Dec 21, 2015

High-Tech Holiday Gifts for Fellow Geeks

Getting the right gift for that tech geek in your life can be a challenge. Holiday shopping can get expensive, which is why it's important to shop smart when shopping high-tech — after all, the National Retail Federation recently released a study that found the average American would spend approximately $463 on family members and a whopping $805 total on gifts this holiday season. If you are looking for the perfect gift to give to the tech-obsessed friend or family member this holiday season, here's a look at some of the best high tech gifts out there.

Samsung Gear VR

Powered by Oculus technology, the Samsung Gear VR is an affordable entry point into the world of virtual reality. Compatible with all of the latest Samsung Galaxy line of phones, the Samsung Gear VR has a rapidly expanding selection of games, apps, and virtual experiences all designed specifically for this affordable VR headset. You simply drop your phone into the portable headset, load the app, and begin experiencing 360 degree virtual reality. Proximity and gyrometric sensors in the headset help make the experience feel more immersive, and with a $99.99 price tag it makes the perfect gift for that geek in your life who can't stop talking about the coming VR revolution.

Lenovo Ideapad Y700

Gaming rigs for geeks are often a personal thing, built from cutting edge parts and customized to run high-end games at incredible framerates but all that fails to matter when you are on the road. Enter the Lenovo Ideapad Y700 series of gaming laptops, which allow you to experience immersive high end gaming wherever you might be. Quad-core power from a 6th generation Intel i7 processor gives you the grunt power to run even the most processing-intense modern games while the AMD Radeon R9 M375 2GB graphics card insures that your rig can handle high end graphics without lagging. Finally, thermal cooling systems make sure that your Ideapad doesn't overheat during a long bout of slaying dragons or crawling through the radioactive wasteland. With discounted prices starting as low as $799, the Ideapad Y700 series is an affordable gaming rig for the geek on the go.

Neato Botvac

You may have seen vacuum robots in the past, but they pale in comparison to the automated cleaning beast that is the Botvac. Powered by a lithium ion battery, the Botvac uses real-time object detection technology to scan the floor of your home, build a map, plan a route and then methodically clean — other automatic vacuums simply bump around and scare the cat. Best of all, you can clean anytime and anywhere with the Neato app, which allows you to schedule, start, stop and remote control your Botvac wherever you might be. It even sends notifications to your smartphone. The Botvac can be easily quarantined from any part of your house with a simple boundary marker that you place on the ground that alerts the Botvac that it isn't welcome. Easy to use and program, the Botvac feels less like an RC car and more like a tiny industrious robot for your home.

Dec 17, 2015

Top Five Countries with Highest Percentages of Cybercrime

Often labeled white collar crime, cyber crime takes place in the intangible, online web-scape of the Internet, and is generally related to any activity that breaches or violates the rights or personal information of another online environment member. Since billions of dollars in online transactions take place every day along the path of the World Wide Web, even more so during holiday seasons, it is no surprise that cyber bandits have become all too prevalent in modern life.

Cybercrime is not isolated to one single group, ethnicity, gender or race. These faceless outlaws do not discriminate, and though this is a global problem, some countries are more likely to suffer the wrath of cyber thieves more so than others. So which countries in the world community make the top five list of most likely to be hacked, what kinds of cyber crime are rampant in these nations, and most importantly, what can online community members do to protect themselves and their information while connected to the web?

In the Top 5

Coming in at No. 5 is the country of Brazil. According to Symantec's ranking of the top 20 countries experiencing cybercrime, based on the percentage of malicious computer activity detected in each country and other telling variables, Brazil topped at four percent in the malicious computer activity arena.

Notably, Brazil has more phishing website hosts than any other country in the top five list. These phishing websites obtain and store personal information, making identity theft more likely to occur. To guard against such cyber offenses, online users should not offer up any personal information to any unauthorized webpage, nor should users store and save passwords on their computers.

Sneaking into the No. 4 spot was Great Britain with five percent of the recorded malicious computer activity tracked globally, and Germany, with six percent, settled into the rank of No. 3. Germany is also ranked 12th in 20 in the prevalence of malicious code within their online environments.

Malicious code is computer language designed to steal personal information. This kind of malware snakes its way into users' computers or electronic devices through opening unsolicited emails and clicking suspicious links. Once they have installed, opened and begun to run, this malware transmits your personal information through the open channels of the Internet computers that are normally located thousands of miles away from your location, where your information is stored and later sold to counterfeiters. Protecting against such aggressive violations involves close monitoring of your identity details and setting up credit alerts in case of infraction.

