Internet of Things – Advantage or Disadvantage?

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a sweeping trend of technology that is created to automate or improve our quality of life. This is achieved by having machines or computers talk to each other by means of a network. This network requires little to no human-to-computer or human-to-human interaction. This could mean setting your furnace to automatically turn to 72 degrees at a certain time, or it could mean your refrigerator letting you know when you are low on milk. Some could argue that computers are taking over the world, where others will enjoy the fruits of the automation labor.

There are factors that come into play when deciding what, how and how much you would want to use IoT. Some of these factors could include whether or not it helps cut costs as a business owner, understanding the intricacies to the code if you understand the language, or just trying to make your day a little more enjoyable.

More devices built with IoT

Over the course of the past twenty years, more and more devices come with networking technology. Using networks, a television set can talk to a computer. A DVR set-top box can talk to your cell phone. It could even accomplish menial tasks that might otherwise eat up a portion of your time.

Suppose you are a dishwasher at a restaurant. You have to manually load the dish trays, push them into the washer, add the soap and set the timers. Technology and Automation could do all of that for you if programmed correctly. So in our example let’s introduce IoT to the dishwasher. It is networked or has access to the internet. You download the dishwasher app to your phone, and even from halfway across the planet, you could tell your dish washer you want to add more soap or it can alert you if components break down.

IoT Programming

Being a programmer of this technology is no easy task. Some devices run on an Android platform, others run within IOS, or even windows. To get different operating systems to talk to each other, you need a common programming language. This is known as a DevKit or a development kit. This software is usually given out by the manufacturer of the operating system, or sometimes a 3rd party program come into play such as Python, or C++. Schooling is almost always required if you ever plan on writing code, but sometimes learning it can be done off of YouTube videos and Google searches. There are videos that have been provided by Harvard that will help you learn Java, but you have no two way communication with the instructors or professors. Software programmers can make anywhere between $60,000 and $120,000 a year, depending on knowledge and experience.

Advantages to Quality of Life

IoT has advantages in increasing our quality of life. Many of our daily tasks can be completed with next to little or no input from us on a consistent basis. An app on your cell phone could tell a car to always start heating up 10 minutes prior to leaving on a set schedule. Coming home to a cold house isn’t always pleasant. By using IoT we are able to tell our homes to warm up to a certain temperature before we arrive. Maybe you planned for a trip and are going to be away for an extended period of time. Did you forget to turn off the oven? Is the refrigerator door open? IoT allows us to see these things, given they have the technology available within them.

There are many reasons to have IoT technology in our lives. Perhaps we want to improve our lives, increase productivity at work, or maybe just have a little piece of mind. There are flaws to the technology. Maybe our computer crashes, or we lose the network connection, and even hackers try to access your information. This is still a relatively new technology, and it’s far from being perfect. But as time goes on, we continue to innovate to ensure a stable connection to our devices. We creating passwords to lock our sensitive information and write out bugs in our software to stop crashes. Technology can be scary with everything it can do, but in today’s world, the rewards outweigh the risks.

Windows 10 improves upon Windows 7

by Justin Shearer, Final Communications

For its time, Windows 7 was one of the best operating systems to ever hit the market. There was a great compatibility with almost every bit of computer technology, there was support for bringing old programs and data back into relevance, and it was properly updated. Unfortunately, that time has come and gone. However, there have been new additions to the Windows Family that has made things better for everyone, specifically Windows 10.

Win 7 support to end Jan 1

Windows 7 was simple to use with a start button, easy access to browsers and programs, and rare crashing. Also, Windows Update was also fairly simple to use.

Windows 7 is due to stop support at the end of January, but that doesn’t mean that the operating system stops working in its entirety. You will have the option of paying for updates if you wish to continue using Windows 7 safely. This is unadvised unless you have proprietary software that will not run on any other operating system. Windows 7 is only going to work correctly for as long as your hardware stays good and you never connect the machine to the internet.

Thus, without any further Windows 7 updates to your machine you leave it open for security flaws. Although Antivirus will help against virus and malware, it won’t protect against operating system exploits that hackers find. Those will never get patched again and your data will always be at risk. I would strongly advise against continuing any version of Windows 7.

