Huawei’s New ‘Non-Exploding’ Phone

The New Mate 9

On November the 3rd, in Munich, Germany Huawei unveiled the ‘Mate 9’ smartphone. With a 5.9 inch 1920×1080 display it’s actually a ‘phablet’, a form factor we love. At the launch, Huawei took a jab at the unmitigated disaster that is Samsung’s Exploding Galaxy Note 7, unveiling the new Mate 9 as a ‘non-exploding’ phone 😛 The device is clearly targeted at the high end of the market and is intended as competition for the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7.  

Did you know that many of the world’s mobile telecommunications networks are powered by Huawei technology and many people in Sri Lanka use Huawei products without even realizing it? If you use an internet dongle, odds are it’s Huawei. Google’s Nexus phones are also made by Huawei.

They are the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer and still, to many consumer’s, Huawei seems like an obscure mobile phone brand. That’s because they’re quite new to consumer mobile phones. It’s also possibly because they focus on creating great, beautiful looking, reliable technology and not on blowing their trumpets. Did you know that Huawei introduced dual cameras almost a year before the ‘revolutionary’ iPhone 7? Yep.

The Mate 9 boasts a 4000mAh battery, dual-SIM functionality, Octa-Core Kirin 960 processor with 4 cores at 2.4GHz and four cores at 1.8GHz, dedicated GPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB internal storage, micro SD expandability up to 256GB, 20MP second-generation dual camera, 8MP front camera and all the other stuff you normally get with a great smartphone. All of this runs on Android 7.0. Phew! We’re blown away.

According to Huawei, the new Kirin 960 Chip is their fastest to date, so speed and smoothness will never be an issue. The 4000mAh battery is likely to be more than plenty and Huawei has finally included its own fast charging system, called Super Charge, which takes your battery from 0 to 60% in 30 minutes, full charge in 90.

By Huawei’s own admission, the new Mate 9 is designed for use by productivity fiends, business-types and young entrepreneurs. So its design is likely to appeal more to suits and ties and less to skinny jeans, hipsters beware. Still, we’re absolutely sure that when buying phones people look more at performance and what’s inside and less at what’s outside, possibly why the iPhone is so popular 😛

All in all, for us, the new Mate 9 is just about great across the board, except in one area. The screen resolution at 1080p is a bit of a let down on such a large and high end device but there was no visible impact when compared to its competitors. Everything still looks great.

Also, while it doesn’t bother us one bit, in fact we love it, some users might find the sheer size of the device to be somewhat logistically challenging and its plain, clear cut looks to be less than enthusing. Still, we feel the Mate 9 may turn out to be one of 2016’s best and it’s definitely the competition Apple and Samsung need and deserve.

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Common-Sense – The Best Anti-Virus

How to Protect Yourself and Your Devices Online

Did you know that nearly all malicious attacks require the user’s authorization for them to be successful?

‘Really?’ you ask, ‘But then, how do so many people get affected?’ Well, because they don’t think before they click. To be more specific, they don’t read, spare a thought for the plausibility of the situation or exercise any common-sense before they click.

People are generally ‘clicker-happy junkies’. There’s no blame in this, though, because it’s common human behaviour and the ruthless, vile scum who perpetrate malicious attacks prey on common human tendencies. For example, most would click the ‘click to see Miley Cyrus naked’ button without hesitation, though we think such links have lost some of their potency in the post-twerking age. But that has not changed the common human curiosity to see other people, especially famous people, in saucy states of undress.

So how do you protect yourself? We can’t go into great detail because we don’t want this post to read like a dossier, but we will give you a general idea that you can expand on with some research, putting your clicker-happiness to some positive use. Attacks fall into two broad categories:

  1. Malware (includes Viruses)
  2. Phishing & Spam

Malware, short for malicious software, includes a broad range of evil, viruses amongst them. They commonly arrive via email attachments/downloads from the web and must be executed by the user for a successful attack.

Protect yourself by reading emails carefully before opening attachments. Verify that the email is from a trusted source. Be very cautious of generic subject lines like, ‘CHECK THIS OUT!!!’, ‘YOU WON’T BELIEVE THIS’ and the like. Ask yourself whether, in your experience, the sender would use such language. Always remember, WHEN IN DOUBT DO NOT CLICK. Be especially weary of executable files and office files. Always check that the email address of the sender is correct.

