Ignore the rumors.


It’s that time of year again.

Every year around this time we start hearing the rumors about what the next iPhone or iPad or other Apple gizmo is going to be/look like/do. And every year the major and otherwise perfectly respectable and factual news and tech sites go berserk reporting “the next iPhone” on their front pages.

Do not listen.

Just ignore it.

Go back and read those two lines again.

So far, the media has a horrific track record when it comes to guessing what Cupertino is going to be bringing out at the next conference or special event. They’re usually generally right about the type of device that’s going to be debut, but the tech specs have never been even close.

Let’s take last time for the iPhone. If you listened to the pundits and Apple-watchers, we were going to get a 4 inch wunderphone that did 3D graphics and took pictures with a resolution rivaling $10,000 digital still cameras. It was going to be thinner, faster and lighter, and it was going to change everything about the iPhone. EVERYTHING!!!

We got the iPhone 4s. So, they were right on it being faster, and Siri was kind of a big deal, but were absolutely wrong about everything else.

Shall we bring up the “folding tablet” crap from not that long ago? No, let’s not.

Now we’re hearing it again. 4.8 inch screen, better engine, better software, better everything and it’ll be lighter and slimmer and …

My guess, there will be a new iPhone later this year and it will have a bigger screen. Otherwise, it’ll be an iPhone, plain and simple. Apple does not have a history of totally overhauling products without warning. They tweak the case this time, the interface with a software update, the resolution on the screen and camera the time after that. Slow, methodical and logical every step of the way.

When they’re going to do something gigantic, they tell everyone about it. The iPhone with its revolutionary methods was not a shock. The way it looked and worked was a shock, but the fact that Apple was going to do it was not. When the MacBooks went unibody and then shaved 2/3rds of their weight it was always because that was the next logical step. Lion was a logical step beyond Snow Leopard (well, some disagree, but at least from Apple’s perspective it is). Mountain Lion is yet another logical step.

Ignore the rumors, and just wait to see what Apple delivers. You’ll be just as thrilled with the end result, and not disappointed because there’s no projector built into the thing.

Photo Credit: Nite_Owl

Why you need a social email address.


Email is a part of daily life. A few companies trying to outlaw it aside, everyone uses it and deals with tons of mail every day. What many users of Social Media don’t think about is keeping that email separated from their personal email accounts via another address entirely.

There are many reasons to set up and keep a distinct email for all your social stuff, but the two main ones are:

– Anonymity: If you’re planning on creating a persona distinct from your real-world one, then you want to keep email from and/or about that persona distinct from email that you get for everything else. This also goes for the inevitable spam, “new feature” blasts and all the other garbage you *will* get whenever you sign up for a Social Media site/network. Keeping a different address just for your accounts means that you can ignore it whenever you need to, while your co-workers and friends can still get their messages to you on your “real” address.

– Company ownership: Following on from last week’s post, there is always the chance that you may change jobs at some point. Hopefully, that’s because you got a spectacular offer and voluntarily left. If you’re using Social Media in conjunction with your job, and then suddenly aren’t, will you still have access to your work email until you can shift everything off of it? For most of us, the answer is no, and that poses a major problem. By using a different email address that you control, you can get everything that doesn’t belong to the company off of it, then hand it over to them if they want it.

A cautionary tale to illustrate both points:

I was just listening to a story about a friend who had two co-workers quit. As is the usual case in these instances, he got to watch their email accounts in case a customer who didn’t realize they left reached out for something. He now knows way more than he ever wanted to about their social lives, and also knows that they’re trying very hard to change login information, addresses, etc. Why? Because they both used the company email address when signing up for Social Media sites and networks, and all those emails are still flowing in.

So, better safe than sorry. Sign up for another email address (possibly a free service like GMail or a low-cost fee-based option, your choice) and use that address for your Social Media stuff.

