Protect Your Accounts With Two-Factor Authentication

On September 5, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

Many consumers are worried nowadays about hackers. Slate.com ran a story recently discussing Matt Honan’s, a writer for Wired Magazine, experiences with being hacked. In August, Honan’s Apple account was hacked, and all of the data on his iPhone, iPad, and Macbook was deleted. Furthermore, the hacker deleted his Google account and hijacked his Twitter account, using it to post racist and obscene comments. Something this story puts into sharp focus is the fact that anyone can get hacked.


There is some good news though. There are several steps individuals might take to avoid the fate that Honan suffered. They can employ two-factor authentication.


Two-factor authentication


If you do not know what two-factor authentication is, then you are at risk of being hacked. What happens when you want to gain access to your online accounts? Usually, you need to simply enter your email address and a password, right? That's not good enough to deter skilled hackers today. With two-factor authentication, you have to also enter a code that is sent to you whenever you try to log onto one of your online accounts. This extra log-in credential could be the one thing stopping a hacker from getting into your accounts.


How it works


Google has enabled two-factor authentication for all of its accounts. It’s easy to use. If you own a smartphone, simply just download the app. Then when you log into your accounts you will type your password along with the password Google has provided you with.


If you don't own a smartphone, you are able to still use Google's two-factor authentication system. You can just wait for Google to send you a text or voicemail message containing the code you need to complete the login process.


Not widely used


Sad to say, as the Slate story mentions, a small number consumers are using two-factor authentication today. The reason? It's kind of of a hassle. Most consumers want to access their accounts easily and quickly, and entering an extra code, or waiting for a text, is not something they like. But as Honan's story proves, any step that can stop hackers is one that you should consider. Yes, it could take you a couple of seconds longer to log onto your accounts, but isn't the extra security that two-step authentication provides worth this small hassle?

 

Fight Screen ADD With These Two Tips

On August 31, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

Do you have many tabs open simultaneously, while focusing on a spreadsheet, and a report? If the answer is yes, then you could have computer-screen ADD. It has become more and more common as people often have more than one responsibility, particularly if they work for a start up. The biggest problem with this is that if you are working on too much at once, you can spread yourself too thin.


With tabbed browsing, it's not hard to open dozens of browser pages, Word documents, and apps at the same time. Problem is, this is also a great way to distract yourself from the most important jobs on your "to do" list.


Focusing on a lot of things at once can hurt your productivity. But there are a couple things you can do help break these habits.


Resist the minimization urge


When we focus on many tasks at once, big and small, we can get in the habit of minimizing windows. We do this to set a task aside, but in so doing we are putting it off. By breaking this habit we force ourselves to focus on a task at hand until it is finished rather than putting it off.


Email filters


This might seem too simple to be helpful, but by creating some filters that move, for example, emails from your boss into your inbox, and emails from everyone else into a second inbox, you'll be compelled to pay attention to the most important ones. You will be amazed at how often you skim over more important emails because another one is easier to deal with, or more fun. These things can just be distractions. It’s more helpful to focus on the important ones and when you have time, get to the less important ones.

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It might seem surprising how slowly many companies upgrade their OS, but if you think about all of the planning that must go into it, it makes sense. Windows 8 is coming out later this year, and many businesses have not even deployed Windows 7 yet. This is definitely something that business owners should consider doing soon as Microsoft has said they will no longer provide formal support for Windows XP after April 2014. So, if businesses that want to be able to access that support, they will need to begin the deployment process in the near future.


Analyze hardware and compatibility


Business IT departments or Manage Service Providers will first need to assess the hardware's capability to run Windows 7. One of the ways businesses can do this is by using the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 7.0 to execute an assessment of their current equipment. Manage Service Providers will need to determine if a company's applications will work with Windows 7.


What OS images to deploy


Businesses should decide if they should deploy just the Windows 7 operating system and install applications later, deploy the operating system and all apps at the same time, or take a combination technique, deploying the operating system and the most important applications that are required by all users. Those who take the latter approach can then deploy other applications in the future as needed. This is a recommend route as it is the fastest type of Windows 7 deployment.


Choosing the right image deployment tool


Once these things have been done, the last step in the process is for your MSP to choose which tool they want to use. There are numerous tools a company can use to deploy the Windows 7 image. A couple being: Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 and System Center Configuration Manager 2007 or 2012. All of these tools have different advantages and disadvantages that should be taken into account.


Upgrading to Windows 7, then, is a process that takes meticulous planning. Fortunately, those businesses who use MSPs or their IT departments to plan their deployment will increase their chances of a stress-free deployment.

 

The Real World Application Of Military Technologies

On August 24, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

The military develops new technology constantly. And some of their most recent inventions may impact life as we know it more then you might realize. Below are a few exciting things they have recently developed.


