Microsoft Gets Cozy with Internet Pirates

Microsoft has been making waves this week with a few curious announcements about their new Windows 10 operating system. Microsoft is taking a brand-new approach with their upcoming release. First off, they are sending an early beta-build version to around 3 million users, and asking for their feedback. The idea is that in the end Microsoft 10 will be a joint venture between the company and its users. It’s a fresh approach and one that seems pretty popular thus far. At the very least it has definitely created a buzz.

Besides the usual improved interface options, there are some innovative features that are promised with Windows 10, including HoloLens, which is the first software to pluck a hologram straight from the future and make it a reality in our everyday lives. This is is by far the coolest feature of Windows 10, as well as a feature called “Windows Hello,” which will allow you to sign into Windows 10 with your face. Windows 10 will not require a password, as passwords in general are in the process of being phased out of technology anyway. So going forward you will be able to unlock your device by simply looking at your device. Other options for unlocking include the iris of your eye, or the print of your thumb.

Microsoft is even taking their release one step further by offering a free Microsoft 10 upgrade to those who have are running pirated earlier versions of the software. This is being done in an attempt to show users the value of having a user license. This is especially big news in China, where a reported three quarters of users are running illegal software.

Some are questioning why Microsoft would offer a free upgrade to folks who have swiped copies from them illegally. The consensus seems to be that because Windows 8 was received so poorly, the company is trying to save its reputation while getting users on the same page and leaving Windows 8 in the dust. Although this leaves XP and Vista users out in the cold, but they will have the option to pay for an upgrade. The amount that Microsoft will be charging for the new operating system is still unknown.

Microsoft has not been shy about admitting that they have set out to fix things that were poorly received with the Microsoft 8 upgrade, and they are addressing all these issues individually. It’s rumored that they skipped “Microsoft 9” and went straight to “10” in an attempt to further distance themselves from the last release.

The finished version of Microsoft 10 does not have a solid release date, but the company has promised that it will debut at some point during summer 2015.

Apple’s New Patent

The new word on the street is that Apple has obtained a patent for a technology that will allow users to locate a turned-off iPhone. For years now, Apple has had their “find your iPhone” app available, which allows users to track their iPhone in the event that it gets stolen or lost. The downside to the app is that it’s only able to track a phone as long it remains on. If the phone dies or is turned off, it becomes virtually untraceable. This is good news for phone thieves who simply have to turn the phone off for a while before wiping it clean. Currently, the tracker app can only send your last known location to your iCloud once your phone’s been turned off. With this new patent, that’s about to change. Rumor has it that the new technology will be released in the next iOS update.

What This Means for You

The new technology will allow your iPhone to send your location to your cloud even when the phone is off. Although this is amazing news for iPhone users that live in fear of losing their phones, there is also another concern. As of now, if you want to go “off the grid” for any reason, you can just turn off your phone. If you turn your iPhone off right now, you are untraceable. With this new update, Apple will be able to locate you at any time, regardless of whether or not your phone is on or off. This is likely to make those who value their privacy a little nervous. If you have your phone on you, Apple will literally know your whereabouts at all times.

Is This Feature Totally Necessary?

The news about the new “find your iPhone” update comes way after the invention of the “kill switch” that Apple started implementing in its phones in 2014. A kill switch allows you to turn off your phone remotely in the event that it is lost or stolen. The kill switch feature can only be activated by an unlock code that only the owner of the phone knows. Without the user’s code, the phone becomes a brick, rendering it completely unusable to whoever has possession of it.
When the kill switch feature was introduced, phone thefts started plummeting. The state of California is passing legislation in July 2015 that will require new smartphones sold in the state to have some sort of remote kill switch option. This new law is backed by police, whom have seen a huge drop in cell-phone thefts since the introduction of the kill switch feature. The rest of the 49 states are expected to follow in California’s footsteps and enact new legislation governing kill switches in the near future. With this in mind, it’s hard to say whether Apple’s new patent will amount to a handy new feature, or just another potential invasion of privacy.

