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Updates from Paul Spain

iPhone X review and hands on experience

Today the iPhone starts being received by those who pre-ordered both here in NZ and around the world (depending on your time zone). Thanks to NZ seeing the sun first we’re ahead of the rest of the planet. In my case, I’ve been using the iPhone X (pronounced ten) since Wednesday NZ time.

Screen

The OLED screen is gorgeous. That said, we’re already used to great screens on iPhones and the top smartphones from the likes of Samsung. Incidently, Samsung actually produce the screen in the iPhone X.

Face ID – screen unlocking

Face ID (using your face to unlock the phone) fortunately works pretty well most of the time. I’ve found if you hold it too close to your face that can be a problem. I hope software updates improves the reliability in situations where Face ID fails to unlock the camera.

The Lack of a Home button

I’m still getting used to this, but I don’t see it being an issue – I prefer the bigger screen than a button taking up screen space.

Wireless Charging

As a big fan of wireless charging I’m very happy Apple have finally added this across the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X.

Portrait mode photos from front camera

This is an added benefit of the Infrared camera being used for Face ID – you gain portrait mode (for bokeh effect) which blurs the background on portrait shots. This looks really slick and for most people its not a million miles off what a Digital SLR delivers.

Apps

Most apps don’t yet take advantage of the iPhone X’s lovely big screen that should change before too long for at least the most popular apps.

Overall Performance

No issues on speed, I’m still getting a handle on battery life.

 

(Stay tuned for a video and more insights over the next 24-48 hours)

The Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing

You might recall the nursery rhyme, “Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again, Another Day”. Well, some people take this even further and they would say the same of clouds. Not traditional clouds but cloud computing. Let’s discuss that because I am not sure that there’s complete wisdom in that approach. So, let’s look at the Pros and Cons as they might relate to your organization.

My Thoughts

First up, what are the benefits of cloud computing? Why would anybody want to change what they’ve got and go to the cloud?

Well, first up, it provides access to really the latest and greatest technology, almost at an instant. Generally, very easy to get up and running with. Also, when you got access to this new technology, it’s scalable.

If you need more capability or less capability, that’s available at a touch of a button. If your organization is growing, shrinking, usually you’ve got a lot of flexibility there with cloud computing to pay for what you need rather than buying something that might be fixed for a period of years which is the case when you’re buying your own servers.

Other things, well, usually a bit of collaboration when you’re working in a cloud-based world, and the ability for people to work from anywhere.

Well, that’s not always a necessity. Usually most of us like that flexibility of being able to do work from places other than our standard workplace. Looking at cybersecurity that’s also an area we’re now starting to see much better capabilities often from cloud environments than certainly what small organizations would have access to themselves which has access to with just their own on-premises systems and then, of course, there’s a sustainability aspect off cloud as well.

So, are there downsides? Well, there’s always a downside to consider. Not so many in the cloud world and as more time goes on, those downsides are shrinking and reducing and are being addressed.

One that we’ve come across is often out-of-the-box some cloud systems, just their standard offerings might not give you as much flexibility around back-ups and how you would retain information if it got deleted say a year or two years ago, how do you address that in a cloud if your cloud system doesn’t give you an ability to roll back that far.

Certainly, something to think about but in the lower cases, there are ways of catering to that. Another area to think about is your internet performance that certainly plays into how well cloud will work for you in locations such as New Zealand, for instance, there is really really good performance in most business locations with access to gigabit internet speeds for a very low cost. Other parts of the world, maybe not as good, but often that isn’t a huge inhibitor.

Really, it’s well worth considering cloud, so, where should you start? If your organization isn’t really using cloud technologies today, the first place I’d recommend looking is at your email system. If you got an email server that’s on your premises, then, in most organizations these days it makes sense to get rid of that.

Go to the cloud, take advantage of the advanced capabilities, the latest features, the fact that it replicates across numerous locations and backed up for you. That’s something really worth paying for.

That’s it for me. If you’d like to dive in further on this discussion, feel free to join my email updates paulspain.com/updates. Reach out to me here on social media or you can email me directly if you like immediate help around this subject and some input: paul.spain@gorillatechnology.com.

