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that is a pair of articles for road warriors: one about mo-


bile security solutions (p.39) and one about apps that are Fast tech support especially
particularly useful for professional travelers (p.42). for traveling professionals
IN BRIEF
TECHNOLOGY NEWS

❚ Juniper Announces QFabric new business opportunities and and SkyArchive will provide
Data Center Architecture makes real-time business pos- secure storage.
By announcing its new QFabric sible for the first time,” said Jake
data center architecture, Juniper Klein, SAP VP, Data and Analytic ❚ Teradata Buys The Rest Of
Networks has taken direct aim Engines, in a press release. Aster Data, Aims For “Big Data”
at competitor Cisco Systems in a Teradata, which provides
bid to draw customers away with ❚ HP Offers New data warehousing, database
promises of higher performance Peace-Of-Mind Services software, and analytics for
and greater ROI. Among other HP’s new software services, enterprise businesses, acquired
benefits to using QFabric, Juniper released under the name HP 11% ownership of Aster Data,
is touting the architecture’s Premier Services, are geared a data management and ana-
ability to permit more visibility, toward large businesses that lytics company based in San
❚ Seagate Ships Easily provide more security enforce- can benefit from assistance Carlos, Calif., late last year.
Configurable 3TB ment controls, and offer more managing HP software and in- Now Teradata will acquire
Desktop Drive virtual machines per VMWare tegrated third-party software. the remaining 89% for $263
With 3TB of storage, Seagate’s ESX host (five times more than “Offerings such as HP Premier million. The San Diego-based
new Barracuda XT desk- the competition). “With Juniper’s Services can provide organiza- Teradata plans to continue
top hard drive offers what approach to securing QFabric,” tions with the flexibility and support for Aster Data cus-
Seagate calls “the highest said Mark Bauhaus, executive cost predictability required to tomers and transition Aster
available capacity for home VP and GM, in a statement, “we manage and maintain enter- Data’s employees to Teradata.
servers and workstations.” enable the next generation of prise software across the entire “Teradata is recognized as an
The key to the Barracuda XT’s massive scale and comprehen- life cycle—from planning and innovator and leader in data
success, however, will likely sive security while at the same deployment to support and warehousing and the addition
be its included DiscWizard time reducing the complexity of ongoing upgrades,” said IDC’s of Aster Data will enable us
software, which provides a the data center.” Elaina Stergiades in a press to leapfrog into a leadership
workaround for legacy Win- release. HP Software Premier position in the emerging big
dows XP systems and other ❚ SAP & IBM Work Together Services are available in four data market,” said Scott Gnau,
computers that wouldn’t oth- On Real-Time Analytics packages to match companies’ Teradata chief development
erwise tolerate a drive with SAP’s new In-Memory Appli- varying needs. officer, in a press release.
a capacity larger than 2.1TB ance (SAP HANA) software is
without upgrades. The Bar- designed to capture data in mem- ❚ Ingres Outlines Cloud ❚ Information Builders Makes
racuda XT is shipping now. ory from any source and analyze Strategy, Introduces SkySafe Real-Time Mobile BI
it in real time, essentially yielding Ingres, known for its VectorWise Perhaps your company is
❚ VMware Buys Web App database technology for interac- eyeing the potential benefits of
Development Company tive reporting and business real-time business data analyt-
VMware announced its ac- intelligence, recently announced ics—that is, the ability to view
quisition of the San Francisco- a new cloud solutions roadmap. where the business is at in
based software company At the center of Ingres’ strategy terms of, say, sales or finan-
WaveMaker, which makes is SkySafe, a platform for build- cials, at any given moment.
tools that help non-developers ing cloud Information Builders seeks to
create Java-based Web apps. instant business applica- capitalize on that interest with
According to VMware’s intelligence. IBM tions for its new WebFOCUS Mobile
SpringSource Team Blog, and SAP tested the storing BI. Using WebFOCUS Active
the acquisition will feed VM- software using its and work- Technology to gather informa-
ware’s overall cloud strategy own optimized hardware and ing with large amounts of data. tion and optimize it in the
by fostering increased interest SAP ERP database information Ingres says its SkySafe services form of small screen-friendly
in Web app development and to demonstrate how well the will be suitable for public or charts and graphs, the new
usage. WaveMaker’s software technology works with IBM’s private clouds and are customiz- product delivers information
is open-source, and VMware 3850 series servers. “By dramati- able based on an organization’s to any mobile device with a
plans to continue offering its cally outperforming traditional needs. SkyInsight is a related Web browser, including An-
software as open-source. disk-based systems on analytical service that will offer interactive droid smartphones, the iPhone
queries, SAP HANA opens reporting and analysis, or iPad, and BlackBerrys.

4 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


IN BRIEF
TECHNOLOGY NEWS

❚ Alcatel-Lucent Envisions Wi-Fi hotspot. Verizon expects Marketplace provides access ❚ Kaspersky Lab Expands
An End To Cell Towers to offer nationwide LTE cover- to hundreds of applications Mobile Security Suite
In touting the benefits of its new age by 2013. and services. Russian digital security
lightRadio technology, Alcatel- company Kaspersky Lab
Lucent points to the currently ❚ Logitech’s LifeSize ❚ Imation Acquires has updated its mobile
visible proliferation of cellular Introduces Mobile Streaming Encryption Company security software to support
masts and towers. Designed LifeSize, a division of input The Oakdale, Minn.,-based Ima- Android and BlackBerry
to help wireless carriers save peripheral manufacturer Logi- tion, data storage and wireless devices. The software previ-
energy costs, reduce the carbon tech, announced the addition of gear manufacturer and owner ously supported only Win-
footprint of their networks, and mobile streaming features to its of the Memorex and XtremeMac dows Mobile and Symbian;
generally reduce total cost of LifeSize Video Center telepres- brands, has acquired the Louis- the updated version, Mobile
ownership, lightRadio technol- ence solution. LifeSize Video ville, Colo.,-based EncryptX for Security 9, does not cover
ogy handles 2G, 3G, LTE, and Center users, whether remote an undisclosed sum. (BeCompli- iOS or Windows Phone 7. In
multiple frequencies, the com- workers or business travelers, ant is the company that does addition to threat-blocking
pany says. Alcatel-Lucent has can now receive live and on- business as EncryptX.) EncryptX features, the software also
essentially dismantled the cell demand video in high definition develops encryption software for aids in theft prevention, the
tower concept and distributed on iPads, iPhones, and other mo- use in USB storage devices, on recovery or remote control
the components that make up bile devices via Wi-Fi or cellular optical media such as DVDs, and of stolen devices, and mo-
a cell tower into small cubes connection. Additional features in PCs. Imation says 10 employ- bile content filtering.
that are easier to install and now available include adaptive ees will transfer from EncryptX
manage. Businesses and con- streaming (to vary the bit rate to Imation. Imation’s recently ❚ Google Introduces
sumers will be pleased with the depending on the connection and launched Defender Collection Certification Program For
technology’s ability to expand device) and cloud storage. uses FIPS (Federal Information Google Apps
network capacity while remain- Processing Standard) cryptogra- By Google’s own count, its
ing nearly invisible. ❚ Microsoft Introduces phy for high-level security. Google Apps suite is now
Cloud-Based CRM used by more than 3 million
❚ Verizon Releases Microsoft is taking aim at its ❚ Intel Launches Thunderbolt businesses worldwide. In
First 4G LTE competitors’ Connectivity order to help developers,
Smartphone cloud-based Intel’s new Thunderbolt tech- authorized resellers, and
The Thunder- CRM offer- nology enables high-speed those who service and
Bolt by HTC ings with connections between devices, support Google Apps, the
has the distinc- its new such as between computers and company introduced the
tion of being Microsoft high-definition displays. Thun- Google Apps Certification
the first 4G Dynamics derbolt operates at 10GBps, Program. The program is
smartphone CRM Online thereby making short order of designed to give recognition
from Verizon service, now media and other large-volume and additional credibility to
Wireless, out of beta data transfers between devices, those IT professionals and
which in past and in full including streaming and down- resellers who prepare for
months has release. For loading video and backing and pass the exam.
aggressively users accus- up to storage devices. Apple
expanded tomed incorporated Thunderbolt tech-
its 4G LTE to Micro- nology into its new line of
(Long Term soft Office MacBook Pro laptop
Evolution) products, Dy- computers.
networks and now provides LTE namics CRM Online provides a
coverage in 39 markets and 60 familiar layout. For IT depart-
airports. The ThunderBolt runs ments, Microsoft says the
the Android 2.2 OS and features product offers fast and simple
a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, deployment, whether that
8GB memory (with support for deployment is cloud-
a 32GB microSD card), and the based or on-premises.
ability to create an 8-connection The new Microsoft Dynamics

PC Today / April 2011 5


IN BRIEF
TECHNOLOGY NEWS

STARTUPS

❚ Big Funding For A Simple Concept Capital Partners. In a blog post, September 2010 in a round led by
It is becoming a common strategy Box.net co-founder and CEO Aaron Avalon Ventures. On the heels of the
among Internet startups: Give your Levie said the funding will help the Gmail problem, it’s quite possible
product away for free and wait for company continue to focus on fast, that additional funding for Back-
businesses to start paying for it. reliable service; add support for upify is just around the corner.
mobile platforms other than the cur-
rently supported Android and Apple ❚ Two Security Startups For
iOS; and expand business services Enterprises To Watch
with synchronization services, enter- There is no shortage of digital se-
prise integration, collaboration fea- curity companies nowadays, but at
tures, and more. least two intriguing startups in that
category are worth noting.
❚ A Different Kind Of Cloud Backup CipherCloud (www.ciphercloud
As February drew to a close, approxi- .com), founded in 2010 and located in
mately 150,000 Gmail users found their Cupertino, Calif., offers an extra layer
accounts had been reset, with a glitch of security to enterprises using cloud
having wiped out their email messag- services. CipherCloud works by
es and contact information. By early encrypting the data (according to
March, Google had restored many a company’s customizations) that
Online content management
Assuming there’s a good concept of the accounts, but heavy users re- flows between users and Web-
company Box.net recently
gained $48 million in funding. behind the product (in this case, we’re mained affected for longer (and might based applications without affecting
referring to Web-based services), the still be waiting for their data). It’s the apps themselves. At this year’s
idea is that individuals will flock to this type of situation that Backupify RSA security conference, Cipher-
the product. If enough of those indi- (www.backupify.com) addresses with Cloud was named one of the top 10
viduals also have a professional in- its automated backup service. most innovative companies.
terest in the product, it will become Backupify is different from other The San Francisco-based Okta
popular in the workplace. And once cloud storage companies in that it of- (www.okta.com), founded in 2009
it takes hold in the workplace, IT de- fers a Web service for Web services. by ex-Salesforce.com execs Todd Mc-
partments and business owners will That is, it’s an online service that backs Kinnon and Frederic Kerrest, offers
take note, and many will begin paying up information from Google Apps, services that help businesses control
for bulk licenses. Facebook, and Zoho accounts, among the sign-in process for the Web-based
This is the path that Box.net (www others, via personal, business, and apps they use. Whether the apps are in
.box.net) has taken. The Palo Alto, enterprise-level accounts. The com- the cloud or on the network, Okta’s on-
Calif.,-based content management pany also snatched up TweetBackup demand identity management plat-
company offers 5GB of Web-based in November 2010, clearing out some form brings them all together and sim-
storage free, 25GB for $9.99 per month, competition and adding Twitter ac- plifies sign-on and access. An end user
or 50GB for $19.99 per month to indi- count backup to its offerings. can, for example, go to a single sign-on
viduals. Interested businesses can get Backupify, with headquarters in home page to access all of the apps the
their feet wet with 500GB of cloud Cambridge, Mass., is currently still company supports. Okta’s financial
storage for $15 per user per month. Be- working with the $4.5 million in backers include Andreessen Horow-
yond that, there are a wealth of enter- Series A funding it received in itz, Floodgate, and Ron Conway.
prise features (including encryption,
branding, and Salesforce.com integra-
tion) available for custom pricing.
Boosting Box.net’s advance in the
cloud storage market, Meritech Capi-
tal Partners recently led a $48 million
funding round that also included An-
dreessen Horowitz and Emergence

Backupify caters to individuals and busi-


nesses that rely on Web-based services and
want the data stored within them secured.

6 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


IN BRIEF
TECHNOLOGY NEWS

STATS

❚ Tablets To Impinge On ❚ Who Are B2B Customers & Where Do They Come From?
Computer Sales Given the soaring popularity of Facebook among consumers
Gartner lowered its forecast and, increasingly, in the business world, it probably wouldn’t
for PC sales in 2011 and 2012 surprise you to learn that 37% of customers connecting to B2B
based on marked growth sites did so using Facebook, but that figure comes from a Gigya
in the tablet market and study from May 2010. According to the latest figures from Gig-
diminished sales of notebook ya, a company that makes Web sites social networking-friendly,
computers, which are part of LinkedIn is taking a bite out of Facebook; in July 2010, 3% of
the PC category. Gartner ad- customers used LinkedIn IDs to log into B2B sites, whereas in
justed its forecast for PC sales January 2011, 20% of B2B customers used LinkedIn IDs. Below
to 10.5% growth for 2011 over are the reported job functions of current LinkedIn users.
2010 (down from 15.9%) and
13.6% growth for 2012 over
2011 (down from 14.8%).

❚ Mobile Broadband To ❚ Apple’s Mobile


Reach 1B People This Year Browser Is Deemed
Mobile broadband providers The Fastest
should enjoy a banner year The results are in from
in 2011. According to ABI Web performance
Research, mobile broadband company Gomez:
subscriptions worldwide are Apple’s mobile brows-
growing in number and will ers are faster than
reach 1 billion. ABI also re- those of Google and
ports that there are currently Research In Motion. In
5 billion mobile subscrip- a measurement of load
tions, with about 20% of ❚ Android Knocks Apple Out Of Top Spot times, the mobile ver-
those categorized as mobile According to the latest Nielsen Company report from the sion of Apple’s Safari
broadband. The number of smartphone battlefield, Android has nudged its nose in front of Web browser turned
mobile subscribers could Apple’s iOS for the most popular mobile operating system. An- in the fastest results
reach 6.6 billion by 2016. droid users skew slightly younger than iOS users (6% of those on the iPad (with an
Android users are between the ages of 18 and 24 compared average load time of
❚ 50% Of IT Departments to 4% of iOS users), says Nielsen, but generally age is not a 8.4 seconds). Safari on
Use Open-Source Software significant factor when it comes to choosing an OS. Apple and the iPhone was next
Although Gartner collected Research In Motion tied for the No. 1 spot among smartphone in line (19.7 seconds),
the data from 547 IT leaders manufacturers. Here are the overall results: Google’s Chrome
between July and August browser took third
2010, it only recently released place (36.5 seconds),
the results: More than half and BlackBerry Brows-
use open-source software as er last (61 seconds).
part of their companies’ IT
strategies. By comparison,
five years ago less than 10%
of respondents reported using
open-source software. The
report claims that the use
of proprietary software has
declined in rough proportion
to the increased use of open-
source software, but adds that
software is increasingly being
developed in-house, as well.

PC Today / April 2011 7


ESSENTIAL BUSINESS
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

KEY POINTS
▲ Cicso Systems forecasts
that from 2010 to 2015
“global mobile data traffic
will increase 26-fold.”

▲ The proliferation of
iPhones, Android devices,
and other smartphones are
putting a heavy strain on
wireless carriers’ cellular
networks.

▲ Carriers are easing


network congestion by
offloading traffic via Wi-Fi- The
based solutions.

▲ Corporations, business- Wireless


DATA
es, and organizations with
numerous smartphone
users are using Wi-Fi,
femtocells, picocells, and
other approaches to relieve
network traffic.

DRAIN
How Businesses Can Address
Mobile Network Congestion
by Blaine Flamig

Take a look around. Odds are good those around marketplace, the more strain that’s being put on
you are tooling away on a smartphone or tablet. cellular networks.
Both devices are enjoying immense popularity, For perspective, consider Cisco Systems’ recent
which is great if you’re a manufacturer. For cellular “Visual Networking Index” report, which calls for
carriers, though, the proliferation of iPhones and global mobile data traffic to increase 26-fold between
Android devices alone is a source of an intensifying 2010 and 2015, expanding at a CAGR of 92% to reach
headache called “cellular data congestion.” Simply “6.3 exabytes per month by 2015.” Cisco also reports:
put, the more smartphones and tablets entering the r NJMMJPOUBCMFUTDPOOFDUFEUPNPCJMFOFUXPSLTJO
2010, each consuming five times more mobile data
traffic (405MB monthly) than the average smart-
In its Visual phone (79MB monthly)
Networking Index, 6,000,000 6.3 EB r #Z BUZQJDBMTNBSUQIPOFXJMMHFOFSBUF(#
Cisco forecasts of traffic monthly, a 16 times increase from 2010
mobile data traffic r *O   DPOOFDUFE UBCMFUT XJMM DSFBUF BT NVDI
will increase 26-fold
traffic (248 petabytes monthly) as “the entire global
from 2010 to 2015.
(Figures are in exa- mobile network in 2010” (242 petabytes monthly)
3.8 EB r #Z   NPSF UIBO  CJMMJPO EFWJDFT XJMM DPO-
bytes per month.)
3,000,000
nect to mobile networks, roughly equaling the
world’s population
2.2 EB

1.2 EB Given this, it’s understandable why carriers are ac-


tively implementing and experimenting with various
0.6 EB
0.24 EB solutions to offload cellular network traffic, particu-
0
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 larly where high concentrations of smartphone users
gather and hit the network at once, such as sports
SOURCE: CISCO SYSTEMS “VISUAL NETWORKING INDEX,” 2011

8 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


ESSENTIAL BUSINESS
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

stadiums and urban business districts. For relief, by doctors” adding traffic to hospital networks
some carriers are installing and/or leasing Wi-Fi- already being tapped by users trying to access
related equipment from BelAir Networks, Cisco, electronic records in a timely manner, Kaul says.
Motorola, Ruckus Wireless, and others rather At universities, large numbers of student-owned
than building new, expensive (and unsightly) cell devices coupled with schools distributing net-
towers. Following in carriers’ footsteps are busi- books, smartphones, and other devices to students
nesses and organizations with high volumes of are contributing to congestion, Kaul says.
smartphone and tablet users doing the same. Similarly, congestion is cropping up in en-
terprises where IT departments distribute iPads
The iPhone Phenomenon and smartphones to employees, Kaul says. Aging
Perhaps the best example of a carrier addressing network infrastructures aren’t helping matters.
cellular network congestion is AT&T, which cre- “An IT manager of a Fortune 500 company was
ated a “Wi-Fi Hotzone,” or widespread Wi-Fi telling me the infrastructure that’s in place on his
From a corporate office
hotspot, in Times Square to ease mobile traffic, corporate campus is actually 10 years old,” Kaul
perspective, network
which jumped rapidly after adding the iPhone to says. “The kind of traffic they’re seeing now, the congestion hits “across all
its network. William Ho, Current Analysis VP of infrastructure is just not able to deal with that types of offices and all types
consumer services, says AT&T became “the poster amount of traffic. So the IT manager . . . went out of businesses,” says Aditya
child” in this area due to the iPhone’s “ease of use” and bought some femtocells and picocells out of Kaul, ABI Research analyst.
translating into users drawing more bandwidth, his own money to put them on [the network] just
something AT&T didn’t anticipate. to deal with the problem; it’s about that bad in
“They took PR hits for that,” Ho says. some cases.” From a corporate office perspective,
“Because of the lessons they learned all the other network congestion hits “across all types of offices
carriers have followed suit to beef up their back- and all types of businesses,” Kaul says.
haul specifically and the network to offset any
negative PR. I think everyone is doing a good job The Best Relief
of beefing up the backhaul, which is really the The best approach for businesses seeking to
possible bottleneck, as well as cell sites and tech- alleviate network congestion is subjective, Kaul
nology to increase downlink capability.” says, as “different situations need different solu-
Beyond Wi-Fi-based solutions, carriers (in- tions.” Expanding “Wi-Fi access points is a costly
cluding T-Mobile) are turning to femtocells to proposition for a lot of businesses,” Kaul adds, but
boost 3G performance where signal strength is for those with infrastructure already in place, tech-
poor or lacking. Picocells, meanwhile, are turning nologies such as Kineto’s Smart Wi-Fi application,
up in shopping malls, transportation stations, which Kineto claims is loaded on more than 1 mil-
and office buildings to extend and add cellular lion Android devices, is good for enabling a device
coverage. Distributed antennas are more expen- to automatically switch from 3G to Wi-Fi upon en-
sive, says Aditya Kaul, ABI Research analyst, tering the building, Kaul says. “From an operating
but serve a purpose in sprawling spaces such system perspective, from an Android perspective,
as airports, stadiums, and corporate campuses from an iPhone perspective, I think that will be-
measuring 100,000 to 200,000 square feet or more. come much more seamless as you go along,” Kaul
Kaul says femtocells have matured in recent says. “It will become much more intelligent. The
years and are “definitely a solution that’s gaining phone will be able to switch to Wi-Fi or 3G based
a lot of interest from the operator community. on what’s the most ideal connection.”
We’re seeing a lot of trials going on at the mo- Ho says, “It’s understood that within your
ment” as opposed to years past when operators own confines, if you’ve boosted your Wi-Fi net-
were hesitant to roll them out due to uncertain- work it should alleviate all the congestion and
ties in how they’d behave on the network. “Over not really go out toward the cellular, which is a
the last few years, a lot of doubts have been taken slower user experience for all the employees.”
care of,” Kaul says, and consumer deployment Outside those confines, he says, it’s an “under-
“will transition to the enterprise in 2011.” appreciated fact that Wi-Fi is on certain carriers Kineto claims its Smart Wi-Fi
within their smartphones and built into mobile application is currently
In The Workplace broadband plans with other carriers. For ex- available on 1 million-plus
Android devices to turn “any
Two organization types increasingly dealing ample, AT&T does a very good job in having a
Wi-Fi access point into an ex-
with network congestion are hospitals and univer- very large pool of Wi-Fi hotspot assets. As part tension of the mobile network,
sities. In hospitals, system integrators have seen of your data plan you get access to all those Wi-Fi providing an effective offload
huge “growth in the number of iPhones owned areas in a seamless manner.” ▲ solution for operators.”

PC Today / April 2011 9


ESSENTIAL BUSINESS
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

Keep It Clear
How Seven Vendors Help Improve Your Wireless Experience
by William Van Winkle

he more people rely on cellular and 802.11- add “picocells” at the street level. In fact, some pico-

T based communications, the more risk there


is of each user’s wireless performance being
impacted in a high-traffic area. Fortunately, these
cells can provide both cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity
from the same device. BelAir’s Web-based manage-
ment system, called BelView, can scale to handle
seven companies have tailored key products to 50,000 such base stations within one network, and it
help mitigate congestion and make sure that every runs on commercial server equipment. BelAir notes a
user has a rewarding experience. coverage area of 2 square kilometers per picocell and
recommends 30 to 40 cells per square kilometer.
Aruba Networks BelAir Networks’ comprehensive product and ser-
www.arubanetworks.com vice portfolio spans from the modest, dual-radio BelAir
A major focus for Aruba’s wireless strategy is 20 AP to the BelAir 200D, a four-radio multi-service
its Adaptive Radio Management implementation, switch router meant for defense applications. These
found in many of its AP (access point) and con- generally are not off-the-shelf SKUs, so BelAir provides
troller products. ARM addresses several key areas, ample planning, deployment, and support services for
such as airtime fairness (“fair” distribution to cli- environments ranging from city hotzones and perfor-
ents of wireless network resources), optimizing mance venues to special events and retail chains.
traffic according to client type, maximizing 802.11n
performance when 802.11b/g legacy clients are Cisco Systems
present, dynamic shifting of clients into optimal www.cisco.com
radio spectrums, and co-channel interference man- In the Wi-Fi world, congestion is simply another
agement. Overall, Aruba notes that ARM should term for competing traffic. There are only a relative
double the average throughput for dual-band cli- handful of non-overlapping RF (radio frequency)
ents, plus it helps assure enterprise-grade VoIP channels available to APs and client devices. The best
quality even with 100Mbps of traffic on an AP. channel for any given device is generally the one with
For small businesses, the Aruba AP-92/93 and the least amount of ambient signal competition, but
AP-105 showcase ARM for a fairly low entry price. discovering and profiling just how much RF activity
All have 2x2 dual-band MIMO antenna configura- exists in a given channel has historically required a lot
tions, and the AP-92 features external antennas. The of time and costly equipment. Cisco’s CleanAir tech-
AP-92 and AP-93 use single radios while the 105 nology, embedded in several of its AP and WLAN
sports two radios. With these APs, the best way to controller families, performs this analysis on the fly.
leverage ARM is through one of Aruba’s 600-series CleanAir detects a host of RF interference sources,
controllers. Check out Aruba’s ARM literature and examines how they could impact Wi-Fi performance,
you’ll find the side-by-side pie charts showing how can visually plot this interference on a floor plan of
under normal conditions, some clients in crowded the business, and dynamically self-optimizes the net-
environments get almost no bandwidth while others work by changing device channels as needed.
get vastly skewed amounts. With ARM, the band- The downside of CleanAir is that it’s not back-
width distribution markedly evens out. ward-compatible with existing AP infrastructure.
The good news is that Cisco has plenty of device
BelAir Networks options throughout its Aironet 1550 outdoor AP and
www.belairnetworks.com Aironet 3500 indoor AP families. Cisco’s Wireless
BelAir Networks targets wireless carriers with Control System software ties all CleanAir products
a wide range of products aimed primarily at wire- together and makes managing them straightforward.
less carriers. One of these product segments targets
3G/4G data offload, allowing more cellular traffic Juniper Networks
to flow within high-use areas by shifting data com- www.juniper.net
munications from the cellular network onto Wi-Fi Juniper often discusses cellular congestion along
connections. Instead of adding more towers, carriers with 3G-to-4G migration in the same breath, and

