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Your Technician’s Personality Dictates How They ‘Git ‘Er Done’

Information Technology can be “done” in many ways.  By “done,” I mean the latitude that we, as IT professionals, have in deciding how IT is implemented and supported.  Since IT is implemented by people, how it’s done can often reflect the personality of the person who’s doing it.  And, of course, as with every industry, the world of IT has a few stereotypical personality types, based on how they approach the job:

The cowboy: This IT person ‘don’t answer to nobody’ and will hogtie anyone who tells ‘em differently.  He is happy being left alone and doing things his own way.

The soldier: This IT person does only what he is told, by following procedural instructions verbatim – but has trouble seeing the big picture or knowing what to do when something unexpected happens.

The contractor: This IT person wants to just get it in and work, then move on quick to the next job.  He hates to be called back to attend to punch list items or small details, since he only makes money on the new jobs. Continue reading “Your Technician’s Personality Dictates How They ‘Git ‘Er Done’”

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Technology from CES 2016 that Will Blow Your Mind

Every year, technology enthusiasts get the chance to totally geek out – and have our minds blown – when the Consumer Electronics Show offers us a first glimpse at the newest gizmos, gadgets and apps that will make our world more and more like George Jetson’s.

A few of the new products unveiled January 6-9 at the CES in Las Vegas definitely got my geek-o-meter pinging, because, well, they’re just cool. But also because these products have the potential to transform the way we do everyday things: watch TV, eat healthfully, and travel.

Here are my top three innovations:

LG Rollable TV

LG’s been teasing us with the concept of a roll-up TV since last year, so the fact that it was shown – in real life – to a select group of journalists at the CES is exciting and means it really does exist. The result of nearly 10 years of development, the prototype model they showed off has an 18-inch OLED display measuring about 1 mm thick and can stand up to considerable manhandling. It’s important – and awesome – to note that LG is working on a 55-inch model, which is scheduled to be revealed soon.

Once this hits the stores, the practical application is that it can operate as a TV screen and, with the right add-ons, as a tablet or even a notebook screen. Imagine being able to conveniently roll up your TV and carry it anywhere in your backpack!

Check out more on LG’s offering here: http://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/lg-rollable-oled-hands-on-video/ Continue reading “Technology from CES 2016 that Will Blow Your Mind”

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Drones Now Under Federal Regulatory Requirements

Drones were at the top of the gift list this holiday, with an estimated 700,000 showing up under the tree. The thought of having this many new Unmanned Aviation Systems (UAS) in our air space forced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to get a registration system in place – and fast. But because the United States has the busiest and most complex airspace in the world, the FAA is taking an incremental approach to safe UAS integration. Beginning December 21, 2015, all model aircraft that have a flight weight of more than 250g (.55lb) and less than 55 lbs. will need to be registered before being flown outdoors. This includes the millions of UAS that were previously purchased and flown. UAS weighing more than 55 lbs. will have to be registered using a different method.

So, what’s in the new regulations? Nothing that should squash anyone’s fun.

  • The owner of a drone must register, using their email address, mailing address and submitting a $5 registration fee. A registration certificate is then issued to the owner and that number must be placed on any drone that meets the registration requirement. That same registration number gets applied to all of one owner’s drones.
  • Drones can be flown only for hobby or recreational purposes
  • Must be flown below 400 feet
  • Must be kept away from airports or any manned aircraft
  • Must avoid sporting events or crowds of people
  • Must not enter restricted airspace
  • Must be kept clear of emergency response efforts

Continue reading “Drones Now Under Federal Regulatory Requirements”

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Windows 10: A New Wave of Software as a Service

No matter how you feel about Microsoft and their latest offerings, Windows 10 represents the beginning of a new paradigm in Operating System utilization and delivery for the business world. To cling to older operating systems, resisting the new, would be akin to watching VHS tapes while the rest of the world is streaming Netflix. Of course there are pros and cons, but change is always going to win in the end.

The most important thing to understand is that Windows 10 signals the end of an OS being an asset that you buy and own, and introduces the age of Software as a Service. This is a concept that’s been rapidly gaining traction as cloud services take over and we rent access to vast databases of content rather than buying rights to single pieces (think Spotify vs CDs, or Netflix vs DVDs). This is why Windows 10 is now “free” as an upgrade. Rather than a model of separate versions of Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8) we will now see an age of continual updates and refinements on the same core technology (Windows 10, 10.1, 10.2, etc.). Along with this, we will see ongoing support (no more “I’m sorry we no longer support Windows XP”) as well as cross platform uniformity (your watch, phone, tablet, and PC can all synchronize and use the same OS if you’re running all Microsoft devices). (An important aside: Microsoft is the first of the major OS providers, Google and Apple being the others, to combine their work environment with their mobile app environment. This has potentially huge implications for work environments, so we’ll be addressing this in a future blog.) Continue reading “Windows 10: A New Wave of Software as a Service”

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Does Anybody Have Privacy Anymore?

Privacy – at least privacy as we once knew it – is a thing of the past. A shadow of its former self, thanks to the fact that, in one way or another, we’re all being shadowed. And technology, of course, is why.

We already know that people can hack into our phones, computers or any type of device and spy on us, using bugs and keyloggers. Phone calls can be tapped and tracked. Computer search histories can be easily searched by online retailers. Cameras are constantly recording our whereabouts. Cell phones have built-in GPS tracking devices. It goes on and on. And it’s becoming more and more what some would call “intrusive.” Continue reading “Does Anybody Have Privacy Anymore?”

