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.

A.I is changing industries. Resistance is futile. Are you ready? - Robot above people.
Advanced IT Business Process Automation

A.I. is changing industries. Resistance is futile.

Is artificial intelligence going to replace your job or business? If you don’t pivot now, A.I. will absolutely change your industry and before long could render your job and business obsolete.

Before we get into that though, let me explain a little more about how A.I. works. Artificial intelligence acts as a glorified button pusher. Under this condition it pulls that lever and afterwards takes these steps to gauge success. Conceptually, it’s not that complicated. The real power behind A.I. comes when you give it more “levers” to play with.

Let’s take a car as an example. What levers could we give an A.I. control of while driving? We could let it accelerate, break, steer left, steer right, etc.

The concept of a lever expands to businesses as well. Unfortunately in business, those levers replace people (and sometimes entire businesses or industries).

Deep-fried automation.

Story time. Before I was the technology guru we all know and love, I managed a quick server burger restaurant in the frigid North. Fun fact about quick serve: you live and die by your fryer operator. Fries take 3 minutes to cook. They’re only good for 5 minutes. Cook too many and you’re wasting money. It takes a talented individual to keep that fryer working efficiently.

And that individual is a lever operator. The levers they manipulate include: when to cook fries, how much to cook, how far to prep ahead.

Even as we speak, technology companies are looking to replace this pivotal role with artificial intelligence. In 2019 McDonalds started testing automated fryers with the goal of increasing product quality and speed of delivery while also decreasing labor costs. It won’t be long before your entire dining experience is automated!

Skilled service won’t survive.

That last example was a pretty clear example of A.I. replacing humans in the workforce, but a fryer operator is a low skill job. Obviously artificial intelligence can’t replace more skilled, service based businesses. Right?

Wrong. Jobs once thought safe are quickly being overtaken by technology.

Let’s take another career field we’re pretty familiar with: digital marketing. A skilled digital marketing specialist can net you massive returns on your marketing investments. They know the perfect time to run your ads, they know the exact audience you need to reach, and they know just the perfect mix of budget and pacing to keep your business growing. And A.I. is better at it.

When to run ads, which ads to run, how much money to spend on ad placement, where to place ads, how to gauge campaign success. The levers are more sophisticated, but they are levers nonetheless, and the technology to replace the human pulling them is already here. Whether it’s generating copy, scaling your audience, creating e-blasts, or simply managing ad budget, A.I. has found its way into all facets of this service-based business. One local marketing firm has even gone so far as to create a marketing A.I. that controls the entire process! Their team simply guides the machine, feeding it data on an as-needed basis.

It’s coming for you too, creatives.

Well, things are looking bleak, but luckily technology has nothing on the creative works. Or does it?

Before you go dusting off that old art degree, know that even more artistic-inclined fields are seeing artificial intelligence quickly encroach. Technology companies are teaching A.I. powered chatbots to adopt unique personalities and adapt their conversation to the tone and mood of the user. Imagine if they turned this technology towards the field of film script generation.

Oh sorry, disregard, that’s already being done. And here’s an A.I. painting (with its creation selling for more than $400,000). And here’s another A.I. composing music.

Creative works such as design and artistry are more difficult for an A.I. to reproduce, but they are not impossible to reproduce. The data channels are different, but not immeasurable. Instead of gauging financial success, we’re looking at user satisfaction.

A.I. is coming for your jobs too, creatives.

So what do you do?

Well, that was bleak. The good news is, there’s something you can do. You simply need to pivot. Don’t be the business that is made redundant by technology. Become the business that provides the technology. Become a technology provider. Get in contact today to get started.

Are you ready for explosive growth? - Dog eating fries.
Advanced IT News

Quick Bites: Propelling Business Growth With Technology

Let’s not get bogged down in the details. It’s simple. Technology is about innovation, and business technology is about growth through innovation.

Savvy business owners (and if you’re reading this, you must be one yourself) know technology is more than simple automation. It’s not about mending or repairing your current business. It’s about growing your business in new and exciting ways!

For today’s Quick Bite, we’ve got two simple ways technology can immediately help grow your business.

Improve Productivity and Capacity

As a business owner, you always want your team working to their pay grade. Every minute your team spends on mundane or routine tasks is minute lost that they could be spending on more specialized and profitable tasks. Chasing emails, filing paperwork, redundant data entry. These are all tasks that–to be frank–are beneath you and your staff.

Business technology is about automating the mundane so that your team has more time to shine on the tasks they’re uniquely qualified to complete. Tasks such as sales, customer relations, business development, and more.

The size and scale of productivity technology has grown considerably in recent years with the advent of mobile and cloud technologies. Most of the problems you face today are actual problems of yesterday. You just need the right technology team to get you through to your goal: a business running smarter.

Whether its putting you in a brand new operational software, migrating your sales team to a customized CRM, or simply integrating multiple existing softwares to reduce duplicate entry. The answers are out there, you just need to be pointed in the right direction.

Work Remotely, Expand Globally

The growth of cloud computing and remote work go hand-in-hand. With advancements in mobile technology, your business needs to be able to operate outside of its brick-and-mortar office.

Mobile and accessible technology promotes a positive workplace atmosphere as staff enjoy an improved balance between work and life. Happy workers are more productive, work harder, and generate greater profits. It’s a no-lose situation!

But it’s more than just morale.

Mobilizing your workforce allows for a more agile business. Emergencies and priorities are easier to manage when your workspace expands outside of your physical office. Collaboration becomes a breeze and the world becomes your oyster.

So what’s next?

