4G: What will it allow us to do?

October 14, 2013

Image

It’s hard to believe that we’ve now had 3G mobile internet in the UK for a decade. While coverage has massively improved since those early days it has still never quite lived up to its initial promise, and even now speeds are very often disappointing with 3G connections rarely exceeding 2-3Mb even in areas with strong signal. 

In 2013 that’s pretty disappointing, so it’s good news that 4G has finally arrived. The next gen mobile data standard offers a significantly better performance, with real world speeds capable of more than 20Mb (and yes, we’ve actually seen this).

Having a mobile connection that’s faster than many of us get from a fixed line service opens up some interesting possibilities. Here’s just a few of things 4G could enable us to do…

Drop the home broadband

Since 4G offers such a fast connection it opens up the possibility of moving away from a traditional fixed line broadband service.

This could have several advantages. Being portable, you could take your broadband with you wherever you go, not only use it at home. It also means you would no longer need to pay for a landline, something that many of us only keep because it’s required for broadband.

And in some areas 4G may even be faster than the services offered by BT’s links.

The two caveats are coverage (which is limited right now, but 4G should be available to 98% of the population by 2017 according to network targets) and the cost. Presently 4G remains quite expensive (£12.99 only gets you a 1GB data limit according to our comparison table), though this should fall as more competitors enter the market.

Work anywhere

The portability of high speed 4G is a major boon to many types of users. For businesses and students it means you can carry on working wherever you go (signal allowing), and anyone who likes to use their mobile internet link for entertainment purposes will find 4G is much better suited to gaming and streaming media.

Stay connected to the cloud

Online backup and file storage services, and cloud apps like Google Docs, rely upon a reliable connection to function. This is fine when you’re at home but it has been problematic over mobile broadband.

4G should improve matters. Obviously, it’s much faster so if you do want to backup or download files from cloud storage on the go you won’t be crawling along with the few megabits that 3G typically provides. That’s especially useful if you’re on a train when the connection can quickly drop off as you move between cell sites.

It’s also important to note that as part of the 4G frequency auction network providers had to agree to meet a minimum level of coverage. In some cases they are committed to supplying an indoor 4G signal to 98% of the UK’s population by 2017. So while 4G may only be available in a few locations right now we should see a huge improvement over the coming years, and eventually you may be able to rely far more upon your mobile broadband when it comes cloud storage.

Better rural broadband

Many people living in rural areas still do not have access to fast, affordable broadband. While there are plans in place to expand the coverage of fibre optic and ADSL services progress has been slow and there are still places in the UK which may be waiting a long time.

4G may be the answer. As the reach of the networks expands outside of major locations it could become available to those of you in the countryside, and will offer a far faster connection than existing ADSL or dial-up options!

 

Author Bio: Matt Powell is the editor for the broadband comparison site Broadband Genie, where you can find the latest broadband deals and information.

The Ultimate Guide to Fresher’s Week

September 23, 2013

Image

Starting university can be a scary thing. You’re moving out of your comfort zone, away from your friends, your parents, and the world that you know. But trust me – if you make the most of the next 3 years, they will be the best of your life. Follow our 5-step guide to Fresher’s Week and enjoy your first week of freedom…

Take advantage of social media
It’s not uncommon to start university without knowing a single person there, but within days (probably hours) you’ll have made some life-long friends. Take advantage of Facebook groups and forums before you go – most courses and halls of residence will have groups where you check out and talk to your prospective new flatmates before you move in. Not only does this take away some of the initial fear of meeting new people, but it can help you all plan ahead in terms of stuff like which household items for the flat (if you think this sounds ridiculous – you won’t think so when you end up with 4 toasters and no spoons).

Stock up on Fresher’s Fair freebies
The Fresher’s fair is a goldmine for freebies! From pizza, beer and club entry, to magazines, stationary and discounted home insurance (yes, you need this – even in halls) – it’s definitely worth paying a visit. As most of these events are organised and run by your Student’s Union, it’s the perfect place to ask the people who know the university inside out any questions you might have.

