Tag Archives: ELECTRONIC

iPad Pro 3 could land early next year with octa-core A11X Bionic chipset

The iPhone X is very powerful, but new rumors suggest the iPad Pro 3 might be significantly more so, as it could use an octa-core A11X Bionic chipset.

That’s up from a hexa-core A11 Bionic chipset in the iPhone X and a hexa-core A10X Fusion chipset in the iPad Pro 10.5.

The cores will apparently be split between three high-power ‘Monsoon’ ones and five energy-efficient ‘Mistral’ ones, which is one more of each kind than the A11 Bionic.

All of this information comes from sources in the Taiwanese supply chain, speaking to MyDrivers, and they’ve also said that the A11X Bionic will be made using a 7nm process. That’s down from a 10nm process for the A11 Bionic, and will likely mean the new chip is even more efficient.

AI skills and an impending launch

Additionally, the A11X Bionic is said to sport an M11 motion co-processor and a neural processing unit (NPU) for AI tasks, the latter of which suggests that the iPad Pro 3 could sport Face ID, as that’s largely powered by AI.

Finally, the sources claim that this chipset will debut at the end of the first quarter or beginning of the second quarter of 2018, so likely around March or April, and if the chipset lands then, the iPad Pro 3 presumably will too.

Of course, this is all just rumors for now, but if true the iPad Pro 3 could be a significant upgrade on previous models, and could arrive sooner than you might have expected.

Via BGR

      

Save 97% on premium PC software with DownloadMix

Black Friday is nearly upon us, but you don’t have to wait until next week for a brilliant deal on software.

DownloadMix is a new service that offers premium software bundles at a hugely discounted price.

Each month, DownloadMix provides a different package of eight hand-picked software. There’s no subscription and no catches – just a one-off payment of US$9.99/£9.99/AU16.61 for a bundle.

The November bundle includes eight full programs that usually retail for a combined total of US$399 (about £260, AU$440).

DownloadMix’s November package

Artweaver

The premium edition of virtual painting studio Artweaver gives you a huge selection of realistic brushes with advanced customization options. It offers layers, supports Adobe PSD documents, and can be expanded via plugins.

Ashampoo Music Studio 2018

Rip, edit and burn music files effortlessly with Ashampoo Music Studio. This powerful music management tool will automatically find missing album metadata, making it easy to keep your collection in order. Mix and fade tracks, normalize the volume, add album art, and much more.

Abelssoft AntiRansomware

Not all antivirus tools give comprehensive protection from ransomware, so a tool like Abelssoft AntiRansomware is invaluable to help keep your data safe. It runs discretely in the background and raises the alarm as soon as it detects suspicious activity that matches the behaviour of ransomware.

reaConverter

Powerful batch image converter reaConverter supports 645 input formats, and 56 output formats. It can also convert documents in formats including DOC, DOCX and RTF, CAD and AutoCAD. Whatever you need to convert, reaConverter can handle the job quickly and easily.

Saola Animate

Saola Animate is an intuitive tool for making your own HTML5 animations and interactive web content. No coding experience is necessary thanks to Saola Animate‘s use of simple timelines and scenes.

Kerish Doctor 2017

Keep your PC running smoothly with this full maintenance and optimization toolkit. Kerish Doctor not only scans your system for junk files and fixes registry entries, it also protects from malware and potential vulnerabilities, and monitors your security settings.

Tabbles Business 2017

Tabbles Business is a file tagging and organization tool that takes the stress and hassle out of finding and managing documents and emails. You can tag files manually or with automatic rules, then group, search and arrange them using tag-based rules.

abylon APP-BLOCKER

Give your PC a speed boost with abylon APP-BLOCKER. This handy program manager makes it easy to manage applications that are currently running and those that are scheduled to run at startup, as well as Windows services and device drivers. Everything is presented in a clear tree view, enabling you to deactivate or remove any you don’t need with a single click.

      

Best Dell laptop 2017: the best Dell laptops we’ve tested this year

It can be hard to choose which laptop to buy as it is, especially during the craze of Black Friday, which explains the fierce brand loyalty behind most laptop makers. Once you’ve found the brand you like – e.g. the best Dell laptops – why go anywhere else?

