Sunday, December 29, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: Fellowes Powershred 73Ci Review

Still looking for those end of the year gifts, or perhaps a little extra something to start the New Year with some safety and security. Earlier this month we introduced our readers to the new Fellowes Powershred 73Ci. Here are our thoughts and opinions after putting the cross cut shredder through its paces.

Here are some of the features:
  • 100% Jam Proof System that eliminates paper jams and powers through tough jobs
  • Proprietary Energy Savings System which maximizes shredder energy savings 100% of the time – both in use and out of use
  • Capacitive touch screen controls
  • Heavy-duty Cross-Cut blades that destroy a single sheet of paper into 397 particles, making it nearly impossible to piece back together yet tough enough to cut through credit cards, paper clips, staples, and CD/DVDs

The first thing you'll notice after grabbing and opening the box is that this shredder is a monster. Thanks to its heavy-duty motor it carries a little more weight than you'd really expect. Don't let that stop you though, it comes equipped with wheeled waste bin that allows you to easily maneuver the machine around the office and makes waste collecting a snap. Inside the box are the shredder, waste bin, machine oil for the gears, four metal swivel casters (which will need to be attached), recyclable bags, and an instruction manual with basic usage details.

The setup is pretty straight forward. Start by attaching the casters, which fit snugly onto the bottom of the bin, and snap in so there’s no need tool. Of course, you can also leave the wheels off, but as mentioned this thing is rather heavy so the casters make it easier to maneuver.

Once the casters and bin are in place, hoist the beefy top onto the bin and that is it, you are now ready to shred. Just flip the power switch on the back and plug the unit into any AC outlet. The front touch panel comes alive as blue LEDs show off the power button, forward and reverse keys. To start shredding, all you have to do is just insert some paper straight in and let go. This thing is rather powerful and can chew through stacks of paper in no time.

In our testing we tested the claims that it could shred up to twelve sheets of paper, we even tossed a few DVDs and Credit Cards at it. The motor seems to have a couple stages, when shredding a light load is seems to run slow and quiet and then a second stage kicks in when shredding heavier loads. Running a DVD through doesn't seem to slow it down at all. Though we did noticed a bit of a slow when processing several sheets of fairly dense paper, but it never jammed up.

The Powershred 73Ci is equipped with SafeSense Technology, which stops shredding when hands touch the paper opening. However, the intake area has a sloped recession and is rather deep, so it seems really unlikely that the feature would ever be put to the test, even by a child.

My final thoughts and opinion

Keeping personal information safe these days is a must! We see reports almost daily about how prevalent ID Theft is. For anyone looking to step up their protect, either at home or at the office Powershred 73Ci is a powerful option. I personally like the fact that I can shred optical disks and Credit Cards with a breeze. I know in my own life I've all to often forgot how much personal information or pictures a DVD might contain. So adding that extra level of protection is a necessity for me these days.

The 73Ci is available at office superstores and their online counterparts for a suggested retail price of $199.99. For more information on keeping your personal identification secure this holiday season be sure to follow @FellowesInc and hashtag #IDSafetySeason

This post was created in partnership with Fellowes. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Microsoft Offering 12 Months of Premium Skype Features For Free

In celebration of this month's launch of the Skype Collaboration Project Microsoft is running a new promotion that is will offer Skype users free group calls, free group screen sharing, no advertising and access to live customer support, for free. All of these features are typically reserved for premium account holders but by singing up now you can get them free for 12 months.

The Skype Collaboration Project, was launched as an online destination that focuses on the intersection between technology and creative industries. The projects goal is to shine a spotlight on creative talent, including celebrated British fashion designer Victoria Beckham. With The Skype Collaboration Project, Skype wants to inspire emerging creative talent in four ways:
  • Using technology to bring innovative ideas and products to life
  •  Channeling passion and entrepreneurial spirit into success
  • Shaping inspiration into reality through the power of collaboration
  • Exhibiting the incredible craft from artisans around the globe
  • As part of the project, The Skype Conversation Series, will offer students, fashion fans and creatives exclusive access to the innovators, experts and fashion insiders at the heart of industry.
To signup for the 12 month offering simply visit the Skype Collaboration offer page, enter a valid email address, yes it must be a valid email as they will send a code to your inbox, and you are done. The offer must be redeemed on or before 30th April 2014 and commences on the redemption date. Skype account required and subscription may only be redeemed in respect of one Skype account. Skype's Terms of Use apply. To redeem your code, click here.

Google Zeitgeist 2013 Report

As the year draws to an end, Google this week has revealed its top 10 global trending searches of 2013. Sprinkled amongst the top searches are two rather surprising terms (when compared to the rest of the searches). Apple's iPhone 5S, which made it to the number 3 spot and Samsung's Galaxy S4 which made it to number 8.

