IBC 2015: Sony get all sensitive on us with the new α7S II

IBC 2015: Sony get all sensitive on us with the new α7S II

Sony today at IBC 2015 in Amsterdam announced the latest addition to its award winning series of compact, full-frame α7 cameras with the introduction of the α7S II. Offering ultra-high sensitivity and wide dynamic range across the entire ISO range and 5-axis image stabilisation for greater shooting control, the α7S II delivers stunning image quality for photographers who shoot in the most challenging light conditions.

Be it the brightest of mornings or darkest of nights, the α7S II enables new levels of photographic expression at whatever shutter speed you wish to deploy. The α7S II also incorporates a host of pro-style movie functions including the ability to shoot 4K video with full pixel readout and no pixel binning in full-frame format, making it an extremely appealing proposition for photographers and videographers alike.

The α7S II delivers an awe-inspiring sensitivity range of ISO 50-409600, thanks to the combination of its 35mm full-frame 12.2 megapixel image sensor and BIONZ X image processing engine. The sensor optimises the dynamic range across the entire ISO range and broadens the range of tonal gradation in bright environments and minimises noise in dark scenes meaning that it delivers impressive results even in the most extreme conditions. The upgraded image processing algorithm of BIONZ X maximises the sensor’s capabilities and improves depiction throughout the full sensitivity range with particular emphasis on the mid-to-high range. This means that the resulting stills and movies demonstrate extra-fine detail with minimal noise.

Video Master

The α7S II can record 4K movies internally in the XAVC S format meaning that content is wonderfully detailed. Because information from all pixels is utilised without line skipping or pixel binning, the camera can maximise the expanded power of the full-frame image sensor and produce 4K movies with higher image clarity and negligible moiré. Full pixel readout without pixel binning is also employed when shooting Full HD movies which means that it collects information from approximately five times as many pixels that are required to generate Full HD and condenses the information to produce extremely high quality movies.

In a first for the α7 series, the α7S II can record 120fps at 100Mbps with full pixel readout without pixel binning in full frame format which can be edited into wonderful 4x/5x slow motion footage in Full HD. The α7S II also has the ability to shoot 4x/5 slow motion footage internally which can be immediately reviewed on the camera screen.

Video functionality has been further enhanced with new profiles; S-Gamut3.Cine/S-Log3 and S-Gamut3/S-Log3. These new profiles deliver wide dynamic range and colour correction is easier to perform. The α7S ll even offers impressive 14-stop latitude in the S-Log3 gamma setting. The camera also supports S-Gamut/S-Log2 which is very popular among cinematographers and videographers. Gamma Display Assist is a new function that allows users to monitor images or check focus when recording S-Log movies and the Zebra function has been improved for even greater control.

5-Axis Image Stabilisation

The new α7S II is equipped with the innovative 5-axis image stabilisation system that is proving extremely popular in the α7 II and α7R II cameras. The system corrects camera shake along five axes during shooting, including angular shake (pitch and yaw) which has the greatest impact on image quality and tends to occur with a telephoto lens, shift shake (X and Y axes) which becomes noticeable as magnification increases, and rotational shake (roll) that often affects night shooting or video recording.

Autofocus accuracy

The autofocus system on the α7S II has been upgraded and now offers 169 AF points for fast, precise focusing with greater accuracy. The power of the image sensor means that the absence of noise in images generated, enables the Fast Intelligent AF to detect contrast more easily and react speedily even in low-light situations (as low as EV-4), when it’s even tough to check with the naked eye. When shooting video, the AF performance is twice as fast as the predecessor model.

Electronic Viewfinder

The XGA OLED Tru-Finder in the α7S II has been upgraded and offers the world’s highest viewfinder magnificationxi of 0.78x (roughly 38.5 degrees in diagonal field of view) and shows clear images across the entire display area. The use of ZEISS T* Coating ensures sharp reduction of reflections on the viewfinder and unlike an optical viewfinder, the OLED Tru-Finder can be used to instantly show how exposure compensation, white balance and other selected settings are affecting the displayed image.

User upgrades

A number of enhancements have been made to the look and feel of the α7S II to make it more user friendly, reliable and intuitive. Its magnesium-alloy body is both light and highly robust and the grip and shutter buttons have been re-designed so that the camera feels more natural in the hand. For situations when you just want to blend into the background, silent shooting mode can be activated for 5fps continuous shooting and reliability has been enhanced with reduced-vibration shutter movement.

