Microsoft is adding a new power scheme for Windows 10 Pro users. This is great for those of us who always want to go faster. That certainly includes me. This new mode should be available in the next update expected around March or April. Now the one caveat is that you can’t use this on computers with a battery. Yes, that means laptops are out. But those of you doing high powered work on high end workstations should see a difference. Microsoft has adjusted the high performance policy to eliminate micro-latencies. In computers, a lot of micro will certainly equal some macro changes, if you get what I’m saying. Enjoy!
Posted In: Tech Tips for Everyone
You’ve seen the news and Bitcoin trading has gone through the roof this year. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Bitcoin is the biggest cryptocurrency out there. Not only can Bitcoins be used as a form of payment, but they also can be mined. Mining involves using a computer, or more commonly, a server farm of computers to do intense calculations. Completing these calculations rewards you with Bitcoins. Bitcoins can then be used for purchases and are managed in your Bitcoin wallet.
So here’s where the fun comes in. Since Bitcoins are completely digital, anything involved in the process of mining, storing, and purchasing Bitcoins can be a big target for would be hackers and Malware creators.
Here’s some of the stuff we are seeing out there currently:
- Mining– Many people want to get into mining. There are many legit ways to do it, but watch out, there’s a lot of fake software out there that is actually malware disguised as mining software.
- DDOS attacks– Distributed denial of server attacks. Cryptocurrency exchanges were the eighth most targeted sector by DDoS attackers following sectors such as gambling, internet services, financial services and retailers.
- Mining marketplace NiceHash recently announced that it was hacked and 4,700 bitcoins were stolen.
- Picking your Wallet– Multiple attacks have been recorded hacking into Coinbase wallets.
So the moral of the story here is the same we’ve seen for years and years. Protect your digital assets. Keep strong malware protection and firewalls in place. Following these practices can go a long way in protecting your systems.
My Data Is Backed Up, So I Can Recover It Fast, Right?
Here’s a big (and scary) misconception you might have about your data backups: backing up your data guarantees a fast recovery. It does NOT! In short, data backup is nothing more than copying files. There are a number of ways data can be backed up, both manually and automatically—and you don’t need to know all the technical ins and outs of them. But what you DO need to know is whether your current backup is set up in a way that would allow for the fastest possible recovery time in the event of a disaster or data-erasing event. You might be shocked to find out it’s not as fast and easy as you’d like to think.
Disaster Recovery Vs. Data Backup
Let’s start by defining what “disaster recovery” is. Disaster recovery is the process by which you will RECOVER the functionality of your data, software programs, devices and business operations in the event of a “disaster.” A disaster can be as simple as a server crashing or a more catastrophic event such as a tornado. But here’s the real kicker: MOST data loss is not due to a natural disaster such as a flood, hurricane, tornado, etc. Most data is lost because of simple human error, such as employees accidentally deleting files, faulty hardware or even a virus or hacker attack that brings down your entire network.
Because most businesses believe “that could never happen to me,” they are caught completely off guard when there’s a major outage or files get deleted or corrupted beyond recovery. They THINK because they have things “backed up” they can instantly get those files back and start working again. Not so.
Here’s a perfect analogy: Let’s suppose you could back up all the personal items you have in your house—your clothes, furniture, valuables, etc., and somehow maintain a copy of everything in a warehouse 1,000 miles away from your current residence. Now let’s suppose (and God forbid) your house burns down, destroying everything with it. You’d be relieved that you had a copy of everything somewhere else, so it’s not a total loss (which, by the way, is why your backups need to be OFF-SITE, not on devices in your office).
But here’s the problem: If your house burned down, you might have a copy of everything you own, but you no longer have a place to put it. So, for starters, you have to rebuild the house. Next you have the project of getting everything out of that storage unit into your NEW house. Then you have to rearrange everything. This is exactly how most backup systems work UNLESS you are running “image” backups. An image will allow you to restore your server, PC, device, etc., FAST because you’re not backing up single items but, instead, the ENTIRE HOUSE.
Thinking About Moving To Office 365 Or Google Apps To Save Money And Get Rid Of That Server In The Closet?
