Category Archives: Misc.

Apps Maps and Satellite Gaps

Apps Maps and Satelite Gaps

Smartphones, Lost Portfolios, and Toilets

Years ago, shortly before graduating from college, I was heading to an interview for a photo editor position with what I thought was the key to my future: a dynamite portfolio. In those days, putting together a photo portfolio was time-consuming and costly. It may be difficult for the digital generation to appreciate that. Back in those days, there was no digital. A portfolio consisted of a leather binder with a dozen or so meticulously printed 8×10 black and white shots (yeah, I’m really dating myself now) that would hopefully wow the interviewer and land me the job. Before getting into my car, I had placed the portfolio on the roof of my car while searching for my car keys. I found my keys, got into the car, and drove off, confident in my sport jacket and tie that I would soon land a great job. Only one problem: I had not retrieved the portfolio from the roof of the car.

To make a long story short, I arrived at the interview; unfortunately, my portfolio did not arrive with me. Try explaining that to the interviewer. “Well, it was here when I last checked. No, seriously. It’s actually a pretty good portfolio. Really, you’d like it…if I could only show it to you.”

On my way home from a very short interview, I found my portfolio a block away from where I started. To be sure, it had that distressed look, having been run over by a dozen or so vehicles (the tread marks clued me in on that). And I think it must have been garbage day because the top cover of the binder had been torn away by something much heavier than a car. C’est la vie. Back to the dark room…and the job classifieds.

Things are much different today, sort of. In that same situation today, sans “hardcopy” portfolio, I could still have shown my photos by using my smartphone to access my Mozy Sync folder and then I could have forwarded my portfolio to the person giving the interview, impressing him with not only my dynamite portfolio but the convenience of Mozy Sync and the power of the Mozy mobile app  as well. Of course, that assumes that I actually still had my smartphone.

 As much as things change, in some ways they still remain the same. Take for example leaving my portfolio on the roof of my car. Would you believe that leaving your smartphone on the roof of your car and then driving off is one of the more common ways of losing your phone? If you don’t believe it, then you haven’t lost your smartphone that way…yet.

 In a recent article published by Consumer Reports, “Setting your phone on the roof or hood of the car while you strap your kid into the car seat, load the groceries, or take off your jacket is a common mistake. You might not notice the phone is gone until you reached your next destination, and if you remember before then, you might find your phone sitting damaged on the road or in a parking lot.”

According to the Consumer Reports National Research Center, a projected 3.1 million smartphones were stolen last year. But those 3.1 million smartphones are just the ones that were stolen. According to a Mozy study, thieves aren’t to blame for most smartphones that end up missing; it’s the owners of the smartphones who are to blame. They’re losing their phones. That’s right: 70 percent of people who carry around portable devices have lost a data storage device. But losing the device really isn’t the worst of the problem.

Although the average cost of a lost item is $220.15, it’s not just the value of the item itself that has an impact. Of those who have lost a portable device, 57 percent said that they were more upset about losing the data on the device than losing the device itself. In fact, the Mozy study found that so strong is the desire to hang on to our smartphones—and the pictures, contacts, and messages on them—that 93 percent of people who have dropped one down a toilet have attempted to retrieve it. Eww.

So, where are the most likely places that you will lose your smartphone? Based on the findings of the Consumer Reports National Research Center, here is where you should make every effort to keep a firm grip on your phone:

  • Public transportation
  • Airports and airplanes
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Retail establishments
  • School property
  • Amusement parks
  • Hood or roof of a car
  • Public bathrooms

As I reflect on that interview of so many years ago and consider the fact that far too many smartphones are lost in public bathrooms, I can’t help but smile knowing that I would never have lost my portfolio in a toilet. It was way too big to fall in.

Women of the world: The computing world needs YOU!

Women in tech

Here at Mozy we appreciate diversity and believe that we need more women in technology and especially in computer science. High-school age young women take 56% of all Advanced Placement tests; however, only 19% of the AP Computer Science tests are completed by girls. In 2012, 26% of computer and math jobs were held by women. Women earn 57% of all undergraduate degrees, but only 18% of computer science and information systems degrees. And the differences are getting more pronounced every year; for example, in the 1980s women received 37% of the computer science degrees awarded in the United States.

At Mozy we are concerned about the growing technology gender gap and are proud to support organizations such as the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) and the Award for Aspirations in Computing. This award honors young women active and interested in computing and encourages them to pursue their passion for technology. We want these young women to know that we are excited about their interest and aptitude in computing!

