Thursday, July 30, 2015         

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Local man’s GMO creation saved isles’ papaya industry

By Mike Meyer
Few issues around Hawaii have been as contentious over the last few years as genetically modified foods, aka GMOs.

Microsoft outage points up need for fallback solutions

By John Agsalud
Users of Microsoft’s Office 365 email service, commonly known as Exchange Online, experienced an outage of about three hours Wednesday. Most of these users had their business processes completely short-circuited due to ever-increasing reliance on email.

Microsoft suite's security, compliance controls solid

By Vincent Hoang Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 14, 2015
Are you considering a subscription to the Microsoft Office 365 suite of office applications for your small-to-medium business? If so, here are some security considerations that might help relieve concerns in this area.

Science-based programs help fill tech jobs in Hawaii

By Mike Meyer
A new wave of interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (aka STEM) is sweeping educational institutions and school districts around the country. The University of Hawaii is no exception.

For Windows Server 2003 users, it's time to move on

By John Agsalud
Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 operating system goes "end of life" on July 14.

Consumer demand pushes broadband Internet to 1 gig

Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 16, 2015
Do you need gigabit Internet? If you're a longtime Internet user, you may have started on dial-up with transfer rates of 56 kilobits per second (Kbps), then graduated to dedicated access at several megabits per second (Mbps), which increased into the hundreds over the years.

Online tools give writers a hand in self-publishing

By Mike Meyer
It's been said that "everyone has a book in them." Thanks to the Internet and the commensurate growth of technologies that support self-publishing, a number of Hawaii writers have taken the leap.

Certain technologies need control over domain name

Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, May 26, 2015
Two technologies that businesses and government agencies are looking to take further advantage of are cloud computing and social media.

With desktop virtualization, security benefits are built in

By Vincent Hoang Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, May 19, 2015
Virtual desktop infrastructure, or VDI, has existed for years but has reached a point where the technology is more feasible and affordable than previous iterations.

City must expand, embrace plazas, other public spaces

By Jay Fidell
Sorry, but our city is not an architectural utopia. It's eclectic at best; the good stuff was done long ago. Now, with the high-rise boom in Kaka­ako, we need to catch up and keep up on our public spaces.

Online consulting, training a lucrative use of technology

Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, May 5, 2015
Until recently there wasn't a hotter business sector in Hawaii than solar. It was so lucrative that mainland companies were setting up shop in the Aloha State to get in on the action.

With system backups, cost isn't the only consideration

By John Agsalud
For years now, information technology professionals have championed the need for reliable backups, while cost-conscious managers cringe at the price tag. With the advent of cloud computing, the game has changed but the rules remain the same.

Illegal activities undertaken beneath cloak of Deep Web

Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Apr 21, 2015
People have asked me how the Internet can be used for illegal or secret activity since everything is traceable. Answer: the Deep Web.

Hawaii's economic growth needs offshore investment

By Jay Fidell
Regrettably, we don't have enough to pay our state retirement system or our $40 billion of unfunded liabilities. We can't fix our airports or roads, we can't finish rail without regressive tax increases and we can't replace the funding the late U.S. Sen. Dan Ino­uye brought in.

Isle firm offers consultants for less than the usual cost

By Mike Meyer
Hawaii attracts its share of technology entrepreneurs who could live anywhere in the world but opt to stay here because of our quality of life. So long as there's bandwidth, they can conduct business nationally or even internationally.

Technology will facilitate patient/doctor connections

By John Agsalud
We all know a healthy person when we see one, and we also know a sick person when we see one. In recent years, however, health care professionals have taken to address the group of folks who fall in the middle.

Computer users often pay price when ransomware hits

By Vincent Hoang Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Mar 24, 2015
As its name suggests, ransomware is a class of malicious software that infects and restricts access to your computer until a payment is made. The method of infection is similar to that of phishing attacks and spreads through compromised websites and email containing malicious attachments or links.

Tougher laws, cooperation necessary to battle hackers

By Jay Fidell
The Sony hacking incident was a wake-up call, with countries attacking companies and other countries. Because the story is now off the front page doesn't mean hacking is less of a threat.

