Fun Shortcuts for Microsoft Outlook

Outlook is the email client for 1.2 Billion users but few take full advantage of all of its features and benefits. In this article we are going to touch on only a few of the many things Outlook can do that you may not be aware of.

When reading emails or adding meeting events to your calendar.

You can master Outlook’s keyboard shortcuts.Similar to Microsoft WordExcel, and other Office apps, Outlook has unique keyboard shortcuts that you can learn easily and fast. Learn the ones you use most and you’ll get the hang of your Outlook tasks. MakeUseOf has an easy-to-use Outlook keyboard shortcuts cheat sheetyou can download or print out. The most useful of the 247 shortcuts are: Ctrl+R: reply to email

  • Alt+R: reply to all in email or switch to the work week calendar view
  • Alt+W: forward email or switch to the weekly calendar view
  • Ctrl+M: F9 to Send/Receive all
  • Alt+S: Send email
  • Ctrl+G: open the “Go to date” dialog to jump to any date in the calendar

You can also switch between mail, calendar, contacts, and other items in the navigation pane by hitting Ctrl + , e.g.:

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Maximize the use of Outlook’s Quick Steps.For the uninitiated, Quick Steps is the dandy featureMicrosoft has for Outlook.  They’re short paths to any multi-step action you can visualize, like transferring emails to a specific folder and tagging them as read or forwarding an email to your team and tagging it simultaneously. It allows shortcuts to repetitive tasks, and you can create your own Quick Step actions.

 

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On your clipboard, create a new item.

Copy any text to your clipboard, then in Outlook press Ctrl-V. Outlook creates a new message (or note or whatever item, depending on the folder you’re viewing) with the text already pasted.

So instead of creating a new item in Outlook, and then copy-pasting text in, you do both in one action.

 

Email Shortcuts

Even though Yahoo mail and Gmail and other webmail services are up to task, Outlook is a best friend when it comes to sorting, filtering, classifying, and otherwise customizing your inbox to your needs. To show you:

Limit desktop notices to only the most vital emails.It’s downright a distraction to constantly be prompted “you’ve got mail!” but then you still want to get notified for the most important alerts. Take heart! In Outlook, set desktop notifications only for those wanted messages. Basically, all you’ll do is to turn off all desktop alerts under the Mail Options, then create an Outlook rule to display alerts for messages from VIPs sent only to you. To show you:

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Tag messages easily.With a message or two selected, just hit the insert key to toggle the flag on or mark it done.

Retrieve emails that aren’t sent directly to you from your inbox.  One of the best tools is to use a special “Inbox – CC” folder to gather all the emails that aren’t sent directly to you; that way, the inbox is geared for only the most needed emails. To set this up, go to Rules > New Rules…. Then click the “Advanced Options” button. In the Rules Wizard, choose “where my name is not in the To box” and then in the next screen, “move it to the specified folder.” (An alternative is to set up a VIP email folder and move “emails sent only to me” into that special folder.)

Use email templates to never write a duplicate email. For those emails you send often, such as requests for updates or notifications of due invoices, save the email as a template via File > Save As… > Outlook template. Then, to use the template, go to New Items > Choose Form… and look in your “User Templates in File System” to browse for the template you saved. Or, even faster, double-click the OFT file from Windows Explorer to create a new message from that template. You can also use text expansionto accomplish this across any program on your computer.

Create search folders for your most wanted emails.Emails from your boss or any search you perform often, just save these for quick access.  Click on Search Folders in the left navigation menu, select “New Search Folder,” and then either use the wizards or manually customize the search to your specifications.

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Braver Technology Solutions LLC

Awesome Technology to see at the Super Bowl

New England Patriots Fans Have something else to look for this Sunday

As New England prepares to cheer on their favorite team this weekend we couldn’t help but look at the cool technology that goes along with the Super Bowl LI in Houston.

