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.

What scares you about using the cloud?

The nature of computing over the last few years has gone one way and one way only and that is to drive users on the cloud. The software is now offered as a service and machines locally are less powerful with less storage, as your storage is not local anymore and is on the cloud remotely.

Most people are going with the flow and some others are still thinking the old way and have loads of data stored locally. The machines then become infected and data is lost or compromised.

Some companies have to store data locally due to legal requirements or just their processes in-house require it. However, the way the world is going is to store remotely, which allows so many good benefits.

What are the Benefits?

Let us start by looking at some of the benefits of cloud and remote storage: –

  1. The use and accessibility of files and work become easier. Users can drag and drop files etc. to cloud storage drives ion their machines. You don’t have to be technical. The stored data can then be accessed from anywhere in the world.
  2. How about disaster recovery? A backup plan for data has been something us I.T. guys have shouted about for years. Cloud storage drives create an automatic backup of all data stored, taking away the need for you to do it and the costs involved.
  3. Security is always the main argument against using the cloud. However, the best thing about cloud-stored data is that the server data is distributed across redundant servers and the data that is stored in the cloud is safeguarded against any type of hardware failure. Cloud servers also provide automated backups and snapshots in order to make sure that your data is safe.
  4. There are cost savings in using cloud-based data storage as well. No expensive on-site storage solutions that have running costs as well. All this is saved and the cost of cloud storage against it usually means a cost saving. This depends on your company and setup of course.
  5. Data sharing is another great benefit of cloud storage. Files can be shared in-house with colleagues or with clients externally.
  6. Automation of backups etc. is also a massive benefit. Once set up a daily routine isn’t needed locally and this frees up people for other tasks.
  7. Online cloud storage is also a great way to allow staff and clients to collaborate on documents and projects. From anywhere in the world.
  8. File integrity is also another great plus. When working on a cloud-based file you simply save and close. This means we don’t have various copies on various machines. Then trying to sync most recent of them.
  9. The amount of convenience and peace of mind offered by cloud storage system is amazing! Even if you store data on transportable devices like external hard drives or flash drives, some kind of manual intervention and physical handling is required. The data that is stored in a cloud is backed up online and it can be accessed from anywhere. Information is automatically saved as it streams in. There is no need for you to save, label or track information. The convenience of online cloud storage enables you to completely concentrate on your work without getting stressed about data loss.

Conclusion

Online storage and backup are beneficial for all types of businesses. It is a platform that does not require any huge investment and can be actively used in connecting staff and clients. Collaborating and using data smartly. Not to mention less supervision and online activities. Secure in the knowledge that it is all backed up for you and can be accessed from anywhere.

Do you own a NAS and are you looking after it well?

Synology NAS box

Synology, one manufacturer of NAS box’s

A strange question for the uninitiated. What is a NAS and what sort of food does it eat and how should I be treating it?

My focus recently has been all about storage and the space we are each using to store our data. (Whatever that data maybe). From faster drives to access the data to storage solution on the cloud and in the office. It is one of the most important and common questions I am asked.

One solution doesn’t meet everyone’s needs. But a combination of solutions is usually what people use and sometimes chaotically with no thought on how this will progress and what the strategy is or should be.

So what is a NAS?

Well, it isn’t a small creature that keeps you company and helps with your storage and access to data. Well, that is not completely true it does allow storage and access to data in various ways and will cleverly backup said data in different ways. NAS stands for Network Attached Storage. A system of storage media that is attached to your network at home or work. Over the years this type of storage has become more and more intelligent and can literally be a self-contained computer system that runs all your data and data access. It can be a small unit to a much larger unit. Various companies make them and they are, well what can I say I am biased, brilliant.

I have used one for business for over 8 years now and it has served me well. I can store data on it and it has internal drives that automatically backup to each other creating what is called a mirror of my data. I also can, and have configured it to back up to a cloud drive and have chosen the important data to back up in this way. So I have offsite data as well.

The NAS unit allows me to access it remotely over the Internet, (Through a secure connection), so my own personal cloud drive with access. I can add users and give them a proportion of the space and they can store their data there and we can collaborate on data.

Benefits

This is a lower costs system to having a fully-fledged file server in your office and still allows multiple access by users and storage and remote access. It has a configuration panel that is easy to understand and configure. An admin is appointed and can add users, block users and configure all the aspects of the system. The amount of storage is up to you and your budget. But it can be easy to handle and allow for expansion to a cloud drive or even to add extra space at the NAS unit itself.

Remember the biggest asset to any business is data and the importance of data and how easy it is to access it and collaborate using it is important.

So if you are considering storage and where it all goes?

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?

Sorry guys

A Happy New Year and all the very Tech for 2018

First, of all let us say sorry guys that we haven’t been around for a year. Our parent company I.T. Turning Point had to close and this left us in limbo. But our passion for all things tech and I.T. is still intact.

So a year to the last post we are back and will be posting again here. A Happy New Yera to you all and I hope this year is filled with tech and technological advances for yourself and for your organisation.

We are going to look at all things tech and how they are advancing so keep your eyes peeled and ask us stuff to inspire us to go and look out the answers for you.

