Wednesday, 23 December 2009

LED Dress Monitors Pollution

This dress below monitors pollution and displays a health warning based on local air quality. A carbon dioxide detection unit and microprocessor are linked to hundreds of LEDs which have been woven into the dress.

The lights pulsate based on the local carbon levels– the faster the pulse, the more dangerous the air conditions. While this concept may not be practical enough for mass production, we feel that environmentally conscious fashion like this is certainly progress in the right direction for the creative world. [diffus]

9 ways to increase the security of your laptop while on the road

Use these 9 tips to learn how you can keep your laptop more secure when you're on the road.

1. Avoid using computer bags
Computer bags can make it obvious that you're carrying a laptop. Instead, try toting your laptop in something more common like a padded briefcase or suitcase.

2. Never leave access numbers or passwords in your carrying case
Keeping your password with your laptop is like keeping the keys in the car. Without your password or important access numbers it will be more difficult for a thief to access your personal and corporate information.

3. Carry your laptop with you
Always take your laptop on the plane or train rather then checking it with your luggage. It's easy to lose luggage and it's just as easy to lose your laptop. If you're traveling by car, keep your laptop out of sight. For example, lock it in the trunk when you're not using it.

4. Encrypt your data
If someone should get your laptop and gain access to your files, encryption can give you another layer of protection. With Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 you can choose to encrypt files and folders. Then, even if someone gains access to an important file, they can't decrypt it and see your information. Learn more about how to encrypt your data with Windows XP, encrypt your data with Windows Vista, or encrypt your data with Windows 7.

5. Keep your eye on your laptop
When you go through airport security don't lose sight of your bag. Hold your bag until the person in front of you has gone through the metal detector. Many bags look alike and yours can easily be lost in the shuffle.

6. Avoid setting your laptop on the floor
Putting your laptop on the floor is an easy way to forget or lose track of it. If you have to set it down, try to place it between your feet or against your leg (so you're always aware it's there).

7. Buy a laptop security device
If you need to leave your laptop in a room or at your desk, use a laptop security cable to securely attach it to a heavy chair, table, or desk. The cable makes it more difficult for someone to take your laptop. There are also programs that will report the location of a stolen laptop. They work when the laptop connects to the Internet, and can report the laptop's exact physical location. One such tracing program is ComputracePlus.

8. Use a screen guard
These guards help prevent people from peeking over your shoulder as you work on sensitive information in a public place. This is especially helpful when you're traveling or need to work in a crowded area. This screen guard from Secure-It is just one example of a screen guard you could use.

9. Try not to leave your laptop in your hotel room or with the front desk
Too many things have been lost in hotel rooms and may not be completely secure. If you must leave your laptop in your room, put the "do not disturb" sign on the door.

Monday, 21 December 2009

How Microsoft Lost Its Mojo..

It was a confident - some might say complacent - Microsoft that entered the decade.

Microsoft was the PC. Such was its grip on the desktop and laptop ecosystem that it could force OEMs to ship its browser by threatening to cut off access to its operating system.

In quick succession between 2000 and 2001, Microsoft shipped Windows 2000, Windows XP, Office 2000, and Internet Explorer 6; delivered its answer to Java with .NET; and made a radical departure by moving into hardware to take on games-market leader Sony with the Xbox.

Almost immediately, Microsoft paid the price for its confidence. When the internet changed the world, it became clear that the software Microsoft had refined on the desktop and server was not suited to the new world of the online openness. Windows, Outlook, and IE were slammed - and hard - by wave after wave of malicious worms.
They hit millions of systems, taking down everyone from anonymous individuals sending email to databases in nuclear power stations.

Next, Microsoft stumbled over what was supposed to be its core competency: building a new Windows. In 2004, it went back to the drawing board on a version of Windows it had been building since 2001: Longhorn. When Longhorn finally shipped as Windows Vista, it was late and so hated that partners didn't support it, customers wouldn't use it, and Windows XP remained the default choice on peoples' desktops.

As the decade progressed, the PC itself - the bedrock Microsoft bet its business and vision on since the 1970s - was surpassed by a new generation of computing platforms that excited developers and users. People became obsessed by netbooks and cell phones, while consumer goods and even cars became computing platforms.

