Thursday, 26 January 2017





Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! 


#Reallusion #iClone #iClone7 #3D #3DAnimation #Illustration #3DIllustration #CrazyTalkAnimator3


London, UK, January 26, 2017,
 2D & 3D animation pioneers, Reallusion is working on the continual evolution of its renowned 3D animation application, iClone. iClone 7 will include awe-inspiring features that will empower the independent studio and individual artists! Check these amazing attributes out: an industry-standard camera system, in-depth facial animation editing, morph animation from blend shapes , and real-time facial mocap.

Can you believe it??? REAL-TIME FACIAL MOCAP!!! WOW!!! 


It is always exciting to learn of a new iClone version because you just know that the brainy people behind the award winning software are going to push the envelope of 3D animation that much further. What's more is that Reallusion keeps the cost of iClone within reach of just about anybody who has the vision to animate and/or create stunning graphics. Many people want to get into 3D animation and graphics but very often the software is offputting due to some of the costs involved or if it is not the costs then it is the complexity of the interface. More often than not, you find yourself having to study a great amount of tutorial material before you get to do anything! Gosh! 

The industry camera system will make it so very easy to frame the scenes in the animation - just like the professionals do! With iClone 7, you can become your own Pixar studio! 

One of the many attributes that I appreciate about iClone is the collection of preset expressions for animating faces; it takes out a lot of the hard work in having to create animations for expressions from scratch. As stated above, there is a real-time facial motion capture that works from a webcam or even a video recording! That is simply phenomenal - especially as you know that the costs will not break the bank! 

From what I have understood, the facial real-time motion capture will be available as a plugin; but if you don't need it you always have the preset expression library. 

What will delight many serious animators out there is that iClone 7 will have extensive compatibility with leading 3D software! See image below!

Yes, you have spotted support for Unity! So, if you have ambitions to create 3D game characters iClone 7 has got it all there!

Don't take my word for it! Watch it with your own eyes...

Hopefully, it won't be too long before iClone 7 is available from the Reallusion website. That's

It looks as though iClone 7 will be with us in March 2017! I hope to bring you a review very soon! In the meantime, I am going to bring you a review of another Reallusion application, CrazyTalk Animator 3! So, stay tuned!

Synapse Circuit is back, Baby!

Thank you for reading! See you again soon! 

Synapse Circuit/Blue Gene

Tuesday, 24 January 2017


Above: The official "What Happened" video from Samsung!


Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! 

Have you lost faith in Samsung?

#Samsung #Galaxy #Note #7 #GalaxyNote7 #Battery #ExplodingBattery#GalaxyS8 #S #GalaxyS #Android #Flagship #Smartphone


UK, January 24, 2017,
 I never lost faith in Samsung. At the time I took a short break from writing I had to witness what would have been the best phone of 2016, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, literally crash and burn, in relative silence - this online magazine, Synapse Circuit, is my main voice of The World of Tech! 

Sure, it was so very unfortunate for Samsung to have had such a terrible mishap. Did the media overreact? Well, look at it this way: the most desirable phone in the world suddenly became unavailable. Is it any wonder that Technology Lovers would be so disappointed that they reacted in the way that they did? 

I am due an upgrade and the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was the only phone to upgrade to; I was very disappointed. However, through my disappointment, I realized that this was just a small setback for Samsung. When you push technology Samsung does then something can go wrong from time to time. Batteries catching on fire and exploding is not just a Samsung phenomenon; exploding batteries can and has happened and will happen again to any manufacturer. 

I will always maintain that many of today's smartphones have one design flaw... They are too thin! As a result the battery is compromised somewhat. All you have to do is put your handset in your back or front pocket and bend. The handset will bend and it puts a strain on circuit-board and, of course, the battery. You could be one of the unlucky ones to have compromised your phone's battery through placing it in your back pocket; the battery could explode due to the lithium and other chemicals being exposed. Such as explosion could happen without the battery being placed on charge.

Exploding batteries have happened to iPhone users too - as well as other brands. It just so happens that people take more notice if this happens to such a popular brand such as Samsung.

Battery technology is very, very slowly evolving compared to the other components. I do think that manufacturers should make smartphones whereby the battery can be replaced. I would have thought that there would be more money in selling spare batteries.  

