Archive for the ‘ Android ’ Category


The Taiwanese PC maker is bringing its Padfone device to the US late this year

PC maker Asus is taking the Windows-Android hybrid concept to another level with a convertible laptop that can switch between the two OSes with the

The Asus Transformer Book Duet TD300 comes as a 13.3-inch notebook with a detachable keyboard, which when removed turns the device into a tablet. But unlike other PC convertibles, the new Asus product can switch between the Windows and Android OSes in either tablet or laptop mode.

By pressing an “OS Switch” button located on the screen, the product will alternate to the other operating system in five seconds. The device itself runs Intel’s fourth-generation Haswell chip, and will arrive in late March with a starting price of US$599.

At the International CES show on Monday, the Taiwanese PC maker also announced that it would finally bring its Padfone product to the U.S., in a partnership with AT&T. The new model, called the Padfone X, is another hybrid that can turn from a smartphone into a tablet.

+ ALSO ON NETWORK WORLD Best of CES 2014: In Pictures | A complete list of stories from CES 2014 +

Like the previous models, it works as an Android smartphone that can be docked inside a tablet when snapped inside. The handset portion of the Padfone X comes as a 5-inch smartphone with a 2300mAh battery, while the tablet has a 9-inch screen.

The Padfone X will arrive in the U.S. midyear, use the latest Qualcomm processor and support 4G LTE.

In addition, Asus on Monday unveiled its series of Android handsets called Zenfones that will be released in this year’s first quarter in markets outside the U.S. The Zenfones will come in 4-inch, 5-inch and 6-inch screen versions, and all use variants of Intel’s latest Atom processor. Asus also introduced a Padfone mini device that can switch between a 4-inch phone and a 7-inch tablet.

Software on the phones will use Asus’ new “Zen UI,” an interface that incorporates more than 200 company-made enhancements.


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Which smartphone is the most secure?

Written by admin
December 25th, 2013

Not all mobile phone operating systems are created equal. As Spencer McIntyre of SecureState explains, there are unique differences and threats specific to each smartphone and, in the end, security is largely up to the user

These days, it is almost impossible to meet someone who doesn’t own a cell phone. More specifically, smartphones, whether it be the trendy iPhone, corporate favored Blackberry or modern Windows Mobile, almost everyone has joined the smart phone frenzy — and with good reason. A smartphone offers more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary phone.

Just like a handheld computer, most of the population relies on their operating system to multitask the demands of work, personal life and finances. However, many Smartphone users forget about the risks of malware on these crucial devices. In fact, a study from Rutgers’s University disclosed that malicious software for cell phones could pose a greater risk for consumer’s personal and financial well-being than computer viruses.

Clearly, there is a need for greater protection of cell phone software and greater awareness of cell phone vulnerabilities from owners, especially when it comes to what kind of operating system you are using. There are unique differences and threats specific to each Smartphone. Here are some important key points that consumers should consider to protect their mobile operating systems.

iPhone
There is a lot to be found regarding this popular device, half of our research findings surrounded the iPhone. Malware for this device took a different approach with the release of IOS 4. The multitasking that users take part in on their systems easily goes unnoticed, allowing the presence of malware to be easier to miss and less intrusive. Malware is more commonly found on iPhones that have been jail broken.

“Jail breaking” means freeing a phone from the limitations imposed by the wireless provider and in this case, Apple. Users install a software application on their computer, and then transfer it to their iPhone, where it “breaks open” the iPhone’s file system, allowing you to modify it; however, this also opens it up to malware. By jail breaking a phone, users are possibly allowing malicious applications into their device which has access to their personal information including their bank account. These applications are not subjected to the same limitations as Apple and therefore are easier to get from a rogue reference and infect cell phone.

Additionally, by not changing the password on a jail broken iPhone, the SSH service, is easy for malicious attackers to create worms used to infect the users operating device. An example of how important this threat is to note was highlighted by Ike, a worm created to raise security awareness when it comes to using these jail broken devices. It illustrates how once the core app has run its route, the vulnerability can gain complete control of the system.

Apple is slow to pinpoint vulnerabilities, including the SMS (texting) exploit released in the summer of 2010 by Charlie Miller. This also revealed that Apple is so slow to release that third party organizations were able to produce a security patch before Apple.

Windows Mobile
When it comes to threats, Windows Mobile takes the cake when it comes to attracting malware via SMS. Specifically the amount of SMS malware found on Windows Mobile devices is much higher in comparison to others. An interesting facet of the Windows Mobile OS is that many of the system calls are shared with it’s full-featured desktop counterparts. This detail has contributed to many pieces of malware that have originated on the Windows OS being ported to the Windows Mobile OS. A noteworthy example of this is the Zeus botnet that in recent years has begun to appear on mobile versions of Windows.

BlackBerry
A popular alternative to the previous two mobile operating systems, the BlackBerry is also quite different from the typical smart phone. The BlackBerry uses what is arguably the most closed source of the operating systems discussed herein. Research In Motion, the developers of BlackBerry have done an excellent job of keeping the sensitive inner workings of this smart phone a secret from the public. This is a contributing factor for the relatively small number of reliable exploits for the BlackBerry smart phone.

BlackBerry also suffers from the multitasking concerns that make it easier for malware to run unnoticed. An interesting proof of concept developed for the BlackBerry is the BBProxy application that was presented at DEFCON.

