Technology

Even in the face of changing technology, invoicing is still the way most businesses receive income. Are you in danger of falling behind your competitors? Invoicing in Quickbooks has become easier than ever, whether you do your own bookkeeping or another firm does it for you. If you invoice one at a time, or run a group of invoices, you can save paper and automate the ‘printing’ and mailing by going to emailed invoices.

Running invoices one at a time.

  1. Enter your invoice information as usual
  2. Click the ‘Email Later’ button above the invoice. If you haven’t entered the customer’s email address, do it here. You will also enter your email address, just once. 
  3. Save your invoice.

Running invoices in a ‘Memorized Group’.

  1. If you have already memorized this set of invoices to a group, delete them all. Unfortunately, if you don’t you will have two memorized invoices for each customer.
  2. Enter your invoice information as usual
  3. Click the ‘Email Later’ button above the invoice. If you haven’t entered the customer’s email address, do it here. You will also enter your email address, just once. 
  4. Do everything just like invoicing one at a time, but before saving click on the ‘Memorize Group’ button above the invoice.
  5. Click ‘Add to group’
  6. Select the group you have already set up.
  7. Hit ‘ENTER’
  8. Save your invoice
  • When you are ready to send them:
  1. Go to ‘File’, ‘Send Forms’
  2. All of your pre-selected (Email Later) invoices are here. You can email all of them, or select certain ones to send.
  3. On the right is the actual email body. You can change this each time you send invoices, or set up your own in ‘Preferences’. file_001file_002
  4. As of this time in Quickbooks, you have only a very basic invoice to email. It follows your invoice layout, but does not have borders, etc.

Do this and you will save time, get paid faster, and save money on paper, envelopes and postage.

 


Privacy in the Digital World

Technology definitely enhances our lives. Technology also has a way of slowly stripping away any sense of privacy we ever had. Here are some apps, some in existence now, that make this pointedly clear:

Girls Around Me”, to me this seems like you are giving people permission to ‘check you out’ before you ever meet them, because you ‘check-in’ to a particular bar on the social media site Foursquare. The app alerts you to someone who checked in and let’s you look at their Facebook profile! This idea got such a huge backlash that is was taken down by it’s creator. They plan on bringing it back soon and defend it by saying they use information that is readily available. They equate it with walking by a window and looking in to see who’s inside.

Highlight” seems really creepy to me, especially the last part. This app monitors your friends and family’s location and tells you when they are near; the really creepy part (?), it also tells you if someone with similar interests as you is close by! And who wants their best friend to know that you ditched her to go next door to a knitting class? You log-in with Facebook so your friends who use the app can be found by you. Also other Facebook users that may be passing by that the app thinks will interest you! Ugghh.

Scene Tap” It will scan the crowd using facial recognition software and will determine the age and gender of people. The founders claim it helps users find the ‘right sort of crowd for them’.

Find Friends Nearby” was Facebook’s hat-in-the-ring. Privacy concerns had this app pulled.

Of course the most obvious way to protect yourself from someone finding out too much about yourself is too be very vigilant about what you share online! There are ways beyond that of course, but it all comes down to how much info YOU put out there. I’ve received invitations to use a Facebook app, for example, and it will say that it is going to access my address book and make my information available to other users. This just sounds bad, so I don’t use any apps on Facebook.

Just so you know, your public information on Facebook includes; your name, user id, username, profile picture, gender, age range, language and country. You can choose different options for how to share your info, from not being ‘searchable’ to the public, to only posting profile pictures that you don’t mind who sees them. Even someone who is not on Facebook can see your public profile. I will tackle Facebook privacy in depth in another blog post.

Basically, whenever an app, whether on your smartphone, computer, or tablet asks to access information you are not comfortable sharing, don’t use the app. For the protection of your friends and family, don’t ever let an app access your address book, friends list, or anything that would give other people’s information out.

Now I suppose some people don’t care if others know where they are at all times. I would rather be olde fashioned and decide for myself to tell someone where I am. If you are looking for trouble, then yes, sign in to a social media site and let others that you have never met ‘check you out’ before they meet you in person, without your express permission. I don’t think many of us realize how much our privacy is disappearing. We just want to post our every move online, to party, hook up, and find ‘cool’ people. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer to walk in to a place anonymously and check it out in person. Some of those apps seem like a perfect fit for the stalkers among us! Admittedly I do have a facebook account, twitter etc., too much of my persoanl information is online because I enjoy the digital world. But I believe there is a line, and although it is different for all of us, we have to watch what is going on around us, because our freedom is being squeezed away from us, make no mistake about that.

