by David Gracey
The information technology infrastructure at the Gracey household is fairly basic. Even though I run a technology company where we provide leading edge solutions to our law firm, medical practice and financial services clients, the technology needs of the Gracey home are nominal. I’ve designed the infrastructure as simple as possible to minimize disruption and maximize peace within the family. Occasionally a disruptive external force, such as a new iPhone purchase or a change in email address for one of the family members, will burst on the scene which can threaten the harmony of the family unit. So such events must be planned well and perfectly executed or there will be trouble. Here are three ways we maintain a happy family:
Most folks use Microsoft Outlook on their home computers to check their email and keep their contacts, which are then sync’d to their iPhone. Managing Outlook contacts properly is key to spousal harmony. I got a call recently from my wife, Louise, saying that “all her emails show her name as GMAIL”. So being the caring husband I am, I started addressing her by GMAIL instead of Louise (this is in the category of “do as I say, not as I do”). After realizing she didn’t think the joke was as funny as I did, I assured her the entire world didn’t see her as GMAIL. iPhones will attempt to replace all email addresses displayed in the email header with names stored on the iPhone. Stay consistent with naming your contacts, use both first and last names and do this in Outlook; it’s much easier than inputting everything on the iPhone. Once you sync your iPhone with your Outlook, all the changes move over and life is good.
This iPhone app remains my personal favorite and one of my most frequently used apps. It acts as a GPS on steroids so no more getting lost on your way to a new restaurant. I like the feature that estimates your arrival time. But the best thing about Waze is the real-time traffic monitoring that lets you avoid problem traffic incidents. No more “I TOLD you we shouldn’t have taken I-285 this time of day” comments from the passenger seat, maximizing marital bliss.
Both AT&T and Comcast provide a firewall with their Internet broadband installations. These firewalls are among the worst in the industry and do only a marginal job of protecting your home systems and data from the bad guys. The best thing to do is hire a good computer guy who works on home-based systems (we don’t do this but know good folks who do; just ask if you need some referrals). He can advise and provide you with a good quality, moderately priced firewall that is up to the task. I have heard horror story after horror story about Comcast and AT&T technicians who wreck a high-end home audio/visual/technology setup in a matter of hours. Let your home A/V consultant handle these problems, not the big bureaucratic companies.
Hopefully you can use one or more of these tips to keep the harmony in check in your home.
Network 1 Consulting is a 15-year-old, IT Support company in Atlanta, GA. We become – or augment – the IT department for professional services companies: law firms, medical practices and financial services firms. Our IT experts can fix computers – but what our clients really value are the industry-specific best practices we bring to their firms. This is especially important with technology, along with regulations and cyber threats, changing so rapidly. We take a proactive approach to helping our clients use technology to gain and keep their competitive advantage.