Category Archives: Misc.

Why it’s important for employees to get away from their desk at lunchtime


Office staff. Cubicle dwellers. Desk jockeys. Dilberts. Corporate.

They have many names, but just like any other profession, they have to find time in their busy day to eat. They may be on the 27th floor of an office building or in their home office. Where ever they might be, it is in their best interest—and yours—to make sure they have time to break away from their computer, from their phone, and from their desk to eat, disconnect and rest.

There’s always a conference call, report deadline or “lunch and learn,” which seem to keep your employees at their desk over the lunch hour. Yet the benefits of allowing them to submit the report a little later or plan their calendar more effectively can produce significant gains in their:

   •     Productivity
   •     Morale
   •     Relationships with colleagues
   •     Health and fitness conditioning
   •     Alertness

Consider jobs like operations, inside sales, tech support, marketing, graphic design, and application development. These employees are sitting for hours at a time, and staring at a computer screen for much of it. Usually, the longer people work at their desk, the easier it to forget to decompress, get some fresh air and better nutrition than a cold Pop Tart, the monthly birthday cake, or the last Snickers bar from the office vending machine.

There are many benefits to encouraging your employees to take a lunchtime break, and your business will benefit from them in the long term. Here are three of our favorites.

1. Productivity and focus

Remember when you were a kid at school, and the lunch bell rang, and everyone was happy to grab their lunchbox, eat what Mom sent them, or dine on the gourmet fare at the school cafeteria? Whether that was your experience or not, you likely had some time to get some fresh air, run around the yard, and refresh your body and brain for the rest of the day.

At the office, you should encourage your employees to get some fresh air too. If your employees might need access to customer data if an important call comes in, a cloud-based, mobile file management application can provide access to files like quotes, invoices, or even Outlook PST files. Out of the office doesn’t have to mean out of the loop.

Empowering your employees to take a stroll around the block, go to a local gym and blow off steam, or have a hot, nutritious lunch will pay off with focus, energy, and enthusiasm. If something important breaks over the lunch hour, your teams will feel connected enough to address what they need to, but free enough to recharge their batteries.

2. Social engagement and team building

Just like your family at the dinner table, some of the best conversations happen when employees can meet face-to-face over a meal and a beverage. Hydration and nourishment can eliminate that “wall” of fatigue that often hits around 3 PM, where concentration lags, and employees often stray to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Idle screen time isn’t helping your team to produce better results, it’s just a distraction that can drag on past the lunch hour.

Having walking meetings, stand-up scrums, or setting up a ping-pong table in an unobtrusive space in the office can encourage people to share ideas, build relationships with new colleagues, and catch up on what’s happening across the business. WiFi accessibility in the office is ideal. If employees can move about your office environment with access to their files and apps, they won’t feel the guilt of straying from their desk. Some companies are eliminating designated desks altogether and allowing their employees to work where they can be most productive.

3. Health and Nutrition

Do you ever stream a TV series at home, while eating a bag of chips, a pizza, or nachos? That might be fun on occasion, but if you think about it, doesn’t that pizza, those chips or nachos taste better when you’re eating them without the distraction of TV or a movie? When we eat at our desks, the lunch experience is really diluted by the spreadsheets, documents, and other files on our desks. When we eat mindfully alone, or with other people, we are more aware of what we are eating, when we are full, and what our body really needs.

The idea that “sitting is the new smoking” is not new. Investing in ergonomic desks, which can be set for sitting or standing, can prevent conditions and disease like obesity, cancer, and lower back pain. Providing tools like mobile apps and devices that allow your employees to get outside (and stay connected), have a social lunch, or volunteer for a cause contributes to better mental and physical health.

Though it seems counter-productive to prevent your employees from working through lunch, there’s lots of proof that when employees break away from their desk for 30 minutes to an hour, they will produce better results, be more engaged, and they may even invite you along to their yoga or spin classes at lunchtime.

Does the idea of a mobile-enabled, cloud based file management app sound like a good way to liberate your employees from being chained to their desk over lunch? Try a 30-day trial of MozyPro today.

Mozy Wins Another Stevie Award!

Mark Goetz (left), Senior Manager, Mozy Business Systems, and Zan Phillips, Director of Mozy Technical Support, accept 2017 Stevie Award on behalf of Mozy’s world-class support team.

