Archive for the ‘Tech News’ Category

Cloud Sharing Changes The Way We Exchange Data

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

People aren’t using bulky cameras hung around their necks to snap the majority of photos taken these days, nor are they doing a lot of their office work in all of the conventional places. Using smart phones and tablets, users are uploading thousands of photos onto Instagram daily and effortlessly attaching files and sending emails while sitting in the backseat of a cab. How is this digital, file-sharing, wireless world possible? The answer is through cloud sharing.

All those files have to be stored somewhere, and the world of file sharing and cloud storage is expanding making it easier to share photos, files, contacts, calendars and more. Here’s what’s happening:

Gmail Uses Google Drive

Gmail and other smtp systems are jumping on the cloud storage bandwagon and pushing smaller start ups to jump ship or quickly improve. Using Google’s Drive storage system, Gmail now allows its users to send files as large as 10 gigabytes. The new feature requires no set up but will automatically be available upon signing into your account. When attaching a file, Gmail will check that your recipient has permission to view the files in Google Drive. If they don’t, Gmail will prompt you to change your sharing settings.

This may sound like bad news for Dropbox, Box, YouSendIt and other sharing services, because Dropbox’s free plan starts users at 2 GB of storage – far below Gmail’s new size limit. But Dropbox has a few secrets up its sleeve.

Easier Photo Sharing through Dropbox

According to the company’s blog, Instagram had its busiest day yet on Nov. 22 with 10 million photos shared that mentioned Thanksgiving-related words. At its peak around 12:40 p.m. PST, the site had 226 Turkey-day photos shared per second. That’s a lot of pictures taken via a mobile device, and Dropbox is inching its way into that market with its Camera Upload system. Using the app that works on Android or iOS devices, whenever you take a photo it will automatically upload to your Dropbox account. Not only will you have easy access to the photo on any device that you can access your account on, but you won’t ever have to worry about losing photos if your phone or tablet is lost or stolen.

That should’ve relieved any fears about losing photos, but here’s the sharing part. Dropbox is testing a feature that allows users to share photo folders with other Dropbox users through a tag system that works a bit like the one in Gmail. According to sociable.co, users can tag one image with multiple tags and it will appear in each tagged group. That way you can share photos with family and friends without giving them complete access to your camera’s album.

More Security and Control: Another Business Joins the Sky

Founded in 2007, Egnyte boasts its product that is similar to Dropbox but “with more security and control,” according to theregister.co.uk. The company’s targeted customer has sensitive data they want hidden behind a firewall but without the possibility of it being lost or unprotected. Egnyte’s Cloud Control is designed for file-sharing security, scalability and control. According to the company, the product uses existing file system structures, doesn’t force deployment of proprietary file systems and gives users direct access to local shares.

An Egnyte spokesperson told theregister.co.uk the product is comparable to a concierge service.

“I use concierge as an analogy because they know all the secrets in a building and can be trusted to keep them. If workers come in to fix the lift, the concierge will take them to the control room. Likewise, Egnyte can give the right employees the permission to access sensitive data,” it says on the site.

Right now Egnyte’s Cloud Control is an invitation-only beta test but is pushing to be publicly available toward the end of 2013’s first quarter, according to theregister.co.uk. By then, who knows what else will be floating around in the cloud sharing world.

How Cloud Computing Is Changing Consumer Electronics

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

How businesses are embracing the cloud.

The cloud is taking over our favorite mobile devices. Apple was one of the first to jump on the cloud computing bandwagon, and if you have any of their products, from an iPhone to an iPad, you have “the cloud.” It is convenient from the standpoint that an old email from six months ago, that you need now is available and hanging in limbo in the cloud, but inconvenient because Apple, and other companies that have cloud services, limit it to a certain amount of data for each consumer. If you are in need of more “cloud space” they notify you and you can pay for the extra space  needed to store everything you want there.

While this isn’t great news for consumers of these products, it’s excellent news for the sellers. Their investments in cloud technology and remote backup services will make reasonable gains for them over the next few years. While the projected expectations of growth look small now, given what the economy has been, fewer and fewer companies are investing in infrastructure and software updates and more in cloud services, making the predictions for this a little trickier and stickier, but gains none the less.

Investing In The Cloud

So who are the big investors in cloud and how does that effect consumer electronics purchases? In some cases it doesn’t, as Google doesn’t offer consumer electronics, just services. In other cases, as with Microsoft, it’s huge. Microsoft has made the move to compete with Apple and other consumer electronics manufacturers by developing touch screen tablets, Windows phones, and even a touch screen PC recently unveiled at a cloud computing expo. Even its popular MS Office software got “the touch effect” in an effort for Microsoft to stay ahead of Google who now has its own applications that mimic MS Office software.

Microsoft also recognizes that it has to try and get ahead of Apple, who practically has the market cornered on touch devices as the consumers gobble these up every time Apple emerges with an updated version. Microsoft hopes that it can get some of the market away from Apple but as a company, they know they need to make Windows 8 and touch screens irresistible to consumers.

