Archive | October, 2016

Cloud computing – What is it and how it works

Cloud computing – What is it and how it works

Posted on 27 October 2016 by Chris Ford

Thanks to Cloud computing and the way in which it revolutionized public communication, interaction and exchange of information on a global scale, we no longer need to rely exclusively on our computers’ hard drives (or external storage drives) to save and store information. The ‘Cloud,’ as it is commonly referred to, allows us to upload any file (of any format) onto a server connected to the internet through the many Cloud computing services available on the world wide web. All your digital media can now be stored exclusively on the internet and accessed simultaneously through any digital media device, from laptops to smartphones, tablets, iPads and more. This also has the enormous advantage of facilitating the sharing of files across all your portable or PC digital devices, without having to copy them from one device to the other—or saturate the CPU memory of your computer to the max, which would require constant memory upgrades and one or more high capacity external hard drives to keep up with the volume of stored data. At the same time, all the information you keep on the cloud can also be accessed by others if you so choose, who can then download the specific information from the same server.

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The high advantages the Cloud carries for companies and the business world in general are evident: Cloud technology increases the level of employee efficiency and company productivity by promoting faster data integration and analysis through a shared collaborative effort; one based on a higher level of communication among company departments, as well as between the employees and the managerial levels. This is all made possible thanks to the fully accessible online Cloud servers that store company and business-related information, and which –along with the implementation of other software solutions like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and Knowledge Management Systems—can help a company to filter through and condense all the pertinent and specific data on subjects deemed vital to their business strategies and activities. Subsequently it reduces the bureaucratic process and reorganizes the structural and organizational make-up of the business, granting the company a higher degree of competitiveness to increase their market presence and visibility and face the challenges of a highly competitive marketplace. The old formula ‘time=money’ is more valid today more than ever before—especially in the midst of a deep recession like the current one, and its most obvious benefit is that the Cloud essentially saves time. The same is true for government agencies, for which it is a valuable asset in reducing bureaucracy and accelerating data integration and analysis across all departments, thus promoting faster decision-making and policy implementation, and in the process saving the taxpayers a lot of money. As far as excellent job and career opportunities go, there happens to be a high and growing demand by companies for Cloud computing experts who possess the necessary skills to implement this technology along with all the required safety measures. According to a recent poll, 42% of US and UK companies are seeking to employ experts in Cloud computing, and 43% of these same companies are having trouble finding them due to lack of professionals with the necessary expertise.

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The various Cloud services available today include Dropbox, which is the most popular one, with a free account that lets users upload up to 2GBs of files, and lets you connect and synchronize with other devices that can access the same information. OpenDrive, Box and Safesync are some other popular services.  Sites like YouTube or any other on-demand video channels also utilize Cloud computing and would not be able to do what they do had there been no Cloud. Soundcloud, Google Drive and Google Music (which lets you store up to 20,000 songs), Apple’s iCloud and Amazon are some other major brands that are on the forefront of the Cloud movement. Amazon’s ‘Amazon Web Services’ (AWS), in particular, is one of the fastest growing Cloud services, with over one million users in 190 countries. Its fast-expanding global influence is due to its multiple services, which include providing web applications, Big Data processing software to handle massive volumes of data, built-in encryption back-up & storage options and many more solutions for businesses or other organizations (quite often governments). The company also offers specialized Amazon AWS training courses to acquire the necessary skills in Cloud technology, but there are also many other services external to Amazon which provide AWS training for anyone interested. Furthermore, the enormous success of Amazon’s AWS is also due to the many employment opportunities these services offer for any IT or business professional—from software engineers, Account Managers , Product Managers, Support Engineers, Solutions Architects to Designers, System Engineers, and many more.

