Five Important Ways Windows 8 Will Embrace Mobile Broadband

Because Windows 8 will run on laptops, ultrabooks, and tablets as well as desktop PCs, access to mobile networks is important. On the Engineering Windows 8 blog on Friday, Windows president Steven Sinofsky detailed five improvements to Windows 8 that will simplify connecting to mobile networks and managing network connections. Here's a recap of the changes to watch.

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1. Native Drivers and Management

Windows 7 loosely supported mobile broadband, but often required the download of drivers and management software. Just as native Wi-Fi management was integrated into Windows XP, mobile broadband will have native management in Windows 8. And to prevent the problems associated with downloading drivers, Microsoft worked with mobile broadband hardware partners to develop the Mobile Broadband Interface Model (MBIM) standard, which provides a driver that will work with all of its offerings, and will be kept up-to-date through Windows Update.

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Tripp Lite's New Surge Suppressor Designed to Save Electricity

Tripp Lite's New Surge Suppressor Designed to Save Electricity
Tripp Lite TLP76MSG Eco-Surge
Tripp Lite says its new surge suppressor, the TLP76MSG Eco-Surge, helps save energy as well as protect electronics against electrical surges.

Eco-Surge comes with six individually controlled outlets including an always-on outlet, a 6 foot cord, and 1080 joules of surge protection--a good level of protection against surges. The company offers a lifetime warranty, along with $25,000 connected equipment insurance against power surges.

The suppressor aims to cut back on "phantom load," which is electricity wasted by devices that draw power when turned off. Tripp Lite explains that Eco-Surge's individual outlets prevent these loads by cutting AC power: Devices that normally suck power when off cannot do so any longer.

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Asus Introduces Its B23E 12.5-inch Business Ultraportable Laptop

Asus Introduces Its B23E 12.5-inch Business Ultraportable Laptop
Asus B23E
Asus now has a sleek business-oriented ultraportable dubbed the B23E. This 12.5-inch laptop is built to take the abuse that professionals and road warriors are known to throw at their notebooks.

Part of the Asus Pro B Series, the B23E is constructed of magnesium-aluminum alloy on the cover and keyboard chassis, making it both strong and lightweight (at 3.4 pounds). There are reinforced metal hinges, an anti-shock hard drive, a spill-proof keyboard--and the laptop has been drop tested, hinged tested, and pressure tested beyond consumer notebook standards, according to Asus’ product page.

A fingerprint reader, motion sensor, and optional Trusted Platform Module chips for security round out the features that may make both business users and IT departments happy.

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Digital Signatures Let You Ditch That Old Fax Machine

Even when faxes were in widespread use, dropped calls and shaky transmissions made them an ineffective means of communication. In the 21st century, you generally don't need a fax machine in the office unless your industry demands it.

Of course, there are ways to send faxes without a fax machine. But how can you be sure the recipient will accept your signed form as coming from your own hand?

A digitally-signed document employs several levels of cryptography to keep your signature secure, along with a timestamp to show when it was signed. There's also usually a verification component to prove that it came from the signer. Here are several tools that let you make digital signatures and abandon that dinosaur fax machine for good.

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Five Ways Apple’s iBooks 2 Can Influence Your Business

Apple iBooks 2
Apple today revealed iBooks 2, which expands its bookmaking app and App Store to include textbooks. The effort will include tools built to make it easier to create digital textbooks and provide students with dynamic, interactive learning material. Though the focus is on the educational market, iBooks 2 will have an affect on small businesses as well. Here are just a few of the ways a successful iBooks 2 could impact your business.

1. Content Creation

Apple released a free app called iBooks Author, which it says can enable "gorgeous, full screen books; interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos; fast, fluid navigation; highlighting and note-taking". The app isn’t just for textbooks, as Apple suggests it’s great for "cookbooks, history books, picture books and more". The tool includes templates, works through drag-and-drop mouse gestures, and allows widgets to be included in books to enable photo galleries, video, slideshows, and 3D objects. For businesses, this could be a great tool for promotional materials and training manuals--or if your business provides content, a new way to generate and sell your media.

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Why SOPA and PIPA Are Bad for Small Business

The House of Representative's Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate's Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) have been the subject of extensive online activism in recent weeks, with websites going dark for a day in protest over the bills. It isn’t just social networking sites and copyright infringers that would be inconvenienced by the bills, but company websites, blogs, and intranets could be affected if either bill made it through.

A Breakdown of PIPA and SOPA

While SOPA is on life support and PIPA has lost some of its sponsorships, it is important to understand what entertainment industry lobbyists are trying to push for in the text of these bills and how it could affect your business.

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Will Intel and Microsoft Use Netbook Lessons to Compete with iPad?

windows 8
Apple is winning the tablet battle in business, and the only way for the competition to succeed is to have better functionality, or to have similar features to the iPad but beat it on price. Today, laptop vendor sources are reportedly saying that tablets based on Windows 8 with Intel processors are likely to be priced no lower than $599, where iPads start at $499. Based on experience, both Intel and Microsoft know how to lower costs to compete, so will they do that with tablets to knock the iPad from it’s dominant position in the workplace? What else might make Windows 8 tablets appealing in the workplace?

A Lesson Learned?

The rumored pricing is very similar to current Windows tablets, which aren’t exactly flying off the shelves; but, Windows 7 on a tablet isn't a particularly finger-friendly experience, either. Though we don’t yet know the specific pricing of Intel’s Clover Trail processor that will power Windows 8 tablets, or of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system for tablets, this situation is very similar to the early days of netbooks. While netbooks may not have been a wild success, and are now almost dead, Intel and Microsoft found ways to reduce their pricing so netbooks based on their products could compete with ARM and Linux based alternatives.

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