Press coverage

Think Different (please)

Think Different (please)

Written by Richard Adams on Monday, 07 August 2017. Posted in Press coverage, PC Pro, Information Technology

This letter was written by Alan Ingram (Technical Director) and published by PC Pro magazine in their October 2017 edition (issue 276, page 28).

Why is Jon Honeyball obsessed with Apple? In issue 275, he tells us all about Samsung's desktop-on-a-phone idea, which it pinched from Microsoft. Both seem to have done a good job, but neither is apparently acceptable, and Jon is waiting for Apple to have a go instead.

Apple is the company that just spent $5 billion on a donut for its new HQ but can't seem to innovate even the simplest of commodities, like a new Wi-Fi router to replace its defunct AirPort range. It seems that all 100,000+ of its employees are too busy designing the all-new iPhone to think up anything new, so he may be waiting some time.

Read the full letter here.

Wireless in the real world

Wireless in the real world

Written by Richard Adams on Wednesday, 01 July 2015. Posted in Press coverage, PC Pro, Information Technology

This article was published in PC Pro magazine in July 2015 (issue 249, page 114) and features comments from Alan Ingram (Technical Director).

Around a year ago, PC Pro received an email from reader Alan Ingram with a plea for help. He wrote:

One aspect of Wi-Fi technology that seems to have been forgotten about is point-to-point connections. I’m responsible for two sites that employ point-to-point Wi-Fi to link buildings. Both have challenges of distance, line-of-sight and so on. But after a lot of messing around, the best solution I came up with has been a pair of Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 running DD-WRT connected up to D-Link ANT24-210021dBi directional 11g grid antennas. This gave me a reasonably quick connection (a little of 20Mbits/sec) over a few hundred metres, even when line-of-sight was iffy at best.

However, this kit is now seven years old. With VDSL I could theoretically achieve similar speeds by routing the data halfway around the country via a consumer-level broadband connection to each building; there must be a better solution now?

The problem seems to be that most of the advances in Wi-Fi are around MIMO, which require a router looking like a Christmas tree, with more and more antennas. This doesn’t lend itself well to directional antennas from what I can gather. Has there been a wireless standard or router since 802.11g that’s designed for single antennas, that allows for better stability and throughput than 802.11G?

Alan is Founder and Technical Director at ePartner Consulting Ltd in Lightwater, Surrey, a company that’s heavily into areas such as business process management, workflow automation and data capture. The company uses its site-to-site wireless link mainly for things such as VM replication, where Alan reports that the initial copying can take days.

Buyers beware!

Buyers beware!

Written by Richard Adams on Wednesday, 01 April 2015. Posted in Press coverage, PC Pro, Information Technology

This letter was written by Alan Ingram (Technical Director) and published in PC Pro magazine in April 2015 (issue 246, page 30).

For many years, my advice to online buyers has been to purchase with a credit card. This way, if something goes wrong, you have someone on your side who has a legal imperative to refund your money, even if the original vendor disappears.

Now PayPal and Apple are marketing themselves as ubiquitous payment systems for purchases. You can buy anything from anyone, even from physical vendors, using such services – but they aren’t covered by the Consumer Credit Act. Although PayPal highlights its “Buyer Protection”, my experience is that, unless the details of the transaction and procedure you followed fall within its defined small print, you won’t be covered. With credit card transactions, the Consumer Credit Act provides consumer protection first and foremost, with no burden on the consumer to meet any arbitrary requirements.

Will Apple’s new payment-processing system be any more effective in protecting consumers? Until the legislators catch up, people need to be made aware of just what they’re giving away by clicking that seemingly inconsequential option of paying by PayPal!

Read the full letter here.

Scratching the surface

Scratching the surface

Written by Richard Adams on Friday, 01 March 2013. Posted in Press coverage, PC Pro, Information Technology

This letter was written by Alan Ingram (Technical Director) and published in PC Pro magazine in March 2013 (issue 221, page 10).

I read PC Pro and Jon Honeyball’s columns with interest, but his constant criticism of Microsoft (see issue 220, p70), and his love for Apple, seems inappropriate. Microsoft has made mistakes while pioneering an industry – who can forget the Internet Explorer monopoly debacle – but a decade later, Apple exhibits a much greater control over its own devices.

With the Surface RT, Microsoft has done something bold and unexpected. However, rather than praise or even acknowledge this achievement, Honeyball focuses on the absence of macros and its lack of suitability for power users. It’s designed for home and student users, and they won’t care.

For years Honeyball has been a strong advocate of Microsoft preventing unsigned code on Windows, which wipes out legacy apps in one swoop, but now it’s happened because of a change of processor or architecture – and suddenly Microsoft is being “unfair”.

It isn’t worth waiting for the intel-based Surface Pro, either; it will cost twice as much and lack the benefits of lifestyle tablets.

Let’s hope that macros and desktop apps are included in version two but, for the time being, let’s not be churlish; Microsoft has made a unique device that many people like. It’s certainly worth acknowledging that rather than praising Apple for including the new Lightening connector on its iPhones and iPads.

Read the full letter here.

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