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January 2nd, 2017

2016january2_healthcarearticles_aCan you think of an industry that hasn’t improved because of advanced technology? It’s hard to come up with one; much easier to think about where technology has made our lives better. A good example would be the medical world, where everything from robotic surgeries to electronic health records (EHR) -- plus these five integrated healthcare technologies -- are leading to more patient-friendly futures.

Putting the words “healthcare technology integration” together opens things up pretty broadly, so what do we mean by it exactly? In this instance, we’re not talking so much about complex surgical procedures or hi-tech medical devices; the focus here is more on IT, or “information technology,” in the healthcare realm.

It may not sound as impressive as some of the sci-fi-seeming technological advances like anesthesiologists’ iPads that use “perioperative information management systems” to track the patient’s well-being during surgery; or the “Argus II” bionic eye, which takes a video signal from a pair of sunglasses and transmits it to retinal implants. But the improvements technology integrations are making to the patient experience are no less significant.

Timely Reminders

In the past, healthcare providers had but one “convenient” way of reminding patients of upcoming appointments. Phone calls are fine, but even with the advent of robo-calls, connections can be missed and messages can fall through the cracks. Today, your doctor’s office can reach you via more expeditious “e-methods” like email, chat, and text message. They also afford patients an interactive option where they can confirm dates and times with a click of their mouse or a tap of their screen.

Informed Decisions

Integrating technology into your healthcare routine will never replace the advantages of meeting your physician face-to-face, but it certainly makes it easier for you to manage your wellness. For example, there are apps that give you on-demand access to your medical records and patient history -- with features like real-time chatting with your doctor, therapist, or nurses -- allowing for better, faster decision making when it comes to your health, all without an actual appointment.

Painless Prescriptions

Here’s one area of patient care where new apps are truly simplifying things, making communications between you and your doctors and pharmacists completely hassle-free. In many cases, the process for getting the right drugs at the right time can be totally automated; gone are the days of calling in scripts or dropping them off and waiting. Welcome to the new age of software programs that manage your meds, automatically refill them, and keep you on track to better health.

Personalized Care

Everyone has a different approach to staying fit or recovering from illness, and in the world-wide-web era, search engines are a part of most people’s repertoire. But the data you find online won’t be tailored to your precise situation, and certainly won’t be 100% trustable. Thankfully, a slew of sophisticated health-tech apps are integrated with wearable devices to give you accurate, up-to-the-minute info on how you’re doing with your stress management, heart health, or temperature regulation.

Convenient Claims

The historically labor-intensive, oftentimes irritating undertaking of filing medical claims has been seriously improved upon by technology in recent years. Thanks to cloud computing, your doctors and insurance carrier can collaborate on your behalf using secure, encrypted apps that result in faster processing and far less paperwork. You’re even able to enter your insurance info ahead of time, and stay up-to-date throughout the process with automated status updates.

Technology integration in healthcare is improving the ways we prevent diseases, perform surgeries, and deliver treatments. But the innovations with the most significant day-to-day influence are the ones that provide patients with access to reliable, real-time information. That’s where patient outcomes, perhaps, have been advanced the most -- right before our [bionic] eyes.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Healthcare
December 30th, 2016

2016december30_android_aGoogle is the driving force behind a wide variety of devices and operating systems today. It is well-established that Google is in charge of Android devices and operating systems. However, Google has announced its latest operating system, Android Things, and people are wondering what this will mean for operating systems from Google going forward. Get to know more about Android Things and what impact it may have on your business dealings and customer base.

Android Things is a Google operating system designed for use and compatibility with connected speakers, routers, security cameras, smart thermostats, and more. Essentially these are the "things" that need to be connected through WiFi to a smartphone or tablet to be controlled as part of a larger network or system.

Google originally announced an Internet of Things operating system referred to as Brillo. However, Brillo did not do as much or as well as expected, and it has rarely been mentioned since. Rather than continue to allow Brillo to fade into obscurity, Google decided to rebrand Brillo as Android Things, an improvement that offers the same developer tools as other Android operating systems.

It is important to keep in mind that Android Things is a background operating system rather than an obviously visible system like the system on a phone or tablet. But the fact that it can accomplish more complex tasks quickly and efficiently can mean big things for its use in business.

If you are interested in knowing more about Android Things or about using devices that put this OS to use, contact us right away. We’ll help you keep up with the latest development updates so you can be the first in line when Android Things products are widely released.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
December 29th, 2016

2016december29_windows_aRecently, Microsoft has made new upgrades to their web browser platform. Despite numerous changes, one making the biggest waves for users of all kinds is the lack of instant and easy compatibility with Adobe Flash. Adobe Flash is a web platform and add-on that many business websites have put to extensive use. However, now that Microsoft has made these changes, it can mean big things for business owners and web designers alike. Get to know more about why Microsoft has blocked Adobe Flash and the possible ramifications for those changes.

