Best Practices To Keep Your Windows PC Malware-Free

Best Practices To Keep Your Windows PC Malware-Free
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If you’re running a Windows computer, it is unavoidable that you’d get a malware infection once in a while. Windows has always been a vulnerable OS, and if you’re not careful, even the latest versions of Windows could get infected. So here are a few suggestions that could help you keep your system malware-free.

Install Two Antivirus Software Programs

Yes. Not one, but TWO whole antivirus software. However, don’t install them both at the same time. Install one and then use the other to regularly check your system, then uninstall again after a complete system scan. The reason is that computer viruses can disable your favorite antivirus program when they attack. Then, you’ll have to install a different one in order to clean out the ones that are already on your system. So bookmark all the good antivirus websites that you find.

Rotate Your Antivirus Software

 The antivirus software that you should keep should have a background scanning function: It should be able to detect virus activity as it happens. Then, the ones you should keep as the tool that you use for a regular checkup, but uninstall to keep it from being disabled by the malware, should be one that is known for its resistance to the different kinds of malware out there.

Legacy Malware

Here’s a few recommendations:

Antivirus Software With Background Scanning Functions:

  • Avast! It would be great if you could get Avast’s premium subscription, as it is more comprehensive, but even the free version of Avast! antivirus is good enough.
  • Avira AntiVir. Before Avast! came on the antivirus scene, there was Avira. By experience, it was easy to see Avira break down in the face of malware outbreak, however, so you may want to rotate this with Avast! on a monthly basis.

For lists of antivirus software recommended by industry experts, here are helpful articles:

Antivirus Software That You REALLY Have To Use With A Malware Outbreak:

  • Clamwin.This is an offering by the Open Source community, and that’s one more reason to trust Clamwin. Because the Open Source community is driven by excellence in coding and in making sure that software is coded malware-free, and people can use their systems to compile their software without needing to deal with constant glitches, you can be assured that Clamwin is coded and offered with the highest ethics possible. By experience, Clamwin has cleaned out malware that has been left undetected and resistant to other antivirus software.
  • MalwareBytes. Though this is a commercial offering, even the freeware has been proven to be effective against malware that has disabled everything else. It would be great if you could buy the Premium version, but if you rotate your antivirus regularly, the freeware should suffice.

Keep And Apply Safe Browsing And PC Use Habits

Here’s a list of things you should and should not do, to keep your PC safe:

Do’s:

  • Scan your PC once a month, at least.
  • Keep your Firewall turned on.
  • Block pop-ups.
  • Buy your own software and media. A no-piracy policy is the healthiest practice you can apply for yourself.

Don’ts:

  • As much as possible, never use removable media used by other people. Only use those in your “ecosystem,” meaning, only those with your own gadgets. If you really have to share and exchange files with friends and family, run the files through a Cloud-based data service like Dropbox or Google Drive, instead.
  • Click indiscriminately. Sometimes, people will even send you Twitter direct messages, even SMS messages with links to websites they’re promoting. Resist the urge to click.
  • Install an antivirus or “PC maintenance” software recommended by pop-ups or torrent sites. This is most likely a Trojan virus carrier.
  • Torrent. Not only is torrenting illegal, it can also introduce malware into your system.

With these in mind, you’ll surely keep your PC in tip-top shape!

 

Photo Credits: Computer Virus/Wikipedia, utrescu/OpenClipart via CC Search

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Productivity Hacks: How “Task Zones” And Sleep Can Make You Work Better

Productivity Hacks: How “Task Zones” And Sleep Can Make You Work Better
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You have to admit, in this crazy world we have today, it’s easier to lose track of time and forget your priorities because we’ve all gone multitasking-crazy. So here’s another round of productivity suggestions so you could tame your workday and make sure that you go home happy and satisfied for a job well done.

zone your day to be more productive

Make “Zones” For Your Tasks. There are some tasks that should be lower on your priority hierarchy, but you tend to put them higher up, because it just *feels* more productive that way. Recognize that, and break up your day accordingly. Here’s a suggestion on how to “zone” your day:

  • Put email on the first and the last 15 and 30 minutes of your day. Just 15 minutes of your day when you start it, because you may get stuck in your email and never get anything done. Allot 30 minutes to respond to your emails at the end of your day so you can send reports, check follow-ups and see if you have new to-do’s. Restrict it to these times, because unless you do, your day may have run off with your email. In order to ensure that you’re on top of seriously urgent messages, check email once an hour, but restrict yourself with 5 minutes an hour, only.
  • Figure out the best time for creative work. Whether you’re a programmer or an artist, or even a marketing genius, let’s face it: Creating new work IS “creative” work. It is something you practically “give birth” to, and it deserves the best of your brain. Take time to get to know yourself, and figure out when you work best: Is it straight off the emails, or do you need around 5 hours more to “warm up” and give your best to your creative process? If so, then you block off those hours and plunge into creating your best work of the day. If you do your best work beyond office hours, then maybe it’s time to talk about your overtime hours or a telecommute option with your direct superior.


