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August 9, 2012

Whoa! Wait! What? We're already talking about Labor Day? As my kids would say, "Seriously?" How did this happen? I blinked and two thirds of 2012 is almost over. Growing up, this was the part of the summer that I dreaded the most. Not only was it scorching hot, but the countdown would begin - only 2 more weeks left before school would start. Yuck.

Now I'm dreading an even bigger milestone, and I don't mean the start of middle school. Oh no. The dread I'm talking about is that my kids are about to get their first phone (an iPhone no less). As a parent this worries me, but as a technology professional this scares the daylights out of me. While they're already online (humorously telling me how much Facebook looks like Google+ when they don't know it's the other way around), now it will be turned up to the nth degree with the mobility factor and texting. Oh the humanity! Interesting times, but I'm sure we'll figure it out.

Another interesting time was the time we spent last week at CompTIA's Breakaway 2012. This is an industry conference where we get together to participate in educational seminars and industry leadership roundtables as well as meet with vendors and partners to improve our businesses. With the backdrop of Las Vegas, the nights were always fun. I could share some stories, but as they say - what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. On a more serious note, one of the biggest buzzes there this year was definitely about the Cloud. What is it? What does it do? Who's running it? Is there an app for it? "We have 4G, 5G, 6G, all the G's!" Things like that. Seriously though, we spent a lot of time meeting with various cloud vendors, hosting providers, public and private cloud builders, and resellers gaining a ton more knowledge, perspective, and building blocks for many of the cloud services we provide. We shared success stories with others and came away with some great contacts. If you read my recent blog, none of them were Cal Worthingtons - which is a good thing.

Lastly, with all the interdependence we now have with the Internet and everything cloud, we've added a new section (see below) called "Recent Hacks & Outages" outlining some of the (what else) recent hacks and outages. We thought it would be an informative way to keep you all abreast of some of the issues impacting our ever widening network we're becoming more and more dependent on.

So there you have it. I hope you enjoy this month's newsletter and here's to a great and productive month!

Craig Pollack & The FPA Team

The Sad Lives of Smartphone Slaves

We've all seen the funny YouTube videos of a person walking into a mall fountain or a glass door because they were so engrossed in their smartphones. And most of us saw that commercial last year -- I think it was for Verizon, but I'm not even sure, to be honest -- of a young guy walking out of his home and onto the street without even having to stop playing his video game because he could transfer it from his computer right to his smartphone! The overall vibe of the commercial was that being able to do this -- "this" being ignoring the reality all around you while you walk around and play a video game on a tiny screen -- was somehow "cool." Of course, it's not cool. It's incredibly dorky, and the young guy in the commercial -- at least to me -- seemed like a pathetic, myopic loser with no social skills or appreciation of life around him.

Read the full article here.

CompTIA Conference Forecasts Critical IT Trends

The U.S. information technology industry is on the brink of a major shift, IT professionals said on July 31st at the Computing Technology Industry Association's annual conference attended by FPA. The demands of younger members of Generation Y now entering the job market, the rise of cloud computing, and even the upcoming presidential election are poised to radically change the IT industry.

Why is this important/What does this mean for you? We need to better understand Generation Y (also known as Millennials) because they will be our customers and our staff. They work differently. They're the first generation who've grown up with technology. With businesses moving data to remote servers (in the cloud), the technology and business landscape is poised for a significant change. Both business owners and IT professionals need "more education and in both directions" on cloud computing - its strengths, weaknesses, and ramifications.

Read the full article here.

MS Reinvents Hotmail as Outlook

Over the next few months, a growing number of Hotmail users will be invited to test out a new Web-based email service called "Outlook," named after Microsoft's other popular email brand. Eventually, everyone will be transitioned to Outlook, but Microsoft gave no firm deadline for that to happen.

Why is this important/What does this mean for you? Microsoft is the world's largest email provider with 325 million Hotmail users worldwide. But it has not kept up with features such as social integration, labels, filters, and user interface that Gmail and Yahoo offer. Microsoft wants 1 billion users worldwide and is going after Gmail users, some of whom are dissatisfied with recent changes to the service's user interface. While the new Outlook makes porting over Gmail easy, the name alone may add too much confusion to the landscape.

Read more here.

For information on how FPA can help you with your email, please visit our Email Services page.

10 Olympics-Themed Phishing Scams To Avoid

Every four years, the Olympics provide the opportunity for world-class athletes to raise their games just a little higher. But, the same is also true in the cyberworld. The Olympic Committee has provided a long list of warnings. Here's a few of the ones not only intriguing but also specifically targeted at unsuspecting spectators.

Find out what they are here.

True Secret to Success (It's Not What You Think)

Learn what Geoffrey James considers to be the key to lifelong success - the regular exercise of this single emotional muscle....

Find out what it is here.

3 Interview Questions That Reveal Everything

Interviewing job candidates is tough, especially because some candidates are a lot better at interviewing than they are at working. To get the core info you need about the candidates you interview, here's a simple but incredibly effective interview technique learned from John Younger, the CEO of Accolo, a cloud recruiting solutions provider.

Read the full article here.

Why Good Grammar at Work is Essential - No Matter What You Do

Good grammar is credibility, especially on the Internet. In blog posts, on Facebook statuses, in e-mails, and on company websites, your words are all you have. They are a projection of you in your physical absence. But, is it right to have a zero-tolerance for grammatical mistakes?

Read more here.


