Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Verizon set to roll out Cloud storage in the coming weeks.

In the coming weeks, Verizon said Tuesday, it will deliver cloud-based storage for smartphones and tablets.

The company's customers will receive 500MB of storage at no charge, but can get up to 125GB of storage. Verizon is offering four storage plans to customers:
  • 500MB: Free
  • 25GB: $2.99 per month
  • 75GB: $5.99 per month
  • 125GB: $9.99 per month
"The secure storage app gives customers a place to back up and access their information," Verizon public relations manager David Samberg said Tuesday in a blog post. "Additionally, as customers use multiple devices, sometimes running on different operating systems, Verizon Cloud will allow for the transferring of some content between Android and iOS devices, making it accessible across smartphones, tablets and computers."

Verizon's cloud storage will roll out in the coming weeks on Android first. Support for iOS devices will be "following soon," Samberg said, while support for other operating systems will come "later this year."

Source: CNET

Monday, April 29, 2013

Microsoft turns Forbes magazines into Wi-Fi hot spots.

In a promotion that melds the dying world of magazines with the living world of Wi-Fi, select copies of Forbes are enjoying a Wi-Fi router, which oozes 15 days of free Wi-Fi through T-Mobile.

This fetching gift was first noticed by someone on the Slickdeals forum -- handle BigMacG4 -- who wondered whether anyone else had been fortunate enough to be gifted this way.

It all seems to be part of a promotion for Microsoft Office 365.

Indeed, a Microsoft spokesperson told Mashable: "The custom 4-page insert with Wi-Fi hot-spot capabilities ran in the May 6, 2013 issue of Forbes and was sent to a limited number of technology and business professionals."

It's not easy to make the cloud seem interesting, so this is one way of at least attempting to inspire.
Those who receive this fine gift ought to remember that they have to charge it first and they should get around three hours of Wi-Fi with every charge.

The router can apparently satisfy as many as five devices at once, which might make your evening commute slightly more entertaining.

Source: CNET

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Congratulations NYC subway riders, you now have free wifi!

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Transit Wireless announced on Thursday that wireless and Wi-Fi service is now available at more than 30 underground subway stations in New York City.

The project has been in the works for five years, and Thursday's announcement marks the first phase in a multi-year plan to bring wireless communications to 277 NYC subway stations. Transit Wireless CEO Bill Bayne held a press event inside the Times Square subway station, which is among those getting service. "It is a befitting tribute to our mission to enable state-of-the-art wireless service to all of the underground subway stations by kicking it off underneath the most famous crossroads in the world: Times Square," Bayne said in a statement.

In addition to Wi-Fi service, commuters will have access to cellular networks underground. Both Verizon Wireless and Sprint have signed on as cell service providers at 36 stations -- from 14th Street to 96th Street -- joining T-Mobile and AT&T. Other partners include Alpha Technologies, which is proving backup power for the underground system, and SOLiD, which is supplying antenna system equipment.

Transit Wireless and the MTA launched a pilot program in 2011, offering Wi-Fi and cellphone service at select stops on the L, A/C/E, and 1/2/3 subway lines. Wireless service is expected to be available at the remaining 241 subway stations by 2018 or sooner. Stations in Queens and Midtown Manhattan will be next, followed by the East Side of Manhattan and the Bronx. Subway commuters can check if their stop has access at NYCsubwaywireless.com.

Transit Wireless spent approximately $200 million to design, build, operate and maintain the system, initially partnering with Wi-Fi hotspot provider Boingo, AT&T and T-Mobile. Transit Wireless said it would split revenue generated by the system with the MTA, which is estimated to be $40 million over 10 years. The latest development is part of New York City's continuous effort to broaden wireless network services available to residents, commuters and tourists. Ongoing projects include pay phone kiosks in the streets, "micro-trenching" fiber-optic cable to neighborhoods and wireless access in public places. On May 4, AT&T and the MTA will host a "hackathon," where developers will compete to create apps that "solve real-world problems and enhance the transit experience of MTA's 8.5 million daily riders." Dubbed MTA App Quest, the challenge will award a total of $50,000 in prizes. Developers will have the option of building their apps using the MTA's public data and APIs.