The results are in and Mozy by Dell was awarded a bronze 2017 Stevie Award for our submission on “Mapping the Customer Journey.”

Over the last few years Mozy has been conducting research on our customer’s journey. From that research we have implemented numerous updates and enhancements to improve the support experience.

At Mozy, we’re always looking for ways to make sure the customer experience is seamless, pro-active, and beneficial to our users.

You might recall that Mozy has received other Stevie Awards over the years. Read more about them here:

   •     2015, Silver Stevie Award, Best Use of Technology in          Customer Service for Computer Software and Services

   •     2014, Bronze Stevie Award, Sales and Customer Service

Congratulations to Mozy’s world-class support team!

Top Five Tech Gadgets for 2017…and Why I Want Them

2017 is here, and with the new year comes a new set of must-have tech gadgets that will make my life easier—or at least a lot more fun. Here’s a look at five of the most innovative and intriguing, and why I want them all.

Snapchat Spectacles

Sure, I’m just jumping on the bandwagon here, but why not—it’s nice to finally see a smart glass option that doesn’t make users look like “glassholes.” The Spectacles nail retro without feeling dated and solve the problem of “secret recording” with a light-up white circle that lets everyone around know that you’re taking video. Better still, they make it easy to send Snaps and give Snap recipients the ability to tilt the video for maximum effect. Bottom line? I already Snap. This makes it even easier.

Price: $129. Availability: Currently random

AirPods

Yeah, I tossed Apple for Android a few years ago, but it’s tempting to re-up the iPhone thanks to AirPods. The promise? No cords, 24-hour battery life and the pods are supposed to automatically sync with all my Apple devices and turn on whenever they’re in my ears. Plus, there’s voice recognition and crystal-clear sound. If it’s true it’s magic and I’m on board.

Price: $159. Availability: Apple says 100+ countries starting December 2016

SensorWake

Released near the end of 2016, the SensorWake is a clock that wakes you up using smell instead of noise. Current options include toast, mint, coffee, chocolate and freshly-cut grass to name a few, which each last for 30 “awakenings.” It’s probably not the best idea if you’ve got a must-be-there-meeting at 8 a.m., but if you’d like to skip sleeping the day away and pass on the beeping alarm clock—hey, those Spectacles aren’t going to take Snaps themselves, people!—the SensorWake sounds like a solid plan.

Price: $131.95 for clock and 6 scents. Availability: Online

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon’s second-generation voice-controlled helper device, the Echo Dot is designed to make your life easier. Seven far-field microphones let it hear you even in a noisy room and with a few simple commands you can order pizza, call an Uber, play music or get the weather. Plus, it retails for less than $50 on Amazon and you don’t need an Echo to make the Dot work. Sounds like a fantastic time waster info hub.

Price: $49.99. Availability: Amazon

YOUMO

Want to play with the coolest tech gadgets? You need power, and the Kickstarter-funded YOUMO might just do the trick. The idea here is that you pick different power “modules,” which can be linked together to create a kind of ideal electric Frankenstein to power your tech environment. From standard power outlets to USB connections, wireless charging, LAN modules, speakers and even nightlights, there’s huge potential here. It’s not on the market yet, but all indications from Kickstarter and the company’s webpage are for a quick 2017 start.

Price: Not set. Availability: Soon

Want the best tech gadgets for 2017? You can’t go wrong with these five standouts.

Mozy’s Most Popular Blog Posts and Infographics from 2016

As the year comes to a close, we thought it would be fun to revisit what was most popular on the Mozy blog in 2016. Check out which blog posts and infographics our readers liked most from what we published this year.

When Old Tech Becomes New Tech

We are a society that loves technology. Most of us can’t seem to get enough of the latest and greatest. The rapid advance in technology is causing a glut in tech devices such as computers, smartphones and game systems. That means outdated tech devices are ending up in the landfill. Unfortunately, a lot of that e-waste could have been recycled. Read more. (Also, be sure to check out our infographic about e-waste.)

