How to Improve Small Business Security

In today’s post, I would like to share with you some easy tips you can use to improve your business security. Running a small business is not an easy task. On any given day, you can run into dozens of tasks that need to be addressed. Improving your online security doesn’t normally feature very high on your to-do list. IT SHOULD.

Small businesses have become targets for hackers simply because they know that security isn’t a high priority for many of them. Unfortunately, if your business were to be targeted the damage would be so severe that you could find it difficult to recover. Not only would you have data loss but it could also damage your reputation with clients.

Please take a look at the following easy tips to improve security for your business.

  1. Create a cybersecurity policy

Speak with your employees about the importance of keeping personal login information out of sight. (Don’t have your passwords written on sticky notes on your desk)

Don’t share sensitive information via email.

Don’t allow employees to use the company computer for personal business.

Shut your computers off at night.

Hold your employees accountable if these procedures are not followed.


  1. Backup Plan

You should always be careful about where your sensitive data is located. Especially highly important information that belongs to your clients.

You will need to have a strict data backup plan and a data backup service in place.

These need to be off site so that even if your office has damage done to it (fire, flood, theft) you will still have access to full copies.

Check these periodically and restore from your backups to ensure they are up to date.


  1. Use a Host-Based Security Solution

Your office needs to have some form of security software in every one of your internet connected devices.

These should be set up to scan daily for malware, spyware and viruses.

It can be hard for smaller businesses to implement a more complex network security. This is where a host-based security solution comes into place.

All hosts should be set up to update regularly to ensure protection from the latest threats.

Most anti-virus solutions have automated updates built in.


  1. Secure you Wi-Fi network

Wi-Fi is one of the common ways hackers can access sensitive information from your business.

Often Wi-Fi networks have weak encryption methods or they are not protected at all.

Always ensure you are using the highest encryption possible for your Wi-Fi network.

Chose longer, more difficult passwords for authentication to also reduce the possibility of intrusion.

In addition, you can stop broadcasting the network name, known as the SSID (Service Set Identifier).


  1. Protect Your Partners

Frequently small businesses work with bigger organizations or companies and this can likewise furnish hackers with a direct route into the bigger element.

In these instances, it is essential that you protect your key suppliers/partners by securing your own perimeter.

This could include guaranteeing that there is appropriate authorization and authentication set up, securing your framework with a firewall and having anti-virus protection set up on each device.


  1. Train Your Employees

Hackers will often attempt to gather information by utilizing social hacking techniques which include deceiving one of the employees inside a business to surrender delicate information. Training your employees about these possible social assault situations implies that they will know about them and will be less likely to surrender to this sort of hazard.

It’s frequently said that individuals are the weakest connection in the chain. As a proprietor of the small business, the best thing you can do is give your employees informed security training with the goal that they can shield themselves from online assaults as well as ensure the company’s assets.


  1. Encrypt Sensitive Data

Make sure you are safeguarding all sensitive data (client data or data shared by a third party) by encrypting the data where feasible.

You can implement full disk encryption (converting data on a hard drive into a form that cannot be understood by anyone who doesn’t have the key to “undo” the conversion).

This way even if your network is compromised your sensitive data will not fall into the wrong hands.

To prevent data from being accessed between the browser and the web server, be sure and switch your business website to a secure HTTPS.


  1. Password Policy

Password hijacking has become one of the easiest and most common attacks that businesses today face.

Employees should not be allowed to use weak passwords and should also be required to periodically change their passwords.

This risk can be minimized by simply implementing a frequent password changing policy.

(Like every four months)

You can also require that their passwords include numbers, letters and one special character (@, $, %, <, &, *).


  1. Network Firewall

If your office has an internal network then the first line of defense should be a Firewall before the gateway of the internal network. A Firewall can be software or hardware based.

Even if the firewall is software based it will help mitigate some of the attacks that will be filtered out before getting into the network.

The firewall should be placed to protect the most sensitive services like web servers, mail servers, DNS servers and FTP servers etc…


  1. Use of Anti-Theft

Using anti-theft software in every desktop and laptop can prove useful if any business devices are stolen. The anti-theft software works by wiping out any data on the hard drive thus preventing it getting into the wrong hands.

This type of tool also exists for smartphones if you need to secure these too and can be setup to track and monitor stolen devices.

Finally, a physical hardware lock for less mobile equipment (workstations, servers, printers, switches, etc.) can also act as an effective deterrent.


There isn’t any single way to fully secure your small business. You can,  however, implement a few common-sense policies and back them up with appropriate hardware and software that can drastically reduce the risks posed by data loss.

We hope you have found this post useful on how to secure your business. Please visit our website or contact us if you have any questions or would like help securing your own business.


Credit Card Scam

This Morning I received a text message from what I thought was a potential client. It took some time, but later found out that it was a decently executed credit card scam. This post is to show you what transpired, and to hopefully help you to not be deceived by a scam such as the one below.

