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Directive Blogs

Directive has been serving the Oneonta area since 1993, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Communications Are a Big Part of New Productivity Software

When people find new reasons to collaborate, it typically results in something positive. There is some new software that is now making collaboration easier, while still providing people the tools they need to stay productive. These collaboration tools are changing the face of business. Today, we take a look at them and how your organization can use these new collaboration tools to move business ahead faster.

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Are Higher Gas Prices Costing Your Business?

The price of fuel per gallon is one of the many ways individuals are affected by the constantly shifting industry costs, and for those who commute to the office, it can become a considerable expense. For distributors, the changes in gas prices can be the difference between sitting on a gold mine or losing valuable resources. For the small distributor, changes in gas prices can make all the difference in determining how much it costs to truck goods across the area. How can smaller businesses take advantage of IT solutions to keep costs down while gas prices increase?

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Understanding the Importance of .Net Framework

If you’re a habitual user of the Microsoft Windows operating system, there’s a relatively good chance that you’ve been prompted to install something called “.NET framework.” Pronounced “dot-net,” this framework is most commonly used for Windows. In this blog, we’ll go over what a software framework is and is for, as well as examine what makes .NET stand out.

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Getting to Know Technology: Plug-In

The Internet is an amazing tool in and of itself, but like many tools, it can sometimes work better if other tools are used alongside it. These additional tools are called plug-ins. Here, we’ll discuss what a plug-in is, and how they all help us use the Internet a little better.

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Which Management Software Is Right for Your Business?

On the surface, you might think that customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) are the same exact thing. However, they both have very specific niches for a business--particularly when it comes to managing organizational assets and interactions with consumers. Here are some of the specific situations in which you’ll find these solutions helpful.

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Managing Your Software Requires Three Actions

It’s imperative that your organization’s software is managed properly. If you can’t do this, then your operations can suffer in the long run. While this might sound like a lot of work, software management isn’t as difficult as it sounds if you break it down into compartmentalized tasks. Ultimately, you can group it into three major steps: leveraging available assets, testing strategies, and understanding the software.

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Three Keys to Proper Software Management

Nowadays, every company relies on some kind of software in order to properly function, so you need to ensure that this software is properly managed in order to maintain operations. While this may sound like a grand undertaking, software management is relatively simple and can be whittled down into three steps: leveraging the assets available, testing your strategies, and understanding what it is you have.

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Why You’ll Likely See More and More Chatbots

Chatbots have been around for quite some time, and artificial intelligence is shaping the way that they are utilized for the modern business. Virtual assistants have risen in popularity, and they are featured on most smartphones out there. How can these “bots” help your organization?

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3 Types of Software and How Businesses Use Them

For the modern business owner or executive, making smart business decisions has become a necessity. Margins are small, efficiency is key, and if we were to be completely honest, business is a day-in and day-out grind. In the course of doing business much is made of cost reduction and curtailing inefficiencies that lead to wasted capital. Much is made of collaborative systems that allow for remote access. Much is made of protocol, process, and performance. With so many moving parts in every business, there has to be the “glue” that allows for cohesive actions to be taken. That “glue” is software.

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Tip of the Week: Google Drive is Better with these Chrome Extensions

Google Drive provides its users with a considerable amount of utility. However, when combined with extensions made for Google’s Chrome browser, users have the tools to make their use of Drive’s capabilities even more efficient. For this week’s tip, we’ll go over a few Chrome extensions that your business might find useful.

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Why You Need to Be Certain You’re Using Licensed Software

Using pirated software or abusing your software licenses for your business is heavily frowned upon. However, many software companies, in an attempt to protect their products, have unleashed a practice that can actually reward those who let it happen in the first place.

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Business Technology Continues to Shift to the Web

Businesses today rely on so much technology that it’s impossible to think about operations without considering how technology can make them more efficient. In fact, many organizations would completely collapse without the innovations brought about as a result of technology development. One of the hottest trends over the past few years has been the shift from in-house assets to web-based assets, ranging from application access to infrastructure hosting.

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Could Your Business Use a New Telephone System?

Telephone solutions have long been a major pain point for businesses. Smaller organizations attempt to get the most bang for their buck, especially for something as important as communications, but it’s not always so simple. How can you get the greatest return on investment from your business’ telephone solution? You can start by implementing Voice over Internet Protocol.

