Desktop Computing

By March 30, 2014 Read More →

The Armiga – part Android, part Commodore, all awesome

1820-armiga-project-prototypeThere is a new IndieGoGo campaign is hoping to provide Commodore enthusiasts with an authentic as possible experience to the original Amiga with an all-in-one enclosed package. Running on a Raspberry Pi is an Amiga emulator configured as an Amiga 500 with 1MB of RAM, equipped with an on-board 3.5″ floppy disk drive .

There have been a wave of machines that emulate various pieces of old hardware recently. From Bluetooth Spectrum 48k for an iPad to the Retron 5 taking all manner of cartridge based games. Whilst the argument that you are better off using the original hardware these newer alternatives appealingly offer HDMI outputs, a more reliable method of enjoying pixel perfect gameplay on modern displays.

The system features a dual booting setup. Equipped with the latest build of Android users will have tools at the ready to create disk images of original floppies. Emulation fans can look forward to screenshot functionality and the addition of save states too, while the techies amongst us can revel in the possibilities the ethernet port may bring.

The Armiga Project is hoping $140,000 in the next two months, with pledges of $139 securing one of the first systems.

Armiga Specification:

  • Powerful Dual Core ARM CPU.
  • 2 USB host: Joystick, mouse and keyboard support, as well as pendrives/hdds.
  • SD card slot: Save your ADFs or bring new ones!
  • Ethernet connection: Connect to your network for easy ADF management.
  • HDMI: Digital AV quality on the big screen!.

Features:

  • Full Amiga 500 emulation: The target machine is the iconic Amiga 500 and right now 90% of the disks are running!
  • Boot to Android: Armiga supports Dual Boot and comes loaded with Android 4.2.2, so when you’re not playing you can have all the power of Android!.
  • Automatic disk load: Like in the original Amiga; insert the disk and off you go!.
  • Disk dump: Create ADF images of your favorite games and keep them safe on the SD.
  • ADF support: Bring your own ADF images on a pendrive or SD card and enjoy!
  • Disk swap: Just insert the disk and it will be dumped. When time comes to change disks, just select the right ADF. Ain’t it easy?.
  • FTP server: No need to take the SD off to manage the ADFs; just do it from your computer!.
  • Graphical menu: Simple and elegant, with usability as main focus.
  • Game save: Save your game and resume later.
  • Autosave: Forgot to save?. We do it for you!
  • Screenshot: Wanna share your joy?. Give our screenshot feature a try.

By March 22, 2014 Read More →

Samsung Chromebook 2 arriving in May

Chromebook2-11-01-680x342Samsung has announced that customers in the UK will be able to buy the Chromebook 2 series from May 2014. Available in 11.6 and 13.3-inch versions, the 11.6-inch black device will be able to buy from selected retailers from 1 May, and the 11.6-inch white device and 13.6-inch devices from 12 May.

The new models offer faster performance, longer battery life and a slim, light build, all enhanced by a durable textured lid and elegant stitched design. The 13.3-inch model also features a Full HD (1920×1080) resolution screen, so whatever you are viewing, whether it be for work, teaching, learning, or entertainment, you can enjoy in crystal clear clarity.

The Samsung Chromebook 2 Series wakes up in less than one second and cold boots in less than ten. Samsung’s energy-efficient Exynos 5 Octa processors mean you can multitask and render graphics and videos quickly. Up to 8.5 hours of battery life in the 13.3-inch device means that you can enjoy the Chromebook 2 throughout a full work or school day – all on a single charge. The Google Chrome OS also regularly auto-updates, so you always have the most recent technology and security features without needing to think about updating your device.

Simon Stanford, Vice President of IT & Mobile Division, Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland said: “Since we introduced our first Chromebook in 2011, Samsung has been committed to continually developing the design and features of the series to meet our customers’ ever-changing needs, while staying true to the core Chromebook attributes of simplicity, speed and security. The Chromebook 2 Series does just that, which is why we’re delighted to be bringing the devices to the UK market.”

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By March 15, 2014 Read More →

Google Drive slashes prices

google-drop-priceMany have discussed what might happen the day your 100gb of free online storage runs out after purchasing a shiny Chromebook. Thankfully there is a nice answer. It looked like the end user was going to have to clear everything out and say “bye bye” and manage with 15gb or shell out some green to keep it.

Today Google announced some great news, lower the prices on all its paid subscriptions for Google Drive storage.

