Category Archives: Uncategorized

What is the difference between VHD or VHDX files

Microsoft HyperV allows you to create 2 primary hard disk storage types, fixed or dynamic.

Dynamic size drives are allocated with the minimum space needed and space is expanded as you write additional drive to the volume. There is performance loss on disk writes that require storage to be expanded. For example if you create a dynamic volume with 10 GB and as you write data and use up the entire 10GB allocation then the volume needs to be expanded first then your data will be written to the volume. This expansion adds overhead and can slow down data writes by 25% or more.

Fixed drive sizes presets the size for your storage. Since the file is preallocated on the HyperV host there is no loss in performance due to the need for expansion of space.

The big difference between VHD and VHDX is the way this expansion is handled. In tests performed by others they have seen negligible difference in overhead with Dynamic VHDX volumes when they expand to accommodate additional data.

You can easily convert your VHD volumes to VHDX. As always, make a backup and make sure you have enough time allocated for the conversion. The larger the volume the longer the conversion will take.

Manners and Connectivity

In the age of connectivity, the rules of etiquette have either gotten more complicated or have been thrown out all together. In social situations these days, you are often deluged with phone calls, texts, emails, updates from Twitter, Facebook, or other various other social media feeds. It may seem like common sense to turn off your cell phone or perhaps silence it in social settings, but some people don’t realize that they aren’t giving you their full attention when they say the alert from their phone will “only take a second.” Below are a few examples of connectivity faux pas and tips to avoid making them.

Phones at the Dinner Table – You would not talk over someone midsentence in a conversation. The same manners apply for texting or answering your phone at the dinner table. It interrupts the flow of dialogue and can make your company feel like you aren’t listening to them.

Tips to Avoid this:

  • Excuse yourself from the table if you need to take an urgent call.
  • If you know you will be distracted and curious if your phone alerts you of a text, take a preventive step and turn it off.
  • For dinners lasting longer than an hour, you could suggest the table take a “cell phone break” for those who need or want to check their emails or messages.

Loud Phone Calls in Public Places – Talking on the phone in public forces those around to become a part your conversation. We have all been the victim of this and many of us have committed this faux pas.

Tips to Avoid this:

  • Silence your phone and do not answer it
  • If you need to answer the call, step away to a secluded area to take it and tell the caller that their call is important and you will call them back in x amount of minutes.
  • If you must take the phone call and you are waiting in line, ask the person behind you to hold your spot and quickly go take your call.

Becoming Overly Dependent on Digital Communication – By making email the easiest way to reach you, you run the risk of disconnecting from the world around you. In face-to-face social situations, your email may become a distraction, as you will feel the need to check it regularly.

Tips to Avoid this:

  • Make the most of face-to-face communications.
  • Make your phone to be the best way to get a hold of you over email or texting.
  • Resist the urge to respond to email immediately, wait to check it after you leave your social engagement.

It’s up to us to be aware and realize when we are invading other‘s space or ignoring our companions because we are too connected. Hopefully following some of these etiquette rules will help us take advantage of face-to-face communications that are happening less often in this age of connectivity. Can you think of other social faux pas that occur due to digital communication? If so, let us know!

How Accessing Entertainment has Changed

Entertainment industries have had to evolve in the past few years as we have gained more access to music, movies and television from online sources. Physical stores are disappearing as these businesses open online stores. Examples of these are Blockbuster, Borders, and, the iconic Virgin Megastore in Times Square. Online storefronts have become a great option for consumers as well as business as there are fewer overhead costs, which give buyers more options for less. Here are some examples of ways that access to entertainment has changed.

It wasn’t always easy to buy single songs from a new music album.  If the song you wanted wasn’t released as a single, you would have to buy the total album. Thanks to sites like iTunes and Amazon MP3, people can now buy any single song from a record. Musicians also allow people to purchase their songs on their websites and many choose to give their songs away. Many independent and chain music stores have been forced to close due to these new options for purchasing music. The industry as a whole has changed as well and record labels have had to raise concert ticket and merchandise prices in order to turn a profit.

Online music streaming has also become very popular. Sites such as Pandora and Grooveshark  are free and let people customized their stations with less commercials than traditional radio stations. If you chose to upgrade, you can get your music with no commercial interruptions. Many people use these services to test out music prior to buying it and sometimes choose them in place of purchasing music. Most Internet connected gadgets can access these services anywhere at any time.

