Wednesday, October 30, 2013

10 must-have business apps for Android tablets

Jack Wallen offers his list of must-have business-centric apps for Android tablets.


As a platform, Android has been business-ready for quite some time. However, it's often difficult to find the right app to do the job. Considering how many apps are available in the Google Play Store, digging out the business-gems can be a long, involved process. With that in mind, I've developed a list of what I believe to be the must-have business-centric apps for your Android device.


1. Dropbox

There are plenty of cloud-based storage apps out there (my favorite being Ubuntu One), but few of them can hold a candle to the wide-spread support that Dropbox enjoys. Nearly any third-party app with cloud support works well with Dropbox. And since Dropbox is supported across almost every available platform, it makes perfect sense that this would be your go-to cloud storage app. Price: Free (unless you need more space for your account).

2. Kingsoft Office

My go-to mobile office suite for the Android platform is Kingsoft Office. With support for more file formats than the majority of other applications of its nature (23 different formats), Kingsoft Office can work with nearly any document. This particular take on the mobile office suite also has built-in support for many cloud-based storage services and offers one of the easiest-to-use interfaces. Price: Free.

3. TouchDown

If you're looking for the closest take on Outlook for the Android platform, TouchDown is the app you want. TouchDown can connect to your Exchange server and offers a single interface to access your email, calendar, contacts, and tasks. There are versions for both phones and tablets (if you're installing it on a tablet, be sure to install the HD version). What makes TouchDown better than the built-in email client (outside of the one-stop-shop approach) is all of the configuration options. If you're looking for an email app that can be set up to exactly fit your needs, TouchDown is the real deal. Price: $19.99 (USD), but you can give it a test run with their 30-day free trial.

4. ASTRO File Manager

There are many file managers available for the Android platform. Most of them are good, but ASTRO File Manager stands above the rest with the help of an outstanding SMB plugin. This plugins allows you to move files back and forth from a shared directory. Outside of SMB support, the best feature of ASTRO is the powerhouse search tool. It's fairly common to lose track of your files on your tablet or phone. With ASTRO's search, you'll be hard-pressed to lose a file on your directory structure again. Price: $3.99 (USD) for the add-free version.

5. Locale

The Locale app uses artificial intelligence geofencing algorithms to enable immediate location awareness. With the help of this, you can enable your device to act in user-configured ways when you enter a specific location. For example, you can automatically silence your ringer when you arrive at work, change your wallpaper based on location, turn on or off Wi-Fi without interaction, and so much more. You'll also find a vast repository of plugins on the Google Play Store to help you expand the feature set of Locale. Price: $9.99 (USD).

6. Google Drive (along with Quickoffice)

Nearly every Android user has a Google account. Most of those users actually take advantage of the powerful Drive feature. The best way to leverage Drive from your smartphone or tablet is to install the Google Drive app. This app allows you to create, edit, and manage your Drive documents. And if you need MS Office support in Google Drive, be sure to install Quickoffice. With this additional app, you can also work with those MS Office documents saved to your Google Drive account. Price: Free.

7. Splashtop Remote Desktop

One of the best ways to access your desktop remotely is with Splashtop Remote Desktop. The Splashtop app, with support for both PC and Mac, streams your entire desktop to your mobile device. It uses a proprietary protocol that can stream high resolution video in real time. The one caveat to using Splashtop is that you can't transfer files to and from the mobile device. Price: $4.99 (USD).

8. CamCard

If you're looking for the easiest way to get information from business cards onto your Android tablet, CamCard is what you need. CamCard uses the device camera to scan the business card, and then it saves the information directly in Contacts. CamCard even allows for batch scanning, QR code scanning, and email signature scanning to make the process more efficient. Once you have a card saved on your device, you can share the contact information via email, SMS, and QR code. Price: $11.99 (USD), but there's also a free, add-based version with sharing limitations.

9. Cloud Print

When it comes to printing from an Android device, a really great app is Cloud Print. It allows you to print to any Google Cloud Print connected printer. Once it's installed, you can easily share images from apps like the Gallery directly to Cloud Print for easy printing. With a Cloud Print printer, you can send print jobs from anywhere in the world. Price: Free.

