Thursday, October 31, 2013

The latest viral video is not only informative, but a great marketing tool for Virgin America.

Welcome to the 21st century, where viral videos prove to be the most effective marketing tool available to businesses.

In this latest viral video (below) by Virgin Airlines, stewardesses and passengers inform flyers about the rules and regulations of the sky, along with safety tips for emergencies. Personally, I like this method of approach much more than being bored by seeing my stewardess standing in front of me explaining where the exits are and how to buckle my seatbelt.

It's no surprise that Virgin created this fun, hip video...after all, that what Virgin America is known for. In this video, actors from hit movies such as Step Up 2 and Step Up 3, and top dancers from shows like So You Think You Can Dance.

In just 2 days, the video has attracted more than 1.7 million views. And that doesn't count the people that see this while flying on Virgin America!

Source: YouTube

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Security warning for Joomla & WordPress users.


Over the last 30 - 60 days we have started to see an alarming increase in exploits targeting Joomla and WordPress php scripts.

Joomla version 1.x is in no longer maintained by Joomla, and now has several known exploits that have been automated, WordPress has similar problems.

We urge you to upgrade any Joomla / WordPress installations you may have on your hosting account as soon as possible. If you have installed a Joomla / WordPress and are not using it, we would recommend removing the installation.

Upgrading Joomla version 1.x to 2.x is not 'straight forward' Joomla have created a guide on how to do this here:

If you are using an old version of WordPress or Joomla and do not upgrade them, then your websites are at risk.

If you do not have Joomla or WordPress in use on your web hosting you can safety ignore this message.

IES, Inc.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Doctors to parents: Limit kids' tweeting, texting & keep smartphones / laptops out of bedrooms.

The recommendations are bound to prompt eye-rolling and LOLs from many teens but an influential pediatricians group says parents need to know that unrestricted media use can have serious consequences.

It's been linked with violence, cyberbullying, school woes, obesity, lack of sleep and a host of other problems. It's not a major cause of these troubles, but "many parents are clueless" about the profound impact media exposure can have on their children, said Dr. Victor Strasburger, lead author of the new American Academy of Pediatrics policy

"This is the 21st century and they need to get with it," said Strasburger, a University of New Mexico adolescent medicine specialist.

The policy is aimed at all kids, including those who use smartphones, computers and other Internet-connected devices. It expands the academy's longstanding recommendations on banning televisions from children's and teens' bedrooms and limiting entertainment screen time to no more than two hours daily.

Under the new policy, those two hours include using the Internet for entertainment, including Facebook, Twitter, TV and movies; online homework is an exception.

The policy statement cites a 2010 report that found U.S. children aged 8 to 18 spend an average of more than seven hours daily using some kind of entertainment media. Many kids now watch TV online and many send text messages from their bedrooms after "lights out," including sexually explicit images by cellphone or Internet, yet few parents set rules about media use, the policy says.

"I guarantee you that if you have a 14-year-old boy and he has an Internet connection in his bedroom, he is looking at pornography," Strasburger said.

The policy notes that three-quarters of kids aged 12 to 17 own cellphones; nearly all teens send text messages, and many younger kids have phones giving them online access.

Mark Risinger, 16, of Glenview, Ill., is allowed to use his smartphone and laptop in his room, and says he spends about four hours daily on the Internet doing homework, using Facebook and YouTube and watching movies. He said a two-hour Internet time limit "would be catastrophic" and that kids won't follow the advice, "they'll just find a way to get around it."

Source: Yahoo News

Thursday, October 24, 2013

3 facts that every business blogger needs to know.

FACT: viewers are 85% more likely to purchase after watching a product video.
Auditory and aural learners prefer to hear new material. You can accommodate them by adding narrated video to your website. Further down the funnel, you may want to offer instructional webinars.
Creating these content assets doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, especially if you’re working with a savvy marketing partner. But if you’re stalled in this capacity, you can still cater to auditory audiences by using rhythmic language and patterns in your written content.
FACT: Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text.
A picture is worth a thousand blogs when it comes to customers who are predominantly visual learners. And we’re not talking about generic stock photos of random business people, either. For every two or three written pieces you create about a new product or service offering, try to develop a visual equivalent like a workflow chart or a custom illustration.
This is not to say visual learners can’t comprehend an email blast or follow text only directions on a landing page. But it helps to remember that most people are drawn to vibrant photos and colorful graphs.
FACT: Social shares can trigger Google’s algorithm for “freshness,” giving your rank a temporary lift.
There's not much to say here, other than encourage your followers to share stories from your blog that they find interesting. One share can end up netting you 1,000 views of your blog in the end; which in turn can net you one new client.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Apple releases OS X Mavericks for free. Yes, free. That's something you'll never hear again.

Mac users can have Apple's latest Mac operating system, OS X Mavericks, for free, the company announced Tuesday at an event in San Francisco.