The lens mount has been further reinforced to ensure greater resilience, particularly when attaching third party lenses and users can now charge the camera via a USB power supply whilst the camera is in operation, thus extending battery life. For greater comfort and safety, Sony is also launching the LCS-EBF; a new premium leather body case for the α7S II which is also compatible with the α7R II and α7 II.

The α7S II is also Wi-Fi and NFC compatible and fully functional with Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile application available for Android and iOS platforms, as well as Sony’s growing range of PlayMemories Camera Apps, which add a range of fun creative capabilities to the camera.

Want to find out more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest IBC news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Education app of the week: iTranslate for iPad

Education app of the week: iTranslate for iPad

For this week’s app of the week, we’re saying ‘hola’ to iTranslate – a fantastic free iPad translation tool that’s great for the classroom.

What is iTranslate?

iTranslate (Sonico GmbH, free) is an incredibly quick and easy to use translation app featuring more than 90 languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu. Open up the app and you’re immediately faced with the translation screen – simply tap on the input language to choose the language of the word or phrase you want to translate, type into the input box, choose your output language and tap the translate icon to get your result. iTranslate will even speak the results back to you.


How can it benefit the classroom?

The obvious application for iTranslate is in modern foreign languages, but it can also be very handy in supporting students for whom English is not their first language. With a comprehensive built-in dictionary, you get more accurate, intelligent, context-specific results for translations, beating other translator apps which just give you one result.

As a very basic example, translating the English word ‘house’ to Spanish won’t just bring up the noun ‘casa’, as in building, but also the verb forms of accommodate – ‘alojar’, ‘hospedar’ and ‘albergar’.

What’s the best feature?

The free version of iTranslate has just received a major update that allows you to add a translating keyboard to apps as an extension through your device’s Settings. This means students can translate text from any app, be it Notes or Messages, without having to leave the app and open up iTranslate. Fantastisch!

Where can I get it?

iTranslate (Sonico GmbH, free) is free, although there is a Premium version, costing £3.99, which adds voice dictation, blocks ads and gives you unlimited translations. You can download it from the App Store on your iPad or by heading to iTunes.

– Missed our last app review? Check out Padlet for iPad here.

Find out more about our favourite apps and Apple iPad for the classroom. Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306, email education@Jigsaw24.com, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page for all the latest technology in education news, reviews and articles.

Our ultimate guide to networking, WiFi and servers

Our ultimate guide to networking, WiFi and servers

Are you an IT manager whose network regularly leaves you wanting to bang your head against your server rack? We know how important it is to make sure your network gives you the speed you need for users to work effectively – especially designers and anyone working with and transferring large files over the server.

So this article is for you, as we get down to the nitty gritty of scalable networking, how our solutions can see you right, and look at how we helped Space Digital future-proof their infrastructure…


First things first, if your network doesn’t have built-in resiliency or sufficient bandwidth, you’re never going to get the maximum ROI – or the best work out of your employees. We offer the full range of networking solutions, from the design and installation of complex multisite networks to tailor-made WiFi setup. Put simply, our engineers will make sure your network is fast, continuous and secure, and with our range of support options, our engineers are just a phone call away if you need help. It all means you get faster, more reliable network and device access across platforms, improved end user security, and the peace of mind that you have technical support in case of any network issues.


Giving employees access to mobile devices is great for productivity (with everyone able to access business resources anywhere onsite), but it’s also going to have a knock-on effect on your network. We can help you deal with the challenges of connecting iPad, iPhone and more to your WiFi. We’ll do a WiFi survey and provide advice on hardware that’ll meet your needs, then install everything and perform ongoing network health checks, so you can ensure you have the bandwidth you need, without any loss of connection or disruption to your WiFi.


Whether you’re looking at a server upgrade, want to consolidate or virtualise your servers to host your legacy systems and web development, or give your business the agility and flexibility that comes with server virtualisation and consolidation, our solutions ensure you get the best fit for your business, and your investment is future-proof.

Some of the things we can do include workload optimisation, server room design, hardware provision, consolidation, virtualisation and migration pilots, and leasing, rental and finance options, all designed to give you faster delivery of core services, and a reduced energy and space footprint.


