When the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 were unveiled last year in Manhattan, I was on hand. While the tablets were the stars of the event, there were many interesting accessories too. My favorite accessory was the Surface Music Kit as it allowed music creation in a unique way. However, the Power Cover was intriguing too. You see, it acts like the normal type cover, but dramatically extends the battery.
Sadly, the Power Cover has been unavailable for purchase. Surface fans such as myself, have been clamoring to obtain it. Luckily, a release date has finally come to light -- March 19th. It will work with the Surface 2, Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 -- the Surface RT has been left out of the party.
When it comes to computers, there are two routes to take -- buy a pre-built model from a manufacturer like Dell or build your own. While you can save money by going the pre-built route, you don't get to pick the specific components. Sure, you can pick the size of the drives or the amount of memory, but the brands and quality can be a question mark.
One of the most important components of any system build, is the RAM. It can be tempting to buy a cheap generic brand, but that is never a good idea. After all, system stability can take a major hit from cheap memory. Some of the best memory uses Samsung modules. Today, that company announces they have achieved mass-production of 20nm 4Gb DDR3 memory modules. This means improvements to smartphones, tablets and PCs.
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Early this evening, I exchanged emails with someone writing a blog post about Chromebook. He seeks sales numbers that I doubt are available. Success is a difficult measure despite the hype. In January post "The trouble with new Chromebooks" here and "Twenty-Fourteen isn't Year of the Chromebook" on my personal site, I raise questions about the computer's future.
I extend reservations in the text of my email reply, which follows.
For many, open source is believed to be the future. If you aren't familiar, in basic terms, open source is software that is accompanied by free to distribute source code. By having the source code, users can see the guts of the program they are using. This is in contrast to closed source software, like most of Microsoft's, where the code is hidden to retain intellectual property and make a profit.
Neither school of thought is wrong -- you can't fault a company for trying to make money by going closed source. Bill Gates would not have become the richest man in the world if Microsoft's software portfolio was open. However, not everyone lives for money. Open source allows even the poorest people to potentially access quality software at no charge. Today, Google announces it is looking for college students to work on open source projects for its 10th year of Summer of Code.
Each decade, there seems to be new extreme trends in fashion. In the 90s, whether you were grunge or hip-hop, it was cool to wear baggy jeans. However, this decade, there has been a skinny jeans trend. Both men and women are wearing pants that look painted on. This is not conducive to the phablet trend.
However, there is a trend that is the antithesis of skinny jeans -- boyfriend jeans. Yes, this particular style is baggy pants for women. In other words, it is meant to look like they are wearing their boyfriend's pants. Perhaps Satya Nadella is looking to become a fashionista, as Microsoft wants to see women wearing these pants on Skype. Creepy? Sort of.
Mobile users are just getting around to upgrading their handsets to take advantage of 4G networks, but this simply is not fast enough. UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, spoke at CeBIT announcing that the country will join forces with Germany to develop the successor to 4G -- the uninspiringly-named 5G. The PM announced a deal with Germany which will help to push forward with the development of a mobile broadband network that will offer download speeds up to 1,000 times those currently available on 4G.
To put this kind of speed in perspective, as the Prime Minister explained, an 800MB movie (or any other type of file for that matter) could be download in a single second. One second. For the best part of a gig of data. On a mobile device. Who is going to say no to that? Ultimately, the adoption rate will be determined by the costs involved -- mobile tariffs, suitable handsets, data charges, and coverage -- but before any of this becomes an issue, 5G needs to be, well, invented really.
Gamers of yore will remember the delight that could come from playing a text-based computer game. Forget pushing polygons around the screen as fast as a GPU's legs can pump, these were games where words were king. Back in 1984, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game took the gaming world by storm and now, thirty years later the BBC has resurrected the classic title in an exclusive online version that's free for anyone to play.
This accessible and hilarious sci-fi classic translated well into a game, and whether you missed it the first time around or you like the idea of reliving the mid-80s, warm up your keyboard and prepare to type your way to victory -- and immense frustration. This is not the first time the game has been revived, but this time around there is an HTML5 version to enjoy and there are some comedic touches right from the start. The game developers decided to replace the $, % and ^ symbols with symbols for the Altarian Dollar, Flanian Pobble Bead and the Triganic Pu, "not because they are needed in the game, but just because we felt like it."
The first big update to Apple’s mobile operating system is currently rolling out to users now. The update includes various improvements and bug fixes.
Among the additions are support for CarPlay, and enhancements to Siri, iTunes Radio, Calendar, and Accessibility. There’s also a new camera setting which can automatically enable HDR on iPhone 5s.
Every month video streaming service Netflix trots out its results list for speed tests of US internet service providers, ranking each in descending order. There was a recent stir of controversy, as Comcast took a sudden nose-dive in the standings. This came, rather coincidentally, just before Netflix paid up for better service. In fairness, the deal was already in the works during the drop-off, so it was at best a negotiation tactic.
With that mess now in the rear-view mirror, Netflix announces it is expanding the list of ISPs that it plans to track and include on its monthly shame and fame list.
Nowadays, things tend to spread virally, thanks to the internet and social media. If you discover something cool, you will share it with friends and followers. People like to share videos, pictures and even apps. With the exception of advertisements masquerading as real suggestions, people share discoveries for the sake of sharing -- it is a nice gesture.
Once a financial incentive comes into play, a suggestion becomes tainted. For example, a salesman on commission may be genuine in their suggestions, but since their pay is dependent on the sale, you can never be 100 percent sure. Sadly, Google announces that it is turning users into sleazy commissioned salespeople with paid referrals. Will you sell your soul for $15.00?
Microsoft has unveiled an update to its Windows chat app with the release of Skype for Windows 8 v2.6. Version 2.6 unveils one major update, support for syncing read chats and picked-up calls across multiple devices.
The new feature means that users can switch from their Windows 8 device to another platform and be sure that any chat updates or picked-up calls made on the secondary platform are now acknowledged by the Windows 8 app too.
From tomorrow (March 11) the product becomes generally available with new and enhanced features to enable users to rapidly assess applications and speed up cloud migrations.
Smartphone penetration continues to rise in markets across the globe, as vendors compete to get more attractive devices, at increasingly lower price points, in consumers' hands. Meanwhile, the premium market is becoming a niche, as indicated by the ongoing drop in average selling price. The consumerization of smartphones also means sellers have to get creative, or at least attempt to, to get buyers to shell out a hefty sum.
Mobile operators have bundled smartphones with accessories and other smart devices in order to attract buyers. For instance, my Nokia Lumia 920 came with a free pair of Nokia Purity HD headphones. Now, Vodafone's UK arm is using a similar strategy, giving those who pre-order a Sony Xperia Z2 a free Sony Bravia TV.
The dominant theme at this year’s RSA Conference in San Francisco was actionable security intelligence, a term which can mean different things to different people. For example, do bad IP addresses, DNS fast fluxing information, and geolocation constitute security intelligence? Additionally, do malware campaigns and adversary tracking count as security intelligence?
The answer is yes for both questions, but it is important to note that these are not the only high-level indicators that can be considered security intelligence. The key challenge is understanding how to "apply" security intelligence in such a way that it is actionable. The following may be considered provocative and even go against the grain of opinion in Silicon Valley: In most approaches to security, there is too much emphasis on the adversary and not enough on understanding the attack surface.
Last year saw a number of credit card data breaches that made the headlines. A new report says that this shows how well the "deep web" of cybercrime is serving its customers.
McAfee Labs Threats Report for the fourth quarter of 2013 says that not only did Point of Sale (PoS) attacks like that on Target steal large numbers of records they point to a refinement in criminal technique.