Opinion: ‘The Cloud’ vs ‘The Fog’

Image credit: Forest on a Foggy Winter Day: photo by follc via PhotoReeDropBox, GoogleDrive, OneDrive; Office 365; Zoho Office; AWS, Microsoft Azure… I could go on. That’s before we get to Social Media. You may have noticed everything these days is in ‘the Cloud.’

But what does that mean? Are you, like me, a Cloud-sceptic? Granted, I still play CD’s and DVD’s. An occasionally vinyl records. This ‘Cloud’ thing is far to ephemeral to be any use. Isn’t it?

The Internet of Things.
There is an actual ‘Fog.’ The Internet of Things; where every device is internet-enabled in a massive inter-woven fog of greater and smaller networks, with many more localised resources and the most mundane devices able to interconnect with super-computers, libraries, retail, social media. Suddenly H2G2‘s talking toaster becomes a reality. A mad bonkers reality, perhaps; maybe the toaster itself won’t talk but I bet it will be able to order bread, croissants, ‘sandwich thins’ (whatever they are) and lookup the optimal toasting time for Scandiwegian Humectant flatbread. Read more of this post

How-to: Get Windows 10

Windows 10 desktopIt’s been over a month since Microsoft launched Windows 10 and if you missed the initial push – well done, where have you been? But, now you’re back on Earth, how do you get Windows 10 installed?

You have three choices: upgrade, buy a new computer, buy a retail copy. Microsoft has slimmed down the number of SKU’s (product versions), and in an attempt to force through the adoption of Windows 7, has already upgraded over a 100 million machines for free or at a discount. Read more of this post

Opinion: Android Hacks and the Stagefright from Hell

Stagefright, Creative Commons, Gresham College via VimeoYou may have read about the multiple-hack affecting Stagefright, the code in Android that plays back media in MMS (multimedia messages). An enterprising hacker (allegedly) needs only send an MMS containing the exploit to the phone number of an Android 2.2 or later device and Stagefright will write code to any part of that device for which it has permissions – with the potential to affect 950 million, yes million, Android phones.

Whilst it is in theory quite easy to upgrade your phone to the latest Android (off-brand Chinese phones excepted), the question is how many users of those 950 million (that are still in use) are actually capable of doing so? Even if you go to the right website to get the latest phone software, there are many obstacles to making those phones secure again.

Find the right site, identify your phone, download the software, read, study, backup your data (yes, you!) then cross your fingers as you flash the firmware and wait for the rising smoke from your handset. But don’t even attempt it until you’re absolutely certain you understand the instructions and follow them to the letter.

Easy. Read more of this post

How-to Stop Skype starting automatically

Skype start screenEver since Microsoft took over Skype, it installs automatically with Internet Explorer, starts itself at boot time and is impossible to stop from the Skype client as there is no longer an option in the settings to do so. Nor does it sit in your Start Up Programmes folder. In fact, alongside the in-stream advertising and the removal of the log of calls made, duration, destination and cost, Skype now behaves like the worst kind of malware.

Unfortunately the Malicious Software Removal Tool won’t get rid of it. And it is occasionally useful for messaging and video conferencing. I just don’t want it hogging resources all the bloody time. Note to Microsoft; don’t annoy us Northerners. You wouldn’t like us when we’re angry. Read more of this post

Opinion: Goodbye Google Plus

Google Plus: image Creative Commons by West McGowanIt’s true: Google is breaking it’s heavily embedded but failed social networking product Google Plus into separate products – Streams and Photos, new head of Social Bradley Horowitz announced on Google+ earlier this month.

It was telling that Horowitz didn’t specifically mention Google Plus, which pretty well signals the end of Google’s foray. Google Plus was supposed to be a one-stop shop for interactiing across all products and all users. Clearly the vision has changed. Read more of this post

News: Numbers Prove Nobody Uses Google Plus

Tumbleweed Rolling By Jez Arnold [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsAs we all thought, nobody uses Google Plus. The unwanted and unloved social network foisted on us by the advertising machine masquerading as a search engine has been revealed as Tumbleweed Central.

Of course, ‘nobody’ is a relative term. Google made Plus accounts a mandatory add-on to all it’s Google sign-ons from Gmail to YouTube to Picassa and Drive, which means there’s around 2.2 BILLION Plus accounts belonging to users around the world.

But as researcher Edward Morbius has shown, only around 4-6 million people interact and post publicly on Google Plus. Read more of this post

How-to: Understand GSM and CDMA (phones) II

Image credit: Smartphone Collection, http://www.iconshock.com, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0Last time, we started looking at the various phone standards, trying to avoide ending up in acronym hell. We got as far as GSM, CDMA, Edo, HSPA+ and roaming. This time we move on to 4G, LTE and into the future.

While GSM and CDMA work using radio waves in a ‘traditional’ fashion; 4G works by means of an Internet Protocol (IP) network. The radio signals have to be translated into data packets for use on the network. This includes voice calls which use voice-over-IP. The fail-over for 4G is to switch back to a 2G or 3G network to make voice calls. Read more of this post


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