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January 15th, 2013

We all know that forgetful person who logs on to a computer, personal account, etc, and forgets to log out. Facebook users who forget to do this sometimes find that their information has been changed, and possibly to something unwanted. While stories about this happening might provide interesting anecdotes, it's not quite as humorous when it happens to you. If you use Gmail and are one of those people who forgets to log out of your accounts, there is a feature that allows you to both track account activity and log out.

The Activity Information feature of Gmail serves a dual purpose: To give you a way to monitor the locations your account has been signed into and the ability to remotely log off. You can access the feature by:

  1. Clicking the cog in the right-hand side of the screen (located below your profile information).
  2. Selecting Settings.
  3. Scrolling down to the bottom of the page and clicking Details under Last account activity.
If you are on the Settings page, and can't find Details, scroll to the bottom of the page and you should see it at the bottom right.

Keep tabs on log-in locations When you click on Details a pop-up window will appear showing your account's recent activity. Under the Recent Activity heading you will see a list of the 10 most recent ways your account has been accessed. This information is displayed in a table with three columns:

  • Access Type: What was used to access your account. This will normally show Browser (Gmail's web client), POP3 (accessing your Gmail account from an email client like Outlook) or Mobile (using the Gmail app for Android, iPhone, etc). If you see your account has been recently accessed through Mobile and don't use the mobile app, this could be an indication your account is compromised.
  • Location (IP Address): The location the Access Type was used from. It's normally displayed with the region or country and the related device's IP address. If you are currently in Australia and notice account activity from Russia, you are safe to assume that your account is compromised. Similarly, looking at the IP address associated with each activity log is a good idea. If you notice a strange ┬áIP, you can perform an IP lookup here, which will show the service provider of the IP address.
  • Date/Time: When the activity happened. The date and time displayed are in the time zone you are currently logged into. Activity at times when you know you know you weren't online should raise a red flag.
At the bottom of the window you can see the IP address you are currently using. Just above that, is Alert preference which you can change to meet your needs. We suggest you set an alert for any unusual activity.

Remote logout If you forgot to sign out of your account from another computer, you can simply press the Sign out of all other sessions button. Pressing this will not log you out of your current session, so don't forget to sign out when you are done!

If you would like to learn more about Gmail within your business please drop us a line, we may have a solution that meets your needs.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Cloud
January 2nd, 2013

When it comes to office solutions that operate largely in the cloud there are two main competitors: Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365. Generally, Google has been the cheaper of the two, but a recent price hike makes Google Apps for Business more expensive. This has upset some users and Microsoft has responded by making Office 365 a little more enticing.

After Google's announcement on December 7, Microsoft jumped in quickly and announced they would be extending their free-trial period by 60 days. When a new user signs up for, or is interested in, Office 365, they are now given a trial period for 90 days.

This extended trial period works in two ways: Firstly, businesses that buy a copy of either Microsoft Office Home & Business 2010, or Microsoft Office Professional 2010 and activate it will get a 90-day free trial of Office 365 Small Business Premium, with support for up to five users.

The other way businesses can take advantage of the offer is by going to the Office 365 website and signing up for the 90-day trial. If businesses choose this route, they will be able to download Office 365 Small Business with support for up to 10 users and be able to try it out for three months.

It's pretty clear that this new offer is largely aimed at Google users who are unhappy with the recent price changes. Office 365 is a great alternative that can help many companies grow. If you are interested in switching over to Office 365, please contact us, we may have a solution for you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Cloud
January 2nd, 2013

When it comes to Internet presence, it no longer is enough to just have a website. You are now expected to be on various social media services, and to interact with customers on a near daily basis. When it comes to social media, businesses are flush with choice. One option is found with Google+ which has recently introduced a new feature that encourages a sense of community.

Google+'s new Communities feature is similar to Facebook Groups, in that users can create a public or private 'community' around a specific topic or idea.

The whole idea of Communities is to provide a way for users to connect with one-another based on their common interests, or meet new people who have similar interests. From there, they can share information, ideas, etc.