Few laptop makers make good on this brand loyalty as well as Dell – we all remember “Dude, you’re getting a Dell,” right? Well, Dell has managed to back up that marketing with some of the most highly recommended laptops to date.

For instance, the Dell XPS 13 is currently our best laptop of the year, earning our Best in Class award two years running.

If you’ve settled on a Dell, then you’re probably wondering what the best Dell laptop is for your budget. Here, we’ve gathered together the best Dell laptops we’ve tested to make your purchase decision easier.

But if you don’t want to buy a Dell, check our best laptops buying guide to point you in the right direction. Now, let’s dig into the top Dell laptops of 2017.

Thin, feathery and powerful, Dell’s 2017 flagship XPS 13 is the top Dell laptop – and has been TechRadar’s best laptop overall for two years running. Come for the nearly bezel-free ‘Infinity Edge’ display (a 13.3-inch screen inside an 11-inch frame), stay for the powerful Intel Kaby Lake processors. Better yet, the port selection is equally on point. Compared to Apple’s sole USB-C approach, Dell’s flagship notebook impresses with USB-C as well as USB 3.0 along with the elusive SD card slot. To top it all off, you also get the choice of a QHD+ display or a multi-touch screen as well as a ton of options for storage and memory. Or, you can save on cash and opt for more conservative specs.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

dell laptops

While the XPS 13 is focused on power in a premium shell, the Dell Chromebook 3180 is all about value. Reinforced by a 180-degree hinge, rubberized design and a sealed keyboard in addition to a forceful typing experience, this Chromebook is a finely portable package. Not only well geared for school and work, the Dell Chromebook 3180 even packs a pair of loud stereo speakers for listening to tunes or watching videos. Don’t worry about banging it up, either, as this device remains the most rugged Dell laptop on our list.

Read the review of its predecessor: Dell Chromebook 11

dell laptops

If you’re looking to game with Dell, this is the first place to look. Unlike most laptops of its size, the Alienware 13 R3 employs a hinge-forward design. By placing the heat sinks behind the display, the frame is allowed to be thinner than an inch. Unfortunately, this means you’ll struggle to find many 13-inch notebook bags that will actually suit this gaming laptop. While you may be drawn in by the included full-size Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, it’s the OLED touch display that caught our attention – the first of its kind on a gaming laptop.

Read the full review: Alienware 13 R3

dell laptops

If you want more versatility out of your laptop than even the XPS 13 can provide, this is where to start looking. For low-touch, everyday work tasks, the kind of thing you might do on the train to work, the Inspiron is rather delightful. The touchscreen that flips 360 degrees into a tablet makes for a sublime device to curl up in bed and zone out to with an ebook or comic. What we mean to say is, the Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 is a fine work laptop on the streets, and a fun tablet in the sheets.

Read the full review of its predecessor: Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1

dell laptops

If the Alienware 13 is simply too much for you, the Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming may be a breath of fresh air. In dropping the Alienware moniker, Dell has produced a gaming laptop that’s just as powerful for for a fraction of the price, thanks to a slightly less premium build. The discrete graphics are as strong as the Alienware 13 for far less scratch. Plus with a battery life recorded at 7 hours and 38 minutes, it’s unparalleled in longevity.

Read the full review of its predecessor: Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming

dell laptops

If you want the look and power of the XPS 13 at the top of this list, but also a bigger screen with even more graphics oomph, the Dell XPS 15 could be the best Dell laptop for you. Equipped with the same InfinityEdge technology, the screen extends right to the edges of the lid, which means it’s among the smallest possible 15-inch laptops in 2017. The highest-end model has a 4K, color-accurate touch display that is more than ideal for graphic design. Better yet, gaming performance is OK – just play at either a lower sharpness or on mid-range settings.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 15

      

Firefox Quantum is here, and it wants to win you back

Mozilla has released Firefox Quantum – the biggest update the browser has received since its first release in 2004 – and if you’ve strayed away to Edge or Chrome, the non-profit is hoping to win you back.

We caught up with Mark Mayo, senior vice president of Firefox, to find out more. “[Quantum] is twice as fast as Firefox 52,” he told us. “We’re at a point where we’re as fast as, or faster than Chrome. Compared to a year ago, it’s a huge leap in performance.”

That isn’t just on high-end PCs with buckets of RAM, either. Mozilla uses a US$300 Acer laptop as reference hardware, having established that it’s the most common hardware for its user base.