Source: Information Week 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Texting and driving is still bad...even when using voice-to-text apps.

New research suggests it's just as unsafe to use a voice-to-text mobile app while driving as it is to text manually.

The new study is by the Texas Transportation Institute, which says this is the first research on whether there are driving safety advantages in using voice-to-text apps.

Thestudy involved 43 licensed drivers in a 2009 Ford Explorer. They each drove four times for about 10 minutes at 30 mph: while not texting at all, while texting manually, while texting with the voice-to-text app on the iPhone, and while doing so with the Android smartphone voice-to-text app.

The study found that driver response times were slower no matter which method of texting was used. Drivers took about twice as long to react as when they weren't texting and spent less time looking at the road no matter what texting method they used, the study says.

Interestingly, the researchers found that driver performance was roughly the same with both methods, although manual texting actually required slightly less time than using voice-to-text.

Each driver completed five text messaging tasks: send one, read and reply to three, and simply read one. The texts were from a short script: "They were things people would say in text messages, short phrases, like, 'hey, what are you doing tonight,'" says Christine Yager, associate transportation researcher at the institute. "They would get a reply, and follow up, 'yes, where do you want to meet?' "

Wireless providers and mobile app developers created voice-to-text apps to reduce the effects of manual texting. Drivers in the study reported feeling safer when using a voice-to-text app than when texting manually.

"That is not surprising at all," says John Ulczycki, vice president of the National Safety Council. "We have believed that for some time, that voice-activated texting is not any safer. There are two reasons for that. First, the technology is not yet perfected. Messages often come out garbled, which can take even more time. And second, it's really the same kind of mental concentration that's involved here. They're still taking their mental concentration off the road."

Corporate officials from iPhone did not reply to a request for comment; Android officials declined to comment.

In 2011, 3,331 people were killed and 387,000 injured in distracted-driving crashes, according to the Transportation Department. In 2010, 18% of all injury crashes involved a distracted driver.

"Texting is advancing so rapidly," Yager says. "It's important to ask questions about how this new technology affects driver safety and behavior. It's a constantly evolving process to understand distracted driving because technology is improving every day.

"We're not necessarily saying you shouldn't use Siri (on iPhone) or Vlingo (on Android)," she says. "What we are saying is in this particular study, the voice-to-mail texting and manual texting are virtually the same in how they can compromise safety."

Source: USA Today

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

BlackBerry users rejoice...Skype is finally available!

BlackBerry announced that Skype will be available for both the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 sometime next month. The exact timing is unclear; BlackBerry said only that Skype will pop up in BlackBerry World at about the same time the Q10 goes on sale. The Q10 is expected to go on sale in the U.S. by the end of May (with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless).

Skype's main calling point (pun intended) is that it lets users make free Skype-to-Skype calls through the Internet. Though it's not all that important a tool within the U.S. now that long-distance fees (and to a lesser extent, mobile voice minutes) are a thing of the past, Skype is essential for controlling costs when traveling abroad. Using local Internet connections, travelers can dial up Skype users at the home office for free and avoid paying for costly roaming minutes. Skype also lets users conduct live two-way video calls and instant-messaging chats.

These features are already available on the Z10 and Q10 without Skype; BlackBerry's own BlackBerry Messenger does all three. Some of these features are duplicated by yet other apps, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Viber. Skype, however, has far more mindshare when it comes to providing VoIP-based communications: It boasts some 280 million monthly users, many of whom are mobile. Source: Information Week

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Some toddlers now need treatment for iPad addiction. Does iPad Anonymous exist?

Ever since the iPad came along, with its bright colors and infinite range of games and pictures, it has seemed like an ideal tool to keep baby happy. This happiness, however, is one that baby does not want to ever, ever stop. So much so that some toddlers are now said to be iPad addicts.

There are examples of toddlers being engrossed in their tablets for up to 4 hours a day. This might not seem like much, until one realizes that many of the very youngest are only awake 10 hours a day.

The Sunday Mirror reported on a case of a 4-year-old who, it claimed, is Britain's youngest iPad addict. It quoted psychiatrist Dr. Richard Graham who runs the Capio Nightingale Clinic in London. The clinic specializes in digital detox, weaning the dependent off their gadgets.

