Bring-Your-Own-Device Takes off in the Workplace

Are you able to access your computer network at work with your personal iPad? What about your personal iPhone or your laptop computer? This movement, known as bring-your-own-device or BYOD, is on the rise in the workplace. It’s a wise idea: When companies encourage employees to bring their own devices to the office, these same businesses don’t have to spend as much on desktop computers and other high-tech equipment. The move also is practical for workers. Employees are often more familiar with their own devices. And if they bring their personal laptops and tablets to work, they can more easily transport their files, email messages and important documents back and forth from home to work.

The Risks of BYOD

All of that sounds great but there are a few risks in adopting a BYOD work environment that should not be overlooked. A writer for ComputerWorld recently wrote a column discussing this. For one, increasing the number of devices that are connected to a network raises the risk of malware attacks. Companies can install anti-virus software on devices they own, but it is difficult to manage the safety measures employees are taking using their personal devices.

Company Information at Risk

At the same time, when employees load delicate workplace data onto their mobile devices, companies face a wholly new set of concerns. What if employees lose their mobile devices? There’s no guarantee that sensitive information won’t fall into the wrong hands. Delaney writes that companies must properly educate their employees on how to use their mobile devices as safely as possible. Some companies might choose to ban outside devices from their networks. That’s not entirely realistic, though. Outside mobile devices help employees do more work more efficiently. Companies do not want to limit the production of employees by refusing them accessibility to the network with these devices.

The BYOD Trend

As more and more people have tablets and smartphones, it is likely that more organizations will face this decision. The greatest benefit to allowing employees to use personal devices is the rise in productivity. This is due mostly to the fact that they know their devices and they always have them. If BYOD seems like it will work for your company, just be sure your employees take appropriate measures with their devices to keep your company’s data safe.

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Three Big Cloud Computing Myths

When you think of cloud computing what do you think of? Do you think it’s a short-term fad, a risky move for businesses, and it’s really pricey? These are some of the most common myths about cloud computing. We will explore these myths a little further below.

Myth: Cloud Computing Is a Fad

Many companies use cloud computing now-a-days, and not just privately operated small business, but large companies like Amazon, Apple, and Google. In fact, these organizations use the cloud to deliver their services more effectively and easily to consumers. Cloud computing makes it much easier to share information so companies are jumping on board. Given the number of large companies who have incorporated it into their service offering, I do not think the cloud will be dissipating any time soon.

Myth: The Cloud Is Risky

Many companies are hesitant to adopt cloud computing for fear that their data will be more exposed to hackers. It doesn’t help that there have been a few instances of high-profile outages, such as one that recently hit Amazon Web Services. These events are likely to stick in our memories. However, if this is something you are concerned with, there are options apart from putting all of your important data on a public cloud. Manage Services Providers offer cloud services on a private cloud where your data is very secure. One benefit to this is that if your information is stored in the cloud, multiple people in your company can have access to it. Additionally, if your hard drive crashes, you won’t lose all your data.

Myth: Cloud Computing Is Costly

As with any service, if a company wasn’t previously paying for it, it becomes an added expenditure. But while a company may pay more upfront, in the long run they will spend less on labor, as being able to share information over the cloud is much more efficient. All in all, cloud computing is more cost effective.

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Annoying Smartphone Habits

In general, smartphones have made our lives simpler. They can help us navigate to a restaurant and they keep us connected to our social media accounts and mail. If they are so helpful, how come many people get agitated with smartphone users? Probably because there are some annoying habits they develop. If you are guilty of any of the habits shown below, you may be unintentionally annoying those around you.

Texting and driving

Although texting and driving is prohibited in most states, people still do it. This behavior is not only annoying, as it makes you less of an attentive driver, it can bring about car accidents. These accidents can just be fender benders or they can end in fatalities. Send a text to your friend telling them you will be five minutes late is not worth the chance of injuring yourself or someone else. If you can’t resist the urge to text, try turning your phone off when you are in a vehicle.

Paying more attention to your phone than your friends

Have you ever seen people eating dinner together but they are both on their smartphones? This habit is very annoying for individuals. When you make plans with your friends and family, the intent is to spend quality time with them, right? How do you do that if you are checking your email the entire time or texting? Remember how you have felt if you have been in the midst of a discussion and a friend has answered a text? Perhaps you felt less important. If you do not want your companions to feel this way, avoid your phone when out with them.

Noisy keyboards

When you navigate through your phone or type does it make little clicking sounds or beeps? You might not realize this, but it is probably aggravating the people surrounding you. When you are standing in line at the grocery store and texting your friend, the people around you don’t want to listen to the clicks of your fingers moving across the keys. It is simple to turn this off for the comfort of those around you.


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The Future Of Charging Our Devices

As the world relies more and more on mobile devices, our necessity for new ways to charge batteries gets to be more pressing. That’s the reason inventors today are working to create clothing that does more than keeps you warm; it can also charge your gadgets! This was highlighted in a recent
story in Mashable. It discusses a number of different clothing and textile items that double as chargers. We talk about a few below.