Man flu has got nothing on Fresher’s Flu
A solid week of partying takes its toll on your immune system and unless you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll probably be struck down by the dreaded Fresher’s Flu soon enough. It’s easier said than done, but take it easy, get a few hours sleep a night and ensure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of (non-alcoholic) fluids during the day.

Get social!
Join a sports team, attend social events, get involved in your Student’s Union – not only will you make a ton of new friends, it’ll look great on your CV. We all know how tough the job market is at the moment, so give yourself a head-start over the competition by having something different and interesting to talk about in interviews!

Don’t forget the sensible stuff
It’s very easy to get carried away with everything that’s going on during your first week at university but it’s important that you don’t forget to tackle some important tasks quite early on. Registering with a doctor is a must – your uni can usually recommend the good ones in your area. Also, if you have a TV (or a laptop on which you watch TV) in your room, you need to get a TV licence, even if you’re in halls.

Once lectures get started, the deadlines will start rolling in. Laptops are notoriously temperamental (and easily misplaced), so make sure you keep your assignments backed up securely elsewhere. BuddyBackup, is a secure and reliable backup site, and best of all – it’s free! All you need are some Buddies to back up to. Use it as an excuse to stay in touch with friends back at home, around the country at other universities or as an ice-breaker with other students on your course.

 

Author: Cassie Holmes, BuddyBackup

The Online Travellers Survival Guide

August 14, 2013

Image

People today can’t function without the internet. It has revolutionised the way in which we go about our day-to-day lives.

There is a whole host of websites and apps specifically designed to make your travels as smooth as possible; from planning your trip, to navigating your way around a city, to local phrasebooks on-the-go.

 

GapAdvice.org

This website is a great place to start when planning your travels. It offers independent advice and ideas for gap year travellers from finding a placement, to average costs and finding the cheapest deals. Great for those travellers who want to get organised before they set off.

http://www.gapadvice.org/

 

Free Wi-Fi Finder

Free internet is like gold dust when travelling, and so this app will become your new best friend. The “Free Wifi Finder” app is designed to locate the nearest free Wi-Fi spots to your current location by detecting them from a pre-downloaded list. This means you never have to incur any data charges whilst away and you can limit the amount of time you spend in pricey internet cafés.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/free-wi-fi-finder/id307217005?mt=8

 

SeatID

A slightly controversial one. We all know that sinking feeling you get when you take your seat on the plane and realise you’re sat in front of a screaming child, or the incredibly chatty woman who tells you her life story when all you want to do is sleep. “SeatID” is a website that allows you to view the social networking profiles of fellow passengers before you book your ticket, so you can pick your preferred seatmate based on common interests.

http://www.seatid.com/

 

Around Me

Anything you need to find whilst on the move, “Around Me” will help you get there fast. From bars and supermarkets to banks and hospitals, the app can direct you to your nearest location using GPS directions. It also provides you with contact details for destinations so that you can call ahead and reserve a table at a local restaurant, for example.

http://www.aroundmeapp.com/

 

Word Lens

For a faster and more novel way to overcome language barriers while you’re away, “Word Lens” is an on-the-go, interactive phrase book. You take a photograph some text and the app will instantly translate it from one language to another, making reading road signs or menus a walk in the park.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/word-lens/id383463868?mt=8

 

BuddyBackup.com

As you travel you will capture some of the most memorable moments of your life on camera. But these pictures are all too easy to lose whilst you’re on the go. BuddyBackup is a free website that allows you to save these files to a computer at home remotely from any location worldwide, as long as you have an internet connection.

http://www.buddybackup.com/

 

 

“Travel is only glamourous in retrospect.”

July 3, 2013

Top tips for making the most of your gap year travels

Be it because you didn’t get the grades you were hoping for, you’re struggling to get into the job market or you just want to explore the world before settling into a career; gap years can be a fantastic way to experience the world and its many cultures. If done in the right way, they can also enhance your skill set, making you more appealing to potential employers.

Follow our five top tips below to get the most out of your gap year travels.