The laser gun


The laser gun, did you ever think we'd see the development of this? It’s only for the world of sci-fi right? Evidently it’s not. The military has actually developed an operational laser gun. It is known as the Excalibur, and not just that, they are currently creating laser weapons that are 10 times lighter than the Excalibur. The purpose of all of this is to create 10-kilowatt devices that can be used in precision strikes and replace traditional guns.


The doctor is in – your body


DARPA is focusing on nanoparticles that can treat illness and infection in the human body. The program is undoubtedly moving quickly, and researchers are presently focusing on this nanotechnology with large animals.


Thermal imaging on the cheap


The U.S. military has long used thermal imaging technology but this technology is far from cheap. That's why DARPA is now working on its Low Cost Thermal Imager manufacturing program. This program, as its name suggests, is attempting to substantially lower the cost of thermal imaging technology. DARPA would like to one day see thermal imaging machinery in cell phones, eyeglasses, drones, helmets, and rifle sights.

 

Living Forever: You Might Get Your Chance

On August 22, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

Does the thought of living forever sound good to you? Or do you worry that you would just run out of things to do? After all, how many superhero movies or walks to the park can you really stand? This could be a moot point. Ray Kurzweil, a famed scientist and author, predicts that in just 20 years scientists may have discovered a way to let us live forever. According to a story by Business Insider, this may involve nanobots that replace our blood cells.


This seems kind of spooky and like something out of a science fiction movie. Kurzweil is very enthusiastic about this, and some very well know people are huge supporters of his. In particular Bill Clinton and Bill Gates.


Rise of the nanobots?


Regardless of how “out-there” Kurzweil’s ideas are, they may be a very real possibility. In about 20 years, scientists believe they will have found a way to stop andreverse the aging process. Kurzweil then thinks that nanotechnology will come into play, replacing human blood cells, and doing the work much more effectively.


Exponential technology


Again, this soundsincredible, but Kurzweil is basing his predictions on one fact that cannot be disputed: Technology has been advancing at an exponential rate. And this, Kurzweil argues, implies that immortality is just a few technological leaps away.


Some huge questions come out of the possibility of humans being able to live forever. A few are: Should we even be able to live forever? Who would get to, if it’s possible? Would this drain our resources as a result of overpopulation? We may be all facing these questions if Kurzweil is right.

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Apps to Aid You During and Emergency

On August 17, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

These are dangerous times. Mother Nature is unleashing droughts and record-setting high temperatures. It seems a new tornado is tearing through the Midwest every day. And those are just the big emergencies. What if you lock yourself out of your car when your toddler's stuck inside? Happily, there's a whole class of apps that will help you deal with emergencies big and small. Here is a closer look at three of these apps that may be able to bail you out in case of an emergency.


AroundMe


AroundMe has been around for a while, but it continues to be a top locator app. With it, you can discover everything from the nearest gas station to the nearest bank. It is simple to see how AroundMe can assist in case of an emergency. Say your child is sick, you're in a strange city, and you must find a hospital as quickly as possible. Just log onto the app, select the category that you need – in this case, “Hospital” – and find the nearest medical provider to you. It's little shock that many consumers consider AroundMe to be a must-have app.


CPR & Choking


In emergency situations people are susceptible to loosing their cool, so this app is good for people who have had training in CPR or people who never have. It offers you full instructions, videos, and tips on how to perform CPR if someone near you is choking. The University of Washington, in conjunction with the King County EMS, created this app to help people save lives, so not surprisingly, it is free.


Emergency Radio Free


What if there's an armed criminal on the loose in your community? What if a tornado has been spotted? You can stay informed with Emergency Radio Free, an app that lets you access hundreds of police, fire, weather, as well as other live emergency radio feeds from around the country. It's easy, too, to distinguish and tune into radio feeds in your specific community. You can also save radio feeds to a favorites area to be able to access them quickly should an emergency pop up.


These apps cannot protect you completely but they are good to have in your toolbox to help safeguard you should an emergency strike.

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File Sharing Made Easy With Bump

On August 15, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

Thanks to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, sharing pictures and info has become easier than ever. Still, people are trying to find even more simple ways to share stuff. In response to this desire, iTunes now offers the Bump app.


No more emails


With Bump, you will not have to send contact information or photos to your friends through e-mail. You can automatically move copies of your photos and contact information from your phone and onto the phone of a friend, relative, co-worker, or business associate. Actually, all you have to do is bump your phone against another person's.


Living up to its name


To send files using Bump all you have to do is literally “bump” your phone against another phone. First you have to open the app and select the files you want to transfer. Touch your phone to another phone and bump your hands together. The app does the rest of the work and immediately transfers the files over.