Mozy and EMC are enthusiastic sponsors of our local Award for Aspirations in Computing and were honored to be signature sponsors of the award ceremony last May. Through mentorship, sponsorship and gifts, we are proud to celebrate the achievements of these young women and their aspirations in pursuing careers in computing. We are excited about the future accomplishments of these young women and look forward to their contributions in shaping the world of technology and inspiring others to do the same.

Looking for a career?  Check out Mozy’s current openings! http://mozy.com/about/careers

Sources:

http://www.uvu.edu/uwlp/research/snapshots.html – The Status of Women Leaders in Utah Business

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57632843-78/computer-science-utah-education.html.csp - Report lauds Utah’s computer science Education

http://national.deseretnews.com/article/665/Code-secrets-The-real-reasons-why-girls-need-to-become-computer-geeks.html – Code secrets: The real reasons why girls need to become computer geeks

https://www.ncwit.org/resources/numbers

Glasses for the masses, but not for me…yet

You’re probably aware that Google Glass will be more widely available before the end of the year. For the most part, sales of Google Glass have been limited to a small group of people, including developers and others, who join Google’s Explorer program by invitation. The purpose of the Explorer program is to shape the future of Google Glass.

But just the other day, Google announced that it would sell Google Glass during a one-day sale on April 15. I guess tax day was the perfect time to decide what to do with your tax return. That had a lot of people excited.

“Every day we get requests from those of you who haven’t found a way into the program yet, and we want your feedback too,” said the folks at Google. “So in typical Explorer program fashion, we’re trying something new.”

According to Google, Google Glass is for everyone from moms to mountain climbers. That doesn’t sound like it includes me, but maybe it does. I am a dad and I like to hike. And I am from the United States and over 18 years old, two other requirements to purchase Google Glass.

I didn’t take advantage of Google’s April 15 offer. But I have to be honest: I don’t think I want a pair of Google Glass. Why? I’ve been thinking about the $1,500 price tag, not including tax.

I could probably afford a pair of Google’s spectacles. After all, I am getting a tax return this year. Although I owe the state $750, I’m getting a bit more than $1,500 from the feds. I’ve been thinking about all of the things I can do with that money. We need new shingles, but since $1,500 doesn’t even come close to replacing the roof over our heads, I think that can wait another year. And I will be needing new tires for my car. But that can wait until the next inspection. But, my anniversary is approaching in a few days. I could take my wife to a nice dinner, the theatre, and even buy her that beautiful lithograph I saw her admiring in a local gallery last month. And I’d still have some cash left over.

Google Glass has helped me to see more clearly that I don’t need to see and enjoy everything through technology. I still have my smartphone, my laptop, and my desktop. For now, that’s enough.

OK, maybe there are days when Google Glass sometimes sounds a bit appealing to me. Maybe I’m half way there. But as I look at the people who are modeling Google Glass, I just don’t look that sophisticated let alone that beautiful/handsome/sexy. Maybe a monocle would be more my style. Google Monocle? Maybe I’m on to something. I’ll wait to see if the Explorers contact me.

Thoughts about Backup and Recovery from the Coop

Recently, I was cleaning out the chicken coop. Yeah, you heard right: the chicken coop. When I finished, everything looked good—clean straw, better smell, happy hens, and probably happy neighbors. As I was putting away the tools of the trade (rake, trash can, and gloves), I noticed a small hole in the fence. Not too large, but big enough to allow the neighbor’s cat to enter and do some serious damage to our source of fresh eggs. I quickly repaired the fence. That got me thinking about backup and recovery (hey, inspiration comes from many sources, and that apparently includes cleaning the chicken coop).

If a business isn’t backing up its data and has never had reason to recover an important lost, stolen, or missing file, how likely is it that the business is going to heed the call to start securely backing up its data? After all, if the business hasn’t had to recover data yet, why worry? What are the odds that something is going to happen that will require data recovery? Actually, the odds are not in anyone’s favor, whether it’s an individual, an SMB, or a large organization. The odds, which include hardware failure, software issue, accident, an honest mistake, disaster, etc., are stacked against you. At some point, you will need to restore your files. But if you haven’t backed it up, you’ll wish that you heeded the call to safeguard your data.

Consider the following: 20,000 hard drives fail in the United States every day; 60 percent of companies recognize that their business would be in serious jeopardy after 48 hours without their data; and more than 12,000 laptops are lost or stolen every week. That 12,000 figure accounts for lost or stolen laptops at just U.S. airports, and it doesn’t begin to account for laptops left in taxis or rentals or coffee shops or….