Preparation is key

If the idea of planning each part of your trip yourself is understandably too daunting a task, there are many travel providers out there who specialise in gap year packages. They can be tailored to your needs, taking into account your budget and your preferred locations.

These organised trips can be a fantastic way to meet like-minded people, and you may even make friends who are travelling similar routes to you, with whom you can buddy-up.

Get advice

Don’t underestimate the value of experience. Talk to friends, relatives, colleagues who have already had experience travelling and get their opinions and advice. Listen to first-hand accounts and take as much from them as you can.

Like Paul Theroux said, “travel is only glamourous in retrospect”, and so hearing what people loved about their experience and what they wish they could’ve changed could be invaluable when planning your own trip.

Pack light

It is said that when preparing for a long stint of travelling you should pack everything you think you’ll need – and then halve it. The last thing you want when wandering round the streets of Bangkok, or climbing a mountain in Cambodia, is to be carrying a backpack that weighs as much as you do.

As you travel from A to B, you will gain various items and souvenirs and so it’s always a good idea to start off as light as possible.

Protect yourself and your belongings

Shop around for the best deals on health, travel and property insurance. There are many specialist providers out there who offer discounted rates for these trips. Whilst it may seem like an unnecessary cost now, you will be thankful for it if you fall ill, or your flight gets cancelled.

A way of backing up your pictures as you travel that doesn’t break the bank is by using a peer-to-peer backup service. Sites such as BuddyBackup.com offer a completely free way to save your files to a computer back at home; all you need is an internet connection at your hostel, or in an internet café, for example. You log in to the site and transfer the files instantly. No more worrying about losing the pictures of your holiday of a lifetime!

Be open-minded

Finally, I can’t stress enough the need to be open-minded as you travel. Plans are important, but enjoying yourself and embracing the cultures you will experience are equally so. Read up on local customs and cuisines and really get stuck in.

Be flexible. Things will go wrong, plans will change. Just embrace all that comes your way and truly make the most out of your experience.

 “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover” – Mark Twain

No More Excuses…

May 20, 2013

If we’re honest, we can all probably think of a time where we’ve made an excuse for missing a deadline that wasn’t exactly true. These days, however, Buddy Backup has made the time old excuse “my computer crashed” a thing of the past. Its simplistic and reliable approach to data backup means you need never lose a document again.

But just in case you find yourself in need of some extra time on that big project, here are 10 of the more bizarre excuses that have been given to teachers and employers in the past…

“My housemates were doing a weeklong World of Warcraft tournament and used up all the bandwidth, so I couldn’t email the assignment.”

“A refrigerator fell on me.”

“I was in line at a coffee shop when a truck carrying flour backed up and dumped the flour into my convertible.”

“I caught a cold from my puppy.”

“My stepfather was showing off his new gun and shot my computer by accident.”

“My child stuck a mint up his nose and we had to go to A&E to get it removed.”

“I hurt my back chasing a beaver.”

“My brother-in-law was kidnapped by a drug cartel while in Mexico.”

“I drank anti-freeze by mistake and had to go to the hospital.”

“I have a solar powered calculator and it was cloudy.”

Data backup shouldn’t be a sacrifice for students

March 19, 2013

We all know that when you’re a student you have certain priorities. You have no qualms, for example, in living off one Pot Noodle a day in order to keep your weekly Jagerbomb fund looking healthy. Fresh fruit and vegetables are forgone for that new pair of shoes, and the train fare home is much better spent on saving for this summer’s festival tickets.

But while certain financial sacrifices have to be made in order to live the student dream, protecting your uni work doesn’t have to come at a price.

We’ve all been there – you spend weeks writing an assignment (or in some cases staying up until 6am the night before the deadline, pulling your hair out, draining the library of all caffeine…) for the system to suddenly crash and for all your hard work to be lost before your eyes.

University systems are not failsafe and USB drives are easily lost. But protecting your data effectively doesn’t have to cost you the earth. BuddyBackup is a completely free service that allows you and your family and friends to safeguard your important files by saving them to each other’s computers remotely.

