What is Dell Classroom?

Have you heard about Dell Classroom and are wondering what it is exactly? Well, Dell Classroom is software created as an interactive tool to help students and teachers interact with each other, a K-12 education solution. This tool is created to help teachers and students get more one-on-one time in order to get a better education and knowledge development in a way students can understand. It also allows for students to gain more technological skills by allowing them to use Dell Classroom in multiple devices.

The new Dell Classroom is actually designed based on Google Classroom. It incorporates the custom user interface, the chat feature for students and teachers to communicate, and the digital bulletin board to allow teachers to share classroom events. Not only is the software based on Google Classroom but it also integrates many of its features in the software, as well. It offers users private messaging so that students can feel free to ask any questions that may come to mind. They are also able to digitally raise their hands so that no student goes unnoticed, or unanswered.

Aside from there being multiple features created to directly benefit students, there are many incorporated to help teachers as well. With the new Dell Classroom, teachers are able to randomly group students together for class activities or projects; creating specific groups is also an option. The activity drawer feature is created to help teachers sort through and see which students require more assistance, which ultimately helps out the student. Another convenient feature for teachers is the group chat and polling/quiz feature, which benefits are pretty straightforward.

USB Drives Are Still a Thing?

With the constant development of new technological advances, it becomes more difficult to know which device is best to use. One device that has stuck around despite changes, however, is the USB. Sure, the cloud and file sharing programs are at the top of the game right now, and it’s probably your go-to storage, but many still remain true to the USB. But, what makes these small devices still relevant?

There are many reasons for the remaining existence of the USB. One major aspect that makes USB the best is that it doesn’t need the Internet. How many times have you found yourself running around like a chicken without it’s head because your presentation was saved in your cloud storage and the Internet is keeps going down or is too slow? USB flash drives eliminate this issue entirely. Storing your files is as easy as dragging and dropping without having to wait for it to download while your Internet is being slow. Downloading it to your computer is just as simple, too.

Because these flash drives don’t require the Internet, they are less likely to be hacked unless they are plugged in or lost. However, these devices are so compact and portable that they can be taken anywhere. USBs can also be very inexpensive compared to some cloud services. Of course, many of them offer a large amount of free online storage but expanding them can be costly. With the flash drive, you are able to purchase one with up to 128 GB worth of file storage for a significantly less amount of money.

Overall, it’s very clear to see why USB flash drives are still relevant today. There are many benefits that come with it: from storage security to quick and portable access. One thing it fails to offer is the ability to instantly share files with others. But, that is where the cloud succeeds.  

 

Microsoft Edge vs. Google Chrome

Since the Windows 10 update, there has been plenty talk about all its cool new features and updates. With the update, Microsoft decided to completely eliminate their Internet Explorer browser and replace it with Microsoft Edge, which is meant to be much faster and more energy efficient. Not much, however, has been said about the new upgraded Internet server; that is until recently.

Microsoft has recently claimed that their Internet browser is not only faster but also better for battery life. The exact claims are that the Edge is actually 24 to 43 percent more energy efficient when it comes to browsing than its competitors (TopTech.com).

“Edge lets you browse and watch longer, so you can get more out of your devices without worrying about finding an outlet.” – Jason Weber, Microsoft Director of the Web

Among all of these claims of battery efficiency, there are many other upgrades Microsoft has developed through this new browser. For instance, the new design is much lighter than its predecessor, Internet Explorer. It also has the online assistant, Cortana, incorporated into the browsing, which is already a plus in itself when compared to Chrome. However, when installing Chrome, Adobe Flash is also installed, which is an important program to have. Because Google Chrome’s extensions, like this one, the browser tends to slow down. This is also where Microsoft Edge has the advantage of being a faster browser, thus the most battery efficient.

Is the Edge’s efficiency enough for Internet users to make the switch from Chrome? Many would say no. Even though, Chrome happens to be slightly slower, there are many features and extensions that come along with it that are considered to be the best. In the end, Microsoft would have to do more than securing battery life in order to convince users to make the switch.  

 

Should you Update to iOS 10?

