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Tech News : 26th August 2022

How To Protect Yourself From Job Phishing Scams

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Tech News : 28th February 2024

Try Being Nice To Your AI

Try Being Nice To Your AI


With some research indicating that ‘emotive prompts’ to generative AI chatbots can deliver better outputs, we look at whether ‘being nice’ to a chatbot really does improve its performance. 

Not Possible, Surely? 

Generative AI Chatbots, including advanced ones, don’t possess real ‘intelligence’ in the way we as humans understand it. For example, they don’t have consciousness, self-awareness (yet), emotions, or the ability to understand context and meaning in the same manner as a human being. 

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Tech News : 28th February 2024

Exploring E-Signatures

Exploring E-Signatures


In this tech-insight, we look at what e-signatures are, their benefits plus some of the main e-signature providers, as well as what to consider when choosing an e-signature service. 

Popularity of E-signatures 

The initial growth of e-signatures happened in the early 2000s, due to the passage of laws such as the US Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) in 2000 and the European Union’s Directive 1999/93/EC on a Community framework for electronic signatures. These laws established the legal framework for the use of e-signatures, providing them with the same legal status as handwritten signatures under certain conditions. 

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Tech News : 28th February 2024

Google Pauses Gemini AI Over 'Historical Inaccuracies'

Google Pauses Gemini AI Over 'Historical Inaccuracies'


Only a month after its launch, Google has paused its text-to-image AI tool following “inaccuracies” in some of the historical depictions of people produced by the model. 

‘Woke’ … Overcorrecting For Diversity? 

An example of the inaccuracy issue (as highlighted by X user Patrick Ganley recently, after asking Google Gemini to generate images of the Founding Fathers of the US), was when it returned images of a black George Washington. Also, in another reported test, when asked to generate images of a 1943 German (Nazi) soldier, Google’s Gemini image generator returned pictures of people of clearly diverse nationalities in Nazi uniforms.

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Tech News : 21st February 2024

Doorbell Ding Dong

Doorbell Ding Dong


After the Amazon-owned ‘Ring’ video doorbell company’s recent major subscription price hike across its range caused anger and made the news, we look at what customers have said and if there’s a way to beat the price hike.

 

Ouch! 

Ring has angered customers and received some negative publicity after announcing that starting on 11 March this year, its subscription price for its basic plan customers will rise by an eye-watering 43 per cent, from £34.99 to £49.99 per device, per year. 

This will mean that the basic plan price has doubled since 2022 when it was priced at £24.99 per year for each device.

 

Also, those who pay monthly will see a price increase from £3.49 to £4.99 a month. 

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Tech News : 21st February 2024

What Are 'Virtual' Credit Cards?

What Are 'Virtual' Credit Cards?


In this tech-insight, we take a look at the world of virtual cards, who offers them, their benefits, and other secure payment alternatives.

What Are Virtual Credit Card Numbers? 

Virtual credit cards and their card numbers (as the name suggests) only exist in the virtual world, e.g. in an app on your phone, and are temporary, randomly generated 16-digit numbers that are associated with an existing credit card account (it masks the real card number). The number is unique for each transaction for a limited time. Just as they can be quickly generated and immediately and customised after their initial use, they can also be immediately revoked if necessary (handy for security).

 

Virtual cards with virtual numbers (although they still have an expiry date and CVV) can be used to purchase things online and in-app, in some cases over the phone, and also to pay in-store with mobile payment via other services such as Google Pay and Apple Pay.

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Tech News : 21st February 2024

OpenAI's Video Gamechanger

OpenAI's Video Gamechanger


OpenAI’s new ‘Sora’ AI-powered text-to-video tool is so good that its outputs could easily be mistaken for real videos, prompting deepfake fears in a year of important global elections. 

Sora

 

Open AI says that its new Sora text-to-video model can generate realistic videos up to a minute long while maintaining visual quality and adherence to the user’s prompt. Sora can both generate entire videos “all at once” or extend generated videos to make them longer. 

According to OpenAI Sora can: “generate complex scenes with multiple characters, specific types of motion, and accurate details of the subject and background”. 

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Tech News : 14th February 2024

Google’s AI Saves Your Conversations For 3 Years

Google’s AI Saves Your Conversations For 3 Years


If you’ve ever been concerned about the privacy aspects of AI, you may be very surprised to learn that conversations you have with Google’s new Gemini AI apps are “retained for up to 3 years” by default. 

