Thursday, October 11, 2007

Daylight Saving Time Ends November 4th

Important Notice:

Daylight Saving Time (DST) began three weeks early this year, on March 11, 2007 and will end a week later than normal, on November 4, 2007.

It is important to make sure that your computer systems are appropriately updated to reflect the changes in Daylight Saving Time this year. Pay particular attention to appointments you have scheduled on your computer between October 28 to November 4.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

SPAM - The Pesky Inbox Problem

Spam, the unsolicited email you receive more often than not. It's usually commercial advertising and frequently for dubious products, get-rich-quick schemes, or illegal services.

Identifying the culprit

The first step in combating the onslaught of spam is to know it when you see it. If you're lucky, you can identify spam based on its subject line. If it's offering you a lower mortgage, a date with Trixie, or free $$$, you know it's spam. But be careful, because spammers often are very clever and make the subject line something you might click on, such as "FWD: great punch line." So, even if the subject line looks harmless, your best bet is to just delete it if you don't recognize the email address of which it came from.

Many spammers also fake the name of the sender with something common such as "Joe." Is this an email from Grandpa? Or maybe it's from your co-worker? You don't know, and the spammer counts on your curiosity. Also be sure to check the date it was sent. Most inboxes are sorted by time, so spammers may send messages to the top of the list by changing the date to several days earlier or later. Worse yet, some spammers will fake an email as being from someone you trust, such as a national bank or a well-known online retailer. It's all pretty sneaky.

Handling the evidence

Once you've identified a message as spam, don't just delete it. Here's what to do (and what not to do) when you have unwanted email on your hands.
  • First, identify spam to your email provider. Companies like America Online (AOL), Microsoft (MSN/Hotmail), and Yahoo! stop a significant amount of spam using email filters, so make sure your filter is on. Once it's activated, it will funnel unwanted messages into a Bulk Mail or Junk Mail folder.
  • Never, ever open an attachment from a suspicious email. It may contain a virus that could wipe out everything on your PC. To compound the damage, it could duplicate the virus and send it to everyone in your email address book, potentially destroying their machines as well.
  • Don't forward unknown email. Sometimes spam will have a fake "To" or "From" field. Since it appears that the email was erroneously sent to you, the spammer hopes you'll read it and hopefully forward it along. Don't.
  • Resist the temptation to unsubscribe. Sometimes clicking a link that promises to unsubscribe you lets the spammer know that your email address is valid, which means you might be spammed even more.

Handy prevention tips

The best way to fight spam is to keep it from arriving in your inbox in the first place. Here are some tips for preventing unwanted email.

  • Don't post your email address online. Spammer software scans newsgroups, web sites, and web forums looking for email addresses. if you post in such places, disguise your email address.
  • Don't give out your email address unless you know how it will be used. Read a site's privacy policy (such as CMIT's Online Privacy Statement) to learn about the company. If they don't have a privacy statement, you probably shouldn't trust them with your address.
  • Never buy anything advertised in spam. Even if you happen to be looking for a lower mortgage rate, don't look for it in junk email. Chances are the services advertised are bogus anyway. Respected loan companies don't randomly flood inboxes.
  • Update your address book. Make sure that the people you want to have contact with are in your address book: your friends, family, business associates, and companies you've requested email from. Most email systems have a filter, so messages may not be delivered into a recipient's inbox unless the sender's email address is included in their address book.

Remember to keep reporting spam to your Internet service provider so they can track key offenders. If we all work together, spam may again become just a canned meat product!

The Top Ten Reasons CMIT Loves PowerPoint 2007

Now that we've reviewed top ways Word 2007 and Excel 2007 can help you create professional-looking content, PowerPoint 2007 also has many benefits and new features. PowerPoint enables users to quickly create high-impact, dynamic presentations while integrating security-enhanced workflow and ways to easily share this information.

Here are the top 10 ways PowerPoint 2007 can help you increase productivity and improve collaboration.

Get better results faster with the Microsoft Office Fluent user interface.

The redesigned look and feel of the Office Fluent user interface makes creating, presenting, and sharing presentations an easier and more intuitive experience. Rich features and capabilities are presented in a streamlined, uncluttered workspace that minimizes distraction and enables people to achieve the results they want more quickly and easily.

Create powerful, dynamic SmartArt diagrams.

Easily create high-impact and dynamic workflow, relationship, or hierarchy diagrams from within Office PowerPoint 2007. You can even convert a bulleted list into a SmartArt diagram, or modify and update existing diagrams. It's easy for users to take advantage of rich formatting options with new contextual diagramming menus.

Easily reuse content with Office PowerPoint 2007 Slide Libraries.

Wish there was a better way to reuse content from one presentation to another? With PowerPoint Slide Libraries, you can store presentations as individual slides on a site supported by Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and easily repurpose the content later within Office PowerPoint 2007. Not only does this cut down the time you spend creating presentations, but any slides you insert can remain synchronized with the server version, so your content is always up to date.

Communicate with users across platforms and devices.

Help ensure broad communication with your PowerPoint presentations by converting your files to XPS and PDF files for sharing with users on any platform.

Use custom layouts to assemble presentations more quickly.

In Office PowerPoint 2007, you can define and save your own custom slide layouts so you no longer have to waste valuable time cutting and pasting your layouts onto new slides or deleting content on a slide with your desired layout. With PowerPoint Slide Libraries, it is easy to share these custom slides with others so that your presentations have a consistent and professional look and feel.

Accelerate your review processes using Office PowerPoint 2007 and Office SharePoint Server 2007.

With built-in workflow capabilities in Office SharePoint Server 2007, you can initiate, manage, and track review and approval processes from within Office PowerPoint 2007, enabling people to accelerate presentation review cycles across the organization without requiring them to learn new tools.

Uniformly format your presentations with Document Themes.

Document Themes enable you to change the look and feel of your entire presentation with just one click. Changing the theme of your presentation not only changes the background color, but also the colors, styles, and fonts of the diagrams, tables, charts, shapes and text within your presentation has a professional and consistent look and feel.

Dramatically modify shapes, text, and graphics with new SmartArt graphics tools and effects.

You can manipulate and work with your text, tables, charts, and other presentations elements in richer ways than ever before. Office PowerPoint 2007 makes these tools readily available through the streamlined user interface and contextual menus, so that in just a few clicks, your work can have greater impact.

Add more security to your PowerPoint presentations.

You can now add a digital signature to your PowerPoint presentations to help ensure their contents are not changed after they leave your hands, or you can mark a presentation as "final" to prevent inadvertent changes. Using content controls, you can create and deploy structured PowerPoint templates that guide users into entering the correct information, while helping protect and preserve the information in the presentation that shouldn't be changed.

Reduce your document sizes and improve file recovery at the same time.

The new, compressed Microsoft Office PowerPoint XML Format offers a dramatic reduction in file size while also offering an improvement in data recovery for damaged files. This new format provides a tremendous savings to storage and bandwidth requirements and reduces the burden on IT costs.