Amazon entering the online print business

There are several different printing services available online that you can use to print photos, photo books and placing your photos into other formats. If your member of the Amazon Prime, you already have unlimited storage space for all your digital photography images so obviously this is a natural progression of service that Amazon would like to be able to provide you. Especially since, that customers in the US are expected to spend $2 billion or more for online photo printing services this year reported by market research firm IBISWorld.

imageIt appears that Amazon is using a company called S&D Print as the actual printing arm of the service. You go to sign up you'll be presented with the following screen. When you accept the service you are linking your Amazon pay account with the S&D Print account.While this service is just starting out, which is apparent by the limited number of options that you have to choose from, their photo printing prices seem to be in line but the book pricing was to be a little exorbitant.

I have used Shutterfly in the past it was always very happy with the results and they have a large number of options, not only for printing photographs and photobooks, but putting your favorite photos on many types of objects and formats.

Companies like Shutterfly have a big lead on Amazon in this category and it will take Amazon a lot of effort to catch up but Amazon has all the right tools in place to be able to eventually create a viable product that people want to use. However, given a choice between Shutterfly and Amazon Print, right now I am firmly implanted with using the former rather than the latter.


Are you ready for Evernnote Plan changes

By looking at how bright this image is it kind of tells you that Evernote is hesitant and letting you know exactly what their plans are and letting you keep able to actually read what it is that are your options. The biggest thing that struck me is that with the basic plan you can only sync across two devices. Very few of us in this day of age have only two devices that they're working with but I'm sure there are some of you out there that are falling into this category. So, Evernote has fallen into the category of giving you a taste of their product with the free plan to move you into their pay for plans to make it actually functional.

While I don't bemoan the fact that they are trying to become viable, I can't help but be glad that I long ago moved over to using Microsoft's OneNote. OneNote gives me all the integrations with the rest of Microsoft's products and operating systems and allows me to share the information across as many devices as I care to. While in theory OneNote is still a paid for product it does come with every one of Microsoft Office suites.

Granted that $34.99 per year for the plus package and $69.99 per year for the premium package really isn't that expensive for what you're getting. But the basic package you really don't get much of anything. If you buy into the plus package at $34.99 per year then you are not limited to the number of devices that you can use the program on. You get 1 GB of storage capacity and you can access your notebooks without being online, forward emails into Evernote and you get customer support but only through email communication. LEARN MORE ABOUT PLUS

The premium package for $69.99 per year, takes you up to 10 GB of storage, adds customer support through live chat, allows you to search for text in PDF's, search for text in attached office documents, allows you to imitate PDFs, gives you the ability to scan and digitize business cards, provides the opportunity for presenting your notes, gives you an audit trail allowing you to browse the history of your notes and does a cross referencing so that you can see related notes and content. LEARN MORE ABOUT PREMIUM

So if you want a closer look at the pricing listed below click here and it will take you to Evernote's pricing page. For me, I am going to be sticking with Microsoft's OneNote program.


Should you be in the market for a dash cam?

imageWhy would you want one? Accidents can happen to anyone at anytime. A dash cam can be helpful to drivers in the event something goes wrong while driving your vehicle. Consider that a dash cam is more of a protective device. And if you have one, hopefully you will never need to take advantage of pulling the footage from it. Since that is the case, it may be hard to justify the purchase of one. But if you do, it can be worth many times the initial cost of the unit.

If I have peaked your interest, you may want to take a look at the following article that discusses what you should consider when buying a unit and comparing several of the dash cams that are on the market.


Google Play causing issues with battery life?

How Google Play tracks you even if your other apps don’t – Naked Security

imageNaked Security posted an article that Google Play’s update that is tracking your usage or their service by using GPS which if you didn’t know when turned on and in use can drain your battery very quickly. For more detail on this read the article by clicking on the link above.


How not to use Facebook

imageI don’t understand the need for people to put every part of their personal life on-line for everyone to see. But what is even worse is for someone to respect another’s request for not posting what are embarrassing photos of their child that makes them uncomfortable. Once that child makes their request known, if the parent truly cares for them they really should be considerate of their request. That’s when I saw this article in, it really made me angry with the parents.


