Is the Cloud Killing USB Flash Drives?

In my continuing look at the cloud we turn to it’s impact on USB flash Drives.

Technology has developed at the speed of light over the last few years. What was once cutting edge technology is now outdated. However one piece of equipment that has stayed at the forefront of the computer world is USB flash drives.

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Compact, portable and inherently useful, flash drives make transporting pieces of information simple, quick and easy. And Data Memory Systems, a leading supplier of computer memory in the US, has celebrated the tried and trusted devices, despite them facing stiff competition from other means of data storage, such as The Cloud and file-sharing platforms.

A Very Popular Cloud

The increasing popularity of The Cloud, Microsoft’s OneDrive and other file-sharing platforms such as Dropbox have changed the way people save and store files. Allowing both individuals and businesses to upload documents, files and work to the internet and access them from elsewhere, they have proven to be incredibly useful.

Cloudy Concerns

There are some concerns here with only storing your files in the cloud. Although internet is accessible in more places than ever before, it is not always available – or reliable. This can cause problems should files need to be accessed there and then. One way to avoid this problem is to sync your important files which I talked about in my previous post.

The costs associated with online storage can also be a concern to some. Many services do offer up their services for free, but this is dependent on staying within the storage limits. This is generally okay if used by an individual, but for businesses – or even those who have a lot of files to store – a couple of Gigabytes is simply not enough. Upgrading storage can be quite costly overtime as they are usually paid for on a monthly basis.

Security is another cause for concern for many. As the technology is still relatively new, cyber security is still catching up. And although every precaution is taken to ensure files are kept safe, there is always the threat that breaches can happen.

Not So Fast

Flash drives are often still the best way of storing and transporting data. They have come a long way in recent years and can now store large amounts of data at the touch of a button.

So there you go. Flash drives – today – are still in many ways the best way to go, however during the next several years they will only continue to decline in importance as cloud storage providers continue to improve their service.

Now if I could only find that USB Flash drive with all those Star Trek episodes I had….

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What is the Cloud Anyway?

One of the questions I am constantly asked is “what is the cloud”? This seems to be something that truly confuses many people so if you are not so sure about what “the cloud” really is you are not alone. This is because this a very ambiguous concept. However it is also a “concept” that has transitioned into a working reality so we all need to understand this  if we want to benefit from all that “the cloud” has to offer while avoiding pitfalls along the way.

For the purpose of this article I will focus on the consumer cloud. What does the cloud offer to the regular joe. The Enterprise cloud (business) is a much more complex world and we will cover that in a later post.
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So What is “The Cloud” Anyway?
At its most basic, the cloud is internet-connected remote storage. When you save a photo to the cloud, what it means is that instead of (or in most cased i in addition to) that image being saved directly to the phone in your hand, it’s saved on another computer far away. While it’s stored remotely, it’s still connected to the internet, so you’re able to access that photo whether you’re on your phone, your laptop, or a friend’s computer.

Image result for the cloudThe idea of cloud storage is that you can store as much data as you want (files, photos, music, whatever) and not be constrained by one particular device’s physical limits.

Usually, you have to pay for cloud storage — think Dropbox or iCloud (Google Drive is also cloud storage). You’re paying for that company to store your files and keep them safe, accessible, and secure, no matter where you are or what device you’re on.

Similarly, there’s cloud streaming. Apps like Spotify or Pandora have copies of all the songs in their library stored on a network of internet-connected computers (called servers) somewhere. When you decide to stream a song, your phone plays a copy of that music file over Wi-Fi or your cellular connection. While you may have playlists or music libraries in the app, the songs themselves are not stored there — they’re saved remotely.

The Cloud’s First Appearance

Where the word “cloud” first got into the mix is a little up for debate. The first reported instance is circa 1996, when Compaq executives said that the internet would give rise to “‘cloud-computing’ enabled applications” (how prescient). But the first modern example was in 2006, when “the cloud” really started taking off thanks to Google’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt. At a Search Engine Strategies conference, Schmidt talked about Google services living “in a cloud somewhere”.

“We call it cloud computing — they should be in a ‘cloud’ somewhere. And that if you have the right kind of browser or the right kind of access, it doesn’t matter whether you have a PC or a Mac or a mobile phone or a BlackBerry or what have you…you can get access to the cloud.”