Get Your Piece Of The Cloud

Investors are looking to cash in on new technology and the cloud is it. The question is, how to go about it with finesse, and not lose your shirt? The best website and news blurb to read on the subject of investing is MotleyFool.com, or look in your local paper in the business section. The owners and inventors of the Motley Fool column have tips for getting in on the best stocks and how to make your investments pay off. I’ve read the column myself every Sunday, and the advice is always sound. The owner told everybody years ago to invest in remote backup services, as cloud was called then, and those that did are rolling in it now. But it’s not too late to follow Motley Fool’s advice and get your piece of the cloud, too.

Your remaining investment options are to go with a company that incorporates cloud into their electronics, because you know consumers will keep buying them. Microsoft, Google and Amazon are all looking for investment partners. Maybe the new investment partner could be you.

Dial-up internet

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

What is it and what happens

Dial-up is an internet service that connects your PC through your phone line. Unlike DSL, dial-up is not broadband. Dial-up is available in many areas including places with a low population, because it simply runs through your personal phone line. A device connects to the internet through a dial-up connection by dialing a phone number through a modem. A modem is the receive/send part of your internet connection. The modem for dial-up internet is usually built in to the computer but sometimes may not be. Newer computers are less likely to have an internal modem originally installed.

Price and availability

Dial-up is usually low priced around 15 to 25 dollars depending upon the location of the connection. Dial-up is probably one of the most inconvenient internet connections ever due to it’s lack of speed, and the fact of your phone line being tied up every time you connect to the internet. The only way you would be able to use the phone while on the internet is if you get another line, but then you should get DSL because you could pay the same amount of money as you would for a phone line. Dial-up is the best for availability being that it can be used anywhere a working land-line is installed. Pricing may change depending on the provider you go through. The best way to decide on a provider is to find the cheapest and the fastest. One of the cheapest dial-up providers is Netzero, but it is not the fastest. Copper.net is the same price as Netzero, but it has gotten better ratings, so Copper.net is probably one of the best providers out there.

Speed

Bytes is the term used to measure the data in a computer, kilobits being 1000 bytes. Dial-up has an average speed of about 40-50 kilobits per second, meaning that it is very slow. DSL has an average of 128 kilobits per second which is about 10 times faster than the speed of dial-up proving that it is much more efficient. Dial-up speed may also vary depending on the location and condition of the connection. There many different providers you can go through to get a dial-up connection such as : Netzero, Earthlink, Dial-up for less, AT&T, ISP, and many more. The speed may vary depending on the provider you use. To download a one megabyte file using dial-up it takes approximately 5 minutes.

Uses

Dial-up is not good for online gaming. Online gaming would include consoles such as Xbox360, Playstation 3, etc. and other forms of gaming that require you to connect to other people through the internet. VoIP is also not the type of thing for dial-up. Voice over IP include Skype, yahoo video messenger, Google talk and other programs that require your voice to travel over the internet. You probably won’t want to watch a video over a dial-up connection,it may take more than an hour to load. You cannot connect an ipod or any other devices that require wireless networking to dial-up without additional components.

Conclusion

Dial-up is not a very efficient connection even though it is cheap, it does not have the convenient speed to do most of the stuff people like to do. In my opinion Dial-up is not worth it, you should get DSL or cable, than you don’t have to worry about the snail pace of dial-up. If you have dial-up, your not getting your money’s worth. You always tie up a phone line with dial-up, and other options are available in your area but with a different form of internet you can do so much more and not tie up your phone line.

How To Tell When Your Hard Drive Is Failing

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

There are many different symptoms of a failing hard drive, such as awkward noises, or even blue screening, or your computer might not even run the operating system. All hard drives are destined to fail eventually, so it’s best to be prepared.

How do hard drives fail?

Hard drives fail in many different ways, such as logical failures, media failures, head failures, and mechanical failures. Symptoms that tell you if and when your hard drive could be failing are strange noises, disappearing data and disk errors, your computer stops recognizing your drive, your computer crashes, or just really slow access times. The circuits built into the hard drive that direct traffic of data between the hard drive and the rest of the computer is called the hard drive’s firmware. When problems with the firmware make a hard drive stop working, that is called logical failure. Failure caused by a hard drive getting jarred while the heads are engaged or overheated enough so that the platters get warped may lead to media/head failure. The most common type of hard drive failure is mechanical failure, which happens when the motor burns out, or the bearings get stuck.

Here are some basic diagnostics you can use to make sure it is indeed the hard drive failing:

  1. Check to ensure the power cable is properly connected to the drive.
  2. Ensure the IDE ribbon cable, or SATA data firmly attached and aligned properly.
  3. Master/Slave assignment jumpers are positioned correctly, if the drive has jumpers.
  4. Make sure the BIOS settings for your computer are appropriate for your hard drive.

What can we do to protect your data

Many people don’t use backups; therefore if and when their hard drive fails, all data would be lost, with little chance of recovery. You should plan ahead and employ a backup solution that fits your needs.

Be sure to prepare yourself against a hard drive failure by purchasing a CST Cloud subscription today so you don’t have to risk losing all your data. Other options are on CD Media, flash drives, or external hard drives; however, with those devices you risk the theft, loss, or damage of the device and loss of your data. CST Cloud keeps your backups safely off site, so even in the case of a disaster, you will still have your data.

