What is the key factor about adopting technology?

A question I am asked a lot is, “What technology should I be using?”

The better question would be why should I use that technology?

So, what is the point of this article.? It is all about what you need and what you do.

The technology of yesterday, is not the technology of tomorrow as it is changing so fast. This matters because of the reason that technology is changing. It is changing because of customer demand a lot of the time and the new technology helps users work smarter and not harder.

So, what are the key factors about adopting new technology?

The ultimate answer is you are the key factor, let me explain further: –

I could easily go into any of my clients and simply say here is the new tech and you need it now. This of course is a broad-brush approach and they may not need half of what I am telling them they need.

So, I never do that, I ask loads and I mean loads of questions. I need to get inside their heads and their business. My forte is that I keep an eye and focus on what is out there and can advise accordingly.

I try and establish the following: –

  1. What do you and your business do just now?
  2. What may you be doing in the shorter term?
  3. Where do you see things in the longer term?

This enables me to focus on exactly you do and how you currently are doing it.

I can then look at solutions that are there just now that may make your tasks smarter and with emerging tech, I can advise on when you should maybe put your toe in the water.

I.T. is an ever-changing horizon and you have your focus and business to run. So why not hand it over to someone who focusses on the tech and get them to advise on what may be beneficial for you.

So, the key factors about adopting technology is you and your team and business. I always start from that point.

More cool stuff from CES 2020

Another cool item form the CES 2020, this time the article is courtesy of Business Insider, https://www.businessinsider.com

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold ($2,499.00 — mid-2020)

The first-ever laptop with a foldable display is undoubtedly a highlight of CES 2020 — a futuristic device that you can actually buy this year.

Way back in May 2019, Lenovo made a lofty promise while showing off a prototype device: that it would release the first-ever laptop with a foldable display, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold, in 2020. Now, Lenovo has clearly made good on that promise.

The tested, stylized version of the product shown off almost a year ago — with literal support tape on it and without a name — easily sells the idea of what foldable screen technology could accomplish in a mobile computing device.

Magazines could look fantastic on the ThinkPad X1 Fold, and with the bundled Bluetooth keyboard, people could work on that document while watching the latest episode of “The Witcher” on Netflix above. These are quaint scenarios, and barely business-related as the “ThinkPad” name would suggest, but these are the first ideas that come to mind.

The $2,499.00 price tag essentially shrinks the audience for this first foldable outing to just well-off executives and other financially fortunate technology enthusiasts — including some creative pros despite the suit-like ThinkPad branding. Regardless, the ThinkPad X1 Fold captures our imaginations, which makes it all the more exciting to be released in 2020. — Joe Osborne, senior technology editor

Some cool stuff from CES 2020

We haven’t had the time to look over all the announcements at CES 2020 this year, but we will try and bring one or two that caught our eye to you over the next few weeks.

This one we think should be taken further and adopted by vehicle manufacturers. What do you think?

Virtual Car Visor 

Made by German manufacturer Bosch, the virtual visor works by tracking the driver’s eyes using facial recognition technology. When it detects sun in the driver’s eyes it blocks it without obscuring the rest of the road.

When it detects sun it casts a show over the small area of the driver’s face exposed to sun glare stopping it from interfering with their view.

Sun visors are one of the most overlooked features of a car’s interior, according to Bosch. AA research shows that one in 50% of car accidents in the UK is caused by sun glare.

If the product proves viable it could totally eliminate the need for traditional sun visors in cars. However, at present, the virtual visor is just a concept and years away from going into production.

This item courtesy of https://digit.fyi/

Where is technology taking us?

Where is technology taking us
One world loads of technology

This month we have trawled articles on the Net and looked at some ideas of where tech is going. Most of the credit for this content belongs to https://highexistence.com/10-ways-the-next-10-years-are-going-to-be-mind-blowing/, I have then added some of my observations. Here are some we have pulled together for you to think about and watch this space as they appear over the next few months and years. Please note that these ideas and statements are pulled from various sources and just give a reflection of what is happening. The nature of the beast is by the time you type these articles things have moved on.

Bio Technology

Bionic Hand controlled by brain signals

Okay, it doesn’t let you crush rocks as you would think, BUT it does allow people without fingers to have fully functional hands that can pick up and handle delicate objects. It is completely controlled by the brain and requires no surgery. Touch Bionics, the company the produces the Pro Digits hand, is able to install the hand complete with “living skin,” a plastic covering resembling human skin, for under $50,000.

