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SpiceWorld 2018’s Spice Buddies and Cool Vendors (video)

October 17, 2018 Leave a comment

SpiceWorld 2018Hey frugal networkers, I hope you’re having a great October. Yes, it’s been a while since I posted but that hiatus ends today. I went to SpiceWorld 2018 last week and spoke to a lot of cool people, saw Frank Abagnale speak, and met up with the planet’s coolest vendors. SpiceWorld is the annual tech conference hosted by Austin’s own Spiceworks. If you go to one tech conference per year, this needs to be that one. Check out Spiceworks and its array of free software and awesome community.

This year’s cool vendors are:

I hope you’ll check out my cool vendors list and try out their products and services. I selected from the long list of vendors that attended and thought that these had something special to offer. I love startups and this year, Automox, Backblaze, and Infocyte got my attention. Of course, my “Vendor to Watch” is Pulseway. Trusted Tech Team is an MSP that gets a lot of 5-star reviews. Let me know what you think of my selections.

Thanks to the Spiceworks marketing and executive teams for another great SpiceWorld!

*Disclaimer: I didn’t choose who did the spotlight interviews. The vendors self-selected.

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National Geographic Documentary: JANE (Review)

March 10, 2018 Comments off

Jane and HugoJANE
Writer/Director: Brett Morgen
Archival Footage: Hugo van Lawick
Music: Philip Glass
Premiere: Monday, March 12, 2018, 8/7 C National Geographic and NAT GEO WILD.
Length: 90 minutes

I had the rare pleasure of reviewing JANE, the documentary of Jane Goodall by Brett Morgen. Many who’ve seen this multi-award winning doc have called it the “best documentary ever,” which I personally believe is a bit hyperbolic. Don’t get me wrong, JANE is a great documentary and you’ll learn things about Jane Goodall that you never knew before within the opening credits of the film, but the extreme hype might leave you disappointed. It’s a great documentary and is a “must see” because of its historical and scientific importance.

The film documents Jane’s earliest days in Gombe (Tanzania) from 1960 onward. At only 26 years old, Jane begins her highly acclaimed, and somewhat controversial, studies of chimpanzees in their natural surroundings. The documentary was excerpted from more than 100 hours of film stored for 50 years in National Geographic archives.

Much of the documentaries’ never before seen footage was shot by National Geographic filmmaker Hugo van Lawick, who becomes her love interest, husband, and father to her son, Grub. I’ll bet that, like me, you didn’t know any of that about her personal life. As the documentary rolls on, you learn a lot about Jane, her methodology, her love of the chimpanzees, her desire to become a trusted friend to the chimpanzees, and her struggles with life in Gombe.

Many times during the film, my daughter (a huge Jane Goodall fan) and I both exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t know that!” It’s a wonderful film full of beautiful shots of the Gombe forest, of Jane, and of her work with the chimps.

JANE will educate, entertain, and enlighten those who have even the smallest interest in Jane Goodall and her work.

Accolades to Hugo van Lawick for his excellent film work, his persistence, and his dedication to Jane’s story. Brett Morgen did a wonderful job of capturing the essence of Jane, Hugo, and their time in Gombe.

Rating: 10/10

Recommendation: Watch this beautiful documentary.

6 Signs That It’s Time to Upgrade Your PC

January 17, 2018 Comments off

Your computer, no matter how powerful it is right now, will eventually succumb to obsolescence. That’s the natural life cycle of electronics, after all. One day, you’ll want to upgrade your rig – whether piecemeal or complete package – when your current one is inadequate for your needs. So, when is the best time to upgrade your computer? Here are some cautionary signs that signal the right time to do so.

  1. It takes forever to boot up.

Something is generally amiss when your PC is slow at startup. Generally, it’s an issue with too many applications being queued to run at the start. Sometimes, it’s a driver or installation thing that goes away after it’s completed. If it’s not an application or driver issue, as you’ll find out after a clean reformat, then it’s your hardware giving way.

