Man Vs. Battery

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As technology evolves, the battery life of mobile devices seems to regress to a near primitive form, struggling to get a mere 2 hours of operating time out of the modern day lavish aesthetics of a smartphone. It’s frustrating we know – something so technically advanced having flaws such as insufficient battery life is completely befuddling. It’s like packing a Ferrari with a Smart Car engine. Why? For the sake of a sleek design and ergonomics?

We’ve seen the multitude of articles lambasting the iPhone 4, 5 and 6’s batteries, in fact they’ve flooded our social media timelines for what seems a lifetime now. And as helpful as some of the tips list have been to try and counter this by buying certain aids like miniscule battery packs and dimming your settings to save battery power, it all still seems like it could have been prevented somewhere down the line.

Yes, we’d all moan if the Apple developers released an ugly product that didn’t embody everything that an amateur tech hack thought should be exhibited on the latest model, or even some of the lesser smartphones. But what should the developers really be focusing on improving with these upcoming releases? We know that they’ll never risk sacrificing their aesthetical visions for functionality but how long before the consumer begins to become disgruntled by this major flaw in its design?

Firstly, not only were people aggrieved by the lack of development with the battery power of the iPhone 5 to the latest model, Apple didn’t do themselves any favors at all when they had to recall “affected” iPhone units last year. Some of the device’s batteries didn’t even last for the stated two-hour period, which meant Apple came under fire once again, for their ill-performing handset.

Secondly, one of the most frustrating pieces of advice from websites that’s often banded about is that by buying technical aids, you can help maintain your battery life for more than the derisory two-hour period. External power banks are great but why should we have to invest in a device like this for such a high-end product such as the iPhone? It doesn’t make any sense.

However, possibly the most frustrating issue is when you do finally look to charge your iPhone handset after it has failed on you again, no matter what model it is, it takes approximately 45 minutes to charge 20%. Compare that to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which takes only 30 minutes to charge 50%, it’s just crazy. Yes, we understand that the phones are different, and that the iPhone is most people’s choice of mobile but why aren’t we getting results? Shouldn’t the iPhone be outperforming other smartphones?

As developers seem to be losing the battle against battery deficiencies and have their hearts set more on building a fancy product that the world wants to see aesthetically. The consumer will continue to bumble through the day getting increasingly angrier at the inadequate battery life of one of technology’s flagship devices of the 21st century. Would Steve Jobs have tolerated such failures in this department? In short: no.

And instead of helping us find out what apps are draining our battery, maybe the answer is to just improve its specifications. In this day and age we shouldn’t be constantly challenged by a device, which is not only an aid to help us make phone calls but something that has become a vital part of all forms of our daily life.

Thanks to @WrittenbyJenni for sending this in.

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Mobile Internet Connections – What You Need To Know

HTC EVO 4G

With smart phones, tablets, and other smart devices now playing huge roles in our everyday lives, it’s no wonder why the mobile internet connection industry is so competitive and so highly sought after. We can play games on our smart phones, we can do our banking online using our smart phones and tablets, and we can even pay for items using these devices. The world has gone smart mad it seems, with more and more of us owning smart devices than ever before. When it comes to these devices, the main appeal of them is the fact that they’re essentially super computers that you can carry around with you. They feature HD displays, CPU’s, and allow you to browse the internet pretty much anywhere. When it comes to connecting to the internet however, it’s important that you choose a trusted mobile internet connection provider such as Virgin media mobile broadband so you can ensure you’re getting the best services, the best tariff, and the best customer care. Do that, and your internet browsing experience will run much smoother. There are also other things that you need to know about mobile internet connections, some of which you may not have considered before previously.

You are pretty much constantly connected

The great thing about smart devices is that they allow you to be connected to the internet pretty much 24/7 365 days a year. This means you can check emails, browse for items, read books, watch films, or anything else for that matter, all thanks to your smart device. You can even turn your device into a WI-FI hotspot to allow you to really get the most out of your browsing whilst on the move.

You must connect to a WI-FI connection at home

This may sound like common sense to some of you, but for people new to smart devices, this is something that often catches them out, that can potentially cost them a fair bit of money. Most smart devices will connect to the internet via 3G or 4G, which can drain data usage from your device. Unless you have unlimited data, once the usage has been drained, you then be charged for whatever you go over by. People at home often forget to connect to their Wireless network box, which drains usage and costs them money. Once connected to your wireless network, you can browse the internet as much as you like, as it won’t affect the tariff of your smart phone.

