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Feb 4
Satya Nadella is Microsoft CEO

Microsoft CEOMicrosoft settled on a veteran insider as its replacement for long-time CEO Steve Ballmer on Tuesday, ending a five-month search with a choice some analysts called a “safe pick” for the software behemoth.

India-born Satya Nadella, 46, head of the company’s cloud computing division and enterprise business, was appointed after a team of headhunters concluded a five-month search that included some of the most world’s most famous executives.

Nadella is only the third person to lead Microsoft; since the company was founded 39 years ago, only co-founder Bill Gates and Ballmer have headed it. But in recent years the company has looked flat-footed as rivals Apple, Google and Facebook have dominated and innovated in hardware, online services and social media.

In a nod to Nadella’s low profile outside the company, Microsoft introduced him with a sleek web page that was heavy on biographical details including the revelation that he relaxes by reading poetry.

Source: The Guardian Newspaper

Jan 27
Control your PC with a Remote Control App

Control your PC with a Remote Control App If you need to access your files on your computer at home while you are out then a remote control application may be of considerable use to you.

There are literally hundreds of applications available but the best for personal use are probably the ones listed below:

1. Team Viewer – http://www.teamviewer.com and,
2. LogMeIn – https://secure.logmein.com.

All you need to do is download the appropriate application and install it on your home PC, the one you want it to control.

Once you have signed up for an account with Team Viewer or LogMeIn and you will be able to get full control of your home based PC from any laptop, PC or MAC – anywhere in the world.

These two companies also offer apps for the iOS and Android operating systems so you can control your home PC using a tablet or a smartphone as well. So if you need remote access why not give one of these apps a try.

Aug 27
Mobile banking security reviewed

Mobile bankingBritain’s booming mobile banking sector is to be reviewed by regulators to check that banks have the right IT systems in place and that enough is being done to protect customers from potential fraudsters.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also wants banks to spell out their policies if a customer makes a mistake, such as paying the wrong recipient or typing in the wrong amount in a transfer via his or her smartphone app.

The so called “thematic review” comes amid growing fears that the market is developing at such a speed it will become increasingly difficult for Britain’s biggest high street banks to keep up.

Research earlier this year showed that one in five adults across the UK have made a payment over their mobile phone or iPad. And a quarter of us use our smartphones to check our bank balances.

Just last week the Payments Council said it believed mobile phones would be used for 1.5 billion transactions a year by 2020, up from the current 356 million. Mobile phones are already used almost as much as the chequebook to settle debts.

Clive Adamson, the FCA’s supervision director, said: “The technology that is now contained in a smartphone is greater than most computers had only a few years ago and mobile banking has the potential to rapidly increase in popularity”.

“We approach this review with clear outcomes in mind. We want to support innovation that provides consumers with products that meet their needs and expectations while also ensuring their interests are protected.”

Source: Telegraph

Jan 31
Take a Look around Flat 6 and BT Infinity

Joe and Anna from our new TV ad have moved into Flat 6 – join them on a tour of their new home and find out what Simon really gets up to in his bedroom with his virtual friends.

Aug 3
Government drops website blocking

Internet RouterPlans to block websites that host copyright infringing material are to be dumped by the UK Government.

Business secretary Vince Cable announced the change following a review of the policy by telecoms regulator Ofcom.

Website blocking was one of the key provision contained in the Digital Economy Act.

Internet Service Providers had objected to the idea that copyright owners could compel them to cut-off some sites.

In the past week, the Motion Picture Association – a group representing film studios – successfully applied for a court injunctions requiring BT to block access to an infringing website called Newzbin2.

The action was taken without using the Digital Economy Act, prompting some observers to question the need for the legislation.

Speaking to the BBC, Vince Cable appeared to suggest that the Newzbin2 case had opened-up other legal avenues. “We’ve discovered that the drafting of the original laws, which took place a year or so ago, were not tight. “There are test cases being fought in the courts, so we’re looking at other ways of achieving the same objective, the blocking objective to protect intellectual property in those cases, but in a way that’s legally sound.

Source: BBC Tech News

Jul 21
Gove earmarks £2bn fund for school buildings and IT

Michael GoveA £2bn privately funded programme to build schools and provide them with IT and other equipment has been announced by education secretary Michael Gove.

