Busting the 3 Biggest Cloud Computing Myths

On October 10, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

Do you think cloud computing is a temporary thing, something which computer users will soon tire of? Maybe you think storing data in the cloud is an inherently risky move. Or perhaps you think cloud computing is too costly. If you do, you're guilty of believing some of the most common myths about cloud computing.


Myth: Cloud Computing Is a Fad


There are a lot of computing fads we see come and go, and many people think cloud computing is among these fads. While we can’t say for sure that this is not the case, we can consider the evidence. Much of which leads us to believe that cloud computing is here to stay. For example, many companies and services that consumers utilize frequently, like Amazon, iTunes, and Gmail all use the cloud. Cloud computing makes these services more efficient when delivering products to their customers. These are just a few examples, but as more and more companies use the cloud the more we can see that it is not, in fact, a fad.


Myth: The Cloud Is Risky


Another common sentiment about the cloud is that it is risky, that data is more exposed to hackers when kept in the cloud. There has been some instances where high-profile companies have lost data, one example being the recent hit on Amazon Web Services. These occurrences tend to stick with us, but you don’t have to store all of your most vital data on the public cloud, you can store it on a private cloud, like the one offered by a Managed Services Provider. Additionally, if your information is stored on your hard drive and in a private cloud and your hard drive abruptly burns out, you can still access to your information. Think of it as a security net.


Myth: Cloud Computing Is Costly


As with any service, if a company wasn’t previously paying for it, it becomes an added cost. But while a company may pay more upfront, in the end they will spend less on labor, as being able to share information through the cloud is much more economical. All in all, cloud computing is more cost effective.

 

Annoying Smartphone Habits

On October 5, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

In general, smartphones have made our lives simpler. They can help us find the way to a restaurant and they keep us linked to our social media accounts and mail. If they are so helpful, how come so many people get agitated with smartphone users? Probably because there are some bothersome habits they develop. If you are guilty of any of the habits listed below, you may be unintentionally annoying those around you.


Texting and driving


Although texting and driving is against the law in most states, people still do it. This behavior is not only aggravating, as it makes you less of an attentive driver, it can result in car accidents. These accidents can just be fender benders or they can end in fatalities. Send a text to your friend telling them you will be five minutes late is not worth the possibility of hurting yourself or someone else. If you can’t resist the urge to text, try turning your phone off when you are in a vehicle.


Paying more attention to your phone than your friends


Have you ever witnessed people eating dinner together but they are both on their smartphones? This practice is very annoying for people. When you make plans with your friends and family, the intent is to spend quality time with them, right? How can you do that if you are checking your email the whole time or texting? Remember how you have felt if you have been in the midst of a discussion and a friend has answered a text? Perhaps you felt less important. If you don't want your companions to feel this way, avoid your phone when out with them.


Noisy keyboards


When you navigate through your phone or type does it make little clicking sounds or beeps? You may not notice this, but it is probably annoying the people around you. When you are standing in line at the grocery store and texting your friend, the people around you don’t want to hear the clicks of your fingers moving across the keys. It is simple to turn this off for the comfort of those around you.

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Lesser Known Tricks In Evernote

On October 3, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

Evernote is a commonly used application where you can store notes, photos, web pages, and videos into virtual notebooks. One of the best things about Evernote is that you can easily search inside it. It is a great organizational tool that allows you easy and quick access to the essential things you need to remember. Nonetheless, some of the more robust features are often unnoticed as it is so easy to use.


Mobile


One feature that is often overlooked is Evernote’s ability to sync with other devices. This allows you to access your notes from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. To do this you only have to install the Evernote app on the device and sign into your account. It will then instantly sync, saving all your information to all your devices.


Protect yourself


If you are worried about storing your bank account information or your passwords into Evernote, you don't have. You can encrypt your information.


It is easy to do this. Just highlight the text you want, right click, and select the “encrypt selected text” option. You will then be asked to create a password for your encryption. Now your data is safe and sound.


Outside apps


One of the best features of Evernote is how well it works with outside apps. For instance, WritePad, an app for the iPad that lets users take notes using their fingers or iPad stylus pen. Once they've finished their notes, they can then quickly save them in Evernote.

