Tag Archives: ELECTRONIC

Vodafone aims to compete with BT’s Openreach with massive 1Gbps broadband investment

Vodafone and CityFibre have announced a partnership which will bring FTTP (fibre-to-the-premises) to approaching five million homes and businesses across the UK.

In other words, this will be Gigabit-capable fibre (1000Mbps) which runs directly into the home or office in question (as opposed to fibre-to-the-cabinet, which still uses the phone line for the last leg of the connection from the cabinet).

The fibre rollout will begin in the first half of next year with a million premises expected to be hooked up by 2021, and a further four million homes and business premises expected to be connected by 2025.

Openreach has previously said that it’s aiming for two million full fibre connections by 2020.

Post-construction, Vodafone will initially have exclusive rights to sell the fibre connections to punters, although this will only be for a certain period of time (which wasn’t specified by the companies).

Full fibre diet

As CityFibre notes, the government has a target of connecting 10 million premises to full fibre by 2022, and this will go some way towards the end – in fact, it will achieve half that target number ultimately (although not by 2022, but rather 2025).

Rob Hilborn, Head of Strategy at Broadband Genie, commented: “Full fibre broadband needs to be the focus for us going forward. Openreach has been working on a rollout of G.fast technology which is a cost effective upgrade on existing broadband infrastructure, but it still feels like a stop-gap measure.

“Deploying FTTP around the UK won’t be cheap, but it’s a long term investment that will provide us with future-proof connections. However, while the focus for this investment is likely to be on cities, in the long term we will need a plan for the rest of the country as to not leave them behind and risk widening the digital divide further.”

      

Gemalto launches multi-connectivity module

Gemalto has launched an integrated IoT module that offers a variety of connectivity options for manufacturers and integrators.

One of the areas that has been hampering the rollout of IoT has been standardized connectivity: the existence of a variety of 12 LTE bands (as well as different forms of cellular coverage) has meant various logistical problems.

The Gemalto Cinterion PLS62-W IoT Module delivers LTE Cat1 connectivity on all 12 LTE bands as well as offering fallback to multi band 3G and 2G networks. This means that integrators are able to develop a single application that can connect anywhere in the world, regardless of the cellular network standards in the region.

Embedded Java

In addition to this, Gemalto has also included a Java embedded system in the module that has been designed to make it easier to build applications. It does this by sharing memory, a large library of existing open source code and recognized software building blocks. The module also contains a power management system and optimized sleep mode to preserve power, an essential element for industrial usage.

Andreas Haegele, senior vice president IoT products at Gemalto, said the product offered great flexibility. “The Cinterion multi band LTE Cat1 module is ideal for worldwide tracking and tracing, telematics and fleet management solutions, offering a one stop shop for cellular IoT connectivity, no matter where your IoT solutions are deployed or where they move. It is perfectly suited for applications that need to operate across many different wireless network environments for many years. “

      

Delayed repairs to your broadband? You’ll now get automatic compensation

Ofcom has announced a new scheme whereby landline and broadband customers in the UK will receive automatic compensation from their ISP in the event of delayed repairs or missed appointments.

Following a consultation on the matter, the watchdog has announced that BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet have agreed to pay their users compensation in the event of delays.

So here’s how it will work. If a phone or broadband connection goes down, and isn’t ‘fully’ fixed within two working days, for each subsequent day that the connection isn’t functional, the customer will get £8.

If the service provider’s engineer fails to turn up for an appointment – or cancels with less than 24 hours’ notice – the customer gets £25 compensation.

And compensation will also be provided for delays when setting up a new phone or broadband connection. If the ISP misses your allotted start date, for every day that you’re delayed, you will receive £5 compensation.

This is clearly good news for consumers, who will no longer have to battle to get compensation in the case of such delays, with money being credited to their account automatically instead.

Putting things in place

Although Ofcom notes that implementing this automatic process is a fair undertaking for service providers, and therefore there will be a period of 15 months to allow everything to be put into place.

