College Freshmen: Send Your Parents a Tech Support Care Package

Once the youngest child leaves for college, Mom and Dad will likely spend more than a few hours at home, staring at their computer monitor and trying to figure out what the heck just happened. You were, after all, their built-in tech support… so what are they supposed to do now that you\’ve gone off and left them?

OK, we know there are services they can call, but let\’s face it—they\’ve gotten used to you making it all better. Why not send Mom and Dad a tech support care package? Here are a few tips for creating one, whether they have formally asked for it (yet) or not.

Putting It Together

If your parents lean more toward the analytical side, you may want to create a flow chart to outline the more common tech support problems and the solutions to those challenges. Otherwise, use a cheap journal, notebook or flash card set. Since you know they\’re likely to be stressed when they actually begin using it, throw in a couple of bags of chamomile tea and a stress ball. Neatly place the items in a little bag, or if you want to be a bit more fancy, go for a decorative basket.

Common Tech Support Questions and Answers

We know there are certain things that trip your parents up, again and again. Here are a few common questions that might pop up throughout the semester, along with the answers:

Log-in Problems. The answer to \”I can\’t log in\” is usually found behind that pesky caps lock button. Remind your parents that passwords are case-sensitive. However, email hackers are on the rise so if your parents are getting an error message that points to a potential breach, have them contact the help desk for the email provider or software program they are using. Teach them how to figure authentic emails with simple guidelines such as not clicking unfamiliar websites and unsolicited offers.

Slow Computer. There are a couple of potential problems, so let\’s go with the simpler one first. If they have multiple windows open, instruct your parents to ask themselves if they need to have all those windows running at the same time. Once they\’ve closed any unnecessary windows, if the computer is still running slowly, it\’s possible they will need step-by-step guidance on how to delete cookies. You can also automate this simple task using built-in OS scheduler.

Computer Inexplicably Shut Down. If the computer suddenly shuts down, it\’s often due to overheating or faulty power supply. Have them give it a rest for about an hour, then try again. If the problem continues a new power supply might be needed. Take note that dust attributes to quicker degradation of power supply fan or any moving mechanism inside the computer so during the off-time, have them regularly clean any visible dust.

Of course I can go on and expand this list but you get the idea. When you send the support package your parents will dearly appreciate it and you will not worry how they are keeping up with technology. The next time they call or visit you can spend more time on things that really matters.

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New Mac Pro – Small, Radical and Innovative

New Mac Pro (2013)

For a long time I thought Apple is not making new Mac Pro anymore but in WWDC 2013 Apple revealed an entirely new Mac Pro with radical cylinder design. It is a big departure from \”cheese grater\” Mac Pro and much smaller too.

Apple considered all the elements that makes a \”pro\” computer such as graphics, storage, expansion slots, processing power, memory and so much more.


Only 9.9 inches tall and 6.6 inches wide (diameter). You\’ll be surprised that it has a lot of expansions available. It has 802.11ac and bluetooth 4.0  wireless connectivity as well as numerous I/O connections including 6 thunderbolt ports, an HDMI 1.4 port, 4 USB 3 ports and 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports.


If you remember the \”sunflower\” iMac with a hemisphere base, this doesn\’t look very odd at all. There are varying opinions with the design but you either love it or you hate it. Some people makes fun of its shape — that it looks like a vacuum cleaner.

However, when I first saw it the first thing that came to my mind is R2-D2 and other Star Wars astromech droids.

I\’m sure there are several people out there planning to mod this new Mac Pro into R2-D2 already.


The new Mac Pro has dual GPUs, PCI Express-based flash storage, Thunderbolt 2, new-gen Intel Xeon processors and 4k video support.

The processor can support up to 12 cores and compared to the old Mac Pro, the new Mac Pro is 2x faster in floating-point performance, delivering up to 40GB/s of PCI-express 3 bandwidth. The memory supports 4-channel DDR3 memory at 1866MHz bus speed and could delivery up to 60 GB/s of memory bandwidth.

Graphics is not neglected in the new Mac Pro as it can deliver up to 7 teraflops of computer power thanks to Dual AMD FirePro workstation-class GPUs with 6GB of dedicated VRAM. With its arsenal of dual GPUs it can power 3 ultra HD (4k) resolution display.

