Monday, July 14, 2008

Google - What does the big "G" really want to accomplish?

Google, or better known as G-this and G-that... I mean honestly, who doesn't know Google and its astounding market share (NASDAQ: GOOG) and creating billionaires out of anyone standing near or around Stanford University.

They've given us wonderful tools like (in no particular order):
  • G-Mail - the first web based e-mail system to break the 2GB barrier
  • Google - the world's "best" search engine
  • Google Maps - a great mapping tool that can show you who's car is parked in your driveway or with street view, who is in your window
  • Google Medical Records - Keep and store your records "safely" online - wow!!!
  • Google AdWords - Pay per click advertising with a ton of tools and ease of use features to help drive traffic to your website
  • Google AdSense - Ad revenue that you can place on your website and get PAID for your web traffic visitors clicking on ads
  • Google Apps - Trying to bust up Microsoft's monopoly on share/collaboration tools for document editing (Similar to Word), presentation (Similar to PowerPoint), spreadsheets (Similar to Excel), etc.
  • Google Toolbar - Appends itself to your Internet Explorer or Firefox browser window to "make searching easier"

No doubt Google has pioneered many advances that make our on-line lives more connected, integrated, and simpler to get where and what we want.

Now, here is where Google begins to scare me:

  • Postini - Google has bought Postini, the world's largest e-mail filtering service for junk mail and viruses. Many small, medium and large (i.e. Fortune 500) companies use Postini. It allows junk and virus laden e-mail to be filtered at Postini's server farm before it gets delivered to the company's mail servers - which for those non-techie types is a HUGE lifesaver!
  • Grand Central - Google has bought Grand Central which is (currently an invite only) a service that gives you a phone number "for life". With this phone number, you get some new and amazing call handling capabilities. It allows you to give an individual profile to your friends and family, giving them a unique ring tone, greeting, and a behind-the-scenes way to reach you anywhere at anytime. If you want Grandma to be able to reach you at home, the office, the cell phone or the hotel in Taipei where you are staying she only has to call one number, your Grand Central number, and it will find you. You can even record a special greeting just for Grandma - "Hi Grandma, I am running around at work in Taipei, if I don't answer just leave me a message and I will call you right back". You can also send those telemarketers off to the virtual cyber trash can by blocking their number - sending to voicemail or playing the "disconnected number" tone/message.
  • G-Drive - Not yet announced at the time of this writing, but supposedly in the works. Google wants to offer an on-line storage/backup service (similar to X-drive, Carbonite, Mozy, etc.) that will allow you to backup your computer and files on their servers - keeping it safe from theft or computer crashes.
  • Android (G-Phone) - Google announced a development platform for a new cell phone (whether the phone or the software) called Android.

Why does this scare me? Simply put, Google has its hands in so much of what we do on-line - and will do. And is slowly creeping into the non-traditional tech (telephone) that used to be quite secure from prying eyes/ears.

With the above, Google will be able to:

  • See 100% of what we search for - Using Google Search Engine and Google Toolbar
  • See 100% of what people who visit our website are looking for - Using Google AdSense
  • See 100% of what we want to sell on-line - Using Google AdWords
  • See 100% of our ailments, medical records, births, deaths, etc - Using Google Medical Records
  • See 100% of who calls us, and what messages they leave us - Using Grand Central & Android (G-Phone)
  • See 100% of who e-mails us, its content, how often, etc - Using Postini
  • See 100% of what files we have stored on our computer - Using G-drive

Now, whether Google will actually use or harvest this information and create individual profiles on each citizen of the world - who knows. Save that for the conspiracy theorists... My gut reaction is that Google is spreading itself into so many small niches of my life. I feel anxious that every Saturday some guy up in Google HQ decides to pull up my harvested profile and have some buddies over for a good chuckle - reviewing the entire week of phone calls, e-mails, web searches and files that I have created. Wouldn't it be nice to be so important that it actually occurred? Maybe it does.

With the Department of Homeland security wanting more information from more citizens, maybe they should just embed themselves in the corporate culture of Google. With so much access to so much information, Google seems to be the best place to get information. Maybe the big "G" stands for Government? Careful now, Big Brother is watching!

Find out how ZONE-X can help your Small Business with IT Services & Support

Friday, June 27, 2008

Adobe Acrobat - File Name Limit Too Long Error

Adobe Acrobat Error: "The Disk you were saving to or the disk used for temporary files is full"

We recently had a bit of a brain teaser... Adobe Acrobat would not allow a client to save a file to a specific subfolder. Obviously it smelled like a permissions error... Checked all that, no problems. Created some new folders called "TEST" and the client was able to save the Adobe PDF file to that folder - no problems. But when we tried a folder 2-3 levels deeper, the same error message kept coming up:

Error Message:
"The document could not be saved. The disk you were saving to or the disk used for temporary files is full. Free some space on this disk and try again, or save to a different disk."
So, after some sleuthing around the Internet, we stumbled upon a simple explanation: Adobe Acrobat Reader cannot process document titles that exceed 100 characters.
The solution is to shrink the folder structure (or rather the characters contained therein) so as to get the character limit to be less than 100 (or so) characters.

