Your 7 Worst Tech Habits

As a professional in the software industry, I am just as guilty as many of you are of committing 7 of these worst tech habits. But together, we can learn to be better!

1. Leaving equipment in plain sight: This seems too simple to be a problem, but for a lot of us, those brief forgetful moments or short breaks to the bathroom at a coffee shop can result in a frustrating situation of theft. With the abundance of devices people own, it can be hard to remember that each one is worth hundreds of dollars. Beyond that, the information we now store on our mobile smartphones, tablets, and laptops that can be hacked into and stolen is frightening. This same sentiment goes to office workers using a desktop or laptop: at the end of the day, log out or shut down completely. Leaving your computer vulnerable and unlocked can result in data hacking or deletion which could jeopardize your job and company’s security.

 2. Oblivious gadget usage: It’s easy to point at the younger generations and mock them for having their cell phones glued to their palm at all times. Whether it’s at work, in the classroom, the dinner table: their mobile phones are never apart from their being. Yet, hard as it is to admit, many grown adults are also guilty of constant gadget use. And as much as we try to set a good example, sometimes we do end up texting while driving, or scanning Facebook instead of watching our kid score a soccer goal, and spending time on the computer at home instead of interacting with the other people under our roof. Time to change those habits.

3. Not cleaning your equipment: Our cell phones are in our hands, our pockets, our purses, and rubbing up against the sides of our face throughout the day. But how often do we actually clean that phone..? It probably has more bacteria colonies growing on it than a public restroom’s toilet. Another forgotten piece of equipment is your computer’s keyboard, at home or at work. Take a few minutes to use canned air can to blow out the crumbs, dust, and dirt between the keys. As is described in this PCWorld article: “Dust, dirt, hair, and other debris can build up on fans and heatsinks. Components can come loose or become unseated.” Basically your computer can go to dirt if you let too much dirt accumulate on it.

4. Sitting with bad posture at the computer: This is something everyone is guilty of, no doubt about it. Sure there’s some offices that have stand-up desks, treadmill desks, or exercise ball chairs, but for the rest of us, we just need to remember to sit with the screens at eye level, our wrists and arms straight over the keyboard (not bent, which can lead to carpal tunnel), and shoulders back. You can read more here.

5. Not taking breaks: I always take a lunch break at work, but beyond that, I sometimes forget to give myself breaks from my screen. Studies have shown that constant sitting is very damaging to your health. Try walking around for a couple minutes, standing and doing stretches—anything to break up a full day of sitting on your bottom is good for you! Take short 1-2 minutestretch breaks every 20-30 minutes. After each hour of work, take a break or change tasks for at least 5-10 minutes. Always try to get away from your computer during lunch breaks.

6. Reusing passwords over and over: In today’s world, there are so many online accounts to keep track of, it can be a lot easier to use the same password across multiple accounts. But as we’ve all seen in the news more and more, data hacking and identity thievery is becoming commonplace on the Internet. Two basic solutions for this problem are, first, to keep a spreadsheet to contain the necessary (user name, password, email, website, etc.) to keep organized. You can “Password Protect” this sheet, using a master password that you will never forget for as long as you live! The second solution a lot of people use is a one-stop-shop password application like 1Password or LastPass that gives users a safe way to have a “safe” full of personal data that you don’t want laying around the house or office.

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Another tip from us is to regularly schedule deletions of your deleted data, temporary files, and Internet search history using Laplink’s SafeErase. It uses six government-level deletion methods to permanently erase your data so that it is unrecoverable, even if a hacker uses the most sophisticated recovery software. Your data will be gone.

7. Failing to back up data: This is another scenario where you don’t want to be caught unaware. While most of the time our computers are reliable, and our data is safe, it only takes one time to make the idea of losing everything on your PC a living nightmare. By being proactive about your backup habits, you can protect yourself against complete data loss. And with Windows 10’s release, you can also take an image of the entire PC’s contents, including the operating system, using Laplink’s DiskImage software. DiskImage makes a mirror copy of your PC’s data content, OS, and anything else you select, and saves it to an external disk. You can schedule regular back-ups to run in the background while you’re using your PC, and it will never tamper with your computer’s performance. But that way, you’ll always have the latest version of your computer’s personality and contents backed up to an external disk just in case.

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This concludes our list of 7 bad tech habits, though there are plenty more we can think of! What are your bad tech habits? Share on Facebook and Twitter.

Series: 5 Tips for Software Developers (Part 3)

Jack Wilson, Laplink Software’s Chief Technology Officer, has 30 years of experience in a wide variety of software development projects and is a seasoned software developer. In the final post of this 3-part series, Jack expounds on his last two tips for software developers he would give to interested parties applying to work on his team.

