Author Archive: Matt

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.

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By August 29, 2014 Read More →

Excellent Ways to Speed Up Your Computer

59917_397977230306843_1517103048_n5Thanks to modern technology and the ability to access truly massive amounts of data, our computers are capable of feats that would have been unheard of only a decade ago. However, we must also remember that accessing the Internet and its terabytes of information will also rely heavily upon the speed of our computers. So, what are some sure-fire ways to boost our computing speeds with a minimal amount of effort? Let’s take a look at this question in a bit more detail.

 

Extra Memory

Do you find that your system seems to be running very slow? One of the reasons that this could be the case may be due to a lack of memory. In essence, we can think of storage capacity in the same way that we view a glass of water. Depending upon the size of the glass, there is only so much liquid that can be held. By increasing the memory of an operating system, we will likewise provide a greater storage capacity. This can help free up valuable hard drive space and increase overall speeds.

add-ram-laptop-2

Virus Scans

Another common reason that a computer is running slow could be due to the presence of a virus. This is especially the case if you have noticed a drastic drop in speed within a short period of time. If this is the case, there are many software packages which will scan your system and detect if any viruses are present. If this is indeed the case, removing the infected software will usually help increase the speed of your computer.

 security-featured

 

Incoming Information

Another aspect that we should keep in mind is that the speed of a computer is partially based upon the type of Internet connection that it employs. For example, dial-up technology was only able to handle what we would today refer to as rather limited amounts of data. On the contrary, modern communications methods such as fibre optic broadband and wireless technology have enabled systems to enjoy millions of bits of information per second. This will obviously have a direct effect on the apparent speed of any device.

 

Housekeeping

One of the easiest ways to speed up your operating system is to regularly discard any items of folders that are no longer being used. Of course, you can perform this manually (although it may take a bit of time). Another option is to choose to “defragment” a hard disk. This will help to eliminate any files which are corrupted or otherwise useless. A final step is to reset the entire system back to an earlier date when it was operating more efficiently. However, be certain to back up any important files before you choose this option!

These are some of the easiest ways to increase the operating speed of your computer. As these systems offer many user-friendly aspects, most steps can be carried out with little hassle. So, be prepared to enjoy light-speed Internet access and download times!

 

Posted in: Editorial
By August 28, 2014 Read More →

LG Teases us with LG G Watch R

LG G Watch R 2Following the June release of one of the first-to-market wearable devices powered by Android Wear™, LG Electronics (LG) is quickly expanding its wearable product offerings with the unveiling a new Android Wear device — the LG G Watch R at IFA 2014 in Berlin next week. The LG G Watch R will be the world’s first watch-style wearable device to feature a full circle Plastic OLED (P-OLED) display that utilises 100 percent of its circular display.

 

The most eye-catching feature of the LG G Watch R is its 1.3-inch full circle P-OLED display that produces stunning image clarity even under bright sunlight and superb clarity when viewed from any angle. Powered by a powerful 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, the LG G Watch R offers 4GB of storage, 512MB of RAM and a durable 410mAh battery. This Android Wear device will effortlessly run all compatible apps available in the Google Play Store and with an Ingress Protection Rating of IP67, the LG G Watch R is designed to run for up to 30 minutes in one metre of water.

 

With Android Wear™ at its core, the LG G Watch R delivers essential and relevant information exactly at the right time and place through voice recognition notifications. With a suite of LG health and fitness apps, users can also monitor their heartbeats with the support of the embedded photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor. And the smart notifications provide users with important reminders of missed calls and messages, upcoming meetings, events, and local weather forecasts.

 

With an artisanal elegance, the LG G Watch R boasts a refined aesthetic that is reminiscent of traditional timepieces. Replete with a circular watch face, this elegantly crafted Android wearable has classic curves encased in a strong, durable stainless steel frame and carries a suite of watch faces that are accessible with a simple touch of the display. Its interchangeable 22mm calf skin leather strap also complements its overall aesthetic, giving it an air of modern prestige.

