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  • TECH

    A quantum leap for computers

    Life, James Hein, Published on 22/02/2017

    » According to Prof Winfried Hensinger of the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, he and his team have the first practical design for a quantum computer. Like millions of others, I have struggled to come to an understanding of quantum mechanics and how a quantum computer might work.

  • OPINION

    Mind your passwords

    Life, James Hein, Published on 25/01/2017

    » Google, Facebook and Apple are the names of a few companies working on artificial intelligence (AI). I don't mean the kind of AI that simply teaches machines to be useful to humans, though that is also being done everywhere. I mean the self-aware kind. After so long at it I think the bigger organisations are locked in a series of dead end paths. Instead, I predict the first breakthroughs will come from small, even one-man operations thinking outside the cube. As an aside, when it comes to the search giants like Google or Yahoo and social media sites like Facebook, they all have their biases so the results you see may not be all that comprehensive, balanced or accurate.

  • TECH

    A work around for Microsoft's landmines

    Life, James Hein, Published on 04/07/2018

    » The law in the European Union that I mentioned in the last article was passed as expected and the response from many quarters has been savage. At the time of writing it has yet to be ratified but it has seeded confusion in the online world as to what will be allowed and what won't. It could end up being a subjective nightmare but that is what you get when you are run by a group of essentially faceless bureaucrats in Belgium. I don't think we have heard the end of this one.

  • OPINION

    A down vote for MS Skype

    Life, James Hein, Published on 20/06/2018

    » It has been a while since I've used Skype, and I had no idea just how much Microsoft has stuffed it up. Skype for the multi-device user is all but useless. I tried to find a way to allow someone to call into my PC's Skype but to no avail. I shut down Skype on my phone and was able to call out but not receive anything. This removed the possibility of using a good sound card and microphone for the mix, and all I could use in the end was my phone. BM -- or Before Microsoft -- Skype was usable and useful. PM -- Post-Microsoft -- you should look for any other alternative. Line seems to be most popular with those I know. This is not the first time Microsoft has taken over a product, and its usage has dropped dramatically. Of course that could have been the plan all along.

  • OPINION

    Cloud tech is no castle in the sky

    Life, James Hein, Published on 06/06/2018

    » So, who has the best cloud? Gartner has been looking into that for you and the results are in. Amazon's Web Services and Microsoft Azure are the top two with a combination of maturity, ability to execute and a completeness of vision. As cloud technologies have evolved people are no longer looking for simply some rented space for data storage but are demanding more functionality. They also want stable availability, good security along with great performance. Of the eight vendors examined, IBM and Oracle finished at the bottom showing that just having a long history doesn't necessarily keep you near the top.

  • TECH

    Translating ear buds and builder robots

    Life, James Hein, Published on 09/05/2018

    » Let's face it, technology is cool. Google is claiming that they will have translating ear buds you can use when you travel that will allow you to understand almost any language, instantly. Yes, it does sound like something out of a sci-fi book and I think they should name them Babel fish, but that name was already "stolen" from The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy series in 2012 that later became Bing Translator. The good news is that first versions of these may be ready for tourists in the very near future.

  • TECH

    What will 5G mean for you?

    Life, James Hein, Published on 25/04/2018

    » Is 5G going to save those people with bad internet connections? As the world moves more towards mobile platforms, users want faster and more reliable services. I know I do. 5G is being touted as the way to that future, with the promise of a high-def movie download in seconds and other benefits, like better access to the often-mentioned Internet of Things, or IoT.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Facing up to social media bias

    Life, James Hein, Published on 21/06/2017

    » An interesting thing is happening on the major sharing and information sites like Facebook, Google, Yahoo and others. In what is supposed to be an open and free environment, political editing bias is starting to creep in. The local phenomenon that started in the US has started to pervade the global system. This is not the direct political editing that occurs in places such as China but that of one group's opinions suppressing another side's. It is not an issue if the views being suppressed are demonstrably incorrect but in some cases the factual and data based views are those being suppressed in favour of the unsupportable "politically correct" ones of small but outspoken groups.

  • TECH

    Virus free and quids in after upgrade

    Life, James Hein, Published on 16/11/2016

    » After some years, I moved from Vipre anti-virus across to BitDefender. Part of the reason was base pricing and the rest was that Vipre still charges a premium for Android device protection, something included in the BitDefender family plan. Changing was as simple as uninstalling one and installing the other. The new product has already flagged a number of infection attempts and also a port scanning incident. Around the same time I started having problems with web browsing. Some sites would be fine and others would not appear for a long time or error out. I changed the SSL validation setting in BitDefender which fixed one issue but the remainder stayed. Doing some research, I found the product NetBalancer which when installed immediately cleared up the problem by taking control over what processes could access the network at specific priorities. I still don't know what was causing the initial problem but if you are having similar problems try NetBalancer, there is a free version for basic functionality.

  • TECH

    Microsoft ditches Windows Pro 7, 8.1

    Life, James Hein, Published on 09/11/2016

    » Microsoft no longer provides the Windows Pro 7 or Windows 8.1 operating systems. This is no surprise as Microsoft flagged the end of October as the time that would happen, meaning every new PC will only have Windows 10. This is all part of the Redmond master plan to move everyone to an operating system as a service platform in the near future. This would mean that you won't own any of the MS software on your PC but simply renting it.

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