Five Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 7 in 2011

Posted by admin on Apr 18, 2011

Taken from PC World Magazine, April 2011 Edition

Can we talk?  Based on the e-mail I receive every day, I know that a lot of people out there are still using Windows XP.  I can understand why; it’s like a comfortable old shoe.  Plus, XP is bought and paid for.  Windows 7 probably seems stiff and scary in comparison, and it’s not as if Microsoft is handing out free upgrades to the latest version of the OS.

That said, it’s really time to move forward – time to put Windows XP out to pasture.  Out with the old, in with the new.  If you’re an XP holdout, I hope you’ll trust that I’m not shilling for Microsoft here, but rather nudging you toward better overall computing.

Here are five reasons why I think it’s time you switched over to Windows 7.

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Build a Better Business Backup System

Posted by admin on Apr 13, 2011

Taken from PC World Magazine, April 2011 Edition

Everyone knows that storing records safely in more than once place protects a business, but many companies fail to establish backup systems that will keep them running if disaster strikes.

Unfortunately, it often takes a crisis – such as a natural disaster, a theft, or a system failure – to prompt a business to act.  But realizing that you need a new storage strategy can come more gradually.  Very small companies may be unprepared for success, relying on backup products that work well for individual c0nsumers but can’t adjust as several months’ or years’ worth of records pile up.

Many small and midsize companies are abandoning tapes or hard-disk consumer systems in favour of appliances that attach to a local network and beyond; others are adopting cloud-based services.

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Ged Rid Of Those Unwanted Electronics

Posted by admin on Apr 11, 2011

Spring is approaching, and it’s time to whisk away those dull, dark days of winter and celebrate the new season with a spotless home or office.  So, go ahead, open the doors and windows and let the fresh air guide your rhythm, but be mindful that you’re not just cleaning up, you’re freeing up space too.  Don’t simply dust over those old or unused items that have been sitting idle in your basement, storage room or garange.  Chances are that if you haven’t used them all winter, it’s time for them to go.  And let’s face it, that old television of DVD player isn’t going to fix itselft.  Use it, or lose it.

Unwanted electronics can take up unnecessary space in your home or office and research shows that four out of fice Ontario households have at least one item they want to get rid of.  If you can’t give them away, do the right thing for the environment and recycle them.

Electronics can contain hazardous materials such as batteries, mercury, lead, inks and toners, which must be properly  handled and kept from needlessly contaminating landfills in Canada or overseas.  Electronics also contain valuable materials, such as copper, aluminum and precious metals that can be recycled and used to manufacture new electronic products.

Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES) is the not-for-profit organization responsible for implementing an electronic waste recycling program in Ontario.  You can find an OES-approved drop-off location or event near you a, along with a full list of acceptable items.  You can be confident that these once-treasured gadgets are being safely and responsibly handled, but more importantly you can reclaim all that space in your home or office as well.

This spring you can rid your space of unnecessary clutter, breathe easier and do the world a favour: recycle your electronics.

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Six Tips for Banking Online More Securely

Posted by admin on Apr 6, 2011

Taken from PC World Magazine, March 2011 Edition

No guarantee exists that hackers won’t gain access to your accounts.  But following these six precautions will significantly lower the risk.

1 – Install effective security softwarwe and keep it up-to-date.

2 – Be careful of the email.  Someone may be phishing.  Always go to the bank’s website, and log in… never click a link in an email.

3 – Don’t log on if the page isn’t secure.  The URL should begin with https: rather than the more common http:.

4 – Use a strong password, using random strings of numbers and letters.  Avoid words or names, and don’t let your browser save the password.

5 – Avoid public networks.  Do not visit your online bank, a credit card company, or a retailer from any public WiFi network.

6 – Protect sensitive data using encryption.

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Send Your Parents a ‘Care Package’ of PC Videos

Posted by admin on Apr 4, 2011

Taken from PC World Magazine, March 2011 Edition

It’s tough raising parents these days.  Take it from me: My retired mom and dad are brilliant people, but they just can’t get the hang of copying and pasting.

Apparently they’re not the only ones, as evidenced by Google’s unofficial new Teach Parents Tech site ( It’s designed expressly for folks who want to help their parents (or anyone for that matter) learn computer basics.

All you do is complete an amusingly tongue-in-cheek form, the bulk of which involves choosing how-to-videos that you want to send to Mom and/or Dad (or other people in your life).  The site offers a few dozen choices, with topics ranging from ‘Copy & Paste’ to ‘Make a Blog’ to ‘Attach a File to an Email’.

Once you’ve completed the form, you can preview your “tech support care package” before sending it.  Teach Parents Tech is really ingenious.  I doff my hat to the “few folks at Google” who came up with the idea.