Computer Speed, Size and Usability

Speed

Most people tech-nerds know of Moore’s Law from 1965 (the number of transistors we are able to cheaply put in computer chips doubles every year, thereby doubling the speed).  However, most people don’t know that Moore, himself, came out and said his law will most likely fail finally in 2020 where the number of transistors we can put on chips will be limited by the laws of physics. Does this mean the exponential rise in computer processing speed will come to a halt in ten years?

Not a chance, says Jim Tully, chief of research for semiconductors at Gartner. “The technology which will replace this is a bottom-up approach, where chips will be assembled using individual atoms or molecules, a type of nanotechnology.”

Ray Kurzweil, a well-respected Futurist, stated in 2008 that when this molecular computing technology comes out in 2020, computers will have the intellectual capability of human beings. You might want to digest that for a minute before moving onto the next section.

That Macbook Air is pretty damn thin. So thin, in fact, that it makes you wonder if physical computers will even exist in 2020. Well according to developers at Intel, the keyboard and mouse surely won’t. Who needs QWERTY when you can control a computer with your mind?

“We’re trying to prove you can do interesting things with brain waves,” said Intel researcher Dean Pomerleau. “Eventually people may be willing to be more committed … to brain implants. Imagine being able to surf the Web with the power of your thoughts.”

Pomerleau and countless research groups around the world are working with brain scanning devices to map blood flow in the brain. They have found that when different individual focus on the same image, they have very similar patterns of blood flow in their brains. For example, one British group announced that they could discern where subjects wherein a computer-generated virtual environment by looking at where blood flowed in their brains.

How we interact with the world

The way in which we interact with the outside world has changed SO much since the introduction of the internet, smartphones, etc. In the very near future, another huge jump will be made: integrating the information on the internet with our surroundings.

By that, I mean being able to look at a building, product or place and immediately seeing information about the subject on our devices and eventually just with our eyes.

If you’re still confused as to what I mean, check out the earliest innovation of this concept, Goggles by Google. This app allows you to take a picture of whatever you are looking at and instantly receive info about it on your Android phone.

Like the video says, Goggle is only scratching at the surface of this technology. Kurzweil says that “By 2020 we’ll routinely have pop-ups in our visual field of view that give us background about the people and places that we’re looking at.” Your memory and the vast information bank of the internet will be one at all times.

Until we can do this with a chip in our brain, a new device has come out that overlays video onto our normal vision using special glasses. It’s called the Vuzix display Wrap 920AR and it goes on sale soon for around $800.

Energy

Solar energy will soon leave fossil fuels and inefficient wind farms in the dust. According to Kurzweil, “the cost per watt of solar energy is coming down rapidly and the total amount of solar energy is growing exponentially. It has in fact been doubling every two years for the past 20 years and is now only eight doublings away from meeting all of the world’s energy needs.”

Emerging technology from a company called Sandia is making the reality that much closer:

Sandia’s solar cells are made of 100 times less material than the current top solar cells while operating at the same efficiency. Since the biggest hurdle in the path of solar power is the expensive and large nature of solar panels, these new microscopic cells will make a huge difference. For example, current panels are massive and require large motors to move them to track the sun. Sandia’s cells, on the other hand, would only need to be moved a fraction of a millimetre to track the sun efficiently while weighing next to nothing.

Even more amazing, they can be suspended in liquids and printed on flexible materials, allowing the cells to be placed on any surface. What if your entire car was covered in these powerhouses? Bye bye, Chevron.

Health

While we still can’t cure a common cold, custom-made organs are just around the corner.

A company called Organovo has developed the first commercial 3-D bio printer that builds custom organs cell-by-cell. Each individual cell is based upon sample cells from the body of the customer. Organovo reports that veins and arteries will be available in 5 years, and more complex organs like hearts and livers in 10.

On a more general note, nanotechnology is revolutionizing the health world. The awesome combination of a higher understanding of how DNA works and the ability to create very small cellular parts is painting a very bright future for medicine.

Scientists are finding specific sequences of DNA that code for conditions like schizophrenia, autism and even ageing. The cures are actually in sight.

Robots

The first decade of the 21st century has been a remarkable time for innovation in robotics. While we’re still far away from having bots helping around the house or doing our construction, big strides have been made towards that future.

Recently a robot was able to teach itself human facial expressions by randomly contorting its face and receiving feedback on what resembled real expressions.

Here’s another robot called BigDog that came out a couple of years ago, but if you haven’t seen the video, you really should. It’s a 4-legged robot that can navigate difficult terrain and correct its balance when shoved. If you can’t watch the whole video, at least fast-forward to 1:50 where the robot can be seen running and jumping.