The buzzword does make some sense. Like a cloud hanging overhead, your data is accessible, but not right there next to you. (But with that sort of reasoning, it could have just as easily been called the blimp, the moon, sunshine, or air. I kind of like the idea of moon storage, personally.)

The Pros of the Cloud

Image result for the cloudNaturally, there are some pros and cons to the cloud. The benefits are that you don’t have to worry about running out of storage on your phone or computer. And if you break your phone, but all your data is backed up to the cloud, no biggie — restore it from the most recent back up and software-wise, your new phone will be exactly the same as your old one. And as apps such as Netflix and Spotify show, for a reasonable fee, you can get access to a huge library of movies, TV shows, and music, without having to download them yourself or buy them individually.

Access on the Go. Just think about this – through the use of a good cloud provider you have access to all of your files and apps no matter where you are and no matter what device you are using.

Security & Backup. You do not need to worry so much about it. That is because you cloud provider is doing this for you. Your files will be stored on several different servers spanning a large geographic region and encryption (like your bank uses) protects your data from prying eyes.

The Cons of the Cloud

I am a big believe in the cloud and suggest that it is fast on its way to becoming the way everyone manages their data. Hard drives and media for many people are on the way to something that we look back on like floppy discs. I will note a couple of common arguments regarding the cloud along with some remarks.

The dark side is that you are entrusting your personal data to a third-party company. If you upload a very personal file or document and then delete it from the cloud, you have no way of knowing that every bit of that file was actually erased from existence. And then if the government comes knocking (for whatever reason) and wants to look at your data, as Apple’s current battle against the FBI shows, data securely stored on your phone is inaccessible, but data stored remotely can be turned over quite easily with a warrant. This is probably the biggest concern anyone should have as it relates to controlling files in the cloud. Once they are the hands of another provider you do lose a little control, however in the vast majority of cases this will rarely impact most users. This is yet another case where law if lagging behind technology.

Another downside can be if you end up stranded without an internet connection. With no internet, you’ve got no access to your cloud-stored files. Here with a little planning you can avoid this scenario. Just about all cloud service providers allow you to “sync” your files. This means that your files can be both on your device – and the cloud. With this “sync” in place you can work on your files even during times that your files are off-line. When your device re-connects to the internet the files that have been changed or added sync with your cloud provider.

Now you know the basics of what the cloud is, where it came from, and how it works

To Be Continued…

In upcoming articles I will touch on the Enterprise Cloud as well as offer some of my suggestions in respect to the best cloud providers out there.

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iOS 9.3.5 Arrives to Fix a New Jailbreak Exploit

Only a few weeks after releasing iOS 9.3.4 to fix a jailbreaking related bug, Apple yesterday released iOS 9.3.5 to all supported iPhones and iPads. This latest update provides an “important security update” and arrives only a few weeks before the expected release of iOS 10, which is in its 5th public beta and one that I am currently using on my iPhone 6S.

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Apple also reports that these bugs were already fixed in the latest versions of the iOS 10 public and developer betas.

Apple’s security release notes states that three bugs have been fixed, two in the iOS kernel and one in WebKit. The bugs were reportedly able to actively exploit a hijacked iPhone of a political dissident. In addition these exploits would also allow a victim’s personal data to be accessed after opening a link sent in a text message. This would infect a user’s phone invisibly and silently.

The update is available now for everything that runs iOS 9: the iPhone 4S and newer; iPad 2 and newer; all iPad Minis and iPad Pros; and the fifth- and sixth-generation iPod Touches.

These security updates on your mobile devices are critical and everyone should take the time to apply them.

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Dark Twitter Has Arrived on iOS

darktwitterHere is a nice little tip if you use Twitter on your iPhone.

Twitter’s much sought after dark mode has finally made its way from Android to iOS.

If you’re not sure what exactly a “dark mode” does it’s actually quite simple. Dark Mode changes your background color to a darker grey, and tweet text to white.

How to Change Your Twitter to “Dark Mode”

To activate it, Twitter says you just need to tap the Me icon at the bottom of your screen, then the gear icon towards the top. Select ‘turn on dark mode,’ and away you go. If you ever want to go back to the boring old white background, the process is the same.

As you can see by the image I have mine setup and I like it! It is actually much easier to read.

