Archive for Tech Tips for Business Owners

Sit Too Much? Build a Standing Desk

How much do you sit during the day?

If you have a standard office job, the answer might surprise you. You might spend the vast majority of your days sitting down.

And that, researchers are finding, is far from healthy. Consider a recent report from NPR. Researchers at South Carolina University conducted a study showing that men who sat more than 23 hours a week faced a 64 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who set less than 11 hours a week.

The good news

The message is clear: Get off your butt. Fortunately, you can greatly reduce your sitting hours by building a standing desk. A standing desk—which is exactly what it sounds like, a desk at which you stand instead of sit—is far from expensive. You can build it with cheap parts from Ikea. Here’s the recipe, courtesy of the Lifehacker blog.

The easy way

Need a simple desk for yourself? Lifehacker suggests building a standing desk with Utby legs. This will be a smaller desk, but it will give you enough room for a monitor, keyboard and laptop. For this desk, you’ll need a VikaAmon Top, Utbyunderframe, EkbyJarpen shelf and one set of Capita legs, all of which you can find at Ikea for a total of about $140. According to Lifehacker, you can put this desk together by simply assembling the main desk and platform with a screwdriver.

A bit more complicated

You can also use Ikea parts to build slightly more complicated wide standing desk, according to Lifehacker. Again, you can find the parts you need at your nearest Ikea: five VikaByske legs, two packs of Capita brackets, one Lack shelf and one VikaAmon tabletop. These items should cost you about $250. This desk will give you more space, for both your tech and your supplies. But it will be slightly more difficult to build. You’ll need a power drill. But don’t let that scare you. Lifehacker still ranks this desk as a ”medium“ in terms of difficulty.

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Soaked Gadgets? You Can Save Them

Have you dropped your cell phone in the toilet? How about letting that tablet slip into the swimming pool?

Do you know what steps to take to rescue your electronic gadgets from these watery graves? If not, you might be setting yourself up for heartbreak you don’t need. It’s true—you can often save gadgets that you’ve soaked.

Saving drowned technology

The tech website Gizmodo recently provided a good tutorial of what consumers can do to save the gadgets that they have accidentally dropped into bodies of water. First, and most important, you need to immediately shut off the device’s power.

As Gizmodo explains, it’s not the water that destroys your electronic toys—it’s the electrical shocks that the water causes. So if your device has a battery, quickly remove it. If it doesn’t, make sure to turn the power off and keep it off. Don’t be tempted to check to see if your device still works.

Other steps

Once the power is off, remove everything else that you can from your device. This means taking off back covers, removing SIM cards and taking off ear port coverings. As Gizmodo explains, there’s a good reason for this: You want to open up as many holes as possible in your device. This will allow water to dry up more quickly. It will also let more air into your device.

Next, vacuum as much moisture out of your device as possible. A vacuum with a small nozzle is ideal for this. Finally, it’s time to dry your device. Gizmodo has a surprising recommendation for this: Rice Krispies. Yes, dropping your iPad or smartphone into a bowl of dry Rice Krispies will suck water right out of them. After 48 hours, give your device a try. If you’re lucky, it might work.

Keeping it dry

Of course, better than rescuing an electronic gadget from water is keeping it dry in the first place. There are several options for this. The New York Times recently ran a nice feature ranking the various waterproof cases on the market. Such options as the LifeProof, Joy Factory Rain Ballet and Liquipel cases can come in handy if you’re hanging by the pool with your favorite e-reader.

Our advice, though, is simpler: Keep your electronics away from the water. It might be tempting to bring your iPhone to the edge of the swimming pool. But such a move might prove awfully expensive.

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MS Outlook – Additional Snooze Times in Reminder Window

Is it possible to add additional snoozing times to the Reminder window?

Yes and no. It is possible to snooze by a custom interval other than the ones that have been predefined (5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, etc…). However, it is not possible to have any custom snooze interval stay permanent in the list to choose from.

Type your snooze time

To set a custom snooze time in the Reminder window, simply type in the Snooze field. This can be any custom interval that you want in minutes, hours, days, weeks and even months or years.

You can also type a specific time that you want to be reminder on again. For instance; 10:30.

