Nov 25

A Guide To Web Hosting For The Beginner

What exactly is web hosting? What features will you need from a web host? Questions like these often overwhelm would-be web publishers that are just starting out. But we are here to help. After reading this article you will not know everything there is to know about web hosting, but you will understand enough to get you started.

To start off with – what is web hosting? A web host is a company that manage computers that are part of the Internet, and web hosting is leasing disk space on those computers to store the files that make up your website. This means that there is a computer in a data center on which your files are stored, and the computer will present the web pages of your website to visitors. It should be clear to you that if you want to have a website, you will need web hosting.

What are the most important features to look for in a web host? Different web hosting companies offer different sets of features, and usually at various price points. Two of the most important things for you to look at is the amount of disk space you get and the amount of bandwidth they offer you. The more disk space you have the larger you can make your website. Some web hosts will even let you host more than one website on a single web hosting account, and in this case the amount of disk space will play a large role. Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that is transferred to and from your website. You want to make sure you have enough bandwidth to display your website to all the visitors you expect to get. Sometime a web hosting company will offer unlimited bandwidth, but read the fine print carefully because there is usually a catch, often the terms of service restricts the kind of data you transfer. For example you may not be allowed to use audio or video on your website.

Other features to look for in a web hosting account include: is the web host Windows, Unix or Linux based, script compatibility, the number and type of databases, the type of control panel and number and type of email accounts. The operating system of the server will determine what software you can use on your website. The software programs you use on your website is often referred to as scripts. Not all web hosts are compatible to all scripting languages, like Perl, PHP and others. The scripts you want to use on your website often needs a database to manage the operation of the script, so you will need a compatible database. You will usually be able to create one or more email addresses using your own domain name.

Before choosing a web hosting company, decide what you want to accomplish with your website and choose a company that offers you the features and options you need.

Nov 06

Chrome OS Is Dead, Long Live Chrome OS?

Google is two years into a plan to consolidate the Chrome operating system — which it uses as the platform for a series of stripped down, low-cost computers — and the Android mobile OS, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Google officials quickly pushed back against the WSJ report, which claims that the company, now a subsidiary of the newly formed Alphabet conglomerate, plans to roll out a combined OS in 2017.

Chromebooks running the Chrome OS — Acer’s C910 is pictured above — have gained adoption as entry-level computers for students and as a low-cost option for a growing number of corporate customers.

Shortly after the WSJ report appeared, Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior vice president at Google, tweeted a response:

“Chrome OS isn’t being killed,” a source familiar with the company’s strategy told TechWorldNews. “It has awesome momentum and we’re still pursuing Chromebook partnerships, for example, and doing better than ever in U.S. schools.”

Worldwide Chromebook shipments will reach 7.3 million units in 2015, Gartner predicted earlier this year. Educational institutions accounted for 72 percent of the market for the low-cost systems in 2014.

The Journal story comes just a month after Google announced plans for the Pixel C, a powerful 10.2 inch tablet that comes with a keyboard and is priced like a laptop. Although the company’s Pixel Chromebook team developed the device, it runs on the Android platform.

A Likely Story

Google previously has signaled plans to merge the two operating systems at some point, so the latest report may be an accurate reflection of the company’s long-term plans.

“The Chrome OS is not likely being abandoned, but probably more focused where it has been successful — like education,” said David Mitchell Smith, a vice president at Gartner.

However, “if they are going to have an integrated offering, it makes much more sense to add Chrome OS functionality to Android than vice versa,” he told TechNewsWorld.

On the other hand, with Google apparently making significant inroads with the low-cost Chromebook, any indications that the company intends to abandon the category could result in a major setback with potential customers.

“I think Google is pushing back because they’re getting some traction with Chromebooks and they don’t want to jeopardize that,” said Tom Mainelli, IDC program vice president for devices and displays.

The Chromebook has established a niche in the U.S. kindergarten through 12th grade market, Mainelli said, but there are more than a few companies looking at Chromeooks as an option as well.

“The major appeal is that they’re easy to deploy, manage and secure,” he told TechNewsWorld. “IT tends not to think of Android as particularly good at any of those three traits.”

A merger of the two operating systems would represent a major change for users of the systems, which is contrary to the needs and desires of the Chromebook customer base, Mainelli pointed out.

“They want a stable OS, not something that’s going to — potentially — dramatically change in the next 12-24 months,” he said.

Security Flaws

The concerns about the reported plan reflect the fact that from a security perspective, Android has a reputation as a more vulnerable operating system, observed Kevin Krewell, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

“The security issue is that Chrome operating system is a lightweight OS with the security of the Chrome browser. without the exploits possible with a full OS that supports apps,” he told TechNewsWorld. “While Google said it’s not killing Chrome OS, the merger of the teams will push the two OSes closer together. “The more code-sharing the two OSes use, the more likely a security hole gets into Chrome OS.”

