Tag: pc

Network security

A secure network for a small business is no small matter, so what’s to be done?

Small businesses normally have a small network staff, perhaps a well-rounded computer person who seems to know about every aspect of computing and networks, someone to whom you can entrust your system, and your network security. If you’re such a person, or in charge of such a person or small IT staff, you’ll want to be certain that your network is truly protected.

The reasons are obvious: information theft and software corruption. This is especially important if your systems are exposed to the internet, which, of course, most are. There is an abundance of infiltrators out there trying to get into your data, maybe into your accounting system or bank accounts. Then there’s the possibility of identity theft, the theft of your employees social security numbers, for instance. These infiltrators are ingenious and are constantly seeking new ways to get in.

They know that a small business, probably not having a person or unit solely dedicated to network security, is the easier target among businesses. They know that most small businesses buy ready-made network systems, systems that you or your staff may be competent to install, but not necessarily competent to secure. A small business is prime pickings.

Networked systems out-of-the-box will claim security is guaranteed because getting into the system requires a password. Did you know that there are programs that can figure out your passwords?

These run at terrific speeds, trying every possible combination of characters, starting with those most often used. Your best bet is to enforce a password policy that requires some odd combination of characters. For instance, you could require all passwords to have at least one numeral in them.

You could also require lengthy passwords. These take a lot longer to crack. There is also the normal protection of allowing a user only three tries before breaking connection. The cracker has to keep re-connecting to try new combinations. It’s a good policy if you want passwords an be and effective network security technique.

A common security hole in small businesses is the trust you must place in your employees. Sure, they’re okay when you’re paying them, but after they leave, well, watch out for some of them at least. Security is constantly compromised by ex-employees who have taken passwords with them. They are able to get into your systems in a variety of ways, or they can simply let others know how to get into them. When an employee leaves, as that employee is walking out the door, this access should be stopped, his passwords changed, or his account(s) removed. Don’t forget to cut off email access as well.

Small business network security also means that you’ve configured your systems when they are installed. Most out-of-the-package systems come with all doors open, especially firewalls. Be forward-looking: to hire a systems person who has a good knowledge of firewalls. Don’t trust the vendors assurance. Close those doors.

Also, make sure you, or your staff, is doing everything to prevent virus infection. It’s an epidemic! About 1200 new ones come up every month; your installed anti-virus software may not recognize them. Keep anti-virus software up to date, limit downloading, and layer your security so that each layer, network and LAN, email and individual workstations, have anti-virus software.

Because network security is so important to your business, and there are other considerations, strategies, and techniques to secure your network, perhaps the best approach is to find a good network security consultant, have them study out your systems, and provide recommendations. They may be worth the cost, but if they’re any good, you’ll never know it, because you wont have a security breach. Ironic.

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Best free software

Free Software is better than whatever!
What’s better than free? Free love, free food, free land, and, best of all, free software. There’s free and then there’s the best free. That’s what you’re after when bringing software into your system, the best free software possible.
This software will simply and perfectly perform the functions you expect it to perform, what it claims it will perform. These functions might be part of the critical operations of your system as used by you, functions you often have to perform to get your work done. If free software cannot realize the functions you expected from it, it’s really free junkware and should be avoided.

Of course, if it’s free, you save money. The nice thing about free software is that you can test it without purchasing and discarded it if it fails to work without feeling the bite because, well, it’s free. For you, a positive indicator that the software will prove reliable is the availability and extent of software support. The best free software will always provide product support. This is good news for engineers, programmers, data base managers, all who fear free software will take away their jobs: all will continue to have valid roles in the method of intelligent human control of automated systems. The ship will require its crew.

Justly reciprocating, the free software creator will give it a life of it’s own; it will become, like an Adobe, or a Firefox, that is, an honorable, free, standards-based software package with pride of position, first in support, dedicated to solving the problem rather than fixing the blame. If it’s that good, maybe the provider might ask for voluntary donations.

The best source for information on free software is the world renown PC Magazine. This magazine has been the premier source for all things PC since the PC hit the markets. In one of their compilations of best free software, they determined that if you bought the same software they listed as free, you would be paying about $5,183 for the complete set. That’s a couple of new desktops at today’s prices, and some fancy laptops too. The smart money is on seeking the best free software before paying for what might in fact be the worst.

