Amazon recently announced that they will be competing against companies like Box, Dropbox, SendSpace and Microsofts OneDrive with its newest web service, Zocalo. Pricing for Zocalo will be nominal at $5 per month, per user, with 200GB of data storage. Compared to Dropbox at $9.99 per month for 50 GB and up to $49.99 per month with SendSpace, Amazon is blowing away its competition. With the demand for desktop-as-a-service applications starting to grow, I predict Zocalo’s subscriptions will explode…just as soon as they release it to the public.
When it comes to your technology resources, you’re security conscious and understand the need for a password. Even though you want your password to be secure, it can be hard to keep track of all the password requirements these days. One of the simplest things you can do to help ensure password security is to make sure that you’re using at least eight characters.
Different systems may or may not allow you to use symbols (like *, %, #, etc), but most modern security will allow you to enter eight (or more) characters. By doing so, you greatly reduce the chances that password cracking programs (aka, “brute force” attacks) will be able to “guess” your password.
Each additional character exponentially increases the complexity that must be overcome for a brute force attack to succeed. There is a technical explanation for why this is, but understanding it is beyond the interest and/or comprehension of most users. Since we all have enough to try to remember when it comes to computers, I’ll spare any further explanation on that in this article.
For those who are interested in understanding the ‘mechanics’ behind the concept, Wikipedia has some good information about it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Password_strength). For the rest of us, just make sure your password has eight or more characters and leave the in-depth understanding to IT professionals like those helping you every day at BVA!
There are many different threats to your computer these days. The difference is that most computers are now connected to the internet. It’s a great advantage from the perspective of gathering information, but the cost associated with that benefit is an increase in vulnerability.
Malware is a more modern term, loosely used to describe what we previously referred to as a virus. The word itself is an abbreviation for ‘malicious software’ and covers a broad range of applications that can create problems for you.
If your computer becomes infected by malware, the results will vary. Once malware is installed on your system it tends to propagate and you can pretty much bet that it will eventually bring your system to a crawl. Many malware programs will actually damage necessary operating system files. Once that happens, you will probably need someone with a fair amount of technical knowledge (and time) to get things straightened out. To prevent these attacks you can purchase anti-virus software.
Some applications will “spy” on your computer (spyware) and send information back to the author of the application. If you use your computer for banking, viewing sensitive company files, or anything else that should be kept private, spyware can be a major problem. You might not notice spyware because the person who created it is trying to get information from your system without you knowing.
BVA looks at several notebooks and Ultrabooks in the technology market and there is a new one that I felt we should take note of. The Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Laptop is light weight, comes in different colors, and come with many different options of resources and disk space. All come with the 4th generation Intel chip with I5 and I7 as options. All come with Microsoft Windows 8.1 with a 13 inch display and solid state drives from 256GB to 512GB.
OneDrive is a Microsoft cloud service that links with your Microsoft Live account and helps you sync your data across multiple computers and the internet. When you sign up you initially get 15 GB for free. You can purchase more space as you need it. Another cool feature is that it will back up photos from your smartphones. When you activate camera roll backup to save your photos automatically, you’ll get an additional 3 GB for free. OneDrive offers desktop syncing, mobile access, you can create and edit office documents from your browser, real-time co-authoring on office documents, and built in integration with Office desktop. Also if you have Office365 subscription, you’ll get an extra 20 GB for free.
- Put your phone in Airplane mode to charge faster
- If you have the Apple headphones, you can use the center button to snap pictures
- You can take pictures with the “up” volume button
- When taking photos, you can hold the capture button to go into burst mode and take a series of photos
- Caps Lock, if you double-tap the shift button you will turn on Caps Lock
- Calendar, if you want to see more detail, turn your phone to landscape position and you’ll see more
- Undo text, simply shake your phone
- Text timestamps, just touch and drag the text bubble and you can see the time stamps
For those with iPhones, backing up your iPhone using Apple’s iCloud is simple, easy, and no-hassles. I’ve used iTunes in the past but when I found out the iCloud tool to back up my phone, it was a no brainer. It will automatically or manually backup your device. What is cool about using the iCloud for backup is that if you have to do a restore or you get a new phone, all you have to do is log into iCloud choose the latest backup event for your phone and it will download all you content (Note: you should connect to wifi to help speed things along, but it’s not necessary). As for iTunes, you can use this to back up your phone as well, however the kicker is it will restore from your latest backup, so if you haven’t sync’d your phone since last
Regular hard drives have spinning disk while solid state drives have no moving parts. A Hybrid Drive uses moving parts the say way a traditional sata drives does, but it combines a NAND flash memory into the hard drive. This is done to give you speed as well storage space that is expensive to get from an actual Solid State Drive. The hybrid drive won’t beat the SSD in speed, however it will come close, and definitely boost your speed in comparison to a traditional hard drive and give you the space you need to store data. Hybrid drives do spin less than traditional hard drives and therefore the parts move less, because it has less moving parts it should also last longer than traditional drives. Hybrids have a memory manager in the hard drive that identifies what data and files are used most frequently and store it in the flash memory, it basically learns what is used frequently so those items open faster, so a hybrid drive learns what you are doing and subsequent boot times and file access time will shorten.
For those of you who like to take notes or keep track of items SimpleNote is a cool cloud based note keeping app. I use it on my iphone as well as on my pc and mac. It stores your data, and you simply have to login wherever you are to access your information. You can share lists, post instructions, or publish your thoughts. Your notes are backed up and if you need to go back to something you can easily do so. You can search your notes quickly and easily. There are phone apps for both iOS users as well as Android users. What’s more important… its FREE!