He said between 100 and 300 schools will be covered by the programme, with the first opening in September 2014. “This programme will be open to local authorities and schools that had been due funding via Building Schools for the Future but, critically, it will also be open to those, who despite real problems, had never been promised BSF funding,” said Gove. Meanwhile, he promised a full survey of the schools estate, in line with the recommendations of the government-commissioned review by Sebastian James of Dixons Store Group, published in April.

James said that standards of IT provision in schools vary widely and that many have not progressed beyond an ad hoc approach to funding and maintaining their technology. His recommendations included a separation of decisions about IT from those about buildings.

Source: ZDNet

Jun 2
Mesh Computers – Back to Life!

mesh summer saleMesh Computers Limited (the company) may have died in administration, but Mesh Computers (the name) still lives on.

As my last post said Mesh went into administration and ceased trading on Tuesday – with customers waiting for computers to be delivered likely to lose out.  Yet the web shop front remains open and is still accepting orders, leaving consumers in the rather strange position of being able to buy computers from a website where shoppers who bought computers on Tuesday 31 May might lose their money.

As the company was sold on Tuesday – anything purchased on or before then will have to be referred to your credit card company who may be able to get you a refund.

PC Peripherals, which picked up Mesh Computers on the same day it went into administration, is now running the website, according to the administrator MacIntyre Hudson.

“PC Peripherals is now trading under the Mesh name,” said a spokesperson for MacIntyre Hudson.

PC Peripherals director and owner Reza Jafari said that his company would honour all active warranties sold by Mesh Computers Limited and the site would continue with a “business as usual” approach. “We have the website and the database and will carry on as Mesh Computers – not Mesh Computers Limited as that has closed down,” Jafari said. “Anybody who bought previously by credit card will have to seek a refund, but for new customers it’s business as usual.”

Source: PC Pro

Jun 1
Mesh Computers go into administration

mesh laptopUK-based independent computer manufacturer Mesh Computers has gone into administration following a review of its failing financial position.

The decision was made by the board of directors on Tuesday, according to a statement from the appointed administrators MacIntyre Hudson.

Some Mesh Computer assets will be purchased by the computer component distributor PC Peripherals, MacIntyre Hudson added.

PC Peripherals will provide hardware support for customers still within their original warranty period.

Customers that have outstanding orders paid for by credit card are advised to try and obtain a refund from their credit card provider. Customers who used other payment methods or that cannot obtain a refund from their credit card provider have been advised to contact MacIntyre Hudson directly. It may take up to seven days to receive a response to any enquiry, the accounting firm added.

At QBS PC Help we have two networked Mesh PC’s and they have never given us any trouble. If they do, then we will repair them – after all we are PC Repair Technicians!

Source: ZDNet

Nov 5
Fewer people now employed in UK games development

Tiga, the trade association representing the UK video games industry, has published information showing that between July 2008 and September 2010, there was a 9 per cent drop in the number of people employed in the UK games development sector. At the same time, the industry’s software sales grew by 16 per cent between 2008 and 2010.

Tiga CEO Dr Richard Wilson called on David Cameron to introduce the proposed R&D tax credits which were scrapped in the Chancellor’s emergency budget in June of this year, and deemed “poorly targeted”.

“At a time when the global video game industry is growing, the UK development workforce is declining,” said Wilson. “A key reason for this decline is that video game developers in the UK are at a competitive disadvantage. Many of our key competitors provide tax breaks for video games production. No such tax breaks for games production exist in the UK. Investment and jobs are drifting away to other countries.

“David Cameron, the Prime Minister will today set out a vision of London’s East End becoming a hi-tech rival to Silicon Valley in the USA. This is potentially interesting, but the PM is missing a trick, ” he added. “The UK video games industry is a high technology, high skilled, export oriented and environmentally friendly sector that can be world beating with the right Government support.”

“Tiga’s proposed Games Tax Relief would create a more level playing field and boost investment, job creation, innovation and power growth in the video games sector. Tiga urges the Coalition Government to look again at Games Tax Relief and improve R&D tax credits to help high technology firms including development businesses.”

