Our favorite work distraction

May the feathers be with you. Star Wars meets Angry Birds this week with the launch of the newest game everyone loves. Countless work hours are lost every year to the game that has enthralled the world with its ability to hurl birds at fortified pigs.

“To quote from Rovio Entertainment’s press release, the game follows “a plucky group of Rebel birds in their fight against the evil Imperial Pigs.” Players will get to “use the Force, wield a Lightsaber, and blast away Pigtroopers on an intergalactic journey from the deserts of Tatooine to the depths of the Pig Star.”

The game is the fifth major installment of the “Angry Birds” franchise, which has racked up more than 1 billion downloads since launching in 2009.”

Technology can make our lives easier, but also more fun. Have fun!

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/08/tech/gaming-gadgets/angry-birds-star-wars/index.html

How to Lock Down Any Data on Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

By: Adam Dachis

Hopefully your iPhone (or other iDevice) will never be lost or stolen, but in the event it happens you’d probably feel better if the finder or thief didn’t have full access to all your private data. There may also be a few things you don’t want friends to accidentally discover when they borrow your mobile for quick use. Here’s how to lock down all your private data so you don’t have to worry about it.

When it comes to locking down your iPhone, you basically have two options: standard and jailbreak. There’s a lot more you can do with jailbreak apps and tweaks, but you can still keep private data private with options available to every iOS user. We’ll talk about the stuff anyone can use first, and then get into the jailbreak options.

How to Lock and Encrypt Data on Your iPhone

Keeping data private on a regular iPhone is pretty simple, though it involves making a few compromises. The obvious option is adding a password to your device, but that means your data is only protected when the phone is locked. Resetting that password isn’t impossible, and some data can still be accessed through apps like iExplorer. If you want to really keep your data secure, you need to use apps that encrypt it.

One app we like for the job is Ben the Bodyguard ($5). It not only keeps a collection of private data encrypted on your iPhone, but it’s also a lot of fun. It features a fictional bodyguard named Ben who has a complete backstory and a charming accent. If $5 is a little too rich for your blood, Private Data is a decent and free alternative.

Not all data can be relegated to a private app, however, as you likely send text messages and emails that you might want to keep away from prying eyes. Unfortunately there is no solution to the email problem (that we’re aware of), but a handy, previously mentioned app called Black SMScan send encrypted text messages. (The app is also required for decryption). The process is a little tedious, but it’s worth a download if you have anything private you want to say on your phone.

How to Lock Just About Anything with One Jailbreak Hack

As it generally goes, you can do a lot more if you jailbreak your iPhone(or other iDevice). Data privacy is no exception. If you don’t want to make any compromises, there’s a very simple way to selectively lock down pretty much anything on your device. It’s a jailbreak tweak called Applocker.

Applocker ($1) is a very simple tweak that will pretty much provide you with the security you’ll need, easily and on-demand. To install it, just search for it on Cydia, pay the $1, and open up your Settings app to set it up. If you swipe down the main settings page, you’ll find Applocker’s settings tab. Tap it and you can start locking apps, folders, and pretty much anything else on your iPhone. If you turn on the jiggle-mode setting, you can lock any single app from the home screen so that it requires a password to be opened. The process is very simple: you just tap and hold down in the same way you would to delete an app or rearrange it on your home screen, then tap the lock icon in the app’s bottom-left corner. You can even have apps automatically unlocked on certain Wi-Fi networks, if you’d prefer not to bother entering your password frequently at home (for example). Basically, you pay a dollar and have incredible control over when and where pretty much anything is locked down (or not).

 

More Clouds Equals More Jobs, Forecast Says

By: Ned Smith, BusinessNewsDaily Senior Writer

Cloud computing will create nearly 14 million new jobs worldwide by 2015, new research shows. Nearly 1.2 million of those new cloud-computing related jobs will be generated in the U.S. and Canada, a market that currently accounts for 62 percent of worldwide spending in public IT cloud services.

Large and small businesses will share the newly created jobs about equally, even though small businesses make up the majority of employment, according to a study conducted by research firm IDC on behalf of Microsoft. These jobs will be generated in the communications, banking and manufacturing industries, IDC predicted, with the majority of jobs being created in emerging markets, in particular China and India, where the size of the workforce and growth potential is greater.