Are you one of the few iPhone owners who have yet to make the update to iOS 10? Have you been wondering if making the switch is worth it, or are you simply scared of the potential glitches that may come with the newest update? During these types of situations we tend to look at others’ experiences to help us make the decision. Because of this, we have done some research to help you decide. Learn about what the newest iOS update has to offer below.

Siri Update:

Siri is now been integrated in other apps such as photo searches, payments, messaging, booking car rides, and more!

iMessage Update:

The new update has come with many new messaging features. It comes with stickers, various animations, and new, larger emojis. There’s also an ‘emojification’ feature, which takes keywords you have written to give you suggestions on emojis to add. You are also able to draw on the screen and use third party apps in messenger.

Control Update:

The update allows you to have more control over your apps on your home screen by giving you the option to hide the Apple applications you don’t need/use. With a force click on your folders, a quick list also appears in order to navigate through them quickly. Force clicking on the flashlight also allows you to adjust the brightness. Along with the flashlight option, the control center now has two panes available with quick controls and a music player.

Notification Update:

Notifications also allow a more efficient way to manage your phone. With the

quick-reply feature you can respond to messages and emails directly on the notification screen, and even watch videos!

Lockscreen Update:

The lock screen is much more efficient that it has ever been. With a swipe right, you are able to gain access to today’s news and Siri app suggestions. It is also able to sense when the phone is being picked up, lighting up the lock screen.

Maps Update:

The Maps app is much smarter. It notifies of high traffic areas and suggests faster routes. It also has pop-up suggestions of nearby places.

Music Update:

This update comes with many cool features, like music editing options, availability of lyrics, and more control on the music you want to transfer into other devices.

Photos Update:

Face, scene and object recognition are now hooked onto the photo/camera app. It also has auto-smart grouping organizing your images based on the location it was taken, topics, trips, and people.

 

IT Words to Know:

Let’s face it, every time something traumatic happens to our technology we end up learning about some new, strange diagnosis. After contacting our trusted IT company we end up learning about all these different technical terms and, most of the time, wonder what on Earth those terminologies even mean. It’s true, keeping up with all the IT lingo can be difficult at times, but remain calm because we will be explaining what some of those words mean.

In the past we have gone through the various types of malware and explained what each meant and what the difference between them are. You can learn all about those in our post “Most Common Malware” (http://www.mhconsults.com/blog/most-common-malware/). Now, here are a few IT words you must know:

Adware: This can be any software or program that displays unwanted pop-up advertisements on your tech. device while it is being used.

Bug: This stands for faulty programs caused by errors made in the coding process. These are frequently through updates, so updating your programs is important.

Caches: These are memories in a computer that temporarily stores recently accessed web pages.

Firewalls: This can either be a hardware or software that is programmed to prevent unauthorized access to your computer or network. Unlike an antimalware or antivirus, Firewalls are mainly used to keep out other, potentially destructive networks.

Hit: This stands for a visit to a website.

Modem: This is any device, like the Internet, email, or fax that assists a computer in sending and receiving information.

Portal: This is any website that acts like a gateway to the Internet.

Trojan: This is a type of malware that encrypts itself in a computer program in order to gain access to your computer.

Worm: These consume bandwidths and overload web servers causing harm to their host networks.

 

Expert Tips and Shortcuts

Don’t you love it when someone shows you a tip or shortcut that can make your day easier or your daily work go faster? We do! So here are some tips and shortcuts that you may know or may be new to you. Hopefully something will make your job easier/better. Enjoy!

 

  • Every website seems to use a different font and size. If you need to quickly change the size try this trick for quick zoom in or zoom out. PC: Ctrl + scroll mouse wheel or Mac: Apple key + plus sign; Apple key + minus sign.
  • Need to take a picture of your desktop for some reason?  Here is the shortcut for screen shots. Press the Print Screen (often shortened to “Prt Sc”) key, typically located in the upper right corner of your keyboard, to capture a screenshot of your entire display. Alternatively, press Alt + Print Screen to merely capture a screenshot of the active window. For Mac – In order to take a shot of the whole screen – Press Command (⌘)-Shift-3. For part of the screen: Press Command-Shift-4. The pointer changes to a crosshair pointer. Move the crosshair pointer to where you want to start the screenshot.
  • Need spelling or grammar help?  For both PC and Mac – F7.
  • Need to refresh the page quickly?  PC: F5, or Ctrl +  or Mac: Apple key + R
  • Need to Add a Bookmark? PC: Ctrl + D   Mac: Apple key (see right) + D
  • Tired of searching for a file, application or document? Use this shortcut. PC: Window key + F   Mac: Apple key (see right) + F
  • Do you need to undo something that you have changed or written? Pressing Ctrl + Z will Undo any change. For example, if you cut text, pressing this will undo it. These shortcuts can also be pressed multiple times to undo or redo multiple changes. Pressing Ctrl + Y would redo the undo. For Apple computers use Cmd + Z and Cmd + Y to undo and redo.