Sources:

(http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-07-13/invasive-apps/56276506/1 )


Email Hacking

Have you had your email hacked recently? You are in good company! President G.H. Bush had his hacked while in the hospital; Sara Palin was a victim of email hacking (good company??). Many of us still don’t use the best passwords, nor do we change them very often. I have seen recently many sites requiring 10 character passwords, with at least one lower case, one uppercase, one number and one character! But just changing your password may not be enough! A little bit of searching can give a hacker enough information to also guess your answers to your security questions! Then, they can change your password, the security questions, alternate email account, and guess what (?), it is now their email account, lost to you forever!! I couldn’t believe it either, but think about it …

So if your email gets hacked, or know your password is weak, or have the usual answers for security questions, don’t have an alternate email, you better get off your b*&)tt, and change everything RIGHT NOW!!

If you still can …

  1. try to recover your account with the ‘forgot/lost password’ option
  2. make your new password at least 10 characters
  3. change all of your security question answers (hint: your ANSWERS don’t even have to answer the questions, just as long as they ARE YOUR ANSWERS! Be aware to then WRITE them down in a safe place!)
  4. get an alternate email address to get confirmations on changes, preferably through a different email provider
  5. make sure there is no information that you don’t recognize, such as phone numbers or email addresses that you don’t own
  6. consider getting 2 or 3 addresses for different activities
  • I have one for web-sites I go to that require an email, or shopping I do only occasionally; that email address gets all of my SPAM
  • my main one is for personal use, banking and credit card and it gets hardly no SPAM
  • one more I have is for regular shopping, and other places I trust to send me various account information
  1. download your email to your computer. I use Mozilla/Thunderbird (because Outlook and Windows mail are now web-based due to Windows 8), doing so is essentially backing up your email onto your computer.

HOW TO RECOGNIZE SOMEONE HAS SENT YOU EMAIL FROM A ‘HACKED’ ACCOUNT:

  • The subject line contains THEIR name. Who is going to send you an email with their name (FULL name usually) as the subject?
  • One of the recipients of the email is the sender
  • If you think it’s suspicious, contact them another way after deleting the email, they can always send it again if is legitimate

If you still aren’t convinced that this could happen to you ask around and see how many people you know that have been hacked. This is only the beginning of identity theft. If someone gets your email password, he can access your account because anyone can get the ‘settings’ to any email provider, they are readily accessible, all they need then is YOUR PASSWORD to send, AND RECEIVE YOUR EMAIL. That means personal email, which they can start to garner what you might use for usernames and passwords. If you bank online they will get those emails; they may be able to guess your username as they learn more about you, then they go to your bank or credit card site and hit the ‘change password’ button, they will receive the confirmation email, AND YOU ARE SCREWED!

The bottom line is; we have to get smarter as they get smarter! It is what it is, and we all have to be proactive to make sure we are not victims (to email hacking) who have to now prove that we are who we say we are.

Please pass along these tips to everyone you know.


Windows 8 – Part II (Confessions of a Hater)

I have to admit that when I installed Windows 8 and started using it, I was not happy and I put my computer away for a few days. The ability to work on the Windows 7 style desktop keeps me from going back to Vista. I would cringe whenever the commercials for Windows 8 would come on TV. Oh where do I begin on my barrage of ‘what were they thinking when they …’ Do they actually think we are all going to give up our huge monitors for a tablet, phone, or other touchscreen (small) computing device? Windows 8 is all about mobile computing.

Let me begin by saying, “Oh where, oh where have my icons gone? Why must I now scroll to see all of the programs that I could once see lined up on my desktop?” You see, the tiles of the Windows 8 start screen are much larger than icons, so not as many fit on the screen. On a mobile device you scroll with your finger from page to page; on a computer you either use the arrow buttons, or the scroll bar at the bottom. No it’s not that hard, but there are more steps to do everything.