10 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


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EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

if you’re a wireless carrier, it’s important to keep Wireless combines its patented Wi-Fi technology
both issues in mind. As overall traffic volume ex- with a Wireless Services Gateway system. Ruckus
plodes, it’s important not only to increase speeds handles Wi-Fi instability by applying advanced
but also preserve quality of service. Juniper ad- beamforming techniques through adaptive antenna
dresses this need with its MX 3D Series Universal array technology to control the form and direction
Edge Ethernet routers and Junos software platform. of Wi-Fi transmissions. Each Ruckus AP integrates
The MX family starts with the MX80, a 2U height a miniaturized antenna array that constantly selects
model with 80Gbps of system capacity. At the top the best performing signal path for any packet
end, the MX960 is a 16U powerhouse with 2.6Tbps destined to a given client. The technology also re-
capacity and 120Gbps per slot. jects interference by not processing the noise that
The key ingredient in Juniper’s offloading is its often overpowers conventional APs. In essence,
Traffic Direct functionality. In Juniper’s words, this whereas Cisco changes channels to avoid interfer-
“optimizes mobile data traffic by combining intel- ence, Ruckus isolates the exact path between AP
ligent subscriber and application policies with MX and client and ignores all other traffic. This gives
3D Series scaling to offload bulk data traffic directly cellular operators the ability to fill in coverage holes
to the Internet.” Additionally, Juniper’s Junos plat- with more reliable Wi-Fi.
form uses software from the company’s Ankeena Ruckus has added a new Mobile Wi-Fi gateway
Networks acquisition to optimize live and on-de- device it calls the Ruckus WSG. This device func-
mand video streaming to mobile screens. This is done tions as a massively scalable wireless LAN con-
by analyzing available bandwidth to the client and troller but adds access gateway capabilities that
adapting download streams to those conditions. interface with existing cellular core services, such
as authentication, policy enforcement, billing, and
Motorola Solutions provisioning. From the edge of the radio access
www.motorolasolutions.com
network, the WSG aggregates all Wi-Fi traffic and
Motorola Solutions offers a wide range of voice presents it to the cellular core, where it looks like
network optimization products, but an interesting any other cellular data traffic and allows operators
twist on the usual cellular offload lineup arrives to manage Wi-Fi traffic more easily.
in the form of Motorola’s TEAM VoWLAN (Voice
over WLAN) smartphones. These are ruggedized Xirrus
handsets that run Windows Mobile 6.5 (hope- www.xirrus.com
fully, Windows Phone 7 models will follow soon) Xirrus offers a complete line of enterprise-class
and transmit in 802.11a/b/g and Bluetooth. The Wi-Fi APs featuring up to 16 radios and 60 an-
EWP2000/3000 series phones are not cellular; rather, tennas per AP. These focus into a 3x3 MIMO pat-
they run enterprise-grade VoIP to a single handset tern for specified throughput of up to 300Mbps per
and leverage PBX telephony to eliminate the need radio. Xirrus promises up to twice the range and
for conventional desk phones or workplace cell four times the coverage area of a typical AP. While
phones. The handsets provide push-to-talk function- Xirrus’ circular AP design is reminiscent of Ruckus’
ality, text messaging, Web browsing, and other tools beamforming approach (although the radio signal
for keeping employees communicating on the go processing methods are different), much of Xirrus’
without running afoul of cellular network conges- benefit lies in its Management System’s load bal-
tion. Of course, Motorola also offers a wide range ancing algorithms. By monitoring the real-time
of mesh WAN, WLAN, and network management conditions of all radios in an array, Xirrus helps
products for handling dense wireless environments. to dissuade clients from automatically connecting
Interestingly, Motorola sold off its wireless net- with the strongest signal.
working business last summer to Nokia Siemens If you imagine 100 clients in a room with one AP
Networks. By the middle of this year, NSN expects over the crowd and two APs in adjacent rooms, the
to release its Smart WLAN Connectivity Solution, first AP will have the strongest signal and thus be a
which will automatically transition mobile client magnet for most of the traffic regardless of conges-
connections from cellular to Wi-Fi without any tion and bandwidth conditions. Xirrus “coaxes” con-
manual intervention on the user’s part. nections between clients and APs with weaker signal
strength. The lower raw bandwidth is offset by the
Ruckus Wireless lack of congestion, resulting in higher throughput
www.ruckuswireless.com
for everyone on the WLAN. Xirrus AP models span
To help mobile operators deal with the wall of from the four-radio XN4 to the 16-radio XN16,
data traffic hitting their cellular networks, Ruckus which can support 1,536 users per array. ▲

PC Today / April 2011 11


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EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

Seamless Access
For SMBs
Juniper Networks’ Solutions For The Wireless Data Drain
by Rod Scher

The wireless data load is doubling every year, and that SMBs will also be innovators—both from an ap-
companies are looking for ways to deal with that plication standpoint and in terms of how they harness
increase so that their employees or customers don’t the network—so the switching, the routing, the secu-
find themselves without connectivity. We spoke with rity, and the rest of Juniper Networks’ portfolio will
Kittur Nagesh, senior director, Mobility & Security enable them to innovate new business applications to
Solutions Marketing for Juniper Networks, to get his drive productivity and use the network as a competi-
take on the issues and how they might be addressed. tive differentiator to run their businesses.
Smartphones and iPads are becoming compute
What are the main connectivity issues with devices, so we’re extending capabilities and also
Q which SMBs are dealing these days?
Voice, SMS, and data connectivity were the foun-
providing business-level VPN and SSL security
services so that there is ubiquity and so SMBs don’t
A dations for mobile operators, but in the last few
years, data has taken off
necessarily have to think about the network, but can
instead focus on what they’re doing with it; we’ll
exponentially, and in the handle all the seamlessness that is required for these
coming years that will con- types of applications. We’ve also considered this no-
tinue unabated—so much so tion of unifying the wireless and wireline parameter
that “Internet” will become for these networks by thinking through the integra-
increasingly synonymous tion of the switching portfolio with our wireless
with “mobile Internet.” portfolio, which allows us to create a unified param-
eter, regardless of whether it’s wireline or wireless,
What does that mean for the operators, then, in an almost access-agnostic manner.
Q who may or may not be SMBs themselves?
Operators need to make sure that they not only
A manage the data deluge, but also deliver on the
promise of ubiquity and experience for their con-
Q How does the “offload” issue fit in here?
The portfolio integration helps lay the foun-
sumers: first, to keep them and reduce the churn;
second, to deliver a compelling experience so that
A dation for intelligent offloads. For example,
if you’re doing something on the cellular side,
they can command premium pricing; and third, from you can walk into your home office and intel-
an SMB’s standpoint, so that they can offer “sticky” ligently offload to wireless. People don’t think,
business services, which are usually more profitable. “I’m on cellular, I’m on wireless LAN, I’m on
This is true for both wireline and mobile, although the a wired connection.” Instead, we’re reaching a
challenges are more profound on the mobile side. stage where the user requires ubiquitous, seam-
less access. I think that is what SMBs expect, and
So, what does Juniper offer to help SMBs they’re entitled to it, because IT should be an
Q meet these needs you’ve mentioned?
Juniper has been a leader in IP networking for
asset and not a headache.
Of course, there are different points in the net-
A almost 15 years; we started out with routers,
and now we have a portfolio that includes routers,
work where offloads are possible. Juniper has a
three-pronged approach to the offload: at the Wi-Fi,
switching, data center solutions, security solutions, at the control plane, and before the mobile network
and also wireless solutions. branches off onto the Internet—because we can
These products, technologies, and services are all identify that the packet is going to or coming from
packaged for both SMBs and others, along with pro- the Internet. So there are three intelligent aspects to
fessional services and partner capabilities. We believe the offload; it’s not just “offload equals Wi-Fi.” ▲

12 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


Beyond The
KEY POINTS
▲ The question of cloud
growth is about what’s
mature and what’s as yet
immature, not about what
is hype and what isn’t.

▲ Cloud is disruptive not


because of technology,
but because of business
“Cloud Hype” Concept
models. The Promises & Limitations Of Cloud Computing
▲ Private clouds and SaaS
(software-as-a-service) by Seth Colaner
offerings make up the big-
gest chunk of mature cloud
t has been a few years since cloud computing buzzwords and broken dreams assumes that the
services.

▲ There are several barri-


ers to cloud adoption, but
much of those issues can
I emerged, and opinions still differ about how
much of what cloud computing promised has
come to fruition and how much has turned out to
technologies and service models that make up the
cloud are both fully mature and have proven fruit-
less. Neither is true.
be solved by strong SLAs be little more than hype. Instead, a better way to evaluate cloud computing
(service-level agreements) But that’s a misleading dichotomy, because any today is to examine what is mature and what is yet im-
and partner ecosystems. argument about cloud computing being empty mature. As Holger Kisker, senior analyst with Forrester

14 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


ESSENTIAL BUSINESS
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

Research (www.forrester.com), noted, “It’s not providers figured out pricing and service models
so much about which markets are successful and that were compelling to customers.
which ones are hype, it’s more [about] at what
point of their maturity life cycle are different cloud What’s Working Now
market opportunities at this point in time.” What constitutes “maturity,” then? Reid puts
it succinctly by noting that a particular offering
Framing can be considered mature if it’s complete, if “you
“‘Cloud’ is a hodgepodge of technologies have many components that help you create
that received an awful lot of hype,” says Dennis business logic.”
Drogseth, vice president of research with EMA One of the areas that fits Reid’s definition of
(www.enterprisemanagement.com). He notes mature is the private cloud. As Kisker points out, “From the private cloud
side, all the technologies for
that in the tech world, people think that “every- “From the private cloud side, all the technologies
virtualization are very mature
thing that’s two years old is ancient and mature. for virtualization are very mature already.” Thus, already,” says Holger Kisker,
In reality, a lot of trends are just the opposite. companies can use that technology and those IT senior analyst with Forrester
Cloud has probably got at least five to 10 years resources to develop business processes that con- Research.
before it really matures and is really assimilated.” tribute to their overall success.
It’s also important to note that cloud com- This makes a great deal of sense if you think
puting is not one “thing”; it’s a diverse, complex of cloud computing as an evolution rather than
set of technologies and services, each of which a revolution. A revolution is overthrowing
offers different advantages and drawbacks. And what exists and replacing it with something
because cloud is by nature service-oriented, the entirely new. But in a private cloud, a company
possibilities afforded by any particular innova- isn’t chucking its entire infrastructure into the
tion are deeply affected by individual providers. dumpster and starting from scratch; instead,
Because cloud computing is so large and the company is trying to maximize its existing
nuanced, it’s hard to answer broad questions infrastructure, middleware, and applications
about it, and it’s notoriously difficult to define and finds that by virtualizing its resources and
cloud computing succinctly. Therefore, when dis- distributing them on an as-needed basis, the Dr. Stefan Reid, a principal
cussing the state of cloud computing, it’s crucial data center becomes an area of profitability. analyst with Forrester
for all parties to be talking about the same things. Drogseth says, “Internalizing the cloud and Research, notes, “The major
Too often, talking about cloud computing virtualizing data centers has been a huge suc- ‘disruption,’ if you will, is the
can be like the story of the old blind men trying cess overall,” and he pointed out that one of the business model itself.”
to describe an elephant. Depending on which biggest advantages of a private cloud is that IT
part of the elephant each man is able to touch, personnel can manage a company’s IT needs
the definition changes. One feels the trunk and without experiencing any downtime.
declares “An elephant is like a great serpent”; Of course, the private cloud isn’t the only area
another runs his hand over the animal’s leg and of cloud success. In Forrester Research’s estima-
asserts, “No, an elephant is like a tree”; still an- tion, the cloud computing market is currently
other feels the elephant’s ears and counters that worth about $38.4 billion. Of that, SaaS (soft-
“An elephant is like a giant leaf”; and so on. The ware-as-a-service) applications make up about
conversation quickly becomes unhelpful unless $18.88 billion—more than half of the total cloud
those involved can see the big picture as opposed market. Kisker notes specifically that SaaS ap-
to their own small corner of it. plications such as CRM, human capital manage-
One (rather large) wrinkle in evaluating cloud ment, and procurement are currently enjoying Dennis Drogseth, EMA vice
maturity is that innovators in the field aren’t substantial growth. president of research, says,
necessarily developing new technologies per se; “Internalizing cloud and
instead, they’re really coming up with new ways A Look Ahead virtualizing data centers has
been a huge success overall.”
to leverage existing (mostly long-existing) tech- According to Forrester’s taxonomy of cloud
nology to come up with an offering that works computing, there are 12 distinct cloud markets,
for a particular business model. including the familiar SaaS, PaaS (platform as a
Dr. Stefan Reid, a principal analyst with service), and IaaS (infrastructure as a service); the
Forrester Research, noted “The major ‘disrup- emerging BPaaS (business process as a service);
tion,’ if you will, is the business model itself.” and a number of categories that make up private
He pointed out that virtualization software such clouds and virtual private clouds, such as vir-
as VMware has been around for many years; it tualization tools for infrastructure, middleware,
became more successful, however, when those applications, and business processes.

PC Today / April 2011 15


ESSENTIAL BUSINESS
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

Essentially all of these markets are growing to cloud infrastructure. At a certain point, who’s re-
some degree, and Forrester predicts that growth sponsible? If you experience a service disruption, it
will continue its upward trend for years to come. can be difficult to determine where in the stack the
Says Kisker, “Each of these markets now have outage occurred if you only have visibility into the
their own dynamics—how they are growing, SaaS provider.
their own level of success at this point in time, Additionally, cloud is by nature service-ori-
and maturity.” ented, so all of the issues inherent in working
Taken as a whole, Forrester estimates that the with a service provider of any kind apply to
cloud computing market will be worth about $150 the cloud. As with any service a business pays
billion by 2020. Future growth areas include ERP for—telephony, electricity, and so on—a cloud
(enterprise resource planning) and the relatively offering must offer consistency in the quality of
new BPaaS offerings. the service as well as the promise of essentially
no downtime. Any cloud provider that doesn’t
Barriers offer a strong, comprehensive SLA (service-level
As with any disruptive technology (or in this agreement) isn’t one worth doing business with.
case, as previously mentioned, disruptive business How long would you stick with a phone service
model), cloud computing has its share of barriers to provider or power company that experienced
adoption, and they shouldn’t be taken lightly. outages every couple of weeks, severely dis-
Security is one of the most often-cited con- rupting your business?
cerns. Indeed, until more stringent security mea- The same goes for any cloud provider dealing
sures are in place, it’s not an especially attractive with sensitive data or business-critical applications.
option for every business to move its most sensi- If service is spotty or has an unacceptable level of
tive data or applications to any type of cloud— downtime, it deeply affects your business.
private, public, or hybrid. Part of the security But there is a way forward, and the “winners” in
issue falls to legislators, who can make it easier the cloud market—those that find maturity fastest—
will likely be those that create the best partner ecosys-
tems. “If you have an application plus a platform, you
invite partners to add logic on the platform and com-
Sizing The Cloud - Quantifying And Predicting The Future Of Cloud Computing bine to the application, and you are more mature,”
says Reid. “From the other angle, you have these
infrastructure vendors that are moving up and want
to be part of the platform.”
This is in many ways what has happened in
other tech sectors, such as personal computing
and mobile technology. Software, hardware, and
operating system makers (also, increasingly, mobile
service providers) work together as partners to
produce compelling products for the consumer. In
very few instances does a single company offer ev-
erything from the bottom up; the Microsofts need
the Dells, who need any number of software ven-
dors, who all need the Verizons and AT&Ts.
Education for all involved parties is at the core
of cloud growth going forward. Kisker puts it suc-
SOURCE: FORRESTER RESEARCH cinctly: “The vendors need to understand clearly
or more difficult to enact security standards if what they have is really a cloud offering and
According to Forrester across countries or regions. where their offering fits. And then the users need
Research, the cloud Another big issue is fragmentation: There are to understand what are the benefits of the different
computing market will very few (if any) cloud service providers offering cloud offerings and understand which technology
continue to grow for many comprehensive services all the way up the stack you want to apply, whether it’s in their enterprise,
years to come.
from infrastructure to applications. Instead, a busi- whether it’s a public service, or for what resource.”
ness may find itself working with an application Thus, although there are certainly barriers to
provider that relies on another company’s cloud cloud adoption, progress has been steady and
platform that in turn relies on another company’s shows no signs of abating. ▲

16 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


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EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

A Rocky
Cloud KEY POINTS

Journey
▲ IaaS can boost the
flexibility and cost-
effectiveness of IT, but
the required level of
integration work can
scare off potential
customers.

▲ Future success in
Infrastructure In The Cloud Seeks To Overcome Challenges the IaaS might depend
on vendors’ ability to
provide an easy-to-
by Christian Perry cross bridge between
in-house infrastructure
and cloud infrastruc-
s the cloud continues its storied ascent to the efforts involved with transitioning to IaaS, ture.

A the upper reaches of technology innovation,


separation among various cloud iterations is
becoming more apparent. Within that movement
analysts nonetheless see promise in the space and
expect that it will enjoy growth once it passes the
current early adopter phase.
▲ A currently crowded
IaaS market with little
differentiation could
is evidence of a growing hesitancy around IaaS eventually see a few

(infrastructure as a service) as large enterprises and Bridging The Gap innovative companies
pulling ahead as others
small businesses alike appear more likely to lend Businesses that lack IT infrastructure expertise fall by the wayside.
enthusiasm—and investments—to cloud-based have a small handful of choices today: hire the
▲ Simpler offerings
software services. Is IaaS destined to mire away on necessary personnel to handle the infrastruc-
targeted for specific in-
the cloud sidelines, or can the services prove them- ture implementation, locally outsource experts frastructure uses could
selves as lasting, easily approachable solutions for to handle it, or trust the duties to an IaaS pro- help to better define the
IT to offload in-house operations? vider. Warren Arbogast, founder and president IaaS market and help its
“IaaS is still in its infancy and today requires of Boulder Management Group (www.boulder future growth.

more integration work than many customers can managementgroup.com), acknowledges the dif-
tolerate if they truly want to make it an extension ficulties involved with IaaS but says the concept
of their IT infrastructure and capabilities,” says only makes sense for businesses without core
Jeff Boles, senior analyst and director of valida- expertise in IT infrastructure and want new ways
tion services with Taneja Group (www.taneja to keep costs down. IaaS does continue to deal
group.com). “With that level of integration, IaaS with stumbling blocks in terms of familiarity
is certainly worthwhile and can disruptively alter among potential customers, but its potential is
the economics and flexibility of IT. But getting undeniable.
that level of integration is difficult for most, if not “There’s still a lot of confusion out there as to
all, organizations, as it many times requires not what IaaS is, what it can do, how it really works,
only incorporation of cloud technology but deep and how it’s different from PaaS [platform as
alterations in existing IT practices and systems a service] and SaaS [software as a service]. But
so that they work alongside cloud offerings that there’s also a growing energy out there. I’m
“The concept is there
are many times more restrictive than traditional seeing it at the C-level like never before. People and it makes sense on so
IT systems.” are questioning, ‘Why are we doing these things many levels,” says Warren
Funneling an entire IT operation into cloud in-house when I can do all of this with my iPad Arbogast, founder and
services is certainly a bold, complicated ven- and smartphone?’ Of course it’s a lot more tech- president of Boulder Man-
agement Group. “Why
ture, but even trusting a portion of operations to nically complex than turning things over to iPads
stay in a wrestling match
IaaS demands close inspection of service details and IaaS providers, but I’m seeing a push to out- when you’re a swimmer
to ensure the service parallels or exceeds what source all these bulky, cumbersome, confusing and others can now do
a business already receives in-house. Despite tech things like never before,” Arbogast says. the wrestling for you?”

PC Today / April 2011 17


ESSENTIAL BUSINESS
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

Unlike SaaS, which can be more forgiving customers, custom solutions, partners, pricing,
as a business makes a gradual transition from track record, integrity, and other factors.
one application to another, the somewhat cut- “Enterprise consumers of cloud services will
and-dried approach to IaaS can force adopters begin to dip their toe in the water by moving
to endure striking changes as they become ac- non-mission-critical applications to the cloud to
customed to infrastructure changes. evaluate factors such as downtime, CAPEX, and
According to Boles, IaaS innovation needs OPEX savings, difficulty or ease of transitioning
to occur within the gap between existing in- to the cloud environment, security, etc.,” says
frastructure and IaaS offerings, which he says Ron Angner, a senior vice president with TMNG
have been built on the “other side of a chasm.” (www.tmng.com). “We believe that adoption at
“IaaS has a market for However, bridge builders are coming, and the the enterprise level, where the true benefits will
clients that are medium-tech
eventual bridge could change the way business be, may be a little bit slower than anticipated, but
savvy,” says Scott Archibald,
managing director and IT is done. In fact, he sees products that bridge over the next 18 months, cloud services will be
transformation practice leader this gap as possibly the most valuable IaaS verified, and the ‘trust’ factor will grow, leading
at Bender Consulting. “If they vendor products in the future, particularly for to further adoption.”
aren’t savvy enough, then enterprises looking to integrate the cloud into
they are really looking for a We’re Just Fine
their operations.
SaaS solution, and if they are
too savvy then they probably “Simultaneously, what we are seeing now From a vendor perspective, IaaS represents
want to run their own is a shift toward more major IT investments a huge opportunity both for the vendor’s busi-
infrastructure.” happening on the other side of the bridge, and ness and for the business of prospective cus-
this will only happen more often in the future,” tomers. With today’s IT landscape built partly
Boles adds. “The IaaS may be a big and signifi- by highly flexible technologies designed to ac-
cant customer for many vendors in the future. commodate the varied needs of organizations,
This will alter the way technology is acquired IaaS stands to fill a gap that other cloud-based
and used and change the nature of the IT cus- technologies cannot. According to Matthew
tomer relationship. Storage and data are two Leonard, senior product manager for IaaS at Tata
areas of the infrastructure that could be most Communications (www.tatacommunications
significantly disrupted here—the cloud stands .com), IaaS may not appear sexy to those outside
to change the way data is integrated and inter- of the IT industry, but it has big benefits to those
acted with, and innovative vendors could use who live within it.
“Innovation needs to this to entirely shake up how storage technolo- “There is a school of thought that over time,
bridge cloud services with gies are consumed.” all IT services will be delivered via software as
traditional IT so that many As the evolution of the IaaS space continues, a service, and there will be no need for IaaS. But
of [the implementation] loads of vendors have entered the picture, in- I don’t see this happening, at least over the next
challenges go away,” says
cluding Amazon, GoGrid, Rackspace, Savvis, 10-year horizon. This could happen within small
Jeff Boles, senior analyst and
director of validation services Terremark, Verizon Business, and others. business segments where SaaS has been aggres-
with Taneja Group. Although an outsider might view this vendor sively used. However, medium and large busi-
selection as relatively crowded compared to de- ness enterprises will want the freedom to take
mand, Boles points out that there’s more room different software components and glue them to-
for variety in IaaS than in any other type of gether with different OS capabilities themselves,”
product market. Yet despite that room, he says Leonard says.
that vendors have failed to develop sufficient dif- Vendors are quick to clarify the terminology
ferentiation to sustain their numbers—too many around IaaS, which can grow convoluted among
similar services are available that are difficult to the many options available on the market. For
tell apart. He estimates that the next two to three example, IaaS isn’t just about external public
years will see the rise of certain IaaS providers clouds, but also internal private clouds offered to
that determine how to better differentiate target business units by IT departments, explains Dave

18 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


ESSENTIAL BUSINESS
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

Roberts, vice president of strategy and marketing private on-ramp to the IaaS cloud. Security is a
at ServiceMesh (www.servicemesh.com). Inside top concern among businesses transitioning to
most enterprises, these business units—as well as IaaS, and Tata worked to deliver a path to the
application developers—request computational space that doesn’t require businesses to touch
capacity from the IT department as infrastructure the public Internet. As with any technology,
(e.g., “I need another server”). The IaaS model, such innovation could work to thin the vendor
Roberts says, packages this same product and of- herd as customers choose solutions that fit well
fers it as a service. with their environments.
In fact, private clouds could be a significant “The relative oversupply of capacity at the
area of growth for IaaS in the near future. “A lot current moment is merely a sign that many
of our larger customers want to take advantage players are competing for the business and is “Many businesses are
looking at IaaS for
of IaaS but have concerns about security and per- not indicative of a lack of consumption,” Roberts
software development
formance in a multitenant environment, so they says. “Indeed, market leaders are experiencing and dynamic Internet-
are asking us how we can integrate a private IaaS double-digit growth in their IaaS revenue at the facing applications,” says
service into their existing model,” notes Thomas current time. This is poised to continue as enter- Matthew Leonard, senior
Kiblin, chief technology officer and founder of prise IT departments move from pilot and proof- product manager for IaaS
at Tata Communications.
Virtacore Systems (www.virtacore.com). “I also of-concept deployments into full production.”
“In fact, many CIOs would
think you’ll start to see a more focused model on question buying dedicated
certain niche plays as IaaS providers try to carve Down The Road IT resources for these
out their share of the market. You can’t beat Simplicity remains a valuable commodity applications.”
Amazon trying to be Amazon; you have to find a for IT vendors looking to sell complex concepts
niche, focus, and execute on it.” to businesses that aren’t necessarily familiar
A decade ago, Kiblin says, oversaturation with cutting-edge technologies. In turn, the
rhetoric plagued the hosting market, but today innovation inherent in IaaS stands to shine
there are more hosting vendors and MSPs through simpler, easy-to-digest offerings
(managed service providers) than there were aimed at specific needs. Scott Archibald, man-
then. As for IaaS, demand appears abundant aging director and IT transformation practice
when he engages prospects and partners, leader at Bender Consulting (www.bendercon
adding that C-level executives consistently .com), expects to see vendors eventually re-
place cloud initiatives at the top of their pri- lease “IaaS in-a-box” solutions, such as an IaaS
ority lists for the next 12 to 24 months. Yet, like trade show product that would target software “The market is definitely
crowded and, as with
analysts, vendors recognize the need for differ- vendors demonstrating at trade shows who
other markets in a similar
entiation in the market to ensure their survival. don’t want to bother with complicated server/ state, we would expect
“What will be important is innovative IaaS infrastructure setups. that it will thin substan-
features and capabilities beyond simply spinning “I think the IaaS market needs to do a better tially over the coming
up those resources,” Leonard says. “Companies job of selling the niche areas in which [IaaS ven- months and years as the
market picks the winners
who simply offer baseline IaaS service without dors] can be useful,” Archibald says. “In addi-
and losers from among
any differentiation will be forced out of the tion, IT organizations need to keep looking at the available offerings,”
market. There will always be room for new en- the technology and ROI that IaaS vendors can says Dave Roberts, vice
trants in the market with differentiated capa- offer. Right now, too many are looking at the president of strategy and
bilities. Footprint and pod location is also a major technology and feel they can do what IaaS ven- marketing at ServiceMesh.
consideration in the competitiveness of the IaaS dors are offering. However, these same IT orga-
provider and the demand for service.” nizations are not asking the question of whether
For its part, Tata Communications worked they should be doing this. IT organizations need
to differentiate its IaaS offering by delivering to continuously look at what services and skills
seamless integration with its MPLS (multipro- they should be developing in house versus what
tocol label switching) network to provide a they should be getting externally.” ▲

PC Today / April 2011 19


The Rise Of Real-time
Analytics Gives Businesses
A Flexible Advantage
by Christian Perry

n a slower era absent of the Internet and its

I loads of ever-connected devices, hindsight


ruled the roost ;when it came to enterprise
analysis. But as both enterprises and cus-
tomers have grown to expect immediacy in
business dealings, real-time analytics have
emerged as a valuable tool that can help busi-
nesses make intelligent decisions that more
closely align with customer needs and help to
save time and money.
The evolution and popularity of real-
time analytics has spiked tremendously
alongside the continuing innovation of
chips and other technologies that can re-
lay loads of enterprise information in mil-
liseconds. In turn, employees can use this
data logistically or strategically, based on
how they choose to use it. For example, a

Your Business In fast food restaurant can examine numbers

REAL
for orders placed this week and compare
it against its real-time inventory to gauge
KEY POINTS supplies needed for next week. A utility
▲ Real-time analytics company can use real-time data generated
have become critical to
businesses seeking to act from sensors in the field to either allow ex-

TIME
on data as it is compiled. tra capacity or conserve capacity. Or an on-
line retail company can instantly generate
▲ Analytics systems
generally rely on a discounts or other sales measures based on
combination of hardware real-time customer activity.
and software to deliver “The ability to act on data as it’s being ag-
data in graphs and other
easy-to-digest elements gregated in real time is critical to businesses
on real-time dashboards. today,” says Amit Pandey, chief executive
officer of Terracotta (www.terracotta.org).
▲ Although real-time
analytics present a major “Enterprises must be able to make decisions
opportunity for market just in time and need to analyze the most
advantage, enterprises up-to-date data possible to make informed
must have a good grasp
of their business pro- decisions. Rather than being dependent on
cesses to efficiently use offline batch operations to aggregate and
the real-time data. correlate historical data, businesses can be
▲ Real-time analytics more effective by working directly with
systems can cost thou- their current operational data in real time.”
sands, but businesses
need to compare that
cost against the cost of
Gaining An Upper Hand
not having such systems Today’s real-time analytics market is
in place. deep and varied, but a typical deployment

