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Monthly Archives: March 1971

The headphones revolution: bright colours, street styling spark new craze

Article of the Day………ok so i don’t have a piece of writing every day, but when i get a chance I will post content I find interesting. Fortunate enough here’s one of these articles that I read and had to share. If you enjoy it as much as me, please add one of those special social media likes, you know the one which tells everybody that you enjoyed something, rather then you sat on your arse and watched Television!

Anyone considering buying headphones for a young relative this Christmas, take care before splashing out the £150 or more that the most fashionable – the Beats, or Skullcandy, or Urbanears models – can cost.

Each brand marks them out as one of a “tribe”, regardless of sound quality. Whereas 20 years ago the most important thing for a teenager was the brand of trainer on their feet – Nike, Reebok or Adidas – now it’s the brand covering their ears that matters.

Beats headphones, with their red cord and large “b” on the earpieces, began appearing in music videos in late 2008, largely through the efforts of the company’s co-founders, the rapper Dr Dre and the music entrepreneur Jimmy Iovine. That sparked rocketing sales to a teenage demographic looking for a new way to distinguish themselves out from their peers.

In doing so, Beats’ emergence showed that high-priced headphones would sell, becoming as much a fashion accessory as a gadget, commanding prices over £200 – a bracket previously reserved for the audiophile niche.

A decade ago, the white tendrils of an iPod’s headphones might have marked the wearer out as trendy; nowadays it makes them just one of the crowd, and Apple’s in-ear headphones are too common to bother with. A teenager wanting to stand out needs something big – and bold.

“Companies like Beats and Skullcandy have realised that kids today want something that looks better, over questions of sound quality,” says Sam Ruffe, who works at The Kinc, a marketing agency whose clients include Skullcandy.

And those kids (or their parents) will pay: worldwide, the market for headphones will be worth over £5bn ($8bn) this year, with 284m units shipped, according to the consumer consultancy Futuresource; over-ear headphones grabbed half of sales. And Beats alone will grab around £1.25bn – while the total market is forecast to grow by 5% annually for the next five years.

Skullcandy was originally designed for skiers and snowboarders, by Rick Alden, who got the idea on a chairlift in Park City, Utah. Starting in 2003, he managed to persuade skating and skiing shops to stock the product, which became known as an “extreme sports” brand.

Urbanears, meanwhile, brought Scandinavian design and a flourish of colour to the burgeoning headphone market, releasing two “collections” of headphones a year in limited-edition colours.

The continued success of Beats brought competition as these other brands began chasing the new demographic of people willing to spend money to wear their branding choice on their ears. Skullcandy moved off the slopes and into the high street. Now, they are more likely to be seen on the bus than on the piste.

Audiophiles aren’t impressed by the brigade of bolshy Beats products, which often pride bass and look over acoustic refinement. “I just bought a set of the Beats Solo HD headphones – it’s a Christmas gift for my 13-year-old daughter,” Chris Miller, a software engineer, told the Guardian, adding: “I think they are overpriced and you are paying a premium for the brand name. They aren’t bad, but I have headphones that sound better for half the price that I paid for the Beats.”

Sound quality, though, isn’t necessarily the point – which may have been missed by more traditional “audiophile” brands such as Germany’s Sennheiser, the Dutch brand Philips and the American Bose, who were caught unaware that colouring the earpiece and cord green or red could affect sales as much as their sound quality.

Andy Watson of Futuresource says you might struggle to tell some headphones apart at the factory. “With everyone owning the same generic-looking personal audio player or mobile phone, it’s the headphones that do the differentiating. There is certainly cachet and brand equity attached to many of the brands, beyond their intrinsic value. Much of it is about positioning a lifestyle rather than a product.”

Yet the growing tribalism of headphone ownership has led to derision in some quarters – such as the blog “Long Way From Compton”, which features pictures of people wearing Beats headphones, and measuring the distance from there to the notorious gang-ridden Los Angeles district from which Dr Dre emerged.

It’s in the can

Beats Studio

Arguably one of the headphones that kicked off the large and colourful trend, the original Beats by Dre headphones drove appeal through product placement in music videos. Pushed by the music marketing powerhouse of Dr Dre (pictured above) and Jimmy Iovine, Beats brought big, aggressive bass-y sound at a big price and made it fashionable.

Bowers & Wilkins P5

Proving that expensive, fashionable headphones could sound good, the Bowers & Wilkins P5 ooze luxury and sound great, with excellent noise isolation and good range, which makes the equally pricey Beats sound downright mediocre.

Bose QuietComfort

The commuter’s favourite, Bose took noise-cancelling technology – which silences the outside world by blasting sound waves to cancel out the noise leaving only the music audible – and made it popular. On their third revision, the Bose QuietComforts are still the active noise-cancelling headphones to beat for many.

Sennheiser Momentum

Long-standing quality audio company Sennheiser was late to the stylish headphone game, but its Momentum series combines a sophisticated look with top-notch acoustics.

Starck

A collaboration between the French designer Philippe Starck and the Bluetooth specialists Parrot, Zik headphones are some of the best wireless headphones around, with intuitive touch controls, active noise-cancelling, and sound profiles and acoustics that can be modified with iPhone and Android apps.

Skullcandy Crusher

Battery-powered bass means that the Crusher gives real wallop to what otherwise might just be loud music. Cavernous earpieces (made of “soft touch” leather) also come with a powered mini-amplifier, foldable hinge (for storage) and a microphone and remote on the detachable headphone cable. CA and SG

Source – http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/dec/06/headphones-market-beats-by-dre

Bluetooth Earpiece has a Lot of Benefits and Features that You can Enjoy when You Use It

Boy. The new radio accessory is magnificent. I mean it’s just so gorgeous and so highly developed. I pity individuals who grew up without the radio earpiece.