The text message came early in the morning, 7:30am. It was poorly written but it was a text message so that wasn’t too surprising. The potential client said his name, said he was hearing impaired, asked if Shreveport IT Solutions can design a website for a new company and if we accept credit cards. (nothing strange so far)

“Hi,Am Jones W*****s am hearing impaired.i wanna know if u can handle website design for a new company and if u accept credit cards ?”

I responded with an initial response and suggested that we use e-mail to continue as to have an easier medium to type long form on. (Standard response)

“Hi Mr. Williams, yes we can Design and Develop websites. We also accept credit cards. If you would like to email the details of what you need to we can create a bid and timeline for you.”


I started to become a little suspicious when he responded insisting we continue to use text messages, but I continued.

“i can text you the detail here now”


Ok, great. So what is the business name?”


The next string of messages were what made me seriously believe that this was a legitimate client.

Web Design

have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in TN and the company is based on importing and exporting of Agriculture products such as Kola Nut, Gacillia Nut and Cocoa so i need a best of the best layout design for it.

the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on the site i gave you to check out, the estimate should include hosting and i want the same page as the site i gave you to check out and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.

Can you handle that for me ?. so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible .http://www.*******.com….


  1. I want the same number of pages with the example site i gave you to check excluding videos and blogs.
  2. I want only English language
  3. I don’t have

a domain yet but i want the domain name as ********.com

4. you will be updating the site for me.

  1. i will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.
  2. i want the site up and running before ending of next month.
  3. My budget is $**** to $****

Kindly get back to me with:

(1) an estimate

The detail of what he said led me to believe that this was going to be a solid deal. The website that he sent that he wanted to emulate was a good site, the budget was on point, and the rest of the information sounded good for a initial starting point. I reviewed and sent him back a bid.

“Going by what the site provided shows, about 15 pages and the blogs $**** + $**** a year for hosting fees + $**** a year for website support.
Total $
$***** for design and development.
$**** a month for hosting and website support (updates and changes) Domain name purchase is separate and price varies by website name. ******.com is auctioning at $***** right now. ***** is going for $****** *******.com is already taken.”

So far the entire conversation was a little strange but still sounded fairly normal. At this point his responses turned to what I considered to be an obvious scam.

Thanks for your response, i am okay with the estimate and i wanna proceed so i will be depositing $**** using credit card so work can commence ASAP, i understand the content for this site would be needed so as for the job to commence so regarding the content i will need a Lil favor from you would be a deposit payment for my website design and the remaining $***** you would help me send it to the project consultant that has the text content and the for surgery so i will be glad if you can help me out with this favor,The favor i need from you is. i would give you my card info’s to charge for $****.so $**** log and the reason i need this favor from you is because the consultant does not have the facility to charge credit cards and i also am presently in the hospital for my website so once he has the $**** he would send the text content and logo needed for my website to you also the funds would be sent to him via cash deposit into his account,sending of funds would be after funds clear into your own account and also $100tip for your stress

I’m not going to claim to know exactly how this would have worked, but I knew a few things were definitely off. My list of a few small strange things, when added to the request to send cash funds to his private consultant added up to scam.

My list of oddities:

1. Text only. — I understand the need to communicate via written form because of  physical impairments, but e-mail is a more appropriate medium.

2. The lack of a company name. — In some circumstances a company will withhold company names or locations without a signed NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). The issues with this is that he claimed to be the owner so there was no reason to withhold the name, also he never asked for an NDA.

3. The money aspects. — There are a few issues here. 1: He offered up his highest budget amount within 10 minutes of talking with me and didn’t ask for a bid or quote before telling me. 2: Once I sent him the bid, he offered up more than %50 of the money immediately without asking for a contract or how the price should be paid out. 3: the biggest issue. the request to send us extra money to then cash and send to his still unnamed private consultant. 4: Offering a $100 tip on top of the agreed bid.

4. The hospital notations. — the fact that he said that he was in the hospital and unable to get any money to the consultant was a obscure. It also seemed to be a pull on the sympathy strings.

All of those issues led me to call the local police and express my concerns that it was a scam. the police instructed me to stop communication. They did not request any further information. (I’m sure this is not a rare occurrence for them)

Here is how the rest of the conversation played out.

“I am sorry sir, our company can not accommodate that. Any transactions between you and the private consultant would need to be made between your two parties.”

i want you too help me with this because right now am in the Hospital

“I am sorry to hear that, but our company cannot do business that way. I hope you find someone to build your site for you. I hope you get better soon.”

I hope that this information is helpful.


Written By: Paul Groven


Malicious intent can turn Chrome speech recognition into spying device


A speech recognition expert contends malicious players can turn Google’s Chrome web browser into a remote listening device.

Chrome microphone 1.jpg

Last year around this time, Google updated Chrome, adding a unique feature to the company’s web browser—Speech Recognition. Six months later, Tal Atar, a SME in this field, discovered what he considered a serious breach of security in the Chrome web browser, and the culprit—speech-recognition.