20 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


ESSEN TIAL BUSINESS TECH
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

features analysis-driven software running either wrong time can be misleading when trying to in-
on existing standard hardware or specialized tegrate minute-to-minute changing flows of data
hardware (such as data warehouse appliances) into the decision-making process. The business
designed to accommodate heavy data loads. processes and rules must be clearly understood,
This tandem of software and hardware gathers as well as how and when the new streams of in-
information, such as sales data, and displays it in formation can be used by the decision-makers
charts, graphics, and other elements on a dash- and automated decision systems.”
board that’s easily accessible and viewable. With
this information, a business can instantly deliver Cost Considerations
more resources to a needed area or predict re- The costs required to deploy real-time ana-
“In every functional area of
quirements for the coming hours, days, or weeks. lytics can vary wildly depending on enterprise
today’s enterprises, we can find
U.S. Xpress Enterprises (www.usxpress.com), size and data scope. Free tools such as Google tactical decision making and
one of the nation’s largest truckload carriers, Analytics can provide substantial feedback on risk, which necessitate real-
takes advantage of real-time analytics in multiple Web site visitors, while complex platforms that time information access and
fashions to ensure its pickup and delivery pipe- integrate with nearly every aspect of a business analysis,” says Rado Kotorov,
chief innovation officer at
line flows without fail. For instance, the company can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of
Information Builders. “[As] in a
uses geo-fencing to generate alerts when trucks dollars. Some real-time analytics products are battlefield, in the marketplace
near their destinations and send ETA alerts to built into BI (business intelligence) platforms such information provides
customers expecting pickup or deliveries. The that cost plenty but add more significant levels tactical advantage.”
company also uses the technology for service of analysis across the business landscape.
failure notification, which generates alerts when Norman Nie, a renowned pioneer in predic-
trucks cannot reach their destinations on time, tive analytics and now CEO of Revolution Ana-
which in turn lets the company ensure customer lytics (www.revolutionanalytics.com), says that
satisfaction through real-time situational in- the real-time analytics industry is still in its in-
tervention. Maintenance also gets a boost from fancy. However, as the space moves away from
real-time analytics, thanks to fleet management expensive memory and servers to commodity
feedback that routes equipment requiring regu- hardware and software, the real-time process
lar maintenance to a service depot when a time will begin to bloom. For example, Nie says, the
or mileage threshold is reached. emergence of databases such as Apache Hadoop
Using information like this on an immedi- and those from Netezza has helped to make the “Properly implemented, real-
ate schedule can help enterprise businesses process more affordable because they can ef- time analytics should be used
to distance themselves from competition that ficiently handle the data in ways that the older to drive quality assurance,
time and cost reductions,
analyzes data after the fact. According to Rado systems could not.
alignment with customer
Kotorov, chief innovation officer at Informa- “The hardware and technology infrastruc- needs, and identification of
tion Builders (www.informationbuilders.com), ture requirements and the options to implement business opportunities,” says
businesses can’t really compete on the analysis real-time analytics can be significant—from data Tim Leonard, vice president
of past data, because most are equally well- acquisition, to data cleansing, to data warehous- for information technology at
U.S. Xpress Enterprises.
equipped to generate reports, analyze past ing, to analytics,” says John Lucker, principal
data, and issue policies to correct business at Deloitte Consulting (www.deloitte.com), “to
processes. Time is required to implement those technology integration of analytic results, to the
policies, and that lapsed time is a sunk cost. business implementation tools and the organi-
The faster a company makes decisions, he says, zational and customer monitoring tools for the
the lower the cost and the more competitive it analytics, to real-time performance management,
can be in the marketplace. But while the ben- and finally to adaptive controls which monitor
efits of real-time analytics can be significant and improve real-time analytics.”
for many companies, it’s an area that demands Lucker recommends performing a full
expertise and discipline. cost/benefit analysis that takes into account
“Real-time analytics should be factored into not only the cost of the analysis software and
“You will be able to maximize
an enterprise on the basis of the business’s needs hardware, but also the inevitably challenging
revenues, maximize market
and readiness to consume the information, be- process required for implementation. How- share, [and] maximize profit
cause real-time analysis requires a better under- ever, he and other experts are quick to iden- instead of waiting until the
standing of the rhythm of a business than other tify the cost of not using real-time analytics in information that the world has
forms of business intelligence,” explains Tim today’s business climate, because enterprises changed in some fundamental
way trickles up over months or
Leonard, vice president for information technol- can pay dearly for what Lucker calls “lagging
even years. By then, the oppor-
ogy at U.S. Xpress. “The right information at the or ineffective execution.” ▲ tunity is lost,” says Norman Nie,
CEO of Revolution Analytics.

PC Today / April 2011 21


ESSENTIAL BUSINESS
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

KEY POINTS
▲ Companies are really
just people—and most
people fear being labeled
DAMAGE
From Within
“the bad guy.” That fear
puts the company at risk.
What Happens When IT Goes Wrong?
▲ No one person should by Rod Scher
have enough power to
completely destroy compa-
arry was an experienced system adminis- that he’d made a mistake and a heartfelt apology

L
ny assets or infrastructure.
trator who had been promoted through the for having caused this uncomfortable situation.
▲ Regular security audits ranks and was now director of IT for a Mid- The managers, relieved that things had gone so
are a key to protecting west business management and consulting firm. smoothly, told Larry (not his real name, of course)
the company.
A longtime employee, Larry knew better than to that he was welcome to retrieve his personal gear
▲ Security audits should violate the company’s rule against moonlighting. from his office and his computer, and hand in his
include simulations But moonlight he did, and management decided keys and ID on his way out, so Larry went into his
that cover dealing it had no choice but to terminate his employment. office and packed up his belongings. Then, using his
with disgruntled or The termination meeting went well, as those things high-level admin passwords, he connected to every
terminated employees.
go: Instead of tears and recriminations, there were one of the company’s 11 servers and formatted every
smiles and handshakes and sheepish admissions drive on every server. For good measure, he trashed

22 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


ESSENTIAL BUSINESS
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

the onsite backups. Then he grabbed his cardboard every time they tried to talk to him about those is-
box of books and posters and family pictures, hand- sues, he would freak out—childish stuff. The company The Ultimate
ed his keys to the receptionist, and walked out the wanted to address his problems, but the managers
door with a smile. were afraid that he would blow the company away.” Rogue IT
It took the company months to recover, and the Martha went in pretending to do a HIPAA Scenario
final cost was estimated at $13 million. (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability TERRY CHILDS HOLDS
SAN FRANCISCO
Act) audit, but her real goal was to check out the ad-
HOSTAGE
Problems Aren’t Uncommon ministrator. In the end, says Martha, “My take was
Security expert Chris Hadnagy, author of Social that he was a tech nerd who’d been left unsuper- Municipalities are, in effect,
Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking, says that vised for too long and who used the company as a businesses—and they can
be just as vulnerable as any
scenes like this play out regularly, mainly because playground simply because he could get away with
other business. When the
companies fail to manage their employees. “Too it.” The employee was buying toys and implement- City of San Francisco decid-
many times companies compromise on the rules and ing the “latest and greatest” all the time, but not get- ed to fire its senior IT guru
standards they know they should have in place, be- ting the more foundational, boring things done at in July of 2008, it learned
cause they are difficult to implement and not always all. “Also,” notes Martha, “he was on straight salary just how vulnerable: During
a confrontational termina-
the most comfortable.” and was paid very well, so he really had no incen-
tion meeting, the city’s chief
This is not an isolated problem, says Hadnagy. tive to meet various goals, because he was paid the IT staffer, Terry Childs, was
“According to a recent industry report, there was same no matter what.” ordered to hand over pass-
a 27% increase in employee theft over the last year, The solution? “Have the other IT people step words to the city’s network.
with losses now totaling some $994 billion.” Theft, up and take on more responsibility. Make this guy He did so, but it turned out
that the passwords he had
fraud, and damage by employees is one aspect of be a real manager and give him clear, measurable
given them were bogus.
owning a company that most people do not want to goals that he can be held to.” And, says Martha, Days later, Childs handed
think about. “But,” says Hadnagy, “the unfortunate “if there’s no one else on staff with a comparable over the real passwords to
fact is that if companies do not think about it, it can technical background—as was the case here— San Francisco mayor Gavin
end up costing them dearly.” bring in quarterly oversight to review the budget Newsom, the only person
he felt was competent to
No one wants to be the bad guy, but even some- and documentation.”
handle them. It turned out
thing as simple as setting and following procedures In this instance, notes Martha, there was plenty that the city didn’t actually
for hiring and firing can make a huge difference. of blame to go around. Sure, the employee was im- have in place procedures
Rigorous policies would help companies avoid most mature and self-indulgent, but the company was that outlined how (or to
of these kinds of problems, say experts. also at fault. Employees need to be managed, and whom) to hand over pass-
words, which is the issue
someone in this situation had abdicated a basic
on which Childs based his
Protect Your Company managerial responsibility. defense. In April of 2010,
What Larry’s managers should have done, says Childs was found guilty of
Hadnagy, is disabled his mail, network, and admin It’s Your Policy, So It’s Your Responsibility network tampering. ▲
accounts during the meeting, and then had security Employees have and need power, access to sensi-
supervise the cleaning out of his office. Yes, that tive data and valuable equipment, and enough au-
could make people uncomfortable, but it’s part of tonomy to encourage them to make the most of that
managing employees and running a business; being power and access. But they also need oversight.
thought a nice guy is not worth $13 million. Consider Martha’s comment about the company
Companies need policies in place to limit poten- worrying that a rogue employee might “blow the
tial damage, including policies that detail how to company away.” An early security audit would
handle the hiring and firing of employees. And at have uncovered that risk and raised alarms: No
the root of those policies should lie the safety and company should ever confer on one person enough
security of the company and its employees, not the power to destroy an entire company. Allowing such
comfort and convenience of either the firing man- a situation to exist in the first place is simply bad
ager or the terminated employee. risk management—and bad risk management usu-
One excellent step, say security experts, is the ally boils down to bad management in general, say
establishment of regular and rigorous security au- the security experts.
dits—including audits that simulate terminations In the end, there’s no getting around the fact
and disgruntled employees. that people in positions of power require access
A security expert we’ll call “Martha” told us about to powerful tools; limiting that access would limit
going “undercover” in a financial services company their ability to do their jobs. That means that noth-
that was worried about the stability and intentions of ing short of sensible policies, regular security audits,
its lead system administrator. “The sys admin appar- and intelligent, active oversight will protect a com-
ently had some performance issues,” she says. “But pany from the misuse of that power. ▲

PC Today / April 2011 23


ESSEN TIAL BUSINESS TECH
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

Making Sense Of
KEY POINTS
NET NEUTRALITY
The Next Great Internet Debate
▲ Net neutrality is the
principle that the In- by Joanna Clay
ternet should be a free
and open network that
f someone asked you to explain why the Internet bloggers—love the idea of sustaining a free and open

I
permits equal access to
all content. should be a free and open network, how would you Web community. By contrast, some major hardware
respond? Some might say that unfettered browsing manufacturers, ISPs, and telecommunications com-
▲ Proponents of net
neutrality want to makes for an even playing field between Internet ser- panies deride net neutrality as impractical and mak-
prevent Internet service vice providers and consumers. However, others may ing no economic sense, instead favoring the ability to
providers from dis- reject the notion that the Web should remain a free provide tiered, payment-based services and to con-
criminating between and open technology, because if consumers want a trol bandwidth based on the type of data (limiting
the types of content
better-quality Internet experience in the future, they file-sharing networks, for example).
and applications online.
should pay for it; after all, the Internet is big business.
▲ The FCC approved a These responses are, in fact, the arguments presented There Are Two Ends Of The Pipe
regulation in favor of net on both sides of the Great Net Neutrality Debate. There is a lot of mud-slinging going on over net
neutrality that addresses
In the simplest of terms, Internet (or “net”) neutrality. To better understand what both camps
issues of transparency,
neutrality is a principle that advocates for restric- truly believe, Tyler Clark, owner of Tyler Clark
blocking, and unrea-
sonable discrimination. tion-free Internet access, meaning that ISPs and Consulting and chief imagination officer at Youngs-
governments would not restrict bandwidth or town Business Incubator (www.tylersclark.com),
▲ Legal disputes involving content at any level. Generally speaking, coalitions explains that it’s important to look at the two ends of
the FCC and telecommu-
dedicated to Internet freedom—which include non- the Internet pipe. “Think of drinking from a straw:
nications will continue as
the debate develops. profits, businesses small and large (including eBay, the tech giants, like Apple and Google, are sucking
Microsoft, and Yahoo!), and many independent from the end of the straw, and telecommunication

24 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


ESSEN TIAL BUSINESS TECH
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

adequate competition to protect consumers at the


‘last mile’ of the Internet’s delivery.”
In contrast, Morris says proponents assert that
there is not enough competition at the last mile,
especially in less densely populated areas. “The
high switching costs associated with changing
carriers thwart consumers’ ability to switch pro-
viders even if they desire to and happen to live
in a region with more than one ISP,” says Morris.

The FCC & Net Neutrality


In December of last year, the Federal Communi-
cations Commission approved three new high-level
rules regarding net neutrality for fixed and wireless
networks: transparency, no blocking, and no unrea-
sonable discrimination.
Candice Johnson, communications director for
the Communications Workers of America (www
.cwa-union.org), offers some definitions to demys-
tify these terms. “‘Transparency,’” says Johnson,
“means that your ISP must tell you what they de-
liver in terms of speed, cost, and network manage-
ment practices. ‘No blocking’ means that Internet
users can go where they want, when they want,
to obtain legal content and that Web sites can’t be
blocked by broadband providers. ‘No unreasonable
discrimination’ means that ISPs can’t give special
deals to some content providers over others.”
As of now, these rules protect basic Internet prin- “The argument for neutrality
ciples and hold wireless providers and other ser- asserts that metered data
delivery creates an uneven
vices accountable for their actions. More pointedly,
playing field and imperils
the FFC’s open Internet rules give federal regulators innovation,” says Tyler Clark,
(telcos) giants, like Comcast and Verizon, are fill- the authority to enforce net neutrality provisions for owner of Tyler Clark Con-
ing the cup with data.” Clark explains, “Think of the first time, says Johnson. Unfortunately for pro- sulting and chief imagina-
the size of the straw as available bandwidth—it ponents of net neutrality, Congress has yet to pass tion officer at Youngstown
Business Incubator.
determines how quickly data can be consumed. To the net neutrality anti-discrimination bill, officially
restore balance, telcos want to reestablish the value titled the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009.
of their pipes by allowing most-favored partners Some experts, however, insist government agen-
to get a fast lane through the straw, squeezing out cies aren’t acting valiantly enough. M. Chris Riley,
those getting data access for free.” policy counsel for Free Press (www.freepress.net), as-
Clark says net neutrality means that even the serts, “The FCC should take immediate steps to reex-
leanest startup should have an equal footing with amine and strengthen its rules and close the loopholes
big corporations when it comes to customers’ abil- it created.” He expects that the FCC’s net neutrality
ity to access data and services. However, Clark rules will face legal challenges from all corners.
adds, one can also argue that data providers have
the right to determine the rules for access and Does The Internet Need Saving?
“Opponents argue that
availability. Even so, he says, “there need to be The glaring reality is that we are all observing competition and an unregu-
safeguards in place to protect innovation, so the the initial stages of a virtual combat that may pro- lated market for broadband
next big idea doesn’t get locked out before it gets to duce plenty of political battles in the months and services will take care of
leave the starting gate.” years to come. For example, Verizon and Metro- any harms that occur— if
According to Sarah Morris, a Google policy PCS have already filed suit against the FCC, and consumers don’t like the
practices that their ISP is us-
fellow at the Media Access Project in Washing- other ISPs may not be far behind. As the debate ing to restrict them, they can
ton, D.C. (www.mediaaccess.org), one of the stands, claiming a decidedly “neutral” position switch to a different ISP,” says
most common arguments against the enforce- in the net neutrality battle may not prevent you M. Chris Riley, policy counsel
ment of net neutrality rules “posits that there is from getting caught in the crossfire. ▲ for Free Press.

PC Today / April 2011 25


ESSENTIAL BUSINESS TECH
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

Next-Generation Firewalls
Make An Impact
NGFWs Have Evolved To Provide Stronger Security
by Rod Scher

raditionally, firewalls have been stupid, mind- another, and taking action based not on the port

T less beasts—which is a little disconcerting,


given that for years you’ve been relying on
them to protect your company. Old-school firewalls
being used, but on the behavior of the individual
application that’s using the port. Rather than as-
suming that port 80 is being used for “friendly”
are simple port-watchers. Leaving open the ports traffic (because, after all, that’s what it’s supposed
used for typical Web traffic, such as HTTP on port to be used for), a NGFW is aware of the applications
80 and encrypted SSL traffic on port 443, old-school moving through it, and it enforces policies based
firewalls simply relied on applications to “play fair” not on the port in use, but on the specific identity
and use the ports they were intended to use. of the application using it and on the rules set up to
But there are problems with that approach. First, allow—or disallow—its behavior.
there’s nothing that says that malicious traffic can- In other words, while a NGFW may indeed offer
not use supposedly safe ports. And, while most standard firewall features such as NAT (network ad-
firewalls will allow all traffic that originates from a dress translation) and stateful inspection, its salient
supposedly safe, trusted network, feature is a more granular level of control that we
outbound traffic need not be be- characterize as “application awareness.” NGFWs thus
nign. Then, the explosive growth identify, categorize, and control application traffic
of social networking sites (and the based on policies set by network administrators.
platform-based apps that can reside Because of this awareness, a NGFW can do much
on them) has meant that there are le- more than simply control port-based traffic: It provides
Palo Alto Networks’
gitimate business uses for such tools, and business- a security mechanism that allows for intrusion detec-
PA-4020 is part of the
company’s powerful es have therefore had to allow (potentially mali- tion and prevention, anti-malware, antispam, VPN
4000-series NGFW line. cious) traffic to and from those sites and devices. To (virtual private network) functionality, and more.
top it all off, ubiquitous (and potentially insecure)
mobile devices can now access your corporate net- The Future Of NGFWs
work from anywhere. NGFWs are a nascent market. Gartner estimates
“In the old days, applications had their own pro- that less than 1% of secure interconnections current-
tocols, so they could be filtered at the network layer,” ly use a NGFW. However, numerous NGFW ven-
says security expert Chris Hadnagy, author of Social dors have emerged, including Palo Alto Networks,
Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking. “Now, ev- Crossbeam, McAfee, SonicWALL, and others. Pric-
erything runs over HTTP, meaning through port 80. To es vary widely, depending on factors that include
the number of gateways, device throughput under
different security scenarios, maximum number of
Juniper Networks simultaneous sessions, and number of users sup-
markets its SSG140 ported. Technical support can also add to the total
modular security
filter that, you need intelligent cost. In general, you can find NGFWs (sometimes
product for branch
offices, regional security at the application layer, because simply closing bundled into UTM [unified threat management]
offices, and port 80 would shut down all legitimate Web access.” solutions that include functionality in addition to
enterprise businesses. The result? The firewall you installed a few years firewall protection) that range in price from small-
ago is a sieve, and no longer capable of protecting office appliances, such as Juniper’s SSG140 ($3,200),
your corporate network. to Crossbeam’s midlevel C25 ($23,995) to Palo Alto
Networks’ massively powerful PA-4020 ($49,000).
Next-Generation Firewalls Defined Given the burgeoning and ever-adaptive mal-
NGFWs are a different animal. They are, by defi- ware threat, it may be time to re-evaluate your se-
nition, capable of examining traffic at the applica- curity tools; perhaps a NGFW is what you need to
tion level, distinguishing one type of traffic from help keep your network secure. ▲

26 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


ESSENT IAL BUSINESS TECH
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

Big-Budget
A Checklist by Seth Colaner

ideoconferencing is an increasingly viable cameras, microphones, and videoconferencing soft-

V communication tool for businesses of all


sizes. However, there is no one-size-fits-all
videoconferencing solution; the one that fits best
ware. The addition of a bridge, which can handle
anywhere from a dozen or so users up to hundreds
of users, enables multi-way videoconferencing; mul-
depends on the size of a business, the nature of a tiple bridges, which can be placed in various offices
business, and what a business wants to accomplish. or branches, multiply the number of possible simul-
taneous users.
What You Need You can also add a recording box to the system,
Larger businesses can opt for providing all em- which allows you to record video conferences and
ployees with desktop videoconferencing capabili- stream content to dozens of users. With the addition
ties, multiple room-based systems, one or more im- of a dedicated streaming box, you can create a sort
mersive telepresence systems, or some combination of corporate YouTube where thousands of users can
access recorded content at once.
The crème de la crème solution is the immersive
telepresence system, which is essentially a room
containing a video display wall, the ability to hold
simultaneous calls between large groups of people,
and the ability to call virtually any other videocon-
ferencing system. Immersive telepresence is ideal
for corporate training sessions, conducting univer-
sity classes online, and government applications.
You don’t need special bandwidth capabilities to run
even the most elaborate system; the broadband Internet
that most companies already have in place is sufficient.

What It Costs
The cost of a videoconferencing system varies
widely. In general, however, the more functionality
you add to a system, the higher the price. Instead
of buying every component separately, it’s typical
An immersive telepresence
thereof. Whatever the configurations you choose, the to buy everything you need as a package from a
solution such as the Polycom
Open Telepresence muscle and might resides on the core of your net- single vendor. However, many customers buy the
Experience High Definition work, in the IT closet. displays—typically large-screen HDTVs—on their
300 (OTX 300) is ideal for Laura Shay, director of product marketing for Poly- own, as it’s often more cost-effective that way.
group-to-group meetings, com (www.polycom.com), says that Polycom empha- According to Shay, desktop endpoints cost in the
training sessions, and other
sizes the need for companies to sit down with them neighborhood of $100 per seat, with rooms running
applications.
to determine what solutions are best for that company anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands
before spending a dime. “It’s a very consultative ap- of dollars, depending on how elaborate a given
proach, all based on the person’s applications, [looking room is. Bridges cost between about $25,000 up to
at] what they are going to be doing with it.” a couple hundred thousand dollars, depending on
Polycom offers a wide range of videoconfer- how many simultaneous users they support. A re-
encing products that are largely representative of cording box may cost around $25,000, and you can
what’s available on the market. expect to pay approximately $75,000 for a streaming
Systems may include per-seat licenses for as box. Immersive telepresence solutions run between
many employees as necessary, each endpoint (a about $150,000 to $500,000 per room, depending on
desktop or a room) equipped with the necessary the scale of a given installation and its amenities. ▲

PC Today / April 2011 27


ESSENTIAL BUSINESS TECH
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

Small-Budget
A Checklist by Seth Colaner

ideoconferencing is an increasingly viable Such endpoints may be ideal for a single-room

V communication tool for businesses of all sizes.


Whether a lone telecommuter needs to chat with
a project manager or multiple groups need to conduct
solution or if a company needs to grant videocon-
ferencing capabilities to a handful of users—espe-
cially in multiple locations.
a meeting from different locations, a video conference However, some SMBs may find that they already
can be an efficient way to get things done. have many of the components needed for videocon-
There is no one-size-fits-all videoconferencing so- ferencing, including desktop or notebook comput-
lution; the one that fits best depends on the size of a ers, microphones, Web cams, and so on. For these
companies, buying one hardware codec and con-
necting all their existing equipment to it may suffice.
Yet another even less expensive option is simply
installing videoconferencing software on employee
computers on a per-seat license basis. Although
that may sound like the many consumer-level video
chatting applications available, such a solution dif-
fers in that (assuming it’s standards-based) it’s not
bound by a particular service.
For example, if you use a given video chat ap-
plication, you’re likely able to chat only with other
users of that same program or service; a standards-
based desktop application allows you to chat with
any other standards-based service. That allows
users to call into any videoconference room or im-
mersive telepresence unit. This is especially useful
if a company has its own videoconference room but
Movi from Tandberg needs its remote workers to call in for a meeting;
(www.tandberg.com) is a business, the nature of a business, and what a business those remote workers can do so right from their cur-
simple desktop tool that wants to accomplish with that particular set of tools. rent location, be it the office or on the road.
allows remote users to access
the company videoconfer- What You Need What It Costs
encing system and conduct
calls from any desktop or The needs of a large enterprise and those of a small- Polycom offers high-end executive desktop sys-
notebook computer. to medium-sized business are vastly different, as are tems, designed for executives who make high-level
the associated budgets. Because of the complexity video calls, for $10,000 each. These systems include
and variety of options available, it’s wise for SMBs to everything you need in one box, including the dis-
consult with a vendor before making any purchase play. Adding a single bridge to a cluster of several
decisions. This due diligence enables companies to get of these systems would add about another $3,000.
creative with finding a cost-effective solution. If a company goes with a room system, they can ex-
For example, an SMB may not end up getting pect to pay as much as around $10,000 per room (times
strapped with some of the heftier costs incurred by however many sites they need to outfit). Buying a
larger organizations, says Laura Shay, director of single hardware codec that users can plug into will run
product marketing for Polycom (www.polycom). around $5,000. Desktop videoconferencing software is
“[With] anything less than 10 or 15 systems, all of billed on a per-seat basis at about $100 a seat.
that [core network] infrastructure is probably not These solutions can be combined in a variety of
needed,” says Shay. In other words, an SMB may ways to give a company a comprehensive, inexpen-
just purchase endpoints with a hardware codec and sive videoconferencing solution that suits its specific
leave it at that. needs within a relatively small budget. ▲

28 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


ESSEN TIAL BUSINESS TECH
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

Desktops
LaptopsFor Small
vs
Business
Which Are Best For Desktops
Your Company? Traditional desktops have been the go-to computers
for companies up until the mid-2000s, when laptops
By Joanna Clay
made their mark as worthwhile investments. Take a
look at what they have to offer your growing business.

D
esktop or laptop? It’s a question you might
ask yourself each time you buy a new per- Why Say Yes?
sonal computer. While it’s difficult enough If this is your first round of purchases and the
to choose your own component preferences and computing budget isn’t what it could be, desktops
requirements, making the purchasing decision for may be your optimum choice. When assessing
a small to medium-sized business is a challenge which components your workers are going to need
that requires thoughtful research, budget strat- most, think about whether or not extensive periph-
egizing, and end-user consultation. eral support is important. For instance, designers
and other members of a creative team may prefer to
So, What Are Your “Must-Haves?” use large (19-inch and larger) monitors to collabo-
Although practically all business desktops and rate on marketing projects. Specific desktop models
laptops now include the ideal components to op- typically include the multimedia ports to accommo-
erate efficiently, some features date two displays.
will be more critical to Many professional towers can be configured to
your business than oth- match your storage standards, as well. Desktops for
ers. Consider the follow- basic business uses, such as email and word process-
ing questions during ing, probably won’t need more than 100GB of hard
your research: Does a drive storage (your network servers should be back-
significant portion of ing up data, regardless of what’s stored on end user
your workforce travel hard drives). However, manufacturers usually install
regularly? Do your more storage than necessary, with capacities ranging
employees store a from 160 to 320GB. That’s enough gigabytes to store
large amount of plenty of graphics and videos—and you can easily
data on their attach an external hard drive to save additional data
individual that you access frequently. Desktops are generally
PCs? What more “scalable” than laptops, too, because you can
types of soft- add supplementary hard drives and other compo-
ware capabilities does nents. The same can’t be said for all-in-one desktops,
your particular company require although they have their own benefits (if space is of
The Lenovo ThinkCentre from a business laptop? How will the majority great concern) as they are tower-free systems.
M58 Tower enterprise of your employees use their business applications? Economy desktops include integrated graphics,
desktop features Windows 7,
Above all, what is your budget? unless you upgrade a tower to a larger form factor
GMA4500 integrated video,
and a DVD burner, but you When it comes down to a laptop vs. desktop that will support a discrete graphics card. A graph-
can customize components, faceoff, you can make things simple with a pros ics card is necessary for running demanding vid-
peripherals, and software. and cons list. And if you’re in the market for eography programs or visual editing suites.
either type of computer, you’ll be glad to learn Theoretically, enterprise PCs are built to last and
that we have outlined the benefits and disad- could be an employee’s computing companion for at
vantages of both styles. least five to seven years if the IT department deploys

30 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


ESSEN TIAL BUSINESS TECH
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

updates on schedule and services the systems regu- the room with extra cables, monitors, and towers. Not
larly. Fortunately, desktops are also designed for main- all laptops are the same, though: desktop replacement
tenance, so IT staff can swap out or upgrade individual laptops tend to be bulkier, whereas thin-line models are
components as necessary. more travel friendly.

