SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Microsoft releases Premium in the U.S. for $20 a year until March 31


Christian de Looper / Digital Trends

Microsoft’s Hotmail email service became in 2012, and since then the company has reworked it into arguably one of the best email services on the market. As a part of Microsoft’s Office 365 productivity platform, offers a full range of email, contact, calendar, and other capabilities to compete with services like Google’s Gmail. has been going through a complete revision to its online experience, and Microsoft has been previewing a premium subscription that adds even more functionality. Now, Premium is officially available, although only to users in the United States, as Thurrott reports.

Read More

Continue reading

Advertising with Little or no Budget

Small and medium businesses are constantly faced with maximizing their marketing and advertising budget, which unfortunately, comes in dribs and drabs. They want to stay competitive, attain brand awareness, even brand loyalty … but the issue is always a budget which throws cold water on all those goals. marketing on a budgetThe good news is, the 10 points below might just put you (yes you, the small business owner) on cloud nine; call it the “five-finger discount” to achieving marketing and promotional goals with little or no budget!

  1.  Your first target market should be friends, family and acquaintances. Do not underrate the power they have to recommend your product or service to others in their circles. Also, market all the time. Utilize your time at the coffee shop by telling a stranger about your product. If you drive, take the bus or train sometimes and share the unique features of your product or service with strangers.
  2. Learn to give recommendations and referrals. Believe that that favor will be returned. If your shop is on the same block with another small business, recommend their products or services. However, you should do this only after you have used their product or service yourself. You do not want to recommend a substandard service or product to dent your reputation. You can even heighten the idea by collaborating with other small businesses in your environment to promote each other’s products. You can agree to leave flyers or brochures at each other’s shop.  
  3. Get an attractive logo and a catchy phrase. Make it available on your products, website, emails and anywhere possible. Be shrewd with branding; one that easily identifies your product or service. 
  4. Attend public events and give a speech if the opportunity presents itself. You do not have to be an expert in giving public speeches to take this up. For instance, if you know someone in the community who passed on, pass through the memorial service and ask the family members to share some few words. Make yourself known through supporting people in the community. They will surely return the favor.
  5. Create a blog for your business. Dedicate some few minutes weekly to write a post about the services you provide or the unique features of your product. Take advantage of developing trends when they relate to your products or services and write about it. Provide useful information on your blog and optimize words which will promote your goods or services.
  6. Create a loyalty program which would not take so much away from your profit. You can give discount coupons or voucher codes which will make customers make a return.
  7. Make follow ups and ask for feedbacks. Contact customers about their experience with your product or service to create or build a lasting relationship. Studies have shown a positive correlation between good customer services and recommendations.
  8. Give free trials in new markets. Be confident to entice customers to try out your product or service. Do not forget that people are more likely to purchase a product or service they have tried.
  9. Associate yourself with a group which is involved in community service or charity events. Organize blood donation events, get involved in volunteering activities and create relationships.
  10. Finally, tap into the power of social media. Do not underrate the power of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and any other social media platform out there. Do not be shy to ask for retweets. Grow your followers, generate interesting content on pages and beware of plagiarism. Try to be creative and make sure you have your products or services at the back of your mind at all times.

If these strategies will cost you anything at all, that will be time, but believe in the short, medium and long term returns they promise. If you have to take a free course online to learn a new skill to enable you implement any of these, try and The primary theme which seems to run through all these strategies is to engage people and create relationships. The money helps, but even those with the money to advertise are also engaging people. Above all, make your product or service kick-ass!

