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Losing the Apple storage tax on M1 Macs

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External notebook storage got a bad rap decades ago. Bulky hard drives sucked up power, or, worse, required a wall wart. Even with shock mounting, the fear of sudden drive failure was ever present.

But performance was the deal killer. USB 2 was only good for 25-30 MB/s. Firewire 800 more than doubled that, but wasn’t widely available.

That was then

Forget all that. Several trends have changed the external storage landscape.

Bandwidth performance: The M1 MacBook’s two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports offer up to 40Gb/s (about a Blu-ray of data per second of bandwidth), which is as fast as the internally attached SSD. And PCIe/NVMe has crushed the typical SATA interface limit of 6Gb/sec

Latency performance: While bandwidth hero numbers get the large type, latency is the more important number because most transfers are small. With the advent of USB 4 – 10Gb/sec – and compact M.2 blade storage, your external storage latency is measured in microseconds, not milliseconds.

Translation: You’ll be hard pressed to notice the difference between your local drive and a PCIe/NVMe external drive over a 10Gb/s link.

So how good is it?

I ran casual tests on three different drives.

The slowest drive was a 1TB SATA SSD in a USB 3.1 enclosure. 

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SATA SSD Bandwidth

Next up was a 1TB PCIe/NVMe SSD in a Type C USB enclosure. 

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PCIe/NVMe M.2 SSD bandwidth

The fastest drive was the internal SSD on my M1 MacBook Air.

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Internal MacBook Air M1 SSD bandwidth

The external PCIe/NVMe drive, attached over Type C USB 3.2, is about twice as fast as the SATA SSD. Not surprising, as most SATA implementations are 6Gb/sec, and USB 3.2 can handle about 1 gigabyte per second. SATA is the bottleneck, not the SSD.

To put these numbers into perspective, 1 GB/sec means that a one megabyte file transfers in 1 millisecond. You won’t notice the difference between that and 1.5GB/sec, unless the transfer is several gigabytes, or the application is doing dozens of medium size transfers per second.

The chief conclusion? Stop buying SATA SSDs. Get PCIe/NVMe SSDs instead. The price difference is small, and you’ve future-proofed your external storage. And someday soon, I hope, 40Gb/sec USB 4 should come down in price, but today 10 GB/sec USB offers more bandwidth than the SATA interface provides.

Second, unless cost isn’t a concern – lucky you – paying Apple’s exorbitant storage prices isn’t necessary. You can get twice the capacity in a small, sturdy, lightweight package for three quarters of Apple’s price.

I used a Sabrent PCIe/NVMe USB Type-C tool-free enclosure with a Crucial M.2 SSD. The enclosure’s top is hinged, and a button push releases the latch. Install the SSD in a couple of minutes.

View Now at Amazon

The M1 Macs are terrific machines. External storage expansion makes them a terrific bargain too.

Comments welcome. 

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Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/losing-the-apple-storage-tax-on-m1-macs/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

ZDNET

Dropbox beats Q1 expectations with revenue up 12 percent

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Dropbox on Thursday published first quarter financial results, beating both top and bottom line expectations. 

Non-GAAP net income for the quarter was $141.8 million, or 35 cents per share. Revenue was $511.6 million, up 12 percent year-over-year.

Analysts were expecting earnings of 30 cents per share on revenue of $505.18 million. 

“We kicked off the year with a profitable Q1, along with strong revenue growth and free cash flow,” CEO Drew Houston said in a statement. “We welcomed DocSend to the team, saw great momentum with HelloSign, and continued to make meaningful progress against our 2021 priorities. In this new era of distributed work, we have a big opportunity to deliver more value to our customers and shareholders, and I’m excited for what’s ahead.”

Total annual recurring revenue (ARR) ended at $2.112 billion, an increase of 13 percent from the same period last year.

Paying users ended at 15.83 million, as compared to 14.59 million for the same period last year. Average revenue per paying user was $132.55, as compared to $126.30 for the same period last year.

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Tech Earnings

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Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/dropbox-beats-q1-expectations-with-revenue-up-12-percent/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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Avaya adds 1,500 customers, 100 deals worth more than $1 million for fourth consecutive quarter

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Avaya’s second quarter highlighted how the company appears to be well positioned for the new normal for work as it emerges.