Some people love LinkedIn and generate significant earnings from it – could you use it better?

A lot of people love Facebook because a great way of keeping in touch with family and friends and especially when you’re not in the same city all the time. It’s a great way of sharing those pictures and videos with extended family and grandparents and so on. Very handy. But where does LinkedIn fit in this picture?

My Thoughts

I think it’s got different benefits for different people. For me, I find LinkedIn as just a great way to keep in touch from time to time with people. Certainly, a great way for me to share some of my content, my videos with others that I know. But it’s also had some really good business benefits.

I looked back a few years ago and I had decided, I should be using LinkedIn more. It is a business-focused social network, I’m a business so I should be utilising it.

So, I went out and I thought, “Well, who are the people that I should be adding on LinkedIn?”, and I remembered an old colleague who I bumped into in a conference a few months before, so, I added him on LinkedIn.

Now, as far as I’m aware he’d never ever recommended any business to me or my company before. But just about two or three days, after that particular situation where I added him on LinkedIn, he took a phone call from somebody that needed some help.

Now, it wasn’t a fit for his business, but it was fit for me. And he immediately recommended me. I can only think that look, it had been years since I worked with this particular person, yes, we’d seen each other a few months ago at an event but it was because I just reconnected with him on LinkedIn that would’ve been in front of mine.

So, he recommended that business and it ended up being an account that over the next few months generated a few hundred thousand dollars. Pretty important piece of business for my firm at the time.

You’d never know what connecting in person or online will do, whether the timing could be fortuitous or not but if you’re not using a tool like LinkedIn, you’re not staying connected with those that you know particularly in the business world. Then look, you could be missing out an opportunity.

My recommendation to you is, get yourself a good profile that really describes you, the business that you do clearly and succinctly. Make sure you have a good, clear, profile picture. If you don’t have one, get a nice headshot taken or an image that you can put on LinkedIn.

Just go and fill in the key areas and then make sure you’re connected to the people you meet. And when you meet new people, business cards are pretty old school.

So, my approach is, when I meet somebody new in the business world is I immediately connect with them on LinkedIn.

That would be my recommendation for you and some people are more than happy to connect with people more broadly even if they haven’t met in person and that goes for me too.

So, if you’d like to connect with me on LinkedIn, and you’re not already connected directly, then feel free to do so.

I do appreciate it if you’re doing that to add a little note, let me know how you came across me.

Alright, thanks very much for listening. We’ll catch you next week in, of course, you can follow my email updates by going to paulspain.com/updates.

Apple’s New iPhone X, iPhone 8, Watch 3 and TV – are they innovative, or just ‘me too’ products?

Apple has just announced their latest, new, Apple TV 4K, the new Apple Watch Series 3, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus and the big one, the iPhone X. Now, should you be excited about this or is Apple just playing catch-up with the competition?

 

My Thoughts

Let’s look through these announcements quickly. The Apple Watch, Series 3, an embedded sim card. Well, Apple isn’t the first to do that and to put that in a phone. But it looks like their approach is pretty slick. It’s going to work well.

Unfortunately, only available in a few markets. So, New Zealand, where I’m based, not available. It’s off the cards for now.

So, if I want to go out for a run or a walk, or I want to go out with my wife, leave the phone behind and have my phone just for those emergency communications, sorry, Paul Spain, doesn’t count for you. You live in the wrong country.

That would be the case for a lot of people around the world. What about this new Apple TV 4K? Well, Apple certainly isn’t the first to come to the market there with a Ultra-high definition but it’s good to see that coming through from Apple and interesting what they’re doing with the TV App.

Though again, that’s not available in all markets I think a positive move, they’re bringing that simplicity of their TV App to watching live sport and live news. Of course, over time that will become available more broadly as well.

So, the new phones, the iPhone 8 and the 8 Plus. Nice improvement and iterations there. Great to see Apple finally come to the party with wireless charging. Boy, we’ve had that for so many years in other devices and I’ve been wondering what’s happening here Apple? Well, they’ve got it, they’ve nailed it.

