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Tech Tips For Your Home Office

Do you have the most cost efficient home office? Are you taking advantage of the many web based services that can substantially reduce your communication costs? How about a backup, maintenance, and disaster plan?

With more people working from home, it’s important to make sure that your technology supports your efforts. Here are things you need to know about working at home.

– You must have a private area that you can call your own. Do not operate on the kitchen table, play area, or living room. Make sure there are no distractions such as the family TV and dishwasher.

– There is no need for a separate Internet access account. Your modem and router can be used for both personal and business use simultaneously.

– Make sure that your signal strength from your wireless network is strong in the area that you will be working. If not, it is possible to extend the range of your wireless signal.

– If you don’t already have one, get your own computer. State of the art windows based computers are now in the $450-$500 range. Mac computers start at $999.

– Invest in an all-in-one wireless printer. It’s possible for multiple computers to print to one printer.

– All windows based computer on your network must have an anti-virus program installed. I also recommend you download a program such as malwarebytes.com to minimize the risk of having malicious software from entering your computer. At this time, these safeguards are not required for Mac computers.

– You should have a separate e-mail account for business and personal use.

– Use your cell phone as your business line. No need to pay for a separate business phone at home.

– Make sure that you understand how to use Skype. If you are in career transition and looking for a job, recruiters and employers are using it for interviewing purposes instead of flying you to their locations.

– Learn about cloud Computing. Chances are you are spending time out of your office and would love to be able to access your files from the road with either your smartphone or tablet.

– Do you have a backup and disaster strategy? Are your files backed up on an external hard drive or in The Cloud?

– Do you have someone you can call for tech support and maintenance?

If you need help with any of the points outlined above, feel free to contact me for a consultation. In addition, you  can access my radio program “Working From Home,” by clicking on the link below.

Listen to internet radio with Jim Blue on Blog Talk Radio

Why Boomers and Seniors are Embracing Technology

Book-Cover-for-Boomersweb1Contrary to common belief, Baby Boomers, born between 1946-1964, as well as seniors are embracing technology.  As a technology adviser and trainer, the one expression I hear more than any other is “Technology helps me live a fuller life.”  As long as it is kept simple, they are always looking for technology to help them discover new ways to enhance their lives.  Below is a list of some of their favorite pastimes.

1.  Video conferencing – Whether it’s Skype or I-Chat (on Macs), keeping up with parents, children and grandchildren has been the biggest incentive for elders to embrace technology.  Weekly video visits has strengthened ties between generations.  How about some of your friends in different continents?  And for FREE!

2.  Sharing photos and videos – Can’t attend a graduation, wedding, or birth of a new grandchild?  These precious memories can be sent to you as the event is occurring.

3.  Want to contact someone who is not available by phone?  Text messages are received instantaneously.  All you need is your cell phone.

4.   Social networking sites have permitted boomers and seniors to reconnect with long lost acquaintances.  Signing up for Facebook will insure that you will be up to date with your grandchildrens’ activities and see the latest pictures.

5.  Eyesight failing?  Electronic reading devices (kindles, iPads, etc,) will let you enlarge print and to listen to the audio of your favorite books, magazines, and newspapers.

6.  Want to watch Charlie Rose anytime?  Visit his website for past shows.

7.  Looking for a new job or volunteer work?  Instead of wading through the classified, try searching online.

8.  Widows and widowers are flocking to online dating services.  Gone are the days when the only way you could meet someone was at a bar, social function, or through an introduction.

9.  No need to stand on line at the bank.  Elders prefer online banking to pay bills and check balances.

10. Tracking your portfolio – No need to call your broker. All your financial information is available online.

The list is endless.  However, whether it is researching exotic travel locations, looking to buy a new car, checking movie reviews and times, seniors and boomers have more spending power than any other generation and are more than willing to spend it on new technology as long as it is simple, requiring little maintenance.

Click below to listen to my BlogTalkRadio program on What Boomers and Seniors Need to Know.

