Your “Instant” Messages May Be Forever

Despite the name, instant messages can stick around for a long, long time. Your conversations may live on, long after you’ve shut down your IM client – depending on what service you’re using and what controls you or your employer may have in place.

For example, Google saves every chat session conducted in Gmail automatically and makes those chats fully searchable. Trillian, a standalone client that supports AIM, Yahoo, and Microsoft Live, also automatically logs all conversations. On the other hand, the basic messaging clients for AIM, Yahoo and Microsoft do not automatically store conversations but can be configured to do so.

More IM services are coming out with enhanced versions for corporate use. AIM Pro, a free version for individuals and businesses, offers better security, voice and video conferencing, and integration with Microsoft Outlook. And Microsoft’s Live Communications server allows corporate IT departments to log and search employee conversations, including those on IM services like Yahoo and AOL.

So what’s the take-home?

When you’re at work, be aware that your employer’s policy toward email may extend to instant messages and don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your boss to read. And look on the bright side: just as email provides you with a digital paper trail for work-based communications, saved instant messages can serve much the same function. As instant messenger enhancements continue to develop, this tool will only become more valuable.

Master Microsoft Keyboard Shortcuts

A lot of folks can go for years without ever using – or figuring out how to use – that funny-looking key in the lower left-hand corner of their Microsoft keyboard. But the Windows logo key can help you switch between applications, clear open windows off your desktop, and a whole lot more. The chart below shows you how.
Key Combination
Result
Windows logo key
Open or close the Start menu
Windows logo key +PAUSE
Display the System Properties dialog box
Windows logo key +D
Display the desktop
Windows logo key +M
Minimize all windows
Windows logo key +SHIFT+M
Restore minimized windows to the desktop
Windows logo key +E
Open Windows Explorer
Windows logo key +F
Search for a file or folder
CTRL+Windows logo key +F
Search for computers (if you are on a network)
Windows logo key +L
Lock your computer or switch users
Windows logo key +R
Open the Run dialog box
Windows logo key +T
Cycle through programs on the taskbar
Windows logo key +TAB
Cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Windows Flip 3-D
CTRL+Windows logo key +TAB
Use the arrow keys to cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Windows Flip 3-D
Windows logo key +SPACEBAR
Bring all gadgets to the front and select Windows Sidebar
Windows logo key +G
Cycle through Sidebar gadgets
Windows logo key +U
Open Ease of Access Center
Windows logo key +X
Open Windows Mobility Center
Windows logo key with any number key
Open the Quick Launch shortcut that is in the position that corresponds to the number. For example, Windows logo key +1 to launch the first shortcut in the Quick Launch menu.

When Your Office Goes Wireless

If you work in an office where employees travel often or where you host a lot of visitors, you’ll want to set up a wireless network so that itinerant workers can stay productive. Business travelers at this point are old pros at sniffing out and tapping into wireless hotspots – but that doesn’t mean you can’t make things a little easier and safer for them.

First, set up your hotspot in an accessible area. If you’ve got your router sitting in a concrete-walled storage closet at the end of the building (not likely, but as an example), it won’t be of much use to guests all the way on the other side of the building.

Make sure your router sits well within range of where mobile workers and guests tend to work – near your guest or floating cubicles, if you have them. Your wireless network should also be accessible from your conference room so that people giving presentations or participating in meetings can get on the Internet if they need to.

Everybody knows that wireless networks can be major security failure points, so take some measures to protect yourself. Encrypt your network, rename it, and give it a strong password. To this day it’s shocking how many office buildings you can go into and immediately sniff out a half-dozen unsecured networks named “LINKSYS.”

Make sure your network has WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) encryption, give your network a name that’s unique but doesn’t clearly identify your company as the owner (lest this attract the attention of anyone looking to hack into your network specifically), and then give your network a long password with both letters and numbers.

If all of this sounds like a bit of a hassle, that’s because it can be! Many laypeople who are pretty technically savvy find wireless network setups just a bit beyond their comfort zone. That’s where CMIT comes in. We have skilled and seasoned technicians  ready to help set up a secure wireless network for your business – just give us a call!