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Six things you need to know about switchover

London TV region switches to digital in April which will be here before we know it. If you’re still not entirely sure what it all entails check out my quick guide to switchover.

What is the digital switchover?

TV across the UK is going digital. The existing analogue TV signal will be switched off and replaced with an improved digital signal.

Why is it happening?

The analogue system only allows people to receive the five standard TV channels: BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 and Five. You will get a lot more channels after switchover as free view services will be extended to people who can’t get them at present.

What you need to do?

If you have Freeview, BT vision or Top Up TV just retune your TV at each stage to avoid losing channels.

If you have Sky, Freesat or Virgin Media you won’t need to do anything to your TV

If you have an analogue TV you will need to convert your TV to a digital TV.

For people who are 75 or over or eligible disabled contact the switchover help scheme who can provide you with all the information you need to keep watching your TV.

When is it happening?

Stage 1 on the 4th April 2012.

Stage 2 18th April 2012.

If you have free view you will need to retune on both these dates. Most homes if you have a free view service will get more than 40 channels after switchover.

Do I need a new TV?

No, you can convert almost any TV with a digital box connected to your TV using a SCART lead. If you don’t have a SCART socket you will need to connect with a built in RF modulator. You DO NOT need an HD TV for switchover. If you want new equipment look for the digital tick logo.

Do I need a new aerial?

If you have good analogue reception now you shouldn’t need to replace your aerial.

Tips

Analogue TVs will not work after switchover they will need to be converted.

If your VCR or DVD recorder is not digital it will not be able to record one channel while you watch another.

Check your aerial, if you have satellite or cable you don’t need an aerial.

Need Help

Visit www.digitaluk.co.uk for more details.

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Guest Post: Tweet your way to the perfect job!

Social media has taken off massively in recent years and many people now rely on this medium for a whole host of things, including applying for jobs. So the question begs to be asked, how do you use social media to its maximum effect when applying for a job?

Most people know the ‘big three': Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Whether you are applying for IT jobs or any other vacancy in other industry, you can definitely use social media to your advantage.

As the job market has evolved over the last few years many people have taken to the internet in search of a new job and social media is at the forefront of this revolution. As companies seek to reduce their spending they have re-evaluated the way that they advertise jobs, and the quickest way to reach new employees is through their Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook pages. Some companies even have their own job streams on Twitter. By doing this companies can also guarantee that the people applying for jobs with their company want to work for them. Although companies still use recruitment services and online jobsites to advertise vacancies, social media adds a new dimension to both job searches and recruitment.

So how do you take advantage of this new found phenomenon? Firstly you should prepare your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the eyes of a prospective employer; they do not need to see you getting drunk at fresher’s week! Neither do they need to know that you hated your last job. Make sure that your pages are employer friendly, and if you don’t want them to see certain things then upgrade your privacy levels.

LinkedIn and Twitter are the best mediums for your job search. Facebook, although having some merits should just be moderated rather than being explored. LinkedIn has rocketed into the limelight in recent years and is designed solely for the purposes of networking. By creating a profile on this site you are joining a whole host of professionals looking for employees. To start you should build up your profile, by adding your past employment history and a suitable picture. You should remain in contact with your previous colleagues and employers through the site and if possible ask your last employer to recommend you on the site.

Twitter is a brilliant way to keep track of current opportunities, companies and CEOs. Try to follow specific job feeds or the companies you want to work for. By interacting with these groups and people you can keep up-to-date with companies and opportunities.

Social media is a great way to find a job, so tweet away!

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Girl Geek Guide to Online Dating: The DO’s and DONT’s

Step 1

So we begin…before you enter into the world of online shennanigans, just stop and take a moment to work out exactly what you want, I mean in the words of my beloved spice girls what do you *realllly reallly* want…and more importantly once you’ve decided always remember…”dont waste the pretty!”

Being single is having the freedom to be choosy and keep your options open. In fact, sometimes it can be the start of a fantastic adventure, and sometimes it can be better than being with someone… (errr then again that kind of defeats the object here…)

We start with the Do’s

Do’s

1. Do embrace your single status. According to a survey by Zoosk, 70 percent of women cite the freedom to “do my own thing” as one of the best aspects of being single.

2. Do practice your dating skills. But the good news is that, as long as you’re having fun, there’s no right or wrong way to do it.

3. Do think about what you really want – and live by it. Here’s an idea: take a piece of paper and write down five non-negotiable character traits (i.e. integrity, honesty, loyalty (sexy bod) that someone must possess in order to be with you. Refer back to this list when deciding whether you want to date someone(maybe not in the bar on the actual date – that would be weird). It’s hard to be level-headed about your relationship when you’re in it.

4. Do new things. People with hobbies, interests, and passions naturally attract other people. Single people can do what they want, when they want – just think of the possibilities! Be it snowboarding or skydiving, there’s nothing more attractive that someone who is passionate about something. Whatever it is including being passionate about you!

Now it’s the Dont’s

Dont’s

1. Don’t be afraid to go after what you want. The worst that can happen is you don’t get it; which, if you didn’t have it in the first place, isn’t making your situation any worse than it already was. Statistically, the more you try at something, the more likely it is that it’ll happen. This is simple mathematics. Probability is on your side.

