Stay on the lookout for your own Snowden nemesis

March 24th, 2017 No comments

Whether you think of Edward Snowden as a hero or a traitor, one thing’s clear: It’s critical to protect your own organization’s data, so you may want to learn what the NSA did wrong that allowed Snowden to gather and disseminate top secret information. According to various reports (e.g., www.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/us/snowden-used-low-cost-tool-to-best-nsa.html?_r=0), Snowden used web crawler software to scrape the classified secrets he wanted. Amazingly, he was caught with this software, but no effective action was taken, even though he was confronted a few times about his activities. Being a contractor at a facility that was last to get state-of-the-art security measures implemented, he was able to fall through the cracks. Afterwards, it was found that the software he used to glean information contained saved settings to scan for various forms of top-secret information.

Here are some lessons to consider:

  • When possible, implement new security measures at all sites simultaneously. Don’t leave any weak links.
  • Make sure that security measures cover everyone working with your internal data, including regular employees, contractors, and third-party companies.
  • If you find that employees have installed unauthorized software capable of scraping information from your servers that’s unnecessary for them to do their jobs, it’s important to take the situation very seriously.
  • If suspicious software is installed, audits may help detect unwarranted activities.
  • Make sure you have a plan about what to do when security policies are violated. It’s important to be fair and not overly paranoid, but it’s also no use catching a problem but not following up with appropriate action.
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Categories: Tips & Tricks

Add dynamically linked Excel data to your Word document

March 24th, 2017 No comments

(97/2000/2001/2002) Many of us create numerical reports using Excel worksheets. Unfortunately, numbers don’t always speak for themselves. To make complex numerical data easier to understand, you may present your workbook’s key figures along with descriptive information and analyses in a written report, saved as a Word document. You can print your Excel data and your Word report separately and collate them later, or you can simply copy key portions of your Excel workbook and paste them directly into the Word report; however, if the data in the workbook changes, the data you pasted in your Word report will remain the same. Instead, you can use the Paste Link feature to paste Excel data as an active link. That way, when the data in the Excel workbook is updated, the data in your Word report will update accordingly.

To use the Paste Link feature, open your Excel workbook and select the cell(s) you’d like to copy. Choose Edit | Copy from the menu bar, and then switch to your Word document. Place the insertion point where you’d like the Excel data to appear, and then choose Edit | Paste Special from the menu bar. Select the Paste Link option button, choose Microsoft Excel Worksheet Object from the As list box, and then click OK. Word inserts an embedded, dynamically linked replica of the Excel data you copied. When you make changes to the worksheet the data is linked to, the linked replica in the Word document updates automatically. (Note: If you’re using Office XP, you can simply copy your Excel data and paste it directly into Word. After you paste the data in Word, click the Paste Options button and choose Match Destination Table Style And Link To Excel from the resulting dropdown menu.)

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Categories: Tips & Tricks

Create responsive sites quickly with jQuery Mobile

March 24th, 2017 No comments

If you need to create a site quickly that works well on all devices, jQuery Mobile is one option to consider. Despite the name, jQuery Mobile isn’t only for mobile devices, nor is it primarily a tool to extend JavaScript. Instead, you can think of it as a lightweight framework that allows you to get a site up and running quickly.

Like any good responsive design framework, it has a “mobile first” philosophy. Hence, the framework makes it easy to develop mobile-friendly navigation that works well with touchscreens, doesn’t require users to zoom way in to select form elements, and uses progressive enhancement so that even users of very primitive cell phones will see a working website.

However, even if you’re developing primarily for PCs, jQuery Mobile’s out-of-the-box navigation and theming ability are very useful for rapid website development. Hence, rather than being simply a JavaScript extension, jQuery Mobile seems more similar to WordPress or Drupal, even though it’s a comparatively simple front-end tool rather than a full-fledged content management system. You can even use jQuery Mobile without writing any JavaScript; all you need is to add some markup to an HTML document, mainly in the form of a few new attributes.

jQuery Mobile is not the only mobile-oriented framework, of course. Sencha is another popular option. The most obvious difference is that Sencha is optimized for developing very rich app-like sites for iPhones, iPads, and similar devices, whereas jQuery Mobile is designed for compatibility with as many browsers as possible.

You can find out more about jQuery Mobile at the following website:

http://jquerymobile.com/

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Categories: Tips & Tricks

Tips for Automatic Slide Shows

March 24th, 2017 No comments
  1. Slide shows may be set to run automatically with slides advancing according to preset timings.
  2. Slide Show Tab > Set Up command group > Set Up Slide Show
  3. Loop continuously, until ‘Esc’
  4. Use timings, if present
  5. Click on Rehearse Timings to record timings with slides.
  6. Click through each slide in a manner that would allow a new viewer to read
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Categories: Tips & Tricks

To hire the right candidate, use your own interview questions

March 24th, 2017 No comments

When you’re trying to build a top-class IT team, it’s tempting to ask candidates some of the standard problem-solving questions used by big players in the industry, such as Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. Lots of websites list commonly used questions, and you’re sure to find super-clever brain teasers and computer science problems from these sites to help discover what your candidates are made of.