Up To Three Years 

With Google now launching its Gemini Advanced chatbot as part of its ‘Google One AI Premium plan’ subscription, and with its Ultra, Pro, and Nano LLMs now forming the backbone of its AI services, Google’s Gemini Apps Privacy Hub was updated last week. The main support document on the Hub which states how Google collects data from users of its Gemini chatbot apps for the web, Android and iOS made interesting reading. 

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Tech News : 14th February 2024

What Are 'Blockchain Identifiers'?

What Are 'Blockchain Identifiers'?


In this insight, we look at what blockchain identifiers are, their roles, users, and relevance to businesses, plus how they could work with the domain name system. 

What Are Blockchain Identifiers? 

Blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies, is the decentralised, secure, incorruptible ledger system that enables transparent and tamper-proof transactions. Its value is in providing enhanced security, efficiency, and trust in digital operations. 

Blockchain identifiers are the unique codes used within blockchain technology to securely identify and authenticate transactions, assets, or participants.  

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Tech News : 14th February 2024

Google Launches Gemini Subscription

Google Launches Gemini Subscription


Google has rebranded its Bard chatbot as Gemini, the name of its new powerful AI model family, and launched a $20 per month ‘Gemini Advanced’ subscription service. 

Gemini Advanced 

To compete with the likes of ChatGPT, Google has launched its own monthly Chatbot subscription service for the same price but with some extras thrown in. Google recently launched Gemini, its “newest and most capable” large language model (LLM) family, available as Ultra, Pro, and Nano. The highly advanced and multimodal AI model was designed to be integrated into its existing ‘Bard’ chatbot. 

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Tech News : 7th February 2024

AI Can Learn To Be Bad. And Stay Bad.

AI Can Learn To Be Bad. And Stay Bad.


In a recent experiment where AI was taught to behave maliciously and then taught to stop, the bad behaviour continued despite efforts to stop it, giving a chilling reminder of the potential threats of AI. 

The Experiment 

The Cornell University experiment was documented in an online paper entitled “Sleeper Agents: Training Deceptive LLMS That Persist Through Safety Training.”  The experiment was designed to study the question of ‘if an AI system learned a deceptive strategy, could it be detected and removed using current state-of-the-art safety training techniques?’ 

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Tech News : 7th February 2024

How Fair And Effective Are AI Recruitment Platforms?

How Fair And Effective Are AI Recruitment Platforms?


With more companies using AI to screen CVs and candidates’ body language during interviews, we look at what this could mean for today’s job applicants. 

Widely Used 

IBM research from November last year shows that 4 out of 10 companies now use AI to improve recruiting and human resources. Also, in June last year, IBM highlighted how, with 10 million job openings in the spring of 2023, but only 5.7 million unemployed workers in the U.S., workers would have the advantages in negotiating for higher pay, and better benefits and conditions. It argued that using AI, companies are “reevaluating their recruitment processes”, e.g. to identify inefficiencies and opportunities where AI and automation could make the processes more attractive both for candidates and employees. 

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Tech News : 7th February 2024

UK Cars Now Using Rear HD-Screens Instead of Windows

UK Cars Now Using Rear HD-Screens Instead of Windows


The new Swedish-made Polestar 4 will be the first car on UK roads to replace a rear window (and traditional rear-view mirror) with a high-definition screen showing a real-time roof-mounted camera feed. 

Two Digital Cameras With Feed Displayed In ‘Mirror’

 

In fact, instead of a traditional rearview mirror, the Polestar 4 has a high-resolution rear-view display in the shape and in the place of a normal mirror that receives the feed from the two roof-mounted digital cameras. Polestar describes this as a kind of 2-way mirror because it also doubles as a regular mirror, making it possible to switch between the live feed and a view of the rear passengers. 

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Tech News : 31st January 2024

New Yahoo & Google Guidelines For Bulk Emails

New Yahoo & Google Guidelines For Bulk Emails


With newly expanded Google and Yahoo guidelines for high-volume emailers coming into force from the 1st of February, we look at what needs to be done to comply. 

Why?

As Google says about the reason for the new guidelines: “we’ll require bulk senders to authenticate their emails, allow for easy unsubscription and stay under a reported spam threshold.” Yahoo echoes this, saying: “Sending properly authenticated messages helps us to better identify and block billions of malicious messages and declutter our users’ inboxes.” 

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Tech News : 31st January 2024

Copilot Product Update – Some Pros And Cons

Copilot Product Update – Some Pros And Cons


Following Microsoft’s recent announcement that it is expanding its Copilot product line-up to appeal to a larger range of businesses, we take a look at what this means and some of the stand-out pros and cons. 