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Looking for New Productivity Software? Try Software as a Service

Most businesses rely on software solutions in order to stay productive throughout the work day. Whether it’s a word processor, a spreadsheet builder, or simple data storage in the cloud, software is deeply ingrained in the modern business world. Shouldn’t your organization be taking advantage of it to its full extent? You can start by implementing Software as a Service.

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Tip of the Week: How To Put A Table Of Contents In A Google Doc

If you author a long document, having a table of contents can help your readers get the information they need fast. Here is how to insert a table of contents into a Google Doc.

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Google Pixel Is First to Come with Zero-Touch Provisioning--Will Your Favorite Be Next?

Does your business use Google’s line of Android devices for business purposes? Well, you might be happy to hear about Google’s new zero-touch solution for enterprises for their Pixel line of smartphones. If you provide smartphones for your business’ employees, you know how much of a hassle it is to set up these devices. This new zero-touch policy attempts to make a change to this.

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How To Keep Your Company Out Of The BSA’s Crosshairs

Let’s say that you have an employee who wants to do some good for your business and save your IT some cash on a piece of business software. They find a “free” version of it on the Internet, thinking they have found you a bargain deal. Little do you know that there is an agency out there that’s specifically looking for businesses like yours that don’t keep track of their software licensing, just to make a quick buck off of copyright infringement.

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Selecting the Best Software as a Service For Your Business

Small and medium-sized businesses have increasingly turned to SaaS, or Software as a Service, to access the tools and resources they need to complete their objectives. Rather than maintaining a solution in-house, SaaS is delivered as a web application or through the cloud. However, not all SaaS solutions deliver the same functionality.

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Google Will No Longer Display Results As You Type--Here’s Why

If you hadn’t yet noticed, there’s been a change made to the Google search engine that will influence how search results are presented to users. Google’s ‘Instant’ feature, introduced in 2010, is no more.

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Tip of the Week: Lock Your Computer By Simply Walking Away With Dynamic Lock

Security best practices demand that a workstation should never be left unlocked. However, it can be really tempting to leave it unlocked if you only plan on stepping away for a moment--but unfortunately, that moment can easily turn into many if you are distracted from your task. Fortunately, there is now a fix that relies on the one device most of us are never without: our phones.

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Why SaaS Is Best For Your Business’ Software Needs

All businesses have certain software solutions that they need to keep their operations going. Be it an email solution or a productivity suite that you lack, your business is held back from ideal operational efficiency. The traditional way of acquiring these pieces of software can be holding your organization back, so we’ve come to you with a solution: Software as a Service (SaaS).

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You Need To Be Familiar With Patching Terminology

Over the past several months, while watching the news or reading about business and technology, you’ve probably encountered a few words, such as ‘ransomware’ ‘exploit weakness’, and ‘security patch’. These terms are used often, and you may be confused as to what they really mean, and how they relate to you and the security of your business’ data.

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Businesses Running Outdated Software are Taking a Huge Risk, Study Finds

It goes without saying that businesses that don’t want to invest in the latest and greatest software solutions will be denying themselves the opportunity for more productivity and efficiency, but most of all, security will be put on the line. A new study has proven that there is a direct correlation between businesses that run older versions of out-of-date operating systems and web browsers, and organizations that suffer from data breaches.

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“The Worst” Windows Bug Discovered... and Thankfully Fixed

Microsoft has resolved what a security researcher tweeted was “the worst Windows remote code exec” in his memory. This vulnerability allowed a targeted file to implement remote code execution processes, manipulating the infected system and spreading the infection to other machines. In other word, it’s a bad problem to have. The scariest part: the attack would be triggered if a particular file were to be scanned by the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine.

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How Software License Mismanagement Can Hurt Your Bottom Line

Whenever you install software on your computer, you agree to certain terms put in place by the developer or vendor. Even free software, such as Google Chrome and Firefox, have terms that the end-user opts into during installation. One of the most important terms business owners need to be aware of are those that pertain to software licenses; if you aren’t, someone else will be.

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How Rogue Software Makes PC Problems Worse

It’s difficult to know what you can and can’t trust in the realm of cybersecurity. However, you’re likely to trust your own security solution. Yet, even this could be a devastating oversight, as some malware masquerades as your security software.

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Tip of the Week: 3 Tools for Simplifying Your Company’s Email

Managing your company’s email can be a complex endeavor, due to the sheer volume of messages being sent and received, as well as the need to have a way to prioritize which messages are important. It’s safe to say that all organizations can benefit from email management solutions, such as email archiving and spam protection, and multi-factor authentication.

