Dude, Where’s My Phone? Finding and wiping your Android device through a web interface

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hiding cell phone

[email protected]#$%! I lost my phone AGAIN!”

Does this sound as familiar to any of you as it does to me? Well, unfortunately, this is far too common for me. In recent days, however, I have been turned on to a handy online tool to help find my Android phone when it gets misplaced.

If you are like me as well, you probably have work-related items on your phone. Or personal items that, if by chance your phone found it’s way into the wrong hands, could be devastating. This Google feature provides you the ability locate your phone, wipe it clean if needed, and set a new unlock code so it is not easily accessed.

This will work only if you have an Android device and know the Google address you set your phone up with. To start, open up a web browser and go out to www.google.com/android/devicemanager. It will prompt you to log in with your Google email address (being the same one you set your phone up with). As soon as it logs in, it will start contacting your phone.

Contacting

If your location services are on, it will provide you a GPS location of the whereabouts of your devices. If not, you have other options. You have the ability to “ring” the device. Whether your phone is set on vibrate or silent, it will loudly ring your phone for 5 minutes or until you hit the power button. Also, you have the ability to set a new lock code so no one but yourself can access it while it is not in your possession. And finally, you have the ability to wipe the phone back to factory settings, in case you are worried about sensitive data being compromised.

As I previously stated, this will work for Android devices, to include tablets, only and not any others such as windows phones or iPhones. There are other features on the market out there for the devices it does not cover, so if you are interested in hearing about those, please reach out to Everon at 888-244-1748 and we will be glad to discuss them with you!

Backups: Are You Doing it Right?

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Imagine losing days of work and the effort it takes to recover from that.  Now imagine losing the majority of your business’s important documents spanning back years and how you would recover from that.  Did you just cringe a little?  This could happen much easier than you think unless you have a good backup solution in place.  Hard drives fail, files become corrupt, and users accidentally delete files.  There are many options out there to protect your data and here a few to consider:

Online Backup

An option becoming more and more popular.  A piece of software is installed on your server or workstation and does automated backup while you’re online.  Cost is determined by the amount of data being used monthly.  How fast you can recover data is dependent on how much data is being restored and how fast your internet is.

NAS Device

There are a range of devices that can plug into your network to do backups.  Some provide not only local backups but online ones as well.  This gives you the benefit of a speedy recovery by having data locally, but the protection of your data being offsite in the event of a catastrophe happening to your building.  Certain units also provide virtualization options in the event your server fails so you can run a virtual server on the backup hardware.  Some devices you can purchase outright, others have monthly or yearly pricing options.

USB Drive

A basic option that is a step above having no backup at all.  Plug a USB drive into the computer needing backed up and setup your backup software.  Usually Windows has basic software for this, but has limited options.  This does not provide any offsite options unless you manually are swapping hard drives.  Typically no cost beyond the USB drive and software.

Tape Backup

If you have one of these, you need to speak to your IT administrator about replacing this ancient technology.  These are slow, unreliable, and difficult to detect errors in backed up data.  At the very least, consider setting up USB drives to replace a tape backup.

If there is any doubt about your backups, ask that your IT administrator review what solution you have and ensure all critical data is being protected.

 

 

Create your own infographics with Infogr.am

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If you’ve got the type of job where data wrangling and presenting data is a part of your life, have I got the app for you!

Kiss Power Point goodbye because this is going to blow your mind: Infogr.am is a free web application that ingests spreadsheets and .csv files, and spits out beautiful, interesting and  interactive info-graphics.

Just import your data and use Infogr.am to illustrate it with standard line, bar, and pie charts, as well as an amazing selection of customizable templates and exotic elements. For example, if your data has a geographical information, you can incorporate an interactive map. If it involves sorting people into different groups or demographics, you can do that with a cloud of color-coded human outlines.

The finished product beats the pants off of anything you could make in Excel, and you easily share it on social networks or embed it on your own site.  You may never have to use that boring old PowerPoint in a meeting again!

