One in six don't have any protection
By Ian GRAYSON
Every so often an industry survey comes along that makes you scratch your head - like one that's discovered one in every six PCs has no anti-virus protection.
According to research by McAfee, there are an alarming number of computer users who are either ignorant or don't believe they face any risks each time they go online. Anyway you look at it, that's a scary number.
On a country-by-country basis, the research found Singapore topped the unprotected list with 21.75 per cent of PCs at risk. Australia was sitting at number 15 (together with Norway) at 15.72 per cent.
While the research focused on consumer users, you can bet the numbers are still a worry if you delve into the small business world. Many SMB owners tend to be more focused on staying afloat in challenging economic times than on managing their IT systems.
Yet, if basics such as anti-virus software are being missed, where does that leave things such as patch updates and back-ups?
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Leaked iPhone 5 pics deliberately steal headlines from Samsung Galaxy S III?
By Adam TURNER
Timing is everything when it comes to leaks.
Samsung is launching its long-awaited Galaxy S III smartphone around the world this week, with people reportedly lining up in the street to buy it. But unfortunately for Samsung, its new Android superphone is competing for column inches with a phone which may not even exist.
The Apple rumour mill has gone into overdrive again, this time fuelled by supposed shots of the mythical iPhone 5. The leaked photos come just days after the Wall Street Journal unveiled details of Apple's upcoming improvements to iCloud. Despite Apple's legendary veil of secrecy, these iPhone 5 photos and iCloud details have managed to hit the headlines at just at the right time to steal Samsung's thunder. How unlucky can you get?
Let's not beat around the bush here. The intense rivalry between Apple and Samsung has turned ugly in recent times. By dragging Samsung through the courts, Apple has made it perfectly clear that it sees Samsung's Android gadgets as a real threat. But lawyers aren't the only way to inflict pain on your competitors. Strategically leaking information is a tried and true way of hitting your opponent where it hurts while being able to feign innocence.
Former Apple executives have publicly admitted that the company strategically leaks information about upcoming products. Considering such an admission, it's not much of a stretch to think that Apple would deliberately time a leak to steal the spotlight away from a significant iPhone rival. Apple has perfected the art of manipulating public opinion, knowing that even the slightest details regarding the next iPhone -- true or otherwise -- will whip the media into a frenzy and dominate the headlines for days.
This isn't to say that those who published the supposed iPhone 5 photos and iCloud details willingly colluded with Apple. They're just doing what any journo does when handed a scoop. But it's an amazing coincidence that such scoops fell into the right hands just as Samsung is launching the most anticipated iPhone rival of the year.
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Another sign that Mac is becoming Apple's neglected child
By Stephen WITHERS
Scoot over to the iTunes Store and you'll find a free Single of the Week and now a free App of the Week (currently a $US0.99 game called 'Cut The Rope').
But there's nothing similar at the Mac App Store. All Apple's offering to Mac owners is a pointer to 'Editor's Choice' apps at their usual prices (which, it must be said, is free in some cases).
The thing about app stores is that if you don't visit, you don't spend. The knowledge that there's going to be a new, free item every week is a fairly strong incentive to stop by regularly. As it is, about the only time I visit is when the badge on the App Store's Dock icon tells me there are multiple updates waiting to be downloaded.
And talking of neglect, the 'We Want a New Macpro' [sic] Facebook page is gaining attention. As of this writing it has over 14,500 Likes, and the count is still growing.
Started by Lou Borella earlier this month, it's essentially an online petition asking Apple to clarify its plans for the Mac Pro. Is a new model coming, is the Mac Pro about to follow the Xserve into oblivion, or is Apple going to license the OS to a manufacturer that can build powerful desktops?
I can see where Lou's coming from. Historically, new Mac Pro models appeared at 14 or 17 month intervals. It's now been almost 22 months since the last announcement if you exclude (as I would) the 'Server' configuration.
As powerful as today's iMacs are compared with their predecessors, some people need (in the sense of being able to cost-justify) the fastest processors, 64GB of RAM, scads of internal storage, and multiple - as in more than two - displays. It's not so much that the Mac Pro is more upgradable over time than the iMac, it's really a matter of being able to get the right configuration from the start.
If Apple's decided it doesn't want to be in that business any more, those customers will probably be saddened, but a clear announcement would let them move on. It seems that a fair proportion aren't prepared to wait much longer than WWDC for the announcement of new Mac Pros before starting to plan their migration to Windows.
