WordPress 3.4 New Features and Performance Improvements

I have just upgraded to WordPress 3.4 and it is as easy as all the earlier version of WordPress. The simplest method still works — backup database, disable plugins, replace files, upgrade database, then you enable the plugins back again.

The highlights in this new incremental update of WordPress are theme customization, custom headers, Twitter embeds and HTML support on image captions. The rest is mostly under the hood improvements.

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Live Theme Preview

This is probably the answer to Bloggers template designer. There are a couple of WordPress themes in the market that use WYSIWYG editor for customizing theme but this is the first time that WordPress shipped with a theme editor out of the box. With Live Theme Preview, it is easier than ever to create a beautiful website even if you are a beginner.

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Better Custom Headers

At first I don\’t understand what\’s new with custom headers but after some testing I realized that it is just like the old custom headers but this time around, it follows the height of the image. So you don\’t need to edit CSS property anymore just to adjust the height of the header. As far I remember, you can\’t easily change the size of your header but now WordPress 3.4 offers the easiest header configuration available.

Twitter Embeds

I used to have Blackbird Pie installed but with this built-in support for embedding tweets, I think I will use the standard embed from now on. Take note that when you are embedding tweets, they should be just plain text, not links. It does not matter if you embed http or https. They will be embedded.

The advantage of Blackbird Pie is the inclusion of Twitter background along with the tweet but the native WordPress Twitter embed opted for a cleaner standard look.

HTML on Image Captions

This feature took almost an eternity to be included in the standard feature and I believe it should have been added many years ago. Nevertheless, it\’s better late than never.

I think due to the number of image-centric websites popping up, this feature had finally been given the green light. Now it\’s easier to link photo credit using captions.

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Do you agree it is more elegant to give credit using captions instead of footnote or  by linking the picture to an external link?

Under the Hood Improvements

There are many improvements included, and here is the list of what\’s new for WordPress 3.4 from a developer\’s perspective.

One of the most important changes under the hood is the improved WP_Query. The technical part is explained here.

This patch breaks default WP_Query queries into two parts – one to select a list of IDs with the given selection criteria, and a second to actually select the posts once the IDs have been determined. This vastly reduces the amount of data that has to be processed by the database, resulting in fewer context switches and vastly improved performance.

After upgrading to WordPress 3.4 I immediately see improved performance in the server and my blog felt more snappy. I will urge you to upgrade to WordPress 3.4 now just for this improvement.

Translation system is also more robust now as well as the API support.

Theme developers should be able to  use the added functionality in WordPress 3.4 to make themes more user-friendly just like the 2 default themes that comes with WordPress, Twenty-Ten and Twenty-Eleven.

Final Thoughts on WordPress 3.4

With the addition of neat features like Live Theme Preview and better custom header, themes supporting the new features can further enhance theme customization options. If you post a lot of pictures you can finally put links on your captions!

More importantly, if you have huge database (i.e. blogs with many posts) chances are you using a caching plug-in now. The improvement gain shouldn\’t be to obvious with caching enabled but if you disable the caching plugin then you should be able to feel the difference now that WP_Query is improved. As described by the contributing developer,  the benefit could range from good to dramatic.

Therefore I highly recommend to upgrade to this version soon.

Word of caution: Test your business-critical plugins first in a sandbox before upgrading your production (live) server. I had to disable one or two minor plugins that is not yet compatible with WordPress 3.4.

 

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Windows 8 Release Preview VirtualBox Installation and Error Troubleshooting

I made a guide for Windows 8 Consumer Preview using VirtualBox before. So this is just an update. If you have followed that guide before, it\’s very similar except that I am using an updated Virtual Box and Windows 8 installer.

First, update to the latest version of VirtualBox. At the time I wrote this, version 4.1.16 is the latest. Then download Windows 8 Release Preview.

Now, let\’s start with the creation of virtual machine.

Using the steps below, create your Wondows 8 Release Preview Virtual Machine.

Windows 8 VirtualBox Guide

Install Windows 8 Release Preview

Installation is easy as pie. Just enter your preferred language, time and date format as well as keyboard or input method.

