At this point, just about everyone is familiar with connecting their cell phone, laptop or tablet to a wireless network. Wireless networks are created by connecting an Internet access point, like a modem, to a wireless router, which then sends a signal through the air to a Wi-Fi enabled device. However, if you don’t know how to secure your wireless network, you may find out the hard way how easy it is for hackers to use it to launch malicious attacks on your computer.

Although CryptoWall 3.0 ransomware has been around for a while now, we’ve recently seen a surge in the number of PCs infected. Lately, many CryptoWall 3.0 infections have come from malicious spam (malspam) emails and the Angler Exploit Kit, a software package that contains easy-to-use attacks against vulnerabilities in browsers such as Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox, and in programs such as Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader and Java. Though it’s tough, CryptoWall 3.0 is not impossible to defeat.

The latest update to the Google Chrome web browser, version 42, now blocks Java, Silverlight and other plugins. However, not all is lost. As long as you remember to update Java, you can continue to utilize all of Google Chrome’s features. As a security measure, Google has blocked NPAPI (Netscape Plugin API) plugins, including Java, to protect against “hangs, crashes, security incidents and code complexity.” But if you are a Java-dependent Internet user or developer, it’s simple and easy to disable the Google Chrome block.

Last week we covered how you can set up email on your iPhone but, we realized we were leaving out our readers who did not have iPhones. So, in our blog this week, we figured we would go over how to set up email on Android (since that seems to be the next most popular smartphone for consumers). With email on Android you should be able to be more mobile, more productive and more responsive to the requests of your co-workers, employees and clients. Without further ado, here is our 6 step guide on how to set up email on Android.

Cloud computing has become a major buzz word over the past four years and it doesn't seem as though it's going away anytime soon. You may have heard that tech giants like Amazon, Google and Apple are all battling to be the top cloud provider for consumers. There are advertisements everywhere for Apple's iCloud and Microsoft's OneDrive and every one of those tech companies has an offer that will give you more space for your photos and personal documents. Consumer grade cloud computing is excellent right now, but, people rarely talk about the cloud in relation to small business. That's why we have included this list of advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing in order to help you determine whether or not you should join the migration to the cloud.

In todays’ world, being mobile is a necessary attribute for any Long Island small business. But, you also need to be able to stay in contact with your clients, co-workers and employees throughout the day. With e-mail on your iPhone you’ll be able not only be more mobile, but be more responsive to the needs of your clients. Listed below is our 7 step guide on how to set up email on iPhone 5.

[embed][/embed] David Pogue is one of the most well-respected (and well known) personalities in the tech world. For the past thirty years David has seen the tech industry grow from a fledgling industry into the most dominant corporate power in America. He has worked as a columnist for the New York Times, hosted NOVA and is currently serving as a personal technology columnist for Yahoo Tech. After watching his TED talk it’s easy to see why everyone seems to be so attracted to him. With an energetic style of delivery and simple, easy to digest information it’s hard not to find yourself getting caught up in this David Pogue TED talk. So, if you haven’t watched the video above, we highly recommend that you do. But, if you don’t have time (or don’t like movies) we have provided those tips below.

At this point, the countdown until Christmas is entering hyper-speed (if you haven’t already bought presents for your loved ones that is). And that race against time may force you to spend more on said presents thanks to elevated shipping costs and convenience fees. While that might be fine for less expensive products (like socks), you’re going to be stuck between a rock and a hard place if you’re looking to buy something more expensive (say a DSLR). Buying an entry-level professional-esque camera will likely cost you more than $600 (and that’s just for the body). But, we think that price is a little ridiculous, at least you consider that you can get industry-standard photo and video from a device you already own. And that’s why we think the best entry level DSLR is… your smartphone.

