Is your website secure and safe for your visitors?

Look up at the top of your browser window. See that green lock? Depending on your browser, it might also say “Secure” or the business name next to it. This also means the URL will start with https://, instead of http://. The ‘s’, naturally, stands for ‘Secure’. If you see this on a website, you can rest easy knowing that the connection between your computer and the website is encrypted using a technology called SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). When you see that green lock, your internet service provider as well as outside hackers will be not able to see any thing you enter, any form you submit, or the details of any credit card payment.

Here’s how it looks in Chrome.

Although website encryption like this has existed for a long time, only recently has the demand and need for privacy and anonymity on the Internet, especially with the pending death of net neutrality, pushed a movement to convert all websites to use SSL. Thankfully, what was once a pricey option available primarily to e-commerce stores is now an inexpensive (and sometimes free, if you know what you’re doing) solution that every website should implement.

No, it’s not mandatory, and there are ways around needing it even if you accept credit cards, but it’s also really not that expensive. For the more tech savvy, if you’ve done everything else with WordPress thus far yourself, there are no shortage of instructions all over the web and most large web hosts have a guide on their site. For everyone else, contact your tech person (hopefully us) and they can likely install it for you.

Remember, practice safe web browsing! If your instincts about a site or email are telling you it’s fishy, don’t trust it, even if you see the green lock.

5 Facebook Settings You Should Check Right Now

Facebook Settings

Long gone are the days of lax security and terrible privacy settings on Facebook. If you know where to look and what you’re looking for, you can easily micro-manage your online privacy and security settings for the social media behemoth. The key, however, is knowing where to look and what you’re looking for.

The following 5 settings are important to your privacy and can be checked easily, right now. This guide uses screen shots from an iPhone, but the directions only mildly vary on Android or the Web.

Facebook SettingsBefore we get started, you might need to know how to access settings.

  1. Look for then tap on the hamburger button, likely on the lower right-hand corner of your screen.
  2. Scroll way down to the bottom of that screen, until you see ‘Settings’.
  3. Tap on Settings, then choose either ‘Account Settings’, ‘Payments Settings’, ‘News Feed Preferences’, or ‘Activity Log’. This guide will focus on ‘Account Settings’.

  1. Recognized Devices
  2. Settings » Account Settings » Security » Recognized Devices

    Facebook Recognized DevicesThis handy little setting will show you a list of devices that are authorized to access your account without additional verification. Examples would include your smartphone, tablet, and possibly your computer. If you see any devices at all on the list that you aren’t familiar with, don’t own or can’t remember verifying, click the ‘X’. This will remove that device from the approved list and require that device to be re-verified.

  3. Manage Active Sessions
  4. Settings » Account Settings » Security » Where You’re Logged In

    Facebook Active SessionsThis list is likely going to be a bit longer, and will list anywhere that you’ve logged in to Facebook and never logged back out. Clicking the X will automatically log that device out of Facebook next time it tries to access it, so go through the list and make sure nothing looks fishy. When looking at it, try to figure out which device might be your current cell phone, computer, etc, and try to remove any old, dead, or donated devices. Worst case scenario, you just have to log back in next time you use it.

  5. Legacy Contact
  6. Settings » Account Settings » Security » Legacy Contact

    Look, I know this one is a bit morbid, but it’s worth setting up. You can find it just below the two settings I’ve already gone through above, and Facebook gives you the option of either passing control of your account on to a trusted family member or friend, or optionally it can be permanently deleted.

  7. Free Up Phone Space
  8. Settings » Account Settings » Browser

    Clear Facebook CacheMobile storage is at a premium, so this handy little trick can definitely help. Any time you click a link in Facebook on your phone, it saves a few files (called a “cache”) to help that page load faster next time. Navigate to the Browser Settings and click the big ‘Clear Data’ button to remove all of these temporary files and buy back a bit more storage for your phone.

