Technology Advisor Blog

Thank You! Spring Client Survey and Sock Drive

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 6/22/11 3:44 PM

Ekaru BHCHP SockDriveThanks to all our clients who returned survey cards this Spring. In a tradition we started last year, we're donating socks to Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program (www.bhchp.org) for all the cards we received.  This year, we'll be sending 112 pairs of socks. 

Why socks?  Access to shoes and socks is often limited for the homeless men and women living in shelters and on the streets. Rain-soaked feet, ill-fitting shoes, constant standing and diseases like diabetes take their toll on the feet of homeless people. Every day, BHCHP's nurses and physicians treat a huge range of foot ailments - from trench foot to skin infections, from frostbite to nail diseases.  The best way to prevent such conditions is to keep feet clean and dry – very difficult if you spend your days outside. Clean, white socks are a staple of homeless health care and make a real difference in the lives of our patients and the quality of care that we can provide.  (From www.bhchp.org).

Thanks to our clients who took the time to complete the survey cards and provide feedback.  It's important for us to hear what's important to you.  We love to hear from you when things are going well, and we need to hear from you when we can improve.  For more about what our clients have to say about Ekaru, visit our web site: http://www.ekaru.com/clients/.

P.S. If you're a Red Sox fan, there will be drive at the July 9 and July 10 games at Fenway vs the Orioles:  http://www.bhchp.org.

Tags: Customer service, customer survey

Stay Safe on a Public Wi-Fi Network

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 6/10/11 11:16 AM

Wireless Access in Coffee Shop 200Free public Wi-Fi networks are popping up everywhere - at the airport, Starbucks, your local music school...  These networks are a big convenience, but you should be aware of your security settings so you don't put your computer and data at risk.  When you connect to a network, there may be a firewall protecting you from the outside world and everyone else on the Internet, but when you connect to a local network, you're basically putting your trust in that network and everyone else on it - not a good idea in public!  In addition to file sharing, many of these wireless hot spots are unencrypted to make it easy for people to connect, but this could leave you vulnerable to malicious users in the coffee shop who could monitor your keystrokes!

Windows 7 has a great feature that lets you select the type of network you're on (Home, Work, Public), and will impose the proper security settings for you.  When first connect to a network, your system will ask you what type of network it is.  If you're in a place where you don't recognize the other computers, you should specify "Public Network" for your network location.  This will automatically set the appropriate security settings.

To see what your current settings are and to change them, go to Control Panel, Network & Sharing Center.  For a Public Network, the icon is a Park Bench.  To see the individual settings, click on "Change Advanced Sharing Settings".

1)  Turn off Network Discovery - When Network Discovery is ON, your computer can see other computers and devices on the network and they can see you. 

2) Turn off File and Printer Sharing - When File and Printer Sharing is ON, files and printers you have shared on this computer can be access by other people on the network. 

3) Turn off Public Folder Sharing - When public Folder Sharing is ON, people on the network can access Public Folders.

4) Turn on Password Protected Sharing - if you are going to share files and folders, make sure Password Protected Sharing is ON so that only users with a user name and password for your system could access the files.

5) Additionally, Turn ON Windows Firewall.  Go to Control Panel, Windows Firewall and check that its ON.  The firewall helps prevent other systems on the network (all the people you don't know in the coffee shop) from potentially spreading malicious software or accessing your system.

When accessing web sites, look for SSL encryption to make sure your transmissions are protected.  Look for "HTTPS" in the web address. 

Unless you completely trust the owner of the network, and trust that they have secured their network equipment, keep in mind that entering personal information like banking accounts and credit card information can be compromised.  WEP and WPA encryption can be hacked, so you're not completely safe.

Finally, if you don't need to use the Internet the whole time your their, just shut off your laptop wireless.  Your system may have a physical switch, or you can simply hit the "Windows Key" + "X" to get a bunch of on/off switches.

Security is never 100%, but remembering to take proper precautions will greatly reduce your risk.  Consider what information is most important to you, and safeguard it in public.  I just asked my colleague if he would purchase something on-line with a credit card while on a Starbucks Wi-Fi, and his answer was "No Way!".  Take basic, proper precautions, and then use your judgment.

Tags: Encryption, Security, Wi-Fi, Wireless

Exchanging Files Between Older Versions of Microsoft Office and Office 2007 and Office 2010

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 6/2/11 4:10 PM

One of the questions we hear a lot is:  "Can I get the new version of Office if the rest of the people in my business use an older version?  How will I be able to share files?"

Yes!  Go ahead and get the latest version!  The good news is that the newest version of Office can always open files created in older versions (backwards compatible).  When you create a new file in Office 2007 or Office 2010, you have the option of saving it in an older version, or users of the older version can download a free Compatibility Pack from Microsoft for Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.  Usually, the first time they try to open an Office 2007 or Office 2010 file, they'll be automatically prompted to download the Compatibility Pack.

Save an Office 2010 file as an older versionHere's how to save the file as an older version.  Select "File" / "Save As" / and from the "Save as Type" pull-down, select "Word 97-2003 Document". 

If you're sending a file to a client, and you know they have an older version of Office, this may be the more graceful way to handle things so they don't need to use the Compatibility Pack, but that's pretty easy too.

The new file format was introduced to reduce file size, improve security and reliability, and enhance integration with external sources.  Keep in mind that when a file is saved as an older version, or opened in an older version of Office, some of the latest features won't available, but the users should in general have no trouble sharing files.

Tags: Microsoft Office 2010, 2003, 2007, File format, sharing files

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