Thursday, January 10, 2019

How to be More Efficient by Managing Quick Access Links

Increasing efficiency often feels like a goal that is difficult to obtain. How can we measure efficiency to verify there has been an increase ? How can we consistently increase it without wearing ourselves down? Luckily there are settings in Windows that can be set to best meet our specific needs. For example, modifying the links in the Quick access section in File Explorer can be accomplished within minutes and greatly increase efficiency. 

The Quick access section in File Explorer houses links that reference files, folders, shared drives, or Windows locations like the Desktop or Downloads folders. Quick access links appear in the top left section of every File Explorer window which makes it a great place to link frequently used files and folders. Typically, the longer you have a computer the deeper folders get created. Folders are often organized by year or topic with sub-folders created inside. Creating links in the Quick access section to commonly used, but deep sub-folders, can be a huge time saver.

How to be More Efficient by Managing Quick Access Links

Modifying the settings for the Quick access section

To remove a link listed in the Quick access section:

  • Open File Explorer.
  • Right-click on the link to remove.
  • In the popup menu, select "Remove from Quick access".

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Security Round Up: What Recent Breaches You Should Know

It is the start of a new year which means new goals for most people and a fresh way of looking at things. Unfortunately, one thing that did not change with the start of the new year is the threat to your personal information and data. During the last few months some substantial new threats were released. These threats are in addition to the millions of users' data leaked via companies like Marriott and others and are of particular importance as they affect hardware items people commonly have in their home.

Security Round Up: What Recent Breaches You Should Know

Guardzilla indoor wireless security systems - GZ501W

A vulnerability in some of Guardzilla's indoor wireless security systems allow hard coded security keys to be easily cracked. This vulnerability exists primarily because the keys utilize an outdated algorithm. Once cracked, those keys can be used to access customer data uploaded to Amazon web services where Guardzilla's storage servers reside. 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Why it's Important to Use Personal Email when Creating Certain Accounts

Keeping track of user accounts and passwords can feel like a ridiculous endeavor. Every site we order from, and even some simply visited, wants you to create an account with them. Some sites no longer allow guest ordering, meaning you are forced to create an account or one is created automatically if you want to order from them. As a result we quickly end up with hundreds of user accounts making it nearly impossible to remember different user id's and password combinations for each. This puts the security of those accounts at risk as any data breach could cause those credentials to be exposed. 

There is another important item to consider when creating new accounts. It is critical to consider what type of account you are creating before determining which email account to use. In some instances the type of email account does not matter while in others it is crucial to use a personal email account, one not attached to any service, to maintain control.

Why it's Important to Use Personal Email when Creating Certain Accounts

First, let's clarify the different types of email. There are personal accounts that are contingent upon a paid service. Examples would be Comcast or AT&T emails provided for free when they are your Internet Service Provider (ISP). There are email accounts provided for free by employers, which are contingent upon your employment with them. The third type of email accounts are those provided for free to users without being tied to a service or job. 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

How to Fix Chrome When it Stops Working

Nearly 50% of internet traffic is accessed by people using the Chrome browser. Chrome downloads fast and begins with a minimalistic interface to which plugins can later be added. Last but not least, it is always smart to have two browsers installed on a device. This way, if something happens to one of them, the device can still get online to fix the broken browser. If you only have one browser and it fails, recovering is much more difficult.

With any software application there are times when the application does not respond or behave the way we expect. This often happens when we least expect it, i.e., times when we have not specifically made any changes and are not having any other issues. This makes it challenging to know where to begin troubleshooting. This post specifically covers some ways to fix Chrome when it unexpectedly stops working.

How to Fix Chrome When it Stops Working

Before trying to fix Chrome, it is important to check the following items to be sure the browser is causing the issue.
  1. Verify your device is connected to the internet - this can be checked by looking at the wired or wireless connection icon in the system tray.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

4 Reasons Why You Need a Backup to Cloud Services

There are many benefits to utilizing cloud services. For some businesses, cloud services are the best way for employees working in different locations to remain informed and work collaboratively. Cloud services can also reduce the initial investment for new businesses, help businesses get started faster, and help with budget planning. 

Unfortunately, like most things, there are drawbacks to consider with the benefits. This post covers four reasons why it is important for any business, and some individuals, to have a backup plan to cloud services.

4 Reasons Why You Need a Backup to Cloud Services

Cloud services rely upon internet accessibility. If the internet goes down, all devices on the network lose the ability to access cloud based services, applications and files. This can cause lost productivity, lost sales, loss of reputation and much more depending upon the type of business.

Below is a list of potential issues and some ideas for workarounds to get you questioning what weaknesses your business may have and what you need to do about them.

Issue 1: Hardware failure

Thursday, November 29, 2018

How a VoIP Dial Tone Can be Deceiving

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, phones are devices that use a digital Ethernet connection to make and receive calls. This is in contrast to traditional phones that use analog connections. Some of the benefits of VoIP phones are:
  • The ability to update phones remotely as VoIP phones pull their configuration from the internet
  • The ease of changing extensions, user info and adding features on demand via a web based interface
  • A lower cost to get started as VoIP systems do not require expensive hardware that older analog systems needed to manage the phone system
  • The flexibility of being able to plug a phone into any network jack and be usable as long as it can get an IP address
  • The ability to have user sign-ins so multiple people can use the same phone, each with their own extension and voicemail box
  • Translating voicemail messages into emails
Image of a typical VoIP phone which includes a digital display.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

4 Reasons you need to be Hyper-Vigilant Clicking Ads

During the last few months of the year the variety and number of ads and emails increases exponentially. Consumer spending is traditionally higher during this time which helps retailers clear out product and bolster company profits. As consumers spend more during this time of year, they are also looking for purchases that make the best use of their money. 

Unfortunately, with more purchases being made, hackers proportionally increase the number of scam emails and infected ads. The end result is that end users are at a consistently higher risk of running across one. In addition to an increase in infected ads and emails, this time of year is fraught with events, commitments and more limited time. If we allow ourselves to be rushed, we are more likely to make less informed decisions. This can end up costing us time to remedy, money to fix and a great deal of frustration.

4 Reasons you Need to be Hyper-Vigilant Clicking Ads

Listed below are four things to consider before opening emails or clicking ads during the holiday season.

1. Consider the source