Science & Technology

By March 12, 2015 Read More →

Meet the of Piper nv the all-in-one home security system

image001Icontrol Networks, a leader in connected home technology and innovation, today announces general availability in Europe for Piper nv, the only security system that can be easily tailored to what matters most. Building on the launch of the original Piper last year, the all-in-one home security, video monitoring and automation device has been engineered for reliability and built frustration free, making it easier than ever to connect via mobile device for peace of mind.

Over the last year, Piper has ushered in a new approach to home monitoring, security and automation and continues to deliver users a new and smart way to interact with their homes. With the DIY smart home market projected to reach $7.8 billion in the US alone by 2019, according to NextMarket Insights, the connected home is becoming more easily accessible to consumers than ever before and Piper continues to be at the forefront of the movement with Piper nv. In addition to the already comprehensive Piper feature set, Piper nv boasts:

●        Night Vision: Featuring the widest field of view available in the market, Piper nv’s 180-degree day/night vision offers a clear and complete view of your home no matter the time of day. Night vision kicks in automatically once the room starts getting dark.

●        Advanced camera resolution: The 3.4 megapixel camera sensor ensures you don’t miss any details!

 

“Being aware of events in your home has never been easier with Piper,” said Russell Ure, creator of Piper and an executive vice president and GM at Icontrol Networks. “Piper nv provides homeowners with unsurpassed visibility into their homes and ensures places and loved ones are always protected and safe. It sets a new standard for the optimal video experience in the smart home marketplace.”

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Piper has been recognised for its innovative technology and broad consumer appeal, and is powered by Icontrol Networks, a leader in the connected home marketplace.

 

In addition to night vision and advanced camera resolution, Piper nv has been designed for maximum customisation and includes the core Piper features:

●        Security: Customise three security modes (home, away and vacation), motion detector and piercing, 105-decibel siren.

●        Automation: Integrate Z-Wave accessories into Piper’s security modes, control them remotely, on a schedule, or using environmental data.

●        HD Panoramic camera: 180° fisheye lens, electronic pan, tilt, and zoom, 1080p camera sensor.

●        Customised alerts: Phone call, text message, email, and push notifications to users and their trusted circle when security rules are triggered.

●        Environmental sensors: Monitor and control home temperature, humidity, ambient light and sound.

●        Elegant Design: Simple, intuitive app. Stunning, compact, two-toned form with brushed metal legs.

●        Smart Hardware: ARM processor, battery backup, internal memory for video storage, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.

●        Android & iOS support: Available on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.

●        Two-way audio: Talk directly to occupants through Piper through its app on your mobile device.

●        Multi-Piper functionality: Support up to five different Pipers within a home so you always have visibility and control over your different spaces.

●        Bedside mode: Featuring an active panic button, Bedside mode lets users manually turn on a siren in case of an emergency. Easy to reach and quick to access for fast action, users can now set Piper to Bedside mode before going to sleep for a more secure environment at night.

Piper nv can now be purchased at getpiper.com starting at €299.00 (£217.00) and Piper will continue to be sold for €199.00 (£145.00)*. The free Piper application is also available for download in the iTunes App Store and in the Google Play Store. 

By March 6, 2015 Read More →

Firefox OS expanding to 28 countries

FirefoxOS_for_press_releaseRecently we found that Firefox OS was hitting the new range of Panasonic Viera televsions, now Mozilla are announcing that Firefox OS is now available on 14 smartphones offered by 14 different operators in 28 countries worldwide. The phones will soon expand over to Africa, taking the OS to a total five continents. Mozilla earlier announced agreements with African telecomms companies Airtel, MTN South Africa and Tigo for expansion throughout Africa.

Other recent launches include the Ace smartphone from Cherry Mobile in the Philippines, which Mozilla claims is the most affordable smartphone in the world. The Japanese operator KDDI recently launched a Firefox OS phone in December. A few weeks ago Alcatel Onetouch also launched a new low-cost Firefox OS smartphone in Bangladesh, adding to the Go Fox 15 already in the market.

“When the flexibility of the Web meets the ubiquity of mobile, the boundaries of what can or cannot be done are erased,” said Li Gong, president of Mozilla. “Firefox OS has proven this by re-defining the ultra-low-cost category, now including the lowest-ever priced smartphone. On the other end of the spectrum, we have seen mid-range and will soon see high-end Firefox OS smartphones. This year, Firefox OS has successfully brought different experiences for different people, but has introduced choice for everyone.”

