Archive for the 'Small Business IT' Category

 

10mbharddrive

 

Among the first drives and printers we started selling back in the day was the impressive 10mb capacity hard drive. Imagine, you can store about 20 photos from your digital camera or about 200 Word docs.

Before drives were produced for the mass global market they were outrageously expensive. Solid state drives have been notoriously expensive but certain mass produced brands have dropped considerably in recent years making the transition to SSD a worthwhile thing to do for the sake of performance, fast startup, and smooth seamless interaction.

When you have used a SSD on your computer or laptop you would never go back to the dinosaur age of drives. On our new desktop computer builds we use good quality and low price point, value for money SSD’s, integrated with new technology storage to keep your important stuff away from the SSD.

For a new desktop computer with performance that makes computing a joy again (instead of a drag), or to upgrade your laptop drive to SSD, give us a call today in Perth WA.

 
 
 

Dust is the enemy of computers.

dust-computer

Computers attract dust because of the negative air pressure, fan systems and no filters in your average generic computer case. The examples in the pictures might look like computers that are 6 or 7 years years old, but both are generic systems,  less than 2 years old and suffered hardware and hard drive failures as a result of dust.

Dust affects a computer in various ways:

  •  The dust creates a blanket or insulating layer that makes computers run at elevated temps – running at high temps reduces lifespan by up to 70% especially in workshops and factory settings
  • dust creates ESD (electro static discharge). We see many computers with dust build up every year that did not survive a power surge.
  • dust makes the computer fans noisy and ineffective to keep temps down and maintain air flow

A computer with no build consideration for dust is a problem for offices everywhere, worse in workshop settings and can be very uneconomical because hardware or computers need replacing too often or short of expected life span. However, the two computer interiors in the image above are from home offices in the suburbs. Cleaning dust from a computer using canned air is not advised because most types of canned air are not air, but chemicals that create air pressure which in our experience can also be hazardous to the frail electronics of computers if turned on an angle. Vacuum cleaners are probably the least effective way to clean dust in a computer.

Minimizing dust build up in computers.

In heavy dust prone areas dust safes are available that are expensive, imported hardware. But for small home based business, workshops and trade shops dust can be minimised with the concept of positive air pressure. This is possible with small tower PC’s (laptops are more prone to dusty demise and cannot be cleaned easily).

positive-pressure

Using a particular type of case with modified fan systems and dust filters we are able to significantly reduce dust build up. The dust filters are very easily removed for cleaning every 6 months or so. The cases (chassis) are small (mid towers)  and light and cost no more than our custom build model with SSD advertised on our new computers page.

VSP-5000

In Perth or anywhere in Australia contact us to place an order or for more information. We specialise in small business and the home/home office IT settings.

 

 
 
 

Can’t afford a a lawyer? Try this.

lazylaw2

I sent an email to a lawyer once with a legal question, it wasn’t complicated and as it turned out the lawyer was not able to help me. Regardless I was charged a fairly substantial amount for the lawyer to peruse the email. These days things are a little different, law graduates are driving taxis and waiting tables, or getting creative like Kate Horman from www.thelazylaw.com (originally called the lazylawyer.com), and Fiona McCord from www.baselegal.com.au

 

Both services offer fixed price legal advice or service with templates you can buy for typical small business legal matters. I found this information in the Melbourne AGE newspaper and wanted to share it.

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

Print at twice the speed and half the cost of a laser – the new HP X Series for small business

HP-X451dw

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen any major breakthroughs in desktop printers. They are all pretty much of a muchness – until now. The new HP X451 and X551 uses HP’s PageWide Technology & HP Scalable Printing Technology (SPT), offering significant breakthroughs in speed, up to twice the speed of the printers tested by HP in both laser and inkjet categories, and around half the printing cost for replacement inks.

How fast? HP claim you can print up to 70ppm in General Office Mode. HP’s SPT takes advanced commercial print technologies and scales them to a new class of multifunction printers for small office and small workgroups with high print quality and many other features such as precise page motion, smear resistant and fast drying inks, and uniform, consistent image quality.

There are plenty of cheap printers for the office, most are clunky, average print quality with high cost of replacement inks. Over a given period the new X series might even pay for itself.

Recommended retail is $599 for X451dw. Contact Wired Office in Perth for current promotions on this model.

