6 free software services your business needs to be using - Buddy the Elf from the Movie Elf

6 Free Services Your Business Needs Right Now

With so many people now telecommuting from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and organizations around the world are scrambling to adopt remote-work practices. Whether its video conferencing, remote team collaboration, virtual classrooms, or other activities, there are free and discounted services available to you. We’ve put together a curated list to help you sort through the chaos of work-from-home!

Contact us to learn more. 239-206-1193 | [email protected]

6 free software services your business needs to be using - Buddy the Elf from the Movie Elf
Advanced IT News Software Development Stickboy Creative This Week From Stickboy Tips

Free Services Your Business Needs Right Now. Here’s a list of FREE and discounted services for your school, church, or business

With so many people now telecommuting from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and organizations around the world are scrambling to adopt remote-work practices. Whether its video conferencing, remote team collaboration, virtual classrooms, or other activities, there are free and discounted services available to you. We’ve put together a curated list to help you sort through the chaos of work-from-home!

Google Hangouts Meet

Focus: Video conferencing service and online productivity tools.

Offer: Google Cloud has announced free access to its advanced Hangouts Meet videoconferencing capabilities for all customers of its G-Suite and G-Suite for Education services. This enables calls of up to 250 people and also allows meetings to be recorded and saved on Google Drive.


Focus: Video messaging service.

Offer: Loom is scrapping a limit on the number of videos that a user can access under its free plan through July 1 (previously the limit was 25) and extending the free trial period of its premium Loom Pro service from 14 to 30 days. It’s also making Loom Pro free for students and teachers at K-12 schools, universities and other educational institutions with no time limit.

Microsoft Teams

Focus: Team collaboration and communication platform.

Offer: Microsoft Teams, the company’s collaboration and communication platform, is scrapping the user limit on its free version, which was previously restricted to 300 people. Microsoft has also announced it is making the basic version of its Office 365 enterprise suite of productivity tools such as Word and Excel free for six months to organizations, which gives users access to the premium version of Microsoft Teams.


Focus: Team collaboration and communication platform.

Offer: Slack is offering free upgrades to paid plans for organizations working on coronavirus research, response or mitigation, as well as to local media organizations and scientific publications covering these areas. The company has also removed the 250-user cap on its Standard Plan service for all nonprofits for three months.


Focus: Video conferencing service.

Offer: Zoom has removed a 40-minute meeting limit on its free Basic accounts for students and teachers at K-12 schools in America. The company has partnered with Clever, the most widely used single sign-on service used by U.S. school districts, so that schools who don’t have access to its service can get it quickly. It has also scrapped time limits on meetings for K-12 schools in a growing list of other countries impacted by COVID-19.

And as always, Stickboy®

Focus: Technology Partner

Offer: With a flip of a switch any of our clients can have remote access to any of their workstations inside their office as long as they have internet access.  We are giving away two months FREE of our services to get you through this time.

If you need any help implementing these or other remote-work solutions, please contact us today.

239-206-1193 | [email protected]

Survivor's guide to remote meetings - Simpson's image
News Tips

The Art Of Running A Productive Business When Your Team’s No Longer In Arm’s Reach

Anxiety, worry, and uncertainty. These are three feelings plaguing the workforce in these trying times. Luckily, you have us, so worry no more! We’re going to review for you some quick tips for maintaining an excellent and amiable corporate culture remotely so your team can continue to be the rock stars you hired them to be.

The secret ingredient in our secret sauce? Meetings. Hold internal meetings. Already holding internal meetings? Hold more. You want to aim for (at a minimum) daily standup meetings. To keep things productive, focus on these tips.

Turn On Your Webcam

A photo says a thousand words. A video could fill a novel with words. The easiest way to replace face-to-face contact is to encourage cam-to-cam contact. Seeing your team (and letting them see you) will build trust and reassure your team. There are tons of video conferencing options out there (Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, etc), so just pick one and run with it!

Provide A Dial-In Option

Video conferencing is great, but it does have some hardware requirements (webcam and microphone). Additionally, with an increase in remote work, some cities are reporting slowing internet speeds. To combat these issues, ensure your video conferencing solution allows for your team to participate via phone. Make it clear to them, however, that video-first is the new norm.

Test It, Then Test Again

In times of crisis, your team will be looking to leadership for guidance. You have the solemn responsibility of appearing calm and composed at all times. To that end, make sure your technology works before the meeting starts. Nothing derails a meeting quicker than technical difficulty. Simply hop on the call 5-10 minutes early and make sure video’s coming in clear, audio is working, and all the bits-and-bobs are in place. Most video conferencing software has a quick “mic check” you can run before the meeting.