The black aluminum enclosure gives the new Mac Pro an odd shape but for a practical reason. It houses a unified thermal core which enable the unit to use a single piece of extruded aluminum in triangular shape that maximizes the airflow as well as thermal capacity using only a single fan. It looks very neat and is one of a kind.

When looking at the thermal core design, I could not help but notice the resemblance it has with Darth Vader\’s mask. I don\’t know if Apple is inspired so much to push the boundaries of computing that it is getting design cues from sci-fi movies like Star Wars. I am excited with this new development and I think Apple did a great job here.


May the force be with you!

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TV Goes Mobile: Apple TV & iOS Power Up!

As a leader in technology innovation, Apple makes the news when it changes its products. So devoted to the company are its users that even rumors and speculation tend to send the digital media into overdrive. And when Tim Cook, Apple\’s CEO, starts hinting of upcoming changes to operating systems and products, the media hype machine kicks into full effect and ears perk straight up.

iOS 7

Apple fans are fully aware that the next generation of iPhones, iPads and other Apple products are likely to feature a new iOS system. Tim Cook remarked in an All Things D interview that the latest iOS system will improve the relationship between hardware, software and customer service, something Apple customers expect. Although the previous generations of the iOS system were innovative, the expectations for the latest software and hardware are much higher than before since the late Steve Jobs stepped down and Cook hinted the next system will have major improvements.

Apple TV Sales

The most interesting aspect of the interview concerned Apple’s plans for television. Apple has sold roughly 13 million Apple TVs since it was originally developed, noted Since Apple TV is not the primary innovation from the company, the large number of sales and the rapid growth over the last year was surprising.The company did not realize that the hockey-puck sized television attachment would generate a high level of interest.

Due to the growing number of Apple TV sales, it is not surprising that the CEO hinted about big plans for the future. suggested that Apple plans to take part in the changing dynamics of television that companies like Netflix and Amazon are working on now.

The Future of the Products

Cook stated that the TV is long overdue for an upgrade and the company has a vision for the future of TV, noted Business Insider. While he did not give specifics about the innovations the company is planning to unveil in the future, he did give enough hints to tantalize Apple customers. The vision for television and the improvements to the iOS system are only a part of the grand scheme that will result in a greater television experience. suggests that video streaming has changed the television viewing experience, but Apple’s CEO noted during the interview that it is still possible to make improvements. The current Apple TV provides the opportunity to enjoy iTunes movies and works with video streaming companies like Netflix. According to, it also syncs with the iOS systems via AirPlay, so it is possible to enjoy games and apps from an iPhone, iPad or other Apple products on the larger screen of a television.

The future of the television experience is likely to improve on the current AirPlay system and the streaming options. According to USA Today, voice and gestures might be an upcoming feature of the newer system. It is possible that the newer iOS system and Apple TV will work on adjusting the Siri system for better voice control. The publication suggests that gestures might be an option, but it would need reworking the entire system to include sensors, which might make it a little bulky.

Watching television on the Apple TV might be a better experience than using voice commands and gestures to communicate with the system. USA Today suggests Apple TV might incorporate apps into the television viewing experience. Instead of watching cable or flipping through a large number of channels, the system will offer only the channels that viewers are most interested in watching.

Innovation is a key part of Apple\’s approach to reaching customers. Although the details are not yet available, hints on the technology are giving a clear image of the possibilities.

image by deerkoski

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Zoolz Home Review – Easy to Use Cold Storage Cloud Back-Up

Zoolz Home Free & Premium

Zoolz comes in 3 different editions – Zoolz Home Free, Zoolz Home Premium and Zoolz Business. Both Home Premium and Business editions comes in several pricing packages.  In this review I will focus on Zoolz Home editions, Free and Premium.

Although not as popular as other mainstream cloud backup services, Zoolz is a product of Genie9 that has offered back up services to home and businesses users for a long time already. Other products of Genie9 includes Genie Backup Manager, Genie Timeline and G Cloud Backup for Android.


Zoolz uses only the best cloud storage available so it uses Amazon AWS Glacier for cold storage technology. To make the deal sweeter, Zoolz is offering 100 GB FREE storage for the first 1,000,000 users and whoever gets it will be able to use the free storage for a lifetime.