 

“What we’ve noticed in the year of the wearable is that this is a category that can’t be compared to smartphones and tablets,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of the LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “Wearables are also accessories and consumers will want more than one to choose from. So we wanted to complement the modern design of the original G Watch with the classic look of the G Watch R. Customers can’t go wrong with either device.”

 

The LG G Watch R will be available in key markets early in the fourth quarter of 2014. Prices and details of availability will be announced locally at the time of launch. Visitors to IFA can see LG G Watch R up close in Hall 11.2 of Messe Berlin from September 5-10.

 

Key Specifications:

  • Chipset: 1.2GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 400
  • Display: 1.3-inch P-OLED Display (320 x 320)
  • Memory: 4GB eMMC / 512MB RAM
  • Battery: 410mAh
  • Operating System: Android Wear™
    (compatible with smartphones running Android 4.3 and above)
  • Sensors: 9-Axis (Gyro/ Accelerometer/ Compass), Barometer, PPG
  • Colour: Black
  • Other: Dust and Water Resistant (IP67)
Posted in: Gadgets, News
By August 26, 2014 Read More →

4 Simple Steps to a More Ergonomically Friendly Workplace

shutterstock_182853062Back pain and other related symptoms are among the top 10 reasons workers visit a physician, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In many cases, this pain is a direct result of how we hold ourselves at our work stations. Referred to as ergonomic injuries, these typically include symptoms like discomfort or pain in the back, neck or shoulders; pain in the wrists or other parts of the body, tingling or numbness in the fingers or hands, and swelling and joint stiffness.

As the University of California Riverside notes, these often-painful symptoms are the direct result of what are called ergonomic risk factors. These include things like sitting for a long time in an uncomfortable posture, straining the body, repetitive use of one part of the body, contact pressure, and exposure to vibration.

Fortunately, there are steps that business owners can take to help make the workplace as ergonomically friendly as possible. The following tips can help create a comfortable working environment that allows for maximum productivity along with a minimum of injuries:

Posted in: Editorial
By August 22, 2014 Read More →

HTC One (M8) for Windows

htc-one-m8-windows-designA few days ago HTC announced the latest itteration to the hugely popular and award-winning HTC One (M8) with their truly inspiringly named HTC One (M8) for Windows…

 

HTC offers Windows platform on flagship device, blends premium hardware with unique software experience

BELLEVUE, WA – August 19, 2014 –HTC, a global leader in innovation and design, today unveiled the HTC One® (M8) for Windows®, marking the first time an iconic flagship device offers multiple operating systems.

This new smartphone combines the stunning, award-winning design and experiences of the HTC One (M8) with the latest Windows Phone software on America’s largest and most reliable network. Verizon Wireless is the exclusive launch partner for the HTC One (M8) for Windows and it will be available in stores and online, with online sales beginning at noon EDT today and in stores tomorrow.

Unmistakably the One
The HTC One (M8) for Windows offers the same premium design of HTC’s award-winning HTC One (M8), which features an all-metal unibody design and an elegantly curved back to match the hand’s contours.

The unique experiences of the original HTC One (M8) have been brought to the Windows Phone version, including HTC BlinkFeed®, HTC BoomSound™, Duo Camera with UltraPixel™, Video Highlights, a 5MP wide-angle front-facing camera and support for the HTC Dot View™ case.

  • HTC BlinkFeed is uniquely integrated into the Live Tile layout and provides quick access to the content and social networks that matter most.
  • HTC BoomSound features dual front-facing speakers and a unique sound profile that deepens bass, enhances vocals and fine tunes track details for a rich, immersive listening experience. 
  • The signature HTC One Duo Camera with UltraPixel technology captures remarkable low-light images and offers a variety of after-effects for added artistic flair or humor.
  • Video Highlights offer consumers an easy and entertaining way to easily create mini-movies and animated picture reels set to music*.
  • A 5MP front-facing camera with wide-angle lens excels at taking personal pictures that let you capture more in the shot – more people, more scenery.
  • The uniquely designed HTC Dot View case provides consumers with instant phone access while the case is still closed. Users can answer calls, receive email & text notifications, check weather and more. And with the Dot View Case for the HTC One (M8) for Windows, personal digital assistant Cortana can help with reminders, queries and chit chat without having to open the case.