Copilot 

In November last year, Microsoft, a major investor in AI through its partnership with OpenAI (ChatGPT’s creators) announced that its long-awaited Copilot AI “companion” was generally available to enterprises. Copilot is essentially Microsoft’s own GenAI chatbot that’s been designed to integrate with the suite of popular apps in Microsoft 365 and uses a variant of the GPT-4 model, specifically tailored and optimised for integration with Microsoft‘s apps.  Microsoft says Copilot: “combines the power of large language models (LLMs) with your data in the Microsoft Graph (API), the Microsoft 365 apps, and the web to turn your words into the most powerful productivity tool on the planet”. 

Open AI’s ChatGPT, however, was launched a whole year earlier and started charging for its ChatGPT Plus version in February 2023. At the same time, another major AI player, Google, launched its ‘Bard’ in an effort to integrate advanced AI and language model capabilities into Google’s suite of products and services (like Copilot integrates with Microsoft’s 365 suite of products). 

With the major tech companies quickly introducing, monetising and competing with their AI products, what’s Microsoft’s latest move with Copilot? 

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Tech News : 31st January 2024

New Feature To Declutter Your Gmail Inbox

New Feature To Declutter Your Gmail Inbox


Included in a recent major update to Google’s Gmail on Android (for now), a new feature can help users to declutter and remove annoying spam from their inbox. 

Select All Option 

The new feature (currently being rolled out) enables users to use a “Select all” tick box that appears above (top left) in the inbox (on the Gmail for Android app) when the user long holds on an email. Selecting the tick box then means all 50 emails displayed on the page are be selected at once and then deleted with one tap or organised as required.

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Tech News : 23rd January 2024

New Certification For Copyright Compliant AI

New Certification For Copyright Compliant AI


Following many legal challenges to AI companies about copyrighted content being scraped and used to train their AI models (without consent or payment), a new certification for copyright-compliant AI has been launched. 

The Issue

 

As highlighted in the recent case of the New York Times suing OpenAI over the alleged training of its AI on New York Times articles without permission for free (with the likelihood of a ‘fair use’ claim in defence), how AI companies train their models is now a big issue. 

The organisation ‘Fairly Trained’ says that its new Licensed Model certification is intended to highlight this difference between AI companies who scrape data (and claim fair usage) and AI companies who license it, thereby getting permission and pay for training data (i.e. they choose to do so for ethical and legal reasons). As Fairly Trained’s CEO, Ed Newton-Rex says: “You’ve got a bunch of people who want to use licenced models and you’ve got a bunch of people who are providing those. I didn’t see any way of being able to tell them apart”

 

Fairly Trained says it hopes its certification will “reinforce the principle that rights-holder consent is needed for generative AI training.” 

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Tech News : 23rd January 2024

'Only' Double IT Spending Growth (To $5 Trillion)

'Only' Double IT Spending Growth (To $5 Trillion)


New research from Gartner has predicted that global IT spending this year will reach $5 trillion and IT spending growth will be more than double that of 2023. 

A First – Spending More On IT Than Communications

 

In its IT spending forecast, Gartner predicts that the massive $5 trillion global spend means that spending on IT services will surpass communications services spending for the first time. 

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Tech News : 23rd January 2024

Work Starts On £790m UK Google Data Centre

Work Starts On £790m UK Google Data Centre


Work has started on Google’s first UK data centre which will cost $1 billion (£790m), will add to Google’s 27 data centres worldwide, and will support its move into AI. 

Crucial Compute Capacity 

The data centre is being built on a 33-acre site at Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire. In addition to the construction and technical jobs that Google says the building work will bring to the local community, Google says its investment in the data centre will deliver “crucial compute capacity to businesses across the UK, supporting AI innovation and helping to ensure reliable digital services to Google Cloud customers and Google users in the UK and abroad.” 

Google says that its investment in the technical infrastructure needed to support innovation and tech-led growth in areas like AI-powered technologies is vital, hence the new data centre. 

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Tech News : 17th January 2024

What Was Fun At CES?

What Was Fun At CES?


Following the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week, we take a look at some of the more novel and fun gadgets (and claims from the show) and what lessons businesses can take away from this year’s event. 

CES 

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which this year took place in Las Vegas (from January 9th to 12th) once again acted as a global stage for tech innovation and a glimpse of things to come. It’s a place where industry leaders, startups, and tech enthusiasts converge to showcase and witness the latest advancements and future trends in technology and which sets the tone for the tech industry each year. Among the more ‘serious’ products, however, the show features many fun/novel and more left-field gadgets and claims. Here’s some standout examples of these from CES 2024. 