Why Not? Why Not?


The amount of physical space desktops occupy Laptops don’t offer much ergonomic comfort.
is a drawback. If you operate your business out of You can’t use a wrist rest with a laptop, either, but
a small leased office, there may be little desktop real the touchpad will
estate available. Traveling professionals may not ap- prevent you from
preciate the durability of a desktop, because they constantly scrolling
can’t take it on the road. Obviously, if you have nu- your mouse’s scroll
merous road warriors working away from the office wheel with one fin-
many weeks throughout the year, a desktop (or at ger. The keyboard on
least a desktop alone) won’t suffice. a laptop is compact
and doesn’t always
Laptops feature a numeri-
Business laptops pack all of the necessities in cal pad, though you
one small form factor, but it’s up to you to decide if do have the option
that’s a drawback or benefit. Here are the dark and of substituting a
bright sides of laptops for SMBs. full-size USB key-
board. Provid-
Why Say Yes? ing a charging
By definition, a laptop is portable and functions as dock for end-
the business traveler’s primary productivity tool (un- user laptops A “workstation” laptop
less tablets are a priority for your company). Thanks is one of the best ways to keep a laptop recharged; such as the Dell Precision
to Wi-Fi connectivity, telecommuters can easily work otherwise, every one of your employees will be M4500 Mobile workstation
from home on a laptop. Business colleagues can swap searching for an available wall outlet. can handle multitasking
when you’re working with
demo presentations during a lunch meeting. A CEO at The most obvious drawback is the added cost,
numerous applications
a wireless café in Madrid can videoconference with her even for fairly basic models. An extra $100 (or during a business flight.
purchasing manager in Boston. more) per model will get you more connectivity
Part of the appeal of laptops for business is the options and added capabilities; in fact, you don’t
“built-in” factor. Integrated Web cams make chatting have to try hard to break the bank when you order
convenient; embedded 3G mobile broadband capabili- a high-end system that’s outfitted with an HD dis-
ties enable greater connectivity; and increasingly pow- play and full security features.
erful batteries provide six to eight hours of consecutive
work time, on average. Moreover, laptops are able to To Stay Or To Go
support the same memory (2 to 4GB) and internal stor- As you contrast the benefits and disadvantages of
age (hundreds of gigabytes) as any business desktop. desktops and laptops, consult our Takeaway chart so
For space-conscious business owners, laptops can you can be prepared to find computing solutions that
help balance the office feng shui by not overwhelming won’t hinder your small business as it expands. ▲

THE TAKEAWAY
Laptops
Desktops

DESKTOP LAPTOP
▲ Support for numerous peripherals ▲ Ideal for mobile workers
PROS ▲ Plenty of configuration options ▲ More wireless connectivity options
▲ Generally less expensive ▲ Everything-in-one form factor
▲ Easy to maintain ▲ Doesn’t occupy a lot of space
▲ Customization fees ▲ Lack of ergonomic design
vs CONS ▲ Occupies more office real estate ▲ Requires battery charging and maintenance
▲ Not for business travel ▲ High price points depending on the brand

PC Today / April 2011 31


ESSEN TIAL BUSINESS TECH
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

Business Software
The Latest Releases & Updates

by Rod Scher

N
othing ever stays the same, certainly not
in the world of business-related software.
Attempting to manage a business while
keeping track of new and updated software releases
is enough to try anyone’s patience, so we’ll give you
a hand by letting you know what’s available.

SurveilStar
SurveilStar has released its SurveilStar em-
ployee monitor software, an application that lets
administrators monitor employees’ computer be-
havior and activities. Users can download free
trial versions of the program, which takes screen CompanionLink offers multiple ways to sync contacts,
snapshots of employees’ computer screens every calendars, and notes with your iPhone.
second, records incoming and outgoing emails,
tracks chats and instant message conversations, ACT!, Palm Desktop, Novell GroupWise, Salesforce
and monitors and records Web sites visited. The CRM, and Highrise. CompanionLink also syncs
app is hidden from users and does not appear with multiple Microsoft Outlook add-ins, including
in the Windows System Tray, Start menu, Add/ Franklin Covey PlanPlus for Microsoft Outlook,
Remove Programs, or Task Manager, and its his- Getting Things Done, and the Outlook Business
tory logs cannot be deleted or altered. Only an Contact Manager. The CompanionLink wired
administrator can block or uninstall SurveilStar. USB sync for HTC Inspire is also compatible with
Android’s DejaOffice.
Windows XP
Not a true release or software update, but none- SmarterTrack
theless a critical reminder for businesses using The newest version of SmarterTrack’s customer
Microsoft systems and applications: WinXP is ap- service software, a help desk app built for tracking,
proaching end-of-life, and Microsoft says that sup- managing, and reporting on customer service and
port for both WinXP and Microsoft Office 2003 communications, including sales and support is-
will end in April 2013. Analysts say that being sues, is now available. Version 6.x includes a re-
prepared for a shift away from WinXP and older designed management interface and several other
versions of Microsoft Office will be critical, and UI enhancements, including smaller page sizes,
note that many software vendors will cease testing less JavaScript, and improved page load times. The
their software on WinXP this year; that means that new release also offers time logging, a feature that
by next year, the lack of tested, WinXP-compatible lets agents track the time spent resolving customer
software may become a critical issue. issues via tickets, live chats, or phone calls. In ad-
dition, companies can generate reports based on
CompanionLink the collected data and bill customers accordingly.
CompanionLink Software has announced two-
way synchronization and backup of contacts, cal- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
endar, tasks, and notes between Microsoft Outlook Aimed at sales, service, and marketing or-
and the HTC Inspire 4G. CompanionLink allows ganizations worldwide, the newest version of
four sync methods: wired USB sync, automatic Microsoft’s CRM offering is now available via the
wireless sync via Google, syncing via local Wi-Fi, Microsoft Download Center to customers with
and a hosted wireless sync service. CompanionLink active Microsoft Software Assurance agreements.
also supports syncing with IBM Lotus Notes, Sage This release is meant not just for partner-hosted

32 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


ESSEN TIAL BUSINESS TECH
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

deployments and can be hosted onsite and run new version of Paperless enables the user to create,
locally. According to Microsoft, the new product manage, and store any type of paper and digital
can support up to 150,000 concurrent users in a document. Paperless 2.0 supports merged receipt
single instance while delivering sub-second re- and document libraries, custom fields, full OCR
sponse times. Earlier releases were launched under of English-language documents, and multiple file
the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online banner and types, including PDF, Word, RTF, JPEG, and more.
delivered Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 as an on- Although the product retails for $49.95, current
demand service hosted at Microsoft’s data centers. users of Paperless can upgrade to the newest ver-
sion for $24.95.
Oracle Healthcare
Master Person Index Veera
Oracle has announced enhancements to Oracle Rapid Insight has
Healthcare Master Person Index, the company’s released an upgrade
standards-based health-related solution. The to its business intelli-
product provides a single point of reference to gence software, Veera.
information about a patient, clinician, or other Among other enhance-
healthcare person or entity within a healthcare ments, Version 3.6 of
organization. The new index enables organizations the product incorpo-
to create an integrated and consistent view of per- rates data visualiza-
sonal data based on current applications and sys- tion into the product’s
tems. Oracle has also released a Web-based single toolkit, letting users
view aimed at helping increase the quality of data, meet reporting and
improving enterprise cost efficiency in delivering analysis needs by
that information, and sustaining system usability. turning raw data into actionable information, such The new release of
With the new release, healthcare organizations can as charts, graphs, and visual dashboards. As a self- SmarterTrack customer
service software offers
more efficiently retrieve healthcare-related data for service business intelligence tool, Veera is aimed at
time logging, which
any entity, even if multiple systems reference the enabling business analysts and nontechnical users lets agents track the
entity with different identifiers. to develop their own reports and ad hoc analyses. time spent resolving
Veera includes a drag-and-drop analytic process customer issues.
Corel VideoStudio Pro X4 builder that enables users to produce reports and
Corel has released its newest video-editing analyses by merging, aggregating, cleansing, and
suite, VideoStudio Pro X4. Important enhance- transforming data from disparate file formats.
ments include automated stop-motion video, time-
lapse, and creation of 3D effects. Performance is RoboForm
also improved, with optimized support for new Version 7
families of CPUs, including Intel’s Sandy Bridge RoboForm securely
and AMD’s Fusion processors. The software also stores confidential data
makes use of multiple CPU cores and graphics such as passwords,
processor acceleration, so that even less cutting- bank account numbers,
edge processors can deliver optimum perfor- and credit card num-
mance. Pro X4’s Smart Proxy option temporarily bers, and simplifies
reduces the video resolution during editing in the process of filling
order to enhance system responsiveness. The re- out online forms by
lease also features a new user interface, with un- securely storing user
dockable elements and the ability to show a video information. The new
preview on a second monitor. release offers an updated look, lets users import and Mariner Software’s
organize bookmarks from all browsers, and features Macintosh-based
Paperless 2.0 a Group Login tool that lets users log in to multiple Paperless 2.0 provides
tools for managing
Mariner Software has released Paperless 2.0, a Web sites with a single click. The new version also digital documents.
Macintosh-based update of its digital document supports Google Chrome and Opera 10, in addi-
solution for home and business. More businesses, tion to the already supported Internet Explorer and
state and federal governments, and other entities Firefox. The release now offers two licenses for users,
are furnishing digital documents, thus making one in which data is stored locally and one that in-
digital records preferred over paper, and requiring stalls on multiple devices to allow data synchroniza-
tools capable of managing those digital assets. The tion among all of the devices. ▲

PC Today / April 2011 33


ESSENTIAL BUSINESS TECH
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

Greenovations
Energy-Conscious Tech

by Nathan Lake

The electronic A Battery Recharger For Normal Batteries


devices that make Watts Clever’s Smart-Battery Charger ($46.10; wattsclever.com) will recharge
most popular brands of standard alkaline AA and AAA batteries. Watts Clever
our lives easier also indicates the device can recharge the batteries a maximum of 20 times depending
produce some on the type and quality of the batteries. The Smart-Battery Charger also features
unwanted side protections for overcharging, overheating, and battery type, so you know that the
battery is being safely recharged. You also can safely charge Ni-CD, Ni-MH, and
effects on the RAM batteries with the Smart-Battery Charger.
environment.
Fortunately, many
EcoAware
consumer electron- When using Windows’ built-in power saving modes, the OS relies on keyboard and mouse inactivity
ics manufacturers before placing your PC in a sleep mode. EcoAware (contact Sensible Vision for pricing; www.sensiblevision.
are working to cre- com), from Sensible Vision, uses a Web cam to track your face for determining when to put your PC into a
power-saving mode. And when the camera detects your face again, the PC will come out of its sleep mode.
ate products that There are a variety of options for configuring how and when EcoAware powers down your computer. Manual
keep us productive controls are also available for specific functions. The EcoAware Desktop gadget will display a real-time esti-
while reducing mate of how much energy you’ve saved beyond the use of standard Windows power schemes.

energy demands
to lessen our Eco- & Checkpoint-Friendly Bags
impact on the The ScanFast 2.0 Collection ($99.99 each; www
.mobileedge.com) of bags from Mobile Edge is
environment. Here, made with a DuPont material that consists par-
we take a look tially of corn stalks. The agricultural material is
at the newest titled Sorona, and it requires 30% less energy to
produce than petroleum-based nylon or polyes-
environmentally ter, which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions
friendly technology for the product by up to 63%. Overall, the Sorona
initiatives. material contains 37% renewable sources. Bags
in the ScanFast 2.0 Collection are also checkpoint
friendly, so you won’t need to remove your lap-
top when going through security checkpoints.
Briefcase, messenger bag, and backpack models
are available.

SunShot Program & Ten Million Solar Roof Initiative


Recently, Steven Chu, the U.S. Secretary of Energy, indicated that $27 million in grants will be pro-
vided to fund nine solar energy projects. Titled the SunShot program, the money will go toward im-
proving the solar energy supply chain—with the overall goal of reducing solar energy costs by as much
as 75% (down to $1 per watt) over the next decade. By making solar power cost around the same as
conventional energy, power suppliers could make renewable power cost competitive.
A similar program is the Ten Million Solar Roof Initiative, which was proposed by Sen. Bernie Sand-
ers of Vermont in July of 2010. The initiative hopes to have solar panels and solar water heaters on 10
million roofs by 2020. Although the bill struggled initially, it may have new hope with the help of the
SunShot program.

34 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


ESSEN TIAL BUSINESS TECH
EXECUTIVES, PROFESSIONALS & ENTREPRENEURS

Electricity-Generating Glass
New Energy Technologies (www.newenergytechnologiesinc.com) has developed a working proto-
type of its SolarWindow technology, which is a see-through glass that can generate electricity. The first
generation of its 12- x 12-inch prototype was created by spraying New Energy’s electricity-generating
coatings directly onto the glass, which would eliminate the need for costly or otherwise inconvenient
high-temperature or high-vacuum methods of creating solar panels. New Energy indicates that the glass
could generate electricity from both natural and artificial light sources. The organic, transparent solar
cells would also allow light to pass through, so the glass would still make for a functional window.

New Type Of Solar Cell


A conventional solar cell converts sunlight into electricity using an electrolyte that contains a light absorb-
ing dye, which degrades over time because of sun exposure. To increase the lifespan of solar panels, research-
ers at Purdue are working on a type of solar cell that repairs itself. The research group is in the basic research
stages of creating a cell that replaces the sun-damaged dyes with new ones, similar to the process that plants
use. If the approach works, solar cells could work at full capacity for a longer period of time than they do now.

First SPC Gold Laptop


The ThinkPad T420 (price yet to be announced; www.lenovo.com) from Lenovo is the first
to earn a Gold rating for SPC (Sustainable Product Certification). The SPC rating was cre-
ated by the Underwriters Laboratories Environment standards organization, and a Gold rating
means the device complies with environmental criteria for eliminating or reducing hazardous
substances that can harm humans and the environment. The T420 also meets Energy Star’s 5.0
requirements, because it is built using low halogen and post-consumer recycled content and it
exceeds the Energy Star 5.0 requirements by 10%.
In terms of user benefits, Lenovo touts that the 4-pound ThinkPad T420 offers a maximum battery life
of 15 hours, which can be extended to 30 hours with an optional 9-cell slice battery. The laptop
also features Intel’s Turbo Boost technology to increase processor speed when
it’s needed. Lenovo adds its Turbo Boost Plus technology, which lets
the processor remain in Turbo Boost mode longer by keeping the
processor temperature below the thermal cutoff. A Web cam and a
noise-cancelling microphone with a 360 degree sound pickup range
are provided for multiple users to participate in conference calls.

Smart Glass
Soladigm’s (www.soladigm.com) Dynamic Glass windows are capable of electronically switching from
clear to tinted, so you can control the heat and glare generated by the sun into a building without investing
in window treatments that block the view. Soladigm indicates that the Dynamic Glass windows will reduce
heating, ventilation, and air conditioning energy usage by 25%, and peak load in commercial buildings can be
lowered by 30%. The company recently announced that it received $40 million in Series C equity financing,
which will help it move toward high-volume production of the smart glass.

PowerTrekk Fuel Cell


Fuel cell technology converts the hydrogen in water into electricity, and Power-
Trekk has created a Fuel Cell Charger (price TBA; www.powertrekk.com) designed
to charge mobile phones, digital cameras, GPS devices, and other portable elec-
tronics that charge via USB. We also like that the Fuel Cell Charger can provide
power to power your devices, so you’ll just need to insert the fuel cell, fill-up the
water component, close the lid, and connect your electronic device directly to the
USB port on the PowerTrekk. The PowerTrekk works with the company’s Power-
Pukk fuel cell, which are available in bundles of five, 10, or 24.

PC Today / April 2011 35


MOBILE OFFICE
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

Is Telecommuting
KEY POINTS
▲ Telecommuting has met
with positive reactions and
expectations of improved

Right For You?


productivity.
▲ Little empirical research
exists to corroborate those
expectations.

▲ One researcher found


Execs Cite Productivity Benefits, But Some Experts Doubtful
that prior research had ig-
nored important questions
about the effectiveness of by Rod Scher
telecommuting.

▲ We often approach epending on whom you ask, telecommuting in which case maybe we call it telework? Is it some-
telecommuting as if it’s a
technology issue. It should
be a business question that
may or may not have a
D is either a huge boon to productivity, or else
it’s the most over-hyped waste of time ever.
Either way, there’s no shortage of opinion.
thing you do with a tablet, smartphone, or laptop
over Wi-Fi or 4G or what-have-you?”
Certainly there are plenty of enthusiastic en-
technological answer. One of the reasons we argue about telecommut- dorsements from telecommuters and those for
ing is that we don’t all define it the same way. Is it one whom they work.
employee working at home during a snowstorm? Or a “My whole agency is based on telecommuting,” says
group of employees who work full time out of home of- Andy Abramson, founder of Comunicano, a boutique
fices? Is it knowledge workers? Or is it the executives marketing consultancy. “As an agency owner, I am able
to whom the knowledge workers report? Can everyone to hire better people who, for a lot of reasons, no longer
telecommute, or only certain types of employees? want (or are able) to go to an office. When people have
According to Info-Tech Research Group senior re- to move, I don’t lose them, because the only change is
search analyst James McCloskey, we need to be com- where they work—they need not change companies
fortable with a certain degree of ambiguity when it just because they changed location.”
comes to the term. “Telecommuting is some point Tresnic Media’s Todd Giannattasio says, “I’ve
on a set of points on a spectrum of remote working,” been telecommuting one day a week for a few years
he notes. “Is telecommuting your primary function, now. I find that I am able to get much more focused

36 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


MOBILE OFFICE
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

on projects that need more time and focus when I’m JumpStart’s Freund, a fan of telecommuting, is
at home. Also, I get home from work on Tuesday nonetheless aware of its limitations. “What an em-
and set up my laptop, essentially making myself ployee who telecommutes misses is the informal
100% available for many more hours. And telework- communication that typically takes place around
ing gives me such freedom throughout the day that the office. When there is a body at a desk, it’s very
I don’t mind doing a little work at night.” easy for a co-worker to walk over and have a con-
John Freund, president and CEO of Minneapolis- versation. It’s the water-cooler conversation about a
based JumpTech, notes that the ability to telecom- project that pops up, the conversation in the break
mute helps him find and keep good employees. room or at the lunch table that no one planned but
“Telecommuting has been a way to retain key tal- suddenly happens. The informal communication is
ent in our organization and a way for the company the biggest loss for the telecommuter.”
to show flexibility to our employees when matters Of course, we like to seek simple answers to com-
arise that cause them to be out of the office. It allows plex questions, and the question of telecommuting
employees to be productive on days where they is indeed a complex one. It may be that it’s some-
would not be if we did not allow telecommuting.” thing that—in one form or another—works well in
some instances and not in others. Brian Sutter, di-
Positive Feedback—And A Paradox rector of marketing for Plano, Texas,-based Wasp
In fact, industry-wide, the reaction to telecommut- Barcode, says that his company sees great value in
ing has been almost uniformly upbeat, with adherents telecommuting. “It’s an effective way to improve
painting the practice—and the technology tools that productivity and employee morale, allowing for
allow it—as the best thing to happen to business pro- uninterrupted focus and eliminating the stress of a
ductivity since the invention of carbon paper. commute to the office.”
“What we’re seeing,” says McCloskey, “is a shift, Nonetheless, Sutter echoes some of Freund’s con-
a much more fluid back-and-forth between employ- cerns, noting that telecommuting may be better suited
ees’ work-life balance.” And, somewhat paradoxi-
cally, part of that shift is a positive impact on em-
ployees’ lives: In spite of the fact that telecommuting
allows 24/7 access to the office, says McCloskey, “it
impacts work-life balance in a positive way because
the real question becomes: Can an individual get a
better work-life balance by being able to do the work
that needs to be done quickly and effectively, and
then being able to go back to their regular life?”
McCloskey says that the answer is yes. “For knowl-
edge workers, the desire is there to provide value
whenever possible and as quickly as possible, but at
the same time still recognize that we have lives outside
of work. An awful lot of what we’re seeing in terms
of telecommuting adoption is to facilitate that on-
demand participation by passionate knowledge work-
ers; it satisfies their desire to help and satisfies the need
to keep the business going, but at the same time does it
in the most efficient way so that the individual can then Google Wave was aimed at providing telecommuters, among
get back to doing what they want to do in their per- others, a platform for meeting, writing, and sharing. Google
sonal life. The reality is that those knowledge workers dropped the project after a tepid response from a public that
was apparently not interested in such a tool.
are not leaving the work in the office at 5 p.m. They’re
carrying it with them; they’ve got a passion to provide
additional value whenever they can—telecommuting to some roles in the organization than to others: “We
can be a very powerful way to do that without impos- have had success with staff members in our support
ing as much of a burden on the individual.” and product development teams working remotely
for an extended period,” he says. “But within the sales
Risks, Doubts & Issues and marketing teams, we have found that prolonged
Not everyone is completely sanguine about tele- telecommuting limits the organic office conversations
commuting, however, and even those who imple- that lead to better cohesion and employee engagement
ment it successfully may encounter problems. and more creative ideas.”

PC Today / April 2011 37


MOBILE OFFICE
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

which he examined what he called “the telecom-


muting mystique.”
“There are a lot of consultants and vendors who
Info-Tech Research Group senior research make money selling services, products, books, etc.
analyst James McCloskey points out that the that promote telecommuting or are useful to tele-
key telecommuting questions should relate commuters,” says Westfall. “Some of them publish
to goals: “What is it that the organizations research that typically doesn’t control for many of
the things I discuss in the paper. Doing better re-
are trying to accomplish through a remote-
search would be more expensive and might not
working capability, and how can [telecom- generate results that would be as effective from a
muting] technologies support that?” marketing perspective.”
Westfall says that he has simply “not seen any
solid studies that indicate that the cited gains in pro-
ductivity are both real and large.” Instead, he found
a large number of variables that prior “research” on
the topic failed to consider. For example, Westfall
noted that telecommuting productivity gains may
“Telecommuting has been a way to retain be overstated, productivity gains may result from
key talent in our organization and a way non-telecommuting aspects of the implementations,
for the company to show flexibility to our increased costs may offset any productivity gains,
employees,” says JumpStart president and and that gains—while real—may not be scalable.
CEO John Freund. According to Dr. Westfall, there is little clear and
irrefutable evidence that telecommuting increases
either productivity or job satisfaction—or that any
increases that do result might not have also occurred
under other circumstances.

Consider The Objectives


Info-Tech’s McCloskey says that the problem
with our approach to telecommuting is that we ask
“I haven’t seen any solid studies indicating the wrong questions. We ask: What sort of telecom-
that [telecommuting] gains are both real muting might benefit us? How should we go about
implementing it? What technology should we use?
and large,” says professor Ralph Westfall of
What we should be asking, says McCloskey, is:
California Polytechnic University. Why should we use it?
“What is it that the organization is trying to ac-
complish through a remote-working capability,”
asks McCloskey, “and how can the technologies that
are available support that? The big drivers from the
organization’s standpoint should be responsiveness,
efficiency, and effectiveness.”
Simply providing a technology solution isn’t ef-
fective unless it’s in the context of a business deci-
As noted, most of the positive reports about the sion, notes McCloskey. For example, perhaps the
benefits of telecommuting tend to be anecdotal: goal is to provide quick access to subject-matter ex-
Many people say that there are productivity (and pertise. “That’s a perfectly good reason to do it, and
other) benefits, but there is little empirical proof of it. that might drive the use of home-working technolo-
Serious studies of the phenomenon are lacking, and gies such as VPN access.”
few scholars have dedicated their time and exper- Telecommuting technologies may or may not offer
tise to the rigorous study of the presumed benefits advantages; it’s certainly not clear that they’ll automat-
of telecommuting. ically result in a real and sustained improvement in
One who has is Ralph Westfall, a professor at Cal- productivity, efficiency, or morale, because in the end,
ifornia Polytechnic University, Pomona. Dr. Westfall this is not really a technology problem: It’s a business-
is the author of “Does Telecommuting Really In- oriented, use-case problem to which technology may
crease Productivity? Fifteen Rival Hypotheses,” in (or may not) provide part of the solution. ▲

38 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


MOBILE OFFICE
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

Hitachi Travelstar mobile hard drives (www.hitachigst


.com) are available in storage capacities from 80GB
to 750GB; some models are self-encrypting.
Shown here is the Travelstar 7K750.

Self-Encrypting
KEY POINTS
▲ SEDs (self-encrypting
drives) contain hardware-
based encryption engines

Drives & Other Mobile


that relieve a computer of
processing the encrypted
data.
▲ SEDs that meet the

Security Options standards defined by the


Trusted Computing Group
are interchangeable.
▲ Software-based solu-
Don’t Leave The Office Without Them tions are still viable alter-
natives, and can meet the
need for data encryption
by Tom Nelson and Mary O’Connor until SEDs are the default
drive type in mobile
id you hear the one about your competi- The moral of the story is that protecting your

D
devices.
tor’s data breach? The personal information company’s data isn’t something that starts and stops ▲ Alarms and lockdown
of thousands of their clients was compro- at the building’s front door. It’s increasingly com- devices are still an effec-
mised. The culprits weren’t the usual suspects. No mon for mobile devices to be actively targeted as a tive way to keep laptops
from going missing.
one breached a firewall or hacked into a server. No way to gain access to a company’s data.
one compromised a Web site, and the IT depart-
ment was able to say it wasn’t their fault. Data Protection For Mobile Devices
There are a number of ways to protect your com-
So, Whodunnit? pany’s laptops and other mobile devices. Many
On a recent sales trip, the company’s VP of smartphones already have built-in data protection sys-
marketing accidentally left his laptop at the air- tems. The most common ones let you remotely wipe
port. An opportunistic thief quickly scooped it up a phone’s data; others encrypt data on the phone, so
and sold its easily accessible data on the identity that a password is necessary to gain access. The remote
theft black market. wipe function is available on some laptop systems,

PC Today / April 2011 39


MOBILE OFFICE
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

but it’s not a particularly effective method of securing data as the OS accesses information. In this way, nothing
data. Unlike smartphones, laptops aren’t usually left is ever exposed, beyond the files that are currently in use
on, or actively connected to a network that could be by the OS or an application. And because the SED uses
used to transmit the remote wipe command. built-in hardware, there is little, if any, perceived perfor-
mance hit. Even better, once you supply the initial key,
Self-Encrypting Hard Drives the entire encryption process is transparent to both the
Most laptop OSes already include some form of OS and you. This ensures that SEDs work with almost
encryption software that you can use to encrypt a all applications, and that you don’t have to do anything
group of files or folders. But while this is better than special to achieve data security. When you shut the lap-
nothing, it’s not that much better. top down, the encryption/decryption system locks all
of the data and the drive in an unreadable state, until
you turn the laptop back on and provide the key.
SEDs support multi-factor authentications, so you
can easily incorporate smart cards, biometrics, or other
methods to provide additional security levels. It also
makes SEDs easy to integrate into existing systems.

