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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why Mac OS X Lion will be better for enterprise administrators | Macs in Business |

Why Mac OS X Lion will be better for enterprise administrators | Macs in Business |

Major operating system releases are typically painful for enterprise administrators. Users often need to learn new ways of performing the same rote actions. Menus move. Commonly accessed applications change locations. Vastly faster computers are required to run the upgrade.
Thankfully, that won’t be the case with Mac OS X Lion. The OS, in fact, will simplify enterprise administrators’ lives. Here’s why.

The Mac App Store

When it’s released in the summer of 2011, Lion (Apple’s eighth iteration of its acclaimed Mac OS X platform) will include the Mac App Store by default. One simple icon, a new addition to the Dock, means enterprise administrators can begin delegating to end users some of the responsibility for obtaining, installing and updating applications. Over time, the industry may find online application delivery and maintenance becomes the norm.
As Apple’s ads say, there are no more boxes, no more disks. Users can begin using new applications with a single click, thanks to one-click downloads and installation. Further, apps are browsable by category. Sample screen shots are available, and users can read reviews prior to purchase or even download and install software to test a program.

New programs install straight to the Dock, which further simplifies use and likely reduces calls to IT for support. Updates are then managed through the App Store, too, which notifies users when updates are available and makes upgrade and patch management easy, thereby further reducing enterprise administrators’ application maintenance and patching responsibilities.

Despite all those advantages and resulting efficiencies, however, there’s an even greater benefit. When end users purchase new Macs (or replace lost, failed or older systems), applications can be downloaded again on to multiple machines. No repurchase is required, no installation media must be tracked down and no license keys must be dug out of the back of file cabinets.
If you disagree that the Mac App Store is another genuine Apple innovation, just wait. When Microsoft clumsily deploys a new Windows App Store, it’ll claim the feature as revolutionary. Apple’s already there.

The new OS will also include Launchpad, a new feature that streamlines accessing applications and system use. The new Lion Dock will include a Launchpad icon. Launchpad removes open windows from view in favor of a full-screen display of application icons, thereby mimicking the hugely popular iPhone and iPad user interfaces. Thus, administrators (particularly in large environments) should find themselves providing less application support. Users, already comfortable with using iPhones and iPads, will find the same application interface in use with the new Lion OS. And, just as applications purchased online automatically appear on the iPhone and iPad, they’ll now appear automatically within the Launchpad space.

Full -screen apps

Apple is also touting Lion’s support for full screen applications. The new OS permits users to interact with their Mac desktops and laptops the same way they do with their iPhones and iPads.

With millions upon millions of iPad and iPhone units sold, Apple engineers have learned their lesson. New ways of interacting with traditional computers arrives with Lion. Applications can now be run in new full screen modes, thereby reducing distractions and providing a more immersive experience. Other running applications are removed from view, just as on iPhones and iPads, with the ability to switch between modes or applications just a gesture away. These changes, too, should reduce IT department support requirements, as users are already familiar with the way in which Lion will simplify computing and application use.

Mission Control

Enterprise administrators will also hear much discussion of Mac OS X Lion’s Mission Control feature. Mac users possess widely varying preferences regarding the ways in which they interact with their computers. Some use Spaces (which groups apps together), while others prefer Expose (which provides quick access to all open windows). Still others leverage Mac’s Dashboard, which collects various gadgets within a single window.

Mission Control helps all Mac users, regardless of personal preference, cut through the clutter. The new feature reveals what’s running, including applications, Dashboard, Expose and Spaces information and more. Accessed using a swipe gesture, Mission Control provides users with a unified view of their computer’s active programs and interfaces, which means enterprise administrators have yet another tool for helping end users better navigate their own systems without requiring help desk interaction.

System requirements

Apple hasn’t yet released system requirements for Mac OS X Lion. If the company’s latest iLife suite (as the last-released major Apple software platform) is any indication, enterprise administrators aren’t in for any surprises or required hardware upgrades.

iLife ‘11 requires only a Mac computer with an Intel processor, but it’s fair to believe Lion will require Core 2 Duo or faster chips. Memory requirements will likely be 1GB RAM, but administrators should plan on at least 2GB for smooth operation. While Disk space should prove no different than Snow Leopard, it’s possible Lion will ship without an install DVD. USB software reinstall drives, as accompany new MacBook Air models, may become standard issue, but that’s just a guess. Time will tell.

