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One of the machines was used for analysing health needs, requiring access to elements of unnamed patient dataOne of the machines was used for analysing health needs, requiring access to elements of unnamed patient data The authority has given few details of the case, but a report in The Sun claims 20 laptops went missing and only eight have since been retrieved. Police were “dismayed" that the health authority had taken so long to report the issue.A spokesperson for the NHS told PC Pro that it couldn't comment on what was on the remaining missing laptops because the investigation was ongoing.The NHS stressed that patients were unnamed in the records, but with details including postcodes and gender, and information relating to cases including HIV, cancer and abortion, there are fears that individuals could be identified if security measures on the laptops were bypassed.

“All the laptops were password protected and our policy is to manually delete the data from laptops after the records have been processed,” the NHS statement said.The ICO confirmed it was investigating the issue. “Any allegation that sensitive personal information has been compromised is concerning and we will now make enquiries to establish the full facts of this alleged data breach,” the watchdog said.The HP Split x2 marries a giant-sized 13.3in tablet with a chunky keyboard dock and a low-end Haswell CPU. By far its most impressive asset, however, is its price: it’s only £699.Compared to its costlier rivals, the Split x2 is a lump. The tablet alone weighs 1.1kg, and once slotted home into the keyboard dock, the pair weigh 2.25kg. Build quality isn’t bad for the money, however, and while the keyboard base is plasticky, it’s reasonably solid, and the tablet feels well constructed.HP has equipped the Split x2 with a capable specification. The Core i3-4010Y is the first Haswell- generation Core i3 CPU we’ve encountered, and while it lacks the Turbo Boost of more upmarket CPUs, it’s powerful enough for most purposes. A result of 0.45 in our Real World Benchmarks doesn't break any records, but it is perfectly acceptable.The combination of Haswell and twin batteries does wonders for battery life, though. While the tablet lasted 6hrs 41mins in our light-use battery test, the keyboard dock pushed battery life up to 11hrs 3mins – right up with the longest-lasting hybrids on the market.

The Split x2 takes full advantage of its chunky keyboard dock, cramming both a secondary battery and a 500GB mechanical hard disk inside. Placing an HDD in the dock is an unusual decision, but it’s allowed HP to save money by equipping the tablet with a tiny 64GB SSD. The only downside is that you’ll need to carry the dock with you if you want access to all your data.The Split x2 also relies entirely on its keyboard dock for connectivity. There’s a 3.5mm headset jack on the tablet itself, and a microSD slot for adding removable storage, but that’s your lot. It’s necessary to dock the tablet to use USB devices or an external monitor. The dock adds one USB 2 port, one USB 3 port, an HDMI output and a full-sized SD card reader.The keyboard has a good feel to it, and buttonless touchpad work well. However, despite a fine 817:1 contrast ratio, the screen's low 212cd/m[sup]2[/sup] brightness robs images of life, and the low 1,366 x 768 resolution is nothing to get excited about. Combined with the tablet’s wimpy, anaemic-sounding speakers, the HP is lacking in wow factor.Despite flashes of inspiration, then, the Split x2 struggles to manage its split personalities. The reliance on its weighty keyboard dock makes for an overweight laptop and a compromised tablet. If you’re looking for a do-it-all device on a budget, the HP Split x2 isn’t it.

Rapid deployment isn’t something only the military need concern itself with. Most businesses can’t afford to waste money by having new hardware being left unused for months on end, and with the passing of the support deadline for Windows XP, firms certainly can’t afford to postpone their migration plans any further.Upgrading to Windows 8 presents a magnificent opportunity for companies to not only bring existing hardware up to date, but to bring new types of device into the business. This could be the time to introduce touch technology, replace bulky old laptops with lightweight long-lasting tablets, or save desk space by introducing small form factor PCs.A rushed deployment will be a bungled deployment, but with careful planning, there’s no reason why your company can’t deploy Windows 8 devices with minimal disruption and zero downtime. We’ll show you how to create a solid deployment plan, so that your employees can get straight down to work the moment they’re handed their new devices.Any kind of operating system migration presents a good opportunity for IT departments to take stock of exactly what applications are running inside their company, and root out any that aren’t necessary. Does the company really need to support three different versions of Office applications? Why do different departments use different apps for the same purpose? How many different web browsers does the company support? The more unnecessary software a company supports, the longer it takes to test and deploy a new OS.

Microsoft provides a selection of free tools to help businesses prepare for migration to Windows 8 within the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit. The Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT), for example, will create an inventory of applications running on your existing network. It provides advice on whether those applications are compatible with Windows 8, need to be upgraded to maintain compatibility, or can be “shimmed” to fool the legacy application into thinking it’s running on an old operating system when in fact it’s running on Windows 8.Careful testing and consultation is key at this stage. The reason why the sales department might be using a three-generations old version of a CRM package is that it supports a business-critical feature that was removed from more recent releases. The IT department should consult on any software it plans to upgrade or drop support for, and run test deployments where possible, to minimise the risk that nasty surprises will occur post-deployment.

