Jamie Balfour BSc

Welcome to my personal website!

Technology enthusiast

I am very interested in technology, particularly relating to computer science. I am most interested in web design and development.

My main hobby is programming. One of my most well known products from this is ZPE. I also am the sole creator of BalfBlog, BalfBar and BalfSlider.

A little bit about me

In 1997, when I was six years of age, I got my very first computer. I was always very interested in the ins and outs of it and dismantled it to see how it worked.

Years later, in 2016 I received my BSc (with honours) in Computer Science, obtaining a First class degree.

I'd like to welcome you to my website and hope you enjoy using it as much as I have enjoyed building it!

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Me
Jamie Balfour BSc
Full stack developer

Personal Blog

This post is a collection of all the information you will need from the keynote today. I will likely do a full review of this in the next few hours.

The introduction

The start of the keynote was all about Watch OS 2 and what it has brought to the Apple Watch. New Watch apps include Facebook Messenger, a Go Pro app, iTranslate and a new app for measuring pregnant mothers.

iPad

Tim Cook talks about how the iPad has changed the way we work and create. Now Apple asks itself how they could improve it. The result, the biggest change in the history of the iPad: the iPad Pro. Does this mean I will need to update my website's media queries?

The Pro looks beautiful. The iPad Pro is twice the height of the iPad Air 2 in width. It has 5.6 million pixels with a resolution of 2048 by 2772 pixels on a 12.9 inch display. It features an Apple A9X APU which is now 1.8x times faster than the iPad Air 2 in CPU performance and 2x faster in graphics performance. It is faster than 80% of portable PCs sold in the last year and faster than 90% of PCs sold in the last year in terms of graphics.

All this, and still ten hours of battery life and incredibly slim (6.1mm)! It also features a four speaker audio system.

The iPad Pro was actually expected by many, so the shock was rather small for me!

Apple also introduced the Smart Connector, which allows a new physical Smart Keyboard to be attached to physically to the iPad and whilst I do not like the looks of the official keyboard but the physical connection is a huge bonus!

Apple also spoke about a new accessory called Pencil. Pencil is basically a really awesome stylus for the iPad.

Microsoft had a say today at the event as well - they announced that they were bringing features for the Pencil to Microsoft Office that allow input from the Apple Pencil. It's nice to Microsoft and Apple working together on this.

Adobe also spoke about their new apps that are coming to the new iPad. Adobe Comp looks really impressive (maybe not something I would use) and the multitasking works so well with it.

The new iPad Pro starts at $799!

The iPad mini 4 also got a short introduction. It is simply a smaller version of the iPad Air 2.

Apple TV

Today, Apple "did something" about the lack of innovation in the TV industry.

The new remote uses a new touch surface that makes it fluid to move around. This is a more innovative way to interact. The new Apple TV also supports voice commands through Siri.

The Siri search also searches across multiple apps including Hulu, Netflix and iTunes, all in one search. Siri can also rewind the video and put subtitles on when you mention that you missed what someone said!

There was a lot of focus on the new screensaver features, which doesn't really interest me but there we go. There was a bit that really touched the inner Bond fan in me as well which was nice!

The new Apple TV also now features its own App Store.

The games coming to the Apple TV look incredible.

Unfortunately, Tom from Hipster Whale didn't make it across the road in Crossy Road. Crossy Road looks lovely on the new TV, but I'm not sure I'm that thrilled by the idea of games on my Apple TV with the remote.

Apple has also taken the concept of hand off further by allowing you to continue playing games you own on your iPhone and Apple TV.

Oh and yea, my favourite feature, it has HDMI-CEC. The new Apple TV has 32GB or 64GB of built in storage. The new Apple TV has all the same connectors as the previous one other than the removed optical audio port.

iPhone

The iPhone 6 is the most popular iPhone ever and indeed they are the most popular and most loved phone in the world. Tim Cook now asks, how do you continue that success? The answer, the iPhone 6s.

The new iPhone 6s looks exactly the same as the iPhone 6, but it changes are phenomenal.

Multitouch is replaced by a new type of interaction called 3D Touch. As expected, this is a similar technology to the new Force Touch Trackpad found on the new MacBook. iOS 9 deeply integrates this to allow contextual data to appear where it could be considered useful. I really like the looks of this and cannot wait to try it out in the next few weeks. At this point, 3D Touch looks well integrated  into iOS.

The new iPhone is also made with a new 7000 series aluminium. The new iPhone 6s also features the new Apple A9 APU. It is supposedly 70% faster in CPU tasks and 90% in graphics tasks. The new iPhone 6s has a new fingerprint sensor for Touch ID which is twice as fast.

The new camera is 12 megapixels, which will increase resolution but not at the price of quality. The new camera seems to take great photos. It can now take 4K video (that's 8 million pixels!). The front FaceTime camera now also has a flash that uses the display of the camera using True Tone technology.

Live Photos now also add a small video to the photo, which allows the photo to transform to something that moves.

