August 24, 2023

Into the VOIP

Filed under: News — csadm @ 1:55 pm

Next week we will look at three of the most popular conference call platforms allowing for online communication and collaboration: Skype, Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

But a discussion on this requires an understanding of the technology that makes it possible and how this technology has shot to popularity over the last few years.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP or VoIP) is technology that enables the transmission of voice and multimedia content over the Internet or other IP-based networks. Put simply, VOIP allows you to make phone calls and conduct voice communication using the same networks that you use for browsing the internet and sending emails.

An example of a platform that uses this, familiar to everyone, is WhatsApp.

Traditional phone calls rely on a fixed line through copper wire. So, you can see why the convenience of mobile technology is rapidly replacing this.

In 2020, the Australian Media and Communications Authority (AMCA) reported that people using only a mobile phone to make calls in Australia had doubled from 29% in the 12 months to June 2015, to 60% in 2020.

In the USA the trend is more pronounced. In June 2023 the Washington Post reported that ‘barely a quarter of Americans still have landlines.’

The pandemic lockdowns accelerated the use of VOIP. Conference calls were the only way possible to escape the house and connect with loved ones and colleagues during our time of government-imposed incarceration.

You can’t help thinking whether it was all planned… 

So, what’s the attraction with VOIP? Here are a few indications:

Cost Efficiency

VOIP often costs less than traditional telephone services, especially for long-distance or international calls. Since VOIP uses the existing internet infrastructure, the additional costs are typically related to data usage rather than minutes or distance.


VOIP allows you to make calls from various devices, such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and specialized VOIP phones. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can communicate using VOIP.


VOIP services often come with additional features like call forwarding, voicemail, caller ID, video conferencing, and instant messaging.


Since VOIP is not tied to a physical location like traditional landlines, you can take your VOIP-enabled device anywhere and make and receive calls as long as you have an internet connection.


VOIP can be integrated with other digital services, such as email and collaboration platforms. This integration can enhance communication and productivity.


VOIP systems can easily scale to accommodate growing communication needs, making it suitable for both individuals and businesses.

Global Reach

VOIP allows for international communication without the high costs associated with traditional international calling.

But it’s not all good news, as most of us in Papua New Guinea would be aware.

The challenges of VOIP

That said, fixed landlines face similar issues and as there is more local administration and hardware involved, there is probably more that can go wrong. 😁

Next week: Skype v Microsoft Teams v Zoom.

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August 16, 2023

Taking aim at apple… again!

Filed under: News — csadm @ 12:35 am

Last week we compared apples with oranges – MS Surface Pro vs Apple iPad Pro.

This week, we’re taking aim at Apple again, comparing its operating system iOS to Android.

Apple is both a benchmark and target for tech success – it is an iconic brand, with 1.46 billion active users worldwide.

Apple’s iOS is an acronym for iPhone Operating System (and consequently iPad Operating System) and it is an integral part of the brand’s success.

Android, on the other hand, is an operating system designed by Google. Its initial objective was to promote the use of an open, free, multiplatform and secure system. Android is the operating system you will find in most “other” smartphones and devices, outside the Apple universe.

Current stats show that Android has a definite edge over iOS in terms of market share outside of the USA. According to Statcounter, the global market share of Android vs iOS is:

But in the U.S., that market share looks like this:

Appearances can be deceiving!

The main reason why Android rules the global market is cost. In many countries (with significantly higher populations than the U.S.), people have far less disposable income. Because of that, the first factor in deciding on a phone is cost. In that arena, Apple simply cannot compete – and nor does it probably want to!

So don’t be deceived by the market share figures – if you eliminate the cheaper phones and focus on the top end of the market, then Apple wins hands down.

Quality v quantity

If you focus on performance, then it is also a totally different picture.

Here are some pros and cons if you are wondering whether your choice between Apple and Android has been wise, or if you are looking to jump the fence.

Keep in mind, many people who own top-end devices don’t know how to use them. So, the following may come as news to some! LOL

1. User Interface and Design

iOS: Known for its sleek and consistent design, iOS offers a more controlled and polished user experience. It’s often praised for its user-friendly interface and intuitive navigation.

Android: Provides more customization options and flexibility in terms of user interface, allowing you to personalize your device’s look and feel to a greater extent.

2. App Ecosystem

iOS: The App Store is known for its rigorous app review process, which tends to result in a higher quality and more secure app environment. Some apps might be available exclusively on iOS initially.

