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Tech Helpline Tips: Is It Time to Update or Replace Your Computer?
What year did you buy the computer you use most for your work? When is the last time you upgraded its operating system? Are you using the most current version of your web browser? If you can't easily recall the answers to any of these questions, there's a strong possibility that it is time to update or replace your computer. Here's a brief checklist to help determine if updating your computer's software is enough or if it's time to replace this vital technology that helps you do your job.
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How to Connect to a Computer Remotely
If you ever find yourself needing to access a computer remotely--either attempting to connect to a desktop computer at work or need to assist someone with their computer from afar--this primer is for you. Whether you have a Microsoft Windows PC or an Apple Mac, let's take a look at the basics you'll need to know.
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What Anti-virus Tools Do the Experts Recommend?
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Is Windows 10's 'Fast Startup' Feature Slowing Your Computer Down?
Windows 10 recently introduced a new feature called "Fast Startup." The purpose of this feature is to allow your computer to turn on a bit faster after you have shut down. Windows performs this by overriding the shutdown command and never fully turning off; instead it goes into a sleep-like hibernation. When you turn the computer back on, it resumes right where it left off. As a result, the sub-processes and programs never get the fresh start they need. This can cause your computer to do all kinds of odd things: slow down, fail to print, load web pages incorrectly, and more. How do you know if your computer is being affected by Fast Startup? Fortunately, Windows keeps track of this with a clock called "Uptime." Press [Ctrl], [Alt] and [Delete] on your keyboard at the same time, and open Task Manager. When the Task Manager opens, click on "More Details" at the bottom of the window to show more details (if you see "Fewer Details," you don't need to click this). Along the top of Task Manager, click on "Performance." Click on "CPU" to the left. Towards the bottom, look for a timer labeled "Uptime." When reading the Uptime, it will be in the format D:HH:MM:SS for days, hours, minutes, and seconds since the last complete restart. It is recommended that this stays below four days to maintain best performance. If your Uptime is higher than four days, you can simply restart the computer. Remember that you have to specifically perform a restart — not a shut down — in order to reset your uptime.
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How Machine Learning is Redefining Real Estate Search (8/24)
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The Quick Way to Boost Your Computer's Start-up Time
Does it take too long for your computer to start up in the morning? For a quick fix to slow boot times, try disabling the number of programs that automatically run at start-up. When you install a new program on your computer, it's increasingly common for that program to set itself up to start running on boot up. This is because most program updates are now installed via the Internet, rather than from a disc, and their default is to check for new updates when your computer is booted up or restarted. When a few dozen or more programs are all checking for updates at the same time in the morning, it's no wonder that things get a little slow. Rather than keeping your desktop or laptop turned on perpetually to avoid a slow restart, just disable programs from running at start-up. Here's how. Windows 8 and 10 The latest two versions of Windows make this really easy. All you need to do is access the Task Manager, which you can do in one of two ways: Right-click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager from the menu that pops up. Use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+ESC Once Task Manager is opened, navigate to the Startup tab. From here, simply click on the name of a program and hit the Disable button to prevent it from running at startup. To make the biggest difference in boot-up time, focus on disabling the programs with a Startup impact of High or Medium.
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11 Ways to Outsmart Security Threats in 2015
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Your Achievable New Year’s Resolution
Start the year prepared. Set some time aside now to give your computer some basic maintenance, and start the year lean, agile, and in control. "Complete Computer Maintenance" is an important New Year's resolution, and we want to help you achieve it. For your convenience, we created an easy to follow checklist and broke it down to three general areas: Files, Hardware & Software, and Online Browsing. Tackle them one by one, and you'll be set sooner than you think. FILES 1. Organize your files. Delete duplications. Whether it is personal or professional, whether it is information about your utilities or your favorite place to volunteer, you may have a lot of data stored in your computer that you need to be able to access quickly and reliably. Set some time in your calendar to go through your files, organize them into folders and delete duplications or files that you no longer need. 2. Back up your data. There is nothing worse than losing your photos, work documents, or personal files. You can prevent future loss by taking action now. Mac users: There is a built-in program called Time Machine in your Mac, which requires an external hard drive. For Windows and Mac third-party alternatives, read our archived article.