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Tip of the Week: Get the Most Out of Google Maps With These 4 Tips

Throughout human history, cartography served as an exciting and specialized field for knowledgeable scribes. Today, the entire planet has been mapped and apps like Google Maps allow any Joe Schmo with a smartphone to have the world at their fingertips. Consequently, you can effectively be a cartographer of sorts, just by knowing how to best use Google Maps.

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What You Should Be Mindful of Before Hosting Your Software in the Cloud

Businesses have focused on efficient utility software deployment for the better part of 30 years. Today, developers are increasingly offering software titles “as-a-service”, which gives users access to these powerful tools, via the cloud, for a consistent monthly payment. Distributing solutions through cloud technologies, be they a private cloud server or a reputable public cloud provider’s platform, can give your business considerable benefits.

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41 Microsoft Software Titles Reached Their End of Extend Support or End of Life - In April Alone!

b2ap3_thumbnail_microsoft_eol_400.jpgYou don’t need us to tell you that Microsoft has an extensive library of software products aimed at all kinds of businesses. But, of course, nothing good can last forever, and old solutions eventually give way to more versatile or efficient versions. When this happens, Microsoft stops supporting older software in order to provide better features and experiences to users of more recent versions.

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Tip of the Week: Know When Your Windows OS Expires and Why it Matters

b2ap3_thumbnail_end_of_life_headache_400.jpgBy design, Microsoft’s operating systems aren’t built to last forever. Due to the fact that technology is always changing, new operating systems with better security and improved capabilities are routinely needed. Microsoft gets users to transition from an older OS to a newer one by ending support for the older one. This begs the question, how long until Microsoft pulls the plug on your OS?

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Tip of the Week: Adjust the Brightness of Your Device’s Screen to Prevent Eye Strain

b2ap3_thumbnail_control_your_brightness_400.jpgComputer monitors have become streamlined in appearance and design over the years. One of the biggest improvements was the addition of the LCD screen, which in comparison to the old CRT monitors is more pleasing to the eye. However, its brightness means that there are side effects that can lead to eye strain and headaches. You can lower your screen brightness to preserve both your eyesight and your sanity, in addition to saving precious battery life.

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Tip of the Week: Master the GIF and Rule the Internet

b2ap3_thumbnail_make_animated_gifs_400.jpgUsing GIFs in your digital communications is a great way to enhance them. A GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is an image that loops a few seconds worth of animation and it’s a great way to grab someone's attention. If you don’t know how to make a GIF, then we’ll show you how in this week’s tip!

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Find Out What’s Lurking In “the Shadows” of Your IT

b2ap3_thumbnail_risks_of_shadow_it_400.jpgImplementing proper IT solutions is challenging for the average SMB, and it’s difficult without the aid of a proper IT department. Organizations that can’t afford a full in-house IT department sometimes resort to less savory methods of managing their technology, which can be dangerous for business continuity, data storage compliance, and security.

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It Pays to Have an Upgrading Strategy for Your Computers

b2ap3_thumbnail_what_to_upgrade_400.jpgIf there’s one thing that our extremely technical society has evolved into, it’s one where technology is always striving to improve itself. This is especially important for businesses that are looking to maximize the return on investment they get from their hardware and software. Do you know where your organization concentrates its resources for tech upgrades?

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It’s Important to Keep a Close Eye on Software Licenses

b2ap3_thumbnail_your_business_software_400.jpgYou and your staff require certain software applications to get work done, whether it be your line of business app, your accounting software, or even Microsoft Office. This brings up a crucial question: do you know where all pieces of software you require came from, and are your licenses valid and up to date?

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Tip of the Week: Use Screenshots to Better Communicate PC Problems

b2ap3_thumbnail_screenshots_400.jpgHave you ever tried describing a PC issue on the phone to tech support, and you get nowhere because you’re having such a difficult time describing the problem? To be sure, this is a frustrating experience. By taking a screenshot, you can send an image of the exact problem you’re experiencing, which will really help clear things up.

Taking a screenshot is as easy as using the right keystrokes. Here’s how you do it.

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Tip of the Week: A Clever Way to Make Your Computer Talk to Itself

b2ap3_thumbnail_talking_computer_400.jpgComputers can feel one dimensional, requiring the user to read and type. Humans don’t naturally interact like this. We communicate best with our voices and our ears. One day, our PCs will have artificial intelligence and we will be able to communicate with them as if we were talking to a person. Until this technology becomes mainstream, these two audio features will have to make do.

