Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas! What to do with all those photos.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, how ever you celebrate this time of year I hope you having a great time with friends and family.

With that in mind you and your friends and family will be taking a lot of pictures. I'm sure people will be posting on Facebook and Twitter and what ever other social media your on. Have you ever thought  about those pictures you want to share with loved ones but feel like posting them on social media isn't what you wanna do.

Well I've had flickr for a while and I was just browsing around today and ran across this....

Groups. Its a way to share with people. To me its more effective than posting on your timeline on Facebook. Its a way to collaborate on those photos you took at the family Christmas party. I know some people who don't do Facebook or any other social media. So this is a way you can.

The first one Public, anyone can join is more for groups of people that may like the same subject. No for the family to share pictures.

The second one Public, invitation only is like above but you have to be invited to the group. This is for people who don't care if someone else sees the pictures. They just can't join the group and add pictures also.

Lastly is private. This is for those people that don't want anyone but the people they choose to join the group or see the pictures. This option is better than posting them in social media (Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc) so if there is not access given you can't see them. Also the group doesn't show up in searches or display on people's profiles.

One last thing doing this will cause you to have another account if you don't already have an Yahoo ID. I have been with Flickr before Yahoo and I've never had an issue. So if you want to share those Christmas photos to just who you want to show them to. This is a good suggestion for you. Oh and by the way you get 1TB of space free, now how can you beat that.

Have a great Holiday!!

Kenneth Litzsey - Litzsey  Tech Services.

Monday, December 11, 2017

AI is evolving from its roots

When most hear about AI in the news, tech blog or online video, your hearing about the next evolution of AI not its beginning. AI has been around for a while its just finding its usefulness in business.

The beginning of AI was in video games before things became massively multi-player. In old school games it was the villain you fought against. In games like Pacman the villains were just random patterns. As gaming evolved to the next level those villains became aware of you and what you do. Now its trying to make the game harder. The AI in those days where clumsy at best and usually people found out how to beat them. So the game AI had to become better.

As programming languages got better so did the AI. Now the AI has more complexity and is thinking less in patterns and more in random adjustments to the player. It never got to the place where you would think this is another player because the advent of Massively Multi-player games took care of that.

Then lately in the mist of all the cyber attacks AI has been brought into the security space. Doing the same thing it did in the game space. Predicting the moves of an attacker and preventing them from compromising and system or network. Old virus protection models had become too predictable and had holes that attackers could bypass. So now AI is useful for that.

Also with all this data floating around. People would be bogged down forever trying to manage it. In comes AI. The logic of AI can, collect, organize and process data much faster than a human can. So big data had become one of the big things recently because of the advent of AI to help manage it.

So AI was something we use to fight but now its our friend helping use improve processes. Understand the evolution and you understand where its going and where it can assist in our lives.  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The undeletable icon

For the last week I've had this icon on my desktop I couldn't delete. I went to the Internet and searched on it, and search. Read articles and tried what they said. This .crdownload won't delete. I went on chrome and in a fit of anger I deleted the incomplete entry from downloads instead of continuing it. I'm just totally messed up. So my mind thought well if its and incomplete download from chrome why not open the file with it. So I right clicked and did run with chrome. Chrome popped up with a can not find error. I closed the browser and the icon was gone. LOL

Saturday, December 2, 2017

5 reasons to give Linux a try.

Over the years of working with people with their computer issues, I have helped many. Some by suggesting they use Linux. Those I have helped are still using it. So I wanted to tell you 5 reason you should give Linux a try.

1. Choice of distribution. You might think but shouldn’t they focus on just one? Linux has many different flavors. Each one with a certain focus. Mint is considered the starter Linux it has a good feel and it will give you a really good Linux experience for those who are using it for the first time. Other distribution concentrate on look and feel, some on functionality and ease of use. Some focus on privacy and security, some are just one function distributions. Check out to look at the different distributions and see if you can find something you like. You can test before you install. That is a great thing if your not sure which one is right for you.

2. Easy to maintain. All programs can be installed from the distributions repository. Its as easy as in Linux Mint clicking the shield in the tray with the blue backgrounded “!” in it. Then getting the pop-up window with all the programs to be updated. Or you can open a terminal window and type “sudo apt update”. The system will come back and tell you the system is up to date or tell you it's something to upgrade. If you have to upgrade you do “sudo apt upgrade” to start the upgrade process.

3. support online. All the distributions I dealt with has their own community sites where other users help you with the problem. A lot of other tech sites and individuals with blogs also are a great resource. It might not be as easy as calling a service number or emailing customer service, but one thing the communities give that a customer service line can’t is understanding. If this is daunting for you to search online for help then there is always the option of calling a local IT company like mine for assistance.

