modes can be configured:

vmdk vsphere

• Dependent – With this mode the virtual disk (vmdk) is included in the snapshot, so if you delete the snapshot the changes are gone.
In this mode if we power off the VM the snapshot and changes are persistent.
• Independent persistent mode – In this mode the virtual disk is not affected by snapshots, so no delta file is created and every change is written directly to disk.
• Independent Non persistent – in this mode the virtual disk is affected by snapshots, a redo log is created (delta file) and any write or change is captured there.If you delete the snapshot or power off the changes are gone.
This article has been an introduction to VMware, defining what a virtual machine is, discussing the different resources that can be assigned to a virtual machine, an overview of VMware tools, converting a physical server into a virtual machine and best practices/guidelines for design.

LG Optimus L7 II

The LG Optimus L7 II looks beautiful and has some cool new features, ideal for people looking for a feature filled, stylish smartphone at a reasonable cost. The laser sculpted body gives a premium look and feel while the 4.3” screen shows a user everything in true-to-life colours.shafkats-work-image

Technical Specifications
The sleek body on the LG Optimus L7 II contains a massive 2,460mAh battery that can keep the phone ticking over for 800 hours on standby, or 12 hours when making phone calls. The phone’s powered by a 1GHz dual core Snapdragon processor and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, giving a very responsive experience. There’s a bright 4.3” LCD screen with a 480×800 resolution, giving a pixel density of 217 pixels per inch. A user will also get an 8MP camera and 4GB of internal storage, which can be expanded by up to 32GB with a microSD card.
The latest technology to stay charged.
LG has taken battery technology to another level with the LG Optimus L7 II. It uses a sizeable 2,460mAh battery which gives a user plenty of juice to get through the day. What’s impressive is that the battery is smaller than its rivals as it uses new SiO+ technology which improves battery performance by 6%. It’s perfect for keeping the L7 2 slim without compromising on performance.
Things are easier with Quick Memo, QSlide and Quick Translator.
There’s some great software that LG has added to the L7 II. Quick Memo allows a user to draw or write on top of any screen a user is viewing, just in case a user needs to jot down a quick message. QSlide allows a user to access another application while watching a movie, with the video becoming a transparent layer on the display. Another handy addition is Quick Translate, which is capable of reading and translating 60 different languages. In online mode a user is able to convert whole sentences to whatever language a user need and even without an internet connection a user can still translate single words.
Quick button
On the left of the LG Optimus L7 II there’s a quick button. A user can programme this key to launch any app, meaning a user can jump to the favourite game or app in an instant. A user can even set the quick button to act as the shutter key for the camera so a user can use the 8MP snapper more easily.
Speakerphone
If a user has a mobile phone has a built-in speaker, a user can use it to have hands free conversations or share music with friends. (Dependent on the handset’s features)
Smartphone
Smartphones do more than standard handsets. These powerful mobile phones have advanced features and dedicated operating systems that manage battery life and enhance performance.

Internet browser
A mobile internet browser allows a user to view websites and conduct internet searches on the handset. Some browsers support tabbed browsing and allows a user to bookmark websites to visit again later.

Calendar – An electronic diary.
Email – Email clients allows a user to send and receive messages on the mobile phone. Dependent on the client and the
specific handset, a user may be able to send file attachments and sync multiple email accounts

Compatibility (Windows PC)
Connect the mobile phone to a Windows based Windows PC and charge it and/or sync and transfer data. (Sync functionality dependent on phone features and Windows PC specifications)

Magneto Optimised Managed Hosting

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As the leading solution of its kind, Magento can deliver unparalleled levels of optimisation and scalability via open source ecommerce components. However, to do so it requires hosting on cutting edge IT infrastructure that continuously maintains the fastest and safest end-user experience.

To make this possible and tailor ecommerce for the diverse needs of every type of business, PEER 1 Hosting’s Magento Optimised Managed Hosting solution is changing the dynamics of online shopping in the following ways:

1) Hosting a Magento ecommerce store requires fast, ever-present, problem free site maintenance. PEER 1 Hosting delivers the fastest online experience your customers demand, thanks to a FastFiber network that astutely dedicates resources where and when needed, load balances server activity and processes online queries seamlessly.

2) Security provisions are fully configurable inside a dedicated firewall that maintains the highest levels of availability. Built on PEER 1 Hosting’s cutting-edge server stack, Internet networking and integrity of service, consistently maintains compliance and security.