Looks like good improvements overall, but not super groundbreaking with the 8 and the 8 Plus. In fact, it almost seems cheeky for them not to call these the 7s, 7s Plus but certainly, there are some design changes there, glass back and so on, but not completely mind-blowing.

So, it really all rests on this new iPhone 10 or iPhone X as it’s written. This is a stunning looking device. Now, we’ve seen from Samsung and LG that’s the edge-to-edge screen. But Apple has taken that a step further and the screen looks glorious on this new iPhone 10, 5.8-inch screen, there will be just one size.

It’s going to have the dual camera’s facial recognition so the home button is gone. There’s no more touch ID fingerprint recognition. It’s all about facial recognition.

Of course, you’ve got the waterproof capability, again, and you’ve got that wireless charging. Superb cameras look like a really nice phone.

Now, is it worth paying an extra 50%? Nearly 50% to step up to the iPhone 10? Well, that will be up to you to decide. You’ve got to make that call. It is a big price increase but it’s a really nice phone.

Not out until November 3rd, but I’m certainly looking forward to having a play around with it and using the new iPhone 10.

Hey, that’s it for me. Thank you very much for joining me. I’ll catch up with you again, next week on my next weekly video.

Pay TV networks such as Sky TV are losing their way. What can we learn about staying on the right side of digital disruption?

Satellite and cable TV providers the world over are being impacted by the disruptive forces of an Internet-delivered video. This week in New Zealand, we saw Sky TV shares slump to rock bottom. What can we learn from the way that traditional TV providers are being disrupted in our field of work and employment?

 

My Thoughts

So first up, let’s have a little bit of a look at the film industry. Now, this has been around for what, hundred years or so?
When you look back, we didn’t have TVs, we didn’t have the many ways of accessing content as we have today.

And over the years, it’s always been this concern about the cinema being disrupted whether it was when VCR, video cassette recorders became available in the home whether it was broadcast TV, whether it was DVD, the internet but cinemas are surviving.

So, there are situations where the new technology doesn’t just completely wipe-out existing businesses and existing companies.

When we look now, there are Pay TV providers, though they have been taking a pretty big hit, and as we look forward over the next five to ten years, many of them will shut down or cease operation unless they really work out how to compete against the big global players.

The likes of Amazon, who are getting into not only making their own content in terms of film and TVs but also getting into the world of sport. Of course, Netflix, YouTube, Facebook and now LinkedIn, distributing video, all of these have some sort of an impact. So, the question I’m often asked as well, “how can our Pay TV providers, in New Zealand for instance, how can a company like Sky TV make sure that they’re still around for the years to come?”.

I think the key is to focus on delivering something for a customer, delivering that really great result. That means you do have to be up with the play with where technology is going, where the future of it is, and not just relying on business models of the past that may not be relevant in the future.
So, is there hope for Pay TV firms, for taxi companies, for providers of accommodation and all the other fields of business that are being impacted or really or will be impacted in the future by disruptive technology, disruptive forces? Well, the answer is, yes. The companies can survive and they can do well in this future.

It’s important to be really looking ahead and having that long-term strategy that considers the changes that consider the technologies that are going to deliver the best results. And that means, putting yourself in the shoes of your clients, your customers, and understanding what they want, what’s going to deliver the results from them and where technology is going, what does it enable?

And also, looking at the partnering opportunities. When you’re competing against global entities, they have a massive reach, huge amounts of capital. You can’t always compete with those as just a small, independent firm or even a big firm in your own country often it means partnering up the new ways that wouldn’t have been relevant in years gone by. So, there really are some important changes that businesses need to make to be on the front foot and not the back foot to be disrupting and being a part of that rather than being the company whose market share is dropping, never to rise again.

Now, I know individuals too, are concerned of around making sure that they have a livelihood in the future, whether it’s those students that are studying and trying to plan for their careers ahead or those that are well into their career as well. You know, I think here it’s important that we focus on making sure we do think ahead around where our fields are going. Make sure we position to succeed regardless of what happens in our organizations.

So, always be somebody that’s adding value, considering both the organization you work for and your organization’s clients. Don’t be someone that is as just focused on today and delivering a good result today, delivering outstanding result in the work that you do today but always be looking forward to the future.