Office Lens is now available on Windows 10 devices

imageI have been using Office Lens on my Android phone since last year and have been wondering if it would ever show up on my PC. Now it has.

It is a wonderful tool that I have used to capture documents to store for record keeping, capture business cards to include in your contacts and now you can use it from you pc to do these things as well.

How many times have you found yourself in conference and wanted to be able to capture a projected image or whiteboard drawing to your notes. Use this program to do so quickly and easily from any of the devices you have on hand.



Making of a Miller’s Knife Video

While I am normally posting technical information on this site I am posting this video for my brother Ed who is an avid blacksmith. While this is nothing new for Ed I thought he might enjoy watching it anyway. He loves to make knives out of all sorts of things, especially railroad spikes so it should be up his alley to grab a horseshoe and pound it into another useful tool.


Sophos Intercept X

Yesterday Sophos announced the availability of a new product to the security product line. Sophos Launches Next Generation of Anti-Exploit and Anti-Ransomware Technology With Sophos Intercept X

imageSophos Intercept X combines four critical security components that IT administrators should expect from next-generation endpoint protection.

  • Signatureless Threat and Exploit Detection: Anti-malware and anti-hacker defense that blocks zero-day, unknown and memory resident attacks and threat variants without the need for file scanning
  • CryptoGuard: Anti-ransomware innovation that identifies and intercepts malicious encryption activity, blocks ransomware before it can lock and cripple systems and can roll back maliciously encrypted files to their pre-attack state
  • Root Cause Analytics: A 360 degree visual analysis of attack events that shows where the attack came in, what it affected, where it may have stopped and recommended actions to prevent a similar attack in the future
  • Sophos Clean: Powerful utility that hunts for and removes any trace of spyware and deeply embedded, lingering malware

Sophos Intercept X–Sophos Information Page


Stop Ransomware Before it Takes Your Files Hostage

Ransomware is the #1 malware attack affecting organizations today. It encrypts your files and holds them hostage until the ransom is paid, causing massive disruption to business productivity.
Sophos Intercept features CryptoGuard, which prevents the malicious spontaneous encryption of data by all forms of ransomware – even trusted files or processes that have been hijacked. And once ransomware gets intercepted, CryptoGuard reverts your files back to their safe states.

Ransomware Paper


Email Encryption without the Hassle

In speaking with financial institutions, we know that loan officers and employees may skip difficult security measures to progress a loan or provide customer service quickly. An easy and seamless experience is the best way to make sure security isn’t circumvented and your customer data is protected. And that’s why Guardian Mortgage uses Zix.

In a recent press release, Guardian Mortgage’s SVP of IT said:

Zix meets our high standards, works without issues and alleviates worry and hassle for our customers, loan officers and entire company with a user-friendly experience.

For additional insight into how Guardian Mortgage uses Zix solutions to protect customers and keep their trust, please see the full press release below. If you’d like to see how Zix works without the hassle, I’m happy to coordinate a one-on-one demo. Just let me know a time that works best with your calendar.


Guardian Mortgage Protects Customers and Maintains Trusted Reputation by Securing Email Data with Zix Corporation

Zix’s easy to use solutions enable email data protection without hassle for Guardian Mortgage customers and loan officers

DALLAS--Sept. 7, 2016-- Zix Corporation (ZixCorp), (Nasdaq: ZIXI), a leader in email data protection, enhances data protection for Guardian Mortgage with Zix® Email Encryption, bring your own device (BYOD) solution ZixOneSM and data loss prevention (DLP) solution ZixInsightSM. Incorporating a full suite of Zix solutions, Guardian Mortgage secures sensitive customer data and valuable relationships as email is exchanged across the Internet and accessed on mobile devices.

“We’ve earned our customers’ trust by doing what’s right, and securing client data in email is absolutely the right way to protect our clients and strengthen relationships,” said Will Stokes, Senior Vice President of Information Technology for Guardian Mortgage. “Zix meets our high standards, works without issues and alleviates worry and hassle for our customers, loan officers and entire company with a user-friendly experience.”

