Le 17 décembre 2015, 06:03 dans Humeurs • 0
It’s a fantastic display for watching streaming, full HD video, and an even better one for gorging on 4K videos from YouTube. In short, it’s one of the most impressive laptop screens around.We weren’t knocked out by the sound on the earlier XPS 13, but this model is an improvement. It still isn’t the richest or deepest output, but given the dimensions Dell’s audio engineers have had to work with it’s not bad at all. Sure, drums have that not-so-classic banging on a biscuit tin sound while it all gets harsh and congested at high volumes, but you can keep Spotify streaming quietly or watch your favourite Netflix shows quite happily without having to plug a pair of headphones in.
The biggest difference between this XPS 13 and the earlier version is that it uses Intel’s new 6th-generation Skylake processors. Being the premium model, ours came with a Core i7 6500U running at a maximum of 3.1GHz plus 8GB of fast DDR3 RAM. Unlike the desktop Core i7s and some mobile versions this isn’t a proper quad-core processor but a dual-core that can pretend to be a quad-core through the magic of Intel’s hyperthreading. If so, it’s still pretty damn fast.
According to an analysis of census data from Global Workplace Analytics, 50 percent of the American workforce holds a job that could support at least some sort of telecommuting. That number is likely much higher in the tech industry, where allowing employees to work remotely for long stretches of time is “definitely a trend, [particularly] among younger companies,” says Alexey Komissarouk, an engineer who has been on the road for over a year. “For a lot of nomads I’ve spoken with,” he says, “location independence is a perk of their profession, like free lunch or a gym membership.”
Komissarouk co-founded Hacker Paradise, a program that runs along the more mediated end of the digital nomad experience. His company partners with local co-working spaces in places like Taipei or Tokyo and takes remote workers on jaunts for weeks at a time. The vibe at Hacker Paradise is something between an incubator and an intentional community; along with surfing and exploring, participants check in with each other and demo projects. “It’s like—‘I’m in this country where people don’t know what I do, or I haven’t found people who know what I do,’” says Komissarouk. Traveling with a group of like-minded remote workers is helpful so people “don’t feel alienated.”
In the last year, a number of meet-ups and at least one conference for digital nomads have been organized in hip, culturally relevant global cities like Berlin and Chiang Mai. Pieter Levels likely has something to do with the term’s increasing visibility. Levels, a Dutch website developer, worked his way across the world for two years before launching a series of websites catering to the interests of traveling professionals whose status wavers somewhere between resident and visitor. They include Nomad List, a resource that ranks destinations in terms of their cost-of-living, weather, and internet speed, and a subscription Slack channel where members ask for cafe recommendations and arrange to cross paths.
In Berlin—a city once termed the “post-tourist” capital of Europe for its influx of hybrid travelers staying in town longer and seeking more authentic local experiences—the term is trendy enough that a trio of colleagues with ties to the city’s freelancing and co-working scenes launched a survey on the subject this past summer. As they pointed out, it’s hard to tell without a comprehensive study how many self-identified digital nomads are full-timers and how many are on extended vacation writing personal travel blogs.
At its most expansive, digital nomadism could apply to bootstrapping entrepreneurs like Meistrich, professionals taking off for an extended period of time with programs like Remote Year as they log virtual office hours, and freelancers hopping between international co-working spaces and renting Airbnbs. “There’s a big cultural difference,” says Meistrich, among the kinds of remote workers he sees in different countries, much of it dependent on how far the dollar goes. “In Europe, it’s high-end consultants and freelancers, and then when I was in Chiang-Mai, it was people who were trying to start a drop-ship company.”
Depending on their preference, says Amy Truong, a software tester for GitHub who has been traveling for about a year, full-time remote workers may stay in a city for two weeks or a few months before moving on. She’s currently working from SunDesk, an airy house near the beach in Taghzout, Morocco, that shouts out digital nomadism in its website copy. The second-floor co-working space has all the trappings of a startup office: coffee, snacks, and white boards, along with an ocean view.
Some location-independent workers, Truong says, may stay in Airbnbs. But if money’s tight, a few will band together and rent apartments in local neighborhoods, which she likens to San Francisco’s startup houses. For champions of this lifestyle, near-constant traveling is a way to stay fresh in an industry that often requires workers to spend 12 hours a day parked in front of a laptop. “It’s nice to be able to focus on your business and then over the weekend explore a new place,” says Truong, who is also a moderator for the nomads chat room. Plus, as Meistrich is fond of pointing out, he spends less money traveling—including airfare and hotel costs—than he would on rent alone in post-boom San Francisco.
“It’s just within the past year that we’ve found out there are other people like us.”
Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels, a lecturer on migration and politics at the University of Kent, has estimated there could be as many as 7 million Americans living abroad, nearly a quarter of them self-employed. But as she is quick to point out, there’s no paper trail—and thus no estimate—for people who change location so frequently.
The swelling population of borderless tech workers, temporary and otherwise, has nonetheless inspired the launch of numerous startups catering to a range of travelers—think WeWork’s expansion from co-working to co-living, gone global. On one end of the spectrum, working vacation spots like Surf Office, in Gran Canaria, offer private rooms and a “community vibe” to remote workers looking to hang on the beach for a few weeks without logging off. On the other, there’s the basically-illuminati-level The Caravanserai (tagline: “Roam Free”) which beginning in 2016 will offer members three communal houses with co-working spaces in Mexico City, Lisbon, and Ubud in place of a single lease.
We do have a couple of very minor complaints. Give the laptop some hard work to do and the fans kick in, creating a surprising din. What’s more, the wrist rests seem to warm up fairly quickly, not to the extent that they become uncomfortable, but enough that you’ll notice.
11-inch ultrabooks usually have two problems. On the one hand, the screen isn’t big enough for a lot of applications, though that clearly isn’t a problem here. On the other hand, you have to make compromises when it comes to the touchpad and keyboard.
Joan Siff, president of World Against Toys Causing Harm, which releases an annual list of dangerous toys, said her organization also is looking into the issue. "At a minimum, they shouldn't be exploding," Siff said. "Consumers have a right to expect that these products they're buying are safe, especially when they're products that are going to end up in the hands of children."
The biggest risk of hoverboards might be a less explosive one: Falls. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has received 20 reports of people falling off hoverboards and being injured seriously enough to go to the emergency room.Wolfson recommends that people treat the devices like skateboards, and that means wearing a helmet and pads.
"There are incidents that have involved head trauma and significant trauma to the arm and wrist," Wolfson said. "This is a new product category. There are going to be people (who) may not be familiar with how to maintain one's balance, and therefore they should minimize the risk of injury if they do fall."
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