Is the Internet REALLY Required?

internet-marketing-strategy-traffic1Its been an interesting weekend…without internet service. It really makes me wonder…is the Internet really required?

Its been an interesting weekend. Aside from being Independence Day weekend here in The States, its also my wife’s birthday. Our boys, wanted to buy mom a tree for the yard, and after we brought it home, it was my job to plant it.

Unfortunatey for me, my wife picked a location that was directly in between the cable CO and the connection with our house, and so… yeah. The buried cable got cut as I was digging the hole for the new tree. Comcast, my cable internet provider told me that they wouldn’t be able to come out to the house to repair the cut cable until Sunday.

During this time, however, we’ve had no connectivity outside of the internal network in the house. I can access my resources – my multiple NAS drives and game consoles – but nothing outside, like the internet or any other outside network.

Back in the late 1980’s and throughout the 1990’s, the internet wasn’t required to be part of your computing experience. Today, I’ve got Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Backblaze (an online backup program), Google Apps, as well as any other number of online services that I connect to and use every time I turn on my computer. Without them, computing seems really silly.

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Its amazing how much you depend on the online world to make your computing experience whole. Thankfully, my access is restored. Comcast came out and reran a cable from the CO to my house; and while I could have used my iPhone or Freedom Pop to provide a connection to the internet, there, you have to worry about how much you’ve used and how much you have left. With my cable connection, bandwidth is pretty much unlimited.

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Browse the web in speed and style with Opera Web Browser

Its hard, sometimes to get past IE. There’s so much that its done wrong in the past.  Finding a replacement browser isn’t always easy.  This is one reason why I like Opera. It’s a web browsing alternative for Windows.

There are usually a few important reasons why you use a third party browser. More than likely, you’re looking for something, some important feature that you just can’t seem to find or find to your satisfaction with the OS’ default browser. This is where Opera for Windows can come in, and come on strong.

If you’re looking for search improvements, Opera has  you covered.  With Opera, you get predictive search suggestions, as you type, making searching quicker and easier. Common searches for the major search engines are now built in. You can type your query right into the address field, and Opera does the rest.  If you want to use a specific search engine, simply right click in the search field of a search engine’s website and select “Create Search”.

Opera allows you to customize it to your liking. With a catalog full of colorful themes, you can give the browser a look you love, instantly. You can also create a design of your own.  You can also add, remove or reposition buttons and toolbars or change the entire layout of the browser.

If you’re looking for technology support, Opera has that too. Its Carakan JavaScript engine has been further enhanced to run quicker than ever.  This enhanced engine makes Opera the fastest browser on Earth.  With support for current web standards, Opera supports interactive apps and multiplayer games, easily.  It has a high-performance Vega graphics library.  even pages with lots of images load quickly and smoothly.  It also supports geolocation.  You can share your location with websites like Google Maps, without risking your privacy.

Download Opera Web Browser

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Take your music anywhere you can get an internet connection with Pandora Radio

One of the hottest technologies in recent years, especially with the implementation of faster mobile broadband technology like HSPA+ and LTE, is audio streaming. While streaming in and of itself isn’t new, heck, other apps have been out for a while, one that has stood out since its introduction is Pandora Radio. It’s a music anywhere app; and its available on a computing device near you, including your Windows PC.

Regardless of where you are – in the car, at the gym, on the train – you can use Pandora Radio to listen wherever and whenever you’re in the mood for your music. The application comes in a number of mobile formats and includes a web-based version as well.

You can enjoy all of your stations right from your PC. You can also create new stations and rate songs using the standard thumbs up or thumbs down. Pandora on mobile devices is fully integrated with Pandora on the web, so everything you create and personalize on your device appears next time you’re back on the web and vice-versa.

Over and above the standard PC to mobile experience, you can easily set up and listen to all your stations in your vehicle. Some implementations of Pandora Radio even have voice support for song and station changes.

Pandora Radio is a great way to listen to your favorite music no matter where you are. As long as you have access to the internet, you can get your music no matter where you are. Its PC and mobile device integration provide a consistent experience with the software and service no matter where you are.

Download Pandora Sidebar Gadget

 

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Get a handle on your passwords and keep your private information private with Trend Micro’s DirectPass

With everyone and their brother getting online and creating this account on this website, and that account on another, security is an issue, especially if those websites have electronic stores on them. Having the right kind of password for your sites and stores is important and can be the difference between you buying with peace of mind and working through identity theft procedures. This is one of the reasons why I like DirectPass. It’s a password vault for Windows.

According to Trend Micro, 8.1 million adults were victims of identity fraud in 2010, totaling $37 billion in losses. It’s possible that this wouldn’t have been so severe if those people secured their web accounts and credentials with strong passwords.  The big problem though is that it can be very difficult to remember and manage all these different accounts and passwords this is where tools like DirectPass come in handy.


DirectPass is a secure password generator.  It provides a place to securely store confidential notes, is an automatic form-filler, and is a secure browser for when you visit banking and financial websites.  It automatically syncs your login information across multiple devices.

The app is free and allows you to store for up to 5 passwords.  If you want to store more than that, it’s going to cost you a bit.  The software is billed as a service and not a traditional licensed application.  You get unlimited passwords for $15 bucks a year You also get automatic web form filling, a secure browser for banking and financial sites as well as  auto mobile device synching.

DirectPass is a decent application. Coming from Trend Micro, a security and anti-malware expert, you know the application is secure and  won’t be a point of insecurity. The app is very good at what it does.  The free version does little more than give you a small taste of what the paid version does. With room for only 5 passwords, the rest of your information is unprotected without purchasing an annual subscription.

