Portable USB power for mobile phones and devices

I recently tested the RAVPower 16750mAh Portable USB Charger similar to this one here :

This external battery pack is useful when you need to have your phone charged and usable but will not be near any wall outlet to charge your phone. For example, if you are a vendor at a trade show and need your phone to process credit card payments, and external power pack is indispensable. This USB battery backup pack performs well, charges quickly and has plenty of capacity to charge devices multiple times. It’s an idea for a Christmas gift. Below is my video review.

A solution for sharing photographs

One of the challenges I have after taking photographs is finding an efficient way to share them with others. I’ve tried a number of ways of sharing photographs with varying success. Emailing photos directly worked but often I ran into file size limitations of email servers. Some recipients would get the pictures, others would not. I’ve scaled down the photos to avoid the file size issue, but that takes time and the recipient would not get the full-sized photo. Emailing copies of photos to many recipients was not an ideal solution.

What I wanted was a centralized repository that is easy to upload full-sized pictures.  The ability to quickly create create albums was necessary.  I did not want to impose a technology requirement for any of the recipients such as needing a social media account or follow a group, etc. A facility to share the album via an email link is a requirement.

Prime Photos from Amazon

One solution for sharing photographs is Prime Photos from Amazon. Amazon Prime members can store unlimited photos in Amazon’s cloud. Prime Photos easy to setup and use. I am able to upload all my photos to Prime Photos, I can create albums and share the link. Recipients can view the album online and download original full sized photos if they wish. There is no facility for recipients to “like” or comment on the photographs, a social media site would be preferred if you are looking for that.

Although the photo’s have unlimited storage, videos or other files have a 5GB limit.

How to setup and use Prime Photos

  1. If you are not an Amazon Prime member you’ll need to sign up for that here.
  2. Create a folder on your computer where you will place your pictures to be uploaded.
  3. Download the Amazon Backup app and setup your backup to monitor the folder you created in the previous step.
    • You can set a destination folder in the cloud.
  4. Transfer the photos from the camera to the monitored folder on the computer.
  5. The backup application will transfer the photos from your computer to the cloud.
  6. Albums are a way to group photos. To create an album, select photos to add to an album and click “Add to Album”.
  7. To share an album, select the album to share, then click the “Share” button, a link will be generated. You can share the link with anyone.

Amazon Prime Photos uses “Amazon Drive”, you can organize your cloud folders by going into Amazon Drive and creating folders and moving the files. For instance, you can create a folder for each year 2017, 2018, etc and then add sub folders under that such as “Trip to Europe”. Organizing your photo’s also allow you to view each folder on a smart TV through the Amazon app.

We’re offering website updates

Made in Connecticut now offers a single page website, with your content, your pictures, and installed either on your existing host, or on one of my servers.

What is the advantage of a single page site?

Single page sites are easier to navigate on mobile devices, phones, tablets etc. Often, a site with an older design and multiple pages is difficult to navigate on a phone. Links on older sites can be difficult to find and can be tough to click on with a finger. Contrast this with how you navigate a single page site on your mobile device, scroll up and down the page with a swish of you finger and you can find all you need. It’s easier!

More and more websites are being accessed on mobile devices. Even when at home, rather power up a desktop for a quick search, people reach for their phone. If your site is not mobile friendly, or is difficult to read or navigate, people move on and do not look back.

Evaluate your website

1980's cell phone

A website designed with 1980’s technology may not look quite as cool as it once did

How does your site behave on mobile devices? Is it hard to read? Do you need to scroll to the left and right to read the text?  Try viewing your site on your mobile device, or size your browser window to a smaller size to see how you site reacts. If it is difficult to read and navigate, you need to consider updating it because your potential customers will leave rather quickly.

How to fix your online presence

There are several options to giving your website a face-lift, from a full custom rebuild of your site which can be expensive, moving to one of the newer services for building a site (there might be a learning curve and some hidden costs). Another option is to contract out an IT pro that can provide a modern designed website and install it on any server, it’s not a custom one of kind design so the cost is low, the IT pro handles the graphic resize, and install so there is no learning curve.