Today, you can see a lot of people using Bluetooth earpiece. It is popular in the market nowadays. These earpieces are very stylish, with many designs available that you can choose from. There are a lot of options that you can see.

If you look for a Bluetooth earpiece in a store, a professional can help and assist you with choosing the right Bluetooth earpiece that you can use. And as a user, you have requirements and specifications that you want to have in your earpiece.

Bluetooth earpiece has many benefits that you can take advantage when you have one.

You can stay focused when you are driving even though you are talking to someone on the line. When driving, you need to concentrate on driving and you need your hands on the car and not on your phone. And with Bluetooth earpiece, you will be able to talk to someone even though you are busy driving.

Bluetooth earpiece can be a piece of fashionable accessory. You will never go wrong with this device. Although there are a lot of devices that is used for communication, Bluetooth earpiece is the most convenient among them. However, it is better if you choose the durable ones.

People who are working as call centers staff members will like to use this device. Also, those who love gadgets will love to have this device to go along with their gadgets.

People love to have this device with them everyday. Bluetooth earpiece is available with so many styles and designs that are appealing. Also, the power is from a good source. It is made up of the latest technology and from the brands that are known to deliver the consumers with the best products.

The Bluetooth earpiece has a lot of features. It has a double microphone. The noise reduction is enhanced. With these two features, you can talk to your friend or to your client without the annoying interferences like noise and other interruptions. It also blocks the wind and other distractions.

For your Bluetooth earpiece to live longer, you have to take care of it properly because it doesn’t need much battery.

NASA Sent Phones Into Space, and Now They’ve Called Home

Thankyou for reading my website, here is a piece i really loved reading. With their permission i can repost it. I compose plenty of my own content pieces, but occasionally post other content i find interesting, thankyou for reading.

Ever since NASA launched a new group of tiny, phone-powered satellites into space a few weeks ago, we’ve been waiting for one of the little PhoneSats to phone home. Now, one of the nano-satellites has successfully communicated with Earth, an important test of a much-needed capability.

Engineers at NASA’s Ames Research Center are currently in the middle of testing two-way communications technology on one of the PhoneSat experimental satellites they shot into space a couple weeks ago. On Wednesday, the tiny satellite—weighing only about 2.2 pounds, or the size of 20 CDs stacked into a cube—used its S-band radio to make a call the ground monitoring station at Santa Clara University, in California, signaling to the engineers that it was ready to receive commands.

The satellite is called a PhoneSat because the satellite’s brain is basically built around a heavily modified Samsung Nexus S, running off the shelf Android software.

Two way communications are really important to NASA’s long term objective of building satellites on the cheap, because they’ll enable teams on the ground to control PhoneSat—eventually including things like navigation and instrument readings.

During the two-way radio tests, the most critical system the engineers on the ground will send commands to is the attitude control. That system uses a smartphone’s magnetometer to sense the earth’s field, creating an aligning force with magnetorquers, or printed-circuit electromagnetic coils commanded by the phone. With its attitude control functioning, the PhoneSat can align itself with Earth’s horizon, something that’s pretty useful for satellites, according to NASA engineer Jim Cockrell.

But the attitude control system uses a lot of power, so the teams on the ground want to be able to shut it on and off—hence the importance of the new two-way S-band radio.

This new version of the PhoneSat—the first version went to space earlier this year—uses more heavily modified Nexus phones than previously. NASA has stripped away or disable many of the components they don’t need—for example, the engineers removed the screen and enclosure, as neither are necessary to operate a satellite. Basically, the only thing left over is whatever’s attached to the circuit board, said Cockrell.

The engineering team also replaced the standard Nexus battery with a much more powerful Lithium Ion battery pack that’s charged via solar cells—also bought off-the-shelf—custom fitted to the PhoneSat’s outer hull. Interestingly enough, the engineers chose to use factory second solar cells, or remnants from older solar arrays in order to, you guessed it, build panels on the cheap. The engineering team then had to construct custom mounts and boards, Cockrell said.

The whole point of the PhoneSat program is twofold: to first determine if it’s even possible to operate space faring vehicles with off-the-shelf consumer technology. And so far, it looks like it is. The second reason NASA is interested in building satellites out of smartphones is discover the cheapest possible way to build a useful spacefaring satellite. Versus traditional satellites, smartphones—and so too the PhoneSats—have thousands of times faster computational speeds, and many times more memory, said Cockrell.

Phonesat 2.5, the next generation of mini satellite.

With such advanced technology available off-the-shelf for a few hundred dollars, NASA didn’t see the value of reinventing the wheel. “Manufacturers have invested gazillions of dollars into research and development of smartphones,” Cockrell said, “Countless research dollars make them fast, with a large memory and a lot of sensors.” And if NASA invested in similar technology it would likely require millions and millions of dollars, Cockrell said.

Cheap satellites have a number of advantages—if they can survive space’s rigors, Cockrell said. If the program proves successful, they would allow NASA to take a different approach while exploring the universe. “With multiple copies of your satellite, even if one fails, you can afford to have another one at the system level still functioning,” the engineer said.

The materials in each PhoneSat 2.4—as this iteration is called—cost approximately $7,500, off the shelf. The PhoneSat’s design and fabrication took about a year by a team of fewer than 10 engineers—who are all entry level, Cockrell said. Usually only senior NASA engineers work on satellite projects, but since the cost is lower, it’s feasible to give junior engineers a shot.

The next version, 2.5, is set to launch in February aboard a commercial SpaceX rocket and will continue to test the two-way radio and orientation systems, according to NASA officials. Further launches are expected in 2014 as the space agency aims to demonstrate how networking eight small satellites can be used—eventually—to monitor things like the Earth’s climate, space weather, and other global-scale phenomena.

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