Monthly Archives : June 2016

Have a secure summer with these security suites


A security suite is a collection of software utilities that protect a machine from viruses and malware. Within each there are usually three levels of protection, being a standalone antivirus utility, an entry-level security suite, and a suite with additional features of protection including firewall, anti-spam, parental controls etc. Antivirus is the core of a security suite, which is why we only advise security suites with a highly effective antivirus software. Why do I need this junk? A firewall offered protection by monitoring all network traffic and keeps a watchful eye on running applications to make sure there is no misuse of your network. Anti-spam software blocks fraudulent emails so they never make it into your inbox, saving you from being the victim of malware or other encryption that is embedded in email attachments. A security suite is the easiest way to get all the benefits of multiple software applications, all in one. Check out our recommendations and rest assured your machine and your information are protected.

Symantec Norton Security Premium – $50 – Firewall, Anti-spam, Parental Controls,  Tune-Up

-Award-winning parental control. 25GB online backup. Protects up to 10 Windows, Mac OS, Android, and iOS devices. Excellent malicious URL blocking and antiphishing test scores. Smart firewall. Spam filtering. Password management. Performance optimization.

Bitfender Internet Security 2016 – $45 Firewall, Anti-spam, Parental Controls, Backup, Tune-Up

-Highly accurate spam filter, tough firewall, revamped parental controls, ransomware protection. Top performing, manages all features well.

McAfee Internet Security 2016 – $40 – Firewall, Anti-spam, Parental Controls

-Protects all your Windows, Mac OS, Android, and iOS devices.  Accurate anti-phishing and anti-spam, along with multi-factor authentication.

McAfee LiveSafe 2016 – $60 – Firewall, Anti-spam, Parental Controls

-Protects all your Windows, Mac OS, Android, and iOS devices. Antivirus rates high in lab tests and our tests. Accurate antiphishing and antispam. Five licenses for Intel True Key password manager. Impressive Personal Locker encrypted storage uses voice and facial recognition for authentication.

Kaspersky Total Security 2016 – $90 – Firewall, Anti-spam, Parental Controls, Backup, Tune-Up

-Top ratings from labs. Very good scores in PCMag’s hands-on tests. Accurate spam filter. Intelligent, no-hassle firewall. Comprehensive parental control. Remote monitoring and management. Many bonus features. Small performance impact in testing.



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Should I power down my PC each night?


Sure, leave it on…

For one, it is more convenient to keep your machine running. Rather than waiting for it to boot up, most of us would rather leave it on if we are going to be on and off it for work or play. A typical system takes around 30 seconds to a minute to boot into the operating system. If you have a large number of programs that are set to launch on boot this can add an additional minute or two to the startup process. Awakening a device from sleep mode only takes a few seconds and there is no additional wait for applications because they are still running.power down

Benefits of keeping the PC on will depend on your computers hardware. A PC with a solid state drive will take significantly less time to boot up than an equivalent machine with a traditional hard drive. Take this into consideration when determining whether sleep or off if a better resting state for your machine.

The maintenance of a good computer starts with regular updates, most of which are best left to work overnight. A few of these tasks could be installing operating system updates, creating backups, and running virus scans. Big moves of data, such as moving large quantities of photos to the cloud, can be scheduled automatically to occur at night. This ensures that the machine is kept up to date and that the user is not interrupted with update prompts and data moves during the work day.

I think most users keep their machines powered up because they need them to be. Have you ever gotten all the way home only to realize that important document you need to work on is on your work laptop? This can be a major setback if the work machine is powered off and sequentially pieces of software are unreachable. A device left on allows the user to simply log in and reach the work machine remotely from home.

Sure, turn it off…

Simple fact remains true whether you religiously power down your machine each night or not, every component of your machine has a life span. The back light in a monitor can last tens of thousands of hours, laptop battery capacity will shorten within the first 300 charge cycles, and a solid state drive is good for around 3000 program erase cycles. Powering down the device might extend the life of the parts, but most users hit the point of buying an upgraded machine long before they are replacing anything within their original device.

