Gadget-Bag Pairings: How Cool Are They?

Gadget BagsStill carry around your laptop or other gadgets in a briefcase? If yes, then you need to wake up from your deep slumber, smell the coffee and say hello to 2017 way of carrying gadgets. Stop living in the 1990s and consider these gadget-bag pairings for carrying around your laptops and some other gadgets!

Sorry to say this but you’re stuck in ancient times if you still use those ugly, black briefcase type tech bags for carrying around your laptop or other gadgets. Today, our lifestyles are such that we ‘have’ to carry around our stuff including our gadgets with us everywhere we may go. The good news is that today there are gadget-bags made specifically for this purpose.

The popularity of gadget bags is increasing each day. The reason for this simple—compared to a briefcase or a hand, a gadget bag is more convenient and can pack more stuff in it. Not only that, there are some multi-purpose gadget bag that can be used for both carrying around stuff and keeping your devices charged. If that isn’t enough for you, then you may want to consider the aesthetic appeal of these bags.

High-end luggage, gadget bags are incredibly hip and they are sure to win you a glance or two from passerbys. So, if not for their utility, consider the following gadget bags for their awe-inspiring looks. We’re sure that you will buy at least one of these for your use.

Knomo Audley

A gadget bag that looks somewhat like a book a modern day female doctor would carry, Knomo Audley is a vintage bag that pairs well with Asus ZenBook 3 Deluxe, a lightweight and visually appealing bag. Big enough to carry all the necessities, this gadget bag pairing has a sleek design, with the fabric-lined interior of the leather complementing the navy-blue color. Moreover, the notebook slides into the built-in laptop pocket of the Audley bag with ease thanks to its thin design.

The Geo Bag

A bag that looks similar to the iconic quilted purses of Chanel, the MightyPurse Geo bag comes with a built-in sky charger. Priced at $179, the bag is compact yet spacious enough to fit the Huawei MediaPad 8, the Android’s version of the iPad Mini. To allow it to charge most Apple and Android devices, the geo gadget bag pairing is equipped with iPhone lightning connector and Micro-USB adapters. Other accessories that come with the bag includes a shoulder strap, which increases the portability of the bag.

Powerbag by Ful

A product of Ful, the Powerbag eliminates the need to carry around chargers and electrical adapters. Now, you can leave the additional wiring that comes with your gadgets at home because the built-in power system of the Powerbag will charge all your devices. Equipped with a 3000 Mah battery, the Powerbag can power two smart phones after one full charge.

In addition to smart phones, the bag can also charge laptops, tablets and other portable electronic devices. The pockets of the bag are equipped with M2 and Apple connectors with micro and mini USBs. Additionally, they come with a big internal USB port that you can use to charge just about everything you carry with you. The bag has only one con—it weighs more than four pounds, making it heavy to carry.

SkinnyDip Candy Fur

Do electronics in a millennial pink hade make you jump in excitement? If yes, then the Skinnydip Candy Fur bag is the perfect fit for you. Arguably the best gadget-pairing on our list, the Candy Fur bag is paired with the pick thirteen-inch MacBook. Featuring a metallic back that complements the laptop, the laptop sleeve comes in twelve, thirteen and fifteen inch sizes.

Skits Oxford Genius

Are you a frequent flyer? If yes, then the Skits Oxford Genius will help you to pack efficiently and avoid waiting long in security lines. This gadget-bag pairing is the perfect way to organize your gadgets for travel. Flip open the bag, and place your chargers, adapters and cables in a neat and tidy manner in its clear pockets. But, that isn’t the only thing the bag is good for. This bag removes the hassle of carrying a bag with you on your travels. Simply place the Kindle Voyage e-reader in the big right pocket of the Skit case and carry your book easily with you everywhere you go.

PacSafe Backpack

Though it is big and made for security purpose, the PacSafe backpack looks incredibly hip. Priced at $129, the bag is made of lightweight material and features a classy mauve exterior, stylish gold accents, thin padded straps, and a big bubblegum pink interior. A bag for the lady, the PacSafe backpack is unsurprisingly spacious and its grab handles ensure great portability.

This gadget bag is paired with the Samsung Notebook 9. A high-end laptop, the Samsung Notebook 9 won’t hamper your style or weigh down the bag inside its built-in laptop sleeve. Not to forget is the anti-theft technology of the bag. To disarm pickpockets, the bag is equipped with interlocking zipper pullers that come with security clips. Additionally, to discourage people from trying to cut open the bag to steal the laptop, the bag is made of material that features hidden stainless-steel wire mesh.

There are Many More Gadget-Bag Pairings for You to Try

Find the aforementioned-gadget bag pairings cool? If yes, the be glad that these aren’t the only gadget-bag pairings out there. There are many more gadget-bag pairings for you to try and you can find out about them by getting in touch with us, today.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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Apple’s new Chicago Store — Practically Invisible

Apple's New Chicago StoreOn Friday, October 20th, Apple, the multi-national tech company, opened its new flagship store in Chicago, Illinois. Founded 41 years ago, Apple boasts 498 retail stores worldwide, the Chicago store being the latest addition. So, what makes the Apple’s new Chicago store so special? Let’s find out!

Located on Michigan Avenue, Apple’s new Chicago store was opened to the public on Friday, October 20th. Called by many as Apple’s ‘most ambitious store’ yet, the new Chicago flagship store connects the Chicago river, Pioneer Court, and North Michigan Avenue. According to Jony Ive, the Chief Design Officer of Apple, the purpose of doing this is to resuscitate significant urban connections within the city.

