Saturday, January 31, 2015

A. B. B.

We don't normally discuss sports in this blog but in honor of the Super Bowl we will today.

I'm in an A.B.B. mood for the weekend. What's that you ask? Anybody But Boston!

I have hated all sports teams from the Boston area since I was a child. It goes back to my parents. My father was an avid Yankees fan which meant, of course, he hated Boston. I inherited those genes.

The second Boston team hatred came about when I was a huge Wilt Chamberlain fan and his main rival was Bill Russell. Boo Russell, yeah Big Dipper.

Then there were the back-to-back Philly Flyers Stanley Cups with big wins against the stinkin' Bruins.

The icing on the cake was Donny Moore and my beloved Angels against the red sox in the MLB playoffs. One more strike and the Angels are in the series for the first time. Instead poor Lefty later killed himself because of the shame of losing to Boston.

As I said... ABB!! Go Seahawks!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day

In recognition of today being Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day, TaxACT® is reminding Americans that EITC help and federal tax return filing is always free at   
This year's maximum Earned Income Tax Credit amount is $496 for an individual without children and $6,143 for a family with three or more children. The final credit amount is based on wages, other earned income, adjusted gross income and number of qualified children. One of the EITC requirements is that earned income and adjusted gross income for 2014 must each be less than:
  • $46,997 ($52,427 married filing jointly) with three or more qualifying children
  • $43,756 ($49,186 married filing jointly) with two qualifying children
  • $38,511 ($43,941 married filing jointly) with one qualifying child
  • $14,590 ($20,020 married filing jointly) with no qualifying children
Last year, nearly 28 million Americans received the refundable EITC, averaging $2,407. However, just four out of five qualified taxpayers claimed the credit.

TaxACT Free Federal Edition, available as over-the-web, download and mobile solutions, asks simple eligibility questions and completes the tax forms. With TaxACT's free federal e-file and direct deposit, Americans filing returns for the EITC could have their IRS refunds as soon as mid-February.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

LG ships 59.1 million smartphones

Samsung may be stumbling after posting its lowest annual profit for three years. The same can’t be said for fellow Korean company LG, which just revealed that it posted an improved $475 million profit for 2014 after shipping a total of 59.1 million smartphones, a 24 percent increase on its previous year.

LG shipped a record 16.8 million smartphones in Q3 2014 — which was its best quarter of business for five years — but its total for the final quarter of last year dipped a little to reach 15.5 million. That was still its second biggest quarter of 2014.

LG Electronics’s net profit of $474.81 million is up 125 percent year-on-year. Its growing mobile business helped pull in year-long revenue of $55.91 billion, a more modest (but stable) one percent gain on 2013. LG actually posted a net loss of $189.41 million in Q4 2014 however, due to the costs of closing its plasma TV unit.

LG’s mobile business itself reported annual sales of $14.26 billion, up 16 percent year-on-year, for 2014. Its revenue in Q4 2014 rose five percent year-on-year to reach $3.48 billion.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

iPhone 6 Sales

The fiscal first quarter was boosted by the bigger-screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, with sales rising 46 percent to 74.5 million units, topping analysts’ average estimate of 64.9 million. That exceeded the full-year iPhone sales of 72.3 million that Apple made in all of fiscal 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“We had the highest number of customers new to iPhone last quarter than in any prior launch,” Cook said on a conference call with analysts.

The iPhones helped boost margins to 39.9 percent. That topped Apple’s forecast in October of 37.5 percent to 38.5 percent and exceeded the average prediction of analysts for 38.5 percent.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

MSFT Q2 Earnings

As part of the company’s latest quarterly earnings announcement, Microsoft today revealed Surface revenue increased to $1.1 billion in Q2 2015, driven mainly by Surface Pro 3 and its accessories. The company also revealed phone hardware revenue of $2.3 billion, thanks to 10.5 million Lumia units sold in the quarter.

In Q2 2014, Microsoft reported $893 million in Surface revenue, meaning the figure has slightly increased (up 24 percent, to be exact). More importantly, this is the first quarter that the Surface line has generated more than $1 billion. The company started this fiscal year with $908 million in Surface quarterly revenue, meaning it has already sold $2 billion’s worth of Surface products in the first half of its fiscal year.

Over $1 billion in Surface sales is a lot for a software company that only recently got serious about making its own computers, but we still don’t know the exact number of Surfaces the company is selling. That’s because Microsoft lumps together accessories and older Surface devices along with the Surface Pro 3, which itself has models ranging from $800 to $1,950. That said, it couldn’t have sold much more than a million units, which is a long way off from market leader Apple and its 12.3 million iPads or even its 5.5 million Macs sold last quarter. Microsoft has quite a long way to go before it is a dominant force as a tablet or PC maker.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Clean Out Your Computer Day

Clean Out Your Computer Day is almost here! The holiday falls on Monday, February 9 in 2015 and iolo technologies has long been a huge fan of the holiday and regularly offered tips, promotions and giveaways to media outlets to celebrate the fun day. 