Put On Your Best Face

Avoid minimal distractions on your video feed. Remote workers should attend the call in a designated spot. The background should be clean and their faces should be visible. It lends the meeting the professionalism and seriousness it deserves.

Have An Agenda, And Keep It Short

Before every meeting assemble a clear agenda and distribute it to the team. Keep the meeting short (this is a touchpoint, not a seminar). Keep presentations to a minimum, and (again) keep them short. You want to keep everyone interested and on task.

Break The Ice

Incorporate small icebreakers into your meeting. The hokier, the better. Small activities like this remind your team that they are indeed a team. Encourage participation. Strive for laughter. They may seem silly, but they make a difference.

Put Someone In Charge

Keeping in-person discussions on-topic is hard enough. Virtual ones can turn into a circus quickly. Assign each meeting a facilitator who’s in charge of guiding the conversation. This will allow your team to focus on the content of the meeting without being thrown off-course by idle chatter.

Call On People

Video conferences can be intimidating, and it’s commonplace for one or two voices to take control of the conversation. Make sure everyone has their voice heard. If they don’t speak up, call on them. When it comes to decision making, try to “go around the table” before the decision is finalized.

Tackle The Tough Issues

It may seem natural to wait to discuss tough issues until everyone is in person, but that may not be an issue. So don’t shy away from the controversial topics. It is better to address it now rather than regret it later.

That Wasn’t So Hard, Now Was It?

Not being able to work together in the same room with colleagues will become a major hurdle in the coming weeks, but with small adjustments you can quickly overcome this challenge. Meeting virtually is a learned behavior, and you’ll be amazed how much you can get out of it once you and your team begin to be comfortable working this way. 

Remember, a small investment in preparedness now will have a huge impact on your business’s profitability and longevity.

Need help with getting a remote work solution in place? Get in touch today. We’ll help you out!

[email protected] | 239-206-1193

A message from our CEO - How Can We Help? - Freeze frame of Matt CEO

A Message From Our CEO: How Can We Help Amid Coronavirus?

Watch The Video Here

As the CEO of Stickboy® and a longtime resident of SWFL, I wanted to reach out to my fellow business owners to offer some help.Coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting us all, and it’s important to me that I do what I can for my community.

We’re all in this together. With the nature of your business, working from home may not be an option for all of your employees, but if you could keep a number of employees productive and work from home, would that help you?

If this is something you are interested in getting help with, my team is standing by to assist. Call today for a friendly consultation. I have instructed my team to give all new business clients 50% OFF their setup of these remote employee work configurations.

Please call the Stickboy team today at 239-206-1193 to get the help you need.

May we all get through this challenging time safely and profitably.

Matt Bernhardt
CEO of Stickboy

Survivor's guide to remote meetings - Simpson's image

Guide To Running A Productive Remote Business

Anxiety, worry, and uncertainty. These are three feelings plaguing the workforce in these trying times. Luckily, you have us, so worry no more! We’re going to review for you some quick tips for maintaining an excellent and amiable corporate culture remotely so your team can continue to be the rock stars you hired them to be.

The secret ingredient in our secret sauce? Meetings. Hold internal meetings. Already holding internal meetings? Hold more. You want to aim for (at a minimum) daily standup meetings. To keep things productive, focus on these tips.

Contact us to learn more. 239-206-1193 | [email protected]

Survivor's Guide to Remote Collaboration - Sam from Game of Thrones
Advanced IT Tips

Florida Man Tries 8 Remote Collaboration Tools. You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!

Did that catchy title get you in here? Good. Close the door and take a seat. We need to have a serious conversation.

Throughout the course of this pandemic, your business will be the victim of many traumas. But your worst enemy isn’t coronavirus. It’s not a dropoff in sales. It’s not a shortage of toilet paper.

The greatest danger facing your business is a loss of employee productivity.

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of web-based collaboration tools that will keep your team communicating and your business running like a well-oiled machine!

Google Drive

File Sharing // Free with paid upgrades // Get it here

Google’s Drive product is one of those how-do-they-offer-this-for-free services. Boasting a whopping 15GB of free storage space, Drive allows you and your team to easily store and share files from the cloud. The service is designed to sync across devices (you can access your files from your phone!) and includes free access to Google’s collaborative office suite as well. All for the crazy low price of nothing.