Apple Support Allowed Hacker Access to Reporter's iCloud Account

Gizmodo Twitter Account Hijacked by Foul-Mouthed Hackers

Apple and Amazon Hacks: How to Minimize Your Risk

14 Cloud Outages in 7 Months. Who's Next?


A Blackout Leads to Better Disaster Preparedness

This past weekend, the weirdest thing happened - our neighborhood was hit with a blackout. In my area, this hardly ever happens. Short of earthquakes (knock wood), we're pretty devoid of the threats the midwest or the east coast face. And while it wasn't long enough to be significantly impactful (it did end up being about 36 hours), it was long enough to make us seriously reevaluate our disaster preparedness.


Cal Worthington Sells the Cloud

For those of you who aren't old enough to remember, Cal Worthington was a (semi) famous car salesman around LA with late night and weekend commercials blaring on and on about his low cost cars. "No one beats Cal" was his line. If you wanted to save money on a car, "go see Cal".

Well, now a days it seems like there's a whole industry of "Cal Worthingtons" spouting off about how they can save you money moving you to the cloud. Now, don't get me wrong...



FPA Attends CompTIA Breakaway 2012

FPA Technology Services, Inc. (FPA), the leading full service IT Consulting Firm in the Los Angeles area, attended the CompTIA Breakaway 2012 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, participating in educational seminars, industry leadership roundtables and achieving program certifications.

CompTIA Breakaway is considered a premier education and training event for the IT channel, and the 2012 conference included keynote speakers, solution provider presentations and exhibits and programs on key technologies such as cloud computing, disaster recovery, and mobility (Bring Your Own Device or BYOD), as well as traditional technology and business topics.

Read the Press Release



Labor Day -
September 3, 2012

Labor Day

Labor Day is a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882; in 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday.

In honor of Labor Day, our offices will be closed on Monday, September 3rd. If you encounter an emergency situation and need to contact us over the Labor Day weekend, please email our Help Desk and our on-call team will get back to you as soon as possible. If you cannot send an email, call us at 818-501-3390 and leave a message on our automated VoiP system.

Have a great holiday!

Network Health Assessment

Network Health Assessment

As part of FPA's commitment to the proactive approach to managing our clients' technology services, we offer a Network Health Assessment through our comprehensive Technology Review Project (TRP).

We perform a TRP as the initial step when onboarding all new clients. This approach provides a formal way to document and evaluate the state of their technology while also taking the pulse of their existing infrastructure to determine its strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. This ensures that we begin every client engagement by taking a "big picture" look at the current state of their overall approach to technology. This also ensures that we're working with our clients to make informed organizational and financial decisions relating to IT.

The results of our Network Health Assessment are provided through our TRP Report. Our proprietary report provides nearly 100 points of industry standard best practices ensuring a detailed and comprehensive analysis of their technology. The resulting Network Scorecard provides a baseline that we use on an ongoing basis in our Quarterly IT Status Review Meetings to ensure that we're staying on track working with our clients to achieve their overall business objectives.

For more information about our Network Health Assessment services, please contact us at info@fpainc.com or by phone at 818-501-3390.

Staff Spotlight -
Ignacio Montemayor

Ignacio Montemayor

Ignacio Montemayor is one of our Network Engineers who started out in remote support and has grown to providing onsite services. His background is in networking and IT support, and like everyone at FPA he prides himself on having deep technical knowledge but also a consultative approach that allows him to deliver the business appropriate solution for our clients.

Ignacio is a big fan of technology and he spends time researching new technologies, concepts, theories and their impacts on society. He enjoys playing soccer, cycling, and camping.

Ignacio's words to live by? "Never give up, always try harder!"

Charity Spotlight

LA Regional Food Bank

Los Angeles Regional Food Bank

Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is a nonprofit charitable organization that has been serving the disadvantaged of the community since 1973. They are at the heart of a charitable food distribution network that includes over 1,000 charitable agency sites throughout Los Angeles County.

The LA Regional Food Bank receives its food in three ways: industry donations (44% in 2011), USDA Commodities (45%), and Purchased Food (11%). When product is donated to the Food Bank, volunteers are used to sort, clean and repackage the food. The Food Bank’s distribution volume has increased by more than 70 percent over the past four years at the same time demand at their food pantry agency partner sites has risen by 73 percent.

With the unemployment rate still high in Los Angeles County and reductions in both food and funds from government sources, the Food Bank is appealing for increased financial contributions to acquire additional food. For every $1 donated, the Food Bank acquires and distributes 4 meals. Support of the Food Bank and the 640 charitable agencies that they serve is critical to sustain and attempt to meet the demand for food assistance. For more information, please visit www.lafoodbank.org.

Client Testimonial

"FPA is great to work with, and they provide consistent timeliness of response to issues and problems. They resolved a major problem within a short time span, which minimized downtime significantly. Thanks FPA!"

Monise K.
Emblem Enterprises

Recommended Reading

Never Eat Alone

Never Eat Alone

By Keith Ferrazzi

Do you want to get ahead in life? Climb the ladder to personal success? The secret, master networker Keith Ferrazzi claims, is in reaching out to other people. As Ferrazzi discovered early in life, what distinguishes highly successful people from everyone else is the way they use the power of relationships—so that everyone wins. In Never Eat Alone, Ferrazzi lays out the specific steps—and inner mindset—he uses to reach out to connect with the thousands of colleagues, friends, and associates on his Rolodex, people he has helped and who have helped him.

Ferrazzi grew up in rural Pennsylvania, the son of a steelworker and a cleaning lady, yet his ability to connect with others led to a scholarship at Yale, a Harvard MBA, and a prestigious partnership at Deloitte Consulting. While Ferrazzi's style isn't for everyone, this book is an interesting read and has many takeaways and tips to help you build better business relationships.

Careers @ FPA


Looking for a career change or know someone who is? We're always on the lookout for talented people to join our elite team. Please contact us if you know of anyone.

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"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."

- Peter F. Drucker
Professor, Writer, Management Consultant




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