However, while these kinds of questions are great to study if you’re applying for jobs, they may not be so valuable if you’re seeking to determine who will do a great job at your organization. One reason is that because such questions are published, they’ll likely tell you mainly which candidates have been spending their time reading interview preparation websites. And remember: The further removed a question is from what a position entails, the less useful it is for determining who’s a good fit for that position. In fact, some of the companies that started the brain-teaser trend, such as Google, have reportedly ditched those kinds of questions for more behavioral-style interviews.

If you want a question to test a candidate’s problem-solving mettle, here’s another approach: Just think about the critical problems your team has been dealing with that are relevant to the position, and see if you can turn them into questions without giving away any proprietary information. For instance, let’s say you have to cut your interviews short by 4 o’clock sharp because of an urgent meeting to discuss the fact that the servers keep going down and nobody can figure out why. Frame this as a hypothetical problem to see how the candidates would go about solving it. Not only will that give you an idea of their problem-solving ability, but it might just give you more ideas for resolving your problem.

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Categories: Tips & Tricks

Key questions to ask to keep third-party tools from becoming albatrosses around your neck

March 24th, 2017 No comments

One of the most important decisions you can make in developing any new web functionality is whether to use existing third-party tools and controls, or to code more from scratch. There are a vast number of tools available (many of them open source) to develop various web features, such as date pickers, grids, CRUD interfaces, and shopping carts. These tools often have advanced, attractive functionality, so using them to the fullest extent possible may seem an obvious choice. However, don’t assume that a pre-made tool will necessarily save you time. Since general tools typically contain much more code than something you’d create yourself to serve a unique purpose, their code can be much more difficult to understand, troubleshoot, and debug. A common mistake is to choose an existing tool without considering the effort to adapt it to your requirements. For example, while you could add wings to a boat to turn it into an airplane, it may be better to build an airplane to begin with, if that’s what really you want.

Before choosing a third-party tool, here are some other important questions to consider:

  • When is the most recent update and/or forum response? If an open-source tool hasn’t been updated recently, or its online forum isn’t currently very active, you may be on your own if you have problems.
  • What DON’T you like about it? When looking at a new tool, it’s easy to focus just on the positive side, so it’s good to make a list of problems, so you can investigate how to solve them before investing too much time into integrating it into your application.
  • What usability problems does it have? If it involves lots of clicking and excessive mouse movements, don’t assume that these problems can be easily fixed without modifying the core code; the tool may be architected in such a way that usability improvements require a lot of work.
  • What extensibility features does it include? Tools that support plugins, themes, and other extensibility features will be easier to customize. Forking the core code should generally be considered only a last resort option.
  • How easy is it to target client-side code? If the tool generates HTML with unique id attributes you can easily target, it will be that much easier to manipulate with CSS or jQuery if you ever need to.
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Categories: Tips & Tricks

It’s Time to Analyze Data with a New Perspective

March 21st, 2017 No comments

It’s an exciting feeling to walk into a brand new restaurant. The ambiance is electric; the restaurant appears aesthetically pleasing, and, at first impression, it has lived up to the rave reviews you’ve heard. Now that you’re seated, your interest diverts to the menu, and boy are you enthralled. The menu offers appetizers that you never knew existed, the list of entrees has your mouth salivating and the salads look amazing. There are so many great options to have to narrow down.

More than a menu.
This experience has likely happened to you to some degree, whether that dramatic or not. And as exciting as a new menu might seem, have you ever taken a look at it from an analyst’s point of view? Think about it. A restaurant’s menu is essentially a culmination of data points comprised by the owner, executive chef or a combination of other management personnel. These individuals have carefully gathered and assessed data on the best ingredients, price points, menu design and more. There is a reason why the Cobb salad is in bold font and the roadhouse burger is at the top of the “hands on” section. You better believe the chef has a definitive reason why her restaurant only sources fish from the Atlantic and why the beverage director insisted on creating a stand-alone drink menu.

Analyze the data that will make your company profitable.

It’s all part of the plan.
As consumers, we rarely notice subtle nuances like these, yet they are right in front of our faces every day. As they say, everything happens for a reason. When it comes to making faster and smarter decisions in business, it is typically based on the research and feedback from the business analyst. It takes a special skill set to understand and interpret a company’s data and turn it into action plans. Not only must these individuals maintain wholesome perspectives on business, it’s imperative they are aware that a company’s ability to monetize on big data relies on their decision-making. (Between you and me, it’s hard enough deciding which tie works best on a first date, but if I input my success and failure rates in relation to each tie in my closet into a spreadsheet and analyzed it, I could better predict my chance of a second date. Data analysts use this same technique on a bigger scale.)