"Today we're going to revolutionize pricing," Craig Federighi, Apple's chief of iOS and OS X, said. The software is available today.

Apple introduced the system in June at its developers' conference. The company touted its extended battery life, tabs, and tags, while demonstrating new features in Safari, Maps, and iBooks.

Federighi reiterated the new features at Tuesday's event. A 13-inch MacBook Air with Mavericks gets up to an hour more of Web browsing and up to 1.5 hours more iTunes movie playback, he said.
He also explained how the system adjusts its memory based on the task. This allows for optimal quality when you're running a graphics-heavy program -- and speed when you're not. He also highlighted the iBook app, in which photos and videos can pop out of a textbook, and an iCloud keychain, which syncs payment information for online purchases.

Overall, the new operating system is faster and easier to use, and apps have a cleaner look.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Apple's iMessage security is a myth.

Apple's iMessage instant messenger service, which has made headlines for being uncrackable by law enforcement, is not so secure after all, according to Quarkslab.

An internal document from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration published by CNET in April stated that it was impossible to intercept iMessages between two Apple devices.

"As Apple claims, there is end-to-end encryption," Quarkslab researcher Cyril Cattiaux said. "The weakness is in the key infrastructure as it is controlled by Apple they can change a key any time they want, thus read the content of our iMessages."

Further, metadata about messages is sensitive, Cattiaux pointed out -- and Apple has that metadata.

Apple insists that iMessage is not architected to let it read messages and insisted that Quarkslab discussed theoretical vulnerabilities that would require Cupertino to re-engineer the iMessage system to exploit it, something the company does not plan to do.

"At the 10,000-foot level, Quarkslab's technical argument is that it is possible to reverse-engineer Apple's encryption technology," Randy Abrams, a director of research at NSS Labs, told TechNewsWorld.

However, the effort required "is such that you already have to be a person of extreme interest to some group somewhere in the world with a high level of technical expertise, and be worth the investment of time and effort," he continued. "No average user, or even crook, is likely to be worth the effort."

Source: Tech News World

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Do you have a Google / Google Plus account? You may be featured in inappropriate advertising. Here's how to opt out:

You may have seen a warning at the top of your Gmail or Chrome browser explaining that Google is changing its privacy policy. What Google is actually doing is starting a program where it takes things you’ve “liked” (or +1′ed, or rated) around the web, then use your name and face in advertisements that show up in other people’s Google search queries.

Remember when Facebook introduced a similar program, one unlucky guy became a spokesman for a giant barrel of lube (story link)? For the vast majority of people, this use of data is unacceptable.

The good news is that Google is giving you a one-click way to opt out of this sort of invasive use of your likeness.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Follow this link:
  2. Now uncheck the box. Congratulations, you’re now opted-out of Google’s endorsement program.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Here's a perfect example of why your website needs to be secure. (Thanks for the $50 round trip tickets to Dublin, Ireland, United Airlines).

For the second time in about a month, a malfunction on United Airlines' Web site is letting customers buy tickets dirt cheap. Passengers can take advantage of the error by setting up a "MileagePlus" account and tricking the site into getting them a ticket with frequent-flyer miles they don't have.

We were able to reserve a roundtrip ticket from Boston, MA, to Dublin, Ireland for less than $50, which covers the cost of taxes and fees. If you're interested in taking this extremely discounted flight (or others), book quick; as of now the loophole is still open.

This isn't the first time United has experienced Web site errors to its detriment. In September, for about a one-hour period, the airline priced tons of tickets at $0. Some users reported booking multiple tickets, including Washington, DC to Honolulu and San Francisco to Newark, NJ, for nothing.

In the September glitch, the problem was reportedly because of a programming error. After United noticed the fire sale, it stopped all online booking for at least an hour. The airline said it would honor the tickets sold during that time. But users who were able to take advantage of Monday's malfunction aren't so lucky.

A United spokesperson stated the airline "will not honor these reservations" because they have "identified an issue where customers are intentionally manipulating our Web site." Welcome to the 21st century, United. Ever think it could also be partially your fault? Maybe you should think about upgrading your security?

Similarly, in July of last year, United canceled a group of tickets after some website users were able to book tickets between the United States and Hong Kong for four frequent-flyer miles and up to $43 in fees. Normally, it takes at least 65,000 miles for a round-trip ticket to Hong Kong in economy class.

If the United website is this poor with security, I can imagine how poorly guarded my credit card information is! Looks like they need a professional IT security company...funny, we happen to know of a great one :)

IES, Inc.

*Legal disclaimer: IES is not promoting illegal or irresponsible activity. We will not take responsibility for you booking a ticket to anywhere your heart desires at a dirt cheap price. However, should you choose to take advantage of the booking website, we certainly wouldn't blame you. IES is simply providing information on the importance of securing a company's website in the technologically driven 21st century.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL COMPUTER USERS: New Crypto Locker Ransomware infecting computers & locking down files.

