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Greg Allen
Devoted to assisting small business to tap the enormous potential of technology and the internet technology to enhance their businesses in very creative ways
Devoted to assisting small business to tap the enormous potential of technology and the internet technology to enhance their businesses in very creative ways


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microsoft buys github-what it means for open source

Microsoft Corp. announced on Monday that it has cut a deal to purchase software development platform GitHub.

The acquisition gives Microsoft a boost toward making itself more valuable to clients and another in-road on bringing services to new audiences. GitHub sports an envious client base of 1.5 million companies using the platform as a software development repository, in addition to 28 million software developers working on 18 million repositories of code.

“Microsoft is a developer-first company, and by joining forces with GitHub we strengthen our commitment to developer freedom, openness and innovation,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO. “We recognize the community responsibility we take on with this agreement and will do our best work to empower every developer to build, innovate and solve the world’s most pressing challenges.”

Microsoft’s elation was mirrored on GitHub’s side of the deal, as well. “The future of software development is bright and I’m thrilled to be joining forces with Microsoft to help make it a reality,” said GitHub’s current CEO, Chris Wanstrath. “Their focus on developers lines up perfectly with our own, and their scale, tools and global cloud will play a huge role in making GitHub even more valuable for developers everywhere.”

GitHub has to be happy about the purchase price, too. Microsoft is paying out $7.5 billion in company stock -- nearly three times what GitHub was last valued for in 2015.

Developers are the new kingmakers
Bill Gates once said that “a great lathe operator commands several times the wage of an average lathe operator, but a great writer of software code is worth 10,000 times the price of an average software writer.”

In buying GitHub, Microsoft looks to be setting itself up to have the best software developers on the market.

In Microsoft’s conference call announcing the deal, company CEO Satya Nadella cited a LinkedIn study showing that software engineering roles in industries outside of tech -- such as retail, healthcare, and energy -- are seeing double-digit growth year-over-year, 25 percent faster than the tech industry by itself.
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Burning Question. GDPR takes effect Tomorrow 5/25/2018. Should I be Worried????

I do not do business with Great Britton or any of the EU countries.

However, of the 53,994 visitors (not hits) to my webpage this month, 1,515 were from GB and EU.

Should I be worried???

What are your thoughts?
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How Websites Work

You’re probably familiar with the concept of a website, but maybe not with how a website actually works. Below, you’ll find an overview of each of the components necessary to view and interact with the website you’re currently on and virtually all other websites on the internet.

What Is a Website?
A website is a collection of individual documents and files made up of text, graphics, colors, links, and formatting that come together to create a complete user experience. Websites are also usually associated with domain names, like, that explain to your computer where all of the files that are necessary to display a website are located.

What Is a Web Browser?
Websites are accessible through web browsers. A web browser is a computer application capable of downloading and displaying the files and components that make up a website. Popular web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari are all able to read and interpret domain names like, request the necessary files to display those websites, and render them on your screen as a website.

At a basic level, all websites are written in a language called HTML, or Hypertext Markup Language. HTML is a universal set of instructions that every web browser is capable of understanding.

Text, images, and formatting are the types of content that can be written in HTML. HTML code is stored within documents with the file type .html that your web browser uses to know precisely how to display a web page. Collectively, the HTML documents and images used to create a website are sometimes referred to as assets.

What Is a Web Server?
Websites and their associated HTML documents and files are stored on computers called web servers. Web servers must be able to receive requests from a user’s web browser and send the necessary files back to them to display a website.

Web servers are not unlike your own personal computer in that they’re able to separate files and folders just like you do at home, except they’re often connected to very fast internet connections and offer large amounts of storage capable of handling hundreds or thousands of simultaneous users. Popular websites like rely on large web servers to handle millions of product descriptions, product images, and purchases every day.

While HTML is the technology used by web browsers to display content to a user, web servers rely on different languages to operate. The languages and technologies used to manage incoming user requests for website files and handle the organization and storage of user data are often called server-side languages.

