- Can of compressed air.
- Lint free cloth
- Cotton swabs
SAFETY ALERT: Discharge the static electricity within your body by touching the exterior of the tower while the three prong plug is still plugged in, but not turned on.Once you have done this, disconnect all the cords and power from the tower.
Step 1: Take your tower somewhere outside or in the garage, where the flying dust won’t ruin your wife’s fancy rug, and open the case up. You will probably just need to remove a few teeny screws from the back and then you can pull the cover off.
It’s important to have a backup system for your home network, to protect you from damage of theft, disaster, virus attack or computer failure. Home backup solutions provide users with peace of mind, much like data insurance.
Imagine, losing family photos, business records or other important documents.
Back up your network with CD-ROM or DVD-ROM
You can use compact discs to back up your network. If each computer doesn’t have its own drive, the files will need to be placed into a folder that’s accessible to the network. Burn copies of important files on a monthly basis. You can use the “detailed folder view” to see if a file has changed since your last backup.
This method gives you full control over which files are being backed up and discs are very inexpensive. In fact, if you’re using rewritable discs, you can backup your files to the same disc more than once. The drawback to this method is that people rarely remember to back up their system. If you’re working from home or rely on your computer heavily, you may need to schedule time on a weekly or monthly basis to back up your system. Very important files can be backed up on a daily basis.
For emergency backup of just a few files, email yourself a copy using a web-based email program like Yahoo or Gmail.
Backup Your Network to a Local Server (MUCH easier than discs)
A backup server, or Network Attached Storage Device is one or a series of external hard drive with lots of memory that everyone on your home network can access. You can also use one of the computers on your network for backup.
The good thing about this method is that each computer has access to the same backed-up copies of files, which can free up resources. Unfortunately, if the house burns down or becomes flooded, the local backup is in just as much danger as the rest of the network.
Remote Backup for Home Network
Remote backup sites pull copies of the files you specify and store them on a secure remote server. You can access your files online, by logging into your account. Registering for a remote backup website is easy
- create an account
- install the secure transfer software
- choose backup preferences
Shop around for backup services. Some charge monthly, others charge annually and still others charge according to your file transfer habits and disk usage. The benefit of these services is that they can be set up to perform automatic backups, without you ever having to remember to back up. The servers are located away from your home, so they’re not subject to the same natural disasters and, since the company is in the business of securing your files, they often have additional backups in place, in case one of their servers are compromised. Choose a reputable host that’s been in business for a long time and has a history of stability.
HDMI, or High Definition Multimedia Interface, is one example of how a single cord can change your life. Think I’m exaggerating? Think again.
- Never having to pay a cable bill again because you’re streaming online TV and movies right onto your big-screen TV, from Netflix.com, Hulu.com, Blockbuster.com or even just playing a DVD from your laptop.
- Forcing your neighbors to watch your vacation slideshow, just like in the old days – except the pictures are on Flickr.com.
- Playing World of Warcraft on your plasma TV. Or FarmVille, if that’s how you roll.
- Using your TV’s surround-sound system to play your iPod while you’re cleaning.
- Sitting on your couch and checking your email ON YOUR TV? (Surely someone finds that exciting, right?)
- Having HDMI-connected mini monitors in the headrests of your car, all pugged into your iPod or Blu-ray player, so the kids fall asleep on the way to Grandma’s house.
The HDMI connector is built into many digital cable and satellite TV receivers, DVD players, digital cameras, mobile phones, digital camcorders, game consoles, Blu-Ray players and ALL digital televisions made since 2009.
- Consolidation of HD video, audio, and datain a single cable
- Enables high speed bi-directionalcommunication
- Enables IP-based applications over HDMI
- Transfer speeds up to 100Mbps
The newest HDMI cables even support 7 different kinds of 3d images. Did you even know there were 7 different kinds of 3d?
Stop into Yakima Networking to learn more about HDMI and get help choosing an HDMI cable that meets your needs.