And finally here is the bipedal version of BigDog that walks heel-to-toe just like humans do. Again, it can regain balance when shoved.

Clothing

Nanotechnology in Clothing

– Nano-fibres will make garments tremendously more comfortable and durable. “By this process, the textile products can be made more attractive, strong and responsive to customers’ choice.”

– Fibre-based Nano generators will build up electrical energy in clothing from physical movement, ultrasonic waves and even blood flow. “If we can combine many of these fibres in double or triple layers in clothing, we could provide a flexible, foldable and wearable power source that, for example, would allow people to generate their own electrical current while walking.”

– Extremely hydrophobic (water-resistant) Nano filaments allow for completely waterproof clothing. It can be submerged in water for two months and still remain dry to the touch. “The water comes to rest on the top of the Nano filaments like a fakir sitting on a bed of nails.” (Whatever that means…)

2019 Trends

Machine Learning will advance Artificial Intelligence (AI) 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovations will continue to bring scientific breakthroughs, in part, thanks to the vast amounts of data that new technologies have been collecting and is now available. 

In 2019, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence will be embedded in the business platform creating and enabling smart business operations. 

In the Artificial Intelligence space, China is going to leave the U.S. behind, emerging as a leader in AI developments and applications.

Advances in Machine Learning technology and algorithm training will result in new and more advanced AI. Autonomous vehicles and robotics are the two industries that will see the most rapid developments during 2019. 

In 2019, there is going to be a convergence of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning in business applications. As AI and learning technologies get to work together in order to reach better results, AI will have greater accuracy at all levels. So far, humans have only developed Narrow Artificial Intelligence. A superior AI, though, is in the future of mankind. How far should humans go with AI development is still a subject of controversy. Is this really going to be mankind’s last invention? 

Quantum Computing (Supercomputing)

Quantum Computing, still an emerging technology, is one of the most fascinating things researchers, organizations, and governments have been working on in this century so far. The race toward building the first fully-functional, fully-working quantum computer (also called supercomputer) is on.

With its impressive computational power, quantum computers will most like be a cloud service in the near future rather than on-premise machines. IBM is already offering cloud-based quantum computing services. 

The first quantum computer is going to have a significant advantage over others. In 2019, the competence to achieve supercomputer supremacy will intensify. As a consequence, the last mile in the race will remain mostly secretive, for obvious reasons.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

Advances in Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR), all of which can be summarized in R+, will continue to be at the forefront of attention during 2019 with some fascinating new practical applications for industries.

R+, which once was only found in video gaming has been quickly advancing to become a useful tool in industries such as engineering design, manufacturing, healthcare, space exploration, and many others. 

In 2019, Virtual Reality is going to open up to innovative industrial applications that will change how people work and collaborate across geographies. 

Augmented Reality has been rising in Virtual Reality’s shadow for the past year. But in 2019, AR is set to grow exponentially. 

Global Internet of Things (IoT) security breach

Hackers never sleep. Everyone in the cybersecurity industry knows that. As long as you connect something to the Internet it immediately becomes vulnerable.

In the past years, we have seen how hackers have turned to the unsecure Internet of Things (IoT) devices to create an extensive botnet which then they could use to push enough traffic to take down Dyn, the DNS provider. As a way to refresh your memory, here is how the DDoS attack using IoT devices happened in 2016.

A quick look at the news tells us that not much has been learned. However, the great number of security breaches occurred during 2018 should serve as an alert of what can happen at a global scale in 2019 if organizations don’t take the necessary precautions. 

Analyst firm Gartner forecasts that 20.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide by 2020. And with the rise of autonomous things –I will call this the Internet of Autonomous Things (IoAT)– there is a good chance that many of these things will show a certain level of weak security. 

In 2019, it will be paramount for IoT manufacturers and all of their supply chain to dramatically increase the security in all the products that come out to market. It can be a connected refrigerator, a robot, a drone, a vehicle, or a health tracker.

Manufacturers must implement a level of security that keeps hackers at bay. Otherwise, there is a good chance we are going to witness a global IoT security breach in 2019. 

Blockchain technology

In 2019, for the delight of organizations, Blockchain is going to bring the first enterprise applications in active use. The most innovative corporations will start using Blockchain as a way to improve collaboration.  

Blockchain in 2019 comes out cryptocurrency transaction and becomes an integral part of the business platform. Blockchain enables transactional transparency across a variety of business functions. In 2019, Blockchain will be present in many industries at the core of business innovation.

Should old kit be abandoned?

laptop update
Old kit gets a new life

The current statistics shown that the sales of various tech is now down and that people aren’t eagerly awaiting to buy the latest thing.

