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Tip of the Week: How to Change the Size of Your Desktop Icons

b2ap3_thumbnail_desktop_icons_400.jpgThere seem to be thousands of different ways a user can customize their desktop experience. Almost every nook and cranny of a system can be adjusted, even right down to the icons on your desktop. For this week’s tip, we’ll show you how to adjust the size of your desktop icons.

“Change the size of my desktop icons, why would I want to do that?” We’re glad you asked. This isn’t a well-known tip, and it’s not as personal of an adjustment to make as say, changing your desktop wallpaper image, but it can come in handy. Here are three examples:

  • Your eyesight isn’t good and you need to enlarge the icons to see them better.
  • Your desktop is too cluttered and you need to make some quick space by making every icon smaller (this isn’t a best practice).
  • Or, you need to pull a quick prank on a co-worker who has just stepped away from their PC and left it unlocked by quickly changing the size of every desktop icon.

Here’s how you do it: Simply left click the desktop to activate it and then, while holding down the [Ctrl] Key, move your mouse scroll wheel forward or backward in order to make the desktop icons larger or smaller. Go ahead and try it. You will notice that doing this simultaneously adjusts the size of every one of your icons, and it gives you a generous range of sizes to choose from.

Alternatively, you can adjust the icon sizes by right clicking the desktop, going to view, and then selecting Large icons, Medium icons, or Small icons.

resize desktop icons

After messing with the sizes of your desktop icons, using this desktop menu is an easy way to return the desktop icons to their normal size. To do this, select “Medium icons.”

What’s your preferred desktop icon size? Are you going to sneakily change the size of every desktop icon in the office and earn the title of Prank Master? Do know any other cool ways to customize your desktop? Let us know in the comments.

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How Long Can You Go for Without Your Smartphone?

b2ap3_thumbnail_smartphone_addiction_400.jpgYour smartphone is, without a doubt, a valuable business asset. It keeps you connected to your business at all times, even when you’re home; but is this a good thing? Have you ever considered what your significant other might feel if you answer your phone while out to dinner? Thanks to the indisputable power of social science research, it’s been proven that smartphones are bad for our personal relationships. Gasp!

This revelation, albeit somewhat obvious, was the result of a test led by Virginia Tech’s Shalini Misra. 100 pairs of strangers were set up to have 10-minute conversations in the Washington D.C. area. Half of the pairs were told to make small talk, while the other half discussed more personal, feeling-oriented topics. During the duration of the test, the research team recorded when, and how often, participants took out their mobile devices.

Following the survey, the participants were asked to complete a survey commenting on the quality of the conversation experienced. The results show that people feel smartphones reduce the quality of conversation, which in turn produces weakened relationships. Here are some of the observations that were made:

  • Pairs who frequently used their mobile devices during conversation had a decreased sense of “interconnectedness,” which was determined by the survey with answers like “I felt close to my conversation partner.”
  • Even the simple act of placing the device on the table worked against the test participants.
  • Feelings of “empathetic concern,” which were measured by whether or not the conversationalists really understood the feelings of each other, also decreased.

It might seem inconsequential, but even the sight of a mobile device can make a situation feel less social. This can be detrimental to building new relationships, and maintaining previously-existing ones. If you think your smartphone is hampering your ability to be social, it might be time to examine your phone etiquette.

Challenge: Attempt to Go a Single Day Without Your Phone
A 2012 study from Time magazine asked nearly 5,000 smartphone users to judge how reliant they were on their smartphones. The results revealed that society certainly does have a problem with smartphone addiction.

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Take a Smartphone Break
Whether or not you’re using your smartphone for work or for sheer entertainment, you need to take a break from your smartphone once in a while. Unfortunately, the business owner might feel reluctant to separate from their mobile device. The important thing to remember is that a break from technology now and again is beneficial to your overall health and mental state. According to Scientific American, a certain amount of downtime is required in order to replenish productive, creative thought capabilities.

Instead of relying on your smartphone all of the time, it might not be a bad idea to let go and see how much you can get done without it. Andrew Smart’s book titled Autopilot: The Art and Science of Doing Nothing details how it can be beneficial to do this. According to Smart, this can lead to a better understanding of what your unconscious self wants, and can lead to you using that knowledge to your advantage.

Do you think you can keep the productivity up without being tethered to your device at all times? What are some of your tips for dealing with smartphone addiction? Let us know in the comments.

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3 of the Most Common Misconceptions About the Cloud

b2ap3_thumbnail_cloud_confusing_business_owners_400.jpgDespite the clear advantages that cloud computing offers to modern businesses, some organizations are hesitant to incorporate it into their IT infrastructure. Due to the cloud’s fairly recent insurgence, it’s natural to feel some sort of anxiety toward cloud integration. However, these fears aren’t necessarily warranted, and some can directly influence your ability to grow and expand.

According to Thomas LaRock of NetworkComputing, there are generally three reasons why some business owners are concerned about the cloud:

  1. They don’t understand it.
  2. They feel they don’t have enough control over their data.
  3. They fear the cloud might grow obsolete.

Total Networks wants to help your business get over its fear of the cloud, so we’ll begin by explaining why these three common misconceptions are understandable, yet unnecessary. This is made especially true by our managed cloud services.

If People Don’t Understand It, They Fear It
This is something that most people struggle with on a daily basis. Why not take a different route to work? You might get lost and arrive at the office late. This fear is why people avoid the unknown, and the primary reason that some businesses tend to avoid the cloud. It might just feel too risky. These business owners seem to have forgotten what it means to run a business; taking risks. Not being open to change can negatively affect your business when it comes time to integrate new solutions and policies.

