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Rumors Become Truth: Windows 10 Unveiled

Rumors Become Truth: Windows 10 Unveiled

Recently we wrote a blog about the upcoming Microsoft announcement of the rumored Windows 9. Yesterday, Microsoft revealed the new name and look of the new Windows, Windows 10.

With over 1.5 billion people using Windows, Microsoft is working to make Windows 10 a “one application platform” across all devices. As stated in yesterday’s reveal, “Windows 10 will be [Microsoft’s] most comprehensive platform, ever.”

Windows 10 will be built to focus on a mobile-first, cloud-first world. Microsoft explains Windows 10 as having “the familiarity of Windows 7 with some of the elements of Windows 8”.

Some of the features of Windows 10 include:

  • Incorporating the Start button with the application tiles. This allows you to stay on one screen rather than navigate between the touch screen and desktop screen like in Windows 8.
  • Ability to change the size of the Start Menu and tiles within it to your liking.
  • A more advanced searching system, including web results.
  • Keeping the Charm Bar, but modifying it to accommodate more touch screen users.
  • Separating corporate and personal data across devices.
  • Keeping the snap view for classic and universal apps that users know from Windows 7.
  • A multiple desktop. Users can switch between different desktops to keep apps running in their own areas.
  • Ability to paste directories into the command prompt with CTRL + V.
  • A “continuum” feature for two-in-ones to change modes based on touch and keyboard input.

Today, October 1, 2014, Microsoft is releasing a preview of Windows 10 with the Windows Insider Program. Microsoft is encouraging consumer feedback from the preview, in hopes to create a product everyone will enjoy. The actual release of Windows 10 is planned for late 2015.

Want to check out the preview and add your input? Check it out at preview.windows.com.

What are your thoughts on Windows 10? Let us know on Facebook, LinkedIn, or tweet us @atnetplus

Windows 9: The New “Threshold”

Windows 9: The New “Threshold”

On September 30, 2014, Microsoft plans on unveiling Windows 9 (also known as “Threshold”), although exact details of Microsoft’s announcement are still unclear. Even though Windows 8.1 was recently released, Windows 9 is rumored to address the touchscreen-friendly interface concerns that made some PC users flustered.

With recent leaks released, the interface is being thrown back to Windows 7 with just a touch of Windows 8. Microsoft is planning on bringing back the start button (known to Windows 7), with accessibility to the application tiles (known on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1) on the right side.

Windows 9 is also planning on a better notification system that allows you to view all of your notifications in one place, if you so choose, rather than only the brief alert system currently enabled (similar to a cell phone).

Rumors have circulated that the Charm Bar (the menu bar that pops up on your computer screen when you hover your cursor over the right corner) may be deleted from Windows 9. Whether the Charm Bar stays or goes is still unknown.

Microsoft hopes that the release of Windows 9 will be the last major overhaul for a while. Anything soon after the Windows 9 release will be maintenance and upgrading into the future.

How do you feel about the upcoming Windows 9 release? Do you enjoy using Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1? Let us know on Facebook, LinkedIn, or tweet us @atnetplus

After All the Hype and Rumor – Apple Reveals It All

After All the Hype and Rumor – Apple Reveals It All

Today, Apple announced some new products and features at the Flint Center in California (originally where the first Mac was unveiled). The announcement was broadcast live via apple.com.

With the excitement of the rumored iPhone 6, people began camping outside Apple stores earlier this week with anticipation of possible releases. Mock up pictures of the “new iPhone 6” have been posted throughout the Internet, all re-imagining what Apple has been rumored to release.

Not only was the new iPhone announced, the Apple Watch and Apple Pay were also on the announcement list.

Here is a roundup of products and features that Apple is releasing, announced via their live webcast:

 

  • iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which will include:
    • Bigger screens (the iPhone 6 being slightly smaller than the iPhone 6 Plus) and a curvier look. Each phone will be offered in gold, silver, and space gray. New cases will also be available in both elastic and leather.
    • The new phones will run games just as good as a gaming console.
    • Equal or better battery life than the iPhone 5s.
    • Motion sensors that can tell you how many steps you have taken and measure your distance and elevation.
    • New wireless capabilities that include faster LTE.
    • Clearer phone calls and the ability to make a standard call using a Wi-Fi Network.
    • Enhanced photo taking. With focus pixels, the camera on both phones will have better auto focus. You can also take macro photos and bigger panoramas. Enhanced video capabilities with continuous autofocus.
    • The starting cost is $199, and increases to $299 and $399 depending on the amount of storage; all with 2 year contract.
    • iOS 8, that comes with Touch ID. It will be available for download on September 17, 2014.
    • Both phones will be available for preorder on September 12, 2014. They will ship in the US on September 19, 2014.

 

  • Apple Pay will allow consumers to use their credit cards on their phones at participating locations.
    • Adding a credit card to the system will be simple. Just take a picture of the card and get it verified by your bank.
    • All transactions are private, only known between you, the vendor, and your bank.
    • Participating locations will include: Subway, McDonalds, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Disney, and all Apple stores.
    • You can order items online more effectively and securely.
    • There is no cost for Apple Pay and will be available in October.

