Friday, 29 May 2015



Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! As always it is great to see you! I hope that all is well and that your projects are taking off! Watch out for a great competition coming up! Wink, wink! In the meantime I am telling you right now to get a hold of Incomedia WebSite X5 and WebAnimator! Claim your Cyber-Real-Estate with style!

The Google i / O 2015 is so, so great... While it may not look like it on the surface from the consumers point of view there are so many wonderful things that the consumer is going to LOVE! Android is staking out its next billion users! One of the things that I had wanted to see was my Android PC... Alas Google revealed no such thing... But wait... There’s Jide with a Remix of Android... Read on!

#Jide #RemixOS #Android #AndroidHardware #Android5
#Incomedia #WebAnimator #WebAnimatorTemplateCollectionII

Ever since Google announced the coming of Android 5, Lollipop and its cross CPU capabilities I was expecting the Android PC further down the line... I was half expecting the announcement of an Android PC in one of those little boxes that contains powerful hardware. As you know Google revealed no such thing!

So, I after the i / O 2015 keynote I Googled “Android PC” and low and behold... Jide (from China) and the Remix OS that is based on Android 5 and able to take advantage of the Microsoft compatible PC hardware! I have to say that the combination of the Remix OS and PC hardware will be something to behold! But let’s get practical here...

I think it is pretty much safe to say that the mobile revolution, spearheaded by Google, is way, way in advance. Android M – Muffin and the Internet of Everything, Brillo is going to take things even further! Much further than most of us can imagine!

However, I think that when we think about mobile we are thinking handset and not tablet. The advent of the tablet was supposed to sink the PC but that didn’t quite happen. What we have been witnessing is that the tablet is preferable by a non-productive household in that the tablet replaces a PC that is used mainly to access the InterWeb. So, that explains the fall in PC sales. However, the PC as a gaming, video editing and music making rig is never going to diminish anytime soon! Again, there are a handful of great, great PC software houses that keep the PC alive! Even as I write this article – on a PC using Word – I am looking to purchase another PC to review the awe inspiring Reallusion iClone 6 Pro 3D animation and stills software! Apologies for the delay!

The Remix OS and the possibilities that come from PC hardware remind me of... ....can you guess? I will give you a clue... The clue is: ‘Female friend’. Did you get it? Do you know what I am thinking of? OK, it’s the Commodore Amiga!

Above: Microsoft Mobile Office is good but I have come to appreciate Google Docs and Slides especially! I think Jide is capable of creating better software applications still! I want to do eBook publishing for example! I want to output a presentation to APK! Why not? Yes, not use a WYSIWYG HTML5 web design app that exports to APK while we're talking APK? C'mon! Let's have it!

In my most humble opinion the Amiga computer was... Oh, you’ve read it before... Gosh, I do repeat myself a lot... But I have to say it again – for the purpose of this article... The Amiga computer was a great platform that could have been what the Apple computer is in today’s world of tech!

What killed off the Amiga?

1. The Intel Pentium took the world by storm and although the Amiga had loyal followers - that once included me – they were washed away in the Pentium PC tsunami!

2. There weren't any serious productivity software for desktop publishing; the software that was there had too many bugs and relied upon the nightmare that was PostScript technology! Thank you Adobe for PDF!

3. The CEOs were not able to steer the Amiga in right direction and on the road to longevity.

Oddly enough the company that bought the Amiga technology were way ahead in the desire to create a TV box set that never materialized for one reason or another. But the idea was there way back in the early 90s. It’s only lately that we now have set ups like Amazon TV, Roku, Now TV, Nexus Player and Chromecast.

Anyway... The point I am making is that the Remix OS is really nothing without a set of good software applications! I am still waiting for a solid video editing app on the Android platform. We are still lacking a decent DTP application that can output to eBook and / or produce documents for professional printing... No WYSIWYG web design application... Yes, there are a few half baked apps claiming to offer the above productivity but they turn out to be less than satisfactory or what I call “Ransom Ware” – if you want to use the better and most useful feature you have to make a purchase or purchases from within the app.

So far I feel that the music making apps on Android are very much on par with PC software – at least I can export to MIDI or WAV with some of them and therefore can import the results into my PC DAW if need be!

I really think that Jide should take the opportunity to do what Apple has done with the iWork set of software applications to accompany the Mac computers. If I am correct iWork consisted of a video editor iMovie, a word processor, web design program, Garageband music making software and Keynote – the equivalent of PowerPoint. I was looking into a Mac at one point.

Jide needs to give the consumer strong, compelling reasons to want a Remix OS PC! It has got to be able to utilize PC fonts!

I can’t see why Jide will fail to deliver what could be a major revolution in computing! I am envisioning amazing applications that can be accessed on the handset, tablet and the Android PC! It is possible that the Intel i7 CPU, for example, may prove to be so powerful that the mobile equivalents have to be “lite” versions... But there again if you look at what Google has done with the Photos app there is powerful productivity to be had!

I reckon Jide can do it... They can not only deliver the Android operating system for PC hardware but should be able to deliver a handful of vital core software applications that come with it! I have been dreaming of an Android PC for a long, long time now... The Samsung Galaxy Note opened my eyes to the power of Android! Come on, Jide! Let’s have it!

For more information check out the Jide website here: Jide Website

Thank you so much for reading Synapse Circuit!
Expect more reviews, news, opinions, competitions and more from Synapse Circuit

Thursday, 28 May 2015


Are we there yet? No!
Are we there yet? Uh-uh...
We are here!
GOOGLE i / O 2015

Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! How’s it going? It is great to see you as always! Did you enjoy Google i / O 2015?

