September 22nd, 2016

2016Mar3_MicrosoftWindowsNewsAndTips_CYou’re likely a busy person. So the last thing you want to be bothered with is a slow computer. If you’ve recently upgraded to Windows 10, you may be surprised (and slightly annoyed) to discover that it’s running much slower than expected. So what can you do? Here are a few steps you can take to significantly speed up your new OS.

Prevent programs from launching at startup

Windows loads several programs at startup so they’re quickly available. While Microsoft likely has good intentions for doing this, the auto-launch can also slow down the speed of your computer. To fix this issue, you’ll need to make some manual adjustments in the settings.

To see what programs are launching during startup, press Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Next, click on the startup tab of the Task Manager window, where you can easily disable any programs you don’t want launching at startup. However, there will likely be a few programs you’re unsure about. For those, it’s best to play it safe and keep them enabled.

Get rid of useless applications

Having a large amount of programs on your computer takes up valuable memory and hard disk space. In other words, it slows your computer down and makes it work harder than necessary. To quickly clean out your unused programs, follow these steps:

  1. Type Change or remove a program into the taskbar search box (this will show you all the apps stored on your computer)
  2. Select the program/s you no longer want, and click Uninstall.

Once you do this, you’ll then be guided through a number of steps to complete the uninstallation process.

Tidy up your disks

While most people like to clean out their houses come Spring, why not do so with your computer sometime this month? Thankfully, Microsoft’s Disk Cleaner tool makes it easy to do so.

To find Disk Cleaner, right-click any drive in File Explorer and select Properties and Disk Cleanup under the General tab. Once open, it will automatically find files that may be taking up unnecessary space, such as temporary Internet and system memory dump files, and presents them to you for your review. Once you’ve looked them over, you can easily erase them by simply clicking OK.

Turn off apps running in the background

Much to your surprise, there are likely some programs running in the background of your Windows 10 OS that you’re completely unaware of. Microsoft has enabled their native universal apps to do this so you can quickly access their features. However, it also will cause some slow down to your CPU, so you might want to disable them.

To find out what programs are running in the background, navigate to Start Menu>Settings>Privacy>Background apps. Then, switch off the programs you don’t want running at all times.

By following these four steps, you are sure to see a noticeable difference in the speed of your PC. If you’d like to learn more about how to optimize your Windows system or need assistance with your other Microsoft products, feel free to give us a call.

Published with permission from Source.
Topic Windows
September 19th, 2016

dog weight liftingDo you know how well your dog slept last night? How much nutrition – or exercise – your dog really needs? Whether your pup is being well-cared for at doggy day care?

With FitBark you would know all this, and more, about your favorite canine pal.

Doggy health monitors are nothing new. But, according to hundreds of verified reviews on Amazon, Best Buy, App Store, and Google Play, FitBark leads the pack.

FitBark attaches to your dog’s collar and shares data with FitBark Explore, a dog health data bank that collaborates with over 20 leading universities and research institutions in North America and Europe to gain a better understanding of dog health.

You benefit from all this data by tapping into what FitBark calls truly unprecedented insights into canine health and data. All toward keeping Fido – and you – on the path to health and happiness.

$59.95 at

Topic Newsletter
September 16th, 2016

report cover protect your dataThis report will outline in plain, non-technical English common mistakes that many small business owners make with their computer network that cost them thousands in lost sales, productivity, and computer repair bills, as well as providing an easy, proven way to reduce or completely eliminate the financial expense and frustration caused by these oversights.

Download your FREE copy today at or call our office at (408) 483-1881.

Topic Newsletter
September 16th, 2016

Are you addicted to your work?
To find out, rate yourself 1 to 5 on the following statements. Give yourself a 5 for “often” and 1 for “rarely”: a) You think of how to free up more time to work. b) You spend more time working than initially intended. c) Your work helps you reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness, and depression. d) You get stressed when you can’t work. e) You set aside hobbies, leisure pursuits, and exercise in favor of work. If you averaged 4 to 5, then you may be at least mildly addicted to your work. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. While your well-being requires a certain amount of balance, having the drive, enthusiasm and energy to achieve impossible goals marks many of the most successful entrepreneurs.
– Forbes

We bet you’ve never even heard of these new technologies.
1) Perovskite solar cells promise to be cheap, easy to install, and efficient enough to power entire buildings, large or small. Made with a compound called perovskite, they reach new areas of the light spectrum, thus producing far more energy than current solar technology. 2) Organs-on-chips allow scientists to test how drugs impact the body – without putting humans or animals at risk. These micro-sized chips emulate how human organs work. By injecting the chips with drugs, scientists can observe responses such as heart palpitations to predict human responses to drugs and diseases. 3) Super-smart nanosensors, tiny enough to fit inside the body could, for example, alert a doctor if a patient starts to show signs of heart failure.

