Link Round-Ups – October 29

Apple Unwraps New iPad at Big Event

For Apple, less is more.

Apple took the wraps off its much-anticipated downsized version of its iPad tablet, the 7.9-inch iPad mini, at an event in San Jose, Calif. Oct. 23.

Apple also revealed a 4th-generation 9.7-inch iPad, and updated versions of it Mac computers: a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, a revised Mac Mini and the next generation iMac, according to an article on Businessweek.com.

With Amazon having shipped millions of 7-inch Kindle Fire tablets and Google estimated to have shipped at least a million Nexus 7 tablets, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, Apple couldn’t afford to cede a growing market to competitors.

“We sold more iPads in the June quarter than any PC manufacturer sold of their entire PC lineup,” said CEO Tim Cook. The iPad, he said, has been hugely popular in education and is “taking the business market by storm. … We’re not taking our foot off the gas.”

Google Takes Its Trekker Street View Cameras to Grand Canyon

Grand CanyonHey Google, go take a hike.

Google is currently taking pictures for Google Maps in a place where no vehicle has gone before — the rugged hiking paths of the Grand Canyon.

According to an article on Techcrunch.com, a Google team is on foot to capture the landscape’s panoramic views to add them to Google Maps. The move is a part of a greater effort to capture images beyond the streets. Google recently added images of landscapes from the Amazon and Antarctica to university campuses and ancient ruins.

To capture the area, the team is using wearable backpacks with a camera system on top.

“The narrow ridges and steep, exposed trails of the Grand Canyon provide the perfect terrain for our newest camera system,” Google said on its official blog. “The Trekker—which its operator controls via an Android phone and automatically gathers photos as he walks—enables the collection of high-quality imagery from places that are only accessible on foot.”

Scientists: Whale Was Trying to Imitate Human Speech

Whale I’ll be.

A white beluga whale in California has grabbed the world’s attention due to its ability to imitate the human voice. According to Discovery News, the whale named NOC was caught on audio speaking English.

“I think he was looking for feedback,” Sam Ridgway, president of the National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF) in San Diego, said in an interview with NBCNews.com. “These animals make a lot of sound, and they like feedback.”

One day, a diver surfaced from the tank and asked, “Who told me to get out?” At that moment researchers realized the sound came from their captive Beluga whale, named NOC. Researchers concluded NOC was mimicking the word “out.”

Scientists have long studied the ability of whales to imitate human sound. Their findings were recently published in Current Biology, concluding that the sounds they had heard were several octaves lower than typical whale sounds. The whales were actually trying to imitate humans, their research revealed.

The research revealed a pitch and amplitude rhythm in NOC’s voice that is comparable to human speech. As noted by Ridgway, the talking beluga spent long periods in close contact with humans, listening to them from both above and below the surface.

 

Mozy Data Shuttle

 

Cloud Link Roundup – October 22

Samsung Launching Galaxy S III Mini

Samsung Vs. AppleWhen it comes to challenging Apple’s iPhone, Samsung is thinking small. The South Korean conglomerate is currently working on a smaller version of its popular Galaxy S III smartphone.

The new phone, which Samsung did not reveal when it will launch in the United States or at what price it will be, is likely targeting Apple’s newest iPhone, according to the Washington Post.

The smartphone, expected to be called, appropriately, the Galaxy S III mini, has a 4-inch screen — smaller than the 4.8-inch screen on the current iteration of the Galaxy S III smartphone but the same size as the display on the iPhone 5.

That’s not the only difference between this phone and its larger, 4.8-inch sibling. According to a specifications sheet from Samsung, the mini smartphone has a 5 megapixel camera instead of the 8 megapixel sensor on the larger phone, and it will also not operate on high-speed 4G LTE networks. That decision makes the device more of a mid-range phone, as many customers expect premium smartphones to connect to the fastest networks, according to the Washington Post.

The S III mini’s crisp Super AMOLED screen and general design borrows from the company’s top-selling smartphone. It has a 1GHZ dual-core processor and will run the latest version of Google’s Android system, Jelly Bean.

Browser Tools Can Help Block Tracking by Social Networks

The “like” button on Facebook and other social widgets on websites that track your online activity now face a growing number of startups that offer tools to keep them in check.

According to The New York Times, those little buttons on websites that let you share what you’ve read have an equally important function: They let the social networks track your travels on the Web, whether or not you click on them.