Here are my thoughts... Read on!

#GoogleiO2015 #iO2015 #Android6 #AndroidM #AndriodWear #AndroidAuto

Is it me? Have you noticed that the Google i / O keynotes have become progressively lacklustre? Don’t misunderstand me... ...there were great tidings as per usual but these revelations are mostly aimed at developers (app programmers and general Google / Android / Chrome programmers). In other words: There were no announcements regarding new tech for us to drool over! Typically my mind wandered and I don’t think that that the Nexus Player was mentioned at all nor was Google Glass. Hmmmm... I would have thought that there would have been an announcement on the next version of Chromecast; I had the inclination that Google Glass wouldn’t be mentioned at all as I reckon that there is a lot of work to be done still! That said we learned that more content was being added to Chromecast – including HBO! Yay!

We learned about developments in Google Wear and Auto; there are new wearables on the horizon but, again, no details. Fair enough!

I was very happy and surprised to learn of Android codenamed ‘M’ that’s in the pipeline that will go back to basics i.e. quashing thousands of bugs (not that I have noticed anything untoward with my Nexus 6, Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S4 and Moto G 2014)! The sound settings will return to having control of notifications, ringtone, alarms and media on an individual basis! As predicted Google are going to try and deliver battery efficiency with a facility called “Doze”. Doze effectively allows your device to go into a deeper sleep mode when not in use for long periods. There is, predictably, support for the USB C type port that should allow devices with the USB C port to charge more efficiently. Great!

If, like me, you do a lot of messaging and word processing on your mobile device you will be glad to know that selecting text will be easier with Android M – Milkshake. That’s good news as there are times when I am close to throwing some of my handsets against the wall!

Sharing will be made even easier! I never had a problem with sharing – when I borrowed my nephew’s iPhone I realized just how wonderful life is on Android.

Android M – Mudpie will include the fingerprint scan as part of the security functionality within. This means that any device with a fingerprint scanner will be compatible directly with Android 6, M – Moonpie.

Android Pay pretty much sounds like what Samsung has created with Samsung Pay; I am no expert by any means but it seems as though there isn’t much between these two payment options.

Perhaps we can glean from this that the next Nexus devices will include a fingerprint scanner. Of course there was no mention of the next Nexus devices as they are typically announced towards the third quarter in time for Christmas! The tablet isn’t such a big deal anymore and so there is no need to wax lyrical over the Android (iPad killing) tablet! In the event of these new Android devices I can only hope that they’ll be getting some decent processors respectively.


In a nutshell ‘Brillo’ is a scaled down version of Android that should allow electronics manufacturers to include Brillo in a multitude of devices such as smarthome devices such as Nest, fridges, coffee machines, cameras and so on. The idea is that these devices do not need to run on the up to the minute CPU! Brillo is said be able to run on the most minimal hardware requirements. Brillo can definitely up Google’s game somewhat as Android is ubiquitous and it should make things easier for the manufacturer to create devices that make it easy for the consumer to connect to (and control).

Brillo opens up many, many possibilities for manufacturers to add Android compatibility with just about every conceivable piece of electronic equipment! So, the next time you purchase a standalone digital camera it could very well be that it has Android compatibility built into it which brings me to...

I have been hearing and reading on the prospect of Google Photos... Google Photos does look pretty awesome with its ability to catalogue photos and videos for free and unlimited! Whoohoo! But the catch – if you can call it that – is that the photos are taken with a 16MP camera (so there goes the standalone Brillo enabled 30MP camera) and the video is limited to 1080p! I think it’s pretty good going! I like it and I will use it for sure! It’s available right now! Yay! Oh, but does this mean that the forthcoming Nexus handsets will be limited to 16MP??? Mind you 16MP is great quality! But you know me and Android fanatics – we want the biggest, fastest and the best! Yes, this is subjective but I am sure that those who just love taking pictures on the handset would want to have the highest possible MP rating!

Just to go off tangent slightly... I found myself looking for a dedicated digital camera recently... Why? Four things:-

1. Optical zoom; I find that there is no Android handset or any other handset that has a really useful optical zoom. Digital zoom is no substitute!

2. Mega Pixels; I can get a very high MP rating on a standalone dedicated digital camera that should – with a decent lens – translate to even better pictures.

3. It ties in with points 1 and 2...’s a good lens! A good lens can make such a difference!

4. Video quality; although many of today’s top handsets can record high quality video I think better quality can be had with a better lens and microphone.

The question is: Will there be a Photos Pro and how much will it cost per month or year?

Anyhoo, it appears as though we’ll get a video editor thrown in the mix! Oh, Google Photo will put together photo collages and edit video for you automatically! It sounds interesting! I must give it a try some time... Google Photos is available NOW on Google Play Store!

Apart from new toys for the consumer I wanted to see...

The Android PC; I know that I keep going on about it but now that Android is multi-processor compatible I keep imagining the possibilities with an i7 CPU and a decent graphics card! I reckon that it would be easier to edit video on an Android PC than a Windows one. I am sure that many established software developers for the PC would do an Android PC version!

