Category Archives: Internet

Tablets Revolutionising Computing

It is well documented that Tablets are becoming more popular over laptops and desktop computers. Both of those have their place for higher end purposes. But Tablets in particular the new Microsoft-surface Pro are changing the ways in which people and general computing purposes are conducted. Along with the Ipad, the tradtional means of computing on either a computer or a laptop is coming to an end for many.

Desktop and laptop computers can perform much better than Tablets. That being said, Tablets can be better utilised for the casual person i.e. the person who only wants to use basic office software and website browsing. Desktop and laptop computers are better utilised for purposes such as gaming, website development, games creation etc. So that means that the two types of computers will always have their place even if it will be stifled in the end.

Tablets have a very good feature and that is they can be linked with telephone software. With some tablets, that said tablet can have the same os as a smartphone enbaling that Tablet to get the same features on the go. One of the best examples is the IPad and IPhone. Software can be used directly between the two unless something is version specific.

It is interesting to see this kind of cross-connectivity. The ways in which computing operates changes every year. For now though, Tablets and their connectivity with smartphones seems to be a sure-fire way of success.

Magneto Optimised Managed Hosting

Magento is the world’s leading ecommerce platform, deployed as the online shopfront for thousands of companies across the globe. So much so that when combined with powerful hosting infrastructure, Magento can meet the needs of any type of ecommerce business, such is its powerful customisation and database processing capabilities.

As the leading solution of its kind, Magento can deliver unparalleled levels of optimisation and scalability via open source ecommerce components. However, to do so it requires hosting on cutting edge IT infrastructure that continuously maintains the fastest and safest end-user experience.

To make this possible and tailor ecommerce for the diverse needs of every type of business, PEER 1 Hosting’s Magento Optimised Managed Hosting solution is changing the dynamics of online shopping in the following ways:

1) Hosting a Magento ecommerce store requires fast, ever-present, problem free site maintenance. PEER 1 Hosting delivers the fastest online experience your customers demand, thanks to a FastFiber network that astutely dedicates resources where and when needed, load balances server activity and processes online queries seamlessly.

2) Security provisions are fully configurable inside a dedicated firewall that maintains the highest levels of availability. Built on PEER 1 Hosting’s cutting-edge server stack, Internet networking and integrity of service, consistently maintains compliance and security.

3) Magento Hosting with PEER 1 Hosting operates the latest Intel Sandy Bridge chipset and tweaked RHEL 5 and RHEL 6 open source application platforms to deliver an infinitely flexible and scalable ecommerce shopfront. Accelerated content delivery and honed database performance also streamlines product querying and transaction processing.

4) The Magento Optimised Managed Hosting solution is fully PCI DSS 2.0 compliant, maintaining the integrity of every online shopping experience through a customer’s visit to your site. This includes expert management of your service, robust administration practices and stringent infrastructure auditing that is carried out by independent third parties.

5) As a wholly-owned and operated 10Gbps FastFiber network, PEER 1 Hosting delivers unparalleled ecommerce performance that results in an online experience that is super-fast, simple and secure. Connecting across 21 worldwide Points of Presence and with over 1000 third party peering relationships, PEER 1 Hosting ensures users have total peace of mind that information is quickly and reliably reaching its intended audience.

6) PEER 1 Hosting has a dedicated team of infrastructure experts to meet the design, development, implementation and support requirements of any ecommerce community. They deliver the most customisable, user-friendly experience for the bespoke demands of every evolving online business and their customer base.

Modern culture is being increasingly led by shifts in technology – online and in the cloud. This threatens every company trying to remain visible and viable with an ecommerce shopfront, especially today as globalisation blurs boundaries and consumerisation widens target demographics. However where there is threat, there is also significant opportunity. It is here that Magento Optimised Managed Hosting becomes a game-changer for online business.

For ecommerce speed and agility, PEER 1 Magento hosting has a track record of delivering the best experience for online shoppers, without compromising compliance, security or performance that can have such a damaging effect on your reputation. Ecommerce relies on hosting to deliver prompt service and real-time insights for all the different visitors to your site. As your own business scales with new products and services, it is paramount that your infrastructure runs smoothly and securely, without delays, distractions or inconvenience to the people who can ensure it grows exponentially. Otherwise you run the risk of being invisible to millions of potential customers.