10. SignMyPad Pro

If you need the ability to sign documents on the go, SignMyPad Pro is the app for you. This tool even embeds the signers GPS coordinates for security. There's a free version, but the Pro offering has features most power business users will want, including red ink and location awareness. To use this handy app, simply open a PDF document (from email or Dropbox), sign it, and save it. You can also capture your signature using the optional magnetic stylus. Price: $19.99 (USD).

If you're looking for a solid stable of business-ready apps to cover most of your bases, these 10 should do the trick. Add these to the built-in tools and your Android mobile device will serve you well as your mobile office.

Quick Tip: Excel 2013 offers flexible data labels

Data labels can display more than values now. Use them to display a message or even the result of a formula not in the chart's underlying data set.

Excel 2013 offers more formatting and shape options for displaying data labels in a chart. It also supports a dynamic data label option. We'll explore those options and then put them to use. 

How to add data labels

First, you'll need some data labels. You can work with most any simple chart. (We'll work through a simple example with an emphasis on the features rather than sophisticated results.) To add data labels to an existing chart, select the chart. Then, click the Chart Elements icon (the cross icon). In the resulting dialog, check Data Labels. That's it!


The data labels aren't particularly effective in this chart. In fact, they are intrusive and messy. For the purposes of this example, we want to keep only one. That means we'll need to delete a lot of data labels. To delete them for a series, select one and press Delete. Selecting one selects all in the same series. Go ahead and delete all of the data labels for Smith, Jones, and Hancock.


That leaves Michaels, and we'll keep only the Michaels data label for the West region. Slowly click each label that you want to delete twice (don't use a quick double-click) and then press Delete. The first click selects the series. The second click deletes all but the selected label from the selection. You must delete them individually; you can't create a multi-object selection.



The lone data label should be effective just by virtue of being the only one. Obviously, that value has a story to tell or perhaps you have a question to pose. But right now, it's almost invisible. Let's move it so readers can see it. To move the label, select it and drag it - that part's easy. You can also format the value itself using the options in the Font group. I increased the font size and changed the color to make the value stand out among the chart's other elements.


The value by itself will often be enough. This one could use a bit of clarification, so let's add some descriptive text. Position the cursor inside the data label either before or after the actual label. Then, simply type the text you want to display with the value and press Enter. You might want to tweak the results a bit by forcing the text to wrap, centering the text, and so on. Although adding text can feel a bit awkward at first, you'll catch on quickly. Remember, you can press [Ctrl]+z to undo changes.


That's effective, as is, but it isn't new - you've always been able to do that. Now, let's suppose you want to drive your point home by listing the dismally low commission on Michaels West by displaying the commission instead of the actual value. To return a high and low commission value, enter the following formulas in the sheet: 


Now you're ready to display the results of those formulas in the appropriate data label. Delete (or not, it doesn't matter) the contents of the Michaels West data label. With the cursor inside that data label, right-click and choose Insert Data Label Field. In the next dialog, select [Cell] Choose Cell. When Excel displays the source dialog, click the cell that contains the MIN() function, and click OK. The data label now displays the results of that formula.




Below, you can see where I've added a data label field to also display the maximum commission above the appropriate column. To quickly select a single column use the slow two-clicks selection method described above.


The labels are fine, but 2013 has one more effect you might want to know about. You can use shapes to draw attention to labels - Excel calls them callouts. Right-click the label, choose Change Data Label Shapes, and then choose a shape. That's all there is to it!


The data label fields will update as you change values in the underlying sheet. However, they'll still be attached to the same column. In other words, if the low value for Michaels West is a typo and you correct it, both formulas might return a different result. The data labels will remain in their relative positions to their columns, but they will update to display the new results, which in this case, might not reflect the right columns. 

Five examples where bundled mobile apps are superior

Donovan Colbert offers four examples of how having vendor-supplied non-optional software can be beneficial. Help us complete the list.

