How to run your small business with free open source software

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in November, 2013. It was last updated in April 2017.

Take a look at the next desktop PC or laptop you come across. Odds are good it won’t be running an open-source operating system. Microsoft’s closed-source Windows has by far the highest share of the PC client operating system market, followed in a distant second by Apple’s macOS. Linux and other wholly open source operating systems have only a tiny market share.

It’s not hard to see why. Despite the advances made by distributions such as Ubuntu, desktop Linux is still miles behind Windows and macOS in terms of the look, the feel and the slickness that most office workers have come to expect. The vast majority of companies simply aren’t prepared to make office workers use an open source OS — and most office workers aren’t prepared to use them, either.

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Source: ddd

Cisco makes videoconference technology invisible

Last month Cisco announced two new room video systems called the Spark Room Kit and Spark Room Kit Plus. Behind these dull names are some impressive technologies never before seen in videoconferencing.

The room kits are nearly complete videoconferencing systems, but they don’t include the displays. Each system is a single all-in-one device with camera(s), microphones and speakers. The primary difference between the two models is that the Room Kit has a single fixed-camera and the Room Kit Plus has four fixed-cameras that can cover a larger room.

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Source: ddd

IDG Contributor Network: Cisco makes videoconference technology invisible

Last month Cisco announced two new room video systems called the Spark Room Kit and Spark Room Kit Plus. Behind these dull names are some impressive technologies never before seen in videoconferencing.

The room kits are nearly complete videoconferencing systems, but they don’t include the displays. Each system is a single all-in-one device with camera(s), microphones and speakers. The primary difference between the two models is that the Room Kit has a single fixed-camera and the Room Kit Plus has four fixed-cameras that can cover a larger room.

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Source: ddd

IDG Contributor Network: The pathway to digital transformation runs through IT

When Scott Crowder joined BMC as its vice president of infrastructure and operations in 2011, he felt like he had stepped back in time. While he knew BMC’s products to be world class, the data center and other technologies running this world-class operation seemed more like they belonged in a museum.

+ Also on Network World: Accelerating digital transformation using the Medici Effect +

Thus started a transformational journey that began in earnest with Crowder’s appointment as BMC’s CIO in 2014. He had already begun the transformation of the data center in his first role, but upon taking the reins as CIO, he knew he had the opportunity to reshape the IT landscape from the ground up.

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Source: ddd

IDG Contributor Network: Can Amazon be stopped?

Prime retail space is going vacant. The latest example of yet another retailer closing its doors is Payless Shoe Source. Payless has filed Chapter 11 and will be closing 400 stores. It’s ironic really, because their whole premise is Americans want to pay less for shoes, but the retailer can’t match the price or experience of online options. It’s one more example of the epidemic hitting brick-and-mortar retailers.

Last year (and again this year), it was Radio Shack that prompted the headlines. Sears has been in decline for decades. The Limited is even more limited now that it has filed for bankruptcy and has begun closing 250 of its stores.

Macy’s and Sears alone will be abandoning 28 million square feet of retail space. The loss of these anchor stores is what starts the dreaded domino effect at the mall. If the mall can’t back fill that space, reduced numbers of shoppers impact the demand for sunglasses, cinnamon rolls and all the other small businesses that survive on the other brands’ crowds. When they fall, so does the mall.

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Source: ddd

IDG Contributor Network: When phone systems attack

A telephony denial of service (TDoS) attack is a specific type of DDoS attack that originates from or is directed towards a telephone system with the intent of bringing down the targeted system. These attacks commonly focus on commercial businesses and may often include ransomware requests. In reality, these attacks can affect anyone, including our nation’s 911 infrastructure, because even it is not isolated from or immune from these types of attacks. And based on its mission, in many ways, it is more fragile.

Unintentional TDoS attack

Just last year, 911 centers across the country, including a site in Phoenix, Arizona, were the targets of allegedly unintentional 911 TDoS attacks when some malicious JavaScript code was published on a web page. The code, once loaded on a smartphone browser, would cause some devices to automatically dial 911 repeatedly without user intervention and without the user’s knowledge. 

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Source: ddd

Internet VPN or MPLS for branch office IP phone communication?

Many businesses with branch offices that have IP-enabled phones must decide what type of circuit medium to use for their communication to the corporate headquarters site.

Two of the most selected choices are a MPLS circuit or internet VPN. Both solutions have their pros and cons, and what is best can depend on your business requirements. Speed, quality of service (QoS), security and cost are the key factors you should consider when making this decision.

Pros and cons of an internet VPN

A significant advantage of using an internet VPN for communication is the cost. Most times, a branch site can use its existing internet connection for communication back to its headquarters. Usually, a 10 Mbps internet circuit costs much less than a 10 Mbps MPLS circuit. This can encourage a business to purchase more bandwidth for their branch site.

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Source: ddd

University examines cloud phone service

Georgetown University is testing a cloud phone service intended to replace its 25-year-old system, which would cost millions of dollars to replace. The move, part of a broader telecommunications infrastructure overhaul, advances the private university’s plan to migrate to consumer-friendly cloud and mobile software, says CIO Judd Nicholson.

Georgetown University CIO Judd Nicholson. Georgetown University

Georgetown University CIO Judd Nicholson.

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Source: ddd