All Guardian Mortgage colleagues use ZixGateway®, a policy-based email encryption solution. Equipped with robust policy filters that are created and maintained by a dedicated research team, ZixGateway automatically scans and encrypts emails with sensitive personal data, allowing colleagues to exchange secure email without any extra steps.

“The amount and sensitivity of personal data exchanged when people apply for a mortgage or refinance a home can be overwhelming. What should be an exciting and happy time is often stressful, and adding worry due to a data breach is the last thing a homeowner needs,” said David Wagner, Chief Executive Officer of ZixCorp. “By adding automatic, easy-to-use email encryption with Zix, loan officers can securely email without any hassles or disruption to their workflow, and mortgage companies can confidently deliver the quality service their customers deserve. More importantly, clients can conveniently and securely share their personal data and keep their attention focused on their home.”

For recipients with ZixGateway, encrypted emails are automatically decrypted and delivered transparently to the inbox. Hundreds of organizations send and receive encrypted email with Guardian Mortgage without taking any extra steps or entering passwords.

If recipients do not use ZixGateway, encrypted messages can be delivered seamlessly through Transport Layer Security (TLS) or in less than two steps through a mobile-friendly, secure Web portal. Ensuring bi-directional security, customers can send encrypted replies from the secure Web portal and also initiate encrypted messages directly to Guardian Mortgage through a unique compose feature.

Guardian Mortgage uses ZixInsight for added visibility into how colleagues use email and what sensitive data is securely flowing outside the company. For Guardian Mortgage colleagues who use personal mobile devices, ZixOne provides access to email without allowing the data to reside on the device. Through the ZixOne mobile app, colleagues on the go easily exchange email to customers, and Guardian Mortgage enables communication and business without jeopardizing customer privacy due to a lost or stolen mobile device.

About Guardian Mortgage

Guardian Mortgage Company, Inc. is a 51-year old residential mortgage originator and servicer located in Dallas, Texas, currently with loan origination offices in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Michigan. It originates mortgages through retail and correspondent channels and has a $2.7 billion residential mortgage loan servicing portfolio. Guardian Mortgage is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Strategic Growth Bancorp (SGB) Incorporated, which also owns Capital Bank, First National Denver, First National Santa Fe, and First National Rio Grande. These SGB Community Banks operate in Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico. For more information about Guardian Mortgage, please visit

About ZixCorp

ZixCorp is a trusted leader in email data protection. ZixCorp offers industry-leading email encryption, a unique email data loss prevention (DLP) solution, and an innovative bring your own device (BYOD) email solution to meet your company’s data protection and compliance needs. ZixCorp is trusted by the nation’s most influential institutions in healthcare, finance and government for easy-to-use secure email solutions. ZixCorp is publicly traded on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol ZIXI, and its headquarters are in Dallas, Texas. For more information, visit


Office 365 SharePoint Enhancements coming out this month

imageSo you have started looking towards SharePoint 365 as your shared file access source and using some of the other features to create a central location for file/data sharing and collaboration. Some of the new things to expect are:

  • Team Site publishing pages and web parts – so we are looking for easier to use publishing and more web parts to make it easier and quicker to get your point across. The SharePoint web pages are made up of web parts so having more options and easier to use web parts will be exciting.
  • Office 365 Groups + team sites integration - When you create a group, Office 365 gives the group a shared inbox, calendar, OneNote notebook, a Planner for task management—and now, a full-powered SharePoint team site. Each group gets a modern home page—with the ability to create additional pages—document libraries, lists and business apps.
  • Site Collection Limit – The Microsoft post says that the site content limit is going from 1TB to 25TB’s. I will be interested to see if this means for everyone from the get go or that you have to purchase or earn the .5gb increases for each additional subscription license. I’ll get back to you on that but if it is for everyone than this is great.

New capabilities in SharePoint Online team sites including integration with Office 365 Groups


And the worst passwords from the hack are… – Naked Security

imageInteresting historical cloud product shows how lazy we really are about creating our passwords. If you use any of these password today, SHAME ON YOU!