Like it or not, Firefox OS is laying out a rather strong foundation in the budget world to build upon and we will soon see this OS arriving on our shores with the strength behind it to make some noise.

By March 1, 2015 Read More →

HTC Grip sees gripe

B_BYtXoWwAAKDMTHTC are entering the wearables market this year with a dip stick. Much like the HTC Flyer years back HTC are not taking any chances with an emerging market without testing the water first. Their first wearable, like many other companies, is a fitness band. Simple, rubber, black and safe. Working closely with Under Armour the Grip is know as a sport band connecting with Bluetooth to and Android device. GPS is inbuilt and a 100 mAh battery that will see only 5 hours of life, unless you turn GPS off. There is a soft touch material inside to keep sweat at bay.

The lack of battery life will no doubt put people off, Samsung’s option lasts a good deal longer however that exists entirely within the Samsung eco-system. Huawei and Acer have similar devices on their roadmap and if they drop a better battery in then there is little reason to recommend the HTC Grip.

Honestly this feels like an afterthought and with HTC announcing two big devices in Barcelona, this is likely to be ignored however it will hopefully not put HTC off working on wearables.

 

By February 24, 2015 Read More →

Three IT services which could boost business

Businesses of all kinds today rely heavily on IT. Whether technology is driving your front line or is propping up your infrastructure behind the scenes, it’s something which business leaders need to be paying close attention to. Business is often about staying ahead of the competition and this is as true in the world of technology as it is anywhere else. Here, we take a look at a number of technological services which could help boost your business, both in terms of security and productivity.

 

1.       Gigabit internet connection

Not long ago, a 100 megabit connection might have seemed like the cutting edge speed. But if there’s anything we’ve learned during this digital age, it’s that things move very quickly. Gigabit internet connections are particularly effective in an office environment due to the large number of people using the same web connection. While home connections typically see only a handful of people sharing bandwidth, office demands can be significantly higher, creating the need for a better connection.

 

2.       Cloud services

Efficient handling of data is a crucial part of business. Key company information needs to be readily available at all times, but it also needs to be held safely and securely. When done properly (see this Forbes piece) using cloud services is undoubtedly the smartest way for businesses to allow distributed staff members to access central information resulting in enhanced productivity.

Storing data remotely also removes a number of the dangers which come with local storage, such as the possibility of fire damage and the corruption of files.

 

3.       SSL VPN

When businesses set up an infrastructure for the remote storage of data, security is a number one issue – as this BBC article points out. The use of SSL VPN can streamline the process, removing the need for any costly software, instead allowing the secure connection to a corporate network to take place within a simple web browser.

Thus, the SSL VPN service is not only a boost to the system’s security, but it can also offer a boost to a company’s productivity, allowing swift and secure access to central networks from anywhere in the world.

When in business it is vital to choose the right IT service for your business to ensure maximum productivity and sales.

By February 19, 2015 Read More →

Will Driverless Cars Ruin the ‘Thrill’ Of Driving?

audi_autonomous_ttrs-2For many people, being behind the wheel of a powerful car provides them with a feeling of absolute freedom. There’s nothing quite like being in control of a roaring engine, burning rubber along a stretch of empty road. For people with a god complex, it’s a way to vent out their feelings as they let it all out on the open road. Would it be the same, however, if there would come a time when driverless cars would become the norm, taking the driver out from behind the wheel, and making him just another passenger in the car?

Autopilot engaged

Many believe that it would be convenient to have an autopilot system in the car. It would definitely cut down on the car accidents caused by human error. Travelling wouldn’t be that tiring for those who drive over long distances. Driverless cars would also transform the way the public transport system works.

With driverless systems, the safety of roads would be increased dramatically. There probably wouldn’t be any traffic at all. In addition, with the computerisation of the roads, there would be no reckless drivers to speak of because everybody would be driving the same way and everybody would be synchronized to the system.

Heart of the driver disengaged

However, with the disappearance of the driver, the human element of driving disappears. There has always been something sensual about driving. The marriage of man and machine has almost always been personified by the relationship of the driver and his car. Gone will be the romanticized days of being distinguished as a highly-skilled driver.

The thrill of learning how to drive in itself will be lost, as learning how to drive will become obsolete. The human race will have lost an invaluable skill that had been developed over decades. Even with the undeniable advantages of having driverless cars, there is something with a lot of sentimental value to be lost when a driver is taken from his car.

The disappearance of the car’s appeal

With the disappearance of the driver, the appeal of owning a car and driving would be lost. The romance of aimlessly driving with someone would be gone. The new generation will never know how much fun it would be to get lost because they would always have to input a destination before setting out in a car.

