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SkreensTV makes Back to the Future II multi-screen a reality

So you’re in the mood to watch more than one TV program at once – you just use your television’s “picture in picture” mode, right? Sure, unless you want more shows than two. Or perhaps you’re in the mood to play a video game while you watch Netflix with a connected iPad through your Apple TV? What if you want to watch three things at once and browse the internet at the same time? There’s SkreensTV for that – a device that will split your TV screen up into pieces.

It’s not a hoverboard. It’s not a flying Delorean. It IS a multi-screen television device. We’re edging in on everything Back to the Future II predicted being right for the world here in 2014 – we’re only one year away from the Future in that second movie in the series, after all. We’ve even almost got the real Nike MAG shoes with power laces!

“Art off! Okay, I want channels 18, 24, 63, 109, 87, and The Weather Channel!”

—Marty McFly, Jr.

Below you’ll see SkreensTV in action. A father with interest in sports, a mother who loves QVC, a little girl who wants to watch iCarly, and a boy who wants to play Xbox One. How on earth will they ever manage?

My goodness, how could your family have ever sat on the couch before now? Finally, your family can experience togetherness. At last!

And what’s this – you can access more than just your gaming system and set-top box. You can have six different things open at once if you want. Security systems, Roku TV, Chromecast, a web browser, Twitter, DirecTV, Facebook, Cable tv. Whatever you can plug in with an HDMI cable, basically.

You control the whole setup with an app. Once you have more than one screen running, your tablet will allow you to move and adjust the screens on your TV with a tap.

PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on the same display? Blasphemy! But you can make it happen with SkreensTV. And of course in that case you can listen to your individual system with headphones just so long as you’ve got them connected to your controller.

This system is part of an IndeGogo, but doesn’t at the moment seem to be part of the same sort of crowdfunding venture. It has Flexible Funding, which means it doesn’t necessarily have to meet its $200k goal to keep the cash its made during its run.

You can pre-order this device now and it would appear that it doesn’t matter how much of the IndeGogo cost is reached. One SkreensTV unit will cost you $399 USD. That’s with 4GB of internal storage and a “Founders Club Membership” which will allow you to communicate with the rest of the Founders Club community to “shaper SkreensTV and personalize [your] entertainment setup.” Sound like a winner to you?

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Apple Watch Diary: Looking Back At The Year, And Looking Forward To The Future

Steve Jobs famously said that people don’t know what they want until they see it. To which I’d add that sometimes we don’t know what we want until we’ve used it for a while.

I’m old enough to have been around when the first Macintosh was launched. In that case, I knew I wanted one the moment I saw it. This was how computers were supposed to work. The total cost of the Macintosh plus second floppy drive plus ImageWriter printer was a frightening amount at the time, but I didn’t care – I had to have one.

The iPad was a different story. I originally bought one intending it to be nothing more than the movie equivalent of the Kindle, yet within a very short time it became my primary mobile computing device.

The Apple Watch was different again. As someone who started out as a total smartwatch skeptic and has now been fully assimilated, I thought it might be interesting to briefly look back on that journey and also think a little about what the future might hold for the device …

Prior to owning one, smartwatches had always struck me as a solution in search of a problem. They didn’t do anything the iPhone couldn’t do (ok, bar automatic heart-rate measurement), and I couldn’t see any good reason why I’d want to spend additional money on an extra device merely to repeat some of its functionality.

But I wasn’t totally dismissive of the Apple Watch. It was clear that Apple had made a better job of it than existing models, and while I couldn’t see a compelling reason to want one, I could see potential applications for it. I also knew that sometimes I have to use a device to find out how useful it will be. Plus, of course, it was a gadget – and since when did I need a good reason to try a gadget?

On day one, I was starting to see the benefits of notifications on my wrist, but wasn’t really sold on the look, and didn’t think I was going to keep it.

By day four, the look had grown on me quite a lot – and more so when I later swapped the white band for the black one I wanted in the first place. The user-interface had become familiar. Notifications were definitely convenient, though less so in winter, with multiple layers of long sleeves. The Activity rings sucked me in. Some of the apps were proving their value.