Now, a growing number of start-ups offer tools that help consumers keep that kind of tracking at bay.

Social widgets that track your moves are growing across the Web. They act as eyes on the Web. They watch you as you skim the day’s news or shop online.

According to The Times, Facebook is especially ubiquitous. Academic researchers in France and Australia recently found that more than 20 percent of the 10,000 most popular Web sites have a Facebook widget. That widget allows the social networking giant to keep track of which Web sites they visit, whether or not the Internet user is logged on to Facebook at the time.

But users do have options when it comes to keeping widgets in check.

One such tool is a widget-scrubbing program recently released by PrivacyChoice. It is a browser extension that monitors the strength of your privacy settings on Facebook and Google, including the option of disabling Facebook and Google Plus share buttons. In the first 24 hours after its release, 50,000 people used the tool, which the company calls PrivacyFix and offers for free.

Woman Gets 11,100 Trillion Euro Phone Bill

Trillion Euro Cell Phone BillA woman in France might want to look into free nights and weekends.

Solenne San Jose received an 11,100 trillion euro phone bill, which was eventually fixed after her phone company admitted that it made a mistake (and people say there’s just no talking to some phone-service providers).

According to the Epoch Times, San Jose said that when she opened up her mail, her phone bill had some extra zeroes. About 12 extra zeroes. Her bill totaled 11,721,000,000,000,000 euros ($15,100 trillion).

“There were so many zeroes I couldn’t even work out how much it was,” Solenne San Jose of the Bordeaux region told the AFP news agency.

Bouygues Telecom, her phone company, told her that they could not revoke the computer-generated bill or stop the balance from being subtracted from her bank account.

Finally, San Jose was able to convince the company to admit the problem, according to the news agency. The bill was actually only 117.21 euros ($151).

Image Credit: Apple iPhone 4s vs Samsung Galaxy note / sidduz / CC BY 2.0

 

MozyHome Online Backup

 

Mozy Stash Video Contest Winner!

This past summer, we asked our MozyHome customers to re-create a movie, while incorporating Mozy Stash into the plot.  We were overwhelmed with all the responses and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves watching each of them.  Although it was difficult to narrow it down to one winner, we finally chose the winner.

Congratulations to Phil Berry from Winston-Salem, North Carolina!

Grab a bowl of popcorn, sit back, relax, and watch a re-creation of “Back to the Future” featuring the perfect sprinkling of Mozy Stash throughout the movie.

Want to be participate in Mozy’s latest contest? Try our Scary Haiku Contest!

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!

Mozy is MSPWorld MVP

Members of the Mozy team spent last week in Austin, Texas. In addition to the world class BBQ, bats, and Texas Longhorn football, Austin is also renowned for hosting the largest gathering of MSP’s (managed service providers) in North America. We had a great time meeting with the MSP community this past week, and had a great time at MSPWorld.

We were encouraged by the stories from Mozy resellers who stopped by the booth and shared experiences about how being a Mozy reseller have changed their business. We were also very honored to receive the MVP award as voted by the community (pictured below, complete with Mozy ‘Back the F:\ Up!’ t-shirts in the background).

MSPWorld MVP Award

Hearing great feedback from our resellers validates all the work we’ve done the past few years to build a cloud services channel program where our partners come first. Our awesome resellers have contributed to significant channel growth over the past year. Over 5,000 Mozy resellers are now protecting their customers’ data with trusted MozyPro Online Backup.

Get more information about the Mozy Reseller Program here: http://partners.mozy.com.

Links of Interest – Oct 10

Apple Maps Inspires Brilliant (but Fake) New Yorker Cover

Leave it to the Mad men over at Mad Magazine to put Apple in its place over its second-rate Apple Maps effort.

The minds at Mad took illustrator Saul Steinberg’s famous New Yorker cover from 1976, showing the world as seen from Manhattan’s 9th Avenue, and gave it the Apple Maps treatment, see here on Gothamist.com.

Apple has recently taken flak for its often-incorrect mapping application in its new iOS 6, and Google has wasted no time letting mobile users know that its maps service can be found on the web and will soon be available in a native iOS app.

Google made its Street View service available in mobile browsers. To access Street View panoramic imagery, Google advises people to visit maps.google.com using a mobile device and then search for a location.

