4 Reasons to Use Managed IT Business Services

As a business owner, we know that you have other things to do besides worry about information technology support and services. You may even wonder what’s the proper way to go about managed IT business services. But as our dependence on technology increases, so must the way we approach IT-related issues. Read more

5 Ways Cloud Storage Can Help Your Business

Nowadays it seems like everything is being stored in the digital cloud. From Apple’s iCloud for your music and photos to Google Drive for documents and spreadsheets, cloud storage is changing the way business is done.

For many business owners, the data that exists on your company’s servers is growing faster than you can store it. Internal servers are sluggish and get overloaded quickly by a large amount of data that is stored and accessed on a regular business day.

Cloud storage is an effective way to help solve the issues many businesses have with internal servers. From misplacing important documents to trying to share files, to large documents eating up minutes of your valuable time loading, servers can make you less productive at work. Thankfully, the professionals at Computer Troubleshooters have identified five ways that cloud storage can help your business get back on track with efficient digital storage. Read more

Scan URL’s from unknown sources

Got an email asking you to click a link? Not all lead to reputable site but Security Plus have came up with a good answer.

Using there browser extension it provides free checking of urls for viruses. It uses up to 64 different antivirus products and scan engines to check for viruses, or to verify against any false positives.

Features:
Powered by VirusTotal online service
Analyzes suspicious URLs with more than 64 different antivirus products
Facilitates the quick detection of viruses, worms, trojans, and all kinds of malware

 

Home page

For Chrome

For Firefox

For Opera

Excellent for when you have some clickbait – but aren’t sure to take it or not.

IT assistance on your schedule

Good Windows Habits To Have

A computer is a lot like a car, in that to get the best out of it you need to maintain it properly. You do not need to be a mechanic or expert to get the best life out your car. Similarly there are some simple checks and tweaks to get the best life out your computer.

Windows Updates.

Updates are essential to maintain your device and it’s software. These should be installed as soon as they are available or whitelisted for install. By leaving these languishing you increase your downtime when these pile up to be installed. Thus it’s better to schedule these in for times you don’t use the machine that let them pile up for when you really need it.

Driver Updates

Driver updates are usually not required if your machine is fairly new. However, in older machines that are discontinued models it can be necessary to keep the machine working. Programs like Driver Booster can help automate the task of finding and updating drivers.

Software Updates

After windows updates software updates tend to be the biggest pain. Going through all your installed software to find updates can take a lot of time. But there are easier ways to do this. Programs like Ninite, Secunia PSI and App manager can scan your software and ensure you have the latest versions installed.

Backups.

This is probably the least maintained task of all. However it’s essential if you don’t want to lose everything to a digital disaster. Windows 8 and above have a a feature called File History which like Apple Time Machine can automate this.
You can even backup online using OneDrive if you have a fast internet connection.

Mindful installing of software

I cannot count the number of times dodgy software downloads have caused a security or performance issue. While yes an AV is there to safeguard you against malicious threats, but it’s up to the user to be aware as well. Use reputable sites to download and scan attachments before downloading. Also, if installing software, read the windows carefully in case you’re installing bloatware with it.

Do not use default admin accounts

This can be a bad habit for some people. But unless you’re constantly doing admin work, you should setup your computer with a lower privilege account for everyday use. This will also prevent your whole system being compromised if the worse should happen.

Clear up clutter.

Internet Search history, caches, temp files… there is a whole plethora of files that are created by the system. Some need to be gutted out every so often to help speed up your system but also to save space. CCleaner is quick and efficient in this task and free as well. Clearing up all those shortcuts from your desktop too will speedup the computer. You may also find most of those programs can be uninstalled or moved to archive too.

Restart your machine more often.

You wouldn’t leave a car running all day even when you’re not using it. Similarly leaving a computer on standby does not do it many favours. You should turn off your machine when not in use or at least restart it once in a while.

What good habits do you like you like to give users on using their machines?

 

 

PDF repair and viewing

Files can get corrupted easily when transmitted online. PDF is among the most popular file formats. So has a lot of redundancy to enable restoring and extracting of data in worst case scenarios’

Adobe’s PDF reader tries to do a recovery when it cannot read the PDF. However you can also use Foxit, Okular and Evince to attempt recovery if Adobe doesn’t want to play ball.

If you still cannot read the PDF then there are free online services like PDFaid which can help recover your PDF.

Another option is to use a PDF to Word converter to extract what you can out the file in another format.

It’s only after trying these solutions that you need to consider specialist help.

Do you use free tools, or prefer to go down the paid route straight away?

Firefox Portable

Firefox is a great browser and also very popular. Unfortunately it also has a habit of occasionally messing up the user profile and causing problems.

You can reset your profile under Help > Troubleshooting Information.

However, If you’re keen on keeping things unchanged. Then you could instead use a portable version of Firefox from Portable Apps.

This has the added bonus of being able to carry around your Firefox on a USB drive. Use it where you want and all without reinstalling.

Do you use portable apps?

Android essential apps

Got a new Android phone or just want to cut down to your bare essential apps?

Here are our top recommendations

Facebook Lite 

Chows a lot less battery than the full blown app and takes up a lot less storage too

Twitter 

The standard Twitter app gives you a good interface with the platform without the bloat of other apps.

Instagram

For the selfie generation the Instagram app is as quick ad easy as the platform itself.

 

OneDrive

You can get 100GB for free and that’s more than enough for most home users.

