April 19th, 2013

Computers are incredibly useful, however they are also complex beyond belief. This is made even more so because of the large number of confusing acronyms, words and terms. If you read tech blogs, or have friends/colleagues who are in-the-know, you have likely heard them mention overclocking and may have wondered what it is, and if you should be looking into it.

Here's a brief overview of overclocking.

Definition: Overclocking When it comes to most tech based devices, the processor (or CPU) is the integral component that functions as the brain of the device; it runs the show. The job of the CPU is to take instructions and input from all the other devices and components and execute them. For example, double-click on a program on your desktop and the CPU computes what to do with the mouse click (open the program), and runs the related code, which is shown as the program opening.

One thing many computer sales people talk about is processor or CPU speed. This is the number of instructions it can run in one second. These instructions are grouped together into one cycle, and one cycle per second equates to a Hertz. You may see computers that have 2Ghz processors, this means 2 Gigahertz or 2,000,000,000 cycles in one second.

Now, when manufacturers release a new CPU they design it to run at a standard, or optimal speed, and will generally limit it. This is done to preserve the life of the components, however there are often ways to break this speed limiter. When you raise the maximum clock speed, beyond the intended clock speed, you are overclocking it.

Why overclock? The main reason users overclock a processor is to make their computer or device run faster. By overclocking, programs will often run or open faster and the general operation will seem smoother. In other words, you can get more out of existing technology without paying to upgrade.

Are there any drawbacks? While overclocking will give you more power and speed, there are some serious drawbacks that make this option risky. The biggest being heat. As you probably have noticed, when you use some devices (say a laptop on your lap) for an extended period of time, they get warm. That's because the components of computers create heat, lots of heat. When you overclock, the processor works harder, thereby generating more heat.

Computers are designed to operate at certain temperatures and if this level is surpassed, the components can wear out more quickly or in extreme cases melt. This means that overclocking will cause your computer's parts to wear out quicker and will decrease the life of the device.

Should we overclock our devices? Did you know that you can overclock nearly anything with a processor? The most common are computers and new smartphones, especially Android devices. When you hear people talking about overclocking their device, they are almost always talking about personal devices.

While it's true, you will get a speed boost in the short run, overclocking will increase your IT budget in the future, because you will have to replace parts more often than is usual. Because most businesses tend to use their technology longer than personal users, any action that causes tech to wear out more quickly is not a good idea.

That being said, you can also do the opposite of overclocking. Underclocking is telling a computer's processor to run slower than it's designed speed. This will increase component life but decrease processing power, and could be beneficial for companies that have new computers and don't need intensive computing resources.

Before you take any actions however, it is best to talk to us, as we may have a better solution for you and one that will cost less.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Hardware
April 19th, 2013

Security_April18_BBusiness owners and managers have many concerns they must address on a regular basis, or at least be aware of. Some of security concerns revolve around fraud, more specifically email fraud. While this isn't a new concept, email fraud and scam occurrences are on the rise, and it is vital to know how to spot them.

Here's five tips to help you spot email frauds or scams.

Look at the email address One of the easiest ways to spot a fraudulent email or scam is by looking at the email address of the sender. Many credit card application scams use third party email services like Gmail or Yahoo. Some scammers go so far as to set up accounts in the name of the company e.g.,

Sophisticated scammers will actually try to copy the legitimate company's email account - a practice called spoofing. They will usually have a few changes like a missing letter from the address, or an extra . added.

The easiest thing you can do is look for the sender's site on the Internet. For example: You get an email from AMEX OPEN (American Express's small business credit card) and notice that the sender's email address just doesn't look right. Go to Google and search for amex fraud. You'll likely find the fraud page which tells you exactly how the company sends emails. If the sender is a smaller company, most of these will have email contact addresses right on the site, take a look and compare the two. If they are different, the email is likely a scam.

Look at the sender's website If you think an email is fraudulent, try looking up the website associated with the sender. Should you be unable to find the site, it's likely a scam.

If you find a website, click through some pages to see if there is anything that looks out of place. For example a website selling a new financial service has pages with Coming Soon or you get errors when you try to load the page. If it looks fishy, it likely is - delete the email.

It would also be a good idea to go to's Wayback Machine, copy and paste the website's URL into the The Wayback Machine Search bar and hit Take me back. This will bring up previous versions of the website. If you see that the site in question was something completely different a few months to a year ago (e.g., it is a financial services page now, but six months ago it was a page selling prescription drugs), chances are high it's a fraud.