Did you know your iPhone could do this?
Respond to texts without unlocking the phone. When you get a notification, swipe left on the message and a blue “Reply” button appears. Just tap it and text away! Take a photo with the volume button. For that ultimate, one-handed selfie, open the camera app and press the “+” button for volume on the side of your phone. Have Siri read your texts out loud. This is a great tool for when your hands aren’t free or you’re on the road. Press the volume button and hold it. When the beep sounds, tell Siri, “Read my texts.” When done reading, she’ll ask you what to do with the messages. You can have her reply or read them again.
– Entrepreneur

You are just minutes away from creating a dazzling design – free.
With these 3 online tools you don’t need to pay a pro or buy fancy software. 1) Canva templates make easy to create a business card, ebook, or info-graphic. Just drag and drop objects until you like how it looks. Add images, tweak colors, swap fonts and voila – You’ve got a design you can be proud of. 2) Your brand’s color palette helps get your message across and can even drive conversions. But getting just the right shade can be tough. Upload your photo to Pictaculous and get instant color recommendations and hex codes. 3) PicMonkey lets you easily edit, re-color, add borders, and text – even insert graphics into your images.
– HubSpot

Topic Newsletter
September 15th, 2016

2016Mar25_MicrosoftWindowsNewsAndTips_CWhether you want to have a darker color scheme, run several apps at the same time or have multiple desktop displays, Windows 10 gives you many options to personalize your PC. And while some customization options are less obvious than others, it is well worth the effort to get your Windows 10 to act and look the way you want it to. Here are just a few things you can do to personalize your PC.

Change your themes

Probably the most obvious way to personalize your Windows 10 is by changing your background and lock images by right-clicking on your desktop and going to the Personalization settings. Fiddle around with the different themes you want to see every time you minimize your windows or even add new themes by selecting your own or by clicking on the Get more themes online option.

Use dark mode

Want to give your Windows 10 an edgier feel? Replace those white backgrounds with dark mode. It does take a bit of effort to get to though. Open the run menu (Windows key + R) and type regedit to open the Registry. Then go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER> SOFTWARE> Microsoft> Windows> CurrentVersion> Themes> Personalize. On the right, you’ll notice an option called AppsUseLightTheme. Open up the box, and change Value Data from a 1 to 0.

Changing the value to 0 switches off the light theme and takes you to dark mode. To make sure the changes are made you need to logout of your PC and log back in. To switch the themes back to the Light theme just take the same steps but instead you need to switch the Data Value back to 1.

Virtual desktops

If you’re having trouble separating your work files from your personal files, try creating a virtual desktop. Press the Windows key + TAB to show all your open windows. At the bottom right corner of your screen you’ll notice an option to add a new desktop. Simply click on it to create a new desktop and immediately enjoy looking up your hobbies on one desktop while strictly doing business on the other.

To quickly switch between your desktops you can use the CTRL + Windows key + left/right arrow shortcut to maneuver between screens.

App snapping

App snapping is not exactly a new feature for experienced Windows users but with Windows 10, you can now snap any app in place. For people who like to multitask, this feature can be just for you. Snap any app window into one side or corner of your screen by simply dragging it into the desired area. You can have a maximum of 4 separate windows open in your monitor at the same time for when you want to browse the internet while you’re filling out spreadsheets.

Reorganize your Start Menu

To add a little more “you” into your Windows PC you can do a few things to customize how your apps are readied on your Start Menu. To begin with, you can resize the Start Menu by simply dragging the top or right side of the menu to resize.

You can choose to resize the live tiles by right-clicking on them and selecting the Resize option. You can also rearrange application tiles by dragging them anywhere around the Start Menu. Or if you don’t see yourself using a particular application simply right click the tile and select Unpin from Start. On the other hand, you can pin applications into the Start Menu by going to the All Apps tab, right-clicking and choosing Pin to Start. For even faster access to the apps that you like to go to, simply pin the program to the task bar.

