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Bell Canada, IBM Launch Hybrid Cloud Service

secure-cloud-partner-accessBell Canada and IBM have partnered to give Canadian businesses expanded access to cloud-computing services through Bell Business Cloud. Subscribers will now be able to connect to IBM Cloud via a high-speed, private Bell connection, and utilize a wide array of computing and storage options.

“Bell is an established leader in data hosting and cloud computing, providing customers with exceptional support from an expert nationwide team,” said Bell Business Markets President Tom Little, in a press release. “With businesses of all kinds increasingly relying on cloud services for their mission critical applications, adding IBM Cloud services to Bell Business Cloud provides customers with the seamless integration, security and dependability they expect and require.”

New services include Bell Cloud Connect, Bell Cloud Compute and Backup and Restore. The new offering will be available to mid and large businesses nationwide.

Introducing the Malware Museum

malware museumThe Internet Archive has recently launched an online Malware Museum, hoping to look fondly back on some of the more entertaining malware from the 1980s and 90s. The website displays memorabilia of these viruses, explaining that “Once they infected a system, they would sometimes show animation or messages that you had been infected.”

The museum contains 79 different examples of old-school malware as curated by Internet Archive’s Jason Scott and F-Secure’s Mikko Hypponen. An example includes the obscure Italian virus, which when infecting a computer does nothing but send a green, grey and red flag with the message “ITALY IS THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!” For The Lord of the Rings fans out there, the collection also has the Frodo virus, which infected computers every September 22, with a birthday message for Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

Fun fact, the first PC virus, Elk Cloner, appeared in 1982 as a practical joke created by a high school student. Now, estimates place the amount of viruses infecting computers around the world at nearly 500 million.

*Source: PC Mag

Android Users Can Save Apple Music to SD Card

apple-musicApple has recently released an update for the beta app of Apple Music for Android. As Android users may know, one of the perks of having an Android over an iPhone is the additional storage available through the use of an SD card – which Apple products do not support. Now it seems that Apple is choosing to recognize that perk, and are allowing Android users the option to store songs from Apple Music on their SD card.

This is a pretty decent update for a few reasons. Firstly, having the option not to store all your music on your phone, thus clearing up space for apps and whatnot, is always a bonus. And if you didn’t store your music, having the option to save to an SD card prevents potentially expensive data streaming.

If you’re an Apple Music for Android user and you’d like to start storing your music on an SD card, you only have to go your download settings and specify where you’d like your music to be saved.

*Source: CNET

Huge Bill for Cell Sold Online

phone-still-onSmartphones are expensive and it’s not unusual for someone to try to get back a few bucks by selling their old phone online. But one Canadian woman has learned an important lesson after receiving a bill for over $45,000 for a phone she no longer owned.

Kelly Arsenault opened a business account with Telus several years ago and when her three-year contract was up, she posted the phone on Craigslist and promptly sold it. She thought the account had been closed. So imagine her surprise when she opened the outrageous bill.

Turns out, as far as Telus was concerned, the account was still active. The person who had purchased it online realized it still worked and had churned through a hefty amount of data, racking up the big bill. The matter is still under investigation but Telus says it doesn’t expect Arsenault to pay the outstanding charges.

This story serves as a word of warning for anyone thinking of getting rid of an old phone in a private sale.

*Source: CTV News

Alphabet is the World’s Most Valuable Company

Alphabet_Inc_Logo_2015Google parent company Alphabet has officially become the world’s most valuable company, knocking previous titleholder Apple down a peg. This is mostly due to Alphabet’s growing digital advertising business.

In the past year Alphabet has made a $4.9 billion profit, up from $4.7 billion from the year before. Its stocks have skyrocketed in value and the company itself is worth about $570 billion. Apple, in comparison, is worth around $535 billion. Like Alphabet, Apple’s past quarter was record breaking. However, it is also faced with dwindling smartphone sales, as less people have been buying iPhones in the past months. In the meantime, paid clicks on advertisements have increased 31 percent in the past year, sending Alphabet’s business surging forward.

“Alphabet had the combination of growth and transparency, which is the magic 1-2 combination in this market, while Apple is struggling through a bad hitting streak of soft growth,” Daniel Ives, managing director for FBR Capital Markets, was quoted as saying. “Investors are focusing on names like Alphabet hitting its stride while Apple has stumbled a bit out of the gates in 2016.”

T-Mobile is Tops According to OpenSignal

opensignalThe results are in: T-Mobile is the top performing carrier in the United States, says OpenSignal’s recently released State of Mobile Networks report. According to the testing firm’s data, T-Mobile has increased its LTE coverage by 81 percent, bringing it in line with big players like Verizon.

“Verizon is still the operator to beat when it comes to network reliability, but T-Mobile is squaring off against the super-carrier in download speed,” states OpenSignal’s report. “Nationally both operators are averaging 4G connections of 12 Mbps, and in a speed comparison in the 11 largest U.S. cities, T-Mobile just barely edged out Verizon. AT&T and Sprint hardly even factored in the contest.”

