Stop by our office and check it out in person, or download the datasheet below!
Ultra-small, powerful, and versatile, the ThinkCentre M90n Nano takes the desktop standard to a whole new level of convenience. Powered by the latest-generation Intel®️ processors and backed by SSD storage, the Nano makes everyday computing seem effortless. The 0.35L Nano is 65% smaller than a ThinkCentre Tiny and can easily fit in any office environment. Compatible with Tiny-in-One (TIO) and USB Type-C docks and monitors, the Nano can give your business productivity a welcome boost.
Stop by our office and check it out in person, or download the datasheet below!
When was the last time you held an actual photo album or prints of photographs in your hands? Maybe you look back at older photographs only when Facebook’s TimeHop app reminds you of a pic from five years ago. If so, you may be risking your visual history.
Facebook is a great way to share photos with friends and family around the world. You get to enjoy their comments and the affirmation of their likes. But using Facebook as storage for your photos is not a good plan. Here’s why.
Some people treat Facebook as their photo album archive. They delete the originals from their devices or digital camera when they need more space. But Facebook compresses images for faster download. It satisfies impatient social media users, which means photo quality suffers. If you wanted to print those photos in the future, they wouldn’t look as good as the originals.
That’s not the only drawback. When you trust Facebook with all your photos, you’re letting a company control your visual archive. It’s hard to imagine, given Facebook’s reach today, but what happens to your photos if the company goes defunct? We don’t know. The people who were keeping their photos on Myspace in 2006 might have an idea. The younger crowd is already moving onto other social platforms. Plus, Facebook’s growth rate in North America and Europe is slowing. Those daily active users are the primary source of revenue. So, you know Mark Zuckerberg is in some meetings about that.
Even if Facebook continues as the business behemoth it is today, we don’t know what policy changes it might make. It could change its terms of service whenever it wanted (if you even read those in the first place). Users have no guarantee for how long Facebook will store their images or any type of content.
Keep in mind also that many of the photos showing up in your timeline are actually taken by friends. Facebook provides an entire album of other people's photos when they've tagged you, but if they decided to untag you or remove it, that photo would be gone.
Finally, there’s also the risk of your account getting shut down or hacked. You’ve probably had friends warn you not to accept any new friend requests from them because they’ve been compromised. You wouldn’t want a thief to steal all your photo albums. Similarly, you don't want a cybercriminal to gain access to all your images.
Just as with data, we recommend you have a “3-2-1” backup system for your digital photographs. This means having three copies of the photos you care about. You don't need to back up the blurry ones if you don't want to. You might keep one copy on the original device, but you’d have two other copies of the high-quality, uncompressed, original image as well. One might be kept on an external storage device such as a USB thumb drive, and the other you could upload to cloud storage.
The cloud backup gives you access to the photos from any device in any location. So, if a flood, hurricane, or fire devastates your home, and you lose your device and the USB thumb drive, you still have a backup. Your Facebook photos and videos are just there to be shared with friends and family.
Not sure where or how to safely store your photos and videos? We can help! Our experts may even become new Facebook friends. Then we can all like each other’s photos with the peace of mind that the original photos aren’t going anywhere.
When we accidentally delete something, it feels like the end of the world. If a client file or new presentation is deleted, you may have to start again. Oh no! Yet deleting files is not as permanent as you may think. When it comes to destroying data properly, you’ll want to take a more thorough approach.
Deleting items, or "trashing" them, doesn’t permanently remove them from computer memory. While the data is still stored on your device’s hard disk, it’s possible someone could restore that deleted data.
Data does reach a point at which it’s no longer useful, and you are no longer required to maintain it. Nevertheless, it may still be valuable to cybercriminals. Bad actors can use names, addresses, credit card numbers, banking accounts, or health data. You need a policy to destroy paper records, magnetic media, hard drives, and any storage media.
Your obligation to protect customer and staff information extends to properly destroying all identifying data. Installing a new operating system isn’t going to do it. Encryption doesn’t do the job if the cybercriminal can figure out the password.
