Monthly Archives : February 2011

Mozy Ends Unlimited Home Backups

Using MozyHome Service? Well you may not all be aware, but your unlimited storage is how can I say it, no longer unlimited. Mozy has decided that in its best interest, that it would no longer allow the unlimited plans for the MozyHome service and would go with tiered plans.

How it is setup now is that you can get 50 GB of storage for $5.99 for 1 computer, or you can get 125 GB for $9.99 and 3 computers. Mozy gives 3 reasons as to why the change:

  1. We are all Capturing More Photos and Videos with higher quality and resolution
  2. Multiple Machines are the Norm
  3. No Fine Print Backup

“In an attempt to remain viable in the “Unlimited backup” business, other providers have introduced measures to inhibit the growth of storage such as bandwidth throttling, excluding files over a certain size, or exclude certain file types such as photos and videos from the default backup sets. Rather than claiming to offer “unlimited” backup while imposing bandwidth or file limitations, we want you, our users, to decide what you want backed up and in return Mozy will provide you the best possible service level, with no hidden restrictions.” –From MozyHomes website.


According to Mozy, the vast majority of it’ customers will be happy with the 50 GB plan as their data will fit comfortably within that 50 GB that can be purchased for a dollar more than the extinct unlimited plan.

In my personal opinion, the unlimited data plans were excellent for the consumer but not for the company as a whole. It almost appears as if they are trying to get a better handle on the costs associated with adding additional storage by limiting the amount they need at any given time. With these tiers in place they will be easier able to manage and maintain the current and future storage needs, and although they most likely have plenty of storage available it helps to be able to better forecast future usage. Bummer for the customer, good for Mozy.

Mobile social networking gets more direct

Dutch security firm Gemalto has announced it has created Facebook for SIM, which will allow users to access the social networking giant even without a data plan.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/gemalto-creates-sim-card-that-brings-facebook-to-feature-phones/113

Also, HTC has unveiled two new “Facebook phones”, each with a dedicated button to launch the service.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/htc-unveils-two-facebook-phones/126

Disposable Thumb Drives??!?!?

The teams over at Art Lebedev studios have come up with an ever so original concept to the USB thumb drive. As you see in the pictures provided, these USB thumb drives are simply printed on cardboard and extremely easy to dispose.

Using one is as simple as taking one off of the sheet and putting your data on it. This can be used for a multitude of things such as resumes to employers, files or videos to friends, or time sensitive data that you want to be able to be easily destroyed. Because of how inexpensive these thumb drives are produced, you most likely will not hesitate to give one away to family, friends, or coworkers.

I personally think this is a very creative and new twist to the thumb drive and will not be surprised if this concept sees the light of day. I know I’m buying some the first time I see them.

VMware, LG Implement Virtualization on Android Based Phone

As smart phones are becoming the standard these days, it becomes challenging for businesses to keep track of and handle all of the personal devices that are compatible with the corporate environment. Well that quite soon could become something of the past as VMware and LG have teamed up to bring you virtualization on the smart phone.

At the Mobile World Congress in Spain, VMware and LG showed off a technology that essentially allows you to run multiple instances of the Android OS on a single phone. You immediately think of virtualization and say there is nothing new here, but I would say you are wrong. Basically what this technology presents to businesses both small and large is the ability to easily manage and control access to their corporate systems. You can run your own personal apps, check email, and make calls on your personal profile while almost instantly switching to your corporate profile. This would allow you to then access work contacts, run business applications, and connect safely to your corporate network. The best part of this is that the virtualized instance runs directly from an SD card. Check out the video below.

Personally I think this is great news for IT firms and businesses that have tried dealing with the ever so difficult task of monitoring and managing smart devices and their access to the network. It allows them to simply load the necessary applications and email accounts onto the virtual machine that resides on the SD card and put it in a user’s phone instantly allowing them secure access to the network.

Then in case of termination, losing employees, and lost devices, the IT staff can remotely lock or wipe your profile. This all can happen without affecting any of your personal data. If you leave the company, all they have to do is remove your smartcard and they are done.

This sounds like a very cost effective and easily controllable solution for a lot of businesses that are worried about mobile security. I really would love to try this hands on if the opportunity ever presented itself and I am really eager to see where they go with this.

Check out the video here!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkUfKgsUbns[/youtube]

Port Mobile/home phone numbers to Google Voice

Google is currently in the process of testing the ability to port over your mobile/home numbers into their Google voice system. It is a $20 fee payable through Google Checkout. At this current time, this function may not be available to all users as it is still in the testing phases.

All you have to do is log into your Google Voice account, check under the phone settings and see if there is a “change / port” option available (See below). Some users may or may not have this feature at this time, so if you are interested check back often.

One of the things you need to watch out for if you decide that you want to try this service is the early termination fees from your carriers. If you have a mobile phone, most likely they will hit you with early termination fees if you decide to cancel your contract.

Give Google Voice a try if you would like:

http://www.google.com/voice

UPDATE: This may not be possible for land lines as of yet.

Buffalo Wireless-N Dual Band Ethernet Converter

I recently had the opportunity to test out the Buffalo Wireless-N Dual Band Ethernet Converter and I was impressed with its relative ease of use. Basically what the device does is it picks up your wireless signal and converts it to a physical connections. It allows you to physically connect devices to the network where there are no Ethernet connections. It is a relatively small device with 4 Ethernet ports on the back. It comes with an installation CD and a network cable.

