30 August 2017

Sleep tight with your digital device




Is your phone keeping you awake?

 We’ve heard the reports that using our mobile devices before bedtime is a sure way to disrupt our sleep. Digital devices are emitting greater amounts of blue LED light these days in comparison to other light sources in our house.  Recent studies show that blue light suppresses melatonin (the hormone the brain produces at night to induce sleepiness) more effectively than any other visible wavelength, potentially leaving people more alert when they would otherwise start feeling drowsy.
During the day, a little extra blue light from our computer doesn’t make a difference when we’re already getting so much from the environment. But all that changes at night. How many of us check our email, play a game, or look at Facebook before we turn off the bedside lamp? I know I”m guilty of it almost every night.
So if blue light before bed is bad for us, what are we supposed to do?
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28 August 2017

CrashPlan – Stay or Go?




CrashPlan is getting out of the online backup business for home owners. Not only is this a bummer for me personally, but CrashPlan has been my primary recommendation for anyone wanting to get started with online backup. So now what?
The great news is, CrashPlan has extended your subscription for 60 days (past when you normally expire) to give you time to make a decision. If you are set to expire Jan 1, 2018, then you will have till March to figure things out.
If you want the easiest route, I would recommend staying with Crashplan and moving to their small business plan for a year. This plan only requires you to log in to migrate your account. You will be able to backup for free until the end of your current CrashPlan subscription, then enjoy a 75% discount for the first 12 months – $2.50/mo. As far as I can tell, this is $2.50 per device for those coming over from the CrashPlan Home plan.
After that year the cost for CrashPlan’s Small Business Plan is $10/computer, and I would recommend re-evaluating the options available. Currently, Backblaze is a great alternative at $50/computer/year or $4.17/mo. That’s only one Starbucks (if you like your caffeine large)!
 Whichever route you choose, remember that online sync – Dropbox/OneDrive/G Drive – is not the same thing as online backup. Do not use Dropbox etc. as a means of backing up your files when there are better options.
 Questions? Let me know! I strongly believe that online backup is worth every penny and would be glad to help you get started!

 

22 July 2017

How online backup saved my life




Online Backup Saves Lives

Backing up your data is something we’re told to do. It’s something we intend to do. But it’s also something we don’t always get around to. This is the beauty of online backup software like Crashplan or Backblaze.

Online backup is a lifesaver. A few years ago, our home computer hiccuped and lost files without us realizing. Once we figured out what was missing – and how much was missing – we started to panic. I have an external backup drive of my most important, can’t ever lose these, vital documents in addition to online backup. However, many of the documents that I lost were standard operating files like client forms and reports.

crashplan online backupBecause we had Crashplan – which was still doing home backups at the time – we were able to figure out exactly when the hiccup happened, then have Crashplan mail us a physical backup drive from before that day. If it had just been one or two documents lost, I would have downloaded them directly from the website. I also have the peace of mind knowing that if something were to happen to my computer, I could get all my files and documents back without a lot of hassle. Well worth the $12 (or 3 Starbucks) per month.

If you aren’t already set up with online backup, give me a call and I’ll show you how!

27 June 2017

LastPass and Password Protection




Password Protection and Peace of Mind

Hackers are out there to steal your information. Once they’ve got it, they’ll sell it to the highest bidder and destroy your identity. Or at least, that’s what the media tells us. There are large corporate breaches, and everyone knows someone who’s had their information hacked. You can’t prevent these corporate breaches from happening, but you can take steps to keep you and your information safe during daily use. How? Well, all the articles tell us the same things:

“Don’t use the same password more than once. Use strong passwords. Change your passwords frequently. Don’t tell anyone your passwords.”

It’s good advice, but how are you supposed to remember all that information? Some people manage their passwords in a written notebook near their computer or in a digital file on their computer. I’ve kept mine in Evernote and had Google Chrome’s ‘Save Password’ option to help me out. But other people choose very simple passwords or use the same password for everything. Fortunately, password managers – LastPass, KeyPass, Dashlane, 1Password – were created to address those best practices we keep getting told.

So what is a password manager?

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12 May 2017

Inbox Hero with Inbox Zero




Be an Inbox Hero with Inbox Zero!

Check out any article on email management and you’ll see the phrase ‘Inbox Zero’. Although it’s a been a concept for many years, the current definition explains that having zero emails in your inbox is a sign of success. But did you know that wasn’t the original intent? Merlin Mann, the guy behind Inbox Zero, didn’t see the zero as a reference to the number of messages in an inbox, but “the amount of time an employee’s brain is in his inbox”.

So how do you go about spending less time in your inbox? Especially when your unread messages are climbing past triple digits. 

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25 April 2017

How Chrome Extensions Can Save You Time & Money!




Browser Extensions:

More fun, more function!

You might have heard someone raving about a Chrome or Firefox extension and wondered, what’s that all about?

Browser Extensions are small software programs that can modify and improve the functionality of your browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome). They can improve productivity, save you money, block advertisements, and even provide a little fun when you log into the web.

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