 

Microsoft Word Tips: Increased Productivity at Work

On September 27, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

1. Get comfortable with the Track Changes feature


Tools > Track Changes


Lawyers, publishers, and other word-processing pros use Track Changes. That’s because there’s no better technique to edit or proofread a document for a co-worker or client. With Track Changes enabled, all of your edits are obviously marked for the original author to evaluate and accept or reject. You can even add margin comments to suggest tweaks, ask questions, or offer words of encouragement.


WARNING: Ensure that you accept all changes and save your document before submitting it to a client or prospect—you don’t want them to see all of the edits which were made to the document. (They don’t have to know how the sausage is made…)


2. Use Find and Replace for efficient editing and formatting


Edit > Find > Advanced Find and Replace


Find and replace is another great tool if you are editing a document. Say you notice the word weather is always spelled whether in the document. You can just find and replace all the misspellings at once. You can also replace the entire font in the document using this tool. This could come in handy, for example, if your company uses a distinct font in their branding.


3. Customize your toolbars to suit your daily needs and routines


View > Toolbars > Customize Toolbars and Menus


Most of us do not use all of the buttons and functions that are defaulted to appear in the toolbar of Microsoft Word. By spending a little time customizing your toolbar to have the functions you use with greater regularity, you can same yourself time in the long run.


4. Eliminate formatting frustration: Add the “Show all nonprinting characters” button to your toolbar


This helpful button lets you see all of the formatting elements at play in your document, many of which are otherwise undetectable. When Word begins to act peculiar and you can’t understand why your text isn’t doing what you want it to do, simply click the “Show all nonprinting characters” button to see what’s happening and how to fix it. Boom.

 

The Race Between Malware and Antivirus Software

On September 26, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

If you're a conscientious computer user, you make sure to keep your antivirus software up-to-date. It's the only way to guard your computer from viruses and malware, right? According to a recent story by MIT's Technology Review, no.


Antivirus Software: Unreliable?


The story states that the antivirus software we have all counted on to shield our information is no longer as effective as it used to be. More and more advanced viruses are being developed daily that cannot be detected by current antivirus software. This can be very concerning as many of us use the Internet every single day.


Burned by Flame


The Technology Review story concentrates on Flame, probably the most complicated instances of malware ever discovered. According to the story, Flame has been copying documents and making recordings of audio, keystrokes, network traffic and Skype calls and taking screenshots of all this activity from the computers it has infected. What’s the worst part? Flame has been doing this for at least two years, based on the Technology Review story. And during this time, not a single bit of security software discovered this particularly clever bit of malware.


An Industry Under Siege


Wouldn’t it be nice if Flame was the only malware that could get by antivirus software? Unfortunately, this is not the case. There are quite a few that are more than difficult to detect and as soon as antivirus software gets upgraded, malware is developed that challenges it even more. This doesn't mean you shouldn't take all measures available to protect your computer, like keeping your antivirus software up to date. You ought to just be aware that there are viruses out there that may sneak through. Hopefully the antivirus industry will eventually catch up with the growth of viruses and malware.

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Will We Be Charging Our Devices With Our Clothes Soon

On September 21, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

As the world relies more and more on mobile devices, our necessity for new ways to charge batteries gets to be more pressing. That is why inventors today are working to create clothing that does more than keeps you warm; it can also charge your devices! This was highlighted in a recent
story in Mashable. It discusses several different clothing and textile products that double as chargers. We focus on a few below.


Rain Boots that Charge Your Phone


Orange, a British mobile carrier that partnered with a firm named GotWind in 2010 to produce rain boots that consumers can use to charge their phones. The boots were just a prototype, introduced at the Glastonbury Music Festival, but the prototype showed enough potential to get mobile users excited.


Military Tech


The military is often discovering innovative technologies and this is true for charging technology too. The military is presently using a product developed by Intellectual Textiles. It is pieces of fabric that are sewn into vests, shirts, and helmets. Essentially, it charges one battery at a time. Then the power from that battery is sent to whatever device must be charged through the clothing.


