Whether it's a brief hop or a long haul, you can travel in style
Every family has one member who's always on the road, either for business or personal travel. Whether it's your college-age kid backpacking around Europe, or your on-the-go brother who jet-sets to meetings around the globe. For the MacNN family, that guy is -- me. There's always a certain amount of tech we just have to bring along -- the trick is getting it all in there, yet keeping it light enough to not be a burden. In this Gift Guide, we'll take a look at some of my road-tested travel gear.
Facility likely to house 3,000 additional workers near Cupertino
A local business paper is reporting that Apple has likely leased, or possibly purchased, space in a new 770,000 square-foot campus that will be only a short distance away from the company's expansive "spaceship" Campus 2 project, which is currently under construction. The "Central and Wolfe" site is across the street from Sunnyvale Crossing, a facility Apple is currently leasing to house nearly 1,500 workers.
Square launches service, iPhone app for client booking management
Payment firm Square has introduced a new service and iOS-only app, both called Appointments, that is aimed at businesses that rely on client bookings, such as (for example) a cleaning service or landscaping firm. The iOS app is free, but the service costs $30 per month for one user, $50 per month for two- to five-person teams, and $90 a month for unlimited employees or owners. For those who use Square Register to accept credit-card payments, the service connects to that automatically.
Like Twitter but for your work colleagues and more useful
Yes, let us have another social media platform: we do not have enough of them. Yet, even if Slack isn't as familiar or as ubiquitous as AIM, Skype, Twitter and the rest, we're still going to recommend it. This month sees updates for the iOS app to Slack 2.20 and OS X to Slack 1.1.3 –– and it also sees the second anniversary of the entire service. The company now claims over a million users of whom reportedly a fifth are paying. That doesn't mean four-fifths are pirating: Slack is a freemium kind of service with generous limits.
Purpose unknown, but will lease half of 53,000 square foot building
The Pittsburgh Business Times has revealed that Apple is the mystery tenant for the first building in a mixed-use development park known as Three Crossings. The company will rent approximately a floor and a half of the 53,000 square-foot building with Rycon Construction, the builder, occupying the other half as its new headquarters. Apple's intentions are not known, but the company does have a presence on the campus of local Carnegie Mellon University.
Amazon UK users can order books from local shops for pickup or delivery
It's certainly possible to buy books from independently-owned shops through Amazon, but these businesses have registered to sell their stock on Amazon's platform, a sometimes-contentious act that has resulted in some bullying by the online retailer. Just as an Amazon app allows shoppers to scan a barcode in a brick-and-mortar bookstore and order that book online, a new Chrome plug-in, Bookindy, adds local shop options to Amazon's listings to give a shopper the option to support a local, independently-owned business, while using Amazon to "showroom" the product.
IBM allows works to select Mac notebooks as workstation options
Only a few months into the program, The Apple and IBM enterprise alliance has already scored one major client, a company that could become the world's largest Mac-supporting business outside of Apple itself: IBM. Big Blue last week decided to practice what it preaches, and embrace the changes that have come about in corporate workplaces since the introduction of the "Bring Your Own Device" movement. A new memo announced that workers could opt for a MacBook Pro or Air when updating or getting a new workstation device.
Excellent update to a superb but not flawless tool
Here's the thing. FileMaker Pro is a quietly spectacular app: it's for creating databases but for three decades now it has also created careers. There are people whose entire working lives have been devoted to creating databases in FileMaker Pro and they do it for lone freelancers, corner shop businesses and even corporations. Now a new FileMaker Pro 14 has been released for the app's 30th anniversary and, with one caveat, it is hugely recommended. Check our full review to see what we liked, and what we didn't.
New printers, with INKvestment cartridges lower color printing to $0.05 per page
Printer manufacturer Brother yesterday introduced an expansion to its Business Smart Series color inkjet all-in-ones that the company says will serve as the flagships to the Business Smart Plus and Business Smart Pro lineups. Using Brother's new INKvestment Super High Yield ink cartridges, the MFC-J5920DW Business Smart Plus and MFC-J6925DW Business Smart Pro provide less than $0.01 black cost per page and less than $0.05 color cost per page according to the company.
