“Cloud” What is the Cloud?

What is the Cloud? And Where is it?

There has been a ton of talk about the cloud. Cloud this, cloud that. But what actually IS the cloud? It’s okay if you don’t know, most people don’t understand it and even some tech people tend to wave their hands towards the sky when trying to explain it!

Since it actually has nothing to do with the white fluffy things in the sky, let’s lay it all out:

Cloud computing is about storing and retrieving your data (personal or business) within your own piece of the internet. It’s so you can access it from anywhere, just like you do a web page, and it won’t matter if your office is closed and you’re squeezing in a little work on your phone at midnight. Everything will be saved and ready to pick up when you get back to your desk. Colleagues in different locations can even collaborate on documents in real time.

If that all sounds a bit futuristic, think about how an email service like Gmail works. None of your emails are actually being stored on your hard drive or device, they’re stored on the Gmail server and you can access them anytime you like.

Your read/send/receive changes are applied instantly, remembered for next time you log in. This is a form of cloud computing. So is Netflix, where you can stream movies and TV shows on demand. All the video is actually stored on a computer somewhere else in the world and sent to your device in tiny pieces as you watch it. Netflix remembers what you watched, where you got up to, and even if you’re hopping immediately from one device to another, it still has it all ready to go.

Where is ‘cloud’ data stored?

Good question. And it’s why the term ‘cloud’ causes so much confusion. The data absolutely must be physically stored somewhere. Companies who offer cloud storage have huge warehouses dedicated to holding servers whose sole job is to send and receive data all day. And by huge, we mean HUGE.

You could get lost walking the rows of servers, just box after box for what seems like forever. The biggest server farms or ‘cloud campuses’ are still growing, but to give you an idea: they can be upwards of 1million square feet. It’s big business, literally.

In terms of location, the US and UK are popular server farm locations, but the company could also have copies of your data stored elsewhere in the world. This is so they can fulfill their redundancy guarantees – if disaster hits one location, the other still has a copy.

Having additional locations and copies also increases the speed of access. With some companies, you can choose your preferred location so that data doesn’t have to travel quite as far across the world, increasing speed even further, which of course, saves time and money. Collaboration, security, redundancy, AND savings? We’d call that a win.

Ready to take advantage of cloud computing? Give us a call at 248-360-8967.

 


When is Your Business Ready to Move to the Cloud?

By now you know that the cloud isn’t going away any time soon. In fact, cloud computing has become a natural step in business growth, thanks to the numerous (and continually growing) benefits. More and more applications are coming out in web-based form and staff are exceptionally comfortable with this type of change. So when is the right time to move your business computing to the cloud?

Many businesses are facing this question now that cloud computing has become a mainstream norm. After all, you’ll be able to roll out new apps in days, not weeks, and nobody ever says ‘no thanks’ to increased security and efficiency. Like any strategic business decision though, timing is everything. Here’s how to assess your need before you make the switch:

Age of servers and workstations

If your workstations and servers are reaching their end of life and a large capital investment is coming up, you’ll be able to minimize the expense by moving to the cloud. You may even be able to skip certain upgrades completely. Your staff will still need devices to access the cloud data, but you’ll have a lot more flexibility in your choice and they won’t need to be as powerful. This can be a huge cost saving made in just moments.

Need for remote and mobile access

Many businesses are growing while on the move, with a mobile workforce needing to access files from anywhere at any time. This could range from moving around the one location, between offices or even working from home. Forget frustrating connections and lost productivity, cloud computing allows staff to work securely and efficiently from any location with internet access.

Current support setup

If your business currently outsources all your network management, you’re perfectly suited for the move to cloud computing. Network maintenance and monitoring becomes a non-issue, handled 24/7 as part of your cloud service. Network efficiency just keeps rising too, as your cloud provider is always improving their systems. You’ll find problems are fixed before you knew they existed, and server downtime becomes a thing of the past.

Need for predictable IT costs

If it feels like IT costs can spiral out of control at times, challenging your budget and patience, cloud computing will seem like a dream come true. When you make this shift, you’re moving from a capital expense to an operational one – server and system replacements are no longer your concern. You’ll be able to budget for IT costs in advance, knowing no blowouts are hiding around the corner. Monthly costs are known and (usually) capped based on what you use, leaving your cash flow much relieved.