IT professionals, especially those in Camp Android, derisively refer to “bloatware” on their PCs and mobile devices. We can really trace this back to an early criticism among Linux fans against the practice of including lots of software that was difficult to remove and of dubious utility on Windows, and it was a fair enough complaint. But is “bloatware” necessarily always bad? Here are five examples where having vendor-supplied non-optional software can be beneficial.

1. My Verizon Mobile app

Earlier this year, my daughter got her first iPhone, a 4S. She has a 2 GB plan and a serious YouTube habit. Every month, she had been bumping up on the limit or exceeding her cap. It was such a consistent problem that my wife told her she couldn’t stream anymore. I asked, “Don’t your iPhones have the My Verizon data meter on them?” Neither of them knew. My wife began to look for it and couldn’t find it. When I got home, I checked and found that -- unlike Android phones, where it's included by default -- you have to download it from the Apple App Store. 

I resent a lot of Verizon apps that are bundled, but My Verizon Mobile is actually fairly useful, and I’ve got a grandfathered unlimited plan. If it stops my wife and kid from fighting or helps you keep users accountable for their use of your corporate plan, isn’t that something you want on a smart device by default? I do.

2. Find My iPhone

Ok, this one isn’t technically bundled in, because you have to download the Find My iPhone app. But the app is really just a front-end interface that plugs into location features that are bundled in. Once you opt-in using the iOS configuration panel and download the app, this is one of the easiest to use and administer mobile device location utilities on any platform. After a couple of scares in my own family, I finally turned it on for all of our iOS devices and then felt silly for not having done it sooner. At my former company, we turned this feature on for all iOS devices. We never came up with an Android solution, but we were still field testing several options when I left. The key to Find my iPhone is that it's there, basically by default, and it's standard -- so it doesn’t take a lot of thought to turn it on, make a policy, and ensure that everyone is using it.

3. Google Maps

The Google Maps app is so good that it always makes the bundled VZ Navigator look desperate. How long did it take Verizon to understand that offering a paid service that had an inferior navigation app just made them look foolish? Android’s bundled app was so good, it forced Apple to follow, and Microsoft is still trying to catch up.

4. Motorola Smart Actions

I was pretty loyal to Motorola, from my first Droid 1 all the way to the Droid 4, and I even considered a Droid Razr Maxx HD for my latest phone. If I had been in the market for a more-corporate and less-personal Droid this time around, I might have picked the Maxx over my current HTC DNA. One reason I loved the Droid 4 was the integrated Smart Actions app that was part of the Motoblur skin. This is another app where there are a lot of general purpose, platform independent choices available. I’ve tried quite a few of them, but I've ultimately always been disappointed. 

However, Motorola's SMARTACTIONS were really good. I had a very easy, rule-based way to set up phone behaviors by time, day, and location that was consistently reliable. It was granular enough that I could turn off alerts, notifications, and calls from all but the most important people in my life, depending on the situation. There just isn’t any substitute for having manufacturer-integrate hardware and software features on apps of this nature. The broader the range of platforms you try to support, the less reliable it becomes and the more granularity you have to give up.

5. (Fill in the blank...)

So, I was ambitious. I couldn’t come up with a 5th example of bundled mobile apps that add value. The bundled trial version of Need for Speed on my Droid 4 sat side-by-side with the paid full version -- it couldn’t be upgraded because it was firmware. The same thing holds true for bundled versions of Kindle. You have to wait for a firmware patch to address bundled software as a general rule. Bundled software on Windows tablets are generally the same kind we’ve been seeing for years on Windows, with Wi-Fi and backups that cause as many problems as they solve. 

Despite this, I think many IT pros dismiss bundled apps without even looking at them, because we're conditioned to dismissing them as inferior alternatives to better 3rd-party solutions. However, this isn’t always the case. So, if you haven’t looked through the stock apps on your device, now may be time to do so. You might find something useful. 

What about you? Do you have a favorite bundled mobile app that could help complete my list? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.

Data security: Stop chasing the rats, and protect the cheese

Vormetric CSO Sol Cates says legacy perimeter security was never designed to protect what attackers really want: your sensitive information. The data-centric approach can mitigate the threat of rogue insiders and malicious outsiders by putting layers of protection around the data themselves.