A New Gathering Place for The Local Community

With the launch of its new flagship store in Chicago, Apple not only hopes to sell more of its latest gadgets, but it also hopes to provide the local community with a gathering place to connect with each other. To rejuvenate the Riverwalk, Apple has built its store on the city’s city-wide initiative. Additionally, to give the city an enterprising new territory that flows smoothly down to the river.

According to Angela Ahrendts, the senior vice president (retail) of Apple, the design and structure of the new flagship store in Chicago is in sync with the company’s vision of providing customers with a store where they can not only experience the latest and best products and services of Apple, but also connect with others in the community and learn something new.

Planned as a gathering place for the local community, Apple’s new Chicago store will be open to the public all year long. It is easy to assume that one fine day, Apple decided to design a new store, and then place it on Michigan Avenue. That wasn’t the case. Instead, to develop a space designed specifically for Michigan Avenue, Apple referenced historical records and worked alongside the local authorities.

A Sight to Behold

While the main purpose of the new store was to provide the local community with a gathering place, Apple did not show any slackness in the design of the store. To put in three words, Apple’s new Chicago store is a sight to behold. As mentioned earlier, the river of Chicago has been a mainstay of the city since long and Apple’s hopes to strengthen this connection by providing new entry to the Riverfront from Pioneer Court via its Michigan Avenue store. To allow the river to be visible from the plaza and beyond, Apple has connected the two on both sides of new store using granite staircases.

A practically invisible store, Apple’s Chicago store boasts a number of features and all of them have the same main purpose: shrinking the dividing line between Chicago city and its river. Four interior pillars support the entire structure, allowing the thirty-two-foot glass fronts to stay lucent. Additionally, the design of the 111×98-foot carbon fiber roof of the building is as thin as it could possibly be.

What do you think is the first thing that catches the eye when you look at Apple’s new Chicago store? It is the mammoth screen. A 6k resolution detached screen, the screen of the new flagship store in Chicago allows you to take in the rest of the store’s beauty by standing with your back to the screen. This is made possible by the doors to the river-walk behind it.

In addition to the mammoth screen, other notable features of the store include the store’s back that houses all the products, the trees that exhibit the Genius Grove, and the balconies reserved for sessions and performances. Once you notice these things, the little things will start to become obvious to you. You’ll notice that the curved glass along the corner is no less than a technological wonder. After all, not many building glasses can stop vehicle crashes of up to seventy-five miles per hour.

But, the marvels of Apple’s new flagship store don’t end here. If you look closely enough, you will also notice the countless white oak slats beneath the carbon fiber roof used to construct the celling. Granite is used for the store’s floors and Castagna Limestone ensures shining white walls. Some well-known brands have also contributed to the store with Hermes delivering all the leather in the store and Mitsubishi design, manufacturing and installing the store’s glass elevator.

While the architectural marvels of the store are all a sight to behold, the most fascinating feature of the store is its heating and cooling system. The system cools and heats the store by pumping water from the Chicago river. Apple hopes that this will ensure a comfortable atmosphere inside while helping keep the environment green.

A Store in the Heart of The City

Ideally located in the heart of the city, Apple’s new Chicago store is present in a well-established city hub. Apple’s hopes to leverage the location of its new flagship store to boost its brand further, turning more people into its loyalists and advocates. Apple, the tech company that prompted us to stare tirelessly at our cell phones, is now asking us to move away from such habits and come together in a shared space to share ideas face-to-face.

The above stance of Apple may seem a bit hypocritical but you can’t deny the fact that Apple is one of the few companies that is actually taking initiative to promote healthy face-to-face interactions between people living in the same community. In the world where our interactions with friends and family have been reduced to emails and WhatsApp messages, this step by Apple is commendable to say the least.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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Review of Microsoft’s Surface Book 2

Microsoft Surface Book 2The Holiday Season is almost upon us and Microsoft is welcoming it with the new Surface Book model: the Microsoft Surface Book 2.  Unveiled in October, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 has gotten rid of all the issues in the original model. Here’s more about the all-new Surface Book from Microsoft!

While appallingly expensive, the all-new Surface Book 2 is a sight to behold.  Announced by Microsoft in October, the new Surface Book 2 is a much-improved version of the original Surface Book. Having a hinged design, the laptop comes with new Kably Lake processors, and a variety of storage and RAM configurations. A complete powerhouse, Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 has a beautiful display and a magnesium finish. What else does the new laptop from Microsoft offer? Let’s find out.

Microsoft Surface Book 2: A Feature Full Laptop

The most powerful Surface yet according to Microsoft, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 looks kind of similar to the original Surface Book from the outside but when you lift the hood, you find a faster and much more efficient Surface Book. So, how does the new Microsoft Surface Book compare to the original in terms of design and features? Let’s take a look.

Design of the Microsoft Surface Book 2

To spot the difference in design between the new Surface Book and the original version, you’ll have to look pretty hard—at the Surface Book 2 that is. If you do look hard, the only difference between the two that you’d be able to spot is the more hinged look in the Surface Book 2. A hybrid design, the Surface Book 2 can be used as a laptop or converted into a table by unhitching the screen.

A 15-inch model, Surface Book 2 comes with a USB-C, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, two USB 3.0s, and an SD card reader. The hinged design means that when you lift the hood, and the Surface Book 2’s depth stretches back by almost 20 mm. This allows the laptop to have a superior contact footprint on the surface of your desk, increasing the balance and stability of the system as a whole.

Eye-Catching Display

Microsoft’s Surface displays have always been eye catching and this is evident in the new Surface Book 2 as well. A gorgeous display, the screen of the Surface Book 2 is a screen on which one would happily watch soap operas or wrestling all day long. The display misses the 4k mark by six hundred horizonal pixels but that isn’t to say the 3240×2160 display of the Surface Book 2 is not good enough for video streaming, image editing or web browsing. Unless you stick your face against the screen, there is no chance of you noticing the lack of 600 pixels.