You can find more ways to quickly set a custom reminder without needing to do so time/date math in this Quick Tip: Quickly set dates with formulas and text

Snooze to a specific day

A feature I like about the Reminder dialog is that I can also snooze it to a specific day by just typing the name of that day. For instance, when I have a task that is due in about a month, I often do not know yet when I’ll be starting with it. I do know that I will do it in the week that it is due so I set my reminder a week in advance. Now, when the reminder pops-up, I usually know which day I’ll handle that task. To easily snooze it to that specific day, I simply type for instance “Wednesday” in the Snooze field.

This method is also great when you want to reorganize your left over reminders at the end of the week and set a new day that you will get your reminder to complete a certain task or to follow up on the flagged email.

Custom Snooze times in Reminder window
Type in the Snooze field for a custom snooze interval or reminder time.

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Beware – e-mail scamming is becoming more ingenious and dangerous!

We are sending this to warn you of this new scam.

This morning, I received a cleverly composed and very official looking email from Experian telling me that a “Key Change” has been posted to my account.

Many of us have learned to not click links on emails, especially on ones that look fishy. Many also know to hover the mouse pointer over a link to reveal the web address, which usually points to some spurious site.

Well, this email (screenshot below) looked very official. The link looked legit. And the message is psychologically powerful – something important happened to your credit and you need to look into it right away. How? The instructions tells you to click on the attached file. What a clever way to distract and get your guard down.

Pretty sure the attached zip file contains some kind of malware.

By the way, I went to Experian’s website directly and downloaded a free credit report. Nothing unusual was in my account.


Posted in: Business, E-mail, Security, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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Don’t Know What Toll Fraud Is? It Could Be Costing You Money

Cyber criminals are sneaky bunch. Don’t believe us? Just look at the rise in toll fraud, a scary new form of mobile malware that could be siphoning money from your wallet without you even realizing it.

The New York Times’ Brian Chen recently wrote an interesting, and frightening, story about this type of mobile malware. The story provides yet more evidence that though most cyber criminals are still focusing on PCs, a growing, and clever, group of them are turning their evil attentions to the growing smartphone and mobile device markets.

Toll fraud

Toll fraud is, as Chen writes, the most common form of malware targeted at Android devices. In toll fraud, cyber criminals snatch small amounts of money from smartphone owners by making secret charges to their phone bills.

Chen quotes a report published by mobile security company Lookout showing that toll fraud has the potential to trick a large number of smartphone owners. That’s because so many owners don’t carefully study their phone bills each month.

Because of this, they are likely to miss the small charges that toll fraud attacks levy.

A complex process

According to Chen’s story, toll fraud happens when smartphone users first download a malicious app that invisibly sends a text message to a service that uses a middleman service that has an existing relationship to the author of the malware.

A confirmation message is sent to the malware, which blocks it from the view of the smartphone owner. This message, of course, confirms the small charge to the user’s phone bill.

Once this undetected charge goes to the smartphone owner’s bill, the carrier takes its portion of the charge and gives the rest of the money to the service and the middleman. This means that the malware author eventually receives a piece of the charge.

A growing problem

Chen’s story quotes Lookout estimates that from the beginning of 2012 to the end of 2013, a total of 18 million users of Android devices might encounter malware. Lookout also reported that about 72 percent of the malware that found this year was of the toll-fraud variety.

What do these numbers mean? Only that smartphone users must be more cautious than ever. Cyber criminals haven’t yet descended on smart phones and mobile devices. But that day may soon arrive.

Read more at the New York Times:

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Boost Your Windows 8 Experience with These Peripherals

Windows 8 represents a dramatic change for Microsoft’s venerable operating system: It’s designed to work not just with keyboard and mouse but also with a touch screen.

But many users who upgrade to the new operating system will not be running Windows 8 on a touch screen. They’ll be relying on older computers that still operate the old-fashioned way, with keyboard and mouse controls. Then there are tablet users, users who run Windows 8 only on tablets are also not getting the full Windows 8 experience.

There are just some functions that run better with mouse and keyboard control. That doesn’t mean, though, that users who rely either on tablets or traditional computers won’t be able to take advantage of the many features built into the new operating system. They can. They just need to purchase the right peripherals. PC Magazine recently ran a story outlining just what these peripherals are.

Microsoft Wedge mobile keyboard

PC Magazine points out that the Microsoft Wedge isn’t just a portable keyboard. It’s also an essential tool to allow tablet users to get the most of the Windows 8 experience. For one thing, the keyboard offers a better typing experience than your tablet’s onscreen keyboard. Secondly, Windows 8 features are included in the keypad. Even the cover can become a tablet stand, allowing you to approximate the desktop experience.

