Categories
Hosting Technology

Free Business Class Email Addresses For Your Personal Domains

Zoho_logoMicrosoft recently ended free email service support for custom domains, the mainstay for many Small and Medium Business Enterprises. Google buried Google Apps free edition, a similar business email application back in December 2012. So with Microsoft and Google having turned their backs, what option remains for these SMEs?

Enter zoho.com

Zoho recently announced its offer of free business class email hosting open to individuals and businesses. Under this email hosting plan, business owners can start hosting their emails, along with their custom domains, at no cost and without any advertisements to distract them.

This free offer is subject to a limit of 10 mailboxes per domain. However, business owners can extend the free user limit to 25 users by simply referring other customers to Zoho Mail. The two-way referral incentive program also benefits the new Zoho Mail user by providing them an additional five bonus free user accounts.

“Free email and ad-free email historically haven’t gone together. This changes with Zoho Mail,” said Raju Vegesna, Zoho evangelist. “At a time when companies — including the ones with deep pockets — have ended the support of free email service for businesses, we found it even more important to stick to our guns and extend the coverage of our free email plan. There is no catch or fine print here. When we say free and ad-free, we really mean it. At Zoho, we are committed to helping entrepreneurs and small businesses get started by providing an email solution that will grow with them as they expand their business.”

Zoho Mail: Hosted Email for Businesses

Zoho Mail is a powerful email hosting service that caters to businesses of all sizes yet is simple to set up and manage. It respects the privacy of business users and offers a feature rich, secure email solution.

Integrated Suite – The Zoho Mail Suite comes pre-integrated with complementary applications such as Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes and Chat, providing a comprehensive suite of applications for businesses. The suite also includes Zoho Docs, a powerful document management system with an integrated office suite that also syncs a user’s documents across devices.

Privacy and Security – Not in the business of serving ads, all of Zoho’s online application plans — including the free plan — are completely ad-free. Users’ activity is never tracked and emails are not scanned to serve ads, thereby respecting our users’ data and privacy. Zoho Mail also includes anti-spam and anti-virus features, offering these built-in safeguards within the application. With an option to enable two-factor authentication, users can further secure their access to the system with their mobile phones.

Mobile – Emails hosted on Zoho Mail can be accessed through email apps from any mobile device using standard protocols like IMAP and POP. Zoho Mail also supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for push email. Alternatively, users can manage their email through smartphone- and tablet-optimized web apps from their mobile devices.

Pricing and Availability

Businesses can sign up and subscribe to Zoho Mail Free, Standard or Premium editions at https://www.zoho.com/mail/zohomail-pricing.html.

Categories
Hack

Bank App Users Warned Over Android Security

Mobile banking on Android smartphones could put consumers at risk of fraud and cost banks millions.

An IT security company, MWR Labs, investigated the security standards of Android mobile phone brands to determine the overall exposure to risk of consumers who use mobile banking. It said that its results indicated that on some handsets as many as 64 per cent of manufacturer added applications were exposing users to serious security issues.

Mobile-moneyThe company looked at six classes of potential vulnerabilities in apps and packages in the leading brands and mobile phones using a modified version of Mercury, its security testing framework, to automatically scan the devices and identify security weaknesses.

The research discovered security vulnerabilities in software added by phone manufacturers or network providers which could be targeted by a malicious application inadvertently downloaded by the user. These weak apps often have more permissions that allow them to access contacts, make telephone calls and even record the content of those calls, meaning that the potential consequences are serious and sensitive data could be compromised. Other applications were found that allowed further apps to be installed with an arbitrary set of permissions, essentially leaving consumers fully exposed to fraud.

“We found that while banking apps were generally well written and had very few security issues, the integrity of consumer phones was often compromised by software provided by the phone manufacturer or additional software added by the network provider, exposing online banking customers to potential fraud,” said MWR’s managing director Harry Grobbelaar.

“Some of the leading Android handset manufacturers are already looking at shipping mobile devices with native near-field communication (NFC) payment functionalities but if the software in the phones is not secure, the risk will then be even higher,” he said.

He said that as more businesses use smartphones as mobile point-of-sale devices, these devices will become critical in the payment chain and if not adequately protected could “introduce additional risks for card fraud that could cost banks millions a year.”

Grobbelaar added that there were many examples of malicious apps sending premium rate text messages and expected there will be a “natural progression” to higher value areas such as payments and banking.

