Ready for Windows 10?

June 25, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Windows10By now you may have seen the icon at the bottom-right corner of your screen that says you can reserve your copy of Windows 10 as soon as it is available. “That’s great”, you say, “but should I?”

Windows 10 is not officially released until July 29th and you can upgrade for free at any time over the next year. For this reason, we recommend waiting until it has been released for a little while before updating. There are sure to be a few bugs and we will be aggressively testing Windows 10 in order to make the best recommendation for our clients.

Staying connected to this blog and our newsletter is a great way to stay updated.

With this new version of Windows comes some interesting features in regards to productivity and management from an IT perspective. What does this mean for the home user? It means we are able to support your needs more efficiently than ever before with options that simplify everything from e-mail, file sharing and backing up in the cloud.

The wires are going away which goes for the things attached to those wires as well. In the same way that WiFi is changing how we use the Internet and connect to each other, slowly the boxes surrounding your desk are getting smaller or going away entirely. This is a good thing if you have an expert IT service at your side to carry you through the rapid changes going on today. We can help you simplify your life using technology and are always willing to recommend the best solution or answer any questions. Give it a try!

Enter Password Here

April 9, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

password

So many passwords…what should they be? Should I have CaPitaL letters? Numbers? Symbols? or all of the above?  Oh my!!! It’s enough to make a person scream in frustration!

Passwords are an absolute necessity. Most of the time they are required to make purchases online or access certain websites.  We also want to protect the information we provide online.  Let’s face it, we don’t want just anyone to get our personal information. On the news now, it’s not only security breaches that we hear about, but also how hackers are able to get into and access our personal emails.  It just never seems to end.

We need passwords.  We can’t get away from them.  We just need VERY strong passwords. What can we do to be proactive in this New Year to protect our personal information?

Here is a little secret…the more complex the password the better.  When you use different characters and lengthen your passwords, it becomes harder to figure them out.  Use the following example:

Hard                          H_ard                          H_a_rd                          H_a_r2d                          H_a_r2d!_2

Is this making sense?
How do we remember this?  Great question and thank you for asking!

1. Create your own pattern of letters, symbols, and numbers, etc. and create a rotation system.
2. Keep the list somewhere that is not accessible to anyone else.
3. Then when you update the passwords, update your list.  (Online hidden documents are perfect for this.)

Let’s be password superheroes, and make it harder for malicious cyber criminals to steal our information.

Must Have Cloud Applications

January 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Since the 1980s, consumers have enhanced their computer experience through purchased software. Within months the software became outdated! Today computer users experience immediate access to up-to-date programs through on-demand cloud applications. Here are Frankie’s “must-have apps.”

  1. 1.Gmail.  Besides easy access anywhere, anytime – Gmail has an awesome spam filter, large storage amounts, an excellent search feature and HTTPS encryption to keep your mail secure.
  2. Google Calendar. Online calendaring is an excellent tool and Google’s calendar is extremely easy to use.  It sends reminders to email and can be integrated with Microsoft and smartphones.
  3. Google Docs. No need to clog your hard disk with files and files of word documents and spreadsheets.  Google docs is a free application that allows you to store, create, share and access documents, spreadsheets and presentations online.
  4. Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. Both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome are excellent browsers known for speed, security and user-friendly navigation.
  5. Remember the Milk. Trying to remember what you have to get done this week?  RememberTheMilk, a free app that can be integrated with smartphones, web browsers, and even Twitter, helps you organize your to do list, prioritize tasks, share tasks and even set reminders.
  6. Carbonite or Mozy. Both Carbonite and Mozy are excellent back up recovery services that allow you to select files and folders on your computer and safely back them up online.  In the case of file corruption, accidental deletion or hardware failure, you may easily restore your backed up files from the web to the original computer or any another PC.
  7. CCleaner. CCleaner is a free system cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history.

Online Security Tips

January 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

As cloud computing expands, and we access personal information via the Internet, we recommend the following tips to increase your privacy and security in a virtual environment.

  1. Read End User License Agreements so you understand the risks of cloud computing downloads.
  2. Carefully review privacy and security settings – particularly on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Many default settings allow sharing of information.
  3. Keep your computer operating system up to date to ensure the highest level of protection.
  4. Be sure to use a current version  of your web browser (ie:  Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome).
  5. Close your browser when  you are not using the Internet.
  6. Use secure websites for transactions and shopping. Shop with merchants you know and trust. Make sure Internet purchases are secured with encryption to protect your account information. Look for “secure transaction” symbols like a lock symbol in the lower right-hand corner of your web browser window, or “https://…” in the address bar of the website. The “s” indicates “secured” and means the web page uses encryption.
  7. Conduct online banking activities on secure computers only. Public computers (computers at Internet cafes, copy centers, etc.) should be used with caution, due to shared use and possible tampering. Online banking activities and viewing or downloading documents (statements, etc.) should only be conducted on a computer you know to be safe and secure.
  8. Always log off from any website after making a purchase with your credit or debit card. If you cannot log off, shut down your browser to prevent unauthorized access to your account information.

Smart Computing in the Cloud

January 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Cloud Computing

If you have ever used web-based email (Hotmail, Yahoo mail, Gmail, etc.), watched YouTube, or used a search engine – then you have been “there, up in the clouds!”  As the cloud gets smarter, so too, computer users must get smarter. Best practices must include both local and offsite data back up and password management.  We recommend the following computing habits for smart cloud computing:

Back up, back up, back up. No need for panic when data is lost or compromised when computer users exercise both local and offsite back up.  Online back up provides an alternative safe, secure and reliable place to store information that is available wherever there is an Internet connection. Available in free and paid subscriptions, cloud storage providers include companies like Carbonite, Mozy and Box.net with versions for Windows and Mac.  Your OnCall technicians prefer Carbonite; however, which ever solution you choose – cloud back up is a must!

Secure passwords.   Do not make it easy for hackers by using the same password on every site you visit. IT experts recommend:

  • Passwords should be 8 or more characters.
  • Passwords and security clues should be personal. Use a relative’s birthday, pet name or family name and spell it backwards.
  • Make an acronym of your favorite phrase or quote.  Add extra numbers or letters at the beginning or end for different accounts.  For example, “I pledge allegiance to the flag” would be IPATTF.  IPATTF1 could be your password for Facebook; IPATTF2 your bank account; and so on. If your memory needs tech assistance, research password manager programs such as KeePass or Password Safe.