I do contract work

If you would like to update your website for a reasonable cost, I do contract work. I can provide a modern site, that is mobile ready, with minimal cost. . I’ll add your graphics, and set the Google Map to your location. If you are interested in a website update, . Cheers! -Steve

Defend against Ransomware

Ransomware screen

Ransomware screen

Ransomware is a computer virus that encrypts your computer files, or locks up you computer so that you can not access your files. In order to access your files again, you pay a ransom to the attacker who then provides you with the decryption key.

How to prevent a ransomware attack

Some precautions to take against all viruses, including ransomware.

  • Do not click on links to websites that are sent in emails or chat messages.
  • Always run anti-virus software – for Windows users can always use Microsoft Security Essentials, it’s free with a Windows license.
  • Run a firewall – Windows comes with Windows Firewall, turn it on.

Implement a data backup plan

How would your business function if data (such as spreadsheets, documents, contact lists, contracts and agreements with your customers and/or clients is lost)? Do you have a recent backup of  this data? Do you have the ‘manual backup’ process where you store backup files on a thumb drive every week (but in reality you did it once a year or two ago .. maybe three)? Do you backup your files to a separate folder on your hard drive (not much help if the drive fails or becomes encrypted)?

You need to have a solid, reliable data backup and restoration plan if you do become a victim of a ransomware virus, or for something common such as your hard drive failing. You need to ensure your backups do not get ‘stale’, automate your backups. Store backups offsite / in the cloud to ensure you data is available even in case of equipment failures.

Here are some backup options:

Cloud backup options

  • download Google Drive

    Download Google Drive for PC

    Google Drive – A google account comes with 15GB of storage called Google Drive. You can store backup files up to your Google Drive for offsite backups. There is a PC application that can be downloaded at syncs folders on your PC to Google Drive. The PC application creates a folder under you User Folder called Google Drive. any folders you place in there will be automatically uploaded to Google Drive. Google Drive is also useful if you want to share files with other people that you assign permissions to.

  • Dropbox – Dropbox is another web service that syncs files on your PC to offsite backup. Like Google Drive, you can share files with others.
  • A few other options are Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon AWS, there are also dedicated services such as a Carbonite or Mozy. I can not speak to those as I have not used them.


Loss of data has a significant impact on your business. You need a plan of backing up and restoring data. Perform data backups routinely (automated backups are preferred). Never store a backup on the same hard drive as the source files. Store backups to an off-site/cloud provider.

If data is lost and you have no backup, it is gone for good. Plan and implement your backup strategy now!

Defending against Malware

The sound of the bubble from my Samsung tablet I keep in the living room notified me of an email. I set aside my teacup and checked my app.

I’ve had a couple of business transactions with Tobias Peerybingle a few years back. At the time, we exchanged emails had phone conversations and met face to face a couple of times a week. I haven’t heard from Toby since we completed our business at least 3 years ago.


Sample of a Google Doc phishing scam

The email that interrupted my evening tea, was from Toby. From out of the blue, Toby emailed me and informed me that a very important document is available on to Google Docs and that I should sign in with my email and read it. For a split second I contemplated clicking that link. After all, the email came from from someone I knew. Something about that email just didn’t seem kosher, thankfully I didn’t take the bait.

Malware – software that is designed to interfere with a computer’s normal functioning and that can be used to commit cybercrime (as by revealing passwords, PINs, and other sensitive data)

Read more: merriam webster definition

Had I clicked on the link and attempted to view the document, malware could have been installed on my system. The malware could attempt to look at my contact address book and send the same “you have a Google Doc” email to all my contacts. The email would appear to come from me but I would not be aware of it was even sent. The goal of malware, viruses, Trojan horses, etc is to steal passwords, your personal information; to steal your money one way or another.

How to defend against these cyber attacks.

  • Think before you click – even if the email is from someone you know. Be especially wary of any emails that have attachments.
  • Run virus protection software and keep it up to date. Decent virus protection comes with Microsoft Windows Security Essentials.
    Microsoft Windows Security Essentials

    Microsoft Windows Security Essentials

  • Run firewall software such as Windows Firewall. A firewall blocks unauthorized access to your system and programs.

Other measures can be taken as well, the above items are a good start.