Enter vexite1 and get 5% off when you upgrade to Zoolz Home Premium 100GB 


All editions of Zoolz come with modern encryption method for both file transfer and storage. I will discuss the security details later on. Take note that for all Home versions, restore time takes 3-5 hours after initiation due to the nature of cold storage technology.

You can refer to the comparison table below to see the difference between Zoolz Business, Home Premium and Home Free.


Home Free version only allows backup interval of 45 minutes but premium allows more frequent scan interval — as frequent as every 5 minutes. It also allows setting scheduled backups and full scan interval, as well as scheduled backup by date. Premium supports file type, file size and date filters.

In Home Premium, you can also throttle upload bandwidth and set when the throttling schedule will apply. Two more modes are added in Premium as well — presentation mode which pauses backup while displaying presentation, playing games or watching movies, and battery saving mode which saves battery when your laptop is running on batteries by reducing the resources required by Zoolz client app to reduce power consumption. It will completely stop and only monitor changes if the battery level is critical. You can also allow Zoolz Home Premium to only upload files when using specific connection. For instance, you can prevent Zoolz from backing up if you are connected to 3G/4G connection.

Business version has all the premium features with additional business features such as file sharing, direct upload to Zoolz website, backup policies, server backup, adding users with bulk upload tool and smart selections. Smart selection is one important features for business users because it offers pre-configured selection of most important items on your computer and it makes backing up important data easier. For example, selecting \”email\” will ensure that all .pst files are backed up. Selecting \”Office Files\” will scan all .doc, .docx, .ppt, .pptx, .xls, .xlsx and other recognizable Microsoft Office suite files.

Although not mentioned in the comparison table Zoolz can also back-up external and network drives.

Ease of Use

I find Zoolz surprisingly easy to use. In less than 5 minutes you can download Zoolz installer, install the Windows client, run it and start your back up immediately. Below is a slideshow of the entire sign up process and getting started with Zoolz Home.

RAW and image preview is supported so Zoolz is also pegged as a back-up solution for photographers. There are very few cloud services that offer RAW support so if you are a photographer and you wish to back-up RAW and be able to preview them as well, Zoolz is one of the best out there.

Working on Zoolz Windows client is very intuitive and it kinds of reminds me the Windows 8 interface. It supports Windows XP SP3 and more recent release of Windows including Windows 8. It also supports Windows servers and both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms. At the moment Mac is not supported but Zoolz will support it in the near future.

Zoolz offers free mobile app called Zoolz Go. According to Zoolz technical support, the mobile app is intended for Zoolz Business only but I am able to use it in my Zoolz Home account. Take note that you can\’t do anything with the files if you are only using cold storage which the only option available for Zoolz Home. You could view the files but to fully use the mobile app you need to get instant storage which is only available for Business users.

Web access is not as robust as Dropbox, Box or Skydrive and it does not offer any integration with 3rd party services yet. You can open documents and certain files with Google docs but other than that there are no immediate integration with other cloud backup solutions. Navigating the website could be confusing sometimes because it is easy to forget the tabs for Home and Business is different but once you are logged in, the interface is consistent and easy to understand.

Zoolz Home Free is only limited to 1 user but you can use up to two computers. This an added value if you wish to move or restore an old machine backup to a new computer. You don\’t need to transfer the license or worry about extra fee at all. If you need to issue multiple user access you need to upgrade to premium for additional user access.


In terms of reliability, Genie9 is in the backup business for more than 13 years already so you should feel more confident knowing that they have been around even before the cloud bandwagon started.

Zoolz security is using top-notch military grade encryption. I think that some of the security layer is redundant but that is good news for extra paranoid users.

Zoolz website and client software is hardened against hacking attacks. Amazon S3 uses AES-256 server-side encryption and the actual files are encrypted with military grade 256-AES encryption, too. Transfers are secured using SSL  and the only time files are decrypted is only on authorized machines.

Storage Space

Zoolz is very generous in providing free storage space. Take advantage of the free 100 GB storage now and worry about upgrading later. I think it is a good strategy knowing that most users who will outgrow the free 100 GB storage will likely upgrade to paid Zoolz packages.