Some Tech pundits had the Galaxy Note line dead and buried but I figured that the Galaxy Note line of smartphones is too massive to bury. It's the equivalent of trying to bury the Eiffel Tower in sand using a single teaspoon to either dig a hole large enough or to cover it. The Galaxy Note series is an industry unto itself.

You saw the amount of technology that went into the Galaxy Note 7 that it makes you wonder about the forthcoming Galaxy Note 8! When the Galaxy S8 drops it is going to make yet another impact in the mobile industry. And when the Galaxy Note 8 is ready... WOW! I think it will revolutionize the mobile industry like the first Note did.

Look, since Samsung threw down the Galaxy S & Note gauntlets to manufacturer has beaten Samsung outright. A few have come close but, arguably, no manufacturer has been able to beat the Galaxy & Note from inception. Not even the iPhone plus variant. 

This year, I think it will be another close call between LG, Lenovo-Motorola and Huawei. I think we might just get few surprises from the Chinese based manufacturers. That said, I do see Samsung finishing 2017 as the King of the Smartphone World. 
Above:The Snapdragon 835 SoC is smoking the iPhone A10 but that can change with the A11. But if Samsung manufactures the Apple A chip then surely they ought to know how to make chips that can surpass it, no?

Again, I am very curious about the CPU, SoC (System on a Chip); will it be able to be as fast as the A11 chip in the forthcoming iPhone 8? No, I don't hate Apple or the iPhone. They are simply not for me. But as a Tech Lover, I want to see Android fly on the next flagship from Samsung and any other manufacturer.


Yes, I would want a Galaxy S8 & Note 8. I wouldn't hesitate for a second. Samsung has something to prove and that makes them eager to push mobile phone technology further than any other manufacturer. With the battery lesson learned, I don't think we have anything to worry about - if you, like me, are a Samsung user!

Thank you for reading!

Synapse Circuit!

Saturday, 21 January 2017






Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! 

Above: WebPlus X8


#Serif #WebPlus #WebDesign #HTML5 #WYSIWYG #Affinity #AffinityDesigner #AffinityPhoto #AffinityPublisher


London, UK, January 21, 2017,
 At last! Yes, I finally managed to install Serif WebPlus X8... I received my copy of this legendary WYSIWYG web design application quite some time ago but I fell ill and didn't manage to have a play with it.

WebPlus X7 was something of a strange update for Serif. It felt incomplete in some ways; one aspect that fell short was the HTML5 video player. Users had to purchase a premium version of the HTML5 player in order to remove the logo watermark. That was uncharacteristic of Serif as they keep their applications gimmick free. Not much had changed from X6.

Although WebPlus X7 was flawed it was still a very, very usable application for web design. I honestly think that WebPlus is a better application than Adobe Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver started off with great promise but it soon turned into frustration-ware; I remember having to search through a load of third party plug-ins to extend its capabilities. I was frustrated most of the time because I thought that a majority of the extensions should have been implemented by default instead of badly programmed downloadables.

Once I discovered WebPlus I appreciated its simple interface and how it enabled fast productivity. I didn't look back. And because I didn't keep up with Dreamweaver it meant that I was essentially saying goodbye to professional web development. Good riddance! It so irks me when the Design Industry blanks a great application that is WebPlus because it doesn't have the Adobe name.It is stupid!

After playing around with version X8 I can say that Serif made a significantly better effort! The video player is great - even though you could add a custom HTML5 video player by using jQuery HTML5 solutions. Check this out:

The audio player is jQuery but somehow Serif didn't create a means of customizing the interface. That is a shame as you are stuck with the 'Pink Flag' player. How hard would it have been to create an interface to customize the audio player?

The interface has improved to make productivity even more efficient. I like the 'Task Monitor' that basically tracks your progress and warns you of any mishaps in your design such as an image overlapping text, etc? You can also see tutorials to help you add components and content to your website.