Some industries require you to prove you have correctly destroyed all data. Even if you have no compliance standards to meet, carefully dispose of any computer-related device. Whenever you are recycling, discarding, or donating an old computer, disk drive, USB stick, or mobile device, make sure the data is already properly deleted or destroyed. Otherwise, criminals could get their hands on confidential business information.
Fully, Safely Destroying Your Data
So, what do we mean by “properly” destroyed? You know about shredding paper documents. You can do the same with some devices. You might send the computer or device to a company with a mega-shredder. When compliance matters, keep a record of the chain of custody of the data throughout the process.
Overwriting the data, often called zeroing, is another solution. No data is properly deleted until it’s written over – that’s where the information is hidden under layers of nonsensical data and cannot be retrieved through disk or file recovery utilities. Think of this as writing three new books over the top of the pages of an erased book rather than just ripping the pages out.
With magnetic devices, you can neutralize the magnetism (degaussing) to break down the data. This scrambles up the data beyond recovery. A strong degausser will turn the device into a shiny metallic paper weight. An ultraviolet erase could be necessary for some erasable programmable memory. You might also need to perform a full chip erase.
If you’re really committed to destroying data, physically destroy the device. There’s the shredding solution, or you might pay to have the device smelted or pulverized.
Other Components with Data to Destroy
Don’t forget proper disposal of printers, too. Run several pages of unimportant information (maybe a font test) before destroying a laser printer. With an impact printer (if you still have one!), you’d want to destroy all ribbons, too. One last element you might think about? Business monitors. You’ve probably seen a computer screen with information burned onto it. Before donating or recycling a monitor, inspect the screen surface and destroy the cathode ray tube.
Now, that’s what we call being thorough about properly destroying data. Need help with proper disposal of computer data or equipment? We can help. Contact our experts today at 715-255-0325!
Common urban myths would have us believe alligators live in sewers or people put razor blades in kids’ candy. Common misconceptions about computers are just as persistent. Here are several IT myths debunked for your benefit.
#1 A Slow-Running Computer Has A Virus
A virus can be to blame. Spyware or other malware can also cause a computer to slow down. However, there are also many other reasons your computer might run slower:
Many Apple owners believe their Macintosh computers are immune to viruses. If only. Macs do get viruses; they are simply targeted less than PCs. Why? There are many more computers running Windows, which means a bigger, easier target for cybercriminals.
As Apple’s market share rises, the threat to Macs is growing. Apple works to protect its users from malware, but you still need to use caution with downloads and when clicking on links from unknown sources.
#3 My Windows Registry Needs Cleaning Up
Registry cleaning companies will say that scanning your Windows registry can speed up the computer and avoid error messages. The cleaner finds unused registry keys and any malware remnants for removal.
But let’s consider the fact that Microsoft has not released its own registry cleaner. Why not? Because it’s really not necessary. Worse still, going in to clean your registry (when you don’t know what you’re doing) can actually do serious damage.
#4 My Laptop Battery Needs to Be Dead Before I Recharge If I Want It to Last Longer
This was once true. Nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cad) batteries suffered from what was called a “memory effect.” If discharged and recharged to the same point several times, they would remember that point in the future and not go further.
Now, however, laptops typically come with lithium-ion (or Li-ion) batteries. They don’t suffer from this memory effect. In fact, they function better with partial discharge instead of letting the battery run down to zero.
#5 I Don’t Have Anything Hackers Would Want
Cybersecurity should be a priority for everyone, not only sprawling enterprises. Let’s put it this way:
Keep all your computers at top speed with the best security measures in place with the help of our experts. Contact us today at 715-255-0325!
Learning other languages is more important than ever. This skill helps to connect us with an ever-smaller world, improves our communication abilities, and gives students greater job opportunities. The good news is that teaching students a new language has had a technology boost.
This leap in technology, through the development of programs and apps, may help students catch up with a skill that so many other nations highly value. Although bilingualism, or even multilingualism, is the norm in many European and Asian nations, America languishes when it comes to foreign language studies.
Here are two apps that can make the teaching of those languages simpler than ever before.