SED Data Recovery


SED devices have the same error and failure rates
as standard drives; after all, they use the same tech-
nology. The only difference is that SEDs have dedi-
cated hardware in the drive controller to encrypt and
decrypt data. As long as the encryption key, which is
stored on the drive, remains intact, and you have the
authentication key/password, you can conceivably
recoup data using conventional data recovery tech-
Mobile Edge niques. However, should the encryption key become
(www.mobileedge.com) damaged, or should you lose or forget the authentica-
offers two versions of a tion key or password, recovery is all but impossible.
security lock system (one
In order to make SEDs more robust against data er-
combination-based, one
key-based; $29.99 each) A better approach, at least in theory, is to encrypt rors, most SED vendors create multiple copies of the
that bolts into your the entire hard drive. You don’t have to remember encryption key and place them in different locations on
laptop’s video port. to activate the encryption system, because even you the hard drive platter. This ensures that any single block
(the owner/user) can’t use the laptop without en- error on the drive can’t destroy the encryption key.
abling it. But software-based data encryption tends
to slow down the OS or cause compatibility prob- Standardized SED Devices
lems with some applications. In February of 2009, leading disk manufacturers
The best solution is the self-encrypting drive. joined together and announced a single standard for
SEDs are specialized hard drives that use built- SEDs. The Trusted Computing Group was tasked
in hardware-based cryptography engines to perform with developing, promoting, and defining the open
encryption automatically, without user standard for all SED devices, including hard drives,
intervention. SEDs encrypt solid-state drives, and optical drives.
and decrypt data on the Any SED devices that meet TGC standards are in-
fly, as needed. With SED- terchangeable. In addition, many software vendors pro-
based laptops, you provide vide security applications that leverage SED standards
a key or password when and provide easy ways to manage SED devices. You can
you turn the laptop on. Af- usually manage and configure your SEDs, create new
ter the key is veri- fied, the hard drive decrypts encryption keys to replace factory-provided ones, and
integrate multi-factor authentication systems.
Most SED manufacturers, such as Hitachi, Sam-
BitDefender Total Security 2011 sung, and Toshiba, use the same drive hardware in
($79.95 for one year; www.bit
SEDs as they do in their regular offerings. The only
defender.com) lets you create
encrypted, password-protected difference is the inclusion of the encryption engine
vaults on your laptop or desk- within the drive itself. This means you can expect
top, for storing data securely. the same drive quality, performance, and MTBF

40 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


MOBILE OFFICE
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

(mean time between failures). You’ll also find SEDs lock, that simple system of using a
in the same drive sizes and configurations you’re us- cable to tether your laptop to an im-
ing today, which makes it easy to include them in a movable object.
maintenance upgrade plan for your company. Mobile Edge has updated the stan-
Taking hardware-based data protection one step dard security lock system with two
further, you can purchase laptops that incorporate options: one based on a combination
Intel’s Anti-Theft technology, which combines SEDs lock, the other on a key system. Instead
with processors that monitor how the laptop is being of attaching to your laptop’s standard
used. The technology is also capable of deactivating security connection point, the cable is
the processor when it detects suspicious activity, bolted into your laptop’s video port.
such as multiple log-in attempts or the failure to The advantage is that the video port
check in with a corporate server. In essence, the lap- offers two strong connection points,
top will appear as useful as a brick to anyone who allowing the security bolts to be an-
steals or stumbles upon it. If you recover the laptop, chored to the laptop’s frame instead of
you can quickly restore normal operations with the its external body.
use of special pass phrases or hardware tokens. Of course, that option won’t
help when you’re mobile, unless
Software-Based Encryption Solutions you don’t mind being chained to
Hardware-based encryption isn’t the only option; your laptop. Targus makes a great
software-based solutions can provide most of the same substitute for a pair of handcuffs:
capabilities, and allow you to enjoy the security of en- the Targus DEFCON 1 Laptop Se-
cryption without replacing laptops or hard drives. curity System. The DEFCON 1 is a motion-sensitive The Targus DEFCON
Software-based solutions, such as those from alarm system that attaches to your laptop and can be 1 ($54.99; www.targus
CryptoMill, can target just your data by creating vir- armed or disarmed with a combination lock. When .com) is a motion-
sensitive alarm system
tual disks that always encrypt the data stored within armed, the alarm will sound if the cable is cut or mo- that will protect you on
them. Additionally, removable media can also be en- tion is detected. No more worries about grabbing a the go (or when you’re
crypted, ensuring that, for example, a lost USB flash quick snooze while you wait for your flight. napping).
drive doesn’t lead to a data breach.
Offerings such as ZoneAlarm’s DataLock, Micro- Making The Change
soft’s BitLocker, and Trend Micro’s Mobile Armor SEDs are likely to be the common drive type in
mimic how SEDs work, encrypting the entire drive laptops in coming years. Some analysts suggest that
and requiring you to supply a password whenev- SEDs will be a standard offering in as little as two
er you start the laptop up. As with SEDs, encryp- years; and within five years, may be the only type
tion and decryption happen in the background, so of laptop drive available. This time frame is an im-
any file not in active use remains encrypted. When portant one, because it matches the standard update
cycle most companies use for their mobile
CheckPoint Zone- computing platforms. But you don’t have to
Alarm DataLock
wait until you update your laptops to meet
($39.95; www
.zonealarm.com) your security concerns.
encrypts all of the There are a few options that are easy to
data on a hard implement. You can, for example, replace exist-
drive. Even if thieves ing drives in the laptops of key personnel with
boot from a CD or
SED equivalents; wipe the old drives clean and
steal the drive, they
won’t get your data. move them to your parts inventory, for use as
replacements in laptops not deemed a security
risk; and use software-based solutions for em-
you shut down your laptop, all data returns to the ployees whose laptops don’t carry corporate intellec-
encrypted state. You may also find that the anti-mal- tual property or other critical data.
ware software you’re already using has built-in file
or disk encryption options. Stay One Step Ahead
In the long run, your laptops will all be SED-
Security Measures Not To Be Overlooked based (or an equivalent) within a few years. Plan-
This may seem old school, but it’s still effective to ning for the transition now should help you keep
lock down your laptop so it can’t be easily picked up abreast of your corporate security needs, and make
and spirited away. Yes, we’re talking about the cable the transition smoother and more cost-effective. ▲

PC Today / April 2011 41


MOBILE OFFICE
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

Apps For Road Warriors


Improve Every Aspect Of Your Trip

by Josh Compton

I
f you’re a frequent business traveler, you know
how important it is to stay connected to your
co-workers and clients and how smartphones
and laptops can help you do that. But you may not
think about the many apps available on the market
The Weather Channel
that can give you constant access to email and Max app provides
text messages, regular weather updates, and more real-time weather
when you’re on the road. We detail some of these updates using radar,
apps so you can make sure your next trip maps, forecasts, and more.
is easier and more enjoyable.

DriveSafe.ly Enterprise Edition


DriveSafe.ly is a BlackBerry and
Android app (iPhone and Windows
Phone 7 versions coming soon) that
reads your emails and texts aloud as
you drive. You can also set up custom-
ized, automatic responses so you can MapQuest 4 Mobile
keep a conversation going without not only features maps
needing to take your hands off the and directions, but also
wheel. The Enterprise Edition is spe- turn-by-turn GPS
directions, as well.
cifically designed for business trav-
elers because it features encryption
technology that lets you read business
texts and emails safely. A free version
is available, but the full-featured En- they never get lost and always take the quickest
terprise Edition will run you $7.99 a route possible. MapQuest 4 Mobile includes all
month or $79.90 a year per phone. these features with voice-guided, turn-by turn
directions, mobile versions of maps from the Map-
The Weather Channel Max Quest Web site, and live traffic updates that re-
Keeping track of weather is impor- fresh every five minutes. MapQuest 4 Mobile has
DriveSafe.ly Enterprise tant while traveling so you can prepare an Auto Re-route feature that adjusts your route
Edition reads your emails for possible delays and change your plans accord- if you miss an exit or turn. You can also select
and text messages aloud
ingly. The Weather Channel Max app for iPhone and the Energy Savings setting to consume less bat-
as you drive.
iPad provides extensive weather coverage including tery power. MapQuest 4 Mobile is free for iPhone,
maps, live radar, and even traffic cams in some ar- iPad, and Android users.
eas. You can save multiple locations, as well, so if
you travel from one city to another, you can easily Kayak
find the weather conditions in that area. The iPhone All trips have three essential things you need to
version is $3.99, and the iPad version is free. There is have in place before you can go to your first meet-
also a Desktop Max version that you can download ing: flights, hotels, and rental cars. The free Kayak
and use on your laptop for $19.99 a year (seven-day app is available for iPhone, iPad (Kayak HD),
trial available). Android, BlackBerry, and WP7. It helps you keep
track of your trip itinerary; look up deals for car
MapQuest 4 Mobile rentals, hotels, and flights; and stay up-to-date on
True road warriors need maps, detailed di- your flight status. You can also find airline infor-
rections, GPS navigation, and traffic updates so mation and book trips directly from your phone or

42 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


MOBILE OFFICE
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

trips or see your year-to-date mileage. Automilez


is a free app for iPhone and iPad that supports
both miles and kilometers so you can use it in
the U.S. or abroad.

Kayak lets you track flight Poynt


information and find car
rental, hotel, and flight Even road warriors need to take
deals compiled from a break every once in awhile, which
multiple travel sites. is why Poynt is a great app for those
who need to relax and find entertain-
ment while traveling. You can search
for local businesses, restaurants, and
iPad. A PRO version ($0.99) of Kayak is available movie theaters and even purchase
for iPhone that features all of the same features movie tickets or make dinner reserva-
without the advertisements. tions directly from your phone. The
GPS features can find your exact lo-
Concur Mobile cation and display results for places
The mobile version of Concur for iPhone and in your area. But Poynt isn’t just for
iPad makes it much easier to manage your expens- entertainment, as it features gas price
es, receipts, and more. You can take pictures of your information and weather updates, as
receipts using your device’s camera, create expense well. Poynt is free to download for
reports, and submit them all from inside the app. iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Android,
Concur Mobile lets you track your flight status, and WP7 devices.
search for hotels, and find restaurants and shops
at multiple airports. You can also book taxis using Yelp
included links to Taxi Magic. This app is free if you Yelp is a popular Web site that has
have an iPhone or iPad, but you must already be a restaurant reviews written by real peo- Automilez uses a built-in
user of Concur Expense, Concur Breeze, or Concur ple. There is now a free Yelp app that has much GPS feature to track your
Travel, which you can sign up for at Concur’s Web of the same functionality plus some special mo- mileage and automatically
create trip logs.
site (www.concur.com). bile features that make finding the right restau-
rant easier while traveling. If you have an iPhone,
Automilez iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Palm Pre, or WP7
It can be difficult to remember when you start- device, you can search for restaurants and other
ed your trip and ended it so you can keep track of places around you using the location finder. View
mileage, which is important if you get reimbursed pictures of restaurants, read reviews and menus,
for travel. Automilez uses a GPS feature to auto- and customize searches using different criteria.
matically track mileage for each trip you take and Yelp also features an interesting Monocle-based,
create logs for easy viewing. Once a trip log is cre- “augmented reality” feature that lets you point
ated, you can choose to send it via email or simply your phone at a business and view an information
store it on your phone. You can view individual overlay in real time. ▲

Concur Mobile Poynt makes Yelp provides


helps you manage finding restaurants, reviews and restau-
your expenses and shops, and movie rant information
create expense theaters easier so so you can find the
reports that can you can find time best place to eat
be stored or sent to relax while on a no matter where
via email. business trip. you are.

PC Today / April 2011 43


MO BILE O FFICE
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

New For Your Tablet


The Latest Software & Updates

by Joanna Clay

T
he tablet market and, Use A Personal
along with it, the market Teleprompter With
for tablet apps are grow- Best Prompter Pro
ing each day. With your busy Designed to guide you dur-
schedule in mind, we scouted ing public speeches and lectur-
the app stores and compiled a ing practice, recently released
list of some of the most impor- Best Prompter Pro ($7.99; www
tant and useful apps, tablet OS .smartphoneware.com) functions
updates, and app tweaks. as an automatic teleprompter,
script reader, and cue card dis-
Upcoming HP TouchPad play on the Apple iPad. The app
Will Run webOS 3.0 supports Bulletin Board CODE
HP plans to release the text (for Internet forums), which
TouchPad tablet this summer, is used to create formatting tags
but its webOS 3.0 from Palm The Best Prompter Pro is a personal teleprompter for the table of contents, headers,
(www.palm.com) is already big that guides you through your speeches, helps you and text format options includ-
news. The most acclaimed fea- make notes as you practice, and lets you paste text ing bolding, italics, and lists. Us-
ture, so far, is Tap-To-Share (also from your email. ers can edit and change a script,
known as Touchstone technol- manage scrolling speed, scroll
ogy), which lets you transfer a call, document, song, to individual text using gestures, and enable elapsed
text, or URL between a webOS phone (such as the time. To personalize documents for teaching, podcast
Pre3) and the HP TouchPad by physically tapping scripting, music, and other speaking engagements,
the two devices together. You will also be able to ex- you can copy and paste text from your email (and
ecute “true multitasking.” The practical application other supported apps); save your current editing spot;
of this feature is that you can pause one app, tap a add custom backgrounds and colors; see estimated
ending time; and import and export scripts through
iTunes file sharing. The Markers feature inserts on-
screen position indicators that you can follow as you
read a scrolling script.

Archos Releases Firmware For Multiple


webOS 3.0 on Internet Tablets
the HP Touchpad
will feature true Archos (www.archos.com) has made available
multitasking and the 2.1.8 version of its firmware that applies to the
Tap-To-Share following Archos Internet Tablets: 28, 32, 43, 70, and
technology. 101. The latest firmware adds support for keyboard
layouts for particular countries and the network
share option enables and disables network share
scanning at Wi-Fi Access Points (via Wi-Fi authen-
tication dialog box). Additional Wi-Fi fixes address
new notification, send a message, read a blog post, network disabling after suspend and resume loops,
and go back to the original app without closing any as well as false state information prevention dur-
other app. You won’t have to launch an app to start ing Wi-Fi authenticating. The multimedia upgrades
an email, either; you will simply start typing and correct bad MP3 files, fix HD video files, and evade
then locate the contact. multimedia file deletion on SDcards.

44 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


MO BILE O FFICE
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

Notion Ink Adam Update Resolves capabilities; and instant media file syncing via USB
General Issues from a camera or PC. Addenda to these brand-new ad-
The latest update for the Notion Ink Adam (www ditions are standard app updates for the Web browser,
.notionink.com) fixes browser bugs, improves video camera app, photo gallery, contacts, and email.
player issues, and tweaks general application features.
To correct problems in the browser, Notion Ink fixed Ruminate Helps You Organize Messy Ideas
the tab switching focus (along with stability issues), Ruminate ($1.99; www.ruminateapp.com) for Ap-
changed the inconsistent tabbed count display for ple’s iPad creates text and URL bubbles that you can pin
multiple tabs, and modified features in the address to a virtual whiteboard so your thoughts and sources
bar. In Canvas, the Adam will no longer restart an are all on the same screen. By double-tapping in the Ru-
minate app space, you can start a new thought, open
a bubble for a Web site, or combine both. Tapping the
Web tab opens the browser so you can tap the Import
URL button next to the address bar; to pull a quote from
a site, select the sentence or paragraph and tap Import
Option on the pop-up menu that appears. You can also
drag and link bubbles or put them in order using other
gestures. When you finish brainstorming ideas for your
paper, report, or essay, you can export the Ruminate
outline as a text file.

Get Comfortable With An Ergonomic


New firmware for the Archos 28, 32, 43, 70, and 101 Virtual Keyboard
tablets fixes Wi-Fi and multimedia bugs.
The newly released Thumb Keyboard ($1.84; www
.thumbkeyboard.blogspot.com) for Android tablets
activity when you connect a keyboard. Also, in Text offers seven keyboard layouts specifically designed for
mode, Droid Sans italics are now disabled and 1px size thumb-typing. A split keyboard layout with the left half
text is fixed. In general, Notion Ink has improved pan- moved up and the right half moved down, relative to
el view stability, added a new dialog box for network a standard QWERTY board, reduces finger stretching
connections, resolved the Update Adam feature, and or awkward tablet manipulation. Widened keys also
fixed a GPS coordinate problem. Additional enhance- enhance this keyboard design, so you are less likely
ments reconcile issues related to Video Player, Panel to accidentally press an adjacent key when you send a
Manager, Sniffer, Mail’D, and Calculator. message. The app supports text prediction in five lan-
guages, auto-correction, accents, quick-switch layouts,
Android Unveils 3.0 Honeycomb Upgrade pop-up keyboards (for characters, numbers, and emoti-
Android’s 3.0 platform, called Honeycomb, high- cons), and international keyboards.
lights a new user interface, System Bar, Action Bar,
customizable Home screens, updated multitasking Fuze Meeting
capabilities, and a reshaped soft keyboard. The “holo- Available With
graphic” interface is designed to make interactivity with Motorola Xoom
the tablet noticeably more content-focused with rich Fuse Box has added
notifications, widgets, and engaging media. The Sys- Fuze Meeting (starts at $29
tem Bar, which lines the bottom of the tablet screen, dis- per month for the Personal
plays notifications, system status, and soft navigation edition; www.fuzemeeting
buttons. This feature now includes a “lights out mode” .com) to the Honeycomb
you can dim when you view videos in full-screen. OS 3.0. Fuze Meeting hosts
Similarly, every application maintains the Action Bar, videoconferencing sessions
so you can control app options, widgets, and naviga- in 1080p HD. One user can conduct a multi-party video The Android 3.0
Honeycomb platform
tion. The new availability of five custom Home screens chat from a single Xoom device. You can share your
includes a new System
with installed app launchers makes it possible for you screen with all meeting attendees no matter their loca- Bar, Action Bar, and a
to engage with widgets, app shortcuts, and wallpaper. tion. And, it only requires one step to add a new attend- host of app updates.
Android 3.0 also features Recent Apps through which ee to an ongoing audio or video conference. Enterprises
you may interact with the System Bar to locate tasks embracing the consumerization of IT will appreciate
and move from one app to the next. You’ll notice a re- this online collaboration tool as Motorola intends to
designed keyboard; improved copy, paste, and search market the Xoom as a business tool to rival the iPad. ▲

PC Today / April 2011 45


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BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

New For Your Smartphone


The Latest Software & Updates

by Nathan Lake

Y
ou probably rely on your smartphone for BlackBerry. New features you’ll find in the latest
many things, but with new software and version include calendar filtering, which lets us-
updates, you can improve the efficiency and ers with multiple calendars select which ones work
functionality of your mobile phone. We check out with OnTime, and there’s a global drive or walk
the most popular newly released software and key setting that will let you choose whether to receive
updates to help you maximize how you use your alerts and directions for the given mode of trans-
smartphone while you’re on the road. portation. One of the coolest features of OnTime
is the location-based route mapping that uses the
New For Android GPS in your BlackBerry to take into account your
Quickoffice announced its Quickoffice Connect
Mobile Suite ($19.99; www.quickoffice.com), which
gives you full editing of Microsoft Office files and
access to mobile cloud storage for popular services,
such as Apple MobileME, Box.net, Dropbox, Google
Docs, Huddle, and SugarSync. With an interface de-
signed for use with Android 3.0, the program’s inter-
face creates a more user-friendly experience. You can
view and edit Microsoft Office content in Office 2010
or earlier versions.
Skifta for Android (free; www.skifta.com) is the Version 1.2 of OnTime lets you filter which calendars
first Android app to be certified by the DLNA (Digital integrate with OnTime, and it can provide driving or
walking directions to your next destination.
Living Network Alliance), which means it can stream
media, including photos and music, from one
DLNA source, such as a PC, to your Android current location, as well as the location of your next
phone. Alternatively, you can stream media on appointment, to provide directions.
your phone to DLNA devices, such as televisions, Bellshare recently changed the name of its Berry-
IP-connected stereos, and game consoles. Buzz app to BeBuzz ($5.99; www.bellshare.com).
If you need to monitor the network usage Along with the name change, Bellshare released ver-
costs on your data plan, check out Spb Software’s sion 4.0 of BeBuzz, which now lets you change the
SPB Wireless Monitor For Android ($9.95; standard-colored LED on your BlackBerry to another
www.spb.com). The program can notify you color and set custom alerts for specific contacts. In
when you reach a set limit, and it features daily, the latest version of BeBuzz, Bellshare places notifi-
monthly, yearly, or custom period cost reports. cations of incoming messages (titled toasts) placed
You can view traffic reports per application as near the bottom or top of the display. The app’s
well as time-based reports, all of which you can sound profile settings now let you enable/disable
export as CSV files. LED, change audible reminders, and modify vibrate
Fans of Sports Illustrated who want to read the and toast configurations.
With Skifta for Android, publication on the go should try out the Sports Illus- SOTI added a variety of new features to version
you can stream media
trated app ($3.99 a month for digital only, free for print 7.01 of its Pocket Controller Pro ($35.95; www.soti
to and from your
Android mobile phone. subscribers; www.si.com) from Time Inc. You’ll get all .net), which lets you remotely control your Black-
the SI content you’d see in the print version. Berry from a desktop or notebook computer. New
performance options include a few keyboard short-
New For BlackBerry cuts: An ALT button on the keyboard corresponds
OnTime 1.2 ($4.99; www.ontimemobileapp.com) with the BlackBerry’s ALT button; and the SHIFT
from Ripple Mobile is a calendar application for and arrow buttons let you select multiple files

46 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


MO BILE O FFICE
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

or text for deleting or copying. The pro-


gram is ideal if you want to use Black-
Berry Messenger on a desktop computer,
or if you want to display the BlackBerry
screen in real time on a PC monitor (or a pro-
jector) for presentations.
With SRS’ Call Notes Live ($9.99; www
.callnoteslive.com), you can add notes about
a caller in your contacts list, and your Black-
Berry will display those notes as the phone
rings the next time the person calls. The
You can use Currency Converter Pro and Windows
idea is that you’ll have the most important
Phone 7 to convert rates for 147 world currencies.
talking points before you on the caller ID.
You’ll also see the date and time that you en-
tered the note. And when the call ends, a screen will Lane Assist feature directs you to the best lane for
appear where you can quickly update the live note for your destination. We also like that the StreetPilot
that contact. App integrates with your iPhone’s contacts to let
you make and receive calls while the navigation
New For iOS continues to display on-screen.
What was formerly Facebook Messenger, Crisp
App’s fone ($1.99; www.crispapp.com) lets you New For Windows Phone 7
make VoIP calls to your Facebook friends using With Currency Converter Pro ($0.99; www.black
your iPhone or iPod touch. The voice chat app also lightmobile.com) from Black Light Mobile, you can
lets you send instant messages via Facebook chat convert the value of 147 world currencies and six pre-
with alerts displayed via Apple Push Notification. cious metals. In version 2, Black Light Mobile added
You can also send photos from your album or cam- a Favorites section where you can select or save the
era, as well as view friends’ walls without leaving currencies you access most frequently or delete the
the application. ones you don’t use. Another new feature in version
YouMail updated its iPhone Visual Voicemail 2 gives you the ability to view the last recorded rate
Plus (free; www.youmail.com). New features in- should your phone have no available connection.
clude a visual caller ID that displays photos of in- Notifications will alert you when a selected currency
coming callers from the phone’s address book and falls below a given limit.
the caller’s Facebook account, as well as the origi- moTweets ($0.99; www.panoramicsoft.com) from
nating city, state, and phone number. You can record Panoramic Software was a popular Twitter client on
specific greetings for given callers. Voice-to-text lets Windows Mobile, and now it’s available for Windows
you forward the voicemail to an email address, and Phone 7. New features in moTweets include NearMe,
which lets you view Tweets
near your location and view
them on a map, and Image
Wall, which looks for images
fone lets you
make free VoIP that you and others have post-
calls to your ed within the Stream. You can
Facebook friends add multiple timelines to the
via your iPhone main stream and access a maxi-
or iPod touch.
mum of six Twitter accounts.
Want to do a little research
on the wine you’re drinking?
you can move the voicemail to a folder, so you can Just download Vivino (free; www.vivino.com), snap
organize the stored messages. a photo of the bottle of wine you’re drinking, and
The StreetPilot App ($39.99; www.garmin the Vivino app will use its image recognition tech-
.com) from Garmin provides you with many of nology to bring up information about that particu-
the high-end features found on Garmin’s stand- lar wine including ratings, facts, recommendations,
alone GPS devices. For example, you’ll enjoy spo- food pairings, and prices. You can note whether you
ken turn-by-turn directions with traffic alerts that liked the wine, and even share the experience via
help you avoid accidents and construction. The Facebook or Twitter. ▲

PC Today / April 2011 47


M O BILE O FFICE
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

IPHONE APPS

Cisco Mobile 8.1


At-Work Phone Functionality From Anywhere

As Cisco aptly states, its Mobile 8.1 app


“lets you place, receive, and manage calls
over your corporate Wi-Fi network.” The
application also lets you use any Wi-Fi hot-
spot via a VPN (virtual private network) to
do the same. Thus, if you’re on the road in
a hotel room that offers Wi-Fi access with
Mobile 8.1 on your iPhone, you can still tap
into all the goodness of your company’s te- Price: Free | Size: 10.4MB | Release Date: Dec. 4, 2010
lephony infrastructure.
In addition to the app saving
costs related to wireless calls, includ-
ing roaming fees, Mobile 8.1 lets you
place calls using your work phone
number. This gives you the appear-
ance of making calls from your com-
pany office but also lets you maintain
the privacy of your own personal
iPhone number whether making calls
in said hotel room, your home office,
or a restaurant down the street.
There are a couple of caveats to
know about Mobile 8.1 before down-
loading it. First, your company must
be using the Cisco Unified Commu-
nications Manager service. If it’s not,
the app won’t function. Second, to take ad- Why You’ll Want This App
vantage of the new multitasking ability
added to this current version, your iPhone t Place and receive calls using your company phone number.
needs to be running iOS 4.2 (iPhone 3GS,
t Save on calling costs by placing calls over a company Wi-Fi
iPhone 4, iPod touch 3rd and 4th genera- network or any Wi-Fi hotspot.
tion, and iPad are supported). If you’re us-
ing an iPhone 3G, Cisco instructs you to t Hand off calls to a mobile network when leaving Wi-Fi coverage.
download and use Mobile 8.0. Additional- t Run the app in the background while using other apps.
ly, tapping into the multitasking ability re-
t View and hear office voice messages via optional features.
quires that your company previously made
upgrades to its Unified Communications
Manager infrastructure.
Conveniently, Mobile 8.1 can hand off
calls to a mobile network upon leaving Wi-
Fi coverage. Further, it supports conference
calls, transferring calls, and holding and
resuming calls. Optional features include
voicemail, company directory access, and
voice command-based dialing. The app
also adds support for Bluetooth headsets.

48 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


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IPHONE APPS

Mariner Calc powerOne Financial Lotus Notes Traveler


Spreadsheet Calculator–Pro Edition Companion
$4.99 t 3MB $4.99 t 3.8MB Free t 0.4MB
Mariner Calc Spreadsheet (Rel. Jan. 26, 2011) Infinity Softworks’ powerOne Financial Calcula- IBM’s Lotus Notes Traveler Companion (Rel. Feb.
from Mariner Software lets you create spread- tor–Pro Edition (Rel. Dec. 10, 2010) lets you calculate 22, 2011) displays Domino-encrypted emails on your
sheets with multiple functions including finance, anything from simple math problems to finance, iPhone. Your company must have a Lotus Notes Trav-
stats, and more. investing, and real estate equations all in one app. eler server running Traveler 8.5.1.1 or higher.

