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Happy New Technology

Wednesday, 02 January 2013

A new year is just that – it is a new year that begins with a clean slate, presents new opportunities, delivers refreshed hope, and renews zeal for the up-and-coming. Just what is up-and-coming for 2013? The future is upon us and bringing exciting new technology with the turn of each calendar month.

1). In 2012, Microsoft came out with the Surface RT, a tablet that transitions to a notebook. The difference in 2013, is that the Surface RT will now be offered with Windows 8. This version of the tablet will be called the Surface Pro and will be available in January. The original Surface RT is available for $499, but the Surface Pro will be $899. The jump in price is because the Surface Pro makes the jump from a device that is more tablet to a device that is more laptop.

2). Research in Motion (RIM) is coming out with a new BlackBerry phone that is believed will be called the Blackberry X10. It was supposed to come out in 2012, and being that the launch never happened, the missed date is considered to be a flop of the year. However, many news leaks from December 31st, 2012 have shown pictures of the new phone, and it is believed that it will available to the public soon, with an official launch… next month?

3). What about bendy phones? Now that’s a new one. Apparently Samsung’s OLED display can be wrapped around your wrist anytime in 2013. The expected name is Galaxy Skin, and just because these phones will be thin, don’t expect they’ll have anything less than any other phone. They still have cameras, high resolution screens, and powerful processors.

4). If 2013 brings bendy phones, then foldable cars should not surprise you either. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is scheduled to release the Hiroko, a fold-up car. The car is small to begin with, but folded, three such vehicles can fit into just one parking space. Drive this baby with robot wheels that turn on a dime, steering from the widescreen LCD panel instead of a traditional steering wheel. Step out the front windshield, because it’s the door too, and step directly onto the sidewalk. Perfect for crowded European streets.

5). As if you didn’t have enough choices in cell phones in 2012, now in 2013, you will have the option of an Amazon phone. That’s right – Amazon, the company that makes your Kindle E-reader, is about to introduce a phone. Expect it to integrate Amazon’s Appstore, MP3, and Cloud Player. It may even still let you read, and should be out by summer, 2013, so you may only need one device for your days at the beach instead of a phone and a Kindle, like in the olden days.

6). Rumor has it that Sony is due to release its next console, which would be the PlayStation 4…

7). There are rumors of an iPad 5…

8). Google Glass has been prototyped, has been walked down the runways, and now, in 2013, will be on the market for all. Pop on your glasses, check email, stay up to date with your social media networks, get directions – in short, wear your computer right before your eyes.

9). Last, but not least, in 2013, will be the release of the much anticipated Xbox 720, otherwise referred to as the Xbox Loop. The exact name is still unknown, as is the release date, but it is already being marketed as the best new item to add to your 2013 Christmas list, as if anybody is ready to think about Christmas again on January 2.

10). There has to be a number ten, so how about pen and paper? So old-fashioned, pen and paper may become new again. Imagine – you don’t have to worry about battery life or memory loss or viruses. Now that is refreshing. And the last time I checked, both items are still available at the dollar store.

Whatever your new year brings, may it be a happy new year, with just the right mix of old-fashioned charm and new world technology to create your best life yet.

Riding a Trojan Horse

Thursday, 06 December 2012

Apparently, my laptop has been riding a Trojan Horse for over a year and seems unable to kick it. Yes, I thought that the Trojan remover on my computer was there to remove viruses – I didn’t think that it was the virus. In fact, didn’t the fellow on the phone who was removing the first virus put the remover there? The technician I spoke with at Staples this time about removing the virus asked where I’d had the virus removal done before. I hadn’t taken it into a place. I had called this company, I told him. I couldn’t remember the name. I’d never heard of them before. Who is familiar with virus removal companies, anyway? It was in Las Vegas, where we’d been living at the time, but I couldn’t say for sure the company was from there. I’d probably found it online.

“Big companies would never do that,” he explained, naming his employing company among the list of examples of big companies that could be trusted. Smaller companies show up overnight, “fix” viruses while installing other viruses that are time sensitive, set like bombs to go off at a later date, and disappear – only to operate again under new names. But why would anybody do this? What has anybody got to gain from installing a virus into somebody’s computer? Malware, such as Trojan, or Trojan Horse, looks like a legitimate file on your computer and it grants access to hackers.

The name “Trojan Horse” is derived from Greek mythology. The story is told in Virgil’s “Aeneid” and in Homer’s “Odyssey.” The Trojan Horse was a wooden horse constructed by the Greeks to hide some of their army in. They gifted it to the Trojans who then pulled the wooden horse into Troy, while the Greeks pretended to sail away. The men hidden in the horse then emerged and opened the gates to the city for the rest of the Greek army to enter. The Greeks then destroyed Troy, and were victorious in ending the ten year Trojan war.

The term Trojan horse has come to mean, metaphorically, “any trick or stratagem that causes a target to invite a foe into a securely protected bastion or space.” (Wikipedia). Now, malware is labeled with the term “Trojan Horse,” a term surprisingly fitting in spite of originating in the eighth century B.C.

Computer programs are therefore “presented as useful or harmless to induce the user to install and run them.” (Wikipedia). They may appear as legitimate files or even helpful programs, as I was led to believe. Then, once the Trojan Horse has gained access to a computer, it may steal information, including data theft such as passwords and credit card information, and even electronically steal money. A hacker may download or upload files, delete files, and crash the computer. Additionally, a hacker may anonymously view the internet. Obviously, if a person needs to hack into your computer to see something online, they are engaged in illegal activity that would appear as your activity.

These hackers ride their Trojan Horses into your computer system via drive-by downloads. The victim does not realize they are allowing the Trojan Horse in as it is often disguised as a Windows program from your computer, and not the internet. It pops up and says there’s a threat, and the only way to get rid of the threat, or the pop up, is to click – but once you click, you have given the Trojan Horse access. Another way it happens is through online video games and internet applications that are designed to attack targeted computers.

The best thing to do if you see a pop up is to not touch it. Instead, immediately press the power button to turn your computer off. This may not stop the Trojan Horse, but the sooner your computer is off, the less time it is given to infiltrate. Once you turn your computer off using the power button rather than clicking to turn it off, take it in to a real person in a reputable business to deal with the Trojan Horse – and hopefully salvage your computer.

Share Your History

Monday, 19 November 2012

What’s your story? Everybody has a story and every business has a story. Knowing where your business came from is essential in understanding what you are about. Most likely, many events lead to where you are now. Many paths crossed, and many turns were taken before your company began or arrived to be what it is.

People want to know. They want to know if you began in your aunt’s basement as a one-person show or if you had to walk five miles in the snow to take the class that led to the revelation from which your idea was born.

Reflection of your business’s history will help to further define your business identity. For your clients, it will not only spark interest, but will connect them to you and your company on a whole other level. With a corporate history, you become real – just like them, and they can relate to that. Your business becomes a live growing and evolving entity – with character.

Sharing your story creates a bond. Just by reading, your clients will feel like they know you and have gone through the growth and pains right alongside your company as they make correlations to their own lives and their personal endeavors. Your business history opens the door to the trust and loyalty you want to develop with your clients because when the door is open, you’re not hiding.

You may title this section on your website “Corporate History” or “Our Story” or something more jazzy like “The (insert business name) Revolution.” Trust your creative intuition.

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