Tomlia Services > 2020 > March

Save 40% on Peak Design’s awesome camera bags and backpacks

San Francisco-based company Peak Design began life on Kickstarter, and quickly gained a massive fan following. And no wonder: it has some beautifully designed bags that can be customized to suit any purpose, and the company’s clips and straps go a long way in making that happen.Every aspect of Peak Design bags are well thought-out – construction, material, functionality and usability. The bags are then tested thoroughly before they go on sale. Every bag in the Peak Design catalog can go from boardroom to holiday, with the ability to carry laptops, clothes or camera gear with just a few sturdy clips.The bags aren’t cheap, though, so for those who’ve been lusting after a Peak Design carrier, this might be a good chance to snag yourself an Everyday Backpack or an Everyday Messenger, and pocket some savings in the process. Note that the 40% discount is on the original V1 options of the bags, although there is 20% off on all other Peak Design products, except its travel tripod. The sale ends April 6.
The best camera bags you can buy right now

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Huawei open-sources TensorFlow competitor MindSpore

Huawei has announced that its framework for AI app development MindSpore is now open source and available on GiHub and Gitee.The lightweight suite is similar to Google’s TensorFlow and Facebook’s PyTorch as it lowers the barrier to entry for developers looking to add AI to their apps.Chief scientist at Huawei MindSpore and an IEEE Fellow, Professor Chen Li explained how MindSpore can scale across devices in a press release, saying:
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“MindSpore natively adapts to all scenarios across the device, edge, and cloud. We implement AI Algorithms As Code through on-demand collaboration for easier model development, and provide cutting-edge technologies, and co-optimization with Huawei Ascend AI processors to improve runtime efficiency and computing performance. We also support other processors such as GPU and CPU.”
MindSpore
MindSpore already has the backing of a number of partners including the University of Edinburgh, Peking University, Imperial College London and the robotics startup Milvus.The framework is able to run on processors, graphics cards and dedicated neural processing units such as the one in Huawei’s own Ascend AI chips. MindSpore also has 20 percent fewer lines of codes than other frameworks when dealing with natural language processing models and the company claims that this leads to an average efficiency boost of 50 percent. Additionally, the framework supports parallel training across hardware as well as dynamic debugging which enables developers to isolate bugs while taking less time to train AI models.One other interesting thing about MindSpore is the fact that it doesn’t process any data on its own but instead, ingests gradient and model information that has already been processed. As a result of this, the framework preserves sensitive data even in “cross-scenario” environments while ensuring that models remain robust.MindSpore currently requires Python 3.7+ to run but the framework will soon support other languages such as C++, Rust and Julia. 
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Via VentureBeat

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WireGuard VPN added to Linux 5.6

Linux users now have another choice when it comes to protecting themselves online as WireGuard VPN has been added to the Linux kernel in version 5.6.Up until now, the fast and flexible VPN, which was designed specifically for Linux implementations, was only available as a third-party addition. However, WireGuard VPN is now available by default with release of Linux 5.6.In an announcement, president and security researcher at Edge Security, Jason Donenfeld explained that future Linux kernels will have WireGuard built-in by default, saying:
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“Earlier this evening, Linus released Linux 5.6, which contains our first release of WireGuard. This is quite exciting. It means that kernels from here on out will have WireGuard built-in by default. And for those of you who were scared away prior by the “dOnT uSe tHiS k0de!!1!” warnings everywhere, you now have something more stable to work with.”
WireGuard VPN
WireGuard was originally developed as a replacement for more complex VPN protocols such as IPsec and OpenVPN as they can often be difficult to implement. It’s also harder to audit or verify existing protocols because of their large codebases.As WireGuard VPN consists of around just 4,000 lines of code, as opposed to the 100,000 lines of code that make up OpenVPN, it is much easier for security experts to review and audit it for vulnerabilities. While WireGuard is now available in Linux 5.6, it will still take some time for the kernel to find its way into other popular Linux distros such as Ubuntu, Arch Linux and Linux Mint. However, while users of these distros wait for the trickle down effect to occur, WireGuard’s existing compatibility with older versions of some Linux distributions will be maintained.
We’ve also highlighted the best VPN services
Via Decipher

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How enterprise VR can empower a remote working world

