Thursday, March 28, 2013

Why is Evernote growing so quickly?

Can a cult develop around an organization app? If it's Evernote, the five-year-old note-taking and organization application that's growing with amazing speed, the answer is an absolute "yes." Evernote has attracted a growing base of devoted fans, fans happy to spread the news about this application for free, fans that would never consider using any other note-taking software, according to a fascinating feature recently run by BloombergBusinessweek.

Devoted fans

According to the Bloomberg BusinessWeek story, Evernote today boasts over 50 million users, amazing for an app that's only been around for five years. Even more remarkable is the fact that new users are signing at a pace of 100,000 a day. That makes chief executive officer Phil Libin's goal of reaching 1 billion users across the globe seem more feasible than farfetched.

Why so hot?

According to the BloombergBusinessweek story, Evernote currently has more than 50 million users around the world. Plus the number of users remains on the rise. The story says that more than 100,000 new users sign up for Evernote each day. That's impressive. And the BloombergBusinessweek interview quotes CEO Phil Libin as saying that his goal is to reach 1 billion users.

Why the popularity?

In the story, Libin says that he doesn't understand the concept of work/life balance. For home, work is part of life, and something that he enjoys doing. It's why he admits to checking e-mail messages late into the evening. Evernote takes advantage of this changing view of the world, one shared by not just Libin. A growing number of individuals work on the fly, scheduling meetings and interviews around the clock. An organizing program like Evernote is the perfect fit for this lifestyle. And that just might reveal why the app has grown to be so popular so quickly.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why one tech writer switched to Android

Are you like technology writer Andy Ihnatko? The writer never thought he would dump his iPhone. As he writes in a newly released column for the Tech Hive Website, he obtained his first iPhone when Apple was introducing its first-generation versions. And has raved about the devices in his tech writing. Yet that didn’t stop Ihnatko from converting recently to a Samsung Galaxy S III. The reason? The Android operating system that powers the phone. In Ihnatko’s opinion, this operating system has grown to be better, powerful and intuitive compared to the system powering iPhones, iOS.

Making the move toward Android

Ihnatko writes that he's long been a fan of the iPhone. He obtained the first generation of the device. And he did it during the period when AT&T offered an unlimited data plan. He still had that unlimited plan before making the choice to switch to an Android smart phone. What's that mean? It indicates that Ihnatko really must like Android to surrender that unlimited data plan.

A great operating system?

Ihnatko writes that he converted to Android, and gave up his unlimited data plan, for one reason: The Android operating system has become a great one. Concurrently, the phones using this system grew a lot more powerful. The draw of Android, then, was simply too strong. Today, Ihnatko subscribes to an LTE data plan with a monthly cap of 5 GB. And he uses his Android phone to make all of his calls.

Two crucial factors

So, why is Android better, as stated by Ihnatko? First, Android phones feature better keyboards, he writes. This is very important for anyone who answers several e-mail messages and sends out several Tweets a day. Then there's screen size. Ihnatko says that the screen on his iPhone now seems tiny compared with the screen on the Samsung Galaxy S III. And in today's mobile world -- when we spend considerable time watching video and accessing the Web with our smartphones, that larger screen means a lot.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Manners matter when you're sending e-mail

<p>E-mail can become overwhelming. It clogs our inboxes and slows us down. In some cases, we pound out responses as fast as possible to clear out our inboxes, giving little thought to what we are writing. This is ill-fated. There is a certain etiquette we ought to follow when sending e-mails. When we forget to mind our manners, we might end up insulting or confounding the recipients of our e-mail missives. Here, then, is a quick look at some e-mail etiquette essentials.</p> <p><strong>Sometimes it is possible to too brief</strong></p> <p>When someone receives an e-mail message that simply says &ldquo;yes&rdquo; or, even worse, "no," they may ponder whether you&rsquo;re somewhat ticked at them. After all, that is a very short reply. When sending e-mail messages, be sure to include a bit more meat to help make your recipients feel better. Rather than just answering &ldquo;yes,&rdquo; why not add a, &ldquo;Thanks for asking&rdquo; or a &ldquo;Hope you&rsquo;re doing well today.&rdquo; That can make a big difference. If your message is brief because you&rsquo;re typing it on a smartphone or tablet, make a special e-mail signature that informs recipients that this is the reason for the short message.</p> <p><strong>Don&rsquo;t ignore messages</strong></p> <p>CBS News reminds you to definitely answer back when you receive an e-mail message. Our inboxes are often bombarded with e-mails. It can seem like quite a job to reply to all of them. But disregarding an e-mail message is rude, CBS News says, and may turn people off. CBS News states that sometimes a simple reply of "Thanks" is all that senders require to feel positive that you've received and are thinking about their message.</p> <p><strong>Be careful</strong></p> <p>We receive a lot of e-mails each day, it&rsquo;s tempting to pound out responses and send them back without proofreading and editing them. After all, that removes at least some of your e-mail clutter. However, this may also result in messages full of typos, something that&rsquo;s more than a bit off-putting. If you don&rsquo;t proof your messages, you might accidentally forget to attach that report or photo you are promising. That&rsquo;s annoying for recipients.</p> <p><strong>Be polite and don't shout</strong></p> <p>Whatever you do, do not ever send an e-mail message that is written completely in capital letters. This is whats called shouting, and no one likes it. It&rsquo;s easy to see why: A message in all caps is hard on the eyes. Instead, follow the normal rules of capitalization when drafting your e-mail messages.</p>

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Is the U.S. government driving a black market in zero-day bugs?

Stuxnet made big headlines in 2010. That's when online security specialists first discovered this new piece of malware, one powerful enough to attack and control the industrial systems used in the nuclear program being developed by Iran. As a recent story by the MIT Technology Review says, many people today believe the intelligence departments of Israel and the United States teamed up to develop Stuxnet. And that, to many, is unsettling news. It's evidence of a new from of virtual warfare, one in which countries create powerful malware to unleash against their enemies. And the United States seems to be leading the charge.

A more dangerous Internet?

According to the Technology Review story, investigators are continually uncovering new malware that, like Stuxnet, has one goal: to act as a weapon. How many malware weapons have governments across the globe created? Nobody knows the answer to that. But the story does say that governments and companies, including in the United States, are paying big dollars to computer pros who create these malware weapons. That leaves a significant question left unanswered: Are these new malware weapons making the Internet an even more hazardous place?

Watch your smartphone

Don't believe that you can avoid malware weapons by doing most of your computing on tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices. The reality is, governments are very interested in targeting these mobile devices. First, progressively more people are doing the majority of their computing on these mobile devices. Secondly, mobile devices are particularly susceptible to malware because their operating systems are updated so rarely. The Technology Review story points to Apple, which only updates its iPhone operating system a couple of times each year. That represents a golden opportunity for governments to infect the smartphones of suspects with spyware.

Nothing new?

The Technology Review story ends on a somber note. Perhaps, it suggests, these malware weapons are not so unusual. Countries around the world routinely develop new weapons. Malware exploits might be the latest version of an arms race. However, consumers might be caught in the crossfire of a Web that's suddenly become infinitely more dangerous.