Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Importance of a Backup and Disaster Recovery Device

Power Outage

Image Credit: Grant Wickes

While many companies know that it is important to back up their data, many fail to realize that backing up is just half of the equation, especially where catastrophic events are involved.

Take Microsoft for example. One of the largest tech giants got caught with its pants down late last week (Thursday 3/14), rendering some of its services unusable for over 16-hours.

When a routine update failed, it caused an unexpected temperature spike, overheating the data center. Ultimately, it was the overheating which caused extended downtime for many of Microsoft’s online services, including Outlook.com,

Hotmail, Calendar, and SkyDrive. Eventually, human intervention was

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required to help rectify the situation.

If you noticed some downtime late last week, that was why. Do you want to read the whole story? Click here.

While data wasn’t lost, time and access to services were. So what could Microsoft have done differently?

If they were a techQuility client, we would have advised that their systems be setup on a Backup Recovery Device, or BDR. While the BDR’s main function is to backup data at regular, scheduled intervals, it also offers some unique protection against catastrophe and downtime.

With a BDR in place, once we are aware of a catastrophic situation such as overheating servers, we are able to “flip the switch”, moving your data from your servers to the Cloud. This allows your data and servers to be accessed, even remotely, just as you would access them in the office.

When the switchover happens, any changes to your data continues to be backed up, so that you don’t have to worry about continuity. Then, once any issues are resolved, we can migrate your data back to your own network, so you can resume normal operations.

It is really that easy. So don’t let your company get caught pants-down like Microsoft did recently. Instead, take the time to put solutions in place now that will allow you more effectively manage your data and your office, even despite unforeseen events.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you maintain peace and calm during a catastrophe. Email:julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.

Powerful Chrome Apps

Chrome Apps

Image Credit: ksablan

Earlier in the week, we discussed browsers that

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support plug-ins and the reasons why you might want to use one instead of a traditional web browser. If you didn’t read that article, you might want to before continuing.

Of the browsers available that support plug-ins, one of our favorites is Google Chrome. Aside from being Google junkies, we love the Chrome browser because it has a lot of useful features, such as syncing across multiple devices such as your desktop and your Android phone.

But, one of the things we love most about the Chrome browser is how useful it becomes once it’s customized with a few useful plug-ins, or Apps (as Google calls them).

With thousands of free and pay-for Apps available in the Chrome Webstore, there is something available for everyone, whether you’re looking to be more productive at work, or whether you just want to play.

However, a seemingly endless possibility of choices can often lead to confusion. So, we thought we’d share some of our favorite Apps, and how we use them. There’s probably something useful on our list that’s just perfect for you or your office.

Google Chrome to Phone Extension

Back before the Chrome browser had cross-platform sync capabilities, it used to be a pain in the butt to send a web address from your computer to your phone. That’s where Chrome to Phone came in. This handy App lets you quickly send a webpage URL to your phone, so that you can access the site on another device.

While the Chrome browser can now do this inherently, with the Chrome Sync feature, using Chrome to Phone can still be faster because it requires a few less clicks.

Goo.gl URL Shortener

With social media and other similar sites, you are often limited by the number of characters you can use in a status update. Why use up that allotment with a long URL? Instead, this app will let you shorten URL’s so they don’t take up a lot of space, letting you use your character count for actual words.

Freshstart Cross Browser Session Manager

This handy App has many useful features. It will allow you to save any open tabs, so that you can come back to them later. It has crash capabilities, automatically saving your open tabs whenever a crash occurs. However, its biggest claim to fame is that it allows easy browser management where there are multiple users and/or multiple profiles on the same browser.

SendTab

Have you ever been looking at something online, and wanted to send it to someone else, or to your other computer, but didn’t want to go through the hassle of emailing the URL? Then try SendTab. This handy app allows you to send an instance of what you are looking at to anyone who is listed in your network. To use this function, all users must have the app installed, the “network” must be setup on SendTab’s site, and they must be registered on the “network” as a user. Once setup, all users appear on the list, so all it takes to send a URL is a quick click.

Do you have a favorite Chrome app? Leave us a comment and tell us about it.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you find better apps for your browser. Email:julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.

Using Browsers that Support Plug-Ins

Google Chrome Logo

Image Credit: toprankonlinemarketing

By now everyone knows that you need to use a browser to surf the web, but did you know that your browser can do more than just bringing up webpages? Well it can, if you have the right browser.

Most browsers are pretty straight forward, just type in the address of the page you want to visit and hit enter, and bam, you’re there. But some browsers also allow you to install little apps – or add-ins / plug-ins – that let you do other things aside from browsing the web like automatically saving your open tabs when the browser (or computer) crashes, or being able to send a page from your computer to someone else’s computer for them to look at.

As mentioned, plug-ins are small apps that run inside your browser. While the location may change depending on your browser, you can typically access these apps from a bar on the browser (near the menu bar). Additionally, most browsers allow you to access your plug-ins by going to the plug-ins or apps tab.

Browsers with Apps

So if not all browsers have apps, which ones do?

While new browsers are always being added to the list, the current favorite browsers for using apps include:

Chrome

Created by Google, this browser is simple, streamlined, and one of the best for apps. You can get more apps through the WebStore. To access, just open a new tab, click on Apps at the bottom, and click on the Chrome Webstore icon. Or click here to visit the store.

After accessing the WebStore you can search and install any apps that strike your fancy. However, one thing it (surprisingly) doesn’t do so well is search, so if you know the name of the App you’re looking for, you’re better off searching Google for it, rather than locating it through the WebStore. You’ll find it faster, with less hassle, guaranteed.

Important Note: Chrome isn’t always compatible with all business line applications, so check the specs of any important software you regularly utilize before installing.

FireFox

Another great browser to use is FireFox, created by Mozilla. Around for a long while, FireFox was the streamlined solution for a better browser before Chrome came on the scene.

Just like Chrome, there are a multitude of programs you can add on to your browser to make it work better. You can view the list of add-ons here.

Opera

Another alternative browser which allows the use of add-ons is Opera. This Scandinavian created browser strives to be pretty minimal, while still maintaining optimum functionality, allowing you to access the information you need online,

without all the junk. Their browser is also multi-platform, so if you like it on your computer, you can install it on your other mobile devices too. You can view the list of add-ons here.

If you’ve never used a browser that allows apps then you may want to check it out. Not only do these apps allow you to access key pieces of information faster than browsing to an actual webpage – the weather app is handy for this – but it also allows you to get more done with less, because you don’t need additional software to install, just a small little app.

Do you use a browser that allows apps? Which browser do you use? And, what’s your favorite app?


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you find better ways to use your browsers. Email:julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.