How Chrome’s speech recognition works

Google created a speech-recognition Application Programming Interface (API) that informs developers building websites how to interact with Google Chrome and the computer’s microphone. The whole purpose is to give visitors to the website the ability to control their experience using voice commands, rather than having to type or click.

What makes the feature interesting is that Google transcribes the voice command into text. After transcription, Chrome sends the text to the website; where the web server deciphers the command, then executes it. Visiting this link will demonstrate the speech-recognition API.

Ater’s contention

When visitors first arrive at a speech-recognition enabled website, they are offered a choice, interface with the website normally, or give the website permission to use the microphone.


Chrome microphone 2.jpg

There should be an indication similar to the slide seen above, notifying that the microphone is active. Ater’s security concern centers on how the web site can enable the microphone without advertising that it is active. One example was what he called a pop-under window:

“When you click the button to start or stop the speech recognition on the site, what you won’t notice is that the site may have also opened another hidden pop-under window. This window can wait until the main site is closed, and then start listening in without asking for permission. This can be done in a window that you never saw, never interacted with, and probably didn’t even know was there.”

This may be a bit difficult to visualize. To clarify the process, Ater created a YouTube video showing how the pop-under window works.

Bottom line, if Ater’s contention is valid, putting Chrome’s speech-recognition API in the hands of an ill-intentioned website developer could turn a remote computer’s Chrome web browser and built-in microphone into a listening device.

How the listening device works

Let’s say a bad guy created a malicious website that uses speech recognition. Upon viewing, the malicious website appears to be an exact duplicate of someone’s favorite website. That user receives an email saying there is a gift waiting for him at his favorite website, just click the link. Unknown to this person, it’s a phishing email, and the link sends that person to the malicious website instead. That person is asked to try the new speech recognition feature. They say yes.

According to Ater, this computer is now a remote listening device. The malicious site will be able to monitor everything within range of the microphone, whether the user knows it or not.

Google or Ater, who is right?

Ater first reported his findings privately to Google in September 2013. Ater said Google engineers had a fix within weeks. Then a week ago, with no evidence of Google removing the bug from Chrome, Ater decided to go public:

“As of today, almost four months after learning about this issue, Google is still waiting for the standards group to agree on the best course of action, and your browser is still vulnerable.”

The standards group Ater referred to is the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). And, Google believes their implementation of the speech-recognition API is in agreement with Section 4, Security and Privacy Considerations of the W3C report about speech recognition.Ater disagrees:

“[T]he web’s standards organization, the W3C, has already defined the correct behavior which would’ve prevented this… This was done in their specification for the Web Speech API, back in October 2012.”

Options to prevent eavesdropping

I want to reiterate, for speech recognition to work, the visitor must initially give the website permission to use the computer’s microphone. If permission is not given, the exploit falls apart.

There are ways to prevent eavesdropping for those who want to use speech recognition. There are also ways to disable speech recognition completely. For example:

The default setting in Chrome is “Ask if a microphone requires access” (see slide below). One option is to trust that Chrome asking for permission, plus some kind of indication that the microphone is on will be enough security.

Users who visit sites that use speech recognition and want to use it, but do not trust the software indicator have the ability to toggle the microphone on and off as shown below.

Users who are concerned about eavesdropping more than using speech recognition can click on the setting circled in red (as seen below) and leave it.


Chrome microphone 3.jpg

One problem: all of the above options are software based. There is no hard-wired switch to shut the on-board microphone off. For those concerned about this, there are two additional options:

Visit the Web Speech API demonstration website I mentioned earlier. If the microphone is off, you will get verification similar to the slide below.

For those who want to be absolutely sure, physically disable the on-board microphone, and when a microphone is required, plug an auxiliary microphone into the appropriate socket.


Chrome microphone 4.jpg
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Wi-Fi Woes? Time to Upgrade Your Wireless Router

Every time I have to reboot my wireless router, I cross my fingers and hope nothing will go wrong. Superstitious, sure, but anything to avoid the personal technology hell that is tinkering with that mysterious box at the core of my home’s Wi-Fi network.

Plugging and unplugging cords, going cross-eyed reading manuals with more acronyms than the military—it’s no wonder I haven’t upgraded my router in four years.

But trying to avoid that little blinking machine turns out to have been my gravest tech mistake in years. I’ve been missing out on faster speeds, better security protection, new networking features—even some awesome-looking new router hardware designs.

Yes, I just used “awesome-looking” and “router” in the same sentence. D-Link’s Corvette-red $310 AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi is a cross between an alien spaceship and an upside-down crab. Netgear’s $300 Nighthawk X6 AC3200 looks like it could speed out of the Bat Cave. Both promise the fastest Wi-Fi speed available.

