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How to back up your smart phones

In 2017, it is safe to assume that the majority of folks have most of their lives stored on their smart phones. From calendar items and schedules (complete with alarmed reminders), to important text messages, to a bazillion photos of friends and family, the storage on such devices can fill up quite quickly. If the thought of suddenly losing everything that’s saved on your smart phone scares you, then you definitely need a reliable back up strategy. At Imagine Now IT we can now recover the data on your smartphone, if you are on our hosted email platform.

iCloud for iOS devices
Having your email hosted with Imagine Now IT will ensure your data can be retrieved as required. For those not on our services, iCloud reliance is an option. iOS devices such as iPhones, iPads or iPods can all be backed up fairly easily using Apple’s apex of online services- iCloud. This service can be used to access and share photos, documents, music and data between iOS devices, Macs and Windows PCs. There is 5GB of storage available for free on iCloud, so if you have low storage requirements, backing up data comes at no cost to you. However, most of us will have that in photos alone, but don’t despair, upgrades are inexpensive. For $1/month you can have 50GB of storage, for $3/month you get 200GB of storage, and for $10/month you’ll have 1TB of storage.

The extra 50GB of storage at $1 per month is more than sufficient for most users. You can even set your phone to automatically backup your phone to iCloud when your phone is plugged in as long as it is also connected to WiFi. Phones are typically charged once per day at minimum, which means your phone would be backed up daily. That’s $12/year for peace of mind and protection of your digital data.

To enable backup on your iOS device, click on settings iCloud Backup. You will be required to sign in to iCloud, then you can select “Backup Now.”

Android devices backup
Having your email hosted with Imagine Now IT is great protection, however, there are still options for those without hosted email services. Sadly, this process is not as straight forward as that of the iOS device. Android devices can be plugged in to your laptop or PC using a USB cable and files can then be manually dragged and dropped over. This can be time consuming and does require you remembering, and making the time to complete the backup.

Having a Google account on your Android phone can speed this process up by automatically backing up your contacts, calendar, passwords, application data, and most settings. However, some things are not automatically backed up, such as pictures, videos and texts, which are equally (or even more) important. To save images, recordings and text messages, Google Drive can help. Google provides 15GB of free space (slightly more generous than Apple), and if this is insufficient, for $2 per month, you can have 100GB of space, and an extra $10 per month will buy you 1TB.

Manufacturer Apps
Individual phone manufacturers often have their own backup app solutions through their own clouds, such as HTC Backup and Samsung Kies. Such apps are capable of backing up contacts, some settings and some user data, however, it does not include the apps themselves nor any lower level data.

Third Party Apps
Photos, contacts, call histories and certain documents can be backed up using third party apps such as Lookout, ESET Mobile, 360 Security or Titanium Backup, among others. They also provide protection against viruses and malware. Other services such as theft prevention services are available from some of these apps, sometimes at an additional fee.

There are multitudes of storage options available on the market, no matter what device you’re using. Don’t be in a position where the loss or damage of your phone means losing important personal data or precious, irreplaceable memories captured on phone cameras. If you are interested in the security offered by having a hosted email platform, as the easiest way to restore lost data, contact Imagine Now IT today. Also, if you have any questions in regards to storage, using the cloud or you have a business in need of cloud services and intellectual property protection, give us a call at Imagine Now IT today on 49344966.

Upcoming events we are excited about…

We are extremely excited to announce that we are proud supporters of the 2017 Mai-Wel Group Gala Ball.

The annual event will be held at Maitland Town Hall on Saturday 29th April, 2017, with the promise of being bigger and better than ever. Enchantingly themed- “We can show you the world, shining, shimmering, splendid,” Maitland’s night of nights is sure to be magical and wondrous.

The night will include a three course meal, drinks, premium auction items, prizes and live entertainment including music from local band Bravo Victor. Expect surprises along the way too.

Tickets are limited, so book your early bird tickets now. Come support a local event for a good cause and have some ‘shining, shimmering, splendid’ fun!

In May, we are also looking forward to hosting our IT Brunch at Woody’s Cafe, Thornton. We invite everyone to join us on May 2nd to learn how you can stay ahead of your competitors! Find out about the future of IT, be informed on the latest scams and how to protect your intellectual property. Also, hear about the latest digital marketing tips from local marketing experts at Kis Marketing. Brunch will be included- click here to book your tickets now!