Google Co-Founder Takes Over as Chief Executive -

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseGoogle Co-Founder Takes Over as Chief Executive -


SAN FRANCISCO — Google said Thursday that Larry Page, its co-founder and president of products, would take over as chief executive, succeeding Eric E. Schmidt, the company’s longtime chief.

Mr. Schmidt will remain executive chairman and serve as adviser to Mr. Page and Sergey Brin, the other company co-founder and its president of technology.

The shake-up, which will take effect April 4, is the biggest change in management at the company since Mr. Schmidt joined as chief executive in 2001.

“Larry, Sergey and I have been talking for a long time about how best to simplify our management structure and speed up decision making — and over the holidays we decided now was the right moment to make some changes to the way we are structured,” Mr. Schmidt wrote in a blog post.

Mr. Schmidt said Mr. Page would “merge Google’s technology and business vision,” while he would focus on external issues, like “deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships.”

In the blog post, Mr. Schmidt said the three executives would continue to collaborate on major decisions, but that the changes would help clarify the individual roles so “there’s clear responsibility and accountability at the top of the company.”

On his Twitter account, Mr. Schmidt, who was widely described as “adult supervision” for the two young founders when he was named chief executive, wrote: “Day-to-day adult supervision is no longer needed.”

The decision came as a shock to many in Silicon Valley. “Larry stepping up to be C.E.O. is really surprising,” said Danny Sullivan, the editor of SearchEngineLand, an industry blog, who has followed Google since its founding. “Those guys hadn’t really shown that they wanted to be C.E.O.,” he said about Mr. Page and Mr. Brin.

The shake-up comes as Google, while continuing to dominate the world of Internet search and advertising, has struggled in some areas, especially social networking, where the rise of Facebook has become the most real threat to Google in years.

“I can’t tell yet whether it would be a case of them being frustrated with Eric, which would surprise me, or Eric being tired of being the front man for the company,” Mr. Sullivan said.

Ken Auletta, the author of a book about the company called “Googled: The End of the World As We Know It,” said he suspected that Mr. Schmidt may simply have been ready for a change after 10 years at the helm.

“I don’t think he was pushed aside, but he may have been nudged,” he said, adding that between the two founders, Mr. Page always appeared more interested in eventually becoming chief executive. “Clearly Sergey has been paying less attention to management than Larry,” he said.

In the unusual management “troika,” Mr. Auletta said, Mr. Page’s voice always carried the most weight.

The unexpected news came as Google announced its fourth-quarter earnings, which handily beat the expectations of Wall Street analysts.

Google reported net income in the quarter ended Dec. 31 of $2.54 billion, or $7.81 a share, up from $1.97 billion, or $6.13 a share, in the quarter a year earlier. Excluding the cost of stock options and the related tax benefits, Google’s fourth-quarter profit was $8.75 a share, compared with $6.79 a share in the quarter a year ago.

The holiday season was the best for online shopping since 2006, with sales up 12 percent over last year, according to comScore; Google benefited as online shoppers increasingly began their shopping sprees at the search engine.

“Whenever e-commerce improves, we see more advertisers competing for the same keywords, and that means more revenue for Google,” Sandeep Aggarwal, an Internet analyst at Caris & Company, said.

To make it easier for shoppers to find what they were looking for, Google introduced tools like and search results that show which offline stores have an item in stock. It also began offering retailers product ads with images.

Google’s revenue climbed 17 percent to $8.44 billion in the quarter, up from $6.67 billion a year earlier. Net revenue, which excludes commissions paid to advertising partners, was $6.37 billion, up from $4.95 billion.

“Our strong performance has been driven by a rapidly growing digital economy, continuous product innovation that benefits both users and advertisers, and by the extraordinary momentum of our newer businesses, such as display and mobile,” Mr. Schmidt said in a statement.

Claire Cain Miller contributed reporting.

