Computers:

How to To Protect Yourself from Phishing Attacks

Phishing is an extremely common form of fraud that is similar to phone impersonation attacks that occurred before consumer Internet became widespread. Phishers set up websites that impersonate authentic webpages run by banking institutions, credit card companies, and a variety of other legitimate services. A victim might receive an email from this so-called institution, requesting the victim to update their profile information, change their password, or participate in a survey. The information the victim willingly provides online is then used for fraudulent purposes. Here are a few online browsing tips to keep in mind to avoid these types of attacks.

Check URLs

Before you click on an outgoing link on an email, Microsoft urges Internet users to first check the actual web address of a link before clicking on it. Phishers often use deceptive anchor text – the visible part of the link – to trick readers into clicking links in their email. If you are convinced that this website represents a reputable company, then you might feel comfortable enough entering personal information in this web form. You can check the validity of an URL by first hovering over the link. Scrutinize the URL – if it does not match with the company’s official web address, then do not click it. A few other red alarms include URLs with: number sequences, misspelled company names, non-traditional top-level domains (like .co at the end of an URL), and domain names that include gibberish.

Check HTTPS Security

Most reputable websites that require logins use a security protocol known as HTTPS. This prevents attackers from intercepting usernames and logins during the sign in process. Before you sign into an online account, examine the login page URL at the top of your browser. It should read “https://” before the web address. If you do not see this security protocol being used on a website, then double check the website address to make sure it’s authentic.

Keep Your Tech Updated

Updating your software and operating systems can prevent many current attacks. These patches often come with security updates that prevent current vulnerabilities from affecting your computer. Periodically run software and system updates overnight, so that it doesn’t interrupt your workflow.

If you are the victim of a phishing crime, contact the authorities and make sure you research and select a good attorney to learn about the types of recourse you have. Internet fraud can threaten your online accounts and assets, so it’s important to take action immediately. Before you click unknown links, be sure to examine URLs and security protocols.

Devices:

Use Digital Systems to Deal with Change Better

A resistance to change can ring the death toll for a business, especially if this stagnation occurs throughout your company’s culture. Savvy entrepreneurs understand that they need to be light-footed and adapt to survive in ever-shifting business climates.

Companies have to roll with the tide to accomplish their goals. Changes to team rosters, inventory, training, and office spaces shouldn’t disrupt operations for long. godigital

Here are a few digital systems that will keep you up and running during a major shift.

Computer and mobile device management

When you hire new employees, you’ll want to give them access to the devices and files they need to succeed. But when your staffing is in flux, how do you control who has access to what?

During layoff periods, your company should be able to deactivate former employee access with ease to avoid data liabilities. Your IT department can set up remote permission profiles through the use of computer and mobile device management apps.

During major staffing changes, IT should be able to make swift changes to user profiles, control data access, and secure mobile devices.

Inventory databases

If you’re currently keeping track of your back orders, inventory counts, and shrinkage, but still shipping manually, then your company should invest in an automated system. A dynamic inventory database will automatically adjust for transactions, counts, and orders.

Most of these systems play well with peripherals such as bar code scanners, which can make life easier in the stockroom.

Training materials

As companies grow and adapt, leaders should adjust professional mentoring to meet the needs of the business. But how do you implement change on a wide-scale basis?

Collaborative cloud systems can help mentors share documentation amongst themselves; that way, new training handbooks and materials can be rolled out at once. Having a single directory for training materials can be much easier to manage than multiple email drafts.

Unified communications

Let’s say that your company has grown so large that you’ve had to split a team across two offices. However, staff members in these locations still need to talk with one another and collaborate on projects.

That’s where unified communication systems come in. You’ll be able to talk, text, and videoconference with your colleagues despite distance barriers.

Keep your company’s culture flexible by adopting databases and digital systems to manage your office communications, training, data access, and inventory. These systems can prove to be indispensible to a successful and competitive company.

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last update: July 30, 2014

Electronics:

How to Get the Most Value When Shopping Electronics

electronics

It seems as if there’s a new electronic tablet or smartphone on the market every week, saturating the electronics industry with new apps and features to entice customers. Although prices have dropped dramatically for many devices, the more advanced processors still have high price tags.

However, you can go to several outlets to research and purchase a new electronic gadget for less than the retail price. Check these out!

1. Check coupon websites

When consumers visit Savor.co, they’ll find a list of potential coupons for various products. One of the best ways to secure a high-quality electronic device at a cheap cost is a coupon website.

