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Acer’s Veriton X480G does a pretty good job of keeping up with the best budget PCs, but tough competition stands between this system and top honors.

The Acer Veriton X480G is a pretty good budget PC. At $599 (as of March 30, 2010), the X480G is aimed at small business users, and is priced well for the general performance it delivers–but is it really an example of a solid value overall? When pitted against a consumer-classed PC, the $559 Gateway SX2840-01, the X480G doesn’t quite achieve desktop glory. And though the $40 price difference separating the systems might not seem like much, every little bit matters in the world of low-cost, low-profile desktop PCs.

Admittedly, the SX2840-01’s Core platform allows it to run 6GB of RAM, double the amount that the X480G offers; you’ll also find a 1TB hard drive in the Gateway machine, versus the Acer’s 640GB of total storage. Nevertheless, the processors were the biggest contributing factors in our tests, as the larger amount of RAM and the bigger hard drive in the Gateway each offer a more-specific benefit. The RAM gives you more overhead for dealing with complex, multitask activities such as editing images and encoding movies simultaneously. And more capacity on a hard drive equals more room for data.

Both systems fared poorly on our graphics tests. The Veriton X480G failed to offer playable frame rates on our Unreal Tournament 3 benchmark at any test resolution or display-quality setting. While gaming performance isn’t much of a consideration on Business platforms, the X480G also isn’t very well suited for intensive graphics-related work. The SX2840-01 managed to produce roughly four times the frames per second on our benchmark runs–but even then, its 13.9-fps result was hardly anything to brag about (1920 by 1200 resolution, high quality).

The chassis, entirely black aside from a single gray stripe running vertically up the front, isn’t particularly aesthetically appealing; the compact system looks more like a little, monochrome box than a sleek addition to one’s desk. That said, the exterior appearance is far better than the scene on the machine’s interior. While the internal cabling is about as good as it gets for a budget PC of this size, the lack of overall upgradability–limited to a single PCI Express x1 slot and a PCI Express x16 slot–is a bit disappointing. What this system saves on space, it sacrifices on future-proofing.

As I expected, the mouse and keyboard shipped with our test X480G were generic and dull. Both devices are wired, and offer no extra buttons for any function beyond what you’d find on a conventional mouse or keyboard. I almost took off points for the ugly, black, boxy shape of the X480G’s mouse–it’s borderline obtrusive in its design.

Administrators will also appreciate Acer’s eLock Management, which allows them to lock down the PC’s components, or give read only access to particular drives. Authorization can be assigned to particular users, and you’ll be able to set a timer that will automatically lock your devices if you step away from your PC for an extended period of time.

Of most interest to potential upgraders is the QuickMigration application: much like Windows 7’s Easy Transfer, the QuickMigration feature will allow you to transfer user data and settings from an older PC, to the X480G. While Windows 7’s Easy Transfer makes use of external usb drives, flash drives or the Easy Transfer cable, Acer’s QuickMigration can be completed by plugging an Ethernet cable and installing a client onto the PC you’re transferring data from.

But they should also weigh the merits of non-business class PCs, which may lack a native security platform, but offer superior features and functionality for the end user. If you’re working with highly sensitive data, third party applications won’t suffice, and looking to limit your costs, Acer’s Veriton X480G is a safe bet. Barring that, if your needs aren’t as demanding, and you’re comfortable using third party tools or Windows 7’s innate security features, the Gateway SX2840-01 simply manages to achieve more, for less cash.

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Russia Just Approved A Covid Vaccine—But That’s Not Necessarily Good News

The race to develop a safe and effective vaccine against the novel coronavirus has drawn the attention of virologists and other health researchers the world over. As cases continue to climb around the globe, a vaccine remains amongst the most promising ways to overcome the pandemic.

Yesterday, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced that the country’s health regulators (Russia’s equivalent of the FDA) had approved a COVID-19 vaccine for limited use. However, the vaccine itself has yet to complete clinical trials, having only made it through the second of three phases. But approving the vaccine without completing that last phase could prove harmful, both immediately and down the road.