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Shine a light on office networking
By Ian GRAYSON
Once upon a time, office workers had no choice but to rely on Ethernet cables to connect their PCs to servers, printers and other devices.
Then Wi-Fi technology appeared on the scene, allowing many to enjoy a more flexible wireless working environment.
Now there's a new technology that could make the benefits of Wi-Fi even more enticing - it's called Li-Fi.
Li-Fi has the potential to turn room lights into networking devices. Its promoters say the concept involves turning lights on and off so quickly that the pulses are invisible to the human eye but can be used to transmit a stream of ones and zeros to computers. Clever stuff.
It's early days but the technology is already attracting considerable attention. The fact that office lights (and those in other locations) are already connected to wires would make setting up a fully fledged Li-Fi network much easier than more traditional networks.
Some industry watchers point out that Li-Fi is similar to an older technology called VLC (Visible Light Communication). VLC appeared in the early 2000s, but as yet has failed to generate widespread support. It's hoped the sexier sounding Li-Fi will fare better.
Would you be happy for your office lights to become your network?
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Smartphone market is officially a two-horse race
By David BRAUE
If ever there were confirmation that the smartphone market is now a two-horse race, it came with the latest IDC Mobile Phone Tracker figures, which the research company has regularly generated since 2004. Nokia had topped the charts ever since – until now, when it lost its crown for the first time ever.
It was Musical Chairs for everyone as the smartphone leaderboard shuffled around dramatically compared with a year ago. Samsung, for example, jumped from an 11.3% market share and 11.5 1Q11 shipments to a 29.1% market share and 42.2m unit shipments – a 267% increase. Apple, by contrast, jumped from 18.3% market share and 18.6m units shipped, to 24.2% market share and 35.1m units shipped – an increase of 88.7%.
Beyond those two vendors, the story was one of annihilation: Nokia's market share dropped 50.8%, Research In Motion dropped by 29.7%, and HTC dropped by 23.3% while the category known as "Others" was retained around one-quarter of the market but saw 59.6% growth overall.
All these numbers point to just one thing:, there has been a massive reshuffling in vendor market share over the past year as the market responded to Samsung's aggressive push into the smartphone market – at the same time rejecting proprietary platforms, and efforts to save them. Both Nokia and RIM have been pushing many new models into the market – with Nokia delivering well-received devices based on Windows Phone 7 (WP7) and RIM dropping teaser after teaser for its BlackBerry OS 10 software – but the figures all but confirm that ever-fickle consumers are quickly losing interest.
Another particularly interesting result from the latest IDC figures comes in the decline in demand for units from HTC. For a while there, HTC had built itself quite a nice little bit of momentum, on the back of what people generally argue is strong hardware and nice software. HTC's new One X smartphone has been lauded as a game-changer, and it came out too late to be factored into the Q1 IDC figures.
Whether or not the One X sells well, it's questionable whether a single mobile vendor can claw back major market share based on a single hero product. Apple has done it, of course, but the iPhone has brand cachet and is part of a much larger ecosystem that HTC is only starting to
unflinchingly copy build out.
The company is so serious about turning its HTCSense.com cloud services into a real contender that it wiped all of its existing users' data on April 30, then shut down the domain until a future date to be determined while it revamps its cloud offering. Critics were scathing but believe those users that aren't left with a bad taste in their mouth by being left holding the bag, may do well as HTC redoubles its efforts to reverse its flagging fortunes.
It's not clear, however, whether or not HTC can single-handedly reverse the company's flagging fortunes this way. The company took an early lead in the Android market with its well-received Sense interface, but Sense obviously hasn't kept Samsung at bay. HTC's efforts to diversify, by offering WP7 devices, have fallen relatively flat – and WP7 may fade into irrelevance for HTC as Nokia's blood pact with Microsoft pays off with critically-lauded, if not exactly world-changing, phones like the Lumia 800 and upcoming Lumia 900.
The Q2 Mobile Phone Tracker data will be quite telling, both because they will show whether Samsung can keep its market momentum; whether Apple will keep abreast of its biggest rival; whether HTC can bolster its fortunes enough to avoid following Nokia and RIM into despair; and whether Nokia can breathe enough life into its smartphone business to make it valuable enough for Samsung or HTC – or even Microsoft or Facebook – to eventually purchase. These are the endgames behind the numbers – and with the stakes so high, anything is possible.
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