We'll have more on this in the next few days including some give away products!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A New Kickstarter Project

HYPER Launches iPin: World's Smallest Laser Pointer And Wireless Presenter For iOS And Android Via Kickstarter\

Sanho Corporation - the company behind the HYPER line of mobile accessories, in collaboration with Conary Enterprise, an opto-semiconductor company announces its Kickstarter campaign for 2 new iPin Laser Pointer and Wireless Presenter products to follow up on the award winning original iPin for iPhone.

Original iPin Laser Presenter for iOS
The original iPin is the world’s smallest laser pointer attachment for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. As the name suggest, it is as tiny as a pin which disappears completely into the audio jack of the iOS device with almost no protruding parts, turning the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch into a laser pointer and wireless presenter.

New iPin Laser Presenter for Android
The new iPin for Android connects to the micro USB port of compatible Android devices and just like the original iPin for iOS, it comes with a free app that can be downloaded from the Google Play store that turns the iPin connected Android device into a powerful laser pointer and wireless presenter. Through the free iPin app and WiFi connection, users can transform their Android devices into a fully featured presentation tool with intuitive gesture based controls to change presentation slides and move the mouse pointer on any Mac and PC computer.

New BTtogo Bluetooth USB Dongle
The new BTtogo adds another level of convenience to the iPin. Traveling to another office and presenting at another site may mean that WiFi connections are not guaranteed or firewalls may be in place. BTtogo solves the issue by allowing users to confidently connect their iPin enabled iOS or Android device to any computer for a reliable presentation, regardless of the WiFi or firewall settings. BTtogo features a USB connector that plugs into any Mac or PC computer and connects to the iPin enabled iOS or Android device via bluetooth with no host software required and almost zero setup. Users can store their presentation files on a micro SD memory card inserted into BTtogo to run presentations on any public computer, even with firewalls present.

HYPER is seeking $50,000 via Kickstarter to launch the 2 new iPin products. Funding begins January 5, 2015 at 8am PST/11am EST and ends on February 9, 2015. Upon successful funding, HYPER aims to ship the new iPin products in the same month of February 2015. This is HYPER’s 4th Kickstarter project after the successful CloudFTP, iStick and Pearl which combined raised over $1.4 million.

Product Specifications
iPin for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
Length: 16mm (standard version), 17.8mm (extended version, designed for iOS devices with case)
Diameter: 3.5mm (narrowest end) ~ 7.6mm (widest end)
Laser Wavelength: 635nm
Laser Power: <1 ii="" lass="" mw="" span="">
Supported iOS Devices: iPhone 3GS/4/4S/5/5C/5S/6, iPod touch 4/5, iPad, iPad mini
Supported Systems: Mac OS X 10.6 - 10.10 (Yosemite), Windows XP/Vista/7/8

iPin for Android
Dimensions: 47.2 x 14.7 x 10mm
Laser Wavelength: 650nm
Laser Power: <1 ii="" lass="" mw="" span="">
Supported Android Devices: Android devices with micro USB OTG (On-The-Go) specification
Supported Systems: Mac OS X 10.6 - 10.10 (Yosemite), Windows XP/Vista/7/8

Dimensions: 70.6 x 30.2 x 12mm
Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE mode)
Bluetooth RF Frequency: 2.40-248 GHz
Memory Card Reader: microSD
Supported Systems: iPhone 4S or later, Android 4.3 or later with Bluetooth 4.0, Mac OS X, Windows XP/Vista/7/8

Pricing and Availability
iPin for iPhone retails for $49.95 and is currently available.
Both iPin for Android and BTtogo will retail for $34.95 each and will ship in February, 2015.
Special pricing will be available for Kickstarter backers.