The vaccine, known as Sputnik V, can now be administered to a restricted group of vulnerable Russian citizens such as healthcare workers and to at-risk populations like the elderly. Sputnik V can’t be used more widely until January 2023 at the earliest.

Vaccine development has made amazing strides in the past few decades, which has helped researchers accelerate their timelines for concocting effective vaccines. Creating a safe and effective one within a year or two was once unheard of, but it’s exactly what pharmaceutical companies are aiming to do now. However, even these days, the new medications must still go through animal testing followed by three phases of rigorous protocols, and that takes time.

In Phase 1, scientists give the drug to a select few people—no more than a few dozen or so—to make sure the drug doesn’t cause any immediate harm. If successful, the drug enters Phase 2 where quite a few more people—often in the hundreds or thousands—receive the medication, and researchers continue to test its safety as well as how well the drug does what it’s intended to do (in this case, prevent COVID-19). If the drug makes it through this phase—and only a small fraction do—it enters Phase 3, where researchers give the medicine to thousands more people and establish just how effective the drug is, including how well it holds up to similar medications on the market.

It’s this third phase that the Russian government is skipping and what’s giving researchers pause. A key component to Phase 3 testing is making sure that the drug doesn’t cause any harmful side effects. As we’ve previously reported, rare yet harmful side effects don’t always become evident until an experimental medicine has been administered to thousands of people, and vaccines are no exception. One hypothetical scenario, as Patricia Winokur, the executive dean of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, previously told Popular Science, is that a vaccine could contain ingredients that look like molecular structures in our own bodies, and trigger a dangerous autoimmune reaction. A rare side effect like this wouldn’t necessarily show up if you give the drugs to hundreds of people, but would become clear when given to thousands.

There’s also the possibility that a vaccine candidate could instigate an immune response that makes COVID-19 worse when someone is exposed to the novel virus. Though rare, Winkour noted this can happen.

There are safe ways to accelerate the vaccine development process. One way is to decrease the time between the phases. Often drugs must wait weeks to months to gain approval to go into the next clinical trial phase. But health regulators in the United States and around the world have been working to make sure that as soon as it’s deemed safe, a vaccine candidate can quickly move into the next phase of the trial. But the only way to ensure that the drug is safe is to complete the three trials.

Back in June, the Russian health ministry and Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology registered a combined Phase 1 and 2 clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine called Gam-COVID-Vac Lyo, according to The New York Times. But that trial only had 38 volunteers and the results are still unavailable. Now Russia plans to start a Phase 3 trial while simultaneously approving the drug for limited use. Further, as The Times points out, in its initial announcement yesterday, Russia’s Minister of Health told reporters that the volunteers “developed high titers of antibodies to COVID-19” and didn’t get any serious complications. These results are what you would expect from a Phase 1 trial only.

A newly created website for Sputnik V states that a Phase 3 trial is set to begin on August 12 and involve 2,000 people, which is far less than the typical number of patients involved in other Phase 3 coronavirus vaccine trials, which are around 30,000.

This is the second COVID-19 vaccine candidate to be approved for limited use prior to entering phase three clinical trials. The Chinese company CanSino Biologics approved its vaccine candidate for military use. The drug’s phase two clinical trial results were published in July and on August 9, according to The New York Times’ vaccine tracker, and the Saudi health ministry stated CanSino Biologics would begin a Phase 3 trial in Saudi Arabia.

A highly-effective and widely available vaccine will likely be necessary to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control, save lives, and return to normal life. But performing proper due diligence when it comes to testing will save lives, too. If we rush a vaccine, we could have more deaths and potentially millions of people with serious side effects that could produce long term damage.