TIP 4: Beware of getting “stuck” in one area

It’s certainly not bad being an “expert” in something, but if that’s all you know and that technology goes away–then what? I remember working on a long term Air Defense system that was mainly written in FORTRAN. The project got cancelled and all of us had to find new positions. The work I was doing was written in ‘C’ and on embedded processors. I had no problem finding a new position. The mainframe FORTRAN guys were not so lucky.

I am also probably one of maybe a handful of people who can say they helped write implementations of DecNet, Netware, and TCP/IP for embedded systems. (Right now, there is one gray-haired guy in a ponytail someplace reading this who is thinking “Cool dude” and the rest have no idea what I’m talking about.) But that brings up a point, besides new advances in hardware and technology, there are tons of things that have also gone obsolete. Ever see a punch card? What happened to all those AOL floppy disks that used to come in the mail? Engineers don’t often think about that.

TIP 5: Make your hobby your job.

The last thing you want to do is wake up in the morning thinking, “I don’t want to go to work.” The best job is the one where you can’t sleep at night because you want to get back at it. However, don’t become so obsessed that life passes you by. Stop worrying about money.

That concludes our series of tips for software developers! If you have anything you’d like to add, leave a comment on Laplink Software’s Facebook page!

Series: 5 Tips for Software Developers

With the rapid evolution of technology, the demand for software developers and engineers is growing. Software has woven itself tightly into daily lives; programmers and developers have almost guaranteed job security.

The job outlook for software developers in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is growing at a rate of 22%: faster than the average career. With an undergrad degree and computer programming skills, college grads are hired out of school earning a much higher starting salary than almost any other profession that does not require more than a BA.

But while this is an exciting time to study software development, young graduates and newcomers to the industry might lose sight of their goals, or get lost in the shiny haze of new opportunities that are coming at them as fast as technology is changing.

Jack Wilson, Laplink Software’s Chief Technology Officer, has 30 years of experience in a wide variety of software development projects from radar and air defense systems to commercial software. He is a seasoned software developer and has extensive experience developing network devices and network-enabled applications. Jack’s professional skills were honed at leading companies, including Networks Northwest Inc., Boeing Defense and Space Group, and Westinghouse.

As the manager for the tech department at Laplink, Jack expounds on his 5 tips for software developers he would give to interested parties applying to work on his team. This series will be broken into 3 posts, so stay tuned for the next two posts, also.

TIP 1: Don’t just get into something just because it’s the “in” thing.

Get into something that you can be truly passionate about. In the late 1990’s everyone who could spell “www” got jobs creating web pages. By 2001 most of them lost their jobs, except those who were passionate. They became even better. Something that has vastly advanced in the last 20 years is the Internet. I remember telling one of my engineers back in the early 1990s to go get this Mozilla browser thing and look into what this World Wide Web “thing” was all about. In those days, smaller companies had networks running Novell Netware. The really big companies networks ran Digital’s DecNet on mainframes. (Those networks don’t even exist anymore.) Companies connected offices to each other using state-of-the-art “modems” sending about 300 bits per second.

To give you an idea of how slow that is by current standards, my home Internet today is connected at 50 Mega-bits per second: it is 166,666 times faster than what we used in the nineties, and I still complain that the Internet is slow!

Laplink & Webroot Product Bundle

Laplink Software, Inc. announced today our partnership with Webroot to provide a software bundle to users purchasing a new Windows 10 PC this holiday season.
Webroot is the market leader in intelligent cybersecurity for endpoints and collective threat intelligence. In partnership with Laplink, the two companies will boost their consumer offerings by bundling Webroot SecureAnywhere® Internet Security with PCmover Express to make cybersecurity and new PC setup easy—just in time for the holiday shopping season.
PCmover Express moves files and settings from an old Windows PC to a new Windows 10 PC quickly and easily. Take a look at the press release and email me your questions or interview requests for ThomasKoll, Laplink CEO.Thank you for your interest in Laplink Software! Connect with Laplink on social media: Twitter // Facebook // LinkedIn
Shireen McCleary
Public Relations Manager
Laplink Software, Inc.
shireen.mccleary@laplink.com
+1 (425) 952-6027

The Everlasting Backup Dilemma

The Problem

Every time a device breaks or a hard drive crashes, we remember the need to back up our data. The majority of us have no current backup. What is worse, we have no backup plan. Today, all of our valuable data – documents, pictures, videos – are scattered over different devices and different backup media. The amount of data we store is growing every day. Gartner predicted that the average storage per household will reach 3.3 terabytes in 2016, of which 64% will be stored locally[i]. With the emergence of mobile devices and the quality of media captured at any moment in our life, data volumes are increasing exponentially.