Combining Everything
When you type a domain name into your web browser, your browser sends a request to a web server where the website’s files are located. Your browser downloads these files, usually HTML documents and accompanying images or videos, and renders them on your screen. HTML and other languages used to display the data by your web browser are typically referred to as front-end technologies in the web-development space because of their user-facing tendencies.

As you enter things like credit card information or submit a form on a site, the data you send back and forth to the web server is managed by server-side languages, sometimes referred to as back-end technologies. These languages make the organizing of databases easier, as well as manage user requests for new web pages as they navigate a site
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DSL vs Cable vs Satellite vs T1 Which is best?

DSL vs Cable vs Satellite vs T1 Which is best?
The challenge of DSL vs Cable vs satellite Internet access is primarily in the residential and telecommuter markets. Within the past few years, Internet access via a cable modem has become available in many residential areas. When configured properly and under optimal conditions, cable has the capacity to transmit data twice the speed of DSL, and in some locations, even faster. Satellite allows you to escape the confines of the cable/wire but at much lower speeds and much higher price. Satellite may not work at all in the rain.

Cable Broadband Internet
Cable Internet access has drastically improved over the years and has become a very reliable means of surfing the Internet. One of the main benefits of a cable broadband connection is that fiber optics can handle a very large amount of bandwidth which translates into very fast access potential, perhaps double DSL speed. Also performance of cable Internet. does not depend on distance from the provider's network exchange or offices like it does with DSL. Cable Internet is perfect for streaming audio/video, videoconferencing, on-line gaming, application programs, telephone calling and other high-bandwidth services.

There can be some limitations for residential Cable services however. Cable Internet. is not a dedicated service to your home and in most cases, is provided through a shared network by your cable TV provider. When too many users in a neighborhood try to share the same cable, performance speeds can be reduced 50% or more as users compete for available bandwidth. Also there may be a slight security risks which can make users more vulnerable to data interception, unauthorized monitoring or hacking from an extreme hacker in the neighborhood since it is a shared line*.

When buying Cable Internet, check the upload and download speed. Many cable companies will throttle back the upload speed by as much as 75%. Also, If you purchase Cable Internet. at a certain speed, make sure your Cable Modem will operate at that speed. Otherwise, you may be paying for speed that you cannot use.

DSL (ADSL) Broadband Internet
DSL (AKA Digital Subscriber Line or ADSL- Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line), is a digital Internet. connection that uses your existing copper telephone wiring to deliver high-speed data services to homes and businesses (2-wire). DSL provides a dedicated line to each Internet. user and is an \"always on\" high-speed connection. DSL not only provides high-speed access to the Internet, but it can also do streaming audio/video, videoconferencing, on-line gaming, application programs, telephone calling and other high-bandwidth services (same as cable modem). DSL generally connects to your PC via a DSL modem and it does not interfere with your telephone service.

There can be some limitations for DSL services as well... The maximum speed of DSL is determined by the distance between the customer's location and the Central Office (CO). Unlike cable Internet. which is not hindered by distance, DSL speeds tend to be slower the further away from the central office you are. It is extremely rare, but DSL can be hacked where the wire leaves the house and at the main connection boxes * Also, like Cable, DSL carriers tend to throttle the upload speed by as much as 75%.

Satellite Internet
Sustained download speeds typically have a maximum of 500k (roughly 1/6 of DSL and 1/10th of cable modem potential). Whilst Satellite carriers boast of upload and download speeds of 10 gigs or better, actual sustained performance has proven to be much much lower. Our &!@#$ service advertised 10 gigs download and 1 gig upload speed. Our actual speed averages 800k download and about 128k upload.

The biggest pit fall of satellite connections is that they often have \"lag-time\" when requesting information to and from the satellite. As a result, normal browsing may seem sluggish, but large file downloads are generally much improved over traditional Dial-up connections. Often the upload transmissions on satellite connections run over a traditional dial-up modem at 56k baud or less.

Satellite is not fast enough for most streaming audio/video, videoconferencing, on-line gaming, application programs, telephone calling and other high-bandwidth services.

And on a cloudy or rainy day - you may have no Internet. access at all.

Another issue is the fact that bandwidth is limited or purchased in batches. When you exceed your bandwidth allotment, you might be shocked when you receive your bill.

