Tag Archives: Guest Writer

Internet Televisions Crush Household TVs

Guest writer David Samuel takes a look at the ongoing changes in viewing habits. 

In a nation renowned for its couch potatoes, you would expect TV’s in U.S. households to be more popular than ever with the plethora of recent technology advancements including HD TVs & 3D TVs. However, for the first time since 1992 U.S. households’ containing a television has declined by over 2%. While the decline is small, the shift in power is immense.

This change can be explained by the explosion of high-speed internet – from 2007 to 2009 broadband internet connections across American households increased by nearly two thirds; this is the most recently available data.

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In January 2010, the Consumer Electronics Association (CE) revealed that sales of televisions fell by 1%, while sales of internet-enabled televisions increased by a monstrous 150%. Households across the globe with broadband internet connection are progressively turning to the internet as their principal media portal.

It’s estimated that in 2011 internet TV’s as well as 3D TV sales will grow by over 60% in the U.S due to increased content from videos games, TV events, Blu-ray films and HD sporting events. Other electrical equipment, such as high definition audio units, is also increasing in popularity due to this demand.

The internet generation is no longer buying traditional televisions and are instead opting to stream media over the internet. In the future more households will have a mission control like layout, where both the TV and internet will be consumed. But, what will this cocktail media viewing unit be called? I quite like Media Viewing Device (MVD) – that’s my call – what’s yours?

Biography:

David Samuel is an electronic media consultant, with over 13 years’ involvement with some of the leading electronic retailers. David’s awareness and market intelligence make him one of the best equipped experts around. While specializing in HD TVs, David’s knowledge covers a wider spectrum of consumer electronics.

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Filed under Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Internet TV, Tech Net News, Video

Will iTunes Become the New PayPal?

Guest writer Derek Vaughan walks you through Near Field Communications – a technology that may well make your wallet obsolete.

Imagine buying a cup of coffee at Starbucks and paying for it by simply ‘swiping’ your iPhone past the cashier. In seconds the money is paid to the retailer, and your iTunes account reflects the charge for the coffee. All of this has happened without you ever having to pull out your wallet or purse, and the transaction happens so quickly that you barely break stride on your way out of the store.

Sound like science fiction? Well, it’s not. If things materialize along the current lines iTunes may morph from an entertainment distribution platform into a full fledged banking system more akin to PayPal than to Napster.

This type of financial transaction will be enabled by a technology named Near Field Communications, or just NFC for short. As described by Wikipedia, NFC is ”a set of short-range wireless technologies, typically requiring a distance of 4 cm or less. NFC operates at 13.56 MHz and at rates ranging from 106 kbit/s to 848 kbit/s. NFC always involves an initiator and a target; the initiator actively generates an RF field that can power a passive target. This enables NFC targets to take very simple form factors such as tags, stickers, key fobs, or cards that do not require batteries.” In other words, NFC can securely transmit and receive data related to a purchase at a retail store – as long as the purchasing device is close enough to the receiver (and one assumes – that the buyer’s account has sufficient funds).

What brings NFC and iTunes together is the hardware currently being developed by Apple and enabled by iTunes. This would possibly include iPhones, iPads, iPods, and MAC computers.

A number of sources including PC Magazine are now reporting that the next generation iPhone – presumably named the iPhone 5 – will include NFC and be able to transact via NFC by charging the equipment owner’s iTunes account. The article goes on to quote a source familiar with the situation, ”From what I hear, it is possible the iPhone 5 will include NFC. An entrepreneur who is working on a top-secret NFC product told me today that he believes the iPhone 5 will have NFC and cited a friend who works at Apple as a reliable source for the information.”

Daniel Foster, an expert in online transactions and security with dedicated server company 34SP.com postulates, ”With the walled garden approach that Apple has developed coupled with the unparalleled growth of both the iPhone and iPad – Apple must be taken seriously if the company enters the transaction marketplace. Remember, many of the emerging market countries have yet to adopt the iPhone as well. The growth opportunities in India and China alone are enormous.”

So just how big is the marketplace for these types of transactions? A recent article by Bloomberg quotes PayPal President Scott Thompson from remarks made during a meeting with financial analysts. Mr. Thompson predicts that PayPal will double revenues and post sales of up to $7 billion by 2013. That would compare to sales of $3.4 billion in 2009. These revenues reflect only 12 percent of online purchases – and just a small fraction of offline purchases. Therefore, if Apple can enter this market and do for wireless transactions what it did for buying music – then $7 billion doesn’t seem at all unreasonable.