Cold Storage technology is cheap. While there is an obvious advantage in value but it trades off restore time speed. The actual upload and download of files is as quick as any other services but the duration to prepare restoration is much slower compared to instant cloud storage services.


I have plotted the storage to pricing ratio of popular cloud backup services.  Anything above the diagonal line is deemed to have more value per dollar spent. Take note that I did not include services with unlimited back-up storage because it will skew the graph too much even if I set a theoretical limit. In order to compare relative pricing per GB, I used Dropbox Free/Pro, Skydrive, Box Business and Google Drive.

The area of the circles are directly proportional to the number of users per account. The smallest circle is equals to 1 user per account.


Zoolz Home Premium starts at $19.92 per year with 100 GB storage. As you can see, Zoolz Home is able to offer more competitive pricing than any paid services from Google Drive, Skydrive, Dropbox Pro and Box Business.

I already mentioned the restore speed trade off but I doubt many users will be crashing their computers everyday. Therefore, for budget conscious consumers, Zoolz Home gives greater value than most popular cloud storage solution mentioned.

Enter vexite1 and get 5% off when you upgrade to Zoolz Home Premium 100GB


Zoolz seems to be consistent with the support structure of Genie9. You can always contact the sales hotline but there is no 24/7 hotline for technical support. What you get is a well documented and updated help center wiki as well as email forms that  are routed to sales and technical support group. In most situations I can find what I need from the help center. Given that Zoolz is easy of use, there is very little reason to call Zoolz for technical support.  Google Drive, Dropbox Pro and Box do not offer voice support as well but if you compare Zoolz to customer-centric cloud back-up companies you start to wonder why they don\’t offer telephone hotline.

I have tested the technical support form and the technical support team is able answer my inquiries in about 30 minutes. I did not test the consistency but I am happy that support is very responsive.


To wrap this up, Zoolz Home Free is a steal if you are after cost-effective solution for personal computer back-up. You also get the free 100 GB storage if you are one of the first 1 million registered user. Using cold storage technology Zoolz is able to offer cheaper price per GB without sacrificing security and ease of use. Zoolz is using Amazon Glacier for cold storage technology so it is very reliable. Users should not be discouraged with the delayed restoration period if the purpose of the back-up is for archiving only. This is great for artists, photographers and videographers who wish to keep a safe and secured copy of their work in the cloud. It is definitely a must-try service for cloud storage enthusiasts alike.

Use my special coupon vexite2 to get 5% for Zoolz Business with 50 GB instant storage and 100 GB cold storage.


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Google Search Education Makes You a Better Googler (Part 2)

This is a continuation of Google Search Education Makes You a Better Googler (Part 1).

Below is my summary of classes 4 to 6 of Power Search class by Google Search Education.

Find facts faster

Class 4 focuses on other tools that makes searching faster and easier.

Search by Image

Google Image search by image feature processes the image and looks for the best possible match for other pictures. It is great for  finding the description of image, what it is and where it came from.

A great tip from Daniel Russel: If you found something you don\’t know, just take a picture of it in white background, then use search by image to search the web. It\’s like taking Google search in the real world.

Search Features


Basically these are search string shortcuts that you can use in order to find what you really need really fast.

movies + [location]

capital of + [location]

weather in + [location]

weather + [zip code]

flight code

time + [location]

common disease/medical condition/medical term

There are more and the complete list is located here: Google Search features

Conversion and Calculator

I have used this for a very long time already. You can use this to convert about any US units to metric units. Just use the search format:

[number units in units]


population of [place]

You can do basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division using Google. There are also easter eggs like this one:


If you trigger this specific Google search features, Google will show up a new area for converter or calculator as seen above.

Left hand panel and Date range limiting

You can use date range limiting to limit the recency of Google search results. In news, this is very important so you only get the freshest ones.

For books and other reference materials, you can use this to search for very old archives. Want to find which books are published during 1980\’s? Just go to Google Books and filter them.

Translation and search

Most people would be familiar with Google Search but beyond that, most people don\’t know that you can use Google to search for translated foreign websites.

That is the end of class 4. Class 5 focuses on checking facts when doing your search.

