Recent Drone Footage – featuring Copdock Interchange Timelapse

 

 

 

 

Branding Is All the Rage in iGaming: Here’s How It’s Achieved

For many of us of a certain age, Christopher Reeve will always be the de facto Superman. It does not matter how many new portrayals are churned out by Hollywood in the coming years, Reeve is the yardstick for the Man of Steel.

Reeve’s portrayal of Superman is not consigned to history, however, as the man himself appears in a series of branded casino games. These games, part of a wider range of DC Superheroes slot machines developed by Playtech, are hugely popular and are part of an ongoing trend to brand content in the world of iGaming.

To be fair, Superman is a popular slot, and you can play it here: mansioncasino.com, but it is just one of many branded casino games available to play right now. To give you an idea of just how diverse the range of branded games is out there, consider the following titles: American Dad, Justice League, Elvis Presley, Tomb Raider, Marilyn Monroe, The X-Files, Sex and the City, Bridesmaids, The Matrix, Top Gun, I’m a Celebrity, Motorhead, The Green Lantern, Dirty Dancing, Gladiator, Top Gun, Jurassic Park, The Love Boat.

Genre of Source Material Not Important for Branding

The above is a diverse list, you’ll agree. You can possibly see how the high-octane music of Motorhead, or the explosive action of Justice League, lends itself thematically to a fun slot game; but the likes of Sex and the City or Bridesmaids? That feels like a harder sell. Yet, in truth, it’s not really that important to have something that lends itself to action to brand a casino game. What’s important is the branding itself, and how it is interwoven into the product.


What exactly do we mean by a branded casino game? It’s not exactly the same as sticking a photo of Take That on a lunchbox. Rather, it is more akin to a blockbuster video game, something like Star Wars Battlefront or Wonder Woman: Rise of the Warrior.

Comparing slot machines to video games might seem like a bit of a stretch, but the level of production behind these games might surprise you. Going back to the range of Superman games, you will see that they use real footage from the movies, splicing through a series of bonus games and special features. It feels like a video game, it looks like a video game and it sounds like a video game.

Games Have Huge Payout Potential

Yet, as we mentioned, popular online slots can be created using branding not typically associated with “action” and “excitement”. The Dirty Dancing slot by Playtech, for example, shrewdly uses the move clips to create dancing and romance-themed bonus games and general gameplay. Bridesmaids also use some of the best comedic elements of the movie to great effect.

Bridesmaids Online Slot
Universal Bridesmaids Online Slot

Of course, none of these games would be popular if they did not at least have some allure for experienced casino players.  Essentially, that means they must have big prizes on offer because even avid fans of the source material would turn their noses up if they were not offered a chance to hit a jackpot. The developers have that covered. For example, the Superman games connect to a wider progressive jackpot game connected to DC slots, with the top prize regularly tipping over £1 million.

Slots aren’t for everyone, of course. But you can see the line of reasoning for software developers to bring popular elements of pop culture to life in the iGaming arena. The branding offers ready-made marketing opportunity and invites fans of all those pop culture genres to try something they may have never considered before

Transcend ESD350C Portable SSD – A Fast and Rugged Backup Solution

Like many of us, I take hundreds of photos every week, most are taken using my smartphone, but I also have a DSLR camera, a ‘bridge’ camera, a GoPro and of course my trusty Mavic Pro drone. The smartphone stores the images internally and the other cameras write the images to either SD or Micro SD cards. On top of this, I also carry around an Apple MacBook Pro which allows me to edit my images and video on-the-go.

The golden rule with any data is making sure you have at least 2 copies of images or documents you really don’t want to lose. Having been in IT for over 30 years, I have witnessed a catastrophic loss of data (meaning everything was lost) on a number of occasions and it continues to be the case that you MUST backup your data.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been testing the Transcend ESD350C Portable SSD. SSD means ‘Solid State Drive’ which means that there are no moving parts. SSD’s are now commonly using in many computers as they are generally much faster than traditional hard disks and use less energy, so your laptop battery lasts longer.

The drive is about the size of a credit card and about 12.5mm thick, it comes in a ruggedized, blue silicone rubber, shock resistant case. Connectivity between the drive and your PC, laptop or mobile device is over a USB3.1 Gen 2 interface using a USB Type-C high-speed connection. Transcend bundle both USB Type-A and Type-C cables, which accommodates desktops and laptops featuring the USB Type-C or USB 3.1 interface and also USB OTG (On the Go) compatible mobile devices with Type-C ports.

The speed of transfer is comparable with internal hard disk drives with quoted speeds of 1,050MB/s giving the potential of copying 20GB files in around 30 seconds!

