This week in Tech history (April 1-April 4)

For the month of April we will be taking a look at a significant events that happened on each day. See what happened this week below.

April 1, 1927 – First automatic record changer introduced by His Master’s Voice.

April 2, 1889 – Charles Martin Hall patents an inexpensive method for the production of aluminum, which brought the metal into wide commercial use.

April 3, 1973 – Martin Cooper, an employee at Motorola, makes the first call using a cell phone.  “Can you hear me now?”

April 4, 1975 – Microsoft is founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen and would soon revolutionize the computer industry.

 

http://inventors.about.com/od/todayinhistory/a/april.htm

https://www.google.com/search?q=first+call+on+a+cell+phone&oq=first+call+on+a+cell+phone&aqs=chrome..69i57.4326j0j7&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=119&ie=UTF-8

http://hereisthecity.com/en-gb/2012/04/04/11-things-that-happened-this-day-in-history-4th-april/

http://www.historyorb.com/day/april/1

 

2GB Free MozyHome Online Backup

Our cloud is being raised on fruits, veggies, and whole grains

There are a lot of very old people living in the United States. We’re not talking about men and women who live beyond the average life expectancy of 79.8 years (for males, 77.4 years; for females, 82.2 years), according to the World Health Organization. We’re talking about seemingly super humans who are well beyond a century old.

Just a few weeks ago the U.S. Social Security Administration’s inspector general identified 6.5 million Social Security numbers that are older than 112 years. According to Social Security records, the individuals who were issued these numbers were born before June 16, 1901.

One individual, according to her Social Security Number, opened her first bank account in 1869. (We’ll assume it’s a her because women in general live longer.)

The problem stems from no death date ever being entered for those Social Security numbers, and those same numbers still being used for a variety of purposes, all of them fraudulent (unless, of course, you really are 112 years old or older). So, at least on paper, the individuals associated with those Social Security numbers have exceeded the maximum reasonable life expectancy.

The truth is, people aren’t really living that long. According to the Gerontology Research Group, only 35 people made it to the ripe-old of age of 112 as of October 2013. And that’s worldwide.

Living an extra-long time got us thinking about data and how it’s stored and backed up. How long does data “live”? The better question is: How long does the device on which the data is stored or backed up to live?

  • Data stored on tape: Data stored on tape starts to disappear when the tape starts losing its magnetic charge. Not only is tape susceptible to wear and tear, high humidity and temperatures are problematic. Maybe 10 to 30 years, but we’re not talking centenary storage.
  • Data stored on CDs and DVDs: According to the Optical Storage Technology Association, the unrecorded shelf life of CDs and DVDs is between 5 to 10 years. For recorded CDs and DVDs, perhaps 25 years.
  • Data stored on drives: Hard to say. According to one study, three years is the point where hard drives start wearing out.
  • Data in the cloud: Forever (even centenarians with fake Social Security numbers can’t compete).

Although cloud computing is relatively new, Mozy by EMC has been around since 2005, which makes us one of the oldest cloud backup services. If the Social Security Administration were to issue the Mozy cloud a Social Security number, our number would be in perpetuum.

BTW, if you’ve got your sights set on living to be a century old—or coming as close as possible—here is some information that should prove useful:

  • Maintain some level of activity (like the doctor from Paris who even at the age of 99 walked up three sets of stairs every day on the way up to his study).
  • Move to a geographical area where people live longer than average (if you don’t speak Japanese, it’s time to learn! Okinawans live longer than anyone else in the world).
  • Eat, but not too much (and eating the right kinds of foods will help; foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains).

Efficient cloud-based backup

Although it’s true that most large organizations rely on on-premises backup solutions, many of those organizations realize that backing up to the cloud is making more and more financial sense. For those organizations that are just now looking into the cloud, the idea of building and managing another data center might seem formidable and expensive. But that’s not how it is; just the opposite is true.