Change color themes

Is plain black Start Menu color not doing it for you anymore? Just right-click on your desktop, choose Personalize> Color and select any accent color that suits you. Switch on the Show color on Start, taskbar, action center, and title option if you want this color applied to the entire menu. There are also various other options you can choose to display the Start Menu by going to the Start section of the Personalization settings.

Disable notifications

We don’t know where you stand on app notifications but if you absolutely hate it and wish to never hear that notification sound ever again, simply click Start> Setting> System> Notifications>Actions and switch off whatever app notifications you don’t want. Goodbye annoying reminders.

Switch up and personalize your Windows 10 how ever you like by using some or all of these options and hopefully you get the settings that’s just right for you. If you would like to know about more ways you can personalize your desktop or need information on anything Windows 10 related, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

Published with permission from Source.
Topic Windows
September 8th, 2016

2016Feb18_MicrosoftWindowsNewsAndTips_CThe term ‘image’ is no longer associated with just pictures or paintings. In this modern day and age, image extends to how one perceives your business in reality and online. You can’t simply hit F5 and refresh an image you aren’t comfortable with. Find out how you can constantly maintain and improve your online image with the following tips.

Own the first page of search results

In his new book on online reputation management, Tyler Collins, a digital marketing expert for Fortune 500 companies mentions the importance of a company’s search results that appear after pressing enter. These results make up the majority of a business or personal reputation online. For optimal results, it is advised that you occupy the first 10 spots (the entire first page of the search results), and within this number, there should also be a variety of related content such as positive reviews, media coverage as well as customer testimonials that contribute to the establishment of trust and credibility.

Paint the picture before the exhibition

Especially for entrepreneurs embarking on a new company, it is best to work on their online reputation before launching. This includes creating a brand, company name and message, all of which should help your business land the top 10 search results online. You should invest some time in thoroughly researching potential brand names to ensure your tentative company name has no negative associations.

Don’t forget the execs

Equally important to online brand management is the implementation of reputation management policies for key executives. While researching a company, potential customers don’t only take statistics and reviews into consideration but also the people that are involved with and leading the organization. This is why it’s absolutely essential that your key executives have a clean online reputation.

To achieve this, the company can create a dedicated bio for each executive that helps increase the search ranks of that particular executive’s name. The next step is to get (positive) media coverage whenever possible. Everything from blog posts to press releases and quotes in an online news story will help forge a strong and credible image for the individual, and in extension, for the company.

Ask for help when required

When times get tough, seek the expertise of specialists that help maintain and improve online images for a living. It is almost impossible to change a customer’s first impression of executives and the company, so investing in expert advice can turn out to be the most important step in creating and maintaining your virtual image.

We hope you find these four online reputation tips helpful. If you need more help creating a credible online image or are looking to utilize technology to establish a stronger online image, give us a call. Expert advice awaits.

Published with permission from Source.
Topic Social Media
September 5th, 2016

mobile stethoscopeWhat if you could tap into the top talent in your industry, no matter where in the world they are? With the power of the mobile web, your all-star team is now – literally – at your fingertips.

Consider this: 83% of workers report that they prefer using cloud apps over those deployed on-premise. Millennials, who will make up almost 50% of the available workforce by 2020, are “digital natives.” And don’t forget how much money remote workers allow you to save on real estate and office equipment.

Yet there are risks. Spreading your network around the world on a variety of devices you don’t control can expose your data in more ways than ever before. The key is to find the right balance between protection and productivity. Here, then, are five ways to effectively “mobilize” your workforce – without endangering your data:

Collaborate In The Cloud – A plethora of online collaboration tools have sprung up that make it easy for a geographically dispersed team to access and share the same files in real time. These tools not only make sharing easy and instantaneous, they help your team communicate quickly and effectively. Tools like Slack, HipChat, Asana, Podio and Trello – to mention just a few of the most popular options – are proving to make teams more productive. And that includes keeping critical data safe and secure.

Expand Elastically – In-house investments in IT hardware, software, and staff can lock you into a rigid structure that can’t easily adapt to changes in demand. A cloud-based mobile workforce is able to contract and expand more easily as needs arise, and with very little loss of capital. Bottom line: use a VPN (virtual private network) and cloud-based collaboration tools to remain agile, flexible, and competitive.

