Category: Peripherals

Cloud hits storage market

Cumulus clouds - Wikimedia CommonsPersonal and entry level storage shipments fell in the first quarter of this year by 6.4 percent – with 17.6 million units shifts.

According to market research company IDC, the size of the market hasn’t changed that much for the last two years, but the decline is due to people using public clouds and because there’s a change in the way people use media.

Jingwen Li, an analyst at IDG, said that while this sector has shown a decline, there are growth opportunities, particularly for personal and entry level NAS units.

Even though the overall market showed a decline, dual interface products grew by 56.7 percent year on year. This sector consists of USB-Thunderbolt and USB-WiFi products.

An IDC chart shows the way things have changed in this market, which is still worth a great deal of money.

Storage market Q1 2015

Companies are happy with 3D printers

3D printer - Wikimedia CommonsAdvances in technology and the business benefits of 3D printers mean that companies using them are beginning to reap benefits.

Market research company IDC surveyed a number of companies in the USA at the end of last year and have discovered that 90 percent of respondents were “very satisfied” using them in a business context.

While very large enterprises and manufacturing are currently driving 3D printer sales, that isn’t the end of the story.

Keith Kmetz, a VP at IDC said: “These printers are typically acquired for a specific creation workflow, but once in place the usage expands rapidly to other types of applications.”

He continued: “The early adopters who recognised the substantial cost and time to market benefits of 3D printing have carried the day.” He said that it’s the ability to expand their usage that will push 3D printing sales up.

Those surveyed thought ease of use and service/support are as important to companies as price, and 3D printer penetration increases depending on the size of an enterprise.

While people who don’t use 3D printers are lukewarm, IDC believes this will change soon.

SSDs can lose data in seven days

SSD+320+angle+right+1to1Solid State Drives (SSD) can start to lose their data and become corrupted if they are left without power for as little as a week, according to a new Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) report.

Seagate’s Alvin Cox, who is also chairman of the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC), wrote that the time that data will be retained on an SSD is halved for every 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in temperature in the area where the SSD is stored.

Consumer class SSDs can store data for up to two years before the standard drops, but when it comes to SSDs used by enterprises, the drives are only expected to retain data for a period of three months.

This could mean that all those people using SSDs in both consumer and enterprise applications could be in grave trouble if data storage is important and might be needed for longer than three months.

On the back of the report, security companies are warning that SSD users need to make sure to regularly back up their data and create drive images, or they will risk losing their data, which can have disastrous consequences.

The long term stability of SSDs has been questioned for a long time and had been the reason that ordinary hard drives have not disappeared overnight. But a three month turn around month corruption figure had not been widely known.

Your home is getting smarter

A very smart home - Wikimedia CommonsRevenues from installed “smart home” systems are set to grow at 21 percent CAGR between now and 2020, with the USA, Europe and Asia Pacific leading the way.

That means that revenues from smart home automation systems will generate $34 billion in revenue by 2020.

ABI Research said automation systems range from security systems, “smart plugs” and smoke and air quality monitors. Other sectors include home energy management, connected appliances, home entertainment and lighting control.

Air quality monitors are seeing something of a boom in CHina because of polltion.

Proprietary wireless technologies from United Technologies, Honeywell and Bosch Security dominate the security market because of quality of service and longer battery life.

But mesh wireless tech like Z-Wave and ZigBee are also seeing growth, said ABI. Sigma Designs’ Z-Wave is already embedded in over 1,000 interoperable devices.

Home routers have massive bug

Them-stillHome routers from manufacturers including Trendnet and D-Link are vulnerable to attacks that allow attackers anywhere in the world to execute malicious code.

Security researcher Ricky “HeadlessZeke” Lawshae warned HP’s Zero Day Initiative two years ago that the remote command-injection bug affects routers that were developed using the popular RealTek software development kit. It still has not been fixed.

This is means that Trendnet and D-Link routers would be in trouble, although there is no comprehensive list of manufacturers or models that are affected.

A user can find out by using Metasploit to query their router. If the response contains “RealTek/v1.3” or similar, it’s is potentially toast.

Now the organisers of HP’s Zero Day Initiative ZDI have written an advisory highlighting the problem.

“Given the stated purpose of Realtek SDK, and the nature of the vulnerability, the only salient mitigation strategy is to restrict interaction with the service to trusted machines. Only the clients and servers that have a legitimate procedural relationship with products using Realtek SDK service should be permitted to communicate with it.”

ZDI officials went on to recommend the use of a firewall to block outside connections. Other researchers said that turning off a router’s universal plug and play may also prevent exploits.

