Top Tech Gifts for the 2022 Holiday Season

By Tibby Fielding

At ADVYON, we love technology and sharing the latest gadgets and gear as gifts. From inexpensive stocking stuffers to family-sized gifts, we have something for everyone on your shopping list. Our team has put together a top 10 list of gift ideas that are so great, you might even want one for yourself, but don’t worry- we won’t tell!

Portable 4k Projector with Wifi and Bluetooth

This Smart Projector connects to WiFi and bluetooth for a smooth viewing experience. The built-in speakers provide surround sound experience with the capability to connect additional speakers.

A Desktop Stand for Nearly Any Tablet

This aluminum tablet stand provides easy, hands-free viewing perfect for business class, exercise, games, and more!

Nintendo Switch with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Bundle 

This model includes a Nintendo Switch Online 3-month Individual Membership. Race and battle your friends in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe!

Portable Solar Power Bank and Charger with 6 Outputs and a Flashlight

This high capacity solar power bank has a built-in lightning cable, micro cable and type c cable with a durable and sturdy design. Travel care-free without any additional cables. The dual multifunctional flashlight comes with a variety of flashing modes that will lead you through the darkness. 

SONOFF WiFi Smart Plugs with Energy Monitoring

Connect your devices with smart plugs that will allow you to control them with Alexa, Amazon Echo, and Google Home. Set time schedules for your lights and home appliances, use count downs, or timers. These include an energy report with one tap On/OFF capabilities. Share control of your home easily with others.

Beats Studio Buds

These wireless noise canceling earbuds are compatible with all devices via bluetooth. Listen to music for up to 8 hours with extended range and fewer dropouts. These have high-quality call performance and voice assistant interaction via built-in microphones. 

Google Nest Thermostat

This programmable smart thermostat connects to your Wifi network and will have you saving money in no time! Control your thermostat from anywhere with the Google Home app. You can even connect it to your Alexa devices.

Apple Watch SE with GPS + Cellular 40mm 

The device you didn’t know you needed is here. With touch-free payment, health tracking capabilities, texting, phone calls and more, the Apple watch keeps you connected, healthy and secure.

Apple AirTag 4 Pack

Keep track of your items alongside friends in the Find My app. The simple, one tap setup instantly connects AirTag with your iPhone or iPad. Play a sound on the built-in speaker or just ask Siri for help. Add AirTags to a keychain, dog collar or toss them in your purse.

 Set of Sonos One SL Speakers

Fill your home with rich sound as you pair your speakers together. Control the speakers with the Sonos App, Apple Airplay 2 and more. The compact humidity resistant design makes these immersive speakers a top choice for 2022! 

Please Note: As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Tech Tips For Traveling During The Holidays

The Holiday season is upon us, and it is an exciting time for traveling, new purchases, and quality time with loved ones. Unfortunately, this time of year we see an uptick in theft and loss of devices. The ADVYON team wants to help you stay safe and secure during the hustle and bustle. We have put together a list of recommendations that will help keep your mind at ease and your devices and data secure before, during, and after travel. 

Before Traveling:

  • Take pictures of the devices you will travel with (phones, laptops, cameras, tablets, iPads, headphones, handheld gaming devices etc.).
  • Write down all serial numbers for your devices and store them both at home and keep them with you while traveling.
  • Backup all your devices to the cloud (If a device is lost or stolen, you will not lose all of your data).
  • Set up ‘Find My” on your devices to track their location.
  • Keep all logins secure by setting up multi-factor authentication.
  • Pre-download tv shows, movies, games, and music to your devices ahead of time so you do not need to access insecure public wi-fi. 
  • Pre-charge all devices.
  • Pack any chargers/cords, portable chargers, adapters, and batteries you will need.