The unit I tested was the 480GB model, but the drive is also available 240GB and 960GB variants all providing compatibility with desktops, laptops, gaming consoles and on-the-go mobile devices.

Transcend also provide their ‘Elite’ software to allow users to manage backups and encrypt their data synchronization with cloud services.

Everything worked out of the box and was really just a matter of plugging in the cable to my MacBook or Xperia 1 mobile, I didn’t need to install the Elite software and no power supply was needed.

The drives are priced competitively at £85 for the 240GB, £125 for the 480GB or £180 for the 960GB models and available from your favourite online shopping sites.

4 Website Traffic Hacks You Need Right Now

Content is called the king of driving website traffic. Every business owner needs to do whatever it takes to pushing as may visitors to their websites as possible. Content is the king, but website traffic is the queen. Without increasing engagement on your website, your brand needs to have strategies in place to drive traffic to the site. With that in mind, let’s take a look at four hacks that you need right now to drive your web traffic and increase your engagement.

Apple Desk iMac Macbook

Go For Keywords

Google AdWords is one of the advertising platforms that helps to drive targeted traffic to your website. Traffic is excellent and all, but if your numbers are made up of people who aren’t bringing any value to your website, then what’s the point in all the numbers? You want your traffic to be relevant and targeted to your niche, which means that you need to have a good solution. That solution is in your keyword usage. Your products and services need to be in front of your audience so that when they are typing in the keywords, they will ping to your website. Optimize your campaign beyond your keywords and phrases to ensure that you show up in the Google searches for your audience. When you can be found, you attract the right people.

Eye-Catching Content

Visual content is so much more than just blogging. Vlogs and videos are the way to go to ensure that your business is getting the right people and the correct information out there to those people. The Movavi Video Editor crack can help you to edit your videos in the right way and with the right software, you can create excellent content that people want to see. Building your audience takes time, and you want to increase your engagement, but social media can be a sea of noise. Post where your content will be relevant to the audience and don’t be afraid to upload old content, too.

Cross-Promotion

Did you know that Pinterest is more than just a space to pin fun ideas? You can use it to promote your content and drive the traffic for targeted traffic to your website. The key to Pinterest working for you is to cross-promote. So, pin the content of other users to your boards, share your own content, and choose to save from a website rather than uploading an image.

Get Those Backlinks

If you have links to your websites from other sites, you can be found that way by new visitors. When you link on a tech blog to a site that you can buy a gadget from, that’s a backlink. It’s a very overlooked way to market yourself, but if you include your backlinks with influencers in the same industry as you are, you can get a much bigger following.

You need to have as many strategies in place as possible to target your audience and bring in as much revenue as possible. Optimize your strategy, and you’ll bring in that traffic.

How to Save Money On Technology

One of the reasons why life gets more and more expensive as time goes on is because new things are invented, and we all want them. Take technology. You could live much cheaper in, say, 1950, but there were no laptops, smartphones, or tablets to buy. Now, they’re more or less essential purchases, at least one of them, anyway. But alas, needing technology to be a part of society does have one obvious drawback: tech is expensive. As such, it’s important that we’re finding ways to keep costs to a minimum. We take a look at a few tried and tested ways to do this below.

How to Save Money On Technology

What Do You Need?

There are a million and one pieces of tech that you could buy, but in reality, you don’t need the bulk of what’s released. In fact, you probably need very little. For example, some people close to a month’s worth of their wages on an Apple laptop, and then just use it to browse the web and watch videos. They’ve paid far too much, because they don’t need all of the power that the machine offers. So before you invest in a new piece of technology, ask yourself if you really need it, or if you’re just being attracted by the shiny and gimmicky features.

Getting the Best Deal

Like everything else, there are good and bad deals out there, on everything. Indeed, if you’re only looking at one shop when it comes to buying your technology, then it’s probable that you’re paying over the odds. No matter what you’re looking for, there’ll be a wide range of prices and payment options available. Look at using a website that offers a mobile phone comparison before you upgrade your smartphone, so that you can be sure that you’re A. getting the phone that’s right for you, and B. no paying more than you should be. You can save a lot of money just by doing a little bit of research. 

Taking Care

If you’re going to invest in an expensive piece of technology, then it’s in your best interests to look after it. If you don’t, then you’ll only end up having to buy another product soon than you’d like. With your phone, get a protective cover, and avoid throwing it around carelessly — the same applies for your laptop and tablet, too. You can keep your devices in pretty close to mint condition with a little bit of care. 

Selling Old Tech

It pays to be a hoarder. You might feel emotionally attached to your old phone, but just think about how much money you’re losing out on just by keeping it in a drawer. Some devices hold their value incredibly well, but even items that are past their best can still bring in some much-needed cash, which you can then use to put towards the cost of your new device. Take a look at selling on eBay and Gumtree. Better to have the cash than a device that you know, realistically, you’ll never use again. 

