Dave Masterson's thoughts on technology happenings, personal experiences, travels, work, fun, etc.


Not a Resolution! A Career Upgrade for IT Independents...

What does the new year hold for you - fitness or dietary goals, perhaps new financial heights? More time with friends or family, or maybe you'll buy that long sought after "car of desire." Could it be time for that trip out west or overseas?

Regardless of what the dream entails, this time of year is when many commit themselves to moves that lead to a better life. For technology-minded professionals, this could mean making that transition to managing your own IT business.

Nerds On Site is here in Florida, from the Keys throughout the Treasure Coast, Miami, Ft Lauderdale and Palm Beach County. We represent a smooth transition to business ownership for technology lovers. No surprise, franchising has dominated every industry it has entered, from food to auto repair, business services to health and fitness.

The most successful franchises have a well-proven system and the resources to help self motivated individuals follow a business plan. 

With over 20 years experience, Nerds On Site has a terrific plan for owning your own IT business. We service small and medium businesses and all of their tech needs. If you've dabbled with helping residential and business customers yourself, imagine coupling your skills with these Nerds On Site franchise features:

  • A Professional Brand to represent
  • Proven Marketing materials and strategies
  • Invoicing and credit card merchant services
  • A team of several hundred professionals to lean on for questions and great advice (NOT just Google!)
  • A robust Knowledge Base and Wiki of best practices
  • Advantageous and profitable supplier relations - economies of scale!
  • Ongoing Training and Support
  • NO earnings ceiling

If you or someone you know is ripe to make the jump to a business, January the first should not be the reason. A solid and legitimate opportunity is the reason, if the timing is right for that individual. Email me with any questions, I am local to South Florida and can easily explain our company's plans for the area.


And Happy 2017!






Device Security and Ransomware

I just finished a webinar with our team and the experts from Webroot. There are so many new threats designed to cripple your data, the newest trend involving trojan viruses being labeled "ransomware."

It is important to realize that these new variants can attack both Windows PCs and Apple OSX machines.

Ransomware loads on your device usually as a result of "tricking" you into downloading a malicious file. These can come in emails disguised as updates for Adobe Flash or other popular software. Some are email attachments that look like resumes or tax documents, two things that would stir curiosity and entice a user to progress to opening those files. Once infected, ransomware rapidly encrypts most known file types on your machine. Then the agent informs you that you have become a victim. Your only recourse is to pay a "ransom" online using what's called "dark web-commerce currency" like Bitcoin. I am saddened to inform you that even after paying the ransom, some user files are never restored to normal. It's a dangerous position to be in as a result of one errant click of the mouse.

The best defense against these threats includes an aggressive backup strategy, Webroot Antivirus and a firewall that strictly controls Internet access.

  • The backups help if you do become infected. The backups should be "air gapped," meaning they are not accessible from your computer through a mapped network drive or always-attached removable storage device. Carbonite works, Apple Time Machine can work but is quickly being targeted by the hackers for infection along with your files.
  • Webroot is a best-in-class threat detection software. It protects you against viruses, malware, spyware and potentially unwanted applications or PUAs. The data fueling Webroot's awesomeness lies on the INternet, not locally on your harddrive. This advantage means no missed updates and no clogging of your system's resources due to years worth of antivirus signatures. That approach is so 2014!
  • A firewall that really limits what you can and cannot do online. NetBender, also known as DNS Thingy can offer a unique method of protection against ransomware. This system operates off of a "whitelist" (Previously approved as safe) lcollection of websites. It will not allow advertisements to load or you to visit sites not on your "whitelist" to be visited. Ransomware has to communicate with secret servers (setup by hackers) to do it's damage and attempt to collect your money. Because this nifty device never approves that lethal relationship, the ransomware cannot fully deploy on your device.

At Nerds On Site, our relationships with top tier security firms such as Webroot keep us very much at the forefront of dangerous issues such as ransomware. Call us at 877-696-3737 for information on how we can keep your data and computing environment safe from these rapidly emerging threats. As we say in many of our marketing pieces, "Leave the Nerdy Work to Us!"

For more info, use these links...






Nerds On Site

Here it is! The launch of a new franchise in the US. Don't be confused, this is not a new company, Nerds On Site has been successful for over 20 years in nine other countries. It's the South Florida debut of this reputable brand that's so exciting!

As the Area Development Manager, my role is twofold. I am building a team of professionals, entrepreneurs and technology lovers that will operate their own businesses under the successful model of the franchisor, Nerds On Site. I'm also spreading the good word about what Nerds On Site can do to help small and medium-sized businesses with their technology needs. We also serve residential customers. So I get to live the process of helping clients while my region grows with tech professionals.