Symbian
There is not a lot of information regarding malware for this operating device, although it is the oldest of the smart phones and one of the most popular outside of America. Windows, Blackberry and Symbian are malware populated and not present on Android or iPhone. Along with the Windows Mobile family of Phones, Zeus has be ported the Symbian as well. The mobile version of Zeus is being used to intercept text messages sent as the second factor of authentication in many services.

Android
The Android operating system is the only open source operating system discussed herein. Android is unique in that it is community driven. The Android operating system is not owned by an individual organization, so it is developed in the best interest of the users. However, the applications are not monitored for vulnerabilities in the marketplace, so anyone can submit applications containing malicious functions which are less likely to be caught. Essentially, it is up to the users to determine if it is a safe and reputable source from which they are getting the app.

Amazon now has a 3rd party market place, which imposes additional policies and restrictions on applications that are distributed.

Android is based on the Linux operating system. On Linux, availability on Android is unlike others and there is not much evidence of ported malware. This is not because there is not any known Linux malware out there, but because it doesn’t receive much attention.

In Conclusion
All operating systems have distinct strengths and weaknesses; however, many are the same and essentially are up to the user and the configuration of the password. Users need to remember not to install apps from unnecessary sources, especially if they are unknown. While users can’t know them all, users need to ensure that they are from a reputable source. If not, that is where malware commonly comes from, with backdoor apps masquerading as secure applications. Also, jail broken phones are at a huge risk if the user maintains the default password and an even higher risk if not used in the Apple marketplace. Instances of malware exist on all of the phones and are even more relevant on ones using untrusted app sources. Consumers can keep this research in mind when using their smartphone to best protect their valuable information.


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All quiet on the Galaxy S IV front, but plenty going on elsewhere.After a CES week during which the Android world was all a-twitter over a device that wasn’t even revealed at the show, the previously hyperactive Galaxy S IV rumor mill has quieted down, mostly. It’s likely to only be a momentary respite, however, as the device is heavily tipped to be released at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month.

MORE OFFBEAT: The dumbest products of CES 2013

Perhaps the biggest news on the most hotly anticipated Android device so far in 2013 is that an ostensible screenshot of mobile benchmarking results has been published by a Japanese-language blog), which points out that the 1.8GHz CPU speed matches up with Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa eight-core SoC. (More on the Octa later.)

Given the source, it’s important to remember that this should be taken with many grains of salt – even the inclusion of the point about the Exynos 5 Octa could easily be read as a little too circumstantially convenient. (Like Manti Te’o confessing to Lance Armstrong on Oprah or something.)

Still, I can’t deny that the pairing of Samsung’s two biggest headline grabbing topics makes sense. We’ll see what happens (probably) at MWC at the end of February.

Speaking of the Exynos 5 Octa, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs is unsurprisingly not a fan, according to a report from Unwired View. Essentially, he told reporters in China yesterday, Samsung is just covering for the fact that the four high-performance Cortex-A15 cores drain a ton of power by jamming four slower but less demanding Cortex-A7s into the SoC alongside them, and attempting to reap a publicity windfall by boasting about their eight-core processor.

While Jacobs is correct in noting that all eight of the Octa’s cores won’t operate at the same time, I’m not sure why he’s saying this means the SoC is going to suck. OK, so it’s not a “true” eight-core SoC, but the idea of using the low-power cores for light work and switching to the A15s for more serious tasks still makes sense, and could well back up Samsung’s claims of improved battery life and better performance. Seems like fairly ineffectual spin to me.

The Nexus 4 official wireless charger has appeared on the site of Norwegian store Dustin Home, providing a slick pad on which to charge the Nexus 4 that you still probably don’t have. Presumably, this means that it’ll become available soon in the U.S., but this is a product release story involving the phrase “Nexus 4,” so who really knows?

(Hat tip: Android Central)
But wait! The Nexus 4’s availability problems will soon be a thing of the past, according to an LG executive who spoke to Challenges.fr Wednesday. LG France director of mobile communication Cathy Robin says production of the Nexus 4 is due to increase by mid-February, which could ease the supply crunch. As of this writing, both the 8GB and 16GB models are still sold out on the Play Store.

(Hat tip: r/Android)
Android Police has what it says is an internal Sprint document, which asserts that the company plans to offer a $400 device credit to new family plan customers who port at least one line in from a competitor. The deal’s supposedly set to roll out tomorrow, so you don’t have long to wait, if you’re interested.

All quiet on the Galaxy S IV front, but plenty going on elsewhere.


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The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certifications enable professionals to target specific technologies and to distinguish themselves by demonstrating in-depth knowledge and expertise in their specialized technologies. An MCTS is consistently capable of implementing, building, troubleshooting, and debugging a particular Microsoft technology.

 

Start by showing companies that you mean business by certifying on the technology that you already know. And let DreamSpark to lend you a hand by providing you with a free certification exam while supplies last from now until June 30th, 2009. You have the knowledge; now put it to the test and advance your career!

