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VMware View client for iPad

VMware has released a new VMware View client for iPad.  It’s available for free in the App Store:  http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vmware-view-for-ipad/id417993697?mt=8

VMware View Client for iPad features include:

• Secure, Instant-on Windows Desktops – VMware View Security Server support for PCoIP allows for a simple, secure remote connection and authentication to a user’s Windows desktop over a WiFi or 3G network. Reconnecting to a View Desktop(2) is made even easier with the ability to select and connect to a list of recently connected desktops.

Modern Desktop Experience – The new VMware View Client delivers Windows-based virtual desktops while taking advantage of the superior user experience provided by PC-over-IP (PCoIP) display protocol, creating a highly responsive and flexible user experience.

Intuitive, Multi-Touch Support – Custom gestures on the new VMware View Client enable quick and easy navigation around the virtual desktop by taking advantage of iPad’s Multi-Touch display. An innovative on-screen track pad lets users leverage a more traditional mouse interface with the iPad’s keyboard for efficient text input.

Device and iOS Support – Support for the iPad Keyboard Dock and Bluetooth keyboards makes text input even easier while the iPad VGA connector allows you to connect to an external monitor. VMware View Client for iPad supports iOS 4.2 and iOS 4.3.

Charity scams on the rise in the aftermath of Japan quake

Within hours of the earthquake & tsunami in Japan, online scams were popping up on various social media sites, claiming to be charitable organizations, or to represent valid ones like the Red Cross.  In addition to falsely soliciting donations via Facebook and email, these fraudulent “charities” are also used to spread malware.

So please be careful when you go to donate to a cause or offer assistance, and be sure the organization is valid.

More info: http://www.securityweek.com/massive-influx-scams-surrounding-japans-earthquake-and-tsunami-expected

That new 4G phone might not be as fast as you think

Recent testing indicates that AT&T may be capping speeds of its 4G devices (see article: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2381578,00.asp)

With the standards for 4G being ill-defined at best, carriers can legally get away with marketing 4G devices that are actually slower than 3G on the same network.  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2381915,00.asp

So buyer, beware!  That new mobile phone or tablet might not be as zippy as the advertisers would have you believe.

Adding Public Folder Calendars to Your Outlook Profile

Here is a simple walk through on how to add public calendars to your outlook profile.

Within your outlook, go to the bottom left corner and click on the Folder List button (figure A). This will bring up additional folders that you do not normally see (Figure B).

If you expand public folders, you will see all of the public folders for your organization. These are all hosted on the Exchange server. If you would like to add a calendar to your profile you would browse down to the calendar and add it to your favorites.

In this case, you would expand Public Folders > All Public Folders > Calendars. Inside the calendars folder is the list of available calendars. Right click the calendar you want and select add to favorites. You will see the ‘add to favorites’ dialogue, and you just click add.

Once you have added the calendar to your favorites, you should be able to go to your calendars and the calendar you just added to your favorites should be listed under “other calendars.”

You should be able to repeat this process for any other public folder calendars that you want to add to your outlook profile.

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.

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/

What is the Cloud? And What is Cloud Computing?

You can Google ‘cloud computing’ and read the various explanations you’ll find, and still not really understand what Cloud Computing is all about. The term is over used and misused so much that most people are confused about its meaning, and more importantly, how it can benefit them.

The word ‘cloud’ can mean several things all by itself. Some refer to the Internet as the ‘cloud’ and although it is a necessary part of cloud computing, just using the Internet to access resources does not necessarily mean a business is using cloud computing. For instance the internet can be used to access a company fileserver in a central office. That is not true cloud computing. It’s remote access, but not cloud computing in the real sense.

Cloud computing has a lot to do with the way the resources themselves are stored, managed and accessed. With the advent of virtualization and the ability to create virtualized servers, fileservers have become pieces of software that can be moved around between various hardware servers. And with the increase of available Internet bandwidth and remote access technology, fileservers are no longer location dependent as they once were. As an example, suppose your company has a remotely accessed fileserver that hosts your client database. Let’s say it’s virtualized in a Datacenter and you access it through a web-browser. Because the fileserver is virtualized, the datacenter can move your fileserver around to other locations in their facilities, or across the country, and you can still access its resources normally. You would not know that it’s moving around between various hardware servers. Why would they move it around? To alleviate bottlenecks in their infrastructure, to do maintenance or upgrades on hardware, or to better facilitate their internal administrative needs. The point of the example is that ‘resources move around’. One could say that your resources are somewhere in the ‘cloud’.

Within large organizations like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and others, resources are moving around constantly as their internal IT needs dictate. Your information or data stored in such organizations is readily available, but you’ll never know where it is physically. So virtualization and the dynamic movement of virtualized servers and resources is a key part of what makes up ‘cloud computing’.

