Posted by Mr. Paul P. on Feb 5th, 2018 9:49am

Did you know today is “Safer Internet Day (SID)”, a worldwide event aimed at promoting the safe and positive use of digital technology for all users, especially children and teens, but should be exercised every day.

This year's SID theme … “Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better Internet starts with you” encourages everyone to play their part in creating a better, safer, and more secure Internet.

As I read through some of the material referenced below, you may be surprised how vulnerable your children may be as well as your home or business computers. I know several people that allow their children to come to the office after school and use the business network and computers, and there are some tips here to help you protect not only your home computers, but your business networks too.

Did you know that 57% of teens  report that they have online accounts that their parents did know about? Yikes!

Below are a few sites that the NCCIC/US-CERT encourages users to view the following tips:


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Posted by Mr. Paul P. on Jul 14th, 2015 9:44am

Have you ever heard or said this: “Why can’t I send/receive this attachment?”  

Well sorry to say, but the email system was never designed to be a file transfer protocol (FTP). In the past file sizes were not a big (literally) problem as they tended to be small. Also, companies that did send large files used programs like FTP to send and receive files. Problem with those protocols were possible security holes, and you seemed to need a tech guy to help you set them up and use.

Most email systems limit the size of attachments for two reasons.

1)      Controlling the size of the mail store.  If there was no limit on the size of attachments, then users would send huge files causing massive storage issues for the back-end mail store, and backups.

2)      Performance.  Email systems aren't optimized for transferring large files.  Client systems often download messages to the local computer.  This means that messages (along with attachments) are downloaded even if the user doesn't need (or want) the attachment at the time. It is also a way to do a denial of service attack if the email server is found to allow large files. Which will effectively render the mail server inoperable.  

Email servers simply would be overwhelmed if they were to receive files of any size. This is an issue that businesses have to face and many are turning to Managed File Transfer solutions such as the ones I discuss below to avoid file attachment limits as well as security vulnerabilities.

The three cloud storage services mentioned in the title of my blog are the most popular solutions for those who fill their devices’ internal memories with files and don’t want to move them to an external hard drive, USB drive or DVD. These services are very useful because by storing data in the cloud, you can free up some space on your smartphone or computer and you can access them anytime, from any device, by logging into your account or using the appropriate app. They are also very easy to share with others by giving them access to a specific file or a folder.

So, let’s see a comparison between these Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and see which one is the best option for your business or personal use.

Storage Space and Prices

Dropbox – will give you 2GB of free storage. However, if this isn’t enough for you, then you can pay a monthly fee of $9.99 for 100GB, $19.99 for 200GB and $49.99 for 500GB, or you will pay the annual fee of $99, $199 and $499 respectively and get a discount of 17 percent. There are also plans for large groups of users: the minimum group consists of 5 members and the largest group has 50 members.

Google Drive – You can access it using your Gmail account and initially, you’ll get 5GB of free storage. However, to get 25GB of storage, you’ll pay $2.49/ month, for 100GB – $4.99, for 200GB – $9.99, for 400GB – $19.99, for 1TB – $49.99, for 2TB – $99.99, for 4TB – $199.99, for 8TB – $399.99 and for 16TB – $799.99.

Microsoft OneDrive – Gives up to 7GB and you can choose one of the three annual plans worth $10 for 27GB, $25 for 57GB and $50 for 107GB.

Supported Platforms

Dropbox – Can be accessed from computers running on Windows, Mac OS and Linux, or from smartphones/tablets running on iOS, Android and BlackBerry. There are also tools you can buy to edit files across platforms.

Google Drive – Does not support Linux and it depends on third party programs, but it’s compatible with Windows and Mac OS, Android and iOS. There is a Google drive app that you can install on your tablet or iPad

Microsoft OneDrive –Does not support Linux either, but, in addition, it can be accessed from mobile devices that run on Windows Phone


Dropbox – Has Selective Folder Syncing, Events Tracking, Version History, Sharing Link and Facebook Group Integration. On the website, you can upload files of up to 300MB and through the desktop app you don’t have a limited file size.