Microsoft OneNote Multi Calc 6x4 Week Calendar


Free t 4.1MB $0.99 t 0.7 MB $1.99 t 4MB
Microsoft OneNote (Rel. Feb. 3, 2011) is the mobile Illumipad’s Multi Calc 6x4 (Rel. Jan. 19, 2011) pro- UtiliTap’s Week Calendar (Rel. Feb. 5, 2011) provides
version of the Microsoft Office software that lets you vides four to six linked calculators on one screen so a weekly calendar view not available in the iPhone’s
create customized notes that you can sync with Win- you can calculate complicated equations easier. Dis- stock calendar app. Also compatible with Microsoft
dows Live and view on your phone or PC. plays calculations in portrait or landscape modes. Outlook, Microsoft Exchange, and Google Calendar.

PC Today / April 2011 49


MO BILE O FFICE
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BLACKBERRY APPS

Advanced Call Manager


More Call-Handling Options For More Situations

“Answer or hang up.” According to


Melon Mobile, those are your only choices
when receiving a call on your device no
matter how advanced it is. That is unless
you’ve installed the company’s Advanced
Call Manager app, which essentially gives
you a handful of options for handling calls,
along with some personalization touches
you can apply.
At its core, Advanced Call Manager Price: $9.99 | Size: 268KB | Release Date: Dec. 14, 2010
provides five alternatives for managing
calls, including sending a caller a busy
signal so as to “avoid acting rude by
hanging up,” signaling a busy tone that
is accompanied by a pre-assigned SMS;
letting a call pass through but muting
the device’s ringer; forwarding a call;
and recording a caller’s message direct-
ly to the device vs. a voicemail box (cur-
rently only available on Nokia devices.)
The app supports various actions re-
lated to caller profiles and to group lists,
such as Work, Family, Friends, and so
on. The lists’ options let you set specific
actions, such as allowing or blocking calls
from callers belonging to specific lists; Why You’ll Want This App
importing contacts from a phone to make
creating lists easier; and setting actions per- t Numerous ways to handle calls beyond answering or hanging up.
sonalized to specific callers, such as send- t You can configure personalized actions for specific callers.
ing a preconfigured SMS to a manager but
t A Scheduler function automatically puts your phone into different
blocking calls from other members of your
profiles based on certain criteria.
Work list.
t A Locator feature sets the device into a specific profile depending on
Additionally, Advanced Call Manager
your location.
includes a handy Scheduler feature that
automatically puts the phone into different t You can allow or block calls from callers belonging to specific lists
you designate.
profile modes depending on a given cir-
cumstance. A Locator function, meanwhile,
switches the phone to different modes de-
pending on where you’re physically locat-
ed, such as setting the phone to Work mode
once you leave your office building.
A free version of the app is also avail-
able but limits options for saving and en-
abling certain features.

50 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


MO BILE O FFICE
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BLACKBERRY APPS

RemindMe–The e-Mobile Stock Quintell Dashboards 2


Reminder Super App Manager for BlackBerry $29.99 t337KB
$4.99 t73KB $19.99 t244KB Quintell Dashboards 2 (Rel. Feb. 18, 2011) from Quin-
QuiteSimple created RemindMe–The Reminder e-Mobile Stock Manager for BlackBerry (Rel. Jan. 14, tell Business Intelligence Pte. Ltd. is a mobile analyt-
Super App (Rel. Jan. 20, 2011), which you can use to 2011) from e-Mobile Software provides up-to-date ics tool that displays spreadsheets converted to per-
set automatic email notifications, send reminders stock and mutual funds data. You can monitor your formance reports on your smartphone. Pinpoint data
to participants, and choose reminder icons. portfolio and track the performance of each market. trends, find important performance data, and more.

Percentages HulloMail Smart BatteryIcon


$1.99 t 19KB Voicemail $0.99 t 110KB
The Apps Pod created the Percentages app (Rel. Nov. $4.99 t 531KB BatteryIcon (Rel. Dec. 9, 2010) from Toysoft De-
22, 2010), which makes percent value calculations less HulloMail Smart Voicemail (Rel. March 1, 2011) velopment puts a battery percentage icon on your
complicated. Find the percent of a number, part val- from HulloMail Ltd. lets you manage, send, re- phone’s home screen and adds the icon and a per-
ue, and percentage change from one value to another. ceive, and share voicemail messages. centage symbol to the Notification toolbar.

52 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


MOBILE OFFICE
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

CarMD
Handheld Prevention & Diagnostic Care For Your Vehicle
by Seth Colaner

he CarMD® Vehicle Health System™ is the of parts and components, from air bags to water

T
CarMD, with its ability to
solution for anyone who’s ever wished they pumps. In addition to finding out if a part is failing instantly diagnose vehicle
could figure out what’s happening under the or making sure the vehicle is operating at optimal problems, is especially useful
for business travelers who
hood of their vehicles at any given time. efficiency, CarMD helps you diagnose problems can’t afford unnecessary and
and determine a reasonable cost for repair (which unexpected downtime.
The Problem in turn gives you leverage when working with a
Most of us haven’t a clue as to the health of our cars, mechanic). CarMD also delivers updates about re-
trucks, SUVs, and vans until something breaks. Even call notices and service bulletins.
so, we have to trust mechanics to diagnose, fix, and
charge us appropriately for every issue, large or small. How It Works
Further, although a vehicle might be otherwise in good The handheld CarMD device connects with
shape, there may be something just slightly off that im- the DLC (Data Link Connector) that resides
pacts gas mileage or wear and tear on a particular part. under the dashboard of all vehicles manufac-
If you’re a business professional, the vehicle you tured since 1996. (If you’re unsure where the
drive is part of your success. Whether you rely on DLC is located on your particular vehicle, you
rental cars for traveling or your company vehicle for can find out at www.CarMD.com.) When you
meeting a client across town, you don’t have time for connect the device to a PC or Mac computer, you
breakdowns. can use the CarMD software to check that data
against CarMD’s online database for diagnostic
The Solution help, projected repair costs, and more.
CarMD is a handheld device (with software for Your purchase of CarMD includes lifetime
your computer) that you can easily connect to your firmware and software updates at no additional
vehicle, use to perform a quick check of your car, and charge, which will keep both the device itself and
determine its overall health. You can also use CarMD the knowledge base to which you have access as
to perform a detailed evaluation to track your ve- current as possible.
hicle’s health in-depth over the long term.
A quick check indicates the general condition of The Road Ahead
a given vehicle; a green light means that it’s good to By the end of 2011, CarMD will launch an app
go, a yellow light indicates a potential issue, and a for various mobile platforms that will augment
red light tells you that the vehicle needs immediate CarMD’s services; stay tuned to www.CarMD.com EXCLUSIVELY FOR
attention. Quick checks are useful for a number of for new product and service announcements. PC TODAY READERS
situations, such as checking your rental car before And if you find yourself stuck on a lonely Visit www.CarMD.com
and use the promo code
driving off the lot or making sure your vehicle is in road somewhere and can’t get to your com-
PCToday to receive 15%
shape to pass emissions tests. puter, you can call CarMD’s ASE (Automotive off the regular price of a
For your own car or company vehicle, you can Service Excellence)-certified technicians toll-free at CarMD Vehicle Health
use CarMD to check the status of a huge number 888.MyCarMD for timely expertise. ▲ System (MSRP $119.85).

PC Today / April 2011 53


MO BILE O FFICE
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

SMARTPHONE

Tips
■ Android
Print, Add Security,
Save Power & More

by Andrew Leibman

GOOGLE CLOUD PRINT


Google recently rolled out the beta version of its HTML5-based cloud printing
service for phones running Android 2.1 or newer and iOS-based devices running
version 3 or newer. With Google Cloud Print, you can quickly and easily print
emails and Google Docs documents from your smartphone by launching a mobile
Web browser, opening a document in Google Docs or an email in Gmail, tapping
the arrow button in the top-right corner of the screen to view additional options,
and then tapping Print. If you’re viewing an attachment, such as a PDF or DOC
file, you can use Google Cloud Print by clicking the corresponding Print hyperlink.

Google Cloud
Print also works
on iPhones.

54 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


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BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

But first, you need to set up the service by launch- developer’s Web site, yet the game was not avail-
ing Google’s Chrome browser on a PC connected to able there, nor was the developer’s name.
your desired printer. (Note that if you attempt to set up Also, avoid downloading apps that encourage
the service using any other copyright violations, especially through music,
browser, you’ll be directed video, or ringtone downloads. Closely examine
to download and install the permissions any app requires before finalizing
Chrome before proceeding. a download. A wallpaper app probably shouldn’t
The Web site www.google require access to your identity.
.com/cloudprint provides Avoid sideloading, or installing apps from third
detailed instructions for set- parties outside of the Android Market, whenever
ting up Google Cloud Print.) possible. Many legitimate, malware-free apps re-
First, click the wrench icon quire sideloading, so you don’t need to swear it off
in the upper-right corner of entirely, but treat these apps with extra caution.
Google Chrome, select Op-
tions, click the Under The
Hood tab, scroll down, and
click the Sign In To Google
Cloud Print button. Sign
A third-party security app in using your Google account Enter your Gmail
can help ensure your device credentials to enable
username and password, after
is protected against malware Google Cloud Print.
and more. which you’ll see a dialog box
indicating that you successfully
enabled Google Cloud Print.
You can either print a test page or click OK to exit. If
you chose to print a test page, click the appropriate but- Install a malware and antivirus scanner on your
ton on the subsequent page, and then click the Print A phone. There are several available, many of them
Test Page Button. Back on the Under The Hood tab of free, but treat these like you would any other app,
the Google Chrome Options, the Google Cloud Print and do your homework.
section will now have Disable Google Cloud Print and
Manage Print Settings buttons. ■ BlackBerry
ASSIGN RINGTONES TO GROUPS
ANDROID SECURITY Aside from the novelty aspect, assigning distinc-
With the news that Google recently stumbled tive ringtones to certain contact groups can help you
upon several dozen apps in the Android Market immediately identify whether the call is personal or
that were both pirated software and infected with work-related, for instance. To assign a ringtone to a
malware, security is now officially something you group of contacts, navigate to Profiles on the Home
need to worry about on your smartphone. Google screen, select Advanced, press the Menu key, select
had since remotely removed the offending apps New Exception, type a name for the exception (such
from afflicted phones, but it took several days. What
BLACKBERRY

follows are our best recommendations for taking a


proactive approach to protecting your device. MANAGE CONNECTIONS WHEN TRAVELING
The adage that begins, “If it’s too good to be true When you’re traveling to an area in which your cellular data plan does
. . .” holds true for the Android Market, as well. Be- not support coverage, especially abroad, it’s a good idea to take your Black-
fore downloading an app, especially a free one, do Berry offline. The easiest way to do this, instead of simply shutting the
more than just read reviews on the Android Market; BlackBerry off, is to scroll to and select the Manage Connections icon from
read reviews from reputable sources. the Home Screen, select Mobile Network Options, select Data Services, and
It’s a good idea to research the app’s publisher, then turn off Data Services entirely or set When Roaming to Off.
visit the developer’s Web site (you can do this by
tapping Visit The Developer’s Web Page from the
Android Market listing), and look at the other apps as work), scroll to the From field, press the trackball or
it offers (you can do this by tapping the View More trackpad, select Add Name, and then select a contact
Applications from the Android Market listing). For from the Address Book. To add additional contacts,
example, we noticed that the developer of a free Tet- just press the trackball or trackpad again, select Add
ris clone currently available on the Android Market Name, and choose another contact; repeat this step
linked to the generic site www.game.com for the for every contact you want to add to the group. Next,

PC Today / April 2011 55


M O BILE O FFICE
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scroll to Custom Phone Tune field, press the trackball

IPHONE
or trackpad, select the ringtone you want to identify CREATE FOLDERS USING ITUNES
with the group, press the Menu key, and select Save. When your iOS 4.2 or newer iPhone is docked
and synced, you can create folders and add apps
START A to them right from within iTunes. To do this, first
BLACKBERRY MESSENGER connect your iOS-based device to your PC or Mac,
CONVERSATION launch iTunes (if it does not launch automatically),
With ubiquitous QWERTY key- select the device from the left side of the iTunes
boards, BlackBerrys are popular with screen, click the Apps tab, and then just drag and
heavy messengers. The BlackBerry drop your apps into folders as you see fit. Click
Messenger app is a chatting utility Apply when you’re done to sync the changes.
that allows unlimited characters and
is designed just for BlackBerrys. To
start a BlackBerry Messenger conver-
BlackBerry Messenger is a great sation, just select the BlackBerry Messenger icon from
way for fellow BB users to keep
the Home screen, select a contact from the BlackBerry
connected.
Messenger contact list, type your message, press the
trackball or trackpad, and then click Send.

SAVE POWER OVERNIGHT


If you use your BlackBerry primarily for work
purposes, it’s a good idea to set your BlackBerry iPad users can
configure the Side
to shut off overnight and restart automatically the
Switch to either
next morning. To do this, scroll to and select Op- mute/unmute or
tions from the Home screen, Auto On/Off, enable lock orientation.
the Weekday and/or Weekend options, and then set
a schedule under the appropriate heading.

■ iPhone
QUIT APPLICATIONS Yahoo! if you like. To do this, tap Settings from the
Now that multitasking has made its way to Home screen, Safari, Search Engine, and then tap
iPhone (4.2 and newer), killing apps is a necessity Google, Bing, or Yahoo! to make that your default
from time to time to maintain battery life or man- search engine.
age performance on older devices. To kill an app,
you’ll need to access the multitasking drawer by FIND MY IPHONE
double-tapping the Home button, then press and Users with an iPhone 4, iPad, or fourth-gener-
hold your finger on an app icon. When the apps ation iPod touch running iOS 4.2 and newer now
begin to wiggle, you’ll see a red icon in the upper- have free access to the Find My iPhone feature of
left corner of the apps. Next, just tap the red icons MobileMe, Apple’s cloud-based service for syncing
on the apps you want to kill. your data between multiple iOS-based devices. If
you ever lose your iPhone, Find My iPhone lets you
CONFIGURE THE IPAD log in to me.com from any Web-enabled computer
With multitasking come SIDE SWITCH IN IOS 4.3 and locate your iPhone on a map. To get started
memory management issues.
With the latest version of iOS (4.3), Apple has with a supported device, just search for and install
decided to let you choose whether the side switch the Find My iPhone app from the App Store. Then
locks the orientation, like it originally did upon launch the app and log on using your Mobile Me
launch, or mutes and unmutes sound, which is sim- Account. If you do not already have a Mobile Me
ilar to how the iPhone works. To take your pick, tap account, access Settings from the Home screen and
Settings, General, and then under Use Side Switch then tap Mail, Contacts, and Calendars. Tap the
To, select either Mute or Lock Rotation. Add Account option under Accounts, tap Mobile
Me, and then input your Apple ID in the appropri-
CHANGE YOUR ate fields. Now recovering your device should be
DEFAULT SEARCH ENGINE easier than ever.
The default search engine on your iOS-based You can also activate Find My iPhone on mul-
device is Google, but you can change it to Bing or tiple devices. And as long as at least one of them is

56 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


MOBILE O FFICE
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

an iPhone 4, iPad, or fourth-generation iPod touch, View events by pressing and holding your finger
you can enable Find My iPhone on older iPhones, in the gesture area and then pressing the E key. Tap
including the 3GS and 3G. Once Find My iPhone the Birthdays button at the bottom of the Events
is configured on one of the newer devices, down- page to see who among your friends is having a
load the app to the older birthday soon.
device and sign in using The gesture you may use most often is the one
the Apple ID you use for that brings up your Notifications. To access these,
the newer device. Now just press and hold your finger in the gesture
from the Find My iPhone area and then press the N key. New Notifications
app’s Devices screen, you will appear bolded.
should be able to locate ev-
ery device associated with ■ Windows Phone 7
the Mobile Me account. UPDATE YOUR APPS
By default, the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace
■ WebOS app is on the Start screen, but if you ever see a
FACEBOOK number notification beside the icon, then you
GESTURES know you have apps that need updating. To up-
The webOS Facebook date these apps, tap the Marketplace icon and then
Find My iPhone shows app has three basic navigation tap Update from the bottom of the screen. On the
the location of your
methods: the top bar header, the next screen, you can tap Update All or select the
device on a map.
Navigate To option in the drop- apps individually to update them one at a time.
down menu that you can access Facebook on webOS
by tapping in the top-left corner, and gesture- FACEBOOK MOST RECENT supports a multitude of
based shortcuts. The gesture area on webOS-based If you’re like us, you prefer to view your Most gesture-based shortcuts.
phones, including the Pre and Pixi, enable you to Recent news posts on Facebook rather than the Top
do some pretty basic functions, such as navigating News, which displays a kind of “best of” based on
forward and back through apps and messages. To the profiles you interact with the most. But on most
perform a gesture-based action, simply hold your versions of Facebook, Top News is the default view.
finger in the gesture area and press a letter key. Accessing the Most Recent view is actually easier
These key-bound actions vary by application, and on Windows Phone 7 than other platforms; all you
the Facebook app supports several different gestures. have to do is launch the Facebook app, tap News
To perform the Facebook-based shortcuts, first Feed, and then scroll once to the left. Now you’ll
launch the Facebook application by tapping the be hip to everything that’s going on in your social
Launcher and then tapping the Facebook icon. If circle, even if your social butterfly likes to perch
you’re using a Palm Pre, slide open the keyboard. on wallflowers. ▲
To get to your News Feed from any other loca-
tion in Facebook, press and hold your finger in the
WINDOWS PHONE 7
gesture area and then press the H key. You can also FIND MY WINDOWS PHONE
skip to the bottom of the News Feed page by per- Windows Phone 7 has a Find My Phone app built in, which lets
forming this action from here. To move back to the you recover a lost or stolen Windows Phone 7 device. But before you
top of the feed, perform the action again. can start using the handy feature, scroll left to access the apps list, tap
Access your Facebook photos from any location in Settings, scroll to and tap Find My Phone, and then tap the checkboxes
the Facebook app by pressing and holding your finger for Save My Location Periodically and Get Results Faster (the latter
in the gesture area and then pressing the P key. option warns you that it may impact battery life). Once set, tap the
You can initiate a search of your Facebook friends, Windows button to return to the Start screen.
all users, or pages by pressing and holding your finger Now, you can log in to windowsphone.live.com on a desktop or
in the gesture area and then pressing the S key. Then notebook PC using your Windows Live ID and then click Find My
just tap the category and type your query. Phone. There are three buttons here that let you Ring it, Lock It, and
To quickly access your Facebook Inbox, just Erase it. Click the Ring It icon to force your Windows Phone 7 device
press and hold your finger in the gesture area and to ring, even if it’s on silent or vibrate mode. This is useful for when
then press the I key. Pressing and holding your fin- your Phone is nearby. The Lock It button locks your phone so that
ger in the gesture area and then pressing the U key nobody else can use it. You can also configure the phone to display
will pull up your Profile page, otherwise known as a message on the screen. Click Erase It to remotely remove your data
your Wall, where you’ll see all of your status up- with a complete factory reset.
dates and activity.

PC Today / April 2011 57


MO BILE O FFICE
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WEB Mobile Web Notes


New & Updated Sites & Services

by Seth Colaner

When you’re away from the office, your productivity doesn’t have to stop.
The Web is exploding with mobile sites and online services, including office
tools, news alerts, entertainment, and any number of other useful items. Just
as quickly, it seems, others go under, are bought by larger companies, or
simply evolve into something different. We’ve found some of the freshest and
most useful sites, services, and updates for you to consider.

Firefox 4 Mobile Beta Windows Phone 7 Marketplace Surpasses


Mozilla announced that Firefox 4 Mobile for 10,000 Applications
Android and Maemo is now available in beta. You The Windows Phone Marketplace, renovated for
can snag the new version from the Android Mar- and bolstered by the relatively recent release of Win-
ket or directly from the Firefox mobile site (www dows Phone 7, has now topped 10,000 apps. More are
.mozilla.com/en-US/mobile/beta). coming, to the tune of a few hundred each week. New
Predictably, the new version is pur- apps being added to the Marketplace include apps that
ported to be faster than earlier ver- have become popular on other mobile platforms, such
sions, and it also sports better stability, as Flickr and Angry Birds, in addition to platform-spe-
more efficient memory, zooming capa- cific treats such as games that integrate with Xbox Live.
bilities, and fixes for some reported
keyboard bugs. Other features include Quickly & Easily Find WHOIS Info
Firefox Sync, which is designed to Every Web site has “WHOIS” information, which
synchronize history, bookmarks, and includes details about a domain, including the
more between the desktop and mobile site’s IP address and information about the owner
version of Firefox 4 Beta across mul- of the domain
tiple devices, and more items in the name. There is
add-on gallery for increased custom- now a site (whoiz
ization possibilities. .mobi) that lets
you quickly and
Intel Sticking With MeeGo easily look up
Development of the open-source WHOIS infor-
mobile operating platform MeeGo has mation about
been a joint effort between Nokia and Web sites with
Intel, until recently. Nokia rocked the the .MOBI file
At whoiz.mobi, you can look up WHOIS information boat by announcing it was planning to extension—in
for any site with the .MOBI file extension. adopt Windows Phone 7 as its primary other words, mo-
smartphone operating system. bile Web sites.
The announcement was more of a blow to the Simply enter the
future of Nokia’s Symbian platform than MeeGo, domain you’re
but it still leaves the future of the latter somewhat looking for in
tenuous. It appears as though MeeGo still figures the text field, tap
into Nokia’s long-term mobile strategy, but Intel the Whoiz It?
is more clearly sticking with the platform, recently button, and the
unveiling a tablet user experience and stating that WHOIS infor- HTML5Test is a site that lets you test your Web browser
it will continue to develop the platform for every- mation appears to see how well its makers are implementing the various
aspects of the upcoming HTML5 specification.
thing from tablets to phones to automobiles. directly below.

58 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


MO BILE O FFICE
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

HTML5 Test Site hours. This new feature is especially useful for
The developing but not-yet-released HTML5 those times when you need something at an odd
specification promises to deliver a variety of hour, such as very late in the evening or early in
new capabilities for the Web; already, many sites the morning. You also can filter Google mobile
and designers are experimenting with various search results by their star ratings and distance.
aspects of HTML5. HTML5 implementation on
Web browsers is on its way, and thanks to www Priority Inbox For Gmail Mobile
.HTML5Test.com, you can easily check the level In other Google-related mobile news, Gmail
of your Web browser’s compatibility. To run the for mobile now has a Priority Inbox feature. The
test, you simply visit the Web site. screen real estate on mobile devices is limited
You’ll receive a score (out of a possible 400), by nature, so anything that makes better use of
and the site breaks down your browser’s score what’s on-screen helps the user experience. You
by category. Categories include Parsing Rules, can set up Priority Inbox in the desktop ver-
Canvas, Au- sion of Gmail—you can’t adjust the settings via
dio, Video, the mobile interface just yet—and when you
Elements, access Gmail from your mobile device, the pro-
Forms, and gram will list your high-prioritized messages
more. With- at the top, including unread messages and
in each cate- starred messages.
gory, you can
see the num- Network Solutions & dotMobi Partnership
ber of points As more and more consumers and business
your brows- professionals rely on their mobile devices to ac-
er scores. For cess the Internet, having a mobile-optimized ver-
instance, sion of your company’s Web site is imperative. In
your brows- some cases, instead of trying to shrink an exist-
er may net 15 ing site down to fit logically on a mobile device’s
out of 20 small display, it may be bet-
points in the ter to simply create a sepa-
Storage cat- rate, stripped-down mobile
egory. Under site that features just the
each score essentials of who you are,
the site pro- what you provide, and how
Google mobile’s new Open Now feature lets users
filter Places searches for local businesses by the hours
vides more to contact you.
they’re currently open. detailed in- At least, that’s the approach
formation Network Solutions (www.net
about how it determined each score and indicates worksolutions.com), in con-
which specific items were supported. For all its detail, junction with mobile content
HTML5Test isn’t intended to be a comprehensive test, provider dotMobi (mtld.mobi),
but it’s a good indicator of how well your browser’s has taken with goMobi. go-
manufacturer is keeping pace with the updated lan- Mobi provides businesses with
guage of the Internet. a simple and fast way to pro-
duce a mobile Web site, with
Google Mobile Search “Open Now” Feature packages that start at $5.99
Google, for all its forays into mobile op- per month.
erating systems, cloud computing, and other During setup, goMobi
technology fronts, hasn’t forgotten about its pulls data from your existing
bread and butter—search, or in this case, mo- site, such as your company
bile search. The company recently unveiled the logo and phone number, al- goMobi, from Network Solutions and dotMobi, is a service that lets
Open Now feature under the Places search tab, though you can manually businesses put together a mobile Web site quickly and easily.
available only in the U.S., which not only turns enter as much new or dif-
up local businesses in search results but also lets ferent information as you like. The resulting site
you filter those results to display establishments is simple and clean, and it offers customers easy
that are open for business at that particular mo- links to your company’s hours, contact informa-
ment. Google pulls data from a business’ posted tion, and more. ▲

PC Today / April 2011 59


PER SONAL ELECTRO NICS
TECH FOR HOME & LEISURE

Digital
by Blaine Flamig

The iPad 2 Is Upon Us


■ With Steve Jobs on hand, Apple introduced the second coming
of the iPad in early March, presenting Wi-Fi-only 16GB ($499),
32GB ($599), and 64GB ($699) iPad 2 models and Wi-Fi + 3G iPad
2 models in the same capacities at sug-
gested $629, $729, and $829
price points, re-
spectively. (The
price for the
original iPad now gains dual cameras (front-facing VGA and back-located 720p HD)
falls to $399.) Running on the new iOS 4.3—with new features in- for FaceTime chatting. The first-gen iPad’s 9.7-inch LED screen is a
cluding support for establishing a “Personal Hotspot” by tapping holdover, but the iPad 2 weighs in 15% lighter and measures 33%
into an iPhone 4’s cellular data connection)—the iPad 2 is available thinner. The tablet also promises to be faster and a better graphics
on AT&T and Verizon networks, comes in black and white, and performer thanks to its dual-core A5 processor.
Of course, accompanying
any new Apple devices are
SRS Labs’ iWOW 3D Restoration Project new accessories. For the iPad 2
■ Most earbuds that ship with audio-playing that means Apple’s own mag-
mobile devices are, well, junk in terms of netic Smart Cover ($39 poly-
the tinny, hollow audio quality they produce. urethane; $69 leather), which
Hence, the profitable business that is third-party comes in 10 colors, offers a pro-
headphones and earbuds. Still, even good third- tective screen, and doubles as a
party cans don’t deliver all the full-powered, dy- video and keyboard stand. The
namic details an audio track is recorded with. SRS cover also puts the iPad 2 into
Labs’ (www.srslabs.com) iWOW 3D adapter aims sleep mode when closed and
to alter this reality by using patented technologies to wakes the tablet when opened.
gift ears with “natural and immersive sound” featur- A Digital AV Adapter ($39),
ing “deep, rich bass” by restoring details in digital audio that’s often meanwhile, takes advantage
overshadowed or lost entirely. Available for any 30-pin connecting Apple of the iPad 2’s video mirror-
device including iPads, iPhones, and iPods, the iWOW 3D works with any ing abilities to display active
standard headphones or earbuds. Just press the adapter’s integrated button, and content on the iPad 2’s screen
the iWOW 3D goes to work producing simulated 3D audio. A free SRS iWOW App, on an HDTV. Elsewhere, Belkin
meanwhile, enables configuring audio for various modes (headphones, speakers, (www.belkin.com) announced
car, etc.). The adapter is available with headphones ($79.99) or without ($59.99). the multiple-angling FlipBlade
Adjust ($29.99), beanbag-based
ViewLounge ($29.99), and the
Folio Stands line (pricing still

