Tech Life Hacks (Pt. 2)

This post is a continuation of the two-part tech hack series. We will be provide the second set of tips to make your life with technology more simple! If you would like to learn about these hacks, follow along.

To maintain the life of your phone charger:

This tip is a common one that can be applied to any charger, not just that of your phone. Take apart a clicking pen and use the pen’s spring to wrap it around the top of the charging cord. This will help keep the wire from bending and breaking out.

In case you lose your phone:

Here is a tip so simple that you’ve probably not thought of it before. In your note section, type your name and contact information and then save a screenshot of it. Change your lockscreen to the screenshot image, this way, if it gets lost, someone will know how to return it to you.

Picture Taking:

Taking pictures with one hand, especially when it is a selfie, can be difficult and cause your hands to cramp. Solving this issue is very simple. Once you have gotten into the right pose or gotten the phone in the right position, use the volume buttons to snap the picture.

For charging your phone:

Charging your phone can be a tedious process, especially when you are in a rush and need it to charge quickly. The best way to charge your phone quickly is to set it on airplane mode while it is on the charger.

For “resetting” your phone:

Many times, when your phone has a hard time connecting to a signal, or has a glitch, we shut off the phone entirely or reboot it. An easier way to do this is to set your phone on airplane mode for a minute. This will help your phone to connect to a signal.

If you haven’t read the first post on this series, click here to check it out.

What is DNA App Store?

There is no doubt that technology has been advancing rapidly and in ways no one could have imagined before. This is can be proven in many ways, but one astonishing way in which we have realized technology has been expanded is through the development of the DNA App.

Right now, you’re probably thinking, “What does that even mean?” If you have heard about this soon-to-be app store, chances are that you have been staying up-to-date with tech news. Do you have any idea what we are talking about? Follow along to learn about this new phenomenon.

The DNA App store will be designed to get information from users genomes to help them determine their health risks and ancestry, as well as help them with anything from nutrition planning to family planning. This store will be the first genetic app store ever. The company taking charge of this task is Helix. Their goal is to make decoding personal genomes affordable and less complicated.

This is how it will work:

A curious person looking to fulfill their thirst for knowledge of their own being will go onto the app and order a product kit. They will have to send a saliva sample back to Helix. The company will then be able to unlock hundreds of data and provide the user with the information they wanted to know. The saliva sample will be stored in their data but, users will be able to control the data by deciding who gets access to it or not.

This app store is said to go live within the next couple of years. When it does launch, the app will be available on both Android and Apple stores.

Did you ever think technology would have made these advancements?

Tech Life Hacks (Pt. 1)

Technology can be complicated and understanding them can require a lot of work. Because of this, there are many tech hacks available to help make our technology experience easier and our overall lives easier through technology. Since there are so many hacks available, we have split these lists into a two-part series. Here is the first set of tips to help you get through your technology uses; stay tuned for the next set!

For quick browsing:

Type on “CTRL” and “Enter” at that the same time after typing a domain on the URL bar and the “.com” will appear.

For capitalization purposes:

Highlight a word or phrase and press on “Shift” and “F3” at the same time to switch the capitalization through lowercase, all uppercase and first letter capitalization. Unfortunately, this hack is only useful for PC devices.

For slideshow presentations:

When saving PowerPoint presentations, try saving it as “.PPS” rather than the standard “.PPT”. By doing this, you will be able to skip a step and automatically open your presentation as a slideshow whenever the file is opened.

For your headphones:

To keep your apple headphones handy and safe from getting tangled all up, stick them onto your macbook while doing work. Confused? Well, apparently the Headphones are able to stick onto macbooks like magnets.

To help you differentiate between left ear bud and right ear bud, and skip the misplacing process that can be uncomfortable, try painting or marking each ear bud with different colors.

Test these hacks out and stay tuned for the next set!

Twitter Update Mutes Hate

In the past year, there have been many Twitter updates, like the one that stopped counting images and links as characters. Although this was a tweet-revolution, the most thoughtful update has to be their most recent one. Like any other social platform, Twitter is filled with anonymous online trolls who simply find pleasure in spreading hate speech and bullying others, including celebrities. Because of this, Twitter executives have come up with an update that will allow users to completely mute hate out of their feeds!

“The amount of abuse, bullying and harassment we’ve seen across the Internet has risen sharply over the past few years. These behaviors inhibit people from participating on Twitter, or anywhere.”

This statement is visible on Twitter’s blog post where they announce the new update.

Even though their statement mentions how the rising rate of online harassment and bullying is the reason for the update, it has come after recent elections and the bullying case of Leslie Jones. Throughout the election there were numerous candidates bickering back and forth, using Twitter as one of their platforms. This played a role in the spread of hate speech in relation to race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, religious affiliation, age, disabilities and, even, disease. Comedian and Actress Leslie Jones herself became a victim of sexist and racist abuse so strong that it drove her towards taking a break from social media.