Google Car; with today’s electric car engines becoming more powerful, efficient and cost effective and 3D printing technology I think it is time for the consumer to design his / her electric car online and either have it delivered or be able to go to the manufacturer and drive it off the premises. When I take public transport I see people getting on the bus just to take them 5 minutes down the road. That’s nuts! The main reason is for shopping; all too often lone mothers with a push buggy have the arduous task of jumping on a crowded bus – often with no space for a third buggy – and I reckon the solution is the affordable Google (electric) Car! I’d get one as I would use it for short trips i.e. to shop, visit my folks (more often), etc. And because advances in battery technology it is possible to charge fully in a short space of time thus making Google Car a Godsend! Do you know how expensive it is to run a petrol / diesel car in the UK??? Jeez, Louise!

Oh, I forgot to mention that in Android 6, M – Maltesers, the user will be able to have more control over app permissions which is a welcome relief as I am concerned as to why certain apps have to access my contacts! What else do these apps access – my emails???

It’s always great to see, as an Android user, Google making greater improvements on the best and most used mobile operating system on the planet. However, it would have been better if the consumer had a new toy to get excited about – even if it was Chromecast 2! I did feel that there could have been more said on the Nexus Player and possibly a hint at a strong tablet to come... Yes, tablets are kind of passé at the moment but I feel that it is because the best is yet to come from Android. I think that Google’s Sundar Pichai missed out on an opportunity to get Android tablet users whipped up into frenzy over the delivery of a truly outstanding tablet (I still think it’s going to come from Samsung this year)! I am seriously ready to throw my Asus FonePad 7 LTE out of the window!

I get that Google might want to keep the forthcoming Nexus handsets under wraps for now but I look at the Moto products as taking up where the Nexus 5 left off in terms of affordability. I would have like to have heard news on the Moto G 2015 (add that to my things that I wanted to see list).

Google i / O 2015 was definitely one for the developers! The consumer will reap the benefits later. I did enjoy i / O 2015 nonetheless. I have come to appreciate this latest subdued style of keynote instead of watching and listening to the Apple one that blows smoke up...

Above: Flick your wrist and change the screen! Wow!

Saying that (above) I have yet to be convinced by the Android Wearable... Not that I find the Apple Watch better... So far I am just not enthusiastic with the reinvention of the watch. At least Google have, once again, made me curious about the forthcoming new wearable devices.

It’s now time to play the guessing game as to what the next version of Android will be called and to await its release early next year (I hope).

If you are a consumer I can only say to you: Watch out of Google announcements throughout the year! I am almost certain that Chromecast 2 is on the way... I think Google are waiting for Apple to announce Apple TV 2.

As for the Nexus handset or handsets (as the latest rumour is that LG and Huawei will be launching 2 new Nexus variants later this year)... ...the announcement will probably come late September – after Samsung announces the Galaxy Note 5. Certainly after Apple has announced the iPhone 6S and 6C (if they will release another plastic handset with a multitude of colour options again).

Roll on!

Thank you so much for reading Synapse Circuit!
Expect more reviews, news, opinions, competitions and more from Synapse Circuit


Creating Web Animations Has Never Been Easier or Faster!

Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! How’s it going? It is great to see you as always! I hope that your tech projects are going as planned if not better!

Did you get Incomedia WebAnimator? Are you a little stuck for ideas? Check this great bit of news out! Read on!

#Incomedia #WebAnimator #WebAnimatorTemplateCollectionII

Ivrea (TO) 27th May 2015 - Incomedia, a company with over 15 years’ experience in the development of website creation software, has released a new collection of templates for their WebAnimator product.

WebAnimator lets you create Web animations, without using Flash! Instead, it uses more modern technologies, such as HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. This means you can be certain that your animations will be correctly displayed on all main browsers, as well as smartphones and tablets (including iPhone® and iPad®).

WebAnimator requires no special knowledge of programming and provides an intuitive and complete package with all the tools necessary to create animations that can then easily be integrated into Web site pages or e-commerce carts.

With WebAnimator Template Collection II, the process of creating animations is even easier and faster. Select your template, insert your own content, follow the step by step customization process and your animation is ready for use on the web.

"Thanks to the WebAnimator Template Collection II, anyone can easily design banners and animated slideshows to add to your Web pages. Using a Template means not having to go through the difficult process of designing from scratch using a timeline: simply insert your own content and you're done!" Stated Federico Ranfagni CEO at Incomedia.

The Incomedia Template Collection II is a valuable addition to the gallery templates already available in WebAnimator and includes a range of banners and slideshows; complete with effects, transitions, text and buttons.

Template Collection II is available for WebAnimator and WebAnimator Plus.
Availability and Pricing:-

WebAnimator and WebAnimator Plus are available in Italian, English and German at £44.99 and
£64.99 inc VAT respectively.
WebAnimator Template Collection II is priced at £14.99 VAT inc

System Requirements:-

* Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8
* Video resolution min. 1280 x 1024, 32 Bit
* 2 GB RAM
* Internet and e-mail account for product activation

More information, video tutorials, a trial version of the software and previews of the Template Collection are available on the official website:

About Incomedia:-
Incomedia (, founded in 1998, is a leading independent developer and publisher of multimedia software for the PC.
Incomedia’s flagship product WebSite X5®, currently sold in over 40 countries through a well-established network of International distributors, resellers and retailers, was developed with the aim of bringing high-end website creation software at affordable prices to home, business and education users. The software is designed specifically for users who want to publish high-quality websites and online shops, with a professional look and feel in just 5 simple steps.