But why should you mess with a box that still works—or was handed to you by your cable provider? Well, are there rooms in your house where Wi-Fi can’t be accessed? Can only one person stream Netflix at a time? Ever wonder who else is using your network? If you answered “yes” to any of those, it’s time to upgrade.

And while you may not need a fancy $300 model, in an age when everything from our TVs to our toaster ovens are connecting to the Internet, it’s best not to cheap out on that all-important hub.

For the past week, I’ve been living a networking nightmare, testing 10 routers in both a one-bedroom city apartment and a big suburban house. Now that I’ve done the hard work, it’s time for you to learn (the easy way) the best approach to upgrading your home Wi-Fi network.

© Provided by The Wall Street Journal.

If you remember anything from this article, it should be this: Buy an “802.11ac” router.

Those who haven’t upgraded a router lately probably have an 802.11n or 802.11g router. AC is the newest and fastest wireless standard available. (Even a kindergartner would be insulted by the nonsensical alphabetic ordering on these things.)

Many of the latest phones, tablets, laptops, TV set-top boxes and other connected devices in your home now have faster, more finely tuned AC radios and antennas inside, but they’re only better when connected to an AC wireless network. (If you have an older desktop or laptop, AC wireless USB adapters sell for under $50.)

Bear in mind, you won’t get faster Internet speeds from a new AC router—that depends entirely on your Internet service plan.

What you will get, provided you have AC-equipped devices, is less degraded speeds at longer distances, and better performance when transferring data from one device to another. When I tossed out my ancient N router this week for an AC router, surfing the Web on the latest-generation MacBook Air from two rooms away was twice as fast.

Deciding what type of AC router to get can make your brain hurt. Router makers still confuse shoppers with speed claims we’ll never get and terms we don’t understand. And service providers try to rent you combo modem-routers that lack flexibility and—in many cases—power, while quietly adding up in cost, month after month.

To help make sense of it all, I enlisted Tim Higgins, managing editor of SmallNetBuilder, a router reviews site. You should consider AC routers that range in classification from AC1200 at the lower end to AC3200 at the high end, he said. In larger homes, the pricier models should deliver faster speeds at greater distances.

As you might expect, in my New York City apartment, I saw no performance difference between three AC routers: a $100 model, a $180 model and that “Ultra” $310 model. The space simply wasn’t big enough.

But in my parents’ larger home, the top-of-the-line D-Link AC3200 and Netgear’s Nighthawk AC1900 routers provided better speeds—and smoother, higher-quality Netflix streaming—than the competition at various points around the house, especially when I got farther away from the boxes.

Even with six multi-directional antennas, however, the D-Link’s range wasn’t greater than lower-grade AC models (though AC range was, across the board, noticeably better than older routers). Think of it this way: With AC3200 routers, the data highway gets wider but not longer. In my mom’s office, a known dead zone 75 feet from the router, there was still no Wi-Fi signal.

One way to avoid dead zones like that is to find a better home for the router. “Router placement is going to buy you the best performance improvement,” Mr. Higgins told me. Place your router in the middle of the house, he says, in an area where it isn’t obstructed by, say, a cabinet or closet.

For spots that still don’t get signal, you need a network extender—a second wireless router or a pair of plug-in-the-wall “powerline” networking boxes such as the $65 Linksys PLSK400 powerline adapter set.

Beyond speed, the other big benefit of the priciest AC3200 routers is that they were designed with lots of connected devices in mind. Behind the scenes, they operate three separate networks, while cheaper (and older) routers only have two. This means your devices don’t have to compete. That bandwidth-hogging Xbox could live on one network, the new smart TV on a second, and various laptops, tablets and phones on a third.

Those faster speeds and smarter connections won’t do you any good if you can’t set the darn thing up. The second thing you should remember from this article: Pick a router that’s easy to set up and manage.

That’s why I don’t recommend TPLink. The Chinese company has great deals on AC routers, making it one of the most popular buys on Amazon. But its setup tool looks like it was designed in the early ’90s, and you have to have networking experience even to change the network password.

Netgear and Linksys, on the other hand, were the easiest to set up and manage on a Windows PC, while Apple’s AirPort Extreme was dead simple on a Mac—or even an iPad or iPhone, using the Airport Utility app.

The torturous psychodrama of setting up a router is no more. It’s as simple as connecting your computer, tablet or phone to the router’s network, then following guided steps in any Web browser. You don’t have to download any additional software, though some apps can be helpful.

My favorite routers from Linksys, Netgear, D-Link and Apple all let you easily set up security, manage guests and see what devices are on your network. The Linksys Android and iPhone apps even let you check in on your home network while you’re away. Netgear has also begun rolling out the feature.

Let’s stop right here a second: Do you have a password protecting your Wi-Fi network? If not, then don’t complain when you get hacked.

Fortunately, all the new routers come password protected out of the box. In fact, Netgear, Linksys and D-Link told me that every router comes with a unique name and password. While this is relatively safe, security experts do recommend picking your own name and strong password during setup.

