Welcome to InterconnectNow - Interconnected Technologies' blog about technology and other items of interest to small businesses and individuals.

The topics here will usually deal with productivity-enhancing technologies of interest to small businesses and individuals, but are often of broader interest.  Productivity is the goal of all of this technology that we use. Enabling productivity through refining or adding technology-based capabilities is what we're obsessed with at Interconnected Technologies, and so this blog is dedicated to discussions of all things related to that.


Entries by Don Ferguson (113)


Wow, does Google Chrome really do this?

Two posts in one day . . . I know!

Anyone who has read here knows that I favor Internet Explorer, for several very concrete reasons that have nothing to do with “modern” or “cool” or “everyone does” or “Microsoft’s stupid” or . . . You get the idea.

Recent security analysis of the operational aspects of Chrome made me feel a little better about it – even causing me to consider making it my “number two” browser (see the prior post about this). This, however, really worries me:


I shall have to dig a bit deeper, but if this is going on, it’s reasonable to generalize that stuff like this is also going on, and that worries me. A great deal!

Browse safely, everyone.


It still surprises me. . .

I’ve been in technology since I co-authored my first computer science class at Colorado College – a school that didn’t (then) offer a computer science curriculum. That’s a LONG time, by most standards. Yet the amazing array of technology available today still surprises me - more all the time – even after all these years.

Take today. Well, yesterday and today. A client’s laptop had failed yesterday morning – a hard drive crash. Rare, but devastating without the right backup in place (which he had, of course, as an Interconnected Technologies client). I took the laptop back to my office, just to see if I could recover the files from the drive. I could also have restored the files from the daily online, off-site, encrypted backup (which he had, of course, as an Interconnected Technologies client). I was able, however, with tools at my disposal, to copy his files from the disk directly to a computer in the office. While that was happening, I happened to have occasion to go to a remote location for a day or so – a mini-vacation! From there (here, actually, as I type this) I remotely accessed my office computer, configured it to have access to the client’s online file server (which they have, of course, as an Interconnected Technologies client who needs such a mechanism). I copied the restored files to a folder there. The client gets to have his files back – now - and I can do it all remotely, miles away from the office and more miles away from the client’s office.

This type of thing was not even on the horizon all those years ago. Yet here they are, affordable, secure and working on behalf of our clients!


The Browser Wars Continue–a 2013 update

We’ve been watching this for a few years, and the results have been pretty consistent, with the notable exception of Firefox, which took a nosedive in 2012. Aside from that, Internet Explorer has been consistently high, Safari and Opera have been consistently low, and Google Chrome has been bouncing around in the middle when it comes to browser security.

The update for 2013 has a couple of interesting aspects:

  1. Internet Explorer is still on top.
  2. Firefox has not regained its footing – it continues to perform nearly as poorly as Safari and Opera.
  3. Chrome has come a long way toward making itself more consistently secure.

From a computer user point of view, this means two things:

  1. On Windows machines, use Internet Explorer.
  2. On Apple machines, or if you use a mix of Mac and Windows machines, Google Chrome has surpassed Firefox as the secure browser of choice if you want a single browser across both platforms.

Here’s the summary for Phishing prevention:




Here’s the summary for socially engineered malware blocking:



Here are the references:






Apple iOS 6.1 Update–OOPS!

This, from one of our Exchange providers. Expect some delays using iPhones and iPads until Apple fixes this. Given the description, iPhones and iPads connecting to Gmail, Hotmail, Google Apps and other variants of these will likely also be seeing delays:

 Dear Customer,

As you may have heard in the news, Apple recently released a new IOS for it's active sync devices, IOS 6.1. While the upgrade has a number of features that may improve the user experience, unfortunately, the release is also causing additional load, specifically with log files that are created at an unusually high rate with respect to calendar entries on exchange servers. These issues can cause exchange server issues, and as a result email delays. Apple has released information that they are working on correcting this issue in IOS 6.1, and while we hope they release the fix soon, we do not know when the release and is scheduled or the issue will be corrected.

We are carefully monitoring our exchange environments to ensure there is no, or minimal disruption to our environment because of this issue, however, we are recommending that you do not have your users upgrade to IOS 6.1 at this time if they have not already done so. As stated above, Apple is working on correcting the issue, but we do not have a schedule for resolution at this time.

The article found at this link can provide more information, http://www.zdnet.com/ios-6-1-banned-from-corporate-servers-due-to-exchange-snafu-7000011064. For the technical details surrounding this issue, more information can also be found at, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2814847.


So, you have a Windows 8 machine . . .

. . . now what?!

Windows 8 has been very well done in may respects. It’s trimmer and faster than even Windows 7, adds several interesting capabilities, and is quite pleasant to use, generally, if you have a touchscreen computer. And while, if you’re used to Windows 7 there are many more similarities than differences, those differences can be either maddening/jarring, or fun, depending on your perspective!image That perspective can be either as primarily a “business user” or primarily a “home/plan” user of the system.

Primarily for touchscreen users, Windows 8 introduces the Start screen – the colorful thing you see in the commercials. For most “serious/business” computer users, this is something to look at over time – and it will no doubt grow in its usefulness over time - and there are some goodies in there. For now, though, we’ll focus on how to run Windows 8 to do the things you are used to doing in Windows 7.

Start8 from Stardock – the answer for most business users, especially if you do not have a touchscreen device. Start8 (http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/) is a nifty and inexpensive little program from the well-established seller of such programs, Stardock (now celebrating its 20th year of operation). It makes Windows 8 behave more like Windows 7 in two key ways: image

  1. It causes the system to boot to directly to the Desktop, rather than the Start screen, and
  2. It adds back in the familiar Start button, missing from the Windows 8 Desktop.

With these two additions, most users’ concerns are alleviated, and all can be well.

You can download it here:


But let’s forge ahead.

One other thing that can be jarring is the fact that when opening PDFs and pictures on a Windows 8 machine you are taken to the built-in programs for doing that. The good news: there is a built in program for doing each of these things, and it’s pretty good. The possibly bad news: these built in programs operate in the new “Modern” Windows 8 environment, not on the desktop, and so you are flung into the brave new (Modern) world unprepared. Mostly unprepared as to how to get back to the familiar desktop.

The simple solutions:

  1. Install Adobe Reader. This is the familiar and free application from Adobe Systems, the creator of the PDF format, that enables opening such files in the Desktop environment. It’s here: www.adobe.com.
  2. Install Picasa (our favorite: www.picasa.com) or other picture viewer that operates in the Desktop environment.

With these three changes, a Windows 8 system can behave more like what most users are used to, while still allowing a bit of “play” in the “Modern” environment

For the adventuresome few who don’t want to look back or use any “old” stuff, we forge ahead:

There are a few shortcuts that we’ll offer here that will speed you along to fully adopting Windows 8 even if you don’t have a touch screen computer, yet.

Here they are, have fun:

Right click in the far lower left corner of the Desktop: this brings up a nifty list of shortcuts. I wish Windows 7 had this. It’s very handy. Win-X will do the same thing, if you’ve a fan of keyboard shortcuts.

Click your mouse in the far upper right corner of the Desktop. You’ll see the elusive “Charms” bar on which the Settings icon can be used to do several important things. Again for keyboard shortcut fans: Win-C will do this too.

Windows 8 is here to stay. Windows 9 will look much the same, and no doubt Apple has some touchscreen variant of MacOS on the horizon. Touch screens will be ubiquitous in a couple of years. In the meantime, however, we hope the above will help ease the transition, either by subverting it (with Start8, Adobe Reader and Picasa) or by educating you about how to navigate around even if you don’t have a touch screen (Win-X and Win-C).


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