Cut Costs Dramatically – Physical work areas, equipment, software, and on-site security expenses can add up. Instead of spending money on office space, equipment, and infrastructure, invest it in innovation and refinement. Combine the power of the cloud with a well-designed workflow to reduce the number of people needed to get things done. That will free up your key players to focus on more important tasks – the ones that boost productivity and ROI.

Deal With BYOD – Let’s face it, BYOD (bring your own device) can be your greatest IT security threat. Yet, like it or not, workers will use their own devices on the job. Foisting strict controls without buy-in will just backfire. Yet doing nothing simply makes you a sitting duck for a cyber-attack. Solution? First, audit how your employees use their devices. Note the data they access and the apps they rely on. Group them by the levels of security and compliance they need to be governed by. A CEO, for example, may need to abide by financial regulations. An HR manager must deal with employment laws. Armed with information from your audit, you can roll out new policies as well as technical and process controls. Train your team in safe practices. And be sure to contact us for help in getting all this done securely and effectively.

Go Remote Without Risk – Whether you want to cut commuting time for your team, tap into the talents of experts outside your locale, or simply accommodate a worker caring for family members, mobilizing your workforce can have big benefits. The trick is defending it at all points. Make sure remote workers share files and communicate with other employees only via a secured network. Make sure they use adequate virus protection. And, if they are using WiFi, either at home or on the road, make sure they do it safely. For instance, ensure that their tablet isn’t set to automatically connect to the default wireless network. That’s often an easy access point for hackers.

Free Mobile Risk Assessment – Limited Time Only!

To help you manage a mobile workforce without endangering your data, we’re giving away a Free Mobile Risk Assessment, normally valued at over $300, to the first 10 companies who request it by September 30th. Call us directly at (408) 483-1881 to set yours up today. It’s your best bet for keeping ahead of the competition – while keeping your company’s data safe and secure.

Topic Newsletter
September 1st, 2016

2016Apr5_Facebook_CSimply getting a ‘Like’ on your post is not enough anymore. It doesn’t give you any other useful data and you can’t immediately tell what people feel about your post. However, with Facebook reactions, you can be getting just what your company’s social media page needs. Reactions allow people to quickly express what they think about your post with five new emoticons. But how can you use this to get more exposure and engagement? Here are five tips for you to consider if you want to effectively use Facebook reactions for your social media campaign.

Ask your audience for reactions

Sometimes, audiences won’t know how to react to your posts. You can point them in the right direction by giving call to ‘reaction’ phrases like “Did you learn something new? Give us a ‘wow’ by hovering over that like button”.

As Facebook reactions are a relatively new feature, you can increase the total engagement of your posts by simply asking your fans to use one of the six available expressions on your post. This will not only increase your overall engagement and reach but will also give your fans the opportunity to learn about the new Facebook reactions.

Soften the blow of negative reviews

If your service ever experiences any technical difficulties, reactions can be a lifesaver. Back when there were no Facebook expressions, people would often resort to negative comments or trolling when they are unhappy with a particular post. This could lead to a toxic page environment and may encourage others to do the same or even unfollow your page entirely. With Facebook reactions, you can minimize the effect of negative reviews with a more innocent ‘angered’ or ‘saddened’ emoji. Overall, this looks better on your page rather than lines of nonsensical text in all caps.

Gain more visibility with your page

Commenting and reacting to other local pages on your business’s Facebook account increases your chances of being discovered by potential customers. And, as an added benefit, engaging with other local pages can encourage them to return the favor.

Use reactions as constructive feedback

Facebook reactions add an extra level of depth to measuring how well your posts are doing. Before, more likes would mean more engagement. But now, reactions show that people are invested in your content.

What’s more, you can now measure what people feel about your content. This allows you to tailor your next post so that it gets the most engagement. For instance, if you notice that people are leaving more ‘Haha’ reactions to your posts, then this could suggest that your audience engages with your posts if they see more humor included in your content.

Check out your competition

You should note that page posts are public and can be see by anyone, even those who haven’t liked your page yet. This also means you can review your competitor’s posts and find out how people are reacting to their posts. This is valuable information to gauge what type of content, announcements, or status updates work for your target audience. Or if you find that your competitor is only getting likes rather than reactions, you can try experimenting with creative posts to get people to engage with your content instead.

