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Earliest: March 17, 2003Latest: May 9, 2021Total: 178
May 9, 2021

Top Cybersecurity Mistakes to Avoid in 2021

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Cyber Security2021

Top Cybersecurity Mistakes to Avoid in 2021

With technology expanding by leaps and bounds every day, it's no wonder that small business owners want to make use of innovations that allow their businesses to thrive. Unfortunately, as reliance on technology increases, so do the risks. Cyber threats are a growing issue around the world, and without proactive measures, businesses face the potential for significant damage that could be irreparable. With this in mind, it?s critical for SBOs to take a proactive approach when it comes to cybersecurity.

Thinking You?re Not a Target

According to Microsoft, small businesses are at an exceptionally high risk of a cyber attack. 43% of all data breaches are committed against smaller companies. With an average loss of more than $180,000, many of these companies ? 60%, to be exact ? go under in six months or less after an incident. The single most important thing you can do is to accept that your business is at risk and take steps to prevent your data from becoming vulnerable.

Assuming Remote Employees Have a Secure Setup

Now that you understand the threat, it?s critical to be proactive. If your systems aren?t fully protected against security threats like malware, phishing attacks, ransomware and other issues, you could easily become the victim of a cyberattack that could bring your business to its knees. The best way to protect your company and your data is to have a strong IT infrastructure in place, as well as a disaster recovery plan that you can quickly execute in the event of an attack. Make a plan to partner with a data protection solutions company to protect your digital assets. The ideal firm offers a robust data management program with continuous monitoring and expedient disaster recovery protocols to ensure your assets remain secure.

Relying Solely on Antivirus Software

If you choose not to outsource protection, you may think that installing antivirus software on each machine is enough. It is not. Inc explains that antivirus software fails for a number of reasons. One is that it only tests for known viruses. Just as alarming, most companies forgo scanning because it bogs computers down. Another significant concern with trusting antivirus software is that criminals know how the software is written and they can design their attacks around it. While using antivirus software is a smart move, this must also be supplemented by things like firewalls and employee training, as well as teaching your staff how to recognize social engineering attacks.

Creating Weak Passwords

Bad passwords can negate monitoring, training, and antivirus software. LastPass explains that hackers can easily find passwords by using bots that test common combinations. ?Password? and ?12345? might be easy to remember, but these and other single words and number combinations are the worst possible digital lock you can put on your accounts. Create stronger passwords ? and insist that your employees and customers do the same, by having a different password for all of your accounts, both personal and professional. You could also use a password manager or create a long-form password that includes numbers, letters, special characters, and unusual spellings.

Understand that cybersecurity threats are real. Even if you are a company of one, if you have customers, bank information, or sensitive data, you are a target. Hackers know that you likely do not have the same financial and technology resources as large companies to protect yourself, and they can exploit all of your weaknesses. While the above will not guarantee that you won?t become a target, rest assured that failure to implement these and other cybersecurity measures will greatly enlarge the bull?s-eye and make you more susceptible to digital damage.

Image via Pexels

March 14, 2021

Mobile Apps and the Pandemic

How The Mobile App Development Industry Remained Resilient During the Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic changed the lives of many around the globe in an instant. The speed of spread and exponential mutation made the outbreak impossible to predict and governments and health organizations didn't have time to adapt. Some companies wound up in bankruptcy while others let some staff go to stay afloat. Many others resorted to remote work and relied on digitization to keep their companies running. However, the mobile app development industry remained resilient during the peak of the pandemic. How did it happen?

Mobile App Development

Digitization Became Essential

To cope with the disruption Covid-19 caused, individuals, companies, organizations, and the government moved to digital platforms to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Mobile apps took center stage as the number of globally downloaded applications per quarter doubled in five years. This reflects the powerful roles of apps as well as increased smartphone penetration in the market. There was a sharp spike in application downloads in the first and second quarters of 2020.