The HTC One (M8) for Windows is also covered by HTC Advantage™, which provides the industry’s only free cracked screen replacement program, along with a commitment to support timely software updates.**

“Consumers love the HTC One (M8) and today’s introduction extends that enthusiasm to new audiences hungry for choice in their mobile experience,” said Jason Mackenzie, president of HTC Americas. “HTC fills a gap in the market for unique devices that put a premium on form and function. Microsoft shares our vision, and that’s why we committed to bringing the Windows Phone platform to the
HTC One (M8).”

HTC One Plus a New OS Experience
Under the hood is Windows Phone 8.1 Update, which incorporates a host of meaningful innovations:

  • Cortana, Windows Phone’s truly personal digital assistant, makes her HTC debut in this phone. Adept at searching for sushi and setting calendar appointments, Cortana also offers the ability to proactively warn you when it’s time to leave for your next appointment or remind you to pick up milk on the way home.
  • Action Center provides one swipe access to all your recent notifications and messages, as well as programmable quick settings.
  • Apps Corner sandboxes apps and folders into a protected area of the phone.
    • Small business owners can use their HTC One (M8) for Windows as a point of sale device without making personal information available.
    • Users can separate personal and professional information, creating distinct experiences for work and pleasure in a single device.
  • Windows Phone takes on the chores of battery, data and storage management, and keying in passwords for known Wi-Fi networks, allowing users more time to explore the phone’s innovative functionality that truly puts consumer needs first.

“The HTC One (M8) for Windows is true to the flagship product’s award-winning design and unique experience while also taking the best of what Windows Phone has to offer,” said Darren Laybourn, corporate vice president of engineering for Microsoft. “We succeeded in offering customers the best of both our worlds with this phone.”

Availability
The HTC One (M8) for Windows is available beginning at noon EDT today, exclusively through Verizon Wireless online for a promotional price of $99.99 with a new two-year contract for a limited time or $29.99 per month on Verizon Edge, and available in stores tomorrow. Additionally, Microsoft Stores will sell the device with Verizon Wireless service and a special offer for a free HTC Dot View Case and screen protector for $25. The retro styling of HTC Dot View, HTC’s intuitive and eye-catching case that shows calls and alerts through a protective shell, is available as an accessory for the HTC One (M8) for Windows.

 

 

 

 

HTC One (M8) for Windows specification:

  • Size

    146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm

  • CPU Speed

    Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 801, 2.3 GHz, quad-core CPUs

  • Memory1

    Total storage: 32GB, available capacity varies
    RAM: 2GB
    Expansion card slot supports microSD™ memory card for up to 128GB additional storage (card not included)

  • Sensors

    • Accelerometer
    • Proximity sensor
    • Ambient light sensor
    • Gyro sensor
  • Camera

    Duo camera
    Primary camera: HTC UltraPixel™ camera , BSI sensor, pixel size 2.0 um, sensor size 1/3”, f/2.0, 28mm lens
    HTC ImageChip 2. 1080p Full HD video recording
    Secondary camera: capture depth information

    Front camera
    5MP, BSI sensor, wide angle lens. with HDR capability, 1080p Full HD video recording
    Photo Edit with UFocus™, Dimension Plus™, Seasons, Foregrounder, Image match

  • AC Adapter

    Voltage range/frequency: 100 ~ 240 V AC, 50/60 Hz
    DC output: 5 V and 1.5 A

  • Weight

    160g

  • Platform Windows

    Windows® Phone 8.1

  • Network2

    2G/2.5G – GSM/GPRS/EDGE:

    • 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

    3G – WCDMA:

    • 850/900/1900/2100 MHz with HSPA+ up to 14.4 Mbps

    CDMA:

    • 800/1900

    4G – LTE:

    • Bands 3,4,7,13
  • Connectivity

    • 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
    • NFC
    • Bluetooth® 4.0 with aptX™ enabled
    • Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz)
    • micro-USB 2.0 port
    • Support consumer infrared remote control
  • Multimedia

    Audio supported formats:
    Playback: .aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .wav, .wma (Windows Media Audio 10)
    Recording: .aac

