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Category Archives: Hardware




Virtual Reality is Going to Change Retail Forever

Virtual Reality (VR) has been on its way, but not quite here, for whatVirtual Reality feels like an eternity. Similarly to how 3D TV’s were hyped up for months before they ever came to market, gamers, developers, and technology fans have been foaming at the mouth over VR since the Oculus Rift was announced. It seems like every phone manufacturer out there is trying their hand at a VR headset as well, with Samsung being the obvious frontrunner with their Gear VR.

None of this should be news to anyone who follows the pulse of technology, but there are plenty of people who simply don’t keep up with the latest tech trends. VR is a big one though, and for small business owners, Virtual Reality is about to be your biggest game-changer for the way customers experience your store.

When people think of retail, they think about getting to see, touch, and possibly even use the product. For some people this offers a resounding sense of confidence when making their purchase. For several years, however, these experiences have been passed up by the convenience of online shopping. For consumers, same day deliveries and the convenience of placing orders from your smartphone regardless of your location simply beat out the perks of retail shopping. If you’re a small business, chances are you’ve noticed this change and are looking for a way to make the experience of being in your store more appealing. That’s where Virtual Reality comes in, to put the power of a unique, immersive shopping experience in your retail store.

Let’s say you do flooring for houses, and offer consultations in an office where customers come to meet you. Instead of looking at 1”x1” slabs of materials on a posterboard, they put on a headset and see the entire floor covered in those same materials. Virtual Reality can demonstrate different lighting, furniture, spill and scratch tests in a way that retail stores never could before.

Remodeling companies, furniture stores, clothing companies, and more will be able to apply to their businesses this groundbreaking technology that maybe only originally appealed to gamers and geeks. Even if your experience isn’t as immersive as some of the work Oculus, Samsung, and Microsoft have been working on, having some sort of VR experience will get people talking about your store and make more people want to stop by.

 

ColdFusion VPS Plans Now Available

Newtek, in collaboration with Adobe, is proud to announce our ColdFusion VPS lineup.

2016-02-22 09_33_35-coldFusion.png (PNG Image, 1044 × 1043 pixels) - Scaled (88%)
With our new pricing structure, the ColdFusion VPS is the best way to supercharge your ColdFusion sites.

The new VPS’s come with a ColdFusion 11 license and an unprecedented number of included add-ons, built into the base cost to make sure our customers are getting the best features at the best price.

As with all of our VPS’s, resources are scalable instantly from your control panel. This ensures your performance is always optimized and you are always paying for only what you need.

Built into the base ColdFusion VPS is:

  • 1vCore CPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 80GB Storage
  • Monthly Backups
  • OS & Patch Management
  • Free Smartermail Email
  • ColdFusion 11 License

These VPS’s are available with both Windows and Linux operating systems, with the ability to add a suite of our most popular options:

  • Managed Care Bundle
  • Hardware Firewall
  • Additional IP Blocks
  • cPanel

Whether you’re a ColdFusion developer looking for a solution to grow with your business, or just looking for a platform that can help you minimize the cost of your ColdFusion hosting, the ColdFusion VPS is simply the most versatile option for you.

ColdFusion Button

Like to learn more? Inquire about pricing at 1-877-323-4678 or techsales@thesba.com

Major Android Security Hack Uncovered

android-devil-malware-100247149-carousel.idgeAttention Android Users!

With just a simple receipt of a text message, your Android can be hacked. This is likely the biggest smartphone flaw ever discovered, CNN reports that, “it affects an estimated 950 million phones worldwide.” The issue is rooted in the way in which Androids are programmed to analyze incoming text messages, even before they have been opened. For instance, with Google’s Hangouts app, any media file that you receive (pictures, videos, audio) is automatically processed as soon as it is received. Because of this, “a malware-laden file can start infecting the phone before it’s even opened.”

The hacker needs only to send a text with a malicious media file to your phone to potentially gain complete control of your Android device. With that, he or she will be able to wipe out your device, access apps, open and review sensitive information on your phone, or even turn your camera on without you knowing.

Google, owner and operator of the Android OS, has acknowledged the vulnerability. In fact, they were made aware of the hack – and even provided with a potential fix – as early as April 9 by cybersecurity firm Zimperium. Google has assured that a patch would be made available for all customers, but according to Zimperium, a fix still isn’t largely available.

Although Google has likely developed a patch to this vulnerability, due to Android’s dependence on carriers and phone manufacturers, the company can’t simply push the fix directly to user’s devices, as main rival Apple has the luxury to do. The fix must be coordinated with disparate manufacturer platforms (Samsung, LG, Motorola, etc.) and then disseminated through the carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint – just to name a few…). Google claims they have delivered a solution to its carriers, but it is still unclear whether or not the solution has been passed along to their users.

