New Software: Wait Before You Evaluate

Evaluation Scale

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Late last week your office upgraded your main software. Now, it’s Monday morning, and you’re pulling your hair out, trying not to shout obscenities as you struggle to accomplish even the simplest of tasks.

But before you go badmouthing your new software, and requesting it be removed from your system (or the office entirely), try to give it at least a few days before you evaluate your software.

The Brain Trick

Our brains, in their infinite wisdom, always want to snap back to what’s familiar, at least initially. So when you first start using that new piece of software, it may send you signals about how difficult it is. It may even give you lots of reasons why you should go back to your old software. Don’t listen.

Instead, try to keep an open mind and remain judgment free, at least for a week or two. You should find that after even a day of using your new software, you’re a lot more comfortable with it, and therefore a lot less resistant.

If your brain is really making things difficult, try to seek comfort in the fact that you are learning something new, which is actually quite good for your brain, and remember that new skills take time to learn.

Keep Calm and Carry On

New software, even newer versions of the same software, often come with new tools and features. One of the easiest ways to reduce frustration when it comes to new software is to give yourself extra time when using it. Sure you could have gotten it done in 10 minutes using the old way, but think about how many hours you put into learning that system. The same holds true with the new software.

Giving yourself adequate time to use and learn your new software, along with reducing your expectations based upon past experiences, should go a long way to helping you enjoy the change.

Anytime new software is involved, there is always a learning curve. The important thing is to expect and understand this will happen, and not get frustrated when you can’t do something initially.

Over time, you’ll probably come to love your new software just as much as the old software it replaced, but you’ll never know how well it can work for you if you make snap decisions to remove it before you’ve even gotten a chance to use the software. When it comes to new software, do yourself a favor – wait before you evaluate – and you’ll be a lot happier with your experience in the long run.

Should You Monitor or Block Internet Activity at the Office?

iNet Protector 4

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Monitoring online activity at work is still a controversial subject. Many are concerned that putting such a system in place may potentially infringe upon employee’s rights and may cause hidden consequences in the workplace. Are these concerns founded?

While there is some truth to the concerns, by and large employers have every right to secure the internet in the office, but just because you can, does this mean you should?

It depends. The decision should stem from many factors, including your employees. However the most important factor you should take into consideration is the culture you are trying to perpetuate in the office.

How internet monitoring is deployed can make or break the culture, and can send strong messages to your staff. If done correctly, employees understand that it’s a way to ensure office productivity. If done incorrectly, it can send the message that you don’t trust your employees, and can cause paranoia in the office.

So should you monitor internet activity at the office? Well, that also depends. Here’s a list of pros and cons to help you determine if internet monitoring and website blocking is right for your business.


Increased Productivity

The obvious pro to monitoring internet activity is to increase office productivity by reducing non-work related internet activity.

Reduction of Viruses and Malware

Internet monitoring often gives you the ability to also block certain sites, which may help your company reduce malware and viruses on office computers.

Reduced Risk of Sexual Harassment / Other Charges

Monitoring and blocking internet activity can also help reduce the risk of sexual harassment and types of other charges, by reducing the ability to access explicit and inappropriate websites.


May Block Necessary Sites

Sometimes when internet blocks are too broad, it may actually impact your employees ability to get their work done, particularly when a site the actually need for work is blocked.

Could Signal Distrust

Depending on how the monitoring and blocking is done, you could signal to your employees that you don’t trust them, which could impact office moral.

Could Infringe on Employee Rights

Suppose an employee is dealing with abuse issues at home, and they use the company internet to research their options. Your IT guy notices this, and for whatever reason decides to discuss it with yet another employee in the break room. Now the first employee’s secret is out, about a sensitive issue they may not be ready to discuss with anyone, let alone the office. While this example is extreme, it does happen.

A Better Way to Monitor

Instead of blocking the internet entirely at the office, try these solutions as a better way to monitor the internet. Your employees will thank you for it.

