sign copyright
cheese camera

Copyright laws in the technology era


Remember the good old days, where we would write a research paper by hand, and if we needed a picture we would make a photocopy and attach it. In those days we knew to give credit where credit was due. How about today?
Are we infringing on copyright laws without knowing?
What are the consequences, even if accidental? 
Would you be more inclined to read a black and white text article?
Or a colorful, attractive looking article?
 Most people prefer the attractive looking choice. Therefore when desigining their website or posting information up to their website, they add color and pictures.
Where do the pictures come from?
While most professionals purchase pictures from places such as bigstockphoto,istockphotogetty imagesshutterstock and the like, newbies may prefer aGoogle image search and use free pictures from Google.
Is there anything wrong with using Google Images?
Actually, there is something wrong with using Google Images.
Google is a search engine. What they do is scour the Internet and index every page of every website, so that when you want to find anything, it will be on your screen in milliseconds.
Therefore when you go to and type in a search request, find the desired image, download the picture and use it for your own use, you may be using a copyrighted image which you took from an index provided by Google
What does this mean to you?
If you do a Google Image search for a picture and you use it for any sort of online publication, such as a website, PDF or newsletter, in essence you are using someone else’s image.
This is illegal and if done, you can get charged with copyright infringement.
Have things changed over time?
Years ago, if you “stole” a picture, the odds of the original owner finding out about it were generally slim.
Now, with everything being placed on the Internet and being indexed, it’s much easier and probable to be caught using someone else’s images without paying for it.
In conclusion…
The bottom line is before you “borrow” information or images from a source, make sure it’s legal to use it in your publication. Otherwise you may get emails threatening a lawsuit if you don’t back pay for images or ideas “borrowed” from others.

Have a question or comment on this topic?

We want to hear from you! 

Click here or call us at 718-676-6910


Pushing The Right Buttons


Do you know how to push people’s buttons?
Whether it be with at home or in the office, there are people who magically get people to do what they want, while others are always having a hard time.
Sometimes the difference could be the first person knows how to push people in the correct way to get their way.
The same applies to ports on your computers and routers.
Read below to learn all the basics of ports, and how by plugging in the right port makes all the difference between success and failure.
Ever plugged something into your computer?
While we all plug in something (some more then others) into our computers, the technical term for the “jacks” are ports.
Today we will be discussing the USB ports.
What does USB stand for?
USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. While many computers have a “blue jack for the monitor” which is also referred to as the VGA port for your monitor and a “power slot” for the power cord, the USB slot is a standard size port which allows for many different items to connect to your computer without required a special port built into your computer.
As a side note, the USB has the ability to read/transfer data as well as to supply the device with power. (That’s how the USB plug is able to charge your cell phone when it is connected to the computer.)
Ever “pushed the wrong plug”?
While within human interactions, we almost all have pushed the wrong plug, which resulted in a blown fuse, we may not have realized it when it happened with our technology.
How does this apply to your technology? 
Ever tried printing, but the printer just never got the message (to print)?
Perhaps you plugged the printer’s USB cord into a different open USB port on the computer. To you, all USB ports are the same, but that’s not true to the computer. Each port has different software installed on it, to allow for different functionalities. Therefore, the fix may be as simple as plugging the printer cable into the original USB port or configuring your printer driver to the new port.
Until now we were discussing ports which are generally physical ports. Network ports have some similarities and differences to physical ports.
How are computer and network ports similar?
Both are conduits for programs to access drivers or networks
How are they different?
– There is no physical location for network ports
– The more “open ports” one has on their network, the more susceptible they are to being attacked
– USB ports are able to provide power, where as network ports are virtual software
Is there anything which is considered standard?
Yes! Below is a list of standard network ports with their associated port numbers:
FRP is port 21
SMTP is port 25
POP3 is port 110
IMAP is port 143
HTTPS is port 443
Remote Desktop is port 3389
For a more detailed list, click HEREHERE or HERE.
Why may one use their network ports?
Network ports allow for businesses to function over the network. Some common examples include:
– Remote Desktop
– VoIP phones

Have a question or comment on this topic?

We want to hear from you! 