2. Don’t ever feel sorry for yourself. Everyone loves a single girl! Desperation is a serious turn-off; independence is a turn-on. Some dates will be better than others and no one ever gets what they want all the time – that would be too boring. So, view singlehood as a freedom, rather than a burden, and feel empowered knowing that you don’t need anyone else to make you complete, that you can be complete on your own. A relationship, if you want one, is just icing on the cake.

3. Don’t wait for Mr. Right to do all the things you want to do in life. Enjoy the right now, whatever your dating status, fulfil your dreams on your own and with friends and family.

Tune in next week for Step 2 and more tips in the girl geek guide to dating…

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Tech Review: Dance Central Xbox Kinect

Friday night is girl’s night in. Pizzas in, Pinot on tap, Xbox Kinect ready for plug and play.

Hold on, Xbox? As in a games console? Yes.

Ambience is set. Doors are locked, curtains are drawn and the surround sound is up. We are going to dance the night away in my living room to Xbox Kinect’s Dance Central.

Harmonix are the brains behind Dance Central and have created a party atmosphere game which teach you dance routines and include songs ranging from Cascada’s Evacuate The Dance Floor to Kool & The Gang’s Jungle Boogie, so we were not short of choices to make fools of ourselves.

The geniuses at Microsoft have invented the Kinect sensor which means that your whole body is in control. There are no control pads or fiddly buttons to press. Which is great for us (girl) gamers who tend to button bash and can’t remember where A or Z is located on a control pad. The fancy technology in the Kinect means the camera, microphone and the sensors can detect your body movement and voice commands.

You do need an element of bravery to dance and goof around with your mates, once you’re over that it is a tremendous amount of fun. The Break It Down mode is the only way to learn the more difficult routines. The dance coach gees you up when you get a flawless finish or encourages you to do better when you don’t get a move on point. While Dance Central doesn’t contain back flips or headstand moves to make you an advanced street dancer, this game can help you learn dance moves that you can easily take to a club.

You do actually break a sweat in this game, if not from the fits of laughter then from the routines itself. In Workout Mode you can enter your weight and keep track of the amount of calories burned during dance time; a game that looks out for you, thank you Microsoft.

If you are up for more banter and a little competition Battle Mode is the way forward. From easy, medium or hard, with or without the flashcards your dance skills are tested with the accumulation of points for the correct moves danced then pitted against your opponent as you dash in and out of the dance area.

For the more confident dancer, going straight to Perform It Mode will guarantee laughs, especially in the freestyle section where you are at liberty to pop it like it’s hot and then have it all embarrassingly replayed back to you via the in-built camera.

The navigation took a bit of getting used to, but once I got the knack of waving commands in the air I felt like I was emulating Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

The downside, or not, as the case may be, is that as the controller you have to be spatially aware. You could blame it on the Pinot for hitting your play mate in the face or you could make the required 6-8 foot of space available. My front room was a bit of a squeeze, there were five of us and a couple bottles of Rosé so being space aware wasn’t entirely on the agenda.

The Kinect takes gaming to a different level. It makes the games console seem less of an insular activity and more socially interactive. With Dance Central it would be an idea that you like to be active and actually like to dance otherwise you may feel a bit of a third wheel watching your friends have all the fun.

The Kinect’s in-built camera ramped up the hilarity of girls’ night by taking pictures and video footage randomly. These gaming moments can be kept alongside other entertainment content on the massive 250GB hard drive. Sleek and in gloss black finish with touch sensitive buttons, this kit is quite sexy and sitting pretty beneath the LCD screen you would hardly notice it was a games console. If that wasn’t enough, with the Xbox 360 LIVE having wi-fi in-built meant I could tweet and dance at the same time. The girls’ night was in full swing; we weren’t dancing around our handbags but having a party focused on Dance Central. Who said girls aren’t gamers? You don’t

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Blu-ray 3DTM engaging and emotional home entertainment viewing experience

Blu-ray 3DTM delivers an enhanced, emotional entertainment experience that engages viewers more than standard Blu-ray DiscTM or DVD, according to neurological research released this week. The research was carried out by the Mindlab International team at the Sussex Innovation Centre, Brighton, on behalf of the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA). Testing the attention, emotion and engagement levels of different home entertainment disc formats on a group of subjects, the study found the Blu-ray 3D format to be the most effective, followed by Blu-ray Disc and then DVD. 

The neurological study, which was conducted by Mindlab International in late 2010, connected participants to monitoring equipment to record their heart rate, skin conductance (EDA) and brain activity (EEG) whilst watching film clips and trailers in Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD formats. Subjects’ baseline readings were recorded before they were shown clips from three films in a random order to ensure that the results were as accurate as possible.

 Attention

After comparing the total attention levels for each format, the results showed that on average, subjects were 12% more attentive when watching Blu-ray 3D compared to a Blu-ray Disc, and 17% more attentive when watching a Blu-ray Disc over a standard DVD. When comparing attention levels between Blu-ray 3D and a DVD, attention levels jumped by an incredible 29%.

Emotion

When recording emotional response, subjects experienced a significant increase when watching Blu-ray over DVD. This peaked with an 8% increase when watching Blu-ray 3D compared to DVD.

Engagement

When measuring engagement, the results found subjects to be 7% more engaged when watching Blu-ray 3D over a Blu-ray Disc, and 12% more engaged when watching a Blu-ray Disc over a standard DVD. When comparing engagement levels between Blu-ray 3D and a DVD, subjects were found to be 18% more engaged in the Blu-ray 3D clip.

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