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08 Oct 2021

Citrix confirms its VM software will run Windows 11, eventually

Citrix has confirmed it is working on a new version of its virtual machine software that will adhere to the new Windows 11 requirements.

Speaking to TechRadar Pro over email, a Citrix spokesperson explained the company is “adding vTPM support to Citrix Hypervisor 8.2”, which will allow the software to run Windows 11 in a virtual machine.

The company declined to provide any information about timings, but will likely be scrambling to get the update out the door as soon as possible, since Windows 11 is now live.

Windows 11 VMs

In the week before the Windows 11 launch, Microsoft created a stir by revealing that its new operating system would not run on all virtual machine software. 

In the changelog for the final preview build, Microsoft explained that Windows 11 is only compatible with VMs that feature TPM 2.0 protection, a requirement that also applies to laptops and PCs running the new OS.

For context, recent research from Lansweeper shows that only 0.23% of virtual machine workstations currently have TPM enabled. And as for the hypervisor vendors, many have never previously offered virtual TPM functionality.

According to Microsoft, VMs created using the company’s own hypervisor (which comes bundled for free with Windows 10 Pro) will run Windows 11 just fine, provided they are set up as “Generation 2” VMs. 

Oracle told TechRadar Pro it is working on a new version of VirtualBox that will feature “virtual TPM emulation” and VMware Workstation Pro is also said to meet the new requirements. It is now apparent Citrix Hypervisor will join this club too, but users will have to exercise a little patience. 

An incentive to delay before diving into Windows 11 may be no bad thing, however. Since the new OS went live on Tuesday, users have reported a range of bugs and problems that are best avoided.

Read more...
08 Oct 2021

Lots of us still aren't talking in video meetings

More than half of the people participating in video conferencing calls never utter a single word, according to a new report from Cisco.

The company's latest “Hybrid work index” research paper, based on anonymized data from multiple sources, as well as an extra survey, over the past 18 months of extensive video calling, found that only 48% of participants are likely to actually talk. 

What’s more, virtually all meetings (98%) have at least one person joining remotely, which increases the need for inclusion and engagement for such participants, in order to have them “feel equal” to their on-site peers, the report said. However, “joining remotely” has gotten an entirely new meaning since the pandemic. Nowadays, people use mobile devices to connect to their meetings 27% of the time. Pre-pandemic, that number stood at 9%.

Regardless of the type of device used to connect to a meeting, and despite the fact that many people rarely speak when on a video conference call, connectivity is still deemed “critical” for the post-Covid-19 recovery, by 82% of respondents. 

They believe connectivity can empower them to work for any company in the world, increasing their playing field. At the same time, companies get a global pool of talent to work with.

Back to work gaining traction

For the survey participants, it’s also important that everyone has equal access to jobs, education, and healthcare opportunities.

Despite the impressive rise in telecommuting, working on-site won’t be going anywhere, any time soon. Cisco has found that the devices connecting to office-based Wi-Fi networks rose by almost two-thirds (61%), compared to six months ago. Most of the devices were in higher education, professional services, and hospitality industries.

To draft the report, Cisco pulled millions of anonymized customer data from a number of its services, including Webex, Meraki, ThousandEyes, Talos, Duo and Umbrella. It also polled 39,000 people in more than 30 countries.

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08 Oct 2021

Going for gold in cybersecurity collaboration

This summer’s Tokyo 2021 Olympics have reinforced the Games’ lasting legacy in the form of their motto – “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together.” As we face more sophisticated and severe ransomware attacks, this motto should inspire a new approach to cybersecurity that is collective, and founded on collaboration at every opportunity.

About the author

David Higgins is EMEA Technical Director at CyberArk.

It’s an approach that is now mission-critical due to the plethora of advanced threats being aimed at organizations, which are becoming increasingly complex as each day passes and more and more difficult for security teams to decipher. That’s why this inspiring motto should prompt a powerful reaction from across the cybersecurity community, in the form of a collective response informed by shared expertise, intelligence, experience and proven processes. This response can’t be a singular endeavor, however. Its range of requirements is far too broad for just one vendor to fulfil, so organizations must recognize the importance of collaborative work in developing holistic solutions that can keep businesses one step ahead of attackers.

Big Game Hunting

Just as we invest plenty of time planning how to secure our defenses, so too do attackers in preparing to strike. Ransomware attackers prepare for big campaigns – often called “big-game hunting” – with extensive reconnaissance and detailed research into social engineering techniques, often scoping out targets for months or years first. More often than ever, their goal is to execute a double-extortion attack which compromises multiple corners of the confidentiality, integrity and availability (CIA) triad. In practical terms, this means they typically seek to encrypt data to hinder its availability, and then threaten to leak it and compromise its confidentiality.

Usually, attackers will look to execute attacks by following four key steps:

1. Launching their initial attacks against endpoints: Using social engineering to identify their targets, an attacker can phish for unsecured credentials to unlock a door to the organization.

2. Escalating privileges and reinforcing their access: After the attackers have uncovered a high enough level of privilege, they can execute the code, alongside taking evasive action to give them time undetected to search for more sensitive data. 

3. Extending the potential impact of the attack: Disrupting backups and deleting files elevates the impact of the attack, while also stealing masses of data which will be extorted at a later date.

4. Deploying ransomware to seal the deal: Files are encrypted and held hostage with a sky-high ransom for release, knowing that the organization is extremely motivated to pay because of the high reputational and monetary cost of downtime.

Making the fight against ransomware a team game

Just stopping malware simply isn’t enough. A winning approach also involves the use of controls to stop attackers from gaining high-level privileges to do harm at every point in the attack chain – which requires a collaborative effort.

In recent years endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions have come a long way, to the point that they are now an essential part of strong endpoint security. The continuous monitoring, visibility, and in-depth analysis that it offers accelerates security operations efforts, to the extent that 51.6% of compromises were detected by EDR solutions in a recent SANS survey, even though these tools weren’t specifically designed to manage identity and privilege. An endpoint privilege manager allows other security defenses to play their roles more effectively.

Poised to strike

In a recent memo Anne Neuberger, US deputy National Security advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology, wrote: “All organizations must recognize that no company is safe from being targeted by ransomware, regardless of size or location.”

Clearly, being poised to defend against ransomware can only be one part of any organization's cybersecurity strategy. This defense must be reinforced with ongoing cybersecurity training, information sharing, and having a strong security framework, all as part of a multi-layered strategy.

Neuberger added, “to understand your risk, business executives should immediately convene their leadership teams to discuss the ransomware threat and review corporate security posture and business continuity plans to ensure you have the ability to continue or quickly restore operations.”

Helping organizations become cyber-ready is an essential service. Through collaborative efforts, our industry can provide an effective, accountable, and responsible control of the digital IT environment. Offering organizations the opportunity to protect themselves against the evolving ransomware threats that we face will support them to create a gold-medal worthy security strategy.

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08 Oct 2021

Windows 11 issues mean it's not worth upgrading yet, say experts

Windows 11 is out now – and while it may be tempting to install it straight away, industry experts, such as analysts Gartner, are advising a more cautious approach.

As The Register reports, Gartner research vice president Stephen Kleynhans refers to Windows 11 as an “overdue facelift,” which doesn’t offer enough new features or changes. “All of these capabilities could have been released as just another feature update for Windows 10.”

In a rather pointed comment, Kleynhans suggests that by calling this new release Windows 11, Microsoft “has created a marketing opportunity,” rather than releasing a substantial new operating system.

Because Windows 11 doesn’t bring any substantial changes, Kleynhans recommends that individuals – and especially businesses – hold off rushing into upgrading to the new operating system.

Slowly but surely

Kleynhans suggests that businesses should instead devise a timeline to evaluate Windows 11, then migrate to Windows 11 over the next year.

Another option, Kleynhans suggests, is to run pilot tests amongst employees. “Enterprises should run small pilots in 2022 using the initial Windows 11 21H2 release, to develop familiarity with the new UX and understand potential user and support impact.”

While Windows 11 isn’t a major departure from Windows 10, there are some differences, especially in the user interface, that could cause confusion. By slowly testing out Windows 11 with a few employees, you should be able to identify any potential issues (and sort them) before rolling it out to your entire workforce.

This is a much more sensible approach than just putting everyone on Windows 11 at the same time, then trying to fix all the problems at once.

We spoke to Kleynhans as well, and he told us that Windows 11’s user interface is likely to evolve over time based on user feedback. The company has done this before, and while any changes to Windows 11’s look and behavior “won’t be as extreme as the rework that happened between Windows 8 and Windows 8.1... it is likely there will be a few noticeable changes.”

By moving your employees onto Windows 11 too quickly, Kleynhans suggests, they may have to learn how to use Windows 11’s initial user interface, and then have to get used to any subsequent changes, “potentially experiencing two learning curves.”

While Kleynhans told us that “the risks of early adoption are small and likely manageable,” he believes that “most organizations don’t have a particularly compelling reason to rush this transition.” In the coming days, we’ll be going into more depth about the challenges to businesses that Kleynhans told us about.


Calm female executive meditating in front of a laptop

(Image credit: fizkes / Shutterstock)

Analysis: Wise advice

Taking a cautious approach to upgrading to Windows 11 is in our view the right way to do things. In our Windows 11 review, we praise the operating system for a lot of things, but there’s no denying that Windows 11 sometimes feels like an incremental update over Windows 10.

These smaller changes mean we’re unlikely to see major problems when upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11 – certainly nothing like the driver issues and app compatibility problems that plagued the switch from Windows XP to Windows Vista, for example.