Building and managing a remote and reliable data center for backup and disaster recovery is easier than you might think; it even makes good financial sense. That last part—good financial sense—is particularly important in this day of ongoing cost-cutting measures. It isn’t likely that the need to further decrease costs and increase efficiencies is ever going to fall by the wayside. (Try telling your finance department and shareholders that decreasing costs and increasing efficiencies no longer matter!)

Why does a cloud-based backup solution make sense? Two words: capital expenditure. Actually, it makes more sense to mention four key words: capital expenditure and operating expenses. Recent research demonstrates that organizations that implement cloud solutions are enjoying significant benefits, among them (1) no capital expenditure for hardware, (2) very little up-front cost, and (3) minimal administrative overhead.

Those benefits become particularly important when you consider that more than 40 percent of respondents to a recent survey indicated that reducing IT infrastructure costs was the top benefit of backing up and protecting their data in the cloud. Here are the top-five most common benefits:

  1. Reducing IT infrastructure costs
  2. Reducing complexity within the IT environment
  3. Reduced IT personnel costs
  4. Improved user productivity
  5. Reduced power and cooling costs

An interesting aspect of benefit #3 is that reducing IT personnel costs doesn’t necessarily mean more workers in the unemployment line. Not by a long shot. Because cloud backup is a cost-effective way to protect your servers and computers, IT personnel who once worked on on-premises backup solutions can now focus on other important tasks; they can be repurposed to work on more strategic onsite systems and/or applications.

It’s no surprise that organizations large and small—and everything in between—are becoming more and more reliant on digital capabilities. With those capabilities come opportunities for growth and success; however, the exposure to threats to data is increasing dramatically.

In the beginning, sending data to the cloud might have seemed like a challenging prospect, perhaps more bother than benefit. But that’s certainly not the case today. Security and trust are essential elements of the cloud. The uncompromising physical security of offsite data centers, the backing of third-party certifications and validations, the experience and reputation of the cloud provider monitoring and management, the ability to restrict data access and, should it ever become necessary, the capability of restoring data all contribute to keeping data safe, secure, and accessible.

Once you understand and embrace the benefits of the cloud, you can focus additional energy on supporting your business goals and doing more with existing resources. That kind of efficiency makes all kinds of good sense.

This award represents our commitment to you

We here at Mozy are always looking for ways to improve how we meet the needs of those who rely on our data backup and protection services. That’s why our customers have come to expect nothing but the best from us. So we are pleased to learn that Mozy Support is the recipient of a 2015 Stevie Award, considered to be the world’s premier business award.

Mozy’s Mark Goetz (left) and Damien O’Halloran accept a Silver Stevie Award in Las Vegas on behalf of Mozy Support.

The Mozy Support team was awarded a Silver Stevie Award for “Best Use of Technology in Customer Service for Computer Software and Services.” In other words, Mozy is being recognized for use of technology that has directly improved customer service delivery, provided real business benefits, and shown system adoption across our entire customer service function.

“Knowing you offer a world-class support experience is one thing, but to receive an award confirms just that,” said Damien O’Halloran, director, Mozy Technical Support. “Continued investments in innovative technology around self-help have allowed us to use that as a differentiator in our Support offerings.”

In awarding “Best Use of Technology” honors, judges recognized Mozy for “making support for millions of users in the software as a service industry efficient, fast, and personal.”

Earlier this year we launched our new Support portal, which is the result of feedback from our customers, industry trends, and other research. The portal is just another way for us to improve our services. You’ve probably noticed how easy it is to access support from Mozy. For example, we recognize that you’re looking for very specific information when you visit the portal, so we’ve made that information easier for you to find with a new structure based around the activities for which you want information, such as restores, account setup, etc.

In addition, if you are looking for help on a particular product, you don’t want to have that information obscured with information about another product. So, once you’re logged in to the portal, the only information you will see will relate to your product. If you want to see other product information, simply change the product filter at the top of the page to the product you are interested in.

Be sure that you’re taking advantage of all that Mozy Support has to offer by signing in when you visit the portal.

Learn more about Mozy’s world-class support team.