I found this device rather easy to setup. All I had to do was plug it in, connect the cable, and install the software on my PC. The software is very light weight and quite simple. It allows you to pick which connection you want to use and in my case I used the physical connection. I set the device just for testing purposes to acquire an IP address automatically. The device will automatically scan for wireless networks. You just need to choose your network provide the device with your security settings (SSID, security type, passcode).

After doing all of the above, I saved the settings and restarted the device and my internet was running through the device and allowing my laptop to have internet access. This is perfect for devices that are not close to Ethernet ports including gaming consoles, printers, media players, IP Phones, and more. I would definitely use this at my own house, therefore I would recommend it to others. Check it out for yourself.

Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 SP1

Its official, Microsoft has announced that on February 22nd they are releasing SP1 for both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

What the service pack includes:

All of the previous updates and fixes that have been released via Windows updates are included in the update, as well as some other improvements.

With the Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Microsoft has added two new features to enhance the capabilities of their virtualization platform. These two new features are Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX.

Dynamic Memory

Dynamic memory is much like the name suggests, allows for dynamic allocation of the memory based upon the workload of the servers. It allows for greater virtual machine density especially for virtual desktop infrastructure setups. Each server or workstation gets only the memory it needs while it is running and all left over memory is allocated to the host and the other servers.

RemoteFX

RemoteFX is the technology that Microsoft has implemented to give the end user of virtualized desktop infrastructure setups the feel that their graphics and sounds are being rendered at the workstation level when they are really not.

Get it via Windows update when it comes out February 22nd!

Cheap and Reliable Wireless Solution

Here in recent months bva has been asked by more than one client for a reliable wireless solution that can cover an internal and external office area.  There are several great products out there that are perfect but also become very expensive and can really rack up the cost after software, routers, and access points are purchased.  It really ends up being a very complex system that requires a server and management.  Of course that is one more unit to manage and patch, which can be painful.  bva‘s goal here is to make things easier and reduce management time if possible.  That being said we went out and tried to find a product that was hard-coded which was an appliance that really allows for easy management that is cost effective.  This solution is under $700 which gets you a router and two external/internal wireless access points.  This unit also comes with an easy GUI interface that allows easy management and control which is huge.  It is important to perform an assessment that addresses the following questions:

  • do you understand the architecture of the building; angles; materials (sheet-rock, block, metal, etc)?
  • needed access point frequency?
  • coverage area per square feet inside and outside areas?
  • physical limitations/other signals present?
  • what is power options for the proposed area?
  • connectivity for the AP locations needed to occupy?
  • do you have POE switches in that area or will each Access Point need it’s own power?

HP’s Colorful New Touch-Screens

It’s pretty cool how HP has taken a great step in forward thinking.  Their goal in the PC world is moving people toward the touch screen.  Many other hardware manufactures have come up with many models but quite frankly they fell short.  HP has taken note from Apple and really trying to hop on the cool and treandy kick which I feel they will have some success.  I have tried a few of the models and they work very well and feel that they can fit in many market segments.  Health, legal, and education are huge markets here in Phoenix where these units will thrive.  HP is known for good enterprise and consumer products even though they have made some poor business moves their products are overall good.

HP’s new focus on product design, appearance, user experience and ease of use, as well as provide a user computer that is very powerful and quick.

These units are HD touch-screens with keyboard/mouse operation. A couple of interesting new differentiators are the following:

  • patented ergonomic feature that enables the desktop monitor to slide down to a 60-degree angle

  • HPLinkUp application that allows a user to operate the desktop of another computer within WiFi range

These HP units range from $750 to $1,000.  They will be available about the end of Q2 of this year.

Slow computer? Check for bloatware

Have you ever wondered why that brand new computer you just bought doesn’t run as fast as advertised?  The answer may be bloatware, all that pre-loaded software that the manufacturer so helpfully provides to you.

Often bloatware is just an annoyance, adding to the number of update pop-up prompts a user has to deal with.  But it can cause serious performance issues.  As an example, HP’s Wireless Assistant software has been known to cause spikes in CPU utilization.  Wireless Assistant is an applet that controls the enablement of individual wireless devices.  It may be a handy application at times, but it is not necessary, as the same functionality is built into the network control panel.  See the link for more details:  http://superuser.com/questions/240794/why-does-wmi-provider-host-wmiprvse-exe-keep-spiking-my-cpu An updated version can take care of this particular problem, but this is one of the few pre-loaded applications that doesn’t prompt regularly to check for updates, and so may go unresolved.

There are utilities out there designed to remove bloatware, such as PC Decrapifier .  But with the way these pre-loaded applications can often integrate into the OS, a clean installation is probably the best solution, something which the average consumer may not have the time or the resources to accomplish.

The next time you purchase a new computer, make a point of requesting that the OS be a clean install without all the pre-loaded “goodies”.  The seller may not be able to comply at first, but with enough requests, maybe the manufacturers will start to take notice, and give users the ability to “opt out”.

http://hothardware.com/News/Open-Letter-To-PC-Makers-Ditch-The-Bloatware-Now/