Has Apple lost the plot with the iPhone 6?

October 7, 2014 Leave a comment

Back in 2010, the late Steve Job’s, Apple’s founder, famously said “No one’s going to buy a big phone!” Four years later, the current CEO Tim Cook, has proudly unveiled Apple’s latest flagship product, the iPhone 6, in 2 screen sizes, the new standard 4.7” and the whopping 5.5” Plus model, both considerably larger than the Jobs inspired iPhone 5.

Was this the common sense Apple applied when designing iPhone 6 without Steve Jobs?

In 2012, when Apple delivered Steve Jobs’ legacy in the form of ‘the best iPhone ever’, the video ad at the time proclaimed the “dazzling display of common sense” of being able to reach all 4 corners of the screen with your thumb, whilst holding the phone in one hand. It was beautifully simple, elegant and just plain common sence.

Back then, Apple were the design innovators that others would imitate, today, however, the rolls have reversed. There seems little reason for Apple to abandon the ethos of their visionary leader and produce a larger phone, other than to try and emulate the success of the large screen Android phones that dominate the smartphone markets outside of America and Europe.

However, Apple have missed the point. Android phones don’t dominate just because they are large, it’s because they are a cheaper and (possibly) better alternative! The iPhone 6 starts at $649 (P29,000, without a contract) and top of the range is an eye watering $949 (P42,000). That’s an almost impossible sum for the majority of the World’s population to afford. By contrast Google’s Android One, which launched in India recently, is just $105 (P4,700), and carrier subsidies could reduce that to around $60 (P2,600). Apple are not going to win this battle with any size of phone!

Read more…

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Categories: Mobiles, Technology Tags: , ,

The perils of fake phone chargers

June 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Mobile phone users should take note of the death of a 28-year-old Australian woman, electrocuted while using her laptop and mobile phone.

Image

Sheryl Anne Aldeguer was killed on 23 April and suffered extensive burns to her chest and ears from her laptop and earphones, while using a counterfeit mobile phone charger.

It is believed the phone charger sent a high voltage electrical charge into her phone, which she was using at the time, and this was conducted to the earphones connected to her laptop.

The case is being investigated by Australian police, and has prompted warnings about the dangers of using fake USB adaptors. The incident echoes the death last year of Ma Ailun, a 23-year-old Chinese flight attendant, who died in similar circumstances while taking a call on an iPhone 5 that was plugged into a non-apple USB charger.

Last year a New York woman claimed her iPhone 4S spontaneously melted, oozing acid that destroyed the handset and a UK man was burned and thrown across the room by an electric shock, when an iPad charger exploded in his hand.

In February last year, a house fire in Oregon was blamed on an overheated MacBook battery and in 2011, an iPhone 4 caught fire on an airplane flying over Australia.

It’s highly likely these, and many other anecdotal incidents, are all the fault of poorly made counterfeit chargers. Whilst there is a clear temptation to save money on buying fake chargers for a fraction of the cost of the genuine item, it’s a saving that could prove very costly in the long run.

Unlike a fake Rolex watch or Louis Vuitton handbag, these fakes can kill you!

The counterfeit chargers are usually made with cheap and inferior components and leave out much of the protective insulation, resulting in a risk of electrocution or fire. They also have less power than the genuine chargers, so take much longer to charge your device, putting additional strain on the battery and can cause overcharging.

There are, however, over 600 million Apple devices in use around the world with only a few reported incidents. The use of genuine Apple products is very safe, but cheap counterfeit chargers are likely to add a very significant risk.

Extract from my original article on visayanbizpost.com

Chromebooks coming to new locations

This week, Google used poetic license to announce that Chromebook computers are to go on sale in 9 more countries around the world.

Image

“Chromebooks are coming to nine more nations; to improve computing for all generations,” said David Shapiro, Google marketing executive and ‘occasional versifier’, in his poetic blog.

Further verses announced the arrival of Chromebooks in Norway, Denmark, Chile, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Belgium, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

“When Chromebooks in these countries alight,” rhymed Shapiro, “We hope our new global friends find some computing delight.”

The new additions will bring the number of countries in which Chromebooks are sold, to 25.

Google launched the first Chromebook in 2010 to challenge the Microsoft Windows operating system. Chrome reverses the traditional model of running software on local hardware, instead the Chrome device connects to software hosted on Internet based servers.

Many new Chromebooks are powered by the latest generation of Intel chips that deliver improved performance and battery life, whilst prices are kept well below traditional PCs, due to the lower hardware requirements and software license costs.

Extract from my original article on visayanbizpost.com

Categories: Hardware Tags: ,

It makes my Heart Bleed!

The Heartbleed bug exploit and a series of high profile hacking attacks over the last year or so, have highlighted the fact that the more we make use of internet based storage for our personal information, the greater the risk we take.