Listen to internet radio with Jim Blue on Blog Talk Radio

8 Reasons Why It’s Time to Get a Tablet

Tablets have received more attention in the past year than any other technology product.  Their popularity has been so great that many traditional computer manufacturers are scrambling to adjust to this change in demand.

Why are tablets so popular? Here are just some of the main reasons.

1.  Portability – Smaller and lighter than a laptop

2.  Ease of Use – One touch away from your favorite news services, stock reports, restaurant reviews, movie schedule, etc.

3.  Immediate Start-up – Much faster than waiting for your computer to “load up.”

4.  Video chatting – Keeping in touch with family, friends, and business associates.

5.   Reading books

6.   Online media – Music, movies, and TV

7.   Maintenance free – Tablets don’t crash

8.   Affordability – Less expensive than most laptops

 

Has Your E-Mail Been Hacked?

Are your friends complaining about random e-mails from you containing only a link or asking for money since you have been stranded on some remote island? If so, chances are that your e-mail program has been “hacked,” meaning that someone has accessed your contact list and sent messages to everyone on your list. Here are some simple rules to follow to minimize the risk that this will happen to you.

1. If you have been hacked, change your password immediately. Don’t use simple passwords such as birthdays, phone numbers or family names. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.

2, Change your password frequently; monthly, if you are using AOL

3. Do not use the same password for your e-mail program, online banking, or shopping sites like Amazon, Ebay, etc.

4. When accessing the Internet on the road, be sure that the wi-fi location is secured. Places like hotels, parks, and coffee shops like Starbucks, are not secured since everyone has access to their networks. You do not want to enter passwords, credit card info, or other personal information in a non-secured area, since you are using a public access point.

5. If you are using a Windows computer, make sure you have installed both an anti-virus and malware program and that they have been updated.

If you any questions about “hacking” or other maintenance issues, feel free to contact me either by phone at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at jblue@bluetutor.com/bluetutorold.

 

 

 

Is Microsoft’s Windows 8 for You?

The popularity of tablets, such as Apple’s iPad, has had a significant impact on the sales of personal computers. However, despite the surge in tablet sales, businesses still and will continue to rely on basic computers.

While I own a number of Apple products such as an iMac, iPhone, and iPad, I rely on a Windows based machine for my business. Several weeks ago, I bought a new computer with the new Windows 8 operating system, and after a period of getting used to the changes, have found its performance to be a significant upgrade over their previous operating systems.

Microsoft has finally addressed the need for greater integration with mobile devices.The introduction of their Suface tablet will surely have an impact during the coming months as many manufactures will be introducing tablets with the new Microsoft operating system.

Is Windows 8 for you?. As I have stated it the past, it depends on your specific needs.

This past week, my guest on my BlogTalkRadio program, “Keeping Technology Simple,” was Carl Mazzanti, the CEO of e-Mazzanti Technologies, and a Microsoft Partner of the Year in 2012. His company is one of the premier IT consulting services for businesses ranging from home office and retail clients to multinational corporations throughout the New York metropolitan area and numerous international locations. On the program, Carl discussed the importance of the launch of Windows 8, particularly to his corporate clients, and the impact it will have in the coming months.

Carl first appeared on the program shortly after the launch of Windows 8, and the number of people that have been listening to the podcast continues to grow each week. The reaction to last week’s program has also been extraordinary.

If you missed the program, you can access it anytime by clicking on the link below.

Listen to internet radio with Jim Blue on Blog Talk Radio

Want to Control Your International Telephone Costs?

Planning a business or pleasure trip overseas? Do you have a child studying abroad? Keeping in touch while traveling to other countries can be very costly. Fortunately, there are many Internet based programs that have reduced the costs of communicating substantially, and in many cases, for free, depending on the country.

If you own a smartphone, (iPhone, Android, or Blackberry) free calls are a snap. No need to worry about placing calls for as much as $3 to $4 PER MINUTE.