Customer story: Future-proof infrastructure at Space Digital

Over the years, we’ve helped many creative agencies and businesses get their network and infrastructure up to speed. For example, when post-production supremos Space Digital moved to new premises in MediaCityUK, they decided to build their own internal server room and recable their entire facility to enable their artists to work over 10GbE. As well as helping them design and install the facility, we’ve continuously advised Space Digital’s team on the latest hardware, including their new Thunderbolt-based workflow.

Simon Blackledge, Head of Post-Production at Space Digital, said: “Then we ran through where all the network points were going to be in the different offices, and the layout of the different edit suites. Jigsaw24 got back to me with the options for the cabling […] Jigsaw24 came up once all the floor had been laid and put down all the cabling for the network and the SDI leads and extenders. I moved my machines in a couple of days later and they had us all up and running – everything was fine.”

Free Server and Deliver event

If you want to learn more about infrastructure, particularly making your Apple estate work in perfect harmony with your IT environment, join us on Thursday 3rd September for our Server and Deliver event! Stop by from 5pm for a drinks reception before diving into keynote presentations with Dell, Quantum (Dothill) and Brocade on a whole host of key challenges creatives are facing today. We’ll be talking servers, storage and networking, Mac integration, device management, network migration, business continuity and much more. So if that sounds like your bag, RSVP your place by filling in the form below.


Want to know more about networking, WiFi and servers, and our insanely great infrastructure solutions? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


Buyers’ Guide 2015: Mac for business

Buyers’ Guide 2015: Mac for business

Looking to refresh your business’s computer deployment? These days, looking to Apple is probably your best option. As well as their power, flexibility and ease of use, they’re also incredibly durable and reliable, so you can count on a better TCO and ROI than with PC counterparts.

Your options are much simpler too – you have a choice of MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and, now, the new 12″ MacBook, as well as desktop computers in the form of Mac Pro, iMac and Mac mini, which can come with differing internal features depending on your needs. When shopping for PC ‘ultrabooks’ and desktops, on the other hand, there simply isn’t one single contender to match Mac, but a whole universe of laptops and desktops sporting differing processors and screen sizes (not to mention vastly varying build quality), which can get rather confusing.

To make things even easier, we’ve broken down the range below, giving recommendations based on the team’s actual experience using Mac within the business, as well as links to buy. If you are wanting to deploy a raft of new notebooks and desktops, you’ll probably want to talk to us first, as experts in all things Apple, including integration, rollout, management and post-sales support. But let’s take a look at the actual products available first…

MacBook Air

Ideal for: Mobile workers who need long battery life

MacBook Air on Jigsaw24

MacBook Air has been around since 2008, and in that time, Apple have really worked on making its internals match its external form factor. One of the thinnest (just 1.7cm at its thickest point) and lightest (as little as 1.08kg) notebooks around, it is undoubtably good looking, but that stunning design also means it’s incredibly portable. That makes it a great choice for anyone who needs to run applications on the move when a tablet just won’t cut it – so salespeople, client-facing consultants and other staff in the field, for example.

Equally, if we are called in to a meeting, we can just pick up our MacBook Air and head down, hooking up to the room’s display (either wirelessly over AirPlay and Apple TV, or through a wired Mini DisplayPort connection) to share with the group. The 11″ model in particular, can easily be stowed away in your bag and carried around all day without putting your shoulder out.

Another feature that’s bound to be a boon for business is the battery life. Apple say the 11″ model will go nine hours without a recharge, while the 13″ model, which includes larger batteries, tops out at 12 hours. Of course, your mileage may vary depending on what apps you’re running, display settings and other factors, but that’s more than enough to get you through a full business day before you have to plug in again. The fact that they rely solely on solid state flash storage also means MacBook Air is speedy too – 17x faster than a traditional 5400-rpm notebook hard drive, in fact.

The latest versions feature:

11″ MacBook Air

– 11.6″ high-res glossy display.

– Up to 512GB flash storage.

– Up to 8GB RAM.

– Fifth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

– Intel HD Graphics 6000 processor.

– From £549 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

13″ MacBook Air

– 13.3″ high-res glossy display.

– Up to 512GB flash storage.

– Up to 8GB RAM.

– Fifth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

– Intel HD Graphics 6000 processor.

– From £702 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.


