provides the hosting services in the form of a single virtual machine and is implemented through the use of cloud computing and cloud architecture. It dynamically distributes data and processes across the small servers of the system for processing. The cloud hosting system is divided into many virtual machines. The services offered by a loud hosting service provider are located at its premises and these can be accessed by using client software.
The cloud hosting allows the users to get their applications up and running much faster and enables the quick readjustment of virtual resources to meet the dynamic demands like increased data rate, traffic size and storage requirements. The users can assess the cloud using different client devices like desktops, laptops, tablets and phones. Some of the user devices require real time cloud computing for running their applications, while others can interact with a cloud application via web browsers. Some cloud applications only support specific client software dedicated for these applications. Some legacy applications are also supported through screen sharing technology. The internet giants such as Google and Amazon are using this state of art hosting technology successfully for their servers.
Cloud hosting can be offered in three different modes i.e. infrastructure as a service(IaaS) , platform as a service(PaaS) and software as a service(SaaS). The basic mode IaaS , offers the services in the form of physical or virtual machines ( computers & other processing devices), raw/block storage , firewalls , load balancing mechanism and networks .The IaaS mode services provider supply these resources from a large deployed pool of resources in data centers andthis also include provisioning of local area networks and IP addresses. The PaaS mode cloud hosting services provider offers a cloud computing platform that include an operating system, programming execution environment, database and server. The PaaS application software can be developed and run on a cloud platform and does not involve cost and complexity of buying and managing the hardware and software layers. The (SaaS) mode cloud hosting services provider install and operate application software in the cloud and cloud users access the software from cloud clients and the cloud platform in this case is not managed by the clients. Clouds hosting can be physically deployed in the form of public cloud, personal cloud, hybrid cloud and community cloud.
Cloud hosting has greatly reduced the website operational cost. In older versions of servers, the clients used to pay for a specific bandwidth irrespective of the traffic on that server. The cloud hosting has tackled this problem through the skillful use of variable costing method, where the cost will increase with the traffic and as the load/traffic reduces the cost will be automatically decreases.
The cloud hosting has a great advantage in terms of its security, as it operates in isolated environment and only the host has the access to it. One of the biggest advantages of cloud hosting is that the cloud platform manageability, maintenance and upgrades can be easily and remotely accomplished, as it does not require any physical/hardware maintenance repair and replacement.
This was the subject of a fascinating talk delivered by Tamar Mitts, an assistant professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University, at a “data science day” hosted by the school on Wednesday. Mitts studied the efficacy of Twitter-disseminated propaganda supporting the self-identified Islamic State, or ISIS, in 2015 and 2016. To avoid the “obvious ethical issues” which attend to subjecting humans analysts to ISIS propaganda, Mitts said she used machine learning algorithms to identify and sort messages and videos into various categories, such as whether they contained violence. Then she parsed her dataset to uncover trends.
Mitts’ results were a revelation. Even though people tend to associate ISIS propaganda with heinous acts of brutality—beheadings, murder, and the like—Mitts found that such violence was, more often than not, counterproductive to the group’s aims. “The most interesting and unexpected result was that when these messages were being coupled with extreme, violent imagery, these videos became ineffective,” Mitts said. In other words, the savagery for which ISIS became famous did not appeal to the majority of its followers; positive messaging found greater success.
There’s a caveat though: Anyone who was already extremely supportive of ISIS became even more fanatical after encountering a piece of propaganda featuring violence. So, while violent acts turned off newcomers and casual sympathizers, they nudged ideologues further down the path of radicalization. Extremism begets polarity.
Perhaps Mitts’ discoveries could help society to avoid repeating history’s darkest moments. My appreciation for her work grew after I finished reading In the Garden of Beasts, a gripping journalistic endeavor by Erik Larson, which details the rise of Nazi Germany through the eyes of an American ambassador and his family living in Berlin. Afterward, I watched a YouTube video—an innocuous one—recommended by the author: Symphony of a Great City, a 1927 film that documented the daily life of ordinary Berliners at that time. It amazes me to think how, within a few years, these souls would come under the sway of Hitler’s bloodthirsty regime.