Kickstarter Project Page:

Friday, January 23, 2015

Even More from Storage Visions

More useful notes and generally relevant considerations from the Storage Visions Conference

Don Gabrel of EchoStar pointed out that Hong Kong, Singapore, and Seoul have outstanding connectivity that raises the bar for  the entire country.  In ech case, the government supports the development of the infrastructure and moving it forward.  Sentiment in the United States has been to keep government out of infrastructure development, with notable exceptions such as the national freeway system. With a few local exceptions, the government has been invited out of developing--and regulating--development and implementation of connectivity services.
Business, technology/engineering, and creativity/content need to be equally functional in order for each component to have meaningful results for the end-user mass market.
Signiant's Ian Hamilton pointed out that no security system can keep out someone who really wants in. The response to a breach needs to considered and included in planning from the start. Ben Bloom stated that server failure is part of the Akamai plan: they know stuff will break and include that in their
operating plans. That does not excuse people from excercising due diligence: user carelessness with passwords and security is still the source of the Net's biggest security problem.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

New Chromebooks

Students are often hard on their computer hardware—jamming them into backpacks as they rush to class, or throwing their school bag in the corner when they get home. To help Chromebooks stand-up to the casual punishment that students can mete out, Acer is introducing two new Chromebooks for the education market in February.

The Chromebook C740 and C910 have a number of special hardware features the company says will help the devices withstand punishment. Both laptops have reinforced covers that can endure up to 132 pounds of force, and the laptops' corners can withstand a fall of around a foot and a half. The clamshell hinges are reinforced against twisting and stress. The smaller-sized C740 also has extended metal hinges, which Acer says makes the device more rigid.

Why this matters: Chromebooks are a big hit in the education market and now Acer wants to improve its share of that market with promises of longer-lasting devices. Improving its laptop designs specifically for the education market is significant since it shows how important the Chromebook has become. The days when Chromebooks were simply half-baked versions of existing Windows laptops are waning. Acer is also paying attention to the regular consumer world too with the fancy—and large—Chromebook 15 (pictured above) announced during CES.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Win 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade

It’s official, folks: Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for existing Windows users—as long as you claim it quickly.

Kicking off the consumer-focused Windows 10 event in Redmond on Tuesday, Microsoft operating system chief Terry Myerson announced that current users of Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free for one year after the operating system launches. Once you’ve claimed the upgrade, Microsoft will keep you updated for the supported lifetime of the device.

“We think of Windows 10 as a service,” Myerson said.

The decision to make Windows 10 a free upgrade for existing users—at least for a limited time—makes sense. Windows 8 users have vocally expressed their displeasure with the operating system, prompting happy Windows 7 users to stay put on that OS. That hinders Microsoft's ability to execute its vision for a service-centric, cloud-connected future for Windows; making Windows 10 free could spur more users into embracing a modern Microsoft operating system.

And hey, it'd be weird to charge for Windows 10 after Windows 8 flopped so hard and Apple started giving away OS upgrades. Right?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Free Windows, oops, I Mean "Zero Dollars"

The Windows 8.1 with Bing SKU requires OEMs to set Bing search as the default (though users can still change the default once they buy machines with it included). It also requires OEMs to use MSN as the default setting on the home page or any browser, again, with users being able to change that default if they so desire.
Microsoft still hasn't gone public with how much it plans to charge its PC maker partners (OEMs) or customers with Windows 10.

But thanks to a document published on Microsoft's OEM Partner Center site, we do know how much it is charging PC makers for Windows 8.1 on Intel-based tablets. (And why Microsoft describes its under nine-inch screen pricing as "zero dollars" instead of free.)

Microsoft announced last year that it would make Windows 8.1 available for "zero dollars" to its OEMs for devices with screen sizes of under nine inches. Microsoft also made available a new Windows 8.1 version to its partners known as "Windows 8.1 with Bing" that was designed for devices with screen sizes of nine inches or more.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

TaxACT Danica Patrick Contest, the official tax preparation service partner of Danica Patrick and Stewart-Haas Racing, is the maker of do-it-yourself digital tax filing solutions that helps millions of Americans file their taxes.
TaxACT is easy, fast and free.

Enter now for your chance to win one of the following prizes:

  • Behind-the-scenes, VIP experience to meet Danica Patrick on race day!
  • Autographed TaxACT firesuit from Danica Patrick
  • Up to $2,500 in match on IRS Refund or balance due for a TaxACT e-filed return
  • Autographed team Danica Patrick crew shirt
  • Autographed pieces of sheet metal from the No. 10 Chevrolet

Enter now!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Google Glass Is Dead

Google has announced it is halting sales of its internet-linked eyewear Google Glass, but has insisted the technology will live on in a future consumer product.

The technology titan is putting the brakes on its "explorer" program that let people interested in dabbling with Google Glass buy the eyewear for $1,500 apiece.

"Glass was in its infancy, and you took those very first steps and taught us how to walk," the team said of its "explorer" clients in a post on the Google+ social network.

"Well, we still have some work to do, but now we're ready to put on our big kid shoes and learn how to run."

