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.

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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?

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Touch Typing on Tablets

iPads
So what is touch typing? Touch typing is just what is sounds like. You use the keyboard on the tablet to create your text. Touch typing is available is every app on the tablet that I have found. It does take some getting use to. One thing I have found is that there is no clicking that we are use to. One thing nice about touch typing at least on the iPad is the use of suggestive words as you type. What keyboard can do that? Children today are growing up using touch typing. You see this everywhere you go. Mom or dad hands a young one their phone and you see the child touch typing. Now that’s not to say they are creating anything such as this blog post but they do know their way around the touch keyboard. We see in schools more of the schools are giving their students an iPad to do their class work on. Will we one day see touch typing in offices across the country? I am not sure but I do know carrying a tablet is a lot lighter then carrying any laptop. This entire post was done on the iPad. If you have a tablet and you are using a extra keyboard I challenge you to instead open a app and try touch typing for yourself. The future is coming each day and I challenge you to tell me what’s next? 

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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.

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Programming

Visual Studio

Programming should not be a scary thing. Learning to write code is a great way to really begin to understand computers. I started writing coed years ago because at that time there were not many programs out that would do what we wanted them to do for our business. When I took my first computer managers job for a private school I used my coding skills to take a work process from 5 days down to 5 minutes. Coding allows you to become a problem solver. If you work for any company in the field of IT it will bring some value add to your skill set. Coding is also one of those skills that once you learn it you will be able to go back and code again. You don’t have to code everyday to stay sharp at it. I know coding is not for everyone. I am currently working on a large inventory project and connecting my code to MySQL back end. For me coding is relaxing and it passes the time away. But more then that coding will allow you to evaluate a companies process and maybe come up with a way to stream line it and save man hours with your coding skills? Best of all you can download Visual Studio Community Edition for FREE.

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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.

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Samsung Note 7

Nice Note 7

I for one like many of you out there really always liked the Samsung Note phones. I have never owned one but that is because my wife and I are in the Apple ecosystem and have been for years. I did try my hand at a Windows phone once but that only lasted about a week before I returned it and got a new iPhone. But the Samsung Note line has been great and I know a lot of people who still use them everyday. But now the company is in trouble. I really don’t think this is any wrong doing by Samsung. Let’s face it they don’t want all of this bad press. What everyone should be asking is where was this phone made? We all know that these electronic companies are not building these gadgets in the USA in their own factories. This might be traced back to someone in some far off land putting these together with some oil on their fingers? Would I say run out and buy a new Note 7 anyway? NO, but I am saying don’t kill a entire company because of a mishap until we get all the facts. Was this a design flaw? Are they trying to get more power out of the internal battery? Is there something wrong with the charger? I always feel bad for any company that gets hit with one bad product and it starts to make everyone fearful of their products. I hope that Samsung pulls out of this downfall. Remember I said in the beginning of this post that we are iPhone people but I think every company needs computation. Next thing to watch is that law suit because Samsung phones icons look like Apples. This is funny because my car tires looks likes yours and I bet that they came from two different companies?

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Photoshop Elements 15

Photoshop Elements 15

Last week Photoshop Elements 15 was released by Adobe. Every year like clock work we get a new version of Elements in October. With each new version we see new tools that we can use to make our photos jump off the paper or computer screen. I could not wait to get my hands on Elements 15, I downloaded the new version as soon as it hit the Adobe site. So what new features are packed into this version? Here are some of the new features. We can now create folders to group our layers. Under guided edit we have Adjust Facial Features, Painterly, Effects Collage, Frame Creator, Speed Pan, Photo Text and there is more. The Organizer also has a few new features. Is this a must have upgrade? This all depends on how you view these new tools, if you need them or not.  The truth is it is pricey to upgrade $79.00. I would wait until the holidays it always seems there is a price drop. To learn more about the new features please check out my You Tube video. Compare Elements 14 To Elements 15 Video

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The iPad Lineup

iPad Lineup

Apple has been working on the iPad since 2009 with the first one being released in 2010. When it was first released I seen this device as many did as being a larger iPhone. But after time and using one for awhile I found that is was much more then that. I now feel that Steve was creating a laptop killer or is this what he was thinking? The truth is many of us will still need a computer of some kind either a desktop or a laptop. I feel this because most of us are use to a full keyboard and internal hard drive and the programs we have grown use to using. But I sat and talked with a teacher yesterday who teaches computer classes. As we were talking she felt that as the younger generation grows up the keyboard is becoming less important to them. We are raising a generation of touch typist. I see the kids today and I know my own kids can type pretty fast with just their thumbs. So will the iPad or tablet computers someday replace laptops or desktops with keyboards? Time will tell the story. But as you see in the picture above we can see that the iPad  first got smaller and now they are getting larger. I think Apple is designing these devices to capture a entire market of users who either want to carry something smaller or something to do your daily work on. For me I really like the device mainly because the battery will last all day. I still like having a keyboard but I grew up with typewriters. Will tablets replace traditional computers? I think time will tell.

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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. 

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