  9. Disable Video Autoplay
  10. Settings » Account Settings » Videos and Photos

    Turn off Facebook Video AutoplayAutoplaying videos as you scroll or load a page should be a capitol offense on the Internet. It needlessly uses data that most people don’t have to spare, can slow down older or less powerful mobile devices, and, frankly, is annoying. Alas, Facebook still enables it by default. Thankfully, they allow you to turn it off completely, only auto-play when you’re connected to wi-fi (to save on mobile data), or leave it on all the time (the default).

Now Accepting Bitcoin


BitcoinGrayshark LLC is excited to announce that we are now able to accept payment in Bitcoin directly through our QuickBooks Online invoices. Existing clients who wish to pay via Bitcoin can do so safely, securely, and easily.

If you’ve got no idea what I’m talking about or have heard about Bitcoin in the news, but don’t know anything else, well, keep reading. Bitcoin is a completely digital currency (no bills or coins!) that keep transactions secure through cryptography (encryption) instead of through a centralized authority (like the government). Since there’s no government authority over it, you’ve probably heard that it’s the preferred currency some less-than-wholesome businesses operating in the shadows of the web. While this is more or less true, it is also very secure way to store funds and although the value of Bitcoin can be volatile, it often stands strong when the traditional economy is weaker.

Have more questions about Bitcoin? Would you like to offer it as a payment option for your small business or just want a primer for your own benefit? Reach out and ask!

Our contact form is repaired and upgraded. Is yours working?

Contact Us

Well, I am embarrassed to admit that even a company who specializes in websites and technology can have its own technological glitches. In our case, our contact form was broken, sending legitimate requests to spam and/or not properly notifying my email. Thankfully, I caught the error.

Contact UsAs such, we’ve upgraded our contact form using the premium plugin Gravity Forms. For use on this website, we kept it as simple as possible, but Gravity Forms itself is amazingly customizable to create just about any conceivable type of online form. There are even a sizable list of add-on plugins for it that allow for payment processing, crm integration, email list integration, and more.

On to the good news, though. I’ve purchased a developer license to use Gravity Forms, so moving forward, any website designed by Grayshark that utilizes forms will be done using a fantastic premium form plugin, far above and beyond any free option. Additionally, if you’d like an estimate on installation, setup, and converting your old broken forms to Gravity Forms, feel free to click that contact link up there and we’ll get you an estimate.

New Mac Malware ‘Backdoor.MAC.Eleanor’ – Be Careful!

Backdoor.MAC.Eleanor Malware

Backdoor.MAC.Eleanor MalwareWatch out, folks! There’s a new piece of malware out there affecting Macs. It masks itself as a fake document converter called “EasyDoc”, but opens up infected computers to complete remote control, including the camera. Yes, that’s as serious as it sounds. Discovered by Bitdefender Labs, it has been dubbed ‘Backdoor.MAC.Eleanor’. It’s capable of infecting virtually any Mac laptop or desktop newer than 2007, so chances are if your Mac is newer than that it will be vulnerable.

On to the good news, though. Most major anti-malware packages for the Mac have already updated their virus and malware databases to be able to detect and remove Backdoor.NAC.Eleanor, and Apple will likely quietly update Mac OS X’s baked-in anti-malware to block it outright sometime soon. If you are concerned that your computer may be infected, Grayshark LLC recommends Malwarebytes. It’s free, simple to use, has a very small footprint, and stays up to date with the latest Mac malware.

To put things in perspective for any Windows users out there or those interested in switching to a Mac, this is the second major new Mac malware discovered this year.

Grayshark Server Upgrade & New Plans

Grayshark Server Upgrade & New Plans

cloudMilwaukee, WI – As a result of our continued website hosting growth, Grayshark LLC has two exciting hosting-related announcements. First and foremost, we have upgraded our servers to better handle our growing client-base and provide faster load times to all of the websites we host. To expand upon our new hosting capabilities, we are also now offering Premium and Enterprise tiers of hosting to provide our clientele with far more than basic web hosting.

In addition to an increase in hard disk space and allotted bandwidth, the Grayshark LLC web server has also received a boost in memory. These improvements will not allow for the expansion of the hosting business, but more importantly the memory improvements will improve page loading times across the server, benefiting all current accounts.

