Monthly Archives: March 2012

Bitcasa opens private beta to all


We talked about this company last year and with all the new entries into cloud storage of late, I thought we should revisit this entity. Cloud storage is nothing new in this age of high-speed internet connections. Services like Dropbox, Microsoft Skydrive, Apple’s iCloud and Amazon S3 give users a set amount of online storage, and as users, we’ve become comfortable with the notion of hard drives in the cloud. Bitcasa has taken a step forward providing a cloud storage solution that offers unlimited space for a measly $10 per month.


Bitcasa is aiming to provide more than just a synced folder on a computer. The idea is that Bitcasa will become completely integrated with the device, negating the idea of placing certain files in the cloud. Instead, the cloud is the computer’s hard drive, and the physical local disk is used like cache. With all those files automatically written to the cloud, it also becomes extremely easy to share them.


The service won’t be dealing with the actual files from the computer. On the server-side, all Bitcasa is concerned with is the 1′s and 0′s that make up the file data. Before uploading anything to the cloud, content is encrypted on the local machine, meaning that Bitcasa is not in a position to know what files it is storing. All Bitcasa (or perhaps some angry copyright holders) can see are encrypted bits and bytes.


When a user needs to access a file, it is pulled down seamlessly from the Bitcasa cloud. Larger files, like video can just be streamed without downloading. According to Bitcasa CEO Tony Gauda, intelligent caching will make the most frequently used content available as local cache. This has the added benefit of making important files available offline for quicker access.


So how can BitCasa afford to offer unlimited cloud storage out of the gate for just $10 per month? Dropbox charges that same rate for just 50GB, and they’ve been building out their cloud storage for a few years now. The key is that a user’s data is never completely unique, or even mostly unique. BitCasa explains (and expects) that roughly 60% of an individual users data is duplicated elsewhere.


Those MP3s purchased from iTunes, photos, and even all those pirated movies are duplicated on many other users’ computers. Bitcasa uses a de-duplication algorithm along with compression technology to reduce the amount of storage space needed for each user. Basically, if two users have an identical file in Bitcasa, the service only keeps one copy and makes it available to both users.


On the surface, Bitcasa sounds remarkable, but there are still some important questions to be answered. The constant encryption and syncing of files to the cloud could be costly in terms of system performance, for instance. This isn’t just another synced folder on a device, users will essentially be doing all their file management in the cloud. Can Bitcasa scale to meet the file management needs of all users as it gains popularity?


Bitcasa has apparently demonstrated enough potential to attract $1.3 million in venture funding. A limited beta is about to start, and users are free to register for an account. During this beta period, the service will be free to use. There will also be a freemium version of Bitcasa down the road with limited storage space. This is definitely a service to keep an eye on; it could change the way we store files.

Sign up now for the limited Beta to get a feel for how this service will operate on your unique hardware and internet connection – after all – it’s Free!


Register for the private beta here:

Have You Been The Victim Of An Email Hack Lately


 I’m talking specifically about violating the TOS or “Terms Of Service” as defined by your ISP – AOL, Comcast, Verizon and any number of others. Have you been the unknowing victim of an email hack? It seems like the hackers are out in force these past few days as I keep hearing from folks who received an email or letter similar to the ones below:


AOL Subject: Terms of Service.


Dear Member,

We want to inform you that your account was used to violate our Terms of Service.  Here are the specific details of the violation:

Screen Name: xxxxxxxx

Date: 2012-03-11 20:33:32.0

Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2012 17:01:21 -0400 (EDT)

SN in violati0n: xxxxxxxx



Please understand that we are sending you this email to inform you of what has occurred on your account.  We are aware that this may have been done without your knowledge or authorization.  If this is the case, we recommend that you immediately run anti-virus software on all of your computers and reset all of your passwords using the following guidelines:


All of your new passwords should meet the following criteria

1. Minimum of 8 characters in length

2. Not be one of the last 10 passwords you used

3. Contain characters from ALL of the following categories


    a. At least one upper case character (A – Z)

    b. At least one number (0 – 9)

    c. At least one special characters (()#~!$%^&*-+=|{}[]:;”‘<>,.?/@)


Strong password example -> Pr0viDEnce@123


Please be advised that continued violations of our Terms of Service may result in closure of your AOL account(s).


Or – how about this one….



(this alert was sent on March 2nd so you would only have 4 days to react to it) 

Dear Valued Xfinity Internet Customer


Comcast has received a report from a trusted security provider stating that one or more of the devices connected to your network are infected with malware….. the letter goes on to say, the infection allows cyber-criminals to re-direct your computer and other devices to websites that may look legitimate, but are fraudulent and intended to steal your personal information, website logins and passwords…..


In many cases, users don’t even know their accounts have been hacked until someone from their email address book replies to them showing a bogus email sent from your account.


