Friday, January 24, 2014

Happy 30th Birthday, Macintosh


The Apple Macintosh turns 30 today!  Go check out all of the birthday fun over at Apple.com.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Few Bits About Windows "Threshold"


Interesting post by Paul Thurrott about the 2015 version of Windows, currently code named "Threshold."

Windows 8.1 Service Pack/Feature Pack 1 will be about around the April 2014 timeframe this year.

During the Microsoft Build 2014 conference, also scheduled for April of this year, "Threshold" should get official as Windows 9.

Metro 2.0 should be arriving in Windows 9, allowing us to run traditional Windows desktop applications alongside Metro, aka "Modern UI", applications.

And, thankfully, the Windows Start button and menu should be back in this release.

But most interesting, or maybe not, of over the 1 billion traditional desktop and laptop PCs that are out in the wild, there are only 25 million PCs currently running either Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.  Wow.

With the return of a more traditional Windows Start button and menu, and the ability to run Metro applications in a window next to traditional PC applications, I think Microsoft will be striking the correct balance between tablet and touch-enabled PCs and the traditional keyboard and mouse PCs that are still out there.

[Via Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows...]

Saturday, January 11, 2014

RED Alert:Target Data Breach Impacts 70 Million Customers [Updated]


More bad news from Target this week.  Remember that data breach affecting about 40 million customers in frenzied shopping period that was the run up to Christmas Day?  Ya, that one.

Well, it turns out Target sort of low balled the number by 30 million.  Target now says that 70 million customers were impacted by the data breach.  This was confirmed by my bank when I received a letter from them on Wednesday evening because I'm one of the recently unreported 30 million customers.
"Target Corp.'s holiday data breach was bigger than the company had previously said, penetrating more systems and compromising a new set of personal information affecting up to 70 million people. 
Target said the information was stored separately from the 40 million credit and debit card accounts that the company had previously said were affected. There was some overlap between the two sets of stolen data, but Target didn't say how extensive it was. The entry point for the attack has been identified and closed, spokeswoman Molly Snyder said."
Well isn't that nice.  The breach point has been closed.  Sigh.  Guess I'll be paying cash at Target from now on since I can't trust them to handle my customer information safely.  Oh, and I'll be asking my bank for a new credit card too.

Update

My very nice bank reissued my credit card, which, as it turned out, arrived Saturday afternoon.  If you haven't received your replacement credit or debit card, call your back on Monday and get your replacement card issued ASAP.

[Via WSJ.com...]

John Chen Becomes BlackBerry CEO


John Chen, BlackBerry's best chance at a come back in the smartphone arena, has been named the struggling smartphone maker's permanent CEO.

Ian Austen, writing for the New York Times Bits blog:
“After earnings, and again in meetings with media and analysts at C.E.S., John said that he would be BlackBerry’s C.E.O. until the company is back on solid financial footing,” Mr. Emery wrote. “The search for a CEO has been put on the back burner for now.”
That is some welcomed news for BlackBerry, it's investors, users, and fans.  The question of whether Mr. Chen can really pull off the turn around is still yet to be seen, however, he clearly likes a challenge and righting this ship is right up his alley.

If you might recall, another well noted tech industry was able to right his ship after becoming the "iCEO" of Apple on January 5, 2000.

[Via NY Times Bits blog...]

Tell Google "No" to Google+ Email Integration

This week, Google started turning on by default, Google+ profile to Gmail inbox messaging - even if the Google+ user doesn't know your Gmail account email address.

No, Google, I don't want to use Google+.  No matter how badly you want me to for my personal email.  (This blog does cross posts to Google+.)

You Gmail account will be impacted by the change when you receive an email from Google stating that the feature has been turned on.
"Ever wanted to email someone you know, but haven't yet exchanged email addresses? Starting this week, when you're composing a new email, Gmail will suggest your Google+ connections as recipients, even if you haven't exchanged email addresses yet." 


Creepy!

To turn off the feature, log into your Gmail account.  From there, click the "gear" icon near the top right of the Gmail window.  Select the "Settings" menu item.

Scroll down the list of settings until you see "Email via Google+".


To completely turn off the feature, set it to "No one".  If you choose to leave the feature on, but with some limits, any email being sent to you via Google+ will, for now at least, appear in the "Social" tab in Gmail.

I'm sure Google will be able to meet it's goal of integrating Google+ with Gmail - they really haven't left us a chance with the opt-out setting and many people who don't read this or other great technology blogs will completely miss this change.

For me, though, this is getting to be a bit much.  Google's motto used to be "Don't be evil" and I started using Google's services back when that was clear.  Now, with Google well into their advertising business, I'm less sure "Don't be evil" gets enough air play.

If you have had enough of Google, you can switch to your iCloud.com email address that comes free with pretty much any iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Macintosh.  Apple's not in the business of advertising.  You can also switch to Microsoft's Outlook.com or Yahoo Email.  Still, if you really don't like those options, you can always switch to your ISPs, often, terrible email system or subscribe to a hosted Microsoft Exchange Server account.  (If you do that last one, you can get Exchange Active Sync - EAS back.)


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Rumor: Is this the New Face of webOS?


Is this the new face of webOS as LG may have reimagined it on a smart TV?  We don't know, but according to a recent article on the WSJ Digits blog, we won't have to wait long to find out.  LG is planning to talk up their new smart TV powered by webOS plans later this month at CES 2014 in Las Vegas, NV.

[Via evleaks...]

Readdle Scanner Pro for iOS Free This Week


Yup, you read that right!  As part of Apple's iOS App of the Week promotion, you can snag a copy of Readdle's Scanner Pro, normally $6.99, for free this week.

Scanner Pro is one of those applications where it looks cool, but I wasn't sure if it would fit into my workflow.  Now, with Scanner Pro free this week only, I don't have to worry about paying the relatively 'expensive' $6.99 to find out.

I downloaded Scanner Pro and tested it out.  It's super simple to use. You install it, configure iCloud sync support, and then take your first scan.  It's that easy.

Once you've 'scanned' your document, you can send it on to be printed or faxed (who's still using fax anyway?) or uploaded to a WebDAV server, Dropbox, Evernote, or Google Drive.  You can also send your scanned document on as an email attachment.

If you like to use productivity apps on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, you will want to grab a copy of Readdle Scanner Pro this week!

For more details, visit the iOS App Store.

[Via AppleInsider.com...]

Net Applications: Windows XP Loses Ground, Windows 8 Gains, and Mavericks Levels Off


Earlier today web analytics firm Net Applications released PC operating system numbers.

In a nutshell, today's report keys on trends we would expect: Windows XP, first released back in 2001, is still hanging on at just below 30%.  Windows 8/8.1 are in a dead heat with Vista, with Windows 8 finally starting to gain ground and Windows 7 is still by far, the Windows desktop champ.

On the Apple front, Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks saw a huge 21% market share jump in November.  Compared to December's numbers, Mavericks looked to be standing still with a 5% increase.



[Via ComputerWorld.com...]

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Set a course for a fantastic 2014, maximum warp!  Engage!

Happy New Year, from Smartphone Fanatics!