While the Internet makes zealotry easier than ever to incite, today’s tools also make it easier to study.
Welcome to the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter. Fortune reporter Robert Hackett here. You may reach Robert Hackett via Twitter, Cryptocat, Jabber (see OTR fingerprint on my about.me), PGP encrypted email (see public key on my Keybase.io), Wickr, Signal, or however you (securely) prefer. Feedback welcome.
Time passes quickly and the WiFi is spotty here in Tr?yastri??a, so I apologize for taking so long to check out how you’ve been doing with our company.
Of course, truth be known, Apple was already on that trajectory when I handed you the company, but props anyway.
Beyond that, though, I feel I must ask: Is that ALL you could manage with that money and talent? Seriously?
OK… Let me calm down… Deep breath… Nam Myoho Renge Kyo… Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.. That’s better.
Look, Tim, I don’t want to go all heavy on your case, but here’s what you need to do to make Apple great again:
1. Invest in new technology.
You let our cash on hand get all the way up to $245 billion??? Earning maybe 3% interest? Are you out of your mind?!?! With those deep pockets, we should be making huge investments and acquisitions in every technology that will comprise the world of the future. You’ve let that upstart Musk make us look like IBM. That’s just plain wrong.
2. Attack and cripple Google.
Google is our new nemesis, remember? They attacked our core business model with that Android PoC. But, Tim, c’mon… Google is weak. They can’t innovate worth beans and most of their revenue still comes from online ads, which are only valuable because they constantly violate user privacy. You could cut their revenues in half if you added a defaul 100% secure Internet search app to iOS and Mac OS. Spend a few billion and make it faster and better than Google’s ad-laden wide-open nightmare. This isn’t brain surgery.
3. Make the iPad into a PC killer.
WTF? The iPad was supposed to be our big revenge on Microsoft for almost putting us out of business. All it needed was a mouse and could have killed–killed!–laptop sales. Sure, it would have cut into MacBook sales, but that’s the way our industry works. I let the Macintosh kill the Lisa, remember? And the Lisa was my personal pet project. The iPad could have been the next PC… and it still might not be too late.
4. Give our engineers private offices.
I get it, Tim. You’re not a programmer. You built your career in high tech but it was always in sales and marketing, which are the parts of the business where a lot of talking and socializing make sense. But if you’d ever designed a product, or actually written code, you’d know engineering requires concentration without distractions. Programmers and designers don’t belong in an open plan office. Give them back their private offices before it’s too late.
5. Don’t announce trivial dreck.
A credit card? Seriously? Airbuds with ear-clips? A me-too news service? Is that best you can do? And what was with Oprah And Spielberg at the event? Hey, the year 2007 called and wants its celebrities back. Look, when you gin up the press and the public up for a huge announcement and it’s just meh tweaks to existing products or me-too stuff, it makes us look lame and out of touch. If we don’t have anything world-shaking, don’t have an announcement!
6. Stop pretending we’re cutting edge.
There was a time–I remember it well–when people would line up for hours just to be the first to get our innovative new products. Heck, we even had “evangelists” who promoted our products to our true-believers. But that’s history. Until we come out insanely great new products that inspire that kind of loyalty, dial down the fake enthusiasm.
7. Make Macs faster, better, cheaper–more quickly.
I’m honestly embarrassed what you’ve done with the Mac. You’ve not released a new design in years. Sure, MacBooks were cool back in the day, but now they’re just average. And where’s our answer to the Surface? Tim, you actually let Microsoft–Microsoft again!–pace us with a mobile product. That’s freakin’ pitiful.
8. Diversify our supply chain out of Asia.
Tim, Tim, Tim… I love Asia, but you’ve bet our entire company on the belief that there will never be another war (shooting or trade) there. Meanwhile, China has become more aggressive and there’s a madman with nuclear weapons perched a few miles from our main supplier for iPhone parts. Wake up! We need to sourcing our parts in geographical areas where war is less likely.