Stay tuned for more updates from the tech experts at Cable Wholesale!

Getting Organized on a Budget

Spring is almost here, and that can only mean one thing: time to get organized with some spring cleaning. Whether you are getting your home or office together, we have some fixes that can help without hitting you in the pocketbook.

One of the main points of clutter is right behind your computer. Wires are like weeds and can easily take over your space if you don’t take control of them. Cable wraps, which come in different lengths and sizes, are easy fixes for cable clutter. The most popular options are spiral or “split loom” varieties. Either will work for getting your cables organized. Just gather your cables up in a straight line and get them inserted into the cable wrap and your office is already starting to look more put together.

If you don’t like the look of a wrap, you have the option of cable ties, also known as “zip ties.” These ties are made out of nylon and are super easy to use. Just gather your cables up and tie them together at a few different points. This gets all of your cables off the floor and gives them a streamlined look. Velcro cable straps are also an excellent choice, as they are reusable. Both the nylon ties and Velcro straps are super inexpensive.

If you are looking to make your cable clutter basically invisible, adhesive surface mounts are the best choice. This way you can hide cables behind your desk, behind your computer monitor, even along the wall. Adhesive surface mounts come in different sizes, so make sure you have your cable’s dimensions before you pick them up.

If you want to mount your cables for good, then cable clips are the best choice for you. These come with screws that will let you mount your cables to the wall, or any other hard surface. This is a permanent clutter fix once you install the hardware.

When it comes to plugging in all of your power cords, you can’t lose with a power strip surge protector. This is must-have when hiding power cords, and will also protect your electronics if there is an electrical surge, which can short devices out. Surge strips come with a variety of cord lengths and outlet amounts, so you are guaranteed to find one to fit your needs and to relieve your wall outlet.

New Product Spotlight: USB 3.0

USB SuperSpeed 3.0 is today’s star in our new product category. Although USB 3.0 was developed back in 2008, it’s still not as widely used as its forefather, and not everyone has heard of the newer technology. What’s the difference between 2.0 and 3.0? When it comes down to buying a USB cable, is a Super Speed 3.0 cable a good investment?
The all-around answer is yes.
While most of the world is still using the 2.0 standard, there are a great many products that are currently out on the shelves that have 3.0 capabilities. Most new computers sold on the market today feature USB 3.0 ports. Same goes for newer external hard drives, cameras, cell phones and other accessories. USB 3.0 will come in the same alphabetical styles as always: USB type A is a standard connection, USB type B is a printer connector and USB type C is a micro connector.
When looking at the specification for these cables, you can see the differences and improvements that were made with USB 3.0. Physically the two cables are similar; the pin-out design of the USB 3.0 is similar to the 2.0, as only four pins were added to the 3.0 design. The 3.0 has a blue block that was added to the inside of the connector so that it can be differentiated from other USB speeds. The USB 3.0 type-A standard cables are backwards compatible with devices that have 2.0 ports, so you don’t have to worry about upgrading all of your gadgets.
Speed is one of the most important factors that differentiate the two types of cable.
USB 3.0 is much faster than its predecessor, as the power output jumped from 500 mA to 900 mA with the new technology. USB 3.0 is also bi-directional, meaning that information can transfer in both directions at the same time. The 3.0 now comes with a higher bandwidth and transfer speeds from 2.0’s 400MBps now to 3.0’s 4Gbps, which will minimize the amount of time you are waiting around. USB 3.0 is ten times faster than 2.0. That means movies will download much quicker, and transferring info will be lightning fast.
Make your cables work for you! In the end USB 3.0 will allow you to increase your productivity while saving you time, and you can’t ask for much more than that.

Fiber Optic Vs Copper Cables: What’s the Better Bet?

In the world of networking cables, there is still a little bit of a mystery surrounding fiber optics. How do they work, and how do they match up to copper cables? Which type of cable will be the better investment? Let’s compare.

