April 1, 2011

  1.  
 
Share Your Music Without Sharing Your Headphones

Have you ever seen kids on the train with their heads pressed together to share one set of headphones? Well, a new app has come on the scene to remedy that rather unhygienic situation.
MyStream is a new, free app [iTunes link] for the iPhone (soon available on the iPad) that allows music fans to listen to jams with friends and check out others’ collections. After downloading the app, one adds media from one’s iTunes, adding either all of one’s music or selections. After enabling one’s playlist and streaming from one’s phone, a user can then share his or her music with others who have the app. All users (in the proximity) will be listed under a tab called “Streamers.”
In a way, the service is a lot like the “Home Sharing” feature on iTunes, with some key differences. The only time one can listen to a full song is when the user one is sharing with is listening to said song.
So, let’s say I wanted to share Low’s new single with a friend (or even more than one friend). We could both listen to it at the same time on our respective devices (provided we’re on the same Wi-Fi network, or using Bluetooth).
If my friend wanted to check out the new Peter, Bjorn and John album (residing on my phone), however, he would only be able to listen to 30-second previews of those songs, unless I was actively listening as well. Founder Richard Zelson hopes to remedy that issue soon, but the limited listening ability is currently in place to avoid legal issues.
The app also includes the option to buy those songs via iTunes after listening to 30-second previews, making it a pretty nifty recommendation tool that also benefits the artist.
You can’t, however, share songs via Facebook or Twitter, but that’s not the function of the app, according to Zelson. It’s more an app for real-life sharing than virtual.
At this juncture, some of you are probably invoking the name of Rdio, the music subscription app that lets you follow friends and listen to what they’re listening to, pointing out that there are no listening limits within that app. We dig Rdio as well, but we can see MyStream being useful among friends who are not yet hip to streaming services, or music fans who have a bit more obscure tastes.

    Share Your Music Without Sharing Your Headphones

    Have you ever seen kids on the train with their heads pressed together to share one set of headphones? Well, a new app has come on the scene to remedy that rather unhygienic situation.

    MyStream is a new, free app [iTunes link] for the iPhone (soon available on the iPad) that allows music fans to listen to jams with friends and check out others’ collections. After downloading the app, one adds media from one’s iTunes, adding either all of one’s music or selections. After enabling one’s playlist and streaming from one’s phone, a user can then share his or her music with others who have the app. All users (in the proximity) will be listed under a tab called “Streamers.”

    In a way, the service is a lot like the “Home Sharing” feature on iTunes, with some key differences. The only time one can listen to a full song is when the user one is sharing with is listening to said song.

    So, let’s say I wanted to share Low’s new single with a friend (or even more than one friend). We could both listen to it at the same time on our respective devices (provided we’re on the same Wi-Fi network, or using Bluetooth).

    If my friend wanted to check out the new Peter, Bjorn and John album (residing on my phone), however, he would only be able to listen to 30-second previews of those songs, unless I was actively listening as well. Founder Richard Zelson hopes to remedy that issue soon, but the limited listening ability is currently in place to avoid legal issues.

    The app also includes the option to buy those songs via iTunes after listening to 30-second previews, making it a pretty nifty recommendation tool that also benefits the artist.

    You can’t, however, share songs via Facebook or Twitter, but that’s not the function of the app, according to Zelson. It’s more an app for real-life sharing than virtual.

    At this juncture, some of you are probably invoking the name of Rdio, the music subscription app that lets you follow friends and listen to what they’re listening to, pointing out that there are no listening limits within that app. We dig Rdio as well, but we can see MyStream being useful among friends who are not yet hip to streaming services, or music fans who have a bit more obscure tastes.

  2. March 31, 2011

  3.  
Evolving Workplace Productivity: 5 Workstyle Tips From Start-Ups

by Sarah Rapp
 

In 2011, many of us exist in fluid, fast-paced, non-traditional workspaces. Whether it’s because you’re a startup lacking resources, a freelancer stationed at home, or a team member working remotely, the physical idea of the “office” is changing. And our approach to the way we work needs to change with it.
Last week, several panels at South By Southwest’s Interactive Festival addressed issues surrounding the modern workplace. Particularly insightful was a session I attended called “The New Workstyle - How Work Is Evolving.” Leaders at start-ups and small businesses discussed how to embrace new technologies and workstyles to promote a productive, healthy modern workplace. Here are some of the key insights they shared:
1. Working out of the office can drive productivity in the office.TA McCann - CEO and Founder of GistWork-from-home-Thursdays at Gist started because of a space problem: The company had more employees than desks, so they worked on a “rotating desk schedule,” where everyone would stagger the days they came into the office. After moving offices, they missed the quiet focus that the work-from-home days offered, so most team members now work from home one day a week. Consider exploring how at-home work days can boost productivity and happiness across the board.
2. Live streaming video can boost “background awareness” across offices.Sharon Feder - Managing Editor at Mashable
Mashable has several office locations, and they heavily use video (via Skype) for cross-office meetings, check-ins, and even interviews. Soon, they’ll be upping their connectivity by setting up large TVs in their New York and San Francisco offices to live-stream what’s going on in the different locations. It’s still untested, but live streaming could change the whole concept of “remote work,” providing a background awarness that changes the way we think about far-flung co-workers. Although video isn’t appropriate for everything, it certainly commands more engagement than a conference call. You might want to explore having “Skype meetings” to cut out travel time and better connect with your team wherever they may be. Live streaming could change the whole concept of ‘remote work’, providing a background awarness that changes the way we think about far-flung co-workers.  