A massive distinction exists in power use between when a computer is active, idle, and sleeping. Turning the monitor off alone saves a significant chunk of power, while putting the machine to sleep saves even more. A computer that is turned off but still plugged in uses around 0.2W of power, for those trying to save money on their electric bill this summer. A computer that is powered down will avoid the risks associated with power surges and cuts associated with summer storms as well. Of course a surge protector will also help alleviate this risk.

power down Machines now don’t rely on constant reboots in order to survive, but reboots improve performance and that hasn’t changed. A reboot is still the most effective way of solving everyday errors that users encounter. If you find yourself with a application that is non responsive, a printer on the fritz, or some other glitchy activity, a simple reboot can make you feel like a technical genius. Turning off the machine at the end of the day allows the system to perform actions that may only occur when the device powers down. For instance, I learned that my MacBook at home performs clean up functions when powering down, such as clearing stored information from my daily web browsing activities. This is one less thing for me to remember to clear as well as gives me a little extra storage space for my machine. Just from a power down.

So…..basically……use common sense. If you use your computer all day at work, often need to remotely access it from home, and regularly update and backup your machine at night, leave the machine running, it has reason to do so. If you go out of town for a week and know that you won’t be needing the machine – power it down and give it a chance to cool down. If you use your machine for Pinterest recipes and Facebook, and don’t mind an occasional update during the day or often go days without accessing the computer at all, keep it powered down when not in use.


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Millions of stolen health records up for sale….


The seller of these ten million health records goes by ‘thedarkoverlord’ and began listing the data last weekend. The seller claims the data to reveal over 9.2 million health insurance records from US patients and is on sale for 750 bitcoins. A rate of $486,000 when released Monday. The data also supposedly entails addresses, names, emails, phone numbers, date of birth, and most unnerving, social security numbers.

A little bit of research by ZDNet reports that the seller’s ad could not be authenticated because the seller did not have any points assigned to his name on the site in which he is selling the $486,000 worth of data. This means that this seller has just popped on the scene, most certainly new to the website. Another site, Motherboard, has contacted some of the users who were able to confirm that the data in a received sample was in fact theirs. The hacker revealed how the data was uncovered, attributing exploitation of a disclosed zero-day flaw in the remote desktop protocol (RDP) as the means for stealing the information. This flaw allows a user to remotely view another user’s desktop, which opens a host of security problems, as you can see, most likely due to poor configuration of remote desktop software. The hacker even said in one of his listings that the data was stored on an “accessible internal network”, in plaintext, which if this is true, would be a direct violation of federal healthcare privacy rules. Healthcare providers and hospitals have been repeatedly the target of attack this year, so it is no surprise that the influx of data up for sale by hackers is patient data.



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Earbuds that cancel specific noises, enhance others

Here One

Doppler Lab’s noise filtering earbuds, The Here One earbuds, are truly the coolest earbuds on the market right now. The debuted on Kickstarter and made their way to Coachella this past spring, where 10,000 pairs of buds were put to the ultimate sound test. Now, a few tweaks have been made and the buds are even more revolutionary. The newest generation is “dramatically improved” as Doppler Lab puts it. I’d hope so, considering the first version lacked one major ingredient to mass integration, the buds didn’t stream music! The Here Ones can now play music and answer phone calls via Bluetooth, perfect for personal and work use. Unlike traditional noise-canceling headphones, these are more particular about the sounds you do hear, fine-tuning the world around you, so that when you are outside you can hear the outside without the blaring sirens of the ambulance whirling past. Best of all, you can listen to music and still maintain a conversation with someone.