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Tech News : 17th January 2024

A Quick Guide To Flash Drives & HDD Storage

A Quick Guide To Flash Drives & HDD Storage


In this brief guide to storage technology, we compare and contrast the benefits of flash drives and Hard Disk Drives (HDD) for enterprise storage and take a look at some other popular storage options. 

What are Flash Drives? 

Flash drives, sometimes called Solid State Drives (SSDs), use ‘flash memory’ to store data. The flash memory (where the data is stored) is integrated circuits, i.e. an array of memory cells made from floating-gate transistors that hold the data when the drive isn’t powered. Unlike traditional hard drives, they don’t have moving parts and offer faster data access and increased reliability. Their compact size also makes them an ideal choice for devices such as laptops and mobile devices. Popular types include USB flash drives, SSDs for computers and servers for high-speed data access, and memory cards such as the type commonly used in cameras and mobile devices for lightweight, mobile storage. 

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Tech News : 17th January 2024

Google Waives Exit Fees for Cloud Data Transfers

Google Waives Exit Fees for Cloud Data Transfers


Google has announced that Google Cloud customers who want to switch and migrate their network data to another cloud provider and/or on-premises will no longer be charged a transfer fee to do so. 

How? 

The process for the free transfer away from Google involves contacting the Google Cloud account team (if one has been assigned), and completing and submitting an online form, after which there is a 60-day window for the user to transfer the data before terminating their Google Cloud agreement. 

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Tech News : 11th January 2024

ChatGPT Inside Vehicles Opens Possibilities

ChatGPT Inside Vehicles Opens Possibilities


Following the news that Volkswagen (VW) is to add ChatGPT to the IDA voice assistant in its cars and SUVs, we look at what this could mean for the direction of technology for cars.

 

Adding ChatGPT 

At the current CET in Las Vegas, VW announced that starting in Europe in the second quarter of this year, the famous chatbot will be added to a variety of VW EVs, including the D.7, ID.4, ID.5 and ID.3, Tiguan, Passat, and Golf. 

Drivers will be able to use ChatGPT hands-free via VW’s existing onboard IDA voice assistant, with Cerence Chat Pro from technology partner Cerence Inc acting as the foundation of the new function, which VW says, “offers a uniquely intelligent, automotive-grade ChatGPT integration.” 

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Tech News : 11th January 2024

'Public Domain' - What Does It Mean?

'Public Domain' - What Does It Mean?


With January 1 being ‘Public Domain Day’, we look at what ‘public domain’ actually means in relation to works of literature, music, art, and science. 

Public Domain Day

 

New Year’s Day each year is called ‘Public Domain Day’ because it’s the day that the copyright protection on a wide range of creative works such as literature, music, art, and science from the past expire. This means that they enter the ‘public domain’, i.e. they become free to use and adapt by everyone, with no licence required. 

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Tech News : 11th January 2024

AI Key Added To Microsoft Keyboards

AI Key Added To Microsoft Keyboards


In the first change to Microsoft keyboards in 30 years, an AI key is to be added to Microsoft Windows 11 PC keyboards from February. 

Copilot Key 

In a move that Microsoft says will make “2024 the year of the AI PC” and to mark a “shift toward a more personal and intelligent computing future where AI will be seamlessly woven into Windows from the system”, the new AI key will be added to allow the launch of Copilot directly from the keyboard.  

Copilot is Microsoft’s AI-powered “companion” that’s been embedded into 365’s popular apps to provide intelligent suggestions and automation. This includes areas like Office Suite, where it can help in creating documents, spreadsheets, and presentations by suggesting content, layouts, data insights and help with coding. It’s designed to enhance productivity and creativity, and to streamline tasks across different Microsoft software.

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Tech News : 4th January 2024

NY Times Sues OpenAI And Microsoft Over Alleged Copyright

NY Times Sues OpenAI And Microsoft Over Alleged Copyright


It’s been reported that The New York Times has sued OpenAI and Microsoft, alleging that they used millions of its articles without permission to help train chatbots. 

The First 

It’s understood that the New York Times (NYT) is the first major US media organisation to sue ChatGPT’s creator OpenAI, plus tech giant Microsoft (which is also an OpenAI investor and creator of Copilot), over copyright issues associated with its works. 

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Tech News : 4th January 2024

What Does Incognito Mode Actually Do?

What Does Incognito Mode Actually Do?


Following news that Google may need to pay $5 billion over tracking millions of people who thought they were browsing privately through incognito mode, we look at what incognito mode actually does.

Incognito Mode 

Different browsers have different names for ‘private browsing mode’ including ‘InPrivate browsing’ (Edge), ‘Private’ for Firefox (Mozilla) and Safari, and ‘Incognito’ for Google Chrome.  

