What we’ve learned from CES

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), in Las Vegas, is always a wealth of fascinating news and developments, from triple screen laptops to ‘smart’ high heels! We’ve seen TVs thinner than ever before, with LG’s new model being barely thicker than paper.

Laptop wise, two models stole the show. Razer unveiled a prototype three screened model and Acer with their $8,999 monster; the Predator 21X. Gaming laptop sales are on the increase, as well as gaming PC’s, and Acer have gone all guns blazing on this one! It is, to be fair, an ugly beast. Weighing in at 17.6lb’s and posting two GTX1080 X graphics cards powering a 21inch screen, as well as a 7th generation i7 processor. It also has support for up to 64GB RAM and four 512GB SSD drives. It is unlikely that anyone will be willing to spend what, in laptop terms, is a fortune, but Acer have done this to prove what is possible.

In Apple-land, there was news about adaptors. May sound boring, but since Apple dumped the peripheral connections from their new MacBook Pro’s, people have been buying them in droves. From CES, OWC announced a slightly different take on the theme. Interesting, but not sure the added bulk will take off.

Overall, CES shows that creative minds are still pumping out the goodies. Whether its silver cellphone blocking smart underwear, or strange misguided brushes with Wi-Fi, the tech world keeps on surprising me with it’s ingenuity.



Autofill Vulnerability

Today brought news of another danger to our online security. Finnish web developer and hacker Viljami Kuosmanen discovered that several web browsers, including Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari and Opera, as well as some plugins and utilities such as LastPass, can be fooled into giving away your personal information through their autofill systems.

Many people around the world use the autofill feature of the browsers mentioned above. While it is a handy convenience, the risk of giving away your data must surely outweigh the time taken to fill in your email, or postal address.

Users of Mozilla’s Firefox browser are safe, as the program doesn’t offer an autofill feature.

We are advising users to disable the autofill feature on the browsers we have outlined, until a fix is released.

Ready for the future?

This is the future. Being able to turn lights, heating and kitchen appliances, on with your voice, or just by your mere presence in a room, is now fairly cheaply available. Gone are the days where the only options were to spend thousands on expensive lighting systems. In this blog we will explain your options.

There are a number of options available to make your home more ‘intelligent’ – in terms of lighting and power. Depending on your budget, you can choose from Belkin’s ‘Wemo’ plug, which allows you to plug a generic light or anything that uses a plug, for that matter, and then control it through your phone. Using a wifi connection to your network, you can connect an almost unlimited number of these little guys, and typically costing £30, they are very reasonably priced. Having been using three of these units for the last few years myself, I can testify that they are excellent value for money, and very reliable.

At the more expensive end of the spectrum, is the Phillips Hue ecosystem. Put simply, ‘Hue’ is various forms of lighting, from light bulbs, to LED strips. The bulbs are available with two specifications, colour and white only. I currently own four of the white only bulbs, two LED strips and a ‘bloom’ light (a bit like an uplighter). The white bulbs are priced at £14.95 (as of 8/1/17), the LED’s are £64.99 and the colour bulbs are £49.99. Personally, I didn’t have a need for the colour bulbs, the white bulb suits my needs perfectly. All the devices connect through a hub, connected directly into your router/network. The system is available as a kit, priced at £59.95 for the white bulb only. This includes the hub, and two bulbs. Usefully, the Hue system is Apple HomeKit enabled, meaning it can be controlled via Siri.

Recently, I have been using the Amazon Echo to control my home. The Echo (£149.99) is a voice activated, personal assistant, akin to Siri. In my opinion, I find that it is more reliable and more intuitive than Siri. I use it to control Spotify, listen to the radio, add things to my shopping list, as well as controlling my lights.

It is worth noting that this blog is only a brief snapshot of what is available. It is, however, what I use in my own home, so I can testify to their quality and ease of use.

First Post & Windows 10 UI

Welcome to the new Bridge Computers blog! We had one a few years ago, and for one reason or another, we closed it. But, we’re back!

We start today’s blog with a note about Windows 10. Microsoft are releasing an update to their new operating system, with a tweak to the UI. Nothing major, but it seems that the ‘Aero’ theme of Windows 7 is making a comeback. Known as ‘Project NEON’, MS is not only bringing the translucent effect back, they’re also introducing new animations as well, akin to what we saw in Windows8: https://mspoweruser.com/project-neon-windows-10-first-look/