Top 4 Back to School Gadgets

It’s time to get ready for back to school and in the rhythm of work for 2017. Student or not – here’s 4 gadgets that will help you get organised and motivated for this year!

Kindle
The Kindle is a fantastic, small device that holds battery for lengthy periods of time and can store more books than a backpack! Anyone who passed through school in the day of the textbook can appreciate the ease of this modern, compact device.
When used for education, Kindles make the school, college or university day far more convenient as they are simply carted to classes. They are also useful for quick reading during down time in the doctor’s office or while waiting for public transport.

Tiles
The loss of phone, backpack or even bike can be common occurrence in the busy life of a student. That’s where tiles can come in handy. A Tile is a small Bluetooth tag that can be attached to any item you own. Should you lose a tagged item, simply open the app on your phone and select locate. Provided the item is within Bluetooth range, it will start beeping so you can find it.
The Tile can even be double tapped and will make your phone chime- even when set on vibrate. When a few tiles are employed on all major items (backpack, phone and house keys especially!) you can potentially save many hours of searching!
Another cool feature is that if you have the Tile app, every device with the Tile app running will passively listen for the tiles marked as missing. So, if another person has a tile in range of your phone marked missing, your phone will anonymously report the Tile’s location. This means that if you’re hundreds of miles away from a lost tile, an item you would otherwise never recover, another person’s phone can still locate it for you!

Thumb Drive
Every student needs a reliable, safe thumb drive. While programs such as DropBox and Google Drive are seemingly making them obsolete, there are still plenty of great uses and features of the classic thumb drive. Transferring large files or for use when no internet connection is available are two examples.
When looking for a thumb drive, check out product reviews and consider the speed for file transfer, storage capacity and physical size of the drive- smaller is best for storing and transporting.
Professional Advice- Format your new thumb drive as exFAT. This will allow it to be used on Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems.

Back-Up Power
Backup power is pretty much an essential for students spending long days out and about between classes and study time in the library. There are plenty of options on the market for backup power for devices. Ideally, you will want something that is small but holds plenty of power. Imagine being the campus hero next time a friend loses battery on their phone!

For further advice on handy gadgets and I.T. for back to school or work, contact the team at Imagine Now IT today!

Top Tips for Web Browsing

Relaxed young professional surfing the Internet on his laptop in a cafe

Most people spend a majority of their time on the computer browsing the web, either for work, study or entertainment purposes. Here are some top tips to make your web browsing quicker, easier and more efficient:

  • Use multiple tabs: by using multiple tabs you are able to quickly and easily switch between articles and web pages. If you are on a web page and would like to open a link but still continue reading, simply open the link in a new tab so you can easily access it when you have finished reading that page. To open a link in a new tab simply right click and select ‘open in new tab’ or hold down the CTRL key and left click. You can also use CTRL + T to open a blank tab.
  • Unless you want to access a secure website, you can skip the http://: You don’t need to type this in to the web browser to reach a website. In fact most websites you don’t even have to type the www. So keep this in mind to save yourself some time. In order to access a secure website, you will need to type in the https://.
  • Tab to a new field: When filling out an online form or even sending an email, you can use the TAB key on your keyboard to quickly move to the next text field. If you TAB too far simply use SHIFT + TAB to go back a field.
  • Refresh the webpage: sometimes when a web page isn’t loading properly or an issue has occurred, a simple page refresh could resolve this. Press F5 or CTRL + R on your keyboard to refresh the page.
  • Use CTRL + F to find what you are looking for: this brings up a search box so you can easily find where that word or phrase appears on the web page.

The more you use these tricks, the quicker and easier your web browsing will become, making work and study more efficient.

Is it best to leave the computer on or switch it off?

Everyone seems to have different approaches to what they do with their computer at the end of the day, but what is best? There is no real answer for everyone as it depends on how the computer is used however we have collected some important information that may help you decide what is best foryou.

It is recommended that once a computer is turned on it should be left on for quite some time, until late in the day or when you have finished using the computer for the day. If you need programs to run over night such as back ups or virus scans, however, you will need to leave the computer on.

