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25/12/2017

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Although lacking a decent transfer rate benchmark utility for Mac (suggestions in comments welcome), I ran the Apple Activity Monitor and noted results of disc image copying from there. The figures were encouraging, typically around 144 to 151MB/s and peaking at 160MB/s.Given the expense of Elgato’s Drive+ and yet the convenience of this dual interface enclosure, I wondered if the GDrive’s HDD could be substituted with an SSD. Could simply swapping media deliver a massive performance boost or did the GTech circuitry have bottlenecks?First, there was the need to dismantle it and just to speed things along, I browsed on YouTube for some hints and discovered what is arguably the worst take-apart on the web – it doesn’t even have sound, except some cheesy music near the end. This poor GDrive didn’t stand a chance. Still, there were a few clues there on how not to do it.The dismantling wasn’t too much of a trial, the trickiest part being the inner chassis that needs some gentle prising to release it from the catches it clips over. In place of the HGST 1TB HDD, I used the same 480GB Intel 730 SSD from when I ran my Elgato tests.

Although the Intel 730 SSD is power hungry and unsuitable for portable use, it nonetheless delivered some tasty figures for what had now become a GTech GDrive enclosure. The speeds of around 330MB/s for USB 3.0 and 348MB/s for Thunderbolt aren’t exactly taxing the SSD’s potential transfer rates, but its Thunderbolt figures match the Elgato certainly beat it with much faster USB 3.0 performance.OK, so I’m getting a bit carried away here, but a 512GB Elgato Drive+ does cost £760. When you consider a 512GB SSD can be had for £245, the temptation to see if the GDrive could manage a similar portable performance for a total cost of just over half the price was irresistible. That said, Thunderbolt enclosures do exist and a dual drive model from Startech has just turned up for testing, so watch this space.The words “Thunderbolt” and “expensive” never seem to be very far apart and it has to be said that there are plenty of 1TB USB 3.0 drives available for £50-£60. So paying three times that amount for Thunderbolt connectivity with a slightly more expensive 7200RPM hard disk drive inside doesn’t seem to add up. Yet, as stated earlier, Thunderbolt appeared on Macs for at least a year before USB 3.0 was supported, so this GTech GDrive Mobile does have some practical advantages. Whether you’ll be willing to pay over the odds for such, even with a Thunderbolt cable thrown in, is another matter.

The appearance of tablets in the last few years shouldn't be underestimated either, and neither should the evolution of smartphones, says Conway. The cloud and mobile management go hand in hand.He describes the use of Microsoft's cloud-based mobile management software, InTune, to keep work resources on devices safe. We can wipe only corporate email, and only those apps that have been installed via corporate through the InTune management experience. So work would be wiped but personal wouldn't he says. All of this cloudiness is driving the need for IT departments to compete for their users' business. IT functions need to figure out that if they don't provide or enable attractive services, then users will go out and self-serve, Langley says. You won't know who's using what, and where your data is.So far though, this whole conversation has been about infrastructure. It focuses on issues such as how to manage and secure devices, and ensure that users can access the right resources using them. At another level of abstraction, companies should be thinking about the user experience, says Langley.

A lot of people centric stuff is focused on the interface, but it's the end-to-end experience that's important, he says. He uses Apple as an example. They have this thing about feeling a certain way about the service from the minute that you open the box. We should feel like this about IT.For a lot of IT folks, that's a very murky concept. They understand technical design; things like how to automate tasks using Unix scripting, and how to deal with a device that has been compromised. All important stuff, no doubt, but not exactly people-centric, by anyone's definition.Users care about an entirely different set of issues, explains Brian Prentice, VP of research at Microsoft. What makes it even more difficult is that they often don't even know what they care about.Traditional IT experiences are created via requirements definition management, he explains. You go and ask customers what they want, and then you build it. That's what produces information about workflows, for example.But what if the customers don't know what they want? Or what if you ask them the wrong questions? People-centred design is a different mode, that we call observe, define, build and refine, he says. So the first step is not to ask, it's about watching. It's a kind of corporate anthropology, he explains, and you see a lot of it going on in user experience design firms.

That's something that few IT departments will have the resource or the experience to do. But it also shows how important it is to build upon these purely infrastructural considerations when considering people-centric IT.One example involves delivering information in the format that people need it, when they need it. Longbottom wants applications to maintain state across different devices (so that he can pick up where he left off when switching between his laptop and his Lumia).But he also wants his system to know that he has his tablet with him, and advise him to look at that instead, because it knows that the content he's looking at will fit better on that screen. That's context-aware computing, in a nutshell.Another example of context-aware computing is hanging out on the Xbox One, and allowing through Skype calls from your friends, but not letting through notifications from work people, because Skype knows that your Xbox One sessions are for downtime. Right now, you have to set those things manually.

These kinds of things are application-level challenges, but they're all a part of a broader, more people-centric approach to IT. Mobile device management and identity control are undoubtedly a core part of that, say experts, but they're only a part. It's about giving users the kind of experience that they want from their applications, on their terms, and as such, it stretches all the way up the stack. Analysis Google Glass wearers, or Explorers as Google likes to call them, have been getting some bad press of late, and the company has been moved to defend the headsets against the rise of rumor and speculation.Mr. Rogers was a Navy SEAL. A tooth placed in soda will dissolve in 24 hours. Gators roam the sewers of big cities and Walt Disney is cryogenically frozen. These are just some of the most common and – let's admit it – awesome urban myths out there, the team behind the wearable computer goggles said on its Google+ page today.In its relatively short existence, Glass has seen some myths develop around it. While we're flattered by the attention, we thought it might make sense to tackle them, just to clear the air. And besides, everyone loves a good list.

This isn't the first time Google has used this debunking tactic. Five years ago it published a similar myth-busting list for YouTube, pointing out (correctly) that the service wasn't limited to short, low-quality content that advertisers were afraid of.You can read Google's full Glass myth list here, and we've gone through it to check facts from urban myths on both sides of the equation.A bit of a straw man – we've never seen Glass described this way, but Google makes a reasonable point.Google says Glass is simply a tool for viewing or capturing small bursts of information as you need it, and isn't designed to be a platform for constant viewing, just as you don’t check out your holiday snaps on the camera screen, but on a laptop or tablet.With its tiny viewing screen and limited capabilities, Glass isn’t going to be as distracting as a phablet screen, TV or computer game, or even a really good book.Glass can only record video for 45 minutes before depleting the battery, Google says, and is designed to take 10 second bursts of video to record those special moments, although a tweak using the software development kit can change that.

What Google doesn’t mention is that audio recording will take a lot less battery power and Glass could be very useful for recording meetings, and possibly settling arguments later on with conversations recorded on the fly.The caveat to all that is Glass is also designed to display a light when recording, so the subject knows what's going on, so if you are worried about being recorded keep an eye out for that. Even if a developer does turn off the recording light, they'll still have to activate a recording by voice or touch command.Google says Glass users include parents, firefighters, zookeepers, brewmasters, film students, reporters, and doctors. This is, no doubt, true. But you've got to be a little bit of a geek to want to hang a computer off your ears.Google has about 10,000 Glass headsets are out there, either purchased, won in competitions, or given away by the company as it tests out vertical markets and seeks publicity opportunities. But the majority of users are US-based technology developers, workers, or enthusiasts who want access to the internet anytime, anyplace, anywhere, any eyeball.There's nothing wrong with being a geek, anyway – geeks make markets happen. Geeks have been the early adopters that help products cross the chasm into market acceptance for as long as there has been a technology industry. It's barely a couple of decades since using the internet was thought of as a thing only geeks did.

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