 

 

 

 

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Technology Series (MCTS)

 

The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) credential enables professionals to target specific technologies, and are generally the first step toward the Professional-level certifications. There are currently 20 MCTS certifications which can be roughly grouped into the following specializations, each requiring certain examinations to be passed:

 

Office specializations

 

Managing Projects with Microsoft Office Project 2007

Exam 70-632: Microsoft Office Project 2007, Managing Projects

Enterprise Project Management with Microsoft Office Project Server 2007]

Exam 70-633: Microsoft Office Project Server 2007, Managing Projects

Forefront Client and Server, Configuration

Exam 70-557: Microsoft Forefront Client and Server, Configuration

Office SharePoint Server 2007, Configuration

Exam 70-630: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Configuring

Office SharePoint Server 2007, Application Development

Exam 70-542: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 – Application Development

Sharepoint 2010, Application Development

Exam 70-573: TS: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Application Development

.NET Framework specializations

 

.NET Framework 2.0 Web Applications

 

Exam 70-528: .NET Framework 2.0 – Web-Based Client Development

Exam 70-536: .NET Framework 2.0 – Application Development Foundation

 

.NET Framework 2.0 Windows Applications

Exam 70-526: .NET Framework 2.0 – Windows-Based Client Development

Exam 70-536: .NET Framework 2.0 – Application Development Foundation

 

.NET Framework 2.0 Distributed Applications

Exam 70-529: .NET Framework 2.0 – Distributed Application Development

Exam 70-536: .NET Framework 2.0 – Application Development Foundation

 

.NET Framework 3.5, ASP.NET Applications

Exam 70-536: .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation

Exam 70-562: .NET Framework 3.5, ASP.NET Application Development

 

.NET Framework 3.5, Windows Presentation Foundation Applications

Exam 70-536: TS: .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation

Exam 70-502: TS: .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Presentation Foundation

 

Application Development

 

.NET Framework 3.5, Windows Communication Foundation Applications

Exam 70-536: TS: .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation

Exam 70-503: TS: .NET Framework 3.5 – Windows Communication Foundation Application Development

 

.NET Framework 3.5, Windows Workflow Foundation Applications

Exam 70-536: TS: .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation

Exam 70-504: TS: .NET Framework 3.5 – Windows Workflow Foundation Application Development

 

.NET Framework 3.5, Windows Forms Applications

Exam 70-536: TS: .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation

Exam 70-505: TS: .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Forms Application Development

 

.NET Framework 3.5, ADO.NET Applications

Exam 70-536: TS: .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation

Exam 70-561: TS: .NET Framework 3.5, ADO.NET Application Development

 

.NET Framework 4, Windows Applications

Exam 70-511: TS: .NET Framework 4, Windows Applications

 

.NET Framework 4, Web Applications

Exam 70-515: TS: .NET Framework 4, Web Applications

 

.NET Framework 4, Service Communications Applications

Exam 70-513: TS: .NET Framework 4, Service Communications Applications

 

.NET Framework 4, Data Access

Exam 70-516: TS: .NET Framework 4, Data Access

SQL Server specializations

SQL Server 2005

Exam 70-431: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 – Implementation and Maintenance

SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence

Exam 70-445: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence – Implementation and Maintenance

SQL Server 2008, Installation and Maintenance

Exam 70-432: TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Installation and Maintenance

SQL Server 2008, Database Development

Exam 70-433: TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Database Development

SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance

Exam 70-448: TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance

SQL Server 2008 Designing, Optimizing and Maintaining a Database

Exam 70-450: PRO: Designing, Optimizing and Maintaining a Database Server Infrastructure using Microsoft SQL Server 2008

SQL Server 2008 Design Database

Exam 70-451: PRO: Designing Database Solutions and Data Access Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008

SQL Server 2008 Business Intelligence

Exam 70-452: PRO: Designing a Business Intelligence Infrastructure Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008

Upgrade SQL Server 2005 Certification to SQL Server 2008

Exam 70-453: Upgrade: Transition Your MCITP SQL Server 2005 DBA to MCITP SQL Server 2008 DBA

Upgrade SQL Server 2005 Certification to SQL Server 2008, Database Development

Exam 70-454: Upgrade: Transition Your MCITP SQL Server 2005 Database Developer to MCITP SQL Server 2008 Database Developer

Upgrade SQL Server 2005 Certification to SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence

Exam 70-455: Upgrade: Transition Your MCITP SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence Developer to MCITP SQL Server 2008 Business Intelligence Developer

 

Business intelligence specializations

 

BizTalk Server 2006*Exam 70-235: Developing Business Process and Integration Solutions Using Microsoft BizTalk Server

Live Communications Server 2005*Exam 70-262: Office Live Communications Server 2005-Implementing, Managing, and Troubleshooting

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Configuration*Exam 70-236: Exchange Server 2007, Configuring

Windows specializations

Windows Mobile 5.0 Applications

Exam 70-540: Windows Mobile 5.0 – Application Development

Windows Mobile 5.0, Implementing and Managing

Exam 70-500: Windows Mobile 5.0, Implementing and Managing

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Application Development

Exam 70-541: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 – Application Development

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Configuration

Exam 70-631: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Configuring

Windows Vista Configuration

Exam 70-620: Windows Vista, Configuring

 

Windows Vista and 2007 Microsoft Office System Desktops, Deploying and Maintaining

 

Exam 70-624: Deploying and Maintaining Windows Vista Client and 2007 Microsoft Office System Desktops

Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration

Exam 70-640: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring

Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration

Exam 70-642: Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring

Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure Configuration

Exam 70-643: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuring

Upgrading from Windows Server 2003 MCSA to Windows Server 2008, Technology

Specializations

 