Security is important

As your devices will have all of your personal details on, including your home address and even banking information if you do online banking, then making sure your device is secure is vital. There are plenty of steps and measures you can take, but what’s most important is to remember that when you do sell, recycle, or upgrade your current device, you must ensure all of the data has been permanently erased using special software which can be easily implemented with a little know-how.

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Efficiency Tips For Slimline Tech Startups

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The idea has been germinating for some time, the planning is in place and the slimline tech startup is ready to roll. The savvy small business owner will be wanting the operation to be as efficient as possible, ensuring that everything runs smoothly, customers are satisfied with their products or services, employees are content with their working circumstances and money comes flowing in.

Of course, everything would be so simple if all of the above worked as it should, but few things are perfect in this world, and slimline tech startups will need to face many challenges, similar to the challenges faced by many larger organizations.

A major challenge can be efficiency, especially when the business is small and may not have many employees or a significant level of investment available. Costs may also be under pressure and a need to reduce them may be necessary. How can a business become more efficient?

Streamlining operations

For many business owners, efficiency is all about reducing costs, and although that may be one method, it’s not simply a question of cutting away a certain percentage. Actions such as making people redundant, not using contractors for essential services, reducing training and banning travel may all have an effect on the bottom line, but not always in the way intended.

If contractors have been used, who will carry out the tasks they performed? Resources in-house is the usual answer, but resources can become overstretched, leading to people taking time off work for stress or sickness and impacting on operational efficiency. A reduction in training could mean that employees do not have the depth of knowledge needed to satisfy customers, potentially leading to loss of business and the consequent impact on revenue streams.

If employees become demotivated, the quality of their work is likely to suffer, and this too has a knock-on effect on productivity and customer relations.

Business owners can develop efficiencies without necessarily needing to do any of the above by examining business processes to see which are working most efficiently and why, then prioritizing work on those processes that are not contributing well to overall turnover.

Automating certain processes, such as invoicing, databases and accounting procedures, can improve the speed that tasks are achieved by cutting down on manual activity and human error, leaving employees to concentrate on developing and maintaining the customer base.

Outsourcing vs in house

Administration can be a time-consuming problem for small businesses. Employees who should be concentrating on the core business will often have to spend effectively unproductive time on admin tasks such as payroll or legislation and compliance issues. Many small tech businesses, especially those who contract their services out, find it cost-effective to use a company such as Atlantic Umbrella to take care of these administrative aspects. By using an umbrella company, business can free up employees who would otherwise be working on these and other issues, such as tax, allowing them to concentrate on work that directly impacts on bringing more revenue through the door. The cost of the services is small compared to paying the salary and costs of an employee.

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The Best Smartphones For Gaming

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With news of the iPhone 6 and the Android One set to hit the shelves any day now, it seems we have a bigger choice than ever when it comes to picking a smartphone. The main use of the humble cell phone has shifted considerably in recent years however – today, our favourite gadgets are more synonymous with gaming than they are making calls, and this has not eluded the attentions or modern games developers.

Modern online gaming sites like Uptown Aces are putting increasingly high demands on today’s mobile devices in terms of graphics, mobile internet speeds and battery life. Thankfully, the market is responding with even more hi-tech gadgets. Here’s a round up of the best mobiles on the market out there.

iPhone 5S

Until the hotly anticipated iPhone 6 comes along, the iPhone 5S is possibly the best gaming smartphone on the market at the moment. The reason for its effectiveness as a gaming device boils down to an app ecosystem, which is the leading system in the mobile games market. The iPhone 5S wins hands down for choice of games and speed of delivery of apps, often giving gamers the first opportunity to download the newest offering in the mobile games world.

HTC One

A direct rival to the iPhone and a runner up in the mobile gaming stakes, the Android-powered HTC One is a perfect games platform for a multitude of reasons. For one, it is made from aluminium, which is highly effective in dissipating heat, so a long drawn out gaming session isn’t like to make your phone overheat. Combined with a 5-inch display and crisp sounding stereo speakers, the HTC One provides an immersive gaming experience. It may be advised however to invest in a pair of headphones!

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

In a close third place, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes under the umbrella of ‘phablet’, a smartphone with a large screen that’s not quite tablet size but still provides outstanding visuals for gamers. The game ecosystem is very varied, but performance is the key for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Equipped with a hugely powerful Snapdragon 800 chip with 3GB, the phone allows you to multi-task efficiently, while games look fantastic with Adreno 330 graphics. There’s also a 32GB internal storage system, so if you do want to spend hours gaming, you can rest assured your efforts will not go to waste.

