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Why Free Software Isn’t Always the Best Deal

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With so much free software available to us these days (such as anti-virus software, discussed in our previous blog), what’s the point in buying something more? Well, you might not be as satisfied with the freebie. Let’s go over some benefits of using purchased software:

Quality of the Software

Unfortunately, some free programs may not meet your needs or your quality expectations. If the software doesn’t provide what you need, it’s not worth the struggle to make it work. There are “must-haves” and “convenient-to-haves” when it comes to features and functions. Make a list of everything the software program provides, then determine if those functions are a must-have for your business or just a cool additional feature (you probably don’t need). This is a good method for comparing software programs, free or not, and determining what’s best for you.

Upgrades and Updates

Not all software programs need to be upgraded, but some, like anti-virus software, must have regular updates and upgrades in order for it to work properly. In that case, you may be required to purchase the software anyway. Sometimes software vendors hook customers with their free program so they can up-sell the necessary premium option later on. Something to keep in mind when researching your options and evaluating your software needs.

Technical Support

One of the biggest factors in the free versus purchased software debate is the technical support. You might get free software, but does it come with technical support when something goes wrong? If it doesn’t come with support, can you afford the risk? No computer hardware nor software is perfect, and you should expect it may come with issues and challenges from time to time. A purchased program that provides technical support is a good insurance policy for your business – and might prove less costly in the end.

Time is Money

Finally, your time is also money. Don’t let the glimmering bright lights surrounding “FREE” deter you from what your business actually needs. If free software works, that’s great. But if it doesn’t offer everything you need, is it worth your time and energy to make up for that?
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Apple #Microsoft #AppleiOffice #Macintosh #Mac #SmallBiz #B2B #Software #FreeSoftware #AntiVirus #Malware #AntiVirusSoftware

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To Buy or Not to Buy Anti-Virus Software

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It used to be standard practice to purchase and install anti-virus software programs to protect our computers from getting infected by malware. Hopefully you’ve figured this out by now, but nowadays Windows and Mac OS already come with anti-virus software included – so no need to go in search of extra protection.

If you are a Mac user, Mac has built-in anti-malware protection on its operating system. For example, before you can open a file, your Mac will check it against a list of malware. Windows users have more virus and malware concerns than Mac users, but Windows today also comes with its own system called Windows Defender.

You can download free and paid third-party software programs we talked about for that extra layer of protection, but you should know Mac and Windows protection software offer virtually the same protection.

When malware or a virus is found, the anti-virus software programs update accordingly to catch and block them from infecting your system. The challenge is how fast they can update their system to be effective and stay safe from the malware that’s been identified.

Some argue that Windows Defender is not the most popular software when it comes to protection, but compared to its formative years when the operating system didn’t come with any anti-virus protection, we are in a much better place.

The best thing you can do is make sure your default protection programs are turned on and updated regularly. And beyond that, you simply need to be aware that there are malicious practices online, and to not click or open files unless you are absolutely sure it’s from a trusted source. See our previous blog on how to identify phishing scams for more information.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Apple #Microsoft #AppleiOffice #Macintosh #Mac #AntiVirus #Malware #SmallBiz #B2B

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The Alternatives to Adobe Photoshop

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When we see touched up photos or flawless models on magazine covers, we joke about them being “photoshopped.” Photoshopped became a buzz word in the tech world just like “Google it” became the buzz phrase for finding something on the internet. It’s part of our everyday language now, because Adobe Photoshop used to be the go-to source to clean up your images. But if you’ve ever tried to use Adobe Photoshop yourself, you know it will cost you.

Adobe is now moving towards an annual plan instead of making people buy the license, and depending on the version with the bells and whistles you want, it can cost you from $10 to around $80 per month. But, if you just want to touch up photos, add a filter or text, you might check out other options.

For example, if you are using your iPhone to take photos, it already comes with simple tools to adjust your photos. You can watch our Youtube Channel, WatchPSPinc, to learn how to use these tools: https://youtu.be/NTne3Pi2m5A.

