Recently in Cloud Category
Huddle and Tibbr have announced a strategic partnership to connect customers with each company's innovative cloud and social solutions.
This partnership will allow Huddle users to use Tibbr's social platform to connect, share and manage their content in the cloud, from within the Huddle environment. Tibbr customers will be able to attach Huddle files to their updates for information and feedback, while remaining in the Huddle cloud.
Companies now realise they need apps - files for content and an interface which is connected to major file systems. "Users are demanding a seamless experience," said Alastair Mitchell, CEO, Huddle, and they are looking towards cloud solutions such as Huddle, Box and Google Drive.
Customers are also looking for social platforms to compliment their cloud offerings.
Mitchell said existing users of Huddle were asking the company to recommend a social platform, and Huddle was unofficially recommending Tibbr.
Now, new and existing customers of Huddle and Tibbr will be recommended the other platform and be given a free trial.
Mitchell said that before the partnership had even launched, Huddle managed to secure a major deal with a US federal agency, which has now moved entirely into the cloud.
"These are multimillion pound deals," he said.
He said that companies are saying 'we're moving people into the cloud' but not completely committing, "Now they're moving ten thousand people into the cloud."
Tibbr had previously had a partnership with Box, and has now chosen to partner with Huddle for content collaboration. "This repositions our position in the market," said Mitchell. "And it shows are we are delivering solutions to larger and larger organisations."
Tibbr was launched by TIBCO the enterprise software company in 2011 as a social media system for the workplace which potentially allows a company to reduce and remove email.
The Livescribe Sky Smartpen vs Murdoch and BSkyB
Recent news has caused me to debate whether I should include a review of the Livescribe Sky Smartpen on Inspect-a-Gadget anymore, because sadly, the company has recently removed its products from British shelves following a complaint from BSkyB over the use of 'Sky' in its name.
Now don't get me wrong, I didn't ponder over whether I should now conduct the review purely because the product looks like it's on the brink of a legal battle. I just didn't want to tell the readers of Inspect-a-Gadget about a brilliant little product that you may not be able to get your hands on.
But sorry guys, I think it needs to be done.
But first a little rant... The product I am about to review is a new version of a Livescribe Smartpen, the "Sky Edition" if you will. These pens are computing tools to aid while writing handwritten notes. Not a huge British satellite broadcasting, broadband and telephony services company.
According to the FT, BSkyB have stated that the product is a "clear infringement of our well-established Sky brand."
"While you might think that BSkyB is completely different from a pen, actually the goods and services covered by Sky's trademark would be similar to the equipment that Livescribe are producing," said Arty Rajendra, a partner at Rouse, an intellectual property law firm.
But let's hope that this complaint BSkyB has made will end up in a whole lot of free advertising for Livescribe, and that the product will be back on British shelves ASAP, because, as I am about to tell you, these nifty little gadgets are fantastic.
The Livescribe platform consists of a set of pens and a piece of software which originally synchronised audio while you took notes. You used your customised Livescribe stationary to take notes and then replay audio by using the pen's nib to touch your handwritten notes and the audio would skip to what you heard while writing that particular word.
There have been a few different and updated versions of the Livescribe Pen, the latest being the "offending" Sky Pen. This model is a WiFi model with 2, 4 or 8GB of storage. While the pen still records everything you write and hear and replays the audio from a certain point in time, the pen also automatically and wirelessly sends your notes to be stored in Evernote.
Evernote is a piece of free software which works across all platforms, mobile devices and on a web interface, so you can literally access your notes anywhere and anytime.
The Sky Pen also includes a camera as well as audio recording, which means that your notes can appear in your handwritten form, safe and secure in your Evernote account. You can also watch your handwritten notes being written through a video platform, however I did find this a little odd as it was just my handwriting appearing on the screen, no writing implements, as if being written by a ghost. Creepy.
You can use your customised Livescribe stationary and additional stickers to activate your pen, such as scan for a WiFi network, change from left to right handed and also adjust the time and date. I expected this to be rather clunky, pressing the nib of your pen against a sticker with a command written on it, but in fact it was very smooth to use with a satisfying 'ping' to know the command was understood.
For such a clever pen, you can forgive it for being so chunky and reminiscent of a Sharpie permanent marker when you hold it in your hand. However large, the pen itself is rather stylish, with a streamlined shape and a black and silver design.
The amount of storage and WiFi capabilities does bump up the price of this product significantly, Livescribe predecessors were around the £100 mark, the Sky version pushed the £150 for 8GB of storage.