Thank you so much for reading Synapse Circuit!
Expect more reviews, news, opinions, competitions and more from Synapse Circuit

Friday, 22 May 2015



Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! How are you? It’s great to see you as always! I hope that you are tip-top and getting on well with your tech! You have to start doing some tech projects and stretch your knowledge! Challenge yourself! Check this article out on the advantages of building your own website: Vital WYSIWYG Web Design & HTML5 Animation & Multimedia

Did you get a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge? Have you dipped into the art of music making? You should!

#Samsung #Soundcamp

The last time I played around with Samsung’s Soundcamp that came preinstalled on my Galaxy Note 4 I thought it was really promising... True to form Samsung has updated it twice this month alone! It looks and feels better! But I think that there is still room for improvement!

But I have to say that it’s a great pleasure to play around with Soundcamp as it stands... Here’s where I think it can be improved:-

Recording MIDI input in real time can be daunting for non-musicians so it would be useful to double tap on a track and you get the MIDI editor so that you can enter notes in what is known as “step time” (for all you non-musicians out there).

The drum kit features traditional and electronic percussion which sound great; I just would like to be able to create more drum kits through using high quality samples in the WAV format and to graphically configure the look of my custom made kit with supplied graphics or my own!

It would have been advantageous to add notes during playback; this would increase creativity thus productivity.

Another useful aspect would be to keep the note length the same as the last note entered; occasionally I would input a longer note than intended and would have to erase and re-enter.

I would like to add a magnifying glass – so to speak – to zoom in on the interface. I would also like to be able to scroll more efficiently on the tracks and MIDI editor in general. There were times when I found it a little cumbersome to go directly where I wanted to go to do some fine editing.

I think that more instruments are needed and I am sure that they will come as Samsung appear to be very serious about this baby! I would like a sample player that allows me to reshape the sound beyond the original by various sound shaping parameters that include effects such as distortion, delay, resonance and more besides!

Despite my list of improvements I think that Soundcamp is very usable! It’s great for beginners and seasoned pros! In fact season pros will take to it like a duck to water!

Another small thing... I would love for Samsung to create a handset for musicians that features some air shifting front-facing speakers! The Galaxy SoundWave... Hmmmm... In any event I will be using Soundcamp!

Thank you so much for reading Synapse Circuit!
Expect more reviews, news, opinions, competitions and more from Synapse Circuit

Wednesday, 20 May 2015


The rare sighting of an iPad in the wild as it were.
It's an iPad mini by the looks of it. 

Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! It’s so wonderful to see you as always! I hope that all is well with you! I also hope that you are taking on some tech projects and challenging yourselves! Don’t worry... ...the iClone 6 Pro review is coming very soon... Oooh, yeah!

You may or may not have heard or read that tablet sales are sliding across the board iOS, Android and Windows. Here’s an insight into why this is happening...

#Tablets #AndroidTablets #iPad #iPadMini #WindowsRT #WindowsSurface


Above: The state of the iPad... Filling up CEX shops with no buyers.

The iPad is no doubt a wonderfully crafted tablet and therefore it is really outstanding in the field of tablets. Not only is the iPad and mini great to the look and touch the applications are to be reckoned with! Let’s recap as to why the iPad and mini sales are on the decline:-

1. Too expensive; if the iPad was an expenditure that would last at least 3 to 5 years it wouldn’t be so bad but it is renewed every year and twice in 2013 if I am not mistaken. So, Apple users are better off with a Macbook Air.

2. The Lightning connection to my mind came as another nail in the iPad coffin. Overnight many iPad peripherals were made obsolete. Charming!

3. The advent of the iPad mini meant that the standard 10” model was compromised somewhat.

4. Finally, the iPhone 6 Plus rendered the both iPad models dead in the water!

Above: Another computer exchange store in Central London unable to shift second hand iPads.

Still, if I were an Apple user I would want to pick up an iPad second hand! But even in second hand / computer exchange stores the iPad is still priced uncompetitive. Maybe – just maybe the cost of the second hand iPad will come down greatly when the computer exchange shops can’t shift them.

Yes, Microsoft botched up the first wave of Windows tablets with the Titanic-like Windows RT operating system that hit a few icebergs... However, Microsoft did pick up the slack and came back with the Surface! The Surface is truly outstanding and very desirable since it uses the full Windows operating system which means no silly apps but fully functioning software! I want one! Yeah, I know... Who would have thought that I would find myself taking a fancy to the Surface, eh? But here’s a recap as to why Windows tablets are tanking:-

1. Yes, the price is the main killer! As a result many Windows folk would prefer to invest the money into a decent desk or lap top!

2. As mentioned in the first point; the Windows laptop is very compelling as you get a decent processor for the money.

3. The Windows desktop PC is very persuasive still as one can swap out the graphics card or add cards such as a professional soundcard for music making for example. I would rather invest the cost of the Surface into a full on desktop PC for graphic design, video editing and music making!

The Android tablet was supposed to be the saviour of the tablet phenomenon. What happened to the promise? Google and Android OEMs did their best to undercut Apple and Windows but at what cost?

1. Google seemed to let manufacturers run wild with the tablet; there were no standards as one could pick up a £50 Android tablet made by an unheard of manufacturer from China.

I think too many consumers thought, as with the budget handset, that these cheap Android tablets were on par with the iPad. Windows RT wasn’t an issue as it was the wrong product and wrongly priced. And, again, like the budget Android handset of yesteryear (you don’t see much of them these days), the Android tablet can be made obsolete with app updates. Once the usual app suspects get updated (Facebook, G Plus, WhatsApp, etc) the underpowered cheap or otherwise Android tablet may not be able to cope with the demands on the processor.