Call them Many scammers will put phone numbers into emails to make them look more legitimate. If you are unsure about whether this email is legitimate or not, why not try calling the number? Many scammers run more than one fraud operating at the same time and may answer the phone with another name, or not at all.

Similarly, if you call a local number of a supposedly small business and get routed directly to voicemail, it's likely fraud.

Look carefully at the body of the message The body of the email can also be a great way to suss out email scammers and potential fraud. Because many fraudulent emails originate outside of the major English speaking countries, there will often be language that just sounds different from the way people write in your area. One great example of this would be a line like 'We wish to sell you a great product.'

You should also look for spelling errors, grammar mistakes or inconsistencies. While some fraudulent emails will have minor spelling inconsistencies, others will spell common words wrong. If you see mistakes like 'our product are a great deals', this should raise a warning flag.

Spelling and grammar errors are a part of business communication, so don't expect a perfect email from all companies, especially if you see that the company is located overseas. It's the emails with mistakes supposedly coming from companies in your area that should really raise alarm.

The sender asks for money or passwords It's kind of an unwritten rule that when sending out emails you never ask for a person's credit card number or account passwords. Banks, large companies and many social networks will never ask you for passwords or account information, credit card numbers, pin codes, etc of any kind over email. If you notice that an email selling something asks for you to reply with a credit card details so you can make a purchase, it's best to delete the email as it's likely a fraud.

Email fraud is a big deal, and unfortunately it will likely become even more common in the near future. This means you should be able to spot potentially fraudulent emails. If you think an email is a scam, it's best to just delete it immediately. Don't respond or forward it to colleagues or employees. If you need to let people know, write another email that describes the suspected email but has no links. You can also forward a screenshot to your colleagues or friends to illustrate the scam.

Looking for more ways you can protect your company? Contact us today. We can work with you to develop a security system that will meet your needs.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Security
April 4th, 2013

Security_April03_BIt can be argued what the most important invention of the last 100 years has been, but many would agree that the computer has to be among the top. These complex machines helped usher in the information age. Unfortunately, they come with a downside: Destructive malware such as viruses have become a major problem for businesses because viruses have been built up to such mythical proportions that many users simply don't know fact from fiction.

Here are five common myths about viruses that confuse people, and the truths associated with them. Before we delve deeper it would be a good idea to explain what a virus is.

A virus is a computer program that infects a computer and can generally copy itself and infect other computers. Most viruses aim to cause havoc by either deleting important files or rendering a computer inoperable. Most viruses have to be installed by the user, and usually come hidden as programs, browser plugins, etc.

You may hear the term malware used interchangeably with virus. Malware is short for malicious software and is more of an umbrella term that covers any software that aims to cause harm. A virus is simply a type of malware.

Myth 1: Error messages = virus A common thought many have when their computer shows an error message is that they must have a virus. In truth, bugs in the software, a faulty hard drive, memory or even issues with your virus scanner are more likely the cause. The same goes with if your computer crashes, it likely could be because of something other than a virus.

When you do see error messages, or your computer crashes while trying to run a program or open a file, you should scan for viruses, just to rule it out.

Myth 2: Computers can infect themselves It's not uncommon to have clients bring their computers to a techie exclaiming that a virus has magically appeared on the system all by itself. Despite what some may believe, viruses cannot infect computers by themselves. Users have to physically open an infected program, or visit a site that hosts the virus and download it.

To minimize the chance of being infected you should steer clear of any adult oriented sites - they are often loaded with viruses, torrent sites, etc. A good rule of thumb is: If the site has illegal or 'adult' content, it likely has viruses that can and will infect your system if visited, or files downloaded from there.

Myth 3: Only PCs can get viruses If you read the news, you likely know that many of the big viruses and malware infect mostly systems running Windows. This has led users to believe that other systems like Apple's OS X are virus free.

The truth of the matter is: All systems could be infected by a virus, it's just that the vast majority of them are written to target Windows machines. This is because most computers run Windows. That being said, there is an increasing number of threats to OS X and Linux, as these systems are becoming more popular. If this trend keeps up, we will see an exponential rise in the number of viruses infecting these systems.

Myth 4: If I reinstall Windows and copy all my old files over, I'll be ok Some believe that if their system has been infected, they can simply copy their files onto a hard drive, or backup solution, reinstall Windows and then copy their files back and the virus will be gone.