There are some great features of Communities that businesses with Google+ accounts can take advantage of, including being able to:

  • Create public and private communities - The ability to create and moderate communities is a good idea. You can create a private group for you and your employees which becomes an ideal place to share information and events. You can also create a public community through which you can connect with customers and other users in a less obviously commercial way.
  • Create a group around your brand - If you use tools such as Google Places, Maps or Gmail, Communities is a good way for you to extend your presence on Google and reach users who aren't fans of other social media services.
  • Set your own guidelines - You have control over your community through the use of guidelines. You can set whether the community you create can be found through Google Search, who is invited and even the moderators.
  • Hold hangouts with community members - This is a neat feature because it gives you a free way to hold video chats/conferencing with members. There are so many different ways you can use this feature. It could be the next big way to improve your brand.
  • Share your community from any +1 button on the Web - When you click on any +1 button (Google's version of Facebook's Like) you can select to share it with the community. Members will be able to see this and share it.
  • Create community-centric events - This allows you to take the community into the real world, here you can host events and meet with followers.
While Google+ is less popular than Facebook, Twitter, etc. Google is pushing it, and the number of users is starting to rise. If you have a presence on Google+ it could be a good idea to look into Communities and how it can help your company. Interested? Contact us today to see how we can help.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Cloud
December 24th, 2012

One of the greatest problems businesses face when it comes to the Internet is growing their online presence. Sure, having a social media profile helps, but that alone isn't enough. So, how do businesses grow their online presence? One way is to join communities and contribute. One of the easier communities to join is Google Help Forums. Most Internet users use Google's products, so why not join in and make your presence known by helping out?

Google's Help Forums are an online community dedicated to helping Google users find answers to their Google related questions. Thanks to a recent update some contributors are now recognized with a green Top Contributor badge on the site. This green badge indicates that the person who responded to a post is an expert, or at the very least is known to provide quality answers. Contributing to a forum like this is a great way to grow your online presence.

How could this help my company? The Google Help Forums are an online community where users post questions they have regarding any of Google's products or services. As this is a community any user can provide the answers. If you have an account and provide quality responses to questions, users will, over time, come to see you as an expert.

Because of the generally curious nature of many netizens, they will eventually click on your profile to learn more about you, gaining you exposure. If you have a website, profile links or a description of your company, users can learn more about you and your company, giving you even more exposure. While this likely won't lead to an increase in sales anytime soon, it will lead to your name being seen, which increases the likelihood of people remembering you next time they need a service you offer. As they already see you as an expert they are more likely to choose you over a competitor.

How do I become a contributor? You can just go to the Google Help Forums and start answering user questions. However, this is an ineffective way to build exposure. Here's what you should do:

  1. Sign up for a Google+ account and link it to your website, Facebook, blog, etc.
  2. Go to the main Help Forum website and look at all the products. You should first focus on the products you currently use.
  3. Hover your mouse over a product you use and click Community.
  4. You'll be taken to the Group page where users post their questions. If you are committed to helping, it would be a great idea to join the group.
  5. Click Join Group and select a Nickname, and be sure to link to your Google+ profile. This will ensure that every time you post, people who view the post can click on your name to view your profile.
Once you have joined a few groups - we suggest joining just one or two groups to begin with - it's a good idea to look through the posts on the forum to see what kind of questions users are asking and how other users have answered them. If you see a Top Contributor add them to your network and follow them to see how they answer questions.

From here, try to find a post you can answer. As soon as you respond you're considered to be a contributor.

How do I become a Top Contributor? Becoming a Top Contributor takes time and effort. You will need to contribute to the forum on a nearly daily basis and use the products you're writing about. You don't have to be a certified expert on any products, just someone who uses some of Google's products (which is nearly everyone) and is willing to help.

By participating in the forums, reading other posts that have been answered and using the products, you will start to increase your knowledge and help much more. Once you feel you have a solid understanding of the product and have been a frequent contributor (nearly every day) for at least four months, you can apply to become a Top Contributor. To do this you can navigate to the Top Contributors page, click Apply Now and fill out the form. Be sure to link to your profile. If you are accepted you will be given the rank of Rising Star and will eventually be made into a Top Contributor.

The key here is that it will take time and effort to become a part of this program. Put in the effort though and you could see both you and your company's exposure grow, and who knows, you may even pick up a few clients along the way.

If you would like to learn more about how Google's products can help your company grow please contact us, we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Cloud
December 18th, 2012

Modern computer programs contain so many features that it can be hard actually figuring out what is useful and what isn't. One of the more important things businesses look for in software is security. Take for example Microsoft Office 365; a cloud based office suite. Because Office 365 is based in the cloud, many question the security of the programs. One way Microsoft ensures a higher standard of security is by incorporating a feature that forces users to change their password every 90 days.