Logitech T650 Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad

Want to access all those touch-screen features included in Windows 8 without having to buy a tablet or other touch-screen device? Try the Logitech T650 Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad. The product works so well that the editors at PC Mag have made it their top choice for Windows 8 computer mice.

Kingston DataTraveler Workspace

It looks like a USB flash drive, but the Kingston DataTraveler Workspace actually contains Windows To Go, a portable and bootable version of Windows 8. This means that you can bring the Windows 8 operating system—or at least the portable version of it—to the PC of your choice. Best news? It has a reputation for being safe and secure.

Read more at PC Magazine:

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Notable: The App You Need for Team Projects

Collaborating on team projects doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you have the right app. For a growing number of business people that right app is Notable.

Notable allows users to capture screenshots and send them to team members. These team members can then make notes right on the screenshots to further the collaboration process. Best of all? Notable is as easy to use as it is effective.

Constant feedback

Regular feedback is the secret to the success of team business projects. Whether you’re building a new Web site, designing a marketing campaign or creating a new company logo, the more input you receive from your fellow team members, the stronger your final project.

Nevertheless, collaborating can be difficult. You are often working with team members who are spread across the country. And team members are as busy as you, juggling several different projects at once. It’s no easy task to gather all team members in the same room at the same time. It’s equally challenging to get all team members to agree on a video conference or audio conference time.

That’s where Notable comes in. With this app, team members can provide feedback on screen captures whenever it is most convenient to them.


How multi-faceted is Notable? You can use it to upload individual screenshots, PDF files, PowerPoint slides, Photoshop pages or live Web sites. And you can set it to upload individual pages or a bulk group of screenshots.

Once team members have their pages, they can circle different sections and then make comments directly on those sections. This eliminates any possible confusion.

Best of all? Notable doesn’t clog your device’s hard drive. It exists on the cloud. Users don’t need software to access it and they can log onto their Notable accounts from any computer.


Notable comes in three different versions at three differing price points. The basic version, which is plenty powerful, costs $19 a month, Plus costs $49 a month and Premium runs for $99 a month.

Each version comes with its own quirks. All of them allow you to sign up an unlimited number of team members to your account and all allow you to capture as many screenshots as you want. You also get unlimited sharing with each version.

Check it out:

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The Seven Deadly Sins of Web Surfing

Web Surfer
In today’s increasingly digital world, there are many potential threats to the security of your computer systems.  Every PC connected to the Internet can be a target of:

  • Viruses (code that attaches to files)
  • RootKits (malicious software activated each time your PC boots up)
  • Adware (pop-ups; redirects web search results)
  • Phishing (email/fake websites designed to trick you into disclosing personal information)

There are a number of ways for the everyday PC user to end up with one of these problems on his/her system:

  • Visiting an infected website
  • Opening spam email or unfamiliar email attachment
  • Downloading “free” stuff – games, toolbars, media players, and other system utilities
  • Sharing file, music or photos with others
  • Installing mainstream software applications without fully reading the license agreements

Avoiding the above activities is an important first step toward keeping your computer systems secure, but here are seven other red flags you may want to pay attention to:

Have a good hardware firewall router. A good firewall is designed to permit or deny network traffic based on rules that you as the business owner can set according to your preferences. It functions to prevent unauthorized access while permitting legitimate communications to pass. When shopping for a hardware firewall router, look for one with Denial of Service (DoS) protection and that uses Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) to protect your network.

Keep your anti-virus/spyware programs updated. New viruses and spyware come out daily, so it is very important to keep your protection software updated. It should be noted, though, that it can take the software companies some time to respond effectively to the new viruses and spyware, so precaution still needs to be taken with email attachments and websites. Aim to update your anti-virus software daily.

Have an anti-spyware program. Spyware can be just as dangerous as viruses to your computer, as they secretly collect pieces of information about you. This can open you up to identity theft and credit card fraud. When it comes to anti-spyware software, update and run scans at least weekly.

Keep your web browser updated. Patches are coming out much more frequently for web browsers, so it is a good idea to update the software as often as they are available. Familiarize yourself with the built-in safe surfing features and tweak the settings to ensure a high degree of protection. Check for browser updates weekly.