It seems strange to me that these types of exploits continue to happen on such a regular basis. Apparently, many people simply don’t heed the warnings of improper password usage and still use passwords that are far too easy to guess.


Forbes recently published their annual listing identifying the 25 worst passwords for 2011 – the Top 10 from the list are shown below:

1. password

2. 123456

3. 12345678

4. qwerty

5. abc123

6. monkey

7. 1234567

8. letmein

9. trustno1

10. dragon


Is your current password on this list?


To see the entire Forbes list click here:


Obviously, we all still need to work on our secure password selection process. So, to that end, here’s a couple of links to password generators that will allow you to set the number of characters (8 characters should be the absolute minimum number selected) and some additional configuration details and end up with a more secure password.

iPad 3 Rumor Roundup


Apple’s special media event—one that many believe is being held for the next-generation iPad—is now just a day away. Come Wednesday, we’ll know once and for all how many of those pesky rumors were true and which ones were simply pie-in-the-sky dreams.


Because there are so many elements to consider for the as-yet-unannounced iPad, which is being referred to as the “iPad 3,” I thought we might want to examine some of the more persistent rumors on the web.


Retina” display

The rumor that has probably received the most coverage and had the highest number of “confirmations” across reliable publications has been the one that states the iPad 3 will have a high-resolution “retina” display similar to the one in the iPhone 4 and 4S. An iPad with a retina display has actually been rumored since before the iPad 2 was introduced a year ago, and some observers were disappointed when the iPad 2 appeared with the same resolution as its predecessor.


Higher megapixel camera(s)

The camera rumors haven’t been quite as prolific as those of the “retina” display, but it’s a pretty safe bet that the next-gen iPad will indeed have a better camera or two. Rumors from the beginning of the year claimed the front- and rear-facing cameras would both get an upgrade, with a newer rumor suggesting the rear-facing camera might go up to 8 megapixels. (It’s worth noting that the camera currently in the iPhone 4S is also 8 megapixels.)


I don’t know a lot of people who use their iPads for photography like I do my iPhone, but perhaps that’s because the iPad 2’s camera isn’t much to write home about but perhaps Apple is looking to expand people’s use of the front- and rear-facing cameras for things like FaceTime and other casual camera use.



For many users, the iPad 3’s rumored processor bump is one of the more interesting aspects of the new device. The processor is also one of the most talked-about elements while also being one of the most inconsistent.


Earlier rumors suggested Apple might move to a quad-core design for its next-gen mobile processor—rumors that were bolstered by evidence found within Apple’s Xcode late last year. Newer reports, however, indicated that the processor might retain the same dual-core processor as the one in the iPad 2 with improved Imagination Technologies GPU cores.



Until now, the iPad has always come in WiFi-only and WiFi+3G configurations, but the latest rumors from publications like Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal have pointed towards 4G/LTE support in the next-gen iPad. If true, it would make the iPad 3 the first of Apple’s mobile products to make use of these high-speed networks being built by Verizon and AT&T.


And the timing makes sense: both AT&T and Verizon are vastly expanding their 4G networks this year, so extra-high-speed data should be easier for many of us to access by year’s end.


Form factor

Here’s some potential bad news: multiple rumors have now stated that the iPad 3 will be ever-so-slightly thicker than the iPad 2. The latest numbers put it at 0.81mm thicker than the iPad 2—yes, less than one millimeter—but the change will undoubtedly frustrate those who always count on Apple’s devices to get thinner over time, not thicker.



In addition to the major rumors above, there have been a number of other rumors related to the iPad 3. Some of them are a bit more plausible than others.


On the “more plausible” side is Siri support: ever since Apple’s virtual personal assistant was introduced with the iPhone 4S last October, people have been talking about Apple bringing Siri to the iPad. Apple currently limits Siri to the iPhone 4S.


In the middle is an alleged price increase that might come with the next-gen iPad. Rumor has it that the iPad 3 will see an increase of $80 for WiFi-only models and $70 for WiFi+3G models over the current iPad 2, putting it at a $579 price point for the WiFi model.


And finally on the least likely end of the scale is the so-called “iPad mini.” This one has been buzzing in the background for over a year, but claims of a 7-inch iPad recently sprung out of Technology Business Research once again. Even more recently, DigiTimes claimed that Apple was planning a 7.85-inch iPad for late 2012.



As with all unannounced products, there’s no way to know which elements are true and which aren’t until Apple goes on stage to tell us. Still, when there’s smoke, there’s fire—for the most part, rumors that are frequently reported by publications with reliable sources end up coming true at one point or another.

What do you believe will be included in the iPad 3 specs? Do you think there will be an iPad 3 at all? Guess you’ll just have to hold your breath until Wednesday when the Apple event goes live.


Are you itching to see what the iPad 3 might look like and don’t want to wait until Wednesday?

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