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February, 2011

Does hacker insurance make your business a bigger liability?

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Data

It’s a scenario that every small online business fears: site security is compromised, hackers steal customer data including credit-card details, and your brand and your reputation are left in ruins. No wonder then, that many small online businesses are looking to insure against hackers and the resulting financial impact of a security breach. But is insurance really the answer and could it even be part of the problem?

The insurance brokers are, naturally, presenting such insurance as pure common sense. A chap who works in the insurance business used car insurance as a counter argument to my suggestion that surely the best IT security insurance policy was to remain secure in the first place.

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Android App of the Week: Androidify

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Google gets a bad rap, and it’s easy to forget that the company that started out with line “don’t be evil” can occasionally churn out something that’s actually pretty fun. Take Androidify, our latest Android App of the Week.
It’s not one of the firm’s most useful or innovative apps, but it’s one of the most addictive and funiest: a little tool that grants you free reign to create your own Android avatars.
It’s devilishly simply: scroll horizontally between hair style and colour, tops, trousers, shoes, accessories and more, and use the vertical bar to pick which garment to use on your avatar.
There’s a reasonable amount of choice, too, with dozens of clothing items alongside numerous hats and accessories – and your android’s hair colour can be altered, too. And, by dragging your finger up and down your avatar, its height and proportions can be changed.
When that’s done, it’s possible to name and save your Android before sharing it with the world: it’s possible to post them to Facebook, Flickr, Picasa or Twitter – with more options available depending on what apps you’ve got installed – as well as distributing your little friend via text message or email. It’s even possible to use the new avatar as a desktop wallpaper.
It’s a great little app that put a smile on our faces as soon as it downloaded – and, of course, our first instinct was to recreate members of the PC Pro team in Android form.
First up is deputy reviews editor David Bayon, who’s personified by his broad range of “two-shirts” – that’s one garment that’s designed to give the impression that he’s wearing two, fashion fans – as well as his, urm, follical minimalism.
My second creation is reviews editor Jon Bray – possibly the sportiest member of PC Pro team and a keen fan of eye-wateringly tight lycra. He’s also the tallest member of the three portrayed here, which was a good excuse to show off Androidify’s body-stretching feature.
Third up is editorial overlord Tim Danton, a man whose love for Mars Bars is only outweighed by his adoration of tank tops – a choice that’s reflected in his Android’s clothing.
Our only real quibble is that there simply isn’t enough choice. We’d have loved the chance to change the colour of clothing, for instance, or loaded our avatars up with a more varied selection of accessories. That’s a minor complaint when this charming little app won’t cost you anything, though – so get downloading right away.

Androids

Google sometimes gets a bad rap, and it’s easy to forget that the company that started out with the line “don’t be evil” can occasionally churn out something that’s actually pretty fun. Take Androidify, our latest Android App of the Week.

It’s not one of the firm’s most useful or innovative apps, but it’s one of the most addictive and funniest: a little tool that grants you free rein to create your own Android avatars.

It’s devilishly simply: scroll horizontally between hair style and colour, tops, trousers, shoes, accessories and more, and use the vertical bar to pick which garment to use on your avatar. (more…)

All change at PC Pro

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

white blank book brochure

Over the next few months you’re going to see some big changes on PC Pro.

2011 benchmarks

In issue 200 of the magazine (on sale mid-April), we’re going to be unveiling our 2011 benchmarks suite. Written in-house using real-world applications such as Office 2010 and Photoshop CS5, the PC Pro benchmarks will deliver the most accurate measurement of PC performance to date, testing overall system responsiveness as well as typical desktop tasks and demanding multi-core workloads.

That will be graphically illustrated in issue 200’s CPU megatest, in which we’ll be testing every mainstream desktop CPU from both Intel and AMD to see which really offers the best performance for your money. We’ll explain more about how our new benchmarks work in the coming weeks.

(more…)

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WordPress 3.1 review: first look

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

adminbar

WordPress 3.1 has just been unveiled, with the usual mix of immediately useful changes to the interface and structural improvements that give more options to theme builders.