Click here or call us at 718-676-6910


A Real Threat


For many years we have discussed viruses, the threats they present, and the lack of following through.
Last week, a laptop was brought in to our office – on this particular laptop, the virus did follow through on its threat.
Read below to see what the virus did, how to prevent it, as well as other recent viruses. 
Many times a virus gets into one’s computer as a file which is downloaded on to the computer. The way it gets downloaded is via a link on a website, flash drive or more commonly via an email. The email looks legitimate, but when you click on the link within the email or website, you are accepting the download.
For those that don’t have Internet access, you can still get infected! .
Via CD’s or flash drives which are already infected and placed into your computer.
The way the virus infects the computer is that after it gets downloaded, it opens up. How does it open? Sometimes the file automatically “runs” after it is downloaded, sometimes the computer user selects the “run” option after it downloads. Once it opens up, the computer can get infected.
There are many types of viruses. Some will merely use up resources to slow down your computer (just plain annoying), while others can be scary with a white screen with the FBI logo threatening you and blocking access to your entire computer. More frightening, others may actively steal your information.
While most viruses are merely annoying or scary, this new virus actually encrypts your data with a ransom amount to get it back!
It has a countdown, and once the time is up, it really encrypts your documents.
While some viruses allow you to still use your computer, others block all activities or limit access to your computer. Therefore, we recommend:
1. Disconnect your computer from the Internet ASAP.
2. Shut down the computer.
3. Get the computer cleaned by a trustworthy technician.
Unfortunately there is no 100% guarantee to prevent an infection to your computers.
The virus may disguise itself as “a good guy” and get past you and your anti-virus program.
That being said, it is imperative to have an active anti-virus program always running as well as to be wary of all emails and websites and be cautious of the links you select.
Another ounce of prevention is to hover the mouse over the link in question, and the real location of the address will populate on the bottom of the browser. If it looks suspicious, we recommend looking for an alternate way to get to desired location (such as by entering in the actual website in browser).
Yes. There are viruses which spread over local networks. Therefore, it is imperative to take the infected computer off the network as soon as possible.
Many times customers ask us, “Is it just easier to wipe the computer and start over?” While this may work, we generally recommend removing the virus and not to wipe the computer.
There are two main reasons for this:
(A) it generally is cheaper to remove a virus than to wipe the entire computer and re-install the Operating System, programs, data and general settings
(B) once the virus is removed, your data and settings are generally the way you like it.

Have a question or comment on this topic?

We want to hear from you! 

Click here or call us at 718-676-6910

remote support


Email and Websites

While some websites are quite small and simple and others are very large and complex, they all share some similar characteristics. One similarity regarding websites is in regard to how websites are stored. While some may prefer to store them locally on their personal computers or servers, others get hosting from companies like GoDaddy and 1and1. How does it work? What are the differences? What are the pros and cons of a particular choice?
A basic informational website can be compared to a word document.
How so?
A word document can contain a ten page report, which would include a cover page, the introduction, the main body, and the conclusion. While each of these sections may be unique, they are all connected within one document.
A website contains the home page, the meat and potatoes of your business and a contact page for further information. Each of these items are actually separate pages which are all connected within the same domain. For example, and are two individual pages which look similar, are part of the same domain yet they are unique in what information and links are on the page.
For basic informational sites, the web developer puts the pages all in one central location for others to be able to access them as a website. 
For more advanced sites, programmers add code and run programs at the location of where the website is being stored.
Continuing reading below to see how the information is then able to be accessed from any web browser. 
Personal Computers/ Servers: Storing the actual data on your local computer gives you full access to make any changes to your website without needing to connect to the hosting company at any point. The downside is the constant maintenance that is required to keep your servers up and running. Besides for security issues which should not be taken lightly, you would also need to make sure your network can handle the traffic which your website will generate. Generally, it is not advisable for small and medium businesses to host their own websites, rather they should be hosted using one of many hosting providers, which brings us to our next topic.. 
Hosting Providers: There are many companies which provide hosting. Some of the big names are Go DaddyHost Gator and 1and1. These companies have rooms full of servers and they rent you space on their servers. While this comes with a monthly price tag, it frees you of having to worry about downtime, since the providers are responsible for providing redundant servers and networks to make certain that your website is always live. The way to access (to add/remove or edit) your website is by FTP’ing (File Transfer Protocol) into the hosting providers server.
Many of the hosting companies provide email hosting as well. 
What does that mean?
What this means is that once the hosting company is providing you with space on their servers to store your website, they either provide for free or nominal fee email hosting as well.
Therefore, instead of using “” for your business email address, you can use “” and the hosting company will host your emails for you.
While there are many different ways to achieving the same goal, having a professional looking website and a business email address will provide your company with a polished look without breaking the bank.
Call today for a free estimate to see how we can give your small business the professional image you were always looking to provide.
remote support


And other solutions

A while back, we discussed several options users tend to use to connect to their office computer from home or visa verse. One of the big names which people used is Log Me In, and in particular, Log Me In Free, which as the name connotes, the free version. 
Log Me In was in the news last week, since they announced that all free plans will become disabled 7 days after the next login to software.
Therefore, we will re-discuss the current options, free and paid as well as some known pros and cons which come along with the various options. 