Q2 Internet radio

The article will provide a reader with information on Q2 internet radio. It is easy to use and sound quality’s pretty good, but it’s an expensive internet radio.

Q2 Internet Radio is one of the most refreshingly different and interesting internet radios that has ever been seen. Beyond its cool cube design (available in five colours), this radio is the only model we’ve ever seen not to have a single button on it, bar a power switch on the rear.

The Q2 Internet Radio is designed to be used entirely with its accelerometer. A user can tip it back to turn up volume, forwards to turn volume down and place it speaker down to mute it and put it in standby mode. It can be programmed with a users four favourite stations or podcasts, and a user can simply place the Q2 on the correct side to get the assigned station. Each side is marked with lines from one to four, so it’s easy to see which preset a user is using.

Programming the radio is simple. All a user has to do is download the software from the Q2 website and plug the radio in via USB. The software’s first tab lets a user drag and drop radio stations or podcasts into the four available preset slots. A user can search for radio stations or browse by country or genre, where genres are further divided into country to make finding the one  that a user wants.

Next, a user can click the Networks tab where a user can select up to five wireless networks to use, stored in order of preference. If the network that a user is using is connecting to is protected then a user will be asked for the password when a user selects it. Please note that a user can’t use a wireless network that requires authentication through a hotspot, such as in a hotel or other hotspot.

In order to get  Q2 working a user has to change his/her router’s wireless channel to one in the US range of 1 to 11, although a firmware update coming soon should fix this. The only minor problem is that a user can’t manually add networks, so if a user has turned off SSID broadcast on the router then a user will need to turn it back on in order to see and connect to the network. Finally, a user can use the Settings tab to select an initial listening volume, update firmware and undo recent changes.

Once configured the radio connects to the network: a red light flashes to show it’s trying to connect and turns green when it connects before turning off. The radio then starts playing on the station that a user has selected. Audio quality is very good and the Q2 Internet Radio produces a balanced mix sound. The sound is clear and detailed. While there’s not much bass, neither are the speakers too tinny. The hiss and fizz of internet radio is dealt with well; however, sound quality is dependent on the quality of the stream: the best stations gives the user 128Kbit/s streaming, which is around FM stereo quality; talk radio stations typically gives a user 32Kbit/s, which is fine for voice but music sounds a bit robotic. Volume is loud enough to fill a big room, and it’s good to see that there’s no distortion even at maximum.

Concerns Over New Digital Economy Bill

How would you feel if your Internet connection was disconnected because someone somewhere thought copyright legislation was being breached (whether by you or anyone using your Internet connection)? Will you be happy to pay a tax to the government for Broadband use? How about nipping to your local coffee shop or library for a spot of free Internet browsing and finding it’s no longer available? Will you mind ISP staff monitoring what you’re doing online to ensure that certain legislation is not being breached?

All of these, and more, are possibilities contained within the new UK Digital Economy Bill which has now completed all stages in the House of Lords and is due for a second reading in the House of Commons. Although the final bill may look very different once it’s passed, many people are concerned that it will be rushed through committee stage without proper examination. The government is keen to get it on the books before the next general election is called but there could be wide-ranging implications for an unsuspecting public including giving unlimited power to the First Secretary of State to bring into law any legislation relating to file sharing on the Internet, without the consent of Parliament.

According to freedom campaigners such as the Open Rights Group the entertainment industry has most to gain, especially large copyright holding companies, whilst individuals and small companies have the most to lose through the threat of legal action based on what their friends, colleagues and customers do online. Even YouTube could face closure for hosting ‘unsanctioned’ footage of artists. An often-cited Ipsos-mori piece of research indicates the Film and TV industry is losing around £500m annually through online and physical piracy. How much of this would filter down to artists/employees is not known but the industry does claim that there is less money for things such as experimental projects that would bring greater variety to the mainstream.

Although there may be a need to address illegal downloading and breaches of copyright many see the new Digital Economy Bill as a very big hammer to crack a very small nut whilst others are concerned that this is the start of government getting involved in censorship of the Internet.

Cause of Windows 7 Black Screen of Death Announced

The Windows 7 ‘black screen of death’ is being blamed on malware.

The problem arises when users are confronted by a totally black screen when they log on to their computer.

Initially it was thought that Microsoft’s own security update could have caused the problem but that has now been ruled out.