Each one operates in a slightly different manner, but most require a login to participate. Consumers may need to rally their friends to create a bulk discount on a product, for example. These coupons offer substantial discounts that may allow you to buy that new electronic for as much as 20 or 30 percent off.

2. Buy used

Because an electronic device is used, consumers often turn away from a deal due to age or wear. Not all used items are heavily used, though.

Corporations typically update their devices once a year or more, and leave perfectly good electronics in the used bin. Take advantage of a phone or tablet that’s only a year old. Used items are heavily discounted and still have several years of productive use for little investment.

3. Comparison shop

In the past, consumers were forced to drive or call different stores to compare prices. Today’s technology allows you to use shopping apps to find the best price on a gadget.

Visit local stores to scan the product code. Prices swiftly pop up on the app to display all local deals. The price in the store you’re in could be slightly higher than in the shop down the street. Consumers save time and money scanning for electronics deals.

4. Get hands-on time

When you visit local stores to comparison shop, you can also get some important hands-on time. Although online shopping is convenient, you can’t wrap your hands around a camera or cellphone.

A device that looks perfect might not feel comfortable in your hand. Take some time to hold several devices, and try pressing buttons or icons. Manufacturers try to make each device ergonomic, but everyone has a different preference and hand size for electronic comfort.

5. Look at auction sites

Auctioning off electronics is still big business for online entities. Some sites request a login and bidding charges, though. Find out the site’s rules before you place any bids.

You don’t want to pay a huge amount with an automatic bidding option, for example. Stay in control of the bidding action and stop when the device is no longer worth it. Thousands of other auctions are waiting to start. Simply read the descriptions carefully to select a well-maintained item.

The electronics business will continue to expand as internal components grow faster and smaller. Become a savvy consumer and find smart ways to save through used sales and auctions. That two-month-old device at 50 percent off could be well worth it.

Electronics:

What Techies Can Learn from “Basic” Technology

It seems as if the disparity between blue-collar workers, such as mechanics and utility laborers, and the techies of Silicon Valley is getting bigger every year. But these two industries have a lot more in common than you might think. gadgets

At the heart of each is technology and innovation, though Silicon Valley has a stronger leaning toward electronic technology as opposed to old-fashioned nuts and bolts. If you recall that the old-fashioned variety is preceded modern technology, then it’s easy to see how the two can learn from each other.

For example, utility workers can boast of combined experience that’s decades longer than the technology industry. This is the industry that created debris caps to optimize safety and was literally “in the field” well before Intel sent drivers out to test rural Wi-Fi as its idea of fieldwork

Auto workers were doing test drives to ensure those Google employees got to work safely well before the Google car was a twinkle in an engineer’s eye. So what might be some of the rules and tricks of traditional technology that could transfer to contemporary high-tech?

Testing, testing

If you think a software engineer does a lot of tests, that’s nothing compared to the civil engineer who’s charged with ensuring that buildings and bridges are stable, or a utility expert who has to keep buildings safe in the event of earthquakes and other natural disasters.

The rules of testing, re-testing, and a triage system for getting as many eyes on a project as possible began in more traditional fields. Many mistakes were made in the beginning, because human lives were at stake, and the end result is that today’s engineers (in all fields) are fairly well protected when they’re on the job.

From the day the wheel was created, innovation has been the foundation of all specialties of engineering. There’s always room for improvement, whether you’re talking about a car or the latest smartphone.

There’s also a lot of overlap these days, with airplanes full of software and electrical engineering. The skill set necessary for all types of engineers, whether you’re in utility management or hardware development, is so refined that this is the reason they receive that hefty salary.

Back to basics

The greatest thing modern tech geeks can learn from their predecessors is that there’s no reason to re-invent the wheel … and safety always comes first. Look at the path that’s already been set down for you. It’s been tried and tested many times over the years, so take advantage of it.

Gadgets:

HTC Battles Low Smartphone Sales

There was a time when HTC showed great promise in the smartphone sector, but those days are long gone. The company has been struggling to reach smartphone dominance, or even level the playing field. In 2014’s first quarter, “deep losses” have been reported for HTC even with the release of the newest gen flagship piece. HTC lost over $62 million, making this yet another disappointing quarter. No matter what it tries, HTC can’t seem to keep up with Samsung, Apple and other big smartphone developers. htc-one-m8

This is just the latest of embarrassing quarterly sales for the company with the latest HTC One falling flat. Hopes were high that the newest model would make strides in rebranding, but delays kept pushing back the release and may have caused doubt to grow in the market. Unfortunately, it was released at nearly the same time as the Samsung Galaxy S4 which dominated phone sales in that period.