However, there have been Windows 11 problems already, so upgrading to the operating system so close to launch is always going to bring a degree of risk that your PC may encounter issues. For businesses with lots of computers that are mission critical, these risks are far more pronounced.

Rob Metcalf, Head of Cloud and Infrastructure at ATech Cloud, spoke to us about how “Windows 11 brings in many innovations and lessons learned from Windows 10,” and that “as a result of these changes, many businesses will be forced to implement solutions to upgrade existing hardware firmware, most of which goes untouched, to allow the operating system to even install.”

Metcalf is referring to the requirement for PCs to support TPM 2.0, a security feature that is causing some people with modern PCs to find they are unable to install Windows 11. 

“With the requirement for secure boot and TPM 2.0 no longer being just an option but instead being mandatory,” Metcalf told us, “companies will need solutions for making their devices compatible with the new operating system. The good news is most devices built in the last five years should support it, however many have out of date firmware.”

Scott Riley, director of Cloud Nexus and an expert in Microsoft 365 and Azure, explained to us that he recommend home users to upgrade to Windows 11, as "the fresh clean interface is a really nice overhaul, and the majority of what's happening in the background is very much Windows 10."

However, he told us that he "would encourage businesses to take a staged approach to rolling out Windows 11... We need to consider that not everyone in the business is on the same tech-savvy level. While there aren't a huge amount of changes, it's enough that some users might feel a bit uncomfortable in having it dropped on them." This is broadly in line with what Kleynhans suggests.

"The good news," Riley explains, "is that there's no pressure to upgrade. Windows 10 is supported through to October 2025, giving businesses plenty of time to plan the upgrade."

Considering the limited new features that Windows 11 brings, then, there’s not much to be gained from upgrading just yet. However, as with Windows 10, Microsoft will continue to update and evolve Windows 11 over the coming months and years.

This should help fix most of the early problems, while adding more features that will make upgrading to Windows 11 much more worthwhile – and this applies to both businesses and home users. When it comes to upgrading to Windows 11, it’s definitely worth holding off for now.

Read more...
08 Oct 2021

GoDaddy adds Vimeo video creation for SMBs

Top domain registrar and web hosting company GoDaddy has expanded its partnership with video hosting provider Vimeo, allowing customers to create and share high quality videos in minutes.

With the new platform integration targeted at small business owners, the pair have launched 700 free video templates with customizable fonts, colors and music for its customers.

The video templates have been designed for SMBs to swap in their own images, logos and videos with ease.

Video marketing 

A 2021 survey by Wyzowl found that 84% of consumers were convinced to buy a product or service after watching a video, and 86% of video marketers said that videos increase traffic to their websites.

“However, for many small businesses, the biggest barrier to video content is often the amount of time and technical savvy required to make professional-quality videos,” GoDaddy said.

“With the new platform integration, customers can create and share brilliant, professional quality videos, in less time than it takes your morning coffee to brew, to attract customers and increase engagement.”

The feature will be accessible through GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing tool, within its dashboard where SMBs will be able to manage all videos in one central location.

The new videos are stored directly in their GoDaddy media library, and the web hosting company has added a feature that lets business owners click a button to add those videos directly onto their website or share across social channels.

GoDaddy and Vimeo first announced their partnership in October 2020, bringing the power of the latter's platform to GoDaddy's website builder and marketing tools.

GoDaddy says the expanded Vimeo partnership will continue to empower small and mid-sized business owners to reach customers and grow their business.

Read more...
08 Oct 2021

Best laptop sales in Australia: cheap laptops to buy in October 2021

If you’re looking for a cheap laptop or a deeply discounted premium machine, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve scoured the web for savings and rounded up all the genuine deals in one neat place.

You’ll find we’ve covered everything from budget browsing machines to high-performance powerhouses, so you’ll no doubt find something here to match your needs.

We’ve highlighted a selection of the latest deals that we’ve sniffed out, and if you scroll further down, we've rounded up some of our favourite laptops in a dedicated buying guide.

Best laptop deals this week

Laptops & ultrabooks

Dell XPS 13 (9305) | i7 / 16GB RAM / 512GB SSD | AU$2,099 AU$1,769 on Dell (save AU$330)

The Dell XPS 13 is a beautiful piece of kit, and we’d go so far as to say it’s one of the best laptops in Australia you can buy. This 2020 model matches Intel’s 11th-gen i7 processor with 16GB of RAM for excellent performance. And despite that power boost, plus an all-encompassing display, battery life is still great on this laptop. Buy direct from Dell and you’ll save AU$330.

Acer Swift 3 | Ryzen 5 / 8GB RAM / 512GB SSD | AU$1,199 AU$1,019 on The Good Guys (save AU$180)

The Acer Swift 3 is an ultrabook for the masses, and it’s packing some pretty great specs. This model features an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U CPU, and its slim design and 14-inch display is made to be portable. You’re getting the standard 8GB of RAM here, but a generous 512GB SSD. It’s now 15% off at The Good Guys, saving you a modest AU$180.

Lenovo ThinkPad E15 (Gen 2) | i5 / 8GB RAM / 256GB SSD | AU$1,569 AU$1,079 on Lenovo (save AU$490)

This ThinkPad E14 Gen 2 is an affordable entry into Lenovo’s line of business laptops, and it’s now even more so with this AU$490 discount. It’s built well with a comfortable keyboard, and you’ll be getting a 15.6-inch 1080p display. It’s equipped with an 11th-gen Core i5 chip, and it has a suite of security features its business audience will appreciate. Nab this saving by heading to Lenovo and using the code THINKTECH.

2-in-1s

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook | i3 / 4GB RAM / 64GB SSD | AU$699 AU$559 on Amazon (save AU$140)

The Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook is a cheap and cheerful 2-in-1, and now you can get it for just AU$559 on Amazon. It has a touchscreen that’s compatible with a stylus and a fantastic keyboard too. It’s equipped with a 10th-gen Intel i3 chip, which doesn’t deliver the best performance, but at a discounted price of AU$559 it feels silly to complain.

Asus VivoBook Flip 14 (TP470) | i5 / 8GB RAM / 256GB SSD | AU$1,399 AU$1,118 on Amazon (save AU$281)

We think the Asus VivoBook Flip 14 would be an excellent choice for students, or those looking for an affordable 2-in-1. This model comes equipped with an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 processor and a 256GB SSD, though you’re only getting 8GB of RAM. It’s lightweight, portable and is an excellent multitasker, and we like that it comes with a stylus included. This config is now AU$281 off at Amazon.

Gaming laptops

Dell G15 (5511) | i7 / 16GB RAM / 512GB SSD / RTX 3060 | AU$2,599 AU$2,079 on Dell (save AU$520)

This unassuming laptop is well-equipped, with an 11th-gen Intel i7 CPU and an Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU. The 15.6-inch 1080p display has a refresh rate of 120Hz as well, so can expect super-smooth gameplay. To nab the discount, head directly to Dell where it’s AU$520 off.

Alienware m15 R5 | Ryzen 7 / 16GB RAM / 512GB SSD / RTX 3050 Ti | AU$2,699 AU$2,159 on Dell (save AU$540)

This Alienware m15 R5 comes equipped with a Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, working alongside an Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti GPU. It has a 15-inch 1080p display with a 165Hz refresh rate, which should play nice with the rest of the specs. With Alienware’s intergalactic inspired design, we think it looks great too. Just keep in mind that those power-hungry specs means the laptop runs hot. Now AU$540 off when you buy directly from Dell.

  • Find great bargains and compare Australian prices on the latest tech at Getprice

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The best deals on our favourite laptops

Over the years we’ve reviewed plenty of laptops, and as a result, we’ve seen what to avoid and what to jump on when there’s savings to be had. Check out the prices on some of our favourite laptops below and see if anything has dropped enough to spark your interest.

Dell XPS 13 9310 laptop

(Image credit: Dell)

Our favourite Windows laptop: Dell XPS 13 (9310)

Return of the king

CPU: 11th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Xe | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Screen: 13.4-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) – 4K (3840 x 2160) | Storage: 512GB – 1TB SSD

Gorgeous design
Big CPU and GPU boost
Excellent battery life
Lacklustre audio

To say that we’re big fans of the Dell XPS 13 is a huge understatement. This 13-inch Ultrabook has appeared in our list of the best laptops for several years running, and there’s good reason why.

This iteration came out in late 2020 and it’s known as the Dell XPS 13 9310. It’s equipped with Intel’s latest 11th generation processors while the Intel Iris Xe handles the integrated graphics (and almost doubles the graphical prowess from the previous model). Both work together to bring a decent amount of power to these gorgeous laptops, and some light gaming is also possible thanks to the specs.

There are barely any bezels to speak of on these laptops, and it can be configured with a Full HD+ or a 4K HDR screen (OLED panels are also available). The sleekness of the XPS 13 comes at the expense of ports, and the speakers are a little lacklustre, but these are small exceptions in an otherwise premium laptop.

Read our full Dell XPS 13 (Late 2020) review

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Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) laptop

(Image credit: Apple)

Our favourite Apple laptop: Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

The best MacBook Air ever

CPU: Apple M1 | Graphics: Apple M1 GPU | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch (2560 x 1600) LED | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD

Battery life is great
Silent in use
Fanless design could impact performance
No new design

When Apple ditched Intel’s chips for its own M1 silicon in 2020, it was a real game changer for the laptop market – Apple or otherwise. The new processor gives the MacBook Air a serious performance boost, which thankfully, has not come at the expense of battery life (our testing found it lasting an impressive 11 hours and 15 minutes in continuous movie playback).

