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Archive for the ‘Techno talk’ Category

Google to launch new cloud storage service

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Web giant Google is expected to officially announce its new storage service, known as Google Drive, in the very near future. The service will provide users with remote storage for their pictures, notes and any other documents on the Internet, thus making their files available for access from any web-connected device, including smartphones, tablets and desktop computers.

Google Drive will offer free storage of up to 5 Gigabytes (GB), or the option to pay on a monthly basis for premium versions, which will offer incrementally more storage capacity up to 100 GB. It is not yet known how much consumers will be charged for this premium service.

The cloud storage system will combine search capabilities and advanced image search technology to allow users to access a wide range of document types, which could include Adobe PDF files and photographs. It will appear as an icon on Windows and Mac desktops, into which users can simply ‘drop’ their files. The service will advance on the already popular Google Documents, which already allows users to store 1 GB of files online.

Competitors such as Skydrive and Dropbox, which also offer cloud storage services, are sure to be affected by Google’s new offering, and it seems that they are upgrading their services accordingly. Dropbox recently altered its service so that users can share simply by sending an emailed link, rather than sharing folders, allowing for easier access.

iPad 3 – Can it replace the laptop?

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Well it’s been out for a few weeks now and I have had enough time to put the new iPad 3 through its paces and most importantly, look at whether it can replace my trusty laptop.

Let me start by saying that the third generation of the iPad is an extremely impressive piece of technological kit. The new iPad’s visual impact offers stunning clarity which really lifts images and videos to a new level. The user interface, always good before, is even better. It really is a delight to use.

The additional processing power is another big plus. The 1 GHz Apple A5X driving the iPad3 means everything responds at a good rate and improves the user experience – certainly an advantage over the original iPad, although iPad 2 users probably won’t notice much difference.

To address the big question at hand: ‘can it replace the laptop?’ I think it all comes down to how much you type. If you are going to use your machine primarily for surfing the web and posting on social media, then the iPad 3 will certainly do the job. However if you spend a lot of time at the keyboard, it may not fit so well into your working life. I often have to do a lot of typing and need a full size keyboard, so it is very much a case of horses for courses. A lot of time when I am meeting clients or leading a training session, the iPad 3 will do just fine, but there are other times when I still cannot see how I will able to work efficiently without my trusty laptop.

Hackers cracking Chrome claim $60,000 prize

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Google’s Chrome web browser has long been considered one of the safest ways of surfing the net, in December it was named the most secure of the top three browsers by security firm Accuvant.

Further confirmation of Chrome’s pre-eminence as a safe browser came this February with the German government’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) officially recommending the use of Chrome for government departments. The BSI gave Chrome the ringing endorsement that using Chrome, ‘can significantly reduce the risk of a successful IT attack’.

However earlier this month it was revealed that Chrome was not infallible when it was publicly hacked three times in the space of a week. Russian student, Sergey Glaznov, brilliantly hacked Chrome by exploiting a bug to bypass the browser’s sandbox.

However, rather than being carted off to jail the hacker was rewarded with a $60,000 prize for discovering Chrome’s vulnerabilities. The prize money was part of $1 million that Google has made available to ethical hackers who reveal security problems with the browser.

Google had to pay out a further $60,000 just a couple of days later when a hacker identified another way of breaking into the browser. The enigmatically named PinkiePie revealed that he had worked for a week and a half to hack through Chrome in order to make an axe wielding pink pony appear on the designated target computer.

Google has already issued automatically loaded patches to fix the vulnerability exposed by the two hackers.

EU concerns over Google privacy changes

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Google’s new privacy policy came into force last week but the internet giant’s new terms of use are still the subject of wide debate among those involved with search engine optimisation and website design in the information technology industry.

Google will also be concerned about the worrying question mark still hanging over the legality of the changes within the European Union.

