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Bits & Bytes Gazette – January 2014


ITS Newsletter – Pass IT On

January 2014

Happy New Year! 2014 is upon us, time for those left over dinners, New Year’s resolutions, and brand new technology. In this newsletter we are going to take a look at a few upcoming gadgets/ideas that should be releasing this year. We have also given you a different type of New Year’s Resolution; a few tips to keep your digital privacy safe and secure that most of have gotten out of the habit of doing. Happy reading!!

What’s in January’s Newsletter?:

  • Smartwatches
  • What else is coming in 2014?
  • 7 Tech New Year’s Resolutions that you should keep!
  • 10 tricks for iPad/iPhone users
  • Adobe PDF tip
  • Deal of the Month
  • Tech Tip of the Month
  • This Month in Tech History
  • January Events

Smart watches:

Smart watches have come a long way over the years and 2013 gave them a big boost. I believe 2014 may be the year for smart watches. The majority of consumers have phones that would be compatible with wearable devise, and the components have gotten small and cheap enough to produce. The top 5 smart watches for 2013 came from Pebble, Martian, i’m Watch, Sony, and ConnecteDevice Cookoo. In 2014 the big names should be releasing some watches with a real ‘wow-factor’. No supplier is really ‘in the lead’ as of yet and everyone is looking at Apple for their answer, the iWatch. It was supposed to be released in 2013, but it never happened, some are starting to think it isn’t true. Currently, Samsung and Sony’s release, even though are more advanced and look sleek, haven’t really given consumers a reason to go and get a smart watch, yet. Smart watches may become the best accessory for your smartphone.

What’s new for 2014?


Other than smart watches, we are looking at Apple for the release of the Apple iTV. The rumours for this new Apple product are getting warmer. It is said to be released by the end of 2014 with no one really confirming the details, we don’t know how much it will be and what it will bring to our homes.


Google has been in the news quite a lot recently. They recently purchased Boston Dynamics, which would make it the 8th robotics company they have purchased in the last 6 months. We aren’t sure what they are doing yet with their robotics research, but some rumours should hopefully slide out quite soon. Google are set to make the Google Glass available to the general public in 2014, expecting to sell several million pairs, although, that will still not make it a common tech gadget for all.

7 Tech New Year’s Resolutions

Every year that passes technology is syncing in with our lives more and more. For some of us, we may have all our bank, emails, passwords, work files; on our phones, home pc, laptop, or just about anywhere. As the good side of technology advances, so do the bad, so virus, hackers, and thieves. Take a look at these easy tech resolutions that you can do to protect your virtual and real identity.

  1. Update Security Software Often
    1. We all emit that groan of despair when our computers need to update their software, but in reality, it’s necessary to keep them running.

If you don’t update your security software frequently, it’s easier to get malware or trojan horses that could steal your information and harm your computer. Most programs will schedule updates, but making it a part of your routine is helpful. Set aside 10 minutes on a less busy day to update the definitions while you wait for that pizza you ordered or before you brush your teeth.

  1. Schedule Back-Ups to an External Hard Drive
    1. Let’s be honest, backing up your hard drive is the last thing on your to-do list. The only thing that seems to jog your memory is when your computer refuses to turn on, and you realize you haven’t backed anything up for six months — too little, too late.

Like the security software update, make it a part of your routine. Set aside some time while watching Netflix or reading news online. If you use services such as Time Machine, you can schedule updates, but otherwise you’ll have to do manually

  1. Stop Reusing Passwords
    1. It’s easy to fall into the habit of using the same generic password for all of your online profiles and pages, especially since writing them down is ill-advised. But having the same password for every account can put your entire online presence at risk, since a person only needs to guess correctly once to access them all.

Create passwords with numbers, letters and symbols to add diversity, and use a random password generator for a unique combination.