So while you won't be able to pick up a Livescribe pen for under the tree this Christmas, keep an eye out for when they (hopefully!) return and nab yourself a pen pal.
Livescribe advertisment video to help illustrate my description of what it does a little more coherently:
We are seeing increased demand on devices such as tablets to be used on the move, but with the average high-end amount of storage in tablets being around the 64GB mark, there is a need for a more portable storage solution, for those who work with large amounts of data.
The Buffalo MiniStation Air is hoping to be a solution to this problem, by providing 500GB of storage for data on the move. The handheld device is compatible with PC, Mac, and also tablets and smartphones through the use of an app. Cleverly, the device has its own internal wireless data connectivity, which allows you to stream to and from your devices while on the move. It also transfers data very quickly from your PC or Mac thanks to its USB 3.0 connectivity.
My first hurdle was turning on the device. There are two buttons on the side of the device, and I couldn't tell if the device was out of battery, or if I wasn't pressing the correct button, or even pushing it hard enough. I managed to switch it on a couple of times and it worked, but then I tried the same button to switch it on again and it wouldn't, so I resigned to giving it a good charge before trying again.
Again, I had trouble with the button, but after pressing it a few times, a couple of lights came up on the shiny black surface to indicate that it was on and that the WiFi was working. I then connected the gadget to my mobile device, by turning on the wireless and typing in the key which is on the back of the gadget. I then downloaded the accompanying app and was ready to give it a whirl.
I was testing it out using my iPhone 4, and annoyingly the app kept crashing which soon became very irritating. I figured out that if I didn't click on things too quickly and allowed the app a little more time to think, it wouldn't throw a hissy-fit and chuck me out of the application. But as soon as I became used to the layout of the app again, I'd pick up speed in accessing the files, and yet again I would be chucked out of the app!
When I did manage to spend more than 30 seconds at a time inside the app, I found it well organised. Data can be transferred from your computer onto the device in the same way as an external hard drive or USB stick. You could also add data from your mobile device onto the MiniStation Air, and also transfer data from the MiniStation Air onto your mobile device.
I was also really pleased with accessing photos, music and videos because it was extremely quick and easy to do so. There was an added joy that while watching videos, the wireless connection was so good that I didn't need to wait for any length of time for it to buffer.
For £100, you get a fair bit of storage for your money, however the fundamental bugs with the iOS app was very disappointing, but hopefully something that can be quickly fixed with an update.
There was lots of networking, staring at mildly famous people, grabbing as many canapés as I could carry and even a little bit of note taking.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 made the biggest impression, after it was crowned both the smartphone of the year and the gadget of the year.
Yes, that's right, it fought off competition from the iPhone 5. Speaking of Apple, it took home the computer of the year award for its new retina display Mac book Pro. For some reason an Apple rep wasn't in attendance to collect the award, with some (me) speculating that they must have used new Apple Maps to try and find the venue.
Smartphone app of the year went to the cycling and running buddy, Strava. Cloud app of the year went to the BBC for iPlayer and its news app, clearly boosted by its coverage of the Olympics.
Sticking with apps, tablet app of the year was awarded to Sky Sports as it continues to grow in popularity in the mobile sector.
Google also had a good night, taking home four awards, two of which were for tablet of the year thanks to the Nexus 7 and the most wanted future gadget gong, awarded to its Project Glass concept.
Not too much I'd disagree with from the night and I'm not just saying that because they fed me chocolate mousse. Honest.
- Hype, rumours and excitement prior to the launch
- Disappointment in regards to the lack of innovation when it was launched
- And way too much loving sentiment and claims of the "best phone ever" when reviewers got their hands on it
Diary of an outcast: Apple's Special iPad 2 Event
I will start with my favourite post, the infamous Apple event. I had been invited to Apple events before but somehow started getting missed off the list. I hate Apple so it was no surprise that they didn't want me there. Safe to say that after this post not only was I missed off the list but Computer Weekly never received an invite from Apple ever again.
iPhone Vs N97
This was the first big video project that me and David (video editor) put together. At the time I was so happy that I'd got the N97 I decided to make a video pitting it against the iPhone while mocking Apple's advertising campaign. Little did I know that the N97 would prove to be the worst purchase I've ever made in my life.
HTC Desire HD Review
David (who stars in this video) and I wanted to do something different and create a cool video review. This is what we came up with.
Sadly once we started recording David (and the department he worked for) were made redundant. It didn't effect the video but it wasn't a happy time for us. Having cleared out his desk he set up at home the next day to finish it. This was our last hurrah and the last video I made. Very proud of it.
