Category: Creative Programs and Systems

The Five Best Blue-Light Blocking Glasses to Reduce Eye Strain

Eye fatigue from staring at computer screens, tablets, and smartphones is a real thing. Blue light emitting from these screens can cause dry eyes, headaches, and eye strain. If you work in front of a computer screen or your eyes come in contact with blue-light emission for more than a few hours a day, it might be a good idea to invest in some computer reading glasses.

  1. Warby Parker: boosting a home try-on option, these blue-light-filtering lenses start at $50. Customers can pick five frames to test out for five days, shipped free of charge. For each pair of glasses purchased, the company distributes a pair to those in need.
  2. Zenni Optical: these “Blokz” lenses start at just $16.95 and are available with several features such as photochromatic (light-changing), sunglasses, and impact-resistant for kids. They can also be bought as fashion/style glasses without a prescription.
  3. Gunnar: selling “gaming” glasses since 2006, these glasses boost experience other brands cannot compete with. They offer a Blue Light Protection Factor (BLPF), which measures lens protection for the eyes, ranging from clear to heavily tinted amber. These specialized glasses start at $49.
  4. Ambr Eyewear: husband-and-wife team based in Dublin, Ireland started this business in their kitchen after realizing there was a high demand but no answer for stylish blue-light blocking lenses. Starting at $62, they range from plastic to metal, clear to tinted.
  5. Cyxus: these glasses have been affordable since 2009, starting at just $20. A technology called “HEV-Absorb” blocks out blue light in glasses designed for women, men, kids, and teens.

For all other computer or technology needs and questions, contact the experts at Creative Programs and Systems. We know how to handle screen issues of all kinds.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Hackers Target Hundreds of Hospitals With Ransomware

According to security researchers, a hacking group is targeting U.S. hospital systems with Ryuk ransomware. Several federal agencies warned hospitals and cyber-researchers about “credible” information “of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers.” The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released an advisory outlining the situation and warned that the ransomware might be used “for financial gain.”

Ransomware is a computer virus that locks computers until payment is waged for a decryption key. It works by infecting a computer, encrypting all the files, and victims have to pay the hackers (usually in Bitcoin) to release the data; otherwise the files are deleted permanently. When doctors are conducting emergency surgery and seeing patients, these attacks can potentially cause real-world harm.

The cybersecurity company FireEye Inc. reported that multiple hospitals across the U.S. had been hit by a “coordinated” ransomware attack. The computer virus warning comes as the coronavirus pandemic surges across the country with increased cases and hospitalizations.

A financially-motivated cybercrime group (dubbed UNC1878 by security researchers) carried out the attack, according to FireEye’s Chief Technology Officer of Strategic Services, Charles Carmakal. Multiple hospitals have been hit over the past several weeks, and the cybercrime group intends to deploy ransomware to hundreds of other hospitals in the near future.

“We are experiencing the most significant cybersecurity threat we’ve ever seen in the United States. UNC1878, an Eastern European financially-motivated threat actor, is deliberately targeting and disrupting U.S. hospitals, forcing them to divert patients to other healthcare providers,” Carmakal said.

Hospitals are not the only victims of these virus attacks, however. Retirement communities and other medical centers have been targeted as well. UNC1878 surpasses computer security by sending phishing e-mails to victims. The messages appear to be featuring a real Google Docs file, when in actuality, they are links to a malicious payload. In some cases, these e-mails seem even more realistic as they contain the recipient’s name, employer, and even corporate logos.

For more information about the ransomware attacks, read the full article on TIME’s website. To protect your home or office from ransomware attacks, contact Creative Programs and Systems today. We specialize in managed IT for healthcare and can help thwart these attacks.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Top Antivirus Software for 2020

Home computers have morphed from being an afterthought to the forefront of our lives. The internet is vital to work, school, staying in touch with family and friends, and more. These crucial connections are nearly priceless, so it is imperative the computers connecting you to the internet are running smoothly, efficiently, and without viruses or malware.

