Tag Archives: ELECTRONIC

The best wireless broadband deals for October 2017

Finding the best broadband internet deals can be a bit of a minefield because there are so many options. Do you go for fibre broadband? Can you get 200Mbps cable broadband? Are you best off sticking with ADSL? Whatever service you currently have, we reckon we can get you a great broadband deal.

It’s important to bear in mind who your current phone provider is – do you already have Sky TV and phone, for example. Or a BT line? The easiest option could be to get Sky Fibre or BT Infinity respectively – or you could make a significant saving by signing up with someone completely different for both your phone and broadband (and you can even save more money by bolting on TV with Virgin, Sky or BT, too).

On this page, you’ll find a list of the broadband deals separated out by broadband providers like Sky, Plusnet, BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and others. As mentioned, it’s worth coming back to this article periodically to check whether the deals have changed.

Some providers have scrapped separate line rental charges, so others could also follow suit in the coming months.

When applying for new broadband deals, make sure you’re not already signed up to a contract you can’t get out of – most broadband contracts are on 12 or 18 month terms. Now let’s get to the best broadband deals!

The best Broadband internet deals this month

      

Best laptop for programming 2017

Are you an IT professional that’s looking for the best laptop for programming and coding on? If you are, you’ll be looking for laptops that meet a certain criteria.

This can making buying the best laptop for programming and coding on a difficult process, as you need certain features that not all laptops have. The good news is that we’re here to help with this list of the very best laptops for programming and coding on that money can buy.

So what kind of laptop are you looking for to program on? Well, to start with, you’re going to need plenty of processing power in a laptop for programming, so that it can compile and run your code as fast as possible. Thankfully, modern laptop processors come with plenty of cores and high clock speeds, which certainly makes looking for the best laptop for programming easier.

You’ll also want plenty of RAM. We’d recommend at least 8GB – if you’re running complex code, and you’ll need a large hard drive. If a laptop also comes with a solid state drive (SSD), that’s even better, as it will help with the overall speed of your programming and coding – especially if you regularly rebuild the code you write with minor changes.

Having a dedicated graphics card isn’t essential for a laptop for programming, unless you are coding graphically-intensive games that you then want to test out. Modern Intel processors come with integrated graphics capabilities that are powerful enough for pretty much all programming tasks.

So, without further ado, here’s our list of the best laptops for programming in 2017.

Portege

In our view, the Toshiba Portege Z30-C-138 is the best laptop for programming, as it features a fast processor, a large SSD and hefty 16GB of RAM. Best of all, it also manages 11 hours of battery life, which is ideal if you’re looking for a laptop for programming and coding on the go. Toshiba has also managed to squeeze an extraordinary amount of components in this device including a VGA port, a fingerprint reader and even a 4G/LTE modem and A-GPS!

Thinkpad X

Lenovo took an existing form factor and refined it to deliver the new 2016-2017 ThinkPad E470. Powered by the 7th generation Intel Core processors, this particular SKU has a 14-inch FHD anti-glare display, powered by a discrete Nvidia Geforce 940MX 2GB GPU.

Equipped with a spill resistant keyboard, a TrackPoint and a 3+2 buttons click pad, the E470 has more than enough ports and expansion capabilities to keep the average user happy.

HP

The 255 G5 is HP’s entry-level business laptop and is a solid candidate should you be looking for a straightforward, reliable, laptop for programming at a bargain price. The RAM is a little on the low side, but that can be upgraded later on, and there’s no denying that this is an excellent laptop for coding on. If you want a similar programming laptop with an Intel processor, rather than AMD, then the HP 250 G5 is worth looking into. There are various configurations of both the HP 255 G5 and the HP 250 G5, so it’s worth shopping around and finding one with the right components for your needs.

Apple’s range of MacBooks are excellent laptops for programming on, thanks to excellent build quality, fast components, great battery life and powerful software. The 13-inch Macbook Pro with touchbar is the best laptop Apple has ever made, and builds new features into the classic design. Of course the headline feature is the touchbar – it’s a thin OLED display at the top of the keyboard which can be used for any number of things, whether that be auto-suggesting words as you type or offering Touch ID so you can log in with just your fingerprint. It’s 13-inch screen keeps the laptop thin and light enough to carry around with you if you travel a lot.

