Monthly Archives: October 2010

Despite Failure, Microsoft Holds Onto Bing

In the world of online search engines, Microsoft’s Bing is definitely not unheard of. After coming out in June of 2009, Bing is the forth largest search engine in the world and is used for aproxamately 3.25% of web searches. While this is somewhat of a low number, it is important to consider that in retrospect to the number of web searches done on a daily basis, 3.25% is not a bad number by any stretch of the imagination; especially for a search engine as young as Bing. However, in it’s 16 months of online existence, Bing has yet to pay off for Microsoft.

According to an eWeek article, the “Online Services” division of Microsoft – the division that handles Bing – had a loss of $560 million in the first fiscal quarter of 2011. While this may seem like simple bad luck, the fact of the matter is that this loss is just another step in a trend of losses for Microsoft’s Online Services Division, and is a more significant loss than the division’s $477 million loss in the same quarter in the 2010 fiscal year.

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Drop It Like It’s Hot. Facebook Acquires Drop.io

Facebook has acquired the file sharing/storage site Drop.io according to a post on the company blog.  The service will be shutting down on December 15th, 2010.  Yet again, Facebook is acquiring startups for talent, technology, and assets only to leave the startup to die (e.g. Friendfeed) or just to shut it down (e.g. essentially every other company they have acquired).

From Drop.io’s blog post:

Today, we’re proud to announce that we’ve struck a deal with Facebook.  What this means is that Facebook has bought most of drop.io’s technology and assets, and Sam Lessin is moving to Facebook.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be winding down the drop.io service. As of this week, people will no longer be able to create new free drops, but you’ll be able to download content from existing drops until Dec. 15. Paid user accounts will still be available through Dec. 15 and paid users will be able to continue using the service normally.  After Dec. 15, paid accounts will be discontinued as well.

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What If You Could Configure Your Own Smartphone?

What if you could configure your own smartphone.  You know, the same way you can configure your own Mac or PC.  What if you could select how many megapixels your smartphone camera had, what type of flash it used, the amount of internal memory and storage, and the type of wireless (b/g/n) and network technology (3G/4G) it used.  Well, one company seems to be taking this idea and bringing it to a reality.

A German company called Synapse Phones is looking to do just that.  The Synapse Phones site doesn’t look like much right now, but it appears to be legitimate, though it technically isn’t open yet, it appears they will be taking pre-orders soon which will ship in mid-Q1 2011.  This site will probably be more beneficial to those in Europe due to many competitors using similar technologies, but if this is successful in Europe, I could see it making its way into the US market.

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I’ve Seen The Future And AOL Is Still In It.

AOL is currently in the process of not only restructuring the entire company, but also, making an attempt to change advertising on the web.  Currently, Google is the dominant force for advertising on the web, they are to put it quite simply, the de facto standard.  However, the web is a very dynamic market, especially when it comes to advertising.  Advertising will go where the traffic is going and where they can get the best return on their investment.

Google’s original approach of text/image ads has been very successful for the company.  But they know it’s time for a change too.  Their “Watch This Space” campaign which is currently ongoing is proof of that.  Google knows it has to act quickly and bring in the next generation of online advertising.  So, who if anyone can stand in Google’s way?  I think the answer to that question is, AOL.

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Remember How Secure Windows 98 Was?

I stumbled across this animated gif file on Reddit today and it reminded me of how secure Windows 98 was.  That’s a joke by the way.  For those of you who remember Windows 98, I’m sure you remember the super secure the login screen.  You know, the one you could easily bypass with a little trickery and a couple mouse clicks.

Well, if you don’t remember or you never knew about the gaping security hole in the Windows 98 login system, check out this little animation below.  And if you ever stumbled across a Windows 98 system with a login username and password now you can bypass it (side note: we don’t endorse gaining unauthorized access to computers).

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CloudBerry S3 Explorer Review

I love Amazon’s S3 service and honestly feel that it is the most innovative and intuitive file storage solution that I have ever come across.  I say this because S3 has the flexibility to work as a file storage solution and by being paired with Amazon’s CloudFront service has the ability to take on light web-hosting tasks; all at an insanely reasonable price.  Because of this high level of usability, S3 has the potential to be a very useful tool for a great number of people and businesses.  However, there is one thing that I personally feel is stopping S3 from being more widely used.  It’s somewhat difficult to use.

This is an issue that I discussed briefly when I wrote my review on Amazon S3 a couple of days ago, and an issue that I said could be easily remedied with the use of third-party software.  In response to this, CloudBerry, a software development company, gave us the opportunity to do an in-depth review of their S3 Explorer software which is aimed at giving S3 the most user-friendly interface as possible.

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iMovie ’11 Makes Anyone Look Like A Video Editing Genius

When Apple demoed iMovie ’11 at their Back to the Mac event this past Wednesday I will admit I was impressed.  As I watched in amazement how easy they made it look to edit videos and make those awesome movie trailers I couldn’t help but think to myself am I just getting sucked into the infamous reality distortion field?  It can’t be this easy.  It just can’t be.  Needless to say, I purchased iLife ’11 that same day.