Of 700 IT security decision-makers surveyed, only 27 percent indicated that their enterprises block privileged user access to sensitive data. This is a major finding of the 2013 Insider Threat Report, which data security firm Vormetric conducted in partnership with Enterprise Strategy Group.

A first look at AbiWord 3

Marco Fioretti takes a look at AbiWord 3.0, an open source word processor. Find out why he believes you should give it a try as soon as you can.


AbiWord is an open source word processor, whose version 3.0.0 was released in October 2013. After downloading and compiling it from source, I played with the program a bit to see what it looks like. 

Researchers break speed record for transmitting data using light bulbs

Specially designed light bulbs have enabled scientists in the UK to set a new data transmission record for Li-Fi.

Researchers in the UK have used specialised light bulbs to transmit data at more than 10Gbps.

The micro-LED bulbs are able to transmit 3.5Gbps via each of the red, green and blue colours that makes up white light.

Various research teams worldwide are investigating ways to provide high-speed wireless internet connectivity using LED light bulbs, a method dubbed Li-Fi.

10 tech products that belong to the walking dead

Deathless, slow moving, yet relentless, the walking dead are among us in the form of scary, disintegrating tech bits that refuse to die. Here are 10 that need the double-tap.

 Image: iStock/johnnorth
 The zombie horde has nearly reached critical mass. Other than not nomming my gray matter, the only thing I would ask is that they take certain technologies back to the grave with them. There are some tech products and services out there that simply refuse to die! Why? Because some users and companies are frightened to give them up!

How to configure host SSD caching on ESXi

A recent feature in VMware ESXi allows you to use host SSD-caching as stopgap memory-management technique for memory-constrained servers.

One of the more recent features that is available with ESXi in modern editions is the ability to leverage SSDs for caching. This can be a great cost-efficient stopgap for your memory-constrained servers. But, before we go too far, it is important to note this is a swap improvement feature, not a storage I/O feature. Don’t be confused by all of the I/O acceleration technology out there; host SSD caching helps as an additional memory management technique. The thought is, leveraging a slice of SSD storage on one or more ESXi hosts will help memory performance if swapping happens.

The business analyst: The project manager's best ally

Ken Hardin shares a tale from his days as a TechRepublic manager that illustrates why PMs need a direct channel to the business analyst.

Almost all prescribed remedies to scope creep relate to change management after the business requirements for a project have been set. Project managers (PMs) are trained to try to police increases in the cost and time required for the project that don't create any clear benefit for the business.

Fight scope creep with this change request trick

Ken Hardin identifies one weapon in the never-ending battle with crazy IT project scopes.

Scope creep usually comes in second on a list of why IT projects fail, behind the dreaded IT/business alignment issues (which is a euphemism for senior management doesn't know what it's doing). You can take a swing at helping out on the alignment problem, but there are only so many reports you can send up the food chain to be ignored.

Create aliases on your WAMP server

A WAMP server is hard to beat if you're looking for a quick and easy way to create server aliases.

If you've installed a Windows Apache MySQL PHP (WAMP) server, you most likely realized very quickly how much power is at your fingertips. Unlike its Internet Information Services (IIS) counterpart, Apache is not just about power, though, it's also about flexibility. With a WAMP server, one thing you can do easily is set up aliases on your server.

Speed up your Android development cycle with Genymotion

William J. Francis shares how the free Android emulator called Genymotion greatly increases his productivity.

I've been doing professional Android development for more than four years. At the risk of receiving a plethora of scathing emails and possibly having my Android developer card revoked, I also admit to dabbling in iOS. A big difference I noted right away when I started looking at the Xcode documentation is that during normal iOS development the application runs on a simulator, not a true emulator. While this may sound like merely semantics, it's actually a distinction.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Recover from a dead RAID0 with Bootsect and DiskPart

Recovering from a dead hard drive in a RAID0 configuration may require a little old-fashioned command line knowledge.