4. Runs on older hardware. You might have an old PC. You just don’t want throw it out and buy a new computer at this time. You can find a distribution of Linux that will run on that old PC and extend its life and keep you from having to by that new computer until you are ready to. Also you can set it up as a guest computer if you are buying a new one. You can have it for company, or family coming by if you don’t like other people on your computer.

5. Sturdy. I know it's hard to understand how a operating system is sturdy. I have done tech support for my mother for years. She use to always seem to mess up her Windows computers. So one day I took a HP laptop I got from someone, installed Linux Mint on it and my mother has been using that computer no problem for over 3 years. She tells me that it's easy to use, doesn’t give any run problems and I think she is Linux for life. She even updates her own computer where when she was on windows I always had to come by and make sure all her system and 3rd party programs were updated. You know the danger of not updating flash or java.

So these are my 5 of many reasons to try out Linux. You can always download an ISO from one of the distributions you want to try, burn it to to a USB and try it out, it might fit for you, it might not. The freedom to try is what is great. As long as you have choice exercise it.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Bios Upgrades?

Even I as a tech forget to do things that are important to computer health. One of them is firmware upgrades for PCs and Laptops. I have 4 computers I got used from various places. I've had small problems, nothing major. Then one of my computers running Debian Linux wouldn't shutdown or reboot completely. I check the system and I noticed that the bios was the original that came with the computer. 

Now its wasn't necessarily the solution to my problem but its something to work on. 6 years of bios upgrades, my hardware could be running better with these. So I started on my way to upgrading all of the computer. I had to be careful or I could make the computer useless. So I started upgrading one version at a time. I just finished round one for all but one computer at this point. I'll do the next set next week and so on until they are updated. 

Most manufacturers like Dell and HP have software to do all updates including the bios. So it kinda amazed me that these weren't never updated. I got these from companies that were upgrading and throwing out the old PCs. Which are  never really useless. I feel like these should have be donated to a non-profit or something. But anyway, Bios upgrades are important. Being a hardware based tech I know the importance of firmware upgrades. Its the programming that runs the hardware and gets it to perform the actions the operating system and user needs. So an upgrade could get better performance out of your hardware or add functionality.  So for everyone out there pay attention to your system's upgrade manager and perform all the updates you can and if those bios updates come, you can do them yourself or if your uneasy seek the help of an IT professional like myself to do it for you. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

We are now offering manged services

As things go along, I try to bring more to the table. At first I wanted to give the best in person experience possible. As time went on and I responsibilities at home increased and my part with the chamber revitalization committee begins to grow I implemented scheduling.

It worked for a while until I realized all of the cost and time of actually going to every site. I'm not saying I'm going to abandon seeing clients in person but I need to do something to do more with the same amount of time in a day.

So I finally went to managed services. Something that can save me and my clients time. At first I was only going to offer it to my business clients, I'm mean what residential client is going to pay a month fee for my services.

With the help of some great IT guy in a Facebook group I'm in showed me to way. So now I'm offering a 2 tier service for businesses (what you get depends on your size and what you need. A 3 tier service for residential depending on what level services you need.

For my residential customers, you ask why would I do managed services. Well look at this situation. Its you, your kids and a spouse, you are all using the same computer. Something happens, your spouse on a site he shouldn't have, your kids downloading free software with a surprise attachment that either annoying you or slowing your computer down to a crawl. With managed services I can see all of that. I get an alert and I fix the problem. No figuring it out weeks later when something goes wrong and you really need your computer. Its something you won't notice but you won't go through times when you don't have your computer or its not running well.

For those of us who don't keep up with operating system updates or virus definition updates. I can take care of that too. I'll be alerted that your system needs attention and I can do what is needed. Again something you won't see but something you won't need to worry about.

I can also spot potential hardware failures. (usually hard drives and memory). Its a pain to have your computer go out and not know what is wrong. If I spot a problem with say your hard drive I can order you a new one and come out and replace the old one. When I come out all you pay is the price for the hardware there is no labor charge because your on a monthly plan.

Being on a monthly plan puts you in a position so if I have to come out to your place and do a service call its included. (in most cases, its rare that its not but i had to say it) So the only extra cost you would incur is when I need to buy hardware to replace something broken.

I know there are some out there that say I can deal with my own computer. Of course you can, this service isn't just for the ones who don't know how to do anything. Its for the ones that are busy, you have a lot on your plate. Well managed services with me will leave you more time to other things you need to do or enjoy doing. So I hope this explains everything you want to know about manged services and what I want to provide. If you have any questions you can always contact me.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The one thing I noticed

Today I was using my IPad to answer messages in a facebook group. I said " So you know why he would have an attitude" but my IPad typed out "So you know why YOU would have an attitude" OK.....I can understand a misspelling but to change a whole word to change who its directed to.