Until security firms like Zimperium declare this issue clear, Android users can disable auto-fetching of multi-media messages by accessing the Settings menu within their default messaging app. Tap Settings -> Advanced -> (deselect) Auto-retrieve MMS messages.

Users can find detailed instructions here.

Lenovo Pulls the Plug on Small-Screen Windows Tablets

Lenovo thinkpad 8When it rains, it pours; and for Microsoft, the hits just keep on coming. Following the announcement of drastic job cuts (18,000!) comes the news that hardware partner Lenovo will stop selling small-screen Windows tablets in the United States.

Lenovo, the world’s biggest PC vendor, cited lack of demand as the reason for pulling the 8.3-inch ThinkPad 8 and 8-inch Miix 2 from American shelves. Lenovo will continue to offer the models in other regions where they are more in demand.

Keeping Up With the Drones’s

pocketdrone-0Recently, drones seem to be a reoccurring theme within the realm of technology. And until now, the idea of obtaining a drone for personal use has been one of science fiction. However, recent breakthroughs suggest that this idea is much more plausible in the near future than some may have thought. The media has already deemed 2014, “the year of the drone” and have attempted to capture the imaginations of the public. In the past, only governments and big corporations possessed the capabilities to see the world from an aerial perspective. Now, the Pocket Drone produced by Air Droids affords the everyday consumer that same ability.

The Pocket Drone is a flying robot which can carry high quality cameras (Go Pros, etc.) into the sky in order to obtain vantage points of everyday life, previously unimaginable (or at least inaccessible) to everyday “Joes.” Compact size and an ergonomic folding frame allow this product to fit comfortably into a cargo pants pocket. Additionally, the device comes stacked with convenient features, making it more advanced (and curiously more affordable than any of its commercial market competitors.

Users can pilot the Pocket Drone with a radio controller, tablet, or simply activate the autopilot feature enabled through GPS. Users can also link up with Google maps and direct the device to a specific location of choice. When there is no destination in mind, “dronies” can simply activate the “follow me” feature allows the drone to follow them hands free (obviously).

For anyone looking to capture moments from sporting events to everyday hobbies (hiking, biking, surfing etc.), this ultra cool device can raise the fun-meter considerably. Its ability to help consumers relive such moments, coupled with its undeniable cool factor, seems to be the real selling point – particularly as it’s offered at a relatively affordable price.

It is the only drone, currently on the market, with the capability to carry a camera for up to 20 minutes (nearly 2x’s longer than competitors) for under $500. President of Air Droids, Timothy Reuter, offered, “Flying robots are just awesome, and now everyone can have one.”

Yes, please.

Amazon: Prime Air Drones

amazon-dronesRecently, Amazon has created new drone devices, designed to dramatically improve the delivery time of all online product orders. The Amazon “Prime Air” drones are expected to be able to deliver products weighing up to five pounds, to addresses within a ten mile radius … within approximately thirty minutes of receiving an order. While Amazon is planning to implement these new devices by 2015, skeptics are questioning whether this deadline is realistic. Prime Air drones are a mere thought at this stage as there are major impracticalities that Amazon has yet to address.

It is discomforting, to say the least, that any “Joe Shmoe” with a rifle, could simply shoot down one of these drones in mid air for their trophy case’s next addition (and to claim a free gift.) You see, while Amazon drones cannot carry extremely heavy loads, some of the products being delivered will be extremely valuable (phones, video games etc.) … not to mention other “private” items for which consumers would prefer delivered in a secure and discrete manner.

Security would continue to be an issue in highly populated areas as a drone’s only job to this point would be to drop off a package at a consumer’s location. To date, Amazon has done absolutely nothing to ensure that its customers actually receive their products – making purchased items “fair game” for anyone their good recipient can call “neighbor.” With that being said, the Prime Air drones could possibly function better, dare we say ‘thrive,’ in more rural areas where land is more private and secluded. However, Amazon claims they will only deliver to addresses within a ten mile radius of their distribution sites. Therefore, it is not probable that they would deliver to the aforementioned rural areas, which appear to be much more conducive to the drone delivery system concept.

All in all, the Amazon drones are an excellent idea on paper and could prove to be a real game changer for online shopping. That being said, it is not a completely practical idea at this point. Many have already figured out ways to hack and manipulate these devices in order to illegally obtain valuables. However, the mere fact that Amazon now possesses such futuristic capabilities is impressive and inspires the imagination regarding the future of online shopping. One cannot help to be excited by the purported use of these future-is-now devices.

