The world of tablets is definitely here to stay, but the one question that we get asked is, “What tablet is right for me.” One of the problems with answering this question is that the myriad of devices that are out there have blurred the lines between a true tablet as opposed to a touch screen laptop, not to mention the vast difference in memory, speed, performance, and size. Luckily there is only one question you need to answer to figure out the best option for you, “What are you going to use the tablet for.”
- If your primary goal is to play games and do some casual email/surfing then tablets like the Kindle Fire, iPad, or any Android-based tablet would be perfect for you. Although these tablets do have apps that are great for business, there lack of a keyboard and slower performance speeds mean that you won’t be sitting down and using one for a long period of time or to draft up a 10 page report.
- If your primary use of a tablet is to have more business functionality, but still want a small easy to carry device, then you would be better off looking at a tablet like the Microsoft Surface, Lenovo Ideapad, or Dell Latitude. These devices are more powerful and have the capability of running common Windows applications such as Microsoft Office. They still lack a full keyboard, but have options that give you keyboard inputs.
- If on the other hand you want the touchscreen interface but you also want the niceties and functions of a fully integrated keyboard, more inputs, DVD/BluRay drive, and more… Then you are looking towards a hybrid laptop (convertible). These devices operate just like a laptop, but allow you to convert/rotate the screen to also be used as a tablet.
The list of most common, and easily hacked, passwords has come out for 2013. The top 10 in this list are:
Now hopefully yours isn’t in the list, but we always hear that we need to create strong passwords, but never understand the exact reasons why, so here is some insight.
If you have a password of 6 characters or less and don’t have any symbols in the password, a professional hacker can crack that password in .0000224 seconds. Quicker than you can blink your eye. A password of 10 characters that includes at least one symbol would take that same hacker over 20 days to crack, and guess what, there aren’t too many hackers that are going to wait around for 20 days to obtain your password.
So check out our previous post on how to create a strong password, and make sure you aren’t a hacker’s next victim.
Sharing and storing documents online is definitely here to stay, and the crowd favorite seems to be Dropbox. The one question that people tend to overlook is “How secure are my documents on Dropbox?” Today’s Smartwire will help you to secure your Dropbox account as much as possible and provide insight on what should and should not be stored out there.
- First and foremost is that you need to make sure you have a STRONG password that is changed frequently. For Dropbox, this is one of the only forms of security keeping intruders away from your data, so it is imperative that you don’t use a password that can easily be guessed.
- Second, be careful with whom you share your data. Once you share data in your dropbox account you now have to not only worry about your security and password, but also theirs. So make sure you limit who you are sharing data to and remove them after they are done.
- Third, Dropbox actually has an extra layer of security that can be enabled called Two-Step Verification. Once enabled each time you access your account you also will get a text to your phone with an additional security code. Click here to learn how to set this up.
- Fourth, enable email notifications for your DropBox account. This will send you an email each and every time a new device tries to access data. Click here to learn how to set this up.
- Last but not least, make sure you don’t store any sensitive information out on DropBox. Even with the security measures listed above, nothing beats having your data in your two hands rather than someone else’s.
Somehow when we go to plug in a USB cable or device it never seems to fit and you end up flipping it every which way and then relegate yourself to crawling under your desk to ultimately look and see which way it needs to go. Here are a few tips to help alleviate you from this USB annoyance.
- First thing to do is take a look at the cable or device you are getting ready to plug in. Usually there is a little USB icon that looks like the one below. This icon should face up if your USB port is horizontal or face to the right if your USB port is vertical.
- If your cable/device doesn’t have the USB picture, don’t fret there is yet another way to get it right every time. The metal part of the USB plug has a seam running down one of the flat sides, as shown below. This seam should always be facing down for a horizontal plug or to the left for a vertical plug.
- Last but not least if there is a USB device or cable that you plug in quite frequently, I would recommend taking a permanent marker and marking the side that should be face up.
Hopefully these tips will keep you from climbing under your desk again.