Microsoft Onedrive

File Sharing // Free with paid upgrades // Get it here

Let’s be honest. Onedrive is the gas station pizza of file sharing tools. There are definitely better options out there, but if you’re really craving file sharing, it gets the job done. Onedrive features 5GB of free storage. It’s saving grace and the reason we’re including it on this list? It integrates directly with the desktop version of Microsoft Office, so you’ll be able to edit and files directly within Onedrive. Paid tiers expand on this functionality, granting access to the online versions of Microsoft’s office suite.

G Suite

Productivity Suite // $6/mo with optional upgrades // Get it here

The only paid option on this list, G Suite is a product we couldn’t recommend enough. For the low price of $6/mo you gain access to a massive suite of productivity, communication, and collaboration software.

  • Office suite: Google Docs, Sheets, Presentations, and Forms
  • Communication tools: Hangouts Meet, Hangouts Chat, and Currents
  • Email and calendar solutions
  • Enhanced Drive functionality.

The best part? Every one of the G Suite softwares talks to each other seamlessly! And if you need additional functionality on top of the Google-provided tools, their Marketplace offers a huge selection of free and paid third-party addons.

Google Hangouts

Communication Tool // Free with G Suite // Get it here

One of the primary reasons we like G Suite so much, Google Hangouts is a free video conference offering. Out of the bot it supports up to 100 participants. You can schedule calls through your calendar or start impromptu meetings with the click of a button. It integrates directly with your preferred calendar solution. It supports screen-sharing and participate-by-phone (paid features in most other conferencing software).


Communication Tool // Free with paid upgrades // Get it here

Slack is the chat service favored by companies both large and small. It’s familiar interface makes it easily usable by both the tech-savvy and the not-so-savvy. Communication is fast paced and separate channels can be created for various groups and projects within your organization. It features a huge assortment of integrations with third-party software and allows for video calling as an optional upgrade.


Communication Tool // Free with paid upgrades // Get it here

Zoom is the go-to video conferencing software for many organizations. It allows easy peer-to-peer video calls as well as group conferencing. The free tier is limited to 40-minute calls, but the service can be upgraded to remove this limitation. Zoom does require the user to install software locally to function. This can be a barrier for entry with clients, so we tend to steer more towards Hangouts Meet internally.

Microsoft Teams

Collaboration Tool // Free with paid upgrades // Get it here

Teams is Microsoft’s answer to remote project collaboration. It supports project-based communication and allows users to easily share pertinent files. It even supports editing those files within the browser. It supports both chat as well as voice and video conferencing. It offers various tiers with varying support for Microsoft’s Office suite.


Collaboration Tool // Free with paid upgrades // Get it here

Teamwork is the deluxe package when it comes to project management and collaboration. It supports project-based task management, time tracking, internal communication, and more. It features a helpdesk, file sharing, and storage. Everything you could possibly need to run a project. It even allows you to share and communicate with clients and other external resources, all from within one handy portal.

Gosh, That’s A Scary Wall Of Text

As you can see there are tons of software options out there to support your business’s remote work program. Perhaps too many options. And unfortunately they’re not one-size-fits-all. If you need help putting your remote work solution in place, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We specialize in remote employee setups.

Survivor's Guide to Remote Work - People in Hazmat Suits
Advanced IT News

Survivor’s Guide To This New (Remotely Connected) World

Let’s be honest. No one wants to be having a conversation about remote work right now. However, with the fears surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19) rapidly growing, now is the time to talk. Now is the time to ensure the continuity of your business. If you don’t, you may not have a business to go back to.

Did you know:

Boy, those businesses must be in a scary position right now. Luckily, you have us.

Start With The Basics

Preparing for a remotely-connected world can be a daunting task, so we’ll focus on bite-sized tasks. Your first step: ensure you have all the physical hardware required.

Workstations. Does every employee have either a portable workstation (laptop) or a viable home computer? If your business uses a Desktop-as-a-service system already (can’t recommend it enough!) then do all employees have a suitable client device?

Remote Connection Software. Do you own any on-site hardware such as servers or network storage devices? If so, you’ll need to put in place a software for connecting to resources from outside your business’s local network.

Workstation Peripherals. If your team isn’t equipped with laptops, you’ll likely need mice, keyboards, and monitors as well. Don’t forget the cables to connect it all, too!

