April Fools Jokes

Tomorrow is April 1st and of course April Fool’s Day. No one knows the origin, but it is believed to be more than 500 years old. It seems to be a national holiday at Google, but other companies have rolled out some great tricks. Here are some of our favorites…

Gmail Paper

Back in 2007 Internet citizens were convinced that Google could do just about anything with technology. Google’s Gmail group parlayed this into a great prank that you could receive all your email in paper form delivered to your door. The site has long-been taken down, but it outlined how you would receive your emails printed, stacked neatly in a box, and shipped to your front door.

Left-Handed Whopper

In 1998 Burger King took out a full-page ad in USA Today announcing their newest menu item. The Left-Handed Whopper had the condiments rotated 180 degrees so that the weight of the burger skewed to the left.

http://hoaxes.org/af_database/permalink/the_left-handed_whopper/

Spaghetti Trees

In 1957 the button-up British Broadcasting Company pulled a very elaborate prank. They sent a film crew to Switzerland to file this three-minute video demonstrating that spaghetti actually comes from trees.

https://youtu.be/tVo_wkxH9dU

Taco Bell Liberty Bell

Taco Bell got in on the fun by purchasing full-page ads in six major American newspapers proclaiming they had purchased the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. The ruse was staged as an effort to help lower the national debt. People freaked out. They lit up the phone lines at Taco Bell corporate headquarters as well as the National Park Service. Later in the day at Noon, Taco Bell released a press release to quiet the discontent or to just pull more free publicity out of the idea.

8 Psychological Principles to Increase Your Upsells and Cross-Sells

You have heard that is can cost five to seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an old one. In spite of this most marketing efforts are driven towards acquiring new customers instead of deepening relationships with current ones.

Learn more about important psychological triggers that persuade customers to spend more with you.

Huffington Post

Cyber Security IQ Quiz

Create your own user feedback survey

What makes a vandal-proof camera vandal-proof?

When a surveillance camera is installed in a location where physical access to the camera is possible, precautions should be taken to protect the camera from vandalism or theft. One factor to consider when selecting a camera is how vandal-proof the camera is. But what exactly does it mean when a surveillance camera is rated as vandal-proof? There are three elements to vandal-proofing.

  1. First the camera should be difficult to open or re-adjust. This is accomplished through the use of recessed security screws that require a special tool included with the camera. A standard screwdriver or hex driver cannot be used to open a vandal-proof camera.
  2. The second aspect of making a camera resistant to vandalism is to build the camera with materials that make it highly resistant to impact, such as a swing from a hammer or a baseball bat. How do you know how much of a blow a camera can withstand? There is an international standard for measuring impact (IEC 62262, the equivalent of the EU standard EN 62262) and a camera manufacturer can submit products to be impact ranked by a certified testing facility. The testing is based on the type of hammer, mass of the hammer and the resulting impact energy (measure in joules). The ratings range from IK1 (the weakest) to IK10 (the strongest). Note that D-Link outdoor dome cameras have a certified IK10 rating.
  3. The third element of vandal-proofing a surveillance camera is one that is often overlooked – cable management. Cable management refers to how cabling from the camera is run in a way that protects it from the elements and vandalism (think wire cutters). There are three cable management techniques. Which one is used depends on the type of camera, where it is mounted and where the cabling enters the structure.

    dome_camera

Surface mounting a dome camera – the cabling exits the back of the dome (the side mounted to the wall or ceiling) directly into the building or into a junction box completely hiding and therefore protecting the cabling.

cable_management_bracket

Mounting a camera using a mounting bracket (wall mount, pole mount, corner mount, etc.) – most modern camera brackets include a built-in channel to hide the cabling. The cabling exits the camera directly into the bracket and is hidden from view. From the back of the bracket, the cabling enters the structure.
dome_camera_conduit

Conduit – Whether you’re talking about a dome camera, a bullet camera or a box camera in an outdoor enclosure, there is often a requirement to run conduit from the camera to another location where the cabling can enter the structure to be connected to a network switch or PoE injector. While not as elegant as running the cable directly into the structure, conduit provides a vandal and weatherproof option in situations where the camera cabling cannot enter the structure at the camera location.

The next time you’re planning a surveillance project where cameras are located where they can be physically breached, keep in mind how vandal-proof a camera model is as well as how to install a camera to minimize access to the cabling. In addition to cameras located outdoors, this advice also applies to cameras that are installed within reach indoors such as in schools, small retail stores and prisons. Unlike traditional vandalism, a successful attack on a camera could mean you not only lose the camera but potentially miss the video footage of the camera vandal in action. An added layer or protection is to make sure your cameras have cross coverage, meaning if a camera is damaged or removed, another camera is capturing the attack. Thinking ahead of what the worst possible camera attack could be will help you plan accordingly.