There are various reasons for this and to put your finger in the one would be wrong.

But it begs the question about what we do with old kit? I have been recently taking 7 year old laptops that have still some very good kit on board and upgrading by adding a SSD drive to them.

What do we do with our computers?

We need to look at what we now do with computers: –

  • A few years ago all programmes were on the computer and so was the data until we backed it up
  • The Internet was growing fast and we are getting faster access.
  • So cloud storage became a thing and has grown over the last few years to an amazing level.
    • “According to recent research by Nasuni, there is over 1 Exabyte of data stored in the cloud, or: 1024 Petabytes of data. 1,073,741,824 Gigabytes of data. Quintillion bytes of data” This data was 2013. 6 years ago.
  • These figures don’t even make sense to us. To try and comprehend this amount of data and storage becomes something we can’t relate to.
  • Applications are also becoming more cloud driven and this will only increase over the next few years. SAAS. (Software As A Service). Office 365 is a well-known one. Google utilities, (G-suite), etc. Monthly subscriptions and the latest and greatest always at your fingertips.

So what does this mean?

Well, the strain is being taken off a lot of standalone machines as the storage needs to be less as all data goes to the cloud. (See article on using the cloud, here.)

The machines if they have a large amount of RAM and a fast SSD drive can boot up in anything from 4 seconds to 18 seconds. (The one I worked on recently booted up in 4 seconds)

So old kit can be slightly upgraded and cope very well with what you need it to do. Thus alleviating the direct need to buy the latest kit all the time.

What’s best for you?

Well, that really depends on how you operate and the things you need to achieve. But don’t immediately write off all your current kit. Maybe it is just better connections that you need or you need to think about the way you operate and see if there are ways it can be done better.

What are your thoughts on this?

Comment below.

It’s a Hard drive now a days.

computer harddriveI am asked by a lot of people about the new SSD drives as they call them, (In fact, this type of storage has been around for a while, granted it is developing and getting smarter and better all the time.), However, I digress. They ask me if the guarantee on this type of storage is as good as the older platter hard drives that stored their data to a physical disk using magnetism.

Well, there are many factors that affect both types of storage and cause them to fail or basically run out of life.

I stumbled across an article by CNet and they explain the way both drives work and how the SSD drive is much more complicated but in essence with last much longer. They are some actions you can do to help this but don’t panic you really don’t need to do them.

Check out the article here. (All credits here to Cnet.)

SSD or Platter Hard Drives

Let me know your thoughts on storage and your preferred drive type.

 

I have just given my Mobile Phone Some Pie.

Android Pie

Android Pie Operating System

I must admit that my mobiles for a good number of years have all had a sweet tooth. Being named after desserts ranging from Éclair, my first venture, through incarnations of Marshmallow to Nougat and now Pie.

For those who have no idea what I am talking about, these are all incarnations of Android operating systems for mobile phones. Being a Google man for all mobile work this has always intrigued me, and I am usually waiting for the next version and the improvements that come with it.

Android has driven the mobile market and is now the most used operating system for mobile phones worldwide, taking Apple’s crown.

Nowadays we are all fixated and linked to our mobile devices, they feed us with so much information and in my case a business owner, they help me manage my day to day activities both private and business related.

Android has always given me the flexibility and customisation that I would like in a device. Every incarnation allows me to change and alter and get the device working exactly the way I want it to.

Collecting and accessing my emails and web-based file systems. Communicating through various mediums from text-based to video calls. As more of what we do pushes onto the cloud you can expect these devices to be, literally what they have been for a while now, your main computer system. Allowing the flexibly to work anywhere and carry out complex activities and not need to be tied to a desk environment.

Here is a link to some of the new features in Android P (Pie) from our friends at Android Central

https://www.androidcentral.com/pie

What mobile devices do you use and what operating system do they employ/ Do you see this as the way forward and the way we work changing to go more mobile?

Space the Final Frontier

storage spaceHaving been into science fiction for most of my life, I thought this would be a good time to look at Space, the Final Frontier. A phrase I have grown up with. But why this title and why this topic?
Well now as opposed to in the past we have a range of places available to store our data and as we all now data is king.

So, what final frontier do you use for your data storage?

Or do you sue multiple frontiers?
In the past, we had limited solutions available to us. Floppy disk, Hard drive in the local machine, Server space on the in-house office server. Burning data to a CDROM or DVDROM. Then USB pen drives became the major medium for storage. In fact, I come across this method the most as people move and share data with each other.