Boasting vibrant colors and excellent contrast, both images and videos look great on the display. In fact, the text is pin-sharp. The Surface 2 also offers great viewing angles, which is excellent news when you consider that the laptop will act partly as a tablet. Bright and detailed, the display of the Surface Book 2 is something Microsoft can be proud of and with this, we move onto the Surface Book 2’s usability.

A Joy to Use

A joy to type on, the keyboard of Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 is extremely easy to use. Backlit and having an encouraging amount of depth, each key on the keyboard feels extremely comfortable to press. Compared to the MacBook’s butterfly keys, the keys on the Surface Book 2 offer a lot more feedback, ensuring a better typing experience for users of the all-new Surface Book.

A trackpad can recognize motion and differentiate right clicks from left clicks accurately. Furthermore, the multi-touch trackpad of the Surface Book 2 is slick and works seamlessly. In addition to the multi-touch trackpad, the Surface Book 2 boasts a Surface Pen and Dial. Of the two, the Dial is the more interesting feature. By rotating and clicking this feature, you can scroll or zoom in any application, adjust screen brightness and volume, and change Photoshop brushes. In fact, you can convert the Surface Book 2 into your very own drafting table by pressing the Dial on the screen and holding the Pen in hand.

Impeccable Performer

While the design, display and usability of a laptop matter, the most important thing is always going to be its performance. If you’re looking for a top-performing laptop, then look no further than the Surface Book 2. While the original version wasn’t a bad performer, the new Surface Book beats it hand down in terms of performance. A beefier model, the Surface Book 2 is a fully equipped laptop boasting 1 Terabyte storage, 17GB RAM, and an 8th generation Intel Core i7 central processing unit.

In short, the new Surface Book is fast and it can run complex computer aided design programs without batting an eye. To date, Microsoft’s Surface laptops have been productive for gaming and lightweight photo and video editing,s but the new Surface Book takes that experience to a whole new level. Featuring dedicated Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), the Surface Book 2 has far superior processors than the previous Surface models, making it much more powerful than its predecessors.

Are You Ready to Invest in Microsoft’s Surface Book 2?

Starting at $1,499, the Surface Book 2 is a laptop you’d think twice about before buying, mainly due to the extravagant price tag. But, Microsoft believes the price tag is justified. So, we leave the decision to you. Using the information given above, you can decide for yourself whether paying almost $1,500 for Microsoft Surface Book 2 is worthwhile.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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Intel: Computer Chips Will Accelerate AI Revolution

AI RevolutionIntel—The American multinational tech company, has been manufacturing computer chips since 1971. The latest invention of the company are self-learning chips—chips Intel hopes will accelerate the AI revolution. What is the AI revolution and how does Intel plan to accelerate it? Read on to find out!

Believe the popular media about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and you’d be scared to death. According to the popular media and sci-fi films, AI bots are coming to cause havoc and threaten life as we know it. While this may sound a bit farfetched now, it can be a reality at some point in the future—twenty, fifty, hundred or two hundred years from now. But, contrary to what the doomsday advocates say, the AI revolution isn’t all about potential destruction, it is also about improving human life and making things more convenient and accessible. A company hoping to steer the world into that direction is Intel.

The Challenge for Intel and Its AI Chip

Over the years, Intel has lost its reputation as a computer technology leader. However, the company is hoping the self-learning chips—its latest invention, will help bring back the glory days. Typically, tech giants such as Google, Baidu, Facebook and Microsoft use Graphics Process units (GPUs) to indoctrinate their deep neural nets. But, now they’re making to the shift to more specialized chips that they hope will speed up not just the indoctrination of these systems, but also their execution.

Not wanting to be left behind, Intel, the largest manufacturer of computer chips in the world, unveiled its very own AI process in November last year. Named Nervana, the new AI chip was expected to go on sale at the end of the current year. However, that looks unlikely. Now, there are two challenges for Intel. The first challenge is upsetting the market share of nVidia, the current leader in the AI chips market. The second and arguably the tougher challenge is accelerating the AI revolution. How does Intel plan to overcome these challenges? Let’s find out.

Will Intel Overcome the Underlying Challenges and Help Accelerate the AI Revolution

Today, there is an increased demand for processing that outpaces not only classic CPU architectures, but also GPUs. Reason for this is growing need for gathering, evaluating and making decisions from unstructured and highly dynamic natural data. To help meet this growing need and keep pace with the evolving technology, Intel has been working for more than half a decade on specialized architectures that accelerate the existing computing platforms. Additionally, the company has done considerable R & D in neuromorphic computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

As part of its efforts to accelerate the AI revolution, Intel recently developed Loihi, a self-learning neuromorphic chip. According to the company, the self-learning chip functions like a human brain in the sense that it can learn from the environment and operate based on that. An AI chip that uses data to learn, Loihi is energy-efficient and it gets smarter over time. The best thing? You don’t need to train it the traditional way.

As AI is still in its infancy, processors such as Loihi will only help accelerate its revolution. Intel takes inspiration from its existing understanding of the brain’s architecture and related computations for neuromorphic computing.

How Intel’s Self-Learning Chip Compares with the Machine Learning Models

By using large-scale training data files to identify events and objects, machine learnings models have made great advancements in recent times. An example of these models is deep learning. However, there is a problem with these models: they do not generalize well unless their training sets specifically rationalize a particular circumstance, element or event.

On the other hand, the benefits offered by self-learning chips—or at least that is what Intel says, are infinite. According to Intel, its neuromorphic based self-learning chips can help you to determine your ‘normal’ heartbeat before going to bed, following a meal, or after jogging. Not only that, it can continue to monitor the incoming heart data to identify and flag patterns that aren’t in sync with the ‘normal’ heartbeat behavior. Moreover, the system can be personalized to fit the needs of the user.