Although the path looks bright for deploying NFC technologies, not everyone is convinced that NFC will prevail in the future. Lou Honick is CEO of Host Merchant Services, a leading credit card transaction service. Mr. Honick notes, ”Near field communication technology holds significant promise for enabling mobile payments, however it comes with some significant caveats given the companies that are deploying it. Electronic payments have all but displaced cash, and while there are costs and drawbacks, businesses are forced to accept the bad with the good. Also, sixteen digit credit card numbers are really no longer adequate for the job they were intended to do because of fraud concerns.

NFC and mobile applications help solve this problem by adding enhanced security and encryption to transactions. However, while many merchants dream of breaking the Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express oligopoly on forms of payment processing, and NFC certainly opens up alternatives, we have to be careful that we aren’t simply trading Visa and Mastercard for Apple and Google or even worse, AT&T and Verizon without any significant savings and benefits to the merchant. While it makes sense to move to an application based payment platform facilitated by NFC, it would be of far greater benefit to consumers and merchant to get there with an open and flexible platform that encouraged competition.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that is the direction we are headed, and as much as I like Apple products, we all know how they feel about being open and flexible.

Whatever the final outcome, look for even more interest in NFC in the coming months as Android phones get into the act, and the mobile carriers themselves develop transactional systems to capture a bit of the payment system marketplace. With billions at stake, expect to see things move quickly in the wireless transaction market.

For more information on this technology – checkout The New York Times.

About the Author:

Derek Vaughan is a web hosting industry veteran and expert. Mr. Vaughan has architected the marketing growth of several prominent web hosting success stories leading to acquisition including Affinity Internet, Inc., Aplus.Net and HostMySite.com.

Prior to his entry into the web hosting industry, Mr. Vaughan was responsible for online marketing at The Walt Disney Company where he marketed ecommerce for the ESPN.com and NASCAR.com brands. Mr. Vaughan received his M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University and currently serves on the HostingCon Advisory Board.

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Filed under Apple, Connected Devices, Financial, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Money Management, Point of View, Software

Why It’s Important For Adults To Become Educated In The IT Field

Guest writer Lisa Darning takes a look at the need for the older workforce to stay current, in an ever changing technology landscape.

imageEvery day we are more and more submerged in the technological world. It is ever growing and changing, and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. The more that technology becomes an everyday staple of life, the more important it is for us to be knowledgeable in the field.

Communication is done through email, text, social networks and IM. Some offices are based entirely on the Internet, and this makes for a new breed of employees and employers.

The older you are, the more foreign this new wave of knowledge may seem, and getting in the job market may seem frightening and overwhelming. The good news is, there is no reason to feel alarmed; you, just as the younger generation, are more than capable of handling technology and using it to your advantage.

There are hundreds of online, and brick and mortar schools, that offer programs in IT education. The availability of information and training programs make jumping on board this technological train increasingly easy.

The importance of being educated in technology is growing right alongside the industry. As an older individual having some knowledge puts you in the same running for jobs as those who grew up with a technological force field.

Earning an education in IT may be for your own general knowledge; may be to climb the corporate ladder, or even to get started at a new career. Whatever your reasons, there are tons of advantages to taking steps toward a continued IT education.

Advantages of Having Knowledge in the IT Field

The biggest advantage, in my eyes, is having the same skills as younger individuals. To be competitive when entering into a new job market, or climbing the ladder at your current employer, having IT experience makes it so much easier.

When it is time for promotion or hiring, there are plenty of people who are passed over because of out-dated skills, This can be avoided with a little extra focus on the technological aspects of your job.

Taking a little extra time to teach yourself  new programs for work, new ways to market your company and yourself, taking a general computer course, or even learning the ways of social interaction through the Internet, can give you a leg up on the competition.

Equipping yourself with knowledge is so important. Not only for the growing world of technology, but for our growing world in general. The saying “knowledge is power” holds so much truth, and this is another advantage to furthering your education, in any field.

The mind is an amazing thing and can take you many places in life, exercising this great human tool is not only rewarding but can produce many successes. A curiosity can turn into a career with the right education. Employers today, technology aside, are looking for credentials. There aren’t many companies who will hire someone without an education, making it so much more important for adults to take steps in furthering their educations.

The more the technological world grows and changes, the more the need for technology minded individuals. There are no boundaries to learning and furthering you education, and it can earn you many different successes, whether they be business or personal. People have the option of getting a degree at an online university.