Today’s cloud computing is more advanced, secure and priced more competitively than ever before. At its core, cloud computing is purely about doing things better, and it can have a massive impact on your profits, productivity and even staff satisfaction rates. If your business requires a robust, always available infrastructure with easy monthly costs, it’s time to take a serious look at your cloud computing options.

We offer a variety of cloud services to help your business. Give us a call at 248-360-8967 to discuss how we can improve your business IT.

Larry On-Guard

Larry On-Guard

Larry The Computer Guy Releases an innovative new product to keep your computers up to date and problem free. This new product is like having good health insurance for your computer. Depending on the package you choose we will provide a level of protection for your computer that is just right for you. From our Larry On-Guard basic plan which is FREE to our Total protection plan we have a plan that will fit your budget.

It is so important today that your computer is kept fully updated with all the operating system patches that are available. RansomeWare like WannaCry could have been prevented in over 100,000 cases if the infected operating systems had been kept updated. Our Plans offer a level of service that will fit your budget. You can pick from our Basic Plan that will monitor your system and alert you for free, all the way up to our Total Protection plan, that will not only monitor everything on your computer, but will provide you with an online “cloud backup” to further protect your data from future threats.

Call Larry The Computer Guy at 248-360-8967 and protect your computer.

Larry The Computer Guy Introduces “Larry On-Guard”

LarryThe Computer Guy Releases an innovative new product to keep your computers up to date and problem free. This new product is like having good health insurance for your computer. Depending on the package you choose we will provide a level of protection for your computer that is just right for you. From our Larry On-Guard basic plan which is FREE to our Total protection plan we have a plan that will fit your budget.

It is so important today that your computer is kept fully updated with all the operating system patches that are available. RansomeWare like WannaCry could have been prevented in over 100,000 cases if the infected operating systems had been kept updated. Our Plans offer a level of service that will fit your budget. You can pick from our Basic Plan that will monitor your system and alert you for free, all the way up to our Total Protection plan, that will not only monitor everything on your computer, but will provide you with an online “cloud backup” to further protect your data from future threats.

These plans can either be purchased on a month to month basis or yearly at a 20% savings. With the plan you will also receive our great customer support and up to a 20% discount on labor depending on the package you choose.

Call us today and and experience what Larry On-Guard can do for you. 248-360-8967

Special Limited Offer

For all yearly subscribers call in and signup by July 21st and if you pay yearly, you will receive an additional 10% off the annual price for the first year. That is an additional SAVINGS of $21 on our Total Protection Plan. Mention Coupon Code Larry On-Guard10 to receive this promotion.

Don’t wait until you get infected and lose all your valuable data, get protected today!

Call 248-360-8967

 

RansomWare attacks

RansomWare is where malware encrypts your files and then holds them hostage for a ransom. These ransom’s can be from $500 to several thousand dollars.

We have been experiencing a large number of people being infected with RansomWare. This normally will come as an attachment to an email. Quite often the email will tell you to click on the attachment to show you your invoice. It sometimes will look like a UPS, FedEx or Amazon invoice.
Clicking on the attachment will immediately infect you. The malware will encrypt all your files, including pictures, databases, QuickBooks, Word and Excel documents etc.

If you click on this accidentally, please immediately shut down your computer to prevent further infection. If this happens please call us IMMEDIATELY at 248-875-6959.

If you maintain vital pictures or documents, it is a good idea to back them up either to a flash drive or the cloud.

If you would like information on Larry Backup, please call us at 248-360-8967.

If you think that you may be infected it is important that you call us IMMEDIATELY at 248-875-6959, as this infection only gets worse the longer it is allowed to run.

Should I upgrade to Windows 10

Should I upgrade to Windows 10?

Fcomputer pictureollow the guidelines below to determine whether you should upgrade to Windows 10.

 

Are you a business?        We would recommend that you do not upgrade.

Is your current computer Windows 8.1?   It should be ok to upgrade.

Is your current computer Windows 8?     Before upgrading you need to have windows 8.1 with all security patches installed. If you try to update to Windows 10 it will fail.