The primary purpose behind the recent changes made to Microsoft Edge is to make it more competitive with the popular Google Chrome web browser. Among efforts to do just that is the change to how Adobe Flash works on the Edge browser. Now, instead of Adobe Flash plugins playing and loading immediately when a person navigates a website, the application will be blocked.

An alert will come up near the address bar, letting users know that Adobe Flash has been blocked and will give the option to run the add-on or continue blocking it. For businesses that use Adobe Flash throughout their websites, this can be a frustrating change as visitors will need to take an extra step to access the full website.

However, there are numerous legitimate reasons for these changes to the Microsoft Edge browser. The most important of these issues is the fact that Adobe Flash is a security risk and is easily hackable, making it more likely for information and control to be lost to web users. Another issue is the fact that Adobe Flash is a big drain on battery life for computers and other devices.

The theory is that Adobe Flash is on its way out, and that newer, better systems are on their way in. As of now, Windows Insider users are the only ones with access to these updates, but soon the updates will go global and be made available to all users. In fact, Microsoft plans to eventually automatically load HTML5 web information first without loading Adobe Flash content at all.

Because so many sites use Adobe Flash, this can mean major renovations to existing web content. If you worry about the impact this will have on your business, contact us for immediate help and assistance in maximizing your website usability before these changes go live for all Microsoft Edge users.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Windows
December 28th, 2016

2016december28_security_aPopcorn Time is taking ransomware to a new level of devilish trickery by asking victims to give up two of their friends for a chance to rid their own computers of the virus. In cyber security this level of diabolical blackmail represents a new and scary trend for hackers. For more information on how Popcorn Time works and what you can do to keep it off your system, keep reading.

Ransomware is nothing new. Cybersecurity miscreants have been taking advantage of online users for years by requiring payment to "unlock" a victim's computer. What Popcorn Time does differently is give users the option to spread the virus to two other victims in the hopes that they will pay the ransom -- a tactic that promises to double their money at the expense of your sense of morality (and at the expense of your friendships as well).

The Cost of Popcorn

When you inadvertently download this ransomware, you will be met with a screen that explains that your files have been hijacked/encrypted, and that to get them back you will need to pay one Bitcoin for a decryption key that they keep stored remotely. The Bitcoin fee is usually more than $700, a hefty price to pay during any season but particularly difficult for those infected during the holiday season.

Spread the "Holiday Cheer" and Hope they Bite

What makes Popcorn Time unique is the option victims have to take their cost away by allowing the ransomware to affect two of their friends for a chance to get a free decryption code. Of course, it works only if both friends pay the ransom, which leaves you looking (and feeling) like the Grinch.

Avoiding Popcorn Time this Season

The easiest way to avoid downloading ransomware is to stay off of sites that might contain questionable files. However, this is nearly impossible for modern users, and many hackers are getting good at making their files look legitimate. Limit your exposure to potential ransomware by keeping your software up-to-date and your computer protected with a security program from a reputable company (for example Norton or Symantec). If you need to learn more about how to avoid running into ransomware while you're online, give our professional cybersecurity consultants a call. We'll keep you away from the popcorn this season.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
December 23rd, 2016

2016december23_webandcloud_aGoogle Chrome is following through with a game plan it announced in February of last year. In an effort to punish slow-loading or lagging sites that use Flash, a web component known to take up resources and memory, Google’s browser will make a newer, faster player the default. Read on to find out how Google plans to transition from Flash-based web browsing to the more streamlined HTML5 experience.

The current state of HTML5

HTML5 first hit the market in 2008 as a modification to its 4.0 version, adding a few changes and fixing bugs (as happens with most newer versions of programs). But it also promised to change the way developers design webpages and influence how browsers search for and view online information.

Most websites currently utilize a Flash-based display protocol, which is often slow and uses significantly more resources than HTML5 to accomplish the same tasks. By changing to an HTML5 default and requesting permission to use Flash, users have the advantage of faster load times and a more efficient browsing experience.

The Use of Adobe Flash

One benefit of using Flash for developers is purely aesthetic: Flash makes the website look good because the designs, colors and motion on the page are generally more eye pleasing. Unfortunately, the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. Using Flash on a commercial website means slower performance, confusing navigation schemes, incompatibility with web analytics software, and limited visibility in some formats.

