Sunday, July 31, 2011

Page Speed Service is geared to give Google more control over Websites

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) July 28 moved to extend its sphere of influence by offering Websites the opportunity to accelerate the loading of their Web pages by 25 percent to 60 percent.
Web page loading speed is a huge deal for publishers because their visitors won't stick around if a Website stutters while rendering content. However, some industry watchers believe this new Page Speed Service is geared to give Google more control over Websites.
Here's how Page Speed Service works. Publishers will sign in and point their Website's DNS (domain name system) entry to Google. Page Speed Service pulls content from publishers' servers, rewrites the pages to make them faster and serves them to users via Google's servers.
"Your users will continue to access your site just as they did before, only with faster load times," explained Ram Ramani, a Google engineering manager. Ramani added that publishers don't have to worry about compressing images, caching and other tedious Website optimization factors.
He also said Google tests revealed on several Websites boosted site speeds by 25 percent to 60 percent.
Some industry watchers were suspicious of Google's bid to circumvent publishers' servers by using their own, noting that it puts Google in the Web host orcontent delivery network category reserved for companies such as Akamai.
Search Engine Watch blogger Thom Craver said Google is actually offering "tricked out hosting, not a page optimizer."
"You have to set your DNS to point to Google instead of your current Web host," Craver wrote. "This means when someone types in your Website, Google's servers will answer, not yours."

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

The bet on Google TV has cost Logitech dearly

Google_tv-sony_intel_logitech-android-chrome-w...Image by Shekhar_Sahu via Flickr
The bet on Google TV has cost Logitech dearly, as the peripheral maker fired its CEO after returns of the Google TV-powered Revue box outstripped its sales.
Logitech lost $30 million for the first quarter, as sales of its digital home products, including the Revue box and its corresponding remote control keyboards, fell 53 percent, resulting in a $34 million charge.
To improve matters, Logitech slashed the price of its Revue companion box from $249 to $99 to accelerate adoption of Google TV by "removing price as a barrier to broad consumer acceptance."
That's one-third of the box's launch price last October, when the Revue debuted and quickly earned complaints for serving a buggy Google TV service.
Google TV uses Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system and Chrome Web browser to deliver users Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and other applications through televisions.
Worse than the cost-cutting was this nugget about the Revue from Logitech's Q1 prepared remarks: "Sales of Logitech Revue were slightly negative during the quarter, as returns of the product were higher than the very modest sales."
New Logitech President and CEO Guerrino De Luca, who replaced CEO Gerald Quindlen, acknowledged the weakness in the Revue sales execution.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system rose to 39 percent U.S. market

Android robot logo.Image via Wikipedia
Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system rose to 39 percent U.S. market share through June, up from 38 percent in May, according to Nielsen.
Apple's iOS-based iPhone is still in second place, but rose to 28 percent from 27 percent in May and 26 percent in April.
While Android leads by dint of massive exposure across multiple OEMs selling handsets in the United States and all over the world, Apple remains the top smartphone maker in the United States with that 28 percent share.
HTC is No. 2 with 20 percent in the United States, including 14 percent of Android phones and 6 percent of Windows Mobile/Windows Phone 7 gadgets.
Motorola is No. 3 with 11 percent of all Android phones. Samsung follows at a total of 10 percent U.S. share, with 8 percent of Android phone sales and 2 percent of Windows Mobile/WP7 sales.
In other Nielsen smartphone market share updates, Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry continued to lose share for June, accounting for 20 percent share. That's down from 21 percent in May and 23 percent in April.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