No turning back?

The first time HTC reported an actual quarterly loss was in October 2013 with a $101 million loss. For comparison, Samsung reached a record-breaking sales high of $9.4 billion at the same time, largely in part to a beloved mobile inventory as well as memory chips. With such impressive technology on the market from the best snoring solutions to video games, the smartphone industry still makes up a huge sector but battles for top billing are leaving HTC in the dust.

Co-founder of HTC Cher Wang stated in February 2014 that the company’s issues were that “we only concentrated on our flagship. We missed a huge chunk of the mid-tier market.” However, even if that is the case, it might be too late to fix those mistakes. In 2013, HTC released the HTC One Mini as well as the One Max, but these two devices and even the gold HTC One weren’t enough to take on the competition. The mid-range options such as the Desire 700 dual sim, Desire 500 (not available in the US, and the Desire 601 also fell short of sales goals.

The definition of insanity

Even with Wang’s confession, HTC continues to focus on flagship devices with the release of the updated HTC One, the M8. It comes with a brushed metal exterior, 1080p Gorilla Glass, and a five-inch screen, which garnered great reviews from PCMag. However, it’s still rivaling Samsung, including the recently released Galaxy S5 which is already insanely popular.

You can try out the M8 from all four major carriers, with prices varying by provider. However, if you’re like many Americans, another release from a different company likely caught your eye already.

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Gadgets:

How to Teach Children the Magic of Photography

 Photography is an exciting art form that has enchanted people of all ages for more than a century. Take, for example, the infamous Cottingley Fairies in the 1920s, when two children mystified the world with their imaginative photography experiment.

While the expense of photography and complexity of the chemical processes once prohibited most children — and even adults — from engaging in photographic experiments, the evolution of technology has made shooting photographs so easy and accessible today that any child who is old enough to hold a camera and push a button reliably is ready take up the hobby.

Cameras are now on the market designed expressly for children, made of rugged materials and featuring easy controls. In addition, once the camera hardware has been purchased, the expense is next to nothing, so long as the basic digital equipment to view the photos is already in the house.

Interesting ways that children are utilizing cameras

It really doesn’t take much encouragement to get kids to take pictures once they have a camera, but giving their interest a little direction can’t hurt. It’s natural for most people to photograph their friends as they smile and wave to the camera, or act silly.

Creativity in photography requires a little more thought, however. One way that you can encourage your children to explores the potentials of photographic technique is to organize picture scavenger hunts. A hunt can go beyond a simple checklist of objects the children have to find and shoot; instead, tell them to find situations or colors that encourage the child to put more thought into composition.

Encourage creativity in the young

Christine Dickson of the Digital Photography School suggests that contests are a great way to encourage and teach children about photography. You can motivate kids initially with the prospect of a piece of candy or trinket to win by competing for it, but once the child experiences the thrill of having other people look at and admire his or her photograph, taking pictures becomes its own reward.

Simple concepts, such as which photo is the most colorful, are easy for young minds to grasp, and help foster the creative process.

Important lessons to teach about photography

Darren Rowse of Digital Photography School suggests the most important thing to teach a child about photography is to experiment. Experimentation helps to expand the mind and encourages children to discover for themselves what works and what doesn’t.

This can mean anything from shooting from different angles, to photographing a subject at different times of the day to capture changing light. The main idea is to let a child explore how these changes affect the ultimate image, and thus avoid the natural impulse to photograph everything in the same way. Experimentation is what keeps photography interesting.

Photography is now such a staple of social existence that it’s become hard to imagine a world without it. Children often take the process and the skill involved for granted. But since photography has become so ubiquitous and commonplace, it’s perhaps even more important to help children understand the magic of picture-taking.

Computers:

Home Buyers Are Barely Hitting The Pavement Anymore

In the past, prospective home buyers contacted a real estate agent and started the process of visiting homes. Property after property was viewed and evaluated. At some point, the buyers decided on a home.

It might not have been the perfect home, but it felt good enough after doing all that legwork. Today’s age of online mortgage lending and home listings brings the real estate market into the home, however. Home buyers search for the right property right on the computer, and often find it.

