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 January 6, 2014 Read More →

Lenovo announces more multimode devices

WW_Image_Consumer_Lenovo_MIIX_2_Dynamic_shot_Option_1_High_resAt CES this afternoon, Lenovo have announced a number of new multimode and convertible devices to supplement their exiting range.

There will be new Miix, Yoga and Flex models added to the lineup which makes Lenovo the leader in Multimode and Convertible form computing.

Lenovo’s full press release follows but we hope to get our hands on these devices soon!

Posted in: Laptops, News, Tablets
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By January 5, 2014 Read More →

Should Google Glass be banned for drivers?

Should Google Glass be bannedGoogle Glass isn’t even on sale here in the UK but the authorities are already looking to pre-emptively ban its use by drivers of motor vehicles. There have been similar motions from law enforcement in the US too.

According to Stuff Magazine, a spokesperson for the Department of Transport said:

“We are aware of the impending rollout of Google Glass and are in discussion with the Police to ensure that individuals do not use this technology while driving.”

“It is important that drivers give their full attention to the road when they are behind the wheel and do not behave in a way that stops them from observing what is happening on the road.”

It’s at this point I have a real issue with the ban. “It is important that drivers give their full attention to the road” – so does that mean that looking at my instrument cluster in my car should also be banned? Looking at my speedo requires me to look down, take my eyes off the road and to shift my focus. Then what about tuning the radio, or looking at the directions on SatNav? All of these things potentially shift my attention from the road ahead to something inside the car. So on the same basis should everything that the driver looks at inside the vehicle also face the same ban?

As a Google Glass user and convert I have to say that the ‘authorities’ have really got this wrong and that the technology-backward bureaucrats making these decisions clearly do not understand Glass nor have they, most likely, even tried it for themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for road safety, but I firmly believe that tools such as Google Glass can improve road safety, not reduce it. Glass shows information in front of the user, and you don’t have to ‘take your eyes off the road’ to see it. Showing navigation directions, vehicle speed and other important, relevant to driving alerts in what is effectively a HUD is way better than having to look down at the inside of the vehicle, instrument cluster or elsewhere in the vehicle. If HUD systems are good enough for the military, and costing billions in development, then why not similar systems for in-car use.

There also seems to be a general lack of understanding when it comes to Google Glass. They are not ‘always on’ or ‘always recording’ and the display only turns on when the user wants it to. When there is an info update there’s an audible alert that then allows the user to turn on the display if appropriate or to simple ignore it.

Further consider the safety aspects of Google Glass, and other similar products when they come to market, when there is an incident on the road. If Glass was linked to the vehicle systems it would know if there had been a collision, if an airbag had deployed, the vehicle location via GPS etc. With its compass and G-sensors the direction and severity of the impact could be recorded and upon there being a collision the camera could be enabled and video could be captured for evidence at a later date.

So yes, I think the ban is all backwards. Should Google Glass be banned? NO! There is much that Google Glass does to improve safety rather than detract from it and I firmly believe that the authorities have this one totally wrong. Perhaps a proper study into the safety would be better rather than this whole technophobic approach to something new. If the authorities would like to properly investigate then I’m sure Google would lend them a couple of headsets to try out or you can contact me and I’ll let you try mine out!

Google: Please fight this!

 

So readers, what do you think? Are the authorities right to ban?

Posted in: Editorial, News
Tags: ,
By January 2, 2014 Read More →

More on the HTC One successor

HTC-One-BackWe spoke about the rumoured HTC One replacement a while ago and now more details of the new flagship phone from HTC, codenamed the HTC M8, have been tweeted by the ever-accurate @evleaks. It would seem that the specs that we hoped for last year could well come to fruition…

Preliminary HTC M8 specs: Snapdragon MSM8974, 5″ 1080p display, 2GB RAM, UltraPixel rear / 2.1MP front cams, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, KK, Sense 6.0

As yet there’s no news on the final name of the new smartphone but we’re expecting to hear more about it at or just before MWC this year.

Posted in: News, Phones
Tags: ,
By January 2, 2014 Read More →

LG G2 unboxing and hands on video

LG G2 unboxingA few months ago LG released the LG G2 and shortly after the LG Google Nexus 5 also went on sale. It seems that the Nexus 5 all but stole the headlines from the LG G2 which, underneath, is virtually the same as its Google-branded stable mate.

