Category Archives: TechnoBabel

All of the latest tech news with the debabbelizer turned up yo 11.

PlayStation Classic, the Retro Gaming Revolutions Finest…

Retro gaming is all the rage at the moment, and while Sony may be late to the retro game it has turned up to a knife fight with a 44 magnum. Mind you turning up well armed when going to war with Nintendo is not a bad strategy.

The PlayStation Classic is Sony’s latest weapon in the console wars and this mini marvel will be packing  20 games pre-loaded and ready to rumble. Only 5 of games have been officially announced thus far; Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3 and Wild Arms. The remaining 15 are the subject of much speculation and you can bet Sony will trickle feed the announcements of the remaining games to us as the release date edges nearer, building the marketing momentum. The number of wish lists floating around the web is evidence that it is already working. Here at Highpants we have just one wish, Gran Tourismo.

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The Red Hydrogen One Houdini Edition Unboxing, the Holographic Camera Phone…

Legendary camera company Red have made the leap into the mobile phone market with one of the most highly anticipated phones to be pressed up against people’s heads. The Red Hydrogen One is that phone and after a year of delays 300 lucky people are now experiencing the Red magic. Master unboxer Marques Brownlee was one of the lucky 300 and his unboxing video now has many people both drooling and jealous, in equal parts.

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Nikon Z6 and Z7 Mirrorless Mega Cameras, the Pro Shooter Wars Heat Up…

The digital camera wars are heating up again with the big names finally introducing full frame mirrorless pro cameras. In the last few weeks Nikon has fired the first salvos with the announcement of their new Z series mirrorless pro shooters. These two new models will herald the beginning of a new war for supremacy in the pro camera market, no longer will Sony have this market virtually to itself.

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Pi Projects: PiCade 2018, the DIY Retro Arcade Machine…

If like us you love DIY, retro gaming and want to tinker with a Pi then there is one project that combines them all, and is well worth considering, the PiCade X HAT. The 2018 update of this excellent do it yourself project provides a relatively simple build that produces an incredibly cool result, an awesome desktop retro arcade gaming machine complete with arcade joystick and display that fits into a little cabinet worthy of even the grandest man cave.

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Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK Review

In life we are often told that you can’t have everything, life is a balance. Settle and compromise the sensible amongst us insist, this is the secret to happiness they say. You can’t have looks and personality, the perfect job always has a downside, the perfect home will have an annoying neighbour and even the prefect computer will be compromised in some way. Here at Highpants  its time to upgrade our trusty work-horse computer and we are once again faced with picking our way through this compromised reality.

Yes, even in the world of computing this logic has been bandied about like the punchline in a bad film, the perfect computer for any situation has always been a compromise. But damn it if Intel haven’t decided to challenge this long-heralded rule, yes you can have a powerful gaming machine in an unnaturally small form factor they scream, while holding the Hades Canyon NUC high in the air.

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Mini Gaming Marvels: The Latest Compact Gaming PC Options…

There has often been an important compromise to consider when deciding on your next gaming rig. Do you settle for a large power-hungry box with extreme performance or sacrifice performance for a more compact gaming rig? While the first option is the often-selected solution there are situations that make the second option desirable for many. Those of us with small apartments and little space, or the requirement for a portable system, and then there are the power conscious amongst us. For many a better balance is an interesting proposition and in recent months these options have become quite interesting.

Headlining these options this month Zotac released the ZBox Magnus EN1080K ultra compact cube, while Intel has had tongues wagging around the internet with the release of their Hades Canyon BUC8i7HVK, both of which are extremely compact and surprisingly powerful gaming rigs. Both extremely enticing options but can they beat building your own mini gaming rig?

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The Bot Adventures, Life with Cozmo…

ANKI are the creators of the smallest smart robots with big personalities and their latest creation Cozmo is taking the world by storm. This little bulldozer with personality is quickly making itself famous, starting as all internet stars do by building a YouTube following thanks to the channel ‘Life with Cozmo’ that features this little hero’s big adventures. Building a robot with personality is the holy grail for all tech companies working in the field of robotics and ANKI’s little Cozmo has it in spades.

Presented for your viewing pleasure are the Bot Adventures of the little electric super hero, they may be cheesy and a little silly but they will make you want to buy a Cozmo of your very own. Sit back relax and prepare to be amused by the antics of a robot with electronic eye brows.

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Laser Projectors, a New Class of Projector…

Video projectors are the holy grain of the home theatre for many people. Able to produce a massive picture for a reasonable price all from within the comfort of your own home. As with all displays the technology driving these wonders periodically takes a leap. The latest leap in projector technology is the Laser Projector, a projector that replaces the old-fashioned light bulb for LED Lasers as the source of light. This change improves the brightness, efficiency and colour reproduction of the projector producing a far better image for less money, and improves the longevity while lowering power consumption. Lasers do in fact make everything better.

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The WordPress Plugin Backdoor Supply Chain Attack, Spammers are a Creative Bunch…

Security on the internet has always involved a series of evolving threats, as soon as one threat is blocked a new one pops its ugly head up. Vigilance is key and staying up to date in this game of moving targets is vitally important.

