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A +1 for Google +1

Google is making its searches more effective through the introduction of Google +1, an experimental program that allows users to recommend websites by pressing a +1 icon that appears beside Google search results. Visit google.com/experimental and see what the fuss is all about. While still in the experimental stage, there is a lot to be excited about with Google’s new thingamajig, Google +1 from Google Labs. Google +1 is essentially a button next to each search engine result that you can click when you want to recommend a particular link or website. Google describes it as something you use “to give something your public stamp of approval, so friends, contacts, and others can find the best stuff when they search.” The program is not available for everyone just yet, but participating and testing it out is easy. You’ll need a Google profile to participate, then just go to google.com/experimental and click the “Join this experiment”. After a few minutes, you’ll begin seeing a +1 icon / button beside results on any Google search results page. Click the button for sites you want to recommend, and Google will ask you to confirm. On your Google profile, you’ll have a tab where you can see the sites you’ve recommended through +1. You’ll also have the option to uncheck the box that will allow Google to use your +1 information to send you targeted advertisements. Especially for businesses, a +1 for your website can maximize your SEO capabilities as well as lend credibility to your website. Anyone can +1 your website – colleagues, clients, and even friends – so the more +1s for your site, the more visible it becomes. Try Google +1 and see how it works for you.

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Dual Screens: Good or Bad?

Dual or multiple screens may seem excessive for some, but in truth it might just be the thing that helps you boost productivity and efficiency in the workplace. At first glance, people may find the use of dual screens a bit excessive and therefore unnecessary, but the truth is that there is more to it than it may seem. In truth, there are a lot of advantages to using dual screens, provided that you can cope with the cons and challenges of utilizing such as system. The primary advantage of dual or multiple screens is increased productivity. Several studies have shown that using such a system can boost productivity anywhere from 10 to 40 percent. Especially if you use multiple programs at the same time, it allows you to better keep track of workflow, have a improved view (physically and metaphorically) of what tasks you are working on, and divide tasks based on the monitors you are using. For example, you might need to be constantly online on social networking websites like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, or Formspring to interact with your clients and give immediate responses to queries and concerns. In addition, you may need to attend to other tasks, which can be confusing when done all in one screen. With a dual monitor setup, you can keep your social networking tasks on one screen, and the rest of your tasks on the other. Space consumption and resources may be an issue for some, but given the increased productivity that goes with adapting such a system, you will find your tasks accomplished much earlier and much more efficiently. This can effectively offset any additional costs, especially in the long run. If you are looking to give this type of system a try, please contact us and we’ll be glad to draw up a proposal that will meet your particular requirements. Additional resources: Advantages and Disadvantages of Working with Multiple Screens

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Security: Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

A recent study by IT security firm Symantec shows that at least half of SMBs lack the proper security for their systems, which puts both them and their clients at a grave disadvantage. It seems that despite the risk, many SMBs (small and mid-sized businesses) are not taking security seriously enough, according to a recent survey by security giant Symantec. The study reveals that many SMBs lack a security or disaster-preparedness plan. The risks are real enough, with an SMB standing to lose somewhere in the ballpark of $12,500 PER DAY when operations are interrupted because of security breaches or malware attacks. According to Symantec, of the 1288 SMBs they surveyed worldwide, about half have no security or disaster-preparedness plan whatsoever. Of that 50 percent, 36 percent intend to get or create a plan in the future, while the remaining 14% have no plans on their agendas whatsoever. With these figures, it’s hardly surprising that the study also found that many SMBs only act when it’s too late – which causes not only lost revenue for them, but for their clients as well. More than half of the surveyed SMB clients – 552 – said that they have had to switch providers due to unreliable and irresponsible service. Numbers do not lie: security is more important than you might think. Don’t wait until the last minute to find out just how essential it is before enacting a security plan of your own – for your sake as well as that of your clients. Having the right kind of system in place is vital to keeping your operations smooth and efficient, as well as enabling you to better respond to your clients’ needs. If you want to know more about implementing the proper security and disaster-preparedness protocols for your business, please contact us and we’ll be happy to sit down and create a customized plan that will meet your specific needs and requirements.

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Accelerate Firefox 3.6 Page Scrolling

Firefox 3.6 has yet another secret feature that could significantly improve your web browsing on Windows: scroll acceleration. Read more .

