Archive | May, 2013

Microsoft poll shows men and women are lacking in mobile security

31 May

 

Redmond-based Microsoft has been conducting a poll on Facebook entitled mobile manners & mayhem. The poll starts out by giving you a list to your top 5 pet peeves about the ways others use their mobile devices. Then the poll takers are asked a few question about their use habits, their gender and age group. The results of the poll were published today and just might surprise some people on which gender has better habits on usage and just what we consider the most annoying habits of others.

While delaying traffic did end up in the top five what was shocking is that it just made it at number 5. The top annoyance according to the poll is people constantly checking their mobile device. The other annoyances on the list are people talking loudly on their phone, not turning their phones off when it should be appropriate to do so and people talking on their phones during face-to0-face conversations. It would seem by that list that we are more annoyed by the the things that affect us more as individuals then society as a whole.

“Although we’re all bothered by certain mobile phone behaviors, the more important point is knowing how to protect one’s device and information from scammers, rogue software and the oversharing of digital details,” said Jacqueline Beauchere, chief online safety officer at Microsoft. “We know from earlier research that men and women practice mobile security differently.”

What was even more shocking than what annoys us about the way other use their devices is the way we take care of our own mobile devices. According to the poll only 35% of men and 32% of women use PIN or passwords to lock their device. Equally poor, 35% of men and 32% use a secure wireless network when in a public place. What is even more appalling is that according to the poll only 32% of men and 24% of women keep their mobile device software up-to-date.

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Windows 8.1 will include a new version of Internet Explorer

30 May

 

Two weeks ago Jeff brought you the story that Microsoft officially unveiled the name of their latest update to Windows. Today in a blog post by Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Windows Web Services Antoine Leblond that gives us a better outline of the Windows 8.1 update. Some of the features talked about are better personalization, search, direct storage to sky drive and even a new version of Internet Explorer. The following is what Ms. Leblond wrote about the new IE11:

Web browsing continues to be one of the most popular activities on any device. That’s why with Windows 8.1, you also get Internet Explorer 11 (IE11). IE11 builds on the advancements in IE10 and is the only browser that is built for touch. IE11 will offer even better touch performance, faster page load times and several other new features we think you will enjoy. For example, you can now adjust the appearance of modern IE11 to always show the address bar and you can have as many open tabs as you like. And you can access your open tabs in sync across your other Windows 8.1 devices.

One of the biggest new features might just be the syncing that will finally give users of Microsoft’s browser the ability to login from a secondary device and pick up the same browsing session. This is something that may have contributed to users dropping IE for some of the alternatives since users of Firefox and Chrome have been able to do for the last couple of builds. This is one of the first signs that Microsoft is finally admitting that their browser has been lagging behind the competition and are trying to lure users back.

 

Is the Nook headed for the digital graveyard this year?

28 May

 

Will the Nook e-reader/tablet go extinct this year as 24/7 Wall St. is predicting? If it does go away who can we blame for its demise? Was Microsoft’s investment too little, too late? Can the Nook be saved? And what is probably the biggest question is what will Amazon do with no competition to the Kindle?

Over the last few years Amazon has become the favorite target of just about every business that is struggling or about to go out of business. Barnes & Noble is no exception saying that the reason for the Nook’s ills are because the Seattle-based media giant has been able to undercut them on price and offers on the Kindle. Can they really blame Amazon though since Barnes & Noble themselves have been playing one-up-man-ship with Amazon every since the Nook first arrived on the scene in 2009?

So, if they can’t blame Amazon for the downfall of the Nook can they put the blame on the Redmond-based Microsoft for their woes? Back in April of last year Microsoft invested $300 million in Barnes & Noble’s Nook division. Shortly after that investment the sales of the Nook e-readers and tablets started to decline. Does this show that Microsoft buying into the Nook started the decline or was it already on a downward spiral and the money helped the Nook for totally disappearing at that time?

If neither Amazon nor Microsoft are to blame than it must mean that Barnes & Noble is responsible for their own decline. But just what did they do wrong? Maybe it is just a simple pushed the battle with Amazon too far and just simply couldn’t keep up the pace. If that is the case could a further rumored investment by Microsoft be all it will take to bring the Nook back from the brink?

If the Nook does go away could Amazon raise the price on the Kindle as has been suggested by some people? Will any new progress go slow without the the Nook pushing the Kindle? Would it benefit Amazon to help prop up Barnes & Noble the same way that Microsoft did for Apple when they where have problems?