MacBook Pro

Ideal for: Those needing more power from a portable computer

MacBook Pro on Jigsaw24

Now we move on to Apple’s performance notebook, MacBook Pro. With the fastest components and plenty of CPU, RAM, and storage, not to mention a wide range of ports including Thunderbolt 2, MacBook Pro is a solid choice for creatives. So if you have an internal marketing team who need to create, edit and deliver video, design layouts and high-res imagery, while still remaining portable, you should be looking at going for the Pro.

Indeed, as well as our design team’s desktop Mac Pro and iMac workstations, they use MacBook Pro when out on shoots and case studies. It will happily handle rendering and exporting compositions in processor-intensive apps like Adobe Creative Cloud’s Photoshop and InDesign, while you get on with the rest of your workload. And that also means it’s comfortable handling multiple, massive Excel spreadsheets at the same time too!

While MacBook Pro still is technically very portable, it isn’t quite as easy to carry around as MacBook Air, weighing in at 1.58kg for the 13″ model, and quite a hefty 2.02kg for the 15″ version. But that is the price to pay for the higher-end spec and increased connectivity. Apple have now actually done away with the behemoth that was the 17″ MacBook Pro, but anyone who does need to see their work in finer detail than on the Retina display can still hook up to a second screen for more clarity.

13″ MacBook Pro

– 13.3″ high-res glossy display.

– Up to 512GB flash storage or 1TB hard drive.

– Up to 8GB RAM.

– Fifth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

– Intel HD Graphics 4000 processor.

– From £742 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display

– 13.3″ ultra-thin Retina display.

– Up to 1TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB RAM.

– Fifth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

– Intel Iris Graphics 6100 processor.

– From £827 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

15″ MacBook Pro with Retina display

– 15.4″ ultra-thin Retina display.

– Up to 1TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB RAM.

– Fifth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

– Intel Iris Graphics 6100 processor.

– From £1299 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.



Ideal for: Mobile workers who need a Retina display

MacBook on Jigsaw24

New to the Mac notebook lineup for 2015 is the overhauled MacBook (you may recall this was the name given to Apple’s previous plastic unibody notebooks). It’s the thinnest and lightest of all the MacBook computers available – even more so than MacBook Air. It’s the first non-pro Mac notebook to feature a Retina display and also the first to come in a range of colours. While it’s not as powerful as the MacBook Pro and Air, it’s still speedy, complete with the new Intel Core M processor, up to 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of flash storage.

Apple say it’s also their most energy efficient computer, using just five watts of power, and doing away with the fan for silent running. Most revolutionary though, is Apple’s inclusion of a new single, reversible, backwards-compatible USB-C port. This allows for super fast (5 Gbps) transfer while also carrying video streams and electrical charging over the same wiring as data. So essentially you have one connector for charging, transferring data to external devices, and carrying signal to external monitors, meaning you will need to employ adaptors if you want to hook up devices and connect to storage while you’re charging.

12″ MacBook

– 12″ Retina display.

– Up to 512GB flash storage.

– 8GB RAM.

– Core m processor.

– Intel HD Graphics 5300.

– Gold, silver or space grey colour schemes.

– From £866 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.


Mac Pro

Ideal for: Video and heavy creative work

Mac Pro on Jigsaw24

Moving on to desktop workstations, we have the Mac Pro – Apple’s workhorse. While you may not need 64GB RAM or 12 cores of processing power for everyday business tasks and systems, if you have an in-house creative team, they’ll thank you for investing in Mac Pro, the industry standard for design work, and video and audio editing.

This latest generation of Mac Pro, released in 2013, introduced a radical new design. Ditching the classic tower form factor in favour of a sleek cylindrical casing, Mac Pro manages to pack all its internals into a 25cm high, 5kg casing that will happily sit on a desk, and it comes with enough ports that you’re able to connect all the displays, storage and peripherals you require. And, if there’s a specific configuration you need, you can add your own RAM, processors and storage with our online Mac Pro Configurator.

Mac Pro

– Up to 2.7GHz 12-core processor.

– Up to 1TB PCIe-based flash storage.

– Up to 64GB (4x16GB) memory.

– Up to Dual AMD FirePro D700 with 6GB GDDR5 VRAM.

– Support for three 4K displays,

– Six Thunderbolt ports.

– From £1999 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.