The all time greatest free software packages are well known and ubiquitous. You can expect to find Adobe Reader, for instance, on nearly ever PC you come across. It’s PDF format is a standard web document format, and with the plugin, you can use the reader in your browser and take Adobe to new heights.
Of course, for top quality, best free software for the office, no other can compete with OpenOffice. Many prefer it to Microsoft’s equivalent office suite. It has a professional word processor with all the capabilities you expect out of a commercially viable writer, a sophisticated spreadsheet, a graphics designer, a presentation tool to rival Microsoft’s ìPowerpointî, and a data base package to rival its ìMS Accessî database. There’s everything there for a new or small business and the savings are astounding.

That’s just a few of the free software out there. PC Magazine can tell you all about it.

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Custom Built Computers

The Benefits of Custom Built Computers.

I was in the market for a new computer a few months ago. At first, I was all set to buy one of the pre-packaged versions that every electronics store sells, mostly because that’s what I’ve always done. But a friend of mine convinced me that I was wasting my money that way. He went over the list of features that are typically included in a pre-packaged PC, and showed me that I could get even better specs at a lower price if I purchased everything separately. In fact, many people have custom built computers these days and will never go back to the store-bought models.

In the beginning, I was under the impression that in order to get one of those custom built computers, I would actually have to build it myself. I wouldn’t be able to do that in a million years, not even with a step-by-step manual to guide my every move. I just don’t know enough about the inner workings of a computer to put one together properly. But I should have realized that these days I can simply pay someone else to do the manual labor for me, which means I can still enjoy the benefits of custom built computers.

And what are the specific benefits of custom built computers? As I mentioned above, one of the biggest benefits is that you might be able to save money on the individual components. Pre-packaged PCs often come with name-brand parts that are attractive to consumers for no other reason than recognition. People feel more comfortable buying something if they’ve at least heard of the manufacturer before. But there are plenty of high-quality components from manufacturers that the general public probably has never heard of. These parts can deliver the same performance for less money.

Another benefit of custom built computers is that you can beef up the specs you’re most interested in. For instance, if you’re a gamer, then you can make sure you have a state-of-the-art video card that can process the latest graphics. If you’re a pack rat and need to keep every single document, photo, and email that crosses your desktop, then you can make sure you get a bigger hard drive. Want to compute at lightning speeds? Make sure you have the best processor available. There are very few ready-made machines on the market that offer all top-grade components, so doing it yourself would definitely be the way to go.
A third benefit of custom built computers is that you don’t have to pay for pre-installed software programs like Microsoft Office. With the prevalence of free alternatives, you could end up saving a couple hundred bucks on this alone.
I can’t believe it took me this long to figure out that custom built computers are superior to mass-produced models in nearly every way. But at least I’ve finally come to my senses and won’t make the same mistakes anymore!

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Acer Notebook Computers Offer Value and Performance for you personal use and business.

Since I can’t stand being chained to a desk all day long, I’ve always preferred using a laptop to a desktop computer. This allows me to easily take my work with me wherever I need to go, whether it’s across the living room or across the country. I never have to mess around with thumb drives or transferring files to make sure I have what I need on a particular machine. I just toss my laptop into a bag and head out the door.

Right now I’m in the market for a new unit to replace my four-year-old model. I’ve been hearing and reading lots of good things about Acer notebook computers, so I’ve decided to check out this brand a bit more. I’ve never owned something from this manufacturer, but they’ve been around for a long time and have developed a good reputation over the years.

I know Acer notebook computers are generally considered to be a great value for the money, but frankly I’m more interested in performance than saving a few bucks. How do these laptops stack up against other brands?

Very favorably, as it turns out. For example, the Aspire line features some of the best Acer notebook computers currently available.

These notebooks are cheap, but come with specifications that are suitable for my purposes, such as the latest Intel processor, Windows operating system, 3GB (or more) of memory, and a very spacious 250GB hard drive. Moreover, many of the models in the Aspire line are thin, light, and sleek, which is definitely the trend these days. Plus these Acer notebook computers often cost less than comparable offerings from Toshiba, Sony, Dell, and HP. Granted, this type of laptop might not be the best for gamers or those who are heavy users of graphics programs, but neither of those labels applies to me, so I shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

There is a vast lineup of Acer notebook computers for today’s consumers to choose from, so I’m sure it’s going to take me some time to read through all the specs and reviews for each one in my price range. But I don’t mind putting in the extra work because I realize that’s all part of the process of making an important purchase like this.