Graham, to whom the 4-year-old was referred by her mother, said that he believes such an addiction is common and not unlike alcoholism or drug dependency.

"Although at this stage her use isn't a sufficient concern to warrant in-patient care, it would be if her addiction continues to the age of 11, when she has access to other platforms like smartphones and the Internet," said Graham.

Graham thinks it might be a good idea for Internet use advice to be a core element of ante-natal classes.

Perhaps this all begins with mimicry. The children see their parents' deep involvement in their machines and want to do the same.

The machines themselves are vastly enjoyable. Indeed, visit any bar or restaurant and see supposedly adult humans seemingly unable to focus on anything but screens.

Psychologists are now worrying that when toddlers grow up they won't be able to have normal, human interactions with their contemporaries.

Sources: The Sunday Mirror, CNET

Photojojo introduces the iPad telephoto lens.

This amazing piece of technology is brought to you for only $25!

Enter Photojojo, the company known for making smartphone and photography accessories. Their new iPad Telephoto Lens adds an optical zoom to your iPad or iPad Mini. The kit adds a snap-on back cover to your iPad. The lens is removable, unscrewing from the mount area when you don't need it.

In exchange for that bit of inconvenience, the lens adds a 10X optical zoom to the iPad 3/4 and 12X to the Mini. That's a pretty respectable bump, especially considering that the current optical zoom is 0X.

As always, Photojojo offers a bit of self-deprecating wit in pointing out its products' slight deficiencies: "The iPad telephoto lens has a manual focusing ring to give you added control over its delightfully shallow depth of field. It also adds just a bit of vignetting and a dreamy lo-fi look."
In other words, this ain't no fancy Nikon lens. But it will bring you much closer to the action, vignetting and "dreaminess" notwithstanding, with far better resolution and focus than you could ever achieve with digital zoom.

Source: CNET

Friday, April 19, 2013

Internet sales tax, here we come?

The days of shopping online and being able to duck sales taxes may soon come to an end. The U.S. Senate is slated to vote on the Internet sales tax sometime next week, according to Reuters.

Internet tax supporters, with backing from Walmart, Macy's, and Best Buy, are hoping a Senate vote will give them enough political leverage to require Americans to pay sales tax whenever buying goods online. This could usher in the first national Internet sales tax ever.

According to Reuters, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed a motion on Thursday supporting the proposal. Since Reid filed the motion, the Senate is now expected to vote as soon as Monday on the motion, but it could come later in the week.

The way the law now works is that states can only require Internet retailers with physical stores within their borders to collect sales tax. This means that online shoppers are supposed to self-report sales tax when making purchases -- but many don't.

Still, several major Internet retailers, like Amazon and Apple, which have opened stores and warehouses in more states, are now requiring shoppers to pay sales taxes on Internet purchases. Smaller retailers and eBay sellers, however, are less likely to enforce the self-reported sales tax.
Last month, the Senate voted overwhelmingly, 75 to 24, on a nonbinding version of the bill despite warnings from a handful of senators that the proposal is antibusiness, harmful to taxpayers, and will be a "bureaucratic nightmare."

Besides Walmart, Macy's, and Best Buy, other retails backing the tax include Target, AutoZone, Home Depot, OfficeMax, and the Container Store. They argue that online retailers often do not collect sales taxes at checkout and thus enjoy an unfair competitive advantage over the big box stores.

Those who are against the proposal say that it amounts to a multibillion dollar tax hike on American consumers. Last month, the National Taxpayers Union set up a petition to Congress saying the tax was "really just a way to unleash state tax collectors on the Internet," and 15 conservative groups also sent a letter to members of Congress saying an Internet tax law is "is bad news for conservative principles and the cause of limited government."

Several online tech companies are also against an Internet tax, including eBay, an association of small Internet sellers called WE R HERE, and NetChoice, which includes Facebook, Yahoo, LivingSocial, and AOL as members.

According to Reuters, the measure needs 60 Senate votes for it to move forward.

Original story courtesy of CNET.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Watch out everyone...CISPA has passed in the House. Let's all hope it gets stuck in the Senate!