Despite the significant power upgrade, Apple has priced this laptop at a better RRP than its predecessor, and it even gives other premium Ultrabooks such as the Dell XPS 13 a run for their money – something we never would have anticipated from Apple. You can expect to pay AU$1,499 for the model with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, or AU$1,849 for the 512GB SSD version.

If you do have a couple hundred bucks to spare, we’d also suggest taking a look at the 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020). That’ll get you better-sounding speakers, a more comfortable keyboard and a neat Touch Bar. The MacBook Pro also keeps its cooling fans (while the MacBook Air doesn’t) so it should be able to run more intensive tasks before performance is throttled.

Read our full Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) review

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Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 gaming laptop

(Image credit: Asus)

Our favourite gaming laptop: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Asus is leading AMD’s charge to dominance

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS – 9 4900HS | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 | RAM: 16GB – 32GB | Screen: 14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS panel, 120Hz – 14-inch WQHD (2560 x 1440) IPS panel, 60Hz | Storage: 512GB – 1TB SSD

Best battery life in a gaming laptop
Excellent performance
Light and slim
Reasonably priced
No webcam
Fans can get loud

We rate the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 as the best gaming laptop around. It’s outfitted with AMD’s Ryzen 4000 and 5000 series processors, which lend a lot of power to the Zephyrus G14. As for graphics, Asus has mixed with Nvidia to bring the latest RTX cards to the laptop.

Despite that seriously impressive power, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is reasonably priced and can be found for a fair whack less than the competition. There’ve been a few concessions to keep it that way though – the laptop is without a webcam, and it’s not as particularly good looking as the Razer laptops of the world.

With that said, the Zephyrus G14 is a thin and light laptop that also manages best-in-class battery life despite its gaming laptop status.

Read our full Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review

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Asus ZenBook Flip 13 2-in-1 laptop

(Image credit: Asus)

Our favourite 2-in-1: Asus ZenBook Flip 13

A 2-in-1 laptop experience with little to no compromise

CPU: 11th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Xe | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) | Storage: 512GB SSD

Strong build quality
Excellent battery life
Genuinely good speakers
Weak graphics performance

The Asus ZenBook Flip 13 moves easily between laptop, tent and tablet mode with its 360° hinge, and Asus promises it’s good for 20,000 cycles. It’s a solidly built, stylish piece of kit, and it comes packing Intel’s latest 11th generation chips, making it a powerful 2-in-1 laptop.

Housed within the body is a beautiful 13-inch screen with ultra-thin bezels on all four sides, so you’re able to make the most of the 1080p display. The front-facing Harman Kardon speakers sound genuinely good too, which can be rare on even the best of laptops.

With space at a premium, Asus has done something clever to keep the number pad too. It’s been integrated into the trackpad, and it appears in illuminated LED lights when you need it – pretty neat if you ask us.

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Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Our favourite cheap student laptop: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

A Chromebook for schoolwork, and then some

CPU: MediaTek P60T | Graphics: Mali-G72 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 10.1-inch FHD (1920 x 1200) touch | Storage: 128GB eMMC

Lightweight and portable
Great value
Chrome OS is great
Tiny keyboard and finicky trackpad
Charger and headphones share a single port

If you’ve got the cash to spare for a MacBook Air, we’d argue that it’s the best student laptop in Australia, but if you’re just after something that’s cheap, then the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook is a great choice. It’s a 2-in-1, and for the unit itself paired with a detachable keyboard and stand cover, you’ll pay just AU$499 (and it’s often on sale too).

The internal specs aren’t anything to write home about, but what really matters here is Chrome OS, which we’ve found to be a richer experience than the equivalent Windows 10S. Google’s fantastic apps will be right at your fingertips, so it’s ideal for someone who does the majority of their schoolwork online (using Google Docs and the like).

You won’t be able to load up on Chrome tabs with reckless abandon, but for general web browsing, video streaming and basic productivity, the Duet does exactly what you want it to do. All told, this is the best value you’re going to find in a portable device of this kind.

Read our full Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook review

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If you're after some more further info on the best laptops, check out some of our other dedicated articles:

Watch the video below for the top 7 things to consider when buying a laptop. 

Read more...
07 Oct 2021

This iconic gaming console wants you to work while playing

After releasing its first new gaming console in 28 years back in June, Atari has announced that the Atari VCS now supports Google Workspace so that gamers now have the option to work as well as play on its small form-factor PC.

With the addition of Google Workspace, Atari VCS owners can now easily access Gmail, Google Calendar, Sheets, Slides, Docs and Google Drive all from their living room in between play sessions.

Google's online collaboration software can be accessed right from the Atari VCS dashboard and users can make changes to their documents using either the Atari VCS Companion app or a mouse and keyboard.

However, if you want a full PC experience on the Atari VCS, the console's PC mode allows you to install Windows 10 or Linux and while unconfirmed by Atari, several users have even managed to get Windows 11 up and running on the device.

Work or play

As the Atari VCS is the only video gaming system with Chrome built-in, it's a true two-in-one device that can be used for both work and play. The system also features a compact chassis that can be tucked away in an entertainment center under your TV or set up on your office desk without taking up too much space.

In terms of the device's hardware, the Atari VCS features an AMD Raven Ridge 2 APU, an AMD Ryzen GPU, 32GB of eMMC storage and 8GB of DDR4 RAM. However, the RAM is upgradeable and thanks to the inclusion of an internal M.2 slot, you can add a larger M.2 SSD for even more storage.

The Atari VCS is available in two configurations: the Atari VCS Onyx Base System for $299 and the Atari VCS Black Walnut All-In Bundle for $399. Since the device supports a wide range of existing controllers including Microsoft's Xbox controller and both Sony's DualShock and DualSense controllers, you can save a bit by opting for the base model though you will miss out on using Atari's new Classic Joystick.

Whether you just want to play some retro video games in your living room or are looking for a game console with Google Workspace support and full PC functionality, check out our full Atari VCS review to see if Atari's latest console could be the perfect work from home device for you.

  • We've also rounded up all the gear you'll need to work from home successfully

Read more...
07 Oct 2021

Steam Deck hardware, price and more - everything we know about the Steam Deck console

The coming arrival of the Steam Deck is thrilling news for anyone wishing they could play their Steam library on the road. While it can be docked into a TV or PC, what makes it special is the fact that it’s a handheld gaming PC that is as portable as a Nintendo Switch. Even expanding its storage comes via a portable solution, as you can use SD cards for more space.

Valve, the developers originally famous for Half-Life, were first rumored to be working on a handheld gaming device back in April. The ones who broke the story, Ars Technica, reported that something known then as “SteamPal,” a “Switch-like portable PC,” was in the works at Valve. It didn’t take long to realize that it was real. In fact, game developers have recently been receiving their dev kits to get their games running smoothly on this unique piece of hardware.

Unless having a burning hot laptop sitting on your laptop is your idea of fun, the concept of portable PC gaming has not really existed before this. With the Steam Deck, you get a dedicated device that comes with its own 7-inch LCD screen that can be used anywhere you want. And, since it uses a modified version of SteamOS, you’ll have access to all the features and most of the games, just in a more console-like interface. You can even access some non-Steam games through it.

Like the Nintendo Switch, the Steam Deck can also be docked and output to a TV or monitor using its USB Type-C port. Valve plans to sell its own dock separately at a later date, but you can use existing USB Type-C docks without worry. 

This functionality means you can use the Steam Deck as a fully-fledged PC if you so choose, as you can also install any OS you like - though most will be happy to stick with SteamOS. In fact, you can dual boot operating systems so you won’t have to choose. You can also connect various hardware accessories like a mouse and keyboard or flight stick, which means all your favorite peripherals will work. Oh, and you can even connect a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones.

Steam Deck: Cut to the chase

  • What is it? A powerful, portable PC from Valve
  • How much will it cost? $399 / £349 for the 64GB version, $529 / £459 for the 256GB version, and $649 / £569 for the 512GB version
  • When will it be released? December 2021 in the US, Canada, EU and UK. It will release in other regions in 2022.

Steam Deck release date and price

Steam Deck console from Valve against a white background

(Image credit: Valve)

The Steam Deck is set to release in December 2021, and costs $399 / £349 for the base model that comes with 64GB of eMMC internal storage and a carrying case.

The mid-range option costs $529 / £459 and includes a 256GB NVMe SSD inside for faster storage, a carrying case and an exclusive Steam Community profile bundle.

Finally, the highest tier option costs $649 / £569 and includes 512GB of NVMe SSD internal storage, premium anti-glare etched glass, an exclusive carrying case, exclusive Steam Community profile bundle, and an exclusive virtual keyboard theme. 

All three consoles storage can be expanded thanks to a microSD card slot, which supports SD, SDXC and SDHC formats.

Pre-order now

Steam Deck pre-orders opened on July 16, at 10am PDT / 6pm BST / 7pm CEST. You had to put down a $5 / £4 deposit to reserve your console, and orders were placed from the Steam Store. Unfortunately, many users were unable to reserve a console in time for December 2021 as Steam was flooded with people trying to place their order. It means that a lot of pre-orders will arrive during Q1 or Q2 of 2022, much to the irritation of many.

We expected the Steam Deck to be sold at a higher price tag than the Nintendo Switch, which retails for $299 / £279.99 / AU$469, but it's even more expensive than the new Nintendo Switch OLED, which retails for $349 / £309. 

Valve's Gabe Newell said the company found hitting Steam Deck price "painful" but "critical" in an interview with IGN. Newell told IGN about the need to be "very aggressive" in terms of pricing, and said that the top priority was to make sure that PC players are able to pick up the Steam Deck and feel like it works perfectly.