  1. Use Secure Wi-Fi Networks
    1. The Wi-Fi from the local coffee shop, public park or bookstore seems safe enough — but if you see a network with a dubious name (like “Free Public Wi-Fi”) that doesn’t require a password, you’re better safe than sorry. Even if you’re using a network you can trust, there are some best practices you should adopt: Use the secure browsing extension, turn off sharing and change your settings so you don’t automatically log into Wi-Fi hotspots.


  1. Stay Up-to-Date on Your Privacy Settings
    1. Technology is all about change, so whenever a social network undergoes a major update, the privacy settings may have also changed. This means that your once-hidden and private profile could be out in the open for others to see.

Check your own settings regularly, keep an eye out for major site changes or news of a settings update, and learn how to hide your profile again.

  1. Stop Throwing Out Busted Tech
    1. Not only is trashing your tech terrible for the environment, it’s potentially dangerous for you. Old tech can still retain important information, so whoever picks up your old computer off the curb might able to grab sensitive information you thought you erased ages ago.

A much better alternative is to recycle your products. It’s less convenient, but there are plenty of resources to help you (such as ERA who were featured in our last newsletter).

  1. Keep the Clutter Off Your Computer
    1. It’s common to let emails accumulate in your inbox or leave files on your desktop. But there will come a point in time when you’ll have to find key content hidden among the mess, and it will be significantly harder to find.

With some good, old-fashioned organization skills, it’s possible to maintain a clutter-free digital life. For emails, answer or delete messages as soon as you can, sort them so you can find important ones faster and download productivity plugins. Save files to appropriate folders when you first create them, and delete duplicates or old files whenever you see them.

10 Tricks for iPad/iPhone users:

Here are some nifty little tips and tricks that you may not have known that you can do with your iPad/iPhone:

  1. (iPad)- Switch Key board to thumb mode for comfortable typing. – You can do this a few ways. Quickest way is to just ‘pull the keyboard apart with your fingers.
  2. (iPhone) – Need a fast charge? – If you put your phone on airplane mode, it will charge twice as fast.
  3. (both) – Offline map usage – Make use of offline Google Maps when travelling abroad. While you still have internet access, go to the area you want to save. In the search bar, type ‘ok maps’ and the map will be cached for offline use.
  4. (both)- Calculator app – remove an accidental extra zero by swiping left to right. This is helpful if you are in the middle of a bunch of expenses, you don’t have to start over if you accidentally typed in too many numbers.
  5. (both)- Guided Access– Once guided access is turned on, it keeps users from errantly clicking or tapping within an app and ending up someplace they’re not supposed to be, or deleting something accidentally. Especially great for when a child is playing with your device. First, you need to go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access and turn it on. You’ll also want to turn on the Accessibility Shortcut. Triple-click the home button in whichever app you want to turn it on for. From here, you can select any buttons that you don’t want clicked. Or you can also disable the home button while keeping the touchscreen on.
  6. (both) – Headphone selfies – you can take selfies without have your arm in the way. On your Apple headphones, while in the camera app, just click the volume + button to click and shoot, or the middle button while in video mode.
  7. (both)- Compass app- There is a built in level gauge in the compass app. This little trick is helpful if you need to hang a photo. Open up the Compass app and swipe to the left and you’ll be at the level screen.
  8. (both) – Back to top- Tap the top bar of any app to scroll back to the top. No more tedious thumb scrolling when you are way down the list
  9. (both) – Better nighttime browsing- Inverting your colors will turn the screen black and the text white for less eye strain.  Go to Settings > General > Accessibility. Turn on “Invert Colors.”
  10. (both) – Outsmart autocorrect- When typing contractions, add an extra letter. i.e- weree (we’re) – welll (we’ll)

Adobe PDF tip:

Here is a tip from one of our techs for all those who use Adobe:

If you use the Windows 7 preview feature to view a PDF and have it open in your explorer window, the file is then open according to the server you are browsing the file from.  The offshoot of this is that if you then open the PDF and make changes and then try to save, Adobe will give you an error that the file is already open and to save the file somewhere else.  The solution is to close the preview in Windows 7 explorer.