Take a quick look at this article, I think you will find it very interesting.


Lenovo is going to deliver on the Microsoft Courier design

imageThis Microsoft CONCEPT device really grabbed my attention a quite a few years ago and I was really disappointed when it didn’t come to fruition. The article from Arstechnica describes the new Yoga Book in great detail and it seems to have everything that the original device promised. We’ll see in October when it is finally released. Do I want one? I don’t know now since I have gotten my hands on the Microsoft Surfacebook. I am truly in love with that device but having two screens on the same device could possibly create some interesting capabilities.

Microsoft confirms, kills Courier in one fell swoop – Engadget Journal Entry by Bob Appleby on May 5, 2010 - It is only right to report the demise of the Courier as since earlier this year I talked about how exciting this product concept was for me and several of my coworkers. In fact we were so enthralled with it we featured its video on the front page of our website for awhile. Darn it Microsoft, this is ...

Microsoft’s Courier takes some of the wind out of the iPad’s delivery announcement Journal Entry by Bob Appleby on March 7, 2010 - Friday was a very interesting day because of Microsoft Courier Tablet leak that occurred simultaneously with Apple’s announcement of the iPad’s release date. There has been a lot of hype surrounding iPad and how it is going to be super hit for Apple like the iPhone and iPod products have ...

Gizmodo Presentation on new Microsoft Tablet Journal Entry by Bob Appleby on September 28, 2009 - Not “Real” product yet, here is another prototype product showing a new design type that is using a hinged dual screen system. I would be interested in looking at one to see how it works, but I am slightly skeptical about the usability, and ruggedness of such a product. Microsoft’s product has even ...


In this world of virtualized servers, exploits are becoming more controlled and prevalent

imageAn interesting article written by Dan Goodin of Arstechnica discusses a new variation of the Rowhammer exploit, I love these names, called Flip Feng Shui. It works with memory deduplication techniques that is used by many cloud hosting services to save memory resources by sharing identical chunks of data used by two or more virtual machines.

Flip Feng Shui manipulates the physical memory that is being used by in such a way that crypto keys and other data known to be stored in area that can be susceptible to the Rowhammer exploit.

If you want to read more click here.


Lenovo’s 910 looks like it will be a really nice Executive Ultrabook

imageYou are going to have to wait until October to get your hands on this really nice system but it looks like it will offer some really nice specs. This model is based on the new Intel Kaby Lake  processor series. You have an option in display with either a 4K screen or you can opt down to the 1080p model which will give you better battery life at around 15. 5 hours vs. 10 hours with the 4K. That is still bad either.

It has a 13.9 inch screen riding on Lenovo’s piano hinge technology so it can rotate 360 degrees to give you a really big tablet screen at just under 14 inches. You can configure Lenovo's new Yoga 910 with up to 16GB of RAM, 1TB of PCIe-based SSD storage, a fingerprint reader, 2 x USB Type-C ports (1 x USB 3.0, and 1 x USB 2.0 with charging support). This series will start at $1299 and configured with the above it will probably put a pretty big dent in your pocketbook.


iOS World–Important security patch now available

imageI was ignoring the update until I read this article in Naked Security. (If you have an iDevice, go to Settings | General | Software Update right now, just to make sure you’re up-to-date.)

Apparently there are three exploits that were being used to hack into your device. So it was good the Apple came out with the patch so quickly and don’t forget to install this security patch soon!


Are you Click Happy?


Naked Security posting points out that a large number of Facebook users are not real careful about how they use Facebook. Because of the actual structure of being able to post links on your Facebook postings, these links can direct you towards anything with out knowing where you are actually going to end up or how that destination will affect your device.

Part of keeping your equipment secure and safe is to be aware of what you are doing and where you accept to go. Look at who is posting and where that posting is taking you. If you don’t know then maybe you shouldn’t necessarily be in such a hurry to find out. And don’t forget that you can put Sophos on your home and mobile devices for free.