Checking Your Facts


Some pointers:

  • Highest ranked webpage does not mean the source is credible.
  • Different terms make different implications, so choose the query terms appropriately.
  • Do a variety of search, not just one. Always do one more search.
  • Look at the URL – sometimes it signals where the perspective of the page.

Using time range filter you can check whether this quote is really from Martin Luther King.

\”I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.\”
—attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you look at the search results over time you can get a hint how it got published after 1999 but not before it. Of course something is fishy here.

Variant Data

One challenge about doing web searches is the vast amount of data available out there that a simple fact could have one or more subtlety involved in it.

You have to ask question like: does this fact vary based on some contextual information?

You need to find the source. Where it came from? How was it measured?

Use the precise information you have to verify source; Use a generic description to confirm fact.

Don\’t add your answer into your query  to avoid confirmation bias (believing a pre-conceived notion).

Using Books to verify a quote

Quotes are typically hard to find where they came from but books offer authoritative information for this type of information.


If you need to more information about the domain name of a page, there are WHOIS database that can give you information on who owns it.

How do you know if an entity is a business? Use the entity name and the term [contact]. It should give you information how to locate it and how to get in touch with it. That\’s why if you are a business you should always have a \”contact us\” page


  1. You cannot buy a better ranking
  2. A Google service logo on a site does not mean Google has vetted it
  3. Google ads on a page does not mean Google has vetted it
  4. Rank is not equal to authoritative

That\’s the end of class 5 and now for the last class.

Putting it all Together

Combining methods

Doing good search is an iterative process. Starting from simple search to a complex search with filters

Think broadly

Using other tools in combination, streetview, maps, translation, etc.

All the tools are available online and the best training to practice all these are the activity that comes with the online classes. The reason I summarized this class is for me to look for the lessons quickly when I forget something. Of course, the best learning materials are still found in Power Searching with Google website.

There are two extra two hang out videos with the search experts. You can get valuable lessons from these, too.

Just in case you are interested on how the certificate looks like, see below.


Hint: the font used is Helvetica.

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Google Search Education Makes You a Better Googler (Part 1)

Google Search Education

If you have used Google a lot, you might be seasoned enough to know how to get the best search results but even if you are using Google for a very long time you might be using the wrong approach in your searches.

I have participated in the first Power Searching class with Google Search Education. It is the first of its kind combining online classes with Google+ hang out activities and forums to have interactive search education. If you happen to participate on early registration last month, you probably got a certificate. However, even without a certificate this is worth your time.

I have taken down notes and summarized the entire curriculum. Now, read on.

Learn the Basics of Google Search

Class 1 talks about how filtering image searches by color, how Google search works and the art of keyword choices.

Searching images is an easy task but if there are many options available it gets a little challenging. Color gives you filtering options that you may not find in the text associated with the image. It gives you information only available to the eye. For example, if you are searching for old photographs, you may want to use black and white so that only old photos will appear.

The art of keyword choices can be learned and you just need is:

  1. think what you are trying to find,
  2. choose words that you think will appear on the page and…
  3. put yourself in the mindset of the author of those words.
The words you use will influence the kinds of results  you will get from search. This is might be common sense  but some people don\’t alter the search term a little bit to get what they are looking for.
In the example given by Google, notice how you can get the best search results by changing a simple phrase.

Bad: What was the old city in san francisco bay called?

Better:  old city san francisco bay

Best: ghost town san francisco bay


The best option is to use an  alternative term for old city, which is \”ghost town\”, giving you a precise target on old towns and cities. Also note that you have to get rid of unimportant words that doesn\’t help with the search at all.

Word Order Matters

Every word matters in your query and even the word order matters for common phrases. For example, try searching for sky blue and blue sky. You\’ll get very different results.


What does not matter in Google searches

  • Capitalization
  • Most special characters: § ¶ ¥ £ € © ® ≅ ≠ √
  • With a few exceptions like C++. C#. #hashtag, Google+, $100

Control-F / Command-F

Find functionality is in your browser and it helps speed up in finding what you want to search from a particular web page. This is kind of surprising but according to Google, only 10% of all searches knew about using CTRL+F or Command+F.

That\’s the end of class 1. Now for class 2, the main subject is interpreting results.

Using search result suggestion

There are several ways in which Google search results can help you suggest what you are trying to find.