 

Since the inception of a Super Bowl, a National Football League (NFL), annual championship tournament, the technological advancements in this game have been taking place every year. It is the most popular football league in United States. Interestingly, the day, when Super Bowl is played, is considered by fans as unofficial American national holiday and is called ‘Super Bowl Sunday’. Besides, this game is one of the most watched T.V broadcasts in United States with 114.5 million average viewers every year. The following broadcasters in United States played a vital role in broadcasting Super Bowl:

  • NBC Universal Television Group
  • Fox Broadcasting Company
  • CBS Television Network
  • Monday Night Football (MNF), Television Broadcaster

High-Tech Cameras

The Super Bowl will use a remarkable and high-tech Intel’360 replay camera technology this year. It can freeze any moment of play and gives 360 degree views. The large number of cameras will be affixed in the ground. CBS Television Network will utilize 70 cameras while broadcasting the Super Bowl. Besides, 8 pylon high-resolution cameras with microphones will be installed on the end-zone.

In addition, the Fox Broadcasting Company will use Intel’s clips which provide view of the player’s eye from the ground. This feature is called ‘Be the Player’ and it allows the fans to view the same whatever the player is seeing.

Super Bowl Stadiums in the Future

In this year, the Super Bowl will be played at NRG Stadium. 1n 2018, the venue of tis game will be Vikings Stadium. NRG stadium is equipped with modern technology such sustainable energy revolution.

  • Six hundred solar panels and electric vehicles parking areas
  • LED lighting provides the beautiful sight to the stadium
  • The stadium is upgraded with Wi-Fi features.

Instant Replay Technology

The management staff is responsible for supervising the uses of National Football league (NFL), also Super Bowl, Instants Replay Technology. With the help of this technology, the decisions are revert and recent milestones are viewed on the large screen.

Live Streaming Technology

In the upcoming event, CBS Television Network would facilitate the fans by providing live streaming of the game on its website and by means of CBS Sports Application. This application is compatible with Windows, iPad, and Android operating system. It is free of cost and is available to everyone.

Virtual Reality

The most innovative technology uses in Super Bowl is Virtual Reality (VR). The NFL team uses VR headset for training of its quarterback without asking him for physical practice. The Patriots adopted this technology first of all. The companies, who provide VR headsets to teams, are EON Sports-VR and STRIVR Lab.

Player Tracking

Zebra Technologies, the Official On-Field Players Tracking Providers, provide the revolutionary player tracking system to the NFL. Zebra’s Radio Frequency Identification Chip (RFID) chip is placed on the shoulders of each player to track their movements in game in real-time and providing stats for fans and coaches.

Social Media Monitoring

It is also a great technology at Super Bowl 50. The security system is aimed to monitor the ground and space above it. Many security analysts and state’s agents are hired to protect the ground from any trouble. It ensures the security of one million people in the ground.

Wearable Technology

NFL is presently enjoying the wearable technologies that transform it into a modern revolutionary sports football game.  The wearable products for NFL are given below:

  • VICIS Football helmet
  • Army Researched-Laboratory tether System
  • Catapult Trackers
  • VR Headsets
  • Pivot-head Smart Glasses
  • Google Glasses
  • Go-Pro
  • Reebok Check-Light
  • Zebra Shoulder-pad Sensor
  • Bio stamp
  • Microsoft Surface Pro

Super Bowl Fun and Entertainment

Super Bowl may be one of the biggest shows in any year. This year we have the benefit of the Patriots being one of the combatants. What could be better. Well I guess a win could be.

Go PATS !!!

 

Braver Technology Solutions LLC

New proof that I can guess your password

Can I really guess your password?

According to Keeper Security I have a high probability of guessing the password of 50% of the population within my first 25 attempts. That seems like a pretty bold statement even for someone as incredibly skilled and handsome as myself.

Here is how they came across this fact. In the vein of turning something bad into something good Keeper Security analyzed the passwords of 10 million accounts that have been breached and compiled the list of top 25 passwords. The top 25 passwords appeared in a staggering 50% of the 10 million passwords.

The top password in the list which was simply “123456” accounted for 1,700,000 of the passwords analyzed. That data suggests that a full 17% of the passwords in place are simply 123456. That may be worthy of testing on your mother in-laws email account to see what she really thinks about you.

