Tech Sensibility: The Newsletter (Jan 2015)
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- Your computer's camera may be vulnerable to prying eyes. It is possible for someone to secretly seize its control. When you are not using it, place a piece of tape over it. Painter's or Gaffer's tape work the best.
- If you are feeling worn out from all the shoveling you have been doing lately, keep in mind that we still have a full half of winter left. If you would rather have someone else do the shoveling for you, you may want to try an app called Plowz. By simply entering your name, address, the measurements of the areas in need of shoveling and what kind of surface it is, the app will allow you to choose the date and time you would like your driveway to be cleared. You will then be sent a quote, and if you agree to it, the company will find a professional in your area to do all the work for you.
- While extended warranties for computers and electronics are generally seen as a waste of money, many credit card companies are now automatically giving their customers the added protections and benefits of an extended warranty. Some cards will extend the manufacturer's warranty another full year.
- USB flash drives are a convenient way to bring your data with you anywhere you go. However, they are also small in size and easy to misplace or get stolen. The last thing you want is your data to fall into wrong hands. Always keep it safe and encrypt your USB drives.
- If you have data - movies, music, documents, pictures - on DVDs, keep in mind that DVD media does not last as long as the manufacturers claim. To be safe, re-record your DVDs every few years. This will ensure that when you need the data, it can be recovered.
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Your Business' Website
Constant development of new web technologies enables businesses to "create state-of-the-art" websites. Other companies then copy those websites thinking they are better. Some modern websites have very large graphics calling on readers to buy something; some provide too much content or scroll down forever and are a challenge to read. No matter the technology, consider these tips for enabling your readers to easily consume your website's content:
Keep it simple
Your business website should be visually appealing, refined and professional. Use fonts that are easy to read and supported by most web browsers. In order to guide your readers in a predictable way, for example from top to bottom, use a one-column layout instead of a multi-column approach.
Keep it consistent
A website layout is very important for usability. Usability is a critical yet often overlooked component of a successful business website. Use a consistent layout and established web interface conventions to decrease your visitors' learning curve and increase their ability to read, navigate and understand your web site.
Keep it on target
Who is your website for? Who is its target audience? You must communicate who your product or service is intended for. Your visitors will be looking for information that will help them make a decision, so make their visit comfortable by boosting their trust in your company's knowledge and overall competence.
Giving to charity should be a rewarding experience that makes the giver and recipient, alike, feel thankful. However, between GoFundMe requests to telephone solicitations, choosing a charity can sometimes be an uncomfortable process marked by confusion and skepticism. Keep in mind that not all charities carry out the benevolent duties that they claim to.
Always do your research before opening your wallet. Solicitors are trained to exploit and play on our emotions, especially when it comes to giving. While they usually strike before and during the holidays, their pleas are also most prevalent right after a catastrophic event, like a hurricane or other weather disaster. Sometimes, charity scammers will use names that can easily be confused with the names of well-known, legitimate organizations. Some websites that can guide you in confirming the reputability of a charity are www.charitynavigator.org and www.guidestar.org. But do not stop there. Take the additional step of doing your own online search to check whether any complaints have been made against the organization you are thinking of contributing to. Typing in phrases like "scam" and/or "complaint" along with the charity's name can generate any potentially questionable and fraudulent activity. Also, before writing a check or handing over your credit card information, make sure that the charity is eligible to receive tax-deductible donations by visiting the IRS website at http://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/.