Delta pilots trading in flight kits for Surface 2 tablets

Microsoft Surface 2 tablets are taking to the skies, at least on flights with Delta Air Lines. According to a recent story by tech Website Mashable, Delta Air Lines will purchase as many as 11,000 Surface 2 tablets as a replacement for the heavy flight bags that pilots typically lug with them to the cockpit.

Savings

Mashable reports that the change will start with Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 planes. When the move is official, pilots will be able to leave behind their flight kits, which can weigh as much as 35 pounds, for Microsoft’s second-generation tablet. According to Delta, the airline will cut its carbon emissions by 26 million pounds because of the change. Delta also plans to boast paper-free cockpits by the end of 2014.

Flexibility

Mashable reports that Delta cited the Surface 2’s ability to multi-task as one of the main reasons for the switch. Delta said that pilots will be able to open two applications side-by-side. They might use this feature to study weather information while a second application lists possible flight paths. With both applications open, pilots will have all the information they need to choose the right flight path.

Good news for Surface 2

As the Mashable story says, the Surface 2 needed some good news. Tablet sales have been a relative disappointment for Microsoft. The company has written down $900 million in losses in the last fiscal year and has had to cut the device’s cost to attract customers. As Mashable’s story says, these moves haven’t worked. The Surface saw 1.5 million sales during its first eight months. iPads, though, enjoyed 57 million sales during the same time period.

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Which is more valuable to the TV networks? Twitter or Facebook?

Both Twitter and Facebook are trying to form relationships with TV networks. But which social media platform is more valuable to the networks? Bloomberg’s Doug MacMillan, in a recent video on the BloombergBusinessweek site, gives the edge to Twitter, in part because Twitter has been working at the relationship for a longer time. Facebook’s attempts, MacMillan says, seem to be more defensive.

Dual-screen

Twitter is more of a second screen, MacMillan says in the video, meaning that TV viewers often have their laptop or tablets on while watching their favorite shows. And while doing this, viewers are Tweeting to their friends about what they like and dislike on their TV screens. This is valuable for TV networks, and can help drive more viewers to hit TV shows.

What can Facebook do?

So far, at least, Facebook doesn’t have the same relationship with TV, and doesn’t much function as a second screen. That doesn’t mean, though, that the social media site isn’t trying to gain its own foothold with networks. MacMillan says that Facebook is promising to compile a weekly report generated by data from its users on which TV shows, plots or characters were discussed or liked most frequently.

Valuable information

Both Twitter and Facebook, then, are trying to make the case that they can provide networks with valuable information directly from viewers. What do viewers like most about a particular TV show? Which TV characters are favorites? Which shows generate the most buzz among its followers, and which TV show has the most dedicated of fans? It’s true that Twitter today has the edge in this market over Facebook. But it’s not certain how long Twitter will retain this advantage.

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Small business owners: Avoid these password pitfalls

Passwords are a pain. We get it. It’s not easy memorizing all those phrases to gain access to your online accounts and favorite Web sites. But the right passwords can protect your small business from online thieves, and save you headaches and, possibly, thousands of dollars. The key is to select the right kind of passwords to protect your business accounts, Websites and computers. Fortunately, BizTech writer James Gaskin recently covered the password practices that business owners should avoid.

No real words

Gaskin writes that the most commonly hacked password is “password”. Yes, employees are sometimes lazy when it comes to creating passwords. Gaskin writes that business owners should not allow their employees to enter real words as passwords. These passwords are far too easy for hackers to crack. Instead, make sure your employees use a combination of lower- and uppercase letters, symbols and numbers when creating passwords.

Don’t go short

Short passwords are another no-no, according to Gaskin. He cites a movie in which the main bad guy used the password “1” because he figured no one would ever guess such an easy password for such a diabolical villain. However, it’s unwise to try this strategy in real life. Gaskin recommends that business owners require passwords of at least eight characters. The more , the better.

No adjacent keystrokes

Just because employees must create passwords of at least eight characters doesn’t mean that workers still won’t take password shortcuts. Many employees, for instance, might simply default to the string of keyboard characters that their fingers rest on. So you might find your workers going with passwords such as “hjkl;” because the keypads are adjacent. Make sure that you check employee passwords for adjacent keys. Hackers are more likely to crack such weak passwords.

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Looking for the ideal portable projector? Try the ML550

Tired of dragging a heavy projector to your meeting? Fortunately, those days might be over thanks to the Optoma ML550 mobile projector. The BizTech Web site recently gave this portable projector a rave review, saying that the device is not only portable enough to fit into your hand but powerful enough to create the most professional of presentations.

Heavier loads

If you travel for business, you know how crowded your suitcase can get. You need to bring your laptop computer, smartphone and tablet — not to mention all the cords that come with them — whenever you hit the road. Adding a large projector to this collection can make travel a hassle. Fortunately, as BizTech writes, the ML550 mobile projector can lighten your load.

Lightweight

According to BizTech, the ML550 measures just 1.5-by-4.1-by-4.2 inches and weighs just 14.1 ounces. Even when you add the power adapter and carrying case, the whole package still weighs less than 2 pounds. Best of all? You don’t even have to lug your notebook with you on your presentation. That’s because you can simply plug in a USB thumb drive or microSD card and select the file that you want to present.

Full range

The ML550 also supports a wide variety of files. BizTech says that the miniature projector can display Microsoft Office documents and .avi, .divx, .mpeg, .mp4, .mov and .wmv videos. You can even use the device to show a slideshow of .JPG or .BMP files. The next time you need to give a presentation hundreds of miles from your home office? It might be time to bring along this portable but powerful projector.

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Your business may be small. Your exposure to cybercrimes isn’t

Your business is small. You might think, then, that cyber criminals wouldn’t bother with hacking your company’s Web site or trying to break into your online accounts. But as a recent story by Dan Tynan of BizTech says, even the smallest of businesses can become targets for hackers. All too often, these small businesses leave themselves vulnerable to cybercrimes. The good news? Small business owners can take some simple steps to protect themselves from all but the most dedicated of hackers.

Small victims

The BizTech story cites data from Symantec’s 2013 Internet Threat Report saying that nearly one-third of all malware attacks came against businesses with 250 employees or less in 2012. The story includes a comment from Symantec’s president of SMB marketing who says that cyber criminals actually prefer going after small businesses because these businesses rarely boast the enterprise-level security necessary to keep hackers at bay.

Protection

Ready to protect your small business? BizTech provides several strategies. First, business owners must train their workers to avoid opening phishing e-mails. Phishing, surprisingly, is still one of the most common ways for cyber criminals to gain access to company data. BizTech recommends, too, that businesses with bring-your-own-device policies invest in mobile data management to help secure every machine on their network.

Lock down

Tynan also writes of how important it is for small business owners to monitor every remote-access log-in to their networks to make sure they are legitimate. This is especially important today when so many small businesses allow their employees to log onto their systems remotely. Finally, Tynan recommends that small business owners invest in an online security professional. It might be an extra cost, but the price will be small compared to the damage that a massive cybercrime could cause.

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