Each earbud houses a tiny computer with CPUs, sensors, speakers, microphones, the works. The engineers at Doppler Labs, developed algorithms that allow the technology to identify and target individual sounds, so that you can configure the device to cancel specific noises you do not wish to hear. For example, sirens, dog barking, baby cries, can all be identified by the earbuds and canceled so the listener is never bothered.  The set-up process includes a tailoring experience in which allows each individual to customize an audio profile of their own. This is particularly useful to those with sensitivity to certain frequencies. The Here One buds feature adaptive filtering, meaning the software is programmed to learn what the listen does and does not want to hear, similar to Siri learning the sound of your voice. The directional microphones in the device can even identify the specific direction of the noise you wish to cancel out or enhance. The buds can work to enhance noises as well, such as if you wished to zero in on the waterfall in your backyard. This is one step above the level of noise canceling buds on the market right now. This next level technology is now available for pre-order for a reasonable $299.00 and will begin shipping in November 2016. Here One

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Can entering a password be as easy as taking a selfie?

Most of us have heard of two-factor authentication, but photo login? This is an entirely new concept. Cloud-based security solution, LogMeOnce, has released PasswordLess PhotoLogin which allows users to sign into any website, just like one would expect from any password manager, but with a photo!

Two-factor authentication is a preferred extra layer of security that uses a password and username in combination with something that only the user has on them such as a a piece of information only the user knows or a physical token. With PhotoLogin, this second piece of information is a photo, taken on the desktop and then approved or denied via a trusted mobile device to gain access. So rather than a code being sent to your mobile device, the photo serves as the code.

When you click the PhotoLogin icon on the LogMeOnce home screen, you are prompted to snap a picture of yourself, or really anything you would like, even a stapler or your dog. The photo is then automatically sent to your linked mobile device where you can verify the image. The true protectors can swipe left and see data such as IP address, GPS location, and time stamp. Photos expire in 60 seconds and will self destruct after the first use, which ensures that you photo password is always unique. The LogMeOnce PhotoLogin update is free and available on Chrome, Firefox, Safari, as well as iOS and Android.




If you would like to learn more about the material presented in this blog post, please visit: LogMeOnce Password Manager Adds Photo Login



Big Monitors conquer Big Workloads

From experience I can vouch for the benefits of having more surface area to complete tasks, and the digital world is no different. Just like when I’m cooking dinner at home, I need room to work. I need music, I need clean tools, I need space to let my elbows kick out to either side freely (yes this applies to the kitchen and the office).

So of course I am a huge supporter of the multiple monitor desk space. First thing I did this spring was reorganize my desk life. Pushed my laptop out to the left a tad, replugged my monitor and voila, I felt instantly more productive. Why? Because I can see everything I need to do, all at once. I can have my outlook open on my laptop screen, checking emails and the calendar, while I am writing blogs on my larger monitor. This basically ensures I miss nothing, which is how I like things to be. Do yourself the favor and take a minute to look at your desk situation. If you are looking at that tiny laptop screen and thinking you could really benefit from a new monitor or even two, I’m with you, and I have complied a list of the best monitors to increase your work productivity.

Desktop monitors generally fall between 15 inches and 34 inches (measured diagonally). The bigger the screen the more you can expect to pay, so take into account the amount of space you have at your desk. A 24-inch display is a solid choice for the average user, but if you have the room in your budget and on your desk, you can opt for a 27-inch or even a massive 34-inch display. I personally recommend a curved monitor. Not only is this cutting edge, but makes for a more comfortable working experience. If you spend a significant chunk of your day starring at your monitor, the curved design will allow for a better range of vision, not to mention the picture quality will be insane compared to any monitor you’ve had in the past.

Dell UltraSharp U3415W – $900

34 inches  / 3440 X 1440 resolution/ HDMI, MHL, DisplayPort and mini DisplayPort 6 USB ports

Excellent and my personal top pick for curved 34 inch display. The price is high but it packs the quality to match, with In-Plane switching panel technology, with anti-glare non-reflective screen. Split screen capabilities, picture in picture, picture by picture, great sound, and amazing clarity. A sure fire win!

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Acer Predator XB271HK – $800

27 inches / 3840 X 2160 resolution / HDMI, DisplayPort, 5 USB ports

Top pick for big screen, performance, gaming, crisp colors and gray-scale reproduction. Only get two video inputs sadly, but has excellent gaming features. Still appropriate for the workplace if you have the cash and the desire for ultra crisp visuals.


