cloud-computing (2)Dear Reader,

I remember when the internet was on college machines, text-based only, and you could go get a cup of coffee while your conversations scroll up the screen at 1200 symbols per second (baud).  At the University of Rhode Island, if Brown U was down so was URI.   Human nature then was what it still is today.   Remove all the flash and dazzle of parallax scrolling, quad core computing and terabytes of information, and you still have people at the heart of the machines.

So it came as no surprise to me that people tried to hack each other’s accounts, tried to phish for information, blackmailed others, took down servers, or otherwise tried to commit mayhem on a digital scale.  Technology was advancing, not human nature.  The thing with technology crimes is that generally they require more intelligence than a hit-and-run robbery making the criminals more difficult to catch.

For quite aimagesCAMYXG9Nwhile,  I believed the cloud culture to be more fluff than fact – inherently prone to data break-in and server crashes resulting in data loss and unreliable services.   Something for large companies to take risks with for business needs and  Cloud Computing News has extensive articles examining ideas crucial to businesses in the cloud.   Then I got a smart phone.   Between the phone and my home computer, the value of the cloud became apparent.  For a techy, I’m a bit of a latecomer to the cloud.   However, coordinating across devices IS a problem without the cloud.   Some have USB ports, some don’t.  Some are not compatible with others or your friends’ or colleagues’ machines.   He has an Apple … you have a PC ..  they have a Galaxy …   You have an Android tablet … and so it goes….

Apple has iCloud to coordinate, but it doesn’t play well with others – if at all.   To be honest, as I’m becoming more than passing acquaintances with my iPad I’m wondering how Apple gained the popularity it did.  (Anyone feel free to comment here on their behalf)  You can barely multitask, there are bugs just as with any other piece of equipment, and the security is a poor step-child to PC security.

PCs have a variety of cloud applications to coordinate – DropBox, EverNote, and software to create and run your own personal cloud Tonido.

As time has gone by since I’ve been active on the internet, I have realized that the amount I’ve been hacked has been extremely scarce.   One of my accounts was hacked and spamming friends.   I changed the password and solved the problem.   That was it.   Any viruses I caught was from downloading torrents.   I grew tired of repeatedly fighting off viruses especially after I caught a rootkit.  However, its under my control.   Run a good KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAvirus protector, create complex passwords, don’t put identifying information on the internet such as social security numbers, birthdates, and the like and you will most likely be fine.

So the old girl has learned new tricks.   I’m a fan of the Cloud after all.  I may even work to set up my own Cloud for fun.


mobile256Dear Reader,

Its mind-boggling. Operating systems, devices, apps… all vying for our attention and all declaring their superiority over the competition. So which one is the best? Yes.

I came at this backwards. I never saw the point in apps on my phone and my first-ever app device was my new pc. The touch capability was revolutionary for me more than any perceived advantage to apps.  I purchases a smart phone just to remain current with technology  and I was quickly won over.  The advantages became really apparent. newspapers, email, twitter, LinkedIn, freelance work while commuting for work.  It totally depends on your particular needs / wants for technology.  Competition and customer preference have created a fairly level playing field.  Hopefully this post will give you a starting point.

If you know what your uses and price point are can really help. Do you live more mobile or stationary? Heavy keyboard user or total touch? Cell phones are an awesome device because you have your phone and a lot of interactive capability. However, as large as the Samsung Galaxy gets, you are still looking at a total screen size of approximately 5″ x 2.5″. Text can still become fairly microscopic on a device like a phone — not to mention the restriction of typing.

Next up is a tablet. The downside? No phone calls. The upside, much bigger screen and some have optional keyboards you can buy. They are great for productivity and possibly game play, but they are not a full-fledged laptop. Tablets and some cell phones can cost as much as laptops. Is the lack of functioning worth the portability?

Another factor to consider is the aggravating pre-installed apps that you would prefer to remove from your Android or Apple device and you can’t. You can on a Microsoft device. Also, Windows Phone won Endgadget Reader’s Choice of the Year.

Ease of use? iPad has it, but so does Windows.

As offensive as it is to Apple who innovated the touch interface and apps, currently Windows can do more. I now own an iPad and an Asus tablet. The iPad apps are better developed than Windows. Additionally, the iPad seems to handle open apps and retain state better than Windows 8 or RT. Since its better for the machine to close apps this is a minor inconvenience to me. However, for productivity, I still prefer Windows. I can close any Windows app by the swipe of a finger. On my MAC I have to click buttons and the screen for quite some time. 800px-Cuddling_with_multiple_devices (2)On my Windows tablet I can go to previous internet pages by the swipe of a finger. MAC still relies on back browser buttons. I have both a delete and a backspace key on my PC. Not so on the MAC — and since I am an intensive typist this is not such a minor inconvenience. On my MAC I lack convenient “end” keys to jump around quickly.  And Windows still multitasks better than a MAC. I’m writing this blog post on my iPad in the WordPress app. I am previewing the post and trying to test the links to see if the work. My device is not opening a web browser for me when I tell it to. Not really useful.  I wound up completing this post on my PC.

Regardless of the device, if you are a multi-device user, coordinating over the cloud becomes a factor. Which app to use? Total personal preference. The same apps are available on all devices including DropBox, EverNote, SkyDrive and Google.   I already had a DropBox account from a volunteer event so it was natural to use that for my own needs.