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A New Concept Might Take Reverse-Engineering to the Next Level

b2ap3_thumbnail_software_development_400.jpgEven the most innocent Internet user can fall victim to the stray hacking attack, and it’s all thanks to the manner in which malware reverse-engineers software. This process is how a hacker finds vulnerabilities in software. However, a new security concept might be able to protect software from the reverse-engineering method used by hackers.

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Don’t Forget to Renew Your Software Licenses

b2ap3_thumbnail_remember_to_renew_400.jpgYou have a system in place to remind yourself of when to pay your bills. Otherwise, bills would go unpaid, essential services would be cut off, and your credit rating would plunge. However, not everyone has a system in place to renew their software licenses, which could lead to consequences that are just as dire.

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4 Reasons Why Your System is Bugged

b2ap3_thumbnail_software_bugs_400.jpgAs long as computer software has existed, it's been plagued by bugs. Like real bugs, software bugs are an infestation and can cause major problems for businesses. When assessing software bugs, one question comes to mind; "After decades of dealing with bugs, why are they still an issue?"

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Don’t Put Your Business at Risk: Update Your Software!

b2ap3_thumbnail_update_regularly_400_20140206-131805_1.jpgSometimes, when complex systems are put into place, the simplest and most fundamental tasks seem to be neglected. Updating your business' software should not be avoided. Software updates help secure your network and provide your company with an extra competitive edge. Don't risk your company's strengths by neglecting your software updates!

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How to Be an Efficient Speller with Microsoft Word

b2ap3_thumbnail_Microsoft_Word_2010_400.jpgRemember back in elementary school when you memorized lists of words and studied hard to become the top speller in your class? Thanks to spellchecking technology from word processing applications like Microsoft Word, memorizing spelling words is about as worthless as cursive handwriting. Here's how you can use Word's spellchecker more efficiently.

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How to Prevent Windows from Freezing

Tb2ap3_thumbnail_avoid_freezing_windows_400.jpghe freeze of winter is hard on everyone and everything, especially windows. Seeing that on Tuesday, 90% of the US was literally frozen due to what meteorologists are calling a "polar vortex," we thought this would be the perfect time to talk about how to prevent your Windows from freezing with managed IT services!

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Cloud-based Network Security Offers Flexibility

b2ap3_thumbnail_secu400.jpgWhen considering network and computing infrastructure security for your business, you don't usually think about about alternative routes of delivery for these solutions; and especially don't consider that this technology is available without the traditional appliance. Now, comprehensive security solutions for your network, server, and end-user is available as a service, in the cloud.

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90% of Large Businesses Have Successfully Upgraded from Windows XP

b2ap3_thumbnail_windows400.jpgWe hope that this isn't the first time you've heard about Microsoft ending support for their popular Windows XP OS on April 8, 2014. Microsoft has been warning users of this "death date" for years, yet we still come across businesses and consumers that are just now getting the memo. You may have to help get the message out!

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How to Covert PDFs to Word Documents

b2ap3_thumbnail_pdfword400.jpgHave you ever been frustrated by not being able to edit information locked up inside of a PDF? Now, with Microsoft Word 2013, the issue is resolved, making it super easy to edit text, tables, and graphics within a PDF file.

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How to Permanently Delete Your Files and Cover Your Tracks

b2ap3_thumbnail_trashed400.jpgAfter you've finished with that incriminating file (you know which file we're talking about), you will drag and drop it into the Recycling Bin. You may think that just because you selected "Empty Recycling Bin" that the evidence is gone forever, but that's not exactly how the Recycling Bin works. You will need a more permanent solution to completely cover your tracks.

 

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Businesses Still Prefer Windows 7

b2ap3_thumbnail_eightseveny400.jpgWe are in a unique time of Windows OS transitions. The redesigned Windows 8 has been out for one year, and the first major update to it (Windows 8.1) was just released. Additionally, the popular Windows XP expires in April, forcing everybody to upgrade and choose between Windows 7 and 8. Which OS will your business go with?

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Apple’s New OS X is Free for All!

b2ap3_thumbnail_mavs400.jpgOvershadowed by the new iPad Air and iPad Mini announcement, on October 22nd Apple launched its new Operating System OS X Mavericks. This new OS is sleek, efficient, and free. Wait, a free Apple product? Really? Yes really. Is this too good to be true? Let's take a look at this new OS and find out.