2. Unrealistic... It appears as though Google and manufacturers did not invest a lot of forethought into the Android tablet. By this I mean that Google didn’t, as far as I know, invest into a chip processing plant and design powerful CPUs that could have been mass produced and therefore bring the costs down. If you look at what Samsung has done with creating its own Exynos SoC for Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge it goes to show how important it is to mass produce powerful chips and place them in worthwhile products... It goes back to standardization. Google seemed to rely on the hardware of manufacturers. Although Google gives its manufacturers a chance to shine I reckon they should have worked more closely with Samsung to produce powerful cost effective tablets that had a bit of longevity in them. Asus had some pretty interesting tablets on the market but were priced too high...

3. The apps weren’t there. The iPad was streets ahead and when the Android tablet threw down the gauntlet to Apple it was clear that it wasn’t really ready. The hardware was not up to par and, again, the apps were nothing to write home about. 

4. As an amalgamation of all the points above today’s Android tablet is still quite iffy in build – as much as I appreciate plastic builds I don’t think that the Android tablet should pop so to speak when handling it. Yes, the Android tablet body can be very flimsy compared to the iPad. Some Android tablets are like DVD covers in that it can yield to the touch. Not good!

“Intel inside...” Once upon a time the Intel chip meant and still means something in the PC world but when it comes to the Android tablet (and phone) I have yet to be convinced! Whenever I see “Intel inside” I cringe. Last year I got the Asus Fonepad 7 LTE to replace a defunct Motorola RAZRi (also with an Intel CPU inside) and today I may as well use the hybrid tablet and phone as a rather expensive coaster for my coffee table. The Asus Fonepad 7 LTE struggles with Facebook, Messenger and just about every worthwhile application... It is crap! I am now planning to replace the device that is crap as a phone and even worse as a tablet! I don’t know what Asus was thinking with the Fonepad 7 LTE but it doesn’t live up to the promotional material. I can reel off a bunch of other complaints against the Fonepad 7 LTE but I shan’t bother...

So, from my experience with the Fonepad 7 LTE I can say that my expectations may have been unrealistic as a consumer... OK, I fell for the promotional blurb but I should have known better as someone who tests hardware and software. If I want a decent tablet I have to pay for it and as much as Google might want to undercut the competition the fact is that a powerful Android tablet will cost handsomely!

The future of Android tablets lies in better everything: internal hardware, build quality and applications. I can see that Samsung are up for taking on the iPad with the Galaxy Tab S models and HTC did put out the 64-bit Nexus 9. The 64-bit CPU should revolutionize the Android tablet as it has the handset. I would like to see Android manufacturers move away from these underpowered novelty tablets once and for all this year because good products are a calling card.

I am looking to get a serious tablet this year and it is going to last a lot longer than 6 months!

The Android tablet could rise as could the Windows Surface. With Android it is just a matter of getting the power and quality right! Motorola has shown what can be possible with budget handsets, Moto E and G, and although there are no known plans for Motorola to do the same for the tablet there has got to be a few manufacturers that will do it for the tablet. I am quite sure that it’ll be Samsung that will release a serious 64-bit tablet this year but what other manufacturer or manufacturers will produce a serious pro Android tablet? HTC? LG? Asus? Could the Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei and Lenovo take the market by surprise?

And with Windows it’s getting the price down a fair bit and it is getting there!

There’s life in the tablet yet! We’ll just have to see how the rest of the year plays out! The forthcoming Google i / O in 7 days could reveal the powerhouse tablet we’ve been waiting for along with a better version of Android that is leaner, faster and easier on the battery consumption. Lollipop is by far the best and most ambitious version (as it should be) but I feel that it could be a lot better still! I feel for the Android developers as they’ve got their work cut out for them! But the fact that 5 of my Android handsets have Lollipop shows me that Google is on the ball – albeit a tad behind with what was set out at last year’s i / O! I can see that there is scope!

As for the Android tablet apps I can see that the quality it getting better all the time. According to the news Google Play Store has surpassed the Apple App Store for profits going to developers and this will certainly mean that iOS developers will release keep releasing more Android versions that will almost certainly see an increase of Android tablet sales. Many of us Androids have been waiting for the 64-bit chip before making a serious tablet purchase and now that it is here we’ll see...

Thank you so much for reading Synapse Circuit!
Expect more reviews, news, opinions, competitions and more from Synapse Circuit!

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Friday, 15 May 2015


The Deftones - probably the most original Metal / Alternative band to come out America.
Somehow I don't think she'll be remembered in 2 years let alone 10! R.I.P. B. B. King!
I don't want to hear her cover of the Bee Gees song 'How Deep Is Your Love'.

Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! It’s great to see you as always! I hope that all is well with you and that you are winning with your tech projects! What? You are not doing a tech project??? C’mon... What’s wrong with you??? You need a challenge! Come with me...

Technology is a funny old thing... Tech know how = Technology. The Internet has been responsible for many things – including causing business models to adapt and change where possible or they fall by the wayside. One of the things that technology has changed somewhat is a reliance on systems created by others... All too often we give our power away to the next new thing on the Web be it MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, iTunes and so on! Some of us have stopped being excited at the prospect of creating an online web presence. That’s right! I am waxing on about how many of us have turned away from the dizzy world of Web Design. Read on...

#Incomedia #WebAnimatorPlus #SorensonSqueeze #Multimedia

I would like to use the world of music to illustrate just how bizarre the mentality of the artist / band has become... As a younger man I was searching for the equivalent of my Holy Grail, a recording contract! Suffice to say that I never got one! Hahahaha! I laugh but I am actually very relieved that I didn’t get one as I have had friends who thought themselves fortunate to have gotten a “record deal” only to be dropped unexpectedly.