Ideal for: Creative teams or those needing an all-in-one workstation

iMac on Jigsaw24

iMac has long been the choice of graphic designers and imaging specialists for its power and large display, but it’s perfect for the office too. An all-in-one workstation, all the internals and connectivity are neatly contained within its incredibly slim form factor, so there’s no desk clutter, and it comes with an Apple keyboard and Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad too. In 2014, Apple also launched a 27″ iMac with Retina 5K display, which is great for seeing content with an increased level of colour and detail, as well as being ideal if you want more screen real estate so you have a larger workspace to fit your toolbars, and work on the content itself.

21″ iMac

– 21″ widescreen display.

– Up to 1TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Core i7 3.1GHz processor.

– From £690 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

27″ iMac

– 27″ widescreen display.

– Up to 1TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Core i5 3.4GHz processor.

– From £1195 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

27″ 5K iMac with Retina display

– 27″ 5K Retina display.

– Up to 1TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Quad Core i7 4.0GHz processor.

– From £1317 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.


Mac mini

Ideal for: General office work

Mac mini on Jigsaw24

The smallest of Apple’s desktop options, Mac mini is ideal for the desk, but that doesn’t mean it’s lightweight. With up to 16GB RAM and 3GHz processing power, it’ll breeze through spreadsheets, as well as more processor-intesive tasks, while using up a tiny amount of power. All you need is to hook it up to a display, and add a keyboard and mouse.

Mac mini

– Up to 1TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Dual Core i7 3GHz processor.

– From £329 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.


Want to know more about MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or just pop your details in the form below and we’ll be in touch. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


Or fill in the form below to find out about our b7 proof of concept trial for executives that lets you see the benefits of Mac – such as improved productivity and lower total cost of ownership – before you invest.

Sony offering super savings on cameras for classrooms!

Sony offering super savings on cameras for classrooms!

Want to teach students the professional production skills they’ll need in their future careers (and attract prospective students)? Now’s the time to update your camera kit, as Sony are currently offering education institutions up to £1079* off cameras, including the PXW-X70 and FS7. It’s only on until 30th September though, so it’s a great excuse to dig into that budget!

The promotion covers a wide range of Sony’s professional cameras, from pro handheld up to film cameras. We’ve picked out our top cameras for education below, but if there are any other models that have caught your eye, or you need advice on what camera to plump for for a particular course or scenario, do get in touch with the team – as Sony Professional Solution Specialists, we’re here to help!

What’s on offer?

PXW-X70 – Great for all creative courses

Sony PXW-X70 on Jigsaw24

This 4K-ready camera was the first on the market to combine the dual benefits of a large sensor with a fixed lens, enabling incredibly shallow depth of field, with a real broadcast-quality workflow. A price tag of around £1500 means this camcorder is a professional and practical choice which isn’t going to break the bank. £1475 ex VAT (Save £216* with the Sony promo!)

PXW-X200 – Great for journalism courses


A bit of a step up, the X200 features three 1/2-inch type Full-HD ExmorT CMOS sensors to achieve high resolution, high sensitivity, low noise, and wide dynamic range, 17x Fujinon professional HD zoom, and support for the most popular video formats, shooting to SxX cards or even inexpensive XQD, SDXC and SDHC cards via an adaptor. £3915 ex VAT (Save £432* with the Sony promo!)

PXW-FS7 and PMW-FS7K – Great for film courses

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 14.35.29

Sony’s FS7 is a complete large sensor camera system that delivers long-form recording capabilities with 4K resolution in a compact, hand-held (and robust) design that makes it great for giving a cinematic sheen to students’ production. £4830 ex VAT (Save £288* with the Sony promo!)

PMW-F55 – Great for high-end production courses


The F55 has a Super 35 4K CMOS sensor, global shutter technology that means far fewer artefacts, a wide colour gamut, and internal 4K recording to SxS Pro + cards at up to 60fps and 2K/HD at up 180fps. You can also simultaneously record XAVC 4K files and HD MPEG files to the same SxS Pro + card, for both backup and getting ready for grading.

We recently kitted out Staffordshire University with an F55, and Richard Mortimer, Media Centre Technical Team Leader, has been very impressed: “Now we’ve got mind-blowing technology we can put in front of students, things that they’re not going to see until they’ve been in industry a while and gotten their feet under the table.”

£17,500 ex VAT (Save £1079* with the Sony promo!)

– You can see the full range of Sony cameras here.

How does it work?