"I want to pick this up and say, oh, it all works. It's all fast. It's all... and then price point was secondary and painful. But that was pretty clearly a critical aspect to it," Newell said. "But the first thing was the performance and the experience, [that] was the biggest and most fundamental constraint that was driving this."

Steam Deck design and features

Steam Deck console from Valve on a white surface

(Image credit: Valve)

The Steam Deck may look rather ungainly, but Valve says it's been designed for comfortable, extended play sessions, and it has full-fidelity control so you can play your favorite games without any compromises.

The Steam Deck features "best-in-class" thumbsticks with capacitive touch sensors built-in, which Valve says will provide "a level of precision and comfort not found on other portable gaming devices". Unlike the Switch, the controllers can not be removed from the display like the Joy-Con. It means the Steam Deck is more akin to the Nintendo Switch Lite in this regard. 

You'll notice that the Steam Deck also includes two trackpads, which means users will have mouse-like control in games that don't play nice with a gamepad. Valve says these pads are similar to those found on its now discontinued Steam Controller, so expect some haptic feedback and general improvements over the trackpads of old.

Along with the usual triggers on the back of the device, which are pleasing analog unlike the Nintendo Switch's digital triggers, the Steam Deck also includes Grip buttons, which will provide extra input options right at your fingertips. If you've ever used a "Pro" controller, you'll understand how useful these extra buttons can be. And, if you end up preferring the feel of the Steam Deck’s controls, you can actually use it as a controller with your PC.

Valve's portable device features a 7-inch LCD touchscreen, and even includes gyro controls, so you can fine-tune your aim by physically positioning the device and achieve more precision than using a thumbstick or trackpad alone. 

The Steam Deck also lets you suspend and resume games by pressing the power button to put the device into sleep mode, just like the Nintendo Switch. You can only suspend one game at a time, however, so don't expect something like Xbox Series X's Quick Resume feature that lets you suspend multiple games at a time.

In terms of other features, the Steam Deck has expandable storage thanks to a microSD card slot, includes two stereo speakers, onboard dual microphones, and the battery life is predicted to last between two to eight hours, depending on the games you are playing.

As the Steam Deck is basically a PC with a gamepad attached, you can choose to install PC software, browse the web, watch streaming video and even complete productivity tasks. If you want to have another OS along with SteamOS, it allows you to dual-boot operating systems. You can even install games from other stores, if you like.

Of course, the Steam Deck comes with all the Steam features you'd expect. It supports Steam Chat, Remote Play, notifications, the entire Steam Store experience, Cloud Saves and access to the Steam Community. It runs a new Steam operating system that is optimized for a handheld gaming experience, too, so it should feel intuitive to use. And, while it is compatible with PC VR headsets, it’s not optimized for them, meaning that this feature is probably left alone until a future iteration of the portable.

Steam Deck specs

Steam Deck console from Valve against a white background

(Image credit: Valve)

What's inside the Steam Deck? Valve's portable PC promises to run the latest AAA games, and run them really well. Here's a full breakdown of the Steam Deck's internal specs:

  • Size: 298mm x 177mm x 49mm (W x H x D)
  • Weight: Approx 669 grams
  • CPU: AMD Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5GHz (up to 448 GFlops FP32)
  • GPU: 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.0-1.6GHz (up to 1.6 Tflops FP32)
  • RAM: Quad-channel 16GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • Storage: 64GB eMMC / 256GB NVMe SSD / 512GB NVMe SSD (all models include high-speed microSD card slot)
  • Display resolution: 1280 x 800px (16:10 aspect ratio)
  • Display size: 7-inch diagonal
  • Brightness: 400 nits typical
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • Touch enable: Yes
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, Dual-band Wi-Fi radio, 2.4GHz and 5GHz
  • Audio: Stereo speakers, dual microphone array, 3.5mm stereo headphone jack
  • Power: 45W USB Type-C
  • Battery life: 2 to 8 hours of gameplay
  • Operating system: SteamOS 3.0

As the Steam Deck is powered by a custom APU using AMD Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures, it means that while the Steam Deck should be able to comfortably play most games, you'll probably be limited to medium settings at its native 1280x800 resolution in the most demanding of titles.

We've seen footage of the Steam Deck from playing indie classics like Stardew Valley to graphical intensity games like Star Wars: A Fallen Order and Death Stranding, the latter of which wouldn't be possible on the Switch without some serious cutbacks.

The Steam Deck is significantly more powerful than the Nintendo Switch, which means it's a bit bigger as a result. We also expect the fan to be slightly more audible than on the Switch, which is usually whisper quiet. 

Valve has also been very clear that users that buy this thing will own it, which means you're free to open it up if you want. However, the company recently released a teardown video, where it revealed why that's a terrible idea: because you'll probably break something and could put yourself in physical danger. 

Luckily, all three models of the Steam Deck will come with a microSD card slot, so you can expand the storage on the little console without putting it or yourself in any danger. It even says that an SD card is "plenty fast".

Should Nintendo be worried?

Press image of the Nintendo Switch OLED showing Breath of the Wild 2

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Steam Deck isn't the first portable PC we've seen enter the hardware space – the likes of Onexplayer have shown that it can be done. However, Valve's handheld promises to deliver a more refined and optimized experience than previous attempts from other manufacturers.

It's this focus that makes the Steam Deck a genuine competitor to the Nintendo Switch, Switch Lite and recently announced Nintendo Switch OLED. With a price differential of $50, consumers will now have a big decision to make when it comes to which portable console they want to buy this Christmas, as the Steam Deck has some big plus points over Nintendo's system.

First of all, having access to Steam and your existing library of games means that PC owners who pick up a Steam Deck could potentially have hundreds of games to play from day one. The Steam Deck is also far more capable in terms of hardware than the Switch, which means you can run AAA games, and achieve higher framerates and consistently hit the 720p resolution target.

The Steam Store is also a far more appealing proposition than the Nintendo Switch eShop. While Switch games have a tendency to be overpriced, Steam is notorious for its enticing discounts and deals, so even if the console itself costs more on day one, there's a good chance you'll save in the long run.

Much like the Nintendo Switch and Switch OLED, the Steam Deck can also be docked, allowing you to output the display to a TV or monitor. However, it's far more flexible than the Switch, as it's for all intents and purposes a portable PC. That means you can attach any peripheral you like, install a new OS and browse the web. You could even use the Steam Deck to complete productivity tasks.

There's some added value, then, and while you lose the ability to start a spontaneous multiplayer session like you can on the Switch, the Steam Deck seems like a device that will instantly appeal to Switch owners who have been craving a Nintendo Switch Pro.

It's worth noting that the Nintendo Switch OLED will come with a more vibrant display than the Steam Deck's 7-inch LCD screen, but until we see the Steam Deck in person, it's hard to say just how nice Valve's chosen display performs. 

Does the Steam Deck support every Steam game?

Steam logo

(Image credit: Steam/Valve)

As it stands, Valve's Steam Deck won't be able to run every single title from the Steam Store. In fact, the Steam Deck won't be able to run Destiny, Apex Legends, PUBG or Rainbow Six Siege, which are extremely popular in the PC gaming space. And, while it won’t be able to run every Steam game out of the gate, that’s mostly a software issue that can be fixed with time.

The reason why is because the Steam Deck isn't a Windows-based system, Instead shipping with SteamOS 3.0, which is an Arch-based Linux distribution. Because the handheld Pc is Linux-based, this means that not every game is compatible, particularly ones that use anti-cheat software. 

Valve developed a feature called Proton, which is designed to combat this problem, but the company is looking into "improving Proton's game compatibility and support for anti-cheat solutions by working directly with the vendors". 

If Valve can ensure a way to get a solid anti-cheat up and running on Proton, it will allow many of Steam's popular multiplayer titles to run on the system. Valve has mentioned it's planning to make every major Steam game playable on Proton and so far it claims it's yet to find a game that the Steam Deck can't run (presumably outside of the anti-cheating software issue), which is still great news for prospective buyers.

It's worth noting that proton isn't an emulator for Windows-based games. A better way to describe it would be a translator that tells Linux how to run typically incompatible Windows-based programs. 

Of course, while SteamOS might sound slightly restrictive based on this information, it's important to clarify that Valve has said you could literally install Windows if you wanted to. However, we wouldn't be surprised if these issues are ironed out before the handheld's release in December.

However, you should be able to run games that aren’t in the Steam library, like the new Mass Effect Legendary Edition as well as other games that are exclusively on other launchers like the Epic Games Store. The best way to find out if a game can run on Steam Deck is to check if it’s on Proton’s database and how it’s rated.

Steam Deck vs Nintendo Switch price comparison

Steam Deck on an off-white surface

(Image credit: Valve)

How does the Steam Deck stack up to Nintendo's trio of Switch models when it comes to price? Remember that all Steam Deck purchases come with a free case, and the high end 512GB model includes premium anti-glare etched glass. Both the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch come with expandable storage via a microSD slot.

Steam Deck vs Nintendo Switch pricing at a glance
Price
Steam Deck (64GB) $399 / £349
Steam Deck (256GB) $529 / £459
Steam Deck (512GB) $649 / £569
Nintendo Switch $299 / £279.99 / AU$449
Nintendo Switch OLED $349 / £309 / AU$549
Nintendo Switch Lite $199.99 / £199.99 / AU$329.95

Valve's Steam Deck looks like it will provide stern competition for Nintendo's Switch, then, and could be a viable alternative for those looking to pickup a hybrid device that can also function as a desktop gaming PC, albeit at the cost of graphical performance.

Steam Deck news and updates

Steam logo

(Image credit: Steam)

Steam Deck shouldn't suffer from stick drift
There’s potentially good news for those who are worried that the Steam Deck might develop stick drift –  something which has plagued Switch owners.

