Skip to navigation

PCPro-Computing in the Real World Printed from www.pcpro.co.uk

Register to receive our regular email newsletter at http://www.pcpro.co.uk/registration.

The newsletter contains links to our latest PC news, product reviews, features and how-to guides, plus special offers and competitions.

// Home / Blogs

Darien Graham-Smith

Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: Tim Cook’s Apple back with a bang?

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

You have to hand it to Apple – it knows how to create a buzz. Even though I’m currently honeymooning on the other side of the world, I couldn’t resist sitting up until nearly 3am to watch last night’s announcement.

Of course, this was no ordinary event. Ever since Tim Cook took over the reins, we’ve been waiting for Apple to prove that its vitality hadn’t been lost along with its iconic CEO. The fanfare surrounding last night’s announcement seemed to promise that, at long last, that proof was at hand.

iPhone 6s

(more…)

Wikipedia’s “right to be forgotten” protest hits the wrong note

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Screenshot 2014-08-08 10.06.07As an information resource, I rate Wikipedia very highly indeed. I have serious concerns about its leadership’s decision to try to undermine the “right to be forgotten” by drawing special attention to articles that have been delisted from Google.

Yes, there are problems with the current implementation of the right to be forgotten, but I believe the principle is a good one. Our libel laws already enshrine the right of the individual to protect his or her reputation against misrepresentation. If search engine results promote a misleading impression of someone, based on old and irrelevant information, it seems fair to me that the same principle ought to apply.

(more…)

How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour

Monday, July 21st, 2014

TimGlass

Lunch with Tim Danton is normally a jolly affair, but today he has decided to wear his Google Glass headset. Things get off to a bad start before we’ve even left the building, as I explain that I need to go via a cashpoint. “OK Glass!” barks Tim abruptly. “Directions to a cashpoint.” There is an awkward pause: I don’t know whether he’s waiting for me to speak, or has been distracted by some terribly important message that I can’t see. His face falls slightly. “It’s giving me directions to an attachment,” he explains, apologetically.

(more…)

Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

20140629_152204Until recently, there wasn’t much point taking your smartphone to a summer festival. With tens of thousands of people converging in the middle of the countryside, it was impossible to get a signal, and your battery was likely to expire on the first day anyway.

But things are changing. Coverage has improved markedly in recent years, and event organisers are starting to embrace mobile technology with official festival apps and onsite charging facilities – a more popular attraction than many of the bands, judging by the size of the queues. (more…)

I went to Glastonbury and the only thing that got high was my smartphone

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

20140629_154932

I hadn’t previously heard of such a thing as a “selfie stick”, but that’s essentially what the XS Me-Shot Deluxe is: an extensible pole onto which you can mount a smartphone to take photos of your beautiful self (with the aid of the included Bluetooth controller).

Cleverly, it’s also being marketed as a summer festival accessory: angle it upwards rather than outwards and you can use it to take photos of the stage, or whatever you’re looking at, over the heads of your festival-going companions.

The Bluetooth controller is quite natty, including a recessed keyboard (needed for entering a PIN so you can pair it with the phone) and various media-player controls as well as a shutter release. The key part of it, though – the pole – is not, as technology goes, a particularly sophisticated bit of kit, as you can see from the picture above.

Does it work?

The extra height certainly does help you get a good perspective across crowded scenes. Here’s a picture I took at Glastonbury using the Me-Shot Deluxe:

20140629_215231

However, although shooting in this way can give you a clearer view of your subject, you’ll notice that it doesn’t get you any closer. It also puts you several feet away from your phone’s display, so you can’t easily check your results between shots, nor adjust the shooting settings should you need to.

I have doubts too as to the device’s suitability to the rough and tumble of a festival. The phone is held in place by a single screw-clamp; I didn’t like to do this up too tightly, for fear of cracking the plastic casing of my Galaxy S4. So instead I found myself constantly worrying that I had left it too loose, and that it may take only an unexpected collision with an enthusiastic Kasabian fan to cause my phone to fall off and be instantly trampled underfoot.