Read the full review: Apple Macbook with touchbar (2017)
See more like this: The best Macs and Macbooks 2017

Best Windows tablets

Despite the subdued naming convention, this is actually the fifth iteration of the Surface Pro. As a follow-up to the winning Surface Pro 4, it would have been every bit deserving of a number attached to it, too. That’s because the latest Surface Pro sees not only the battery life improve by as much as 32%, but, of course, the processor has been updated to Kaby Lake as well. Plus, although it’s now sold separately, the Surface Pen has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. It can switch between tablet and laptop modes, which makes it easy to carry around with you, and it runs Windows 10, so you can access your favourite apps.

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro

A Chromebook doesn’t run Windows, Android or Apple’s macOS. Instead it’s powered by Google’s Chrome OS – a super lightweight operating system based on the Chrome web browser. It’s a great way to save money on a laptop (no Windows license to pay for and no need for top-end Intel chips etc) while still retaining all of the productivity options you’d get on a full-blown windows or Mac OS laptop. The Chromebook Flip is the best Chromebook out there at the moment, offering truly premium build quality, a fabulous touchscreen and keyboard and excellent performance. All while offering great value for money too. While Chrome OS doesn’t have the range of programming tools available for Windows and macOS, it has a growing library, and Chromebooks such as the Asus Chromebook Flip are excellent for building websites on.

Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip C302
See more like this: The best Chromebooks 2017

elitebook

If you like the sound of an Apple MacBook as a laptop for programming, then you can save a bit of money by getting a slightly older model. The MacBook Pro from 2016 doesn’t come with cutting-edge features such as the touchbar or USB-C ports, but it is still a fantastic laptop that offers plenty of power for all your programming needs. Plus, Apple’s top of the range models are certainly not overly expensive compared to their Windows-based counterparts, especially if you buy them from trusted third-party websites.

Lenovo-b51

If you are willing to sacrifice portability for sheer power, then this laptop is worth considering. Oddly enough, although it is part of Lenovo’s B-series (essentially aiming for the SMB market), it comes with Windows Home rather than Professional. Other than this, the B51 is a very decent all-rounder that hits almost all the right notes: from the powerful CPU to the full HD display and the discrete GPU. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for an easily-portable laptop for programming and coding on.

latitude

Dell managed to deliver a magnificent piece of kit which it says is the most secure, most reliable and most manageable business-class laptop. That Latitude 5480 does come at a hefty price though and compared to the competition, this notebook may feel underwhelming. However, Dell’s forte lies in its services and aftersales. That particular model comes with a 7th generation Intel CPU, one that is an actual four-core CPU. While it has a far higher TDP than most of its peers (45W vs 15W), it is likely to be more powerful than even a top of the range Core i7-7600U.

thinkpad

Lenovo calls the newest member of the ThinkPad T-series family the ‘new standard for highly mobile laptops’. What makes it so special is the fact that it blurs the line between traditional business devices and more powerful mobile workstations. The top-end spec highlighted here boasts some of the highest configuration levels we’ve seen on any laptop and yet manages to pack everything into a very portable and elegant Ultrabook-esque form factor.

  • Here’s our list of the best laptop 2017: Our pick of the 15 best laptops you can buy this year

      

Cortana will soon jump into your Skype conversations to ‘help’

Microsoft’s virtual assistant is spreading its digital tendrils into fresh avenues with news that Cortana has now been incorporated into Skype.

At least for users in the US to begin with, and those on iOS and Android phones for that matter, although doubtless these are the first steps towards a global cross-platform rollout for all Skype software.

The big idea here is that Cortana can pop up in chats (group or private) to offer intelligent suggestions along various lines. (Or, as more cynical types out there might argue, Cortana will be constantly eavesdropping on your conversations and will butt in from time to time to annoy you).

To be fair, the context-sensitive snippets Cortana will provide in chats sound quite useful in some respects, such as offering suggestions for short smart replies (‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘let’s go’) in order to help you make quick responses in chats. Or if you’re arranging to go for a meal, Cortana will suggest nearby restaurants.

  • Black Friday could be a great time to buy a discounted Cortana-toting device

Smart scheduling

The digital assistant will also pick up on when you’re scheduling something like an event, and offer to remind you of the event nearer the time (across all your Cortana-infused devices, naturally).

Furthermore, Skype users will be able to chat with Cortana directly, and ask the assistant questions in one-to-one conversations, if needed.

As mentioned, all this is coming to mobile initially, as this is the first obvious step when it comes to facilitating the slicker organizing of chats and meetings – and on-the-spot queries for Cortana – but it will doubtless be bound for the likes of the PC client before too long.

