Communication


Free WiFiBy a show of hands, how many of you have you ever visited a Starbucks, Peets, McDonalds, hotel, library, an airport or some other location with free WiFi? Duh, of course you have!

Did you see anyone using a notebook computer  in the location?  Again, of course you have!

While using the free WiFi have you accessed the Internet, sent email or completed a financial transaction?  And for the third time, the answer is, well, of course!

No, this not a quiz to see how many inane questions I can ask, it is simply a
demonstration of the lack of awareness most people display while using their WWW devices in public places.

Many public WiFi networks are not secure, which means your information is not secure when you send to, or receive information from, the world wide web.  You may also like to consider that not everyone using their mobile device in your proximity is doing so for legitimate reasons.  The businessman, student, delivery guy or traveler seated at the next table may have  nefarious intent and you may be the next victim.

My goal in writing this post is not to scare you into NOT using your devices when out and about.  I know that won’t work (it doesn’t for me), but I would like you to consider the following precautions before you next use a public WiFi and agree to the “Terms and Conditions” which you haven’t even read!

1. Assume all WiFi networks are unsecured, until proven otherwise!
2. When you are on the road, ensure you control which networks your device accesses.  That is, set your phone or computer to manually select a network. For example, in the iPhone “Settings” select OFF for “Ask to Join Networks”.  This causes the phone to connect to known networks only.  You will have to manually select an unknown network.
3. Ensure the URL for the WiFi network is correct.  If you have any doubts speak to an employee or person in authority to determine the correct address.
4.  Avoid using unsecured hot spots if you can, which you probably won’t be able to.  In this instance, limit your Internet interaction to tasks which do not require passwords, AND only use a device that has sensitive information secured.  On the iPhone there a number of excellent apps for this purpose. I particularly like LockBox Pro.
5. If you are using a secured network, remember you must still only use encrypted sites (https) to send confidential, financial and sensitive information.
6. If you must transmit private information while remote from home or office, install encryption software on your computer.
7. Make sure your passwords are secure and difficult to compromise, i.e. include letters (upper and lower case), numbers and symbols.  Avoid words you can find in the dictionary, and NEVER use your name, your pet’s name or “password”.  Furthermore, don’t use the same password for all applications.

If you absolutely cannot resist  using your web enabled devices on the fly, opt for your smart phone over the computer.  They apparently pose a much greater challenge for would  be cyber snoops and  thieves.  Finally, to paraphrase Woody Allen’s immortal words, “It’s not paranoia if they are actually out to get you.”

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Outback Solutions We Design - Sacramento, CAThe elements of credibility behind the websites that pay for themselves.

Outback Solutions® employs the Stanford University guidelines when creating and rebuilding websites.

Outback Solutions Make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information on your site.

Outback Solutions Show that there’s a real organization behind your site

Outback Solutions Highlight the expertise in your organization and in the content and services you provide

Outback Solutions Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site

Outback Solutions Make it easy to contact you

Outback Solutions Design your site so it looks professional

Outback Solutions Make your site easy to use and useful

Outback Solutions Update your site’s content often

Outback Solutions Use restraint with any promotional content (e.g. ads, offers)

Outback Solutions Avoid errors, no matter how small they seem.

In addition, Outback Solutions‘® standard operating procedures call for websites to:

Outback Solutions have a unique domain name (e.g. outbacksolutions.com)

Outback Solutions be workable across a range of browsers and operating systems

Outback Solutions offer free, accurate and valuable information

Outback Solutions prominently display contact information including phone, fax, email and address on every page

Outback Solutions insure every page has a single click return to the site homepage

Contact Us. Please call us at (916) 489-9302.  Our phones are answered by real, knowledgeable people Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm. You may also send us email or click here to complete our online information request.

Outback Solutions Web Design and ServicesAt Outback Solutions® we set ourselves goals we know we can’t yet reach, because we know that by stretching to meet them we can go farther than we can see. We use the ten truths below to ensure we are still on track!

1. What Google® wants Google® gets. The Times of London described Google® as the most influential company in history.  It is certainly the most popular website and search engine in the world.  Outback Solutions® sites are designed and coded to be search engine friendly, with particular emphasis on Google.

2. Serving our clients is serving ourselves. We know what you do is important, and we know your web presence is a vital part of the plan.  Outback Solutions® is focused on providing the best user experience possible. We want to be the first name you think of when any question involving the Internet arises.

3. Simple beauty is simply beautiful. Simplicity, functionality and beauty are the hallmarks of Outback Solutions®.

4. Fast is better than slow. We know your time is valuable, so when you’re seeking a solution, a change or simply advice you want it right away.  We have a dedicated team responsible for the development and maintenance of sites.  Furthermore, our phones are answered by real, knowledgeable people Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm.

5. Content is king (or queen if you prefer). Appropriate, original content is the single most important feature of an effective web presence if you want to be found online.

