Ettiquette in the Digital, Laser and LED Age

I must admit, I’ve been considering writing this piece for quite some time, but after getting yet another business text after 10:00 p.m. on a Saturday night, I decided it was time to discuss some guidelines and etiquette relevant to the digital age.

Keep Business-to-Business Contacts During Business Hours
Most business hours are Monday thru Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but with social media and digital communication, you can literally “do your job” anytime of the day or night. BUT – when you are communicating with co-workers, keep in mind that business should normally be conducted during business hours.

When my phone goes off at 3 O’clock in the morning, it scares the Hell out of me. I jump out of bed, trip over the dog and stub my toe on the dresser only to find out that a co-worker has finally figured out how to sort data on an electronic spreadsheet. “Yay!”

I also have clients that feel it is acceptable to call me on a Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. – only to find out I forgot to silence my phone at church; neither are okay.

If it is 8:00 p.m. and you call my cell phone you can expect me to have just finished dinner, had a cocktail or two, and I am likely watching a movie, splashing around the swimming pool, or doing household chores. This is not the time to reach me for business.

Using Only a Facebook Event Page for Party Invitations
Not everyone is on facebook, so you may not reach all of your intended guests… enough said.

Texting Thank You Cards
Is it okay to send a text “Thank you” for a gift your received? Only if it is the last gift you want to receive from someone. If I take the time to buy you a gift, even if it was online and drop-shipped in a gift-wrapped box, then I expect you to take the time to either send me a thank you card, or pick up the phone and call me. But call me outside of Monday thru Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., this is a personal call, not business.

Before cell phones and the age of digital communications, laser printers, and LEDs, there was no grey area. You called your friends at home, not at work… and your collegues and co-workers dealt with you at work, rarely calling you at home.

Should You Accept Your Boss’s “Friend” Request?
No, and your boss should be demoted for making such a request.

Using Social Media for important life events
Can I share my friend’s wedding pictures on social media?
This is a tricky one. First – the bride should ALWAYS be the FIRST one to post wedding pictures on social media. IF she is using a professional photographer, you may have to wait days before you can post any pictures.

This is why it gets tricky: if one picture gets sent to a relative who couldn’t make the wedding, or a collegue who was out of town, they ALSO must be informed NOT to share the picture on social media. If just one picture is leaked… well, game over!

This is the same rule of ettiquette for births! NO pictures of the baby should be distributed until Mom says it is okay to do so. Period!

Death announcements should also be handled with a great deal of respect, and restraint, when it comes to social media.

Learn to use the BCC Feature on Mass Emails
When you send an email there are three sections for the intended addressee. One is “To”, one is “CC”, and the other (apparently hidden) is the “BCC”.

“To” is for your intended recipient, usually a single person.
“CC” is for a second, third or more recipient of a group, a “c”arbon “c”opy. Every recipient will see every email address of everyone addressed. This is fine for groups like a family email, or an inter-office message.
“BCC” is “B”lind “C”arbon “C”opy, use this when you don’t want to disclose the personal and private email addresses of everyone on your list. Everyone on the list will receive the identical email, but email addresses won’t be disclosed.

On this topic, it is not cool to add email addresses to a mailing list without permission. Their are anti-spam laws (CAN-SPAM Act) in the United States, governed by the Federal Trade Commission, that applies to all commercial messages, with penalties of up to $16,000, but that is another article entirely.

When to Turn-off or Silence Your Phone
On the airplane
In a funeral
At a wedding
In most hospital rooms
At the theatre
In Church (see above)

However, it may be acceptable to use an online version of the King James Bible while sitting in the pew, just make sure you are not texting friends, checking scores, or especially frowned upon at church: looking at porn.

Many concerts won’t let you use your phone while the main performer is on stage. I recently saw Comedian Amy Schumer and the security guards at Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville made sure phones remained off. Is it that the phones are disruptive to other concert goers, or is it about the money? On jaxevents.com, regarding Kevin Hart’s show in April, also held at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, the site said, “• NO PHOTO, NO AUDIO, NO VIDEO! • NO CELL PHONE USE DURING THE PERFORMANCE! This includes, but not limited to, texting, tweeting, talking, photos, and/or video. Patrons who violate these rules put forth by the show, will be escorted out of the venue. NO REFUNDS!”
(Okay, but its going to be very hard to keep them all away.)

GPS Tracking and Lying about your Location
You may not know this, but there is a feature on your phone that lets you track the location of your friends and family. Remember this BEFORE you lie about your location.

I’m sure there are many more topics on this LED Age of Ettiquette that I have left out, so I’ll reserve the possiblity of a Part II in the future. If there are any that I’ve left out, feel free to send me your pet peeves via email or facebook, or private message of course if appropriate.

FSCJ Launches FSCJ Safe Mobile Safety App

Jacksonville, FL – Florida State College at Jacksonville’s (FSCJ) students, faculty, staff and visitors now have access to the new FSCJ Safe mobile app, designed to keep them safe throughout the College’s campuses and centers.

The free app, available to download on Apple and Android devices, offers real-time safety functions and features in one convenient location to help ensure the safety of those on campus at all times. To help users plan ahead and prepare before incidents occur, the comprehensive app provides important information on how to respond to emergencies such as active shooter situations, evacuations, severe weather and more.

Through the FSCJ Safe app, users can report information and receive emergency notices. In addition, the app offers campus maps, helpful resources and options to call 911 or report a tip to Campus Security if a user witnesses suspicious activity.

