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E-tax for Mac | 2013 ATO tax returns | $5.2m to put e-tax on Mac
Previously, the Australian Tax Office had offered their E-Tax desktop tax-preparation software just for Windows PCs. This put Apple Macintosh users at a disadvantage if they wanted to use this software to prepare their tax returns, with them running Windows virtual-machine software like Parallels or the BootCamp dual-boot software for this task.
Now they have worked towards porting the current version of the E-Tax software to the MacOS X platform so a Mac user can do the tax preparation using the software as if it is part of the operating system.
But there is a general direction towards Web-based tax preparation rather than the desktop software. This is mainly to encompass other environments like desktop Linux, lightweight OS systems like ChromeBook, along with mobile / tablet setups.
This could be augmented with common file formats representing common taxation documents, mainly to allow preparation of these documents using business bookkeeping software. It may come in to its own with people who prepare their own taxes or have an accountant do this work.
At least this is a positive step to allowing us to work with accounts and taxes in an online manner no matter the kind of IT equipment we use.
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Article – From the horse’s mouth
Badgy Card Printer – Design & Print id badges on plastic pvc cards
A common question for anyone in business is what tools do exist for printing out plastic cards in short runs whether with the same design or populated with particular data such as a person’s details for an ID or membership card. Situations may include turning out membership or ID cards on an “as-required, while-you-wait” basis such as for late attendees at a conference or new library members, or making a test print of a card design to see how it looks.
There is a machine that can do this in colour in the form of the Badgy dye-sublimation card printer. This unit, which connects to a regular computer via USB, can print up cards using a ribbon that has a 100-card yield and can work with thin or thick cards. It can work with third-party cards such as magstripe and smart cards, but can’t encode any of the machine-readable cards itself.
It is based around you downloading templates with pre-designed art from the site and using the supplied software to turn out the cards. Of course, this unit would use a Windows printer driver so you could press your desktop-publishing software in to printing to these cards as long as they have the ability to print to the standard “credit-card” size, which is supplied by the driver software as a defined paper size. This could include the ability to use the software to turn out ID cards using the software’s mail-merging abilities or turn out short-run “for approval” card designs before you commit to a large card-print run.
The fact that it doesn’t encode the magstripe or smart cards shouldn’t phase you as long as you have a separate machine which encodes these cards. This wouldn’t be an issue with, for example, a hotel-based conference or event application where you may turn out ID or participant cards which are to be used as guest-room keycards. In this case, the workflow would require the staff member to transfer the card between the Badgy machine and the card encoder to create a useable custom-printed keycard which is the event ID card.
The cost per card would typically be AUD$0.88 per thin card or AUD$0.96 per thick card. But to develop this concept further, it could be feasible to work with other cheaper methods like ink-jet printing for these short-run applications appealing to small businesses. At least this machine is for plastic cards like the colour laser or high-volume inkjet printer is for brochures and stationery.
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There is a distinct reality that faces people who use regular computers as part of their personal or business media workflow. This is where they use the desktop media management software like iTunes, Windows Media Player, iPhoto or Windows Live Photo Gallery to curate the media collection that is on the hard disk but transfer it out to a network-attached storage device for safeguarding and continual avaiability. This could extend to us integrating content hosted on an online storage service like Dropbox or GMail.
This is being augmented by the trend with these devices effectively becoming the hub for our home media networks. But what happens is that we could do something like import photos from a digital camera or a smartphone; scan 35mm and Polaroid snapshots; rip content from optical disks or simply buy content from online services on a “download-to-own” basis, with all this content ending up on the hard disk. Typically the content is managed and curated on the regular-computer’s hard disk so as to provide fast and reliable data transfer through this process, before it is copied over the network.
But we have to make a routine out of synchronising the material that we prepare on our computers to the NAS and do this very frequently. Typically the task involves us synchronising the material using the file-system tools or third-party backup / file-sync tools. We then have to repeat this process if we update the metadata such as adding location and people tags to the pictures or simply reposition files to different folders.
Some of us may even adopt a storage strategy where we keep newer material on the computer while older material resides on the NAS. This may be done as a way to conserve the hard-disk space occupied by our media. Similarly, those of us who use laptops on the road may want the hard disks on these machines as a staging post for our media, whether to keep selected music or video content to have on the road or a temporary download point for our digital pictures like I did with the Acer Aspire S3 when I used it on my Sydney trip.