The App That Uses Games to Learn
Duolingo is a free, award-winning language learning program that is accessible online and in-app. Duolingo draws upon the words and phrases that occur most frequently in written texts to work out which parts of any language are most important to learn. This creates a win-win for teachers and learners: learning the most commonly used words and phrases, in a format that exposes learners to the same words frequently, means that students will become familiar with their new language more quickly and efficiently. Couple that with ‘gamification’ (rewards and reminders to practice daily), and it’s clear to see why Duolingo has over 150 million daily users.
The App Where You Can Practice with Native Speakers
Tandem calls itself a ‘language exchange community’ – which sums up its goals in a nutshell. Everyone says that the quickest way to language fluency is to speak it with those whose native tongue it is, and that’s what this community is all about. With 120 languages and a community of millions of native speakers and tutors, this app takes learning beyond the classroom and into the real world. Tandem connects you with native speakers through text messages, audio recordings, audio calls, and Skype-like sessions in a very social way. Users are matched on interests rather than purely on language skills so that conversations are natural and fun. Whether your students are beginners or more advanced, very young or mature aged, there’s an app for them to learn a language with ease, with thanks to technology. All these apps have the same thing at their heart – a belief that learning a language should be inexpensive, easy, and accessible for anyone to achieve. In this way, the world of language learning is opening up in a way that it never has before.
Coffee & Cookie Thursdays are back at Yellowstone Computing! Stop by on the first Thursday of each month for world-spanning coffees, home-baked cookies, and friendly conversation!
Many of us have one solution to try when something goes wrong with our computers: turn it off and back on again. When that doesn’t work, we panic: “How am I supposed to do anything?” People often turn to a friend or family member for help in the moment. But computer repair is better left to experts.
Calling tech support (if that’s an option) can be time-consuming and frustrating. So, people turn to the nearest teenager or that cousin with all the latest technological gadgets. Think of it this way, though: Driving a car doesn’t mean you can fix one. Having a lot of cars doesn’t show the owner knows what to do when one of those vehicles breaks down.
Consider the investment you’ve made in your computer. Now, ask yourself: when was the last time I backed up? Please, say recently! If not, think about the value of the content you might lose if the computer is not handled with care.
When a computer expert sets out to investigate the problem, they do so with utmost caution. Before doing anything, they’ll know to make a clone of your hard drive. Then, in identifying and solving the problem, they know what is safe to try. They also know what actions to avoid.
The Price of Amateur Fixes
Your family/friend tech support might turn to the internet for help. Sure, Google and YouTube will provide some answers, but context matters. Will your oh-so-helpful friend know which answers are relevant to your situation? Trying different things can be dangerous if the approach isn’t suited to the problem. Ask any computer repair expert. They'll have stories to tell about computers “fixed” by amateurs who made the problem worse. They may even have lost data along the way.
Just as you wouldn’t turn to the Web to diagnose cancer, don't trust just anyone with the health of your computer. Computer repair may look simple, but expert decision-making determines the best solution.
As with most jobs, computer experts draw upon specialized training and hands-on experience. They’re also up on the latest threats, technologies, and solutions. This helps them to diagnose the problem more quickly. They can go in and fix the problem right away, because they’ve seen it before read about the problem. Or perhaps they have colleagues who have done something like this before, or they’ve researched the technology to identify different options. Can your Aunt Sue or friend Frank say the same thing?
Think also of your typical answer when someone asks you for help. You’re human. You want to help, even if you don’t actually know that much about the problem. So, when you ask a family member, they’re likely to say, “sure.” Even when they should be saying, “I don’t know how to fix that.” When friends admit the repair is beyond them, you’ve already wasted time letting them take a crack at it. Worse, they may actually break your computer or lose important files. You have to go to the experts now for that new part or in the hope of retrieving the data. Meanwhile, you’re not feeling so friendly towards the person who created the new problem, are you? They may also feel annoyed that you didn’t pay them for their services. Don’t jeopardize your relationships and avoid doing more damage to your computer. Bypass the friend/family tech support solution and turn to the professionals first.
Fixing a computer isn’t always simple. Get expert help to preserve as much data as you can and avoid expensive replacements as long as possible.
Have computer problems? We can help. Fixing computers is our profession, and our experts are friendly too!
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