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It’s Time to Retire Windows XP

b2ap3_thumbnail_xp400.jpgIf you haven't yet upgraded from Windows XP, then you (and 500 million users) must have strong reasons for hanging on to a twelve year old product. Unfortunately, everybody's strong reasons won't hold water come April 8th, 2014 when Microsoft stops supporting XP with new security patches.

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3 Free Tools You can Use to Optimize Your PC

b2ap3_thumbnail_update400.jpgWith computers that have seen a lot of use, one of the biggest reasons a machine underperforms is because the hard drive is full of old files and programs. Instead of manually sifting through every file and deleting something you are unsure about, you can automate the process with the help of these three free apps!

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3 Free and Essential Mobile Apps for Business

b2ap3_thumbnail_appz400.jpgThere are currently over 900,000 mobile apps available for download. There are apps available for virtually any everyday function; entertainment, education, news, weather, health, and the list goes on. Your mobile device, armed with the right apps, can be your greatest productivity tools. Here are three essential mobile apps that can enhance your business productivity.

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What’s New with PowerPoint 2013 Presenter View?

b2ap3_thumbnail_pp400.jpgMicrosoft PowerPoint 2013 Presenter View has new improvements designed to enhance your presentation. Presenter View is a helpful feature that allows the presenter to see a separate screen that's different from what the audience sees. The presenter's screen is used to display notes, previews, and other helpful tools. Here's how you can take full advantage of this PowerPoint feature.

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Replace Your Soon-to-Be Drafty Windows

b2ap3_thumbnail_outwithxp400.jpgHow new are the windows in your home? Do you have problems when you're trying to open them, such as they don't stay up or simply won't budge? How about when you walk by them, do you feel a draft because their seals are shot? When this happens, what's the first thing you think? More than likely it's "I need to replace them ASAP". If you think this way when it comes to your home, then why not the same when it comes to your business?

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New Software Precisely Predicts Your Future Location

b2ap3_thumbnail_location400.jpgBeing able to see the future is something that most people, meaning not everyone, would love to do. It would either provide comfort, or cause panic based on the results of such an inquiry. While some claim being able to look around the curve of time and space is theoretically possible, this new software doesn't use that approach. There is a new software, known as Far Out, doesn't use this approach.

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Don’t Trust Your Co-workers? Lock Your PC

b2ap3_thumbnail_lock400.jpgYour office might have the appearance of a warm and welcoming work environment, but deep down, you know that, behind the motivational posters and potted plants, your co-workers are dedicated to seeing your demise. To protect yourself, you will need to protect your workstation.

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Organize Your Download Folder with DropIt

b2ap3_thumbnail_dropit400.jpgIf you are a heavy user of the Internet, then your Downloads folder is likely bloated with pictures, music, files, and whatever else you have picked up along your online journey. You may cringe every time you open it because of how messy it is. To help you out, there is a free utility called DropIt that will automatically organize your Downloads folder.

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Tip: Quickly Zoom Your Web Browser In and Out

b2ap3_thumbnail_zoom400.jpgSometimes, you just need to take a closer look at the Internet. For this article, we are not referring to a search engine; instead, we're talking about literally taking a closer look by using your Web browser's zoom feature, and it's as easy as giving your mouse click wheel a spin.

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Your Opinion Matters: Metro vs. Start Button

b2ap3_thumbnail_startbutton1.jpgOne of the most controversial decisions from Microsoft was the removal of the Start button with the Windows 8 operating system. Many longtime Windows users refused to upgrade, while others cheered the more mobile friendly touch-based Metro interface. Where do you land on this hot issue? Are you a hardcore Start button enthusiast, or do you think the Metro interface is better?

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Fleksy Cures the Woes of Typing with Fat Fingers

b2ap3_thumbnail_flesky.jpgYou can do almost anything with a smartphone, except type a quick and accurate text message on a four inch screen. Even the best typist struggles with hitting the correct keys on a digital keyboard, and it doesn't help if you have a little extra mass on your fingers. A new app called Fleksy promises to cure the woes of smartphone typing.

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Windows 8 Behind the Scenes

b2ap3_thumbnail_W8-400.jpgWhen working on your PC, there's a lot more going on than what meets the eye. While working on a project, your operating system is simultaneously using resources to perform several tasks behind the scenes. When you pull the curtain on Windows 8, you may be surprised with all the activity that's going on.

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Tip: Recover Data Even If Windows Doesn’t Start With Ubuntu

b2ap3_thumbnail_ubuntu400.jpgDisclaimer: This tip is geared toward advanced users. Directive features a comprehensive IT support solution and help desk that can give novice and intermediate PC users direction.

