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June 17th, 2014

businessintelligence_June16_AMany businesses pay between USD $100 thousand and $1 million for their business intelligence (BI) system. And yet a lot of corporate data isn’t accessed by BI users which raises the question: How important is BI to your business? The simple answer is that it is very important. From analytics to complex event processing and benchmarking, if used efficiently BI can play a major part in the success of your company. With that in mind, it is time you squeeze every last drop of value out of your BI platform to help push your business towards the finish line.

5 ways to improve business intelligence value

1. Pump customer data into your analysis Most companies are chasing after a 360 degree view of their customers, and while this seems like an elusive goal, it can be achieved. Take the first steps by integrating data from your CRM, accounting, and customer support systems into your BI dashboards and reports to allow analysis of customer growth, profitability, and lifetime value. Understanding these KPIs can help you spot trends as well as identify opportunities to cross-sell or upsell. 2. Set up alerts and delivery Your business intelligence can instantly improve its standing and value with alerts and report delivery. Notifications, in the form of email alerts, are useful for managers to keep an eye on business operations without having to log into the BI system. The added perk here is that managers can stay on top of KPIs and new updates even when they're on the move as reports and dashboards can be emailed to them according to a set schedule. 3. Reassess your dashboards If it’s been a while since your BI dashboards were first designed, try updating them with modern charts and stylish fonts. While this may seem unnecessary to some companies, attractive dashboards attract more users and you’ll likely see an uptick in adoption after a dashboard refresh. 4. Deploy existing content on mobile devices By increasing your BI content’s availability, you can quickly increase the number of users accessing it. A great way to do this is by deploying your dashboards and reports on mobile devices. This is especially useful for decision makers who travel frequently or need to be able to access KPIs from anywhere; after all it’s easier for them to pull out a phone or tablet rather than drag out a laptop. Your BI system likely includes some way to make your existing BI content mobile. Allowing users to access BI the way they want can be a great way to boost your BI value. 5. Make it predictive While BI has traditionally been used to present historic data for manual analysis, now more than ever it’s incorporating predictive analytics. By leveraging stored data from your BI system and applying predictive analytics, you can project future performance and make better business decisions based on more accurate forecasts.

Modern BI platforms come with many options, from multi-data source connectivity to mobile BI. It is up to you to leverage the full breadth of your BI software’s capabilities to ensure that you’re getting all the value it can deliver. Looking to learn more about business intelligence and its functions? Get in touch.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
June 17th, 2014

exercisegeneral_June13_AWhether you're just starting out on a new fitness path, are well and truly set on an exercise regime or are on the final push towards achieving your goals, you need motivation to see you through. With the best will in the world, it is a motivating power that will inspire you to succeed and keep on going when the going gets a little tough. However, when you feel you are flagging or losing momentum it's time to give your motivation another boost!

Last month we looked at how you can keep on track by keeping the flames of your fitness ambitions burning. Tips included, making exercise a habit to stay motivated; questioning your real workout motives so they fit with what you want; allowing for some flexibility for your routine to fit in with changes in your life; being honest about what is upsetting your regime; and strategies for keeping going when the novelty of training wears off.

This month we have more motivation tips for you so that you can not only reach your goals but do so in an enjoyable and enthusiastic way. Here's how:

Surround yourself with motivated people

You only have to be around someone with a no-can-do or defeated attitude for a short time to feel their negative energy. Of course, there's nothing wrong with being supportive when someone is struggling and at times you will no doubt value the positive words and actions of others. However, there's something to be said for being around positive, can-do fitness folk too, who can make you feel full of energy for a tough training session ahead.

Believe in yourself and your goals

Don't just talk the talk but actually feel it too. You can set as many goals and fitness strategies as you like but if you don't truly believe you can achieve what you are setting out to reach then the chances of success are limited. While it's important to set attainable targets, motivation comes from the unwavering attitude that you can and will get where you want to go.

Recognise motivation-sapping triggers

Whether it is people, situations, your diet or your actions, there are many factors which can drain away your motivation. This might be because of fatigue, stress or distraction. While you might not be able to compartmentalize so that when you are focused on your fitness that is all you are thinking about, it is worthwhile understanding what knocks your motivation so that you can eliminate or at least minimize the impact.