In an interview with IGN, Valve hardware engineer Yazan Aldehayyat said that the team has “done a ton of testing on reliability,” in terms of the handheld’s inputs and that they chose hardware that had well-known performance records. “We didn’t want to take a risk on that, right?” Aldehayyat said. “As I’m sure our customers don’t want us to take a risk on that either.”

It’s a relief to hear that Valve has seemingly taken steps to avoid stick drift from developing on the Steam Deck, an issue that has affected countless Nintendo Switch owners and has been dubbed “Joy-Con drift”.

The internal storage could be upgradeable

The Steam Deck's internal storage could be upgradable, according to a thread on Reddit, though Valve doesn't recommend doing so. Valve notes that the system drive is “not intended for end-user replacement”, which presumably means that the M.2 socket is buried inside the device in a way that would entail taking it all apart in a warranty-voiding manner (running the risk of breaking the Steam Deck in the process, with no recourse).

Still, the possibility could be there, which might encourage more people to pick the 64GB or 256GB models if they know they can expand in the future. 

We’ll be keeping our ear to the ground for any more Steam Deck news and announcements, and will update this page accordingly should we hear more.

Oculus Quest will work with Steam Deck for VR on the go

Valve CEO Gabe Newell has confirmed that the Steam Deck will be compatible with external gaming devices and software – meaning it’ll work with systems like the Oculus Quest.

Whether the device is powerful enough to run VR games is another thing entirely, but Valve is pushing the open-aspect of the Stead Deck's design and is more than happy for users to download software from rival companies. “If there’s hardware I want to attach or software I want to install, I can just go and do it,” Newell proclaimed in an interview with IGN. We do know, however, that the Deck “is not optimized for PC VR experiences.” So, gamers will probably not be getting much use out of their VR headsets with this portable.

Steam Deck won't be limited to 30Hz

There were early concerns that you would be capped at 30fps in your favorite games, regardless of performance limitations. This has now been laid to rest after a Valve developer confirmed that the Steam Deck is targeting 30fps as a minimum, but will include manual framerate limitations for users to enhance performance should they choose to do so.

This means that we should be looking to see games run anywhere between 30fps and 60fps on the console's 800p, 60Hz display when it does launch, even current AAA titles, if Valve's testing proves accurate.

Games will run just fine off an SD card

Any fears that you need to get the most expensive model of the Steam Deck to run games at a playable quality can be put to bed. Valve developer Lawrence Yang tweeted that while games will run better on integrated storage, everything will still play just fine on a microSD.

This is great news for gamers who might be undecided as to what version of the Steam Deck they wish to buy. SD cards themselves can be a pricey investment if you're looking for something with a huge amount of storage and a speedy read/write speed, but if you already have one laying around then you could certainly save a few pennies on Valves' console.

You won't get a performance boost when docked
We may have been so concerned about the Stream Deck's ability to play games at higher frame rates that we didn't stop to consider how docking the device would affect its performance. 

Despite the Nintendo Switch boosting games to 1080p when the console is docked (up from its native 720p), Valve didn't see the need to include a similar feature for its own portable gaming device. This may mean that you'll see better performance on the Steam Deck when using it solely as a handheld, especially if you only have a large 4K TV, which is fairly common in modern homes. And, you won’t be able to use an external GPU for a performance boost either.

The Steam Deck's popularity is getting gamers to try Linux
Linux usage is spiking upwards according to the latest stats from Steam, and it seems likely that this is down to the Steam Deck driving interest in Linux gaming.

The freshly released Steam hardware survey for July shows that Linux now represents a full percentage point of all those gaming on Valve’s platform. Now, 1% might sound like a tiny amount – and it is obviously just a drop in the overall gaming ocean – but it’s a telling milestone for Linux to reach.

The Steam Deck won’t be Valve’s only handheld games machine
Valve appears to have big ambitions for future handheld gaming devices, and Nintendo, the company that’s dominated that market in the past, should be worried.

While Valve CEO Gabe Newell has already said that the Steam Deck is designed to establish “a product category that ourselves and other PC manufacturers are going to be able to participate in,” and which is “going to have long-term benefits for us,” Greg Coomer, a designer involved with the Steam Deck, has shed more light on Valve’s handheld plans.

Coomer reveals that Valve will “continue making devices in this product line.” So, it’s likely we’ll see hardware refreshes and other variations. Whether this is a Steam Deck 2, Steam Deck Pro or something else entirely isn’t obvious at the moment.

Windows 11 Support is coming to the Steam Deck
The Steam Deck should be good to go with Windows 11, for those who are thinking about replacing or dual-booting the default operating system – a custom version of Steam OS (Linux) – with Microsoft’s desktop OS.

While we already know that Windows 10 will be compatible with the portable PC for those who might want to make the switch to Microsoft, Windows 11 is a distinctly thornier issue due to its system requirements including the stipulation for TPM.

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07 Oct 2021

Nvidia may be launching an RTX 3090 Ti after all

It seems Nvidia could be sticking with the iconic Ti branding, as the rumored RTX 3090 Super may be the RTX 3090 Ti instead. But the change isn’t in name only, as the rumored graphics card will supposedly boast more CUDA cores, faster memory and more.

The RTX 3090 Ti will apparently have up to a 450W TGP (Total Graphics Power), which is 100W higher than the standard RTX 3090, according to VideoCardz sources. And while that sounds like a lot of power, remember that this hasn’t been confirmed by Nvidia, and you should take it with a grain of salt

These sources also claim that the RTX 3090 Ti will launch in January 2022, perhaps at CES 2022, alongside the RTX 3070 Ti 16GB and RTX 2060 12GB. Of course, the GPU itself as well as the release date is all still unconfirmed information, so take it with a grain of salt.

And with how pricey the RTX 3090 already is, we don’t know if Nvidia even has plans to replace it with a more powerful version, and we won’t know what Team Green is planning until it decides to pull back the curtains. Hopefully, we see it at CES, because that show isn’t too far away.

Analysis: better, faster, stronger

Initial rumors revealed that the GPU will have a new power connector as well, though it’s not confirmed whether it’ll be compatible with the PCIe Gen5 interface. But, it’s very unlikely, as Nvidia probably wouldn’t introduce a new interface in the middle of a generation – we’ll likely see PCIe 5.0 starting with the RTX 4080 in 2022 at the earliest.

The new and improved GPU is rumored to feature 10,752 CUDA cores, which is 256 more than the current RTX 3090, and 2 additional RT cores. VRAM may be clocked at  21 Gbps, compared to 19.5Gbps, and has 24GB of GDDR6X memory. Faster memory would potentially give it over 1TB of memory bandwidth, which would be excellent for creatives. 

Because if Nvidia does launch this thing, and it ends up being more expensive than the original graphics card, it will likely be out of reach for most gamers, and instead appeal more to creative professionals, who would use it in something like Blender or Adobe Premiere. 

After all, while Nvidia originally pitched the GeForce RTX 3090 as an “8K graphics card”, it was more a replacement to the Titan RTX, which was not a gaming card at all. But Nvidia is selling out of all of its gaming cards either way, even with the inflated prices, so it’s possible the company will take advantage of that to sell an even more powerful GPU. 

Via VideoCardz

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07 Oct 2021

Dell launches new range of Intel Xeon-powered servers for SMBs

As data and compute are no longer limited to the data center, Dell has updated its Dell EMC PowerEdge range of small business servers to meet the needs of organizations that require adaptive and flexible infrastructure.

With the Austin-based company's new servers, businesses of all sizes can scale effectively, process data quickly and securely and deliver more connected customer experiences both inside and outside of a data center all while optimizing costs and productivity.

These new Dell EMC PowerEdge servers are also flexible enough to address evolving IT needs while delivering real-time business value at the point of data creation wherever that may be.

Dell has introduced three new PowerEdge entry-level rack and tower servers built with Intel Xeon processors that are designed for SMBs and enterprises that need to process information securely with less latency. These new devices have also been designed with office-friendly acoustics and thermals so they won't disrupt business operations and Dell's latest PowerEdge servers can be used inside data centers as well as in edge environments including remote/branch offices, retail, hospitality and logistics operations.

Dell EMC PowerEdge T350, R350 and T550

The Dell EMC PowerEdge T350 and R350 are entry-level rack and tower servers built with the new Intel Xeon E-2300 processors and provide additional compute capabilities, memory and storage to increase productivity. They're also flexible, affordable and can be used for business-critical workloads, cloud infrastructure and point of sale (POS) transactions.

In order to ensure continuous operations of applications and services, both the PowerEdge T350 and R350 have high availability features such as hot-plug boot drive options and customers can take advantage of expanded storage options to meet their growing data management challenges. These new one-socket PowerEdge servers have a smaller footprint and the T350 features an updated design that is 37 percent smaller than the previous generation.

Later this year, Dell also plans to release the PowerEdge T550, which is powered by 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors, and features a flexible two-socket tower design that balances expandability and performance. The device supports technologies for enterprise-class workloads including AI and inferencing, virtualization, medical imaging, data analytics and software-defined storage.

We'll likely hear more about pricing and other details from Dell once we get closer to the release of the Dell EMC PowerEdge T350, R360 and T550.

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07 Oct 2021

Facebook denies end to 'WFH forever' rule in wake of mega outage

Is the era of hybrid working coming to at an end for Facebook employees? That's the suggestion of a report detailing a full return to the office for all of the social media staffers -- a report Facebook tells TechRadar is categorically wrong.

Wrestling with the changing nature of office work after the COVID-19 outbreak, Facebook offered a "WFH forever" approach last year, as detailed by Mark Zuckerberg in May of 2020 during a livestream on his personal Facebook page.