Heartbleed

Hackers are now making use of highly sophisticated techniques to bypass, steal or guess our passwords. Even without stealing passwords through exploits like Heartbleed, hackers can use powerful computers to launch brute force password attacks, which can break even strong passwords, in a relatively short space of time. These attacks throw millions of password combinations per second at the intended target, until they eventually guess the right one.

The fact is that we are now entering an age when passwords alone are not going to be sufficient to protect the increasing volumes of personal data we have stored in the cloud.

But what if we could make use of a device most of us carry with us everywhere to act as a secondary key? A key that could prevent someone from logging into your account with a stolen password, unless they also had physical access to this key? 

I refer to the humble mobile phone. 

Most of the main internet service providers – Google, Facebook, Dropbox, PayPal etc. all provide a little publicised, secondary key option, known as two-factor authentication. Using two-factor, a code number is sent by the service provider to a registered mobile phone number, or generated by an app, whenever a new device logs into a protected account. This way, even if a hacker had access to your password, they could not log into your account, without also being able to enter the code number displayed on your mobile phone.

There is some inconvenience trade off against security, of course. You won’t be able to access your account from a new device, unless you have your phone with you. If you lose your phone, you’ll only be able to access your account from a previously authorised device, before you can update the two-factor settings. However, for the extra security offered, I think the pros far outweigh the cons.

Although no system will ever be 100% secure, it’s a fact of life that we are all going to have to take additional precautions with our data security, if we are to avoid falling victim to the darker side of the internet.

See below for linked instructions to enable two-factor authentication on a number of popular cloud based services.

YNAB – You haven’t budgeted like this!

A budget is an essential tool in helping keep track of finances in our busy lives. But what if you don’t have the time or patience, to record manually, all your income and outgoing on paper, or the skill, to create a computer spreadsheet? Enter YNAB, or You Need A Budget!
ynab4_budget2

YNAB is one of the most user-friendly money management programs we’ve seen and promotes its own financial planning philosophy to help manage your budget. The objective is to rearrange your finances so, eventually, you can live off your previous month’s salary, rather than living pay check to pay check and struggling to pay the bills at the end of every month.

YNAB’s Method introduces us to four basic principles, explained in detail on their website:
1. Give every dollar a job – balance your budget to zero every month, budget for savings as well.
2. Save for a rainy day – always put a little into the budget every month to save for unexpected bills.
3. Roll with the punches – don’t worry, adjust your budget to cover any overspends that happen.
4. Live on last month’s income – save a little every month into a buffer and then relax! You can pay your bills this month because the money is already there!

The YNAB software provides all the tools needed to follow the four rules, but importantly, it only looks forward. You don’t have to enter months or years of previous transactions, as most other financial software will want you to do, in order to give some insight into your future spending. YNAB is only interested in what you spend NOW and balancing that with what you earn NOW.

You should still enter all your new spending into YNAB, of course, either from your PC, the mobile app on your Apple or Android phone, or from financial data downloaded from your bank. Importantly however, the software deliberately avoids the tools that allow automatic downloading and synchronisation of bank data. You still need to verify every transaction, so you remain aware of your spending. It’s far too easy to lose control over your money these days, when we swipe or click to spend. YNAB reminds us of the importance of the counting that used to be done before a financial transaction took place.

The best thing about using YNAB, however, is the company does not just sell you their software and forget about you. Rather than calling themselves a software company, they prefer to be known as an education company that also sells software. To back this up, YNAB provides free daily webinars, teaching users how to get the most from the software. Best of all, at the end of every class, one of the participants receives a free copy of the software.

YNAB has also recently announced that their software is now free for all College Students, on proof of registration, for each calendar year of registration.

For the rest of us, YNAB is offered free for a 34-day trial (enough to cover a full monthly budget cycle) and then sells for $60 (P2,700), if you are convinced. A single license covers as many computers as you want, PC and Mac, so the whole family can manage their budgets and synchronise data via Dropbox.

YNAB claims it will save the average user much more than the purchase price, in the first month alone! I’m not sure if I have achieved that level myself, but using YNAB for a month, it’s already highlighted a problem my bank balance was headed for in May. I’ve now been able to reorganise a few payment dates and saved myself some hefty bank charges!

If you think YNAB might be the answer to your budgeting problems, I would strongly recommend giving it a try. To get you started, use this link, with compliments and qualify for a 10% discount.
Categories: Software Tags: ,

Joy Unsurpassed!

December 13, 2012 Leave a comment

After 3 months of being lost in the wilderness, it’s being reported today that Google Maps has finally made a return to the iPhone!

maps

News reports are stating that Google Maps can, from today, be downloaded through the App Store and used on iOS 6.

