Protect Your Data From The Breach Epidemic

Posted by admin on Jul 14, 2011

Taken from PC World Magazine, July 2011 Edition

In 2011 alone, tens of millions of users have had personal information exposed or put at risk in some way by data breaches at Epsilon, RSA Security, the PlayStation Network, among others.

The impact of a data breach depends on what information is compromised and what the attackers do with the data they steal.  If a breach is limited to exposing e-mail addresses, as was the case with the Epsilon data breach, the main concern it raised is the possibility of targeting phishing attacks.

If a breach exposes personal details such as names, addresses, birth dates, Social Insurance numbers, and driver’s license numbers, identity theft becomes a serious concern.

The worst case involves the loss of actual bank account or credit card numbers.  The attacker can use your credit card information to buy things or – with additional information such as your account password – drain your bank account.

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5 Ways To Keep Your I.T. Guy Away

Posted by admin on Jul 11, 2011

Why would I write an article that would make me lose business?  Well, a happy customer will be a long-term customer.  I would rather get you to spend your money on improving your equipment, than paying me to fix things you can prevent.

Rule #1 – Keep your computer free of malware and viruses.  Make sure you have a good antivirus program installed, keep it renewed & updated, and schedule a regular scan.  Sometimes you get a virus, even if you have done everything right – but at least give your computer a fighting chance.

Rule #2 – Keep your software patched.  Virtually every program – from Accounting Software to Windows – checks itself for updates.  When a program pops up a notice that there is an update – download and install it.  In most cases, these updates provide security patches and feature enhancements that will help keep your system safe.

Rule #3 – Keep your equipment clean.  Dust is public enemy number one.  Due to the nature of electronic devices, they attract dust.  Most computers have at least a few fans that move air through the system to keep it cool.  When dust builds up in the fans and heat-sinks, your system starts to run hotter, and won’t run as well.

Rule #4 – Protect your hardware. Make sure your system is plugged into a good surge protector, or better yet, a battery backup unit.  If your tower sits on the floor, consider placing it on a platform to raise it off the floor a few inches. That will help with dust control and potential water damage, as well as making the drives easier to access.   Don’t place your electronics where they could get wet, dirty or in direct sunlight.

Rule #5 – If you notice your system acting a bit strange, or you are not sure about installing a certain update, give your “computer guy” a call.  If you rely on someone to keep your systems running smoothly, then ask for their advice.  Why wait until there is a major problem, and you have time-sensitive tasks to complete?  Chances are, you can avoid a catastrophe buy keeping your I.T. guy in the loop.

If you follow these simple rules, you should be able to keep your equipment running problem-free and avoid costly emergency repairs.  Then, you can plan to invest in new and better equipment – a task your I.T. guys would prefer to help you with.

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RIM’s Blackberry Playbook: A Promising Tablet

Posted by admin on Jul 8, 2011

Taken from PC World Magazine, July 2011 Edition

Research in Motion’s Blackberry Playbook offers a convenient size and novel navigation, but its software can be frustrating.

In some respects, the Playbook is the most impressive tablet I’ve seen.  But native apps such as its browser have disappointing glitches, and its variety of third-party apps is limited.

The Playbook is compact and light.  Offering a 7-inch display, it can fit into a roomy coat pocket.  And its weight is just under 1 pound, which makes it lighter than the iPad2.  The Playbook is very easy to hold too.

There is a front-facing camera, as well as a rear-facing camera.  The stereo speakers offer the best audio output I’ve heard yet from a tablet.  Along the bottom of the tablet are three ports, for HDMI Micro, Micro-USB, and a magnetic rapid charger connection.

Powering the tablet is a 1Ghz dual-core processor and 1GB of memory.  It connects to 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, but a mobile broadband connection must wait until late summer, when RIM will release 4G LTE and WiMax versions.  The tablet has no memory expansion card slot.

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What Size Screen is Right?

Posted by admin on Jul 5, 2011

Taken from PC World Magazine, July 2011 Edition

A 65-inch 3D TV looks great – if you can fit it into your living room.  Before you choose between LCD, LED and Plasma sets, you need to determine the size of the HDTV you want to buy.

To determine the right size for your room, get a tape measure and figure out how far away you plan to sit from your screen once you have it in place.  You can find several Web tools, including this table on Amazon’s site, that show how to translate that distance into the correct screen size.

Choosing the most appropriate HDTV size is not an exact science, however, and people have very different viewing preferences.  Keep Amazon’s tool in mind, but go to a local store and stand the same distance away from your desired set as you would be when you’re home.

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