BenQ XL2730Z -$500

27 inches / 2560 X 1440 resolution /DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA 5 USB ports

This 27-inch display pairs Twisted Nematic (TN) panel technology with AMD’s FreeSync dynamic-refresh technology to deliver excellent gaming performance with sharp, accurate colors and a Quad HD (2,560-by-1,440) resolution.XL2730Z-front-on

AOC G2460PF – $200

24 inches / 1920 X 1080 resolution /DVI, HDMI, MHL, DisplayPort, VGA 5 USB ports

If you’ve been itching to get your hands on an FreeSync-enabled display, but have found the prices prohibitive, check out the AOC G2460PF ($249). This 24-inch monitor uses AMD’s FreeSync anti-tearing technology to deliver smooth gaming action, and it offers a quick pixel response, speedy refresh rates, and low input lag. The gray scale is nothing compared to the BenQ however.


Google gifts teachers with VR field trips and much more

Google brings VR to teachers

Google released a string of announcements today, many of which are aimed at the education of our youth. Using a Google Cardboard viewer in combination with an accompanying Expeditions app, students will be easily transported to far away lands, prehistoric times, truly anywhere the imagination can venture, so can Google. This will give students the opportunity to learn in new and exciting ways, bringing together textbook information and video viewing into one interactive experience. Can you imagine a group of ten year olds waiting in line for their turn with a virtual reality headset? I imagine giggles and excitement no matter the subject.

Since launching, over a million students in 11 countries have gone on these virtual reality field trips, says Google. In addition, the destinations have grown to over 200, including those made by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and soon Pearson, two established educational providers. Google says they are making the Expeditions program available to everyone. All that is needed to participate is a Google Cardboard device and smartphones, or tablets in 2D full-screen mode. The Expeditions app is currently available for Android, but will have an iOS counterpart according to Google. Best Buy Education will also be making Expeditions kits available for schools to purchase, including a tablet, VR viewer and router.

In addition, Google also announced a free Chrome app called Google Cast for Education, which works with the Google Classroom service. The app works to give teachers more built-in controls, running on the teacher’s computer so no additional hardware is needed. Teachers run the Cast for Education app, and students can share their screens using the the existing “Cast” feature in the Chrome browser. How cool is that? There are also a trio of new apps coming for classrooms that use Chromebooks, such as the interactive whiteboard, Explain Everything. Google also will release a music and podcast maker called Soundtrap and a video project tool called WeVideo. Although in my personal opinion, I don’t see these making it across all schools, rather I predict the Google Cast for Education app getting the most buzz.

Lastly, Google announced a new feature in Quizzes in Google Forums which will let teachers grade multiple choice tests and checkbox questions. Rather than just marking answers wrong, teachers can add review materials, explanations and supplemental websites when an answer is marked wrong, to give a little clarity to why the answer is incorrect. As highly requested, Google now allows teachers to disable a setting that lets students send themselves a copy of their responses.

I think Google is trying to be first in line for the education market… and I’m all about it. Lets see if schools can afford to get on board. Cheers to VR field trips!



If you would like to learn more about the information presented in this blog please visit our original source: Tech Crunch


Lost all your emails in Outlook 2011 for Mac? Not a problem!!

Accidentally deleted everything in your Outlook 2011 email inbox on an Apple Mac? Not to worry, one of our lead techs stumbled upon this quick fix!

Deleting items such as emails and contact list entries means that they are moved to your Deleted Items folder. Now, if you empty the Deleted Items folder, they are removed form your inbox but will remain potentially recoverable for 28 days. To recover lost emails, go into the Deleted Items folder and select the emails you would like to recover. You can always select more than one by holding the ctrl button as you you click.

In the ribbon at the top, click the ‘Move’ icon and select the folder you would like to restore the emails to, such as ‘Inbox’ in this case. Voila!