Deal of the Month:

Each month we will supply you with a product that we believe is a great deal and may suit your business or personal needs. This is an opportunity for you to save time and energy shopping around for what’s best at the best price, because we have done it for you!

Logitech TK820 Wireless All-in-One Keyboard w/Built –in Touch Pad Incurve & Customizable Hot Keys

Price: $ 99.00

*Tax and Shipping not included

If you are interested please contact the sales team at https://www.itsconsultinginc.ca/contact/

Tech Tip of the Month:

Brought to you by Alandale Training a great resource online for tips and on-site computer training courses in Vancouver, BC. Visit their site at www.alandaletraining.com.

Cycling through all your windows

In response to last week’s tip, several subscribers mentioned that you can also use Alt+Tab to cycle through your open windows.  Alt+Tab has been around since the days of Windows 3.1 and used to be the only way we had of switching between windows.  I’m sure that like me, some of you worked with Windows 3.1.

When the Taskbar came along in Windows 95, Alt+Tab became less prominent but it can still be useful as a quick way of switching between windows.

So what is the difference between Alt+Tab and Ctrl+F6?  Let’s say you have seven windows open, including three Word documents, and you are currently looking at one of the Word windows.  Ctrl+F6 will cycle between the three Word windows while Alt+Tab will cycle between all seven windows.

As with Ctrl+F6, Shift reverses the order of moving through the windows.  So a mouse-free way to repetitively switch between a couple of windows is to use Alt+Tab, followed by Shift+Alt+Tab.

If you liked this tip click here to join the Alandale Training Mailing List to receive more great tech tips.

This Month in Tech History:

January Events:

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Bits & Bytes Gazette – Dec 2013


ITS Newsletter – Pass IT On

December 2013

Last month of 2013, and it is seems like it is going to be a cold one and of course one that is filled with shopping and presents. If you are looking for a secret Santa gift, or some cute stocking stuffers, or want to get the family a nice big tech gift; we have given you some ideas and inspiration. In this newsletter we are going to see some hot gadgets for kids big and small. Merry Christmas everyone!

What’s in Decembers’ Newsletter?:

  • Stocking stuffers
  • Home Entertainment
  • Bird? Plane? No, it’s the delivery drone…
  • Star Wars Snowflakes
  • ERA- Electronic Recycling Association
  • Deal of the Month
  • Tech Tip of the Month
  • This Month in Tech History
  • December Events

Stocking Stuffers:

  • Spheroessentially this is the remote control car for the modern age. It can be used inside and outdoors and is controlled by the movements of your hands on your iPhone/iPad. It is about the size of an orange, and offers you enjoyment for yourself or with a friend.
  • Lazer Tag PackWith this pack, you can play lazer tag anywhere. Just download the app for free and pick up the guns. You can play this solo on missions, or get some friends and have a free-for-all
  • Oakley Airwave Goggles If you have any snowboard enthusiast in your circle, this would be an ideal accessory. You can track and share your speed, jump analytics, navigation, your buddies, music, and calls and text, plus more.
  • Olloclip 4-in-one Lens- With this nifty little attachment you can capture the types of photos you want from your phone. Connects in seconds, fits in your pocket, and gives you the creativity and that perfect photo.

Home Entertainment:

  • OLED TV- This would be if you want to splurge on yourself or family this holiday season. TV’s are constantly evolving and getting better and better. As one of the premium TV’s on the market right now the OLED tv’s are a good bet if you want to upgrade your viewing experience. There are some pros and cons like with all other technology, see below for some reviews on the Samsung and LG’s OLED tv’s.