EBook Readers are also a hot item these days. Digital versions of books can purchased for much less than their physical counterparts found in brick and mortar bookstores. Because these digital books can never sell out, sites like Amazon have seen tremendous success, whereas classic shops like Borders are closing their doors forever.

 

Rather then pay hefty monthly prices for satellite or cable TV, many people opt to stream television and movies from an online source like Netflix or Hulu. The competition in the TV industry has pushed network channels to upload their most recently aired episodes onto their websites.

 

The way we access our entertainment has changed drastically thanks to the Internet. Television, books, and music found on the Internet are much more cost effective, but this may change. Recently Netflix altered its model of offering both online streaming and physical DVD rentals and also raised its prices. Many articles have been written speculating whether this will hurt or help their business plan. As we see physical stores disappear and online stores become our only option, we may see more sites follow in the model pioneered by Netflix. We will just have to wait and see.

 

The Tablet Comes to Our Table

Technology is constantly changing our lives. It happens so rapidly and seamlessly that we hardly notice.   It wasn’t long ago that stores used a manual machine to make a carbon imprint of your credit card whenever you made a purchases. Those machines are nearly obsolete thanks to WiFi technology and tablets. An individual can now purchase an attachment for their tablet that allows them to scan credit cards virtually anywhere.

Tablets have changed a lot more than our purchasing ease and mobility. Many people have fundamentally changed their businesses because of tablets. The following companies use tablets in such intriguing and innovative ways it might surprise you.

At De Santos, a high-end Italian restaurant in New York City’s West Village, the members of the wait staff use iPads to take orders and swipe credit cards. The hope is that this will streamline the ordering process reducing mistakes.

At Puma stores in Asia, Africa, and Europe, customers can use iPad stations called The Creative Factory to design their own sneakers and share them with people around the world. They can also view designs from other creators. Puma’s goal is to connect the world through active footwear.

At SHOPBOX, an addition to the DeKalb Market in Brooklyn, you won’t find a store or store clerks! What you will find is a shipping container with an iPad mounted on the side. Shoppers use the iPads to register then text the items they want to purchase to a number printed on the display glass. The items are then shipped to the shopper’s house. Talk about window-shopping!

As tablet technology improves more innovative uses will be developed. It’s not unthinkable to imagine having a wait staff may be obsolete in the future or that future generations have no use for a mall. Change is the nature of the world and it seems the more advanced we become, the faster things change. So let’s sit back and watch things become easier due to technology and one day we might just get those hovercrafts promised in science fiction movies.

 

Tips on how to write the right email

Most of us publish several emails every day, to our friends, clients, coworkers and employers. It’s important to note that how we write these emails communicates more than we might realize. Taking time to choose your words carefully is important in order to avoid any humiliating miscommunication. What would your boss think if you ended an email with “Love?” Here are some tips on determining proper email language.

Opening an Email  

Informal

Composing a message to a close friend is best done in an informal tone. When writing an informal message, you don’t need to use much more than the recipient’s name. Even a simple “Hi,” will communicate a relaxed tone and let the reader know the email they are reading is from a close acquaintance.

Formal

Use this tone when writing an email to a coworker or employee, someone with whom you are acquainted but also professional. Consider opening your email with “Dear,” followed by the recipient’s name or a more formal greeting such as “Good afternoon” or “Good evening.” This communicates that you respect the reader but are also approaching them with a tone of familiarity.

Respectful

When writing to a higher institution, like a prospective employer, make sure and open your email with a bit more formality. Generally, you’d use this tone if the recipient were someone you were not previously familiar with. The best opening in this case is “To whom it may concern.” Using this opening communicates respect to the reader.
 
Closing an Email  

Informal

Again, when writing to someone with whom you share a close personally history, you can end the email by simply writing your name or “Love,” followed by your name. This is informal and lets the reader know that you meant the message to be an intimate one.

Formal

End a formal email with “Sincerely,” or “Yours truly.” This is not as informal as closing with just your name, but it also communicates some kind of personal relationship. This is the best tone to use when communicating professionally with someone you work with on a regular basis.

Respectful

Ending a professional and respectful email in the proper tone is very important. As in a formal tone, you may end the message with “Sincerely,” or even “Regards.” Both should adequately communicate respect. However, if the content of the message calls for it, ending with “Thank you for your time,” lets the reader know you are grateful for the time they’ve spent reading your message.