T-Mobile was recognized with three awards: 3G latency, 3G download speed and 4G download speed. Verizon slid in second place with nods for its 4G coverage and download speeds. It was bad news for AT&T and Sprint, which fell far behind in just about every category.

To learn more, check out the full OpenSignal report.

Apple Recalls Millions of Power Adapters

apple adapter recallNo one wants to think about the risk of electric shock when charging their devices. Unfortunately, some Apple users may be at risk of just that because of their iPads and MacBooks. Recently, the tech giant found a number of its power adaptors for international outlets were inherently broken, potentially causing electric shock. Now the company faces having to recall decades’ worth of products.

The affected power adaptors shipped with iPads and MacBooks between 2003 and 2015 worldwide. They also came in the Apple World Travel kit. Although Apple has yet to give an exact number of adaptors impact by the recall, the company’s sales figured indicate it could be between tens or hundreds of millions. To put this in perspective, Apple has sold 300 million iPads globally since the device launched in 2010, and at least 60 million laptops since 2003.

This isn’t a major problem – yet. As of now, Apple is aware of 12 “incidents” worldwide but has not disclosed whether they have involved customers suffering electric shock. As well, since Apple began shipping a remodelled version of the adaptor at an unknown date, not all MacBooks and iPads are affected by this recall.

How will you know if yours is an affected product? If there is a four or five digit code printed on the inside slot where the adaptor connects to the power brick, you should take your adaptor to the Apple Store to have it replaced. If it has a country code instead – like EUR – you own a newer model and should have no problems with it.

Last week Microsoft recalled 285,000 power cord sets from its Surface Pro tablet product. It goes to show the problem is not unique to Apple, and the jury is still out on whether or not that is comforting.

*Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Firefox Adds Push Notifications

firefox for iosEnjoy the push notifications that browsers like Chrome and Safari offer? Clearly Mozilla does, because it had updated its Firefox 44 browser for Windows, Mac, and Linux to include them. The push notifications work only with your permission, for websites you specifically choose. That being said, if you update Firefox and don’t want push notifications, you have the choice not to enable them at all.

“This is similar to Web notifications, except how you can receive notifications for websites even when they’re not loaded in a tab,” Mozilla said, in a release. This is super useful for websites like email, weather, social networks and shopping, which you might check frequently for updates.”

Some perks? Websites like Facebook and Twitter will still send you notifications, even when you don’t have those tabs open. This makes organizing your browser easier, while keeping you connected to the sites you care about the most.

*Source: Hothardware.com

What is Your Communications Contingency Plan?

contingency planForty-two degrees, no electricity, the slightly audible hum of a hard drive on a fully charged laptop, and – thanks to my camping stove – a hot cup of coffee in an otherwise dark and quiet home office. Cell phone? Check. Internet connectivity? Through the cell phone hot spot, check.

Office phone lines and fax available? Because of unified communications, check. Can clients and associates reach me? Yes, but only if they have a contingency plan for their communications needs when systems fail. A week of power loss due to the most damaging windstorm on record in the greater Spokane area has left a dent for businesses in productivity and revenue.

Contingency or catastrophe? Most businesses’ plans depend on the support of a few key players in each market, mainly the utility providers. What if….? When asked early enough, this is the start of a contingency plan. Redundancy or regret? Fail safe or failure? Does your business have a contingency plan to keep in touch with clients and key personnel? Or will you scramble to just get some form – any form – of communications up and running if you even can?

What are the costs to your business? Revenue? Some for sure. Customer loyalty? Definitely. In today’s connected world, if your communications are down and your customers can’t get in touch with you, it’s your fault. And your clients may not understand why, or even care.

Do you want your business to take a hit, or worse another one, because your company can’t be contacted by customers? Great solutions in the telecommunications marketplace are available and some can even save your company monthly. It’s time to take a look before you have to reacquaint yourself with your camping stove for a cup of coffee. By then, it will be too late.

Pat Arguinchona is a Schooley Mitchell Business Optimization Specialist based in Spokane, Washington. He delivers objective telecommunications and merchant services advice to his clients, offering a broad range of services including analysis of existing and future needs, assessment of best alternatives, implementation of cost-effective solutions and billing error recovery.

Google Donating to Syrian Refugees

google-donating-to-syrian-refugeesGoogle.org wants Syrian refugees to be connected as they start life in their new homes. Donating a grant of $5.3 million to non-profits in Germany, the Internet giant is helping provide Chromebooks to the newly settled Syrians in that country. The initiative is called Project Reconnect.

“As they [the refugees] make it through a dangerous journey, the first thing refugees need is to find shelter, food and access to care,” wrote Jacquelline Fuller, director of Google.org, in a blog post. “But soon enough, they have to learn the local language, acquire skills to work in the new country, and figure out a way to continue their studies – all in an effort to reclaim and reconnect with the lives they had before.”

Chromebooks come at a relatively low cost and can be programmed to run a variety of relevant, educational programs.

Fuller says that the Chromebook “can run an educational game for kids, a language course for younger adults or even feature information about the asylum application process on a pre-installed homepage.”

*Source: PC Mag