That pesky Windows 10 nag.

the-strategy-1080533_1920There is a tool that will remove the Windows 10 nag, and we have that tool.  We can have you updated, up to speed, and remove the nag for you.  The second option is to update to Windows 10.  In our opinion, Windows 10 is not as comfortable to use as Windows 7.  If you choose to update, there will be growing pains.

Here is a tip, if you update to Windows 10:

At the install, several screens will ask you, what to use as a default application –  **uncheck everything**

 

We do this because:

  1. There is more freedom
  2. Less running in the background

Additionally, if you use Microsoft Internet Explorer, there is a deadline to upgrade to IE11 or Edge.  This upgrade needs to be completed by January 12. Microsoft Internet Explorer is not the safest browser and older versions are much more likely to cause trouble for you and your computer.

If you want to update and you don’t want to do it yourself, we can also do this for you.

Whether you have Windows 10 or Windows 7, they both will run smoother and better on a SSD (We’ll tell you more about Solid State Drives in the next article.  So stay tuned.)

 

Ready for Windows 10?

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!

The Age of Information

NewspaperIn an age of information overload, I ask one simple question,  how do you get your news?

You have news on television, on the radio, and on the internet.  But there is one source of news that is still very much alive.

The written word.  The newspaper.  News magazines.

When was the last time you picked up the Kansas City Star?  This has been our local newspaper for decades, and they are still fighting the good fight every single day.

But there is also the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and other such papers that are still very much in print.

There is nothing like holding a paper, a magazine, or an actual book in our hands.

Oh yes we definitely can get the news online…read online…do just about anything online.

It’s more than just instant information.

It’s about really connecting with our world around us.  NOT JUST Digitally.

Enter Password Here

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.

2015 Mac and Apple Support

MacFrankie OnCall is pleased to announce that we now offer service and support for Mac computers and other Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad. Louie Finazzo, our new head of operations at Frankie OnCall, brings experience supporting Macs in a fast-paced business environment from one of Kansas City’s premiere marketing agencies.

Apple computers are becoming increasingly common in the small and medium sized business environment for their ease of use, reliability and aesthetic. MacBook laptops are pulling up to conference room tables at an increasing rate and looking good doing it. Mac users are leading presentations and seamlessly sharing documents with Windows users at the office.

Photographers and designers have been using Macs in the home office for decades and are champions at getting the most out of them for years on end. Because a new top of the line Mac can often cost more than $3,000, helping you prolong the life of your machine is as important to us as it is to you. We are here to help you get the most out of your Apple products in the home or office and make sure they stay running like they did when they came out of that oh so pretty box.

“Instant Society”

handcuffsDo you watch television? Are you watching the commercials advertising the holiday sales or the newest gifts to buy? I don’t watch television. I watch my phone. That’s right! I spend a lot of time with my face in my phone. I am obsessed with technology and information. After all, isn’t that who we are? A society obsessed with technology?

Why are you in your phone so much Frankie?

Because I can:

Carry on complete conversations via text and chat. I can read my Kindle…play Scrabble ALL DAY long…look at pictures on IMGUR…watch movies on Netflix…shop on Amazon and EBay…look at the news ANYWHERE ON THE PLANET…get on Chrome and browse any piece of information I desire…and SO much more. WOW!

I constantly and continually, at any instant, have the world in my hands, all day long, every day. In some ways, I view this as multi-tasking. My phone helps me stay present. If I didn’t have it, who knows what I’d be thinking about. How would I get my email or remember my schedule. How would I get your phone number or remember your birthday?

However, I view our instant society as being pre-occupied. We are constantly occupied with our phone or laptop or tablet.

I remember seeing a photo (online of course), of a family sitting down at dinner. Everyone had a cell phone or gadget out, with their heads down. No one was talking. No one was engaging with each other.

I’ve been that person. However, this year I focused on how I spend my time, and I have been, unplugging. There are times I leave my phone at home, or I put it in my pocket so I can converse with someone. I leave my phone in the car. I don’t take it to dinner or meetings. I am choosing to be more present and connect with people.

How do you spend your time? Are you stuck on your phone or other tech gadget?

As we start to make our resolutions for 2015, consider unplugging from the virtual, and connect with those in your life, even if it’s for a short period of time. The “Instant Society” can wait a little while.

DATA BREACH: How corporate data breaches can affect you!

How close we have to keep an eye on our possessions.

How close we have to keep an eye on our possessions.

Have you seen in the news how many data breaches have taken place from retailers across the United States? Target, Neiman Marcus, Michael’s, Staples, and more!  A lot more!

You have a greater risk of becoming a victim of identity theft or fraud if your credit/debit card information is compromised in a security breach.  We are responsible for monitoring our own credit.  A few companies may offer credit monitoring, but how much does that protect us?  Yes, there are federal laws and industry practices that protect you from major losses. However, there is still a genuine risk.

Be aware of the following that can happen to you if your credit information is breached:

  1. Your data can be sold to others, even internationally.
  2. It is a hassle to try and repair all the damage done and takes a lot of time.
  3. Even if your cards are cancelled your checking account can still be vulnerable.  Bounced checks, late fees, and more hassles are all a possibility.

Extremely old technology is relied upon to care for our credit and debit card information.  Which can, it seems, be easily accessed by the wrong people.  The Consumers Union, a branch of Consumer Reports, is calling for better protection to fight against data breaches.  But there is no visibly clear path to manage this.

What can we do?  One way is using a credit card that has a computer chip which stores encrypted data; a pin is needed when making transactions.  Another way is to pay close attention to your bills.  Be aware of where you use your cards and note any suspicious activity.

Smart cards will not solve all of the issues, at least until federal standards are improved to hold companies to a higher level of responsibility.  Just be aware and remember you are the only one that can ultimately protect your credit and personal information.

The Pros and Cons of Locking Your Phone

SmartphonesAs we become more and more reliant on our phones to multitask (banking apps, social media, etc) it’s surprising that people have become rather lax about actually using a lock screen to protect their personal phones. Some pros and cons have cropped up in relation to this trend.

Pro:

  • Lock screens can give a sense of security.
  • Lock screens can keep apps from opening and draining your phone’s battery. They can also prevent the dreaded “butt-dial”.
  • Lock screens can prevent nosy friends or the non tech-savvy thief from getting into your personal data.

Con:

  • Lock screens can be annoying if you check your phone often.
  • Locking your phone can give you a sense of security true, but most lock screens are easy to get around, especially if the person trying knows you.
  • Lock screens will not keep the tech savvy thief out of your phone, and let’s be honest, if the thief is going for your high tech smartphone they probably know how to crack it.

Locking your phone is a matter of personal preference, if it feels more secure or you are concerned about who might have access to your phone then that is a decision you must make.

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