Focus on your lifestyle

You don't just exercise and then get on with the rest of your life. Fitness is a way of life and in many respects you can help keep motivated by creating a solid integration with your exercise patterns and your lifestyle patterns. They are intrinsically linked, so look at your diet and how you spend your time and ask yourself how this affects how, when and why you exercise.

Make your motivation personal

When you feel motivated you may feel committed, determined, and enthusiastic, as well as energized and ambitious. Many people see exercise as an activity that they have to do, that's almost a chore. By taking a more personalized approach your motivation will flow more easily. Look at what your training can achieve and what those results will really mean to you on an everyday basis.

We can help you move your motivation levels onwards and upwards!

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Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.
June 13th, 2014

security_June13_ANo matter what industry you operate in, today’s technological advancements make it inevitable that network security threats will sooner or later come knocking on your door. While it is true that corporate security measures can consume a lot of time and a huge chunk of change, the rapid growth of malicious Internet activity makes it extremely vital for your business to become familiar with and to follow the right security guidelines.

10 Security practice guidelines for businesses

  1. Encrypt your data: Encryption of stored data, filesystems, and across-the-wire transfers is essential to protect sensitive data as well as to help prevent data loss due to equipment loss or theft.
  2. Use digital certificates to sign all of your sites: You should obtain your certificates from a trusted Certificate Authority, and instead of saving your certificates on the Web server, save them to hardware devices like routers or load balancers.
  3. Implement a removable media policy: Devices like USB drives, external hard disks, external DVD writers or any writeable media facilitate security breaches coming into or leaving your network. Restricting the use of those devices is an effective way to minimize security threats.
  4. Implement DLP and auditing: Be sure to use data loss prevention and file auditing to monitor, alert, identify, and block the flow of data into and out of your network.
  5. Use a spam filter on your email servers: Using a time-tested spam filter such as SpamAssassin will remove unwanted email from entering your inbox and junk folders. It is important that you identify junk mail even if it’s from a trusted source.
  6. Secure websites against MITM and malware infections: Start using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) which creates a secure connection between a user and server, over which any amount of data can be sent securely. Through SSL, you’ll be able to scan your website daily for malware, set the Secure flag for all session cookies, as well as use SSL certificates with Extended Validation.
  7. Use a comprehensive endpoint security solution: Using an antivirus software alone is not enough to provide defense against today’s security threats. Go for a multi-layered product to prevent malware infections on your devices.
  8. Network-based security hardware and software: Start using firewalls, gateway antivirus, intrusion detection devices, and monitoring to screen for DoS attacks, virus signatures, unauthorized intrusion, and other over-the-network attacks.
  9. Maintain security patches: Make sure that your software and hardware defenses stay up-to-date with new anti-malware signatures and the latest patches. If your antivirus program doesn’t update on a daily basis, be sure to set up a regular scan and a remediation plan for your systems.
  10. Educate your employees: As simple as it sounds, this might be the most important non-hardware, non-software solution available. An informed user will more likely behave more responsibly and take fewer risks with valuable company data resulting in fewer threats to your organization.
Businesses cannot afford to take chances with security. Why? Because doing so can trigger a domino effect, causing a cascade of problems that can lead to operational outages, data loss, security breaches, and the subsequent negative impact to your company's bottom line. Looking to learn more about security for your business? Call us today for a chat.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Security
June 13th, 2014

exercisegeneral_June6_AAccording to recent research, motivation really is all in the mind, or in the memory that is! If you are lacking that get-up-and-go in exercise sessions then you could try recalling a past workout to give you a boost and get you moving. Of course, you need to keep future goals in mind but it seems you might be able to use your past to make a difference to the here and now. Is memory motivating you to keep fit? If not, find out how it can.

Why we sometimes lack motivation

If you're bubbling over with enthusiasm and firmly set on a road to a healthier you, then your motivation levels are probably flying high. However, at times in our lives motivation can dip. Let's face it, most people get busy and distracted by that time-consuming pursuit called living. However, rather than feel bad that you're not pumped up enough to follow through with your good intentions, let your past dictate your future.

The study

A recent New Hampshire University study looked at 150 students and asked some members of this group to remember a good or bad exercise memory - the other group were not asked to recall any memories so they could act as the control group. The research was focused on whether these recollections could influence the amount the students exercised over a week-long period.

