Articles about Digital Lifestyle

24 hours with Apple Watch [First-impressions review]

Apple Watch Sport on wrist

After Tim Cook demoed the Apple Watch at the Spring Forward event two months ago I declared I should want an Apple Watch -- but I don't. Despite being an iPhone owner and a watch wearer, I felt the new device was an "unfocused mess" and features like talking to your wrist and sending drawings to fellow Watch-owning friends just didn’t appeal. They were something only a ten year old would be interested in.

The way Watch was being retailed -- online only, with crazy delays -- didn’t impress me either. In fact, I called Apple’s launch a brand-damaging botch job. I still stand by that statement, but here’s the thing. Despite all that Apple Watch negativity, after I went into an Apple Store to look at the device I ended up buying one. I know, talk about easily swayed.

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UK elderly and disabled are missing out on Internet use

old man

According to new figures released by the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS), in the first quarter of this year 86 percent of adults had used the Internet in the last three months, up one percent from the same period in 2014.

That means that 11 percent (5.9 million people) have never used the Internet. But this percentage is much higher for the disabled, a group where 27 percent of adults (3.3 million) had never been online. There were also 0.5 million disabled adults who had last used the internet more than three months ago, making up 48 percent of the total 1.1 million lapsed internet users.

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How we’re bringing our texting habits into the workplace


SMS messages have been a part of our personal lives pretty much since mobile phones first became available. But what impact does texting have on our working lives?

Cloud communications provider RingCentral has released the results of a survey looking at how SMS is being used in the workplace.

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Zotac introduces desktop-class powerhouses in its R mini PC series, launches Zbox RI323 and Zbox RI531

Zotac mini PC R series

It wasn’t very long ago that computers used to be bulky and fill rooms and halls and sell for millions of dollars. But things have dramatically changed since. Over the years, computers have become cheaper and smaller. Today, we have plenty of computers available in a miniature form-factor sporting dirt-cheap price tag. And this new category is maturing and going mainstream.

Zotac International introduces Zbox RI323 and Zbox RI531 in its new "R" line of mini PCs. Both the models come bundled with desktop-class processors and GPUs, two DDR3-1600 slots for up to 16GB of RAM, and dual gigabit ethernet ports. But more interestingly, both models also support two 2.5-inch hard drives or SSDs in a RAID 0 or RAID 1 configuration. The Zbox RI531 model additionally equips an mSATA SSD slot. Both also support non-RAID setups, letting users choose the best storage solutions for them.

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Your smartphone is too big

Big Large Oversize Smartphone

I love my Nexus 6. This morning, while waking to the rush of caffeine from steaming coffee, I read headlines on the device. "I’m Phed Up With Phablets: They're too big to prevail" caught my attention. The short commentary, by Brian Rubin for ReadWrite, rails against the bigger-is-better-smartphone trend. Screen on my cellular is massive: 6 inches, and I forever promised myself to never use a phone so large -- until I did and converted. Much as I enjoy using the N6, for which I can still manage many operations one-handed, smaller would be my preference. Perhaps yours, too.

Here at BetaNews, we first raised doubts about ever-expanding screens four years ago. I still remember the discussion about the story, and more importantly the headline, before Ed Oswald wrote "Is that the Samsung Galaxy S II in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" In 2015, what seemed large then -- a 4.3-inch screen -- is puny. Even iPhones are bigger. Rubin rightly raises alarm about choice: "The real problem isn’t so much that there are too many phablets, but that there aren’t enough non-phablets these days -- at least none that are truly interesting".

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Shoppers use mobile mainly for research rather than purchasing

Mobile shopping

Businesses are using analytic tools to gather information online, through digital and social channels, as well as call center data, to get to know and build a closer relationship with their customers. However, a survey by customer experience specialist TimeTrade reveals that mobile channels in particular are mostly used for research rather than buying.

The survey looks at consumer buying habits and how retailers need to adapt and provide a better customer experience in order to succeed. It shows that retailers are realizing that a highly personalized in-store experience leads to a lasting impression and creates brand loyalty.

