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Tricks & Tips

Posts Tagged ‘Security’


Phone Call Recorder

Use Personal Call Logger to record phone calls easily.  Amazon has these for about $70.  Super reliable!

Call Logger records caller-ID (most times), time/date, and standard audio file of all calls incoming and outgoing completely automatically.  Can save the recordings for years.  Set it and forget it.   It’s simple to install – plug into your mic jack of your computer, insert the phone cable into any telephone jack, and install the software – 5-10 minutes.

This device is per land-line only and requires a computer.   If installed properly, can work on all jacks/phones in the house.

Need help with setup?  Call us!  Have more than one line?  Ask us about complete phone system solutions.

*Laws vary widely – consult an attorney and use at your own risk.  More info on recording here.



Question: One customer asks, “Can my neighbor read anything on my computer?”

Answer: If you have wireless service, you’re opening the door for this potential. It’s certainly possible.  However, the likelihood is slim.  Especially if you’ve done all you can to protect yourself.

Wireless Security

The best prevention is good wireless security.  Each year newer methods are developed to secure wireless networks (as well as more ways to hack them).  Currently, the best wireless security available on most home routers is WPA2.  Do you have to enter a key to connect a new device to your wireless? If not, you may not have security setup properly.

Link:  Basic guide to setting up wireless security

There are other ways to increase security besides a simple password.  Ask us or your technology consultant for more information.

Tips for the Road – When traveling and connecting to new networks, keep these in mind:

  1. Never connect to an unsecured network
  2. Ensure website’s prefix begins with https:// (notice the S) when transferring secure data (banking, online purchases, etc) or look for the lock symbol
  3. Always use anti-virus and firewall software
  4. Keep your operating system (Windows, Mac, etc) up to date with the latest updates from the manufacture

Just because you’ve done all you can, simply having wireless or even Internet access makes you vulnerable.  Nothing is 100% secure.

In the news…

Back to school tax free weekend is coming up.  Does your state participate?  South Carolina’s is Aug. 7-9, 2009.  See complete state guide here.


Why The Red X In My Emails?

March 17th, 2009

One customer asked:
“Why is it when I open certain emails, the picture shows up as a blank box with a little red square in the upper left corner?”


For security, most email applications disable pictures by default.  Instead of seeing the photo, you see a blank white box with the red X (above).  If you trust the sender and want to show the pictures, right click on it and choose Download Pictures.  Or, there may be a link at the top that says “Show Images”.

Other reasons for this could be the sender didn’t attach the picture correctly or the linked photo isn’t valid or online.

Want to permanently allow images?
Try adding the sender to your address book.  Often this tells your email program you trust the sender.  Or to allow ALL images, follow the instructions for your email program:

  • Outlook 2003:  Tools -> Options -> Security -> Change Automatic Download Settings -> Uncheck “Don’t download pictures or other content automatically in HTML email.”
  • Outlook 2007:  Tools -> Trust Center -> Automatic Download -> Uncheck “Don’t download pictures…”
  • Outlook Express:  Tools -> Options -> Security tab -> Uncheck “Block images and other external content in HTML e-mail”

Why? ( technical )
Images in emails can expose many extra details about you.  By requesting the image, one can determine that you did open their email.  They could also record details such as your IP address (almost your physical location).  Typically this is harmless for statistical reasons only.  However, think about opening images in a spam message – you just told the spammer that you check and read your email!

A little extra…

Tax Law:  The 25 Most Frequently Asked Questions


Have you tried Skype yet?  If not, check out our previous tip for all the details.  Remember, Skype is free when calling other Skype users.

1.  Place calls from your cell phone
International is what I’m referring too.  Skype’s rates calling abroad trump the land line or any cell phone companies hands down.  Setup Skype To Go to get a local number in your area.  Dial this number from your cell then dial your international number.  The charges will be on your billed to your Skype account (less standard minutes) at their low rates.  I just used my cell and Skype To Go to call a support company in Ireland for 6 minutes – cost me $.21.

2.  Use Skype as a home monitor while away
Call your home Skype account from a remote location to see, and hear what’s going on.  It’s really quite simple to do:

  1. After you’ve setup Skype at home, go to Tools, Options.  Look under Call Settings and choose Advanced Options.
  2. Under Allow calls from, dot People in my Contact list only.  Check Answer incoming calls automatically, and Start my video automatically.
  3. Ensure you’ve added your 2nd Skype account as a contact then just dial your home Skype anytime while you’re away.

3.  Use Bluetooth for hands-free
I prefer a webcam with built in mic.  But if you’re looking for privacy without the cords, sync your Bluetooth headset to your computer.  You must have Bluetooth built in to your computer, or purchase a USB add-on.  Once synced, go to Options.   Look under Audio Settings to select Bluetooth.

4.  Do you use your computer for Skype?  You don’t have to!
For super ease of use, you can purchase a USB phone that connects to your computer.  Take it a step further and look for a wireless phone. Sure!  Skype Wireless phone works wherever you can find wireless access (not cell).  Shop @ Skype for all the extra gadgets.

5.  Skype is for your business too
Setup a real number to receive calls in Skype from land lines and cells.  Voicemail, conference calls, call recording, transferring, and call logs are more options available.  Check out Skype’s video overview.

In the news…
See what Microsoft imagines 2019 might be like: start video.