New bluetooth keyboard: Logitech k810

Logitech k810
Logitech k810

I have used my share of bluetooth keyboards before, and the various connectivity issues and other problems have eventually always turned me away from them. But it is apparently good idea to give them a second chance. The new Logitech k810/811 (Win/Mac versions) is a stylish, illuminated bluetooth keyboard, which features “Easy-Switch” technique, meaning that it has three quick buttons, which take you from your Android tabled/iPad to your desktop PC and back in a couple of seconds. The feel of keys is solid enough, and the backlighting is both automatic, and manually controllable (in automatic mode it will go dark when not needed, and then magically light up when your fingers approach the keys, it also adjusts to the ambient light levels, nice). The battery can be charged through a standard USB charger/port, and it carries on in standard use for c. 10 days, or a full year in one go, if the backlight is off, according to the manufacturer. Now, it it only could have been a bit cheaper…

But the price was worth it: this is finally something that consolidates much of the typing experience across my multiple devices. I can see carrying around just this keyboard and the Nexus 7 – or even the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone – to trips where I know I will only be doing some note taking, email and other light-weight jobs, rather than taking the laptop. This is also go nice for typing that I am currently testing it on my main workstation as the main keyboard, let’s see how that goes.

Often technologies take their time to mature, but bluetooth finally seems to be achieving that state. The new, low energy / Bluetooth SMART as it is being called, is opening access to more links to e.g. sports, health care, proximity sensing apps and devices as well as providing new alerts and time profiles that e.g. the next generation wristwatches need to communicate with your smartphone. There is much talk about certain manufacturers preparing their smart watches at the moment, and it is interesting to see how that will work out, in addition to Google Glass and other siminar new peripherals that extend your access to information, games and services.

Summer School 2014: Identity and Interdisciplinarity in Games and Play Research

We got some good news in the middle of summer: our consortium of European game studies centres has been granted funds to organise an international Summer School of game studies in 2014. There is more information in the annoucement below:

Summer School: Identity and Interdisciplinarity in Games and Play Research

The first interdisciplinary European summer school in game and play research will take place 16-31 August 2014 at Utrecht University in The Netherlands. It is aimed at talented PhD and MA/MSc students who are interested in the study of games and play. It offers students an innovative interdisciplinary platform for learning about games and play that doesn’t exist anywhere else in Europe or beyond.

This ERASMUS IP Summer School is hosted by Utrecht University, but organized by different European universities that are considered as leaders in the field. It will consist of a two-week intensive programme during which students are encouraged to develop their research ideas further. It will provide a unique opportunity to learn about cutting-edge theories and methodologies from leading scholars in the field. Students will have the rare opportunity to broaden their horizon internationally, and to gain knowledge about games and play from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The target group consists of excellent PhD and MA/MSc students who are starting or working on thesis projects in games and play from a background in the humanities, design research, social sciences, computer sciences or other related domains. Around 60 students from 17 different participating European institutions of higher education will be selected and are offered an exceptional chance to look beyond the borders of their home institutions in order to gain knowledge about the full scope of European scholarship on games and play. The participating students, share the ability to broaden their scope of knowledge and go beyond the boundaries of their fields.

During this summer school we will stimulate students to develop an interdisciplinary understanding of games and play as cultural phenomena, thus teaching them the means to develop an informed methodological and theoretical framework for their research. Activities such as reading, writing, discussing, lecturing, presenting, excursions, and interdisciplinary workshops will serve this purpose. The main expected outputs will consists of papers (proceedings), poster presentations, public online discussion (web forum, social media) and designed games and/or playful objects as output of practice-based research during workshops.

Travel and sustenance costs for selected students from participating universities will be covered by the ERASMUS IP.

More information

More information about the Summer School, and how to apply for participation will follow later on On this website you can find a list of participating universities.

Organizational team

Joost Raessens – Utrecht University, The Netherlands
René Glas – Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Sybille Lammes – University of Warwick, United Kingdom
Frans Mäyrä – University of Tampere, Finland
Mathias Fuchs – Leuphana University, Germany
Ben Schouten – Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands

Top notebooks, summer 2013

Razer Blade

The notebook computer (laptop) remains as the key element in their work and leisure for most people today. Many of us get regularly asked to recommend good laptops; here is my current listing, broken down in terms of available budget:

Budget range (200-300 euros):

– The netbooks used to rule in this category, but as tablet devices like iPad have taken much of their role, they are pretty much a dying breed. There is an interesting entrant in this category, though: the Cromebook, which is based on Google’s OS and specification. In Finland, we have now available Samsung Chromebook Series 3, which you can get at c. 350 euros (Wi-Fi version; internationally sold at $249, the price should really be a bit lower). Links, review:

Mid-price range (500-800 euros):

Asus Vivobook series provides the best value for money at the moment, taking advantage of a combination of a touch screen, good keyboard and Windows 8 (I recommend installing “Classic Start” or similar, to boot to the desktop mode, but it is just me…) The 11″ Vivobook X202E is the most affordable option – it is not available right now, but S200E model looks pretty identical. Links:

Premium range (1000+ euros):

If you can stomach the Apple OSX and the Apple ecosystem, the overall best light and well designed & manufactured laptops are from the Macbook Air series. In the PC side, I’d recommend either Samsung Series 9, or Asus Zenbook Prime, which can also handle some graphic intensive stuff like gaming. For heavy-duty business use, I currently recommend Lenovo’s Thinkpad X1 Carbon Touch. If you have specialized needs like having a thin and light, gaming laptop, then you might consider Razer Blade. Links:

Carbon Touch review:,2817,2420645,00.asp

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