Tag Archive: computers


HackerToday’s post deviates a bit from the norm, but Techsnoop believes that small business owners should learn from the mistakes of large business.  Small business owners have thin margins for error so it pays to keep an eye on and learn from, Big Biz.

During the late 80s and early 90s, many employees explored flexible work options with employers to assist in balancing their work and family responsibilities.  One option was job sharing where 2 employees would share one full-time job.  Another was the ability to complete work tasks from home.  The work from home option required a solid plan on the part of employees where they could demonstrate responsibility and capability to actually be productive outside the office.

Once it was proven that employees working from home were actually more productive than those in the office, employers embraced this option on a larger scale.  Not only was it good for productivity, it allowed businesses to increase staff while keeping square footage overhead low.  A true win-win policy, work from home allows employees to accept smaller monetary compensation due to lower commute, lunch and wardrobe costs.  In a flat financial economy, both business and staff are able to reduce costs and exist on lower margins.

Fast forward to 2013

As more start-ups and small businesses use work from home policies to recruit top staff and keep overhead low, Yahoo bucks the trend and decides to eliminate this valuable policy.  The official word is that the productivity of some work from homers is low.  However, this “toss the baby with the bathwater” management approach has been proven to be unsuccessful.

When a business has under performing employees, managers need to directly meet with offenders armed with an objective list of actions that are not meeting standards.  A discussion then needs to outline the expected corrections, acceptable outcomes and results of meeting or not meeting the targets.  The manager then sets the target date for the improvements to be reached.

Should the targets not be met, the employee is let go.  Period.

When a company tries to correct individual behavior by imposing changes on an entire group, the employees who are not abusing the policy become upset and their productivity drops.

Those employees who in good faith, took a work from home position and are meeting and exceeding productivity levels, are being punished.  Even the most faithful will suffer from a morale drop and a feeling that they are being cheated or unfairly punished.  When employees feel they are not being equitably compensated, they will try to level the playing field by reducing productivity or other behavior.

No one likes to be group punished for the errors of others.  Yahoo, take note; this is a dangerous path.  Your superstar workers will be disgruntled and start looking to move to the competition.  Additionally, this move does not address the actual problem; low productivity of some workers.  Just being in the office does not raise productivity.  What actually will happen (Techsnoop predicts) is that the slackers will find ways to make their problems seem to be someone else’s fault.  Dissention will grow in the ranks and a toxic environment will ensue.

Lessons Learned

One way small businesses can keep their costs low is to use independent contractors whenever possible.  These freelancers require no benefits, pay their own taxes and are highly motivated to complete projects timely and professionally.  But if you are successful, at some point you will need an actual employee.  An employee is one whose schedule and duties are directed by the company and/or manager.

The ability to work from home, at least some of the time, can be a big selling point for a job with a company that has fewer benefits and lower payroll capability.  This nets you higher quality workers for lower wages.  Technology has made work from home jobs a great option for workers and employers.  Employers who choose to go backwards with options reveal a culture that will drive away the talented and creative workers needed to be successful.

Hacker“Aw, Crap”.  You may find yourself using this phrase or something stronger if your website or blog gets popular, and you find yourself hacked. Hacking can take many forms from phishing (spoofing your URL), to redirects where the hacker uses your site to direct traffic to their own, or spamming where the hacker inserts their own keywords on your site to boost their own Google rankings.
Google is aware of these tatics and will flag your site in search results if you are hacked.

DO NOT ignore these flags. Click the instructions and check your site for malware. If there is no malware, you may have one of the hacks mentioned above.

Since most bloggers are not web developers, Techsnoop has a quick and simple fix.
Find out when your site was hacked and restore all files from a date prior to the hack. Then change all passwords. Your blog and web host passwords. Make them completely different and stronger.  It is OK to write down your website passwords as long as you keep them offline and somewhere secure.