Heavy Rain, The Ps3 Exclusive That’s Not A Game

As overused phrases go, “interactive movie” is a doozy, right up there with “virtual reality.” It’s also historically misleading. What we used to call an “interactive movie” looked nothing like an actual movie. Even the industry’s dalliance with full-motion video in the 1990s looked pretty awful compared to 35 mm film viewed on a standard sized movie screen. What we really meant when we said “interactive movie” was that those 1990s games were doing things in terms of dramatic sophistication that we’d never seen before in a video game.

Still, you couldn’t put a realistic body much less an expressive face to a game character, a limitation imposed by the technology, until now…and a game like Heavy Rain.

Bear with me, or if not me, then with Scott McCloud, the guy who wrote Understanding Comics. Very perceptive guy, Scott McCloud, whatever you think of his later ideas about digital content production and distribution. In Understanding Comics, McCloud argues that the reason comics work, is that we identify more readily with simplistic characters than realistic ones. When we see something like a smiley face with two dots for eyes and a bent-line smile at the center of a circle, the lack of detail facilitates a kind of identify transfer. We pour more of ourselves into a character rendered in plain lines because there’s so much about that character not there to fill.

Add detail to the smiley face, bit by bit, until you’re looking at something an artist like Alex Ross might draw, almost photographic, and you throw up a kind of identity force field. The more someone looks specifically and uniquely human, the harder it becomes to pretend they’re you, the flip side being that your potential to relate to them empathically–and appreciate all the idiosyncrasies of their “not-you” personality–increases.

So far I’ve directed someone to shave, shower, dress, use the bathroom, make coffee, help carry groceries, set the table, fiddle with the living room stereo, blow off work, duel with toy swords, and give his kids shoulder rides around the backyard. I’ve also been responsible for getting another guy to bribe someone for info, console a prostitute, and hold his own in a knock-down, drag-out fist fight.

Except also somehow more than a movie. Sure, we’ve seen realistic CGI-simulated humans in movies, but a film’s all received information–24 frames per second, a way to trick your brain into perceiving continuous motion. You may identify with Dr. Aki Ross in Square Pictures’ Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, or the child in Robert Zemeckis’ The Polar Express, but you never really feel responsible for them.

In Heavy Rain, you feel entirely responsible, because the choices you make alter their fate. And that’s what’s changed: You’re participating in a narrative that combines the visual plausibility of a movie with the choice-and-consequences mechanics of a video game. And you care more about what happens to these people, strangely enough, because they’re so definitively not you.

I can’t say yet if the game itself works as a game, or if it’s even fair to label it as such (I’m thinking not). But I can say I’m pretty turned around by what Heavy Rain’s designer David Cage is up to here, if only in terms of the way he’s made me rethink everything I thought I understood about the nature of identification, interaction, and “play.”

Connect with Matt on Twitter (@game_on)

How To Transition From A Manager To A Leader

Five ways to frame our thoughts and actions as leaders

As marketers, there will inevitably come a point in many of our careers when we’ll be asked to step up from operating as individuals focused on specific tasks (e.g. SEO specialists, digital analysts, web developers) to managers responsible for a group of specialists (e.g. digital marketing manager).

Whether you make the move into management depends entirely on you and your personal drivers (and whether it’s right to promote people based on their technical skills is a debate for another day). But if you do decide to take the route into management, it’s important to consider the implications.

Download our Free Resource – Marketing careers and skills development workbook

Our guide shows you how to map out your personal short-term and long-term goals, become more productive in your day-to-day work, identify your key motivators, analyze your digital marketing skills, how to leverage your strengths, and understand the different paths you can take to reach your goals.

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Management vs. leadership

Being an expert in your field does not necessarily mean you will be a good manager. The skills required for management are totally different from operating alone and if you are to succeed as a manager these must be taken into account. For example, if you’re managing a team you have to consider other people and achieve results not only by yourself but through others, too.