I would like to see an improved ability with media-management software to allow for integration of “off-system” resources as part of our media workflow rather than just a viewing location. This could be implemented with rules-based synchronisation that could work on a schedule, especially when we shut down the computer or put it to sleep. The file-modified test would be based on whether a file was new or had its metadata modified.
Similarly, it could be implemented through the positioning of a NAS or collection of NAS devices as primary storage locations while the local hard disk and online storage locations serve as secondary storage locations.
This may not just involve desktop media-management software but also involve working with file-synchronisation / data-backup software and data management software that is part of a network-attached-storage device or online storage service.
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HP announces the HP Split x2 | Windows Experience Blog (Microsoft)
HP intros the Split x2 Windows hybrid and Android-based SlateBook x2 (hands-on) | Engadget
HP SlateBook x2: An Android Notebook With Sweet Tegra 4 Guts | Gizmodo
Previous Coverage of the range
Product Review – HP Envy x2 Hybrid Tablet
HP Envy X2 detachable-keyboard hybrid tablet computer – now part of a larger family
Those of you who have followed this site regularly have come across my review of the HP Envy x2 which is HP’s first Windows 8 detachable-keyboard “hybrid” tablet computer. This 11” tablet computer was based on the Intel Atom processor and excelled more as a portable Windows 8 tablet.
Now the x2 detachable-keyboard hybrid-tablet from HP has become like a model series that represents a class of car released by a car manufacturer where the series features different body types, powertrain specifications and trim levels. Here, this has become computers with different screen sizes, operating systems and microprocessor technology where different models exist for different needs.
Here, HP have released the Split x2 detachable-keyboard tablet with similar credentials to a recent-issue 13” ultraportable computer. Here, the computer could come with an Intel Core i3 or i5 mainstream microprocessor and a variant could come with the ability to have a second 500Gb hard disk in the keyboard module. Similarly, they have released the SlateBook x2 which snaps at the heels of the ASUS EeePad Transformer Prime by being a Tegra-driven 10” Android detachable-keyboard tablet.
Oh yeah, some of us would consider this as being useless due to a 13” screen size for a tablet compared to the typical 10-11” screen size for this class of computer. But this size may appeal more for group viewing or, when used with the keyboard, for creating a lot of content. The Split x2 would have either a Core i3 or Core i5 processor while the SlateBook would have the NVIDIA Tegra 4 that pleases a lot of performance Android enthusiasts.
HP has taken this formula that was established by the Envy x2 and extended it further for computers that are about exploiting the detachable-keyboard tablet, and this could be a way of allowing the concept to mature while allowing one to choose a computer in this class that suits their needs. Personally, I would like to see HP build out the x2 series with the “Envy” name representing one or two models that represent luxury or performance or a run of business-focused models with the business security needs while keeping the Split and SlateBook lineup.
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Over this past model-year, some manufacturers have been revealing desktop inkjet printers that aren’t the typical design for this class of home or small-business printer. The typical design is where a print head moves back and forwards over the narrow edge of an A4 / Letter document page or a scanner head faces upwards scanning the document which is placed on the glass platen face-down. Similarly this is where output and input trays jut out from each side of the inkjet printer.
At the moment, I am highlighting four printers that have been examples of these newer printers and what they can offer, rather than machines that have advanced-functionality software.
HP OfficeJet Pro X Series
This business desktop inkjet printer implements a full-width printhead to print the document. Here, this allows the document to be printed very quickly rather than having the a small printhead move back and forwards over the page to be printed. This kind of mechanism is similar to how older dot-matrix impact “line printers”, or the thermal printer setups used in the old fax machines, receipt printing or some Brother and Pentax mobile printers marked what they were printing line by line.
It has allowed for the documents to be turned out very quickly in so much that the OfficeJet Pro X Series earned its place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest desktop printer by turning out 500 sheets in 7 minutes 19.2 seconds using the fastest available colour mode. Other advantages included high colour accuracy which would yield high-quality documents due to the head not having to move across the document line by line.
Even the documents emerge from this printer in a similar manner to a laser printer. That is at the top of the machine, “easy-over” with the printed side of a single-side document or the odd pages of a double-side document facing down.
Here, the printer has been positioned as a competitor to the colour laser and LED printers that would satisfy a business’s colour-based “workhorse” printing needs. This is one such printer that could end up as a short-run “printing press” for a small-business’s promotional printing needs.
Brother MFC-J4710DW series
This new multifunction printer series from Brother uses the conventional printhead but has the long edge of the standard A4 / Letter document paper being fed in the the machine. It has allowed for a compact chassis for a conventional-feed inkjet printer. Even when the printer isn’t in action, the unit looks neat and trim and doesn’t take up much desktop space.