Everybody's Sleepy

Rest Well. That statement, “Sleep is for the weak,” is just NOT true. In fact, getting adequate rest, especially sleep, is crucial to optimal brain function. So catch an adequate number of sleeping hours daily. Though doctors said that 8 hours is needed around 10 to 20 years ago, recent research says that the actual number for healthy sleep is around 6.5 to 7 hours a night. On the other hand, health hackers are saying that a biphasic sleep pattern is great for productivity: A 90-minute daytime nap, and around 4.5 hours of “core sleep.” But these are paradigms that may take some getting used to. Figure out how many hours of sleep give you that “completely rested” feeling, and work on getting that much sleep in a night.

Hope you enjoyed our productivity suggestions, and till the next productivity post!

 

Photo Credits: OpenClips/Pixabay, Wikimedia Commons/Dog In Sleep, Geograph.org.uk, Makunin/Pixabay, 7854/Pixabay, Sleep (Non-Human)/Wikipedia via CC Search

 

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Enjoy A Dedicated, Synchronized Shopping List With Out Of Milk

Enjoy A Dedicated, Synchronized Shopping List With Out Of Milk
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There are so many to-do apps out there, that it’s just so easy to turn one into your shopping list. However, why kludge, when you can use an app that’s dedicated to exactly what you need: A shopping list.

Out Of Milk is one ofthe best shopping apps I’ve seen so far. It meets the requirements I have for a shopping app:

  • Cloud sync. I want my shopping app to be accessible via desktop, so that when I’m too busy and brain-cluttered to be bothered to type on a touchscreen smartphone, I could dump the things I need to buy.
  • Multi-platform support. With Out Of Milk on the Android, iOS and on your browser, it’s easy to be able to access Out Of Milk for your device of choice. So you can make your grocery list as you work, then when you clock out and head home, you get to pick up and use your list on your way home.

Shopping List Collage

I’ve used Google Tasks as a shopping list repository of sorts, but over time, I found that it clutters my GTasks account. I also found that Out Of Milk can be useful for those who live in the US, as there are coupons available for a good range of items. You can also make lists for items that you need regularly, and that’s a very great feature. So ditch the GTD app that you’re re-purposing as your shopping list and get Out Of Milk instead!

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Why You Shouldn’t Go App Download-Crazy With A New Device

Why You Shouldn’t Go App Download-Crazy With A New Device
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So you’ve bought a new gadget and you’re about to fill it with your favorite games and apps. You’ve figured out that you have 16GB to play with, and you aren’t about to spare 100MB to idle space. But before you go crazy over the Apple iTunes/App Store or Google Play, hear us out on why you need to spare at least 100MB to 1GB to keep your gadget running smoothly.

Your apps will take up more data over time. Yep, data from apps is like dust: It’ll gather as you use it. When you download photos, send messages, receive messages, or basically browse through content, your apps will accrue data, over time. Make space for it. On an Android, the Facebook app can balloon from its original size to 30MB, even up to 50, 60MB. On an iOS device, the app alone is around 120MB, while the data, over around a year of use, could balloon up to 300 to 500MB! So plan for that, and reserve space accordingly. It’s also a good idea to clear your app cache regularly.

smartphone apps

No device is perfect. At some point, even a sturdy, resilient Android or iPhone will crash. Even the excellently-coded iOS isn’t immune to the occasional crash. When that happens, it’s a pain to add hundreds and apps over again, especially if you fail to backup regularly. So, make it a point to set a date to backup your apps and data, and go easy on the downloads.

Photo Credits: MarketingFacts.nl, Flickr/Brendon Connelly, Pixabay/geralt via CC Search

 

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New Settings And Features For Brosix

New Settings And Features For Brosix
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There are a few new reasons why you need to use Brosix for your in-house messaging system, especially when you run a company that has several departments: Local Groups, Multiple Administrators, User data security levels, as well as the ability to Restrict Access To User Data. These are new features integrated into Brosix, and you can access them via your Control Panel.

