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Gearhead has moved
Looking for Mark Gibbs' latest musings? Head on over to Gearhead blog. Same wit, same site, different platform.
Three tools for getting organized: Looking for 'The One'
Getting organized isn't something you do once and then forget about. Oh no. Organization needs constant polishing and review and, in short, is a total pain in the butt. I've always wished I were one of those hyper-organized people who has a place for everything and everything always has its place, but alas, that apparently isn't in my genetic makeup.
WordPress plugins leave you vulnerable to attack, and new devices 'protect you' from cellphone radiation
First up this week, a white paper or report or ... I have no idea what these things should be called any more ... maybe a "glorified press release"? Whatever. Let's call it "a study" from Checkmarx, a company that specializes in automated security code review, titled "The Security State of WordPress' top 50 Plugins."
A cool USB hub, a sweet Mini WiFi Router, and how to find Paul Revere through social analysis
Gibbs reviews two products from Satechi and is impressed by a paper that explains the power of social network analysis
Zooka, a neat iPad Bluetooth speaker, and a review of tools for wire-framing user interfaces
This week, a collection of goodies. First up for all of you iPad aficionados, a neat wireless Bluetooth speaker called Zooka from Carbon Audio that fits onto the edge of your tablet and boosts your audio volume by about five times (turned up full, that's a sound pressure of 80dB at 1 meter). There's also a built-in microphone so you can take calls if you've paired the Zooka with your iPhone.
Gearhead's 2013 Summer Reading List
As I note in Backspin, as of the 24th of this month, I've been writing for Network World for 20 years and 6 days. And my first Gearhead column published a mere 17 years, 4 months and 5 days ago (see page 52). I'm going to leave the peering into the rearview mirror to see how we got here to Backspin and, instead, do as I always do: Talk about cool, geeky stuff you need. Today, I have your summer reading assignments.
Pixelmator costs $15 and does 95% of the stuff we use Photoshop for
UPDATE: When I wrote last week's Gearhead, "No more Adobe Dreamweaver, so how about Xara Web Designer?" I had looked at Adobe's online shop to make sure that CS6 wasn't available. Clicking on the dropdown showed:
No more Adobe Dreamweaver, so how about Xara Web Designer?
If you're doing serious Web content engineering you might well choose an all-singing, all-dancing product such as Adobe's Dreamweaver. The latest version of Dreamweaver in Adobe's Creative Suite 6 (released just over a year ago) was really impressive with new features such as an improved user interface, support for jQuery UI widgets, better cascading style sheet Version 3 support and support for PhoneGap. All in all, a very cool and comprehensive Web development platform.
Why your next big IT project is doomed
Have you had a IT project go astray? Maybe you were lucky and it was a brief hiccup with minimal financial consequences. Or maybe you had a disaster of biblical proportions, such as the one that befell Levi Strauss in 2008.
Pneuron, an outstanding enterprise data infrastructure solution
How would you like to build a global enterprise-scale data access infrastructure? A daunting prospect, yes? Imagine creating a system that could make any subset of any significant data resource in your organization available where it's needed without incurring insane implementation and maintenance costs ... sounds too good to be true?
Jynxbox Android a great way to make your TV smart
This week two outstanding products: The Jynxbox Android HD and Seagate Wireless Plus
Logitech Broadcaster Wi-Fi Webcam: Outstanding portable video
Considering the enormous webcam market and the number of products available it's hard to believe that anyone could come up with anything new, novel and useful but, impressively, that's just what Logitech has managed to do with its Broadcaster Wi-Fi Webcam, a really well-designed webcam for OS X and iOS only.
iOS VPNs and portable storage for Apple devices
First up, serious networking stuff concerning Apple and how iOS supports VPNs and how it won't in future.
Globalgig Hotspot: Taking the pain out of data roaming
Business travel is, under the best of circumstances, a royal pain in the butt, and when you're roaming internationally with a smartphone and need to make some calls and keep up with email, you face a zonking great bill when you get home.
Presentations and pointing with lasers
Every now and then a company appears that makes a slew of cool products. The latest of these is Satechi, which I think should use the tag line "purveyors of fine gadgets." Satechi just sent me a few very cool items and in a couple of weeks I shall review their remarkable Wireless Mini Router/Repeater. Today, I have two of their presentation controllers, both of which include laser pointers.
Four tools for checking bandwidth
The question of whether you're getting the bandwidth you pay for is one that just doesn't go away. Twice in the last few months I've suspected my ADSL connection of running slow and, sure enough, despite the modem telling me I had 3Mbps down and 500Kbps up, for whatever reason, restarting the modem fixed the problem.
Peer 1 maps the 'Net on iOS and Android
When you're talking to a n00b -- say, your CEO or VP of sales and marketing (or maybe even your CIO) -- it can be hard to get them to understand just how big and complex the Internet is. Sure, they hear about the billions of people on the 'Net and all of the companies making money through e-commerce of one kind or another (which hopefully includes yours), but what they will often have a problem grasping is the sheer scale of the Internet and how it's grown. What they need is a visual aid.
LinkedIn open sources its database change capture system
OK, lots of interesting stuff for you this week. First up, LinkedIn has open sourced a system called Databus, a real-time database change capture system that provides a "timeline-consistent stream of change capture events ... grouped in transactions, in source commit order."
PortableApps makes a great emergency toolkit for PC and Internet diagnostics
If there are two terms that define what is driving computing today they're mobility and portability. We want to be able to run whatever we want anywhere and on anything.
Android on Everything
This week is Android week here in Gearhead land, starting with a tool that will let you run pretty much any Android app on your Mac or Windows PC.
NuoDB, a new approach to SQL databases
I feel like some kind of dubious character from a crime movie: "Psst, buddy! Wanna cloud database that's non-stop, geographically and elastically scalable? And it's also ACID compliant, roughly 75% of the cost of using Oracle, good at hybrid workloads, SQL-compliant, ridiculously easy to install, equally easy to manage, and runs on multiple platforms. And did I mention cheap? Oh yeah, I did."
Jailed for jailbreaking: The new law could land you in the slammer
I know why you're excited: You can't wait for your iDevice to update to iOS 6.1 which was just released. Now Siri will be able to misunderstand what movie you want to see and present you with a link to Fandango. Or she may, as usual, think you want to dial the number of the nearest Chinese restaurant. And thus does technology march onward.
AppNeta: A compelling multi-site wide area and network performance management suite
Before look at a wide area and network performance analysis tool this week I want to add another language to the list of worthy tools I suggested in Gearhead the week before last.
Networking air quality measurements
"Air pollution is a problem for all of us. The average adult breathes over 3,000 gallons of air every day. ... Many air pollutants, such as those that form urban smog and toxic compounds, remain in the environment for long periods of time and are carried by the winds hundreds of miles from their origin. Millions of people live in areas where urban smog, very small particles, and toxic pollutants pose serious health concerns. ... Long-term exposure to air pollution can cause cancer and long-term damage to the immune, neurological, reproductive, and respiratory systems."
Pure and Julia are cool languages worth checking out
Gibbs starts the New Year with two languages and a new productivity tool.

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