August 21, 2015 around 18:50 we heard a loud siren echoing through our street. Shortly after it stopped so it had to be close. Indeed. There was a fire a few houses down across the street. We went to take a look. On leaving we saw come out the flames all over the rooftops. No small fire but a violent one.
At the site of the disaster arrived were already many local residents in amazement watching the blaze. The neighbors were evacuated and everyone wondered whether victims had fallen. The ambulance stopped and was not driving away with sirens. To make a long story short. I immediately thought, damn, this can also happen to us.
I had read about Nest Protect. The new generation of smoke / fire detector. At that time I still thought why would I want to. The incident in the street rang a bell. The internet capabilities of the Nefit Easy we still find a nice addition. Monitoring and setting via the Internet through an app on your phone. It would be nice to also have smoke alarms that are capable do this. I knew they were not cheap but told myself that I want to be able to intervene as quickly as possible if there is a fire. We have fire insurance but most of the stuff that have emotional value we want to still like to quickly secure through rather to enable the emergency services.
We can therefore respond quickly to put ourselves in safety. What is a human life worth? Priceless. What are irreplaceable memories worth? Of course much less like a lifetime but not much less as priceless.
I have ordered several items from Cool Blue. At first I wanted to order directly through www.nest.com but there was no direct volume discount while at Cool Blue was a discount at 3+ items (see http://www.thermostaatstore.nl/product/613914/category-243901 /nest-protect-triple-pack.html).
The installation was a revelation. I myself may affix the label myself as not really useful. I had seen a movie istructie (see https://nest.com/support/#install-your-protect) which showed that you do not need to drill. My ‘Yeah’ moment because I’m not a handyman. Upon opening the box I saw the screws there. I installed my Nest Protect V2 in less than half an hour. Installing the app and mounting 🙂
From security point of view I’m bothered with something I think can’t be accepted in 2015. You cannot create multiple accounts in Nest and are not able to create family accounts. Their advice is literal “share your credentials”. This is really the worst security advice I’ve heard in years, from a Google company. Shocking… Checkout https://nest.com/support/article/What-s-a-Nest-Account-and-how-do-I-get-one
It’s not an issue sharing information with your family but this is not acceptable in a multi-user world.
What is Dropbox and what does it do? Has it an advance for me?
All questions the users have because almost all cloud service providers yell to use their service but lack to explain what the advantage would be for them.
Ofcourse has every advantage also a disadvantage like Johan Cruijff said before 🙂
Disadvantage cloud :
- files/applications are stored in Cloud provider
- need a reliable internet connection for good user experience
- what happens with your files/applications when provider gets bankrupt ?
- security depended on features supplied with provider
Advantage cloud :
- uptime monitoring done by cloud provider
- maintenance done by provider
- security done by provider (also mentioned as disadvantage, but most users lack or have no knowlegde of security to cope with this well while the provider is more capable to do.)
- easier scaling
Due to the introduction of Apple iCloud cloud computing became more familiar known by the public. Cloud services were years before the word Cloud came already in use. Companies had for many years their servers made available for their mobile users by using Citrix and/or VMWare virtual servers via external networks (early days dial-in, later internet). Nowadays cloud services are very affordable services which are not exclusively being used by companies.
Some years ago I decided to supersede my home server by a NAS. I want to replace all services I was running on my server with a cloud replacement. My exception was my files I still wanted to have available locally, so I was able to access them even when internet was down. You have to think about documents, video and photos files.
The advantage to migrate these services to the cloud was the utilization of my server which would free a lot of capacity (storage, bandwidth, memory and CPU).
Backup cloud service
First I took care of my local running backups (do this people!) with an additional backup to the cloud.
File storage cloud service
To be able on restoring short term/current files I use Dropbox and OneDrive.
With my first Samsung Galaxy I’ve received 50 GB Dropbox storage for two years free. At the moment I have 11.5 GB storage without a paid subscription. On my new Galaxy I also installed dropbox so I can easy synchronize my photos and videos with my computers. In this way I have an extra backup of my photos and videos available of my smartphone.
The most important file storage cloud service is at this moment OneDrive. OneDrive is also part of my Microsoft Office 365 subscription, more about this later in this article.
I use Microsoft OneDrive 10 TB File Cloud Storage to save my documents and share them. I’ve used only 460 GB of the 10 TB. I save my documents always in OneDrive and let them synchronize with two of my local drives. In this way my documents are always available for me.
I also use Google Drive Cloud Storage on my smartphone because it’s Google Android, but to be honest I never/hardly use it.
Software As A Service (SAAS)
SAAS offers the advantage that you can use software from the cloud without having the need for own servers.
After I moved my backup and files to the cloud I deprecate my Microsoft server software Small Business Server 2008. To maintain and keep up with the security by regularly maintenace (minimum 1x week) is too time consuming. I didn’t want to lose free time on this. When a server experience downtime due to hardware failure or a power outage it consumes time to get it again up and running.
Microsoft Exchange Online
Choosing Microsoft Exchange Online I was able to get the same functions while I had SBS 2008 while now Microsoft is doing maintenance tasks. A crash of my Exchange server would imply that I have to take actions so other users are not experience the impact of the crash and have to wait for email working again. Now the connections are not to my server on my internet connection so whenever my connection or server is failing the email users are not affected. In this way the stress is relieved. Love it.