What I find with WebPlus X8 is that it is great for happy amateurs and small businesses; it'll do the trick! But the bad thing is that it is not using PHP for databases and forms. The ugly, Serif no longer supports WebPlus X8. You cannot buy it as part of its collection of legacy applications. No! Uh-uh! You can only purchase the following from the Serif website:

PagePlus X9 - Affinity Publisher; beta coming this year. When? TBA! It remains to be seen if Affinity Publisher will extend its digital output to include web pages and/or HTML5 apps for Android, iOS and Windows.

DrawPlus X8 - Affinity Designer. This is a great awesome alternative to Illustrator! It is a surefire winner! I am studying the Affinity Designer Workbook as I want to get into Digital Illustration in a big way!

PhotoPlus X8 - Affinity Photo. Hailed as the "PhotoShop Killer", Affinity Photo has taken the digital photo editing and manipulation world by storm. I am currently studying the online tutorials for Affinity Photo; it looks very comprehensive!


CraftArtist - It looks as though Serif won't be putting out an Affinity equivalent; that said, I don't see why it CraftArtist couldn't become a plugin for the Affinity range as it would encourage people in Arts & Crafts to get to know photo editing/manipulation and desktop publishing (once Affinity Publisher is ready).

They are all great value at £19.99 each!

There are other great WYSIWYG web design applications out there such as Incomedia WebSite Design 13 and Magix/Xara Web Designer. Hopefully, I can bring you a review on those applications very soon!

Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017





Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! 


#Serif #Affinity #AffinityDesigner #AffinityPhoto #AffinityPublisher


London, UK, January 18, 2017,
 It took ages for my Serif Affinity Designer Workbook to arrive and when it did I was very, very impressed! As a Graphic & Multimedia Designer by trade, I've felt a little guilt that I didn't master Adobe Illustrator, so when Serif announced the release of the Affinity Designer application I promised myself that I would give Digital Illustration a good go!

I had used the brilliant DrawPlus for simple logo creation, and I mean simple! Affinity Designer meant a new start with a new software concept. In a masterstroke move, Serif initially released Affinity Designer for the MAC to critical acclaim. Still, to this day, the MAC computing platform maintains its reputation in amongst the Graphic Design Industry and it was vital for Serif to garner a long overdue recognition for its professional alternatives to some Adobe software applications: PagePlus - we'll come to that in a bit; DrawPlus, and PhotoPlus. As a result, Serif has reinvented itself as Affinity! As stated earlier, the first Affinity product was Designer. Unlike Adobe Illustrator one was able to purchase it outright without breaking the bank; Affinity Designer retails at an amazing £39.99! £39.99, not monthly or annually. No. A one time only fee! Awesome! When Affinity Designer came out last year on the PC I bought it straight away - especially as it was sold for an introductory discounted price of £29.99!

And, just before Xmas, Serif released Affinity Photo for the PC at a discounted price also! I had to get Affinity Photo too!

Above: Affinity Photo


MAC users have been saying that Affinity Photo & Designer are PhotoShop and Illustrator killers, while this may be true for MAC users, the truth is that PhotoPlus and DrawPlus on the PC had slain PhotoShop & Illustrator many years ago! I have been using PhotoPlus and DrawPlus instead of the Adobe equivalents for the last 3 or so years! Adobe tried to make a comeback with PhotoShop Elements but Serif's PhotoPlus was more advanced in that it could output documents in the professional CMYK format. This has always been Serif's legacy - professional output. I have brought documents created with Serif products to print bureaus and always had great results!
Above: Affinity Illustrator

Serif is currently working on Affinity Publisher and a beta should be released soon. Now about Affinity Publisher...

PagePlus was, and still is, a great desktop publishing application but it was always lacking in the Digital Publishing steaks. For example, the video and audio players within a PagePlus produced PDF document looked terrible. Trying to do something that matches Adobe or Quark in Digital Publishing was an exercise in futility, sad to state. Before Adobe Flash got shot down in flames one could export InDesign documents as an interactive Flash medium.

It could very well be that Affinity Publisher will address Digital Publishing; the possibilities are vast! I envisage that Affinity Publisher could create executable HTML5 documents in the way in which a PowerPoint presentation could be launched from its native executable file; HTML5 is cross-platform compatible and therefore should present no problems in creating executables for MAC, iOS, Windows, and Android to name a few.

Can you imagine HTML5 documents that includes aspects like animations, page transitions, audio and video and much more besides? I can! Whether Serif delivers on it remains to be seen.

