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22 Feb What is a good password?

Hello, Today I'm going to teach you how to make a useful password. A password should be seen less like a word and more like a puzzle. Why? Because only you should be able to solve the puzzle that unlocks some of your most private information (ie Facebook, Email, Bank Accounts). It is in your best interest to have a secure, yet effective, password.

How to make a secure password There are a few basic rules on how to secure your online information when using passwords.
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19 Feb What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing You've heard this buzz word being used like it's the best thing since sliced bread. Well, it is - at least in the computer world. However, cloud computing has its advantages and disadvantages, which makes this a great discussion.

What is it?

Cloud computing is the sharing of software, storage, and information without requiring a physical location. Basically, everything is stored and available online, or commonly  referenced as "in the cloud."

Why does it exist?

A few years ago, it was commonplace to find only 1 computer owned by a person or even families. Because of this condition, we would store our documents, e-mail, and other information on this one computer. As the number of computers we owned or operated increased, we would store the information across two by copying things on both. This was starting to become additional work, but it was manageable. At the same time of this shift, higher speed internet started to become more widely available and it was even faster, and the amount of storage increased significantly while actually reducing in cost. This was the major reason why cloud computing, web applications, and almost anything with online infrastructure started gaining momentum. Today, we have to add higher speed wireless internet, smart phones, and tablet computers to the computing ecosystem. As a direct result, you have more devices than ever to put your information on, faster ways to access it, and more storage per device, but no unification or connection between them all. These have been key ingredients leading to the creation of cloud computing.

Advantages

Freedom The greatest advantage for cloud computing is that you can finally free yourself from being dependent on one device. We'll call this freedom. Freedom is when
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02 Feb Great backup software

Note: this is an extension of key points discussed in a previous posting titled "Your backup sucks!" If you want more background information on different types of backups and suggested methods, then please read that posting. Now that you have an external hard drive, it is important to avoid a big mistake that we see often: manually copying the information on it yourself. This is important because next week you'll have that dinner party, and the week after you have to actually get some work done. Oh, and 2 days later you might have some free time to dedicate 30 minutes to your backups. Face it, we're not always available to make sure backups occur on their own, and we shouldn't have to be. So we need some good software that can take care of that for us. Most of today's backup drives will already come with some form of backup software to facilitate proper backups on a schedule, however a good portion of these backup software don't work well. So here are a few, based on your operating system, that we know have worked:

Windows XP

Handy Backup

A free version of this software is available from here. Just download and install it, start it in trial mode, and get the free license key from their website and paste it into the program. This will allow you to use it for simple backups to your hard drive. If you need additional help setting this up, then please request it through our help desk. We offer free and fee based support, depending on your needs.
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27 Jan Your backup sucks!

[blocknote title="Backup 101"]The point of backing up your computer is to avoid losing your important information when your computer fails to function in any way (note: I said "when" and not "if").[/blocknote]

Living in uncertainty

The computer world is full of uncertainty. Especially when it comes to the stability and security of your data. Data is usually stored on a hard drive. Most hard drives will fail at some point - so it's not a question of if, but when. This is one of the biggest reasons to backup your data. If that doesn't convince you, then the next common problems will:
  • Viruses/Spyware attacks
  • Lost or stolen computer
  • Dropped computer
  • Electrical damage
  • Database corruption
Your backup method sucks Now that you know you should backup, it's important to address that your existing backup may actually be ineffective. We have talked to a lot of customers that assume they have a viable backup. They are wrong. Flash drives and CD backups are not good choices! A good backup plan accounts for ample storage, automation, and an occasional confirmation from you.
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