Digital TV Updates!

Hello!  This is Tim Steinwand, Digital TV Conversion Lead here at DRN.  This time for my blog post, I’d like to answer a few questions regarding the project that people are asking.  Hopefully this will answer some that you may be having. First, this reminder that as of March 1, 2018, ALL TV’s will need to have a DTA box or M-Card device to get the DRN TV signal.  There is some information going around that we are hearing that “I have a new smart TV, I won’t need this box”, or “I just got my TV recently, I won’t need this box.”  This information is incorrect.  All TV’s, old or new, will need this device to get the DRN TV signal.  If your TV is older and only has a coaxial connection, or if your TV is newer and has multiple HDMI inputs, any TV needs the box. Next, the DRN board of Directors has listened to customers concerns, and has authorized all TV customers to get up to 3 DTA boxes at no charge going forward.  The national average of 2.8 TV’s per household prompted the board to issue this directive.  The 3 boxes can be of any combination of boxes with the interactive guide, or the non-guided boxes that DRN offers.  If you received your boxes prior to the new directive, your billing will automatically be adjusted so that you will be receiving your first 3 boxes for free, beginning with guided being free first.  If you are happy with the boxes that you currently have installed, whether guided or non-guided, you will get up to...

What is the Internet of Things?

You’ve probably heard the term before as the advances in technology continue to grow. The Internet of Things often time seen as IoT is literally what it sounds like, things with internet. Pretty much anything with power and internet or WIFI capabilities. The Internet of Things include everything from cars, to lights, air conditioners/heaters, headphones, washing machine, refrigerators etc. the list goes on. It also applies to components of machines as well so the jet engine of an airplane or even the controller of an HVAC unit, could have internet access. Some cars have LTE capabilities equivalent to your cell phone.  So where is the internet of things headed? Eventually your alarm clock will ring in the morning and be able to communicate with the coffee machine to get the coffee brewing. Or if you’re out of town and someone needs something from your house you can unlock the doors from virtually anywhere. The possibilities are literally endless. You will soon start seeing smart cities as well which will help reduce waste and improve efficiency in things such as energy. You will start to see smart construction on buildings where if there is damage the infrastructure has sensors that will communicate out to the proper personnel, so they can fix it. You get the idea however, with this great opportunity and advancement comes great responsibility. You can imagine what bad things could happen if someone let’s say hacked your car or your light system or even the engine on an airplane. As the IoT continue to progress and advance the need for security is only going to grow larger....

Video is Your Friend

Hello again!  Last time I joined you I chatted about posting on Facebook in general. (If you missed that post you can catch it here.)  Today I would like to elaborate on that slightly and talk about the use of video.  Seventy-eight percent of people watch videos online every week and 55% watch videos online daily.  Let’s pause for just a moment, have you watched any videos yet today?  Probably more than you realized! Take a second to consider, you are scrolling through your Facebook feed….what is more likely to catch your attention.  A post containing just words, a picture, or a video.  Because humans are naturally drawn to movement, making video a great way to capture your audience’s attention. “But making a video is so difficult!” It doesn’t have to be!  Your videos can be as simple as using your cell phone and taking a quick 30 second video showing your viewers how easy it is to start using your product.  There are many different apps available to help jazz up your videos too.  These apps give you the ability to add filters, effects, text, audio and much more.  Some apps are free with upgrade options.  A lot of them will allow you to also make a video out of a collection of pictures. If you are a fan of the Adobe software, Adobe offers many different video editing/creating apps for free.  Android users will find Movie Maker Filmmaker has high ratings with a large variety of features.  Quik is available to both Android & Apple users sporting many options.  There are hundreds more video editing apps available...

Is your WiFi KRACK’d?