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New iOS 8 and Mac Features for Real Estate Agents
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CRYPTO – Ransomware at its Deadliest
Have you heard of ransomware trojans? These are viruses that lock down your files and your computer and ask you for payment to restore your access to them. Some well-known ransomeware trojans are CyrptoLocker, CryptoWall, CryptoDefense and CryptoBit – all these come from the same developer. These are not your average malware that can be removed with a scan. These are nasty, advanced ransomware that affect your computer in a way from which you cannot recover. Using a 2048-bit RSA encryption, it locks as many files as it can before you even know it is on your computer. Then, it asks you for payment to recover them. Payment demands can range between $300 to $2,300.Choosing to pay or not pay the ransom is your decision; nevertheless, I do not recommend it. This complex Trojan is notorious when it comes to locking down your files, as well as your ability to access it. To give you an example of how potent this is, it uses a DNS Sink Hole to cover its tracks; it redirects any possible way of routing to the source and throws it into limbo. You could lose all your files permanently – even if you pay the ransom. Here is some advice. PREVENTION: Constantly back up all your files in an external hard drive or a cloud program. Never open emails with attachments from unrecognized senders. Be careful what you download from websites unless they are from a legitimate source.
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Five Requirements For Your Laptop
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Your Top 4 Computer Problems: Solved!
Having computer troubles? You're not alone. Unresolved tech issues are a sure way to slow your real estate business down. After all, not having access to crucial systems and information makes it hard to service clients and keep up in a competitive market. So let's try a little damage control. We asked the technicians at Tech Helpline how to solve common computer and software problems faced by agents. As a tech support service owned by REALTORS®, they speak to thousands of agents a year and understand exactly what issues real estate pros need help with. Read on for their solutions to your hairiest tech problems. 1. Slow Computer Does it take forever to open a program? Will your computer freeze if you have more than two windows open? Then you, my friend, have a slow computer. There are many things that could be the root cause, like malware, a build-up of temporary files, programs running in the background, viruses, hard drive failure, disk fragmentation, and more. The Fix: Are there programs you haven't used in a while (or don't recognize)? Uninstall them! They may be quietly running in the background without your knowing, slowing your system down. To uninstall a program in Windows, go to your Control Panel and click on "Uninstall a Program." Then from the list of programs that appears, select a program that you no longer want and click "Uninstall." Repeat for all unwanted programs.
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Three Simple Steps to an Efficient PC
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3 Simple Ways to Maintain Your Mac
We're bringing an old favorite back to life: Tech Tuesdays. Each week, we'll be bringing you a new tech tip that tackles challenges agents frequently face. We're kicking things off with the following advice from the team at Tech Helpline. They talk to agents every day about technology issues, so they know a lot about the problems Realtors face. Today, they're offering advice for staying out of trouble. The good news is that it's as simple running routine maintenance on your computer. Read on to learn more. The most important factor in maintaining any computer and keeping it running efficiently is proper maintenance. Fortunately, Mac computers are very easy to maintain and keep organized since everything is stored under a central user library. Here are three easy tips to get optimal performance from your Mac. 1. Check your hard drive and make sure there is no damaged or corrupted data. The easiest way of doing this is by using the built-in Disk Utility tool, which is located in the Disk Utility folder. You can access it in one of the following two ways: Option 1: Open Finder from your dock at the bottom of the screen, open the Applications folder, open the Utilities folder, and Disk Utility will be one of the many options provided. Option 2: From the Go menu at the top of the screen, select Utilities from the drop down menu. Once Disk Utility has been opened, you can select the Macintosh HD icon on the left pane (Macintosh HD is the default name of the hard drive unless it is changed to a custom name).
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What to Do When Tech Problems Strike
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Four Troubleshooting Tips from a Non-Techie
Guest contributor Frances Brittle of Cloud CMA says: I recently experienced an issue logging in to one of my web based email-marketing accounts. In my quest to gain access, I conducted a series of basic troubleshooting steps that I'd like to share with you. I've included some general information on why these steps are relevant and what they're testing for. These steps are a surefire way to save time, and get on with what you're doing without being--or inadvertently becoming--a "techie." The problem I was having started on the login page of the web-based account I frequently use. I was entering the correct login ID and password, but kept getting a "timeout" message. My browser suggested that I try back later, or refresh the page--both of which I did, neither of which were successful. I then navigated through the following four steps, which ultimately resolved my issue and got me back on my way to email marketing! As a busy agent, if you ever encounter a web-related issue, don't panic, just follow these four basic troubleshooting steps: Step 1: Check other websites. Your Internet connection could be the problem. If so, then no matter what site you're trying to visit, it won't load. If other websites do, in fact, load correctly, then the Internet connection is definitely not the culprit. Narrowing down what isn't causing the problem is equally as important as determining what is.