Similarly, the printer is able to print the large sheets like A3, Ledger or Tabloid by marking across the narrow edge just by the user inserting the narrow edge of the large sheet through the front manual-feed slot.
HP Envy 120 Multifunction printer
Based on the HP Envy 100 low-profile multifunction printer previously reviewed on HomeNetworking01.info, this printer uses that same ultra-slim chassis with a low-profile mechanism that is capable of printing both sides of a document. Here, it has the same aesthetics as a home video recorder made from the mid 1980s to the late 1990s, thus being acceptable in the main lounge area. This is augmented with the way these printers close up when they aren’t printing anything but raise the front panel and expose a ledge when they are turning out a document.
But this printer uses a scanner that has its scan head integrated in to the see-through lid with documents laid out “sunny-side up” with the image facing you. It will allow you to make sure your photos are laid out in a manner that will have them be scanned properly. This is a different approach to designing the multifunction printer but it may yield issues when working with bound materials.
HP OfficeJet 150 mobile multifunction printer
HP OfficeJet 150 mobile all-in-one printer
The low-profile printer-mechanism design that had taken place for the HP Envy printers had been extended to the HP OfficeJet 150 mobile multifunction printer which was reviewed on HomeNetworking01.info. In the same compact chassis that you would expect for a battery-operated mobile printer, you were able a unit that integrated a sheet-feed scanner as well as the printer, allowing you to scan documents in to your laptop computer or make a quick copy of an A4 document.
What I see of these printers is that HP and Brother are working towards printer designs that break from the norm and provide quicker output, increased document-handling flexibility or an ability to improve the device’s industrial design.
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I am reviewing the Seagate GoFlex Home network-attached storage system which I had first seen in action at the Australian Audio and AV Show at the Melbourne Marriott Hotel. Here, this unit was working as a DLNA media server for a small network that was to feed music to a Naim ND5 network media adaptor component.
Now, due to my WD MyBook World Edition network-attached-storage becoming full, I had wishlisted a network-attached storage device as a birthday gift and received this unit as a gift.
Prices (may change as you seek better deals)
|3Tb hard disk
|2Tb hard disk
|1Tb hard disk
||Consumer Network Attached Storage
||1 detachable hard disk
||USB or similar connection to connect directly to a host
|USB Device Connection
||Type x quantity
|UPnP Internet Gateway Control
|Features and Protocols
|SMB / CIFS
||DLNA / iTunes
|Remote NAS Sync
The Network-Attached Storage System itself
The Seagate GoFlex removable hard disk module
The Seagate GoFlex Home network-attached storage system is based around Seagate’s “GoFlex” detachable hard disk setup. Here, the hard disk is housed in a module that clips on to a connectivity base. This could allow people who have the smaller-capacity units to upgrade to larger-capacity variants by purchasing the larger-capacity disks. Similarly, one can easily replace a failed or damaged disk unit by buying the replacement GoFlex module and clipping it on to the base.
The base that connects to the power and home network – USB, Gigabit Ethernet and power
Like most consumer NAS units, the Seagate GoFlex Home can be difficult to set up without the use of the software that comes on a supplied CD. This is although you can discover the NAS using the UPnP abilities in Windows XP onwards so you can get to the setup screen. The CD-supplied “Seagate Dashboard” software hasn’t been updated for Windows 8, so anyone running that software on this operating system will get an error message to that effect.
I was still able to work through the setup routine using the NAS unit’s Web interface but the Seagate required you to determine its own login parameters and couldn’t learn any existing login parameters that existed for other NAS units or network shares on the operating environment.
Where the hard disk module drops in to the base
The only time you can create a distinct identifier is through the setup process. This is reflected in the NetBIOS / SMV network name that is visible in the Network View for Windows. It is also reflected in the DLNA server list as <Network_Name>:UPNP-AV. Personally I would like to see this made available in the management menu so you can get the name right especially if you have multiple GoFlex Home or GoFlex Net devices on the same network.
The Seagate GoFlex Home uses the SMB / CIFS (Samba) method of sharing its disk resources which is expected as a standard with Windows, MacOS X and Linux.
For backing up your computers, there is the supplied Memeo backup software. But you can use your operating system’s backup software like Apple’s Time Machine or the Windows Backup for this task.