Photo Credit: Horia Varlan

Don’t forget about Windows


Many Mac users find they need to use Windows too. There’s nothing wrong with that, as a large number of business applications don’t work the same or don’t exist at all for OS X.

When using Windows software on OS X, there are a couple of ways to go. You could use something like WINE (a Windows emulator) or use a virtualization tool like VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop and a Boot Camp partition or other VM. Most of the folks I’ve met use virtualization, and that leads to a couple of issues and risks that OS X wouldn’t have natively.

First, there’s security. Running Windows in a VM and/or Boot Camp and allowing OS X applications to share data with it means that Windows virus and malware attacks can infect other software and files. While it won’t be able (in the vast majority of cases) to infect the Mac, it can still destroy data and cause havoc. It also means that accidentally opening the wrong email attachment in OS X could open the infected attachment in Windows – where it can execute and run riot. You could disable data sharing between the VM and OS X, though that means that a lot of functionality you want to use will be disabled as well.

Also, since the VM may bypass the local firewall – this depends on your VM network settings – personal information and data stored in the VM could fall victim to attacks. If the VM can see your data in OS X directories, then that data is vulnerable as well.

So, first things first, get an anti-malware tool and personal firewall for your Windows VM/Boot Camp. Microsoft makes Security Essentials available free through Windows Update, so that is a great place to start for anti-malware. Ensuring the Windows Firewall is on and active helps keep others out. Details on both of these tools can be found on the Microsoft website.

Next, make sure you update your Windows Boot Camp partition and any VM’s regularly. Too many of us use Windows very infrequently, and that means that the installations of Windows remain offline, and don’t get updated automatically like a desktop running Windows as the primary OS can be configured to do.

There are two ways to do this. You can manually run Windows Update from the Start menu at least once per month. Microsoft releases patches the first Tuesday of each month, so running Windows Update on the second full week of each month will keep you covered. Second, you can set Windows Update to automatically apply updates whenever it sees them. This isn’t the best method though, because it will mean you get hounded for reboots unexpectedly, and you do not get anything but the more critical updates installed.

No matter what, remember that if you run Windows at all, you need to keep it patched and protected. With Parallels and VMware automatically sharing documents folders, Windows malware can cause quite a bit of damage, even to OS X.

Photo Credit: Steve-h

Keeping work and play apart

Talking to people means you have to have things to say. That’s a pretty basic rule of conversation, and it can lead to some interesting consequences on Social Networks.

While talking on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. you will meet all different kinds of people. They’ll want to have all different kinds of conversation on a myriad of topics. You have to be very careful not to fall into the trap of saying something inappropriate in timelines and pages that are directly affiliated with your company, lest you incur the wrath of the Powers that Be.

In my case – just as an example – my company preferred that I did not tweet personal conversations on my corporate identity, so I have two different Twitter timelines. @miketalonnyc for personal stuff, @VSI_MikeTalon for anything dealing with my day job. This lets me talk to my online friends about whatever I want, without those conversations crossing over to the timeline I use when I need to transmit corporate messaging.

There is another reason to keep different identities for work and play – ownership. When you tweet about your company, you’re directly affiliating with your company. That means – unless you have a written document saying otherwise – that the company can claim ownership over your Twitter, Facebook and other accounts. Why would they do this? Because your friends and contact lists constitute a customer list of sorts, and companies absolutely love customer lists! While this is still being challenged in the courts, at least one case may end up in favor of a company over the guy who built up the Twitter follower list. That’s bad enough, but he may have to pay the company in question for “using” their customer list if he loses the case – no small amount of cash to be sure.

By having one identity used for work, and one for your own stuff, you can clearly show the line between what posts and followers are yours and which “belong” to the company you’re working for.

In some cases, you may be lucky enough to be able to keep one account for work and play. If you are, get it in writing to protect yourself, then have at it. For the rest of us, keeping two identities is a good idea both to allow you to speak freely and to ensure you know what both you and your organization own.

Photo Credit: KM Photography