Battle for No. 1

From here the cyber criminals favorite playgrounds become obvious. Jumping up three percent to a total of nine percent malicious computer activity, China slides into the runner-up ranking, and finally, with a whopping 23 percent of recorded cybercrime activity based on percentage of recorded malicious computer activity: The United States of America. Ironically, the U.S. is also ranked No. 1 on the list of countries in which cybercrime originates.

Notice that the list of nations experiencing the highest levels of cybercrime are not third-world countries; these are first-world, wealthy, highly established nations. This just goes to show the undeniable reach of cyber criminals and the great need for protection from white collar crime in the modern age.

Dec 7, 2015

More reliable free alternative to mRemoteNG

I have been using mRemote and mRemoteNG for a long time now. It is just way easier to keep all of your remote server connections in one place if you manage a lot of servers like I do.

Well there has been something with mRemoteNG that has been bothering me since I started to manage more and more Windows 2012 R2 servers, and that's the fact that if you have five RDP connections open you can't open any more to Windows 2012 R2 servers. You can open Microsoft Remote Desktop and connect fine, but it will fail with mRemoteNG and it's a known issue that won't be fixed anytime soon.

Since they aren't fixing it, and people have been bitching since at least 2013, I thought I'd check out a different tool to use instead. I found Terminals!

From their page:
Terminals is a secure, multi tab terminal services/remote desktop client. It uses Terminal Services ActiveX Client (mstscax.dll).

The project started from the need of controlling multiple connections simultaneously. It is a complete replacement for the mstsc.exe (Terminal Services) client.
Here is a list of protocols Terminals supports:
  • Windows Remote Desktop (RDP)
  • VNC
  • VMRC
  • SSH
  • Telnet
  • RAS
  • ICA Citrix
  • HTTP and HTTPS
Here is a screenshot:

I blurred out my connections, but you might be able to see that you can group your connections easily, which was a feature I liked in mRemote as well.

So far, I haven't had any issues with multiple RDP sessions and Windows 2012 R2, So I think I will stick with this for the foreseeable future.

What do you use to manage multiple RDP/SSH etc sessions? Let us know in the comments!

Dec 2, 2015

The Best Features Inside the iPhone 6s

The iPhone 6s has been in stores and online for several months now, so you don't have to wait in line or order one at 12:01 a.m. to get your hands on the world's most popular smartphone. In case you're not up to speed with what Apple improved on the latest generation iPhone, here are the most popular features that set the iPhone 6s apart:

3D Touch

When Apple added Force Touch to its MacBook Pro trackpads earlier this year, experts predicted the same technology would come to the iPhone, and they were right. Like Force Touch for the trackpad, 3D Touch adds an extra dimension to your iPhone's screen by responding to the pressure of each press from your finger or thumb. Tap on the Mail icon and it will open the app. Long-press and it will give you the option to move the icon around your home screen. And now a hard press opens a quick menu outside the app. While Apple launched the iPhone 6s with a myriad of 3D Touch features, it's the developer community that will really make this new technology come to life.

Improved Cameras

Apple is always striving to house the best smartphone camera on the market inside the latest iPhone, and the 6s makes great strides in this area. The newest rear-facing camera captures stunning 12-megapixel photos and can now shoot video in full 4K resolution — a feature more common on a GoPro than a smartphone. The front camera is also beefed up to 5 megapixels, so your selfies can be more vivid than ever. And like the iPhone 6, the Plus version carries a few optical features that the regular 6s does not have.

A9 Processor

The 64-bit A9 processor teams up with the new M9 motion coprocessor to bring speeds 70 to 90 percent faster than the iPhone 6, according to Apple. If all you do is check email and Facebook, you probably won't notice a difference between the 6 and 6s. But if you love the latest mobile games and multitasking apps (which has greatly improved in iOS 9), then this new processor is a treat for your speedy thumbs.

New Materials & Internal Design

The #Bendgate scandal is over. While the outside of the iPhone 6s looks nearly identical to the iPhone 6, the inside features a new architecture made of a higher grade of aluminum and glass that prevents the unfortunate bending in the pocket. You should still use a case, as the iPhone 6s is incredibly thin, but this new structure should save you a trip to the Genius Bar.

Faster Wi-Fi and LTE

You may not think much about the antenna in your phone that affects Wi-Fi and LTE speeds, but Apple is always improving them to speed up your signal and capacity to download data. Depending on your home Internet connection and carrier signal, this might not make any difference. But for some, the new iPhone means faster Internet.

Rose Gold

And, of course, how will anyone know you have the new iPhone if it looks just like the old one? Apple has you covered there, too. The iPhone 6s comes in white, black, gold and now rose gold, which means your iPhone can be both a smartphone and a fashion statement.

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