What’s on your menu?
The business analyst role isn’t new, but the growing importance of it is. Thanks to the Internet of Things and the Cloud, data is being collected on basically everyone and from almost every direction. With a future of big data, business analysts will play an integral role in companies, creating new revenue streams, translating customer needs into new products, services and profits, and providing a competitive edge for their company. And the beauty of it is that your executive team and business development leaders can trust in what these analysts are bringing to the table because everything is based on data, as opposed to abstracts or suggested theories.

If you’re looking to improve your business analysis skills, there’s no better time. Or, if you’re a leader in your company and don’t have a business analyst on staff, it might be something to consider. Whether you’re at a restaurant, bank, insurance agency, or part of a marketing department, analysts are the brilliant men and women who will compliment your business intelligence software and staff. It’s such a fascinating, yet aggressive, time we are living in right now, and nobody can afford to be left behind.

Wanting to become a business analysis professional or understand more about how this could benefit your organization? New Horizons has the classes for you.

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Bigger is Better and More Powerful Than Ever

March 21st, 2017 No comments

Big data. How many times have you heard this? “Too many” is probably what you are thinking, but “not enough” is really where your head needs to be. Let’s just hope it’s not the first.

The times, they are a-changing.
The working world and digital landscapes are evolving at an exponential rate. Companies of all shapes and sizes are no longer simple computer stores or cable providers hoping you call their number from the billboard you saw. Instead, these businesses are transcending into hoarders of unbelievably large accumulations of data and discovering more and more ways to use that to their advantage. But, what is “big data” and why is it more important than ever?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), big data is “data of a very large size, typically to the extent that its manipulation and management present significant logistical challenges.” In simpler terms, big data refers to the any collection of data (predictive, user behavior or any other advanced data analytics) that is too massive and complex for traditional management or applications tools to process. Big data is characterized by the way it observes and tracks information, how its readily available in real-time and by its ability to span a variety of applications in business and technology. Coming to existence in the 1990’s, revitalized in 2008 and now bigger and badder than ever, big data is trending quicker than people anticipated.

Next, let’s break down big data in two very similar, yet very unique technology segments, because big data impacts distinctive job roles differently.

For the IT professional:
You already get it. Big data is another part of your everyday vernacular. You might be one of the data scientists harvesting and constantly analyzing such intricate sets of information; or maybe you’re a developer designing the platforms necessary to capture all of the data your team needs. Even though you’re aware that we are dealing with data in the tera- and petabyte sizes these days, you still get excited about its never-ending potential and the impact it could (and should) have on your company.

Yearning to learn more? New Horizons offers multiple courses and certifications to align you with cloud and big data movement.

For the end user or office professional:
So, this is where the similar, yet unique part of the big data landscape comes into play. Multifaceted data technologies such as Microsoft Azure or SQL Server might be too much for what you need. For example, let’s say you have a database of people’s demographic information including age, sex and race, or you recently held a raffle and need to input names, email addresses and phone numbers. Now that you have all of this information stored in something like an Excel spreadsheet, what the next move? How will you analyze this?

Ready for the next step? New Horizons has the exact solutions you need to analyze, store or interpret your data.

Crystal Reports

Microsoft Excel Data Analysis with Pivot Tables

Microsoft Excel Formulas and Charts

Microsoft Power BI

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Create mini toolbars from your go-to Tools panel selections (Illustrator CS6/CC/CC 2014/CC 2015/CC 2017)

February 13th, 2017 No comments

With advancements in customized software, there’s something to suit everyone’s work style these days! Take for example detachable tools! The Tools panel in Illustrator has so many tools to choose from, many of which you may never use. But you might be working on a project for an extended amount of time and need to keep handy a certain tool—and all of its sub tools. That’s why Illustrator offers the option to detach many of the tools along with their sub sets so you can have the tools you need visible, as opposed to cycling through the one tool spot on the panel to access each individual tool. To do this, click and hold on a tool in the Tools panel that you want to detach, such as the Pen tool. Click the long vertical bar with the arrow on the right side of the tool pop-up panel, and Illustrator will detach a smaller panel with just that tool set! (Note: Not all tools carry this functionality.)

Check out all the Illustrator classes we offer!

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Categories: Tips & Tricks

Use the Rotate View tool for more fluent image editing (Photoshop CS6/CC/CC 2014/CC 2015/CC 2017)

February 13th, 2017 No comments

If you’re looking for a handy tool to make your image editing easier, try the Rotate View tool. With the Rotate View tool you can rotate your image preview (but not the image), so you can access your image from different angles, making touch up work less cumbersome. To try it out, select the Rotate View tool from the Tools panel. (It resides in the same tool spot as the Hand tool, so if you don’t see it, click and hold the Hand tool then choose the Rotate View tool from the pop-up.) Click on the image and drag in a circular motion to rotate the image preview. Notice the preview in the Layers panel is still in the original position! Edit your image, clicking and dragging the image to rotate more if needed. When you want to put the image back to its original position, press Escape. Or, if the Rotate View tool is still selected, click the Reset View button on the tool options bar.

Check out our Photoshop course!

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Categories: Tips & Tricks