Phishing is a malicious attempt, by a third-party, to obtain sensitive information from you by masquerading as a legitimate organization. A typical scenario might go something like this; you receive an email from what appears to be Facebook Support asking you to verify your password and phone number. You are to click a link and follow the instructions and graphically, everything will appear to be legitimate.

Here’s what to look for, though. First always ask yourself, how likely is it for Facebook, or whatever the organization may be, to ask me for this? Next, check the email address and the URLs. If it is a button, hovering over it will show you the URL. This applies to pop-ups too.

Do the URL and email address make sense? In the Facebook example above:

A legitimate request might have a link like this: http://www.facebook.com/verify

But never: http://www.facebookverify.com

Or there could be subdomain used, like this: http://www.verify.facebook.com

But never: http://www.facebook.verify.com

Always make sure the domain that the URL is pointing you to is the same as the domain used by the legitimate service. This is important when verifying email addresses too. Here’s an example:

Legitimate Email Address: “yourbestfriendsname@yahoo.com”

Malicious Email Address: “yourbestfriendsname@yahooo.com”

Spam is more irritating than harmful, but it can lead to malware infections and you exchanging hard earned money for copious quantities of snake oil. No, those penile enlargement pills don’t work, you won’t find the solution to your financial problems in your inbox and no, you cannot win the lottery or anything for that matter without having actually bought the lottery or entered the draw.

We are not in any way suggesting that Antivirus software isn’t essential, but being aware of what you’re doing, reading, paying attention and thinking before you click, “SITUATIONAL AWARENESS” is the best first line of defense.

Common-sense is a method of prevention and antivirus a method of cure and as the cliché goes, prevention is better than cure.

 

Tablets May Have To Swallow the Pill Soon

The Age of the Hybrid is Upon Us.

The tablet computer was a revolutionary leap in terms of personal computing at its inception. Enough computing horsepower for the average user was packed into one, often sleek device. They are excellent for web browsing, reading, photos, videos, light gaming and even some light word processing or spread sheets (if you have the patience :-P). No peripherals meant complete freedom. But tablets always lacked a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’.

With the arrival of hybrid devices like the Microsoft Surface Book and others like ASUS’s line of ‘Transformers’, the traditional tablet has been given a dose of steroids and has mutated into something that could and, in fact, already is turning out to be a dream come true. Hybrids retain all that is best about the tablet form factor that we all love, but then, plug it into its base and it’s like Popeye had some spinach.

Let’s just look at the Microsoft Surface Book for a second. While it is a very high end device it’s certainly a dream come true for many. Packing excellent features such as Core i7 Processors and dedicated Nvidia graphics and a gorgeous touch screen display, it’s quite the charm. Unplug it from its base, which consists of the keyboard, track pad and extra battery power and the Surface Book becomes a tablet with which you can do tablet stuff, like reading in bed or watching a movie on the couch. Plug it back in and you do actually, finally have a powerful laptop or even a desktop replacement. While the price is steep, buying a hybrid means you don’t need to have a desktop, laptop and a tablet so, really, it’s good value.

The move to hybrids has been made possible largely due to the windows platform. Since Windows 8, Microsoft has offered a seamless, cross platform operating system. With the exception of nearly all mobile phones, the Windows OS is able to run in both mobile and full desktop modes. This has seen a huge drop in the sales of tablets powered solely by a mobile OS like Android.

Just to put all of this into perspective in qualitative terms, consider these figures. In the last quarter of this year, 43 million tablets were shipped. This number is down 14.7% when compared to the same period last year. All the major manufacturers like Apple, Samsung and Lenovo posted declines in tablet sales. The only segment of tablets to see a rise was the very, very low end. Hybrids on the other hand, surged.

But we suppose that this is just the normal course of things. Tablets always lacked a certain something and when hybrids originally came out, they were awkward and a bit of a disaster. But they’ve come of age now and with beauties like the Surface Book, Transformers and others, well, we’d be unlikely to consider buying a traditional tablet ever again.