Here's how you can change your password and update it on all your devices and programs.

Before the password expires

  1. In a Web browser of your choice go to your Office 365 portal. You should be able to access it by navigating to portal.microsoftonline.com.
  2. Log in and click My Profile which is located in the top-right of the screen near your name.
  3. Click Change password and follow the onscreen prompts.
  4. Sign in to your Web based email app and ensure that you can connect to your account. You will be asked to type a new password when you navigate to the website.
  5. OPTIONAL: Navigate to the email account settings on your mobile device and select your Office 365 account. From there you should be able to change your password to the one you entered in the portal above. If you don't use Office 365 on your mobile device, you don't have to do this step. If you do, it's recommended that you change the password on all devices you use to connect to Office 365.
If you have set up Office 365 to prompt you to change your password on a regular basis, it should be changed. You will get reminders to do so, but sometimes you may miss the update notification. If you do, your password will expire. When this happens you will have to go to portal.microsoftonline.com and try to log in with your username and password. You should be given a message saying that your password has expired, along with a prompt to update it. Follow the steps to update your password, and be sure to follow steps four and five above.

There are many great features offered by Microsoft Office 365. If you are looking to update from an older version of Office and are interested in a great office software suite, please contact us, we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Cloud
December 18th, 2012

While email is an incredibly helpful tool, there are some minor annoyances that keep popping up. Chances are you receive dozens of emails a day, most of which just sit in your inbox. Sure, there's the really organized user who has a million folders, but most of us don't. This can be a bit of a pain when you try to find an email from several months ago. If you're a Gmail user however, you have a powerful search bar that you can use to find emails with greater ease.

If you're like most people, your Gmail inbox and basic folders will be full of thousands of emails. When you're searching for a message, it can often feel like looking for two runaway droids on a sparsely populated desert planet - in other words, pretty darn difficult! Did you know what there are a number of advanced terms you can use in the search bar to make it easier to find the dro...err email you're looking for? Here's eight tips to help you go from Gmail Search Padawan to Master.

To/From/Or: If you're looking for an email, and you know who you sent it to or received it from, you can enter:

  • to:name - This will search your email for messages you have sent to users by the name you type in e.g., to:Owen. You can also use the full email address if you have more than one contact with the same name.
  • from:name - This will search for emails you have received from the name you insert.
  • AND - You can use an AND statement to look for more than one person at the same time. For example, you are looking for an email from Biggs that you forwarded to Luke. You would enter: from:Biggs AND to:Luke and Gmail will search for emails that meet the requirements. Note: AND must be in caps.
Subject: Say you are looking for an email where you know the subject line. You would enter subject:Subject Line e.g., subject:Death Star.

Label: Gmail doesn't follow a traditional file system, instead you apply Labels to emails for easy sorting. Much like a normal file system, Labels can get a little out of hand, which may make it harder to sort through email. You can narrow down searches by entering: label:label name e.g., label:Stormtrooper complaints.

Has:attachment If you are looking for an email that has an attachment, you can enter: has:attachment. To take it one step further, entering from:name has:attachment will return emails from that user with attachments e.g., from:Bothans has:attachment.

"words" The use of double quotes "text" in the Search bar will return results that are only exact matches to the term entered e.g., "The droids we are looking for" will return emails with that exact phrase.

() Rounded brackets have two uses in Gmail Search:

  1. To group words together. Putting words between the brackets with a space between them will tell Gmail to search for emails that contain those words, but not in any order. e.g., Subject:(Wookie Endor) will search for emails with the subject line that contains the words Wookie and Endor.
  2. Words that shouldn't be excluded. If you put words in between the brackets separated with an OR statement, Gmail will search for emails that contain those words. e.g., from:Han (Chewie OR falcon) will return emails from Han that contain the words Chewie or falcon.
in:inbox/spam/trash/anywhere You can set which files in which to search for emails by putting: in:file. For example: In:spam from:Jabba will search for emails from Jabba in the spam folder.

has:yellow-star;red-star;blue-star, etc. If you use different stars to indicate a level of importance, or anything else, you can search for emails that have been assigned different stars. You can use any of the star colors, bangs, checks. as long as there is a hyphen that takes the place of the space in the name e.g., has:orange-star will return all emails with an orange star.

You can find out more about using stars in Gmail here.