 

Why Tech-for-a-Day is a Must Have

Does your small or medium sized business have an experienced IT department that is able to handle not only the daily “fires” that need attending to as well as deal with regular maintenance of hardware and software? IT departments deal with a myriad of issues such as security, data storage, hardware, software, and customer support in a juggling act that would make your head spin. Some companies who don’t have budget to hire a full IT staff solve this problem with a unique program that we offer called “Tech-for-a-Day”.

Technology is critical for any company regardless of size or field of business. Think about the number of critical functions that happen at your company daily. None of it would happen if the “system” was down, data was lost, hardware was not functioning or software not up-to-date. Can your IT department or Tech Guy handle it all? Here are a few reasons you may need a “Tech-for-a-Day”.

 

  • Stay On Task – Business owners want to avoid the distractions of technology problems so they can easily pass the buck onto a tech guy who is experienced and knowledgeable. This leaves employees to do the work they were meant to be doing instead of searching for solutions to the inevitable daily tech problem.
  • Stay in the Know – Most small to mid-sized businesses can find it difficult to keep an in-house IT manager paid a competitive wage, educated on the latest technologies, and challenged within their role. In the world of technology, staying on the cutting edge means a constant investment in technical training. A Tech-for-a-Day can keep your technology going and solve issues that pop up.
  • Stay Ahead – Technology is constantly evolving. Having a professional tech that you rely upon can mean that your business can stay ahead of viruses, malware and other security risks that are out there in the cyber world. Professional techs can also keep your business aware of the newest and most effective software for your field. If you don’t have the time to read all the latest tech journals and study up on what is “coming down the pike” then a “Tech-for-a-Day” may be able to help you.
  • Stay on top of Little Issues – Is your computer running slow? Is your printer not working? Are you up-to-date on licensing for software? These are all the little things that can keep your employees away from the real job-at-hand. Hiring a tech can keep your business moving in the right direction.

Should You Worry About Smartphone Viruses and Malware?

 

How much do you rely on your smartphone? Well, if you doubt for a second the amount you use it, think of those breath-catching moments when you have misplaced it or dropped it. Shocking how quickly we all panic about our phones, right? Those are the moments you realize that you would have trouble getting through the day without it. Should you then, worry about other risks to your smartphone – take for example viruses or malware?  

 

The answer is yes, smartphones need protection as well. Your smartphone is essentially a pocket-sized computer that holds your valuable personal data, important documents and other files. Most likely you do not want some viruses to lay waste to your data. Here are some quick tips that can help keep your smartphone protected.

 

  • Download a mobile security app to catch those pesky “phone viruses.” Your phone’s app store may offer free anti-virus software.
  • Be judicious about what apps you download. Download an app or document only if it comes from a trustworthy source, such as your phone’s app store. Downloading apps from third-party websites may put your phone at risk.
  • Be careful about where you download apps – are you in a secure area?
  • Put a PIN or password on your smartphone and keep it locked when it’s not in use. Your phone may also have a lock pattern feature, fingerprint password or facial-recognition lock.
  • Stay away from suspicious websites when browsing the Internet on your phone. Viruses can be installed on your phone through malicious websites. If you receive an unexpected email or text message with a link in it, don’t click on the link.
  • Avoid modifying your phone in ways that weren’t intended by the manufacturer. This modification, also called “jailbreaking,” makes it easier for viruses to slip into the device.
  • Encrypt the files and data stored on the phone. Some phones have built-in data encryption that protects your data from prying eyes. Encryption usually shields documents, contacts, calendars, media files and email attachments. It also works for data stored on the phone’s memory card.
  • Avoid connecting your phone to unsecured wireless networks.

