Can kids live without their electronics?

February 10, 2011

Seems that every time I want to go some place with my kids they have their electronics in hand. They are always “plugged in” and playing something. The computer, the Ipad, the Xbox and so on. Seems like this has to be affecting them long-term in some way. I once heard a speaker say that because kids are always winning at their games they get more frustrated when they don’t win in real life because of that expectation and constant gratification of winning. In fact in a game they are always winning… like hundreds of little wins as they go through the game. Makes sense to me. In fact when my kids get hung up in a game and can’t get through a small part of it they get very frustrated and sometimes very verbal.

I have often thought that as time passes and this next generation of gamers enters the work force how are employers going to have to change to adapt to them? Is there going to be game rooms? Are we going to constantly have to praise their good work lots of little times or they will get frustrated and give up? Will we give reviews electronically or notify them that they got a raise on their Facebook page? What will their expectations be when it comes to the technology we provide them to do their work? Will they demand that they use their own technology?

I’m not sure what these answers are but I’m sure the future gamers will end up being very different employees from the ones we have today.

I challenge you to unplug you and your kids from electronics for periods of time. Start with an evening then try for a full day and see what happens. I recall hurricane Isabel taking our power out for around 8 days. We did camp fires every night and spent a lot of time together with the TV and other electronic distractions off. I remember it was a lot of fun and wonder if doing this regularly will impact my children and their dependency on technology long term.

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Cyber Bullying

February 3, 2011

Today there are new ways for bullies to harass and intimidate your children. Statistics show that 1 in 3 kids become victims so chances are someone who is reading this now has a child that is a being bullied and doesn’t even know it. It is a simple thing to ask your child if he or she is on the receiving (or giving) end of this hurtful type of abuse. Just last night I was speaking to my 12 year old son and simply asked if he had ever been bullied and he said… Nope. It was clear he wasn’t hiding anything and he wasn’t stressed about the question. On the other hand my 9 year old daughter has been a victim of this type of abuse and she was confident enough to come forward and let us know what was going on. We took action, spoke with the teacher and the problem has since gone away. If she had been too scared to come forward it is possible that it could have continued…

Take action. Start a dialog with your children about being bullied. It is a real issue with sometime drastic results that could be averted with a simple conversation.


Team Sklar is seeking support for Shamrock Marathon

January 24, 2011

Ever wanted to do something extraordinary!? Well this is your chance! About two years ago just like Forest Gump I decided to start running and haven’t stopped yet. If you own a business or know a business owner that might be interested in supporting Team Sklar and our cause “Kicking Cancer’s Butt!” please contact me. 804-730-2628 / randy@sklartech.com

We are currently training for the Virginia Beach Shamrock half marathon and we will be running to kick cancer’s butt again!

We need all the help we can get!

Here is a list of past/current sponsors. We can’t thank them enough! I often joke that if I run out of room on the shirt I’ll run with a cape to fit the logo’s of all of our major sponsors on it!

– Computer Telephone Technologies
– Telecom Consulting Group
– Atwood Printing
– Actuarial Consulting Group
– Fun Bus
– Nettek
– CCS
– KISS
– CWD Kids
– Network People
– Cobb Technologies
– ADSS Global
– MTGroupe
– Computer Site Columbus
– Code Blue
and many more!

” He who wished to secure the good of others, has already secured his own.”


Productivity tools for the office

January 21, 2011

I have made several posts about Cloud services and the dangers involved with them. There are several services that are worth knowing about and how to use them that don’t incur significant or any risk. Here is a quick list of a few that I use with a description of what they do and how I leverage them to be more productive and effective both professionally and personally.

WordPress – This is the service that I use to create my blog posts. I tried another, blogger, which is a google tool but switched and like this one better. It is a great tool to use to get information to others. If you are a CPA you can let people know about tax issues. If you are in lawn care you can give tips to have a better lawn. You can become the subject matter expert and it keeps you top of mind when someone is looking for an expert in your field. I highly recommend blogging!

Linkedin – This is just like Facebook but designed for business professionals. I have used this tool to find sales professionals for our business, create connections with other business leaders and as a medium to let others know about my blog, charity work and alike. I am part of their open network where anyone can connect to me. Just click on my profile on the right side of the screen and link in to me.