According to John Kotter, Konosuke Matsushita professor of leadership at Harvard University:

“Management is a set of processes that keep an organization functioning. They make it work today – they make it hit this quarter’s numbers. The processes are about planning, budgeting, staffing, clarifying jobs, measuring performance, and problem-solving when results did not go to plan.”

We can see from this definition that good, effective management is essential to ensuring a business functions efficiently and that people have clear goals and targets based on the organization’s objectives. However, what this definition does not include is any reference to ‘leadership’. And that’s because leadership is a very different quality. Kotter again:

“Leadership is about aligning people to the vision, that means buy-in and communication, motivation and inspiration.”

Management is often conflated with leadership, which can cause confusion within the workplace. Whilst management and leadership do work hand-in-hand, there are also clear differences (and overlaps):

“Companies face new leadership challenges, including developing Millennials and multiple generations of leaders, meeting the demand for leaders with global fluency and flexibility, building the ability to innovate and inspire others to perform, and acquiring new levels of understanding of rapidly changing technologies and new disciplines and fields.”

As part of our roles as managers, we may also be asked to lead. Many organizations see opportunity to develop leaders across different levels. In a report for Deloitte , the research team found that:

In other words, in order to compete effectively in a dynamic, global marketplace, organizations need to have leaders working in every part of the organization – we can no longer depend on senior management and leaders.

The importance of effective leadership

The term ‘leadership’ can be daunting to some. However, leadership does not necessarily mean shaping a grand vision, speaking to hundreds of people or steering an organization through a troubled time. For new managers, the leadership journey starts with small steps, for example how you lead and inspire those around you or set out a simple direction of travel.

Organizational consultant Paul Scadding uses a ‘5 Is’ model for effective leadership. This is a useful framework for breaking down some of the key areas that new managers can refer to in order to build their leadership skills:


How do you impact others? Do you energize, deplete, frustrate or panic others? Impact is not about being perfect but setting a daily intention as to how you hope to impact others.

How we speak and act is impacting everyone around us and it’s important to manage this in a way that is authentic to you and your chosen style of leadership.


Investing time and energy in those we manage is important and is a key component of effective leadership. Managers who invest stand out from those that don’t and make a disproportionately more positive impact on the team.

However, good leaders will also recognize when they are over-investing. A balance needs to be struck otherwise stress and burnout are potential consequences, which will limit us as leaders. If you’re concerned about over-investment, ask yourself the following questions:

Can you switch off once you leave work?

Do you go to bed worrying about conversations? Do you try to put off or avoid ‘difficult’ conversations?

Do you struggle to say ‘no’, create boundaries and priorities?

Do you micro-manage and restrict freedom for people to manage their own work and grow?

Are you a people pleaser? Are you able to give people what they really need?


You don’t need to be Steve Jobs, Michelle Obama or Richard Branson to inspire others. To inspire others you need to be inspired yourself! Try this reflective exercise:

Who Inspires You As A Leader? List the core 5 qualities that you admire in them

If you’re struggling to think about where you can get inspiration, consider the types of things that has piqued your curiosity and imagination in the past:

What are you reading?

What are you watching?

What are you listening to?

Who are you spending time with?

Who are your role models?


If you’re managing other people, you need to treat them as individuals with ideas, aspirations and ambitions of their own. New managers can sometimes fall into the trap of using others to meet their goals.

When managing more than one person, consider the differences between each individual. The key is to be adaptable. Some points to consider:

Get to know your line reports and what they need. You cannot treat everyone the same.

It’s too easy to judge by our own standards.

Other people have different levels of interest and investment than you .

Celebrated the things that make us different from one another.

You may struggle to meet someone where they are if you have never been through exactly the same experiences (e.g. redundancy, depression, anxiety etc.). Try to understand and at the very least be kind.

We often see people that don’t do, say or think the way we do as ‘difficult’.

Above all, people want to be seen and heard and know that they matter.


“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”

– Steve Jobs

Innovation in this context is not about inspiring breakthrough product design or services, but thinking about what you can do differently as a leader within your role as a manager.