The results

Those students who focused their attention on a happy, or good memory about an exercise experience in the past reported significantly higher levels of working out than the control group. Even those students who recalled less positive memories were reported to be working out more than those without any thoughts of exercise experiences.

"These results provide the first experimental evidence that autobiographical memory activation can be an effective tool in motivating individuals to adopt healthier lifestyles," wrote the researchers who were essentially looking at the power of the memory to influence certain kinds of actions, in this case exercise behavior.

Do it yourself!

While you might not feel comfortable remembering any not-so-great exercise experiences of your past, the idea that you can use your thoughts and memories to motivate yourself into action is definitely positive. Once you're done this you can also start turning around these negative memories and start to create new, more positive ones. Try it for yourself.

To really boost motivation remember a time when you really felt fantastic after working out. It might be that session when you broke a personal best, or you achieved a feat you hadn't thought possible. You could even focus on activities, such as leisure pursuits that involve exercise. Even if you have a way to go and feel that you want to leave a less healthy past behind, use your own inner resources to achieve your aims, including your mind.

The important factor is perhaps to remember yourself being active, even if you were not performing at your best or were not reaching your goals. It could be that such memories can somehow have a practical impact on what you do today simply because you are making that connection between yourself and the idea of exercise.

Meanwhile, create happy and positive exercise experiences for now and the future by getting in touch and getting involved.

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Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.
June 10th, 2014

hardware_June10_AIt’s undeniable that Macs and PCs have been locked in a battle for many years. PCs were once the go-to computer, mainly due to users wanting to use Windows and the fact that many essential programs only worked on Windows. But over the past fews years, an increasing number of programs have also been released for Mac. Because of this, many people are starting to wonder what exactly the difference is between the two systems.

Design

Apple prides itself on its iconic design while PC design depends on which company is making them. Even with the first Macintosh, introduced in 1984, the Central Processing Unit (CPU) and monitor were housed in one single unit thus reducing the number of cables necessary and creating a sleeker look. This design forward view has carried throughout the company's history and modern Macs are sleek, light, and designed to look cool.

PCs on the other hand, don’t come from one single manufacturer like Mac so there are countless designs available on the market. If you don’t like the design from one manufacturer you can simply look to others. With Mac, if you’re not keen on their design, you’re out of luck.

Specifications

While both Mac and PC have similar internal parts like RAM, hard drives, and graphics cards, their speed and capacity varies. Macs generally outperform PCs because of better hardware optimization, but tend to skimp slightly when it comes to RAM, hard disk space, and USB ports. PCs offer a wider range of customization, and you can add almost any parts you want.

Connections and optical drives found on Macs and PCs are different too. Mac offers standard selection of features including a Superdrive, audio in and audio out, USB, FireWire, Thunderbolt, and Ethernet. PCs on the other hand offer comparable features but with added bonuses like Blu-Ray players, TV tuners, touch screens, and HDMI ports.

The main difference here is that with Macs you have generally limited customization options, while PCs usually allow for a much wider range whilst supporting different kinds of hardware.

Operating System

Most PCs today come preinstalled with Windows 8.1 while Mac runs OS X Mavericks with users having the option to upgrade to the new OS X - Yosemite - this fall. OS X is generally thought to be more user-friendly, while Windows PCs generally see a more comfortable user base and a higher number of programs that work with the OS.

However, with the increasing adoption of virtual desktops and cloud systems, the idea of a separate OS being better is quickly falling to the wayside. This is especially true if you use a virtualized desktop solution where you connect to a server which delivers your desktop.

Software

One of the biggest reasons as to why Mac hasn’t captured a larger share of the market is due to the lack of software for its OS. This is most obvious in business computing where many applications are standardized for Windows but are not available on Mac. That being said, the major programs businesses use on a daily basis are all available for Mac too, so it's more the customized software you will need to look into.

User interface (UI)

While many computer users will proclaim one or the other superior when it comes to user interface, or UI, this is ultimately a matter of personal preference. Highlights of the UI in Mac include Launchpad which is a screen full of app icons for easy access, hot corners that can be customized for various types of views, a dock featuring your favorite apps, full screen mode for apps, and spaces that create as many desktops as you like to help minimize clutter.

With PCs UI, highlights include a touch-friendly interface which contains live tiles or rectangular boxes on the screen that represent an app and which is refreshed with the latest app content. Above all, Windows has the familiar desktop which almost every computer user is comfortable with using, and may even prefer.