You can also recover them by through OWA (the Outlook Web App) at:


The information presented in the blog is courtesy of the University of Sussex, please visit, for original content.


200 petaflop supercomputer from IBM – coming early 2018



The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory is expected to take delivery of a new IBM system, Summit, in early 2018. Summit will be capable of 200 peak petaflops, making it twice as fast as Sunway TaihuLight, China’s new system announced this past Monday. As of now, TaihuLight is listed in the TOP 500 list of fastest supercomputers in world. TaihuLight packs a Linpack benchmark score of 93 petaflops and a claimed peak of 124.5 petaflops. Linpack benchmark has become the perferred yardstick for measuring performance of supercomputers, as it doesn’t record overall performance but rather performance of the system when solving dense systems of linear equations. This gives the best approximation of real-world performance. The Summit however, will emply IBM power 9 and Nvidia Volta GPUs. Using about 3,400 nodes, Summit will deliver five times the computational performance of Titan’s 18,688 nodes. Over half a terabyte of coherent memory in each node, as well as 800GB of non-volatile RAM, serving as a burst buffer or extended memory.  Cray also announced this week that it’s XC systems are now available with the latest Intel Xeon Phi (Knights Landing) processors. The XC systems should deliver a 100% performance boost over prior generations, with an adaptive design that supports multiple processor and storage technologies in the same architecture. Cray also revealed the Sonexion 3000 Lustre storage system, which will deliver speeds of almost 100 GB/sec in a single rack.




If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: IBM to deliver 200-petaflop supercomputer by early 2018; Cray moves to Intel Xeon Phi

7 most common IT security mistakes made by startups

1. Personal and professional borders.

Convenience often compromises security. A recent trend is having employees bring their own devices rather than providing company laptops and phones. However easy this may sound, it creates a large window of opportunity for company data to get in the wrong hands. Furthermore, when an employee leaves the organization it makes it increasingly hard to ensure that no sensitive corporate data has been stored on the device.

2. Ignoring two-step authentication.

Two-step authentication is a sure fire way to add an extra layer of security and its easy too. Some are as simple as having a code sent to your iphone while others allow you to confirm your identity with the tap of a finger. Password breaching is becoming more and more common, it is wise to beef up password security up front rather than pay the consequences later on.

3. Insufficient exit protocols.

Companies that depend on part time and freelance employees are often less established in their exit procedures once an employee has left the organization. It is important to have a set of protocols in line so a uniform method is in order. When sensitive data is left on personal employee devices, data loss, account access and information sharing is most certainly in the future. Don’t let this be you! It may not even be the malicious intent of the employee, perhaps they aren’t the data has left with them. Either way, data loss has occurred and sensitive data is out there unprotected, and unmanaged. Make policies known, and if you don’t have data policies and security guidelines in place consider adding this to your organization.

4. Forgoing SSL from the beginning.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is easily implementable from day one.  It should be enabled by default in every website. It reassures your users, while upgrading the security level of your communications.

5. Failing to prioritize security.

Security is often something that startups think can be left untouched until a later date or when the company has reached success. Security should be implemented from day one not only to protect your organization but to protect client information. Security is not a gray area, it should be just as important as payroll, HR, financing, etc. Don’t ignore security best practices, and make sure to stay current on the latest security software and updates to protect your organization from attack.

6. No internal policies and infrastructure.

If you think about it, startups have a great position regarding data security because they have the opportunity to apply the most current and best industry practices from the start. No outdated systems or struggle to get employees on board with new internal policies. One mistake often made by startups is not giving enough attention to internal policies. Invest adequate resources in the infrastructure of your organization, what equipment for you need? How will you manage IT security? Software? Think about proactive responses rather than ignoring the obvious.

7. No suspicious activity notifications.

What will you do if your organization is attacked and all your data is either encrypted or lost entirely? How will this affect you financially? One breach can take you from quick stardom to barely making it by. Don’t let this be you! Stay on top of information security.



If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: 10 Data Security Mistakes Startups Can’t Afford to Make