FSCJ Safe’s features include the Mobile BlueLight function, which allows on-campus users to send their location to and chat with Campus Security dispatch. The feature works similarly to the fixed positioned BlueLight boxes located throughout FSCJ’s campuses.

Using the Friend Walk tool, users can send their location to a friend or Campus Security, who can then watch the user walk to their destination via GPS. FSCJ Safe also provides a list of Campus Security contacts as well as phone numbers for JSO and the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office.

“We continue to strengthen any and all efforts to provide our faculty, staff and students with a safe and secure environment, knowing we cannot predict the unthinkable though believing the more prepared we are, the greater the prevention,” said FSCJ President Dr. Cynthia Bioteau.

All users are encouraged to submit feedback on ways to improve the FSCJ Safe app through the “About/Preferences” tab. Users can easily locate and download the app in Google Play or the App store by searching “FSCJ Safe.”

Creative Instagram Tips that you Might have Missed

Within the last few years, Instagram is growing exponentially in the social media platforms. If you are involved with a brand or a company, you must use this visual platform. Now, let us discuss some of the creative tips, which you might have missed!

Tag Pictures To Alert The Popular Accounts: There can be many popular accounts which are influential in nature. If the photos can be tagged with their accounts, they can get an auto update through the section of “photos of you”. They can also be tagged in a comment.

Spread User Content: Try curating the user content and attract your audience. User generated content can really be helpful when you are running in a short of new content. The audience will be interested in sharing details about your company and will feel proud to be a part of your success.

Mobile Editing Tools: In Instagram , various mobile editing tools are available. There are many editing tools that are built-in and some of them can be downloaded. All the photo editing tools with unique filters and styles can mesmerize you with their editing features.

Increase Photo Resolution: None of your audience likes hazy or blurry pictures. So the quality of the pictures must be top notch. The resolution of the photo must be increased. Try to increase the number of posts and provide a great user experience to the users.

Increase The hash Tag Limit: You may look into several accounts within your niche to increase the target audience. Huge numbers of Instagram likes can be obtained if you can increase the hash tag limit successfully. Try not to use the general hash tags and customize the tags as much as possible. You may keep the hash tags hidden within the comments. This will make the hash tags stay hidden and will only appear with the comments.

Direct Messages To Influencers And Audience: Direct messages can be sent to the influencers or the audience to gain trust. If the relationship building process is being carried on positively, you can definitely use the direct messaging features for the influencers and the popular accounts.

Trackable Link: Only in the bio section of the Instagram accounts can you find the clickable link. So never forget to make the most of this feature. You can play around with the content in the bio to check which one is working and which one is not working in this section. You can also place a call to action button by adding “click link in bio”.

Unique Hash Tag: You must create an unique hash tag for your brand. This will help in identifying and distinguishing your brand within the competitors easily. The users will easily find your brand and the relevant content if you are using the unique content.

Maintain Consistency Of Brands: Brand consistency can be maintained when you are using a single filter or a single theme. Similar to a logo, the brands can easily be identified with the help of the Instagram content.
If you possess a physical store, never forget to mention the address in your Instagram account. As soon as you are adding the location, you are promoting the business locally through Instagram. You can also arrange a hash tag contest where the participants can create unique hash tags for your brand. Make sure you are investing on giving away prizes after the contest.

Author Bio: Evans Walsh is a social media expert. In this article he is providing some creative tips for increasing the Instagram likes effectively.

Google Business Coming to Fernandina Beach

I’ve heard that Google photographers are coming to Fernandina Beach to add the inside of local businesses to “Street View”. This lets people walk through the inside of your business using Google Street View technology.

Right now it appears they will be on Amelia Island from May 18th until June 11, 2016.

The cost for the virtual tour depends on how many view-points it would take to shoot your business. Tours start at $399.00. The price includes the setup of Google + local page, hosting on Google + local, integration into Google Street View, integration into Google Maps, enhanced Google search results, and you get the professional photographs and QR codes linking to your tour. You can add the tour and professional photographs to your website and social media pages. They also offer a discount to non-profit organizations.

Visit their website Instant360 to view numerous businesses already participating in Google Business View.

Should you have any questions or would like to schedule the photo shoot please contact Jennifer DeLanzo at (888) 266-5360 ex:306 or jmdelanzo@gmail.com.

How Google and Apple Engage in Marketing

How Google and Apple Engage in MarketingIn the modern, technology-driven society, practically everyone is familiar with Apple and Google, two powerhouses in the computer and technology marketplace. However, despite their similar position in the field, both companies approach marketing to their clients with very different attitudes. Even though Google and Apple are also in direct competition in the smartphone and tablet market, the strategies are completely different.

Google
The most notable example actually comes in terms of direct advertisement. Google is such a prolific brand that simply the act of searching for information online has become a generic term: “Googling”. But when it comes to their products and services, Google relies heavily on word of mouth and the power of their brand more so than typical ads. This doesn’t mean Google shies away from the traditional ad campaign, as they have featured billboard and subway ads for their Google recommendation and voice search features and television ads that demonstrate the versatility of their search engine as well as promote their internet browser, Chrome.

