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How fast does your home page load?

Speed-to-load is one of the most crucial factors in determining how Google, and other search engines, rank your website. This is a critical aspect of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), particularly with regards to your home landing page.

All too often, we see business owners thinking, “all’s well,” when they check their own website; they neglect to realize that a lot of their website’s data (pictures, css stylesheets, scripts) is stored locally on their own PC’s from previous visits. This can give a false sense of security that speed-to-load is okay.

A local business’ website that’s measured without clearing the local storage (or cache), of previously downloaded items appears to be average with a 5 to 6 sec download speed (actually, it should be in the 2 to 3 second range).  BUT, when you view it from the perspective of a first-time visitor, this is what they experience:

pagespeedexample

 

Whoa! Nearly 14 seconds!  No wonder their SERP (search engine results page) rankings are so low. There are many utilities you can use to measure your own site.  We recommend doing a measurement both before and after clearing all your browser history to see what John Q. Public sees.  If it’s more than a few seconds – you’re overdue for a tune up.

So, the natural question now becomes, “What can we do about it?” The answer can vary widely depending on the root cause: network congestion, server responsiveness, domain lookup, and on and on. Frequently, compressing script files, moving stylesheets to load up front, and re-sampling / re-sizing pictures are just some of the techniques we use to help overcome slow websites. Given the large number of possible contributing factors, you probably need a professional to do a thorough analysis – if only to target the biggest offenders. We invite you to contact Piedmont Technology if you’d like an analysis and quote for speeding up your own business website.

Are you involved with commercial real estate, business development, or marketing, in or around the 1Loudoun project?  If so, you can own this premium domain name by clicking the graphic below which will take you to the auction site where it’s currently available.

1Loudoun is for sale

Yahoo accounts compromised

Thursday PM update: Various media reports (including WTOP) now have the total at 500 million accounts.  There’s been some speculation that it was “state sponsored” and we’re hearing that the hack occurred in 2014.  User names, passwords, dates of birth, possibly phone numbers, plus answers to security questions, were exposed. So, if you had a Yahoo account in 2014 and haven’t since changed your password, you should do so now.  And keep it unique – not the same one you might use for other services. Then, change your security questions/answers as well!


We don’t know all the details yet. But we do know enough to strongly suggest changing your password(s) on any Yahoo accounts. We’ll update this post as the details become available; however, given the potential impact, we wanted to get the pre-alert out there…

Here’s a small sampling of today’s technology headlines surrounding this massive breach. Updates to come…

You can also click here to generate your own Google results page with up-to-the minute information

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Galaxy Note7 Recall – Updated

UPDATE (Oct 18):  On a flight to Atlanta last week, we all heard the announcements insisting that Galaxy Note7 users turn off their phones and to NOT charge them during the flight.  On the way back, the notices had been elevated to “Do not even bring them on board!”  All carriers are offering refunds/replacements.  If you haven’t yet, why not?

(click the graphic below for the latest from Samsung’s own website)

Galaxy Note7 Exchange Program


http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/dam/assets/160902121639-samsung-galaxy-note-7-fire-front-780x439.jpg

Remains of Galaxy Note7 after battery fire. ( Source: www.money.com )

If you haven’t heard already, the latest Galaxy Note7 smartphone from Samsung is being recalled due to problems with the battery overheating and catching fire and/or exploding.  Just over 1 million have been sold in the US since their introduction last month.

Initially, Samsung announced a voluntary recall without coordinating with federal agencies.  Perhaps well intentioned, it was less than effective.  As of today, several US government entities are formalizing, the recall. The Consumer Products Safety Commission, the FAA, and others are raising the awareness level due to the seriousness of the issue. Click the graphic for CPSC’s web page devoted to this issue:

CPSC's page on Galaxy Note7 Recall

As of this morning, less than 15% of units sold domestically have been returned.  That means over 800,000 timebombs are out there.  If you have a Galaxy Note7, turn it off and remove the battery — immediately. Then, please contact Samung, or your cellular carrier and follow their instructions for a refund or replacement.