Quite recently, I was asked by a friend to repair his laptop. The owner of this particular laptop is sufficiently competent to overcome basic issues one would encounter in Windows, so by merit of my being called in, clearly something catastrophic had happened. It is also important to note that the laptop itself, an Alienware M17xR3, while now two or three years old, has particularly impressive specifications, and one feature in particular that - on laptops - is reserved for high-end models: two 2.5" drive bays.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Balance your big data analytics goals to enable breakthroughs

Enterprises need to balance the needs of their business cases with experimentation so they can get breakthrough answers to questions they had never thought to ask.

I recently visited with Scott Gnau, President of Teradata Labs. Scott has a large staff of data scientists under his guidance, and we were talking about the challenges of big data analytics and getting maximum value out of big data.
"Big data is an opportunity and also a challenge, because suddenly organizations are creating and storing new kinds of data that are nothing like the digitized data in transaction records that they utilized in the past," said Gnau.


Finding the hidden value in the ADHD developer

has become a cultural punchline, not well-understood or considered; but those adults who carry it have traits that can work to IT's advantage.

"You know you have ADD when you stop at an intersection and wait for the stop sign to turn green!"

"You know you have ADD when you take an IQ test and end up covering it with doodles!"

It's a cultural cliche now, and few understand it well, but ADD/ADHD is now part of our professional world. Since it was legitimized as an adult condition in the 1998 release of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, ADD/ADHD has emerged as a reality in the lives of roughly five percent of the adult population - making it possible, and perhaps likely, that such a person works in your IT department.

Log Parser Studio provides a great interface to Microsoft Log Parser

Log Parser Studio simplifies using the features of the versatile Microsoft Log Parser. Here's a look at how to use the tools together.

A recent call from a client revealed worrisome activity on their ecommerce site. The problem was ultimately traced to a vindictive former employee, but we spent quite a few hours investigating the situation, with the web server logs being the biggest help during this time (you can never have too many logs). These log files contain lots of valuable information, but combing through them can be mind-numbing. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools available to provide assistance; Microsoft Log Parser is my favorite, and the Log Parser Studio provides a great interface. Here's a look at both tools used together.

10 quick steps to sharing Excel 2013 workbooks online

Whether you are collaborating with others or just need anywhere-access, these steps will allow you to share your Excel workbooks online.

Excel 2013 users have several options for sharing Excel sheets online. You can save the file to the cloud, publish a link, share to several social media platforms, and send the file via email. While you've been able to save Excel files to the cloud for a while by sharing to Windows SkyDrive, the choice to share to Windows SkyDrive is now an interface option. In addition, invitees no longer need a Microsoft account to view and/or edit shared Excel files. Sharing to SkyDrive is now an easy choice. 

Apple II's classic chip is reborn: This time as a Twitter-controlled processor

Part of the chip that powered the Apple II and the BBC Micro has been recreated and connected up to the internet so it can be controlled via Twitter.

This hotchpotch of circuitry and mechanical parts is a snapshot of the chip that was at the heart of some of the most popular computers of the 1980s.

Crunching data inside the Apple II, Commodore 64 and BBC Micro was the MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor, a chip that not only powered the terminator in the 1984 sci-fi flick of the same name but whose modern variants still drive the likes of medical scanners and audio equipment.
The entire TwitAlu unit. Image: Bristol University

Beat the technical interview! (Part 1)

Here's an article that makes the process of securing a software development job (which for us usually lands on the .NET/C# side of things) more fun by treating it like the “cheat codes” to a game in which you’re the protagonist preparing to go up against hiring managers.

Editor’s note: Now for something completely different. Benjamin Weiss of, reached out to colleagues in the HR and computer industries to develop a “hiring game.” The “game” includes levels you have to “beat” to get to a job, starting with the HR interview. The concept may seem like fun but the information Weiss and his colleagues provide is invaluable.
Intro Graphic.jpg

Quick Tip: Use Google's Search app on Windows 8

Google provides a dedicated Search application for Windows 8. Find out how it can help your Windows 8 experience.