The world of technology is showing no signs of slowing and we are responsible for keeping up – look at it as a challenge, and keep it interesting.

Lisa Darning is a twenty something Internet consultant, and freelance writer. She has two degrees – marketing and creative writing. She loves traveling the world, watching sports, golfing and supporting the arts. In her free time, she designs jewelry.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Education, Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Older Adult Computer Users, Point of View

Using the Internet with Confidence: Tips for Seniors

Guest writer Maria Rainier has some super tips to for that newly liberated group of computer users – Seniors.

imageLike many young people, I have to say that there are many benefits to using the Internet. However, I’m not under the impression that a quick e-mail can replace a handwritten note or card that can be received in the mail.

Sometimes, the tangible is still better. But in terms of finding information, communicating quickly, and enjoying the benefits of networking and online communities, the Internet has a lot to offer. And it’s not difficult to navigate.

Don’t let the apparent complexity and ambiguous nature of the Web intimidate you or cause you to write it off as the next trend headed straight for anonymity. It’s here to stay, and it’s a valuable tool for anyone who knows how to use it efficiently.

For some tips on conquering this new frontier, read on, but first – give yourself a pat on the back for finding this blog online. You could probably give your friends some pointers already.

Deciding to Master Internet Use

If you’re going to learn more about using the Web efficiently and successfully, it will help to commit yourself to the cause. Learning to use the Internet will take some time and energy, so be prepared to invest these resources in exchange for the valuable skills you can obtain.

Even if you get frustrated, decide now that you’ll keep asking questions, continuing to learn how best to use the comprehensive resource that is the Internet.

Getting General Instruction from a Credible Source

First, ask a family member to help you. It will enable you to spend time together and let a younger member of the family know that he or she is needed. One of the best advantages to this method is, you’ll be able to ask questions as they arise without worrying about interrupting a class or flipping through a book’s index to try to locate the answer. It won’t take much time to learn the basics, and from there, you’ll be able to pick up some books at your local library that will cover more in-depth subjects. A working knowledge of the Internet can open up other resources for you, so take advantage of your family members’ knowledge if you can.

Another option is – sign up for a free class at your library or senior center. Simply check the scheduled events next time you go to these places or, if you’re feeling frisky, look them up online and try to find the schedules there. You can always go the route of calling to ask about these classes if there’s no schedule posted online. The advantage to this method is that the instructors are often experienced and won’t steer you in the wrong direction, and you can always ask questions once the class is over.

Protecting Your Computer and Yourself

Before you start experimenting with the Internet, try to learn about installing a good firewall. You might choose to purchase protection or try free versions, but it’s important to make sure that your information is safe and that you’ll be notified if you land on dangerous Web pages so that you can navigate away quickly.

You can also help protect your Internet experience by being aware of phishing scams such as false “official” e-mails that demand immediate attention. Anything with links or demands for personal information that comes from someone you don’t know should be deleted. By paying close attention to instruction on Internet safety and asking questions on this topic, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your new surfing skills.

Taking Advantage of Online Resources

The following websites contain more information that can help you if you’re interested in learning more.

Washington State Office of the Attorney General’s Internet Safety for Seniors

Australia’s Seniors.gov Internet Tools and Tips

Microsoft’s Your Digital Life for Seniors

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, performing research surrounding online universities and their various program offerings. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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Filed under Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety for Seniors, Older Adult Computer Users, social networking, Windows Tips and Tools

Norton Security Scan – Easy to Install But Just Try To Get Rid Of It!

As well as writing a great Blog (What’s On My PC),  popular guest writer Rick Robinette, often jumps in to help his readers with techno issues.

Here’s how Rick diagnosed, and solved, one reader’s problem with Norton Security Scan removal.

Hey Rick, there’s this Norton Security Scan thing that’s dug in like a tick and I can’t get rid of it… My computer is running dog slow!

Norton Security Scan

This was a recent subject in an email I received. Of course, my first thought and instinct as a techie, was malware…

The Good… I started researching Norton Security Scan and from what I found is that Norton Security Scan is a free legitimate app (by Symantec), that provides on-demand scanning and removal or repair of viruses, spyware and other malware. The virus definitions are updated when your computer is connected to the internet.  Ok, that did not sound too bad.

The bad… Further research indicates that Norton Security Scan has a tendency to piggyback onto your PC via other software installs (such as Adobe Shockwave Player).