Have you ever been a victim of the Blue Screen of Death and tried to reboot your computer only to find now Windows won't load? The cause could be a numerous amount of things from new hardware installed, software updates, or worst case scenario, a virus/trojan. Now how are you going to get your personal pictures, music and documents off of your computer? Here's a solution.

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A Gracious Host: 3 Ways Cloud Computing Can Help Your Business

b2ap3_thumbnail_cloud400.jpgMuch has been made of the cloud recently and you see more and more that companies of all sizes are beginning to utilize cloud computing services in some fashion. Whether it's simply the incorporation of web-based social networking interfaces as inexpensive (and seemingly valuable) marketing tools, or the complex hosting of your company's entire computing infrastructure, the cloud has several options that can work for your business. Below are three ways in which the cloud can present your organization reasonably valuable solutions.

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Windows is Feeling Blue about the Start Button

b2ap3_thumbnail_W8Blue400.jpgIt takes a big person to admit when they're wrong, and there's nothing bigger than Microsoft. Windows 8 hasn't sold like Microsoft anticipated, and users pin the blame solely on one little button, the Start button, or the lack thereof. With Windows Blue (officially previewing June 26), it's rumored that Microsoft is remorsefully bringing back the button.

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Tip: Use Microsoft Office without the Mouse

b2ap3_thumbnail_Keyboard400.jpgThe mouse may look like a helpful piece of technology, but be warned; it's actually a tool of destruction. If your mouse has been your sidekick for years of heavy computer usage, then your wrist might be in danger of carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes, it's nice to take a break from the mouse and use your keyboard to navigate Microsoft Office.

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Tip: Launch Word with Your Recent Project

b2ap3_thumbnail_Bookmark400.jpgIf you have a big Microsoft Word document that you chip away on every day, then you can save time by opening up Word directly to your project. By doing this, you can get more out of your workday. Here’s how you do it.

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Google Reader Refugees Take To Feedly

b2ap3_thumbnail_feedly400.pngThe expiration date for Google Reader is set for July 1, 2013. Google’s decision to axe the Reader was not because it was unpopular, but rather, it seems like Google wants to focus their energy into fewer products. This announcement leaves many Google faithful out in the cold, and Feedly has welcomed the Google huddled masses yearning to read free.

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Tip: Use Macros to Save Your Place

b2ap3_thumbnail_MacroText400.jpgIf you are working on a document that is several pages long, then you know the frustration of getting lost in a sea of text. Often overlooked by the casual user, Macros are great productivity tools that can be utilized for several handy tasks, including giving you the ability to bookmark your work areas in a Word document.

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Tip: Use Word to Make Words More Better

b2ap3_thumbnail_WordLogo400.jpgFor as long as Microsoft Word has been around, it has been the preferred word processing application from people serious about writing. This is because Word is so much more than a typing app; Word is full of rich features that help writers be better at their craft. One helpful writing feature of Word is the Thesaurus, here's how to use it.

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Have Your Movements Tracked with Diff Displays

b2ap3_thumbnail_MultipleMonitors400.jpgAre you enjoying the benefits of using multiple monitors? Once you have experienced the power of using more than two or more monitors, it is Diffficult to go back to using just one. As great as multiple monitors are, they can be distracting and consume extra power. Diff Displays is a new tech that takes care of both of these issues.

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Tip: Download a Windows 8 Start Button for Free

b2ap3_thumbnail_Classic.jpgThe new Windows 8 OS has received strong reviews on performance, and complaints in regards to the new interface. The main gripe is that the new tile layout is too different than the older versions of Windows, due in no small part to the lack of a start button. Leave it to third party software developers to build a solution.

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Producing Prime Presentations

b2ap3_thumbnail_Fotolia_6187857_S.jpgAt some point or another you will be asked to present information to a crowd of people. Whether you have to give a presentation about how you can best profit from a bake sale for your local PTA or you're presenting a sales pitch to potential investors, vendors, or clients; using advances in presentation technology and methodology to your advantage can help you make a strong first impression and more importantly, a lasting one. Below are some presentation services that can be used to enhance the content of your demonstration.

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5 New Features with Microsoft OneNote 2013

b2ap3_thumbnail_One-Note.jpgMicrosoft Office 2013 will be released during Q1 of 2013. The previews we have seen look promising, Office 365 has cloud-based services and touch screen features that work well with the new Windows 8 OS. We will highlight a few of these upgrades by looking at five new features with OneNote 2013.