To be honest, wiping your hard drive and reinstalling Windows will normally get rid of any viruses. However, if the virus is in the files you backed up, your computer will be infected when you move the files back and open them. The key here is that if your system is infected, you need to scan the files and remove the virus before you put them back onto your system.

Myth 5: Firewalls protect networks from viruses Windows comes with a firewall built into the OS, and many users have been somewhat misled as to what it actually does, and that firewalls can protect from viruses. That's actually a half truth. Firewalls are actually for network traffic, their main job is to keep networks and computers connected to the network secure; they don't scan for viruses.

Where they could help is if a virus is sending data to a computer outside of your network. In theory, a firewall will pick up this traffic and alert you to it, or stop the flow of data outright. Some of the bigger viruses actually turn off the firewall, rendering your whole network open to malware attacks.

What can I do? There are many things you can do to minimize the chances of infection. The most important is to install a virus scanner on all of your systems, keep it up to date and run it regularly. But a defensive strategy like this isn't enough, you need to be proactive by:

  • Not installing programs from sources you don't know or trust
  • Being weary of any program that asks you for your password
  • Not installing any browser add-ons or plugins suggested by websites. Instead, download them from the browser's app store, or the developer's website.
If you are worried about the security of your systems and network, call us today. Our team of security experts can work with you to provide a plan that will meet your needs.
Published with permission from Source.

Topic Security
April 4th, 2013

Security_Feb20_BImagine you are in the airport waiting for a flight when you look down only to discover that your laptop is missing. This isn't a great thought, especially since many of us have important files and programs that we can't afford to lose. The problem is, if your device has gone missing, the chances of you recovering it are slim. The good news is that there is a possible solution that lets you track your device.

Prey is an Open Source - free - program that you can install on your computer or mobile device and track it when it's missing, or been stolen.

How it works First you have to download the software - from here - onto your computer (Windows, Mac or Linux are supported), and sign up for an account. You have a couple of options here: You can either sign up for an account with Prey and access a control panel through the website, or install it as a standalone which is recommended for advanced users as it requires some server configuration.

If you chose to go with the Web option you sign up for an account and install the software then register your main device along with extra ones like an Android, or your iOS device. Once you have downloaded Prey and linked them together, you are ready.

For mobiles, you can send these a text (from the Web Control Panel) which will initiate the established options you have pre-set for when your phone goes missing.

How Prey finds your device's location depends on the device. For laptops, it can turn-on your Wi-Fi connection and try to connect to the nearest access points. It can take the IP address of each Wi-Fi access point and from there get an approximate location - in some areas as close as 200 feet. On your phone, it turns on the GPS (if available) and tries to connect to Wi-Fi networks in range. These two combined can generate a fairly accurate location.

All this tracking information is sent to your inbox in the form of a report, which can be tailored to meet your needs.

What makes this program different from other similar ones is that it can be installed across multiple platforms and managed from one account. It's also free, which makes it even more attractive. There is also a Pro version which allows you to track more devices, for a monthly fee (USD$5 for 3 devices up to USD$399 a month for 500 devices).

Prey is just one of the many device tracking programs, and installing one may be a good idea, to give you a greater chance of retrieval if your phone or computer is lost or stolen. Do you use one already? If so, which one? If you would like to learn more about Prey and the other device tracking programs please let us know, we may have a great solution for you.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Productivity
April 3rd, 2013

BusinessValue_April02_BWhen it comes to operating a business, you are always walking a fine line, trying to balance costs and profits. This means you are probably eager to cut costs whenever possible. One area that has likely demanded a large investment is technology. The problem with technology is that it can be hard to keep costs at bay, especially when it breaks down.

Here are five ways you can reduce IT spending.

Backup everything If your business is like most other small to medium companies, the majority of your important files are located on one server or maybe a couple of computers. Technology doesn't last forever and the machine where you have your data stored on will eventually stop working.

When it does, you will have to replace it, and your files that were on it could be lost. The cost to recover them will be high. To minimize this risk, you should invest in a solid backup platform that runs on a regular basis.

Yes, this will cost money now, but would you rather have a copy of your systems and data from Yesterday which can be easily implemented when you have a problem, or would you like to pay to maybe recover year's worth of data? Backups will save you costs in the long-run, not to mention the stress they will help you avoid.