This article was first published on ITPro

Categories
Advertorial Entertainment

Deezer Music Service – Unlimited Music Downloads

A few weeks back, i wrote about Xbox Music, a Windows 8 app that gives you access to an estimated 30 million+ of songs to stream for free on your PC (Online or Offline mode), on the web and on your android & iOS tablets or phones .

This music service, however, has at least 2 major flaws;

deezer

  • The mobile apps does not have an offline mode. You can only stream music online – Data services required!
  • At US$9.99 monthly subscription fee, it is not competitive.

For those of us living in Africa – except, perhaps, South Africa – we have very limited music service options. Popular services like Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, Google Play Music and Amazon are just not available.

It was only by chance that i stumbled on this less known music service called Deezer. It boasts of a presence in a whooping 182 countries, including Nigeria. The first thing that struck me was the similarity in its song database and that of Xbox Music.

The following are what i will consider as the strengths of this service;

  • Seemingly similar song database to Microsoft’s Xbox.
  • A more affordable US$4.99 (NGN850) subscription fee per month, giving you access to 30 million+ music tracks including Nigerian hit tracks .
  • Offers mobile apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry platforms.
  • Offline music playback both on the desktop PC and on your mobile devices.

Fortunately, Deezer offers a 15 day trial. You have nothing to lose, why not give it a try?

Categories
Advertorial Hosting Technology

Surdoc – Free 100GB Online Storage For Everyone!

surdocMany are probably familiar with popular free cloud storage options available; 2GB from Dropbox, 5GB from Box and SugarSync, 7GB from SkyDrive and 15GB from Google Drive but few are aware of the new kid on block, Surdoc.

This company has indeed raised the bar by offering a whooping 100GB cloud storage free to users, giving you the opportunity to back up from multiple devices into a single account. And that is not all, you can get up to 1TB free if you refer a friend (10GB for each friend that signs up), Tweet or Retweet Surdoc (1GB), Post or Share on Facebook (1GB) and answer a Survey (5GB).

To see just how much a 100GB account can hold, visit https://www.surdoc.com/get-100gb/

Both iOS and Android apps are available for you to sync media files from your mobile devices to the same cloud storage. This is in addition to the Windows and Mac applications that keep files on your computers continuously and automatically backed up online.

There is a caveat though. This 100GB offering is only free for a year, a yearly subscription of  US$30 is charged if you decide to continue using this service.

Categories
Controversies Lifestyle Religion

“In The Name Of The Father …”

0510LD1The influence of technology on religion has long been a subject of discourse on this blog and it is definitely an issue that will continue to generate a lot of controversies.

You can read my earlier posts on the influence of technology on religion here.

Apart from the “End of the World” proponents who are very convinced about the very negative role technology would play in the end times, even those who are less believing would have to admit that there is an increasing influence technology is having on World religions.

And with the increasing affordability of tablets and higher end smartphones, it is now very common place to see a lot of Nigerians toting at least one of these mobile devices at anytime.

For a while now, i have paid very little attention to this new age phenomenon. However, my visit to the church last Sunday created a reawakening. It was a bit of a shock to me when it was time for Bible reading and about one-third of the congregation flashed out their tablets and fancy smartphones. Even the presiding Pastor had to comment about this. This is indeed the new face of churches in Nigeria, especially for the churches that cater for the middle and high income earners in the Lekki axis of Lagos, Nigeria.

Even the low income earners have refused to be left behind, thanks to the cheap android knock off tablets that have flooded the country from China. It will indeed be research-worthy to compile the number of these devices now available in Nigeria.

The appropriateness of these devices in the church is still generating a lot of divergent views, even among the church leaders. While some Nigerian Pastors welcome this development as a portrayal of prosperity among its parishioners, however in the world over, some religious leaders worry that the inherently isolating and attention-diverting nature of smart phones has created a generation of worshippers unable to fully engage with the sublimation of self and quiet meditation that underlie both the Eastern and Western religious traditions.

The fact can not be ruled out that for the church to shore up shrinking congregations with new devotees,  those younger worshipers expect activities to include smart phone and tablet use. Device multitasking has become such a pervasive part of their life that quiet, paper-text based religious ceremonies seem even stranger and more off-putting.

However, some religious leaders who have already tried to conduct services over a mobile device to a geographically scattered audience, and those who have tried to integrate smart phones into a physically unified congregation, say they have noticed a significant difference in how worshippers process the experience. Unfortunately, they have found that most people tend to disengage from the experience of communal worship with this mode.