It can be useful to put the computer into Sleep mode instead of turning it off if you would like to save some boot up time. If you choose to leave your computer on all day, it is recommended that the monitor is switched off when you won’t be using it for periods longer than 10 minutes. This will allow the screen to refresh.

For offices with a large number of computers, it is recommended that these a turned off of a night time to save power. Turning the computer to power saving mode will help however it will still consumer power.

Some more tips & helpful information to help you choose what is best:

  • Turning the computer off will not cause power surges or damage components
  • Turning off computer will not cause cracks or harm electrical components – whilst the components will cool down when it is turned off, this will not harm them.
  • Turning off the computer won’t cause moving parts such as fans to wear down.
  • Turning the computer off is unlikely to wear down the power button. This has been an issue previously with old computers however this is not the case with modern computer manufacturers. It is still possible that the power button can break but not from simply turning the computer on and off.
  • It is not true that the computer takes more power when it boots up.
  • Leaving the computer on will not cause it to overheat (unless a fan is broken).
  • All information provided above is applicable for laptop devices as well.

power-l

Would you like your computer to run faster?

There is nothing more frustrating than a slow computer. Rather than buying a new desktop or laptop, why not install a Solid State Drive (SSD) card.

What is an SSD?

An SSD is similar to USB memory sticks, but more of an oversized and more sophisticated version. Like a USB memory stick, there are no moving parts to an SSD. The information is therefore stored in microchips. Which means that an SSD, rather than a hard disk drive, is so much faster.

A typical SSD uses what is called NAND-based flash memory, that is, when you turn off the disk it won’t forget what was stored on it. Which is an essential characteristic to any permanent memory.

The SSD is actually the same size as a regular hard drive and comes in a standard 1.8″, 2.5″ or 3.5″ size that can fit into the housing and connectors for the same-sized hard drives.

What this upgrade means for your computer?

By completing this upgrade you should expect to see from the first reboot that your start ups will be a lot faster. Programs and files will launch or load faster, and your search results will arrive a lot faster for you. You may also notice that your laptop will run overall a lot quieter as a SSD doesn’t contain moving parts.

In the long run an SSD card also uses less electrical power than what a conventional hard drive would. This means longer battery life for laptop users.

SSD’s are well on their way to becoming the mainstream, standard storage mechanism, especially for laptops. So if you desire top computing performance, opting for an SSD inside your computer set up or an upgrade, don’t hesitate to contact us here at ImagineNow IT.

What You Need to Know About Mobile Payment Apps

More and more Mobile Payment Applications such as Apple Pay & Android Pay are being introduced and used in our everyday shopping experiences. Rather than paying online, these applications allow you to use your phone like a credit card at the shopping centre, meaning you don’t even have to carry around your wallet anymore! But how do they work and how safe are they? We have everything you need to know about these new Mobile Payment Apps.
To be able to compare this new system to credit cards, we will quickly outline how credit cards work. We all know that in the shops credit cards work by pay passing or inserting/swiping the card then entering a pin but a lot more happens whilst we do this. Your credit card number and some other information on the card gets sent to an acquirer (a bank that processes card transactions) who checks with your credit card company for authorisation and approve the purchase, all happening in about 1 second!

Now let’s look at the new Mobile Payment Apps! These new applications uses a type of wireless communication called Near Field Communication (NFC) rather than the magnet strip or chip on your credit card. The NFC only works within a few centimetres and your phone has a chips in it just for this. This means that you can only use this method of payment at terminals that also have an NFC chip.

Although this method sounds quite unsafe and makes you even more worried about losing your phone, it is actually quite safe. When you make a transaction, you don’t transmit your credit card number so this can not be stolen. Every purchase is assigned a different number (a token) so even if someone stole this number they couldn’t use it again as it can only be used the one time. The phone also ensures that a pin is entered, or fingerprint scanned, to proceed with payment. This means that even if someone had your phone, they would also need your pin or finger which is quite unlikely!

From what has been researched so far, these applications do like quite safe so the days of only taking your phone, license and keys when you leave the house could be just around the corner! Just remember that these new Mobile Payment Applications are still relatively new to the market so we recommend not leaving your wallet at home just yet, in case the shops you use don’t have this feature yet.

Vector illustration of mobile payment via smartphone.