And yet, we spend little time thinking about how to securely store data: this is part of the everlasting backup dilemma we all face.

Many options to consider.

Business users are very diligent when protecting corporate data. Data is captured on servers which have two sets of safety precautions tied to the operation. Most data servers run with RAID systems which are able to recover the data even if one of the hard drives crashes. Additionally, servers are backed up (often daily) to counteract any server failure. This is too pricey and too complex for any household to try implementing, but the principles should apply anyway: backup and backup the backup!

The easiest way to back up your data is with cloud providers. They offer a vast amount of storage with security built in.

In Windows 10, Microsoft makes it easy to store your data with OneDrive. Google and Apple offer similar services, but for PC users, OneDrive is nicely integrated with your PC. However, as the forecast from Gartner shows, most users will not consider online storage for all their data. Some might not like to have their data in the hands of others, some feel that online data is subject to government snooping, and others just don’t want to keep it locally. Period.

All points make sense; we have to ask ourselves if online storage is “forever”? Will providers shut down unused accounts that are used for longtime storage? Do I always have access to the data?

The majority, however, choose local storage, which means having external or internal hard drives with enough space for us to load the backups or sync our data. There is nothing wrong with it, but we have to remember: backup the backup. Hard drives do go down. I remember that my backup external drive broke the very same time as the internal drive. I still believe it was some kind of power surge. Some heavy data users in a household have a separate data server which will need to be backed up as well.

Another good option is DVD storage. Common DVDs hold 4.7 GB of data; that is a lot of space for documents and pictures, but not for movies or high resolutions graphics.  Blu-ray disc provide storage capacity up to 100 GB of data.

With the availability of inexpensive high capacity hard drives at about $ 50 per terabyte, we have dismissed the good old CD. They are easier to manage, but – and this is a big but – hard drives do break.

Organization is key.

No matter what medium we choose, organization is key. With so much data being collected, we have to organize our data in order to find it again. And that is another problem with online data storage, where folders grow out of control, or we collect hard drives as much as the data itself. How do we ever want to find the right data? (Granted, the search tools are wonderful these days and they do find a lot of stuff fast.)

However, with more data, we have to create a good system of what to store, how to store it, and how to retrieve it.  Since everyone likes their own system, it is hard to prescribe the perfect system. I do like to back up my PCs at a certain time and archive the image. Backing up your whole PC will also preserve your applications, which might be necessary to run to interpret the data.  I also recommend a backup of all external drives periodically.

A new and innovative local storage solution.

Recently I got re-introduced to M-Disc, a long term storage solution that is both secure and very long-lasting. M-Disc is a new kind of DVD and Blu-ray disc, which lasts basically forever and is a perfect medium for storage. Capacity is the same at 4.7GB (DVD), 25 GB (Blue-ray) and 100GB (Blue-ray), although the lifetime has been extended tenfold.

With M-Disc, you can have a secure and long-lasting archive of your data, your PC images and the various libraries you wish to keep. They are local and can be stored in any place (i.e. your bank vault).

Even if the initial costs of having an M-Disc compatible drive and the discs might be a touch higher, it is a cheaper solution for the long run. Check out www.mdisc.com and learn about this innovative approach.

Ashampoo (www.ashampoo.com) and Nero (www.nero.com) are two companies who embraced this new technology with their burning software.

[i] “Forecast: Consumer Digital Storage Needs, 2010-2016.” The report is available on Gartner’s website here.

5 new Windows 10 features you’ll love

If you’re one of the millions of users who have already updated to Windows 10, it’s possible you might have noticed these treats in the newest operating system. If not, then you can thank us later!

1. Print as PDF: Have you relied on third-party tools like CutePDF for years, too? It’s no longer necessary, since Windows 10 now includes an option to print any document as PDF. Both Windows apps and desktop programs offer to print in PDF as part of their standard printing options now. This option can result in more consistent image quality, colors, and resolution on your documents when you print.

2. Smart Scrolling: Like most people, I always have multiple windows, applications, and folders open at the same time on both of my computer’s screens. In prior Windows versions, users were frustrated that mouse scrolling wasn’t activated unless you clicked in that window or app. This is especially annoying when you’re using a small-windowed program like Calculator or Notepad alongside a larger document; just holding your cursor over a windows and using the scroll wheel wouldn’t result in any action. But in Windows 10, simply hovering over a folder, windows, and app activates it and you can begin scrolling. Head to Settings > Devices > Mouse and touchpad to find it.