Wikipedia states that "60 million Windows 8 licenses have been sold" as far back as January of 2013. Furthermore, according to Alex Wilhelm of, Windows 8 reached 8 percent market share in September of 2013. With these figures in mind, I've been doing some testing with Windows 8 to get more familiar with the operating system. Nobody at my business has deployed it yet and we're happily running Windows 7 at my house, so this was the first time I really got a hands-on look at Microsoft's new OS.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

How to Get More Traffic to Your Blog and Keep It There

It happens to the best of us — eventually.

At some point, each and every blogger faces the same issue. It’s the bane of our existence and the great quandary causing us to scratch our heads.

How to get more traffic for your blog
Photo credit: (Creative Commons)

The blog traffic jam. That sudden halt of visitors to your site that has you wondering, “What did I do wrong?”

Private vs. public cloud: Why the supposed debate is really no debate at all

Hybrid cloud solutions are popular for organizations who want cloud benefits but want to retain some control. Here's one perspective that argues that the public cloud is the way to go.

By Kris Bliesner

The pundits would have you believe there is a popular debate and a difficult decision among IT architects - whether to go with a private cloud deployment, public cloud deployment, or a hybrid combination. They say the decision comes down to factors that are individual to each organization. But the truth is, there really is no debate at all (at least there shouldn’t be).
Private cloud is inefficient. It is built on a model that encourages bad overprovisioning. In fact in order to get maximum benefit from private cloud – true elasticity – you have to overprovision. The public cloud, on the other hand, is the most widely applicable and delivers the most value to a majority of businesses.

The big data challenge: Extracting actual business value

You've got the tools and the power of the cloud to capture big data, but figuring out what you want from it and how to extract it is the final, crucial challenge.
Advances in data networks and storage mean organizations capture far more data than they ever have - perhaps a stream of measurements from manufacturing equipment, from vehicles, or from game-changers like web-enabled refrigerators (no, I’ve never seen one either).
The enterprise CTO may have the data storage part all figured out - their MongoDB cloud database is in place, or they rent DBaaS from Cloudant. But why? What does an enterprise do with all this unstructured data?
The first thing is to identify what the enterprise wants. Analytics can be an area of blind faith – if the enterprise is not clear about its big data needs, it may just hope that something good pops out.

10 great cloud opportunities for SMBs

These cloud solutions are well-suited to the SMB with a limited budget.


Cloud-based applications can fill critical needs for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs). With the help of the cloud, SMBs can not only level the competitive playing field with larger companies, but they can also afford important business applications that they wouldn’t be able to support internally. Here are ten great cloud app choices ideally suited for SMBs:


10 IaaS providers who provide free cloud resources

Sample these ten tasty IaaS treats for free.
If you're still new to cloud technology, but interested in seeing what it's all about, there's no better way to learn than taking some of the cloud services for a spin. Fortunately, you can get a pretty good demo for free before you go all-in. Sample these ten tasty IaaS treats for free. You give these cloud providers some details and they give you free stuff.

What happens when your cloud provider goes out of business?

Going with cloud providers doesn't mean you can forget about disaster planning. What if they go out of business, taking your server capacity and data with them? 


There is no doubt that cloud computing is one of the greatest advances in IT on recent years. Regardless of the fears and uncertainty that many companies experience before moving to the cloud, the benefits that are realized once the move is made are simply too large to ignore. Cloud computing has enabled companies of all sizes and in all markets to speed up implementation times, to become more agile, and to optimize their infrastructure costs.While many cloud proponents (myself included) will often argue that a lot of the concerns that surround the cloud stem from nothing more than lack of knowledge and an improper understanding of the underlying technological issues, some concerns are not only valid, but should actually be taken into careful consideration when contemplating a move to the cloud. I’ve recently come across one such concern that I feel merits being explored in more detail: what do I do if my cloud provider goes out of business?

Infographic: Encryption crackability

What are the recommended RSA key sizes for protecting data? Here's a chart with estimations of how long it would take to break encryption methods.

The oft-repeated concern about adopting cloud services is the security and privacy of the data that you trust to cloud providers. Along with this are the questions that must be answered related to compliance and jurisdiction. This infographic about encryption keys and their relative strength is provided by CipherCloud, a company that has set its sights on meeting these challenges by providing 

 the security controls that will make the cloud a more viable option.