  1. It’s generally slow at everything.

Related to #1, it may be time to upgrade your PC when everything you do is seriously sluggish. Opening your office application is slow as molasses? You can’t play Full HD videos and you’re experiencing stuttering during playback? When you launch your favorite game, it stays on the loading screen forever? A clean reformat or some cleaning and driver upgrading might do the trick and fix these problems. However, if they linger afterward, it’s time to upgrade your rig.

  1. Your storage is maxed out.

You can’t download new 1080p videos to your hard drive anymore. You can’t install new applications and games because you lack disk space. It’s high time you get new hardware then. If you’re lucky enough, you can install a new storage drive or two on your PC, if your hardware can still handle it. Another alternative would be to invest in portable hard drives, though, they’re typically more expensive than regular drives.

  1. You can’t play the latest games.

If you can’t play the latest and greatest games at the most minimum recommended specs, you’re badly in need of upgrades. At that point, given how dated your computer is, you’re better off building a new gaming rig. Rather than work with old, dated parts which may or may not be funky after years of wear and tear, it’s best to go all new for maximum compatibility and durability.

  1. You can’t install anything anymore.

It’s bad when you can’t install the latest version of your operating system. Sure, you can still run your rig with older drivers and applications. You can still play certain games with it. However, if you need the most updated software and want to play the newest titles, you’ll want a new computer with the recommended specs.

  1. You spend most of your time fixing it.

Whenever you do video editing, your PC crashes while you’re rendering. A graphically-intensive scene in your favorite game bluescreens your PC and forcibly restarts it. Your rig experiences random reboots for no discernable reason. Despite all your maintenance and spring cleaning, it’s still on the fritz. You’ve spent countless hours testing and gauging your hardware’s reliability, and yet you still haven’t found a solution. It’s time to move on.

How To Take Proper Care of Your iPad

December 6, 2017 Comments off

iPad in useArticle contributed by Tara Desquitado.

Like most gadgets, your iPad needs to be taken care of to keep it running well. Although it does not require as much care as a laptop or desktop, it still needs a little bit of maintenance. In this article, we have listed down ways for you to take proper care of your iPad and keep it in check so that it can be of use to you for as long as it can.

Don’t leave it charging
You shouldn’t be leaving your iPad to charge all day and night. Overcharging it will only reduce its battery life. Avoid completely draining its battery as well. It’s best to let the battery down to 5% or less and then plug it in to charge. To help get the most out of your iPad’s battery life, you should also shut it down every now and then. Powering it down once a week can help extend its life.

Keep iOS Updated
Updating your iPad not only gives it more features, it also downloads the latest security updates too. Since iOS products are becoming more ubiquitous, there has been an increase in malware directed to target it. Updating your iPad equips it with better defenses. It also fixes old bugs found in the previous versions, making your iPad to run more effectively.

Add a passcode
Keeping your iPad secure from others is very important. Others may reconfigure its settings or come across personal or sensitive information. Adding a passcode can remedy this. It allows you to leave your iPad without having to worry about someone using it without your permission. If you can, you should also add biometric protection to your iPad. This ensures its security to privacy even more.

Use a screen protector
Although an iPad’s screen is made of a relatively durable material, it is the area of the iPad that is most likely to get damaged first since it receives the most contact. Using a screen protector is one way to safeguard your iPad’s screen from unwanted scratches and cracks. Make sure to apply it after its screen has been thoroughly cleaned as well. It is best to apply the screen after washing your hands so that oils will not end up on the screen when the protector is being placed.

Use a protective case
Since the iPad is designed to be extremely thin, a simple accidental drop may severely damage it. The best preventive measure is to suit it up with a protective case. There is a great selection of iPad cases to choose from. It is suggested to pick one that is made of durable material and fits the iPad’s form. Avoid loose-fitting cases as they are usually used for aesthetic purposes and provide little protection for the iPad.

Conclusion
Maintaining your iPad isn’t a process that falls under a long and tedious checklist. All you have to know is the hazards that are most likely to damage it and keep it away from those. Make sure you keep it protected, avoid overcharging it, keep it away from moisture and extreme temperatures and you’re good to go. Make it a point to clean it every now and then when you can find the time to do so as well and you’ll have your iPad running smoothly and effectively.

Be sure to visit macfixit.com.au for all your favorite Apple and Apple-compatible products and accessories.