"I think that it’s possible that over the next five to 10 years - maybe closer to 10 than five, but somewhere in that range - I think we could get to about half of the company working remotely permanently,” Zuckerberg said. A Daily Mail report Thursday claimed that Facebook was ending this policy completely - a report Facebook tells TechRadar is flat out wrong.

"The Daily Mail article is completely inaccurate," a company representative told us. "There has not been a change to our policy. As we announced in August, we are working to return our teams safely back to the office in January 2022."

The news came days after Facebook suffered a major outage, which the Daily Mail suggested would have been a lot less devastating had people been in its American headquarters.

Some reports claimed company keycards were also knocked offline, meaning employees were unable to gain access to the offices or the server rooms - with some claiming employees were forced to, quite literally, break in. In other words, the outage didn't just take down Facebook's website, along with Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, but it also affected company resources.

Relying on internal servers

The largest tech companies have wrestled for months with how best to handle employees who either prefer to work from home or simply aren't allowed to return to offices yet. Google employees now have to apply to work from home, for example, while both Amazon and Apple expect the bulk of their workforce to return to the office in January 2022.

Explaining the root causes of the outage, Facebook said the worldwide disruption to its services was caused by 'configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers.' 

The outage lasted for seven hours, also knocking out businesses who rely on Facebook and Instagram.

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07 Oct 2021

Google Cloud wants to boost your cloud computing skills

To help businesses with their digital transformation efforts, Google Cloud has announced its new goal of equipping more than 40m people with cloud computing skills.

The company is launching Google Cloud Skills Boost which will serve as the definitive destination for online learning, skills development and certifications  that will be managed and delivered directly to Google Cloud.

Beginning today, Google Cloud Skills Boost will provide users with access to more than 700 hands-on labs, role-based courses, skill badges and certification resources including 16 new learning paths that will be available on-demand globally.

Google Cloud's new online learning platform also features all of the company's most in-demand training including courses such as “Getting Started with Goggle Kubernetes Engine”, “How Google Does Machine Learning”, “Preparing for the Professional Cloud Architect Certification Exam” and more.

Google Cloud Skills Boost

At launch, Google Cloud Skills Boost will be available in both English and Japanese though Google Cloud plans to add support for additional languages going forward.

Users of the service will be able to personalize their learning paths, track progress and validate their newly-earned expertise with skill badges that show employers their proficiency in skills that are in high demand. These skills can help boost their careers as two of the highest-paying IT certifications this year are both on Google Cloud.

As cloud innovation happens fast, Google Cloud's teams will continue to update content and release new labs and courses each month.

Whether you're looking for a new job or a promotion at your current one, obtaining new cloud computing skills can help give you an edge over the competition. Google Cloud is also running a promotion where users that sign up for Google Cloud Skills Boost by November 6 will receive their first month of content at no-cost which makes it even easier to earn a certification or pick up a new skill.

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07 Oct 2021

This is it, the worst gaming chair I've ever seen

When it comes to gaming chairs, they're pretty much all terrible at actually being chairs. There's so much marketing around them, but they all end up screwing up your back and won't be as comfortable as a regular office chair. 

But sometimes a manufacturer shows off something so bizarre that I just don't know what to make of it. A couple of years ago this meant a bunch of gaming chairs that were basically giant cockpits, with built-in arms to hold a gaming monitor and compartments for your PC. These monsters would cost you thousands of dollars, and still end with you seeing a chiropractor in a couple of years. 

But Gigabyte just showed off one of the most bizarre gaming chairs we've seen yet – and it's inflatable. Now, to be clear, this chair isn't on sale yet or anything, the only gaming chairs on Gigabyte's website are your standard fare that's supposed to look like a racecar seat for some reason, but it's totally possible that Gigabyte will sell this thing eventually and if it does, I don't know if I can stop my morbid curiosity to sit in this thing. 

See more

Who thought this was a good idea? 

To put things a bit in perspective, Gigabyte is most well known for making PC components like motherboards, graphics cards, and other such things. So, its fanbase – at least to the extent of people that would buy a Gigabyte-branded chair – are probably playing the best PC games, rather than chilling in their living rooms playing on PS5

But for the life of me, I cannot imagine anyone setting up this weird chair-beach-ball-hybrid-thing next to their desk, and if they did, could you imagine how uncomfortable it would be? Gigabyte didn't share anything beyond a tweet with some images, so we can't see the dimensions, but this certainly doesn't look tall enough to be of much use at a desk, which leaves the living room. 

Even there, though, this chair is a recipe for disaster. Can you imagine sitting down to play, I don't know, Call of Duty or whatever and you drop some Doritos and make this chair spring a leak? I don't know how much of an issue that would actually be, but Twitter user @zinitti puts it best. 

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I can just imagine how fast this chair would deflate after a little while, too, which means even if you didn't pop it with an errant chip, you would have to occasionally reinflate it if you plan on regularly sitting on it. 

One of the only situations that I think this thing would be genuinely useful in, is if you had guests and didn't have enough seats. But even then, the chair looks like it does, so probably wouldn't be something you pull out in front of guests. I just don't know who this is for. 

Gaming computer, laptop, keyboard, headphones and mouse

(Image credit: Shyntartanya / Shutterstock)

It probably won't actually be a thing you can buy

I reached out to Gigabyte to ask it to tell me everything about this chair, and I'll update this article if I hear anything back, but let's be real: this thing probably isn't, well, real. Even if it is, I doubt it'll be a product you can readily buy. 

And I'm going to be honest, the second I see this thing at an event or something, I will absolutely sit in it. Because at the very least, the top of the chair looks like it's pretty soft, which might be nice, at least for a little while. 

But that doesn't stop my mind from going wild trying to imagine how much Gigabyte would charge for this thing. I seriously doubt it would cost as much as its other gaming chairs, which start at $388 on Newegg in the US – with red LEDs, because of course – but I could totally see Gigabyte charging upwards of $100 just for the novelty alone. 

That price absolutely wouldn't be worth it, unless you're really committed to the bit of having an inflatable gamer chair. And, honestly I don't know if I could blame you, because I might do the same. 

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07 Oct 2021

HP Work From Home bundles print and PCs together for the first time

In an effort to make things easier for businesses implementing hybrid work policies, HP has announced that it will combine its printers, PCs and supplies in a new offering called HP Work from Home.

With HP Work from Home, IT leaders will be able to securely deploy and manage the company's PCs, printers and supplies to a distributed workforce. This way their employees can be just as productive when working from home as they are at the office.

While hybrid work comes with a number of benefits due to its flexibility, there are also a lot of challenges that businesses implementing this new way of working will need to overcome. HP believes it can help organizations transition to hybrid work by ensuring their employees have all of the tools and supplies they need to do their jobs regardless of where they're working from.

Global head and general manager of HP Inc's personal systems services division, Sumeer Chandra provided further insight on the company's new offering in a press release, saying:

“While there are a lot of benefits to hybrid work, there are also a lot of challenges. With this combined offering, CIOs and IT managers can easily procure, deploy, and manage PCs and printers, plus ink or toner, no matter where the workforce is located.”

HP Work from Home

The HP Work from Home service includes PCs and printers delivered to both the office and employees' homes, auto replenishment of ink and toner, remote diagnostics and next-business day support and hardware-enforced protection built into select devices for always-on security for its PCs and printers.

Additionally, HP plans to add cloud security management and secure print path capabilities to its new offering this winter to provide IT admins with increased visibility while simplifying the management of essential security settings for remote devices.

HP Work from Home is available in the US now and the program is expected to launch in additional countries throughout 2021 and 2022.

  • We've also featured all the gear you'll need to work from home successfully

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07 Oct 2021

Is your Twitch login data safe? Yes - for now

Twitch has moved to reassure users that their private data is safe, shortly after the company suffered a huge data leak.

The gaming streaming platform Twitch has outlined in a blog post what it knows so far about the "Twitch Security Incident" that reportedly saw all its internal source code and data leaked online.

Some Twitch users have reported being asked to change their passwords for the service, but the company has not issued a blanket request to do so just yet.

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And despite earlier worries, Twitch has reassured users that their personally identifiable information (PII) was not affected by the hack, meaning details such as names, addresses and credit card information are all safe - although there are still fears that the hacker could have this information in their possession.

Another hack incoming?

"We have learned that some data was exposed to the internet due to an error in a Twitch server configuration change that was subsequently accessed by a malicious third party," the Twitch blog post read. "Our teams are working with urgency to investigate the incident."

"As the investigation is ongoing, we are still in the process of understanding the impact in detail. We understand that this situation raises concerns, and we want to address some of those here while our investigation continues."

"At this time, we have no indication that login credentials have been exposed. We are continuing to investigate."

The company noted that it had reset all stream keys, with users available to get new details via the blog post. Depending on which broadcast software you use, you may need to manually update your software with this new key to start your next stream, Twitch added.

Twitch emphasises that full credit card numbers are not stored by Twitch, so this data was not exposed.

The details of the hack are still emerging, however Twitch's admission that the leake was due to an internal misconfiguration appears to imply that the attack was malicious and external.

The leak, posted to 4chan as a torrent estimated at around 125GB in size, was labelled as "part one", suggesting that further data could still be released in the future.

The data was supposedly obtained just days ago, with the hacker claiming Twitch was aware of the leak - which is thought to contain a range of confidential product roadmaps. 

The torrent also includes the proprietary SDKs and internal AWS services used by the platform, as well as data from all other Twitch-owned properties including IGDB and CurseForge, and lots more.

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07 Oct 2021

Hostinger vs SiteGround: which is the more reliable web hosting provider?

