Security for a Mobile World

by Justin Nescott 30. July 2012 10:00
What mobile devices do you own? A smartphone? Tablet or iPad? Laptop? MP3 player or iPod? How many do you have protected in the event that you lose the device or have the ability to locate or wipe it remotely if all else fails? A group of CPAs agreed that IT security is the #1 technology concern on the AICPA’s “2012 Top Technology Initiatives Survey.” Because of the advances in technology, security for various devices struggles to keep current. With the spread of new technology, sensitive data is stored on devices from phones to tablets to laptops, which allow us instant connectivity, but increases the possibility of data loss. Here are two suggestions to improve security on mobile devices (although not a fix all, both options help secure data on otherwise insecure devices). Screen lock is a standard feature on many devices, but there are applications that create a login option on older devices. You may also be able to upgrade the software on the device to get new security updates and features. There are also applications and built-in features that allow you to find your phone through its GPS system or remotely wipe the device’s data. Please see the Ohio Society of CPA’s article “Keep your info safe if you lose your phone” for more information on security for your phone. For other mobile devices, there are suggestions on how to improve security on the internet.
Categories: Tech Tips

Early Reviews of Windows 8

by Justin Nescott 23. April 2012 09:55
  In late February, Windows launched the consumer preview of Windows 8. The major redesign was to move the popular operating system that is available for Windows’ tablets and mobile devices to the desktop and laptop. This will feature and continue the growth of touch screen desktops and laptops. The “Metro design” will replace the traditional “start” button and the applications and programs will be contained on the desktop as colorful blocks. With the growth of applications for computers, Windows 8 focused on incorporating the ease of use into the new OS. Windows recently launched a Windows Application Store to make downloading new apps as easy as possible. The convenience of complete customization for the start screen of Windows 8 allows the user to decide which apps and common contacts appear. The initial reviews, although mostly positive, vary greatly. PCMag questions whether Windows 8 will fail, comparing it to a Windows 95 failed add-on, Bob. It points out that the touch screen works great, but the user will encounter problems if they have to use a mouse or trackpad. This will put pressure on manufacturers to include touch screens to new laptops and desktops, which will add between $100-$150 to the price of the unit, which would be passed to the consumer. Microsoft did release a recommended specification for new trackpads that would work better with the Metro Touch; however, because of the late release, many laptops will not include this new design that may be released with Windows 8. Also, by removing the Start button, the user has to click on more options to find similar functions in the new Metro layout. Hopefully, when Windows does roll out Windows 8, these problems will be resolved and the initial beta testing will help them develop Metro Touch for laptops and desktops that is on par with mobile devices and tablets. Make sure that if you are, or will be in the market for a computer in the next few months, you are aware of the OS that you will be purchasing and if you will run into any problems with the computer designs. 
Categories: Tech Tips

Fierce Competition in the Technology Industry, Companies Look Towards Positive Long-Term Goals

by Joe Clark 3. April 2012 10:45
With mixed news about the U.S. marketplace painting an uncertain picture of where the economy is headed, technologies companies are focusing on long-term goals, working to grow their bottom lines, acquire intellectual property assets, and increase headcount through strategic transactions.   BDO conducted its fifth annual survey of 100 chief financial officers at U.S. technology companies. Overall, the CFOs projected more modest 2.6 percent revenues than last year’s 10.4 percent rise. To raise funds, 55 percent of the CFOs would use public and private debt, the first time in the five year history of the survey that debt was chosen over private equity.   To read the rest of the BDO Technology Survey and review the other questions that were directed to the CFOs and their answers, please see the 2012 BDO Technology Outlook.
Categories: Advisory

How Much Longer Will You Use Microsoft Office?