Beyond that, Google utilizes their brand in unique ways. By attaching their name to innovative technology ventures such as Google Glass and even asteroid mining, this gives Google publicity https://econsultancy.com/blog/64204-12-inspiring-marketing-campaigns-from-google/ through news and media outlets without the standard advertising formula. Additionally, the company has extended itself into so many different ventures like translating website content. Google, having acquired the smartphone operating system Android and online video hub YouTube, for example, while launching their own ventures such as GMail, and online voice chat service Google Voice, just to name a few.

Apple
On the other side, instead of relying on fantastically innovative and unusual technology ventures or their sheer presence on the internet like Google, Apple has built a brand off of taking technology products and appealing directly to their customers’ wants and needs. Apple has built a reputation of selling their WHY and not their WHAT. For example, many companies will market their products by saying how great they are, how affordable, how stylish, etc. Apple markets start by appealing to why the technology is needed, why they as a company feel so strongly about their product, and only then do they tell you how great their product is.

This approach began in 1997 with the return of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, back into the corporate fold. While internally the company would shift their approach, their advertising would begin to take shape, as well. Instead of television ads saying “look at how amazing this computer is”, Apple became famous for a series of ads featuring actor Jeff Goldblum whose delivery and presentation made it clear that Apple’s computers were fun to use, easy to use, and allowed for customers to relate directly to the product.

Since then, with the launch of the iPhone, iPad, and a host of other products, Apple has become the single most dominant brand in computer and consumer electronics. Apple has never been a stranger to unique advertising strategies. Notably, their controversial Super Bowl commercial from 1984 to launch the Macintosh, featuring a “Big Brother” video screen projecting propaganda to a room of emotionless, grey-suited people before a woman hurls a sledgehammer through the screen. The ad served as a statement going forward that Apple was not a traditional computer company and never would be.

Every commercial, whether on television or online or in print since then, has been very simple and relatively understated. Apple uses very little printed copy and allows the aesthetic imagery of their product to do most of the selling. When they talk, it’s always about the methodology and rarely ever about the product itself.

The most notable point between how Google and Apple market their products is that neither company does so in a traditional manner. Apple may advertise in similar ways, but with a very different sort of message, while Google often forgoes typical ads but lets their tech ventures speak even louder, but both companies still see tremendous success based off of the quality of their products.

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Hiring an In-house SEO: Is It a Good Idea?

Hiring an In-house SEO: Is It a Good Idea?Decisions relating to employing people are pretty challenging. Hiring decisions are particularly tough when SEOs are in question. You need to come to a concrete decision regarding whether to hire a specialized agency or opt for employing an in-house SEO. Both have their own distinctive advantages and pitfalls. You need to make a smart decision that fulfills your requirements and helps you to attain your business goals and objectives. However, we would be discussing why hiring an in-house SEO may not be a wise option.

Your Site May Not Be Requiring a Full-Time SEO
If you have a website that comprises only a few pages, you do not actually require the services of a full-time SEO. This does not imply that SEO is not that critical to your website. SEO is very much important, but it would be less time-consuming to optimize and maintain optimization of a relatively smaller website. However, huge websites that consist of thousands of pages would need numerous in-house SEOs as well as some agency assistance.

A Full-time In-House SEO Could be Pretty Expensive
As per some reputed sites the average salary for full-time SEO professional is about $76,000. Additionally you need to spend on taxes, healthcare and training to keep him/her abreast with the latest technology. However, cost is just a factor in the decision-making process. You must more importantly consider the results. From results point of view, an agency comes up with better outcomes, even though you end up paying lower or at best, equal fees. Just keep in mind that cost is only one among many other important considerations. Join a reputed SEO training academy to gain adequate knowledge for making robust SEO decisions.

The In-House SEO May Be Lacking in Skill set
SEO specialists need to be multi-faceted. SEO today entails a wide range of activities. It is almost impossible for any SEO professional to possess all the requisite skills for taking a comprehensive approach toward a particular business’s search marketing strategies. An agency would be providing you comprehensive services as a broader skill set could be utilized and accessed.

There are basically three broad categories of SEO skills:
Onsite SEO: The on-site SEO is highly skilled in handling content that gives a tremendous boost to rankings. They are in total control of the back-end relating to content optimization from optimization of title tags to effectively tracking down 404s. Additionally they are incredibly proficient in keyword mapping and keyword research.
Technical SEO: This sort of SEO specialists are extremely tech-savvy and are capable of optimizing even the most cutting-edge features or attributes of site speed, fine-tuning your SSL and optimizing code-to-text ratios.
Link SEO: it is an acknowledged fact that backlinks play a pivotal role as far as search rankings are concerned. This SEO expert is regarded as a link-genie. He is the one assisting sites in escaping link penalties, building strong backlinks and a wonderfully optimized link profile.

The fact is, it is in very rare cases you would find an individual SEO, who is competent in fulfilling all the above three roles. An agency generally hires enough SEOs for ensuring all three categories are fully covered.

May Not Be Competent Enough to Come Up with Effective Search Strategy
A full-time SEO may not be adequately equipped to create a truly comprehensive SEO stratagem. An agency on the contrary is capable of resetting and defining search strategy of any business.

Strategy is vital to organic search. The strategy has to be really flexible as search trends are constantly undergoing changes. While making the hiring decision, you must keep in mind factors such as strategy, flexibility and continuity.

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Welcome to the Machine Era has arrived

The many faces of the machine

Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
Where have you been? It’s alright we know where you’ve been.

Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
What did you dream? It’s alright we told you what to dream.

A Wikipedia entry claims that Pink Floyd’s songwriter/bassist Roger Waters wanted to express his disappointment with the music industry when he wrote Welcome to the Machine for the 1975 release of the album “Wish You Were Here”. That is utter crap as a man like Roger Waters has and had much bigger fish to fry than a music industry that lacked a visionary business concept and social consciousness. I know that Waters addressed the empire and the corporation and the system of the world we were making for ourselves…the machine. We’re born, we’re “informed” (some call it education) and then we serve and reproduce and go into massive debt (this guarantees our further servitude) and then we tell our kids “welcome my son…welcome to the machine” and they in turn will do it all over again.

The signs have been there all along and definitely long before Julian Assange’s Wikileak or Edward Snowden came along and made some of us realize the threat was real. Without defining what the threat is, their revelations were only part of the story, and frankly not really the most important part.

The electronic surveillance machine is so much larger than their leaked indiscretions portrayed, including not just government abuses, but also massive commercial abuses. And guess what, the structure of this vile machine is in advanced stages of completion. It is in the stage where it can not only record and register, but it can manipulate and incentivize, it can punish and reward and it can create a world of insinuation that defies legal rights and protections. And that really is always the threat when such power comes into the possession of the wrong people. Discussions about the Constitution or Amendments thereof are declared unimportant in the name of public safety and protection.

Unfortunately it becomes a one-sided discussion if the machine is in the hands of the self imposed overlords. In return for their protection, you will eat the food they describe, drink the beverage they dictate, visit the doctors they favor, swallow the pills they prescribe, drive the cars they manufacture and accept the Hollywood dream as real.
Case in point maybe last weekend’s record breaking release of the movie American Sniper.
But before going into some more detail, here is a small memory lift that encapsulates the essence of the new surveillance machine to play in the background while reading on. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbifrXX2Ltw):

I’m a huge Pink Floyd fan, and I think they nailed this one in 1975 – 40 years ago on the album “Wish You Were Here”. There are two primary functions of this machine: full-life surveillance (“We know where you’ve been”) and persistent, deep manipulation (“We told you what to dream”). I could help but think about this last one, when I learned that the movie “American Sniper” broke all kind of records at the box office, while an internet related warning like “Blackhat” bombed sorely.

I increasingly think that it’s pathetic of me, trying to warn you that this machine of horror has already been built and that we are sitting right in the middle of it. I often think of hanging it up, as the general population’s interpretation of horror is apparently quite different from mine. And yes I’ve tried to put my head in the sand and abstain from writing, but then I think of the observation that contrary to popular belief, ostriches do not bury their heads in sand to avoid danger; only humans do that.

Yes, I know this is something many people don’t want to hear. Far too many are like the ones who complained to the prophet Isaiah, telling him, “Speak unto us smooth things.” But some things are not smooth… yet they’re true anyway.

And so here is the story once again Why Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more MUST Sell You and not always to the highest bidder.

Facebook—and all the other big, ‘free’ services—are selling your minds, thoughts, emotions, opinions and lives just like a butcher sells meat. And please understand: In our materialistic system, they have no choice. Not if they want to keep their quarterly numbers positive. Now also understand that I have no ideological problem with materialism. Capitalism which breeds materialism, has moved our civilization more forward in recent history, than in thousands of years previously. It is greed that creates the problem.

Think about this: Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram and the likes don’t charge a penny to you for their platform use. So if you’re a Facebook user, you are not its customer. Someone pays Facebook; those revenues come from somewhere, but they don’t come from you.
So if you’re neither the company nor the customer, then what are you?
Yep, that’s right—you’re the product. Facebook, Google, and their ilk are selling you to their customers.
And please understand that the free model gives these companies no choice at all. Their users won’t pay, and they have to make money somehow.

“That’s okay; a few ads won’t kill me.”

Facebook’s gross revenue is estimated at more than $1 billion per month. Google’s is approaching $4 billion per month. You don’t really think they get all that income by selling lame ads for tooth paste and concert tickets? These companies are selling you in far more sophisticated ways than that.
Back in 2009 Google’s boss bragged that “We know where you’ll be Tuesday morning,” and you can be very, very sure that they’ve been selling such information for the past five years and rest assured, they’re a lot better at it now.
Three years ago Facebook ran an experiment on 689,000 of its users, to see if it could alter their moods by altering the headlines they saw? The experiment was a resounding success?
They found out that it could alter people’s moods, making them happier or sadder as it wished. And Facebook found something else: those users would transfer those moods to their friends in a cascading effect. Do you really think Facebook hasn’t done anything with that information in the meanwhile? Do you really think Google hasn’t?

Turning up the heat a bit, both of these outfits are in bed with all branches of the feds, headhunters, recruiting companies and yes Facebook’s infamous experiment was partly financed by the US Army. Google is deeply intermingled with the US State Department (as well as other agencies). If you’re curious about this, read Julian Assange’s new book on the subject.

You Want Proof?

Step into Google’s shoes for a minute. Auctioning off little ads would never bring in billions per month; you’d have to find better ways of supercharging your ad revenue. This is what they do?
First, they tell their advertisers they can get ads and other actionable information to people the moment they expressed the first interest in their product. Seems like a perfectly sound move, but that moment came, was monetized, and went more than 10 years ago. So new ideas are needed to juice the quarterly reports.

