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The Google Pixel: It’s All About The Camera

Google’s attempt at its first mobile phone, the Pixel, is starting to hit store shelves.

It is the company’s first phone with its own design, hardware and software. It represents nearly a clean break from partners who assisted with the production of the Nexus brand of products.

The phone represents a change in appearance and performance from previous Android versions. This includes an attractive appearance with a fast and smooth one-piece aluminum design. It has a wedge shape to keep the camera flush.

The phone is not called the Pixel for nothing and Google is emphasizing the speed and clarity of the camera. Google claims it is the highest rated smartphone camera ever.

The camera is well-sized at 12.3 megapixels. Reports indicate it is fast with nice vibrant colors. Focus is maintained at nearly every angle.

The camera provides close-up shots that are refined and sharp. Shooting in Landscape mode still provides great detail and depth.

It has a front facing camera that also does a good job of capturing the image.

4K Video can be shot and Pixel uses its own version of optical image stabilization. The feature is useful but said to not quite be up to par with versions on other phones.

Google does promise unlimited storage of photos and videos.

One advantage the phone has is that it is deeply integrated with Google’s search services. Google Assistant is part of the package. This uses machine learning and can access the company’s large search database.

Google Assistant can answer about any question you can pose. Among the many tasks it can handle are scheduling reminders, looking up facts, finding places to eat, setting alarms, giving directions, and translating phrases. It is supposed to become more personalized as you use it.

The Assistant is said to be more conversational than Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa or Microsoft’s Cortana. You can use your voice to speak to it in a conversational manner. It also has a chat-like interface.

The guts of the phone include the Android 7.1 Nougat. This is the first to have the Google messaging service called Allo. You can also make video calls with the Duo app.

Other features include sending GIFs inside the Google Keyboard and, similar to other phones, a night light can be used to reduce eye strain. A finger print reader is on the back for added security. For instance, you can use the reader for Android Pay.

The phone comes in two sizes, Pixel, 5.5 inches, and Pixel XL, 6.0 inches. Phones are similar with the larger version coming with a bumped-up battery and bigger, sharper display.

Speaking of batteries Google claims a fast re-charge is possible in only 15 minutes. This will provide seven hours of usage.

Colors include “Quite Black”, “Very Silver” or “Really Blue”.

The $650 price is in-line with many phones that have some similar features, though some may find it a bit high for this type of Android device.

The Pixel is aptly named and the camera is probably the phone’s best feature. Though overall the device may not rival the latest offerings from Apple or even the controversial Samsung Galaxy series, it is a step forward for Google and could generate a following among those who want the latest and greatest in an Android based operating system.

How To Safeguard Your Privacy

Back in the “good ol’ daze” privacy was a very personal thing for most people. Now, in the digital age, privacy has taken on a new meaning: keeping your online property secure is just as important as your physical possessions. And the thieves (hackers) don’t discriminate; in fact, older less tech-savvy people can be easy-picking for those who want to gain access to private information.

A good password has become the first line of defence against digital theft. We can play a big part in protecting our privacy by using a password that is not going to be easy to pick. Good, unique passwords are the key to protecting yourself against being on the receiving end of being hacked.

If you’re playing ostrich when it comes to heeding advice to create more unique and secure codes, you’re not Robinson Whatshisname. The most common passwords, compiled from more than 3.3 million leaked passwords in 2014 from North America and Western Europe, show users are not taking the threat seriously. Some people still use passwords such as; ’123456′, single words such as ‘password’, ‘football’, ‘dragon’, or even their kid’s name, and wonder why they’re being hacked or have their identities stolen.

The bad guys know what passwords to try. You wouldn’t leave your front door unlocked, so why make it easy for people to get into your email, bank, or Wi-Fi

The best passwords, we’re told, use a combination of letters, numbers and capitalisation, and are often best based on phrases or sentences well known to the user. The phrase or sentence, of course, must mean something to you so you can easily remember it. Or, you could use an acronym of your favourite saying, interspersed with numbers and symbols, so it looks like gibberish. Say, for example, an old favourite of yours is ‘roses are red and violets are blue’ and you like number 7. You could set your password as ’7RaR&VaB7′. This is difficult to guess, yet easy to remember.

Listen up fellow-oldies! While you’re at safeguarding your privacy, try using different passwords for each account you have. If that task seems too daunting there are service providers who can help (for a price, of course).

If safeguarding your privacy is an issue for you, just go to http://www.justasktom.com and search ‘privacy’. If you’d like a free copy of anything you find, just let Neil know (neil@neil.com.au) and a digital copy will be with you, pronto.

Customising Mobile Solutions Should Be An Important Part Of The Disaster Recovery Plan

Employees are moving from using laptops to using mobile devices to offer workable solutions from everywhere, but many companies are not up to the challenge. This year, most IT techs have admitted their companies had no policy for using mobile devices. Company heads noted mobility was one of the key initiatives this year. As professionals move away from traditional PC endpoints, how can companies protect sensitive data and develop a strategy to recover from data loss?

Why are companies not dedicated to protect sensitive data in many cases? Many companies are using outdated solutions for information recovery for hard disk recovery that address recovery more than mobile solutions. In one survey, only 58 percent of business professionals admitted their companies had an enterprise-wide strategy for mobile solutions. Another 22 percent said mobile initiatives were important, but they had no strategy next year.

Why is it so difficult for companies to protect endpoints before data are lost

Many companies have updated their advanced data disaster recovery plans, offered hard disk recovery, and have mobile solutions on paper. They have not decided how to transfer these solutions so they are practical daily solutions, which will protect against data loss and still offer data recovery. Many companies struggle to offer flexible and secure solutions for mobile devices and laptops make endpoints safe, and reduce costs spent on hard drive recovery or hard disk recovery solutions. One of the reasons is they are not equipped to handle how customised IT solutions have become.

Fifty percent of businesses say it is difficult to achieve data loss protection as a result. Why is it hard for businesses to protect against data loss and lessen the costs of HDD recovery or data recovery? It may be for the same reasons companies struggle with mobile Information recovery from Smart phones and laptops. There are no data recovery plans that are one-size fits all solutions. Companies must develop specific data recovery solutions for each type of device to offer full endpoint protection against data loss.

Achieving endpoints for PC tops list of goals that are still difficult for companies

By developing these advanced data recovery plans, company officials will also reduce the costs spent on HDD recovery, data recovery, and downtime caused by lost productivity. These changes must be made quickly if companies want to stay competitive with their products and not lose customers over data loss concerns.

A variety of reasons exists as to why your computer’s hard drive may cease to work. The outside chance of a bump against it as someone in the office walks by, spilling something on it or simply the result of general wear and tear.