Along came the Internet and then the advent of the CD-R... The CD-R writer when it was first launched was quite cost prohibitive and when the CD-R Plus & Minus writers became a PC standard we got some great software to enable us artists to make our own CDs. Some of us managed to make a living – not a fortune – selling our original music. Some of us came up with a great way to present a CD-R album i.e. many of us made custom album cases / packaging to sweeten the deal. But the euphoria that came with being truly independent was short lived as the MP3 format hit the scene and with Napster the masses didn’t want to buy music anymore. To be honest I can’t say that I blame people for not wanting to purchase music as a majority of chart music is forgettable. Without Googling Jennifer Lopez, name 3 of her tracks starting from now... See? You had to think about hard!

Apple’s iTunes, in my opinion, and I know that I go on about it a lot, snared the artist / band back into bondage. Jobs decided what a track was worth and I do believe that the iTunes business model doesn’t give a lot of scope to up and coming musicians in terms of royalties, etc. The artist still comes last when it comes to dividing up the costs to make and promote recordings. Further down the line there are outlets such as BandCamp that helps to get up and coming artists / bands music to an audience. So, artists / bands do not have an official website as they rely upon BandCamp, Zimbalam and an assortment of social network accounts. Artists / bands just squander their powers away when they could be selling CDs, CD-Rs, MP3 and merchandise from their very own official website.

It seems to me as though creative people in general are being discouraged from actively participating in their own web design. I think this is wrong! Yes, there are web hosting services that allow their customers to modify website templates but that are not what design is all about! Uh-uh! Me? I would rather see a badly designed website than a modified template as it such sites gives me an idea as to what the people behind them are about.

Once upon a time what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) web design software had a buzz around it as so many people from a non-design background were willing to have a go at designing their own website. Those were the days! Of course there were those that insisted that hand coding a site was the only way to go! Now it seems that the average person on the street has no desire to create a website as Facebook, Twitter, G Plus, YouTube, etc has fulfilled a basic need... A Facebook presence can lead the targeted market to a BandCamp page and so on...

Personally I would love to get you to make your own website! Although I am appealing to musicians in this narrative I wish to appeal to anyone and everyone to get the credit card out and invest in some decent web design and multimedia software...
One of the most important reasons for you to have your own website is to have an outlet whereby you can’t be oppressed. God knows how irritating it is when the social network Mother Hen Brigade tells us:

1. “Stop making friends! You are making too many friends and if you don’t stop making friends we’ll delete your account.” Yeah, right! These people are bluffing as they WANT and NEED our data. And if they do decide to delete your account unceremoniously they know that the likelihood of you making another one is high – especially as you may have bonded with some great people as I have!

2. “You have been accused of SPAM... As a result you cannot post many more links... Blah, blah, blah...” You know how I feel about that if you read up on my Antisocial Networking articles. In a nutshell “spam” is an overused terminology that is malleable to suit the purpose of the people behind the social networks. Just messaging someone you don’t know on Facebook constitutes as “spam”. As far as I am concerned “spam” is when you get true junk email i.e. offers for Viagra, slimming pills, etc. In fact Facebook is the BIGGEST SPAMMER going as it constantly puts advertisements in our faces on a daily basis! And to a degree it is the same with Google’s Gmail! Of course when they SPAM us... No... When they constantly bombard us with SPAM they call it something else... Great! The two-faced so and so’s... As you should know by now the main reason for these attacks and threats is that the social networks don’t want you to use their tools for your marketing.

3. You have the power to create your own business online without giving a large portion to a second or third party. PayPal is enough!

4. Avoiding censorship! I tell you... <shakes head and smiles wryly> ...the people who take it upon themselves to police the Internet end up being the very thing that they detest: A TROLL! Lately I have seen “ATTACHMENT UNAVAILABLE” on Facebook. Gee, I wonder that that is all about... You can bet it is someone posting up a conspiracy theory that touches upon the untouchables... Ooooh... People should have their say! On the one hand some people claim “freedom of speech” and in the next breath or click of a mouse all of a sudden we aren’t entitled to freedom of speech. Somebody somewhere would like to take things a step further and have you locked up with a criminal record for having and expressing an opinion these days. Let’s get away from conspiracy theories and freedom of speech...

You are an artist and your work features nudity / sexuality as you are using that medium or mediums to express something of artistic value... Sadly, very sadly, the self-appointed Internet Police try to make you out to be some kind of pervert or something. Often the self-appointed Internet Police are not intelligent enough to reason with and they troll you. They try to shut you down because they believe that they are the voice of reason when the irony is that you can’t reason with such folk! As an artist you might find that your own website is vital.

Still on the subject of censorship... I have a female friend on Facebook who has just hit her fifties and looking great – if I do say so myself – who likes to take glamour photos of herself and share them with her Facebook admirers. I think her photographs are tasteful and bear in mind that Facebook (and many other social networks) do not allow nudity on its platform. Even if Facebook were to revoke the policy on nudity my friend’s photos would be still tasteful! However, she gets trolled by people that keep claiming that her photos are indecent only to be proven wrong by the bods behind Facebook! I do feel for her as I believe that she should be able to express herself without people being a nuisance. If you don’t like it do not look and then launch into an insincere tirade against. My friend has her audience and she’s happy so why rain on her parade? The self-appointed Internet Police are nothing but simple minded trolls.