The promotion is only available to recognised public or private schools, colleges and universities providing full-time study. For that reason, we don’t apply the savings to the products on the website – you’ll need to get in touch with the team to put an order in, then we can apply your discount. Just remember, you only have until the 30th September 2015!

Want to know more about Sony cameras? Get in touch with us on 03332 409 306 or education@Jigsaw24.com to find out more. For all the latest news and updates follow  @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.

*Savings are adjusted for exchange rates at time of publishing, and so are subject to change.


Implementing live video streaming with TriCaster at IGN

Implementing live video streaming with TriCaster at IGN

IGN are the world’s largest video games website, and the destination for anyone looking for the latest gaming news (as well as film, TV and comics coverage). Realising the massive impact video was having on the industry, and how their audience consume content, IGN thought it was time they got on board with video at their UK office, installing a new studio based on NewTek TriCaster that would help them deliver professional-quality live video streaming in limited space.

Watch the video below to see the IGN guys and their new NewTek TriCaster video studio in action (including a TriCaster 460 with control surface, separate Yamaha MG166-c audio mixer, Canon XF300 and Canon XF305 cameras, and an Ianiro Florescent lighting rig). For the full case study write-up from NewTek, click here.

NewTek TriCaster on Jigsaw24

Want to know more about NewTek TriCaster? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Education app of the week: Tickle for iPad

Education app of the week: Tickle for iPad

The robots have taken over! Well, they’ve heavily influenced this week’s education app review, in any case, as we take a look at Tickle, the simple robot programming app for iPad… 

What is Tickle for iPad?

Tickle (Tickle Labs, Inc, free) is a free app that lets you program a wide variety of robots through a simple programming language and drag and drop visual interface, then control them from an iPad. Just some of the ‘bots and systems controllable by Tickle include the Sphero robotic ball, a wide variety of flyable drones, the Arduino open-source electronic prototyping platform and Philips Hue smart home lighting. You can also program interactive stories and simple games using a library of animated characters and sounds.

Tickle for iPad, and Sphero

How can it benefit the classroom?

What we’ve been really interested in is using Tickle with the Sphero robotic ball (if you’re new to Sphero, have a recap on why we love it here). It provides a simple way to cover off some of the key aspects laid out in the computing curriculum, including: understanding what algorithms are, how they are implemented as programs on digital devices; that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions; creating and debugging simple programs, and using logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs.

A good lesson plan, for example, is navigating a simple maze using both Sphero and Tickle. Mark out lines on the floor using tape, then get pupils to move the Sphero ball across the maze, while describing the movement and location by coding the sequence (there may be a bit of trial and error involved in the programming). It’s a really fun, creative and collaborative way to solve mathematical problems.

What’s the best feature?

What we probably like most about Tickle is just how easy it is for pupils to pick up, get programming, then start controlling robots in just a few minutes. It’s all done through a colourful visual programming language, whereby pupils can simply drag and drop blocks of commands to string sequences together (if you’ve ever used Sphero MacroLab or the Scratch language before, you’ll be right at home with this).

Where can I get it?

Tickle (Tickle Labs, Inc, free) is completely free, and you can download it from the App Store on your iPad, or by heading to iTunes. If you’d like to know more about Sphero, get in touch with the team on the details below.

– Missed last week’s app review? Catch up with our thoughts on BandLab for iPad here!

Want to know more about our favourite apps and Apple iPad for the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306, email education@Jigsaw24.com, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter for all the latest technology in education news, reviews and articles.

Maximising efficiency with Mac management at a top university

Maximising efficiency with Mac management at a top university

We recently worked with one of the UK’s top universities to deliver a comprehensive Mac management solution that would allow users to manage, control and maximise the efficiency of their large Apple estate, using JAMF Software Casper Suite.

What was the challenge?

The customer first came to us with a challenge: they had around 750 Mac computers spread across multiple campuses, and they were all completely unmanaged and unreported.

What was required?

So, they needed a solution that would get their existing estate managed and controlled, with the ability for new devices to be rapidly deployed. They ideally wanted all this to be achievable and manageable without too much strain on IT teams and end users alike.

How did we help?