Techsnoop was recently hacked with a “Pharma” attack.  This code was placed in my site, invisible, but searchable by Google and making my blog look like spam (links & inappropriate words removed);

One italian study looking at the Levitra Online.. diagnoses of wall street. Representation appellant represented order to give Insight Into The Payday Loan Process .. them major pill viagra. As noted the size locations presence or by Generic Cialis Online .. dewayne weiss psychiatric pill communications. Service connection on and are addressed cash loan .. in treating erectile mechanism. Eja ..medicine of disagreement nod Viagra .. in adu ..problem? Isr med assoc j montorsi giuliana meuleman e ….Unsurprisingly a long ..in place by Cialis .. an ..devices have obesity. Effective medications it can be attributable to Viagra .. change your doctor may change. Thus by tulane university researchers published in july the secondary condition the two matters the arteries.

WTH?  My blog is on technology, design and movies.  But spammers use your search rankings to get their own increased.  Since Google is on to them, it doesn’t work long, but it makes your rankings suffer.

If you catch this right away, you can preserve your standings.  So,

  1. Search your sites every week and check your Google Analytics to make sure your site is not going down in the standings.
  2. Use the “remember your password” function of your browser so you are not typing in your password every time.  This makes them accessible to keylogger viruses.
  3. Scan your computer frequently to clean out any malware or viruses that may be dormant but sending out your information to hackers.

Because Techsnoop checks search rankings and Analytics every week and so only had this for one week.  Imagine if you are hacked and don’t find out for months?  The damage to your rankings would take months to repair.

So, as Techsnoop blogged earlier this week, Security is critical for small business.

Happy Holidays from Techsnoop.  If you are a freelancer or small business owner, you probably have an extensive online presence.  Take the holidays as an opportunity to review your security procedures.

Many small business owners treat their business security like their individual security.  This can be risky because the business has more online exposure than individuals and there are more people accessing records and clicking links.  If you sell online, my friends at Garage Sale Academy.com can give you great tips on selling safely.

We live in the age of the Cloud and most business is conducted at least partly through cloud-based services or applications.  These transactions generally happen smoothly with no issues.  But, one tiny mistake can cost you your business or online life.

According to Wired.com,

“Hackers are increasingly going after small businesses,” says Jeremy Grant, who runs the Department of Commerce’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. Essentially, he’s the guy in charge of figuring out how to get us past the current password regime. “They have more money than individuals and less protection than large corporations.”

This puts small business owners in the hacker sweet-spot for targeting.

Staying Safe

First, passwords.  Use a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numeric and special (if allowed) characters in all passwords.  Make sure they are a minimum of 8 characters long and use a different one for each site.  Yes, it is a lot of work, but isn’t keeping your business worth it?

Set up password reset information or questions with answers that are not published anywhere online.  If the information is published online, chances are hackers can look it up and use it to guess your password or have it reset.

Links are the gold standard for “phishers”, those emails sent from businesses you know (or seem like it) and have a link to click to log in to your account.  Get around this by NEVER clicking links in the emails unless you requested a reset or other information.  Always go into your browser address bar or your bookmarks to get to a site that requires sign in.

Delete employees or partners who have left the company right away.  They may not mean any harm, but having an unused profile with access to your records opens the door for hackers.

Change passwords frequently.  This may seem a no-brainer, but most small companies do not have a password reset system in place.  Also, have common passwords blocked from your system.  In the year 2012 the word “password” is the most used password online.

Finally, get and use the strongest firewall, antivirus and security software you can afford.  This is not the place to skimp in your business.  If someone gets into your accounts, they can completely destroy your data and your life.

Have a safe and prosperous year.

 

 

In the ever more crowded tablet market, Samsung has shoved another offering, the Galaxy Note 10.1.  Why, you may ask is this news?  Because they have added a split screen app to view content and take notes at the same time.  It also has an option to watch video and use apps at once.

Epic.  The ultimate work and play device.

Face it, other than entertainment, the purpuse of a tablet is to gather information on the go for later review or use.  The new note taking, and look-at capability makes the tablet into the Star Trek road warrior tool we have been waiting for.

CNET says this tablet will be available soon with a date to be announced in the next week.  While Samsung is aiming this tablet at the education market, the business users may want to take notice of the multitasking possibilities.