Exam 70-648: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring and Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring: upgrade of Windows Server 2003 to Server 2008 for the two above aforementioned MCTS credentials consisting parts of exams 70-640 and 70-642

Windows 7 Configuration

Exam 70-680: Windows 7, Configuring

Windows 7 and Office 2010, Deployment

Exam 70-681: Windows 7 and Office 2010, Deploying

Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician

Exam 70-685: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Support Technician

Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator

Exam 70-686: Windows 7, Enterprise Desktop Administrator

The Android apps can change your life

Written by admin
May 9th, 2012

Having an Android smart phone can be a great thing for you but if you have not installed best android apps then you will not be able to utilize your phone to the fullest. There are plenty of great apps available for the Android phones and all you have to do is to find some which can make your life easier and make sure that you are always professionally and socially active. With a great range of great apps, the Android Market is surely the place where you can get everything you need. Find some apps that will change your life and enjoy your Android phone even more.
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If you are a social person then the social android apps can surely interest you the most. There are few great apps available which take socializing to a new height. There are apps for Facebook, Twitter, blogging and many other social sites where you can have your account and get connected to thousands of people. The instant posting options and updates will make social networking on the go easier and more enjoyable for you. You can share status and images instantly right from your Android phone when using this apps. Things with social networking can never go easier than this.

The phone security and maintenance android apps are very important for you too. There are many security apps available for your Android phones which will guard your smart phone from all kinds of outside attacks like virus or hacking. This way you can always be sure that you are safe when online from your mobile phone. The maintenance apps are required for a proper use of Android phones too. There are apps which control your battery usages and increase the life of your phone’s battery. These apps automatically maintain everything when you keep them running in the background. These apps are required for better performance of your Android smart phone.

The phone security and maintenance android apps are very important for you too. There are many security apps available for your Android phones which will guard your smart phone from all kinds of outside attacks like virus or hacking. This way you can always be sure that you are safe when online from your mobile phone. The maintenance apps are required for a proper use of Android phones too. There are apps which control your battery usages and increase the life of your phone’s battery. These apps automatically maintain everything when you keep them running in the background. These apps are required for better performance of your Android smart phone.

Working with your Android phone is really easy too as there are plenty of remote access apps available in the Android market which you can install in your Android phone and access your office computer remotely. This is undoubtedly the best way to manage your works from home or when you are on a vacation. Your productivity will never decreased no matter where you are as long as you have these remote access apps for your Android phone. Just download the android apps for remote accessing computers and enjoy.

If you are a social person then the social android apps can surely interest you the most. There are few great apps available which take socializing to a new height.

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Which Tech Giant Will Own the Future?

Written by nancy@freetrainingkey.com
November 4th, 2011

Of all of the companies, Apple has the most difficult path. This is because it recently lost the one person in the world who had the proper skills to run that company. This is because Steve Jobs redesigned Apple around his unique skill set. To continue at its current level, it can’t just be good — it has to be outstanding, and the firms that did this consistently last decade can be counted on one hand with four fingers left over.

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I ran into a new forward-looking video from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) last week that showcases a number of Microsoft technologies as they might be used a decade from now. Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) produced a video a few years ago, equally compelling, showcasing a future based on its technology; unfortunately, it hasn’t been able to demonstrate a single design win yet that indicates it is on that path. This got me thinking of a Philips (NYSE: PHG) video (unfortunately I don’t have a link) in the 1990s that basically predicted the iPhone — a device it never actually made.

Over the years, it has often seemed like the companies in power have people inside who can accurately see the future but are often cursed by people running the business who can’t or won’t execute against that vision. They are able to see the future but in some terrible parody of the cursed Greek prophetess Cassandra, who could see but not change the future, they are unable to benefit from it.

I’ll look at four companies that are at various stages and consider their future chances: Microsoft appears to be in decline; Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) is in transition; Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) appears to be the next Microsoft — in a bad way; and Facebook is the current heir-apparent.

I’ll close with my product of the week: a notebook from Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) that looks like it was carved out of a block of aluminum and blends practicality with design elegance.
Microsoft on the Cusp

This is now Steve Ballmer’s Microsoft, and in many ways the firm bears little resemblance to the user-focused company that Paul Allen and Bill Gates launched in the 1980s. It is financially successful but clearly struggling in a market defined by Apple gadgets and user focus — which is somewhat ironic, given Microsoft’s initial success was largely because it was more user-focused than IBM (NYSE: IBM). The video I started out with accurately showcases a possible future for the company, but its historic problem is that it is too unfocused as a company, and the result is too many efforts that are massively under-resourced.

For instance, with Mango, the latest iteration of the Windows Phone platform, Microsoft has a product that is actually competitive and arguably better than Android — yet it is still losing market share, largely because it is massively underfunding it. It is spending billions on Bing, but the lack of progress there indicates it is under-resourced as well.

The test is not how much you spend, but whether you are making progress — and this new Microsoft focuses too much on containing costs and not enough on funding at levels that ensure success. That, to a large extent, is why it fails.

Channeling Yoda for a moment, it tries but it needs to do — and the end result continues to fall short of expectations. If Microsoft could accurately assess the cost of success, it would likely choose different battles to fight rather than underfunding the battles it is fighting. Seems like a simple thing, but if it made this one change, it would be far better for it.
Google: Death by Envy and Advertising

In 2007, this video foretold a future in which Google wins. It predicts that Google buys Microsoft in 2015 and pretty much takes over the world by 2050. Is really is rather interesting to watch. I do think it accurately showcases Google’s potential, but I don’t think Google is on this path either.

