Sunday, 26 July 2015

Moyu Skewb Review

Hey Guys,

So I've recently bought a few cubes, the Moyu Skewb being one of them. This is  my first Skewb, so I had to also learn how to solve it. I used Monkeydude1313's 1-algorithm method, which allowed me to solve Skewb easily. When I first tried to solve the Skewb, I had a lot of trouble, and even with the tutorial I was struggling to understand how it worked. After watching the tutorial a few times, I got my head around how the Skewb worked and I am now able to easily solve it. 

Onto the cube itself. The cube was out of the box tensioned, but needed lubing. The stickers are bright and easily recognisable, as well as being thick and sturdy. Corner-cutting is ok, but is not needed due to the ball bearings that click the pieces into place. Pops are non-existent, along with lock-ups - making the cube reliable and lets you feel more free.

All in all, I would greatly recommend this cube to anyone who wants a high quality Skewb, as this is probably the best on the market and is only £11 (~$15) so good value for money.

Keep checking here for the latest in geek!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Logitech C270 Webcam Review

Hey Guys,

So another thing I got for my birthday is a Logitech C270 Webcam, for use in my YouTube videos. It was £20 (~30)) and is can be seen here:

It has a clever stand for clipping to screens etc. and looks good with it's polished shiny plastic. It does 720p 30fps video and 3 megapixel stills, which is perfect for me. The software is easy to use and polished, allowing for recording, stills, and motion detection.

It also allows me to add it as a source in OBS so that if I stream or record, I can use the webcam too.

All in all, I think this webcam is useful and extremely good value for money, so I would greatly recommend this one if you have a need for one.

Keep checking up here for the latest in geek!

Monday, 20 July 2015

iOS 9 Review

Hey Guys,

So recently the open beta of iOS 9 came out, and so I decided to give it a test. The installation process was not difficult - I just had to go to the webpage, and put my apple ID in. I then was able to download the 'profile' onto my device, enabling the option to update to the latest version of iOS 9.

The aim of iOS 9 is all about learning about you - what webpages and places you visit, what news and books you like to read etc. This ties in with the new Apple Music service, which learns the music you like and gives you new recommendations of what to listen to next.

There are also some graphical changes - the multitasking screen looks slightly different, as well as the siri graphic and a new default font. Here is images of some of he new graphical additions:

The news app was useful when it worked,  but it has stopped functioning and crashes every time I try to open it. I have submitted this as a bug report, along with other bugs I have found. There is a new "mode" to put your phone in - power saver mode. Power saver mode reduces power consumption until you fully charge your iPhone by turning of mail fetch, background app refresh and automatic downloads, and reducing some visual effects.

All in all, I think that iOS 9 is a good thing but only if you are prepared for the bugs and crashes. Due to this, I would only recommend it if you have a use for it for example to review it (like me!) or if you are a software developer.

Keep checking up here for the latest in geek!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Mic Boom Arm Review

Hey Guys,

So if you've read my previous posts, you will know that I have got quite a lot of tech for my birthday. One of the pieces of equipment I got was a boom arm for my mic. his allows my mic to be closer to me, so I am not leaning over into my mic. Here is a picture of the arm in action:

It is clamped onto the shelf that my monitor sits on - the perfect place for it to be held, as it is accessible and at the correct level. The mic attaches to the arm via an included piece that allows certain other mic types to attach. The arm is also the perfect place to screw my pop filter to, as it has perfect sized bolts to hold it in place.

All in all, I would recommend this boom arm to anyone that needs a functional but not too professional boom arm, as it is one of the cheaper ones on the market at only £10(~$17).

Keep checking up here for the latest in geek!

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Blue 'the Pop' filter review

Hey Guys,

So if you didn't know already, I have a YouTube channel that I post mainly cubing and Minecraft videos (feel free to check it out here). On my videos, I have commentary, and so need a mic. I have a Blue Yeti mic, and have recently been given the official Blue 'the Pop'. This is a pop filter, and if you didn't know a pop filter is to stop the sounds of Ps and Bs as well as breathing from being too loud in the footage. The pop filter looks very nice, and can be seen here:

I have it screwed onto my mic boom arm through one of the arm's attaching bolts, as I tried to use the clamp provided and it wouldn't stay on and dented the arm. The filter consists of two gauzes - a fine gauze on the front to be the actual filter, and a rougher gauze on the back to hold the front one in place.

I would recommend this to anyone with a mic that wants a pop filter that is aesthetically as well as physically functional, as it is £25(~$40) - quite a lot for a pop filter.

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Friday, 17 July 2015

QJ Speedtimer Review

Hey Guys,

So If you've read any of my earlier posts, I've recently had a birthday, and have got plenty of technology. One of the cubing related things is a QJ speed timer. This is a timer for things such as cubing or cup stacking, but mine is made by QJ - a speedcube manufacturer. It has two pads to put your hands on, and when you take your hands off, the timer starts. You then solve the cube, and once you are done you put your hands back on the pads. Here is a picture of the timer:

One of the problems with the timer is that the green and red ready lights flash while you are solving. This can be distracting and can mess up your colour recognition. Also, I occasionally have times where I finish, but the timer doesn't stop - I have to take my hands off and put them back on the timer.

Other than that, I would recommend this timer if you are a cuber wanting some practise for competitions.