Communication Devices. We can’t emphasize this enough. Remote workers need to communicate. It helps productivity. It helps morale. It keeps the gear moving. Make sure all team members have access to webcams, microphones, and a phone.

Inventory Your Software

If you’re picking up new computers, you have a little bit of set up ahead of you. Take this time to inventory all the software necessary to run your business. Using web-based software? You’ll need an internet browser. Does your accountant need Quickbooks installed? What about an office suite and other productivity software? Write it all down and keep that list somewhere safe.

Audit Communication Lines

During a remote work situation, communication is key. Your team needs to be able maintain an unprecedented level of communication in order for this work-from-home experiment to succeed. To that end, you have some homework.

Phones. Do all of your workers have a phone? If not, bite the bullet and issue them a corporate phone. This will grant you guaranteed access to your team and allows your team to reach each other.

Phone Directory. Document all employee phone numbers and email addresses (leadership included) and distribute a phone directory to all employees. 

Email. Ensure your corporate email is sending and receiving reliably. Are your emails going to spam? Now is the time to address this issue.

Communication Plan. Document in writing who reports to who. When will team meetings be held? How is progress being communicated? How are delays and issues being communicated?

Talk To Your Lawyer

Finally, the uncomfortable bit of advice: talk to your lawyer. Remote work and telecommuting raise a number of unique legal concerns. Ask your lawyer:

These are questions that have no easy answer, but should be addressed before they cause greater issues for your business.

That’s Nice, Now What?

We’re doing everything in our power to spread the word about business continuity in this remotely-connected world. We won’t let coronavirus wreck your business. Download the free Emergency Remote Work Checklist and get started future-proofing your business. Too much work? Get in touch today, and we’ll make the process a breeze!


What happens when you mix The Office, innovation, and artificial intelligence? - Jim from the office looking into the camera
Programming Software Development

Reimagining ‘The Office’: An Experiment In A.I.

Hello fellow humans!

In the Spring of 2019, Elon Musk’s OpenAI research lab made quite the splash, announcing its GPT-2 artificial intelligence was too dangerous to release to the public. This A.I. was able to generate believable text, staying on topic and using proper grammar. Fears abounded that soon malicious bots would be writing novel and dangerous news articles, social posts, and more.

Well, that didn’t really come to pass, and OpenAI soon made their pretrained models available to the general public.

Naturally, we did what anyone would do and promptly fed the model all the sitcom scripts we could find. The end product? A brand new script for the hit show The Office.

How It Works

Conceptually, the GPT-2 artificial intelligence model isn’t too scary. It takes a sequence of tokens (words) and tries to predict the next token (word) in the sequence. For example:

  • Input: I ran
  • Output: I ran faster

After that, it takes the output and pipes it right back through the machine.

  • Input: I ran fast
  • Output: I ran faster than

It repeats that process until you have your great new sentence!

  • Final Output: I ran faster than a rocket-powered squirrel.

Easy, right?

Where Things Get Interesting

With GPT-2, OpenAI has release a pretrained model that is fully capable of generating organic text. In fact, you can see it in action on line. Right now. Right here. 

But that’s boring.

Where things get interesting with GPT-2 is that you can train it unique text sets in such a way that your retrained model will match any desired formatting. For example, innovators around the world have used retrained A.I. models to generate: food recipes, screen plays, Twitter bots, and more!

A Brand New Episode of The Office

Naturally, we jammed as much lore from the hit classic, The Office, to see what we’d get out. Without further ado: The Office – The Lost Chapter!

The opening plays and the scene opens. We’re welcomed by Michael and Dwight in heated debate.

MICHAEL: (whispering) All the stuff that happens in this office. I love it. I love this chair. This is so comfortable. I love this system. I love this computer. I love this phone. I love this workspace.

DWIGHT: This is all mine.

MICHAEL: (jumps onto desk)

DWIGHT: This is my office.

MICHAEL: (to camera) Can you tell who’s ahead of his time?

DWIGHT: (stares)

MICHAEL: (to camera) Everyone, just hope that I can spend as little time here as I can.

DWIGHT: This is my desk.

MICHAEL: Yes. I just need to cross some t’s and dot some i’s. Alright, three people, three paintings, three drawings, three sounds. Why don’t you just walk away we’ll go our separate ways.

Sounds like there’s drama in Scranton! Hijinks ensue, I’m sure. Later in the episode, we’re happen upon Pam. She appears worried.