New interview discusses pressures of leadership, higher profile of colleagues
On Thursday, Fortune magazine named Apple CEO Tim Cook to the top spot of its "World's 50 Greatest Leaders," which largely refers to business and industry leaders rather than government officials. The honor came with a new interview with Cook as well as some of those who work with him, and addresses many of Cook's and the company's successes (and a few missteps) in the lengthy profile.
Make this nearly brilliant feature work for you
The first time you use this feature of Evernote for iOS, you will go "wow!". Unfortunately, before you finish using it for the first time, you will also go "oh." For Evernote is practically magical in how it will scan a business card, and cull every last detail off it -- and then it's surprisingly bad at what it does with that information.
Whole Foods, McDonald's, Walgreens seeing biggest jump in usage
A study by research firm ITG suggest that Apple Pay -- introduced in October -- is already accounting for one percent of all digital payments - for comparison purposes, the three-plus-year-old Google Wallet system holds about four percent of digital payments. The firm also noted that those using Apple Pay increased spending using mobile payments, and tended to use the technology frequently -- resulting in a jump in sales at top merchants that accepted Apple Pay, such as Walgreens, Whole Foods and McDonald's.
Apple approaching goal of 500 banks and credit unions supporting system by year's end
Another two financial institutions have added support for Apple's mobile-payment iPhone technology, Apple Pay. Fremont Bank, based out of Fremont, California, and the National Institutes of Health Federal Credit Union are now supporting the Touch ID-secured payment system, with the former supporting Apple Pay for both personal and small-business debit cards, while the NIH FCU is currently only supporting personal debit cards, though support for personal and small-business credit cards is coming soon.
New business-grade scanner capable of hitting speeds up to 30ppm, 60ipm
A new scanner was unveiled by Epson America this week, that looks to give businesses and professionals a new high-speed desktop scanning solution. The WorkForce DS-520 is a sheet-fed scanner that's capable of reaching speeds up to 30 pages per minute (ppm) or 60 images per minute (ipm) in black and white, color, and grayscale modes.
Bill imposes fines on parties, businesses trying to enforce non-disparagement clauses
Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that would make it illegal for businesses that provide services or sell goods to impose a contract on consumers that would waive their right to make statements against it. Assembly Bill 2365 adds a section into the California Civil Code that makes it unlawful for a business to take action against a customer who decided to voice their displeasure, imposing penalties for each attempt to do so.
NAS features Hybrid Mode Storage, AES encryption, Android, iOS app compatibility
Peripheral maker Thecus has debuted a new network attached storage (NAS) device, first seen late last month, with the N4310. The four-bay NAS is positioned for use in small- to medium-sized businesses, as well as home offices. The device utilizes Hybrid Mode Storage, encryption, RAID support and a customization and apps through the ThecusOS.
Revenues up more than $170 million compared to last year, posts $145 million loss
Twitter released its quarterly results today, showing a strong surge in business during the second quarter of its 2014 fiscal year. The company posted revenues of $312 million, compared to only $139 million during the year-ago quarter. The increase represents a 129 percent increase year-over-year. The social media company also saw an increase in users compared to the results from the previous year.
'Paygate' endeavor starts with bundle for original series 'Children of the Machine'
BitTorrent is trying to evolve into a bigger business, as it attempts to expand its bundled offerings by putting "paygates" into place. The company, best known for its file transfer protocol, originally launched its BitTorrent Bundle as an alpha experiment in May 2013, in hopes of providing a better platform distribution and connecting with fans.
Request feature rolls out to business first, allowing users to be assigned as viewers
Dropbox for Business customers can start using a new option if they wish to share their work with colleagues, but don't trust them enough to not mess up the files within. Beginning today, customers can mark their folders as "view-only" to users, allowing those they share with to view anything within, without having the power to change anything.
Search giant plays with the idea of a domain registration services for small business
As is Google tradition, another feature it is testing was recently released to the public while still in a beta phase. Google, recognizing the need for businesses to start an online presence with a website, is jumping into the domain registration business with Google Domains. Starting with a small test group, Google is exploring the customer needs that can be fulfilled through the service.