The ISPs currently subscribed to the automatic compensation scheme represent around 90% of landline and broadband users in the UK, according to Ofcom. And more providers are expected to sign up further down the line.

Lindsey Fussell, Consumer Group Director at Ofcom, commented: “Waiting too long for your landline or broadband to be fixed is frustrating enough, without having to fight for compensation.

“So providers will have to pay money back automatically, whenever repairs or installations don’t happen on time, or an engineer doesn’t turn up. People will get the money they deserve, while providers will want to work harder to improve their service.”

Ofcom further noted that the scheme will benefit small businesses, too, as around a third of SMBs in the UK use residential landline and broadband services (as opposed to a dedicated business plan).

      

Best Kindle cases and covers

If you’ve landed here, it’s likely you already have an Amazon ereader and you’re looking for a way to protect your device in your bag or even while you’re deep in the latest Jack Reacher novel.

That’s why we’re here to recommend some of the best cases and covers for each version of the Amazon Kindle that’s currently on sale.

Below you’ll find two cases we love for each current Kindle product, including the latest versions of the Amazon Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage and the Kindle Oasis.

Note: we’ve scoured the web for all of the Kindle cases and covers out there on sale right now and here are a selection of the ones we like the look of. These have been ranked from cheapest to most expensive according to prices at time of writing.

Best cases and covers for Amazon Kindleg

Note: the cases listed will only fit the most recent version of the Amazon Kindle, which was released in 2016 and is often referred to as one of the eighth generation Kindles.

This case comes with drop protection, so if your Kindle takes a tumble out of your hand toward the floor it should help protect the corners, edges and – thanks to its raised sides – even the screen.

You’ve only got a choice of pink or blue for this Kindle cover and there’s no protection against scratches on your screen while it’s tumbling around in your bag, but it’ll protect the edges nicely.

Amazon has produced a protective cover for the Kindle that doesn’t cost the earth and will make sure you don’t scratch up and dent the edges and rear of your Kindle when you’re reading on the move.

You can buy it in black, blue, pink or white and it gives the generally quite dull looking Kindle a big splash of color that some will love.

With a durable fabric material on the inside and an automatic wake function when you flip the case lid up, this may well be the best cover for your Kindle.

Best cases and covers for Kindle Paperwhite

Note: the cases below fit all generations of Kindle Paperwhite products, so they’ll be suitable for any version of the Kindle Paperwhite ereader you own.

Again this case is from Amazon and the company has promised it’s suitable for all versions of the Kindle Paperwhite, no matter when you bought your device.

The color options here are limited to blue, black, pink and white, but there are some bold choices if you’re looking for a striking cover for your Kindle, and the case also comes with a cover for the screen, so you can be safe in the knowledge that it’s not going to get scratched while in your bag.

If leather is the look you’d like to spread all over your ereader, this case from Amazon is likely the best choice to wrap your Kindle Paperwhite up in, and it comes in a selection of color options too.

Those colors are orange, pink, black, blue and a deep purple that we really love, plus this case isn’t that expensive considering it’s made of leather, giving it a premium look and feel.

Best cases and covers for Kindle Voyage

Note: the cases below fit the only generation of the Kindle Voyage, which was released back in 2014.

Another case directly from Amazon here and this one for the Voyage can be folded so you can prop up your Kindle and read without having to hold onto your ereader.

It’s not the cheapest Kindle Voyage cover we’ve seen, but the design is durable and it’ll protect the screen when you’ve left your ereader in your bag, so it should help you avoid having to read ebooks through scratches.

This case is largely similar to the one above, but this one comes in leather. Be warned that it isn’t cheap as it’s a limited edition from Amazon, but it may be what you’re looking for to protect your ereader from daily wear and tear, while adding a touch of style.

It’s a shame this cover only comes in brown, but it’s a nice color and really shows off the high quality leather too.