We are seeing a new version of Crypto Locker Ransomware infecting computers and encrypting files so that you cannot access them. A message comes up as shown in the above link demanding $300 to be paid in order to get the files back.

If you encounter this virus on a work or home machine, turn it off immediately. Do not click on anything to close it. These criminals attempt to panic you into clicking on the "close" buttons which are really an "Ok, infect my computer" button. It is extremely important that you simply turn off the power to the computer immediately and contact your IT support person.

We recommend enabling strict filters on any and all firewalls in both your home and office, which may block some valid HTTPS sites such as banking sites but it's safer than letting this new trojan/virus into your computer systems. The infection is also "network aware" which means that if an infected user has access to a shared folder on a server or another workstation, that user will cause all shared files to become encrypted and unrecoverable as well.

The trojan infection is coming from infected web sites. The links may come in via email or on social media sites. So be very cautious about ANY web links. As we always recommend the sender should clearly identify themselves, you should know the sender and the purpose of the link(s) sent. In any case - it's still best to ignore them and DO NOT click on any links you receive without first calling and verifying that the sender and the link is legitimate.

Please be safe in your email and Internet browsing. If you need assistance securing your computers or find your computers to be infected, feel free to contact us to discuss your options.

IES, Inc.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Windows 8.1 is now available - new features:

By now, we all know how much Windows 8 sucks. It's quite unfortunate that this is the operating system that every computer now comes standard with. However, if you find yourself having to purchase a new computer, you will enjoy the small changes that have been implemented into Windows 8.1.

Below are a few top features of the new Windows 8.1:

Personalized Start Screen
Lock screen slide show: Set up your lock screen to automatically rotate through pictures that you choose from you local or SkyDrive folder.
Start screen background options: New, broad color palette for the Start screen colors and many more backgrounds including animated options.
Multi-monitor support: Different Windows Store apps can now run on all monitors at the same time. The start screen can stay open on one monitor.
Boot to desktop or all apps: Allows the user to select boot direct to desktop or all apps screen rather than the start screen.

Apps for Everyone
Internet Explorer 11: Many IE improvements including faster page load times, slide by slide browsing of your slides, 3D graphics, live website tiles, enhanced pinned site notifications, synchronized settings across all your windows 8.1 devices.
Windows Store: The new store homepage shows more info than before in detailed lists of top free, new releases, and picks for you. Each app listing is more descriptive and informative.
Skype: Skype enables you to easily switch between chat, audio and video call all in the comfort of one place while not missing what you're already doing.
Multiple windows per app: Open multiple windows for the same app side by side.
Slide down to all apps: Slide down from the start screen to see all of your apps in one view then slide up to switch back to the start screen.

Best User Experience and Familiar Desktop
Improved Windows Defender: Windows Defender adds high performance network behavior monitoring that enables it to detect new and constantly morphing variations of malware based on commonly used ad well known behaviors. *See note below.
Automatic app updates from the store: Your installed apps from the Windows Store automatically update.
Start button on taskbar: The start button is located on the taskbar allowing one click access to the start screen.

*Note: IES still highly recommends additional virus protection. From past experience with clients, we have found eSet NOD32 Antivirus to be the best provider.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The real Siri voice has been revealed!

Meet Susan Bennett - you may know her voice if you have ever flown Delta Airlines or used an ATM. But I bet you didn't know her voice was also your favorite digital companion, Siri.

"The first time I actually heard my voice as Siri was when my friend emailed me and said, 'Isn't this you?'" Bennett told CNN, who broke the story. "I went to the Apple site and that's where I heard the voice. I went, 'Oh! Hmm. That is me.'"

Bennett says she recorded what would eventually become the voice of iPhone in July of 2005, for four hours a day, every day of the month. "I had absolutely no idea where they would end up," she admits. "Originally, it was just a bunch of sentences and phrases that were created so that every single combination of vowels and consonants and syllables could be spoken."

All of which might explain why Siri is so sassy: "There are some people that just can read hour upon hour upon hour, and it's not a problem. For me, I get extremely bored. That's one of the reasons why Siri might sometimes sound like she has a bit of an attitude...Those sounds might have been recorded the last 15 minutes of those four hours."

Source: CNN

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Looking to hire a technology account executive: telecommute with some travel.

This is a great opportunity to gain sales experience with a young technology company. IES is a web development, custom software and application development, and all around IT consulting firm dedicated to finding business solutions that increase revenue and make business processes run smoother. Dedicated to service and integrity, IES is quickly becoming the go to solutions house for businesses looking for real world technology solutions. Are you ready for the opportunity to be part of the next big thing in IT?