To start, what are the differences between fiber optic and copper cables? Fiber optic cables carry digital information by transmitting light from one end to another through thin strands of glass, otherwise known as optical fibers. A standard cable, such as an Ethernet cable, is typically constructed with copper wiring and transmits data through an electrical current.

Speed is one of fiber optic’s biggest draws, as new fiber cables operate near the speed of light. Copper cables experience more signal loss, which inherently slows them down.

If you are looking at a long cable run, a fiber optic cable would be the best choice because they transmit data much further than copper cables, and can also transmit greater bandwidth over longer distances. If you are running a standard Ethernet cable such as Cat5e, you will definitely have length limitations. Usually Ethernet switches can be used for longer runs with copper cables, but that will also cause your set-up to be more expensive.

If security is one of your concerns, fiber definitely beats out copper in every which way. Fiber is much more secure and less easy to tap into than a standard copper cable. Because fiber cables do not need to be grounded in the same way that copper cables do, it means that there is much less chance for other digital interferences.

Do keep in mind though that fiber cables need special handling as they are more fragile than standard copper cables. This is due to the fact that glass strands are much weaker than copper. This in turn makes a fiber cable physically lighter than a copper cable. Installations of fiber cables can be more expensive than other cable installs because specialized equipment is needed, as well as an installer who is specially skilled with fiber optics.

So when the two types of cables are put side by side, it looks like in the end fiber is your best bet. Your cable will be faster, lighter, safer and more secure.

How to Throw the Perfect Super Bowl Party

This Sunday, millions of Americans will be hosting Super Bowl parties. If you are one of the millions, here’s how to get the job done right.

The best thing about throwing a Super Bowl party is that they are informal, so you can invite everyone: friends, family and co-workers too. This is a good excuse to fill your home with a bunch of people you like and hope that they all end up getting along.

First things first, you might want to think about re-arranging your family room and add some seating, depending on how many people you have invited. Make sure that everyone will have a good view of the TV. That way you can avoid fights/arguments once everyone starts drinking. Also make sure that you put your valuables and breakables safe in another part of the house. That way your guests will feel free to move around, or jump up and down if they feel the need to.

Food is the central part of any Super Bowl party, and it can really make or break your party’s success. Finding foods that your guests can pick up easily is the key. Chicken wings are always a go-to and you can buy them in bulk. Or even better, you can stop by your local Wing Stop and pick up a bunch of different varieties, which will also save you some time in the kitchen. Just remember to buy a ton of napkins; wings can be a mess. If you have a crock pot, throw some mini-meatballs in and stick some toothpicks next to it. Those are all the rage at sports parties nowadays. Chips and dip are the old standard, as are barbequed hot dogs and burgers. Some things are so good they never need to change. If you want to look super swanky, throw some mini-burgers on the grill and call them “sliders,” which will in turn class up your party. Throw out some guacamole dip next to those chips and your party actually will be classy. Who doesn’t love guacamole?

Besides the food, the second most important part of your party is the booze. If you have a variety of guests coming, then buy a variety of booze. Some people prefer the “BYOB” method of throwing a party, but if you are over 30 and don’t want to supply the liquor, don’t throw a party. Buy cheap beer for your down-to-earth friends. Bud or Coors Light basically can’t fail. Buy a few six-packs of fancy beer too, in case there are some folks that prefer it. If there will be cocktail drinkers there too, pick up a few bottles of mid-shelf liquor. This gives you a chance to show off your bartendingskills. Come up with a few fun drinks, and buy some food coloring to throw in to match your team’s colors. Make sure you have soda on your shopping list too, for the kids and your sober friends.

After all is said and done, don’t forget to relax and have a great time! Take a ton of pictures to document everything. It’s your party, have a blast. Just make sure that you can still wake up for work on Monday. 😉


Here’s a link to some official NFL recipes! Check them out here:

Fahrenheit 451

Did you ever read the book Fahrenheit 451 back in high school? The premise of the dystopian story was very futuristic, and the premise was that someday TV’s would be as big as walls, and books will be outlawed and subsequently burned. Welp, in the year 2015, the first part is nearly true.