Standard line management practices do not always reflect good leadership. Some ideas to consider include:

Make leadership your own and develop your own style.

Instead of sitting down in a dull office, try ‘walking’ one-to-ones with your team.

Reframe language and be clear.

Share best practices with each other.

Lean on others for support, e.g. “How would you tackle this situation?”

Call on the experienced people in your team – you do not need to lead alone.


Management and leadership may be closely connected but there are clear differences between the two. Whilst management is primarily about delivering goals and targets efficiently, leadership is about recognizing that the people you’re working with are human beings with thoughts, feelings and aspirations that can be harnessed as part of a healthy, balanced working culture.

Whilst leadership may come more naturally to some people than others, it’s something we can all practice as part of our roles as managers. The 5 Is model is just one of several ways to shape our thinking and way of working to get us thinking beyond the minimum expectations of line managers.

Razer Huntsman Elite Review: Optical Switches Arrive, But That’s Not Even The Best Feature

Razer’s Huntsman Elite needs another pass, particularly the awkward media keys, but its RGB-enabled wrist rest is eye-catching and the new Opto-Mechanical switch holds promise.

Optical switches. I knew they were coming to mainstream keyboards sooner or later. I started seeing them crop up at PAX a year or two ago, courtesy of a brand called—I’m serious—Bloody. (The parent company has the much more boring name A4Tech.) It was only a matter of time.

And if nerdy discussions about switch tech don’t do it for you, an RGB-endabled wrist rest should catch your eye. Seriously. Let’s dig into what’s certainly Razer’s most innovative keyboard in years, though I’ll save the verdict for the end.

Note: This review is part of our best gaming keyboards roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

All of the lights

Razer doesn’t do brand-new designs often. I’ve honestly lost count of how many BlackWidow revisions I’ve looked at over the years. That makes the Huntsman a novelty of sorts—a break from tradition at the very least.

IDG / Hayden Dingman

But don’t expect too much change. In large part, the Huntsman resembles the BlackWidow X, with its exposed metal backplate and raised keycaps. It’s not the BlackWidow X, and the chassis is a different shape, but “minimalist black rectangle” doesn’t leave you a lot to work with. In other words, the layperson could be forgiven for mistaking the two at a glance.

A few details have changed though, mainly in the top-right corner block. On the BlackWidow, that’s where you’d find all the indicator lights. On the Huntsman Elite? Dedicated media keys. Yes, finally. I’ve knocked Razer for years now about double-mapping its media keys to the Function row, and the Huntsman Elite design finally fixes the issue.

Worse, the keys aren’t as functional as I’d like. There’s lighting underneath each key, but the actual controls aren’t backlit. It’s not that hard to intuit—Skip Back on the left, Play/Pause in the middle, Skip Forward on the right. Still, why not just illuminate them? No idea.

IDG / Hayden Dingman

It’s just awkward, and indicates Razer might need a few iterations before it catches up with companies like Corsair and Logitech, which have had standalone media keys for years and years now. Still, a huge step up from having to hold down the Fn key and streeetch to hit F1 to F7.

The most noteworthy design feature of the Huntsman Elite, however, is the wrist rest. Namely, the fact that it’s RGB-enabled. It looks similar to the wrist rest packaged with the BlackWidow V2, except the Huntsman Elite’s has a row of pins along the top edge. When connected to the Huntsman keyboard, the wrist rest continues a ribbon of light that rings the entire base of the keyboard (as seen below).

IDG / Hayden Dingman

Dumb? Maybe. But it’s fancy, matching the same “underglow” aesthetic found on Razer’s Hyperflux mousepad and other peripherals. If you’re an RGB fan, this is probably the prettiest keyboard you’ll see, besides the Corsair K95 Platinum. The only downside: In order to illuminate both keyboard and wrist rest, you need to plug in both USB cables. Not really surprising I guess, but perhaps a pain for those (like myself) who are running out of USB ports. 

