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If people clog them up, they’ll get a bit slower. But as they come out of the box, and for what beginners want to do, these are really fine.Yet with tablets such as the Google Nexus 7 now costing as little as £159, it's questionable whether those looking purely to browse the web and send emails would get a better experience with a tablet, than on an outdated PC.Microsoft has also partnered with price comparison site Simplifydigital to offer users cheap broadband deals through the scheme. Although no deal is exclusive to the programme, Riley said Simplydigital would talk new customers through the process of signing up over the phone. She added that setting up broadband was as much of a challenge to beginners as buying a new PC.The cheapest deal is an 18-month contract from PlusNet at £2.99 a month for up to 16Mbits/sec – though that goes up to £5.99 after a year, and there’s an additional £14.50 for line rental.Curiously, given the scheme is targeted at those who can’t get online, there’s also an online exclusive deal from Sky, offering broadband at up to 14Mbits/sec for £10 a month over 18 months, plus £14.50 line rental. The only way to sign up for that deal is to buy it online.Microsoft has also listed software and websites for beginners on the scheme’s site, which includes its own services and partners such as Facebook. It also lists Hotmail, despite killing the service in favour of web-based Outlook earlier this year. There’s a noticeable absence of any Google services.The march began in 2010 with the iPhone 4, gathered pace in 2012 with the third-generation iPad, and reached its dramatic peak last month with the launch of a new breed of MacBook Pro.

As Apple adds its stunning Retina displays to ever-larger devices, resolutions climb higher, and the sharpness continues to appeal to an audience long fed on scraps by manufacturers.How we’ve ended up in such a situation is a question many have been asking for some time. Have higher-resolution laptop displays been an insurmountable manufacturing issue, or is it the software that’s held us back? Could these sharper screens have been here years ago if manufacturers had only invested as they are – or, at least, Apple is – seemingly doing now?In this feature, we look at how the field of display technology is taking leaps forward, largely – but not exclusively – driven by a single company. You’ll learn how Apple has managed to deliver panels at higher resolutions than its competition, how operating systems are making it all work, and whether the future is one of Retina-quality displays on every device.The MacBook Pro’s Retina display looks almost paper-like, and that’s down to two key design factors. First, it’s glossy, but without the usual feel of looking at a reflective pane of glass. This is because it’s constructed in a different way to standard LCD panels. As the teardown experts at iFixit explain: “Rather than sandwich an LCD panel between a back case and a front glass, Apple used the aluminium case itself as the frame for the LCD panel and used the LCD as the front glass. The entire display assembly is an LCD panel.” That’s why the panel is so thin, allowing Apple to trim down the MacBook Pro.In most laptop displays, that would be the most interesting fact, but few could argue that’s the chief selling point of the MacBook Pro: the more important factor is pixel density. If you know the resolution and size of a screen, you can calculate the number of pixels per inch (ppi) it has, where a higher density makes each pixel finer and the overall image sharper.In Apple’s own words, on a Retina display the “pixel density is so high your eyes can’t discern individual pixels”. If that statement sounds vague, that’s because it isn’t as simple as having a golden number to aim for. As screens become larger, so too does the distance from which they tend to be viewed; to have the same perceived sharpness, a smartphone in the hand must have a higher pixel density than a laptop on a desk.

During Apple’s 2010 unveiling of the first Retina display on the iPhone 4, Steve Jobs announced a loose figure for smartphones. “There’s a magic number right around 300ppi,” he said, “that when you hold something around 10 to 12in away from your eyes is the limit of the human retina to differentiate the pixels.” There was disagreement at the time about the claim, since it falls some way short of the resolve of perfect vision – but few people have perfect vision. Instead, 300ppi is safely beyond the 286ppi capability of 20/20 vision from that distance, so for most people Jobs was right: the individual pixels are indiscernible.In fact, the iPhone 4 and 4S have a 326ppi display, the latest iPad is 264ppi and the new MacBook Pro is 220ppi, all of which – given the variations in viewing distance – meet Jobs’ apparent requirement of invisible pixels with 20/20 vision. By contrast, a 15.4in laptop display with today’s most common 1,366 x 768 resolution has a density of 102ppi; even at 1,920 x 1,080, it’s still only at 143ppi. It’s possible to buy a 13.3in laptop at that resolution to give a better 166ppi, but it’s a rare option offered by a select few manufacturers.The mobility revolution has completely changed how we work in ways that would have been unimaginable even five years ago. With tablets, smartphones and hybrids, we are able to work from anywhere, producing presentations and documents as professionally as if we were using a desktop computer or laptop. And now, thanks to innovations in technology, we can print from anywhere as well, enabling truly flexible, mobile working.