The supplied DLNA Media Server abilities have it that the media library is indexed by the date or the folders. There is the ability to have the DLNA server share particular folders in the Public tree which can be good for funnelling what appears on your Smart TV. This setup can improve the library-aggregation performance and reduce the number of confusing “non-media” files appearing in your media list that appears on that smart TV.
When you discover this NAS on your DLNA client device, the server appends “UPnP-AV” to the NAS’s name to remind you are looking at the device’s DLNA server and the media behind it.
You can also connect a USB hard disk or flash drive to the GoFlex and either use it as a destination for making a backup copy of what is on the NAS or simply to share extra data that is hosted on the external storage device across the home network. An example application of this could be share a USB hard disk which has the back issues of a classic magazine title like National Geographic across the network.
Nearly as small as a regular CD case
The Seagate GoFlex Home NAS yielded a consistent throughput of 500Mbps when transferring data from the existing WD MyBook World Edition to it. Of course, it is worth remembering that a connection’s rated speed like the Gigabit Ethernet’s capability is really the medium’s link speed.
For media streaming, I had observed that the GoFlex could yield a smooth and reliable experience with audio and video content. This was in both the experience with a similar unit at the Australian Audio and AV Show in 2010 and with this unit when I ran one of the “how-to” demo video found on this unit through our Samsung Smart TV.
As for operating noise, I had noticed very little of this even through the data transfer between the two NAS units. There was a bit of buzzing but this was due to a hard disk being active as data is being transferred to it.
Limitations and Points Of Improvement
A similar Seagate GoFlex Home single-disk network-attached storage working at a hi-fi show as a DLNA server
Here, I would like to see Seagate implement simplified device naming, including access to this function in the setup menu. This would then apply to what it is known as in the “cloud”, on the network and via your DLNA-capable media devices.
As well. Seagate could implement always-available “public folders” that don’t need you to supply credentials to login. This can be useful if you are wanting to run this device as a “content pool” for drivers, PDFs and similar material or you need “non-computer” devices to gain access to a shared resource.
Like a lot of consumer network-attached storage devices, this could support “cloud-driven” NAS-to-NAS data synchronisation / backup. It could come in to its own with units located at secondary locations or as secondary storage for a business-tier NAS.
I would recommend that one purchases the Seagate GoFlex Home network-attached storage as either an entry-level network-attached-storage solution or a secondary network storage point for their home network. This could be as a simple backup solution, a file-transfer point, a communal file pool or for sharing media content to DLNA-capable devices.
Business users can see NAS units of the same calibre to this one work well as a DLNA media server for serving images or videos to a few endpoint devices, or simply as a secondary network file storage for less-critical files.
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Sony Intros VAIO Fit Windows 8 Laptop, Updates Others | Tom’s Hardware
Sony Vaio Fit Line Aims for Premium Quality at Entry-Point Prices | eWeek
From the horse’s mouth
When you are thinking of a new laptop after you have to give that school-supplied laptop back to the school, you mostly are thinking of the cheapest model you can get your hands on. Most likely, the Sony VAIO range would be out of your price range due to their premium positioning.
Now Sony is introducing the VAIO Fit Series of value-priced premium-grade laptops which would be at a price that most people can think of as an entry-level price. But these machines raise the value for the price range by implementing features like a high-resolution screen (1080p for the 15” models and 900 for the 14” variants). This display would be driven by NVIDIA GeForce discrete graphics that has up to 2Gb display memory. As for sound, the promise is to use “big-box” speakers on all the models while the 15” variants would come with a subwoofer for the bass frequencies. This is a way Sony is bringing their AV knowhow to affordable laptops.
There would be models that have the Intel i3, i5 or i7 Ivy Bridge CPUS but the press releases don’t detail what or how much RAM and hard disk storage is available across the board. The machines are able to come with optical disk drives including some that have the ability to read Blu-Ray Discs. They will also have the NFC functionality so as to share data between the computers and Windows Phone 8 or Android phones or sync up with Sony’s Bluetooth peripherals. As well, Sony is offering a capacitive touchscreen as an option so you can get the best out of Windows 8.
The “Fit E” series is sold cheaper and comes in a plastic finish while the “Fit” series comes in a steel finish with all available in black, pink or white. What I see of this is that Sony is offering entry-level purchasers something that can be seen as premium, this “filling in” the “value” purchasing segment when it comes to mainstream laptops.