Laptops, three desktop configurations and an all-in-one PC all included in range
HP is adding a number of new machines to its HP Elite series of business computers. The new 700 series computers bring six new laptops models, a desktop PC available in three form factors and an all-in-one PC. By expanding the line the company brings a number of options to small and medium sized businesses, in configurations that offer a range of prices depending on hardware needs.
Pro x2 612 gives business computing flexibility in desktop replacement, single tablet options
Computer manufacturer HP has unleashed a new tablet PC that is poised to fit in with the growth of computer options in the enterprise sector. The HP Pro x2 612 gives buyers a new level of flexibility, says the company, the first of its kind at the business level. With the PC, business customers "will have a computer that they can use at their desk, or something they can carry with them without having to change machines," according to a press release. The core of the machine is a 12.5-inch touchscreen Windows 8.1 tablet that can be placed into a keyboard dock to give enterprise users a desktop replacement.
Bright projector good for business use, requires many adjustments at home
Since the arrival of PowerPoint into the business landscape, projectors have become increasingly important to have for fiscal reports and pitch meetings to add a multimedia aspect that holds the viewer's attention. Having the right tools for the job is important for a traveling presenter: carrying around a full-sized projector for a presentation is not terribly practical. Adding an entry to the field of "travel projector" offerings, Acer has released the K335 LED projector. Is it up to the task for a busy traveler?
Firm had recently revealed its role as an Apple supplier
Former Apple Vice President of Hardware Engineering and Technology David J. Tupman has joined the board of directors at Pixelworks, a video and pixel-processing hardware and software company. Roughly a month ago, the firm revealed that Apple had accounted for 10 percent of its business in 2013.
Microsoft sees big increase in activations, but percentage still tiny
A new study by Microsoft Exchange services firm Intermedia has shown that Apple devices being activated on its Microsoft Exchange-based network accounted for 76 percent of all small- and medium-business (SMB) activations across 2013 -- some 190,000 iPhones and iPads in total. This was more than six times the 29,000 activations seen with Samsung Android devices, providing some insight into a continuing trend in business that favors Apple products.
ProDesk 400 G1 desktops, HP 200 G1 and 300 G1 laptops added
HP has unveiled a series of business-oriented desktops and laptops today. The HP ProDesk 400 G1 series desktop was shown, which offers expandable desktop PC options that are claimed meet everyday business needs with enough room to grow. Additionally, the HP 200 G1 and HP 300 G1 notebooks debuted, which both deliver what the company calls "essential, business-class features with a low price of entry."
Fuqua school series shows Cook as mature leader in Jobs' mould
In a posted series of short videos available on YouTube, the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University in North Carolina is presenting segments of an interview held with Apple CEO (and Duke graduate) Tim Cook. The talk, which was conducted in April, showcases Cook's southern-born style while echoing many of the sentiments held by his predecessor, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The videos, which are divided into single-response segments covering topics such as "collaboration" and "intuition," offer both insight and advice from Cook.
Enables more social interaction, showcases 'influencers'
Business-oriented networking service LinkedIn has unveiled version 6.0 of its iOS app, which brings an overhauled design to the iPhone and iPod version based on the design of the iPad app. The program allows more than 200 million professionals to post career histories and job information, network with colleagues and mentors, search for future employment opportunities, catch up on industry news and participate in discussions. The iPhone version can now be used to edit a user's profile and save recommended jobs, among other changes.
New version adds file management, improves bank statement import
Acclivity today announced AccountEdge Pro 2013 for Mac and Windows. The latest version of the small business accounting software is available immediately and features a long list of enhancements and improvements, including a new document management ability, improved bank statement import, and an upcoming AccountEdge Mobile 2 mobile app. Changes include document management, an updated retainers feature, better importing of bank statements and more
Enterprise sales up over 50 percent, nearing 10 percent marketshare
Part of Apple's ability to defy -- sometimes quite dramatically -- the ongoing slump of traditional PC sales may be due to a slow-growing but increasing acceptance of Macs in the enterprise. Needham & Company analyst Charlie Wolf has highlighted the growth in a note to investors using data from the September quarter, showing that sales of Macs to US businesses has nearly doubled over the past year, from 5.4 percent in fiscal Q4 2011 to 9.3 percent in the most recent quarter. While sales of PCs to the business sector were down 13.3 percent year-over-year, Apple was up more than 21 percent in the same period.
