Cloud Storage

Cloud Storage

When it comes to cloud storage I often ask myself which one is the best for your day to day working environment? The truth is they all have their own strengths and weaknesses.

As many of you know I work in a public school setting and we are always looking for ways to better serve the students and staff while still maintaining a balance of reliable technology for everyone.

I look at my own cloud storage and find that I am using four main ones. Google Drive for all my school-based work, Onedrive for all of my company work, iCloud for most of my personal work and then DropBox just because I have had it the longest and I still have a lot of my work on their servers. So how do you pick just one?

I have been struggling with this for some time and I think I have found the true direction to guide people in. Use whatever ego system you are working with the most. If you are a 100% Microsoft shop and work in the Office products all of the time then you would use Onedrive. This will allow you to work on files on your computer and then on the road jump into Office 365 and pick up where you left off. If you use Google Apps all the time then use Google Drive. If you are using a Mac most of the time I would suggest iCloud and also suggest buying more storage from Apple. If you use many different apps and don’t relay of web-based apps then I would suggest DropBox or Box. The real trick is to work within the ego system you choose.

At the end of the day, all of the companies out there providing cloud-based storage are very good at what they do. Your work will be safe and sound no matter where you keep it. I would however always suggest using some form of backup. I dump my files onto an external drive for safe keeping. In today’s world, nothing is beyond hacking.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Drop me a comment and let me know what if any cloud-based storage you may be using?

Wireless Printing The Future Is Here

Wireless Printing

Let me first start by saying my wife and I print very little. With that said, my wife has fallen in love with Groupon’s. Every time she finds on her phone she has to email to herself so that she can print it for the location we are going to. I do like the ones that allow you to show your phone to a clerk and have it read that way. But many times we have to have a sheet of paper to turn it into the location.

I have had an old printer in my office for years. And it has not worked for years. I guess it was more of a fixture than anything else. Even when we were both job searching we would have to go to our local library and pay .15 a sheet to print our resumes. But as I said before we print very little.

Last Saturday when looking at the local Target Ad I found a wireless printer on sale for $50.00. My wife was out the other day so I asked to stop and pick one up. Couldn’t hurt to have a printer in the house.

I opened the HP 2600 All In One this morning and set it up. The wireless didn’t setup as easy as the instructions said.  Once I downloaded the software set up was very simple and easy. I then setup my iPhone with the App from the App Store and I was wireless printing. My wife setup her iPhone and she was printing her Groupon in no time.

With all of us in the world today having wireless devices it makes sense to have a wireless printer in your house. You no longer will have to run to your computer to print something. I will have to play around and see if this printer will do wireless scanning?

Network Firewalls

Firewall

Network firewalls are built to keep the bad guys out of your network while allowing your users to maintain high availability to the Internet resources they wish to use. Setting up a corporate firewall takes time and some planning. Your first objective should be to know what to allow to come into your network from the outside world. I begin with a drawing like the one above. When you allow traffic from the outside world you should only allow a direct connection from the company or service you wish to use. Next we begin to write up any static routes we might need. These items might be a mail server or maybe your web server. Also remember after you setup the static routes you then open the correct ports to that internal IP address. Remember to allow any internal traffic to go out of your network. One tip to keep in your back pocket is if you ever get a rouge machine on your network spamming emails. If you use off site email services simply deny port 25 SMTP traffic from going out of your network. Planning is everything so that you don’t run into issues using the Internet. The last word of advice is to revisit your firewall configuration at least once ever six months. Also buy a firewall large enough to pass the bandwidth that you have, you don’t want it to become a bottle neck for your Internet traffic.

Google Suite Or MS Office 365

Google and MS Office

I remember not long ago we were talking about Mac or PC, before that we talked about Netscape Browser or Internet Explorer and longer before that we were talking about Beta or VHS tapes. Now we get a new debate that is on the minds of every technology person and director in the world. Should we be using Google Suite or Microsoft Office 365? We are now talking about more then cloud storage we are talking about the applications people use everyday. As a long time manager of Google Suite which use to be Google Apps I understand how to manage the platform. And with a Chromebook I find it the perfect match for schools either K-12 or Higher Ed. But then you need to listen to the students. Still today most high school students grew up using Microsoft Office. If you introduce Google Suite into your Elementary schools you have a chance to allow those students to grow up in the Google Suite fashion. But what would you want to use for your business? Both of these services act and work almost the same. We can use any computer platform we want and be able to access all of our documents and spreadsheets anywhere and at anytime we have an Internet connection. I have seen a lot of colleges moving over to Google Suite, I would like to ask colleges that have made this move one simple question. Why? I think as a person who has been working in education for almost 20 years I enjoy change. I really believe that if you are in the technology field and can’t change you might need another line of work. But we as people working in education have to make the correct decision for the students future. If you are reading this and you have made the choice let me know why you made the choice you did? My last question is would you just supply both and allow your students and staff choose which one they would like to use?