The Most Advanced Felt in the World


And if you thought that was cutting-edge, check out Power Felt. Scientists at the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials at Wake Forest University are developing this presently. It is a thermoelectric device that turns body heat into electricity. It’s like something out of a science fiction novel but if they nail this technology down, then we might have a limitless supply of electricity from our clothing for our devices.


Again, much of this seems like something you'd see in a science-fiction movie, but the technology behind power fashion is improving quickly. It might not be long before that "10 percent battery power" signal will no longer sends us into fits of panic.

 

OS X Mountain Lion: Tips

On September 19, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

Apple’s recently released operating system, Mountain Lion, has gotten a lot of positive press. A typical statement about it is that it’s very easy to use and powerful*. But as outlined by an article written by Mark Crump of for GigaOM, you may not be utilizing it to its full potential. The tips below are a few helpful ones that Crump highlighted. Ideally they will help you increase your productivity if you are working in Mountain Lion.


Managing Mail


One of the more valuable features that Mountain Lion provides is for people who are overwhelmed by the amount of email they receive. And let’s be truthful, this is most of us. You've probably realized that very little mail is actually important and much of it is promotions and coupons. To help deal with this, Apple created the Mountain Lion Notification Center. This allows you to get alerts that pop up on your screen when emails from specific people come in so you don’t have to keep navigating back to your inbox.


The Power of Reminders


Sometimes when we get too involved with our work we forget the little things, like buying milk on our way home from work, or calling a client at 4pm. Mountain Lion has a very simple app that will help. The reminder app lets you set reminders for these things, and you may check off the task when they're completed.


Relying on Notes for Important Codes


How many phone meetings today require that you enter a long meeting code after dialing in? It can be easy to misplace those codes, whether you write them on paper or type them on your computer screen. Mountain Lion's Notes feature, though, gives you immediate access to all your important dial-in codes and passwords. Simply enter your dial-in meeting codes on the Notes feature. Now you'll always know how to get at them when those phone conferences are ready to start.


*Although we love Microsoft, we're also fans of great technology, regardless of the label.

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Apple’s recently released operating system, Mountain Lion, has gotten a lot of positive press. A typical statement about it is that it’s very easy to use and powerful*. But as outlined by an article written by Mark Crump of for GigaOM, you may not be utilizing it to its full potential. The tips below are a few helpful ones that Crump highlighted. Ideally they will help you increase your productivity if you are working in Mountain Lion.


Managing Mail


One of the more valuable features that Mountain Lion provides is for people who are overwhelmed by the amount of email they receive. And let’s be truthful, this is most of us. You've probably realized that very little mail is actually important and much of it is promotions and coupons. To help deal with this, Apple created the Mountain Lion Notification Center. This allows you to get alerts that pop up on your screen when emails from specific people come in so you don’t have to keep navigating back to your inbox.


The Power of Reminders


Sometimes when we get too involved with our work we forget the little things, like buying milk on our way home from work, or calling a client at 4pm. Mountain Lion has a very simple app that will help. The reminder app lets you set reminders for these things, and you may check off the task when they're completed.


Relying on Notes for Important Codes


How many phone meetings today require that you enter a long meeting code after dialing in? It can be easy to misplace those codes, whether you write them on paper or type them on your computer screen. Mountain Lion's Notes feature, though, gives you immediate access to all your important dial-in codes and passwords. Simply enter your dial-in meeting codes on the Notes feature. Now you'll always know how to get at them when those phone conferences are ready to start.


*Although we love Microsoft, we're also fans of great technology, regardless of the label.

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3 of the Top E-readers on the Market

On September 14, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

Have you been looking for an e-book reader? They are extremely popular these days and there are many products to pick from. This can make it difficult to figure out which one has the features you need. Most of the e-readers on the market are high quality items, so, regardless of which one you choose, you'll likely be pleased. We have outlined three below that are a few of the best.


Nook Color: The Nook Color from Barnes & Noble is relatively cheap running around $150. Don’t let the price tag fool you. It is a very high quality item in both the display of images and prose. One of the better features of the Nook Color is that you can touch and hold any word while you're reading and it will give you the definition.


The Nook Color has some built-in applications, like the popular music-streaming site, Pandora. And it’s simple to download more applications from the apps store. However, the one criticism most people have is that a lot of the newer apps are not available for the Nook Color.


