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Tom's Blog

5 Tips on Getting Control of Your Data

October 18, 2013 7:54 pm

The proliferation of information generated by businesses worldwide continues to be the source of some of the biggest organizational challenges, expenditures and risks faced by companies today. The solution many have adopted to overcome this data deluge has been to add increasing amounts of storage resources on an on-going basis.

However, the capital and operational expense, exponential complexity, and management headaches of this approach make it a no-win game. For those looking to gain active control of all aspects of their file data, NTP Software® offers these five tips:

  • Understand what is happening in your environment – Critical insights for more efficient storage use come from learning how your storage is being consumed, where your problem areas are, and what can be done to optimize storage usage. Examining your organization's use of storage resources through an in-depth file assessment will reveal critical details that will show you how to create a plan for better managing your data.
  • Implement automatic, system-enforced policies to ensure each file resides on its appropriate storage tier – Once you understand how your organization is using storage resources, you can categorize your data and ensure that it resides on the appropriate storage tier to reduce costs, address compliance issues, and enable you to properly perform e-discovery. Less-frequently used data will move automatically to a more appropriate storage tier, giving you better control of your file data while optimizing storage resources and reducing long-term costs.
  • Control how much primary disk space users consume and what they place on the network – Primary disk is your network's most valuable and probably most expensive resource. Industry analysts tell us that as much as 40 percent of it is routinely wasted. By establishing appropriate usage policies, you can control how expensive space is used and what can be put there to preserve system performance and availability across the board. Implementing quotas, blocking the storage of unwanted files and providing tools to users that help them understand and clean up unneeded information is a cost-effective and easy way to control file data costs across the entire enterprise.
  • Ensure secure access to vital files regardless of where they reside – Once you have aligned your storage resources and policies as to what users can and cannot store on the network, your employees need to be able to securely access their existing files regardless of where they reside. Implement technology that helps you connect and control how and when users access data on the most common storage hosts, cloud or object stores as allowed by their current permissions. This gives you more value from your file data while enabling the reduced storage costs of a tiered architecture.
  • Protect data from unauthorized use or access – In the increasingly mobile workplace, providing access to an organization's file data from any Internet-connected device or cell phone provides worker flexibility but also opens up the possibility that sensitive information is out of your control. Rather than turning to an external cloud file system or consumer-oriented "sync and share" product, control corporate data with an end-to-end enterprise solution that provides users with the ability to create and interact safely with your organization's file data without violating federal data regulations or having it reside on their own device. This ensures that any intellectual property generated by employees is fully secured and treated the same whether it originates in the office, at home or on the road.

    "Many organizations are so overwhelmed by the amount of file data they need to manage that they haven't been able to actually do anything with that data to benefit the company or their users," says Bruce Backa, CEO of NTP Software. "By developing a plan and utilizing available tools that help them control, manage and protect their business-critical information, these organizations can effectively change storage from a liability into the asset that it needs to be. Implementing the above five tips will ensure that organizations are well on their way to reducing cost and gaining control of their file data today, and well into the future."

Source: NTP Software



Word of the Day

October 18, 2013 7:54 pm

Inspection. The act of physically examining and testing a piece of property to ascertain certain information.


Q: What If My Contracting Job Is Botched?

October 18, 2013 7:54 pm

A: If you are displeased with the results for obvious reasons, keep after the contractor to make the needed repairs.  When that fails, contact your local consumer protection agency.  Make sure you have a copy of the contract, receipts showing payments, and photographs of the work.

Although it has no legal authority, you also may want to contact the Better Business Bureau, as well as your state’s Contractor License Board.  And you can take the contractor to Small Claims Court to recover amounts usually under $2,000.



Tips to Protect Your Sight during Home Eye Safety Month

October 18, 2013 7:54 pm

Every year during October, Home Eye Safety Month, it’s helpful to review a few reminders about protecting and preserving your sight, and the sight of your loved ones, especially around the house where so many eye injuries occur.

According to Prevent Blindness America ’s 2013 Cost of Vision report, more than $1 billion is spent annually in the U.S. eye injury related costs, most of which injuries are preventable by wearing proper eye protection in and around the home.

A 2011 report from the American Academy of Ophthalmology states that more than 2.5 million eye injuries occur in the U.S. each year with 50,000 of those leading to permanent or partial vision loss.

To prevent such injuries, PBA is urging the public to wear ANSI approved protective eyewear, which can be identified with a “Z-87” logo stamp, during household activities such as lawn mowing, cleaning with chemicals or painting.

Prescription glasses-wearers should wear safety glasses or goggles that fit over regular glasses, as regular eyeglasses do not always provide enough protection and may even cause further injury upon impact, the organization said.

When it comes to the little ones, PBA reminds you that there are many common objects in the home that can cause serious eye injuries to children. Teaching kids about eye safety is one way, and using eye protection for risky tasks is another.

Take a good look at these PBA home safety tips to help keep everyone safe in the:

Bathroom and Kitchen

  • Teach children not to run around with forks, knives, combs or toothbrushes.
  • Keep detergents, cleaning supplies, nail polish remover, mouthwash and makeup in locked cabinets or out of reach.
  • Set a good example by wearing eye protection when using ammonia-based cleaning supplies.