(pppsssssttt- about the price… we’re way cheaper than Best Buy. I’m just saying…)
If you’re using an old fashioned time clock to manage your labor expenses and a cash register to track your sales, you’re losing money. Period. This method may have worked in the past, but these days, a POS system for your business is designed to handle so many different sets of numbers and replace so many old-fashioned activities, you may be surprised what a point of sale system can do for you
Electronic Time Clock
With a POS System, your employees only need to touch the screen, enter their ID number and they’re clocked in (or out) You can put an end to things like
- punching in early in order to get paid more
Because Dinerware and other POS Systems can be programmed to not ALLOW early clock-ins, so your schedule matters to someone other than you
- working late or overtime without permission
Because your system can be set up to alert you about possible overtime, and late clock-outs can be set up to require a manager’s permission
Enter employee information into your POS System and create easy records that can be saved into a spreadsheet and transferred to your Quickbooks file, or sent to the accountant or payroll service. You’ll never have to spend another minute calculating timecards.
Easy POS Training for Staff
One excellent thing about touch-screen POS Systems like Dinerware is that they’re very easy to use. The software is customized to your menu and pricing. New employees can be turned loose in “training mode” to explore the touchscreen options, place practice orders and learn the system on their own. During training, costly mistakes can be avoided since the system has your prices and options programmed, just for you.
Easy Close-Out – Extreme Cash Accountability
Closing the drawer at the end of each shift is a lot easier with a POS System. Instead of rummaging through a roll of printed numbers, or checking to see if the green slips match the cash in the drawer, all you need to do is print an end-of-shift report and count the money in the drawer. Every order that’s been entered into the system will be counted in the report. Checks, credit card sales and cash sales will be listed separately, so there’s no more cross-checking and wondering if you counted right.
New Hires and Managers
Customizable permissions allow managers to void sales and require new employees to ask for assistance when redeeming coupons, or closing a sale. Staff with higher permission levels have access to sales reports, inventory tracking, employee files and other areas of the system.
If your kids are using any of Apple’s personal devices, like the iPhone, the iPod Touch or the iPad, take a look at the parental controls. You might notice that they suck. Users are given the option of creating a 4 digit passcode and then either enabling or disabling the Safari Browser, or other apps. What if you want to allow them to use the Internet, you just don’t want them accessing adult websites or explicit videos on Youtube?
Kid Friendly Browser Apps for iPod Touch and iPhone
In the recent Cnet article “Five Must-Have Apps for Parents,” Rick Broida recommends Mobicip. The Mobicip browser is designed to replace Safari It blocks naughty websites completely and works with iPodTouch, iPhone, iPad and Netbooks. So kids can still research for their homework assignment, access their email and online school assignments, but they can’t stumble into anything seedy.
Safe Eyes is another browser with built in filters to keep kids from accessing pornography on their iPhone or iPod Touch. With a price tag of $19.99, however, it’s expensive compared to the Mobicip. Reviewers at the AppStore complain that Safe Eyes won’t allow them to click on links or connect to the Internet via WiFi Hot Spots.
Installing a Kid-Safe Browser for iPad
To install the mobicip for iPad, visit the App store, search for mobicip and plunk down the $4.99 from your iTunes account, it’s worth it. Once it’s installed, launch the app and open a new account. From now on, you can log in from anywhere to block new sites or see the browsing history. To block access to Safari, you need to go to the “General” tab and “enable restrictions” then block Safari, YouTube and AppStore (unless you choose to just block Safari) the scroll down to Music Preferences and disable explicit lyrics. Then scroll down to movie settings and choose whether you want to block films higher than PG, Pg13 or R. Repeat for television shows.
By default, Mobicip blocks inappropriate search results and URL’s.
How to Remove Parental Controls from an iPad
Here’s the flaw; it’s easy to plug the iPad or Touch into any iTunes and click “restore device” to remove the parental controls. A tech-savvy teen might even replace your parental control code with his own, in case you pick it up to double check.
Another way kids can bypass the parental controls are “jailbreaking” and installing unauthorized apps like HidePod, which looks like a calculator, but is actually a gateway to hidden files. When a secret set of symbols are typed in, HidePod reveals explicit songs, videos and pornography that were previously invisible. The default passcode for HidePod is .8008. , but it’s easy enough to create a new passcode. Remember that there will be a decimal point both before and after the passcode.
As a last resort, visit the HidePod website and enter the device’s serial number, to see if there’s been an authorized installation of HidePod. An unauthorized, or pirated, installation, will be harder to find.