If you’re looking for a bigger program comparable to Photoshop, there are several choices to consider, one of them being GIMP. GIMP is one of the most popular Photoshop alternatives, and it’s free. It can add plug-ins to expand its offerings, and like Photoshop, you can work multiple layers and masks. The drawback is that the interface can be confusing to some, especially if you’re already accustomed to how things work in Photoshop.

You can find others like Photo Pos Pro and paint.NET. They both support layers, but our designers still recommend GIMP for its features and functions.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Apple #Microsoft #AppleiOffice #Macintosh #Mac #SmallBiz #B2B

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The Alternatives to Microsoft Office

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I think most of us have some preconceived notions when it comes to buying a new computer. Unless you’re in a field of work that relies heavily on Mac, most people tend toward Microsoft Office compatible products. MS Office is a great choice, but it’s always good to know your options, and that’s just the kind of information we like to provide our clients.

In the coming articles, we’ll review some alternative business tools for you to consider – because it’s always good to have a choice, right?

If you are a Mac user, or considering a Mac, you have Apple’s iOffice, which is the equivalent to MS Office for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. iOffice programs are referred to as Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Let’s compare:

Pages
Pages is Apple’s equivalent of MS Word. Although the layout is different from Word, the basic features and functions are the same as Word. You can easily import from and export to a Word file format, so compatibility is not an issue. The biggest change is simply getting used to a new menu and buttons.

Numbers
Numbers is Apple’s equivalent of MS Excel. Although Numbers comes with a cleaner and simpler interface, the available functions and tools are much more limited. Excel is for power spreadsheet users who use more complex calculations, whereas Numbers provides simpler calculations and functions with a cleaner look.

Keynote
Keynote is Apple’s equivalent of MS PowerPoint. Although it’s nice to have all the preset templates from PowerPoint, Keynote does offer a very simple and easy interface to design presentations. You can embed and play timed animated slideshows like you can in PowerPoint. And like Pages and Numbers, Keynote has an import/export feature to and from PowerPoint.

- - -

There are other free office programs like Open Office – a discontinued open-source office suite, originally based on Sun Microsystems StarOffice. Your business may not need to make any changes, but if the time ever comes, it’s always good to consider your options.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Apple #Microsoft #AppleiOffice #Macintosh #Mac #SmallBiz #B2B

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The Ultimate Guide to Parental Controls, Part 3

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Part 3: Amazon

Amazon Fire Phone

Amazon phones have lots of great built-in parental controls that make it easy to keep tabs on what your kids can and cannot use. With just a few clicks you can limit Internet access, allow specific content, change location-based services, and restrict in-app purchases. First head over to the settings tab.

Settings > Applications & Parental Controls > Tap Enable Parental Controls

From here you can restrict the following:

• Web browsing
• Email and calendars
• Social network sharing
• Camera
• Purchases from the content stores on your device (for example, the Amazon App store)
• Playing movies and TV shows from Prime Video
• Specific content types (for example, Music, Video, Books, or Apps)
• Wireless and mobile network connectivity
• Location-based services

Amazon Fire Stick:

The Amazon Fire stick is a great tool for watching your favorite shows and even browsing the Internet. You may not think about parental controls when it comes to your TV but kids can still download apps, make purchases, and surf the web. To get to the parental controls start at the home screen of your first stick.

Home > Scroll to Settings > Preferences (if you have a pin, enter it, if not go to amazon.com/pin to set one) > Parental Controls > Turn On

Once the parental controls are on you can add a pin for purchases, viewing restrictions, app downloads and usage, and changing your pin. Once you’re done with parental controls, go back to the settings menu.

Settings > My Account > Sync Amazon Content

For more information on parental controls for tablets, smart speakers, and e-readers go to Amazon device support.

Remember, parental controls help you police what your kids see and use on devices, but it does not replace your valuable knowledge and guidance. It never hurts to set expectations with your child on how to use a phone, TV, computer or tablet.