Satellite connections require the installation of a dish and satellite transceiver at the user's location which may be purchased outright or leased. The dish then sends and receives data with an orbiting satellite, the distance of the transmission and weather can negatively affect performance (forget satellite Internet. in the rain).

Satellite Internet. does really shine in two areas:
1. Rural areas beyond the reach of the cable/wire
2. In a motorhome, airplane or such vehicle where satellite can provide Internet. access any place, anytime when you have line-of-site to the satellite (even whilst on the move). (except when it rains).

Being a point to point technology, satellite connections are less exposed than cable access.

Dedicated T1 Internet Service
T1s are large pipes used to transport digital voice and data signals from a business location to the Internet. or dedicated destination. This service can handle a great deal of bandwidth, both voice and data, and has 24 fixed channels to send information over. Unlike Cable, DSL, and Satellite, T1 bandwidth is guaranteed to remain constant.

Businesses can now lease a full T1 that will provide 1.54 Gigs of connectivity (guaranteed upload and download speed) with the flexibility to assign the available channels to voice or data. This is guaranteed throughput that can support up to 50 users comfortably, with each user having their own bandwidth so as not to slow down other users.

From a pricing standpoint the T1 used to be a great deal more expensive than DSL. Now, companies like Earthlink, Windstream, and Spirit are offering 4 telephone lines and a T1 for about $300.00 per month. With the guaranteed bandwidth and associated features, the service is well worth the price.

* Please note: In all cases, whether you choose DSL, Cable, T1, or Satellite Internet., it would be wise to use some type of a firewall protection

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Today's Windows Update is just a productivity patch

Microsoft has announced that it will be rolling out its April 2018 Update for its Windows operating system worldwide on Monday.

Users will be able to download the upgrade for the for free on April 30 by using the Windows Update tool; those who delay installation will receive notifications for the patch starting on May 8.

Aaron Woodman, general manager of Microsoft’s Windows product, tells TechCrunch that the update will add a few new features that should help users be more productive and manage their time wisely.

“When you think about the release, there is a theme being pulled through,” he said in an interview. “How do we help customers really get things complete and save time and be more efficient on Windows than on any other operating system?”

Keeping users productive
The answer to that question comes in the form of a couple of new features called Timeline and Focus Assist.

Timeline allows users to track their most recent activity with the files that they open and work on across all of their devices. The feature allows consumers to sync their progress on any given document or file to mitigate any problems of figuring out where they last left off. A search function also allows users to filter their files, so they can find what they’re looking for quickly.

While Timeline should help consumers track their progress and easily access files, Focus Assist basically acts as a mute button for notifications. Users can set the feature to automatically mute notifications during a certain time of day, or it can be turned on whenever a user needs to bear down and focus on their work.

Users can choose exactly which types of notifications are muted within the feature, so there’s no need to worry if you’re awaiting an important call or email when you’re trying to be productive. Users will receive all of their notifications promptly after turning the feature off.
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Asking five "why" questions may not be enough

I'm a parado and five phase kind of buy. And I've used "Tap Root". But you still need the 5-Whys!

Even though the 5-Whys tool is well known, it’s application varies widely. There are devout 5-Whys users who believe the fifth Why question yields the root cause of the problem, while others think 5-Whys is useless and should never be used. These polarized views are both off the mark. Each is confusing how cause-and-effect applies to analyzing problems.

I’m going to address the criticisms listed on the 5-Whys Wikipedia web page. You can review the complete page here yourself here. It contains an explanation of 5-Whys, an example 5-Whys using a car alternator belt, the history of 5-Whys, rules for applying it and then the criticisms. There are five criticisms listed as bullets. I have summarized them below. If you’d like to see the alternator belt example built into 5-Why, 10-Why, and 15-Why Cause Maps watch the following video and download the PDF below it to follow along.

Summary of 5-Whys Criticisms:
Stopping at symptoms.
Limited by the investigator's knowledge.
Not asking the right Why questions.
Not repeatable - Different people build different 5 Whys.
Tendency to isolate a single root cause
Here are each of the criticisms as listed on the Wikipedia page and my explanation of how each reveals the confusion about something as simple as cause-and-effect.

