Desktop Computing

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

 Of course using video conferencing technology is a smart way to to do business but there are still occasions when face-to-face meetings cannot be substituted. Business people will still need to book conference and meetings rooms so if you have rooms to rent out having a streamlined, easy to use booking system like MeetingsMaker on hand to do the heavy lifting is a must.

 

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.

By January 13, 2014 Read More →

Windows 8.2 could be Windows 9

Windows 8.2 could be Windows 9Many reports are currently circulating about the anticipated update to Windows 8 dubbed ‘Threshold’. It was previously understood that the next version would be Windows 8.2 and many hope that it will include the return of the much demanded start menu.

However, according to this report, it’s likely that the successor to Windows 8.1 will be called Windows 9 and that Microsoft out the next iteration of its client operating system at the Build Conference on 2 to 4 April in San Francisco. It is claimed that Microsoft want to create some distance between Windows 8 and the Start Menu debacle, hence the change to Windows 9 and a seemingly clean slate.

If the report is accurate we could expect to see Windows 9 to start shipping to consumers in early 2015.

More details here.

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 December 17, 2013 Read More →

Steam Machine Prototype gets torn apart

STEAM_M_console__hero

There is always someone out there willing to pull apart their latest high-tech gadget. Today we see a tester, YouTube user Corey Nelson who has posted a number of Steam Machine related videos over the past 48 hours, taking the screw driver and pulling the whole thing apart.  The specifications of this machine are reported to feature a quad-core Intel i5-4570 CPU clocked up to 3.2 GHz, 16 GB of RAM, a GeForce GTX 780 GPU with 3 GB of VRAM, an ASRock Z87E-ITX motherboard, and a Silverstone ST455F power supply.

The innards are tightly pulled together and they whole thing looks to be a high quality product with some real thought put into the layout and execution. Interestingly, there is space and connector for a second hard drive, meaning the potential of this computer/gaming system is pretty limitless.

 

By December 14, 2013 Read More →

SteamOS is out there, now!

steamos,9-U-402114-3Earlier this year Steam announced they would be releasing a dedicated operating, based on Linux, for the ultimate gaming experience. Hardware could be made to run of OS, more like an Xbox or Playstation, however those with PCs would also be able to access the OS, in a dual boot mode with Windows to gain access to their gaming collection.

The main plus point is to eliminate slow down that might be due to Windows running in the back ground. A more refined operating system designed to give the best performance for you gaming experience. Also help with some of the attitude Microsoft is adopting towards the gaming platform. SteamOS is now available for download in a limited beta format.

SteamOS Download links:

According to the FAQ, SteamOS is a fork of Debian GNU/Linux. The first version (SteamOS 1.0) is called ‘Alchemist’ and it is based on the Debian ‘wheezy’ (stable 7.1) distribution. Here are the system requirements:

  • Intel or AMD 64-bit capable processor
  • 4 GB or more memory
  • 500 GB or larger disk
  • Nvidia graphics card (AMD and Intel graphics support coming soon)
  • UEFI boot support
  • USB port for installation

Currently SteamOS is in beta, so those without Linux knowledge may want to wait until next year for a more polished version. Reports are coming in that the downloads are failing, and Steam have recommended using some form of download manager. If you want to wait for the final hardware, we’ll see it all in January at CES.

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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.