“Oh where, oh where has the incredibly useful right-click menu gone?” Does anyone remember how to print, copy, cut and paste using keyboard shortcuts? (I admit that I have always used keyboard shortcuts over moving the mouse and right-clicking, but how many of us remember those commands?) In some ways Windows 8 seems like a backward step, or maybe they are just treating us all like children. I can see it now; in a back room at Microsoft they are plotting, “Let’s give them less choices, make them learn these basic moves, and herd them like cattle into having less control and sharing more of their information with us, so we can sell them more stuff!”

Here is a simple example of how Windows 8 has boggled my mind. I was reading something on the Microsoft site and they kept talking about ‘apps’. I figured they were talking about apps for all the various mobile devices. I actually went to Google to find out that ‘programs/software’ for computers are now called apps! I suppose that makes perfect sense in hind sight, but hey, I was quite shell-shocked my the whole upgrade!

“Oh where, oh where has my email gone?” I am a fervent believer in being the keeper of my own email! I used to use Outlook or Windows Mail to download my mail onto my own computer. Outlook/Windows Mail was an actual program on my computer. NOW, Outlook/Windows Mail is all in the ‘cloud’. I don’t like the look of it, there are not many options on how mail displays, and my contacts have disappeared. It took me days to find a file in a remote part of my computer with my contacts. I suppose that is an argument for those of you who use ‘Webmail’, like msn.com etc. But I wouldn’t want the Post Office holding my mail after I opened it (having access to it), why would I entrust my email to someone else? I don’t, so I’ve had to experiment with 3 other options, and the one that comes closest for me, to the ‘old’ Outlook/Windows Mail setup, is Thunderbird.

“Oh why, Oh why can’t I browse thumbnail images of my pictures?” If I didn’t have the ability to go back to the ‘Desktop’ (Windows 7 style desktop) this one aspect of viewing pictures would have me saving my money for an Apple computer. When you click on the tile that has your pictures on it, you see a row of large tiles which are the picture folders on your computer. This is ok, but you only see a few. (how many depends on the size of your screen) On my laptop I see 4 folders. This is very frustrating because once again I am left to scroll to get to the folder I want. When viewing pictures, they are in the infuriating tiles, and you have to scroll to see them all. I don’t know about you, but when I upload pictures, I go to the folder, view them in thumbnail size and can delete many at the same time because I can see most of them at once. I also put them where I want them, you know dragging them to different folders, this is going to be very cumbersome with the tiles. There is no Preview, which I used to use all the time because you could go through them and quickly rotate, delete or whatever.

If I could do it over again I would partition my hard drive and install Windows 8 on a whole different part of my computer. Because I upgraded from Vista, it is much harder for me to ‘go back’. So I will learn as I go along, let you know what other horrors I find, and keep complaining to Microsoft. 


Windows 8 – Part I (Friend or Foe)

I don’t know how many of you know about the offer Microsoft is making on Windows 8, but for an operating system, it’s hard to ignore. If you have a computer running Windows that was purchased before June 2, 2012, you can upgrade to Windows 8 for $39.99! That is not a typo, there are no digits missing before the 3. Windows machines (or operating systems) bought between June and now, can get Windows 8 for $15.(Those computers probably have Windows 7, so it’s not that much of a jump) Below is a screenshot of Windows 8, it is very different.

W8

Armed with this information, I am going to take the plunge. I have Windows Vista, so I will see a major improvement in all areas. Though I did just learn that I WILL have to install all of my own extra programs … Windows 7 users WILL NOT have to do that! I checked and I don’t really have that many. There are some I was going to uninstall to install different programs, now I will wait. I am anxious, but I do need to do a back up of my documents before I begin. I actually will go now and find out what I should do before upgrading. I will let you know what I find out …

But first a word on the learning curve. Many people are resistant to change, why do they always have to change things? I am one of those people also. I am very apprehensive about this upgrade. There are always good and bad things about something new. From what I have been able to gather, if you are new to computers then you might as well learn the newest programs. If you are relatively new to computers, but have really learned how to use whatever you have, you many get frustrated at having to relearn a whole new system. If you’ve been using computers for a long time and know what you’re doing, why not give Windows 8 a chance.

I will try it, learn it, use it, and report back to you periodically how my experience is going, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I better get going, January is coming.

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