Golf Course Management

OCT 2014

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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40 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 10.14 Since I began writing this column for GCM, I have felded a number of technology- related questions from fellow superintendents. One of the most common questions from superintendents looking to dive into some of the technologies discussed here and modernize their maintenance operations is a simple, "Where do I start?" While I have written about Twitter, the use of drones and new irrigation technologies, among other things, these tools and apps tend to intimidate some who don't have a base of knowledge to start with. First, let me reassure you that while you can break a computer, tablet or phone by experimenting with it, those problems are typically software related, and in most cases, those can be easily resolved. Regardless of what you do, the device is not likely to catch fre or break into a million pieces. That being said, I have a few words of advice that I hope will take the intimidation factor out of trying new technologies and will protect both you and your information. First, always have a backup of the information on your devices. And don't simply back up your computer once or twice a year; use an active backup that automatically backs up on a regular schedule. At our facility, our offce computers and other devices back up to a hard drive built into our router. If any of our computers completely crashes, these backups give us the ability to have a new one set up and running, with every fle and setting exactly the same as it was before, in two hours. Everything backs up on an hourly basis so, at worst, we would lose one hour of work. Both Apple and Windows offer similar options for backup, and some services are available online that do the same, (technology) Bob Vaughey, CGCS bobbyslo@me.com Twitter: @rollinghillsgcm such as Mozy ( http://mozy.com/#slide-5 ) and Carbonite ( www.carbonite.com ). Editor's note: To see videos further demon- strating these backup options and more, visit the GCM blog at http://gcm.typepad.com Second, use antivirus software and other protection tools, especially if you are using Windows-based computers. While Apple products are not immune to attacks, they are far less vulnerable than Windows products. One key reason for that is that the number of Windows users far outpaces Mac users, so they are simply targeted more frequently. Do not open unknown emails, attachments or links to unknown websites. There are many ways hackers can access your computer and most will go unnoticed beyond some general slowing of your computer. Antivirus software can be a bit annoying at times, but it's well worth the investment if only for creating some peace of mind. Now that your computer is protected and backed up, the real fun can begin. While the more adventurous might be inclined to explore the inner workings of the hardware you're using, I'd suggest staying away from that and focusing your time on specifc apps, programs and online resources. Explore cloud-based or online programs and apps. Check out online options for offce documents, scheduling tools and other regular tasks. Sign up for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Use these new avenues to connect with other superintendents. As you get more comfortable with both the hardware and software you're using, you can move on to more advanced concepts. Everyone starts somewhere, and only through trial and error do they become profcient with computers. Remember, you have everything backed up, you have virus protection and, hopefully, most of your work is actually being performed on the cloud and not on your physical machine, so you can feel comfortable exploring all these technologies have to offer without fear. Bob Vaughey, CGCS, is the director of agronomy at Rolling Hills Country Club in Palos Verdes, Calif., and a 10-year GCSAA member. Taking the technology plunge Helpful links Basic advice: http://home.mcafee.com/ advicecenter/?id=ad_ost_tohtpyo&ctst=1 Computer backups: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2065126/ the-absurdly-simple-guide-to-backing-up- your-pc.html Online shopping tips: http://www.staysafeonline.org/stay-safe- online/protect-your-personal-information/ online-shopping Safe Social networking: http://www.networkworld.com/ article/2346606/microsoft-subnet/12-tips- for-safe-social-networking.html Photo illustration by Igor Stevanovic/Shutterstock.com

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