Mac malware threat still tiny, report suggests -

Mac malware threat still tiny, report suggests -

But OS X vulnerabilities on the rise

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Virus writers finally paid some attention to Apple Macs in 2010, with several new types of malware appearing to puncture the myth of the platform’s security invulnerability, security company Intego has reported in its annual review.
The numbers are still tiny and hard to meaningfully compare to PC equivalents, but it does look as if there has recently been a modest rise in the sophistication of Mac malware.
Perhaps the most interesting was October’s Koobface/Bonnana variant, which installed a malicious Java applet using social media sites to spread infection. This gained more attention for its cross-platform capabilities, targeting Mac, Windows and even Linux users, and holds a warning for the future: malware writers might start using Java more often to ‘weaponise’ browser malware for a range of platforms and not only Windows.
The company also mentions the appearance of backdoor malware, HellRTS, and an unamed ransomware program that appeared during the year, but both of these are rated as proof-of-concept malware rather than a live threat. Meanwhile, older threats seem to hang around longer than they would in the PC world, including the DNS-tampering malware form 2007, RSPlug.
The company goes on to document a clutch of Mac OS X and iPhone iOS vulnerabilities plus some affecting vendors such as Adobe, Microsoft and Mozilla's Firefox.
None of this should be tremendously frightening for Mac users. The Intego report runs to five pages, about the length of the table of contents alone on many Windows security reports which have appeared this month. Mac malware is still a small threat in absolute let alone relative terms.
Significant in 2010, however, was the uptick in the number of free Mac antivirus programs, including one from Sophos, which set out to address what is undoubtedly still the platform’s software underbelly – many Mac users don’t run an antivirus program at all.
This fact offsets the relative rarity of Mac Malware in that any malware encountering an unprotected user will have a far higher chance of achieving infection.
It could also be that Mac security issues are under-reported, which leads to an underestimation of the problem. If many Mac users have no relationship with a security company through using antivirus software they won’t show up in statistics as and when they do hit trouble.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Comcast Wins FCC Approval For NBC Merger : NPR

Comcast Wins FCC Approval For NBC Merger : NPR

Google's Chrome OS: Putting Everything in the Browser Window -

Google Chrome IconImage via WikipediaGoogle's Chrome OS: Putting Everything in the Browser Window -

Think about how little you may use your personal computer’s hard drive anymore. Unless you keep a music or video collection, or store your e-mail locally instead of using a Web-based service like Gmail, you might not use it at all.

The Cr-48 is designed for a user to live inside a browser window all day and night.
With that in mind, Google has developed Chrome OS, an operating system for laptops that does just about everything inside a browser window. As a result, forthcoming Chrome OS laptops from Asus and Samsung due later this year will be lightweight, low-maintenance and, most of all, inexpensive. Google’s chief executive officer, Eric Schmidt, has said the target price range will be $300 to $400 for a model that’s not a flimsy netbook.

I’ve got a prototype Chrome OS laptop supplied by Google, which is not available for sale. Called the Cr-48 — the name is the chemical symbol for an unstable isotope of the element Chromium — the matte-black notebook boots up Google’s Chrome browser in seven seconds, and reawakens instantly from sleep. It has no hot, spinning disk drive because it doesn’t need one to hold the small Chrome OS operating system. Sixteen gigabytes of solid-state memory do the trick.

The Cr-48 weighs less than four pounds and runs silent and cool. To stay connected to the internet, it packs both Wi-Fi and a Verizon 3G account that includes 100 megabytes per month of free data. There may be different options when the real products go on sale.

The prototype has two nice nerdy touches. One is the matte screen, rather than a glossy one, much better for reading and writing text instead of watching video. And there’s no Caps Lock key, because YOU DON’T NEED TO SHOUT ON THE INTERNET.

But can you really live inside a browser window all day and night? For many, the answer is yes. There are Web-based versions of just about everything these days. Plus, Google has created a Chrome Web Store full of apps that install inside its browser. Many are free. Some even work without a live Internet connection. By adopting a do-it-online mindset, you can perform just about any task as long as you’re connected.

Use Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo for email. Edit and review Microsoft Office files on the company’s Office Live site, or switch to Google Docs, which should work offline by the time Chrome laptops are available. Manage your personal finances on Mint. Edit and store photos with the free Aviary Photo Editor app. Build your music library on Grooveshark, Pandora or one of many other apps. Make phone calls using Skype or Google Talk.

To upload and download personal files, you can plug a disk or thumb drive into the Cr-48’s USB jack, or pop in an SD card. Many phones will also plug in as USB drives, so you can get your pictures off your phone and upload them to Aviary, Flickr or Google’s Picasa.

What can’t you do? There’s no way to sync your phone’s contacts to Chrome OS. And for now, printing is tricky. You have to use Google’s Cloud Print service to connect to a printer plugged into another computer. HP plans to sell printers this year that will let a Chrome laptop print directly.