User Spending on Apps Rose Exponentially

By 2024, user spending on mobile applications is expected to surpass 171 billion dollars globally. The number is a result of the steady growth of 18 billion annually for the past 5 years. The impact of Covid-19 on spending habits isn't quite clear yet, but it appears that more people are spending money on mobile apps. It doesn't look like it is going to change in the next five to six years. So far, Google Play and Apple's slowest growing regions are estimated to see revenues that surpass their 2019 levels by 2024. In the next five years, different app stores are expected to reach milestones such as hitting $100 billion on user spending.

Mobile App and Web Developers to the Rescue

With a large number of people switching to digital platforms and mobile apps, the demand for app developers grew. They are needed to build platforms for easy communication and more responsive apps since physical offices are closed. E-commerce stores needed apps to get necessities in the easiest ways possible to people stuck indoors. Many countries have engaged these developers to create apps to ease the Covid-19 testing process. There are also fitness apps for others who cannot go to the gym. The apps help them to keep fit until they can resume regular life again.

Video calling apps also became more popular during the lockdown as families and businesses use them to keep in touch with staff. Chatbots also became essential for companies that could no longer take calls in the office. The chatbots act as virtual assistants and try to solve the problem of the customer to decongest the customer care line. Mobile payment gateway apps were also in high demand for stores that were not able to collect payment for services physically.

Developers Stayed Afloat by Providing Digitization Services to Individuals and Businesses

The mobile app development industry stayed resilient during the pandemic by providing essential services to other businesses and people that needed it most. Aside from creating apps that generate revenue, developers must test the apps before releasing them. Maintaining the app is important as well. Phone manufacturers upgrade their operating systems from time to time, so developers must also maintain apps to ensure that they are up to the current standard requirements of the app store. Obsolete apps are always deleted from app stores.

Some hard-hit companies like the travel industry have benefited from these apps as well. Contact tracing apps and other safety apps were introduced in 2020 to mitigate the effects on the industry. The pandemic heightened the need for systems that allow people to execute any operation remotely. Though the climate has been unpredictable, it is clear that the dependence on mobile apps for communication, commerce, education, entertainment, and shopping will continue to grow.

Conclusion

Mobile apps played a large role during the peak of the pandemic in 2020 by helping individuals to adhere to social distancing guidelines. In some cases, it also helped facilitate contact tracing. The most important role they have played is allowing people to keep in touch with colleagues, friends, and family. The mobile app industry experienced sharp growth due to the increased demand for digitization, and this move makes it a promising industry. If you are interested in mobile app development, you can learn more about how to become a web developer on Computersciencehero.com and Bootcamprankings.com.

March 7, 2021

30 Ice Breaker Questions

Ice Breaker questions are a great way to break the silence in meetings. They also help employees learn more about their coworkers.

We use ice breakers in our Zoom meetings to lighten up the meeting a bit. It helps lighten the mood a bit.

Ice Breaker Questions

Here is my personal list of thirty ice breaker questions. Feel free to use them in your next team meeting.

  1. What's your favorite hometown resturant?
  2. What store has closed that you wished you go visit again?
  3. What's your favorite movie snack?
  4. What's a useful Chrome Extension that you love?
  5. On your commute, what do you listen to in the car or train?
  6. What?s the best sports stadium that you watched a game from?
  7. What restaurant do you wish was still open from your childhood?
  8. What movie have you seen on opening night?
  9. Have you ever met a President or a top leader?
  10. Where is the best vacation spot?
  11. What food did you try once and vow never to try again?
  12. What was your first computer?
  13. Have you ever appeared as a background on a live news story?
  14. What is the most famous place you visited? (Whitehouse, Graceland, Buckingham Palace etc)
  15. Have you ever done a DIY project - how did it turn out?
  16. Do you remember your science fair project?
  17. Have you gone camping? If so where?
  18. Have you ever run a 5k, 1/2 Marathon or a Marathon?
  19. What?s a classic arcade game that you love to play.
  20. Have you inadvertently run into a former coworker?
  21. What is your favorite breakfast food?
  22. What do you like to do on a long flight?
  23. Have you ever gone to a book signing?
  24. What?s a good healthy snack that you would recommend?
  25. Have you purchased/sold something on eBay?
  26. Have you ridden on a Segway?
  27. What?s your favorite lunch meal at the beach?
  28. What?s your favorite ice cream flavor?
  29. What is the longest time you stood in line for a ride at an amusement park?
  30. Have you personally watched a Shuttle/Rocket launch?
December 6, 2020

Halls Christmas Tree Stand

This weekend I pulled out some old data CDs and DVDs. I was looking around at some of the files that I saved back in 2003. These disks are 17-years old and are at risk of soon being "expired."