The new update will feature:

  • Expansion of Mute Option, which will allow for users to mute any notification based on keywords, phrases, conversations and even emojis.
  • Stronger Support Team who are trained to better understand abusive language and will be responsible for investigating reports of code violations and re-enforcing those codes.

To activate your mute option, go to “Notifications” and then to “Settings.” Once there, select “Muted Words” and choose the phrases, words and emoticons you would like to mute.

How to Identify & Avoid Unwanted Programs

Unwanted programs are constantly being downloaded, many times, without your permission. This is usually because some programs can only be downloaded as a bundle with another program. Sometimes, even loading up a website can cause other programs to be downloaded as well. Although some unwanted programs might not cause any direct harm or be a malware carrier, they can fill up space in your tech’s system, eventually causing it to shut down. Determining which programs are harmful for your technology can be difficult, especially when there are so many disguised like legitimate ones. Follow along to learn how you can identify and avoid unwanted programs.

Potential unwanted programs (PUPs) can cause technical issues such as:

      Slow computer program

      Display of Pop Up ads

      Collect personal information

One way to avoid installing such programs is by going through custom installation instead of simply clicking on the recommended download method. PUPs can easily be installed when you choose the recommended method. Especially when they are piggy-backing a legitimate program. Many times, the end user licensing agreements (EULA) contain information on the other programs that will be downloaded. Makes sure you read through the EULA and don’t accept bundle programs.

According to The Windows Club, a trick to avoid PUPs is to click on “I Decline” whenever you are downloading a program and the “I Accept” or “I Decline” options come up. However, if “I Accept” happens to be the only option, you should unclick the option and simply click “Next.” Don’t worry; you’ll still be able to download the program.

Want to make sure you haven’t already downloaded PUPs? Here are a few steps on how to identify and get rid of them:

      Go to your browser

      Go to your options

      Manage your add-ons

      Turn off all add-ons you do not recognize

For more information on identifying a PUPs and preventing them, contact M&H online or by phone!

New Year’s Resolutions for your Technology

 

Everyone seems to be making their New Year’s Resolutions this time of year about eating healthy, getting to the gym and doing positive things to help themselves kick off the new year right. While it may not be top on your list this season a technology resolution or two may save you many hassles in the new year and potentially increase your productivity as well. Here are a few that we suggest. May you have a happy and safe 2017.

  • Back Up – Until you have lost some valuable data that you can not retrieve, you have no idea how very important this resolution is. There are numerous methods of back up including: cloud storage, flash drives, Drop Boxes and the list goes on. It doesn’t matter what method your business has for backing up data – just that you do it and do it fairly often.
  • Update – Software is updated regularly to fix ongoing issues or improve functionality and ease of use. Many systems have the option of automatic updates that download whenever the computer is available. Updates can keep your system moving smoothly and potentially avoid any issues with older programs and applications.
  • Enable Security – If the high profile security hacking you read about in the news isn’t enough to get you to beef up your digital security, the thought of losing revenue due to a hacking incident, phishing scam, malware, spyware or viruses should be enough to increase your vigilance. Firewalls, double encryption, and strong passwords should be a resolution everyone in your company takes seriously.
  • Clean it Up – Your desktop, laptop and mobile devices can get clogged with outdated applications, extraneous information and data that can be stored long term. Consider cleaning out your computer system regularly starting with this new calendar year. (Read next blog on cleaning out your computer to start the new year.)
  • Avoid Over-Downloading – The more on your computer, the slower and harder it works. Some software and applications look fun and if they are free it seems too good to be true. Unfortunately, these applications and software programs may be slowing down your computer, zapping your battery and bringing in security issues. Be careful about what you download in the new year.

Spring Clean your Technology this New Year

Spring cleaning isn’t just for cleaning out the closet, washing the windows and de-cluttering the basement. In the world of business, spring cleaning should include a thorough cleaning of your computer systems as well. Old programs, unused applications and data that is no longer needed should have it’s own spring cleaning – and the start of the New Year is as good a time as any to start off fresh and orderly. Here are a few suggestions on “spring cleaning” your technology for the New Year!

  • Uninstall Old Programs – Uninstall unused PC programs by going to the Control Panel, and then Add/Remove Programs. On a Mac, open LaunchPad and drag and drop the app icon into Trash. You can also delete files you no longer need.
  • Defragging – “Defragging” is another way to help your computer operate faster with more stability. Run the program to give your hard drive a tune-up. It might take awhile but you should notice a marked improvement (tip: start the process before you leave your home or go to bed).
  • Run and Update Security Programs – Update and run spyware and antivirus software to be sure that you have safeguarded your data and systems.
  • Empty the Trash – Empty out those files that you haven’t looked at in months.
  • Clean the Keyboard – That overused dumping ground of crumbs and dust could use a quick clean out as well!  Use compressed air and a lint free cloth to wipe the outside and clean off those sticky keys.
  • Do  Manual Look – Look through your programs, data and files. What can you get rid of or at least move to a more permanent storage location (preferably one that is securely backed up).
  • De-Junk your Desktop – Put it in folders or create a folder for ‘Working on’. Don’t know how to create a desktop folder? Right click on the desktop and select ‘New>folder’.

