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 December 5, 2013 Read More →

Huawei announces an in-car LTE unit

HUAWEI ME909TIf you spend a lot of time in the car or you are a chaufer/taxi driver then this may well be of interest to you as Huawei have just announced a new in-car automotive 4G LTE module, the HUAWEI ME909T

The HUAWEI ME909T provides 4G LTE CAT3 connectivity in a 40x40x4mm package that’s designed to be robust for automotive environments.

Full press release can be found below.

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By December 4, 2013 Read More →

Business process outsourcing

repeatableWhen an individual decides to set up their own business, they will have a clear vision of what they aim to achieve. In an ideal world, this mission would be the sole focus of the business with all staff working to deliver it.

In reality, secondary issues and tasks become involved. IT issues, HR processes and finance problems can all reduce the amount of time your staff members can allocate to achieving the dream. After all, less time equals less team output.

With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that so many companies outsource their business processes. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to doing so, as this post will explore.

Reduces pressure

As you will be aware, offices can be incredibly stressful environments. In fact, research carried out by Viking and published in the Daily Mail has found that 40 per cent of office workers are stressed to the point where their health is at risk. As this shows, the last thing you or your employees will need is added tasks on your to-do list.

One of the main benefits of outsourcing business processes is that it removes the pressure on both you and your staff. Letting another company deal with these tasks will significantly reduce your company’s workload, helping to alleviate stress in the process.

Aids time management

As we have already mentioned, outsourcing business processes saves your staff a lot of time by delegating some tasks to an external company. This allows extra time for more pressing matters within the business.

However, it can save you time in other ways too. In order to keep costs down, many companies will try and turn their hand to a number of tasks. Having a limited knowledge base and trying to do so could result in tasks taking longer than they should to complete. A specialised company will have all of the programmes and skills to carry out tasks quickly and efficiently, so are a much better option.

Privacy issues

One of the main concerns of many business owners is the privacy and security of their important data and details. Generally speaking, many people think that if they keep all of their processes in house, they are protecting them from theft and hacking. Giving their information to a third party company is unsecure, in many people’s eyes.

However, there are ways of combatting this. Choosing a reputable business process outsourcing provider is one way of doing so. Nashtech is a good example of this. As they are a worldwide company who provide a service to millions, you know they are going to be both reliable and effective.

This post has documented just a few of the advantages and disadvantages associated with business process outsourcing. However, as many companies will agree, the pros definitely outweigh the cons, making this kind of outsourcing a vital cog in the workings of any business. As time progresses, we are sure to see even more businesses making use of this useful service.

Posted in: Editorial
By December 4, 2013 Read More →

Green Computing and How It Can Help Your Business

Green ComputingRising energy costs and the stark reality of global warming have resulted in a growing movement around the world to implement more environmentally-friendly computing practices, referred to as “green computing,” in an effort to reduce energy use and environmental waste.

Green computing is a must for any business in order to save money, conserve energy and benefit the entire planet. A recent report by the World Wildlife Fund highlighted the huge savings that can be wrought by taking carbon-reduction measures. Corporate projects to reduce carbon have generated a better return on investment for approximately 80 percent of large American companies.

Using less energy benefits a company through significant savings and helps increase the bottom line as well as being the environmentally responsible way to run a business. How can your business implement green computing?

Replacing equipment

When it’s time to buy new equipment, replace those older CRTs with new Energy Star labeled LCDs that are more energy efficient and occupy less desk space. When servers need to be updated, be sure to purchase energy efficient models; nearly all manufacturers today are producing more “green” servers. The more Energy Star compliant devices you have, the more you’ll lessen your environmental impact while reaping greater financial savings.

Another thing you may want to consider is replacing faulty and broken laptop screens rather than disposing of the whole laptop. This can be cheaper than you think and you should find a replacement for most model from  Laptop-LCD-Screen.co.uk

Recycling computers

If computers are not properly recycled and end up in a landfill, their toxins are released into the environment, contaminating water and soil.

