Amazon takes on eBay … sort of

December 9, 2014: 8:00 AM ET

Amazon is the new eBay … sort of.

EbayVsAmazon

Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) has a new feature called “make an offer” that allows customers to place bids, rather than buy outright. But unlike Ebay, (EBAY, Tech30) it’s a one to one bid where the customer haggles privately with the seller.

“The ‘make an offer’ feature is not an auction format,” said Amazon, in a press release. “The intention is to lower prices, and a customer negotiating with a seller will never pay more than the listed price.”

This works in the opposite of an auction, where the price goes up as multiple customers bid on an item.

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Happy Veteran’s Day

Freedom does not come free

We thank all Veterans from the bottom of our hearts for the courage to stand up and fight for our country.
Veterans-Day-2010-670Stand with Folds of Honor.

 

Is your computer equipment collecting dust?

Upgrading Your IT Equipment

Is it time to upgrade? Here’s how to decide–and how to save money.

by PETER ALEXANDER
 
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At some point, your IT equipment will no longer meet your needs–either your business will outgrow the equipment, the equipment will become too slow, or the technology will become outdated. Something needs to happen.But you’re on a tight budget. You can’t afford to replace your PCs and other electronic equipment with brand-new models…or can you? Here’s how to decide when–and if–it’s time to upgrade, and how to save money doing it.1. When Is the Right Time to Upgrade?
Chances are, things have changed in your business since you acquired your IT equipment. Your business may be growing faster than expected (good for you), and your equipment just isn’t keeping up. Or you’re facing challenges that require doing more with fewer resources. Perhaps it’s time to boost productivity–both yours and your employees–by automating some processes or improving collaboration with anytime, anywhere access to customer data. Or your business may now be required to comply with new regulations mandating additional security and storage. Maybe it’s time to boost customer responsiveness, or reduce operating expenses.

I could go on, but you get the idea. In each of these scenarios, upgrading existing IT equipment could help solve the problem. So how do you know exactly when to upgrade? Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Are you or your employees spending more time trying to accomplish tasks? For instance, does it seem to take longer to launch applications on a given PC? Has the network grown sluggish at handling routine traffic? If so, it’s probably time to consider upgrading.
  • Is your business using powerful new applications? If you’re planning to install processor- and memory-intensive programs, it’s likely your PCs will need to be upgraded. Digital video editing, for example, is extremely processor- and memory-intensive, and requires a large, fast hard drive for storage.
  • Have you added, or are you planning to add, more users to your network? If so, it might be time to consider upgrading the storage capacity and/or memory of your shared office server, or upgrading other network-related equipment.

2. Is Upgrading the Best Financial Decision?

Read more…

 

Do hackers know your passwords?

How Hackers Got Your Passwords for Snapchat and Dropbox

By James Cook

 

SnapChatPasswordHackersPost

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article originally appeared in Business Insider.

On Monday an anonymous hacker claimed to be in possession of 7 million passwords to Dropbox accounts. While that claim was probably false, it demonstrates the increasingly common way that hackers are using to gain access to your passwords.

The hacker posted around 400 usernames and passwords on anonymous note site Pastebin in a series of “teasers” for the main list. Some Reddit users were able to successfully log into Dropbox using the information posted before the company deactivated all of the leaked passwords.

But Dropbox was quick to cast doubt on the claims, denying that it had been hacked and claiming that many of the usernames and passwords were not even related to Dropbox accounts.

So where do the passwords come from? After all, they worked, for a time.

The most likely source of the information is a third-party site that had poor security. Hackers know that most internet users re-use their passwords, so they often target smaller apps made by amateur developers. These easy targets have poor security — so usernames, passwords or files may be stored in a way that’s easy for hackers to steal them.

The recent Snapchat hack, which saw nearly 100,000 private photos and videos posted online, happened because an amateur developer hadn’t securely set up his website. In a post on the Snapsaved Facebook page, the site’s anonymous founder explains that a mis-configured Apache server left the files vulnerable to hackers.

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What happens to your data after you die?

Here’s What Happens to Your Data After You Die

A couple of years ago. I logged on to one of my many social network accounts and encountered a familiar face under the People You May Know section: Emru Townsend.

Emru was indeed someone I knew. A talented writer, a good friend, and a true mensch, beloved by many. He was also dead. He had succumbed to leukemia a few years earlier at the age of 39.

Yet there he was, smiling at me just like he did in life. But it wasn’t just a social media account that survived Emru. There’s his personal blog, where he recounted in sometimes-painful detail his battle against cancer, and his professional one, featuring some of the hundreds of articles he wrote on technology and animation. There’s his Flickr account, featuring photos of him in the hospital. There’s the site his family set up in an effort to find a stem cell donor, which ultimately proved unsuccessful. Today, nearly seven years to the day of Emru’s passing, he still receives email at his pobox.com account, maintained by his widow, Vicky.

In addition to leaving a mark on everyone he met, Emru also left a footprint on the Internet, which his family struggled to deal with because they did not have access to all of his accounts.

Read more…

 

Smart Devices

“Smart” Devices on the Rise

Smartphones and “smart” devices are in high demand. In 2013, a total of 1,806 million smartphones were sold worldwide. According to the latest Digital Consumer Report, an American owns an average of four “smart” devices. By the end of 2014, the market estimates over one billion smartphones will be purchased throughout the world. As of today, one in five people in the world own a “smart” device. How many “smart” devices do you own?

SarahsPost10.31.14