I am also hoping for PDF documents that include a great looking media player. The PDF slide player could be overhauled too! I don't know how hard it'll be for Serif to take PDF to higher heights as PDF is an Adobe technology. Would it be worth Serif's while to develop PDF? Would it be a good idea for Serif to create yet another media format? Other software houses have tried to create a media format only to crash and burn. Does anyone remember Scala? Scala was a dream turned into a nightmare. I bought one of its applications many, many moons ago... It was a multimedia product, like PowerPoint on steroids but there were so many bugs in it that it was never used. It had some great ideas for all its faults, though! It was a precursor to YouTube with Scala channels. These days, Scala is about kiosk displays. Ah, it was MM200 and it was a huge disappointment. Never mind...

Now that Serif Affinity is hot news it has a shot at creating a proprietary medium that can span different screens and operating system platforms. Serif Affinity has come back for the future and could be the creator of a medium that Flash so very much wanted to be when Steve Jobs shut it down.


Sticking with Affinity Publisher, I had it in mind that Serif would incorporate the ability to output to web pages into it. The word is that Affinity Publisher will not have any web publishing attributes whatsoever! What??? That's crazy, right? This makes me wonder... It also looks like there will be no Affinity Web Designer either! If this is true then it is incredibly sad! Serif produced on of the best WYSIWYG applications ever in WebPlus! It would be a great shame if WebPlus and PagePlus couldn't merge into Affinity Publisher. That stated, Serif is enjoying a monumental high in its achievements that could encourage them to do something very, very special for Web Design, Digital Publishing, and traditional Paper Publishing!

2017, is going to a very exciting year for both Serif and its consumers. One other thing that I would like to ask of Serif for Affinity Publisher is the ability to create TrueType Fonts! There has to be a font designer onboard! I have always wanted to design fonts and it remains on my 'To Do' list!

In any event, WebPlus version X9 has been taken off the virtual shelf. You can't purchase it anymore! That is so, so very sad...

If my hunch is right then I think Affinity Publisher will have an option for web page design. Fingers crossed!

Serif has a legacy application for the editing and making of videos... Yes, you've guessed it, MoviePlus. And it looks like there will not be an Affinity version for the foreseeable future. This is a great shame!

For now, it looks like Serif is just concentrating on professional photo editing/manipulation and graphic design applications. Just imagine how brilliant a video editor could be? Imagine Affinity Movies that is what Affinity Photo is to videos... WOW!

I can understand where Serif is coming from in that the focus is revolutionary based professional photo and illustration applications but I can see that there is already a demand for an Affinity Web Design & Video Editing applications. I would imagine that the runaway successes, Affinity Photo, and Designer could mean that the web and video solutions are in development already! Who knows?

If I know Serif like I think I do, they'd want to have the equivalent for just about everything Adobe does. I think they will do it too - eventually!

Thank you for reading!

The Synapse Circuit website is in the making...

Best wishes,

Synapse Circuit aka Blue Gene

Monday, 16 January 2017




Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! 

Can Samsung pull it off? 

#GalaxyS8 #Galaxy #S #GalaxyS #Android #Flagship #Smartphone


UK, January 17, 2017,
 I think that I am the only person who thought that what happened with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was a good thing for not only Samsung but for consumers who want the best smartphone experience possible! Why? Here goes...

Samsung, as you know and may agree, has had the edge (pun intended) over every other Android premium handset. Samsung caught the ball and has been running with it ever since the Galaxy S. Oddly, Samsung's greatest competitor is Apple and the iPhone and its plus variant. You would have thought that other Android manufacturers would have benefited from the issues with the Galaxy Note 7 but it did not appear to be the case.

What did people do when they couldn't get a Galaxy Note 7? That's right, they went for the iPhone 7 plus. However, judging from the amount of iPhone 7 & plus units that ended up in the Computer Exchange stores here in London, it shows me that the iPhone is no substitute for a Galaxy Note! And look how long Galaxy Note 7 buyers tried to hold on to their recalled GN7! This was/is unprecedented. GN7 owners had to reluctantly give up their unit. So, I know that many, many smartphone enthusiasts are looking forward to the Galaxy S8. I want one already! The anticipation for the Galaxy S8 is out of this world! This, naturally, is a great thing for Samsung. The Galaxy Note 7 looked and felt perfect and the fortunate battery problems created a publicity that has had people constantly talking about Samsung and how they will redeem themselves. There is a lot riding on the Galaxy S8 and also the Galaxy Note 8.

