Run Your Business on Your Second Computer

virus[1]Can you remember when you had only one computer? If your answer is; “What do you mean? I have only one computer now.” You are welcome to stop reading here and start shopping. If you do have a second computer, you are welcome to skip the next two paragraphs or read them for your edification.

If you need some advice about buying your second computer, here’s something quick and easy. Buy as much processor speed and memory (horsepower) as you can afford. Get a large screen (again – to the limit of your budget.) Excessive horsepower and huge display dimensions translate into satisfaction that lasts a whole lot longer. There’s more to say on this topic, but you are better off running out to buy something now.
So, go. Get something good, and set it up just like your main business computer, same software, same online data storage access, same cloud-based backup system, etc. Yes, there may be exceptions. But, anything you don’t put on this computer now (like your accounting software, etc.), you’ll have to install later, if disaster strikes.

Assuming we don’t have to go into details about your cloud-based backup plan… You do have that, right? Let’s talk about running your business on the new, “plan B” computer. You really MUST be able to do this, to reap the full benefit of this plan.

If you are wondering what is the point to all of this, I’ll make it for you here. When your main computer fails, you should be able to take it in stride. Or, at least not have it completely ruin your day – given that you can continue to do business on your second computer, while you ponder the cost of repairs to, or replacement of, the original workhorse. Is there an equine theme running through this? Need a break, yet? Now comes the hard part!

You need to make your second computer as close to a clone of your main business computer as possible. Ideally, you would have a second computer in your office that you can simply turn on if your main computer fails. Yes, that’s pretty difficult to achieve. It can be done, but more likely is the prospect of creating some reasonable facsimile for this purpose. This is where that cloud-based storage comes in handy! If you are not using Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, or even Carbonite, let’s talk soon. Backup is essential to the survival of your business.

With your second computer in place, you must now conduct regular fire drills. That means every once in a while, perhaps as often as once a week, or at least, once a month, you have to fire up the “plan B” computer and work with it for as long as it takes to convince you that you could, indeed, run your business there. Yes, I’m serious. You need to run your email, open some files, do what you do until you feel pretty confident that you could just keep chugging away at what you do.

Full disclosure: At last count, I think I have ten working computers and I could run my business on at least four of the ten. Three of them have the kind of power and speed I need for my work. And, at least three of them could be substituted for the first three (but, I would curse the lack of performance!) An extreme example, to be sure, but I almost cannot remember when I didn’t have at least two computers. You have to decide if you can live (and work) without your main computer. If your answer is “no”, create “plan B.”

Two Ways to Claim Your Page on Nextdoor

 

Assuming you are already on Nextdoor and you have connected with your neighborhood, what can you now do to attract clients or customers to your business? As is so often the case, the answer is, “it depends.”

If you need assistance with creating your account and claiming your page on Nextdoor, one call or message to Mousehelp.com will get you the help you need. Brian Rouley at Mousehelp will provide “Compassionate Care for People with Computers” – anything you need from network connections, to printer installations, to how-to instruction, and even writing for your blog or website. Mousehelp.com is your electronic communications support expert. In a world full of noise, get the clarity you need, with Mousehelp Communications Training from mousehelp.com.

It seems if you’ve been recommended, you are more likely to be found when people search Nextdoor. The process of claiming your page allows you to enhance the information people get about you and your business on the Nextdoor website.

For now, here are two ways to “Claim Your Page” on Nextdoor.
Feel free to send feedback on your experience to Mousehelp at Rouzell dot com.
And, if you need the services of a handyman or a business and life coach, you can look up Ken Day or Dr. Simone on DNP.

Note: In the Business page version, I am connected via remote access to Dr. Simone’s computer.
You will only hear my side of the conversation.

 

NextDoor or Alignable?

Which is best, which do you like best?

Here we will discuss the value and benefit of each to your business. At first blush, I’m guessing that Nextdoor will benefit service providers focused on homeowners and Alignable will be better for businesses who provide B2B services. I’ll be making a list and checking it twice, guessing that both networks turn out to be nice!

Networking With People

That may sound funny, but sometimes you have to say it that way. If you just say networking, it could mean at least a few other things to technical people, or social media enthusiasts, or to people who don’t meet new people face-to-face. English has so many ambiguities!