So perhaps blocking your teenager’s device might not be the wisest way to instill responsible browsing habits. You might need to <gasp> trust them. A little inappropriate browsing to satisfy a curiosity doesn’t mean a lifetime of deviant behavior. The best way to protect your teens might just be honest communication.
More importantly, what is phishing? There are a few ways internet scammers can steal your passwords, and that’s what phishing is all about. Just like real fishing, all they need is the right trick bait for the right kind of sucker fish.
Email Phishing Scams
Chances are, you’ve gotten an email from First Anytown Bank, alerting you that your account security has been compromised. In order to keep your account from being closed, or to keep your pending transactions from being sent back, it’s important for you to click here to log into your account right now.
The main problem with this scam is that it’s sent out to millions of people and only a small fraction of them will actually have an account with First Anytown Bank. The few suckers that fall for the trick end up being directed to a website that may look identical to the bank’s website. Hopefully they’ll notice in the address bar, that it’s not their normal bank website and close the page. If they proceed and enter their banking information, it gets saved in the scammer’s database and then they’re usually directed to their bank’s real login page, and feel much better once they see that their account is fine. Until a few days later when they see that all their money has been transfered to Dubai.
Text Message Phishing Scams
I recently got a text message telling me that my (nonexistant) account at the local credit union had been compromised and that I needed to verify information by calling an 800 number. I felt snarky and planned to call and give them a piece of my mind. However, the entire call-in process was automated, and quite impressive.
I was instructed to verify the last 4 digits of my Social Security number. The computer repeated them back to me for confirmation. While I waited to see if my SS# matched the phone number on file, I listened to a legal warning about the dangers of submitting fraudulent information. Never laugh with coffee in your nose, it’s painful.
Once their “security” system decided my phone number and bogus Social Security number were correct, I was told to enter my 16 digit bank card number. The numbers were accepted, even though I made them up. My expiration date and even the 3 digit (made up) security code on the back of my card were verified. Boy, was I relieved.
The system then thanked me for verifying my information, assured me that the credit union takes security VERY seriously, and gave me the (real) phone number to the bank’s security office. Imagine that. I wonder how many people fall for that scam. You bank will NEVER send you a text message to verify your account, nor will they EVER ask you to input your debit card information over the phone. EVER.
If you’ve ever accidentally spelled facebook wrong when trying to log in, you may have come across a page that looks exactly like facebook. Hopefully, you noticed before actually trying to log in. If, however, you were to enter your real email address & password into their fake login boxes, it would end up stored in their database and you’d be redirected to the real facebook to try logging in again. If this sounds familiar, go change your password right now. Phishers have been known to steal facebook accounts with the intention of blasting your family & friends with viruses or advertisements.
Any time you ever see anything posted from you, that you’re not sure about, go into your application settings and disallow access to the app. After that, change your password. Also, if you click on an application that seems to do nothing, or you visit a page that seems to do nothing… do your friends a favor and remove it from your profile. Just because 3 of your friends “liked” something with a cool title, doesn’t mean you need to perpetuate the potentially fraudulent application.
Other Facebook Phishing Attempts
See our facebook widget on the sidebar? It pulls information from our Facebook page automatically. When someone visits our site, they can “like” us from right here. It’s a good thing we’re the nice guys because if we were bad guys, we could use a corrupted widget that steals passwords. Just to be safe, when you’re visiting a site you “like” but don’t “trust” log in to Facebook from a different tab or window, then reload the page you’re on before clicking that “like” button. Or, when the login pops up, make sure the URL in the popup window begins with https://ssl.facebook.com/followedbyabunchofrandomlettersandnumbers, for security.
Paypal Phishing Scams
Paypal is a reputable Internet Bank that’s popular for online commerce. Almost daily, I get phishing emails about my Paypal account. “your Paypal account has been closed” or “re: merchant complaint 234567” or “Paypal fraud prevention alert.” Sometimes they’re impressive, using graphics similar to the Paypal website. Other times they’re not impressive, with words misspelled, bad grammar and bad punctuation.
You can help Paypal battle phishing by forwarding each one to email@example.com. If you believe that you really do need to log in to Paypal, don’t use the link in the email. Go directly to paypal and log in. If your account has any sort of alert status, you will be notified upon login.
Other Phishing Scams
Phishers are opportunistic. There’s been reports of Phishing attempts for every major US Bank, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo mail, gmail, MySpace, etc. If you work for a company who hires internet workers, you’ll likely get scammers phishing for those usernames and passwords, too.