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TOS 50 Book Mission # 19 – “Legacies Book 2 – Best Defense”

My TOS Book Mission in celebration of Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary continues with David Mack’s “Best Defense” which is part 2 of the special Legacies series.

Legacies is a trilogy celebrating Star Trek’s 50th anniversary. Spanning decades and several captains of the early Enterprise. The first novel, “Captain to Captain” by Greg Cox was and excellent start to this trilogy and of course left off with a major cliffhanger. “Best Defense” is just as action-packed, if not more so.

As the crew of the Enterprise tries to reclaim the Transfer Key (stolen in Book 1), the crew must deal with a mystery and stop a war from breaking out with the Klingons. Meanwhile, Una tries to rescue her old crew mates from a bizarre alternate universe. This story is full of suspense, political intrigue, and family drama which in many ways I enjoyed even more than the first in the trilogy. There was much jammed into this fast-paced story and for the most part it all works very well. We even get to see Dr. McCoy’s estranged daughter, JoAnna as well as Sarek who is trying to make peace with the Klingons. Oh and we even get to see Councilor Gorkon (Star Trek VI) which is great fun.

The story leads up to a cliffhanger and very much sets the tone for what is sure to be a exciting conclusion, “Purgatory’s Key” which arrives later this month.

Happy 50th Star Trek.

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The Extinction of Internet Explorer

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 1 made its debut in Windows 95 and was part of the Internet Jumpstart Kit in Microsoft Plus for the operating system. What’s interesting is that Internet Explorer 1 was the creation of a team with only six workers, but which rapidly expanded in the following years.

Now at version 11, Internet Explorer is no longer Microsoft’s top priority, as the company has introduced a new browser called Edge that’s offered as the default option on its new Windows operating systems.

Internet Explorer’s Scheduled Extinction 

The development of Microsoft Edge was necessary mostly because the software giant needed a fresh start to compete against the other browsers on the market, including here Chrome and Firefox, which made Internet Explorer obsolete over the years.

A new engine powering Edge and a wider array of features, which include support for extensions, are all supposed to make Microsoft’s new browser a stronger rival to both Chrome and Firefox, although its adoption is still impacted by the limited availability in Windows 10 – Microsoft has already said that it has no plans to bring Edge on previous Windows versions or on non-Windows operating systems.

Internet Explorer will no longer receive new versions, features, and improvements, but Microsoft will continue to patch it should new vulnerabilities and security issues be discovered. This way, users who are still running Internet Explorer, be they consumers or enterprises, can remain fully protected before migrating to Edge or a different browser.

As a result of Microsoft move with Edge the market share of Internet Explorer is quickly declining, and statistics have shown that Google Chrome has become the clear leader of the browser world with a share that exceeds 50 percent. Time will tell if Microsoft Edge is the eagerly anticipated Google Chrome and Firefox killer, but for the moment, Google continues to be the browser of choice for more than 50 percent of PC users out there.

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iOS 10 beta 5 Arrives on My iPhone 6S

After a very bad experience with the first incarnation of the iOS 10 beta I downgraded back to iOS 9 back in early July. Yesterday I decided to give iOS 10 beta 5 a chance and “upgraded” my iPhone 6S. So what did I find? Is it more stable that beta 1? Was it worth the 2 hours of install and setup time? Will iOS 10 bring new excitement to the iPhone user? Well lets take a look at what I have found so far during the past day with iOS 10 beta 5.

While the new update is still a bit buggy, there are some improvements over the beta 1.

If you have been on the beta for a while and have been fidgeting with the iOS Photos app, you will have noticed the new facial recognition feature that groups images based on faces. Well, if you have arranged everything on your iPhone in a long list of groups, it’s all going away. This is because the new update will scan through your folders once again and rearrange whatever is currently available.

If you noticed that your iPhone 6s Smart Battery case was misbehaving after the last update, this has now been fixed. The case that is available for the iPhone 6 and 6s should now work properly.

Bored of the iOS 9 lock sound when you lock the phone? Well, there is finally something new in iOS 10 beta 5 for you. The new lock sound seems to have moved on from click to sound of door closing.

The output icon seen in the Control Center gets an update as well. The same goes for the Music app, and other locations in iOS, that seem to be slightly tweaked.

The date now appears in the swipe to the right from the home screen and even in the notifications panel (swipe right in there again).