This isn't the first time this has happened. These kinds of mistakes when in a rush could get you in trouble. I know you have to go over what it types out cause no dictation software is perfect. I've used Dragon before and it pretty much messes up to to where I have to edit afterwards.

I'm a decent typer so using dictation software is only useful when I'm on my tablet or phone. Luckily back when I was first in college they made you take a typing class. They didn't want their techs to be sitting there poking at the keyboard. LOL

I have an samsung android phone that seems to do a lot better job than my IPad. So that's what leads me to believe it's either something wrong with my IPad's mic, the software makes choices on what it hears and tries to correct me realtime without my input or Siri just doesn't understand me.

I won't stop using dictation software cause hey, I don't like typing on my digital devices all day. I have big fingers and they sometimes to miss their mark. I just had to speak what was on my mind today. That's just how I am.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Where I am on search engines

This morning I decided to do a search on "Litzsey Tech Services" and see what comes up on Bing, Yahoo and Google. My first though was because I have a blogger site and a lot of other things invovling Google I would probably show up with more relevant pages showing up in their search

Well I was surprised to find that in Bing and Yahoo my my blogger general page and one post shows up first. Then my Linkedin profile. While on Google my blogger didn't show up until 6th on the search my first entry after the three ads was my godaddy site that ends in .biz which is just a hold page and isn't being used by me right now. The second one was a Google+ post I made on the CBO report on the American Health Care Act I did yesterday March 13th.

The two entries that kinda baffled me at first was the one for Manta. It looks like one of those companies that are trying to catalog businesses. So it made a temp profile on me. Of course it asks is this your business? take control of this profile. Well sorry I won't be doing that. I see now its one of those small business promotion site that helps you get a presence without a lot of work. Then I saw it had estimated about how much money I'm making and how many employees I have which are both wrong. So I hope anyone that searched me on Google and saw this site realizes it doesn't have accurate data on my business.
The other one was AngelList. I know I have a profile on this site but why would it be above my own site posts and even my blogger site for the business. That's a Google company you would think it would rate higher just on that matter.

Then I went to page two and found my entry for Linkedin third. It was third on the other search engines on page one.

So I think there are a lot of people concentrating on google analytics to get higher ratings. The google search was all over the place in my opinion. I'm not an expert in SEO so what do you think?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Backing up your data

In these days of Ransomware you have to think about your backups more than ever. Without backups your data could be lost in one mouse click. You can backup in serveral different ways. You can backup to an external drive. You can backup to other computers on your local network and you could backup online.
Recently I had a customer suffer from ransomware. So of course the conversation turned to what can I do to back up my data so it doesn't happen again. First I suggested to them to get an external drive to have their data on instead of your computer. This is the easiest option of all and its a one time payment of the purchase of the drive. Now after that its a little more work. You have to either have the drive always hooked up to the computer so you can do automatic backups (through software) or hook it up and run a manual backup. Well my customer felt they didn't want to do that. So I moved on.

Option 2 I didn't think would work for them because this takes a little time to setup and you have to have more advanced skill to maintain. But then I though about them using something like Crashplan that would allow them to save backups to a another computer, either another one of your own or a friend's computer. The only think about that plan is you have to make sure you have enough space on the computer your backing up to. So I put this plan on hold as far as this customer was concerned but I might come back to it later. I actually do this for myself. I use Crashplan on a Linux computer in my office in my basement that has a 1tb drive. Its an extra drive that doesn't have the operating system on it so in case of a system failure I'm not in a pickle about saving the data. I also I'm going to add it to my mother's computer to backup her data. So for anyone that has a desktop with some extra drive space this might be a great option for you.

Option 3. Online storage. My client already used dropbox. When they got the ransomware it infected their dropbox files too. I think the most likely reason was it was mounted on their system like it was a local drive so the ransomeware could treat it like it was a local file. So my customer's confidence was shook on online storage. I suggested companies like Amazon (Glacier or AWS), Carbonite or any one of the host of other backup services. Their issue beyond that was paying a monthly fee. Well I tried to explain to them that data storage costs like if you took your furniture to storage. You don't put it in storage and pay a one time fee. There is more that goes into that. They have to pay for utilities for the building, and the fact your using a service just denotes having to pay a fee.

So no matter what you choose its important to find some way to backup your data. Remember if your not willing to do some of the work yourself then your going to pay someone for something. There is no more free when it comes to technology. You pay somehow. Look at all these options and ask yourself what are you willing to do and it usually shows you what option works for you. If you conclusion is none of the above its hard for me to say what you should do. Technology may soon give you an option that fits what you like and what you like to spend on it. But its more important to BACK IT UP!!

Monday, February 27, 2017

What Browser do you use?