Disasters such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Superstorm Sandy underscore the need for data protection in the event of both unanticipated and anticipated disasters. Even anticipated disasters can be devastating, depending on the severity of the event and unforeseen consequences. Proper backup protection ensures that an organization’s data is adequately protected in the event of a disaster and that lost or damaged data can be recovered in a timely manner with the least amount of disruption to the business.

So even if you’re backing up, that may not be enough in the event that something unexpected occurs. For example, let’s say that you’re backing up to a network attached storage device. All is good, right? The short and simple answer: No. If the drive fails, what are your options? How will you get your files back if you can’t access the drive? And what if you forgot to back up or schedule a backup altogether?

As you evaluate your backup protection options, consider the following:

• Do you have a consistent strategy for backing up desktops, laptops, and servers?
• Is backing up remote and branch offices a major headache? (Are you even consistently backing up remote and branch offices?)
• Are you taking advantage of the convenience and speed of local backup and restore with the offsite protection of cloud backup?
• Are you compromising security for convenience?
• Are you able to access your data anywhere, anytime?
• Do you have control over company data?
• Do you have a set-and-forget backup solution that you don’t have to constantly monitor?
• How easy is it to recover data? And just as important, how quickly can it be done?
• Do you have a backup solution that’s flexible, scalable, and meets your needs?
• Do you have a limited capital expenditure budget to spend on backup?
• If you have a backup or restore issue, do you have 24x7x365 support that understands your technical configurations and can help you solve the issue quickly?

Remember the tools of the trade: simple, secure, and affordable backup that’s scalable and that includes quick methods to restore your data, and a professional support team that you can depend on whenever you have questions or are pressed to solve a problem quickly. The right tools make the job easier and help prevent unnecessary worry. Who doesn’t want peace of mind? After all, no one wants to find a torn fence or, even worse, discover that a cat has entered the coop.

When High Tech Touches Your Food

It’s not a stretch to say that high tech touches everything these days. You almost certainly own a smartphone or tablet (probably both), which you no doubt use for any number of ways to make your life easier, faster, and more convenient. Now you can add one more thing to that list: How to buy the perfect steak.

And while you definitely don’t want anyone touching your food, when high tech does it, there are benefits. Read on.

Codes, calories, and consumer confidence

Steak and other cuts of meat have gone high tech in Thailand and other countries. And not just beef, but pork, chicken, eggs, fruits, vegetables, frozen food, baked goods, and ready-to-eat meals.

Consumers simply use their smartphones or tablets to scan the QR code—those blocks of black and white squares typically used for storing URLs and other information—on the food package to trace the history of the contents. For example, you want to know about the producer, the farm, the slaughterhouse of your steak? Just scan the QR code. It’s a great way for consumers to get information about the freshness and quality of the food they are buying.

But there’s even more information to be had from that QR code. You want all of the nutritional information—vitamins, minerals, calories, and fat content? Scan the QR code. What about favorite recipes—what’s the best way to cook your steak? You got it: scan the QR code.

Information is power, and when it comes to food, not only does information help to establish safety measures and help to ensure quality, it’s a great way to instill consumer confidence.

The new fast food?

Is fast food not fast enough for you? Maybe delivery to your front door step (or your neighbor’s roof, depending on the strength of the wind) via parachute is the next step in food convenience. Some folks Down Under have come up with a clever way to deliver your calories. While the QR code gives you information about your food, the parachute delivers your food. Although it’s certainly a new twist on food delivery, it’s probably not too practical. However, maybe a floating piece of toast with melted cheese will satisfy your craving for something “light.” I’d say Swiss cheese just got lighter.

Maybe food by parachute is not the next trend. But how would you know if it is? Food Genius might. The big data startup claims it is able to detect future food trends. Lately, Food Genius has been aggregating data from restaurant menus and has determined that burgers are one of the most popular foods in the country. Maybe you already thought that, but what you might not know is that peppers are a more popular topping than pickles. And if you like cheese on that burger, cheddar is the most popular cheese for primping the patty.

I’m no genius, but they might be on to something. Dang, I’m getting hungry all of a sudden. Maybe something topped with peppers. And cheese! Hmm, I wonder if that can be delivered by parachute? Who would refuse a peppered patty provided by parachute?

Improving efficiencies

Not only is high tech figuring out food trends, high tech is also helping restaurants increase efficiencies.

Avero’s  software lets restaurants track purchases and voided items at the time of transaction. Restaurants can use that information to improve service, increase sales, and identify employees who might be stealing food, like burgers topped with peppers and cheddar cheese. This type of information is vitally important to staying in business when you consider that pre-tax margins for restaurants is a scant three to five percent. If profits were food, those would be low in calories.