There are more components that set Mac and PC apart. Find out more next month where we will dig into security, selections and customer satisfaction between the two.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Hardware
June 9th, 2014

Over the past several weeks, a handful of frantic Microsoft Windows users have written in to ask what they might do to recover from PC infections from “CryptoLocker,” the generic name for an increasingly prevalent and nasty strain of malicious software that encrypts your files until you pay a ransom. Unfortunately, the answer for these folks is usually either to pay up or suck it up. This post offers a few pointers to help readers avoid becoming the next victim.

PRAXIS NETCARE CLIENTS – As part of our ongoing proactive security services, our team has already “pushed-out” an update to minimize your exposure to this threat!! However, please read this article to better understand this dangerous threat and what YOU can do to further protect your systems, business and data!

According to reports from security firms, CryptoLocker is most often spread through booby-trapped email attachments, but the malware also can be deployed by hacked and malicious Web sites by exploiting outdated browser plugins.

The trouble with CryptoLocker is not so much in removing the malware — that process appears to be surprisingly trivial in most cases. The real bummer is that all of your important files — pictures, documents, movies, MP3s — will remain scrambled with virtually unbreakable encryption unless and until you pay the ransom demand, which can range from $100 to $300 (and payable only inBitcoins).

File-encrypting malware is hardly new. This sort of diabolical threat has been around in various incarnations for years, but it seems to have intensified in recent months. For years, security experts have emphasized the importance of backing up one’s files as a hedge against disaster in the wake of a malware infestation. Unfortunately, if your backup drives are connected physically or via the local network to the PC that gets infected with CryptoLocker, your backups may also be encrypted as well.

Computers infected with CryptoLocker may initially show no outward signs of infection; this is because it often takes many hours for the malware to encrypt all of the files on the victim’s PC and attached or networked drives. When that process is complete, however, the malware will display a pop-up message similar to the one pictured above, complete with a countdown timer that gives victims a short window of time in which to decide whether to pay the ransom or lose access to the files forever.

Fortunately, there are a couple of simple and free tools that system administrators and regular home users can use to minimize the threat from CryptoLocker malware. A team of coders and administrators from enterprise consulting firm thirdtier.net have released the CryptoLocker Prevention Kit – a comprehensive set of group policies that can be used to block CryptoLocker infections across a domain. The set of instructions that accompanies this free toolkit is comprehensive and well documented, and the group policies appear to be quite effective.

Individual Windows users should check out CryptoPrevent, a tiny utility from John Nicholas Shaw, CEO and developer of Foolish IT, a computer consultancy based in Outer Banks, N.C. Shaw said he created the tool to mimic the actions of the CryptoLocker Prevention Kit, but for home users. So far, he said, the CryptoPrevent installer and its portable version have seen tens of thousands of downloads.

crypto

CryptoPrevent user interface

Some antivirus tools have occasionally detected his kit as malicious or suspicious, and that McAfee SiteAdvisor currently lists his domain as potentially dangerous without explaining why (I know how he feels: KrebsOnSecurity.com was at one time flagged as potentially dangerous by this service). In addition, some folks have been thrown by the apparent expletive in his company’s domain name — foolishit.net.

CryptoLocker might be the best advertisement yet for cloud data backup and storage systems. Praxis recommends that our clients consider options to move more of their data to cloud services offered by Google and others. We have seen clients get hit with CryptoLocker within the past few weeks — losing access to not only the files on the local machine but also the network file server.

“This thing hit like pretty much all the file extensions that are usable, from Mp3s to [Microsoft] Word docs. “About the only thing it didn’t touch were system files and .exe’s, encrypting most everything else with 2048-bit RSA keys that would take like a quadrillion years to decrypt. Once the infection happens, it can even [spread] from someone on a home PC [using a VPN] to access their work network, and for me that’s the most scary part.

As with most commons methods of preventing infection, educating your users NOT or open unfamiliar or suspicious emails, click on embedded links or attachments is the best way to minimize risks for businesses!

Topic Articles
June 9th, 2014

businesscontinuity_June9_ARegardless of your location, the months of June, July, and August are usually prime for natural disasters. From Spring runoff in the mountains in the US in June to hurricane and typhoon seasons in the West and Asia, your business could be faced with a challenge. The best thing you can do to see your business through a disaster is to be prepare and one great way is through the use of apps.