+ The way Google has engineered Search (Google Search and Gmail Search) is that it will usually show results with similar words. For example: searching for Ship will return results for Ship, Ships, etc. If you want Gmail to search for exact words, use a + before the word e.g., +blast.

These terms can teach you how to become a Gmail master, and help you find what you need. If you would like to learn more about Gmail and how your organization can benefit from it, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Cloud
December 11th, 2012

Emails come in many forms. Some people use it to keep their peers and employees updated, while others use it as the basis of collaboration or to send links. If you use Gmail, you likely attach files on a regular basis. Like every other email client, there's a limit to the size of files you can attach however. Gmail has recently introduced a new feature that gives you better attachment options.

The latest Gmail feature is something many Google and Gmail users have been asking for. It allows you to add files from Drive directly into a Gmail message, without having to navigate away from Gmail.

This is how it works:

  1. Create a message as you usually would using Gmail's new overview.
  2. Hover over the + and click the Drive icon.
  3. Navigate to the file you would like to put into the document.
  4. Select the file and select Insert.
What Gmail will do is add the doc, picture, or file into the message. This is kind of an interesting way to attach files, as the file is in the message, but it's still hosted on your Drive. So, when recipients click on it they are taken to the file. What's interesting about this new feature is you can add the attachment where you want, by clicking where you would like to add it in the body and following steps two through four above.

A cool thing Google did with this feature is that when you add a file from Drive that hasn't been shared with the recipient(s), you will be asked if you want to share the file with the users when you hit send. This will be done directly in the message, no need to go to Drive and change the settings from there.

But wait, there's more One of the major downsides of email is that many programs - Gmail included - have an attachment size limit. This can make it a bit bothersome if you have to send files that are over the limit. With the update, you can now attach up to 10GB of files in one email - only if you attach them through this Drive option though. This means you can attach files up to 400 times larger than previous limits.

One caveat is that this option isn't available to you if you use the older style of Compose - clicking Compose takes you to a new page. So, you will have to use the new layout - emails are composed in a chat-like window. If you would like to switch to the new version of Compose, you should be able to do so by clicking on Compose and looking to the right of the email window, near the cog. There should be an option that allows you to switch to the new version.

If you would like to learn more about integrating Gmail, Drive or any of Google's other services into your company give us a shout, we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Cloud
December 4th, 2012

While computers and the Internet have allowed for many societal and business advancements, some age-old problems have survived and even thrived, while making their way into a digital format. One of those is junk mail, which has gone digital and now is the plague of so many inboxes. If you use Office 365's email client Outlook, there are ways to minimize junk mail in your inbox.

Here's how you can create filters to reduce junk email.

1. Optimize Outlook's Junk Email Filter Did you know that Outlook has a filter which can help reduce junk email? It's usually turned on by default, and set at the lowest setting - Low. This will filter only the most obvious junk email and place it into the Junk Email folder (more on that below).

To change the filter's settings:

  1. Navigate to the Mail tab and select Home.
  2. Under the Delete group click Junk, followed by Junk Email Options.
  3. Select which level of filtering you would like to apply.
Naturally, the higher the setting you choose, the more emails will be sent to the Junk Email folder junk or otherwise.

2. The Junk Email folder Any email that fails to get past the Junk Filter is sent to the Junk Email folder. It's a good idea to check this folder on a regular basis, especially if you have strict settings enabled, as there could be some important emails sent here, which you subsequently miss. If you find an email that isn't junk, you can drag it from the Junk folder and into the Inbox.

3. Establish Junk Email Filter lists While turning on filters and monitoring the Junk folder will reduce the number of junk emails, many will still get through. To minimize this even further, you can create lists of either trusted email addresses, or blocked email addresses. You can create these lists in a number of ways. The easiest is to simply select an email message from a sender and under the Home tab, in the Delete group select Junk followed by either: Never Block Sender; Email Group or Mailing List, or Block Sender.