World Match Tour St Moritz

World Match Racing Tour
Richard will be looking to recreate his success at last year's St Moritz Match Race. Photo: Ian Roman / WMRT
Richard and Iehl Can Still Take World Match Racing Tour Title Says CoachJuly 28, 2011 – London, UK: France can still win its first match racing world title in 17 years, according to the country’s elite performance coach. Marc Bouet, coach to the French Match Racing Team duo of Mathieu Richard and Damien Iehl, said the pair are still capable of victory in the World Match Racing Tour, the world’s premier match racing series.
Both skippers have shown sparks of brilliance on the racecourse this season but have yet to find the consistency needed to take the overall title. Currently languishing in seventh and eighth on the World Match Racing Tour leaderboard with only three events left, the pressure on Richard and Iehl to pull off some big results is ever increasing.
Bouet has admitted his boys, who currently trail overall leader Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing by 28 and 24 points respectively, haven’t been performing well enough on the Tour so far this season – but says they are still capable of a comeback. The last time a French team took the world title was back in 1994 when Bertrand Pace won the ISAF Match Racing World Championship.
“Obviously I am not happy with results so far this season but we have been very close most of the time,” said Bouet, a veteran match racer who skippered the French entry in the America’s Cup in 1987 and 1992 and attended all five Olympic Games between 1980 and 1996. “No one team is totally dominant this year, the level is very similar. Our teams have not been sailing badly, but they haven’t been good enough. We are hoping for better results from the next two events in the run up to the Monsoon Cup.”
Bouet reckons results from the past few years of the World Match Racing Tour show that if you can win the final of the Monsoon Cup – the culminating stage of the Tour where points count for an extra 50 per cent – then you can snatch the overall title. One man who knows that all too well is Richard. The 35-year-old was dominant last season and led the standings for the majority of the Tour, only to fall foul of Ben Ainslie’s TEAMORIGIN in the final of the Monsoon Cup, the overall Tour victory snatched from him in the dying moments.
As well as concentrating on getting their own campaigns back on track in St Moritz, Richard and Iehl will also have to contend with Tour leader Francesco Bruni and form skipper Ian Williams, both teams looking strong at the top of the Tour leaderboard.
“I hope that Mathieu and Damien can turn it round in the final few events of the Tour,” Bouet added. “It also depends on how Francesco Bruni and Ian Williams go in the next couple of events because they are both in strong positions. Our goal now is to pick up as many points as possible in the next two events so we can to go to the Monsoon Cup with a good shot.”
Bouet also puts some of the misfortune down to plain bad luck. “We have had a lack of luck so far this year,” he said, “and we hope a better balance for the rest of the Tour. For example, in the first race of the Quarter Finals at Match Race Germany both French teams were leading with a huge advantage but then the wind died and they both lost. In Richard’s quarter final match against Bjorn Hansen at the Korea Match Cup four races were abandoned, one of them when Richard was four boat lengths ahead. Then in the deciding race Richard was again ahead when the wind died and Hansen came from nowhere to win.”
Iehl’s 2011 campaign – his first season on the World Match Racing Tour as a Tour Card Holder – got off to a blinding start with a home win at Match Race France, the opening stage of the Tour, but the 36-year-old has failed to make it past the Quarter Final stage at the following four events.
“I have long felt that Iehl’s team are capable of winning the Tour but obviously they are at a slight disadvantage because it is their first year as Tour Card Holders,” Bouet said. “The knowledge of the boats and venues are the keys to winning if you look at the leaderboard. Differences are really very small and losing or winning is possible for each of the teams.”
The French Match Racing Team crews have been keeping busy during the lead-up to St Moritz Match Race, one of the three stages Richard won last year, with other sailing projects plus some well-earned holiday. Iehl’s bowman Francois Verdier and trimmer Devan Le Bihan, along with Richard’s bowman Christophe Andre, will be taking part in the America’s Cup World Series. When they reform ahead of the sixth stage of the Tour at the end of August Bouet thinks they will have an advantage due to their skill in smaller boats.
To watch the promo video for St Moritz Match Race click HERE.
“We spend a lot of time training in J80s so we are a lot better in the smaller boats like the BLU26 class raced at St Moritz,” Bouet said. “The Nordic and New Zealand teams train in bigger boats like the DS37 so they find those events easier. We’re looking for good results in the mountains.”
St Moritz Match Race, the sixth stage of the World Match Racing Tour, takes place on Lake St Moritz in the Engadin Valley from August 30 to September 4.
For all the latest World Match Racing Tour news, features, comment and analysis, go
2011 ISAF World Match Racing Tour Standings (After Stage 5):
1 Francesco Bruni (ITA) Bruni Racing – 81pts
2 Peter Gilmour (AUS) YANMAR Racing – 74pts
3 Ian Williams (GBR) Team GAC Pindar - 71pts
4 Jesper Radich (DEN) Adrian Lee & Partners – 59pts
5 Torvar Mirsky (AUS) The Wave Muscat – 59pts
6 Bjorn Hansen (SWE) Mekonomen Sailing Team – 57pts
7 Damien Iehl (FRA) French Match Racing Team - 57pts
8 Mathieu Richard (FRA) French Match Racing Team – 53pts
9 Phil Robertson (NZL) WAKA Racing – 39pts
10 Johnie Berntsson (SWE) Berntsson Sailing Team - 34pts