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Lastly, as all users are aware of, there are some risks associated with the use of the Cloud, ranging from cyber-hacks to industrial espionage— which may make one want to reconsider exposing all their personal or company information on an online server—and government restrictions, user fees, as well as higher cost of bandwidth use as the memory capacity grows. Not to mention how online Security and privacy are the most important issues for any user, and especially when one decides to implement Cloud technology. Fortunately, this is the very reason why there is such a growing demand among companies for professional Cloud/IT experts who can implement the technology in collaboration with other specialized IT departments while keeping into consideration all the necessary security and legal measures. It is also the reason why there are so many training courses available offered by professional institutions that can help one acquire the necessary skills to become certified and enter the career world of one of the fastest-growing job fields in the IT/computer industry.

 

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The Bike Lock Industry: An Entirely Novel Approach

Posted on 27 October 2016 by Chris Ford

A Vomit Inducing Bike Lock – The Ultimate Deterrent?

 

How confident are you that your expensive, brand new bicycle lock is going to stop anyone really determined to steal your most prized and indispensable possession?

SkunkLock

It’s a sad fact that protecting your bike from theft is almost impossible these days.

Until a new and innovative security device called the SkunkLock hit the scene that is.

“After witnessing first hand and becoming victims of bike theft ourselves, we realized that people don’t need a bigger, stronger lock, we needed a lock with a fundamental deterrent.” said Daniel Idzowski from San Francisco, one of the inventors of SkunkLock.
SkunkLock
Along with his co-creator Yves Perrenoud, Idzowski has created a device with an advanced disc-cylinder tumbler lock that’s as formidable as some of the most expensive bike locks out there.

But this is no ordinary lock. It comes with a secret weapon.

“SkunkLock is a hardened medium-carbon steel U-Lock that’s as difficult to compromise as the strongest U-Locks, and comes with a surprise.” continues Idzowski.

“It’s pressurized inside with a noxious chemical deterrent that slams the would-be thief with noxious chemicals. The chemicals are so disgusting they induce vomit in the majority of cases, and elicit an instinctive response to run away immediately.”

 

This means that if any thief attempts to saw through the SkunkLock, as soon as they hit the hollow interior it instantly releases a cloud of the vomit producing chemicals towards them.

This concoction codenamed ‘formula D-1’, also ruins the clothes of anyone close to it or any protective gear they are using.

Describing just how effective it is, Idzkowski said “At two feet it was pretty bad. It was absolutely vomit-inducing in 99% of people.”

The team behind SkunkLock are now looking for funding on Indiegogo. Pledge $99 and you should receive your lock by June 2017.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/skunklock-the-only-bike-lock-that-fights-back-bicycle

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Samsung Note 7 Overheating: Still No Answer

Posted on 27 October 2016 by Chris Ford

On October 10 2016, Samsung immediately stopped production of its newest release, the Galaxy Note 7. They also asked consumers who had bought the device to return them to the store. This was the second time that the Galaxy Note 7 had been recalled, due to the fact that the phone was unexpectedly heating up and then catching fire. The reason behind it is believed to be that of a flaw in the battery. Today, it would sadly appear that Samsung are no closer to finding out the reasons behind why this is happening and re-releasing the Note 7.

Note 7 Overheating

This failure in the company’s technology, and lack of knowledge as to why it is happening, has also had a knock on effect for the rolling out of their next phone, the Galaxy S8. The Wall Street Journal labelled it as their flagship phone. The engineering work behind the Galaxy 88 has been delayed until the root cause of the overheating is found.

In a press release, Samsung stated that when they originally recalled the Galaxy Note 7, they were unable to give a reason as to why the phone was overheating and, that they are still unable to do so. But, they are firmly committed to finding out why it is happening. They also wanted to assure customers that all of their devices are 100% safe.

Note 7 Overheating

The Galaxy Note 7 hit shelves mid August and was seen by many in the industry as being Samsung’s best phone to date and, the one that would make them globe leaders in the mobile phone world. Sadly, this did not happen. Due to the discontinuation of the Galaxy Note 7, the company are set to lose an estimated $3 billion. What will happen next, and if they will ever get to the bottom of this technical glitch, is yet to be seen.