“We tend to think of China and India as emerging markets, but they’re actually early adopters of the cloud,” said John Gantz, senior vice president at IDC. “They’re not bound to existing systems. They’ve skipped that step, so there’s less holding them back.”

IDC research also predicts that smaller companies will adopt cloud services at a faster rate than larger companies because budget constraints make the cost-effective solution very attractive and small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) have fewer legacy systems to deal with.

“Enterprises that embrace cloud computing reduce the amount of IT time and budget devoted to legacy systems and routine upgrades, which then increases the time and budget they have for more innovative projects,” said Gantz.

How to Print From the iPad

By: John Pope

One of the business features the iPad needs to have in order to be considered by the corporate world is the printing ability. Since iOS version 4.2 all iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches can print wirelessly to compatible AirPrint printers. As you can imagine, in classic Apple style this functionality is very easy to use if you have all the necessary devices (iPad, AirPrinter and wireless router), but you won’t have access to all the settings and tweaks you’re used to from your Mac/PC.

In this short guide I’ll try and show you how you can print from your iPad, the easy, the alternate and the complete way. Why so many options? Because sometime AirPrint doesn’t work, or doesn’t do everything you need it to do.

Print to compatible AirPrinters

This is probably the easiest scenario provided you have an AirPrint compatible printer (check Apple’s updated list here) connected to the same wireless network as your iPad. All you have to do is open the document/image you intend on printing, tap the Action icon (curved arrow in a box pointing to the right, present in AirPrint compatible apps) and select Print. There are basically two options: Select Printer and the number of copies. No option to select orientation, paper size, color/B&W printing and such. Told you it was simple….

So native AirPrint is a very basic printing function. And the number of supported printers is very small. Also, you might have to update your printer’s firmware to the latest version just to be sure it will support AirPrint. But if you’re looking for simplicity it can’t get any easier than AirPrint.

Update: As one reader pointed out, depending on the app you’re using you might get more options for printing via AirPlay. So Apple’s functionality can be extended further if app developers decide to dig deeper into the API and use all available options.

Using a manufacturer specific printing app

If you’re like me and don’t have an AiPrint enabled printer you still have a chance to print wirelessly from your iPad: get the free manufacturer app for your printer model. BrotherCanon,EpsonHPLexmark and Samsung have them and the work with many of the printers they sell. HP for example has an interesting technology called ePrint (not all printers are compatible), which basically assigns one unique email address to each of their printers. You just have to send an email with the document you want to print attached to it and it will be printed automatically.

As you’ll discover, each manufacturer app for iOS has difference tweaks and settings supported, but as a general rule you get more options than you get with AirPrint. I can’t cover each of these apps in this post, but remember they exist and can be a good alternative to AirPrint.

Print to all other printers

If you’ve tried the two methods from above and you found they don’t work with your printer there are always third party apps that can turn your printer connected to your PC into an AirPrint like device. There are two ways this is achieved: 1) either an AirPrint server app is installed on your PC and each printer directly attached via Bluetooth, USB, or shared as a network printer is automatically ‘converted’ and seen by the iPad’s AirPrint function or 2) an iOS app is installed on your iDevice and a corresponding server app is installed on your Mac/PC.

In the first case you’re opting once again for simplicity (since AirPrint doesn’t allow to chance the printer properties), while in the second case you’re usually getting a more complex settings menu, similar to what you get on your Mac/PC. In both cases you still need a Mac/PC to be On and the printer connected to it, which somehow defies the purpose of using an iPad for simple printing.

Anyway, one of the best apps for this purpose is PrintCentral (paid app) that can even print via 3G, so you can print from a remote location. You can also print things like SMS messages, contacts, addresses, maps and various other types of documents. And on top of that you can tweak a lot of settings for your printer.

As you can see, there are plenty of options if you really want to print with your iPad. You just need to try the three methods described above. All the third-party apps come with instructions that will guide you through the entire process, so you shouldn’t have any kind of problems.