3. Use downtime away from your desk to crack big ideas. Adam Loving - Software Developer and creator of TwibesFreelance software developer and blogger Adam Loving spends his breakfast time doing free, stream-of-consciousness writing. By taking a few minutes to write freely and brainstorm ideas, he’s often able to untangle gnawing project issues that he can’t get to the bottom of at his desk. When facing a difficult challenge, many of us confine ourselves to a certain time and place. (“I have 30 minutes, so now I’m going to sit down and solve this problem!”) Try devoting some relaxed time to free-form writing or sketching when you need to crack a big idea. 

4. Putting your meetings in motion increases creativity.Jon V. Ferrara - Founder of Nimble and GoldMine CRM SoftwareAll the panelists had great ideas about mixing up how meetings work (e.g. standing meetings, cutting the scheduled time-block in half), but one stuck out. Jon Ferrara at Nimble.com takes his team for a walk during meetings. They find that the change of scenery and the act of walking helps build momentum and unlocks creativity. Plus, they have a pretty sweet location: “The Pacific Ocean is our meeting room,” he says. Even if you don’t have a large body of water nearby, consider putting your meeting in motion – a change of scenery can be a powerful creative trigger.

5. Condense your communications into a single channel for more efficient management.David Hauser - Entrepreneur and Founder of Grasshopper Twitter DMs, Gmail, texting, voicemail, Facebook – we all deal with “channel overload.” We may not be able to cut out the channels, but we can be proactive about having our most important conversations in a single medium. Hauser suggests identifying the medium you prefer most (for many, email), and then moving your important conversations there. Think about where your most important conversations happen, and designate that as your primary channel.

    Evolving Workplace Productivity: 5 Workstyle Tips From Start-Ups

    by Sarah Rapp

     

    In 2011, many of us exist in fluid, fast-paced, non-traditional workspaces. Whether it’s because you’re a startup lacking resources, a freelancer stationed at home, or a team member working remotely, the physical idea of the “office” is changing. And our approach to the way we work needs to change with it.

    Last week, several panels at South By Southwest’s Interactive Festival addressed issues surrounding the modern workplace. Particularly insightful was a session I attended called “The New Workstyle - How Work Is Evolving.” Leaders at start-ups and small businesses discussed how to embrace new technologies and workstyles to promote a productive, healthy modern workplace. Here are some of the key insights they shared:



    1. Working out of the office can drive productivity in the office.
    TA McCann - CEO and Founder of Gist
    Work-from-home-Thursdays at Gist started because of a space problem: The company had more employees than desks, so they worked on a “rotating desk schedule,” where everyone would stagger the days they came into the office. After moving offices, they missed the quiet focus that the work-from-home days offered, so most team members now work from home one day a week. Consider exploring how at-home work days can boost productivity and happiness across the board.

    2. Live streaming video can boost “background awareness” across offices.
    Sharon Feder - Managing Editor at Mashable

    Mashable has several office locations, and they heavily use video (via Skype) for cross-office meetings, check-ins, and even interviews. Soon, they’ll be upping their connectivity by setting up large TVs in their New York and San Francisco offices to live-stream what’s going on in the different locations. It’s still untested, but live streaming could change the whole concept of “remote work,” providing a background awarness that changes the way we think about far-flung co-workers. Although video isn’t appropriate for everything, it certainly commands more engagement than a conference call. You might want to explore having “Skype meetings” to cut out travel time and better connect with your team wherever they may be. Live streaming could change the whole concept of ‘remote work’, providing a background awarness that changes the way we think about far-flung co-workers.  

    3. Use downtime away from your desk to crack big ideas. 
    Adam Loving - Software Developer and creator of Twibes
    Freelance software developer and blogger Adam Loving spends his breakfast time doing free, stream-of-consciousness writing. By taking a few minutes to write freely and brainstorm ideas, he’s often able to untangle gnawing project issues that he can’t get to the bottom of at his desk. When facing a difficult challenge, many of us confine ourselves to a certain time and place. (“I have 30 minutes, so now I’m going to sit down and solve this problem!”) Try devoting some relaxed time to free-form writing or sketching when you need to crack a big idea. 

    4. Putting your meetings in motion increases creativity.Jon V. Ferrara - Founder of Nimble and GoldMine CRM Software
    All the panelists had great ideas about mixing up how meetings work (e.g. standing meetings, cutting the scheduled time-block in half), but one stuck out. Jon Ferrara at Nimble.com takes his team for a walk during meetings. They find that the change of scenery and the act of walking helps build momentum and unlocks creativity. Plus, they have a pretty sweet location: “The Pacific Ocean is our meeting room,” he says. Even if you don’t have a large body of water nearby, consider putting your meeting in motion – a change of scenery can be a powerful creative trigger.

    5. Condense your communications into a single channel for more efficient management.
    David Hauser - Entrepreneur and Founder of Grasshopper 
    Twitter DMs, Gmail, texting, voicemail, Facebook – we all deal with “channel overload.” We may not be able to cut out the channels, but we can be proactive about having our most important conversations in a single medium. Hauser suggests identifying the medium you prefer most (for many, email), and then moving your important conversations there. Think about where your most important conversations happen, and designate that as your primary channel.

  4. The Music Box

    From the film “Welcome Home” This is a story of a kid, in search for a new apartment rental, who comes across a place that has actually chosen him. When a place speaks to you, you have no other choice but to play along with the tune :) 

    DARK CLOUD PRODUCTIONS in association with RUFFHOUSE ENTERTAINMENT and JLE MEDIA GROUP

    Written/Directed/Edited - Daniel Cloud Campos

    Cinematography - Jerry Evans & Troy Christian

    Original Music by - Daniel Cloud Campos & Nathan Lanier

    Guitar Solo - David Curtain

    Sound design - Daniel Cloud Campos & Nathan Lanier

    Colorist - Luis Silva
    Check out his reel - http://vimeo.com/20762870

    Hair & Make up - Valerie Soto

    Choreography - Daniel Cloud Campos

    Special Thanks - Charlie Schmidt, Tamara Levinson, Jaime “Venum” Burgos, Oscar Orosco, Anthony “Lil Bob” Cabaero and Alex F. Munoz

    Camera - EOS Canon 7D

    Enhanced by Zemanta

    (Source: likecool.com)

  5.  
 