Local Groups. If your company is stratified and organized into different departments, there are conversations that are specific only to certain departments. Not everyone needs to know about the new hires that the Human Resources department is onboarding. Neither does Engineering need to know the new stats for the Social Media efforts that the Marketing department is achieving. While there are news and communications that will affect the company on a system-wide basis, most of the time, there is no need for a department to know what the other departments are doing. Stratifying the communications, even through IM, helps minimize the noise and helps your organization’s units do what they do best.

Brosix dark colors

The Human Resources department would be best put to task at recruiting, hiring, and managing the rest of the company and the individuals that are part of it, the Engineering department is best at designing and creating the company’s products (applicable only for car, computer hardware, appliance, and similar companies), while the Marketing team takes care of the promotional campaigns that get the word out on your company’s products. As you can see, each function is unique, and does not necessarily depend on input from the other department. While these different departments can converge in other Groups, namely, the Global Groups, these teams definitely need an arena where they can communicate amongst themselves.

While regular face to face meetings are still very helpful in allowing the company culture to thrive, while bringing everyone up to speed on company news, communicating via Instant Messenger is convenient and documented. For those discussions that are set on IM via Brosix, now you can create chatrooms, Groups, for each department in your organization.

While all users can create new Local Groups by default, and organize their contacts themselves, Administrators can block access to this feature.

For more information, visit the Brosix Help Library entry for Local Groups.

***

Multiple Administrators. Now, Brosix allows your employees access to the app’s features on different levels:

brosix-instant-messaging-network-smaller-254x300

Administrator. The Administrator can access all the settings in Brosix, as well as view and manage all the users’ data.

Billing. This user level can access the invoices and payments, as well as set, manage, and edit the payment details. Ideally for the Accounting department, so that they can be on top of the monthly billing for Brosix.

Users. Some of your administrators have no need for access to settings or billing. They just need to access Brosix users records. So set them at the Users level; no need for them to be able to view, access, and manage data that wouldn’t be pertinent to their function in your organization.

For more information, visit the Brosix Help Library entry for Multiple Administrators.

***

Restrict Access To User Data. This function allows the Admin to set users in 3 different security levels: Normal, Restricted, and High.

MainWindow

Normal. Users set to this level can see fellow Users, but not Restricted users.

Restricted. Restricted users are, in essence, “stealth” users. Only fellow Restricted users and High-level users, such as Administrators with full access can see these accounts.

High. This account security level has access to all functions and can view users across all security levels, which are applicable to Administrators.

This function will come in handy when you need to create users that will be able to “listen in” unobtrusively to team conversations. The rest of the team members in the Local Groups will not be able to see the Restricted users, but the Restricted users and the Administrators can see them. This user level access can be good for HR personnel and senior management employees, so that they can monitor conversations among the teams. This would be crucial for maintaining the company’s data security, as well as monitor for abuse between employees. This may also come in handy for checking for adherence to company policies, rules and regulations.

For more information, visit the Brosix Help Library entry for Restrict Access To User Data.

brosix_started

Brosix is expanding to let you use it better. Make the most out of its new features today!

Photo Credits: PRLog.org, tag/business-instant-mesaging, Windows Download, Business

 

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Setting Up A Browser “Dashboard” So You Can Hit The Ground Running

Setting Up A Browser “Dashboard” So You Can Hit The Ground Running
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When you open your computer or your browser, you most likely want to hit the ground running. So it’d be great if you set up a “dashboard” for yourself. We show you how:

Create your own startup dashboard via your browser.

Most browsers nowadays allow you to set it to open specific pages when you fire it up. On Chrome, go to Settings > On Startup > Open a specific page or set of pages. > Set pages. There, you can add your favorite websites, such as your favorite mail provider, your favorite social networks, or your favorite online portals.

Dashboard Collage

A typical setup can include the following pages:

An email service. You’d want to keep an eye out for your work mail or your deadlines, so this is probably mandatory.

A GTD app. Trello is a great app to use to keep your projects on track, but another, excellent app is Google Keep. It’s like a corkboard of sticky notes, and the great part is that it’s all on the Cloud. It’s even on your smartphone, via Android and iOS apps.

A messaging service. While Yahoo! Messenger has lost its relevance, Facebook Messenger, on the other hand, is all the rage, and it’s all on your browser, too. You don’t need to fire up a separate app for it, so it’d be great if it gets opened when you start up your browser, as well.

A social network. Or all the social networks you prefer to keep an eye out on. This is

very useful during breaks, so if your IT department has not blocked off the access to the standard social networks that you like, this would be great to keep on your browser startup list.