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Take, Edit, and Share Screenshots with Lightshot

b2ap3_thumbnail_lightshot1.jpgTaking screenshots of your desktop is infinitely useful (including when you get a strange error that you can't seem to repeat when IT is standing by).. Although the process of taking a screenshot has always felt a bit more cumbersome than it needs to be due to the additional steps of opening editing software, formatting the image, and saving the file. Lightshot is a solution that simplifies the entire screenshot process.

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4 New Features of Microsoft Excel 2013

b2ap3_thumbnail_excel.jpgDoes it feel like your new Windows 8 OS is missing something? It might be because Microsoft Office 365 is not out yet; it is scheduled to be released Q1 of 2013. The updated Office applications have been overhauled to flow with Windows 8, and we want highlight five of these new features found specifically in Excel 2013.

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Managed IT Service Prevents Costly Repairs

b2ap3_thumbnail_repairs.jpgDo you have a plan in place for when your technology breaks or crashes? As wonderful as computers are, the hardware wears down, and software can become buggy and crash. Having a go-to plan in place for IT hiccups, will save you time and frustration from having to react to a problem and scramble to find a fix.

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4 New Features for Microsoft Word 2013

b2ap3_thumbnail_word2013.jpgLike clockwork, the release of Windows 8 is accompanied by a new version of Microsoft Office. The new Office will not come out until Q1 of 2013, but many product details have already been revealed; and they are in keeping with the cleaner, sleeker design of Windows 8. Here is a look at a few new features for Word 2013.

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What’s New with Microsoft PowerPoint 2013

b2ap3_thumbnail_ppt20132.jpgRiding the hype wave from the launch of Windows 8 is the newest version of Microsoft Office. Scheduled for release during Q1 of 2013, Office 365 has significant upgrades and new features in line with the revamp of Windows 8. We will showcase a few of these improvements by looking at 5 new features for PowerPoint 2013.

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Adobe Reader X: The Best PDF Reader for Mobile Platforms

b2ap3_thumbnail_adobereadermobile15.jpgOver the past two decades, the Portable Document Format (PDF), developed by Adobe Systems, has become the industry standard for clean and secure documents. There are many PDF-viewing applications available across the various app markets. However, you can't go wrong with Adobe's sleek-looking and versatile PDF reader, Adobe Reader X.

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Windows Gets a New Look

a1sx2_Original1_windows8bluelogo.jpgMicrosoft is gearing up to roll out Windows 8 on October 26th and if the early tests are any indication, the computing giant's latest operating system (OS) could change the face of cross-platform integration. There's always some consternation among business owners when having to decide to outfit their computers with the newest OS so here are a few things you should know about Windows 8.

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File Sharing Options to Consider

a1sx2_Original1_cloudfilecabinet.jpgIt's the information age. If you are always on the go, or you work as a member of a team, it helps if your work is accessible remotely. The ability to have relevant files on hand is nice and at times can be essential to the welfare of your business. Below are a few cloud-based options that could offer you or your company a solution for your remote file access needs.

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Pirates Ahead, Be Ye Warned!

a1sx2_Original1_pirateman.jpg"Ahoy ye swabbies! We be takin' heavy damage on the starboard side! Brace ye-selves for impact! Arrrr!" That is pirate talk for "Hello fellow co-worker. Our CRM tools crashed again and IT needs to reboot the server." September 19th is Talk like a Pirate Day!

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QikPad: Collaborative Workspace Review

QikPad iconQikPad is an online collaboration resource that enables users to produce, sustain and customize data in a collaborative atmosphere. Making use of author color codes, users can readily determine the root of modifications by identifying the particular color assigned to a specific employee. Best of all, the application is free and does not require any sort of sign up.

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Microsoft Office 2013 Sneak Peak

microsoft office iconMicrosoft has released a preview of their highly anticipated Microsoft Office 2013, with features meant to coincide with their release of Windows 8 set to be released this fall. Like Windows 8, Office 2013 was designed to accommodate the needs of not only individuals but businesses, as well.

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Android Malware on the Rise

cell phone with red screen and Android users may have some cause for concern. Considering its surging popularity, there is going to be a certain amount of rouge applications and other malware that targets the top iPhone OS. According to the popular anti-virus maker, Trend Micro, there are at least 20,000 applications that are malicious that target Google's Android OS. That is an increase of at least 400% since the beginning of 2012. By Christmas of this year, experts have given a conservative estimate that puts potential malware and rouge apps at around 150,000 different applications.