The company that made the suggestion that the security update was the problem has apologised for its claims and reports are suggesting that the problem affects Windows Vista and XP, too.

Microsoft revealed in a blog on its security site that it was looking into the claims and “found that our November Security Updates are not making changes to the system that these reports say are responsible for these issues”.

Microsoft believe that the issue was probably due to malware, such as Daonol.

Amid the confusion over the cause, software company Prevx had said the November update may have been to blame, but have retracted their statement, saying it had been a “challenging issue” to identify the cause of the problem.

The firm announced on their website that “having narrowed down a specific trigger for this condition we’ve done quite a bit of testing and re-testing on the recent Windows patches including KB976098 and KB915597 as referred to in our previous blog”.

“Since more specifically narrowing down the cause we have been able to exonerate these patches from being a contributory factor.”

Prevx issued an apology to Microsoft “for any inconvenience” its initial claims may have caused.

Prevx has offered a fix for the problem, which it says could affect “millions” of computers worldwide.

David Kennerley, an employee for Prevx, wrote in a blog post that “users have resorted to reloading Windows as a last ditch effort to fix the problem”.

“We hope we can help a good many of you avoid the need to reload.”

Although Prevx don’t believe that the fix will always work, with Mr Kennerley stating that “there can be many causes”.

“But if your black screen woes began in the last two weeks… or after running any security program (including Prevx) to remove malware during this time, then this fix will have a high probability of working.”

“At least 10 different scenarios which will trigger the same black screen conditions,” according to Mr Kennerley.

“These appear to have been around for years now”.

Prevx believe that the black screen of death can affect Windows 7, Vista, XP, NT, and Windows 2000.

Microsoft would like all those that experience problems should get in touch with their customer service line.

The “black screen of death” is a pun based upon “the blue screen of death” which is displayed when Windows experiences a system failure.

Mobile Airwaves to be Harmonised

The EU is encouraging its members to occupy the same airwaves for mobile broadband In an attempt to reach its 2013 target of 100% broadband coverage.

As members change from the traditional analogue to the new digital broadcasting method, the spectrum will be made available.

The change will make it much simpler to use devices “across borders” and permit consumers to use “roaming” services.

The plan is being likened by some to the rise of GSM mobile phones in the 1990s.

Using a common frequency as planned would be of significant benefit to rural communities as it travels over long distances.

The EU revealed that approximately 30% of its rural population is currently without high-speed internet access.

The development will use the 790-862 MHz sub-band radio spectrum  which is part of the “digital dividend” which was made available from the digital switchover.

However, during the changeover, the EU will be determined that all of its members agree on its technical standards.

 Without such agreements, different states may allow different uses for the spectrum which could cause interference, revealing that “radio spectrum knows no borders.”

A bonus for mobile broadband users is that the 790-862 MHz spectrum can easily penetrate buildings.

According to the commission, it is feasible that “3G and 4G mobile phone services that allow video streaming, full web browsing and fast downloads on a mobile handset,” could be used.

This would enable “high-speed broadband coverage of 100% of the EU population by the end of 2013.”

This switchover would need to be made by 2012 according to the EU and the developments are being encouraged by British broadcasting regulator Ofcom, who will study the proceedings with the government.

A spokesman announced, “the spectrum could deliver benefits such as mobile broadband or any other suitable services to EU citizens.”

An open auction for the frequencies made available by the switchover will be held in the UK, with many groups interested, such as broadcasters who could use some frequencies for high-definition services.

The EU has several “strategic objectives” to take advantage of the digital dividend, including a European-wide agreement on how the frequencies should be used and meeting targets on the technologies that will be allowed to use them, too.

By making agreements over the use of the frequencies, up to £45bn could be generated as a result.

Viviane Reding, the EU commissioner for information society and media declared that “The digital dividend is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make ‘broadband for all’ a reality all over Europe and boost some of the most innovative sectors of our economy.”

“Europe will only make the most of the digital dividend if we work together on a common plan.”

Internet Set for Language Revolution

The internet is all set for the onset of what is seen by many to be the “biggest change” since its invention 40 years ago, according to regulator Icann.

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) announced that coming to the conclusion of plans to allow non-Latin characters to be used in website addresses as Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs).

Initially accepted in 2008 , the change will see domain names written in Arabic and other Asian scripts.