Wilson’s comments are in line with the opinions of industry analysts who have long warned that a lack of government support for UK video games would resulted in an industry-wide ‘brain drain’, with many of Britain’s most talented developers leaving for countries which offer tax breaks. The industry currently contributes around £1bn a year to the UK economy.

Source: Telegraph Tech News

Oct 1
A change to ‘BIOS’ will help PC’s boot in seconds!

Asus P5Q PRO TurboNew PC’s could start in just seconds, thanks to an update to one of the oldest parts of desktop computers.

The upgrade will spell the end for the 25-year-old PC start-up software known as BIOS that initialises a machine so its operating system can get going.

The code was not intended to live nearly this long, and adapting it to modern PCs is one reason they take as long as they do to warm up.

BIOS’ replacement, known as UEFI, will predominate in new PC’s by 2011. The acronym stands for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface and is designed to be more flexible than its venerable predecessor.

The first to see the benefits of swapping old-fashioned BIOS for UEFI have been system administrators who have to oversee potentially thousands of computers in data centres or in offices around the world.

“Conventional BIOS is up there with some of the physical pieces of the chip set that have been kicking around the PC market since 1979,” said Mark Doran, head of the UEFI Forum, which is overseeing development of the UEFI technology.

Before now, said Mr Doran, getting those machines working has been “pretty painful” because of the limited capabilities of BIOS. By contrast, he said, UEFI has much better support for basic net protocols which should mean that remote management is easier from the “bare metal” upwards.

For consumers the biggest obvious benefit of a machine running UEFI will be the speed with which it starts up. “At the moment it can be 25-30 seconds of boot time before you see the first bit of OS sign-on,” he said. “With UEFI we’re getting it under a handful of seconds.” “In terms of boot speed we’re not at instant-on yet but it is already a lot better than conventional BIOS can manage,” he said “and we’re getting closer to that every day.”

Some PC and laptop makers are already using UEFI as are many firms that make embedded computers. By 2011 sales of UEFI machines could easily start to dominate.

Source: BBC

Sep 6
The new BBC iPlayer launches today

bbc-iplayer-newA new and improved version of the BBC’s catch-up television service, iPlayer, will go live later today (6th September).

The revamped iPlayer features a new design that makes it easier to find television programmes, personalisation tools, so that users can tailor-make their viewing experience, and social networking integration, to enable people to share their favourite shows on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The new-look iPlayer is the first major upgrade to the catch-up TV service since it launched in December 2007.

More than 1.1 billion minutes of video are watched on iPlayer every month.

iPlayer is available on a variety of platforms, including through television sets, on-demand TV services, online, through games consoles and on mobile devices.

Source: Telegraph Tech News

Jun 30
Two million more Britons now go online

saga websiteNearly two million more Britons have come online during the last year, over half of which are over 50, according to new research.

The UK Online Measurement Company (UKOM) found that the net audience now stands at 38.8 million, up from 36.9 million at the same time last year.

The majority of internet newbies were made up of over-50s, with more men than women joining up.

“The internet is getting older in more ways than one. Not only is the medium itself maturing but the audience is shifting towards older age groups,” said Alex Burmaster, speaking on behalf of UKOM. “There is a still a perception that the net is youth-centric but this is clearly not the reality,” he added.

A lot of Internet services are increasingly targeting the older generation which may have contributed to this increase in web usage.

Source: BBC Technology

May 25
Mistakes in silicon chips could help boost computer power

silicon chipSilicon chips that are allowed to make mistakes could help ensure computers continue to get more powerful, say researchers.

As components shrink, chip makers struggle to get more performance out of them while meeting power needs.

Research suggests relaxing the rules governing how they work and when they work correctly could mean they use less power but get a performance boost. Special software is also needed to cope with the error-laden chips.

The silicon industry is defined by Moore’s Law, which predicts that the number of transistors that can fit on a given area of silicon, for a given price will double every 18-24 months. This is usually accomplished by shrinking transistors and typically means that processing steadily gets more powerful.

Transistors are tiny switches that are used as the fundamental building blocks of silicon chips.

However, many experts point out that the relentless march of Moore’s Law could stumble when components get so small they become unreliable.

The unreliability – or “statistical variability” – of chips is a problem that many researchers were trying to deal with, said Professor Asen Asenov from the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering at the University of Glasgow.