3) Magento Hosting with PEER 1 Hosting operates the latest Intel Sandy Bridge chipset and tweaked RHEL 5 and RHEL 6 open source application platforms to deliver an infinitely flexible and scalable ecommerce shopfront. Accelerated content delivery and honed database performance also streamlines product querying and transaction processing.

4) The Magento Optimised Managed Hosting solution is fully PCI DSS 2.0 compliant, maintaining the integrity of every online shopping experience through a customer’s visit to your site. This includes expert management of your service, robust administration practices and stringent infrastructure auditing that is carried out by independent third parties.

5) As a wholly-owned and operated 10Gbps FastFiber network, PEER 1 Hosting delivers unparalleled ecommerce performance that results in an online experience that is super-fast, simple and secure. Connecting across 21 worldwide Points of Presence and with over 1000 third party peering relationships, PEER 1 Hosting ensures users have total peace of mind that information is quickly and reliably reaching its intended audience.

6) PEER 1 Hosting has a dedicated team of infrastructure experts to meet the design, development, implementation and support requirements of any ecommerce community. They deliver the most customisable, user-friendly experience for the bespoke demands of every evolving online business and their customer base.

Modern culture is being increasingly led by shifts in technology – online and in the cloud. This threatens every company trying to remain visible and viable with an ecommerce shopfront, especially today as globalisation blurs boundaries and consumerisation widens target demographics. However where there is threat, there is also significant opportunity. It is here that Magento Optimised Managed Hosting becomes a game-changer for online business.

For ecommerce speed and agility, PEER 1 Magento hosting has a track record of delivering the best experience for online shoppers, without compromising compliance, security or performance that can have such a damaging effect on your reputation. Ecommerce relies on hosting to deliver prompt service and real-time insights for all the different visitors to your site. As your own business scales with new products and services, it is paramount that your infrastructure runs smoothly and securely, without delays, distractions or inconvenience to the people who can ensure it grows exponentially. Otherwise you run the risk of being invisible to millions of potential customers.

Archos GamePad

The article will provide a reader with information on Archos GamePad.  Let’s have a look at good and bad aspects of the Archos GamePad.shafkatworkphoto

Good
• Low price
• Decent specifications

Bad
• Poor gaming interface
• Bad screen
• Weak battery life
• Incompatible with some big games
• Like the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, the Archos GamePad is an attempt to bolt a proper gaming controller to an Android-based device.
• It’s a 7-inch tablet running Android 4.1 with physical buttons and sticks bolted onto its sides, and boasts a dual-core CPU and quad-core Mali 400 graphics processor. There’s 8GB of internal storage onboard and an expansion slot for a microSD card.

French company Archos has beaten them both to the punch with the GamePad — although as is often the case, being first doesn’t always equal success.  The physical controls are painful to use and don’t offer the kind of precision a user would expect. The LCD screen is cheap and nasty, and the battery life is laughable. Worst of all, the GamePad won’t run some big-name Android titles, including Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series.

The idea of a gaming tablet is certainly very appealing, but we’d advise that a user would wait for other, better examples to come along instead of dropping any hard-earned cash on this. 

If a user would have ever handled an Archos product before, the GamePad won’t hold any genuine surprises. The silver plastic casing is robust enough, but it positively drips with cheapness and is nowhere near as desirable as the iPad mini or Kindle Fire HD.  A user’s eyes will naturally be drawn to the legion of buttons, pads and sticks that festoon the tablet’s bodywork.

The arrangement looks sensible enough, but that D-pad is a real bone of contention — because it’s four separate keys, hitting diagonals is difficult, and performing a single sweeping motion (like a quarter-circle required to perform Ryu’s fireball in Street Fighter II) is nigh-on impossible.  The analogue nubs fare little better. Although they mimic the single nub seen on the PlayStation Portable, the movement is stiff and awkward.

The Archos GamePad’s 7-inch 1,024×600-pixel screen is another crushing disappointment. The 170ppi resolution is distinctly lacking when compared to the likes of the Nexus 7 and iPad mini, and viewing angles are abysmal. Colours also look washed out and drab.

With a dual-core CPU at its heart and the same graphics processor as the Samsung Galaxy S3, a user would expect reasonably decent performance from the Archos GamePad. This is true to a degree, although it naturally can’t compare to the likes of the Nexus 7 when it comes to raw power. The big issue here is that the GamePad doesn’t seem capable of harnessing its strength without throwing a hissy fit every now and then.