Shoe box size univerrsal battery charger helps the soldier out in the field

28 May

 

When out in the field the modern military lives on batteries. They carry portable GPS, smartphones, hand held drones and wearable batteries just to name a few. Keeping all those batteries working is a major priority for military troops to carry out their missions.

“There is an increasing need with the networked Soldier for portable power,” said Dave Schimmel, PM SWAR lead engineer. “There is a widening gap between the need for power and the actual availability of that power when the Soldier is in the Tier-1 environment [the most austere environment, such as the remote areas of Afghanistan] so portable power is an absolute requirement.”

Up until recently this meant using older, bulky battery chargers that were created over two decades ago and only charged a few of the different types of batteries being used or carry spare batteries of every type. Either option could add weight and take up space that was need for other vital supplies. So, the call went out that their was a need for a smaller portable charge that could handle all the types of batteries. That call was answered by the US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s communications-electronics center (CERDEC) when they built their universal battery charger (UBC).

“You can hook this battery charger up to anything that provides power — a generator, fuel cell, solar panel, wind turbine, vehicle cigarette lighter – anything,” CERDEC CP&I engineer Marc Gietter said.
The UBC is approximately the size of the average shoe box and only weighs 6 pounds making it extremely portable for the soldier out in the field. It is built using smart technology so it can be used on any type of battery and recognize just how much power to feed each one of those batteries. In cases where there is no power supply to hook upto, the UBC comes equipped with a fold out solar panel.

For more on the UBC you might try the following articles:

 

Twitter makes our accounts more secure

27 May

 

In the past few years the micro-blogging site twitter has seen more than its share of hacking incidents. Some of the more recent high profile ones have been the Jeep corporation and Burger King prompting users of the site to demand a better security process to help prevent these attacks. On Wednesday the management of twitter finally heard those concerns and implement a 2-step verification system that current users can opt into to give them some extra protection.

“Today we’re introducing a new security feature to better protect your Twitter account: login verification,” Twitter’s Jim O’Leary wrote in a blog post this Wednesday. “This is a form of two-factor authentication. When you sign in to twitter.com, there’s a second check to make sure it’s really you. You’ll be asked to register a verified phone number and a confirmed email address.”

Under the new verification system every time you login twitter well send a verification code to your mobile device that you will need to enter before you can finish your login. A few other sites already offer a 2-step system and hacking has seen a significant reduction. The system will not eliminate the need for users that take some precautions, such as, changing passwords a couple of times a years and checking your account information to make sure none of it has been altered.

When you do change your password there are a few simply rules you should always follow:

  1. Always make your password atleast 8 characters long ensuring that it will be difficult for anyone to figure out.

  2. Never use personal information, such as, your name, birthday, pet’s name or anything easily associated with you.

  3. Always use a mix of capitol and lower-case letters along with numbers

  4. Never write down your password where someone can get their hands on it

  5. If you do have too many passwords to remember it should be kept locked away, encrypted or password protected so that only you have access.

 

 

Marissa Mayer is set to make yet another big purchase for Yahoo

27 May

 

Last week Jeff the story of how Marissa Mayer was trying to put Yahoo back on top by purchasing the popular blogging site Tumblr. This week the spending spree continues as Yahoo is getting set to take Netflix, Amazon and Google as they make a bid for the video streaming site Hulu. If she completes this deal it will be the second big acquisition since Ms. Mayer took over as CEO of Yahoo.

“Hulu is a very nice brand and technology, but the entire negotiation will be about the control and price of content,” one person lose to the situation. “It’s the only thing that matters.”

Marissa Mayer could very well find that she has two obstacles in the way of this acquisition as some source suggest that Yahoo’s offer of $600-$800 million could be seen as too low and other companies, such as, Direct TV and Time-Warner media are sure to put up a though battle. With a strong possibility of even more companies joining in there could very well be a bidding war that will drive the price-tag well over a billion dollars.

This isn’t the first time that Yahoo tried to purchase Hulu. Back in 2011 when Carol Bartz was still the CEO of Yahoo they failed in their attempt to purchase the video streaming company. It could have very well been that failure that was the last nail in her coffin.

If Ms. Mayer can pull off this deal and do what her predecessors have failed to do it would be one the high points in her career to date. The acquisition would also give Yahoo a great start as a competitor in the video streaming competition since Hulu plus currently boast over 70,000 television shows including Glee, Community, Family Guy and Modern Family just to name a few.

 

 

Washington state joins 9 other states in passing a password protection bill

22 May

 

On March 26, 2012 Jeff brought you the story of the growing practice of employers ask for passwords from potential employees during interviews. Since that time the federal government failed to pass a bill to stop the practice causing individual states to take up the cause. So far, there have been 10 states that have passed laws to prohibit the practice.