The LG G2 has also been massively popular though and particularly when the Nexus 5 was in short supply, saw strong sales figures to the later part of 2013.

It’s taken a while for us to get our hands on one to review but finally we have one here and I’m putting it up against the Nexus 5 that I’ve loved using ever since I getting that a few months ago now.

As mentioned above, the G2 and the Nexus 5 have very similar specs. The same CPU and Memory, 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 and 2GB RAM respectively. The G2 has a 13MP camera versus the 8MP shooter on the Nexus 5 and the G2 also has a slightly larger 5.2″ HD IPS screen.

Perhaps the most notable difference is with the OS and user interface, though, with the LG G2 sat on Android 4.2.2 with the omipresent LG overlay whereas the Nexus 5 has Android 4.4 KitKat and a very thin skinning.

In the video below you can see the LG G2 unboxed and in a little more detail and some comparisons to the Nexus 5. And for those of you that are all about the numbers, there’s a benchmark test too..

 

By December 31, 2013 Read More →

Top Technology Toys and Tools of 2013

2013-tech-futureJust one year ago we didn’t have watches that run your favourite apps or a palm-sized HDTV streaming device. The technology advances in 2013 brought us even more ways to enjoy TV, watch our homes and talk to our smartphones. Check out these favourite tech toys and tools of the year and add some of them to your must have list of technology for 2014.

Posted in: Editorial, News
By December 29, 2013 Read More →

HTC KitKat update status

HTC KitKat updateFollowing the launch of Android 4.4 KitKat, HTC were one of the first manufacturers to come out and say that they were going to make 4.4 available on several of their current flagship devices, most notably the HTC One.

HTC have now gone a step further and in a bid to be as transparent as possible when it comes to firmware updates, have added a couple of pages to their US site, dedicated to sharing news and the status of firmare updates.

Currently we can see that Android 4.4 KitKat is complete for the HTC One Unlocked, Developer and Google editions with AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint versions still going through the integration process.

HTC have gone further still and have provided an infographic to explain the processes that must be completed to in order to deploy an Android OS update.

So far there’s no update for my unlocked, UK HTC One and there’s not the same level of information for US here in the UK, which is a shame. I hope that HTC UK will follow suit sometime soon.

For more on this and to monitor the update status of the HTC One Max, HTC One Mini, HTC One X/X+ and HTC One S, head over to the HTC Software updates page.

Posted in: News, Phones
By December 27, 2013 Read More →

BYOD Security: Balancing Risks and Rewards

Employee on LaptopAs more and more employees are bringing their own mobile devices to work, the debate over the risks and rewards of bring your own device, BYOD, is heating up. On one side of the argument, analysts such as Nucleus Research are pointing out hidden costs of BYOD, such as increased support and security requirements, and wondering if the gains truly offset these expenses. On the other hand, the BYOD trend seems destined to win over all objections, with Gartner predicting that half of employers will require workers to supply their own devices by 2017. Given this eventuality, rather than resisting BYOD without reservations, the prudent strategy for enterprises is to investigate BYOD’s potential risks and rewards and develop security practices suitable for the oncoming mobile device era.

Securing Your Mobile Perimeter

Data security remains one of the biggest challenges facing enterprise BYOD adoption. A Dimension Data global enterprise survey released this October found that 70 percent of business leaders view employee use of mobile devices at work as potentially dangerous and expensive. Careless mixing of business and personal device usage can compromise both enterprise and consumer information and introduce malware to corporate networks.

To address this, mobile providers and security specialists have been developing innovative approaches to securing devices. For instance, the latest BlackBerry 10 operating system employs a new technology called Balance which, as the name implies, helps manage the act of balancing business and personal use of mobile devices. BlackBerry Balance lets enterprises create a virtual partition on devices separating business and personal workspace. Encryption by a 256-bit AES safeguards company data and email accounts within the device’s business workspace. Users can swipe apps pages to switch between business and personal profiles, but they cannot share files across the enterprise-protected wall.