Revolution of the Tablet Computers

By Dr. Satwant Kaur, Master Solutions Architect, HP, imageSource magazine

The new wave of PC tablets is replacing computers as computing devices.  They are in many cases, replacing cell phones as a means of broader telecommunications.  They are replacing information sources such as newspapers and books and PDAs, besides smartphones, as a means of remote access to various emails, contacts, calendars, productivity tools and even social networking uses with their larger screens and better interfaces.

NEXT GENERATION TABLETS

The mobile devices of the past decade did bring both computing power and pad-and-pen convenience together.  But, they have been heavier and sometimes needed a stylus.  Now, in lieu of the heavier laptop, Tablets are smaller, portable and easier to place in a purse or briefcase, or carry as is.  Size does matter.

Basically, these next-generation Tablets are portable devices that combine the functions of a cell phone and a computer.  Tablets offer mobile capabilities beyond those of traditional computers, such as touch screens, “instant-on” capability, augmented reality, movement-sensing and location-aware applications.  Tablets are also attractive as highly portable and general-purpose front ends.

Tablet PC’s comes with a touchscreen as a primary input device, and running a modified desktop OS, such as Windows 8, or a modified smartphone OS, such as Android.

Tablets can also give access to the files stored on a user’s home PC, from their Tablet, over cellular or Wi-Fi networks.

FEATURES OF NEXT-GEN TABLETS

Tablets PCs are full computers running a desktop-like operating system, but in a smaller Tablet format.  Today’s Tablets serve multiple functions such as for the e-book reader, Internet devices, and TVs.  It is a computer without a keyboard.  And you can run many of your business functions from them.

Tablets Have Specialized OS. Examples Include.

  • Android Tablets have Google’s open-source Android operating system, such as Honeycomb which is dedicated Tablet operating system.
  • Kindle Fire and NOOK Tablets have an operating system called Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0, as well as quad-core processors and high resolution screens.
  • Microsoft Windows 8 operating system is a touch-friendly, no keyboard or mouse, necessary interface that was designed from the ground up to run on Tablet computers
  • Tablets not following the personal computer (PC) tradition use operating systems in smartphones.

LIST OF THE NEXT-GEN TABLETS

Tablet PC is a portable personal computer equipped with a touchscreen as a primary input device, and running a full-fledged desktop OS.

Tablets are ideal devices for users who need mobile computing, find the cell phone, and PDA is too small, and like the virtual keyboard operations of a flat touch screen.

Next-Gen Tablets Include:

  • Samsung 5.3-inch Galaxy Note has stylus-sporting Android Tablet
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 with Android Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Windows Tablets are ARM-based tablets running a pre-build of Windows 8 as well as ARM architecture
  • Lenovo IdeaPad S2 Hybrid Tablet is a 10 inch tablet that converts into a laptop when snapped into its keyboard/dock; weighs 1.27 pounds
  • Vizio Tablet comes with 10 inch screen and runs Android Ice Cream Cone
  • Asus has Hi-Res Display for Transformer Table on Android Tablet w/10 inch display
  • Acer’s Inconia Tab A200 Tablet comes with Android 4.0 – Ice Cream Sandwich
  • iPad 4 with iOS operating system will be thinner, lighter, faster processor, retina screen, Suri and possible face recognition.
  • Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet have way to read and watch content from Amazon; the Nook is an excellent e-reader
  • Samsung Sliding PC7 Series has a sliding screen.  It’s a tablet with Intel Atom hardware.  It’s sliding screen allows it to be used a laptop or slate tablet when the screen is locked.
  • Lenovo X61 in slate mode
  • Tablet PCs which run Microsoft Windows are Acer, Lenovo Group, and Toshiba.