Apple are also adding a new Android transfer app that they consider the 'neighbourly thing to do'. This allows Android users to transfer much easier.

Prices are still the same of the iPhone 6s, starting at $299 for the 16GB.

Apple are also launching a new iPhone Upgrade Program that entitles you to a new iPhone every year and includes an unlocked iPhone and AppleCare.

The best news, iOS 9 will launch on the 16th September.

The new ad had a slight rip off of the 'Okay Google' adverts but it was very Apple.

To finish

Tim Cook made a really nice tribute to the all the Apple employees and there was, as always, some live music (this time from One Republic) and a song specifically for Tim Cook.

And that is it for another year from Apple.

Just last week I was speaking to my brother about a new software venture that will involve us using a platform independent language such as Java to develop the software hosted on this site from scratch again. This would mean great things such as being able to use it on Mac OS X and Linux. It would unfortunately mean using Java, however - and many will know how I dislike Java. 

However, in recent events, Microsoft has chosen to make the most shocking, but one of the best, changes to .NET Framework, which is the common language runtime (CLR) that all of my applications run in. They have chosen to make the language available on all platforms, without needing some external framework such as Mono to do this.

This will mean that soon I can get these applications up and running with the new .NET Framework 5 and working with all the main OSes. It will likely mean that after years of supporting Windows XP, I will have to finally cut the support. 

This is my review of the MacBook Pro with Retina display 2013 15" laptop by Apple and you may be quite surprised by it.

It can be found here.

Painter Pro, my graphics package, is a work that I started in August 2005 as part of my project known as Fusionscape. I originally wrote all of my applications using VB.NET. Then I noticed that C# might be a good idea when I got to the stage of learning Java at university as they are similar so it would benefit both languages (I had only written a few things in C# before).

Now after years of progress, joy, surprises, problems, fixes, bugs, compliments, feedback, support and much more, I am taking a good look back at previous versions that I released to friends, family and other beta testers who were prepared to try it out for me. I am so proud of this one piece of really good software and I am still working on it as my main project at the moment.

The purpose of this post is for you to see how Painter Pro's interface has improved with the years. Tell me what you think by commenting below. If you are interested in downloading a beta, click on this here

Today I would like to announce the performance improvements that Painter Pro now has. All the effects; I Want It There, grayscale, sepia, inversion, reflection and intensity have improved to perform considerably faster. On top of that, colour comparative methods based on these iterate much quicker through the selection.

Even though I should not really say it myself, Painter Pro is astonishing. Some people who have tested it now want me to bring it to Android (not something I am planning just now though). Others have just said it is brilliant as it is. I never intend for my software to compete, but I do intend for it to have a purpose; one of which is for work on my YouTube videos as well as my website and personal use.

Painter Pro is still currently password protected, but you can obtain the password by contacting me.

Meanwhile, Cobweb Internet Browser, 2.0.2.0 is now on my website. New features include faster browsing as well as better tabbing and some bug fixes to do with start up times.

I am proud to say that for the first time this week I will be releasing a beta of my own software, this time not BlackRabbit, but to the general public, not just to people I know. The new software contains multiple measures to ensure that it will not be copiable. It also contains my new registration application.

The application, which is known as Painter Pro, is what was formerly known by its codename "Aberdeen". This is the first time I have released the name. As of today, I am also considering other names.

If you are interested in testing the software, then please feel free to contact me using the usual methods.

Finally, the long awaited MacBook Pros have been released. The new range sports a Core i5 and i7 configuration in the larger 15 and 17 inch models. The standard configuration of the 13 inch however still features the old Core 2 Duo and now 4GB of RAM. Pricing starts at £999.99 for the 4GB Core 2 Duo and the battery life has gone up to 10 hours from 8 on the 13 inch model.

MacBook Pro

I must say that I am getting more impressed by the MacBook Pro range every release now and I am edging towards actually liking these notebooks. Anyway, the 250GB hard drive is now standard but 500GB comes at £120 more which is actually a rather good deal considering Apple's high pricing. Solid state options have also increased in capacity and decreased in price here. However, as with all Apple products, you pay such a high premium to get their devices that consider premium goods.

They all still feature the same connections (FireWire 800, USB 2.0 x2/3, SD card reader, mini DisplayPort, Ethernet and that awesome combi-port that combines a microphone and headphone jack). The 17" features an ExpressCard 54 slot as well.

The resolutions are just the same; the 13" is 1280 * 800, the 15" is 1440 *900 and the 17" is 1920 * 1200.

Now the really good feature is the graphics card. The Nvidia 330M is now included but what makes it really cool is that Apple has developed a smart system which switches graphics cards (only in the i5 and i7 configurations) between the built in graphics included in the 15" or 17" and the 330M which will result in a significantly longer battery life (as the integrated Intel graphics use less power than the 330M). The 13 inch features the 320M with up to 256MB integrated graphics.

Nothing else appears to have changed drastically.

31.10.2011
In October 2011, I bought myself the 13" MacBook Pro Core i5. This machine is amazing.

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