Here’s What Windows 10 Looks and Feels Like

Windows 10 is here! Are you planning planning on jumping in and giving it a try? Here’s a video that gives a top level overview of the Operating System and some of it’s key features!

 

 

I’d really love to hear your opinion! If you have any questions or comments please reach out using one of the methods on our CONTACT page and I’ll forward to hearing from you! 

Also, if you’ve enjoyed this article, or others on this site, why not use one of the share buttons at the top of this, or any other article on this site, and share a link with your tribe… I’d appreciate it!

Effective E-Mail Access On The Road … Can It Be Achieved?

Many people love to spend pockets of time on the road catching up on emails, staying organized and getting prepared. Are you set up to take advantage of spare time in the best possible way for this?

© anyaberkut – Fotolia

© anyaberkut – Fotolia

How many of these scenarios have you found yourself in?

#1 : You’re rushing at the office to get an important project organized and started but you’re rushing to catch a flight or get home for an important engagement.

#2 : You’re waiting at an airport and you have a couple of hours to kill at the gate before your flight and you’d like to give people some direction on how to run a project while you’re gone.

#3 : You get to a hotel after a long flight and confirm something you sent to someone before you left the office.

#4 : You’re on the road and you want to check on what’s been said on an email thread that was started both before you left and that continued after you left.

#5 : You sent a flurry of email from your desktop at the office and you grab your laptop before heading out on the road and you want to be able to have full access to all your email communications on the road.

All these scenarios are made much less stressful when you have an effective e-mail system setup that is seamless and allows you maximum flexibility.

Ultimately you want to be able to grab whatever device is closest to you and have it be seamless and you able to pick up where you left off on any other device in your arsenal and be able to be fully functional immediately.

Whether it’s starting an email on a SmartPhone and finishing it on a laptop, or searching for an email on a Tablet and replying to that email from a desktop the point is that your entire email system follows you regardless the device you happen to be using at the time.

To achieve this your email and folders need to be located in a central location with the ability to get at those email messages and folders from multiple devices … this is what people commonly refer to as email being “in the cloud”.

This can be accomplished in one of the following ways :

#1 : Leaving all your email and folders in the mailbox at your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and accessing them from your devices using IMAP instead of POP3

#2 :Leaving all your email and folders in the mailbox on the mail server at your office (if that’s the way your e-mail is setup) and accessing them from your devices using IMAP instead of POP3

#3 : Using a Hosted E-Mail provider like Google Apps for Business or a Hosted Exchange provider and operating all e-mail operations from there.

There may very well be scenarios and/or solutions that I have not included here,  but here’s the main point : With some re-engineering of how your e-mail flow operates and re-learning some ways to work you can indeed achieve a bit of an “e-mail utopia” that is fully functional and allows you an seamless environment whether in the office or on the road.

I would encourage you to have some talks with your IT Department and ask them for help with ways to make your e-mail setup more functional.

In the meantime here’s some other articles related to the subject that I’ve already written and I’d invite you to take a look at them as well!

Am I Safe To Move My E-Mail To The Cloud

How Do I Pick A Great Hosted Exchange E-Mail Service Provider

I Want To Run Our Own E-Mail Server At The Office Which One Should I Pick

I’d really love to hear your opinion! If you have any questions or comments please reach out using one of the methods on our CONTACT page and I’ll look forward to hearing from you! 

Also, if you’ve enjoyed this article, or others on this site, why not use one of the share buttons at the top of this, or any other article on this site, and share a link with your tribe… I’d appreciate it!

Apple Watch hands-on demo

Courtesy of our friends over at Engadget here’s a hands on demo and feature review of the new iWatch from Apple … tell me what you think?

 

 

 

I’d really love to hear your opinion! If you have any questions or comments please reach out using one of the methods on our CONTACT page and I’ll forward to hearing from you! 

Also, if you’ve enjoyed this article, or others on this site, why not use one of the share buttons at the top of this, or any other article on this site, and share a link with your tribe… I’d appreciate it!

Choosing An Online File Sharing And Storage Service

People love having their data available and accessible from a multitude of different platforms, so online file storage and sharing might make sense for you in certain circumstances!