While viruses are older and less-relevant, malware is more fruitful for hackers, making ransomware and data-stealing Trojans much more common. Most antivirus programs rid your computer of Trojans, rootkits, spyware, adware, ransomware, and others. PCMag tested more than 40 different commercial antivirus utilities to help consumers ensure they are using the best software available.

The top ten antivirus programs are:

  1. McAfee AntiVirus Plus
  2. Norton AntiVirus Plus
  3. Kaspersky Anti-Virus
  4. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
  5. Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus
  6. ESET NOD32 Antivirus
  7. Malwarebytes Premium
  8. Sophos Home Premium
  9. Trend Micro Antivirus + Security
  10. F-Secure Anti-Virus

Do you need help or guidance finding the right antivirus software for your computer? Have you gone through steps on your own but are still experiencing virus, spyware, Trojan, etc. issues? Are you looking to prevent future infection? The computer experts at Creative Programs and Systems specialize in virus removal. Our trained, experienced professionals can assist you by getting your vital device back up and running in no time.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; implement internet marketing strategies for enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Google Voice Assistant AI May Start Calling Businesses to Confirm In-Stock Delivery

From Amazons Alexa to Apples Suri and Microsoft’s Cortana, voice assistant counterparts in these tech giants have slowly become a staple within our society. Now, Google is evolving its voice assistant ‘Duplex’ into an AI (artificial intelligence) tool that can do more than tell us the weather or answer trivia questions. 

The Google Assistant – Duplex may soon be calling local businesses to check for inventory availability. This update has been seen on a support page for Duplex concerning appointment booking information, “Google Assistant will only call you when a customer wants to book an appointment or when it needs to check your business hours or the status of the in-demand inventory.” 

What’s the Use-Case?

The full intentions and use cases of Google’s Duplex is unclear, and they haven’t done much to educate SMBs (small to medium businesses) about its capabilities or functionalities. One of the issues that Google will face when getting the attention of SMBs for adoption is that most owners won’t be picking up the phone. 

Larger companies have IVR systems that would most likely have blocking technology that would block Duplex. However, another service from Google called CallJoy has proved that demands for this kind of technology are on the rise. CallJoy is a virtual agent that can semi-replace a call administrative assistant or SMB owners who don’t want to answer the phone (we’re not sure if this is a good or bad thing). 

It’s a likely scenario in the near future that we may see Google’s Duplex calling about an inventory query to a company that uses Google’s CallJoy as their call assistant. We have all heard or B2C and B2B business relations, well this possibly could take this to another dimension. I suppose you could call it, B2-AI or AI-2-AI business?

Google Forecasting In-Stock Demand by Searches Performed 

Recently Google had noted in a blog post that “Searches for ‘in-stock’ grew more than 70 percent globally from the week for March 28 to April 4, as consumers sought to avoid e-commerce shipping delays.” Additionally, Google has been increasingly emphasizing real-time inventory availability, and pushing curbside pickup (due to COVID-19), and “pick up today” in their shopping ads. 

The retail economy has been changing from brick-and-mortar to online-based because of convenience, customization, price, and many other factors. However, with the danger of picking up the virus in many areas, consumers are avoiding health risks by minimizing visits to the stores.

Trends in Local Shopping by Utilizing Online Orders

The pattern we most likely will see starting to emerge will be a mentality of “buy online and pick up locally” with shoppers who just want the best options and “get in and get out.” Google knows this, which is why they are initiating Duplex’s AI inventory systems for SMBs. 

Google’s Duplex has interesting possibilities and may evolve to create expanding services related to digital marketing, sales functionalities, or new third-party integrations. Although, we most likely are several years away from that. Duplex could solve the problem of old and inaccurate product listings in search while also helping to solve SMBs Google My Business information, which many owners are neglecting.

If the product-inquiry function works, it could also assist in generating additional sales for local businesses, if not for increasing revenue and staying competitive, for survival and escaping becoming irrelevant. 