Forget the Apple Watch, analysts say

Withings Activite PopThe people at ABI Research have torn apart the Withings Activite Pop watch and described it as elegant and simple.

The watch, said Jim Mielke, VP of Teardowns, at ABI, provides eight months battery life and uses micro amps of current. The watch is a combination of semiconductor tech and mechanical hand movement mechanisms.

Mielke said the battery life is impressive because most time or activity trackers “are working hard just to get a few days of battery life”.

The machine has a Bluetooth system on a chip, and an accelerometer built into its design. It retails in the UK for about £120.

Mielke said: ‘This merger of technology could become the standard for a long battery life, always on smart watch and or fitness trackers, especially for traditional watch makers. Enabling a long batter life provides clear advantages over the smart watches coming from smartphone vendors.”

The watch synchronises with your smartphone clock. It’s compatible with both Apple iOS and Android operating systems and connects to the smartphones using Bluetooth.

Disney creates fabric 3D printer

Disney stamp - Wikimedia CommonsCarnegie Mellon University and Disney Research have teamed up to make a 3D printer that can use fabric and that can also include electronic circuits to interact with people.

So far, the team has limited itself to layer together laser cut sheets of fabric to make soft objects like doll clothing and phone cases.

Soft fabric things like plush toys are still made by hand and the team believes layered fabric printing will automate production of these things.

The machine includes two fabrication surfaces – one a cutting platform and the other a bonding platform. Fabric feeds from a roll into the printer and a vacuum holds the fabric, with the laser cutting a piece out and the made to the desired shape. Once the process is finished, the support fabric is torn way to show the 3D object.

If you want to make a two and a half inch bunny using the Disney technique, making one will take two and a half hours, using 32 layers of two millimetre thick felt.

Wiring can be produced to create, for example, touch sensors and an antenna that will light an LED.

You can find more information, including a picture of the bunny and a video, by going here.

Wearable cameras set to show strong growth

Leica cameraTractica said that wearable cameras – although in their infancy – are set to show rapid growth over the next five years, with 30.6 million units shipping by 2020.

Last year, only 5.6 million units shipped.

And they won’t be confined to sport jocks, the market research company said.

Aditya Kaul, a research director at the company, said: “While GoPro is driving the market for sports and adventure enthusiasts, we expect usage of consumer life logging cameras like those from Narrative to mature over time to capture specific moments and support video streaming. The public safety sector is also experiencing growth in the adoption of body-worn cameras for police officers provided by companies like Taser, Vievu, and Digital Ally. In addition, enterprise users are experimenting with applications like user experience research in retail and hospitality.”

Kaul thinks that wearable cameras are really an extension of smartphones, but allow people to capture spontaneous shots from different perspectives.

They will be mounted on the body, or on the head, or even by clipping the camera to your blouse or your shirt.

Kaul said their strongest growth will be where there are clear and specific reasons for using them.

So smile. Whether you like it or not, you will be on candid cameras.

Apple turns taps up on iWatch supply

WatchA glut of orders for the Apple watch over the weekend has caused the company to make a statement later today on the number of customers that have committed to buy.

And, according to a report on Reuters, Apple will ask its Asian suppliers to increase production to meet demand for the much hyped device.

Some analysts estimate that as many as a million people placed order for the iWatch at the end of last week. One analyst claimed that Apple sold out within the 10 to 30 minutes.

Other analysts believe that Apple will sell as many as 20 million watches in the first year, which is a success in anyone’s book.

Delivery date for the iWatch is the 24th of April and it’s unclear whether Apple will be able to meet demand.

Most see the Apple iWatch as a fashion accessory rather than a practical piece of kit.

Fanboys turn up to view iWatch

WatchEnthusiastic followers of the Apple cargo cult have apparently been queuing up in droves to get their mitts on Apple’s iWatch, which is available to pre-order today.

The watches, which some people have described as overpriced and underspecced, will actually go on sale in many countries on April 24th.

Reuters reported that a hundred people were queuing outside the Apple Store, Paris before it opened this morning and excited about the prospect of wearing a fashion item from the firm.

People weren’t able to reach into their capacious wallets and dole out a watch which can cost as much as $17,000 or as little as $350 for the cheapest version.

The jury is still out whether Apple’s iWatch will be the ultimate spod fashion accessory. It is the first item produced since founder Steve Jobs’ death that he had nothing to do with whatever.

To use an Apple iWatch, you have to have bought into the Cult. It only works in conjunction with an iPhone.

In addition to telling you the time, the iWatch also monitors your heart rate and it will be interesting to see what the heart rate is when putative buyers look at their credit card bill.