Time is of the essence to apply for rooftop solar

Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Mar 10, 2015
The residential solar space is in flux. If you're a consumer who would like to put photovoltaic (PV) on your roof and get relief from your electricity bill, it's not quite as simple as calling up a contractor and flipping a switch shortly after.

Use of 3-D printing eases experience at the dentist

By John Agsalud
When 3-D printing first started receiving mainstream publicity a few years ago, the reaction was similar among most folks: "Cool … but for what can it really be used?" One area where the technology is taking off is at dental offices around the country, a place with which most folks are familiar.

Security needs to be first for network-based devices

By Vincent Hoang Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Feb 24, 2015
Described by some as the third wave of the Internet, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology movement to enable network connectivity to devices, from household items such as light bulbs and televisions, to industrial equipment such as warehouse pallets and water pump sensors, to municipalities such as bus stop signs and parking meters. As these products are rushed to market, security features are often delayed or ignored.

State can't afford to ignore heap of unfunded liabilities

By Jay Fidell
Gov. David Ige wants to balance the budget and is not inclined to spend on new initiatives. But we have huge unfunded liabilities, largely in failed and delayed infrastructure, and it's time we figured out how we're going to pay the piper.

Research on healthy aging is now generating interest

Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Feb 10, 2015
University of Hawaii researcher Bradley Willcox, a Canadian-born physician, is quite certain he lives in paradise. It's not the beaches, the weather or the surfing that has this geriatrician so enthralled.

Software as a service being adopted nationwide

By John Agsalud
Businesses and government agencies across the country continue to adopt Microsoft's Office 365 software productivity suite.

Be alert to phishing scams to protect sensitive data

Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Jan 27, 2015
If you have an email address, you've probably been the target of a phishing scam. Online phishes are social attacks delivered through email or a website that attempt to scam potential victims into divulging sensitive information such as logins, passwords or personal information.

'Allegiance' recounts story of World War II internment

By Jay Fidell
One hundred twenty-thousand Japa­nese, mostly U.S. citizens, were imprisoned behind barbed wire during World War II. Meanwhile, 20,000 Japa­nese were recruited to serve in the U.S. army — a huge contradiction, and a disgrace.

Security programs are key to keep your data protected

By Mike Meyer
Keeping your data safe should always be a New Year's resolution. A recent front-page story in Consumer Reports bluntly stated "Your Secrets Aren't Safe." They have a point. Data thieves are after you — and protecting your computer, mobile devices and cloud-stored info is a necessity.

Online searches provide easy ways to vet employees

By John Agsalud
With all of the recent high-profile hacking incidents resulting in theft of data, many folks seem to overlook the most obvious and glaring exposure encountered by businesses and government agencies.

Prepare for data breaches with 5 tips to secure system

By Vincent Hoang Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 30, 2014
With countless data breaches occurring even at sizable companies like Sony, Home Depot and Target, it's evident that we need to better prepare and respond to data breaches. Preventive controls, such as anti-virus software, are not enough to stop breaches.

Approval of NextEra deal would energize isles' future

By Jay Fidell
NextEra's multibillion-dollar acquisition of Hawaiian Electric is not only the biggest deal we've ever had; it's a test of how well we can adapt to offshore investment in our economy.

Device tracks daily activity to keep fitness goals in line

By Mike Meyer
Every December we're overwhelmed with advertisements for bling and distracted in so many ways. It's easy to forget the greatest blessing is good health. With that in mind, we decided it was time to look at a device that could actually help us stay fit by tracking daily activity.

Consider pros and cons before purchasing a 4K TV

By John Agsalud
Ultra high-definition (UHD) televisions have been on the market for a couple of years now. Commonly referred to as "4K," these units promise twice the resolution of the standard 1080p televisions, which dominate the current market. So, should one rush out to get a 4K TV during this holiday season?

Isle youth teams compete in cybersecurity program

By Vincent Hoang Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 2, 2014
Today the cybersecurity field is growing rapidly, with more new and vital roles to fill in government and the private sector than the number of qualified applicants.