Now what would you do in their shoes?

Guess what?! You learn how to implant desires in your users. And if you want to do it well, you do it in ways that are specific to each individual. After all, what works to manipulate me may be completely ineffective for you.
And that’s where we are now at this stage of the game. And when I say that these companies fulfill Pink Floyd’s lyric of “We told you what to dream,” I don’t mean that they tried to make everyone dream the same thing; I mean that they got your friend to dream things that will squeeze money out of her life… and that they’ll make you dream different things, things designed to squeeze money out of your life. They can distinguish, read profile, an adventurer from a homebody and create pertinent campaigns. Your profile says you’re a conservative, you’re targeted with ads about guns and conservative value products and opinions. Democrats get an entirely different scope of products and services.

Here’s how to prove this: Take your laptop to a friend’s house, or take your spouse’s computer i your own house. Both of you log in to YouTube, or Facebook, or Google. Notice how you’ll both see different screens. And that means that you’re getting customized environments and that’s already going on for more than 5 years.
So if you were Facebook or Google, why would you give people customized environments? Shall we really pretend that Google, Facebook, and the others are doing this as a public service?
Of course not; the purpose of everything they do is to generate more revenue. In other words, they’re manipulating you for their profit. That’s the only way they can make money from you. That’s why you’re not charged for an account. YOU ARE THE PRODUCT THEY SELL.

Facebook experienced an outage the other night that shut down Facebook and its Instagram photo-sharing service for about an hour. The company said that a change it made in its configuration systems caused the problem, while all the self proclaimed media experts went on record to state that Facebook’s real issue is to make more money. The release of2014 and 4th Quarter earnings of the social media giant saw a drop in earnings
However with almost a quarter of the world population subscribing to its service, I’ll leave you to understand where this is likely to go, and if you’re going along. Competitive pressures from other niche market provider may force FB to redirect or split its audience into multiple sub services, but don’t count on it to go away. Knowing the habits, preferences and whereabouts of more than 1.5 billion people and being able to manipulate their decision making processes, is way too much power to go away easily.

SearchAmelia Has Posted 10,000 Blogs

SearchAmelia Has Posted 10,000 BlogsSearchAmelia has just posted their 10,000th blog! That is indeed a lot of writing, researching, soul sharing, laughter and sometimes tears.

We began in the spring of 2008 by building a website and publishing local articles. Stories about history, news or events that we feel are relevant to those living in or visiting, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Yulee and most of Nassau County, were considered ideal content. Since 2008 we have posted something damn near every-single-day!!!

Our website strives to be a familiar place, both interesting and informative, for folks to go to learn about the things and the people our wonderful community offers.

SearchAmelia has introduced us to new friends, opened our eyes to new ideas, and opened our hearts to those in need. We have tried to focus on the good news in Fernandina, but still we share some of the bad that occasionally shows up in our “in-boxes”.

Our articles are often press releases submitted by your neighbors telling of new business offerings, non-profit events, and local news stories. Often we write from our heart. My Personal Experience with Hospice let me share a very private moment with “you” – our readers, subscribers and viewers. “You” were there when we lost our partner and Han’s brother, Thom. “You” were with me when my daughter and her young son’s community of Henryville, Indiana was all but destroyed during a tornado outbreak in March of 2012.

We have shared anniversaries, childbirths and weddings.

We ARE your neighbors; we live here, we work here and we hope you consider us your friends.

Our articles 2012 Doomsday The End is Near, Haiti One Year after the Earthquake, ‎and How to Keep Flies Out of Your House or Patio have been read tens of thousands of times. We’ve had an enchanting variety of guest writers submit their pieces, too.

We don’t charge for subscriptions, we don’t charge for your local news or a link back to your businesses, and we don’t post affiliate advertising. The ads we do have are partners with SearchAmelia, strengthening the “shop local” mantra.

I’m proud to say our calendar is one of the most comprehensive ones in town and we welcome your submissions. It’s simple, just CLICK HERE. (By the way, our calendar entries are not included in the 10,000.)

You may not think 10,000 stories is much to brag about, but we sure do! Here are the numbers:

We’be been blogging for nearly six years and five months. Call it 334 weeks if you’d like, but no matter how you do the math we have published, on average, just over four articles – every single day – for the past 2,343 days (give or take a day or two).

…and so, I raise my glass to my partner, Han, “Here’s to 10,000 more! Cheers!”

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Megabite Set to Interview Remote Data Backup’s Daniel Dugal

Megabite Set to Interview Remote Data Backup's Daniel DugalLocal Entreprenuer Deryck Burnett, owner of Megabite in Fernandina Beach, has an interview scheduled with Daniel Dugal, the CEO and founder of Remote Data Backups, on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 4:00 PM.

The show can be found by using this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1IvOO9HWhu3OsLpDqenc1Q and you can click now to set a “reminder”.

Remote Data Backups, Inc. has been a leader in business-class cloud backup since 1999. The company is a HP partner and provides data backup solutions to small to mid-sized businesses. Remote Data Backups offers a cost-effective, convenient and secure way to automatically back up your critical data using HP cloud technology.

Megabite is a computer repair company on Amelia Island. They service both PC and Macs, and Deryck has quickly earned a reputation for his expertise in managed IT servies and tech support for business owners. Your data, whether personal photos, business tax documents or original art, is the most important thing on your computer. Deryck understands the serious side effects associated with lost data and can help your small to medium business prepare a disaster recovery plan.