So instead of HEy Google, say Hey Techpoint, tell us about this, and we will try and give it our best shot. We are restructuring during this year and things hopefully will settle into a pattern.

Take care and hope to hear from you soon.

I’ve Upgraded……..but which bit of tech?

boxed smart watch

I’ve upgraded

Christmas time always brings me some form of new tech, or at least I hope it does. Last year, yes it was last year already, I decided to put a money present to use by upgrading my Android wear. Now there is a lot of speculation about wearable and the lack of uptake etc. so read on and get my views on it and why I have stayed with it.

How it all began?

Well, I have covered this really in my blog about getting the LG G watch and using it to see if it could better my work and life tech experience. You can check it out here. This was always a first generation watch and was expensive when it first came out, but also rather limited in what it could do, still as per my blogs on the usage of it I found that it became part of my everyday activities and it was now something that when my watch strap broke on one occasion I felt I couldn’t function as well without it. So it became a part of how I handled my daily tech and all the emails and social media I deal with.

So why Upgrade?

I did, however, realise that it was limited and the next generation of devices was out there and when funding permitted I would upgrade to a more recent version of Android Wear and see what the new features would offer me. My son had told me he had researched and ordered the Huawei W1 watch. I had known about this watch but the price was very high when launched and not something I would invest in. However checking the deals around Christmas I found it at a reasonable price and purchased it. To the chants of you copied me, dad. (OH, well)

December excitement

I was lucky enough that the supplier delivered before Christmas and I have been using it for around 3 weeks now. I opened and set it up quickly and hence no unboxing video, but the photos show the impressive box and the kit inside. It felt like quality indeed.

Specifications

Here are the specs for the watch: –

Body 42x42x11.3mm
Build Stainless Steel (Cold forged 316L)

IP67 certified – dust and water resistant

Water-resistant up to 1 metre and 30 minutes

18mm straps

Display AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours

1.4inch

400×400 pixels (286 ppi density)

Multitouch: -Yes

Sapphire crystal glass

Always on screen

Platform Android Wear OS
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8926 Snapdragon 400
CPU Quad Core 1.2Ghz Cortex – A7
GPU Adreno 305
Memory 4Gb internal, 512Mb RAM
Sound Vibration, MP3, WAV Ringtones

Loudspeaker: – Yes

COMMS WLAN 802.11 b/g

Bluetooth V4.1, LE

Features Accelerometer, gyro, heart rate, barometer

Messaging: – SMS, Email, IM

Fast Charging

MP3 Player

Photo Viewer

Voice dial/ Commands

Battery Li-Ion 300 mAh battery

Talk Time: – 48 hours (mixed usage)

Misc. Various strap options available on purchase.

 

These knock the first generation LG G watch into a cocked hat so my excitement is beyond bounds. I know I am a GEEK.

What do you get?

The box as you can see is amazing and reflects the top end price.

smart watch opened up 1

smart watch opened up 2Inside this nice looking package was the following: –

  • Outer shell box with all the labels and tech details
  • Inner box with spring loaded flip open lid
  • “Timeless design, smart within”, as the tagline in the lid.
  • Top watch mounting padded shelf, Watch was fastened to this with cover on screen for protection, this was in the removable inner section and had two metal pins to remove shelf from box
  • Inner section now has a tab the lifts the small container holding the handbook and manual
  • Under this is the charger and charging cable and base, all in white.
  • The whole package felt of quality and the weight was quite substantial, even when empty.

smart watch unboxed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ordered the leather strap and wore this until my metal replacement arrived after Christmas. So now have two straps that are very easily changeable due to the small pins with pull sections allowing quick strap changes. Even this is a clever idea.

strap removal pins

Easy strap removal pins

Usage

The watch had to be charged and, I have, to be honest, the claim of fast charging is amazing, it charges in no time at all. I then went through connecting it to my phone via Android Wear and this was painless and happened easily. I had disconnected my old LG G watch and asked it to forget it. Then paired up the new watch. All went well. The watch itself comes with 48 watch faces to choose from so no hunting initially for a new watch face, my LG had a rectangular face so now needed circular one. Some lovely build in options….

watch face

It works a treat and gives me the extra options of heart rate monitor and answering phones calls on the watch not even needing to remove my phone from my pocket. To be honest, I have only done this once so far at home, but it went well and I could hear the caller and they could hear me. Useful indeed. I and my phone were in different rooms.

The other thing is that this particular model is one that Android Wear have been using to create Android Wear 2 that is due to launch this year. The rumours say this will create much more functionality and allow you to do even more things. I am now a convert to using a smart watch and think that I will always use one unless the whole project gets dropped. I now glance at it every time an email or post comes in and can vet if it needs an instant response or can be dealt with later. I can mute my phone from my watch and even locate my phone from my watch. Open the camera on my phone and see it on my watch for photos etc. I am still finding all the things I can do but I feel this has been a great investment and look forward to the things I will find over the coming months and the upgrade to Android Wear 2 when it comes out.

Wearable tech what are your thoughts?