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April 23, 2014

Windows XP-The Discontinuation



By now you all must have heard and are aware of Microsoft’s news to discontinue windows XP and for those who haven’t heard, this is your chance to now find out. Microsoft for the past 12 years has provided support for windows XP but as from April 8th 2014 this will no longer be the case, the time has come for them to invest their time and resources towards supporting more new and recent technologies, so that they can continue to grow with the world as well as deliver new experience’s for all.

Windows XP was first introduced back in October 2001, the original back of windows and over the years the decrease of XP had become more and more apparent, and even more so in 2012 with the introduction of windows 7 in August as this seemed to have drastically taken over the market.


How did it last this long

Months of advanced warning to both businesses and individuals for the end of XP have been in place for a while now, starting from the first  introduction of the ‘support life cycle’ in 2002 which was able to limit the amount of support available for its products, this was then followed by the MLS policy in 2004.
It is said that the discontinuation of windows XP may have come in to place much earlier than announced; way before windows 7 came in to place. It seems that the many delays in the different windows versions that followed after XP, contributed largely to the extended life of the operating system.

Another reason for the long life span is down to businesses and their un-eagerness to change and update their systems, according to businesses it seems that it takes a lot of hard work and time to actually get all application running on new windows.

“These upgrades and updates projects can take 12-18 months to roll out”,

Hence the reasons why many of them choose not to keep up with time an upgrade like everyone else.


Why the discontinuation and how it affects us

We can finally say that the day that Microsoft has been waiting for is nearly here, I suppose the main and important question that many people  as well as myself would like to know, is why the end and why now?

According to Microsoft the reasons for this includes the following;


–>Bid to get users shifting over to a more modern version of windows, so that everyone also using the current windows at the same time.
–>They fear that once the security updates stop, anyone still using XP will be a tempting target for all types of hi-tech thieves.
–>Anyone sticking with XP could be at risk, as it will be easier to crack than the current new window systems. Windows 7 and 8 now employ several different techniques that hide the internal workings of the operating system from attackers.
->-Current office 2013 does not work on XP; this was just the first step in the process.



As well as understanding why XP will no longer be in place, it is just as important to also understand the effects XP will have on those that are still using the systems as it stands.



Supermarkets currently still heavily rely and use a version of windows XP to run their POS systems. However recently it was made to light that although mainstream support for windows XP ends in April 2014, Microsoft will provide an individual extended support contract till April 2019. e.g. Sainsbury’s system in fact runs windows Embedded Point of service  Ready 2009 system that was not main available to the general public.


Customers such as home users will no longer be able to receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

Since Microsoft will no longer be supporting security updates those merchants that utilize point of sale or other types of payment cards and are also using windows XP will end up falling out of compliance with the payment card security standards council (PCO SSC).Which sets out guidelines that govern electronic transactions followed by merchants and major credit card companies.



Although Microsoft are very eager to discontinue in the UK there are some countries in which they have no control over, such as mainland china were windows XP is still  hugely popular. However Microsoft seems to have much less control other those machines there seeing as most of them are actually running on a pirated version, therefore those with the pirated version are then unlikely to then pay for a new operating system that they originally got for free, as a result an retaliation for not wanting to upgrade Microsoft have in fact refused to make any form of special treatment for the country in terms of security protection.


So it seems that no matter what there will always be a small trace and existence of Microsoft XP somewhere, either because of individuals and companies who are not bothered to keep to date or because of countries being stuck in their own ways


Too sum up in to two short options:

1) Option one states that either you as an individual or organization upgrade your pc to the most recent windows 7 and above and make sure that your pc meets the requirements for that operating system.

2)  Option 2 you invest in a new laptop or computer that has the new and current operating system



Computer nerds are here to help you with your windows transition from XP to windows 7, specialising in IT support and providing you with IT services, so why not contact us today here.

rip xp

April 23, 2014

​Twitch streams more live video than the WWE, MLB and ESPN combined

Video games now have more online spectators than traditional sports. Crazy, right? It's crazy. According to Qwilt, a company that provides video caching services to content creators, Twitch is now the most popular live streaming site in the US. The outfit's analytics group says the streaming site is more popular than UStream, the WWE, ESPN and MLB.com combined, owning a massive 43-percent share of all live streaming traffic. It's slightly shocking from a cultural standpoint, but we can't say we're entirely surprised: with the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and even mobile platforms offering average gamers the chance to put on a show, Twitch is hosting more than a million streams per month. There's simply more content: Twitch streams gameplay 24 hours a day. ESPN has to wait for a sporting even to actually happen.

Twitch's standing in Qwilt's general video entertainment poll is a little less impressive, taking only 1.5% of the video streaming market when pitted against Netflix and Google's on-demand services. Even that has a silver lining, however, as Twitch still ranks in the top 5 video entertainment services for six countries: Brazil, Peru, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the US. Turns out gamers like to watch other gamers game. Who would've thought? Hit up the source link below to see Qwilt's live video streaming infographic, accompanied by a thinly veiled pitch for its video caching service.