If you need assistance in improving your website and increasing your digital footprint and marketing, we are here to help! Our team of staff is locally employed, in-house, with a dedication to detail. Call Creative Programs and Systems; open Monday – Friday 9 am to 5 pm (810) 224-5252.

Working from Home Remotely – What You Need to Know


The ability to work remotely outside of the office has been obtainable for a few decades; however, this technology has become more mainstream in today’s work society. Employers are finding it easier to allow their employees to work remotely as they discover it’s relatively simple to set up remote access with only a computer and internet connection.

Many corporations have continued to grow with the acceptance of remote positions available. Although this technology is still a new concept to many, some may find it intimidating. Consulting with a professional can make this process much simpler.

Using a VPN Connection

A VPN (virtual private network) is a standard component within remote access solutions.  A VPN allows remote users to establish a secure connection within a computer network. It functions by using a public network (typically an internet connection) to connect remote sites. Virtual connections are then routed from a company’s private network or a third-party security service provider to users of the system.

Private data can be transmitted across unknown networks without the worry of a security breach within a company’s internal data or assets. A VPN connection is initiated by a remote user logging into a corporate server and then confirming details based on the security information provided by either a password, IP address, or SSL certificate.

Using Remote Desktop Applications

Another option that allows for remote access is third-party software programs specializing in remote technology. This software is designed for virtually accessing your work computing equipment. There are many companies online that offer software downloads with security options and additional features.  However, it is best to consult with an IT professional when considering software options for your company’s needs. Consulting with a professional will ensure that the correct security features are properly integrated and installed within your company’s infrastructure.

Creative Communications

One disadvantage of working remotely can be the lack of face-to-face interaction that is present in an office atmosphere. Having the right technology installed can overcome this obstacle and offers enormous benefits. Video conferencing technology has become a great tool to reincorporate the human element of working remotely. Scheduling daily or weekly video calls to see your colleagues can help boost productivity and morale. As discussed previously, there are many third-party software applications to make life easier when working remotely.  However, it is advised to speak with an IT consultant before installing any remote applications to your infrastructure.

Creative Programs and Systems is an all-inclusive tech company that specializes in Custom DevelopmentManaged IT Services, and Digital Marketing.  All work is done in-house. We never outsource services from custom server builds and workstations, custom software programming, and phone app development, to search engine optimization and paid advertising, our professionals provide results.  For more information on CPS, check out our website at https://www.cpsmi.com.



What Does an ADA Compliant Website Mean?

You might have heard the term ADA Compliant, referencing the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed into law under the first George Bush in 1990. The bill was enacted to prohibit discrimination against those with physical disabilities to ensure fair and equal access (or accommodation thereof) to public places. Initially, the focus was on eliminating barriers and providing access for all, to all businesses, schools, and public areas. Recently, “Places of Public Accommodation” under Title III of ADA, has come under scrutiny as to whether or not websites and mobile apps are included within these laws.

The Threat of ADA Non-Compliance

Websites with significant inaccessible components can be seen as discriminatory against persons with disabilities. In the recent past, there has been an influx of lawsuits threatening the disbarment of schools, health care providers, and agencies that accept government funds for operation. These litigations have scared a lot of businesses and municipalities to update their website and make them ADA compliant, sometimes falling victim to online extortionists who charged an obscene amount of money by taking advantage of people’s fears of a lawsuit. 

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

While standards were provided for businesses to accommodate those with physical handicaps, we are still waiting for confirmed guidance for the internet, web-based, and mobile applications. In the meantime, guidelines have been established and are frequently referred to in court. 

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) who develops international web standards, originally came up with recommendations in 1999 called Web Content Accessibility Guidelines or WCAG 1. As the web and digital technology expanded, WCAG 2 was released in 2008, which also widen the range of people with disabilities it serves to include those who are blind, deaf, learning and cognitively disabled, and those with limited mobility. WCAG 2.1 was released in 2018 to fill in the gaps further and includes mobile responsiveness and other guidelines for those who suffer from poor vision. Both WCAG 2 and 2.1 have valuable principles that every business owner should abide by; however, the 2.0 version is considered a baseline for accessibility, and the 2.1 version should be used as your testing standard to improve usability for all. FYI…Another round of updates is already in the works, known as “Silver” or WCAG 3.