You may also use Bump with your computer. You select “photos” or whatever option you want and tap your phone against your computer’s spacebar. Bump will then automatically transfer whatever files you have picked to your computer.


A popular app


Bump has become more and more popular. After its update in June it has been downloaded more than 90 million times. Bump is available for both iPhone and Android phones. If you wish to make transferring files to your friends and coworkers, or just to your home computer much easier, take a look at Bump.

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Time Saving Shortcuts in Gmail

On August 9, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

Gmail is one of the most well liked email clients out there. It’s easy to use and powerful. If you are among the many people who use Gmail, you are probably not using it as efficiently as you could. You most likely don’t realize this but Gmail has a huge selection of shortcuts to save you time. Even better, there is a single trick that allows you to pull up all of the shortcuts at once.


The Power of ?


What is the mysterious shortcut to access the shortcut cheat sheet? The question-mark key! All you have to do is be in a non text-input field and hit the question-mark. This quickly pulls up a list of all the shortcuts that are available. Yet another way to open it, if you don’t just like the question mark, is to press the "Shift" key and the "+" sign on your keyboard.


The Shortcuts


There are a multitude of shortcuts at your disposal in Gmail, but just to get a sample we have described a few below.


  • By pressing the "c" key, you automatically begin composing a new message in Gmail. If you press "Shift" and then "c," you'll be able to compose that new message in a new window.
  • The "n" key moves your cursor to the next message in your inbox, while pressing the "p" key moves you to the previous message.
  • If you want to mark certain messages as being of high importance, hit the "s" key. This will star particular messages. If you hit the "-" key, you'll label a message as being unimportant.

Those hardly scrap the surface of the time saving shortcuts accessible in Gmail. These shortcuts might take some time to get accustomed to but once you use them consistently they will become second nature and you will save a lot of time. There's no reason not to make use of the shortcuts available to you in Gmail. You may also save enough time that you can take a longer lunch and enjoy the sunshine.

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The Constantly Changing Face of Technology

On August 8, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Social Media

If you were a kid when the Atari 64 came out, you were probably amazed at the graphics. Then Mattel released the Intellivision, and by comparison, the Atari’s graphics were outdated. Each time a new video game system was released it managed to trump the last one in graphics and game play.


As an adult, your perspective is probably a little different. Technology changes very rapidly and your most current state-of-the-art gadget becomes obsolete when the bigger and better thing comes out.


Technology is constantly changing


Technology has always been changing, and as more and more comes out, this change speeds up. This does not surprise anyone. That being said, it should not shock consumers either. In today’s constantly evolving environment, most of us purchase technology knowing that it will become outdated in a few months.


Need tech help? Ask your kid


Kids are usually quicker to learn new things then their parents, and therefore, are better at adjusting to the changing technological environment. If you are in your 40s then you grew up without the Internet, and your kids don’t remember when the Internet didn’t exist. So, as technology advances at an progressively rapid pace, younger generations are going to more readily adjust to these changes and accept new technologies.


Today’s hot tech is tomorrow’s obsolete operating system


Considering the rapid changing world of technology, it ought to be no real shock that the same goes for operating systems. Businesses like Apple, Google, and Microsoft come out with new and improved operating systems frequently, both to stay ahead of the competition and to improve the user experience. If you don't adopt new systems when they come out, it won’t be long before your computer is very outdated. Change is unavoidable, if you do not adapt to it, you'll be left in the dust and unable to reap the rewards that that change has to offer.

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It is very tough to start a business; this is the reason a lot of start-ups fail in the first few years. So make managing your employees easier by employing some of the many apps that are available on the market to help you. The following three apps are among the best to increase productivity and manage your employees.


Labor Time Tracker


Physically punching a time clock in and out of work is very old fashioned. But with Labor Time Tracker you employees do this virtually. It costs only $4.95 a month per employee and allows you to easily see who is out and who is working as well as monitor overtime and pay.


Trello


Trello is one of many organization apps designed to keep business owners on task, but Trello does differ in one significant way: It lets business owners add employees and contractors to their various to-do lists. This way, everyone in a company can see these lists and keep tabs on what ought to be done throughout the day. Trello also lets business owners assign tasks to their employees and send them messages related to the business's various to-do lists.


TribeHR


TribeHR is not only low-cost, only $2 a month for each user, but it is also one of the highest-ranking human-resources apps out there. With it business owners can track employee’s time off, schedule evaluations, and update employee profiles. It basically does all you need without having a large HR department.


Building a small business in this challenging economy is difficult enough. So make your life a little easier by taking a close look at the apps outlined above.

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