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8 Tech Maintenance Tasks Everyone Forgets About, but Really Shouldn’t

Hello, Kansas City! We’re here with another Tech Thursday. Today, Burton Kelso gives some easy maintenance tasks (that are often overlooked) that we should all take a look at and follow up on. Take a look!

8 Tech Maintenance Tasks Everyone Forgets About,  But Really Shouldn't

 

8 Tech Maintenance Tasks Everyone Forgets About,
But Really Shouldn’t

 

Hey Everyone!

 

With so many tech devices in our lives these days, it’s important to stay on top of maintenance that needs to be done periodically on your computer, smarthphone and tablets to keep things running smoothly. Here’s a look at some tasks that are often put on the back burner, but should really be carried out regularly.

1. Update your Wi-Fi router.

If you’re experiencing slow Wi-Fi speeds, spotty connections, updating your router can help. Routers usually have a life of 5 years, so if your router is over 5 years old, it’s time to replace it. For best performance, use the router provided by your Internet provider.

2.Keep Your operating system and other software updated

Most computer and smart devices will automatically download updates, but it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re running the latest and greatest for security and functionality. If you’re not sure, you can give us a call and we can tell you what version of software your device should be running.

3. Clean up storage space.

Got old programs or files you no longer use? Uninstall them and delete those old files. Computers and laptops have unlimited storage, so it’s not as important to clean out old files on those as opposed to your tablet or smartphone which has limited storage. When you device fills up, it can slow down the performance.

4. Backup data regularly.

Backing up your data regularly is one of the most important tasks you need to do. All devices are vulnerable to failure, so it’s always a good idea to back up your stuff. I recommend taking a three step approach to backing things up; by having a local backup of your important files on an external drive; a backup of your most important files to a cloud service like OneDrive or Dropbox; and a full system off-site backup using a service like Carbonite.

5. Clean up your equipment.

If you have a desktop computer or a laptop, it ends up collecting a lot of dust internally, so it’s a good idea to blow it out with canned or compressed air. This will keep your computer from overheating.

6. Restart your computer:

Letting your computer hibernate or sleep is great, but once in a while you need to restart you computer. Shutting down or restarting your computer every once in a while will free up resources and keep your computer running smoothly.

 

7. Reset your modem

Every few months it’s a good idea to reset your Internet modem. To reset your modem, simply unplug the power cord for a few seconds and plug it back in. That will trigger any updates your cable provider has sent to your modem and you can enjoy the faster speeds.

 

8. Check for updates on game consoles

Usually game console will either update in the background or let you know that an update is available. But you might want to manually check for updates on occasion so you know you’re getting the best performance from your entertainment device(s).

 

Following these simple tips can help ensure your devices are running at optimal performance with fairly minimal effort. Keep in mind that you’ll need to carry out most of the tips listed above on a regular basis so it’s good to get into the habit of performing them.

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site and remote technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, Kansas City Live, and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com


4 Easy Tips to Using Public Computers Safely

Happy Thursday, Kansas City! We are back with another great Tech Thursday post with Burton Kelso. This week he’s giving us a few tips to keep us safe when we’re navigating a public computer. It’s so important to be mindful of how you handle yourself on computers – especially when others will be using the same one. Take a look at what to keep an eye out for.

4 Easy Tips to Using Public Computers Safely

 

4 Easy Tips to Using Public Computers Safely

 

We’ve all run into a situation when we have to use a public computer at an internet café, library, or school to check out Facebook, check banking information or to send an email. User beware! First, you have no guarantee that the computer is protected; it might be riddled with viruses, and, second, unless you’re careful the next user might learn a lot more than you’d like about your online session. Here are some steps I recommend taking before you use that public computer.

 

1. Don’t let the web browser store all of your secrets.

 

Every web browser on a computer keeps a history of sites you’ve visited and downloads the files and information from that web site for faster loading of sites you visited before. That’s fine at home, but when you’re using a public computer, you don’t want the browser storing your history. Fortunately, modern browsers can protect your privacy. You can right-click on the Firefox icon and choose “Enter private browsing.” For Firefox, pressing Ctrl+Shift+P during a normal browsing session switches to private browsing. In Chrome, the private browsing mode is called “Incognito mode.” Be sure to shut down the browser when you’re done. Private browsing doesn’t disable the Back button so you don’t want the next user backing into your Facebook session or email account.