Discouraging Device Theft

Another BYOD risk that concerns employers is stolen devices. Lookout Mobile Security, a company that recovers lost smartphones, estimates that lost mobile phones cost Americans $30 billion annually. In the District of Columbia alone, 1,829 smartphones were stolen during robberies last year. Mobile devices are most frequently lost at bars and pubs and during festivals and are also prone to get misplaced during bus and plane trips.

The Seltzer Law Firm, which specializes in employment law, has developed some recommended best practices to help address this type of issue. Among other precautions, it recommends that employers require workers to activate apps for finding lost smartphones and to report stolen devices within 24 hours.

Planning Disaster Recovery Policies

What can employers do in the event a device is stolen or a network is breached, or even if an employee simply leaves the company with sensitive data on their smartphone? As with any other area of IT, it’s vital to have policy for how to respond in the event of a data disaster. In its BYOD best practices manual, software provider Citrix recommends that employers should design networks so that they can remotely terminate access to company apps and databases, close employee software-as-a-service, SaaS, accounts, and selectively wipe work-related data from worker devices.

Posted in: Editorial, News
By December 25, 2013 Read More →

Merry Christmas

xmasOn behalf of the team here at tracyandmatt I’d just like to take this opportunity to wish all of our readers and listeners a very Merry Christmas! Thank you all for fab support and for following us on twitter etc.

Thanks also from me to the guys that work with me on the site, Gareth, James, Phil and Chris. Your helps and support is amazing and greatly appreciated.

Over the next few months we have a lot planned and there will be some changes as well as more of the same news, reviews and videos. We’ll be further developing our podcast hangouts and there’s a few other things up our sleeves too.

We’ll be be back to posting news and reviews again in a few days.

By December 21, 2013 Read More →

LG’s 105-inch curved TV

LG's 105-inch curved TVYesterday LG announced that they were to release the worlds first 105″ curved LCD TV at CES in 2014. Furthermore, the giant display will have a 21:9 aspect ratio, the likes of which we’ve not seen for some time.

The full press release from LG can be seen below:

Posted in: News, TV & Home Cinema
By December 16, 2013 Read More →

Google Glass unboxing video

Google Glass unboxing videoGoogle Glass has been around for a little while now with early ‘Explorer Edition’ versions being made available to a select few testers and developers at the beginning of 2013. Over the past few months the Explorer programme has been further extended and I’ve now been lucky enough to have been invited to join and have just now received my very own Google Glass. Excited is not the word…

Google Glass has been a little controversial of late and there have been some privacy concerns, in fact some shops and restaurants going so far as to ban their use. Part of my desire to use Glass is to consider these issues myself and I’ll be talking about this more as I get to use it more.

So as is always the way with any new tech I get my hands on, I’ve recorded a short unboxing video for your viewing pleasure. You’ll notice that I’m not in my normal studio environment recording this one, I’m in a hotel having just picked the Glass up. As a result, there is some noise for the first minute and 10 seconds, so I hope that doesn’t detract from the video too much.

Google Glass Unboxing video

Google Glass Specification:

  • Dual-core 1GHz OMAP CPU*
  • 1GB RAM (682MB available to developers)*
  • OS: Android 4.0.4
  • 3 axis gyroscope
  • 3 axis accelerometer
  • 3 axis magnetometer (compass)
  • Touchpad Control
  • Bone Conductor Speaker
  • 16GB Storage/ 12GB Free
  • 1 Day Battery Life
  • Voice Control
  • WiFi 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth
  • Titanium Headband
  • 5MP Camera
  • 720P video recording
  • 640×360 display

* Specs for the CPU and RAM are not totally clear, has been a lot of contradictory information so we’re going with the consensus.

 

Other than the touchpad, Google Glass can be controlled using “voice actions”. To activate Glass, wearers tilt their heads 30° upward (which can be altered for preference) or tap the touchpad, and say “O.K., Glass.” Once Glass is activated, wearers can say an action, such as “Take a picture”, “Record a video”, “Hangout with [person/Google+ circle]”, “Google ‘What year was Wikipedia founded?'”, “Give me directions to the Eiffel Tower”, and “Send a message to John”

https://www.ukmeds.co.uk/surgical-face-masks