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October, 2013

Lenovo Yoga Tablet review: first look

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

DSC09372Under the jubilant “#betterway” hashtag, Lenovo has revealed its latest brainchild, the Yoga Tablet, in synchronised events in Los Angeles and Milan.

Running a lightly customised version of Android 4.2.2 and coming in 8in and 10in variants, the Yoga Tablet resembles nothing so much as an oversized Apple Magic Trackpad. Across most of the screen area it’s an exceptionally slim 3mm deep, but with a cylindrical protrusion of around 8mm bulging out along one edge.


Michael Dell’s reasons to be cheerful

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Michael Dell TechCamp

In retrospect, I should have seen the signs way back. Dell Tech Camp, which has been a largely UK and Ireland-based event in the past, suddenly upped sticks and took itself off to Paris, foregoing the previous offbeat locations for a distinct – if overcrowded – up-tick in the shape of the mysterious Maison de X, which was variously described to me as a “technical college” , “founded by Napoleon”, and “tres chic”.

The press corps was unusually extensive, and packed unusually tightly together on tres chic little gold-painted chairs, so that the head honcho for Tech Camps past could take the stage for only a few seconds and say “who better to tell you what’s going on than… Michael Dell”.


Apple iPad Air review: first look

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Apple has launched a new version of both the iPad mini and the full-sized iPad, and, bar a couple of small surprises – and a name change – it’s pretty much business as usual for the new tablets.
The big change for the iPad 5 isn’t the screen size, or resolution, but a revamped chassis, and upgraded internals.
As predicted, the iPad Air is slimmer than the iPad 4, which it replaces in the range, measuring 7.5mm from from front to back, and in a strong echo of the iPad mini, it has narrower bezels all around for a much smaller all-round package. To bring it into line with the new iPhone 5s, the colours have changed, too, with the smart Space Grey now an option, in addition to white.
It’s certainly a more attractive design than the old iPad, but what’s most noticeable when picking it up for the first time, is how much lighter the iPad Air is than its predecessor. We took an iPad 4 into the even with us for comparison, and the difference is palpable, bringing Apple in line with lighter Android rivals such as the Sony Tablet Z. It weighs a mere 454g.
Below the screen, the home button now sports the fingerprint reader that adorns the iPhone 5s, allowing users to unlock the iPad and authenticate purchases with a dab of the finger. And, inside, Apple has boosted the power available to the new iPad, with the same 64-bit A7 CPU and  M7 motion coprocessor as the iPhone 5s.
We’ll wait until we have our review sample to report full benchmark figures, but if our experience with the iPhone 5s is anything to go by, it’ll be seriously quick. We certainly experienced no problems with the iPad Air we tried on the stand.
But what of battery life? With all that extra power and a significantly shrunken chassis, there’s a danger that battery life will have suffered. Once again , we’ll report back in full once we get  our mitts on one.

iPad Air

Apple’s full-size tablet may have a new name – the iPad Air – but it’s pretty much business as usual for the new tablet. As such, the big change for the iPad Air a dramatically revamped chassis and upgraded internals.


Apple iPad mini with Retina review: first look

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

iPad mini with Retina display

Apple’s iPad Air didn’t spring any major surprises, aside from the change of name, but the iPad mini with Retina is where the biggest upgrades have taken place.

Most of the information you need lies in the name of the device: the iPad mini with Retina fixes the original device’s one major weakness, by replacing its low resolution 768 x 1,024 display with a spanking new Retina screen.


Apple iPad Air launch: live blog

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Apple iPad

Tonight Apple unveiled the iPad Air and a host of other new products. You can catch up with all the announcements, as they happened, with the transcript of our live blog, below.


How to (unofficially) upgrade in place from Windows 8.1 Preview to final code

Thursday, October 17th, 2013


Windows 8.1 is here at last, and all Windows 8 users can upgrade for free by visiting the Windows Store. Even users who are currently running the Preview code that was released in June can get the official update – something we’re very pleased to see, as it had been expected that they’d have to wipe their systems and perform a clean installation of the final code.

However, things aren’t quite as peachy as they may seem for Preview users. According to Microsoft’s own advice, if you installed the preview from the Windows Store, you’ll lose your applications when you move to the final code, and will have to reinstall them all. That’s a pain, and staying on the preview code isn’t a long-term option as it expires in January.


How to recover photos from a corrupted memory card

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Canon E-P3

If anyone knows a good cardiologist, get in touch. On Sunday, my heart came perilously close to stopping after I put a memory card in my PC and it cheerfully reported that it couldn’t read the contents and perhaps I’d like to format it? The potential heart attack prompted by the fact that the memory card contained more than 250 photos from the wedding reception I’d shot the evening before, and that sickening feeling that you’d just lost a good chunk of the memories from one of the most important nights of the couple’s lives.

Thankfully, after two of the most stressful hours of my life, I managed to recover all but a handful of the photos, and I’m going to tell you how I did it, in the hope that, should you ever find yourself in such a hole, you might too be able to clamber your way out.


VMworld: I like Gelsinger when he’s angry

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Pat Gelsinger VMware

I’ve said before that people’s experiences with virtualisation vary wildly. I get on with the whole concept very comfortably, but I know people who still suck their teeth and shake their heads every time it comes up.

The most blogworthy moment of this year’s VMworld conference in Barcelona came when one of the greatly expanded corps of European press came out as a fundamental virtualisation sceptic. One of the problems of being a long-term techie in events that cross several language barriers at once is that the “footprint” of the invites can be spread remarkably wide: I didn’t catch the nationality or publication of the (evidently, lone) sceptic, but there was no mistaking VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger’s reaction.

The sceptic’s perspective was that virtualisation – the whole thing – was just another layer of inefficiency: a software stack that keeps people away from the basic performance of the hardware, which should really be avoided. Surely, he argued, network virtualisation was merely a case of more of the same?


HP ZBook 15 and HP ZBook 17 review: first look

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013


HP’s Z Series family of desktop workstations and monitors – not forgetting the brilliant Z1 – have welcomed three new mobile members into the fold. Stepping in above the existing EliteBook range, the ZBook line-up crams workstation-class performance and ISV-certification into a trio of 14in, 15.6in and 17.3in laptops.


Twitter for Android: how to stop unwanted alerts

Thursday, October 10th, 2013


The official Twitter app on my Android phone has started popping up a new sort of notification. Every so often, it’s taken to buzzing and vibrating to advise me that some people I know have started to follow someone I don’t know.

Clearly, it’s an attempt to get me to “engage” more with Twitter – as if I don’t enough already – and it’s not a wholly brainless approach. It stands to reason that if my friends like a certain Twitter feed then there’s a fair chance I might like it too.

I really don’t appreciate the intrusion, however. And based on the comments I’ve seen popping up on my own feed it looks like I’m not alone. I won’t be surprised if Twitter ends up backtracking in short order – but in the meantime, it looks like we’ll just have to live with the unwanted interruptions, or uninstall the Twitter app entirely.

That’s what it looks like; but in fact it is possible to disable these unwanted notifications. Here’s how.


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