How cloud computing will impact the on-premise data center

The future of the typical in-house data center is murky due to the advent of cloud computing. Here are some possibilities that might lie ahead.

TechRepublic ran an article in April of 2013 titled, “Cloud computing and the evolution of the data center.” The article, written by Thoran Rodrigues, looked at how data centers are tied to the cloud computing era, approaching the topic from the standpoint of what might be expected of data centers within cloud computing organizations.
What about data centers in regular businesses, however? What lies in store for server rooms in companies that may (or may not) be branching out into the use of cloud computing?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Avoid the looming shadow of the Data Warehouse

Avoid internal competition and clandestine sabotage by blending your analytic teams instead of separating them. 

Alice Day 1930 The Next Room.jpg
If you're not careful, your data science team could be rapidly snuffed out by a very unlikely threat. You've acted on your vision to bring your organization to a new level by infusing the best analytic talent, and you've secured a promising team of talented data scientists and analytic managers (and possibly one very talented consultant); however, how do the others feel about the new members of your family? In fact, if you're not careful with the way you structure your organization, you might have a very unlikely adversary -the existing data warehouse group. Although your data science team is the new kid on the block, don't make the mistake of putting them in competition with their older brother - the data warehouse group.

Create encrypted archives with BCArchive

Don't neglect securing your archives. Learn how BCArchive, a secure archiving tool for Windows, can help your small business. 

Most modern operating systems have the built-in ability to create archives (.zip, .tar, .gz, etc.). With some of these tools, you can even create a security password to protect the archive from prying eyes. But for small businesses looking for more security in their archives in order to keep sensitive data from prying eyes, the built-in tools don't always cut it. That's when you need a product such as BCArchive.

10 best features of Ubuntu 13.10

Jack Wallen lists the 10 features that make Saucy Salamander a more polished Ubuntu distribution. 

Ubuntu 13.10 (aka Saucy Salamander) is about to hit the streets, but not without much controversy and drama following behind in its wake. In fact, never before has their been a distribution release so mired in upset. Beginning with the choice to move away from the Wayland X server to a Ubuntu-specific Mir server to the inclusion of Smart Scopes, Ubuntu 13.10 couldn't catch a break. However, after using the release candidate for a while now, I'm here to say Ubuntu 13.10 enjoys more polish than any current Linux release. Outside of the many bug fixes and updates, I can give you ten reasons to like the latest version.

A look at OS X Mavericks

Apple's desktop operating system, OS X 10.9 Mavericks, was released on October 22, 2013. Take a look at some of the things you can expect to see in this new Mac OS. 


Apple released its new OS X 10.9 operating system, known as Mavericks, on October 22, 2013, surprising most industry observers and customers alike by announcing the new platform is free. The 10th major OS X release, Mavericks includes Finder enhancements, better battery performance, and improved iCloud integration among other new advantages. The new release is compatible with Macs capable of running OS X Mountain Lion. Read about Mavericks' facts, and then take a look at some screenshots of the new OS X platform.

Three simple steps to providing better customer support

Providing customer support is not a piece of cake. It requires patience along with good communication and people skills to run an efficient support business. 

By Jonny Pean
 Beth Van Trees
We all know that we can't perform solely on our own forever; we need help from others from time to time. This fact holds the greatest significance today when technology has pervaded to each and every part of our existence. Today anywhere and everywhere we go, no matter what we do, we are also accompanied by technology either in the form of a phone or a PC or household appliances etc. And time and again we need the assistance of tech support or customer services to deal with problems related to such technology, including such help like Windows 8 IT support for figuring out the latest additional features on a new LED TV.

Five Apps: Build a better resume

There's no way around it, if you're in the business of working for a living long enough, you're going to need a resume. 

At some point in time, you are going to need to create (or re-create) your resume. For some, it's not a big deal; you either open up the old file or create a new version, based on your old tried and true standard. For others, however, the very thought of creating a resume is enough to send them into apoplectic fits. Where do you begin? What information do you need? How do you lay it out in a professional manner? Thankfully, you don't have to keep swimming in that sea of confusion. There are plenty of apps and sites available that will aid you in the process of creating a professional resume. I have looked under the rocks and between the crevices to find five free apps to tackle that task. And here they are.