The last day to buy Google Glass as part of the explorer program will be Monday and Google did not indicate when a general consumer version of the eyewear might debut.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

IDC Briefing

Danielle Levitas opened the day's formal presentations looking at "What's Next for Consumer IT? Spending and Attitudes in 2015 and Beyond." Since 2010, usage has gained in usage. The only format where phones do not outstrip everything else is streaming. Mobile first is trending toward mobile only.

The market value of mobile devices is just the tip of the financial iceberg. For every dollar we spend on a phone, $1.73 is spent on related services.

Security and integrity of personal information continue to be primary concerns. Users are often willing to trade personal data for an improved experience. People often conflate trust in the phone manufacturer with the reliability of a specific site. Moving forward will not be a linear progression, as security and enhanced user experience are balanced against each other.

John Jackson addressed the issue of "Delivering Consumer Value in the Mobile App Economy." Mobile apps are changing the way we consume digital services. This changes the ecomomics of service access and service distribution.

Revolution #1, the app-ification of everything, was accomplished by 2015. We all have smartphones. Anything a user wants to do can be done in an app. App download momentum is falling off, probably because most users have downloaded what they revolution want. The Freemium model provides a solid revenue model. Ten percent of users support the app. Advertising p

Revolution #2, app architecture is changing the epicenter to the application doma

Fireside Chat with Jane Schachtel of Facebook
Global Head of Mobile Technology & Strategy

IDC sought an external speaker. Facebook was a particularly relevant choice. Jane noted that mobile is not a platform: it is a behavior. As a technology becomes mature, customers' expectations rise. Jane sees the unification of a user's profile across all the devices s/he uses. Better data management will lead to better analytics and a better, more personalized user experience. Users under 30 are notably willing to share information. As the market matures, social networks need to work harder at personal relevance while maintaining security. With 1.3 billion users, Facebook must work with a wide spectrum of sophistication in managing one's personal experience.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Surgery Results

The surgery on Monday was an apparent success. A visit to the Doctor’s office today was positive with a few weeks of re-hab scheduled.

Thanks to veeryone for your prayers, they were answered.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


To all of our regular readers:

Due to scheduled knee surgery for the editor of this daily blog there may be a day or two of no posts. Please keep checking and we'll be back up and posting as soon as possible.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Car Makers Go High Tech

In 2007, Bill Gates stepped onstage at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to help introduce Sync, a combination GPS navigator, digital music player, and speakerphone being introduced into Fords. Mark Fields, then the head of Ford Motor’s (F) Americas operations, joined Gates for the sales pitch. He now recalls being met with incredulity. At a show traditionally dedicated to next-generation gadgets, Fields says, the most common questions for the automaker’s delegation were, “Why are you here? Oh, and by the way, why aren’t your knuckles dragging across the floor?”

At this year’s CES, which began its four-day run on Jan. 6, 10 major automakers showed off their latest in-car electronics and self-driving prototypes in sprawling exhibitions that together took up the space of about three football fields. Consulting firm Accenture (ACN) reports that technology is the top selling point for 39 percent of U.S. car buyers, almost triple the 14 percent who care most about horsepower and handling. The industry has taken notice, trying to rebrand cars as jumbo smartphones that are stuffed with apps and can be accessed remotely via other devices. “We’re thinking of ourselves as a mobility company and not only a car and truck company,” says Fields, now Ford’s chief executive officer. “We want to be viewed as being part of this community.”

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Huawei Press Event

Huawei has partnered with Caesers Entertainment to create an over-the-top Las Vegas experience. Looking at the customer base that comes to Las Vegas, it is clear that consumers are ready for a more connected and social experience. Tariq Shaukat, Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer at Caesars Entertainment is delighted to part of moving the lodging industry into the 21st Century. Shao Yang, Vice President of Marketing at Huawei Consumer Business Group, is proud of the Huawei product line. He is looking forward to being a part of helping people live out their dreams.

The press event was highlighted by the fact that there were no chairs for the press.Everyone had to stand up for the speeches. Terrible!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Hilights from the Escort Press Event

By Bayle Emlein

The Escort Passport Max2 Radar Detector excels in three critical areas of driving-ticket protection.
1. Sees them before they see you.
2. No false alerts (garage door openers)
3. Sees all kinds of threats (e.g.,  radar/LIDAR, red light camera)
The app provides live real-time alerts. 