Rain Boots that Charge Your Phone

GotWind partnered with Orange, a British mobile carrier, to develop some rain boots that can charge your phone. These companies unveiled the boots, as prototypes, at the Glastonbury Music Festival and got an excellent response from the mobile users in the crowd.

Military Tech

There is also technology now being worn by U.S. military personnel. Soldiers can now depend on lightweight military uniforms that boast intelligent textiles into their vests, shirts, helmets, and backpacks. This technology allows soldiers to charge one battery and then send the energy from it throughout their clothing. In this way, they can charge whatever device needs to be charged.

The Most Advanced Felt in the World

And if you thought that was innovative, check out Power Felt. Scientists at the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials at Wake Forest University are developing this currently. It is a thermoelectric device that turns body heat into electricity. It’s like something out of a science fiction novel but if they nail this technology down, then we might have an unlimited supply of electricity from our clothing for our devices.

These technologies will alter the way we charge our devices and almost eliminate the limitations we currently have due to inadequate batteries. That will be a wonderful day!


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3 of the Top E-readers on the Market

Many people have e-readers these days. If you are shopping for one, you are probably aware that there are lots of models on the market. Most of them are good quality, so you really can’t go wrong with whichever one you choose. We showcase three below.

Nook Color: The Nook Color is Barnes & Noble’s e-reader and it is affordable. You can get one for about $150. While the price tag is low, the reading experience is very high in both the display of images and prose. One fantastic aspect of the Nook Color is the capability to look up the definition of words just by pressing and holding the word.

The Nook Color has some built-in applications, like the popular music-streaming site, Pandora. And it’s very easy to download more applications from the apps store. However, the one complaint most people have is that a lot of the newer apps are not available for the Nook Color.

Kindle Fire: The Kindle Fire is very similar to the Nook Color and is one of the most popular e-readers available. The reading experience on the Kindle Fire is incredibly clear and just like the Nook Color it comes with its own email client and web browser. The Kindle is affordable, too, with the current price tag being under $200.

The one negative that people have to say about the Kindle Fire is that the controls are less than user-friendly. As an example, there is no volume control on the device itself. You have to tap the screen to bring up the volume control.

Kobo e-Reader: The Kobo e-Reader Touch doesn’t have the name recognition of either the Nook Color or the Kindle Fire. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a worthy competitor. In fact, you wouldn’t go wrong by spending your e-reader dollars on this nifty device if reading is your absolute goal. Users rave about the reading experience on the Kobo. Images and words are sharp and simple to read. In fact, the Kobo offers seven unique font styles and 17 different font sizes for readers to choose from. Others rave about the device’s soft, quilted back. Don’t laugh; this back makes holding a Kobo feel much more like holding a real book. That’s a feature that the Nook Color or Amazon Kindle can’t boast.

You can download e-books from the Kobo store in many different formats. This is perfect for graphics-heavy books. Also, the battery life of the Kobo blows other e-readers out of the water. When the Wi-Fi feature is switched off, the battery can last as long as a month.


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Translation Apps: Apps That Speak Your Language and Many Others

Have you ever traveled overseas and been struggling to speak the language? Constantly fumbling with a dictionary is not ideal. Instead, how about next time you use your smartphone. There are many apps on the market that were designed for this purpose. We have outlined three below that we think are worth your time and money.


Jibbigo costs $4.99, this app is available for both the iPhone and Android. It has such an massive dictionary you would be hard pressed to find a language this app cannot translate. To use it, users speak right into their smartphone and Jibbigo will give you a translation via text or voice. This app can be extremely useful to people traveling to remote locations as it does not require a network connection.

Dean Foster’s Culture Guides

If you want an app that provides you with more information then just translations, Dean Foster’s Culture Guides may be what you are seeking. Currently, these guides are only available for 12 countries but they supply maps, current weather reports, exchange rates, in addition to translations.

Word Lens

If you need to translate the written word, Word Lens is a great app. It utilizes your smartphones camera. You take a photo of a sign, menu, book, etc. and the app will convert it for you. You can observe how this would be convenient. The only languages this app presently works with are Spanish, French, Italian, and English. The basic app is free, but if you would like to buy any of the languages it will cost you $4.99 per language.


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Two Tips To Fight Screen ADD

Do you suffer from computer-screen attention deficit disorder? Here are some indicators: You have five Internet Explorer tabs open simultaneously. You’re working away at three Word documents simultaneously, and you are messing with two open spreadsheets, too. Quite simply, you are juggling so many on-screen tasks at the same time, you’re struggling to finish any one of them.

Computer-screen ADD can make you less productive because when we focus on many tasks at once, we run the risk of not completing any of them. It can also become difficult to prioritize tasks when you are lost in a sea of responsibilities.

Focusing on many things at once can hurt your productivity. But there are a couple things you can do help break these behaviors.

