Archive for ‘Holidays’

December 30, 2011

Back to the Future–Predictions for 2012 in Tech

by Auri Rahimzadeh

A couple more days and it’ll be 2012. What a year! Let’s take a look at some new tech happenings from this year that got us pretty excited, and bummed, too:

  • Microsoft’s overall software reputation appears to be a lot better this year, with huge adoptions numbers for Windows 7… congrats on a great product, guys!
  • Windows Phone Mango (hey-oh! they shipped a great product, but it needs some company love!)
  • Android Ice Cream Sandwich (and the laughs that it was [legitimately] only on one phone!)
  • Plasma finally went on clearance, and good riddance (Sasha’s gonna kill for me this one)
  • iPads as laptop replacements (only to be carried around with keyboard cases)
  • AMD Fusion APUs (finally, low power processors that don’t suck)
  • *Still* no good office applications for Android
  • Large HDTVs are finally affordable *and* green
  • R.I.P. Steve Jobs – we will miss you

And here’s what will probably be declared dead in 2012, or so I hope:

  • Standalone portable game systems – who needs ‘em now that even media players run Android, have dual core processors, and play games from the Market?
  • Blu-ray 3D
  • Non-glasses-less 3D in the home
  • Non-LED backlit displays
  • Windows XP
  • IE 6, finally (although they’ll probably stick with IE8 and up)
  • Windows CE-based handhelds
  • ThunderBolt®/LightSpeed® ports on average consumer computers, with USB 3.0 being used instead
  • Google+ – does anybody use it?
  • Any iPod with a capacity under 32 GB

Things I’m looking forward to, or hoping are created this year:

  • Our 10th year in business – YES!
  • Windows 8, especially how it will run on ARM
  • Better Windows Phone advertising by Microsoft
  • Lots of interesting new things out of MS, now that their DOJ shackles are off
  • Windows Live Mesh integration in Windows 8, and a backup plan for using Live Mesh to auto-backup important files to the cloud, for free
  • CES 2012 (Vegas)
  • CEATEC 2012 (Japan)
  • Sprint’s Wi-Max based 4G, and a class action lawsuit for all those who paid the $10/month surcharge for a service Sprint didn’t offer in their area (ahem)
  • An Android interface building kit from Google that doesn’t’ stink, and helps you create great looking apps
  • A web service connectivity API for Android that doesn’t stink, either
  • A free utility to convert Flash to Android / iOS / Windows Phone apps, or at least get you a good way there
  • A free utility to convert Silverlight or Flash to HTML 5-based apps (I think Adobe’s working on this already, and Microsoft might beat them to it)
  • XCode for Windows (and I wonder if it won’t work on Windows8 when that’s released)
  • Superbowl 2012 in Indianapolis! w00t!

If I’m wrong about any of this, we may not be around to complain, since the world is apparently going to end before Christmas next year. Get your complaints in now!

My friend Andy Marken also has a great write-up about 2011 and 2012, which you can read here

December 28, 2011

Microsoft Free Antivirus May Save Your Day (or at least get you a free beer)

I’ve had to remove a lot of fake antivirus software lately. Microsoft has made my life incredibly easy now, thanks to the beta version of their new Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper (MSSSS) software. You download it (link below) on a CLEAN computer – shame on you if you create the boot media on the infected machine – and it walks you through the process of creating a bootable CD, DVD, USB thumb drive, or just creating an ISO file you can use anytime. The latest virus definitions are downloaded during the process, so you’re not instantly out of date, and are updated automatically if you run the install wizard again.

So, even if you’re not stuck with a virus, you probably know someone who is. Trade your few minutes of scanning for a night out, all from some free software from a company that lately is getting back its reputation for writing some darn good stuff.

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Now, to be clear, this does not replace the need for full antivirus software being installed on a machine. Antivirus / antimalware software is good for keeping your system safe, no matter what OS you’re running. If you don’t want to pay for antivirus, which you generally shouldn’t have to, try the following:

If you’re running Windows XP or higher – and really, you should be on Windows 7 if you’re running Windows – turn on Data Execution Prevention for all programs and services. Right click Computer, Select Properties, then Advanced System Settings, then click Settings under Performance, then select the second option for All Programs and Services, as shown in the diagram below.

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And, if you haven’t done so already, make sure your Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat, and Apple QuickTime (if installed) are fully up to date. It’s often vulnerabilities in these non-Microsoft products that get you infected, not vulnerabilities in Windows itself.

Link: http://connect.microsoft.com/systemsweeper

December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays from The Auri Group!

Well, it’s that time of year again. Time to blow your holiday budget on as many gadgets you can get away with buying without getting into too much trouble. Oh, and to spend time with family and friends, and play with their toys, too. Seriously, though, we wish you the warmest holiday season and a happy new year.

If you haven’t had a chance to enjoy it yet, take a gander at our holiday video, or last year’s, or the year before that.

The Auri Group 2011 Holiday Video