Inform of the Internet Policy

Don’t just implement the internet policy without telling anyone, and certainly don’t bury the policy deep within your employee manual. Instead, take the time to inform the entire office of the change, and the reasons for implementing the policy. Then, have new employees read, and sign, the internet policy rules separately from the employee manual, to help them fully understand what they can and can’t go on the internet at the office.

Block Sites, Skip Keystroke Logging

If possible, try blocking sites only, instead of also logging keystrokes. This helps you reduce the obvious offending sites – pornographic sites, Facebook, etc. – without blocking all access to the internet, and without obtaining information such as usernames and passwords, which get logged with keystroke software.

Designated Surfing Time

Instead of blocking the internet all the time, give employees certain periods of the day – say lunch time – where they can surf the web unhindered. This shows that you understand the importance of them needing to balance their work and personal life, without letting it get out of hand in the workplace.

Similarly, you could also create an internet café in the break room, with computers that have open internet access. Businesses often give employees access to snack and soda machines, and give smokers smoke breaks, so why not let your employees take an internet break?

These are just some ways you can help take the pain out of monitoring internet activity in the office. Has your office implemented internet monitoring or website blocking? What did you do to reduce employee concerns?

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help make your office culture a little bit better. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.

The Benefits of Solid State Drives: Laptops VS Desktops


Image Credit: Simon Wüllhorst

While it may surprise you to learn that solid state drive (SSD) technology has been around since the 1970’s, it has only been recently introduced to the computer market. Initially, we knew SSD’s to be those tiny cards know as SD and Micro SD cards that came with our digital camera, but now solid state drives are making an appearance inside the computer as well.

Recently, we explored the difference between SSD and traditional hard drives, and asked the question do you really need an SSD drive? (The short answer, yes, you do.) But are SSDs the best fit for all computers? Is it better to use an SSD on your desktop, laptop, or both?

Benefits of SSD on a Laptop

Hands down, laptops greatly benefit from having an SSD installed. Although SSDs are (generally) smaller in size than a traditional hard drive, the benefits of using this type of drive on a portable computer greatly outweigh many capacity and price concerns.


Having an SSD in a laptop is a no brainer in many respects, but particularly where drive durability and data integrity is concerned. This is mainly because SSDs have no moving parts, compared to traditional hard drives, which means there are no platters to get jostled and scratched when you walk around with your laptop running. Additionally with an SSD, you don’t have to worry about dropping, kicking, or roughly bumping your laptop when it is on.

Longer Battery Life

Having an SSD in your laptop can help save and lengthen your battery life. Tests have found that with routine tasks, such as surfing the web, SSD drives can save you 20+ minutes of battery life, compared to laptops with a traditional drive.


One of the features that are noticed the most with SSD drives, particularly on laptops, is the speed. SSD drives not only access your data faster, but your boot up and shut down speeds will also be considerably quicker.


Compared to laptops, what are the main benefits of installing a SSD on a desktop? The speed. While a SSD drive boasts the exact same benefits whether it’s installed in a laptop or a desktop, due to the stationary nature of desktops they just don’t take advantage of these other features the same way. So, you’re mostly going to get the speed benefits of using an SSD drive on your desktop.

Better Drive for Desktops?

If you are already leaning toward a SSD drive for your desktop, you may want to look into hybrid drives, which merge all the best parts of SSD and traditional hard drives. With a hybrid drive, you get the benefit of a traditional drive when it comes to space. You can get hybrid drives which hold 1TB or more of data. However, the beauty of a hybrid drive is that a small portion of it acts as a SSD drive. Just tell your computer how you want it to use and access the drive, and it does the rest. We recommend using the traditional portion of the drive for storage of items, such as pictures, movies, and other items which don’t necessarily need the speed an SSD provides.

Do you use a SSD or Hybrid Drive? Leave us a comment telling us what you like about it.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you understand your technology choices. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.