You\’ll be asked to enter serial key. If you are read the instruction on the ISO download page you should be able to find the serial key already. Just look for the Product Key.

Anyway, Windows 8 Release Preview Serial Key is  TK8TP-9JN6P-7X7WW-RFFTV-B7QPF

Further Setup

From here you can customize your settings already. In my example here, I used local account instead of using Microsoft account. I haven\’t warmed up yet with the idea of using it yet.

I noticed that sending info to Microsoft is an opt-in instead of an opt-out. You can see from the Settings configuration that it does not track anything you download from Windows Store nor track your location.  However, location platform is on by default so apps can ask your location if you permit them.

When you first logon you will get this lock screen. Much like the swipe to unlock screen guard in some Android phones.

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You can setup the picture password later. I like this idea better than Android\’s pattern lock because it does not force you to make a visible pattern using lines or grids. You just click and point to the area you wish to use. I wish you can setup more than 3 clicks but perhaps it is too much to remember for normal people so 3 clicks should be good enough.

One thing I noticed, when you start typing at the start screen it automatically searches for whatever you are typing. No need to look for the search text box.

The glaring issue that I still find in Windows 8 Release Preview is the invisible start menu. You have to hover the corners to get the start menu from the lower left corner and side bar menu from lower right corner. I am not sure if the experience will be different if you are using tablet but I am still skeptical on hiding the start menu. Yes you can bring it up easily using Windows key on your keyboard but it still does not make sense to me or to any average person I know. I had this opinion even before I saw Chris Pirillo\’s rants about the missing start menu.

Windows 8 Metro Apps

I tested Internet Explorer 10 with Flash 10 support. Nothing fancy about it.

Then there are 3 new apps added like News, Sports and Travel. These 3 apps share common interface and I think they will be the standard reference for Metro apps in terms of design and technical implementation. If you swipe down, you will get a pull down menu at the top. This serves as the menu of the applications. For example, in the Sports app — the default sport is basketball. At first you will think that it only displays basketball news but when you bring up the menu, you have an option to choose from different sports including golf, F1 race and football.

Troubleshooting

If you are installing and you get the error \”Your PC’s CPU isn’t compatible with Windows 8.” — you are not alone. Related issue to this is error code 0x000005d. Specially if you are working on VirtualBox, you will get this error if missed several prerequisites before installing Windows 8. You have to make sure that you enable NX (No eXecute bit) option in your BIOS.

I was able to install Windows 8 Consumer Preview before without this option so it came as a surprise that I could not install Windows 8 Release Preview without enabling this option.

If you enable NX,  Windows 8 VirtualBox error code 0x0000005D will not occur on your installation again.

Related error 0xC0000260 is cause by disabled PAE (or PAE-NX) virtualization option so you must enable PAE (or PAE-NX)  as well.

If you are interested to upgrade from Consumer Preview, it is possible but there is no simple method  to retrieve your data easily. Since I am only testing Windows 8 I do not install this in any live (production) machine. It\’s never wise to use beta products on work environment. However, if you are one of those who are too excited to use the latest version of Windows 8, you can use Easy Transfer to migrate your personal files from an old installation.

Microsoft Answers has a wealth of information about many problems you might encounter with Windows 8. Reporting problems will help Microsoft squash more bugs before the final retail version comes out.

I will not recommend installing the Guest Additions Tools because it makes my Windows 8 Release Preview unstable. Maybe it has something to do with the graphics driver but I will leave it for now until it becomes stable.

Have you experimented with the Windows 8 yet? Let me know your opinion below the comment section.

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8 Blogging Lessons from Game of Thrones (Part 2)

The last episode for season 2 is just around the corner and it seems that I am already having a withdrawal syndrome just because I won’t be seeing Game of Thrones again in cable TV until next year. In the meantime I am reading A Game of Thrones, the first book of  A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin to catch up with the saga .

There are lots of lesson to learn from watching Game of Thrones and as  a blogger I thought that I share with you what bloggers can learn from Game of  Thrones.

