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  • TECH

    Don't get caught out on camera

    Life, James Hein, Published on 21/07/2021

    » - In the new Covid world, office workers are now regularly in meetings from home. Many of these meetings these days now also include a video feed. The first thing others in the call do when someone pops up, is to check the background and immediately zoom in, mentally or physically, on anything that seems out of place in the background. Last night's dishes, haphazardly discarded clothing and even a pot plant seemingly out of place will be the object of interest. Some use a green screen behind them and have an image placed on that by software.

  • TECH

    The cloud calls, banks don't hear

    Life, James Hein, Published on 07/07/2021

    » Is the industry rushing too quickly into the clouds? Cloud computing has been expanding steadily over the past few years and is starting to dominate as the primary platform for many organisations. Providers love it because it allows them to charge a service-based fee instead of a once-off payment for a product. There are rumours that Microsoft through Windows 11 will push to have a similar approach for their next version.

  • TECH

    Google bets on offline stores

    Life, James Hein, Published on 09/06/2021

    » Google is looking to venture into the area where Microsoft failed but Apple still does well, the brick-and-mortar retail store. The first of these will be opened in Chelsea, New York, allowing customers to find their devices like Pixel phones and Pixelbooks, Fitbits and Nest at a physical location. All subject to the latest Covid rules of course.

  • TECH

    Samsung's future flex

    Life, James Hein, Published on 26/05/2021

    » So whatever happened to the rollable displays we were promised some time back? Turns out companies like Samsung have been working on them, presenting a few at the recent Society for Information Display (SID) annual exhibition. The key to this technology is the OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display because it doesn't need a backlight. This allows for paper thin, flexible displays. In keeping with their usual nomenclature, Samsung calls their first device the S-foldable. Their range starts at phone size and unfolds twice to a 7.2-inch screen. They also presented a slidable screen that pulls out to give a wider view. Then came the 17-inch foldable screen that starts as a tablet that can be used as a small monitor tagged as the "Carrying Small Seeing Big". For now, these are concept devices that we should see in the wild next year. Not to be outdone, LG demoed a 65-inch rollable OLED TV along with a 12.8-inch rollable device. China is also in the mix with Visionox showing their rollable OLEDs.

  • TECH

    Chinese tech companies are at it again

    Life, James Hein, Published on 12/05/2021

    » A reminder on the importance of both scalable systems and load testing. The recent Philippines' attempt to expand its national ID programme had a number of issues when they introduced a two-factor authentication system. PhilSys, as it is known, started out just fine when registrations began in 2020, when paper forms were still used. This in itself was a little strange as the purpose of the new system was to do away with the need to present physical documents when interacting with government agencies. PhilSys the digital ID system was marketed as such and promised transformation and other buzzwords including easier opening of bank accounts. All of this would also help everyone involved during Covid times. After 28 million paper applications, the digital system was turned on and in the first hour 40,000 people tried to register. The system promptly fell over due to the load and inability to scale quickly. Most IT people will admit to a similar experience in their past, but by 2021 there are surely enough historical examples of what will happen if you don't do sufficient load testing before a major release like this.

  • TECH

    Think twice before going with Huawei

    Life, James Hein, Published on 28/04/2021

    » The Chinese firm Huawei is in the limelight again for allegedly snooping on the Dutch prime minister's phone calls, with the information used to track down Chinese dissidents. This was a while back and it only came to light now because back then the Dutch were worried about exposure. Huawei was able to do this because they have core components in the Netherlands' mobile network. The result was that Huawei employees could not only listen in on any conversation but also identify those in the conversations across their 3G and 4G networks. Even today, the Chinese have admin-level access due to the network management outsourcing deal. Huawei strenuously denied any wrongdoing but those thinking that their 5G Huawei networks will be safe might want to rethink this or look very carefully at the access granted under the contracts.

  • TECH

    Think twice before going with Huawei

    Life, James Hein, Published on 28/04/2021

    » The Chinese firm Huawei is in the limelight again for allegedly snooping on the Dutch prime minister's phone calls, with the information used to track down Chinese dissidents. This was a while back and it only came to light now because back then the Dutch were worried about exposure. Huawei was able to do this because they have core components in the Netherlands' mobile network. The result was that Huawei employees could not only listen in on any conversation but also identify those in the conversations across their 3G and 4G networks. Even today, the Chinese have admin-level access due to the network management outsourcing deal. Huawei strenuously denied any wrongdoing but those thinking that their 5G Huawei networks will be safe might want to rethink this or look very carefully at the access granted under the contracts.

  • TECH

    Google triumphs over Oracle

    Life, James Hein, Published on 14/04/2021

    » - Long-time readers may remember that back in the mists of IT time, over 10 years ago, Oracle challenged Google over the use of Oracle's Java API's and some of their code in Android.

  • TECH

    Alternatives sought as chip shortages disrupt production

    Life, James Hein, Published on 31/03/2021

    » - There is a silicon shortage, which is another way of saying that getting your next computer will either be difficult with long wait times or that prices may rise soon, so you'd better get in earlier rather than later. A couple of fires, a cold snap in Texas and Covid-19 restrictions are some of the causes of the shortages which shows that it doesn't take a lot to disrupt supply chains.

  • TECH

    The fight for a freer web continues

    Life, James Hein, Published on 17/03/2021

    » The social media platform Telegram has over 500 million users with over 55 million active every day. Unlike other platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and others, you are free to express your opinion there without being cancelled, shadow banned or throttled in searches.

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