What I’m talking about, more specifically, is the networking you do where you show up to meetings that are prearranged and attended by basically the same group of people every time. For me, this is a combination of groups. Sunrise Marketing on Tuesday, Desert Networking Professionals on Wednesday, Toastmasters Thursday, and I’m invited to another networking group on Friday mornings. These are all morning meetings. And, that’s a lot of time to commit to being with people on a regular basis. Taken in total, it has the potential to consume around six to ten hours per week of what might otherwise be productive time.

While I could go on about the number of clients, and the new business I’ve been able to find through this method, I would rather focus on the wonderful personal and professional connections I’ve made. In the end, one drives the other. People who know me, like me, trust me – those who have met me via the “networking with people” approach, are far more likely to send referrals and people they know to me for the services I provide.

 

Original post: Published on: Jan 22, 2014

Updated April 9, 2017.

Another Day, Another Bug

Image source: https://stixproject.github.io/documentation/idioms/maec-malware/

An article I posted on Facebook a few years back led me to Ars Technica, where I found this report. Where they are simultaneously lauding Microsoft’s Windows 10 and detailing how this bug works, they cite reports by McAfee and FireEye.

Quoting the article on McAfee:

We strongly suggest Office users take the following actions to protect or mitigate against this zero-day attack before Microsoft issues an official patch. We notified the Microsoft Security Response Center as soon as we found the suspicious samples, and we will continue to work with them to protect Office users.

  •  Do not open any Office files obtained from untrusted locations.
  •  According to our tests, this active attack cannot bypass the Office Protected View, so we suggest everyone ensure that Office Protected View is enabled.

Here is a link to the full article. Question for you techies, Will McAfee ever live down its reputation? Now that Intel owns this security software, is it legit?

And from the post on FireEye:

FireEye email and network products detect the malicious documents as: Malware.Binary.Rtf.

Attack Scenario

The attack involves a threat actor emailing a Microsoft Word document to a targeted user with an embedded OLE2link object. When the user opens the document, winword.exe issues a HTTP request to a remote server to retrieve a malicious .hta file, which appears as a fake RTF file. The Microsoft HTA application loads and executes the malicious script. In both observed documents the malicious script terminated the winword.exe process, downloaded additional payload(s), and loaded a decoy document for the user to see. The original winword.exe process is terminated in order to hide a user prompt generated by the OLE2link.

The vulnerability is bypassing most mitigations; however, as noted above, FireEye email and network products detect the malicious documents. Microsoft Office users are recommended to apply the patch as soon as it is available.

Five Favorite Google Chrome Extensions

Update: 2018/01/19 – It seems I’ll have to work on alignment of images to text on this page. I’m sure there’s a plugin that will help me to do that! In the meantime, sorry for the strange view…


Let’s just look at them, left to right, shall we? My Chrome browser has over 40 of these added to it, so I’m just going to discuss those I use most often. You can get extensions that do all kinds of cool things – a couple I haven’t covered here include the ability to record a webinar and another that allows you to capture all images from a website. Handy stuff to have available at the push of a button, would you agree?

That first one is Print Friendly & PDF. I use that to remove the noise from articles where I just want the text. It allows you to download a PDF file that satisfies a minimalist approach. As the name implies, it can also save you some ink or toner and page count on your printer.

capturepluginprintfriendly

Print Friendly & PDF

 

 

 

 

ColorZilla

ColorZilla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next is ColorZilla and that little eyedropper allows you to take a sample of a color from any webpage. It copies the hex code to your clipboard, so you can use it to color whatever it is you are working on, like backgrounds, fonts, etc. It’s extremely useful when you are trying to match color schemes to colors in images.

 

 

 

 

MightyText – click the image to see the web page. If you are like me, you may struggle a bit to get exactly the text you want into your little smartphone SMS window. With MightText, I’m using my PC to send text, images, website links, whatever…. It is, as the name suggests, one mighty little plugin!

capturepluginmightytext

MightText

 

 

 

 

capturepluginhubspotsales

HubSpot Sales email tracking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best feature of this plugin from HubSpot is the instant notification you get when someone opens your email message. Now you know they are probably available and you can follow up with a phone call. Of course, some email platforms allow you to turn on notification, but there’s no guarantee you’ll receive that message. So far, this little tool has been very helpful by allowing me to track email messages sent to clients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That little green circle with the arrow in it is Grammarly and I’m using the free version. It pops up a message as soon as you misspell anything. This is very handy for me, as I like to think I’m as clear as possible with every word of every sentence. It also checks your punctuation and syntax, so if I add a comma or don’t finish a question with a question mark, it questions the intent of my content!

capturegrammarly

Grammarly

 

Back to the home page.