The back of the GamePad is shaped to make it comfortable to hold, but lacks a camera.  A user would expect Archos to really hit the nail on the head when it comes to gaming after all, this has been christened the GamePad for a reason. Sadly, the tablet fails to live up to this promise. The controls make playing games frustratingly uncomfortable, and the pre-installed Mapping Tool is a little too unpredictable to rely upon.

Microsoft Surface

The article will provide a reader with information on Microsoft Surface.  shafkats-work-imageAs the only Microsoft-branded Windows RT hardware to launch with the new operating system the tablet serves as ambassador and flagship for the touch-focused, wildly risky Windows grand experiment. The Surface excels thanks to its thoughtful design, sensible implementation of its keyboard accessory, and the innovations brought about by the interface formerly known as “Metro” — chief among them: the gesture-driven menu system, powerful search tool, and incredibly cool and versatile split-screen feature.

The features and aesthetic details that do set it apart are significant, if not immediately apparent. For one, the Surface sports a 10.6-inch screen, which is only about 0.5 inch larger than most full-size, mainstream tablets’ screens and 0.9 inch larger than the iPad’s screen. However, this larger screen affords it a true 16:9 aspect ratio at a screen resolution of 1,366×768 pixels. This aspect ratio matches most movies and TV shows, eliminating the need for black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. While movies shot in Scope (2.35:1) will still display with black bars, they’re not nearly as all-encompassing as when watching the same movies on an iPad with its 4:3 aspect ratio.
Microsoft Surface is the best productivity tablet yet, and it had better be. As the only Microsoft-branded Windows RT hardware to launch with the new operating system (Windows 8 launches this week as well), the tablet serves as ambassador and flagship for the touch-focused, wildly risky Windows grand experiment. The Surface excels thanks to its thoughtful design, sensible implementation of its keyboard accessory, and the innovations brought about by the interface formerly known as “Metro” — chief among them: the gesture-driven menu system, powerful search tool, and incredibly cool and versatile split-screen feature.
The Surface sports a 10.6-inch screen, which is only about 0.5 inch larger than most full-size, mainstream tablets’ screens and 0.9 inch larger than the iPad’s screen. However, this larger screen affords it a true 16:9 aspect ratio at a screen resolution of 1,366×768 pixels. This aspect ratio matches most movies and TV shows, eliminating the need for black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. While movies shot in Scope (2.35:1) will still display with black bars, they’re not nearly as all-encompassing as when watching the same movies on an iPad with its 4:3 aspect ratio.

Then there’s the Surface’s beveled back, which contributes to its sleek, somewhat industrial-looking metallic aesthetic. It looks practical without being cold, and just feels like a high-quality device that Microsoft cut few corners to make.  The entire chassis is surrounded by a full magnesium (VaporMg, pronounced “Vapor Mag”) outer casing that’s supposedly both scratch- and wear-resistant; however, scratches are already beginning to appear on my unit. In the top middle of the front bezel, next to an ambient light sensor, is the front-facing 720p-capable camera. Several inches below that on the bottom of the bezel sits the Windows home touch sensor, which takes user back to the Start screen or to the last app a user had open if use is already at the Start screen.

Along the right edge, from the top, are a speaker grille, a Micro-HDMI port, a full USB 2.0 port, and the power port, which magnetically attaches the power cable. At the far right of the top edge is a lone power/sleep button. The left edge features an additional speaker grille, a headphone jack, and a satisfyingly tactile and clicky volume rocker. Seated toward the bottom of the left edge is an inch-long groove that allows user to easily pull out the built-in kickstand and prop the tablet up.

The microSD port, located under the kickstand, can be accessed, in a somewhat awkward fashion, once the stand is engaged. On the bottom edge is another array of magnets where the Touch and Type Cover keyboards connect.
The Surface houses a 1.3GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU as its brains and comes in both 32GB and 64GB varieties. Its microSD card slot supports up to 128GB cards, and the tablet includes 2GB of RAM. It has 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi support, Bluetooth 4.0, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and a built-in compass, but no GPS.

Google Nexus

Google Nexus is running on the latest version of Google’s operating system, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The interface is basically the same as earlier versions of Jelly Bean, but it brings new features including settings shortcuts in the notifications bar, turn by turn GPS navigation, and various other tweaks.shafkatworkphoto

The most important change is to the camera software. Photo Sphere allows you to take full 360-degree images to either swipe around on your phone, Street View-style, or view as one wide panorama on your computer. Built-in editing software lets you turn this into a cool ‘tiny planet’ picture, as well as add numerous filters and effects tweaks to any of your pictures.