Now, if you’re like any normal American you probably don’t know what a CAPTCHA is, but… you’ve probably seen them before. A CAPTCHA (which is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) is a little program that websites use to determine whether or not the thing visiting their website is a human or a robot. They usually show up as text boxes and have a complicated array of numbers and letters that you then have to input into that text box (and pray you got it right). If you enter it wrong, the computer assumes you’re a robot and you get kicked off the site. So, needless to say, we’re not a big fan of CAPTCHA’s. But all of that might change thanks to a little bit of help from a World War II era mathematician and Silicon Valley tech-giant Google, CAPTCHA’s are on the way out. Here’s what you need to know.

It’s hard to imagine that in just two days, you, me and millions of other Americans will roll out of bed, lace up our boots and risk our own personal well-being (all before the sun dares to show its’ face) just to get a deal. Well, I say just. On no other day during the calendar year will you find quite so many deals for so many different products. For us in the tech industry, Black Friday gives us the opportunity to test and buy some of the products (on the cheap) that we have been dreaming of for the past eleven months. But, we’re not always impressed with the tech deals on Black Friday and it can be more than a little irksome to see the term deal stamped on a subpar product. Listed below are some tech products you will want to avoid as well as how to make the most of those Black Friday tech deals.

Black Friday is a week away, which, for me doesn’t mean much beyond seeing a million Black Friday status updates on my Facebook timeline. I don’t participate in Black Friday. The idea of shopping amongst a thousand rabid people who are determined to get that newest version of Tickle Me Elmo for their children at any cost just doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time. It’s not me. Plus, with the advent of Cyber Monday why would you even bother leaving the shelter of your home on the day after Thanksgiving? You would miss out on first dibs on all the leftovers. I love it. But, unfortunately, there are some things that can make your Monday blacker than Black Friday. So, to stay safe we have included a few Cyber Monday safety tips which are listed below.

Whether you're just starting your first business or you have been in business for decades finding an IT provider and consultant is an essential part of any serious business today. We live an age where our ability to do business is heavily influenced by the technology that we are able to use (and buy). Unfortunately, no matter how much we spend on tech equipment there are things that can go wrong. And, when it does you are going to need to get that equipment fixed. Sure, you could try and fix it yourself but, with how intricate (and delicate) some systems are you might find yourself in a worse situation than when you first encountered the problem. You wouldn't try to fix your car's engine by yourself, so don't try to fix your business's engine (your computers, servers, etc.) by you yourself. Instead, try hiring a mechanic or, in this case, an IT professional. Here's what you need to know to get the most out of your Long Island IT consultant.

For the past four years I have relied on a free subscription to Microsoft Office through my alma mater, Hofstra University. Then I graduated. My subscription disappeared and I was left between a rock and a hard place as I looked to replace Microsoft Office on my Macbook. To fully replace it I would have had to pay a whopping $140 for four programs (Excel, Powerpoint, Word and OneNote). And there was no way that was going to happen. So, I started exploring other cheaper options (disclaimer: cheaper does not mean piracy). I tried out Google Docs, Textedit and a few other word processors. But, they all ended with the same result: utter disappointment. I entered Word withdrawal and finally I broke down and searched for a ‘free’ version of Microsoft Word. Lo and behold, the first result that popped up was titled Microsoft Office Online; a free online interface, built by Microsoft themselves, that gives you access to Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and OneNote all for the price of a Microsoft account (which is also free). Listed below are some of our favorite features from the free Microsoft Office Online.

With all of the press Apple has been getting over the past few weeks, it only makes sense that we start giving one of their primary competitors a look too. Just the other day I was looking on the Mac app store at cloud storage apps and was surprised to see that OneDrive, an application that I use pretty much every day, had a meager two-star rating. It might just be because the app does not work very well on Mac’s but using OneDrive as your main cloud storage may be the best decision you have ever made. And here is why you should backup to OneDrive.


PowerPoint is a pretty great tool for setting up presentations. It does however have its shortcomings. Take for example that you can’t change the slide orientation per slide. Some data or images will just display better in landscape than they would in portrait mode or vice versa. While PowerPoint limits you to one orientation per presentation, there is a trick you can use to get around this limitation.