Keep Microsoft Windows updated. Patch management is key to keeping your systems secure. Microsoft sends out security updates once a month on “Patch Tuesday” (2nd Tuesday of the month). These include patches for the operating system, other Windows components, and Microsoft Office, as well as Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender. Aim to run Windows Update every “Patch Tuesday.”

Don’t click on pop-ups. It’s shiny and pretty, and it’s making an enticing promise, but please don’t click on that pop-up! Even if the pop-up is from Adobe, Java, or another software company for some sort of update, don’t do it! Instead, go directly to the website to update your software.

Don’t click on a link in an email. This goes especially for emails from a bank, credit card company, or other financial service such as eBay or PayPal. By clicking on the link, you run the risk of sharing your personal information with the world. Don’t trust email links; instead, go directly to the website by opening a new browser session. The same goes for email from any social media sites.

John Kalli is the CEO of Trinity Worldwide Technologies LLC.  They are a Microsoft Certified Partner and Small Business Specialist serving the New Jersey market since 2002.  To inquire about their services and to see if you qualify for a NO cost, NO obligation assessment of your business’ technology, you can call them at 732-780-8615 or email

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Business Owners: Meet Big Data

Big Data Isn’t Only for Big Companies

Business owners are busy people. You’re hiring staffers, balancing your business’ budget, developing new products and creating marketing campaigns. You’ve even the person responsible for setting your business’ hours and scouting out new locations for expansion.

So you’re probably not thrilled that business experts are now telling you that you have to study big data, too, to gain a competitive edge. You might not even know what big data is—most people don’t. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not important to the success of your small business.

Defining big data

What is big data? John Weathington, writing for TechRepublic, does a good job explaining: Big data, as the name suggests, are massive amounts of fast-moving information. This information is free, but it serves a valuable purpose in the marketplace. Big data, if properly mined and studied, can tell you what your target customers want, what they lack and how much they’ll be willing to pay to get it. In other words, big data can tell you how best to run your small business.

Big data examples

Big data gives businesses, even small ones, a competitive advantage. CIO Magazine provides three examples. The magazine cites a financial firm that uses large financial data sets and data analytics tools to help their clients decide how to best plan their retirements. This, of course, gives this financial firm an edge in attracting new clients.

Using big data in your business

CIO also points to a company called Exmobaby that sells baby pajamas that include built-in biosensors. These sensors send health data from babies to their parents. You can bet that this use of data sets—the health information from the babies themselves—attract parents who want the best for their infants.

Then there’s the start-up Parchment, which analyzes databases of student information—everything from grade point averages to SAT scores to college-acceptance data—to help their clients, students, choose and apply for colleges. The edge that this company provides? It helps students apply to those schools statistically most likely to accept them.

Big data, then, helps both businesses and consumers. It helps consumers make better choices, and it helps those businesses who provide this data gain new customers.

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Square and Your Business: Match Made in Heaven?

As a small business owner, you want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to pay for your products or services. Square, a credit-card processing service designed for iPhones, iPads and Android-powered devices can help you meet this goal.

But Square, developed by Square, Inc., isn’t free. It will cost you every time you swipe a customer’s credit card through the tiny card reader that attaches to your smartphone or tablet. The question, then, is a big one: Are the benefits of Square worth the extra price you’ll pay on transactions fueled by it?

How it works

The Square reader plugs into the audio port of your smartphone or tablet. When a customer wants to purchase a product or service with a credit card, you simply swipe the card through the reader. Or, you can manually enter the credit-card number on your own. The app that powers this, Square Register, is free. You can download it from the App Store or from the Google Play shop. Once you do, you’re set to start accepting credit-card payments.

The biggest positive of Square

Square is incredibly easy to use. That’s why it’s perfect for overworked small business owners. There is no lengthy instruction book to pore through. There are no complicated installations. This is why Square has become so popular among business owners. A recent story in USA Today reported that more than 800,000 customers are using Square today. The system is also easy for consumers. With it, even the smallest of business owners can accept credit-card transactions. You won’t have to send your customers to the corner ATM for quick cash.

The downside to Square

There are the fees, though. Every time customers swipe their credit cards through your Square Reader, you’ll have to pay 2.75 percent of the transaction cost. If you have to manually enter your customer’s credit-card number, you’ll have to pay Square, Inc. 3.5 percent of the transaction. Entrepreneur Magazine in a recent review of the product also said that human customer support is shaky at best for the product.

Still, even with these cons, it’s hard to deny that Square has the potential to dramatically boost the efficiency of small businesses.

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