With an ever-growing gig economy and pressure to achieve carbon neutrality, businesses have had to adapt remote working arrangements to keep pace with behavioural change in the workplace.The latest IWG Global Workspace Survey reveals that 73% of people in the UK consider flexible working to be the new normal, with 68% of UK businesses reported to have a flexible workspace policy. In the wake of the Covid-19 global pandemic, the disparate workforce is growing rapidly in size. Remote-working, virtual training and digital collaboration is now at the forefront of business leaders’ minds. Virtual reality (VR) is one of the tools that could help to empower a remote-working culture. With the technology developing at a rapid pace and companies beginning to explore VR’s transformative potential, this ‘futuristic’ technology is making its way into the mainstream.
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Training without limits
In a world of increased remote working and vastly reduced business travel, VR offers a vital way of providing interactive, collaborative training. As well as developing workers’ technical skills, VR also has the scope to improve soft skills, such as teamwork and communication, through real-time collaborative training. Some of the key benefits of VR training include:● Enhanced engagement: As VR technology was originally developed for the video game industry, its central aim is to engage, and it is inherently immersive. Gamification elements can be added to enterprise VR platforms; the introduction of a competitive element can increase employee engagement in the training and improve knowledge retention.● Collaboration: Multiple employees can be in the same virtual space together from different locations, enabling them to feel socially and emotionally engaged in the training, increasing satisfaction and motivation. Developing effective communication between co-workers is becoming even more important as we move towards a remote workforce.● Data-led intelligence: VR’s data capture capabilities allow for ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’ evaluation that would not be possible using standard methods, tracking things such as user actions and comments made in the training environment. This allows for learner-specific personalisation of training and provides individuals and organisations with detailed feedback. This, in turn, can help companies to review the effectiveness and ROI of their training programmes.● Improved results: Research by the University of Cambridge’s Cyber-Human Lab has shown that effective VR training can result in faster task completion when compared with standard training. And improved training could have a positive impact on workplace retention, too: research indicates that workers that enjoy their training are more likely to remain with a company.
Making the virtual a reality
Exciting new enterprise VR developments are currently in production or pilot, including advanced learner-specific personalisation and AI avatars that can assist with real-time training.And as enterprise VR software becomes more sophisticated, it is also becoming increasingly accessible. The cost of hardware is falling, and content is becoming easier to create and customise, opening enterprise VR up to smaller companies without in-house development teams.Additionally, the emergence of 5G will unlock exciting possibilities for enterprise VR applications. With the additional processing power 5G will provide, training experiences can be customised for the trainee based on their actions or reactions in real-time. Mass adoption of VR for corporate training is no longer a distant dream, but a very close reality.
A virtual future on the horizon
At a time when virtual collaboration and digital connection are rapidly becoming mainstream ways of co-working, VR will be one of the tech tools that takes centre stage. Now is the moment for companies to start exploring the potential of this technology to increase employee engagement, productivity and retention.With new features in production and the technology becoming more accessible, the tipping point for the mass adoption of VR training is on the horizon. Research suggests that almost three-quarters of small to midsize businesses will be experimenting with immersive technology by 2022. Looking back, we may see 2020 as marking a major shift: a forced trial of mass remote working.Tom Symonds is CEO of Immerse
Here’s our list of the best business VR headsets around

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How to watch The Flash online: stream Crisis on Infinite Earths anywhere

If your favorite superhero exists in the Arrowverse, chances are they’re once again fighting to save the world as part of the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, which sees The Flash (née Barry Allen) teaming up with old friends The Green Arrow, Supergirl and more in a bid to save the multiverse. Here’s how to watch The Flash online – stream Crisis on Infinite Earths part 3 and all of The Flash season 6 wherever you are.
Originally an Arrow spin-off, The Flash was the second show to launch as part of the Arrowverse and stars Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, a nerdy forensic scientist with the Central City police force who wakes up after being struck by lightning with superhuman speed. Soon after, he assembles his iconic red costume and becomes the superhero comic book fans will immediately recognize as The Flash. We don’t want to spoil things, as The Flash is one of the absolute best superhero shows going right now, so we’ll leave it at that for now.But we will say that with over 120 episodes aired to date, The Flash is ideal for binge-viewing if you’re stuck at home under lockdown – so allow us to explain how to watch The Flash season 6 online and stream Crisis on Infinite Earths from anywhere in the world.
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Can I watch The Flash on Netflix?
Yes, but only if you have access to Netflix Canada. It’s the one major country where all six seasons of The Flash can be streamed on the popular service, which is great news for those living in the Great White North – and terrible news if you happen to be anywhere else, as geo-blocking will almost certainly prevent you from watching the shows and movies you normally would at home.Fortunately, there’s an easy solution – using a VPN. This clever bit of software allows you repoint your computer back to a location in Canada so you can stream your local Netflix catalogue just like you would from the comfort of your couch. Of the many options, our testers rate ExpressVPN as the best option due to its ease of use, fast speeds, and security features – and better still, you can get a 49% discount and 3 months extra FREE if you signup to ExpressVPN today.Allow us to explain more.
How to watch The Flash from outside your country
Those who already have a streaming service they use to watch The Flash online may find themselves unable to access it when abroad, due to pesky geo-blocking restrictions. Yes, we’re aware that most of us aren’t going anywhere in the near future, but global travel will one day resume and, god forbid, you may even be stuck abroad during these difficult times.Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to geo-blocking. Downloading a VPN will allow you to watch Crisis on Infinite Earths and every new episode of The Flash no matter where you are. This simple bit of software changes your IP address so that you can access episodes live or on demand just like you would at home.
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How to watch The Flash online for free in the US