 

2. Don’t forget to use private browsing.

 

There’s always the possibility that you forgot to go private and you’ve already checked your email or bank account. Erasing your activity is simple. In Chrome or Firefox, you simply press Ctrl+Shift+Del to call up the dialog for deleting your history. The details vary, but you’ll want to make sure you’ve selected all of the options for deletion. Chrome and Firefox lets you specify how far back to delete, so just clear out all the history just to be on the safe side.

 

3. Only Visit Financial Sites On Your Own Computer.

 

It’s possible that the computer you’re using might be seriously compromised security-wise. For example, a stealth keylogger application could capture all passwords typed on the system. A hardware keylogger could do the same, with no possibility of detection by security software.
Your best bet is to simply refrain from sensitive transactions on a public computer. If you absolutely must log in to an important secure site on a suspect computer, here’s one way to make password theft difficult: bring up a page with lots of text in the browser and copy/paste characters from that page into the password dialog. This “ransom note” style is decidedly tedious, but even a spy program that captures periodic screenshots can’t snap all parts of your password.

4. Keep Your Web Site Visits to a Minimum.

 

As you can see, there’s a whole range of precautions you can take to keep any public computer session from turning into an identity theft nightmare. If you’re forced to use public computers for sensitive communication, consider using ransom-note passwords and possibly a VPN. Don’t engage in any sensitive communication that you could just as well do from your home or office. But even if you’re doing nothing more than checking Facebook and e-mailing your dear auntie, do take the minimal precautions. Invoke the browser’s privacy mode, or clear browsing data if you forgot. Doing so just takes a second and can save hours of aggravation.

 

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site and remote technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, Kansas City Live, and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com

 


5 Reasons NOT to use Your Work Email as Your Personal Email

5 Reasons NOT to use Your Work Email as Your Personal Email

 

5 Reasons Not to Use Your Work E-mail as
Your Personal E-Mail

 

Most jobs come with an email address, but just because it has your name on it, that doesn’t mean it’s yours. It’s tempting to use your work email everywhere, but it’s not a good idea. Here are some reasons not to use your work email as a personal mail account:

 

#1 Your email address is the gateway into your personal life

You use your email address to sign into social media accounts, financial accounts and a host of other accounts that contain your personal information. Why would you sign up for online services for an account you don’t own? If your work email is tied to your social accounts and financial accounts and someone gains access to your company mail account, they could use that access to gain control of your personal accounts.

 

#2 Your boss can see your company emails

If your company has a reason to look through your company email, they probably can. You’d never even know. You don’t want your boss knowing where you shop or what you do on your free time.

#3 If you leave your job, it can be difficult to recover an account

You may eventually decide to leave your current job. When that happens, you will lose access to your work email account. If you’ve used it to sign up for a site like Amazon, you may find that if you forget your password, you might have a difficult time recovering. Many password reset requests go to your registered email account.

 

#4 Your emails may be subject to Freedom of Information Act Requests

Private individuals could have their email become part of a corporate lawsuit. If you work for the government, your emails are potentially public record. If a citizen files a FOIA request, they would possibly be able to see your private correspondence as well as what accounts you have set up online. The same goes for a private individual with a corporate email address. If the company gets sued, your email could become part of the discovery process in the lawsuit. That means that your private emails could be turned over to attorneys and become part of a public record. That could be pretty embarrassing.

 

#5 Corporate email accounts are easy targets for spam and viruses

Corporate email addresses are easy to find. They are usually listed right on the company website. Scammers and hackers gather these email addresses and try to exploit them. They try to hack your password or send phishing attempts that will expose your email account to the hacker. From there, they have access to your personal data.

Keeping a private, anonymous email address through Microsoft’s Outlook.com or Google’s Gmail is the best way to keep your work life and your personal life separate. Your boss can’t see your private emails, hackers are less likely to come across your address randomly, and you’ll keep ownership of the account.