Adding Your Yahoo! Email Account To Outlook 2016

Hint: It’s not automatic. Too bad Microsoft didn’t buy Yahoo! Way back when, in 2008….

For now, here’s what you’ll need to know to get it set up the right way in Outlook 2016.

Don’t even try to choose Auto setup…. Check that box at the bottom left and click, Next >yahoo-email-setup-0

 

 

 

 

 

On the POP and IMAP screen, add your name and server details, as shown below. Copy and paste your email address, as it is also your User Name in line 6. Then, click “More Settings…” at the bottom.

yahoo-email-setup-1

On the Outgoing Server tab, check the box next to, My outgoing server….yahoo-email-setup-2

 

On the Advanced tab, choose SSL from both drop-down menus and double-check the port numbers are as shown here.

 

 

TFA (Two-Factor Authentication) a.k.a., 2FA

google-2fa

Something I mentioned in answer to a question about hacked websites and hacked Gmail this morning, while I thought it relatively new, has (now that I think about it….) been around for many years! By that, I mean decades. Way back when, before the Internet was known to so many people, we had really cool two-factor authentication services up and running at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, in Sunnyvale, CA.240px-lockheed-logo_winnie-mae

So, enough with the history, already….

Today, you can find many purveyors of this security feature. Below, I’ve included links to two articles on Google’s offering and two articles on Apple’s versions. Enjoy!

LifeHacker’s Article on TFA

Another LifeHacker Article on TFA

Two-factor authentication for Apple ID

And, one more, from Apple….

Security How-To: Enable two-factor authentication on iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan

Avoiding Blocking Change – Windows 10

Yes, the title of this blog post is not well formed, as it matches the opinion of this author. There are two sides to this argument and I’m sure I won’t have time to properly cover both sides. So, you’ll have to take the information you have, do your own research, mix it with what you find in this post, bake it in an oven, and see what comes out in the end! It’s a recipe for who knows?

A better title? Learn to love the nebulous nature of Microsoft messiness. Or, don’t.

I’ve heard of a handful of unhappy incidents, where Windows 10 has upgraded, even after the PC user repeatedly said, “No, thank you.” to the constant nag from Microsoft. So, for the purpose of getting this information out there (and I’m so late with this task, as it’s coming up on a year since Windows 10 was released), I offer this:
You can block the upgrade, using this tool.gwx control

Here is a very quick video on how to download, install, and run this control panel.

Here, we begin with this side of the argument, for blocking Windows 10 upgrades. The “Ultimate Outsider” is where you’ll find a handy tool that allows you to manage Windows Updates. Read carefully and enjoy! And, if you have time, here is nearly 18 minutes of a nerd discussing Microsoft’s “intention to get Windows 10 on your box…”

You may find it interesting that people have been writing about this for just over a year, now. Click the image to the right, for more information. Dedoimedo includes some vulgarity, perhaps matching some users’ feelings about Microsoft’s aggression.gwx rant

I’ve been firmly standing on the other side of this debate, testing early versions, eagerly awaiting the new features, then installing it immediately after the launch, suffering through the bleeding edge technology wave (sacrificing myself for the good of my people….) and finally, installing Windows 10 on almost every PC I use. I’m still working on a post to call out and illustrate those features.

I’ll be writing more about this later. The bad news is, it is often not an easy path to back out of this upgrade. The opposite of news is, please be sure you have a good backup of your data, do it now!

Another Patch Tuesday and Three More Solid State Drives (SSD)

In case you missed it, yesterday was patch Tuesday. A few clients have reported issues with things being not quite right and in all cases, Windows Update History
problems were related to the updates not having finished properly. Rebooting fixes this most often and that was the remedy for each computer user I’ve helped thus far. So, as always, if your computer isn’t working as it should, try rebooting, to see if you can clear the problem, before you call for your friendly computer guru for help.

Samsung SSDIf you haven’t heard of SSD technology, you will. It is the most impressive update to computer technology in years! The only downside to running your computer with a Solid State Drive is that you will be spoiled by the speed improvement. Because of that, you’ll know a new level of impatience when working with slow computers. I’m not sure why I said, “Three more….” except that I think that’s how many more upgrades I’ll be doing this week, if all goes according to plan. Call or write for details on the cost of upgrading your computer.