60 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


PER SONAL ELECTRO NICS
TECH FOR HOME & LEISURE

Play Multimedia Files


Anywhere With MiMedia
Samsung PMPs Cozy Up To Wi-Fi
■ Many online subscription backup ser-
■ Samsung recently offered details for its upcoming Galaxy S WiFi 4.0 and vices will gladly store your music, photos,
WiFi 5.0, would-be iPod touch killers that by all appearances look to be videos, and other files in the cloud. Mi-
essentially Galaxy S smartphones without cellular ability. Although official Media (www.mimedia.com), however,
pricing and release information are still to come, early information indicates puts a spin on backup services by of-
the WiFi 4.0 will sport a 4-inch Super LCD touchscreen display with 720p fering to help bypass what can be the
support while the 5.0 will possess a 5-inch LCD screen. The WiFi 4.0 will time-consuming process of uploading
come in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB sizes, and the 5.0 will have 16GB and 32GB hundreds of files during the initial back-
options, but both players will reportedly integrate Bluetooth; run on Android up routine via broadband connection. In
Froyo; preload Skype and Qik for video and voice calling and chatting; use short, MiMedia will send its free Shuttle
Samsung’s SoundAlive audio-enhancing technology; offer support for the Drive, which is an external USB drive,
Android Market and to you in the mail that you can transfer
Google apps; and don files to. This is a much faster transfer
dual cameras, HDMI method vs. uploading via broadband.
ports, microSD card When you’re done, send the Shuttle
slots, and 1.3W exter- Drive back, and MiMedia will transfer
nal speakers. Audio the files to its data servers. (You’ll need
and video codec sup- to provide a credit card number as secu-
port looks to include rity to receive a Shuttle Drive, which you
MP3, AAC, WMA9, can only use for backup purposes.) Once
OGG, Flac, WAV, in the cloud, you can play your music
MPEG4, H264, DivX, and video files, view photos, and access
Xvid, and WMV. other files (support for contacts is com-
ing) from any Web-connected device, in-
cluding iPhones and iPads via a free app.
to come), while Targus (www.targus.com) presented its 360° Backing up data from unlimited devices (including external and
Rotating Stand & Case ($59.99), Vuscape Cover & Stand ($39.99), networked drives) is supported, as is sharing files. Further, after
and form-fitting Protective TPU Skin ($24.99). Other early ac- the initial backup, file changes and additions sync automatically
cessories announced include iLuv Creative Technology’s (www via your broadband connection. Plans include 25GB ($5 per month
.i-luv.com) faux-leather Professional Case With Detachable Blue- or $49 per year), 100GB ($10 per month or $99 per year), and 250GB
tooth Keyboard ($129.99); Case-Mate’s (www.case-mate.com) ($20 per month or $195 per year) options. ▲
stately leather and nylon Versant ($49.99) case;
and Booq’s (www.booqbags.com) Booqpad
iPad Agenda ($49.95 and $99.95) cases that hold
your iPad 2 plus a notepad, pen, business cards,
Plug In Launcher Saves A Step
and more. ■ In the big scheme of things, Plug In Launcher, an app freely available in
the Android Market, isn’t going to radically change your life. If you regu-
PlayOn Brings Mobile Magic To larly listen to music on a mobile device that uses Android 2.1 or higher, how-
Android Devices ever, it will offer a dose of convenience. Operating as a background service,
■ Another tasty Android app worth consideration Plug In Launcher essentially launches an app
is PlayOn’s (www.playon.tv) PlayOn Mobile for of your choice upon plugging headphones
Android (free), which enables viewing content into your device. Thus, if your routine on the
from Netflix, Hulu, Comedy Central, CNN, CBS, commute home is to slip on headphones,
ESPN, SpikeTV, PBS, and other channels on An- launch Pandora, and listen to tunes, Plug In
droid devices running 2.2 or higher via Wi-Fi or Launcher eliminates having to launch Pan-
3G. Previously available for the iPhone and iPad, dora. The app will also launch a designated
PlayOn Mobile requires having a PlayOn subscrip- app (an alarm clock, for example) upon plug-
tion ($39.99 the first year; $19.99 thereafter) and in- ging a cable into the USB/power port. Con-
stalling accompanying server software to your PC. figuration options include launching Plug In
Afterward, you can start streaming content to your Launcher after a reboot and displaying a dia-
mobile device, while at home you can stream Play- log box asking if you want to launch the app
On content to a television using a Wii, Playstation 3, without interrupting a present task.
Xbox 360, or other compatible device.

PC Today / April 2011 61


PER SONAL ELECTRO NICS
TECH FOR HOME & LEISURE

Take Charge Of
Your Network
Powerline Networks Energize Your LAN

by Marty Sems

t seems as though you can go online these days

I
“Also, Wi-Fi, in many cases, does not reach to
with almost any electronic gadget. Some, such every room in the home. Stone or brick walls, walls
as HDTVs, Blu-ray Disc players, computers, with metal studs, or plaster walls embedded with
tablets, and game consoles, can stream video over chicken wire (for strength) can all significantly
the Internet, even in high definition. (That is, as- block the Wi-Fi radio signal.”
suming you have a decent broadband connection.) Ethernet cable, in comparison, is simple and
Internet TV at home is one rising force; serving foolproof—but you’ll spend time and effort
up multimedia presentations to prospective cus- routing each new cable under rugs and base-
tomers is another. If your employees are able to boards to keep it from becoming an eyesore or
stream a variety of HD video clips from a central- tripping hazard.
EXCLUSIVELY FOR
ized media server or NAS on your network, they Hence the usual lament that your home or
PC TODAY READERS
For a limited time only,
can impress potential clients with professional- small office isn’t prewired for networking with
try the Plaster Networks looking pitches without burdening their local hard multiple cables to every room. But actually, it is.
Starter Kit for yourself for drives with bulky files. Your building or house is already wired for
only $129.90 ($25 off) The trouble, of course, is that your home or powerline networking. A powerline network
plus free ground ship-
small-office network may not be ready for the sends data over the same copper wiring that
ping. Visit www.plaster
networks.com/pct0411.
HD world. Wi-Fi is commonly used because it’s carries power to your devices and appliances. It
easy to deploy, but in many cases, it’s not ideal for may sound risky at first blush, but a powerline
streaming video in a reliable way. network can do this without endangering your
delicate electronic devices. Put into mar-
keting terms, it’s a value-add for your
existing electrical wiring.
Plaster Networks CEO Jeff Scroggin
says, “We’re making it easier to con- Networking With Power
nect your devices to the network. In With a powerline network, you can
turn any AC outlet into a network port.
most cases, [our customers] are using This gives you the freedom to put com-
powerline because Wi-Fi does not give puters, HDTVs, and other Internet-
them a connection that is fast enough capable devices anywhere you need.
Your office layout won’t be limited by
or reliable enough. Powerline adapters the availability of Ethernet connections.
provide an easy and fast way to ‘install’ Nor will you need to move your elec-
an Ethernet port by simply plugging tronics to catch the best Wi-Fi coverage
and avoid dead spots.
(an) adapter into an outlet.” A powerline setup is as reliable, signal-
wise, as Ethernet. And current powerline
equipment is more than fast enough to
“Wi-Fi is inherently unreliable because of noise carry HD video, to say nothing of lesser burdens
from all sorts of devices in the home that generate such as music and data files.
an RF signal,” such as microwave ovens, cordless Most adapters sold today are rated at 200Mbps
phones, and baby monitors, says Plaster Networks (HomePlug AV) or even 500Mbps, albeit over
(www.plasternetworks.com) CEO Jeff Scroggin. shorter physical distances. The upcoming

62 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


PER SONAL ELECTRO NICS
TECH FOR HOME & LEISURE

You can add adapters


to grow your powerline
network as you need to
without laying a single
cable or worrying
about gaps in your
wireless coverage.
(Diagram courtesy of
Plaster Networks.)

HomePlug AV2 stan-


dard is expected to
support 500Mbps
or more. Of course,
as you may already
know from using
Wi-Fi or Ethernet, ac-
tual data throughput
is significantly less
than these theoret-
ical figures imply.
(Also, if you plan to
stream video from
online sources, it’s up
to your broadband provider to ensure that your $55 each online—is higher than 802.11n cards or
Internet connection is up to snuff.) typical lengths of Ethernet cable. And laptops
To use a powerline network to link a device to already come with wireless adapters from the fac-
your router, you’ll need a pair of adapters. These tory, just as most routers come with built-in Wi-Fi
boxy-looking gizmos are designed to plug directly access points.
into an AC outlet. Put one near your network router That said, for reaching wireless dead spots with
and another near your HDTV or other device. HD-capable speed, there’s no easier or more flex-
Next, run a short Ethernet cable (usually in- ible alternative to a powerline network. If you need
cluded) between the router and its powerline to rearrange your small office to accommodate a
adapter. Do the same with the television or other new employee, no problem: Simply move or add Plaster Networks sells a
powerline networking
device, and then you have an instant link. Think of adapters as needed. starter kit with an
it as using your in-wall copper wiring as an exten- Note that not all powerline adapters are cre- AV200 and a PLN3
sion cord between networkable devices, with the ated equal. Some come with two or more Ether- adapter for $129.90.
adapters acting as interfaces on each end. net ports, for example. Also, some adapters
Beware that the powerline setup doesn’t inter- incorporate active technologies to improve per-
fere with existing Ethernet or Wi-Fi connections on formance. One example is Plaster Networks’
your network. All of these technologies can hap- PLN3 ($89.95). It uses a dedicated processor
pily coexist. And you won’t have to worry about to sense the current conditions on the network
neighbors eavesdropping on your network with and then optimize the throughput of all of the
their own powerline adapters once you change the adapters. You only need one PLN3 on your net-
default encryption key. work to benefit it, Plaster Networks says. The unit
is also compatible with HomePlug AV adapters
How To Buy from other manufacturers.
Although you’ll need at least two adapters to Also, Scroggin says, “through Plaster Net-
make a first-time powerline network, you can buy works Service, we automatically upgrade our
more adapters to support more devices around customers’ adapters [over the Web, with no
your home or office. If you mix model numbers action required on their part] with the most
Plaster Networks’ IX2
and/or brands, make sure they’re all compatible recent HomePlug AV firmware when new re-
Isolator ($24.95) can pro-
with the same standard, such as HomePlug AV, for leases come out. As a result, we help protect tect a powerline network
best results. their investment in hardware, so they contin- from interference that can
As you shop, you’ll notice that the cost of pow- ue to get the best performance as the technol- hurt data transfer speeds.
erline adapters—200Mbps+ units start at about ogy improves.” ▲

PC Today / April 2011 63


PER SONAL ELECTRO NICS
TECH FOR HOME & LEISURE

Photo Printers vs.


Ordering Prints Online
What’s The Better Option?

by Nathan Lake

I
f you need to print your digital photos, there study from Quality Logic found that the cost of ink
are two easy ways to get them. You can in- per page for recent photo printers was anywhere
vest in a photo printer and produce the prints from 11 cents to 41 cents per 4x6 borderless print.
yourself, or you can upload the photos to an online Note that the ink per page cost did not include
photo printing service and have them delivered photo paper, which would further raise the cost for
to you. Many photo printing services also work each print. Most of the printers in the study hov-
with local photo developers, such as Walgreens ered around the 30-cent mark per 4x6 print.
or Target, to let you pick up your photos the same If you examine the “Costs For Online Photo
day. We examine the costs associated with printing Printing Services” sidebar, you can see that a 4x6
the photos for both methods so you can determine print will cost you less than 15 cents (ink and
which printing model works best for you. photo paper together). However, that price does
not include shipping costs. If you’re printing a
small amount of photos, say, fewer than 50, the
shipping costs could come to 10 cents per photo.
For larger orders, such as print jobs that exceed
$25, we found that many online photo printing ser-
vices eliminate shipping charges. You can also get
around shipping costs by requesting the service
send your prints for processing to a nearby photo
developer. We should note that items picked up at
a local developer may cost slightly more, however,
because you’ll have to pay the local sales tax and
possibly an in-store pick-up fee.
When odering prints larger than 5x7s, the cost
scales begin to tip in favor of photo printers. A re-
cent study from the Red River Catalog found that
ink costs for an 8x10 print run about 60 cents to 80
cents. If you invest in standard-quality photo paper,
you’ll add around 30 cents to 40 cents per print to
your bill, which translates to a cost of around $1 per
8x10 print. Online print services currently charge
anywhere from $2.99 to $3.99 per 8x10 print. You’ll
save even more money with a photo printer when
you print 8x10s or larger prints.
Depending on the quality of photo you’re
looking for, you may also need to factor in the
Shutterfly offers you amount you’re willing to spend on a photo
the ability store, share, Cost Efficiency printer. Today’s high-end photo printers, which
and order prints of your Based on print costs, purchasing 4x6s or 5x7s cost anywhere between $300 and $900, offer
digital images. from an online service is typically less expensive results that rival professional lab quality. The
than using a photo printer to do the job. A recent high-end photo printers are typically capable of

64 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


PER SONAL ELECTRO NICS
TECH FOR HOME & LEISURE

Costs For Online Photo Printing Services


Kodak Costco
Print Sizes Snapfish Shutterfly Gallery Walgreens Print Center

4x6 $0.09 $0.15 $0.15 $0.12 $0.13

5x7 $0.79 $0.99 $0.89 $1.59 $0.39

8x10 $2.99 $3.99 $2.99 $2.99 $1.49

handling prints as large as 13x19. Many photo final print. For example, let’s
printers in the $80 to $200 range provide ade- say that you have an image of a
quate color depth and detail for any photo album product your company produces,
or scrapbook, but photo printers are typically and you want to frame and hang an 8x10 photo of
limited to prints as large as 8.5x11. that product in your offices. With an online photo
We found that most online photo printing printing service, the photo you get back will look
services are capable of enlarging your photos to the way you sent the image in. But if you decide The WorkForce 840
from Epson is an
20x30 prints. Other common poster-size options after you see the photo that you’d like to change
all-in-one printer that
include 11x14 and 16x20. Pricing for the poster- the image’s color, or crop it a different way, you’ll also provides photo
size prints varies by the service, but you’ll typi- need to go through the entire upload and waiting quality prints.
cally pay around $8 for an 11x14, $16 for a 16x20, process all over again. With a photo printer, you
and $22 for a 20x30. Most printing services offer a can print the second copy right away. You’ll also be
variety of mailing options, including standard pri- able to adjust the printer’s quality or color balance
ority, two-day, and overnight. For fastest delivery, until the resulting photograph looks exactly the
several online printing vendors provide local pick- way you want.
up. For example, Shutterfly (www.shutterfly.com)
allows for in-store pickups of 4x6 prints from Target, Choosing A Photo Printer
Walgreens, and CVS (CVS limits print orders to $60 If you think a photo printer is your best op-
or less). The price for 4x6 prints rises to 19 cents per tion, there are a few key aspects you’ll want
print with Shutterfly’s in-store pickup. Snapfish to consider. There are a number of all-in-one
(www.snapfish.com) allows for in-store pickup of printers that deliver more than acceptable photo
photos up to 8x10s at Walgreens, Walmart, Meijer, quality and function well as all-around of-
and DUANEreade locations. Some stores can also fice printers. For instance, Epson’s WorkForce
produce photo-based gifts, such as photo cards, cal- 840 ($299.99; www.epson.com) is a wireless
endars, and books. printer that includes capabilities for scanning
and copying, and it also features an automatic
Online Photo Printing Benefits
If you regularly print photos with your photo
printer, the process can be time consuming, be- If you think a photo printer is your
cause you’ll need to ensure that printer is correctly
configured for the type and size of paper you’re best option, there are a few key
using. You’ll also need to maintain the printer by
monitoring and replacing the ink cartridges and aspects you’ll want to consider . . .
paper as needed. With a photo printing service,
all you’ll need to do is upload the images, select
the print sizes you want, and wait for the order duplexer for two-sided printing. For results that
to come to you or pick it up at the store. Most truly match professional-quality photo labs, you
online photo printing services, such as Shutterfly can invest in a photo printer that offers more than
or Snapfish, also let you share your photos with five ink colors, which give the printer the ability
others online or store your images online. to produce photos with true-to-life color detail.
For example, Canon’s PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II
Advantages Of Using A Photo Printer ($499.99; www.usa.canon.com) uses eight ink
Many consumers choose to go the photo printer colors and can handle photo paper sizes up to
route because they have ultimate control over the 13x19 inches. ▲

PC Today / April 2011 65


B U S INESS TRAVEL 911
ON-THE-GO TECH SUPPORT

Solve Remote
Network Connection Problems

Resolving remote network issues often goes beyond common


fixes you may have used to fix your Internet connection.
Fortunately, you can quickly eliminate a number of possibilities using a CLI (command-line inter-
face; a text-based command window that is a holdover from the early days of computing), which
is still available in Windows XP/Vista/7.
All these suggestions assume that the network is up and operating. It also assumes you are
connected to the Internet. Before you proceed, you’ll need to know how to open the CLI window.
In WinXP, click Start, select Run, type CMD in the Open field, and press ENTER. In Vista/Win7,
click the Start button and type CMD into the Start Search field, and then click the CMD icon that
appears in the results.

Ping It exchanging data with the network address.


All Internet or network hosts, com- You can skip to “Get Connected” to set up
puters, routers, and other Internet-enabled a dedicated connection and edit settings. If
devices use an IP address (which is a you have been accessing the site via a Web
string of four groups of numbers sepa- address, go to “Look It Up” before heading
rated by periods, such as 233.122.0.2) to to “Get Connected.”
uniquely identify themselves. You may If you receive a response that contains
have used this number to access a net- something about a nonexistent domain,
work login. This can also be a Web ad- you are likely using the wrong IP address
dress (called a host name) or DNS name or DNS name to log in. Double-check the
to access a login. IP addresses and DNS address and try to connect normally. (If
names are interchangeable. With either, you are logging in with an IP address, skip
a ping command can determine whether to “Look It Up” for a quick way to check
the computer and network can exchange its validity.)
basic data. If you receive a transmission error,
From the command line window, type then the ping data is not leaving your PC.
ping followed by a space and the IP ad- Your firewall is likely blocking you from
dress or DNS name (examples would be accessing the network. You will want to
ping 167.154.16.27 or ping www.corporate add the site to your firewall as an allowed
network.com). Press ENTER. If you see a exception (refer to your firewall’s help
time-out message, wait a few seconds. A documentation for these instructions) and
time-out alert appears if the reply takes try again.
longer than a second. If you receive a response after an exces-
If the response indicates the data packets sive number of time-outs, the network’s
were sent and received, your machine is response to your connection may be slow

66 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


B U SINESS TRAVEL 911
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and your browser or other network access If an early hop takes a long time or causes
utility may be giving up before it connects. Length- the trace to hang (a flood of timeouts), contact KEY POINTS
en the response time by adding a -t switch (ping your ISP. If you reach many hops before things ▲ If you can send data
-t followed by the IP address or DNS name). go awry, the problem may be with a gateway packets but none are
returned, it generally
This will ping the address indefinitely. After or router at or near the location of the remote
means the network is
a dozen pings, press CTRL-Break to view the network. Check with the network administrator refusing to acknowledge
packet data. If there is no response yet, continue for assistance. your request.
awhile longer, and then press CTRL-C. If you never
▲ Obtaining the DNS
get a response or the number of pings to get a Get Connected
name and IP address and
response is considerable, skip to “Trace the Route” Setting up a direct VPN connection gives comparing access times
for assistance. you a dedicated login interface and lets you between the two can
If you get a message saying the ping request avert DNS issues. determine whether Win-
dows is experiencing DNS
could not find the host or the response indicates To set up the connection in WinXP, se-
resolution issues.
the number of data packets sent is zero, the net- lect Control Panel on the Start menu. Click
work is not acknowledging your ping. Changes Network And Internet Connections and then ▲ The point at which
a route trace hangs can
to the network or configuration may now be select Create A Connection To The Network At
help you determine
preventing access. Contact the network adminis- Your Workplace. In Vista/Win7, click Control where your request for
trator for further assistance. Panel on the Start menu and click Network And network attention is
Internet (in Category view), then Network And being disrupted.
Look It Up Sharing Center. Click Set Up A Connection Or
You can look up a DNS name from an IP ad- Network (Vista) or Set Up A New Connection Or
dress and vice versa. From the command line Network under Change Your Network Settings
window, type nslookup followed by a space (Win7). Select Connect To A Workplace, then
and either the DNS name or the IP address and Use My Internet Connection. (Vista/Win7 offers
press ENTER. smart card as a connection option. We won’t dis-
Write down the DNS name and numeric se- cuss that here.)
quence you see in the lines that begin with Select Virtual Private Network Connection,
Name: and Address: (ignore aliases). If you are name the connection, and provide the host (DNS)
checking an IP address, the DNS name should name or IP address. If you are asked if you
help confirm it. If you recognize nothing, con- would like to dial a connection, click No (unless
tact the network administrator to confirm the you only have dial-up Internet) and click Finish
IP address. (WinXP) or Connect (Vista/Win7). The OS will
If you are using a DNS name, Windows may attempt to connect you without configuring
be having a problem with DNS name resolution any settings. If this solution does not work, or
(translating the DNS name into an IP address). if you are using WinXP, proceed with the fol-
Perform two pings from the same command line lowing instructions.
window, first using the DNS name you wrote Return to the Network Connections window
down and then using the IP address. Compare in WinXP or the Network and Sharing Center in
the access times and packets you sent and re- Vista/Win7 and click the option to manage net-
ceived. If there is a big difference in behaviors work connections. Right-click your VPN network
pinging the DNS name vs. the IP address, skip to icon and select Properties. Next, click the Net-
“Get Connected.” working tab, click Internet Protocol (in Vista/
Win7, you will need to do this for TCP/IP V4
Trace The Route and TCP/IP V6), and then click Properties. Over-
Tracing the path data packets take going ride automatic configuration and provide the
to the network will help pinpoint problems. exact IP address and DNS names for the net-
From the command line window, type tracert work. Exit the Properties interface, right-click the
followed by a space and the DNS name or IP VPN icon, and click Connect. Provide your login
address, and press ENTER. Lines will appear information if prompted.
with access times and IP addresses. The final If you cannot connect, then Windows can pro-
few hops should show domain names—the vide some assistance, but you may need more
last one being your network. This is the route— advanced configuration information. You will
and the time the trip is taking—between nodes need to contact the network administrator for
on the Internet. detailed information. ▲

PC Today / April 2011 67


MOBILE OFFICE
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD
B U S INESS TRAVEL 911
ON-THE-GO TECH SUPPORT

Use Wi-Fi
Hotspots Wisely
The scramble for companies to leverage Wi-Fi to boost bottom lines
and customer loyalty has resulted in a confusing number of service configurations. Here’s
the rundown on some issues you will encounter—and also how to connect in the wisest man-
ner possible.

How To Protect Yourself it is enabled, right-click the network (monitor)


The ugly fact is that someone with enough icon at the bottom right of your display and
skills and determination can hack into any net- select Open Network Connections. Right-click
work, and all but the most secure, private con- the icon for your wireless device and click
nections can be hacked by someone of average Properties. Under the General tab, deselect
skill and enough determination. Consequent- the File And Printer Sharing For Microsoft
ly, the most important thing you can do to use Networks checkbox to turn sharing off glob-
Wi-Fi hotspots wisely is to lock down your ally. When you return to a safe environment,
data and system. you can re-enable this feature when neces-
We urge you not to surf without a firewall. sary. In Vista/Win 7, you can also turn off the
If you do not have firewall software installed, File And Printer Sharing feature manually
turn on Windows’ built-in firewall protection. through the OS’s Network Connection Prop-
Because many users have third-party firewall erties feature, but it’s easier to let Windows
software, we won’t detail these instructions do it for you.
here. You can locate available firewall pro-
grams by browsing to windows.microsoft How To Connect
.com and searching under Firewall (your Through Windows
version of Windows). To connect to a wireless network, right-click
The next step is to secure your data. Win- the network icon and select View Available Wire-
dows Vista/7 give you the option of selecting a less Networks (WinXP) or Connect To A Network
network profile (Home, Work, or Public) when (Vista). In Win7, select the Network icon.
you connect. Always select Public unless you A menu will pop up displaying available
trust the network and its members. Doing this networks. Each OS will identify whether net-
prevents other computers on the network from works are secure. If the network you want is
discovering your PC and turns off the File And open, select it and click Connect. We advise
Printer Sharing feature. You can tweak any of not connecting to an open network unless you
these settings in the Network And Sharing Cen- know it is the one you seek. Hackers set up
ter: right-click the network icon (a monitor or open networks with friendly sounding names
series of bars, potentially with a red X or starburst hoping that unsuspecting individuals will hop
on top) at the bottom right of your display. Select onto them.
Network And Sharing Center in Vista; If you are connecting to a secure network,
Open Network And Sharing Center in Win7. or if you don’t know the name of the net-
In WinXP, File And Printer Sharing is turned work you want, contact the network host.
off by default unless you enabled it. To see if You’ll need the network name (also called a

68 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


B U SINESS TRAVEL 911
ON-THE-GO TECH SUPPORT

service set identifier or SSID) and, if the network confirmation. If the network is
is secure, a security key or passphrase. Select the WEP and you do not see this
desired network and provide the key if prompt- option, select Shared. Select an
ed. (See the “How To Evaluate Security” section encryption type if you have
before you complete this step.) one. Otherwise, keep the de-
If you use WinXP, your network card may fault. After entering all this in-
manage network connections, leaving you un- formation and configuring the
able to connect using our instructions. To give desired settings, click OK or
Windows control, click Start, select Control Pan- Next to connect.
el, click Network And Internet Connections, and
select Network Connections. Right-click your How To Evaluate Security
wireless connection and click Properties. Click Most private, as well as
the Network Settings tab and select the Use Win- some public, networks use
dows To Configure My Wireless Network Set- one of several security standards to protect us- ▲ Windows XP/
tings checkbox. ers and themselves from intrusion. You’ll en- Vista/7 all provide
a wireless connec-
counter WEP, WPA, and possibly WPA2. The
tion display that lets
How To Set Up A Manual Connection Wireless Network Connection dialog box may you determine if a
If you cannot locate the network you want (be- provide the network type. If not, here’s a hint: network is secure
cause some networks choose not to broadcast their WEP security keys always contain 26 charac- or open (WinXP
SSIDs), you can set it up manually. In addition to ters; WPA and WPA2 security keys are eight to displayed).
the network, name, and credentials, you will need 63 characters in length.
the network security protocol and encryption type WEP is the least
(TKIP or AES). secure and easiest
To set up a manual connection in WinXP, open to crack; treat a
the available networks list as described previ- WEP network as
ously and click Advanced or Change Advanced you would an un-
Settings (depending on the service pack that you secure network,
have installed). On the Wireless Networks tab, setting its profile to
click Add. In Vista/Win7, open the Network And Public unless you
Sharing Center. In Vista, click Set Up A Connec- absolutely must
tion Or Network at the top left of the display; communicate with
in Win7, click Set Up A New Connection Or Net- other PCs. WPA
work (under Change Your Network Settings). Se- and WPA2 are
lect Manually Connect To A Wireless Network and more impervious
click Next. to cracking, so you
Provide the information exactly as you were can use a profile that is more open, such as Work, ▲ WinXP does
given it (uppercase and lowercase). In Vista/Win7, if necessary (or tweak the settings in the Public not offer network
profiles, but you
you can opt to see the characters as you type for profile to open things up as needed).
can turn off File
And Printer sharing
Take Charge through network con-
At the end of the day, the responsibility for nection properties.
protecting your assets lies with you. Using
common Internet precautions is also a good idea.
Before you provide sensitive information, be sure
you are at a secure site. The Web address should
begin with “https” instead of “http” and your
browser should display a padlock icon or other
security confirmation. Check with your email
provider to see if you can encrypt your email
messages. Another precaution you can take is to
turn off your wireless adapter when you are not
▲ In Vista/Win7 the Network And Sharing Center is your
using the Internet. To turn wireless off, right-
portal to setting up new connections, changing network click the icon for your wireless connection in the
profiles, and more. System Tray and select Disable. ▲

PC Today / April 2011 69


B U S INESS TRAVEL 911
ON-THE-GO TECH SUPPORT

Revive A Crashed
Notebook
Someday you will face the inevitable notebook failure. You’ll
be working diligently on the documents you need for your three o’clock meeting or
be right in the middle of composing a lengthy email describing the highlights of your
previous business trip, and your Windows notebook will freeze, suddenly shut down,
or reboot itself. Or perhaps your Web browsing is halted by an unexpected blue screen
bearing an ominously lengthy error message.
Unfortunately, these common errors could be the result of several different issues, so
it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of a failure. But luckily there are also many com-
mon solutions that often yield positive results. Next time your notebook experiences an
error, remember these tips.