When you’re in the security settings, always make sure that AES/WPA2 encryption is selected. Also, stay on top of updating your router’s firmware. This may mean logging into your router every month or two. Netgear’s Genie app alerts you when a new security update is available, and Linksys gives you the option to install updates automatically at night.

So, which router did I upgrade to? For my apartment, I decided to go with Netgear’s $180 Nighthawk AC1900. It’s more than enough for my wireless needs. If you have a larger house with lots of connected devices, clear a landing pad for D-Link’s AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi router. Sure, it looks ferocious, but I promise, there is no reason to be scared of the blinking box in the corner anymore.

Written by: Joanna Stern

Amazon Opens First Staffed College Campus Store

Today Amazon seeks to increase its brand strategy even farther by beginning to enter college campuses, where a large demographic of their customers are already living. It celebrated its first college campus opening today at Purdue University where students can not only pick up ordered textbooks but also almost anything else from the mammoth retailer and have it delivered to Purdue University where they can pick it up through self-serve lockers or an actual Amazon employee.

The new service is convenient and quite easy to use as well. Students simply visit This allows students to find what textbooks are needed for their classes via a Purdue badge with the school’s logo on it, as well as any other Amazon item, plus Campus Prime-Eligble items that are able to be picked up in only twenty-four hours! Then, once the student checks out they simply click “Amazon@Purdue” as they’re preferred shipping location.

This campus location is the first of many more campus stores Amazon has planned. They already plan to open an additional physical desk on Purdue’s campus for this Spring. Amazon also plans to expand the free one-day shipping option to students once the new expansion opens.

The expansion of Amazon to college campus is an interesting prospect that seems like a no-brainer for college students, Amazon, and the colleges themselves. College students get a convenient way to get their textbooks at reasonable prices with additional convenience of picking them, and almost anything else they could want, right on campus. The colleges themselves receive a small portion of the revenue made through the new service. And Amazon’s convenience will lure students into its new on-campus services. It seems like a win-win for all.

Written by: Paul Savage, Jr.

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10 Tips and Tricks for Google Docs

Google Docs doesn’t have the cluttered ribbon full of features you’ll find in Microsoft Office, but it does have quite a few useful tricks up its sleeve. You may never find these features unless you go looking for them.

Google’s web-based office suite has matured over the years and now offers everything from offline access to third-party add-on support. It’s still an easy-to-use office suite that works everywhere with excellent real-time collaboration features.

Enable Offline Access

Microsoft recently launched Office 2013 as well as Office 365, a subscription service. Office 365 will cost you $9.99 per… [Read Article]

Google Docs can work offline. This allows you to create new documents, continue working on current documents, and even just view your documents while you don’t have an Internet connection. When you connect to the Internet again, your changes will be synchronized online.

This feature requires Google Chrome, so it works on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Chromebooks. To set this up, open the Google Drive website, click the gear button at the top-right corner of the site, and click Settings. On the General pane, ensure the “Sync your work to this computer so that you can edit offline” option is enabled, and click Done. To use Google Docs while offline, just return to the Google Drive website in Chrome when you don’t have an Internet connection.


Collaborate In Real Time

Google Docs has better collaboration features than the desktop version of Microsoft Office. You can collaborate in real time, and everyone with access to the document will be able to edit it at once. You’ll see other people’s cursors in the document and can watch them type in real-time.

Click File > Share to start sharing the document. You can invite individual people by their email addresses or allow anyone with a special link to the document to edit it.

Sharing isn’t just about editing — the Share feature can allow you to share a document with a one or more people so they can view it. They’ll always have the most recent copy, so this may be more convenient than emailing a file. You can also give people the ability to leave comments on a document so you can get their input without allowing them to modify your document.


Publish a Document

Google Docs allows you to quickly publish a document online. Just click File > Publish to the web and click the Start publishing button . You’ll receive a public link to the document in published form, so you can share it with other people and they can view it. You don’t have to host the document on your own servers somewhere.

This feature is separate from the sharing feature. When a document is published, anyone with the link can view it. When it’s shared, it can be shared only with a handful of people. When people access a shared document, they’ll see the Google Docs editor. When they access a published document, they’ll see the document as a typical web page.


Go to Next Typo / Previous Typo

For quick correction of mistakes, use the Ctrl + ‘ keyboard shortcut to go to the next typo in the current document and Ctrl + ; to go to the previous typo. This allows you to quickly correct typos without scrolling through the current document and looking for those red underlines.

Google Docs also recently gained a Spell Check feature that allows you to quickly skim through the problems in a current document, a feature it lacked for a long time — just click Tools > Spell Check to use it.


Search For and Insert Links

Google Docs incorporates the power of Google search to help you easily insert links into your current document. Rather than opening a new browser tab and searching for a page you want to link, you can search right from the link dialog. To do this, click the Insert > Link option. Type a search into the dialog and Google will display pages that match your search — click one to create a link to the selected address.