Grey Area in ADA Website Compliance 

Courts have come to varying conclusions whether coverage is limited to physical spaces and whether a company’s website is included in these requirements. Currently, neither Congress nor the Department of Justice (the primary federal government agency responsible for enforcing ADA) has adequately clarified the scope of ADA in terms of website accessibility compliance for private companies. While WCAG 2, Level AA (the success criteria level that most courts generally rely on) is frequently referenced in litigation, some courts have interpreted Title III of the ADA to include websites as public domains that should be accessible to all, while others have not. There seems to be no ADA web-based standard for private entities and for companies who employ less than 15 people; especially, for states like Michigan, who have yet to adopt legislation governing website compliance. 

Perks of Being ADA Compliant

The most significant incentive for meeting compliance is knowing that you have done all that you could to be fair and opportunistic for all people, no matter their skill level. It’s just good business practice to have an online presence that can be received by all. Also, the WCAG guidelines have a lot of great suggestions to help make your website read and look better to the end-user, which, if it is engaging to visitors, the longer they remain on your site will essentially increase your sales. Another consideration in becoming ADA compliant is that we, Creative Programs and Systems (CPS), study the trends of Search Engine Optimization and predict that compliance will soon be a ranking factor for organic SERP placement. SERP is the natural placement of your business listing when queried in search engines, not paid advertisements. It’s a win-win!

There are no automatic or instant solutions available from a widget or a plugin to make your website ADA compliant. Updating your website to become ADA compliant is a process and you can start by breaking down sections of your website to make it more manageable. But, really getting a head start is something and CPS can help get you there. It boils down to having proper, clean coding and best practices in software development from a professional team of programmers who can interpret federal and state policies and deliver a product that not only meets compliance but is also modern and informative. If you seek to obtain a reputable website developer, such as CPS, to ensure full compliance with WCAG 2.1, contact us today. CPS also provides Managed IT services, SEO and digital marketing, and customized programming and software that meets your needs. To learn more, visit www.cpsmi.com.



Using Header Tags in SEO


There is no denying that header tags still serve an essential role in SEO for your website and the users who visit it. SEO can influence your rankings through Google by making your content more natural and enjoyable for a visitor to read. Headers also provide keyword-rich context about the content on the site which the search engine uses to find you. SEO continues to evolve and the heading tags should be optimized to provide the best results in today’s world of change.

History of SEO Heading Tags

HTML header tags are created to separate the headings (H1) and sub-headings (H2-H6) of a website page from the rest of the content. Heading tags (H1, H2, H3) were legitimate ranking factors in the early 2000s and it was required to add keywords into the heading if you wanted to rank. This practice in SEO has changed quite a bit in recent years.

SEO Habits Vs. Useful Practice

Adding keywords to heading tags has become a habit more than actual usefulness in SEO. Taking a closer look at top ranking websites shows evidence that header tags no longer require keywords to succeed anymore. Another example of an old habit is the belief that H1 headings are more important than H2 headings or other listed tags after that. This belief 15 years ago would have been a real ranking factor but presently, this is no longer the case. Currently, the primary purpose of heading tags is to explain what the content on the page is about. It helps visitors understand what the text or images are portraying on the website.

Following Best SEO Practice

To improve your website’s visibility and grow your online traffic, it is vital to continue the practice of comprehensive and thoughtful SEO strategy. Google along with other search engines are shifting from authority rankings towards the quality of content that is provided. The structure, relevance to the topic, and the whole user experience are all taken into consideration to be successful online in today’s world. A few essential SEO practices that you should include on your website are:

  • Create a unique title and meta description that explain the page’s content easily and accurately.
  • Use the most descriptive and important keywords in header tags but don’t overuse them; they should be used naturally for a visitor to follow and read easily.
  • Provide content to a webpage that is meaningful and accurate. The content should provide specific information to meet the user’s intent and be found in search queries. Long-form content appears to be ideal for backlink acquisition; however, John Mueller, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, has stated publicly that word count itself is not a ranking factor.