1. Tendency for investigators to stop at symptoms rather than going onto lower level causes
Premise of criticism: Asking five "why" questions may not be enough.

Correct. Organizations typically stop investigations too early, so having a predefined endpoint of five Why questions is not ideal. But asking five Why questions is a great way to start. It’s a valid question and it’s simple. Smaller problems may stay in the range of three to five or even seven Why questions, but bigger problems will require more detail - which is going to be more Why questions. There is no reason to restrict the analysis of your problems to just five causes. In our Cause Mapping method, a 5-Why as just a phase of an investigation. It begins with a 1-Why, then goes through 5, then 6 and if needed it goes to 15, 25 or more depending on the issue. Keep it simple. Start with a few Why questions then expand as needed.

2. Inability to go beyond the investigator's current knowledge - cannot find causes that they do not already know
Premise of the criticism: The investigator’s knowledge is crucial to the investigation.

The belief that an investigation is limited by the knowledge of one person is not reality. An investigation needs to be a thorough explanation of why something happened, but those details are not limited to the investigator. Detail is provided by people who know. Experts on a topic will need to participate in the investigation to explain cause-and-effect. Investigating a blade failure on an aircraft engine, requires experts on blades and engines. If there are any unknowns during the investigation, additional details will need to be collected. This is a normal part of evidence collection – it’s an iterative process. This systematic, structured approach is what doctors, auto mechanics and technicians do every day.

3. Lack of support to help the investigator ask the right "why" questions
Premise of the criticism: Why questions are subjective.

There isn’t not a technique to ask Why questions. There is an understanding of basic of cause-and-effect. Once people understand the basics of cause-and-effect, the misplaced emphasis on the questioning technique and the facilitator changes. The thorough explanation of an issue is a function of capturing accurate and complete cause-and-effect relationships, not a special approach to questions. Without an understand of basic cause-and-effect it’s clear why people would use terms like the “right Why questions.” They believe there is a special way of determining why something happened. The focus should be on objective facts, not subjective questions. How and why a problem happened occurred before the investigator ever got involved.

4. Results are not repeatable - different people using 5 Whys come up with different causes for the same problem
Premise of the criticism: 5-Why is not scientific because it’s not repeatable.

When different people build different 5-Whys for the same problem some believe that is the evidence that that 5-Whys is not scientific. That criticism reveals the level of confusion regarding the simple principle of cause-and-effect. It’s normal and expected for three different people to build three different 5-Whys. As long as each 5-Why Cause Map is accurate, they can be combined into one 10-Why Cause Map with three different causal paths. The three 5-Whys are subsets of the 10-Why. Each person can look at the 10-Why Cause Map and say, “without the cause I pointed out, this incident would never have happened.” There is no contraction in their statements. These are simple lessons of cause-and-effect that change the way detail is communicated. And as result, the way those organizations analyze, document, and prevent problems suffers. It is OK that different people build different 5-Whys.

5. Tendency to isolate a single root cause, whereas each question could elicit many different root causes
Premise of the criticism: There may be more than one root cause.

This brings up a good question. What is a root cause? Most companies define a root cause as a special type of cause. Most people say that if the root cause is controlled the problem will be eliminated. And some groups may identify more than one root cause. An incident may have multiple root causes. This again seems like such a clean and consistent way to discuss problems. But there’s an issue with the logic. Incidents consist of multiple parts – 2, 5, 10, 15 or 30. To find the best solutions it’s important to break a problem down into parts. Buy how many parts. The premise of this criticism of 5-Whys is that root causes are special. They are different than contributing factors somehow. How are they different?

That’s my question for you to leave in the comments section. Is there is difference between a root cause and a contributing factor? What are the differences? Can you provide an example of how they are different? Does your company spend time trying to differentiate between root causes and contributing factors?

