Your Cart is Empty
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
Thank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart
Our Blog Corner
Our Blog Corner
|Posted on January 30, 2018 at 1:30 PM||comments (166)|
Hi Gang...well firstly it has been "a little while" since I posted anything on here...I hope everyone is well...and its good to be back.
In the midst of Brexit and the vote thereof I suffered a personal tragedy which has reshaped my landscape...the loss of my beloved dad.
Dad (Andy) was a huge inspiration to me and a smashing bloke
I dedicate all my blogs that have gone before and to come very much to him. Dad was a grey voter in the referendum...Of a generation that could remember WW1 / WW2 and all the developments the world has seen before and since.
In the press he would be odds on to vote for brexit...but he didn't (and it was to be in fact the last vote he ever cast.)
To say I am proud of his insight is an understatement. He read through the bullish comments of the leavers. I hasten to add he was in no way influenced by me...Dad was very much his own man.
OK...for anyone that has talked to me privately, its fair to say I would be labelled a re-moaner ! But in the end of it all I am a democrat and I do accept the country's decision. But guys, we really have to get this right...and as of date of this blog I fear we are getting it very wrong.
There is no such thing as a free lunch, and to expect the Europeans to fold over and give us the concessions of full membership without the responsibility seems in my view immature and over optimistic to the extreme. We need to engage and accept that if we are to continue to prosper in the European Economic zone we must strike deals and accept consequences, and yes, that just may mean free movement (but perhaps controlled free movement) The argument that they need us as much as we need them, although seductive in its overtones is not the reality we face....They have a massive market V we have a big market and in such a contest massive wins...Doesn't matter how much you wave the union flag..
I believe in our nation, our proud heritage and all of our accomplishments. I love our people and I love our way of life....but I happen to feel European as well as British, and I think a lot of people (at least 48% of them) feel the same. The re moaners deserve a voice because they have as much at stake as any - Remember during brexit debates a certain Nigel Farrage commented that such a split in the vote in "favour" of remain would not in his view constitute the end of the debate nor indeed the referendum, but now that the brexit voters have there way...(!!) we have no say...As they say in A level English, discuss.....
|Posted on November 17, 2015 at 6:12 PM||comments (204)|
China has almost tripled its number of supercomputers, according to a reputable list of the world's most powerful machines.
The country has 109 high-performance computing systems on the biannual Top500 list of supercomputers, up 196% from 37 just six months ago.
The most powerful supercomputer, China's Tianhe-2, also retained the top spot for the sixth consecutive time.
In contrast, the US has seen the number of its supercomputers decline.
The US has 200 machines in the rankings, which is the largest number from a single country. But, that total number has fallen to the lowest level since computer scientists started compiling the list 22 years ago.The power of the biggest supercomputer
Tianhe-2 was created by China's National University of Defense Technology and is being used at a supercomputer centre in the southern coastal city of Guangzhou.
It is capable of performing 33.86 quadrillion calculations in one second, which is almost twice the speed of the second most powerful supercomputer on the list - the US energy department's Titan.
Supercomputers are developed to perform complex simulations or applications to help scientific research in a wide range of industries such as predicting weather forecasts to making drug discoveries and DNA sequencing.What lies behind China's supercomputer rise
Rajnish Arora, vice president of enterprise computing at market research firm IDC Asia Pacific, said China's rise does not necessarily mean the US is under-investing, but is more to do with the evolution of China's economy and businesses.
"When China started off appearing on the centre stage of the global economy in the 80s and 90s, it was predominately a manufacturing hub," he told the BBC.
"All the IP (intellectual property) or design work would happen in Europe or the US and the companies would just send manufacturing or production jobs to China.
"Now as these companies become bigger, they want to invest in technical research capabilities, so that they can create a lot more innovation and do basic design and engineering work."
The Chinese government and companies want to become the creators and not just producer of products that are being designed elsewhere, he added.How valuable are supercomputers?
David Schibeci at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Western Australia said that while the Top500 list is a good "general rule of thumb", it is not the final arbiter of the value of supercomputing services.
"I'd expect ranking systems to develop a focus on how much valuable research is produced by these systems and the outcomes that benefit the world," he said.