Again, my last point on censorship is that if you are a music artist and your video contains nudity / sexuality you can’t show it on YouTube. Do not misunderstand me; I don’t particularly like gratuity be it of a sexual, violent or any other nature but if there is context behind it that’s down to the originator. If you or I don’t like it then we can’t do squat about it as it is already out there. Do I want to take the time to have artistic expressions removed? Hell-to-the-no! The way I see it is this: as long as there is a warning that the material may be offensive then the expression is what it is. An artistic expression is a lot different to having some genuinely disturbing picture or video suddenly appear from performing an innocent Google search...

5. The last reason is that building a website enables you to learn more about the Internet and things like ecommerce (PayPal), web and graphic design and so on! These things are good to know and it will empower you!

When I was employed as a web and graphic designer many moons ago (gosh I am getting old) one the most exciting things around was (then) Macromedia Flash. Flash, in its early stages, just allowed for simple to complex animations that included sound and interactions that often became a part of the website navigation... Adobe bought out Macromedia and Flash eventually gained the ability to stream video and this video technology is prevalent in YouTube today! However, Flash has had its run and now one can create animations that include sound, video and interaction with relative ease! Certainly HTML5 based animation / interaction is far easier to achieve than with using Adobe Flash! For a start the Incomedia WebAnimator Plus costs a mere £64.99 compared to the cost of the Adobe Flash CS 6 software! Seriously! C’mon... Why on Earth would you want to pay £400 just to make animation / interactive content that can be seen on the PC, Mac and mobile devices when you can pay just £64.99???

Honestly, Adobe does not have the stranglehold on web media as it once did. Adobe is one of those business models that have had to adapt with the changes in technology and it is currently offering a monthly payment scheme for its collection of software. Personally I think that some of these monthly costs are too high! Adobe tries to keep up this elitist sensibility when they have been surpassed by Incomedia and Magix when it comes to web design, video editing / production and DTP. Once upon a time people would pay good money to do a two day course on Dreamweaver and today we would just spend the money on the following web design programs:-

Incomedia WebSite X5 Standard & Professional

Magix / Xara Web Designer Standard & Premium

Coffee Cup Visual Site Designer

And you will still have money left over to other stuff when you skip doing these two day courses. What £250 for a two day course??? Are you nuts??? Bear in mind that there are some free web design software out there! I will do an article on them in due course!

You can easily use WebAnimator with the web design programs listed above.

I don’t want to bore you with an extensive tutorial on WebAnimator Plus. No! What I want to do is give you a taste of what can be done with it! Below I did a very simple PowerPoint-like presentation based on one of my favourite Rock groups of all time, The Deftones, to illustrate just how quick one can create such presentations that can be viewed on a PC, Mac and mobile devices without you wanting to pull your hair out! 

1. I decided to create a full HD screen presentation, 1920 x 1080.

2. I created a menu screen quite easily by using an image (of the band) and adding a button. The image fades in and once complete the button flies in from the left to the centre of the presentation.

3. I then added a second scene that holds a full HD video so once the button is clicked on the first scene it jumps to scene two (with the video).

As you can imagine I could have created a more sophisticated presentation that has many screens / pages (scenes) and with intricate animations and interactions. But the purpose is to show you that within minutes a simple presentation can be completely outputted to an HTML file with the resources folder (containing the video and graphics) that can be placed online straightaway or can be a part of a website. Easy!

The last two screenshots above show the presentation playing within the Chrome browser using F11 to go full screen.

WebAnimator Plus: Present the way you want to! A well deserved Synapse Circuit Platinum Award as WebAnimator Plus allows you to create sophisticated animations, presentations and interactions with ease using image, sound and video files. There's also basic shapes and buttons! 

If you read my review on Magix Video X7 Pro you should be familiar with the Sorenson Squeeze video format converter and compressor. No? OK... In a nutshell... Sorenson Squeeze can take video files and convert them into different file formats for different purposes i.e. the web, DVD, Bluray and so on. Even though we have fast broadband speeds and 4G data connections for our mobile devices it is still a good idea to make large video files as small as possible while maintaining the integrity of the video. If you are a recording artist and you want to showcase your videos without hindrances then you might just want to invest in Sorenson Squeeze. There are three different versions of Sorenson Squeeze:

Desktop Lite, $199

Desktop Standard, $549


Desktop Pro, $749

You will find that the Lite version should give you all that you need to start compression your files and / or formatting for different mediums i.e. DVD and Bluray. The professional version is for people / institutions that make their living from streaming video and create daily broadcasts independent of YouTube and similar online video outlets.

Sorenson Squeeze is a reliable and fast video / audio converter and compressor! It gets a Synapse Circuit Platinum! 

There are some free video compressors and I will have to take a look and make comparisons with the commercially available software such as Sorenson Squeeze. The reason why I recommend Sorenson Squeeze is because of its track record. Several years ago when I was part of a team creating a CD ROM for an up and coming Pop music act we discovered that the video was causing a major problem with some test systems that we had access to. I found Sorenson Squeeze through a web search – before Google had begun – and when it arrived we were able to have different formats on the CD ROM: MPEG-1 and QuickTime. Back in those days formatting video was a real pain mainly because PCs were used primarily for word processing and not much else. One couldn’t guarantee that a video would be able to play smoothly from one system to another.