As was revealed in Steve Jobs’ biography, Jobs himself, effectively speaking from the grave, argued that Google was becoming Microsoft — too unfocused and too willing to toss crap out to the market. In short, Google needed to focus and grow up.

Children tend to obsess over showing up their elders. Mature adults focus on goals tied to success — well we should, anyway. Steve Jobs accurately described Google’s childlike excessive focus on Microsoft as its biggest problem and the reason that it has become a poor parody of that company.

Recently it even got its own version of the old Microsoft consent decree (which ironically mirrored IBM’s decades before). As I was writing, this info graphic was released showcasing that Android, Google’s premier operating system, pretty much screws the people who use it.

This brings up a second clear problem for Google, and that is quality. By separating the revenue from the product (it funds everything indirectly through advertising), it does what any product company knows is death: It makes its developers a cost center. Cost centers are naturally starved for funding and generally underperform as a result. So, for Google to reach its potential, it needs to stop focusing on showing Microsoft up, find a way to adequately resource its efforts, and focus instead on what it wants to be when it grows up — or it will fail, as Netscape did, for being the perennial child.

I also doubt Google wants to be remembered as the company that stole from Steve Jobs while being mentored and while Jobs was dying of cancer.
Facebook: Nibbled to Death

Facebook is clearly its own company. It doesn’t seem to be focusing excessively on any predecessor, and it is shifting its revenue sources from pure advertising into things more closely connected to products, like gaming. Interestingly, the video that showcases Facebook is being created, and it is being crowdsourced. This approach also showcases both the promise and problem for Facebook in the future. The video isn’t done, and the teaser is a collection of disjointed views from observers on the company’s future — kind of the video equivalent of a group of monkeys trying to type Shakespeare.

Because Facebook’s long-term success is most tied to how people interact, the core skills needed are more closely tied to skills like ethnography than they are to the engineering skills that typically define companies like this and currently define Facebook. In fact, coverage of Mark Zuckerberg (the CEO and vision behind Facebook) suggests that he is about as far from a people expert as we are likely to get in this business.

Already we are seeing services like Tagged, a social service designed to create deeper relationships, and Nextdoor, a Facebook-like secure offering focused on neighborhoods nibbling around Facebook’s edges. Services like this showcase Facebook’s core weakness — the very real problem that humans currently can’t scale to the relationship numbers that Facebook provides, and general services like Facebook have trouble focusing on the needs of small demographics or distinct geographies.

In short, Facebook’s future will likely be dependent on its ability to develop and apply leading expertise on human behavior and remain good enough for the majority of people looking for a social service. If it doesn’t, it isn’t Google it has to worry about — it is being nibbled to death by a ton of better-focused competing services, as barriers to entry remain very low in this segment.
Wrapping Up: Apple – The Next RIM or Reborn Again?

Of all of the companies, Apple has the most difficult path. This is because it recently lost the one person in the world who had the proper skills to run that company. This is because Steve Jobs redesigned Apple around his unique skill set. To continue at its current level, it can’t just be good — it has to be outstanding, and the firms that did this consistently last decade can be counted on one hand with four fingers left over.

Atari, Commodore, Netscape, Palm, Motorola and now Research in Motion (RIM) have all demonstrated that today’s champion can easily be tomorrow’s bozo. It doesn’t feel like Apple’s board or executive team has yet fully grasped that Apple can’t be sustained as it is without Jobs. It will have to change or find someone who can actually replace him.

Right now, this video showcases Apple’s future, and it desperately needs to change this outlook to something far more positive. In 1996, commenting on Apple, Steve Jobs appears in this video to have provided direction. But in the end, the company will have to maintain product passion at the top to continue to dominate — and right now, that is broken at Apple. Interestingly, this video by Corning may represent the best future for Apple, particularly if the new Apple TV rumor is true.

In the end, each of these companies must find in itself the vision, the focus, and the willingness to take the needed risks to define the future. Each could, but odds are that none of them will. Something to think about this week.
Product of the Week: Dell XPS 14z

Product of the Week

The XPS line has always been one of my favorites, and for most of this year, I carried the 17-inch older version of this product. The XPS 14z, initially released in China, represents the current state of the art in Windows 7 notebook computers. Pretty to look at and elegant in use, this laptop computer, at 14 inches, hits the proper balance between portability and usability in terms of size.

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Dell XPS 14z
Dell XPS 14z
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Twelve inches is far more portable, but the screen and keyboard tradeoffs make them hard to use for heavy writers. Seventeen inches is an amazing desktop replacement, but portable it isn’t, and the weight and inability to use it in many planes — even in business class — makes it problematic.

While the 13.3-inch screen size is typically the better form factor, the unique LG Shuriken display this laptop uses is a 14-inch panel in a 13.3-inch mount, giving you the benefits of more screen size in a smaller laptop.

Dell went to a great deal of trouble to make sure this laptop balanced properly and unlike other premium laptops in its class (read MacBook Pros) it won’t try to iron your legs and dissipates heat properly.

With the passing of Steve Jobs, Dell is the only large PC company still run by its founder, and the XPS line is that company’s premier line. As a result, this is the product that is likely most closely designed for its founder.