“There have been a number of bargain basement services entering the market with a barrage of advertising.” Deryck said. “We understand that some people simply make business decisions based on price alone, but when it comes to vital needs like secure data, cheaper is NOT better! That’s like buying the cheapest parachute, life insurance or eye surgery!”

When you lose your data, you can lose your business. Remote Data Backups protects data for banks, hospitals, financial institutions, government offices, commercial businesses, mobile salespeople, home users and anyone else with important data.

What sets Remote Data Backups (RDB) apart from cheaper backup solutions?

RDB is for Business, bargain-basement backups are for home users. “Bargain” backup services are targeted toward the average home user and never claim to be suitable or adequate for protecting valuable business data.

Remote Data Backups has had a stellar history of protecting data for business clients, including over 200 recognizable franchise brands, in dozens of countries globally over the last decade.

A History of Reliable Data Protection
Most cut-rate backup services popping up recently are owned by speculative venture capital funding companies ill-equipped to handle the volume of customers brought in by expensive national marketing campaigns. And while the introductory pricing structure may seem too low to resist, once the initial round of funding expires the providers are forced to make a price hike (for example, one major provider raised their rates by 5x this spring).

24/7 Support
When clients are in a panic and need to restore data, it is essential they can call an experienced, technically-knowlegeable support person to help them through it. With a non-business backup service, support is extremely limited. It can be a major challenge not only to speak with a live person by phone — in a reasonable time frame, who is helpful and technically competent — or even access useful documentation online. It’s like booking a convention center with bargain rates for cramming 10,000 business tycoons into a room made for 100 — you may save a few bucks, but the results are bound to be disastrous.

The support staff at Remote Data Backups is readily available by phone, toll-free 24/7, with little or no hold time. Each of their technicians has been with the company for at least 3 years and came to them with over a decade of prior hands-on IT experience.

Bandwidth and Performance
Bandwidth is one major commodity backup companies need to account for. When you give unlimited space for a few bucks a month, you are forced to govern bandwidth.

Remote Data Backups provides redundant bandwidth using multiple telecom providers via world-class connections. That way they can provide nearly limitless up-and-downstream for unparalleled transfer speed and performance.

Successful, Timely Data Restores
When clients need to restore a lost file, they don’t have time to wait. A backup service is only as valuable as the reliability and timeliness of a restore.

While to the novice observer backups may seem like simple, straightforward file transfers, the complexity of restoring incremental file changes can cause problems with less-tested software. RDB can say definitively they have never lost a client’s backup data.

World-Class Data Centers and Security
Another area where low-rate backup services cut corners is the equipment and infrastructure used to store and manage your data. Outdated technologies, overloaded servers, lack of security, monitoring and redundancy can be major signs of concern.

Remote Data Backups uses the world’s most secure data centers, located in ultra-secure private limestone mines located 100-200 feet below ground and separate by 1,100 miles. All data received by either hardened Data Center is immediately replicated to its mirror – connected by point-to-point, high-speed WAN links. Data received by either Data Center is immediately replicated to the other, so an unlikely outage or disaster at one location will not affect your data availability or service performance.

Each facility uses high-performance HP Servers with fail over and redundancy, continuous server monitoring and performance tuning, assuring that storage capacity is never exceeded. We maintain best practices networking and best-of-breed routers, switches, firewalls, servers, facilities infrastructure, power grids and telecommunications circuits are all deployed with backup components to maximize fail over and redundancy.

Other physical security features include:
-Redundant power supply using backup generators with full power for up to 7 days
-Redundant completely independent electrical systems, power train, commercial power feeds, cooling system, UPS systems, dedicated A/C units, generator systems and fuel system
-Environment and climate controlled facilities, resistant to seismic activity and other natural disasters, with Class A vaults with OSHA certified fire suppression and EPA certified water treatment plants and clean air fire extinguishing systems (CAFES)
-Level 4 (highest) security rating, 24/7 armed security, maintenance & service operation
-Finger scanners for physical access, motion detectors, CCTV monitoring & camera tracking
-Failed account access attempts are logged and reviewed to prevent unauthorized access
-Privacy and Security of your Data

With such low rates, a lot companies provide cheap data storage for alterior motives – data mining. That’s right, it says right in their User Agreement that they are free to use your own “private” data for their own marketing purposes. If that doesn’t bother you, be sure to check the regulatory compliance laws that affect your industry. If you use a data backup company that mines your data, you won’t pass an audit and can face serious fines and penalties for compromising the privacy and security of your clients’ private data.

With Remote Data Backups, you set your own private encryption key, which they never have access to. Your data is encrypted before leaving your computer, in transit and stored at their data centers, using bank-level 128-bit AES encryption, so without the key it cannot be accessed.

Bottom Line:
How valuable is your clients’ data, and your reputation? Can you risk your clients’ data, and your reputation, on an unproven, cut-rate backup service just to save a few bucks?

Dugal is excited to announce, “All HP StoreEasy storage devices sold will have Remote Data Backup’s LiveVault hands-free-trial displayed as an option during setup. Links on the StoreEasy desktop and start-up menu will also point to www.remotedatabackups.com/livevault.”

There are a variety of external hard drives and flash drives available to backup your data, but they all have disadvantages, which I shared in an article earlier this summer: Disadvatages of External Hard Drive and Flash Drive Backups.