I do a lot of video content, but by no means am I any kind of video editing expert.  Let’s just say, I can do the basics.  iMovie ’11 is a novice to intermediate video editing users dream come true.  It removes the barriers to making awesome videos.  I spent some time playing with the movie trailer feature; which by the way, is going to be huge.  There is no question in my mind these movie trailers are going to be all over YouTube.

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What Possible Problems Could The Mac App Store Face?

Recently the good ole boys at 1 Infinite Loop announced that in ninety days we will see an App Store for the Mac. All over the internet people were cheering, hugging and discussing world peace (not really) because of this innovation. However, dark times may lie ahead young Mac user.

Problem #1:

Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers. I think you get the point. See as an app developer myself I can’t really seem to stomach paying for a developer license to submit my App into the Mac App Store and then have Apple take 30% of my profits when I know I could with a little more effort setup my own download site, get some payment method setup and take 100% not 70%. Also we are unaware if Apple is going to allow registered iPhone developers to submit applications into the Mac App Store or if those developers will need to pay another fee. This spells disaster and I really hope Apple chooses or has chosen wisely regarding this topic. If not the fate of the Mac App Store could be at stake.

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Amazon S3 Review

For a while now, I have been using a Virtual Private Server to store my personal websites and screenshot uploads.  While this has been working well for me, the cost of having such a server only to store and serve mostly-static content has seemed like overkill.  While companies like Webair have amazingly reasonable pricing on VPS servers, the fact of the matter is that when you’re not taking advantage of what you’re paying for, you’re doing nothing more than throwing money away.

While I briefly considered migrating myself to shared hosting, prior experiences with “web giants” such as 1and1 quickly deterred me from doing so.  So what was I to do?  I needed a “new” and flexible solution.  This is where the Amazon S3 service steps into play.

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Tweetie 2 for Mac Isn’t Dead, Just Being Developed Super Slowly.

Last week we reported that Tweetie for Mac was in fact dead.  It seemed to have come straight from the horses mouth, that of course being, Ev Williams (co-founder of Twitter).  Not so fast says Loren Brichter, developer of Tweetie and founder of Atebits software which was acquired by Twitter back in April.

Now, since the MacHeist nanoBundle announced that it would provide all purchasers with access to the Tweetie 2 for Mac beta, MacHeist Director, John Casasanta has been in contact with Loren and he tells us in a forum post that Loren is in fact still working on Tweetie 2 for Mac.

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Advanced: Mac Security Guide

If you have not already read The Basics: Mac Security, now would be the time to ensure you have a complete understanding of the basics.

In the previous article we discussed the basics in Mac Security. Now we will be taking it one step further by explaining more advanced techniques to really lock down your computer. Note: Most of these steps will be for more advanced users really wanted to ensure their data is safe from theft or loss. Most average users will not need to worry about these features.

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The Basics: Mac Security

So you purchased a Mac and your surfing the web feeling safe, right? No pesky viruses, no worries about encrypting your data. Apple computers are immune to all those wonderful tricks of hackery, right? NO! Apple computers are just as vulnerable to online attacks like malware. A recent survey from Secunia ranked OS X one of the most vulnerable operating systems. Now don’t lets this prevent you from heading out and snatching up one of those sexy aluminum unibody Macs because today we will be discussing how to get your future Mac secured.

Regardless of the manufacturer, computers store gigabytes of information about our e-lives. Be it our favorite websites, school papers or maybe even email. We all have some type of personal information stored on our computers and without properly protecting it you could be in a world of hurt. In this two part series, I’m going to discuss details to keep your Mac computer safe from intrusion or information theft.

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Review: TuffLuv Bi-Axis Case for iPad

TuffLuv may not be a well-known case manufacturer, but they sure know how to make great looking, unique cases that are also some of the best quality cases I have tested. Unlike some iPad case makers who limit their cases to Apple product, TuffLuv makes protective accessories for almost every electronic gadget you own over at their website. But for this review, I tested one of their iPad cases, the Bi-Axis.

The Bi-Axis is a faux leather, book style case for the Apple iPad. It is all black faux leather, although I did not know it was faux leather when I first received it. They do have a Napa Leather version, but that will cost you almost $30 more. The faux leather Bi-Axis will run for about $42 USD, and I will say it is definitely worth it. The quality of the material used is extremely soft and feels very comfortable to hold. It is quite heavily padded, yet is not too bulky.

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How To: Configure Dual Monitors In Windows

Multi-monitor configurations allow a user to “stretch” their desktop workspace across multiple screens, all while working off of the same computer.  Dual monitors can be productive in the sense that they allow one to have multiple windows displayed on their screen, and can be greatly beneficial in making comparisons and multi-tasking.  In the same sense, dual monitors can be anti-productive by making it that much easier for a person to keep a web browser running constantly, and always having Facebook, Twitter, etc open whilst still doing work.  In any case, dual monitors are simply awesome either way, as they allow you to truly take advantage  of your computer’s hardware in order to multi-task.

Windows has a built-in mechanism for configuring multiple monitors, and in all honesty, it does its job fairly well.  In Windows XP, this can be accessed by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting “Properties”, then moving over to the “Preferences” tab.  From this window, you can drag the screens in order to best simulate your layout.  Additionally, you can configure the respective resolutions for each of your monitors.

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