 

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Facebook To Change Their Post Removal Policy

Posted on 27 October 2016 by Chris Ford

Facebook is going to change its post removal policy. The news was announced by two of its co-founders, Justin Osofsky and Joel Kaplan. In their joint statement, they stated that the company are going to allow more posts to be visible to the public, even if they violate the social network’s standards, and if they are deemed to be of significance and newsworthy.
Facebook Policy
This bold move by Facebook comes after many charitable organisations, news agencies and other large social groups, criticised the social media platform for removing posts without any warning and without consulting those who were concerned, so that they could appeal the decision. The backlash was further heightened when a Norwegian newspaper posted the famous image of the naked Vietnamese girl running along the road during the Vietnam War, alongside one of their news stories. This was subsequently removed – sparking huge condemnation from the news agency concerned and other Facebook users. What was even more controversial, was that following the removal of the image from the site, the writer in question was also suspended, which then led to the Editor-in-Chief of the paper contacting Mark Zuckerberg directly, to ask him about Facebook’s censorship policy.

A month after this incident, Facebook removed a post that was related to a news article posted by Le Monde, on the subject of breast cancer. The reason was that it showed an image of nipple. However, after following several complaints, including those from the newspaper concerned, the post and image were finally reinstated.

Following Facebook’s recent announcement that they will now consider the public interest surrounding a post, as well as that of its newsworthiness, it would appear that the social media network will now fully reflect the opinions and values of the Facebook community. In order to do so, they have committed to work more closely with law enforcement experts.

 

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whisky

The best-aged whiskies

Posted on 21 October 2016 by Chris Ford

If you’re a whisky drinker, you may have explored some of the older bottles that have been fermenting for many years to develop their unique taste. If you’re not, then now’s your chance to find out about a spirit that’s hugely popular around the world.

aged whiskies

Why drink whisky?

Often known as “uisce beatha” or “the water of life in translation from Irish Gaelic, whisky is famed for the number of types there are. From small distilleries to vast operations turning out thousands of bottles a day, it’s a drink for many different occasions. You may settle on a couple of favourite brands, sometimes trying something different. You may prefer single malts to blends. Whatever your preference, drinking whisky with friends at a party, a night out in the pub, or enjoying a single malt as a digestif after a restaurant dinner, is an enjoyable experience.

How to drink whisky

This is not a drink to knock back as quickly as you can. This is especially so with aged whiskies that have many subtle tastes to deliver to the palate and should be savoured with each sip. The first sip will give a range of tastes and as you swallow it, there is that familiar little burn at the back of the throat.

The type of glass you use is an important factor in getting the most enjoyment out of your whisky drinking. Look for quality in a solid glass, like a classic heavyweight whisky glass tumbler or one made of attractive cut or decorated glass. When you’re adding whisky glasses to your home go for some different sizes but make sure they have a wide enough rim so drinkers can get the full bouquet when they sniff the drink, whatever the size.

Remember too that whiskies can be made of various grains, including rye (in America and Canada), barley (for proper Scotch whisky) and corn with other grains for bourbon, also in America.

Some classic aged whiskies

  • George Dickel Rye Whiskey: Tennessee whiskey is an acquired taste but this one has an advantage over its competitors because of the use of charcoal filtering that removes taste impurities. Ultra-smooth and with no unpleasant notes – you should drink this neat.
  • Green Spot, Irish Single Pot: distilled in County Cork this is similar to single malt but is the product of one still, not a large distillery. Look for the 7 and 9 year old bottles for a unique taste.
  • Hibiki 12 and 17: these are blended whiskies from Japan, and the Japanese have been receiving global awards for their product. They are considered by connoisseurs to be one of the best blends around.
  • Bowmore Small Batch Single Malt: A classic Scotch from the village of Bowmore on the island of Islay, this is a gentler whisky than the strong seaside malts usually associated with the island.

Drink to enjoy

Whisky offers such an enormous range of options that you could probably spend your life tasting a different one every month or so, however, please consume alcohol sensibly, that way you’ll enjoy it for longer!