Best cases and covers for Kindle Oasis

Note: the listed cases will only fit the most recent version of the Amazon Kindle Oasis that was released in 2017. They won’t be suitable for the eighth generation Oasis that came out in 2016.

With the Kindle Oasis being waterproof, you’ll also want a case that can take the odd splash of water too. That’s why Amazon has made this water-safe Kindle Oasis cover that will snap magnetically onto the back of your super-premium ereader.

You’ve got limited color choices of just blue, white or black, but each looks attractive and protects the front of your Kindle Oasis too. This cover also works as a stand, as the name suggests, so you can use your Kindle Oasis hands-free.

The only downside is that while covering the front it doesn’t cover (and therefore doesn’t protect) the thick part of the Kindle’s rear.

Our final case for the Kindle Oasis also comes from Amazon itself, and it’s a fairly premium though less water-safe alternative to the cover above.

You have color choices of black or tan leather, despite the image above also showing a dark brown (as that’s not currently on sale).

When you’ve got the Kindle open the case lets you prop it up so you can read easily, and the slim design means it won’t feel much thicker than the Kindle itself.

      

Windows 10’s Near Share is Microsoft’s take on Apple’s AirDrop

There’s a new preview build out for Windows 10, which is the first taste of fresh features that will be included in next year’s first big update (Redstone 4), including Microsoft’s version of Apple’s AirDrop for swiftly and easily sharing files between PCs.

Near Share allows PCs which are near each other to share files (or web links) via Bluetooth, so there’s no need to bother with clunkier solutions like putting the file on a USB stick.

Providing your PC has Bluetooth, of course, you can simply click on the icon for Near Share and select from a list of devices within Bluetooth range to share with. The recipient will be notified of your intended file transfer, and will have to accept it before the move is made.

Edging up

Most of the other new features with this preview build (version 17035, which is now available in the fast ring) pertain to Microsoft’s Edge browser. They include the ability to mute a tab playing audio, which is a fairly standard browser feature, but a welcome one nonetheless.

There are also fresh context menu options when reading ebooks in Edge, and Microsoft has introduced the ability to save out (free) EPUB books from within the browser.

Finally, as well as some miscellaneous minor tweaks, the Microsoft Store has been graced with a ‘Shop Surface’ section, which allows you to purchase Surface devices and accessories directly from within Windows 10. This is no surprise, as it was spotted a couple of weeks back.

Not every Windows tester will be able to access this preview build yet, mind you, as apparently there’s a major bug with AMD processors. So if you have an AMD-powered rig, you’ll be blocked from downloading the build (for your own good). Microsoft is currently working on a fix for this issue.

      

Australian mobile broadband faster than fixed line speeds

In an attempt to determine how Australia’s broadband performs on a global and domestic scale, Ookla, the company behind one of the most popular online speed tests, collected data from 16.3 million fixed-line broadband speed tests and 436,174 mobile speed tests conducted by 3.6 million Aussies in the second and third quarter of 2017.

After crunching out the numbers, Ookla has revealed that Australia’s mobile broadband is a better performer than fixed-line internet, with the former clocking up average download speeds of 44.2Mbps – an improvement of 21.2% from the same period in 2016.

Fixed-line broadband, however, was nearly half that speed, lagging behind with an average of 24.1Mbps for downloads.

Upload speeds were 14.32Mbps for mobile compared to just 8.48Mbps for fixed line.

And the winner is…

According to Ookla’s report, Australia ranks 5th globally in terms of mean download speeds, squeezing in ahead of Singapore, but just getting beaten by the UAE.

For mobile broadband, Telstra was the best performer, clocking up a speed score – an Ookla metric that combines both download and upload speeds – of 42.28Mbps, with Adelaide coming out on top with the highest speed score for a carrier (Telstra) in a city.

Vodafone wasn’t a bad performer either, but Optus failed to impress.

Optus, however, proved to be the ‘fastest’ provider for fixed-line broadband, with an average download speed of 24.12Mbps, followed by Telstra and TPG.

