July 2015 Tech Tips – F.Lux Your Eyes!

Here’s your quick Tech Tip for the month of July to help you be more productive. As always, reach out anytime! We are here to help.

We’ve all been exposed to the powerful glare of a smartphone when opening a late night text message, or when shutting off an early morning alarm clock. What most don’t know is that, similar to the screen on your smartphone, the screen on your PC is designed to appear as bright as the sun to the human eye. Unfortunately for us, our eyes are not equipped to focus on objects this bright for extended periods of time – resulting in optical discomfort, and even long-term issues for those who frequently use a computer. Is there anything that can be done?

Introducing F.Lux! An easy-to-download program that allows your computer to adapt to a natural level of brightness based on the current time of day. For example, when the sun sets, F.Lux will automatically adjust your screen brightness to a level that is similar to that of your indoor lighting. For more information and downloading instructions, visit the F.Lux website!

F.Lux is a free program, easy to install, and is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iPhone/iPad operating systems. It gets the IT Direct stamp of approval – so if the features sound beneficial to you, don’t be afraid to give it a try!

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!


June 2015 Tech Tips – Speed Up Your Startup

Here’s your quick Tech Tip for the month of June to help you be more productive. As always, reach out anytime! We are here to help.

We all dread restarting our computers, primarily because sometimes it just takes so long! Luckily, powering-on your PC doesn’t have to be such a tedious task. Speed up your start-up using these 3 simple methods:

Clean Up the Startup Folder
There are many programs that are pre-programmed by Windows, or the application     itself, to automatically start when booting up your PC. To view and make changes to this list of programs, simply type the below address into the Windows Explorer bar, and delete the shortcut of the program that you no longer want to open during start-     up. Please note, this does not delete the program from your computer. 
C:UsersUser>Your User Name>AppDataRoamingMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuProgramsStartup

Activate Fast Startup
This feature is available in Windows 8, and will work whenever you choose to shut down or turn on your computer. However, this feature does not work if you choose to restart it. Fast Startup was specifically designed for this purpose, and can be activated by pressing the “Windows Key + W” on your keyboard.

Task Manager Halt
While using option one is highly effective, there are some hidden start-up programs that will not be listed in the Start-Up Folder, and can only be found listed in the Task   Manager. The Task Manager can be accessed by pressing “Ctrl + Alt + Del” on your       keyboard, and start-up programs can be found under the “Start-Up” tab. From this page, you can decide which programs you would like to open or halt on startup.

Another important fact to keep in mind, is that while regularly rebooting your PC can take an unideal amount of time, it can contribute to an overall better performance and lengthier system lifetime.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions! 



May 2015 Tech Tips – HTTP Error 400 Codes

Here’s your quick Tech Tip for the month of May to help you be more productive. As always, reach out anytime! We are here to help.

The internet is composed of an infinite amount of webpages – leaving an infinite amount of room for mistakes. We have all either clicked on a link, or typed in a URL address, only to arrive at an “HTTP Error” page instead of our desired destination. But what do those error messages and codes really mean, and what causes them? We have highlighted the most common error codes, and their causes below:

HTTP Error 400 – Bad Request
When a request that is distorted, or incorrect, is sent to a website server, the HTTP Status Code 400 error message will appear. A request can be anything from clicking a page’s “Refresh” button, to clicking a link. The most common cause for one of these errors is an incorrectly typed URL.

HTTP Error 401 – Unauthorized
When credentials are required to view a webpage, which have yet to be entered or issued, the HTTP Status Code 401 error message will appear. If credentials have already been entered, and the error code continues to appear, the login information provided is invalid, or has been granted insufficient permissions.

HTTP Error 403 – Forbidden
When attempting to visit a webpage that has specifically been deemed as “off limits”, the HTTP Status Code 403 error message will appear. The most common occurrence of this error code is after attempting to visit a website that has been blocked by
employer or educational administration.

HTTP Error 404 – Page Not Found
When the website you are trying to visit cannot be found, the HTTP Status Code 404 error message will appear. In most instances, the cause of this error code is because a web address has been modified, moved, or removed. Similar to 400, this error message can also be the result of typing in an incorrect URL.

HTTP Error 408 – Request Timeout
When a request to load a webpage has timed out, the HTTP Status Code 408 error message will appear. This means that the submitted request has exceeded the amount of time that the server was prepared to wait while processing. The most common cause for this error message is a slow internet connection.