Well is that the final frontier? It certainly gives us the flexibility of having mobile data we can access everywhere and share with others if need be. That must be the solution.

Of course, intrinsically it has a whole range of problems associated with it. Losing the drive, securing the data on the drive. limited space on the drive. (However, there are some very large storage capacities now available.) A virus somehow getting on the drive and then transferring nicely to all the machines you plug it into.

The Final Frontier

 Well, what is the final frontier if USB drives are flawed? Most large IT organisations are now pushing SAAS. (Software As A Service) This is normally for things like Microsoft Office Products and soon to be Windows. A monthly fee for access to software that is generally on the cloud and you get access to a web-based version and a downloadable version depending on the package you have paid for.

This whole premise of a cloud-based supply leads us to the cloud being the final frontier. A place to store all your valuable data. Also, a place where the data can be automatically backed up and shared with others securely. Access to the Internet (Cloud) is essential even though some areas can be accessed offline. The benefits are massive. All data can be shared and is automatically backed up. You can access it from any device anywhere. Work on it and collaborate on it. As technology drives us forward we will be adopting this Final Frontier More and more,

Are you heading there at Warp Speed?

Relaunch video for parent organisation

Check out the new video from our parent organisation. (Sorry for the bitable banners)

Chromebook Acer R11 Review

chromebook

 

So it’s been a while and I thought I would start with my latest piece of kit. Chromebooks have been around for a while and haven’t captured a lot of the market in the UK. In the USA, however, they have been competing with Apple in the education market and have taken schools by storm as the students love the idea of a keyboard and the lightweight functionality of a Chromebook over an IPad.

 

There are various manufacturers of Chromebooks and I did a little research before I purchased my one. So what did I go for?

Acer R11 Chromebook

This is a relatively new Chromebook in their range and this allows it to run Android Apps from the Google Play Store, as well as the Chrome-based apps, from the web store. This appealed to me as I wanted something to replace my ageing Nexus 9 tablet as it seems that Google has decided to drop the tablet market and launched all their Pixel Books instead, which are rather prohibitively priced.

This particular Chromebook is lightweight and 11-inch screen makes it very clear and visible. It also has the lovely function of flipping 360 degrees to create an 11-inch tablet. So it ticked a lot of my boxes. Larger than I had been carrying around, but I was prepared to make that sacrifice.

Battery life claimed to be around 10 hours when charged as well. However, I am finding when fully charged it is telling me around 7 hours…. Slight discrepancy there Acer.

However after some initial problems when I received it, I finally got a working Chromebook and have been using it as my tablet replacement for a few months now. Boots up fast as all SSD drives. 4 GB of Ram and 32 GB of internal storage, the rest of the cloud. High relation screen and camera for video calls etc.

Here is the full spec: –

  • Processor: 1.6GHz quad-core Intel Celeron N3150 (quad-core, 3MB cache, up to 2.08GHz with Turbo Boost)
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics
  • Memory: 4GB DDR3L
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Screen: 11.6 HD, 1,366 x 768 touchscreen, LED-backlit IPS
  • Camera: 720p webcam
  • Wireless: 802.11ac (B/G/N) dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Ports: 1x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 1x HDMI with HDCP, 1x 3.5mm headphone jack, 1x SD card slot
  • Weight: 2.76lbs
  • Size: 11.57 x 8.03 x 0.76 inches (W x D x H)

It is Blue the one I got as you can see from the photos attached.

openchromebook

So how do I feel it has been going?

So far it has been good going and I have been able to do all I want on this device. It is fast enough and covers all my bases. The only faults are that the use of an emulator to run the Android Apps is sometimes very buggy and resizes the screen and crashes at times. I have wandered over to the web-based apps for so many things and they run marvellously on the Chromebook. It allows me to carry out all my online worm and to edit a document using the Google Apps suite and then save them to the cloud and access them at my desk and phone when I need to.

I haven’t outputted the display yet through the HDMI port, but I have cast it through a Chromecast and it works well. Chrome as an OS is adequate and easy to get to grips with. Automatically updates and keeps me on top of what is happening.

It connects to any Wi-Fi I have tied so far and does it fast. Speakers seem OK as well and can play audio nicely.

I think this is a good replacement for my Nexus 9 and will be happy to use this into the future.

tentedchromebook

Talking about the future.

Acer, after I purchased this, have launched a Chromebook Tablet. 10 inch. Again to compete in the Education market in the USA. However, it is making its way to the UK market in May time. So that will be one to watch. Will run Chrome OS and allow the use of Android apps as well.

Let me know what you think and do you think the age of Windows ruling devices is over?

What do you use and why?