Resist the minimization urge

Breaking the habit of minimizing windows may seem difficult, but in order to improve your productivity it is important. By minimizing windows you are choosing to set that task aside and work on something else, but if you leave it up and tackle it, it is one more thing off of your plate. If you shrink it, it may be days before you get it done as you work on it erratically. Sticking with the “no-minimization” rule can make you complete that task immediately and not put it off.

Email filters

This is a very simple thing you can do to help you be more productive and stop screen ADD. You can create filters to send emails that are from specific people to your inbox and anything else is sent to another inbox. This will prevent you from becoming preoccupied by the other emails and enable you to concentrate on the most important ones that you may have previously skimmed over.


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These Tips Will Help You Deploy A New OS On Your Company

The news about Windows 8, the new Windows operating system, is that it will hit the market later this year. But an amazing amount of businesses have not yet launched Windows 7 on their machines. About 70 percent of businesses are still running Windows XP, which was released way back in August 2001. Many companies, though, are now considering upgrading to Windows 7. This makes sense: Microsoft won’t offer formal support for XP as of April of 2014. Businesses, then, who want support from Microsoft, must upgrade at the very least to Windows 7 by that date. But before businesses make the move to the Windows 7 operating system, they will have to take some steps to make certain that their computers are ready for the change.

Analyze hardware and compatibility

To begin this process, the first thing an organization must do, is analyze the hardware on the machines to be sure they can run Window’s 7. Also, the applications that are currently installed on the machines may not be compatible with Windows 7. There are ways that an IT department or MSP can find this out.

What OS images to deploy

The next step to take before deploying a new OS is to figure out what applications you’ll need on your computers and the order they must be installed in. Should you install all of the current applications at the same time as the OS? Should you take time to evaluate which applications are essential to what departments and only install the necessary ones after installing the OS? The second option is probably the best, as it allows users to then install whatever programs they believe will be useful later and it quickens the deployment process.

Choosing the right image deployment tool

Once a company has settled on a deployment approach, they must choose which tool they’ll use to create, manage, and deploy the Windows 7 image. There are lots of tools that can assist with this including Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 and System Center Configuration Manager 2007 or 2012.

In the end, upgrading your company’s operating system needs to be done every few years. When it’s time to do it, it must be planned for and executed well by individuals who have taken all of these things into account. Making certain you have a good plan will help the conversion go smoothly and with less stress.


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The Real World Application Of Military Technologies

The military is an innovator when it comes to developing new technology. In fact, the U.S. armed forces are creating some tech that just might improve your life.
Some of the items they are focusing on might amaze you.

The laser gun

Science fiction fans have long wondered when we’d get those cool laser guns from Star Wars and Star Trek. Well, the military now has an operational laser gun, a machine called Excalibur. The Department of Defense has long worried about the harm that conventional weapons can cause in urban warfare. That’s where laser guns come in. The Department of Defense’s DARPA unit is presently developing laser weapons that are 10 times lighter than current combat lasers. The goal is to one day create 10-kilowatt devices which can be used in precision strikes against ground and air targets.

The doctor is in – your body

DARPA is developing nanoparticles that fight disease and illness in the human body. This could transform the medical industry and the program is moving quickly. They are already testing this nanotechnology on larger animals.

Thermal imaging on the cheap

The U.S. military has long used thermal imaging technology but this technology is far from cheap. That’s why DARPA is now working on its Low Cost Thermal Imager manufacturing program. This program, as its name signifies, is attempting to drastically lower the cost of thermal imaging technology. DARPA would like to one day see thermal imaging machinery in cell phones, eyeglasses, drones, helmets, and rifle sights.

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We May Be On The Verge Of Discovering Immortality

Have you ever seriously considered the ramifications of living forever? Would you want to if it were possible? Well, according to scientist and author Ray Kurzweil, these questions may become more relevant in the near future. He predicts that we may discover the key to immortality in the next 20 years. This may have everything to do with nanobots replacing our blood cells.

This might seem not only far-fetched but also a little spooky. Kurzweil is very passionate about these ideas and so are some pretty well known people. Bill Clinton and Bill Gates are big proponents of Kurzweil’s ideas.

Rise of the nanobots?

Regardless of how “out-there” Kurzweil’s ideas are, they may be a very real possibility. In about 20 years, scientists believe they will have found a way to halt andreverse the aging process. Kurzweil then believes that nanotechnology will come into play, replacing human blood cells, and doing the work much more efficiently.

Exponential technology

Again, this soundsastounding, but Kurzweil is basing his predictions on one fact that cannot be contested: Technology has been advancing at an exponential rate. And this, Kurzweil argues, signifies that immortality is just a few technological leaps away.

That doesn’t, though, answer the bigger question: Should humans live forever? What will happen to the planet? Will overpopulation destroy our natural resources? And, obviously, is living forever even something people want? Won’t those people who believe in an afterlife want to ultimately pass from this life? These are all big questions, and if Kurzweil is to be believed, we may all soon be confronting them.

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