6. Change Happens. We know things change.  Outback Solutions® has a team that maintains our clients’ investments.  Our goal is to affect changes within 24 hours of receipt. We usually beat that by 22 hours!

7. Listening and Hearing Matters. Outback Solutions® practices the platinum rule, “treat others the way they want to be treated”.  We know the client owns the project, and although we will offer advice, our aim is to provide the outcome the client wants.

8. Client Profitability Matters. We work primarily with business people, in both for profit and nonprofit entities.  We don’t see what we do as the final product.  It is a service or a platform that enables our clients to achieve their goals.

9. There’s always more information out there. With new information comes the need to update, refresh and redesign your web presence.  We provide ongoing maintenance, telephone support and overall Internet advice.

10.  Mistakes Happen…and when they do, Outback Solutions® responds!

gogo Inflight InternetEarlier this week my family I caught one of the last flights out of Dallas, TX before a massive winter storm closed the airport and crippled many eastern and southern states.  We had just spent four days in southern Indiana for the funeral of Eva’s mom.  AA Flight 1951 to Sacramento was the bumpiest ride I have experienced on a commercial airliner (weather related, not pilot or aircraft induced). It turned out to be a memorable flight, and not just because of the rough ride.  It was also my first experience using the Internet at 30,000ft!

American Airlines is one of a number carriers that now offers passengers inflight Wi-Fi. The service is called “gogo Inflight Internet”, and although it is not free, it is good value. During the flight I was able to:
a. surf the web,
b. send email,
c. post a Facebook status,
d. FTP updates for several Ace Hardware websites, and
e. even use “Go To My PC” to remotely access my office computer in Sacramento, CA.

In addition, I used both my laptop and iPhone while in flight!

It’s a simple three step process to get online with gogo:
1. Turn on laptop, pad or smart phone Wi-Fi.
2. Select the “gogoinflight” connection.
3. Launch the browser and sign up for gogo Inflight service.
There is a card in each seat pocket with specific instructions for iPhone and Blackberry.

As I said, the service is not free, but the prices are quite reasonable considering there is no alternative at 30,000ft. There are even several options available:
1. Flight Pass. $12.95 for an individual flight.
2. 24 Hour Pass. $11.00.
3. 6 Pack. $49.95 for a six flight bundle.
4. Unlimited. $34.95 per month automatically renewed, cancel anytime.

The bottom line for me was that for the price of a few Starbucks lattes (which I could not even buy in rural southern Indiana) I was able to complete a number of pieces of work which otherwise would have required me to work late after the flight or rise early the next day.  Good value indeed!

For more information visit goginflight.com

Watch this great video from Excentric to see how the Web might tell the Nativity story if it happened today!  It’s the original Christmas story told through various online mediums including; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, Google Maps, GMail, Foursquare and Amazon.

Times may change, but the feeling remains the same.  Happy Digital Christmas!


Happy Holidays from Outback SolutionsHappy Holidays from Outback Solutions!
As you know everything is faster on the web, so here are the “Five Days of Business” (to the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas). Brought to you by Outback Solutions.  Remember us “For the best exposure you can get, without getting arrested!”

“The Five Days of Business”

On the first day of Business, my web guy gave to me;
A killer name on Go-o Daddy.

On the second day of Business, my web guy gave to me;
A beaut’ we-ebsite;
And a killer name on Go-o Daddy.

On the third day of business, my web guy gave to me;
Great SEO,
A beaut’ we-ebsite,
And a killer name on Go-o Daddy.

On the fourth day of Business, my web guy gave to me;
Top Google rank,
Great SEO,
A beaut’ we-ebsite,
And a killer name on Go-o Daddy.

On the fifth day of Business, my web guy gave to me,
Five golden telephone rings;
To-op Google rank,
Great SEO,
A beau-ut’ we-ebsite,
And a killer name on Go-o Daddy!

Outback Solutions - A Google Favorite PlaceQR (Quick Response) Codes are an excellent item to add to social media, and hard copy advertising materials including business cards, magazines, billboards, vehicles, shop window displays (see the graphic to the right) and flyers as a way to send traffic to your website, blog, Facebook page or any other location on the web.  They may also be used for text messages and phone numbers.

The QR code is a matrix barcode,  which consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background.  Each is unique to a specific address, location or message.  In order to read a QR code you need a QR scanner.  Many smart phones have QR code reader applications available to download. If you have an iPhone, I recommend downloading the app called “QR Code Reader”.

Creating a QR Code. There are a number of websites that will generate QR Codes without charge.  The site I like is KAYWA QR Code.  It provides a simple, easy to use interface which provides for the creation of QR codes for URL, phone numbers and texts.

I recommend you start by creating a QR code for your website and post it on
your Facebook page or blog, just like to one for Outback solutions’ website below.
Outback Solutions'QR Code

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