Monday, March 31, 2014

Sony Xperia Z2: Release date, price, specs and best deals in the UK

One of the biggest smartphones to come out of Mobile World Congress was the Sony Xperia Z2. Here's what you need to know about the Xperia Z2 release date, price and specifications. Sony is experiencing stock issues with the new smartphone. See also: Sony Xperia Z2 hands-on review.

Despite only launching the Xperia Z1 a few months ago, Sony has replaced its flagship smartphone with the new Xperia Z2. The device will go up against devices including the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the New HTC One 'M8' which will be announced this month.

See also: Sony Xperia Z2 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 comparison review: Android flagship are closely matched.

If you're interested in the Sony Xperia Z2, here's all the information on its release date, price and specifications.

Sony Xperia Z2: Release date

Sony has confirmed the Xperia Z2 will be released in April but the firm appears to be having stock issues with the phone.

"Xperia Z2 will be available in the UK during April and we are expecting to deliver to all consumers who have placed a pre-order through our key partners. We are working tirelessly to maximise stock levels in April but currently we do not expect to meet the high demand across all our sales channels. Please stay tuned for further information and confirmed retail availability." said Sony in a statement.

Carphone Warehouse says it will be available from 14 April while Phones 4U states you can pre-order for delivery on 11 April. Vodafone will start selling the Xperia Z2 on 10 April with a free gift those who pre-order quickly (see below).

Meanwhile, Three is stating that it will be available on 1 May. Unlocked Mobiles originally said stock was expected on 1 April (perhaps an early April fool's joke) but now agrees with Three. Clove is now says that UK SIM-free stock is deplayed until early-mid May.

Read: Price Compare-smartphones-of-2014/">18 best smartphones: The best phone you can buy in 2014

Sony Xperia Z2: Price in the UK

Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U are offering the Xperia Z2 for free on contracts starting at £47 per month on Vodafone. That will get you 3GB of 4G data but paying an extra £1 per month on O2 will take it to 5GB. As usual, contracts are 24 months.

Nearly £50 a month is high price to pay, especially when you consider the still new Xperia Z1 is available from £29 per month and the brilliant Xperia Z1 Compact is even less at £27.

Vodafone has revealed the Xperia Z2 will start from, you've guessed it, £47 per month. That on the network's Red 4G plans and as well as the usual Spotify Premium or Sky Sports Mobile TV acess, the first 3,000 customers to pre-order will get free 32in Sony Bravia TV.

If you don't want to be locked into a lengthy contract (and if you can avoid it you'll probably be better off), you'll have to pay a top-end price for the Z2 - no surprises there.

Sony's official price for the Xperia Z2 in sterling is £599 but online retailers have it on offer a little lower. Clove, Expansys and Unlocked Mobiles have the smartphone pegged for a Galaxy S5 matching £550 which is about right for a new flagship handset.

Note that both Clove and Unlocked Mobiles are offering free accessories worth £120 and £200 respectively for those who pre-order.

Sony Xperia Z2: Specs

See below for full specifications of the Xperia Z2 - not a great deal has changed compared to the Xperia Z1. Key features are 4k video recording, a dust- and waterproof design and the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor.

OS: Android 4.4.2 KitKat

Size: 146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm

Weight: 163 grams

Dustproof and waterproof: IP58 certified, dustproof and water-resistant over 1 meter and 30 minutes

Screen: 5.2in Full HD IPS (1920 x 1080) Triluminos Display for mobile with X-Reality for mobile picture engine

Processor: 2.3 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AB) quad-core Krait 400

GPU: Adreno 330

Memory: 3GB RAM

Storage: 16GB with microSD card slot (up to 64GB)

Wireless: Wi-Fi up to 11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, NFC, microUSB 2.0, MHL 3, A-GPS

Main camera: 20.7Mp with Exmor RS for mobile image sensor, LED flash, 1/2.3in sensor size

Video: 2160p@30fps (4k), 1080p@60fps (Full HD) , 720p@120fps (HD), video stabilization, HDR

Front camera: 2.2 MP, 1080p@30fps

Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3200mAh battery

SIM: Micro-SIM

Network: 2G, 3G, 4G LTE (Cat 4)

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.

DMG Mori subsidiary opens Wichita sales, service office

<Deal Of The Dayp>

Machine tool maker DMG Mori Seiki Co. Ltd. recently opened a sales and service office in Wichita, giving it direct access to customers for the first time.

The local office of DMG Mori Seiki USA Sales Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of DMG Mori, is located at Northrock Business Park, 3450 N. Rock Road, Building 500.

Wichita is among three offices established to work directly with customers, says Jim Shiner, regional sales manager for Kansas, Oklahoma, western Missouri and Arkansas. The others are in Tulsa and Kansas City.

Customers of DMG Mori's computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine tools primarily include aerospace and agricultural-equipment makers, but include "anybody who cuts metal," Shiner says.

The tools typically sell for between $100,000 and $1 million, he says.

The Wichita office has two salesmen and two servicemen onsite.

"Mori took the strategy of hiring servicemen first," Shiner says, explaining that "you've got to take care of your existing customers."

While the DMG Mori office is new, it has long had a presence in the area through a distributor before opting to do direct sales and service, he says.

DMG Mori is leasing about 3,000 square feet, according to Ross Way, property and leasing manager and partner at Anderson Management Co. Inc., which operates Northrock Business Park.

John Stearns covers real estate, development and banking.

'The Elder Scrolls Online' last-minute pre-order deals

It's the Sunday before Deal Now">The Elder Scrolls Online launches to the PC officially on Friday, April 4 but the first round of Early Access has now started. This means it's time to find out where to find the best pre-order deals to save money on the game but also to start earlier.