The company reported second quarter revenue of $738 million, up 8% from a year ago, with a net loss of $58 million, or 70 cents a share. Non-GAAP earnings were 74 cents a share.

Wall Street was looking for second quarter non-GAAP earnings of 75 cents a share on revenue of $717.7 million. Avaya CEO Jim Chirico in an interview acknowledged the earnings miss, but noted it was a high-class problem to have. The surge in Avaya shares triggered warrants, covenants and options that diluted shares. “It’s more dilution and not operational performance,” he said.

“The second quarter was our fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth and 66% of sales is recurring revenue,” said Chirico. “The quarter was representative of the structural investments we’ve been making.”

Avaya has been among the companies that have benefited from the shift to remote work. Now enterprises are reopening, Chirico said there will still be a need for collaboration advances. “We’ll be hybrid for a while, and it won’t be like it was 15 months ago. There have been a number of structural changes that have had a significant impact on the business,” he said. “Our portfolio is in line with where work is going with collaboration and cloud.”

Avaya saw momentum in its OneCloud platform as well as cloud, alliance partner and subscription revenue. Avaya added 1,500 companies to its customer roster and had 107 deals worth more than $1 million. Of those deals, 7 were worth more than $10 million and 1 was over $25 million.

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For Avaya, it was the fourth consecutive quarter with more than 1,500 customer additions and 100 deals or more worth at least $1 million.

For the third quarter, Avaya is projecting revenue of $720 million to $735 million with non-GAAP earnings of 66 cents a share to 73 cents a share. For the fiscal year, Avaya is projecting revenue of $2.92 billion to $2.95 billion with non-GAAP earnings of $3.02 a share to $3.20 a share.

For fiscal 2021, Wall Street was expecting non-GAAP earnings of $3.32 a share on revenue of $2.94 billion.

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Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/avaya-adds-1500-customers-100-deals-worth-more-than-1-million-for-fourth-consecutive-quarter/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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ZDNET

Fiverr reports 100% revenue growth in Q1 as buyers continuously purchase more expensive gigs

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Freelancer platform Fiverr released its Q1 figures on Thursday, showing a 100% year-over-year growth in revenue of $68.3 million, one of the highest Q1 revenue figures reported in the company’s history. 

The company showed increases across the board, with its active buyer base growing to 3.8 million, a 56% increase year over year. According to a company statement, Fiverr Business users purchased more often in Q1 and bought more expensive gigs compared to those in the platform’s marketplace. 

Those using Fiverr Business spent three times as much on average compared to the site’s other users. 

Fiverr CEO Micha Kaufman and CFO Ofer Katz said the company now expects the growth to continue throughout 2021, upgrading expectations from 46-50% to 59-63% revenue growth.

Kaufman said Fiverr was capitalizing on “the ongoing digital transformation” and noted that the business momentum remained strong as the company continues to scale. 

The company is now expecting to bring in up to $75 million in revenue for Q2 and an EBITDA of up to $7 million. For 2021 as a whole, revenue expectations have been bumped up to a projected high of $308 million. Fiverr brought in $189.5 million in revenue in 2020. 

Spend per buyer reached a high of $216 compared to the $177 the company saw in March 2020.

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Fiverr

“We continue to capitalize and execute on the ongoing digital transformation as we delivered one of the strongest quarters in Fiverr’s history with outstanding results across the board, supported by continued execution on our strategy,” Kaufman said. 

“Fiverr’s business momentum remains strong and resilient as we continue to scale at accelerating levels while leading companies through this new world of work.”

The company’s shareholder letter featured stories of small business owners who saw significant changes to their business due to COVID-19 and needed help from freelancers to adjust. 

Fiverr, along with other freelancer platforms like Upwork, have seen a massive uptick in users and spending due to the newfound reliance on remote work that emerged last year due to the pandemic. 

In March, Fiverr announced that it would expand its offerings to include data and analytics, and overall, the company told shareholders it had expanded from eight to now 25 different verticals. The newest vertical will offer users access to freelance experts in data science, analytics, data processing, visualization, databases, and data entry.