 

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site and remote technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, Kansas City Live, and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com


3 Mistakes Parents Make with Technology

Happy Friday (and St. Patrick’s Day) Kansas City! Our Tech expert, Burton Kelso is back with another tech savvy post, helping parents to fix some mistakes we tend to make with our kiddos and technology. So, if you feel overwhelmed by technology and kids, take some advice from Mr. Kelso to get the family back on track. Take a look…

3 Mistakes Parents Make with Technology

3 Mistakes Parents Make with Technology

 

Everywhere you look, kids are spending more time with their technology devices. While technology has allowed us to access vast amounts of information and has become a great source of entertainment, it has become the number one source of conflict between parents and their children at home. The problem with technology is it doesn’t turn itself off. Also, many parents are guilty of using technology as a babysitter. I get it. It’s easier to give your kid some form of electronic simulation. It keeps them distracted and allows you to ‘adult’. You get stuff done if they are engaged in tech and it helps them become more tech saavy … right? Wrong! Setting limits on bad behaviors is a very important part of being a good parent. Technology is good, but it will never replace that parent to kid time they need. Setting limits on technology will make you the bad parent, but it is key to preventing problems with technology use in your home. So what mistakes are you making? Here is a list of the most common mistakes parents make and how to fix them.

 

#1 Failure to Set Limits on Technology Usage.

How much time you allow them to spend with their tech is up to you, but for the love of God don’t allow them to use it all day everyday. Two hours a day everyday is the suggested amount, but you don’t have to stick with that.  Just set limits on how much screen time they have daily. Screen time includes TV, video games, iPods.  If your kids spend too much time in front of a screen, it can lead to obesity, sleep problems, and behavior problems.  Be sure to give your kids the freedom to decide how they will spend their time away from the screen. I suggest giving them some leeway for times like rainy days, cold weather, and long car rides, rather than having rigid, all-or-nothing schedule, but always remember, having no rules will lead to big problems down the road.

#2 Not Having Enough Family Activities without Technology.

Families are spending more time in front of their screens. Immediately posting photos to social media, logging on to your favorite streaming service to watch movies, the list goes on. Be sure to create activities that don’t involve a screen. So what do you do?  Give them ideas for what to do instead. Also, it would be a good idea for your family to plan a day of unplugging from technology or having a No Tech zone in certain areas of your home such as the dining room. Plan a game night for your family. Show your kids how they should experience the world by planning non tech family activities.

 

#3 Parents are also Tech Addicts  

Parents, you have to set the example with your technology use. Kids will mimic your actions. If they see you using technology on a consistent basis, they will think it’s ok for them to do it too. When you stop and realize that most adults spend more than seven hours a day interacting with some form of technology, it’s not hard to imagine why your kids are doing it too. Just like you set limits with your kids, you need to learn to set limits with yourself. You can wait to send that work e-mail. With most shows on being accessible from a streaming service, you don’t have worry about missing your favorite show. Your kids need you to pay attention to them, not to the device in your hand.

 

The bottom line is you must control technology or technology will control your kids. Too much technology not healthy for any young person. Find the right balance for technology in your home and eliminate tech addiction in your kid’s future.

 

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site and remote technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, Kansas City Live, and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com

 


4 Apps to Help You Unplug on National Day of Unplugging

Howdy, Kansas City! Our guest technology writer, Burton Kelso, is back at it again with another great article. This Friday is National Day of Unplugging, which is a movement that is trying to inspire people to “unplug” themselves from their devices/technology for 24 hours. Mr. Kelso has 4 great apps that will help you unplug for the day and connect in other ways. Take a look…

4 Apps to Help You Unplug on National Day of Unplugging

4 Apps To Help You Unplug for National Day of Unplugging

You see it everywhere you go. Families are paying more attention to their technology to each other. Kids have more screen time than outdoor time. Technology is great, but at some point you have to take a break. Are you and your family looking for a fun way to disconnect from the technology you use in your daily lives? You’re in luck! National Day of Unplugging is Friday, March 3 and lasts 24 hours. Created by the non profit group Reboot, every year they ask individuals, families and communities to reconnect by eliminating or reducing technology use for a 24 period to remind people to take a break from all things digital. If you visit the web site at www.nationaldayofunplugging.com, you can sign up and take the pledge to unplug from or reduce your technology use. You can even sign up for a free ‘sleeping bag’ for your smartphone.

Today’s technology has a positive impact on our lives, but it’s ultimately created to suck you in. Every action you take is designed to keep you connected and using more. Like all things in life, technology needs to be used in moderation. Nothing can replace the importance of real-life social interaction, and putting our technology away can help encourage that.