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

HP Pavilion dm1-3010nr Entertainment PC with 4GLTE

Network operator Verizon Wireless announced the HP Pavilion dm1-3010nr Entertainment PC with 4GLTE (Long-Term Evolution) will be available online via Verizon’s Web site starting July 28. Previously announced at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show and powered by Verizon’s 4G LTE network, the Pavilion dm1-3010nr allows customers to stream high-definition content, play games, video chat and download music, photos and videos within seconds rather than minutes via the 4G network connection.
The Pavilion dm1-3010nr will be available online at for $599.99, and customers will have the option to choose one of the following mobile broadband data plans: a $50 monthly access plan for 5GB monthly allowance or an $80 monthly access for 10GB monthly allowance. Measuring less than 1.2-inches thin, the Pavilion dm1-3010nr boasts CoolSense Technology, which combines advanced hardware and intelligent cooling software for a notebook that feels cooler. With 4G LTE, customers can expect download speeds of 5 to 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps in 4G mobile broadband coverage areas, according to a company release.
In addition, the notebook features Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, an 11.6-inch high-definition HP BrightView LED display, the 1.60 GHz AMD Dual-CoreProcessor E-350, a 320 GB hard drive with HP ProtectSmart hard drive protection, 2 GB DDR3 RAM memory, a VGA Web cam with integrated digital microphone and a multi-format digital media card reader for SD cards and multimedia cards.
Verizon also said it would begin selling the 4G LTE Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 July 28, becoming the first provider of a 4G-powered Samsung tablet. The 16GB model costs $529.99 and the 32GB model is $629.99, both on two-year contracts. The data plans Tab 10.1 buyers may choose from are: $30 a month for up to 2GB; $50 a month for 5GB; or the heftier $80 a month for 10GB for power users.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

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Monday, July 25, 2011

IBM Cloud Services

Image representing IBM as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase
IBM has announced new cloud-based collaboration services to help U.S. federal government organizations adopt social computing.
The new set of social collaboration services, delivered on IBM's Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)-compliant Federal Community Cloud, addresses the administration's drive to adopt a "cloud-first" policy which is designed to help the government improve its overall IT efficiency and delivery of services to citizens, IBM said in a press release.
IBM's new cloud services include social software such as wikis, microblogs, communities, staff profiles, instant messaging, web conferencing and email. IBM’s services also support popular mobile devices including Android phones and tablets, Apple iPhone 4 and iPadBlackBerry, and Nokia Symbian platform. Industry analyst firm IDC ranked IBM first in the social platforms market share for 2009 and 2010.
Accessing social software as a cloud service can help federal agencies introduce new capabilities at a lower cost and in a more timely fashion, IBM said. These services can be provided for staff on demand without long term commitments and help the government reduce waste and consolidate IT spending.
"The rise in Big Data and the demand for transparency and collaboration will continue to put pressure on agencies to embrace new computing environments such as cloud to improve IT capabilities," said Todd S. Ramsey, general manager of IBM’s U.S. Federal organization, in a statement. "IBM cloud collaboration solutions will help agencies gain faster access to the latest technologies, increase innovation across departments and ultimately improve citizen services."
IBM's social software, which is part of the new service, has many useful productivity tools including blogs to allow staff to gather and prioritize community ideas, present their own ideas and learn from others. And the software’s communities feature enables people to exchange and share information with others through a web browser, instant messaging, or email software.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Google+ has racked up more than 20 million users

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase
ComScore said Google+ has racked up more than 20 million users, including 5 million in the U.S., in the first three weeks since the search engine launched the social network as an alternative to Facebook.
"As of July 19, comScore showed Google+ at just about 20 million visitors worldwide, an extraordinary number in just its first three weeks," Lipsman said, adding that the figure represents an increase of 82 percent from the previous week and 561 percent vs. two weeks prior."
The Google+ U.S. audience paced the field, surpassing 5 million visitors, up 81 percent from the previous week and 723 percent from two weeks earlier.
But Google+'s global growth is impressive to Lipsman, who noted that while the U.S. leads in Google+ audience, India is No. 2 with 2.8 million visitors. The U.K. has (867,000 visitors), Canada (859,000 visitors) and Germany (706,000 visitors) rounded out the top five.
The Google+ numbers could be even greater because comScore didn't count visitors from mobile phones. Lipsman said he excluded visits from iPhone and Android smartphone users, limiting estimates to those who navigated to pages from home and work computers.
He also did not take into account Google+ usage that occurs through the Google+ tool bar that crests atop most Google pages these days.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Audi MedCup Series Sardinia