 The Nexus 4 outstrips the Galaxy S3 in power and screen resolution, and is less than half the price. Add on to that the great updates to Android Jelly Bean and the amazing photo features on board, the Nexus 4.

Design and build quality
The front of the Nexus 4 is made up of a single piece of glass stretching right up to the edges. It’s not interrupted by physical buttons or fancy company logos it’s an unusually minimal design.  The back panel has been given a shimmering effect. In the right light, it appears as though it’s made of tiny sequins. It’s very subtle, but it’s not at all unpleasant.

It measures 134mm long and 69mm wide a very similar size to the Galaxy S3. At 9.1mm thick though, it’s a tad chubbier than the S3 and considerably fatter than the iPhone 5′s 7.6mm. It’s chunky, but far from cumbersome.  It might look smart from a distance, but get it in your hand and it suffers in comparison to more expensive phones. The casing feels a little on the plasticky side and it doesn’t have the same solid feel as its plutocratic rivals.

• Android phones typically offer either dull specs and an affordable price, or high-performance components and a price tag suitable only for oil barons. With the Nexus 4, Google and LG have smashed that tradition to pieces.
• It packs in a ferocious quad-core processor, a whopping 2GB of RAM, a glorious 4.7-inch display and the latest Android 4.2 Jelly Bean software, which boasts some really cool new features.
• The Nexus 4 isn’t particularly remarkable to look at. It’s perfectly inoffensive, sure, but it’s hardly pushing any boundaries in terms of cutting-edge design. The front is dominated by a single piece of glass while the back, also glass, has a subtle sparkly effect. In between is curved matte plastic.
• Turn it on, though, and its screen jumps out at the user.  Measuring a spacious 4.7 inches, it’s wonderfully bright and bold. Images and videos look great on screen and fine text is kept sharp thanks to the high resolution.
• Inside the phone is a 1.5GHz quad-core processor along with 2GB of RAM. Those specs are more impressive than even the Samsung Galaxy S3 and are typically reserved for top of the range mobiles.

Good
• Bargain-basement price
• Superb performance
• Excellent high-definition screen
• Latest version of Android Jelly Bean
• Great new camera functions
Bad
• No expandable memory
• Battery isn’t removable
• No 4G

HP Pavilion DM1-4125EA

The article will provide a reader with information on HP Pavilion DM1-4125EA.  shafkats-work-imageWith a total width of 292mm and a length of 215mm, it’s certainly small.   A user will have no trouble fitting it into  user bag and chucking it over  user shoulder. With a thickness of 32mm though, the DM1 is definitely more netbook than it is ultrabook. It’s slightly slimmer than Toshiba’s NB550D netbook, but considerably fatter than the Asus Zenbook UX21, which narrows to a carrier bag-splitting 8mm.

It weighs only 1.52kg though, which is a whole load lighter than a lot of laptops — especially the gargantuan Asus NX90JQ — so  user won’t feel too weighed down if  user’re carrying it around with  user. It adds a few grams onto other netbooks, but  user’re unlikely to notice the difference.
The build quality of some netbooks is not always convincing because the chassis is an area that manufacturers cut back on in order to reduce the overall price. Thankfully though, the DM1 feels extremely sturdy. There was very little flex in the lid when we pressed on it and it didn’t bend at all when opened up

The wrist rest and keyboard tray are also free from any flex, which together with the metal banding around the edge makes this machine feel very well put together and suited to a rough life on the road.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard uses isolated keys that are spread across the whole base, meaning that  userr hands aren’t squashed up uncomfortably while typing. The keys are easy to press and the lack of flex from the tray means  user can keep on typing for a long time without feeling the tell-tale cramps that come from using a horrible keyboard.

The DM1 comes with the Beats Audio branding so we were expecting a decent serving of sound. For such a small device, it’s quite loud, and the Beats software does help in boosting the bass. It’s an adequate noise for watching a few episodes of a TV show, or for video chatting using the webcam. But if  user want to really enjoy the deep, meaningful and poetic artistry that Justin Bieber weaves into his music, get a decent sound system. And medical attention.
Performance
The DM1 is running on a dual-core AMD E-450 chip at 1.65GHz, paired up with 4GB of RAM. AMD chips aren’t as common in laptops as Intel’s chips but they do the same job, so don’t let the name put  user off. When we ran the PCMark05 benchmark test, it gave a score of 2,801. That’s an okay score, considering the low price tag. By comparison, it easily beat the Toshiba NB550D, which achieved only 1,885 with its 1GB of RAM, but failed to beat the MSI U270, which managed 2,940 with 2GB of RAM.