CISPA, the controversial bill intended to let Internet companies share information about users more freely with the government, has been passed by the House of Representatives. The bill has been touched up since its first appearance last year, but many remain suspicious after what they view as years of misguided tech legislation. Both outside critics and the White House have said CISPA is fundamentally unsound.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is meant to let Internet companies share information with the government for cybersecurity purposes. A company like Facebook or Twitter, for instance, may have info the government wants, like when a user logged in or where they were at a certain time.

The bill would facilitate sharing that data, but many believe it throws privacy protections out the window in the process. Critics say it amounts to the government deputizing private companies to do their surveillance for them.

Source: NBC

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Samsung is now being investigated for false advertising in Taiwan.

Fair-trade officials in Taiwan are looking into reports that Samsung paid people to criticise rival HTC online.

Samsung is alleged to have hired students to post negative comments about phones made by Taiwan's HTC.

Samsung, based in South Korea, said the "unfortunate incident" had gone against the company's "fundamental principles".

If found guilty of engaging in "false advertising", Samsung and its local agent could face fines of up to of 25m Taiwanese dollars (£547,000).

A local website had published documents appearing to show Samsung had been recruiting students to criticise HTC and praise Samsung anonymously on the web.

Samsung Taiwan said it had not been told about the investigation, however the subsidiary put a statement on its local Facebook page saying it had "ceased all marketing activities that involve the posting of anonymous comments". It said all future marketing work would be more in line with its company philosophy of transparency and honesty.

"The recent incident was unfortunate, and occurred due to insufficient understanding of these fundamental principles," it said, adding that it was planning training for employees to ensure events were not repeated.

In early 2013, Samsung was fined by Taiwanese authorities for an advert that misled consumers about the camera on the Galaxy Y Duo.

Source: BBCPC Advisor

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cyberspies are now targeting small businesses as opposed to large corporations. Is your business protected?

­Cybercriminals are taking greater pains to infect the computers of certain employees at specific companies, and are increasingly targeting smaller organizations for sophisticated cyber espionage campaigns.

Those findings were released today by Symantec based on the security giant's analysis of malicious attacks that circulated globally on the Internet in 2012.

Symantec tracked a 42% increase targeted attacks over 12 months, with the greatest growth coming in network intrusions directed at companies with fewer than 250 employees.

Why are small businesses being targeted?
Small businesses often lack adequate security practices. Attackers are moving down the supply chain and choosing to breach the lesser defenses of a small business that may have business relationships with a larger company.

What can or should small businesses do?
The first step is knowing what information needs to be protected. Small businesses should look at where their important information is stored and how it is used, and should first look to protect those areas accordingly.

How can IES help?
We provide the best IT consulting services around! (Yes, that's what all of our competitors say too). But ask any of our current clients and they'll tell you the same. From basic virus protection to securing an entire network, IES technicians are there for our customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Give us a call today at 781-81-MY-IES (781-816-9437) to secure you business.

Source: Symantec, USA Today

Monday, April 15, 2013

Is technology really creating a paperless world? Not necessarily...

Le Trefle, a French toilet paper brand, fully acknowledges that technology is eliminating the need for paper. But in this funny commercial, they prove that paper will never fully die.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's a bird! It's a plane! Nope...it's just an iPad?!?!

A Georgia driver was pootling along when she saw something flying toward her car. She didn't, however, hear an impact. Later that day the iPad was noticed, stucking out from the front bumper. It was wedged so deep that a hammer was used to get it out.

The iPad still worked well enough for an app to flash the owner’s name and telephone number on the screen. That’s how they were able to get the iPad back to its owner. He said he left the device on top of his car and drove off.

This picture of the iPad in the Nissan's bumper went viral with more than 1.5 million views after she posted it to her Facebook page.

Source: WSBTV

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Business bartering: is it really worth it? YES!

Many people have asked me if barter is really worth it lately. For the record, and I can not stress this enough...YES, it is! Belonging to IMS, a professional barter network, saved our company over $25,000 in 2012 between travel, dining, and supplies used to run our business.

You may be asking youself $25,000? Really? Let me explain how this is possible...

Every member of IMS receives their own trade broker whose sole job is to promote and broker trade opportunities for them within the network. This provides a completely unique opportunity to sell your product and services to companies you didn’t even know about (or ones that didn't even know about you).