From what I am reading you can opt out installing Norton Security Scan, via these other software installs, but through (in my opinion) trickery the check box to opt out is already checked. Most computer users will not know the difference; therefore, they continue the install of the app and Norton Security Scan comes along for the ride.  As a result, Norton Security Scan runs alongside your other installed security software and the end result is slow PC (and the potential for problems).

The bad… Once on your PC, this app really does dig in like a tick, is very difficult to remove through normal uninstall channels, will keep coming back; AND from what I am reading will use scare tactics to encourage you to buy other Symantec security products. Hmmmm… Sounds like the tactics used in a malware scareware attack…

A Possible Solution… Getting back to the problem at hand with removing Norton Security Scan… I emailed the person back and had them run the latest version of the Norton Removal Tool and the report I received back was that “I believe we got it…”.

This tool is engineered to remove various Norton products and hooks from your PC. During my research, I did find instances where registry edits and manual deletion of files/folders associated with Norton Security Scan may also be required.

Lessons Learned…

First Lesson: During any software install make sure you read everything closely during the installation steps to ensure you are installing only what you want to install. Being a seasoned software installer and tester, I have been finding more and more instances, during installation routines, where other second party apps are being installed and coming along for the ride. Sometimes the “opt out” for these apps are cleverly camouflaged.

Second Lesson: Any security apps that you have installed and you decide to uninstall them, make sure you visit the software products site to determine the removal process. Security apps, when installed (such as antivirus, antispyware, antimalware), are very complex and often require special tools to take them off of your PC. The normal uninstall process, built into Windows, typically will not do a thorough job.

This is a guest post by Rick Robinette, who brings a background as a security/police officer professional, and as an information technology specialist to the Blogging world.

Why not pay a visit to Rick’s site at What’s On My PC. Like me, you’re sure to become a frequent visitor.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Geek Software and Tools, Guest Writers, Slow Computer, Software, Symantec, Uninstall Tools, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Dave Brooks – You’re the Best!

All writers look for recognition that they have contributed to the greater good, in one way, or another. I’ve always gotten that special feeling, in knowing that many of the top security software developers, subscribe to Tech Thoughts.

But today, that special feeling was really enhanced, when I became aware that Microsoft’s TechNet Security Blog has linked back to guest writer Dave Brooks’ recent article, here on Tech Thoughts, “Think You’re Immune from Online Fraud? Maybe Not!”

Dave is the finest professional computer Technician that I know, and it delights me that his writing skills, and his story telling abilities, have been recognized in this way.

So, just a short note to tell you Dave – you’re the best!

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Filed under Guest Writers, Internet Security Alerts, Microsoft, Personal Perspective

Be A Guest Writer On Tech Thoughts

guest 1 All of us have stories to tell, or ideas to exchange when it comes to technology. With that in mind, one of the goals for this site, during the coming year, is to provide a more diversified reading experience for visitors.

As one step in this process we have developed a new page “Guest Writers – The Reading Room”, where the main focus is the publishing of articles from either established, or new writers, whose views on technology or experiences with technology, are not necessarily aligned with this site’s content.

So, if you have:

A favorite application/s you’d like to share with others

Found a solution to a common computer problem, that works for you that you would like to share

Discovered a Windows tool, or a tip, that you think others would be interested in

Discovered a computer tech news story that you’d like to share

Sought an opportunity to add your own views, and insight, to a topic covered on this site, particularly if your views run contrary to mine

A need to just let the world know of your tech opinions or experiences

– then consider submitting your views, news, and application reviews, for publication on this site.

writer 2

Writers who submit an article for publication will receive full credit for the article on both the main page, and in “Guest Writers – The Reading Room”. Tech Thoughts is consistently in the top 40,000 sites on the web with 5,000+ daily readers, as directly measured by Quantcast, so a link pointing back to the writer’s site will generate additional exposure, more traffic and more readers for the writer’s site.

Here are some of the writers who currently contribute to Tech Thoughts:

TechPaul – Tech–for Everyone

Rick Robinnete – What’s On My PC

Glen Taggert – The Crazy World of G

Holly McCarthy – Great ISP Deals

JR Bombadil

If you are interested in submitting an article to Tech Thoughts, follow these simple steps:

Advise me by email of the planned content and theme of your submission at billmullinswp@gmail.com

Write your submission in your own words with a minimum word count of 500

Email me the completed article complete with your “bio”, and if you have a site or Blog, the details of the site for linking purposes

I’m looking forward to your submissions. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at the above email address.

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Filed under Guest Writers, Interconnectivity, Living Life, Personal Perspective, Social Blogging, Writing Aids