Google Drive – Also has selective Folder Syncing, Events Tracking, Sharing Permission Settings, Version Histor. In addition to that it has, Online Document Editor, Commenting on Files and Simultaneous Document Editing. You’ll upload files of up to 10GB on both the desktop app and website version and you’ll be able to convert .doc / .docx file into .gdoc before editing them. Great tool for collaborating on documents, and you can create Google docs (word processing, excel, presentations) that are not specific to any third party software, but act the same with limited functionality.

Microsoft OneDrive – Offers events Tracking, Version History, Commenting on Files, Sharing Permission Settings, Simultaneous Document Editing, Remote Access to Files on PC, Microsoft Office Web Apps (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote) and OneNote Mobile App. You can upload files of up to 2GB through the Desktop app and 300MB on the website.


Out of the three I reviewed I find that they all three have numerous internal encryption methods as well as security controls built into their cloud services both in the cloud, and the transports taking you to and from your data. Each constantly monitors for exploits and weaknesses. If you try to read the Microsoft Security policy, you can really get lost in the weeds. Googles is all over the place Although there was an independent study done by Deloitte that I stored here for your reading pleasure id you have insomnia. 

Here is a link to Googles’ Security

and Dropbox (the easiest to understand)

All three have two step verification to access files, and I use it on any account I use via cloud services, and where available.


All of these are great tools to store and share documents, images, music, etc. Personally I use both Google Drive and Dropbox because they both have features I like for different things, and I didn’t mention it earlier, but for every friend who joins and installs Dropbox on their computer, they will give you 1 GB and your friend 500 MB of bonus space (up to a limit of 32 GB). Sorry, you can’t invite me…I’m already on it!


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Posted by Mr. Paul P. on Feb 25th, 2015 12:12pm

So, if you’re like me, you use a variety of Internet Browsers. I use Chrome, IE, Firefox and Safari all of the time. Sometimes different browsers act differently when rendering content or they are needed for a particular platform.  I also like to be logged into the same application of online resources and anyone who has ever tried that in one browser knows that you can’t do that and do different things on the same site since all of the cached data is shared.

OK enough of the why I use different browser. The fact is, I do all day every day. The rub for me is I have hundreds if not thousands of bookmarks that I don’t always know what browser I stored them in, and that is very frustrating and often times very time consuming to find them. It also means I probably have duplicates across the browser platforms, and oh...what about my home computer?

Well, I found a tool that is free and thought I would share it with the community. By no means is this an endorsement, but it may make your life a lot easier to store your favorite sites, and even find more. The service is called Delicious and it allows you to store all of your links in one place. The cool thing is, it has apps you can download or plug-ins to add links from whatever browser you were in. You don’t have to file them or create folders either, you just add tags to them so you can remember them by and search for. I don’t think there are any limits to the amount of tags you can have either. For instance, I am a car, boat and truck buff, and have all kinds of forums and sites for help or examples as well as parts. Let’s say I want to find a Ford Forum, but don’t remember the name. Well, I would more than likely have tagged it as Ford Forums or Forums or possibly just automotive or all of those examples. Then it will list the links I have with those tags. Another cool feature is that you can import links you have already entered in a browser.

Like I said, this is not an endorsement, and it may make your life easier...or not. Try it out, and let me know what you think. 


Posted in General, Tips 2 Comments | Link to this Post
Posted by Mr. Paul P. on Apr 3rd, 2014 6:18am

Have you ever thought your website may have been pirated by an online Yellow Page like service. There are numerous services out there that help with local or regional business searches, and new ones pop up all the time.

After doing some investigation as to how all of these local search providers populate their data, I found that there are a handful of data aggregators out there that provide national yellow page like listing information or data (see the chart below that will make your head swim.) You can see how everything revolves around them, and nearly all the online local Yellow Page type providers buy and use this data to populate their offerings, but it is unknown as to how they populate their initial data or blank fields such as website information before they sell or lease the data.

