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Michael Dell: Cloud infrastructure is the roads, bridges and highways of the 21st century

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Michael Dell was in a quotable mood at the recent Dell Summit in Brussels. Having retaken control of his vast PC-making empire over the past 18 months or so, he’s developed a bit of an appetite for chats with the IT and business press corps. This time may have lacked some of the theatricality and shock value of last year’s pop-up press conference in Paris, but on the other hand there was a lot more detail flying around, and a lot less hardware to see.

Last time we had the (quite fascinating) presentation from the case designer for almost every product, explaining about paints and metal finishes and the texturing on the back of the Venue Pro 8 tablet. This time, the numbers were well and truly in charge. My notes took a while to become legible, as I realised that this wasn’t going to be a repeat of last year’s highly personal reflection on one of the world’s largest financial deals. This was down-to-business time.

One of the most important shifts in attitude that comes with being a private company is that various arcane and painful American regulations about statements that may affect share prices can be relaxed. So we were told about double-digit growth since the buyback had taken place – although, personally, given where we are in the economic cycle right now, I’d not conclude too much from such a loose statistic.


Posted in: Random


How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Database breaches, in which giant corporates such as Adobe, eBay, or Sony lose track of copies of their user and billing databases, are becoming almost weekly news items in late 2014.

Sometimes this is given a hacker spin, other times it’s just a dull case of not knowing where all those USB keys or backup tapes have gone.

Consumers are meant to respond to the news – which manages to be simultaneously both worrying and vague – by meekly changing their passwords, even if they don’t think they’re included in the database that’s been stolen. eBay’s alleged database theft triggered a mandatory password change for everyone, right across the system.

I have some problems with this approach, because, to be honest, I have a whole lot of different web identities. Once you’ve signed up to enough services for review, this becomes inevitable: I have a slew of login names and emails, and figuring out which one goes with which service becomes a daily trial. (more…)

Westminster wins the .London battle

Friday, September 12th, 2014

DotLondon heatmap1&1 and Fasthosts have produced an interesting heatmap of successful .London registrations, which would seem to suggest that the hotbed of web-savvy companies isn’t in Shoreditch or East London’s Tech City: it’s the city of Westminster. (more…)


Posted in: Random


20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

If PC Pro had a heart, it would be the Real Worlders, as we call them. Many of our Real World Columnists have been contributing to the magazine since its early days — some, including Davey Winder and Jon Honeyball, from the very first issue.

We asked Paul Ockenden, Steve Cassidy and Davey Winder for their favourite columns that have been published in PC Pro. Here’s what they picked.


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


Why we’ve closed the PC Pro forums

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Last night, we reluctantly took the decision to close the PC Pro forums. In short, they had become a security risk and an unpleasant environment due to the amount of spam in them, while the amount of genuine posts had dwindled to a sad few. (more…)

Posted in: Random


How to turn off Google Location Tracking

Monday, August 25th, 2014

The problem with those crazy ideas about cellphones and Big Brother is that, occasionally, it turns out they were right. If you are an Android phone user the chances are that you have used your Google account to log in to the store, sync your emails, and all that good stuff. I certainly have, on two distinct phones and another brace of Android tablets.

And, I’ve been travelling – oh boy, have I ever been travelling. 50,000 air miles since last September, up and down to Cornwall, over to the Hague a couple of times, down to Switzerland, and in the last couple of weeks, chugging down the Canal de Borgogne at 5km/h. In all those places, my ancient but sturdy Moto XT890 has come with me.


20 years of PC Pro: our greatest review mistakes

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

We review hundreds of products each year at PC Pro, and take pride in the fact we test things properly. We run our own independent benchmarks on laptops and PCs; we test screens in such depth even I get confused by what the reviews guys are talking about sometimes; and we base all our tests on how people will use kit in real life.

But sometimes we get it wrong. As we approach our 20th anniversary edition of the magazine, we thought it was time to own up to three of our worst mistakes… (more…)

20 years of PC Pro: our first A-List

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

PC Pro started in 1994, but the A-List — our pick of the best products of the moment — didn’t arrive until three years later, in issue 28.


If you have a copy of one of our more recent issues to hand, take a flip through the A-List: it’s six pages of 51 product categories, with our main recommendation plus an alternative choice — more than 100 pieces of kit or software we think is worth your money.


3D printing hits the high street for plastic selfies

Thursday, August 7th, 2014


We’ve been talking about 3D printers for years now, and it’s never made sense to me to buy one of the things: they’re expensive, require serious CAD skills to make anything useful and they smell bad — burning plastic isn’t easy on the nose.

Print shops, on the other hand, always seemed like the perfect home for 3D printers: such businesses could buy better hardware and therefore print higher-quality products than consumers could afford, and offer a chance to make bespoke objects without investing hundreds of pounds first.

Step right up Ryman. The stationery and printing shop has started to offer 3D printing services in two of its London stores, bringing 3D printing to the high street — well, to The Strand and Great Portland Street, at least. We swung round to the latter to see how it works — and get another 3D printed self-portrait to add to our terrifying collection.







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