Whatever the weather does, and there is no shortage of breeze this morning with the wind back from the NW’ly Mistral sector, it promises to be a long, exciting and probably pivotal day at the Audi MedCup Circuit’s Region of Sardinia Trophy Regatta. The windsare expected to be between 12 and 18kts from the NW. building through the afternoon.
Having lost a race yesterday, the 52 Series programme today is to run one windward-leeward race followed by the 25-30 miles coastal race to Poetto beach and back out to sea, finishing in the harbour of Cagliari.
The Soto 40’s will also race with a start sequence a little after midday. They will race two windward-leewards, and as a bit of added spice their second race will finish in the harbour.
So for the 52 Series especially there are a lot of points on the board today. Audi ALL4ONE lead the regatta by six points and so need to patch together a good windward-leeward and coastal race, which carries the 1.5 points multiplier to be sure of holding a decent margin into the final day, tomorrow.
Jorge Ondo (ESP), Grinder, Audi Sailing Team powered by ALL4ONE (FRA-GER):
“We hope to keep the first place after today´s races. We´ll try not to make mistakes, the key that has kept us ahead of the second and third teams. Regarding today´s weather forecast, at this point it´s hard to say what conditions are good or bad for our boat, yesterday with not a lot of wind, we did great, and the previous days we also did well. To me it´s all a matter of staying mentally focused. We´ve definitely improved the crew´s communication on board, the sails and the trimming. Also, building a better team chemistry has been very important for us.”
Iñaki Castañer (ESP), Skipper, Noticia IV (ESP):
“With the Mistral blowing today it will be important to do things neatly, because you lose a lot of time with the sails, for instance, and it can make a huge difference. For us, yesterday was frustrating, we started badly although we managed to position ourselves in third place. The Italian team showed how important it is to start well. We recovered a bit but it wasn´t enough. As for today, we have four races ahead of us, we are encouraged to catch the leaders, who are close to us. A day like today could be really important for the final standings.”

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Friday, July 22, 2011

American blogger who stumbled upon a near flawless fake Apple Store

Apple StoreImage via Wikipedia
 An American blogger who stumbled upon a near flawless fake Apple Store in China has become an Internet sensation after her post went viral and triggered a feisty debate about piracy in the world's second largest economy.
The 27-year-old, who goes by the name "BirdAbroad", said her story about the fake store in the southwestern city of Kunming had attracted nearly 1 million hits over the past three days after it caught the imagination of the world's media.
A search on Google showed nearly 1,000 media outlets picked up the story and pictures of the fake store, with the topic one of the most talked-about subjects on Twitter and Chinese Internet sites.
"I originally put the post up not because it was news that Western brands get ripped off in China, but because these Apple stores had taken the fakery up a serious notch to the point where it's practically a work of art in itself," the blogger, who works for an international health organization, told Reuters in an email.
She wrote in the post that she found the store while strolling down a street with her husband a few blocks from their apartment.
Complete with the white Apple logo, wooden tables and cheery staff who appeared to genuinely believe they worked for the iPhone maker, the store looks every bit like Apple Stores found all over the world.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

data loss continues to be prominent among small businesses.