How to watch The Flash: Stream Crisis on Infinite Earths online in the UK
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How to watch The Flash online in Canada
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Video conferencing apps saw record downloads in just one week

Demand for video conferencing apps for both business and personal use has grown tremendously during the coronavirus outbreak but according to a new report from App Annie, business conferencing apps hit their biggest week ever in March.Between March 14 and 21, video conferencing apps for business were downloaded 62m times as more employees made the transition to working from home.The surge in business app downloads across Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store during that week represented a 45 percent increase from the number of apps downloaded during the previous week. App Annie’s report also showed that business apps experienced the highest growth among any category across both app stores that week.
Google and Microsoft offer free teleconferencing tools to combat coronavirusMicrosoft Teams hits major milestone, unveils raft of new featuresSEC steps in to prevent investors from buying the wrong Zoom
Increased adoption of apps such as Google’s Hangouts Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom Cloud Meetings led to much of the growth in business app downloads seen in March.
Video conferencing app downloads
Zoom is quickly becoming a household name and the app topped the charts worldwide in February and March. During the week of record downloads, Zoom was downloaded 14 times more than the weekly average during Q4 of 2019 in the US. The app was also downloaded more than 20 times Q4’s weekly average in the UK, 22 times more in France, 17 times more in Germany, 27 times more in Spain and 55 times more in Italy.During the same period in March, Google’s Hangouts Meet also saw strong downloads in the UK, US, Spain and  Italy with 24 times more downloads in the UK, 30 times more downloads in the US, 64 times more downloads in Spain and 140 times more downloads in Italy when compared to the average weekly downloads in Q4.At the same time, Microsoft Teams usage also grew worldwide when compared to Q4 2019 with 15 times more downloads in Spain, 16 times more downloads in France and 30 times more downloads in Italy.Senior insights analyst at App Annie, Lexi Sydow explained how video conferencing apps can allow users to work and socialize online during this trying time in a blog post, saying:“As people face uncertain timelines for the length of social isolation, video conferencing apps have the potential to vastly influence our daily habits — breaking down geological barriers and fostering the ability to work and socialize relatively seamlessly. It is an unprecedented time for the world and an incredibly dynamic time for mobile — we are seeing shifts in consumer behavior surface daily across virtually every sector.”
Also check out our complete list of the best video conferencing software
Via TechCrunch

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Make better video calls for less with this fantastic Lenovo Smart Display deal

Tired of poor quality video calls? These Lenovo Smart Display deals are offering big savings on the popular Google Assistant screens designed to offer extra functionality from your virtual assistant as well as help you achieve stress-free video calls. You can now pick up the 8-inch Lenovo Smart Display for just $99 / £159, with even more saving on the 7-inch model in the UK – now only £79.99. Those are some fantastic prices on both sides of the pond, and a brilliant way to enhance your video calls for less. The Lenovo Smart Display acts as a separate screen that you can interact with using Google Assistant. Whether that’s for YouTube videos (incredibly handy for following recipes in the kitchen), keeping your email, calendar, and news alerts handy, or video calling with excellent clarity, these Lenovo Smart Display deals offer brilliant value right now. Looking for more? You can also pick up the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 with Alexa functionality for just $159 in the US and £149 in the UK. 
Today’s best Lenovo Smart Display deal in the US
Shop all smart home deals at B&H Photo
Today’s best Lenovo Smart Display deals in the UK
Shop all smart home deals at AO
You’ll find plenty more smart home deals right here on TechRadar, but if you’re looking for smart speakers and displays in particular, we’d point you towards the best Amazon Echo sales currently available, or our top picks of the best Google Home deals. 

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