“We focused on making sure it stayed fast on ordinary PCs, and not at the cost of eating up lots of memory,” said Mayo.

The first thing you’ll notice about Quantum is its redesigned interface. “Just winning in benchmarks isn’t very useful,” Mayo explained. “A browser has to feel fast and smooth. It isn’t just about making a new UI – it’s about how people perceive performance. The designers had a great time putting in things they’d wanted for decades.”

Security and extensions

One of those new features is Screenshots, which Mozilla trialled in its Test Pilot program last year under the name Page Shot. Unlike tapping the Print Screen key on a PC or tapping Command+Shift+3 on a Mac, Firefox Screenshots lets you capture a whole web page – including parts that aren’t currently on the screen.

“I have a hack where I screenshot a bunch of pages I want to read and then open them on the plane,” said Mayo. “Offline reading accomplished by a scrolling screenshot.”

Quantum also has new security features under the hood, including improved sandboxing, and the user interface has been simplified so all the security information appears in one place. “Firefox was kind of inconsistent,” Mayo explained, “so we’ve done a lot of work to make [the security options] more connected so you have confidence that the site is safe.”

One of Firefox’s most impressive features has always been its huge array of extensions, and these have had a major overhaul for Quantum. Rather than having free rein to do whatever they like, authors now have a more tightly controlled set of knobs to turn via the newly implemented WebExtensions API.

This means all legacy extensions will stop working with Quantum, but developer APIs have been available for most of 2017, giving them plenty of time to make the switch.

“By and large, the transition to WebExtensions is done,” said Mayo. “There were some big-ticket ones we were waiting for, but those are done now.”

Coming out swinging

With Quantum, Mozilla is targeting both new users, and those who used to use Firefox but have switched to Edge or Chrome.

“We want people to make the choice to use us,” said Mayo. “Many people don’t know we’re a non-profit – not just a giant business that’s made a browser to push its main business. We fell behind for five years, so it feels good to come out swinging. We’re just going to go straight at them!”

Firefox Quantum is available now for Windows, Mac and Linux. New versions version of Firefox Focus – Mozilla’s privacy-focused browser that clears your browsing history at the end of every session – and the Firefox mobile apps are also on the way.

Download Firefox Quantum

      

Huddle’s in a muddle as service is hit by truly frightening security bug

Do you use Huddle? The well-known collaboration and project management software suffered from an extremely worrying security hole, according to the BBC – although the issue has now been fixed, you’ll doubtless be pleased to hear.

As the Beeb reports, one of its journalists was using the software and found themselves signed in to a KPMG account, with access to sensitive documents pertaining to the financial heavyweight’s operations.

It doesn’t come more worrying than sensitive financial data being exposed in such a manner, apparently due to a bug in Huddle’s systems. That same flaw also allowed an unnamed third-party to access the BBC’s account.

Huddle told the BBC that this particular bug had affected six user sessions since March of this year. The company noted: “With 4.96 million log-ins to Huddle occurring over the same time period [March to November], the instances of this bug occurring were extremely rare.”

Error code

The actual flaw involved a bug with authorization codes: if two people logged on using the same login server within 20 milliseconds of each other, they were simultaneously issued the same authorization code, and that could lead to a situation where one user was logged onto the other’s account (if they were quicker to request a security token in the next login step).

As mentioned, Huddle has now fixed this problem, ensuring that a fresh code is always generated for every user logging in.

Obviously enough, though, it’s a major concern that such a critical issue was festering in the system for quite some time.

      

Microsoft admits there are problems with the Surface – but big fixes are on the way

There have been some reports of issues dogging Microsoft’s range of Surface products, from the Surface Pro‘s issues with entering the “Sleep” state, short battery life, and the Surface Pen stylus playing up, and it now looks like Microsoft is taking these problems seriously and working on solutions.

This commitment to fixing the issues comes from a number of posts on the Microsoft Answers forum, where users can ask the community, which includes Microsoft representatives, for help with any issues they have.

Various Surface issues have been raised in the forums, and replies by Microsoft representatives give hope that Microsoft is actively working on addressing these problems.

Problem solvers

Computerworld has listed a number of issues posted in the forums and Microsoft’s replies to them. For example, in a thread about battery issues, a Microsoft representative stated that “We are aware of some members having the same battery issue with their Surface”, and that Microsoft was attempting to replicate the issue in the lab, indicating that it is looking for a solution.