Facebook reactions create a new and exciting way for people to express how they feel about certain posts. While some social media marketers would not pay too much attention to this feature, focusing on reactions can give you an edge when it comes to measuring how your target audience feels about your service. So the next time you’re going to make a new post, consider some or all of these tips to make the most out of those Facebook emojis.

Need more advice on managing your Facebook page? Contact us today.

Published with permission from Source.
Topic Social Media
August 29th, 2016

Here are 3 ways LinkedIn can generate new business for you.
1) Above all, earn the ask. The more value you provide in the relationship, the more “right” you have to phone time, a free consultation, or the opportunity to make your pitch. 2) Build a sales funnel. Organize your contacts and planned interactions for best results. Recognize and engage with inbound warm leads. And remember, timing is everything! 3) Target and engage your ideal prospects. LinkedIn’s search engine gives you direct access to over 450 million professionals in more than 200 countries. In minutes, you can build a hyper-targeted prospect list by job title, industry type, and/or location. With just these few tactics, LinkedIn can become a powerful business-building ally.

Did you notice the day Windows became malware?
If malware is any piece of software that gets into your computer through stealth means – even if it’s a premier operating system – then Windows 10 fits the definition. Microsoft has been very aggressively asserting its self-imposed deadline of August 29 for free upgrades from Windows 7 and 8.1. And if it hasn’t been yet, you may find your computer hijacked and converted into a Windows 10 machine – whether you give permission or not. By default, Windows 10 collects advertising and personal data. It changes your computer’s configuration. And if you try to stop the upgrade by clicking the X on its dialog box, it installs it anyway. Aw, c’mon, tell us that’s not malware!

Imagine owning the domain rights to – even for just 60 seconds…
When Babson College MBA student Sanmay Ved happened to notice the domain up for sale, he figured why not go ahead and try to buy it. To his huge surprise, the sale actually went through! He had just purchased for the princely sum of $12. It didn’t take Google long to become aware that something had gone horribly wrong – less than 60 seconds, in fact. They fired off an e-mail to Sanmay, telling him they’d cancelled his order and refunded his $12. As an afterthought, Google sent Sanmay a little spiff for his cooperation: $6,000.13, to be exact. If you squint, you might see that the number spells “Google.”

Is the IoT a “Clear And Present Danger”?
According to a U.S. government report, the “Internet of Things” could deliver a disabling global attack. With smart cars, smart homes, and new apps that reach into every nook and cranny of our personal lives, the IoT poses greater risks to our safety than ever before. And revealing more about your life than a novelist, it takes the invasion of privacy to new heights. True, it may help folks live longer, healthier lives. And it may boost food production. Or even improve job and lifestyle options for some. Yet the question isn’t whether it’s good or not … it’s how do we deal with it? One thing is for sure: good or bad, buckle up because here it comes!

Topic Newsletter
August 28th, 2016

Hardware virtualization and software emulation technologies have come a long way in terms of their power and affordability with virtual machines. Virtual machines are now more practical and viable solutions for businesses and power users. They have a number of advantages over physical machines. VM’s share some strengths as well as vulnerabilities as physical hosts. There is potential for file system corruption and data loss.

Virtualized environment
Basically, the rise of virtualized x86 servers is changing disaster recovery process. It is easier and more affordable and provides better planning. Server virtualization helps make disaster recovery less complicated by representing everything in logical terms and doing away with the need for a physical replica of your environment.

Now, in a virtualized environment, you can cover protection of everything for a comprehensive cost with improved disaster recovery process. Planning is more deliberate and changes the process while improving it.

Disaster recovery in a virtualized environment
A real advantage is that recovery procedures become less knowledge and more process-based. Data, applications, and operating system are systemized into a virtual machine (VM) that is hardware-independent, and data reside on shared storage. You can copy VMs and data by traditional backup or replicate everything at regular, pre-defined intervals. A wide-area network to the second server and storage environment at a remote data center connected to VM can prevent failovers. The replication process is halted to prevent data corruption and storage in secondary site is activated to live. Because the process is automated, it reduces the amount of day-to-day administration required to keep systems at remote sites configured correctly. Disaster recovery becomes more planning at this point.