Fighting Screen Fatigue and Distractions

We are surrounded by screens from the time we wake until we fall asleep. Many of us have our devices on our nightstand. Think about it, the first thing and last thing you see outside sleep are a screen. You are likely dealing with screen fatigue which can affect your quality of sleep and ultimately your health.

Blue Light

Research shows that the blue light emitted by our screens can interrupt your sleep patterns. There are ways you can block that blue light. iOS devices such as the iPad and iPhone now have a feature called NightShift which limits blue light. You can set it to a schedule or manually enable the feature. If your using an Android device try out the Twilight app. For notebook computers look into the f.lux browser extension. Another extension for Chrome users is Screen Shader.

 The Internet of Distraction

The Internet has become the ultimate time-waster or procrastination enabler. It could be Facebook, catching up on news, or checking our Fantasy Football line-up there are thousands of ways to waste time and cut into productivity. If you rely on the Chrome browser from Google a great tool is StayFocusd Chrome extension. It allows you to block distracting web sites for custom time period. The TaskTimer extension is more reactive in that it allows you to track your surfing time.

Someone sends us a great article via Facebook or Twitter. You check it out then read another article then another and before you know it you have lost an hour. Pocket is great to save web pages, videos, and articles for later. It currently works with more than 1500 smartphone and tablet apps as well as in your computer web browser. It even works without an Internet connection when you’re ready to read so it works great when your away from a connection such as when you’re on a plane.

Look Away

Experts believe it is a good practice to look away from your computer or mobile screen every few minutes to relieve eye strain. The eyeCare Chrome extension allows you set a timer that will remind you to look away from your screen occasionally.

We live in a world in that many of us work outside of the standard 9 to 5. We also are increasingly using screens for entertainment and education. It is important to stay alert and productive. Try out these extensions and remember this is just a sample. There are multiple equivalents for many different platforms.

IT for the Busy Entrepreneur Seminar

Lotus Management Services in partnership with One Stop Consulting Shop and Gulati Law are presenting an “IT for the Busy Entrepreneur” seminar. We will be meeting at the office of Gulati Law in Altamonte Springs, FL Thursday, March 23 at 6:30 PM. This free educational workshop presented by Lotus Management Services Inc. will teach you all you need to know for a small business owner IT plan.

RSVP via email email info@onestopconsultingshop.com or Facebook.

Making Windows Look Good on Multiple Monitors

Windows 7 and earlier versions could be challenging to work well with multiple monitors. With today’s high resolution monitors and especially the new 4K models it can be even more difficult. Windows 10 has a great feature to fine tune scaling on multiple monitors.

To access scaling place your cursor in an empty space on your desktop. Right-click and choose “Display Settings” on the menu.

Click on the monitor icons marked 1 or 2 or even 3. Under the monitors look for “Change the size of text, apps, and other items: 100% (Recommended)”. Move the slider to adjust the resolution of your screen. When your happy with your results click “Apply”.

The next step is important. Be sure to log off and then back on to see the full results of your change.

The downside is that some software or apps will not look as good. Check if there is an update available. Developers are trying to catch up with the resolution setting capabilities of Windows 10. You may need to repeat the steps above to reach a happy medium.

It’s Easy To Work With Vigilance

The new network-based video surveillance technology is transforming the security industry, because it’s easier to use than specialist CCTV systems. Lotus can set up a video surveillance system using your existing computer network.

Offer expires March 31, 2017

Tips and Tools for Greater Workplace Productivity

Do you ever wonder where the day has gone? You stared at your to-do list while you don’t yourself to buckle down and eliminate distractions. Here are some tools and tips you can leverage to increase your productivity at work.

Measure Your Productivity and Efficiency with a Time Tracker

There are tools that can assist you with tracking your time so you can more effectively budget your time. This can assist you about being more realistic about time, and point out the little time killers like checking email, making phone calls, or conducting research.

Toggl – This time tracker features weekly snapshot reports of how much time you spent on each task.

Rescue Time – This tool is unique in that it works on your computer to show you how much time you spend on seemingly innocuous activities such as checking the scores on ESPN.com.

These tools offer much more insight than just using the timer on your phone or placing activities on your calendar.

Embrace a White Noise Generator

Many people have difficulty concentrating on meaningful work when other people are having conversations nearby. Some find that music helps while others do not. Rihanna’s Rude Boy can lead to day dreaming for some. I am just saying.

SimplyNoise – Just $0.99 in your App Store or Google Play. Offers a lot of different types of noises beyond just plain white noise.

Noisli – This browser-based app lets you mix different sound to create your own distraction-free soundtrack.

A Google search will reveal plenty of more options if these don’t work for you.