9. Fix our software, already.
This was the one that surprised me the most. I knew that iTunes, iBooks, Music, and AppStore was a crazyquilt but I figured we could fix that in a future release. But here we are, ten years later, and we’re still asking people to suffer through this counter-intuitive bullsh*t? And what’s with the recent instability with our operating systems? And that wack Facetime security hole?
In doing so, it has cut its on-site hardware footprint from 24U to 4U, slashed equipment and licensing costs, and reduced data restore times from hours or days to minutes.
The move also gives Cranfield peace of mind in disaster recovery by gaining the ability to run all operations from any location using virtual servers running in Azure, should the entire site become unavailable.
The entire project is a drive towards simplifying Cranfield’s on-site physical infrastructure in a move that encompasses cloud as a site for storage (and compute in case of outages).
Cranfield is a leading research establishment in science, industry and technology, with 1,600 staff and 4,000 postgraduate students.
Its IT stack is based around Microsoft and Linux servers with Microsoft and Oracle-based applications. It is effectively 100% virtualised on VMware, with 400-600 virtual machines running at any one time.
Its existing backup infrastructure was based on Veeam backup software and Data Domain hardware, with replication to a third party-hosted Data Domain box.
That setup had reached end of life and was showing the signs, said head of IT infrastructure Edward Poll.
“Data Domain did what it was supposed to do, but it was time to refresh things and we wanted to reduce costs, management time and complexity, and increase performance,” he said.
“The major issue with Data Domain had become restores. It ingests well, but recovering was more problematic. It would be fine for one restore, but if we’d had to restore multiple – 50, 100 or 150 – servers, we would have struggled.”
Cranfield’s IT department had already started a journey towards cloud by using StorSimple appliances – with about 80TB on site and 0.5PB in the Azure cloud – and had discovered how cost-effective it can be.
“Azure was a good fit and we started by thinking we could use Veeam and Data Domain instances in the cloud, but it was suggested to us, ‘why not get rid of a layer of software?’, and we looked at using Rubrik appliances,” said Poll.
Rubrik is part of an emerging category of backup appliances that come as nodes that build into clusters in a similar way to hyper-converged infrastructure.
Rubrik’s software appliance can come on approved server hardware from Cisco, HPE or Dell with flash and spinning disk inside. Capacities for a minimum four-node cluster are in the 64TB-160TB range, depending on the hardware.
Customers can set policies to specify how long data should be retained as a backup and which can be accessed for production use from Rubrik hardware. Rubrik backup data is seen as an NFS file share before being sent to an in-house physical archive or the cloud.
Cranfield has deployed eight Rubrik R348S nodes with a total of about 80TB of storage on site, with flash and SAS spinning disk tiers of storage inside. Data is ingested, then copied off to the Azure cloud.
The key benefits for Poll’s team are the substantially better restore times, plus the ability to potentially restore virtual machines in the cloud, allowing staff to work from any location in the event of a disaster.
Rubrik’s CloudOn enables rapid recovery to allow for business continuity in the event of a disaster, said Poll. “If our on-prem site is down, we can quickly convert our archived VMs into cloud instances, and launch those apps on-demand in Azure,” he added.
“We don’t notice any difference in data ingest, but performance on restores is very much better.”
In cost terms, Cranfield had been spending £50,000 a year on off-site hosting. It now spends about £25,000 a year with Microsoft Azure.
Meanwhile, time spent managing backup is down from about half a day a week to five minutes a day.
In terms of physical space and equipment savings, Poll said the university had turned off 42U of storage and backup devices, of which backup servers and Data Domain comprised 24U.
“Overall, it has given us a simpler, faster and more reliable backup service,” he said. “It is more easily integrated with a department that is moving towards a DevOps model, and when it comes to data recovery, we are down to minutes rather than many hours.”
The storage and backup refresh – with the move towards hyper-converged infrastructure – forms part of a wider plan to rationalise IT by making use of contemporary devices’ formats with a smaller physical footprint, as well as the cloud.