10 Great But Inaccurate Quotes From Technology (infographic)

We’ve all said something at one time or another that we regret saying. Even the brightest minds have said things they wish they hadn’t said. That’s especially true when the statement was bold and sure…except that it never came to pass. Check out these great but inaccurate quotes from brilliant technologists from the 20th and 21st centuries. View infographic.

Dell + Mozy Have a Lot in Common with Greatness!

How could you have missed the news about the greatest tech deal of this century—perhaps of any century? The merger of Dell and EMC—owner of Mozy—brought together two tech giants. It was the best joining the best. As our writer described it, it’s like Batman and Robin. Han and Chewy. Milk and cookies (preferably chocolate chip). You just can’t have one without the other. Read more.

Most Prolific Hackers (infographic)

Make no mistake about it: 2016 was one of the biggest years for hackers. Ransomware in particular was rampant (2+ billion files were leaked this year). This infographic describes some of the most infamous hacks from years past. Some of these unsavory characters may look harmless, but their unauthorized access to information caused serious headaches for consumers, government agencies and businesses. View infographic.

Make Digital Backups of Your Precious Family Photos

Photos bring back so many wonderful memories from the past. The truth is, some of our best moments in our personal history are captured through photography. And today’s smartphones make it so easy to capture those moments. Are you backing them up and protecting them? You should be because you’re capturing moments for future generations to enjoy. Read more.

50 Things We Don’t Do Anymore Due to Technology (infographic)

Unlike everything else in our list of posts and infographics published in 2016, this infographic was published three years ago but continues to be one of our most popular. We thought it would be fun to once again consider many of the things we no longer do anymore because of technological advancements. By the way, when was the last time you called the theatre to get movie times? View infographic.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our revisit to our most popular blog posts and infographics. We also hope that you have a wonderful holiday and a very happy New Year. Thank you for backing up with Mozy! We appreciate your business.

3 Ways Technology Can Help Your Last-minute Christmas Shopping

It seems like all of the holidays are bunched together into one stressful moment once Labor Day ends. Halloween demands candy and costumes, Thanksgiving requires flight plans and family dinners, and Christmas is a battle royal at shopping malls and fashion outlets. With all of the mayhem building up, how could anyone possibly have any time to enjoy themselves, let alone spend time with family on Christmas Eve?

This is where technology can make a huge difference! This year, if you feel like kicking back and eating sugar cookies with Old Saint Nick until the sun comes up, then here are a few easy ways that your tech gadgets can make your last-minute Christmas shopping a lot less hectic.

Buy gifts online

Of course there will be some gifts you’ll have to go into Macy’s to buy, but if there are things on the Christmas list that can be bought from anywhere (tools, electronics, stuffed animals, skin care products, etc.), then do it online. You can use your tablet or smartphone to visit sites like Amazon, Etsy or Jet.com to make your last-minute shopping rounds. Each site is easy to use, and you can find exactly what you’re looking for, all while choosing a shipping option that fits your schedule. Keep in mind, many of your favorite retail stores most likely have apps with coupons to offer, so feel free to shop on the sofa while everyone else runs to Walgreens at 2:00 a.m. If you’re really pressed for time, you can always print out the shipping details and stuff it into a card

Storyboard your ideas

The worst thing about Christmas shopping is that it’s so hard to find the right gifts for your family and friends. When time is of the essence, it’s always a huge plus to create a layout of what kinds of gifts you should buy. Using an app like Pinterest or Instagram is a great way to build a collage of possible gift ideas based upon what you think your Aunt Ginger would like. You can “pin” or “like” awesome photos that give you some inspiration when you’re sprinting from aisle to aisle. Having an idea of what you should buy is always a much better plan than going in blind, and you’ll find that it saves you some extra time to wrap gifts when you get home.

Don’t go overboard

One of the biggest mistakes a last-minute shopper makes is that they tend to overspend on account of their lazy guilt. It’s way too easy to start dropping cash on your relatives when you’re both unsure about what to buy and pressured by the ticking of the clock, so the best way to combat the anxiety is to set a limit for your spending. You can download your bank’s mobile app to manage your balances on checking accounts or credit cards on the go, making sure that you’re still able to afford drinks on New Year’s Eve. If you see your funds dipping drastically low in your checking account, you can easily transfer money from your savings instantly, giving you enough cushion to splurge on both sweaters when you can’t remember the color your dad asked for.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: 4 Ways to Protect Your Data When Shopping Online

Cyber Monday 2015 generated over $3 billion in sales, a 12% increase over previous years. This increase in online shopping isn’t without its pitfalls, however, as one in 86 transactions were targeted with some type of fraud.

