Giving…in purple!

How about purple social responsibility? Purple is a color that gives back! Just ask the Purple Guys, who have infused charitable giving in their workplace giving and at home. Gracie Schram, daughter of Purple Guys owners Jon and Jill Schram is giving back through music to help others. Gracie’s song writing and singing helps raise money for kids in Africa who are taking care of their younger brothers and sisters because their parents have died. Gracie records her songs onto CDs and sells them to raise money for the kids in Africa. Gracie donates 100% of the profits from her CD sales. Now that’s social responsibility…Corporate social responsibility, personal social responsibility, and PURPLE social responsibility. Giving in action! Charitable giving comes in all shapes and sizes, whether a gift to charity is $25, $25,000 or $25 million. And now charitable giving comes in a rainbow of colors that give back, thanks to creative use of the custom Giving Card. A handful of very savvy corporate giving programs are catching on to the gift of giving, a fun, rewarding, and meaningful–not to mention easy and inexpensive–way to celebrate corporate social responsibility and personal social responsibility.

More Top Tech for 2011

Last week, we looked at some of the technologies that should hit it big this year. Here are a few more of what top tech we should see, focused on the mobile world. New Processors The biggest gains that computers have made through the past 10 years were in the speeds of their processors (CPUs), which is what enables a computer to do what is does (graphics, computations, etc).

To the cloud?

If you’ve watched TV lately, you’ve probably seen Microsoft’s “to the cloud” commercials . So what is “the cloud” they’re talking about and why should you care about it? Basically, the cloud is just another name for the Internet. Since you’re reading this on a website right now, you are “in the cloud.” what most people are referring to when they are talking about the cloud is cloud computing. For several years, businesses and consumers have been steadily moving to integrate more cloud computing into their technology use. The idea is simple…instead of your computer doing the work, storing the files or providing the security, you are connecting to other computers or servers. These typically are more powerful, have more storage and have more advanced security. The software applications, services or storage are provided by a third party for a fee or for free and shared by many users. Free email services were among the first widely adopted uses of cloud computing. Hotmail, Yahoo mail and Gmail are all cloud-based email services. Google has been one of the biggest drivers of cloud computing, following Gmail with other free cloud-based offerings including Google Docs, Google Apps and Picasa. Now Google has pushed the cloud envelope a little further with Chrome OS, a cloud-type operating system, which will be available on laptops next year. Even though Microsoft is behind the “to the cloud” ads, they have long been the kings of shrink-wrapped software (software you buy and install on your computer), which is really the opposite of cloud-based. They are now on the cloud bandwagon and expect to see more cloud offerings from them, including a cloud-based version of Office. However, Microsoft has taken advantage of the fact that while many people have heard of the cloud; they didn’t know exactly what it was. This has led many to believe that Microsoft invented or owns the cloud or that the cloud is just about document sharing or photo editing. The reality is that cloud computing already offers low cost, on-demand, enterprise-level software and storage that is available today to small business, big corporations and individual consumers. As for what’s coming, expect that “the cloud” will soon be the main way we all work with technology. Ready for the cloud right now? Check out this list of the top cloud computing companies:

Some Top Tech for 2011

What kinds of cool technology stuff should you look for this year? Get ready for some new items along with a few that have already debuted, but are now ready to hit it big in 2011. See what should be on your list to check out this year. 3-D Cameras Right now, you can buy any one of the several point and shoot digital cameras offered by major manufacturers at prices under $500. Just like conventional digital cameras, expect that prices will continue to fall as the 3-D technology becomes more widespread. 3-D camcorders are probably still a little ways off from hitting big, since they are closer to $1,500. Maybe next year? 3-D Cameras Right now, you can buy any one of the several point and shoot digital cameras offered by major manufacturers at prices under $500. Just like conventional digital cameras, expect that prices will continue to fall as the 3-D technology becomes more widespread. 3-D camcorders are probably still a little ways off from hitting big, since they are closer to $1,500. Maybe next year? Your Smartphone is your Remote Control As smartphones continue to become more powerful and wireless technology gets faster and faster, this may be the year you can send music, photos and video to any screen anywhere you go, using your smartphone as the remote control. Next up? Controlling your car, house and everything else in your life with your smartphone. 4G Wireless In 2010, Kansas City’s own Sprint was the first to roll out a 4G (fourth-generation) wireless network, a 4G phone and a Wi-Fi hotspot . The 4G landscape gets busier with Verizon and AT&T offering 4G services. T-Mobile is already advertising its version of 4G (more like 3.5G), but it has slower speeds than the other networks. Sprint’s 4G runs at 3 Mbps, Verizon’s is between 5 and 12 Mbps, AT&T expects about 7 Mbps and T-Mobile’s is about 1.5 Mbps. For comparison, most DSL connections run 1.5 to 3 Mbps and cable internet connections average about 5 to 7 Mbps. Tablets The iPad has been a success has opened the mass market for tablets and sales of tablets should more than double this year, approaching 60 million sold.

What you should know about cell phone viruses

By now, just about everyone is familiar with viruses, malware and phishing attacks that can crash your computer and compromise your identity. Most people know to keep their anti-virus and security software up to date, not to click on unknown links or attachments in emails and never to give out personal information without knowing where it’s going. Now, the bad guys out there are moving to the mobile world and you need to be sure your cell phones and smart phones are protected. First of all, you’ve got to know the dangers and the warning signs. If your phone is moving slowly or getting a large amount of spam texts, a virus might be at fault. These viruses are often spread through free download offers, such as a free ringtone. Your best protection is to never install any unknown software attached to incoming messages you receive. Another way a cell phone viruses spread is through Bluetooth technology. The Cabir virus uses Bluetooth to find cell phones within 100 feet, sends itself to those devices and drain the batteries of those devices through continual Bluetooth scans. Protect your phone by setting your Bluetooth mode to “hidden.” Also, keep Bluetooth off when you’re not using it. Finally, lock your phone according to manufacturer instructions and use a strong password to protect access to your contacts, emails and calendar. Smartphones, ( iPhone , Android , Windows Mobile , BlackBerry ) are in less danger from viruses for now, since viruses can’t be spread between these different operating systems. However, you’re not out of the mobile security woods. Since these smartphones are like computers in that they can install and run software applications, your biggest danger comes in the form of malicious programs. Be sure to set your smartphone not to allow installation of any applications from sources other than the official source ( iPhone’s App Store , Android Market , BlackBerry AppWorld ). Also, install a program such as Lookout Mobile Security for your Android, BlackBerry or Windows Mobile phone. Just like in nature, Viruses are always evolving and hackers are always working to find new ways to steal and cause trouble. But if you use common sense security practices, you can protect your mobile device from cell phone viruses and malicious apps.

Please take note of our holiday hours: November 26 & 27: Closed, December 24: 8 AM – 2 PM, December 25: Closed, December 31: 8 AM – 2 PM, January 1: Closed. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!