Before we begin, let’s discuss: How does the remote software actually work?
Remote support programs allow users to access their desktop from different locations.
The first step is to download and set it up on your office desktop (or whichever computer you would like to access at a later point in time).
The next step is to access your computer from another computer.
What’s important to keep in mind, is that since you are connecting over the Internet, the main computer which you are connected to must be connected to the Internet and powered on for the connection to work.
Are there any security risks involved?
Depending on which program you use, there are potential security openings. However, we have found most businesses to be OK with allowing users to access their desktop from one of these types of programs.
What are the big names in the business?
LogMeIn– With those that used to have a free account, they were able log in from any PC, and access any of the computers which LogMeIn was already installed on.
The cheapest plan for new subscribers is the LogMeIn Pro, which starts at $99/year. For those that were using the free plan, they will be able to get the LogMeIn Pro for just $49/year.
 GoToMyPC- Depending on the amount of users and computers, the price varies. The cheapest plan is $9.95/month or $99/yr which comes with the ability to remotely access one PC. We generally don’t recommend GoToMyPC due the cost, however the drag and drop file transfer (simply drag the file on the screen, and it gets transferred to the other PC) is quite cool and extremely easy to use!

Team Viewer – Team Viewer works differently than the LogMeIn and GoToMyPC in the setup. To access your computer remotely, you need to enter in the assigned code into the installed program on the “guest computer”. It is a free service for home users, but those that connect to many different computers over the course of the day, will be required to purchase the software (which is a one time fee) at $749/seat.
Remote Desktop – Remote Desktop is a free, built in Windows program, which allows multiple users to access one desktop or server.
This is very common in a server environment, when several users need to access a particular software located on one machine.
In a desktop environment, Remote Desktop is slightly limited, since it only allows one user to be logged in via Remote Desktop at any given point in time.
If you are looking to use Remote Desktop, confirm you are purchasing a computer which supports Remote Desktop.
VNC – There are free versions (click HERE to download UltraVNC) which requires a more advanced setup then LogMeIn or GoToMyPC for it to work properly. This program can be used to connect to computers within one’s network or outside of one’s local network.
VPN– A Virtual Private Network allows the user(s) to access all shared network resources (computers, servers, printers…) as if they were sitting in the office. A VPN connection operates by allowing the “guest” computer to be on the same network and IP address as the “host” network. The setup up for this generally requires assistance from your IT department.


At the end of the day, we all need to file taxes. We can file our personal taxes online, with an accountant or the brave ones do it themselves. When it comes to our businesses, we need to make sure everything is entered and filed properly. While some may use paper and pen and others start off with a simple Excel spreadsheet, with time and G-d willing, business growth, we need to find a better solution to keep track of all our accounting needs. Read below to learn about QuickBooks and why it’s highly recommended. 



How to access QuickBooks


There are different versions of QuickBooks, depending on your particular needs. One of the big decisions you must make is whether you want to run QuickBooks locally on your computer as a software program or via the cloud, with no actual software.


Software: For those who opt with the software versions, they purchase QuickBooks as a one-time payment and install it on which ever computers they want. For each company, you create one data file which is shared amongst all the computers, so that all the users are able to access and edit the same data.


Online: For those who prefer the online version:


–  All the users can access the program from any web browser. This alleviates the need to install the software and share the data file from one main computer. 

–  The accountant can access your account with an “accountant view” at no additional fee.

– Receive all updates automatically and at no additional charge.



– Pay a monthly fee and never actually own the product. 

– Some functions may be limited (compared to the software version).


Click HERE to see the common online and software options.

Click HERE to see the entire list of products made by Intuit for Small Businesses. 





For the software version, you can install QuickBooks on as many computers as you wish. However, to allow multiple people to be logged in simultaneously, you are required to purchase additional licenses. Therefore, you only need to purchase licenses for the anticipated amount of users at one time, which may not necessarily be the same amount of users overall.

Industry compatible

While there are many different types of businesses (whether it be manufacturing, professional, service or retail), they all have pre-built modules in QuickBooks for your particular needs. The first time you open the program, it asks you some questions to ascertain what you do and sets up your account within QuickBooks to represent the industry standard for your needs.

Integrates with many other systems

Considering QuickBooks is a highly popular product, many programs look to integrate with QuickBooks.

What does this mean?

While every business may use an industry specific program to manage their business, the program may not provide any or limited accounting features. Therefore, many businesses use an accounting product along with specific software for their industry. If QuickBooks can “talk” to your other program, then there is no need to enter the data again into QuickBooks from your other system.