Tech Earnings

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Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/fiverr-reports-100-revenue-growth-in-q1-as-buyers-continuously-purchase-more-expensive-gigs/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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Millions of older broadband routers have these security flaws, warn researchers

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Million of users in the UK could potentially be affected, estimated Which?, as vulnerable routers present an opportunity for hackers.

Kittichai Boonpong / EyeEm / Getty Images

Millions of households in the UK are using old broadband routers that could fall prey to hackers, according to a new investigation carried out by consumer watchdog Which? in collaboration with security researchers. 

After surveying more than 6,000 adults, Which? identified 13 older routers that are still commonly used by consumers across the country, and sent them to security specialists from technology consultancy Red Maple Technologies. Nine of the devices, it was found, did not meet modern security standards.  

Up to 7.5 million users in the UK could potentially be affected, estimated Which?, as vulnerable routers present an opportunity for malicious actors to spy on people as they browse, or to direct them to spam websites. 

One major issue concerns the lack of upgrades that older routers receive. Some of the models that respondents reported using haven’t been updated since 2018, and even in some cases since 2016.  

The devices highlighted for their lack of updates included Sky’s SR101 and SR102, the Virgin Media Super Hub and Super Hub 2, and TalkTalk’s HG523a, HG635, and HG533. 

Most of the providers, when they were contacted by Which?, said that they regularly monitor the devices for threats and update them if needed.  

Virgin dismissed the research, saying that 90% of its customers are using later-generation routers. TalkTalk told ZDNet that it had nothing to add to the release. 

The researchers also found a local network vulnerability with EE’s Brightbox 2, which could let a hacker take full control of the device.  

An EE spokesperson told ZDNet: “We take the security of our products and services very seriously. As detailed in the report, this is very low risk vulnerability for the small number of our customers who still use the EE Brightbox 2. (…) We would like to reassure EE Brightbox 2 customers that we are working on a service patch which we will be pushing out to affected devices in an upcoming background update.” 

In addition, BT Group – which owns EE – told Which? that older routers still receive security patches if problems are found. Red Maple’s researchers found that old devices from BT have been recently updated, and so did routers from Plusnet. 

The consumer watchdog advised that consumers who are still using one of the router models that are no longer being updated ask their providers for a new device as soon as possible. 

This, however, is by no means a given: while Virgin Media says that it gives free upgrades for customers with older routers, the policy is not always as clear with other providers. 

“It doesn’t hurt to ask,” said Hollie Hennessy, senior researcher at Which?. “While an internet provider is not obliged to provide you with a new router for free, if you call and explain your concerns you might get lucky, especially if your router is quite old.” 

For consumers whose contracts are expiring soon, Hennessy suggested asking for a new router as a condition to stick with a given provider – and consider switching if the request is not met. 

Weak passwords remain a top concern 

On top of being denied regular updates, many older routers were also found to come with weak default passwords, which can be easily guessed by hackers and grant an outsider access.  

This was the case of the same TalkTalk and Sky routers, as well as the Virgin Media Super Hub 2 and the Vodafone HHG2500. 

The first thing to do, for consumers who own one of these models, is to change the password to a stronger one, as opposed to the default password provided, said Which?. 

The organization, in fact, is calling for the government to ban default passwords and prevent manufacturers from allowing consumers to set weak passwords as part of a new legislation that was proposed last month. 

As part of an effort to make devices “secure by design”, the UK’s department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has announced a new law that will stop manufacturers from using default passwords such as “password” or “admin”, to better protect consumers from cyberattacks. 

The future law would also make it mandatory to tell customers how long their new product will receive security updates for. In addition, manufacturers would have to provide a public point of contact to make it easier to report security vulnerabilities in the products. 

In a similar vein, Which? called for more transparency from internet service providers. The organization said that providers should be more upfront about how long routers will be receiving firmware and security updates, and should actively upgrade customers who are at risk. 

Only Sky, Virgin Media and Vodafone appear to have a web page dedicated to letting researchers submit the vulnerabilities that they found in the companies’ products, according to Which?. 

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Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/millions-of-older-broadband-routers-have-these-security-flaws-warn-researchers/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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