Now you may be asking, "Isn't barter just a lost cash sale"?
No! Absolutely not! We think of it like this: someone who is looking to barter is trying to spend as little money aspossible (if at any at all). It doesn't matter if your company is on the opposite side of the country; a business owner is much more likely to spend their barter dollars with you then they are to spend real money with a local company.

The benefits of IMS are clear to our firm. When travelling to NYC, we expect nothing less than a four to five star hotel or a luxury apartment on 5th Ave. Dinners while entertaining clients of $300, $400, and even $500 have been enjoyed without even blinking an eye. $250 spa giftcards for our  employees (and their mothers) have been handed out nonstop. The list goes just goes on...barter truly is king.

Here's some information on IMS if you're interested in learning more...
"The international IMS Barter network has 16,000 member businesses, allowing your company to conduct business-to-business trading for goods and services outside of your normal markets. This gives you the opportunity to purchase goods and services for your business using trade dollars, instead of cash. Which means your business can save cash on normal business expenses like printing, repairs and improvements, professional services, travel, office equipment, corporate gifts, company meetings, and much more, by spending your earned trade dollars instead."

Visit IMSbarter.com for more details. Should you choose to signup, tell your broker that International Enterprise Services referred you to the network. (This will wave all application & setup costs).

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ever been camping, tailgating or at a backyard BBQ in the dark? You need this innovative product!

Have you ever been camping, tailgating or at a backyard BBQ at night and had to sift frozen-handed through a cooler trying to find the beverage of your choice? Not anymore! Meet the LiddUp Cooler! This innovative design uses LEDs to provide the perfect amount of light when the cooler is open, conveniently illuminating its contents. The LEDs allow continuous light for up to 2 years of normal cooler usage.

Be the envy of your campsite or tailgating party. No more need for a flashlight, a big, goofy headlamp or relying on a loud generator to provide lighting near your cooler.

Visit LiddUp.com for more information on this innovative cooler.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Think social media isn't important to your business? Think again!

With over one billion users on Facebook alone, you're missing out on a large advertising opportunity if your business isn't present through social media. Check out this 4 minute video for some interesting facts:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Feeling down? Go see this virtual psychiatrist!

University of Southern California researchers are developing SimSensei, an avatar that uses facial recognition tech and depth-sensing cameras built into Microsoft's Kinect to conduct mental health interviews. Check out this video of a session below.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Happy April Fool's Day from Google's Gmail...

This April Fool's, Google had a little fun at Microsoft's expense. The search giant has concocted a page about a product called Gmail Blue, a dig at Microsoft's upcoming Windows Blue update and Windows 8 in general.

A spoof video for Gmail Blue features a straight-faced "Gmail Blue project manager" who says that "in trying to bring e-mail into the 21st century, we are faced with a challenge: how we do completely redesign and recreate something while keeping it exactly the same? The answer is Gmail Blue."

Touting the new e-mail program's reliance on blue fonts, blue colors, and blue buttons, the project manager says that "it's Gmail, only bluer." The Gmail team claim that inspiration for Blue came from nature but is "better than what nature created."

Given the testy relationship between Microsoft and Google, their April Fools' pranks could have easily been more vicious. But in keeping with the spirit of the day, I think the companies poked a few holes in each other without doing any permanent damage.

Source: CNET

Monday, April 1, 2013

Is it Google or is it Bing? Happy April Fool's!

Yesterday, Microsoft's Bing search engine poked a little fun at Google.

Yesterday, Bing users found if they typed "Google" in the search field, a Bing page pops up spoofing Google's pure white and stark home page (screenshot below). Hovering over the small boxes that populate the Bing page displays tips that take a few more swipes at Google.

One tip asks if you're having trouble seeing this picture of an arctic fox eating marshmallows in a snowstorm. A second one says that when there's nothing else to look at, you may take drastic measures. Clicking on that tip brings up a Bing video results page of watching paint dry. And a third tip says that if blank space is your thing, you could go low tech. That tip displays a Bing images results page of plain white paper.

Even the familiar "I'm feeling lucky" button has been replaced by an "I'm feeling confused" button that takes you to a Bing blog touting the benefits of Microsoft's search engine.
Source: CNET