The Elements of Security: Omit Needless Software

[Inspired by a mail virus that’s going around, and the classic Strunk and White text, The Elements of Style]

DO NOT install random software from friends, links you get in email, ‘free’ screen savers, and the like. Less is better. Your systems will be faster and more secure, and you don’t need them.  Even if they work, they are a waste of your time and system resources.

Here’s a longer aside for those of you who are thinking “But surely you don’t mean avoid installing anything?”

If  you DO need something, do the research and get what you need for the time and money price you are willing to pay.  (Free isn’t necessarily what’s best for you;  the ‘more expensive’ package can easily be better for you in the long run.)

Here are a couple of relevant examples:

1) Web browsers:  Firefox, Safari, and Chrome.  Great web browsers, all free, and worth the minor work to keep them up to date. They all have their strengths; I use Firefox most often, but both Safari and Chrome for some other tasks.  (Comments are more than welcome!)  Sorry, I’ve been burned too many times by Internet Explorer to want to use it, and the other browsers support a wider range of machines, since Microsoft has dropped upgrade support for older Windows versions, and doesn’t support other operating systems.  Your mileage may vary.

2) EVault data protection software.  Yes, there are free alternatives, but for your business servers where you really, really have to be able to recover, these folks are really good.  I’m no longer with the company, but I did run the engineering team for a year and a half, and I still happily recommend the products and services.  The free/’freemium‘ alternatives are good as far as they go, but system restoration is tricky, and EVault gets it right.  EVault software is owned, and the service operated, by i365, a Seagate company, so you know they’ll be around.  Highly recommended.

I’d love to have comments on other ‘elements of security,’ so please feel free to chime in.

Thanks,
Dak

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Why your customer service is the most important thing for your business…or for YOU personally.

This article (a summary of Ken Blanchard’s Raving Fans, with what appears to be material from a subsequent interview), may be the most important thing you read today.

Ken Blanchard: Save your firm from a customer service crisis.

Are your firm’s customers, or YOUR customers, raving fans?

Happy reading,
Dak

Personal branding: overrated, or common sense?

I’m sure you’ve seen a number of posts that talk about ‘personal branding.’ They mostly have something to sell you, or an approach you really ought to take, which involves hundreds of hours of sustained work, and buying books and seminars.

BUT: to get started, keep it simple. If your blog is your primary website, keep it that way, and give it the focus of how you are talking to the rest of the world. (A great posting on this is here…)

First, be consistent in what you say. You are talking in public, and it’s going to be around (probably for the rest of your life).

Second, put ALL of your social media links on your blog. If you are using wordpress, it’s remarkably easy. (I’ll do a quick tutorial if there’s interest.). Remember the big three (FOR YOU): twitter, linkedin, and delicious are mine.

Third, see if this makes a difference on your blog stats. (Second edit: yes, it did, see the graph.)never trust graphics without vertical scale ;-)

Regards,
Dak

Saving paper, saving time through PDF

I imagine that you’ve thought about trying to reduce the amount of paper you handle.

A good place to start is reducing the amount of paper you generate.

A GREAT place to start that is to quit printing documents for reference, just keep them on your computer.

Saving output to PDF is a great place to start, and you can do it for free. PDF isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough for capturing page images, so it’s a great substitute for paper.

HOW TO, and how it pays off:
Continue reading “Saving paper, saving time through PDF”

Saving paper, saving time through PDF

I imagine that you’ve thought about trying to reduce the amount of paper you handle.

A good place to start is reducing the amount of paper you generate.

A GREAT place to start that is to quit printing documents for reference, just keep them on your computer.

Saving output to PDF is a great place to start, and you can do it for free. PDF isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough for capturing page images, so it’s a great substitute for paper.

On the Mac (OS X only): print your document, and use the PDF link to save a copy.
(Yes, “It just works.”)

On Windows, install CutePDF and use the virtual printer that it creates to save your output to PDF.

In both cases, be sure to check that the information you wanted is in the printout!

If you want to REDUCE the paper you print, but need a few reference pages:

On Mac (OS X): print your document, and use the Preview link to send the PDF to the Preview application. Print the just the pages you need.

On Windows: use the page preview menu item (if supported in the application), and print just the pages you need. If page preview is NOT supported, create a PDF (see above) and print just the pages you need.

Unfortunately, PDF isn’t the greatest format for archiving, but it’s a good step in the right direction.

Best,
Dak