While Traveling:

  • Create an internet plan: 
    • Use your cell phone hotspot, purchase a secure internet plan from your phone provider for travel, or utilize a VPN.
    • Use a traveling VPN application: These will protect your devices so your data is not tracked.
    • Don’t use public WIFI networks or hotspots without a VPN. Connecting to these insecure networks makes your data vulnerable.
  • Public WIFI Tip: The WIFI at airports/hotels costs money to log in, you can use it by adding “?.jpg” at the end of the URL address but be sure to use a VPN app for protection.
  • Always lock your valuable technology in a safe.

After Traveling: 

  • Take an inventory of your devices 
  • Backup your devices

For more information and insights about traveling with technology, listen to the podcast hosted by our ADVYON tech dads: Brian and Jon.

AskTechDad Episode #7- Holiday Travel Tips

Podcast episodes for AskTechDad are available on all major streaming platforms: Spotify, Audible, Apple etc. 

Microsoft 365 Mandatory Two-factor Authentication

Written By Tibby Fielding

By January 1, 2023, all Microsoft 365 applications will change from basic authentication access to a mandatory two-factor authentication. Beginning October 1, 2022, Microsoft will start randomly selecting users and disabling basic authentication access for MAPI, RPC, Offline Address book (OAB), Exchange Web Services (EWS), POP, IMAP, Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), and Remote PowerShell. Users will receive a notification 7 days prior in the Message Center as well as a Service Health Dashboard notification on the day of the change. No changes will be made to SMTP AUTH. If you are not ready for this change, you can re-enable basic auth only until January 1, 2023. We do not suggest utilizing basic authentication as it keeps your data at risk. 

Two-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication is an identity and access management security method that requires two forms of identification to access data: your username and password, and a contact method. When you turn on two-step verification, every time you sign in on a device that isn’t trusted, you will have the choice to get a security code sent to your phone (SMS), email or authenticator application. We do not suggest using email.

It is strongly recommended that you begin using the two-factor authentication protocol to protect your data and avoid any attacks stemming from basic auth. For more information about the two-factor authentication rollout taking place with Microsoft products, read this Exchange Team Blog post.

Getting Involved With Our Community & Nonprofits

Written By: Tibby Fielding

At our core, ADVYON’s mission was created to help other nonprofits with technology needs. The name ADVYON was founded from combining the words Advice + Beyond. Today, we have broadened our market and services to support all business models. Rooted in our core mission, we continue to support our partners and community while growing and building a better tomorrow.

This month we are highlighting some of our nonprofit community partners and their upcoming events. We hope you will join us and get involved.

The Dorchester Habitat for Humanity is shining a light on how poverty affects working women with “Little Black Dress Week.” This fundraiser runs from September 12-16th and supports the mission of Dorchester Habitat to provide affordable housing and break women out of poverty. Participants in the fundraiser will utilize Facebook to bring awareness and raise funds for the cause. ADVYON’s employees are participating in this fundraiser to support our community and client’s mission. Each day of the week, Little Black Dress Agents will wear the same black dress to illustrate how many women do not have money for a working wardrobe because most of their savings go towards food, shelter and basic necessities. It’s hard to make the same dress look different every day. But it’s much harder to choose between paying rent or medical bills. No one should have to make that choice.

Poverty can look different for everyone and sometimes it looks like wearing the same professional dress every day. The average hourly wage for renters in SC is $13.52 (SC Housing Needs Assessment 2021). While the hourly wage needed to afford fair market rent is $17.30. We are raising money for women who are working with limited resources. These women must choose between paying rent, paying utilities, buying food or buying a working wardrobe. This is not just a week for wearing a black dress; it’s about harnessing the power of community to make a difference.

On October 3, Dorchester Children’s Center host’s the 2nd Annual Children In Crisis Golf Tournament at the Berkeley Country Club. Children in Crisis provides a coordinated multi-disciplinary response to child abuse that reduces trauma and provides evidence-based treatment for children suffering from abuse and neglect. Dorchester Children’s Advocacy Center invites you to support their mission and register for the golf tournament. Registration starts at 12 PM and the first tee off is at 1PM. Multi-level sponsorships are available as well. For tickets and sponsorships click here. Your participation will directly benefit children in our community.