Grayshark LLC’s new hosting tiers allow clients who are looking for more than just basic hosting to enjoy a more managed experience with their website. For $80 per month, Premium hosting clients will enjoy prioritized support, an hour each month of included tweaks and minor changes to the website as needed, and Grayshark will monitor and run all WordPress core and plug-in updates. For clients looking for more, a custom Enterprise quote may include management of Google Apps for Work, Google AdWords campaign management, SEO services, or other customized needs.

With these upgrades to our servers combined with our new premium hosting offerings, Grayshark LLC continues to improve its technology offerings to the Milwaukee area.

For more information:
Grayshark LLC
Milwaukee, WI

The Redesign Is Now Live

Grayshark LLC is proud to announce the launch of a fresh new design for our website, and with it our awesome new social media logo. The new design is now live at Our site’s overall design has been flattened and uncluttered for more simplified navigation and a modern look. The content of the front page of the site has also been heavily modified to more accurately reflect what Grayshark LLC has to offer. As always, we strive to make every website we work on as bug-free as possible, so please let us know if you see any errors.

Why You Should Listen To Podcasts


PodcastFor radio’s entire existence, it has been linear. The show you want to listen to is on at a certain time, and if you miss it you likely won’t hear it again. Likewise for television.

In recent years, however, television has gone through a sort of revolution. On-demand services such as Netflix or Hulu have upended the traditional regularly scheduled programming by offering content on your schedule instead of one set by a network executive. As podcasts grow in popularity, they are now doing the same thing to linear radio.

The humble podcast has existed for over a decade, but is just now finally starting to gain popularity, thanks in no small part to one of the most popular podcasts ever, Serial. If you’ve ever heard of any podcasts at all, that’s the one. There are a plethora of options out there, on any topic you could possibly conceive. Some are terrible, and some rank easily among the best radio ever produced.

If you haven’t listened to a podcast before, it’s really quite easy. If you’ve got a computer, a smart phone, or a tablet, you’ve got everything you need to unlock more free content for your listening pleasure than you could possibly consume. If you’re on a smart phone or tablet, open up your app store and just do a search for “podcasts”. You’ll find a not-so-short list of applications that will allow you to search for, subscribe, and listen to any podcast out there. Likewise on your computer, there are applications that allow you to listen, or you can often listen directly from the web page of the individual podcast.

Podcasts range in quality from some guy in his parent’s basement who knows a lot about a video game, to professionally produced pieces by the likes of NPR, APM, and many other major news and entertainment agencies. There have even been companies sprouting up whose sole focus is the production of podcasts, such as Gimlet Media.

Regardless of your passions, interests, and hobbies, there is a podcast for you. To get your started, however, here’s a short list of podcasts that you should absolutely listen to. You can start from the beginning, or jump on board with the newest episode. Quick warning, they’ve all set the bar of excellence very high.

  • Reply All PodcastReply All
    A show about the Internet.
    This one comes out of the aforementioned Gimlet Media. It bills itself as “a show about the Internet”, but it’s really much, much more. Episodes range from funny and goofy to serious, fascinating, and even heart-wrenching. I’m not ashamed to admit that is the only podcast to ever make me cry while listening to it.
  • Hidden Brain PodcastHidden Brain
    A conversation about life’s unseen patterns.
    NPR has a small army of absolutely fantastic podcasts. This is one of their newest, but also one of my favorites. Social sciences correspondent Shankar Vedantam explores how unconscious bias affects human behavior. It may sound boring, but he’s able to make it understandable, relatable, and truly enthralling.
  • Lore PodcastLore
    Sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.
    Lore has, by far, the least amount of production of any of the podcasts on this list. That doesn’t matter, though, because Aaron Mahnke has quite a way with words. Eerie, haunting, and at times even terrifying, Aaron explores the truths behind the ghost stories, monsters, and evils of the past. Some you’ve heard of and some you’ll wish you hadn’t.
  • Decode DC PodcastDecode DC
    A reliable, honest, and entertaining podcast about Washington DC’s people, culture, and politics.
    There are no shortage of political podcasts out there to bring you the latest news, opinion, and polling. There are far too few, however, that seek to educate. Decode DC tackles a different issue each week and attempts to make bring the tradition, customs, and politics of DC out of the shadows.