P.S. This isn’t Mozy’s first rodeo. About this time last year Mozy took home a Stevie Award. To be sure, Mozy by EMC takes support seriously. Backing up your files may be automatic, but we never take for granted your trust in what we do to back up and protect your valuable data.

 

Technology does more than meets the eye

There is a lot of fun “toys” out there when it comes to the world of technology. Most things are designed, built, and used for a specific purpose. In many situations though, people use something for a purpose much different than it was originally intended. Here are just a few standout examples:

Xbox Kinect

Original use: “With Kinect for Xbox One, command your Xbox and TV with your voice and gestures, play games where you are the controller, and make Skype calls in HD.” (from manufacturer’s website)

Another use: Kinect Fusion offers the ability to utilize the sensors in the Kinect camera to create a 3-D model of a real-life thing. For example, you can stand still, let the camera check you out, and VOILA! A digital, 3-D image of you appears on the screen.

One more use: The Kinect, mixed with a projector, can turn any surface into a touch-screen computer. Check it out.

Graphing Calculator

Original use: These behemoth of calculators are used for solving complicated mathematical problems. Probably the best-known maker of these these devices is Texas Instruments. Many of us have used their calculators during those long hours of math class. Little did we know that these puppies easily could have supplied us with hours of fun.

Another use: Play games. Yes, you heard correctly. Someone out there cleverly designed some games we all know and love to run on the processor of these machines. Games such as Tetris, Doom, Super Mario Brothers 3, Pokemon Stadium, and even counter strike. Obviously, the controls will be a little clunkier than our trusty console, PC or handheld device, but it passes the time in Calc. 2020.

Post-it Notes

Original use: Post-it Notes came to be by accident. In 1968, a scientist at 3M in the United States, Dr. Spencer Silver, was attempting to develop a super-strong adhesive. Instead, he accidentally created a “low-tack,” reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive. For five years, Silver promoted his “solution without a problem” within 3M both informally and through seminars, but it failed to gain acceptance. In 1974, Art Fry, a colleague who had attended one of Silver’s seminars, came up with the idea of using the adhesive to anchor his bookmark in his hymnbook. Fry then utilized 3M’s officially sanctioned “permitted bootlegging” policy to develop the idea. The original Notes’ yellow color was chosen by accident, as the lab next-door to the Post-it team had only yellow scrap paper to use, and thus was born the Post-it.

Another use: Self-stick notes are not just used for taking notes or marking a book. There is a type of self-stick note art that is very impressive. Check out this exhibit and just simply google “sticky note art” and you will get a myriad of awesome things.

Technology, whether it’s used for its original purpose or not, is never boring! Think about how you might be able to expand the use of one of your favorite technologies. You never know what kind of new technology you might come up with!

 

image source https://www.flickr.com/photos/artimageslibrary/4865440372/

What do Furbies and cloud computing have in common?

The dawn of AI is here and it’s all possible because of cloud computing.

Let’s go back to the ’90s when Furbies became popular. The little toy fur ball had a small bit of Artificial Intelligence. It may be hard to believe, but that little guy had more computing power than the Apollo 11. Yes, the spacecraft that landed man on the moon. Fresh out of the box these AI fur balls would talk Furbish, the language of the Furby. After children had interacted with them for a while, their Furbies would learn certain English words. Furbies could even interact with each other if you had multiple units. Furbish was translated into 24 languages.

Furbies were not only cute (if a cross between a hamster and an owl is your idea of cute), the fact that they were able to “learn” a few words made them endearing. However, they obviously didn’t show the intelligence or the discernment of a human. But that would change a few years later when in 1997 a team of programmers and chess experts programed a machine called Deep Blue. The supercomputer had enough reason and logic to beat World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov at chess. The Russian had the upper hand the first few games, but Deep Blue progressed and eventually beat the chess Grandmaster, considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time.