The Edisto Blackwater Boogie is a festival all about celebrating the Edisto River. Funds raised from the Boogie support the beautiful Givhans Ferry State Park so we can preserve the Edisto for future generations.

The Boogie has plenty of ways to enjoy the Edisto from outdoor activities and performances by local musicians, food and drink trucks, kid-friendly activities, and more! Activities include a songwriter showcase on Friday evening, bonfire jam sessions, guided tours, and musical performances throughout the weekend through Sunday Brunch. Food and drink trucks will be on-site as well as artisan vendors.

The Edisto Blackwater Boogie is a weekend-long event taking place from October 7th to the 9th, 2022. Camping is encouraged! Immerse yourself in the experience by camping out under the stars. Camper sites are available from Givhans Ferry State Park and offsite camping is also available. Get your tickets here!

Dorchester Seniors, Inc. annual fundraiser, BBQ In The ‘Ville, will be on Saturday,  October 15 from 4:00- 7:00 PM hosted by Rob Fowler, NBC News 2 @ The Dorchester Boat Club. Admission is free and proceeds from the fundraiser will support the programs, services and activities provided by Dorchester Seniors. The event will include food, raffles, games, drinks, music, s’mores etc.

Dorchester Seniors empowers people to achieve their highest quality of life and enhance their educational, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing. Some of the activities this fundraiser will support are meal delivery services, arts and crafts, cards, games, education, fitness and wellness and more!

Over 10 years ago, Buddy Sirisky with the Charleston Elks Lodge 242, started the annual golf tournament to support the South Carolina Alzheimer’s Association. Since Buddy’s passing, his family and close friends have continued to sponsor this event. The Charleston Elks Lodge is asking for support in fighting Alzheimer’s Disease. With the help of golfers, friends, and volunteers, they have continued to raise money each year by sponsoring this golf tournament.

The 14th Annual Buddy Sirisky Memorial Alzheimer’s Charity Golf Tournament takes place on October 14th at The Golf Club at Wescott Plantation. Check-in runs from 8:00 AM-9:00 AM. There are a variety of sponsorship levels and ways to get involved throughout the day. If you are interested in this event please visit the website and register by October 7th.

Expanding the Table is a hot kitchen on wheels that provides free meals in the Summerville, SC area on Friday and Saturday evenings. In 2013, Ashley Ridge Church began its mission to feed those in need filling in the gaps from other organizations with the same goal. They purchased and outfitted an old coffee truck and transformed it. Currently, the truck serves approximately 140 meals per week on Fridays and Saturdays with the goal of expanding to more dates and locations to better serve those in need.

The volunteers lovingly serve a free, nutritious, hot meal and look to develop deeper relationships with those in the community. As Expanding the Table gets to know the guests, they learn more about their story, their needs, and work to connect them with numerous other resources within the community.

In partnership with Expanding the Table, ADVYON is working to redesign their website. In the meantime, if you are interested in volunteering with Expanding the Table you can sign up here.

We look forward to sharing more about our nonprofits and events with you!

2022 Back to School with Technology Shopping List

Summer is coming to an end. Now, it’s time to start packing up college kids and checking the school supplies list twice.

The dynamic of back-to-school shopping has shifted from just needing packs of paper and binders to making sure you have the most up-to-date equipment to stay effective in a possible hybrid or distance learning environment.

Most students who are going back to school this year really need technology in their everyday life. It’s not just for connecting with friends or streaming games, it’s also for homework, and communicating with teachers. Students are needing different items to make sure they are able to perform their daily workload, but also be practical. Purchasing accessories to go along with school-supplied laptops is now a regular school list requirement. From headphones to hard drives, parents are having to be mindful of their child’s needs for technology.