10 Office Pranks Perfect for April Fools’ Day

Ah, April Fools’ Day. That dreaded day of the year that news editors and the gullible public love to hate. While we can’t wait to see what amusing pranks the likes of Google are cooking up, you can plot your own fun in the meantime.
We’ve got 10 suggestions, ranging from vintage classics to more up-to-date tricks that you can play on your colleagues, friends and frenemies.
If your office has a good sense of humor and you’re looking for a bit of light-hearted, harmless fun this April 1, take a look through the gallery for our ideas and please share your own suggestions in the comments box below.
1. Speech Recognition - Create an official looking notice (as per the house style of your workplace) informing staff that an item of office equipment is now equipped with speech recognition technology. Add a few suggested commands. Stick the notice to the equipment. Sit back and watch your colleagues shout at an inanimate object. Secretly video the action for prolonged fun.
2. Crossed Wires - Simple, yet effective. Just switch the telephone plugs of your colleagues’ phone lines (leaving their phones in exactly the same place) and enjoy the confusion as they repeatedly receive calls for each other. Works best with coworkers that aren’t on the best terms to start with.
3. Quick Change - This one requires a little planning and collaboration, but the effect will be worth the effort. Arrange with coworkers to each bring in several changes of clothes. Then, throughout the morning repeatedly switch items of clothing. Ensure your mark sees you all in as many different items as you can manage. Wait for the other shoe to drop.
4. Fun with Mice - Anyone leaving their mouse unattended around April 1 deserves punishment. While the classic trick was to remove the mouse’s tracker ball, nowadays you can achieve the same effect by putting some tape over the mouse’s laser tracker. Alternatively, and if you can find time with an unattended computer, change the mouse’s settings for maximum confusion.
5. Hunt the Paper Clip - This is another oldie-but-goldie for anyone in an office where a photocopier is still regularly used. Place a paper clip over or on a piece of blank paper and make several copies. Now, place them back on the top of the paper tray. Hang around to see your colleague’s confusion as they desperately try and find the strange paper clip that’s showing up on all their copies.
6. This Stall is Occupied - For this you’ll need a pair of shoes, a pair of trousers, some newspaper (or something similar) for stuffing and possibly a step ladder. In a toilet stall with a gap at the bottom, set up your items of clothing to look as if someone is using the conveniences. Lock the stall (from the outside if possible, otherwise this is where the step ladder comes in) and leave your mystery “person” to confuse (and very possibly worry) restroom users for the rest of the day.
7. BSoD - This is perhaps more effective with older colleagues who are likely to have experienced the pain of the “Blue Screen of Death.” For this prank, it’s just a matter of finding an appropriate screen grab and either leaving it on your co-worker’s display, or setting it as the screen saver for a nasty surprise.
8. Can You Hear That? - Find, or make a recording of a repetitive noise (a heart beat works well for maximum distress) or dig out a portable radio. Set the volume to just audible and hide it in a filing cabinet, cupboard, drawer, etc., near to your mark. Now wait for your colleague to ask if anyone else can hear that heart beat/static/music and prepare to deny all. Several times. A straight face is essential.
9. Wrong Number - Does your office issue a paper list of phone extensions? If so, there’s fun to be had. You need to access the master doc (or re-create it if need be). Swap the extensions and then replace your target’s list with the doctored version. Obviously you’ll need to replicate any creases, edits, coffee stains and so on, but if you can pull this off, you’re in for a treat as your unsuspecting mark blithely dials a work buddy and instead gets the MD.
10. Just Smirk it Out - Our last prank is especially effective if your colleagues are expecting you to pull some kind of stunt. This April Fools’, just do nothing. Sit and smirk at everything on the morning of the 1st. They will rack their brains desperately trying to work out what you’ve plotted. You can help out their anxiety levels with loaded comments to match your smirk. “Enjoy your coffee.” “Have you used the water cooler yet today?” “Aren’t you going to answer that?”

    10 Office Pranks Perfect for April Fools’ Day

    Ah, April Fools’ Day. That dreaded day of the year that news editors and the gullible public love to hate. While we can’t wait to see what amusing pranks the likes of Google are cooking up, you can plot your own fun in the meantime.

    We’ve got 10 suggestions, ranging from vintage classics to more up-to-date tricks that you can play on your colleagues, friends and frenemies.

    If your office has a good sense of humor and you’re looking for a bit of light-hearted, harmless fun this April 1, take a look through the gallery for our ideas and please share your own suggestions in the comments box below.


    1. Speech Recognition - Create an official looking notice (as per the house style of your workplace) informing staff that an item of office equipment is now equipped with speech recognition technology. Add a few suggested commands. Stick the notice to the equipment. Sit back and watch your colleagues shout at an inanimate object. Secretly video the action for prolonged fun.


    2. Crossed Wires - Simple, yet effective. Just switch the telephone plugs of your colleagues’ phone lines (leaving their phones in exactly the same place) and enjoy the confusion as they repeatedly receive calls for each other. Works best with coworkers that aren’t on the best terms to start with.


    3. Quick Change - This one requires a little planning and collaboration, but the effect will be worth the effort. Arrange with coworkers to each bring in several changes of clothes. Then, throughout the morning repeatedly switch items of clothing. Ensure your mark sees you all in as many different items as you can manage. Wait for the other shoe to drop.