DH2i CEO Don Boxley announces a new DxEnterprise (Podcast)

September 20, 2017 Comments off

DH2iDH2i CEO and co-founder Don Boxley and I had a good discussion about the new version (v17) of DxEnterprise. Don explains that this major upgrade is something you’ll want if you’re a current DxEnterprise user and something you want to consider if you’re not. DxEnterprise is a multi-platform, smart availability platform for your virtual machines. If you want to know what smart availability is and all of version 17’s new enterprise features are, listen to the podcast. Technical folks will love the new platform and its extreme availability features. I have to say that I’m impressed and if you know me, you know that’s not an easy thing to do.

Don Boxley, DH2i CEO and Co-founderThe new version gives you Linux, Windows, and Docker smart availability with reduced complexity. Business continuity, as we say in the podcast, is an essential feature of any service these days and that’s exactly what you’ll get with DxEnterprise v.17.

From a system administrator point-of-view, I can live with less complexity, more uptime, greater flexibility, and broader support for my enterprise systems.

Podcast details:

Length: 32:45 mins. Format: MP3. Rating: G for all audiences.

Thanks and apologies to both Don and Nicole for being very flexible and accommodating for this interview and subsequent posting.

Survey Finds People Know Less About the Internet Than They Think

September 14, 2017 Comments off

RESTON, Va. – August 28, 2017 – Today, Public Interest Registry, the not-for-profit operator of the .org, .ngo and .ong domains, debuted the findings of its first Internet 101 Survey[1], a study testing basic internet knowledge among U.S. internet users of all ages and backgrounds. The results underscore the need for widespread internet education among users and spotlight critical issues from net neutrality to global internet access disparities. Public Interest Registry’s Internet 101 Survey also reinforces the organization’s goal to provide useful information for individuals and companies on topics ranging from internet operations to online security to help users more safely and effectively harness the power of the World Wide Web.

Internet Knowledge – Perception vs. Reality

The survey found that while 84 percent of people reported they are “knowledgeable” about the internet, there’s a significant gap between perception and reality. For instance, only 20 percent of consumers knew that the World Wide Web is different from the internet. The below results show how basic internet facts can stump many internet users.

  • Only 29 percent of participants correctly identified the meaning of HTTP, with 31 percent admitting outright they did not know the meaning of the term
  • 68 percent of people could not identify the decade when the World Wide Web was invented
  • Only 31 percent of users could correctly define a “domain name system”
  • Less than half of participants correctly identified HTTPS as a more secure protocol that’s safer to share personal or financial information

While the survey revealed a handful of widely held misconceptions about the internet, consumers did fare slightly better on the below questions.

  • Most participants (59 percent) correctly defined a URL as another term for a web address
  • 66 percent of people correctly identified a domain name from a browser, an email address and a social media handle
  • A total of 80 percent of users knew that they could find official information from their Congressman at a .gov domain name

Battle of the Ages – Millennials vs. Boomers

Millennials may have grown up using the internet, but users from the boomer generation are more knowledgeable than both millennials and Generation X when it comes to basic information about the internet, from online safety to internet operations. Here are a few areas where boomers outpaced their younger counterparts.

  • More baby boomers could identify a safe site (47 percent) than millennial or Generation X users.
  • 34 percent of boomers compared to 29 percent of millennials knew the World Wide Web was created in the 1980’s
  • Fewer millennials (42 percent) knew the correct definition of the internet than boomers (46 percent)
  • More boomers knew the correct percentage of the world’s population with access to the internet than the other age groups surveyed

“The survey revealed that 50 percent of U.S. internet users think more people globally are connected to the internet than actually are, which is a reminder of the work that must be done to close the global internet education and the internet access gap,” said Public Interest Registry CEO Brian Cute. “Public Interest Registry hopes this survey will not only educate, but also help spark dialogue around internet issues such as access, cybersecurity threats and more.”

Internet 101 – What You Should Know 

There’s a lot for users to learn about the internet – how it works and the issues impacting future internet regulation and access. Of those surveyed, the average user has been online for 17 years, which shows that long term internet use alone does not equate to a better understanding of this powerful tool. Users must be provided the resources they need to more confidently use the internet. Below are few facts to get up to speed on the basics.