What QuickBooks does


Accounts receivable: QuickBooks allows you to keep track of relevant client information as well as what they owe and what has been paid.

Accounts Payable: Are you in business? If yes, then you know that there is no shortage of vendors. How do you keep track of incoming bills, what was paid and how it was paid? This is all taken care of in the “vendor” section of QuickBooks.

Payroll: For free, you can enter your employees’ payroll information. This is important for the end of the year accounting statements as well as the ability to print pay stubs if needed. For an additional charge, QuickBooks can run your payroll for you as well.

Reporting: Do you want to see how much you owe or are owed? How sales are going? Once all your data is entered into QuickBooks these and many other reports are easily generated and viewable to get instant updates on your company’s status.

Accountants are comfortable with QuickBooks 

While spreadsheets may seem cheaper, many accountants charge hourly. Therefore, being prepared and having everything in an orderly fashion in a program the accountant is comfortable with will assist in lowering your accounting fees.

Maximizing the experience

best practice


While people are still debating whether to get Windows 7 or Windows 8, we’ve seen that more and more people are getting Windows 8. Below are some pointers to assist in making it a more user friendly experience.







When users enter the password to log into their Windows 8 account, there is a little image, as seen below, which is on the right side of the password field.

What is it?

By selecting the highlighted box, the user is able to see the characters of the password they entered in so far (to check for accuracy) without compromising the security.

windows 8 login password



When creating a new user within Windows 8, it offers the option to set up a local account or a Microsoft account.

A local account is quicker and easier, yet we generally recommend creating the user as a Microsoft account.


In case the user forgets the password, you can change your password from the Internet on a different computer (so long as the computer is connected to the Internet). Additionally, the [app] store may require a Microsoft account for downloading.


Those of us who are comfortable with Windows 7 know that you can select the START button and start typing and it will automatically search your computer for programs, documents, videos and music related to your search request.

With Windows 8, simply go the metro look and start typing!

It’s that simple! When you start typing, a search automatically appears and searches based on your search criteria.


We found the updating to Windows 8.1 is generally a good idea since it’s more user friendly.

How do you get the update?

The update is available for free through the [app] store.

Using multiple languages on your computer



While most of our readers choose English as the default language on their computers, many use a second language.


How do you type in a different language?

How do you switch between the installed languages?

How do you know which letters correspond to which buttons on the English keyboard?



How to type in a different language:

To type in a language other than the default English, you need to add an “input language.”

Select START if in Windows 7 (in Windows 8, start a search)





Select ADD

Find the language you would like to add, select the PLUS sign, select the KEYBOARD option and then the language you are looking to add.

Select OK

Select Apply

How to switch between languages:


Near the clock on the bottom right of your desktop, you will see the option to switch between the languages you have installed.

Want to set up a hot key (so that you can have a custom shortcut to make the change)?

Select START (in Windows 8, start a search)






Highlight the language you are looking to make a hot key for



Using the two drop downs, you can customize the shortcut key to switch between languages

Wondering which keys represent which letters?

Once you have the new language installed properly on your computer, how do you know which keys represent which letters in the new alphabet?

While some may prefer to add stickers to the physical keyboards, others prefer to use the on-screen keyboard when necessary.

To access the on-screen keyboard on a Windows 7 computer:

Select START

Type and select ON-SCREEN KEYBOARD

To access the on-screen keyboard on a Windows 8 computer:

Access the search menu, and enter ON-SCREEN KEYBOARD

Windows XP

Windows XP

Microsoft is ending support to Windows XP. What does that mean for you?

According to Microsoft’s website*:

It means you should take action. After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

Running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in your environment after their end of support date may expose your company to potential risks, such as:

  • Security & Compliance Risks: Unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks. This may result in an officially recognized control failure by an internal or external audit body, leading to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to maintain its systems and customer information.
  • Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) & Hardware Manufacturers support: A recent industry report from Gartner Research suggests “many independent software vendors (ISVs) are unlikely to support new versions of applications on Windows XP in 2011; in 2012, it will become common.” And it may stifle access to hardware innovation: Gartner Research further notes that in 2012, most PC hardware manufacturers will stop supporting Windows XP on the majority of their new PC models.

Get current with Windows and Office. This option has an upside well beyond keeping you supported. It offers more flexibility to empower employees to be more productive, while increasing operational efficiency through improved PC security and management. It also enables your organization to take advantage of latest technology trends such as virtualization and the cloud.

What does this mean on a practical level?


Microsoft does not allow Internet Explorer users to upgrade past version 8.0. For some secure websites, this poses an issue, since they require a later version of IE to work. A work-around is to use another browser!

