How to get great photos of fireworks this 4th of July!

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4th of July is tomorrow, and luckily for those of us in Northern California, we’re in for a beautiful clear night.  But outside factors can only get us so far when creating moments to remember.  Below are some tips on how to get some great shots of the majestic fireworks that will consume our night sky:

1. If you’re using a point and shoot camera check and see if it has a fireworks mode.  If it does try it out and see how your pictures come out.  If it’s not what you’re looking for, keep on reading.

2. Whether you’re using the automatic settings or not make sure that you camera is stabilized.  No matter what the settings are set at if your camera is wobbly while taking a shot, your pictures will turn out wiggily too.  So either try to use a tripod or prop your camera on something that will keep it from moving.

3. Also, if you can, try to avoid hitting the button on your camera – this can be done one of two ways.  Either set the automatic timer on your camera or spend a little cash and purchase a shutter release cable or a wireless remote for your camera.

4. If you’re going to manually set the settings make sure that the camera is set to it’s lowest ISO – which is usually at about 200

5. Make sure to turn off the automatic focus and to set the focus to infinity.  If you don’t have a manual focus control, don’t fret, just set your camera to landscape mode which will do the same thing

6. Slow down the shutter speed between 1 second and 16 seconds – the longer the exposure the more you will capture

7. Set the white balance to tungsten or incandescent for better colors

8. Change your aperture to f/8 and adjust either up or down based on how your pictures are turning out. If the fireworks lack color, adjust to a higher aperture.  If the fireworks are too dim, adjust to a lower aperture.

9. Try not to zoom in – this can be played with a bit to capture just the right amount of fireworks, but usually if you can avoid zooming in the better.

10. Make sure your flash is turned off.

And that’s about it!  Good luck with your fireworks pictures – hope everyone has a happy, fun and safe 4th of July!

Apple devices aren’t as safe as you may think…

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When you think of Apple, you tend to think that you are safe from getting a virus on your device.  Many people, whether they’re an Android and Microsoft lover or not, have integrated some sort of Apple product into their life in some way.  Whether it is your iPhone, iPad, home computer or work computer – a lot of important information is stored on these devices and we’ve come to expect that if it’s an Apple product, we don’t have to worry about it getting infected with a virus or stolen by a hacker.

Well, now the game has changed.  As you saw in an earlier blog post we wrote about a Trojan Flashback botnet that targeted Mac computers.  Not only that, but a lot of hackers are either finding ways or trying to find ways to hack into your iPhone.  Luckily, Apple is now taking these threats a bit more seriously, letting go a little of their pride and have made a revision to their website.  Instead of stating “It doesn’t get PC viruses” it now reads “It’s built to be safe.”

So again, while we think of Apple as not being prone to getting viruses, just now know that they, just like every other computer, are in fact susceptible.  Based on this new reality, it would be smart to invest in some antivirus protection, which you can buy directly from the Apple website here.  Also, Apple has addressed the issue of the Flashback Trojan directly and has released an update which you can download here.

Not only has Apple changed its security message on their website, they’ve also released a security guide for their iOS operating system which is run on both the iPad and iPhone. You should also know that Apple has stopped supporting some of the older operating systems that are still being used by millions of people, which means that these OS systems are much more susceptible to getting infected.  So, if you can update… update!

Quick steps to check your iPhone Data Usage

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So, you have a handy-dandy-amazing-spectacular-super-duper-iPhone!  Yippie!  You’ve  probably been using it for a while taking video, snapping pictures, downloading music and various fun apps… but, do you know how much data you’re actually using on that rad little device?  Here are a few simple ways for you to check:

-        If you’re an AT&T subscriber, log into your account via their homepage at (www.att.com) and create a billing report:

  • “Bills and Payments”
    • “Create Billing Report”
      • “Data Usage Trend”
        • Vuala!  You’ll get a detailed graph showing you just how much data you are using.

-        If you’re a Sprint subscriber, Head to www.mysprint.sprint.com

  • “My Sprint”
    • “My Device & Media”
      • Login to check your data usage!

-        If you’re a Verizon subscriber:

  • You can find online by accessing your account here.
  • Or you can simply send a text message to #DATA (#3282) to find out how much data you’ve used during the current bill cycle
  • Verizon also has a really nifty Data Usage Calculator so you can easily determine roughly how much data you will use each month

 

-        Or, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of logging into any of your accounts and would just rather use your nifty iPhone, here’s how you do that:

  • On your iPhone go to your “Settings” (usually located on the home screen of your phone)
    • “General” (towards the bottom when you first arrive on the “settings” page)
      • “Usage” (third option down)
        • Scroll to the bottom to see your “Cellular Usage”
          • You can see your sent and received data amounts and can even reset it to keep track – kind of like when gauging how many mpg’s you’re car is getting when resetting your speedometer

Fun, harmless April Fool’s Day Jokes!

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April Fool’s Day is coming up on Sunday and who doesn’t enjoy a good laugh now and then?  Below are some easy and harmless jokes that you can play on your co-workers that won’t get them too angry that they are at the butt of a harmless little April Fool’s Day joke.

  • What’s wrong with this darn mouse!?  This one is SUPER easy and very effective.  All you have to do is get some black tape (or just some regular good ol’ scotch tape (just black it out with a sharpie and wait for the sharpie ink to dry) then cover the red laser of your targets mouse with the tape.  When your co-worker comes into work to begin their day, their mouse won’t respond!  It’ll frustrate them, make them wiggle their mouse, maybe slam it down a little, mumble words of anger and confusion… if you’re there to watch it all go down, it’ll be pretty hilarious.  You can even up the fun factor a bit by letting a couple other co-workers in on the prank and place bets on how long it will take for your target to figure it out!
  • Christmas in April.  This one should be done the night before, after most people have already left the office.  To begin, gather your Christmas Wrap or Birthday wrap leftovers, some tape and some ribbon – try to be as conspicuous as you can when bringing in your prank supplies – maybe throw it in a black bag or something and hide it under your desk until the time is right.  Once your target has left for the day, gather all of your supplies and go to town on their day-to-day office supplies.  Wrap their computer, their keyboard, mouse, phone, stapler… anything goes.  When they get in the next morning their reaction will be hilarious!
  • PRINT!  If you can pull this one off, it’s pretty funny.  Try and get your boss in on the joke to make it even more effective on your unsuspecting co-workers.  If your boss allows it, send an all-staff email alerting your co-workers on the new and improved functions of your super awesome printer… it now has been upgraded to accept voice commands!  Awesome!  So futuristic!  They’ll receive the email and think it’s so cool that they will want to try it right away.  To make the joke even more effective post an official looking sign that looks like it came from the manufacturer with instructions on how to use the new voice command feature… make sure that it specifies that they must speak loudly and clearly for the new feature to work.  Your co-workers will go to use the new feature (which obviously won’t work – but only you and your boss know that) – they’ll get frustrated that it isn’t working and start yelling at the regular ol’ printer, then they’ll start looking around for buttons you’ll get a good laugh.  Hopefully your co-workers will think it’s funny too!

Happy practical joking!

Will Internet Explorer’s new automatic updates affect your business?

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In an effort to make the web a more safe and secure place, Microsoft’s Ryan Gavin announced that Internet Explorer will begin rolling out automatic updates.  The guinea pigs will be a limited audience in Australia and Brazil who should expect to see the automatic updates sometime in January.

So, you’re asking… how will this affect you and your business?  There are many pros but some cons as well.  Let’s begin with the benefits of this automatic update first:

  • The web will be safer. The more up-to-date your browser the more protection you have against malicious software.
  • Web developers rejoice! Up-to-date web browsers allow web developers to create richer and more efficient web experiences.
  • Malware threats decrease. You will be less vulnerable to online threats.

Now onto the cons… well, it seems like there is just one.  Some companies are forced to stay with earlier versions of IE due to the fact that their critical applications won’t run on modern updated browsers.  If you’re one of these “browser stragglers” don’t worry… you aren’t alone, about 8.3 percent of the world’s users are still on IE6.

According to Gavin, customers who have previously declined installations of IE8 or IE9 through Windows Update will not be automatically updated.  Though, if you currently have Internet Explorer 8 or Internet Explorer 9 installed, the Automatic Update Blocker Toolkits allow you to disable the automatic updates if you don’t want them.  If you are accidentally upgraded though, it is possible to roll back to previous versions of Internet Explorer.

If you’re concerned about the automatic updates or are worried about the risks involving using an older version of IE, contact KLH Consulting at 707.575.9986 and we will be more than happy to check out your current situation and how these automatic updates will affect your company.

Tech Gifts

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Got a friend who’s a trendsetter?  Or maybe you’re into the latest and greatest gadgets out there and are looking to fill your Christmas list?  No worries, we’ve compiled a list of the hippest, coolest, newest tech items out on the market right now… just in time for Black Friday!