In case you missed it, check out these related articles:

Parental Controls for Android Users

Parental Controls for Apple IOS Users

#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #MobileApps #Apps #Applications #ParentalControls #InternetSecurity #IOS #SecuritySettings

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The Ultimate Guide to Parental Controls, Part 2

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Part 2: Android

The type of phone you have will ultimately determine how you approach parental control. This article will focus on Android users but if you have an Apple phone, see our previous blog. In general, Apple IOS devices have ‘less freedom’ because Apple restricts what developers can make on their platform. Android, on the other hand, allows third-party apps to be downloaded onto their phones, which introduces new restrictions you’ll need to implement. Here’s how…

User Accounts

The first step you can take on your Android device, especially if you share a device with your kids, is to create separate user accounts that have stricter restrictions. To create a new user account go to:

Settings > Users > Add New User

Once a new user account has been created you can go a bit further by uninstalling or disabling apps within settings:

Settings > Apps > All > Pick Apps to Uninstall > Click Uninstall

Play Store

You can block app downloads by going to:

Play Store > Settings > Parental Controls > Create Pin > Set Content Restrictions > Save

Within these settings you can also limit the age restrictions and purchases:

Play Store > Menu Options > Settings > Require Authentication for Purchases

Third Party Apps

Because Android allows third-party apps to be downloaded, users can customize their Android phones more than IOS users – but this freedom can be more dangerous. To block third-party apps from being downloaded go back to settings:

Settings > Security > Device Administration > Uncheck Unknown Sources
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #MobileApps #Apps #Applications #ParentalControls #InternetSecurity #IOS #SecuritySettings

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The Ultimate Guide to Parental Controls - Part 1 IOS

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Part 1: IOS

When it comes to the Internet and all of our connected devices it’s, important to understand the dangers that lay just a few clicks away. A study by Common Sense Media shows that kids ages 5 to 8 spend about 3 hours daily looking at screens. How can we protect our kids from the dangers looming on the Internet?

Before setting up any parental controls, probably the best action you can take is to sit down with your kids and talk about Internet safety. After that, you have some tools to limit what your kids can see.

Let’s start by breaking it down based on device/operating system. This week we’re looking at IOS (Apple).

IPhone (IOS):

Aside from third party apps designed to give parents control (a list of the best parental control apps 2018), there are a few ways you can limit your child's access on an iPhone.

Let’s start with restrictions:

Go to Settings > General > Restrictions > Enable Restrictions

From here, you’ll enter a password that you will use to turn on and off these restrictions. (Make sure it’s not easy for your kids to guess.) The settings that follow will allow you to choose which apps you will “allow” as well as what content and ratings you will allow for things like movies and TV shows. In the same screen you can find privacy settings - pick and choose which apps you’ll allow location services, Bluetooth, ads, and contacts.

Now, let's go a step further.

You’ve set up restrictions on what you will and won’t allow your kids to see, but what about time limits? Or, what if you only want them to stay in one app?

Go to settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access

Guided access will allow you to keep your iPhone in a single app and set a time limit. Turn on Guided Access by clicking the grey slider bar, then click on passcode settings and set your passcode or enable touch ID. Now, exit settings and go to the app you want to use. Once inside the app, push the home button 3 times to activate guided access. When Guided Access opens, you’ll see an options button on the bottom left of your screen where you can set time limits and other restrictions. To end Guided Access you can either wait for the time to run out or you can push the home button 3 times and click end on the top left of the screen.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog as we continue to discuss parental controls in Windows for your computer.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #MobileApps #Apps #Applications #ParentalControls #InternetSecurity #IOS #SecuritySettings

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5 Fast And Easy SEO Tips To Boost Your Website

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1) Add Alt Text to Images

The alt text or “alternate text” is an attribute that is added to an image in case it doesn’t load. If an image doesn’t load or can’t be shown, the alt text will take its place. This is why it’s important to give your image a description as well as add relevant keywords in your alt text. When search engines crawl through your website, they will also crawl your alt text, which will make your images searchable and can help bring more traffic to your site.

2) Add Keywords in the URL

When creating a new page for your website it’s a good idea to put some extra thought into naming the URL. You want your URL to be short, memorable, and easy to spell, but you also want it to contain the most important keyword for that specific page. Consider the most important keyword relevant to the page content and try to insert it in the URL if possible. The rule is to keep it simple and make it count!

3) Utilize Anchor Text

What’s anchor text? Anchor text refers to any text, that when clicked, links you to another page on the same website or it can take you to a different website. It typically shows up with a blue underline beneath the text. You can utilize anchor text by adding links within paragraphs, headers, and more to direct visitors around your website.

