Tip of the Week: 5 Tips From the 90s That You’ve Completely Forgot

The 1990s were dominated by all sorts of great technology: VHS, floppy disks, and grossly oversized computer hardware. Learning new technology shortcuts was once all the rage, but when looked at now, these tech tips are rendered obsolete. However, that doesn’t stop them from hitting us right in the nostalgia. Here are some of our favorite tech tips from the 1990s.

Keep the Phone Line Open
Do you remember the good old days of only having one phone line per household? Only one person could use the phone at a given time. This meant that people had to use their imagination to keep the phone available for an important call. For example, one way to do this was to call an automated phone service, like a local movie theater for showtimes, which would repeat itself over and over again. The idea was to wait until the phone would notify you that your call was coming in. If someone were to pick up another phone, they wouldn’t hear the dial tone, keeping your plot a secret.

Use Collect Calls for Quick Messages
In the ‘90s, collect phone calls were popularized with dozens of collect call services, like 1-800-COLLECT. These calls worked by providing a brief moment to relay your name so that the person you were calling could accept the charges. Rather than actually pay for these calls, people would simply record short messages during this brief window and hang up before the charges could be accepted. Think of it like a primitive version of text-messaging. While it may not have been the most ethical practice, it sure was convenient.

Blow On Video Game Cartridges to Make Them Work
Classic gaming consoles that used cartridges, like the Nintendo Entertainment System or the Super Nintendo, were always subject to occasional hiccups. Somehow, blowing on the game’s innards seemed like a good idea to resolve the issue. Oddly enough, most of the time it worked, even though science has proven that doing so can actually corrode the cartridge’s connectors. It’s more likely that the success wasn’t a result of blowing on the cartridge, and instead it was simply from plugging in the game a second time.

Store a Disposable Camera in Your Car’s Glove Compartment
Having a camera phone today is considered commonplace rather than a luxury. The people of the ‘90s weren’t nearly as privileged, and instead had to rely on disposable cameras in their times of need. By keeping one in your car’s glove compartment, you always had a way to record events, particularly in case of a car accident. Well… after you wait several hours for the photos to develop at the drugstore, that is.

Keep Extra AA Batteries for Your Portable CD Player
Pretty much any modern portable music device runs with a rechargeable battery. Before this innovation, however, portable CD players were all the rage, and they required that you lug around your CD collection, just to have some variety in your playlist. If you wanted to go all-in with your music-listening, you had to bring extra batteries with you, just in case your CD player ran out of battery life. How’s that for inconvenience?

While these tips might not seem so special now, for many, they are remembered fondly, and are a cause to celebrate just how far technology has come in recent times. What are some of your favorite technology tips for long-obsolete devices? Let us know in the comments.

The LG Rolling Bot Can Patrol Your Home or Office [VIDEO]

b2ap3_thumbnail_lg_rolling_bot_400.jpgConsumer technology continues to grow more versatile and connected, allowing users to perform functions previously unheard of. One such piece of consumer tech is the latest in rolling security bots, the LG Rolling Bot. Basically, what you see is what you get; it’s a rolling security robot that can be controlled remotely through a smartphone.

The LG Rolling Bot can handle many small tasks with relative ease. The Bot connects to your home or office WiFi connection, and it’s controlled via a smartphone app. The Rolling Bot is equipped with a camera that lets you see what it sees on your smartphone screen, and the Bot’s microphone lets you listen to what’s going on at home through your phone’s speakers. You can also speak through the device if you’d like, allowing you to broadcast your voice through the Bot into the room it’s in. Furthermore, the LG Rolling Bot can connect to and interact with other smart home appliances via Bluetooth. In some instances, this can work to your advantage, such as for turning off appliances or other devices that you accidentally left operational, or turning up the heat before you head home.

Another feature that you might find fun with the LG Rolling Bot is the built-in laser pointer. While this might seem like a relatively useless feature, just think of how much fun it would be to mess with your pets while you’re not home. By wirelessly monitoring your cat, dog, goldfish, or other pet, you can help keep them entertained, even while you’re not there. Using the voiceover feature can let you communicate with them even when you’re not there, which might be fun for you, but confusing for them.

You can see the LG Rolling Bot in action in this video from DigitalTrends:

Granted, if you do choose to use this device, there’s always the issue of security. Many Internet of Things devices run into the same problem. Since you’re using your home or office WiFi connection, there’s always the possibility that your LG Rolling Bot could be hacked or infected with viruses or malware. If this happens, hackers might be able to commandeer your camera and spy on you through the device. Having a toy like this get hacked might seem like it holds little consequence, but considering how it has a camera, speaker, microphone, and can control Bluetooth-enabled devices, it could be more dangerous and unsettling than you might think.

Or, worse yet, what would happen if a hacker were to take control of your device? If this happens, they could perform any of the features that you would be able to. There’s a precedent set for this type of hacking activity; there are horror stories of devices like baby monitors, garage doors, and even Internet-connected vehicles being hacked. In general, however, the Internet of Things devices most likely to get hacked are the ones of very little consequence. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take precautions when working with web-connected devices, though.

Can you think of some less conventional ways you could use the LG Rolling Bot? Let us know in the comments!

Ready or Not, Self-Driving Cars Will Soon Be On the Roads [VIDEO]

b2ap3_thumbnail_auto_driving_cars_400.jpgArtificial intelligence might be quite a ways off, but despite this, the push continues to make driverless cars a regular occurrence on the roads. Just look at how Google has its driverless cars rolling across testing grounds in Mountain View, California, and if they have their way, we might see a lot more of these vehicles hitting the roads in the near future.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Google’s self-driving vehicles can be considered a driver. According to ZDNet, Google wanted to clarify how their driverless cars could meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. In order for Google’s cars to be seen as compliant with the safety standards, all they had to do was change the position of the brake pedal and sensors, after which the vehicles were declared safe enough.

For examples of how one of these automated cars views its surroundings, watch this video:

This declaration is a huge step forward for the artificial intelligence development endeavor, but it presents an intriguing concept. Who’s to blame for an automobile accident stemming from the incompetence of a self-driving vehicle? You can’t necessarily sue a vehicle for causing an accident, unless you want to blame the manufacturer for creating a faulty product. But, what if the manufacturer simply blames the passenger because they failed to properly “set up” the vehicle? How would something like this work?

As you can probably expect, liability is a major concern for any autonomous process. With autonomous technology, though, this is a blurred grey line at best. As the feds claimed in their letter to Google, “If no human occupant of the vehicle can actually drive the vehicle, it is more reasonable to identify the ‘driver’ as whatever (as opposed to whoever) is doing the driving.” If something goes wrong, people want to find out who (or what) is at fault, and having vehicles capable of driving themselves makes it more difficult to do so.

Another huge issue is just how well Google’s autonomous cars fit into the current Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. In particular, the regulations mention specific actions taken by human anatomy which describe how a motor vehicle should be controlled. As reported by WIRED:

The rule regarding the car’s braking system, for example, says it “shall be activated by means of a foot control.” The rules around headlights and turn signals refer to hands. NHTSA can easily change how it interprets those rules, but there’s no reasonable way to define Google’s software—capable as it is—as having body parts. All of which means, the feds “would need to commence a rulemaking to consider how FMVSS No. 135 [the rule governing braking] might be amended in response to ‘changed circumstances,'” the letter says. Getting an exemption to one of these rules is a long and difficult process, Walker Smith says. But “the regular rulemaking process is even more onerous.”

While liability will remain a major problem for autonomous cars, it’s still a significant step in the right direction. What this approval means is that computers can be considered humans, or at least human-like. This acknowledgement means that developers of artificially intelligent entities will have an easier time with their goals; yet, the process will still likely be filled with all sorts of legal maneuvers and such. Though Google has slated its automated cars to be available to the public by 2020, we might have to wait just a little bit longer, even for the most basic form of AI.

Would you trust an autonomous car to get you from point A to point B safely? Let us know in the comments!

5 Ways to Get a Grip on Mobile Devices in Your Office

b2ap3_thumbnail_byod_comprehensive_400.jpg

Did you know that a whopping two-thirds of U.S. adults own a smartphone? This figure is still climbing and the presence of employee-owned smartphones has dramatically changed the face of office. Businesses that aren’t prepared for this major influx of devices are setting themselves up for some major problems.


Employees bringing their devices to work is an IT trend known as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). In order to make mobile devices in the workplace work for you, you’re going to need to implement a comprehensive BYOD strategy. If you don’t, then your IT network will be a virtual Wild Wild West of sorts as different devices across the entire technology spectrum access your company’s sensitive data. If some of these devices contain malware or data is downloaded to an employee’s device, and the device becomes lost or stolen, you’d be toast. Crises like these can easily be prevented by having a solid BYOD strategy.

To be sure, the benefits of having mobile devices in the workplace make BYOD worth the effort; employees that use their own devices are more innovative, more productive, and are generally happier about their job. To take advantage of these benefits, you’re going to want to cover all of these bases with your company’s BYOD strategy.

  • Identify potential risks: Unsecured devices can easily contain viruses and malware, which can damage your system. Plus, an employee-owned device without privacy protections can pose the problem of hackers stealing the data on the device, which would essentially be stealing your data. By taking into account and protecting your network from every possible risk, you’ll be able to use mobile devices with confidence.
  • Define a clear BYOD policy: As is the case with any policy, the clearer you are, the better. A solid BYOD policy encompasses your entire IT infrastructure, along with every possible access point. Additionally, if you’re able to clarify your IT goals and what you’re looking to achieve with mobile devices, then you can draft a BYOD policy that can maximize these goals.
  • Consider regulations and compliance issues: If confidential information, like medical records, aren’t stored properly and get leaked by way of mobile devices, it can carry a hefty fine from laws like PCI and HIPAA. Concerning data of this sensitive nature, your BYOD policy needs to follow these laws down to the letter.
  • Keep track of used devices: Every device that accesses your network needs to be accounted for. For example, you can’t have random devices logging on, accessing files, and then disappearing with that information. If an employee loses a device with company information on it, or even sells it to a third party, then you would have no idea who would get to see your data.
  • Train your staff: When it comes to BYOD, educating your staff is key. If they’re on board with your BYOD policy and fully understand the ramifications of breaking it, then you will be able to rest assured that all of the devices popping up around the office are helping your organization, not hindering it.

As you can imagine, BYOD policies are not a one-size-fits-all policy for every business. Each business has different needs, IT goals, and security risks. Therefore, in order to get the most comprehensive BYOD strategy for your company, you’re going to want to consult with the IT professionals at Amaxx. We know what questions to ask and what to look for in your IT network so that your organization can take full advantage of this trend.

Additionally, we have great tools at our disposal, like our mobile device management solution that can help you control what all of the devices are doing on your network, like adding permissions regarding which files these devices can access. To implement an airtight BYOD strategy for your business, call Amaxx today at 614.486.3481 .

5 Ways to Get a Grip on Mobile Devices in Your Office

b2ap3_thumbnail_byod_comprehensive_400.jpg

Did you know that a whopping two-thirds of U.S. adults own a smartphone? This figure is still climbing and the presence of employee-owned smartphones has dramatically changed the face of office. Businesses that aren’t prepared for this major influx of devices are setting themselves up for some major problems.


Employees bringing their devices to work is an IT trend known as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). In order to make mobile devices in the workplace work for you, you’re going to need to implement a comprehensive BYOD strategy. If you don’t, then your IT network will be a virtual Wild Wild West of sorts as different devices across the entire technology spectrum access your company’s sensitive data. If some of these devices contain malware or data is downloaded to an employee’s device, and the device becomes lost or stolen, you’d be toast. Crises like these can easily be prevented by having a solid BYOD strategy.

To be sure, the benefits of having mobile devices in the workplace make BYOD worth the effort; employees that use their own devices are more innovative, more productive, and are generally happier about their job. To take advantage of these benefits, you’re going to want to cover all of these bases with your company’s BYOD strategy.

  • Identify potential risks: Unsecured devices can easily contain viruses and malware, which can damage your system. Plus, an employee-owned device without privacy protections can pose the problem of hackers stealing the data on the device, which would essentially be stealing your data. By taking into account and protecting your network from every possible risk, you’ll be able to use mobile devices with confidence.
  • Define a clear BYOD policy: As is the case with any policy, the clearer you are, the better. A solid BYOD policy encompasses your entire IT infrastructure, along with every possible access point. Additionally, if you’re able to clarify your IT goals and what you’re looking to achieve with mobile devices, then you can draft a BYOD policy that can maximize these goals.
  • Consider regulations and compliance issues: If confidential information, like medical records, aren’t stored properly and get leaked by way of mobile devices, it can carry a hefty fine from laws like PCI and HIPAA. Concerning data of this sensitive nature, your BYOD policy needs to follow these laws down to the letter.
  • Keep track of used devices: Every device that accesses your network needs to be accounted for. For example, you can’t have random devices logging on, accessing files, and then disappearing with that information. If an employee loses a device with company information on it, or even sells it to a third party, then you would have no idea who would get to see your data.
  • Train your staff: When it comes to BYOD, educating your staff is key. If they’re on board with your BYOD policy and fully understand the ramifications of breaking it, then you will be able to rest assured that all of the devices popping up around the office are helping your organization, not hindering it.

As you can imagine, BYOD policies are not a one-size-fits-all policy for every business. Each business has different needs, IT goals, and security risks. Therefore, in order to get the most comprehensive BYOD strategy for your company, you’re going to want to consult with the IT professionals at Amaxx. We know what questions to ask and what to look for in your IT network so that your organization can take full advantage of this trend.

Additionally, we have great tools at our disposal, like our mobile device management solution that can help you control what all of the devices are doing on your network, like adding permissions regarding which files these devices can access. To implement an airtight BYOD strategy for your business, call Amaxx today at 614-923-6700.