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PC or Mac? A Buyer's Guide [Video]
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Holiday Deal: Real Estate Tech Support from My Computer Works
For our latest Holiday Deal, we've arranged a special discount just for RE Technology members! Consider it our gift to you, with help from our friends at My Computer Works. My Computer Works offers remote troubleshooting for a variety of technical issues. Assistance is not limited to your computer only, though. My Computer Works can also help you with your printer, tablet, mobile phone, digital camera, and other devices. For real estate professionals, My Computer Works offers industry specific help with the following: MLS assistance ZipForms Mailing List / Mail Merge help Wireless connectivity issues Outlook setup and troubleshooting Adobe PDF problems This season, My Computer Works is offering RE Technology readers $50 off any of their service plans. Click through to the next page to learn more.
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How to Back Up Your Data! [Video]
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Name That File Type!
Have you ever received an email with an attachment and, from the file extension, had no idea what type of file it was? Yep, I have too. Today, that ends. Prepare yourself for a list of the most common file type extensions. Although this list isn't complete, I think I've hit all the high notes. Bookmark it so you can reference it the next time a mysterious attachment appears in your inbox. Text Files .doc - Microsoft Word Document .docx - Microsoft Word Open XML Document .msg - Outlook Mail Message .pages - Pages Document .rtf - Rich Text Format File .txt - Plain Text File .wpd - WordPerfect Document .wps - Microsoft Works Word Processor Document Image Files .bmp - Bitmap Image File .gif - Graphical Interchange Format File .jpg - JPEG Image .png - Portable Network Graphic .psd - Adobe Photoshop Document .thm - Thumbnail Image File .tif - Tag Image File Format
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Buying a Laptop? 6 Questions to Ask
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New iPad is Here – More Fun, More Fast
I woke up at 3:42 am pacific time this morning, only to realize I was probably one of the first people on the West Coast to see the “official” launch of the latest version of the iPad. While there is no AMAZING new innovation that we’ve never seen before, they have taken the device to new levels in a few interesting ways.  First, there is a new high definition screen called a “Retinal” screen that delivers more pixels per square inch than anything we’ve seen to date including high definition televisions, according to the video promotions from Apple. Next, it includes a new 5 megapixel camera which turns the entire iPad into a viewfinder so you can be sure to get great shots which are framed properly. Coupled with the new camera is a new version of iLife media software which makes it even easier to create photo collages and “trailer”-type videos. The new version of Garage Band within the iLife suite allows up to 4 iPads to be networked together to play virtual music together. Pretty fun stuff for those that would have time to do such things.
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10 Tips for a Healthy Laptop
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Is Your Online Security Up to Par?
      Maintaining our security online is of the utmost importance these days.  With a recent wave of cyber attacks that have targeted larger networks (and succeeded), people are reevaluating their online habits and the information they release.  In an effort to beef up your online security, these are a few simple tips.  
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Switching to Mac: A Love Story
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Switching to Windows 7
For most of us in real estate, Windows operating system is the system of choice (over MAC) because of its ability to work with software applications like the MLS system, document management systems, and other critical software that is used in our daily business. If you are using windows Windows Vista or Windows XP, you may be considering a switch to Windows 7. Windows 7 holds the promise of new features and benefits that include increased computing speed and added security. Microsoft has added a considerable number of new features to Windows 7, making this version a considerable improvement over earlier versions. Windows XP Mode Although all of your commonly-used applications in real estate should already be compatible with Windows 7, you may find an exception.  The good news is that Windows 7 will allow you to install an add-on that will open the Windows XP operating system so you can still access those applications if necessary.
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What You Can Do About Online Consumers' Unresponsiveness
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Using Technology
The history of the Internet is a story of inverse proportion; as technology accelerates, the barriers to it—both monetary and technological—shrink. During one of my CRT presentations, I lead off by asking, “Who has been using email since 1971?” Only once has someone raised their hand. And while you may be wondering who would be naive enough to think that they could have been emailing since then, the lore of the Internet traces the first use of email back to the summer of 1971. So now, I ask you, "Why weren’t you using email back then, or even in 1991?" I lead off with that example because it clearly demonstrates what I’m discussing: technically, there was nothing to prevent people from sending email back in 1971. If you look at a timeline of the Internet, you can see that many of the services that we take for granted today and which we often perceive as only a couple of years old have actually been around for quite some time. Many times, a “new” technology merely refers to an old technology with a new label, a sign that it has reached the mainstream. But because technology takes some time to enter the mainstream, most people either aren’t aware of what’s possible or consider the cost too unreasonable.
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