I have to commend the site for thinking of a good way to use ill-gotten data. This truly is a good cause. However, I have to strongly criticize major providers for allowing such lax security standards and allowing these simple passwords to meet their complexity rules.

So why is this important at all. If you want an easy short password what is the harm and really how realistic is it that you will be hacked? One of the most common forms of attacking is called brute force attack. In this type of hack the attacker needs two pieces of information.

Your username
Your password

Your username is typically the easy part of this equation. Most of the time it is simply the beginning part of your email address. Other times it is some combination of your first initial, first name and last name.

In a brute force attack they just take that username and try various combinations of characters until they can get into your system.

So if I have your email address I have a 50% chance of getting into your account by just trying one of the top 25 passwords.

Ok again why should you care about this? Your email may mostly consist of notifications from Facebook or spam. Try to think of your home email account as a gateway. It may not seem like a big deal but if someone wanted to reset your password to your bank account or credit card accounts where is that password reset going to go. All I need to do is look for an old email from your bank, find the bank account number and ask for a password reset. Once I have that I can reset your password and have full access into your account.

What a good password looks like:
Minimum of eight characters
Combination of letters, numbers and non alpha numeric characters
Easy enough that you can remember it

Wait what’s with that last one?  How can it be difficult and easy to remember? Why should it be easy to remember? This is a simple one based on our experience. When a user’s password (or wifi code) is too difficult the first thing they do is put it on a Post-It note and put it under their keyboard or worse, on their monitor. That kind of defeats the purpose of having a password.

What can we do in your office to prevent these issues:
We can force password security at the server level
We can force periodic password changes at the server level
We can force the screensaver to appear after 20 minutes of inactivity

Now for the fun part. Here is the list of top 25 passwords in order.

Kenny Rounds

Braver Technology Solutions LLC

Braver Technology Comics

Brevity

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Andertoons Cartoon

Fun Tips and Tricks for IPhone

Apple excels at providing its customers with the most user and environment friendly devices as ever. They keep on updating its system if when error is found and are known to match the requirements of customers more than any other company. An apple device is packed with a cool design, amazing features and a sophisticated layout with durability. Locked inside them are their amazing tips and tricks. We fall in love with every shiny device Apple introduces. So today we will be mentioning some very useful tips and tricks present in an IPhone.

Some Tips and Tricks of IPhone are as follows:

 

Alphanumeric Passcode

IOS takes care of user’s safety and security very well and along those lines it has introduced a new feature by which we can use a six digit alphanumeric code. So now we can use alphabet as well as numbers like similar to what we use for websites.

Method:

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Settings -> Touch ID -> Passcode -> Change Passcode -> Passcode options -> Select Alphanumeric code -> Enter your new code

 

  • Stop the Music with a Timer

Most of us are music lovers and opt to listening to music in free or stressful time. IOS brings us a whole new music world and feature by enabling us to set a timer to stop the music itself when needed. You can simply do that by the following method:

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Click on the Clock -> Timer -> When Timer ends scroll down and press on Stop Playing. Set a timer for say 15 minutes and press on Start. The music will start and will stop after exactly 15 minutes.

 

  • Forming a Custom Reply to calls you can’t answer

Sometimes there are calls you can’t pick up and it may be rude to transfer them to voicemail thus you can create a message to tell them that you are here but busy. You can create this message with IOS.

You would need to swipe up on the phone icon and choose respond with text or click on the button labeled Message above the Slide to answer slider. There are some messages already there to help you in emergency but you can customize it by going to settings -> Phone -> Respond with Text. Type in a new response instead of a preexisting one and you are good to go.

 

  • Select the groups that can reach you

You can always select the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature and get away with all the useless calls, texts or notifications. Sometimes you want to be accessible to some important things while not to all. For this IOS has provided the ability to create a group of contacts that can reach you even on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode. They might include your sick mom or pregnant wife etc. Follow the instructions in the picture to achieve it:

 

  • Sending message in invisible Ink

Yes you read it right. IPhone has brought magic into reality by introducing this cool trick. This would not only help you send something private to your friend but also amaze others with this feature. Just follow these simple steps:

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Compose your message -> Press the blue send arrow to open the effects window -> choose the invisible ink option -> Send it

The recipient would need to tap it to reveal its contents and it will be invisible again after a few seconds.