The Gadget Man – Episode 146 – Retro Gadget of the Week – Part 10 – Nintendo Game Boy

In the final episode of my Retro Gadget of the Week, I bring you the Nintendo Game Boy.

This is an exclusive episode which was never broadcast. I’d like to be able to say it was too hot for broadcast, but in reality, it never made it because of time constraints on BBC Radio Suffolk. But here it is in all its glory, exclusively available to your pleasure!

Nintendo Game Boy in front of Assorted Games Cartridges
Nintendo Game Boy in front of Assorted Games Cartridges

Nintendo Game Boy

The Game Boy was an 8-bit portable games console designed and built by Nintendo, it was released in Japan in 1989 and then 12 months later made it to the USA and Europe.

The console featured a green, greyscale screen, but excelled in battery life against its arch-rivals, the Sega Game Gear and Atari Lynx. Along with an extremely durable case, both these features went towards beating it’s technically more advanced rivals.

The Game Boy came with the puzzle game, Tetris with later bundles including the legendary Super Mario Land, both were excellent games with fabulous soundtracks which didn’t become irritating.

The original Game Boy was a smash hit with gamers and went on to sell almost 65 million units. Nintendo kept gamers attention by releasing backwardly compatible upgraded units such as the Game Boy Color, Game Boy Light and Game Boy Advance.

As will other format wars, the gadget you least expect to win on paper is the victor and the Game Boy was certainly that, a truly great retro gadget which deserves to round off this series.

If you haven’t already, listen in to the stream as it contains 6 minutes of discussion about the Game Boy and its rivals and a little bit of history behind them.

Thanks to Matt Marvell at BBC Radio Suffolk for hosting my segment for the last 12 weeks and for producing this final one.

Don’t forget to Like, Share, Subscribe and Comment!!!

Gadget Man Episode 145 – Electric Car Update?

So what has been happening in the Electric Car market over the past couple of years?

Well, since my slew of Electric and Hybrid car reviews a couple of years back and our mega-exciting East-West Road Trip in the Tesla Model S 100D, we’ve been quiet on that front.  The absolute opposite of what has been happening in the EV marketplace.

I spoke to Graham on BBC Radio Suffolk about what’s happening with regard to charge points and speed of charging, you can listen in to the audio stream above to find out more.

However, something super-exciting is happening in motorsport. Now that Formula-E fully electric car racing has established itself, it’s now time to turn up the power even more and with a new sport created by the father of Formula-E.

Extreme E – A radical new racing series. 

Extreme E is a radical new racing series, which will see electric SUVs competing in extreme environments around the world which have already been damaged or affected by climate and environmental issues. The five-race global voyage highlights the impact of climate change and human interference in some of the world’s most fragile ecosystems and promotes the adoption of electric vehicles to help preserve the environment and protect the planet.

Extreme E is operated in association with Formula E – the organiser of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. Extreme E is committed to sustainability and minimising environmental impact – as well as playing its part in rebuilding and restoring areas already impacted by climate change

A new breed of racing means a new breed of the motorcar.

The car, named ODYSSEY 21, will feature in Extreme E’s radical new racing series which will highlight the impact of climate change on some of the world’s most fragile ecosystems, and promote the adoption of electric vehicles to help preserve the environment and protect the planet.

So, that’s just one thing that’s happening in the electric car market.

Image Credit: Extreme E
Some Content: Extreme E

 

 

Gadget Man Episode 144 – Retro Gadget of the Week – Part 9 – 80s Home Computers

In our penultimate episode of Retro Gadget of the Week, we take a look at one the most revolutionary moments in computer history,  where an explosion of homegrown talent changed the very face of the personal computer marketplace and faced up directly the power of Silicon Valley with low-cost home computers designed in the UK

Commodore VIC20 Personal Computer
Commodore VIC20 Personal Computer, my first computer in all it’s 3.5k glory and 22 columns display

I was very lucky to receive a Commodore VIC20 personal computer for one of my birthdays in the 80s and proceeded to embrace coding head-on! Unlike other home computers, the VIC20 only supported it’s own tape drive, so instead of using our portable cassette play like my mates with Sinclair ZX Spectrums, I had to wait until I save enough money to buy my own Commodore Datasette.  This meant that every single program I wrote on the Vic was lost when the power was switched off, I either needed to write down my code or memorise it!

Alongside the American VIC20, a slew of other devices was released by UK based companies. The most famous was the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and ZX81. However, other notable UK made systems included the BBC Model B (built by Acorn), Dragon 32Amstrad CPC464, Apricot F1, Camputers Lynx, Gundy Newbrain, Jupiter Ace, Memotech MTX, Tangerine Oric 1 and many others.