Back in the early days of web browsers there were only IE and Netscape. Now the browser landscape has grown exponentially. There are close and open source browsers, there are browsers that go along with your anti-virus. There are browsers that help you securely browse the internet. There are many selections out there. This is just a small survey to see where you are in the browsersphere. I'm considering teaching a class on understanding browsers, what's out there and how to find the one that is right for you.

Create your own user feedback survey

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The current state of security for the home/home office user.

I've been inspired to write this because of a current customer that had a ransomware problem. They had questions on how to stop it and could their files be recovered without paying the ransom. Well the answers are yes and no respectively.

I'm sure everyone has internet security, I'm sure most of you run Microsoft Windows. If that is the case. Your first way to prevent the ransomware malware is to make sure both your anti-virus and operating systems are up to date.

In addition if your running Windows XP please update or if your computer is that old that you can't update get a new one or a newer refurbished computer from your local computer store. Running Windows XP is the most insecure thing you can do. It won't matter what anti-virus you run you are still in danger. Like I heard on this IT podcast. Its like putting a great lock on an old beat up shed. You might stop someone from picking the lock but they can just simply kick the door down or bust out a window. If you are running Windows 7,8,8.1 or 10 you must make sure your operating system is up to date to make sure any security updates are in place. Microsoft always has some kind of update for the security of your device.

Secondly is your internet security. It doesn't matter what you run but it does matter if it is updated. Internet security that isn't updated is like not having it at all as it concerns the newer malware threats. The security software has to know about the threat in order to stop it. That is why regular updating is important. I've had times where I just happen to open my anti-virus program and hit update and it wasn't current. Now what if I got some newer malware and I didn't do that. I could get infected. Its always a good practice to check on your software regularly just as you check your car or check anything else you might own. Sometimes you might find a small issue before it becomes a big problem.

Lastly, the one thing everyone needs to do just in case is BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP. Use a usb drive, use a computer on your local network, use online backup. Something! Don't wait til disaster hits and say what if. Be proactive and be prepared

The number one factor in security lapses is the human user. I remember Kevin Mitnick's book The Art of Deception and how social engineering played a big part in his success as a hacker. The game hasn't changed one bit. Now its the major component in the majority of malware, the human factor. What's the solution. Education. We as users have to constantly learn in order to not become a victim. I hope this help someone or gives you the motivation learn more.

Friday, January 27, 2017

My Focus

For 3 years I've been in the IT Business. Like most I started out doing consumer tech. Taking off viruses and cleaning up computers so they can run faster. It was something I thought I had to do since coming out of Robert Morris College IL (Now Robert Morris University IL) I didn't get a corporate job. I knew I needed to stay sharp but a degree in networking isn't equal to me removing viruses and cleaning computers.

 I started to attend workshops and seminars not only to get noticed but to increase my knowledge in IT. I knew I needed to get in the door somewhere soon before I knowledge got stale.

When I moved to Columbus OH, I worked hard to get my foot in the door, I was always showing up at tech placement businesses trying to keep my face fresh in peoples minds. I almost made it if it wasn't for the fact of me not taking care of my health and becoming ill. I ended up in the hospital for 2 weeks and had to go back to Chicago.

Back there I didn't know what to do so I thought hey I did all that work in Columbus to get noticed why not here, but it wasn't the same. I was lost in the hordes of people, some with major connections. I was depressed and worked a while in a couple places. In the end my health came back into play as I had a car accident because of my untreated sleep apnea. So I quit, still doing consumer tech on the side I decided to take the leap of faith and start an IT business.

Now here I am three years later. Now I'm in a spot where I need to move forward or I'll be on my quest to do something else again. I refuse to be in that situation again. I have moved forward to build a reputation, to work with organizations and to help teach. Since I've always been a stickler for being safe and secure. I'm going to focus my efforts in keeping consumers and small businesses safe. Yes, cyber security. So when you are ready to set up encryption for your email, when you are ready to set up a vpn, when you are ready to secure that device so that you aren't a victim of data theif. Come talk to me.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

My Online Scheduling.

Below is my Setmore appointment page. I found it looking around the internet. It has become something I really want to use. Right now I'm using the free version but as I get more business and make more I will work it into my budget to get the premium version which will allow me to do a lot more. I'm starting to find things to make my business experience easier.

The page is live and you can actually book an appointment from it. I block out time when I'm at the South Chicago Chamber meetings and when I'm on my weekly meetings with clients that already fill that spot. I do take off our booking and it should allow you to do it. If not call me and we can arrange something. I like for people to book at least 2 days ahead if you have to book sooner then please call me. I hope that this service will make it easier to set appointments with me. FYI the "i don't know" is a hourly rate. The rest are rated at an hour or two hours then after it become hourly. But all the flat rate services should be done within the time unless there is circumstances that prevent me from finishing before the time is up.