Keep checking up here for the latest in geek!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

2000 Views + Blog Shout-Out

Hey Guys,

So recently we've hit 2000 views on this blog, and I want to thank you all for that - it really has been a great experience. Secondly, I want to just give a shout out to my friend Hannah, who has just started her blog here. It is more of a life blog - less like mine as this blog is a lot more factual, and so feel free to check that out.

Keep checking here for the latest in geek!

Monday, 13 July 2015

The Geek Circle Gear

Hey Guys,

So yesterday it was my birthday, and some of the smaller presents were items with the Geek Circle logo on them. These came from visaprint, and were not expensive. I got a mousemat that was £5 (~$7.50) and a t-shirt that was £12 (~$18). These can bee seen in the photos here:

I have also been able to use the mouse mat as a cubing mat, that can be seen in this really cheesy photo of me...

So all in all, I am very happy with my new Geek Circle things.

Keep checking here for the latest in geek!

Friday, 10 July 2015

DotVPN review

Hey Guys,

So I've recently been recommended a chrome plugin called DotVPN by Will Melbourne. It is a blocker for an array of things, such as ads, trackers and firewalls. I use this program for blocking the firewall at my school, as for example I wanted to use a bit of CSS from a page, but I couldn't get to the page as it was blocked. I wouldn't use this program all the time, as I have been told there are few servers, and with few servers dealing with all of the requests, the speed isn't brilliant. One of the features I like is the colourfulness of the icon and main page of it. It is a small touch, but very nice, and as a kid I think this is cool. I also find the movement of the graph in the icon satisfying, as if I'm physically doing something, and it's giving a live feed of my activity.

All in all, I think that DotVPN is a useful tool if you have a use for it, but I wouldn't just use it as an ad blocker. 

Keep checking here for the latest in geek!

Monday, 6 July 2015

New Geek Circle Website

Hey Guys,

So lately, I have just been having a bit of a go at some modern-looking html. I started writing a new website to be a central meeting point for all of the geek circle content. I wanted a modern-looking website, as I think that is what makes a site appealing. I found a good-looking css navbar that can be found here. I liked the dark modern look contrasting with the light body, making a stylish, modern look. I added the Geek Circle logo to the navbar and the tab at the top, making it look much more, well, geeky...

I then changed all the content of the navbar to have it things to do with the geek circle. my tabs are: Blog, YouTube and Cubes. Cubes is a drop-down menu with all of my cubes in it.

The current webpage shows in blue, as well as the link that you are hovering over. When one of the pages in the drop-down is currently viewing, it will make not only the actual text when you open the drop down, but the + sign next to Cubes. this indicates that there is more to be shown in the drop down. I made a basic template for the main body of each page with text on the left and a YouTube embed on the right, allowing for both text and visual-based content. I wrote a bit about what I do for the homepage, and for the pages on cubes, I wrote about the respective puzzles. I have contacted the owner of my local CoderDojo, as the CoderDojo foundation can provide free web hosting and domains for kids that want them. I also asked whether I could have a sub level domain for a minecraft server etc. If you want to take a look around the website, check it out here (you will need to edit some of the file paths to suit your system). 

Other than that, keep checking up here for updates on the website!

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Saturday, 4 July 2015

Laser-etched Fisher Cube

Hey Guys,

So a few days ago, I was lucky enough to be given a very old but pretty cool-looking puzzle, as a friend had it but didn't want it. I think it is a "fisher cube" but I am not totally sure as it is not the same as most. It actually has 10 different colours, two for the top and bottom, four for the sides and four for the edge pieces. The stickers are also laser-etched, giving them shiny patterns of colour. The 4 different sides can be seen here:

This colour scheme with 10 different shades confused me, but I managed to work it out eventually. I also had some problems with getting impossible 3x3 parities, but I think this was due to me putting the corner colours in the wrong arrangement - there is no centre piece to tell what colour goes where. Eventually, I got fed up of scrambling and solving it, as it is so tight and my fingers started to hurt. I had to open the cube and fix the parity manually. I put a bit of lube inside the cube, that improved the turning a bit, bit it's still pretty bad. This is a nice cube but only as a collector's item - not a cube for solving often.

Keep checking here for the latest in geek!

Friday, 3 July 2015

Moyu HuaChuang 5x5 Review

Hey Guys,

So I was lucky enough to be given a Moyu HuaChuang (Can be bought here) as an early birthday present. The HuaChuang is Moyu's latest 5x5, and is a highly commended one too. The cube is pre fluorine-modded like the Yuxin 4x4 (if you have not already, check out my post about it here) the colors are very nice, and the stickers are very thick and sturdy - not like normal factory stickers. This can be seen here:

The size of the cube is a bit more than the Yuxin and can be seen next to a standard 55mm DaYan ZhanChi here:

The corner cutting is just under a piece, and the turning is extremely smooth. One of my only problems with this cube is the fact that it can get out of shape if you try to corner-cut with is too far. This can be seen here: 

It happens fairly frequently when trying to speedsolve it, and can be a pain to resolve. For anyone who was wondering, here is a photo of the mechanism: 

All in all, I think this is a good cube for anyone wanting a quality 5x5, the only problem being the disforming issue. If you just want a 5x5 but not for speedcubing, I do not recommend this as it is quite expensive - ~£28 ($38). 

Keep checking here for the latest in geek!