Archive for January 8th, 2014

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Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo teased

Grand NeoSo Samsung has the Note III, the Grand 2 and the S4. Three pretty huge phones that cover almost all needs. Aside from the obvious gap that the Grand Neo is there to cover. The  Galaxy Grand Neo will come with a 5-inch TFT display with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. Under the hood, there is a 1.2 GHz quad-core A7 chipset powering the smartphone along with 1 GB of RAM. A 5 megapixel rear camera with LED flash and the front facing VGA shooter completes the camera department, while the 8GB internal memory along with the microSD card slot takes care of storage.

The connectivity options of the Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo include Bluetooth 4.0, HSPA+ (21Mbps down, 5.76Mbps up), WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, micro USB, GPS and GLONASS support. However, there is no LTE or Wi-Fi ac radios built-in.

Screenshot 2014-01-08 07.06.47

So essentially the Grand Neo is a “budget” slab that bests the original Grand in some departments without being the full upgrade the Grand 2 is. 

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VDI Technology and Disaster Recovery

Disaster-Recovery-900x900The use of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions means businesses can operate with more and more of their data being stored and rendered accessible via external data centers. As a consequence, disaster recovery processes and the planning involved has become much more straightforward and reliable.

 

Getting Back Up to Speed

A growing number and variety of services provided by and relied upon by businesses are data intensive. Often these services are essential for business continuity and so their reliability and security is paramount for the companies involved and for their customers.

VDI technologies and solutions like those from Dell serve to limit an organization’s vulnerability to IT and data service downtime, even in the event of severe conditions or a potentially disastrous scenario. Plus the use and integration of VDI means businesses can get their operations and their most critical data-related functions back up and running more rapidly than with more traditional IT set ups.

 

Benefits of Virtualization 

Innovations in virtualization technologies and expanded use of cloud computing solutions have had a huge impact on the way businesses operate and aim to optimize how they meet customer demand. Improved business continuity and a more robust disaster recovery potential is an important part of the equation and a key advantage of virtualization. 

Virtualization and cloud computing take business IT from being a capital investment issue to being considered more as an operating cost. Establishing a VDI also benefits businesses simply because such a system puts operationally important data in the cloud, where it is no longer vulnerable to the impact of physically devastating phenomena like earthquakes, floods or a terrorist attack. 

Planning for the Worst

No organization or business can anticipate what might be a disastrous scenario but they can always benefit from planning for how they would recover under even the most terrible circumstances. Virtualization makes key IT functions more secure and accessible on a day-to-day basis and under extreme conditions, which of course makes disaster recovery more manageable and potentially far less damaging. 

Data-related downtime can eventually cost companies across a huge range of industries some enormous sums of money, as well as very significant reputational damage. Virtualization of desktops and infrastructures protects against such outages and can cut costs for businesses in the short term as well.

As part of the Dell team, I very much recommend investigating our VDI and cloud computing solutions further via our website at dell.com.

 

This article was written by freelance writer and mother of three, Kathryn Thompson.  Follow her on Twitter: @katht35

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Android or Windows at the flick of a switch from Asus

Android or WindowsThe new Asus Transformer Book Duet seems to be the real deal that many have promised over the years in that it can go from Windows 8 to Android literally at the flip of a switch (actually push of a button). Press the OS switch button on the Duet’s keyboard dock or tap the app on the touchscreen and it takes approximately 4 seconds to make the jump. Thanks to the Duet’s Intel Core i7 processor the Duet is plenty speedy. A list of other features show this ASUS as quite the capable 2-in-1 device.

 

A little more detail from their press release reveals:

ASUS Transformer Book Duet (TD300) delivers striking visuals on its 13.3-inch 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS touchscreen display. This multi-touch display has a sensitivity and responsiveness that exceeds Microsoft’s requirements for Windows 8.1. For audio, it comes with ASUS SonicMaster technology for true-to-life sound through the tablet’s twin speakers.

In addition, Transformer Book Duet has a front-facing HD camera with a built-in digital mic for video chats. The tablet display has 128GB of SSD storage which can be supplemented by a 64GB Micro SD card, while the keyboard dock houses a 1TB hard disk drive. The dock is also home to USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, a LAN port, and HDMI 1.4 output with 1080p support. In terms of connectivity, ASUS Transformer Book T300 has 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with EDR.