by Justin Nescott 23. March 2012 13:10
  In an article in late 2011, PCMag columnist John Dvorak predicted the end of Microsoft Office. With updates including minor changes, such as a new user interface with the ribbon tab in 2007, few new elements have been added to the Microsoft Office Suite, allowing competitors create successful suites, in both power and functionality compared the MS Office.   There have been ten Office Suite versions in the twenty years that Microsoft has produced Office. However, in those twenty years, MS's only major breakthroughs to the suite were the additions of Spelling and Grammar Check. In addition, Microsoft is branching into the smart phone and tablet market and seems to be less concerned with improving the Office suite.   Google and IBM have also introduced cloud-based suites to the market. While Google Docs has gained enough traction in the market to prompt Microsoft to develop Office 365, IBM released IBM Docs, based on the failed Lotus office suite. Google and IBM have been able to beat Microsoft to the punch in the cloud-based suites marketing, allowing them to get access to corporate accounts.   Computer giants, HP and Dell will continue to monitor the development of these alternatives to Microsoft Office. As John Dvorak pointed out his recent column, The Imminent Word Processing Bloodbath, “Competition in the office suite environment is long overdue. Twenty years ago, there were dozens of competitive word processors. It was a lot more interesting then than it is now.” It will be interesting to see how Microsoft develops their newly announced Microsoft Office 15 considering the competition forming in the market of suite and cloud-based suite products. The real question, however, is when Office 15 becomes available, will companies and individuals be using Google Docs or IBM Docs instead of Microsoft Office?
Categories: Productivity

Improving Your Speed on Windows 7 - New Features

by Justin Nescott 2. March 2012 11:00
  With all of the new features that Windows 7 offers over previous versions of Windows, it might take some getting used to. However, once you discover and begin to use some of the useful features, such as easily changing window views or pinning items to the desktop, it will make your life a little easier.   If you are just beging to use Windows 7 or would like to learn a little more about some of the new features in Windows 7, check out Windows Secrets to discover Twenty-Six ways to work faster in Windows 7.  
Categories: Productivity

Does Your Browser Look Different? IE has changed again.

by Justin Nescott 17. February 2012 11:00
  For the first time ever, Windows will be using its Windows Update feature to automatically upgrade Internet Explorer to either IE 8 or IE 9 on all computers. Although the rollout began January 17, you will not notice a difference until you receive your next Windows Update. Note that Windows XP users will only be upgraded to IE 8 because IE 9 is not compatible, while Windows Vista and Windows 7 users will be upgraded to IE 9. If you had previously selected not to be upgraded to IE 8 on XP or IE 9 on Vista or Windows 7, Windows will not update your system.   Over the years, Internet Explorer’s interface has looked very much the same after updates, as most changes were made in the programming (e.g. upgrade from IE 7 to IE 8 left physical appearance the same). However, with the upgrade from IE 8 to IE 9, users may not recognize the new Internet Explorer. To compete better with popular browsers Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari, IE developed an interface that was stripped to the bear basics (similar to Google Chrome) while some speed tests say that IE 9 is faster than Chrome and Firefox. However, IE is still limited in the variety of extensions offered (downloads that let the user customize the browser), a feature that has helped Chrome and Firefox continue successful growth.   With the upgrades being automatically installed for most users, be aware of features that might change because of the upgrade. To see how you can customize your new browser, read more on Windows Secrets’ blog – Ready or not, you’re getting IE 8 or 9. To see a comparison of Firefox, Chrome, and IE 9, please visit Microsoft’s website.
Categories: Productivity

Browsing the Internet – Why Not use Google’s Browser?

by Justin Nescott 23. January 2012 12:47
  Whether you use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or another browser, you most likely use Google for your web searches. However, in most browsers, the Google toolbar has to be installed or you must navigate to Google.com to use the Google search engine.   In just over three years, Google Chrome, Google’s web browser, has surpassed Mozilla Firefox and trails only Internet Explorer in the worldwide browser market share (Chrome edges Firefox, grabs second browser spot). Chrome is very simple to use but packs many additional features, extensions, and themes into the browser that can be easily added and customized. One of the key features of Chrome is the address search field. In most browsers, the URL (web address line) can only accept a complete web address (e.g. www.urishpopeck.com) and will not accept a search term (e.g. Urish Popeck). Chome, however, will accept either entry, allowing the URL to act as a Google search bar, so there is no need to install separate toolbars that fill up your browser’s page (Internet Explorer almost always has some installed).   To see some of the most essential Google Chrome extensions offered, read PCWorld’s article. For more information and to download Google Chrome, visit Google’s website.
Categories: Productivity