I had to break the original post into two because it was too long. This is the second part of the post –

Read the first part here:

8 Blogging Lessons from Game of Thrones (Part 1)

Now to continue…

5. Be Part of a Community or Tribe

 When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives. – Eddard Star (reference from the book)

There are many occasions in the book as well as in the TV series that one must pledge fealty or allegiance to the king. It is important to form alliance because a kingdom can\’t win a war without the support of its army and its people. If you are a lone blogger out there, there is a slim chance that people will discover your blog. You need to interact and engage with your fellow bloggers and readers.

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Some people are  in search of a movement or something to believe in.

Daenerys Targeryan was able to mobilize her tribe despite the harsh condition of the desert. The remaining Dothraki people believed in her as the Mother of Dragons and they continued to follow her wherever she will go.

It\’s human nature to be part of a group of people with same interest or goal. If you possess great talent and produce good content people will follow you when you contribute high value to the community or tribe.

 

6. Use Effective Call to Action

If Tyrion Lannister is born on the internet age, he is probably one the most successful internet marketing genius in Westeros. With wisely crafted words, he use call to action effectively like no other.

Here are  the guidelines he is using:

  • He gives tangible offer.
  • His offers are not empty words. He backs it up with good track record (A Lannister always pay his debts)
  • His offers are always relevant and timely
  • He is always willing to over-deliver offer to out-win competitors.

If you can pattern your call to action from the imp, you\’ll probably have ridiculously high conversion rate on your sales funnel.

 

7. Use A/B Testing

How do you think Tyrion found out who is leaking information to the Queen? That\’s right, by changing different variables and testing the members of the council, otherwise known as split testing or bucket testing.

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Through testing you will find out which part of your blog is performing best or worst and then you can decide if you want to improve them or eliminate them.

You might be surprised from the results.

 

8. Leverage on Available Resources Wisely

Not everyone can nurture and tame a dragon; not everyone can command a huge army. And there is a big chance that your pocket is not as deep as the Lannister\’s so you might as well use what\’s already available at your disposal. The good news is, there are many ways to win a war as there are many ways to create a successful blog.

Robb Stark might be a newbie at war but he was able to capitalize of the experience of his commanders and wits of his war council.

New bloggers are always daunted with plethora of options available and that could be a blessing in disguise. Learn from experienced bloggers. Observe how they create content and design their blogs. Know what technology they use that you can use also. WordPress is probably the best blogging tool available but there are other great options too like Blogger and Tumblr. Use what works best for you.

You don\’t even have to reinvent the wheel. Just throw in some personal branding, values you believe in, and you get a unique blog that could give your competition a run for their money . They may not even know what hit them until it\’s in front of them.

Daenerys has no army to command but 3 baby dragons and a few loyal followers. When the baby dragons grow they could prove to be  a formidable force but for now the only thing she can do is hide, train, and complain a lot while entrepreneurial people try to poach her dragons.

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Ideas are like baby dragons. You have to protect them specially at infancy stage.

Sometimes you have to risk everything just to protect your ideas until they mature. People will not believe in you until your ideas are fully developed so you must stick to your plan and just keep on going.

If you are like Dany, who only has baby dragons right now, just continue taking care of your dragons until they are ready. Continue blogging and don\’t let other people take your dragons away from you.

According to Darren Rowse, the average age of most successful blogs  was 33.8 months so if you are just starting to blog don\’t be discouraged.  You will see the fruit of success later.

One more example — the Battle of Blackwater. It is one of the most epic battle we have seen in television and probably the best in the series so far. Since I have never read the 2nd book yet, I have no expectation whatsoever from that episode. I thought they would use wildfire as catapult loads but the way they used wildfire was unprecedented .

The world needs innovators and the little trick Tyrion pulled off disrupted the plans of Stannis Baratheon.

If you have access to disruptive technology like wildfire, you should use it to your advantage.

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In the words of  Varys, \”Power resides where men believe it resides. It\’s a trick, a shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.\”

No matter how small blogger you are, you can trick yourself as an influential blogger if you view yourself in a different perspective. The internet levels the playing field and even a no-name blogger can create a dent in the universe if you use your resources wisely.