Truth About Internet Speed

Data

While watching the news the other day my wife was very upset when a story came on about people paying for certain Internet speeds and not getting what they paid for. Since I was in the business of selling Internet to customers years ago I know a lot about what happens to the data as it crosses the wire. The simple truth is, you will never get the speeds you are paying for. WHAT! WHY?

My wife tried to compare Internet speed to buying meat at the store, you ask for two pounds and you get two pounds. Better yet when you get home there is still two pounds in the package. Here is another she brought up. If she stops for gas and puts in ten gallons of gas when she leaves the station she has ten gallons of gas. So she asks why should the Internet be any different?

In the last two examples we have no variations in the trans port. There are no outside forces. Here is an example. If we asked someone to buy the meat for us and on the way to your house they eat even a few slices you will end up with less then two pounds that you paid for.

Now on to the Internet. The Internet provider that you pay are selling you a certain speed of Internet. In this example let’s say you pay for 5 MBPS. The provider sets up their equipment to send you a total of 5 MBPS. When it leaves their offices it travels over the hills and through the woods on some sort of wire. If you live in a lot of places those wires have not been changed out since the telephone was invented. Every time the data or Internet traffic hits rust or corrosion on a phone line the speed takes a hit and slows down a bit. Now when it enters your house it hits a break out box and slows down a little more. If you are like many people today, you have a wireless router in your house to share your Internet with all family members. Again this is another point where the Internet will lose a little more speed. By the time the connection which started off as 5 MBPS hits your devices in your house it might be 3 MBPS. And if you are living out in the country you might be at a greater loss. If you only have DSL available to you, your provider might only be able to offer 1.5 MBPS because of the distance from the office to your house. Let’s face the facts. When phone lines were first installed no one ever knew there would be something called Internet to travel across the wire. One day maybe we will all be lucky and have fiber optics put in to replace all of the old copper. But even with that the speed will be better but you will still lose a little speed as it makes it’s way to your house.

Google Apps

Google Apps

Do you use Google Apps? If not have you ever tried Google Apps? Let’s start with what is Google Apps? Google Apps is a free set of tools that allow you to create whatever you created with Microsoft Office products. What is even better when you create your work it is saved in the cloud. This allows you to reach your work from any Internet connected computer in the world. They also make it really easy to share your work with anyone even if they do not have a Google account. We talked about the Chrome Box the other day, there is also the Chrome Book which is a low cost below $200.00 laptop that is light weight and the battery lasts all day. These devices allow you to log in and access all these great Google tools. But WAIT! You don’t need a Chrome computer to access these great tools. You can use any computer with any operating system to access all of your work, even mobile devices and all for FREE. What I like best about Google Apps is the clean interface and the easy flow of my information. I really hate having all of my work stuck on some server that I can’t work on in the evenings. You can start a document at work and on the way home stop for coffee and work on the document there and when you get home you can finish your work. Move from the desktop applications to the cloud and free up more of your time.

Mr. Robot


Mr. Robot is a series that I have been missing for sometime now. This is a great series of a hacker who is trying to set the world straight. The show should teach all of us that our life is really a open book when we lay out of lives on the Internet. It also shows that sometimes people are born with a gift to get into the machines. I was glued to the TV and my Roku box for hours on end yesterday. I hope that they continue this series for a long time. I have been watching these on Amazon Streaming video but I am pretty sure you can catch this on NetFlix. 

Artificial Intelligence Is It Coming

Artificial Intelligence

Is Artificial Intelligence coming or is it already here? I have been doing a little research into the possibility of AI and allowing our computers to become a sort of thinking machine. Now I know I might get a lot of backlash on this subject but take a minute and read on.

I feel that some forms of AI are already around us. Not what you see in movies but what we are seeing in a lot of humans today. Just watch the people around you in a restaurant or at a ball game maybe even on public transportation. In movies they normally show a machine that is walking around or maybe worse then that a human with a chip in them giving them information. If this were to happen it would connect us humans to the Internet full time. With data using our nerves and maybe a blood as conductors passing information to our brain. Then connecting us to every other human and the super highway. But as I see it with these human I talked about above. We pull our phones out to learn just about everything. They can lead us to that restaurant and then show us the menu before we ever step foot inside of the door. Is this not a form of AI?