Log Parser Studio provides a great interface to Microsoft Log Parser

Log Parser Studio simplifies using the features of the versatile Microsoft Log Parser. Here's a look at how to use the tools together. 

A recent call from a client revealed worrisome activity on their ecommerce site. The problem was ultimately traced to a vindictive former employee, but we spent quite a few hours investigating the situation, with the web server logs being the biggest help during this time (you can never have too many logs). These log files contain lots of valuable information, but combing through them can be mind-numbing. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools available to provide assistance; Microsoft Log Parser is my favorite, and the Log Parser Studio provides a great interface. Here's a look at both tools used together.

Use HTTPS certificate handling to protect your iOS app

Handle certificates in your iOS app to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks on your app and on your server. 

Any app that connects over the Internet to a hosted service must have a security policy in place. The security policy will depend primarily on the sensitivity of the data being transferred between the app and the server. However, even if the app doesn't transfer sensitive customer information, it should protect itself from attack. Even the least harmful attack will ruin the user's experience and the app's reputation.

The success of Linux doesn't rely on Microsoft's garbage

Find out why I don't think Linux should be installed on old, unsupported Windows XP machines. 

With Windows XP about to finally meet its demise, many users are espousing its replacement with Linux. It makes perfect sense, because there will be millions of machines out there that are no longer supported by Microsoft. Those millions of machines can either add to our already insurmountable garbage problem, or they can continue to be used, sans updates.
Microsoft Windows without updates. That's little more than a security vulnerability in the wings. It would only be a very short matter of time before each and every one of those machines came crashing down. Instead of letting that happen, it's a very seductive proposition to grab a Linux distribution and resurrect that old machine. Why not? It's been part of the war cry of Linux for the longest time. 

How Windows 8 Hybrid Shutdown / Fast Boot feature works

Sleep, hibernate, fast boot, and hybrid shutdown are not all the same thing in Windows 8. Greg Shultz explains how it all works. 

A friend of mine recently got a new Windows 8 system and after using it for a couple of weeks sent me a list of questions that she had about some of the features in the new operating system. She also had quite a lengthy list of questions about features that she had been used to using in previous versions of Windows, which were either no longer available or changed in some way in the new version. While I was able to answer all of the questions to her satisfaction, one set of related questions stood out for me.

iOS 7.0.3 update released for iPhone and iPad

Summary: Apple releases iOS 7.0.3 for the iPhone and iPad, an update that brings with it numerous bug fixes and improvements to the recently-released iOS 7.

iOS 7.0.3
It's has been a busy day for Apple.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Six lines your boss should never cross

A list of six ways you can tell if your boss has crossed the line of professional behavior. 

The employment experts at Allison & Taylor have offered some great tips for knowing whether your boss has crossed the line of professional behavior. 
According to Allison & Taylor, your boss is crossing the line if he or she:
1. Makes references to your salary in front of other staff. This is private and confidential information, not public knowledge. Other employees don't need to know what you're being paid, and it's true regardless of the type of comment that's made. Whether the boss is saying, "I don't pay you enough" or "I pay you too much," this type of comment will lead to resentment among staff members. Broadcasting your earnings undermines your position with the rest of the staff. They'll either think you're willing to work for peanuts, ruining their chances of earning more, or think that you're overpaid. 

Why tech innovation is essential for future economic growth

Automation might mean job losses in the short term but longer term the impact of technology can be much more positive, if we let it. 

The Luddite protests against machinery in the early nineteenth century are often characterised as a movement which was against machines replacing people wholesale; whereas in fact the primary concern of the early protesters was that new wide-framed automated looms could be operated by cheaper, less skilled workers, with skilled textile workers losing their jobs.
As such the dispute was as much about individual job displacement as overall job loss; in modern parlance, less skilled workers moving up the process ladder.A more positive view of is that the more skilled workers' time was being freed up so it could be used in more imaginative and productive ways: new product design, market, sales and so on.