I was able to get one of these aggregators on the phone, and they said that when they have blank fields, they just don’t offer it to their customers, and that they have real people looking for and calling these businesses to make sure the information is correct in their database. I also found out that they don’t all do it that way either. I went further to ask if they offer these spots such as website addresses to advertisers if they are blank, and she said absolutely not. So, how is it another site seemingly sits where yours should be on one of these local search sites? I can only speculate, but being a past software developer, I know you can write programs to guess at things when data is missing so it looks like the data is complete. It could also be just bad data entry and people enter websites that they know are popular.

You may also ask the question “What about when I search for my business or some keywords that should show my business?” These are typically things like Google ad word searches by someone running a Google ad campaign. They are basically willing to bid for search positions on particular search words or phrases. So for instance if I was running an ad campaign and wanted to be found when someone typed in Florida Insurance, well it all depends on how much I am willing to pay for that click or for it to even be seen (impressions) on a web page. 

So what can you do to protect your on-line presence?

I know I am telling you to go do more work, make sure you scour the web for all the local search sites and make sure your information on them is right, and then claim your listings as they all allow you to do that, and in fact want you to. They are out there, and your agency will more than likely be listed whether it is correct or not. The more correct your data becomes over time on these sites, the more it will be correct when there are new services that come out because the national data aggregator’s data will be better.

Tell us your experiences.

Posted in Social Media, SEO 0 Comments | Link to this Post
Posted by Mr. Paul P. on Sep 17th, 2013 8:46am
More often than not, businesses try to make social and mobile technologies work within the constructs of outdated business models, organizational structures and traditional processes. The result is an effort that fails. For example, social media is treated simply as a marketing tactic; a Facebook Page is launched and an administrative employee is put in charge. Disruption in day-to-day office procedures results with little if any real benefit.

Clearly, there is a difference between organizations that simply engage in social activity and execute social media tactics, and those that actually become social businesses.

What is a Social Business?

A Google search will turn up hundreds of definitions. Understanding what a social business model is and how it differs from a traditional business model is not all that simple. The concept of social business is new and still evolving. Yet, the definition below is a good start. I have followed Amber Naslund on several social channels for the past four years and consider her to be a pioneer and thought leader in this space:

“Social Business is the creation of an organization that is optimized to benefit its entire ecosystem (customers, employees, owners, partners) by embedding collaboration, information sharing, and active engagement into its operations and culture. The result is a more responsive, adaptable, effective, and ultimately more successful company.

Social business can encompass using external social media, but it’s not a requirement. Technically, an organization can be a social business without engaging publicly in social media at all.” (Amber Naslund, President, Sideraworks)

The concept of social business is more than theory. A growing number of businesses realize the need to adapt and understand that their business must be transformed or reinvented. They realize the need for a comprehensive social strategy that is clearly aligned with business goals. (Too often this is not the case. An Altimeter survey of nearly 700 social media professionals and executives found that only 34% of businesses felt that their social strategy was connected to business outcomes.)

Further, these businesses  have senior management involvement, organizational alignment and operational processes in place that enable execution of their social strategy. They also understand the need to integrate social methodologies into their organizations in order to enable their businesses to adapt to the fast and ever changing business environment.

These businesses know that use of new technology, as well as social and mobile initiatives, will only be successful if there is an organizational and cultural transformation that changes the way employees work, interact with one another and communicate with customers and prospects – in essence, a reinvention of the business.

The concept of reinvention is not new to any industry. When we first started installing management systems, we found that there was a big difference between just using “automation” vs. becoming an “automated business.” Only when businesses reinvented operational processes and procedures  did their investment in technology start paying off. Only when management became involved did management systems transition from being primarily accounting systems to tools that supported service, sales, and marketing activity.

As difficult as process change is – changing a business culture and the “people” part is even harder. It all starts with leadership.


Charlene Li, founder of Altimeter Group, and Keynote speaker at national event I attended last year said this about social business adoption: “The biggest determinants, by far, of whether you will be successful at social business are leadership and culture.”

As mentioned above, all the technology in the world is useless if operational processes and organizational behaviors aren’t changed. Change starts from the top and  senior management  leaders are the ones responsible for facilitating this change. That is, success depends on change management initiatives being driven by the leadership and practiced at every level from senior management down to customer service and support personnel. Thus, executives must not only talk about changing the organization; they must also become involved and demonstrate the behaviors that drive change.

This is often referred to as “transformational leadership” where the leader provides employees with an inspiring mission and vision for the organization and encourages them to challenge the status quo and to alter the landscape in which the business competes.

What does a Social Business look like?

It is difficult to understand exactly what a social business is and how it is different from a traditional business by a definition alone. Perhaps looking at some examples of the operational and organizational changes a growing number of businesses are making will make it easier to understand what becoming a social business means.

Trust Employees

Empower and trust your employees to participate on social sites on your company’s behalf and trust that they will do the right thing. Consider starting a blog and use it to educate your customers and prospects and demonstrate your subject matter expertise. But also use it to build and strengthen your brand personality.

Company staff will be the foundation for building a fully collaborative social business. A shift in employee behavior becomes a key success factor in driving organizational change. Encourage your employees to build personal brands on social sites. Thus, opting out of social networking activity is not an option.

Successful social businesses depend upon a team effort. They create processes that support organizational consistency. For example, when a new employee joins the company and wants to start blogging or Tweeting on behalf of the company, a process should be in place that governs employee training and certification in the social media policy that the company has in place.
Flexible and responsive work

The definition of work changes – the incoming workforce will demand a more open and flexible work environment. Options as to how, when, and where work happens are expanded. For example, new models in the form of small virtual offices, expanded geographic locations, flexible work hours, 24/7 availability, outsourcing, niche or expertise-driven peoples are transforming how we define work.

For example, becoming a social business means sales people – in addition to using social tools to create personal brands – spend less time behind desks and more time in the field making “real life” contact,  meeting in places like Starbucks.

Collaborative work environment

Develop a collaborative (vs. hierarchical) organizational structure. The new social and connected cultures have set new expectations when it comes to speed of communication and response. Traditional hierarchically structured businesses will not be able to adapt to this new standard of consumer expectation. Further, information must be available and shared – not horded, restricted or reside in silos.

Become transparent in your communication. Customers and employees expect to communicate more seamlessly and develop personal relationships. Businesses have found that this is one of the best ways to build trust.

Community Involvement

Become personally involved in your real-life community, including active involvement and support of charitable initiatives. The profiles of successful businesses reflect social values that are embedded in the core of the organization. This is also a key value for customers – they want to do business with a company that is socially responsible.


Deploy technology that facilitates collaboration. Technology will not change an organization’s culture. However, having a strong understanding of your business’s cultural objectives will have an impact on your technical requirements, choice of technology and how to implement and configure it. Clearly, there will be need for you management system technology to support the new social business model.

Responsive Marketing

Most customers are interacting with businesses across the full range of channels: in-person, by mobile device, by phone, and even through services like Skype or Google Hangouts.

It is necessary to understand your customer and adjust your marketing and communications accordingly. For example, shift marketing dollars from traditional marketing channels to digital ones. (i.e., Yellow Page ads to digital/on-line marketing). Keep track of the communications preferences of your clients and be prepared for communications of differ types from a wide variety of devices.

Reinvention of Business Processes

In addition to organizational and cultural changes, many traditional processes are also in need of reinvention. We need to think through how many of our everyday processes might and should change, enabled by the new technologies available to us. Everything from managing passwords, e-signatures,  online self-service, mobile options, product delivery, billing and payment options, and even product choices must change to meet current customer service expectations.