We all win!

Find out how ZONE-X can help your Small Business with IT Services & Support

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Electronic Fax Security - Is it safe?

Electronic Fax Security - Is it safe?
We receive a great deal of questions from our clients about the safety and security of their customer data. While a layered approach always seems to be the best practice, we find that most of our clients make assumptions about certain methods of communication - especially e-mail and electronic faxing. We at ZoNE-X felt compelled to share our insight on one of the many misconceptions that is prevalent in current times.

What is electronic faxing (E-Faxing)?
Electronic faxing, or E-Faxing, is a method used to convert traditional faxes into electronic format (either TIFF, JPG, GIF, or PDF) that can be accessed via a computer. Most times it is subscription based, meaning you pay an outside or 3rd party service provider to utilize the service. Rather than relying on a physical device to receive your fax and transfer it to paper, E-Faxing can deliver a document that will show up on your computer screen. Not only is this a great time saver, but it is a great resource to make an effort towards "going green" by conserving paper, electricity and eliminating an extra device to maintain.

If I am the only person who receives the E-Fax, isn't it secure?
A common misconception is that something that can only be seen on your computer screen is safe from prying eyes. Most people feel that as long as no person can physically see the item on their computer screen, then it is safe from unwarranted access. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everything that is carried over your company network, let alone the Internet, can be accessed by a clever individual. Assume that anything that opens up very easily, or can be accessed by a few clicks, is more than likely an insecure data source or document. Here's why...

Why is my E-Fax not safe & secure?
Most electronic faxing occurs with the help of an outside service. Some of the popular services are J2, E-Fax, and FaxMicro. All offer different levels of service, depending on your specific needs. But there is a common link - they all primarily use e-mail to deliver the faxes to your computer. This is where that warm fuzzy feeling starts to fade. With a traditional telephone line, it would require direct physical access to either the receiver or the sender's telephone line (at the building or inside the office) for someone to intercept a fax communication. E-Faxing is secure up until the point it becomes an e-mail message and is delivered to your inbox across the Internet.

Why is this an issue?
As a result of the fact that faxes are held with high regard to be legally binding documents (by faxing a signature, you can be held liable for most legally binding transactions), you can easily see the need to safeguard the information contained therein. But, as most people (at unfortunately) do not understand, e-mail is one of the most INSECURE methods of communication on the Internet. It is the non-physical counterpart to sending a postcard through the postal service. Anyone who wants is able to read your postcard (and you will never know). Just the same, anyone who wants, and has the technical ability, can read your e-mail. As such is the case, they have access to all that juicy information contained within each and every e-mail you feel is a one-way link to your intended recipient - and we mean ALL OF IT!

This basic fact arises - E-mail is insecure; therefore anything received via e-mail is insecure. (E-mail = Not Secure)

With the exception of encrypted e-mail (certificate/key based encryption), 100% of your private communications via e-mail are in fact... NOT PRIVATE. If someone really, really, really wants to take a peek at those personal photos, videos, or E-Faxes you are sending as attachments, they CAN and they WILL.

Should I use E-Faxing for my fax needs?
The answer is YES and NO - as it depends on your specific situation. If you have a duty to your customer to protect their private data/information that is a regular part of what you receive via fax, then you should absolutely NOT USE an E-Faxing service. If you only receive basic documentation and nothing exceptionally personal, private, or copyrighted, then using E-Faxing is a great tool. There are methods to receive E-Faxes to a device at your office, which does not traverse the Internet. This is much more secure than using a 3rd party service. However, that crafty co-worker who wants to steal your business leads may simply access your files and see what is in that E-Fax - but corporate theft is a different topic all together.

I am confused & concerned... What should I do now?
At ZoNE-X, we are problem solvers. Send us a brief message with your specific issue. We can help you find a solution or walk you through your concerns until you arrive at a 100% satisfactory resolution. Give us a call at: +1 (877) 77-ZONE-X or +1 (877) 779-6639 or visit our website at:

Find out how ZONE-X can help your Small Business with IT Services & Support

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Does your Business need a Server?

Is Our Business Ready for a Server-based Network?

Many small business owners are reluctant to interrupt operations and invest the time needed to switch the companies’ computers from a peer-to-peer (P2P) network to a server-based one. While the fears of down time may be understandable, these entrepreneurs are ultimately compromising their businesses.

Why? By moving from P2P to a server-based network, small business owners should discover that the long-term gains in efficiency, productivity and, ultimately, profitability, will far exceed any short-term losses that could be incurred by making the switch.

Small Business Networking
A P2P network allows employees to share content files – anything from audio, video, data or any file in digital format – between their computers. In a P2P, the computers, or nodes, essentially act as both servers and client systems, allowing employees to pull files from different computers connected to the network.

At first glance, P2P seems to be a viable solution for budget-conscious small businesses. But the reality is much different. The fundamental problem with P2P is that it drastically reduces the processing speed of each node. This is because each computer in a P2P must act as a both a repository for information and workstation. For example, while you are working on a document from your computer, one of your employees may be retrieving a different file also stored on your computer. As a result, your computer slows down to fulfill both requests.