Usually when we are talking about viruses we are talking about the electronic kind; however the Flu and other diseases are definitely making their way around this year. One of the largest culprits are the electronic gadgets that we use on a daily basis. Viruses can stay active on surfaces for a couple of days, and think how many times you touch your keyboard, mouse, phone, and other devices. Recent tests actually show more germs residing on your cell phone than a public toilet. Now I will stop grossing you out and provide you with a few tips to decontaminate your technology.
- The first line of defense is to be proactive, so keep some Hand Sanitizer handy and wash your hands frequently. If you have been putting off getting that flu shot, now may be the time to do it.
- Secondly – It would be nice to just put your entire desk in a giant bubble, but since it would be hard to do work that way the best thing to do is get some Lysol or Clorox wipes. You can safely use these on your desk phone, keyboard, mouse and desk surface. I would recommend using them on a daily basis during flu season.
- For the other electronic devices that are a bit more sensitive (i.e. smart phones, tablets, monitors, laptops, etc…), you don’t want to go at these with harsh chemicals. Go to the grocery store and get a few microfiber clothes. They even have some with antimicrobial properties. These will allow you to wipe away any germs and then just wash the clothes. You can also dampen them slightly for stubborn smears.
Christmas is just around the corner and we know how hectic these times can be so I thought for this SmartWire we would provide some great holiday tech tips.
- You may have guests and in-laws coming to stay with you this holiday season. We all know that they can be a bit nosy so make sure you set a password on your computer and log out. You may even want to setup a guest account.
- If you are purchasing a new computer for a loved-one odds are that it will come with Windows 8. This new operating system is a complete redesign and will take some getting used to, so here is a link on tutorials and changes for Windows 8.
- Got little kids in the house? Head over to PortableNorthPole and create a custom free video to keep their belief in Santa alive and their attitudes nice.
- Have a party you are going to and need a quick recipe, head on over to allrecipes and check out their holiday collection.
- Don’t forget the less fortunate. Donations to most charities can be made online, so head over to your favorite charities website and make that last minute donation.
Windows 7 introduced a lot of new shortcuts, features and enhancements including quick options to help with productivity. Today I wanted to introduce everyone to the “Shake” option in Windows 7. At any given time I have 10-20 windows open of various applications, but sometimes you want to quickly just view the one window that you are working on, so here is a quick way to accomplish this.
Locate the program/window on your screen that you want to bring to the front and simply click and hold the left mouse button on the title bar (i.e. the bar at the top of the window). Now with the mouse button held down shake the mouse back and forth. Voila all windows minimize except for the one that you are working on. Take a look at this video from Microsoft for a demonstration: Shake Video.
We receive calls quite a bit from users complaining about slow internet speeds, but after a little research we find that it is actually their browser that is slow and not the internet. The most common cause of this is add-ons and toolbars that are loaded with your browser. None of them are necessary for the browser to function and in the long run cause slow load and response times. So here is how you can check and disable add-ons and toolbars in internet explorer.
- With Internet Explorer open click on Tools on the Menu Bar at the top.
- Within the tools menu you will see an option named “Manage add-ons.” Click this option.
- This will display a full list of all add-ons and toolbars. You can simply go down the list and right-click and choose disable.
Now some of the add-ons you may want, such as flash, PDF, Java, etc…, but fear not, if something isn’t working after you disable an add-on, just go back in and right-click and enable it.
Happy Faster Surfing!
We often receive a frantic call when a client pulls out their laptop and tries to connect to a wireless network and cannot. Of course it always seems to happen at the most inopportune time. In a large majority of the cases the problem is caused by the wireless card actually being turned off. Nowadays almost all laptops have a button, switch or key combination that quickly disables the wireless card. When taking a laptop in and out of a bag this sometimes can get bumped or disabled. It is definitely a good idea to familiarize yourself as to where your wireless switch is. To help with this we have pulled together several pictures of common switch or key locations, so take a look below and see if you can locate yours.