 

  • Apple Watch – a brand new product from Apple will change the way you see a watch. Features include:
    • Customization of both the interface and straps (band) for a more personal appearance and capability.
    • The straps are easily interchangeable, as well as sweat and chemical resistant. Apple Watch can be worn all day for any occasion.
    • Both a smaller and larger version of the watch to fit everyone.
    • It becomes a health and fitness device with motion sensors that keep track of your footsteps and heart beat (while taking your pulse).
    • To navigate the smaller screen, you use the watch’s digital crown (knob).
    • You can communicate by a simple tap, drawing a picture, or even by your own heartbeat.
    • Interactive, animated emojis of which you can customize the facial expressions.
    • Watch Kit, which allows developers to highly customize and work with Apple. It is also more involved with third-party applications.
    • Apple Watch can unlock a hotel door with a scanning feature.
    • Apple TV can be controlled using the watch
    • When riding public transportation, Apple Watch even reminds you to get off at your stop.
    • It is compatible with iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.
    • It comes with a wireless, magnetic charger.
    • The Apple Watch will start at $349 and will be available early next year.

 

What new features and products are you excited for? Let us know on Facebook or tweet us @atnetplus

Want learn more about iOS 8? Check out our blog

Future Forecast: “The Cloud Is In!”

Future Forecast: “The Cloud Is In!”

When you think of the word “cloud” what first comes to mind? Huge, fluffy, white puffs of condensed water floating in the sky? While that does describe clouds, I’m thinking of a different kind of cloud.

In the IT world, cloud means “location-independent computing, whereby shared servers provide resources, software, and data to computers and other devices on demand”. Simply put, the cloud allows you to access and store your data and programs through the Internet. Before the invention of the cloud, all of your data and programs were stored on your hard drive (and still is if you do not have cloud services).

Cloud computing is a growing trend, but why? Why would you migrate your information to the Internet, rather than your hard drive? There are many reasons why cloud is beneficial. Here are a few:

  • It is environmentally better. With the cloud, businesses use less hardware, thus reducing landfill waste.
  • It can cost less, although with other considerations. With less hardware used, the less hardware you have to buy. Also you only pay for what you use.
  • It allows for more universal access.
  • It allows you to choose the best options for your needs, while also allowing you to customize the amount and access for the items you use.
  • Elasticity allows for easier and more efficient changes to the cloud. For example, if you want to add 5 people into the cloud along with your other 5 employees, you can do so without having to buy new hardware. Likewise, if you have to get rid of those extra 5 people, you won’t have extra hardware you don’t need anymore.

The one main impact that can arise with using the cloud is Internet outages. If your Internet connection is lost, you cannot access your cloud. Most recently, Microsoft Azure (a cloud platform: a system where software applications run in an environment composed of utility cloud services) experienced a global outage on August 18, 2014, lasting for 5 hours. Issues like that don’t occur often, but they do occur. Nothing is without its flaws.

How do you start using cloud? First, know the different models of clouds.

  • Public – This model of cloud is shared between multiple individuals. Examples include Microsoft, Amazon (of which Netflix is owned. Yes, Netflix is a part of the cloud), and Google.
  • Private – Used for more individual, personal purposes.
  • Hybrid – Combines both the public and private cloud models.

Second, pick a cloud platform. Think of it similar to how the electric company runs the electricity to your home. The platform is the electric company, and the cloud is the electricity. You even pay for it like you would any utility bill; you pay for what you use.

Microsoft Azure is one platform that is gaining popularity. They have a good platform and offer a number of services to help you maintain your business in the cloud.

AtNetPlus offers multiple cloud services as well; from migrating to the cloud to assisting with cloud maintenance.

Have questions?  Comment below.

Cloud Questions

IFTTT…What’s this? What’s that?

IFTTT…What’s this? What’s that?

IFTTT (If This Then That) is a service that allows you to connect different apps to work together for one common purpose. With the simple creation of an account, you can start making recipes. What is a recipe you ask? An IFTTT recipe is the mixture of a Trigger (This) and an Action (That) of active channels. Popular channels include:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Gmail
  • SMS
  • Weather

To check the full list of channels, click here

To begin using IFTTT, you first need to create a free account. Once your account is created, just choose the specific channels for your chosen recipe (filling in the appropriate information for each channel) and the rest is automatically done for you. It’s that easy.

With so many recipe options, where do you start? The most common recipes include social media connection. Do you want your Twitter feed to update with your Facebook? Do you want your Instagram pictures to be posted to your Twitter at the same time? There are recipes for all those things, plus more.

As someone who loses her phone regularly, my favorite recipe uses my email to connect to my phone. If I can’t find my phone, I just email #lostphone in either the subject or body of the email. My email proceeds to call my phone, making it easier to find.

recipeFor all you zombie enthusiasts out there, they even have a recipe that sends a email to your phone if the CDC reports a zombie outbreak. Now the chances of an actual zombie outbreak are minimal, but it’s better safe than sorry, right?