Continue reading

The effects of technology

The effects of technology underlie early twenty-first century global challenges. On the one hand, since the Enlightenment, technology, especially science-based technology, has offered the promise of a better world through the elimination of disease and material improvements to standards of living. On the other hand, resource extraction, emissions of dangerous materials, world closerand pollution of air, water, and soil have created conditions for unprecedented environmental catastrophe and have already caused irreversible damage to the biosphere. While the future might promise a vast acceleration of technological innovation, the scale and impact of environmental degradation may reflect this vast acceleration as well.
A related painful paradox is that, despite the ongoing technological revolution, the majority of the world population still lives in abject poverty with inadequate food, housing, and energy, plagued by illnesses that could be easily cured if clean water and simple drugs were made available. Fortunately, a significant number of former “developing” countries are now on the threshold of development, helped by technology transfer and technological innovations that have benefited large parts of their populations. Some countries, such as China, India, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and, to a certain extent, Brazil, have followed their own technological trajectories. However, for large populations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America the benefits of technology remain a dream, even if new technologies like photovoltaic cells, cellular phones, and the Internet could help them “leap-frog” towards the twenty-first century.
The Internet has revolutionized the computer and communications world like nothing before. The invention of the telegraph, telephone, radio, and computer set the stage for this unprecedented integration of capabilities. The Internet is at once a world-wide broadcasting capability, a mechanism for information dissemination, and a medium for collaboration and interaction between individuals and their computers without regard for geographic location.
The Internet today is a widespread information infrastructure, the initial prototype of what is often called the National (or Global or Galactic) Information Infrastructure. Its history is complex and involves many aspects - technological, organizational, and community. And its influence reaches not only to the technical fields of computer communications but throughout society as we move toward increasing use of online tools to accomplish electronic commerce, information acquisition, and community operations.
The Internet is the information superhighway; it contains more information than we ever need. When we open our web browser, you get to your home page; from there, you can go to an unlimited number of destinations. Online, you can do just about anything: chatting, gaming, shopping and much more. People can literally spend their whole life on the Internet. They can attend an online school and get an online job. They can pay their bills and invest their money. They can order whatever they need online and have it delivered to them. The quirk is that you can do all that at the comfort of your own home in front of the computer screen. That is what happens when we use the Internet. As a result, the Internet cuts out the social interactions of our lives. With the Internet doing so many jobs for us, we have become lazy and non-social. We often ask questions like why go shopping when the Internet can deliver the products to your door or why go the library to research when you can do the same online. We may lose out on being social, but we save a lot of time. However, we spent the time we saved by using the Internet some more, such as MUDs and online gaming.
The truth of the matter though is that all these things are simply symptoms of our own psyche as a race and if you look at them slightly differently you’ll see that many of these ‘downsides’ actually represent progress and the positive effects of internet use.
Firstly, the accusation that the internet ruins ‘real life’ relationships is a bit of a misnomer and perhaps what people are forgetting here is that those people at the other ends of e-mails and on social networking sites actually are ‘real life’ people too. In the case of sites such as Facebook and Twitter, you are actually more in contact with people than you would be otherwise and in fact need never lose contact with anyone ever again. Romantic relationships also benefit from the internet. For example, internet allows long-distance couples to talk every night without paying a ridiculously long phone bill on Skype or MSN, and it even allows them to see each other on the webcam. For those who lack the social skills or the opportunity to meet people in the traditional ways, it can be a great way to meet someone that they might not otherwise. Taking away the ‘physical’ element to begin with may even make the relationship less shallow and get both parties to visit new and exotic locations.
The Internet potentially reduces the importance of physical proximity in creating and maintaining networks of strong social ties. Unlike face-to-face interaction or even the telephone, the Internet offers opportunities for social interaction that do not depend on the distance between parties or convenience, but rather based on common interests. “People often use the Internet to keep up with those whom they have preexisting relationships”. However, they have also developed new relationships on-line. The Internet allows social contact at anytime, anywhere, and any circumstances, it allows people to connect with distant as well as local family and friends, co-workers, business contacts, and with strangers who share similar interests. Extrovert internet users who use the Internet extensively reported more community involvement than those who rarely used it. This might be because the users’ knowledge of the world increases and when compared with the rest of the world their local community may not be what they want – so they seek out to achieve this goal by being involved with the community. 
Continue reading


There are two known options to dealing with malware and viruses; to clean or wipe and restore. It must be acknowledged that the main difference between the two has to do with convenience. Many argue that wipe and restore is the most effective way of virus alertdealing with viruses and malware, but to clean is equally effective and comes with certain advantages. For Small and Medium-Size Businesses (SMB) or Managed Service Providers (MSP) who are into the business of troubleshooting computers for a fee, it is very important to weigh the convenience each of the two methods bring to you and your clients.