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Source: Qwilt (1), (2)

April 23, 2014

‘Cosmos’ brings Neil deGrasse Tyson’s moustache to Blu-ray and DVD in June

If you've missed a few episodes of the Cosmos revival or maybe just want to fill the universe-sized hole in your media rack, the series hits Blu-ray and DVD this summer. Come June 10th (two days after the final episode airs), you'll be able to watch the doc's 13 installments plus a smattering of bonus features whenever you want. And speaking of supplements, the release will sport a five-part documentary chronicling the... documentary's making, with the Blu-ray getting an interactive history of the universe dubbed "The Cosmic Calendar." The price-tag on that 662-minute space-time odyssey? Sixty bucks for the Blu-ray and $50 for the DVD, but Amazon has each listed for a few ducats less.

[Image credit: Associated Press]

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Source: Amazon (1), (2)

April 23, 2014

Your connected home could one day save your life

Consider this scenario: Randall is an elderly man living alone. He's doing pretty well -- until one day he has a mild stroke. In the weeks that follow, he's not as active as usual, getting up later and not leaving the house. Motion detectors, a mattress sensor and a smart door lock in his home detect the change in his activity patterns. Randall's daughter gets a message prompted by her father's activity data in the cloud, checks in on him and takes him to the doctor. Once he's received treatment, Randall returns home, with marching orders to equip his home with additional sensors and cameras that can track his health and upload information to the cloud for his doctor to monitor.

It sounds pretty simple, right? The scenario above, proposed as part of the White House-backed SmartAmerica Challenge to jump-start innovation around connected devices, is already perfectly feasible. And for anyone with elderly friends or family, it provides a glimmer of hope for a future with fewer depressing nursing homes and live-in nurses. According to Mark Walters, President of the Z-Wave Alliance and part of the team behind this "Closed Loop Healthcare" project, it's these types of use cases that bring the ever-nebulous term "Internet of Things" down to earth. When the gadgets in your home can help you get the care you need, everyone wins, right?

When your home can help you get the care you need, everyone wins, right?

Z-Wave, to back up a bit, is a communications protocol that powers smart devices from Philips Hue smart bulbs to home-security appliances. It's not the only protocol smart gadgets use to interact -- there's ZigBee and Bluetooth, not to mention WiFi -- but considering that the tech is currently in more than 25 million devices, Z-Wave is an important voice in the conversation about the future Internet of Things. Oh, and by the way, the cool kids aren't calling it "IoT" these days -- CPS (Cyber Physical Systems) is where it's at for those in the know. Whatever you call it, though, the bottom line is that multiple devices are communicating to control an environment.

But back to the whole life-saving thing: The Randall example is just one of many ways connected technology could improve your life on a larger scale, if not save it. iControl, which makes the Piper camera-based home automation and security system that also happens to use the Z-Wave protocol, is working on more sophisticated monitoring solutions as well. Piper co-creater Russell Ure says such systems can be used to detect more subtle signs of decline in older people, for example.

"Having a system in the home that only your family can access will let you see signs that your parents are becoming old and listless, and track warning signs of something serious in the works," Ure said.

And there's no reason to think these use cases are limited to your elderly parents on the other side of the country -- they could theoretically work in outpatient depression treatment, among countless other scenarios.

Still, the question remains: When will all this become a reality, especially when most people don't have a single smart gadget in their homes?

Still, the question remains: When will all this become a reality, especially when most people don't have a single smart gadget in their homes? A report from Juniper Research predicts that smart home appliances will pass the 10-million mark in 2017, but that number represents growth in smart fridges and washing machines, not sophisticated health-monitoring systems. The SmartAmerica Challenge, backed by the federal technology agency NIST, aims to spur funding for these broader-scale projects by demonstrating both their benefits and their feasibility. Teams behind 20 different concepts will present their work at a summit this June, and Congress could begin drumming up cash soon after.

According to Ure, the ability to monitor and manage events like an older person falling is more than a few months away. "Over the next year or two," he says, ""there will be more technology that ties in the visual and sensor components." That smart lock is starting to look pretty quaint, isn't it?

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April 23, 2014

Microsoft offers a peek at Remote Desktop to Windows Phone 8.1 users

Remote Desktop for Windows Phone

Microsoft promised that it would put out a Remote Desktop app for Windows Phone, and it's making good on its word -- provided you're an early adopter, anyway. The company has released a Remote Desktop Preview that requires Windows Phone 8.1 (which itself is considered a preview) just to run. If all the stars align, though, you'll get fairly advanced remote PC access that lets you perform Windows 8's multi-touch gestures and stream "high quality" media. The folks in Redmond haven't said when the finished app will arrive, but we wouldn't be surprised if it launches after Windows Phone 8.1 rolls out in earnest.

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Via: ZDNet

Source: Windows Phone Store, Remote Desktop Services Blog

April 23, 2014

Verizon and Google have spent over $6 million on lobbying in 2014

A politician counting money in front of the US Capitol Building

Two of the biggest names in American communications, Verizon and Google, are also two of the highest spenders in the world of political lobbying. In the last two years alone, the two spent a combined $63 million attempting to sway legislation in their favor, and 2014 is gearing up to be another landmark year in Silicon Valley's profits flowing into Washington: the two are already $6 million deep in 2014, with Comcast and AT&T nipping at their heels. Google leads contributions, with over $3.8 million already spent in 2014.

