Archive for August, 2010

ASUS Eee PC 1215N – The New Dual Core Atom Processors Are Here

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Asus has released one of the first dual-core Atom processor netbooks to rave reviews.  I have one of the predecessors to this unit (the 1201HAB) which I’ve loved as a secondary machine used for travel and for onsite work with clients.  With the advent of dual-core processors and Nvidia’s Optimus graphics-switching technology we are going to start to see some real power and capabilities come to machines of this class.

Is this machine suitable for business use?  Not for users who require logging into a domain – that will require an OS upgrade to Windows 7 Business or Professional editions.  It also isn’t suitable for users who have to have a DVD burner on their traveling laptop or for those who want a larger then 12.1 inch display.  But it sets a new (<$500.00) standard for users who need good processing power, long battery life (> 5 hours) and a robust graphics processor(s) for their day to day work in a very lightweight machine.  It also makes blurrier the distinction between what historically been called a netbook versus the classical laptop (or notebook) computer.

Christopher Tippins for The Software Synergy Group

Critical Workstation Backup – Restore and Virtual Machine Creation

Monday, August 30th, 2010

by Christopher Tippins, “The Software Synergy Group”, Miami, Florida

In the first two articles I examined why it’s important to consider critical workstation backup (part one) as well as how it’s done (part two) using Acronis Backup and Recovery 10 (ABR).  In this last part of the series, I’m going to look at how restores are done.  I’ll look at three important components of this process:

  1. Restoring just files or folders to an existing machine from a backup.
  2. Restoring a full image to a formatted drive.
  3. Creating a virtual machine from a full system backup.

Let’s get started.

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Beware Airport Internet Access and Free Wi-Fi Hotspots

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

While it’s almost a given that everyone knows that accessing the Internet via an unsecured Wi-Fi connection carries serious risks, it was interesting to read a report where a supposedly secure airport network access terminal was loaded with malware.  Click here to read this report from Nick Johnston, Senior Software Engineer, Symantec Hosted Services.  He uncovered a rogue piece of malware called “Defense Center Installer” on one such terminal.

A word to the wise:  Be very leery of accessing the ‘net from free Wi-Fi Hotspots and systems where you cannot use some method of secure communications to get online.  Personally, I never use any Wi-Fi connection outside my home without using an encrypted communication tunnel from my laptop back to my primary machine via LogMeIn Free.  This includes using your Blackberry or iPhone, etc. to get to your password protected sites.  Airports, Internet Kiosks, Starbucks, Kinko’s, etc. all carry substantial risks.

Christopher Tippins for The Software Synergy Group

Malware Laden Flash Drive Caused Worst U.S. Military Breach Ever

Friday, August 27th, 2010

“It was a network administrator’s worst fear:  a rogue program operating silently, poised to deliver operational plans into the hands of an unknown adversary…”

These words, spoken by William J. Lynn III, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense in his latest report described an incident in 2008 when someone (a foreign intelligence agent) inserted a malware laden USB drive into a laptop at a U.S. military base in the Middle East.  The malware spread on classified as well as unclassified computers.  This breach created a “digital beachhead, from which data could be transferred to servers under foreign control”.  Read more by clicking here (C/NET) or here for the report itself (subscription required).

How secure is your LAN?  How careful are you monitoring data coming in to and out of your systems via these types of devices?  What would your data be worth to your competition?

These are important questions for every business owner or management team.  Your system integrator or LAN administrator should be keenly aware of these types of issues and offer you solutions to protect your business, your data and your systems.

Christopher Tippins for The Software Synergy Group

IPhone App Thwarts Burglary

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

by Christopher Tippins, “The Software Synergy Group”, Miami, Florida

Is your home being burglarized while you’re away on vacation?

No problem.

There’s an app for that.

Vincent Hunter caught burglars in the act and was not only able to notify police of the burglary in progress, but watched the thieves live via his iPhone 1400 miles away in Connecticut.  Click here to read the entire story.

An inexpensive iPhone application (iCam) that sells for just 4.99 can monitor your home via a standard USB video camera attached to your computer.   Coupled with free software (iCamSource) from the same vendor that drives the camera on your PC (or MAC), it takes all of about 5 minutes to setup.  I can hardly wait for the GPS enabled Sidewinder missile add-on module that takes out the getaway car…

Critical Workstation Backup – How It’s Done

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

by Christopher Tippins, “The Software Synergy Group”, Miami, Florida

In the first article in this series, I talked about the reasons why it’s important to backup critical workstations as well as the feature set one would want in an application to perform this function.  In this series we’ll look in depth at my current product of choice (see “Caveats” section at the end of this article) and how it works.

Acronis Backup and Recovery Advanced Workstation is a robust application that includes just about every feature you would want or need for critical workstation backup.

Running the actual backup is a very simple process which we’ll look at later, but first let’s take a look at some of the more robust features of what the program offers.

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Critical Workstation Backup – Why It’s Important

Monday, August 16th, 2010

by Christopher Tippins, “The Software Synergy Group”, Miami, Florida

Management is typically very aware of the need to have their servers backed up on a regular basis.  In fact, great amounts of time (and usually money) go into making sure that server data isn’t only backed up, but usually duplicated at a collocation facility.  What sometimes isn’t so apparent to management is the need to backup critical workstations.  They are, in many cases, as equally important to conducting business as are the servers.  Let’s look at a few examples of what comprises not only the machines, but why this work needs to be done:

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Quick and Easy Network Monitoring for the SMB (Part 2)

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Quick and Easy Network Monitoring for the SMB (Part 2)

by Ian Hugh, “The Software Synergy Group”, Miami, Florida

In the first part of my three-part series on Network Monitoring titled “Quick and Easy Network Monitoring for the SMB (Part 1)” I showed just how easy it is to install network monitoring software on your LAN. In this part I will demonstrate how easy it is to configure the software to constantly monitor the network and then alert the system administrator should any issues arise.

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