Clear case uses transparent front for product overlays
Samsung is attempting to make more headway in the business display market with two new displays. One is a square screen designed to be used in complex video walls, while the other is a transparent display in the front of a case, with the aim of adding marketing-related visuals, such as specifications or pricing, to items seen inside the case.
Stays with company in advisory role until September 2013
News Corp's Chief Digital Officer Jon Miller has announced his intention to depart News Corp. Miller will remain as adviser to CEO Rupert Murdoch, COO Chase Carey, and deputy COO James Murdoch until September 2013. The departure precedes a set of business transactions that will split the company into an entertainment company, and a publishing arm that includes the Wall Street Journal in both print and digital form, a very different scenario than when Miller was hired to drive its technology and online initiatives.
Business Card Shop 4 released
Pelle, a new folio case for the second and third generation iPad, has been released by SwitchEasy. The case features a special key lock design that allows it to be used as an adjustable stand, as well as support for the iPad's auto sleep feature. The front cover is constructed from a polyurethane faux leather, while the bace shell is a hard polycarbonate with a rubber coating. Initial shipments are being offered in five colors, Shadow Black, Monday Blue, Hot Red, Mint Green, and Blossom Pink, at a cost of $60 each.
Small-biz software features 40 new features, tweaks
Oranged Software has updated its flagship program Studiometry, a back-office suite aimed at small and creative-professional businesses that handles organizing, planning, project tracking and invoicing. The new version, 9.2, offers a host of small new features with an emphasis on tweaks, refinements and bug fixes. Highlights of the release include improved markup capabilities, a general revamp of the Project Summary tab, refined Project Templates and more.
Stylish but still business oriented
HP recently released the ProBook 5330m, a business-oriented notebook with a stylish appearance that easily could be mistaken for a consumer model. The redesign is not accidental, as the company is attempting to woo customers who desire a business machine without the lackluster aesthetics of typical enterprise buys. In our full review, we take a look at the new ProBook's balance between form and function.
4G upgrades said to start with pilot groups
Motoroola and Verizon are reportedly set to begin LTE upgrades for the Xoom tablet, however the initial rollout is said to be limited to business and government accounts. Unnamed sources have told Droid-Life the companies will be providing LTE upgrades to the pilot groups over the next two weeks, ahead of availability for the general public.
Apple continues to push corporate adoption
The surprisingly rapid adoption of the iPhone and iPad into corporate and enterprise environments is a movement that started with grassroots users, but now that the door has been opened, Apple continues to reinforce the idea. The company has taken out a full-page ad on the back of the latest issue of The Economist, reports MacRumors, spotlighting business apps and the tagline "iPhone loves business."
Unauthorized bio of Apple CEO online now
Business news cable network CNBC will kick off their season premiere of "CNBC Titans" with an unauthorized biography of Apple's Steve Jobs, AppleInsider reports. The hourlong program will air tomorrow at 9 p.m. eastern and cover Jobs' iconic role in both the personal computer revolution through his work at Apple and NeXT as well as his takeover and subsequent rebirth of Pixar as the leading studio for computer-animated movies. CNBC calls him "the undisputed king of Silicon Valley for the better part of three decades."
Dashboard feature gives better business overview
Computech has loosed a new version of its business management software, releasing BusinessMan 3.0 today. The software handles most aspects of a business, from its resource planning with CRM capabilities to estimating and invoicing to resource scheduling. Version 3 adds a Project Management module, supporting drag-and-drop Gantt charts and task, job and resource allocation. Also new is a module for Bill of Materials, which tracks assemblies from inventory to completion.
4,000 Good Technology customers surveyed
A survey done by mobile enterprise app maker Good Technology of 4,000 of its enterprise customers has shown that the financial sector is adopting the iPad as a business tool more than any other single market, though high-tech and healthcare firms are also investing in the mobile device. The company credits the rapid adoption rate to the iPad's ability to perform mission-critical tasks on the go under secure conditions since the release of iOS 3, which had numerous enterprise-level features Good and other data-security firm have built on.