LiveSift enables interaction between speaker, audience

By Jay Fidell
Have you ever wanted to ask a burning question at a meeting without identifying yourself? Now you can. LiveSift.com is a leader in, what shall we call it? "Meetingware." Over the past year it's been going quietly viral all over the state and beyond.

Internet of Things connects physical items to network

By Mike Meyer
Remember back in the good old days when futurists were telling us how cool it would be to have your fridge wired to the Internet to keep track of your groceries? It elicited a big yawn or a rolling of the eyes from a lot of people.

'Ransomware' extracts fee from victims to fix infection

By John Agsalud
In recent weeks a nasty form of virus has been re-circulating the business community. Colloquially known as "ransomware," this particular type of strain infects files on your computer and then offers to fix the problem for a fee in range of a few hundred dollars.

Vigilance and safeguards can fight credit card theft

By Beau Monday
If you're not among the tens of millions of American consumers who have had their credit cards and other personal information breached in the last few months, you're in the shrinking minority. Forty million consumers were hit by the Target breach, 56 million at Home Depot.

CEO must transform HECO, rebuild community rapport

By Jay Fidell
Alan Oshima became chief executive officer of Hawaiian Electric Co. on Oct. 1. What is he getting into? These are rough times for HECO, beset by a public and a state Public Utilities Commission and Legislature that have been criticizing it on various issues.

Hard drive offers solution for portable video storage

Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Oct 21, 2014
If you've been reading our column of late, you'd have noted that we've reviewed several products related to making videos. One thing we failed to discuss is how to store all those huge files — especially if you're on the road.

Monitoring home from afar requires $9.99 subscription

By John Agsalud
Many have expounded on the phenomenon known as "the Internet of things." The idea is that everything from vacuum cleaners to refrigerators are now capable of being connected to, and controlled over, the World Wide Web.

Cybersecurity essential whenever using Internet

By Beau Monday
This month marks the 11th anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) National Cyber Security Awareness Month, an effort designed to remind the public of the hazards they might face while using the Internet.

Parks added to rail project could be Oahu's High Line

By Jay Fidell
We need more parks on Oahu. We also need to come to terms on integrating rail into urban Oahu. Can parks and rail live on the same platform? Here in the best weather in the world, no one can say we live in a tree-lined, park-filled city.

Tips for novices to navigate the vast social media world

By Mike Meyer
Social media has become a marketing vehicle that small-business owners or managers of nonprofits simply can't ignore. From talking to readers of this column, I know there are many of you who feel like deer in the headlights when it comes to getting started with social media.

New tablet improves on portability and production

By John Agsalud
While tablet computers have become all the rage lately, many folks still have trouble taking advantage of portability and still maintaining productivity. A venerable Taiwanese-based PC manufacturer, Asus, attempts to bridge this gap with its recently introduced Transformer Book series.

'Catfishers' are out there and they want your money

By Beau Monday
Few people had heard the term "catfishing" before Manti Te'o famously revealed last year that he had been a victim of the scam, which involves people who create fake social media profiles to pursue online romances. But Te'o is hardly alone in being duped by fictitious online personas, and most instances of catfishing have far greater — and often financial — consequences.

Comcast-TWC merger holds plenty of promise for isles

By Jay Fidell
If you hadn't noticed, Hawaii is an isolated island state dependent on connectivity. Our cable and broadband must be the best we can find. We need every megabit we can get. The faster it is, the less isolated we are.

Box Jelly founder models new IT business for hotels

By Mike Meyer
I love to see local entrepreneurs do well, and anyone who reads this column knows that I've been a big fan of Box Jelly, the Kakaako-based co-working space, founded by former Chaminade student Tony Stanford and his friend, Rechun Fujihara.

Backordering services help nab expiring domain names

By John Agsalud
You're starting a new business, launching a new product, or initiating a new ad campaign, and looking for that killer domain name. Unfortunately, given that there are literally hundreds of millions of domains registered, you find that yours is already taken.