Technology aside, the rest of Google's top 10 global trending searches for 2013 has both sad and bright parts. The first two places belong to people who have passed away recently: Nelson Mandela, former South African president, Nobel Peace Prize winner and social activist, and Paul Walker, the actor who gained international fame thanks to his role in the Fast and the Furious series.

The 13th annual Google Zeitgeist lists, which were released on Tuesday, are meant to provide a “sign of the times” as a barometer of global interests on the Internet’s largest search engine.

Here are some of the top results:

Top Trending Searches 2013

1. Paul Walker
2. Boston Marathon Bombing
3. Nelson Mandela
4. Cory Monteith
5. iPhone 5s
6. Government Shutdown
7. James Gandolfini
8. Harlem Shake
9. Royal Baby
10. Adrian Peterson

Trending People 2013

1. Paul Walker
2. Cory Monteith
3. Nelson Mandela
4. Aaron Hernandez
5. Adrian Peterson
6. Miley Cyrus
7. James Gandolfini
8. Paula Deen
9. Mindy McCready
10. Trayvon Martin

U.S. Trending Events 2013

1. Boston Marathon
2. Government Shutdown
3. VMAs
4. Moore, Oklahoma Tornado
5. Royal Baby
6. Zimmerman Trial
7. Typhoon Haiyan
8. New Pope
9. Syria Conflict
10. Mayweather vs. Canelo

Trending TV Shows 2013

1. Breaking Bad
2. Game of Thrones
3. Orange Is the New Black
4. Scandal
. House of Cards
6. Downton Abbey
7. Suits
9. Dexter
10. New Girl

Most-Searched TV Shows 2013

1. Breaking Bad
2. Duck Dynasty
3. Big Bang Theory
4. Good Morning America
5. South Park
6. True Blood
7. Big Brother 15
8. New Girl
9. Castle
10. Attack on Titan

For more on this years list checkout the Official Google Blog.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

SteamOS Beta Now Available For Download

Valve’s new SteamOS software is now available to download for consumers and manufacturers, but Valve has issued the warnign that this new operating system is an early beta release only suitable for those that are very experienced with Linux and are comfortable with testing true beta software. Valve has flicked the switch on the availability of SteamOS for the benefit of the 300 beta testers who are receiving their units this weekend.

Initially designed to allow users to run PC based Steam games on their television sets the new SteamOS also features a basic Linux based desktop mode that can run regular Linux applications. The hardware requirements for this 1.0 release are a 64-bit Intel/AMD CPU, 4GB or more of memory, 500GB+ hard disk space, UEFI boot support, at least one USB port for installation and Nvidia-based graphics.

The software is not meant to be instlled on a main PC, and for now is not meant to be used in a dual boot situation as the current installation procedure will erase everything currently on your machine. The installer weighs in at a hefty 960MB and you can get at it through the links in the Steam Database announcement. If you are brave enough to test it out I'd suggestion reading the ArsTechnica walkthrough on installing the OS to your system.

The Linux-based SteamOS was unveiled to the world back in September, with Valve promising an operating system for the TV and the living room. Steam Machines packaged together with the fully finished SteamOS are due to go on sale at some point during 2014. For more details checkout the Official SteamOS Site and Official SteamOS FAQ

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

MetLife Seeking To Become A Technology Leader With New Tech Hub In North Carolina's Research Triangle

Earlier this year, MetLife, Inc., a leading global life insurance and employee benefits company, announced that it is breaking ground in North Carolina’s Research Triangle area for a new best-in-class global technology hub.

Located in Cary, N.C., the new hub will house the infrastructure that enables MetLife to deliver world-class service to its customers. MetLife’s entry into the Research Triangle area, coupled with its new U.S. retail headquarters in Charlotte, represents a $125.5 million investment in North Carolina. This is on top of the $1.2 billion in insurance funds that MetLife has invested in North Carolina housing, agriculture, commercial real estate, health care and utilities.

The opening of MetLife's new campus in Cary, North Carolina means a lot of new job growth and opportunity for Raleigh. They are currently breaking on a state of the art campus that is slated to open in 2015. MetLife intends to create 2,600 jobs with the new technology solutions center, which will provide one of the largest jobs creation institutions in North Carolina's recent history. Over the coming months more than 1,000 positions will open across various functions including engineering, development, app maintenance, IT risk and security and tech support.

MetLife is targeting LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Gold certification or higher for the state-of-the-art workplace, which will feature an environment designed to facilitate collaboration and innovation. The campus will consist of 427,000 square feet in two 213,500 square foot office buildings with structured parking. The buildings will be situated on 26.5 acres fronting the 520-acre Lake Crabtree, which is adjacent to I-40 and the nearby Raleigh-Durham International Airport. In addition, the campus will feature sprawling outside space including a great lawn, amphitheater, patio and places to engage in activities such as basketball and volleyball.