Below is our list of the top 10 devices and accessories for students to prepare for the 2022-2023 school year.

Calculator:

Wireless Headphones:

Wireless Printer:

Portable Hard drive:

Portable Charger:

Lamp with USB charging:

Bluetooth Speaker:

Fitness Tracker and Watch:

Laptop Tray:

Charging Backpack:

Please Note: As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Are you looking for data recovery services in Summerville, Charleston, or anywhere in South Carolina?

Advyon understands that losing access to your data can be a stressful time, whether its personal or business data. This is why we partnered with DriveSavers, to handle the process of data recovery and as a trusted forensic consultant to Nasa, Google, and more… we have seen why.

YES! These destroyed devices below had the data recovered!

If you are looking for data recovery services in Summerville, Charleston, or anywhere in South Carolina give us a call today at

2022 Hurricane Checklist and Shopping List

Hurricane season is fast approaching. When facing a storm like a hurricane, preparation is key to mitigating losses and downtime for your business. We’ve compiled a list below of best practices to protect your network from wind, water, and the worst!

Having this checklist is crucial to ensure the proper safety procedures are taken and in place when a storm is coming your way. Along with our checklist, we have a shopping list for top items needed to prepare for Hurricane season. 2022 is predicted to be a year of heavy storms, so planning ahead is critical.

Clear Plastic:

First Aid Kit:

Tactical Flashlights:

Clean Release Tape:

Hand Sanitizer for Cleanup:

Solar Power Portable Charger:

Weatherproof Storage Totes:

Gloves for Cleanup:

AAA Batteries:

AA Batteries:

Battery Powered Radio:

Clorox Wipes for Cleanup:

Trash Bags for Cleanup:

Three Ring Binder:

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Charleston Roofing and Exteriors: Content Writing and Website Design

What We Did For Them: Content Writing, Website Design

Industry: Roofing

Content Writing:

The Charleston Roofing and Exteriors website was an ambitious project. The finished site has 117 pages, most of which were written from scratch by our content writer. The writing process began with a simple outline of every topic we needed to cover. The website covers general topics like roofing, windows, and gutters then breaks each down into more detailed subjects like roof types, window styles, and gutter guard services.

The whole site was written to be extremely search engine friendly while also explaining the roofing process. To ensure that the site would appeal to search engines, we started the content writing process by doing keyword research and taking notes of the most important words and phrases to include throughout the site. We then began to write content that would explain all services to the customers.

Website:

To begin the process of designing the website, we started from an existing logo and brand. The Charleston Roofing and Exteriors logo featured blue and green colors which we used throughout the site. We added additional colors including lighter versions of both colors and a rustic blue and soft darker blue for larger sections of the site. We used the green color from the logo only as an accent color to draw more attention to the important calls to action. For the headline, we incorporated blue with an accent of green.

Our main call to action was the quote form. We wanted to get as many people as possible to fill out the form to help the owner funnel in leads. We made the form easy to fill out and submit. The user can fill out a form in two ways: a quick, easy form on the home page or on the “contact us” page.

For the menu, we had to figure out the best way to incorporate the over 100 pages of the site. We designed the drop down menus so that when users hover over the title for each page, they can see the featured image. These hover effects and graphic changes help keep the user interested in the content of each page and create an added wow factor. We have a large “get a free quote” button to continue to lead customers to filling out the quote form.

The sticky menu is the same as the menu at the top of the site so that as the user scrolls down through the site, they can still easily navigate through the different sections of the website. This keeps the text-heavy pages organized and easy to work through. 

We created a rotating section with the three main services: roofing, windows and gutters. These services section display above the fold. The animated feature is subtle, but draws the eye and encourages user interaction.

We were sure to build a prominent section to showcase reviews from customers. Roofing is a service-based business, so reviews are especially important. Customers are more likely to hire a service provider based on what other users think.