But let’s say you didn’t like your burger (because you never really liked peppers), you could use Punchh’s mobile app to share your disappointment by writing a review. But if you loved that burger because it was dominated by those peppers, you could proclaim the virtues of the pepper-topped patty. Pucch’s app does more than just provide a way to share your gastronomical experience. Restaurants can use the app to let you sign up for their loyalty programs, take surveys, or even order your next burger. That’s one small touch to get your hands on the next great burger.

Using the cloud to help prevent waste

And because we’ve been talking about food and high tech and how the two get along (unlike those nasty gray peas that rolled into your applesauce when you were a kid), what about the food that goes uneaten? According to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, a whopping 40 percent of food in the U.S. ends up in landfills. Americans throw out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, according to the NRDC report. Can high tech change that?

LeanPath is one company that’s passionate about food waste. Making the most of their cloud-based analytics platform, they’ve helped their customers reduce food waste by as much as 80 percent. Before throwing away any pre-consumer food waste, including overproduction, expired items, and food trimmings, restaurants are able to “catalog” it, analyze it, and then use that data to gain insights into making future food purchases and running the business more efficiently.

High tech and food go together like two peas in a pod. And that involves a lot of data in one form or another. So, be sure that whatever you’re doing with your data that you’re also backing it up and protecting it—and that it’s fully and quickly recoverable. And that’s more than just food for thought.

Tell us how high tech has influenced what you eat. And let us know if you are one of those people who likes peppers on your burger.

Mozy Summer Photo Contest Winners!

Earlier this year in one of our newsletters we asked Mozy users to submit one of their favorite summer photos. We had a ton of awesome submissions, and choosing our favorites was not an easy task. Take a look at the winners and let us know which one is your favorite!

Each winner recieves a $25 Amazon.com gift card.

Here are the winners (in no particular order):

Judy O. “I took the attached photo from atop of my Tennessee Walking Horse, “Baybay” during our camping trip at Montana de Oro State Park, California.”

Marge M. “Three cousins competing in a 4th of July watermelon eating contest.  An annual event in Sunriver, Oregon!”

Hans D. “I’m only an amateur photographer who was in Lisbon some months ago and took this photo of clothes drying high on a building. I liked the wind playing with the robes. And of course the color! When I see the picture, I immediately want ot be there again.”

Scott P. “Mt. McKinley taken from the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge on July 8, 2012. We missed our summit plane flight excursion due to clouds the day before but on this day McKinley revealed itself!”

Gerald W. “At another Granddaughter’s wedding this summer in Charlotte, N.C., snapped a picture of my Great Granddaughter chatting with her Aunt in a window sill. She was the flower girl for the wedding.”

Thanks to everyone who submitted, and congratulations to the winners! We’ll have some more contests coming up soon – make sure to enter to win!

Back up those Halloween Memories

Here’s a clip from one of our favorite Halloween movies:

Halloween is one of our favorite times of year! We enjoy the costume parties, the scary movies, and of course, all the candy!

While you’re out having a good time, remember to back up those memories! Whether you’re out with your little trick-or-treaters and taking pictures with your phone, or recording the annual family pumpkin carving catasthophe festivities, Mozy has you covered. Happy Halloween!

Cloud roundup and links of interest – August 15

Google Street View Offers Tour of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

Visitors from almost anywhere on Earth can “see” and explore NASA’s Kennedy Space Center through a collaboration with NASA that allowed Google’s Street View equipment to capture 360 degree color images and place them online for a new generation of spaceflight fans

The panoramic images include such iconic vessels as the Apollo 14 command module capsule that returned three astronauts from America’s fourth mission to the moon in February 1971 and the Space Shuttle Atlantis which flew on its maiden voyage in October 1985.

Virtual visitors can browse the collection by clicking on the images and then “steering” through the exhibits using a control wheel on the top left of each image. Using the controls, visitors can roam around the KSC displays to learn more about its contents and history, according to an article on eWEEK.com.

The new KSC images are the latest in the Google Street View collection, which also includes panoramic views of notable places around the globe, including Historic Italy, California National Parks, and highlights of must-see sites in the United States, Poland, Israel, Russia and the magnificent Swiss Alps, says eWEEK.

Tired of Facebook Friends’ Endless Photos of Their Kids? Unbaby.me Can Help

Too many baby pictures on Facebook?Too many of your friends’ baby pictures cropping up on Facebook? There’s now a sure-fire (if slightly off-beat) way to fight back: Unbaby.me.