Unlike other companies that might not explain things thoroughly, Total Networks provides complete transparency. We can walk you through the numerous cloud solutions out there and equip you with the one that best suits your unique needs.

If Business Owners Can’t Control It, It Must Be Unpredictable
Some business owners might be hesitant to integrate a cloud solution because they feel that they’ll be relinquishing control over their data. This isn’t necessarily true. Depending on the cloud solution implemented, the business owner can have as little, or as much, control over their cloud solution as they want. For instance, the public cloud handles hosting and security, and there are private clouds which can be hosted in-house which give you much more control over your cloud in exchange for responsibility. If neither sound optimal, a hybrid cloud can be integrated that takes advantage of the efficiency of the public cloud and the security of the private cloud.

Total Networks knows all about the various advantages and disadvantages of the different types of cloud solutions. We’ll work with you to find the best solution that meets the demands of your business.

It’s Just a Fad That Will Fade with Time
Then, of course, there are the business owners who don’t quite see how revolutionary the cloud is, or think that it’s just a fad that will eventually go out of style without significantly affecting the business world. The problem with this theory is that it already has significantly benefited businesses around the world by allowing for easy, affordable storage, application access, and computing in general, that can be accessed by a variety of different devices.

It’s safe to say that cloud computing isn’t going anywhere, and it can only grow more impressive as time goes on. It’s still a developing technology that continues to expand and improve. If increased access to corporate data is wrong, we don’t want to be right.

So, as you can see, businesses have no reason to be concerned over the cloud. In fact, they should embrace it and use it as a chance to expand and grow their bottom line. To get started with cloud computing, give Total Networks a call at (602)412-5025.

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Posted in: Cloud

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Tip of the Week: Improve Productivity By Napping at Work, Seriously

b2ap3_thumbnail_nap_at_work_400.jpgAll business owners understand that in order to stay competitive, their team must work as hard as they possibly can. Unfortunately, however, that’s not how human physiology works. Everyone needs a break now and again, and the office is no different. Remember elementary school, when you would curl up with a blanket and get some sleep during naptime? It turns out this might be a viable option in the office, too.

HubSpot, the renowned marketing company, is one of the many businesses embracing office naptime. Entrepreneur reports that HubSpot’s CMO, Mike Volpe, claims that “a 20-minute nap is often all he needs to regain focus and re-energize to be more productive for the rest of the day.” Many employees with families or younger children might not be getting enough sleep to go all-out in the office, so this extra sleep is especially helpful for them.

Wait, Napping Can Lead to More Productivity?
Napping is growing more popular in the technology industry, and when you think about it, it’s not that surprising. Many professionals work day in and day out in order to ensure that their jobs are done properly. As a business owner, you understand the need to attract top talent if you want to stay competitive; and in an evolving industry where game rooms and employee lounges were once unheard of, all of a sudden, naptime doesn’t sound so farfetched.

Even Google is embracing naptime. They take it a step further than most by integrating what they call “energy pods” into their policy. These are basically reclining chairs in a bubble that play soothing music and sounds. They even have alarm clocks so employees can get back to the daily grind after a quick catnap.

google pod

Napping Has Been Stigmatized as Lazy
Napping might seem like a great idea, but some businesses are still reluctant to integrate a corporate naptime policy. Despite the fact that research has proven that sleep is more efficient than caffeine in terms of productivity (not to mention that humans, you know, need sleep), businesses still look down on napping and label it as “irresponsible.” Napping has been stigmatized as slacking off and being lazy, which is a reputation that will be hard to kick. Terry Cralle, a certified sleep expert, argues that sleep is more imperative to a healthy lifestyle (and workplace) than an on-site gymnasium, simply because human beings need sleep in order to function at maximum efficiency.

Granted, some employers’ reservations concerning naptime are justified. For example, it’s one thing for an employee to need rest because they’re a new mother or father, but another entirely to sleep off a hangover. Proper monitoring is key to ensuring your team isn’t abusing the privilege.

How to Introduce a Naptime Policy
You might be wondering how to introduce a corporate naptime policy in a way which fosters maximum productivity. Here’s how you can take advantage of naptime in the workplace to minimize user error and keep everyone on task.

Build a specialized napping facility. We aren’t talking about making an entirely new building dedicated to sleep. Instead, transform a room into a naptime paradise. All you need is a quiet room with a comfy sofa or a hammock where your team can catch some quick z’s. Lay down a soft rug and use a calming color palette to encourage drifting off. Unfortunately for some, sleeping doesn’t come so naturally, so a place that encourages it goes a long way.

Make it known that napping is accepted in the company culture. Some employees might be nervous about indulging themselves in the occasional nap, but if you are up-front with your team about the concept, they will be more open to the idea. HubSpot’s nap room works similarly to their conference room, where it can be booked by anyone for as long and as often as they want, so long as they accomplish everything that needs to be done.

Take full advantage of naptime by encouraging strategic timing. For example, a little extra energy during a presentation might make the crowd go wild, where an exhausted team member might decrease audience participation. According to Entrepreneur, a NASA study shows that naps can provide a significant productivity boost: “a nap of just 26 minutes can boost productivity by as much as 34 percent and increase alertness by 54 percent.”

Would you consider a naptime policy for your business, or do you feel it’s too risky of a privilege to trust to your employees? Let us know in the comments.

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