Inquire about programs in your community for repurposing old equipment such as through local schools and other organizations which may be able to refurbish and put those items to good use. If this isn’t an option, do some research to find a way to properly recycle, such as through Computer Recycling Center at CRC.org. There is no shipping cost, and the national organization offers to recycle old computers or donate them for use in public charity and community programs.

Energy providers

In some regions of the country, you may be able to choose an energy company due to deregulation. This generally helps make the marketplace more competitive, encouraging suppliers to become more innovative in how they generate energy, lessening environmental impact and lowering prices which can help a business save on its monthly energy bill.

If your business is located in one of these markets, research the history of energy suppliers to learn about the wide range of choices you’re likely to have for providers.

Telecommuting

Telecommuting can be an important part of any company’s green computing strategy. Living Green magazine reports that it’s been estimated that as many as 40 percent of jobs held in the U.S. could be done from home, which means fewer tailpipe emissions and greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. Just some of the many benefits of telecommuting to an organization include lower energy costs as well as reduced real estate requirements.

By December 3, 2013 Read More →

HTC One replacement outed by Judge

HTC-M8There’s been an ongoing court case between HTC and Nokia, where Nokia is seeking an injunction preventing the sale of the HTC One because Nokia claims that HTC have infringed one of it’s patents with the HTC One. The claim relates specifically to the ‘HDR’ Microphone that is included in the HTC One and Nokia insists that the technology is theirs.

The high court judge presiding over the case has published a ruling that included language that effectively outs the HTC One replacement and states that it’s launch date will be in the first quarter of 2014.

HTC is close to launching the successor flagship model to the HTC One. HTC has not revealed the launch date. Nokia has adduced evidence which suggests that the launch date is in the first quarter of 2014 and possibly as early as February 2014.

Typically mobile phone manufacturers would want to keep their release timetables a closely guarded secret so this very public leak may displease them but for those of us loving our HTC One phones it’s great news that we’ll soon see a successor.

The judgement rules in favour of HTC in respect of the HTC One and there will be no sales ban of this phone. A ban on the HTC One would have been devastating to HTC as it’s currently their best selling phone.

There have already been several rumours and leaked shots of the new HTC One, know at the moment as the HTC M8,  and all suggest the new phone will come with Android 4.4 KitKat, 3GB of RAM, a 5-inch 1080p IPS LCD display, Boomsound speakers, and the seemingly omnipresent Snapdragon 800.

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By December 3, 2013 Read More →

Manage Emails So They Don’t Manage You

emailThe convenience of email can be both a blessing and a curse: never has it been so easy to keep in touch with so many people across the world. At the same time, most of us have inboxes that are creaking under the strain of their simply being too many messages to cope with.

And once email overload starts to take a grip, it’s tempting just to ignore it altogether.

Using email should be a pleasure and/or a convenience, not a chore, and the key to improving the quality of your inbox experience lies in email management. Whether you set up a system of your own or employ a selection of apps and extensions to do the job for you, getting an organized routine in place can make a world of difference to the way you use email.

Take control

Emails can quickly swallow up a substantial part of the day, if you let them. It’s important that you dictate how much time you spend checking messages, rather than simply responding to the volume of messages that come in. Decide how often you’re going to spend managing email, and resist the temptation to keep checking in too regularly. If you’re going to look at your emails, deal with them at the same time.

How this works in practice will be different for everyone, both in and out of work. Email communications may be crucial to your job or a distracting annoyance. Whatever the scenario, it’s crucial that you’re calling the shots and setting the ground rules, rather than reactively organizing the rest of your day around the demands of your emails.

Software and apps

If you’re at your wit’s end with email overload, don’t despair: help is available. Whichever app you’re using to access your messages, whether on the web or the desktop, you should find anti-spam and filtering tools that can help you take charge. Consider filtering out messages from all but your most important contacts, for example, ready to be dealt with at a later stage.

There are also many extra add-ons, extensions and third-party applications that you can employ to manage your email. The majority of these tools take the stress and strain out of organizing your email for you, cutting out unwanted messages and protecting you against viruses and phishing attempts at the same time.