Both Android and Apple mobile devices offer a wide variety of apps that users rely on daily. Because of this, these devices have become an integral part of our lives and would no doubt be on hand if disaster struck. The upside to this is that there are apps that can help you and your employees whatever the disaster. Here are four of the best types of disaster related apps you and your colleagues should download in order to prepare.

Weather apps

It is always a good idea to know what the weather forecast is for your local area. This can help you predict what could happen and even prepare your business should say a big storm be rolling in. There are a wide variety of weather apps out there and it can be difficult to actually pick which is the best to use. We recommend:
  1. The NOAA Weather Radio - Available on iTunes for iPhone and iPad users, this app is the official app for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. When installed, you can receive local weather forecasts based on your location and storm or severe weather warnings pushed directly to your device. The app can be found on iTunes and costs USD$3.99
  2. Weather Underground - This app is among the most powerful weather apps out there. Using a wide variety of weather stations and user submitted weather it is up to date and able to offer accurate forecasts. With a Weather Radio feature, and push notifications of weather alerts, you can easily track potential storms. There is also the WunderMap which has radar, reports and IR Sat views as well. The app is available for free on Google Play and iTunes, and is rumored to be coming soon for Windows Phone.
  3. Local weather apps - Many TV stations and weather organizations have localized weather apps that focus on just local conditions. If you live in a disaster prone area, it would be a good idea to see if your local TV station has a weather app, as this could be the quickest way to receive updates.

American Red Cross apps

The Red Cross has a number of excellent survival oriented apps that could really come in handy for when a disaster strikes. These apps provide tips on how to prepare yourself and your family, as well as buildings for disaster, and what to do during and after a disaster strikes.

The best part is that most of the information is available offline, so you will have access to it even if cell networks are down. Some of the apps even provide weather alerts that will sound even if the app isn't open, alerting you about any impending danger.

These apps are all available for free on Google Play and iTunes. The best thing to do is to visit the Red Cross website and look for the apps that are relevant to your local area e.g., if you are in the mountains the Forest Fire and First Aid apps may help. The apps are all free and can be downloaded by clicking the links for your device's app store on the Red Cross site.

Social media apps

Social media services could prove to be a good way to connect and communicate during a disaster. Try setting up a group for your employees to communicate and encourage them to use it when a disaster strikes to share information and enact plans. One of the biggest added advantages to using social networks is that the servers that host the service are located around the world, so the chances of the service being down is fairly slim. If you have Internet access, you will be able to access the service.

It would be a good idea to define which social network you want to use and establish your pages and connections ahead of time. Have each employee sign up for and join the group you have created and also download the app onto their mobile devices.

Google Public Alerts

Google Public Alerts is the company's alert platform that allows for the distribution of emergency messages and notices like evacuation notices, public alerts, and storm warnings. For users in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Colombia, Japan, Taiwan, and Indonesia alerts will appear in Google Searches, Maps and if you are an Android or iOS user, from Google Now.

Mobile users who have Google Now installed should see relevant alerts pop up when something happens. While you won't see alerts for absolutely everything, Google does a pretty good job at broadcasting useful information. On mobile devices, these alerts will usually pop up in your Notifications Center where they are easy to see.

To get these notifications on your Android device, you will need to download the Google Search app and activate it on your device. You can find it for free on the Google Play Store, and on iTunes. Android users can also download the Google Now Launcher which will add Google Now to your device's home screen, and can be accessed by swiping to the right from your Home Screen.

Tips for using your mobile during an emergency

Here are six tips to help you leverage your mobile device during a disaster.
  1. Install relevant apps - In order to be prepared, you should install the apps necessary to communicate during a disaster, along with a weather app and if necessary a survival app.
  2. Ensure your contacts are up to date - To be sure, you should periodically update your contacts. Should anything happen you will know how to contact people and have a higher chance of being able to get in touch.
  3. Ensure your employees have devices that work - Even if you don't allow mobile devices in the office, or employees to use their own devices, it would be a great idea to ensure that your employees have devices that are in working order so should they need to contact you, or vice versa, you will have a better chance of being able to.
  4. Establish procedures to follow during a disaster - This is arguably the most important preparation you can do. Take the time to establish procedures you and your employees should follow during an emergency. Include where people should meet, backup plans, contact suggestions and the roles you expect your employees to take.
  5. Keep your batteries topped up - Mobile devices rely on batteries to operate, and during a disaster you may be without a power source for an extended amount of time. Therefore, Minimize use during a disaster. Ensure your batteries are full, or charges as often and has high as possible.
  6. Invest in a good power bank - Power banks are useful tools that are essentially big batteries. You can charge them up then use them to charge your devices. Take a look for one that is at least 9000 MHZ, or higher. The higher the number the bigger the charge.
If you are looking to learn more about using mobile devices during a disaster, or how your company can prepare, contact us today. Learn about our services and how we can help.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
June 6th, 2014