The app provides ongoing audio information through your phone, 
The detector perceives radar hits and feeds them into the cloud-based to network so that the next driver (who has Escort) know that a radar gun is coming up,

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

IDC 2015 Press Briefing

By Bayle Emlein

IDC changed up the format of their press briefing, seating attendees literally at round tables, with an IDC analyst and seating for just 9 more attendees at each. This small-group format promoted lively discussion. The group is large enough to promote a real discussion and incorporate a variety of points of view, and small enough that everyone gets to participate without being put in a threatening situation. The Consumer Behavior, Attitudes & Adoption table where I am sitting engaged in a lively discussion, deftly led by Danielle Levitas,

Tom Mainelli, IDC Program VP, notes how device use changes. A device's job to be done will evolve  over itsa device's job to be done will change over the lifetime of a device. As the sharp borders between phone, tablet, desktop, etc. blur, analysis of the device market will need to change. More and more devices become "cannibalized," redeployed for other uses or handed on to family members--they don't disappear from the marketplace as new devices are purchased.

Ramon Llamas IDC Research Manager discussed the coming market for wearables. Some of them are in a unique position of being jewelry--and often expensive fine jewelry--changes the likely upgrade cycle, Glass (Google) ia likely to move into vertical markets such as health care and public safety. Ranib sees shirts as being the next likely wearable platform. Most people already know how to wear a shirt. In addition to the obvious  health and fitness feedback, they could be life savers for people with medical conditions. As the boundary between wearable and medical device blurs, the approval process for medical devices may slow the development cycle.

Monday, January 5, 2015

More From Storage Visions

By Bayle Emlein

At the Storage Visions 2015 Conference, DataDirect Networks' Shreyek Shah on the topic: 'Is Big Data "Enough" Data' noted that our basic problem has become how we store data. The current model involves expensive storage for data that on average is infrequently accessed. Most data is rarely used, less than a third is frequently used, but all is treated the same with regard to storage. The linear model of current data storage does not do a good job of support geo-dispersed simultaneous work sharing.
Josef Marc of Archimedia Technology addressed the topic "It's a Retrieval Problem, Part 2" during Storage Visions 2015 Conference. He noted that for the end-user (most of us most of the time) the real issue is retrieval, not the how or where of storage. I think Google Docs was a passing example of why online is better. Sorry. Once Josef said that he thinks that Google Docs is the greatest advance since random access memory, I lost my focus. This isn't the forum to discuss all the ways GD falls short for me; I do it, like Income Tax, because of the consequences of not.

Notes From Storage Visions

By Bayle Emlein

In his introduction to the 2015 Storage Visions Conference preceding the International CES technology show Andy Marken noted how much the world has changed. In terms of entertainment, Netflix leads the pack. While we don't all have 4K TV's, they set the standard for storage and online streaming. 8K is on the way, and film is an archival curiosity.

Harmonic's Ian Trow started with the obvious: Data needs are changing, more of our lives are online or are run via a server. The world is unevenly covered by infrastructure. Legacy infrastructure in the more mature markets poses another kind of challenge as both transfer speed and storage demands grow. Data security poses an ongoing problem. (In all this online security furor, no one is bringing up the privacy concerns of the paper world such as unauthorized copies, loose lips of the people who write and copy, prying eyes and fingers).

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Fed Up With FedEx

This week I had one of those negative experiences that made me fed up with FedEx.

Two weeks ago one of the PR people we work with regularly sent us an email letting us know a product sample was being sent to us via FedEx and gave us a tracking number. We tracked it and found out it was going to be delivered while our office was closed for the Christmas holiday.

We went online and used the FedEx hold for delivery option knowing no one would be there to sign for the package. A day or so later we received a phone call from the FedEx office asking us questions. We told them we were out of the office and gave them the date we expected to pick up our package.  At the end of the conversation we felt everything had been worked out.

Oh no, was I wrong. When I went to FedEx I was told the package had been returned to sender despite our coordination with them! Needless to say, I was (and still am) furious!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Top Selling Laptops

Laptops running Google Inc’s Chrome OS were the top three best-selling computers on in the US ahead of Christmas, with the top two spots going to Chromebooks made by Taiwan’s top two computer makers Acer Inc (宏碁) and Asustek Computer Inc (華碩).

According to Amazon’s listing based on sales from Nov. 1 to Dec. 19, the No. 1 seller was the 11.6-inch Acer C720 Chromebook, followed by the 13.3-inch Asustek Chromebook C300 and the 11.6-inch HP Chromebook 11.

In 2013, Chromebooks took two of the top three spots, with a Samsung Electronics Co model taking the top spot an Acer model ranking third.

New data from market intelligence firm ABI Research show that worldwide shipments of Chromebooks, which emphasize Internet connectivity more than traditional Windows-based computers, were forecast to reach 4.1 million units last year, almost double the 2.1 million units shipped in 2013.

The top three Chromebook vendors — Acer, Samsung and Hewlett-Packard Co — accounted for 74 percent of shipment share during first half of last year, ABI Research said.