What is the best mobile OS around?
At this point, no one wanted to be in any of my videos. The company was starting to cut back on them and so I tried to play four roles with four outfits and a moustache before I got told that what I was doing wasn't a productive use of my time. Honestly, how could they say that?
This video used to have a voting element that has since been removed because we couldn't afford to pay for the server the flash sat on.
The most ambitious video we ever tried.
Video: The future of business cards, I'm not taking the Poken
There was a girl I was desperate to go out with at my work. I needed to do a video to have a reason to talk to her but the only thing I'd been sent was a Poken. No phones or cool gadgets. Somehow I persuaded her to help me make this video. We're still together :)
Video review of the wiimote like Gyration Air Mouse
This video is pretty much when I realised that I can be funny. What people don't realise is that filming didn't take long but discussions between David and I on what was funny took forever.
He would stand there saying "That's not funny" every time I cracked a joke or did something stupid. Or one of my favourite lines of his was "You might think that's funny, but it isn't".
Video: Palm Pre vs the iPhone - The big debate
I had 2 weeks before Christmas to do a video armed with my wit and a white wig that was left over from a very bad 'Back to the future' spoof I'd made where I played the Doc. That video was so bad that the company we producd it for sent us a letter saying that if the video ever saw the light of day, they'd sue my a** off.
David went on holiday with a week left of editing/filming to do so I didn't have anyone to tell me that what I was saying wasn't funny and some of the editing is a bit off. It's still a good video but we felt it was rushed.
Video: I heart iPad - Dating website matches man to iPad
What do you do when you get your hands on an iPad before the UK release? Write a review. Then what? Make a video about having a special relationship with it. Yep, not sure why.
The HTC and Google story: A love affair and a tragedy
Lord knows what compelled me to write this. Had I taken more time to craft it, I think it could've been great but when I read it now I feel it's rushed. Still good, where the idea came from I'll never know.
Video: Flip Mino HD review
This video took 84 takes. For no reason at all I couldn't stop laughing during recording. We got in trouble because it was meant to take a couple of hours but took almost two weeks.
Video: Zeemote review - Is this the future of mobile gaming?
I did this video because Zeemote said that they'd give me a free phone if I reviewed it. So...
GeeklyWeekly Sexy Halloween Special
Wow, how bad is this video? It doesn't even have anything to do with gadgets!!
iPhone apps Photo credit: dougbelshaw)
Skype Technologies S.A. logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
WhatsApp (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's not all bad news though, there are still some are positives for the employee.
As Samsung and Google continue their love-in, with the most recent of their offspring being the Galaxy Nexus Android 4.0 smartphone, its hard to predict anything other than future collaborations.
It is quite hard to categorise the Samsung Chromebook Series 5, one thing it certainly isn't is a fully fledged Windows-esque laptop. It's debatable as to whether it would even be classed as a laptop. I think the best way to describe it is as a glorified, slightly larger than normal, notebook.
The strikingly white outer face is almost as dazzling as Simon Cowell's teeth. It is interrupted by only the metal Samsung and Chrome logos, which rather than looking tacky, somehow manage to add character to the device.
Open the lid and you're greeted with a soft rubbery-plastic surface that is not only practical and durable, it is also more comfortable than your average Dell casing.
The keyboard is nothing short of amazing. It's proportions are excellent, the keys are soft (almost like typing on marshmallows) but, more importantly, they are mounted on sturdy panel that could even withstand typing from Hulk Hogan.
Not only would I call it a challenge to accidently hit a key, something which is happens far too often for my liking with regular keyboards, but Samsung have also managed to keep the Chromebook looking neat.
The function keys don't appear on the Chromebook, instead there is just a row of commonly used quick action buttons i.e volume up/down, full screen on/off and brightness up/down.
You'll be even happier about the quick action buttons when you realise just how bad the trackpad is. It is the only one thing that ruins the aesthetic of the Chromebook. It's huge and buttonless, meaning it sometimes mistakes right clicks for left clicks and, almost as annoyingly, the whole thing bows under the tiniest amount of pressure. It feels very cheap.
Weighing just under 1.5kg and measuring 11.6" (W) x 0.8" (H) x 8.6" (D) the Chromebook is not astonishingly light but the curved edges and overall thickness, which in comparison to a number of notebooks is diminutive, make it easy to hold and carry rround.
The clean theme continues around the sides of the Chromebook, with the surfaces only being interrupted for a handful of ports.