In another thread about issues with the Surface Pro 4 Type Cover, a Microsoft representative says that “There will be an incoming update for Windows that can resolve your concern with your keyboard.”

Microsoft is pushing its Surface lineup of devices as premium showcases for Windows and its other services, and these high-profile problems won’t help, so it’s good to see that it appears to be listening to its customers and working to address any problems.

It also shows that if you are having an issue with your Surface device – or any Microsoft product – highlighting it on the Answers forum is a good way of getting an official Microsoft response.

      

You could soon learn the limits of your NBN connection

Despite all the drama surrounding the NBN, attempts are being made to improve customer satisfaction.

NBN Co boss Bill Morrow has revealed that the company behind the rollout of the National Broadband Network is “considering” revealing to the public the maximum download speeds that homes and offices are realistically capable of expecting.

This information – available to telcos and determined when a property is being hooked up to the NBN – has traditionally been withheld from the public, giving retailers room to make false promises and, in turn, increasing customer frustration and complaints.

Last week Telstra announced it would compensate customers for breaking NBN speed promises. If this plan gets implemented, it could stop ISPs from making promises they can’t keep and help Australians make informed decisions when it comes to choosing an NBN broadband plan.

Mr Morrow said that revealing maximum internet speeds at premises is “something we have been considering discussing with the government” if the “service providers don’t volunteer to do this.”

Knock, knock. Anyone home?

Until now, customers were only able to reach out to the ISPs during an NBN installation, creating communication bottlenecks and increasing the number of “missed appointments”.

To alleviate that, Bill Morrow also revealed that NBN Co would allow customers to directly contact NBN contractors to make appointments and get information on realistic timelines regarding their NBN installation.

“There’s too many people involved and too many systems involved. So we’re completely revamping that to where we want the technician in the field, the third party contractor, to have direct contact with that end user,” Mr Morrow said.

“We’re also making sure we have more availability, better training in the field, and we’re able to predict more about the actual length of the job may take so we can do our workforce management better.”

With over 6 million premises “ready to connect” to the NBN as of the end of September, and the number growing each week, it does look like NBN Co is making an effort to do right by the end user.

      

This vulnerability could make your antivirus useless

Antivirus software is, naturally enough, designed to defend your PC from malicious attacks, but it seems that some of these security apps are suffering from a worrying vulnerability which has been dubbed AVGater.

The flaw in question was discovered by security researcher Florian Bogner, and here’s what it does on a basic level: the antivirus software quarantines a malicious file as it appears on the user’s PC, but the exploit allows an attacker to manipulate the restore process from quarantine, effectively letting the malware back onto the system. Where it can subsequently wreak its own particular brand of havoc.

However, before you start to fret too much, the good news is that this can’t be executed online; rather the attacker must be physically present at the victim PC.

So obviously, for the home user this isn’t going to be much of a threat – unless you’re in the habit of letting strangers into your house to use the PC for a quick bit of net surfing.

But in a business environment, with plentiful PCs, visitors to the office milling about and so forth, there could certainly be some risk.

Patched pronto

Not every antivirus product is affected by any means, and Bogner has listed a number of affected parties who have already released a fix for their AV software: Emsisoft, Ikarus, Kaspersky, Malwarebytes, Trend Micro, and ZoneAlarm.

A few more software makers have still to patch their applications, but the researcher doesn’t name any names, for obvious reasons.

On an overall level for all PC users, this is just another reminder that antivirus apps can suffer from vulnerabilities, just as with any piece of software. Indeed, last year, Tavis Ormandy – who is part of Google’s Project Zero team – found multiple flaws in major antivirus products.

As ever, always ensure your antivirus software is kept up-to-date to the latest version, and you may even want to consider running some kind of multi-layered security on your PC beyond just one antivirus app.

Via: Digital Trends

      

Chromebooks are soon to get a major boost in multitasking flexibility

Touchscreen Chromebooks are about to get a good deal more flexible when it comes to multitasking with apps in tablet mode, thanks to the introduction of a split-screen view that will allow users to snap two apps side-by-side.

Note that this feature hasn’t been officially announced yet, but it has been talked about previously, and it has now been spotted in Chrome OS dev channel version 64 by tipster Francois Beaufort.