Intel believes that the aforementioned-logic is applicable to many other use cases including cybersecurity. According to the company, its self-leaning chips can prevent a cyberattack by recognizing and reporting the abnormalities in data streams and supporting the early identification of a hack or breach.

The Key Features of Intel’s AI Chip that Can Help Accelerate the AI Revolution

Following are the key features of Loihi—Intel’s new AI chip, that the company hopes will help accelerate the AI revolution:

  • It can function like a human brain
  • It makes machine learning faster and more efficient
  • It combines training and reasoning on a single chip
  • It ensures real-time adaptability of machines
  • It uses fewer resources than deep learning neural networks
  • It has the potential to improve industrial and automotive applications
  • Compared to traditional computing systems, it is a thousand times more energy-efficient
  • It has more than a hundred million synapses and over 120,000 neurons
  • Each neuron can communicate with thousands of other neurons

The aforementioned-list of features is by means exhaustive. Loihi—the new AI chip by intel, has many more features that can help accelerate the AI revolution.

The Way Forward

Each day, AI tasks are becoming more assorted and complicated and this will only increase the challenge for the existing computing architectures. Intel believes that neuromorphic computing is the best way forward. According to the company, as it takes inspiration from the functioning of the human brain, this form of computing is the perfect way to accelerate the AI revolution and make machines more human-like.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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Review: Google’s PixelBook Chromebook

Google’s PixelBook Chromebook During its early years, many people were skeptic of the Chromebook. At the time, no one would have imagined, let alone predicted, that Chromebook would be competing with some of the biggest brands out there. But, Google’s Chromebook was always destined to succeed. Even though they had limited functionality, and were heavily reliant on a constant internet connection, the earliest models of the Chromebook managed to strike a chord with schools. Today, Chromebook’s share in American schools is a staggering 58%, a share that Google hopes that PixelBook Chromebook—its latest Chromebook— will increase.

Generally, Chromebooks are thought of as cheaper alternatives to Windows and Mac. But Google hasn’t warmed up to that idea for as long as it has been manufacturing its own Chromebooks. In fact, it has gone a step further and rebelled against the principle. The Pixel Chromebook, the latest Chromebook offering by Google, is far from affordable.

Starting at $999, the all-new Pixel Chromebook would be out of most people’s budget. But, you shouldn’t give up the idea of buying Google’s PixelBook Chromebook so quickly. Instead, consider the features of PixelBook Chromebook before deciding whether or not you should spend ‘over the top’ for the latest Chromebook offering by Google.

Is Google’s New PixelBook Chromebook Worth $999?

For long, Chromebooks have been seen as cheap laptop alternatives but Google’s new PixelBook Chromebook aims to change that. Ranging between $250 and $400, the Chromebook offerings by Google to date have won many plaudits. They’re considered as easy-to-use, efficient and secure laptops that are ideal for educational institutes. But, Google was never going to be satisfied with this. Hoping to give the likes of Windows and Mac a good run for their money, Google has launched a completely modified version of its 2015 Chromebook. Prized at $999, PixelBook Chromebook is the latest Chromebook offering by Google.

Compared to the 2015 offering by Google, the new PixelBook Chromebook has a much more refined design. Featuring a comfortable palm rest made of rubber, the PixelBook Chromebook has a fully aluminum frame. The Chromebook has a 2 in 1 design. This means that it can be stood up for streaming shows or flipped around to convert into a tablet. The Chromebook is quite slim as it has a thickness of just 10.3 mm. Additionally it weighs only 2.4 pounds, making it extremely thin, lightweight and great for carrying around.

Having a squarer look than its predecessors, the PixelBook Chromebook has a slightly unusual 12.3-inch screen. But, this shouldn’t concern you too much. So, what else does Google’s new Chromebook boast? Following are some of the best features of the PixelBook that’ll make you Google ‘Where to buy PixelBook Chromebook from’.

The Super Responsive and Firm Keyboard

One of PixelBook’s nicest elements, the keyboard is firm and super responsive. Compared to the new MacBook Pros, the PixelBook offers a more comfortable typing experience. Unlike the former’s keyboard, the keyboard on Google’s PixelBook Chromebook does not feel hard in the fingers. Soft to touch, PixelBook’s keyboard makes it incredibly easy for you to press any key you want.

An Impressive Glass Trackpad

Superb to say the least, the glass trackpad of Google’s PixelBook would beat the trackpads on most Windows 10 laptops anywhere and on any given day. Having an uncanny resemblance to the trackpads of Apple’s MacBook laptops, Pixelbook’s trackpad is relatively small in size, making it somewhat unique.

The Vibrant Touchscreen

Want a HD experience when viewing websites or videos? If yes, the get Google’s PixelBook Chromebook right away. A 12.3-inch quad high definition 1600p display, PixelBook’s touchscreen offers appreciable contrast between dark and light areas and is always beaming with vibrant colors, making it the ideal touchscreen for viewing flash based websites and high definition videos.

Great Battery Life

The PixelBook Chromebook charges faster than most other laptops and has a better battery life than them. Just a fifteen-minute charge will keep the PixelBook up and running for up to two hours. Isn’t that great?

Laptop Assistance

With the launch of the PixelBook Chromebook, Google has made an intelligent personal assistant available to laptop users. Much more than a voice-only AI, the assistant that comes with the PixelBook can be accessed in three different ways including pressing on the PixelBook pen while moving it on a part of an image or text, saying ‘Ok Google’ or holding down the key devoted for this purpose.

The functions performed by the Assistant are similar to those performed by Siri or Cortana. Nevertheless, it is a great addition to the Chromebook that has the potential to take the ‘laptop experience’ to a whole new level.