As the 11-inch Asus Zenbook UX21 racked up a score of 9,802, the DM1 is clearly residing in netbook rather than ultrabook territory. But at £500 less, we don’t have a problem with that.
We found performance to be generally swift. The 4GB of RAM helped it to keep going when we opened up various web browser windows alongside Windows Media Player. The Radeon HD 6320 graphics gave a helping hand in playing back high-definition video — something which other netbooks often struggle to do.

Strengths
• Excellent battery life
• Sturdy construction
• Comfortable keyboard
• Powerful by netbook standard
Weaknesses
• Dim screen
• Awkward trackpad
• Fairly chunky

Best smart phones

Let’s have a look at the best smart phones.  Android is very powerful and feature packed. shafkats-work-imageIt’s also extremely liberal about how a user treats it. If a user doesn’t like the software keyboard that’s pre-loaded, a user can just download another. Similarly, if a user somehow can’t find any applications then a user would like on Google’s extremely well-stocked Play store, a user can install apps from outside the shop. Google doesn’t lock Android down in the way that Apple jealously guards the keys to its operating system, iOS.
Other smart phone platforms such as Microsoft’s Windows Phone may never get that cool new app. Windows Phone is the new kid on the block so it can’t compete on quantity of apps. It does offer an elegant, easy-to-use interface though, so it might catch a Users eye if a user has not taken with either Android or iOS. If a user likes the look of it, the it is best off waiting until Windows Phone 8 arrives as the current version of the OS is heading for the buffers.

And then there’s BlackBerry, which is really the smart phone OS of yesteryear, although it still accounts for one in 10 phones sold in Britain. A user won’t find fiendishly clever apps that can read a user’s mind here or even super-slick hardware. But  a user will see plastic Qwerty keyboards — something that’s increasingly endangered in these touchscreen-dominated times. BlackBerrys can also be cheap and are still popular as a basic smart phone for teens. Although they’re not the best phones for the majority of people, they fit the bill for some.
Processor
When shopping for a smart phone, a key consideration is how fast its processor is. The most powerful phones money can buy currently boast quad-core chips as opposed to the single cores of cheaper phones. But just having more cores doesn’t immediately mean that a user  is getting a better phone. It depends what a user wants to do with it.

Quad-core devices excel at intensive activity such as high-end 3D gaming or heavyweight multi-tasking. Yet a powerful dual-core device can actually be quicker for some everyday mobile tasks and can offer much better battery life. Another hardware consideration is how big a touchscreen does a user want to handle? Almost all smart phones are touchscreen slabs these days (except for some BlackBerrys), but screen sizes and resolutions vary considerably.  When it comes to size, once a user gets beyond 3.5 inches, it’s really a matter of personal taste. For some people, the bigger the pane the better, so they can easily ogle videos and browse full-fat websites. For others, there’s a sweet spot around the 4-inch mark that offers a balance between size and portability.

Camera
The quality of the camera is another really important consideration. It’s a rare smart phone that doesn’t have a lens on it these days (or two, if there’s also a front-facing cam for video chats). But there’s a world of difference in the quality of snaps a user can achieve. If a User is a keen photographer and have a good whack of cash to spend on a smart phone, a user should opt for one of the best camera phones.

Huawei Ascend G330

The Huawei Ascend G330 is a fairly uninspiring phone, but is designed to appeal to those that want to spend only a little on a smartphone.shafkatworkphoto

Most importantly, the device looks great too, offering a much more ‘high-end’ appearance than the majority of budget Android phones available today.  It’s also a nicely compact device. At 123x63x11.2mm it’s by no means as skinny as the Iphone 5, but it’s small enough to squeeze into a skinny jean pocket.  Inside this casing there’s a 4in 480×800 LCD touchscreen, but this is not very amazing on paper, given the fierce competition available on the market. However, considering the phone’s £100 price tag, this screen is plenty bright enough and responsive, thanks to the dual-core 1GHz Qualcomm processor under the bonnet.

There are three capacitive keys underneath the screen – Back, Home and Menu – which have proven responsive thus far.  In terms of software, the Ascend G330 comes running Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) mobile operating system, but Huawei was unable to say whether it will be upgraded to Android 4.x Jelly Bean. However with ICS on board the phone looks up-to-date and has all of the usual Android features.