While there are plenty of consumer grade devices to choose from for everyday use, if you want to produce pitch-worthy documents, you need the right tool for the job. Long gone are the days of clip art and word art – they might make a document stand out now, but it would probably be for the wrong reasons. Powerful, business-focused hardware like the HP ElitePad range can help create the kinds of presentations and files that can win clients, while also letting you get all the rest of your work done on the move smoothly. Running Windows 8 Pro, the ElitePad is exactly the kind of device that enables the new, mobile workforce to be as productive in a branch office or at home as they are at their own desk. High-power graphics mean image manipulation is also possible.Sometimes, though, even if your tablet is top of the range, you need more. This is where hybrids come into their own. Blending the go-anywhere portability of tablets with the power and familiarity of a notebook. Devices like the HP Spectre are built specifically to deal with demanding tasks – the Spectre comes with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 photo editing and management software preinstalled, for example. Easily detachable and re-attachable keyboards make preparing, editing and collaborating on written documents even easier, without weighing you down on the go.

These kinds of portable devices allow real creativity and productivity to flow anywhere, anytime, so you don’t need to be tied to a particular desk or office. And with enterprise cloud collaboration platforms like Box now available on virtually every device and platform, working individually or with others to produce beautiful content has never been easier.While mobile devices like the HP ElitePad and HP Spectre empower users to create impressive content on the move, without access to the right kind of printer, no one is going to see it. Furthermore, the wide range of devices and mobile operating systems that have entered into the workplace through initiatives like Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) could throw a spanner in the works when it comes to deciding which printer you need. And even if you have a highly managed device ecosystem, you may still need to print from a different floor in your office or a branch office in a different location. The person needing to print could even be an important client or partner, or a temporary member of staff. Traditionally, office printers haven’t been able to handle this kind of device diversity without a lot of time and effort from the IT department. Many still can’t handle mobile devices at all. This is why you need a printer that is flexible enough to work with tablets, smartphones and hybrids, as well as more traditional laptops and desktops, irrespective of which mobile OS they are running The HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M476 is just such a printer.

Put simply, the MFP M476 lets you print anywhere, from any device, wirelessly. It is compatible not just with Windows, but also with Android, iOS and even Linux, ensuring that whatever device you are using, you will be able to produce high-quality hard copies of that killer presentation or the latest version of a new contract. The MFP M476 is also the first printer to be certified by the Mopria alliance, which aims to make wireless printing easier from smartphones and tablets with Android 4.4 KitKat. This means Android device users can print straight to the MFP M476 without having to go through a secondary printing app. The printer also makes use of near field communication (NFC) technology, which is becoming near ubiquitous in smartphones, with its usage in tablets on the rise as well. In phones, NFC is used most commonly for things like contactless payment, where a handset featuring the technology is touched to a receiver, much like an Oyster Card or contactless Visa card. With the MFP M476, the concept is the same. As long as they are on the same Wi-Fi network, or have a direct wireless connection, you can just walk up and tap your device to the printer and your print job will begin. This isn't just convenient, it is also secure, as data doesn't travel across the open network when moving between devices. The data transmitted through this secure peer-to-peer connection is also protected with 128-bit encryption, shielding it from external threats. IT administrators can also use the MFP M476's Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) capabilities to govern who can scan, print, fax or copy.

This way, guests and temps can still have access to the functionality they need, but only what they need and only for as long as they need it. And for a truly platform-agnostic experience, the printer also integrates with leading business cloud services like Box and Google Drive, so you can print straight from the cloud.It is clear that businesses no longer need to choose between mobility and the creation of top quality printed documents. The work anywhere with anything world of mobile devices and the cloud now works not just side-by-side but hand-in-hand with business class printing.My name is Barry Collins. I’m 6ft 3in and weigh 14st 5lb, although if I continue to lose weight at my current trajectory, by the time you read this I’ll be 13st 13lb.Yesterday, I consumed 2,547 calories and 30g of saturated fat: my fourth-highest daily fat intake in the past month.Thankfully, the damaging effects of that lunchtime “gourmet” hot dog in Wetherspoons (976 calories) and four pints of Guinness at the football (796) were more than offset by walking 11,679 steps, or 5.66 miles, over the course of the day, burning off 709 calories.My existence has become one of The Police’s greatest hits: every move I make, every step I take, I’ve been watching... well, me. My existence has become one of The Police’s greatest hits: every move I make, every step I take, I’ve been watching... well, me.Last night I slept 6hrs 48mins, although I showed signs of restlessness on no fewer than 18 occasions, totalling 36 minutes. I was particularly fidgety just after midnight and at 4.54am, although I have no recollection of either period of twilight activity.


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