If you’re searching for a good web hosting provider, chances are you’ve read about the four crucial aspects to consider: speed, security, scalability and support. These four S’s provide websites with a competitive edge, allowing them to manage the influx of traffic they are expecting. 

There’s a number of web hosting providers in the market that offer plans with prices anywhere from $4 to $100 a month. However, choosing which plan is perfect for your business has a dozen more considerations, including the four S’s mentioned above, but pricing is a good place to start. Once you’ve decided on the budget, the amount of traffic expected can be determined or estimated, as well as the type of server preferred. 

If you’ve narrowed your choices down to two of the top European web hosting providers, Hostinger and SiteGround, this article will show you why the pair are worthy contenders. 

Hostinger has the best cloud hosting service
Cloud hosting is a new buzzing category and Hostinger is top of the list with its advanced solution. The cheapest plan provides unlimited bandwidth, hosting for up to 300 websites, and up to 100 email accounts per domain, plus a plethora of other features. It's keenly priced as well at $9.99 per month.

SiteGround provides easy website management

Perfect for single websites, it includes 10GB of storage space, unmetered traffic, free SSL and email, daily backup, and more. This month, SiteGround is bringing the prices of all of their plans down for annual purchases. That means from $14.99 per month, their StartUp plan now only markets for $4.99 per month.

Hostinger vs SiteGround: main similarities 

Both Hostinger and SiteGround offer 100% uptime, making them among the most reliable web hosting providers out there. Both also guarantee support to ensure that help is always available 24/7/365. Users will also find the free drag-and-drop website builder both companies offer that will make building a website from scratch not only possible, but a surprisingly simple task.

As over 60 million of today’s websites are currently using WordPress, Hostinger and SiteGround are excellent choices if you’re leaning towards a WordPress account. Hostinger offers one-click WordPress installation. While SiteGround’s WordPress installation involves three more steps, it is fairly easy nevertheless, making it also a great hosting option for WordPress sites. 

Price comparison

Hostinger plan prices

Hostinger pricing (Image credit: Hostinger)

Key factors such as pricing and speed prove substantially different between the two hosting giants. For instance, Hostinger’s basic plan starts at $1.39 per month, whereas SiteGround is not so meager with $4.99 per month. Premium plans go just a little higher for Hostinger, which goes from $2.59 to $3.99, while Hostinger’s top tier plans are higher at $7.99 and $14.99 per month respectively. 

Kickstarting a website sometimes tends to require testing out which features will likely be needed. It’s helpful to be able to have free trials in cases like this, instead of having to pay upright for a plan that might not end up working. However, both Hostinger and SiteGround offer free plans. These plans do come with trade-offs such as ads and limited bandwidth (Hostinger), or friend referrals (SiteGround). 

Domain names

SiteGround domains

SiteGround domains (Image credit: SiteGround)

SiteGround lets you use a domain you own or register a new one when you activate a hosting account. Pricing depends on the extension you choose, i.e., for a .com domain, the cost is $15.95/year, while a .net domain costs $17.95/year, and so on. 

Although it used to, SiteGround does not offer free domain names with their hosting plans anymore. This might sound like bad news, but SiteGround’s transparency lets users know this instead of misleading information that makes them think otherwise. 

On the other hand, Hostinger gives users who subscribe to the annual premium or business hosting plans a free local domain name. It can be a .com, any local or a .net domain.

However, the domain only remains free of charge in the first year, after which a .com will cost $8.99 per year, a .online will cost $0.99, and so on. Hostinger is known to offer the cheapest domains available today.

Web hosting

SiteGround’s plans come with the essentials for a great hosting service, including 10GB of web space, a website, free sitebuilder, etc. These features are geared towards providing users with a headstart for their site and business. With its competitive pricing for monthly and annual plans, a handful of free services for subscribed users, features business-related sites can lean on, and remarkable customer support, SiteGround and its shared web hosting plans has earned its spot in the most trusted web hosting providers today.

Hostinger’s shared hosting plans provide features for beginners, personal websites, and small businesses alike. Features include from a single website (basic plan) to up to 100 websites, massive storage, free SSL, unlimited bandwidth (for premium plans), and a lot more. As expected, the premium and business shared hosting plans get more features than the basic plan, which includes free domain for a year. That said, the basic plan still provides a great hosting platform for a startup website.

Other hosting services SiteGround offers include WordPress hosting, WooCommerce hosting, Reseller Hosting, Cloud hosting, and Enterprise hosting, while Hostinger has Managed WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, Cloud hosting with a premium domain name, Email hosting, and web design services in the form of a custom website builder that comes with all hosting plans. 

Account Setup 

Hostinger’s hPanel allows users to finish setting up their hosting accounts relatively quickly. Completing the order takes less than a minute to complete. After completing the order, members can easily navigate to the member’s area which contains all the necessary tools in configuring the hosting account. 

On the other hand, SiteGround’s setup wizard provides an on-boarding solution to make setting up a less tedious experience for the user. Whether setting up a new site or migrating one, a single log in is needed, providing access to the backend section which makes site management quick and easy. 

cPanel comparison 

Hostinger cPanel

Hostinger cPanel (Image credit: Hostinger)

SiteGround has site tools that are equally easier to use compared to cPanel as Hostinger’s hPanel. SiteGround’s site tools are essentially the website’s control panel, which can be accessed on the dashboard after logging in. It replaces the cPanel altogether, which fares well for users who find it difficult to deal with. 

hPanel, on the other hand, is described as a more comfortable version of cPanel, created exclusively for Hostinger. It is available with all of Hostinger’s web hosting plans, and is comprehensive and easy to use, not to mention aesthetically pleasing. hPanel comes with a menu where users can access and manage their website’s settings.

Website builder 

Hostinger lets users build beautiful websites like a pro using Zyro, a fast, easy and powerful alternative to complex website creation that requires coding skills. Zyro is a drag-and-drop platform that has both free and paid versions. 

SiteGround also has a free drag-and-drop website builder that requires no technical skills. This website builder comes with responsive themes, and storefront themes and payment options for eCommerce sites. Accessing this website builder is as easy as clicking on the User Area of the control panel and clicking on Sitebuilder. Thanks to SiteGround’s Sitebuilder, building a website on the platform can be done in five easy steps. 

Customer support

SiteGround customer support

SiteGround customer support (Image credit: SiteGround)

Both Hostinger and SiteGround are known for exceptional customer support. This includes knowledgeable and fast support teams, and fast response time. 

Hostinger’s 24/7 support line can be reached in several ways - live chat, email, and a ticketing system, but users are also encouraged to use self-help channels such as the help page and activating the AI chatbot. 

It’s also 24/7 for SiteGround’s “insanely fast and notoriously competent” hosting support with a friendly and helpful team. Channels available are live chat, phone support, and helpdesk tickets, and there are also self-help options involving a smart AI chatbot, help pages, and automated solutions. 

Verdict

For a third of the cost of SiteGround’s plans, Hostinger is not an overall bad choice. It offers the same unlimited bandwidth and storage for the premium plans, an easy hPanel control system, free website migration, free domain for a year, and a better performance with 1.5s average page load time. 

SiteGround doesn’t fall behind, optimizing WordPress sites and offering above average speeds as well as a handful of features that come in handy. As both offer the same excellent customer support, 99.99% uptime, easy and user-friendly interfaces for website building, and fast page speed, the only major difference to consider is in the pricing. Hostinger definitely takes the lead.

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07 Oct 2021

High-severity WordPress plugin bug puts thousands of websites at risk

Researchers have disclosed a severe security vulnerability affecting a WordPress plugin installed across more than 20,000 websites.

According to a blog post from security firm Wordfence, the bug is present in older versions of the Access Demo Importer plugin, which lets WordPress users import demo content, widgets, theme options and other settings to their sites.

If exploited, the vulnerability could reportedly allow attackers with subscriber-level access to upload arbitrary files that set the stage for remote code execution. Wordfence says that sites with open registration could be particularly vulnerable to this exploit.

The vulnerability has been assigned a severity score of 8.8/10 as per the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS).

WordPress plugin vulnerability

The Access Demo Importer vulnerability is said to originate in a feature that allows users to install plugins hosted outside of the official WordPress repository.

“Unfortunately, this function had no capability check, nor any nonce checks, which made it possible for authenticated users with minimal permissions, like subscribers,  to install a zip file as a ‘plugin’ from an external source,” explained Wordfence.

“This ‘plugin’ zip file could contain malicious PHP files, including webshells, that could be used to achieve remote code execution and ultimately completely take over a site.”

The vulnerability was first identified by Wordfence in early August. After a series of failed attempts to get in contact with the vendor, the security firm escalated the issue to the WordPress.org team and the plugin was pulled down to allow the developers to put together a patch. A partial fix was rolled out in early September, followed by a comprehensive patch on September 21.

To shield against attack, WordPress users are advised to update to the latest version of the Access Demo Importer plugin (version 1.0.7) immediately.

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07 Oct 2021

Overcoming data protection challenges in the New Normal

Data is as valuable as currency today, and every business needs to protect it.

Hardware and software failures, data corruption, ransomware attacks, or simple accidental deletion can result in lost data, damaged reputations, and missed revenue

About the author

Mike Chen is the senior sales manager at Synology.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it even more risks to data protection.

Cybercrime has increased six times since the beginning of the pandemic, according to PurpleSec, while the FBI has been receiving up to 4,000 cybersecurity complaints each day.

In the first half of 2021, Accenture found a 125% rise in the global volume of cyber intrusion activity compared with the same period in 2020, which included targeted ransomware, extortion operations, and supply chain intrusions.