Via The Verge

  • Most of the best laptops of 2017 use Windows 10 and Cortana

      

Still using a Windows 10 version from 2015? You must upgrade now

Come the end of today, Microsoft is dropping support for those folks who are still running Windows 10 version 1511, the first major update for the OS which was released back in November 2015.

This means that people still using this version – or indeed the original launch release of Windows 10 (1507) – will no longer receive any updates from Microsoft, and so won’t get any security patches, leaving their PCs potentially exposed to vulnerabilities that hackers and malware pushers can exploit.

As Microsoft notes, the firm forces users to upgrade from older versions of the desktop operating system because Windows 10 has been implemented in a ‘service’ model, meaning it won’t have a successor, but rather major new features are added on a rolling basis in twice-yearly updates.

Security first

Microsoft explains: “Since version 1511 was released in November 2015, Microsoft has released additional feature updates that build upon each other, delivering the newest features and more comprehensive security.”

In other words, the software giant wants the user base to be on the latest release (or at least not two-year-old versions) to benefit from that bolstered security.

And it’s not really a question of whether you want to make the move, rather that you have to do so, because lacking security updates just isn’t an option (you’re effectively joining the ranks of those folks who are still running the likes of Windows XP or Vista).

For help when it comes to upgrading to the newest version of Windows 10, check out Microsoft’s advice on the relevant support page. And if you haven’t yet upgraded to Windows 10, maybe you can pick up a software bargain come Black Friday.

  • Windows 10 is the OS of choice for many of our best laptops

      

Intel’s next laptop processors could use AMD’s Vega graphics

Intel could be about to produce a mobile CPU which uses AMD’s Vega graphics technology, according to the rumor mill.

This speculation stems from a leaked Intel slide posted by Wccftech with a caption that reads ‘Vega Inside, Mobile Performance Outside’ suggesting that we could see a mobile processor which has, well, Vega graphics inside.

First off, note that this potential move has to be taken with a truck-load of salt, but the theory is that Intel might look to incorporate AMD’s Vega tech with either Coffee Lake-H – the next series of mobile processors following on from the current 8th-gen (Kaby Lake Refresh) models – or Cannon Lake-Y CPUs (due later in 2018) which are truly next-gen as this architecture marks the shift to 10nm.

The latter would seem more likely, purely in terms of timeframe if nothing else, but of course this is all pure speculation. The leaked slide could even simply refer to discrete Vega graphics in Intel-powered notebooks, although the way the caption is worded doesn’t suggest that, and certainly makes it sound like integrated AMD graphics.

Wccftech suggests that Intel could plump for an on-die MCM chip design utilizing a multi-die interconnect bridge to allow for a high-bandwidth connection to the GPU, particularly as this is technology Intel talked up in a recent keynote.

AMD inside?

Adding further weight to this rumor is the fact that we’ve previously heard speculation along these lines; there was talk of the prospect of ‘Intel Radeon graphics‘ last summer.

And this move certainly seems like a good way for Intel to juice up its mobile processors in terms of their raw pixel shifting power, providing a lid can be kept on any thermal issues (i.e. overheating, which is an ever-present problem when it comes to cramming more powerful components into laptops).

All that said, we have to be realistic at this point, and bear in mind that this leak does look rather sketchy, being based off a single rather blurry slide.

Meanwhile, it shouldn’t be long before we see Ryzen mobile CPUs with integrated Radeon Vega graphics, so we can get an idea of how powerful these might be – although benchmarks have already been leaked on that score.

      

Face ID could be coming to the iPad Pro next year

We’ve not really had chance to put the Face ID recognition system on the iPhone X properly through its paces yet – but according to those in the know, Apple is planning to add Face ID, and the TrueDepth camera that powers it, as an upgrade in its 2018 edition of the iPad Pro.

That’s based on a report from well-placed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has a decent record of predicting Apple’s plans. Whether or not the home button will also get ditched on next year’s iPads isn’t yet clear, however.

We’re also waiting to see whether Apple will switch its tablet screens from IPS LCD to OLED, as it did with the iPhone X this year. The rumor is that the Cupertino company wants to roll out the new display tech across all of its devices in the near future.

Face the future

Putting Face ID on the iPad – or at least the iPad Pro – does make a lot of sense for Apple. It gives developers more reasons to start supporting the technology, for a start, and it shows Apple is serious about moving from fingerprints to faces as its default security method.