Already, the hype train for the Galaxy S8 is gathering a hypersonic momentum! Me? I would regard myself as a seasoned pro when it comes to Samsung premium handsets. I am not interested into the hype. I am done with all the hype for the Next Big Thing.

I don't know about you but I am expecting Samsung to revolutionize the Android market yet again! Let's face it, Samsung has never quite destroyed the iPhone. Don't misunderstand me. I am not interested in an iPhone vs. Galaxy S and Galaxy Note debate. You love what you love and some of you even have both an iPhone and a Galaxy S or Note model. What I mean is that I want to see a SoC (System on a Chip) that can push in ways we've seen the iPhone can. The SoC situation is not really a Samsung problem... I think the SoC design for Android is down to Google. I want to see Samsung on top of the multitasking and best use of RAM issue. Google really needs to look at enhancing Android some more and to design a more versatile and powerful SoC.

Design-wise, I have faith that Samsung will produce a stunning handset. Camera-wise, I am hoping for an even stronger contender. The camera is the main reason for buying a premium Samsung handset and I have always been pleased with the results whether it be a still photo or video. I have also been pleased with the processing power - to a degree. The RAM management has always been a source of contention. Lag can still be an issue and I do not think this should be the case on such a premium smartphone; not from Samsung!

So, to hell with the hype and yes to the eventual reality of the Galaxy S8 that could come by March or April this year.

For a good while now, I have been hoping to be persuaded by a different Android manufacturer to entice me away from the Galaxy S and Note for my main drivers. I have pretty much given up on HTC as, for some reason, they can't deliver a great camera experience. I almost went for the front-facing speaker design that came with the M8 but the camera ruined the deal for me.

LG... I have to say that LG has come very, very close to a handset that made me think about giving up a Samsung Galaxy S or Note. I do appreciate LG's G and V series.

Lenovo-Motorola has come up with some great handsets i.e. the Moto series in 2016 were very, very good but not as great as they could have been. Again, I think it was a case of the design. I was surprised that Lenovo-Motorolajettisonedd the front-facing speakers design for the Moto range. Why, Lenovo-Motorola, why?

Huawei, has done remarkably well with the P and Mate ranges. I love those designs! But the handsets are lacking a little.

Of course, there are many, many more manufacturers that I haven't mentioned and that's mainly because, here in the UK, we get a limited range of handsets.

It remains to be seen which manufacturer will produce a handset worthy of sharing the same platform of the Galaxy S and Note this year.

Can Apple produce an iPhone 8 and plus that would make traditional Samsung buyers become unfaithful? As you know, the iPhone does not appeal to me. However, the operating system, iOS, is getting better with each new handset... I do fancy those music making apps! So, don't rule it out!

Bring it on!

Thank you for reading!

Yes, the Synapse Circuit website is being redesigned! It should be online shortly! Stand by!






Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! 

The Tech World hasn't been the same without his writing! 

#SynapseCircuit #Synapse #Circuit 
#BlueGene #Blue #Gene
Recovery from illness...

UK, January 16, 2017,
 Blue Gene, the man behind some of the most entertaining Tech journalism is back! Gene was forced to bow out of the Tech Writing game due to prolonged illness.

Here are some words from the man himself...

It's great to be back! I have missed writing about my favorite subject, Tech! It must be a year now since I last wrote anything substantial. I have missed testing products, giving my opinions and predictions.

I became seriously ill and I had to take a break from writing. I have been working hard at rebuilding my body. I am thinking of writing about that aspect of my life at some point. We shall see... But in the meantime, I am keen to get back to what I love doing which is to write about Tech - product reviews, news, opinions, observations, etc.

It is wonderful to see, via the stats, that you are still reading my articles! Thank you! It means a lot!

You can expect me to be back on the Tech pulse!

Best wishes, 

Blue Gene aka Synapse Circuit