Creative Programs and Systems is an all-inclusive tech company that specializes in Custom DevelopmentManaged IT Services, and Digital Marketing. All work is done in-house and we never outsource our services – from custom server builds and workstations, custom software programming and phone app development to search engine optimization and paid advertising. Our professionals provide results. For more information, check out our website at https://www.cpsmi.com.



Marketing Your Business Through Social Media


It is very important for a business to choose proper marketing strategies to invest in their company to be successful. One of the most useful and cost-effective marketing tools inside of digital marketing a small business can use to reach their target audience is through social media. What makes social media so powerful for marketing? It has been studied that over 97% of businesses are using it to reach their audiences, below are several reasons why.

Your Customers and Competition Are on Social Media

One main reason for small businesses to be utilizing social media for their marketing strategies is the fact that many of your customers are spending their time on these channels already. Studies have shown that 70% of the U.S population has at least 1 form of social media accounts created. With the great mass amount of people accessing these platforms, sometimes even multiple times each day, it creates a great opportunity for businesses that are wanting to reach online audiences.  Not only are your potential customers using social media but so are many competitors. No matter what style of industry, or who the targeted audience is, social media can impact your business marketing. To remain competitive is important to build a presence online in social media to present your brand in a unique way to show your industry expertise and knowledge.

Social Media Marketing Is Cost-Effective

Choosing to use social media for your marketing needs will help you cut costs for advertisement without sacrificing results. Social media will cost you time that you invest in creating and posting content more than the actual dollar amount associated. Even just a simple few hours a week focused on your account can see great results. If your company decides to use social media advertising as part of your marketing strategy, depending on the goals of the campaign it can still be inexpensive to run paid ads on media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Improve Search Engine Rankings

When increasing your online appearance through social media, there is a good chance you are also, in turn, improving your search engine optimization at the same time. Search engines such as Google may use social media presence as a factor in website ranking. Brands that tend to be successful have healthy interactive social media accounts that can flag their accounts as valuable and trusting. Search engines also pay attention to behavior on social media that has content with links and social signals, such as likes, and shares associated with the posts as well. Ranking factors are in a constant change but having an updated and well-maintained social media account will typically always bring positive effects.

Creative Programs and Systems is an all-inclusive tech company that specializes in Custom DevelopmentManaged IT Services, and Digital Marketing.  All work is done in-house, we never outsource services from custom server builds and workstations, custom software programming and phone app development, to search engine optimization and paid advertising, our professionals provide results.  For more information on CPS check out our website at https://www.cpsmi.com.



The Difference of a Custom-Made Website


When owning a business, one of your top priorities is to find the best way for your customers to find your company and promote the desired appearance to provide a unique first impression to potential new customers and will create interest for them to reach out to begin working with. The way technology is today, it is important for your company website to display your company in a professional, creative, and responsive way that will set you apart from your competitors. Unfortunately, in the web design market, many phrases of “custom design” are used but not to its true meaning. What makes a website truly custom made? Let us take a closer look at web development and understand what will be the best website for your business needs.

Using Templates

One of the most common ways to start a website is by using a simple site such as WordPress or other companies such as Wix or Squarespace that provide a theme that allows a person to choose different templates that can be purchased and edited with their personal business information. These type of website creations are chosen mostly due to the low startup cost aspect as well as development times are much shorter. However, as with many things in life, you get what you pay for as it’s always said. There are disadvantages that should be considered when using these website creators as well. Many other businesses could be using the very same templates that you have chosen so this will remove the uniqueness and will not stand out as much from competitors.