Dragon 32
The Dragon 32 used the Motorola 6809 CPU

Almost all home computers of the era were based on the Zilog Z80 or MOS 6502 microprocessors with a small number going with the Motorola 6809 (which was more advanced that the Zilog and MOS processors).

The computers were generally self-contained devices, combining keyboards and computers as one with connectivity with colour or black and white TV’s which the user was generally expected to supply. Other peripherals were available such as tape drives, floppy disk drives, printers, joysticks and light-pens. Some models also supported plug-in cartridges which generally allowed the owner to play pre-programmed games.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum 16K 48K
The Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K was the darling of the 80s market due to it’s price and range of games

The first to the market came with minute amounts of programmable RAM in the region of 1K to 5K, later entrants from the UK market settings with 16K or 32K with some stretching even further.  If I compare this to my Sony Xperia 1 mobile that I use today, this comes with 6 Gigabytes of RAM which is roughly 1,700,000 times more than my Commodore VIC!

Commodore 64 Personal Computer
The higher-end Commodore 64 Personal Computer with its sprite graphics, outstanding sound and award-winning games had a longer stay than most in the market
BASIC Code - Beginner's All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code
An example of Commodore BASIC Code – Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code

Almost every computer came preloaded the BASIC (Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) programming language which allowed a new breed of programmers to begin crafting their own code. Although the basics of each version of BASIC remained similar, that’s where it ended, different hardware and firmware made each machine incompatible with the other. Having a market saturated with different devices which didn’t speak the same dialect was the architect of their demise.

BBC Micro Model B
The BBC Micro Model B, built by Acorn as a joint venture with BBC. It found it’s way into schools as the staple computer for education.

After 3 to 4 years, the majority of these computers had become obsolete and fell out of use leaving the BBC Model B surviving through use in UK schools, colleges and universities and the Commodore 64 which had become a glorified games console rather than a way for young people to gain computer experience.

IBM PC AT
The IBM_PC_AT and it’s lower cost clones swooped in and stole the market

Along came affordable IBM PC clones from Dell, Compaq, AST and Gateway which WERE compatible with each other. Users began migrating across to these PC compatibles and the market was replaced at home and office. It was the end of an era.

Without the likes of Commodore or Acorn, my life would have been very different, so I have to tip my hat to the 80s Home Computer!.

Listen in to the podcast above to find out more and don’t forget to LIKE, SUBSCRIBE, SHARE and COMMENT!!!

See you next time

Matt
The Gadget Man
(Former Programmer of CBM Basic, BBC Basic, DataGeneral Basic, Testpoint Basix and Visual Basic)

Image Credits: Wikipedia

 

 

Gadget Man – Episode 143 – Green Manufacturing Using Bioplastics

All intelligent science is informing us that it is now past the time to start thinking about our planet and how we should be treating it before we reach its tipping point, the time when we can no longer begin to undo the damage that the human race has inflicted upon it.

Our oceans are strewn with millions of tons of plastic, so it is good to read that the big car manufacturers are stepping up to the plate and looking for alternative materials and techniques which avoid the continues use of non-biodegradable plastics which have been the go-to material for decades!.

Image Credit: By Siyuwj – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

In this podcast, I chat to James Hazell from BBC Radio Suffolk about bio-plastics and their growing use in the manufacture of car interiors.

It’s interesting listening, so don’t forget to tune in and Like, Subscribe and Comment.

 

Gadget Man – Episode 142 – Retro Gadget Part 8 – Nokia 3310 Mobile Phone

We’re now on the home straight with the Retro Gadgets Series and what better classic gadget to feature but the legendary Nokia 3310 mobile phone.

This is certainly a gadget that needs very little introduction, after being introduced in 2000, the handset went on to sell more than 126,000,000 units. What’s more, the handset continues to be used in many households today.  I previously discussed the handset in Episode 98 with James Hazell.

Nokia’s new owners HMD relaunched the device in 2017 with a homage to the original device, attempting to capture a new market of low-cost mobile phones. This too was covered in Episode 102 with Mark Murphy.

The Nokia 3310 launches in the UK
The Original Nokia 3310 and the the 2017 HMD Nokia 3310 reboot

Today, however, it was the turn of Matt Marvell to listen to my lament about this classic piece of technology history.

You can listen in to the recording by clicking at the top of the post. Don’t forget to LIKE, SUBSCRIBE, SHARE and most importantly COMMENT. I’ll catch up with you next time

Matt Porter
The Gadget Man

Technology and Gadget Reviews on air, online, in print and in person

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