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BYOD Security – 5 Ways To Be Safe

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With massive data breaches constantly in the news, it seems that data security is becoming a greater concern for companies every day. Compounded on top of these daily security issues is the threat that bringing your own devices to the office creates. Employers must figure out how best to allow employees to improve efficiency by using their technology while also making sure that valuable data is safe and secure. Without having access to these devices, this task becomes significantly more difficult. Check out the graphic below for five was to preserve security in a BYOD world.

Three Advantages Of Using BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) In Your Place Of Work

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Let’s face it, the business world is pretty cut throat and downright ruthless world at times, with only the fittest surviving. It is unbelievably competitive, but if you’re willing to do everything that you can in order to ensure that your business is nothing but a success, it can be incredibly lucrative and rewarding as well, giving you the potential to live very comfortably and make a significant amount of money. In order for any business to succeed however, the owners must ensure that they not only get with the times, but actually get ahead of times, by implementing systems and techniques before their competition gets the chance to. Technology plays a vital role in many businesses, and without it, 90% of them simply would not make it. Any serious business owner needs to embrace modern technology and utilise it in their businesses, and that’s where BYOD comes in so handy.

What is BYOD?

BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device, and what it basically means is that businesses can implement a special business policy which allows employees to personal devices such as tablets and smart phones, in order to be able to access business data such as spreadsheets, emails, databases etc, all from their own devices, rather than company owned ones. They can also access business date outside of business hours, or outside of the business, if they’re at home or out on the road perhaps. The main thing to remember about BYOD is that the device is the employee’s and not the businesses. There are of course, certain things to consider when implementing this type of policy, but so far things are looking very promising indeed. So, what are the advantages?

It is highly secure for the business

One of the main benefits of BYOD is the fact that it is incredibly secure for businesses as vital date is safeguarded against certain security threats and issues such as malware.

It can improve company morale

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Another great benefit associated with BYOD is the fact that it has been found to help boost company and employee morale, which in turn helps to make your business more efficient and more effective. As employees can all access the same data and the same info from their own devices, they don’t feel as if they’re being left out of the loop and having important facts hidden from them. Not only that, but as the company is allowing them to use their own devices, they are showing their employees that they trust them and have faith in them not to be browsing Twitter or Facebook on their personal smart devices when they should be working. Image reference is from Dell.

It saves the business money

Perhaps the most obvious, and some would consider the most important benefit of BYOD, is the fact that it can save the business a significant amount of money. As employees will be using their own personal devices, which they pay for and financially responsible for, the company will not need to purchase anywhere near as many technological devices as they would have without this particular piece of software. Users are essentially walking around with their own personal business computers, saving the business money due to the fact that not every single employee will need to have their own personal computer device, which needs to be purchased by the business.

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Developments Made in Mobile Security

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New developments in mobile technology have taken the global workforce by storm, with smartphones now considered an integral asset for employees working in a variety of different industries. From corporate CEOs to delivery drivers, the handheld devices have added valuable elements of flexibility and remote communication to the daily grind.

Yet with the innovations come a range of new security risks. This has meant businesses have had to drastically up the “anti” when it comes to mobile security. To give you a better understanding of recent developments, we’ve put together a list of the most common mobile-borne threats and how they are being tackled.

Application threats

Apps have skyrocketed in popularity in the past few years, offering mobile users entertainment, information and practicality. Yet while most apps are harmless, ‘malicious apps’ present a serious security threat for mobile devices. From installing malware and spyware, to gathering private data and information, apps are used to attack end users through their mobile devices. App scanners have since been developed to combat these sorts of attacks, while specially developed anti-virus and anti-malware for mobiles is also a popular form of protection. While it is relatively easy to install such tools, this article from SC Magazine revealed that UK businesses are still falling behind when it comes to keeping devices secure.

Text message threats

As well as being a quick and instant form of communication, text messages are also used by malicious hackers as a primary way to gain personal information. Phishing scams from banks and other sources are a common tactic which can lead to the exposing of passwords, account numbers and other personal data. Call and text blockers are the easiest way to quash SMS threats while the Information Commissioner’s Office also welcomes complaints regarding spam messages.

Email security threats

Thanks to the development of cloud technology, mobile users are able to gain access to email accounts using a range of handheld devices. While this is incredibly convenient, it has also led to an increase in the number of email security threats. The answer is the installation of an effective email security system. Email security by Mimecast is the UK’s leading risk mitigation solution, using cutting edge cloud technology to protect users against a complete range of email-borne threats including spam, malware, phishing, DHA, DDoS, data leakage and socially engineered attacks.