"Nations like China have a great opportunity to take a leading role in the HPC (high-performance computing) space but it's important that they focus on research support and upskilling of staff rather than just raw numbers for the Top 500."China has the money to invest in supercomputers
Chinese companies are also taking a lead as manufacturers of supercomputers, according to the Top500. Chinese firm Sugon overtook IBM in the systems category with 49, while IBM ranks fourth with 45 systems. US tech giant Hewlett-Packard is at the top of the list with 156 supercomputer systems.
However, the rankings of the world's top five supercomputers has remained unchanged since June 2013. Mr Arora of IDC says this is in part to do with the significant investment required to build a supercomputer.(bbc)
|Posted on May 2, 2015 at 5:23 PM||comments (0)|
OK...so of course we at FCW want to celebrate new life coming into the world...And Prince William and Katie seem (at least in terms public image) good descent people but we just cannot understand the outpouring of "love" from complete and utter strangers.Nor the crazy media focus! Equally, we think of the 1000's pf baby's "born" today in this world of lesser mortals, which will not get any press attention.Some of whom may struggle to survive due to economic deprivation and social injustice.
But the thing that really bugs us is the wealth and power this young couple enjoy...Agreed they cant be directly blamed for that (they didn't ask for it or the system that makes it so) and William had a tough start to life by anyone's standards -but as a nation we need to rethink how the Royal Family fits with modern Britain...Such a lot needs to be done about genuine and huge divisions in society and the many economic disadvantages millions of the UK population have to endure ie food banks the homeless etc....How much money was invested in reporting the birth today? Why do people feel such warmth to a couple who actually they don't really know and never will? If a fraction of that focus of love were made to strangers who are homeless on the streets what a difference that could make...Or how about showing that love to people we actually do have in our lives?...
We are not anti monarchy We believe a reformed system would have a genuine place for a Royal Family and we think they are a huge part of the fabric of Britain both historically,, and constitutionally, and act as a counter weight of power to the political class.
We also acknowledge that William and Harry have made fantastic efforts in modernizing the Royal Family and we think of there superb work for the armed forces, many charity's and indeed the homeless....They seem genuine good achieving people who do real genuine work for a living.and YES...we think they are great role models.But please, why at such a cost to the UK tax payer? That doesn't stack when we have so much work to do in the UK((indeed the world) to redress an in-balance in resource availability. Many of society's ills with correct resource planning could be assisted. And that would really be a reason to celebrate and may ease some of the austerity measures millions of people in the world currently endure with all the uncertainty that brings them.
All of that said, it IS a good news story and WE ARE really happy for any couple who are celebrating a new child into there lives and world today..And so to them (and that includes William and Katie) please accept our heartfelt congratulations.
|Posted on March 19, 2015 at 7:46 PM||comments (1)|
Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer has announced it is to build an Android Wear-powered smartwatch.The firm - which is part of the luxury goods-maker LVMH Group - is forming a partnership with Google and the chipmaker Intel to create the device.Switzerland dominates the high-end watch sector. This marks the first of its companies to join Google's wearable tech ecosystem.One analyst linked the move to Apple's entry into the market.The announcement was made at the Baselworld trade show in Switzerland.Jean-Claude Biver, president of LVMH's watch division, told the BBC that it made sense to look beyond Switzerland's borders once his firm had decided to enter the smartwatch market."There are two operating systems: one is Apple's iOS, the other is Android Wear - who are we to invent another language at that level?" he said."It would be absurd, it would be arrogant to believe that we could develop our own [operating system]. It would be a catastrophe to believe such a stupid thing."There is no doubt that we could eventually go to Apple, but why should we do a partnership with Apple, who is producing watches? On the one side they would be partners, on the other a competitor."Google is not producing watches, so the relationship is perfect."Jean-Claude Biver says the Tag Heuer smartwatch will stand outIntel noted that Tag Heuer's 155-year-old brand had long been associated with "being dynamic, disruptive and modern" making it a good partner.But it added that it wanted to pursue other tie-ups with traditional watchmakers."Our hope is that this type of partnership will set a precedent for other brands to consider diversifying into wearable tech and enhancing their products with technology," said spokeswoman Ellen Healy.'Palpable buzz'About 720,000 watches powered by Android Wear were shipped in 2014, according to market research firm Canalys.To