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8 Blogging Lessons from Game of Thrones (Part 1)

The last episode for season 2 is just around the corner and it seems that I am already having a withdrawal syndrome just because I won\’t be seeing Game of Thrones again in cable TV until next year. In the meantime I am reading A Game of Thrones, the first book of  A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin to catch up with the saga .

There are lots of lesson to learn from watching Game of Thrones and as  a blogger I thought that I share with you what bloggers can learn from this award-winning TV series and medieval fantasy novel.

If you have not read the book or watched the series yet, there are some spoilers here but I kept it to the minimum.

1. It\’s All About Branding

All houses in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire seems to have a motto. Here are the mottos of great houses:

  • House Baratheon: Ours Is the Fury
  • House Lannister: Hear Me Roar
  • House Stark: Winter Is Coming
  • House Tully: Family, Duty, Honor
  • House Targaryen: Fire and Blood
  • House Tyrell: Growing Stronger
  • House Greyjoy: We Do Not Sow
  • House Arryn: As High as Honor

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Having motto  forces you to focus on what really matters. For example during tough times, Catelyn Stark was hard pressed to make difficult decisions. The guiding principles of House Tully provided her guidance on what she should prioritize. Family, Duty, Honor. It had always been the order.

House Stark is known for their direwolf sigil while House Lannister is know for their lion sigil. When the banner-men are waving the flags of their houses, the sigil already speaks for itself even from afar. That is how a logo speaks for itself too. A logo does not only provide identity to your blog, it also makes your readers remember you.

You may not create a motto for your blog but you should be able to describe your blog in less than 15 words for elevator pitch or simple promotions. Knowing what your blog is all about helps you create content that is targeted for your audience and it helps you promote your blog easily.

Take note that a logo or a motto does not create a brand. It\’s more than that.

 

2. Always Have a Plan

Winter is coming (House Stark motto) — it\’s a way of saying that you should always be prepared.

You probably heard the saying that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Despite the young age, Robb commanded an army with combined forces of Stark, Tully and Frey.  How do you think they were able to capture Jamie Lannister from the Battle of Wispering Woods? It didn\’t happen by chance. Eddark Stark had been grooming Robb to be his replacement.

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Building a blog is like building a castle. If you know that winter is coming, you should be prepared to protect it at all times and be ready to conquer new territories in order to expand.

You should always try to make your blog relevant. Adapt to the needs of your readers.

Everyone knows that mobile is the buzzword these days and there are different studies pointing to that direction. So did you make your blog mobile friendly already? Social media is all around us. You can\’t deny its existence. Do you have social media plan, even a simple one? How can you keep on posting all year round? If you wish to join the ranks of the best blogs among your niche, you must be consistent. Do you have an editorial calendar to keep good ideas flowing?

How many times Google had changed algorithm? How many times must you follow Google\’s lead? If Google removes your blog from the first page of search results, can you still survive? You probably can\’t rely on just one strategy, do you? If you plan ahead, you can prepare alternate route for fall back to save you from complete wipe out when the odds turn against you. Manage your risk or risk will manage you.

 

3. Protect Your Blog

The Wall stretches for 300 miles and is about 700 feet high according to the TV adaptation and in the books.  The Wall is not there just for decoration. It was allegedly built using both magic and mundane means some thousand of years ago to defend the realm from what  are lurking beyond the wall — shadowcats, giants, ghouls, wild tribes and even White Walkers.

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Even Night\’s Watch gets fresh recruits every now and then to replenish the ranks and they have positions called builders, assigned to maintain the Wall in its pristine condition. If you are protecting a realm of blogs, I strongly believe you should do the same. Always update your blogs and backup.

If you are using WordPress and you can\’t backup your blog by yourself, you can hire someone or use services like VaultPress or BackupBuddy to have a peace of mind.

Last year I wrote about popular and best WordPress security plugins so you may want to check that out, too.

 

4. Think Before You Click

Most characters in Game of Thrones acts so quickly but thinks so slowly that they don\’t think through the consequences of their actions first.