The Elder Scrolls Online opened up at 7 a.m. EST on Sunday March 30 for those with 5-day early access and will open 7 a.m. EST on Tuesday April 1 for those with 3-day early access. Everyone else will have to wait until 7 p.m. EST on Thursday, April 3 to get in.

With that said, there are only a couple of discount offers available for The Elder Scrolls Online. All pre-orders of the Standard Edition comes with the Explorer's Pack and a 3-day early access code. Meanwhile the Imprerial Edition comes with the Explorer's Pack as well plus an exclusive mud-crab pet, rings of Mara, the ability to play as an Imperial and a 5-day early access code.

Amazon is offering the Standard Edition digital download for $59.99 plus a $5 store credit. Meanwhile, the Imperial Edition digital download is $79.99 with a $5 store credit.

GetGames is offering 15 percent off the Imperial Edition making it $67.99 as well as the Standard Edition dropping it's price to $50.99.

You can follow Scott via Facebook, Twitter, RSS feed or email alerts for all the latest game news and deals as well as the weekly Furious Fourcast podcast/videocast. All game news on Examiner can be followed at the Game On Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Residents, businesses could get discount in Chelmsford energy pact

<Discountp>By Grant Welker,

Updated: 03/29/2014 06:34:17 AM EDT

CHELMSFORD -- The town and thousands of its residents and businesses could join together in a contract to buy energy at a discounted rate using a greater purchasing power.

Known as an energy-aggregation contract, the program could save the town, including participating residents and businesses, about $480,000 a year, according to Bay State Consultants, a group that presented details of the program to the Board of Selectmen last month.

"It's really just a group purchase," said John Shortsleeve, the president of the consulting group.

The town's Energy Conservation Committee is expected to make a presentation about the program at Town Meeting, which begins April 28. Town Meeting will be asked to vote to begin the process toward adopting the program, a period of time that has taken a few years in prior cases.

Residents or businesses would be able to opt in or out at any time, Shortsleeve said. If residents approve the program, the town would seek energy agreements on behalf of everyone who agrees to be part of the contract.

A larger number of participants in Chelmsford wouldn't necessarily save the town more money, Shortsleeve said. Savings are affected more by what's known as the town's "load profile," he said -- when energy use peaks in homes and businesses, which often takes place at different times of day.

"It's not a question of bigger is better," Shortsleeve said.

Estimated savings for the town and its participants is about $480,000 a year, according to Bay State Consultants.

Another consultant, Leo Sullivan of Global Partners, said the target rate for participation is about 87 percent of homes and 60 percent of small businesses. Larger commercial properties are less likely to join, he said.

About 80 towns in Massachusetts already participate in such a program or are in the process, Sullivan said. He said Massachusetts is one of five states that allows for energy aggregation agreements.

Chelmsford has already signed on to other programs meant to save on energy costs.

A statewide program that offers solar-power credits along with other state and federal tax breaks and reimbursements includes 42 homes in Chelmsford and 54 in Carlisle. The two communities teamed up last fall to achieve the highest level of subsidies possible under the program.

Chelmsford also began an $18 million energy-efficiency program last fall for municipal and school buildings. Each school is being outfitted with rooftop solar panels, along with more efficient equipment, and efficient LED lighting is being installed in all street lights.

Selectmen Chairman Matt Hanson said at the Feb. 24 Board of Selectmen meeting that he hoped homes and commercial buildings could also be run off clean energy.

"It would be quite an accomplishment if all of our residents and businesses could as well," Hanson said, "and save money at the same time."

Follow Grant Welker on Twitter and Tout @SunGrantWelker.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Amazon cuts back on streaming Scripps and Discovery shows

Coupon Inc., which has furiously added streaming video content to compete with Netflix Inc., is getting more choosy.

The Seattle-based company in the past month dropped programming supplied by Food Network-parent Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. and Discovery Channel-owner Discovery Communications Inc. from its free video-streaming service...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pixely Roguelike 'Quest of Dungeons' is Now Available

<Deal Of The Dayp>You might have noticed lately, especially if you followed our GDC coverage last week, that pixely dungeon crawlers are so hot right now. Back in January, we told you about a new one called , which appeared to be a very straightforward roguelike with a nice sense of humor and a great look. Well, if you've been looking forward to it, Quest of Dungeons [$1.99] officially launched in the App Store yesterday. Here's the trailer.

Based on the early impressions in our forums and my own brief time with the game, Quest of Dungeons is pretty much what I expected it to be, a straightforward dungeon crawler. It's not heavy on features or any massive changes to the roguelike formula, but it's a ton of fun. There's four different characters to play with, plenty of loot to find, and lots of dungeon space to explore. I also really love how quick the character movement is, as sometimes these types of games can be a bit too slow for my taste.

If you're interested in a new dungeon crawler, for a couple of bucks Quest of Dungeons should fit that bill nicely for you.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Approval sought for former West Wyoming police chief's plea deal

Approval sought for ex-police chief's Amazon Deal Online

State prosecutors on Friday asked a judge to give final approval to a plea deal that allows former West Wyoming police Chief David Gashi to avoid criminal charges for receiving extra pay and payments.

When the deal was announced last month before trial, Gashi's attorney said he unwittingly received the extra payments due to forgery committed by a former borough employee who is now deceased.

The extra pay, which amounted to $3,706, led to $14,759 in extra pension payments.

Gashi has repaid the money and the charges should be dismissed, state prosecutors said Friday.

Gashi, 70, who served the department for 36 years, retired as chief on Dec. 31, 2011. He and then-police Chief Stanley Sipko were arrested in July 2012 on theft charges on allegations they overbilled the borough by filing for duplicate pay checks. Sipko later pleaded guilty and entered a probationary program.