Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wireless Survey Results

My walk down the main street of my town provided with interesting results which will be presented in the next month's Truro & District Chamber of Commerce magazine. Most businesses were running secure wireless connections. I was surprised at the number of wireless connections being used. I could tell that a wireless connection was a business because they named their router after their business name for the most part. Amazingly most of the unsecured routers were labeled as "linksys" for some reason.


I see two main problems:

  1. Some businesses still are not securing their wireless connections yet, and
  2. Businesses are naming their router connections after their business name.


Wireless connection, regardless of business or home use, need to be secured against outside users. Network names should no be named so that others can tell who are are reaching. In one blatant example, a family with an unsecured router even named their router connection after their family name. Talk about making it easier for others to take advantage of that connection.


So check out my article in the next month's article of the Truro & District Chamber of Commerce magazine and stay safe.


Alpha Computer

Checking Businesses for Unsecured Wireless Connections

The last little bit has been extremely busy with yours truly doing some home renovations. It's really different than working on a computer as you can well imagine. Last month I wrote an article for the Truro & District Chamber of Commerce and now, it is time to put together another article that will be of interest to business especially.


Today I am going in the main business area with my laptop and see how many business networks I can gain access to. When it comes to a wireless Internet connect, it has to be secure from outside intruders. If I can get onto your wireless network, I can probably access your network. I will let you know how I made out. Stay tuned to see if there are any businesses out there with an unsecured wireless router.

Alpha Computer

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Computer Safety Thoughts

Computer Safety in the Workplace

As a business owner, one of the headaches you will face is your computer.  Now the computer is supposed to be a helpful tool for your business.  They said it would save you lots of money in reduced paper costs and make your employees more efficient.  What many business owners fail to realize is that their computer could be a real serious risk to their business, if not handled correctly.


Imagine this as a business owner.  You are surfing the web for information and all of a sudden your screen goes funny for a second.  There is now a screen on the computer that is telling you that your computer is infected.  You start clicking everywhere to get rid of that screen, but it’s a real problem.  You finally get the screens shut down and think it’s all over.  That was close. 


Then all of a sudden you get a call from a business friend telling you that your business is now advertising Viagra-like products.  You are apparently now the poster person for some enhancement product.  As a matter of fact, all your contacts on the computer have gotten a “great” E-mail from you, and some are not pleased at all to say the least.  Your computer has been hacked and used to send out E-mails that you were not even aware of.  Your contact list has been compromised.  What has happened?  How could this have been prevented?


While you were surfing the web, you stumbled upon a web page that contained malicious code that downloaded unwanted programs onto your computer.  You were infected by a virus.  That virus redirected your computer to other web sites to download more garbage.  Then the unknown E-mails started happening without your knowledge.  You just violated the Privacy Act by unknowingly sending out your customer E-mail addresses.  Now your computer is a cess pool of viruses and the only fix is to wipe the hard drive clean.  There goes all your data, if you did not back it up before all this happened.  Computer repair shops see this everyday.  It’s a big part of what they have to deal with.


So what can you do to avoid this problem in the first place?  Computer safety just does not happen; it’s planned.  Let’s look at some of the things that we should be doing:


  • Update the Microsoft Windows Patches on a regular basis.  Hackers try to take advantage of security flaws that are not fixed on your computer.
  • Use up to date anti-virus and anti-spyware programs.  Find a good program and keep it updated.  Updates should come automatically, but you should check every now and then to make sure they are working.
  • Use a router with a built in physical firewall to keep things from going out of your business network.
  • Back up your files on a regular basis.  It’s not a matter of if, but only a matter of when.
  • Don’t be click happy and click on everything you see.  This especially applies to E-mail.  Those blue hyperlinks in the body of the E-mail might vary well launch a virus or some sort of malicious program.
  • Your employees could be your greatest risk to your network.  Make sure they understand safe computer practices and that they are following them.  There is a reason why and other sites need to be blocked in a work environment.  The media that they are using might be bringing in a virus that will wipe your network out.


It would be a good idea to have one person in the workplace put in charge of looking after the computers to make sure they are safe.  Education of employees is another good thing to put in place.  Don’t allow ignorance to be responsible for taking your computer down and putting you out of business.


Alpha Computer Training

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Adding Music to PowerPoint 2007

You can add music to PowerPoint to play across as many slides as you want. To do this do the following:

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Media Clips group, click on the down arrow below the speaker and select Sound from File.
  2. Locate the sound object you want and click on the Open button once you have clicked on the sound file.
  3. Select Automatically or When Clicked button for how you want the sound to start.
  4. Click on the Sound Tools contextual tab, go to the play sound button towards the left side and select Play across slides option.
  5. Click the Hide During Show check box to hide speaker during the presentation.
  6. Give your presentation a try. Tweaking may be required to make it run the way you want.
Alpha Computer

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Adding an E-mail Signature to Your E-mail

E-mails that are send out customarily have a signature at the bottom. But did you know that you can add them automatically to your E-mail without have to type anything? Did you know that you can create an electronic business card with all your business information at the end of the E-mail?


Well how do you add a signature? I will explain how to do this in Outlook 2007. If you have a different E-mail program, the setup will be similar.


In the Menu Bar at the top of the Outlook program, select the word Tools. From the drop down list that results, select Options. From the Options dialogue box, select the Mail Format tab at the top. In the Signature section, select Signatures button. From the Signatures and Stationary dialogue box, select the New Button. Now type how you want your signature to appear in the blank box below. Select Save and click on OK. Select OK in the Options dialogue box. Now open up a new E-mail to send to someone and the signature will be there at the bottom.


There are more fancy things you can do, but try this and see how you do.

Alpha Computer

Saturday, April 11, 2009

New Computer Training Lab For Alpha Computer

Starting this Monday, April 13th, Alpha Computer will be conducting computer training in the brand new "Gems Computers" lab located on Dominion Street in Truro, Nova Scotia. This will give me an opportunity to continue training Seniors, Businesses and those who need improved essential computer skills.


For those who are looking to improve or just to learn computer skills, you can check out what is currently being offered for training: Business Training and Personal Training. Get prepared for the future. Call today.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Be Careful What You Write - They Can Not See Your Face

With the Internet comes tremendous ability to quickly communicate with those around you, despite the distance. Unfortunately others can not see your face or catch your tone unless you are using video conferencing, for example. So you have to rely on text and how you put your words together to get your intended meaning across.


For example, all CAPITALS in an E-mail means you are screaming or upset. You could actually hit the CAPS lock on the keyboard and start typing in CAPITALS. You may say, what's the problem - I won't fix this, and send the message as is. Yet the receiver may think you are in a sour mood or worse, mad at them.


You have to be careful when you are joking so the the receiver knows that you are actually joking. Things like putting LOL (laugh out loud) or a smiley face :) can help the receiver know that this is meant to be funny.


So be careful how you type so that the receiver does not get the wrong idea.