Choosing A Custom Design

Quality web design is an art and science incorporated together. The placement of pictures, videos, shortcuts, etc is all arranged in a specific format that has been analyzed for industry trends and to better target a business audience. The main goal of a customized website is for the visitors to gain a complete visual representation of a company and what they have to offer. Having a custom website will also allow the possibilities for specific features to be utilized as well whether you are needing to incorporate e-commerce capabilities or be able to utilize CRM software to input data from a website. Another large aspect that will impact a custom-designed website is your SEO placement. Google can recognize a site’s uniqueness and in turn, will promote a higher rank than a standard template website.

Weighing the Options

Making business decisions is not always easy and of course, everyone is always hoping they are making the right choice based on the facts that they are presented with. A company that is just starting out and needs to get a website up fast and inexpensively may get away with a template or website with starter sites available. Keep in mind, these templates should be used as just a simple stepping stone and the only way to reach the top of your business’s potential is by choosing a custom design. Several websites will state that custom website design is dying however that is far from the actual truth. There is no doubt, as time continues on there are more templates being used each day but this will only give a custom-designed website even more of an advantage, it’s better to stand out than to blend in with the rest!

Creative Programs and Systems is an all-inclusive tech company that specializes in Custom DevelopmentManaged IT Services, and Digital Marketing.  All work is done in-house, we never outsource services from custom server builds and workstations, custom software programming and phone app development, to search engine optimization and paid advertising, our professionals provide results.  For more information on CPS check out our website at https://www.cpsmi.com.



Benefits Of Managed IT Services for Your Computer Needs


Running a business of any size is no small task for a person to accomplish. It can be quite stressful to always be deciding what is best for the company and finding new ways to make it more profitable and efficient. Knowing the ins and outs of your business is key to being successful but what happens when you require additional services such as computer IT that personnel at your business are not familiar with? We live in a world full of computers that are designed to make our lives and businesses easier to run and maintain but when the systems potentially go down or need upgrades as time continues to change rapidly with technology you will find there is a new problem to resolve. Outsourcing your IT needs or more specifically using managed IT will benefit your business dramatically and below you will find exact reasons why.

Preventative solutions that reduce risk

Every business investment will require some type of risk. When utilizing a managed IT company to service your computer IT needs, much of the risk is removed since you will gain the expertise and knowledge of the professionals in the IT field and will understand the compliance and security issues to be on the lookout for. Also, with the expert knowledge, precautions will be installed and will receive better performance with little to no downtime. Daily system scans are done on the entire network of the company to verify no security issues or will be informed of smaller issues that can be repaired faster than if a problem was neglected and became much larger in turn saving more money.

Predictable and Controlled Expenses

A customized plan will be designed by the managed IT consultants to provide the best solutions for your business no matter size if a small business or a global industry leader. Considerations that will help determine the plans that are enough for your company will be details discussed such as budgets, timelines, and future upgrades that are required to take place.  Once the proper plan is decided, it will give a peace of mind knowing that your IT will be able to maintain and provide quality service that you will not have to question what will be covered and what repairs won’t. Having managed service providers also help minimize the likelihood of inconvenient, and sometimes very expensive network disasters. 

Quicker Service

When businesses work with managed IT consultant’s they will receive the quickest response time support. Wide range of services include 24/7 system and network monitoring, server/ workstation installation and maintenance, security audits, employee troubleshooting and much more. At CPS, we also have a customer support portal that allows customers to request immediate support through in house IT ticket system that consultants can receive day or night. Proper monitoring of systems will inform your IT professionals when an issue is found before it becomes a large issue to save more downtime as well. Communication with software and hardware vendors can be done directly through managed IT company so that a business owner does not have to take additional time trying to understand technical terms or complicated conversations.

Creative Programs and Systems is an all-inclusive tech company that specializes in Custom DevelopmentManaged IT Services, and Digital Marketing.  All work is done in-house, we never outsource services from custom server builds and workstations, custom software programming and phone app development, to search engine optimization and paid advertising, our professionals provide results.  For more information on CPS check out our website at https://www.cpsmi.com.