All-in-all it’s just some minor fine-tuning taking place in iOS 10 beta 5 compared to what we noticed in the earlier betas. While it iOS 10 may be a bit annoying in the notifications area and the Control Center for some, it may seem like a good move that spaces things out for others. Like it or hate it, the bolder new look is here to stay.

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Microsoft’s Wordflow Improves Your iPhone Keyboard

My favorite keyboard on the iPhone is brought to us by Microsoft and it is known as “Wordflow”. You can download it in the app store for free and it is about to get a wiz bang update which will make it even better.

Wordflow brings with it some nifty features like its one-handed mode (below image) and a lot of customization options. Since then, the keyboard didn’t really get a lot of new features. Following Microsoft, Google also launched its own keyboard app for the iPhone — called the Gboard. Google’s Gboard was very different from Microsoft’s WordFlow, and it wasn’t a run-of-the-mill third party keyboard app. It had Google Search built-in, which allowed you to easily search for things like nearby places, GIFs, emojis and share them very easily — without having to open any other app. It was that simple.

Microsoft is now – finally getting ready to take on Google’s Gboard. Microsoft is currently testing a major update for its WordFlow keyboard on the iPhone with a group of testers. The major update will introduce a number of new features to the app, which will put WordFlow ahead of Gboard pretty easily. In fact, the next update for WordFlow could possibly make you use it as the default keyboard on your iPhone.

IMG_0157With the next update for WordFlow, Microsoft is adding all the search-related features which you’ll find on Gboard — this includes GIFs, images, and even emojis. Additionally, you will also be bale to look up nearby places, videos, facts, weather forecasts, and a lot more. Needless to say, most of these Search features are powered by Bing. There is also some other features such as the ability to search for contacts and share phone numbers very easily, which can be very useful.

WordFlow will also support one of the best features of 3D Touch on the newest iPhones: the ability to move the cursor with 3D Touch. This is one of the main reasons why I didn’t use WordFlow as my default keyboard when Microsoft launched it back in April. And if you still want more customization features, Microsoft has some new themes coming with the next update, too.

So, to recap, here’s the full list of features coming to WordFlow:

  • Search for GIFs, images, and emojis to better express yourself
  • Find Contacts – when you need to share that person’s phone number
  • Look up restaurants, news, videos, facts, weather forecasts, and much more
  • New predictions, including GIFs: icons that show up as you type along with word suggestions that can help you express yourself better.
  • Control the cursor placement with 3D Touch
  • Accuracy improvements, particularly around space bar, and in arc mode
  • Support for iOS Text Replacement function
  • New themes!

Microsoft’s WordFlow keyboard certainly is one of the best third-party keyboards available on the iPhone. As for Android users, the company still doesn’t seem to have anything share for those using Android. And if you are on Windows Phone, you probably won’t be getting any of these new features on WordFlow anytime soon.

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Watch and Download Movie The Fate of the Furious (2017)

The Fate of the Furious (2017)

Released

6.7

Watch and Download Movie The Fate of the Furious (2017)
Director : F. Gary Gray.
Cast : Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson.
Genre : Action, Crime, Thriller.
Duration : 2 hours 16 minutes
Synopsis :
Movie ‘The Fate of the Furious’ was released in April 12, 2017 in genre Action. F. Gary Gray was directed this movie and starring by Vin Diesel. This movie tell story about When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of crime and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.
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GoldenEye Arrives on The PC

Recently I have been in a retro gaming mood. On my 65 inch TV I have been burning hours on Nintendo 8bit & 16bit games. Today I stumbled upon a fan remake of the classic Super Nintendo game, “GoldenEye” and it is awesome.

One of the greatest shooters of all time, GoldenEye has been remade for the PC by a group of developers. What is amazing is that this project apparently started 0 years ago! This week it received its first big update in three years.

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The team has updated every single map in the game, as well as added a few classics from the original like Dam and Bunker, bringing the total total tally up to 25. There are also new 3D models, refined to character controls, improved sound effects and mixing, and more

Given the Source engine itself is pretty old now, the system requirements are on the low end, so you don’t need to have a powerful graphics card to play. All you need is Windows 7 or higher and 4 GB of RAM. Also be aware that the download is about 2GB.

You can download the game at the source link below.

5.0 release on Goldeneye: Source

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