Without a doubt, shooting over people’s heads at a festival can pay off if you persevere (click for a larger image):

Knight

But even though the Me-Shot Deluxe does come with a cute little Bluetooth controller, I’d have to say that standing on tiptoes and holding your phone up by hand is rather less stressful in a bustling crowd – and also rather cheaper.

Adobe Voice: a simple, free iPad app for making explainer videos

Friday, May 9th, 2014

photo

With no fanfare at all, Adobe has released a curious little iPad app called Voice – a very simple presentational tool for putting together “explainer videos”. You might not be familiar with that term (I wasn’t), but the style is instantly recognisable: we’re talking about those jaunty little shorts in which a disembodied voice, dripping with warmth and earnestness, talks the listener through the basics of a project or proposition, normally over a bed of plinky-plonky ukulele music.

The software itself works similarly to PowerPoint; your video comprises a series of pages, onto each of which you place a graphic, or some text, or a combination of the two. Then, you hold down the record button to lay down a voiceover for each page using the iPad’s built-in microphone – and you’re done. As workflows go, it doesn’t get much simpler than this.

(more…)

Office for iPad: key information

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Word for iPadMicrosoft CEO Satya Nadella, in his first appearance since taking over the top job, has confirmed that the company will shortly release a native version of its Office suite for the iPad, as well as updating Office for Mac. Some have called the decision a gamble for Microsoft, while others have seen it as a positive step. Here’s what you need to know. (more…)

Windows XP end of life: key information

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Windows Updates will be ending soon

Windows XP support will end on 8 April. After that date, Microsoft won’t provide any more updates. Yet many millions of people are still using the veteran OS: recent figures suggest that it’s still running on around 30% of PCs worldwide, many of them in businesses.

Understandably, there’s a lot of doubt and concern over what’s going to happen next. If you’re still running XP, here are the straightforward answers to the key questions.

(more…)

Windows 8.1 Update 1: hands-on preview

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

W81

A pre-release build of the latest update to Windows 8 has leaked online, giving us the opportunity to try it out ahead of its anticipated release in March or April.

This isn’t the “Threshold” update that’s been in the news lately: that’s not expected to arrive until next year. Threshold will reportedly bring major changes to the OS, including the return of the Start menu; it will probably be dubbed Windows 9, and could well be a paid-for upgrade.

Windows 8.1 Update 1 is expected to be a free download for all users, but it still represents a significant step forward for Windows. The leaked code is dated 14 January 2014, so there’s still time for a few more changes to be made before release, but what’s here is enough to give us a good idea of what the update will bring.

(more…)

Free alternatives to LogMeIn (updated)

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

LMI-Gone

This post was updated on 28/1 with additional content.

I’ve been using the free LogMeIn remote access service for several years now. I’ve never felt the need to pay for the commercial service, as mostly what I use it for is connecting to my home PC while I’m at work – or vice versa – and copying whatever files I need into Dropbox.

Now it’s been announced that the free service is being discontinued on 28 January – next week, in other words, meaning us free users don’t get a sunset period so much as an abrupt flicking off of the lights. As of next Wednesday, the service starts at $49 a year for two computers. As LogMeIn points out, this gets you not only basic remote access, but also “premium features like remote printing, file transfer and cloud data access, plus desktop and mobile apps to improve your experience.”

I don’t need any of that, however: for what I need, I’d be fine with one of the numerous lightweight VNC variants, or Windows’ built-in Remote Desktop Connection tool… if only they’d work through the Dennis Publishing firewall. Since they don’t, I’m left looking for a properly free alternative to LogMeIn that I can switch to next week. Here’s what I’ve found.

(more…)

Posted in: Software

Permalink

Authors

Categories

Archives

advertisement

SEARCH
SIGN UP

Your email:

Your password:

remember me

advertisement


Hitwise Top 10 Website 2010