  • Bachelors degree or equivalent experience.
  • 0-3 years sales or customer service experience.
  • Ability to work a full sales cycle and on commission only.
  • Strong communication and writing skills.
  • 10% travel required to close deals in person.
Job Description:
  • The Account Executive will make 75 phone calls and 25 emails per day, targeting small and mid sized businesses.
  • Must have timely follow up with prospects. 
  • Meet with prospects to close deals. 
  • Daily contact with the VP of Sales to address any questions or concerns.
  • Email all discovered leads and fax all closed contracts to VP of Sales at the end of each day.
Unique Benefits:
  • Work from home and be your own boss! (Occasional travel to Pembroke office and client offices).
  • Uncapped commissions and bonus opportunities.
  • 15% of the gross revenue you bring in, uncapped commissions. Average ticket is $5,000, so your average sale will earn you $750.
  • Weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly bonuses for hitting quotas set by CEO or VP of Sales.
  • Weekly bonus of up to $250, monthly of up to $1000, quarterly up to $2,500 and yearly of up to $10,000.
For consideration please email your resume and a cover letter to Please, no phone calls about this position.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Looking for a job? Interview slots available, just solve this mathematical conundrum first.

Everyone wants to hire clever people. So one Australian startup called Bigcommerce thought it would separate the wheat from the hapless by posting ads that included a mathematical conundrum.

Solving it would allow the wise to access its special "Batphone," where eager people were waiting.

However, as Australia's reports, prospective engineers seem to be having trouble solving the puzzle.

Below the message: "We only hire Software Engineers who can solve complex problems" is a math problem. (See image below).

Soren Harner, vice president of engineering, says it shouldn't be hard. Some of his current employees have already solved it.

It is said that Google interviewers used to ask extremely clever questions of candidates in order to make themselves feel intelligent. The company insisted a few months ago that it had ceased this fine practice

But this would seem to be a legitimate riddle...

Source: CNET

Thursday, October 3, 2013

You can buy anything online. Apparently that includes drugs, assassins, and firearms...

According to the sealed complaint filed by the FBI, federal agents arrested Ross William Ulbricht on Tuesday afternoon, charging him with narcotics trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering.

The FBI also seized the Silk Road website, replacing its homepage with a banner noting as much.

Since its 2011 inception, Silk Road has been the go-to black market for all sorts of illegal products and services. Its draw? The online marketplace offered an easy way to find goods and services -- and transact the money in secret. The site had 957,079 registered users, according to the FBI.

The site was operated on an anonymous network known as Tor, making activity on Silk Road virtually untraceable. The only money accepted on Silk Road was the digital currency bitcoin, adding an additional layer of anonymity to buyers and sellers.

Over the past two and a half years, the FBI said the site generated revenue worth more than 9.5 million bitcoins -- valued at $1.3 billion.

The FBI said Ulbricht's net worth was essentially his value in Silk Road's commissions, which totaled more than 600,000 bitcoins ($85 million).

Silk Road wasn't restricted to illegal drugs. The FBI says it was also used to trade firearms, hire assassins and employ hackers.

Source: CNN

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Are you a Realtor? Here's why you need a personal website AND a website for each individual listing...

It is the 21st century - we all know that a home buyer can now do his initial research seated in front of a computer. The traditional approach of contacting an agent and having the agent arrange for home viewings that may or may not suit the client is no longer the first step. Today, the home buyer can select a range of houses suitable for viewing on the internet and then have a real estate agent arrange the home visits.

This now means that the agent is no longer the client's first contact. For that reason, it is critical that active agents establish an Internet presence. If a customer is clicking through homes and finds one of interest, it is important that the listing agent be "clickable" on the same page. Otherwise, the customer may call his friend, the Realtor down the street and ask him to step in.

As technology advances, along with Google and the ease of information access, a Realtor should have a personal website. No longer is a profile on sufficient. An innovative Realtor should have their site setup so that it provides additional pictures and information about active properties they have listed, as well as big sales and past accomplishments. Contact information in the form of phone numbers and an email template are essential: the key is to make it easy for the customer who has found an interesting property to connect with the listing agent.

Nothing will accomplish this more effectively than an attractive, informative website that personalizes the Realtor and connects him or her to the property in question. The Realtor's personal site should be in-depth, personable, and offer the client as many options as possible.

Lately, we have seen a rise in websites for each individual home listed as well in the form of number plus street name. (Example: Often, this is a cheap and effective way to get the listing exposed to more than just passersby. Here, the Realtor can focus 100% of the site's content to featuring the listing with pictures and information, along with splashing their brand and information all over the page.

The idea is to maximize use of Internet technology to bring that potential customer into the Realtor's fold.

Are you a realtor in need of a personal website or listing site? Give us a call today:

IES, Inc.

*Pricing discounts available for upfront payment and / or automatic listing subscription. Easy financing available with commission percentage.