The first thing you’ll notice on upgrading your site is the Admin Bar at the top, bringing standalone WordPress installations in line with those hosted on WordPress.org. The Admin Bar provides quick access to regularly used functions to any logged-in user with appropriate permissions. Initial reactions to this have been mixed but I like it.

I create sites for clients, many of whom want to update their site themselves and the bar provides a much more obvious and easy to use method to create new posts and pages. The feature can be disabled in your profile if you really don’t like it, but I suspect the next minor update will include an option to disable it globally.

(more…)

Can Parallels get noticed in the cloud?

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

cloudsOne of the many reasons that I like the whole topic of cloud computing is that it suits my way of thinking: I tend to grab a series of themes out of a “cloud” of topics and see if a concept pops out of the randomness — and if you are trying to work out what to buy and who to buy it from, the one strong similarilty between “the cloud” and buying services is that it looks pretty random.

All the potential suppliers look like a random collection of logos to the consumer: dipping into the attendee list at Parallels Summit here in Orlando this week we have MigrationWiz, R1Soft, Smarsh, Tilera, Apptix, BobCares, Comodo (that last one is an old friend to PC Pro, so maybe they’re not quite as random as the others).

(more…)

How to find real page numbers on the Kindle

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Kindle owners should today have received an email informing them the latest version of the eBook reader’s firmware is available for download.

One of the new features is ‘real’ page numbers – Kindle eBooks will now carry the actual page numbers from the printed version of the book (presumably the original hardback version), so that Kindle owners will literally be on the same page as their book club friends, for example.

There’s only one problem. For reasons best known to Amazon, it’s decided to hide the page numbers away.

(more…)

QuarkXPress 9 review: first look

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

quarkxpress 9

When Quark announced the launch of the free QuarkXPress 8.5 release, I was seriously unimpressed. Firstly it offered almost no new power, second it implied that the launch of version 9 was some way off, and third it looked like Quark was squandering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get back at market leader, InDesign.

Based on a press briefing introducing the new QuarkXPress 9, my main concerns have been answered – at least partly. (more…)

Sony VAIO S Series review: first look

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Vaio S Series - flowers landscape

After our exclusive reviews of Sony’s brand-new CA Series notebook and L Series touchscreen all-in-one, Sony’s launch event in London’s Century Club promised to be tinged with an overwhelming sense of deja-vu.

(more…)

Don’t send the developing world PCs: send them Kindles

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Amazon Kindle and booksI was in India recently, spotting tigers in the jungle. I was about five hours north of Nagpur in Central India, which is a bit like pointing to the moon and telling somebody to take a left. There was no internet access, my mobile phone worked sporadically, and the nearest village was so poor there was a hint of Hollywood to it. You know, the kind of place where you start thinking “children in rags carrying water home from a well 3km away, I’m not falling for that.” Or “fifteen people living in a house with their cow and chickens, pull the other one.”

Nobody’s that poor, not really, because if they were that poor Bob Geldof would immediately start singing at them, and if that’s not reason enough to be upwardly mobile then nothing is – I mean, look at Ethiopia. The entire country gave up famine just to get him to bugger off.

So I’m waiting in this village for my lift to arrive, reading my Kindle to pass the time, and all of a sudden I look up to discover about 20 kids stood in a big group, just watching me: big eyes, curious expressions, ridiculously cute and all intent on the Kindle.

(more…)

What’s hiding in Radiohead’s album art?

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Photosounder - Radiohead 2

If you’re an avid Radiohead fan, then you’ve probably already downloaded their latest album, The King of Limbs. You’ve probably listened to it on repeat for several hours, Thom Yorke’s plaintive cryptic lullabies cossetting you in a mournful fug of despair. They’re a happy bunch, Radiohead.

The question is not what you think of the band’s latest opus, however, but rather whether you’ve noticed anything curious about the cover art. Both the MP3 and WAV versions of the album come with a huge 4.84 megabyte bitmap file of the album’s cover; a strange collage of silhoutted trees and eerie alien creatures.

(more…)

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