Category: Creative Programs and Systems

Electric Vehicle Winter Battery Performance

When purchasing an Electric Vehicle (EV), ensure you are well-read on the benefits and risks prior to signing the dotted line. One of the most common questions associated with EVs is their ability to tolerate cold weather. Lithium-ion batteries do not perform well in cold, frigid weather, and many EV batteries are lithium-ion equipped. However, don’t let a slight decrease in overall battery performance affect your judgement of EVs. We dive deeper and examine how winter weather affects driving range. 

Many EVs boast a driving range – the distance it can drive without being charged – some up to 500 miles, but the inconsistent presence of charging stations throughout the country makes the range a legitimate concern for many potential owners. Combine this with a decrease in range thanks to battery reduction in cold weather, and it could become an issue. 

All vehicles (gas-powered, hybrid, and electric) are taxed more during extreme temperatures and cannot function at their peak performance. At 20° F, conventional gasoline vehicles generally see a 20% reduction in fuel economy, according to FuelEconomy.gov. However, it’s often more noticeable with an all-electric vehicle where drivers depend on knowing their exact range in order to reach their travel destinations.

The colder the temperature, the more power is required to keep warm and function properly. EV batteries are susceptible to freezing temperatures due to the drop in warmth which affects the battery’s ability to produce essential chemical reactions. Research shows that while battery performance drops during frigid weather, it can lower the driving range by as much as 41 percent in some cases.

Gas-powered vehicles receive natural heat from combustible engines, which can be redirected to the cabin when necessary. No engine means EVs rely on energy-intensive resistance or heat-pump style heaters instead. Moreover, the darker winter months require headlights to run longer, defogging, de-icing, and more. All of these extra mechanics suck up power from the battery. 

To maximize your EV’s winter weather range, follow these tips: 

  • Make sure your battery is above 20 percent before starting up
  • Use heat efficiently and don’t warm the back cabin if there are no passengers
  • Park in a garage whenever possible
  • Inflate your tires to achieve the best efficiency
  • Drive in eco- or conserve mode to limit energy consumption
  • Install winter tires to improve snow, ice, and slush driving conditions
  • Pre-heat your EV while it’s still plugged in 
  • Utilize heated seats/steering wheels instead of heating the entire cabin with heat

Many EV owners enjoy running their EVs year-round, despite a slight drop in performance. If you are concerned about these factors, look for a plug-in hybrid EV that can use gasoline if necessary. 

State Electric Company is a leader in the electrification of the nation. Our highly educated and experienced team of professionals uses industry-leading software technology and has partnered with manufacturers to deliver affordable solutions for all your electrical needs. State Electric Co. is also an exclusive distributor for Enel X JuiceBox EV chargers for residential and commercial use. We are fully licensed, insured, and bonded to install charging stations for homes, offices, hotels, and more. With our extensive knowledge of renewable energy, our team provides customers – large or small – with efficient electrical solutions. Contact us today to learn how we can safely and affordably meet your energy needs. 

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/

How Hair and Skin is Affected by Hard Water

Have you ever emerged from a shower in a new place – whether on vacation or at a family or friend’s house – and felt like your hair or skin were different? A jaw-dropping 85 percent of households throughout the United States have hard water, and many people are used to its effects on their bodies. 

Calcium, iron, or magnesium-rich water is evident by scale build-up in coffee makers, bathroom sinks, shower curtains and walls, bathtub faucets, and more. 

Skin and scalp that comes in contact with mineral-rich water can be left feeling dry, flaky, itchy, and irritated. Minerals are, in fact, beneficial for our health, but this external bombardment can be too much for skin and hair. 

Hair
Hair can be affected by having a residue that alters its overall texture, health, and appearance. If your hair feels filmy, thin, straw-like, dull, or limp, you more-than-likely have a hard water issue. Color-treated hair fades more quickly with hard water. Overall, hair loss or the inability to get the shampoo to a full lather are also signs of hard water. 

Skin
On the skin, chronic conditions such as eczema and psoriasis can be aggravated by hard water. The most common effect of hard water on the skin is extreme dryness. The lack of moisture and high levels of minerals can shift your natural skin hydration, leading to breakouts and other issues. 

Though many cities throughout the United States treat their water, others are left with untreated or well water that needs to be softened by the homeowner. To get a better snapshot of your home’s specific levels, contact a water treatment expert who can determine how to properly manage your water woes. 

Generally, filtration systems are the best bet to combat hard water. The price varies, but whole-house filters are important for ensuring your drinking, bathing, and washing water are safe and mineral-free. People living in apartments should also consider a shower head filter and faucet filters for drinking water.

Is your home or business troubled by hard water? Contact the water treatment experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning today for affordable solutions to improve your water experience. 

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/

Blogging for Business

“Why do I even need a blog for my business? People can find me through social media.” Sound familiar? Before we delve into why this statement is incorrect, let’s examine some facts. 