Microsoft Office

Probably the best office suite on any platform

Pocket

Excellent bookmarking app which also lets you download articles for later offline viewing

Facebook Hello

A decent caller ID app. If you’re always getting nuisance calls then this can help cut them down.

Contacts+

This is a platform independent contacts management app. Useful if you have a large contacts list and need more functionality than the stock contacts app.

Airdroid

Can’t be bothered carrying around cables? Airdroid lets you cast to any screen connected to the same network.

Whatsapp

The go to app for free messaging and calling.

Camera Zoom FX

Most amera apps do not take full advantage of your smartphone’s camera. Not so Camera Zoom FX, which lets you customize the camera and the button functions.

ES File Explorer

The best file manager app on Android. You can move, remove and categories files on your phone storage much ease.

 

What are your essential apps?

 

 

Get Updated Android Features Without Root

Want the latest Android features on your old phone without root or custom ROM’s? Yep it’s possible, using the Google Now launcher.

There are a range of benefits. You can backup and restore app data without Root using the Helium app.

You can control App permissions without rooting from Android 4,3 and above. App Ops make it a doddle.

Native Clipboard  is a small app which makes the arduous task of copy/paste much faster and easier on Android.

Juicedefender and Greenify   are two of the best battery saving apps on Android. Not only do they make the task of hibernating unused apps easier. But you can enable almost every Android known powersaving tip with ease.

The latest browsers always have a few new tricks up their sleeve. Chrome and Firefox 42 are no exception. From tab queuing to faster loading pages.

The standard Android contacts and dialler apps are pretty simple. The newer versions of Google Dialler and Google Contacts add a lot more functionality. They need to be manually installed though.

Messaging has become a most popular means of communication than email. Google has an answer for this in it’s Google Hangouts and Google Messenger apps. Especially if you find Whatsapp tedious to use.

The Google Keyboard app is probably one of the best keyboard apps out there. It gives you features you would normally only be getting in paid apps.

Camera apps are a dime a dozen. But the Google Camera app gives you a lot of functionality in one app. Customization and simplicity of use are what make the Google Camera stand out.

What are your favorite stock Google Apps?

Farming habits that can boost productivity

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Farming is not something that comes to mind when we think of modern work practices. But not only is it the foundation to keeping a society fed. It’s also where productivity can mean the difference between success and failure. For the individual and a whole lot of others depending on that individual.

For the modern worker – be they digital, retail or anything in between – understanding some key concepts can help anyone understand their productivity. All with a view to self-improvement.

 

 

Routines and productivity.

Getting the routine right is one of the core fundamentals of farming and productivity. Planting, watering, feeding, etc at the right time and correct sequence. Simply doing it when you “have the time” will make for a poor farm as the weather and seasons will not be waiting for you.

Similarly. Reading emails, writing a blog, networking and everything else you find tedious but is necessary, needs to be done for a good functioning business. Setting these events in the correct sequence and making a routine with the correct time will go a long way. Not only in ensuring you’re doing it properly but also ensuring you’re getting the most out of them.

This way you’re also setting your daily goals. Also “interruptions” become less of a “spanner in the works” and more of distraction that can be dealt with quickly. You will also find your focus will become much sharper. Routines are what keep people going and making them productive ones is where your daily planning comes in.

 

Sleep and productivity

A good night’s sleep is probably the most obvious thing to a productive day . But there are other health risks to not getting enough sleep 

having a good sleep routine is a key factor to developing the focus and motivation during the day. This also equate to having more energy as a tired mind is as unhelpful as a tired body.

Thu understanding your body clock will help energize your day and improve your productivity.

 

Deadlines and productivity

Nobody likes deadlines. But just as farmers cannot choose seasons and the weather but have to work within them o it is with modern work deadlines. Where farmer have almanac to help them plan their tasks better. The modern worker can make use of software like Trello and Asana to help cut and plan their tasks.

Also, remember that collaboration and knowing when to ask for help, is key. It;s not about “passing the buck,” but rather, ensuring the work i getting done productively with the deadline.
financial management and productivity.

Being a farmer can be financially tricky as there are factors outwith their control which can ruin a crop or kill off a herd. However, financial planning and learning to be frugal are key to keeping productive. Splurging on the latest equipment may feel good. But it will also mean additional learning to fit it to your tasks and troubleshooting when things go wrong.

This will impact your productivity. Hence why understanding your essential equipment and keeping a handle on your finances to be able to deal with it is necessary. If the farmer’s tractor breaks down then he need to weigh up bringing someone in to repair it or attempting to repair it himself. All the while time is ticking and the deadlines draw closer.

 

Kawaii and productivity

a study from the from University of Hiroshima claims that after viewing cute images, we perform tasks requiring focused attention more carefully.

This improvement in productivity could be down to relaxing more instead of getting stressed over tasks. Sometimes a quick break and refocus is all that is required to “turn it off, and on again” in people. Thus having the right distractions can improve productivity as well.

Being creative and productivity

Looking at common problems, then trying to get insights to make their resolution easier, can be a good way to improve productivity. On a farm you would need to be a dab hand at fixing the odd fence or learning some tractor repair. Automation helps in many tasks too, such as automating managing a network for white listed patches.

This “freeing up” of time, means you can get more work done in less time. Reexamining processes to find quicker and easier ways to do them is pivotal to improving productivity. Automating processes where you can and being creative with the way things are done will help develop focus on important tasks as well.

 

What are your productivity tip?