Internal pages:

One of our favorite internal pages is the window styles pages. For a secondary level of user friendliness, we added a menu just for this page. Every type of window Charleston Roofing and Exteriors offers is listed in the top menu so that each can be accessed quickly. Each section has an illustration and a description of each.

For each internal page, we organized the information in a way that made it digestible for the customer. For the “about us” page, we broke up each section with larger headings and roofing.

For the “insurance claims” page, we included a chart to explain how each step of the process works.

Making the information on each page easy to follow for our customers was one of our priorities when creating the site.

Final Thoughts:

The Charleston Roofing and Exteriors website was an ambitious project for our team! From writing the 117 pages to figuring out the best way to display them in our menu to incorporating an existing brand in an updated way, we feel that we were able to help this client better display information for their business. We made it easy for people to get a quote, which has been a valuable tool to funnel in more leads. The hover effects and thoughtful integration of pictures, charts, and other opportunities for customers to engage with the site help maximize the time users spend on the site and keep them interested. We are very proud of the way this site came together and continue to work with the client to create additional marketing materials for his business.

6 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block with Artificial Intelligence

Writers often feel stuck when they are unable to produce the material they had hoped. Whether it’s because their creativity has been exhausted, or their mental health is blocking them from writing, there may be a way for you to overcome your writer’s block with artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is an interesting idea in that it can provide some of the inspiration and information needed to get past these blocks. Here are six ways you can use AI to overcome writer’s block and get back to producing great content.

What is writer’s block?
Writer’s block is a term that describes a condition where an author becomes unable to produce the material they had originally hoped or expected. You could experience this when your creativity has been exhausted, or when you are experiencing a mental health block. Writer’s block can be difficult, but there are ways to overcome it and get back to producing good content.

Use Artificial Intelligence to Overcome Writer’s Block
There are many ways you can use AI to overcome your writer’s block. You may want to start by doing some research into the different writing styles and see which one suits you best. After that, it may be helpful to look up examples of how other people have overcome their blocks. If a friend has told you about a technique they used, an article you read, or an app that helped them get through writer’s block, those ideas can be helpful for others as well.

AI can also help with content creation by providing some of the inspiration and information needed to write your article. There are many websites that offer articles on various topics in hopes of inspiring more content on their site. If you have created a budget for marketing efforts, it may be worth looking into which AI tools work best for your industry or sector and using those tools to provide some inspiration for your writing.

If none of these techniques sound right for you, consider finding an AI program that offers advice and isn’t too expensive. Some AI programs will give you feedback on what they believe is important in your article while others will offer general suggestions such as starting the article with a quote or including graphs in the text.

Become a better writer with AI
Artificial intelligence can help you become a better writer. When you are stuck, you may need to take a break or take some time to brainstorm. You can use the artificial intelligence to generate content for you and inspire your creativity. You never know what could come out of it!

Get Ideas for Creative Writing Prompts
Artificial intelligence can come in handy when you’re looking for ideas to write about. To find prompts, you can use services like Quora and Reddit to see what’s trending. You could also use Google to search for popular keywords related to your topic and see what results show up.

Use AI to Generate Content
This is a great way to get back on track when you have writer’s block. The idea here is to use the AI to generate content for you and fill the gaps where you can’t produce the material yourself. I know it sounds like it would be a bit of a stretch, but there are a number of platforms that offer this service (for free!)

One such platform is called Writesonic (click here to try it out free). This website offers a number of features including grammar checking, text rewriting, article spinning, and even the ability to create an article out of just one word. With this site, your creativity isn’t needed – Writesonic will do all the work for you!

Another option for overcoming writer’s block is using tools like HemingwayApp.com or Turnitin.com. These sites allow you to write rough drafts which they then analyze for readability and style. This can be useful when working on pieces with tight deadlines or strict guidelines as these sites provide instant feedback on your writing before you submit it for editing.

Conclusion
Writer’s block can be a real problem for authors, but AI is here to help. With the right tools, you can become a better writer, boost your creativity and even generate new content. Whether you want to write a novel or a blog post, AI can be your creative muse.