Listening in on Daniel and Deryck’s conversation promises to be much more than an education in backing up your important data.

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Are Computers Male or Female?

Are Computers Male or Female?This one hit my in-box a few weeks ago and I had never pondered whether computers were male or female? It’s an interesting lesson. I hope you enjoy the following piece of humor.

The original author is unknown.

A Spanish Teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

‘House’ for instance, is feminine: ‘la casa.’
‘Pencil,’ however, is masculine: ‘el lapiz.’

A student asked, ‘What gender is ‘computer’?’

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether computer’ should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men’s group decided that ‘computer’ should definitely be of the feminine gender (‘la computadora’), because:
1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;
3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

(THIS GETS BETTER!)

The women’s group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine (‘el computador’), because:
1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
2. They have a lot of data but still can’t think for themselves;
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have got a better model.

The women won.

Bonus Trick for your PC
This is fun trick to let you know the gender of your computer, whether it is male or female. This trick work on almost all windows operating systems.

1. Open Notepad and paste the following codes: CreateObject(“SAPI.SpVoice”).Speak”i love you”
2. Save the file as gender.vbs
3. Now, open the save file
4. If you hear male voice then your computer is male and if you hear female voice then its female.

Apparently, my computer is a female. What gender is your computer?

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Protect Yourself From Text Message Spam

Protect Yourself From Text Message SpamSpam text messages can be annoying, but did you know they are illegal? Some common scams use text message spam to lure you into revealing personal information in exchange for a “free gift” like a gift card or vacation package.

Text message spam is to your cell phone what email spam is to your personal computer. Both may try to get you to reveal personal information.

Text Message Spam is a Triple Threat
-It often uses the promise of free gifts, like computers or gift cards, or product offers, like cheap mortgages, credit cards, or debt relief services to get you to reveal personal information. If you want to claim your gift or pursue an offer, you may need to share personal information, like how much money you make, how much you owe, or your bank account information, credit card number, or Social Security number. Clicking on a link in the message can install malware that collects information from your phone. Once the spammer has your information, it is sold to marketers or, worse, identity thieves.
-It can lead to unwanted charges on your cell phone bill. Your wireless carrier may charge you simply for receiving a text message, regardless of whether you requested it.
-It can slow cell phone performance by taking up space on your phone’s memory.

Text Message Spam is Illegal
It’s illegal to send unsolicited commercial email messages to wireless devices, including cell phones and pagers, unless the sender gets your permission first. It’s also illegal to send unsolicited text messages from an auto-dialer — equipment that stores and dials phone numbers using a random or sequential number generator.

Can the Spam
-Register your number on the Do Not Call List.
-Report the text spam to your cell phone carrier by forwarding the message to 7726 (SPAM).
Report any unwanted commercial text messages to the FTC.
-Delete text messages that ask you to confirm or provide personal information: Legitimate companies don’t ask for information like your account numbers or passwords by email or text.
-Don’t reply, and don’t click on links provided in the message: Links can install malware on your computer and take you to spoof sites that look real but whose purpose is to steal your information.
-Treat your personal information like cash: Your Social Security number, credit card numbers, and bank and utility account numbers can be used to steal your money or open new accounts in your name. Don’t give them out in response to a text.
-If you are an AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint or Bell subscriber, you can report spam texts to your carrier by copying the original message and forwarding it to the number 7726 (SPAM), free of charge.
-Review your cell phone bill for unauthorized charges, and report them to your carrier.

Exceptions to the law:
-Transactional or relationship types of messages. If a company has a relationship with you, it can send you things like statements or warranty information.
-Non-commercial messages. This includes political surveys or fundraising messages.

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Disadvantages of External Hard Drive and Flash Drive Backups

Disadvantages of External Hard Drive and Flash Drive BackupsDeryck Burnett of Megabite in Fernandina Beach sent me the following list of disadvantages when relying on external hard drives and flash drives as backups for my computer.

A specialist in IT Management, I trust Deryck for the most current information when it comes technical infrastructure.

“Backing up your critical data to an external hard drive provides minimal protection against one type of data loss – hard drive failure.

• External hard drives are failure-prone
External drives are subject to the same data loss risks as internal drives – viruses, worms, corruption, etc, as well as vulnerable to environmental factors such as sunlight, heat, humidity, liquids, dust and magnetic fields.
• Portable drives are easily damaged
External hard drives and flash drives are portable, and therefore easily damaged. Flash drives are small, so they’re very susceptible to getting lost, going through the laundry or getting stepped on.
• External hard drives are vulnerable
Unless they’re taken offsite every night (which rarely happens on a regular basis), external hard drives and flash drives fail to protect against site-level disasters including fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning or earthquakes. Onsite media are also prone to theft and sabotage.
• Security is limited
Most hard drives aren’t encrypted or even password-protected. If your hard drive or flash drive is lost or stolen, your information is available to anyone who plugs the device into a computer.
• Unreliable file versioning
File versioning is difficult to set up on external media, and often requires frequent manual cleanup of old files. If you back up to an external hard drive once per day, you’re often left with a single backup to rely on instead of multiple file versions.
• No support in case of a disaster
When your data is gone, where will you turn for help? If you back up to an external drive, you’re on your own, or will be forced to hire professional IT support at an expensive hourly rate.”

“So, Deryck,” I asked, “what’s a girl to do?”