Is your current computer Windows 7?   With Windows 7 you have a 50 / 50 chance of successful upgrade. If you do not need the increased functionality of Windows 10 then do not upgrade. If you decide to upgrade you need to make sure your data such as pictures and documents are all backed up. If you are having any issues with Windows 7 such as slowness or things do not seem to be working correctly, your upgrade will most likely fail. In some cases the only way to successfully upgrade is to clean install Windows 7 and then upgrade to Windows 10.

While Microsoft has fixed many issues plaguing the Windows 10 update there are still some issues with graphic drivers. It is a good idea to check with your computer manufacturer to see if Window 10 drivers exist. If the drivers do not exist then do not upgrade.

If you would like help in upgrading feel free to contact us. We can provide the technical support that you need, including the backing up of your precious pictures and documents.

 

Larry The Computer Guy

Serving South Eastern Michigan for over 24 years.

Call us and experience the difference. Let us help you save money.

248-360-8967

Windows 10 updates are much more agressive

Tired of the relentless popups for Windows 10?

Over the last couple of weeks the nagging from Microsoft for Windows 10 has gotten muchwindows upgrade more aggressive. It seems that they want everyone to upgrade now. Our position still stands, that you should hold off upgrading for a while yet. We have seen some great improvements when it comes to having the correct drivers and the stability of the operating system has improved greatly. There are still known graphic issues with older laptops and tablets. If you have a Windows 7 laptop, your best bet is to wait until you need a new laptop and then go to Windows 10. If you have a desktop more and more drivers are coming available for upgrading.

We currently also have a tool to prevent the upgrade process to Windows 10. This tool removes the nagging messages from Microsoft about updating. If you would like the relentless Windows 10 nagging to be removed we charge $25 per computer, to do that.

Larry The Computer Guy

Serving SE Michigan

248-360-8967

Secure Your Passwords

METAL-SAVEPasswords are the first line of defense against cyber criminals. It’s crucial to pick strong passwords that are different for each of your important accounts and it is good practice to update your passwords regularly. Follow these tips to create strong passwords and keep them secure.

Use a unique password for each of your important accounts like email and online banking

Choosing the same password for each of your online accounts is like using the same key to lock your home, car and office – if a criminal gains access to one, all of them are compromised. So don’t use the same password for an online newsletter as you do for your email or bank account. It may be less convenient, but picking multiple passwords keeps you safer.

Keep your passwords in a secret place that isn’t easily visible

Writing down your passwords isn’t necessarily a bad idea. But if you do this, don’t leave notes with your passwords in plain sight, on your computer or desk.

Use a long password made up of numbers, letters and symbols

The longer your password is, the harder it is to guess. So make your password long to help keep your information safe. Adding numbers, symbols and mixed-case letters makes it harder for would-be snoops or others to guess or crack your password. Please don’t use ‘123456’ or ‘password,’ and avoid using publicly available information like your phone number in your passwords. It’s not very original, and it isn’t very safe!

Try using a phrase that only you know

One idea is to think of a phrase that only you know, and make it be related to a particular website to help you remember it. For your email you could start with “My friends Tom and Jasmine send me a funny email once a day” and then use numbers and letters to recreate it. “MfT&Jsmafe1ad” is a password with lots of variations. Then repeat this process for other sites.

Set up your password recovery options and keep them up-to-date

If you forget your password or get locked out, you need a way to get back into your account. Many services will send an email to you at a recovery email address if you need to reset your password, so make sure your recovery email address is up-to-date and an account you can still access.

Sometimes you can also add a phone number to your profile to receive a code to reset your password via text message. Having a mobile phone number on your account is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to help keep your account safe.

For example, service providers can use the phone number to challenge those who try to break into your account, and can send you a verification code so you can get into your account if you ever lose access. Giving a recovery phone number to Google won’t result in you being signed up for marketing lists or getting more calls from telemarketers.

Your mobile phone is a more secure identification method than your recovery email address or a security question because, unlike the other two, you have physical possession of your mobile phone.

However, if you can’t or don’t want to add a phone number to your account, many websites may ask you to choose a question to verify your identity in case you forget your password. If the service you’re using allows you to create your own question, try to come up with a question that has an answer only you would know and isn’t something that you’ve posted about publicly or shared on social media.