Bee Brains Help to Make Robots Smarter

One particular study in the UK is creating quite the buzz.

Researchers there are studying how bees smell and perceive the world in a project that hopes to produce a simulation of the winged creatures’ sensory systems.

The simulated bee brain will be used by a flying robot to help it make decisions about how to navigate safely, according to the BBC.

Robots involved in the project could help in search-and-rescue missions or work in agriculture by mechanically pollinating crops.

The research involves scientists from the Universities of Sheffield and Sussex. The project aims to create models of the neural systems in a bee’s brain that helps it make sense of what it sees and smells, according to the BBC.

James Marshall, a computer scientist at the University of Sheffield who is coordinating the project, said simulating a brain was one of the “major challenges” of artificial intelligence.

Many previous attempts to re-create biological brains in silicon have focused on the cognitive systems found in humans, monkeys and mice, he said.

Study Shows Baldness Can Be a Business Advantage

Baldness, a business advantage?Don’t perfect that comb-over just yet.

According to a recent study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, men with shaved domes may seem more powerful because the look is associated with hypermasculine images, such as the military, professional athletes and Hollywood action heroes such as Bruce Willis.

The study goes on to reveal men with shaved heads are perceived to be more masculine, dominant and, in some cases, to have greater leadership potential than those with longer locks or with thinning hair, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Some executives say the look makes them appear younger and gives them more confidence than a comb-over.

“I’m not saying that shaving your head makes you successful, but it starts the conversation that you’ve done something active,” said Seth Godin, 52, a smooth-headed tech entrepreneur and writer who embraces the bare look. “These are people who decide to own what they have, as opposed to trying to pretend to be something else.”

No word yet on what sort of advantage a mullet brings to the boardroom.

 

MozyHome with Stash

 

Frightful Computer Haiku Contest v 2.0

Two years ago, we laughed and we cried as we read through your submissions in our first edition of the “Frightful Computer Haiku Contest”. This year, we’re bringing the contest back. We want your scary computer related haikus! Comment on this post with your haiku to enter to win $50!

Mozy Frightful Haiku Halloween Contest

Need a refresher on how to create a haiku? It’s simple. Line one is five syllables, line two is seven syllables, and line three is five syllables. If you need to, you can make sure your haiku has the right arrangement of syllables using haikuchecker.com.

Here is an example:

My awesome laptop
Had no chance in a fight with
My neighbor’s dumb cat

We’ll choose our four favorites, and here are the prizes you could win:

  • Grand prize: $50 Amazon.com gift card
  • Three runners up will receive $25 Amazon.com gift cards.
  • The winning haikus will also be featured on our Facebook page and Twitter account.

To enter: Simply comment on your post with your frightful computer haiku.

Rules:

  • Your haiku must be original. Don’t just copy one of the ones someone submitted last time (or this time), because that’s just lame. And we will be checking.
  • Your haiku must be awesome, but this goes without saying.
  • One entry per person. Please do not submit the same haiku over and over again.
  • Submit your haiku by Oct. 26, 11:59 PM MDT. Winners will be announced on Monday, Oct. 29.

That’s it! Pretty easy, right? So get your haiku on and submit away! Like this contest? Click here to tweet it!

We Have to Start Meeting Like This: How the Cloud is Making the Conference Room Obsolete

We have to start meeting like thisPart of the experience of working in a world of mobile tech is that your meetings are no longer conference-room bound.

Instead, you can bring together people from anyplace, using a virtual space that opens your team up to possibilities that once required a lot more time and money.

Want to sit down with your graphics designer in San Francisco, but also pull in your head of marketing who’s at an expo this week in Toronto? And you’re in New York? With the help of cloud computing, you can.

Cloud conferencing allows users to share information and makes meetings a multimedia experience. This isn’t a teleconference with disembodied voices bouncing off the walls of a teleconference. Attendees can work with all the documents, sound, and images — the real-time collaboration that you’re used to in a physical space.

So, how do you get your small-business on board with meeting software? And how much is all this going to cost, anyway? Let’s take a quick trot around the course of cloud conference technology, noting some of the platforms out there in the online-meeting world, especially those that put your small-business budget in the front seat and allow you to work for low costs or for free.