100GB of space now costs $1.99/m (down from $4.99/m); a gargantuan 1TB will now cost $9.99/m (down from $49/m) and if you’re really in need of cloud storage you can rent out 10TB+ for a monthly for starting from $99.99. The new pricing plans come into effect today. More details can be found at google.com/settings/storage. And if you already have a subscription Google say not to worry; anyone already signed up to a monthly plan will be automatically switched to the cheaper option, no input needed.

By March 11, 2014 Read More →

Asus Chromebox knock the ball out of the park, Stateside

61Q4AURMIvL._SL1500_It would seem the Asus Chromebox is a hit. Currently sitting at No. 1 on Amazon.com’s best seller list the Asus Chromebox makes a desktop companion of the ChromeOS similar to what the Chromebook has been doing for notebooks and laptops.  The Chromebox comes in three different flavours, the first featuring a 1.4 GHz Intel Celeron 2955U Processor with 2GB of Ram for $179, a Intel Core i3-4010U with 4GB of Ram for $409 and an Intel Core i7-4600U with 4GB of Ram for $590. Each unit also features a 16 GB SSD HDD, Intel HD graphics, Gigabit ethernet, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x 3.5mm headphone / microphone port, 2-in-1 SD/MMC port and the ever evolving Google Chrome OS.

  • Amazon — $179 with free shipping, ships March 14th
  • Newegg — $179, ships March 14th
  • Tiger Direct — $179 with free shipping

The i3 and i5 variants do not appear to be as easy to track down however the reports are these ship on the same dates. At this price is it impossible not to at least be tempted by the box for $179, even just to plug into a TV or unused screen. No news of when this is to appear on the UK shores, right now Amazon.co.uk offer the Samsung Series 3 Chromebox running Intel 1.9GHz, 4GB RAM, 16GB SSD for £279. A nice alternative however likely to be superseded in the near future.

 

Posted in: Desktop Computing, News
By March 6, 2014 Read More →

How much would you pay for Firefox?

dell_uk_firefoxIf, purchasing a Dell machine here in the UK, you decide you wish to have Firefox included out of the box then you will have to pay an extra £16.25. Mozilla are investigating the charge Dell are enforcing for the option that is entirely voluntary when selecting machine specification. When questioned about the charge Dell responded with:

“Dell Configuration Services, including the application loading service, ensure customers have a complete, ready to use product when it arrives,” a Dell spokesperson told TNW. “In this particular situation, the customer would not be charged for the Mozilla Firefox software download, rather the fee would cover the time and labour involved for factory personnel to load a different image than is provided on the system’s standard configuration.”

Dell’s website in the US, and Canada do not include the option and it really seems like Dell is pushing the boundaries. Mozilla have kinda covered this under their Software Distributions policy, the document states:

If you are using the Mozilla Mark(s) for the unaltered binaries you are distributing, you may not charge for that product. By not charging, we mean the Mozilla product must be without cost and its distribution (whether by download or other media) may not be subject to a fee, or tied to subscribing to or purchasing a service, or the collection of personal information. If you want to sell the product, you may do so, but you must call that product by another name—one unrelated to Mozilla or any of the Mozilla Marks. Remember that we do not want the public to be confused.

Money well spent you think? 

 

By March 6, 2014 Read More →

The Asus Chromebox is shipping

801x600xasuschromeboxtop-1.jpg,q826d5f.pagespeed.ic.HAZJ0WMBKPOnline US tech retailer sabrepc.com is listing them in stock and ready for ordering. Shipping is 1-2 weeks in the US however they offer International shipping so YOU can have one, in a few weeks.

The Asus Chromebox specifications are listed as:

  • Model: CHROMEBOX-M004U
  • Type: ChromeBox
  • CPU: Intel Celeron 2955U
  • SSD: 16GB
  • RAM: 2GB DDR3-1600
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel HD 4400 Graphics
  • Connectivity: HDMI, DisplayPort, RJ45 LAN
  • Kensington Lock
  • 4x USB 3.0
  • 2-in-1 Card Reader
  • Wireless Dual Band 802.11 a/b/g/n with Bluetooth V4.0
  • Dimensions 4.9” x 4.9” x 1.67”
  • Form Factor: Small Form Factor
  • Operating System: Chrome OS

They are hardly likely to set the world alight however a little box like this with a small price tag might just be what some are looking for to plug into their TV or as a secondary desktop. If you have $179.99 handy, you can buy one now! The Intel i3 is listed by SabrePC at $369.99, that’s $30 less than the RRP.

Posted in: Desktop Computing, News
By February 10, 2014 Read More →

HP and Asus announce Chromeboxes

hp-chromeboxHP has just announced a Chromebox! We have heard rumblings of Chromeboxes in the past however, one has yet to appear on a shelf nearby. ASUS also announced its own Chromebox this week and it seems both devices will be competing against each other fiercely. So, we should really be getting used to seeing them.