The regulatory body revealed that applications would begin to be considered for approval by 16th of November if granted for approval on 30 October.

The president of Icann, Rod Beckstrom, believes that the first IDNs could be in use by “mid 2010.”

Beckstrom continued, “Of the 1.6 billion internet users today worldwide, more than half use languages that have scripts that are not Latin-based.”

“So this change is very much necessary for not only half the world’s internet users today but more than half, probably, of the future users as the internet continues to spread.”

According to Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of the board which has been set the duty of reviewing the change, IDN plans were approved in June 2008 but the system has been undergoing rigorous testing for much longer.

Dengate Thrush is pleased with the developments, stating that “you have to appreciate what a fantastically complicated technical feature this is.”

“What we have created is a different translation system.”

The alterations will be applied to the internet’s Domain Name System, which works in a similar way to a phone book, translating web domains names such as google.com into a series of numbers, more commonly known as IP addresses.

The modifications are due to allow this current system to understand and translate non-Latin characters.

Dengate Thrush added, “we are confident that it works because we have been testing it for a couple of years.”

“We’re really ready to start rolling it out.”

In China and Thailand, internet users can already access websites using their own language, as the website owners have used special work around techniques. However, these website addresses don’t work on all computers and are not internationally approved.

The meeting will take place in South Korea and include talks on the introduction of generic Top Level Domains (TLDs), such as .uk or .com.

The organisation allowed a relaxation on the rules regarding TLDs last year so that businesses could use their brand as a website address and individuals could use their names.

The US government founded Icann in 1998 in a big to control regulations on the internet, but has undergone years of criticism, leading to the relaxing of its control over the non-profit body.

Autonomy was provided to Icann when the US government signed an agreement on 1 October.

Why Microsoft Needs Windows 7 to Succeed

Thursday, 22 October sees the highly anticipated arrival of Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system, with many believing that the future of the world’s largest software company will depend on its success.

The enormous scale of Microsoft’s grip on the market becomes clear when told of the 90% of computers relying on its Windows operating system, and over 1 billion people using it.

Microsoft’s last financial year saw a £35.7bn turnover with a net profit of approximately £9bn. Over half the profits generated were reliant upon Windows.

Experts have predicted that Microsoft’s stranglehold over the market was due to drop, with competitors Linux and Apple waiting to jump in. Many experts predict that software will be shifted to the “cloud,” where people connect to remote servers to access their software in a revolution to worldwide computing.

Microsoft brought about the attention of regulators at the US Department of Justice and the European Commission with ruthless actions towards competitors.

The release of its Vista operating system 3 years ago rendered many of its first users with unusable hardware and software; a crushing blow and seriously damaged its reputation with software developers and customers alike.

Most people still prefer Windows XP, Vista’s eight-year-old predecessor, with estimates suggesting that Vista has between 18.6% and 35% hold on the market.

Annette Jump, research director at technology firm Gartner, believes that “Vista is the worst-adopted operating system” whilst Microsoft International’s Jean-Philippe Courtois thinks “we don’t feel great about Vista adoption.”

This could be the only chance for Microsoft to regain the confidence that took a blow during the Vista period. Many Microsoft executives feel that they learnt a lot from what went wrong with Vista.

Windows 7 looks set to be released in good time, just 3 years after the release of Vista. Those that have tested it have reported it to be fast, secure, reliable, and easy to use. Microsoft have made big steps to avoid making the mistakes experienced with Vista, and prepared its partners for the release.

Mr Courtois believes that “the Windows ecosystem is the broadest in the world, and we have to take care of that,” with Alex Gruzen from Dell Computers surprised at how “the preparations for Windows 7 have been a remarkable step up from the days of dealing with Vista.”

He continued by revealing that “in the past, Microsoft looked at its operating system in isolation, and gave it to [manufacturers] to do whatever they wanted. Now they collaborate, help to figure out which third-party vendors are slowing down the system, help them improve their code.”

Sidekick Loss Hits T-Mobile Phone Sales

T-Mobile has had to withdraw the Sidekick in America, after being made aware that customers could lose personal data through its server.

The designer of Sidekick’s software, Danger (a subsidiary of Microsoft), confirmed the fault, with the mobile phone industry condemning the issue as one of the biggest failings in recent years.