    4. Fun with Mice - Anyone leaving their mouse unattended around April 1 deserves punishment. While the classic trick was to remove the mouse’s tracker ball, nowadays you can achieve the same effect by putting some tape over the mouse’s laser tracker. Alternatively, and if you can find time with an unattended computer, change the mouse’s settings for maximum confusion.


    5. Hunt the Paper Clip - This is another oldie-but-goldie for anyone in an office where a photocopier is still regularly used. Place a paper clip over or on a piece of blank paper and make several copies. Now, place them back on the top of the paper tray. Hang around to see your colleague’s confusion as they desperately try and find the strange paper clip that’s showing up on all their copies.


    6. This Stall is Occupied - For this you’ll need a pair of shoes, a pair of trousers, some newspaper (or something similar) for stuffing and possibly a step ladder. In a toilet stall with a gap at the bottom, set up your items of clothing to look as if someone is using the conveniences. Lock the stall (from the outside if possible, otherwise this is where the step ladder comes in) and leave your mystery “person” to confuse (and very possibly worry) restroom users for the rest of the day.


    7. BSoD - This is perhaps more effective with older colleagues who are likely to have experienced the pain of the “Blue Screen of Death.” For this prank, it’s just a matter of finding an appropriate screen grab and either leaving it on your co-worker’s display, or setting it as the screen saver for a nasty surprise.


    8. Can You Hear That? - Find, or make a recording of a repetitive noise (a heart beat works well for maximum distress) or dig out a portable radio. Set the volume to just audible and hide it in a filing cabinet, cupboard, drawer, etc., near to your mark. Now wait for your colleague to ask if anyone else can hear that heart beat/static/music and prepare to deny all. Several times. A straight face is essential.


    9. Wrong Number - Does your office issue a paper list of phone extensions? If so, there’s fun to be had. You need to access the master doc (or re-create it if need be). Swap the extensions and then replace your target’s list with the doctored version. Obviously you’ll need to replicate any creases, edits, coffee stains and so on, but if you can pull this off, you’re in for a treat as your unsuspecting mark blithely dials a work buddy and instead gets the MD.


    10. Just Smirk it Out - Our last prank is especially effective if your colleagues are expecting you to pull some kind of stunt. This April Fools’, just do nothing. Sit and smirk at everything on the morning of the 1st. They will rack their brains desperately trying to work out what you’ve plotted. You can help out their anxiety levels with loaded comments to match your smirk. “Enjoy your coffee.” “Have you used the water cooler yet today?” “Aren’t you going to answer that?”


  6.  
 
Why the Cloud Is Actually the Safest Place for Your Data

Worried about your data? If you’re not, you’re kidding yourself. It’s become clear over the past few months that the risk of security breaches has reached a new and frightening level — from sophisticated tools in the hands of national governments and organized crime to spontaneous attacks harnessing the resources of thousands of loosely connected vigilantes. Add to that the dizzying array of devices now used to access, move and store data. Security strategies that seemed airtight only a few years ago now look like so much Swiss cheese.
In this light, your first instinct might be to pull back from cloud computing, viewing it as inherently less secure than keeping data and applications locked into hardware. After all, the word “cloud” itself implies that your precious assets are out there floating around somewhere, right? It’s an understandable reaction and one that couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, the cloud is now the safest place for your data.
Think about it: Data is lost when an organization loses control over it, including how it’s stored, how it’s transmitted, and what end users do with it. Clouds, and the virtualization technologies on which they run, give you back that control, from data center to delivery to endpoint.
Deliver User Experiences, Not Vulnerable Data
A key tenet of security is making sure data doesn’t go astray when it leaves the enterprise. But what if data never left the enterprise in the first place? Desktop virtualization means that all data, applications and state remain centralized; users can access an immersive experience indistinguishable from traditional computing (actually even better in some regards, like instant-on apps) using either a hosted desktop or application experience, or a rich client experience. IT gains precise, granular control over applications and data. Everything is encrypted at rest, using keys that never leave the data center. Meanwhile, full back-end automation means less human involvement and less human involvement means less chance of things going wrong.
A locked down data center is all well and good, but how are workers supposed to be productive if they can’t move data around? With virtualization, data is available from multiple points. Accordingly, there’s never a reason to save anything to removable media (like the kinds that seem so often to fall into the wrong hands). A good desktop virtualization solution lets you set policies as to what kinds of client-side devices can be used, from thumb drives to printers.
What about offline use? No problem. Any data delivered to the desktop cache remains encrypted at all times, and IT holds the keys. Lost laptop? Disgruntled employee? Hotel room theft? Not to worry.
A New Perspective on Endpoint Security

A moment of silence, please: Traditional endpoint security is dead. It’s simply no longer possible to detect attackers faster than they can mutate, and managing antivirus protection guest-by-guest can’t possibly scale. It’s also fundamentally incompatible with virtualization, since we can’t have every endpoint in the organization trying to update a centralized attack file and index its virtual hard disk at the same time. Symantec, it’s time to rethink your business.
What if we take the reverse perspective? If we can’t make data invulnerable, what if we make attacks less relevant by ensuring that each endpoint is in its best possible state? When a hypervisor is booted, one of the first things it does is check that it hasn’t been modified since it was last signed by its creator. The same applies for each virtual machine. After each login, each VM is returned to its original state, so attackers have no way to gain a foothold in your environment. This approach — essentially, moving from blacklisting to whitelisting — is a fundamental shift in endpoint security.
There’s still an important role for the security vendors to play in making virtual desktop security simpler and more scalable for large enterprise deployments, such as integrating in-hypervisor threat detection into both client-side and server-side virtualization products. Some of the top security providers are already doing exactly this, working in tandem with virtualization solution vendors. More will follow suit or find themselves stranded in an outdated and shrinking space.
Deny DoS Attackers
Even the best data security can’t protect against a denial-of-service attack. You know what can? Truly massive perimeter control. But don’t start pouring your own concrete yet. Why do you think people started keeping their money in a bank instead of at home? Because the bank has a better safe. So does Amazon. It’s even better, as we’ve seen, than PayPal and Visa. The largest cloud providers have defense resources far beyond anything you could match in your own datacenter.
Any way you look at it, the bottom line is clear: The online world may be getting more dangerous by the day — but the cloud is safer than ever.