date fitness tracking wristbands have outsold the smartwatch sector as a whole by a wide margin.However, next month's launch of the Apple Watch - backed by a big budget marketing campaign - is expected to raise interest in the sector.Apple's wearable is only compatible with its own handsets, and phones powered by the Android operating system are much more widespread.The smartwatch design has not been finalised - but Tag Heuer had others on show"The palpable buzz around the Apple Watch has raised consumer awareness levels to a point that traditional watchmakers can no longer ignore this emerging opportunity," commented Ben Wood from the tech consultancy CCS Insight."Tag Heuer's decision to partner with technology companies to deliver a smartwatch will likely be the first of many similar deals. As the Baselworld event shows, the luxury goods space is big business."Emotional smartwatchThe Swiss firm has not revealed any images of what the device will look like yet.But Mr Biver suggested it would stand out from other smartwatches."The whole look of the watch will be different," he said."It will be a traditional look. It will not look like an Apple Watch. An Apple Watch looks like a miniaturised copy of its phone. Our watch will never look like a phoner"Our watch will [have] all the emotion and the DNA of Tag Heuer and it will fit into our collection."Earlier in the day US-based watchmaker Fossil Group teased it forthcoming "connected accessories". They will include Android Wear-powered smartwatches as well as other sensor-equipped models, as part of the firm's own tie-up with Google and Intel.The company makes a wide range of watches under both its own brand and others', including Emporio Armani, Diesel, Michael Kors and Burberry. To do this it creates modular components that can be used across multiple designs.'Fusion'Fossil signalled that it would take a similar approach to creating a diverse portfolio of tech-enhanced wristwear."There are many many products coming to market that all look the same," said Theresa Palermo, a marketing executive at Fossil, at the firm's Baselworld press conference."[But] what we all know and love about fashion is the ability to be unique, the ability to be different."That is what we see as the big opportunity - merging the fusion of technology that users need and want… with our incredible ingenuity and design innovation."She added that the first products would be released this year.Fossil recently reported a 1% year-on-year drop in watch sales at a time many of its rivals were reporting growth.It accounts for about 6% of all watch sale revenues, according to market research firm Euromonitor, making it one of the five biggest firms in the sector. (FCW says..another biggie for Android...great to see and plenty of promise
|Posted on February 18, 2015 at 5:19 PM||comments (0)|
A new web protocol that promises to speed up internet browsing has been approved.
The changeover to HTTP/2, when it happens, will be the first major update to the standard in 15 years.
The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) has accepted the protocol, one of its senior members wrote in a blogpost on Wednesday.
The standard will now go on to be edited before being applied, Mark Nottingham added.
Its developers believe the new standard will represent a big step forward because it will make pages load quicker and improve encryption.
In another blogpost, written in January last year, Mr Nottingham - who chairs the Internet Engineering Task Force's (IETF) HTTP working group - wrote about the proposed benefits of HTTP/2.
Instead of trying to reinvent the protocol, he said that the group was seeking to make the new one compatible with the old.
"Making HTTP/2 succeed means that it has to work with the existing web. So this effort is about getting the HTTP we know on the wire in a better way," he wrote then.
British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989
Hypertext transfer protocol - HTTP - is the means by which browsers communicate with servers to render pages.
The new version, Mr Nottingham wrote, would make it easier to use the web's encryption technologies, encouraging more websites to do so.
'Not pixie dust'
But he added that HTTP/2 was not "magic Web performance pixie dust".
Instead of improving webpage loading times by half, it was "more accurate to view the new protocol as removing some key impediments to performance", he wrote.
"Once browsers and servers learn how and when to take advantage of that, performance should start incrementally improving."
The protocol is based on a Google technology called SPDY, which has been used in recent years. Google will switch to HTTP/2 in its Chrome browser. (bbc) FCW says "technology when linked to fibre which will revolutionise the net"
|Posted on January 14, 2015 at 5:29 PM||comments (0)|
Google says its Translate app can now act as an interpreter, with the addition of a real-time voice-translation mode.
It said the updated app would automatically recognise languages being spoken and translate them.
The update, launched on Wednesday, also allowed users to instantly translate messages using their phone's camera.
But one academic said it would fail to understand the more complex linguistic tools.
"For basic things, it might be very useful. My mother, for example, does not speak any other languages, but loves travelling, so she could find her way around a town.