© ottawawebdesign - Fotolia

© ottawawebdesign – Fotolia

The number of different devices that people use in their day to day personal and business lives seems to be growing.

I know myself that I have my MacBook Pro, iPhone and iPad, and, depending on what I am doing at any one given time, one of these devices is almost always near me.

However, there are files that I am working on all the time and need to access frequently therefore one of the challenges I face is the ability to get to the files that I need from wherever I am.

There a services out there today like Google DriveDropBox, One Drive and Box (see here for a fuller list of possibilities) that allow you to store your files in the cloud and sync them to a multitude of devices so that your files follow you wherever you are and are always accessible.

Some of these services have tighter security than the others, some of them have nicer web interfaces than the others, some might have cheaper pricing ..etc…etc..  You could likely make a big list of PRO’S and CON’s for each.

Some of you might be completely on your own and just need something for your own personal use … some of you might work in teams and need more security and ability to determine who gets to see what and when … some of you might be super price conscious … Some of the services come with a certain amount for free and others provide little or no space for free … There is no “one size fits all” product here!

This is not intended to push you toward any particular product and is more intended to highlight the fact that these kinds of services are out there and are ready and available to you.

I would highly encourage you to check out the services mentioned above and maybe even read the article I’ve linked which compares a bunch of them!

You will ultimately need to do your own research on the topic and make a decision on the product that makes the most sense for you.

I’d really love to hear your opinion! If you have any questions or comments please reach out using one of the methods on our CONTACT page and I’ll forward to hearing from you! 

Also, if you’ve enjoyed this article, or others on this site, why not use one of the share buttons at the top of this, or any other article on this site, and share a link with your tribe… I’d appreciate it!

I’ve Deleted Something … No Backup … What Now?

You have had people preach to you about backups, and you’ve always intended to have one, but now you’ve deleted something and “don’t” have a backup … what are your options?

© vizafoto - Fotolia

© vizafoto – Fotolia

Before we get started we understand that you’re likely a little freaked out at this point … very understandable. It is, however, vitally important you have a clear head and methodically think through the options available to you before jumping to conclusions.

Let’s start with the obvious and just get that out of the way first! After any deletion the first place we want to look is in the Recycle Bin (PC) or Trash (Mac). You’d be surprised how many people never look in those obvious places first.

Once you’ve confirmed that your deleted item(s) are not located here then you essentially have 2 options available to you …

  1. Software Based File Recovery
  2. Hardware Based File Recovery

Let’s look at each of these items separately …

Software Based File Recovery

This would be trying to use a piece of software to search your hard drive and, in some cases, find a file that’s been marked for deletion, and is no longer accessible, but the area of the hard drive that file was sitting on has not been reclaimed yet. In “some” cases certain pieces of software can be used to reverse the process and bring the file(s) back.

The key point to stress here is that this option would need to be tried immediately because once a file is marked for deletion and no longer accessible the operating system might re-use that space for a new file in which case the deleted file would be completely overwritten and, hence, gone…. so “time is of the essence” indeed…  You really want to limit the amount of disk activity on the machine at this stage.

A simple Google search of “software file recovery” reveals quite a number of both paid and free software file recovery tools available.

I would personally be a little wary of the free tools out there only because, as with most free tools like this, if you don’t pay for something you really have no right to an expectation in the end.

Many of the paid products will allow a trial in which case you’d be allowed to run a scan and possibly even identify that a missing file “is” accessible and “could be” retrievable and then you could pay the fee for the software and likely get your files back.

Do you research though (preferably on another machine to limit disk activity) and try to find some independent reviews of the software that look good to you and narrow it down before trying …

Hardware Based File Recovery

This is usually much more involved and often much more expensive than software based file recovery. This method is often used when a hard drive has crashed and the operating system no longer boots up.

If the hard drive is still physically intact and it’s just the operating system that has failed then you can go to any computer shop and ask them to recover the hard drive contents. They will usually remove the hard drive from the PC or Mac and install it in an external USB device and read the contents like any other external hard drive and grab the contents …

If the hard drive is not physically intact (e.g. when you turn the machine on you get a specific message about a missing hard drive or an inaccessible hard drive) then this is a whole different story.