exercisegeneral_June2_AIf you are suffering with a chronic condition but still want to keep fit and feel better or are coming out the other side of an illness, then you may not necessarily feel like hitting a workout. However, with the right approach, including medical advice, you may find that exercise can be a valuable tool in your rehabilitation. With the right training program you can exercise to energize for recovery!

How you exercise and the impact it has on your physical state depends on the individual illness you have been dealing with, and possibly still are. While you might think working out is only for those who feel at their physical best, the fact is that keeping active is necessary for health and well-being.

How exercise can help you recover after illness

When you exercise you are using energy but at the same time you are telling your body that you need energy. As a result, your body responds by energizing. In turn this can help combat fatigue. Getting over tiredness and moving out of a post-illness slump can help speed up the recovery process.

Exercise can also help control ongoing symptoms of certain illnesses such as diabetes by giving the body a healthy boost to keep ailments in check. Alongside this, stretching and moving the body can help ease pain that results from inactivity and illness with feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters.

An important aspect of recovery that can't be overlooked is also the psychological benefits of keeping active. Exercise not only supplements your energy levels but gives your motivation to get better a good boost too. Being able to get back to certain activities can have a positive psychological impact.

How to ease yourself back into exercise

Once you have the go-ahead from medical professionals to exercise, it's simply a case of getting back into an active life. To do this you need to have the right practical approach.
  • Plan new goals and a new strategy: Get a plan in place to get back to health by setting new targets and finding safe and effective ways to achieve your new aims.
  • Take small steps not giant leaps: It's easy during any recovery to try and make up lost time and push yourself to get back to where you think you should be. However, burnout or overdoing it might hinder rather than help your recovery.
  • Listen to your body: As well as sticking to medical advice make a connection with yourself and don't ignore physical signs that warn if you're not exercising in the right way. Make a conscious effort to become aware of how you are responding to activity and how you ultimately feel.
  • Use common sense: You'll get ahead more easily and promote recovery more effectively if you apply some logic and be sensible. You have nothing to prove so be kind and nurture a more compassionate road to recovery.
  • Don't expect to start where you left off: Some illnesses can stop you in your tracks, while others can knock you off your feet. It's natural that you are going to find yourself in a different position, performance-wise and fitness-wise, so try to go with this new situation rather than fight it with your body and your mind.
  • Don't put pressure on yourself: Recovery can be speedy and sometimes it can take time, perhaps longer than you imagined. Adding stress through trying too hard or pushing yourself beyond what you should be is not going to do you any favors in the short- or the long-term.
  • Take out the intensity: Think of your exercise recovery plan as a progression where you build up your strength and your activity levels. With this in mind, try exercises which are not overly intense or high-impact. You can methodically up the speed, reps and intensity as time goes on and your physical state improves.
Next month we'll look at how exercise can not only help recovery but can also play a role in preventing illness too.

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Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.
June 4th, 2014

Windows_June02_AOne of the first things you should do if your Windows desktop is running slow is to clean up the hard drive, and free up some disk space. One of the best ways to do this is through the Disk Cleanup tool which was created and designed as a convenient way to weed out old files that are no longer needed. These long forgotten files may be hindering your hard disk from performing at its peak. Disk Cleanup also has the innovative capability of determining which files can be removed safely from your hard disk.

How to operate the Disk Cleanup tool

Disk Cleanup can easily be accessed through the start menu or by searching Disk Cleanup. Once it has been opened, this tool will automatically select Drive C, although you can switch to other drives, and will show a list of file locations containing files that can be removed. Adjacent to each file location is data about the size it is taking up from your hard disk.

Each file location has a corresponding checkbox that needs to be selected in order to delete the unnecessary files it contains. Upon highlighting or selecting certain files, the description of the files will appear at the bottom of the window so that you know exactly which files you are removing.