The increase in cyberthreats has spurred businesses to take precautions to keep their digital assets secure. It is now commonly acknowledged that the best data protection practices focus both on prevention and recovery.

As we enter the post-pandemic era, more challenges lie ahead. We are now at a critical crossroads where businesses must find a backup solution that provides comprehensive countermeasures.

The challenges to come in the New Normal

Skyrocketing data growth

The amount of data businesses create continues to grow. Global data consumption is forecast to reach 79 zettabytes in 2021 and over 180 zettabytes, or 180 trillion GB, by 2025. The installed base of storage capacities is also expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 19.2% from 2020 to 2025.

As data grows, so does the cost to store it. Coupled with the expense of scalability and backup measures for future business expansion, the costs of storing and protecting data may grow faster than many IT budgets can keep up with.

Remote and hybrid working models

Whether out of necessity or choice, many businesses are adopting remote and hybrid work models. Yet, these setups may unknowingly put data security at risk, as IT admins have less oversight and limited control over employees working in a remote setup.

From weak home networking security to unsecured endpoint devices using VPNs for remote connectivity and intranet access, these could all create vulnerabilities for cybercriminals to exploit.

Should incidents like accidental data deletion or employees falling victim to phishing campaigns happen remotely, IT support may not be as prompt.

With workloads being scattered across various employee devices and platforms in a remote working setup, IT teams may be faced with infrastructures that are difficult to manage and back up.

These challenges can lead not only to higher administration costs, but also to formidable cyberthreats to a company’s digital assets.

Compliance with legal requirements

As time spent online and data consumption surge during the pandemic, the onus on businesses to handle all this new data responsibly strengthens.

Even before the pandemic, data privacy and security were increasingly in the public eye, as concerns about how organizations use consumer data continue to mount alongside shocking stories of significant data breaches.

In response, governments have started to implement compliance regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) to hold companies accountable and protect personal data. Businesses may be at risk of major fines if they fail to comply as a result of data breaches, unlawful storage of, or unauthorized sharing of data.

Organizations must be transparent about the customer data they store, why it is stored, and how it is secured. To remain compliant, organizations are met with the challenge of building a comprehensive data protection solution that addresses safe data storage, backup, and recovery.

Overcoming challenges and embracing the New Normal

A solid data backup and recovery plan is integral to making sure digital assets remain intact, enabling businesses to get back to normal service as seamlessly as possible in the event of disruptions or disaster.

The ideal backup and recovery solution should come with essential features that address the challenges of the New Normal and remain future-proof in the face of advancing technological landscapes.

1. Centralized management for easy deployment

A centralized backup solution can greatly reduce IT efforts. The best backup solutions offer intuitive backup management for all endpoints, including servers, virtual machines, and SaaS applications.

With one simple console, IT teams can deploy and monitor backup tasks, and stay alert with timely notifications and detailed reports.

Backups are less effective without fast and easy restoration options. Leading solutions offer near-instantaneous restoration to minimize costly service downtime. With an easy-to-use centralized backup solution, individual employees can be trusted to restore their data using flexible recovery options without burdening IT admins.

2. Maximize storage efficiency with future-proof technology

Data loss can happen at any time and in a multitude of ways. Keeping consistent backups of all devices and platforms is critical.

Considering rapidly increasing data volumes, backup procedures can have a significant impact on data and storage consumption, resulting in both longer backup wait times, higher bandwidth usage, and increased costs.

Advanced backup solutions overcome these challenges through incremental backup technology, which saves a copy only of changed or newly added files since the last backup, and data deduplication, a technology that eliminates identical data blocks across backed up workloads. The best backup solutions offer both options while also giving attention to storage device deployment. It is essential to find a solution that is flexible and scalable enough to meet the needs of growing businesses without requiring the replacement of existing IT infrastructure.

3. Integrated solutions for cost-effectiveness

Managing business data can be time-consuming and expensive. Upfront costs, ongoing capacity upgrades, routine maintenance, integration with separate vendors, periodic firmware and software updates, repairs, and recurring license fees are just some of the prices to pay. These expenses can pile up quickly and result in an exorbitant total cost of ownership.

Having a backup service that integrates hardware and software can mitigate these costs. Some providers offer built-in backup applications that achieve full data protection, including backup tasks for physical and virtual environments, and even saving off-site copies to the cloud. By consolidating acquisition, deployment, and technical support with one vendor, IT admins can have a comprehensive backup and recovery plan in place without paying additional license or maintenance fees.

4. Create a backup for your backups

Having one copy of your primary data is not enough to protect against the rising threat posed by cybercriminals, or to remain compliant with increasingly demanding regulations.

A good backup plan should always include a secondary backup. An ideal plan will comply with the golden 3-2-1 backup rule by creating three copies of your data on two different media, with one copy stored off-site for disaster recovery.

An example of this could be storing the production data of a video project on a PC, and creating multiple backups of that data, with one stored on the PC and another on the cloud or on an external hard drive for an extra layer of protection.

Choosing a one-stop backup solution for today’s data protection needs

Finding a solution that rises to the challenges and threats brought forward by the New Normal can be overwhelming, but that does not make it less imperative. Now is the time for businesses to up their backup game.

Businesses should consider an effective, long-term backup and recovery solution that addresses modern data challenges.

For an affordable, complete solution suited for Businesses, NAS is an excellent choice, which delivers a license-free solution that comes with centralized data protection and leverages storage efficiency.

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07 Oct 2021

Linux on Apple M1 Macs is finally here, and usable

After months of waiting, Linux can be run on Apple M1-powered devices, the developers behind one of the leading community projects has said. 

The Asahi Linux project, headed by Hector Martin, has revealed in its latest progress report that its software build can now be used for “basic” tasks.

Don’t expect all the bells and whistles of an Apple device just yet, as although Asahi Linux developers have succeeded in merging most of the necessary drivers (PCIe, USB-C, Pinctrl, device power management, display control, to name a few) for Linux 5.16, it still doesn’t have GPU acceleration.

"With these drivers, M1 Macs are actually usable as desktop Linux machines," the progress report reads. "While there is no GPU acceleration yet, the M1's CPUs are so powerful that a software-rendered desktop is actually faster on them than on e.g., Rockchip ARM64 machines with hardware acceleration."

Proprietary hardware

What made porting Linux onto an M1 device so difficult is the fact that the SoC uses a proprietary GPU. 

In order to get GPU acceleration to work, developers would need to build a new driver, from the ground up. This is a big deal because certain programs use this proprietary hardware and without proper drivers, they won’t be able to run. In other words, even after porting, Apple owners shouldn’t expect a full Linux experience just yet. 

One of the next steps would be to create a full installer for the project as, at the moment, only community members can experience native LInux on an M1 device. Talking to The Register, Martin, confirmed that the installer is in the works.

"Once we have a stable kernel foundation, we will start publishing an 'official' installer that we expect will see more wide usage among the adventurous," Martin said. 

Via: The Register

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07 Oct 2021

Nvidia GeForce Now gives you another way to play Far Cry 6

Nvidia’s GeForce Now service is offering Far Cry 6 for streaming as of now, on the launch day of the shooter.

Six more games will join it in this week’s fresh offerings, including PC Building Simulator (come on, you can’t wait to try that freebie – don’t deny it).

Plus there’s more good news for later in October, with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy joining the GeForce Now streaming party, as well as Riders Republic, both at launch (as had been announced previously, along with Far Cry 6).

Here’s the full list of games coming this week:

  • Far Cry 6 (new game launch on Ubisoft Connect)
  • F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch (new game launch on Steam)
  • PC Building Simulator (Free on Epic Games Store, October 7) 
  • The Bus (Steam)
  • Going Medieval (Steam)
  • Gone Home (Steam)
  • Space Haven (Steam) 

And these are the titles due to arrive later in October:

  • Buccaneers! (new game launch on Steam)
  • Disciples: Liberation (new game launch on Steam and Epic Games Store)
  • Fire Commander (new game launch on Steam)
  • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (new game launch on Steam and Epic Games Store)
  • Riders Republic (new game launch on Ubisoft Connect)
  • The Riftbreaker (new game launch on Steam and Epic Games Store)
  • Sword and Fairy 7 (new game launch on Steam)
  • The Unliving (new game launch on Steam)
  • The Forgotten City (Steam and Epic Games Store)
  • Gone Home (Steam)
  • Hide and Shriek (Steam)
  • The Last Friend (Steam and Epic Games Store)
  • Legend of Keepers (Steam and Epic Games Store)
  • Paradise Killer (Steam)
  • Steins;Gate 0 (Steam)
  • Townscaper (Steam)

Analysis: Forging ahead with plenty of new games

In total, that makes 23 new games coming to GeForce Now in October, which is a tidy amount (following a whirlwind of 59 new introductions in September, notably including games from EA). In short, Nvidia’s service is rapidly picking up steam (ahem), and certainly having some big-name titles on launch day this month represents some serious extra feathering of the streaming cap.

Far Cry 6 is of course the central gem in October’s game streaming crown, with the shooter being much-anticipated (and having some major pull in terms of Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito playing the part of the dictatorial villain).

Given that the recommended spec calls for an AMD Ryzen 5 3600X or Intel Core i7-7700 CPU, plus a GTX 1080 or RX Vega 64 GPU, and 16GB of system RAM, there may be some folks who are looking for an alternative way to play Far Cry 6 on a lower-powered machine – and that’s where streaming comes in, naturally. Although you are then reliant on the quality of your internet connection rather than hardware.

Further note that Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy comes with ray tracing and DLSS, and GeForce Now subscribers will get those RTX-powered benefits, too.

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