Watson is our next step in the progression of AI. Watson, an artificially intelligent computer system, was programed to be able to listen to a question (think Siri on your smartphone) and then answer that question. To prove how brilliant this AI was, in 2011 TV quiz game Jeopardy had Watson on a show and matched it up against two of Jeopardy’s greatest champions, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. At the conclusion of the competition, Ken and Brad lost to Watson.

Enter cloud computing. For those who are familiar with the cloud, you know that it’s not just a buzz word. The platform is essentially thousands of remote servers working together in a centralized location. Users can then access the data either created or stored on those servers via a device such as a handheld device or laptop.

You probably see where I am going with this. The next logical step for AI is to let the cloud do the computing at lightning speeds, like Watson did on Jeopardy, and then send that information back to the device or AI being, such as the character Lieutenant Commander Data from Star Trek. We can see an early concept with CogniToy’s green dino. The green dino is a child’s toy about the size of a teddy bear that can carry on a conversation on different topics, tell a story, and even answer age-related questions. The intelligence grows or matures with the child. In fact, the green dino even has the ability to discern whether or not the answer is a little too mature for the age of the child, at which point the toy will tell the child to go ask his mom the question. All of this “smart” dino’s responses are computed in the cloud.

Currently, the only limitation of AI is being able to reach a Wi-Fi connection. However, as municipal wireless networks (where the entire city has access to a Wi-Fi signal) become more and more popular, this AI obstacle may not be around for much longer, allowing AI to continue to grow intellectually.

With giant tech companies such as Google buying up AI startups and cloud computing advancing so rapidly, it’s reasonable to expect ongoing funding for AI—and artificial intelligent beings in our lifetime. All thanks to cloud computing.

My name is Colton and I work for Mozy

 

Meet Colton. Colton is an integral member of our partners team here at Mozy. Colton works with our partners to help grow their business by selling EMC product to their customers. Colton quickly impressed management and worked his way to a few promotions since joining the Mozy Sales team. Colton is a vocal Pittsburgh Steelers fan and is a proud pogonophile and for all intents and purposes is the Brett Keisel of Mozy.

I define my workspace as…

“The Command Center.” It is a perfectly organized disaster. That is how I like it. Too clean stresses me out and too cluttered makes me uncomfortable. It’s got to be just right. My computer and monitors have got to be in just a way to make me efficient without distracting me. Some may call this a delicate balance. I would agree.

A device I can’t live without….

I’m pretty plugged in so it would be hard to answer this question. The obvious answer is my phone, and it is probably the best answer. But so much media streams in and out of my house that many other devices would be a close second. Anything from a PS4 or Xbox to my Roku and Chromecast. Take your pick.

When I arrive at work, I typically start my day off by…

Reviewing if I accomplished my goals from the previous day, and setting new goals for the current day. I then dive into whatever will help me accomplish the goals I just set.

How long have you worked for Mozy?

Three years in one capacity or another.

I do/do not listen to music at work and it helps me work better because …

I don’t usually listen to music because I am often on the phone. The few times I do listen to music I do because I need to avoid distractions and get something done.

If you could be in one TV sitcom or movie, what would it be and why?

I will answer this question in two ways.

If I had a chance to be part of the cast of a TV sitcom or movie, it would likely be “The Walking Dead.” It would be fun to kill Zombies and be part of something unique and ahead of its time.

If I could live in a TV sitcom or movie as if it were real life, I would like to live in the world of the movie “Remember the Titans.” I would love to have been part of an intense sports story on top of experiencing all the insane racial negativity and cultural biases. I would love to have been a part of that challenge.

Outside of work, I am passionate about …

Many things. First and foremost, my family. My wife and I have a two-year-old girl and a boy on the way. Outside of that I am passionate about board games and video games during the winter, fishing, camping and other outdoor stuff in the summer, and sports year round. Steelers, Jazz, Penguins, Diamondbacks, Juventus (I think I covered any sport I care about in order of how closely I follow them).

My eating habits are …

Poor and picky habits to be frank. I love Italian food, but I am also a pizza and pasta snob. I’m not a huge fan of anything that grows from the ground.