What is malware?

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

A malware is a program that tells your computer to do something you dont want it to do. A virus or any other malware can be very hard to detect or not very hard to detect. No matter what the circumstances all malware make your computer run less efficient in one way or another. A virus is malware that gets copied when ever you do something on your computer.

A virus is not a bug, because a bug is what happens when someone makes an error in writing a program, a virus is a program purposely made to wreck your computer. Computers can be protected from viruses by using some form of anti-virus such as AVG, Avast, or another antivirus program.

Another form of protection from malware is keeping your computer up to date.

1. Trojan (Horse) – A trojan is a program that looks normal until you run it, then you may start to notice changes in how your computer operates.

2. Worms – A worm is a type of malware that spreads from your computer to others on the same network.

3. Virus – A virus is a type of malware that spreads whenever you tell your computer to do something.

4. Fake AV – Fake antivirus disguises itself as an antivirus program until you download it on to your computer.

5. Rogue Proxies – A rogue proxy is what occurs when someone hacks your dns server and they may be able to access all of your credit card numbers and other banking information.

If you have experienced any of these problems, contact us at Cold Snap Technology, and we will see what we can do to get your computer healthy again.

How might a backup for your data be useful?

Friday, July 20th, 2012

A backup for your files might be useful in the event of your data being corrupted, damaged or deleted during a catastrophe. Having a good backup plan means less work of recovering the data you lost, or simply keeping you from losing data at all. You can backup your data in many different ways to make the recovery possible such as a usb flash drive, a cloud, or a disk. Flash drives and other local storage risk being lost or stolen, but cloud backup cannot be misplaced, and is protected by a strong encryption.

Why cloud backup is better than others

A cloud is probably one of the best ways you can backup your files, because you can access your data from anywhere an internet connection is available even after disaster strikes and everything on site is destroyed. Cloud backup compared to local backup solutions provides more security, availability, and reliability. With CST Cloud you dont have to worry about keeping your data safe, because we get alerts if anything goes wrong. CST Cloud is automated and can be managed remotely. Another benefit of our cloud solution over on-site backup is the different location of your backup. When a flood hit Duluth, Minnesota recently, anyone using only a local backup solution lost data, even though they had a backup “ON SITE.” Using a cloud solution instead, the data would not have been destroyed during the flood. A good cloud backup provides disaster recovery plan, quarterly disaster recovery testing, and backup restore support.

The HIPAA security rule ensures that the confidentiality of your data is maintained, and protected against threats or hazards. Since clouds are not on site, it keeps your data safe from threats and hazards including storms and fires. CST Cloud has strong encryption to guarantee confidentiallity applying a 256 bit AES storage, and 128 bit SSL transfers.

Dont just get a local backup, get CST Cloud, it is much more efficent and you dont have to carry it with you all the time.

Why You Don’t Need To Panic Over The Flame Virus

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Why You Don't Need To Panic Over The Flame VirusIt seems like once a year, a computer virus, hacker group, or glitch starts making headlines. Ever since we came out of the digital revolution in one piece, there’s been a percentage of the population that exaggerates every electronic menace to unrealistic proportions.

First it was Y2K, then it was identity theft, and this year it’s the Flame Virus.

Now, obviously, it’s a good idea to take precautions, install and update your antivirus software, and protect your network connection, but the Flame Virus is really not worthy of the panic that it’s instilled in some people. Here’s why:

We’re on Top of it

Antivirus developers are already on top of this malware property. Though the virus has the potential to do a lot of harm very quickly, it can’t seem to act any faster than antivirus coders can. This is why the virus hasn’t really spread in the west after ravaging hundreds of networks in Iran, Pakistan, and India. Firewall security is pretty tight in North America and the UK.

See Also: Cold Snap Technology Services

The Suicide Command

Not only will the Flame Virus be put to rest by any decent antivirus program, the developers of the virus have actually put out a suicide command for the virus, killing it in its tracks the second it activates. Virus developers often code these things for experimental purposes, and while the intentions and end goal of the programmers may be a matter of opinion in some ways, the fact is that the developers have decided to put it to rest.

The Web is Self Correcting to an Extent

The modern framework for the internet is resilient. Viruses spread by the very same channels and principles that the cure for these viruses will spread.

It’s impossible to fully censor and control the web and what people can do. And it’s definitely impossible to try and take the web offline. This is how people are able to so freely distribute viruses, it’s why people can get away with file sharing, and it’s how people learn about viruses and other problems and deal with them so quickly.

You Were Probably Protected to Begin With

As long as you have a good firewall in place and you’re careful about what you download, chances are that you were already safe from the Flame virus to begin with. What a lot of people don’t realize when something like Flame starts to make headlines is that the private companies and users who work at them tend to do pretty well at keeping those types of viruses at bay.

For whatever organized efforts the government might have put into effect, we already had a security framework that more than protected us from the virus. With WPA security settings and the right antivirus software, chances of being infected with the virus were pretty slim from the start.

Caution should always be practiced on the web, but the fact is that most of these online-panics are just that – panics.