Network threats

With Wi-Fi connectivity now standard on all smartphones, network threats have emerged as a primary concern for mobile users. Network exploits actively seek out weaknesses in mobile operating systems to covertly install malware while ‘Wi-Fi sniffing’ furtively intercepts transmitted data in order to gather sensitive user information. Proactive threat detection tools such as firewalls and encrypted browsing are the best way to avoid public network threats.

Lost and stolen devices

Regardless of how stringent your in-house mobile security system is, there is always the risk of devices being lost or stolen. When information falls into the wrong hands, the results can be disastrous. At the most basic level, passwords are simple yet effective. However despite the ease of execution, recent research from NQ Mobile revealed that only 52% of users protect devices with a password or an alternative authentication method. Remote location GPS tracking technology allows users to pinpoint the location of lost or stolen devices while automatic lost notices appeal to honest finders. For those using devices to store confidential information, functions such as remote wipe and remote lock ensure data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

While mobile devices offer increased convenience and productivity, it is critical for businesses to stay on top of smartphone security strategies. Thankfully, as hackers become more sophisticated, so too do the companies committed to protecting end users against malicious attacks.

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How Technology Can Help Your Business To Make More Profit

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Technology is advancing at an astonishing rate. Only two decades ago, it was very rare for someone to have a personal computer in their home. These days, nearly everyone has multiple machines for all the family. Today, we’re going to spend some time taking a look at some of the ways in which technology can be used to increase profits within your business. No matter what your company does, keeping updated with the most recent releases could mean that productivity and efficiency improves. With all that in mind, you should put your feet up and take a few moments to read through all the information below. Hopefully, you’ll then be in a better position to make the most money possible.

Communications

In the past, people had to spend a lot of their time on the telephone speaking with customers and clients. They also had to get up from their desk and walk around the office to converse with co-workers. Thanks to video messaging services like Skype and instant messaging software, that is no longer the case. It is now possible to pass on information in seconds and keep your staff at their workstations at all times. That means complicated tasks have now become much easier to complete.

Advertising

Whether you engage in online advertising or you pay for physical promotional products, technology has made your life simpler. Many moons ago, the only viable means of advertising were newspapers, TV and radio. Unfortunately, they were all too expensive for the average small business owner. On top of that, using those techniques meant it was very tricky to target your efforts. Online marketing tools like Google Adwords are a godsend. Also, it’s now much easier to find good printing specialists. If you want to know more, you should view Konica Minolta’s range of commercial printers.

Ease of access

While you might have stored all your most-important documents in filing cabinets ten years ago, you can now upload everything to the cloud. That means they’re accessible from anywhere in the world so long as you have an internet connection. The days of going into the office to check on things at the weekend are over. Now you can do everything from the comfort of your own home or on the move. That can also help you when attending business meetings with new clients. If you forget to take any important information along, you can simply get it on your laptop.

Better employees

Up until people started creating job websites online, the only way of finding employees was placing ads in newspapers or your local jobcentre. That meant your choice was severely limited. These days, you can find the best employees possible in any location by placing an advertisement on sites like Indeed.

Now you’ve read about some of the main ways in which technology can help your business to make more profit, we hope you’ll be more inclined to keep abreast advancements.

Good luck with everything. We look forward to seeing you back here soon for some more interesting articles that could make a world of difference to your business.

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Laptop vs. Tablet: 2014′s Technology Quandary

Acer Iconia W510

In 2014, both laptops and tablets are so streamlined, efficient and durable that either is a credible choice for the consumer on the go. But on assessment of hardware, features, and functionality, it would seem that the day to day use of these two types of portable technology is deeply divergent. The benefits of each will depend on the needs of the end user. Before assessing the market, then, it’s time to have an introspective moment and figure out what will work best for you.

Affordability

While in recent years laptops have come down in price, tablets tend to be more affordable in general, with credible, cheap as (micro) chips versions costing around $140, like the more basic model of  the Kindle Fire HD. However, the lighter, economical netbook has also flourished in recent years, as have dependable and functional Dell laptops. As a bonus, the functionality of these laptops defies the price tag.

Productivity

More conventional laptop users might balk at the prospect of using a tablet to attack a spreadsheet or piece together a presentation, but some tablets are up to the task. Apple’s iPad Air has its own version of Microsoft Word, and if the thought of sharing your touchscreen with a pixelated keyboard doesn’t appeal, there’s always the option of hooking it up to a Bluetooth keyboard. There are also hybrid styles to consider; Microsoft’s Surface, for example, fits into a laptop-like shell, and can be detached with the same portability as a tablet. Sales reps, in particular, will profit from the instantaneous nature of the tablet for slick presentation and near-instantaneous startup. 

