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06/12/2017

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Comment We're in one of those phases of the tech biz where imitation equals innovation, if you add excremental incremental changes and a personable plonker to spokesperson The Coming Revolution.Having lived through this once before, this scribe can't work up a good hype-cycle over boilerplate “innovation”. It's colour-by-numbers stuff, as was the late 1990s tech boom in which anybody with a template business need only stand still to be buried under an avalanche of funny money.If your sole idea is to imitate someone else's whole operation, except for its customer base, you're not an innovator.And if El Reg hears one more variation on “We want to be like Uber, only for contract killers”, we'll start looking for contract killers ourselves.Don't even get me started on the idea that the only thing you can offer a journalist is time with a rootless, clueless Gen Y who exists solely to waste oxygen and rack up frequent flyer points doing the same keynote at twenty-seven conferences a year.“We'd like you to talk to our Chief Contract Killer Evangelist because he's a fascinating guy who's worked in a range of post-Web 2.0 startups.”The CCKE will be an entitled pain in the neck who hasn't actually ever done anything other than win a college football scholarship once, look good, possess sufficient dexterity to use a microphone clip, and not trip over the furniture.

He travels around on a contract with a rider that would make a Rolling Stone blush (“Damn it, I said, activated water at 35 degrees, why is this nearly boiling? Whaddaya mean Celsius, what is that even? Shelly? Where the hell is Shelly?”).He hates nothing as much as he hates a comedian being hired as the MC for an event.“Look, that guy used the word 'masturbation' right before my speech. Who the hell does he think he is? Where's the organiser? No, not you, I asked for the organiser not his personal assistant. Miss. Or Madam. I'm not sexist, some of my first staff were girlfriends.”Your Chief Contract Killer Evangelist is preening and coiffed. He has watched 30,000 hours of TED videos which means he's learned all Twenty-Seven TED Speaker Mannerisms Guaranteed to Engage Your AudienceTM, meaning in conversation he's a self-important, hyperactive crashing bore, whose chief skill is not answering questions.Q: “Aren't you concerned that facilitating the hire of contract killers online is illegal?”A: “Well, Peter - can I call you Pete? - what our visionary leader's big takeaway from the case of Dread Pirate Roberts was, is, that we needed to go back to first principles and build a platform which, from the ground up, made introducing contract killers to their victims a cloud-based, API-enabled hyper-connected IPv6-compliant, encrypted and anonymised experience.”

Go back to first principles and build a platform which, from the ground up, made introducing contract killers to their victims a cloud-based, API-enabled, hyper-connected, IPv6-compliant, encrypted and anonymised experience...Or something like that Q: “But the legality ...”A: “I'll get to that in a minute. Now, with the platform in place, our next job was to try and ensure a maximally-enhanced seamless transition from desktop to laptop to tablet to smartphone, so that the quality of experience of the stalkee and ultimate victim is consistent in all environments with ...”The Back Up Plus is another pocket-sized drive, but this time without any fancy protection just a straightforward well-built metal case. If you are going to name something Back Up, it’s probably a good idea to give it some decent tools to do that exact job and that’s just what Seagate has done.Pre-loaded on the drive is Seagate’s Dashboard utility which includes backup and restore tools for both PC and Mac by using Seagate’s Mobile Backup App mobile devices as well. There’s also software that allows you to backup from Facebook and Flickr as well as sharing videos to YouTube.

Dashboard also has a built in test to allow you to check if the drives working correctly if something goes awry, and a power utility that allows you to set the time before the drive goes into power saving mode when it’s not being used but still plugged in.Seagate uses an ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB drive here which makes it a respectable rather than outstanding performer. Still, it does what it says on the tin – slim drive preloaded with a host of backup tools.Transcend has taken a practical approach to make the Storejet 25M series as protected as possible to survive everyday use and then some. It features a three layered protection system, an internal rubber suspension mount, a rubber case and finally the reinforced outer shell. According to Transcend, the whole shebang has been drop-tested to US military specs.The Transcend StoreJet 25M3 has a button on the top of the drive that acts as a one touch auto backup or as a quick reconnect for the drive – you don’t have to un-plug the drive to reconnect it. Installed on the drive is Transcend’s Elite management software utility comprising Back up (instant and scheduled) and restore, data encryption, file and bookmark sync and Cloud backup.

