Turning Off the Technology: How a tech unplugs



Being a tech is hard on the mind and the body.  A majority of the job keeps you connected the computer for a large portion of your day. Whether it is working issues or researching more about an industry that is ever-changing and evolving every week, being so connected is a blessing and a curse. Keeping up with technology is like trying to win a marathon on a treadmill.  You are definitely making progress on improving yourself, but it is a race that has no end.  Living in world full of social media websites, blogs from all your favorite personalities, or just finding that next cat video to share with your office, it can easily turn from a way to pass the time into a routine that you don’t even know you have.

Until you miss a few days.

I often find it beneficial to “disconnect,” a term I mean to be synonymous with turning off your gadgets, disconnecting from the internet, and looking out a window instead of a pc monitor.  Otherwise, eventually, you will get burned out.


I enjoy hiking, camping, and just working up a sweat in the mountains.  My personal disconnect is going backpacking.  Backpacking is essentially just planning a hike that will take days, weeks, or even months to finish.  I am still very new to it, but it is quickly turning into a well-looked-forward-to event every year.


James, standing - third from left, with fellow hikers on a 4-day/25-mile/tech-free hike in July 2014. The only electronics they bring on these trips are a gps and walkie talkie for emergencies and a flashlight.

Ironically, the guys I plan the trip with are also in tech fields. They are just as eager to wander around in the woods as I am. There is just something about staring at the stars from the tops of mountains that can really re-align you. Looking around at the world (instead of at your mobile every minute to check your emails, text, and notification) is jarring and strange at first for the tech junkie, but a few days into it you could care less.


That is just my way of disconnecting.  Yours doesn’t have to be as drastic, by any means.  Small things count, too. Plan to take a walk or run around a lake once a week, maybe even  twice a month have a “No Power” family day where you turn off the mobiles, televisions, computer and play board games.  Reclaim your imagination!


Will Ransomware Cell Phone Attacks Reach the U.S.? (And what to do if you get infected)



cell phone attackTwo weeks ago they hit iPhone users in Australia and New Zealand. This week the reports came in that they’d hit Android users in Eastern Europe, specifically Ukraine. We’re watching, waiting to see if-and-when one of them will hit Western Europe and the U.S. — Oleg Pliss and his kin, Simplocker. They’re not people; they are a new round of cell phone viruses, and the difference is that they’re ransomware. Pay them money, or they threaten to hold your contacts, pictures, or even your whole cell phone hostage.

Sound familiar?

No, viruses for cell phones aren’t new. In fact, there’s a whole slew of mobile device virus protection software (Lookout, AVG, Avast, etc.). Trouble is, ransomware is notorious for getting around anti-virus protection.

Early reports indicate that, at least in the case of Ukraine’s Android virus, Simplocker, the level of encryption isn’t as complex as Cryptolocker. That doesn’t make it any less annoying, though. And according to some reports it does no good to try to pay Oleg’s ransom because the payment is linked to a PayPal account that doesn’t exist.

So, being a bit freaked out about this (even though my phone is a Windows platform, which hasn’t yet been affected), I asked my guys, the techs here at Everon, what I should do if my phone were hit by ransomware.

“The best thing you can do is to just wipe your phone,” Jeff Woods, one of our experienced L2s, said.

“And then reload all of your info from your backup,” Frank Lindsey, the L1 Supervisor added.

Um, okaaaay…? I felt like a kindergartener in college. Wipe my phone? And… is it automatically backed up? How do I do that if it’s not?

“Well,” Frank said, “if your cell phone is registered with us, at Everon, you could call and we can do a factory wipe for you. Or most cell phone providers can also do that, if you just call Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, or whomever.”

“Alternately,” James Schaffer, another of our L2s, said, “you could perform your own wipe in your phone’s settings.”

I checked my phone’s settings and couldn’t find where to do this. James told me to go to “Settings” -> “About,” and then click the button that says “Reset Your Phone.” (Of course, this only works if your phone isn’t locked by a virus.)

As far as doing backups, it turns out most phones do have automatic backup features. But iPhones, for instance, have to be plugged into your computer to perform their backups – something many iPhone users never do (they only charge the battery). And then there are the settings on the backup. If you’ve only told it to back up your contacts, you run the risk of losing any pictures you haven’t manually saved. (Or already posted to Facebook.)

There are programs you can use to do your auto-backups, too. Google Drive will automatically backup your mobile data. Dropbox, Picassa, Facebook, and Google+ are other sites that will also perform auto-backups on your data and/or photos if you adjust their settings correctly. (Ah, more settings. Good thing I have tech support here!)

So if your mobile data is all backed up, and you do get infected with something evil that needs last-resort measures, like ransomware, all you have to do is wipe and restore. (One site I found estimated this process would take no more than an hour.) Easy-peasy. If you’ve backed up your data.

Sometimes the best defense is just the ability to recover.


Android vs iOS vs Windows vs Blackberry! Who will reign supreme?


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Let’s compare size: you know that size sometimes does matter.

According to a Gartner, a leading information technology research company, Android OS phoned finished 2013 with a 78.4% market share, Apple’s iOS accounted for 15.6 %, Microsoft Windows phones were at 3.2%, Blackberry at 1.9 %, and other operating systems came in at just .9 %. So if size matters, then Android is the way to go. Check out the pretty chart:

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So here is my take on the whole situation:


  • I have an Android phone, currently Samsung Galaxy s3.  Aside from the fact I like the virility of the operating system, I really like the phone hardware. I will be upgrading to a Galaxy s5 when it comes out later this year.
  • Majority of the apps are free, and Android has the second largest app market, behind Apple (but you have to pretty much pay for everything on Apple).
  • Good advantages for remote management and has very good integration with Google Cloud and other cloud products.
  • Overall I find the Android OS to be the most well-rounded for both personal and business uses.
  • Android is a really cool name.