How To Set Up Filters in Google Mail

Efficiently using filters to keep your inbox organized is probably most time-saving thing you can do when organizing your email. Google’s method of creating filters can seem intimidating at first glance, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really quite easy to set up rules for just about any variable you might need with just as many potential actions. This guide applies to both Google Apps for Work accounts as well as standard Gmail.

  1. Open Google Mail / Gmail
    Easy, right? Lets move on to step two.
  2. Click the tiny down arrow in your search box.
    This will bring up a much larger box, allowing you to expand your search criteria.
  3. Enter your search criteria.
    For example, you could set a filter to sort any emails from “[email protected]”.
  4. Click “Create filter with this search”
    As pictured above.
  5. Select which actions you want the filter to do.
    Choose as few or as many different actions as you want, or create new labels (aka Folders) as needed. That checkbox next to the “Create Filter” button at the bottom applies your new filter to existing emails that meet the criteria.
  6. Click “Create Filter”

11 Must-Know Google Search Tips

Lets face it, for many people using Google search has become integrated in to the daily routine of most of our lives. Thankfully, Google is quite good at making more common types of searches a whole lot easier. The following search tips will make your Googling experience a whole lot better.

  1. Definitions
  2. We don’t all have a perfect grasp on the English language. Sometimes, we come across a word and don’t know what it means. Traditionally, you’d probably search for a dictionary site, go there, type in your word, and get the definition. Instead, try doing this Google search:
    The very first thing Google will show you is the word’s dictionary definition, as shown in the example below.
    Google "define:definition"

  3. Math
  4. Need a calculator? Just type (or copy and paste) the exact mathematical equation you need solved in to the search box, then let Google do the work. From basic to advanced math, Google can handle whatever you throw at it. It’ll solve your problem and give you a handy web-based calculator to continue to work from.

  5. Search Specific Phrases
  6. This one’s nice and easy. If you put quotes around the phrase you type in, it will search the web for that exact phrase, not just the relevant words in it.
    Exact Phrase Search

  7. Weather
  8. Want to know the weather? Search for your city or zip code, prefaced by the word “weather”, like so:
    Weather Search
    You’ll get a detailed forecast of the day’s weather, as well for the upcoming week.
    Milwaukee Weather Search

  9. Conversions
  10. Google can convert just about any type of measurement for you on the fly. Weights, lengths, imperial to metric, etc. Type in the unit you’ve got, then type “to” followed by the type of unit you want to convert to.
    Conversion Search
    Conversion Results

  11. Stock Quotes
  12. Not everyone follows the stock market, but, if you do, a very quick Google search of just your stocks’ ticker symbol will give you a detailed review of its performance.
    AAPL Stock Quote

  13. Movie Times
  14. Another easy search to do. Typing “movies” followed by your zip code will give you a list of every movie currently playing in your area. Click on the movie you want, and Google will show you the list of theaters that have it, as well as showtimes.

  15. Exclude A Word
  16. Searching for something specific, but you keep getting the wrong results because the term you’re looking for is often associated with another word? Stick a dash before a word in your search to ensure that Google doesn’t give you results that include that word. For example, if want to learn about Justin Bieber, but avoid all the hate, try this search:
    Exclude A Word

  17. Search A Single Site
  18. Looking for something on a particular site, but they don’t have decent search function built-in? Just head on over to Google and type your search terms, followed by Google will then only show you results from that domain.
    Google Site Search

  19. Search By File Type
  20. Want to find a specific PDF, GIF, or any other type of file? after your search terms, tack on “filetype:ext” to only list that exact type of file in the results.
    Filetype Search

  21. Sunrise & Sunset
  22. Want to wake up early to see the sunrise or need to know exactly when it goes down? Type either “Sunrise yourcity” or “Sunset yourcity” and Google will tell you that day’s sunrise or sunset times.
    Sunrise or Sunset Search

Well, there you have it! Are there a bunch more Google tricks out there? You bet! By no means is this a complete guide to all of the hidden search features integrated in to Google, but it’s a good start and can help simplify many of the searches you may be doing.