    Communicating the correct message is all a matter of vocabulary, so when composing your next email make sure to use the right words to communicate your desired message. This will help ensure that your friends don’t fear that you’ve become melancholy drone or lead your boss to believe you’ve become a hopeless romantic. Choose the right words so that you send the right message.

Amusing Lawsuits from the Tech Industry

Usually lawsuits are very serious news and not to be laughed at. The tech industry has had its fair share of these more serious suits. However, we sometimes read about ones that we can’t help but be amused by. This list of unbelievable tech lawsuits from the past 10 years is sure to tickle your funny bone.

Allergic to Pentium? – In 2002, a Dutch woman tried to sue Intel and her government because she thought that her Pentium processor gave her hives. The 486-base processor did not cause her harm and her case never made it to the courts. Apparently, no court was “itching” to take her case.

A Woman Lead into Danger by Google? – In 2009, Google was sued by a woman who was hit by a car on a dark narrow highway that did not have pedestrian pathways. She blamed Google because she was just following the walking directions they gave her. A judge dismissed her case and Google “dodged” the lawsuit.

Star Wars Galaxies Killed by Sony! – In 2010, angry fans of Star Wars Galaxies filed a class-action lawsuit against Sony for shutting down the game. The MMORPG had had a steadily lessening subscribership for several years.  I guess the “force” was not strong enough to sustain the game, the fans, or the case.

Woman sues man over a failed Mafia Wars romance – A woman fell in love with another player of the Facebook game, Mafia Wars, and spent thousands of dollars on Mafia Wars gifts for her beau. After the relationship ended she sued him for the money she had spent.  Her case and her love life are now “sleeping with the fishes.”

I hope these unbelievable tech lawsuits made you smile. If you have heard of any more, please share them with us by leaving a comment here or on one of our other social media accounts! 

The change in content consumption

Smartphones, tablets and laptops are traditionally considered connected devices, because each device connects to and interacts with the Internet. However, HDTVs, Blu-ray players and gaming consoles are also connected products, as a high percentage of their functionality performs on the Internet. Each of these gadgets offers a means of communicating and consuming content.

    Where information was previously compiled manually, it can now be accessed remotely. Content consumption, in turn, is changing, because the avenues in which that content can be found are evolving. With an increase in connectivity, finding specific information is as easy as performing a Google search. So, how does increased connectedness change the way we consume content?

Faster Access of Information

    Finding information is almost instantaneous, and can be done from a wide variety of locations. You don’t no longer need to be tied down to a hardwired computer; content can be accessed through your phone or tablet via WiFi or 3G. Now, researching and accessing content is a process that only consumes a few moments. The speed at which we now consume content is greater than it has ever been because accessing that content takes almost no time at all.

Faster Generation of Information

    The connectedness that exists between devices is one that goes both ways. While content is easy to find, it is also easy to generate. You can upload a video to YouTube, post a blog on WordPress or update your status on Facebook, all from a connected device. The speed in which content can be generated is astounding, as millions of gigabytes of information are uploaded to the Internet every day.

High Rate of Communication 

    Connected devices allow for content to be passed along at an extremely high rate. A notification on a smartphone can trigger an n email to a tablet user, which triggers to a post to Facebook that is then reposted by a fan or follower and so on. This phenomenon is called “going viral” and is the process by which content is communicated to a large audience over a short period of time.  Thanks to connected devices, information has the ability to travel and travel quickly.

    Our increased connectivity has changed the way we consume content. The main difference, if you hadn’t already guessed, is speed. Like most technological advancements, it’s difficult to determine the value of this change. Information can be gathered, created and shared faster than ever before. How we choose to use that information is entirely up to us.

Access Restricted: Censorship worldwide

As a species we are connected. Our access to information is expanding exponentially. Many authorities and governments around the world have fears about what this access could mean for the people in their countries. These concerns lead them to censor the degree of communication that individuals have or cut them off altogether if they feel the threat is too great.

This issue is at the forefront of many world leader’s mind and many governments have different methods and levels of constraint for the Internet, mobile devices, and other varieties of communication via technology. Listed below are some examples of differing severity levels of censorship in various countries.

The United States – The US censors technology very little. In the US it is illegal to use cell phone jammers for private use. However, federal officials can use them in some instances. Recently, transit officials in San Francisco turned off power to cellular towers blocking all cell phone usage on the BART in order to prevent protesters from organizing on stations and platforms to convene upon.   This censorship incited a public outrage and government investigation as to the legality of the shutdown.