CD-R, DVD-R, and DVD+R discs should have a life expectancy of 100 to 200 years or more. However, what is questionable is if the hardware will still be able to recognize the CD/DVD formating.

I found lots of digital photos, taken with my Fuji FinePix A303 camera.

Hall Christmas Tree Concord

Halls Christmas Tree Stand

I found a bunch of pictures taken at the Hall's Christmas Tree shop in West Concord. These were taken on December 6, 2003.

This past weekend we actually purchased a live tree, but not at Hall's in West Concord. Halls stopped selling Christmas trees in West Concord in 2008.

Toby Hall closed the West Concord Shop because he decided to retire.

If your a really big fan, you can visit the farm at 816 Douty Hill Rd, Sangerville, ME 04479. It's a 4-hour drive from West Concord.

Idylwilde Farms in Acton, is supposed to be selling trees from Halls Farm in Maine.

Now What?

I'll be moving pictures on the CD/DVD to Google Photos so that I can access them in the future.

November 15, 2020

Disney+ Error Issue

Recently we had a problem with getting access to the Disney+ on our Samsung Smart TV. We tried several things to fix it and got it working!

Disney T V Logo

The Problem

When ever we switched over to Disney+ we would get an error:

We?re having a problem. Exiting the App. Error Code: 1016 ? App_Config_Failure.

We search online for other people's solution to this problem:

  • We removed the App, and installed it again - That didn't do anything.
  • We shut down the TV, waited a minute and tried Disney+ - That didn't do anything.
  • We disconnect the power to the home Wifi to recycle the Internet. Turned on the TV, then Disney+ - That didn' do anything.

We also found that we were getting errors on our iPad devices too. The error was related to Error Code 83. (Which is great if you know what Error Code 83 means.)

The Solution

We finally gave in and decided to call Disney+. After being on hold for about 2-minutes, we talked to a technician about our problem.

He told us that our home IP address was marked as suspicious. That's why we were not able to get into the account.

He did some "Disney Magic" and told us to try again. (He probably just removed the suspicious tag on our IP Address.)

It Worked!

Having This Issue?

So if you're having any issues with Error Code 1016 or Error 83, simply call Disney+ to see if there's an issue that they need to fix. (This is true especially if you tried everyone else solution.)

Oh and Disney, please work on a better Error message than "Error Code: 1016 ? App_Config_Failure."

November 1, 2020

Zoom Background View

Like many Bostonians, I have been working from home because of the pandemic.

Since it looks like I'll be doing this for a while, I decided to fix the background on my desk. This is what it looks like this past week:

My Zoom Desktop

Some Interesting Notes

I'll be taking down all the Halloween decorations tomorrow, I just kept them up for one more round of Zoom calls.

Yes there's a real Macintosh Plus. I was able to boot it up. I just need the mouse to use it - which I do have someplace downstairs.

In front of the Macintosh Plus is the original 5G iPod. The battery doesn't work anymore, but if I plug it in, I can play the music that I added to the iPod. This is the Firewire version. So it only works on some of the computers I have.

Next to the computer is some standard floppy disks and some Zip Disks. I have a lot more in the basement. I am only showcasing a few items.

The Apple next to the Macintosh is from a tree in the backyard. It was the only apple to grow on the tree. This was strange since prior years the tree did yield plenty of apples.

The "Hillside Pumpkin Farm sign" (In the center of the picture) is something that I got at Knotts Berry Farm. I remember having this when I lived in California.

The black bear on the Macintosh Plus also came from Knotts Berry Farm. I paid $4.64 for it.

There's a lot of Haunted Mansion items on the various shelves. These will stay around all year long.

This is my Scandinavian Design desk. I have owned this desk since 1998. It looks very similar to the Gammel Desk, but mine is Cherry not white.