The days of romanticizing car rides would be over. No more songs will be written about riding in cars, because of its impersonality. Driving will have the same appeal as zero-fat milk. For all the bad things that drivers and their cars have brought upon society (e.g. car crashes, traffic jams, air pollution), cars have also brought immense pleasure and entertainment for generations since their invention.

Disappearance of an important skill

Autopilot-driven cars may ruin the experience of driving, but don’t worry, it’s not bound to be made unto law anytime soon. We all still have plenty of time to enjoy driving and just ride for the thrill of it. Online resource hubs such as TopTests.co.uk help individuals learn about driving and test their knowledge of driving laws. Driving is a useful and fun skill to learn, and it will surely be handy when the autopilot fails.

 

By January 21, 2015 Read More →

Security: stop your business from being hacked

It is a well known fact that hackers are becoming increasingly intelligent when it comes to hacking into businesses IT systems. In fact experts are now warning that over 50% of UK businesses could be hacked in just one hour – a pretty worrying thought!

After the vicious attack on Sony in 2014 which took the entire world by storm, it has become evident that hackers really do know what they are doing – and the results are potentially dangerous. This scam also highlighted the fact that very few of us are protected against these criminal offences and much more needs to be done in order to combat these criminals.

It is well known that attacks on both small and medium sized (SME’s) companies are extremely common due to the less sophisticated security software they have in place. Hackers are also aware of this hence why these are the businesses that are often targeted – security is a huge problem for all firms, but it is the SME’s that are truly under threat.

 

Protecting your business

Here are some of the highly recommended tips to securing your business:

 

Education

One of the most important things any business can do in their plight to remaining secure is to educate their staff on their role in security. Your employees really are the frontline of defence when it comes to the security of your business, whilst this isn’t the only way, if staff are vigilant it means hackers will have a much harder time.

 

Endpoint Security

Many companies are also introducing Endpoint Security into their business in order to remain as safe and secure as possible. Endpoint Security is an information security method for protecting a corporate network through the focus of endpoints. Software, authentication and authorisation are each monitored carefully to ensure maximum security. This software will include antivirus, anti spyware and firewall protection.

 

Encryption

It is also recommended by experts that all business data is encrypted to ensure safety if any data is stolen. This works to ensure that if the data is stolen, the thief cannot read the data – only you can. This is one of the best security techniques out there.

 

Mobile

Now, it is no surprise that mobile is becoming huge – we are constantly on our phones, emailing or talking. So, it is important to set up mobile network security due to more and more members of staff working away from the office at home. Therefore it is vital to ensure that any wireless mobile connectivity is as secure as possible.

With these tips in mind, you will be able to protect your business for years to come from the infamous hackers.

By January 15, 2015 Read More →

Buying Suitable Storage Devices – A Guide

storage(1)The use of computing devices has increased exponentially. There are a lot of things nowadays that require the use of computers. With this increasing demand in computer use, there has also been an increase in the demand for storage. There are a lot of ways to store data from a computer. There is hardware that has been designed especially for storing information. A computing device has internal storage as part of its structure. Sometimes, its internal storage is not enough. This is why people buy external storage devices. These devices are also useful for backing up data. With an external storage device, one would not have to worry even if they lost the information on the primary storage.

There are a lot of places where one can buy quality storage devices. If you are looking for one, then check out VoucherBin. This is one of the options you have for buying storage devices. There are several choices when it comes to storage devices. Here is a look at some of them.

Discs – These are the most common ways of storing information. A disc can be CD-ROMs, Blu-Ray, DVD, CD-R, DVD+R to name a few. Discs are a type of optical storage which uses lasers to write and read the data on them. People use discs for storing all kinds of information from files to music to videos. Movies can also be burnt on to a disc from a computer.

Hard drive – this is another method that people use to store information. A hard drive is a type of magnetic storage. The best thing about hard drives is that the memory capacity can be expanded to a lot more. They are very effective for someone who needs to store a lot of information. They come in different sizes so a user can get what suit them.

Flash memory – this includes flash drives, memory sticks, memory cards or SD cards. This type of storage device is also very popular. It is convenient because it is portable. A memory stick can be carried around pretty much anywhere. It is light in weight and small in size. Memory cards are used in phones. A smart phone can do a lot of things that a computer can. Smart phones also come with expendable memory. This means that external memory can be added to increase storage capacity. Information can also be transferred from a computer to a memory card.