Image representing Carbonite as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBase
Carbonite Inc., a provider of online backup solutions conducted a survey showing data loss continues to be prominent among small businesses. In April 2011, Carbonite surveyed more than 125 small businesses with between two and 20 employees to study their disaster recovery and data backupmethods. The Carbonite-sponsored study indicated 48 percent of American small businesses with between two and 20 employees had experienced data loss, up from 42 percent when Carbonite surveyed small businesses in December 2010.
The top causes of small business' data loss included hardware/software failure (54 percent), accidental deletion (54 percent), computer viruses (33 percent) and theft (10 percent). Although 31 percent of small business owners surveyed agree that backing up their company's computers is a hassle that takes time away from running their business, the research indicated that physical devices were the most prominent backup methods used by small businesses. Specifically, external hard drives (41 percent), CDs/DVDs (36 percent) and USB/flash memory sticks (36 percent) were reported as the three most-popular ways SMBs back up data.
While many SMBs recognize that online backup solutions offer significant advantages over traditional physical-device backups – such as being automatic, continuous, offsite and requiring no extra equipment – the research indicates that those who do not backup to the cloud cited cost as the number one factor in their decision. In response to SMB concerns over cost Carbonite last month announced the availability of Carbonite Business, which provides a flat-rate pricing plan for small businesses, starting at $229 annually for an unlimited number of computers.
"We know from our experience working with small businesses over the past five years that they need an affordable, flat-fee pricing model," said Peter Lamson, general manager of small business for Carbonite. "Too many online backup providers have priced online backup at a level that is simply not appropriate for the way SMBs budget. At Carbonite, SMB is in our DNA, so we worked diligently to develop a solution that now allows small businesses to enjoy the superior protection of Carbonite's online backup protection, at a price that makes good business sense."

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kerio Technologies announced the latest version of its IP PBX (VOIP) solution

Digium, Inc. LogoImage via Wikipedia
Unified communications, collaboration and security solutions specialist Kerio Technologies announced the latest version of its IP PBX (VOIP) solution for small to medium-size businesses. Operator 1.1 offers a Web-based GUI, which has advanced drag-and-drop capabilities for interface configuration; contextual help; and a configuration assistant. As with other Kerio products, the system can be configured and managed remotely from within an Internet browser.
Kerio has also incorporated enhanced security mechanisms into Operator 1.1, including dynamic protection against password guessing and the ability to monitor and address abnormal use of any extension within the system. Operator 1.1 pricing starts at $600 for a five-user server license. The Kerio Operator Box 1210 with a 20-user license is priced at $2,000, and the 3210 with a 40-user license is priced at $3,000. Additional user licenses are at $24 each.
Operator 1.1 is available as a software appliance, with its own security-hardened operating system, as well as a VMwarevirtual appliance allowing for production or evaluation deployment on standard PC hardware. Kerio’s stand-alone hardware appliance, the Operator Box, is available in select countries and comes in two models: the desktop Operator Box 1210, which handles up to 40 concurrent calls, and the 1U rack-mountable Operator Box 3210, which supports up to 150 concurrent calls. Operator Box 3210 can be built to order with a Digium TE122 T1/E1 or Digium B410 Euro ISDN hardware expansion card.
Additional features include SIP password guessing protection, designed to enhance safety by blocking an IP after a specified number of log-in attempts, and detection of anomalous behavior where the IT administrator can set “rules” for normal call routines to monitor behavior of the phone system. The administrator is automatically alerted when calls are made outside of these rules (such as extensive international calls) and can address the situation.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Verizon Wireless is turning on its wireless network in 28 additional markets this week

Verizon Wireless logoImage via Wikipedia
Verizon Wireless is turning on its wireless network in 28 additional markets this week, bringing the 4GLong-Term Evolution (LTE) network to a total of 102 cities across the country. Consumers and businesses can choose from nine 4G devices – including three smartphones, a tablet, two hotspots and three USB modems – to connect to the network, the company noted.
The new areas where Verizon’s 4G LTE network will be available Thursday include Decatur and Huntsville, Ala.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Lakeland and Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.; Augusta, Ga.; Hilo, Honolulu, Kahului-Wailuku and Lahaina, Hawaii; Carbondale, Ill.; Wichita, Kan.; Louisville, Ky.; Baton Rouge and Hammond, La.; Springfield, Mass.; Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Toledo, Ohio; Tulsa, Okla.; Portland, Ore.; Wilkes Barre/Scranton, Pa.; Charleston, S.C.; Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tenn.; Olympia and Tacoma, Wash; and Charleston, W.Va. The company is also expanding its 4G LTE network in Phoenix, Ariz.; Los Angeles and San Diego, Calif.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Northern New Jersey; Dallas-Ft. Worth and San Antonio, Texas; and Seattle, Wash.
“On Thursday, when we light up 28 additional 4G LTE markets, we will offer consumers and businesses in 102 metropolitan areas the most advanced 4G wireless network on the planet, while continuing to offer the nation’s most reliable 3G network coast to coast,” said David Small, chief technical officer of Verizon Wireless. “In fewer than eight months we have introduced our 4G LTE network to more than 100 markets and we are continuing to aggressively expand our 4G LTE network; by the end of 2013 we plan to bring 4G LTE mobile broadband to our entire 3G coverage area.”
The devices include the Revolution by LG, Droid Charge by Samsung and ThunderBolt by HTC smartphones, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, as well as the MiFi4510L 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot and Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot. Laptop users can access speeds up to 10 times faster than the company’s 3G network with three USB modems from Novatel, Pantech and LG. In real-world, fully-loaded network environments, 4G LTE users should experience average data rates of 5 to 12 megabits per second (Mbps) on the downlink and 2 to 5 Mbps on the uplink, according to a company release.
When customers travel outside of a 4G coverage area, the devices automatically connect to Verizon’s 3G network. Customers in 3G coverage areas today who purchase 4G devices will be able to take advantage of 4G speeds when the faster network becomes available in their areas. The company’s 700 MHz spectrum gives Verizon specific advantages with 4G, including a contiguous, nationwide network license.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Department of Defense unveiled a cyber-security strategy