The photo-replacing plug-in is the brainchild of three New Yorkers — Yvonne Cheng, Chris Baker and Pete Marquis — who work together at the advertising agency BBDO. They are, unsurprisingly, in their late 20s and early 30s, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“We were having drinks one night after work and were joking around about how Facebook is just lousy with babies, and wouldn’t it be funny if you could replace all those photos with cats,” Cheng said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

The plug-in will scan your Facebook feed for key words such as “cute,” “adorable” and “first birthday” — trigger words that indicate a baby photo may be attached. You can also add your own key words. Then it replaces the offending baby photo with a different photo from an RSS feed of pictures. The current default feed is cat photos.

“Personally, I don’t hate babies. I love babies. But I do get tired of looking at babies,” Cheng said.

Nokia Windows Phone 8 Reveal in Early September Tips Insider

Nokia’s first Windows Phone 8 smartphones could be revealed as early as September, as the Finnish company attempts to beat Apple to the next-generation handset unveil, according to an article on Slashgear.com.

New phones running Microsoft’s latest smartphone OS are set to be announced next month, though availability is only said to be in time for the holiday shopping season.

Apple isn’t expected to confirm the iPhone 5 until midway through September. However, the company is likely to have the much-anticipated handset up for grabs within a month of that.

Exactly what the new Nokia devices will look like is unclear, but the company will probably stick to a style similar to the Lumia 800 and Lumia 900, Slashgear reports.

 

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Small Biz in the Forum: How Smart Posting is Good Marketing

Small-business advertising has often amounted to something like this: how much bang can you get for your buck?

Billboards, ad spots, commercials, whatever the format, you want to see your marketing dollars amount to returns, sales, conversions.

But while a billboard-heavy marketing campaign by the big guys can lead to increased business, it’s often difficult to understand just how much money they eventually bring in. Just as often, ad experts tell us, it’s about expanding the reach of your brand and it’s about recognition.

But the smaller shop doesn’t always have the luxury of dropping crucial marketing dollars on what can amount to only a concept play. So, for small businesses, how can you showcase your expertise and build your reputation, but still keep the budget and return-on-investment at the center of the game?

One way is the online forum.

Let’s look at small-business owners who’ve used forum posting to develop new clients. We’re helped by Manta Connect, an online community-builder for small businesses to connect to the communities of customers they want to find.

Forum Posting: It’s About Time, Not Money

“Small business owners who actively share their knowledge and experience in the forum on Manta Connect not only establish themselves as industry experts in the community,” said Pamela Springer, chief executive at Manta, “but they gain a competitive advantage in expanding their customer reach.”

Take Stephen Lewis, for example. He’s the owner of Worthwhile Things in Orlando, Florida. While his team is working to coach small businesses, he turns to forums to find new clients  — and he does this by answering the questions they’ve asked.

Online Forums“Most of the questions and posts I respond to involve a business owner asking how to do something online, or how to do it better,” he said. “By giving clear answers which contain relevant and thoughtful tips, comments and feedback, I can establish myself as an authority on a given subject.”

The outlay for what amounts to a new, real, and concrete customer lead? A little bit of time.

“I find that by giving 5-10 minutes of my time and offering a short bullet list of free advice, I receive great reviews and feedback, and give myself an opportunity to make a new business contact or customer,” Lewis said. “I always include anchor text links back to my various online properties, but always to specific pieces of content that will augment my answer to the question posed.”

Expertise Online: Look to Learn, then Show Don’t Tell

For small-business owners as well, two other major elements of online forums come into play:

— A Lab for Best Practices: By watching your colleagues who also post and interact, as a small-business owner you’ve got a free way to learn at your disposal. From the best moves to mistakes, participating in online forums allows small-business owners to listen in on a vital conversation about best practices.

— A Place to Demonstrate What You Do: When a small-business owner rents a booth at a trade conference, they’re really spending money to demonstrate something about what it is they do. Forums can provide that, in a different way, without the expense. ”By using my experience and providing any help that I can,” said Patrick Tuure, web designer and owner of O.T. Web Designs in Columbus, Ohio. “I demonstrate to other forum followers that I know what I’m doing and, as a result, it opens them up to doing business with me. Since the posts are always there, they serve as a great icebreaker when someone contacts me. I don’t have to spend the time to convince them of my level of knowledge, they can clearly see it.”

Image Credit: Forum / Sarah B. Brooks / CC BY 2.0

 

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