"But it is never going to pick up the nuances, the cultural references or the humour," said Ariane Bogain, a senior lecturer in modern foreign languages at the University of Northumbria.
Prior to the update, Google's app could translate spoken or typed phrases and repeat them out loud. But it worked phrase-by-phrase, rather than in real time, and the pronunciations and rhythm of speech could sometimes be problematic.
The updated app can also instantly translate written text, using a smartphone camera
Users of the new app can also use their phone's camera to instantly translate phrases, using the Word Lens feature, which works without a wi-fi or a data connection.
Google said: "The Translate app already lets you use camera mode to snap a photo of text and get a translation for it in 36 languages. Now, we're taking it to the next level and letting you instantly translate text using your camera.
"While using the Translate app, just point your camera at a sign or text and you'll see the translated text overlaid on your screen - even if you don't have an internet or data connection."
It said the feature was available for English to and from:
Google said users could also "tap the mic to get into voice translation mode, tap the mic again, and the Google Translate app will automatically recognise which of the two languages are being spoken, letting you have a more fluid conversation".
The company said the update took people "one step closer to turning [their smartphone] into a universal translator and to a world where language is no longer a barrier".
While she acknowledged the app's usefulness to holidaymakers struggling with the language, Ms Bogain said that major events, such as an EU summit, were not likely to begin using it.
She added that online translations conveyed the rough message - "but you are going to lose a lot in the translation".
Ms Bogain said: "One word can have various meanings, depending on the context, and I do not think that online translation tools are there yet.
"As lecturers, when we ask students to hand in translations, we can immediately spot who has used a translation tool because the phrasing is not natural. The message is roughly there, but something is lost.
"I do not think it is going to replace 15 years of training." (bbc) FCW says "Better take my phone on holiday going forward!"
|Posted on January 5, 2015 at 5:38 PM||comments (0)|
nventor Trevor Baylis has been made a CBE in the New Year Honours list.
Best known for creating the Baygen wind-up radio, Mr Baylis was honoured for services to intellectual property.
Throughout his colourful life, which involved a stint as a stuntman, Mr Baylis has spent much of his time inventing or involved with engineering.
Most recently he has campaigned to make the UK a more hospitable place for inventors, and is seeking to help them safeguard their creations.
"It was a great surprise," said Twickenham-based Mr Baylis of learning of the award. "I got an OBE in 1997 and that was one of the best days of my life."
"I've been pushing hard to help other inventors because so many people get ripped off like a turkey or find they do not have the money to pay the lawyers to protect themselves."
Mr Baylis is currently heading a venture called Baylis Brands, which advises inventors about the best way to develop ideas and puts them in touch with other experts that can help turn their creations into marketable products.(bbc) FCW saya...great individual with huge talent.....award well deserved in our books
|Posted on December 17, 2014 at 6:33 PM||comments (1)|
Blackberry has launched a distinctive handset featuring a square screen and a keyboard that offers both physical keys and touch-enabled gesture controls.
It said work-focused users in particular should benefit from the Blackberry Passport's innovations.
Sales of the company's handsets - which are powered by its own operating system - have been in decline.
Analysts said the new device should appeal to existing Blackberry owners but might struggle to win over others.
The Canadian company's chief operating officer said the handset's release was part of a broader turnaround strategy led by John Chen, who became chief executive in November.
"You're going to see us be very focused," Marty Beard told the BBC.
"Potentially, in the past we got a little too broad a little too aggressively.
The Passport's unusually wide screen makes it possible to see the full width of documents in larger type than in rivals
"Our target segment is more enterprise-focused. It's the power professional. It's someone who wants to be productive.
"Those users tend to be in regulated industries like banking or healthcare or government. We know those segments really well - in a way it's getting back to the Blackberry roots."
Push and swipe
The Passport got its name because its dimensions resemble a thick version of the travel document.
It has a 4.5in (11.4cm) touchscreen with a resolution of 453 pixels per inch - higher than Apple's iPhone 6 Plus, but lower than Samsung's Galaxy Note 4.
Blackberry suggests documents are easier to edit because of the extra width provided by having a square screen, even if it is less suited for watching video.
The keyboard buttons are also touch-sensitive. This allows gesture-based shortcuts that were previously restricted to Blackberry's all-screen devices.