Compared with a Windows laptop, a Chrome OS model will offer one big advantage: price. The Windows license for a laptop can run over $100. For a $400 computer, that’s a big part of the cost. Also, the much simpler operating system is likely to be virus-free and require little maintenance. It updates itself periodically over the Internet. And there aren’t many system configuration options to mess with, reducing another source of anxiety.

For people whose sole major computing task is uploading pictures to Facebook, a low-price, browser-only laptop that can upload and download files to plug-in storage seems like a cost-effective option. Without a disk or fan, or long boot times, it’s more relaxing to use, too.

Will these things sell? I think that, like netbooks and iPads, they’ll need to go viral and become a consumer fad if potential buyers are going to overcome their doubts that they’re somehow not getting a real computer.

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Mac At Work" By David Sparks - The Best Hardware & Software Guide Available For Apple, Mac Users

I have completed this wonderful book, "Mac At Work" by David Sparks.   This book is a must read for any Mac user, new or experienced, or for anyone who is contemplating buying a new personal computer.  This book is first of all practically written, in non-technical terms, that any lay reader can understand.  David explains clearly, the various features of the Apple OX10.6 operating system, and even more importantly he sifts though the many software options available for accomplishing the end objectives, the work product that is the real reason we use our computers. Even though this book is titled "Mac At Work" is is just as useful for the casual computer user.

Mr. Sparks overview of available software is comprehensive, to say the least.  He covers, the various softwares with detailed instructions and tips.  I am a Mac geek, my Mac owning friends come to me for questions all the time. With this said I have learned a tremendous amount of information from this book which will improve my work flow as a college professor. I am already uing  many tips from this book and as a result I have acquired a number of new software titles, the most exceptional being DEVONthink Pro Office. This book provides a comprehensive framework for establishing a personal workflow using best practices on the Mac.  From now on I will recommend this book to any Mac user who comes to me with a Mac related question.  It is such a wonderful, Mac reference source and users guide.  It is unique in that it is not biased towards any particular software companies.  Mr. Sparks provides the reader with a number of software options for each workflow objective, letting the reader choose the one which best suits the readers workflow and budget.  This, in itself, will save you many times the price of this book. He provides the reader with a degree of familiarity with software choices that choosing the best option is much less confusing and as a result the reader will be saved from purchasing software which is not suitable for their particular needs.  A case in point is his comparison of task managers for the Mac.  The two main contenders are Things and OmniFocus.  Mr. Sparks clearly prefers OmniFocus but he explains why and why Things might be a better option for readers who are not managing the literally thousands of tasks managed by Mr. Sparks.  I have tried both softwares and I chose to use Things.  Mr. Sparks' advice directly parallelled my experience using both softwares.  This type of advice,  for a perspective purchaser of software, is invaluable.

I want to close by saying that this book is an easy, enjoyable read.  The writers, at the major websites devoted to personal computing, could learn a lot from Mr.Sparks' clear, detailed but not overwhelming explanations of the advantages and disadvantages of various programs, and more importantly, the step by step instructions, for the use of the programs he recommends.  This book was obviously a work born of a love and a passion for the Mac.  This book is a must read for anyone who owns, or is contemplating buying a Mac.  I was disappointed when the book ended.  Like a great performer Mr. Sparks' left me wanting more.  My one small criticism is that Mr.Sparks did not discuss some of the really good software available to convert PDF files to either the Pages or Word formats.  Solid PDF to Word is a useful tool I use for this purpose.  I store everything in PDF files, organizing them in the software programs Paperless for personal documents and Paper for my academic work.  The ability to transfer these PDF files to Pages or Word documents, with the formatting and fonts intact, is an important part of my workflow.

I read this book on my early 2009 MacBook, using the Kindle Mac App, from the new Mac App store.  This App makes reading on a Macbook a pleasure.

By John H. Armwood

Apple Says Jobs Is Taking a New Medical Leave -

Apple Says Jobs Is Taking a New Medical Leave -

Steven P. Jobs, the co-founder and chief executive of Apple Inc., told his staff on Monday that he was taking a medical leave of absence, a year and a half after his return from a liver transplant.

“At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health,” he said in a statement to the Apple staff released by the company. “I will continue as C.E.O. and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.”

The statement continued: “I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple’s day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011. I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.”

Apple’s stock immediately dipped on foreign exchanges.