China – It is common practice for Chinese officials to monitor chat rooms, private screen, and black list websites. Their censorship of the Internet is known as the “Great Firewall of China”. Go to this link to find out if your site is blocked in China.

North Korea – The government of North Korea has total control over all computers with Internet access. Only three websites can be accessed in North Korea and they only contain academic information. There are some chat rooms allowed, however they are heavily monitored by the government. The high level of censorship has produced a huge cell phone black market in North Korea.

As you can see, different governments approach the idea of technology censorship very differently throughout the world. And the socio-political reasons behind the amount of restrictions vary equally as much. Listed below are some common arguments for and against censorship:

Reasons why censorship is necessary

  • Censorship can protect the safety of the public
  • Censorship can prevent youths from being exposed to inappropriate content
  • Censorship can protect social unity and national glory
  • Censorship can prevent disturbing the social order
  • Censorship can protect national security

Reasons why censorship can be dangerous

  • Censorship violates the natural right of self-expression
  • Censorship can prevent people who have an emergency from getting help
  • Censorship can lead to ignorance of the world and other cultures
  • Extreme censorship can lead to social upheaval
  • Extreme censorship can lead to an oppressed and uneducated society

A professor at the University of Kansas, Barney Warf, published a definitive study of the geography of Internet censorship in an issue of GeoJournal. He believes that the more globalized a country becomes, the harder it is to regulate types and levels of information the public can access. Whether or not technological censorship is right or wrong is situational and up to individual opinion. As the world becomes more connected it will become harder for nations to control the flow of data and we will see this issue continue to arise worldwide.

You can read this article to learn more about Professor Barney Warf and his study.

Internet Anonymity: The pros and cons

You may have noticed some issues with selecting pseudonyms if you were an early user of Google .  Social media sites have, traditionally, allowed users to create accounts with artificial names. Google’s decision to remove anonymity has had made some users upset. One of the great things about the Internet is that it allows anyone the ability to be anonyamous. However, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of free anonymity in an age where more and more social interactions are taking place online.

Pros

    Most account-based websites don’t require users to provide their real name or even make use of effective methods of verifying identity. This practice makes it quite simple to assume multiple personalities on the web. There is a layer of safety in this for many users who might be endangered if they were to reveal their full identity. Considar those who have been victims of stalking or spousal abuse. The ability to act anonymously on the Internet allows users to lower their accessibility and therefore decrease their vulnerability. There are instances in which anonymity on the Internet is a necessity.

Cons

    Most Internet based problems begin with the abuse of anonymity. Spam, social media spam and profile hacks start with the generation of a fake Internet identity. While there are ways of tracking down the true identity of users with methods such as IP tracing, most users don’t have the time or resources to do such extensive background checks. Internet bullying, stalking and thievery are all products of free anonymity.

    Is Google on the right track with disavowing Internet anonymity? The truth is, the moral value of using pseudonyms is based on personal responsibility. When deciding your stance on the issue, first consider how you use it.

Tech That Remains the Foundation of Computer Science

We see new technologies come into our lives everyday. It appears as though the moment we purchase a new computer, an even better, more highly effective version comes out. It is difficult to stay ahead of the technology curve. You may not know that there are a few technologies that have with stood the test of time.

What features does a technology need to accomplish this? Adaptability is at the top of the list, as well as flexibility and configurability. Here are a few which have stuck around for more then a few decades.

Virtual Memory – 1962 – This enables systems to use hardware memory more efficiently by recycling space used for memory. This concept led to time-sharing or the ability for systems to multi-task.

MOS Chip – 1967 – Metal-oxide semiconductor. This technology is used today to make computer chips and is known as CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor). The technology has changed a bit with time so adaptability is one trait which has kept it alive.

C programming language – 1969 – Designed by Dennis Ritchie at Bell Labs, C is the most popular and widely used programming language in the world. When you get something right why change it?

It is rather incredible that technologies invented over 50 years ago still make up the foundation of those we use today. While our machines get thinner, faster, sleeker, and more user friendly, the core technology that makes it all possible is strong enough to withstand the demands of the machines we dare to dream up.

You can find more technologies which have withstood the test of time here: http://www.osnews.com/thread?484715