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Entertainment

On the go, nothing can beat whipping out a neat little tablet, powering on immediately, and sinking into another world. Everything is swiftly accessed with a gesture, and for those who enjoy app-style, tactile gaming, there’s a new hot game release every week on the iTunes App Store. However, while serious, sedentary PC or laptop gamers won’t be able to deny the appeal of its lucid screen and portability, a tablet may lack the power needed for more involved titles.

Verdict

If you’re looking for a powerful processor, with slick input and navigation at a rate of knots, a more traditional laptop might be a better option for your lifestyle. If, however, you are looking for a highly portable tool which can be slung in a bag, you prefer a hands-on approach to interaction and a battery which can endure a 12 hour day, you’ll prefer a tablet. With the increasing availability of cloud-based technology, keyboard cases and software improvement, any margin in functionality that may have existed between tablets and laptops is swiftly blurring. To find your ideal match, appraise your lifestyle and the right choice will follow.

Image by P4BLoX, used under Creative Commons license.

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The History of the Interactive Kiosk

Check-In Kiosks

Interactive kiosks are a relatively new development in the tech world, but they’ve actually been around for a bit longer than you might have realised.

Nowadays they’re just about ubiquitous, appearing more or less everywhere you might care to look. You see them on the streets, in the form of touchscreen cash machines outside the local branch of your bank, and in the shops, in the guise of self-service checkout counters at the supermarket or information terminals in shopping centres.

We use them in just about all walks of life, for a wide variety of sometimes starkly different purposes. But how did they become so popular? How did interactive kiosks get to the place they are today? Let’s look through their history a bit.

1977 – The First Kiosk

The very first self-service kiosk was created by Murray Lappe. Lappe was a pre-med student at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Designed in 1977 (making interactive kiosks almost 40 years old now), the Plato Hotline (called so because it operated on a PLATO computer system) was housed in the student union building of the University. During its first six weeks of operation, more than 30,000 people – not just students, but also teachers and visitors – queued up to use it.

Why was it so popular? Well, what one has to keep in mind is the lack of computers in any commercial sense back in ’77. Many people had never seen a computer at this time, let alone been able to actually use one. The first commonly-available GUI would not come into play until 1983, with the launch of the Apple LISA.

The Plato Hotline was used via a plasma touch screen (developed just over a decade earlier by Donald Blitzer, another U of Illinois student). It allowed users to browse directories, view maps of the campus, check out bus timetables and more, eight years before the first Windows was released. Impressive stuff.

1984 – The First Commercial Kiosk Network

Less than ten years later, the shoe store Florsheim Shoe Company installed the world’s first commercial network of kiosks. Known as the Florsheim Express Shop, it was introduced into all the physical stores and allowed customers to order any shoe from the Florsheim catalogue, in any colour and size, without having to rely on whether that particular outlet had the variety in stock or not. Customers paid through the kiosk, and the transaction was communicated to the head office via dial-up lines.

The commercial revolution had begun.

1991 – The First Internet-Connected Commercial Kiosk

Another first, one of the kiosks displayed at the 1991 Comdex (Computer Dealers’ Exhibition) happened to be the first one to be connected up to the internet. Its main use was to locate children who had gone missing – a noble purpose, if ever there was one.

1997 – The First Kiosk Conference

KioskCom – now called Customer Engagement World – was launched in 1997 to great fanfare. A tradeshow at heart, it was designed to provide information, demonstrations, and the latest news for any organisation looking into the deployment of interactive kiosks, such as the ones currently offered by Evoke Interactive and the like.

It currently takes place in New York City, and is usually held towards the beginning of November.

2007 – The First State-Wide Kiosk Initiative

Imperial Multimedia worked with the state of Virginia to install new touchscreen kiosks into more than 30 different State Parks. These interactive kiosks provide a wealth of information to visitors, such as what to do in case of an emergency, the various points of interest in the area, and even maps which can be printed off.

Now – Everything

These days, you can find just about everything in kiosk form. Creating a pizza to order? There’s a kiosk for that. Wanting to rent one of the latest movies? There’s a kiosk for that. Fancy speeding up the queues at the local supermarket? There’s a kiosk for that.

Where they’re going to go next, we can only guess. All we can predict is that we’ll be seeing even more of them for years to come.

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