Have a strict anti virus policy The idea that your employees won't download programs or browser extensions simply because you tell them not to is like telling a child not to eat candy; they are still going to do it. By simply having computers and devices accessing the Internet through your network, you are at risk. If your systems are hacked or infected, you can face lost data, high recovery costs or worse.

How do you minimize the chance of malware infections and the risk of being hacked? Antivirus software and security solutions installed on every computer that can be run from one machine are your answer. This makes it easier for you or your IT partner to ensure all of your systems' antivirus software is up to date and scanning when it should be. This will minimize the chance of infection and keep costs down.

Document everything As your company grows, you will start to use more technology. Over time, it will need to be replaced, and you likely won't be able to afford replacing all your systems at once. This means that you will have to track down the systems, software, etc. that need to be replaced; which will take time and cost you money.

If you take steps to document all of your systems, computers, software, etc.; where it's located; when it was implemented; who is in charge of it, etc., you will be able to track things down quickly when needed, thus managing your systems better. This time saving measure will cut your costs.

Look into a CRM/ERP/HRM solution There are so many software solutions out there that can help you plan and run your operations. If you've been tracking employee data or planning using a simple spreadsheet, you could be getting more out of a tailored solution.

Solutions like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or even Human Resources Management (HRM) can help you spot hidden costs or even plan more efficiently, which will reduce costs well into the future.

Look for fixed-price solutions A major problem with all technology related systems is that predicting costs is nearly impossible. You simply don't know when/if an important piece of hardware will fail. This becomes even harder if you don't have expertise in tech.

One of the best ways to save money on IT costs is to outsource. Almost every IT provider offers flat-rate services that cover your systems and can ensure you maximize your IT investment. This makes budgeting for IT easier, as you know what your monthly costs will be. You can then focus on your business, and over time will see a decrease in IT costs.

If you are looking to cut your IT expenses, why not contact us. We may have a solution that will ease the budget burden.

Published with permission from Source.

April 2nd, 2013

Facebook_April02_BCommunication is an important part of business, and one of the more popular communication mediums is Facebook. It's hard to find a business that doesn't use the platform. If you have been using Facebook since its launch you will know that there are occasional changes that sometimes make it better, others worse. The company has recently announced changes to the layout of your News Feed - are they any good?

Here's an overview of the new changes introduced in Facebook's News Feed overhaul.

Bigger, more engaging content The biggest, most obvious change is that the new News Feed is wider. That's because the menu bar that traditionally has taken up the left-hand side of the window has been more or less removed. It's now a hovering bar that can collapse to the left-side of the screen. If you've seen the recent Android and iPad/iPhone layout, where you can press a button to see your friends menu, it's similar to that.

Because of the new layout, the content shown on the feed is now larger. This means larger images, news stories, events and maps. To better take advantage of this, it is recommended that any images you upload to your profile be around 600X600 pixels - no smaller than 200X200 pixels.

There is another change that could pose useful: When a friend or local business appears on a user's wall, they will see the entire Timeline badge and location if they have allowed it.

New feeds To get the most out the new layout, Facebook has also introduced a number of new News Feeds to explore. Before we get into the new feeds, it would pay to talk about how Facebook has become smarter. Over time, as you comment on posts or share items, Facebook will start to show recommendations based on your past activity. For example if you are sharing news about cloud storage, you will begin to see suggestions around other cloud storage posts, articles or programs that could interest you.

This new layout comes with a few different feeds that can help filter the content you see. The announced feeds are:

  • Music - Shows you posts related to the music you listen to. This likely won't be the most useful for the majority of companies out there.
  • Photos - Displays only photos that have been uploaded by friends or pages you like. This could be important, especially if you have a visual based profile e.g., restaurants. Because of this new feed, it would be a good idea to ensure you are sharing high-quality images.
  • Following - The latest news and information from Pages that you have liked. This feed could be quite interesting to companies, as it only shows Facebook Pages. What this means for most Page owners is that they had better be sharing good content, as they just became more visible.
  • All Friends - Shows the traditional News Feed namely everything your friends and Pages you have liked are sharing and commenting on.
  • Close Friends - This is a bit of a dangerous view for companies, as it will only show information posted by their friends. All business and ad-related content is not shown.
The same views across all platforms Finally, Facebook has noted that with this new layout, the News Feed will be the same across all devices. No more looking at a completely different News Feed on your phone or tablet. This is a good move, and should increase your company's exposure over time.