Cyber Security Trends of 2017

We all like to be “ahead” in life – both personally and in the business world. The latter is especially true when it comes business leadership in small and medium size businesses. While following personal trends like the “in” fashion, seasonal colors and decorating can be fun, following the trends in business can save your business time and money. Being ahead of hackers, malware, spam, spyware, and viruses is just as important when following trends of 2017. Here are some trends in the security field to be aware of as we enter the new year.

  • Increase in Ransomware – According to Telegraph Connect, ransomware (where hackers gain control of your data, encrypt it and demand payment to hand over the key) has now become the most profitable malware type in history. “It is time to harden security, by enabling visibility throughout the network – essentially,  being able to see everything that connects to it.” If you are unsure if you are protected from ransomware call M&H Consultant today.
  • Credential Threats – The trend of using malicious code to breach a company’s defenses has been on the rise over the past two years. More recently hackers do not need to write the code to gain entrance but rather steal the credentials of an employee to gain access instead. Plan for multiple layers of encryption and password protection.
  • Smarter Viruses – According to the Insurance Journal, viruse designs are constantly improving and being modernized. So what you learned last year about viruses may well be outdated this year. Newer viruses are better at remaining undetected longer so they can infect more files and give the system owner little indication that the system has been compromised.
  • An Increase in Cyber Security Spending – Worldwide spending on cybersecurity is predicted to top $1 trillion for the five-year period from 2017 to 2021, according to the Cybersecurity Market Report, published by Cybersecurity Ventures. Reports indicate an uptick in security spending some where in the vicinity of 12-15% increase. Review your budget to see where you land in this landscape.
  • Human Expertise – Security experts are indicating that human expertise intermixed with technology-only solutions will be a trend for 2017. Instead of a software-only approach, the solution is to provide software and people.

Looking for Outsource Your Tech Needs?

 

The technology field moves at lightening speed. Finding the right tech expert for the hardware and software needs in your business can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. IT expertise, experience and needed skills may vary from project to project and from month to month. One month your company may need software installation while the next you need an upgrade in security measures. If IT is not your main field, how does your company keep up with all the demands? How do you employ an expert that has both the breadth and depth of knowledge that your company needs at each stage of work and growth? The solution may be a technical management company like M&H Consultants. Here are a few reasons why this solution may be a smart one for the coming years.

  • By outsourcing your IT needs your company has access to a full array of specialists that have expertise in every area of technology. What you need one month may different the next. A management group can call upon the many technology experts and find the one who can handle your problem.
  • Hiring an IT support team can mean a significant cost savings. A contract with M&H Consultants can save money. No need to hire an entire IT department and provide both salary and benefits for those employees.
  • Outsourced IT can mean a heads up of what technology is on its way as well as the latest news on the latest security threats. When an IT company has your back that is all they do. Experienced technicians at M&H keep their ear to the grindstone to watch for the latest threats whereas an internal IT department in your company may have too much to handle to stay ahead of the trends.


Overall IT outsourcing provides businesses with the ability to focus on core competencies, access state-of-the-art technology and increase flexibility and cost savings. If this new year has you looking for the best technical support solution look no further than M&H Consultants.

Hacking- A Year in Review

 

Over two billion records were stolen in 2016 alone. Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past year, it has been hard to miss the reports of major hacking that impacted our American economy and our global one as well. From the 2016 U.S. elections to banks to medical records – hackers were able to breach large corporations(public and private)  and small businesses with equal skill. Let’s take a quick look and review the hackings that made the headlines this year. Visit our blogs again in the coming weeks as we discuss methods for you and your company to protect yourselves from hackers.

Feb 2016 Department of Justice –  Kicking off the year the Department of Justice was compromised. Hackers angry about U.S. relations with Israel tried to call attention to their cause in February 2016 by breaching the U.S. Department of Justice’s database. CNN reported the hackers released data on 10,000 Department of Homeland Security employees one day, and then released data on 20,000 FBI employees the next day. A full week went by before the department realized the hack had occurred. While no sensitive data was believed to be lost it brought attention to the fact that even the US is not immune to hackers.

May 2016 LinkedIn – Social media giant LinkedIn was compromised this year when 117 million email and password combinations stolen by hackers four years ago popped up online.It is not clear who stole the information or published it online, but LinkedIn is actively working with law enforcement officials.

November  2016 AdultFriendFinder– This X-rated website, was targeted by hackers for the second time in two years. This time, though, the amount of accounts compromised was immense — approximately 412 million users had personal information stolen and published in online criminal marketplaces.

 

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-8-34-47-amInformation is Beautiful has been tracking Data Breaches since 2004.  This year saw the largest spike in hacking and the largest number of files stolen or compromised. Here is a quick screenshot of the latest breaches. They tally in real time and keep track of breaches daily.