Another important fact to keep in mind, is that these error codes can begin with any number from 1-5. The above mentioned, and all other codes beginning with the number 4, are classified as “Client Error” Status Codes – meaning that the web surfer is presumably at fault, opposed to the webpage.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!



April 2015 Tech Tips – Microsoft OneNote 101

Here’s your quick Tech Tip for the month of April to help you be more productive. As always, reach out anytime! We are here to help.

Microsoft OneNote; the hidden gem of Microsoft Office. Despite being frequently overshadowed by Word and Excel, OneNote offers an impressive set of features that are all its own – making it far more than a “doodle pad”. If you constantly find yourself in the midst of a frantic pen search, or lost under an endless amount of lists, it may be a good idea to jump on the OneNote bandwagon. Microsoft has taken the simple concept of a note-taking program, and turned it into a highly functional information management program. Unlock its potential with some of the features we’ve highlighted below:

OCR Tool: OneNote comes with a built-in OCR (optical character recognition) tool that recognizes your handwriting, and converts it to text.

Embedding & Multimedia: OneNote allows you to insert or record multimedia into your current file – video recordings, audio recordings, math equations, even scan in any handwritten notes.

Tagging: OneNote allows you to tag your notes so that they are quickly accessible when you need them, and easily
searchable if you cannot locate them.

Templates: Although they are hidden, OneNote provides tons of preset templates for your file, similar to those found in MS Word.

MS Office Integration: OneNote easily integrates with all other Microsoft Office programs, meaning simple document importation, exportation, and editing in all programs from Excel to Outlook.

Automatic Save Feature: OneNote will automatically save your current file, no “Save As” is required unless a specific name is desired.

Sharing & Synchronizing: OneNote operates with cloud-based storage, which allows you to sync and access your files from smartphones, Microsoft Surfaces, and iPads.

For more information, check out our RELAX OneNote Webinar here! OneNote is a must-have organizational tool, and caters to school, work, and personal needs. It’s a free program, and has the ability to make life so much easier – so don’t miss out!

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

March 2015 Tech Tips – Adobe, Acrobat, & PDF

Here’s your quick Tech Tip for the month of March to help you be more productive. As always, reach out anytime! We are here to help.

Adobe, Acrobat, & PDF; can you distinguish the difference? Anyone who owns a computer, owns Adobe software. Anyone who has downloaded an e-bill, has viewed a PDF. All of these terms coincide with each other, but knowing the actual difference can come in handy and save you worlds of time in the future.

Adobe: Adobe is the company name, and is the creator of Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader, and PDF formatting.

Adobe Reader: Adobe software that is complimentary with almost every new computer and is free to download, which is used to view, print, or sort through PDF files.

Adobe Acrobat: Adobe software that possesses all of the features of Adobe Reader, but can also be used to create, edit, convert, encrypt, digitally sign, export, and publish PDF files.

PDF: A type of document/format created by Adobe, which stands for Portable Document Format. PDF formatting captures information from the current program, saves and publishes it into a PDF file, and provides a clean, finalized way for recipients to digitally view files as they were intended to be.

Before you waste any precious work time fiddling with PDF’s, wondering why there is no option to rotate the pages or draw in your own notes, be aware of what needs to be done and which Adobe program will allow you to do so.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

February 2015 Tech Tips – F Keys

Here’s your quick Tech Tip for the month of February to help you be more productive. As always, reach out anytime! We are here to help.

There is nothing glamorous about the row of F Keys on your keyboard. They are inconveniently placed, usually only used by mistake, and who really knows what “F” even stands for? Little do you know, each of the F Keys has multiple capabilities which can spare you up to four or five clicks of the mouse. Utilizing an F Key shortcut may only save you seconds, but when that report needed to be on your boss’ desk an hour ago and you need to leave the office in fifteen minutes….these seconds are incredibly valuable. See below for ways to efficiently utilize the F Keys.