Ookla predicts that mobile broadband speeds will continue to rise, given how much the top Australian telcos have invested in improving network infrastructure, and noted that Optus in particular could leverage its “3.5GHz spectrum for 5G, which would increase their speeds considerably”.

      

iPad 2018 could borrow the best features from the iPhone X

Apple is planning to overhaul its iPad for 2018, slicing away bezels along with the TouchID fingerprint sensor. This move follows in step with the iPhone X, which has seen success, both critically and commercially, thanks to its refreshed design, improved performance and future-looking feature set.

Perhaps the biggest change going into Apple’s 2018 flagship tablet is the removal of the TouchID fingerprint sensor. As we’ve seen with the iPhone X, it will be replaced with FaceID as the sole method of logging in via biometrics, according to Bloomberg. To unlock the device, simply look at the front-facing camera and the TrueDepth face-sensing technology will authenticate.

While some will miss the ease and reliability of the fingerprint sensor, opting for FaceID technically allows for a larger screen and smaller bezels. Speaking of screens, this is a potential point of delineation between Apple’s next flagship tablet and its new, nearly all-screen smartphone: it won’t utilize OLED screen technology, but will instead likely stick with a tried-and-true LCD panel.

This is one of the big selling points for the iPhone X over its predecessors, and even though it’s disappointing to hear that it won’t come to next year’s iPad, it’s understandable given that Apple had enough trouble securing enough OLED supply for its phone, let alone much larger contrast-rich screens for this rumored tablet.

Omission aside, we’ll still get to appreciate a larger screen and smaller bezels thanks to the removal of the TouchID sensor.

Other iDifferences

Apple’s tablets have traditionally been a half step more powerful than the most recent iPhone, and the 2018 tablet looks to be no exception. Sources close to its development told Bloomberg that the company is readying a faster version of its A11 Bionic chip, as well as a new graphics processing unit (GPU) for the next iPad, both of which will push it past the iPad Pro.

Additionally, Apple is said to be at work on the next iteration of Apple Pencil stylus, as well as some new use cases on the software end of things to squeeze more utility of it. Hopefully, that work translates in an iPad stylus that doesn’t require being recharged.

      

Google Chrome will stop letting sites redirect you against your will in 2018

Pop-up ads were the great scourge of the early internet, but we now face a menace that’s almost equal in annoyance: that of infuriating ads that automatically redirect you to different sites while you’re middle of reading something else. This isn’t just annoying: it also puts you at risk for phishing and malware.

Thankfully, Google will start stuffing its popular Chrome browser with new protections against such nefarious practices over the course of the upcoming winter. The rollout will happen in three parts early next year.

Beginning with the release of Chrome 64, Chrome will stop letting sites automatically redirect to new sites when you haven’t clicked on anything. Google claims this kind of behavior often springs from third-party code embedded in the page and that the page’s author often had nothing to do with it.

Later down the road, Chrome 65 will fix that particularly nasty nonsense when the link you meant to click opens up in a new tab but the parent page redirects to an ad. As Google rightly sees this is as a “circumvention” of Chrome’s pop-up blocker that has gone unpunished for too long.

“Starting in Chrome 65 we’ll also detect this behavior, trigger an infobar and prevent the main tab from being redirected,” says Ryan Schoen, Chrome’s product manager, in the announcement post. “This allows the user to continue directly to their intended destination, while also preserving the context of the page they came from.”

Finally, Google will also start blocking those infuriating page elements that are disguised as download or playback buttons, along with blocking invisible overlays that cause you to go to a different page.

Maintain your focus

Google won’t actually start blocking elements like these until January. That means you have some time to prepare if you’re a page owner.

To assist with this process, today Google released its Abusive Experiences Report that lets you see if your site will be affected by the changes. If any conflicts haven’t been resolved by the time 30 days pass by, though, Chrome will start blocking redirects and the opening of new windows from your site.

It’s but one way Google is trying to clean up the web’s act. Next year looks as though Chrome will deliver a much more comfortable core browsing experience, as Google also plans to implement other changes such as stopping video ads from autoplaying.