Panels on the right hand side

The results here are often taken from from Wikipedia.

With the addition of Google Knowledge Graph, the right panel helps you provide answer. Google is now able to identify entities and it knows the nodes and relationships of different information. It is very useful for a very popular entity. Google compiles information about persons, animals, books, movies, etc


It a great way to sense the kind of things other people have been looking for. Sometimes the suggestions in autocomplete can help you get unstuck as you search, or get new ideas about how to approach finding something you want.


It works in tandem  with autocomplete search. Search-as-you-type gives you search results without you needing to figure out a whole query.

Related searches

For me, this is very useful in searching because it can give you a different approach in finding what you are trying to find.

Thinking more deeply about your search

Another method to build more targeted queries is to learn new, more precise terms to describe what you seek. Often, these terms show up somewhere in your search results, and if you are attuned to noticing them, you can use them to help you find information faster.

For example if you are looking for [immigrate send money home]

You may notice the word remittance.


You can use dictionary in Google using the syntax below:

define [word]


Understanding Different Media

When you do search in Google, you are not only confined with the classic text search. You can explore different modes in Google  searches: images, videos, shopping, etc.

Sometimes the best answers is in images so when suggestions comes up for that, go check it out. If you are looking for how-to instructions a video instruction might be the best reference you are looking for instead of images. If you are looking for the price of a gadget, look for shopping. If you are looking for scholarly materials for research papers and thesis, use Google Scholar.

Sometimes, using other Google products such as Google Maps can help you plan your travel by utilizing street view.

All these are available at the left panel.

Reading Search Engine Results Pages (SERP)

Using Page Preview

Apart from skimming the results, you can use this to check what can be found inside the webpage from search engine result pages.  Instead of visiting each links you can hover the guillemets  or the sideway chevron when you hover at the search result block.


Understanding Individual Search Result

I\’ve mentioned result block awhile ago. So do you know the parts of a search block?

Here it is:


Page title is in blue, web address is green and snippet in black.

Take note that the snippet is generated by Google algorithm and it could contain different part of the page content. You have to watch out for the ellipsis because it means that other text before or after it are truncated.

If you are searching a relatively large website, a box right below in the SERP will appear. In essence it gives you the option to search right within the site.  It is similar to using  the site: operator to restrict results to a domain, website or directory.

Using the entire results page

Sometimes you are presented with contradicting information so you must understand what you are looking for first before jumping to a conclusion. Like if you are searching for different types of cats. There are several organizations that categorizes cats so the exact number of breeds would vary for each organization. If you do not try to understand this first, you will be confused why there are different count for cat breeds on your search results.

Different kinds of content

Previously, we looked at different media available through Google such as images, videos, news, etc. There are more such as blogs, discussions, recipes, patents, books, 3D models, and legal documents.

Take note that the left panel does not appear on tablet computers (iPads and Android devices).

That concludes class 2. Class 3 covers advance techniques using operators.

Advanced Techniques using operators

Here are the different operators that you can use in Google


The site: operator restricts the searches on a particular website or web page.

filetype: pdf, doc, docx, ppt, pptx, txt, csv, dat, kml

If you are interested on a specific filetype, you can use the filetype operator to get only filetypes you are interested.

minus operator removes search results we are not interested in.

Original query:
[ salsa ]

To remove “salsa as dancing” we use:
[ salsa –dancing ]

To remove the vegetable too:
[ salsa –dancing –tomatoes ]

OR and quotes

Use quotes to do phrase search and use OR if you want to combine ideas together, like if you are searching with synonymous words.

Take note: you must use OR in all capital letters. Otherwise it will not work.

1. OR is all capital letters
Effective: [uk OR england]
Ineffective: [uk Or england]
Ineffective: [uk or england]

2. OR acts on the words touching it
Effective: [“tesla coil” OR “jacobs ladder”]
Ineffective: [tesla coil OR jacobs ladder]
Generally, OR only applies to the words directly on either side of it, so search engines read [tesla coil OR jacobs ladder] with the OR only applying to coil and jacobs.
Google interprets this query to mean that you want all the pages to have the words tesla and ladder, since they are not next to an OR. Only putting the two names in quotes, you make the OR apply to tesla coil and jacobs ladder as set phrases.