An online news portal. If you like being kept updated on current events, you could add a tab to open to your favorite news source.

Let a website be your dashboard. There are hundreds of apps and websites that let you have that one-glance look into your day. You can set this as your Home page, and see your day from that view. While iGoogle has been retired, you can still use other apps as your dashboard:

iGoogle Portal

igHome Personal Dashboard

NetVibes

Wibki

Google Now

As they might suggest, iGoogle Portal and igHome Personal Dashboard are actually replacements for iGoogle. If you were happy and comfortable with iGoogle as it was, these are what could replace iGoogle for you.

  • NetVibes is really a personal dashboard where you could view most of your accounts at a glance, with a design that you can customize to your preference. You can syndicate your email to be read from your NetVibes dashboard. The Agency or Enterprise accounts give you access to advanced metrics and analytics that you may be interested in monitoring, such as your website’s traffic and social media presence.
  • Wibki, according to its About page, “Is a visual bookmarking and discovery service that will change the way you browse the web.” When you add your favorite websites to Wibki, you practically have a dashboard that’s personalized, and you’ll only need to bookmark Wibki.
  • Google Now aggregates data and gives you a glance at the things you need to know for your day: The weather, the traffic situation, and even the stats to your favorite game. It’s also on your smartphone of choice.

***

The possibilities are endless, in what you could choose to add to your browser startup dashboard, but one great way to figure out what to add there is to figure out which websites you usually open throughout the day, and list those as your startup dashboard of sorts. Keep the tabs to a maximum of 5, to keep your PC running efficiently. And if you need more suggestions for dashboard pages and apps, here are great articles to read:

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Productivity Hacks: Of Standing Desks, Steppers And Seinfeld Calendars

Productivity Hacks: Of Standing Desks, Steppers And Seinfeld Calendars
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We’re always in search of ways on how to work better and to be more productive, so we’re discussing two uncanny but possibly effective ways to improve your productivity.

Add More Activity Into Your Workday. Much has been said about the sedentary lifestyle that modern working paradigms have created.

According to Prevention.com:

Prevention

Thus, it’d be better for one’s overall health if, throughout an 8-hour shift, movement and activity would be worked into one’s schedule.

This is why Standing Desks have become all the rage, for those who can bring it to their workplaces. Freelancers, people who telecommute, or people who work from home can also incorporate it into their paradigm, since they have the freedom to choose what furniture to work from.

If ordering a Standing Desk or getting one custom-made for you isn’t a financial priority at the moment, you can also convert furniture to serve as a Standing Desk. Book cases and shelves that are at the perfect height to mount a computer from and type comfortably could be your more affordable option.

You could also add a Stepper to add more movement to your lifestyle. Have one in front of your Standing Desk, and this is a great way to incorporate more activity into your day.

According to LiveStrong:

LiveStrong

 If these modifications are not doable, then try doing a 5-minute walk around your office every hour. This takes you away from the drudgery of work, gives you an opportunity to breathe, and lets you incorporate more activity into your lifestyle.

Don’t Break The Chain: Using A Seinfeld Calendar. The Seinfeld Calendar was invented by, yes, comedian Jerry Seinfeld. When software programmer and blogger Brad Isaac got a moment to talk to Jerry Seinfeld and pick his brain about how to be a comedic genius, Seinfeld shared this life-changing motivational secret to Brad Isaac:

Don't Break The Chain

It’s a simple rule to help keep oneself on track, whatever your goal may be.

Whether you’re using a paper calendar like Seinfeld recommended, a browser-based app like Don’t Break The Chain, or even an Android app like the Seinfeld Calendar, there’s one simple rule: DON’T BREAK THE CHAIN.

***

To sum up our productivity hacks for the day, it’s:

  • Get healthy, incorporate movement into your lifestyle.
  • To get brilliant, or to hit the goal whatever it is, Don’t Break The Chain.

Hope you find these productivity tips useful, and here’s to a more productive, even healthier, lifestyle!

Photo Credits: Spacekat.Me, MyFitBasics.com, Dvice.com

 

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The iPhone Faces Another “[…]gate”: HAIRgate

The iPhone Faces Another “[…]gate”: HAIRgate
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On the heels of the iPhone 6’s “Bendgate,” there’s a new defect that is adding to the controversies surrounding Apple’s new phones: the “Hairgate.”

