Give Your Web Site A Makeover, Update

In my tech column in this past weekend’s Northwest Herald I talked about what to do with an “orphaned” Web site you can’t access or change. It’s not enough to have a presence on the Web. If your site is stale or outdated, it’s time to consider a makeover.

The last thing you want is for customers to think you’re not around anymore, but that’s exactly the impression an outdated Web site gives. Many people let their sites lapse because they’re embarassed that they’ve forgotten how to access them. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. Now is a great time to reassess your site, decide what you want to change, and document the account details and other relevant information so that the next time you consider a makeover, you’ll have the foundation laid.

Some people balk at the idea of redoing their Web sites. They figure they just had them done a few years ago so there’s nothing that needs to be changed. But have you ever visited a site that you could tell was old just by looking at it? As technology changes, so do the tools we use to build Web sites. Think of it like decorating your office lobby. You don’t necessarily need the latest styles, but you don’t want the place to look shabby either.

Other site snafus include “news” that’s dated years ago and incorrect contact information. You should also see if there is anything else you need to add or change. Have you introduced new products or services? Are you now affiliated with an organization that could give you a boost?

Make a point to reassess your Web site on a regular basis. If you have a site that needs fine-tuning, let me know how I can help.

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Increasing Threats To Smartphone Security

Last month thousands of Droid smartphone users discovered they’d gotten an information-stealing virus alongside programs from the official Droid Market. This generated speculation in the IT world: Just how safe are our smartphones? Gone are the days when a phone was just a phone. Today your phone has valuable information on it and precious little protection.

Antivirus for smartphones is where antivirus for personal computers was back in the mid-1990s: most offerings are rudimentary and most people don’t worry about it. I predict mobile security is going to become more and more of a headache for small businesses and consumers.

What can you do? If you think your phone may be infected, the surest way to deal with it is to wipe your phone and restore from backup. But viruses are very fast at swiping your information and sending it who knows where, so the damage may have already been done.

It’s better to secure your phone so it’s harder for viruses to get in. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to lock down your phone’s security. Firms like Symantec, Kaspersky and Eset have smartphone security programs available. You should also make sure you are running the latest version of your phone’s software.

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The Proper Way To Uninstall A Program

Programs don’t install themselves in one nice, neat place. Your computer puts most of the program in a main folder, but scatters the rest into obscure locations that aren’t always easy to find. Programs sometimes leave these pieces behind when you uninstall. So how do you get rid of them?

The first step is to use the traditional method to uninstall the program. In Windows XP, go to Start, Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs. In WIndows Vista and 7, go to Start, Control Panel, Programs, Programs And Features. Mac users, go to the Application folder on your Macintosh HD.

If you can’t uninstall that way, try the Start menu and see if there is an uninstaller in the folder for the program. There may also be one on the original installation CD or on the software maker’s Web site. These usually work better than Add/Remove Programs.

Next, run a cleaning program. Don’t mistake fake cleaners with bona fide software like CCleaner for Windows and Snow Leopard Cache Cleaner for Mac. These utilities get rid of orphaned files left behind by untidy uninstallers.

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