ARLINGTON, VA - APRIL 6:  United States Marine...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Even as the Department of Defense unveiled a cyber-security strategy, a senior military official said it was "way too predictable," and that the Pentagon needs to prepare offensive counter measures to deter cyber-attacks
Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn July 14 released the Pentagon's "Strategy for Operating in Cyber-Space," outlining five "strategic initiatives" on how the military will operate online. The strategy focused on how the defense department will defend its networks and those of key infrastructure from cyber-attacks, said Marine General James Cartwrightvice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a press briefing just before Lynn's speech at the National Defense UniversityWashington, D.C.
The Pentagon needs to talk about stronger offensive measures in the "next iteration" of the strategy that would deter intrusions, Cartwright said. Under the current strategy, there are no penalties for adversaries that launch cyber-attacks against the United States.
The Pentagon needs to say "to the attacker, 'If you do this, the price to you is going to go up, and it’s going to ever escalate,'" Cartwright said.
American military officials were devoting nearly 90 percent of their attention toward building better firewalls and only 10 percent on ways to deter cyber-attackers from launching attacks in the first place. While this is a great situation for government contractors looking for lucrative contracts, it is not sustainable, Cartwright said. A better strategy would be the reverse, with military officials focused on the offense.
“If it’s OK to attack me and I’m not going to do anything other than improve my defenses every time you attack me, it’s very difficult to come up with a deterrent strategy,” Cartwright said.
The defensive mentality is also more expensive for the country, Cartwright said, noting malware developers spend "a couple hundred dollars to build a virus" and the government racks up "millions" in expensive defensive measures every year.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Android's next build of 3.2

Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase
Google's Android team is adapting the next build of its Android 3.2 "Honeycomb" tablet operating system to let Android tablet owners choose two modes with which to access phone apps not originally intended for the larger tablet form factor.
The idea is to boost the paucity of apps available for existing Honeycomb tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10, Toshiba Thrive and Acer's Iconia Tab 500.
"To keep the few apps that don't resize well from frustrating users with awkward-looking apps on their tablets, a near-future release of Honeycomb is introducing a new screen compatibility mode to make these apps more usable on tablets," wrote Scott Main, Google's lead tech writer for the Android developer Website.
When Android 3.2 arrives later this summer, any app not written to target the original Android 3.0 Honeycomb specifications will include a button in the system bar that allows users to toggle between two application viewing modes on tablets.
These modes are "stretch to fill screen," which provides normal layout resizing, and "Zoom to fill screen," which when enabled does not resize an app's layout to fit the screen.
This mode runs the app at 320dp by 480dp, scaling to fill the screen, which means more pixilated images, according to this side-by-side Google Maps comparison of the two modes.
Main warned that developers' apps that already resize well should be updated "as soon as possible to disable screen compatibility mode so that users experience" the app the way the author intended.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Attention streaming movie marathoners

