Should your next PC be a Surface Pro?

Tony Bradley , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Tony is principal analyst with the Bradley Strategy Group, providing analysis and insight on tech trends. He is a prolific writer on a range of technology topics, has authored a number of books, and is a frequent speaker at industry events.
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Microsoft revealed that it’s limited-time $100 discount on Surface Pro pricing isn’t so limited after all. The discount is now permanent, and Microsoft cut the cost of the Touch keyboard cover as well. The reduced pricing makes the Surface Pro more attractive, but it’s still not enough to significantly sway sales.

The Surface Pro is a solid, well-engineered device. On the surface (no pun intended) it’s a tablet, but inside it’s a full Windows 8 PC. It has an Intel Core i5 processor, and 4GB of RAM. Unlike many tablets—especially the very popular Apple iPad—the Surface Pro has a full-sized USB port, an SD memory card slot, and an HD AV port that can be used to connect via HDMI or DisplayPort to an external monitor with the right adapter.

The Surface Pro can compete as an ultrabook, but it's not a great value.
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Hack of New York Times holds a lesson for all businesses

Tony Bradley , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Tony is principal analyst with the Bradley Strategy Group, providing analysis and insight on tech trends. He is a prolific writer on a range of technology topics, has authored a number of books, and is a frequent speaker at industry events.
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The New York Times, Twitter, and other major sites were knocked offline yesterday in an attack by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA). While there is certainly a political motivation to the hacks, there is an underlying lesson that all businesses should learn.

Apparently, the latest attack was the result of sites being redirected at the DNS server level. AlienVault Labs has posted a comprehensive list of domains pointing to the Syrian Electronic Army server as of last night. The WhoIs data for the New York Times domain showed the SEA listed as the admin for the domain, and the name server entries were modified to redirect to the SEA.

The Syrian Electronic Army took down the New York Times and other high-profile sites.
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Definition of ‘broadband’ is too broad

Tony Bradley , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Tony is principal analyst with the Bradley Strategy Group, providing analysis and insight on tech trends. He is a prolific writer on a range of technology topics, has authored a number of books, and is a frequent speaker at industry events.
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There’s good news, and not-so-good news. The good news is the number of people accessing the network over broadband continues to increase. The not-so-good news is that the term “broadband” is so broad that it’s difficult to tell how good the good news really is.

The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project conducted a survey of adults in the United States to determine what percentage have made the transition from archaic dial-up Internet access to more modern broadband connections. The results are that broadband access has climbed to 70 percent, while dial-up remains steady at three percent.

Pew survey shows broadband use has climbed to a new high of 70 percent.
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Will iWork for iCloud work for you?

Tony Bradley , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Tony is principal analyst with the Bradley Strategy Group, providing analysis and insight on tech trends. He is a prolific writer on a range of technology topics, has authored a number of books, and is a frequent speaker at industry events.
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Apple has made iWork for iCloud available to the masses. It’s technically still in beta, but now anyone can use the cloud-based versions of Pages, Numbers, or Keynote from an iCloud account. The question is whether or not iWork is the right suite of tools for you to use.

Apple trumpeted iWork for iCloud at its WWDC event a few months ago. The tools provide Web-based equivalents to Apple’s iWork apps, and join Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, Reminders, and Find My iPhone on Apple’s iCloud.

Pages, Numbers, and Keynote join the iCloud ranks.
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Box rolls out new cloud storage plans catering to small and medium businesses

Tony Bradley , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Tony is principal analyst with the Bradley Strategy Group, providing analysis and insight on tech trends. He is a prolific writer on a range of technology topics, has authored a number of books, and is a frequent speaker at industry events.
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Box has big news today for small companies and individuals. It is launching new, more affordable pricing plans to attract small and medium businesses to its cloud data storage and file sharing service, and it is doubling the amount of storage it provides for free personal accounts.

Cloud data storage today is like instant-messaging services used to be. Everyone has a favorite, but they also have an account set up with virtually every service available to allow them to share files with co-workers, customers, or friends and family who prefer a different service. Because the services offer free storage plans, many people have a Box, Dropbox, SugarSync, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, and other accounts.

Box has doubled space for the free Personal account, and added a new Starter tier for SMBs.
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Despite recent cloud service outages, security a bigger concern than availability

Tony Bradley , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Tony is principal analyst with the Bradley Strategy Group, providing analysis and insight on tech trends. He is a prolific writer on a range of technology topics, has authored a number of books, and is a frequent speaker at industry events.
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Wow. No sooner did I finish writing about how the Google and Microsoft outages were not a reason to lose confidence in the cloud, than Amazon went down. The online retail site—and its associated cloud services—were down for just under half an hour Monday afternoon. I stand by my assertion that the sky is not falling, but there’s more to using the cloud than just availability.

Amazon.com was the third major cloud service to suffer an outage in the last week.


Over on WindowsITPro.com, Paul Thurrott summed up the hysteria over cloud outages nicely. “And of course, the cloud computing doubters—who, like global warming doubters are increasingly at odds with reality—will argue that such outages prove that our move away from on-premises hardware and local storage is nothing but a temporary trend.”Let’s start with some perspective, breaking down the math like I did yesterday for Google and Microsoft. Amazon was down for about 25 minutes (although I’ve seen reports from 15 minutes to 40 minutes). In the grand scheme of things, Amazon was down for an infinitesimally small period of time. Depending on the estimate you go with, Amazon lost about $5 million in retail commerce during that timeframe—or about two percent of what it cost Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to buy the Washington Post, or about two thousandths of a percent of his net worth.

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Facebook mobile payments a boon for businesses

Tony Bradley , PCWorld Follow me on Google+

Tony is principal analyst with the Bradley Strategy Group, providing analysis and insight on tech trends. He is a prolific writer on a range of technology topics, has authored a number of books, and is a frequent speaker at industry events.
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Facebook is reportedly looking to get into the mobile payments game. If it does it right, businesses will reap the benefit of monetizing their Facebook presence and be able to simplify the process of turning Facebook followers into revenue.

Rivals should be worried any time an 800-pound gorilla like Facebook enters a market. Facebook is the online destination where users spend the most time each month, and with a billion-ish users it represents a dominating force in whatever market it chooses to compete.

Your customers already like and use Facebook--making it an ideal e-commerce platform.
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