  1. A total of 47 percent of the world’s population has access to the Internet, which amounts to approximately 3.9 billion people globally who are not online.[2]
  2. The correct definition of the internet is a system of interconnected networks that allows different computers to connect with one another.
  3. The World Wide Web is not the same as the internet, it is an information system on the Internet that allows documents to be connected to other documents by hypertext links.
  4. The World Wide Web was invented in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee in a paper called “Information Management: A Proposal.” The concept was initially deemed “vague, but exciting” by Berners-Lee’s boss.
  5. The HTTP at the beginning of a website stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, the standard over which data is sent between a browser and a site.
  6. A site that begins with HTTPS is a secure site that is safer to insert credit card info or personal information. The “S” at the end stands for secure and means that communications between your browser and the website are encrypted.
  7. HTML is the standard language for creating websites, but a variety of web development languages such as Java and Python exist to help make webpages more dynamic and complex.
  8. While the internet is not managed or regulated by any one individual, organization or country, some organizations help maintain the internet, such as The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which manages internet protocols and domain name systems.
  9. The first generic top-level domains created in the early development of the internet were: .org, .com, .net, .gov, .edu, .mil and .int.
  10. If you’d like to create a website, you can purchase a domain name from a registrar.

For more information on the Internet 101 Survey and to test your own knowledge of the internet please visithttps://pir.org/internet101/.

About Public Interest Registry

Public Interest Registry is a nonprofit organisation that operates the .org top-level domain — the world’s third largest “generic” top-level domain with more than 10.4 million domain names registered worldwide – and the. ngo and .ong domains, and OnGood community website. Public Interest Registry also operates four Internationalized Domain Names to support and encourage local language use of the Internet. As an advocate for collaboration, safety and security on the internet, Public Interest Registry’s mission is to educate and enable the global noncommercial community to use the internet more effectively, and to take a leadership position among internet stakeholders on policy and other issues relating to the domain naming system. Public Interest Registry was founded by the Internet Society (internetsociety.org) in 2002 and is based in Reston, Virginia, USA.

IK Multimedia announces T-RackS 5 – the most powerful mixing and mastering modular system for Mac/PC

September 14, 2017 Comments off
IK Multimedia. Musicians First.

September 14, 2017 – IK Multimedia is proud to announce T-RackS 5, a cutting-edge mixing and mastering system for Mac® and PC, will be available in October 2017 and is now open for pre-order. T-RackS 5 is the most powerful mix and master modular system ever, offering maximum versatility with 4 all-new processors for a total of 38 high-quality modules on a flexible 16 processor series/parallel chain, an unrivaled audio engine, a complete broadcast-ready professional metering section, a new completely redesigned, resizable interface as well as an album assembly section with multi-format export.

T-RackS 5

IK Multimedia created T-RackS in 1999, and has been leading the way, evolving and expanding the collection while setting an industry standard and crafting some of the world’s best sounding plug-ins for professional applications. It’s no coincidence that thousands of top-charting records have been made using T-RackS. Now T-RackS 5 has been re-mastered to be more powerful than ever before providing everything necessary to take raw mixes to a perfect finished product ready for digital delivery or CD printing.

A growing collection
In T-RackS 5 there are now 38 incredible modules to choose from to build the perfect studio setup including 4 all-new additions to the collection:

The Master Match module is a new type of plug-in that automatically matches the sound of a mix with up to 3 other reference tracks using highly sophisticated algorithms. Thanks to this new powerful module, it’s easy to create great sounding masters without the need for any previous audio engineering experience or specialized skills.

Based on an iconic American coveted piece of hardware, the new Dyna-Mu vari-mu compressor/limiter is praised for its subtle but instantly recognizable sonic fingerprint. Thanks to its transformers and all-tube modeled heart, it can impart an audible magic which glues all the parts of a mix together.

The new EQual digital equalizer is a 10-band, ultra-clear, high-end parametric equalizer with an extremely transparent sound, a full-screen resizable interface for ultra-precise editing and a vast array of filter shapes that replicate the typical curves of legendary British and American analog EQ’s. This “hybrid monster” offers the best of both worlds: digital precision with ultra-detailed editing and on-demand analog character.