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, how should you ensure that your personal information is safe and secure when you shop online?

Be careful who you trust

Don’t give out your personal information to outlets you do not trust. Every time you are asked for your personal information while shopping online, ask yourself a few questions:

Do you trust the company or site you’re on? 

Before you trust an online store with your personal information, read up on what other shoppers have said about them. Search for complaints or scams that their website may have been involved in by typing “Company Name” + “Scam” or “Complaint” into your favorite search engine.

Is the store website encrypted? 

Don’t ever give out your personal information on websites that aren’t encrypted. Encrypted sites protect your information as it travels from your computer to their server. Look for an https at the beginning of their web address. This shouldn’t just be on the login page, so check every page you visit.

Does the store have a privacy policy? 

Online retailers should have a clear privacy policy that tells you how they protect your personal information, and secure your credit card information.

Did you download the store app you’re shopping on from a legitimate link? 

When using apps, always use the link provided by the brand on their own website to download their app. According to New York Times, more and more “fake” apps are making their way onto app stores, just in time to fool shoppers for the holiday season. Fake apps are not only hoping to sell you lower quality products, they could also use your credit card information in dubious ways.

Remember, not all WiFi is created equal

Every restaurant, mall and office seems to have WiFi, and often these networks are open to all users. We’ve all logged into an unprotected WiFi network once or twice, but few people know how much more vulnerable you are when transmitting data over a wireless connection (and not just an unprotected one). Limit your buying activity to password secured connections you trust, such as your home, and never log in to your banking app or transmit credit card information over an unsecured public network.

Secure your devices and accounts

Where once you only had to ensure your computer had the latest available anti-virus software, now you have to also worry about securing phones and tablets. Most security software is set to update automatically, so opt-in for that option on the software you choose. But also set your operating system and browser to update automatically, as these updates can often include important updates required to keep your device secure from the latest threats.

Not only should your devices be updated, remember to choose smart passwords for all accounts. Using a password management service such as LastPass can allow you to create hard-to-crack passwords without having to worry about remembering them. Choose passwords with a mix of letters, numbers and special characters, and keep the length between 10 to 14 characters.

Consider a Virtual Credit Card Number

Some card issuers provider users with an alternate number that they can use when they shop online. The disposable number is still linked to your account, and your purchases do appear on your card statement, but since it can only be used for a limited time, or with a limited number of merchants, a scammer who comes across it at a later date cannot use it. You will need to check if your credit card issuing bank provides a disposable number, but it’s worth checking it out before the holiday shopping starts.

Your safety is in your own hands, so remember to stay safe while shopping online by following these suggestions. Happy holidays!

Technology Can Help You Eat Less During the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us. The period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is a festive time that we all enjoy. But nobody likes the pounds we pile on during the holidays. It’s pretty hard to resist turkey, pumpkin pie and other calorific treats that come out to tempt you at this time, so it’s no surprise that at the end of the season some of us need to loosen our belts.

Just how much weight do people gain? It depends. One report suggests that Americans weigh on average 1.3 pounds more at the end of the holidays than they did at the start. That doesn’t sound too bad, but if you have a high BMI (or did in the past), you could gain between 2 and 5 pounds, and it’s not always that easy to get rid of.

The way to avoid six months of intense workouts to recover your beach body is to eat less, and luckily, there are plenty of technological solutions to help us do better.

Track food with apps

One way to eat less is to know what foods and how many calories you’re eating. It might surprise you, because all of those tiny, seemingly harmless snacks can add up to a whole lot of calories. Luckily, you don’t have to track these in a little book any more. There are plenty of apps to help you keep eating habits under control, including:

   •     LoseIt
   •     My Diet Diary
   •     MyFitnessPal
   •     NoomCoach
   •     Fooducate
   •     Simple Calorie Count

Most food diary apps require some initial setup (entering weight and height, for example) to help guide you on the amount you should be eating each day. Once you see how many calories that beer or slice of cake adds up to, you’ll definitely want to reduce your consumption.

Work with a nutritionist

Working with a nutritionist to improve eating habits isn’t exactly new, but what is new is that you can now do it without leaving your home. The HAPICoach app lets you work 1:1 with your personal nutritionist to set up and work on an eating plan and reach your nutrition goals via an app and related fitness devices. If you’re international, it will set you back about $25 per month, but isn’t it worth it if it keeps you looking trim?

Change your habits

One way to make eating less stick is to change your routine and form new habits that aren’t focused on food. You’ll have to stick with it, though. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take 21 days to form a new habit, but more like 66, says James Clear. Try an app to help you maintain your motivation and focus until your new behavior is etched on your brain. One approach that works is habit stacking—chaining a series of actions together until they all become automatic. A simple way to eat less would be to integrate drinking water as part of a habit stack at intervals during your day. Check out this list of apps to help you with building healthy habits.

Use YouTube

When it comes to eating less, YouTube university doesn’t disappoint. There are hundreds of thousands of videos featuring meditations and hypnosis to help you eat less or to lose weight. Just fire up the mobile app, plug in your headphones and transport yourself to a different plane where eating until you’re stuffed seems a lot less attractive.

Grab a fitness tracker

Finally, fitness trackers can help you make a preemptive strike against those holiday pounds, by helping you get a handle on how much exercise you’re actually doing. These wearable devices are small and sleek and often integrate with mobile and web apps to give you more data on your exercise habits (if you can stand to look!). When you know better, you do better, so grab yourself a FitBit, Gear Fit or other tracker to help you. Alternatively, put it on your wish list and hope that Santa is kind to you this year!

Halloween and Technology: A Spooky Treat

When you think about Halloween you tend to think about candy, costumes, ghosts, and vampires. What you usually don’t think about is technology, but you should. Technology really can level up Halloween for you and your kids.

Are you tired of trying to find houses to trick-or-treat?
For the last few years Nextdoor has allowed its members to install an app on their phone that lets them track the houses that are celebrating Halloween in their neighborhood. Gone are the days of wandering aimlessly looking for houses that have their lights on. Instead you can download the app, open the Treat Map, and find all the houses in your neighborhood that are handing out candy.

Halloween is always more fun when you are saving money
If staying home and handing out treats is more your speed just turn to your phone or the Internet for help. Slickdeals has you covered. It can help you find the best deals on costumes, candy and Halloween decorations. You can browse the site for deals or set deal alerts that will let you know as soon as something goes on sale. There’s even iOS and Android apps to help you get to those deals as quickly as possible.

You can also save money by using Honey. No, I’m not talking about Winnie the Pooh’s favorite treat but about a slick little extension that you can install in your browser. Once Honey is installed in your Google Chrome Browser it will help you automatically find and use coupon codes, get the best prices on Amazon, earn cash back on your purchases, and find real-time deals. Nothing makes Halloween fun like saving money.

You can find more than cute cat pics on the web
The Internet is also a great place to find resources for a fun and exciting Halloween. A quick search on Pinterest will return literally thousands of results for decoration ideas, home-made costumes, fun Halloween themed desserts, and more. Pumpkin Masters is another great site to visit at Halloween. They have lots of freebies like pumpkin carving templates, desktop wallpapers, and Halloween trivia.

Lights aren’t just for Christmas anymore
This last tip for using technology to spook up your Halloween isn’t for the faint of heart but it can make for a truly memorable Halloween. The last couple of years ABC has aired a reality show called The Great Christmas Light Fight. This show pits families against one another to determine who has the best Christmas lights. But displays like this aren’t just for Christmas anymore. Companies like Light-O-Rama can help you set up a fully interactive Halloween display with lights, sound effects, music, and more. With some hard work and imagination you can turn your home into a haunted mansion that will be the most popular trick-or-treat stop for miles.

So there you have it. While you might not think it at first blush, technology can help Halloween be more fun. It can help you build the ultimate haunted mansion of your dreams or it can just help you find one to trick-or-treat.

4 Apps to Get to Any Business Meeting On Time (or Early)

It happens to the best of us. It’s not that you don’t care about the appointments, or the people you’re meeting with. It’s not that you forgot about the meeting, either. But despite the best intentions, you just can’t get to where you need to be on time. You’ve tried building time into your calendar. You’ve tried moving your clocks a few minutes fast to create a buffer time. But none of it works.

When you’ve tried everything else, modern technology can help you. Check out these four apps to help you stick to your schedule better.

1. Leave Now

If you’ve ever gone “into the zone” working on something, only to realize you’re now running late for a meeting across town, you need this app.

Leave Now for iOS does just what it sounds like: tells you when it’s time to leave.

It syncs with your calendars and looks at real-time traffic info to send automated alerts when it’s time to head to your appointment. It works for any type of traveling professional, whether you’re a driver or pedestrian.

Plus, as a cool bonus feature, it helps you schedule your day by building travel buffers into your schedule.

2. Waze

If you’re always on the road, you may not even need a separate app to help you get to places on time. Chances are, you already use Waze for navigation, since it’s a great app all-around.

But did you know it also tells you when to get on the road? With the new Planned Trips feature that was released earlier this year, you can set a reminder for yourself. You can set it manually for important trips only, or sync it with your calendar for everything.

3. Moovit

Moovit is like Waze but for public transportation. It crowdsources data to get insights into things only locals know about in hundreds of cities around the world. Things like the easiest transit route, station cleanliness, and arrival times and delay incidents.In a city where people largely rely on public transit—like New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.—it’s a lifesaver, especially if you feel like you’ll never get used to the unpredictability of public transit.

And in addition to all these features to plan your route, you can also plan your trip with real-time arrival and departure times.

4. Uber

Sometimes your plans just won’t work out, and despite your best efforts, you’re running late. You left on time, but the subway is running late or you’re wearing bad shoes and can’t walk as fast as usual.

You need to know when to just give up and hail an Uber to get there on time.

I’ve tried most of the “ehail” apps available, and always go back to Uber for its convenience. It definitely has some of the best coverage in terms of locations and areas served. And while they take a lot of criticism for surge pricing, it does mean Uber is probably your best chance of getting a ride during rush hour or inclement weather.

How do you do it?

Have you figured out how to battle chronic lateness as well? Share your favorite apps and tools in the comments below.

How can technology encourage you to eat better?

It happens. You’ve gained extra weight, your cholesterol is too high, and your doctor is telling you to make healthy changes to your lifestyle.

What’s the “what for”?

In making big changes from what you’ve automatically done and from the habits you’ve formed over years, the first thing you want to decide is the “what for.” Taking advice from friends, colleagues, and even your doctor is good, but without you deciding the “what for” for yourself, even the best technology won’t make a difference in long-term sustainable change.

Ask yourself why, and when you come up with an answer, ask why again. You’ll know you have it when it brings up emotion.

Once you’ve decided your “what for,” technology is a great asset to achieve your goals. With an overwhelming amount of information online about what to eat, what not to eat, and how to be healthy, these resources will help you define what you want to do, keep track of your progress, and give you resources to succeed.

Coach.me

The first step in making a change is to define where you want to get to. Coach.me let’s you define goals in healthy eating and many other healthy aspects of life such as fitness, personal growth, happiness and relationships, productivity, meditation, and quitting bad habits. You can link up friends for accountability and increased success.

Fooducate App

Once you’ve found the recipes you want to try, get help at the grocery store with Fooducate. Scan the bar code of common items to learn their health content when you’re grocery shopping to help with your decision making. Using this app not only tracks what you eat, it also tracks your activities so you can see your progress and achieve your goals.

Online Ordering

Many grocery stores have online ordering. Save time and avoid unnecessary purchases you get tempted to make in store by ordering exactly what you need for the recipes that you’re making, and have it delivered. Look up your local grocery stores to see what services are available.

Good Habits App

To support you in creating sustainable change, the Good Habits app is great for implementing new habits. Enter the habits, reminders, and for what days you want to do it, and it will help keep you accountable. For example, you can enter “drink 8 cups of water per day” and remind yourself periodically throughout the day to drink them.

Whenever your motivation slips or you fall off the wagon, come back to your reason for getting on in the first place and keep going. You’re human; don’t expect yourself to be perfect—just keep going!