Android: The Google Play Store has a larger app selection due to its more open approach to app submissions, but this can sometimes lead to a higher presence of lower-quality apps or potential security risks.

3. Hardware Options

iOS: Available exclusively on Apple devices like iPhones and iPads. Apple offers a limited range of models with varying features and price points.

Android: Available on a wide variety of devices from various manufacturers, giving you more choices in terms of price, features, and hardware specifications.

4. Customization

iOS: Offers limited customization options compared to Android. You can arrange your apps, add widgets, and change wallpapers, but the level of customization is somewhat restricted – which is probably a good thing.

Android: Provides extensive customization options, allowing you to personalize everything from the home screen layout to default apps and system behaviours – that is, if you know how.

5. Ecosystem Integration

iOS: Works seamlessly within the Apple ecosystem, including integration with other Apple devices like Macs, iPads, Apple Watch, and iCloud services.

Android: Offers integration with Google services like Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos, and works well with other Google-powered devices.

6. Privacy and Security

iOS: Generally known for its strong emphasis on user privacy and security, with features like App Tracking Transparency and strong encryption.

Android: Has made strides in improving privacy and security, but due to the fragmented nature of the platform, updates and security patches might take longer to reach all devices.

The choice between Android and iOS depends on what matters most to you: design, customization, app availability, ecosystem integration, privacy, or simply affordability.

Consider your preferences and priorities, as well as the devices and services you might already be using, to make the best choice for your needs.

A final word

If you are in PNG, there are other considerations and limitations that affect both iOS and Android, unfortunately…

With all that in mind, choose carefully, weigh up the pros and cons and, once you decide, take good care of your device, commit to it and enjoy!

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August 9, 2023

Comparing apples with oranges

Filed under: News — csadm @ 12:09 am

Is there such a thing as a viable alternative to a laptop?

Well, there are now a few tablets on the market that are challenging the territory that laptops have claimed in the last thirty years.

The main reason for wanting to downsize from a laptop to a tablet-cum-laptop is portability – especially if you travel regularly and tire of lugging a laptop (or two) around.

Portability was also the main reason laptops were developed in the first place – the same logic now threatens their market niche.

Tablet devices definitely have advantages, and their technology has evolved to a point where they have laptop-like operating systems, heaps of available memory and superfast processors – and they can accommodate a keyboard and stylus.

Two such re-defining tablets are Microsoft Surface Pro 7 and Apple iPad Pro 6th Gen.

Microsoft Surface Pro v Apple iPad Pro

The choice between Microsoft Surface Pro and Apple iPad Pro depends on your needs, preferences, and how you plan to use the device.

It will also depend on whether you are an Apple iOS person or an MS Windows person.

The Surface Pro sure delivers a laptop-like experience, with its 2-in-1 design, and detachable keyboard.

It also runs on the Windows operating system in virtue of its Microsoft affiliation, so once again it’s going to provide the most laptop-like experience – that is, if you’re a Windows kinda person.

Here are the pros… and cons

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Versatility: Surface Pro 7 runs a full Windows operating system, making it more versatile for tasks like running desktop applications, software development, and multitasking.

Productivity: It comes with a detachable keyboard and supports a stylus (Surface Pen), making it a good option for tasks that involve typing, drawing, note-taking, and using desktop software.

Performance: Surface Pro 7 offers more powerful configurations with Intel processors, suitable for more demanding tasks such as video editing or gaming.

Ports: It has a variety of ports, including USB-A, USB-C, and a microSD card slot, which can be convenient for connecting various peripherals.

Apple iPad Pro

Simplicity: iPads are known for their intuitive interface and ease of use, making them great for casual users and those who prioritize simplicity.

Apps: The App Store offers a wide range of apps optimized for the iPad, particularly for media consumption, creative tasks, and apps designed for touch interfaces.

Portability: iPads are generally more lightweight and portable, making them suitable for on-the-go use.

Apple Pencil and Keyboard: Apple Pencil and optional keyboard accessories enhance its functionality for note-taking, drawing, and light productivity tasks.

Ecosystem: If you’re already invested in the Apple ecosystem (using a Mac, iPhone, etc.), an iPad can seamlessly integrate with your existing devices.

In summary, if you prioritize versatility, the ability to run desktop software, and more powerful performance, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 might be a better choice. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a simpler, more portable device with a focus on touch-based apps and media consumption, the iPad Pro 6th Gen could be the right fit.