How to Balance Work and Life as a Tech Parent

The tradeoff between work and life is a modern-day dilemma. If you’re a tech parent, you might be feeling this pressure even more intensely. The latest studies show that nearly one-third of parents are working more than one job to make ends meet. You have to find out how to set boundaries so you can get the most out of both time periods. Here are some tips for balancing your work and life as a tech parent:

Set Boundaries
Many parents find it challenging to balance work and life. For those who also have children, this can be even tougher as you’re trying to equalize your responsibilities as a parent with your responsibilities as a tech employee.

In order to create some boundaries around your work time, consider limiting the hours you spend on the computer each day. This type of self-regulation can help you stay on task and limit distractions from outside sources like social media or email that can keep you from getting things done.

When setting boundaries for personal time, try alternating days where you take care of business and days where you spend time with family and friends. This way, there won’t be any resentment created when it comes to taking care of business or spending quality time together. As tempting as it may be to always put business first (to increase efficiency), try balancing self-care with work responsibilities by alternating which one takes priority each day.

Another tip for balancing your work and life involves staying connected with your team members outside of the office. Technology has made this easy: just start a group chat on an app like Slack or join an online forum for people in similar fields. You might find that these connections help you feel less isolated when you’re at home—not just during office hours!

Finding the Right Balance
If you’re a tech parent, balancing your work and life can be difficult. Working in the tech industry for most of my life, I know how important it is to find balance. We all want to be able to give our kids the best we can while making sure we take care of ourselves and our families.

The tradeoff between work and life is a dilemma that many people deal with on a daily basis. The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that 32% of parents are working more than one job in order to make ends meet. Here are some tips for balancing your work and life as a tech dad:

Managing Technology to Make You More Productive
The first step in balancing work and life is to use the technology you have more efficiently. This doesn’t just mean using your computer or your phone more efficiently, but it also means using other technologies, like an automated home. Automating certain aspects of your home can help free up time so you can focus on other things. For example, if you had a dishwasher that automatically started when you left the house, then that would be freeing up some time for you to do something else.

Tips for Working From Home
The first thing you can do to balance work and life as a tech mom/dad is set boundaries. If you’re a parent, it’s important you find a schedule that works for your children and your family in general before you start working from home. Working from home can be a challenge if you don’t have a system that allows you to balance work and life. For example, if your child has an appointment at school one day, there are two options: either you go with them to the appointment or they go alone. If you decide to go with them, then someone needs to stay home with the other children while the appointment is going on which causes another set of problems. You can avoid these problems by being clear about how much time will be spent working from home each day and setting a schedule for who will care for the children when necessary.

How to Keep Your Home Downtime Productive
What are you supposed to do when you’re home?

– Do chores
– Take care of the kids
– Read a book
– Call your mom

The last one might sound fun, but it can be difficult to stay on the phone for hours. Instead, why not try an online chat? Skype is a great way to catch up with friends and family without having to talk on the phone for hours. You can have a video call or just have a simple text conversation. You’ll still get that personal connection without being tethered to a phone for a long period of time.

Find Your Ideal Schedule
The first step to finding a balance is to examine your schedule and find out what works best for you.
If you’re not sure where to start, try setting aside time for each side of your life. For example, if you work from home in the morning, set aside time for your family in the evening. If you work from home in the evening, make sure you take time off during the day. These little adjustments can help you find a balance.

Conclusion
Setting boundaries and finding the right work-life balance is a challenge for any parent and can be especially difficult for those who work from home. However, the benefits of working from home and staying connected to your family make balancing work and home life worth the effort.

The key to finding your ideal schedule is to determine what you need to do to be productive and then create a schedule that aligns with those needs. For example, if you need downtime in the evening after your kids go to bed, build that into your schedule. It may be difficult at first, but over time it will become second nature. And as your kids grow, so will your schedule.