If you access Facebook on your mobile phone - Android or iPhone/iPad - you have likely seen the new changes, as the apps were updated in mid March and included the new mobile version of the News Feed. The company started rolling out the new layout on March 7 and has noted that the change will take place over a couple of months. Some lucky users may even have it now.

Looking forward to the new changes? Or, perhaps you are a little apprehensive? Why not contact us today to see how we can help you get the most out of any change Facebook introduces.

Published with permission from Source.

March 28th, 2013

BI_March27_BData: A set of values that belong to a set of items, is important to every business; it is largely useless in it's raw form though. Through the use, manipulation and analysis of data we get useful information that we can use to make decisions, gauge the health of our company or even tell how popular our Facebook Page is. While it is important, data can be hard to analyze without the right tools.

Here's a brief overview of five data analysis tools that you could use in your business.


One of the more common uses of data is to help a business manager make predictions. We all know predictions are among the hardest things to do. Enterprises hire staff and invest in systems solely with the aim of making predictions. If you're a small business, you likely don't need expensive software that is hard to use.

Enter BigML. How it works is you define and upload a set of data and format it. BigML will then take that data, help you to create a prediction model which you then can apply 'what-if' variables to and have it generate predictions. The site runs on credits; you pay for a set amount of credits and each part of the process - dataset, model and prediction - is worth a certain amount of credits. Prices start at around USD$6.50 for credits, which gives you 10MB of data, 5MB worth of models and 10K predictions based on this data.

Wolfram|Alpha's Facebook Reports

WolframAlpha is a search engine that collects data and uses algorithms to interpret it. One feature of this site is that you can develop reports, one of the more useful being Facebook Reports. You can access the report feature by clicking here. Alternatively, you can go to the WolframAlpha website and search for Facebook.

This report provides users with a glimpse into their Facebook Page's information. It provides you with information on who are the most active posters, how many shares/likes, etc. you get and other useful information in easy to read charts and graphs. The key here is that the report can show you how customers access your Page and where they come from. You could use this information to see what posts users liked and didn't like, and provide more engaging content.

The basic version of the report is free. More advanced controls and data analysis is available for USD$4.99 a month.

Many Eyes

Many Eyes is a data analysis and visualization tool developed by IBM Research. If you already have data sets then you can upload them to the website and use one of the many different visualization tools to create charts, graphs, etc.

A cool feature of this site is that it has the ability to analyze written documents. Say for example you are writing new content for your website, you can copy and paste the content and get a visual representation of the words you use, how you connect words, etc. If you have a set of keywords you would like to use for SEO and search purposes, you can manually compare them with the visualization. If you notice that an important keyword is missing, or not represented enough, you can go through and re-write the copy a bit.

Best of all, it's free.

Tableau Public

If you have an idea about Business Intelligence, or have worked with data on a regular basis and have sets that are structured, Tableau Public is probably the most powerful free analysis tool available for small businesses.

While powerful, it isn't the most user-friendly of options. To get the most out of this program you are going to need to know the basics behind data analysis. If you feel comfortable with the basics, you'll be creating dashboards, charts, interactive graphs, maps, etc. that look great and can be embedded on your blog or website. Oh yes, did we mention it's free?


Big data is all the rage these days, it's hard not to hear techies and data specialists talk about it. While it is an important part of many large businesses' data analysis practices, the truth is many small businesses don't need big data just yet. If you have simple data you need to analyze e.g., how many hours have your five employees worked this month? Why not stick with simple spreadsheets like Excel or Google Spreadsheet.

As long as you have data entered in a logical way, you can easily create graphs and charts that can help you visualize and analyze your data.

If you would like help establishing a system that can help you track and analyze your data, please contact us today, we may have a solution that works for you.
Published with permission from Source.

March 27th, 2013

Office_March26_BPresentations containing charts and graphs are a part of every business - some managers give presentations on a daily or weekly basis, while others do it once in a blue moon. The tool most business owners use to create and deliver presentations is Microsoft's PowerPoint. While PowerPoint is great, it isn't exactly easy to put a chart or graph into any presentation, or is it?

Here's how you can take data from spreadsheets in Excel and turn it into graphs and charts in PowerPoint.

