15 August 2016

Three Ways to Keep Your Data Safe

Although we often think of digital disasters as being a software failure, aka the blue screen of death, there are several other ways we put our digital devices (where our data lives) at risk. These include physical damage from fire/flood/accidental destruction, theft, and malware or a virus. What can you do to keep your valuable information safe?

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19 May 2015

Windows 8.1& You

Windows 8.1

frustrated girlThose words stop us in our tracks. We frown and cross our arms. Windows 8.1 looks weird. There isn’t a Start button. Why can’t we close a program? We just don’t like it and it’s too much work to figure out something so radically different.

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15 May 2014

Does your phone interrupt your relationship?

According to the Pew Internet Study on Couples, The Internet and Social Media (2014-02), young adults are more likely to report tension in their relationships over technology use

  • 42% of cell-owning 18-29 year olds in serious relationships say their partner has been distracted by their mobile phone while they were together (25% of all couples say this).
  • 18% of online 18-29 year olds have argued with a partner about the amount of time one of them spent online (compared with 8% of all online couples).
  • 8% say they have been upset by something their partner was doing online (compared with 4% of all online couples).


How does your digital device affect your relationship?



31 October 2013

Tag! You’re it!

How often have you saved a file – a document, a photo, a music clip – then promptly lost track of where exactly it went? Or maybe you are trying to find that Excel report you created for last year’s medical expenses. Depending on your organizing system, just looking in folders and on your desktop might not do the trick.

Have you considered using tags as another way to organize your digital files? This is a method of using keywords or descriptive words to label a document. While it might be easy to put all documents and files relating to your upcoming vacation in the same folder. But what if some of those documents also relate to a business trip? It is usually not advisable for a document to ‘live’ in more than one place.

This is where tags can come in handy. Another word for tags is keywords.

A real life example would involve my music collection. I have mp3’s of music featured in the show Supernatural. Originally, all this music lived in the folder called ‘Supernatural Music’. However, I ran into trouble when I merged folders with my husband who organizes his music by performer. It made sense to change my set up, however, I knew that if I lost my ‘Supernatural Music’ folder, I would never remember all the songs that belonged there. So first, I tagged each mp3 with the keyword ‘Supernatural Music’, then I moved those songs into their appropriate performer folders. Now when I want to listen to music from Supernatural, I can just search by ‘Supernatural’ and all those tagged files should show up.

Ready to try it out yourself?

There are two ways you can attach tags to a document:
1. While you are creating the file. In most programs (Word, Excel etc.) once you have a document open you go to the ‘File’ menu choice, then select ‘Properties’ from the options. This displays a pop up window which allows you to add author name, title, comments, and keywords. You would enter the keywords of choice, then ‘Ok’ which takes you back to your document. On a Mac, you would enter your tag choices under ‘Comments’. Mac Screenshot
2. You can also attach tags to a document after you have created it – say the next day, next week, etc. To add tags in this manner, you find the file you are interested in tagging. Right click the file, which will bring up a short options list. Again, go to ‘Properties’, then ‘Details’, then add your keywords. On a Mac, you would again right click the file, select ‘Get Info’, then add your keywords under ‘Spotlight Comments’. Tagging Files

Tags are a great way of organizing when you have items that fit in ‘more than one bucket’. By tagging a file, you can store it in one place, but access it in a variety of ways.

Questions? As always, just give us a call!

2 October 2013

Quick and Easy Tech Tips

Tech Tips Guy

Are you looking for easy to understand explanations about tech topics like The Dangers of Unsecured Wi-Fi or What is RSS?? Check out the Tech Talker podcast from the folks at Quick and Dirty Tips.

You can subscribe to the audio version via iTunes or another Podcast app, listen to it on the website, or read the transcript on the website. I’ve found several episodes that helped me understand something tech a little bit better. The best part is, most episodes are less than 10 minutes long! This makes them perfect to listen to while you start dinner or wait for the kids to get out of school.

If you’ve got a few minutes to spare…or need something new to keep you company on the treadmill…check them out! You never know what you will learn!

Interested in more hands on work? Check out our Get Started page!

23 January 2013

Password Management and You

Every website you visit these days seems to want you to sign in, or sign up, for something. This requires you to create a user name and password and it seems every site has different directions. Some want all lowercase letters, some want letters and numbers, some allow special characters, some hate special characters. It’s enough to drive you nuts! How are you supposed to remember all those variations?

One easy solution is to use the same password for every site. But…this is definitely not something that is recommended. Why? If someone figured out that one password then they would have access to everything! I know several people who use the same password for Facebook as they do their email account. When someone was able to hack their Facebook account they also had access to their email account, which resulted in some crazy emails being sent to all contacts.

So if you don’t use the same password for everything, then you are stuck remembering different passwords for different sites. Add those details to all the numbers, dates, and ‘stuff’ floating around in your brain and how are you supposed to recall anything? Use a password manager!

In this newsletter I’m going to talk about two different methods for managing your online passwords and logins – traditional notebook and online vault

The first is the traditional method of keeping a password management book. This could be a spiral bound notebook, a small moleskin notebook, a index card box etc. in which you write down the website, the login you selected and the password you use.

  • Pros: easy to access and easy to add to
  • Cons: not very secure. Of course you could store your notebook in a safe spot, but unless it is a locked diary or written in code, realistically anybody could find it and use it. I would imagine most of us using password books keep them relatively close to our main computer.

The second less traditional method is utilizing on online password management vault or password manager. This is an online storage site, often a ‘cloud’, where you store all of your passwords, using one primary access password to retrieve the information you are after.

  • Pros: Apparently now there are some managers which have smart phone apps as well!, you can access the passwords from anywhere, there is only one password you need to remember. All your passwords, one place, easy access.
  • Cons: As with anything you put online, there is always the possibility the program/cloud will go away. This happens when companies fold or change owners. If this was to happen, all your stored passwords would be gone and you may need to start from scratch. Also, what if you forget that one all encompassing password? How would you access the rest of your passwords? What if your computer was down?

Regardless of which type of password management system you choose to use, it is vital to keep it up to date. Cross out or delete old passwords, make sure your writing is legible if utilizing a notebook, be consistent with recording new passwords and which sites they are related to. A secondary benefit of a password manager is related to estate management. When you are no longer here, will someone be able to access your online accounts to close them out?

For information on online password managers, CNET does a great job of reviewing those available. Many are free, although pay attention because there are a few which have a cost associated with them. Maybe you will never encounter an online hacker…but wouldn’t you rather be safe?

*image by Flickr user stebulus, used via Creative Commons*