Transcend’s Storejet is another well-protected drive with a useful bundle of software utilities and with the Seagate ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB HDD delivers a par for the course performance.Another drive that offers nothing in the way of fancy hardware protection, Verbatim’s Store ‘n’ Go USB 3.0 drives are available in a number of different ranges in both capacity and colour choice. Thee is the Ultra Slim (500GB only), Colours (500GB, 1TB,2TB), Executive (500GB, 750GB, 1TB) and For Macs (500GB).The one I’m looking at here is from the Colour range, a Silver job but there are nine other colours to choose from in the 1TB range. Drop down to 500GB and you have a choice of 12, go up to the flagship 2TB drive and there’s just one - Black.Verbatim includes a copy of Nero BackItUp Essentials (which only supports Windows OS) on the drive along with Green Button energy saving software (which has three sleep settings) plus formatting and erasing utilities.A solid performance over wide range of drives to suit both budget and capacity needs. This 1TB model relies on a Toshiba MQ01ABD100 HDD, and if you opt for the Executive range, you'll get 256-bit encryption too.

If you want a pocket sized drive to whip out at meetings to impress then Western Digital’s Ultra Metal is the one to choose. If you want to make even more of a statement go for limited edition 10th Anniversary version which has a gold finish and was released to For the Ultra Metal models WD has replaced the standard plastic top enclosure with aluminium one which has a radial design finish – very swish. If the gold of the 10th Anniversary one is a bit too flash for you then the standard ones come in a dark blue or silver.The basic WD SmartWare package comes preinstalled which offers file and/or folder backups, automatic, continuous or scheduled backups. Upgrading to SmartWare Pro, which gives some extra features is an additional cost.Equipped with a WD WD10JPVX HDD, it's stylish and quite nifty too, even with its smart metal case it still weighs less than the Lacie Rugged Mini. Facebook buying WhatsApp for nearly as much as Hewlett-Packard spent on Compaq in 2001? Well, 2014 was the year of the selfie, after all. Just don't let that snapshot of your bits get hacked.Leaked naked smartphone pics weren't this year's only embarrassing public spectacles: Microsoft's CEO put his foot in his mouth on women in the workplace, Uber went off a bend, and big-names got scalped by hackers.

Governments began closing tax loopholes for big firms on aggressive tax avoidance, and tech sparred with spooks over jihadists.Put your Apple Watch on charge, and join The Reg for its look back at everything that was 2014:Forget the Icebucket challenge, 2014 was the year of the selfie. Celebs, execs and ordinary Joes took 'em, regretted ‘em, ramming selfies right through the barrier of acceptable but annoying into crippling over-hypedness.By Christmas the selfie stick has become a stocking-filler essential, a definite sign the wave was over.Starting it was girl-bait Bradley Cooper who grabbed Ellen DeGeneres’ Samsung to shoot fellow celebs at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood and then post the shot in a tweet that broke the record for most retweets - one million in the 45 minutes following, and more than 3.2m by the evening of the Monday the next day. Among those framed were Oscar winner and Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence - I’ll come back to her.

But re-tweets told just part of the story: 8.1m people saw the tweet, which also garnered 26m impressions. Twitter couldn’t cope and brought out the fail whale. It made such an impression, that celeb stalkers were left on the verge of tears when a Twitter bug briefly removed Cooper’s Tweet from their accounts. Say cheesy: the Cooper-DeGeneres shot that broke Twitter records The Oscars put selfies in the spotlight. Soon boring execs at middling tech firm’s events were huddling on stage for their cheesy moment in the sun.War was no barrier, with native Crimeans shooting Selfskies with the heavily armed invading troops that returned the region to Russia in March.Neither was decency: one fan watching the Giro d’Italia cycling race in Dublin in May seized the moment to grab an opportunist shot with one racer who’d collapsed, rather than help the fallen competitor to his feet. It was a shot too far for the web, with snapper - David McCarthy, aged 19 - earning Tweetdom’s ire. There was worse seven months later, during the Sydney siege.

Train-wreck story of the year was the hacking of Apple’s iCloud and leaking of selfies of famous women including - yes - JLaw and swimwear model Kate Upton among them.Photos of 17 celebs, self-snapped using Apple’s phone, were posted to grime-‘n-core board 4chan by a hacker who claimed to have 100 on file.Images were soon circulated widely on the internet, with Reddit doing a take down.The FBI started investigating but months later the identity of the hacker remains unknown. Apple conducted its own investigation and found no breach but it did acknowledge a “targeted attack” on “user names, passwords and security questions” had taken place prior to the naked splurge. Apple therefore reminded everybody to use “strong password and enabled two-step verification.” Two-factor authentication wouldn’t have protected iCloud users, though, putting the onus back on the celebs to button down their security when they get unbuttoned for their phones.Facebook spent $2bn - the equivalent of two Instagrams in 2013 - buying virtual-reality headset maker Oculus Rift - and a staggering $19bn for mobile messaging app, WhatsApp. That was 19 Instagrams. WhatsApp wasn’t merely Facebook’s biggest acquisition to date: it was one of the biggest in tech ever. Want a comparison? Hewlett-Packard nabbed Compaq for $25bn in 2001.

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