However, having searched for it on the App Store a few moments ago, Apple couldn’t find it!

Nothing new there, then!

Categories: Apps Tags: , ,

The Movember Bucket List

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Today, I’d like to take a temporary break from my normal subject matter to thank everyone for their generous support and sponsorship of myself and my colleagues at Barton Willmore during our Movember fundraising efforts.

Clint, as my facial growth became to be known, had but a short time with us and by way of tribute to his departure today, I present below, in it’s entirety, his 30 day ‘Bucket List’ adventure! He will be missed.


November 1st: Mr and Mrs Bevan are pleased to announce a new addition to the family. His name is ‘Clint’ and he has taken up residence on Mr Bevan’s upper lip. Although Clint will only be with us for 30 days, he intends to lead a full and exciting life and has already started work on his ‘Bucket List’

Clint


November 2nd: Today, Clint got off to a flying start and surprised us all by Running with the Bulls at Pamplona!

Bulls


November 3rd: Today, Clint travelled to Buenos Aires and learned to Tango!

Tango


November 4th: Today, Clint visited the Oktoberfest and got completely mullered!

Oktoberfest


November 5th: Today, Clint threw himself out of a perfectly good aeroplane and went skydiving!

Skydiving


November 6th: Today, Clint’s first novel, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey Facial Hair’, became a No.1 Bestseller!

50-Shades


November 7th: Today, Clint enjoyed a freshly rolled cigar in Havana!

Havana


November 8th: Today, Clint bathed in the Ganges during Makar Sankranti, and caught dysentery!

Ganges


November 9th: Today, Clint and a couple of friends rode the Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest rollercoaster, at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi! 0-149mph in 4 seconds… easy!

9.Rollercoaster


November 10th: Today, Clint went to Vegas and bet it all on red!

10.Roulette


November 11th: Today, Clint was photographed with Christ the Redeemer in Rio!

11.Christ


November 12th: Today, Clint drove the Nürburgring in under 10 minutes!

12.Nurburgring


November 13th: Today, Clint joined the list of people you’d like to see throw themselves off a bridge, and went bungee jumping in New Zealand!

13.Bungee


November 14th: Today, Clint paid a visit to the ‘Hottest’ place on earth, Death Valley in California. Though actually, he found it all a bit boring, so came home again.

14.Death.Valley


November 15th: Today, Clint livened things up a bit and went to New Orleans to party at Mardi Gras! Nice.

15. Mardi-Gras2


November 16th: Today, Clint risked a nasty case of frostbite on his extremities and took part in a Boxing Day Dip!

16.Boxing.Day.Dip


November 17th: Today, Clint got in touch with his feminine side, and danced at the Rio Carnival!

17.Rio.Carnival


November 18th: Today, Clint swam in the ‘Devil’s Pool’ on the edge of Victoria Falls! Though the diving board did put the willies up him a bit.

18.Devils_Pool


November 19th: Today, Clint went back to University and studied for a Masters Degree. We are all very proud of him!

Degree2


November 20th: Today, Clint drove the entire length of Route 66, on his computer with Google Street View!

20. Route 66


November 21st: Today, Clint swam with wild Dolphins! However, he found it quite dissatisfying, as the whole experience didn’t have any real porpoise!

21. Dolphins


November 22nd: Today, Clint blew the crap out of everything, during Chinese New Year in Shanghai!

22. Chinese New Year


November 23rd: Today, Clint needed to calm his nerves, so took a leisurely flight in a hot air balloon! He was last seen somewhere over the North Sea, approaching the Norwegian coastline.

23. Balloon


November 24th: Today, Clint threw tomatoes at a bunch of complete strangers during La Tomatina in Spain!

24. LaTomatina


November 25th: Today, Clint was in Times Square at midnight on Christmas Eve! Then he realised he’d got the wrong day!

25. Times_Square


November 26th: Today, Clint joined Fight Club, but he can’t talk about it!

26. Fight_Club


November 27th: Today, Clint’s post-modern impressionist piece ‘A Big Pile of S***’, won the Turner Prize! Which was nice.

27. Crap


November 28th: Today, Clint vowed to live without using any form of modern technology for a whole month! He lasted about 2 hours before he got a bit twitchy and went back to using his BlackBerry (as that didn’t really count, he said).

28. Technology


November 29th: Today, Clint watched a documentary on ‘freestyle’ rock climbing! ‘Stuff that for a game of soldiers!’ he thought, and went to the pub instead.

29. Mountain


November 30th: Today, Clint quit the rat race and went to live in the sun, the sea and the sand, on a tropical beach!

The lucky b***ard!

30.Beach


Thanks again to everyone who has sponsored Clint’s adventure! Any further donations will always be welcome at: http://mobro.co/andybevan11

Categories: Stuff Tags: ,
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