Amazon: Death by Cloud for Traditional Software

Though few seem to notice, Amazon is not-so-quietly building out its Amazon Web Services (AWS) to take on traditional enterprise computing…and win. While today AWS mostly undermines only the software businesses of open-source vendors like Red Hat, tomorrow it will likely challenge the giants of enterprise applications.

AVG LinkScanner Adds Real-time Protection to Your Browsing

AVG LogoWe have covered our share of tips and tricks to help keep your system safe, secure and malware-free. Sam has written a couple of times about one of my favorite tools, the excellent Malware Bytes product, which does a tremendous job of cleaning up after a spyware or scareware infection. But wouldn’t it be great to prevent this sort of thing before it happens?
Anti-virus vendor AVG Technologies is hoping that by releasing its LinkScanner technology as a free, standalone product it’ll be able to help protect us from an expanding online threat.
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The Poor Web Worker’s Virtual Assistant

Not everyone can afford a virtual assistant, especially if you’re just starting to freelance and it’s a little out of your budget. Still, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to enjoy some of the benefits of having one: you can still delegate and automate some of your tasks without the heavy price tag.
I’ve looked at some of the common services that VAs provide, and found some free or cheap alternatives that you might want to look into.

Stick It, Remember It and Peel It with lino

linologoI use email drafts and a to-do app in a personal information manager to track things I need to get done but I’m always looking for better solutions. So I was interested to see that a new version of lino, the online sticky notes app that we’ve briefly covered previously, had been released.
A good online sticky notes apps can be useful in a number of way: You can use it to track work for clients, keep an eye on to-dos items and due dates, and to brainstorm and work collaboratively with groups. Read More about Stick It, Remember It and Peel It with lino

From Print to Web: Tips for the Transitioning Writer

Thanks to a few lucky opportunities at school, my transition from print to web was a gradual process, and a move that I made voluntarily. That’s not the case for a large number of writers currently making the same transition. The print journalism and publishing industries are in big trouble, with no sign of turning a corner anytime soon. More and more print publications are switching to the web, and finding it hard to deal with the fact that they can’t just move their existing content and keep on doing the same thing, business as usual.

Likewise, writers can’t just keep producing the same kind of content for a different medium. The web, and its readers, demand a different kind of writing, delivered in a different way. It can hard to find the right mix, especially if you’ve spent your entire professional life writing one way, only to be asked to completely change that up. Here are some tips and resources to help get a handle on just what kind of change is required.

Google Sync Beta Now Available for iPhone

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Jealous of MobileMe (s AAPL) users but not willing to part with $100 and/or wary of its seemingly persistent problems? Have no fear, Google’s (s GOOG) here.

Google Sync Beta, that is, which is now available for the iPhone (and Windows Mobile, but c’mon, honestly). With it, you can sync your Google Calendar and your Gmail Contacts over the air, and what’s more, changes on either side are automatically pushed. I know I’m sort of regretting that MobileMe subscription right about now, considering I never use the Photos, iDisk, or Bookmarks features anyways, although push Mail syncing is not yet supported.

Setting up Google Sync Beta on your iPhone is easy, but be forewarned: doing so will delete your existing iPhone contacts and calendar data, so don’t do it unless you have that information safely stored somewhere else. And if you’re currently using MobileMe, disable that first, or you’ll run the risk of pushing your deleted contacts/calendars to your other devices.
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Daily Apple: Makeover, Market Loss, Marriage, Make-Believe

Marble Interface To Be The New Face of OS X? – According to MacRumors, Snow Leopard could bring a facelift to OS X, one which bring a more consistent look across the operating system. They don’t name their source, but they do cite John Gruber as a corroborating piece of evidence.

Apple PC Market Share Slips to Acer – A drop of 1.5 percent from 9.5 to 8 in the fourth quarter of 2008, as compared to the third quarter, found Apple losing ground to computer maker Acer. Did netbooks have something to do with the slide? Yes. Definitely, obviously, most assuredly.

For Your Wedding? Seriously? – It’s a neat cake, there’s no denying that. The care that obviously went in to such a faithful reproduction is obvious. But is it really the cake you want to have when you’re celebrating one of the most important days of your life? Apparently yes, for some.

Apple Losing Its Education Appeal? – Not the usual news bite, but rather an extended essay on why Apple may lose its position of grace in the education market if it, and the economy, keep going the way they’re going.

Wired Removes Hackintosh Video After Apple Asks – At first, CNET jumped the gun and was calling “Suit!” They haven’t gone that far yet, but Apple did send a letter to Wired asking them to remove the video they’d created detailing how to to turn your netbook into a hackintosh.

4GB iPhone Coming Soon, According to Ever-Imaginative Analysts – It might happen, right? After all, “checks indicate” it. Via the “build rates.” Sounds rock solid to me.

Netbooks: The Race to the Bottom Has Begun

Seems everyone’s talking about netbooks these days. So I will, too since I’ve seen so much punditry of late that says Apple can’t charge their usual prices anymore, the economy is in the dumps, netbooks rule, Apple can’t ignore the market, etc. 

Yes, we see a lot of figures going around about millions of netbooks sold, but what’s it mean to the bottom line? Are Acer, HP, Lenovo, etc. showing more profit from these things? These same companies will sell you a notebook that’s supposedly half the price of Apple’s, but that’s not where the money is. It’s cutthroat down there as each vendor tries to shave another penny off the price. They hope to draw you in with the price and up-sell you. 
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How Many OS 9 Die-Hards Are Out There?

How many Mac fans are still using OS 9? It’s a difficult statistic to track, or at least I’ve found it so. Hitslink’s November 2008 market share report shows pre-Intel Mac operating systems still represent a respectable (nearly three times the penetration of Linux) 2.35 percent of total OS usage (vs. 6.51 percent for MacIntel), but it’s not broken down between OS X and Mac OS Classic PPC systems.

Cult of Mac’s Giles Turnbull notes that way back in 2004 he posted a column entitled “OS9 – Blimey Some People Still Use It” for Mac DevCenter, but never imagined he’d be posting a similar piece four years later.

“But – blimey,” Turnbull wrote last week, “there are STILL some people out there using OS 9 and very happy with it too, thank you very much.”
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AT&T Begins Offering At-Home Activation for iPhones Bought Online

In yet another move designed with the intention of moving as many iPhones as possible this holiday season, AT&T began taking orders online for the iPhone 3G today. The option is open to anyone, and includes both the 8GB and 16GB models. A minimum two-year contract purchase is required when ordering online.

Once you select your model, you can configure you voice and data plans and any other options you want to include in your service bundle. You can also add AppleCare and other iPhone-specific accessories. You are, however, limited to one device per household, so you won’t be able to knock out your whole family shopping list in one go.

AT&T is also offering free overnight shipping for a limited time, in order to ensure that customers get their phones in time for Christmas. They’ve also posted a countdown of how many days are left before you’re no longer guaranteed pre-holidays arrival of your order. Once you receive your iPhone, you’ll have to connect it to iTunes in order to complete the activation process. New customers also have to provide their social security information so that AT&T can run a credit check.

Allowing online purchasing of the iPhone could extend the reach of the popular device to even more markets, and should save AT&T some infrastructure costs on the retail side of its operations. Despite the abundant availability of AT&T stores in urban areas, the new online option could appeal to those in more remote locations. You should note that using AT&T’s method, it’s still not possible to buy an iPhone for people outside your immediate family, since sensitive personal information is required in order to run the credit check.