You can also manually add addresses, groups and even websites to your lists. To do this:

  1. Navigate to Junk Email Options located in the Delete group of the Home tab.
  2. Select either:
    1. Safe Senders followed by Add;
    2. Safe Recipients followed by Add;
    3. Blocked Senders followed by Add.
  3. Enter the email address, or group address you would like to allow emails from or to block. If you work with a company that has many different users that contact you, but all have the same @user.com address, just add the @user.com part of the address to the list, and Outlook will block or allow emails from any user with that address.
  4. Select: Aslo trust email from Customers under the Safe Senders tab to automatically add all of your existing contacts to the Safe Senders list.
These three combined steps, should go a long way toward reducing the number of junk emails you receive. It's important to note that they will not eliminate junk email completely, and some will always get through. If this happens you can manually block them and should delete them without opening if possible. If you'd like to learn more about how Outlook and Office 365's other programs can fit into your business, please contact us.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Cloud
December 4th, 2012

One of the biggest technology trends of the past year, and likely for the next few years to come, is cloud services. One of the most popular cloud services is Drive, Google's online storage and document creation, editing and collaboration solution. While still relatively new, it's quickly become a vital component of companies that use Google's products, and a number of small updates have made it better.

Here's an overview of the recent changes made to Google Drive that have helped improve it and make it easier to use by businesses.

Expanded Search If your company uses Google Drive to store all its documents, it can sometimes become a bit tough to find files. Luckily, Drive has a search bar that functions just like Google Search. Type in the name of the document and similar results will be shown. What happens when you know a colleague sent you an important document though and you can't remember the name? With a recent update, you can now enter the name of the colleague and view all documents the colleague has shared with you.

The Search feature has also been expanded to include documents that have been moved to the Trash folder. This is good for recovering documents that you've accidentally deleted and need to retrieve, but can't remember the name of.

Drag and drop files into Chrome If you use Chrome, and have files or a folder on your desktop that you would like to upload to Drive, you can log in to Drive's website - drive.google.com - and simply drag the folder onto the window where it will be automatically uploaded. If you want to put it within a specific folder on Drive, just navigate to that folder first, then drag and drop.

Create new folders from selecting files One new feature that should save a bit of time when it comes to managing files and folders is that you now have the ability to select multiple files and create a new folder to contain them.

You can do this by selecting by the files you would like to put into a new folder, right-clicking on any one of the files - it doesn't matter which, as long as you right-click - and selecting Organize. In the window that opens, select Create new folder. From there, name the folder and press Create. By default, the folder will be added to your My Drive folder.

An easier way to manage storage If you are an Administrator, you can assign/change how much storage each user gets, through the Domain settings. If you have a lot of users, it can be a bit of a pain to scroll through a list to find the user you're looking for. With a recent update, you can now search for the user directly from the Domain settings window and either assign or change the amount of storage space they receive.

These are just a few of the recent updates Google has rolled out for Drive. If you use Drive long enough, you'll notice that Google is constantly updating features of Drive, or introducing new ones, largely to make improvements. If you're interested in how Drive can help your company, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Cloud
November 27th, 2012

Running a business can be incredibly challenging. You always have something to do, and there is likely other demands that you forget to do. It's the things you don't do that really highlight the importance of staying organized and the success of your business could depend on it. One way to stay on top of things is through the use of Google's Calendar. Did you know there's a feature called Tasks that allows you to create a to-do-list directly in Calendar?

Here's how you can get the most out of Tasks.

About Tasks To access Tasks sign into your Google account and go to google.com/calendar. You can also click on Calendar, located along the top bar of any Google website. From there, look under My calendars and click on Tasks. The Tasks bar will pop up on the right-hand side of the window.

How to add Tasks

  1. Click the + at the bottom of the Tasks bar.
  2. Enter the task in the highlighted yellow space with the blinking cursor.
  3. Press the arrow beside the task for a more advanced entry mode.
  4. Press Due Date to assign a date the task is to be completed by.
  5. Click Back to list to go back to your tasks list.
How to use Tasks After you have created a few tasks, here are a few ways you can get the most out of Tasks.
  • When you complete the task, you can press the box beside the task and it will be crossed off your list.
  • To delete the task, click on it and press the trash can icon at the bottom of the bar.
  • To clear the task off your list, but not delete it, press Actions and select Clear completed tasks.
  • If you want to make a task more important, click on it and select Actions followed by Move up. You can also indent tasks to make them sub-tasks, or move them down.
  • For an easy way to add a new task: Click on Month/Day on your calendar, followed by the empty space below the date and above the time. Finally select Task from the event entry window that opens.
  • To reassign a time, find the task on your calendar and drag it to the date you want to change it to.
Tasks is a great, free, way to stay organized. If you'd like to learn more about using Google's products in your organization, please contact us.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Cloud