Whether you are a Mac or PC fan, hopefully this will give you enough information to make an informed decision — or point you in the right direction for your personal needs.


bill-shockDear Reader,

I wound up switching from an unrestricted Internet Provider to a restricted plan because I needed a better connection.   For the first time I encountered datashock.   Once I called up my provider and increased my data for the month, I had to figure out which device was the guilty party and how to manage my errant devices.  For those of you who don’t know data-saving tactics, here is a brief run-down:

  1. Close all your apps. If they are left running in the background they will use data while you are not watching.
  2. For a machine running Windows 8, you can set your metered data settings. Tutorial available here.
  3. Windows 8 also has a built-in function to show estimated data use.  Pull up your networks in the charm bar, right click your network and show data use :Screenshot (19)
  4. For Mac users, its a bit more elusive.  Groovin’ on apps wrote a great post here.
  5. There are a couple free apps in the Apple store Mac users can download to monitor data usage including Onavo:

Screenshot (20)

  1. Make sure apps are not updating automatically if possible.
  2. Video streaming of any kind is your worst enemy.
  3. Make good use of public networks if possible.  Now is the time for a coffee shop or restaurant with free wifi.   The price of the meal is less than your data plan.

Happy surfing!

Dear Reader,

Ok, so it’s not IE9.

Rockmelt is continuing to evlove nicely.   I downloaded the latest incarnation and it runs beautifully.

Click to download rockmelt

At last week’s conference; Microsoft’s President of the Online Services Group, Qi Lu, described the ongoing evolution of the Information Superhighway into our Digital Community. With the advent of social networking we are seeing hybridization of man and machine, of real human experience digitized.   Rockmelt, is the first generation of browsers and future apps that will begin to marshall this new rising global cyborg  – its bones composed of servers, routers, and switches – its life blood coming from the websites and applications – the “connective tissue” being the myriad web of hyperlinks through cyber space.  What doesn’t it have?  Developer tools.   I suppose it would be like a surgeon operating on himself.  Perhaps that is best left to the workhorses of browsers.



Dear Reader,

Never Mind The Bullets!   It’s an old, comic book style story / game taking advantage of all the latest and greatest graphic capabilities on the Web using Ineternet Explorer 9.  “The story unfolds at LongHorn Gush, a quiet town troubled by a band of outlaws that call themselves «The Red Bandanas». However, with the arrival of the famous Bill «One Shot» Collins things are about to change…”[1]

I have quite a few browsers loaded on my laptop so I decided to test the work to see if IE9 was really superior as the folks at Microsoft claimed.  First, I cleared the browsers of any cookies and history to optomize and make the challenge fair.

The story loaded quickly and ran great on IE9 – no suprise there.

I also have Safari on my pc – that usually outperforms most other browsers.   In this case the story loaded much more slowly.   It ran fine for a few frames then I had parts of characters while it slowed down to reload.

Next, I tried Chrome – my default browser of choice for oh so many reasons.  Once again, the story loaded much more slowly than in IE9; however, it seemed ok after that.   It just didn’t look quite as good as in IE9 – it looked more flat and uninteresting.

Then, I went with Firefox.  As with the other browsers, the page loaded noticeably slower.  It also scrolled across the story much slower than the other browsers and it was slightly jumpy.  I lost parts of the story and couldn’t continue reading it.

Here is your challenge –  much to my surprise the folks at Microsoft have revamped IE9 like you wouldn’t believe!   Check out this story / game in your favorite browser of choice and compare it with IE9.    Microsoft said that they were the only ones up to current Web Standards and able to access all the new features.   See if they’re right!




Dear Reader,

Last week on Monday, I posted a puzzle — identify the web browser by the screen shot I took… before I answer the question… lets look at this:

First… Firefox!   Sleek design, great developer tools… fast… most people swear by Firefox as the best browser out there… can it be outdone?  At least one blogger thinks so HERE

Now… Google Chrome!   Customizable sleek design… compatible with the tour de force of cloud computing — Google, GMail … not as strong on developer tools… fast browsing .. can it be outdone?

Now… up and coming…. RockMelt… Similar to GoogleChrome in design – sleek… working on being compatible with everything… no developer tools yet… fast browsing… yet with an added punch!   Social networking while you are at it — complete connectivity to Facebook and the ability to interact real-time sharing and IM….   Still in Beta version…

… And finally, the web browser from last week….   Drum Roll HERE

IE9 !  Yes, that’s right — Internet Explorer from Microsoft.   New, sleek design that matches Windows 7 and Vista Aero.   After seeing it in action at Microsoft’s District office in Waltham, I decided to give it a test drive.   Does it deliver?

I found the old, cludgy browing to be a thing of the past.  It was moving fast.  Developer tools?   They are there and in spades creating a great rival for Firefox’s Firebug for those of you developers.   I’d check it out if you have the inclination… any drawbacks?

The bitter battle between Microsoft and Google became evident when I couldn’t open a document from a link.   It was a Google Doc and I got a page error.   I opened Google Chrome and had no problem.

Made me feel like an innocent bystander caught in a crossfire.   My word of advice to the big guys — drop the egos and bury the hatchet and work with us developers.   I don’t care who did who wrong first.  I just want to get my work done.

It reminds me of a moment out of Star Trek — yes, the original Star Trek and I am a nerd.   Spock had romanced the Romulan leader during war to win a victory.  The Federation was seeking the mystery of the cloaking device.

“You realise that very soon we will learn to penetrate the cloaking device you stole… Military secrets are the most fleeting of all.”[1]

In time, competing companies will learn to penetrate the technical secrets of the competing companies. Perhaps, like military secrets, technical secrets are the most fleeting of all.

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Dear Reader,

Can you guess the Web Browser in these pictures?   The top one is just a simple display at   The next one is utilizing the features to do webpage development on an ad I run on Craigslist.

I’ll be taking emails and comments for a couple days.   Emails to: or