Category Archives: microISV How-To’s

Telecommute: Preparing for Polar Vortexes, Super-Flu, and Road Closures

Weather’s changing here in Maryland. Seasonal, mostly. But we had polar vortex brutal cold last Winter. There’s bridge construction going on between here and Baltimore, with lane closures both promised and complex, changing with rush hour traffic flow. And the super-flu is working its way East. Makes me want to work from home, and connect remotely into computers for work. I’m ready to telecommute; are you?

snowplow out front? telecommute to work!

Telecommutes and remote control for business computers require software. Several types exist; not all of them work for telecommuting.

  • Remote Repair: This is for remoting into a computer for repairs or training, and it requires a person at the computer being controlled, to click a link or run a program. The software used for the connection goes away after the connection is closed, so you can’t log back in without starting over.
  • Managed Services: This is for working on computers unattended. I use a program like this, that lets me control hundreds of computers on-demand. While it can be used for working remotely, perhaps for an entire office, it’s not the economical choice for telecommuting.
  • Remote Login: This is for telecommuting. Like the managed services software, it can connect to an unattended computer, but it will generally be easier to use, and add features like remote printing (print in the office, to your home printer), and remote sound (you hear the office computer’s sounds from home).

There are some other considerations before choosing to telecommute. If your office has gone to the cloud, just log into the cloud servers directly from home. Check with your MIS (management information systems) department first, to see if they have any limitations in place; some systems will only allow logins from work locations. If you run processor-intensive programs, like dictation and speech recognition, it’s better to install those locally, and then just send the completed documents to the work machine.

In Maryland, call us at 410-871-2877 for help getting up and running with telecommuting. We’ve worked with many programs, and can recommend both free and paid products for most requirements. Outside Maryland, we may still be able to help, by remote login, of course.

Backing up for Hurricane Sandy

The largest hurricane/noreaster/superstorm ever recorded is on the way to the Mid-Atlantic. Yikes. Ready here, and I’ll be available for power-related computer and network repairs once the storm passes and power is restored, for anyone in Carroll County, Maryland.

It’s getting late for backups now, but you should always have these backups for each computer:

  • There should be a full-image backup of the hard drive, on a removable device, usually an external drive, less than 3 months old, for restoring a burnt/crashed hard drive
  • There should be a documents backup, not older than the amount of work that you can easily recreate, on a removable device. For businesses, that’s usually one day old.
  • There should be another documents backup, from a week or two older than your newest backup, in case the newest backup is incomplete, lost, or zapped.
  • A backup device that is removable, but still plugged into your computer when a storm arrives, doesn’t count as a backup.
  • Finally, there should be an online backup of documents. Online backups should be encrypted before leaving your computer.

Overall, you’re aiming for three copies of all data, on two different types of devices, and one copy of data that is off-site. All of these backups can be automated. Ask me how, if you’re in central Maryland.

Jerry Stern is webmaster at and

Reno Travel Notes for ISVCon 2012

It’s travel-planning time for ISVCon 2012. For those of us who prefer to have either printable maps and guides, or the smart-phone downloadable equivalents, here are some links for getting from Reno International Airport to the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa and the downtown area.

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa direct phone:

Reno Hotel Shuttle Schedule
The shuttle to Atlantis is located outside baggage door ‘D’, and pickup is at 15 minutes before and after each hour, 5:15am to 11:45pm.

Reno International Airport has free WIFI. Details here:

RNO terminal map:

Once you’re at ISVCon at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, there is an RTC bus stop outside the hotel. Go North for downtown, get off at the Transit Center, and walk 2 blocks west (towards the Sierra Nevada mountains, frequently visible, or towards the big buildings) for the downtown area. Bus fare is $2. For the ‘Rapid’ bus to downtown (express run, fewer stops), there’s a stop just south of Atlantis, by the Convention Center.

Reno bus transportation information is here:

RTC CONNECT: map of route and downtown Reno

Map of Meadowwood Mall:

Vist Reno Tahoe (Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA))

Jerry Stern is webmaster at and