  • Samsung 55’ S9C Series- Amazing picture quality, stunning contrast, and the ability for multi-view. How many times do you want to watch something while the other person wants something else? This way both can enjoy watching with full HD video and sound quality.
  • LG 55’ OLED Smart TV– Curved screen, 4 colour pixel, clear sound, Smart TV and an amazing cinema 3D experience. Unfortunately the LG’s price tag is almost 1.5 times more than the Samsung.
  • Comparison and info – Cons


  • Evolution Kit – If you are looking for an entertainment gift for someone, but more of an accessory instead of a new TV, there is the Evolution Kit. For those who already have the smart tv can keep up with the game with this little kit. It plugs into the back of your smart TV and upgrades the Smart Hub for select 2012 tv’s without having to buy the new model. With pricing starting around $200.00, it makes it an affordable gift as well.


  • Paradigm Soundtrack Sound bar & subwoofer-Another idea for a cinematic experience in your home, is to get a good sound system. With so many on the market, some big, some small, some wireless, it seems there are too many choices. Well if you are after something simple and good quality; take a look at what Paradigm has to offer. This sleek sound bar and wireless subwoofer fits into any room. Fast and easy to set up, hooks directly to many electronics, including the Apple TV, gaming consoles, entertainment players, and more.

Future of Deliveries:

China and South Africa have already used delivery drones for festivals and delivering cakes and packages. In Canada there are laws that require a certificate for every flight, but this technology has been allowed since 2008. Amazon has been working on drones to offer a half-hour delivery option, which they are hoping to achieve in the next 4-5 years. Check out the news on the future ‘Amazon Prime Air’.

Star Wars Snowflakes:

Tired of same old paper snowflakes, try out these cool Star Wars themed ones!

Check out the templates here!

Electronic Recycling Association:

Incorporated in 2004 and operating nationally, the Electronic Recycling Association (ERA) is a Not for Profit Organization (NPO) tasked with reducing unnecessary waste and/or adverse environmental impact associated with electronic and IT equipment.

The ERA believes that “reuse” is the most effective manner to achieve this, and thus donations of repurposed equipment compels significant and demonstrable positive community impact.

By providing other not for profits, community groups, agencies or otherwise qualifying organizations with equipment that still has productive life, the ERA is able to both provide a valuable and needed service to both those who need the equipment – and those corporate organizations who need a responsible outbound channel for their retiring goods.

In recent years, due to challenging economic conditions, many of the organizations whom the ERA helps by way of computing donations have seen reductions in their external funding sources, and as such make our donation activity much more valuable – and needed.

With the ongoing proliferation of “E Waste”, the ERA strives to grow our reach, as well as our ability to compel positive change.

For more information or to use their services check out their website: www.era.ca

Deal of the Month:

Each month we will supply you with a product that we believe is a great deal and may suit your business or personal needs. This is an opportunity for you to save time and energy shopping around for what’s best at the best price, because we have done it for you!

Samsung Series 3, 23.6’ Widescreen LED LCD Monitor

Price: $ 154.00

*Tax and Shipping not included

If you are interested please contact the sales team at https://www.itsconsultinginc.ca/contact/

Tech Tip of the Month:

Brought to you by Alandale Training a great resource online for tips and on-site computer training courses in Vancouver, BC. Visit their site at www.alandaletraining.com.

Using AutoCorrect to save keystrokes for common phrases

You can use AutoCorrect to save keystrokes for phrases you commonly use.  I often talk about step-by-step instructions in my proposals and emails.  My typing skills or OK but words with hyphens slow me down.  So rather than typing the phrase each time, I created an AutoCorrect entry sbs.

I can then type sbs in any e-mail or Word document and as I press the space bar, step-by-step instructions appears. I do something similar for One-on-One for which I created an AutoCorrect entry 1o1.

In recent versions of Microsoft Office all the programs use the same AutoCorrect file so you can use the entries you create in Word, Outlook, Excel or PowerPoint.  When creating AutoCorrect entries you want something that is easy to remember but make sure the entry isn’t a word or abbreviation you may use.

For instance, if I used step for my step-by-step AutoCorrect entry, every time I used the word step in a document or e-mail, the substitution would automatically happen!

If you liked this tip click here to join the Alandale Training Mailing List to receive more great tech tips.

This Month in Tech History:

December Events:


Thanks for reading! Hope you have a great December! Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

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