The report of a full blown merger of the two operating systems overstates the facts on the ground, suggested Kevin O’Brien, chief executive at GreatHorn.

Various other operating systems also are vulnerable to attacks, he told TechNewsWorld.

What’s more likely, O’Brien said, is that “they are sharing more technology on a system level.”

Nov 06

Mars’ atmosphere was likely ‘blown away’ by the sun

New findings from NASA show that violent solar storms likely launched Martian gases out into space years ago in a process still in motion today.

When the sun huffs and puffs, its solar wind blows part of Mars’ atmosphere out to space. That’s the key finding announced at a NASA press conference on Thursday by researchers working on the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission.

The MAVEN mission’s spacecraft has been circling the Red Planet for over a year now to study its atmosphere and determine how so much of it was lost over its history, transforming it from a once wet and warm Earth-like planet to the cold, dry place of so many sci-fi storylines.

Figuring out what happened to the Martian atmosphere is a big deal because it helps scientists understand why some planets can or can’t host life while others like Mars go from potential beach destination to inhospitable.

The culprit in the loss of Mars’ atmosphere is the solar wind, a stream of mostly protons and electrons flowing from our star’s atmosphere at a speed of about a million miles per hour. The solar wind also carries a magnetic field that can generate an electric field as it flows past Mars. This electric field is then capable of accelerating electrically charged gas ions in the planet’s upper atmosphere and shooting them out into space, similar to the way a baseball might be launched out of the field of play when a batter hits a high foul ball or home run.

MAVEN has eight sensors that gather data on Mars’ upper atmosphere and its interaction with the sun and solar wind. According to MAVEN measurements, the solar wind strips away gas in the Martian atmosphere at a rate of about 100 grams (roughly a quarter pound) every second.

Oct 26

New iPhone 6s Ads Tout New Camera And “Hey Siri” Tech, Boast Jamie Foxx And Steph Curry Cameos

Apple just unveiled three new ads showing off a few of the new features on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Unlike past ads focusing exclusively on the aggressively hipster everyman, these ads feature some major star power.

The first ad focuses entirely on the new iPhone 6s camera, as well as the 4k video recording and live photos feature. The ad highlights how the new camera and accompanying apps change how the user is able to “take a photo, find a photo, share a photo” and more.

Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry makes a cameo in this ad as well, showing off both his jump shot and the new slow-motion HD video recording tech on the 6s.

In addition to the camera ad, Apple showed off a couple quick 15-seconds clips of Jamie Foxx demonstrating the “Hey Siri” functionality of the new iPhones.

These ads are definitely looking to be super cutesy and don’t really attempt to show off any real world use cases. They’re more about getting users used to talking with Siri hands-free, now possible thanks to the new iPhones’ M9 motion coprocessor technology that allows Siri to always be ready to chat without ever significantly draining your battery life.

The first one, titled “Crush,” is a bit weird, though I must say Jamie Foxx and Siri in a Her sequel would make my 2015.

The second one, called “Flip a coin,” is pretty funny, with Foxx asking Siri to flip a coin as he struggles to choose which script to go with.

Apple’s latest iPhones went on sale late last month and beat expectations selling over 13 million devices in their first weekend of sales.

Sep 25

iOS 9 hack lets anyone see all photos and contacts even if phone is locked

A bug in iOS 9 lets anyone see all of a person’s pictures or contact information, even if they have locked their phone.

A very quick workaround, which uses Siri, lets people into the phone even if the passcode and Touch ID fingerprint sensor is turned on.

To exploit the bug, would-be hackers repeatedly mash the numbers on the passcode screen until the iPhone threatens to lock the user out. Speaking to Siri to help open the Clock app, and then clicking through, allows people unfettered access to the Photos and Contacts app, potentially making available personal data.

The exploit has been shown in a proof-of-concept video by Jose Rodriguez, who has a track record of finding similar bugs in iOS. Rodriguez confirmed that the phone was not his to Apple Insider.

The bug can be easily prevented by heading to Settings and choosing Touch ID & Passcode. Turning off Siri when the phone is locked stops the hack from working.

Another way of keeping the phone safe is by using a longer, alphanumeric password, rather than the four or six digit passcodes that are set up by default.

The problem does not seem to have been fixed in iOS 9.0.1, the recently rolled out update to the system.

Similar bugs have been found in various first updates to iOS — versions 7, 6 and 4 were all initially vulnerable to similar hacks. Since the iPhone’s lock screen is the main defence against people getting unwanted access to the phone, it has become a particular target for hackers.