 

Enterprise management

For those managing a business, a more comprehensive enterprise management system is required. Again, there are many options to choose from, such as the solutions offered by Mimecast, covering security, archiving and migration from other services. Pick a cloud-based service and much of the hard work is done before the messages arrive on your local system, which means you can enjoy a more optimised email experience.

Any time you take in waiting to address the issue of managing your emails is going to compound the problem and make it more difficult to untangle yourself from the mess. Get help with email management and it can transform the way you deal with emails and your communications with the outside world.

Posted in: Editorial
By December 2, 2013 Read More →

Sony Xperia Tablet Z unboxing video & hands-on

l_21313382Continuing our look at the Android tablets currently on offer we turn our attention to the Sony Xperia Tablet Z.

Whist the Sony Xperia Tablet Z has been around for a little while it still has a specification sheet that should impress, with a high-res display, IP57 rating for dust and water resistance and decent CPU and memory housed in a thin 6.9mm body it looks like it could do the business but being a Sony branded product there is, perhaps predictably, a premium price label.

The question we’ll be looking to answer when we get the the Sony Xperia Tablet Z review is whether or not this 10.1″ Android tablet deserves the circa £400 price point for the 16GB WiFi version, and whether or not it should be included on your Christmas list!

In the video below you’ll see me unboxing the Sony Xperia Tablet Z with a look at the included accessories and a tour around the hardware and software elements. I also run a quick benchmark, the results of which may surprise.

Posted in: Tablets, Videos/Unboxings
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By November 29, 2013 Read More →

Kindle Fire HDX Black Friday & Cyber Monday 2013 Deals

MN24820I’ve been talking about the Kindle Fire HDX quite a bit recently and as many of you will know, I have one myself. Despite some issues that I mentioned last week I’m really impressed with the Fire HDX, it’s incredibly light and great for reading on the go but with the option of being able to use it as a full-blown tablet if I want to. Something that you cant do with the other, monochrome-screen Kindles.

Being Black Friday and with Cyber Monday just around the corner, as you might expect, there are some deals out there on these new devices and we’ve stumbled across this one:

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By November 29, 2013 Read More →

Lenovo IdeaTab S6000 unboxing and demo

lenovo-tablet-ideatab-s6000-front-1Lenovo recently launched a new range of Android tablets, the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 and 10. But Lenovo have an existing range of Android tablets and we looked at the budget IdeaTab A3000 a while ago.

This week we got our hands on the Lenovo IdeaTab S6000. It’s the bigger brother of the A3000 and has a 10.1″ display. Both have been on the market for a while but heading in to the Xmas period, and as Android tablets are likely to feature quite high on Christmas lists this year, we thought it worthy of an unboxing and review as it promises to be one of the better options out there at the moment.

Lenovo call the S6000 an ‘Enhanced Multimedia Tablet’ and to this end the tablet has a couple of sizeable speakers on the rear for stereo audio playback. The widescreen display may not be the highest resolution but is still 1280×800 pixels and, being IPS, is of a decent quality.

You can pick up the S6000 for under £200 at the moment but there’s stiff competition out there so can it compete? We’ll have a full review soon but for now the unboxing and demo video below may help you make up your mind.

By November 29, 2013 Read More →

Cybersecurity: Who is Watching You Online?

Internet securityThe recent news involving the NSA and the implications for online privacy have put cybersecurity in a brand new light. Whenever you hop online with your Web browser of choice, chances are someone somewhere is keeping tabs on your Internet surfing habits. More than 85 percent of adults use the Internet, according to Pew Internet, and a variety of people are eager to collect their personal details—whether it’s to better track their shopping habits or to sell the data to a bounty of rogue marketers, debt collectors or even hackers in search of a ripe target.

Who Watches Over Us?

The vast majority of online tracking is done courtesy of “cookies” and “beacons”—tiny files that appear on your computer whenever you visit a website. While these files are intended to help your computer remember things like login details, organizations can use them to do things like create targeted advertising campaigns based on your browsing habits.