      

Top 5 best application performance management (APM) solutions in 2017

It’s safe to say that computers and other IT hardware are critical in business operations. If physical technology is slow or breaks down, then firms can end up missing deadlines and targets, causing a whole heap of trouble. And the same thing goes for software applications – companies need them to work effectively, as they rely on them.

Sometimes, amidst the chaos of huge workloads and strict deadlines, it can be hard to keep an eye on business software – problems can often slip under the radar, and even when they’re undetected only for a short time, they can still affect productivity greatly.

That’s why application performance management (APM) software exists. A major area in the field of IT infrastructure management, these tools can monitor and manage the performance of software deployed within a business. The aim of APM solutions is to detect and diagnose application performance issues as soon as possible, enabling them to be solved more quickly, thus saving money in the long run. Here are some of the best APM offerings out there.

  • Correlsense is a company that offers a number of application performance management technologies, and SharePath is the firm’s leading product, designed for business and IT managers who use complex software on a daily basis.

    The platform provides users with a complete picture of the service and performance levels of key enterprise applications. It can be used with applications split across areas such as mobile, SaaS, cloud, data centre and legacy platforms. SharePath monitors apps in real-time, so you don’t have to worry about issues being missed.

    What’s great about this APM solution is that it analyses all user activity, meaning that issues accidently caused by employees can be addressed straight away. As well as this, there are dashboards that you can share with everyone on your team, and you’re provided with service level reports and alerts. To top it all off, there’s a ‘Lite’ version which is completely free to use (although naturally it’s feature-limited).

    Loupe is an effective, feature-packed application performance management tool. Aimed at enterprises and IT administrators, this solution lets you trace events, performance and other metrics to work out the causes of issues affecting software negatively.

    A good APM solution will help you find problems with apps straight away, and if you’ve got to hunt through a sprawling list of potential issues, then it’s going to be hard to do that. However, Loupe automatically groups log events so you can find and address performance issues with a minimum of fuss.

    The system also gives you a visual understanding of your application usage and offers insights into bottlenecks that can subsequently be tackled. It’s easy to get up and running with this system, as you don’t have to install anything onto your servers – the setup process is very nicely streamlined.

    Plenty of businesses use the cloud along with on-premise systems, and when you have a bunch of different apps – from cloud through hybrid to traditional software installations – monitoring them all can be very difficult. Traverse Monitoring is an APM tool that aims to tackle these sort of scenarios.

    It can automatically discover apps, networks, servers and systems, meaning you don’t have to dedicate time in order to configure things manually. Once it’s set up and running, Traverse will monitor each device and app to determine if there are any issues. If a problem is identified, it’ll fire up a troubleshooting process and try to resolve it before your business is affected.

    You can also back up and restore changes across your applications, and you’re sent predictive analytics concerning their overall performance.

    If you’re a developer or have a team of software engineers working within your company, then it’s obviously quite common to come across performance issues and other bugs. Stackify Retrace is a targeted ‘devAPM’ system, giving development professionals the tools they need to find and address problems effectively.

    The platform alerts developers if any issues and bugs have been found, and it can be used to improve performance levels across test and production servers. Retrace has been designed so that it provides visibility, data and actionable insights into app performance and faults.

    There’s a centralised dashboard that displays code performance and metrics, including errors and logs. Stackify can also be used with most common app stacks, and this is a highly scalable SaaS solution, so it’s easy to install and use.

    Applications Manager from ManageEngine is a tool which does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s being marketed as an enterprise-ready, usable and affordable APM. Businesses are provided with everything they need to ensure critical applications and systems are always in perfect working order.

    This solution can find and address issues involving the end user, applications and important components such as databases, servers, ERP packages, web services, cloud platforms and virtual systems.

    Applications Manager works with a single install and allows you to address issues easily, plus when looking further down the road, it’s highly scalable – indeed, it can scale to up to 50,000 applications.