In 1998 Reed Hastings founded Netflix, the lar...Image via Wikipedia
Attention streaming movie marathoners: There are major changes coming your way. This month Netflix announced they'll be increasing their plan pricing. The trend of rising prices for streaming content is a growing one. Cell phone providers like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are all planning to eliminate unlimited data plans in favor of tiered pricing. With experts predicting most cell phone users won't be hit by the changes for a few years, Netflix is taking most of the heat.
The Netflix Changes
Here are the basics of the Netflix changes. Instead of having DVD rentals and streaming movies priced together, each portion will be priced as a separate plan. For most users, this will increase the monthly bill by $6-10. Price changes will take effect September 1.
Customer Backlash
Understandably, cash-strapped consumers are not thrilled about price increases. The official blog post announcing Netflix's changes has generated more than 12,000 comments. Most appear to be current subscribers pledging to cancel their subscription.
More Than the Price
On the surface, $6 doesn't seem like an outrageous amount, but customers are hurt about more than the money. Many who've been with Netflix from the start feel their loyalty has been betrayed. Disgruntled loyalists would like prices to stay as they are for current subscribers with increased rates only for new subscribers.
Not Enough Bang for the Buck
Another customer gripe is that the product doesn't justify the higher price. Subscribers have complained the streaming movie selection is lacking. They contend new material is not added often enough and many times the streaming video quality is poor.
Switching to the Competition
The price increases by Netflix are encouraging many users to give the competition a try. Redbox is one of the most popular alternatives, with $1 rentals and locations in just about every neighborhood. Amazon Instant Video is another popular choice. Streaming new releases are typically $3.99 to rent for a 48 hour period.
Price Increase Reasoning
Even though Netflix subscribers are in an uproar, the company isn't entirely to blame. When Netflix started their streaming service, studios who own the movies didn't realize the potential for profits. With the surge in streaming media popularity, studios want to charge a premium for their content. One expert has predicted Netflix's content licensing costs will increase from $180 million in 2010 to $1.98 billion in 2012.
If you don't want to pay these increased costs, here are a few alternatives to help you keep your cash.
DVD Exchange With Friends
Do you have a shelf full of DVDs you just can't bring yourself to watch again? Get a few friends or co-workers in on a movie exchange. Trade movies one for one and trade back when you're all done watching.
Rent From the Library
With the demise of local video rental stores, finding releases from a few years back is growing increasingly difficult. Renting movies from the library can help you track down many titles not available from Redbox. Even better, the rentals are free!
Discount Gift Cards
Going to see a movie in the theatre isn't exactly a steal, but there are some ways around high prices. Popular cinemas like AMC and Regal both have more than 100 discounted gift cards available at
Matinee Movies
If you work a 9-5, matinee movies may be out of your reach, but they make for another way to beat high prices. Tickets cost much less and you don't have to deal with the massive crowds you find in the evening.
Neighborhood Movie Night
Consider going in with a group of neighbors and investing in a backyard movie set-up. Hopefully, someone already has a projector they're willing to share. All you need then is a screen. Inflatable, outdoor projection screens can easily be found online for less than $200. This tip might not save a ton of money, but it can help a whole group of people stop paying their money to Netflix.
Free Screenings
Plenty of filmmakers just want their movie to get seen. College campuses are great resources for finding free screenings. Many towns also offer free showings of classic films at parks throughout the summer. A local paper is a good way to find out if there are any offerings in your area.
Get Outside
The natural world was here before streaming Netflix and it will certainly be here long after. Take the money you'd spend on movies and invest it in a national parks pass. The cost is only $80 for one year and it gets you and anyone in the car with you into more than 2,000 sites across the country.
Dial Into Daily Movie Deals
Deal of the day sites like Groupon and LivingSocial occasionally offer discounted movie theater tickets for as little as $2 per person. That's a pretty cheap movie night outing and well worth the price. Just make sure to skip the popcorn and candy - your wallet and waist will thank you.
Consumer Savings Expert, Andrea Woroch, is available to share "Netflix Raises Prices: Keep Your Cash With 8 Alternative Options" with your audience for an in-studio, satellite or skype interview. Andrea has been featured as a media expert source on The Today ShowNBC Nightly NewsFOX & FriendsABC News NOW, MSNBC, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Smart Money and many more. To view recent interviews or for more savings tips visit

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Phoenix Brochure by R.G.Richardson – Books on Google Play

Phoenix Brochure by R.G.Richardson – Books on Google Play