Specifications*Surface Pro 7+*iPad Pro 6Th Gen*
Coolstuf PricePGK 6290PGK 5999
ProcessorCore i7-1165G7Apple M2
Estimated battery life10.5 hours10 hours
PortsUSB-C, USB-A, 3.5mmm headphone, Surface Connect, microSDXCUSB 4/Thunderbolt, Apple Smart Connector
Cameras5MP front, 8MP rear12MP front, 12MP rear wide, 10MP rear ultra-wide
Weight1.7 pounds (0.77kg)1.5 pounds (0.68kg)
Speakers1.6W stereoQuad speakers
KeyboardFree keyboard/cover currently includedNot included
Operating systemWindows 10iOS Original: iOS 11.3 Current: iPadOS 16.6 (released July 24, 2023)
*All specs as per Coolstuf availability

What they say

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7+… the best Windows tablet just got much, much better, thanks to its powerful CPU and graphics upgrades. (PC World)

The iPad Pro 12.9 is undoubtedly the most capable iPad around, sporting Apple’s latest and greatest M2 chipset alongside Mini-LED technology (TechAdvisor)

Shop online

Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ (with FREE keyboard/cover)

Apple iPad Pro 6Th Gen (M2)

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August 2, 2023

ProBook or EliteBook?

Filed under: News — csadm @ 12:42 am

It’s in the name…

It is useful to have a basic idea of marketing when buying tech products. The biggest indicator of the product is usually in the name.

There are plenty of examples in the tech world where the name is descriptive of the product.

Our focus here will be on HP ProBook and HP EliteBook.

So, let’s look at the differences.

ProBook and EliteBook are two different series of laptops manufactured by HP (Hewlett-Packard). Both are designed for business and professional use, but they cater to slightly different market segments and offer distinct features.

HP ProBook 450 G9 (left) and its stablemate HP EliteBook 860 G9 (right)

Target Market

ProBook: designed for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as budget-conscious professionals. They are generally more affordable than EliteBooks and offer a good balance between performance and price.

EliteBook: high-end business laptops aimed at corporate users and professionals who require top-notch performance, durability, security, and premium features. They are more expensive than ProBooks and often come with advanced business-focused technologies.

Build Quality and Durability

ProBook: typically have a sturdy build and are durable enough for regular business use.

EliteBook: well known for its premium build quality and high durability. They undergo US MIL-STD 810G military testing, making them suitable for challenging environments and frequent travel.


ProBook: offers a decent level of performance, suitable for everyday business tasks like web browsing, email, word processing, and moderate multitasking. They generally come with a range of processor options, including entry-level to mid-range CPUs.

EliteBook: equipped with high-performance processors, including Intel Core i7, and are designed to handle demanding tasks such as video editing, 3D rendering, and complex data analysis. They may also offer better graphics options for professional applications.

Security Features

ProBook: usually comes with basic security features. Best check the model you are buying.

EliteBook: known for its robust security features. Best check the model you are buying.

Design and Portability

ProBook: comes in various designs, but they may not be as slim and lightweight as EliteBooks. They strike a balance between portability and functionality.

EliteBook: designed with a focus on aesthetics and portability. They tend to be slimmer and lighter, making them more suitable for frequent travellers and professionals on the go.


ProBook and EliteBook are both classy laptops. Coming from HP, you can’t go wrong. It just depends on your budget and requirements.

If you are a budget-conscious professional or a small business owner looking for a reliable and cost-effective laptop for general business tasks, a ProBook could be a suitable choice. On the other hand, if you are a corporate professional or a business user who requires top-tier performance, durability, and advanced security features, an EliteBook would be a better fit.

As the name suggests, EliteBook is more… elite!

What we say

Cool Stuf currently has special prices on the EliteBook 860 G9 (with Intel 7) and two models of Probook 450 G9 (one has Intel 5, the other has the higher-performing Intel 7 – hence the price difference).

HP EliteBook 860 G9 16″ i7 HD 1255U WUXGA 16GB/512GB SSD… K7990
HP ProBook 450 G9 15.6″ i7 HD 1255U 16GB/512GB SSD… K5590
HP ProBook 450 G9 15.6″ i5 HD 1235U 16GB/512GB SSD… K4990

Shop online.

You can access all three models through this one link

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