Honestly, the subscription model bothers me a bit. Once your subscription expires, you’re not able to access your information or get access to passwords. If you give the software a try and like it, the best thing to do is buy the two year subscription, as that way, you’ll have access to your secured information for at least 24  months.

download DirectPass

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Monitor network devices and services with NetGong

Nearly everyone with internet access today has their own network.  If you’ve got more than one computer hooked into a cable/DSL router at your house, you’ve got a home network. Many with a home network often share printers, share drive space and other devices. This is why I like NetGong. It’s a networking tool for Windows.

NetGong is a powerful, personal network monitoring tool. It allows users to tailor it to their particular area of responsibility, from a single server to a small-office LAN to hundreds of devices within a large corporate network. Corporate network managers can use NetGong to distribute responsibility among IS staffers and complement existing network management systems. Small businesses can employ NetGong for monitoring critical e-mail and Web servers.

Keeping your network resources up and running isn’t always easy. Having the right kind of monitoring tool is important to keeping running at peak efficiency. If things do go wrong, you’ll get the appropriate notifications.  This way, you’ll be able to get the right repair action done as quickly as possible.

In a home network environment, knowing if a shared printer or NAS is going bad is important.  Getting notification of the failure allows you to plan out the replacement cost so it doesn’t negatively impact your home budget.

download NetGong

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Remember things big and small from your everyday life with Evernote

One of the most important things that you can do with your mobile device, your computer or laptop is take notes. If you’re a student, educator, or business professional, then you know what I’m talking about. Keeping track of action items, assignments, lesson plans, etc., is something that everyone has an interest in. That’s one of the reasons why I like Evernote. This multifunction tool has specialized functionality in order to keep you organized.

Evernote makes it easy to remember big and small things from your everyday life, using your computer, phone, tablet and the web. With Evernote, all of your notes, web clips, files and images are made available on every device and computer you use, anytime, anywhere. All you need is a connected device and available bandwidth. Evernote does the rest.

With Evernote, you can remember the things that YOU like. You can instantly save everything cool and exciting you see online. You can snap a photo, record some audio and save it to a note and have that note, with that cool content sync to every one of your connected endpoints. As such, you can take notes anywhere. If you’re always on the move, your notes and important information should be too. With Evernote, those important items are on every computer, phone and device you use.

Since notebooks sync instantly, Evernote makes it easy to work with remote friends and colleagues. You can share your notes and collaborate on projects with friends, colleagues and classmates regardless of their location, time zone, etc.  Evernote can be used to bring project information and teams together regardless of who is working on which parts, and can centralize all your information.

Read full Review | Download Evernote for WindowsDownload Evernote for Mac

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Google’s Biggest Problem – Focus

I’ve been watching Google over the past few years and they have one major problem – focus.

Google has a lot to look forward this year – a reincarnation of GoogleTV, Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich, the LTE capable Galaxy Nexus, the list goes on and on really. Its clear, the company is moving and shaking. However, they have one big problem in my opinion – they lack consistent, company-wide focus.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen Google introduce a number of different products. It seems that they are GREAT at introducing ideas, but in my opinion, don’t spend enough time developing a clear strategy for each one. The following are a few of their more notable disasters.


Google Buzz
Buzz was Google’s first foray into social networking. Buzz was supposed to take on both Facebook and Twitter. It was received with a great deal of anger and frustration, as no one seemed to understand why Google bothered to create and introduce the service. As a result, failed miserably.


Google Wave
Wave was Google’s attempt to bring email, instant messaging and social networking together. It made a bit of a splash, but exited as less than a ripple. It was overly complicated and competed directly with Gmail, Google’s flagship, non-search related product.


Google Desktop Search
It did what you might think – helped you index and search through all of your local content.


Google is great at introducing and then retiring a great many products. Also of note, Google Gears, Google Video and Google Pages. All of these things were introduced with a great deal of fanfare, were adopted to a varying degree of success and penetration, and then either abandoned, ignored or half-heartedly supported as the public struggled with finishing the product’s definition (what it was supposed to do) and direction (where the product would eventually go).

Come back next time and we’ll address Google’s most successful product to date and try to figure out exactly what and where Google wants to take it.

read Google’s Biggest Problem – Focus Part 2

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Social networking creates big vulnerabilities

After an eight-month study, Palo Alto Networks (an enterprise security and firewall company) released a report that provides a global view into application usage by assessing 28 exabytes of application traffic from 1,253 enterprises between October 2010 and April 2011.

More than 40% of the 1,042 applications that Palo Alto Networks identified on enterprise networks can now use SSL or hop ports to increase their availability within corporate networks. This segment of applications will continue to grow as more applications follow Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail, who all have enabled SSL either as a standard setting or as a user-selectable option in an effort to create the perception of improved security for its end-users.

Contrary to popular opinion, social networking has not meant the death knell of webmail and instant messenger (IM). Compared with 12 months ago, IM traffic, as a percentage of overall traffic has more than doubled, while webmail and social networking increased nearly five times.

As browser-based file sharing applications now use peer-based technology and add clients as a “premium”, the question arises: will the business and security risks introduced by browser-based file sharing follow the same path as those that were introduced by P2P? The frequency of file transfer applications – 92% of FTP, 82% of P2P, and 91% browser-based file sharing—each provide business value, but represent security and business risks that may include exploits, malware vectors, and data loss.

Rene Bonvanie, vice-president of marketing at Palo Alto Networks declared:

“This data should be a wake-up call for IT teams who assume encrypted traffic is mainly HTTPS or for those who still believe that social networking usage is not taking place on their corporate networks.”

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