As of yesterday Washington state became the latest one to join these ranks when Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill. Democratic Sen. Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens sponsored state Senate bill 5211 that would make it illegal for employers or potential employer to ask for the password to your Facebook or any other social media account. The bill does still allow employers to ask for content in the case of an internal investigation against an employee.

“I’m pleased that all sides were able to come together, work out their differences and agree on a bill that protects everyone involved,” Senator Hobbs told Fox news. “Privacy shouldn’t be a thing of the past that we are forced to sacrifice every time technology moves forward.”

The other states that have similar “Social networking privacy acts” are Maryland, Illinois, California, Michigan, Utah, New Mexico, Arkansas, Colorado and New Jersey. The rest of the states across the country could be joining these ranks sometime later this year.

For moe on this topic you might try the following articles:

 

 


 

The Cleveland Indians double up the Mariners

18 May

 

The 1st inning starts with Michael Saunders at the plate and he strikes out. Dustin Ackly is up next where he also strikes out. Kyle Seager is the next man to the plate and he hits a single. That brings up Kendrys Morales who hits a line drive right back to the pitcher. Michael Bourn starts the Indians half of the inning and he strikes out. Jason Kipnis steps in next and he works his way on with a walk. Asdrubal Cabrera steps up to the plate and hits into a double play to end the 1st.

Justin Smoak is up first for the Mariners in the 2nd inning strikes out. Raul Ibanez is up next and he strikes out. That brings up Kelly Shoppach who strikes out to end the to end the top of the inning. Nick Swisher leadsoff the bottom of the inning and walks. Carlos “not the guitarist” Santana is next and hit a double. That brings up Jason Giambi and he bring Nick Swisher home with a sacrifice fly. Mark Reynolds steps into the batter’s box who hits a gound ball for out two. Brandon Maurer throws a wild pitch and Santana scores. Michael Brantley is the next man to the plate and he strikes out to end the 2nd.

Endy Chavez starts the 3rd for the Mariners and hits a single. Brendan Ryan steps in next and gets a single. Then back to the top of the order for Michael Saunders and he hits into a double play. Dustin Ackly is next to the plate and he grounds out to end the top of the inning. Drew Stubbs leadsoff for the Indians in their half of the inning and he grounds out. Michael Bourn is up next and he is safe on an infield hit. Jason Kipnis is up for his second time and he hits a line drive back to the pitch who throws Bourn out at second. Jason Kipnis is thrown out trying to steal second to end the 3rd.

Kyle Seager starts the 4th inning with a ground ball for out one. Kendrys Morales follows with a home run. Justin Smoak is up next and he strikes out. That brings up Raul Ibanezz who singles. Kelly Shoppach is next to the plate and he walks. Endy Chavez is next and he grounds out to end the top of the inning. Asdrubal Cabrera starts off the bottom of the inning flies out. Nick Swisher is up next and he strikes out. That brings Carlos Santana to the plate and he walks. Then it is Jason Giambi’s turn and he walks. With two on and two out Mark Reynolds steps up to the plate and he strikes out to end the 4th.

Brendan Ryan starts off the top of the 5th inning with a strike out. That brings up leadoff man Michael Saunders who strikes out. Dustin Ackly steps up to the plate and he gets a single. With Kyle Seager at the plate Dustin Ackly steals second. Kyle Seager then works his way on with a walk. With two on and two out Kendrys Morales comes up to the plate and strikes out to end the top of the inning. Michael Brantley leads-off the bottom of the inning and grounds out. Drew Stubbs is up next where he hits a home run. Then it is back to the top of the order for Michael Bourn who singles. That brings up Jason Kipnis and he hits a single. Asdrubel Cabrera is next to the plate and he flies out into what ends up being a double play to end the 5th.

In the top of the 6th Justin Smoak leads-off for the Mariners and he gets a single. Rich Hill replaces Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound. Raul Ibanez is the next man to the plate and he belts out a 2-run homer to tie the game. Kelly Shoppach is next and flies out. That brings up Endy Chavez who flies out. Brendan Ryan is next and he hits a double. With two on and two outs Michael Saunders steps up to the plate and he pops up to short to end the top of the inning. Nick Swisher will start off the Indians half of the inning and he strikes out. Carlos Santana is up next and he strikes out. Jason Giambi is the next man to the plate flies out to end the 6th inning.