Deryck is a fan of not putting all of your eggs into one baskets, and suggests using a combination of methods. “Critical data should be backed up on external drives and the cloud.”

ALL data on your computer, that is important to you, should be backed up. All of those music downloads would cost a fortune to replace! Consider your important documents, family photographs, and videos. Things that would be expensive to re-create should be backed up too, like your business’s ad copy and marketing materials.

In the medical practice, patient information and images are required to be kept secure and private!

Remote Data Backups, Inc. is a HP Partner and operates as a Managed Service Provider (MSP), headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado, and they said, “The Federal government is now mandating that medical/healthcare related and financial organizations have secure offsite data backup plans in place to comply with HIPAA, HITECH and Sarbanes-Oxley requirements. Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software vendors also have the responsibility to ensure their cloud based backup solutions are 100% compliant.”

Whether you are backing up your personal computer information, or backing-up your business computers is now a federal mandate, give Deryck a call for more details and some great advice. His number is: (904) 430-0350.

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CNN Warns Customers to Change eBay Passwords

CNN Warns Customers to Change eBay PasswordsJose Pagliery wrote in CNNMoney Wednesday that hackers broke into eBay and stole user information, and they are now warning users to change their passwords. PayPal, an eBay subsidiary, is kept on a separate network.

When a hacker gets ahold of employee credentials, they have access to the customer database. Be on guard for upcoming fraudulent offers and fake details and don’t reveal your bank details or social security number to anyone.

This is a good time to revisit the importance of setting secure passwords that are easy for you to remember, yet difficult for hackers to decipher.

The following video Choosing a Password: 4 Easy Tips from Megabite offers great information in this 3 1/2 minute video:

For more information or for help with your computer, call Deryck at Megabite, (904) 430-0350.

For more information on this hack, visit eBay’s anouncement page at:
http://announcements.ebay.com/2014/05/ebay-inc-to-ask-ebay-users-to-change-passwords/.

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Megabite Provides IT Support to Art of Hope Gallery

Megabite Provides IT Support to Art of Hope Gallery
Fernandina Beach, FL – Anyone can call themselves an artist, but are they really? Individuals might dabble in painting, pottery, ceramics, or a myriad of other related disciplines that are an extension of gifted minds and hands. To some extent, they all use Information Technology (IT) in one fashion or another to either design, sell, or just track their pieces. Megabite Services volunteers their time and IT support services to one such gifted artist, Tony Ryals.

Tony is different, but he would tell you, “Never, ever give up your diff-ability.” You see, Tony is driven by a vision, a vision that he can see with his mind, can paint with his mouth, but can’t touch with hands or feet. The gifted artist of Jacksonville, Florida, has his own art gallery that he calls his Art of Hope Gallery where he has proven that individuals who are not perceived to be whole in the public eye, can rise above to a height of success that few others achieve.

As an art gallery, the use of information technology is very much a big part of Tony’s vision. and computers are very much a part of his active life. But with the dependence on computers came a need for someone that would be able to provide IT support and services to his budding gallery, as well as to his many other ventures that he has become involved with over the years.

With Megabite’s extensive knowledge and expertise in the areas of printing, graphic design and computer repair, and Tony’s ever-probing mind into new ways to display his art, the two joined forces, complementing each other’s strengths and gifts in a way that surpasses understanding.

According to Deryck Burnett, CEO of Megabite Services, “Tony has a unique perspective on life and business. Not unlike our own vision, you might be a small business but you can be mighty if you set your mind to it. Tony has proven that over and over again, and we’re delighted to offer him complimentary IT support and services to help him achieve his goals.”

About Megabite
Megabite Services provides computer services from a break-and-fix model to managed IT services. We service both Macs and PCs. Megabite can repair, integrate and manage both platforms, along with portable wireless devices like smart phones such as the iPhone and BlackBerry, and computer tablets such as the iPad. We service not only the IT needs of our customers, but also their multimedia needs – graphic arts and printing.

At Megabite, I.T. is made simple. Why not contact us today to receive a free consultation and learn how we can make your technology worry-free!

Call (904) 430-0650, or visit their website at: http://www.megabite.co/

To see Tony’s art visit: http://www.mouthartist.us/

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Heartbleed Bug Attacking Servers

Heartbleed Bug Attacking ServersThere is a new bug attacking our computer servers and this one is bad! Heartbleed is the name, and everyone with a Yahoo.com, OkCupid.com or Github.com accounts should change their passwords.

According to LastPass.com, “The Heartbleed bug causes a vulnerability in the OpenSSL cryptographic library, which is used by roughly two-thirds of all websites on the Internet…”

The current advice is to not log-in to afflicted sites until you are sure the problem has been fixed. Contact your server’s customer service team for more information. Or you can check your server’s vulnerability and assessment on LastPass.com. For example, I use Siteground for most of my hosting and found out that the SSL Certificate is now safe and my next step was to change my passwords as an extra precaution.

(TIP: It is good practice to change your passwords on a regular basis.)

Once you’ve changed your passwords and have confirmation that your servers have been fixed, you should reach out to businesses that have your personal information, like credit card account numbers, and make sure they are aware of this new bug.

Keep an eye on your financial statement and look for unknown charges on your bank statements.

For the latest information visit Cnet.com.

If you have trouble creating and remembering passwords, take a look at LastPass.com, “The Last Password You Have To Remember.”

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