Don’t Until You Read This…
While we LOVE us some cloud computing, the reality is that SOME cloud solutions are NOT ideal for everyone. The lure of cheap computing and lower IT costs are a draw, but it’s not the bargain you think it to be if everything runs as slow as continental drift, you can’t recover your data or a hacker is able to access your network.
So before you make the leap to cloud-based computing, give us a call. We can assess your computer network and the way you work to determine if all your applications, processes and systems WILL work safely, securely and efficiently in the cloud. Further, if you handle “sensitive” data such as credit cards, medical records, social security numbers, etc., we can arm you with the facts you need to know about cloud computing and data privacy and security. Of course, our goal is to recommend the safest, most effective solutions that will work the way you want without crushing your budget. So call us today to see what’s possible for YOUR organization! (856)727-9363
A 23-foot-tall tower, built in Beijing last year, sucks in smog, filters out dangerous particles and purifies surrounding air at the rate of 1 million cubic feet per hour. Carbon particles filtered from the smog are then compressed and turned into jewelry. Air around the tower is now reported to be 55% cleaner. Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde, famous for design and architecture solutions to worldwide waste and pollution problems, came up with the idea after seeing kids in Beijing playing indoors due to the area’s notorious smog. The tower’s low-energy ionization technology is borrowed from indoor air filters. A similar tower in Rotterdam, Netherlands, runs on no more electricity than a water boiler.
Uber has added a new destination: people. Let’s say you just flew into Phoenix and you want to meet a friend there for drinks before heading to your hotel. It used to be that you’d ask them, “Where are you? … Where’s that again?” then try to quickly type in the address before you forgot any of the details, hoping you didn’t misspell anything. With Uber’s new “People” feature, instead of typing in your destination, you simply enter the person’s name, skipping all the back and forth. Uber then locks in their destination and directs the driver to take you there. It also sends your ETA to the person you’re going to see. Just sync your contacts with Uber before your next trip, and enjoy the ride. Mashable, 12.21.16
With Spring in the air, now is a good time to do an annual clean up of the computers, servers and electronic equipment in your office, both inside and out.
Failure to thoroughly clean your computer at least once or twice a year will result in decreased performance and possibly even system failures. Here’s why:
• Dust clogs the computer’s cooling system causing it to heat up, damaging sensitive electronic equipment. Dust can also cause fan noise and (believe it or not) slow performance!
• Crumbs and dirt in your keyboard can cause keys to stick and crunchy sounds when typing. Plus, it’s just gross and unhealthy; do you know there are more germs on your computer keyboard than the average public toilet?
• Dust, fingerprints and dirt build-up will make your computer monitor dim and fuzzy.
But the physical “dirt” is only the beginning…
• Delete temporary files and unused programs taking up space and slowing things down.
• Defrag your hard drive (Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter).
• Get rid of clutter on your desktop by removing shortcuts and files you don’t need.
• Make sure you have the latest security patches and updates installed and configured properly.
• Check your backups and conduct an emergency “restore” of the data. Remember, the best time to check your backups is when you DON’T desperately need to recover your data!
Do you hate typing your name and contact information at the end of each e-mail you create? Would you like to include legal disclaimers to help protect you and your company? Then use an Outlook “signature” to automate the insertion of this information.
Here’s how… On the Tools menu, click Options. Then click the Mail Format tab. Then click the Signatures button. Click the New… button and give your signature a name when prompted and click Next. Type the text you would like to have appear at the end of each email in the box and click Finished. That’s all there is to it. Be sure the name of the signature you just created appears in the box titled Signature For New Messages: and Signature For Replies and Forwards: and click the OK button. You can test the signature by creating a new email message. The signature you created should automatically appear at the end of your email message.
Once you have successfully created this basic e-mail signature, you can experiment with adding company logos, color and custom fonts to the signature. For more MS Office features, go to http://office.microsoft.com. For more on email disclaimers, go to http://www.emaildisclaimers.com.
Here is a template for a disclaimer message. Be sure to have your lawyer approve your disclaimer prior to use.