Before you start

Before you can transfer data from Excel, you should take a look at the spreadsheet. If you have a ton of data and only want to take a certain chunk to make your graph, it would be best to copy and paste it into a new Excel workbook. This way, you can get the data from Excel to PowerPoint easily and turn into a graph or chart.

The key idea here is that you don't want to do a data-dump - putting every single number, most of which could be useless - into a slide. You want to take only the most relevant information from the spreadsheet. It's easiest to do this on a slide-by-slide basis, after you have setup the presentation outline. Copy the information only pertaining to that one slide. If you're not sure whether it will be useful or not, it likely isn't, so don't take it.

Create the graph/chart

Once you have only the data you are going to need for the chart, you can switch over to PowerPoint and go to the slide where you will put the chart. This can be done by:

  1. Clicking on the slide's body field - where you enter the main text of the slide, below the title.
  2. Selecting the Insert tab from the top of the screen and clicking on Insert Chart. Note: This will only work if the slide's layout supports Content. To change the layout of the slide, right-click on it and select Layout, then pick one that says Content.
  3. Choosing the type of graph that's relevant to your data from the window that pops up and pressing OK.
  4. Deleting the information in the dummy Excel spreadsheet that comes up by left-clicking and dragging over the content. It will be highlighted and pressing Delete will get rid of it.
  5. Copying and pasting the information from the Excel spreadsheet you setup earlier into the window in PowerPoint. Be sure to click on A1 before you paste it.
  6. Renaming the chart by double-clicking on the title above the cells.

You can click back to the slide to look at the chart. Often times the data will be opposite. For example, the date will show on the X axis, when it should be on the Y. If you click on the chart, and select Switch Row/Column in the ribbon above the slide, you will be able to re-arrange the information.

Time to format

It's highly unlikely that the graph you placed into the slide is formatted the way you want, or even optimized for your audience. Here are four tips to help you format it so it not only looks good, but can be seen when you give your presentation.

  1. Don't get too flashy - Yes, there are a large number and variety of charts available. No, they are not all good for presentations. It's best to pick a simple layout - stick with the classics: Pie, Bar and Line. Don't pick 3-D charts as they are hard to read and can confuse the audience. Also pick colors that can be seen. For example, light green, yellow, grey, etc. can hardly be seen on most projectors.
  2. Use big text - It may look big enough on your screen, but you can be sure it isn't going to be big enough for your audience. Use the biggest font size possible, and limit any explanation text.
  3. Remove Gridlines - But Gridlines make it easier to determine amounts don't they? Yes, on reports. But this isn't a report, it's a presentation, so it's ok to be general. Gridlines will just confuse your audience, and make graphs look cramped. Remove them by clicking on any grid line in the middle of the graph, and pressing Delete on your keyboard.
  4. Test it - Before you give the presentation, it would be a good idea to test the presentation on a screen that is similar to the size you will be presenting on. If that's not possible, get a colleague to look over it. They will likely be able to point some changes out - if need be.

Having attractive graphs in your presentations can go a long way in keeping your audience engaged, and it could increase the chances of your message sinking in. If you would like to learn more about how you can leverage PowerPoint or any of Microsoft's other programs in your office, please contact us today.

Published with permission from Source.

March 25th, 2013

Security_March20_BOne of the more popular debates about the Internet is who exactly owns your data and information when it goes online? Most of the information regarding this is held in the Terms of Service, which most people click and agree to without reading. The interesting thing about this is that web oriented companies usually update their policies on regular basis and often introduce changes you may not be aware of. With so many websites, it can be a chore to keep track of all these changes, luckily there is an online database that makes this easy.

Terms of Service for websites change on a fairly regular basis, and many of us simply have no way of knowing if and when such changes have been made, and what exactly has been changed. That's why a group of lawyers and professionals started Docracy. According to the website, "Docracy is a home for contracts and other legal documents, socially curated by the communities that use them." The company aims to make legal documents freely available.

Part of this site is the Terms of Service section which is a database of over 1,000 popular websites' Terms of Service and Privacy policies. It tracks them and notes when changes are made, and highlights these changes so they are easily found.

If you visit the site here, you can see a list of changes that companies have recently made, and clicking on one should give you basic change information. Clicking on See Full Changes will bring up the full doc with the recent changes highlighted.

Selecting See Full Directory will bring up every policy that the website tracks, and allow you to read them.