5-Whys is fundamentally based on cause-and-effect. 5-Whys is not a complete method, it’s simply a phase of an investigation. On big issues you’ll quickly pass through 5-Whys on your way from 4 to 6 and more. You’ll notice that groups who are anti-cause-and-effect will also be anti-5-Why. There is a big opportunity. Management wants problems solved. Any move in the direction of a systematic, clearer and simpler is good. You should challenge anything that appears to be alternative to cause-and-effect. Check your assumptions and, most of all, field test this material
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Android apps collect data on children

A new study by the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium (PETS) has uncovered an alarming statistic: a majority of the most popular and free children’s Android apps collect private data in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

Out of nearly 6,000 apps that it analyzed, the group said that over 1,100 collected personally identifiable information (PII). Additionally, nearly 3,500 shared identification information with advertisers, and roughly 2,300 collected other types of data.

The researchers say the data these apps collect runs the gamut from phone numbers and e-mail addresses to geolocation information. Of these, geolocation data may present the biggest concern because it not only pinpoints where someone lives; it also can make way for interpretations about socioeconomic classes, every day habits, health conditions, and other information -- data that could have life-long implications for children.

Follow the money
There’s a domino effect in all of this, as well. According to the study, the data collected has cookie crumbs trailing back to mobile marketers and app developers who make their money off the data they collect. The five most popular data destinations were mobile app monetization platforms: (85 apps), (84 apps), (80 apps), (80 apps), and (76 apps).

“Although we cannot know the true number of children’s apps in the Play Store, we believe that our results are representative, given that the apps that we examined represent the most popular free ones,” PETS said in a statement.

With the number of apps released each year, one can only imagine how daunting a task it would be to police every corner of every app’s code -- even for a company like Google.

“While child-directed apps may use some Google services, developers are responsible for using these services according to their obligations under the law,” Google stated in a directive to app developers. “Please review the FTC’s guidance on COPPA and consult with your own legal counsel.”

It was only last week when Google’s place in a child’s data food chain came into question. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate YouTube for violating COPPA. Specifically, the organization alleged that YouTube illegally collects data about underage viewers, then leverages that data to advertise to that demographic.

What apps are the biggest culprits?
One particularly flagrant example, according to the study, is app developer TinyLab. PETS observed that 81 of the company’s 82 apps shared GPS coordinates with advertisers. Especially popular apps included:

Fun Kid Racing (10-50 million installations)

Motocross Kids–Winter Sports (5-10 million installations)

Fun Kid Racing–Motocross (10-50 million installations)

PETS’ deep dive also came up with a determination that human-readable network names (SSIDs) also allow some inferences about users’ locations, especially when collected over time and across locations. PETS found 148 apps engaging in this behavior, including Disney’s “Where’s My Water? Free” app (100–500 million installations).

If this raises concerns...
So-called “free” apps have to make money somewhere, and it’s usually on the backs of the data it collects and spins into advertising revenue.

Short of a parent poring over the fine print in an app’s terms of service and making a conscious decision based on what they find, it’s a smart idea to ask the app’s developer exactly what information it collects and repurposes.

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How To Revive A Wet Cell Phone

It was laundry day and my cell phone was in my jogging suit pocket. When I dressed for the day, the jogging suit went into the dirty cloths, then into the washing machine.

Five minutes later, "Where's My Phone??? Oh No! I didn't!!!"

Yes I did! The washer tub was full and the machine was beginning to agitate... I stopped the machine, found my totally soaked jogging suit, and pulled my cell phone out of the pocket, just dripping away.

Talk about a sick feeling. The screen was lit but the touch screen would not respond. I'm doomed! What if my wife needs me and can't text me? What if my daughter gets sick and the school can't call me? What if I miss an emergency call from a customer? It could be days....

Get a grip Greg!. Internet if full of "How To's". Certainly I could find something to make my cell phone work again.

So I did a Google search for fixing wet cell phones. The first fifty or so search listings talked about placing the cell phone in rice for anywhere from 2 to 48 hours. Sounds simple. Put the phone in rice and wait!.

But Wait! The posts looked odd to me. First of all, most of the posts were exactly the same, like, I got the feeling, that most of them had never really tried it themselves, that they just reposted somebody elses post. Secondly, most of the sites did not appear to be "credible sources". What does a "dog sitter" know about wet cell phones anyway???