How many times this happened in real life? You had a heated argument with a competitor online and started to throw nasty words on Twitter at each other. Then you realize  later you had acted on your emotions but you already sent the tweet to thousands of your followers and the tweet went viral. It reached your boss and he didn\’t like how you acted foolhardy.  The next morning you were jobless. You broke the social media policy of your company.

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Lady (the direwolf) should still be alive if Sansa did not lie about the direwolf incident with Joffrey and Arya.

The stubborn Viserys should have not suffered ill fate if he only used a little bit more patience and respect. He got what he wanted though — a gold crown — albeit in a form and fashion he least expected.

Jon Snow might have been dead by now when he planned to abandon his oath from the Night\’s Watch when the bad news about this father reached him. Thanks to his Night\’s Watch brothers, they were able to convince him to go back.

It\’s crazy how these young characters acted so carelessly.

With the internet and the notion of online anonymity, it\’s easy to defame one person or another. If you don\’t follow any social media policy on your day job, it\’s easy to forget that you are responsible not only for yourself but also for the company you work for. But even if you don\’t follow one — even if you only work for yourself — when you are writing a blog post, make sure that you are always objective when you are reporting a fact. Do not invent details or misquote people. Opinion is good in making a statement but you still have to back it up with facts and not sensualize it with gossips.

In the words of Cercei Lannister:  When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die; there is no middle ground.

Make sure that everything you do is based on your conscious choice, not swayed by emotions. Be proactive. Be responsible on whatever you do.

Read the second part here:

8 Blogging Lessons from Game of Thrones (Part 2)

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Building Relationships On Twitter Using Commun.it

Commun.it

I have blogged about Commun.it before when it was still in beta. At first I don\’t really know how different it is with other contact management tools for Twitter but the more I use it the more it becomes clearer to me that Commun.it is unique.

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Building relationships in Twitter is not a walk in the park. You will meet spam bots, scammers, flooders, trolls and all sorts of shenanigans so you should know how to focus your effort to potential partners and allies that will help grow your business or social media influence.

Enter Commun.it — the name doesn\’t roll off your tongue but as long as you remember community, you can remember and say it easily. Commun.it is all about community.

Community Management

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In Commun.it you can see who are your high-value community members and you can prioritize them easily. The first and the default landing page when you login is Recent & Prioritized which shows the latest engagement or discovery that you should act upon. The left column of the dashboard shows how many engaged you since the last time you checked them.

Depending on the kind of engagement you do on Twitter, Commun.it will determine if the people you interact with are supporters and influencers. What you really to do here is support your supporters to give back to them, like mentioning them or RT-ing their tweets, and influence your influencers; your goal is probably to get noticed by influencers so that they start mentioning your tweets as well and get more eyes on your content.

Actionable Insights

One of my feedback to Commun.it before is that there was no \”system helper\” or recommendations on what I need to do to make more engagement in my community.

With the latest version you can already track any unreplied engagements from high-value members.

You can easily check the latest status of your community member and what was the your latest engagement with them. Commun.it also records the total number of engagements and mentions for all your community members which is very helpful in improving relationship with your followers.

Using advanced feature like engagement report, you can easily find who are the good people re-tweeting your tweets using proprietary rating system or follower count — and when you feel generous, perhaps you can mention them on the next #FollowFriday.

You can easily build meaningful and high-value relationship by giving personable messages to anyone who  mention or RT your tweets.

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Lead Discovery

Almost all Twitter tools I know have search functionality but it only relies on keywords and hashtags.

What I like in Commum.it is that you can also track websites, even specific pages that is directly related to you or your business.

With this tool, you won\’t miss any person who tweets your blog posts or your website even if he or she does not @mention you.

You can also use this to spy who are tweeting your competitor\’s website so that you can poach those customers but you should be focusing more on how to improve your own product, service and more importantly – your relationship with your current customers.

Getting Better and More Features

During beta, Commun.it is a bit on the slow side but the recent upgrades made the site very snappy. The advanced features works quicker than ever and the options to include more than 1 profile is really awesome.

I want to use Commun.it in the future for a popularity contest campaign – this is because Commun.it can smartly detect duplicates or repeated tweets so it can determine who has the widest reach without skewing the real numbers by gaming Twitter.