Kindle Fire: The Kindle Fire is very similar to the Nook Color and is one of the most popular e-readers available. The reading experience on the Kindle Fire is extremely clear and just like the Nook Color it comes with its own email client and web browser. The Kindle is affordable, too, with the current cost being under $200.


The one negative that people have to say about the Kindle Fire is that the controls are less than intuitive. For example, there is no volume control on the device itself. You have to tap the screen to bring up the volume control.


Kobo e-Reader: The Kobo e-Reader Touch doesn't have the name recognition of either the Nook Color or the Kindle Fire. But that doesn't mean it's not a worthy competitor. In fact, you wouldn't go wrong by spending your e-reader dollars on this nifty device if reading is your primary goal. Users rave about the reading experience on the Kobo. Images and words are sharp and easy to read. The truth is, the Kobo offers seven different font styles and 17 different font sizes for readers to choose from. Others rave about the device's soft, quilted back. Don't laugh; this back helps make holding a Kobo feel more like holding a real book. That's a feature that the Nook Color or Amazon Kindle can't boast.


The battery life of the Kobo also trumps other e-readers. If you turn the Wi-Fi feature off, the battery will last about a month. Also, you can download e-books in many different formats. This is great for graphic novels, or anything graphics-heavy.

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Robots As Helpers

On September 12, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

Here's what we dreamed of as children: jetpacks, entire meals that came in pill form, time travel, and, needless to say, helper robots. That last notion was especially interesting: What humans wouldn't desire a robot to make their bed for them each day, go to work for them if they didn't feel like making the commute, or vacuum the living room rug when they'd rather put up their feet and watch television? Unfortunately, this promised day of robot butlers, maids, and workers has never dawned. Sure, we have little robots that vacuum our rugs, but they're always bumping into things. Can we do better than vacuum-bots?


This amusing video called "Thanks a lot, robot friend" highlights the drawback with helper robots in a few seconds. The task the robot in the video is attempting to accomplish is to pour a beer into a glass while holding something in the other arm. Upon attempting to execute this task, the robot pours beer everywhere and then it’s arm falls off. It may be absurd, but it implies that robots have a ways to go before they are able to perform even simple household tasks.


Washing Your Hair the Robotic Way


Some companies, however, have created some robots that fall under the helper robot category. One of these is Panasonic; they designed a robot that washes your hair. It literally wets, shampoos, conditions, and rinses your hair. It also will give you a massage. This robot has been developed for elderly people and people who would need assistance with this.


The Robot Bed


Another robot that Panasonic developed for elderly and disabled people is a robotic bed. It transforms into an electric wheelchair, and back into a bed. So, helper bots are not quite as far off as it may seem. They are just being developed to help individuals who require assistance with simple tasks, instead of people who would just prefer to be lazy. But someday we might all have helper robots to fetch us a beverage from the refrigerator.

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Three Great Translation Apps

On September 7, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

If you travel overseas on family vacations or for business you might have come across a language barrier. Luckily, your smartphone can help you with this problem. There are many translation apps available that you can use on your personal or business trips. Below are three that we think are some of the best.


Jibbigo


This app, which charges users $4.99 for every language they want to speak, is very user friendly. The app, available on both iPhone and Android devices, allows users to speak into their smartphones or tablets in their native language. It then provides a quick translation into a specific language via text and voice. Jibbigo comes with more than 40,000 words in its vocabulary. Additionally, it doesn't have to have a network connection. This can be essential to travelers in remote locations.


Dean Foster's Culture Guides


If you want an app that provides you with more information then just translations, Dean Foster’s Culture Guides may be what you are searching for. Currently, these guides are only available for 12 countries but they supply maps, current weather reports, exchange rates, along with translations.


Word Lens


Word Lens works a little differently then other translation apps. It uses your smartphones camera. All you do is snap a picture of something written, whether that be a sign, menu, or book and this app will translate it for you. Sadly, the only languages stored in this app are Spanish, French, Italian, and English; though they are working on growing the app. So if you are visiting a country that speaks these languages, this will be very useful.

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