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New Spartan Web Browser Could Serve As Microsoft’s Last Stand

Spartan. It’s a word that still carries a fair amount of weight despite the fact that the warriors that originally gave the word its’ gravitas have been dead for over 2000 years. Unfortunately, brands have begun to hop on the Spartan bandwagon so we’ve seen everything from Spartan races, Spartan athletic equipment and, now thanks to Microsoft we have the Spartan web browser. It’s a little early to cast judgement on Internet Explore’rs successor seeing as Windows 10 has yet to debut but, it does feel a bit like a last ditch effort by Microsoft to keep their own web browser. And who knows, it could be a vibrant success for a sleeping giant.

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Free Microsoft Office Online Makes Your Office Mobile

For the past four years I have relied on a free subscription to Microsoft Office through my alma mater, Hofstra University. Then I graduated. My subscription disappeared and I was left between a rock and a hard place as I looked to replace Microsoft Office on my Macbook. To fully replace it I would have had to pay a whopping $140 for four programs (Excel, Powerpoint, Word and OneNote). And there was no way that was going to happen.

So, I started exploring other cheaper options (disclaimer: cheaper does not mean piracy). I tried out Google Docs, Textedit and a few other word processors. But, they all ended with the same result: utter disappointment. I entered Word withdrawal and finally I broke down and searched for a ‘free’ version of Microsoft Word. Lo and behold, the first result that popped up was titled Microsoft Office Online; a free online interface, built by Microsoft themselves, that gives you access to Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and OneNote all for the price of a Microsoft account (which is also free). Listed below are some of our favorite features from the free Microsoft Office Online.

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The Frighteningly Awesome New Technology of 2014


Spiders, snakes and darkness. They may be the favorite companions and pets of those upper-echelon villains that pervade our literature, films and streets on the 31st of October but, I have to say, they would not be my preferred form of company. Fortunately, I do not typically end up in the hands of my arch-nemesis very often (which might be because I don’t have one, but, if you do, I feel sorry for you). That category of enemy is reserved for a select few people in my life and who that enemy is dependent on the day. For example, we have the classic guy-who-yells-through-his-phone-on-the-subway and the threatening man-who-does-not-cover-nose-while-sneezing but none of them pose an Arkham Asylum-esque threat to my wellbeing.

No, my enemies are boring. But that could all change soon as some terrifying, but awesome new technology has been introduced this year. Technology that could change everything.

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The New iOS8 Update Features You Need to Know

New iOS8 Update Features Overview

Apple rolled out Yosemite last week to some pretty rave reviews and I have to say, I was pretty impressed. The new flat design and simplified icons made for a more enjoyable and contemporary aesthetic experience. It was easy to use and it made my 2010 Macbook Pro feel like it was a brand new computer (although that may have had to do with me performing a clean install of Yosemite). As impressed as I was, I have to say not all of Apple’s recent products have been as pleasing. Downloading iOS8 was a nightmare, the new iPhone seemed like more of the same and the new iPad was not much better. But, with a recent update to iOS8 and with the launch of Apple Pay, Apple is looking to make up for its’ failure from two weeks ago. Here are the new iOS8 update features that you need to know.

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Will Matchstick Blow Chromecast Out of the Water?

In light of a current Kickstarter project that has more than doubled its funding goal with just under a month left of fundraising time to go, it looks like Chromecast better get ready for company. Matchstick is a new streaming stick built on the Firefox OS that is completely open-source, and from the look of things, it means business.

The Matchstick is a WiFi-connected stick that plugs into the HDMI port of any HDTV or HD monitor. Through this connection, you’re able to stream anything on your computer—TV, movies, music, games, Internet content—straight to your HDTV. This sounds a whole lot like Google’s Chromecast, and in many ways it is, but what sets the Matchstick apart is that it’s built on and certified for Firefox OS. Its creators were set on building a completely open hardware and software platform, so they teamed up with Mozilla to make it happen.

By building on an open, adaptable platform, they manage to reduce production costs, slim down the install, and offer way more personalized apps than any other platform. We’re aware now more than ever before that the Internet is full of extraordinarily talented designers and developers with crazy ideas for new apps to share—why keep them from improving products like the Matchstick by building on a closed-source platform?

The Matchstick’s Hardware

  • Dual-core Rockchip 3066 Processor
  • 4GB Onboard Storage
  • 1GB DDR3 Memory

The team at Matchstick are so dedicated to being truly open that they’ve even made the hardware schematics for the device available for download on their website! This way anyone who wants to build their own streaming stick can do so.

They’re also in the process of creating 250 Matchstick prototypes to be distributed to qualified app developers so that content can begin being created before the final product is publicly released. Qualified developers only can apply for the program on the Matchstick Developer Portal.

The Kickstarter campaign ends on October 30, and the Matchstick team plans to have the final product in backers’ hands by February (early adopters as early as November). As of now, their product is fully functional and ready to begin production. They are excited to see what their engineers and community of developers are able to bring to life in the coming months before the retail version of the Matchstick is released.

In addition to having the upper hand as far as its openness goes, Matchstick is going to retail for a whole $10 less than Chromecast at a mere $25. It’s looking like the Matchstick is going to give Chromecast a serious run for its money…what do you think? Let us know on Facebook!

Evernote and OneNote Fight For Note-Taking Supremacy

Do you ever feel like you’re being overrun with post-its? I do. They have managed to overrun both my desk at work and my one at home. Besides the post-its, there’s notebook paper everywhere (some of which I can’t even remember scribbling on), and trying to find a pen is like buying a lottery ticket; you just can’t win. If you haven’t noticed, I’m disorganized (but I’ve heard the first step towards recovery is acknowledging you have a problem).  With that, I asked my friends what they do to keep their desktops organized, and I found that a few of them rarely put any paper on their physical desktops. They use everything from their iPhone to their laptop to take notes, and could organize them or read them across all of their devices.

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Cloudpocalypse: Amazon Cloud Drive Rains on NSA’s Parade

In a previous post, we discussed how cloud computing firms are a little nervous about the future of their online services after Edward Snowden’s now infamous (or famous) leak of confidential NSA surveillance information. That leak could cost cloud companies between $22 billion to $35 billion in foreign business over the next three years. Even for tech giants like Apple and Google, losing that sum of money represents a major obstacle for the technology, and could result in them abandoning the cloud altogether. While some companies run for cover, and others step into the arena with the NSA, there is one company that is focused primarily on the growth of cloud computing.

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How Bluetooth Smart Technology Will Make for a Better, Safer Future

Calling all iPhone users (4S and above, at least)! If you have updated to iOS7, then you may want to check out the upper right corner of your home screen. There you will find (unless it has been turned off) a grey squiggle next to your battery. Your phone has been Bluetooth enabled, but that’s not entirely new. iPhones have worked with Bluetooth for a few years now, but something changed in 2011 after the release of the 4S—something that would change Bluetooth forever.

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How to Boost Your Company’s Findability

Have you ever noticed how difficult it can be to find your keys when you’re in a rush? They’re never where you’d expect them to be. You may have even bought that little $5 organizer thing that you promised yourself you’d always put your keys in after the last time your ripped apart half of your house trying to find them. But they’re not where you swore you’d leave them, and now you’re standing in the middle of a room full of all sorts of stuff—pillows, dog toys, blankets, clothes, books—everything except your keys. You turn over everything, and still haven’t found them. You’re about to throw your hands up and just call a cab, and suddenly something catches your eye. Your keys! But they’re all the way on top of the bookcase, and you’ll need a step stool to reach them (how’d they even get there, anyway?). You stretch as far as humanly possible, and you’re just able to wrap your finger around a keychain to tug them down from the shelf, when suddenly you lose your balance and come crashing down to the floor, along with your big screen TV. The room’s a mess, your TV’s broken, and on top of it all, you’re hurting pretty badly. But at least you found your keys, right?

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How Google Drive Stacks Up Against Office Online

Microsoft Office has been the go-to office suite for businesses around the world since its introduction in November of 1990. With very few viable alternatives to choose from, small businesses have had to rely on the tech-giant’s applications for the better part of the last 24 years. The price of running the programs can cost small businesses a small fortune (Office Professional 2013 costs $399.99 per computer) that they could be spending elsewhere. But no other suitor existed, businesses were forced to pay for the software, and there were troubling times in the kingdom as the people waited for a champion.

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How to Protect Yourself from Hackers and Heartbleed

Two weeks ago, the Heartbleed Bug rocked the world (literally). Some are calling it the greatest security threat the Internet has ever seen, while others are less certain of the damage inflicted by the virus. The truth is, as of right now, we don’t know a whole lot about it, and sometimes not knowing how to protect yourself from hackers can be much more frightening than understanding the gravity of the situation.

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Cloud Based Computing Revolutionizing the Way We Work

In 1965, an American psychologist who went by the nickname “Lick,” claimed that one day the entire world would be completely interconnected, and be able to share information through the “Intergalactic computer network.” Besides that being an awesome name, J.C.R. Licklider predicted the invention of what we now call “cloud computing.” Through programs like Google Drive, iCloud, and Dropbox, business professionals now have access to their work regardless of where they are located, which has resulted in a far more flexible and interconnected workforce than any other time in history.

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Apple’s Latest Update iOS 7.0.6 to Fix SSL Bug

We weren’t kidding when we said that the Internet was abuzz with internet security concerns in a recent blog about password management, and Friday made that all the more clear as Apple released iOS 7.0.6. The update was released quietly, simply stating that prior to the update, “an attacker with privileged network position may capture or modify data in sessions protected by SSL/TLS.” What does this mean to those of us who aren’t fluent in the lingo? Update your iPhone immediately!

But what does this all mean if you’re not super techie? We’ll spell it out for you.

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