A Suite of AppsGoogle Chromebook

You’re used to installing apps to your smartphone or tablet, but have you considered doing the same on your laptop? If not, then Google’s PixelBook will cause you to think about it at the very least. The latest Chromebook offering by Google hosts a multitude of OS and Android apps. A number of Android apps have been integrated into the PixelBook by Google. Some of the notable apps includes Instagram and Snapchat. Whether you like downloading apps or not, you will surely appreciate having a number of apps available to you on the PixelBook Chromebook.

So, What Have You Decided?

We’ve revealed the best features of the Google’s PixelBook Chromebook and it is time for you to make a decision: Are you ready to spend $999 on the latest Chromebook offering by Google? If yes, then waste no time and get the all new- PixelBook Chromebook from your local electronics store or an online store that sells Chromebooks.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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What Is Blockchain and How Can It Benefit the World

BlockchainA technology that has taken the world by storm, Blockchain is an ingenious invention that seeks to change the world. How exactly? Read on to find out!

An invention of a person bearing the pseudonym: Satoshi Nakamoto, blockchain enables the distribution of information over the internet without allowing it to be copied. The blockchain technology has come a long way since it was first introduced. Today, it is the basis for a new type of currency—a digital currency—cryptocurrency.

Ever head of Bitcoin? You probably have! Bitcoin was the reason the blockchain technology was invented. But today, the technology is being used for a lot more. Blockchain is like the internet in the sense that you can use it without knowing how it works. However, finding out how this technology works won’t do you any harm. In fact, it will do you a world of good. So, without wasting any more time, let’s look at how the blockchain technology works.

How the Blockchain Technology Works

Knowing how blockchain works isn’t necessary for using it but a bit of knowledge is always good. So, here you go. We’ll start things off with a definition of blockchain by Don and Alex, two people who co-authored a book on blockchain called ‘Blockchain Revolution’. Following is how they define this technology:

The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

The above definition of blockchain gives a good idea of what can be achieved with the technology. But, we won’t leave you guessing instead we’re going to tell you exactly what can be achieved with blockchain. Before we get to that, let’s take a quick look at how the technology works.

A type of a distributed database, blockchain is like a mammoth, spreadsheet that is available to users across the globe and can run on millions of computers simultaneously. As it is open source technology, anyone—including you and me, can alter the underlying code and unveil what’s happening. Since it is a true P2P technology, blockchain authenticates or settles transactions without the help of any intermediary at all.

Blockchain is a globally distributed database that uses futuristic cryptography to record any transaction done by you over it. But, what else does this database record? In addition to the transactional data such as who paid who or who married who, it can also record any structured information. The world is fast moving towards the Internet of Things, and as such, having a blockchain system for settlements will soon become necessary or mandatory or however you want to say it. The blockchain technology is going to enable the settlement of trillions of transactions in real-time between connected things—something that banks don’t have the capacity to do. For this reason, the blockchain technology is nothing short of extraordinary.

A platform that promotes trust and truth, blockchain is a stable database of virtual belongings that cannot be hacked. This makes blockchain the ideal transactional technology, not just for the financial-services industry, but also for the society in general. And, the next section is where we discuss how blockchain can benefit the world.

How Blockchain Can Benefit the World

A one of a kind technology, blockchain can be private or public. The popularity of this technology can be gauged by the fact that by 2024, the global blockchain market is expected to be worth over $20 billion and these are just conservative numbers, it could be a lot more! So, what are the qualities of the blockchain technology that are attracting people to it—Not just people from the finance industry, but also people from all professions and walks of life? Without wasting any time, let’s get straight to the answers.

Efficiency

Blockchain is making the world more efficient, and there’s no doubting this. Transactions are settled quickly on blockchain and there’s a reason for it— digitized information is used and no intermediary is required to complete the transactions between the relevant parties. And, the good thigs keep rolling in. In addition to enabling the completion of transactions without an intermediary, blockchain provides the ability to run ‘smart contracts’. To fulfill the criteria mentioned in the contract, these contracts automatically activate commercial actions. This streamlines the processes considerably, which in turn save time and money.

Traceability

One of the major advantages of the blockchain technology is enabling better traceability. With this technology, you can track where an item is currently residing by tracking goods forwarding. And when the item changes hand, any information related to it can be communicated to or from the new handler for possible action.

Security

Blockchain makes transactions more secure, but how exactly? You can as good as assure the authenticity of the information in a blockchain. The reason is that a complex cryptography that is verified independently is used to verify each transaction within the network. One of the keys to unlock the benefits of the Internet of Things (IOT) is authenticated information. To protect IP and verify instructions, the defense industry is currently using a version of blockchain. So, the use of blockchain to ensure security over the internet has already started.

Feedback

The final way blockchain can benefit the world is enabling feedback. Blockchain enables the traceability of a product throughout its lifecycle, allowing manufacturers and designers of the product to manage their products through their life and in turn make them more effective. This is good not just for the manufactures and designers of products, but also for the people using them.

Blockchain technology is changing the world, and the sooner you move to it, the better it will be for you. The reasons are given above.

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Apps for Finding Food and Voting for Your Favorite Places to Eat

Apps Finding FoodGot a Smartphone or Tablet? If yes, then that alone is enough for you to find food and vote for your favorite places to eat. Today, there are a whole host of apps that quickly direct you to the best restaurants in an area. But, that isn’t all these apps do. They also offer you discounts, advise you on what dish to order and allow you to vote for your favorite restaurants. So, what’s to achieve from these apps? Let’s find out.