    Why the Cloud Is Actually the Safest Place for Your Data

    Worried about your data? If you’re not, you’re kidding yourself. It’s become clear over the past few months that the risk of security breaches has reached a new and frightening level — from sophisticated tools in the hands of national governments and organized crime to spontaneous attacks harnessing the resources of thousands of loosely connected vigilantes. Add to that the dizzying array of devices now used to access, move and store data. Security strategies that seemed airtight only a few years ago now look like so much Swiss cheese.

    In this light, your first instinct might be to pull back from cloud computing, viewing it as inherently less secure than keeping data and applications locked into hardware. After all, the word “cloud” itself implies that your precious assets are out there floating around somewhere, right? It’s an understandable reaction and one that couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, the cloud is now the safest place for your data.

    Think about it: Data is lost when an organization loses control over it, including how it’s stored, how it’s transmitted, and what end users do with it. Clouds, and the virtualization technologies on which they run, give you back that control, from data center to delivery to endpoint.


    Deliver User Experiences, Not Vulnerable Data


    A key tenet of security is making sure data doesn’t go astray when it leaves the enterprise. But what if data never left the enterprise in the first place? Desktop virtualization means that all data, applications and state remain centralized; users can access an immersive experience indistinguishable from traditional computing (actually even better in some regards, like instant-on apps) using either a hosted desktop or application experience, or a rich client experience. IT gains precise, granular control over applications and data. Everything is encrypted at rest, using keys that never leave the data center. Meanwhile, full back-end automation means less human involvement and less human involvement means less chance of things going wrong.

    A locked down data center is all well and good, but how are workers supposed to be productive if they can’t move data around? With virtualization, data is available from multiple points. Accordingly, there’s never a reason to save anything to removable media (like the kinds that seem so often to fall into the wrong hands). A good desktop virtualization solution lets you set policies as to what kinds of client-side devices can be used, from thumb drives to printers.

    What about offline use? No problem. Any data delivered to the desktop cache remains encrypted at all times, and IT holds the keys. Lost laptop? Disgruntled employee? Hotel room theft? Not to worry.


    A New Perspective on Endpoint Security


    locks image

    A moment of silence, please: Traditional endpoint security is dead. It’s simply no longer possible to detect attackers faster than they can mutate, and managing antivirus protection guest-by-guest can’t possibly scale. It’s also fundamentally incompatible with virtualization, since we can’t have every endpoint in the organization trying to update a centralized attack file and index its virtual hard disk at the same time. Symantec, it’s time to rethink your business.

    What if we take the reverse perspective? If we can’t make data invulnerable, what if we make attacks less relevant by ensuring that each endpoint is in its best possible state? When a hypervisor is booted, one of the first things it does is check that it hasn’t been modified since it was last signed by its creator. The same applies for each virtual machine. After each login, each VM is returned to its original state, so attackers have no way to gain a foothold in your environment. This approach — essentially, moving from blacklisting to whitelisting — is a fundamental shift in endpoint security.

    There’s still an important role for the security vendors to play in making virtual desktop security simpler and more scalable for large enterprise deployments, such as integrating in-hypervisor threat detection into both client-side and server-side virtualization products. Some of the top security providers are already doing exactly this, working in tandem with virtualization solution vendors. More will follow suit or find themselves stranded in an outdated and shrinking space.


    Deny DoS Attackers


    Even the best data security can’t protect against a denial-of-service attack. You know what can? Truly massive perimeter control. But don’t start pouring your own concrete yet. Why do you think people started keeping their money in a bank instead of at home? Because the bank has a better safe. So does Amazon. It’s even better, as we’ve seen, than PayPal and Visa. The largest cloud providers have defense resources far beyond anything you could match in your own datacenter.

    Any way you look at it, the bottom line is clear: The online world may be getting more dangerous by the day — but the cloud is safer than ever.

  7. March 30, 2011

  8. Google’s Answer to the Facebook “Like” Button: The “+1”

    Google is making a big new push into social with a feature called “+1” that is similar in purpose to the Facebook “Like” button, but integrated directly into the world’s biggest search engine.

    Starting Wednesday, users who opt into the +1 button experiment(and soon everyone else) in Google Labs will start seeing a +1 icon next to each link in Google search results.

    Google defines this action as a “public stamp of approval,” and it is exactly that. When you +1 something, your name becomes associated with that link “in search, on ads, and across the web,” according to the company. It also shows up in a feed on your Google Profile, which is required to use the product.

    The move builds on a number of social features that Google introduced in search earlier this year, such as the ability to see which friends have tweeted a given link in search results. Today’s move, however, is clearly something much bigger.

    Beyond showing up in search results, Google plans to offer to publishers a +1 button that lets readers +1 something without leaving the publisher’s site. Facebook has a big head start here with its Like button — some 2 million sites and counting have it installed — but Google’s button will instantly have a lot of appeal, given the company says +1 data will directly influence its market share dominating search rankings. Similarly, we have to imagine that +1 is more bad news for content farms, whose content is less likely to be shared.

    In another twist, users will also be able to +1 ad, which essentially adds a “recommended by friends” component to AdWords and AdSense. as the company explains on the AdWords blog.

