Computers

How to choose the right monitor

According to Dell

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Monitors are an essential tool for effective work from home. They can improve workflow and boost productivity. With companies pivoting to remote work arrangements, it is critical for business continuity to provide employees with the best equipment that will help ensure their continued productivity.

Creating an environment optimized for telecommuting is more than just a laptop and an Internet connection at home. Those who are in the finance, design, programming, or engineering industries, need a good monitor to make teleworking work for them.

Now, Dell shares its top six tips for selecting the right monitor for remote work:

1. Screen Size and Resolution

Resolution and screen size go hand-in-hand. A larger monitor typically requires a higher resolution. More pixels in each square inch of the display means users will get sharper images. A 27-inch QHD (2560 x 1440), 32-inch 4K (3840 x 2160) or 34-inch WQHD (3440 x 1440) displays are the recommended size and resolution with more than 100 pixels per inch.

Determining the right screen size and resolution is an important first step. Having more screen space has a direct correlation to increased productivity. The typical screen size for most office work is between 24 and 32 inches.

If bigger and wider screen space is a priority, it may be necessary to have more than one monitor, or one ultrawide curved monitor, which is commonly between 34 to 49 inches. Monitors with ultra-thin bezels are ideal for creating seamless multi-monitor configurations, resulting in less distraction.

Financial service workers, software developers, and data scientists typically benefit from one large screen space (43 to 49 inches) to view large amounts of data in their workspace. They often appreciate monitors that can connect and display content from multiple PCs.

2. Ergonomics and wellbeing

Remote work employees tend to work longer, so having the right equipment for wellbeing is crucial. In one research, 92% of workers believe ergonomically optimized monitors are critically important for improving their productivity.

Squinting at a screen or slouching over the monitor can lead to poor posture, back issues, and eye strain. To help with these issues, it is important to choose a versatile monitor with height and tilt adjustability to ensure correct posture and viewing alignment.

Like other electronic devices, monitors emit low blue light that can tire the eyes over extended periods of viewing time. Choose monitors with low blue light and flicker-free technology to minimize blue light emission and flickering images.

3. Connectivity

It is important to consider devices that will be connected to the monitor as well as check laptop ports for compatibility. Common ports on laptops today include HDMI, USB-C, and Thunderbolt 3.

Opt for a clean desk setup with a USB-C monitor. This can help reduce cable clutter. Plus, it allows users to charge their laptop and transfer data with a single cable.

In addition, other essential accessories will need multiple USB ports. Dell monitors typically provide four USB ports, making it possible to connect to more devices.

4. Energy efficiency

Like other home appliances, energy efficiency is important. Monitors that are certified for reduced energy consumption like Energy Star or EPEAT can save up to USD 52 in annual utility bills.

Advanced monitors may also offer features that reduce power consumption by putting the monitor to sleep after a period of inactivity.

5. Color

Professionals in the creative industry like photography and videography should consider color coverage, accuracy, and calibration when purchasing a monitor.

A monitor that is compatible with an external colorimeter or has one that is already built-in is best for quick and easy calibration. Choosing a monitor with DCI-P3 above 95% coverage with factory calibration will help with color-critical tasks.

6. Collaboration

Monitors that include a built-in camera, microphone, and speakers are growing in popularity with the increased frequency of video conferencing calls.

If you’re on video calls for the majority of the workday, look for a monitor that includes these collaborative features to ensure that participants can hear and see you clearly.

Have the right monitor for a successful remote work

With more organizations offering flexible working arrangements, selecting the right monitor at home is crucial from a productivity standpoint.

Users should consider future-proofing their monitor investments with larger screen sizes, higher resolutions, and better connectivity.

Investing in the right monitors for a more comfortable working environment at home will reap returns in the long run in terms of overall health and work productivity.

Computers

Cybersecurity threats to lookout for in 2021 and beyond

Threats to intelligent edge computing and 5G-enabled devices will increase

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Illustration/Sketchify via Canva

Researchers from Fortinet have identified several cybersecurity threats for 2021 that will greatly impact both the consumer and enterprise sector. By 2021, cybersecurity threats on intelligent edge computing and 5G-enabled devices will double as most companies continue to implement remote working schemes.

A new wave of cybersecurity threats will also arise due to advances in computing. These threats have the potential to disrupt a large number of businesses and consumers in the future. Thus, preparation and eventual mitigation are key to stemming the potential disruption by these threats.