There have been many studies that show that too much technology can cause problems. Consider these facts:

  • Young people who are heavy technology users have a higher risk of sleep disturbances and mental health issues.
  • The presence of a smartphone or tablet is distracting enough to disrupt your performance on mental tasks.
  • Browsing with devices like smartphones, tablets and e-readers at bedtime disrupts sleep.
  • If you’re looking to cut down on your technology, here are some apps you can use to disconnect:

#1  Offtime

Offtime tells you exactly how much time you have been spending on every app. It also lets you put your phone in a do not disturb mode and allows you to customize the settings. If you need to make exceptions for certain contacts such as work or for family members, they can still get in contact with you.
2. ClearLock. This app allows you to temporarily block distracting apps for the duration of time you choose. Once checked, you cannot change the settings until the time elapses. This app really makes you focus on things in the real world as opposed to the digital world.

 

#2 QualityTime

This app is perfect for those who might be addicted to their smartphones or have a hard time with self control with checking their phones. You can set limits for how much time you want to spend on an app on a daily basis. Once you hit the limit, the app will prompt you a message about it. You can also create custom do-not-disturb profiles for work, home and leisure.

 

#3 Freedom

The Freedom app works for computers, smartphone and tablets and is designed to limiting access to digital distractions. It’s calendar format allows you to input the days and times that you want to take a break from all things digital. It allows you to block websites, apps and the Internet.

 

#4 Bonus: PhoneStack App

Not really an app, but a game you play when you want to keep everyone off their devices when you have real world meetings. It consists of stacking all phones on the table. It is forbidden to touch the devices during the meeting. If someone does, no matter the reason, they will have to face consequences such as paying for dinner for everyone at the table, or doing a set of chores if you’re at home.

 

As I stated before technology is great, but all things should be done in moderation. If you and your family aren’t going to participate in National Day of Unplugging, consider taking gradual steps to cut down on your technology use. For my family, Sunday is the day we chose to disconnect from technology. Whatever you do, make it a family effort and stick to the plan.

 

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site and remote technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, Kansas City Live, and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com. You can also follow Integral on Facebook.

 


Weekly Tech Talk: Yes! It’s Okay to Snoop on Your Kids

Howdy, Kansas City! It’s time for our weekly tech talk with Burton Kelso of Integral Computer Consultants. This week, he’s giving all of us parents permission to snoop. More importantly, however, he’s giving us all ways to keep our kids safe when they’re surfing the web. Check it out!

Weekly Tech Talk: Yes! It's Okay to Snoop on Your Kids

 

Weekly Tech Talk: Yes! It’s Okay to Snoop on Your Kids

 

Parents, let’s face it. It’s your job to make sure your kids are safe from harm offline and online. Many of you struggle with how your kids will react when they find you are snooping on their digital habits and worry how that will affect their relationships with their children. How do I know this? We get calls every week from parents wanting to know what’s going on in their kids digital lives, but they don’t want the child to find out that they are keeping tabs on them. Well, I’m not that parent. When it comes to my kids, I’m like the Gestapo. In today’s digital world, there are too many dangers on the World Wide Web to let your kids use the Internet without some type of supervision. Consider theses facts:

1. 42% of kids admit they have seen online porn. One in 16 have been exposed to hardcore pornography.
2. One in 12 have exchanged messages with sexual content to other people, while one in 25 have sent graphic photos of themselves.
3. 25% of children get away with pretending to be older to get an account online.
4. One in 20 children admitted arranging a secret meeting with someone they met online.
5. Almost three in 10 parents let their kids use the Internet without any restrictions or supervision.

As you can see, there are many reasons why you need to keep up with your kids’ digital lives. So what can you do? There are several things you can do to snoop on your kids.

 

#1 Check Your Child’s Surfing Habits.

If your family still uses a desktop or laptop computer, or if your child has a Smartphone or tablet, the best way to see what your child has been up to is to check the browser history. All web browsers save a record of the sites that have been visited. However, a child could easily delete items from the history, so consider other ways of monitoring your child’s Internet usage.

#2 Put Your Hands On Their Devices on a Regular Basis.

It’s important to keep your hands on your child’s device so you area aware of their digital lifestyle. Keep the family computer in a common area. Take away computers, tablets and Smartphone at night and keep them in your room. Don’t allow your kids to put passwords on any of their devices. You should be able to see what’s going on at any time.