Balance is important in any product, and whether you are buying from Apple or Dell, paying a little more for something you’ll depend upon is always worth the price — at least, it is to me. Since the XPS 14z is the quintessential Dell product and the most balanced Windows 7 consumer notebook I’ve yet seen, it is my product of the week.

Android 4.0 and Samsung Galaxy Nexus unveiled: 5 surprises

Written by nancy@freetrainingkey.com
October 19th, 2011

Google and Samsung took the stage in Hong Kong last night and unveiled the latest offering from each of the companies. Samsung trotted out its Galaxy Nexus, the latest Android flagship phone and the first that will ship with Google’s unveiled product, Android 4.0. Android 4.0 is Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), and it borrows heavily from other mobile platforms in its design.

As I watched the presentation, I noticed a few surprises that hadn’t previously leaked out about the Galaxy Nexus and ICS.

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Galaxy Nexus uses the TI OMAP4460 processor. This is unusual as Samsung makes its own processors, and has in fact claimed Apple infringes on Samsung’s chipsets. It makes me wonder if the TI is a better performer under ICS, especially in the graphics area. Or perhaps Samsung is avoiding any future litigation from Apple by using this chipset from TI.

Android Beam is webOS Touch to Share. Google proudly showed off its Android Beam, which uses NFC to squirt stuff from one ICS phone to another by touching the backs of the two phones together. Google showed off sending contact information and web pages. This is the same technology demonstrated by HP early this year in its webOS press event. It was designed to send web pages from a webOS phone to a webOS tablet. Google looks to have broadened the types of information that can be sent by Android Beam.

Face unlock. This uses the front camera on the Galaxy Nexus (and likely all ICS-bearing phones) to unlock the phone without user intervention. The user shows the phone what the user looks like once, and then it recognizes the user and unlocks the phone as appropriate going forward. While it failed during Google’s demo last night, the technology is actually quite mature and should work fine. IBM and Lenovo have included facial recognition software to unlock PCs for a decade.

People app. Android 4.0 has a new People app that scrapes all information about contacts into one app. It facilitates looking up contact information and having access to all online information for a given contact. It is possible to see the all social network updates for the contact in the app, a nice feature. This ability is similar to the Synergy technology in webOS, and live tiles in Windows Phone 7.

Folders on the home screen. ICS will allow users to drag one app icon on the homescreen onto another to automatically create folders for organizing apps. If this sounds like iOS, that is because it is very similar indeed.

Both the Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 are major updates that should help both companies’ efforts. ICS looks to be a solid update to the Android platform, although it is not clear how this will work with tablets. This version is the first to fully support both phones and tablets, so this tablet support will be critical for the success of the genre under Android. Google has stated that there should be no tablet-specific apps in ICS, rather all apps should work on both phones and larger devices. We’ll have to see how that plays out.

HTC dealt a setback in Apple patent battle

Written by nancy@freetrainingkey.com
October 17th, 2011

Apple says phones such as the HTC Amaze infringe on its patents. HTC has countersued with its own claims of patent violation by Apple.

Apple didn’t infringe on four of HTC’s patents, according to an initial ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission’s administrative law judge.

The administrative law judge ruling, which is essentially a recommendation to the ITC’s judges, found “no violation” by Apple, Reuters reported. A final ruling by the ITC is expected in February.

The ruling is just one component of an increasingly complex set of complaints and lawsuits between Apple and HTC filed in multiple courts and employing several different patents. The four HTC patents in this case, for instance, don’t include an amended complaint that uses patents HTC acquired from Google. As a result, even a full rejection of these patents from HTC wouldn’t spell an end to the litigation.

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“This is only one step of many in these legal proceedings.,” HTC General Counsel Grace Lei said in a statement e-mailed to CNET today. “We are confident we have a strong case for the ITC appeals process and are fully prepared to protect our intellectual property.”

Apple wasn’t immediately available for comment.

HTC’s complaint was a response to Apple’s own volley of lawsuits alleging the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer had violated several technologies already used in the iPhone. HTC filed the complaint last year in the ITC, seeking a ban on the importation of iPhones, iPods, and iPad tablets. The initial complaint, however, used a weak set of patents, according to some legal experts.

“I didn’t take it seriously from the day it was filed,” said Florian Mueller, a legal consultant on patents. “Even if they were successfully enforced, I doubt they would pose a serious threat to Apple.”

Apple has gone on the offensive against the various Android manufacturers, hitting even longtime partners such as Samsung Electronics with lawsuits and bans in an effort to halt the growing momentum of Google’s mobile platform. While the iPhone remains the top-selling smartphone–with the iPhone 4S selling 4 million units over this past weekend–the widespread nature of Android has fueled Google’s market share gains.

Technology companies have increasingly used the ITC to settle their differences over the past few years. The process is quicker than a traditional district court, and holds the threat of a ban on the importation of devices or products. No ban has even been enforced on a technology company in the U.S.; the companies have always settled beforehand.

HTC was the first company hit with a lawsuit by Apple. The company is seen as the Android supporter with the weakest patent position, requiring recent assistance from Google. The company also acquired S3 Graphics, which owns patents that Apple may have violated.

Joe Hewitt, one of the most important software developers in recent history, published a provocative and sad post on his personal blog today, predicting that unless the open and free Web gets someone to own and take responsibility for advancing it, it will inevitably fall into virtual obscurity in the dust of fast evolving platforms like iOS, Android and Windows. Chris White, one of the co-founders of Android, offers a compelling argument against Hewitt’s perspective, though.