Windows 10 upgrade offers improvements

Today, we use Windows 10 on many of our machines. Only after a week of using Windows 10, I have found that it is much, much better of an operating system than Windows 7. There are slight changes to Windows 10 from Windows 7, but nothing that interferes with what you already know using the previous operating system.

Nothing has changed in the fundamentals of using the computer. You have a Start Button that brings up your programs. Double-clicking on the browser opens up the world wide web. You double-click icons on the desktop to open your Microsoft Word. Bookmarks allow you to easily access your email and favorite websites.

You no longer have the issues you have if you ever needed to reinstall the operating system. Now, the files needed for the reset now rest on the hard drive rather than removable media. If by chance that gets lost, it’s a free download from Microsoft’s website.

Windows 10 provides automatic driver installation and updates. With Windows 7 you needed to have removable media and/or an installation package to get other electronics to work correctly with your machine. With Windows 10 it’s practically a plug and play. No more messing around with installations.

Windows 10 update scans your machine for missing or outdated drivers, which is a piece of software that allows your printer to talk to your computer or your mouse to be functional. Previously, this kind of happened with Windows 7 but you had to dig deep within the updates to find the drivers. Some of the drivers had issues, like disabling your sound. Maybe only once or twice have I found a driver issue with Windows 10 but that’s still batting better than a Windows 7 machine.

Free upgrade to Windows 10

If you own a computer with Windows 7 or Windows 8, you have free upgrade rights to Windows 10. This means you do not have to purchase the software in order to get the operating system on your computer. If you were buying a brand-new machine Windows 10 costs an extra $100 for the home edition. Therefore, if your older systems are still kicking around, then they might still be able to be used today.

All-in-all Windows 10 is the correct operating system to be using for our current time of technology and support. With all of the previous features that were rolled in from Windows 7 it makes it the right choice for people to use for the most simplicity and an acceptable end user experience.    

If you need assistance with upgrading to Windows 10, please let us know!

Lots of security issues with computers.

There can be a lot of security issues with computers. Windows XP is at its end of life, and Windows 7 or higher has problems with Internet Explorer’s security. Make sure to do your Windows updates. Also go to to update flash player and to update your java. If you need help feel free to call.

Time’s up. On April 8, 2014, Microsoft is ending security updates and patches for Windows XP and Office 2003. Just having a Windows XP computer on your network will be an automatic HIPAA violation— which makes you non-compliant.

What to update and what not to update. I usually tell people windows updates will install themselves. If a java or adobe update pops up,  those are safe to install. For any other popups you see that are not any of the above, you can call me if you don’t know what they are or need advice.

Internet Explorer seems to always have a problem. Run your windows update and it should install any security updates. Click START – PROGRAMS  and WINDOWS UPDATES. Click EXPRESS and install all important updates.

Windows XP support comes to an end April 8th. This does not mean it will stop working. It means Microsoft will not put out any updates anymore for XP. Eventually 3rd party software providers like Adobe and Java will do the same so eventually your computer will not work or display web pages properly.  The same thing goes for your virus program. Most older computers with XP are too old to be upgraded. We can still build Windows 7 computers and towers. If you want Windows 8, we can also do that and show you how to use it also.

The Heartbleed vulnerability allows an attacker to read the memory of systems using certain versions of OpenSSL. This does not infect your computer, rather it takes advantage of a vulnerability on some secure websites. The only thing you can do is change your passwords which is something you should do occasionally anyway.

Time Warner Cable – Customers nationwide without email service

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Time Warner Cable says it is working to resolve an issue that has left customers nationwide without email service.

This week several people have contacted News 4, saying their Road Runner email has been down for several days. News 4 reached out to Time Warner for more information. In an email reply, the company apologized to subscribers and called this an “intermittent issue.”

“Customers in multiple markets are affected but the issue is intermittent and the vast majority of our internet customers weren’t affected at all,” said Public Relations Director Scott Pryzwansky. “The issue affects less than 10 percent of email users.”

The issue is not limited to the Buffalo market. Time Warner has 15 million users across 29 states.

Pryzwansky says the outage only affects customers’ Road Runner email accounts and has no affect on Business Class internet customers or any other email service.

“Our engineers are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible and we are sorry for any inconvenience,” Pryzwansky said.