#3 Use Your Router to Snoop.

Depending on your model of router, you can setup it up to monitor your kids Internet habits. You can track what websites they visit, you can block web sites you don’t want them to visit and you shut down Internet access for them completely.

 

#4 Using Software to Monitor Your Child’s Internet Usage

There are several programs you can use to monitor your child digital lifestyle. Here are some of the best tools available to help you monitor and protect your child online.

YouKnowKids

This service provides comprehensive support for Apple and Android Devices. It tracks Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as tracking calls and texts. It can also track your child’s location with GPS location services.

NetNanny

NetNanny offers the best content manager out there. It supports Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. It gives you email notifications so you can keep up with what your child is doing.

 

TeenSafe

This app and website also provides you comprehensive coverage of all your kids devices. Like YouKnowKids, it will track social media and calls and texts from smart devices and offers GPS location services.

 

Always remember to teach your kids (and yourself) that privacy is privilege, not a right. It’s important that you kids understand that trust isn’t something that can be taken lightly. In the end, it’s not snooping when you take extra steps to keep your kids safe from the dangers that lurk online, it’s you doing your job as a parent.

 

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, Kansas City Live, and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com


7 Fun & Educational Apps for Kids, Tweens, & Teens

Happy Thursday, Kansas City! We’ve got our tech expert back this week for some great ideas on apps. Burton Kelso from Integral Computer Consultants offers up his top 7 educational apps for kids, tweens, and teens. There are some that we are definitely going to check out. Take a look!

7 Fun & Educational Apps for Kids, Tweens, & Teens // iFamilyKC Blog

7 Fun & Educational Apps for Kids, Tweens, & Teens

 

Parents, there are thousands of apps for Android and Apple iOS smartphones and tablets available for your kids. A lot of these apps offer kids entertainment in what I call ‘garbage time’. Games like Minecraft, Roblox, Lego.com and American Girl Doll web site, can be entertaining for kids, but too much time with these apps is not healthy for them. Recent studies indicate that parents should focus on the quality of the apps your kids are using in order to help them get the most out of the technology they use. Educational apps offer a great mix of learning and entertainment. Out of the thousands of apps which ones should you get? As a parent of two boys I am constantly watching out for the best apps for them to use. Here is my list of educational apps that your kids, tweens and teens will have fun with.

 

#1 PBSKids

Is one of the best apps out there for kids. I love it because it’s completely free and you don’t have to deal with the barrage of ads that normally are included with free apps. There is a ton of content, so kids won’t get bored.

 

#2 Math Bingo

I hate math and I love any app that makes math fun. This great app allows kids to learn addition, subtraction, multiplication, division while entertaining them at a level they can understand.

 

#3 Khan Academy

The Khan Academy is a non profit organization that believes that education should be free to everyone. The app is very easy to use and it’s appropriate for any kid who knows how to read. Kids (and kids) can learn about any subject from math to art. The Khan Academy combines educational videos with practice problems and project assignments.

 

#4 EdX

This app provides college and high school courses from universities online. The best part is they are all free. EdX now has more than 85 global partner institutions. Now anyone can learn anything from the very best teachers.

 

#5 Duolingo

Duolingo provides free interactive foreign-language education in 15 languages. It’s a simple to use app and it’s appropriate for ages 5 to adult. You can earn digital awards and use them to get special content.  Your progress is displayed in a graph form after every lesson.

 

#6 Bitsboard

Bitsboard allows children (and adults) to study almost anything for free across 25 mini-games in one app. The best apps include: A+ Spelling, sight word ninja, memory king, little writer, and story creator.

 

#7 Scratch and Scratch Jr

Scratch is a free app designed by MIT to help kids learn programming. The scratch family of apps allows children to program their own interactive stories and games which allows them to solve problems express themselves on the computer.

 

In recommending these apps it’s always good to remember that even educational apps need limits. Keep Smartphone and tablet usage to 2-4 hours daily. Kids function better when screen time ends before dinner and bedtime. Screentime before bedtime makes it very hard for kids to fall asleep and get the sleep they need to wake up and conquer the day.

 

Burton Kelso is the Owner and Chief Technology Expert at Integral, an on-site technology repair company for consumers and businesses. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Better Kansas City, KC Live and the FOX 4 morning show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, and gadgets. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com