Meanwhile, for OEMs, developers, and startups, the choice was no longer a straight one between either Java or .NET. At least in that battle, Microsoft had a 50/50 chance of winning. But the Noughties became the decade of open source and Linux.

AJAX, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Perl/Python fuelled a renaissance in development. They didn't come with a pricey or restrictive license.

At times, Microsoft's management didn't help the company. Its internet and mobile strategy were always on the back burner to the PC. By 2009, Microsoft was spending furiously to close the gap on Google's huge ads and search market share. Late in the day, it promised a version of Windows Mobile to match Apple's iPhone - a device chief executive Steve Ballmer had laughed off in 2007. The sobering truth was that in two years, the iPhone had robbed functional but boring Windows Mobile phones of valuable market share.

The IE Debacle

The internet and mobile were sins of omission. But with IE, management actively shot itself in the foot. In 2003, Microsoft announced that there would be no more standalone versions of IE and that you could only get IE with Windows. It was the height of arrogance from a 90-per-cent market-share winner.

That decision opened the door to Firefox, then known only to open sourcers and geeks. In the years since, it has been downloaded by millions, eroding IE's lead. It made surfing simpler, safer, and more standards compliant. Today, Firefox stands at 24 per cent market share, while IE has hit an all-time-low of 63.5 per cent. And now that people have been released from the "must-have" IE mindset of the 1990s and found there is another way, IE faces a fresh challenge in Chrome from internet search and ads Goliath Google.

Another disaster: The introduction of a new form of licensing for Windows called Software Assurance. It charged a subscription on the basis customers would get upgrades during the two- or three-year lifetime of their SA contract. But in the end, it pushed up customer's licensing costs and - in the case of Windows - new versions were not forthcoming, breeding anger and resentment among customers. Microsoft spent years spicing SA with extras to make the program palatable and provide some perceived form of value for money.

New world, new Microsoft
As Microsoft moves out of the Noughties and into the next decade, the confidence it displayed when it entered the Millennium is gone. The certainties of the old PC world have evaporated while the tactics of Microsoft used in that world - picking a leader and spending furiously to beat them - are challenged in a world where the competition is diverse, fragmented, free, and open.

Opportunities exist for Microsoft in the next decade and the company can succeed again. It might be late to cloud computing with Azure, but most everyone is still on the start line, so it still stands a chance.

If Microsoft can convince open-sourcers it's genuine - and if it no longer lobs grenades on intellectual property and patents that poison the atmosphere - then it could harness open-sourcers on Windows and Azure. The Xbox looks like continuing to challenge Sony, which has acted with a curious inertia to Microsoft throughout The Noughties. And when it comes to rich media, Microsoft's got a winner with Silverlight as an alternative to Adobe's Flash - at least as far as .NET developers are concerned.

In other areas - particularly mobile phones, browsers and search - the missteps of the past will need to be rectified before Microsoft can move on. As for Windows, Microsoft can bask in Windows 7 for now, but one day must find new ways to persuade users to move on to succeeding editions.

One thing is certain. Microsoft will see 2010 as a chance to re-set the clock - and put a painful ten years behind it.

Gavin Clarke, The Register

Email From Apple cult leader......

Apple cult leader Steve Jobs has communicated with the outside world.

As revealed by Crunchgear, Jobs recently sent an 11-word email to a longtime Mac developer who had come groveling to the cult leader after being threatened by a band of Apple lawyers.

John Devor is the CEO of The Little App Factory, a tiny shareware outfit that offers a Mac application known as iPodRip. The tool has provided iPod disaster recovery since 2003, roping in roughly six millions users, but in recent weeks, the Apple legal police suddenly decided it was time the app had a new name.

But rather than obeying the Jobsian minions, Devor took the audacious step of sending an appeal for leniency straight to the cult leader:

Dear Mr. Jobs,

My name is John Devor and I’m the co-owner of a small Mac shareware company named The Little App Factory and a long-term Apple customer and shareholder. I doubt you’re aware but we recently received a letter from a law firm working on Apple’s behalf instructing us that we had violated several of Apple’s trademarks in our application iPodRip and asking us to cease using the name and Apple trademarks in our icons.