Once the business has decided which applications it requires, it can use these as the basis for operating system images that can be rolled out across the company. The firm might decide to create a different base image for each department, pre-loading CRM software only for those who need it in the sales department, for example, and saving Sage installations for those in accounts.An alternative approach is to image according to device. Will tablet users with limited storage space need all those disk-hungry desktop applications that are pre-loaded on a standard desktop images? And are there Windows Store or even bespoke in-house Windows apps that can be installed on their devices instead?Manufacturers such as HP can handle this imaging process on behalf of their customers, ensuring that new devices arrive at the company pre-loaded with the applications they need. Alternatively, using HP’s Image Modification and Load Service, HP will take an operating system image supplied by the customer, modify and validate it for their chosen equipment, and ship it on the customer’s PCs.

It’s not only applications that can be customised to the business’s needs. HP can modify the BIOS settings to the customer’s wishes, ensuring they have a consistent set-up across the organisation. Company logos can be added to the BIOS screen, which will appear every time the PC is booted. Physical labels or tracking tags can also be added to the company’s devices, helping with asset management.If an employee is to feel truly at home on a new PC, they will need instant access to their data. The User State Migration Tool (USMT) in the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit allows companies to easily transfer user data from one PC to another, even after performing a clean installation rather than an in-place upgrade. This Command Line tool not only migrates the user’s files and folders, but their Windows and application settings, meaning they don’t have to waste time readjusting everything back to how they like it the moment they switch on their new PC.Alternatively, companies can lift the weight on their IT department and let a manufacturer such as HP take the strain. HP Installation Services will provide desk-side assistance to handle the migration of security settings, network connections, device authentication, and the movement of user data from an existing device to the new PC.

HP's Decommissioning Services, meanwhile, will handle the removal and safe disposal of the old PC. This not only means that the computer, monitor and any unwanted peripherals are recycled or disposed of responsibly, it will also ensure that the company’s data isn’t compromised by destroying any hard disks within the unwanted PCs. The IT department’s job doesn’t end the moment the new devices are delivered to employees’ desks. Many employees will need training before they are handed their new equipment, especially if it’s the first time those members of staff have been exposed to touchscreen devices or Windows 8.Support may also be required in the weeks or months after they have their new equipment. The IT staff may wish to identify a “mentor” or “champion” within each department – a technically proficient user who could offer informal technical support to other team members if they’re struggling to get to grips with the new Windows interface or the settings of a line-of-business application that was upgraded in the migration process. That not only lifts the burden on IT support, but makes employees more comfortable, knowing that they can seek quick advice from a team member they’re already familiar with.

A phased rollout will also allow the IT department to apply lessons learnt from one department to another. Even the best test deployments may fail to identify problems that occur when the machines are running in a live environment.Deploying new hardware and operating systems is never a job to be taken lightly, but neither should it be a long, drawn-out process, if properly planned and well executed. Even if you don’t have the in-house resources to handle a swift deployment, there are experts such as HP ready and waiting to help your business move forward.At its “Global Press Conference” in New York, Acer has launched a flotilla of products, including Microsoft Surface Pro-style Windows 8 tablet, the Acer Aspire P3.Just like the Surface Pro, the Aspire P3 has a removable keyboard-cover/case that can hold the tablet at a comfortable angle for typing, or be folded against the rear of the tablet so it can be used as a plain touch mode.Unlike the Surface Pro, however, which has yet to surface in the UK, the Acer Aspire P3 includes the keyboard-cover as standard, and will be available immediately, with prices starting at £525.

“Acer is moving from notebooks with touch to notebook for touch,” said an Acer spokesman, speaking at the event.The Aspire P3's display is also similar to the Surface, measuring 11.6in across, with an IPS panel. Under the hood, the tablet will have an Intel Core i3 or i5 processor, storage comes in the shape of a 60GB or 120GB SSD, and there's an optional stylus, too, which slots into the integrated cover.The P3 wasn't the only product announced at the firm's big US shindig, however. Acer also took the opportunity to announce a new kind of hybrid – the Acer Aspire R7.Featuring a hinge reminiscent of an all-in-one PC's, but a more flexible, the R7's “four-in-one” design allows users to employ it as a tablet, a laptop, a photo/presentation tool with the display propped up, and in “Ezel Mode”, where the display can be pulled out to float above the keyboard.Another unusual design point is the touchpad, which is positioned above, rather than below the keyboard. The R7 has a 15.6in, Full HD display, and for storage will include either a 1TB hard disk or an SSD up to 256GB in size. It will be available on May 14, but won't come cheap, with prices starting at £900.

Acer also announced a new low-cost, compact Android tablet at the event – the Iconia A1 – and two Windows 8 laptops, the mainstream Acer Aspire V5 range and V7 Ultrabook.The A1 tablet, described by Acer as having a "one-handed" design, has a 7.9in screen, a 1,024 x 600 IPS screen, and comes with a quad-core processor in 8GB or 16GB models. The the Wi-Fi version of the Iconia A1 starts at a price of £150 and the 3G model at £210. Both models will be available at the end of May.All the models in the two new ranges of laptops will have touchscreens and backlit keyboards, and will be available in a range of sizes, with the smallest V5 model featuring a 1,366 x 768, 11.6in display and weighing 1.38kg.The Acer Aspire V5 laptops will start at a price of £400 and the V7 Ultrabook will cost from £500. Both will be in the shops at the end of May.


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