Let us know in the comments if this is the tablet you have been waiting for.

This is a tale of hubris run amok.  Apple has lost some of their glamour.

Massive patent lawsuits, manufacturing woes, public image hits, actual customer dissatisfaction and loss of focus have left the giant stumbling.  And now, their advertising is lame.  These commercials are not bad per se, but they lack the focus that creates genuine desire for a product.  They fail on selling the service aspect by depicting the potential customer as idiots.  But you judge.  Let us know what you think in the comments.

Firefox Logo

copyright Firefox

Web designers and developers have to work smarter and faster to keep up with new technologies.  The more great tools you have, the more efficient your workflow becomes and your productivity soars.  Mozilla’s Firefox keeps the tools coming to help designers keep on top and the latest is a doozie.

Firefox 15 (Nightly) allows you to test out various viewscreen sizes inside the browser window.  This means no more manually resizing your entire browser and losing shortcuts and menus.  Take a look and tell us what you think.

If you watched Avengers, you had to notice all the cool tech available to Tony Stark and SHIELD.  Glass slab computers and holographic interfaces responding to gestures were all over the place.

Now technology brings us one step closer to this being a reality with David Holz, creator of Leap Motion a motion sensing controller for all PCs and Macs.  Business Week’s profile describes Mr. Holz as a genius level inventor with impressive credentials for someone only According to CNET, the device will retail for about $70.

Let me know what you think.  See you in the Future!

A few weeks ago Techsnoop had the joy of trying to help someone enable their wireless internet on a Compaq CQ56.  This unit has a function key that theoretically turns the wireless service on or off.  However, holding down the function key and pressing the wireless key does nothing.

By accident (holding down function plus other keys and hitting the wireless key), I discovered that you need to hold down the function and alt key while tapping the wireless key. There is no documentation on this glitch.

So for everyone who is about to smash their CQ56, here is the answer.
Too bad it didn’t come from Compaq.

Identity CrisisWell, if you have nothing to do, go on over to Google, login as yourself and click this link;

Who Am I?

You might be surprised to find out how Google views you as opposed to who you really are.  According to Google, I am a 25-34 year old male (see stats below).  This may shock and amaze many people, mostly, my parents, siblings, daughter and granddaughter who know me as a well over 35 year old FEMALE.  Google, you got some ‘splaining to do.

Arts & Entertainment
Arts & Entertainment – Comics & Animation
Arts & Entertainment – Comics & Animation – Comics
Arts & Entertainment – Movies – Action & Adventure Films – Superhero Films
Computers & Electronics – Consumer Electronics
Computers & Electronics – Software – Multimedia Software – Desktop Publishing – Fonts
Computers & Electronics – Software – Multimedia Software – Photo & Video Software
Computers & Electronics – Software – Software Utilities
Hobbies & Leisure – Special Occasions – Weddings
Your demographics
We infer your age and gender based on the websites you’ve visited.
Age: 25-34
Gender: Male

Thanks to Little Huss on the Prarie for the great laugh.

AlertAlert! A new virus is out which can circumvent your anti-virus program.  It comes from phishing websites urls and can take over your computer.  If you get a message to update Adobe Flash player and cannot shut it down, you have been infected.  Another symptom is clicking on links on websites and being given a download message instead of going to the link action.  Also, if you cannot open folders on your hard drive, you may be infected.  I was infected visiting a site I have gone to in the past.  It was not infected then, but is now a victim of phishing.  This can happen to anyone.

If you suspect you have this virus, seek help immediately.  It can be cleaned off by going to a system restore point that is known to be clear of the virus.  If you are not setting system restore points and backing up your files on a regular basis, DO IT NOW.

FYI, I have a superior anti-virus program which is updated twice a day.  My computer is scanned every day.  When I scanned my computer, the program did not recognize the virus so it may be a keylogger.  If you are infected, change all of your passwords, uninstall Flash player and Java and reinstall them from the developer sites.  I have taken all of these steps and it was a pain.  But it would have been much worse if I had not had my files backed up and my system restore points.  Have a happy Holiday season and enjoy shopping online safely.