All these are options that one has when looking for storage devices. Ryman is one of the stores you can look at when in need of storage devices. There are a lot of options for computer users. If you are not sure what kind of storage device you want, then you can ask for help. Find out what works where. Compatibility is a key factor to consider when buying memory storage devices. It is also important to consider the performance of the device. In some cases, storage devices with more capacity may present some problems. It helps to know which type of storage device would be most suitable for your use. You should also consider the amount of information that you need to store. When you have decided which storage device you want, go for VoucherBin for options.

By January 13, 2015 Read More →

Scientists Use Poker to Improve Robot’s Decision Making

A couple of scientists working in their laboratory.Whether they’re serving us drinks on a cruise ship or parking our cars for us, robots are learning new tasks at what feels like an extraordinarily rapid pace. Driving that point home is a new study out of the University of Alberta in Canada that demonstrates the incredible decision-making capabilities of one particular robot.

According to NPR, researchers at the university developed a program that can beat any human opponent at a variant of Texas Hold’em poker. It’s known as Heads-up Limit Texas Hold’em, a version of the game that only features two players and capped betting. Despite being more limited than other variants, the research team still found there are “10 trillion different decision points in the game.” And one of those can apparently be used to win no matter what the other players is doing, which is interesting considering the act of bluffing is crucial to any version of poker.

But lead researcher Michael Bowling said that no matter how good the human player is, the computer will win. It took him and his team many years and the power of some 5,000 computers to figure it all out, with one researcher claiming it took nearly “a thousand years of computation” to reach these results.

Despite this program’s obviously strong skill set when it comes to this poker variant, Bowling said that online players won’t have to worry about it dominating virtual poker rooms. For one, it’s playing a variant that isn’t terribly popular among poker players at large. That being said, Bowling noted that there are indeed bots out there that players should look out for—just not his. For Bowling, it all comes down to improving the robot’s ability to make decisions when facing uncertainty, not clearing out the bank accounts of rival players.

Of course, if they did want to make the robot’s decision-making processing even that much more incredible, the scientists could look to a slew of other poker games to test it out on. According to online platform betfair poker, there are a number of variants out there including one close to what the robot was taught to play. That’s the multi-player Texas Hold’em, perhaps the most popular version of the card game thanks to its boom in the late 1990s and early 2000s. That all being written, these more complicated games could prove exceedingly difficult and likely impossible in terms of programming. Can you imagine the number of variables at play here? Again, this is especially true when noting the very “human” factor of bluffing, a major component to play any form of poker.

For those interested in reading more about this poker-playing robot study, head to the Cepheus Poker Project. With this type of decision-making programming in place, it’ll certainly be interesting to see where other, similar studies can make advancements—and how they can be applied to real-life situations.

By December 23, 2014 Read More →

Inateck Bluetooth Audio Receiver Unboxing

vlcsnap-2014-12-21-14h33m26s217Inateck have provided me with a Bluetooth Audio Receiver to have a play with. This portable  Bluetooth streaming device allows you to connect a device without Bluetooth and stream your music and podcasts. Very handy for in the car, or so I thought. Whilst this device is a lot cheaper than others of it’s type at £14 you need to have a car that incorporates an auxiliary connector on the stereo. Many cars do, however both of mine do not (or at least require a £40 modification to install one.)

The unit itself is light, quick to set up and looks quite pretty, considering the price. Given that you could up to £80 for a similar unit Inateck’s variant sits at an attractive price point. Once I decide if I am changing my car for one with an AUX, or perhaps just go with the modification I will add a video showing the operation.

 

 

By December 12, 2014 Read More →

Samsung’s Gear VR in sight with 11 games

downloadSamsung’s virtual reality headset, the Gear VR, is now available for purchase. You can pick it up for roughly £160 without a gamepad or £190 with. Alone side the release of this new virtual reality device, comes a list of games that are available for its launch.

In total 11 games will be available for download when you get your new Gear VR headout set. Using the marketplace from the Oculus Rift right now and they are all free!

Here is the list of games you can expect to see:

  • Anshar Wars
  • Bombsquad
  • Darknet
  • Dreadhalls
  • Esper
  • Herobound
  • Ikarus
  • Minotaur Rescue VR
  • Proton Pulse
  • Romans from Mars
  • Viral

Of course these are just the games and doesn’t include applications that will also be available for use with the Gear VR as yet. With this device becoming available and a rather attractive price point you can expect more games and applications to hit the Oculus Rift marketplace quite quickly.

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