The latest threat to those running a WordPress website is the ‘Plugin Backdoor Supply Chain Attack’. A devious attack that’s fairly low tech but extremely effective. In this particular attack spammers are buying up WordPress Plugins used by 10’s of thousands of sites (hence the supply chain part of the name) and adding backdoor code to the plugin. When any site using the plugin updates to the latest version they have a spam delivery backdoor installed on their site, and unless they remove the plugin this spam delivery system can present some very dodgy content to their visitors.

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The Streaming Showdown: Foxtel Now versus Netflix versus Stan…

No longer must Australians settle for the rubbish free to air television over the holiday season. Now with a wealth of streaming options available all that is required is a fast internet connection for the holiday season ratings hiatus to be a thing of the past.

With many of the new breed of TV streaming services offering a free trial period there has never been a better time to switch remote controls and get a solid binge watch under your belt. It is time to break the couch.

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Firefox Quantum, A Faster Fox in Sheep’s Clothing…

While the browser wars may have died down over recent years Mozilla have recently released version 57 of their Firefox browser and it’s so good they gave their new browser weapon a name, Quantum. While Quantum may still look the same old Firefox, under the skin this is a faster and far more high tech Firefox that is ready to take on Chrome once again.

Mozilla have given the underlying code a complete overhaul for Quantum, but this type of change doesn’t produce a massive speed bump, an evolutionary change generally. The overhaul has improved the multi-threading support, memory usage, display quality and security but the extra speed of Quantum is actually down to a new trick. As ZDNet are reporting this clever idea was developed by Mozilla engineer Honza Bambas and is called ’Tailing’ which prioritizes traffic so that scripts from tracking domains (such as Google) are loaded after the page itself. The tracking scripts are still loaded but after the stuff that we all care about, the content itself.

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Roli Blocks, a Musical Revolution…

Musical equipment has ridden the wave of technological change in recent years, at the forefront of this change is Roli, an English company hoping to revolutionize how we make music. Roli’s Blocks are a flexible modular musical system that includes incredible new touch technology. Now anyone can put together the blocks that they need, from a portable studio in your backpack to a professional dream studio and get down to making tunes.

There are really two parts to Roli’s revolution, the modular wireless design of the blocks and the interface of the instruments. The blocks themselves can be split into two groups; control blocks and instrument blocks. All of the blocks are wireless and Bluetooth connected, snapping together into any configuration you need, allowing everyone from armature jammer to professional studio musician to put together their perfect kit.
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Keyless Unlawful Entry, Stealing Cars using a Key Relay Device…

Law enforcement officials around the world are constantly facing new challenges when it comes to unscrupulous individuals taking other people’s stuff. The latest challenge for police is the Key Relay Deice that can be used to steal your car by transmitting its fob signal to open and start the car with almost no effort.

Security experts have been aware of the Key Relay Devices since 2011 but in recent years their use has become more wide spread. As you will see from the video below thieves using a key relay device are able to simply stand within the transmission range of your key fob and using a relay transmitter send the signal to another relay device held near your car and hey presto your car is opened. This isn’t a security flaw but a natural by-product of cars using a proximity sensor to unlock the car, if you must press an open the doors button on your fob your car isn’t susceptible to this attack.

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Blockchains Explained: Information Storage for the Digital Age…

In this digital internet connected age being able securely store information has never been more important and it has never been more difficult with hacking, digital copies and high-tech crime being rampant. Being able to hold and securely maintain trusted information is a major concern and one that can no longer be addressed through the old techniques which are all descended from writing an entry in a book and blindly trusting third parties.

As the Bitcoin revolution rolls on Blockchain technology that allows this virtual currency to operate securely is the answer to these issues. Blockchain is transforming the traditional ways of storing trusted information and knowledge, removing the requirement to trust institutions and replacing the middle man with a secure and unchangeable system. This is information storage for the digital age, this is the blockchain.

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Microsoft SharePoint Online: A New Type of Business Fabric.

In this ever increasingly connected world the internet has come to influence every aspect of our individual lives. Now this influence is spreading to the collections of individuals we call businesses. The next internet revolution it seems will be a private one, the private internal intranets that help a business run will be the difference between a business succeeding or not. The difference between a small nimble business and a large inflexible behemoth.

Leading the charge of these private intranets is SharePoint Online, Microsoft’s all in one solution for creating a flexible and dynamic fabric to share information, collaborate on business processes and keep the wheels of business turning in the smartest way possible. This is SharePoint in the Cloud and it may just be the future of business.

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The Soup Robot, The Queen of Crappy Robots Strikes Again.

The queen of crappy robots Simone Giertz has been hard at work tinkering in her girl shed once again, working slavishly away on a new robotic creation designed to make her life easier. This time around Simone has put her genius to work creating a robot that will feed a bowl of soup to her without her needing to lift a finger, until she has to clean up in any case.

Simone’s YouTube channel ‘Simone’s Robots’ is full to the brim of interesting robots that may or may not fulfil their intended purpose. What they do demonstrate is a level of genius that puts Simone  smack in the middle of the mad scientist category, while evil genius may still be out of reach she is developing a well worn reputation for hilariously mad contraptions.

Presented for your viewing pleasure is the latest creation of our favorite mad scientist, the Soup Robot. A robot that may just be the unfortunate love child of her Beer Robot and the Breakfast Machine, while only being just slightly less dangerous than both. Sit back relax and prepare to marvel at the wonder of this latest creation, for those in the front row be sure to adorn your raincoat, this one gets a little messy.

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