 

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Hewitt was one of the primary co-creators of Firefox, he single handedly built the Facebook iPhone app and when he left Facebook fed up with Apple’s approval process for apps – he announced that his next aim was to build tools for mobile HTML5 developers. Apparently that work has led to some frustrating experiences trying to support the open web. It’s not surprising, but it is pretty heartbreaking. It’s hard to imagine a decentralized platform like the web evolving to make as many things possible, as quickly and at scale, as the big centralized app platforms.

‘The Web has no one who can ensure that the platform acquires cutting edge capabilities in a timely manner (camera access, anyone?),’ Hewitt writes. ‘The Web has no one to ensure that it is competitive with other platforms, and so increasingly we are seeing developers investing their time in other platforms that serve their needs better… I can easily see a world in which Web usage falls to insignificant levels compared to Android, iOS, and Windows, and becomes a footnote in history. That thing we used to use in the early days of the Internet.’

Hewitt says standards bodies are debilitatingly slow, that Web-first evangelists are guilty of staggering arrogance that puts principles above relevance for users and developers and that apps just won’t run on the web in the future unless something changes dramatically.

The web needs an owner, Hewitt argues. It needs a single code repository and a strong leader to push it forward.

‘Can’t believe I’m saying this, but 2 years later, I’m seriously considering developing for iOS (natively) again,’ Hewitt Tweeted today.
The Other Side of the Story

So far it seems that most people are in dissapointed agreement with Hewitt. One who’s not is Portland, Oregon internet marketer Uriah Maynard. ‘Arguing for ‘an owner’ of the web is like winning the American revolution and then arguing that we need a king,’ Maynard says in articulating a counter-position well. ‘No owners, no masters. That is a killer feature of the web, and the reason it will never die, even if it fades in popularity. What we need is to learn how to efficiently run truly democratic organizations.’ Uriah’s in Portland and clearly needs to put a bird on it.

Chris White, one of the co-founders of the Android OS, puts it a little bit differently. ‘The web is only interesting because it’s a standard,’ White writes, on Google Plus.
‘As new experiences become commonplace, they get rolled into the one standard platform Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, et al agree on. The cutting edge will always occur on proprietary platforms first. Asking for a private entity to control the web is like asking for a sovereign country to control the United Nations (or the world).

‘The web is suppose to be lowest common denominator. That’s what makes it work.’

What do you think, readers? Do you think the future will be one where the open web is just a shadow of what it is today? That proprietary platforms will steal the world’s heart away? Or is this just how it goes? The innovation comes from the corporate world and then defuses?

Personally, I don’t feel qualified to venture a guess on such a big question. But I’m going to read the conversation closely and keep an eye out for clues that indicate things are going one way or the other. I hope Joe Hewitt is wrong. I imagine that there’s a healthy dose of truth to all the perspectives above.

IT workers with heart

Written by admin
July 25th, 2011

For these companies, employee volunteerism means improved collaboration and productivity on the job

Computerworld – You might think Steve Kranson, who works at Comerica Bank in Auburn Hills, Mich., is your average IT manager. But he’s also been known to log hours dressed up like the Easter Bunny, to the delight of local kids.

 


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“At the end of the day, our people really feel good about what they’ve done. Whether visiting soup kitchens or delivering Meals on Wheels, it’s a great unifying event for our people, and it’s great for the communities and institutions we’re in,” says Comerica CTO George Surdu.

Texas Health Resources, whose tagline is “Healing Hands, Caring Hearts,” pays its employees for volunteer time served.

“I understand branding and marketing, but we actually live that at Texas Health,” says CIO Ed Marks. “One way we live that is to allow our people to volunteer and get paid for it.

“It has a huge impact not only on our perception in the community and with the people we serve but on our employees themselves. They come back changed and with a fresh outlook on what our role is in the community, what our role is in healthcare and what our role is in IT,” he says. Here’s a look at some of the volunteer activities IT teams have taken on, with win-win results.

Comerica: Connecting with the community

Banking is all about relationships, according to Comerica CTO George Surdu. Volunteering in the community, he notes, is one of the best ways to build those relationships.
ComericaMSWalk
Comerica Bank IT staffers and their families gathered at Comerica Park for a Multiple Sclerosis Walk.

IT workers like Kranson can volunteer on projects as individuals, such as dressing up as the Easter Bunny at a local fundraiser. They also regularly go out as a team, volunteering on projects that range from assessing IT systems for the Detroit Zoo to sorting canned goods at a local food bank.

Last winter, the IT department worked with the Detroit Tigers baseball team (whose home field is Comerica Park) to collect 600 pairs of mittens, which were donated to several nonprofit organizations in the Detroit metro area.

Mike Lawson, Comerica’s vice president of technology services, estimates that as a group, IT donates its time and skills to more than a dozen different charitable organizations. “It can be a form of stress relief,” he says. “It’s also a way for people to work with people they don’t [typically] work with,” he says.

Texas Health: Getting a different view of co-workers

Texas Health project manager Crow’s most recent volunteer project involved waxing and arranging lumber used in building a Habitat for Humanity home.

“We arrived early in the morning, and the house wasn’t fully framed yet, so I helped the guys who were nailing and hammering,” she recalls. “I did sweeping and other various things, whatever needed to be done.”
THSHabitat
IT staffers at Texas Health Resources tackled a community project with Habitat for Humanity.