The changes to Google’s privacy policy have been widely advertised by the company in advance. It has  involved the replacement of over 60 separate sets of terms for the use of its many different services and their replacement with a single unified policy applicable across its full range of services.

Google claims that the new policy clarifies its position on privacy and how it collects and uses personal data. According to the company, the new policy does not alter any existing privacy settings or collect any additional data. The company also emphasises that is does not sell user data to third parties. Google insists the change is beneficial for service users and will provide a ‘simpler, more intuitive Google experience.’

However, critics of the change are concerned that Google can now track the data of internet users across the entire web. Privacy campaigners are growing increasingly concerned about the vast amount of personal information Google retains and worried that this will be utilised to force targeted advertising onto people’s computer screens.

The concerns have certainly been noted in Brussels. As a result, the EU has launched an investigation into the legality of the change.

Worries centre on whether the unified policy is compliant with data protection and privacy legislation. The EU Justice Commissioner, Viviane Redding, has already publicly stated that in her opinion the policy violates EU law and lacks transparency.

Chrome browser hits Android

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Chrome, Google’s signature internet browser, was released for Android devices to much acclaim. Released in 2008, Chrome has been a big hit with internet users and is currently the world’s second most used browser having overtaken Firefox in November last year. It currently holds a 28.4% market share and is increasing whereas market leader Internet Explorer, with 37% of the market, is in decline.

The Chrome browser has attained a reputation among users for simplicity and speed and it brings these same qualities to its Android version in spades. It is designed for superfast search that loads top search results as the user types so they are available almost instantly. It also retains tab features which make for intuitive switching between webpages.

Another deliberately user friendly feature is that the Android Chrome browser has a link preview feature that zooms in on links, making it easier to navigate the web despite the smaller smartphone screen size.

One of the outstanding advantages of the new browser is its purpose built integration with a user’s other devices that utilise Chrome. By signing into a Google account, it is possible to seamlessly synchronise bookmarks. It also allows users to view open tabs on another machine that is signed into the same Chrome account.

Chrome for Android has been widely praised by reviewers on the web, but it currently has one major drawback: it suffers from limited availability. It is currently only available in beta for Android 4.0 also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, although there are plans to roll it out across the entire Android platform.

Look Out LoveFilm, Netflix Has Arrived in the UK

Monday, January 9th, 2012

watching slingboxHey everyone, it’s Thea here again wondering, do you stream films on your computer, tablet or smartphone? Or maybe you hook your computer up to your TV and stream things that way? Well, I do, sometimes (as I wrote about my Slingbox experience exactly a year ago)…

So I was somewhat-excited to see the arrival of Netflix to the UK today. We’ve had a Netflix account for many years in the US, (dad watches something on Netflix every day). Though it’s my account, I can only view it when I am in the US!

So for years I’ve had a LOVE FILM account. I use both the DVD-by-mail and stream services almost equally, I guess.

As of today though, there’s a dilemma, do I keep LoveFilm? Do I use both? Do I use Netflix only?

Netflix offers a Free Trial for a month – so I’ve just signed up and I’ll run them both side-by-side to see how they go. As I don’t have much time, there really is only a need to keep one of them.

LoveFilm is a name you’ll likely all be aware of, as the UK-based company got their start (in one incarnation) a nearly decade ago now. Since then it gone through many different guises and mergers – right up until Amazon bought them a year ago. Their core business was DVDs by post, but as times are changing, since around 2007, they’ve begun offering streaming to a variety of platforms.

Netflix, the newcomer to the UK market, was launched in my hometown of Los Gatos California way back in 1997. They, too, got their start by doing DVDs by mail, but since 2007 have shifted their core to streaming, and do so across more platforms (seemingly) than LoveFilm does. Netflix streams to – PS3, Xbox, Nintendo Wii, Apple TV, Smart Phones, Tablets, …

Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix was on the Breakfast show in BBC1 this morning, not really viewing Lovefilm as a threat, but more B-SkyB  (Sky Movies, Sky Atlantic) is the company to beat as it’s, “the big dog”.