In this case you need to decide just how important the data on that hard drive is. If you determine that you absolutely must get the data back at all costs then you would need to send it to a lab where they pull the drive apart physically and swap out whatever parts they have to try and get the drive back up and running again. If they are able to do that then hopefully they can get the data back for you.

If the hard drive needs to go into a lab for this kind of work it can often run into costs of $1,000.00 or more depending on the provider and how quickly you need it done.

Summary

This is some information to consider if you find yourself in this exact situation and I hope it’s been helpful .. please feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to me using my CONTACT page if you have questions or comments!

Are you exposed and at risk with your software licensing plan?

Many businesses will either wilfully or ignorantly turn a blind eye towards making sure they have proper software licensing in place.

© kentoh - Fotolia

© kentoh – Fotolia

Continually burying your head in the sand though, and pushing this to the sidelines, or failing to give this the priority it deserves, however, can leave your business exposed to serious legal and financial penalties so you want to give this subject some serious consideration.

Rather than think of this as a scare tactic, though, let’s take the time to look at the facts and consider this all objectively so, at the very least, you can be informed.

Not For Profit Organizations

Non-Profits, of all the types of organizations, really have the least amount of excuse for not having a proper licensing policy in place.

There are organizations out there like TechSoup (techsoupcanada.ca in Canada and techsoup.org in the USA) that are essentially clearing houses for software and hardware donations from a large number of vendors and it’s only for charities and non-profits.

Specifically as it relates to software, most licenses are available for a fraction of the cost of buying it via regular channels so there really is no barrier to having proper licensing practices in place.

If you are a not for profit organization or charity I would strongly advise you to sit down with your IT provider and have discussion regarding your software licensing strategy in light of the fact that organizations like TechSoup exist.

For Profit Companies

Unfortunately, if you are a for profit company, you don’t qualify to use the services of an outfit like TechSoup but there are some smart ways to save a few $$$ when it comes to your software licensing costs.

OEM Software (Microsoft)

If we’re talking about Microsoft software specifically you can save money by purchasing things like MS Office at the same time as you purchase a new PC. This is called OEM software and it’s much less cost than ordering separately from the new computer. The trade-off however is that you don’t qualify for attaching Microsoft’s Software Assurance to the product which essentially is a premium cost that allows you all upgrades that come along for a 2 yr period.

If you plan a fairly regular turn over of your PC’s/Mac’s though then perhaps OEM software is the way to go for you and you’d just have to get in the habit of buying new OEM copies of MS Office each time you purchase a new machine.

Open Licensing (Microsoft)

If you have multiple computers to buy for at the same time then perhaps Open Licensing makes sense for you. This allows a few benefits :

  1. Allows 1 license key to be used for multiple installs
  2. Allows certain free “at home” copies for each legitimate open license copy being used
  3. Allows you to add (extra cost) Software Assurance to the licenses thereby “assuring” you access to upgrades for a full 2 yrs after your purchase
  4. If you purchase software assurance (usually around a 50% premium) then every 2 yrs you can simply renew your software assurance for those licenses and get all upgrades for a further 2 years and start the cycle again … this ends up being much cheaper in the long run compared to purchasing all brand new copies each time.

Non-Microsoft Software

It will be impossible to cover each and every vendor here but check into each different company and see what kinds of programs they have in place for legitimately licensing their products. You might be surprised at how affordable some of the products are.

Here are a couple of examples :

Adobe for instance has their Creative Cloud suite of products where you can license just one product or get their entire creative suite for one low monthly price per seat.

AutoDesk is another one … they have a number of plans available where you can pay as you go on either a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis to make it more cost effective for the organization.

There are many other examples but companies will likely make it much easier than you think to legitimately license their products.

Summary

If you are a non-profit or a charity the extremely low cost of getting your licensing on board through organizations like TechSoup (mentioned above) virtually eliminates any barrier to getting your software licensing in order … you just need to take the time to schedule a meeting with your IT Person today and start the discussion …

If you are a for profit corporation/business begin by taking an inventory of all the software titles you currently use … then take a look at the number of licenses you actually own and can “prove” that you own and see what deficiencies might come to the surface. I would then check out the vendors of each of the titles you currently use and see what programs they might have in place like the Adobe and AutoDesk examples mentioned above and at least “start” the conversation of what it would take to make things legitimate and current.