I use my laptop each and every day for work, which means I need a reliable, functional machine that performs as expected with no breakdowns. If it takes me a few weeks to find the perfect one, so be it.

Anyway, I know there are some people out there who balk at the very notion of buying anything other than a Mac, but I’m not one of them. While it’s true that I do place a premium on performance, I’m not willing to spend three times what I have to just to get an Apple logo on my machine.

It looks like Acer notebook computers can do what I need at a fraction of the cost, so I’m planning to give this brand a try.

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A 19 Inch Monitor is the Way to Go.

For many years, I did not give much thought to the size of computer monitor that I had, because my eyesight is perfect and I really did not use my computer that often. It was simply not that important, and it was certainly not something about which I ever thought I would have much of an opinion.

That all changed about five years ago, however, when I started working full time as a freelance writer and started spending seven or eight hours at my computer every day. My brother told me that I should get a 19 inch monitor for my home computer, so I took his advice, and believe me when I say that it is definitely the way to go.

At first, it seemed like the words were all so big with the 19 inch monitor and I really wondered if it was completely necessary. It felt like it took up a lot of space, as well, and it was a much different feel than my previous monitor had been.

After a couple of days, however, I started realizing how clearly I could see everything and that I could sit farther back from the screen that I was able to with my previous monitor.

As time went by, I started to realize the monitor was not really taking up that much space, and my eyes had adjusted to the size of characters I was typing.

I also found another benefit of the 19 inch monitor was that my friends and family members, who will use my computer from time to time, all preferred the size and found it easier to use. Most of my loved ones wear glasses or at the very least do not have the strong eyesight that I have, and were very grateful to see the larger screen.

Another thing about the 19 inch monitor is that it makes watching streaming video so much better. My brother and I were talking a few weeks ago about how, growing up, we had a 19 inch television. When I have the opportunity to watch a video clip on my computer, it is as clear as day, and it really feels like I am watching it on television.

I do a lot of sports writing in my profession, and I am a big sports fan. I will watch sporting events all the time these days, and I love to look up videos of controversial calls online and watch them on my 19 inch monitor to see it even closer than I was able to on television.
The 19 inch monitor may not be for everybody, and some people prefer a smaller screen because it gives them more space. Ever since I have had one, however, I have been a very happy camper, and have no intention of ever using anything smaller again.

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Before we tell you how to organize files on Windows, you need some essential information. When you click on the start button at the bottom of the root window that comes up when you startup your PC, you get a pop-up list showing various divisions available for access. Click on My Computer (you may also see an icon on your startup window that says My Computer and you can click on that instead). Up will come a window showing the various drives you have on your PC. These are named with a letter. C is the main drive, where the system files reside.

Let Windows organize your files for you, as much as it can.

Now, a drive is not a disk. A drive could take up all of a disk, but a disk may also be partitioned so that it will contain more than one drive. If this is the case, don’t be surprised if you see a D drive even though you have only one disk. It’s only the partition. If you are installing your operating system, you might want to partition your disk first. You can partition them so that you have a C drive, a D drive, and so on. You don’t need to partition to know how to organize files, but consider, most necessary programs go on the C drive. Better to put all your data on another drive, thus reducing the possibility of messing up your system files.

It also makes storage easy, because you just store the D drive, not the entire system if all files were in the main drive.

Let’s assure you’re going to put your files on the C drive. Now, files are grouped by folders. The folder icon looks life a folder. You don’t need to know how to organize files when it comes to operating system files. Microsoft has done all that for you (see how the C drive contains a folder for Programs, and so on).

In fact, Windows has made knowing how to organize files for a user elementary. It has a file on the main drive called Documents and Settings. The C drive contain a folder named Documents and Settings. If you click the icon, it’ll show another group of folders, folders for each user of the system. When a user was created, a folder for this user was also created. You’ll see a folder for your own user name. Click on it and you’ll see a number of folders with names starting with My. There’s My Videos, My Documents, etc. Microsoft seems to know how to organize files for you, because these folders will take care of most of your file structuring needs.

You can add a folder to your own folder now. Right click the folder window. Click on New Folder. A new folder is created and awaits your naming it. As you have seen, a folder can contain other folders. That’s how you structure the folder and organize your files. There it is. By creating folders and folders within folders, you know how to organize your files. What could be easier? Thanks Microsoft!

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