 Apple IOS: 

  • My wife has an iPhone 4 or 5 ( not really sure).
  •  If you own various Apple products you’ll have easy integration with them.
  • It has the largest app market, but you pretty much have to pay to play anything good (in my opinion).
  • If you are looking for some bells and whistles but still want grandma to be cool, this is it.
  • I am biased on Apple products. While I think they are great, they can be challenging for integration as well as management in a business environment.
  • It seems all the kids on the playground (and their grandparents) have iPhones nowadays.

Windows Phone: 

  • I am going to buy my parents a Windows phone, due to some very low cost of entry on certain models. Also the fact the tile screen icons are huge and easy on the eyes.
  • I do not think this is ready for business, it really gears towards multimedia and connecting to the web. If you are in the social media space I would really recommend to check it out.
  • Great integration with Office 365, Skype, Facebook and other mainstream cloud products.
  • Small app market, but there are huge pushes already in progress to close the gap.
  • I am a fan of the hardware on some of the phones but I get really annoyed by the Tiling feature of the OS.  Think Windows 8, but on a mini-screen.


  • I have some old relics and I plan to keep them. When I did have the old Blackberries I loved them: they were fast, light, had a great battery, and the keyboard was just great. I could respond to an email on the phone at the same speed it would take me on my laptop keyboard.
  • It has the best security and integration if you have a Blackberry Enterprise Server.
  • Fastest handle time from when an email gets sent to its delivery on any phone I have seen.
  • Some of the phones that have recently been introduced are not really that great.
  • Blackberry’s app market is not really good. I was on it one time, and I just gave up.
  • Right now there is just no reason to go with them unless you are in banking, government, or really need specific security requirements.

Keep in mind that these are just my personal thoughts. The best way to decide for yourself is to play with the operating system to see what your personal preference is and go from there.

What’s the DL on Google’s G1 and G2?


With all iphone rage that Apple has created these past few years, Google has also come out with a super trendy phone of their own. As the iPhone is supported by At&T, the “G” phones, otherwise referred to as the First Android HTC G1 and the new Magic G2 respectively, are supported by Tmobile. Both versions of this phone come with some nifty built in features to please you regardless of if you’re a technical person or not. Four of us here at Everon own a version of this phone, myself included. Two of us are technical, the other two are not — and all of us love it. Some of our favorite features include:

Sweet display - A 3.2 inch TFT-LCD flat and a touch sensitive screen with top notch resolution
- You’ll never get lost; find destinations quickly and very efficiently with just your cell phone
Lock and unlock
- You can set your device to auto lock your screen and keys after X amount of time. Unlock with one simple slide just like the iphone, or set it up to unlock however you prefer.
One-touch Google search
- Google toolbar always at your fingertips… and Google search by voice too!
Long press shortcuts
- Zip around your mobile device faster with tons of speedy shortcuts

What are the differences between the G1 (otherwise referred and the G2? Well, that’s an easy one since I have the G1 and two of my colleagues just purchased the G2. Four of the main differences between the two versions are:

1. Look and feel - Stylistically, the G1 is a bit bulkier - definitely heavier to hold. The phone is just about twice as thick as the G1 due to its build. Weighing in at 158g and 118g respectively, you should reach for the newer version if you’ve got a hankering for sleeker phones.
2. Keyboard -
The G1 has two keyboards which explains its bigger size, both touch screen and an actual slide out key (hardware) keyboard. The G2 is touch screen only. *This is one of the main reasons why I went with the G1 even though the newer version was only days away from its release.
3. Memory -
One would think that “newer version” translates into “more memory,” but that is not always the case. As the G1 actually has more memory.
4. Talk time - If you’re a chatty Kathy… or Kevin, you’ll get more chat time out of your battery life with the G2 which supports 7.5 hours of talking without requiring a recharge. The G1 will only keep you going for 5 hours before running out of battery.

With all the celular options out there today there is definitely something out there for everyone. If you’re in the market for a new phone, don’t just jump on the bandwagon and run out and buy the trendiest phone of the hour. Take time to evaluate your options and educate yourself so that you end up with the phone you really want.

When will my mobile phone make me coffee?


I subscribe to a few blogs. I like to read about new gadgets and utilities in geekdom and spread them around to my friends and coworkers. I was surprised at the number of blog posts and news articles regarding mobile phones that I read — just today!

Microsoft My Phone.
Google Latitude.
Amazon WhisperSync.
Apple and Google licensing ActiveSync.
iPhone as a Web server.

Why will we even need to lug around that pounds-heavy laptop in the future? Everything will be on our phones! The diverse number of applications, utilities and syncing capabilities between our office, our leisure time and our mobile phones seems to be multiplying exponentially. If everything continues on its current path, I will be syncing my home library, my email, calendar and contacts from my company’s Exchange server or some server in the sky, tracking where I am, and backing it all up or even switching phones without a thought as to what smartphone I have or whether it will all work.

I just want to know when I’ll be able get my blackberry to make me a cup of coffee… maybe it will store my favorite coffee shop location, sync my order with their system, determine where I am, send me an email when they’re on their way, and give me updates as to when the coffee delivery person is going to show up.

Time to get some caffeine.


Kristin Mott
Network Engineer Team Lead
Everon Technology Services LLC