Additionally, modern online business solutions have reduced or eliminated the need for many localized computer resources.  For instance, Microsoft’s BPOS offers online business applications that include office document creation & storage, email, and document management solutions. These services can eliminate the need for businesses to have localized fileservers. This then becomes true cloud computing.

As businesses evaluate their internal IT costs and compare those with the costs of cloud computing they will see that moving to cloud computing solutions makes more economic sense as time passes.  The benefits of cloud computing are many, some of which are listed below:

  • Resources can be accessed from anywhere the Internet is available
  • Resources are secure and reliable
  • IT expenditures become a fixed monthly expense, like a utility bill
  • Advanced IT solutions expenses are vastly reduced if not completely eliminated
  • The most current software versions are included in the service

Information Technology is constantly changing and accelerating in its rate of change.   Businesses that keep aware of how it can be used to benefit them will be closely watching the value of computing in the cloud.

iPhone on Verizon

Its been quite some time, back and forth between when and how this was going to happen.  A lot of blogs and gossip articles have been written between many reputable websites.  After years and years of speculation, the Verizon iPhone is real. As Verizon president Lowell McAdam put it, “If the press writes something long enough, eventually it becomes true.”  I find this really funny after all the publicity that Verizon put in the media.  It’s ironic how Mac really stayed out of the subject matter and for the most part never drew a line in the sand with a yes or no.  The word comes fresh out of Verizon’s press conference in New York City, where the company has confirmed that they plan to offer the iPhone 4 early next month. Update: February 10th, to be specific.  From what has been published so far, the Verizon iPhone 4 appears to be identical to the AT&T iPhone 4 .

It does not support Verizon’s 4G/LTE network, and Apple took their standard “We don’t talk about future products” stance when questioned on the matter. The 16GB iPhone 4 will set you back $199.99, while the 32GB model will cost you $299.99 (both prices on a 2 year contract.  Additionally, it looks like it’ll have at least one feature that the AT&T model doesn’t (currently): WiFi hotspot, which allows the iPhone to act as a Cell-Data-Fueled-Wi-Fi router for up to 5 devices.

Working from home, is that a good idea?

According to Forrester Research there are over 43 million US adults telecommuting today, and by 2016 that number will grow to 63 million, or 43% of the workforce!  Why the migration to telecommuting?  The reasons are many, but they can all be translated into the one simple fact; namely, telecommuting makes economic sense for everyone, businesses and employees.

The historic technical obstacles to telecommuting have been overcome.  Current technology has successfully addressed security issues.  The increase in consumer Internet bandwidth has improved the telecommuting experience, and that coupled with state-of-the-art remote access solutions, has made the telecommuting experience equal to the ‘in-office’ computer experience.

What about productivity? Across virtually all industries, studies indicate that workers get more accomplished when they telecommute.  In a survey of Fortune 1000 managers, 58 percent reported increased worker productivity.  The state of California’s telecommuting pilot program measured productivity increases of 10 percent to 30 percent, and American Express found a 20 percent productivity gain for off-site call center employees.

Studies of companies of all sizes and virtually all endeavors indicate the same thing; that is, workers are more productive when they are allowed to telecommute.

A few Telecommuting benefits:

  • Increased worker productivity equates to increased company profits
  • Less travel to and from the office equates to less wasted time in traffic
  • Employees appreciate the increased personal and productive time along with reduced commuting cost
  • The environment benefits from reduced pollution caused by auto traffic
  • Companies benefit from reduced travel expenses
  • Reduced requirement for company infrastructure, ie. offices, desks, etc.  In some cases the corporate offices can be completely eliminated.
  • Companies can employ people located over a wider geographical area (not limited by drive time to the office)
  • Companies offering telecommuting to employees attract more workers than those who don’t.

Everything being considered, telecommuting is the future, and the future is now.  To stay competitive in business means to utilize Information Technology to advantage, and successful businesses today and tomorrow will be implementing telecommuting solutions on a significant scale.

So, where do you begin if you’re thinking of implementing a telecommuting solution for your business?  How do you get from an office-oriented business model to one that utilizes remote access for some or all of its computer-user employees?  The first step is to do your homework.  Take the time to better understand the options available, their benefits, and their respective implementation costs.  Know the differences in the various solutions available, and learn what solutions are being utilized by businesses similar to yours.  If you don’t have the time to invest in this kind of ‘homework’ you can engage a qualified Consulting firm, with a proven track record for implementing this type of technology, and seek their recommendation.

Whether you research things on your own, or use a third party IT Consulting Company, it should be a priority to understand, because whether you chose to implement telecommuting in your business or not, your competition will.