Google's Plan to Phase Out Flash

Google Chrome users should begin to notice a change in how they browse websites starting this month, December 2016. Only 1% of Chrome users (and a handful of users using the beta browser) will be asked whether they wish to run Flash as they go about their Christmas shopping.

In January 2017, Google’s proprietary browser will begin asking users whether they wish to use Flash whenever they visit a new website. In February 2017, with the release of the newest iteration of the Chrome browser, users will be asked before Flash components run on a page. Finally, by October 2017 all sites will load using HTML5 by default and require users to physically enable the Adobe Flash to experience anything delivered in that medium.

Developers at Chrome hope that by stretching out the introduction of HTML5 default settings, web designers will have time to adjust their strategies away from Flash and toward a more user-friendly design strategy.

Moving away from a Flash-based web experience will have gigantic implications for anyone who manages a website. Regardless of whether you built your site or outsourced its creation, it’s most likely going to need some serious restructuring in the coming years. Get in touch with us to get a head start on this project -- the sooner the better.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Web & Cloud
December 22nd, 2016

2016december22_business_aMany businesses and enterprises have long struggled with the drudgery and difficulty that is data analysis -- especially data analysis in a cloud-based system. AWS (Amazon Web Services) may have just the solution to that problem. A new app, known as “Glue,” offers the opportunity for businesses to clean up data to help analytics run more smoothly. Learn more about how AWS accomplishes this, right here.

Data analysis can be an extremely profitable arm of your business, if undertaken carefully. Much of what people consider to be data analysis for a business is actually just digital clerical work, which makes the process even more frustrating and time-consuming than it needs to be. At its core, AWS’s Glue is an app that automates this tedium, which is often referred to as ETL (extract-transform-load).

Third-party software already exists to help with this task, but the service from AWS is one of the first cloud-based alternatives to come to market. Glue is designed to work with businesses that have their own on-premises data centers and infrastructures in addition to working with AWS frameworks. In fact, if a business makes changes to on-premises data, Glue can be set up to trigger jobs and update the data in the cloud so users always have access to the most up-to-date information for use and analysis.

Essentially, AWS extracts various types of data from a wide array of sources and analyzes it, ultimately homogenizing the data to fit the business's existing database. This eliminates a great deal of work because the extremely tedious task of importing data is often done by hand. Handing this burden over to AWS allows businesses to focus on the real analysis work; saving effort, time, and money in the process.

Every day, data becomes more and more integral to building a successful company. And with such a heavy burden placed on this facet of business, falling behind on the technology that makes it possible is an expensive mistake. If you’re hosting large amounts of data on-premises or in an AWS database, contact us today about how you can eliminate costly ETL processes.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic business
December 21st, 2016

2016december21_apple_aOver the last month, users have reported spam issues plaguing their iCloud calendar. Fortunately, Apple has come up with a solution. One of its new features allows users to report and remove spam from their calendar. Hopefully this small step takes care of the problem once and for all. From what started the whole mess to how you can help end it, we have all the information you need.

The problem started in late October, and it continues today. iCloud devices continue to receive numerous calendar invites from unsolicited people. These invites typically advertise “junk” products in an attempt to exploit the increase in shopping associated with the holidays. Users who actually do click the links find themselves redirected to sites that have zero connection to what they thought they would find. But worse yet, everyone, regardless of their interest, is being completely inundated by unwanted notifications.

Denying calendar invitations alerts spammers that the email address the rejection came from is still active. This just results in more and more spam in the future. Apple apologized to customers affected by the oversight, but until now users have had no efficient way of deleting the spam from their calendar.

A “Report Junk” button has been added as Apple’s best shot at a long-awaited solution to the calendar spam problem. This reporting mechanism can be found on any calendar invitation sent by someone not listed in your contacts.

Unfortunately, it requires opening each item and selecting “Report Junk” through iCloud.com (the feature has not yet been released for iOS or macOS). However, once you have deleted an event from your calendar, the information will be deleted from all synced calendars, even those that are shown in the iOS apps.

Spam is one of the worst externalities that comes with increased connectivity. Although we’re still waiting for a more thorough solution to this problem, you can rest assured that in the meantime we’re working hard to come up with one of our own. For all the insider tips and tricks on Apple devices, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple
December 16th, 2016

2016december16_office_aDigital Storage options with Office 365 provide business owners with convenient and efficient data management. But with new software added daily, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the variety of options. Keep reading to find out which Office 365 program will be your best option for organizing and sharing information: SharePoint or OneDrive.