There are many other kinds of recipes for so many purposes:

  • Weather notification recipes to help predict sunny days, rainy days, or any kind of day you would want to know
  • Fitness connection recipes to help keep track of fitness goals
  • Travel recipes that help you plan and organize your trips
  • Photo management recipes that allow you to post pictures in multiple apps

 

Interested in current recipes? Sign up for email updates of trending recipes.

Have a personal favorite IFTTT recipe? Share it with us on our Facebook page, LinkedIn, or Tweet it to us, @atnetplus

How iOS 8 Will Wow You This Fall

How iOS 8 Will Wow You This Fall

This autumn (September 2014 is the estimated release date), Apple is coming out with a new version of iOS – iOS 8. This new version of iOS has some great new additions, plus upgrades on already existing tools.

There are two key development sets in the new iOS 8 mobile operating system:

1.)    Extensibility, which includes:

  • Interactive notifications that allow you to respond to messages or notifications right from the banner. (*0:33)
  • Third-party keyboards that allow you to access other platform keyboards, like SwiftKey, easily and more effectively. Your sentences can literally be finished for you with a tool known as QuickType.  It also helps choose words you are likely to use, depending on to whom you are communicating. (*6:58)
  • New Widgets and Extensions

2.)    Continuity, which includes:

  • Handoff capability that allows you to share a specific activity between multiple devices, as long as you have the same iCloud account between them.
  • AirDrop being modified.
  • Instant Hotspot where your iPhone or iPad instantly tether to other users.

Other additions to iOS 8 include:

  • Device enrollment plan that automatically configures software to new work devices, rather than having to configure the device to a PC first. (*16:48)
  • Health app expansion that allows you to keep track of your health and fitness, while also being able to keep in touch with your health care professionals (*18:39)
  • For developers, Apple has come out with a new programming language known as Swift. This language is Objective-C compatible, but has been improved. For example, semi-colons are not needed to end statements; unlike Objective-C where forgetting one caused errors. Swift also has a tool known as a ‘Playground’ that allows you to see the effects of changes or additions to the code without having to go through the compiler.

Apple has many other planned additions for iOS 8, from family sharing (*21:39) to photo management (*23:33). As the estimated release date becomes closer, more and more information for iOS 8 is being released.

For more information, watch the video here:

*Time Topic Appears in Video

You’ve Got Mail…Oh Wait, It’s Spam

You’ve Got Mail…Oh Wait, It’s Spam

From emails to web forms on your website, Spam is bombarding your feedback pathways. You may be wondering, what is Spam? The basic definition is junk mail or comments that, in some cases, try to solicit the user to buy products and services, or provide confidential information such as Social Security Numbers, credit card numbers, and passwords to obtain user identities for nefarious purposes.

Popular software, particularly WordPress, has great tools for preventing Spam. These tools can help prevent Spam from appearing on your WordPress website:

Akismet:
The most used Spam prevention plug-in for WordPress users is Akismet, developed by Automattic (parenting company of WordPress). This particular plug-in continuously detects Spam on website forms. The current versions of Akismet are installed by default for WordPress users, but are available for over 20 plug-ins and libraries. A list of these other plug-ins can be found here.

Spam Destroyer:
Another reliable anti-Spam plug-in for WordPress users is the Spam Destroyer plug-in. It can be used in conjunction with Akismet for an added layer of protection. It works with gravity forms, comments, and other feedback forms on your website.

Other:
Anti-Spam plug-ins are not the only way to help protect against Spam comments and feedback. Other methods also can go a long way. For example, restricting your comment list to a select group of people (members or your own personal list) can help eliminate Spam. Moderating and approving comments before they are posted onto your website can help filter through actual posts and Spam. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with how Spam is presented:

  • Generalized or foreign languages
  • Misspelled words
  • Non-matching material
  • Long comments loaded with links

All of these are good indicators of Spam comments.

All the plug-ins in the world won’t be much help if they aren’t updated. Make sure you are updating your plug-ins regularly, keeping up with new features that help prevent Spam from taking over your feedback section.

Do you follow internet blogs and news? Both are helpful tools of knowledge against Spam. Research of known Spam, Spam plug-ins, and potential threats can be effective for protecting your site against Spam. Alert systems, such as AtNetPlus’ alerts on Twitter (for more information, click here ) can also be useful in keeping up-to-date on new threats.

As with many things on the Internet, nothing is perfect. Spam may slip through the cracks of your plug-ins or restricted lists. That’s to be expected. You may not be able to eliminate it completely, but you can dramatically reduce it so it is more manageable. As Spam evolves, plug-ins and prevention techniques will evolve with it, which is why updating regularly and keeping up with security trends is so important.

Post your favorite Spam prevention tools on our Facebook page or Tweet us @atnetplus

 

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