DISCLAIMER: This e-mail message and any attachments are intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information which is proprietary, privileged, confidential or otherwise legally exempt from disclosure. If you are not the named addressee, you are not authorized to read, print, retain, copy or disseminate this message or any part of it. If you have received this message in error, please notify Your Name at Your Company immediately (by replying to this message or by sending an email to Your Email or by calling Your Phone Number) and permanently delete this message and any attachments. Thank you.
If you spend a lot of time online, share music files or photos with other users, or if you download shareware or other Internet “freebies”, chances are your computer is infected with spyware.
Spyware is Internet jargon for hidden, undetected programs advertisers install on your PC to gather and report information about you and your online activities to a remote person. This program is usually installed without the user’s knowledge by piggybacking on another program or file being downloaded.
While some spyware is harmless, there can be serious consequences of unidentified spyware which include spam, identity theft, corruption and slowing of your PC, and annoying pop-up ads. These programs can also profile your shopping preferences, hijack your browser start page, and alter important system files without your knowledge or permission.
Unfortunately, Spyware is not illegal. However, if you are like me, you might not like the idea of a complete stranger monitoring and storing information about you and your online activities; especially since there is almost no way for you to control what data is being sent. Don’t become a victim to online crime! Call us today for your FREE spyware screening.
Want to save money while simultaneously saving the planet? Then listen up…
We’ve come up with 5 easy ways to go green while still keeping adding to your bottom line profits.
1) Power down your servers and workstations at night. A recent Gartner study measured carbon emissions from a variety of IT devices and found that the top three are PCs/monitors, data centers, and fixed-line telecommunications systems, in that order. PCs and monitors alone contribute 40% of total carbon emissions, data centers around 23%.
In fact, PCs worldwide consume about 80 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity every year. What’s more, as much as two-thirds of that is wasted, according to Kevin Klustner, CEO of Verdiem, an IT energy monitoring and management company, translating to $5.4 billion of energy waste each year.
2) Stop Printing Non-Essential
E-mails, Faxes And Documents. Not only will this save your company money on ink and toner, but you’ll reduce the amount of paper and ink waste clogging up landfills. We can also install software to make your faxes show up like e-mails. That way you can easily delete the ones that aren’t essential and save a ton of paper and ink. Plus, you won’t run the risk of losing the only paper copy you have!
3) Stop Wasting CD’s and DVD’s. CDs and DVDs can hold a lot of data, but most people only use a tiny portion of the space by burning small files. This results in a lot of unused and wasted space (it’s the equivalent of storing a postage stamp in a warehouse). CDs and DVDs are difficult to recycle so use them intelligently and conservatively.
4) Change Your Power Settings. Almost all computers have lower energy settings that will power down the computer (or parts of the computer) that aren’t being used. For example, after 10 minutes of inactivity, set your PC to power off the monitor, modem and spin down the hard disks. Most systems have pre-determined profiles that make it easy to set up.
5) Turn Off Peripheral Devices When Not In Use. Specialized peripherals like printers, scanners and bar code readers consume large amounts of energy and, in some offices, are rarely used. Keep them turned off until they’re really needed.
6) Recycle – Earth 911. This tip is two-fold. First, if you need to upgrade a computer, printer, or other electronic device, look for energy and earth friendly machines. Many manufacturers are selling “green” versions of their devices that conserve energy and use fewer resources to operate, such as printers and copiers that use ink more efficiently.
Next, don’t just throw your old equipment into the trash! First, computers contain components that require special recycling procedures. If not disposed of properly, they can sit in a landfill for YEARS. The federal government requires businesses to donate or recycle old electronic equipment that the EPA considers hazardous waste. If you are caught violating these laws, you could be fined.
If those aren’t reasons enough, you never want to throw your old electronic equipment into the dumpster because your identity could be stolen. So how do you get rid of them safely and without harming the environment? Here are two ideas…
If the machine or device is less than 3 years old or otherwise in good working condition, consider donating it to your favorite charity, or look for charities that specialize in refurbishing old computers for charitable donations. One good web sites is: www.earth911.org or www.youthfortechnology.org
If the machine is too old to give away or refurbish, then consider www.pcdisposal.com or www.1800gotjunk.com. We also recycle old equipment here at our office!