For more information about MetLife GTO, including job opportunities, visit and be sure to follow MetLife GTO viaTwitter @ML_TechandOps

#spon: I'm required to disclose a relationship between our site and Metlife GTO. This could include MetLife Global Technology and Operations group providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Keep Personal Information Safe This Holiday Season With The Fellowes Powershred 73Ci Cross Cut Shredder

The holiday season is here and the last thing most of us want to do is worry about our personal and financial information slipping into the wrong hands. Often times in the rush to get shopping done, presents wrapped or taking care of the other details we overlook one important item. Those pesky credit card receipts, bills and other materials that identity thieve would love to get their hands on.

According to Javelin Strategy & Research, there was one incident of ID fraud every three seconds in 2012. The holiday season is an especially dangerous time of year for this crime as consumers are distracted and sharing their confidential information frequently. One of the best ways to avoid such hazards is to shred your personal documents, statements and other bills.

But what do you do with those other personal items such as those left over photo CD/DVDs you might have made, or those expired credit cards? Did you know with the right shredder you can shred those as well?

For those geeks out there looking for that perfect shredder to add to their #HolidayGiftGuides checkout the Fellowes Powershred 73Ci Cross Cut Shredder. This beast of a machine is packed with features that are perfect for the gadget loving geek, home office user or just about anyone that is looking to make sure all their personal information is safely shredded.

Features include: 100% Jam Proof System that eliminates paper jams and powers through tough jobs, SafeSense Technology which automatically stops shredding when hands touch the paper opening and Heavy-duty Cross-Cut blades that destroy a up to 12 sheets of paper into 397 particles or cut through credit cards, paper clips, staples, and CD/DVD.

The 73Ci is available at office superstores and their online counterparts for a suggested retail price of $199.99. For more information on keep your personal identification secure this holiday season be sure to follows @FellowesInc and hashtag #IDSafetySeason

This post was created in partnership with Fellowes. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Microsoft Warns: Xbox One Backwards Compatability Hoax Will Brick Your Systems

We've all heard the old adage, "If it sounds too good to be true it usually is." Well it appears that rings true in the case of a forum post that has been making big promises about Microsoft’s Xbox One. The post details an option that allows users gain backwards compatibility (capable of playing Xbox 360 games) by going into the system and enabling developer tools.

Micrsoft has warned that this, hack or hoax as it now appears, simply isn’t true, and playing around with those tools could render your system bricked.

Microsft’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb tweets:

“To be clear there is no way to make your Xbox One backwards compatible & performing steps to attempt this could make your console inoperable.”

Neither the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4 are backwards-compatible and cannot be used to play previous generation games, no matter how much tweaking or reconfiguring you might attempt. The six-step tutorial passed around Facebook and Twitter actually opens the Developer Mode of the Xbox One and fixes it in a constant reboot cycle.

The origin of the prank isn’t clear, but the tutorial image proudly announces that “Xbox 360 games will now be playable on your console.” Microsoft intionally left the deloper options open so that anyone with the desire to become a developer can eventually be granted access to the developer tools on Microsoft’s new games console. Once the feature is ready to go live Microsoft will allow delopers the option to turn their current consoles into a developer unit without paying out extra for hardware — all that will be required when the feature goes live is a license fee and authorization code.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

NORAD Santa Tracker Now Online, Now Offers 3D and Touch Support

With Christmas right around the corner it is that time of year gain when the North American Aerospace Defense Command (“NORAD”)launches their famous Santa Tacker. A website which allows children around the world to tack Santa's journey around the globe. Since 1955, children of all ages have tracked his route with the help of NORAD’s radar, satellites and jet fighters. This year, Microsoft has lent a hand to make the experience the most magical yet, putting a fresh spin on the time-honored tradition with the launch of the new website.

The new website now offers children more than just a way to track Santa on Dec. 24. It lets you immerse yourself in the holiday throughout the month of December. With a nostalgic, 3D Claymation look and feel, the new site features a recreation of Santa’s village that you can explore to discover new games daily, music, videos and more.

The new site is fully touch-enabled, which makes for a truly immersive experience, if you are using a touch device. On Dec. 24, a touch-enabled 3-D globe will light up as Santa begins his journey worldwide. With a modern browser you will be able to spin the globe with a swipe of a finger and pinch and zoom to get an in-depth look at Santa’s stops.Whether you’re mapping Santa’s route in a browser on a computer or in an app, you’ll see beautiful, high-fidelity images. Bing Maps is the canvas on which Santa’s journey is plotted.