Specs and features are very similar between the HP and ASUS desktop Chrome OS unit, but it doesn’t seem like HP is offering a lower-end device.

  • 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor (Chromebox for Meetings version)
  • HDMI, DisplayPort and four USB 3.0 ports
  • Bluetooth
  • Wall-mountable (VESA)

Three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and DisplayPort adapters, and a VESA wall mount will feature as standard across the range.

In a nod to their Chromebook line-up HP are offeriung four different coloured designs will be available, all with artsy fartsy names: Smoke Silver, Ocean Turquoise, Snow White and Twinkle Black.

We don’t know much else about other specs for now. We are not even sure what kind of processor the regular version will have, but it will be a Haswell processor. If we base it on ASUS’ hardware, though, it should be either an Intel Celeron or i3 processor.

 

Posted in: Desktop Computing, News
By January 27, 2014 Read More →

Three Main Reasons Why a Thriving Company Requires Business Video Conferencing Solutions

Video Conferencing SolutionsThese days, more and more companies decide to pursue their bold ambitions by opening satellite offices in different parts of the globe. This is an amazing opportunity to boost their influence and their profit margins; nonetheless, this decision also leads to a series of inevitable changes and new requirements that should be handled with maximum care by all business owners.

For instance, companies that have to establish and maintain solid relationships with remote clients, partners and staff members require the very best business video conferencing solutions designed to fill in the gaps created by distance, improve communication and enhance productivity.

Now, these highly beneficial elements are no longer a luxury, but a real necessity for businessmen who strive to take their enterprises to the next level on time and on a budget.

“As the software-based solutions evolve, we expect to see greater adoption of videoconferencing at lower price points,” explains Roopam Jain, Frost & Sullivan’s industry director of Unified Communications and Collaboration, cited by Corporate Tech Decisions.

Here are three of the most important reasons why business video conferencing options are a must-have for bold players who want to make a name for themselves on a larger scale.

First: The Increased Popularity of Video conferencing

The question is this: can you really afford to ignore the crucial importance of video conferencing, highlighted in almost any field? Video conferencing usage has witnessed a 50% growth only in 2012, and it becomes increasingly popular as more and more people realize that this revolutionary communication method perfects daily interactions with a broader audience and triggers considerable savings.

Second: Multipoint Video Calling Gradually Becomes an Indispensable ally

A new market study conducted by NPD In-Stat, mentioned by Social Media Today, reveals that videoconferencing is expected to hit a new record of 550 billion minutes of video calling, recorded until 2015. Moreover, the same source indicates that emerging videoconferencing solutions come from leading players like Skype, Tango, Google, Microsoft Kinect, ooVoo, and Raketu.

 

Video conferencing reduces travel expenses, consolidates the relationship between clients, partners, and employees, and boosts the productivity of any enterprise. As this revolutionary technology proliferates and becomes a powerful ally for more and more companies, businessmen feel the need to organize meetings with multiple participants. This method, entitled multipoint calls, is now utilized on a large scale. Now, the successful, result-oriented meetings include several meeting rooms and a considerably larger number of users.

Multipoint calls enable participants to express their ideas in front of different segments of public, in a time-effective manner. This communication method is highly effective, as it encourages the participation of several categories of users and allows participants to address different aspects without wasting any time in the process.

Third: Interoperability Requirements

Most importantly, business video conferencing solutions manage to prevent misunderstandings and eliminate communication barriers created by distance. At the same time, as technology evolves at a fast pace, users get the opportunity to connect with their clients, partners, or colleagues using a wide range of video-enabled devices.

This is the main reason why interoperability is an important requirement in the business sector. No matter what type of gadget they use to get actively involved in a meeting, smart business video conferencing solutions should enable participants to profit from flawless interactions anytime, anywhere and set up a thriving collaboration environment.

To be able to select the right business video conference solution for you, you must understand some of the most important trends and current approaches leading to a higher number of satisfied customers. The Wainhouse Research Paper provides concise answers to some of your most pressing questions and enables prospects to make an informed decision when it comes to identifying and implementing the best video conferencing alternative tailored to their specific needs.

This source of information allows users to

  • discover the multipoint video conferencing fundamentals
  • find everything there is to know about on-site multipoint bridging alternatives
  • analyze different deployment architectures and evaluate
  • select the best type of hosted video bridging services

 Overall, the Wainhouse Research Paper provides accurate, comprehensive details on multipoint video conferencing options that could bring your business to the next level on time and on a budget.