The service is currently free, but it appears that they will soon open a storefront to sell additional templates and elements.  Try it out today!

Making Excel Life Easier with the VLOOKUP Function

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The VLOOKUP function can become very handy when you are trying to consolidate different reports into one easy to read spreadsheet.  Let’s start with a look at our first sheet. This is where we will eventually pull all the data we need.

 

All of the data needed to fill these empty cells will be pulled from individual reports. Each of these reports will have their own sheet within the Excel book and can be found at the bottom of the page.

 

 

We’ll begin with the first empty cell, the contact person for each company. Reference the lower image for the Contact Info sheet.

 

 

 

The syntax of this function is VLOOKUP(lookup_value, table_array, col_index_num, range_lookup).

  • The lookup value will be the Company Name, as it is the common link between all the data we are filing in.
  • The table array for the Contact Person is the ‘Contact Info’ sheet.
  • The col_index_num (or column index number) value is the series of columns that hold the data you are looking for. In this case, we are looking at columns A-C, notated in the formula as A:C.
  • Finally, the range lookup value is the numbered column within the specified index. Since we are looking for the Contact Person, the column number is two.
  • You will end the function with a True or False statement. Using true will give an exact or approximate value; if the exact match is not found then Excel will fill in the next greatest value. Using false will give an exact match.

In this case our final formula will lead us to see that Company A has a contact person named Mark.

We can then use the Fill button, selecting the down option to fill the rest of the empty cells in this column.

 

You can repeat this process until all empty cells filled. You will adjust the formula to find the needed information for each column. For example, the contact phone number will use an identical formula to the the contact person listed above, however the column index number will be 3 instead of 2.
To fill in the Invoice Total column, your formula will again mimic the Contact Person formula.

Finally, repeat the formula again to fill in the description.

While this example is rather simplistic, this function is particularly useful when dealing with large amounts of data that are difficult to sort out by hand. Hopefully it will save you a great deal of time organizing the information you need.

Make your dumbphone smart!

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I love technology as much as any geek here at Everon, but I’m very picky when I spend my money and what new toy is going to move my life into a new direction- sometimes for the better, but many times for the worse.  I like simple and affordable and things that can withstand the test of time and continue to work.  So when a friend let me know about Google Text years ago, roughly 2006, I integrated it into my life so fast and easily that I actually forgot to share it with most of my friends and family.  In the subsequent years data usage and media searching on phones became all the rage.  And the cost skyrocketed.  I never jumped on board and really didn’t feel like I missed much because of this great free tool from Google. I don’t need much data because I spend so much time on a computer anyways, and whatever I need on the go can be found way faster and cheaper with the price of a text message or two.

Here’s how it works- Create a profile on any phone just as you would for a friend who’s given you their number.  Save it as “Google” and type 46645 for the phone number which spells Google. 

Text this profile anytime for a quick search of nearly anything you need and you’ll get a text or two back with the address, phone number and usually multiple locations if you are searching for business that is a chain.  While my friends are waiting for their data-laden devices to pull up info, I’ve already got the location and the phone number in my inbox just by typing “Red Robin” and the city or zip code I’m hoping to eat in.  Most mornings when I’m still in bed wondering what to wear based on the weather; I’ll text “weather” and my zip code and, BAM! I know current temps, hi’s lo’s and the next 3 day’s forecast.   I also use it for quick definitions of words I want to know more about.  I just found out it works for translating words too!  Man, I could’ve really used that in Italy a few months ago… Anyways, check it out at http://www.searchengineknowledge.com/searchtools/textmessagegoogle.php

Now that it’s nearly 2012, mobile data access is better than ever, but has been capped and monthly rates are still exorbitant.   I still don’t have a hearty data plan but do have unlimited text and can rely on Google Text to beat the cash crunch. And every now and then I remember to let some of my data-deprived friends in on my little secret to make their dumb phones smarter.  Check it out and see how easy it is.