Life & Technology - 2GB 1st February, 2015

2015 might have only just started, but I can already tell its going to be an exciting year in tech.

 

Windows 10 is one of the reasons 2015 is going to be exciting. Microsoft made a few new announcements regarding Windows 10 the other week. The biggest was that the operating system will be a free upgrade for all Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 owners. That means if you’ve got a Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 device, and if you upgrade to Windows 10 within the first year of its availability, it will be completely free. Click here for more on Windows 10.

 

We've all started getting back into the swing of things, but before the year gets too busy, it's always good to take some time and make sure your data is backed up. I had a chat with Glen Gregory, Harvey Norman's National Business Manager for Technology & Entertainment to learn about the latest backup products on the market.

 

Glen recommended external hard drives from WD's MyPassport family for a cheap backup solution, and WD's MyCloud range for networked storage that can also act as a personal-cloud backup solution.

 

If you only want to backup documents and photos, cloud-based providers are a good option. The three you mentioned all have free tiers, OneDrive and Google Drive both offer 15GB of free storage whereas Dropbox only starts you with 2GB. You can however increase this to 16GB by referring friends. In terms of paid plans, OneDrive and Google Drive both charge $2 per month for 100GB, and DropBox charges $10 per month for a terabyte. If you’re an Office 365 subscriber, you’ll actually have unlimited storage through Microsoft OneDrive.

 

Using these services is a simple as downloading an app onto your computer – all three work with Mac and PC – and copying files into the folder that it creates. These will then sync to your cloud storage solution. Of course, we can’t rely on any online service for 100% up time – as the one hour Facebook and Instagram outage showed us this week.

 

Following Stan's Australia Day launch, I got in touch with Nick Forward, Stan's Content and Product Director. The service has kept adding content since launch, announcing a deal with Village Roadshow and the availability of a LOT of classic Star Trek. While you need to plug your laptop into your TV or use a Chromecast or Apple TV to watch Stan on the big screen at the moment, Nick told me that Smart TV apps will be coming, but did not specify when or on what TVs.

 

Here's our hands-on with Stan on CyberShack.com.au.

 

I also had a chat with Doug Campbell, Panasonic Australia's Senior Product manager for Imaging to learn a bit more about their latest Lumix micro-four-thirds camera. Like many of Panasonic's other compact cameras, the new DMC-GF7 has interchangeable lenses, but it also has a pretty unique feature: an articulating screen. This makes it much easier to frame up selfies, which can now be taken by waving in front of the lens. The GF7 will be available late February and will start at AUD$699 with a bundles 12-32mm kit lens.

 

After almost eight months, we finally have a release day for the Apple Watch. Well, a release month. Apple CEO Tim Cook this week announced that the Apple Watch will start shipping in April. He didn’t say when in April, or any other price than “from USD$349”, but it is coming. Based on past Apple launches, we’ll probably see it around the same time in Australia – maybe even on the same day if the iPhone launch is anything to go by.

 

There’s been a few rumours that have got me worried though. An alleged leak suggests that the Apple Watch’s battery will only provide about 2.5 hours of heavy usage, translating to about 19 hours of total usage across a day. It sounds like this will definitely be a device you’re charging every night, if not more often…