Two-Factor Authentication adds another security layer

By Beau Monday
News broke last week that a Rus­sian crime syndicate had amassed the largest known collection of Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion username-and-password combinations.

Early departure of CIO clouds state's tech effort

By Jay Fidell
The Abercrombie administration claims one of its best accomplishments over the past fours years was the appointment of a chief information officer to modernize the state's ancient computer system.

Sony's Vegas 13 a good bet for producing video content

By Mike Meyer
YouTube has become an indispensable marketing vehicle for businesses of every size. That means to keep your enterprise in front of potential customers, making videos is a necessity. Shooting video is straightforward, but the editing part takes practice, time and the right tools.

Popularity of smartphones does not negate computers

By John Agsalud
By all accounts, the use of smartphones for everyday computing tasks has already overtaken that off traditional computers. This trend is only going to continue.

Facebook uses its users for scientific experiments

By Beau Monday
When news broke in late June about Facebook running unsanctioned psychological experiments on their user population in the name of science, the reaction was overwhelmingly negative.

Solar financing program warrants further scrutiny

By Jay Fidell
GEMS, the Green Energy Market Securitization program proposed by the state Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism, raises serious questions and should be a serious campaign issue.

Ikayzo makes social media work better for companies

By Mike Meyer
One of the brightest stars in Hawaii's tech firmament is Ikayzo, a Hono­lulu-based Web and mobile app development company that focuses on financial institutions and enterprise-level firms here, on the mainland and Japan.

Cloud computing cuts cost of establishing a business

By John Agsalud
Over the years, many elements related to starting a business have remained constant: good ideas, a solid business plan and, of course, capital. When it comes to technology, however, cloud computing has made capital requirements lower than ever.

Keeping Kakaako public will require participation

By Jay Fidell
The Hawaii Community Development Authority was created to develop Kakaako three decades ago. Until now things haven't changed much. But now a land rush of towers is going up while you watch.

Supertooth speaker does everything you tell it to do

By Mike Meyer
We all know about the unsafe (and illegal) use of cellphones in cars. While my preference is for the intuitive helper in Android 4.4, there is a lower-cost alternative.

Cloud-based computing replaces the old file server

By John Agsalud
Like cellphone users abandoning landlines, a recent trend we are seeing is businesses and government agencies abandoning file servers. Once ubiquitous, the file server is being replaced by cloud-based storage systems.

Strong security features protect password managers

By Beau Monday
In recent columns I've advocated for the general use of password managers as a mechanism to improve your password hygiene. Password managers generate strong passwords on a per-site basis and store them.

Start diversification push by cultivating aquaponics

By Jay Fidell
Talk of diversification gets to sound like a broken rec­ord because we never do anything about it. As if to excuse the inaction, our economists say we should lie back and let the free market diversify us.

Entrepreneur helps groups tame tech to reach public

By Mike Meyer
Having an effective Web presence and social media for your business is not just an option — it's an absolute necessity. There are no shortages of Web developers and "consultants" who can build you a website or manage your Facebook page.

Disaster recovery entails infrastructure investment

By John Agsalud
As we roll into another hurricane season, many local information technology professionals turn their concern to disaster recovery. What are we going to do in case a big hurricane hits?

Update all your passwords and try long 'pass phrases'

By Beau Monday
With the recent Heartbleed vulnerability blowing up in the news, it's a good time to remind everyone that good passwords, and good password hygiene, are critical for the long-term protection of you and your online accounts.

Firm checks and improves homes' power, water intake

By Mike Meyer
Like death and taxes, the rising price of energy of in the Aloha State is a constant that we have to live with. The other day I went over to Home Depot with the good intention of buying some energy-efficient light bulbs and power strips.

Microsoft Office for iPad is another call to the cloud

By John Agsalud
Seemingly out of the blue, Microsoft last week unveiled its Office for iPad productivity suite. While clearly a leader in terms of capabilities and functions among its peers, it is yet another salvo in Microsoft's battle to move the universe to its Office 365 cloud computing solution.