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Article – From the horse’s mouth
Viber – Free calls, Free text messages, photo and location sharing
Previously, we have known of Viber as an “over-the-top” VoIP telephony program that offers a free telephony and SMS path for smartphone users. This has been of strong appeal to overseas travellers who want to escape the horrendous roaming charges that most mobile operators are charging people who use the phone out of their home country.
Now Viber have reached version 3.0 and released a desktop version of the softphone which will run on Windows or Macintosh regular computers. This has provided features like desktop-to-desktop videocalls and the ability to transfer a call between the regular computer and a mobile device. This is a sign that Viber has matured and started to approach Skype.
But for Viber to answer Skype, they have to offer IP-based videocalls on mobile clients. Similarly, they would need to provide the client software “knowhow” to enable the user interface to work on devices other than platform-based regular or mobile computing devices. This is somewhere where Skype has a considerable strength in with the Samsung and Sony smart TVs, the Panasonic Blu-Ray players, the desk phones, and the Logitech TV Cam HD Skype camera.
It can be easy to state that Viber’s free IP telephony model isn’t sustainable but they could offer services like partnership with some of the carriers like the French “n-box” carriers. They can also offer paid-for off-ramp services where a Viber customer could dial a regular phone that isn’t part of the Viber ecosystem. It can extend to a software-based “trunk” or “tie-line” for IP-based business phone systems as a subscription-driven business-to-business service.
Now that Viber has hit the stage of maturity, we could be seeing the opening of lively competition on the “over-the-top” IP-based voice and video telephony front for both consumers and small businesses.
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There is a new trend that is affecting how we store data on our home computers and in our home network.
The three-island trend
This is the existence of three data islands
- The main secondary storage that is part of our regular or mobile computing devices
- A Network-attached storage system or a removeable hard disk.
The NAS would serve as a network-wide common storage destination as well as having ability to serve media data to network-capable media playback devices without the need for a PC to be on all the time. On the other hand, the removeable hard disk simply is used as an auxiliary storage destination for a particular regular computer.
- A Cloud or remote storage service
The remote storage services like Dropbox or SkyDrive are typically used either for offsite data backup or as a data drop-off point that exists across the Internet. Most of these services work on a “freemium” business model where you have a small storage capacity available for free but you are able to rent more capacity as you need it. Some of these providers may work alongside hardware or software partners in opening up increased storage space for users of the hardware or software sold by these partners. In the same case, the remote storage services are increasingly offering business-focused packages that are optimised for reliability and security either on a similar freemium model or simply as a saleable service.
The role of file-management and backup software
Previously, backup software was charged with regularly sending copies of data that existed on a computer’s main secondary storage to removeable storage, a network-attached storage system or, in some cases, remote storage services.
Tiered data storage
Now this software is charged with backup not just out to removeable or local-network storage, but to be able to set up storage tiers amongst this storage and remote storage. This is a practice that is familiar with large-business computing where high-cost high-availability storage is used for data that is needed most, cheaper medium-availability storage for data that isn’t as needed like untouched accounts with the cheapest, slowest storage media used for archival purposes or for data that doesn’t change.
The remote storage and the NAS or removable storage can each serve as one of these tiers depending on the capacity that the device or service offers.
Remote storage serves as temporary data location
In some cases, the remote storage may exist simply as a data drop-off point between a backup client on a portable computer and a backup agent on a network-attached storage device as part of a remote backup routine. Here, a user may back up the portable computer to a particular share in something like Dropbox. Then an agent program built in to a small-business or high-end consumer NAS would check that share and move or copy the data from Dropbox to the NAS.
Similarly, a remote storage service could work alongside a locally-installed network-attached-storage and another NAS installed at another premises for asynchronous data transfer between these devices. This can be useful if one of these devices isn’t always accessible due to unreliable power or Internet service.
In the case of that small business that starts to add branches, this concept can work well with sharing business data such as price lists or customer information between the branches. Businesses that work on the “storefront-plus-home-office” model could benefit this way by allowing changes to be propagated between locations, again using the remote storage service as a buffer.
Remote storage serves as a share-point
In some cases, a remote-storage service like Dropbox can permit you to share data like a huge image / video album between multiple people. Here, they can have access to the content via a Web page or simply download the content to local storage. In some cases, this could be about copying that image / video collection of a wedding to the “DLNA” folders on a NAS so they can view these pictures on that Samsung Smart TV anytime.
What does the software need
Backup software needs to identify file collections that exist in a backup job and make the extra copies that appear at different locations, whether as different folders on the same target drive or at a different target location. Similar a timed backup job could also encompass synchronisation or “shifting” of other file collections to one or more target locations.