    Video supported formats:
    Playback:.3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .wmv (Windows Media Video 10), .avi (MP4 ASP and MP3)
    Recording: .mp4

  • Display

    5.0 inch, Full HD 1080p

  • SIM Card Type

    nano SIM

  • GPS

    • Internal GPS antenna + GLONASS
    • Digital Compass
  • Sound Enhancement

    HTC BoomSound™
    Dual front-facing stereo speakers with built-in amplifiers
    Sense Voice

  • Battery3

    Embedded rechargeable Li-polymer battery
    Capacity: 2600 mAh
    Talk time:
    Up to 22 hours for 3G
    Standby time:
    Up to 528 hours for 3G

Posted in: News, Phones
Tags:
By August 8, 2014 Read More →

Features your Free Business Email is Sorely Missing

8373031051_04ea3f7b90_zThere are a number of free email providers out there, and many are used by the general public. While they may be good enough for tiny businesses and for personal use, emails can be a very important part of the office day – and just choosing the free options means your business could be losing out on some key perks.

While Google and Microsoft might offer free emails, the fact is that they aren’t secure or efficient enough to use in business. Here are some key paid email features that are worth considering when choosing a business email provider.

 

Posted in: Editorial
By August 7, 2014 Read More →

3 Recruiting Tech Tools for Strategic Hiring

shutterstock_187011389Recruiting expert Dr. John Sullivan warns recruiters and hiring managers that as the economy improves, they will quickly be faced with new recruiting challenges. Some of those challenges include intense competition in recruiting, corporate growth that overloads current recruiting systems, out-of-date recruiting strategies, rusty hiring managers and recruiters, the wrong recruiting metrics, and lack of recruiting resources.

The recruiting process traditionally involves many steps and time-consuming processes. With the rise of social media and mobile technology, recruiters who designate time out of their schedule to hire will get to the top candidates before the competition. Companies must make strategic recruiting a priority to compete for the top talent they need, and recruiting technology can help make that happen.

Jobvite

Jobvite is an innovative recruiting platform that includes applicant tracking, recruiter candidate relationship management, and social recruiting modules. It enables recruiters and hiring managers solicit referrals, improve the speed and quality of hiring, provide a positive candidate experience, and reduce recruiting costs.

Jobvite’s modules are Refer, Engage, and Hire, designed for employee referrals, candidate relationship management, and a total staffing solution. Refer lets employers automate the employee referral process with tools to encourage and measure social recruiting, including real-time metrics and reporting, plus ATS integration so employers can use Jobvite Refer within their existing systems.

InsightSquared

InsightSquared is a sales forecasting tool that helps sales managers and business owners use their sales data to analyse and drive sales staff performance. They can use it to identify strong and weak performers and the areas they can improve. This is valuable in workforce management, giving companies the data they need to plan for training or getting rid of poor performers.

InsightSquared’s other features include dashboards and scorecards that make access to valuable data fast and easy, call data integration so sales managers can analyse sales calls by employee, and goal tracker.

iCIMS

iCIMS is an easy to use talent acquisition software that provides a comprehensive cradle to grave recruiting solution, all the way through onboarding, with social media integration and automated reporting.

iCIMS three suites consist of Recruit, Connect, and Onboard. Recruit is a social applicant tracking system that enables recruiters and hiring managers to cut time out of the recruiting process and quickly find and recruit top talent. It includes mobile-optimised career portals, unlimited job posting, employee referral programs, and EEO compliance tools to streamline applicant tracking, provide easy ways for candidates to apply online, and circulate job postings throughout the web to expand posting reach.

Connect is a tool to build a qualified candidate pool and keep candidates engaged until hire. It includes effective marketing processes that incorporate videos and social networking groups to help improve candidate experience and employment branding. Employers that stay connected to a managed pool of engaged passive candidates always stay ahead of recruiting needs.

Onboard is a total recruiting solution that incorporates social distribution, expanded job board posting, branded career micro-sites, video screening capabilities, and automated I9 forms and E-Verify processing.