When Disk Cleanup completes you need to restart your system to remove the unnecessary Windows Update files. Remember, the Disk Cleanup tool only removes those files that it thinks are no longer needed, hence usually very few are deleted.

The benefits of Disk Cleanup

  • Saves time and increases your efficiency - The traditional way of opening folders to find old files to delete may suffice for some, but not for those who prioritize productivity. Although files can be deleted manually, you may not know how, and the Disk Cleanup is faster too.
  • Makes your computer more reliable - Some programs are automatically downloaded through the Internet and are often virus-infected, therefore infecting other files as well. The Disk Cleanup tool can clean unwanted programs and virus-infected files which are decreasing your computer's reliability.
  • Maximizes your drive’s memory - The ultimate advantage of cleaning up your disk is the maximization of your computer’s storage space, increased speed, and improvement of functionality. Upon clearing the disk drive, the computer can perform at greater speed enabling you to use your device to run at peak performance levels.
The Disk Cleanup tool is as handy to launch and operate as any basic program, so there is no hassle of installing new software and tools to clean your computer. Not only does this allow you to use your disk space for necessary files but also improves your productivity. If you are looking to improve the speed of your systems, contact us today to learn more about our services and how they can help.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
June 3rd, 2014

SocialMedia_June02_AAs social media becomes increasingly integrated with day-to-day business operations, we are seeing more businesses turn to these platforms for marketing purposes. If approached in the right way you could see some great returns from social media marketing campaigns. While there are many elements you can integrate in each potential plan, social PPC (Pay-per-Click) is really starting to take off. But, what exactly is this?

Define social PPC

Businesses who advertise through social media have a number of ways they can get their ads and content seen on this platform. The most popular is based on one of the Internet's oldest marketing schemes: Pay-per-Click, or PPC.

In a broad sense, PPC is the act of paying an advertiser or website to place ads at strategic locations. Placing these ads is usually free, or comes with a nominal fee, but when a user clicks on the ad and goes to the destination site, the owner of the ad pays the advertiser or site a small fee.

In relation to social media, social PPC is simply ads which are placed on the social networks. For example, you can pay Facebook to place an ad on the right-hand bar of certain user's News Feeds. If they click on the ad, Facebook will then charge you a set amount for that click.

Where social PPC differs from other types of PPC, more specifically search PPC - paying search engines to display your ads - is that it is more display oriented. With search PPC, you pay the engine to show your ad when specific search keywords are entered. With social PPC, you pay the site to display your ad regardless of what the user is looking at.

3 Common misconceptions about social PPC

While this process is becoming more popular with businesses, especially those who have integrated social media into their marketing plans, there are some common misconceptions that seem to be floating around.

1. Starting small is the way to go

As with most strategies in business, when starting something new you often want to test the waters before jumping in full scale. Many companies who are trying social PPC for the first time will often start with one or two campaigns running at the same time. While this may work for small businesses with an unproven profile, those with an established profile and marketing strategy may want to try running 3-5 campaigns at the same time.

The reason for this strategy is that it can help spread out the overall views, along with enhancing the quality of information and results. For example, you can easily compare and establish what is working when you have more than two alternatives to compare.

2. You need to be active on the services you target

Despite what some people in charge of marketing believe, you don't need to be active on a social network in order to be able to use social PPC features. Many networks, like Twitter, simply require that you have an account in order to be able to use the ad features.

If you do want to use the ad features of different social networks, you should be sure to at least have a fully completed profile. This includes address, name, location, and business info. Of course, if you want to enhance the success of your initiative, an active profile will help but it is not necessary.

The best example of this is if you want to use the promoted post feature in Facebook. You will need to have content in order to actually use this feature successfully and the more content and followers you have, the higher the chances of what you promote being seen.

3. You MUST be using Facebook Ads

Facebook is the most popular social media platform, and many businesses already have a Facebook Page. But many feel that in order to maximize the potential of their Page, they need to be advertising using Facebook Ads.

Sure, it can help to use this service, but it isn't the only one out there. You do have other options, including different platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. To really get the most out of a social PPC campaign you should try different platforms anyway. For example, if you want to target other business customers try using LinkedIn, which is where this target group may be more likely to be found than through Facebook.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Social Media