Dustin Ackly will leadoff the 7th inning with a ground ball for out number one. Kyle Seager is next and he works his way on with a walk. Cody Allen replaces Rich Hill on the mound. Kendrys Morales steps up to the plate and welcomes the new pitcher with a strike out. That brings up Justin Smoak and he grounds out to end the top of the inning. Charlie Furbush comes in to take over the pitching duties. Mark Reylonds will leadoff for the Indians in their half of the inning and he flies out. Michael Brantley is the next man up and he flies out. That bring Drew Stubbs to the plate where he strikes out to end the 7th inning.

Raul Ibanez is the first man up for the Mariners in the 8th inning where he singles. Kelly Shoppach is up next who hits a sacrifice bunt to move Raul to second. Brian Shaw takes over on the mound. Endy Chavez steps up to the plate and he grounds out. Brendan Ryan steps into the batter’s box where he strikes out to end the top of the inning. Michael Bourn starts the bottom of the inning and he flies out. Jason Kipnis is up next and he strikes out. Carter Capps takes over from Charlie Furbush. Asdrubal Cabrera is the next man to the plate and he strikes out to end the 8th inning.

Chris Perez takes over the pitching duties. Michael Saunders will start off the 9th inning with a ground ball for an out. Dustin Ackly is up next and he strikes out. Kyle Seager is next for the Mariners and he flies out to end the top of the inning. Nick Swisher leads-off the bottom of the inning and he grounds out. Carlos Santana is next pops out to short. That brings up Jason Giambi who flies out.

Vince Pestano takes over the pitching duties. Kendrys Morales starts the 10th inning with a ground ball to short. Justin Smoak is up next and he works his way on with a walk. That brings up Raul Ibanez who flies out to right field. Kelly Shoppach steps up to the plate and he strikes out to end the top of the inning. Mark Reynolds will lead-off the bottom of the inning with a strike out. Lucas Luetge takes over the pitching duties. Michael Brantley is the next man up and he grounds out. That brings up Drew Stubbs who works his way on with a walk. Drew Stubbs steals second. Then it is back to the top of the order for Michael Bourn who gets an infield single. Jason Kipnis is the next man to the plate and he hits a 3-run homer to win the game.

 

Amazon inks a new deal with NB/Universal

17 May

 

In a letter to customers Jeff Bezos announced that Amazon inked a new deal with NBC/Universal to bring over a dozen more episodes to their Prime network. The deal will give the Seattle-based media giant the exclusive rights for the next 4 years to season 1 of Grimm, season 1 of Suits, seasons 1 & 2 of Covert Affairs plus Hannibal and Defiance when they air. The deal also gives them the non-exclusive right to Smash, Eureka, Warehouse 13, Alphas along with Curious George, Land Before Time and Hunger Games for the younger audience.

“We’re excited to expand our relationship with Amazon by adding great NBCUniversal content to Prime Instant Video,” said Frances Manfredi, President, NBCUniversal Cable & New Media Distribution, in a press release. “With Amazon, we’re giving our established viewers a chance to catch-up on what they missed while simultaneously reaching and engaging new audiences who may not have seen these great series on their premiering networks.”

All of the shows that this deal adds along with the rest of the over 40,000 television shows & movies that Amazon’s are available to customers over their Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, iPad, WII, Xbox, televisions and several other devices. Other than the streaming video service, for the $79/year price tag member of the Prime network will also be able to get free 2-day shipping on hundreds of item available for purchase through Amazon. Kindle owners will also have access to the Kindle lending library where they will be able to borrow select books for free with no due date.

 

The bartender serves up a win to give the Mariners the series

17 May

 

The 1st inning starts with Michael Saunders stepping up to the plate and he flies out. Jason Bay is next for the Mariners and he hits a ground ball for out two. Kyle Seager steps up to take his turn at bat and he hits a fly ball to Ichiro to end the top of the inning. The Yankees half of the inning starts off with Brett Gardner stepping in to the batter’s box hits a fly ball to Jason Bay for the first out. Jayson Nix is next up and he hits a ground ball to Brendan Ryan who throws him out. Robinson Cano steps into the box where he hits a fly ball to end the 1st. Seattle Marines manager Eric Wedge is thrown out after agreeing that the catch by Ichiro hit the ground first. Instant replay showed he was right.

Kendrys Morales starts off the 2nd inning and he works his way on via walk. Michael Morse steps up to the plate and he hits a single giving the Mariners two on base. Raul Ibanez steps us to the plate and he strikes out. Jesus Montero is next and he hits a fly ball for out number two. Dustin Ackly walks into the batter’s box and he brings Kendrys Morales home with a double. That brings up Brendan Ryan who hits a fly ball to right where Ichiro catches it to end the top of the inning. Vernon Wells steps in to leadoff the bottom of the inning and he strikes out. Lyle Overbay is next up and he strikes out. Curtis Granderson is up next and he bunts his way aboard then takes second on an error by the pitcher. David Adams comes to the plate where he brings Granderson home on a double. Ichiro Suzuki is next and grounds out to end the 2nd.