Gant charts upgraded in v8 with dependency support
Oranged Software has launched Studiometry 8, updating its business management software. Studiometry handles contact management, builds estimates, tracks work and bills clients. The software has an easy interface for daily data entry. It can track work time through timesheets, running timers and manual entry. There is also a companion iOS app with full syncing capability.
PivotTable improvements teased alongside video
The Microsoft Office for Mac team has released a new video highlighting Sparklines and photo editing in the forthcoming release. Office for Mac 2011 is due in October and the Office for Mac Blog is attempting to wet customer's appetites with previews of new features. Sparklines, which debuted in Excel 2010 for Windows, arrive on the Mac side in Excel 2011 for Mac. The feature provides numerical graphs that quickly show changes in data over time. They can be generated in cells near corresponding raw data to give fast visual illustrations for numeric data.
Auditing improvements, financial dashboards in v2
Computech has updated its business contact management and sales tracking software, BusinessMan 2. The software tracks and manages customer information, sales, vendors, suppliers, products, marketing, and even human resources. BusinessMan is both a customer-relationship manager, keeping all customer documentation in a FileMaker database, and an enterprise resource planner with scheduling, communication tracking, call handling and financial tracking capabilities. It also provides an integrated e-mail client and invoice modules.
Apps add business, communications capabilities
SugarSync Inc has launched its file sync app for the iPad, SugarSync,and Citrix Systems has released its online meeting app GoTo Meeting. Also being released on the eve of the iPad launch is The Omni Group's OmniGraffle for diagramming, charting, page layout and website wireframing and OmniGraphSketcher for graphing and chart-making. The Omni Groups' completely redesigned its iPhone apps for iPad, with OmniGraffle focusing on diagramming and concept visualization, using Multi-Touch to draw shapes, drag in objects, and design elements. The app keeps lines connected to shapes even when they're moved, and includes smart guides, automatic layout, and a full set of built-in stencils. OmniGraphSketcher allows fast, simple graph drawing and data plotting -- It lets users create lines and data points, draw curves, and shade in important areas easily.
Application based on Billable, improves features
MacNN has reviewed ProfitTrain, an invoicing application rebuilt from Billable. ProfitTrain helps freelancers and small businesses keep track of their work and create invoices. Users can track payments and business expenses, generate reports, and input custom line-items for services/parts sold most often. Invoices can be customized with different text fields or logos, while several output options are available.
Templates focus on business themes
Jumsoft has expanded its Pages Templates Pro package with several new themes. Geared for business use, the Pages Templates Pro line provides 20 templates with similar styling for brochures, letters, envelopes, business cards, invoices, and other documents. Users can enter text, configure text boxes, switch fonts, or use images to replace template placeholders. Each template is available in both US Letter and A4 formats.
BusinessMan offers menu-driven module system
Computech has launched new software utilities for business management, BusinessMan Pro and BusinessMan Enterprise. The software is built on FileMaker Pro and offers a customer-relationship management system, with menu-driven modules for prospects, customer management, quotations, invoicing, suppliers and stock. It features an integrated e-mail client and a resource scheduler. BusinessMan Enterprise adds modules for sales order processing, sales ledgers, marketing, purchase order processing, purchase ledgers, document management and HR management.
2010 version adds improved searching, auto-updates
Acclivity has released an update to its small-business accounting software, AccountEdge 2010. The software handles purchasing, payrolls, inventory management, banking, business contacts and sales tracking. It features over 100 business templates, all of which can be edited to match specific needs of various businesses. It can import and export files and work out budgets spanning several years. The utility also allows users to print checks and make electronic payments.
Business Card Creator includes over 95 templates
Laughingbird Software has launched Business Card Creator, a new app for developing logos and creating modifiable business cards, postcards or letterhead templates. The program includes over 95 matching templates, with customization options for scaling, rotation, colors or adding new text and images.
Studiometry 7 update ships
Oranged has released Studiometry 7, upgrading the business management software with new tools for project planning, estimate creation and more. Project stages allow users to track progress from beginning to end, with automated alerts and to-dos shown at important points. The new estimates feature includes a creation wizard that supports itemizing and provides numerous templates.