3. Natural Language Search with Cortana: Windows 10’s new digital assistant, Cortana, is sassy (read more here) and useful in a variety of ways. She is most powerful in her natural language search capabilities. When you’re using a computer that has an open microphone, you can simply speak questions or commands to Cortana very naturally. Say things like, “Find my documents from June,” “Show my photos from last weekend,” and even “Show me the last document I opened”. Cortana is a sophisticated tool that can intelligently find and filter your information to find the correct results. Also, she doesn’t limit her searches to only your local files, she searches your OneDrive storage, too.

4. Wi-Fi Enabling

For everyday users, Windows 10’s new Wi-Fi Sense feature—a carryover from Windows Phone 8.1—takes the hassle out of using Wi-Fi on the go. Wi-Fi Sense automatically connects you to open hotspots andto Wi-Fi networks your Facebook, Skype, and Outlook.com contacts have accessed. You never need to touch a password, and everything’s handled using encrypted connections. It’s pretty great.

5. Battery Saver

Windows 10 offers another great feature known as Battery Saver. Battery Saver, like comparable features on major mobile devices, kicks in when your laptop’s available power dips below a percentage that you can set up—the default’s at 20 percent.

Battery Saver turns down background activities (and push notifications) to maximize your system’s endurance. It’ll have more of an effect if you use a lot of Windows Store apps that run in the background, rather than traditional desktop programs. Find it under Start menu > Settings > System > Battery Saver.

Read even more tips from PCWorld here.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 Reaches Milestone

Microsoft’s Windows 10 reaches its milestone. It only took 10 weeks for Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows 10, to get installed on 110 million devices (source).

Windows’ boss, Terry Meyerson, revealed the following:

  • Users have asked 1 billion questions to Windows 10’s new Siri-like digital assistant, Cortana
  • Users have visited the Windows 10 app store 1 billion times
  • Facebook is developing new Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger dedicated apps for Windows 10.

What does this mean for home PC users and small businesses with old Windows operating systems on their PCs? They need to upgrade their operating system and/or hardware to the newest system in case they get left behind on old technology.

This “keep up with the technology” trend seems to be the new norm among software giants. Take for example Apple’s iOS software. Apple continues to offer updates on their mobile devices. Despite the hardware being only a year or so old, the newest operating system available now runs slower and worst of all, doesn’t feature the full range of capabilities one would experience by purchasing and upgrading to the newest hardware and software.

This is the new norm. To make this process of upgrading to Windows 10 a stress-free experience for users moving their stuff from an old PC to a newer one (or the new OS) Laplink offers PCmover Professional software.

This software is designed to work with any older version of Windows operating systems, including XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1. By installing PCmover on an old Windows PC, users can follow an easy, step-by-step “wizard” interface that guides them through selecting the many files, thousands of personalized PC settings, user profiles, and even the applications (programs) installed on your PC that you want to move over to your new Windows 10 PC. Rather than manually searching through a massive PC directory, and dragging and dropping photo, music, and video folders–PCmover searches and finds those files immediately, and moves them over to your new PC over a network or high-speed transfer cable.

The best part about PCmover Professional software is that it moves your applications–like the Microsoft Office Suite. Imagine tracking down your old serial numbers, installation CDs (if your new computer even has a CD-rom slot), or searching and downloading applications from the Internet all over again. It’d take you hours! And the savings you experience by transferring those already purchased applications to your new PC is considerable: you don’t have to re-purchase those apps!

PCmover also works to migrate everything important that is on your PC to your new operating system if all you are doing is an in-place upgrade (i.e. updating your operating system without replacing the actual computer you are using.) The best way to understand how PCmover software makes this process simple for you is by watching this video we made. 

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If you’re interested in PCmover Professional, you can buy a copy from Laplink here.

Sync all your devices

In a day and age where it’s very common to have multiple devices–a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, and maybe even a desktop computer–it’s important to have the files and folders you need synced between all of your devices.

Laplink Sync makes it easy for you. With a few clicks, you can choose the folders and files that you want to transfer between your devices. Just select your devices and the folders you wish to sync, and that’s it! It is the easiest way to copy your newest pictures from your phone to your computer!

Sync all of your selected files and folders between your Windows®, Mac®, iOS™, and Android™ smartphone, tablet, laptop, and desktop devices.

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Connect and transfer data quickly on a wireless network, so you can keep your documents and multimedia files available no matter what device you are using.