And it couldn’t be easier to do. All you and your Buddy need to do is install BuddyBackup on both of your computers. Then, every time either of you edits or saves a new file, BuddyBackup picks up on this change and immediately backs it up to each other’s drive. Don’t worry though; your Buddy isn’t able to see any of your files (and vice versa) as all of the data is encrypted using military-level coding before it’s transferred.

So, now you can go out and spend your student loan without the worry of it coming at the cost of all your hard work.

New Year’s resolutions broken? Don’t worry; it’s never too late to backup.

January 28, 2013

Give up chocolate, get fit, no carbs – may be all your New Year’s resolutions have gone out of the window?  Whatever, it’s never too late to do one crucial thing – and that is backup your data.

While you might miss a fitness session and think your good intentions are done for, if you don’t backup up your files, you could be missing your favourite photos instead of a gym class.

Backing up your files online and offsite has never been so important especially as we accumulate more and more data – whether that’s photos, videos or documents.

So what’s stopping you? BuddyBackup is easy to install and easy to use, plus it’s free.  It works by using the spare disk space on your friends’ (Buddies) computers.  Simply download the software from our website and follow the instructions to choose Buddies to back up to.

And don’t worry; military-grade encryption is applied to all your data before it leaves your PC so no one else but you can ever read your files.

There’s no limit to the amount of data you can backup, as long as you share enough space with your buddies.

What’s more, backing up your data is a resolution that’s easy to keep up. Once you’ve done your initial backup, BuddyBackup automatically and continuously backs up the changes to your data without you having to think about it. If your buddies aren’t around, it will save the changes and backup when they are online again.

So while you might be struggling to stick to your New Year goals, do yourself a favour and get your files backed up online, offsite and for free. It’s a resolution you won’t regret.

Going home for Christmas? Introduce your family and friends to BuddyBackup

December 10, 2012

If you’re looking for buddies to back up to, Christmas is the perfect time to grab those around you and tell them about BuddyBackup.

Rather than paying a monthly fee to a cloud provider, BuddyBackup lets you back up your digital photos, videos and files online to your friends and family. All you have to do is get everyone on board.

Stuck on how to persuade your pals to get BuddyBackup? Read this:

Ten reasons to use BuddyBackup this Christmas

1.       It’s free

With BuddyBackup you are using the spare disk space on your Buddies’ pc or laptop, so there’s no need to pay for storage from a provider.

2.       It’s offsite

Backing up your precious files offsite is the safest way of protecting your data. If you have a flood, fire or theft at your property, your files will be safe.

3.       It’s secure

BuddyBackup uses military-grade encryption on your data before it leaves your pc so no-one can ever access your files except you.

4.       It’s continuous

Once you’ve done your initial backup, BuddyBackup works continuously registering and backing up the changes and additions to your files. If your Buddies aren’t online, it’ll wait until they are and add the backups then.

5.       It’s limitless

Unlike with some cloud backup providers, you can back up as many files as you like as long as you and your Buddies share enough space.

6.       It’s simple

To quote Which? Computing magazine, BuddyBackup is “easy to install and easy to use”.

7.       It’s a weight off your mind

Get rid of that niggling worry and back up all those favourite photos now!

8.       It’s clever

BuddyBackup recognises the files that are already backed up so it saves time and uses the minimum of your internet bandwidth.

9.       It’s versatile

You can use BuddyBackup to back up to another hard drive using your USB port.

10.   It’s approved

BuddyBackup has been recommended by numerous computing magazines including a 5 Star rating from PC Utilities and endorsements from Web User, TechRadar.com, Verge magazine, SmallCloudBuilder, ReviewCenter and more.

Backing up an external hard drive – a BuddyBackup user’s experience

October 16, 2012

One user explains how she used BuddyBackup to backup the files on her hard drive after her laptop ran out of storage:

With hardly any disk space left on my laptop, I decided to transfer my ever-expanding stock of family photos and videos onto an external hard drive instead.