 

  • Adding Animations with the message:

IPhone updates are getting more and more creative and interesting. With each new one you have a new cool feature to look forward to. Recetly it has brought a whole new life to the messages app. Now you can send animations along with messages and surprise the other person. Just follow a few simple steps and bring life to your words:

 

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Type in your message in the Messages app. Press on the blue arrow button, tap and hold it and click it with a force if you are doing it on an IPhone 6s. It will transfer you onto the effects window. Choose your desired animation from the list like Confetti, Balloons, Laser , Shooting star, Fireworks etc. Press send and be ready to get amazing remarks.

 

Braver Technology Solutions LLC

Thanks for That Mariah!

There seems to be a lot of cross fire between Mariah Carey and Dick Cark Productions for the botched performance on New Year’s Eve. However, there is one big lesson that we should take away from the night.

SAFETY!!!

If you haven’t seen the train wreck then here is a video link to it.

So clearly there was an error made, but the question is how can that happen. Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve has been around for as long as I can remember (1972). It is a staple and the go to venue for New Year’s Eve viewers. The show has by far the highest viewership for New Year’s Eve and is broadcast around the world.

If you have two teenage daughters like I do, you were probably forced to watch the show until the ball dropped at midnight. In all fairness there were several great performances that night most of them via remote simulcast from a location in Hollywood.

The biggest draw of the night was Mariah Carey’s return to the show after being crowned as the first live performance for the New Year’s Eve back in 2004. I know this because they mentioned it no fewer than one hundred times throughout the night. Indeed, Mariah’s performance was the crown jewel of the event.

So what went wrong? No safety precautions were in place or at the very least not nearly enough.

The key value we teach in our office is Safety, Safety, Safety and Safety.

Perform a Backup
Test the Backup
Verify the Backup
Come up with a backup plan in case things go wrong
Assume things will go wrong
Then proceed with caution

Clearly none of the proper testing or precautions were followed at the show. If we were Dick Clark Productions, we would have triple checked everything and had a backup plan ready. If we were Mariah Carey’s crew, we would have verified the equipment ourselves and had backup plans in place. Where was the spare earpiece? Where was the stage manager to stop the production?

It was a black eye on both organizations. I’m so glad I was able to watch the disaster first hand and use it as an example to our crew.

Kenny Rounds
Braver Technology Solutions LLC

What the Heck is a BEC

$33 Million and Counting in New England Email Scam

The Problem:

BEC’s “Business Email Compromise” scams are on an increase. What makes these attacks different is the method. The attacker sends a normal email unlike other types of attacks. These emails are typically either manually written for a specific individual or set to select a very small target audience.

These emails will not be detected as Spam or a virus since they do not fit the specifications of either. Emails are sent from someone known to the recipient and typically of importance to the company. The sender will often start a correspondence with the recipient under the guise of someone else in the organization. This technique has been called “Cat Fishing” in urban dictionary terms.

At some point fairly early on the sender will ask the recipient to send money either via wire, money gram, bitcoin or other means that is difficult to track. According to the FBI “Common recipients of these e-mails are real estate agents, title companies, and attorneys in the midst of real estate transactions, bookkeepers, accountants, controllers and chief financial officers”.

 

The Damage:

According to an FBI article dated December 20th 2016 approximately $33 Million in funds have been transferred to these entities so far. The FBI has only been able to return $13 Million of these assets to date. It’s actually surprising they can get any of it.

So what can companies do after they have been compromised?

FBI Boston based unit has several steps listed in their article. Here are some of the initial steps to take right away. Visit their site here for more info

Contact your financial institution immediately and request that they issue a “SWIFT recall.”

File a complaint regardless of whether there is a dollar loss with IC3. Experience has shown that funds only remain in the initial beneficiary account for a few days before they are withdrawn or transferred to another account. This is not always the case and the FBI may be able to pursue a criminal prosecution.

