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 9, 2014 Read More →

4K TV

4K TVTV lovers will be excited to hear that Amazon is filming all of its original drama in 4K UHD quality for LOVEFiLM. 4K UHD is a relatively new technology which provides viewers with exceptional clarity and definition, using four times as many pixels as FULL HD. The enhanced detail means that even with very large television screens the definition is not compromised.

Extremely high definition on a grand screen might sound like TV heaven, but up until now there hasn’t been much for 4K UHD televisions to watch. Some 4K televisions come loaded with material shot in 4K to showcase the technology, but more content filmed in 4K is needed. That’s why audio/visual enthusiasts and TV fans will welcome the news about Amazon and LOVEFiLM.

The director of Amazon Studios has said, “All of the pilots and series we produce next year will be shot in 4K. That includes our first ever drama series that we will green light next year. We think customers are going to love watching these series in the highest resolution ever available to consumers and we can’t wait to deliver it.”

Advances in encoding technology (which enables audio and visual material to be downloaded) means that 4K UHD television and movies can now be streamed quicker.

Next year Amazon will be producing five new television pilots which viewers will be asked to watch and give feedback on. Once piloted, they will get made into a series filmed in 4K UHD and be available to stream on LOVEFiLM. The pilots include Chris Carter, creator of the X-files, show ‘The After’, ‘Bosch’- a series based on the Harry Bosch book series- and ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ from critically acclaimed director Roman Coppola.

This development is great for online streaming customers, even if they are not yet on the 4K UHD bandwagon. 4K ultra high definition is set to be this year’s big audio/visual technology story and with not much content out there, Amazon have got a head start. 4K UHD will only become more popular and it’s good to know that when there is more content available.

Posted in: News, TV & Home Cinema
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By January 8, 2014 Read More →

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

By January 8, 2014 Read More →

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

By January 7, 2014 Read More →

Phone accessories for your jogging stroller…?

Well yes we did call this a pointless peripheral when we first saw it back in 2009 Orlando Stroller Rentalbut 5 years later it does, perhaps, have some merit?

With far more parents using jogging strollers and pushchairs and taking baby for a walk being used for exercise, is the hands-free clip for your phone on a stoller as silly as it seemed?

Recently we had an Orlando Stroller Rental and, as we spend so much time working, even when we’re on a Disney holiday so we found it better to have it secured there in front of us rather than in pockets all the time.

Just an idea…

 

Posted in: Editorial
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
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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
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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 which are the new stuffed animals for kids 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
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