Businesses with regularly updated blogs see 55% more visitors and 67% more inbound links than those without blogs. Content creation is the most effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) technique for companies; the more content you publish, the better your odds of securing conversions. 

Google especially favors websites that share high-quality content with their audience, putting them higher in search rankings. When there is content on your website that Google can index, it swiftly pushes it to the top.

Digital marketing can improve your brand by bringing you to the top of indexed website pages, plain and simple. Blogging is one of the most effortless and economical ways to boost your business to generate new leads. It also helps give you a platform to publish less-competitive keywords. 

Blogs are geared toward getting your company more online visibility. Internet users either find your business by manually typing in your site URL or looking on a search engine. 

Every time you publish a new blog post, it’s an opportunity for your website to appear in search queries, linking your blog post and boosting your SEO. Moreover, content creators are always looking to share information on social media, so your blog could be shared on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. 

Blogs help to accomplish the following for your business: 

  • Brings traffic to your website 
  • Index your website so it can be more easily found
  • Creates company authority
  • Forms a long-term solution for generating leads (even years later)
  • Provides valuable information to your audience, keeping them coming back
  • Gives your company a voice
  • Converts traffic into leads

As you can see, blogs have an incredible impact on the growth of your business. If you are thinking of improving your overall web presence, let our professional digital marketing team at CPS help. We write blogs, and create social media graphic posts, newsletters, and more. Contact us today to get started!

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; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; 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 team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/

Cybersecurity Tactics to Deter Phishing

Businesses of all sizes are increasingly susceptible to viruses and phishing scams. As hackers constantly update and change their tactics, employees fall prey to new schemes, and companies become vulnerable. 

The 2022 Small Business Cybersecurity Report by Comcast Business reported that during the 12-month span between July 2021 to June 2022, 55 percent of Comcast Business customers were victims of botnet attacks, and 50 percent fell victim to malware and phishing attacks. Phishing scams specifically targeted financial brands, which made up 41 percent, and high-tech brands, at 36 percent. 

Shena Seneca Tharnish, VP for cybersecurity products at Comcast Business, said, “Attackers do not just target large enterprises. Recent reporting shows companies with less than 100 employees are three times more likely to be the target of a cyberattack – yet, often lack sufficient cybersecurity measures and resources to manage their risk.”

Small and medium-sized businesses can minimize their risk of falling vulnerable to phishing attacks by implementing anti-virus programs, firewalls, and network security solutions. However, this is not a “cure-all” for every business. 

Ivan Shefrin, executive director at Comcast Business, said, “These attacks are not ransomware and e-mail compromise; they are not things experienced by just large government organizations or corporations with highly valuable secrets to steal. This is really in the face of every business today.” 

Cybercriminals are constantly examining ways to target vulnerable businesses, since they typically lack security resources and professional expertise. E-mail phishing is one of the most popular tools hackers use to breach data, leading to ransomware attacks. 

To protect themselves, businesses should update their operating systems regularly. These updates generally include patches that remedy code vulnerabilities. Systems that are unpatched are much more susceptible to hackers. Employees should also undergo cybersecurity training to familiarize themselves with what to expect if a threat is imminent. 

Are you looking to protect your company from cyber threats? Contact the experts at Creative Programs and Systems today for a free consultation. 

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; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; 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 team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/ 

Web Browsers Spellcheck Can Unveil Passwords

Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge are two Internet browsers that use extended spellcheck features to transmit form data, including Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and passwords to their parent companies. 

While this feature is intended to assist the browser user, it does raise privacy concerns and calls the efficacy of password protection to question.  

“Spell-jacking” is the term used to describe the process of a browser sending PII from spellcheck to Google, Microsoft, and the like. Transmitted PII form data can include Social Security Numbers, Social Insurance Numbers, personal names, addresses, e-mails, dates of birth, contact information, bank information, and so much more. 

Josh Summit, co-founder and CTO of JavaScript security firm otto-js, unearthed this issue while testing script behaviors for his company. When Google Chrome Enhanced Spellcheck or Microsoft Edge Editor is enabled, nearly everything you type in form fields is instantaneously transmitted to Google and Microsoft. Clicking on “show password” can spell-jack your data. 

Summit stated, “Some of the largest websites in the world have exposure to sending Google and Microsoft sensitive user PII, including username, e-mail, and passwords, when users are logging in or filling out forms. An even more significant concern for companies is the exposure this presents to the company’s enterprise credentials to internal assets like databases and cloud infrastructure.” 

Though the transmission of form fields is securely sent through HTTPS, what happens to the user data after it reaches Google’s server, for example, is not exactly clear. Some companies have mitigated the issue by adding ‘spellcheck=false’ to all input fields; however, this could cause problems for users who can no longer use the spellcheck feature. 

Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge users can turn off spellcheck (or remove Edge’s Editor add-on) until the companies revise their code to exclude passwords and other PII from sensitive fields. 

Do you need assistance with adding or removing spellcheck from your browser? Has your data already been compromised? Contact the computer experts at CPS today – we can assist!  

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; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; 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 team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/

What’s the Big Deal Regarding ‘Zero-Day’?

“Zero-day” is becoming a more popular term to describe recently discovered security vulnerabilities exposed by hackers and used to infiltrate computer systems. The phrase literally means the developer has zero days to fix the issue caused by hackers. 

Zero-day threats are unprecedented virus attacks that exploit either a new variant of malware or previously unknown software (zero-day vulnerability). Since these malware viruses are unique, they are impossible to detect by typical signature-matching tactics. Zero-day is sometimes written as 0-day, and the term is often associated with the words: vulnerability, exploit, and attack. Keep reading to learn the difference between the three. 

Zero-Day Vulnerability
Hackers unearth these software vulnerabilities before vendors can be made aware of them; therefore, no patch or fix exists, making them more likely to infiltrate systems.

Zero-Day Exploits
This term refers to the hacking method used to attack systems with a previously unknown vulnerability. 

Zero-Day Attack
The actual term describes the execution of a zero-day exploit to cause damage or steal data from an unprotected system. 

Hackers can exploit security vulnerabilities found in software, called exploit code, and ultimately wreak havoc before developers can remedy the situation. When anti-virus companies release “patch” updates, they are essentially covering a hole that was previously discovered by hackers. Unfortunately, this process can take months, as these security vulnerabilities are not immediately distinguished. 

Signature matching is a specific strategy used to identify malware by analyzing samples of destructed data to create a signature file and then distributing an update for anti-virus software to identify the specific signature. Zero-day threats can sneak past these signature matching tactics, ultimately affecting many victims. 

Zero-day attacks are immensely dangerous and typically aimed at operating systems, web browsers, office applications, open-source components, hardwired firmware, Internet of Things (IoT), and more. Potential victims include those who use a browser or operating system, intellectual data property owners, run hardware, firmware, and the IoT through large businesses, organizations, government agencies, etc. 

Cyber threats are continually infecting thousands of computers with zero-day threats. To protect your network, applications, and data, contact the experts at CPS. Our engineers can engage an advanced threat prevention system that can test untrusted files, links, and e-mails before they get to you.

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; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; 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 team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/

Falling Computer Chip Prices

Recently, there was a massive price drop in computer chips. A common question is how these large drops will affect businesses in the surrounding industry. It’s been a bad decade for computer chip makers. That’s not to say there have been no gains – Intel’s profits have steadily climbed during the decade, and AMD has made some money in recent years. But the industry, as a whole, is facing lower prices–leading to a big earnings miss for industry leaders, and slower growth.

What Does It Mean When the Price Falls?

The falling price of computer chips is a sign of the cycle in capital-intensive businesses, as they look to make up for losses by cutting costs and laying off employees. The price of computer chips fell more than 70% over the past decade, and this is happening for a reason.

Continued price drops of computer chips indicate that we are entering a cycle where capital-intensive businesses are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. This is because technology is changing so quickly, and new players are constantly coming up with new ways to do things better and cheaper.

It is not just computer chips that are showing this trend; it is also happening in other industries, like cars and airplanes, which are seeing similar price drops as they become more automated.

The falling price of the computer chip means that companies in which “capital intensive” processes are important will see their profits decline. That’s bad news for investors.

Why Is the Price Falling and What It Means?

  • The cost of producing chips has dropped steadily, so manufacturers are able to lower their prices without taking a hit on their profits. This means that consumers have more money in their pockets, which they can put toward other purchases. It also means that companies who need to buy new computers are facing lower prices than they would have otherwise.
  • There is more competition in the industry, which means manufacturers are more competitive with each other. In addition, there is more innovation happening in design and production techniques.
  • Lastly, the advancement of technology.

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; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; 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 team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/

Google and Oracle Forced to Close due to Heatwave

Technology giants Google and Oracle suffered major power outages after massive heatwaves hit much of the United Kingdom, forcing cooling systems at London data centers to shut down. 

Data centers hold thousands of computers and are the foundation behind hundreds of online services. Since so many computers are processing, a massive amount of heat is generated; therefore, cooling is absolutely necessary. 

Oracle, a huge American database software and technology company, reported overheating issues by stating, “Following unnecessary high temperatures in the UK south (London) region, two cooler units in the data center experienced a failure when they were required to operate above their design limits. As a result, temperatures in the data center began to climb, which caused some systems to shut down as a protective measure.” 

The heatwave was also detrimental for the Google Cloud data center in London. They reported, “There has been a cooling-related failure in one of our buildings.” To prevent damage, machines were shut down, so only a small number of customers were affected. 