There is nothing around the back and the front only plays host to a SD card slot. The right is where you will find a USB port and behind a plastic door, the SIM slot. There is another plastic door on the left but this one covers the video output and a second USB. The left is the busiest face when it comes to ports because that is also where the earphone and charging jacks are located.
You'll notice there is no Ethernet port, which I think is a bit of an oversight but it may have added what Samsung deem as unnecessary thickness.
The 12.1" LED (WXGA) non-gloss screen with a resolution of 1280x800 is what the Series 5 has to offer. Boy-o-boy is it bright as well, Samsung claim up to 40% brighter than your average Joe laptop. True proof of its capability comes in the fact that it can be viewed from almost any angle and in direct sunlight. Two massive bonuses.
The stereo speaker, which isn't too bad in terms of quality, could do with being louder. The 1MP built-in webcam with mic are also worth a sentence to themselves.
The specs of the Chromebook won't knock your socks off, the 1.66Ghz Intel ATOM Processor N570 and 2GB of RAM power this Samsung device just fine.
The 16GB SSD is plenty because the whole point of the Chromebook is that it is the perfect partner for cloud computing. I'll cover this in greater detail later on.
By far the single best thing about the Samsung Chromebook is that it turns on and is firing on all cylinders within a second or so of opening the lid, you don't even have to touch a button.
Google claim battery life of up to 8.5 hours, more than double your standard laptop and not only that, Samsung also claim their battery keeps 80% of its original capacity for up to 1,000 recharges - more than 3x longer than a typical battery. Just as well since it isn't removable.
Amazingly, the 8.5 hours seems do-able. I used it for web browsing, video viewing and sending emails for intermittent periods of time, leaving it on between usage and it barely effected the batter life in the space of three hours, dipping by only 20%.
The only other thing you need to know is that it charges at an impressive speed as well. Recuperating around 10% in 15minutes.
You'd be wrong if you thought that Chrome OS is just the Chrome Browser, even though that may seem to be the case at a quick glance, after using it for more than a minute it quickly becomes apparent that there is more to the Chrome OS.
After logging in, using your Google account of course, (this also syncs your Google web searches, email, calendar and documents) you are greeted with a number of Google apps. The obvious ones come as standard, Gmail, Google Docs and YouTube but there are a couple of newbies, namely a note-taking app called Scratchpad and a game called Entanglement.
Don't worry, I know so far the Chromebook seems pretty limited but the Web Store is here to offer some salvation. There are already some specially formulated Chrome OS apps and tools as well as office favourites, like TweetDeck.
Neither videos, other media or files are a problem for Chrome OS, it's built-in media player and file manager may not be the flashiest or most complicated but they do the job.
However, if it were not for Citrix Receiver we may not even be doing this review. Crucially for businesses, the app enables you to run pretty much any app on a Windows Server to run within Chrome OS. That means, Outlook, CMS and poto editing suites are all possibilities but bear in mind that the specs of the Chromebook aren't really built to handle heavy duty programmes.
At present Chrome OS is frustrating. More than anything I think it is because I have become accustomed to using Windows or Max OSX but, just as I swapped my IE browser for Chrome, I'm sure, in time, I would become used to Chrome OS.
It is still in its early stages and it may well have come ahead of its time with cloud adoption yet to fully take off but the future looks shiny. That's a pun by the way, because Chrome is shiny. Not so funny now I've had to explain it really.
Cloud & security:
2012 may well become the year of the cloud, Apple's iCloud should have already made that clear to all those idevice users out there.
Google don't want Apple having all the cloud-related fun and they will surely be hoping that the Chromebook can lead the cloud revolution.
The cloud cold be the answer to so many problems, namely physical storage space and hardware, costs and backing-up.
The Chromebook also comes Cloud print ready, however it needs to be used with a HP eprinter or print via a Windows machine on the same network using the Chrome browser. Sounds a bit of a faff just to lose a few wires but hopefully this will improve.
In truth, I think Google have taken an educated punt here. The Chromebook may take some time before it takes off but I think it is a sign of future portable computing.
As it is a new OS, unlike Windows, there are fewer security threats to worry about. Additionally, as there is very little storage built in, the likelihood of losing data is reduced as most of it will be stored or backed up in the cloud.
Were it not for the emergence of the cloud and it's storage capabilities the small amount of local storage on offer here would have spelt the end for the Chromebook. As things stand, you are trading hardware and physical memory for split-second bootime, a light and friendly interface and out of this world battery life.
If you, or your business, have already moved to the cloud or are about to then the Chromebook could well be your perfect companion, providing you are already well versed in using the Chrome browser and willing to part with around £399/£349.