Protecting Yourself From Phishing Attempts
If you fear you’re not observant enough to protect yourself from a phishing scam, there are other ways you can protect yourself. Be sure to take measures to educate your teenagers and the elderly in your life as well.
- Browser Plugins: Firefox and Google Chrome browser utilize plugins- external applications that work with your browser. Security plugins can stop you from visiting acebook.com instead of facebook.com or usbamk.com instead of usbank.com
- Your Firewall: your firewall will keep external programs from downloading files from your computer without your knowledge
- Your anti malware and antivirus programs will keep you from installing naughty programs that look safe.
What to do if you’re a victim of Phishing
Immediately change your passwords on the affected accounts. If your email account is phished, you may need to change every password on every account associated with that email. It’s very easy for a thief to download all of your mail, then search through account information and address book without you ever knowing. Once they know your email password, they can conceivably request password assistance from your bank and other institutions.
When you need computer help in Yakima, look no further than Facebook. The Yakima Networking Facebook page is set up with a discussion tab that can work as a computer help forum.
It’s easy to get answers to your computer questions from trained professionals. Sometimes you don’t need physical help, you just need a question answered, right?
- My computer works fine and then suddenly restarts itself
- My laptop computer works at home but won’t connect to the Internet at work
- My computer works, but it’s really slow. What happened?
- How do I install this keyboard? It didn’t come with a disk.
- How often should I defragment my hard drive?
- The picture on my monitor is shaky
- Can I retrieve files from my old laptop when it won’t even turn on?
What about you, do you have any computer questions? Where will you go when something is wrong with your computer? (Yakima networking) Who will you ask when you need a quick question answered? (Yakima Networking)
Bookmark the Yakima Networking Facebook page (must be logged in)
Keep your laptop battery charged longer, by paying attention to the power settings on your computer.
Some of the newer laptop batteries hold a charge for 9 hours or more, but the life expectancy of many laptop batteries can be under 2 years. What can you do to make your fully charged battery last longer?
Prolong your Laptop Battery Life by Adjusting the brightness of the monitor.
When your laptop monitor is set at its brightest setting, it can eat up more of the electricity stored in the cells. In fact, the light from the monitor is responsible for most of the battery power you’re using. You could have fifteen tabs open on your Internet browser and it will still be the monitor light that’s responsible for your battery dying, not your browsing habits.
Change your Power Settings to Make your Laptop Battery Last Longer
In a windows based system, click on Start > Control Panel > Power Options and check out the settings for Portable/Laptop power scheme. The settings can be customized as you wish, but they’re designed to turn off the monitor and hard disk as well as to put your system in standby or hibernate mode after specific periods of inactivity. Users who habitually walk away from the computer for prolonged periods throughout the day may want to change some of the settings. For example, while plugged in, the automatic standby and hibernate can be extended a few hours, rather than 20 minutes. While running on batteries, the settings should be fairly low, with the monitor turning off after just 5 minutes of inactivity and invoking system standby after as little as 15 or 20 minutes. Only you know how long you generally walk away from the computer, so these settings should be personalized, with an eye toward saving your laptop battery charge.
Save Laptop Power by Ejecting CDs and DVDs
Simply having a disk in the laptop’s CD or DVD drive eats up a considerable amount of power, even if the disk isn’t in use. If you need to access files on a disk, copy them to your hard drive before switching away from outlet power, to preserve the life of your battery. If you’re watching a DVD movie on your laptop, just keep it plugged in.
Unplug Power-Sucking Devices
When you’re trying to keep your laptop battery charged longer, don’t charge your iPod. Other external devices, like USB keyboards, a wireless mouse, thumb drives, and other fun laptop accessories you purchased at Yakima Networking shouldn’t be plugged into your laptop while you’re running on battery power because these devices use your battery’s charge in order to work.
As laptop batteries age, they begin to hold less power. While your new battery may hold a 9 hour charge today, six months from now it may only hold 5 hours and that charge will get smaller and smaller as it gets older. Before you invest in a new battery, consider also that the battery’s charger degrades over time, too. Yakima Networking distributes power cords and batteries. Stop into the shop to see which needs replaced before making unnecessary purchases.