Tonight Alex took the stage with an eclectic bag of topics to discuss, centre stage of which was the new
Alex had just come from the Norton launch and started the evening with a video on what Norton Wi-Fi Privacy was all about.
VPNs or virtual private networks have taken off in the last few years. The rise of public Wi-Fi hot spots and the desire to have a connection that disregards your location has seen people look for ways of protecting their data and their privacy while checking their FaceBook at the coffee shop or finding ways to view overseas sites without any blocks stopping them. To quote from the Norton site “A virtual private network gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public Internet connection “.
The video explains just how vulnerable these “free Wi-Fi" networks are. In each case the tester could see everything the user was doing including the very pictures they were viewing. The first “victim” had an iPhone and the interviewer could tell her what iPhone she had, that she hadn’t applied her updates, and that she had just posted a photo to Instagram.
The interviewer then had a look at all the photos the next guy was seeing on the BBC site he was browsing.
It got more frightening when he directed the next person away from her Google search to a Yahoo page
What Norton Wi-Fi Privacy does is to create its own VPN on your device and then direct the traffic through it to the Wi-Fi in the café. In effect, with Norton Wi-Fi Privacy, when you use the local coffee shops free Wi-Fi, Norton will encrypt your data then send it across the free network so it cannot be seen.
The app has one major drawback, its only for IOS or Android; bad luck all those with Windows tablets or laptops.
Next up Alex showed a video on the “Roam-e drone”, the world’s first flying selfie stick, designed by Simon Kantor a 26 year old Australian. It’s a Selfie stick on steroids.
The drone has face recognition software
and four flight modes including “selfie”. It has 360° panoramic photo mode and live streaming. Using the face recognition software in selfie mode the Roam-e will follow you around, making it the ultimate “selfie stick”. It retails for around $499.
There are now several third party providers that have connection to the Vodafone 4G network and we had a look at the latest in cheap phone plans.
The major 4G offering Alex spoke about was the Kogan unlimited plans. They now offer unlimited talk and text plans with the cheapest offering 1 GB of data for $16.95 per month.
There are four plans all with unlimited calls and text and a range of data; 1XL with 1Gb 3XL with 3GB, 5XL with 5GB and 11XL with 11GB. The most interesting part is the range of access periods. You can have 1 month, 90 days or 365 days and the price drops if you pay for longer access. The total cost of the 1XL plan over 365 days is only $179.95 or $14.80 per month. If you reach the data limit before the period expires you get cut off, there doesn’t appear to be any way to add more data.
Alex spoke about Apple’s WorldWide Developers conference, and the insights into what Apple has in store. Here is a list of the videos from the conference and the keynote address.
We moved on to the upcoming Apple IOS 10 with a video on the new features. These included an application called HomeKit, to control your Apple Homeware devices.
These devices are the computerised equipment you have installed in your home such as lights, air conditioning and security cameras. They are known by the generic term “the Internet of Things”. If the devices can be remotely controlled, then you can add them to the Apple HomeKit app. It can even open the front door.
In the video we see a courier call at home and ring the bell. We then see the owner using the app to remotely open the door. Using the security cameras, you could watch the courier come in, put the parcel on the hall table and leave, all from your Office.
There was more discussion about the Windows 10 free update and Alex introduced us to Macrium Reflect, a free cloning software. He described how he had used it successfully to clone peoples hard drives before upgrading to Windows 10. Using Macrium to create a new hard drive allowed both the upgrade to Windows 10 and a complete backup in the old drive. You simply swap the drives over and if you don’t like Windows 10 put the old drive back. It allowed Alex to upgrade the hard drive to an SSD and if Windows 10 was OK then the client had doubled their storage.
For those who don’t wish to upgrade to Windows 10, Alex spoke about Never 10, a free program that blocks the Microsoft nag screens and any attempt by Microsoft to automatically upgrade.
Tonight’s presentation was brought to us by Vividwireless.
Vividwireless came last month and tonight Alex had a Vividwireless modem to demonstrate. The internet connection worked perfectly which is more than can be said for the internet connection from my mobile phone. I don’t think it likes all the walls, but the Vividwireless mobile connection had no problems.
Thanks to Alex and Norton we had a Norton Privacy bag with a $50 iTunes card equal to a year’s Norton WiFi Privacy subscription and several other goods available.
Here are prizes and some of our winners.
Our door prize winner