 

Using a Mac? Read & Heed!

Last week, Apple issued an update for IOS (9.3.5).  See the related article for how to check and make sure your iPhone, iPad have it)  Now, the gurus* at Sophos are alerting everyone to the same “megaexploit” vulnerability in Apple’s OS X operating system – the operating system behind your Mac.

OS X update

A brief description of what the vulnerability can lead to if not patched.

Click the snippet above or click here to jump over to the full article.


* By using,”gurus” we are by no means being sarcastic.  The folks at Sophos are one of our primary go-to sites when faced with security issues. 

Windows 10 Anniversary Upgrade

A picture (slide show) is worth a thousand words.  Here’s a synopsis of several well-regarded tech outlets regarding the latest “anniversary” upgrade for Windows 10. Including how to postpone and manage the update installation schedule.

(Click on any slide to link to the original article)

[huge_it_slider id=”2″]

 

 

 

Windows 10 Upgrade Deadline July 29

Let’s start with a quick caveat (e.g. CYA) from the “about this blog” page.  “… we cannot assume liability for any actions you take as the result of reading this blog.” There’s a reason for this: time is money.  And, even though most cases we know of have gone without a hitch, there have also been a few that didn’t.  And recovering the data and PC configurations took them (or their contractor*) several hours.

This graphic links to another good article from CNET about Windows10

This graphic links to another good article from CNET about Windows10

Our view on the looming deadline for a free upgrade to WIndows 10 is this: If you haven’t yet, and your system is meeting your needs, why bother? Consider the time/effort required, and then weigh them against the potential benefits. Sure, it’ll save you $120, but why? Here’s another perspective from our friends at CNET:

If you do decide to upgrade, we recommend backing up both your data (desktop, downloads, music, pics, documents, etc) as well as making a complete disk image (incase you need/want to revert back afterwards). Then, set aside at least a couple of hours when your pc won’t be used, to allow for the download, and another hour or so for the actual installation.

VISTA USERS:  Read this article from the NY Times.  We certainly agree with their approach and suggestions!


*Footnote: From the “about this blog” page: Since 2010, Piedmont has been focused exclusively on internet-based services such as websites, email, and social media.  However, we still get questions about pc’s, viruses, wi-fi, and various tech gadgets. PC Support and Tech Tips posts are intended to offer guidance and provide the benefits of our own experiences.  If you need assistance locating a PC repair outlet, please send an email to service@piedmonttechnology.net.

How to find Internet Explorer after Windows10 upgrade

We had two frantic calls for help in a single day from clients who couldn’t find their Internet Explorer browser after upgrading to Windows10.  “My bookmarks are gone!”  “I don’t like this ‘Edge’ browser!”  And so on…save IE to taskbar

Relax – despite Microsoft’s attempts to get you to use it’s new “Edge” browser, your trusty old IE is still there.  In this post, we’ll show you how to access it, and create a shortcut in your task bar (that small horizontal bar across the bottom of your Windows screen) so it’s only 1 click away.  Not only is IE there, your bookmarks and other settings will be there as well.

Start by simply typing (without quotes) “Internet Explorer” into the search box at the bottom, left (small rectangle that’s usually pre-populated with “Search the web and Windows”).  At or near the top of the results, you’ll see the familiar logo and the words “Desktop App.”  Simply right-click on that logo and select “Pin to Taskbar.”  You’ll then see it, along with other shortcuts, along the bottom of your screen:

ietaskbar

 

 

A compendium of thoughts, reflections, and suggestions regarding life online.

Get Google Apps for Work

Click here to sign up for a no-obligation free trial.

For $5/month per user, you can’t beat the value. And it’s easy to use your own domain, if you have one, for your Google Apps for Work suite, without disrupting your existing website.

Caveat

While we do our best to offer easy-to-follow suggestions on maintaining your website, computer, smartphone, etc., we do not accept any responsibility for any damage or lost data you may encounter. All actions taken as a result of reading this blog are at the users’ own risk. Piedmont Technology strongly suggests that users make and test regular backups!