  9. March 29, 2011

  10. Angry Birds the Movie As Directed by Michael Bay

    Popular multi-platform game Angry Birds has been omnipresent in the past couple of months, with its creators even promising an animated series based on the franchise. But could the simple premise of the game — darting birds into pigs — be turned into a movie? And what would happen if Michael Bay directed that movie?

    The answer lies in this surprisingly elaborate and hilariously funny spoof created by Rooster Teeth. It has it all: a toughened old soldier who insists on following orders, a hero with a moral dilemma, a secret weapon worth billions of dollars, and — of course — lots and lots of explosions.

  11. March 28, 2011

  12. 13 Quirky iPhone Accessories

Don’t just settle for standard issue accessories. We invite iPhone owners out there to take a walk on the fun side of the street with some downright silly accessories for your Apple mobile.
Whether it’s a stand with a witty design, a decal that evokes retro tech, or a case that will put a smile on your face, we’ve got 13 seriously cool and quirky companion products for your iPhone.
So, take a little look through our thoroughly light-hearted gallery and let us know in the comments below which items you think offer a refreshingly unusual take on the “iAccessory.”
1. Etch a Sketch iPhone Case
This case is made at the original Etch-a-Sketch factory. It’s an interesting study into how companies evolve their products to suit the market, and also a fun case for your phone.
Cost: $24.99

2. iPlunger Phone Stand
Sucker this little fella on to the back of your iPhone and it’ll keep it upright — no plumbing required.
Cost: $10

3. Arkhippo Case
Described as “huge” and “easy to handle,” the Arkhippo case adds some colorful heft to your iPhone with some well-padded protection, and a handy way to stand it up.
Cost: $24

4. Tape Cassette Decals
If you yearn for the days of the Walkman, this sticky tape cassette decal for your iPhone offers some handheld nostalgia.
Cost: $6.99

5. Appstand
Complete with six different colored inserts, this clever stand frames your iPhone on your desk or bedside table. It’s perfect for slideshows, alarm clock apps, watching media and more. Appstanding!
Cost: $24.99

6. Spiderpodium
The Spiderpodium is one way to keep arachnophobes away from your precious iProduct. The grippy octopod has — you guessed it — eight flexible legs as well as a hole in its body for feeding cables through.
Cost: $24

7. On Angel’s Wings iPhone Holder
Your iPhone can earn its wings with this whimsical stand that works in both portrait and landscape mode thanks to its removable sucker cup.
Cost: $12

8. GameBoy Skin
More retro-themed fun here with an unofficial GameBoy case for your fave handheld device.
Cost: $9.99

9. Little Black Book for iPhone
Considering that the cellphone is the “little black book” of today, this case is certainly appropriate. With a sturdy wooden frame, this unusual case is crafted using traditional bookbinding techniques. It allows access to all ports and even boasts a suitably placed hole for the camera.
Cost: $64

10. The Mobile Phone Massif
Do you hark back to the glory days of the 80s “brick” phones with fond memories? No, neither do we really, but we do find this case somewhat amusing.
Cost: $20

11. RetroFit TV iPhone Holder
This cardboard holder will turn your iPhone, or iPod touch, into a teeny vintage goggle box, perfect for watching old movies.
Cost: $7.95

12. Hold My Electronics
Can we give you a hand? In fact, here’s two to cradle your beloved device when yours are busy.
Cost: $20

13. Camera SigniCASE
Is your iPhone as much a compact camera as it is a portable telephone? Then show your love of iPhotography with this hand-crafted wooden case that’s designed to look like a retro snapper.
Cost: $34.99

    13 Quirky iPhone Accessories

    Don’t just settle for standard issue accessories. We invite iPhone owners out there to take a walk on the fun side of the street with some downright silly accessories for your Apple mobile.

    Whether it’s a stand with a witty design, a decal that evokes retro tech, or a case that will put a smile on your face, we’ve got 13 seriously cool and quirky companion products for your iPhone.

    So, take a little look through our thoroughly light-hearted gallery and let us know in the comments below which items you think offer a refreshingly unusual take on the “iAccessory.”


    1. Etch a Sketch iPhone Case

    This case is made at the original Etch-a-Sketch factory. It’s an interesting study into how companies evolve their products to suit the market, and also a fun case for your phone.

    Cost: $24.99


    2. iPlunger Phone Stand

    Sucker this little fella on to the back of your iPhone and it’ll keep it upright — no plumbing required.

    Cost: $10


    3. Arkhippo Case

    Described as “huge” and “easy to handle,” the Arkhippo case adds some colorful heft to your iPhone with some well-padded protection, and a handy way to stand it up.

    Cost: $24


    4. Tape Cassette Decals

    If you yearn for the days of the Walkman, this sticky tape cassette decal for your iPhone offers some handheld nostalgia.

    Cost: $6.99


    5. Appstand

    Complete with six different colored inserts, this clever stand frames your iPhone on your desk or bedside table. It’s perfect for slideshows, alarm clock apps, watching media and more. Appstanding!

    Cost: $24.99


    6. Spiderpodium

    The Spiderpodium is one way to keep arachnophobes away from your precious iProduct. The grippy octopod has — you guessed it — eight flexible legs as well as a hole in its body for feeding cables through.

    Cost: $24


    7. On Angel’s Wings iPhone Holder

    Your iPhone can earn its wings with this whimsical stand that works in both portrait and landscape mode thanks to its removable sucker cup.

    Cost: $12


    8. GameBoy Skin

    More retro-themed fun here with an unofficial GameBoy case for your fave handheld device.

    Cost: $9.99


    9. Little Black Book for iPhone

    Considering that the cellphone is the “little black book” of today, this case is certainly appropriate. With a sturdy wooden frame, this unusual case is crafted using traditional bookbinding techniques. It allows access to all ports and even boasts a suitably placed hole for the camera.