So now that you know what’s stored in your web browser history, let’s work on how to clear your search engine history. There could be plenty of reasons you’d want to erase your search history—you’re on a public computer, you share your computer with other people, you don’t want your previous search history to influence new searches—the list goes on for ages. Depending on which browser you use, there are different steps you’ll need to complete to clear your search engine history. Let’s get started!

So. Many. Yellow. Bars. At least that’s what it looked like… A few weeks ago, I plugged my iPhone into my computer with the intent to upload the entirety of the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix audiobook to my phone’s library for a road trip back to Buffalo (8 hours in the car by yourself can get a little lonely). Everything started normally, my phone backed itself up, did its’ usual sync and prepped itself for 859.7MB of data. I had no media in my library (no music, no videos) and I figured the transfer shouldn’t take to long so I left for a moment to pack my things. Upon my return, I was met with a message that said that there had been an error and that the files could not be stored on my iPhone. Why? Because the space that I had previously assumed was vacant was apparently being inhabited by a plethora of yellow bars. The bars claimed to be “other” data (which is pretty much useless information when you’re looking to clear space). With no idea what to do I got some help from a member of our team who told me to take the following five steps.

In our last blog we discussed how to diagnose whether your computer has been infected by a virus or malware (or any other kind of insert-prefix-here ware). It’s important to be able to diagnose the problem. But a diagnosis without a plan of action to fix your computer’s affliction is about as useful as going to the doctor, finding out you have strep throat and just going back home (not very useful). Typically, the doctor would take you through some tests, tell you what’s wrong and then write you a prescription. That’s fine for most people, but drugs can sometimes be more trouble than their worth (just listen to the side effects attributed to Nasonex) in which case people might opt for a more grassroots approach, like homeopathy. Which approach is better? We can’t say but we do know that just as there are a variety of ways to recover from an ailment yourself there are also multiple options to help your computer recover from a virus.

What is a Computer Virus?

Viruses, spyware, adware, malware, scareware, ransomware, worms (yay! one that doesn’t have ‘ware’ at the end), rootkits, bots and droppers (gross) are all potential problems for your PC. Problems that could expose you to things like identity theft and corporate espionage. But many of them are largely ignored or brought to professionals who won’t explain exactly what’s wrong with your computer. It’s like going to the doctor and having them talk about your illness in medical-speak which is great (unless you’re like most of us and don’t have medical training) in which case it’s a little annoying because you leave the place with more questions than answers. So, to break down some obstacles and build some bridges we thought it might be a good idea to make a cheat sheet. One that you can reference at any time and one that will give you a basic understanding of what’s going on inside your computer (kind of like WebMD created by IT professionals or an always accessible Genius Bar).

Have you ever noticed how difficult it can be to find your keys when you’re in a rush? They’re never where you’d expect them to be. You may have even bought that little $5 organizer thing that you promised yourself you’d always put your keys in after the last time your ripped apart half of your house trying to find them. But they’re not where you swore you’d leave them, and now you’re standing in the middle of a room full of all sorts of stuff—pillows, dog toys, blankets, clothes, books—everything except your keys. You turn over everything, and still haven’t found them. You’re about to throw your hands up and just call a cab, and suddenly something catches your eye. Your keys! But they’re all the way on top of the bookcase, and you’ll need a step stool to reach them (how’d they even get there, anyway?). You stretch as far as humanly possible, and you’re just able to wrap your finger around a keychain to tug them down from the shelf, when suddenly you lose your balance and come crashing down to the floor, along with your big screen TV. The room’s a mess, your TV’s broken, and on top of it all, you’re hurting pretty badly. But at least you found your keys, right?

Microsoft Office has been the go-to office suite for businesses around the world since its introduction in November of 1990. With very few viable alternatives to choose from, small businesses have had to rely on the tech-giant’s applications for the better part of the last 24 years. The price of running the programs can cost small businesses a small fortune (Office Professional 2013 costs $399.99 per computer) that they could be spending elsewhere. But no other suitor existed, businesses were forced to pay for the software, and there were troubling times in the kingdom as the people waited for a champion.