And, another thing that I always recommend is, we should, today, be taking advantage of the phenomenon of continuous education. Once we studied, as young people, and then that sets us up for the most parts of our careers.

Today, we have this opportunity of continuous learning via online and other sources and that’s how we should be. You can’t just stop learning if you want to succeed.

If you’re not following me already then, you’re certainly welcome to do so and feel free to share this video if you think there are others you know who might get some benefit from it. And if you’re not following me already, well, that’s easy to do so here on Facebook and you can get my email updates by visiting – paulspain.com/updates.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – is this the World’s most advanced smartphone?

Have you heard about Samsung’s Galaxy note 8? This is arguably the most advanced smart phone in the world. I’d like to dive into that and see whether that statement is true. Is this the best smart phone ever released? Is this a smartphone that you should consider buying?

My Thoughts

Here it is, the newest smart phone to be announced globally and about to be made available publicly around the world. Samsung’s note 8 comes after a long string of releases from Samsung, and of course, their poor effort with the note 7 which was actually a very good phone other than the critical element the battery failed and some of these was catching fire, putting lives at risk.

Well, that all seems to be far behind Samsung. Now, the Galaxy S8 they launched earlier on this year has rave reviews and is sold in very big numbers. So, I’m curious to dive into the Galaxy Note 8 and see whether this is really the most advanced smart phone ever.

Well, let’s have a look through some of the features. So, you’ve got a phone that has wireless charging so you can just drop that straight onto your charger. Fantastic feature, still not something we’ve seen from Apple yet, so, that certainly helps keep Samsung ahead of the game.

What about the cameras? Because of course, Apple, with the iPhone 7 Plus had dual cameras on the rear that allowed for the very stylish Bokeh Effect and also had a zoom lens, the 2x optical zoom lens.

Samsung seems to have delivered something that is very much on par with what Apple offers today in that camera and you could arguably say that what’s in there is even better than what Apple is doing. So, in those regards, we can have to wait and see what the new iPhone delivers and whether the Samsung will still be ahead. But right now, I think Samsung is right at the forefront in that perspective. What else we got? Well, we’ve got the very fast USB-C charging as well, we’ve got a gorgeous 6.3-inch screen on the front of the Note 8 and this is a very wide format screen, something that certainly stands out in the industry.

Really, the only thing similar is what Samsung themselves and probably LG have done with their previous phones where we’ve got this sort of edge-to-edge image and an image that goes very close to the top of the phone as well as the bottom of the phone.

This stands out 6.3-inch screen, brighter than the previous Samsung phones as well. Other things, we’ve got a multi-window that allows the user to split the screen into two, be doing two things at once.

I found this very useful in my car when I was driving. I wanted to see my driving directions on my screen but I was also waiting for some communications from somebody, and I was able to see my incoming text messages as well. Very useful being able to see that and some incoming images.

And another thing that stands out is the DEX capability that we saw launched in Samsung’s Galaxy S8. That means you can dock the Note 8 and you can then use it almost like a full-sized computer so you can link it into a keyboard, a mouse, and a big full-size screen.

The one thing that has really been unique about the Galaxy products from Samsung is this little guy here, the stylus (shows the stylus pen). When you put the stylus together with the Note 8, that gives you a device you can do handwriting on, you can do drawing on, and that’s certainly is something that is very handy for those who choose to go down the track of the Galaxy Note 8.

That’s really all of the real major highlights for the Note 8. Of course, technical specifications, well, very, very strong there. Octa-core processors, 64gb of base memory. You can expand it too which is great. Micro SD expansion in there as well and 6gb of RAM. So, slouch on any of those regards at all.

What do I think overall? Well, I think this probably does tick the box as being the most advanced smartphone that we’ve ever seen in the market. But of course, Apple is very soon to be making their own announcements and we will see where Samsung stands after that.

For now, you can get online and actually they are available for ordering right now the Note 8. That will be available, depending on where in the world you are between mid and late September 2017.

Alright, that’s it for me. You can follow me – paulspain.com/updates for more about the Note and about the other things that are happening in the world of technology and business.