Try to find a way to make your answer unique but memorable – you can do this by using the tip above – so that even if someone guesses the answer, they won’t know how to enter it properly. This answer is very important for you to remember – if you forget it you may never be able to get back into your account.

Gleaned from goodtoknow.com

 

Larry The Computer Guy

Serving SE Michigan

248-360-8967

Future computing: The Internet of Things

Some thirty years ago, the personal computer revolution began — and no other technology has evolved more quickly.

Now there a new revolution, often referred to as the Internet of Things. Here’s what you need to know about it.

The term Internet of Things (IoT) made little sense to me when I first heard it. I thought: “Oh no! Not another meaningless tech-industry marketing term — like Web 2.0.” But then I visited my pool-supply store and the sales person asked me whether I wanted to connect my pool pump to the Internet.

As you might expect, my first reaction was: “Why?” I left the store a bit bewildered and spent the next several months looking into the topic of new Internet-connected devices. What I’ve discovered took me by surprise — and I teach computer technology.

The Internet of Things extends far beyond just attaching your thermostat (or pool pump) to the Internet. In the broader sense, IoT could encompass any instance in which objects or organisms (including people) are fitted with sensors that collect and transfer data over a computer network. No human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction is required.

IoT isn’t driven simply by convenience; the ultimate goal is collecting and processing large amounts of data in real time. More than fifty years of technology discovery and development has brought us to this point.

For example, with nanotechnology (more info), we can now build data-collecting sensors that measure in billionths of an inch. These tiny devices are described as nanoelectromechanical systems — or the somewhat larger microelectromechanical systems (MEMS; more info).

finger print

Building a ubiquitous data-collection system

These data sensors are so inexpensive and so tiny they can be placed everywhere: in cars, homes, clothes — and even in our bodies. That potential flood of data collection would easily overwhelm our current IPv4 Internet-addressing scheme. Which is why we’re moving to the more-capable IPv6 (more info).

This newer addressing system uses 128 bits, an address space so large that each person on earth could be given a few Octillion (10 to the power of 27) IP addresses and there would still be a lot of addresses left over. In short, it will be nearly impossible to run out of IPv6 addresses.

With many ways to collect data, we also need ways to move the information to the computers that will process it. In the past, this connection was via Ethernet cabling. But now we live a mobile world. Advances in Wi-Fi and cellular transmission rates now make it more practical to move mountains of data wirelessly. And if GPS is added to a sensor, we can know exactly where the data came from.

Data processing has also grown exponentially over recent years. Massive server farms and cloud-storage facilities make real-time processing of huge amounts of data — popularly called Big Data — cheap and practical. (Cloud storage is about a tenth the cost of local storage.) And all this “Big Data” is now stored in “Data Lakes,” where it might reside for years or even decades to come.

Currently, hard drives still do the heavy lifting in data storage. But tech companies are working on new forms of computer memory (RAM) and data storage. For example, Carbon nano tubes (CNT; more info) could increase storage in our devices up to a thousandfold — while using less electricity. It’s quite possible that in the next five to 10 years, your smartphone might have 10TB of RAM/disk storage and a month of battery life.

And what becomes of all this collected information? Businesses use sophisticated data analytics to process it — outwardly to “make our lives better,” but mostly to make a profit. For the most part, the information is cleaned, sorted, and combined with other data to build models of our online behavior. That information is then used essentially to convince us to purchase products and services.

Connecting everything to the Internet

What does the Internet of Things offer us today? It’s far more than you might realize. You might be familiar with products such as the Nest (site) thermostats and smoke alarms; or wearables such as Fitbit devices that monitor heath and exercise.

But IoT is rapidly expanding into more prosaic things; for example, I found a BBQ propane-tank sensor that will notify you that it needs refilling or that you forgot to turn off your gas grill. And then there’s that pool pump I mentioned that can be monitored and controlled via a smartphone app.

Other uses of IoT include monitoring your wine collection. Sensors embedded in corks report temperature, acidity, bottle location, and other properties. IoT sensors are being used in casino chips and golf balls to track location and movement. A golfer’s performance can be monitored and tracked over time. Parking spaces can be fitted with IoT sensors; as you enter a parking garage, you can be notified ahead of getting to it where an open space is located. Power companies are using IoT in appliances and solar systems to manage and track energy usage.