We have been distributing iPodRip since 2003 with the aim of providing a method to recover music, movies and photos from iPods and iPhones in the event of a serious hardware failure on their Mac which leads to data loss. Our goal has been to provide the highest quality product coupled with the highest quality service in a bid to resolve some of the angst that is generated by such an ordeal; service befitting of an Apple product. In this department we think we have succeeded as we have approximately 6 million customers, many Apple employees, music artists and other notable people in society. In fact I’d argue that our customer service is the best of all competing applications in our niche as many of them are scams and frauds that leave Apple customers with a terrible taste in their collective mouths. We fear very much that tens of thousands of Apple customers looking to recover their own music and having heard of our product via word-of-mouth or otherwise, will instead find a product produced by one of our competitors, and will wind up the victim of a scam (one closely-named competitor charges a hidden monthly fee, for instance).

It is quite obvious that we mean Apple no harm with the use of the name iPodRip, or of the inclusion of trademarked items in our icons, and in fact I believe that we have been providing an excellent secondary service to Apple customers that has potentially caused you many repeat clients. In fact, we are quite aware that Apple support and store staff have recommended our software on numerous occasions as far back as 2004 so we have felt that we were doing something right!

With this in mind, we are in desperate need of some assistance and we beseech you to help us to protect our product and our shareware company, both of which we have put thousands upon thousands of hours of work into. Our company goal is to create Mac software of the highest quality with the best user experience possible. I myself dropped out of school recently to pursue a path in the Mac software industry, and you yourself have been a consistent inspiration for me.

If there is anything at all you can do with regards to this matter, we would be most grateful.


John Devor

And the leader deigned to respond:

Change your apps name. Not that big of a deal.


Sent from my iPhone

We suspect that cult followers everywhere will soon be dropping their own apostrophes.

AppleInsider reports this is the first time the leader has communicated with the outside world since a 2008 email told a MacBook user that "Actually, all of the new HD camcorders of the past few years use USB 2."

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

My evolving lifestyle

For the last decade, I can attest that I've grown a lot, emotionally, mentally and physically. I went from a very shy girl to an assertive, reserve and determined woman. The most inspiring part of my growth has been my lifestyle, which has opened my eyes to a lot of things. I've experienced so much through that noun "lifestyle". If I was asked 7 years ago about my lifestyle, I would have mentioned music, television shows, the encyclopaedia, books, movies and food of course. Within the space of 6 years, gadgets became a concrete part of my lifestyle. I realised my laptop had become a part of me. I sat on a bus and tried to press the Windows start button. The vision in front of me was Windows XP. This really freaked me out. I thought I was going nuts or something. While I'm at work I try to mentally summon the undo shortkey to re-arrange clothes I've just finished arranging.

old, fat and ugly

I remember when I got my first mobile phone; I was almost 14 years old. I remember the first mobile phones I set my eyes on; they were huge, ugly and black. No personalisation and portability was not even considered at all. My mummy's old phone that she planned to give to me was a Motorola. Immediately I saw it, I rejected it. My uncle gave me my first phone and it was a Panasonic. It was nice and cuter than mum's old and fat Motorola. Mobile devices started getting smaller and elegant. I can recollect quite well, Ericsson, now known as Sony Ericsson, Siemens, Philips, Mitsubishi, Panasonic and Motorola were contenders in the market then. Ericsson was the most expensive and attractive, design-wise.

my first phone

my first love

The antenna on my Panasonic came off yet I continued to use it. I didn't use it much though. I send texts with it sometimes and my parents were able to reach me on it, when I was at school or out of the house. After a year, mum bought an Ericsson phone for me. I loved his smell. He smelled brand new and yummy. His smell was very embracing. I used to smile just to wake up to him. He was short, light and cute. The colour of his screen was unique and captivating; his screen colour was cyan and translucent. I fell in love with him instantly I saw him. Not too long after I acquired him, the Nokia frenzy started. Everyone was carrying Nokia phones around. It was disgusting. Ringtones and wallpapers were introduced and everyone with Nokia mobile phones was purchasing ringtones like food. Nokia, wallpapers and ringtones became some sort of crowd mentality. I was excited about the introduction of personalisation. it meant i could now assign different ringtones for my received texts and my voice calls, but I was disgusted with the bandwagon effect that Nokia started.