Touch ID took the same route to market, appearing first on the iPhones before gradually rolling out to iPad models, and it sounds like Apple could have the same plans this time around. During the unveiling of the 2017 iPhones the company promised that Face ID was much more secure than using a fingerprint, even if it did fail on stage.

All this depends on multiple factors, not least whether users take to the new tech and whether Apple can start making the required modules in high enough numbers – the complexity of Face ID and TrueDepth is said to be one of the reasons why the premium iPhone has been hit with delays.

Via AppleInsider

      

du announces partnership with BlackBerry

At GITEX Technology Week 2017, the UAE telco du announced to offer a variety of BlackBerry enterprise software solutions and services to customers, including BlackBerry AtHoc.

BlackBerry AtHoc is a Networked Crisis Communications platform, built to empower cities, organisations and people to respond quickly and efficiently in times of crisis. BlackBerry AtHoc is used worldwide for every type of emergency and is used by numerous global government agencies and commercial enterprises.

“We are thrilled to be working with such an established partner in the UAE and are confident that du will be well placed to deliver the best possible experience to business customers.” commented Richard McLeod, Global VP, Enterprise Software Channels, BlackBerry.

Additionally, this partnership will enable du to offer a variety of BlackBerry enterprise software solutions and services to customers, such as Enterprise Mobility Management through BlackBerry UEM for iOS, Android, Windows 10 and MacOS. Customers will also benefit from BlackBerry Workspaces, a secure file sharing solution that enables users to share, edit and control their files on every device with the highest level of security.

“We are proud to offer BlackBerry’s innovative and secure software portfolio to our enterprise customers in the UAE. In today’s digital economy, we understand that businesses must be able to operate efficiently and securely,” said Fahad AlHassawi, Chief Commercial Officer, du.

The BlackBerry software platform will offer solutions suitable for a variety of enterprise sizes – both large and small enterprises – and can be purchased from du as part of a bundle or standalone, at highly competitive rates and different price points.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest news and announcements coming out of GITEX Technology Week 2017 with TechRadar.

      

Are VPN safe? Not when you’re a cyberstalker

An internet stalker in the US has been tracked down by the FBI thanks to help from the VPN provider PureVPN which assisted the government agency by combing through its logs to reveal the IP address of the suspect.

On Friday, the Department of Justice announced that it had arrested 24-year-old Ryan Lin from Newtown, Massachusetts on charges of cyberstalking.

The complaint against Lin revealed that he had used a number of attack methods to target Jennifer Smith which include “doxxing (publicly posting the credentials to her online accounts), posting intimate photos and suggesting they depicted Smith, searching through her personal journal and sending private information to her contacts, creating fake profiles of Smith on sites dedicated to prostitution, fetishes and other sexual acts, bomb threats and death and rape threats as wel”l.

Lin used a number of privacy services to conceal his actions such as logging in via the Tor Browser and using a VPN to help conceal his IP address. He also utilised anonymous international texting services as well as offshore private email providers.

By using a work computer in some of the attacks against Smith, Lin made a critical error that left traces of his activity that law enforcement agencies were then able to use to associate him to the 16-month long cyber campaign.

Investigators also discovered that Lin used the website TextNow to send anonymous SMS messages and that he sent emails using the end-to-end encrypted email service ProtonMail.

Artefacts discovered on his work machine also indicated that he used the VPN provider PureVPN and that he had accessed his own personal Gmail account from the computer.

Ironically in June, Lin sent a tweet attacking IPVanish over its claim that the company kept no logs, saying:

“There is no such thing as a VPN that doesn’t keep logs. If they can limit your connections or track bandwidth usage, they keep logs.”

The law does not make exceptions when it comes to committing a crime and cybercrime is a serious offense.

  • If you want to protect your privacy or add an additional layer of security between your devices and the networks you connect to then check out TechRadar’s Best VPNs of 2017.

      

Reliance Jio 4G offers fastest download speed in September, Idea leads in uploads

Reliance Jio has once again topped the 4G downloads speed test for the month of September as per a report from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. Bharti Airtel, India’s biggest telecom operator has been ranked fourth in both download and upload speeds.

This is the eighth consecutive time that Reliance Jio has come on top of TRAI’s 4G download speed report. It is followed by Vodafone, Idea and Airtel. On the other hand, Idea has taken the lead in upload speed followed by Vodafone, Reliance Jio and Airtel.