Microsoft Office 365
I’m a vivid user of Microsoft Office. I use Outlook most frequent but also of course Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Instead of buying every new boxed version of Office I decided last year to subscribe to Office 365. As an Office 365 Home subscriber you are entitled to share your subscription with 4 other persons which are also able to install one Office on their Windows PC or Mac and five installs of Microsoft Office on their Apple iPhone/iPad or Android tablet/smartphone. This for only 99 euro a year! I’m always being a big supporter to legal software (check out about Office 365 in my earlier written article: free does not exist).
Since Microsoft announced OneNote in Office 2003 I’m using it. You are able to maintain very easy your notes. Using the latest version you are able to synchronize with a lot of devices via the cloud.
Photos in the cloud
Google Photos Cloud Service
Since the introduction of Picasa3 it is possible to upload your photos from your computer to the cloud service of Google. Now they promote it even more since they decided to remove Photos from Google+ and make it a independant service : Google Photos Cloud Service
The photos and videos which you will upload (PC, smartphone, tablet, etc…) will get an unlimited space in the cloud. Limitation is the size of the photo, maximum of 16 Megapixels and videos can be FullHD in size which is still 1920×1080. In my opinion more than enough. (at the moment in some years we will demand 4K etc…)
Microsoft announced that on 29 july 2015 Windows 10 will arive to our PCs and tablets. I love Windows 8.1 as it is a great OS. I use it on my computers and tablet. The integration of OneDrive, Office and touch is amazing. People who don’t use a tablet with touch cannot appreciate the new interface. On my own experience I like it a lot and it’s very user friendly. Well done Microsoft. With the coming Windows 10 Microsoft will make it even a better experience. I’m sure!
Office 2016 is announced together with Windows 10 and will have a lot of touch friendly updates. I’m excited. I’m happy to have an Office 365 subscription so we will get the update as part of the subscription. Bring it on Microsoft! 🙂
This saying we all know very well. Would this also count for software? I would say:”What you think?”. Is there any free software in 2014? A good question. A lot is free nowadays, people say. I would say it in a different way : ”It appears free”. Yes, but you don’t have to pay for the free applications like Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp. You have to think a little bit and connect the dots. Why should this companies have a value of billions if their assets were free? There has to be something of value in this. That value is given by you to them. If you as company wants to know how many groceries are active in the city you can contact the chamber of commerce and buy this list. Do you want a list of more personal information you can easily use Facebook. You, as Facebook user, fill in all the information. This information has a value in money, companies have to pay for it. I’m not bothered with this. I think before I post on the internet, what I share and what I don’t. Behaving paranoia is not necessary. What amazes me is that people complain about companies like Facebook and Google but they trash their computer by ignoring all alarm bells. Companies like Facebook, Google or twitter have to be compliant to privacy laws. Here comes the catch. You think that illegal version of Office, or even worse, your antivirus program you downloaded is free? You are wrong. The commercial companies nowadays have to comply to privacy laws. More and more illegal software contain malware, which is wrong software, which puts your system vulnerable. A so called crack has opened a back door. Those criminals gained now access to your data on your device. A lot of people will say but I do have protection on my device installed. I see a lot of people disable UAC (User Access Control) because it’s annoying during working, it’s not, leave it enabled. I have to remind you that you start the installation of this program and neglected all warnings. You are the boss of your smartphone or computer so if you let the program change your settings it’s not the fault of Microsoft or the antivirus program company. Office 365 Premium costs around 99 euros per year. You can install Office on 5 computers (Windows and Apple Mac) and 5 mobile devices. Crashes and data loss does not have a value of 99 euros for you? For companies but also private users I advice since I’m active in ICT to use legal software. Vulnerabilities are released more often the last years. These are becoming more complex and difficult to trace and detect. It’s important to be secure by doing the correct things during the basic usage. Stay away from strange websites and don’t install software from unknown sources. Stability and safety starts with yourself. I advice to follow the steps if you have illegal software on your device:
- Backup your data
- Reset your device to manufacturer setup/settings
- Install the legal Operating System you got with your device. Do you not have it, buy a legal version
- Choose default settings during installation
- Take care you have a legal virusscan program, Windows 8/8.1 has this built-in
- Install other applications, also follow the golden rule, use legal versions
- Make a backup
- Restore your data from the first backup
- Do a full scan
- Stay away from unknown strange emails, websites and programs
- Enjoy a fast and stable device
I hear a lot of people say they don’t have anything important on their device.
- Criminals want your account (Apple ID, webshops, Google Play, etc…) so they can abuse it for shopping
- Criminals are interested in your bank information (o yeah, a lot of people forget, they use internet banking)
- Data which doesn’t seem to be important to you can be interesting to abuse for example identity fraud
A good ICT professional will always promote legal software. UPDATE: I got a lot of reactions via Facebook and Whatsapp. Here are some additions:
- only a virusscanner is not enough. A lot people install a backdoor, malware, etc which not always is being detected by a virussscanner. No, brand or edition is irrelevant. NONE are protecting 100%.
- Using illegal versions is and stays cause number 1, even they come from trustful sources (yeah right, don’t fool yourself).
- aside a virusscanner you should also use an antimalware solution, firewall with IPS feature, rootkit scanner, etc….
- run netstat -b to check out which programs currently using which connection.