The more informed and educated that you are the more “peace of mind” you create because at that point you at least know “what” the deficiencies are and “what” it will take to correct it … that’s the first step. The next step after that is working those costs into your budget so you can put the whole issues of software licensing to bed and move on to bigger and better things.

Companies like Microsoft are known to require companies to perform audits and report back to them with the current license counts in use vs. the license counts that have been paid for and then further require the companies to provide “proof” of ownership. I’ve seen companies get caught with this and then it’s literally a mad scramble to gather the information required and then an even bigger panic when they realize they are out of compliance and have a massive and “emergency” bill on their hands.

Why not get out ahead of this and start the process now so it’s done from a position of “strength” as opposed to a position of “weakness” … you’ll have greater peace of mind in the process!

Have a question or a comment? Please feel free to leave a comment here or head over to the CONTACT page and post a link to this post and a comment to your favorite social media channel!

It’s Late On Friday, Do You Know Where Your Data Is?

Stop right now and ask yourself this question … if your machine were to go up in smoke right this second would you know where all your data is?

© Brian Jackson - Fotolia

© Brian Jackson – Fotolia

Let’s begin by asking this question another way …

If you were to close the lid on your laptop or turn off your PC right now, do you have another way of getting access to all the data and files that are important to you?

You can begin by asking yourself the following types of questions!

E-Mail : Is your email just downloaded to your computer only? Or is it cloud based account?

Photos : Are all your photos sitting on just your computer only ? Are they also backed up somewhere?

Music : Is all your digital music sitting in iTunes or some other media player?

Documents and Files : Do all these files just live on your computer ? Are they also sitting in a cloud based file sharing service of some sort?

In the end I see it as a real balance between security and convenience

I work in a model where I have backups of everything but I also operate in a model where all of the files and email I work with are also sitting in the cloud … so … I have the “security” of having backups everything plus the “convenience” of having everything in the cloud so I can get at it from either my laptop or any of my mobile devices.

Other people may not need that kind of fluid access at all times and may choose to simply have a single machine and a system of backups for safeguarding their items.

You can systematically move through all the different major areas listed above (E-Mail, Photos, Music, Documents and Files) and go through this simple exercise. Turn the computer off and write out on a piece of paper “exactly” how you would go about getting access to all these items with your computer not being available!

If you can’t, with 100% certainty, answer the question of what you would do to get access to your files and data in this situation then it’s time to make a change and add some “peace of mind” to your life!

Please leave a comment below or, if you have questions or concerns about this with your own technology environment then feel free to reach out using any of the methods on my contact page and I’d be happy to interact with you!

What I Do and How I Can Help …

I’ve had the pleasure of providing business technology consulting and coaching now for the better part of 20 years and in those years I’ve had the pleasure of tackling and solving a broad spectrum of problems for businesses of all sizes.

Questions, we can help Chalk Illustration

©kbuntu – Fotolia.com

While each business is different, and each business encounters their own set of challenges, I’ve seen a number of issues, common to each business, repeat themselves.

This blog is being created as a way for me to share with you the questions that I keep getting asked over and over again as well as my answers.

Small or medium sized business owner

I want this blog to be a resource that grabs your attention and touches on questions you may be having now or contains technology topics that you’ve never thought of before but might be interested in. Think of this blog as way to start conversations!

IT Technician or Manager

You might find topics covered here that you are currently wrestling with in your existing IT Environment and we welcome you to use the information here to help you.

Technology Lovers In General

Peruse the topics covered in this blog and find something interesting and have fun learning. I know I have appreciated, over my years, the consultants that have crossed my path that have helped me discover questions that I didn’t even know I should be asking and I see huge value in this.

No one can possibly know everything, nor do I claim to be a consultant who does, however I’ve seen enough questions asked over the last 20 years that I believe there’s great value in putting this information down on paper so that others can benefit from it.

My plan is to put out a new blog posts at least once a week with a different topic of interest each time with more frequent posts to the my different social media properties …I’d love to hear from you as well so please feel free to leave a comment below or reach out using my CONTACT PAGE