If I could be someone for a day, I would be…

Mike Tomlin, head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I would love to be involved at the highest level of the sport, but I wouldn’t want to be on the field. Mike is a coach who hangs around a legendary organization and it would be fun to be a large part of it, even if just for a day.

The “secret sauce” that makes me who I am …

My passion to help people I love and care for. It’s important to love what you do, but more important to love who you do it for more.

One thing that makes me unique is….

My beard is unique. It is my mane that sets me apart and shows a unique side of my personality. Most people can only dream about such majesty and grandeur. (I hope that comes across sarcastically and not in arrogance.)

Guilty pleasure…

Dungeons and Dragons. I know I am a tabletop game nut, but I never thought I would dive so deep into the rabbit hole. Now that I have, I can’t get out. Don’t judge me.

 

Three ways the world is harnessing technology for the greater good

Recent advancements in technology have provided us with convenient ways to improve the quality of life. We no longer have to bum a quarter off of our parents or a stranger to make a call. We have remotes to nearly every electronic device in our house. But did you know that the same technology that is making our lives more convenient is saving literally thousands if not millions of lives in developing countries? Let’s take a look at three ways that technology is making life easier throughout the world.

Omniprocessor

If you’re a bit squeamish, this idea is one that may take a little while to get used to. One of the most recognizable faces in the tech industry, Bill Gates, recognized that urban sanitation is neglected and under-invested. He has a point. Nearly 1.5 million children die from contaminated food and water in developing countries. Gates and his foundation saw potential in a concept that would take raw sewage and turn it into potable water along with other benefits such as ash and electricity. The Omniprocessor addresses that issue by producing water that meets or beats the water standards of the supermarket brands through a profit-creating process.

Along with being able to harvest potable water from raw sewage, the Omniprocessor also creates electricity. The electricity that is created powers the processor and will even create extra power that the community can use or sell. Through the process of extracting potable water from the sewage, the waste is burned down to an ash that can be used or sold to benefit the community as well. All processes meet strict EPA standards, so there is no harm to the community.

Empower Playgrounds

Empower Playgrounds harnesses the energy of children (wouldn’t we all like to have the energy of a child!) in rural third-world countries to further their education. By providing a high tech merry-go-round, the kids essentially create energy for their village. To better visualize this, just think of a windmill lying on the ground. The kids act as the wind that propels the windmill, but in this case it’s a merry-go-round. The merry-go-round is connected to a gearbox that acts as a speed increaser, which powers a shaft that runs a generator, which sends a charge to a deep cycle battery. The battery can then power up rechargeable lanterns, which the school children use at night to be able to study what they learned at school that day. This allows the children to stay in school and complete their education.

Mosquito-zapping lasers

Malaria was eradicated in the United States in the 1950s. Other developing countries aren’t as lucky to have such a deadly disease contained. Nathan Myhrvold and his team set out to find a way to lower the risk of malaria by eliminating malaria-carrying mosquitos with lasers. Using a combination of store bought electronics his team developed a device that can blow mosquitos right out of the air. It’s pretty fascinating. Watch the Ted Talks video. The laser can target a moving mosquito and then zap it with a laser. The contraption is even smart enough to discern whether or not the insect is a mosquito rather than a beneficial honeybee or butterfly by the beat frequency of the insect’s wings. A perimeter could be set up to protect a hospital or a home from malaria-carrying mosquitos and could save as many as to 627,000 lives per year.

We look forward to seeing how the next generation will harness the power of technology to benefit the world for the greater good.

 

 

Free MozyHome Online Backup

I did it my way

After I got home from work yesterday I popped in one of my favorite Frank Sinatra CDs and listened to it on my stereo. Call me old fashioned, but I still like listening to CDs through a two-speaker system.

This morning when I got to work I was reminded of an infographic that we published a couple of years ago, 50 Things We Don’t Do Anymore Due to Technology. The blog generated more comments than our blogs usually do, in part because although many of the things on the infographic are things that many of us don’t do anymore, others still do. So we thought we’d visit the topic again, in part to see which habits of yours have changed during the last two years and which ones have remained the same.