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User Education: Things Every Worker with a Computer Should Know

With the world of technology changing at an always increasing pace, there’s little question that companies need qualified engineers overseeing the security of their computer network. But, these days, it’s not enough for only a company’s IT support function, either insourced or outsourced, to know the dangers that lurk and ways to prevent a breach. Today, every employee who uses a computer must be well educated about the threats that exist, along with how to avoid falling victim to them.

Some sobering facts:

  • There are an increasing number of people today who actually make a living by stealing information or disrupting businesses via cyber-attacks.
  • It used to be that only large corporations were targeted by these criminals; statistics now show that increasing focus is being placed on medium to small businesses.
  • Malware threats and intrusions have increased dramatically in the last five years, from 125 million total malware viruses in 2010, to just under 500 million in 2015 (source: AV-Test.org).
  • These viruses are so intrusive, they can take down an entire company, completely halting production.

It’s clear, therefore, that every employee should know cyber-criminals’ tactics, so they can do their part to keep the network secure. Some top threats and best practices of which to be aware: Continue reading “User Education: Things Every Worker with a Computer Should Know”

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Time to Pay the Cryptolocker Ransom: All in a Day’s Work?

The day started out like any other, with coffee and a calendar full of the usual tasks. However, it soon became evident that the next 24 hours – which would culminate in a ransom payment – would be anything but routine. Yes, contrary to the stereotype of the computer geek staring at a screen all day, the life of a Senior Systems Engineer can sometimes be an adventure … especially in a world where cybercriminals are able to deploy malicious software designed to make a company pay up or lose all it holds dear. For this client, that meant months of data.

The adventure began when a client (We’ll call them Client X) called to report that no one on their team could open their billing system. We logged in to discover that the program wasn’t running properly on the server, so we reached out to the billing vendor. What we heard was something you never want to hear: “It looks like all these files have been corrupted.” When the tech tried to restore the files from the backup, it turned out that the backups didn’t exist. More unsettling news.

Meanwhile, a user at Client X’s office said he was getting strange pop-ups on his computer. So another tech set out to troubleshoot THAT issue, and found out that the machine was infected with a virus – which was soon determined to be Cryptolocker – a malicious program that runs on an infected computer and encrypts all the files it can get its hands on. The only way to get such files unencrypted is for the user to pay a ransom; the alternative is for the targeted business to live with the loss. We now knew what was corrupting Client X’s billing system; the only question was whether they could live with the loss. The answer was no, so together we determined that the only thing to do was to pay the ransom. Continue reading “Time to Pay the Cryptolocker Ransom: All in a Day’s Work?”

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That’s a Wrap! Giving Back to the Community

At the core of any good corporate citizen is the desire to serve the community in which it operates. To give, freely. To help, joyfully. At The Network Support Company, we’re delighted to do this in a number of ways.

  • We donate many hundreds of hours of technical-service to many local nonprofit agencies in the greater Danbury area.
  • We organize and/or contribute to numerous fundraisers for truly worthy organizations across the community.
  • We go out into the community ourselves, roll up our sleeves, and get in on the action.

Most recently, one night earlier this month, a small group of Network Support employees spent three hours wrapping gifts at the Danbury Fair Mall. For this outreach event, we were supporting Habitat for Humanity, which organized the project, collecting donations and gifts that it is distributing for Christmas. And, of course, those gifts needed to be wrapped. So this was simply a small way to give of ourselves to make a difference in the lives of others this season.

In this case, it was an after-hours service project, but our company would just as soon have allowed us to take time during the workday to help get the job done. We’re honored and proud to be part of a company that serves our community.

gift wrapping groupnancy wrapping with todd

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Bring Your Own Device? Or Not?

How many people do you know that do not carry a mobile device? Probably none. With the ever-connected, always-on world we live in today, the lines between work and personal time is often blurred and the need to be connected is ever-present. Several years ago, when this trend began, both employees and employers saw benefits in allowing employees to bring their own personal devices into the work place. Employees no longer needed to carry multiple devices and employers saw potential financial benefits.

But today, seeing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) as a benefit is changing, and for good reason.

As a rule, consumers – a/k/a employees – often adapt to advances in technology more quickly than companies do, or can. As a result, companies, by default, adopt technology without fully appreciating the potential liability and risk associated with it. For many companies, this has been the case for BYOD. Continue reading “Bring Your Own Device? Or Not?”

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A Plunge into the Deep Web

Come with me now on an expedition deep, deep, deep into murky depths of the … well, the internet. So far as we can see, the internet is immeasurably vast and seemingly endless. But did you know that there is an even more incomprehensively immense portion of the internet that you and I will never, ever see?

Let’s use a fishing analogy. If you trawl the ocean with a net, you’re going to catch only the fish that are relatively near the surface; yet you know that, deep beneath you, there are many, many more fish. You just won’t see them. The same is true when you’re trawling the internet using a search engine such as Google. The results you get come from what is known as the “Surface Web,” or simply, the “Web.” The information that is NOT returned on your search, but most certainly exists, is referred to as the “Deep Web.” And in some cases, it’s the “Dark Web,” where the most illicit or illegal activity is intentionally hidden from the general public. Continue reading “A Plunge into the Deep Web”

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