F1:    Opens Microsoft Windows Help & Support
F2:    Renames selected file, document, or folder in Microsoft Windows Explorer
F3:    Opens Search in almost all programs
F4:    Selects Address Bar in Internet Explorer or Windows Explorer
Closes the window of any program when paired with Alt
F5:    Refreshes and reloads current page in all browsers or documents
F7:    Initiates Spell & Grammar check in Microsoft Office documents
F9:    Send & Receive messages in Microsoft Outlook
F10:  Activates Menu of any open program in Microsoft Windows
F11:  Enters & Exits Full Screen Mode in all internet browsers
F12:  Use to Save As the current Microsoft Office document
Prints when paired with Shift + Ctrl

Each key has additional functions to those listed above, don’t let your F Keys collect dust! If you find these to be useful, chances are you will benefit from utilizing them all.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!


Your Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Plan

If your data is important to your business and you can’t afford to have your operations halted due to data loss or corruption

A written disaster recovery and business continuity plan, with recommendations to ensure your irreplaceable business data can be recovered in the event of a severe virus, hacker attack, or natural disaster like a flood or a fire is something every business or non-profit should have.

Please watch this quick video to learn more:

Is it time you created or had your Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Plans reviewed?

Contact us to discuss our complete Disaster Recovery Planning services.


January 2015 Tech Tips – Restricting Your Own Browsing Time

Here’s your quick Tech Tip for the month of January to help you be more productive. As always, reach out any time! We are here to help.

There is no better time for setting new goals than at the beginning of a new year – let 2015 be your most productive year at work yet! Do you ever find yourself waist deep in news or social media websites during the day? And before you know it, the 10 minutes you have alotted yourself for frivolous browsing has turned into 45? Reinforce your focus and increase productivity by installing a monitoring software for your internet browser.

A highly rated program for all browsers using Windows or Mac is Focus Booster. With trial subscriptions available and full versions priced at under $3 per month, Focus Booster is a must have for easily distracted office dwellers. Focus Booster offers features such as displayed timers, customizable preferences, time tracking, specific session reporting, and productivity graph generators. Timesheets and clients can be easily synchronized with Focus Booster, and invoices can be exported using the CSV export feature.

Add-On’s are an option for those seeking to heighten efficiency with no additional software. Add-On’s can be downloaded for free, are easy to remove when they are no longer wanted, and operate directly on your browser. Unfortunately, there has yet to be an extension configured for Internet Explorer, but general website blocking can always be done in the Content Advisor settings. See the list below for an extension that operates with your browser:
1. StayFocusd for Google Chrome
2. LeechBlock for Mozilla FireFox
3. WasteNoTime for Safari

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

December 2014 Tech Tips – Password Tips

A good password, it’s your first and most important line of defense to protect your computer, your data, your online accounts, and your personal information. Without a strong password, nothing on your computer is safe. With the holiday season upon us keeping your personal information(i.e. credit cards, bank accounts, corporate data) safe is crucial and even a little more important with all online shopping we are doing.

What you may have  considered a strong password in the past, could now be an open window to your computer. To create a strong password follow these guidelines:

  1. Is at least eight characters long
  2. Contains uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and a symbol
  3. Does not contain your user name, real name, or company name
  4. Does not contain a complete word (in any language)

One way, IT Direct makes sure that there passwords are secure and stored for easy access is by using a password manager software called, RoboForm.

RoboForm remembers your passwords so that you don’t have to! Whether it’s on your PC, MAC, phone, or tablet, RoboForm gives you your secure passwords anywhere at any time.

The benefits of using a password manager, is that you don’t have to remember your password, you can create strong and unique passwords that the password manager will remember, and the password manager automatically fills in your username and password when you go to your websites, saving you time and frustration. Follow the link now to start storing your passwords, http://www.roboform.com.

We hope these will be a time saving and productivity boosting tips for you!

November 2014 Tech Tips – Google Search Tips

Here’s your quick Tech Tips for the month of November to help you be more productive and save you some time. As always, reach out anytime! We are here to help.

When using Google Search here are a few tips to help make it easier!

  1. If you want search results only from a specific site simply use site:followed by the site URL you wish to use. For example Computers site:dell.comRemember though that the site you are searching for must follow directly after the colon with no spaces between them.
  2. Similarly if you want to search only the titles of webpages use the search intitle:to look for words in the webpage title. For example Computers intitle:Dell would give you results about Computers that have the word Dell in the title. If you want results with multiple words in the title simply use allintitle: instead
  3. When searching for a specific set of words in an exact order all you need to do is place quotations around the text and google will only provide you with results that include those words in that specific order.

We hope these will be a time saving and productivity boosting tips for you!