Notebook With A Blue Screen Spontaneous Reboot Or Shutdown


The cryptic error message on a BSOD (blue Without warning, your notebook may re-
screen of death) can make it difficult to de- boot itself or shut down completely. Although
termine the problem’s origin. But the BSOD, numerous issues could be the cause, there are
also called a stop error, is actually a safeguard. three common possibilities. First, if you or
When Windows detects a serious problem, it your IT staff upgraded the hardware in your
stops what it’s doing and reverts to a blue notebook, some components may be incompat-
screen to protect your OS from damage. Most ible, causing the system to shut down to avoid
often, Windows will display the error when damage. You or your IT staff may try remov-
there is a hardware issue or a conflict with de- ing or replacing a newly installed component
vice drivers. It doesn’t always mean serious to see if the shutdown error persists. If you are
trouble, but it slows you down; for example, certain that the failure is not hardware-related,
an attached external hard drive left on before check to make sure that the air intake fans are
the notebook powered up may cause a blue not impeded. Blocked fans decrease the amount
screen at startup; you have to wait as Win- of cool airflow into your notebook, and if the
dows scans the external drive before complet- computer gets too hot, it will shut itself down
ing startup. as a precautionary measure to
Restarting the notebook will prevent component damage.
often solve the issue. However, Automatic reboots or shut-
if a BSOD error appears re- downs could also be the result
peatedly, write down the stop
error message, such as “STOP:
0x0000007E.” This will tell you ▲ With the Task Manager in
Windows, you can determine
which error has occurred so
which programs and processes
you can investigate a solution are running and sometimes spot
at Microsoft Help And Support potential problems.
(support.microsoft.com).

70 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


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ON-THE-GO TECH SUPPORT

▲ Use the Add And Remove Programs


feature to get rid of a problem program.
Back To Normal
of a virus. If you have an antivirus
▲ If your notebook
program installed on your notebook,
problems persist,
make sure it is up-to-date and then you’ll obviously
run a full scan of the hard drive. If have to resort to
you don’t have an antivirus program, consulting your
buy one or download a free program IT staff, local com-
puter repair store,
such as AVG Anti-Virus Free (free.avg
or the manufacturer.
.com). Once your antivirus program is But take heart: Un-
ready to go, run a full scan to search for less your notebook
any malware. When the scan is com- has undergone
plete, follow the program’s instruc- physical duress or
your hard drive has
tions to remove or quarantine any
become damaged,
discovered malware. try defragmenting your hard drive. Defragmenting your data is most
combines fragmented files and cleans up your hard likely retrievable.
Frozen Notebook drive so that your notebook can access files faster.
You’re undoubtedly familiar with this scenario: If it takes less effort to find and access files, your
Things are going fine with your notebook when notebook will use a smaller amount of its memory
suddenly you can’t switch between multiple appli- capacity and thereby gain the ability to perform more
cations or a program hangs when you try to open it. actions simultaneously. If your notebook still suffers
The mouse and keyboard may or may not respond, from regular freezes, notify your IT department; you
and you usually have to restart the computer, which may need to reinstall the OS.
is an inconvenience that can turn into a disaster if
you haven’t saved your work. Inability To Shut Down
Freezes are often the result of memory overload. The inability to turn off a notebook is often
The memory in your notebook has a certain capac- caused by a software (not hardware) error. A pro-
ity, and if there are too many processes running si- gram may be unable to close, and because it’s still
multaneously, your notebook may freeze because it running, Windows can’t exit. If your notebook re-
can’t keep up. Malware is a common culprit in caus- fuses to turn off each time you shut down, begin by
ing freezes, and sometimes two programs in conflict determining which program might be causing the
with each other can freeze your computer, especially problem. Note any “end program” or “program not
if the computer doesn’t have sufficient processing responding” messages or press CTRL-ALT-DELETE
power or memory. If the keyboard or mouse is re- to check the Task Manager for programs running in
sponsive, start troubleshooting by pressing CTRL- the background.
ALT-DELETE. Enter the Task Manager and end the If you recently made a change to that program,
program you believe may have caused the freeze make sure that updates aren’t available for the pro-
(usually the last you attempted to open). A problem- gram. Otherwise try System Restore to return your
atic application name may be labeled “not respond- PC to the state it was in prior to the change. To do this
ing,” which helps you identify which program is in Windows 7, click Start, type system restore, click
causing the trouble. If the keyboard or mouse does System Restore; in Windows Vista, click Start, Con-
not respond, you may have to perform a hard (aka trol Panel, System And Maintenance, Backup And
cold) shutdown by holding down the power button Restore Center, and Restore Computer; in Windows
for five to 10 seconds until your notebook turns off. XP, click Start, All Programs, Accessories, System
When you start your notebook once again, chances Tools, and System Restore. If the problem persists,
are everything will run smoothly. you may have to remove the program.
If the freeze occurs each time you open a specific To uninstall a program in Vista, click Start, Con-
program, make sure you have installed any updates trol Panel, and Uninstall A Program to get started; in
or patches that the program might need. If a pro- WinXP, click Start, Control Panel, and choose Add Or
gram is out-of-date, it may cause your notebook to Remove Programs. Locate the appropriate program
freeze each time you open it because it is incompat- in the list and choose Remove. Don’t remove a pro-
ible with another program or the OS. If a specific gram unless you have the executable file or the instal-
program doesn’t seem to be causing the problem, lation discs on hand. ▲

PC Today / April 2011 71


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ON-THE-GO TECH SUPPORT

Open That
Compressed File
Receiving a compressed file, especially when you’re on the
road, can be a headache and a hassle. Compressed files, which are actu-
ally single archives composed of one or more files, can substantially save on file size and
transmission time compared to a standard file format. However, they require special
software to unpack (uncompress). Most of us recognize and can open the .ZIP file format
(we’ll tell you how in case you don’t know), but what if the file extension is something
arcane? Archived file extensions now run the gamut from .ARC to .ZOO and can origi-
nate not only from a compression utility but also from compression features inside a
program. Fortunately, current tools can handle nearly anything you’d want to compress.

Unzip It decompression software can extract the


Windows XP, Vista, and 7 include a free original files from a dozen or more com-
utility that can unpack compressed files pressed formats. One such program that has
and display them in their original formats. been around for quite some time is WinZip
WinXP/Vista/7 users can right-click the file ($29.95 for the Standard edition, $49.95 for
and select Extract All. The utility lets you WinZip Pro; www.winzip.com). We also like
choose where to place the extracted file WinRAR ($29; www.rarsoft.com), especially
and whether to open the folder and display if you also plan to compress files and send
its contents when the operation completes. them out. (Both give free trials, so you can
If you are running an older version of Win- compare before you buy.) However, if you
dows (Win2000 or earlier), you’ll need a only need to unpack files, a free utility might
separate utility. suit your needs just as well. For example,
IZArc (www.izarc.org) opens more than four
Expand Your Horizons dozen archive types (more than many fee-
If a compressed file has a file extension based compression utilities), and you can
other than .ZIP, it will require a compression configure it to run your virus scanner as you
utility to unpack it. Most compression/ start unpacking the archive. ZipGenius
(www.zipgenius.com) is another option, and
it supports more than 20 file types.

Offer An Extension
Some OSes (notably Apple’s OS) store
the file-type information as a header inside

▲ Built into Windows XP, Vista, and 7 is the


ability to unpack files compressed using the
ZIP file format.

72 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


B U SINESS TRAVEL 911
ON-THE-GO TECH SUPPORT

the file and don’t require a file extension. Mac doesn’t mean your PC
users sometimes use file extensions to make life can open it. If you
easier for their Windows-loving friends, but double-click an un-
it isn’t necessary. If a file unpacks and has no packed file that has
file extension and you know what type of file it a three-letter file ex-
is, you can simply add the extension to the end tension and Windows
of the filename. Turn Officemeeting into Office- does not associate it
meeting.jpg, and you will be good to go, assum- with a particular pro-
ing it is actually a JPG file. This plan will fail gram, Windows will
miserably if you provide the wrong extension, ask if you want to
leaving you to query the sender. However, if you search for a program
at least know the file type (video, digital photo, online or tell it which
and so on), and there are a reasonable number of program to use. With
options, a little experimentation may take you a some file types, Win-
long way. For example, if you know Johnsbirth- dows does a decent
day is a digital photo file, try .JPG, .TIF, .EPS, job of determining
and maybe even .GIF or .PNG file extensions. what program created the file. It may actually ▲ WinRAR, among
You should get there eventually. lead you somewhere useful. If not, try searching the more popular
compression
Google for the file extension to see what pops
programs, offers
Compressed Or Not? up. If you can determine the file type (video,
user-created
If you can’t find a program to decompress a graphic, or document, for example), you may themes to
file, and you are not certain it is an archive, then be able to convert the file to another similar customize the
it might not be. There are many more file exten- but usable format. Zamzar (www.zamzar.com) interface of
the program.
sions than most of us will ever encounter. Many supports an array of file types, and it is free.
of these represent files from proprietary pro- (But you should expect ads and pop-ups.)
grams not in common use. For example, the infor- Media Convert (www.mediaconvert.com), al-
mation needed to portray data spatially through though ad-supported, is free, as well.
a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) pro-
gram often comes divided among a half-dozen Keep It Small
or so files; these are usually zipped into a single When size limitations or bandwidth restric-
archive for ease of transport (and because they are tions affect your ability to send large files, a
pretty useless alone). If you accidentally obtain compression utility can be your best friend.
one by itself, say an SHP (shapefile, which de- There are many available, but beware that most
scribes geometric forms) file, you won’t be able to compression tools can create far fewer archive
do a darned thing with it unless you have its part- types than they can unpack. Some tools, in-
ner files (usually at least SHX [spatial index] and cluding WinZip and WinRAR, can divide extra-
DBF [database] files). Fortunately, a quick search large files and folders among multiple archives
on Google will at least tell you what you have. when you compress them. However, in some
instances this is ideal for moving a group of
Software Lockdown large files through without having to compress
Are you on a corporate laptop or public each one individually.
computer where you cannot install software? The most universally compatible option for
Don’t worry. You can install a compression sending compressed files when you are uncertain
utility on a USB drive and access it simply by of the recipient’s capacity is a SEA (self-extract-
inserting the drive into an open USB slot on ing archive). SEAs don’t require the recipient to
any PC. IZArc2Go (free) is USB-based. Best have any other program on his machine because
of all, for people working from a public com- they contain applets that perform the unpacking
puter, the utility leaves behind no trace of your internally. Some SEAs have the .EXE (executable)
activities when you decide to move on. file extension. Many virus programs flag EXE
files as troublemakers, and some companies and
Can’t Touch That public locations won’t let computer users down-
Compressed archives originate from many load those files. If you send out an EXE file,
programs and OSes. Consequently, just be- make sure you alert the recipient that it is safe
cause you can unpack a compressed program to open. ▲

PC Today / April 2011 73


B U S INESS TRAVEL 911
ON-THE-GO TECH SUPPORT

Revive A Dead
Smartphone Emergency CPR Techniques

What should you do when your smartphone decides to play dead?


Resist the urge to throw it against the nearest wall and try one of these techniques instead.

Soft Reset BlackBerry Torch. Press and hold ALT-Right


All phones have a soft reset function, which Shift-Del keys.
is similar to restarting your computer. Be- HTC FUZE, Touch Cruise, Touch Dia-
ware that performing a soft reset will cause mond. You’ll want to insert the tip of the
you to lose any data that isn’t saved, but you phone’s stylus into the reset hole located on
will retain information previously stored on the bottom of the device.
your smartphone. HTC HD2, Touch Pro, Touch Pro2. Use a
T-Mobile G1. With the G1 powered off, hold small object, such as a toothpick or stylus, to
the Home and End keys simultaneously. When press the reset button, which is located be-
you see a triangle with an exclamation point, press low the battery and SIM card slot.
the Home and Back keys. iPhone (all models). Press and hold the
Android (Other). All remaining Android Sleep/Wake button on the top of the iPhone
models use a simple power cycle to perform and the Home button. Continue to hold both
a soft reset. Just turn the phone off and then buttons (approximately 10 seconds) until the
back on again. display goes blank. You’ll see the white Apple
BlackBerry (QWERTY keyboard). Press logo as the iPhone reboots.
and hold the ALT-CAP-Del key combination. Nokia (all models). Power your phone off
The display goes black for a second and your and remove the battery for 30 seconds. Rein-
BlackBerry resets. stall the battery and power the phone on. Al-
BlackBerry (SureType keyboard). Press the ternately, you can enter the code *#7380# and
ALT-CAP and Right Shift-Del keys. When the select Yes.
screen goes blank, release the keys. Palm Pre Plus. If the phone’s menus are
BlackBerry (touchscreen). Turn the Black- still active, select Device Info, choose Reset
Berry off and remove the battery for at least 30 Options, and select Soft Reset. If the phone is
seconds. Reinstall the battery and turn the device locked up or frozen, hold the power button
back on. and cycle the ringer button on and off three
BlackBerry Storm, Storm2. Soft resets usu- times. If that doesn’t work, press and hold the
ally involve pulling the battery, but you can Orange, Sym, and R keys until the device re-
also use the Soft Reset app that is available OTA boots. Turn the phone off, remove the battery
(over the air). After you install the app, you must for 10 seconds, reinstall the battery, and power
disable Compatibility Mode: Tap Options, Ad- the phone up.
vanced Options, and Applications; then tap the Windows Phone 7. Turn the phone off, and
BlackBerry Menu button and highlight Disable back on. Alternatively, you can remove the
Compatibility Mode. Now, launch Soft Reset and battery for 30 seconds, reinstall the battery,
tap the Reset button. and turn the phone back on.

74 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


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ON-THE-GO TECH SUPPORT

All other smartphones. You can generally per- HTC HD2. With the device powered off, press
form a soft reset by powering the phone off and then and hold the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons.
on or removing the battery and replacing it after With the volume buttons depressed, press and release
30 seconds. the End/Power button. When a warning message dis-
plays, release the volume buttons. Next, press the Vol-
Hard Reset ume Up button to perform the reset. Pressing any other
A hard reset is a last-ditch option that returns button cancels the reset.
your phone to its factory settings, which means you HTC Touch Pro, Touch Pro2, Touch Diamond.
will lose all data and any installed applications. Be- With the device turned on, press and hold the Vol-
fore performing a hard reset, you will want to re- ume Down and Enter buttons. While holding the
move the memory card from your phone; that way keys, use the stylus to press the Reset button, lo-
▲ To perform a
you can recover data from the card later. cated under the battery cover. Continue to hold the soft reset on the
Android (all models with functioning menu Volume Down and Enter keys until a warning mes- BlackBerry Storm
systems). One of the following menu-based systems sage displays. Release the Volume Down and Enter or Storm2, remove
for performing a hard reset should work, depending keys, and then press the Volume Up key to reset the and then reinsert the
battery, or download
on the phone and version of Android. phone. Pressing any other button cancels the reset.
the Soft Reset
Open the application menu. Tap Settings, SD iPhone (all models). From the Home screen, application OTA.
Card & Phone Storage, and Factory Data Reset, and tap Settings, General, Reset, and Reset All Settings.
then follow the on-screen instructions. This action resets all preferences but retains ap-
From the Home screen, tap Menu, Settings, Pri- plications and data. If that doesn’t work, go to
vacy, and Factory Data Reset, and then follow the the Home screen and tap Settings, General, Reset,
on-screen instructions. Erase All Content, and Settings. This will delete all
From the Home screen, tap Menu, Settings, Se- data and applications and return the iPhone to fac-
curity, and Factory Data Reset, and then follow the tory conditions.
on-screen instructions. Nokia (all models). With your phone powered on
When the menu system isn’t functional, the fol- or in standby mode, type *#7370# and select Yes when
lowing phone-specific options will be helpful for prompted. You may need your Lock Code for confir-
performing a hard reset. mation. The default lock code is 12345.
T-Mobile G1. With the G1 powered off, press and If your phone doesn’t turn on, try pressing the
hold the Home-End keys until you see a triangle On/Off button, *, and 3 simultaneously.
▲ To perform a
with an exclamation point. Open the QWERTY key- Palm Pre Plus. Open Device Info, tap Reset Op-
hard reset of the
board and press ALT-W. tions, and tap the Full Erase button. And then tap the Palm Pre Plus, open
T-Mobile G2. With the G2 powered off, press Full Erase button a second time. Device Info, tap
and hold the Volume Down button while you tap Samsung Behold II. From the Home screen, tap Phone Reset
the Power button. After the Android logo appears, Quick List; and then tap Settings, Reset Settings, Options, and then
tap Full Erase twice.
release the Volume Down button. Press the Volume and Master Reset. Next, enter your password and
Down button again, select Clear Storage, and press tap Yes.
the Power button. Press Volume Up to start the fac- If the phone is frozen or won’t turn on, turn the
tory reset. power off and remove the battery. Wait 30 seconds
Motorola Droid. Turn the phone off. Press and before you reinsert the battery. Press and hold the
hold the Power-X keys to force the phone into re- Volume Down, Send, and End buttons. Keep hold-
covery mode. Next, press and hold the Volume Up- ing the buttons down until a graphic appears on
Camera key to display the recovery menu. Select the display, and then press the Menu key to start
Wipe Data/Factory Reset from the menu, and then the reset.
select Reboot Phone. Samsung Captivate, Epic 4G, Vibrant. Power off
BlackBerry (all models). Remove the battery and your phone and remove the battery. Wait 30 seconds
wait for about 30 seconds. Reinstall the battery and and reinsert the battery. Press and hold the Volume ▲ To soft reset a
turn the phone on. Down button while pressing and releasing the Power Samsung Galaxy S
HTC FUZE. With the device turned on, press button. Press the Volume Down button to select Clear phone, press and
and hold the Left and Right soft keys. While hold- Storage, and then press the Power button. Confirm hold the Volume Up
and Power buttons
ing the keys, use the stylus to press and hold the the reset by pressing the Volume Up button.
for five seconds. The
Reset button on the bottom of the device near the Windows Phone 7. Slide left and tap the arrow phone will turn off
USB port. Text on the display will ask you to con- icon. Next, Tap Settings and select About, scroll to the and back on.
firm the reset. bottom of the display, and tap Reset Your Phone. ▲

PC Today / April 2011 75


B U S INESS TRAVEL 911
ON-THE-GO TECH SUPPORT

Spirit Airlines

The Traveler’s www.spiritair.com


(800) 772-7117

911 Directory US Airways


www.usairways.com
Reservations to U.S. and Canada
destinations (800) 428-4322

AIRLINES Reservations to U.S. and Mexico


destinations (800) 523-3273
Reservations to international
destinations (800) 622-1015
Reservations to international TDD (800) 245-2966
Air Canada destinations (800) 231-0856 Customer service (800) 943-5436
www.aircanada.com TDD (800) 343-9195
Information and reservations Flight information (800) 784-4444 United Airlines
(888) 247-2262 Baggage information www.united.com
Baggage information (800) 335-2247 www.ua2go.com (mobile)
(888) 689-2247 OnePass frequent flyer Reservations (800) 864-8331
assistance (713) 952-1630 International reservations
American Airlines (800) 538-2929
www.aa.com; mobile.aa.com Delta Air Lines TDD (800) 323-0170
Reservations (800) 433-7300 www.delta.com
TDD (800) 543-1586 mobile.delta.com
Flight information (800) 223-5436
Baggage delayed less than five
Reservations (800) 221-1212
Flight information (800) 325-1999
VEHICLE
days (800) 535-5225
Ticket refund requests
Baggage information RENTALS
(800) 325-8224
(918) 254-3777 SkyMiles members Advantage Rent A Car
(800) 323-2323 www.advantage.com
British Airways Reservations (866) 661-2722 or
www.britishairways.com Frontier Airlines (210) 344-4712 outside the U.S.
ba2go.com (mobile) www.frontierairlines.com Customer service
Information and reservations Reservations (800) 432-1359 (800) 777-5524
(800) 247-9297 Customer relations (800) 265-5505
Alamo Rent A Car
Continental Airlines JetBlue Airways www.alamo.com
www.continental.com www.jetblue.com (800) 462-5266
pda.continental.com mobile.jetblue.com TDD (800) 522-9292
(800) 538-2583
Avis
Lufthansa www.avis.com
www.lufthansa.com mobile.avis.com
mobile.lufthansa.com Reservations (800) 331-1212
Information and reservations TDD (800) 331-2323
(800) 399-5838 Customer service (800) 352-7900

Midwest Airlines Budget Rent A Car System


www.midwestairlines.com www.budget.com
Reservations (800) 452-2022 mobile.budget.com
TDD (800) 872-3608 Reservations in the U.S.
(800) 527-0700
Southwest Airlines Reservations outside the U.S.
www.southwest.com (800) 472-3325
mobile.southwest.com TDD (800) 826-5510
(800) 435-9792 Roadside assistance (800) 354-2847
TDD (800) 533-1305 Customer service (800) 214-6094

76 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com


B U SINESS TRAVEL 911
ON-THE-GO TECH SUPPORT

Dollar Rent A Car Hotwire mobile.crowneplaza.com Hyatt Summerfield Suites


www.dollar.com www.hotwire.com (877) 227-6963 (866) 974-9288
Reservations (800) 800-3665 (866) 468-9473
Reservations outside the U.S. OCS (Overseas Citizens Doubletree Hotels Marriott
(800) 800-6000 Services) traveler’s hotline www.doubletree.com www.marriott.com
TDD (800) 232-3301 (202) 647-5225 or doubletree.mobi marriott.mobi
24-hour roadside assistance (888) 407-4747 (800) 222-8733 (888) 236-2427
(800) 235-9393 After-hours emergencies
(202) 647-4000 Embassy Suites Hotels Radisson Hotels & Resorts
Enterprise Rent-A-Car www.embassysuites.com www.radisson.com
www.enterprise.com Orbitz embassysuites.mobi (888) 201-1718
Reservations (800) 261-7331 www.orbitz.com (800) 362-2779
TDD (866) 534-9270 mobile.orbitz.com Ramada Worldwide
(888) 656-4546 Four Seasons www.ramada.com
Hertz Hotels & Resorts (800) 272-6232
www.hertz.com Priceline www.fourseasons.com
hertz.mobi www.priceline.com mobile.fourseasons.com Renaissance
Reservations (800) 654-3131 priceline.mobi (800) 819-5053 Hotels & Resorts
Reservations outside the U.S. (800) 774-2354 www.renaissancehotel.com
(800) 654-3001 Hampton Inn Hotels & Suites (888) 236-2427
TDD (800) 654-2280 Travelocity www.hamptoninn.com
Extend rental (800) 654-4174 www.travelocity.com hamptoninn.mobi Residence Inn
Billing information mobile.travelocity.com (800) 426-7866 www.residenceinn.com
(800) 654-4173 (888) 872-8356 residenceinn.mobi
Customer relations Hawthorn Suites (888) 236-2427
(888) 777-6095 www.hawthorn.com
HOTELS (800) 527-1133 Ritz-Carlton
National Car Rental Hotels & Resorts
www.nationalcar.com Candlewood Suites Hilton Hotels www.ritzcarlton.com
(800) 227-7368 www.candlewoodsuites.com www.hilton.com (800) 542-8680
TDD (800) 328-6323 mobile.candlewoodsuites.com hilton.mobi
(888) 226-3539 (800) 445-8667 Sheraton Hotels & Resorts
Payless Car Rental www.sheraton.com
www.paylesscarrental.com Chase Suite Hotels (800) 325-3535
Holiday Inn
(800) 729-5377 www.woodfinsuitehotels.com
www.holidayinn.com
(800) 966-3346 Staybridge Suites
mobile.holidayinn.com
Thrifty Car Rental www.staybridge.com
(888) 465-4329
www.thrifty.com Choice Hotels International mobile.staybridge.com
Reservations (800) 847-4389 (Cambria Suites, Comfort (877) 238-8889
Inn, Comfort Suites, Holiday Inn Express
Emergency (877) 283-0898
Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, www.hiexpress.com Westin Hotels & Resorts
Clarion, MainStay Suites, mobile.hiexpress.com www.westin.com
(888) 465-4329
TRAVEL Suburban Extended Stay
Hotel, Econo Lodge, and
(800) 937-8461

SERVICES Rodeway Inn) Homewood Suites Wingate Inns


www.choicehotels.com www.homewoodsuites.com www.wingateinns.com
AAA (877) 424-6423 homewoodsuites.mobi (800) 228-1000
www.aaa.com (800) 225-5466
aaa.mobi Courtyard Hotels Woodfin Suite Hotels
Roadside assistance www.courtyard.com Hyatt Hotels & Resorts www.woodfinsuitehotels.com
(800) 222-4357 courtyard.mobi www.hyatt.com (800) 966-3346
(888) 236-2427 Hyatt Hotels & Resorts
Expedia (888) 591-1234 Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
www.expedia.com Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts TDD (800) 228-9548 www.wyndham.com
(800) 397-3342 www.crowneplaza.com Hyatt Place (888) 492-8847 (877) 999-3223

PC Today / April 2011 77


Happy
Trails
Intriguing Gear, New & Around The Bend
by Josh Compton

The Newest Entry In The


Pre Series Of Smartphones
■ The HP Pre3 is one of the most recent smartphones to emerge from HP’s ac-
quisition of Palm. The phone features a multitouch display, slide-out keyboard,
5MP camera, and more. HP offers 8GB and 16GB models that support USB mass
storage. The Pre3 runs the HP webOS, has GPS capabilities, and provides Wi-Fi
and Bluetooth connectivity. You can also use the Pre3 as a mobile hotspot for as
many as five devices. HP has created a calendar app that can sync data from other
sources, such as Google and Microsoft Exchange. It also supports multiple email
accounts and compiles contact information from LinkedIn, Facebook, and other
services to fully flesh out your contact list. The Pre3 can also handle video confer-
encing because it has a noise-cancelling speakerphone and a front-facing camera.
Another interesting feature is HP’s Touchstone technology that lets you tap a Pre3
and TouchPad together for URL sharing and other added features.

A Complex Tablet
With A Simple Name
■ Notion Ink has set out to create a unique
product with its Adam tablet, and by the looks
of it, the company has succeeded. The Adam has a
10.1-inch multitouch display; a 185-degree, 3.2MP
autofocus camera that lets you capture pictures in
nearly any direction, and 8GB of flash memory with
a MicroSD slot for extra storage. The tablet’s transflec-
tive display and ambient light sensor makes text more
readable under almost any lighting source. For your
connectivity needs, the Adam features 3G, Wi-Fi, and
Bluetooth capabilities, and you can use the built-in GPS
receiver for navigation purposes. The HDMI output provides
1080p video and supports Adobe AIR and flash for playing
stored or Web-based video. And for fun, Notion Ink includes a
“Bonus mystery feature” that is revealed if you buy the Adam.

78 April 2011 / www.pctoday.com