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Tech Resources

The following products are offered for your information. We do not endorse a specific product. You are encouraged to do additional research to ensure that any product meets your specific needs.

Protecting your Privacy and Securing your Gmail

An excellent article written by Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner, explains why and how to encrypt your Gmail so as to protect data that may be intercepted by hackers from being read, understood or used by them. The article can be found here.

What’s on Your Computer?

The Belarc Advisor is a free PC inventory utility you can run to analyze the contents of your computer. In just a few seconds, the Belarc Advisor will create a complete list of all your hardware and software, including such things as your motherboard, chipset speed, operating system, software versions everything you need to know about your computer. So if a problem arises, you'll have all the information you need to help your IT staff or tech support desk solve the problem. www.belarc.com

Backup and Rejoice!

There is nothing more important in your office procedures than the regular back-up information stored on your computer. Back up means to copy your important computer files (such as client documents, software applications, time and billing data, and e-mail) onto another computer or media that can be accessed to restore data if you computer crashes, the file is corrupted, or your office is destroyed. There are different methods to do this, using a variety of storage options including tape drive, mirrored hard drive, portable hard drive, remote/on-line, and combinations thereof. Whichever method you choose, your office computer data should be backed up daily. Also do a periodic test to restore a file to make sure your backup system is working. Software choices such as Genie Backup Manager Pro www.genie-soft.com; online choices such as MozyPro.com or iBackup.comand hardware choices such as Maxtor OneTouch or Seagate's Mirra Personal Server www.mirra.com. The Mirra Personal Server is a valuable combination of real-time automatic back-up system, on-line back-up, and extranet that allows for secure remote access to documents and files, without compromising your network security (see the article for more information.).

Excellent (and free!) photo organizer

An excellent and free (lawyers love free!) photo organization software is Picasa by Google. Picasa provides an easy interface to sort and describe your image collections. You can also touchup your photos and even burn them to a CD.

Highlighting Text in Black Is Not Redaction

Data stored in a document is not really rendered invisible to others simply because it cannot be seen on the screen. Be mindful that data merely blocked out can be read when the highlighting is removed or the highlighting color is changed and the characters are revealed. When redacting material you must actually delete the data, not merely mask its appearance. This can be done with various redaction tools, such as the one Microsoft provides for Word users (available from the Microsoft product download site) or one is available for Adobe Acrobat files. Otherwise, a low-tech solution is to print the document, mark out the data to be redacted, and re-scan it as an image file.

Scan Your Mail

If all of the mail coming into your office is scanned and stored as image files, they can be more easily distributed, sorted, stored, retrieved and deleted. A central folder can be created for all incoming mail, in date order. Then copies can be distributed to individual folders for each interested person, and additional copies are distributed to the relevant file folders on the network. Each document is named for its client acronym and matter number, its date and the sender and intended recipient. The original paper document then is stored in the file and others can read the electronic document regardless of who has the hard copy file. In addition to providing the benefit of remote access to documents, an added benefit is that hard copy files are seldom missing because they do not need to be retrieved as often. Ultimately, paper files are being used less and less often.

Headsets for the Office Phone

Just as headsets can leave you with your hands free in the car, they also can free you in your office. Wired or Bluetooth enabled headsets for your office phone allow you to walk away from the phone while talking, review reading material more easily, and type or write without cradling the phone against your neck.

Never Lose another Document

Find anything on your computer using a desktop search engine. These handy applications index your computer hard drive and help locate documents, email, photos, Excel files, and much more. Several free products are available: Google Desktop Search, Copernic Desktop Search, or Yahoo Desktop Search or X-1 from www.X1.com.

Tablet Computers

Tablet computers are useful in a number of ways, as shall be discussed in several tips throughout this presentation. Their format makes computer usage more natural and comfortable, particularly when away from the desk. Using a laptop on your lap, for instance, is much more comfortable when writing with a pen than when using the keyboard. On an airplane where desktop space is limited by the length of the tray table and the angle of the seat in front of you, making it almost impossible to prop up a computer screen, a tablet computer is a true blessing. The tablet interface, with its touch sensitivity, also makes pointing and clicking much easier than navigating across the screen with a mouse.

Turn your iPod into a Dictation Machine

Any Apple iPod with a dock connector already includes software to record voice recordings. All you need is a recorder: Enter Griffin Technology's $40 iTalk. Just slightly smaller than a pack of gum, it plugs into the headphone jack and sits on top of the iPod. It's color-coordinated with the iPod so it looks cool, not geeky.

Create a Separate Deleted Items Folder for Junk

When going through your email, if you identify items that are clearly junk, you may want to save them to a separate Deleted Items folder from your other deleted email. Often email may need to be retrieved and it will be less troublesome if you do not have to sort through mountains of deleted junk to get to the item for which you are looking. Another tip for making deleted items easier to retrieve is to store your email in the order modified instead of the order received. Then the item you most recently deleted will appear at the top of the list, making it easier to locate if you mistakenly deleted it and want it back.