Features of Next-Gen Tablets

  • Tablets are finger driven and most frequently use capacitive touch screens with multi-touch and other natural interface features
  • Flash memory solid-slate storage devices.  Tablets can have storage drives or on-board flash memory.  Solid-slate memory is often preferable due to better resistance to damage during movement
  • “Instant on” warm-boot times
  • Standard external USB and Bluetooth keyboards
  • Unix-like OS, such as Darwin, Linux or QNX
  • 3G mobile telephony capabilities.  Wireless or Wi-FI connectivity is used for communication between tablets.  Bluetooth is used for connecting peripherals and communicating with local devices in place of a wired USB connection
  • ARM architecture processor provides battery life
  • “App Stores,” provide centralized catalogs of software and allow simple “one click” on-device software purchasing, installation & updates
  • Handwriting recognition with stylus
  • Touchscreen hardware – multi-touch capacitive touchscreens
  • Multi-touch capabilities can recognize multiple simultaneous finger touches, allowing for enhanced manipulation of on-screen objects
  • System architecture for Tablets includes both x86 and ARM architecture
  • Lighter weight, lower power models
  • Function similarly to dedicated reading devices like the Amazon Kindle
  • Multi-touch makes navigation easy as well as image manipulation
  • It is more natural to use a finger on a screen to select objects rather than a mouse or touchpad
  • Capacitive contact screens can sense even light finger on the screen
  • Multi-touch abilities can recognize multiple simultaneous finger touches, allowing for enhanced, manipulation of on-screen objects
  • Screen-size:  Although large screen sizes are more convenient, they add weight to Tablet PCs and need more power, and hence shorter battery life.  The 12″ form factor is optimal for the power, size and weight considerations needed for portability
  • New Tablet computers have non-Wintel, mobile operating systems, and have a different interface instead of the traditional desktop OS.

Bottom line?  Tablets offer mobile capabilities beyond those of those smartphones and PDAs and portability, size and convenience over traditional computers, even laptops.  Watch them continue to evolve and become commonplace in business use as well as personal use.

 

NFL playoffs, Super Bowl to be streamed online

Mark Milian, CNN
By Mark Milian, CNN
Tue December 20, 2011 www.cnn.com
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers leads the Green Bay Packers, considered a favorite to reach the Super Bowl.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers leads the Green Bay Packers, considered a favorite to reach the Super Bowl.

(CNN) — Football’s big game is coming to the small screen.

For the first time ever the Super Bowl, along with some postseason NFL games, will be streamed online and through the league’s mobile apps, the NFL and partner Verizon Wireless announced Tuesday.

The upcoming wild card games, the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl — TV’s most-watched annual event — will be streamed for free to computers on NFL.com and NBCSports.com.

NBC’s live stream will run different ads from those on TV, but Super Bowl viewers will be able to pull up the TV commercials on demand through the website shortly after they air, an NBC Sports spokesman said.

On phones and tablets, Verizon is the only cellular carrier that offers NFL games through an exclusive deal.

Verizon smartphones with a high-speed 4G LTE data plan can stream the games through the NFL Mobile app for free, a spokeswoman for the carrier said. Mobile devices with 3G service, such as the iPhone, iPad or older smartphones, require a $10-per-month Verizon Video subscription, she said.

The NFL does not stream most games for free during the regular season. NBC began streaming Sunday Night Football games through its sports website three years ago. NBC announced last week that it had extended its contract with the NFL through 2022.

The playoffs start on January 7. The Super Bowl will be played on February 5 in Indianapolis.

Women snap up e-readers as men dominate tablets

By Athima Chansanchai

In the world of mobile devices, gender divides are now showing up with e-readers and tablets, with women gravitating toward the former while men still dominate ownership of the latter.

The latest Nielsen data reveals 61 percent of e-reader owners are women, up from 46 percent not quite a year ago (third quarter 2010). Men make up 57 percent of tablet owners, dropping from 61 percent during the same time period.

Looks like the ladies are behind the surge of e-reader buying that has also propelled e-books above traditional, print books. In a recent story by msnbc.com colleague Suzanne Choney, she reports, “last year, 114 million e-books were sold — a 1,039 percent increase since 2008, according to the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group said in a recently released survey. In contrast, 603 million ‘trade hardcover’ books — both fiction and non-fiction — were sold last year, a 5.8 percent increase since 2008.”

E-reader buying, in general, seems to be up, with the continuing battle between Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, along with an influx of other competitors (Aluratek, Velocity and Pandigital all make devices too). In another story by Choney, she reports that e-reader ownership made it to the double digits for the first time this spring (12 percent), while only 8 percent of Americans were tablet owners.