Fulfill Your Insatiable Need for Food with These Apps

Considering the food and dietary limitations in the world today, it is no surprise that people become irked when they’re hungry and in an alien location. The good news is that there are food apps today that can help you to meet your insatiable need for food in any location. Finding a great dining-out place in your area should not be a problem for you. But, you’ll have to do a bit of work to find out about the restaurants that only recently opened or find a suitable place to eat in a foreign location or an area you just moved to.

There is so much that cellphones apps can do for your and this includes helping you to fulfill your insatiable need for food. Whether you’re an iPhone or Android user, there are a whole host of apps that you can use to find theme-based, upscale or just darn delicious restaurants. So, without wasting any further time, let’s take a look at the best apps for meeting your food cravings.

The Best Food Finder Apps

There’s no shortage of excellent food apps in the Android or iOS App Store. However, following are the five best apps for finding restaurants in a location, checking their ratings and leaving a review for your favorite dine-out place.

Urbanspoon

When it comes to user-reviewed restaurant listing sites, there’s no name bigger than Urbanspoon, a broad directory that you can search using a range of filters. Some filters that you can search by include free wi-fi, kid-friendly, price, cuisine, and suburb. Got GPS in your phone? Shake it to get a random restaurant in a random, or chosen area. Finally, you can share your review and pictures and add restaurant to your ‘wishlist’ by creating your own Urbanspoon profile.

YumTable

This is one food app that you need to look out for. This app allows you to search for restaurants, claim discounts and reserve tables. With the mission of making fine dining affordable, YumTable offers introductory discounts to users after they download and sign up with the app.

Food Truck Follower

You don’t necessarily need to look for upscale restaurants to find great food in an area. Some of the best food today comes from hawker stands present around town. Unlike the fine-dine restaurants, these road side eateries are focused and dedicated to deliver the best food and service to each and every customer that visits them. You can use the Food Truck Follower app to find food trucks in a location.

OpenTable

This app is available to users of iOS devices. A free to download app, OpenTable is designed to make restaurant reservations easier. The app supports more than thirty thousand restaurants. In addition to allowing you to view menus and user ratings, this app ensure real time availability and in-app reservation. Some of the popular features of this app include email integration, list of nearby restaurants, and dining reward points. Additionally, new features have been added to the app including user reviews, a restaurant finder, reward points and popular dishes at each restaurant.

Dining Deals

At times, finding a restaurant is as difficult a task as finding inexpensive food. This is a problem that dining deals solves. A smartphone app that you download to an android or iOS device, Dining Deals helps you to find inexpensive restaurants in a location so that you can save some money.

Foodspotting

A free iOS app that works like Urbanspoon, Foodspotting is designed to help you find new restaurants. Unlike Urbanspoon, Foodspotting takes a visual approach—the app displays pictures of food and dishes at restaurants uploaded/submitted by users. The quality of the image depends entirely on the users uploading the image. However, the app does have plenty of drool-worthy food pics for you to gaze at. You can use this app to look up a restaurant by name to see what it looks like and what people are saying about it. A unique app, Foodspotting has an eye-catching interface. Some other noticeable features of this app include dish reviews, and multiple-third party camera features.

Yelp

If you’re looking for a place to eat, then you just have to download the Yelp app. A free app, Yelp will help you find restaurants based on your location, and food, price and atmosphere preferences.

The Taste App

A recent arrival, the Taste app is available to users of iOS devices. The App helps you to find the best places to eat and drink through the locals. Locals vote for their favorite in each restaurant/food category. Even you can vote on this app if you think your vote will help people find a good place to eat. This app does not allow reviews or one-to-five star ratings. Instead, it ranks restaurants based on how many people voted for them. So, if you like a restaurant, download the Taste app and vote for them there.

Today, finding a place to eat and drink is easier than ever and you can easily show you love and admiration for a particular restaurant. Download the above-mentioned apps today to find good places to eat and drink and vote for your favorite eatery.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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Tips and Tricks for iOS 11

ios 11Technology giant Apple has recently released the finished version of iOS 11, the latest version of the iOS operating system. The finished version of iOS 11 brings with it all kinds of goodies. Equipped with a ton of new features, the iOS 11 mobile operating system has many custom options that you can use to tailor the experience to your needs. The recent update to the iOS operating system for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, iOS 11 boasts features that will change the way you interact with people, get your news, listen to music, and work on the go.

The iOS 11 boasts more changes than we could cover in this piece. So, what we’ve chosen to do is list the 4 features that we think you’re going to love the most. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 4 changes in iOS 11.

Dock

After you install the beta, the first change, and probably the most significant change, that you’ll notice is the new dock. Unlike the old dock where you could have just four to six apps icons, the new dock allows you to have as many as 14 icons. Additionally, the dock can be accessed from any screen, not just the Home Screen(s). This gives you easy access to your favorite apps and you have the option to drag the app icons to the main screen and turn them into a split screen tab.

QR Code Scanner

In the past, you needed to download an often-poorly made third-party app to scan QR codes on an iPhone or iPad. With iOS 11, this is no longer required. You can now scan QR codes on your iPhone or iPad with a QR code scanner built into the native Camera App. Simply open the app, point the iOS device at a QR code, and tap on the drop-down notification to perform the scan. This works whether the QR code to add contact details to your address book, a prompt to join a Wi-Fi network, or a link to a webpage. The feature turns on by default but you can turn it on or off from the Camera section of the Settings app.

One-Handed QuickType Keyboard

iPhone users will find this feature particularly handy. A new optional keyboard layout, the one-handed QuickType keyboard pushes the keys over to one side so that they’re closer to your thumb. This is ideal for one-handed typing. To activate this feature, tap the global icon when you’re using the system keyboard to bring up the palette and select the alternative layout.

