Recently in Computing Category
I was invited to take a flight to the Isle of Man with BA Cityflyer to see a demonstration of the Panasonic Toughpad, which is used for flights from London City Airport to keep tabs on flight data.
As our plane landed, a transfer of several paper documents occurred - one of the things this new innovation is working to reduce.
The Toughpad is essentially a more practical upgrade from the previous Panasonic Toughbook, and is used in combination with Electronic Technical Log (ETL) software from NVable to record and sign off flight and maintenance information.
The airline wanted something durable and practical. There can be no room for error of any kind during flights, especially hardware failure. The Toughpad meets these criteria, as not a single Toughbook or Toughpad device has been returned for repair in the years that BA has been using them. It also has better battery life and is 50% lighter than the Toughbook.
Dave Cooper, line maintenance manager for BA CityFlyer, explained that there are mandatory documents that must be signed for every flight so that all of the people involved in the flight process know how many times an aircraft has flown and when checks need to occur.
The Toughpad and NVable ETL software allow this information to be entered via the tablet and immediately transmitted to the BA Cityflyer maintenance system so that engineers and flight crew can access the information. The quick availability of data has contributed to reduced turnaround times for flights, and also cuts down on mistakes made when information is transcribed from paper into digital systems.
When showing me the system, he pointed out the maintenance list for the plane we were on. Some of the items on the list had a bright yellow exclamation mark next to them - not the most comforting sight to see when in the air. He assured me that it just meant the plane would need examinations carried out later that day, information that had already been transmitted to the maintenance system.
Once we were safely back at City Airport, I asked the pilot Klaus Egge how the Toughpad had improved the data recording process. He admitted that the Toughpad method reduced human error, and that using the Toughpad in the cockpit is much more convenient than paper or the previous Toughbook.
He said that automatic functions, such as warning when inspections are due, are a great benefit of the new system. "In the past we'll have to check that manually by paper," he said. "It will be more accurate which is probably more important, the most beneficial part is that it will take away mistakes."
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.
I've had an issue with laptop bags for quite some time. Either they're too bulky, heavy, not in anyway attractive, or look so much like a corporate laptop bag they should have been embroidered with "STEAL ME NOW" on the front in glitzy letters.
However, my main niggle with laptop bags is the way they weigh down on one shoulder and inevitably end up falling off your blazer-clad shoulder and awkwardly landing in the crook of your elbow mid commute.
What I hate most about travelling to America for work is the huge, heavy laptop bag that weighs on my shoulder in the hour-long queue for customs State-side. Especially in this scenario, it's never just your laptop and its charger, you have a multiude of travel items, as well as business paraphernalia to get you through the trip. I think it is the laptop bag, rather than the nine hour flight that makes me want to hit the hotel mini bar as soon as I've collapsed on my king size bed.
While i-stay doesn't magically reduce your ancient 6kg laptop into a feather light ultrabook, it does distribute the weight across the whole of your shoulder.
In fact the College of Chiropractors has actually commended the i-stay for its potential to help users avoid musculoskeletal discomfort and to minimise the aches and pains associated with carrying a heavy shoulder bag.
The detatchable strap has two adjustment buckles which allows the special patented i-stay non-slip stap to stay in the centre and comfortably on your shoulder. The strap can be adjusted to a very generous amount, allowing it to easily slip over your head and across your shoulders which distributed the weight even better. However, a larger person might find this option a little snug.
I've been using the messenger bag for a few weeks now and I've found it incredibly useful - and not once has it slipped off my shoulder as I run for the tube.
Feather light on its own, the laptop organiser bag has five zipped compartments. The main one in the middle has a specific secure foam area for your device, while the other compartments allow you to store A4 notepads; magazines; tablets; and smaller items in the front two zipped areas.
The bag also has two handles which are comfortable to hold, even for longer periods of time. I found myself swiftly picking up the bag by these handles while commuting on the tube, and using the longer strap while out in the open air.
It's black. It's not particularly attractive, but yours will stand out next to the other array of bags out there with its red target-looking logo.
The company also sells a traditional laptop bag, and a rucksack version, as well as 10-inch bags for notebooks or tablets, and a messenger bag.
The laptop organiser bag from the review is £49.99, but the non-slip straps can also be bought individually for £12.99 making a healthy spine affordable.
We have a Logitech Business BCC950 Conference Cam up for grabs.
We reviewed this nice little bit of kit last year and were suitably impressed...
Logitech claims that its ConferenceCam bridges the "small meeting gap" in the market. It accommodates groups of 3-4 people without them having to sit each other's laps. This removes the need for a large scale meeting room video system which can be very costly. It is also surprisingly light; weighing 568g it can easily be picked up and taken into a meeting room.
Additionally, this device would suit home workers, enabling employees to have meetings using software such as Skype in full HD clarity.
All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning the prize is come up with a caption for the following image:
We've all been there, so hopefully there will be plenty of inspiration. Make sure you comment on this blog post below (make sure you register with your email address so we can contact you if you win)
Closing date for the competition is midnight on the 30th of June and the winning caption will be chosen by the Computer Weekly team. Judges decision is final
This competition is open to UK residents only.
