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.”

Welcome to Rouzell dot net

Welcome to Rouzell dot net –

Most of my websites are hosted on Siteground.

If you are not happy with your current website or your website host, call or write soon and I’ll make things better for you.

A Big Fan of Expressions

Mousehelp at Rouzell may soon become Mousehelp Communications

Why the change? It’s a simple and very complex answer. Let’s just say that Mousehelp does so much more than computer support. Communications is so much more.

Searching for the expression about a shoemaker’s children, I found details on several sources. Since I suffer this malady (or some of my websites do), I thought to mention it and perhaps ask other website makers how they manage to maintain their own sites while working on client sites.

As goes the expression, my websites need “new shoes.” This one (Rouzell.net) should be my first target, but it may be relegated to the archives soon. Most likely, Rouzell will fade away and simply be replaced by Mousehelp.

Having run rouzell.net through a speed test, I’ve found it scores well below the majority of sites and one speed test ranks it with a solid “D” for Performance grade. Sheesh!

On the upside, my Mousehelp Web Design is faster than 99% of the sites tested by this service.

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.

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.

 

More Websites by Mousehelp at Rouzell

wildapricotAlmost all of my sites are on WordPress.
I probably have dozens that I’ve created and/or maintain on WP.
I suppose I should create a full list for your perusal….

This is my latest creation – http://dev.brianrouley.com/
This one has shouts out to a couple of business partners, Greg Kain and Noah Yaghoubian.

Also, I have a penchant for trying out other site builders.
So, I have sites on SquareSpace – http://www.rouleywrites.com/
Weebly – http://mousehelp.weebly.com/
Wix – http://rouzell.wix.com/home-shows-rouzell
WildApricot – http://rei39.wildapricot.org/
And, I manage a site using a very old version of GoDaddy’s Website builder – http://lincolnclubcv.com/
My original site, Rouzell.com is built with plain old HTML and CSS.
So, you can see I’ve been around a while and I can work with almost any platform.

Recently, I stumbled upon this: https://www.phpfox.com/

It’s pretty cool!

Windows 10 Settings and Control Panels

My issue was that I could not remove the directory “windows.old” after upgrading to Windows 10.

what is cortanaSo, I asked Cortana and got this:
Delete your previous version of Windows
One month after you upgrade to Windows 10, your previous version of Windows will be automatically deleted from your PC. However, if you need to free up disk space, and you’re confident that your files and settings are where you want them to be in Windows 10, you can safely delete it yourself. Keep in mind that you’ll be deleting your Windows.old folder, which contains files that give you the option to go back to your previous version of Windows.
Deleting your previous version of Windows can’t be undone.
Go to Start, enter Settings in the search box, and then select Settings.
Select System > Storage > This PC and then scroll down the list and select Temporary files.
Under Previous version of Windows, select Delete previous versions and then select Delete.

Help from Microsoft – Was this helpful?

Not just, “yes,” but heck yeah!!!Remove Windows Old

Pointing out the difference between Settings and Control Panels seems obvious to me, now. Because of my experience, I’m prone to taking shortcuts with Windows. So, I was thinking that if I was to open the System (settings), why not just click start and type, “system” in the search field – which I did. Then I chose the System control panel and could find no place there that would allow me to get to “storage.” However, if I type “storage” into the search field, I am presented with “Storage, System settings” as the top result. Choosing that puts me on the path to solving the problem, in accordance with the instructions provided by Microsoft.

Do you need help with getting Windows 10 up and running on your computer? Or, maybe your website needs some sprucing up, or you’ve always wanted to start a blog, but you didn’t know where to begin!

Drop me a line or give me a call and I will help you with anything related to communications and computers.

 

Considerations Prior To Your Windows 10 Upgrade

Image source: http://www.komando.com/happening-now/310826/windows-10-worries-7-things-that-wont-work-after-you-upgrade/all

Image source: http://www.komando.com

  1. Is it necessary?
    The simple answer is, no. While that answer assumes you are happy with your current Windows 7 or 8 operating system, the answer is further qualified or disqualified by benefits and the all-important idea – Free (until July of next year), which is a pretty good deal.
  2. What are the benefits?
    Long ago, I learned to use the sage advice of others to answer my questions. It would take several blog posts to fully detail all of the benefits of using the new Windows 10 OS. So, here is a link to several articles others have written. Do your research and decide for yourself. The primary reason for my upgrade is, that’s just how it is with me. I must run Windows 10, so I’ll know how to help you. And, I like it.
  3. What are the drawbacks?

    Advice extracted from this article: “Better the Devil ye ken, than the Devil ye don’t” — those are wise words, born of much pain.

  4. Why not wait?
    If it really doesn’t interest you, or it doesn’t matter in the least, there’s no reason to not simply wait. Watch the dust settle, or just go outside for some fresh air – it’s so nice in the desert, this time of year! Eventually, Microsoft will issue hundreds of patches and probably, “Service Pack 1,” as it has for other versions of Windows. By that time, Windows 10 should be pretty stable. End your waiting prior to July 28, 2016, however, if you want a free Windows 10 upgrade.
  5. Links I’ve used while writing this post:

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Today, I was going to take the plunge with Margaret’s computer. My wife has little interest in the version of Windows running on her computer. When I asked her if she would like me to upgrade to Windows 10, she laughed (the best result I can get….) and said, “You may as well ask me if I want the X11 refrigerator! Does it keep things cold? Then, yes.”

The answer to your question is, yes. I think a Windows 10 upgrade, for most people, should have little impact. For power users, it is definitely a meaningful upgrade.

Kim Komando is a great source for advice about Windows 10. She is far more paranoid about the “security risks” of having Microsoft track your activities than I am, however. Still, her site provides a wealth of information about things worth considering before you make the leap to Windows 10.
http://www.komando.com/happening-now/310826/windows-10-worries-7-things-that-wont-work-after-you-upgrade/all

http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2015/10/16/microsoft-windows-10-free-upgrade-changes/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2015/08/02/windows-10-vs-windows-8-vs-windows-7-whats-the-difference/

http://winsupersite.com/windows-10/details-changes-windows-10-activation-threshold-2