PAM: (to camera) I’ve been listening to some noise. I think it could be the receptionist.

MICHAEL: (scoffs) Yes. That’s Angela. She’s terrific. She’s so cute. She’s so sweet. You know what? I love her. I think she’s so important to this office. I don’t want her to be the victim of a hate attack. Because I don’t want to see her hurt again. You know what? I don’t want to see her again. I have to step away. I have to go.


JIM: Who is this?

DWIGHT: Meredith.

JIM: What’s she worth?

DWIGHT: $1 billion.

PAM: She’s not only the single greatest granddaughter of Abraham Lincoln, but she’s the only woman in this office who has never worked outside of her office’s hands.

DWIGHT: Great. She’s strong. She’s soft. She’s clean.

End scene.

And there we have it! A (short) episode of The Office generated entirely by artificial intelligence. Who needs screenwriters anyways.

Got Your Own Great Idea?

Want to find out what artificial intelligence can do for you? Let’s talk!

More than 70% of health organizations are leveraging A.I. to support clinical decision making - Shocked face from Chris Pratt
News Software Development

Preempting & Resolving Health Crises Through Artificial Intelligence


We’ve got two quick thoughts for you:

In 2018, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia estimated that the development of a single vaccine takes more than 10 years.

A vaccine for COVID-19 is projected to begin human testing in Q3 2020, less than a year after the initial infections were first reported.

A.I. is powering that.

The 2021 White House budget allocates $249M to go towards the research and adoption of artificial intelligence technologies, and with good reason. A.I. is everywhere, and its domain is ever growing.

A.I. has been popularized as a tool for growing sales, improving customer retention, and driving product innovation; but non-commercial organizations are turning the power of artificial intelligence to new and greater problems.

Ye Olde Disease Control

The first academically recognized vaccination was performed in 1796 by Edward Jenner. He immunized a young boy from Smallpox by infecting him with an equally nasty (but less deadly) version of the disease: Cowpox. And how was this vaccine discovered? The ever popular guess-and-check method.

Let’s fast forward. One of the most widely hailed vaccines, the Polio vaccine, debuted in 1955. It’s creator, Jonas Salk, became a national hero. The vaccine works by injecting “dead” Poliovirus strains into the recipient, triggering an immune response. And how was this vaccine discovered? Guess-and-check again, but with monkeys this time.

(Not-so-fun fact: over 9,000 monkeys were forced to contract poliovirus during the course of mankind’s research into this disease.)

West Nile Virus? Guess-and-check, but with horses. Ebola? Guess-and-check with mice. Then more monkeys. Prion diseases? More mice, more monkeys, and a smattering of guinea pigs. 

You get where I’m going with this, right? There’s a better way.

Enter Artificial Intelligence

It’s a whole new world. With the explosive growth of cloud computing, A.I. has gained traction and is quickly expanding outside the bounds of corporate America. Particularly exciting and impacting humankind as a whole, the healthcare industry has made a whole-hearted embrace of these emerging technologies.

Which brings us back to Coronavirus and our quick stats. With over 3,000 deaths and 93,000 infected, we do not have the luxury of waiting 10+ years for a vaccine to be developed by traditional means. Luckily, we don’t have to.

Innovative research labs are utilizing A.I. to fully synthesize and digitally test vaccines before animal or human testing even begins.

From a high level, the process is really quite simple.

  • An artificially intelligent “chemist” synthesizes medical compounds. (Sounds difficult, but it’s a process we’ve been doing since 1832.)
  • Another A.I. (this one a “doctor”) administers the compound to digital “patients”.
  • The results of the compound’s application are documented fed back to the synthesizer.
  • New compounds are synthesized by mutating and cross-breeding previously generated compounds.

The best part? It’s already been done. In 2019 Australian researchers announced a new flu vaccine that was developed entirely by artificial intelligence.

And that’s just the flashiest use. When you dig down deeper, A.I. has made great splashes in pandemic management.  Data company, BlueDot, has been using A.I. to predict outbreaks for community and zoonotic diseases. Epidemiologists are using A.I. to determine common disease “features” and target outreach efforts. The field of genomics is exploring the use of deep learning to identify genetic diseases well before they begin to express symptoms.

A Whole New World

We live in a scary world, but we have an exciting future. We are face-to-face with a technological revolution. Innovation is taking us to a brighter horizon. Artificial intelligence is saving the monkeys.

Want to keep your business on the forefront of this new wave of emerging technology? Get in touch today.