Configure Your Text Styles

Rather than manually formatting every bit of text in your document, you should format your text using styles instead. This means that, rather than setting all your headlines to a certain font size and bold text, you should just click the style box and set them to “Heading 1.”

You can also easily edit the font settings used for different styles. First, format some text to use the type of formatting you want to use for a style. Select that text, click the style box at the top of the screen, and click the arrow to the right of the style you want to modify. Click the “Update ‘Style Name’ to Match” option and that style will now use the type of formatting you selected.

To save these customized styles and use them in other documents, click the Options menu at the bottom of the list here and select “Save as my default styles.”


Manage Your Personal Dictionary

If Google Docs thinks a word is a typo but you know it’s correct, you can right-click the underlines word and select Add to personal dictionary. You can then click Tools > Personal Dictionary and edit the list of words in your personal dictionary. If you accidentally add an misspelled word to this list, you’ll have to remove it from here before Google warns you about it again.

This option is a fairly recent feature — previously, Google Docs wouldn’t allow you to remove words you added to this list. You may want to give the list a look and ensure you didn’t accidentally add incorrect words to the list in the past.


Copy and Paste With the Web Clipboard

Google Docs has a web clipboard feature it shares across Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. This clipboard is associated with your Google account, so it will follow you across all the computers you use. Unlike your standard operating system clipboard, the web clipboard can contain multiple items. The clipboard supports, text, images, drawings, and other bits of data from Google documents.

To use this feature, select some text, click Edit, use the Web Clipboard menu. This is the best way to copy some types of data, such as drawings, between different types of Google documents. Items you save to your web clipboard will be cleared after 30 days if you don’t interact with them.


Use the Research Tool

Google Docs contains a sidebar designed for researching — open it by clicking Tools > Research. This sidebar allows you to search for images, quotations, and web results so you can easily insert them into a document. It also makes it easy to search for academic studies and quickly insert the appropriate footnotes or citations for MLA, APA, or Chicago citation formats. You can quickly insert citations to web results, too — it can be an easy way to build a bibliography for a school paper.


Install Add-ons

Add-ons are a fairly new feature. These are third-party bits of software made with Google Apps Script. You can install them by clicking Tools > Manage Add-ons. They can then be used from the Add-ons menu.

For example, you can install a Thesaurus add-on that allows you to select any word and click Add-ons > Thesaurus > Find Synonyms for Selected Word to view synonyms while writing a document. Other add-ons include an easy bibliography creator, diagraming tool, and table of contents generator.


Google Docs has more tricks up its sleeve, too. The File > Download as menu is particularly useful, allowing you to download your document in many different formats. You can download it as a PDF or a Microsoft Office document if you need to submit or email the document in a specific file format.


‘Facebook At Work’ Apps Hit App Stores, Priming for Public Release

The office is where Facebook seems to have eyes set for next as it seeks to enter the enterprise world with the release of a ‘Facebook at Work’ app that is set to hit app stores on Wednesday. Very few companies, according to Facebook, are currently testing the app but the company is strongly continuing its efforts it began late last year.

This new tool works and looks strikingly similar to Facebook’s current social media network, but the software is still in its early stages according to the company. ‘Facebook At Work’ will allow employees in larger companies and corporations to collaborate through this new private social network or mobile app. There are some important changes made for this new collaboration tool though. Most notable is the removal of advertisements and the company’s claim of no data mining or user tracking. Corporate profiles are also kept separate from users’ private profiles.

Unlike many other enterprise tools the service is familiar to users and the company also offers up Groups, one of the key features of the new app. Facebook believes this valuable asset could replace e- mail list that can often become unmanageable over time.

It has yet to be seen how the adoption rates of this new tool will perform. Facebook is used to growing entertaining products, using data from its users to sell ads to its vast following. This is quite the opposite from the strict security that is used by corporate offices to secure its sensitive information. Facebook isn’t exactly known for its excellent privacy policies  and therefore must work even harder to prove to chief information officers that the security for these apps and interfaces is there.

The company is also entering into a market that already has seen some strong contenders. Microsoft acquired enterprise social network, Yammer, in 2012. Slack, a self-coined “team communication for the 21st century” tool, was recently valued at $1 billion. The competition is steep.

This new service was recently expanded from fewer than a dozen test companies back in November to a wider audience. It is unclear when the service will actually launch to the public as details are still being determined by Facebook. The app will be launching on both the iPhone and Android in the App Store and Android Stores, respectively.

It seems Facebook will need to do some considerable marketing to CIOs in these coming months leading up to a public launch, proving that while familiarity is an excellent thing for employees, the security must be there for the company.

Written by: Paul Savage, Jr.

Source: []


How To Add Check Boxes to Word Documents

When you are creating surveys or  forms, with Microsoft Word, it is usually a good idea to add check boxes to make the options easy to read and answer. There are two main methods which you can use. The first method is ideal for documents that you want people to fill out digitally, while the second option is great for printed documents like to-do lists.