Terms and conditions
- This competition is open to all UK residents aged 18 or over except for employees of TechTarget and Logitech and their immediate families.
- The competition closes on July 30th 2013 at midnight.
- Each participant can only enter the competition once.
- The prize will be awarded to the individual that comes up with the best caption for the photograph.
- The winner will be chosen by ComputerWeekly.com.
- The winner will be notified by email.
- No cash alternatives are available.
- Entering the competition is free. No purchase is necessary.
- The ComputerWeekly.com's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
- The name of the winners will be posted on Inspect-a-Gadget and will be contacted by email within 30 days of the competition deadline. All email notifications will be sent to the email address provided by participant entering the competition. The participant must respond to email notification within 14 days of the email notification. Unclaimed prizes will be forfeited and a new winner will be chosen.
Entrants can contact ComputerWeekly.com with any questions at the following email address: email@example.com with the subject of the email 'Logitech COMPETITION.' But all competition entries must be submitted via commenting on the blog post.
By entering the competition, entrants are deemed to have accepted these terms and conditions.
Dell, Acer and Asus have all unveiled various PC models at Computex in Taiwan this week. In a midst of a PC market crash, the computer manufacturers have taken a leap of faith and revealed new designs the safety net being of course the hybrid tablet devices.
Dell announced its XPS 11 model, a 2-in-1 convertible Ultrabook. This hybrid device has a 360 degreed rotation design in order to hide away the keyboard and flip into a tablet device. At 14.9mm and 2.5 pounds this product could be utilised within an BYOD environment, which has seen many of these types of devices in recent months.
Additionally, Dell launched an OptiPlex 9020 and All-in-One machine. This commercial desktop will be available in four different form factors, an all-in-one computer, as well as three different sized towers, all powered by Intel Core i7 processors.
Dell also launched a 4th-gen Intel business laptop, including swappable batteries. The Latitude E6540 will feature comprehensive file-level encryption, advanced authentication and malware protection.
The XPS 12, OptiPlex 9020 desktop, and Latitude E6540 will be available in the coming weeks.
Additionally, the computer manufacturer added two printers to its portfolio of peripherals. The B1165nfw and B1265dfw claim to provide affordable printing options, wireless networking capabilities and document management software. The two printers will have the ability to print, scan, copy and fax within the single device.
Acer announced its new Iconia tablet, the Iconia W3, which claims to be the first 8.1-inch tablet running Windows 8. The company believes that this is the "optimum size for productivity and entertainment, while comfortable enough to sit in one hand". It will be available pre-installed with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013.
The company also launched a "phablet" device - the 5.7-inch 1280x720 screen Liquid S1. It offers an option to insert two SIM cards, and runs Android Jelly Bean and a 1.5 GHz processor. Additionally, it has a few functionalities to boost productivity: The Acer Float User Interface, which allows several apps to stay open at the same time so users can multitask; the Auto Profile which supports predefined network settings, which will adjust settings such as brightness, volume and connectivity as users visit frequent locations.
Acer also launched its flagship ultrabook, the 13.3-inch Aspire S7. The ultrabook boosts a longer-lasting battery for "all day computing" as well as a updated cooling fan which makes less noise. It also offers wireless display technology for sharing on a big screen wirelessly. Like its previous model, it will include a 10-point WQHD display with 2,560 x 1,440 resolution taking full advantage of the touch capabilities of Windows 8.
Probably, most interesting from all the launches at Computex, was the Transformer Book Trio from Asus. This 11.6-inch clamshell tablet with a detachable display, consists of two operating systems. It can switch between Windows 8 notebook, Android tablet and Windows 8 desktop PC.
The Transformer series has been a success of Asus in the consumer space in recent years, the ability to switch between app stores, synch data and apparently "continue to surf a webpage when moving from notebook to tablet, could be a game changer for the device in the business space also.
The PC station dock has its own 4th generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor, keyboard and 750GB hard drive and it can also be hooked up to a monitor to be used as a desktop PC. Additionally the screen can be removed from the station dock to be used on the go as a tablet with a 2.0 GHz Intel processor , 64GB and full HD display- taking the meaning of "hybrid" one step further.
Intel also had a presence at Computex, revealing a 22nm low-power, Atom system on a chip design, which it claimed would offer faster graphics and twice the CPU performance of the current generation. According to Intel, the new chip would power Android and Windows 8.1 devices for up to eight hours.
The fundamental Boogie Board technology has been around for 20 years under the name Kent Displays, but for the last two years the company has concentrated on producing touch slates which replace the need for paper notebooks.
The cholesteric liquid crystal display (ChLCD) screen was developed out of the company's R&D, and the slates remind me of a darker Kindle screen.
English: The Taj Mahal, complete with ripples in the reflection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The basic slate requires no power to generate or retain an image, and only a small amount to erase (supplied by a small watch battery, which will execute over 50,000 erase cycles).
The next stage Boogie Board (£80) connects to a computer via a micro USB, and as you write on the slate it can be seen replicated on the computer screen, alternatively it can be written away from the computer, connected and saved before erasing. I also played around with a prototype of the next generation device, which will be launched in Q4 2013, giving the Boogie Board wireless connectivity via Bluetooth.
It's not particularly glam, or sleek like a tablet, but I can definitely see the appeal in utilities, call centres and in health care.
A tablet for the business environment is the holy grail for hardware manufacturers at the moment. Trying to provide a sturdy piece of hardware, with performance specs which can include security features to satisfy IT departments, while still be sexy enough to throw around the boardroom, at a price point that can reflect kitting out an entire workforce? That's a tall order that I can't list outloud in one breath.... and therefore usually something has to give.
A third-party study conducted by Principled Technologies found that the Latitude 10 tablets are up to 17 times faster and 94%less expensive to deploy than iPads in large scale enterprise implementations. It seems that Dell is taking Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) seriously, but is it at the expense of key specs?
Overall I feel that the Latitude 10 almost passes the tests. Light enough to carry around at a mere 725g; the 10.1-inch screen gleams at me through its Gorilla Glass protection, while its capacitive 10 finger touch is nice and sensitive. The device is held within a robust rubber frame. Usually, plastic-like casings don't do it for me, but this remained smooth and sultry, proving that durability can sometimes come along without sacrificing on style. The tablet is sleek and lightweight, meaning I was more than happy to be using it on a day-to-day basis.
Found it much easier to operate while using a sturdy stylus than my finger. Then I remembered that the device came with its own pen and the game changed. The pen has very smooth doodling capabilities, however you still have to revert back to your finger when scrolling through pages as the pen is too specific. I'm still amazed by devices where you can rest your whole hand on the screen and write, as if you were naturally writing on a piece of paper, and this doesn't fail to impress me.
The device runs Windows Pro and I found it very responsive. The joy of Windows 8 is the tablet experience, which is where it shines, making scrolling through news articles and apps so seamless and attractive.
The device houses an Intel Atom (SoC) chip, while including 2GB of internal memory and a storage option of up to 128GB. When it comes to a business computer, it wouldn't quite hit the mark for many businesses thanks to these specs. And it doesn't seem to be pushing the boundaries of performance on Windows, but will run office productivity tools.
At the end of the day, you are working with a screen of10.1-inches. Any bigger and you'd be complaining it wouldn't be portable enough, but 10.1-inches is painfully small to work with at a desk office environment. This is where the docking system comes into its own. The docking system allows the device to convert into a PC for the office; being able to attach keyboards, and a monitor if you so wish via the dock's own connectivity.
When you pop the tablet onto the dock, it has to be pushed down very hard to make its connection, this isn't a problem, but just ruins the illusion of a seamless experience a little bit for me, however it does make a chirpy noise and a little light illuminates to tell you when it is connected.
If you do wish to use the device without a monitor, using the touch element becomes very tiresome for your elbows and back as you lean across your desk in an unnatural fashion to touch the screen. However, the dock does provide four USB ports so you can easily attach both a keyboard and mouse in order to continuing working as normal in your office environment.
The tablet has the option to replace the battery, which itself is so slim and lightweight, I wouldn't begrudge carrying around a spare with me on a long business trip. Dell gives you the option to choose from 2-cell (30 WHr) or 4-cell (60 WHr) Lithium Ion swappable batteries.
The device also has great connectivity. Out of ports and slots, it has a full USB 2.0, and SD card reader. As well as a headphone jack, micro-USB charging port and a mini-HDMI port. It has an option for a micro SIM for mobile broadband as well as WiFi and Bluetooth.
The device comes with Intel Platform Trust Technology, an optional fingerprint reader or smart card reader, as well a optional Dell Data Protection Encryption (DDPE).
During a meeting last month about the Dells new encryption solution (DDPE), Neil Hand, Dell global vice president, personal computing product group told me that due to the ubiquitous nature of data, security problems are rife in the data protection space. A lost laptop can cost tens of thousands of dollars, rather than just a couple of hundred to replace the device, due to the data security laws that are in place.
"And cloud makes the issue even more problematic," he said. "It's only going to get worse, not better. We need to encrypt and lock down the data."
Dell launch of a key management solution: Dell Data Protection Encryption (DDPE), works in the cloud. Prices will range dependent on a fleet and licensing models.
Pricing and availability
The Latitude 10 essentials 64GB configuration is available starting at £430. The Latitude 10 essentials 32GB configuration is available for £391- this is where the tablet hits the sweet spot, why would you buy Windows RT or Android tablets, when you can run Windows Pro at a very reasonable price? Additionally, at a price point this low, you don't feel short changed when you still have to use your desktop computer when you are sat at your desk.
Fully fledge high performance computer replacement it is not, top of the range tablet device which you can use part-time as a desktop it is.