What I am interested now is the possibility of Commun.it expanding beyond Twitter. I\’m sure it can easily scale up to Facebook, Pinterest or any other social networks using the same features they employed on Twitter.

To sum it up, I see Commun.it as one of the most important Twitter tool that you should use when you are serious about building relationships with your community.

How about you? What do you think of Commun.it?

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Intermec Introduces Industry’s Smallest, Lightest Mobile Receipt Printers

Mobile printers are not new technology. You see it around all the time. Workers use them for inventory replenishment, on-site services, remote POS and issuing tickets. In the Philippines you see these mobile printers a lot when you commute in public buses, at least in most modern provincial and city buses. I never really thought about the technology behind it. Watch the video below and learn more about Intermec\’s smallest and lightest mobile receipt printers.

 

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Press release:

Intermec, Inc. recently announced the new PR2 and PR3 mobile receipt printers – the smallest, lightest and most durable receipt printers in their class. Designed for all day comfort for mobile field professionals in direct store delivery (DSD) route accounting, field service, mobile point of sale and electronic citation, the two-inch PR2 and three-inchPR3mobile printers provide the ideal companion to Intermec’s broad portfolio of mobile computers with shared charging, docking, accessories and remote management capabilities for a lower total cost of ownership and increased efficiencies.

Enterprises are able to tailor the printers to their unique business environments with a complete line of modular accessories, while also delivering competitive advantage with invoice printing and secure payment capture capabilities. Additionally, the printers are fast, with the fastest time to first receipt in their class. They are also built for all day comfort and reliability –easily worn all day using the included belt clip, optional belt loop or shoulder strap for additional ease.

“Intermec is committed to providing fast, flexible solutions that offer mobile field workers the tools they need to transform business operations and reduce infrastructure costs, driving bottom line results,” said Chuck Dourlet, Intermec Vice President of Printers & Media. “The flexibility of the new PR2 and PR3 mobile receipt printers offers businesses unique value and a future-proofed

Offering the ultimate in flexibility

Compatible with Intermec’s FlexDock system, the PR2 and PR3 offer a new level of efficiency to docking and charging. The PR2 and PR3 mobile printers are able to share the same FlexDock base with Intermec’s mobile computers, enabling multiple alternatives for data communications and charging solutions. Additionally, the modular docking design can offer up to a 20 percent cost savings during initial roll-outs compared to conventional docking solutions and up to 70 percent savings during future technology refreshes.

“VDC’s research shows that the impact of expenditures on device infrastructure, such as communication docks, battery chargers and the associated facilities, can be as much as 12 percent of the total cost of an enterprise mobility deployment,” said Richa Gupta, Barcode Analyst at VDC Research Group. “By integrating the latest line of mobile printers with its FlexDock modular docking system, Intermec is directly addressing the growing need for end-user enterprises to reduce their current and ongoing infrastructure costs.”

Providing innovative smart battery monitoring to minimize replacement costs and increase workforce productivity, the PR2 and PR3offer valuable insight into battery usage and replacement needs before the battery runs out. Field-replaceable batteries can be charged independently of the printer to further maximize convenience and uptime – reducing battery replacement costs by as much as 50 percent over the life of the device.

The PR2 and PR3also save enterprise customers time and money by fitting into existing infrastructures and interfacing seamlessly via secure Bluetooth® 2.0, USB or IrDA with select Intermec devices or other mobile computers, tablets and smartphones on the market. In addition, the new PR2 and PR3 are the only printers to offer optional integrated PCI compatible MSR and AES encryption, enabling secure payment capture on the go.

With the introduction of the PR2 and PR3, Intermec has further extended its unique printer solutions designed specifically for field mobility customers. Other offerings in this category include the newly enhanced 6822 full-page printer and PW50 four-inch work board printer, which were upgraded to support on-board charging and an integrated vehicle mounting option for CN70 mobile computers.
The new PR2 and PR3 mobile receipt printers are available in the Philippines through MSI-ECS. For more product information, please contact [email protected] or +63-2688-3181.approach to managing their overall enterprise mobility solution.”

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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.

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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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