Older Americans (ages 55 and over) also seem to be reaching a comfort zone with e-readers and tablets, with increases in ownership of both, as can be seen in the chart below, with the biggest gain in tablets from 10 percent to 19 percent from fall 2010 to spring 2011.

Why do you think women prefer e-readers? Do we like to streamline our lives and stick to dedicated devices? Do we like the simplicity of the e-reader, even though we know the tablet can be used as a reader, too? GigaOM’s Ryan Kim has some ideas: “Does this confirm that women like book reading more, as research suggests, or do they just prefer a lighter device or perhaps a simpler, single-purpose gadget? And do guys just want more horsepower and complexity, or do they prefer more games?”

With HP tablet dead, who can challenge Apple

iPad contenders are struggling, but real competition may be on its way

updated 8/21/2011 11:25:32 AM ET

NEW YORK — The sudden demise of Hewlett-Packard’s webOS TouchPad after just seven weeks on shelves was a reminder of how tech giants have failed so far to take a bite out of Apple’s iPad.

The TouchPad joins Dell Streak 5 in the tablet graveyard and weak sales for many offerings suggest others are bound to follow.

“The non-iPad tablets just won’t sell at retail. That’s the clear message from events over the past few days,” said Mark Gerber, an analyst at Boston research and investment firm Detwiler Fenton.

Other tablets that have failed to click with consumers include Asustek Computer Eee Pad Transformer and the Xoom from Motorola Mobility, which Google Inc plans to buy.

Research in Motion’s PlayBook received scathing reviews and sales have been slack, but it will probably survive since it is key to RIM’s strategy.

“I do not expect RIM to be shutting down PlayBook sales any time soon or abandoning that platform, because RIM views it as its future,” said Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Financial in New York.

Apple’s rivals have not fared any better in designing software for tablets.

Apple’s iOS tablet software accounted for 61.3 percent of the tablet market in the second quarter, more than double the 30.1 percent share held by Google’s Android, its nearest competitor. Microsoft held a paltry 4.6 percent share and RIM 3.3 percent, according to Strategy Analytics.

Competition coming
But the landscape could soon change. Google’s move this week to buy Motorola Mobility, a hardware manufacturer, has also potentially raised the stakes against Apple as it will give the Internet leader devices to showcase its software — just as Apple does.

All eyes are now on Google’s “Ice Cream Sandwich” system, which will unite the Android software used in tablets and smartphones. That is expected to encourage developers to flock to the platform and create better apps.

Microsoft could also pose a threat when it releases its tablet software, code-named Windows 8, but this probably won’t be until the fall of 2012.

“The ecosystem built around Microsoft is the largest computing ecosystem out there, so this makes it the company most likely to get significant traction in the tablet marketplace,” said BGC’s Gillis.

Microsoft has said the software will run on a range of devices from traditional PCs to laptops and tablets, and incorporate mouse and keyboard commands.

Amazon.com, the maker of the popular Kindle e-reader, is also expected to announce plans to release a tablet this fall, providing a challenge to Apple.

The Amazon offering could be a “game-changer,” Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert Baird & Co, said in a recent note. The tablet will likely feature Android’s Honeycomb OS system, a 7-inch screen and be priced under $300, he said.

Sebastian forecast sales of up to 3 million units in the first year and said they would eventually outsell other Android-enabled tablets from Motorola and Acer, and could potentially surpass Samsung’s Galaxy Tab.

Amazon’s as-yet unnamed tablet poses a significant threat to Apple because of the Kindle’s popularity and the movie and music services the company sells. Analysts also expect Amazon to subsidize the tablet’s price, which could also boost sales.

“Amazon is widely viewed as a wild card. It has the potential to be disruptive,” said NPD analyst Ross Rubin.

The crowded market has not discouraged Sony Corp either. The consumer electronics giant is going full steam ahead with plans to release its first two tablets in the fall.

“We’re going to see many competitors come and go,” a Sony spokeswoman said.

“We’re going to bring the best of all of the assets at our disposal to bear: hardware, content and network services.”