Looking for a really light, thin ultrabook?

imageAcer is releasing a new line of notebooks soon based on Intel’s new Kaby Lake processor. They are calling the new series of notebooks Swift and their flagship model looks really nice. Built with an aluminum case, the Swift 7 model is just 9.98mm’s thick, has a 13.3 inch IPS screen that sports 1920x1080 resolution and weighs in at 2.48 pounds.

Priced at $999, this ultrabook is based on the Kaby Lake i5-7300U processor, has 8gb’s of RAM and a 256GB SSD. It also has two USB 3.1 Type-C ports and for connectivity, a T2R 802.11ac with MU-MIMO wireless adapter.

All in all it looks like a pretty nice system for under $1000’s.


So how well does all your home automation equipment work together?

imageIf you have been playing with home automation for a while, it is probably starting to look a little like the Tower of Babel. No two systems seem compatible with each other and up to now there hasn’t been a way to have centralized management between it all.

The Logitech system appears to have support for a broad base of manufacturer systems. Control devices from Philips Hue, LIFX, August, Sonos, Harmony, Lutron, Insteon, and Belkin WeMo. This type of system is what I would use for that broad base of consumer products that you would pick up at your local Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, Costco or Sam’s Club. These systems were never meant to be interoperable but with the Logitech System you bring them all together.

The main BRAIN is a bridge unit that you plug into your power and connect into your Wi-Fi network. From here it goes out an identifies what you installed in your home. Using the App you can add more that the, system doesn’t find. Once you have gone through the discovery process, you now have the ability to begin creating your controlled environment.

The control buttons are used to created easy switches the have up to three sequences that can be programmed to them. TO operate them it is just a simple press of the button but how you press it determines which of the three programs you want it to run. The options are a single click, double click or a continuous hold down of the button to achieve these three options.

The buttons can either be mounted using a self-adhesive back or just placed on a table top. They have a replaceable battery in them that lasts up to five years before you need to change them out. System Specifications

The Starter Pack includes:  Home switch (x2, with battery), Plug-in bridge, Mounting tape (x2) and User documentation priced at $99.99. Each add-on switch costs $39.99. It can be controlled either by iOS or Android devices. I haven’t found out whether it can be controlled from a PC yet but if your techy enough you can probably figure a way around that.

While this isn’t the system I would necessarily use if I was starting out today when I compare it to one of Honeywell’s advanced systems but if you are a do-it-yourselfer, and are using different technologies to accomplish different tasks then this can be a great way of bringing it back together.

More info on Logitech’s Pop Home Management System


It feels these days that we never get away from work

2008-05-26 Monday Morning Sunrise 020How do you successfully balance your time on vacation with still accomplishing what you need to for work and keep your family happy. I don’t remember a time when I totally unplugged from the office while I am away on vacation. When you are in a job that requires constant and continuing communication it is hard to just say no. What you can say is this is how I am going to manage it though. That is the biggest thing, along with setting expectation of those that are involved.

My typical vacation day still starts around 5am, I don’t sleep in much, I feel that I am about to miss something if I do. I’ll brew the coffee. Take a quick look outside to see whether we will have a sunrise worth taking pictures of and if so I will get things ready to take a walk down to the beach. However, before I leave, I have checked email, my RSS Feeds and decided on the rest of the morning’s projects that I will need to work on.

Luckily my wife likes to sleep in when we are on vacation so I have until between 7-8 before she gets up. We have breakfast together, I’m on cleanup and she gets ready for the beach. I finish up what I need to do for the morning and follow down around 10 or 11. It may sound a little boring but it accomplishes what I need it to do. The big thing here is that we have set our expectations of what we both need of each other and we try our best to adhere to them. Remember, you are on vacation as well.

You also need to be flexible. You can plan day trips that would normally interfere with your planned time to work but make it know when you are not going to be available and don’t fret over not being in touch. There is seldom a situation that can’t be put off for awhile and if there really is an emergency you can be reached by phone.

The bottom line is that you have to think about yourself, your family and friends that you might be with on your vacation and the needs of those that you left behind. Probably in that order. You can’t be on 24x7x365 days a year. You won’t get the best of you to give to those that need you.

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