Now we have watches that connect us to our phones in our pockets for quicker access to the information we need. It was not to many years ago you had to go home to contact someone else. Now that we are connected with devices we can contact each other simply by pulling out our phone or using our wearable and texting someone. Are we getting closer?

My wife always tells me when I talk to her about my thoughts of AI that she does not want to be tracked and openly share her thoughts. But that phone in your pocket tracks you all day long. And it seems to me that people are sharing their thoughts over social media every second of every day. So I would think that if we had a chip and some sort of contact lens that we can view a screen we could text with thought instead of our fingers. My wife also feels that this would be the anti-christ? I would not go that far. People will tell you that once you are chipped you will be tagged for life? Did you ever hear of social security? Stop by the social security office sometime and ask them for your work history. They have everything from the day you started working. So with that and your phone you are tracked now.

So will computers and robots ever be able to think on their own? I can tell you about routers that learn and find the best and fastest path for your Internet traffic to find its destination. But I don’t want to give you facts I just want you to think what if?

Choosing A Cloud Based Storage

Cloud Storage

Drop Box, Google Drive, One Drive, Amazon Drive, Personal Cloud, Box, and now Sync. How can anyone choose one online cloud personal storage solution? I am using five of these now and need to get my digital life in order. So how am I going to decide which one to use?

First thought and this is the biggest one I think. Price. If it costs you more then buying a new external hard drive then it might just be to much money? I am seen many of these charging $99.00 for 1TB. You can buy a 1TB flash drive for less. But wait, it will not be backed up. It might now always be were you are when you need it? You could lose it? So back we go to square one.

Then we have to wonder what we are aloud to keep on the storage in the cloud? And what should you keep anyway? I know I want to keep my pictures safe. I want to keep all of my work files there so I can access them from any where. And wonder if I have files I want to keep secure? Can anyone at these companies look at my information?

Another thought is that i want to access my files from any device. If you are a Chrome Book user then Google would be the best choice. But if you use Microsoft office and Windows then it would be One Cloud. So if you are a Mac user should you be using iCloud? So you see why I am in such a bind? I use all of these plus my iPhone and sometimes a Android tablet. So how could any of us choose just one service?

I wrote a automator program to allow be to send all the files I want to store to all of the services I have installed on the computer. But is that the correct answer? And most of these services will not allow you to run or do they have a backup program. You need this because as humans we can forget. It would be nice to know that a program running on our computer will send the file we are working on the the cloud for us. As well as when I snap a photo with my phone the picture should go right to the cloud and be locked down from the public.

So yes I like many of you are loosing hope that any cloud service will do all of this for me? I can tell you if you have an Amazon prime account you already have unlimited FREE photo storage with them. And for $59.00 a year you can have unlimited everything storage. I am leaning towards Amazon but I am still playing with their features to see if it is a correct fit.

Good luck in sending your files somewhere. Each service has it’s good and bad. Please email me and let me know what your choice finally was.

Clean Your Computer So It Runs Faster

CClenaerMalwarebytes

Your computer needs to be treated just as you treat your car. You need to preform regular maintenance on your computer. I heard that there was a tool that has been being sold for about $20.00. You don’t need to buy anything. There are so many FREE tools on the Internet that will clean your computer and get raid of all the junk from your machine.

I am asked over and over by everyone. “How does this stuff get onto my computer?” Remember these words of wisdom. When you or your kids play these so called FREE games on the Internet these web sites put stuff onto your computer. These small programs are known as ADWARE. We often hear and see computers with pop ups all over the screen selling you this or that. Also when you visit shopping sites they put what is known as SPYWARE. These little programs watch what you buy and will start popping up ads or at the very least when you return to these sites they will push whatever items you bought in the past. So even people I meet who say they never go to questionable web sites can still get junk on their computers.

The FREE tools that I show at the top of this post will keep your computer running fast and smooth. Use the links here to make sure you get the correct ones. There are knock off sites out there trying to sell you these FREE programs.

CCLEANER: Install this cleaner and run it at least once every three months. Or anytime you think your computers is running slow. It finds and removes all types of adware and spyware. If you want continued cleaning you can buy the paid version but in all my years of using it I have never used anything more then the FREE version.

MALWAREBYTES: I also run this FREE tool after running CCleaner. I have found that there might be something that one of the programs don’t catch that the other will. And being they are both FREE why not use them both.

At the end of the day we all want our computers to run as they did when we first brought them home. And don’t ever think that you have to many pictures, or to many programs. Those things do not slow down the computer. It is all of the junk we run into on the Internet super highway.