Similarly, the backup routine isn’t just about “copy and compress” files to a large metafile before trransferring it to the backup destination. It is about working the collection file-by-file according to the destination.
You could do this with most software by adding extra backup jobs with different parameters. But this involves creating more large metafiles with most backup software. Here, file-synchronisation software could perform the job better by working at the file level.
Support for remote data storage in a NAS
Some network-attached-storage devices, especially those that work on an application-driven platform, work as clients to remote storage services. Here, this can cater for off-site file replication or “data-fetching” setups without a desktop or laptop computer having to be on all the time.
In some setups where portability is considered paramount, the idea of a NAS using remote data storage can allow a user to temporarily hold files destined for the remote data storage service on a NAS that is offline as far as the Internet is concerned. Then the NAS is just connected to the Internet to synchronise the files with a remote storage service.
Similarly, a media file collection that is shared via a remote data storage service like Dropbox may then end up on a NAS primarily to be made available to DLNA client devices at all times as well as not occupying precious disk space on the computer. This may be relevant for one or more large video files or a collection of many photos from that special occasion.
As we start to see the concept of the “three-island” data storage arrangement in our home and small-business networks, we well have to be able to work with these arrangements whether by copying or moving the data between the different storage “islands”.
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Desktop, Laptop und Tablet kombiniert – Acer Aspire R7: Acer Aspire R7: Science-Fiction-Notebook mit Touchscreen | Computer Bild (Germany – German language)
Acer intros Aspire R7, a laptop with an adjustable display like an all-in-one (update: video) | Engadget
Acer Reveals Aspire R7 Convertible, Aspire P3 Ultrabook | Tom’s Hardware
Acer launches 2 notebooks, tablet that emphasize touch | CNet
After Dell released a 15” mainstream laptop that is enabled for touch at a reasonable price of AUD$600, Acer staged a global press event to launch a run of touch-enabled portable computers. These, again are to capitalise on the Windows 8 platform with its touch-driven Modern user interface along with a lot of the software being offered with touch-optimised operation.
Acer Aspire R7 convertible laptop
They launched the Aspire R7 convertible laptop which uses a 15” screen and can appear on the desktop like an easel, a regular laptop or a tablet computer. Typically the convertible tablet computer was at 11” and had less specification, typically showing up in the secondary storage area with 64Gb or 128Gb solid-state storage.
As well as having the 15” (1080p) screen, this convertible uses an Intel i5 processor as its CPU and has 500Gb hard disk capacity along with 24Gb solid-state caching and 6Gb RAM. This can make it capable for use as a main or sole computer and it comes under US$1000 at Best Buy.
Some of us may think that the 15” convertible form factor may be too large for personal tablet use but it could come in handy for group activities. In the business sense, this could also extend to a group of a few viewing a PowerPoint presentation or a video, or participating in a videoconference.
But what I see of this is that the Acer Aspire R7 has shown that the 15” mainstream size can be kitted out with the full touchscreen options and be equipped with the expectations for a regular mainstream laptop that is to serve as a main or sole computer.
Acer Aspire P3 tablet
The Aspire P3 is a detachable-keyboard hybrid with a Bluetooth keyboard as part of case. This uses the typical laptop resolution of 1366×768 which isn’t necessarily HD, but isn’t necessarily a problem for text-driven work. As for the screen, it is typically an 11.6” touchscreen.
What is pleasing about this model is that the baseline variant would come with an Intel i3 CPU, 4Gb of RAM, and 60Gb solid-state storage as its specifications and the keyboard case would be considered a standard accessory. This is all for a reasonable price of US$799.
With these two machines and the previously-mentioned Dell laptop, could this legitimise the touchscreen as a valuable option for the Windows-driven “regular” computer? This is although I have been hearing a lot of talk panning this idea and the Windows 8 operating system.
As far as laptops, notebooks and similar computers are concerned, the touch user interface can provide a definite improvement over the trackpad as far as navigating the display as I had noticed with the recent crop of Windows 8 laptops that I had reviewed. The trackpad still serves as a “fine” “relative” navigation tool at a pinch while the touchscreen works well for requirements like quick coarse absolute navigation.
Once we see more 15” and 17” touchscreen laptops with mainstream credentials like at least a mid-tier CPU, at least 500Gb on the hard disk and a decent graphics subsystem, these computers could legitimise the concept of touchscreen computing in the home and small business rather than just with the iPad or Android tablets.
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