WannaCry? Don’t Panic!

Synopsis: Guest Contributor, Samuel Rowland, has looked into the recent news articles about the global computer hack known as WannaCry or WannaCrypt.  He offers guidance on what to look for and how to protect yourself.  Enjoy.

To quote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “Don’t Panic”. Yes, I think we are all aware of the recent and ongoing ransomware cyberattack. For those who don’t know, ransomware is malware that encrypts all of a user’s files before demanding a fee to unlock them. This malware – known as WannaCry or WannaCrypt – specifically says that you have 7 days to pay about $300.00 in BitCoin payments before they lock your files away forever. The program enters your system usually through an attachment to an email that is usually, but not always, a zip file. When this file is opened or previewed, it instills the malware. This sort of virus will force you to wipe your entire hard drive and restore your files from whatever backups you have, so it’s best to learn how to protect yourself.

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Contract Express Lessons Learned

I have been working with and following Contract Express as a consultant for a number of years.  I recently had the opportunity to convert a complex GhostFill document assembly system to Contract Express.  In working on the project I had chance to do an in depth look at Contract Express in its current incarnation.  At the outset of the project, after initial planning but before coding began, Contract Express enabled developers and consultant to create custom functions.  This brand new feature became key to leveraging features that had existed in GhostFill, but, till that time, were beyond the reach of Contract Express.

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Getting an Early Start on the Garden – Moving Indoors

These days, Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate.  After a mild winter, spring seemed to arrive early.  I was out on my hammock soaking in the sunlight only a few weeks ago.  I got ambitious and turned over the soil in the raised beds for my vegetable and herb garden.  Last year I started the garden too late, only to have many plants dry out in the heat before hitting full fruit.  I wasn’t going to make that mistake again.  But then, Mother Nature played a joke on me (and all of us in the Northern part of the U.S.).  We had 3 successive days of below freezing temperatures, including actual snow on the ground in April.  Egads!!!!  Add so I pulled out my Jung Seed catalog.  Instead of just getting seeds, I loaded up on starter soil, biodegradeable seed kits, and deck planters.

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Gadget Watch – Meet the Squirrel Buster

I am lucky that my office looks out on a wooded area with a lake.  We often see ducks and other waterfowl cavorting in the lake and hunting for food.  The occasional neighbor’s dog, white tailed deer, or even a coyote strolls into the yard for our diversion.  We see birds, woodpeckers and others, but they are often camouflaged in the trees.  I had thought about bird feeders, but had been worried that I would spend more time feeding the grey squirrels, rather than feeding actual birds.

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Women and Computers by Rose Rowland

Many years ago, there was a book called “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus” which became wildly popular.  Since it was so popular, Basha ripped it off for a lovely little article called “If Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus – how do you sell computers  (really software) on Venus?”.  The basic gist of the article was that men and women view and use computers and software differently.  Men were more excited by the gee whiz  aspect of new software while women looked at computers as a necessary work tool.

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Life is not a struggle. It’s a wiggle

Wisdom can come from anywhere if you are open to it.  For me, wisdom came from a trip to the Waffle House on Airline Drive in New Orleans.  We have just returned from a mini-vacation in New Orleans, with the family.  Yes, we took the “family” to New Orleans … probably should have left them behind (Bourbon Street isn’t exactly kid-friendly).  And so we found ourselves driving to the airport on Easter Sunday … and nothing was open but the Waffle House.  And so, we found ourselves drinking french roast and downing a double hash-browns with cheese and tops, with grits and chocolate pecan waffles.

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Time Matters Tip – Integration Broken After Windows Upgrade

This issue has been popping up from time to time. It affects those who are diligent with their windows updates. If you have found that Word or Outlook integration just doesn’t work and gives a cryptic error, try the tips below. The issue is when the TM Plugins for Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) give the following error: “Unable to Load Time Matters Integration.”

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Windows 10 – Same Machine, Increased Speed

windows-10 On Basha WorkstationI recently took the plunge on my primary workstation and clicked the Upgrade to Windows 10. I have been using Windows 10 on a Surface Pro 3 for over a year, but had delayed switching throughout the office. I had been using Windows 8.1 with Classic Start Menu enabled.

Apart from the hour it took for the PC to process the upgrade, there was very little I had to do. Of course, my Classic Start Menu was disabled, but then again Windows 10 essentially restored the Classic Start Menu found in Windows 7, and then threw some tiles on as an option. But what was surprising was that the computer seems to be “zippier”.  I believe it is ultimately a programming trick, but programs load and start faster.

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Practice Management in the Cloud and on the Desktop

Man-shouting-at-computerIt has been five years since I first started exploring cloud options for lawyers. In that time there has been much progress, but actually less than I expected. I have seen a proliferation of new products for lawyers, but found that most of them lack the maturity of the client/server desktop solutions. At the same time, I have seen a stagnation in the desktop solutions, a failure to embrace change, a failure to innovate.

Selected by Technolawyer BlawgWorld Pick of the Week

I don’t intend to identify specific products, but rather to address the trends that I am seeing. The desktop solutions have mostly shifted to maintenance mode. This is reflected in their pricing models which emphasize annual maintenance and support plans. There is less emphasis on new marketing initiatives, and more on “insurance”. If you want support on your current system, keep current on your payments. This shift to annualized revenue, in my mind, is very healthy. It shifts the incentives to making sure the product is stable and dependable. It rewards incremental improvements, over splashy remakes. It keeps the company in regular contact with its client base.

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