"Nokia is a very powerful phone..." - Someone told me. "Yeah, sure! I never said it isn't."

Motorola always have edgy with innovative design

I would just rather have a phone that is different, compared to that of everyone in my class. I became a huge fan of Ericsson, my dad loved Motorola, whereas my uncle is a major Nokia groupie.

do u remember him?

I dumped the black and white Ericsson after two years and went for Motorola. I used the Christmas money I got from my uncles and dad to buy it. It was the very first gadget I saved up for. He was far better than Ericsson. He was colourful and interactive. He gave me more personalised content. He came with an integrated VGA camera; the picture quality wasn’t so great though. I loved his flip-style and his smell. I cherished him for a while. I used him to text a lot and reach friends. He was my first "cannot-do-without"; if I left him at home my day wouldnt be whole. I always had him with me. I let him hit the ground a couple of times. He had scars from his many falls. I cannot recollect exactly what happened to him. Maybe it is because it was too painful, so I erased it from my memory.

Nothing last forever

Dad gave me another Motorola; He was a lot sleeky but fragile. I had to handle him with care. He was sexy though. I must admit, although our relationship was a very short one, we had a wonderful time together; his camera quality was a bit better and he was more interactive. One day, I was in a rush to get to the train station and I was getting a lift from Mum. While I was trying to lock the house, because that ugly brother of mine refused to do it, my "hello Moto" dropped and split into two. The screen and the qwerty pad split and I couldn't revive him. It was not sad but just inconvenient. I had to get to an important lecture, I was in my final year and I could not miss that lecture. I wondered how I would reach people. Mum loaned me one of her phones for the day. It was a Samsung; I'm not a big fan of Samsung because I was biased. It's either Motorola or nothing.

a day wtih Samsung

music like I've heard it before

That same day I went to purchase a new phone after lectures. I bought a Sony Ericsson, I was so excited to be reunited with my first love. Even though he had a longer name now, he had gotten better. His screen reminded me of my first Ericsson; it was small, unique and vivid orange in colour. His screen colour blends with black and orange body exterior. A year later, I went to visit my cousin in the States and lost him somewhere between Michigan and Ohio. When I came back home my dad bought an exact replica of him for me. Yes, I chose him again and this time as my Christmas present. He's my pet; he's under my pillow right now. We've been together since 2007. He gives me music, pictures and a lot of interaction. I cannot say much about the camera, not up to bar. He's designed for music not for photography. He has some slight mental problems though, the software that came with Sony Ericsson phones around the time he was purchased has issues. He freezes and refuses to switch on sometimes. He's fine now though. I just don't trust him, he's unreliable. I might have to let go of him soon. He has competition.


He messed up one time when I needed him the most. I was travelling back home and I needed a phone so I decided to be a bit more open-minded and change brand. I wanted HTC but HTC products were not available in stores, I had to buy it online. I had no time to wait on delivery so I settled for a Samsung Tocco which cost me almost 400euro. The Samsung is fanciful, light, portable and 3G. I had to let go of my 2.5G phone but I kept him as back up, like I mentioned previously, he's under my pillow right now. It's been a year now and Samsung Tocco is doing great; the camera is very nice. Sometimes it freezes because it's a touch-screen phone but it doesn't go crazy like iPhone. Samsung Omnia has wireless connectivity support but Tocco doesn't. Samsung Omnia is only available online, time really forced my hand when I was purchasing my Samsung phone.

Robust and ubiquitous

Anyway, I've got a Nokia now. YES, I've got a Nokia E71. My very first Nokia. He's lovely, robust and very useful for business. I'm more open-minded about brands now but I still dislike crowd mentality; that is why I don't own a Blackberry phone. I don't own an iPhone because I'm simply anti-Apple. I only use iTunes but someday I might buy a Mac Book Pro. Maybe!

disappearing computer

Mobile generations have come a long way; very soon we will be offered 4G, i.e., 4th generation of cellular phones. 4G will surpass 3G, 2.5G and below. Are you ready for what 4G brings? Don't wait and see, check out the trends. Apple is already talking about iPhone 4G. Mobile technologies have become a way of life for my generation and upcoming generation. Even the previous generation are learning to adapt. Technology is not just an innovation, it is a LIFESTYLE.

Latifa Ayoola