Screen Recording

This new feature allows you to do screen recordings. So, if you want to teach your dad how to change his Facebook settings, just record a little video with this feature and send it to him. To activate this feature, go to the settings> control center >customize control, and then add screen recording to your ‘Include’ list. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and press the record icon to access the feature.

There you have it—the best changes to the iOS operating system in iOS 11. While iOS 11 boasts some amazing features, updating to a new version can be anxiety-inducing. So, to make the adjustment easier for you, we’ve come up with some useful iOS 11 tips and tricks. So, let’s get right into them!

Customize Control Center

Quite different from the one in iOS 10, the iOS 11 control center puts everything on a single page instead of spreading it over multiple cards. Don’t like the default choices? No worries! You can easily customize the Control Center to your liking by going to Settings> Control Center> Customize Controls, and the adding and removing items or rearranging the order in which they appear.

Easily Access Your Notifications

In iOS 11, the lock screen and the notification center are merged. You no longer need to swipe down to another notification screen after unlocking your phone. Now, you can swipe down to reveal your lock screen, and see all your notifications separated by day. Swipe the notification to the left to clear or view them and swipe fully to the right to open each one. Also, you can interact with the notification, such a send a reply to an iMessage, by tapping and holding via 3D Touch. Finally, in this new notification center, you can swipe to the left to access your camera, and to the right, to access the Today view.

Type to Siri

You don’t always want to shout to Siri for something you want it to do. With iOS 11, you can breathe a big sigh of relief! IOS 11 gives you the option to type to Siri. Simply go to Settings>General>Accessibility >Siri and enable type to Siri. Long-press the Home button to bring up the keyboard to type to your personal assistant.

Increase Storage Space

There are several new ways to improve your available storage in iOS 11. This includes new, more efficient file formats for photo and video. Now, one way for you to increase storage space in iOS 11 is freeing up storage space by enabling iCloud sync for Messages by going to Settings>Messages> Messages on iCloud and then deleting message attachments from the same page. Additionally, you can use the ‘offload’ apps feature to delete apps while keeping their data.

Scan Documents

You can scan your documents with a feature in the Notes app in iOS 11. Just click on the bottom of the screen and tap ‘scan documents’ to scan a document. The camera will take a photo of the document and add it to your notes.

With the aforementioned-tips and tricks for iOS 11, you can get the most out of iOS device and enhance your overall iOS experience.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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iPhone 8 Plus vs. Galaxy Note 8: The Great SmartPhone Battle

The Great SmartPhone War is On Once Again

Galaxy Note 8The rivalry between Apple and Samsung is the most talked about face-off in the smartphone industry. Recently, both companies release their flagship models for the year. At the end of August, Samsung, the Korean tech giant, unveiled the last version of its Galaxy Note series: The Note 8—a powerhouse smartphone with all the tools you’d expect a Note-series phone to have.

With Samsung releasing its latest smartphone offering, it was only a matter before Apple came up with own smartphone offering for the year. So, on September 22nd, Apple, the American tech company, released the latest version of the iPhone: the iPhone 8 plus. Ever since then, people have been comparing the Galaxy Note 8 with the iPhone 8 plus to determine which phone’s better. We don’t want to be bias. So, we won’t say outright which one’s better. Instead, we’re going to compare a few aspects of the two phones to help you make an informed decision.

Design and Screen

As far as the design is concerned, and iPhone lovers may cringe on this fact, there is no contest—the Note 8 wins hands down. The iPhone 8 plus screen is essentially the same as its iPhone 7 plus counterpart, albeit with one crucial difference. Unlike the previous year’s model, the iPhone 8 has a 5.5in Full HD LCD display. Additionally, the iPhone 8 Plus boasts the Apple’s True Tone Technology—the same tech used in the recent iPads. This technology automatically adjusts the screen’s white balance to make reading easier on the eyes in various conditions.

Designed to be durable, the iPhone 8 Plus is water resistant and has a noticeably wider and heavier screen than the Note 8. The iPhone 8 Plus is available in three different colors: silver, gold, and space gray. The iPhone 8 Plus’ 1080p LCD screen offers a wide color gamut and is bright and fairly colorful. But, most people aren’t too impressed with the display and this is one of the reasons Apple is moving to OLED for the iPhone X.

We now come to the Note 8, probably one of the sexiest phones you can buy today. The Infinity Display of the Note 8 stretches it curves and nearly edge to edge, as it meets the side. Compared to the iPhone 8 Plus’ LCD screen, the Super AMOLED screen on the Note 8 is not just sharper, but it also renders more of the SRGB color gamut. This is 204 percent compared to the 122.5 percent for the iPhone 8 Plus. Though, the display of the iPhone 8 is slightly more accurate with a Delta-E rating of 0.25, compared to 0.5 for the Note 8. However, there are other advantages of the OLED such as wider viewing angles and deeper blacks.

The Galaxy Smartphone has always excelled in the aesthetics department and the Note 8 is no exception. The Galaxy S8’s ‘Infinity display’ design that peels back the side bezels with a screen that cover almost the entire face of the phone, is used even more effectively in the Note 8. This has resulted in a 6.3in QHD+ display, with image quality second to none. One area where the iPhone 8 Plus beats the Note 8 is the color options. The Note 8 comes with only two color options: Orchid Gray and Midnight Black.

So, considering what’s been said above, it would be fair to declare the Note 8 as the winner in terms of design and display screen.

Camera

Smartphone’s are utilized a lot for taking selfies. So, it’s natural for buyers of Note 8 or iPhone 8 Plus to be concerned about camera quality. In terms of capability, the cameras of iPhone 8 Plus and Note 8 are at parity. However, better contrasts and more vivid colors in the shots gives iPhone 8 Plus the edge. Both phone use 12-megapixel OIS-capable sensors in the rear, with one primary difference—the iPhone 8 Plus uses dual sensors while Note 8 employs the rear sensors.