To be honest, over the past year or two my own habits are radically changing. I seem to be doing less and less in terms of CDs, DVDs and physical books – opting to move everything over to digital (which clutters up my flat less).

I’ve even opted to not bother getting a Blue Ray player (so far). I’d only want one to stream stuff anyway so it seems pointless to me at present when I could use one of the services discussed here today!

So on that note, I’ll try to compare the two services side by side here in the UK and decide at the end of the month.

As I say I am already a user of both services (here and in the US) so it will be interesting to see if the content I am interested in is there for the UK version of Netflix.

It is, without a doubt, in the US, but on first glance the TV shows I’d want to stream here in the UK aren’t on the UK version of Netflix (much to my chagrin,…)

So it’s a case of “we’ll see”. It will be interesting to watch these two firms go head-to-head over the coming year.

What do you do? Do you use LoveFilm? Will you take Netflix up on their free one month offer like I just did? Let us know.

Happy viewing!

Microsoft celebrates as Internet Explorer 6 looks set to die

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Microsoft is publicly celebrating the imminent demise of its Internet Explorer 6 browser.

Roger Capriotti, director of Internet Explorer marketing at Microsoft, has written in a post on the Windows Team blog that the browser now has less than a one per cent market share in the United States (according to recent data from Net Applications).

The United States is not the first country to get down to this figure, but it had more internet users to convert to other browsers than the likes of Austria, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway. These countries have already effectively killed off the browser.

Microsoft say that other countries to have reached the below one per cent figure recently, alongside the US, include the Czech Republic, Mexico, Ukraine, Portugal and the Philippines.

Many web developers will also be celebrating the end of Internet Explorer 6. It presented many obstacles to developers and designers because of its limited feature support and other anomalies.

Microsoft was so keen to get rid of the browser that it created  the IE6 Countdown website, which tracks the progress of countries across the world as they move across to more modern browsers.

According to the latest figures from NetMarketshare, many people are moving across to Google Chrome rather than to the new version of Internet Explorer.

The Grand Finale – Twitmas12 is Over!

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Well it’s Christmas Eve and we’ve come to the end of another Twelve Days of  Twitmas. It’s been amazing response all the way through to our Christmas Crescendo times two.

FINAL FRIDAY:

So we had an Amazing final day of Twitmas yesterday where we had not just one but two over night stays in two of Glasgow’s finest hotels to give away.

One of our featured hotels was ABode Hotel in the other The Grand Central Hotel. Both offered one lucky Twitmas winner the chance of a free double or twin room on a “Bed and Breakfast” basis for an agreed date in 2012.

So congrats go to @Daviegardner for picking up the over night stay in the Grand Hotel and to  @seasider007. We really hope you have a wonderful, memorable (for all the right reasons) time in two of Glasgow’s best hotels!

CHRISTMAS EVE FINALE

Douglas Hotel, ArranSo here we are on Christmas Eve 2011, and we’re delighted to be giving away a two-night break on the island of Arran at the Douglas Hotel.

This is just an amazing prize, because not only is it two nights at the hotel, but they’ve kindly thrown in breakfast and some free Bubbly on arrival too!

So for lucky winner @AlexBoyd you can take your partner, a friend or a family member and enjoy this amazing break.

Congratulations Alex, you’re the last winner on Twitmas12 for 2011!

Once again we’d like to thank all the people who supplied us with festive goodies to give away over the past twelve days. We’d also like to thank all of you who tweeted and re-tweeted for the past two weeks.

Please follow @Alan_Tennant  the Regional Director of hotels.tv!

Plus our lovely hotels for the final giveaways @douglashotel @abodehotelsgrp @bairdstravel – thank you so very much!

So that’s a WRAP kids! Look out for #Twitmas12 in 2012!

Happy Holidays one and all from all of us at NSDesign!

Final Two Days of Twitmas!