1. MeetingKing 

If all you need is a basic way to participate as a team from individual screens, MeetingKing is a free way to get started along that path. Beginning with its nuts-and-bolts public meeting space, if you wish you can later pick from a suite of paid monthly programs. The top-end version of the app costs about $125 per month.

At its most elaborate, you’re looking at packed-in templates for creating agendas and minutes and customizable graphics such as logos. Each meeting gets archived for a period of time — from three months to forever — depending on the package that you choose.

2. MeetingSense

MeetingSense can take your online conference to yet another level. In includes task-allocation and tracking features, and communications- and member-update options that create connectivity between the pre-, during, and post-meeting experience.

And MeetingSense’s pricing is scalable. You pay approximately $20 per member, per month. So you can implement the app by assigning it to particular team members within a particular timeframe. Start it when you need it, turn it off when you’re done.

3. AgreeDo

This app approaches cloud conferencing with a similar suite of tools to the preceding example, but it provides them for free. From keeping track of decisions and documents, to getting those needed documents to everyone once the meeting is done, you can’t really beat the number of options at this the price. The company suggests that for-pay features may be forthcoming, but for now users get access to everything without a charge.

4. Minutes.io 

Say you don’t need a whole suit of cloud conference services, and you haven’t the time to learn a whole software system.

If it’s simply minutes and to-do lists you’re looking to create, and you want the ability to push them to participants and link them to other software applications along the line, check out the free Minutes.io app.

Presenting an intuitive and tablet-friendly environment, your end result is an interactive doc that shows tasks, decisions, and ownerships at a glance. It gets stored locally on your browser, so even if the meeting you’re in hasn’t got an Internet connection, they’ll live in stasis, awaiting publication, until you’re in a Wi-Fi zone again.

 

MozyPro Online Backup

 

Links of Interest – October 8

Facebook Unwraps a Gift Service

Facebook GiftsFacebook, apparently looking to join the e-commerce fray, is preparing a new service called “Facebook Gifts” that will encourage users to buy and send presents.

Initial items include gifts such as gift cards and cupcakes, but Facebook said it will add more options, according to The LA Times.

Users can send gifts from birthday reminders or when visiting a friend’s timeline.

Friends can enter their shipping information and swap gifts for different sizes, flavors or styles before the gift ships, according to Facebook.

Payments can be made as soon as users send the gift or they can choose to pay later. Their friends, meanwhile, can provide their address once they choose to accept the gift and it “will show up on their doorstep a few days late,” according to a news release from Facebook.

Ever conscious of privacy and security concerns, when you pay for a Facebook Gift, Facebook stores your credit card for future use. However, if you don’t want to have your credit card information stored on your account, you can remove it after making a purchase.

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Self-Driving Cars Bill

It seems California drivers may soon be able to catch a nap, finish writing that screenplay or do just about any activity one isn’t supposed to do while driving an automobile.

A bill sponsored by State Senator Alex Padilla will establish safety and performance regulations to test and operate autonomous vehicles on California highways, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

“Today we’re looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow’s reality — the self-driving car,” Governor Jerry Brown said. “Anyone who gets inside a car and finds out the car is driving will be a little skittish, but they’ll get over it.”

Google currently has a fleet of 12 computer-controlled vehicles that has logged more than 300,000 miles of self-driving without an accident, according to Google.

“I think the self-driving car can really dramatically improve the quality of life for everyone,” Google co-founder Sergey Brin said.

Newly Found Comet Could Look Spectacular in 2013

Who says you need a darkened sky to witness a breathtaking celestial phenomenon?

A newly discovered comet, first sighted by Russian astronomers, could put on an impressive celestial display next year. The comet will be bright enough to be seen in the daytime sky, according to Space.com.

The object, named Comet ISON, was announced Sept. 24 by Russians Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok. The new comet is officially known as C/2012 S1.

Comet ISON was 625 million miles from Earth and 584 million miles from the sun when it was first sighted. The comet is located in the dim constellation of Cancer. According to Space.com, it was shining at magnitude 18.8 on the reverse scale used by astronomers to measure the brightness of sky objects (the lower the number, the brighter the object). The comet is currently about 100,000 times fainter than the dimmest star that can be seen with the unaided eye.

Yet at its closest point to the sun, which is due Nov. 28, 2013, the comet has the potential to become a dazzling object, perhaps bright enough to be visible for a short time in broad daylight.

 

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