 

How to Protect Yourself:

Most of the time the most basic procedures can protect you. First is preparation and systems in place beforehand.

Setup a second form of authentication

Never give an individual who is not an owner the ability to write checks or transfer funds without a second authority to approve.

Check the from address

When you receive an email, check the full email address not just the sender’s name. Email in itself is a very insecure method of communication. It is very easy to “spoof” others’ email addresses. Simply replying to the email for verification is not enough anymore. The reply address will go to the original sender.

Forward the email to sender

Instead of hitting reply try forwarding the email to the sender. When you forward an email it uses your cashed email address for that person instead of the bogus reply address in the original message.

Verify other means

Contact the sender via phone call or text message and verify that they have asked you to transfer funds to their account. This simple method can ensure you have a direct line of communication to the actual sender.

Google search

If you received a scam email, typically you’re not the first one to receive it. A simple Google search of key words in the message will usually yield a result of others who have received it as well.

Controlled testing

You can test your team’s ability to detect phishing emails by sending test emails to them. Simply send them emails designed to gain there trust or ask them to do something that is out of the ordinary and see if they respond. Setup a policy beforehand telling the team what to do when they have a suspicious email. Then send out sporadic test messages to various employees and see if they follow the procedures.

 

If you would like to discuss this in more detail, please contact anyone at our staff to help you.

 

Kenny Rounds

CEO

Braver Technology Solutions LLC

 

Are You Still Avoiding Managed IT Services?

Perhaps you’re on the fence. You’ve heard good things about managed IT services, but just aren’t sure if you’re ready to make the switch. Don’t worry, we’ve heard all the concerns before. Let us guess a few reasons you might not be quite ready to make the transition to managed IT services:

Maybe You’re a Traditionalist?

As the digital revolution entered the common workplace, a team needed to be hired and kept on staff to keep the machines up-and-running. This created what we all know as the “IT Department”. These days, it’s gotten so commonplace, it seems unusual to not have a business with one. The problem with in-house IT teams is that they’re not always available. Managed IT services, however, are available all day, every day, including nights, weekends, and holidays. What would your in-house IT manager say if you called him at 2:45 in the morning to fix a problem?

Perhaps You Think It’s Too Expensive?

Some people immediately think a strong team of experts who are always available to fix all your technical problems and architect new customized solutions for your business would be way too expensive. Let us ask you: how much would you pay an IT team in salary? Insurance? 401k? in comparison, managed IT services are often very much less than hiring an in-house IT staff. So, in truth, you’re saving money.

Managed IT Services by Braver is The Way to Go

If you’re saving money, and you’re getting a proactive team which will not only catch issues before they become problems – but are also available any time you need them, the IT choice is clear. Braver can meet with you to evaluate your current infrastructure and needs and show you exactly what we can do for you. Let’s talk about it.

Break-Fix or Managed IT Services? The Choice is Yours.

One of the most difficult decisions to make for your company is deciding what model of IT support is the best fit. When it comes to computer repairs or unexpected problems with your network, there are two approaches to handling these issues: break-fix services and managed services.

Managed IT Services is a model that provides a business with unlimited IT support and preventative measures at a flat-rate. Problems are identified and corrected immediately and issues are neutralized before they can cause significant damage.

Break-Fix service is a more reactive kind of IT support where IT only gets involved when something has already broken. Just like you would call a plumber after a pipe has already burst, Break-Fix services are called in after a server has already gone down or a computer has already gone down. This kind of reactive response also included invoices that charged service at an hourly rate instead of a flat-rate fee.

Getting the Most out of Your Services

Computer issues are beneficial for a service provider that takes a break-fix approach because they make their money  from repairs on issues after they happen. Managed services incentivized to keep your hardware and software working by monitoring everything instead of dealing with serious problems as they arise. While the break-fix IT providers benefit when your computer has problems, managed service providers benefit when your computer doesn’t have any problems.

How Proactive IT Monitoring Works

An MSP will use software to assess and monitor the computer components of your business. They will be alerted to potential threats, malfunctions, and other issues that could compromise your tech or business. This allows them to correct problems as they happen and minimize impact rather than waiting for the problem to grow or something to break. With less unexpected issues interrupting workflow, your business can work as efficiently as possible, thus bringing in more revenue.