Schedule Time for Yourself Before Others Steal It

To prevent people from booking too many meetings with them block off time on your calendar to show busy. This is useful in two ways:

  1. You give yourself the amount of time you need to complete for work for the day.
  2. You give yourself the right allocation of that time.

When people book meetings they often overlook how valuable your time is. This prevents others from packing your day. It also gives you uninterrupted time that is critical for some activities such as writing. Be sure to also block off some time to knock off those small tasks that don’t require a committed half-hour. You won’t have time if you don’t make it.

Try a Task Management Tool for Increased Team Productivity

While we have been focusing on your producitity you should do the same with staff. A task management tool will help your team stay focused on the what’s next in a group project.

Meistertask

Trello

These are less full-blown project management applications such as Microsoft Project that have a steep learning curve. These simple tools allow you to organize to-do lists and assign tasks. It eliminates the confusing cc: emails. These tools also allow the leader to track time – allowing you to more accurately plan workloads in the future.

DeClutter Your Inbox

Many people laugh at the concept of inbox zero, but once you arrive it is hard to go back to clutter.

Archive

We know many cannot delete work emails because they need them for reference. A great tip is to have a folder where you can archive these emails for future reference. Once you read an email and decide whether or not you need to take an action just move it to your archive folder. You will be able to reference the folder later and search for what you need.

Email Management App

These apps will bundle and highlight important emails.

Inbox by Gmail – Gmail users just need to visit this page to use the web version or download Android or iOS apps. Inbox automatically categorizes and bundles emails.

Outlook – Timed Email Organizer is not free but it is still affordable. It can sort emails based on attachments, subjects, or certain words in the body. You can also get the same affect with Outlook rules, but it is a lot more work.

More Mac Hacks

More Mac hacks for our Apple fans. We have another installment of hacks you can do with the current OS X 10.11 El Capitan or the newest macOS 10.12 Sierra. Apple announced last June that OS X will now be called macOS as they update to stylistically match Apple’s other operating systems such as iOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

1. Access the Dictionary Just Like That
You can use Spotlight to look up the definition of a word, but you can actually do it even faster by just tapping your MacBook touchpad. Place your cursor over the word in question and touch your touchpad with three fingers. The definition as well as thesaurus entries will popup.

2. Create a Signature
I assisted an attorney with setting up this feature one time. He used it extensively for signing legal documents. No more printing, signing, and then scanning back to email.
a. Open a document in the preview app
b. Click the Toolbox icon that to the left of the search window in the Preview toolbar
c. A second toolbar will open with a bunch of icons – click on the signature icon
d. The signature wizard will walk you through the rest of the process
e. After you create your signature you can drag it and resize as needed in the document

I you are not as good signing your name with your finger you may have the option of using your camera. If you have an iSight camera you can click the Camera button in the signature wizard and hold your signature signed to a piece of paper in front your MacBook.

The real magic is that you only have to do this once. Preview saves your signature.

3. No Notifications = More Work Done
Research is pointing out that all the notifications for text messages, voice mails, emails, etc are sapping the productivity out of our days. You can turn off the notifications on your Mac by clocking on the Notification Center icon in the Menu Bar. Choose “Do Not Disturb” (DND) in the Today tab.

A great keyboard shortcut is to hold down the Option button on your keyboard and click the Notification Center icon in the Menu Bar and will shade out. This means you have enabled DND.

Repeat either process to come back to the rest of the world occasionally. You likely didn’t miss anything too earth shattering.

4. Fine Tune Volume and Brightness
If you need to fine tune the volume of the sound of your Mac or the brightness of the screen try this trick. Before you use the volume or brightness buttons press and hold Shift + Option then press the adjustment keys.

5. Talk to Your Mac and It Types
Dragon Speak was the de factor standard for dictation software. Apple actually licensed the software and it is in your Mac. In spite of the rumors Apple didn’t buy the Dragon Speak makers, but supposedly they tried.

To setup dictation go to System Preferences via the Apple icon in the upper left hand side of your screen. Click on the Dictation & Speech icon near the bottom of the preferences window. From there click Dictation On radio button. Also be sure to check the Use Enhanced Dictation. That features allows you to use it offline and it will be much faster. You can also choose your Language and Shortcut key. The default is the Fn (Function) key on your keyboard pressed twice quickly. That is a quick method to open and start dictation.

6. Rename a Bunch of Files
Choose a group of files in Finder. Right-click and choose Rename x Items in the menu. Name your files in the popup utility.

7. Type Special Characters
If you need to enter letters with accents or special marks just hold the letter key on your keyboard such as C and a popup will show options such as Ć or Ĉ or Č. Just click on your choice using the touchpad or mouse.

There you go Mac users. We will have more tips coming for you soon. Windows users have no fear we have more coming for you as well. You can find more Mac Hacks here.