Poll added: “The university masterplan is to knock down the IT department and to no longer have two large datacentres on site. Instead, there will be one datacentre, a ‘resiliency room’ for redundancy of network equipment, and the cloud.”
From live-action videos to live stories and motion graphics, more brands than ever are relying on video to connect with their audiences. That’s because, as of this year, 80 percent of all web traffic is video. So if you want to go where your audiences are, embracing video is a must.
But just like many marketers and advertisers, you might be stuck in a rut with traditional video formats. You’ve stuck to tried-and-true live-action video, the stuff that cereal and car commercials are made of. You might be worried that a fully animated video, or a live-action video overlaid with animations, might seem too much like a cartoon. But it can be so much more than that.
You might also worry that animated motion graphics aren’t within your budget. However, there are a few things you can do to make sure they’re within your reach. Shorter videos cost less, but aren’t necessarily less effective. Can a 20-second motion graphic get your message across? With the right planning, it probably can.
Animated video and GIFs aren’t right for every brand. But if you’re trying to accomplish one or more of these three goals, it’s time to consider whether animation is right for you:
1. You’re telling a story that live-action video can’t capture.
Perhaps your brand simply doesn’t lend itself to creating compelling live-action video. For manufacturers of computer chips or software designers, this often proves to be the case. Or perhaps the most aspirational aspects of your brand can’t be photographed. If you’re in a medical field that works on the microscopic level, this may be true for you.
Many brands simply can’t tell their whole story with live-action video. But they still want to produce great videos, given just how essential video marketing is for keeping brands relevant today.
That’s where animation comes in. It can visualize abstract concepts, transport viewers to the surface of Mars, and dive down to the atomic level. And animation doesn’t have to be “cartoony.” It can tell every kind of story. Check out NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio for examples of just how essential animation is for telling compelling stories in technical contexts.
2. You want to share compelling information.
Sometimes, live-action video just doesn’t tell the full story. Imagine, for instance, that you’re trying to sell a core processor that boosts computing power and speed. Let’s be honest: it might be exciting, but it doesn’t look exciting. What’s more, looking at it just doesn’t tell the full story.
That’s why, when a company like Intel sells its products, it relies heavily on animation. Intel in particular likes to use live video with text and animation overlaid onto that video. Check out this commercial, which calls out key features like 4K video. You wouldn’t know the video is 4K simply by looking at the computer screen shown in the commercial. Instead, you need some help:
Or look at this Intel commercial, which overlays fun animations indicating the games people are playing and the apps they’re using while they’re sitting at the computer. Without these animations, this would be nothing more than, well, video of people sitting in front of screens. That’s pretty boring. Yet the animations combined with custom music transform this into an exciting, high-energy experience:
3. You’re speaking to a younger demographic.
But animation also appeals to millennials and young adults. In some cases, that’s because it can achieve a fun-loving tone that live-action video just can’t. In other cases, it’s capable of achieving a uniquely aspirational look and feel.
Take, for example, another new campaign from Goldfish’s parent division, Campbell Snacks. This fully animated video for Kettle Chips touts the brand’s dedication to keeping the planet clean with the help of an animated truck that drives around the globe in an instant:
The coins sold by small companies in Initial Coin Offerings are often compared to penny stocks. Like penny stocks, they’re cheap. Penny stocks cost less than five bucks; a new coin released at an ICO can literally cost a penny or less. They also have the potential for huge returns. Monster Beverage, a drinks company, was selling at around 60 cents a share at the start of 2005. It’s now worth nearly $60 a share. If you had bought $100 of those shares fourteen years ago, you’d now be sitting on nearly $10,000. That’s not as high as the returns earned by early Bitcoin investors but it’s still worth having. There are some important differences between penny stocks and cheap coins from ICOs though. Here are four of them:
An ICO Doesn’t Give You a Company
Penny stocks might be cheap but they’re still stocks. They give you a share of a company, possibly with voting rights. An ICO only releases a product whose value you hope will rise. It’s like a new casino raising funds by selling its unique poker chips cheaply. If the casino is popular those chips could be worth a lot of money. But if the casino is never built, you’ll be left with a pile of useless discs.