Doogee Shoot 1 Review – A Budget

DOOGEE Shoot 1 


Processor Mediatek MTK6737T Processor

Display 5.5” SHARP® FHD 2.5D G+FF


Storage 16GB eMMC – microSD slot

Operating System Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Cameras 13MP + 8MP rear cameras, 8MP front

Battery 3300mAh

Physical Dimensions 168g, 156.6 x 77 x 8.7 mm

DOOGEE Shoot 1 


There isn’t really much to say about DOOGEE’s Shoot 1 unboxing. It comes in a quite ordinary box with a case, screen protector, USB charger 5V/2A, a micro USB cable and the SIM removal tool. There’s also an additional screen protector for those who will want to change it down the line.

DOOGEE Shoot 1 

Design & Build Quality

I give the DOOGEE Shoot 1 quite an high score as far as design and build quality goes. While it’s made of plastic it doesn’t feel cheap in your hands, it’s just lighter than its metal counterparts, which is definitely a plus.

Design wise, it’s the typical Chinese phone of 2024 and 2023: sleek, visible antenna lines, centered camera(s) on the back and a fingerprint scanner on the front accompanied by two touch buttons beside it.

DOOGEE Shoot 1 


Viewing angles are good and the touch screen panel is accurate and fast, so there are no problems during every day use.

DOOGEE Shoot 1 

Hardware & Performance

The hardware on the DOOGEE Shoot 1 is mediocre at best. The phone is powered by a Mediatek MTK6737T CPU paired with 2GB of RAM, which is alright for a budget phone but to me it’s somewhat weird that a phone with a Full HD panel only comes with 2GB of RAM.

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That said, the phone is snappy for what it is and I haven’t had any problems during every day use. You’ll also be able to run most games without excessive drops in frames, although you should probably look for something else if gaming is your No. 1 priority.

The front-facing fingerprint scanner on the front works OK, it isn’t one of the most accurate on the market but it’s not too bad. I don’t like how the home button feels though and that’s probably because it protrudes from the glass, other smartphones only have the rim protruding, some not even that.

As far as connectivity goes, 4G LTE is good, the DOOGEE Shoot 1 supports bands 1/3/7/8/20 so no problems over here in Europe and most other parts of the world. The phone part is alright and sound is clear.

Battery life is average, you can get through a day of moderate use, albeit I’ve noticed standby times aren’t amazing, so you might find the phone will less battery even after not using it for some time.

The phone’s speaker isn’t very loud and sound quality is average at best.

DOOGEE Shoot 1

Camera & Photos

This is probably where the DOOGEE Shoot 1 disappointed me the most. I was really excited to try the dual camera setup as it’d be the first phone with this feature I ever used, other than a friend’s Honor 8.

And what is there to say? The dual camera setup feels more like a single camera setup with an additional light sensor. The bokeh effect (shallow depth of field) appears to be software, indeed if you look at the image you can see the foreground is still in focus even if further away.

Definitely disappointing as the main 13MP camera itself isn’t too bad, photos are sharp and color reproduction is on point, what’s bad is dynamic range and high noise even at low ISO.

Either way, have a look at the images and judge for yourself!

DOOGEE Shoot 1 


DOOGEE Shoot 1 


For about $100 the DOOGEE Shoot 1 isn’t the best or worst phone in this price range. You can definitely get something better for your specific needs as this one tries to be good in everything but doesn’t really shine in nothing.

How the secondary rear camera works is a mystery to me, I’d rather preferred they had stuck with one but I understand phone manufacturers always want to get customers’ attention with the latest trend — dual camera setups.

Other then that, the DOOGEE Shoot 1 is still a great phone for the price, if you watch lots of videos, mostly use social apps and don’t play onerous games, then you’ll enjoy the 5.5-inch Full HD display and the phone’s performance. If you’re more of a heavy user and/or gamer you’ll have to look for something else, but that will cost you more, of course.

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