Additionally, MSP’s will install remote monitoring and management tools that look for irregularities and sends up little red flags when it does. Because it alerts IT support to any issue it finds, IT would have to sift through all of the alerts and set up their own system for a computer problem triage center by prioritizing the alerts.

Professional service automation works with the remote monitoring and management software and orders the alerts in order of importance while giving IT a timed window of when this problem needs to be addressed. A hard drive that is reaching 50% capacity could be addressed less urgently, say within 72 hours, over a server which crashed and halted business operations, needing to be fixed with the hour.

These tools allow for the MSP to monitor, assess, and address any and all issues and problems that can pop up with your technology.

Ease of Access

With reactive services, employees usually have to go through a chain of command to get permission to have IT take a look at the issue they’re having. This can be a cumbersome and time-consuming process that could further complicate a computer issue. With managed services, any employee can request support and have problems addressed as quickly as possible. This immediate support comes without costly invoices and surprise bills that come with break-fix services.

Braver Offers You Managed IT Services and Much More

Once you’re ready to make the switch to managed IT services, Braver is just a phone call away. Or, you can simply send us a quick note, and we’ll be quickly in touch.

Simplify Your Workplace with a Process Improvement Plan

Most of us have heard an adage that says perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. Inefficiency in the workplace is a total drag – ask anyone who has ever dealt with an inefficient system or tried to navigate office bureaucracy.

Simplicity is something every modern business is trying to attain, but streamlining a process, while not an exact science, is never something you should throw yourself into blindly. Trying to tackle a problem without a plan is like sprinting into a dark tunnel without a light – you may emerge on the other side, but you’ll inevitably pick up more than a few scrapes and bruises along the way. Having a Braver Technology process improvement plan is the best way to prevent any number of aches and pains.

Planning Helps You Identify the Real Problems

It’s one of the most common pitfalls in the business world: something is wrong on the surface and businesses react accordingly, but fail to identify the underlying cause of their woes in the first place. At best, failing to analyze the root of the problem will result in ineffective solutions. At worst, it can be catastrophic. One such example is the short and disastrous life of New Coke in 1985; marketers at Coca-Cola assumed that the drink’s falling market share was an issue of taste, when just a bit of analysis would have shown that the problem stemmed from the more innovative advertising of Coca-Cola’s competitors.

The first step of any good process improvement plan should be the identification and analysis of a problem. Once you know what you’re dealing with you can get down to brass tacks and make effective improvements.

Process Improvement Plans Offer Flexibility

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Unfortunately, this is often used to argue against making detailed plans in the first place. The notion that process improvement plans are ineffective because something might go wrong and derail them is a tragic one in light of the fact that detailed, multi-step plans actually offer extreme flexibility without the uncertainty of just winging it.

Like Tony Stark tailoring his Iron Man suits to tackle his newest enemy or a NASCAR pit crew making slight adjustments to a car’s alignment with each pit stop, a process improvement plan puts you in a position to react quickly and intelligently when something goes wrong without abandoning the overall plan.

There’s No Problem Too Big or Small For a Plan

Okay, you probably don’t need to draw out a multi-step plan for everything. When it comes to most significant issues, however, it’s worth sitting down and drawing up actual solutions. Maybe you’re losing business because employees aren’t sure where to redirect certain phone calls; maybe your business is looking at database management from the wrong perspective and losing out on an entire new market that could change the trajectory of the company.

Whether your plan is as simple as communicating new procedures to half a dozen employees or as complex as overhauling your IT philosophy, drawing out a plan to test, implement, and monitor new processes is essential. It’s an instruction manual, a backup plan, and peace of mind rolled into one neat package.

Process improvement plans are the ultimate win-win for businesses seeking change; they maximize rewards and minimize losses all while providing contingency plans and building a template for dealing with future problems.

Plan ahead with Braver – A well thought out plan is the key to smart simplification. Braver will help you create the best process improvement plan for your business and help you every step of the way. 

Contact us today to learn how Braver can help!