By day seven, I was still of the view that nobody needs an Apple Watch, but it was undeniably useful – and it was, I had to confess, a cool gadget. A month in, it no longer felt like a cool new gadget, it had simply become part of my life. Something that added just a tiny amount of convenience a dozen or more times a day.

The arrival of Apple Pay in the UK then sealed the deal. On its own, not quite a killer app, but a very, very appealing one. Added to the conveniences of wrist notifications and it was enough to make me realize that this was a device that was slowly transforming itself into a ‘first world essential.’

So what more does the Watch need to do to complete that transformation? I chatted with my colleagues, and we came up with a few thoughts.

The first very obvious thing is performance. There are definitely times when you open an app – or even a Glance – and you find yourself staring at the progress wheel. If you’re opening an app you haven’t used for a while, the delay can even amount to four or five seconds. This would be unacceptable at any time, but even more so in a device which is all about quick glances.

Whether through hardware or software improvements or both, Apple needs to make the performance snappy enough that everything feels instant.

Another obvious one is some combination of battery-life and fast-charging capability. For my personal use, the Watch makes it comfortably though a typical day. The only times it’s failed to do so are when travelling, when switching time-zones has meant a very long day. But others are not so fortunate – either because their days start rather earlier than mine, or because their usage patterns are more demanding.

And even when the Watch makes it through a day just fine, there’s still a good reason to demand more from the battery: sleep-tracking. It’s not that the device can’t do it – there are a whole bunch of apps out there for it, and they don’t actually use too much power. But most people need to charge the Watch overnight to make it through the next day, so this is rather a theoretical capability.

Even if you don’t want to track your sleep, you may still want to wear your Watch at night: some apps allow you to set an alarm not for an exact time, but for an approximate time. The Watch then waits until you’re in a light phase of sleep before waking you, which has you wake feeling less groggy.

Apple could address the battery issue in a couple of ways. The hard way is to significantly boost the battery-life. But that’s really tough. If we’re wearing the Watch both during the day and in bed at night, when do we charge it? This is not an e-ink display that will ever make it through a whole week.

So the more practical approach is fast-charging capability. Seth notes that his Moto 360 can be charged from around 35% to 95% in about 40 minutes. That makes it practical to use the watch all day, use it for sleep-tracking at night and then just charge it while showering and breakfasting in the morning.

The main reason I started out as an Apple Watch skeptic is that it’s just a companion device. It can’t do very much without the phone. Adding a few more chips to the device would be handy.

The Watch is never going to become a fully-fledged iPhone substitute. That’s not realistic, and even if it were, Apple is never going to do anything which reduces sales of the product that generates the vast majority of its revenue. But it could make the device more useful when used on its own for a time.

For example, you can’t really use the Watch for activity tracking without the phone because it doesn’t have its own GPS – it gets location data from the phone. Admittedly the Watch does its best in that situation using its own motion trackers, but you need the GPS for the most accurate data, so you can’t leave the phone at home when you go for a run. Giving the Watch its own GPS chip would make a big difference to some.

Even with a GPS chip, though, people may still be reluctant to leave their phone behind when jogging because they’d be cut off from communication. Including GSM and LTE capabilities into the Watch would mean that it could be used for emergency communication, at least, and you’d also continue to receive notifications without the phone in your pocket or strapped to your arm.

There are a couple more hardware improvements we’d like to see. First, while the Apple Watch is impressively water-resistant, many people would feel more comfortable if it were properly waterproof. Sure, some people have showed the Watch surviving when used underwater, but that’s not a use Apple recommends, and not one many would want to risk on a regular basis. Being able to wear the watch while swimming or snorkeling without having to worry about it would be welcome.

Apple also needs to make the sapphire screen more readable in sunlight. Ironically, the cheapest model – the Sport – effectively has the best display when used outdoors. Sapphire may protect the steel and Edition models from scratches, but it makes the display harder to read in sunlight.

When the Apple Watch was but a rumor (the ‘iWatch’ label feels so long ago now!), there were suggestions that it would be packed with health-oriented sensors. That turned out not to be the case, and we now know why: Apple didn’t want to get tied-up in FDA approvals. Instead, it intends to release separate sensor devices that can communicate with the Watch. That’s less convenient, but better than having to wait much longer for new models.