To get us started, let me share with you a few of the so-called old fashioned habits I’ve willingly carried into the 21st century. You already know that I buy and listen to CDs. And as much as I love reading on my Kindle, I still enjoy a good book in hardback. And a good story is often worth re-reading more than once. For example, I knew the movie “Unbroken” was opening at the end of the year, so before I saw it, I reread the bestseller by Laura Hillenbrand.

Since I’m pretty sure that my wife doesn’t read this blog, I can reveal one of her habits that is, well, pretty old-fashioned (even though she is not old). She doesn’t like using the clothes dryer much because she says it causes clothes to wear out too fast. So she hangs just about everything to dry on lines in our basement. (She felt pretty good about her clotheslines when a few years ago she came across a book by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, who mentioned the benefits of not using the clothes dryer to dry clothes.)

Other things I do or sometimes do that might be considered old fashioned:

  • Subscribe to a local newspaper
  • Subscribe to a weekly news magazine
  • Write a letter (with pen on paper!) to a family member
  • Send Christmas cards every year
  • Try on shoes at the mall and buy the same shoes at the mall
  • Heat up leftovers on the stove

How about you? What things are you still doing in an old fashioned kind of way even though it might make more sense to do them with the assistance of modern technology? Come on, let us know—there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Do you listen to vinyl records? Do you make your own yogurt? Do you open a can with a hand-crank can opener? Do you shave with a straight edge razor? Do you prefer to bake your own bread?

When we’ve logged sufficient responses from our readers, we’ll create an infographic with our findings.

And since this is the Mozy blog, I might add that I do back up my home computer with Mozy. So I am not as old fashioned as some of my habits might indicate.

I don’t always have a good reason for doing something the way I do it, other than I just like to do it that way. As I like to say—and as Frank was so fond of singing—I did it my way.

 

*We would like to hear from you. Really! Let us know what things you still do in an old-fashioned kind of way (give us the details if you want to share) even though technology would let you do it easier or faster.

New Mozy Support Portal better than ever

As a user of Mozy backup software, you know that the Mozy team is constantly looking for ways to expand our Support offerings. So we’re very excited to announce the launch of our new Support Portal, which is the result of feedback from our customers, industry trends, and other research. In addition to introducing new features such as context-sensitive search and device responsiveness, we’ve also researched ways to make it easier for our enterprise customers to manage large client bases.

Not sure if you’re using the latest Mozy backup software? The Health dashboard (pictured on the left)  lets you see how many of your organization’s machines need to be updated with the latest version of Mozy.

Check out these new features:

All Mozy customers

•   Task-based structure: We recognize that you are looking for information when you visit the portal. We’ve made that information easier for you to find with our new structure based around the activities for which you want information; for example, restores, account, setup, etc.

•   Product filtering: If you are looking for help on a particular product, you don’t want to have that information obscured with information about another product. So, once you are logged in to the portal, the only information you will see will relate to your product. If you want to see other product information, simply change the product filter at the top of the page to the product you are interested in.

MozyEnterprise customers

•   Case collaborators: You can now add one of your colleagues (admins) to a case so that they will also receive any updates on the case to make it easier for an internal help desk to manage their case load.

•   Health dashboard: Enterprise admins can now see at a glance how many machines in their install base have had successful or unsuccessful backups. In addition, the Health dashboard allows admins to view how many machines are using the current version of the Mozy backup software and how many need to be updated. You can view a short video of the Health dashboard here.

•   Health system: From the dashboard, you can drill down to a list of your machines, filtered by version or status if you want, and from there log a support ticket, request a support chat, search the Mozy Knowledge Base for any errors shown, see the size of the backup, view cases, or analyze the log for a particular machine.

Currently underway is a Mozy Community update, which is scheduled to go live later this year.

To view the new Support Portal, visit http://support.mozy.com/. Be sure to sign in to get the most out of the Support Portal.