Posted on Jul 31, 2012
The London Olympics has had a unique challenge not seen in any previous games. The popularity of Twitter has skyrocketed since the Beijing games in 2008. The rise of Twitter and other social networks has caused some chaos for organizers and television networks trying to report from London. This is all in addition to the normal fears of organizers with increased cyber security threats caused by a large event such as this.
During one cycling event, a race commentator had to estimate the times for the riders for updates to the viewers. Since the volume of tweets and Facebook updates overloaded the network that was feeding information from GPS transmitters in the cyclists’ bikes to the organizers, the commentator wasn’t able to report accurate times. International Olympic Committee Communications Director Mark Adams said: “From my understanding, one network was oversubscribed, and OBS are trying to spread the load to other providers. We don’t want to stop people engaging in this by social media but perhaps they might consider only sending urgent updates.” Adams told The Associated Press, “We should have foreseen that,” and said that organizers seem to have solved the problem.
Posted on Jul 30, 2012
Google released its next update, version 4.1, to their Android mobile operating system, and in keeping with the theme of dessert/treats that go in alphabetical order, it’s named Jelly Bean. While it’s not a large of a jump as Gingerbread was to Ice Cream Sandwich as far as appearance, it’s definitely a big leap in easy access to information and has been fine-tuned under the hood. For users of Ice Cream Sandwich (version 4.0.4), the user interface is very familiar at first glance, and you wouldn’t be blamed for mistaking one for the other, but once you start to use it, it becomes abundantly clear that Google has worked hard on this.
One of the biggest additions is Google Now, which is basically Android attempt at Apple’s Siri, a voice recognition search and automation tool. Google Now has seen the shortcomings of Siri and improved upon them. Not only can you do everything Siri can, like search the internet and map, dictate emails, make calendar appointments, and see the weather, but it’s also relies on GPS data to let you know public transit info of stops near you, when you should leave to get to your next event depending on the traffic, sports scores, flight info, translations, currency conversion and local places near you. There are so many more actions it can perform, that I can’t list them all, but trust me, it’s upwards of 80. One small but important difference to Siri is that you don’t need to talk to your phone to get what you want; you can also just type it out so you don’t look like an oddball out in public.
Notifications have also been revamped, they contain more information than before, and if the program has it built in, you can expand them to see more or select certain options instead of opening the app and doing it there. It’s great for things like Foursquare when it pops up asking if you want to check in at a location, the “Check In” button is right in the notification so you don’t have to exit the app you’re currently in. Emails will also show more of the message text, rather than just the subject and sender.
Almost all of the Google Apps have been tweaked to look nicer, function better, and run smoother. Google Maps now has the option to save chunks for offline viewing. The area that you can save in one chunk is rather large, roughly the size of Connecticut, but if that’s not enough, you can always save as many overlapping chunks as you want. While the stock keyboard has been improved to include predictions, it’s still not as good as third party keyboards like Swype or Swiftkey 3.
With all of these improvements you might be wondering if Jelly Bean will get bogged down, and the answer is no. A large part of the update has been something the engineers at Google call “Project Butter” which has produced an OS that is exactly as that, butter smooth. Whether it’s playing an intense game, or just scrolling home screens, it’s very apparent that it’s smoother. Even on the same exact device (Galaxy Nexus), it’s visibly smoother than Ice Cream Sandwich. This subtle, yet crucial improvement may not be noticed by the standard user, but it’s the difference between being aggravated that your phone is sluggish and feeling like your phone is from the future.
While I agree that calling it version 5.0 would be too much for the additional features and subtle improvements, it also seems like calling it 4.1 doesn’t do Jelly Bean justice. Several devices will be getting the official update in mid-July, including the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, Motorola Xoom and will come preloaded on the Nexus 7 tablet they also announced last week. For other phones though, it might be much longer, because after Google releases their next version, the manufacturers then tweak the OS to add their own interfaces and apps (bloatware). Not only does it take a very long time, but most users would rather just have the stock OS instead. For that reason, only about a dozen phones even have Ice Cream Sandwich on them. So assuming Jelly Bean ever gets to your phone, you will notice the difference and you’ll thoroughly enjoy the improvements.
Posted on Jul 27, 2012
Apple is recognized by many as the world’s leading technology firm. Their much anticipated Mountain Lion iOS with more than 200 features is finally here! And, this innovative release is more than just an upgrade of repetitious features.
This new version seeks to push OS X towards the look and feel of iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system, which currently runs on the majority of Apple’s devices. It also makes up for the majority of Apple’s revenue.
Even Microsoft is moving towards this concept with all their devices. Cloud technology for example, is where much of the technology is heading nowadays with smartphones and tablets. This technology is proving extremely profitable for Apple and helped thrust it to the forefront of the industry as the number 1 technology company in the world. It is only a matter of time that all Apple products come full circle simulating the same experience.
Posted on Jul 26, 2012
“Do I shutdown my computer every night or should I just let it keep running? This is a question that I get asked by people constantly. Clearly, there are times when you don’t want to shutdown your computer or smartphone because there may be something important running in the background. On the other hand, shutting down your electronic device does fix some glitches that commonly occur, especially if you’ve had that piece of equipment for a long period of time.