Crow says that one of the biggest benefits of volunteering with fellow Texas Health IT workers is that such activities give her an opportunity to get to know her co-workers.

“I think it allows us to see each other in a different light, to see different skills than those we use on the job,” she says. “I was so impressed to see the skills of my teammates. People not in leadership roles at work took a leadership role on the house-building project because of their skills.”

She says it’s also incredibly rewarding to see the physical results of a day spent doing volunteer work. Day to day in IT, “people are normally sitting at computers coding,” she notes. “The work is all mental or in a computer system. Here, we get to see what we accomplished.”

As part of its community time-off benefit, Arlington-based Texas Health allows employees to take eight hours of paid leave to volunteer. “It absolutely affects how I feel about working here,” Crow says. “It makes me feel good that the company has this program as a benefit.”

Nokia lays out serious risks in Microsoft deal

Written by admin
April 29th, 2011

In a government filing, Nokia describes the many threats it faces as part of its agreement to use Windows Phone
In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, Nokia laid out the threats it faces as part of its planned deal with Microsoft.

 

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There are many, according to Nokia. Some have already been identified by critics of the agreement, under which Nokia will phase out use of its Symbian operating system in favor of Microsoft’s Windows Phone software. Publicly held companies routinely disclose all the possible risks of their businesses to shareholders.

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The immaturity of that software, just released in phones in November, is one serious risk, Nokia said.

“The Windows Phone platform is a very recent, largely unproven addition to the market focused solely on high-end smartphones with currently very low adoption and consumer awareness relative to the Android and Apple platforms, and the proposed Microsoft partnership may not succeed in developing it into a sufficiently broad competitive smartphone platform,” Nokia wrote in the filing.

While the companies have signed a “non-binding term sheet,” they still have to negotiate the final contract, a process that might take longer than expected or might not happen at all, Nokia warned.

By choosing Windows Phone, Nokia may forgo more competitive alternatives that would let its phones reach greater and faster acceptance in the market, it said.

Also, the transition to Windows Phone might take too long to allow Nokia to compete, given the ongoing development of other platforms, Nokia said.

In the same filing, Nokia said it expects to take two years to make the transition to Windows Phone as its primary platform. During that time, it will continue to support Symbian in the hopes of transitioning the installed base of 200 million Symbian owners to Nokia Windows phones, Nokia said. It reiterated its hopes of selling an additional 150 million Symbian phones in future years.

Nokia pointed to other threats as well, such as the danger that the deal could erode its brand identity in areas such as China, where it is quite strong, and fail to enhance the brand in areas such as the U.S., where it is currently weak.

Another challenge will be building a profitable business model around a platform like Windows Phone, for which Nokia must pay royalties, Nokia said. While Symbian is a royalty-free operating system, it didn’t come without significant costs to Nokia, which spent more than $400 million in 2008 to buy the half of the Symbian company that it didn’t already own.

In the filing, Nokia also warned about the challenges it faces internally as it implements the new plan for Windows Mobile. For example, it may not be able to change its mode of working or culture to work effectively with Microsoft, the company said. Because Nokia anticipates laying off a large number of workers, the remaining employees may lose motivation, energy, and focus, thus reducing their productivity, Nokia said.

Because of all of the uncertainty resulting from the proposed deal, the company said it will not provide annual targets for 2011, although it expects its devices business to grow faster than the market.

It did not further elaborate on the precise amount of money that Microsoft will contribute to Nokia. In February, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said that Microsoft would pay Nokia billions of dollars as part of the deal over an unspecified time.

Last October I wrote that the Nook Color was essentially a low cost Android tablet and today Barnes and Noble finally revealed the 1.2 software update that officially gives the Nook Color Android 2.2 (Froyo) and an App Store. Rachel covered all of the software update launch details and I am seriously thinking about picking up a Nook Color again.

There has been quite an active community around the Nook Color and hacking it to get full Android 2.2 on it with support for the Android Market. It actually has gotten to the point that this process was quick and easy with an option to even run Android right from a microSD card. However, it was never a fully authorized solution so it is great to finally see Barnes & Noble release the official update for Android 2.2 and applications.

 

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I just recently picked up a BlackBerry PlayBook and while it has a fluid UI and nice form factor, the lack of applications is a major deal at the moment. Even the Nook Color with this new update has a dedicated email client. The Nook Color also joins the PlayBook with Adobe Flash support in the browser. The full list of updated features in this version 1.2 update includes:

* Access to shop a broad collection of popular NOOK Apps™ to enjoy great games, stay up to date on news and weather, and more
* Full-featured free email to check and send web-based email (i.e., Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, AOL) all from one in-box
* NOOK Color’s update to Android OS 2.2/Froyo offers system improvements, browser performance and a more complete Web experience giving customers access to enjoy even more video, interactive and animated content. NOOK Color now includes support for Adobe® Flash® Player
* NOOK Kids™ exciting new Read and Play titles that bring animation, activities and stories together
NOOK Books Enhanced offer in-page video and audio in a growing number of titles
* Enhancements to magazine navigation making it easier to enjoy even more of the growing selection of magazines in NOOK Newsstand
* NOOK Friends™ (beta) to see your friends’ reading activities, swap books with LendMe™, share recommendations and discover new titles.