Huawei has skinned the phone in a light custom interface, which is much less obtrusive than HTC and Samsung’s Sense and Touchwiz UIs, respectively. This custom UI gives the phone a reworked lockscreen, fancy gestures when scrolling through apps and a number of apps added to the home screen.
Huawei has furnished the phone with some pre-loaded apps too, the most notable being BBC Iplayer. According to the Chinese firm, most Android phones of this calibre are unable to run apps such as BBC Iplayer, so it is using this as one of the main selling points of the Ascend G330. We gave the app a quick spin and it does work smoothly on the Huawei handset, even if the picture is a little bit blurry.  Huawei has also inked a deal with EA to bring a bundle of free games to the Ascend G330, which include SIMs Freeplay, Dead Space and Plants vs Zombies. We had a go on the SIMs, which fired up within seconds and looked good on the 480×800 screen.

The Huawei Ascend G330 also arrives touting a 5MP rear-facing camera with LED flash, a VGA front-facing camera, HSDPA and WiFi internet connectivity, and a 1,500mAh battery.

Software
The G330 runs Android 4.0 — which is the newest-but-one version of Google’s mobile OS. Having ICS means you can download Google’s Chrome for Android browser and enjoy additional Android features that Gingerbread blowers don’t have — such as full device encryption and Face Unlock.
As with other phones in Huawei’s Ascend range, the Ice Cream Sandwich base is skinned with a wrapper of its own software.  Huawei’s Android skin has typically been a fairly lightweight addition that doesn’t bog the OS down too much

Hardware
Huawei has lodged a 1GHz dual-core chip inside the G300, along with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage — which should be enough power for basic mobile tasks. It should also hopefully mean you can browse most websites without too much stuttering and lag. Like the G300, the G330 has a 4-inch screen — so it’s not a huge pane but will be large enough for many people’s mobile needs. It has a 480×800-pixel resolution.  The phone has a 5-megapixel camera. There’s also a front-facing camera for video calls.

Apple iPad Mini

The article will provide a reader with information on Apple iPad Mini.    This the smallest possible iPad that could still deliver the full iPad experience. iPad mini is 23 per cent thinner, 53 per cent lighter and fits in one hand yet it can do everything an iPad can do. It had to be big enough to do all the things you love to do on iPad. And it had to work with all the apps made for iPad.

The size is perfect size: 7.9 inches. Because at that size, it feels like an iPad in every way only it’s mini. But iPad mini isn’t just a scaled-down iPad. Apple iPad designed it to be a concentration, rather than a reduction, of the original. A refined unibody consolidates more parts into one. A single-cell battery the thinnest ever made by Apple takes up less space, but lasts just as long. The iSight camera is smaller, yet still takes 5-megapixel photos and shoots full 1080p HD video. And while the display is slimmer and lighter, it’s also incredibly vibrant. The iPad mini display stands out in all the right ways.

It has the same 1024×768 resolution as iPad 2 in a size that’s significantly smaller. Everything looks incredibly crisp and sharp and since the iPad mini display has a 35 per cent larger screen than a 7-inch tablet, everything is easier to read and interact with. The iPad mini display is also designed to take greater advantage of every pixel. So applications, magazines and documents fill the screen, from top to bottom and edge to edge. In portrait and in landscape. iPad mini is small, but when a user uses it, it doesn’t feel small. That’s because it’s designed to gives a user the maximum amount of screen in the minimum amount of space. To achieve that, a user has to rethink the relationship between the screen and the overall shape of the product. iPad has symmetrical bezels around all its edges. But for iPad mini, the width of the bezels has been reduced on two sides of the display. So although the screen is smaller, it’s even more prominent.

Rethinking the screen meant a user had to rethink the software behind it. iPad mini intelligently recognises whether a users thumb is simply resting on the display or whether a user is intentionally interacting with it. It’s the kind of detail a user will notice by not noticing it. And it’s a great example of how Apple hardware and software work together to give a user the best experience possible.

Apple iPad mini specification

• 200 x 134.7 x 7.2 mm

• 308g

• 7.9″ LED-backlit IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours

• WiFi

• Bluetooth

• USB

• Camera 5 MP, 2592×1944 pixels, autofocus

• OS iOS 6

• Chipset Apple A5

• CPU Dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9

• GPU PowerVR SGX543MP2