Option 1 – Content Control for Digital Documents

In order to create fillable forms that include check boxes, you will need to start by enabling the developer tab by clicking on the “File” drop-down menu and then choose “Options.” Open the “Customize Ribbon” tab and select the “Main Tabs” option under “Customize the Ribbon.”

Checkbox 1

Now you will need to select the “Developer” box and press “OK.”

Checkbox 2

Once you have done this, you will notice that an additional menu has been added to the top of the screen with several new developer options.

Checkbox 3

Now that you have enabled the Developer Tab, you are ready to add your check boxes. Simply create your question, as well as the responses. Open the developer tab, and click on the “Check Box Content Control” option  Checkbox icon 1.

Checkbox 4

Once you have done this, you should repeat it for all your responses. You will see the check box next to your answers as shown below.

Checkbox 5

Option 2 – Check boxes for Printed Documents

The second option for creating documents with check boxes that you will print out, will require you to insert a custom bullet point  Checkbox icon 2. In the “Home” tab of MS Word, under the “Paragraph” section, you will see an option to insert bullet points.

Simply click on the small arrow next to it, and then select the “Define New Bullet” option. You will notice that there are already a few options there, but there is no check box.

Checkbox 6

Now that you have chosen to define a custom bullet point, you will need to select the “Symbol” option.

Checkbox 7

When you open the symbol window, you will see many different options. You will need to click on the “Symbol” drop-down menu and select “Wingdings 2.”

Checkbox 8

Now you will need to enter the number “163” into the “Character Code” box to automatically navigate to the best check box option available in Word.

Checkbox 9

Once this is done, you can finish your list of responses in the same way you would use bullet points.

Checkbox 10

Now, the next time you need them, you will just need to click on the small arrow next to the bullet options and you will see the check box listed with the default options.

Checkbox 11

Feel free to check out all the bulleting options using symbols. You may even find options you like better than the traditional check boxes. Have fun creating your surveys, and documents with your new check boxes.

Written by: Martin Hendrix on:

30 iPhone and iPad tips and tricks to make you faster and more efficient

There’s little doubt that the king and queen of the post-PC era are the iPad and the iPhone, and while these devices both started out life as content consumption devices, they’ve grown over several hardware and software iterations into formidable content creation devices.

But as with any device, there are tips and tricks and shortcuts that can help you get more from your iDevice investment. Here, in no particular order, I’m going to rattle through a list of tip and tricks that will help you be more productive when using your iPad and iPhone, whether you use it for work or play.

1.When ending a sentence, instead of typing a period and then a space, just tap the space bar twice, which does the same thing and is faster.

2.Find yourself typing a lot of text and numbers? Do you find switching back and forth to the numeric keypad time consuming? Press and hold the “123” button and slide up to the character you want to input then, when you let go, the standard keyboard will return.

3.Want to TYPE WITH CAPS LOCK ON? Just double-tap the on-screen shift key. Tap again to return to lower-case.

4.In Safari (and Chrome), press and hold down the period key to bring up a listing of top-level domains such as .com, .net and so on (what you get is region specific so will vary).

5.Spend a lot of time looking at your iOS device in low-light? Invert the screen colors for more comfortable viewing. To do this click Settings > General > Accessibility and turn on Invert Colors.

6.There are a whole bunch of things you can do  if you have earphones that have the remote control, from controlling the camera to rejecting calls.

7.iPad only: You can add as many as six icons to the bottom dock (the default is four) and you can also add folders. Just press and hold any icon until they jiggle and start rearranging. Press the Home button when you are done.

8.Don’t want to be hassled by calls or notifications? Click Settings >Do Not Disturb and turn on Manual.

9.Make text larger (in supported apps) by tapping on Settings > General > Text Size and adjusting it using the slider.

10.Want to still be able to receive some calls while in Do Not Disturb mode? Use the Allow Calls From setting to control which of your contacts can get in touch.

11.What about those urgent calls from people not in your contacts? You can use the Repeated Call feature to allow a call through if it is the second one made within three minutes.

12.You can quickly get to the Camera app from the lock screen by swiping up the camera icon in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

13.You can quickly scroll to the top in most apps by tapping the status bar at the top of the screen.

14.Spotlight search has been revamped. Instead of swiping to the left in iOS6 and earlier, you now swipe down from any home screen for quick access.

15.You can now block a caller. To block someone, go to Contacts then select a contact and hit Block this Caller. Users on the blocked list will not be able to call, text or FaceTime you.

16.Got a lot of typing to do? Pair any Bluetooth keyboard to your iPhone or iPad to make the job faster.

17.iPad only: Put the keyboard into ‘thumb mode” by pressing and holding the press the “dock and merge” button in the bottom right-hand corner and dragging up. Drag down to return the keyboard to its normal state.

18.Want to fast-charge a device? Pop it into Airplane Mode (tap Settings turn on Airplane Mode). It will charge much faster.