  • Keep clothes hangers in the closet.
  • Don’t allow children to play with small, pointed or sharp toys or objects in bed.
  • Don’t allow young children to use combs, brushes or hairspray unless you watch or help them.

Play Area

  • Teach children to put toys away.
  • Keep toys for older kids away from younger kids.

Turn a New Leaf with a Fall Family Road Trip

October 18, 2013 7:54 pm

(BPT) - With the cooler temperatures of autumn flowing in, many Americans will be hitting the road to discover the natural beauty that the season brings. Whether they crave adventure, want to see the fall foliage or are just getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday, families need to be prepared to ensure they are getting the most out of this travel season.

"When it comes to fall travel, there is no experience quite like the autumn day drive - it's your last taste of crisp air and warm colors before the blanket of winter hibernation sets in," says Editor in Chief of "Road & Travel Magazine," Courtney Caldwell. "The keys to a successful road trip lay within the amount of preparation you do for your family and vehicle before you put either into motion."

Nothing puts a damper on a weekend getaway like car issues that could have easily been prevented by simple maintenance.

The American Petroleum Institute's (API) Motor Oil Matters (MOM) program has been established to provide information to consumers on the importance of using high quality motor oils, and verifying the oils are properly identified on invoices and receipts. Oil-change locations and motor oil distributors that share MOM's commitment - and submit to independent, third-party auditing - have the opportunity to be recognized by MOM through the Motor Oil Matters distributor and installer licensing programs.

MOM and Caldwell recommend fall travelers arm themselves with a simple plan of action and preparation to help get to their destination:

Don't fall behind on your vehicle maintenance

Change that oil: Motor oil is the lifeblood of your engine. One of the simplest steps you can take to ensure your vehicle is maintained is to change your motor oil with an API-licensed motor oil that meets your vehicle manufacturer's recommendations. Be wary of deals that sound too good to be true, and make sure your value-priced oil change includes high quality motor oil. MOM has put together a checklist for consumers, to ensure they are confident when going into a shop. To download this checklist, please visit

Breathe free: Replacing a dirty air filter can increase a vehicle's life expectancy and fuel efficiency by reducing the strain on the engine, especially during warmer months.

Check your tires: Pay attention to your tire pressure and tread depth, as they are essential for increased automotive safety and optimum driving performance. The lower the tread depth is on your tires, the less traction you will have on wet and dry roads, and the greater the distance you will need to stop.

Enjoy more than the season

Keeping everyone happy: Write out a packing list for each family member. Store these lists on your computer so you can adjust them for different seasons and trips. Kids can be easily entertained during long car rides in the backseat with trivia, coloring books, games, books, assorted toys and stuffed animals.

Stop and pop: Bathroom breaks are always a good thing. They force you to get out of the car and talk with locals. A 10-minute break every two hours also increases alertness and adds to the overall sight-seeing experience.

Expect the unexpected: Always have a car-safety kit packed for you and your family. It should contain: an auto escape tool, blankets, cell phone charger, cleaning items, flashlight, jumper cables, matches, pencil and notepad, warning lights or road flares, bottled water, non-perishable items and drinks, extra (hidden) cash, and a well-equipped first aid kit.

Keep it clean: Save and bring a handful of plastic grocery bags in the car to use for trash, damp clothes, or a "sick" bag for any car-sick passengers.



10 things Many Parents Don't Know about Teen Driving

October 18, 2013 7:54 pm

The most significant threat facing teens is the vehicle sitting in their parents' driveways. Yet, many parents remain under-educated about teen driving safety and the risks new drivers face. In observance of National Teen Driver Safety Week Oct. 20-26, the National Safety Council has released a comprehensive list of things many parents do not – but need to – know about teen driver safety:

  1. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S.
  2. Most dangerous time of a teen driver's life is the first 12 months after receiving a license
  3. A teen driver's crash risk is three times that of drivers ages 20 and older
  4. Teens crash most often because they are inexperienced – not because they take more risks behind the wheel.
  5. Teen passengers are one of the biggest distractions for teen drivers. Just one teen passenger raises a teen driver's fatal crash risk 44 percent. Two passengers doubles fatal crash risk. Three or more quadruples crash risk.
  6. Most fatal nighttime crashes involving teen drivers happen between 9 p.m. and midnight
  7. More than half of teens killed in car crashes were not restrained by a seatbelt.
  8. Most states' teen driving laws and restrictions do not adequately protect teen drivers from the most serious crash risks
  9. Teens really do learn to drive from watching their parents. A survey from The Allstate Foundation found 80 percent of teens cite their parents as having the most influence over teens' driving habits.
  10. Crash risk remains high after licensure. In fact, young drivers' crash risk does not significantly begin decreasing until age 25.

"Parents literally hold the keys to developing good teen drivers," says John Ulczycki, vice president of strategic initiatives at NSC. "National Teen Driver Safety Week is the perfect time for parents to learn the facts and put their knowledge to action. The more parents know, the further most will go to protect their teens, which will keep our roads safer for all motorists."