The idea of a drone delivery system has been around for some time; however the idea seemed more science fiction-like. Amazon has evolved this idea from a “nice thought” into something that is a bit closer to tangible. While obstacles like how birds (extremely territorial creatures) may interact with these devices have yet to be addressed – in a perfect world, prime air drones do work. The challenge will be to make them functional/practical in a world in which is largely unknown in such capacity. While Amazon remains optimistic about forthcoming challenges, 2015 may be a tad auspicious – even for a big-hitter like Amazon. (Though, Elon Musk likely disagrees.)

However, the thought that a drone delivery system could be in place in the near future – definitely has generated much excitement, particularly amongst those who dread the alternative method called “traditional holiday shopping.”

Is Cloud Computing Cost Effective for SMBs?

iStock_000027295368XSmallIn order to answer the question, “Is cloud computing cost effective for small business?” it is imperative to first consider all the moving parts:

Servers:

In order to operate your business effectively, your computer system is completely reliant upon a decent server. These do not come cheap. They also require maintenance, and chances are; you are not likely to pony up for the type/quality of equipment that would be made available if partnered with a top cloud host.

For example, if you wanted highly rated Costco server model, it would run you $1700.00 before you paid someone to set it up, manage it, etc. And, don’t think for a moment that the new purchase will be the last one you ever have to buy, particularly if you business begins to grow (which is likely your goal.) Even if it doesn’t, hardware tends to go bad – even quicker when they aren’t in the ideal climate controlled settings and infrastructure of a high-end datacenter.

Computers:

Because of the improved efficiency allowed by the cloud (coupled with additional security and monitoring) it turns out the cloud will actually save you in computer costs. Yes, the desktops or laptops you select for your facility. Now obviously, the price of the machines you choose is ultimately up to you. But, the life of your computers is likely to be extended significantly.

Staff:

In terms of the Cloud being cost effective, it may turn out that it’s what you won’t need with your cloud solution that will ultimately prove most significant with respect to your financials. Listen, IT is complicated – and talented IT professionals are expensive to keep in-house. So why do it (if you don’t have to)?

Hosting with a Cloud provider may not preclude you from ever needing an IT person on-premise, but chances are, you will have more than enough coverage with “one” as opposed to “a whole team” – and you may even find it would be enough to have a good IT consultant on speed-dial for emergencies. Saving on salaried employees by leveraging cloud services has been a winner, and continues to be, for millions who sign checks for small businesses.

Maintenance and Downtime:

While the level of services rendered will be impacted by the plan you’ve chosen (you would be seriously hard pressed to pay more than you would a full-time employee), your Cloud provider will likely do most/all of these in even the most streamlined of cloud hosting plans:

  • Monitor, maintain, upgrade your hosted programs
  • Minimize downtime by proactive measures
  • Ensure application availability
  • Regular data backups
  • Endless redundancy

At the very least, you will see improved productivity, higher revenue, and greater opportunity to focus on the task at hand. Add those value-ads to substantial payroll savings, and the picture of Cloud hosting – offering cost effective solutions for SMBs – should be crystal clear.

[Newsticker] New Disney Touchscreen Lets Viewers “Feel” Textures

screen-shot-2013-10-12-at-12-25-39-pm1Disney is truly taking their world-renowned interactive experience to the next level, having developed a way for your hand to actually “feel” a texture upon a touchscreen – without changing the surface of the screen.

Yep. The future is quite literally at hand.

By utilizing a series of electric “zaps” it can recreate the feeling of a particular texture to a subject’s interacting fingertips, while the related images appear on a screen.

[source: Mail Online]

[Newsticker] New Nike FuelBand Keeping Exercisers Honest

004NIke_Fuelband_35829199_product_610x407For those who may not know, the Nike “FuelBand” is a sporty wristband that tracks its users’ daily activity in order to encourage healthier, more active lifestyles. While remaining a great motivational tool, the product is not as accurate as it should be. The original FuelBand is easily tricked when attempting to track actual movements, leaving many users frustrated, and even tempting some others to cheat.

The good news is, Nike is currently launching its new and improved version called the “Nike FuelBand SE,” which is similar to the original in design, but far more scientifically advanced, forcing its users to be more active while making it significantly harder to trick or cheat the system.

[Source: TechCrunch]

 

[News Ticker] The Day of the Curved Screen Has Come

photo credit: Samsung Tomorrow

photo credit: Samsung Tomorrow

Heard any curved screen rumors circling around the smartphone world lately. Apparently there’s more to it than wishful thinking. In fact, Samsung’s “Galaxy Round” is taking a revolutionary step with its new “roll effect.” This feature essentially allows you to roll your phone to wake the screen so you may view the time as well as your notifications.

[source: Gizmodo]

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