You Can Research the People Behind the ICO
One reason that a penny stock is such a high risk is that there’s often very little information about the company or the people behind it. You might not know who the managers are, what they did before they launched the company or whether they’re serious. You might know no more than the price of the stock and the name of the business. The rest is a shot in the dark.
Before launching an ICO, cryptocurrency firms release white papers. Those white papers will explain the background of the people launching the firm. You can often contact them on Telegram and ask them questions. That doesn’t mean that you can find all the information you want, or always get the answers you need. There will always be gaps and risks. But ICOs can provide details about the people behind them.
You Can Research the Business Idea
The white paper should also explain what the company is doing and how it plans to do it. Again, that doesn’t mean that the company will actually do what it says. It doesn’t mean that the managers have the skill or the competence to do what they intend. But you should be able to assess their idea and decide for yourself whether or not you think it has legs. A bet on an ICO is a bet on a business idea.
Coins Are Easier to Buy and Sell than Penny Stocks
Penny stocks are usually bought and sold through brokers. The markets are illiquid, the commissions are high and the process isn’t straightforward. The products of ICOs aren’t always sold on major cryptocurrency exchanges but you can usually buy them directly from the companies and if the coin is a success, you can expect it to be listed in the future.
“Easier” isn’t the same as “easy” though. Trading volumes will still be small. Not all coins will be listed on an exchange and those that are listed, often find themselves on small exchanges.
Like penny stocks, buying a small coin at an ICO is a high risk venture. But you can keep your losses low, and who knows, you might just strike it big!
MongoDB, a database software provider whose stock has been on a tear recently, just hired its first-ever chief information security officer. The appointment, which came Friday, signals that the company plans to take security more seriously even as it faces stiffened competition from the likes of Amazon and other tech giants.
The new boss is Lena Smart, a Glaswegian cybersecurity professional. Smart formerly held the same title at IPO-bound Tradeweb, a financial services firm that supplies the technology behind certain electronic trading markets. Prior to Tradeweb, she headed security at the New York Power Authority, where she worked for more than a decade. A cellist in her spare time, Smart told me in her Scottish brogue that her priority in the new job will be “knowing what the crown jewels are—that’s our customer data—and making sure that’s always protected.”
People leaving MongoDB and other databases unsecured on the web has been a persistent source of data-leaks over the years. Just this month, a security researcher discovered one such sieve that exposed to public view a trove of sensitive information, including location data, on millions of people in China. The misconfigured repository appears to have originated from SenseNets, a Shenzhen-based company that is likely providing the Chinese government with crowd-surveilling, facial recognition technology to track the country’s muslim Uyghur population. This is just the latest leak example; there are innumerable others.
Despite the frequency of these leaks, the situation seems to be improving. Most of these inadvertent leaks have sprung, in fairness, from people using outdated instances of the company’s so-called community edition software, a free, barer-bones version of the database product. Mark Wheeler, a MongoDB spokesperson, conceded that the 12-year-old company “struggled in its early years to find the right balance with security.” But he avers that updates to the default settings of MongoDB’s software over the past few years, plus key security team hires—including guardians Davi Ottenheimer, Kenn White, and now Smart—are changing the equation.
As Smart’s scope involves securing the totality of MongoDB’s business, the data-spillage issue ultimately falls to her. She says she’ll continue educating customers in best practices when it comes to security. She says she will also aim to imbue the company’s product development process with security, quality assurance, and testing from the earliest stages. “If we can get in at the very start” of the software development lifecycle, Smart says, it will “save us time and money and make our products more reliable and secure.”
The leaky database issue is one that extends well beyond MongoDB. It’s also a problem for rivals such as Amazon, particularly its S3 buckets, Elastic, and others. Like so many companies, these database-makers are looking now to shore up their software in the hopes of turning a historical weakness—cybersecurity—into a competitive strength. As Dev Ittycheria, MongoDB’s president and CEO, tells Fortune: making the company’s products as secure as possible “is critical to our business.”
Indeed, it’s critical to MongoDB and, increasingly, every business.