Word of the Day

October 18, 2013 7:54 pm

Brokerage. Business of a broker. Also, the amount charged for a broker’s service.


Q: Are Impound Accounts Required for All Mortgage Loans?

October 18, 2013 7:54 pm

A: They can typically be waived on a conventional loan if the loan amount is 80 percent or less of the purchase price. But the lender might charge you an additional 1/4 point for this option to waive the escrow.

One way to avoid an impound account on an owner-occupied mortgage is to raise your down payment amount slightly. The exact amount necessary to avoid the escrow will vary with the lender.

In some states, lenders let buyers set up separate accounts in which they place specific funds and then pay the insurance and property taxes themselves. These are called pledge accounts, and they must be set up before you close on the home.

An impound account can usually be dropped on an owner-occupied loan once the loan-to-value ratio equals 80 percent or less. But restrictions apply: payments will have to be current and your record of making on-time payments pretty solid.  Contact your lender if you meet these requirements and want to drop your impound account.


'Bat Appreciation Month' Brings Good, Bad News about Furry Fliers

October 17, 2013 5:51 pm

When you think about it, it makes perfect sense to designate October as 'Bat Appreciation
Month.' These mostly tiny flying critters have been a boon and a curse to homeowners through
the ages - depending on if the bats stay outside, or get inside.

According to the Cincinnati, Ohio based wildlife outfitters, the presence of bats
in and around your yard provide a number of health-related advantages. Because bats are
sensitive to high pollution and pesticide levels, they are useful as a warning sign to potential
environmental problems.

Bats can also be important weapons in combating insects that are actually dangerous to
humans. Since the West Nile Virus is primarily spread through mosquitoes, which make up a
significant portion of a bat’s diet, bats can help reduce the likelihood of getting infected.
A small bat can capture more than 1,200 mosquitoes in a single hour, according to the post,
and bats cannot contract the West Nile Virus by eating infected mosquitoes.

Besides mosquitoes, bats can help control the populations of beetles, moths, and leafhoppers.
Many insects can hear bats up to 100 feet away and will avoid those areas occupied by bats.
The effectiveness of bats in some areas diminishes the need for pesticides that can harm both
the pests and their natural predators.

On the other hand, if a bat gets into your house, it's no fun for you or the bat. And in most
cases, it's the bat who comes out the loser. With that in mind, our friends at
publish a list of ways to humanely and safely remove a bat if it gets into the house.

The site advises the following:
1) Watch the bat, and wait for it to land, then drape a towel over it and bunch it up in the towel,
then bring it outside and unfold the towel.
2) If it lands on an unobstructed wall or floor, place a plastic container over the bat, then slide
paper under the container to trap it.
3) Open windows and doors and wait for it to fly out - although this is the alternative least likely
to work.


Five Insurance Tips for Married Couples

October 17, 2013 5:51 pm

Whether you've dated forever or had a whirlwind romance, enjoyed a big wedding or kept it simple, one fact appears to be almost universal – those first months and years of marriage are a big adjustment.

Money matters are a source of potential conflict once the honeymoon is over. According to information from an Allstate Life Tracks survey released earlier this year, just half (50 percent) of Americans said they have money left over at the end of the month after paying for essentials.

"In real life, it's no laughing matter when partners have different approaches to financial matters but don't talk much about it before they marry," says Don Civgin, president and chief executive officer of Allstate Financial. "As you focus on the obvious money decisions, such as developing a joint budget and savings plan, insurance may be put on the back burner. That can be a big mistake."

Below are five insurance tips for newlyweds:

Assess your insurance needs. Make sure you have the right amount of homeowners' or renters' coverage for your newly combined possessions. Don't forget to insure your beautiful and costly-to-replace engagement ring via an insurance rider to your homeowners' policy. In addition, you may want life insurance to help repay the mortgage and take care of your children, should one of you die unexpectedly. Depending on your age and personal health situation, you also may want to consider disability insurance.

Consolidate your financial relationships. You each may have an accountant, insurance agent and financial planner. Now that you're a family, you should choose a single relationship in each area – whether that is a current advisor or someone new to both of you. You can rely on referrals from family or friends, or ask for a referral from other professionals you currently deal with and trust. For example, your insurance agent is likely to know financial planners in your community. A financial planner may be able to refer you to a local attorney or accountant.

Update your records. Make sure you are the beneficiaries of each other's existing life insurance policies.

Combine your "just in case" files so that you can quickly find important financial documents just in case one of you is incapacitated or dies unexpectedly. The files should include insurance policies, wills and other legal documents (such as trusts, durable powers of attorney, living wills and healthcare proxies). Store originals in a safety deposit box and make sure each of you signs the form to have access to the box.

Consider combining your health insurance. If you both have health insurance through work, compare the coverage to see if it makes sense for both of you to be covered under one of the plans. It's likely to be less costly to insure an employee and spouse under a single plan. Many plans allow you to add a spouse within 30 days of your marriage without providing proof of insurability. Depending on your personal health situation, you might consider supplemental health insurance, which can help with doctor bills, hospital stays and even nonmedical expenses (such as transportation) if you're dealing with an accident, disability, cancer or critical illness.

Source: Allstate


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