But things like pulse ox would be welcomed by many fitness folks, and blood sugar monitoring would be a real boon for diabetics. If those devices could sit under the Watch without obscuring the heart-rate monitor, they would be far more convenient than existing products.

Finally, while the Watch UI is generally extremely well thought-through, there’s one aspect of it that is a total mess: the main apps screen! The icons are just too small to be distinctive, and having to scroll around randomly enlarging sections of them in an effort to figure out which is which is not what we expect from Apple. The more Watch apps that become available, the messier it gets.

Personally, I use Siri to open apps, but there are those who get on less well with Siri than I do, so this is an area Apple urgently needs to address.

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Fixing Hp: The Back Story

With the recent news surrounding Autonomy, it isn’t hard to see HP as some kind of train wreck. But much of HP’s ongoing business remains relatively strong and profitable. I believe the core of HP’s problem is instability at the top, but even this is more a symptom than a cause. In my opinion, the cause lies with successive boards who thought tactically to address strategic HP problems and who put speed over quality. Let me explain.

It all started with Carly Fiorina.

For most of HP’s initial life through the 1990s, HP was a “boring” company. It had few exciting products, but it had solid financial performance. Its only real hit was a calculator. And even though folks lined up to see its Sojourn PC, it was easily overshadowed by industry darlings such as Sony and Microsoft. At that point, even Apple was getting more interest from investors and consumers.

In the late 90s, HP’s board decided the firm needed a shake up, and they brought on board Carly Fiorina from Lucent to do it. Now, in my opinion, this was a fundamental mistake. What HP had was largely a marketing and consumer product problem. The company wasn’t going under — it just wasn’t exciting consumers or investors. It didn’t need to be fixed operationally, it needed an image makeover and at least one hit product that, unlike the Sojourn, folks could afford.

This meant they needed a new CMO and likely a new head or a new product manager for their PC division. Instead, they got a new CEO, and they picked badly.

You see, over the past decade or so, there had been two catastrophic acquisition failures in the computer industry: IBM’s acquisition of ROLM and AT&T’s acquisition of NCR. Many felt these failures made it clear that telephony people couldn’t run computer companies and that computer people couldn’t run telephony companies. In addition, marketing people generally don’t have the operational background to run corporations. Fiorina was a marketing executive from a telephony company. On paper, she couldn’t be successful, and the board was fixing the HP problem at the wrong level.

Ironically, I believe Fiorina might have actually done well at the right level because she seemed to intuitively understand HP’s need for marketing and hit products. But running all of HP was beyond her. Add to this that she made herself executive chairman, which effectively made the board her subordinate, and the board couldn’t manage her. It wasn’t that she failed; it was that no one put in that position with her background could succeed.

Fiorina was clearly having problems guiding HP, and she moved to acquire Compaq without the approval of powerful board members, resulting in a proxy fight. Ironically, this proxy fight forced her and the CEO from Compaq, an ops specialist (Michael Capellas), to put in place one of the strongest integration plans ever developed, and the acquisition was successful. The conclusion was that HP needed a strong ops person. Capellas appeared ideal. But many believe Fiorina rightly saw him as a threat to her job and in her executive chairman position couldn’t be stopped from forcing him out of the firm.

She was subsequently fired, and Mark Hurd from NCR was hired to replace her–another bad choice, in my opinion. The issue wasn’t that Hurd didn’t have the right pedigree; it was that his skill was largely cutting costs. Fiorina had already cut the company heavily and had broken employee loyalty. Basically, she had isolated herself from the rank and file. While HP needed an ops person, it needed someone who could foster loyalty and rebuild the company. Instead, it got someone who had a history of being hated by his employees (Hurd reportedly had his tires slashed at NCR) and who would have been more appropriate for a firm that was failing and needed to be packaged for a quick sale.

So again, rather than getting a good COO or a builder to fix an ops problem, HP got a CEO who was a cutter. While this did improve HP’s financials, it came at the expense of HP’s long-term survival. And it restored the initial problem that HP was suffering from — the lack of exciting products.

Apple Quietly Makes Interesting Changes To The Applecare+ Program

Although Apple did not publicly announce the changes, the company do not intend to keep it that way. Apple is now sending emails to its AppleCare customers. The email is a reminder of the changes to the AppleCare+ program.