I no longer read a bible from a printed paper based format and i honestly do not know where i have placed mine. Reading my bible from mobiles is a habit that i took on right from the days of my trusty Nokia 3650 back in the mid 2000s. For me, though, I must admit that there is indeed something about digital bibles that does not give you the same experience that you get from the paper based ones but the convenience and the excitement the digital ones give you has made this form of bible the only option for me and many out there.

Categories
Technology

Product Review: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500

I must confess that I never knew it existed, though I had fantasized about such a technology in the past.

Recently, I was saddled with the task of scanning a huge pile of papers at my workplace, over 200 pages! Just the thought of using the traditional scanners filled me with so much apprehension.

Snapscan 2There I was feeling sorry for myself, whining out loud to anybody that cared to listen about my predicament when someone suggested,”Hey, why don’t you use the feed scanner?”

Feed Scanner?

I have always seen the box-like object in a corner, compact looking. It looked very much like one of the surround speakers of my old Sony deck and I had wondered why anyone will leave a speaker lying around the office.

But I was very wrong.

It was actually an ADF scanner, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500. The device is very compact and unfolds to reveal the feed and the output trays. The way it unfolds reminds me of the Transformer movie series I watched recently with my kids.

SnapscanIt can take a sheaf of papers, 50 at a time, scans them – unattended – to either individual jpeg files on your PC or batches them to a single PDF file. It scans up to 20 pages per minute in color, grayscale, or black & white at 300 dpi resolution

There is now a newer model of this item, the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 that boasts of even better features that include; WiFi enabled, support for mobile devices and scans directly to dropbox.

This is a technology that is indeed a must have for anyone that is considering going paperless. However, expect to shell out at least N70,000 for this device if you are lucky enough to find it in Nigeria.

Categories
Uncategorized

Embracing Employee – Acquired Smartphones Without Compromising Security

This article was first published in Diary of a Geek on April 20, 2011

EspionageIf your capacity as an IT professional involves dealing with people in your office going on the road with mobile devices and bemoaning policies that keep them from accessing the company’s network because of pesky security protocols, then my heart goes out to you. It’s rough trying to balance the legitimate needs of a staff trying to maximize its ability to get a job done and the often bureaucratic rigamarole of office directives that seem to be counterproductive to what should be a goal shared with that same staff. People want to work smarter, not harder, and being part of a team should support — not stifle — that goal.

In the past decade (and especially in just the past few short years), the mobile phone has become more common among the general population and less of a company-issued “perk” — and, therefore, less under the reign of strict policies that your company may have instated in the past regarding the use of such devices. It just makes sense that you, as an IT professional in charge of enforcing the integrity of your company’s security initiatives, want to be kept up to date on your options with an ever-changing set of rules in an ever-changing game. So when on-the-go people at the office increasingly voice a desire to use their own smartphones to take part in mission critical (but top secret) company communication, how do you embrace the use of employee-acquired smartphones without compromising security? BlackBerry may not be the first company that comes to mind when you think of smartphones today, but it inarguably has more experience in the field than many of its contemporary contenders. So when BlackBerry has an opinion on the matter and offers free advice to IT professionals who have an ear to listen (well, in this case, an eye to read. Maybe even two of them), you may find it worth your while to see what the company has to say.

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

Are Hybrid Tablets the New Netbooks?

Hybrid TabletsHybrids have gotten a lot of hype lately, with a slew of touch-enabled laptops and flipping, folding convertible designs launching so far this year. But with some of these new hybrids—specifically smaller tablets with docking keyboards—there’s been a nagging question that I can’t quite shake: Are hybrid tablets the new netbooks?

You remember netbooks, right? The minuscule clamshell PCs, with 8-to 10-inch screens and crowded keyboards, caught shoppers’ attention as much for their sub-$500 prices as for their compact form factors. For a brief period a few years back, netbooks were the hot new thing, selling like proverbial hotcakes—but it didn’t last. Those hotcakes didn’t even stay sold as customers returned their cheap netbooks in droves.

Complaints touched on everything from screen dimensions (in many cases, too small to display full-size webpages) to keyboard width (too tiny for traditional typing), but the biggest gripe by far was about the processors. Shoppers went looking for inexpensive alternatives to laptops, but found that netbooks’ pint-sized CPUs wouldn’t always support the programs they were accustomed to, or provide the speed they expected.