Recently some major announcements were made about a security vulnerability called KRACK in WiFi password security.  While I could bore you with the details of how the hackers could exploit this, the important thing to know is that its legit and you should definitely take action.  This affects residential systems as well as business systems and the main reason this is a problem for most users is because of 1 simple reason.  When was the last time you updated the firmware in your router/firewall? The firmware is the software inside the hardware that makes the unit operate.  Almost every unit I see has basically the same firmware the product was shipped with and the KRACK vulnerability exploits a feature that was standard in most Wi-Fi protocols for the last 10 years.  Using the KRACK vulnerability, hackers gain access to your WiFi network without knowing your WiFi passwords. So what should you do?  1st, Business customers should never use residential grade routers and firewalls.  I cringe when I walk into local gas stations, main street shops, or grocery stores and see a router they purchased from Walmart because it was cheap.  There’s a reason their cheap and the firewall protection these offer is minimal.  2nd thing to do, if you don’t want to upgrade your router/firewall you should definitely upgrade the firmware.  To do this, you find the make and model of router you have, download the proper firmware from the manufactures support website (make sure its actually from the manufactures website, not a wholesale firmware warehouse type website)  and log into the administration portal of the router/firewall and upload...

What is Project Management?

We live in a world where there are projects that need to be completed everywhere.  At work, at home, at school, within our organizations and clubs, really everywhere we look we are talking about a project  that needs to be completed.  So have you ever been frustrated on how long a project is taking?  Or been displeased with how much additional a project ends up costing?  Or unhappy with the final result?  If you answered yes to any of these questions than I would like to suggest applying Project Management to your next project. You might be asking the following questions. What is Project Management?  Project Management is the application of processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience to achieve the project objectives. Why should I use Project Management?  Project Management is used to produce a quality end product that will provide benefit.  It is the initiation, planning and control of tasks required to deliver this end product. How can projects be completed the most effective and efficient way possible?  The answer is simple, by applying the below core components of Project Management. Define the reason why a project is necessary Capture project requirements – deliverables, resources, timelines Prepare a business case to justify the investment Secure agreement and funding Develop and implement a management plan for the project Lead and motivate the project team Manage the risks, issues and changes on the project Monitor project progress against the project plan Manage the project budget Maintain communication with stakeholders and project team Manage the project Document lessons learned for future projects Close the project This has been a simplified explanation...

National TV Advertising!

Ever wondered how DRN has a: 30 second commercial airing while you’re watching your favorite sports team,  home makeover or reruns of some of your favorite shows on TBS, TNT or USA? It’s true…DRN can now share the value of your business with a: 30 second commercial on ten different National Networks in our service territory.  Choose from ESPN, HGTV, USA, TNT, TBS, DISCOVERY, ESPN2, LIFETIME, CNN OR FOX NEWS to target the market you are looking for! It’s a simple call to make with TV being by far the most effective advertising medium. Plus, the process is easy! Together, we will create your story and the message you want viewers to see.  Our Multimedia Specialist will visit your business and take video footage and photos to develop your commercial.  Once produced, we’ll help you decide on a schedule for airing your final product.   If you already have a commercial created, perfect!  We’ll put together a schedule with the networks you would like to advertise on. Try something new…put your business on national networks and take advantage of reaching over 4800 TV viewers. Visit our website to learn more about DRN’s cost effective advertising throughout the DRN service...

More on RRIT

From the desk of Tim Steinwand This month, I have a couple of items that I wanted to bring to your attention that we are very excited about here at ReadiTech. The first is a new offering we now have for our managed service customers, called ReadiRemote IT (RR IT). RR IT is an automated service that allows our ReadiTech team to monitor and fix your computer or network behind the scenes, many times before anyone would know that there is anything wrong. The technology it uses is an encrypted tunnel for communication, so there is no need to worry about anyone viewing your files or data. If RR IT discovers a problem, it immediately opens a service ticket with our ReadiTech technicians, informing them of work to do. As an example, if your business experiences a weekend power outage, and your server or workstation goes down, we know about it immediately, and will be able to get it up and running before your office reopens on Monday morning. The service also alerts us of any patches and updates that need to be installed on your equipment immediately when they are released. You may have seen in the news recently of a number of security vulnerabilities that have been exposed. Because most software is being updated constantly to stay ahead of these threats, RR IT assures you that your equipment will be as secure as it can be, by checking your systems, and alerting us if patches need to be added. Feel free to contact any of our technicians for further information about RR IT. The other thing that...