For example, swiping a finger quickly leftwards along the keys deletes the previous word, while sliding a thumb along them more slowly moves the cursor in the same direction.
Flicking up on the left, middle or right-hand side of the keyboard selects the word above
In addition, users can select from three anticipated words - shown near the bottom of the screen - by flicking upwards beneath the desired one. This saves having to type the text in full.
"In some cases it takes a while to learn it, because even if you're familiar with a Blackberry it's a little bit different because it's that combination of physical plus virtual," acknowledged Mr Beard.
"So there may be that learning curve in the beginning, but it's well worth it, and once people learn it they are flying."
One expert who has tested the handset supported the claim.
"It certainly made me respond more eloquently to emails rather than just triaging them with a 'Yes, no, I'll call you back or see you later'," said Shaun Collins, founder of the telecoms consultancy CCS Insight.
"However, it's going to divide opinion - it gives you the Blackberry experience on steroids. But for a broader audience it will be a curiosity."
The phone is being sold at an "introductory rate" of $599/£529/649 euros.
Blackberry's own figures indicate it sold about 1.6 million smartphones over the three months to June.
That compares poorly with the 6.8 million handsets it sold in the same quarter in 2013, and 13.2 million over the corresponding period in 2011.(bbc) FCW Says - We welcome Blackberry going back to its roots and have fond memorys of first seeing the product in the UK....this device looks an interesting proposition..
|Posted on December 15, 2014 at 5:26 PM||comments (0)|
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says his site is "thinking about" how to implement a way to dislike posts (Video credit: Facebook).
Speaking at a Q&A session in California, he said it was one of the most requested features the social network receives from its users.
He said the site would need to find a way to make sure it did not become a way to demean people's posts.
According to Facebook's own figures, 4.5 billion "likes" are generated every day.
"One of things we've thought about for quite a while is what's the right way to make it so that people can easily express a broader range of emotions," Mark Zuckerberg told an audience at Facebook's headquarters.
"A lot of times people share things on Facebook that are sad moments in their lives. Often people tell us that they don't feel comfortable pressing 'like' because 'like' isn't the appropriate sentiment.
Stamping out fake likes and users is a priority for the social network
"Some people have asked for a dislike button because they want to say, 'That thing isn't good.' That's not something that we think is good for the world.
"The thing that I think is very valuable is that there are more sentiments that people want to express."
Facebook's Like button has been criticised as being a method by which the social network collects data on its users' browsing habits.
The system has also come under fire due to a high volume of "fake likes" - when the popularity of a brand or piece of content is inflated artificially.
Facebook has moved to combat the trade of so-called "like farming" - businesses that, for a price, will provide a huge number of likes quickly. This will be via automated robots, or by a network of humans paid a tiny sum for each click.
Fake likes could stop businesses using Facebook, the social network believes
An investigation by the BBC in July 2012 showed that a fake company, set up by the BBC, could gain thousands of "likes" - despite the fact that the company, which promised bagels via the internet, was quite clearly bogus.
On closer inspection, many of the "likes" appeared to come from accounts that were not real people. Hardly any of the "likes" originated from places like the UK or US - instead the majority originated in places such as the Philippines.
Facebook has initiated legal action against firms offering "fake likes" or other bogus business practices on the social network.
Any enhanced method for expressing sentiment - particularly negatively - would be likely to make advertisers nervous, said Paul Coggins, chief executive of ad firm Adludio.
"Facebook's big concern is revenue," he told the BBC.
"They need to keep their advertisers happy. I would think it highly unlikely that they would come up with a button that says you can 'dislike'.
.Rory Cellan-Jones explores the merits of Facebook advertising, by setting up a bogus bagel company online
"I think they will extend the success of the like button, which has been huge. Rather than have a quick yes-no, which is a bit black and white, my guess is that they'll probably look to do something with a bit more sentiment around it."
Mr Coggins suggested buttons which would indicate how a user feels, rather than a direct "dislike".
Guy Phillipson, chief executive of the Internet Advertising Bureau UK, said brands are now used to being openly criticised online.
"If brands do put something out which people don't like, they find out pretty quickly. It's been a force for good - advertisers know more about tone, or when they've gone too far." (BBC) FCW Says"If you can "like" something then it figures you can equally dislike....we think it is move in the right direction"