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Aug 5, 2014

My laptop is giant.  I have a 17” MacBook Pro that weighs in at a hefty 6.6 lbs.  I am not alone; the average laptop weighs between three and six pounds.  Add as much as one pound for your power brick, and you’re looking at some serious mass.  People are plagued by these cumbersome devices at home and at work.  After all, there is no way we could be productive without our laptops, right?

 

Maybe there is a way. Continue reading to find out if you can finally get rid of your giant laptop.



Jul 31, 2014

Hacking a computer and stealing information is not as easy as it looks in the movies. The major security breaches reported in the news over the last several months make information theft seem easy, but there is still a high level of skill and commitment required to pull off a hack. Cracking a truly secure password is still extremely difficult, and a properly secured computer looks like a fortified castle armed with hundreds of guards and surrounded by a moat.


You, however—you are the gatekeeper. You’re walking around with keys like passwords, access rights, and knowledge. Malicious people want these keys, and they will use your own fear of security breaches to get them.



Jun 10, 2014

What is your favorite app? Smart phones and tablets are everywhere and they’re so cool. If you are like me, you may spend more time on your phone and tablet than you do on a conventional computer. It is the only computer I have with me at all times and I love it! So what makes it so cool? Sure, I need to give some credit to Apple; Google and Microsoft for creating the base operating system and an ecosystem for the devices but what makes my phone so fantastic are the Apps. As a technology professional, I am often asked what Apps I use most. I thought that it would be beneficial to put together a list of apps that our staff members use on a regular basis. We all have our favorites, the apps that we could not live without and do something amazing. Here are some of ours.



Jun 5, 2014

We are being swallowed in an ocean of passwords. Our digital lives are littered with hundreds of accounts, each password protected. These passwords protect everything from access to our banks, email addresses, social networks and even our fantasy sports teams. If you are like most people, you have between 1 and 5 different passwords that you use for everything. Security experts have been shouting, from the rooftops, for years about the importance of creating strong, unique passwords for every one of your digital accounts. Who has that kind of brainpower? Is it really practical to expect somebody to memorize 50 to 100 randomly generated strings of letters, numbers and characters? Even if we could all channel our inner elephant and comply, security experts then expect us to change our passwords every 60 to 90 days. The Heartbleed Vulnerability, that potentially exposed the passwords used by 70% of the Internet’s webservers, is good example of why that is important. As humans, our brains are just not built for this kind of complex memorization. Passwords are important, but how do you remain secure without losing your mind?

 



Apr 11, 2014

How often do you check your email? Every day, every hour, if you are like many, your email application sits open and visible every minute of every day. Email, Instant Messaging, Text Messaging, Cell phones, social media, and the trusty old desk phone make it possible to be available and connected every minute of every day. This has made the expectation of an immediate response stronger now than ever before. You may be one of the super doers who immediately responds to every email, has an inbox that is always tidy, is connected on every device they own and checks your email both first thing in the morning and last thing at night. People may be in awe of your prowess and envy your skills. Surly there is no downside to this level of ultra-responsiveness, right?



Apr 10, 2014

The world is buzzing with reports of the recently discovered Heart Bleed Bug.  This bug could be the widest spread internet vulnerability ever discovered. What is Heart Bleed? What does Heart Bleed affect? What do you need to do now and in the future to be protected? Here is what you need to know about Heart Bleed.



Mar 3, 2014

Believe it or not, even the largest and most well known companies make mistakes occasionally. Late last week Apple announced that it had found a security hole in its iOS and Mac OS X software. If you are using an iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Mac computer to connect to the Internet, you need to be aware that your information could be vulnerable. Apple released an update for iOS within a few days and a fix for Mac OS X came shortly after that.



Feb 21, 2014

Everybody is talking about the Cloud.  Do you ever feel left out, afraid that your organization is the only business left on the planet not in the Cloud?   Maybe your company is in the Cloud but you are wondering what all the fuss was about.  Do you find yourself asking the question “Why should I move to the Cloud, everything is fine”?

 

The Cloud is here to stay and it’s changing the technology landscape in ways that have not been seen since the explosion of the Personal Computer back in the 70’s and 80’s.  Should you move your business to the cloud?  Here are three common business technology issues and how you can use the cloud to resolve them:



Feb 11, 2014

There is a lot of talk about Net Neutrality these days. Some say that without it, the free flowing Internet as we know it will become history. Others say that it goes against everything the free market is built upon. Both are bold statements, but what is Net Neutrality, and how does it impact your everyday life?


Jan 12, 2014

You may have heard of Bitcoin recently. Bitcoin could very well be the currency of the future. It could also be another flash in the pan that goes away just as quickly as it came. Either way, here is what you need to know right now.



Dec 30, 2013

If you think that you don’t have anything important to steal and that makes you safe from hackers - think again! “All of your files have been encrypted, unless you pay $300 -$700 US Dollars in Bitcoin in the next 100 hours you will never be able to decrypt them”.  This is the summary message that is displayed on a Malicious Software program called CryptoLocker that is burning through the Internet like wildfire.



Dec 17, 2013

Augmented reality is becoming available in the world and its not just for the super geeky! iBeacon is a way for devices to talk to each other quickly and without the troublesome step of having a person set it up. Beacons are devices that broadcast and receive location specific content and can be placed just about anywhere.