UltraSync™ technology works efficiently to alert you to any duplicate files, and intelligently syncs your documents to their corresponding folders on devices with different operating systems.

With Laplink Sync, synchronizing files between your various devices is quick and easy, giving you constant access to the data you want and need.

3 Things to Do Before a Windows 10 Migration

Now that Microsoft has finally released Windows 10, plans for a migration, whether as an upgrade or along with a PC refresh, are starting to take hold. There are many important factors to consider when moving to Windows 10. Here we cover three Windows hygiene areas that should be reviewed before moving to a new Windows 10 PC.

  1. Clean up and organize your data. Don’t migrate a mess. Over time, all of us tend to save documents, photos, or other files in places on our hard drive that we didn’t mean to. Although Laplink PCmover can find your files, photos, and other data wherever on your hard drive they may be, it’s worth it to set aside some time to before moving to a new PC to organize and clean up your data. You may want to get your photos organized into a single library by date or trip. You may want to organize some of your documents and spreadsheets by project. Now’s the time to “clean house” before you “move in” to your new PC.

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A related consideration is that, for the first time, your new Windows PC may have a smaller hard drive than your old PC.  How can that be? Many new PCs are now coming with solid state hard drives, or SSDs. SSDs are substantially faster and are not prone to mechanical failure. They hare, however, more expensive on a per gigabyte (GB) basis. Your old PC may have had a 500GB traditional hard drive but your new Windows 10 PC may have only a 250GB SSD. One solution is to move some types of large files, such music which is large in aggregate or movies which are large individually, to an external hard drive. This should be completed before doing a migration to the new PC.

  1. Backup your data. It should go without saying, but backing up your data before performing any type of Windows 10 upgrade or migration is very important. If you are already on a regular backup plan, congratulations. But that may be only half the requirement. Most standard back up plans and programs only back up your data. Because you’re moving to a new operating system and moving not just your data but your applications and settings, you’ll want to back up your entire computer. Not just the data, but the entire hard drive. File-based back up programs are not sufficient for this task. Instead, backup your entire computer using an image-based backup solution, such as Laplink DiskImage.

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Protecting your old PC with a perfect image of all your applications, files and settings is the only true disaster recovery solution.  While the chances of a true disaster during a migration are very slim, prudence here is the better part of valor. Taking an image-based backup of your old PC provides a way to quickly and easily restore your PC and recover damaged or lost files in the case of an emergency. Plus, after your migration to Windows 10 is complete, you still have a perfect backup to protect you.

  1. Update your applications. Moving your compatible applications from the old PC to the new PC is the simplest way to be ready to work on your new PC right away. Migrating applications, instead of installing them anew, retains all of your settings in those applications. More importantly, migrating applications means you don’t have to worry about finding the old install DVDs and license codes.

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But before you migrate, make sure all the applications are up to date. On the old PC, go to Windows Update for Microsoft apps and, for apps by other publishers, open the application and run a check for updates. Make sure all the apps you want to migrate are up-to-date before you do your migration to Windows 10.

Don’t be caught with your guard down. With the right processes and tools, migrating to Windows 10 can be easy and fast.  At Laplink, we’ve been helping people manage their data for over three decades and are the only Windows 10 migration solution recommended by Microsoft. To see how we can help you, visit our website at www.laplink.com

Reseller Marketing Strategies: Bringing It Together

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about marketing tips for Resellers.

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Together, the marketing channels and suggested tips and graphic elements create an enhanced offering that will give your customers the information they need when they’re ready to make a decision.

Two out of three shoppers say they’ve abandoned a sale because they couldn’t get the information they felt was necessary.

With the right tools, your customers will have what they need when they need it–and be able to confidently click “Buy.”

Additional messaging to use:

Free 24/7 Transfer Assistance

For users who plan to perform the upgrade themselves, Laplink provides a free 24/7 hotline, which helps users through the process. The Free Transfer Assistance focuses on the user experience and helps them achieve a successful migration.

30-day Money Back Guarantee

If users are not completely satisfied with a software product they purchased, Laplink offers a no-hassle 30-day money back guarantee.

Free upgrades for current users

With the release of PCmover version 10, users who currently have PCmover licenses can upgrade to version 10 for free when they check for updates.

Summary

PCmover is the essential tool for moving all files, folders, applications, and personalized user settings from an old PC’s operating system to a new operating system quickly and easily.

Using our recommended marketing tips and tools, you’ll be able to capitalize on the opportunity presented by the Windows 10 release, and offer your clients a valuable product that will make their migration easy!

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