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

We at NSDesign are so excited that we’re down to the final day(s) of our “Twelve Days of Twitmas” for another year.

Tuesday – “New Year – New You”

On Tuesday, we gave away two tickets at one of Scotland’s top personal development coaches – Jack Black. The 2 tickets were for his upcoming “The Best of MindStore” in Glasgow on 3rd March. It will no doubt be a life-changing experience to all who attend.

Then Garrett Ramsay (@garramsay) offered up a three-hour, business coaching session focusing on sales. No matter what business we’re in, we can all improve our ability in sales, no doubt…

At the end of the day @HarperMacleod, took away the MindStore prize and @LomondBeauty gets the three hours with sales genius Garrett.

We would like thank Garrett and Jack for the Twitmas giveaways and congratulate the winners. Let us know how it goes you two!

Miss Polly's Tootsie Treatment for Twitmas12WednesdayWas all about the body

Body Butter that is, courtesy of the lovely Miss Polly. I had been admiring her work at a recent craft fair, and so when we were arranging Twitmas prizes, I immediately thought of these darling tins of Body Butter.

Given the sore feet I’ve been having lately – I’d been wishing I could win the Peppermint Tootsie Treatment. Sadly I couldn’t win but the people who do win these little pamper pots were – @anniegburns, @flofoxes and @BruceDevlin. Congrats to all three of you. I sure hope that you or your special someone enjoy these silky-smooth body butter treatments.

Thursday – Our penultimate prize

For this year’s penultimate Twitmas giveaway there was not just one but two bottles of wine – red and white courtesy of wine guru @pieterrosenthal from  corkandbottle.co.uk and www.lovethatwine.co.uk. Pieter was kind enough to hand pick a bottle of Lomond Sauvignon Blanc and a red Gran Sasso, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo too.

Congrats go to the winner of the Gran Sasso @Thomassimpkins and @Mickles20. Please check out his new video How to Decant Your Christmas Port.

Two-Day Finale

So here we are on the final days of Twitmas and to give more of you an opportunity to win, we have several fabulous prizes to give away. We are just so excited about it as Gary explained in his last blog and so grateful, and I’d like to reiterate the special thanks to Alan Tennant – Regional Director of Hotels.TV Glasgow.

Good luck today to all who follow @nsdesign – and thank for your participation!

Happy Twitmas one and all!

Twitmas Days 5, 6 & 7 – Wrap Up

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Xmas Tree San Francisco, St Francis HotelHey all, it’s Thea here again and so begins week two of #Twitmas12 – our Twelve Days of Christmas giveaways via Twitter.

To recap:-

Day 5, on Friday, we had our first ever #FollowFotographers on Twitter – with prizes from not 1, not 2, but 3 photographers!! Our wonderful photographers in question were: @AFraserPhoto, @MarcdeRidder &@RonYoungPhoto.

Winning the voucher from @AFraserPhoto for a free photoshoot & 7×5 print were @LCbeauty @SandraCub and @garyckerr! Well done all 3! Then, @globalaudit won an amazing Virtual Reality Panoramic images for a website from @MarcdeRidder. Finally our congrats to @tracyknixon – for winning the free family portrait photo-shoot & CD of the images from @ronyoungphoto.

Day 6 – It was a variety of hosting, domain packages and Master Class places courtesy of,  well, NSDesign…so congrats go out to @LornaK_uk, @auld_guy @Glasgowbud1965 and @headphonaught too. Well done to you guys!

Day 7 – Our colleagues from the Luggage and Bag Shop donated some electronic luggage tags so your bags will never be lost again. What a brilliant concept!  The two lucky travelers who will benefit from the tags are – @almac1965 and @UtopiaScotland

Now don’t forget we still have a whole week to go on our Twelve Days of Twitmas! There are some real Christmas Crackers still to come. You’ll definitely want to keep following us right the way through the week until the grand prize on Christmas Eve!