Third-party tracking files are among the most intrusive of the breed. These files assign a unique ID number to your computer, enabling the creator to build a substantial profile based on your visits to affiliated websites with the same technology. This allows retailers to provide predictive marketing based on consumer shopping habits. Forbes notes how this already resulted in one case where Target figured out a teen girl was pregnant long before her father did. Some tracking companies go as far as hiding these files in advertisements, free software and even other tracking files.

How to Watch the Watchers

Despite the growth of the digital security industry, it’s a field that generates a surprisingly small amount of interest from today’s young job seekers. A recent Raytheon poll found that only 24 percent of recent graduates have an interest in cybersecurity as a career. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t interested in enhancing their privacy by monitoring and curbing the usage of cookies and other tracking data.

Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox browser, recently unveiled an add-on that sheds light on how first and third-party websites track and collect your data. Lightbeam creates a real-time graphic visualization of third-party entities on the sites you visit. This gives you an opportunity to see who’s collecting your data, how it’s being collected and where they connect to your online activity. In keeping with consumer desire for enhanced privacy, the data Lightbeam collects and displays is stored locally on your computer by default, according to Mozilla.

With identity theft a constant and prominent concern, companies like LifeLock provide a service to those looking to keep their credit ratings safe from fraud. For a small monthly fee, the company keeps an eye out for potentially fraudulent applications for loans, credit cards and other lines of credit and alerts customers to these attempts. The company’s confidence regarding its identity theft protection services extend to its $1 million guarantee in the event of a successful theft.

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By November 28, 2013 Read More →

Buying a New Mobile? Here Are Some Options

Set of touchscreen smartphonesIt can be challenging to renew lists of the best mobile phones available because their rate of release is so fast today. However, October saw the release of very few new phones. Now that the market has settled after the storm (or lack of, according to some) caused by the new iPhone releases, we can better assess the new phones that have been released of late.

The following are the best of the new bunch. If you’re low on funds this month, be sure to check out Virgin Media’s SIM only deals.

Google Nexus 5

The Nexus 5 promises to provide the smoothest and purest Android experience possible. You’ll be able to enjoy the new Android 4.4. KitKat and rather than waiting for the carriers to release updates, you’ll be able to download them directly from Google. There’s a 2.23GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, along with a gorgeous 4.95-ich 1920/1080 display, with a pixel density of 445 pixels-per-inch.

There’s an 8MP rear camera and a 1.3MP front camera. The phone comes in two options for internal storage: you can choose 16GB or double up to 32GB.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

The new Galaxy Note 3 improves upon its predecessor massively. More of a ‘phablet’ than a phone, it’s the only handset that is compatible with Samsung’s new Galaxy Gear smartwatch (support for other Samsung devices will arrive at the end of the year).

Equipped with Jelly Bean, the Galaxy Note 3 has a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, a 5.7 inch 1920 x 1080 display screen, 3GB of RAM, a whopping 13MP rear camera and a 2MP front camera.

HTC One

Similar to the new Galaxy S4, the HTC One offers an aluminium chassis, a full HD screen and a simplified version of Sense 5.0 with Android Jelly Bean. Users will be able to create video highlight reels to share with their friends. There’s an ultrapixel camera that out-performs just about any other phone camera in low-light conditions.

HTC hasn’t had a great track record, but this model truly takes the cake and silences all critics. Although the battery life still leaves much to be desired, the HTC One is still the best phone HTC has released thus far.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Having just been released, the new Xperia has a bunch of new features under its hood. It now boasts the sharpest LCD panel on the market, as well as a 13MP camera that can capture HDR video.

It fits perfectly into your hand, being nice and slim at 6.5 millimetres. Still, it’s a hardy phone that features tempered glass along with a dust- and waterproof build. It can be submerged in up to 1 metre of water and still work, too.

Buying a new phone these days is tough, as the majority become outdated within a few months. The trick is to select a phone that will last a long time along with updates from the manufacturer. Resist the hype and do your research!

Posted in: Editorial, Phones