19.Want to cache maps for offline use in the Google Maps app? Zoom in to the area you want and type OK maps into the search bar and hit Search and the map tile will be saved.

20.Did you accidentally archive an email? Shake your phone to bring up the Undo Archive dialogue.

21.Remove digits you’ve typed into the Calc app by swiping left to right across the digits to remove them one by one.

22.Starting with iOS 7 there’s no longer a limit on the number of apps you can put into a folder, so there’s no more need for duplicate folders.

23.Swamped by emails? If you tap Edit when in the Mail app you can select from a range of filters including VIP, Flagged, Unread, and so on.

24.Worried about young ones racking up huge in-app purchase bills? Tap Settings > General > Restrictions and scroll down to disable In-App Purchases.

25.AirDrop is a great way to share files with other iPhone and iPad (not all devices are compatible) users using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (both need to be enabled for it to work). Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up Control Center and tap on AirDrop. Here you can choose to make your device discoverable for Contacts Only or Everyone or turn it off completely in here. When you choose someone to share with, or they choose you, there’s a notification giving you a preview of the file and the option to deny or accept the transfer.

26.You can make audio-only FaceTime calls by tapping the phone icon instead of the video icon in the FaceTime app. If you’re paying for wi-fi or cellular by the megabyte, this will save you money.

27.You can use Siri to do all sorts of things, from switching on wi-fi to taking a photo. Tap on the tap the ‘?’ symbol in the bottom left of the Siri screen.

28.Instead of tapping on back buttons, you can now use a gesture to return to a previous view by swiping right from the left edge of the screen.

29.In iOS 7, you can view the sent/received times for each message (text and iMessage) by swiping left from anywhere within the chat history.

30.Siri can read out your email for you. Hold down on the Home key then say “Read my emails” to get the name of the sender, time and date sent, and subject of the email. Follow-up by saying “Yes” when asked if you want the text read out to you.

Written by: Adrian Kingsley-Hughes On:

Sprint pleased by early response to its half-off deal

Six days into its new “Cut Your Bill in Half” offer, Sprint was enthusiastic about the offer’s early reaction from new customers, but didn’t offer any details.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile countered with a new unlimited 4G LTE family plan called Simple Choice that started today, marking another sign of the unrelenting pricing competition in the wireless carrier realm.

Sprint promoted the unusual half-off deal with a wacky integrated TV-radio-print advertising campaign. It includes a TV ad showing actors cutting printed bills from Verizon Wireless and AT&T in half with a saw, sword, weed-whacker and chainsaw.

The half-off event, which launched Friday, offers new Sprint customers, who switch from Verizon or AT&T, unlimited talk and text in the U.S. while on the Sprint network. Sprint will also match the customer’s data allowance with the previous carrier but at half the cost. Sprint said the deal is scheduled to end Jan. 15, but it may be extended beyond that date.

In an example, Sprint said a Verizon customer paying $140 a month for four phone lines and 10 GB of data can get four lines with the same phone numbers, plus 10 GB of data on Sprint for $70 a month. For a limited time, Sprint will waive the activation fee of $36 a line and will buy out a customer’s contract for up to $350 per line.

New customers also must buy or lease a new phone from Sprint and turn in the devices on their AT&T or Verizon devices to Sprint or face a penalty. With the requirement to get a new device from Sprint, the company’s Chief Financial Officer Joe Euteneuer admitted at an investor conference last week that the net discount customers can expect is actually about 20%, but still a “great value creator” for Sprint.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure helped launch the deal last week with a visit to a  Sprint retail store in Leawood, Kan., near the carrier’s corporate headquarters in Overland Park. Claure told reporters that Sprint is “looking for one of the best Decembers Sprint has ever had” while sending a “very strong message to Verizon and AT&T,” according to the Kansas City Star.

The half-off deal isn’t the only reason Sprint could improve its financials in the final quarter of the year. The carrier is also laying off 2,000 workers, in addition to 5,000 job cuts earlier in the year, reducing its total work force to 30,000.

Claure said that the half-off deal will help bring in new customers to Sprint stores. Once there, new customers might find that Sprint’s iPhone for Life deal or its Family Share Pack is more suited for their needs.

Analysts have variously called the half-off promotion a desperation move by Sprint or one that will only have a muted impact, given its other promotions. Some said new customers may be unimpressed with Sprint’s network and could ask for refunds due to spotty network reliability with the Sprint LTE nationwide buildout.

While Sprint’s half-off deal focuses on attracting Verizon and AT&T customers, it ignores T-Mobile customers although T-Mobile has often outdone Sprint as a value carrier for the past 18 months.

Starting today for instance, T-Mobile began offering a new Simple Choice family plan to provide unlimited 4G LTE data for an entire family. It starts at $100 month for two people and extends to up to 10 people for $40 more per line.

Written by: Matt Hamblen on: