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!

Backing Up Servers

Maybe your business is growing—you’ve hired somebody to help with the bookkeeping and you need some way to share the accounting files. Maybe you’ve had a near miss—the power went out suddenly and your data hadn’t been saved recently. Maybe, for some other reason, you’ve come to the realization that your data needs to be protected, whether due to business continuity, regulatory, or other reasons.

Regardless, you need a data protection solution for your server. And you’re not sure where to start.

What do all these terms mean?

Anytime you get people talking about backup, they’ll spit out a bunch of acronyms that can be bewildering to a newcomer. So let’s talk about them!
   •     BCP: This is your “Business Continuity Plan.” In other words,          in the event you lose data—whether it be a single file or a          whole server—how will you recover from the loss and resume          business? Many businesses formalize this as a written plan;          that way, in the absence of all the principals, others know how          to proceed.

   •     RPO: This is a “Recovery Point Objective.” It’s a measure of how much data—measured in time—you can afford to lose.          If you’re doing bookkeeping, you might be able to afford to lose 15 or 20 minutes’ worth of work. If you’re a bank, you          generally can’t afford to lose anything. As this number approaches 0, the solutions tend to get more expensive,          depending on the type of data.

   •     RTO: This is a “Recovery Time Objective.” It’s a measure of how quickly—again, measured in time—you have to be back          up and running. The more critical the data, the lower the RTO usually is.

So how does this all come together? Say you manufacture widgets for a living, and your inventory and customer relationship systems live on a server. Your business continuity plan may be something as simple as:

  1. In the event the server dies and the server is unrecoverable, contact our local server reseller and arrange for delivery of Server Model X. Reseller contact info is XXX-XXX-XXXX.
  2. While awaiting delivery, download restore of most recent restore point. Our backup vendor is Mozy; their support is XXX-XXX-XXXX, with support ID XXXXXXX. Ask for assistance in recovering backup set “Inventory Data.”
  3. When server arrives, reinstall Inventory Management Software (Vendor is XXX-XXX-XXXX).
  4. Restore backup set to location d:\inventory.

Why start with the business continuity plan?

For starters, a business continuity plan helps you identify how you’re going to work through a failure. All too often, the vendors may not know how best to help you. If your inventory control software only runs on Server 2003, a local reseller may not have a machine with Server 2003 available. You may have lost or misplaced the inventory control vendor’s contact info. Your backup vendor can probably help you get your data back, but may not know which application generated it when the data is just files on your server. And so on.

By putting it all in a plan, you’ve already set yourself up for determining what your critical data is.

What is my critical data?

The easy answer is “all of it.” However, when getting your business back up and running, you probably don’t need a 5-year-old quality control report right now. The older the data gets, the less critical it is. In addition to this, different types of data may require different workflow. You may be backing up images and a database; the database is going to require a database engine to be usable. So you should take steps to identify your critical data, categorize it, back it up, and most critically, know how to get it back in a way that allows you to keep your business running.

Your business continuity plan should include steps for getting the most critical data right away and lesser-critical data afterward. This is where the RTO comes into play. In the example above, you’d probably want your vendor to have a server delivered to you within 12 hours and critical production data up and running within 4 hours of the server becoming available. At most, you’d miss one full business day of work this way, most of which is spent waiting on new hardware. By communicating your RTO to your vendors, you can ensure everybody understands what the expectations are, and as things progress, whether or not your business continuity plan is on track.

Some data may reside in applications; for example, Microsoft SQL databases or MySQL databases. These can be protected to, but generally require what’s called an “Application consistent” backup—a backup that ensures the congruency of the database prior to executing a backup.

If you have critical data in applications like that, make a note of it; your backup vendor will want to know in order to best assist you.

So I know what my plan is and what my critical data is. What are my next steps?

Actually protecting data should be the last step of your business continuity plan. Now that you’ve set your standards and understand what needs to be protected, we’d be more than happy to invite you to give us a call, where we can discuss how Dell EMC can protect your most important data. Even if Mozy isn’t the best fit, Dell EMC together is the world’s largest data protection company. We can find the right solution for you!

Mozy Frightful Computer Haiku Contest Winners 2016

Two-thousand sixteen marked the sixth consecutive year of the Mozy Frightful Computer Haiku Contest. This year’s haiku poets claimed $200, $50 and $25 gift cards for their evocative efforts. As in years past, it was a challenge to select the winners from all of your most excellent submissions. Here are our winners:

3rd place and a $25 gift card to Denisha Parker Moore:
Virus goblins in
the night came to cause big fright.
Mozy make it right!

2nd place and a $50 gift card to spaceJASE:
Poor souls lost or burned
Mozy works the graveyard shift
Undead files return

1st place and a $200 gift card to Joel Hiller:
In the darkened lab
Mozy brings the dead files back
“It’s alive!” I shriek

Congratulations to our winners (though if you back up with Mozy, you already know that you’re a winner)! Winning poets, please email us at to claim your gift card. Be sure to include your name and snail mail address.

If you didn’t win, there is always next year. In the meantime, limit your sugar intake and be sure that you are always safeguarding your files with the latest Mozy backup software.

Why Cloud Computing Makes Xbox One the Ultimate Console

Back in 2013, Microsoft made a peculiar declaration that the Xbox One wouldn’t be like other consoles that showed their age in the dying days of their life cycle. Instead, the new console would become more powerful with cloud computing. Since then, there haven’t been many examples of games showing it off and most people still don’t exactly know why or how it will improve the console. While there’s no software that fully takes advantage of the feature currently in consumers’ hands, there’s still plenty of reason to be excited about the technology that will change gaming forever.

The best example of cloud computing on the Xbox One is featured in the upcoming game, Crackdown 3. Making its visual debut at Gamescom 2015, the developers showed how an entire environment could be demolished in a multiplayer setting. Seems simple enough on the surface with how powerful the console is, but not even the newest-built PC could handle all the processing required to do this.

This is where cloud computing comes in. It gives the Xbox One hidden processing power by using servers in the cloud to store the destruction. For years, multiplayer games have ran by declaring one console the host while other units would feed off of it, but these matches have always been held back because there’s only so much information that can be shared. Cloud servers create more room for the game’s multiplayer matches to feature full-scale destruction that won’t disappear.

Dave Tach of Polygon describes how the additional servers made Crackdown 3 a thrilling experience:

“When the server’s horizontal bar maxed out, it added another, represented by a progress bar beneath it. And another. And another. The game didn’t so much as hitch as the buildings fell and more and more servers made it happen.”

Unfortunately, there’s nothing currently available to consumers that clearly shows how amazing using cloud servers can be. Titanfall does have its multiplayer universe built using them and it creates more room for physics and artificial intelligence. Still, the game’s multiplayer mode still behaves like a traditional one. There isn’t anything that truly shows the power of cloud servers. Crackdown 3′s ability to have multiple players destroying the entire environment could finally be the software that changes that when it’s released to the public.

Will the additional cloud servers make the Xbox One the only console you’ll need for decades? Not necessarily. Games will continue to require better graphics cards and more processing speed, and that will have to be upgraded. There will still be a need for new consoles, or slightly upgraded models that the current generation will be releasing soon. They also won’t wow consumers like a decked-out PC rig with the latest technology.

People who have never heard of cloud servers probably won’t be any the more wiser after playing through Crackdown 3, simply thinking that it’s just how powerful the Xbox One is. However, as more developers take advantage of them, the longer the console’s shelf life will be.

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 Smart Technology Gadgets to Protect Your Home

Technology advances have provided us with more ways to protect our homes and families from danger, but how do you choose from hundreds of smart home gadgets? We’ve poured through the reviews to identify four ways that you can prevent harm from electrical surges, overheating of electronic devices, and environmental contaminants.

Power surge protection

Your first consideration in evaluating surge protective devices (SPDs) should be the safety of your television, Internet connection, computers, and appliances, but a severe power surge could result in a fire. Lightning strikes can pass through surge protectors and come through your phone or cable line. Power surges can even originate inside the home as large appliances power on and off.

For whole home protection, Leviton offers several models of Type 2 SPDs that protect the home’s entry point of electrical service from residual lightning energy and internally generated surges. Following a surge event, a surge module can be easily replaced. Features include high levels of protection against transient surge capacity and instantaneous response time.

For economical surge protection at the electrical outlet, the TrippLite TLP1208 model series features options for telephone, cable, and satellite input and output with a surge suppression rating of 2880 joules. Additional features include EMI/RFI noise filtering, resettable circuit breaker, diagnostic indicators, automatic shutoff, and $150,000 insurance for connected equipment.