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Gliffy Makes Building Flowcharts Easy

Ever need to put together a quick flowchart or diagram but the tools in Microsoft Word aren't quite giving you the results you need? Gliffy is a quick and easy online solution that's free and simple to use.

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Was my Computer Always this Slow?

We think this is something everybody can relate to. That computer or laptop that you bought a few years ago seemed very fast and capable when it was first set up, but these days it doesn't seem to have the same get-up-and-go. Why does performance degrade as time goes by?

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How to Create Amazing Document Templates with Microsoft Word Part 2

definition of the word SolutionLast time we talked about ways to standardize your Microsoft Word documents so the look and feel remains consistent throughout the document and between multiple documents. Today we are going to look at a more advanced trick that will let you take predefined content and data and allow yourself to pick and choose when you use it in a document.

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How to Create Amazing Document Templates with Microsoft Word Part 1

docx file iconDo your documents look a little bland? Representing your brand is important whenever you do any corresponding, whether you are just using letter heads or creating custom documentation or project proposals. Microsoft Word makes it simple to standardize the look of your documents so your brand can shine through no matter what type of document you are creating.

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What's New in Firefox 13

Firefox logoFor those who use Mozilla Firefox as our web browser of choice, you may have noticed that there have been a large number of updates over the past year, leaping from version 4 to the now current Firefox 13. Mozilla has been following an aggressive roadmap to improve performance and features.

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Top Ten Keyboard Shortcuts To Get Things Done

typing on keyboardMicrosoft Office and Windows 7 provide many keyboard shortcuts that can improve your ability to multitask and get things accomplished quickly. Most of these shortcuts will work in previous versions, like Windows XP, Vista and the Microsoft Server Operating Systems as well. Give them a try, and the next time your tech comes by, be sure to show off your new skills.

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Getting Excited for Windows 8

 

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At Directive, we always look forward to checking out new gadgets and software, and since Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system is so fresh and unique compared with previous iterations, we are interested to see how it will impact businesses.

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At Long Last: Android Users get OneNote Mobile

android alien and OneNote logoFans of Microsoft's note taking application can now use OneNote on iOS devices, Windows Phone 7 Smartphones, and at long last, Android devices. Up until now, Android users have been left in the dark for synchronizing and managing their notes through an official OneNote app.

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Dress up your next PowerPoint with SmartArt

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PowerPoint has been, for a long time, the staple of presentation software. The last few incarnations of Microsoft PowerPoint (especially 2007 and 2010) have some great tools to spiffy up your presentations quickly and easily.

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Tutorial: Master the Art of the Mail Merge, Part 2

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Last time we spoke about creating your contact list in Excel when performing a mail merge. Of course, you can also use your Outlook contacts, and if you are running any sort of CRM software it is pretty likely it exports its own spreadsheet that can be used in a mail merge. Let's go over how to perform a mail merge now that you have your list.

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Taking Microsoft OneNote With You

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Recently we mentioned Evernote as a great note taking app that is supported across multiple operating systems and mobile devices. We compared it to Microsoft OneNote as a lighter alternative that is easy to set up and sync across a plethora of devices. However, diehard fans of OneNote probably don't want to make a switch to a whole other platform. Today we're going to talk about ways to mobilize your OneNote notebooks as well as some other features that are exclusive to OneNote that you might not know about.

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Remember Everything from Everywhere with Evernote

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Are you the kind of person who takes meticulous notes? Do you carry around a pen and pad with you so you never forget a single line item from meetings, presentations, or your grocery list? Enter Evernote, a free application that gives you an easy-to-use note taking solution that syncs your notes across multiple devices.

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Don't Let Antivirus Management Slip Through the Cracks

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Did you know? Microsoft reported in May that every one in 14 downloads from the Internet may now contain malware code. Keeping your business protected is extremely important. Fortunately there are plenty of tools out there that do most of the protecting for you, but these tools need to be managed and kept up to date.

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5 Steps Toward Making Documents Presentable with Microsoft Word

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Plenty of Upstate New York businesses use the Microsoft Office suite of productivity tools. From Office 2007 and on, Microsoft has made it extremely easy to dress up your documents and presentations. These tricks will typically work with most Office products, from Word to Power Point, even Outlook; although in some apps the options might be in different places. Today's tutorial will focus on Microsoft Word.

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