Threats on the intelligent edge are on the rise

Intelligent edge computing is more popular than ever thanks to remote work with most employees making use of personal and interconnected devices to access the company network. However, intelligent edge computing presents new threats as cybercriminals exploit these “edges” (i.e. connected IoTs, personal devices) thanks to a decentralized approach by companies.

These threats can run the gamut from ransomware to malware. As intelligent edge computing booms, cybercriminals can specifically target edge devices with malware that could disrupt corporate networks. They can design malware that could understand usage patterns, adapt accordingly, and attack networks with little to no risk of suspicion. Moreover, sophisticated malware may spread through networks to propagate additional attack commands or disrupt more networks and devices.

Ransomware on the rise

This 2021, consumers and businesses should be more concerned with social engineering-based attacks and ransomware. One of the most common forms of social engineering-based attacks is phishing. In phishing, cybercriminals send fake emails supposedly from legitimate entities coercing users into sending their personal information. For example, a user may receive a fake bank email notice warning of impending account closure but contains malicious links instead.

Illustration/Sketchify via Canva

These attacks may even lock users from their personal data, holding them hostage until they pay a hefty amount of cash. Ransomware attacks do just that, affecting not only consumers but also the enterprise sector. As more businesses rely on edge devices for critical operations, the potential for a future ransomware attack rises significantly posing more risks than ever before.

Human lives are also at stake with ransomware attacks that blow out of control. An example of this happened last year when several hospitals across the US were hit by a variant of the Ryuk ransomware. As a result, several hospitals have to transfer their patients to other facilities since their systems cannot perform patient monitoring and other critical operations.

Advances in crypto mining and attacks on satellite-based networks

Bringing artificial intelligence and machine learning could also open up advances in crypto mining. While not inherently bad, cybercriminals can infect consumer devices more easily and gain access to system resources. When abused, crypto mining could potentially impact any device and affect users’ experience.

Meanwhile, network operators should prepare for more advanced attacks as they become reliant on satellite-based systems. Cybercriminals could infect a satellite base station and propagate malware to connected devices. Satellite-based networks could become a conduit for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks in this way.

As an example, a cybercriminal could hijack a base station and inject scripts into other devices. In turn, infected devices could run malicious commands that could disrupt the connection of other networks.

Quantum computing, preparing for present and future threats

Quantum computers are the next big thing in computing, relying on qubits instead of the traditional binary bit present in all devices today. Research in quantum computing has made significant progress over the years, with working quantum computers not too far on the horizon.

Quantum computers, however, could also pose a new problem in the future. In the future, these can break traditional encryption algorithms rendering encryption moot. Fortinet advises businesses to adapt accordingly by using the principles of crypto agility.

Illustration/Sketchify via Canva

In the meantime, businesses can readily adapt to these threats through a careful combination of technology, people, training, and partnerships. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are also key technologies for preparing against and mitigating future cybersecurity threats. Businesses can train AI to spot attack patterns and identify threats even before they become a reality.

Partnerships are also vital in stemming the tide against cybercriminals. The enterprise sector, for example, could partner with law enforcement agencies for information sharing and dismantling of malicious networks.

Cybersecurity threats are here to stay

Connected devices have transformed society by enabling instant communication and richer user experiences. However, it also opens up new threats from cybercriminals willing to exploit and gather sensitive data.

There’s an old adage that says that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The same adage applies all the more in cybersecurity. Threats are here to stay, so consumers and businesses should prepare and mitigate potential impacts as much as possible. Thankfully, it is easy to stay safe and protected by following best practices.

SEE ALSO: 6 tips to make your phone more secure and private

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Accessories

Lenovo ThinkVision M14T: Elevate productivity on-the-go

Ultra portable and sexy looking device

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ThinkVision M14T

Many of us have gotten used to the convenience of multitasking on our computing devices. It’s just one of those things that helps make our daily grind much more manageable and efficient. With today’s devices becoming more and more powerful, simultaneously running apps on your phones and a number of browser tabs and windows have become second nature to us. 

With desktop computers having ultra wide monitors and multiple desktop displays, nowadays you can watch YouTube videos, browse social sites, and even do work on side by side opened windows.

Lenovo has brought that same experience to our portable devices with the Lenovo ThinkVision M14T Portable Monitor

Ultimate portability 

The ThinkVision M14T is a 14-inch 1920x1080p resolution, touch screen, IPS display monitor. With much focus on portability, the ThinkVision M14T is just 4.6mm thin and weighs only 698g.

The moment I saw the actual device, my initial impression was just wow. Its sleek and ultra slim form factor with that glossy 14-inch display wrapped with slim bezels just looked impressive. However, that impression faded away quickly.

