According to International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, global PC shipments fell by 9.8 percent in 2013, the most severe contraction on record, but the future looks slightly brighter going forward. And by "slightly brighter" I mean things thankfully shouldn’t be anywhere near as bad as they were last year.
IDC had been anticipating a decline of 10.1 percent by the end of 2013, so the actual results were slightly more positive than had been expected in mature markets (which includes the US, Western Europe, Japan, and Canada). Part of the reason for this is, IDC believes, down to short-term factors like the rise in people purchasing XP replacements, but it doesn’t expect this bump to last for very long. XP still accounts for a third of the desktop OS market share, and there’s currently no signs of a trickle of users migrating to Windows 8.1, let alone the flood of users Microsoft would like to see.
We all know that backups are important and these days that applies to data stored on cloud services just as much as desktop PCs.
Cloud backup provider Spanning Cloud Apps has announced a major update to its Spanning Backup for Google Apps, offering improved reporting and proactive notifications.
Team XBMC has unveiled the first public beta of XBMC 13.0, its open-source, cross-platform media server and center. Version 13.0, codenamed "Gotham", ships after more than a year of development, and is packed full of new and improved features.
Chief among these are limited support for stereoscopic 3D rendering, improved touchscreen and UPnP capabilities, Android hardware decoding and what Team XBMC terms "dramatic" audio engine enhancements.
The web is an amazing tool for research, with a vast amount of information available on just about any topic you can imagine. Unfortunately, some people don’t just learn from others: they’ll directly copy vast amounts of content from a web resource, and try to pass it off as their own.
This can be an issue if you’ve created web content, and others are stealing it. Or you might like to know if a document submitted to you is original, or partly "recycled". Either way, Plagiarism Detector ($30) can help.
There are two improvements of note in version 5.2: image annotation, whereby users can now annotate images from within Evernote itself, while Evernote for Business users show now enjoy vastly improved sync performance.
It's often the case that the weakest link in any system's security is the person sitting in front of the screen.
As companies recognize this they're tending to invest more in training so that they can avoid threats rather than have to clean up after them. In a recent worldwide survey by Dell, 67 percent of security decision makers say they have increased funds for education.
Google's Android distribution charts give us a fresh look at adoption trends with each monthly update. In early-March, we see Jelly Bean and KitKat continuing their rise in popularity, while older iterations of the popular open source operating system are on their descending path.
Based on the number of devices accessing the Play store in the seven days ending March 3, KitKat is running on 2.5 percent of monitored Android handsets. Its distribution share is 38.88 percent higher compared to the previous month, when it accounted for 1.8 percent. KitKat will see a stronger uptake once smartphones like the new Samsung Galaxy S4 are released, and vendors upgrade their existing devices to the latest Android iteration.
After being forced to drop the SkyDrive name following a legal dispute with UK broadband provider Sky, Microsoft relaunched its cloud storage service, last month, under a new, yet somewhat familiar moniker, OneDrive. Rebranded apps quickly hit Android, iOS, OS X and Windows Phone, adding new features in the process.
With the OneDrive roll-out almost complete, BlackBerry (yes, that is right) just introduced the cloud storage service on its own platform, BlackBerry 10. The move effectively gives Microsoft access to more potential customers, and allows OneDrive to better rival the availability of other market competitors, like Box.
Windows Phone head Joe Belfiore spoke last year of the Windows Phone app gap, claiming that it would end before the start of 2014. Unfortunately for the platform, that has not turned out to be accurate as there are still lots of great titles that are either missing from Store or offered in a half-baked version on the tiled operating system. The good news is the app gap is actually closing, albeit slowly (and not anytime soon).
Microsoft revealed at MWC 2014 Facebook Messenger will launch on Windows Phone, and the app is finally available in Store today. This is one of the most important wins for the platform, as the service is hugely popular in many markets.
When Canonical decided to shun the Wayland display server for its own, called Mir, the Linux community was up in arms. Many people felt that Canonical was not being a team player. While I understand that point of view, the company is well within its right to go in a different direction with Ubuntu. After all, open-source and free software is about choice -- not falling in line.
Unfortunately, getting things up and running on Mir will take time. Today however, a major milestone has been achieved -- the Chromium browser has been ported to Mir.
Linux users do not like change. Well, actually, they do not like change for the sake of change. If something works, they typically hang on to it until something truly better comes along. A good example of this is GNOME 2. People love it and it works well. However, the GNOME Project moved to version 3 and radically changed how it works. GNOME purists were angry as version 2 worked just fine -- for them. And so, many hung onto the outdated version, shunning version 3.
Luckily, Linux and open-source software enables forking. Forking is basically taking source code, but taking it in a different direction than the original creator. And so, The Mate Desktop was created as a fork from the ashes of GNOME 2. Today, Mate 1.8 releases to the world.
This is a personal account of the way I have noticed the technology markets changing over the years. It is not gospel, and you are welcome (encouraged, if you like) to disagree… It's not all that long ago that brand loyalty was a given; it was almost the default setting for many people. If you got into computing -- and it was something you "got into" rather than just having as part of your life -- you stuck loyally to whatever brand you chose at the start. We could go back to the 70s and look at the birth of personal computing, but as this is my personal account, we'll have to start in the 80s.
I did just manage to sneak into the 70s -- being born in 1979 puts me in the difficult-to-comprehend position of being 34 years old but having seen five decades -- but an interest in computing didn't emerge until some time in the late 80s. I remember there being several computing camps: BBC, Amstrad, Spectrum, Vic and Commodore to name a few. My decision was made for me at an early age when my dad decided to invest in a Commodore 16 Plus 4 (the Plus 4 referring to the fact that the OS featured four built-in applications including a spreadsheet tool, the absurd simplicity of which was not lost on me even at a young age).
The Google Chromecast, which was announced in conjunction with the Nexus 7 last June, has been receiving a lot of attention as of late. This is mostly due to new functionality rolling out, along with the promise of more to come. But set-top box maker Roku wants a bit of that action and is now releasing it's own competitor to the Google product.
The Roku Stream Stick was unveiled today, bringing much of the same functionality. "This new tiny player plugs discreetly into an HDMI port – perfect for those beautiful wall-mounted TVs – and packs the complete Roku streaming experience", states Roku's SVP of product management, Jim Funk.
I went for a 5k run before starting work this morning, and as always Zombies, Run! provided me with the motivation required to not come to a stop, bored, after ten minutes. I’ve covered the immersive app several times in the past, but if you’re not familiar with it, Zombies, Run! basically turns a real-world jog into a journey through the zombie apocalypse. Episodic stories unfold in between tracks from your playlist as you run.
There are plenty of episodes on offer for regular runners, and a radio mode will give you something to listen to once you’ve finished with the main story and side quests. However, sooner or later you’ll have listened to everything and be ready for new tales, and the good news is they’re on their way.
I know I’ve talked a lot about home media and cord-cutting these days, but it is becoming an increasingly busy subject. Now a brand new service is aiming to move into the market, and it brings some intriguing promise with it.
GroupFlix may not be a name you are familiar with, but that certainly could change in 2014. The company is partnering up with studios to build a library of content that could be the answer to tearing customers away from the cable and satellite providers.