Bearded Guy With iPhone

Users have tweeted that their hair, or even their facial hair, such as beards, get caught in a seam on the phone described as that spot “where aluminum meets the glass,” and some hairs even get pulled out. So much so, that the “victims” have tweeted about it:

Tweet Collage

 The controversy has created such a stir, that it was easy for parody accounts to poke fun at the issue:

HairGate Parody

On a serious note, the #hairgate brouhaha caused tech pundits to reminisce and take a hindsight look at the past controversies that have plagued iPhone launches. One was “Antennagate,” the iPhone 4 flaw that causes it to lose network signal when the phone is held by the lower-left corner. Steve Jobs reportedly responded by advising:

Steve Jobs, Antennagate

In any case, it is an astute assessment when Gordon Kelley, via Forbes.com, points out:

Gordon Kelly

Indeed, JV Chamary, also from Forbes.com, might have a rather accurate point, as well:

JV Chamary

And here is another quip worth noting:

Dr John Wooten

So, like Dr. John Wooten tweeted, the average tech observer should be wondering, indeed: Who is drumming up all this hype? Is it really the haters? Is it the competitors? Or maybe, if you have a thing for conspiracy theories, is it possible that these controversies are actually straight from the heart of Cupertino, in the spirit of “Any publicity is good publicity”?

At the end of the day:

Christina Warren

So, let’s wait for tomorrow.

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The iPhone 6 Makes Massive Waves

The iPhone 6 Makes Massive Waves
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The most resonant of news that splashed across the World Wide Web this September was the launching of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, as well as the announcement of the iWatch. Apple certainly made September their month, and even though the news is starting to cool down, the tech blogs are still talking about the issues that cropped up immediately after the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were released.

The “Bendgate” Controversy. Rumors of the bendability of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus surfaced after users reported seeing their iPhones bent after keeping their units in their pants’ pockets. The issue has sparked mockery from comedians and experiments from curious users. In fact, it has spawned so much talk, that tech blogs and magazines cashed in on the issue and created their own iPhone bending experiments. One video even took the iPhone and drove a BMW over it. While opinion is still largely divided on the Bendgate controversy, one thing is for sure: the truth is, only 9 users have complained of the bending issue. With the fact that millions of units have been sold so far, and only 9 users have complained, this is a statistical testament to how the issue is actually negligible.

The iPhone 6 Plus’ Camera Makes Gorgeous Photos. A professional photographer, Austin Mann, was able to show gorgeous snaps of Iceland using his iPhone 6 Plus. This is tangible proof of the remarkable engineering that went into the iPhone 6 series of phones. Even if a good number of tech kibitzers are still discussing the Bendgate controversy, with photography output like Austin Mann’s, the full truth and the reality of the gorgeous care and design that went into the iPhone 6 is more or less put on the table.

iPhone 6 Collage

The iPhone 6 And iPhone 6 Plus Are Too Huge For Comfort. One of the things that people pointed out when the iPhone 6 came out was that the phone is just too huge for comfort. A petite lady spoke out about her experience on TechCrunch, while a self-confessed “Android nut” tells the story of how he fell in love with the iPhone 6 – as a tablet. Business Insider editor Jay Yarow talked about how he initially felt apprehensive about the size of his iPhone 6 Plus, but eventually grew to love the size after 8 days of use. In fact, he so loved the way his iPhone 6 Plus works, that when he used his iPhone 5s again for comparison, he commented, “Now that I am used to it, there’s no way I can go back. […] How did I ever live like that? What a dark era.” “What a dark era.” Well, that pretty much sums up how perfect the iPhone 6 Plus’ size is, once the user gets used to it.

The Chinese Smuggle iPhone Units For Sale On The Black Market In China. The Loop compiled different reports about how the iPhone is being smuggled into Mainland China, because it has not been approved for sale within the country, just yet. It’s a little ironic, considering that the OEM factories for Apple are all within China. Well, for the love of sizzling hot consumer electronics.

There is no denying that the iPhone and Apple have made September their month. Even though the iPhone 6 fever is already cooling down, with the Apple Watch’s launch looming up within the first few months of 2015, it won’t be a surprise if the hype rises to a fever pitch yet again. Meanwhile, iPod fans might be saddened to know that the iPod Classic has disappeared from the Apple Store’s online shelves, while iOS device users who are running the brand spanking new iOS 8 might be pleased and relieved to know that the Activation Lock function has rather effectively deterred iPhone theft, and the function is now turned on by default on iOS 8. In iOS 7, it was an optional function.

Photo Credits: Pixabay.com, Pixabay.com via CC Search

 

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