Do you remember your first toy? For some people it was a teddy bear, for others it was a doll, and then there were those poor, unfortunate souls who got a pet rock. Regardless of what the toy was, people typically form a strong emotional attachment to that first toy. It’s the first thing you ever owned. That sticks with you, and it’s hard not to get nostalgic when you pull that bear off of the top shelf of the closet and clear off nearly three decades worth of dust.

Upgrading all of the hardware in your workplace can be a bit scary. The common fears are a hefty, upfront cost, potentially losing data, and that any combination of the two could result in a loss of revenue for your company. For some Windows XP users, the thought of having to attempt such an overhaul may seem unappealing, but the long term benefits when you upgrade Windows XP to either Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8 Pro will be a financial coup for your business.

April 8th, 2014 will be the end of an era for Microsoft as they terminate support for Windows XP. For the past 10 years, people have used the company’s first mass-market operating system, and in just a few weeks it will be time to say good-bye. Most programs would have been completely phased out by now, but there are still quite a few XP users; users who more than likely are wondering what will happen to their soon-to-be-outdated operating system.

The Night Sky: A Source of Security

In honor of the return of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos to television, we are going to take a minute to appreciate the night sky. Being so close to a major city can make it a little difficult to see the stars due to the exorbitant amount of light pollution that emanates from the urban center (have you seen Time Square?). But, when the cosmos are fully visible, it is hard not to be overcome with wonder. Humans have tried to create patterns out of the night sky for thousands of years (i.e. constellations), but no matter how hard we search, or how much we think we know, there is always something that emerges and changes our celestial maps. Such immensity and entropy define the universe and also, surprisingly enough, have created the perfect blueprint for you to protect your devices from those that would seek to tamper with them.

Water, the bane of the smartphone’s existence, has been responsible for the deaths of Androids, iPhones, and pretty much every other neutral-colored, metal, and glass-covered mobile device. Users have gone out of their way to protect their companions, but the fact of the matter is they just keep finding their way into water--it’s the toilet, the bath tub, the pool, the sudden rainstorm of biblical proportions--the point is, there are lots of ways to destroy your phone, but there are only a few ways to bring them back.

Everybody has had that moment when they are trying to get somewhere, they’re running a little late, and they’re using Google Maps or another GPS device. Then they enter a dead zone. Even the calmest, most zen, person on the planet starts screaming expletives at their GPS wondering, “WHY? Why now?” Thanks to a new feature on Google Maps, we don’t have to be that angry person anymore. Instead, with a couple of clicks, we can save a map directly to our phones and getting lost becomes a thing of the past.

We’ve already discussed the Windows 8 Charms bar in a previous tech tip. Today we look at the Windows 8 “Switch List”. Similar to the Charms bar the Windows 8 Switch List is a navigation bar that only appears when it is activated. When it is activated your Switch List will be seen on the left hand side of the screen.

For first time users, Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8, can be a bit overwhelming. The key to remaining productive with Windows 8 is to learn the new interface elements that are available throughout the operating system. One of the more useful of these elements is the Windows 8 Charms (or Charms Bar).

How frustrating is it when you write an email to someone, intending to attach a relevant document, only to find that you forgot to actually attach it after you’ve already hit “send”? Before I knew about the MS Outlook attachment reminder, whenever this used to happen to me I would get extremely annoyed, not only because I felt dumb for forgetting to attach the document, but also because I had to send a follow-up email pointing out my own mistake.

Your email signature can serve as a digital business card that you attach to the end of every email you send. You can build your signature to contain valuable contact information to share with the people that you interact with online, such as your name, phone number, office address, website, etc. You can even include images in your signature! For this week’s tech tip, we’ve put together a step-by-step tutorial for creating your email signature in Microsoft Outlook 2013, complete with screen shots to help you keep up.