I’ve always backed up these precious files (along with my other documents on my laptop) offsite with BuddyBackup just in case I get robbed or have a disaster at home. But now these files are off my pc, I still want them backed up offsite, so I need to backup the hard drive as well.

This is different than adding a USB hard drive as a Buddy, which is another option altogether.

I actually want to back up the hard drive, which I’ll use as an extension to my pc – plugging it in when I want to share my pictures with family and friends.

So this is how I did it:

  1. Firstly, I connected the USB hard drive to my laptop. BuddyBackup will automatically detect the USB drive and ask if you want to add it as a Buddy. This is when you say NO.
  2. I then made a copy of My Pictures and My Videos onto the external hard drive.
  3. When I checked that the files had ALL copied over correctly, I deleted them from my laptop.
  4. At this stage I was a bit nervous about having no offsite backup but BuddyBackup won’t delete the original backups until one month after they have been removed from my laptop – so plenty of time to do a restore of all the files should anything go wrong!
  5. Then I simply opened the BuddyBackup control panel and clicked on ‘Choose Backups’ tab.
  6. As the hard drive was plugged into my pc, it showed on the file directory in ‘Choose Backups’.
  7. Then it was just a matter of ticking the My Pictures and My Videos folders in the hard drive directory and BuddyBackup added them to my list of backups.

As my original backups were done with the latest version of BuddyBackup, it was able to recognise that the files on my hard drive were exactly the same as the ones I had on my pc, so the backup didn’t take long.

As long as my hard drive is connected to my pc, BuddyBackup will keep backing it up. If I unplug for a while, then BuddyBackup will automatically backup the changes to my selected folders as soon as I connect again.

So now I’ve got tonnes more space on my laptop and my hard drive backed up offsite too.

FloraG

BuddyBackup says:

For more information about backups and restores, take a look at our help section.

BuddyBackup compatible with Windows 8

October 2, 2012

Windows 8 is going to available to the public from 26 October and it’s a whole new ball game to its predecessor Windows 7. 

We’ve actually got a few bets at the BuddyBackup offices about how long it’s going to take before Microsoft cracks and releases a simpler, more familiar interface that’s closer to Windows 7.  Even our beta testers have said what a big adjustment it is – and when companies and the less tech savvy get their hands on it – some people are really going to struggle.

In the meantime, our developers have been working hard to make sure that BuddyBackup is compatible. So if you decide to download the new operating system, you simply need to reinstall BuddyBackup software and your backups will be taken care of as usual.

So what can you expect from Windows 8?

Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, says it’s possibly the most important product launch in the company’s history: “Windows 95 was certainly the biggest thing in the last 20 years until now. I think Windows 8 certainly surpasses it,” he says.

Windows 8 is a major redesign of the Microsoft operating system, not just a gentle upgrade and, in fact, it breaks down the normal conventions of using a pc.

The first difference you’ll notice is the faster boot time which, if you’re used to tablets, will come as a relief.

Gone is the start button, which has been replaced with a tile-based user interface.  Windows 8 is the first Microsoft operating system compatible with tablets and even the pc interface is touch orientated. As a result, you’ll probably want to invest in a touch screen for your pc.

The whole look is much sleeker, although the lack of a start button makes it harder to find certain functions. However, Windows Explorer has been replaced with File Explorer which has greater functionality.

A great new feature is snap multi-tasking, which allows you to split the screen and look at two different applications at once. It means you can work on your presentation with an eye on your emails or word document at the same time.

The new family security tools are a much needed improvement. They can restrict and filter web pages, allow you to set time limits and prevent access to certain applications.

If you’re using Windows 8 at work, the Windows to Go function for enterprise allows you to make a virtual copy of your pc onto a USB drive which you can plug into any other Windows 8 pc and use it as if it were your own. It’s a way of putting your office pc in your pocket and taking it home with you.

If you’re testing the beta version of Windows 8, BuddyBackup is ready now if you want to give it a try ahead of the October 26 launch date.

Read more about Windows 7 versus Windows 8.