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Useful Tools to Effectively Connect with Your Followers on Twitter

Twitter is arguably the most popular and widely used microblogging platform on Internet today. Though each post is limited to only 140 characters, there are various Twitter applications that you can use to easily connect with your network and enhance your Twitter experience. There are countless Twitter tools and apps available today. Here’s a list of six that are sure to be useful and effective in building relationships with your Twitter followers. The first section introduces some basic tools, which you can skip if you’re already a Twitter expert. The second section describes tools that you may not have previously heard of, but are worth checking out since they can boost visibility, traffic, and clients. The Basics Link Shorteners – Most Tweets (posts) on Twitter are not the usual “what I had for lunch” Tweets, but are more often people sharing links of articles, videos, photos, and more. Sharing links is a great way to help people better understand your field of interest and expertise while also helping them discover great content online. However, many links are very long, and do not fit within Twitter’s 140-character limit – so as the term implies, a link shortener shortens a specific link/URL. Try sites like Bit.ly , TinyURL and tr.im to easily condense your very long URLs into just 15-20 characters, leaving you room to comment.In addition to the practical need of shorter URLs, a majority of these tools also provide useful tracking reports so you can monitor the number of people who clicked on your links, which were the most popular, the dates when people clicked them, as well as give you an idea which topics are the most popular with your Twitter community. TweetMeme – That ever-present gray and green “re-tweet” logo enables readers to quickly re-post or “re-tweet” your post to their own Twitter followers. TweetMeme is a wonderful means to encourage your audience to spread the news about your status, tips, and words of wisdom.Like link shorteners, TweetMeme also tracks your links as they pass through the Twitterverse, and shows the total number of times your link was re-tweeted. Aside from helping you determine the popularity of given topics, it also lets the feisty competitor in us compare the success of our posts versus others and even ourselves. TwitPic – This is one of the numerous tools that let you take pictures with your mobile phone and post them directly on Twitter. Other similar tools are: TwitGoo , img.ly and yfrog . These tools are also usually integrated into whatever Twitter mobile application you’re using. You can also obtain statistics to monitor responses on your pictures. You can still also opt to link your followers to a Flickr account, Facebook page, or a web page that displays your pictures. Cast your Twitter net even farther… There are a lot of nifty Twitter applications out there that will help you create a solid and engaged community. When you’re ready to take your Twitter skills to the next level, below are three tools to get you started. TweetSwell – This great app allows you to create Twitter-based polls, wherein each reply doubles as a tweet and helps the poll become viral. TweetSwell  can also help maintain your brand identity by ensuring that your poll pages are synchronized with your custom-made Twitter layout. Similar apps are: Twtpoll and TwtSurvey . TwtVite – Somewhat related to Eventbrite , TwtVite enables you to use Twitter to get together in the real world. Check out the animated video to get a feel for how it works. For an actual example, read this case study about a Milwaukee bar owner who used TwtVite in hosting the biggest Tweetup in the Midwest . TwtQpon – Online coupons offer small businesses a fantastic opportunity to drive lots of new and repeat clients. This app creates online coupons that can be published on Twitter and many other social network sites. While apps such as Groupon and Living Social can also make online coupons, TwtQpon is specifically designed for social networks.

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Why Public File Sharing and P2P are NOT good for business

It’s not uncommon for many small and medium-sized companies to use file sharing and peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms as a means to share information and data – especially when it comes to larger files that are difficult and sometimes impossible to attach to emails.

Learn more…

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Manage and Collect Data Better with FormSpring

formspringFor businesses of all types and size, managing data online is critical to the smooth operation of a website. However, incorporating data collection programs can be time consuming, especially if any of your data is “time bound” – meaning it’s only valid and useful during a specific period of time.

Here’s a solution. FormSpring provides free and paid website data collection services that eliminate the need for additional programming or the purchase of additional software.

Learn more…

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Understanding the Value of Managed Services

Most small and medium businesses can’t afford the luxury of a qualified IT administrator, let alone an entire IT department. If you’re in this position, how do you maintain the information technology infrastructure that’s critical to your organization? One option is Managed Services, in which you outsource this role to an IT expert called a “managed services provider,” which will typically offer on-site or remote network and security monitoring, data backup and technical support. Because the Managed Services model allow a business to focus on its core competencies, it is increasing in popularity—but sometimes it’s hard to separate the real benefit from the hype. What’s the value to you? Peace of mind. Your managed services provider will monitor your IT infrastructure and prevent or resolve any problems—a sharp diversion from the traditional “fix it when it breaks” model of IT management. Simplicity. Your managed services provider will provide many of its services remotely, via the Internet, instead of through on-site visits. This reduces time and cost. Constant support. You don’t have to worry about support; your  managed services provider will offer the assistance you need, when you need it. Affordability. Managed services providers typically offer several price structures, including a per-month fee—which is much lower than the cost of building an in-house IT support department. Accountability. Have you ever tried to resolve an IT problem only to find that one vendor blames it on another who blames it on another? With managed services, you don’t have to go to multiple vendors to figure out why your network is down or you’ve experienced a security breach. You’ll have one point of contact: your managed services provider. Want to learn more about how Managed Services can give you dependable IT with predictable costs? Give us a call.

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