Posted in: Editorial
By July 30, 2014 Read More →

Access Blocked TV Content from Outside the UK with Hotspot Shield

hotspot-shield-11-700x462Bypass firewalls and online censorship with Hotspot Shield, and access your favorite television content from outside the UK today.

With some of the best athletes in the world competing for the World Cup title during the past month, many soccer fans around the world were looking for ways to stay up to date on the FIFA coverage while traveling or living abroad, where UK television channels and players like BBC iPlayer and UK TV are not always readily available. Fortunately, with Hotspot Shield, the world’s most trusted VPN (Virtual Private Network) service, you can unblock any website and get instant access to your favorite UK sites from abroad. To learn more about switching your IP address location and accessing television content from outside the UK, visit the official Hotspot Shield website and download your free trial today.

Online Players Rising Above Cable TV

With more and more people ditching cable TV and turning to the internet to watch their favorite television content, online players like BBC iPlayer are becoming increasingly popular among users not just in the UK, but around the world. Unfortunately, because of firewalls and censorship laws in some areas, non-UK users frequently encounter the issue of geo-blocked content when trying to access popular sites like ITV and UK TV from the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other countries. This means that people with IP addresses located outside the UK may not be able to access the same websites and online content they would normally have access to from inside the UK. By selecting an IP address from one of Hotspot Shield’s international server locations, you can bypass online censorship and unblock websites in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Western Europe, or anywhere else in the world, simply by changing your virtual location.

Watch World Cup Games Live Online

All of the FIFA World Cup games were broadcast online this year by BBC iPlayer, ITV and UK TV, with English-speaking commentators, but users in other countries were not able to access UK content without the help of a VPN service like Hotspot Shield. For users in the United States, ESPN also broadcast the games live online, but the content was only available to those who subscribe to popular cable providers like Comcast XFINITY. By downloading Hotspot Shield today, you can change your IP address location to the UK and instantly unblock your favorite online player, getting immediate access to your favorite television shows and worldwide events, like the World Cup.

Download Hotspot Shield Today (available on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS)

In addition to unblocking UK sites from abroad, Hotspot Shield also allows you to browse the Internet anonymously and protects your personal data from online snoopers. When you use public WiFi connections, you run the risk of internet service providers (ISPs) or malicious hackers accessing your personal information and recording your browsing sessions and private exchanges. With the help of Hotspot Shield, you can select an IP address from one of our international server locations, anonymize your online activity, and continue to enjoy familiar content online, regardless of where you are in the world. If you frequently travel abroad or currently live outside the UK, download Hotspot Shield and start watching your favorite online television content today.

By July 18, 2014 Read More →

Could this be the coolest TV screen ever?

From HD resolutions to curved screens, the TV game is always changing. LG has recently announced the latest ground-breaking development in the market, which takes the form of rollable TVs, as the BBC reports.

Taking how we tune in to the next level, the paper-thin televisions are so slight they can be rolled into a 3cm-diameter tube. And the company is not stopping there: LG is hoping to produce a huge 60in rollable TV by 2017.

This new development means that the humble gogglebox can be used in ways like never before. In honour of this, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the coolest TVs to ever have graced our planet.

Projector screens

Watching sport simply wouldn’t be the same without the trusty projector screen that takes pride of place in your local bar. In fact, recent times have seen them creep into our homes too, as telly addicts swap the small screen for a significantly larger one.

Previously, projectors and screens were costly to buy. Nowadays, you can pick up a quality projector from brands like Epson for around £250. Throw in a £56 projector screen from Rapid, and this option becomes incredibly affordable.

Piccadilly Circus

It would be difficult to install the next screen on our list in your home, but it definitely deserves a place in our run down. Piccadilly Lights, found near London’s Piccadilly underground station, is one of the city’s most famous landmarks.

Back in 2013, the advertising platform was brought into the 21st century with the installation of a new 24.6m by 4.8m SMD LED screen. Boasting 774,144 pixels, the screen is certainly a sight to behold — often by some 71,760,000 pedestrians a year.          

By July 9, 2014 Read More →

Enhancing security in the workplace

swipeFilled with important information and personal details, the last thing you want is unauthorised personnel gaining access to your workplace. Here are a few ways you can enhance security to ensure your premises is safe.