It looks to be a pretty incredible 2-in-1, but my problem lies in the choices of Operating Systems. Before anyone gets ahead of me I’d like to say that I love both Android and Windows 8. I own a Nexus Tablet and have been using Android since ’09 with the OG Droid. I also own a Dell XPS 12 Ultrabook running Windows 8.1, so I’m very familiar with both OSs and appreciate them both equally. I also own a Lumia smartphone running Windows Phone and this is where my problem with the operating systems comes into play. As an Android user you will probably understand this issue I have with a Windows and Android duel boot machine. 

I’m pretty much “locked” into the Windows 8 ecosystem. I use the word “locked” loosely because I’m really not locked into the ecosystem, I choose to use all the services just as I did when I was on Android. I can go back to Android in a matter of minutes without any real disruption, but why would I want to or need to? I have no real need to boot into Android. As a matter of fact, my tablet rarely gets any use beyond using Hangouts, so I just don’t have the need for a dual boot of Android and Windows. Android/Ubuntu yes, Windows/Ubuntu yes, Android/Windows no.

This issue will be further exaggerated when it comes to a dual boot smartphone running both Android/Windows (if it ever happens). To fully enjoy either OS, you really have to jump right in and get wet. Having one foot in Android and one foot in Windows is castrating the experience. Either you’re in or your out and most people are all in. Whether it’s iOS, Android or Windows Phone, consumers are tied into one ecosystem. In theory it looks interesting, but in practice it falls way short. Perhaps it’s just me. Perhaps there is a real market for Android and Windows running side by side with a press of a button or flick of a switch, but for me I’m just not seeing it right now. Android is quite capable of existing on it’s own just as Windows (Phone) is capable of doing all the lifting on it’s own.

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Will Windows 8.2 see the return of the Windows start menu?

win8_2When Windows 8 was revealed to the public back in October 2012, there was a burning question floating around – where’s the notorious Windows Start menu? The update had not only shocked everyone with its multi-functioning operating system, touch-screen compatibilities and bright Live Tiles but it had also omitted some of the most well known functionalities synonymous with many computers whether they’ve been bought from the high street or online from retailers like ebay.co.uk.

The sudden disappearance of the Windows Start menu, previously seen in Windows 7, was met with mixed reviews, prompting Microsoft to rethink. Like all successful companies, they listened to customer feedback before releasing the first major system update aptly named Windows 8.1 in October 2013. This saw the reintroduction of the Start button allowing users easy access to other parts of the computer system including the Control Panel and Task Manager – but the full features of the Start menu are still missing.

With Microsoft 8.2 (apparently codenamed Threshold), expected some time in the near future, many people have been speculating the changes that might occur. Of course, the Windows Start menu has been top of the list with bloggers and computer fanatics suggesting the full menu will indeed make a comeback. After all, it’s the next logical step isn’t it? According to Winsupersite, the next version of Windows will let users run Metro apps in floating windows on the desktop and reintroduce the Start menu on products that support the desktop.

So, with this in mind, maybe one day we’ll have an upgrade with a good old Start menu that can do all its regular tricks such as start programs, open commonly used folders, search for files, folders and programs, adjust computer settings, get help with the Windows operating system, turn off the computer, log off from Windows/switch to a different user account. Or perhaps we’ll get a Start menu that’s completely different and spark another wave of computer related fury.

For now, however, Microsoft are keeping their lips tightly sealed so we’ll have to just be satisfied with the state-of-the-art, high-tech Start screen that stands in place of the Start menu – and is it really that shabby? Sure, it might take a bit of getting used to (all new things do), but with the ability to pin, group, rename, order and resize an array of apps at your leisure, Windows 8.1 displays an array of clever technology and is designed to make your life a bit easier. The interface can be used with a keyboard and mouse or as a touch screen (depending on the computer you buy) and allows you to do everything from retouching photos to creating slide shows and playlists.

 

– This article was written by freelance writer and mother of three, Kathryn Thompson.  Follow her on Twitter: @katht35