    Cost: $64


    10. The Mobile Phone Massif

    Do you hark back to the glory days of the 80s “brick” phones with fond memories? No, neither do we really, but we do find this case somewhat amusing.

    Cost: $20


    11. RetroFit TV iPhone Holder

    This cardboard holder will turn your iPhone, or iPod touch, into a teeny vintage goggle box, perfect for watching old movies.

    Cost: $7.95


    12. Hold My Electronics

    Can we give you a hand? In fact, here’s two to cradle your beloved device when yours are busy.

    Cost: $20


    13. Camera SigniCASE

    Is your iPhone as much a compact camera as it is a portable telephone? Then show your love of iPhotography with this hand-crafted wooden case that’s designed to look like a retro snapper.

    Cost: $34.99


  13.  
 
HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Google AdWords

Google AdWords (those sponsored links that appear alongside search results and web content) can be one of the most cost-effective ways to advertise on the web. Your ads are highly targeted based on keywords, and you don’t pay for anything unless they are clicked.
But often, small businesses set up a campaign and load it with relevant phrases, only to see little traction. Or worse, they get clicks (which cost money) but aren’t converting them into sales.
If you’re struggling to hit pay dirt with Google ads, or you’re interested in signing up but not sure where to start, take some cues from these small business success stories.
Where to Begin
Before you get started, “know that AdWords is a real commitment, and is likely to be a time drain,” says Chris Conn, founder of MightyNest.com, purveyors of organic and naturally made home wares and accessories. His company uses AdWords to drive potential customers to the online store. “It will take from other activities, so make sure that fits with your priorities.”
In that regard, start small, says Timothy Thomas, a small business consultant who cultivates successful AdWords campaigns for his clients.
“Focus on one campaign, lock your budget and use the tools provided by AdWords to learn how Google does its magic,” Thomas adds. He recommends that companies continue their standard SEO efforts in order to rank high in organic search for free (more on this in a bit), and then optimize an AdWords campaign accordingly. “Don’t buy ads in areas where you are getting a top-five link already. Think about terms that are unique to your offering and try to make the most of those keywords by standing alone in paid search.”
If you’re trying to get the maximum value out of a small AdWords budget, don’t worry about appearing at the top of every search. “Keep your bids as low as you can and edge them up — you do not need to be the number one paid search term, however being in the top three is valuable,” says Thomas. “Being number one in the wrong search will only cost you money.”
When you settle into an AdWords campaign that works for your budget and time, think about using the platform to glean a bit more insight into what your potential customers want.
Conn uses AdWords as a real-time testing and intelligence tool. “If we want to know what messaging works, we launch a quick AdWords campaign to see how customers respond.” Making fine adjustments based on small messaging changes can really hone your ads and give you the most bang for your pay-per-click buck.
AdWords and SEO Go Hand-in-Hand
A theme that held true for all the small businesses we spoke with was the importance of traditional SEO as it relates to AdWords campaigns.
“We find that paid search lifts other traffic channels,” says Conn. “When we increase our paid search, our direct traffic and organic traffic also rise.”
And the tides flow in both directions. Jordan Schaffel, co-founder of Say It Visually, a company that produces animated instructional and demo videos, explained that their existing SEO efforts were crucial to the success of their AdWords campaign.
“When we re-did our site recently, we had AdWords in mind, so we did our homework prior to re-launching,” Schaffel says. “Without the foundational efforts, we would’ve struck out, or at the very least, been behind the eight ball on getting clicks through our AdWords campaigns.”
Schaffels’ strategy included titling and tagging all of their videos to tie in closely with the AdWords campaigns. “If you fail to do one or more of the pieces of the SEO puzzle, you’re hurting yourself exponentially.”
One of those puzzle pieces is knowing when not to pay for search terms that you already own for free. “If Google can match your ad to a search, they are happy to sell a click whether it’s a good one or not. The only valid strategy is to narrow Google’s ability to present your ad,” explains Thomas. Make sure your AdWords keywords are embedded in the HTML of your website, and if you’re already dominating a search term organically, don’t buy it from Google. “You only want to pay for eyeballs that you can’t get in front of organically.”
Optimization

Even if you have a good AdWords campaign that’s producing quality leads, there’s always room for improvement. In some cases, it can be a complicated matter. Thomas says he worked with an engineering company that specializes in LED lighting and testing. Its customers are technically trained engineers, but its ads were being surfaced by consumers looking for Christmas lights, Xbox controllers and LED TVs. In short, the company was spending money on lots of useless impressions and clicks.
“The solution was eliminating ‘broad matching’ criteria,” says Thomas. “We put our keywords into either Phrase Match or Exact Match. Each day we would look at what the company had paid for on the previous day and just started [adding] negative keywords. Words like ‘Christmas,’ ‘automobile,’ ‘rope light,’ ‘Playstation,’ and all the variants for ‘television’ were identified and blocked from matching.”
Thomas adds that “the daily review and elimination of inappropriate search matches is the secret sauce of mastering AdWords. You have to tune AdWords for about 15 minutes every day or it can eat you alive, financially.”
Closing the Deal
Like any good lead-generation tool, it’s how you turn an interested click into a repeat customer that really counts.
“It is important that you build a relationship with the customers you find through AdWords and that a meaningful amount of those relationships are sustainable in the long run,” says Conn. “If not, AdWords can turn into a treadmill.”
In the case of Thomas’ engineering client, most of the potential customers know what they’re looking for by the time they reach the company’s website. Once they’ve clicked through, “we encourage them to approach us by phone so we can really help them find the service or product they need.”
Schaffel’s company takes it a step further by monitoring real-time analytics. “We use Woopra to track people coming to our site from AdWords (and other links), and we see patterns emerge when people are truly interested in creating explanation videos.” Paying attention to traffic patterns like this can help you fine-tune your campaigns and figure out what customers are expecting when they arrive. A sale may hinge on the context of the ad that sent them there, or the appeal of the site itself.

    HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Google AdWords

    Google AdWords (those sponsored links that appear alongside search results and web content) can be one of the most cost-effective ways to advertise on the web. Your ads are highly targeted based on keywords, and you don’t pay for anything unless they are clicked.

    But often, small businesses set up a campaign and load it with relevant phrases, only to see little traction. Or worse, they get clicks (which cost money) but aren’t converting them into sales.

    If you’re struggling to hit pay dirt with Google ads, or you’re interested in signing up but not sure where to start, take some cues from these small business success stories.


    Where to Begin


    Before you get started, “know that AdWords is a real commitment, and is likely to be a time drain,” says Chris Conn, founder of MightyNest.com, purveyors of organic and naturally made home wares and accessories. His company uses AdWords to drive potential customers to the online store. “It will take from other activities, so make sure that fits with your priorities.”

    In that regard, start small, says Timothy Thomas, a small business consultant who cultivates successful AdWords campaigns for his clients.

    “Focus on one campaign, lock your budget and use the tools provided by AdWords to learn how Google does its magic,” Thomas adds. He recommends that companies continue their standard SEO efforts in order to rank high in organic search for free (more on this in a bit), and then optimize an AdWords campaign accordingly. “Don’t buy ads in areas where you are getting a top-five link already. Think about terms that are unique to your offering and try to make the most of those keywords by standing alone in paid search.”

    If you’re trying to get the maximum value out of a small AdWords budget, don’t worry about appearing at the top of every search. “Keep your bids as low as you can and edge them up — you do not need to be the number one paid search term, however being in the top three is valuable,” says Thomas. “Being number one in the wrong search will only cost you money.”

    When you settle into an AdWords campaign that works for your budget and time, think about using the platform to glean a bit more insight into what your potential customers want.

    Conn uses AdWords as a real-time testing and intelligence tool. “If we want to know what messaging works, we launch a quick AdWords campaign to see how customers respond.” Making fine adjustments based on small messaging changes can really hone your ads and give you the most bang for your pay-per-click buck.


    AdWords and SEO Go Hand-in-Hand


    A theme that held true for all the small businesses we spoke with was the importance of traditional SEO as it relates to AdWords campaigns.

    “We find that paid search lifts other traffic channels,” says Conn. “When we increase our paid search, our direct traffic and organic traffic also rise.”

    And the tides flow in both directions. Jordan Schaffel, co-founder of Say It Visually, a company that produces animated instructional and demo videos, explained that their existing SEO efforts were crucial to the success of their AdWords campaign.

    “When we re-did our site recently, we had AdWords in mind, so we did our homework prior to re-launching,” Schaffel says. “Without the foundational efforts, we would’ve struck out, or at the very least, been behind the eight ball on getting clicks through our AdWords campaigns.”

    Schaffels’ strategy included titling and tagging all of their videos to tie in closely with the AdWords campaigns. “If you fail to do one or more of the pieces of the SEO puzzle, you’re hurting yourself exponentially.”

    One of those puzzle pieces is knowing when not to pay for search terms that you already own for free. “If Google can match your ad to a search, they are happy to sell a click whether it’s a good one or not. The only valid strategy is to narrow Google’s ability to present your ad,” explains Thomas. Make sure your AdWords keywords are embedded in the HTML of your website, and if you’re already dominating a search term organically, don’t buy it from Google. “You only want to pay for eyeballs that you can’t get in front of organically.”


    Optimization


    Even if you have a good AdWords campaign that’s producing quality leads, there’s always room for improvement. In some cases, it can be a complicated matter. Thomas says he worked with an engineering company that specializes in LED lighting and testing. Its customers are technically trained engineers, but its ads were being surfaced by consumers looking for Christmas lights, Xbox controllers and LED TVs. In short, the company was spending money on lots of useless impressions and clicks.

    “The solution was eliminating ‘broad matching’ criteria,” says Thomas. “We put our keywords into either Phrase Match or Exact Match. Each day we would look at what the company had paid for on the previous day and just started [adding] negative keywords. Words like ‘Christmas,’ ‘automobile,’ ‘rope light,’ ‘Playstation,’ and all the variants for ‘television’ were identified and blocked from matching.”

    Thomas adds that “the daily review and elimination of inappropriate search matches is the secret sauce of mastering AdWords. You have to tune AdWords for about 15 minutes every day or it can eat you alive, financially.”


    Closing the Deal


    Like any good lead-generation tool, it’s how you turn an interested click into a repeat customer that really counts.

    “It is important that you build a relationship with the customers you find through AdWords and that a meaningful amount of those relationships are sustainable in the long run,” says Conn. “If not, AdWords can turn into a treadmill.”

    In the case of Thomas’ engineering client, most of the potential customers know what they’re looking for by the time they reach the company’s website. Once they’ve clicked through, “we encourage them to approach us by phone so we can really help them find the service or product they need.”

    Schaffel’s company takes it a step further by monitoring real-time analytics. “We use Woopra to track people coming to our site from AdWords (and other links), and we see patterns emerge when people are truly interested in creating explanation videos.” Paying attention to traffic patterns like this can help you fine-tune your campaigns and figure out what customers are expecting when they arrive. A sale may hinge on the context of the ad that sent them there, or the appeal of the site itself.

  14. Look Up! The Billion-Bug Highway You Can’t See

    Look up at the sky and what do you see? Well, blue, yes. And maybe a plane or a bird, but otherwise … nothing. Or so you think. It turns out that right above you, totally invisible, is an enormous herd of animal life — tiny bugs riding the wind currents.