Conceived as an “all-in-one” solution, the new ONE mastering processor has been designed for easy, streamlined and straightforward audio finalization. It includes an EQ, compressor, analog harmonic exciter, low-end enhancer and limiter that will let anyone achieve professional quality results in a snap.

T-RackS 5

Work with flexibility
T-RackS 5 offers the freedom and flexibility to optimize the mixing and mastering setup with 3 working environments:

– The standalone suite makes T-RackS 5 a complete, self-contained, one-stop mixing and mastering workstation that allows users to load a set of audio tracks and perform several operations.

– The plug-in suite provides nearly all the standalone mode features within the environment of a DAW as the most powerful channel strip or mastering chain available today as a plug-in.

– All T-RackS processors (including metering) can also be used as single plug-ins in any compatible DAW for multi-track mixing and stereo mastering duties.

New streamlined, resizable interface
The all-new graphic user interface is designed to control everything from a single window, smoother and faster than ever. Plus, it’s fully resizable, meaning it can utilize up to the full size of a display. The new flexible chain view allows the modules to be dropped into the 16-processor series/parallel signal chain at will directly from the sidebar carousel showing all T-RackS available modules.

Audiophile-grade audio engine
More sonically powerful than ever, T-RackS 5 now supports audio up to 192kHz / 32 bit floating point, with mastering for high-definition music platforms and distribution without ever leaving its single interface, including 4 dithering options to choose from. The internal resampling engine delivers nothing less than best-in-class performance including DDM (Digital Delivery Mastering) on the output from the final limiting stage, offering an additional layer of protection against inter-sample peaks and overshoots.

T-RackS 5

Broadcast-ready metering
T-RackS 5 includes a comprehensive suite of metering tools that provide immediate and complete visual information about the audio material content. The new precision loudness LUFS meter is compliant with all leading professional reference standards for music delivery or broadcasting. Peak, RMS and Dynamic Range meters provide useful information about the dynamic response of mixes. The spectrogram, real-time analyzer, phase and correlation meters also help to spot frequency imbalances and phase problems. M/S meters included gather information about the relations between the mono and the stereo content. Additionally, T-RackS 5’s new metering section can be launched as a separate floating window.

Album assembly
Now it’s possible to assemble a full-length production directly within the T-RackS 5 interface and create an album sequence with suitable track metadata including pauses, fades, track ID’s, ISRC codes, CD-Text and more, then export single high quality master audio files or the whole project in various formats such as WAV, AIF and standard DDP image for replication or Wav Cue files.

Pricing and availability
T-RackS 5 is expected to ship in October 2017, and will be available in both free and paid versions.

T-RackS CS – Custom Shop version available free of charge
T-RackS 5 – includes 9 modules for $/€ 149.99*
T-RackS 5 Deluxe – includes 22 modules for $/€ 299.99
T-RackS 5 MAX – includes 38 modules for $/€ 499.99
T-RackS 5 MAX crossgrade for $/€ 299.99 (with any registered IK product $/€ 99.99 and up)

T-RackS 5 can be pre-ordered now at special introductory pricing of only $/€99.99 for T-RackS 5, $/€199.99 for T-RackS 5 Deluxe, $/€329.99 for T-RackS 5 MAX and $/€ 199.99 for T-RackS 5 MAX crossgrade (with any registered IK product $/€99.99 and up).

* All prices excluding taxes

For more information, please visit:
www.t-racks.com/five

For video demos of T-Racks 5, please visit:
www.t-racks.com/five/video

High resolution images of T-RackS 5 are available at:
www.t-racks.com/five/images


About IK Multimedia: IK Multimedia is a computer music technology company that offers a diverse range of affordable and easy-to-use music production tools with great sound quality and a realistic look and feel. With millions of installations worldwide, the IK range has been adopted by musicians of every level, from beginners to professionals, to gain access to high-end, studio-quality gear from their computers or mobile devices. T-RackS™ is a trademark property of IK Multimedia Production. Mac is a trademark of Apple, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
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