When it comes to TV’s, if your idea is “the bigger the better,” then you are going to be stoked for this years’ new releases. Several new TV’s were unveiled at this year’s CES trade show, and all of them are impressive. Here’s a preview of a few standouts in the group.

Sony’s “floating” TV has been designed to disappear into the wall, and with an ultra-thin width of 4mm it just might do that. 4mm is thin. Like really thin. Thinner than an iPhone thin. When pushed against a wall, the floating TV looks like it is a part of the wall. The floating TV technology is still brand-new, so it will cost you a small fortune. Projected costs for the TV are somewhere around $37,000. That’s about the price of two VW Jetta’s. Size-wise, the floating TV is offered in the 55”, 65” and 75” variety.

Samsung is riding high on their newest release as well. Always one to outdo Sony, they now have an 85” 4K TV that also has elements of a “floating” design as well. It’s the wave of the future.

If you are looking in a lower price bracket, check out some of Sony and Vizio’s new “Ultra Slim” TVs that come with Android Smart TV system installed. These screens live up to their name, with screen widths clocking in less than one inch.They are offering TV stands that make the TV actually look like it’s installed to your wall. You can bag a 55” for around 2K.

This new “floating” TV technology will surely change TV’s as we now know them. We are keeping an eye out for what next year might possibly bring. Hopefully books will still be legalized in the near future.

Parking Heartache

If you live or work in an urban area, you know the pain of parking tickets. That familiar dread we all feel when going back to your car and seeing that piece of paper under your windshield wiper.

The worst part of the whole process is trying to get the ticket paid. Most of us file that ticket somewhere in our car, only to find it months later when the cost of the ticket has doubled. Even if you are on top of your game and pay it online in a timely manner, it’s still a nuisance. Going to the parking ticket website, entering in all your information, credit card number and so forth. A surprising amount of people still go home and pull out their checkbooks and send it out in an envelope, stamp and everything. Soon all that nonsense will be a thing of the past.

This week the makers of the app TicketZen are pairing up with PayByPhone to give you the ultimate parking ticket experience. By allowing you to scan your parking ticket, and to use your saved information to pay the ticket, getting that ticket paid could not be quicker. The best part is that it’s through an app on your phone.TicketZen has been around for awhile, but has only been available in a number of big cities like San Francisco, Boston and New York. The pairing with PayByPhone will allow the app to blow up and be offered in every city.

Paying a parking ticket is still annoying; it still feels like throwing money out of an open window. At least now it will take a little less time to get it all over with.


Google Goes Back to School

Continuing on the Google front, it looks like some more new things are on the horizon. Google Classroom is gearing up to be released later this year in September, but they are offering up a sneak peak starting this week.

Through the Google Classroom app, teachers can create classroom plans for their students, and will allow them to organize assignments into the “reviewed” and “not reviewed” categories. Students can also submit their work through separate apps that will work with Google Classroom, and because it is cloud-based, the documents can be accessed anywhere.This will also allow students to turn in homework through the app. This might be a tough thing for students, considering all their excuses why they forgot their homework just went out the window.

Right now while Google has the app in the pre-production stages, you can apply to start using the limited preview and see what it’s all about.


Google Translate goes Mobile

Google emerged with details this week that they are finally dropping their “Google Translate” talk-to-text app. Over 80 “popular” languages will be recognized in the app. Google also sped up their “real time conversion engine,” which will allow the app to operate in real time voice-to-text. The app will also feature a new technology called Word Lens, which will allow you to also snap pictures of signs in other languages and have those translated to English as well. This is big news for world travelers and may make your life a lot easier if you are planning a trip to a foreign land. A mobile app that allows you to effortlessly translate between languages has been talked about since back in 2013. As for an actual release date, Google states that we can expect this for Android and iOS “soon.” A confirmed date is expected this week.