Though you’ll still see one or two being sold as inexpensive systems for K-12 students, by and large the netbook is now all but extinct. The ultrabook has come on the scene, offering portability with the promise of a full-fledged processor, but the prices usually bottom out around $700. Apple’s MacBook Air models eventually jump-started Intel’s Ultrabook category, but so surpassed the underpowered netbooks of the time that they are rightly considered part of another category.

It’s starting to feel as if the netbook is rearing its head again.

As tablets and hybrid ultrabook designs have begun cropping up recently, it’s starting to feel as if the netbook is rearing its head yet again. Ten-and 11-inch tablets are being released with docking keyboards and Windows 8, designed to provide the convenience seen in iPads and Android tablets, but with the additional productive capability and software support of a Windows PC. These little tablets share many of the defining features of netbooks. Dinky Atom processors? Check. Chintzy 32-bit versions of Windows? Check. Small screens? Check. Cramped keyboards? Check.

But there are some key differences as well. For example, the keyboards are slightly improved over those on netbooks, with many lessons learned from earlier disasters. You won’t see one coming in at less than 10 inches, where keyboards on the largest netbooks topped out at 10 or 11 inches—and most systems were equipped with nearly useless keyboards 8 or 9 inches in size.

Small screens are also less of an issue, as they are now wide enough to display content without cutting off webpages, and the Web has adapted to smaller displays thanks to smartphones and other mobile devices. And where netbooks were often used at arm’s length like a laptop, tablets are more ergonomically suited to cradling and carrying. Higher screen resolutions also play a part, with most hybrids offering 720p and a few even sporting 1080p. The result is a much more readable, usable display.

The current Atom CPUs can run all of the legacy apps that netbooks of yesteryear could not.

Where the Atom processors used in netbooks were slow and clunky, the newest batch of Atom CPUs deliver speedier performance and superb battery life. Intel has pushed hard to close the gap between their mobile and PC chips, desiring a stronger presence in mobile markets, and the Atom platform is the beneficiary of this progress. The results aren’t on par with the latest Core processors, but you will find solid basic performance. More important, the current Atom CPUs can run all of the legacy apps that the netbooks of yesteryear could not.

Finally, the usage model has changed. Only a few years ago, netbooks were expected to be primarily productivity machines, letting you type documents, fill out spreadsheets, and so on. Since that time, online services like Netflix, Facebook, and Skype have exploded. For these sorts of uses detachable hybrid tablets are perfect, letting you curl up with a movie the way past generations curled up with a good book. You can Skype and chat and browse to your heart’s content. And with a docking keyboard, you can actually do some work, whether that means taking notes in a classroom or meeting, preparing spreadsheets, or designing a presentation.

So, although detachable hybrid tablets certainly share a family resemblance to netbooks, they are ultimately their own devices, with their own pros and cons. One of the biggest benefits of these new devices is all-day battery life—and I do mean all day. Some of the latest Atom-powered tablets offer well beyond the 8 hours needed for a full workday, and then supplement this with a second battery in the docking keyboard, letting you go from dawn to dusk and into the night without stopping to charge.

Will 2013 see a repeat of the buy-and-return cycle that killed off netbooks? Between the improved capability of today’s systems and the evolution of buyers’ expectations, I think shoppers are safe. Vendors and manufacturers, on the other hand, have a very different concern: If people can already do most of this with the smartphones and tablets they already have, who will want to buy a Windows tablet?

Between the improved capability of today’s systems and the evolution of buyers’ expectations, I think shoppers are safe.

Source : PCMAG

Categories
Gadgets

Watching porn is bad for your smartphone

We’re not making any moral judgments here. But it is definitively a bad idea to visit pornography sites on your smartphone or tablet.

Nearly one-quarter of malware on mobile devices comes from porn websites, according to a new study from Blue Coat, a Web security and optimization company.

 Mobile users don’t check out porn sites often — less than 1% of all mobile traffic is pornography. But when they do go to those sites, the risk of inadvertently downloading malware to their devices increases three-fold. That makes watching porn on smartphones a far bigger threat than viewing porn on a PC.

Porn led to more malware on smartphones and tablets than e-mail spam, malicious websites, and fake apps combined.

Part of the problem, Blue Coat said, is that the nature of mobile devices makes differentiating legitimate sites from malicious ones a tricky task. There is no way to hover over shortened URLs to reveal their true destination, for example.