Vendors' access to your data can provide entry for breach

By Beau Monday
Since word broke last month that Target was ultimately breached through a connection it had established with one of its vendors, many businesses are taking a hard look at what kind of access they've granted to their own vendors.

State tech agency's CEO should galvanize support

By Jay Fidell
Robbie Melton is the new chief executive officer of the Hawaii Tech Development Corp., the state agency charged with the development of our tech industry. She has her work cut out for her.

2 isle technology startups aim to locate the missing

By Mike Meyer
Let's face it. For years, tourism, construction and the military have been the big cash generators in our state. Hawaii has tried to encourage the growth of tech startups, but with limited success.

Password policies should be applied even if not required

By John Agsalud
Many folks, especially those who work for large businesses or government agencies, are familiar with sometimes infuriating password policies. While such policies may seem onerous, overbearing or even nonsensical, a good policy significantly improves an organization's information security.

Identity theft extra heinous during yearly tax filing time

By Beau Monday
Many folks can't wait for tax season to kick off at the end of January so they can file their tax returns and get their refunds. But there's another group of people who are anxious to get started on your taxes, too: scammers.

For future energy security, let's lay the undersea cable

By Jay Fidell
It's been six years since the Clean Energy Agreement called for an undersea cable. Since then, progress has been disappointing. We've been talking about the cable and the smart grid since the agreement was made.

Upgrading wireless router puts more zip in your game

By Mike Meyer
Here's the second of our home office upgrade series for the new year. Suggestion No. 1 is to consider a wireless router upgrade. The logical question is, Why even consider a new router if the old one is working? Good point.

Small IT shops can benefit from software-as-a-service

By John Agsalud
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is now a highly prevalent phenomenon, used by businesses and government agencies large and small. Other information technology-related "as-a-service" offerings are also becoming more and more popular.

Take steps now to protect your credit cards' security

By Beau Monday
For many of us it was a particularly stressful holiday season when Target announced it had been the victim of a computer breach that exposed 40 million credit card numbers and an additional 70 million records containing customer names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.

New president need not live in UH-Manoa's College Hill

By Jay Fidell
The regents should make College Hill a place for the University of Hawaii faculty, not the president. So far, the keener we are for a president, the more we sweeten the pot. So we've been bidding against ourselves, and we've been paying too much.

Top 2 tech tasks in 2014: Add a screen, get secure

By Mike Meyer
For this new year it's back to basics. Without a solid tech foundation, your home office is not going to be productive or secure. Here are two recommendations — we'll have two more in our next column.

Those on mobile devices account for lots of Net use

By John Agsalud
It is a given today that any business or government agency needs some sort of online presence. The need for a website varies widely, from e-commerce to social networking and product information.

Several simple precautions ensure protection for iPads

By Beau Monday Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 31, 2013
Many of us woke up to new digital toys underneath the tree this Christmas, and with the new iPads flying off the shelves, there's a good chance a lot of us got one.

Smartphones redefine the way the world connects

By Jay Fidell
It's Christmas, and Ala Moana is bristling with new smartphones with the best consumer technology ever devised. Should you step up or put it off? The iPhone is only 6 years old, but the new apps and sensors have given it functionality beyond even what Steve Jobs might have expected.

Growing company began with fungus found on Maui

By Mike Meyer
We've heard a lot of controversy about genetically modified organisms over the last few months, and this Christmas we thought it appropriate to feature a Maui-hatched company that could revolutionize raising organic food both here and on the mainland.

Don't let online scammers prey on your holiday spirit

By Beau Monday Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 3, 2013
During the holiday season it's important to be particularly wary of scams and other nefarious activities that tend to dominate the Internet at this time of the year.

This time around, let's all support the tech industry

By Jay Fidell
On Dec. 4 the VC Summit and Startup Paradise Demo Day at the Sheraton Waikiki hopes to spark new interest in startups.