Update Your Background

Checkout your Zoom background. Is it exciting? Why not take a few minutes and spice it up so that it's exciting and interesting.

October 18, 2020

iOS Screenshot on Google Photos

Today?s quick tip applies to Google Photos.

Have you ever wanted to find a video screenshot that you have done on the iPhone? Maybe it was a Tick Tok video or some weather info.

How can you easily find it?

Well it turns out that if you search for rpreplay you will get all the video screenshots that you have taken on your phone.

Now it?s a bit easier to find that video that you were looking for.

If you take a lot of iPhone video screenshots, you can always add a date to your query. Example: rpreplay August.

As for regular iPhone screenshots, try IMG_ PNG for your search query.

September 27, 2020

Get Your Home-Based Business or Career off the Ground

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Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Resources to Help Get Your Home-Based Business or Career off the Ground

When you?re looking for more independence in your career, working from home might be the perfect solution. Many business ventures and career paths are well suited to working from home, so you have a lot to choose from. If you?re considering launching a business or changing careers, find ideas and inspiration that will help you below.

Challenges of Working from Home

For many people, working out of a home office sounds like a dream come true. While the flexibility and freedom are great, you?ll want to consider these potential drawbacks when deciding if it?s the right path.

  • Working from home can get lonely, especially if you don?t meet with clients or attend meetings. It?s important to find a way to feel connected whether you?re a remote employee, business owner or an independent contractor.
  • There is also a wide array of distractions at home, such as TV, chores and family matters. However, designating a home office space can help you stay on task.
  • Meeting with clients in your home office may be challenging. If your business idea entails working with clients, think about how you can maintain privacy and keep meetings professional.
  • Keep in mind some business ventures aren?t allowed in residential areas due to zoning regulations. Make sure you check the rules before getting too invested.

Career and Business Opportunities

Despite the challenges of starting a business or becoming a remote employee, it?s also rewarding. If you know you want to work from home but don?t know how to get started, consider these ideas.

  • Freelancing is a great way to get started since you can do it on the side of your day job to test the waters. You can start freelancing with nearly any skill, and once you see success, you can turn it into a full-time career.
  • Becoming a home-based entrepreneur is another great idea. Countless entrepreneurs start out of a home office because of the low overhead. And if your business takes off, you can always expand.
  • Alternatively, you can snag a remote job with a company that?s hiring virtual employees. Many jobs are perfectly suited to working from home.

Education and Training

Launching a business or entering a new career field sometimes requires a bit of prep before you can get started. Here are a few steps you might want to take to boost your chances of success.

  • Getting a business degree online in marketing, business administration, accounting or any other field can be a great way to build out your skillset.
  • Find a mentor to help you hone your business idea or launch into your new career.
  • Reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce to find business development centers or other similar resources to get your ideas off the ground.

Career and Educational Resources for Veterans

Veterans can benefit from using the same resources as everyone else, but there are also a variety of programs made just for helping vets launch a new career or business.

  • Look into scholarships and education grants that are available for veterans and active-duty military members.
  • Use career development resources from the VA to get started on a new path or find the training you need.
  • Use veteran-focused business incubation resources to fuel the success of your venture.

It can be intimidating starting a business or heading down a new career path, especially if you plan on working out of your home. Working remotely and running a home-based business isn?t easy, but hopefully, these resources can help you rise to the challenge and find success.

September 20, 2020

National Floor Direct

Recently we had our home office floor replaced. We wanted to remove the old carpet to a nice laminate floor.

We contacted several companies during our search - one of those was National Floor Direct. We had seen their commercials and thought that the price and next day installation was good.

Five Things We Learned

  1. Due to high demand they are not able to do the next-day installation. They were pretty quick to get a salesperson to visit but it would take about 3 weeks to do the install.
  2. The guy that came measured using a laser. We thought that was a cool way to get an accurate reading.
  3. We told them ahead of time of the floor style that we were looking for. The sales guy only had a limited number of options.
  4. He was able to show what the flooring would look like in our home via computer simulation. Designs that we liked didn?t look good once you see the pattern in the simulation
  5. We didn?t select them because of price - we did think they were a bit expensive. We didn?t like the limited options that they had. We had gone to a couple of other stores and they had a lot more designs to pick from.