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Review – The London Steakhouse Co

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Review – The London Steakhouse Co

Posted on 17 October 2016 by Chris Ford

As a steak lover I thought I’d tried most of the well-known steak houses in the city of London, where our office is based.

But one I hadn’t been to was The London Steakhouse Co’s on Middlesex Street.

London Steakhouse Co

So when I was asked along to try their newly refurbished restaurant I had a mixture of excitement and curiosity.

Why? well the London Steakhouse Co is owned by Marco Pierre White and surprisingly one of only two restaurants he owns anywhere. I also  wondered if this was this going to be a celebrity style front? All showbiz and no substance? That’s what I was interested to find out.

 

London Steakhouse Co

As soon as we arrived, it didn’t feel that way. For a start the steakhouse doesn’t trade off on Marcos name. The website mentions he’s involved but you wouldn’t know it when you enter the dining room.

Inside, it was welcoming straight away; the décor managed to be both high-end and relaxed at the same time. We were taken to a comfortable, private table and Anastas, who looked after us for the evening, presented us with the wine menu pointing out a few suggestions, based on what we’d be ordering off the menu.

London Steakhouse Co

For starters I had the beef short ribs with coleslaw and barbecue sauce which was absolutely divine, while my partner Kate had the special of the day, a beetroot salad with goats cheese and caramelised walnuts, which looked equally tasty which she quickly confirmed.

For our main course feeling like a challenge I opted for the 14oz Ribeye while Kate asked the waiter for his suggestion on a non-fatty cut. Anastas took the time to explain the different cuts and recommended the rump to her. Like most steakhouses, sides aren’t included with the meal as standard so I ordered some chips and creamed spinach with my steak while Kate went for fries and seasonal veg.

London Steakhouse Co

My steak was out of this world! The ribeye melted in the mouth with the fat rendered just perfectly ensuring every bite was an absolute pleasure. My chips where crispy and the spinach nice and creamy as expected but the real highlight of the sides was the seasonal veg, which were quite possibly the best green beans I’ve ever had in my life. I don’t really even like green beans normally, but these were amazing!

London Steakhouse Co

When the dessert menu came we weren’t sure if there was room but when I saw the chocolate truffle cake on the menu, I caved – and I was glad I did. Kate went for an equally delicious Crème brûlée rounding off honestly one of the best meals we’d had in a long time.

In conclusion this is no theme restaurant or chain trading on a celeb chef’s reputation. The London Steakhouse Co is a real find and I shall be back.

 

Address: 109-117 Middlesex St, London E1 7JF
Phone    020 7247 5050

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Carlsberg rebrew

CARLSBERG Re-Brew the past

Posted on 06 October 2016 by Chris Ford

Recently the beer world there seems to be doing  alot of looking back on what has been done in the past, while some may argue the popularity of Craft beers has always been reinventing the past up until now the big players in the beer world have largely stuck to the tried and tested sellers until now.

Carlsberg rebrew

Carlsberg have just launched their Re-Brew project using a yeast dating back to 1883 to brew a modern day lager.

The beer was created to  celebrate the Carlsberg Laboratory’s 140-year anniversary  but also because their brewers and scientists were very curious to test how the beer tasted at that time – to recreate a sip of history.

and the results ?  well it certainly didn’t taste like a lager to me, more of a dark ale but to me thats a really good thing and a fascinating insight into what people might have been drinking in pubs back in the 1800’s.

If you want to experience a bit of history though  I suggest you do so quickly as sadly only 600 bottles of the Re-Brew have been produced for the UK market available now for £12.99 until the end of October exclusively at London venue St Barts Brewery with Carlsberg saying they currently have no plans to sell online, which is a shame, maybe they will change their mind?

Carlsberg rebrew

To find out more about the Carlsberg Re-brew project, visit http://www.carlsberg.co.uk/#!rebrew and follow @CarlsbergUK on Twitter.

 

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