This major boon for touchscreen Chromebooks goes under the name of ‘Split View in Tablet Mode’ and once you activate it, the feature shows all of your active windows, and you can snap whichever apps you wish into highlighted areas to view them side-by-side.

Image credit: Francois Beaufort

Android aggro

The caveat here is that if you’re using Android apps on your Chromebook, some of these don’t support ‘snapping’, and therefore won’t function with the split view mode – with Android games being particularly problematic, it seems. Although some games don’t lend themselves very well to multitasking anyway…

Nonetheless, this is clearly a very useful extra ability which is inbound for Chrome OS, so fingers crossed its transition from testing is a smooth one. As Digital Trends observes, the feature is likely to go live in Chromebooks early next year.

Another notable recent development in the world of Chrome OS-powered laptops is the news that you could soon be sending texts from your Chromebook – another string to the flexibility bow.

      

How Sodexo’s digital strategy kept their users immune to demonetization

A year ago, India went into the shock of the decade as Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetization of 500 and 1000 rupees notes. The event marked the nation’s swift entry into the digital economy. Indians started to adopt tools such as digital wallets to apps in a very short frame of time.

However, when every major aspect of the life was hindered and affected by the demonetization, one company that offered relief to its users and clients was Sodexo with its digital solutions. In fact, Sodexo, a renowned employee benefits service, began their digital journey few years before the demonetization, enabling them to be in a perfect position to serve their user base during the crisis of demonetization.

“With technology and digital adoption, we have two objectives. At one level we want to help the HR teams improve the quality of lives of their employees. Second, we want to simplify their lives, make it as simple as possible,” said Suvodeep Das, lead Marketing, Product development, at Sodexo India.

It wasn’t all easy for Sodexo, known for its iconic paper voucher, to make this digital leap, as they faced numerous large and small challenges.

“When Sodexo decided to go digital, we needed to establish digital acceptance in every outlet the vouchers were accepted. It took a lot of time, effort and money- infrastructure development, but Sodexo wanted to do it right, by building our own proprietary network, and now our network is the biggest in the country in terms of reach in tier 3 and 4 towns, ” Suvodeep Das explained.

“The biggest challenge was two years back when Sodexo began setting up our network. This is a year before demonetization. Almost 5000 outlets had never seen anything digital. Sodexo had to educate them- what is a card machine? What is an EDC terminal? How do you swipe? How do you take a print out? How do you do a transaction? How do you do a batch settlement? It was a huge challenge,” added Das.

As of today, the company has 40,000 plus points of acceptance across 1,500 cities in India and also a mobile app that can be used for transactions. Sodexo currently has three million daily users with a significant portion of them resorting to their digital tools such as the mobile app linked to both the meal pass cards.

However, Sodexo is in a process of constant innovation of its digital solutions. One of the digital solutions Sodexo has developed recently is “Tap & Pay.” Instead of the normal paper vouchers and RF-ID cards, Sodexo is trying out NFC- enabled cards.

Presently, Sodexo is incorporating this NFC based technology into the existing cafeteria pass they offer. At various cafeterias across IT Parks, they are replacing chip-based cards with NFC cards.

On the other hand, Sodexo is already working towards eliminating paper voucher, cafeteria cards and meal passes by integrating the employee benefits into their existing company ID cards for employees. According to Das, “many companies have the ID cards that they use for punching in, checking out etc. and the card can be used as their cafeteria pass as well. Thus the employee will not have to carry two cards.” Sodexo is currently running a Company ID-Based Solution as a pilot program with a client based in Bangalore.

According to Sodexo, the ultimate goal of simplifying the process of an employee accessing their benefit is about saving time and fostering productivity. And that is exactly where Sodexo’s food order app comes into play.

“You have the menu on the app, you order through the app and pay through the Sodexo Meal or Cafeteria Card. The order goes to the merchant, and once the order is ready, the merchant presses a button giving you a notification that your order is ready, Suvodeep Das explained it’s working. As a result, hundreds of working hours can be saved in a firm which is now wasted standing in a cafeteria queue.

According to Das, Sodexo is going to play a bigger role in the future of Digital India, as more and more tools are being developed globally. And it is a just a matter of times they bring the right ones to Indian users.