Microsoft Office Gone Mobile

Posted Posted by Jenna Hayes in Comments 0 comments

Microsoft Office is now available for iPhone, iPad, and Android... FOR FREE!

In an effort to keep customers hooked on Word, PowerPoint, an Excel, the software giant made this surprise move in the beginning of November. Microsoft just recently announced its new strategic partnership with Dropbox to incorporate the cloud storage system into office on all desktops, mobile phones, and web services. You'll no longer need an Office 365 subscription to store documents in the cloud or make edits. Users can now download office for your smart mobile device and store all documents in the cloud using Dropbox without spending a penny. Yay!

"We're taking that same user experience we provide online to the native apps of iOS and Android. We want to make sure that our customers can be productive across all the devices they have" explains Microsoft's head of Office marketing Michael Atalla. Since they already offer free web apps on desktop, their goal was just to extend their strategy by offering the apps on mobile devices as well.

As the population continues to shift more towards smart phone usage, Microsoft's goal is to stay relevant by offering Office for those who work on the go. The key here seems to be a strategic move to keep competition out of the mobile space and Microsoft up on top. There are many other apps out there that are offered for free and are easy to use. The nightmare for Microsoft is that we, as consumers, would realize that we don't need Office to prepare our documents, so why would be pay for it on our mobile devices? Thus, the reason we get it for free. Having Microsoft on our smart devices will also allow us to easily switch over from device to device without disruption.

Thanks Microsoft!

Office iPad screenshot

Facebook Messenger! Friend or Foe?

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I'm sure most everyone reading this post has seen the picture above and if you are anything like me you don't like being told what to do or pushed around. But Facebook did just that by making it required for customers with the Facebook app to download a separate app just for messaging. This inflexible change set off an explosion of complaints from Facebook users. The greatest of these complaints involved the blunt terms of service allowing Facebook to have access to information and control multiple apps on your phone. Facebook has refuted by saying that the wording just sounds worse than it actually is. I thought that I would provide you with all of the questionable items contained in the agreement and let you choose if you want to take the risk!

  1. Allows the app to call phone numbers without your intervention. 
  2. Allows the app to send SMS messages. This may result in unexpected charges. 
  3. Allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation.
  4. Allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.
  5. Allows the app to read you phone's call log, including data about incoming and outgoing calls.
  6. Allows the app to read data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you've called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals.
  7. Allows the app to read personal profile information stored on your device, such as your name and contact information.
  8. Allows the app to get a list of accounts known by the phone.
Those are the items that struck out to me! I would think twice before I give that much permission to an app. 

Plus having that little bubble bugging me whenever I have a message is way to invasive and annoying!

Windows 10

Posted Posted by Emily Strandvold in Comments 0 comments

Nope, not Windows 9...Windows 10. Microsoft's newest operating system, Windows 10, will be released mid 2015. If you are trying to decide whether to ask Santa for a new laptop for Christmas or to wait until Windows 10 comes out, here are some of the changes that have been made so far.

1. Windows 10 will not only be for computers but also for tablets, phones, and embedded devices.

2. There will only be one app environment, a mix of the new-style apps and Win32 apps.

3. The start menu has the Windows 7 look on the left and the Windows 8 look on the right. It is also highly customization.

4. It will still have touch screen capabilities. It will also have the option to switch UIs when a two-in-one  PC is switched from "tablet" to "computer."

5. There will still be a command prompt.

6. There will be a feature that allows you to zoom out and see everything that you have open.

7. You can also have multiple desktop configurations and navigate between them.

Microsoft has said that they will keep updating the public on their development of Windows 10. They just released a technical preview of Windows 10 that can be downloaded onto your computer. If you want to see what Microsoft has in store... If you decide to install the preview, make sure you read the warnings and instructions at the bottom of the page.

Wireless Printing?

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Wireless printers have become common in both homes and small offices, and larger businesses have been adopting them as well. Wi-Fi connectivity gives you more flexibility in where you keep your printer, and gives you one less cable to worry about.

Although wireless printers have been available for about 10 years, it's only in the past few that they've really started to gain traction. Most all modern home printers have Wi-Fi capability. 

Newer Wi-Fi printers offer mobile printing support. You can print from an iPhone —or an iPad—via Apple's AirPrint to compatible printers, and there are several printer manufacturers and third parties offering apps for printing from iOS, Android, and other devices. Many directly support printing from cloud-based services.

Wireless printers are really cool. It's quite flashy to be able to be looking at something on your phone and on a whim, send it over to the printer without having to do anything complicated. You might think you'll print your homework in your room and take it to class to turn it in. From what I've seen from my four years at Harding, this isn't usually the case. I had a printer at the beginning of my college career and the first time I needed to buy a new ink cartridge, I found myself forming a habit of just going to the computer labs on campus and using those printers. It's very convenient, they are easy to use, and you don't have to go buy ink cartridges with your pocket change. Save that for Zaxby's.

If you decide you must bring a printer to school with with wireless capability, then by all means, go for it. Many times when students are setting up their wireless printer, they run into issues. The first step I would take is searching Google for your specific printer and "wireless setup." Usually there are very detailed guides on setting up Wi-Fi for each individual printer. But if you can't get that to work or if you'd simply rather us take care of it to make sure it's set up correctly, DormNet is happy to help if you give us a call. Happy printing!