Nov 26, 2013

Fingerprint-based authentication is coming to a device near you

 

James Bond has never typed a password in his life. When he walks into the super-secret MI6 Headquarters, he uses a facial and voice recognition system to get past the three-foot-thick steel door. With the release of Apple’s iPhone 5s, the world’s most popular phone now includes a fingerprint sensor allowing you to unlock your phone like James Bond, but is this feature something you should use?



Nov 12, 2013

You are in the Excel zone. You have constructed the perfect formula pulling data from 15 different worksheets. Your formula truncates, evaluates, and gives you exactly the data you need. The formula is complex, but elegant and oh-so-beautiful. You pat yourself on the back and say, “I am an Excel GOD” and go grab a well-deserved cup of coffee. Three days go by, and you revisit your spreadsheet. Instead of seeing your elegant formula working properly, all of the sudden it looks like gibberish in a different language. “What have I done?!” you think as you spend precious time tracking down each cell in the formula re-doing the work you already did. There has to be a better way!


Oct 22, 2013

Studies report that of the 91% of US adults with cell phones, smartphones today account for between 61%-74%; almost 3 out of every 4 devices!  And that number keeps growing.  Odds are good that you will be in the market to buy a new smart phone or replace your existing smart phone in the near future and you may be asking yourself, “which platform is better?”  Ask that question at a bar and fights may break out.  Let’s face it, for many of us our phone has become the single most important tech device we own, with over half of smartphone users reporting this year for the first time that it’s their primary means of connecting to the Internet!  Marketing, brand loyalty and clear differences have generated a lot of passion between people and their beloved smart phones.  For that reason, we felt it might be helpful to explore the differences between three of the leading platforms as they stand today: Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone.



Oct 8, 2013

A backup and disaster recovery plan can be the difference between a minor disturbance and permanent data loss.

 

It’s a regular Tuesday morning, and your company is settling into the daily flow of getting work done. Coffee is made, phones are ringing, and meetings are in progress. It’s a normal day, until it happens. Suddenly, nobody can access any files, and your line of business applications and your email are not working. The server is down, data has been lost, and productivity stops. What do you do now?



Sep 24, 2013

You may need to comply, and not realize it.

 

As of September 23, 2013, the HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule goes into affect. The final rule cover a range of details, but overall addresses patient privacy protection and rights in regards to their health information. For more specifics, this article provides 15 quick points regarding the changes. And while the HIPAA compliances obviously affect hospitals and doctors offices, it extends to their business associates – which might be you.



Sep 12, 2013

Google doesn’t need warrants either.

 

In our increasingly online world, the way privacy works is evolving at a rapid pace. We now have to think about what happens to our online accounts and information after we die, we have to worry about potential employers using Facebook’s graph search to dig up unfortunate college pictures, and we have to wonder just how much Google knows about us.



Aug 20, 2013

Apple’s best-kept secret for businesses right now could be AirPlay Mirroring. This technology is a fantastic way to engage your audience during presentations, allowing you to step away from the podium while still giving you enormous presenting power – all in the palm of your hand!



Aug 6, 2013

July 11th, we had a great turnout at our 3rd Annual Client Appreciation Event at On Deck Sports Bar & Grill in the Pearl. We enjoyed great food, music, and company – thank you to all who were able to make it to our Fiesta!


Jul 16, 2013

“Work hard to play hard” – we like that phrase around here! Summer is one of the most incredible times of year in the northwest, and we fully intend to enjoy it. Ranging from cross-country trips to camping trips, here’s a look at what the team at Fixed Fee IT will be up to this summer:


Jul 2, 2013

How to keep your data private even if your laptop is stolen or you lose your thumb drive.

 

It’s no secret that we live in an age of information at our fingertips. We are continuing to transition to an all-digital environment, and many of us carry around vast amounts of private data on notebook computers, USB drives, and external hard disks. We keep our banking information, password lists, notes, social security numbers, pay stubs, bill statements, and medical records all at our fingertips stored on these devices. We would be in serious trouble if that information fell into the wrongs hands and was used maliciously.



Jun 18, 2013

Would you like the ability to create, access, and store all of your notes, thoughts, reminders, websites, and more from any device you own? We found a genius app that allows you to do just that.

 

For many of us, taking notes is a requirement. We are all thrown a barrage of information every day, much of which we are expected to somehow retain and remember. From taking notes in a business meeting to jotting down the name of that movie your friend told you is a must-see to remembering what you need to pick up at the grocery store on the way home, there’s always something we need to take note of.


Jun 5, 2013

Windows XP is scheduled for end of support in t-minus 308 days. If you still have an XP computer on your network, it will become an unlocked door for your data from that day forward.

 

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide support for Windows XP. That means no more patches to keep out the latest threats, no more features to work with new equipment, and no more support if something goes wrong. This is hugely problematic for security reasons, and is a more widespread concern than you would think: Despite being almost 12 years old, nearly 1 out of every 4 PC’s (25%!) are still running Windows XP. If you haven’t migrated to a newer operating system yet, it’s the right time to make a change, and here’s why:



May 21, 2013

Passwords, as we all know, play a key role in protecting your data. They are the code that allows you to bypass all the security software and hardware you’ve put in place to keep your information safe from the wrong eyes, locking everyone out. Good passwords have three main components: