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The Monthly Download—January 2023

IT hacks to help cut your energy bill

With energy bills constantly on the rise, it’s not just households feeling the pinch. Businesses too are being squeezed, and in many ways it’s harder to cut down on the energy we use at work.

But there are a few little IT hacks that can help save money each month. Some things you’ll already have considered – like cutting down on your printing, which not only saves energy, but also reduces ink and paper.

There’s always more you can do.

Since the rise in hybrid working, many of us have switched from desktop computers to laptops. That’s great because they already use a lot less energy, but when employees leave the office at the end of the day, they often don’t turn their machine off.

Depending on your rate, that could be costing as much as $35 per year for every workstation. So encourage your people to power off computers every evening rather than leave them on standby.

You should also pay attention to other electronics in the office. Turn off your printers, switch off chargers, and unplug any big screens you may have around the office. Even an unused phone or TV costs a little to keep it on standby overnight.

There are some tweaks you can make for daytime savings too. Reduce the brightness of monitors and use energy efficient lighting. We can advise on Wi-Fi-enabled systems that allow you to switch lights on and off remotely, and even to control power outlets via Wi-Fi. At the very least, we should all encourage staff to turn off lights and devices when they’re not in use.

It’s worth your while to take a look around the office to check that radiators or heaters aren’t being blocked by furniture, that window seals are intact, and that you’re only heating or cooling to the temperature you need– just one extra degree either way can have a big impact on your energy bills. That’s also something that many workplaces are monitoring remotely.

So if you’d like any help checking that your workplace tech isn’t costing you more than it should, just get in touch.

Did You Know…

54% of web browsing now happens on smart phones.

And while Google’s Chrome is the most popular browser for desktop, Apple’s Safari comes out most popular on smartphones.

Technology Update

If you use Google Chrome as your browser, did you know there’s a way you can check exactly how secure it is at any time?

Go to the browser’s Settings, and select Privacy and Security. On the right, under Safety check, select Check now.

This checks for updates, looks at the strength of your stored passwords and tells you if browsing is safe and if you’ve downloaded a harmful Chrome extension.

Inspirational Quote of the Month

“Your value will be not what you know; it will be what you share.”

—Ginni Rometty, CEO at IB

Tech Facts

  1. There are around 175 websites created every minute, adding up to a total of almost 1.8 billion websites since 1991.
  2. Google has up to 8.5 billion searches per day making up 92% of global search volume.
  3. Over 90% of the world's data was created in just the last couple of years

Test Your Tech Knowledge with This Month's Quiz

Loser does the washing up…

  1. What's the tongue-in-cheek name of the company Elon Musk founded in 2017 to develop tunneling technology?
  2. Name the two online payment companies founded in the late 1990s that eventually merged to form PayPal
  3. What's the 6-letter term for a group of computers that are networked together and used by hackers to carry out cyber attacks?
  4. What was the final Pixar film to be released on VHS and also the first to be released on Blu Ray?
  5. What does "TED" stand for in the context of the popular TED Talks and Converences?

The answers are below.

  1. The Boring Company
  2. Confinity and X.Com
  3. Botnet
  4. Cars
  5. Technology Enntertainment Design

New to Microsoft 365

Outlook’s bringing better notifications to mobile.

This month we’re expecting to see a change to the way Outlook notifications work on mobile, starting with Android.

Microsoft is making it easier for you to customize your notification settings, so you can stay on top of things without sacrificing your work/life balance.

Does It Really Matter What Browser You Use?


The web browser you choose can have a big impact on your online security. And as a business, it’s important you don’t take any unnecessary risks, even if you’re someone who likes to steer clear of the IT megabrands.

As well as allowing advertisers to track your online activity, there are often bugs and vulnerabilities in lesser-known browsers that cyber criminals can exploit to not only steal your data, but to compromise your entire network.

And while it’s vital that you choose your browser carefully (and stick to the same browser across the business), it’s equally important to make sure you run updates and patches as soon as they become available to keep your browsing as secure as possible.

You may already know that Google’s Chrome is the most popular desktop browser in the world – more than 6 in 10 people use it. It’s fast, easy to use, and it has built-in phishing and malware protection (though you shouldn’t rely solely on that).

Next comes Apple’s Safari, followed by Microsoft Edge. Edge is similar to Chrome in that it’s fast, customizable and simple to use. It also gives you clear privacy options, which are super-important when using a browser for business. As a Microsoft product, it’s the default browser for Windows 11, and comes with some Microsoft-specific links. So if you use Windows 11 and haven’t tried Edge, give it a go.

The key thing to keep in mind when choosing your browser is security. Don’t just stick with the standard settings – customize them to suit your business. Look at the threats you may face, the settings that can help protect against them, and the usability… all in equal measure.

It seems like a relatively simple task to choose a web browser, but there’s more to it than you think if you want to take security seriously (and you should!)

Can we help recommend the best browser for your business? Or make sure you’re getting the most from your current browser’s security settings? Get in touch – we’re here to help.

Business Gadget of the Month

Standing desk converter:

Whether you’re working from home or the office, sitting at a desk all day can get stale. It’s also not that great for the body.

Standing desks have become pretty popular, but instead of buying a whole new desk, why not try a standing desk converter? These sit on your desktop and adjust to a height that suits you. There are loads of options available, including ones with space for two monitors.



Q: What’s Focus Assist in Windows 11?

A: Focus Assist takes Do Not Disturb a step further. It can hide distracting icons from your Taskbar and give some notifications more priority than others. Use it together with Do Not Disturb and you’ll be able to block out distractions to better focus on work.

Q: Can I share a Word document without someone changing it?

A: Yes! Just click the editing button next to the share button in the top right of your screen. Then simply select whether you’d like people to be able to edit, view, or review the document. You can switch it back whenever you’re ready.

Q: Can I unsend an email in Outlook?

A: Sometimes. If both you and your recipient have Outlook email addresses, if the email hasn’t already been read or opened, and if you’re working on a PC, not a Mac. Open the email, go to File, and select Resend or Recall.

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Article Written by Rivercity Tech

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