At the same time, Amazon is getting wise to people who use the trial window for Prime to claim the best perks. In order to take advantage of this deal, members initially will be allowed to sign up for only three months of free Switch Online access. Then, after 60 days, users can claim the remaining nine months.
There’s a Sept. 24 deadline to sign up for the first part of the perk. The nine-month extension must be claimed by Jan. 22.
The service is tied to Twitch Prime, one of Amazon Prime’s benefits. The free months can be added on to any existing paid Switch Online subscriptions.
The partnership between Amazon and Nintendo is a notable one, as the two companies have not always been on the best of terms. In 2012, for example, Amazon suddenly halted its first party sales of Nintendo hardware. (Resellers were allowed to continue selling the systems, although at prices of their own choosing.)
Amazon, which owns Twitch, is widely expected at some point to announce a video game streaming service along the same line of Google’s Stadia. The company has not commented on speculation about such action, including any sort of timeline.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s communications watchdog threatened on Thursday to block access to popular VPN-services which allow users to gain access to websites which have been outlawed by Moscow.
Russia has introduced tougher internet laws, requiring search engines to delete some results, messaging services to share encryption keys with security services and social networks to store users’ personal data on servers within the country.
But VPN (virtual private network) services can allow users to establish secure internet connections and reach websites which have been banned or blocked.
Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor said it had asked the owners of 10 VPN services to join a state IT system that contains a registry of banned websites.
If the VPN services link to the system, their users would not be able to reach websites which had been blocked or be able to use the banned Telegram messenger service.
The internet censor said that it had sent notifications to NordVPN, Hide My Ass!, Hola VPN, Openvpn, VyprVPN, ExpressVPN, TorGuard, IPVanish, Kaspersky Secure Connection and VPN Unlimited, giving them a month to reply.
“In the cases of non-compliance with the obligations stipulated by the law, Roskomnadzor may decide to restrict access to a VPN service,” the watchdog said in a statement.
Reporting by Anton Zverev. Writing by Andrey Kuzmin; Editing by Alexander Smith
“There’s no reason to be afraid,” my spouse scolded, as my 1-year-old and 4-year-old shrieked at the top of their lungs. You would’ve thought they were being roasted alive, instead of merely strapped into the Burley Encore X as their parents gingerly hauled it down a small, steep hill to the beach.
For a minute, the stroller was poised over a three-foot drop. I held the roll bar from the top and lowered it to my spouse as I braced my feet on a tree root and thought, “Hey, I might start shrieking, too.” You can’t blame toddlers for tantruming when the tantrum makes perfect sense.
Our kids are used to this. Ever since my son has been big enough to hold his head up on his own, we’ve been hauling them around in the active parents’ bike trailer of choice, a Thule Chariot. The Chariot has different iterations at different price points, but each iteration can be modified for jogging, biking, or cross-country skiing.
This year, Burley released a series of new, rugged child bike trailers. While the the Eugene, Oregon-based company is known for super-safe designs, it’s hoping that the new Cub X, D’Lite X, and Encore X will get more Burley trailers off the streets and onto the sand, snow, and dirt.
I opted to test the Encore X performance sport stroller-trailer. It has suspension, in comparison to the more affordable Encore, but fewer of the luxury features of the D’Lite model. After a few weeks of testing, I still prefer our Chariot. But Burley’s many fans will find plenty of reasons to love the Encore X.
And It Was All Yellow
The Encore X is easy to assemble and use. Like Burley’s jogging stroller, the Solstice, the manipulable parts are set off in bright yellow plastic, so you know exactly which parts you are supposed to wrestle with and which ones you should leave alone.
At 31 inches across, it’s narrow enough to fit through our front door—just barely—and at 24.7 pounds, it’s lighter than our Chariot Cheetah, which weighs 26.5 pounds. It comfortably fits my two kids, but it’s worth noting that its total capacity is only 100 pounds. I’m probably only going to be able to carry both children in it for another year or so.