Electrical device overheating protection

Protect your home from fires caused by overheating of electrical devices by installing a smart plug on electrical outlets.

The D-Link DSP-W215 Wi-Fi Smart Plug allows you to control power to your devices from an Internet-connected iOS or Android app. Thermal sensors detect when a device is overheating and automatically shuts it off. Energy usage can be monitored to help you save on electricity costs by creating on/off schedules for connected devices. Connection to an existing Wi-Fi network takes only a few minutes. Integration with the Amazon Echo allows for hands-free voice control. Pair with IFTTT (If This Then That) devices and apps as part of a smart home solution.

Environmental contaminant protection

Birdi, the latest smart technology in environmental sensors, combines sensing of smoke, carbon monoxide, and air quality into a single device that provides in-home and smartphone alerts.

Birdi’s fire protection sensor detects fast-burning and smoldering fires with the ability to minimize false alarms. The smoke alarm can be silenced from your smart phone or by saying “quiet” when within range of the sensor.

In-home air quality sensors provide insights on small particulates, dust and other allergens, stale air carbon dioxide, low-level carbon monoxide, VOCs, temperature, and humidity. Outside the home, Birdi detects pollution, pollen, and other particulates. When there is an emergency, authorities and other pre-configured contacts can be automatically notified.

Affordable investments in smart technology can save you money by preventing the need for claims against your homeowners or renters insurance and the potential for increased rates. More importantly, you can protect the health and safety of people in and around your home with a few inexpensive gadgets.

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.

Common Ways Consumers Lose Files

One of the most common ways a user can lose a file such as a Microsoft Word document is a system or application crash. This can happen while you’re going about your business typing up a word document and the screen suddenly freezes or becomes unresponsive. Then, the inevitable happens: the word processing program shuts down.

Now, what? Unless you’ve enabled the autosave feature such as that available in Word, you may be at a loss. All your writing gone; all the time you spent creating the document is now time lost. In some circumstances, when you reopen the Word application it may be possible to retrieve part of but not all of the material you’ve written.

Another way that you may end up losing valuable spreadsheet information or a PowerPoint presentation is by accidental deletion of portions while making changes. You may have thought that you’d backed up or saved a copy of your file and then started editing your work before checking to make sure a backup did in fact exist. User error is to blame. As much as we don’t like admitting it to ourselves, sometimes the biggest factor when losing files is of our own doing.

One of the most destructive ways we could lose valuable data occurs when our computer is attacked by a virus or invaded by malware such as ransomware. Hackers use ransomware to get your important files and data and hold them hostage until you pay a hefty ransom for their safe return. It’s becoming a more mainstream occurrence. And paying the ransom isn’t a guarantee that you will get your files back. Because ransomware is an unpredictable and unfortunate event that can occur without warning, in addition to saving your files to your computer’s internal hard drive, it makes sense to also store your data externally.

Additionally, be sure to update your computer’s operating system files when new updates roll out. Software updates are important because they usually include security updates that can help keep your data better protected.

One thing that’s out of our control is the possible malfunction or failure of our computer’s internal hard drive. If you’ve stored everything from the beginning of time on your hard disk only, this could make for a dreadful situation down the line. If your hard drive were to crash and burn, well, you’d be out of luck, losing some very significant data that might not be possible to replace.

Not only will saving files externally give you piece of mind, it also ensures that you’ve got a second copy of your work and precious data that can be accessed from a secure location. Mozy cloud backup is a great way to protect your data and ensure anytime, anywhere access to it. Backing up all of your digital data and files automatically and on a regular basis in the Mozy cloud is peace of mind. To learn more about safeguarding your data against user error, hardware failure, and ransomware, visit

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.

The first step in making a change is to define where you want to get to. 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!


In the path of Hurricane Matthew?

With the approach of Hurricane Matthew, we here at Mozy hope that you and your loved ones are safe. As you do whatever you can to protect your home, business and belongings, don’t neglect to protect other important assets, ones that are often neglected in the ensuing panic of an impending natural disaster—your data.

Whether it’s important tax documents or irreplaceable digital photographs on your home computer, or business-critical files on desktops and laptops that you rely on to conduct your business, be sure your data is backed up so that in the event that your files are lost or damaged they can be quickly recovered.

For important tips about protecting your data, visit the Mozy Community blog.

From all of us at Mozy, be safe!