There are some factors to consider when deciding on which method to use; time, cost, loss of irrecoverable data, etc, while ensuring that the primary objective of cleaning the computer or device of all malware and/or viruses is kept intact. Make sure that the client is satisfied with your work; you do not delete important files and folders that a malware has hijacked. You also want to ensure that there is a significant improvement in the performance of the computer; applications open faster, there are no popups or unauthorized applications running in the background and consuming vital memory space.

From the perspective of most clients, “wipe and restore” is how a lazy MSP gets the job done. The “I could have done that myself” feedback should not be unexpected. Wipe and restore, even when requested by a client, backed by a signed agreement, should be used when absolutely nothing can be done to recover files and applications. Truth be told, the client could have called his or her nephew in high school, or even the neighbor’s kid to do “wipe and restore” instead of hiring your services. It is clearly a bad idea to wipe; recovery files don’t receive updates, drivers which have been installed to work with peripherals will have to be reinstalled … too many inconveniences if we are to be fair.

  • To thoroughly clean is to first disconnect the computer from the internet and boot into safe-mood. This is a preventive measure to ensure that the malware does not spread or steal and transfer personal data via the internet.
  • Run a Disk Cleanup to clear all temporary files. Aside creating useful space for the client, this will also get rid of some malware and improve the performance of the computer.
  • Install a good malware software and run an on-demand scan to clean the computer. If client already had one installed, it obviously must be uninstalled since it failed to prevent the malware from spreading.
  • The next step is to reconnect to the internet and have Malwarebytes installed. After installation and checking for updates, disconnect the internet again and run the program. If you do not want to risk an infection, download it on a clean computer and use a USB drive to install on the infected one. This will remove all threats not detected by the earlier scan. It is not recommended as a first option because some malwares are designed to prevent its installation even in safe mode.

There are some damages you would not be able to repair or restore, but the client will be far more satisfied to have almost everything running normal than to start Windows from scratch.

Continue reading

Android vs iOS

If you are in the market to buy a new phone, then you might be having a hard time deciding on Android or iOS. 
If you used only one platform in the whole experience of your smart phone life andiOS vs Android never got the chance to use the other, then it’s obvious that you don’t know much about the other.
Don’t worry we have spent great time with both and will show the key differences and similarities between iOS and Android to help you choose the best.  
Apple or iOS are one the most expensive smart phones on the market, costing about $600 including the two-year contract. Whereas. Android comes in variety of handsets with high as well as low prices depending upon the functions and features of the smart phone. So, on the basis of affordability, nothing competes with Android.
Traditionally, developers tend to appear new apps on more remunerative platforms. So, there is a proclivity of new apps to appear first on iOS than Android. However, when it comes to the comparison of total number of apps on average in both, then it is nearly the same.
Battery Life and Management:
It has been seen that most of the iOS smart phones have a smaller battery then most of the Androids. However, you can customize that somehow by using the battery saver feature, which is present in both.
On the basis of customizability, Android wins here. It is because, you can customize your Android in different ways like installing launchers, set up own lock screen and shortcuts etc. While in iOS, these things are not available to be customize by the consumer.
iOS has more prolonged and vast security than Androids. So, iOS wins the battle here for those people who want more privacy and security.
Android phones tend to low quality cameras based on mega pixels. While iOS or Apple phones gains the maximum attention for the high-quality camera with 12 mega pixels. 
Continue reading