 

Restrict access to a building

You face a tough challenge monitoring who is entering a workplace if you make it possible for anybody to enter as and when they please.

Install a safety mechanism onto your entrances so that admission is only permitted when people either insert the correct code or show an access card. This way, visitors will need to speak with an employee or employer before they are granted access.

 

Have only one entrance for visitors

While it may be convenient to have multiple entrances when you employ hundreds or thousands of staff members, it’s not always necessary to make these accessible to visitors too.

Pick an easy-to-find entrance around your building — perhaps one facing out onto a main street or where there are no steps to climb — and then put up signs on every other door guiding visitors to the correct point of entry.

If you have the space and resources, go a step further by creating a reception area at this entrance. That way, someone will always be on hand to welcome guests and determine why they are visiting your offices.

 

Use visitor badges

Once you have determined that someone is permitted to be in your workplace, provide them with a visitor badge that is to be worn throughout the duration of their appointment.

This piece of equipment will instantly distinguish visitors from staff members and are great for informing employees about who someone is and where they work — no need for someone to introduce themselves over and over again!

Do you receive a number of visitors on a daily basis? Invest in a top-quality ID card printer from a specialist brand like Kalamazoo Direct and you can save yourself the hassle of having to outsource visitor badges every time a new client arranges a meeting at your workplace.

 

Keep crucial information out of sight

No matter how much you try to enhance security around your workplace, you are asking for trouble if you leave sensitive documents in clear sight.

Encourage members of staff to put important information in a locked cabinet once they have finished using it or when they have to leave their desks for a meeting.

On a similar note, employees who use computers should be told that their computer should be locked if they are away from the device for a sustained period of time.

 

Posted in: Editorial
By July 8, 2014 Read More →

4 Ways to Convince Your Boss to Let You Work from Home

Salesman working from home and talking on phoneThat traffic jam last week is what finally pushed you over the edge—your normally long commute of 30 minutes grew to two hours as you tried to get home from work. Although you like your job and your co-workers and your boss, lately you have found yourself dreaming of working from home—and that endless commute convinced you to set up a time to speak with your supervisor about doing just that.

The following tips can help you show your boss how and why working from home will be a great option:

Arm Yourself With Statistics

Before you go in to speak with your supervisor, you might want to print out some articles that show how employees who telecommute are more productive. For example, this digital article from Inc. Magazine notes that employers save an average of $11,000 per year if an employee telecommutes half the time. And, in case your boss questions if you would be putting in the required number of hours from home, assure him or her that telecommuters are almost two times as likely to work even more than they are required.

Have the Right Equipment

In order to successfully work from home, you’ll need the right tools and equipment as well as a home office that is amenable to getting a lot of work done. Before speaking with your supervisor, take some photos of your home office, and make sure that you have—or can easily get—the right equipment that is needed to telecommute. For example, most bosses will want you to have a decent computer, a reliable printer, great cell phone reception and secure access to any remote files.

If you are not already on the cloud at home, you may want to research cloud-based storage options that will prove to your boss that you can easily share documents and files with him or her and your co-workers. If you are confused about cloud storage, a website like Top 10 Cloud Storage does a great job of offering tips and advice about which cloud-based systems are best suited to your needs.

Explain Your Reasons

As Skip the Drive notes, your boss will probably want to know why you want to work from home. Prepare for this question ahead of time, and come up with serious and compelling reasons of why you want to telecommute. Instead of saying things like “I am so seriously tired of the office dress code, and at home I can dress the way I want to”—which will probably get you sent back to your cubicle in a matter of seconds—calmly and confidently explain how you will be more productive in a quiet home-based office, how your long commute is really draining or how you feel you could get more done without the distractions of co-workers.

Be Willing to Compromise

When speaking with your boss about working from home, offer compromises. Suggest that you give it a try two days a week, and take it from there. Or, if you feel super strongly about telecommuting and your boss seems to be less-than-thrilled about the idea, offer to take a small pay cut. Showing that you are willing to bend and work with your supervisor may help to convince him or her to give telecommuting a try.

Posted in: Editorial
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