A server-based network instantly wipes out this headache, because the server – and not individual computers – is the information hub. As a result, your company can realize dramatic improvements in efficiency, productivity – and the bottom line – in the short term and well down the road.

Server Purpose and Set Up
Because they are designed to be considerably faster than P2P networks, server-based networks would seem to be the obvious choice for businesses of all sizes. But for years, many small businesses have been intimidated by servers, believing them to be expensive and challenging to set up, maintain and support. Today, however, server technology is affordable and within reach of smaller companies.

For example, Megan Duckett, founder of Sew What?, Inc. -- a company in Rancho Dominguez, Calif. that produces custom-made curtains, drapes and stage settings for concerts tours, theaters and other special events – recently upgraded her server-based network to allow her business to keep up with rapidly growing customer demand. After installing a server, Duckett and her staff saw immediate productivity improvements.

"Our Web site helped our business grow more than 75 percent in 2006 and managing all of the business it generates requires a lot of storage – from global customer information to thousands of drapery and fabric images to QuickBooks files," said Duckett. "With the power and scalability of our new server, we still have plenty of room to grow and soon will be able to host our Web site in-house. I never dreamed that the tiny business I started on my kitchen table would grow into the global business we have today."

Beyond the ability to provide dramatically faster processing speeds than P2P networks, server-based networks offer a wide range of business benefits, including one advantage that small businesses are increasingly coveting: the ability to better manage security of information and store all business-critical information in one repository.

Because the goal of many companies is to grow, small businesses are looking for technology that can grow with them. Servers that are affordable – yet fully scalable – can do exactly that. In fact, it’s not unusual for a company to begin with only a handful of employees and grow to dozens, using the same server along the way.

Because the goal of many companies is to grow, small businesses are looking for technology that can grow with them. Servers that are affordable – yet fully scalable – can do exactly that. In fact, it’s not unusual for a company to begin with only a handful of employees and grow to dozens, using the same server along the way.

  • File and printer sharing

  • Increased e-mail limits and shared calendars

  • Desktop faxing

  • Remote Access & Remote Workers

  • Internet and intranet access

  • Improved multi-level firewall security

  • Simplified management

  • Flexibility to add additional servers

These and other potential benefits explain why small businesses are increasingly beginning with – or switching from P2P networks to – server-based networks.

Servers are built to manage data from multiple users at the same time. While one person is saving files another person could be retrieving files at the same time.

Having a server-based network is also a great way to help ensure reliability. One way servers accomplish this is by having multiple internal hard drives. For instance, if you get a server with two hard drives you can have a mirror setup where the data that you save to the server is being copied to both hard drives. If one hard drives happens to fail then the other hard drive keeps the server running and has all of your files intact and accessible.

Another way a server can help ensure reliability is through the use of multiple power supplies which are available. On a personal computer, if your power supply goes out, you’re pretty much down. However, if a server has redundant power supplies and one of them goes out, the other power supply will take over ensure continuous activity.

Types of Servers
Because every business is different, we offer various servers to meet the needs of our customers. Tower servers can deliver key features crucial to small businesses and remote facilities. They provide high performance in free-standing formats in with rich, highly configurable solutions. The latest chipset technologies can boost versatility, helping make them extremely reliable for even the most complex business needs.

Rack servers are reliable, space-saving solutions designed for expandability. These servers are capable for a range of performance and scalability requirements for different businesses. They help you protect your mission-critical business applications and make the most efficient use of your server space.

Support & Guidance Offered
To help decide which servers provide the type of benefits you need to meet the unique business goals of your company, please use the link below to find out more information.
To learn more, please contact ZoNE-X consulting for more information

Toll Free: +1 (877) 77-ZONE-X (1-877-779-6639)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Problems w/ Sprint PPC-6700 & Activesync

Realizing that a good amount of my time is spent on my Sprint PPC-6700, I recently started having problems w/ Activesync and my Small Business Server 2003 being overly friendly... Namely, the error code 0x85010014 continued to reoccur whenever it wanted.

Several items to remedy the issue:

1) Ensure that your version is OK on your IIS 6 websites. Mainly, check out the Microsoft-Activesync-Server, Exchange, Exchweb, etc. for correct versions.

2) Ensure that your directory authenication/security is in line w/ default values. Please review the following for more information:

3) Check here for a great fix that helped lock in the changes:;en-us;817379

After you hit all the open changes, try it again... So far, several hours from my fixes, all is working well again!

Best of luck!

Monday, January 9, 2006

Mail Merge Tips from Microsoft

Microsoft has put together some great tutorials on how to accomplish many of the tasks within its Microsoft Office suite of applications... I certainly get a ton of requests on HOW TO when it comes to MAIL MERGE within Microsoft Word.

Here is a great tutorial from Microsoft called Mail Merge 101:


Find out how ZONE-X can help your Small Business with IT Services & Support