In any event no matter what software you use to compress a video file into MP4 and OGG when combined with Incomedia WebAnimator Plus the results will be brilliant! The only thing missing from WebAnimator is a packager for Android and iOS apps! But that said who wants to be constantly downloading apps when presentations / animations can be viewed online? Even the news aggregator apps rely on taking content from the web.

And do not forget that if you get Incomedia WebSite X5 Standard or Professional it will be even easier to add an animation / presentation to the website you are creating whether it is for the desktop or mobile device such as a smartphone and / or tablet!

Do checkout these links for WebAnimator, Sorenson Squeeze and WebSite X5:-


Sorenson Squeeze

WebSite X5

Dive in and make your website! Once it’s online give me a shout and I will link it!

Thank you so much for reading Synapse Circuit!
Expect more reviews, news, opinions, competitions and more from Synapse Circuit

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


Video X7 mixing audio mixing desk with mastering and the 5.1 surround sound.
Yes, for surround sound you will need surround sound speakers.

Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! It is a blessing to see you as always! On a beautiful day such as this is I appreciate life all the more! I hope that the Sun is shining on you too!

I am so glad that you enjoyed the Magix Video X7 Pro review! Here’s a follow-up!

#MAGIX #VideoX7Pro #VideoEditing

Many people ask me, “What would you recommend for a video editing system: PC or MAC?” Or they tell me outright, “You ought to be using a MAC...” “You just need a decent PC...” Let me address these issues...

I personally will always recommend going PC! Why? The simple fact is that for what you’d pay for a top notch MAC Pro you’d get almost twice as much value in a PC! As always it’s a question of buying the best you can afford, the fastest and most powerful CPU, the fastest and the most RAM you can fit on a motherboard, the fastest and largest hard drives and so on!

MAC’s are good and the Final Cut video editing program is very good – from what little experience I had with it! However, I remain PC because there are a handful of computer software houses such as Magix that are coming up with great titles and Video X7 Pro is one of them! The PC has these great cost effective software that makes having one (a PC) a no brainer. The bigger the better!

If you went and / or are still attending media studies you will no doubt come to understand what are the “industry standard” software. Usually Adobe holds most of the industry standard software in the media business, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and, of course, Premiere! I have observed that the “industry standard” software happens to be priced out of reach of the average person. A lot of people in the industry, as it were, that are starting out tend to use pirated software. It has been said that pirate software is quietly encouraged by the likes of Adobe in the hope that once you’ve made it to the big time you’ll want to own your own copy! So, I have been told by a super-secretive hacker / programmer... Anyhoo, it is down to Magix and a handful of software houses that have made it possible for creative people to explore their creativity with cost effective software. I’ve been using Magix software for years and people cannot tell the difference – the resulting medium could have been produced with software costing two to three times as much. The resulting medium, professional looking videos in this instance, is what is most important. Magix is one of the software houses that caused Adobe to release consumer oriented software cut from their main titles suffixed with “elements” i.e. Premiere Elements.

Yes, although Video X7 Pro is a little more expensive than its prosumer Movie Edit Pro (Standard & Premium) it is still cost effective and it does do what you expect it to do which is to produce professional video with audio to match.

If you want to own your own software and you wish to produce professional videos then Magix Video X7 Pro is certainly one way to go! I think it is the only way to go as an alternative to Adobe Premiere!
No! I am not trying to convert you! But you should give Video X7 Pro a try!

Video can still be an intensive resource hungry medium to manipulate on a PC – especially when using camcorders that output to AVCHD video format! I found that even my PC struggled with the AVCHD video format and it has a i7 2.8GHz CPU and 8GB RAM!!!

The MP4 format is more malleable and this format is synonymous with smartphones, digital cameras and cost effective camcorders. MP4 isn’t a strain on a system similar to my own. When faced with resource intensive formats such as AVCHD the best thing to do is convert it from within Video X7 to MP4 or use Sorenson Squeeze to convert video files very, very quickly!

Ideally software should be easy to use without consulting a manual or YouTube tutorial. Video X7 Pro has to be one of the most straightforward programs I have used. The interface speaks to me and is very intuitive. There again, I have used other Magix software such as Music Maker... And come to think of it that was very straightforward to use too!

Whenever I review software I try to produce something within 10 minutes. This idea was inspired by these industry tradeshow competitions whereby you had a 10 minute time limit to produce something outstanding in Photoshop, for example. What I have done is to take it a step further and produce something from software that has never been used before. OK, I have used earlier versions of Video X and Movie Edit Pro but Video X7 gained an interface overhaul to be fair! I have version X2!

The resulting video took less than 10 minutes to put together (it probably shows) but the idea was to knock something watchable out at breakneck speed which was a little difficult as I didn’t convert the AVCHD video files to MP4! The resulting video took under 10 minutes to put together, I used a bit of noise filtering on the interviews – not too much as to make the sound come across as unnatural – and I mastered the whole audio using the Mastering Suite. It took around 20 minutes to export to the MP4 format and it took around 97 minutes to upload it to YouTube (I went to bed and left it running).

Don’t Stop The Carnival

I shot some footage of the carnival a couple of years ago for a documentary that never materialized (hee hee) and I thought that I’d have a laugh by producing a little something to show for the effort I made! I reckon if I spent a couple of days on it I’d have a fairly interesting documentary on the (in)famous Notting Hill Carnival!

Get your copy of Magix Video X7 Pro today!

The Synapse Circuit Video X7 Pro Review

Thank you so much for reading Synapse Circuit!
Expect more reviews, news, opinions, competitions and more from Synapse Circuit