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Consumers are being outsmarted by their washing machines

washing machine confusion

Given all of the hype surrounding the Internet of Things and intelligent devices you might think that consumers would be keen to make use of all the latest options.

However, a new study by UK online retailer Appliances Direct suggests that for many people even mastering their washing machine is too much.

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What the new Conservative government means for the UK's digital economy


Following the Conservative Party’s election win last week, David Cameron, somewhat unexpectedly, is now able to form the first all-Tory cabinet since 1997.

The officials appointed by the returning Prime Minister will have a huge impact upon government policy over the next five years and may well shape the future of the country’s education, health care and economy for many more years beyond that.

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UK teenagers are spending longer than ever online

Teenage tablet users

Internet use in the UK has doubled in the past decade, thanks mostly to teenagers and young adults who access the internet on tablets and smartphones, new research has shown.

The research, called 'Media use and attitude' was carried out by communications watchdog Ofcom and found that people in the UK have spent in average of 20 hours and 30 minutes online each week in 2014.

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EasyAcc DP100 Bluetooth 4.0 speaker [Review]

EasyAcc DP100

There are lots of Bluetooth speakers on the market, so which one you choose really comes down to the features you value most. Is sound quality your top priority or is portability and long battery life a bigger attraction?

The EasyAcc DP100 certainly qualifies on the portability front. It's a compact design, about the size of a Coke can, feels nicely weighty and has a rubber base so it won't slip around. The design is quite stylish in matt black with a shiny highlight around the top. There's an on/off switch and sockets for charging and aux-in at the back. Playback controls are operated by a grey, rubbery button on the top, this works well enough but doesn’t have a particularly nice feel.

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Just one percent of retail payments is made with a smartphone, and iPhone users buy more and spend more

Smartphone fashion shopping

Do you pay for goods in stores with your smartphone? If so, you’re in the minority. According to Javelin Strategy & Research’s new Mobile Proximity Payments Forecast 2015 report, while 9 percent of online transactions are currently made on a smartphone, mobile proximity payments -- that is using your smartphone to buy something in a brick and mortar store -- account for just 1 percent of all retail transactions.

Apple users lead the way when it comes to mobile proximity payments, with almost 16 percent having made at least one purchase in a month. That’s nearly double the rate of Android smartphone owners.

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Working in IT is getting more stressful

stressed businesswoman

Do you feel more stressed at work? If your job is in IT then the answer is probably yes, according to a new survey from security and email specialist GFI Software.

The study of over 200 IT administrators in the US finds that 78 percent of those surveyed experience workplace stress, while almost 82 percent of respondents are actively considering leaving their current IT job due to workplace stress and dissatisfaction with working conditions, up from 78.5 percent in 2014.

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My definition of 'modern' computing

Cloud Computing

Late yesterday I posted my review of Chromebook Pixel LS, which Google released in early March. The write-up is purposely rah-rah to impose the importance of embracing contextual cloud computing and to shakeup preconceptions about Macs being the tools of the creative elite. I also call "dumb" developers who may receive free Pixels during Google I/O later this month only to then sell them online.

One reader comment, from SmallSherm caught my attention, for accusing me of calling him (or her) stupid and for insulting other readers. After writing my response, I wondered how few people would ever see the interaction, which I regard as being quite valuable. So in the interest of fostering further discussion, I present our two comments for your Tuesday thought train.

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'You don't post pictures of us on Facebook -- I want a divorce!'

couple phone bed suspicion

According to a new survey of 2,000 people in the UK, one in seven say they've contemplated divorce because of their partner's activity on social media.

Nearly a quarter also say they have at least one row a week with their partner because of social media use and 17 percent say they argue every day because of it.

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How CEOs are failing to exploit social media

Social CEO header

Social media is a large part of many people's lives these days but it seems that people at the top of enterprises and large organizations are more reluctant to engage.

Management education advice site MBA Central has produced an infographic looking at how CEOs are lagging behind in their use of social media despite the benefits it can bring to their personal and professional reputation.

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