Microsoft are also coming out of the situation look bad, after promoting cloud or online services as a means of less expensive solution to enterprise storage.

Harry McCracken, editor of Technologizer.com told BBC News “this is the most spectacular loss of data on the web to date.”

“There have been other examples, but always from small companies. For this to involve a big name like Microsoft is a major embarrassment and a big worry for consumers and Microsoft.”

Data back-up

It is understood that Microsoft’s company Danger, experienced a technical hitch which caused major data loss, with Sidekick users seeing disruptions for the past week. Investigations are underway to find the cause of the faulty server, with Microsoft yet to offer an explanation.

Sidekick uses an online service to provide back-up contacts, calendar appointments, photos and other personal information saved to the mobile phone. Some of the one million subscribers to Sidekick have “almost certainly” lost personal data as a result of this glitch according to Microsoft.

Those most at risk of losing their personal information are those who let their battery fully drain or removed it completely, causing all local copies of data to be cleared from the phone.

“I had 411 contacts, now they are all gone. I had five e-mail accounts set up on the phone as well which are also gone, address book and all,” complained 17 year old high-school student Kayla Hasse from New Jersey.

“I am extremely upset not only due to the fact I lost everything, but also because I pay 20 some dollars a month for THIS? It’s ridiculous.”

Mr McCracken feels it’s a “real wake-up call for customers.”

“In the past we have always tended to assume that big companies are better at backing up our data than we are. While this is true in most cases, a lot of people are going to say you can’t trust third parties, whether it’s Microsoft, Google, Apple or whoever.”

The future of cloud computing

Whilst Microsoft and T-Mobile may experience the immediate fall-out from this problem, experts fear that it may cause long term damage to customer confidence in cloud computing.

Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts is concerned. “Microsoft has been beating the drum for the idea of cloud computing where we all trust our stuff on some server up in Washington State,”

“This is going to throw a little cold water on that idea for the moment. Microsoft is going to have to do some explaining and give good assurances that cloud computing is viable and that it won’t lose data in the future, otherwise people won’t trust it.”

DAB future is bleak as year-on-year sales drop 20 per cent below expectations

The future of DAB is in the balance as sales of the technology have been recorded to have slowed through 2008 according to figures recently released.  Unfortunately for the DAB technology sales in the digital radios fell by 10 per cent through the final three months of 2008 in comparison to 2007, marking the first recorded quarter that the digital radio technology has felt a drop in year on year sales since digital radio sales were first recorded six years ago.

Being market as a success throughout the middle-class homes in the country, the digital radio was set to take over from analogue radio in the same way that digital television is gearing up to take over from analogue television.  However, there has been no date set as yet as to when analogue radio will be completely switched off and this uneasiness is starting to ripple through the growth of the DAB market.

Still, the battle that DAB faces against the ongoing pressure applied by the popular internet radio platform rages on and could in the end derail DAB’s hopes for taking over the future of the radio waves.  The effects of Internet radio are being compared to what is being seen stunting the growth of Blu-Ray DVDs as video content is being delivered digitally.

The figures speak for themselves in this situation and clearly show the popularity of the DAB radio could simply have fallen into being labelled a ‘fad’.  More than 500,000 DAB units were sold through December 2008, however that figure is down by 10 per cent compared to December 2007 and has fallen well short of predictions made by the Digital Radio Development Bureau, falling around 20 per cent below the forecast.

The chief executive of DRDB, Tony Moretta, claimed that the figures were encouraging despite falling below the forecasted sales as the results could have been much worse in the wake of the economic recession.

“At the end of the day any forecast from any body a year ago would not have predicted what has happened to the economy.  There aren’t many industries or companies that have hit their targets for the year. We are still seeing growth. Despite lots of sometimes negative stories in the press, consumers are still going out and buying digital radios,” said Moretta.

Moretta felt that the outlook for the DAB device is bright and that these figures do not represent the country’s feelings on the technology.  “Consumer confidence in DAB remains high and it is important that retailers and manufacturers do not lose sight. At a time when other consumer electronics products are suffering declining volumes and value, DAB radio is holding its market position and growing its share versus analogue devices,” continued Moretta, who also blamed a “lack of stock” in many retail stores to be a key issue around the Christmas period.

2009 will be a decisive year for the future of the DAB device which will be looking to make progress in a difficult economy.