The email from Apple re-emphasizes the accidental damage repair coverage for the AppleCare+ program. According to the company, the repair coverage for accidental damage is now indefinite. This is way better than the previous twice a year. Of course, users can only have access to this if their subscription plan is active. Apple also says the extra protection is “at no extra cost”. Also, customers don’t have to do anything to get unlimited protection against accidental damage.

“Your AppleCare+ plan now protects covered devices from unlimited incidents of accidental damage while the plan is in effect (instead of being supported twice every 12 months). Each incident is subject to an applicable service fee. There is no extra charge for protection, and users don’t have to do anything.”

How real is the AppleCare+ program?

As of now, we can not tell whether Apple is serious about the AppleCare+ program changes. It is possible that the company has practical limits so as to prevent abuse of the program. The price for an active AppleCare+ subscription varies depending on the device. Furthermore, customers can choose to either pay monthly or pay the full annual cost at once. For the iPhone 14, AppleCare+ costs $9.99 per month or the full price of $199. It’s worth noting that even if you subscribe to AppleCare+, you still need to pay Apple for the service if your device needs repairs.

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Apple’s official website states, “Each iPhone comes with a 1-year hardware warranty and up to 90 days of free phone technical support within the limited warranty period. The AppleCare+ service plan for iPhone extends your service coverage and also provides an unlimited number of accidental damage warranty services, each time a corresponding service fee is charged: for screen or glass back panel damage, a service fee of RMB 188 ($26) is charged; for other accidental damage, a service fee of RMB 628 ($88) is charged”.

Apple is the largest customer of 4-5 nanometer cutting-edge semiconductors

Apple is the largest buyer of cutting-edge semiconductors

At present, Apple has become the largest buyer of cutting-edge semiconductors. After 2023, Apple’s MacBook laptops and iPad tablets always have 5-nanometer semiconductors. Of course, since the iPhone 12 series, iPhones have been using 4-5 nanometer chips. Although there has been a surplus of semiconductor supply at a time when consumer electronics markets such as mobile phones and PCs are shrinking, in the field of 4-5 nanometer cutting-edge semiconductors, supply is still in short supply.

At present, manufacturers that can supply 5-nanometer chips are limited to two foundry companies, TSMC and Samsung. TSR said that TSMC’s leading position has not changed. More than 60% of the supply capacity of 4-5 nanometer chips comes from TSMC. In August, TSMC said that 3-nanometer chips “will be mass-produced soon”. If the number of products using 3-nanometer chips increases in the final products put on the market in 2023, there will be a surplus of 4-5 nanometer supply capacity.

According to a previous report, tech blogger @MobileChipDaren once said that Apple is currently preparing 40 million A17 (N3E) processors for the iPhone 15 series next year (2023). Just as we have in the iPhone 14 series, only the Pro models of the iPhone 15 will switch to new processors.

How To Go Back To The Old Gmail Interface. (2023)

If you use Gmail as your primary email service you may or may not be open to the idea of the interface changing. Although it has been a long while since Google overhauled Gmails Interface or made any significant changes. The day has finally arrived with a new layout starting to roll out right now. If you haven’t seen it yet, it isn’t all too far away.

Related: How to send audio messages in Gmail. Sending audio messages from Gmail.

After quite a long time on the same interface, Google has finally decided to roll out their new Gmail interface in 2023. Thankfully, this time around they have included special options that allow users to disable or enable the new design as they please. Although I’m personally a fan of change (if implemented right, without any feature losses) not a lot of people have the same outlook. Why fix something that ain’t broke right?

The new interface is currently rolling out so you may or may not see it in your region at the moment. When you do though, the options for disabling the new Gmail interface of 2023 are as follows.

How do you disable the new 2023 Gmail interface? Go back to the old Gmail layout.

To change back to the old Gmail layout you’ll need to do the following.

A new window will appear asking for your reasoning behind changing back to the Gmail Legacy design. You don’t have to fill this section out but if you want to have your say on what you don’t like about the new design, I’d take the time to fill it out.