It is important to remember that consumer expectations are set by the culture, not an industry. The culture is shaped by new technologies and innovative applications of those technologies by other industries and social institutions. We have become a “social culture” and a “connected society,” where consumers are increasingly connected and empowered through changing technology to interact with and shape the world around them.  

Local businesses are not on the verge of extinction, but they do need to change and adapt. They are past the theoretical stage – there are a growing number of businesses that have started to make the shift/transformation. Businesses that are able to make the transition and become social businesses will be well positioned to meet the challenges of the new business landscape and the demands of the new social culture and connected society.

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Posted by Mr. Paul P. on Aug 23rd, 2013 8:44am

A never ending saga between those who think they should be able to put pictures or artwork in their signature lines or anywhere else in their email for that matter, and those who keep telling them “NO” with no clear explanations as to why they shouldn’t, have been plaguing businesses ever since you could add pictures to your emails.

I am writing this blog to tell you some of the possible outcomes that you may face when you decide to authorize such a practice in your office. It is up to you to make your own decisions about a policy your company should adopt, but let me ask you this question before I begin…”How many of you actually scroll down to the bottom of an email to check out the signature line?”

First, pictures in emails are files when you transmit them, and some of the most common file types are:  .gif,  .png,  .jpeg, and .tif.  When you send and email in which these are embedded it may be seen as a “Web Bug” .  Web Bugs add to the triggering of spam filters, and by now, I am sure everyone knows what a spam filter is and have lost a lot of emails to the bit bucket in the sky to these filters or Firewalls. Some of these emails can be found if you have the right tools, and unfortunately some cannot (especially if you use free email services.) If you have a good spam filtering service such as AppRiver, you can go look in the Quarantine area for possible trapped emails (you will be shocked at how many get trapped), but this just adds to your daily workflows. So if this is happening to you, can it be assumed it happens to others…maybe the ones you are sending emails to? You bet!

I really hope not to lose you here, but there is a lot going on when you send an email, and everyone has some form of a spam filter in place. Some are built into your email client such as Outlook, and some are built into your mail server or ISP such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. Bottom line is…they all filter in some fashion or other, and there are several ways for your outgoing mail to get hung up or not delivered at all. These filters score your email, and things such as embedded links, emails with more than just text, certain words used in the email or subject line, pictures, art, links, executables, etc. will add to the score, and depending on that score, they can get quarantined.

So, if we just wanted to stop here, I would say make your emails as simple as possible, and to the point if you really want them to get through, but let’s talk about those pictures now.

A malformed picture is a serious security threat and a hole that can be exploited. There are all kinds of things that can happen when the picture is exploited by mal-intended people or software. Furthermore, they will make your email larger, take up more space, use more bandwidth when sending, take up bandwidth of the recipient, take up space on the recipient’s end, increase the load on the spam filters, and sometimes send as an attachment (which confuses some people.)

Email etiquette and best practices are very subjective…everyone has an opinion, but with that in mind why take the chance doing something that could be considered poor etiquette by the recipient worsening the image you are hoping to build or worse yet, stop your email from being delivered at all. Yes HTML presents a lot of great formatting options, and maybe you can’t eliminate all of your pictures, but at least try to scale them back otherwise they may not ever get seen, and you may not get that piece of business…not from a competitive quote standpoint, but but for the fact that they never got your email!

You could try measuring if they are really being clicked by using a tool like Google’s free URL shortener which will measure who clicks that link in Real Time. Caution…using that to make your links may add to the problem too, but t that’s another story!

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Posted by Mr. Paul P. on May 25th, 2010 3:28pm

NIUG’s community is getting much closer to being able to follow individual blogs in the community, and currently we now have the ability to notify ourselves upon certain events happening in the community.

If you go to “my info”( in the community, there will be a new item called  “Notification Settings” under My NEWS in the black box on the left side.