Verizon LTE cellular system combines voice, data needs

By MIKE MEYER Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Nov 19, 2013
Cellphones are rapidly replacing land lines across Hawaii and the U.S. A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year showed that nearly 2 out of 5 American homes had cellular phones only. (The CDC tracks these statistics because it affects its health survey samples.)

'Firmware' inside hardware requires periodic upgrades

By John Agsalud
It is commonplace nowadays for folks to be inundated with updates for their software applications, whether such applications sit on traditional computers or on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Weigh security features when shopping online

Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Nov 5, 2013
Last year's "Cyber Monday" — the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday — was the heaviest spending day of the year for the third straight year, ringing up nearly $1.5 billion in online sales. It was the first time that online sales topped the $1 billion mark.

Hawaii's fashion industry undergoes modern revival

By Jay Fidell
With the help of state Sen. Will Espero, the Legislature and the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, October's Fashion Month has been a success.

The PDF is an essential tool for all kinds of requirements

By Mike Meyer Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Oct 22, 2013
Software applications are numerous. However, there are a few you simply cannot live without. I would argue the PDF is one of them. First introduced in the early 1990s by Adobe Corp., by the end of that decade, the "PDF" (Portable Document Format) eventually became the industry standard.

Moving email to the cloud requires a coordinated plan

By John Agsalud
One of the more popular software-as-a-service (SaaS) options is email. Many organizations, large and small, have moved their email to the cloud, and many more are considering such a migration. There are both business and technical concerns to take into account when making this decision.

Internet users should know safety and security are vital

By Beau Monday Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Oct 8, 2013
This October marks the 10th anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which was launched by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance to promote awareness about using the Internet responsibly.

Tech remains isles' best bet to achieve self-sufficiency

By Jay Fidell
This just in: The support we've been getting from Washington is no longer something we can rely on. We have to find new self-sufficiency at home.

Routers and keyboards are put to the tech test

By Mike Meyer
Recently I got wind of a website called thewirecutter.com run by local entrepreneur Brian Lam. The website is a sort of a Consumer Reports that recommends the creme de la creme of consumer and business electronics.

Windows 8.1 shows promise for easing users' anxieties

By John Agsalud
Windows 8 was released just more than a year ago, evoking a collective groan from IT professionals and users alike. While much of the rumbling was due to the restyling of the interface, there were several outright bugs.

Survey finds more worry about online information

Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Sep 10, 2013
More people today are worried about the growing amount of personal information about them available on the Internet, according to a recent study by Pew Internet, a Washington D.C.-based think tank that provides information on issues, attitudes and trends.

State can no longer ignore the threat of climate change

By Jay Fidell
It's been eight years since Al Gore's revelation. We spent the first four years in denial and the rest frozen in the headlights. Our generation will be remembered for not having been inconvenienced.

Ancestry.com uses DNA to find long-lost relatives

Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Aug 27, 2013
I've written about Ancestry.com in the past and think it's a great product for anyone interested in researching and creating a family tree. You can build the tree for free — you're charged only if you use the service's databases.

Social media users at risk from broad sweeps of data

By John Agsalud
Proponents of the "big data" phenomenon like to talk about its promise and how it will revolutionize research and science as we know it.

Aloha State is preparing to join cybersecurity fight

By Beau Monday Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Aug 13, 2013
Our nation is facing a critical shortage of skilled workers in the cybersecurity arena. A recent study discovered that more than 80 percent of the cybersecurity professionals in the U.S. are over 40 years old, and analysts expect that the number of jobs in this field will increase 28 percent in the next seven years. As our aging workforce looks toward retirement, the nation should consider how to cultivate the next generation of cyberwarriors.

HECO exec's exit marks a true changing of guard

By Jay Fidell
On Bishop Street there's only one Robbie, and he's leaving his job as executive vice president of Hawaiian Electric Co. on Aug. 31. This is huge.

All-in-1 device works fine compared with old models

By Mike Meyer Posted 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 30, 2013
It's funny how we get attached to inanimate objects, but at a certain point, computers, printers, etc., outlive their "useful" lives. Recently I helped a colleague with his home office "makeover." It was clear his "appliances," from the computer on down, were in their death throes.

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