We delivered a full Mac management solution that would clean up and optimise their existing estate, as well as provide a platform for zero-touch device management – JAMF Software’s Casper Suite. This allowed their IT team and users to manage, control and maximise their investment in Apple technology. Here’s how it went down:

1. We carried out a full audit of their Mac estate.

2. We provided a full report of recommendations.

3.  We set project timescales and agreed a ‘go live’ date.

4. We rolled out Casper Suite to their whole Mac estate, including full re-imaging.

5. We delivered the project on time and on budget.

Want to know more about JAMF Software’s Casper Suite? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Education app of the week: BandLab for iOS

Education app of the week: BandLab for iOS

This week, we’re singing the praises of BandLab, a great free music-making tool, that lets students quickly capture their musical ideas, edit them and share – all from within the app!

What is BandLab for iOS?

BandLab (BandLab Singapore Pte Ltd, free) is a free music-making app that focuses on getting those initial ideas down as soon as you have them. Tap the microphone icon, and you’re able to record audio using the iPhone microphone, as well as type notes and use the camera to snap some visual inspiration. You can then save your ideas and package them up into a song, ready to be shared via email or social media.

While it’s been available for Android for a little while, it’s only just made its way to the App Store in the form of an iOS app for iPhone (no word on an iPad version yet, though).


How can it benefit the classroom?

While there are plenty of recording apps out there on the App Store, as well as the Voice Memos app built into iPhone, BandLab takes it one stop further by really thinking about the songwriting process, and especially that initial idea stage. A big benefit for the classroom is its collaborative nature. You’re able to create bands (a chance for Shariff and the Dreamers to finally get a bit of recognition), and add other users either through BandLab or via email invitation to share ideas and songs – great for group work in music.

What’s the best feature?

While the focus in BandLab does seem to be on quickly getting down those first ideas, I was surprised to find out it actually packs a decent editor in too. In ‘Create a Song’, tap ‘PRO MODE’, and you’ll open up a mix editor that lets you add multiple tracks and import samples from your music library, as well as adjust metronome settings and more. The timeline view will be familiar to any students who have used other audio and video editing apps and, while not quite on the same feature-packed level as GarageBand or the like, it’s still a pretty nifty audio editor.

Where can I get it?

BandLab (BandLab Singapore Pte Ltd, free) is free to sign up for, whether you create a new account or sign in with Facebook or Google. You can download it from the App Store on your iPad or by heading to iTunes.

– Missed our last app review? Check out goReact for iPad here.

Want to know more about our favourite apps and Apple iPad for the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306, email education@Jigsaw24.com, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page for all the latest technology in education news, reviews and articles.

Free creative products with every Wacom Intuos Pro

Free creative products with every Wacom Intuos Pro

In the market for a new graphics tablet? Wacom are enticing people over to the Intuos Pro with their new ‘Create More’ deal that sees anyone purchasing a Wacom Intuos Pro pen tablet walk away with free subscriptions to SketchBook Pro, Perfect Effects 9 Premium and Lynda training… 

So what do you get?

SketchBook Pro. Included in the value pack is a free one-year membership of Autodesk SketchBook Pro. With Autodesk’s sketching and painting software, you can transform your PC or Mac into a digital sketchbook, complete with powerful illustration tools and an intuitive user interface.

Perfect Effects 9 Premium. You also get free access to Perfect Effects 9 Premium photography software by on1, which offers customisable filters and presets to make photos stand out.

Lynda training. On top of that, you get free 30-day access to the vast online training library lynda.com/video2brain. More than 30 hours of exclusive Wacom training clips are available, broken into short and convenient lessons, plus a library stocked with thousands of expert-taught training videos on professional creative software such as SketchBook Pro, Photoshop, or Corel Painter Creative.

If that wasn’t enough, Wacom have also launched a new Create More website for Intuos Pro users. This interactive online platform features free step-by-step tutorial videos, easy-access instructions, and new downloadable creative gadgets, all created to help up-and-coming artists pick up advanced techniques in illustration and photography. They’ve asked the world’s best illustrators and photo editors to give exclusive insights into their work.

How does it work?

To take advantage of the Create More promotion, all you need to do is purchase a new Wacom Intuos Pro pen tablet before 31st December 2015 (click to get yours now…). After purchasing, you’ll need to register your new product at www.wacom.eu/register by 10th January 2016 (including personal contact details and a valid email address, as well as the serial number of the Intuos Pro and a statement of the purchase date).

Once you’ve registered, Wacom will email you with a confirmation of your registration, and details of the extras you’re entitled to, plus a link to Wacom’s tutorials. Lovely.


Want to know more about the Wacom Intuos Pro range? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email wacom@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook