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More SMB Tech Opinion

  • Opinion: New Point-of-Sale Strategy Boosts Service and Security

    The tools used to ring up sales have come a long way since the cash register. The first point-of-sale (POS) software for Microsoft Windows emerged in the early 1990s. POS systems have since evolved from souped-up cash registers that did nothing more than record sales into hubs for business management, operations, and analysis. The past decade has seen the rise of touchscreen interfaces, customer self-checkout stations, and payment kiosks.

  • Opinion: Access Gmail When You're Not Connected to the Internet

    Reader David is an avid Gmail user who recently spent five weeks in Brazil, where "any form of permanent [Internet] connection was far from possible." In other words, he quickly grew frustrated with Gmail because of his limited connectivity.

  • Opinion: WikiLeaks Leak of Its Leaks Puts Sources at Risk

    It is hard not to be the center of controversy when you're a site like WikiLeaks that specializes in exposing information that was never intended for the general public. The whistleblowing, freedom of the press advocate is in hot water again as it is the victim itself of a breach that exposed US State Department communications that had been leaked to it.

  • Opinion: Bugs & Fixes: Microsoft Outlook annoyances

    I've been using Outlook 2011 as my mail program since Microsoft released it as the replacement for Entourage last year. Overall, the transition from Entourage has been a smooth one. Outlook does have several quirks and omissions, however, that bother me on an almost daily basis. What is especially irritating about these quirks is that Entourage handled the same situations with no problem--making Outlook feel more like a downgrade than an upgrade. A few of the issues (such as the lack of a Resend command) have been remedied in subsequent updates to Outlook. But not all. Here are three that remain:

  • Opinion: Firefox's Rapid Release Schedule Draws More Blame

    Mozilla's new rapid release schedule for its Firefox browser has come under considerable fire in recent weeks, and over the weekend even more fuel was added to the conflagration.

  • Opinion: Caution: Should You Share Your Location on Facebook?

    Facebook recently rolled out a number of changes to the social networking site. One of the changes eliminates the concept of Facebook Places, but instead incorporates location-aware updates at virtually every level of Facebook. You might want to think twice, though, before broadcasting your location to the anonymous masses online.

  • Opinion: Post-Jobs, Apple Needs to Open Up

    There's no denying that the departure of Steve Jobs as Apple CEO is the end of an era. It's difficult to think of any other leader as synonymous with a brand as he has been.

  • Opinion: Design a Vegetable Garden With PlanGarden

    As someone who gets itchy (green) thumbs around mid-winter, PlanGarden sounds like my dream software. Starting with a plot size as large as five acres, you can use PlanGarden ($20, limited demo) to draw your envisioned garden beds, lay out all of your imagined plants including plant spacings, set frost dates and indoor starting dates, and start a daily PlanGarden log. When you're ready to plant, use PlanGarden to track varieties, amount planted (by plant, row, or area), date planted, and estimated days to harvest. PlanGarden has a harvest log too, so you can track how much you gather from each plant. Unfortunately, overly basic features and a clumsy interface make PlanGarden somewhat less than dreamy.

  • Opinion: Did Microsoft Trick Google Into Buying Motorola?

    The media has been abuzz all week with news and analysis of the Google-Motorola deal. When all of the dust settles on the business logic behind the deal, or its impact on pending Android patent infringement, or what it means for the future of Google TV, the company that gains the most from this new relationship may just be Microsoft.

  • Opinion: InterFAX Adds Faxing From Google Docs

    As much as it baffles me that fax machines still exist in the 21st century, I still have a handful of business contacts who rely on--nay, stubbornly insist on--fax machines for important business communications. While this has become rare in the tech world, where sentient beings have long since abandoned faxes for PDFs and email, many independent contractors in a variety of fields still force their clients to fax important documents.

  • Opinion: Zynga Reportedly Buys Astro Ape

    Zynga has acquired mobile games start-up Astro Ape, according to Business Insider, which notes that Astro Ape employees are changing their place of employment on LinkedIn.

  • Opinion: It's Clear Why Software Patents Need to Disappear

    If there's any lesson to be learned from Google's news-making activities these past few days, it's that software patents are a problem.

  • Opinion: Google-Motorola Deal: Pundits Weigh In

    Google's bid to acquire Motorola Mobility is a brilliant move that will stave off Android's patent attackers. Or it's act of desperation that will force Android phone makers to adopt rival platforms. Or it was simply something that Google had to do, for better or worse.

  • Opinion: Stop Gmail From Downloading Too Many Messages

    Recently I helped a family member set up a new PC, which included installing Windows Live Mail 2011 and configuring it for use with her Gmail account. Just one problem: she has something like 75,000 messages in this account, and Live Mail insisted on downloading them all. Needless to say, the program choked on that much mail; it was barely operable.

  • Opinion: Microsoft Pokes Fun at Google in Video: 'The GMailman'

    Microsoft may have taken another swing at Google and, more specifically, Gmail in the form of a spoof video that was allegedly shown to rally the Office 365 salesforce at the Microsoft Global Exchange conference last week.

  • Opinion: Download a Free Home-Inventory Spreadsheet

    In recent weeks I've had something of a wake-up call: several friends and family members have had their houses broken into and some expensive possessions stolen. I'm talking laptops, big-screen TVs, and the like. This got me wondering how prepared I'd be if the same thing happened to me. For example, would I be able to provide serial numbers to the police? And how could I prove my losses to my insurance company?

  • Opinion: Apple iPad, Day 24: Securing and Protecting the iPad

    30 Days With the iPad: Day 24

  • Opinion: AT&T Customers Attempt to Block T-Mobile Merger

    AT&T's plan to buy T-Mobile isn't just making industry rivals uneasy, it's also spurring resistance from customers.

  • Opinion: Combine Google Docs with Microsoft Office

    I'm finally starting to use Google Docs for word processing and creating spreadsheets on a regular basis. Like a lot of users, however, I'm still more comfortable working in Microsoft Office on my desktop. Google Docs however, provides a very handy service in that you can sign in from any computer anywhere in the world and access all your files. So how can you get the best of both worlds--comfortable desktop editing and the convenience of having your files in the cloud? A program called Syncdocs (free) has the solution.

  • Opinion: Sony VAIO Z Series - the ultimate, and most expensive, ultraportable notebook?

    Now Apple is the industry leader in quality notebook design, but Sony is still using its expertise to try to out-shrink the doyen of consumer electronics.



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