Top Causes of Data Loss

In our technology driven business world, data is growing exponentially for companies. Security breaches of sensitive data has rocked our world for the past few years. It seems as if there are no institutions, whether large or small, public or private, that are immune to the problem of data loss and data breaches. The escalation of hackings and cyber crimes on means that technology officers and business leaders need to be aware of the reasons behind data loss. Here is a quick recap from studies over the last few years showing the major causes of data loss.

 

  • Human Error – Employees have direct access to your most sensitive data regularly. The top risk of losing data is deleting files or parts of texts without having any backups available – usually by employees. Did you also know how common it is for employees to spill coffee or drinks into a laptop? Liquids cause short circuit of important electronic components and they are really hard to recover afterwards. Since losing data is so common, some employees don’t even see it as a huge problem anymore. Having the right back up procedures can most definitely help so that if data is accidentally deleted it can be easily accessed.
  • Viruses and Malware – Staying on top of the latest malware and viruses that are out there in the cyber world can be daunting. Keep your software current to help stay up to date with the latest viruses out there. In addition, making regular backups of your data and having it available after severe virus damages may have really high value.
  • Old Hardware – Hard drives and hardware can age and be neglected. There are so many moving parts inside of hard drives that it is no wonder they break down so easily. Hard drives can die a natural death after 5-6 years of use. Regular backups really help in case of hardware troubles. Hard disk failures do not mean that data is lost forever if you have the opportunity to take the latest version of your data from safe storage and continue using it after any kind of hardware failures.
  • Power Failures or Natural Disasters – Mother Nature has a way of letting us know that we, as humans, are powerless. Having automatic backups of your work enables you to recover from any accidents caused by power failures or natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, fire or other unthinkable events.
  • Theft – Electronic devices whether they are smartphones, tablets or laptops can be easily stolen. It adds insult to injury if you lose your device as well as your data! The data may actually be more valuable to your business than the actual device. Recovering data may be a lot easier if you save to the cloud or have specific backup procedures so that all that data doesn’t walk away with the thief.

 

Has your company created a backup plan? Talk to M&H Consultants to find out the best way your business can protect itself from data loss.

 

The Hazards of Public WiFi

 

According to Cisco’s Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, there are already more mobile-connected devices than the entire world’s population and by 2018 it is expected that there will be more mobile traffic on WiFi than on cellular networks. Free public Wi-Fi hotspots can be found everywhere now – in coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, malls and airports. The incredible convenience of free wireless hotspots means that you can do business practically everywhere! Unfortunately, this free access doesn’t come without a price. Along with the ease and accessibility of free Wi-Fi comes the risk of identity thieves and cyber criminals.

 

Millions of Americans who use public Wi-Fi do not realize that their personal information is at risk of being stolen, according to a survey released by the cyber security company Symantec. More than 60 percent of consumers think their information is safe when using public internet. Since Wi-Fi uses radio waves, cyber criminals and hackers can use the openness of those signals (and along the right eavesdropping software), take your information including: pin numbers, passwords, data, log-ins and other personal data.

 

Here are a few tips to keep your information safe. If you want a complete evaluation of your mobile devices and further information about the hazards of public Wi-Fi, contact M&H Consultants.

 

  • To protect yourself when using public Wi-Fi use a virtual private network (VPN), which will encrypt and anonymize traffic. VPNs create a network-within-a-network solution to keep everything you do on public Wi-Fi private. Even on a password-protected network, people can still intercept the signal. To set-up VPN, you need to download an app and then follow your smartphone’s steps to set it up.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Make sure there are no people watching as you enter passwords or pin numbers. These “shoulder surfers” can be just as dangerous as software that can find out your pin numbers and passwords.
  • Be careful what sites you visit. Save banking and social media sites for when you can get to a private network that is secure. Don’t do online banking or access sensitive data on public Wi-Fi if possible, even if the sites are encrypted with HTTPS. A VPN connection would likely protect you, so it’s a worthy investment if you find yourself regularly using public Wi-Fi.
  • Keep your device up-to-date on software and firewalls. The latest versions can be a safer bet than older versions that have been accessed by hackers already.