          

Top 5 best data loss prevention software in 2017

We’re collectively creating a massive amount of data on a daily basis. In fact, according to research from tech giant IBM, our devices generate around 2.5 quintillion bytes of the stuff every day.

Businesses are no different. In fact, their need for privacy is probably even greater. Companies collect masses of information, such as customer orders and communication between employees. If this is suddenly leaked onto the internet, or if it gets into the wrong hands the consequences can be severe. At the least it’s a PR disaster waiting to happen, at worst you could break the law

This is why data loss prevention (DLP) is a crucial area for businesses. You’ve likely come across this term before if you’re a business owner or work in technology. Essentially, it refers to a strategy that organisations use to ensure that sensitive information doesn’t end up outside the corporate walls. But the term also extends to software and tools that can be used to control who has access to certain data and how it’s managed, and in this article we’re going to look at some of the very best services out there.

  • Symantec is well-known for its cybersecurity offerings, both in the consumer and business world. Its Data Loss Prevention product helps you monitor and protect valuable business information and assets. With this scalable software suite, you can see where data is stored throughout your business, taking into account cloud, mobile, and multiple endpoints.

    There’s also the ability to see and control how your data is used, regardless if your employees are online or offline. The system puts safeguards in place to ensure data is never leaked or stolen, wherever it’s stored – and that includes a host of cloud apps, with coverage of over 60 of these including popular offerings such as Box, Dropbox, Google Apps, Salesforce and Office 365.

    Trustwave’s DLP solution provides companies with the tools they need to discover, monitor and secure data while complying with internal and external regulations.

    The system has been designed so that it’s ready to be used straight out of the box, offering over 70 predefined policy and risk settings, which you can adjust and turn on (or off) according to your everyday business needs. As well as these, you get a configurable dashboard, so you can easily see where your data is located and put mechanisms in place to protect it.

    Analysis plays a big role in this platform. Trustwave will monitor all web-based documents and attachments that come into your business, including emails, blogs and social media posts. They’re analysed for violations of company governance and compliance. The system will automatically block any violations, keeping your data safe.

    This offering from McAfee (part of Intel Security) is, like some other systems, highly scalable and can be tailored for the needs of your company. The big difference, though, is that it places an emphasis on forensic analysis.

    Indeed, McAfee Total Protection for DLP goes a step further than most by exploring ways that data may have been leaked in the absence of internal compliance rules and regulations. That’s handy for firms that may not have concrete corporate rules in place.

    Another great thing about this solution is that it’s an intelligent system which can identify and prioritise more sensitive data. There’s also location and application tagging, which makes it easier to put data protection strategies in place.

    Check Point’s DLP offering – called the sever sounding Data Loss Prevention Software Blade – combines a variety of different cybersecurity processes to help businesses prevent data from being leaked or sent accidentally to the wrong person. It aims to educate users on the risk of data loss and help them respond to incidents as quickly as possible.

    This is a less complicated system than some of the others listed here, sporting a centralised management console for security policies. There are also a few preconfigured rules, so you don’t have to worry about creating new ones if you don’t have the time or technical knowledge. You can sign up for a free trial of Check Point Data Loss Prevention, too.

    Digital Guardian DLP is one of the broadest data loss prevention systems you can get. It’s been designed to work with Windows, Mac and Linux endpoints, which is perfect if you use a plethora of desktop systems within your firm. As soon as you set it up, it’ll begin tagging and classifying datasets, a process that can otherwise prove time-consuming.

    Flexibility and scalability are strengths of this particular DLP offering. In terms of the former, you can deploy the Digital Guardian platform on-premise, or as a cloud-based system, or indeed a hybrid of both. And when it comes to scaling, a single management server can cover up to 250,000 users, no less. Not that your business is likely to have that many employees, but if you need a system that scales well, then this is obviously worth bearing in mind.

    Digital Guardian also boasts a series of add-ons which can extend the product and offer elements like advanced encryption for better data protection.