Alternatively, you can enable the new Gmail 2023 interface by following the same steps and selecting the Try out the new Gmail view. You should also be very aware that although Google is allowing you to continue using the old legacy layout in Gmail for now this probably won’t last. Google has a long track recording of bumping everyone onto the new version pretty quickly. For this reason, I strongly suggest that you give as much feedback as possible during the transition period.

The Future Of Corporate Governance

Whether you are a business leader or an investor, it’s crucial to stay informed about the latest trends in corporate governance. As more and more companies become aware of their impact on the world around them, corporate governance is beginning to take on a whole new importance. Here’s what to expect in the future of corporate governance.

Increasing focus on sustainability and social responsibility 

As companies continue to become increasingly aware of their impact on the environment and society, corporate governance is placing an ever-increasing emphasis on sustainability and social responsibility.

Companies are now expected to consider how their decisions will affect their bottom line, environmental footprint, and the communities they operate in. This trend will only increase as governments worldwide crack down on unsustainable practices and pressure companies to become more responsible corporate citizens.

For example, many companies are now implementing programs to reduce their carbon emissions or have adopted a “triple bottom line” approach that considers social, environmental, and economic criteria when making decisions.

Read more

What is the meaning of corporate governance?

The role of governance in managing risks

How corporate governance can prevent fraud 

Transparency becoming the norm

The days of questionable corporate governance practices such as insider trading and off-the-books accounting are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Companies are now expected to be completely transparent about their operations, from executive compensation to environmental practices.

This trend will only increase as companies realise that transparency is critical in earning and maintaining public trust.

Greater scrutiny of executive pay

As income inequality continues to be a topic of public concern, there is increasing pressure on companies to be more transparent about executive pay and to ensure that it’s fair and aligned with company performance.

Companies are now expected to provide a detailed breakdown of executive compensation and the criteria used to determine it. This is likely to become a more pressing issue in the years to come as public scrutiny continues to increase.

Read more: What is a remuneration committee? 

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Stay compliant, stay competitive

Build a better future with the Diploma in Corporate Governance.

Download brochure

Book a call

Increased use of technology 

Technology has played an increasingly important role in corporate governance, with companies relying on software-driven systems for compliance, risk management, and data analysis.

However, this trend is likely to accelerate in the coming years as digital technologies such as analytics and AI become even more embedded into processes such as compliance, risk assessment, decision-making, and stakeholder engagement.

The rise of technology has also made it easier for shareholders and other stakeholders to monitor what’s happening in a company, enabling them to hold executives accountable for their decisions and ensure that companies stay true to their corporate governance commitments.

Greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion 

Over the next few years, an increasing focus on diversity and inclusion within organisations will likely be another significant trend in corporate governance. Companies are now recognising that having diverse teams can lead to improvements in innovation and creativity which can drive business growth and success.

As such, many companies are actively looking for ways to attract talent from all backgrounds while ensuring that existing employees have access to opportunities regardless of gender or ethnicity.

For example, Sodexo has been putting in extra effort for 20 years to ensure the gender balance of its staff is as equal — and equitable — as possible. It has been so successful that it was included in the 2023 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, an index that tracks the financial performance of companies with a prioritised commitment to gender equality. 37% of Sodexo’s executive committee are female, and women make up 60% of the board directors. This is even more impressive given their goal is to have at least 40% of its senior leadership team made up of women.

Read more: Diversity isn’t just about gender

The growing importance of stakeholder engagement 

Stakeholder engagement is becoming increasingly important in corporate governance. Companies must proactively engage with their stakeholders to maintain trust and ensure long-term success. Stakeholders such as customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, regulators, and other interest groups increasingly demand greater organisational transparency about their operations.

It’s essential for business leaders & investors alike to stay informed about these trends so they can ensure their corporate strategies remain up-to-date and effective. By staying ahead of these trends, you will well position your organisation for long-term success.

Read more: A guide to ESG reporting

The Corporate Governance Institute offers diploma courses that will give you an edge in the field. You can choose from our online, flexible options and learn at your own pace. With us, you’ll get access to exclusive resources and be able to network with other professionals in the industry.

Our courses are designed by experts who understand what it takes to be a successful director or executive. You’ll gain knowledge of current trends and best practices so that you can make informed decisions for your company. Plus, you get an internationally-recognised qualification.

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