Similarities between OneDrive and SharePoint Both OneDrive and SharePoint applications utilize Office 365 to help businesses organize information and share it with employees and company heads. Documents are stored in a cloud drive for security, so employees can track changes between edited versions, as well as make comments and add information when necessary. This real-time collaboration is one of the favorite benefits of online file management. Since data can be synchronized to various forms of technology, it is portable and usable everywhere.

OneDrive provides personal attention OneDrive uses a SharePoint backdrop in order to run, making the two programs inherently connected. However, there are distinct features that business owners will notice with their OneDrive account. The OneDrive program is utilized by individuals, and control is still maintained by the individual even if it is shared across a department. Changes are synced to a chosen device, allowing departments to work on projects together. As an administrator, you can share the document by way of a secure link, and you can allow some people to edit and leave others in a position to view only.

SharePoint is a wider group share program If OneDrive is the perfect individualized sharing option, then SharePoint takes a wider stance. An administrator or company head can save a document online, allowing employees throughout the company to view and edit the document. Every change is tracked to give higher-ups an idea of who is contributing to the company projects. SharePoint is a good application to use for human resource surveys or updates that need to be completed by team members in other departments.

Office 365 encourages businesses to increase their employees' usage of online storage and data options. SharePoint and OneDrive are just two of the many programs provided to improve how your business is run. For more information on how online document sharing programs can help you increase your company's visibility and productivity, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Office
December 15th, 2016

2016december15_android_aGoogle has to contend with yet another malware attack that targets older Android users. Gooligan is a variation of the very successful Ghost Push malware that infected more than four million phones in 2015. This time the point of attack is the Google account. The malware does not attempt to glean info, but rather to initiate downloads. Read on to find out more about the Gooligan virus and how it is affecting your business

It is estimated that since Gooligan’s August 2016 appearance, the malware has infected more than 1.3 million Google accounts -- one of the largest single thefts in recent history.

With the range of personal data available in Google accounts, it is interesting to note that Gooligan's purpose isn't to steal the valuable information; instead, it’s to distribute advertising fraud. With as much as $320,000 a month going into the pockets of Gooligan developers, it is obvious that the ploy is working.

How Gooligan is Moving Through the Internet Consumers are falling prey to the virus when they attempt to download a fake app from a third-party app store. Instead of getting the program that they were promised, they inadvertently allow the Gooligan malware to root into their Android OS and take control of it. Once in control, the virus downloads apps using your Google information. These apps are infused with ads that belong to Gooligan developers, bringing them a never-ending stream of income.

Where Gooligan Came from and Where it's Going Gooligan appears to be a variation of the 2015 Ghost Push malware, which was also wildly successful at infecting Android users. Google is currently working with Android engineers and Internet security firms to quelch the malware; they believe that through cooperative efforts, it will disappear from public attention. As it is, those who have updated Android versions of 6.0 or greater are not affected by the malware.

You can lower your chances of contracting the Gooligan malware by downloading apps only from Google Play and checking your system through the security firm Check Point to ensure your Android hasn't already been infected. For more information on Gooligan and how you can protect your company, contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
December 14th, 2016

2016december14_windows_aWindows 10, the latest version of Microsoft's operating system, has proved to be a system full of many strengths and some very decided weaknesses. One of the biggest flaws of this particular operating system is the fact that Windows Updates are often clunky, take a great deal of time, and use large amounts of processing power. Luckily, Microsoft has recently proposed a fix for that problem in hopes of speeding up the update process for the Windows 10 operating system.

What Microsoft is proposing to streamline for the Windows 10 update process is a system known as a UUP or a Unified Update Platform. A Unified Update Platform is essentially a large series of changes to Windows 10, all of which occur behind-the-scenes and will not affect overall user experience. These changes will work to reduce the amount of processing power required to update Windows as well as make the updates move faster for Windows 10 users who need to keep things moving along quickly.

This UUP ambition will be accomplished in a number of ways, including significantly shrinking the size of the update files for all devices, and especially, making the Windows phone update process much more streamlined than it currently is. One of the ways Microsoft proposes to streamline and speed up the update process is by sending updates that are device-specific rather than distributing a full bundle of updates together, some of which are not necessary for the device in question.

Currently, Windows 10 updates essentially overhaul the entire version of Windows 10 that users have on their device. This makes the update process easier on Microsoft, but not on users. Instead of this system, the UUP will eventually allow updates to occur only to the specific programs and systems that need updating, leaving the rest of the operating system untouched. Larger system-wide updates will also be much faster and more efficient with the UUP system in place.

Should you have further questions about what this new Windows 10 update process could mean for you and your business, contact us as soon as possible. We can help you with all your operating system needs.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Windows