e-Etiquette Quick Tip #1

Have you ever expressed interest in buying something online and sent a quick email for more information, then never heard back from that company? Or maybe you attempted to make a reservation at a restaurant’s website (because they offered that service), but again got no response from them?

Sadly those experiences are often the norm, not the exceptions…

How fast do you respond back to your customers, clients, and prospects? Within a day? A week? Ever? I can recall at least a half dozen times where a prospect emailed us a question through our website, I received their message, and personally responded back to them within 5 minutes… Amazingly each of those prospects became clients (they all commented either about how they never heard back from other companies or how they never received such a prompt reply “in their life”). And “no” we don’t sit and watch our in-boxes minute by minute! :)

So here is our quick tip…
When you get a business email from a client, customer, vendor or prospect, write them back as soon as possible; even if it is just an acknowledgement that you received their message. No, you don’t need to be checking your emails every 2 minutes and stopping your day to respond to each email, but can’t you make it a habit to check for new messages once an hour? And while auto-replies help to at least acknowledge you received their message, you can do a LOT better than that. I promise you will be amazed at the responses you get!

6 Quick Tips To Keep Your Computer Safe

Not a week goes by without at least one client/friend/family member asking how to steer clear of viruses on the net.

So here are some quick tips (for Windows users):

  1. Antivirus Software.  Get it, install it and maintain it.  Our favorite is Norton Internet Security, but even the free antivirus programs will work.
  2. When browsing the Internet, use Firefox, Chrome or Safari for Windows as your browser.  Microsoft’s IE (Internet Explorer) is simply too tied to the operating system (Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8) of the computer and has too many weaknesses. Our favorite: FireFox.
  3. For Windows Vista and later versions, don’t use the default administrator account as your regular user’s account.  Create a new regular user and use that account.  This helps prevent unwanted software/viruses/malware from being installed on your computer without your knowledge.
  4. Get to know Windows System Restore.
  5. Back-Up your data. Just do it.
  6. Oh and did we mention to back-up your data?  AND back-up to ANOTHER computer or DVD or USB Key or portable hard-drive.  If your computer crashes and your only back-ups are on that computer, you are up the river without a paddle.

PS: While Apple products and linux operating systems aren’t as big a target as Windows, hackers are getting more and more skilled each and every day. So whatever you use to browse the web; computer, iPad, iPhone, Android phone, etc… Please back-up your data.

Is your website vulnerable?

Was your website built over 2 years ago? Have any coding changes been made to it since then? Do you allow visitors to submit information to you via your website, and/or make purchases, or send you any sort of sensitive data? Do you have an administrative area on your site?

We know, a lot of questions… But there is a very good reason. If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, your website might be in danger. Over the past year hackers have dramatically increased their attempts to break-in to both large AND small websites (In today’s business environment, not a week goes by where there isn’t some story about a security breach related to data technology).

Internet years are even greater than dog years and because of that we all need to be extra vigilant with our own security features and functionality, to insure the safety of everyone who visits our websites or uses our custom software applications.

At Emaxed we offer our clients a Security Audit and Remediation Engagement to help. While our audits are not on the level of the FBI or CIA, they do provide a good cost/benefit approach for our clients’ small to medium size websites.

If your web service provider does not offer a similar service, give us a call (856-428-8038) to discuss, we would love to help.

No matter what, do not put security off until tomorrow, it just might be too late.


Apple, Apps & Your Business

“We need an iPhone app fast!”
We have heard this quite often over the past year, from current and new clients alike. The question we immediately ask is “Are you sure?” It’s not that we don’t want the business, but rather we want to make sure the client understands what is involved in designing and building a native Apple app. Putting aside the red tape and aggravation of getting an app listed in the iTunes store for a minute (it can take months to get your app approved and listed on iTunes), building a true native app isn’t a 1, 2, 3 type of project (and beware anyone who tries to sell you that it is).

Most of all, if you are not looking to charge for your app, then maybe a native Apple app is not for you. Just maybe a mobile web-app is more of what you need.  A mobile web-app runs on most smart phones and not just on a single platform (like how an Apple app only runs on Apple devices). You won’t need to get anyone’s approval to share your app, and best of all integrating a mobile web-app with your current website is often quite easy. The drawbacks to the mobile web-app approach mostly have to do with the app getting access to the higher features of the newer smartphones (like the phone’s camera or GPS chip). But that is changing as most mobile phone manufacturers are starting to allow developers to access to these features without having to write device specific apps.

As with anything “tech”, there are always alternatives. Our advice? Do your best to start all new projects with an open mind and be open to your developer’s suggestions.

Don’t Be Intimidated!

This past Saturday I was trimming some bushes outside when I received a frantic phone call from a friend in need. The caller feared he was the victim of a computer virus. I held the phone to my ear while I went through the standard question and answer process to see if it was a virus, malware or simply a corrupted file system (he was using Vista after all).

Turns out it was in fact a corrupted boot file. For the next few minutes we ran through his options: Repair his OS… Reinstall the OS… Upgrade the OS (again, its Vista)… Purchase a new laptop… Or make the jump to an iPad or similar tablet computer.

I’m sad to say I get these sort of calls much too often. Not that I mind helping those in need, but rather I don’t like how so many get intimidated by computers and embarrassed when they hit a wall. And often the callers are VP’s, professionals, managers, and/or highly skilled tradesmen and women. So before I hung up, I tried to put it all into perspective by passing along the same thing I’ve been saying for 20 years now;

“Listen Bob, I can guarantee you that if you put me in your job starting tomorrow morning, I wouldn’t have the foggiest clue as to how to proceed… And I mean that!”

And I do. What many see as being technologically challenged, is simply them having other priorities and goals. We are each placed on this earth with a mission in life. Techno-geeks are just the same as doctors, surgeons, accountants, lawyers, plumbers, electricians and the like.

So the next time you start your computer and see some ominous message about something can’t start or a file is corrupted, don’t feel intimidated when you call your technology buddy, brother, niece and/or nephew. Remember what Emerson said; “Every man I meet is in some way my superior.” AND that includes you! I’m 100% positive that you  possess certain skills of which we tech people stand in awe, and that in your special ways you are superior to all of us, and we are better for knowing you!