“No matter how tantalizing a link might look on a desktop, there are cues that you shouldn’t go there, such as an address that just doesn’t look safe,” said Hugh Thompson, chief security strategist for Blue Coat. “When you click a link on a mobile phone, it’s harder to know what form of Russian roulette they’re playing.”

Porn is a leading traffic driver on the Internet, and for many years, porn sites had been a primary source of malware on PCs as well.

“When you delve into the world of online pornography, you don’t often know where you are, or where the content is coming from,” said Thompson. “But when you’re visiting those sites, you are more inclined to make riskier choices than elsewhere on the Web.”

But cyberattackers are increasingly finding new ways to target an even larger audience, including phishing, uploading malicious advertisements and poisoning search engine results.

Security experts predict that broader-based cybercrime schemes are likely to appear on smartphones and tablets soon. For now though, mobile attacks appear to be mirroring techniques used on traditional computers.

Still, major security firms have widely predicted that this will be the year mobile devices will finally emerge as a major target for cybercriminals. Smartphones have become personal computers that travel around with us at all times, and the vast majority of users don’t even lock them with a password.

Cyberthieves continue to make so much money attacking Windows PCs that there hasn’t been much incentive to change tactics. But we’re about to hit a tipping point. Most people still do their online banking and shopping on their PCs, but those transactions are happening on mobile phones more frequently.

According to research from Juniper Networks (JNPR), 300 million smartphones around the world will be equipped with the near-field communications (NFC) chips needed for mobile payments this year. Juniper also predicts global NFC transactions will total nearly $50 billion.

CNN

Categories
Articles

Using The Right Charger For Your Mobile Device

usbAbout three years ago, 10 major mobile devices manufacturers, including Apple, Nokia and Samsung, committed to a voluntary agreement to work towards a universal charger based on a micro USB connector, in an effort to reduce unnecessary waste. But no such universal charger has been settled on, and Apple appears to have backtracked on the idea with the introduction of a new proprietary Lightning charger for its iPhone 5 that is likely to be the standard for several generations of future iPhones.

Not withstanding this seeming setback, many manufacturers have already adopted the micro USB connector for their chargers. Devices having this charging port are now very common place and is not unusual to see a single charger being used across numerous devices in homes and workplaces

However, just because the plug fits into your charging port does not mean you are using the right cell phone charger for your phone. Unfortunately, such mistakes can be costly!

But why is this?

Voltage

For a replacement charger, it is important to get one with the right voltage. While the device may work with chargers with voltages that are close, it is often at the expense of shortened lifespan of the batteries being recharged. Some devices, however, are quite tolerant of voltage variations and will work just fine. Others, not so much. Problem is, how do you know this detail about your device? There is no easy way to know which category your device falls into, so it is best to simply get the right voltage from the start.

Amperage

Also, the ampere rating of your charger is very important. This is usually represented by notations like “1.0A” on your chargers. Many people are confused by amperage ratings and what they mean when it comes to power supplies and replacements.

One easy way to look at it is this:

Voltage is provided by (or pushed) by the power supply.

Amperage is taken by (or pulled) by the device being powered.

In other words, while the voltage is a constant and should match, the amperage is something that varies based on the devices need. A device will “pull” more amps when it is working hard than when it is not. The voltage will remain the same regardless.

The amperage rating of a power supply is the maximum number of amps that it is able to provide if needed.

Thus, as long as you replace your power supply with one that is capable of providing as much or more amps than the previous supply, you’ll be fine.

If you replace the power supply for some reason with one that has a maximum amperage rating that is less than the previous and less than what your device actually requires, then you may end up with a burnt out or (at least) overheating power supply, and the device itself may not function, or may not do so well.

Rule of Thumb

Your choice of a replacement charger for your mobile device should be guided by the following:

  • Make sure that the voltage matches as closely as possible.
  • Make sure that it is rated to provide the same amperage or more.

Lastly…

For those who use their laptops to charge their mobile devices, they probably would have noticed that it takes a bit more time to get a full charge using this means.

Most laptop USB ports are of USB 1.0 and USB 2.0 specifications and do not deliver more than 500mA (0.5A). This is a far cry from the recommended requirements for a lot of devices. Apple’s iPad charger provides 2.1A at 5V. Amazon’s Kindle Fire charger outputs 1.8; My wife’s Nexus 7 needs 5V/2A and my fancy Samsung S3 needs 5V/1A.

Probably better are quality car chargers that can output a range of 1A to 2.1A.

If you use a standard USB charger, these devices will probably charge, but slower than the stock charger.