Not that anyone's surprised; Google's been involved with politics for some time now, even openly joining the lobbying group The Internet Association in 2012.

Some of the company's subtler tactics were recently uncovered by The Washington Post, such as hosting a conference at George Mason University and stacking the invite list with Federal Trade Commission regulators and other folks instrumental in deciding the fate of Google's 2011 FTC investigation (which ended in a settlement).

Verizon's also no slouch in the world of politics, having previously thrown its weight into the ongoing battle between the companies using wireless spectrum and the government agency which regulates said spectrum (the Federal Communications Commission). Both Verizon and Google are on track to match and exceed previous contributions -- the only question is which company will contribute more.

[Image credit: Getty Images, Brand X]

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Source: Consumer Watchdog

April 23, 2014

High school seniors conquer watery ketchup with 3D-printed bottle cap

3D printers have produced some pretty amazing (and scary) stuff, and now a pair of high school seniors have successfully used the tech to ensure they'll never have to eat a soggy hotdog again. Tired of the watery, separated ketchup you get from a bottle that's been sitting unused for a while, the two seniors went about solving the issue with the help of their school's 3D printer. What they ended up with was a replacement cap for bottles that forces the sauce out through an internal, raised tube. As ketchup leaves the bottle at a higher point, the standing water at the cap end stays inside. The simple but elegant fix may seem like a trivial use of 3D printing, but it's the perfect example of rapid prototyping, and the make-it-yourself attitude the technology is all about. There's even talk of the young dudes turning the project into something of a business venture, but if that doesn't work out, there'll almost certainly be scholarship spots for them at the MIT's ketchup vessel innovation department.

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Via: Sky News

Source: KCPT

April 23, 2014

Scribd brings Lonely Planet guides to its book subscription service

Scribd's e-book subscription service is only six months old, and already it's working hard to hook some big names to convince you that it's worth $9 a month. The company has now snagged a deal with publisher Lonely Planet that'll see hundreds of the latter's travel guides appear on the former's platform. At the same time, the company has added in bookmarking across all devices, so you'll always be able to find that list of restaurants when you're roaming without WiFi. Great, now we've got the theme to the Lonely Planet TV series stuck in our head.


Source: Scribd Lonely Planet, Scribd press room

April 23, 2014

Recon’s deal with the ‘other’ Motorola could see a rugged Glass rival

Head-mounted computing specialists Recon Instruments is building quite a team to take on Google Glass. Last year, Intel offered both cash and its manufacturing and technology expertise, and now the "other" Motorola has followed suit. Motorola Solutions has opened its checkbook and pledged to share its product development and distribution know-how with the Canadian outfit. Why has a company with a pedigree in walkie-talkies and barcode scanners teamed up with Recon? Not only does it have plenty of experience making rugged gadgets that'll likely improve the Jet and Snow2's hardiness, but it also already makes wearable computers on the side. The Motorola HC1, you see, is an enterprise device that's designed to work in extreme environments where it'd be too dangerous to use a phone. Perhaps the two of them will develop a new wearable platform that's as comfortable on the slopes as it is on the oil rig.

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April 23, 2014

US government approves Facebook’s purchase of Oculus

We're not sure there was ever much doubt, but the US government has given the thumbs up to Facebook's $2 billion purchase of Oculus VR. The Federal Trade Commission examined the deal and found that it would not violate American antitrust laws. Now with most of the regulatory hurdles cleared, the focus can shift to the practical implications of the deal. Joining the Facebook family clearly puts a vast amount of resources at the disposal of Oculus founders like Palmer Luckey. But many in the development community are worried that the move represents something of a loss of innocence. Notch, the man behind Minecraft, in particular is apparently creeped out by Facebook and what it's business model and culture could mean for the future of the Rift. We can't pretend to know what's coming -- we're not even sure that Mark Zuckerberg or Oculus are sure what the future holds yet. All we can say is that we really hope a VR version of Facebook isn't in the cards.

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Source: Reuters, FTC

April 23, 2014

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4 lineup reaches the US on May 1st

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1

Americans no longer have to splurge on the high-end Galaxy Tab Pro or Note Pro if they want a modern Samsung tablet -- the more affordable Galaxy Tab 4 range is headed to the US. WiFi versions of the Tab 4 7.0, 8.0 and 10.1 should hit shelves on May 1st at respective prices of $200, $270 and $350. Travelers craving cellular data can expect LTE variants from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon sometime this summer. Pricing hasn't surfaced for these 4G models, but it's safe to presume that they'll carry a premium over their WiFi-only counterparts.

The devices don't carry the biggest bang for the buck. The Nexus 7 offers a sharper display and overall faster performance, for example. However, the two largest Tab 4 WiFi models cost significantly less than their Tab 3 equivalents did when new -- they're potentially good bargains if you're not concerned about raw performance.

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