Anti-virus programs may not send out updates for threats relevant to Windows XP.

After all the doom and gloom, your computer will still work, but there is potential for a lapse in security.


Looking ahead

We have seen a surge of requests regarding certain new and/or growing technologies in 2014.

Read below to see what some of them are.


What new technology do you have planned to implement in 2014? 

NEST– A thermostat which allows the customer to control the device from an app on ones cell phone. For landlords, this allows them to set the temperature and adjust it when needed, without giving the tenant control. For home owners, this allows them to save on their energy bill since it can sense when people are in the room and adjusts the temperature accordingly.

SECURITY CAMERAS – Watch your home or office from an app on your phone to always keep an eye on your property.

While security cameras have been around for a while, with the advancement of smart phones and apps, more and more home and business owners are opting in to installing a security system which includes cameras with remote viewing capabilities.


Cloud Storage and Computing – As users are using mobile devices and are connecting from multiple locations, cloud storage (the ability to store and retrieve data from the cloud as opposed to a desktop or server in your office) and cloud computing (choosing a program which is web based as opposed to software based) is increasing day by day.




This year, thank G-d, has been quite busy at Avenue M Computers.

We wanted to thank you, our customers, for making this year such a success.

While looking over the past year, we decided to briefly discuss the newsletters which received the most feedback.

Which was your favorite? We want to know! Click HERE to let us know. We are looking forward to your response.

Email 56

Password Tips

There are numerous ways to create and organize your passwords.

Our favorite?

Use one crazy, yet easy to remember password, and change it for every website or program.

What do we mean?

To create the “standard” password:

(1) Think of your favorite book or saying.

(2) Take the first letter of each word.

(3) Make at least one letter capital.

(4) Interchange or add in a digit or two (“i” to “1”)

(5) Interchange a letter for a symbol (such as “s” to “$”)

(6) We recommend making sure this password is 6-8 characters long.

And then, to change the password based on the program:

Add in the first letter of the particular website or program to the beginning of the password.

Email 88

New Scams

Be wary of the phone call asking you to set up a remote session to show you hundreds of errors on your computer.

Email 72

Yahoo Closed Accounts

In the beginning days of emails, creating an account generally incurred a cost and people did not create email accounts for no reason.

Now that email accounts are generally free to create, some email providers are running out of email addresses.

Therefore, as of July 15th, 2013, Yahoo gave away email addresses which had not been entered in the past 12 months.

This posed a security danger for those who have their “forgotten passwords” linked to the old accounts.

Email 81

Catching Up

iOS7 – the pros and the cons.

Well, for many at this point, it does not matter since many apps require the updated OS.

What are your thoughts on iOS7?

Email 65

Google Alerts

Want to be updated as something happens, or perhaps a daily digest is adequate?

Set up a Google alert to notify you – whether it’s a item you wish to purchase or a news article. Follow the steps below  to set up a Google alert.

1. What would you like to be alerted about?

When you enter information into this question, the right side of the page populates with what you would see with this search.

2. Where do you want the information to come from?

Some may want from “everything”, while others may want to limit their search to videos or blogs.

3. How often would you like to be alerted?

As-it-happens, once a day or weekly. Whichever you prefer, Google will accommodate!

4. Do you want all related information or a more narrowed display?

Do you want Google to sift through the data and only give you what they deem relevant, or would you like to see the information and determine that on your own?

5. Where should the alerts appear?

Would you like the alert(s) to appear in your email or on your feed?


Email 84

Website Basics


PPC, SEO, Social Marketing and Social Engagement.

Words which were unknown to business owners a few years ago have now become the core components to many business owners. 


Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) – This is when you pay the large search engines every time someone clicks on your ad. Prices vary based on location time and keywords.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Make sure your site is constantly being optimized for the major search engines to find and categorize your website. This may include keywords, tags and blogging.

Social Marketing – In addition to, or instead of, paying for ads and marketing experts for print ads, you can do the same on social networks. By getting out there and letting people see you exist on the various social media outlets (with links to your site) you can increase the amount of clicks to your site – which will hopefully translate into sales.

Social Engagement – Instead of pushing out data to the social networks, some people prefer to engage their customers and potential customers with questions and chats to allow for a human interaction.


Email 54

Free Tools

Looking for a free alternative for some commonly purchased programs?

Alternative to Word?

Open Office

Looking for a way to convert a page into a PDFor to save a particular web page to your desktop?

Try CutePDF

Alternative to Outlook?

Mozilla Thunderbird

A free anti-virus program?

Security Essentials, Avast or AVG

Looking for a free filter?