Investing in technology pays dividends when you have the right team backing you. Is your business ready for explosive growth? Let’s talk today.

Brought a new server. Found out I spent way too much. - Jon Snow from Game of Thrones.
Advanced IT Business Process Automation Programming Software Development

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: Server Edition

Why does your business still own a server? With the accessibility of cloud technology, having a physical on-premises server represents a point of vulnerability and liability for your business.

The Good

The benefits of cloud-based servers and desktops are endless: anytime and anywhere access, predictable operating expenses, worry-free IT maintenance, high level digital and physical security (the CIA uses it!), and the list goes on. What wins special attention in this issue of GBU though is Amazon’s introduction of the WorkSpaces product. Access your desktop from anywhere without that clunky and finicky remote desktop setup.

The Bad

After factoring in “hidden costs” such as storage costs, labor, and lost productivity (from server outages and communication with your IT team), the average monthly cost of maintaining a physical server is $1,476 per month. Gross, right? Have you ever stopped to think how much are you paying in hidden costs?

We put a lot of trust in our IT providers. We lean on them to provide us with business continuity. Sometimes that trust backfires when on-premises servers are in the mix. Hancock Regional Hospital’s operations were crippled in recent years by a ransomware attack targeting their physical servers through a security hole introduced by their IT partner, costing hundreds of thousands in recovery costs. They have since begun moving their operations to the cloud.

The Ugly


“Cloud computing is often far more secure than traditional computing, because companies like Google and Amazon can attract and retain cyber-security personnel of a higher quality than many governmental agencies.’”

Vivek Kundra, former Federal CIO, speaks to the security of cloud server technology.

So what’s next?

At Stickboy®, we leverage our software development knowledge and background to bring our clients into the twenty-first century. Our unique Technology Partnership focuses on divesting our clients of the liability of physical hardware. Contact us today and let’s talk about true business continuity!

239.206.1193 | [email protected]

The dirty secrets your IT provider isn't telling you
Advanced IT Business Process Automation Programming Software Development

The Dirty Secrets Your ITProvider Isn’t Telling You

Lemming pretending to know IT

Spoiler Alert: If your company’s technology budget is going exclusively to IT and MSP services, you’re wasting money. But we’ll come back to that.

Managed Services Demystified

What is an MSP? Simply put, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) is responsible for maintaining and improving your business operations through the strategic application of software technologies. From your email to your backups, to your wireless Internet: many things can fall under the umbrella of “managed services”.

The bigger question: Does your MSP really want to help you transform your business or are their recommendations actually holding you back?

Dirty Secrets From The IT World

Secret No. 1: MSPs are selling you the wrong software.
Let’s be real: You’re not a technology expert. Unfortunately, many MSPs recognize this and are taking advantage of that fact. Let’s look at a quick list of software and services. Do any of these look familiar?

  • ConnectWise
  • Webroot
  • ShadowProtect

What we’ve listed out above are a remote device manager, an antivirus, and backup software. Pretty innocuous, right? Not so much.

These services and many others, offer MSP incentives (also known as kickbacks) for your IT provider to use them. What that means is that your trusted technology partner is putting together a plan that leads to higher bills and poorly executed solutions.

When building out your technology plan, the focus for many MSPs is more on their bottom line than your needs.

Secret No. 2: MSPs are selling you dangerous software.
Cost isn’t even the primary concern here. Even more alarming: many of these technologies are downright dangerous! (Go ahead and click on some of those links. It’s scary out there!)

Did you notice an uptick in strange, potentially worrisome communication from your MSP in 2019? Perhaps long rambling emails, discussing cybersecurity. Were you subjected to surprise “security audits” without any context or followup? Or worse, were you the victim of a data breach?

In 2019 alone, ConnectWise (a device management software used by many MSPs) was subject to at least three separate cybersecurity attacks. These attacks compromised thousands of businesses, large and small, leading to spikes in data leaks and ransomware.

The average cost of a ransomware attack is $84,000. What damage could this mass-market device management software be doing to your business?

Secret No. 3: MSPs are inflating your bill with unnecessary hardware.
Let us ask a sensitive question: Why do you own a server? Seriously, what purpose does your server fulfill? Your firewall? That rat’s nest of USBs and cords?

Chances are, you didn’t ask for all that equipment. Many MSPs are keen to recommend hardware that a) you’ll purchase from them at a nice markup, and b) you’ll pay them monthly to maintain.

The secret they don’t want you to know? There’s a better solution.

We Do Technology Smarter

Stickboy® started its life as a software development company, driving innovation within each business it touched. We’re bringing that same mindset to IT.

We don’t believe in funneling your technology budget and dollars into more and more hardware. You won’t catch us selling you lackluster services just because it puts a few more pennies in our pocket. That’s a gross way to run your business.

Instead, here at Stickboy® we strive to downsize your IT and hardware needs. Fewer hardware costs means you can put those savings towards smarter technology investments, including software and cloud-based infrastructure. That expensive dark web monitoring package your MSP tried to sell you? We include that free of charge. Cybersecurity? We have it on lockdown, with artificial-intelligence powered protection software keeping you safer.

At Stickboy®, we’re crazy about making your business run smarter.

So What Now?

The world of IT and managed services can be a confusing one, but Stickboy® specializes in emerging technologies that focus on taking businesses to the next level. It’s easier than ever to take action and innovate for your business and your team.

First, ask yourself whether you are paying too much for outdated technology.

Then, bring in the bill from your current IT provider and let’s see how much money you could save every month!

Contact us today.

239.206.1193 | [email protected]