Get pre-approved loan first

Buyers aren’t limited to their local bank anymore. If you go online, you’ll find many lenders looking for their next client. For most lenders, there’s no commitment to take the loan after a quote.

Simple information from the buyer is necessary for a rough estimate on maximum property principal and interest rates. One site can even have multiple lenders competing for a buyer’s business.

The lenders propose their best offer in hopes of winning the client. There are no awkward bank meetings or intimidating clerks. Buyers have a good chance at a perfect loan that fits their financial needs.

Earth view

As technology improves, buyers have a better view of the world than ever before. Specialized laptop, cell phone, and tablet apps and software allow buyers to look at a satellite snapshot of their potential new neighborhood.

Zoom in for a look at street level, from gorgeous park landscaping to unsightly vacant lots. If buyers are looking for a new property in a different neighborhood, a satellite view may give them a better look than a typical drive-by.

Access to statistics on crime and schools

A safe home another goal of buyers. However, it’s sometimes difficult to identify bad neighborhoods with one or two visits alone.

Several online resources offer statistical data regarding both crime levels and school performance. For example, buyers can find out about local sexual predators housed in the area, or last year’s robbery rate.

Alternatively, look up local school scores to find the areas with the brightest students. Schools with dedicated teachers, students, and parents often reflect a close-knit community. All these online resources provide another layer of information for a well-informed choice during house hunting.

Open houses online

Online property listings allow buyers to view dozens of homes in a day, without leaving their computer. As websites have expanded, each listing often shows photos of the living room, kitchen, bedrooms, and outdoor areas.

With more photos, properties have a better chance at a sale. Some listings offer a 360-degree view that gives buyers a look around the entire room. Descriptions of amenities, along with filtering applications, allow buyers to pinpoint the perfect property in a specific area. Once it’s found, buyers can ask their Realtor about visiting the property for a tour of the premises.

The online world has made it much easier for both buyers and sellers to find the perfect match. With the right descriptions and and photos on a reputable website, a beautiful home can really shine.

Gadgets:

Tech News for Dogs, Cats, and Their Owners

Science and technology have improved lives through uses both wide and varied, that have affected everyone over time. Recent scientific and tech developments have helped pet owners in a variety of ways.

One of the more interesting ways that tech companies are currently working with pets is in helping to improve communication between animals and their owners. One group that’s concentrating on this area is NSID: the Nordic Society for Innovation and Discovery.

The No More Woof device

One of the NSID’s more interesting innovations is called No More Woof. It’s designed to read your dog’s brain. While it doesn’t do much more currently than read basic thought patterns, it’s still able to tell an owner when a dog is thinking certain things, like when it has to pee or eat.

The gadget rests on the dog’s head and may soon be publicly available. No More Woof can currently be pre-ordered at prices anywhere between $65 and $1,200. The machine is far from perfect at the moment, but the NSID aims to create far superior models in the future.

Beyond the more entertaining aspects of the pet industry, medicine and health innovations for pets are constantly improving, which is always good news for owners.

The Improvements

A recent study is taking a closer look at Golden Retrievers because the breed has shown a higher-than-usual likelihood of developing cancer. The Morris Animal Foundation study is projected to last roughly 14 years, and with at least 1,000 Goldens enrolled, will be the largest of its kind ever. The researchers hope to make improvements in other areas of canine health as well.

On a less mortal note, the health of cats is also being looked at. While cats can be remarkably healthy for much of their life span, especially if they stay indoors, certain problems persist.

One painful issue for feline companions is tooth-related; it can involve teeth that break too easily. The condition is fairly common among cats and can result in multiple teeth having to be pulled.

The main problem here is that cats not only can’t show their human housemates the problem, but they’re inclined to hide and mask pain as well. So owners must figure it out or take their kitty to the vet.

Frequent visits to the veterinarian are the best way to combat these issues. X-rays taken at a pet clinic can indicate what we cannot see.

Technology is constantly seeking to improve the health and lives of people and their pets it. Whether you want to have a more meaningful relationship with your dog or your cat needs of medical assistance, we can expect great new developments in the future.

One thing remains constant, though: A pet has to be active to be truly healthy and happy. Making sure to walk the dog and play with the cat is as important as anything future technology might be able to offer. Whether in a group or alone with your pet, no man, pooch, or feline is an island.

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