One Final Word

The guy asked about the price and if we were in the ?ballpark? of our budget. We suggest a slightly smaller amount. A few hours later, we got a call that they were able to match our budget. I thought that they wouldn?t- seeing that they were pretty busy.

Everyone's experience with National Floor Direct might be different, just wanted to share our experience with it.

August 23, 2020

7 Interesting Websites You Never Knew Of

The internet is a wonderful place. So wonderful, in fact, that it tends to get a little bit overwhelming. An appropriate analogy would be to compare it to a vast ocean with numerous treasures, but even more dirt.

It gets really difficult to separate the dirt from the treasure. And most times, you get buried under the dirt to get to the treasure.

To get to the treasure faster and more easily, you have to know where to look. Maybe get yourself a guide, someone to point you to the buried treasures you didn't even know existed.

Why the elaborate metaphors, you ask? Because we're here to act as that guide; someone to point you towards seven buried treasures of the internet that you didn't even know existed.

Excited? We are too.

Interesting Websites You Never Knew Of

Neal.fun

Neal.fun is an absolute gem of a website. Maybe even quite literally, seeing as you get to discover gems underwater.

What makes this website so special is its ability to put you right in the middle of the biggest concepts in the world, and take away their seemingly abstract nature, making them more real to us in the process.

For instance, on one of its interactive pages, you get to traverse the depth of the ocean, discovering perspective along the way. You get a clear picture of the depth at which certain creatures can exist, along with submarines, and even the titanic.

Then there's the space exploration page where you get an immersive look at the heavenly bodies above us, their relationship with each other, and with us.

Camelcamelcamel.com

Camelcamelcamel is a website where you get to find out if, and when, there's been a price drop on any Amazon product of your choosing. All you have to do is select a product or multiple products, and the site does the job of tracking said product over time and alerts you once there's been a price drop.

You can also access historical data regarding price changes and discounts that have been available on the product in the past.

If used correctly, this little website can go a long way in helping you save those few extra bucks that tend to come a long way in the long run.

Asoftmurmur.com

Have you ever found yourself in need of extra motivation and all of a sudden a sound comes on and you're suddenly energized and raring to go? No? Well, all you have to do is head on to this site and you'll understand what we're talking about.

Asoftmurmur is a site full of ambient sound effects curated to play a number of roles including motivation, enhancing focus, or simply just being a source of pleasant distraction.

Among the available ambient sounds are drizzling rain, thunder, ocean waves, pleasant wind, fire, birds, crickets, and even white noise and radio static.

You.regettingold.com

Life moves by so fast and a lot of events happen simultaneously that it is incredibly hard, if not impossible, to keep track of everything. And that's where this nifty website comes into play.

At You.regettingold.com you get to find out all about the incredible stuff that has happened when, and since, you were born.

It provides the information with the aid of a well drawn-out timeline of noteworthy events till current time.

You also get a pie chart filled with statistics such as how many people were born the same day as you, and how many are still alive.

OFFEO.com

OFFEO is a video content creation platform with tons of professional video templates and intros. Oftentimes what set a decent video apart from a mediocre one are the little tweaks made at the post-processing stages.

OFFEO offers everything you'll need for that much-needed edge to inject a touch of class to both personal and commercial-purpose videos.

Haveibeenpwned.com

Haveibeenpwned.com is all about cybersecurity. On your part, you should do everything you can to keep your web credentials as safe and secure as possible.

Sometimes, though, the compromise doesn't come from your end but from a website you've visited, or from a service provider. And sometimes these data breaches happen without our knowledge.

This site solves this problem by letting you know whether your email has ever been compromised at one point or another.

Ncase.me/trust/

Ncase,me is an interactive website that explains the concept of trust through game theory. It offers a beautiful user interface, great sound, and a quite interesting game to booth.

The ?game? starts off with a curious story of trust in an unlikely place and then thrusts you in scenarios where you have to either choose to cooperate with your opponent or cheat ? each with its own different reward. The result is a fun, rewarding, and humorous experience.