Can I have some Java please?

Posted Posted by Kory Jones in Comments 0 comments

No, I'm not talking about coffee. I'm talking about the programming language. You might recognize this:
Java is a programming language and computing platform first released by Sun Microsystems (now Oracle Corporation) in 1995. There are lots of applications and websites that will not work unless you have Java installed, and more are created every day. 

Java, as of 2014, is one of the most popular programming languages for app developers. Almost 9 million developers use it. It uses C and C++ syntax for writing code and is intended to be a WORA- write one, run anywhere. 

You should update it! Why? The latest Java version contains important enhancements to improve performance, stability and security of the Java applications that run on your machine. Installing this free update will ensure that your Java applications continue to run safely and efficiently.

In a nutshell, Java is what allows the applications on your computer to run. Because of it, we have the ability to switch between devices with minimal interruption. Update it, so that you can seamlessly use your applications. Thanks James Gosling, developer of Java! Sit back and enjoy some hard earned coffee. 

Stop Ignoring Your Software Updates!

Posted Posted by Erin Hasler in , Comments 0 comments

If you own a Windows computer, like I do, you probably get really tired of having to update your Windows software. It takes forever and typically your computer updates when you're turning it off and have somewhere to be or you have an assignment due in 15 minutes and it's updating while you turn your computer on. You probably sit there thinking "why is this necessary? My computer was working just fine!" Well, it turns out those updates are actually super important. These updates don't apply only to Windows computers, it is equally important to keep your Macs up-to-date as well. Here's why!

Software updates help fix security holes that may be left in certain programs. These holes can be used by cybercriminals to deliver malware through different programs to harm your computer. Software updates can also be used to fix general updates in programs in order to help them run better.

Companies always put their software through many tests to ensure that it is running efficiently and correctly before they release it to the public, but sometimes even that isn't enough. They can't test for every single real life scenario, so sometimes when software is released a few issues may arise. The software creators are informed about these issues and work to create fixes for them. Once they have come up with their solution, or patch, they send out an update for the software. That's what you download.

It may seem tedious to have to wait for these updates to install, but in the long run, they protect your computer and they help your programs run more efficiently. Having an updated computer is really important.

How to Protect Your Mobile Device

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Just like with computers, phones are susceptible to getting malware as well. Depending on the malware it can search through text messages, look at pictures, track your location, grab banking passwords, etc… However, there are ways to protect yourself. The first step of protection is being knowledgeable about what is out there and how it gets on your phone. Phones are usually affected through apps you download, websites you visit, or emails/text messages you receive.

When downloading apps it’s important that you only download them from trusted sites such as Apple’s App Store or Google Play. This is because, one of the most common ways malware gets downloaded onto peoples phones is under the guise of a legitimate app. This is done by someone taking a pre-existing app or creating a knock off version an app, attaching malware to the code, and then putting it up on a third party app store for a discounted price. So while it may be tempting to jump on those good deals, it’s always best to download the real thing from a trusted source. That being said, even on Google Play and the App Store you need to check the publisher to make sure that it is legitimate because, even though Google and Apple try to catch harmful apps before they get posted, there is the occasional one that slips by them. A popular trend among malicious apps right now is to impersonate banks or financial institutions and then steal your account information, so be hyper vigilant when downloading those.

If you go to a website or open an email, text message, or link that has malware in it they can embed and encode inside your phone without permission and take whatever information it is looking for. So, when it comes to avoiding websites with malware the best advice is: if it looks sketchy don’t go there. Also, there are forums online that have lists of websites that have been registered as having viruses and malware, so if you’re not sure about a site look it up before you click on it. The same advice goes for avoiding emails and text messages that can have malware in them. If you don’t know who sent it don’t open it without first, if possible, verifying that it is a legitimate person and that the message and links are trustworthy.
Another way to keep your phone secure is to put antivirus software on it. The number of malware threats that are out there have increased exponentially in the last couple years, and in response to that many companies have come out with anti-virus applications for phones. Depending on the app, these can scan websites, emails, texts, and apps to make sure that the material contained in it is not malicious. Some of the top ranked ones are:
  1. Lookout
  2. Bitdefender
  3. AVG
  4. McAfee
There are also apps for your phone that can be used in the case that it gets stolen or lost. Such as, Find My Iphone or GadgetTrack for iOS devices and Cerberus or Where’s My Droid for androids. They can help you locate, disable, or wipe your lost devices.

The final security advice is on your phone’s physical security. For most of us our phones contain a lot of personal information and if that gets in the hands of another person it can cause a lot of damage. The first thing that you can do to protect your information is put a password on your phone. While phone passwords aren't un-hackable it does deter some criminals and adds an extra layer of protection so they’ll at least have to work to get your information. Secondly, it’s best not to store highly sensitive information on your phone such as  passwords, bank numbers, or social security numbers. However, if you find that necessary to do, it’s best not to put them in a note titled "passwords" or "important numbers". Give it a name like favorite youtube usernames or something that is nondescript. Lastly, don't leave your phone lying around where it can easily get stolen.

When it comes to security the most important thing you can do is be proactive and vigilant in your phone’s security, because that is what is going to keep your information safe.