By January 27, 2014 Read More →

ZOTAC TurboBoosts 4th Generation Intel Core ZBOX nano Series

ZBOX NANO ID69_PLUS_12ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today turbo boosts the 4th Generation Intel Core ZBOX nano series with the new ZBOX ID68 and ID69 series mini-PCs. The new ZBOX nano duo integrate Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors with Intel Turbo Boost technology to take the palm-sized form factor to new performance heights. 

“The new ZBOX nano ID68 and ID69 series are our most powerful palm-sized mini-PCs yet. The addition of Intel Turbo Boost technology enables the two ZBOX nano ID68 and ID69 series to deliver performance comparable to much larger systems while consuming much less energy,” said Carsten Berger, senior director, ZOTAC international.

Users that want a taste of Intel Turbo Boost technology can opt for the ZOTAC ZBOX nano ID68 series with a high-performance Intel Core i5 4200U that can turbo boost up to 2.6 GHz. Demanding users that require the best performance available from the compact form factor can step up to the ZOTAC ZBOX nano ID69 series with an Intel Core i7 4500U processor that turbo boosts up to 3.0 GHz. 

There’s plenty of connectivity on the ZOTAC ZBOX nano ID68 and ID69 series with plenty of USB 3.0 ports, eSATA for fast storage expansion, DisplayPort and HDMI outputs and high-amperage charging front USB 2.0 ports. High-speed 802.11ac wireless networking and lightning-fast Gigabit Ethernet enables the ZOTAC ZBOX ID68 and ID69 series to maximize networking performance via wired or wireless home networks.

It’s time to play with the ZOTAC ZBOX ID68 and ID69 series!

 

ZBOX NANO ID69_PLUS_2

ZBOX NANO ID69_PLUS_3

ZBOX NANO ID69_PLUS_15

ZBOX NANO ID69_PLUS_20

ZBOX NANO ID69_PLUS_23

ZOTAC is pleased to TurboBoost the 4th Generation Intel Core ZBOX nano series with the new ID68 and ID69 series mini-PCs.

General details

  • ZOTAC TurboBoosts 4th Generation Intel Core ZBOX nano Series
  • New ZBOX nano ID68 and ID69 series
  • ZOTAC ZBOX ID68 series
    • Intel Core i5 4200U
    • 1.6 GHz, dual-core, 3MB L2 cache
    • Intel TurboBoost up to 2.6 GHz
    • Intel HD Graphics 4400
  • ZOTAC ZBOX ID69 series
    • Intel Core i7 4500U
    • 1.8 GHz, dual-core, 4MB L2 cache
    • Intel TurboBoost up to 3.0 GHz
    • Intel HD Graphics 4400
  • PLUS models available with preinstalled memory and hard drive
    • 4GB DDR3
    • 500GB HDD
  • HDMI & DisplayPort outputs
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi & Bluetooth 4.0 w/ external WiFi antenna
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • High-amperage USB charging capable (yellow ports)
  • Bundled VESA75/100 mount

 

 

Posted in: Desktop Computing, News
By January 21, 2014 Read More →

Just how safe is Chrome?

how safe is chrome?A big selling point of Chrome and more importantly Chrome OS is that Chrome extensions are meant to be clean and simple. A bragging community will tell you that you are safer than any other browser or Operating System. A bold statement that will surely have the sceptics investigating. What have they turned up? Problematic extensions!

Google is making a move to ban obtrusive extensions, because sometimes these can harm your Chrome experience. There is another recent threat Google is dealing with, though. Companies have been acquiring extensions from developers in order to turn them into adware clients. Google has banned a couple of these extensions: Add to Feedly and Tweet this Page. These were once popular extensions that helped users simplify some of the more routine online tasks.

Who is to blame? Are we seeing coders pushing extensions into the Google Store clean only to turn around a harvest vital information for the highest bidder? Not quite. In Add to Feedly’s case, the original developer, Amit Agarwal, was offered “a four digit” amount for his extension, which only took about an hour to code. Of course, he accepted and the transaction went smoothly. He regretted his decision when the new owner pushed an update to the extension. The new owner turned his helpful extension into an ad-serving machine. These were not regular ads either, they worked in the background and replaced links on every website! Original links were replaced by affiliate links without anyone’s knowledge.

How safe is Chrome?

Google’s new policies will help make this all better, though. If we have learned one thing, over and over again, it is that there is always a way for an OS to be corrupted by nefarious source. Google have been quick to act, have learned a lot from the experience and we can only hope that the whole Chrome architecture will return to the safe and reliable service we have grown so accustomed to.

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