As I picked up the unit from the box, handling it felt fragile. It is so slim and light that I was afraid to place it anywhere with fear that I might accidentally break it. To address that, a soft pouch does come with the package for its protection. Though, without a dedicated hard case, I wonder if it may actually survive being stored in my bag along with other things.

As easy as Plug and Play

Searching the contents of the box, I was thinking if Lenovo just forgot to pack the power brick in the box because it just didn’t come with one. No, it wasn’t a mistake. The ThinkVision M14T monitor requires only a single USB-C cable to get power, touch or pen input signal and a display signal from its source. 

Plugging it in the USB-C port of the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 laptop, the ThinkVision M14T was instantly detected. And with a press of the power button, the M14T was up and running. I have to say, it amazes me that it is that convenient. Not having to need an external power source was like magic.

At 300 nits of brightness, the M14T’s IPS display panel is bright and vibrant. At its max brightness setting when paired with the ThinkPad X13, the ThinkVision M14T’s display seemed to overpower that of the X13, making the two look a bit unbalanced.

Its base folds out from the bottom of the monitor which acts as its stand. Opened out, the ThinkVision M14T felt stiff, solid and stable.

You can choose which side you’d want to plug your device as both the left and right sides of the base each have a USB-C input. On its right, we have the power button and on the left we have a brightness control switch. Sadly, no other input ports are available other than USB-C.

Precision and response as you like it

The M14T is not only a secondary touch screen display, you may also use it as a tablet complementary to your device with its interactive stylus. This means if you have a device that doesn’t have touch or pen input built-in, the ThinkVision M14T will give you just that.

By this time, most graphic tablet users must have already been exposed to stylus pens being rechargeable similar to the Apple Pencil. The stylus pen that comes with the M14T still uses a single and unusual type of battery (AAAA). Thankfully, a battery does come with the unit.

ThinkVision M14T

Having set my standards high on this aspect, I honestly didn’t expect this combo to perform as good as Wacom drawing tablets and the likes. To my surprise, as soon as I started writing, I immediately noticed how smooth its pen input was. With only minimal latency, the M14T’s stylus registers my movement almost instantly and its dedicated buttons are mapped automatically.

With the monitor folded down on a flat surface, it really did feel like I was doodling on an actual drawing tablet.

The M14T’s 10-point multi-touch input for touch gestures and 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity with its stylus, graphic artists won’t be disappointed with this bundle.

ThinkVision M14T

Is the Lenovo ThinkVision M14T Portable Monitor your GadgetMatch?

The ThinkVision M14T is by no means a perfect device. Having USB-C as the only display input option may have limited its potential for versatility of use. The stylus not having batteries built-in might raise some eyebrows too. But if you’re willing to live with its limitations, Lenovo still has managed to tick many of the right boxes with their ThinkVision M14T Portable Monitor.

ThinkVision M14T

The convenience of having more screen real estate on the go and using a single cable for its operation is just a glorious experience. Ultra portability, decent brightness, good viewing angles, pen and touch input in such a sexy looking device, the M14T would be an ideal companion for just about anyone. 

The good most definitely outweighs the bad with Lenovo’s ThinkVision M14T.

Get the Lenovo ThinkVision M14T Portable Monitor for PhP 19,995.

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Computers

Microsoft is planning to revamp Windows 10’s design

Update beta might launch by February

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It’s been a while since Microsoft drastically changed how Windows looks. Before Windows 10, Windows users often anticipated how Microsoft will revolutionize its user interface with every new version. However, with Windows 10, interface updates became more sporadic. The developer just outed minor updates every now and then. Things might change, though. According to a new job posting, Microsoft is planning to completely revamp Windows 10’s design.

According to Windows-centric outlet Windows Latest, Microsoft recently posted a job opening for a senior software engineer who will “work with [their] key platform, Surface, and OEM partners to orchestrate and deliver a sweeping visual rejuvenation of Windows experiences.”

“Windows is BACK,” the job posting concludes.

Further, the outlet confirms that an upcoming update — titled the Windows 10 21H2 “Sun Valley” update — will revamp the design for a smoother consumer experience. Previous updates have focused on business users more.

It is entirely possible that Microsoft doesn’t want to reveal too many details yet. Soon after the job posting leaked, Microsoft updated the details to remove all references to a design revamp.

Microsoft might release the first Sun Valley beta by the end of February. At that point, software developers and testers will get a first look at the new look.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft could bring Android support to Windows in 2021

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