And that’s just the consumer side. Things get really interesting when you look at IoT for the business-to-business (B2B) market. Farming, automotive, security, and heath care are taking advantage of Internet connectivity.

In farming, for example, cameras have been mounted on booms attached to tractors. As the machines are driven though the fields, the cameras take images of each plant and also record its GPS location. An onboard computer system processes the images in real time and determines whether a particular plant needs a shot of fertilizer, pesticide, or water — or is doing fine. The health of the plant is recorded and archived (again, Big Data) so that farmers can make year-over-year comparisons.

For the dark side of electronics in farm equipment — and our cars — see a related Wired story. It tells why we don’t really own the vehicles we think we paid for.

Many newer cars already have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity built in. Your next new car will most likely have at least four high-definition (HD) cameras, a hundred or so performance sensors, and a cellular data-service plan — not for you, but for the automobile manufacturer to keep tabs on the car.

 

car

You and millions of other drivers will be “testing consumers,” so manufacturers can produce better cars. But they’ll also be able to monitor wear and tear on individual vehicles. In theory, they could use GPS data to tell you, via your onboard navigation/information system, that it’s time to change the oil — and here’s the location of the nearest dealer.

Onboard cameras and computers can now prevent unsafe lane changes, assist in emergency braking, and help with parking. The videos from the cameras can be stored, so should you have an accident, the images can be downloaded and used for any follow-up investigation.

IoT is rapidly finding its way into security. For example, retail stores that suffer heavy losses to shoplifters might install wireless cameras. Though some are visible, others are hidden. Yes, that mannequin actually is watching you.

These connected cameras can capture the face of anyone who enters the store; they then immediately compare that information against a list of known shoplifters. If there’s a match, the store’s security staff can then track the person’s movements throughout the store.

IoT, Big Data, and cloud storage let stores share a common database of known shoplifters. Someone caught stealing at the local department store will be recognized and watched at the nearby home-improvement store. The next time you enter a store, check out your image on a conspicuously placed, high-definition screen; it’s there to remind you that you’re being watched.

Residents of my town are concerned about the number of robberies. To help the police, some homeowners are installing IoT cameras that are connected to systems running License Plate Recognition (LPR) software. Every car that drives by has its license plate recorded with the LPR software. If a particular car was used in a previous burglary, homeowners, neighborhood watch groups, and the police are immediately notified. When a large number of homeowners install these cameras, the path the burglars take can be tracked by police in real time. (This obviously raises privacy issues. It might also be adapted for unwarranted profiling.)

In health care, IoT-equipped pacemakers monitor heart rhythm. If a pacemaker detects an abnormal rhythm, it can notify a doctor, dispatch emergency-medical personnel, and initiate treatment. Moreover, if the device is equipped with GPS, it can send out your exact location.

IoT is assisting with pain management and neurological diseases. I was recently told that doctors have imbedded Windows 10 computers into patients. Using wireless connections and the Internet, doctors can remotely manage pain or, in the case of those with neurological diseases, send software updates that help patients cope with their illness.

The dark side of ubiquitous IoT applications

We are a well aware of security on our phones and computers. But the concept of billions of devices connected to the Web raises real concerns over hacking, privacy, and personal security. For example, there was an uproar when it was shown that smart TVs might be capable of sending private conversations back to Web servers. And it was recently shown that hackers could take control of cars remotely. Anything attached to the Internet is a potential target.

Potentially more difficult, will be finding a balance between security and privacy. For many, having your neighbor record your comings and goings and sending that data to police computers is unacceptable. But if you’ve been the victim of a burglary, you might think it’s okay. And will you be comfortable knowing that your car’s manufacturer — and possibly your insurance company — can track your driving habits?

Again, one of the foundations of IoT is targeted marketing. Not too long ago, a woman who was still in high school began receiving drugstore ads targeting pregnant women. The woman’s father (angrily) asked the chain store that sent out the ads why; he was told that, thanks to Big Data, it knew his daughter was pregnant. I’m sure that’s not the way we’d want to learn about a loved one’s private matters.