Source: BBC Tech News

May 6
Firms battle over Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

callofdutymodernwarefare2-activisionTwo months after Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 launched to a huge media fanfare, its publisher Activision announced that it had taken more than $1bn in sales.

The sales put the video game in an elite club alongside other entertainment franchises such as James Cameron’s Avatar and Michael Jackson’s Thriller. In fact it beat both to become the most successful entertainment launch of all time, in terms of its first 24 hours on sale.

Its success should have allowed its creators, Infinity Ward (owned by Activision) to reap the rewards and become the leading lights of the world’s video games industry. Until recently Infinity Ward was lead by Jason West and Vince Zampella. Then in March they were suddenly dismissed by Activision for unspecified “breaches of contract and insubordination”. Almost immediately after being sacked the pair launched a $36 million lawsuit against their former employer.

There had been rumours of a rift between Infinity Ward and Activision but the sacking still astonished the games industry.

Apr 15
PC shipments bounce back in first quarter

acer aspire 5738ZThe PC industry bounced back during the end of 2009, and was able to continue its momentum through the first quarter of 2010.

PC shipments rose 24 percent from the same quarter a year ago to 79.1 million units worldwide, according to IDC’s Quarterly PC Tracker report, issued on Wednesday. It’s the second straight quarter of double-digit growth, and indicates the industry is on its way to recovery after a disastrous late 2008 and most of 2009.

Aug 4
Microsoft working on "post-Windows" OS?

microsoft_entranceMicrosoft is working on a web-based operating system called Midori, as it looks to life beyond the Windows Operating system.

Midori is a distributed operating system that appears, in part, to contain elements of Microsoft’s failed ‘Cairo’ and WinFS projects.

In fact, Midori is expected to be a cloud-computing service, and so not as dependent on hardware as current generations of Windows.

The operating system is also expected to run with a virtualisation layer between the hardware and the OS, and is expected to be a commercial offshoot of the Singularity research project which Microsoft has been working on since 2003.

Previously the company had denied that the project was intended for commercial release.

Apr 3
Online games market still growing

xbox360users.thumbnailDemand for subscription massive multiplayer online games (MMOG) will top $2bn (£1.3bn) by 2013, according to a new report.

The study, by analysts Screen Digest, said the market had been driven by attempts to emulate World of Warcraft.

The findings suggest that the MMOG’s market in Europe and North America grew by 22% and was worth $1.4bn (£0.9bn). There are at least 220 active MMOGs, although many of these are exclusive to South East Asia.

Speaking to the BBC, Piers Harding-Rolls – senior analyst with Screen Digest – said that despite the recession, subscription MMOG’s were still showing significant growth.

Source: BBC Technology

Mar 11
Skills shortage hits games firms

lara.thumbnailThe games industry says British universities are failing to equip graduates with the skills it needs.

The warning comes from the industry campaign group “Games Up?”, which says games developers in Britain are facing a serious skills shortage.

The lobby group says there are now 81 video games degree courses at British universities. But only four are accredited by Skillset, the government body which monitors such courses.

David Braben, chairman of Frontier Developments and a spokesman for “Games Up?”, said: “95% of video gaming degrees are simply not fit for purpose. Without some sort of common standard, like Skillset accreditation, these degrees are a waste of time for all concerned.”

The warning came as executives from across Europe’s games industry gathered for the GameHorizon conference in Gateshead. The North East of England is one of the centres of a games industry whose activities are spread widely across the UK.

Mar 11
Millions of Britain’s PC’s dumped at tips!

Dimen_3000_fs_131x145Millions of serviceable computers in the UK end up in landfill sites rather than being recycled, a study has claimed.

The research, sponsored by Fujitsu Siemens Computers (FSC), found that 12.5 million unwanted PC’s and laptops have not been reused or recycled by their owners.

The survey found that one in four machines are taken to tips and more than one million computers have been dumped in household rubbish or the countryside.

This is clearly a growing problem and our PC Help articles can help you deal with the disposal, or reuse, of your old computers in a much ‘greener’ way.

Disposing of old PC Equipment – www.qbs-pchelp.co.uk/pcdisposal.html

How to reuse an old PC – www.qbs-pchelp.co.uk/reuseanoldpc.html

Source: ZDNet

   

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