Is this useful for my business? Online law is very complicated, and many companies that run websites that you may have accounts with often don't make it easy for you to find legal contracts or policies. A good example of where Docracy is helpful is if you want to know who exactly owns your content stored on a popular cloud service. You can go to Docracy's database and quickly find the related Terms of Service. From there you can download the document and look through it, or view it on the site.

Basically this site can help you get a clearer picture on the various contracts you sign with websites, and how these websites plan to use your data. For many business owners, knowing exactly what other companies are going to do with your data can help you find a more secure solution. After all, being prepared with the correct knowledge is half the battle.

If you would like to learn more about Docracy, or how a change to a Terms of Service could affect your business please contact us today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Security
March 23rd, 2013

Hardware_March20_BThe computer is one of the most important inventions of the past century. While it is a magnificent machine, most users treat their computers like a black box. We know how to use it, but little do we know about what is inside. It's these components that allow us to communicate, run businesses and yes, even surf Facebook. As such, it could be beneficial to know a little bit about the internal workings of the modern computer.

Here's a basic overview of the seven essential hardware components of the modern computer that businesses rely on. These components are found in nearly every computer, and now many tablets and smartphones too.

1. Motherboard Think of the motherboard as the backbone of nearly any technological device. It holds all the major components of the computer, including the hard drive, processor, memory and peripheral ports like the USB. Most motherboards in computers, and to some extent laptops, are called expandable. This means that you can replace components as long as they are compatible. For example, you can take out a hard drive and replace it with another that has more storage capacity.

If you can't take parts out, you may see the term mainboard used. This term is usually applied to devices like TVs, washing machines, refrigerators, and so on.

2. Networking cards Networking cards, or network interfacing cards, may be separate cards or integrated into the motherboard. Their purpose is to provide a way for your computer to connect to the network and Internet.

Many new computers will have the network card integrated into the motherboard, along with other components. If you own a laptop, you can connect to Wi-Fi networks through a Wi-Fi card which is usually close to the outer edges of the device. Most desktops don't have this card, but you can purchase them if you want to be able to connect to Wi-Fi.

3. Graphics card A graphics or video card can come in two varieties - integrated or expansion. An integrated video card is connected directly to the motherboard and is usually found as a part of the processor. An expansion video card is a separate card that is connected to another part of the motherboard called an expansion port. The job of the video card is to create the graphics and images that can be shown on a monitor. Without one of these, we would not be able to visualize the data, and computers would be useless.

4. Processor The processor - also known as a Central Processing Unit or CPU - is the brain of the computer. Its job is to carry out the instructions of computer programs that are stored in the computer's memory.

The speed of a processor is measured in MHz or Megahertz. This measurement indicates how fast a processor can read electrical pulses. For example, a 100MHz processor can read 100,000,000 pulses of light in one second. As a reference, most mid to high-range computers have processors with speeds around 3.0GHz.

5. Hard drive The hard drive is where programs and files are stored. More traditional drives are called Hard Disk Drives (HDD) and are comprised of a series of magnetized disks which store the data. These disks spin under a magnetic arm which can read and write data.

Newer hard drives are called Solid-state Drives (SSD) and use electrical circuits to store data. These are much faster than traditional HDDs and are starting to be found in more and more computers.

6. USB ports The Universal Serial Bus, or USB, is a standard that covers a certain type of cable, connectors and communication. It is a standard way for computer components like mice, keyboards, phones, etc. to be connected to the computer. Nearly everything that is not a physical part of the motherboard or internal computer is connected using a USB connection.

The cool thing about the USB is not only does it allow you to use your computer as a communication device, but it also allows the connected device to draw electrical power from the computer, essentially transforming your computer into an electrical outlet. That's why you can charge your phone, or run an external hard drive simply by plugging it into your computer's USB port. This standard has become so popular that many computers now come with multiple ports - some with as many as eight!

7. Monitor ports Computers are great, but without monitors, they would be largely useless for everyday use. Monitors come in many sizes and varieties. Newer monitors can connect to your computer through HDMI or VGA ports. HDMI - High-Definition Multimedia Interface - is a newer format that can display high-definition images, while VGA - Video Graphics Array - is typically found in older monitors.

As technology advances, you will see fewer VGA monitors and connections in use, with many manufacturers offering monitors that only use HDMI.

This was just a basic overview of the essential components of a computer, if you would like to learn more about the machine you use on a daily basis, please contact us. We would be happy to sit down with you and give you a more detailed tour of the inside of your computer.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Hardware