I might be able to use it for a little longer if I can resist packing it full of stuff. The Encore X has an awe-inspiring cargo capacity. It’s hard not to start tossing random things into the 60-liter cargo bin, like picnic blankets, tennis rackets, or dog food. You can also remove the seats to convert it to a cargo trailer.
It also comes with a one-wheel stroller conversion kit. To use it, screw the Burley hitch on your rear axle. When you want to bike, hook up the trailer hitch with by sliding in the pin and locking it; flip small front wheel up and you’re ready to go. When you want to convert it to a stroller, unhook the pin and flip the front wheel down. The transition is quick and easy, and unlike the Chariot, you don’t have to worry about finding a way to carry or store the hitch bar. Some convertible strollers, like the Thule Chariot, do have a sturdier ball-and-socket attachment in addition to a pin.
Finally, the Encore X comes with all the standard features that help make the company’s trailers so beloved among biking baby-havers: it comes with a skid guard to protect the bottom of the trailer, and the wheels have guards and are easy to switch out with the pop of a big, yellow button.
And the suspension works! I biked two kids and all their stuff on everything from dirt trails, to sand and gravel paths, and no one protested or cried (except for that one time).
Not so Burly
As a bike trailer, the Encore X is nearly perfect. For two weeks, I towed my children to and from school. A sunshade and UV-protective panels protected my kids from the sun, and the big storage container meant that I didn’t have to attach panniers to my bike rack to carry all their backpacks and jackets. I could throw in a friend’s skateboard in the back when he wanted to walk with us, or a basketball to play at the park.
When I took it on more adventurous excursions, cracks began to show. The Encore X meets ASTM F1975-09 safety standards and survived extensive drop- and crush-testing thanks to its heat-treated aluminum roll frame, but I have some concerns with its durability.
The first flaw is that the trailer’s handlebar doesn’t lock into place. When I picked up the bike trailer an inch or two to pull it around a gate or over a curb, the handlebar popped out, rotated, and plonked my children on the ground. When we had to lift the trailer over a log on the trail, my spouse and I picked the stroller up by its frame and ignored the handlebar altogether; it was just easier.
Burley assured me that you can tighten the clamp to lock the handlebar in place. However, in order to do so, you need to pop out the barrel nut that holds the handlebar in place. And if you tighten it too much, you might snap the handlebar’s cinch lever. As I pondered this conundrum, I couldn’t help but think that a sport trailer should be a little hardier than this.
I also wonder how long the Encore X will hold together. The fabric is made from tough 600-dernier polyester, but after a mere two weeks of being folded up and shoved in the back of my car, it has already started to wear through. The damage isn’t covered by the three-year warranty. Burley suggests a little Tenacious Tape might do the trick, but I’ve owned the Thule Chariot for three years and put it through similar paces, and its only signs of wear are fading from the sun.
The Thule Chariot’s accessories also just make more sense. For example, the Chariot’s two-wheel stroller kit is included in the base price, whereas with the Burley, the two wheel stroller kit is an add-on. The one-wheel stroller conversion kit might be more convenient in some ways, but I missed having two wheels. They make the stroller smaller and easier to maneuver, and I wouldn’t want to pay extra for them.
I was excited to test Burley’s sand- and gravel-riding kit, but I found that the big, fat, 16-inch tires were unnecessary. If you want to bike to the beach and push the stroller through sand, you have to buy the $149 jogger kit on top of the $199 fat tires. Without the jogger kit, the puny front tire sunk into the sand, tipping the stroller forward.
If you pick the Encore X, my advice is to skip the sand kit and stick with the ski kit for snow. Opt for the jogger kit if you want to go on sand or trails, or the two-wheel kit if you live in a city.
If you want a one-and-done bike trailer that you can also hoist over a tree root without your children screaming, my vote would still be for one of the Thule Chariots like the one I recommended in our Best Strollers guide. Still, I found it to be a surprisingly difficult decision.
The Encore X has many admirable qualities, especially if you don’t go off-roading very much. It’s lighter and narrower, with much better storage options. With a few refinements to improve its durability, and a little Tenacious Tape, I might see a lot more of these on the roads and trails this summer.