The truth is that there is no definitive right or wrong answer to this common dilemma. However, one thing is for certain – if you constantly turn your device on and off, you are reducing the life cycle of your device… What makes most sense is to think of your computing devices as you would your television set. Turning it off periodically extends its life in the same way it would your PC, Mac, or iPhone or iPad. There is, however, nothing wrong with leaving it on all night or putting it on sleep mode. The myth that turning it on and off, or leaving it in the sleep mode, uses excessive energy is just that, a myth!
Posted on Jul 25, 2012
IT departments like working with hardware that consistently operates at a high level of performance because this helps to promote a stress free work environment for equipment users. Maintaining IT equipment to extend their life-cycles is an important function of corporate IT departments both from an operational and a financial standpoint.. The goal at hand is to reduce failures and data-loss due to predictable event that do occur as a result of prolonged wear and tear over an extended period of time.
Performing preventative maintenance or just repairing or replacing old equipment is common place in all organizations. Change within a computer-based installation is a constant function. However, by taking into consideration the expected lifespan of your equipment, you can adequately forecast future budgets and avoid unnecessary downtime.
Posted on Jul 24, 2012
Cloud computing has demonstrated its tremendous investment potential as a technology innovation. It has also shown that their financial benefit to companies and organizations is significant. But, what happens when the “rain cloud” erupts and the power goes out?
Recently, for example, there were a series of storms that brought down Amazon.com’s data centers in Northern Virginia. This wasn’t the first time that this cruel act of nature crippled Amazon. Unfortunately, these occurrences do not instill confidence in consumers and others who are looking to move their infrastructure to the reliable Cloud computing service..
The recent storm disrupted services to companies such as Elastic Compute, Elastic Cache, Elastic MapReduce, and Relational Database Services. The power outage also affected other popular sites such Instagram, Pinterest, Netflix, and Heroku. Grant it, the storm caused a great deal of power outages throughout the region, but other providers in the area were unaffected as they were able to run unimpeded on their backup systems until the power was restored.
Posted on Jul 23, 2012
We’ve all heard of “Cloud technology” in some way or another over the past few years. You don’t have to be a tech guru to know how the Cloud functions nor even realize that you may already be using this advanced technology in some form or other.
Just to be clear as to its meaning, however, the Cloud is defined by Wikipedia in the following manner: :”Cloud computing is the delivery of computing and storage capacity  as a service  to a community of end-recipients.” The name is derived from the use of a cloud-shaped symbol  as an abstraction for the complex infrastructure that it contains in system diagrams . Cloud computing is entrusted with a user’s data, software and computational capability over a network. Its enormous storage capacity allows users easy access to their computer systems at any time. And, Cloud computing provides a low cost solution for many past company network heartaches. Despite these advantages, one must always be mindful and vigilant as to security issues, especially when it comes to such considerations as evolving technology and ownership of data.
Posted on Jul 20, 2012
Hackers and Cybercriminals are trading stolen information at an astonishing pace this year. Swapping and selling of personal information has soared 300% alone in the first four months of 2012. Many security companies predicted that we would see skyrocketing figures of Cybercriminal attacks using malware or hacking network systems and they are being proved correct.
Experian, an expert in credit evaluations and market research reported these alarming facts and figures. They concluded that “12 million pieces of personal information were illegally sold during the four-month period, 90% of which consisted of login details and passwords. The figures dwarf the credit agency’s data for last year, which totaled 9.5 million.”
“The reason password and login combinations make up nine out of ten illegally traded pieces of data is because they give access to a huge amount of other valuable information, such as address books and related accounts,” said Peter Turner, managing director at Experian Consumer Services in the UK and Ireland.
Posted on Jul 19, 2012
Symantec‘s recent anti-virus update has caused Windows XP PCs to crash and malfunction. Users got to witness firsthand the feared “blue screen of death”, which we all know is probably the worst screen to view when you have a PC. It’s no wonder that masses of users through the world were extremely upset when the update was run. One report indicated that over 300 corporate customers and 60 consumer clients were adversely affected.
Customers calling their phone support lines described it as, “Hell” trying to get answers and a fix to the situation. Symantec’s minimal resolution to this dire problem was to release an uninstall update for each machine, on its website.
The culprits of this dreaded “blue screen of death,” are Symantec Endpoint Protection 12.1 and Norton anti-virus software. This huge blunder on the part of these previously trusted security providers has caused many users to lose confidence in them as demonstrated by their recent decline in profits.
Posted on Jul 18, 2012
Microsoft has launched a beta version of its new Office 2013. Although this edition will be installed locally on your device, it will also be a cloud-based function. The current “preview mode”
Office applications receiving a Windows 8 update in Metro style are as follows: OneNote, Lync, Web meetings, Video conferencing, and audio communications. was released on Monday, and it will be the first to be functioning in the cloud.
The local version of Office will ship bundled with devices running Windows RT, the Windows 8 version for ARM-based machines, including Microsoft’s own Surface Tablet. According to Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, at the Microsoft news conference, this Office suite will include Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.