Michael Saunders leadsoff the 3rd for the Mariners where he strikes out. Jason Bay is next and he strikes out. Kyle Seager is the next man to the plate where he ground out to end the top of the inning. Chris Stewart starts the bottom of the inning and he hits a fly ball to Michael Saunders. That brings up Brett Gardner for his second at bat where he hits a fly ball to Michael Saunders. Jayson Nix is up next and he strikes out to end the 3rd.

Kendrys Morales starts the 4th for the Mariners and gets a single. Kendrys Morales takes second on a wild pitch. Michael Morse steps up next and he walks to give the Mariners two on. Raul Ibanez steps in and pops up to the pitcher. Jesus Montero steps into the box and he walks to load the bases. With the sacks full and one out Dustin Ackly steps up to the plate where he hits a ground ball to first and they throw out Morales at home plate. Brendan Ryan is up next and he get an infield hit to score Michael Morse. That brings Michael Saunders up to the plate and he hits a ground ball to end the top of the inning. Robinson Cano leadsoff in the bottom of the inning and he grounds out. Vernon Wells follows up with a walk. Lyle Overbay steps up to the plate and pops up to short. Curtis Granderson is next and he strikes out to end the 4th.

Jason Bay leadsoff the 5th and strikes out. Kyle Seager is up next and he strikes out. The starting pitcher Andy Pettite leaves the game and is replaced by Shawn Kelly. Kendrys Morales steps up to the plate and strikes out to end the top of the inning. David Adams leadsoff the bottom of the inning and he is hit by a pitch. Ichiro Suzuki steps up next and flies out. Chris Stewart is next and he gets a single. Oliver Perez comes in to take over the pitching duties for the Mariners. With runners at the corners Brett Gardner steps up to the plate where he strikes out. Jayson Nix is the next man to the plate and he flies out to end the 5th.

Michael Morse leadsoff the 6th inning and he goes beast mode with a home run. Raul Ibanez is up next and he strikes out. Jesus Montero steps up to the plate strikes out.With two outs Dustin Ackly comes up to the plate where he strikes out to end the top of the inning. Robinson Cano starts off the bottom of the inning with a strike out. Vernon Wells steps up to the plate and strikes out. That brings up Lyle Overbay who walks. With one on and two outs Curtis Granderson steps up to the plate and he gets an infield single. Yoervis Medina comes in to take over the pitching duties. David Adams steps in next who grounds out to end the 6th.

Brendan Ryan leadsoff the 7th for the Mariners and he flies out. That brings Michael Saunders to the plate where he strikes out. Jason Bay is up next and he hits a two out double. Boone Logan takes over the pitching duties. Kyle Seager steps in and pops up to the catcher to end the top of the inning. Ichiro Suzuki leadsoff the bottom of the inning and he gets his first hit of the series. That brings up Chris Stewart who walks. With two on and no out Brett Gardner steps up to the plate where he strikes out. Jayson Nix comes to the plate and he grounds out. Lucas Luetge takes over the pitching duties. Robinson Cano steps up and he gets an infield single. Carter Capps takes over as the new pitcher. Vernon Wells is next and he flies out to end the 7th.

Kendrys Morales is up first in the 8th and he grounds out. That brings up Michael Morse who grounds out. Raul Ibanez steps up next and he strikes out to end the top of the inning. Lyle Overbay leadsoff the Yankees half of the inning and he flies out. Curtis Granderson is up next and hits a single. That brings up David Adams who flies out to Brendan Ryan. Ichiro Suzuki is up next and he strikes out to end the 8th.

Jesus Montero steps up to the plate to start off the 9th and he hits a line drive to first baseman Lyle Overbay. Dustin Ackly steps in and flies out. That brings Brendan Ryan to the plate where he gets an infield single. Back to the top of the order for Michael Saunders and he grounds out to end the top of the inning. Tom “the bartender” Wilhelmsen comes to serve up the last call. Austin Romine steps up to start the Yankees half of the inning where he hits a line drive to Dustin Ackly who throws him out. Brett Gardner is up next and he gets a single. Brett Gardner steals second and then third. Jayson Nix comes to the plate and he strikes out. Robinson Cano is the next man to the plate and he hits a ground ball to Brendan Ryan to end the game.

The Seattle Mariners win their first series in New York since 2009.