In the month of September, Reliance Jio recorded an average download speed of 18.433Mbps, followed by Vodafone at 8.999Mbps, Idea Cellular at 8.746Mbps and Bharti Airtel at 8.550Mbps. In comparison to the results of August, all the telecom operators have witnessed a decrease in speed.

In August, Reliance Jio had recorded an average download speed of 18.831Mbps, followed by Vodafone at 9.325Mbps, Airtel at 9.266Mbps and Idea secured the fourth position with an average download speed of 8.833Mbps. Coming to the upload speeds, the top position is held by Idea with an average upload speed of 6.307Mbps, followed by Vodafone at 5.782Mbps, Reliance Jio at 4.225Mbps and Airtel at 4.123Mbps.

Interestingly, OpenSignal, a London based wireless coverage mapping company had earlier reported that while Reliance Jio had the biggest 4G network in India, Airtel had better average download speed. As per OpenSignal, Airtel recorded an average download speed of 9.15 Mbps, followed by Vodafone at 7.45Mbps, Idea at 7.4Mbps and Reliance Jio came last with a download speed of 5.81Mbps.

After receiving criticism from telecom operators for improper testing standards, TRAI chairman RS Sharma had earlier revealed that the telecom regulator is taking various steps to improve its services and TRAI had also contacted Ookla and other data testing agencies to improve its MySpeed app.

      

Virgin Media’s broadband flash sale deals are here…but only for three days

Here we were, poising ourselves for Black Friday bargains to blow our tiny minds – and then, all of a sudden, Virgin Media struck early with a broadband flash sale that features some of the best internet deals on the market.

The Virgin deal that really stands out is a reduction of its cheapest VIVID 50 plan. Delivering speeds of 50Mb – or around 6.25MB per second – the monthly price is down to a super cheap £25 per month.

If you’re in a packed household with tribes of people all needing to use the internet at the same time, or want to enjoy unblemished 4K streaming, you’ll be glad to know that the sale extends to higher speeds, too. Virgin’s 100Mb VIVID 100 plan is down to £30 per month, with 200Mb and 300Mb plans going for £35pm and £40pm respectively.

But you’ll have to get in quick…the flash sale ends at 11.59pm on Wednesday.

Virgin Media broadband flash sale deals

VIVID 50: £27pm Now £25pm

VIVID 100: £32pm Now £30pm

VIVID 200: £37pm Now £35pm

VIVID 300: £42pm Now £40pm

Each deal is on a 12-month contract and requires a £20 activation fee. No separate phone line is provided.

Virgin broadband and TV deals

Virgin Media has extended the savings frenzy to one of its broadband and TV packages, too. This one is going to appeal to sports fans, who can now get the Full House Sports Bundle with 200Mb fibre broadband for a tenner per month less than it was available for this time last week.

For £65 per month (down from £75) you get potential download speeds of up to a blistering 25MB per second, over 230 TV channels, Virgin’s TV V6 box for recording your favourite programmes and – the clincher – ALL Sky Sports and BT Sport channels. Now that’s a lot of football, rugby, cricket and Formula 1 action.

And if you’re looking at 200Mb broadband and still thinking that it simply isn’t fast enough (you speed demon, you), then an extra tenner a month will upgrade you to 300Mb. Rap-id.

Is Virgin fibre broadband available in my area?

Around 60% of the UK households are now able to receive superfast Virgin broadband. It’s easy to discover whether you’re one of the lucky 3-in-5 – head to our dedicated Virgin broadband deals page, enter your postcode where indicated at the top of the page and if deals show as available then you’re laughing.

If no results are returned, then head to our best broadband deals page instead and do exactly the same thing to see whether you can get superfast fibre broadband with another provider, such as BT Infinity.

Existing Virgin Media broadband customers

Sorry, the Virgin website confirms that the sale prices are fore new customers only. But there’s no harm in trying to get your hands on the new rate, so if you’re already a Virgin broadband customer then we suggest that you check with customer services before trying to place an order.

Virgin TV and Phone

Pay an extra £4 per month, and you can add a phone line to your Virgin Media broadband plan. This includes Talk Weekends – unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines and Virgin Mobile numbers.

At the moment, you can’t add Virgin TV to VIVID 50 (you can if you upgrade to VIVID 100 or higher), so you’ll have to subscribe to any TV channels you want separately.