Mozy – This is an online backup service. I have used it to backup my home system for a couple of years. Another similar service is carbonite… I have never used it but I understand it is good too. There is a corporate offering, Mozy Pro, that we offer as a “managed” service offering where we monitor and manage the operation. It isn’t recommended that this be the only backup process for your company and we have seen many make this mistake and pay for it later.

Snapfish – I store my digital pictures with this service and occasionally pay for prints. I have made photo books and calendars which make really great gifts and really not that expensive. It has a great interface that is easy to use even if you aren’t creatively gifted like myself. I have also seen corporations use this to show off pictures of them recieving awards and other news worthing events (i.e. company picnics, customer events, etc.)

Istockphoto.com – this is the service that I purchase all of my digial stock images from for my blog, website and other marketing material.

OpenDNS.com – This service is for filtering websites. I set it up on my home network for $10 per year and keeps my nephew from showing my son where to find naked pictures of girls. It also helps cut down on infections getting onto our computers. We offer the corporate offering as a “managed” service offering at a price point that is less than you could get on your own. It has proven worth the investment.

Google Calendar – I have used the free google online to keep schedules with different groups of people. It is pretty neat in that it is compatible with my new Droid phone so I can add these calendars and choose to view the events in different colors. The biggest problem is getting everyone to get on board with using it but if they do it really comes in handy.

Twitter – This is a tool that seems to me is more like an information overload but can be useful. It has helped with search engine awareness and could be used to quickly contact people kind of like a mass email. I have used it to direct traffic to my blog with some success. I could also see where our company could use it to alert customers of outages and other important information if our email system were to fail. If I could get everyone to “follow me” on twitter this could be possible. You can easily do this by clicking on the little bird on the right side of the screen.

If you have a productivity tool that you have used or still use and like let me know about it. I’m always looking for ways to get things done smarter, better and faster.


Protect your children from online threats

January 20, 2011

Here are a couple of great videos to help you protect your children from online predators, cyber bullying and other problems that come from posting personal information online. It is critical that we stay proactive in understanding these threats and talking with our children to make sure they are aware of the dangers. Here are a couple of additional links to some good audio clips and a free ebook as well.

Audio Clips – I love Marvin’s story
Free eBook Link


Team Sklar is down but not out!

January 10, 2011

For those that know me know that I have a strong passion for running marathon’s and raising money for local charities. The wear and tear on my body caught up to me and this past Friday I had surgery on my right shoulder. I managed to shred a tendon and ruin my clavicle. I hope to be back in 6 weeks and able to train for the Shamrock half marathon in March.

If you or someone you know would like to join Team Sklar please please let me know. We raised approximately $18,000 last year and hope to double that this year. You don’t have to be an athlete to join and you don’t even need to have to run long distances to parcipate. Heck you can help without running at all!

Check out our site and get involved today! www.teamsklar.com / randy@sklartech.com / 804-730-2628

 


Are you smarter than internet scammers?

January 7, 2011

I’m certain everyone reading this has received and clicked on an email scam, Facebook post or some other kind of scam that seemed to be legit. It is an attack called phishing and it can be really tough to detect the really good ones. Many times when an organized crime syndicate compromises a database of users it is with the intent to send them phishing emails to scam them. For instance when Monster.com was compromised, a job posting and seeking website, the users would recieve emails indicating that they had been selected for a job but had to fill out a “prescreen” survey due to the large number of applicants. The eager and in most cases recently laid off applicants would rush to send in the application which included personal information that was giving the scammers enough information to create virtual identities and get to work.

Below is a story that just happened within the past couple of weeks. If you own a Honda you will want to read this article and be cautious if you receive what seems like legit emails or phone calls. Educating your users and implementing prevention measures like content and spam filters are the most effective ways to reduce the likelihood that this could happen to someone in your organization or circle of friends.

–Honda Customer Database Security Breach
(December 29, 30 & 31, 2010)
Honda Motor Company is warning millions of its customers that intruders
have gained access to their email addresses, probably through an attack
on Silverpop Systems, a third-party marketing services provider.  The
breach appears to affect two million Honda owners and three million
Acura owners and also includes names and vehicle identification numbers.
The compromised information could be used in phishing attacks.

Honda Web Site Hacked – MSNBC Report

 


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