ReadiRemote IT

From the Desk of Andrew Meyer Over the past month we have been making exciting changes to boost our ability to serve our managed service customers. We are in the process of implementing ReadiRemote IT (RR IT), a remote monitoring and management software to oversee our clients’ servers and workstations. This software allows us to monitor and fix many things behind the scenes, many times without anyone’s knowledge that there was even something wrong. I’ll explain how this works and some of the scenarios. RR IT gets installed on our customer’s server or workstation and securely reports back to a server in DRN’s data center what state the machine is in. This is done inside an encrypted tunnel so there are no worries about who can see the machine statistics. If RR IT discovers a problem, it immediately opens a service ticket to inform our ReadiTech technicians there is work to do. Let’s say over the weekend there is a power outage and your server or workstation goes down. We will know about it immediately and be able to get it up and running before the office opens on Monday morning. Some of the other things ReadiRemote IT allows us to do remotely is reboot machines, monitor and install windows and software updates, install and uninstall software, and monitor backups and anti-virus. You will no longer have to worry about running out of disk space, not having security updates installed, or whether or not you’re getting the best performance out of your machine and network. Let our ReadiTech team take care of that for you, call us today about ReadiRemote...

R & D Corner

From the Desk of Josh Peldo 3 Technologies DRN customers have been asking for in 2015 Residential and Business customers have been keeping me busy with research and development.  It’s not easy to stay up to date with the fast evolving technology trends, so if you’ve been considering moving your home or business into “the 21st Century” (a real request we had recently) let our R&D dept handle your request.  Our customizable solutions can help solve any issues that you’ve been having.  Looking for a KIOSK for hotel check-ins, or considering moving to Arizona or Florida for the winter but still need to work? I get calls every day from customers looking for customized solutions to either save them money or even more valuable, their time. Here are 3 areas of technology that has been keeping me busy. Mobile access to Data – While almost everyone now-a-days is familiar with “the cloud” not all are comfortable giving their data to it. There are a lot of options that would allow you to work from anywhere using a cloud.  If this is something you’ve been thinking about either as a business or a home, here are a couple things to keep in mind.  You’ve got two real options.  Move all your data, pictures, and information to a cloud site like Microsoft, Amazon or another vendor’s storage site.  Or keep your information and data right where it’s at and build your own secure tunnel and make your own cloud that only you have access to. Security and Access Control – Whether you’re a large business or a small home, security has been a...

Software Licensing 101

From the desk of Richard Reis – Software Lead/ Developer Network Analyst Software licensing, what’s that? You mean that fine print I scrolled over so I could get my software application (app) installed? Chances are software licensing is one of the furthest thoughts from your mind. Sure you use software daily, either in your personal life or at work, but how often do you stop and think about your legal rights to use that software. In the United States and other parts of the world software apps are available on our Android, iOS, and Windows devic es from phones to tablets to laptops to desktops. Each app has a software license associated with it which legally governs its usage or redistribution rights to you,the end user. Apple, Google and Microsoft each created online app retail marketplaces (App Store, Play Store,and Microsoft Store), allowing us to shop for apps in a limited number of storefronts. These online stores effectively streamline app purchases and simplify licensing terms for end users.Unfortunately government, corporate, and academic software sales can rarely make use of these online marketplaces, however it does not mean that software is not available for them. So what is different you ask? Some differences exist in software licensing options, costs, distribution, specialization, and product type. DRN’s ReadiTech team has knowledge of various software licensing options from a multitude of vendors and can help answer any questions you may have regarding software licensing.DRN has relationships and experience working with many of the major software vendors including Adobe, Autodesk, Cisco, HP, IBM, Juniper, Microsoft, Sonicwall, Symantec, VMware, etc. We offer products such as...