Gleaned from windows Secrets article by Doug Spindler

Larry The Computer Guy

Serving South Eastern Michigan

248-360-8967

Microsoft Outlook is Crashing after recent update.

Outlook Crashing after recent update!

The software giant confirmed in an emailed statement to ZDNet that some users might be suffering from a Patch Tuesday hangover.

“We are looking into reports from some customers who are experiencing difficulties with Outlook after installing Windows KB3097877. An immediate review is under way,” said a spokesperson.

Many on Twitter also pointed to the patch, also known as MS15-115), a critical update affecting all versions of Windows, as the one to blame. The patch fixes a series of flaws that could allow an attacker to remotely execute code on an affected machine by exploiting how the operating system handles and displays fonts.

Some users have reported that Outlook crashes only when web-formatted (HTML) emails are displayed.

Earlier, download links posted on the security bulletins point to files disappeared off the site, but returned by mid-afternoon.

Gleened from zdnet.com

What can I do to make my laptop computer last a lot longer? Call Larry The Computer Guy 248-360-8967

Make your laptop last longer.

Make your laptop last longer.

What can I do to make my laptop computer last a lot longer? Call Larry The Computer Guy!

 

  • Avoid using your laptop on soft surfaces like beds, couches and pillows. This blocks the laptop’s air vents, causing your laptop to heat up. Hot internal components wear out faster than cool ones.
  • Clean your laptop fans once a month. Get a can of compressed air with a thin nozzle and direct the air into your laptop fans and air vents. This increases airflow through the vents and reduces the amount of work your fans have to do.
  • Carry your laptop in a padded or fortified bag to minimize wear and tear while your laptop is in transit. One bad drop can wreck a hard drive or crack a screen.
  • Never carry the laptop by its corners or edges. This stresses the case, which leads to early fractures and cracks. A weakened case means the laptop is more prone to bending and twisting, which can damage internal components.
  • Remove the battery when the laptop is plugged in. Batteries can overheat or overcharge when plugged in, reducing their lifespan. Store your laptop in a cool, dry location to further increase battery lifespan.
  • Use your laptop on battery power until you get a low power warning, then plug it in and let the battery fully recharge.
  • Don’t put your laptop in Standby or Sleep mode. Sleeping laptops still use a little bit of electricity, which drains your battery, forcing you to recharge more often. The average laptop battery is good for about 500 charge/depletion cycles. Use Hibernate mode instead of Standby.

gleaned from ehow.com

Call us for all your desktop and laptop needs.

Larry The Computer Guy

Desktop and Laptop repair in Commerce MI

248-360-8967

How to make your Lithium-ion batteries last for years

lithium ionThe lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries used in most of today’s tablets, smartphones, and portable PCs require very different care and feeding than with the nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) and nickel-metal-hydride (Ni-MH) batteries used in earlier devices.

Keep your lithium batteries cool

I was surprised to learn that heat is the number-one enemy of Li-ion batteries. Heat issues can be caused by usage factors such as the speed and duration of battery charging and discharging.

Unplug the charger to save the battery

Overcharging — leaving a battery connected to a too-high voltage source for too long — can reduce a Li-ion battery’s ability to hold a charge, shorten its life, or kill it outright.

Don’t deep-discharge your battery

Not all discharge cycles exact the same toll on a battery. Long and heavy usage generates more heat, putting more stress on the battery; smaller, more frequent discharges extend the overall life of lithium batteries.

Slow and steady charge/discharge is best

As you now know, both fast discharging and fast recharging generate excess heat and exact a toll on battery life.

Whenever possible, carry a spare battery

If your device allows for easy battery replacement, carrying a spare battery is cheap insurance. It not only gives you twice the run time but also helps you avoid the need to fully discharge a battery or use a quick charge. When the in-use battery approaches 15–20 percent charge, simply swap out the drained battery for a fresh, cool one — you get instant full power, with no heat worries.

Gleaned from www.windowssecrets.com

Larry The Computer Guy

Computer and Laptop Repair in South Eastern Michigan

Servicing Commerce, White Lake, Milford, Walled Lake, Highland, Hartland, Brighton, Howell

248-360-8967