There are few areas where the Note 8’s camera performs better such as capturing sharper images in some settings, more detail in shadows, and letting users adjust the intensity of the blur effect for portraits. However, there are few things that you can only do in the iPhone 8 Plus such as editing Live Photos and adding special effects to them. Also, there’s difference in the rear camera’s f-stop on the Note 8. However, this does not affect the picture quality and light sensitivity too much. Overall, the iPhone 8 Plus wins the Camera quality and feature battle, which means it’s all square.

Special Features

On to the tie-breaker. There are so many aspects that we could have chosen to compare the two to give a final verdict but since people tend to be interested in the ‘additional’ features a lot, we’re going to see what special features the two phones boast. The Galaxy smartphone has always been known for its ‘special’ features and the Note 8 is no exception.

A noticeable accessory that comes with the Note 8 is the S pen that allows users to take up to hundred pages of notes using a screen-off memo feature. Also, there are multiple ways to unlock the device, including facial recognition, iris scanning, and fingerprint sensor. Another great feature of this phone is App pair, which users can use to open to apps side by side with a single tap. Special features in the iPhone 8 Plus include support for augmented reality apps, and Touch ID.

Final Verdict

The Note 8 has a better design and display but iPhone 8 wins the Camera battle and there pretty much at par in terms of ‘special’ features. So, you’ll have to test-try the phones yourself to determine which one’s better for you.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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The Best Password Managers

Password ManagersRecently, hackers breached the security at Equifax, a credit reporting agency headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The security breach allowed the hackers to get access to the personal information of 143 million Americans. Wow, that’s some feat! They got names, addresses, credit card numbers, and driver’s license numbers. While reports don’t show passwords being part of the loot, it is likely that they’ve been compromised too. After investigating the matter, cyber-security cops learned that the user database in Equifax’s Argentina office had ‘admin’ as both username and password.

Unbelievable! Isn’t it? So, don’t be like Equifax. Use a unique, strong password for every site.

The Need for a Password Manager

There are so many websites and programs for which we need to set a password and this can be overwhelming. So, to make things simple for themselves, most people take the easier and often dangerous route of setting the same password for every site they’re on. And, who can blame them, it’s as good as impossible to remember ten or more different passwords.

Now, users aren’t the only ones to blame. Services also contribute to the problem. The demand of the different services vary immensely, with some requiring passwords of minimum length, while others want users to include both upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and symbols in their passwords. To overcome this hassle, most people employ a simple yet dangerous practice of setting the same password for all the sites they’re on.

A major security risk, having the same password for all the sites you’re on will result in someone getting access to all your accounts in case the security of any of the services you use is compromised and this is a serious problem. There’s only one solution to this—a password manager that stores all of your passwords in a single secure database that’s password protected.  You can skip past all the confusion and potential security holes by using a password manager!

How the Password Manager Works

Basic password managers perform only one function—they save your login information for different websites so you don’t have to. Though there’s a possibility to save your login information in your browser, it’ll leave you prone to data theft. So, using a standalone password manager is a far better choice. Password managers encrypt login information and other type of data that users often hand over to a site, such as their address or credit card details. So, with a password manager, you can keep your personal data secure, while keeping the array of passwords that many of us have to manage organized!

Password managers help users to generate unique, complicated passwords that are extremely difficult to crack. Password managers ensure that you have the strongest possible password and they perform the hard task of remembering all of your passwords for you. ideally, a password manager should perform all of the above security functions.

In addition to the above, quality password managers include password ranking, which lets you know which of your passwords are weak and which are strong, giving you the ability to change passwords that are likely to be compromised.

The Best Password Managers

Now that you know why password managers are important and how they work, it’s time to look at the best password managers out there. Following are the 3 password managers that we think are the best password managers to secure you passwords and avoid a security breach.

LastPass

Look up the internet for the best password managers and the first name that’ll pop-up is LastPass. Clearly the juggernaut here, LastPass was one of the first password managers to hit the market and, it was one of the first to offer an easy way to store passwords, both locally on one device and online, synched with other computers and devices.

Once you’ve set up your master password, the password manager allows you to import your saved login credentials i.e. your usernames and passwords from multiple browsers including Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox. If you want, you can then delete all of the information from your computer to keep it secure.

DashLane

Launched back in 2012, DashLane got a refreshed user-interface (UI) in 2016. The streamlined interface of this password manager is extremely simple and intuitive. DashLane allows two-factor authentication and gives you the ability to change a host of passwords spanning multiple sites with just a few clicks.

In addition to the above, the password manager will notify you if have an account on a site that’s been compromised, and with the built-in password changer of DashLane, you can prompt the password manager to reset the password to a new, unique, strong one without leaving the interface. Finally, DashLane gives you the option of storing your passwords locally in an encrypted vault or syncing them to the devices and then accessing them on the web.

RoboForm

According to RoboForm, it has the best password manager, and there’s certainly a case to be made in its favor. First, this password manager

Password Manager

allows you to store an unlimited number of logins. Second, it features application logins, multi-platform support, the ability to receive emergency access and secure storage of notes. Third, it provides the ability to sync across devices, cloud backup, and the ability to grant yourself emergency access.

Though it doesn’t boast the same feature list as LastPass and DashLane, RoboForm is a useful password manager to have and you get access to free mobile apps. In short, it’s worth a try!

Final Word

Two, three, ten, hundred! Regardless of the number, if you have more than one password for the different sites you’re on then, it will be hard for you to remember all of them. But then, you can’t compromise your online security by having the same password for all the sites you’re on. The best solution here is getting one of the passwords managers mentioned above—this is in your best interest.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | The Woodlands | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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