Fake heads and robot probes: testing smartphones prior to launch

On the shelves of a laboratory near San Francisco sit tanks and tanks of mysterious-looking liquids. Labels identify some as simulations of human heads, while others relate to muscles.

It sounds like the ghoulish headquarters of a mad scientist, but it isn’t. It’s the Silicon Valley offices of UL, a product testing organization previously known as Underwriters Laboratory, and these liquids play an important part in smartphone safety.

You might not know UL, but you can probably find its logo on a number of products around your home.

20170418 101250 1 Martyn Williams

Two UL logos are seen on a computer power supply. The company tests products to ensure they meet safety requirements.

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PCWorld News

An introduction to six types of VPN software

A VPN is simply an encrypted connection between two computers, each side running VPN software. The two sides, however, are not equal.

The software that you, as the user of a VPN service deal with, is known as the VPN client. The software run by a VPN company is a VPN server. The encrypted connection always starts with a VPN client making a request to a VPN server.

There are many different flavors of VPN connections, each with its own corresponding client and server software. The most popular flavors are probably L2TP/IPsec, OpenVPN, IKEv2 and PPTP.

Some VPN providers support only one flavor, others are much more flexible. Astrill, for example, supports OpenWeb, OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, Cisco IPSec, IKEv2, SSTP, StealthVPN and RouterPro VPN. At the other extreme, OVPN, as their name implies, only supports OpenVPN.

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Computerworld

Lenovo’s 14-inch Flex 4 is $280 right now

Now that spring has sprung, retailers are hyping their weekly sales with supposedly deeper discounts and big savings events. Some of those deals aren’t quite what they claim to be, but there are still some pretty good buys.

Today, Best Buy is selling Lenovo’s Flex 4 convertible laptop for $ 280 instead of the usual $ 399. This clamshell features a 14-inch touchscreen display with 1366-by-768 resolution, 4GB RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. The processor is a Skylake-era 2.10GHz, dual-core Intel Pentium 4405U with Intel HD Graphics 510. You also get one USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI out, a media card reader, Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, a webcam, and Bluetooth.

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PCWorld News