It allows you to find pages that have a specific word in the body of the text somewhere–it forces inclusion on the page.

When you search for multiple terms on it, some terms my drop out because they are not frequent enough. If you want to force the inclusion of that word on the page, you use intext.


[coral bleaching intext:geophysics]

If you  need more advance search options, you can always use the advance search (gear menu) found at upper right side.


That\’s the summary of classes 1 to 3 of Power Search course by Google Search Education. I will cover classes 4 to 6 on my next post.

Read part 2 here: Google Search Education Makes You a Better Googler (Part 2)


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BlackBerry and Apple Came Out Victorious in Enterprise-ready OS Battle

This article is a guest post from MSI-ECS, distributor of Trend Micro products.


New pre-show research from industry analysts and Trend Micro reveals which platforms are secure and manageable enough to use at work

Manila, Philippines—Trend Micro, Inc. a global leader in cloud-based security software and services, recently announced the release of brand new research comparing the ability of several different mobile platforms to meet the demands of use in the enterprise.  The results of the research, carried out by Altimeter Group, Bloor Research and Trend Micro’s own specialists, clearly show that in the opinion of the researchers, BlackBerry 7.0 scored highest across the board, ahead of (in descending order) Apple iOS5, Windows Phone 7.5 and Google’s Android 2.3

Highlights of the findings

The platforms were each scored on a combination of factors including built-in security, application security, authentication, device wipe, device firewall, virtualisation, and many others. BlackBerry attained the highest average score (2.89), followed by iOS (1.7), Windows Phone (1.61) and Android (1.37)

The findings are summarised below:

  • BlackBerry – The researchers commented that corporate-grade security and manageability make this platform the option of choice for the most stringent mobile roles. However, many features and protections that are commonly enabled or enforceable via the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) are not present on devices that are user-provisioned via BlackBerry Internet Services (BIS). In fact, some of the strongest features restricting high-risk activities that users may undertake, such as removal of password protection for the device, may be rendered inactive if a user’s device is not provisioned via the BES.
  • Apple – The iOS application architecture natively provides users much protection because all applications are “sand-boxed” in a common memory environment.  Security in iOS also extends to the physical attributes of the iPhone and iPad.  There are no options for adding removable storage, which in effect provides another layer of protection for users. Apple also compares favourably to BlackBerry insofar as the BlackBerry IT administrator has complete control over the device, whereas in iOS, the IT department can only configure items once the user has supplied their permission
  • Windows Phone - Microsoft has learnt the lessons of the past and created a reasonably robust and secure smartphone operating system in Windows Phone. The OS uses privileges and isolation techniques to create sandbox processes. These “chambers” are based on a policy system that, in turn, defines which system features the processes operating in a chamber can access.
  • Android – Although Android is now available in more recent versions (4.x), version 2.x is still the most widely deployed on existing and new handsets. This is a security risk in itself; there is no central means of providing Operating System updates, meaning that many users remain unprotected from critical vulnerabilities for a prolonged period. On the plus side, it is a privilege-separated operating system and applications can’t access the network without prior consent. Apps run in their individual sandboxed environment and permissions are granted by the user on a per app basis.  Unfortunately the end user often fails to closely inspect the permissions request dialogue in their haste to use the app. It is often unclear, when permissions are given, what the application is actually capable of.

Nigel Stanley, Practice Leader – Security at Bloor Research and one of the report’s authors, said “Security people I work with are scared witless by consumerization and the rapid adoption of these devices. Aside from the technical challenges, organisations need to understand the importance of a decent mobile device security policy and supporting user education.”

Raimund Genes, CTO at Trend Micro and one of the researchers who produced the report, commented: “Against the growing, unstoppable backdrop of consumerization and BYOD, every mobile device is a risk to business. What is interesting in these results is that, whilst some mobile platforms have evolved very noticeably along enterprise lines, there is still a strong ‘consumer marketing’ legacy in some quarters and this is negating some of the progress made on the enterprise front. Indeed, some of the attributes we have examined in the report are still firmly ‘enterprise-unready.’”

To know more about Trend Micro, you may contact MSI-ECS at (02) 688-3181 or [email protected]

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