I kept searching, and there it was. It was a post from a person that runs a Cellular Kiosk at the Mall, and this article, coming from a credible source, made sense.

Here are the listed steps:

1. Open up the cell phone as much as possible. Remove covers, batteries, sim cards, anything that will allow you to gain access to the inside of the phone.

On my phone, all I could remove was the sim card and holder. The phone itself is sealed with glue, and most of the item inside requires special "Chinese tools" to loosen screws. Many of the new cell phones are made this way.

i Phone requires a “pentalobe” screwdriver" which can be purchased on eBay or your local hardware store.

Don’t worry about voiding your warranty by opening the device. The warranty ended the moment water entered your phone and tripped the water damage indicator.

2. Focus on blowing, or vacuuming as much water out of the phone as you can. I have a canister vacuum cleaner that has a "reverse" on it which allows it to blow warm air. I forced the air stream through each opening on the phone for fifteen minutes. I started with the sim slot (largest opening), then to the power jack, and finally the headphone jack. Finally, for good measure, I blew air into the sim slot again.

3. Now for the rice. Wait a minute! Is rice the best for drying a cell phone? I don't have any rice!!!!

According to, kitty litter and oatmeal works far better then uncooked rice. So I used oatmeal, four cups for two hours. I set the phone in the middle of the oatmeal, and placed them near an air conditioning vent.

The kitty litter, oatmeal, rice is only useful for removing the last little bit of remaining moisture after vacuuming and/or blowing the phone out.

The chances of saving your phone may be 50/50 at best. You could mess things up taking it apart and putting it back together, so no guarantees in any way shape or form from me or my company. If you try this, you are on your own.

If you succeed in reviving your phone, then congratulations. But please keep in mind, when the metal within your phone comes into contact with water and oxygen, this may cause rust and corrosion over time. I would strongly suggest that you start looking for your next cell phone and perform a thorough backup of all of your data.

But in my case, EUREKA! It Worked! My phone came back to life and has has worked perfectly the last three days. AND, I'm keeping better track of my phone when I change too! lol
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Cyberattack on gas pipelines highlights vulnerability

Several gas pipeline operators were forced to shut down computer communications with their customers over the last week after their systems were compromised by cybercriminals.

The attack appeared to have targeted Latitude Technologies, a unit of Energy Services Group, which handles the critical computer communications of gas storage facilities, as well as sales contracts and shipment scheduling.

"We do not believe any customer data was compromised," Latitude Technologies said in message to customers.. "We are investigating the re-establishment of this data."

Ripe target
The cyberattack fueled fear of more hostile activity to come as it highlighted just how vulnerable all gas pipelines are to cyberattack.

Cybersecurity experts say the nation’s infrastructure of oil, gas, and chemical pipelines -- which spreads across nearly 2.5 million miles of America -- is low-hanging fruit for hackers. If control systems are infiltrated by a third-party with malicious intent, the consequences would likely go beyond disrupted deliveries.

Andrew R. Lee, a cybersecurity expert at the law firm Jones Walker in New Orleans, told the New York Times the risks include “explosions, spills, or fires, which easily will threaten human life, property and the environment.”

Importance of adequate cyber-security defenses
Cybersecurity experts say the most recent attacks on gas pipelines underscore the importance of third-party risk management -- especially since this isn’t the first time U.S. pipelines have been targeted.

In 2012, a federal cyber response team said that it had identified a number of “cyber intrusions” targeting natural gas pipeline sector companies.

“There is a good reason that hackers have been attacking weak links in targets’ digital ecosystems for years: it’s often the easiest path to accessing data or distributing malicious content,” said Fred Kneip, CEO of CyberGRX.

“It doesn’t matter how well an organization protects its own perimeter if third parties with weak security controls create vulnerabilities that can be easily exploited. While even the most thorough risk assessment can’t guarantee there’s no malware inside a staging target’s network, it can uncover red flags pointing to weak security controls that leave it vulnerable.”
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The More You Give To Life, the more you gain from life. The more you take from life, the more you have to lose!

Have a good day!
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