4) Include Page Titles

All of the pages on your website should contain a title and a subtitle. Search engines crawl pages and organize their text by its importance to the page, almost like a text hierarchy. The structure of the page tells the search engine what the page is about and will help it rank your page correctly. Similar to the rules for URLs, try to include any relevant keywords in your titles without making them too complex.

5) Add Location Details

Is your company local? Do you serve certain parts of the city or state? Add location details on your website whenever necessary to benefit your local search results. When someone searches the web for something based on location, you’ll have a better chance of showing up on his or her radar.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #B2B #SEM #SearchEngineMarketing #SEO

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Long-tail Keywords: Why they Matter

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Marketers and web designers have been talking about keywords for years now and there’s no doubt you’ve heard about it if your business is online. Keywords help companies target specific audiences and reach people at different stages of their search.

Keywords are NOT some magical tool that will boost your website to the top of the search result pages. But, if used wisely, and implemented into your website where they make sense, keywords can drive more of the right customers to find you.

So what are long-tail keywords?

When we say “keywords” we are referring to any word that has to do with a topic. If you’re a flower shop you would consider “flower shop” a keyword on your website.

Let’s take it a step further.

A long-tail keyword is actually a phrase that includes 3 or more words. In the example of a flower shop a long-tail keyword would be “flower shops near Pike Place Market” or “free delivery flower shops near me.”

See the difference?

These keywords do multiple things: They allow you to target a more defined group of people, they’re less competitive than shorter keywords, and they have a higher conversion rate. If someone needs to find a wedding florist in Maui, they may type in "flower shop" or "florist," or they may get more specific and type in something like "wedding florist in Maui." If you are a florist in Maui, it makes sense for you to target those long-tail keywords to attract people more primed to purchase.

Again, keywords are not magic; they are tools you can use to target your audience more directly. By implementing long-tail keywords into your website content, your pay-per-click ads, and your social media, you can increase your chances of finding your next customer.

Let’s recap. Long-tail keywords are:

• Easier to rank for.
• Have higher conversions.
• Allow you to target customers at different stages in their search.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #B2B #SEM #SearchEngineMarketing

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Avoid Phishing Scams with these 4 tips

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Gone are the days of sketchy misspelled emails from distant places asking for money – those were truly simpler times. Now, phishing scams are increasingly more elaborate and require us to constantly pay attention to what we click on. So why are we still talking about email scams? It's because THEY WORK. As much as we’d like to think we're smarter than a scammer, and can easily spot a fraudulent email, many of us fall prey to advanced phishing techniques. Avoid phishing scams using these 4 tips.

1. Think Before Clicking Links
Even when emails contain your name or claim to know your passwords, take a moment to think before you click on any links. Phishing emails often contain exciting or upsetting news to invoke your emotions to take action quickly – and recklessly. Look first at the from email address. Does it match exactly with previous emails from your legitimate source? If not, it’s likely a scam. But it will likely look and feel exactly like it’s from a legitimate source because scammers are smart and think of every detail, even using logos from brands you trust. If you click on a link within the email, the website you go to will also look like the real thing, so beware! General rule is if the messaging is urgent, don’t click and don’t give out any information. Instead, go directly to the website you trust and use the contact info there to confirm the information and ask questions.

2. Look for Website Security
Tap into your suspicious side when browsing the internet or opening links in emails and always make sure a website is secure. Check to see if the website URL starts with HTTPS to confirm that it is secure before giving out any personal information. Web browsers will often warn you before you visit non-secure sites and NEVER download anything from suspicious emails or websites.

3. Protect Personal Information
Do not give out any personal information to websites that are not secure. If you buy products or fill out forms from suspicious websites, cybercriminals may get your credit card information. Be cautious when shopping or visiting sites, and always listen to your gut if something feels suspicious or sketchy.

4. Stay Informed
An easy way to remain on the offensive and protect yourself against phishing scams is to stay informed on new scams. Keep an eye out for news about potential scams online and do some research if you think you're being targeted. When you learn about scams early, you give yourself the best chance to avoid becoming a victim.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #PhishingScams #InternetScams #OnlineFraud #PhishingEmails

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