I have a great feeling about this company and the potential in our area. Palm Beach County is a growing place to live and work, there are plenty of businesses and over a million people living here. Every business has a dependency on technology, from computer design, sales, customer loyalty, Internet presence, you name it. We help our clients with any and all of their technology needs. We don't have favorite computer types or operating systems, we do it all! How is this possible? We leverage the combined experience of hundreds of "entrepreNerds" or Nerds worldwide to build common sense solutions for our clients. Then we wrap those solutions in what I'd call, "Ritz Carlton-like" customer service experiences. Our company is proud to have serviced over 100,000 clients in their history. The satisfaction rating today of all clients served stands at above 96%. That's beyond impressive. This system works!

The NerdMobile is our "office." We travel to where the client needs us and perform our service in their office or home. This is a wonderful convenience when compared to the reality of dragging a computer to a retail location and wondering when you'll get it back. We also adhere to a philosophy known as Solution Pricing. We find customers want to know what they will be paying for a particular solution BEFORE you begin working for them. This is different from most IT companies that charge hourly rates. We find our approach to be much more appealing and fair to the consumer. There are many different aspects of our business model that stray from the norm to deliver a great experience for the client. We like to say, "We don't service computers, we serve people that use computers." Interesting, right?

As this rolls forward, our area will be seeing more red NerdMobiles out on our roads. Our clients will become more familiar with a new trusted level of technology assistance. This concept has been well-honed by the mother company, based in London, ONT., Canada. My excitement is hard to dismiss. There are two areas of expertise I've been involved with for over 25 years - technology and business building through franchising. Now I get to use these skills to help others make special things happen right here in Palm Beach, USA!




Pay Amazon with PayPal?

Yes you can! Since Amazon will not (yet) accept PayPal funds, you have to add an easy step in the middle to make this work...

  • Select the item you wish to purchase on Amazon. Put in Cart
  • Go to Amazon checkout... wait at this page.
  • Open another browser window.
  • Go to Gyft.com or use Gyft app.Purchase an Amazon Gift Card. (I did and got $5 off since it was my first Gyft order)
  • Get the Amazon card's redemption code in the email you provided Gyft.comPay as normal at Amazon but use newly-issued redemption code 

This worked very quickly and easily tonight! I have leapt over a limitation that PayPal won't work on Amazon. I believe it will expand to include a direct payment to Amazon through PayPal, but I will not when this is happening!

So one MacBook Pro battery for my son away at college is heading his way!


Apple Watch +3 Months

My Apple Watch on the charge cableI'd say 90 days of constant use would be a good measure of the new Apple Watch. It was a great birthday gift surprise from my girlfriend and I hopped right into the habit of using it. Most days I would wear it out and around at work appointments and for different workouts. This is what I found...

  • The battery lasts a full day, and it charges quickly. The USB cable it came with magnetically attaches to the watch. If I wanted to recharge and "top off" in the middle of a day, it did so very rapidly. When I was in "workout" mode, it definitely used battery power more aggressively.
  • I never used it in a pool, but it has been on some very sweaty workouts of riding or running. Accuracy is claimed to be better when you carry the iPhone also, which I don't often do. Using the GPS feature in the Apple Watch alone yields a generous interpretation of distance. I'd run a mile, the watch would say I went 1.1 miles. Oh well, I'm not a stickler for exact mileage or times. 
  • I really use the haptic (tapping sensation on your wrist) features with notifications. When I receive texts, GMail, Slack or WeatherChannel alerts, I glance down at my wrist and see what's happening. IT works for incoming calls, a few times I took the call or listened to a voicemail on the watch. It's not loud, but it works to my satisfaction. Texting and voice capture (Is Siri in there, too?) works well on the device. When I put my car's bluetooth on and paired with my watch, the Siri connection was garbled and it messed up easy statements. I don't believe that's a function of the watch, that's probably the VW Beetle from 2012 interacting with my iPhone 6.
  • I do change the watch faces quite often - I use the "COLOR" watch to match my clothing. I usually do this as a demo for someone that hasn't seen an Apple Watch. Soon, I believe in Fall, we will be able to incorporate our photos into a watch face. That will be cool!
  • I have used it as an alarm clock - VERY NICE! When I want to wake up early on a Saturday am and it's a late sleep-in for my girlfriend, I wear Apple Watch and it does its thing nicely. I wake up and leave the bed while she gets to sleep, no alarm or sound of an iPhone skipping around on a nightstand! This is another feature expected to improve and operate independently of the iPhone in WatchOS 2. 
  • I do find myself checking my heart rate every once in awhile, that's a neat feature.
  • I loaded Shazam! music capture app, I've only caught a few songs with the Watch app, but it does work.
  • I would be interested in trying a metal band, the method by which you swap bands is very simple. Apple has a few, but I'll wait for good thrid party bands to surface. I spoke to an Apple Store Genius who said one guy came to the store with a watch that had a cheap third party band stuck in his watch. They couldn't get it out at the store, his watch had to be sent back for service.

I'm a happy Apple Watch user! I know the next release of software opens up the processing power of the watch so as to be more independent of the iPhone - that will lead to nice new possibilities. I will keep an eye on nice metal bands and I'm always chatting with the Apple store and Experimac folks about new and useful apps. The Apple Watch is a winner for me!