There are defaults as to the notifications, but there are certain things you can modify as to the way the community notifies you.
Below are  instructions about your notification settings:

News or questions from individuals: When someone posts something to their news page or asks a general question, by default, it will be posted to your news page. You can choose for this to not happen by deselecting that option. You can also select to receive an email if this happens, but this is not done by default.

News or questions from my groups: When any news or questions are posted to your groups, by default, you will automatically get an email, but you can also have them posted to your news page by checking that option.

Events From Community Calendar:  When someone adds or makes a change to a community event, by default it will be posted to your news page. You can choose for this to not happen by deselecting that option. You can also select to receive an email, but this is not done by default.

Events From All Groups (Including my groups):  When someone adds or makes a change to any group event (including yours), by default it will be posted to your news page. You can choose for this to not happen by deselecting that option. You can also select to receive an email, but this is not done by default.

Events From my Groups: You cannot currently change these options. So, if anyone in any of your groups adds or makes a change to an event, it will be posted to your news page, but will not send you an email.

Blog posts from individuals: When someone makes a post to their blog, by default it will be posted to your news page. You can choose for this to not happen by deselecting that option. You can also select to receive an email if someone posts to their blog, but this is not done by default.

Blog posts from all groups (including my groups): If there is a blog post from any group, by default, it will be posted to your news page. You can choose for this to not happen by deselecting that option. You can also select to receive an email if this happens, but this is not done by default.

Blog posts from my groups: You cannot currently change these options. So, if anyone in any of your groups posts a blog entry, it will be posted to your news page, and you will get an email.

Forum posts from Community Forum: When someone makes a post to community forum, by default it will not be posted to your news page or email you. You can choose for this to happen by selecting that option. You can also select to receive an email if someone posts something to the Community Forum, but this is not done by default.

Forum posts from all groups (including my groups): When someone makes a post to any group in the community (including yours), by default it will be posted to your news page. You can choose for this to not happen by deselecting that option. You can also select to receive an email by selecting that option, but this is not done by default.

Forum posts from my groups: When someone makes a post to one of your community groups, by default it will be posted to your news page. You can choose for this to not happen by deselecting that option. There is no option to be notified by email as of this writting.

As always, NIUG welcomes your thoughts and comments to any of the blogs, and we actually encourage it! So feel free to jump in to the mix!

Also, in the future, you will have the ability to get text messages as well.

We hope this was helpful.

NIUG Community

Posted in Community Updates 2 Comments | Link to this Post
Posted by Mr. Paul P. on Jun 11th, 2009 6:03pm
I See quite a bit of posts to Facebook as well as Twitter that tell followers or fans of these wonderful journeys and awesome trips. Then it dawned on me that this is similar to telling the world when you are not at home. Though I use Facebook more as a social environment for my close friends, family and coworkers, I usually tell people about my travels afterwards or the wonderful fishing trips (with pictures) once I have done them. I do recall posting in the past that “I can’t wait to go fishing this weekend”  and find that to be harmless…that is until I read this story about a burglary of an Arizona video editor is making headlines  This makes me think that to err on the side of caution when posting all of our habits and tidbits of information may be wise. I read them all the time and do know when are even where people are going at times…also what they are doing there, and when they’ll be back. We don’t share this information with the world in other public mediums maybe we should think how we make posts to public forums…there are numerous devious individuals out there. Kind of makes a lot of sense when you think about it!Be safe!

Follow me on twitter

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Posted by Mr. Paul P. on Mar 19th, 2009 5:57am

Part of me wants to believe it is, but there is a suspicion in me that says…”Maybe I am just getting older!” I am now on facebook, myspace, Twitter, and numerous other social media sites. I must say, Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with people I have long since fell out of touch with, and I find it getting more addictive as I use it. I do, however, tend to try and look at the business opportunities of using these technologies to connect in a different way. Here is an interesting video clip that should make your brain hurt if in fact you really think it through Also,   here is another link to where technology is going that I think is interesting too Did you know…

Anyway, interested in everyone else’s thoughts….

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