Since the data centers are incredibly valuable to customers, they are constructed with plenty of cooling capacity and back-ups. Typically, these large-scale failures do not take place. However, the unprecedented temperatures were a surprise for many. 

Paul Hone of Redcentric, which operates data centers in London, Reading, and Cambridge, said that data centers are designed to withstand hot weather, but the “heatwave’s temperatures would be at the upper end of design expectations for a lot of data center operators.”

Companies such as Microsoft are putting data centers underwater as an experiment to measure reliability and operation. With future data centers potentially being plunged into the ocean, the chances of heat waves affecting them will be minimal. 

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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; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; 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 team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/ 

Clarifying the Worldwide Computer Chip Shortage

Game consoles, graphics cards, processors, and so much more have been hard to come by lately. The consumer technology industry has suffered a shortage of computer chips, which has impacted the entire global supply. The chip drought has resulted in issues through hundreds of markets such as automotive, cryptocurrency, smartphone, vehicle, television, and a multitude of other technological advancements. 

Samsung CEO DJ Koh forecasted “A serious imbalance in supply and demand of chips.” 

Limited supply, combined with huge demand, created the chip shortage of 2021. During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, at-home entertainment boomed. Working from home caused laptop sales to reach their highest in decades. Cryptocurrency started booming, resulting in high demand for a multitude of high-end processors. 

Though gadgets and other technological handhelds have felt the impact first-hand, the automotive industry has been credited with igniting the shortage. In the beginning of the pandemic, automakers ceased orders for processors, anticipating a drop in sales. However, this decision was premature, and vehicle sales rebounded almost immediately. To compensate for the discrepancy, the automotive market attempted to buy back manufacturing, but it was too late. Other sectors were also pushing more production due to high demand. With a maxed-out production capacity, both markets were competing for chip assembly.

Gigantic technology companies such as Microsoft, Sony, Nvida, AMD, Apple, Qualcomm, and more do not actually produce their own processors. TSMC and Samsung build a majority of the world’s cutting-edge semiconductors. Intel is a unicorn in the market, as it manufactures its own processors and has not experienced shortages like its competitors. 

Trying to catch up with production is not as easy as it sounds. Extending production lines can drag on for months, and constructing new facilities can take years, not to mention cost billions of dollars. 

Forecasts show that chip shortages will continue throughout 2022. According to Xiaomi company president Want Xiang said, “The chip supply crunch is still challenging, but the situation will significantly improve in the second quarter, and such supply woes will be fundamentally solved and even revert in the second half of 2022.” 

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; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; 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 team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/

The Next Computer Screen Could Be in Contacts

Imagine living in the past, around 1900, wondering what the world would be like in 100 years. Technology, electronics, computers, and cell phones were far from being even remotely possible. 

Now, imagine the future: where you can see words, numbers, and other information flowing across your screen – except no one else can see that screen – it’s visible only to you since it’s in your eye.

Too far-fetched? On the contrary. Smart contact lenses will soon be a part of our reality; you’ll be able to do much more than you’ve ever imagined.

Steve Sinclair of Mojo Vision said, “Imagine…you’re a musician with your lyrics, or your chords, in front of your eyes. Or you’re an athlete, and you have your biometrics and your distance and other information that you need.” 

Mojo Vision is on the cutting edge of implementing smart contact lenses in humans. These “screens” within contacts will exhibit a heads-up display that will seemingly float in the user’s eyes. A tiny microLED display, smart sensors, and solid-state batteries will comprise the smart lenses. 

Sinclair said, “We’ve built what we call a feature-complete prototype that actually works and can be worn – we’re soon going to be testing that internally. Now comes the interesting part, where we start to make optimizations for performance and power and wear it for longer periods of time to prove that we can wear it all day.” 

At Columbia University, Rebecca Rojas, instructor of optometric science, says smart lenses could “include the ability to self-monitor and track intraocular pressure, or glucose. They can also provide extended-release drug-delivery options, which is beneficial in diagnosis and treatment plans. It’s exciting to see how far technology has come, and the potential it offers to improve other patients’ lives.” 

Mojo’s product testing has shown that smart lenses can be worn all day without a single battery recharge. Similar to our smartphones, actual battery life will depend on how often the smart lens is used.

Rojas said, “Any type of contact lens can pose a risk to eye health, if not properly cared for or not fitted properly. Just like any other medical device, we need to make sure the patients’ health is the priority, and whatever device used has benefits that outweigh the risk. I’m concerned about non-compliance, or poor lens hygiene and over-wear. These can lead to further complications like irritation, inflammation, infections, or risks to eye health.” 

Mojo’s smart lenses are expected to last for roughly a year, but he clarified that they could be programmed to detect whether they are being cleaned enough or need replacing. 

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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; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; 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 team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/