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Tech News : 4th January 2024

Amazon Prime Video : Pay To Remove Ads

Amazon Prime Video : Pay To Remove Ads


Amazon has announced that from 5 February 2024, its Amazon Prime Video customers in the UK and Germany will see “limited” ads unless they pay £2.99 per month to remove them.

 

Why? 

Amazon says that in view of the fact it won’t be making changes in 2024 to the current price of Prime membership, and that it will continue investing in content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time, it will be adding the “limited” adverts that customers must pay to remove.

 

In the announcement about the pay-to-remove ads, Amazon listed the many benefits of the Prime Service, and its heavy investment in the service. More specifically, it’s also likely that its renewals of hit series like Redemption and The Boys, its deal with Games Workshop (bringing Warhammer 40,000 to cinema screens) and its plans for other popular content like a series based on the video game Fallout, may also be used to balance out the cost/value analysis in the minds of customers. 

The online retail and tech giant and streamer is also keen to stress that it will “have meaningfully fewer ads than linear TV and other streaming TV providers.” 

That said, live content such as sports will continue to include advertising whether customers pay for Prime ad removal or not. 

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Tech News : 10th January 2023

Why Use Outsourced IT Support?

Why Use Outsourced IT Support?

Looking at this question in two parts, here we’ll be firstly looking at the pros and cons of opting for outsourced IT support. 

The Popularity Of Outsourced IT Support 

A considerable number of businesses in the UK now use outsourced IT support, as outsourcing has become a popular way for businesses to access specialised expertise and reduce costs. For example, in 2021, a widely reported survey (Tony Blair Institute for Global Change) showed that two-thirds of UK firms were planning to outsource the same or more of their IT services within the next two years, with the manufacturing (59 per cent) and financial services (46 per cent) sectors looking to outsource the most. 

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Tech News : 25th November 2022

How Investment In Sustainability Could Protect Against Disruption

How Investment In Sustainability Could Protect Against Disruption

After a new report published which says that most business leaders plan to increase investment in sustainability initiatives to protect against disruption, we look at what this means. 

 

Report 

 

A recent Gartner report highlighted how 86 per cent of business leaders plan to increase their organisation’s investment in sustainability initiatives to protect against disruption and 87 per cent are already engaged in sustainability initiatives and expect to expand them in 2023 and 2024. 

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Tech News : 14th November 2022

What Is 'Matter'?

What Is 'Matter'?

 

Here we look at what Matter 1.0 is, its advantages for the IoT and setting up a smart home (or office), and what its current limitations are. 

 

What Is Matter? 

 

Released just recently this October, Matter 1.0 is the new open standard that resolves interoperability and connectivity issues between all the IoT devices in smart homes. This new single software standard and certification will mean that different IoT gadgets and devices from different manufacturers will be compatible and able to link together to create a smart home if they are Matter certified, communicating with a common standard. Up until now, for example, consumers trying to create a fully connected ‘smart home’ (e.g. where the lighting, locks, heating, music, and home devices can be all be voice operated from a digital assistant) have faced compatibility issues, complications, and difficulties in setting up and managing lots of smaller micro-ecosystems. 

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Tech News : 4th October 2022

The Growth of Low Code

The Growth of Low Code

After a recent Medix report noted the widescale adoption of “low-code” by business, we look at what it is, the reasons for its growth, and the pros and cons of using it.

 

What Is Low Code? 

Low code applications are those built using visual, model-driven tools like drag-and-drop modelers, smart services, components, and pre-built connectors rather than relying on writing code. 

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Tech News : 26th August 2022

How To Protect Yourself From Job Phishing Scams

Protecting Yourself From Job Phishing Scams

In this article, we look at what ‘job phishing’ is, how it works, and how you can protect yourself from this type of fraud. 

What Is Job Phishing? 

Job phishing refers to recruitment/employment scams where fraudsters pose as recruitment agents or reputable companies. The fraudsters post fake job descriptions and information about their businesses on fake websites and social accounts, or even on legitimate job websites. They use online job adverts / job boards, emails, letters, and even fake phone interviews to lure their victims in. 

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Tech News : 5th August 2021

VoIP Worth Considering? 

So, let’s compare VoIP, to a conventional landline.

A VoIP phone uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, and uses a hardware and/or software application. VoIP technology allows the user to make voice calls through an internet connection, instead of a conventional analogue line.

On first impressions, a VoIP based, desk phone might appear to be identical to a regular, office desk phone. However, they use very different technology to make and receive calls. A regular, desk phone makes voice calls using a physical, pair of copper wires. VoIP on the other hand sends and receives voice calls in the form of data packets over the internet.

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