While there are many services available, I suggest you look at Viber, MagicJack, and Skype. All three have the ability to communicate for free from anywhere you can access the Internet through a wireless connection.

Many of you already are familiar with Skype which offers free video chatting with a computer, tablet, and a smartphone from a wireless connection. Using Skype on your smartphone or tablet from an area without a wireless connection is not free and the costs will depend on your carrier (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.) and the country who are in.

Viber offers free telephone calls and text messaging from smartphone to smartphone from a wireless area. Both you and the person you are calling need to have the app installed on your smartphone. The app is free.

MagicJack is a matchbook size device with a USB plug that is plugged into your laptop computer. The price of the MagicJack is $39.95 and the annual cost is under $20. It can be bought either at their website or at any electronics store (Best Buy, etc.). When you register, you select a local US number (where you live) and all calls, placed or received through the MagicJack, from a wireless area, are free.

There are a host of services available, however I am able to communicate with friends, family and business associates in other countries on a regular basis for FREE.

If you would like to discuss any of these services in greater detail, or if you have any other questions regarding how to control your international communication costs, I can be reached at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at jblue@bluetutor.com

To listen to my latest BlogTalkRadio Program, “How to Control Your International Calling Costs,” click on the site below.

Listen to internet radio with Jim Blue on Blog Talk Radio

2013 – The Year of Mobile Technology

Do you have the right tools to operate in the new mobile world?

Over 85% of the world population now owns a mobile phone. In the United States, there are more mobile phones than people. In 2012, over 60% of mobile phones purchased in the US were smartphones.

Do you own a smartphone? Are you considering an upgrade? Which phone is right for you, an iPhone, Android, or Blackberry? Over 25% of households in the US have a tablet. Should you have one?

If you want to make sure you are ready to be a true road warrior, give me call at 917 921-4518 or e-mail me at jblue@bluetutor.com/bluetutorold.

To listen to my most recent BlogTalkRadio program about the mobile world in 2013, click below.

Listen to internet radio with Jim Blue on Blog Talk Radio

Need Help Selecting the Right Techie Gift?

                                           Confused by all the choices?

Kindles, Nooks, iPads, iPhones, Androids, digital cameras, etc. The list is endless. You want to make sure you select the right gift for your friends, family and business associates.

Before you walk into one of the many retailers offering “deals” on the latest and greatest new techie gadgets, consider the following:

Not all people are created equal. While many of us love gadgets, giving your parent or child an ipad might be something they will never be able to use.  Make sure your gift is in line with their technology acumen.

Most items listed above vary in price based on their specifications.  Make sure you understand the differences between basic and advanced features.

Gift certificates for books for the Kindle and music for the iPhone are just two examples.

For family or friends whom you feel might be confused by all the new technology or need to brush on their technology skills, you should consider giving them a copy of my e-book, which can be ordered and read on both a Kindle and an iPad, directly from Amazon by clicking here.

How about a gift of a few hours of computer lessons?

If you want to make sure your gifts are received with a “Wow” instead of a confused look, give me a call at 917 921-4518 or e-mail me at jblue@bluetutor.com. I can help you make the right choices.

 

What Boomers and Seniors Need to Know

So much technology……. So many choices

Chances are that your children are more tech savvy than you are.

Are you on the wrong side of the Great Digital Divide?

Do you have the right tools to operate in the new Mobile World?

Now available as an e-book. Order it for your Kindle

 

 

 

ARE YOU SECURING YOUR MOBILE DEVICES?

We are living in a mobile world. Chances are that you are using your smartphone and tablet more than your computer for e-mail and information. Are your mobile devices secure? Do you know how to find them if they are lost?

Within the next couple of years, more people will be accessing the Internet through a mobile device than with a desktop or laptop computer.

Listen in to my BlogTalkRadio program for a discussion with my guest, Neil Forster, President of Forster Technology Solutions, about what you need to know about securing your mobile devices and how to locate them if they are misplaced.

Listen to internet radio with Jim Blue on Blog Talk Radio
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