 

 

 
 
 

Best printer for a small office? The new Samsung 6260ND.

samsung-6260ND

A client asked me to suggest a good laser printer for his home office. He prints in A4, colour and mono, with a duty cycle of about 300-1000 pages per month. It has to be a workgroup printer so other computers in the office and the rest of the house can use it over the network, with a scanner, and reasonable document feeder.

I started talking about technical specifications of a few different brands and models when he stopped me and said, look, we have had Brother and HP printers, what I want is a printer that is easy to setup and use. I said ok, what you need is the new Samsung 6260 network laser multifunction center.

I have installed a couple of these printers recently. I’m impressed by the thought gone into making the installation as easy as possible, even over an ethernet network. The software on the DVD found the printer quickly, an update is carried out automatically during the installation, and the installation took about 3 minutes. I have spent 10 or 15 minutes installing Brother and HP software and drivers, and more time uninstalling unwanted toolbars and programs. The Samsung 6260 software is a leap forward in customer satisfaction and is pleasantly devoid of crapware, 3rd party toolbars and the like.

You can print up to 25ppm in colour or mono and the quality is comparable to high end laser printers. Samsung says the model has an improved rendering engine, toner and speed. Samsungs ReCP technology automatically sharpens printed text and graphics to eliminate while gaps or haloing. You will also notice sharper lines and more vivid, natural colour.

The control panel is backlit LCD display which again is easy to use, makes perfect sense and reduces the IT frustration level for the non-technical to about zero.

If you want a laser MFC network printer that is really easy to install and use, for around the same price as other brands in this category under $600, look at the Samsung 6260ND.

***UPDATE***

Update to this post September 11, 2013.

The vagaries of IT equipment and software can mean we don’t know if it will work the way it’s supposed to in so many cases these days, but warranties are set in stone and major vendors should honour them.

We have been struggling for a month now to have Samsung attend to a warranty claim for one of our customers through its support chain for the printer model above. After a protracted battle to convince the Samsung appointed repair tech firm that a clause in the contract states, if the printer weighs more than 16kg it will be serviced onsite, or taken back to the service agents for repair and returned at Samsung’s expense, we had the 26kg printer picked up, repaired and returned, with the existing problem not fixed.

Exasperating. We rang Samsung and asked for another warranty service call. ok, they agreed, but as time marched we never heard from the technician. We rang again, the helpdesk person offshore had forgotten to “book the call” which involved sending an email to the technician. Strangely, we were asked to provide all the information again, serial number, product number, contact details, address etc.

Samsung, if you google your brand + warranty not honoured you will see we are not alone in this.

More to come.

 
 
 

Cannot send email on iphone because server does not allow relaying

Over at the various Apple forums this is a common issue, you cannot send emails because the server does not allow relaying. There also seems to be no answers forthcoming from Apple while its users struggle to resolve the smtp issues.

Apple products such as ipad and iphone have caching issues and every now and again need to be turned off and restarted. In every case we have encountered of the “error relay message” this resolved the issue and the emails sitting in the outbox flew out at restart.

To properly turn off and restart an iphone or ipad hold the start button and the close switch at the top of the device together. Wait for the turn off your iphone message to appear, then continue to hold wait another second or two, the screen will go black. Then press the top start button to see the apple logo appear.

This should be done once a week in all Unix based systems and less frequently in Windows systems.

 
 
 

Best value business class laptop in 2012

Our pick of the best overall value in business class laptops is the latest HP Probook (4530S).

The Toshiba laptops in 2011 seemed slow even at the high end core i7 so the HP Probook was a pleasant surprise when we started one up out of the box to see very little of the usual proprietary software programs loading at startup. After working through the registration forms we were up and running in a matter of minutes.

This is the 15.5″ screen and an attractive brushed aluminium case, Intel Core i5-2400 series, Windows 7 Professional, 4GB DDR3 RAM, backlit LED, SRS Premium Sound, spill resistant keyboard.

Exceptional value in business class at $988.90 delivered to your door in Perth metro areas or plus freight Australia wide. Onsite tech service available. Place an order today.

 
 
 

Free website and hosting for a year from MYOB and Google

You may already know that MYOB bought out the popular Smartyhost website hosting platform in 2008.  The offer posted at gettingbusinessonline for a free website and hosting for a year is a MYOB and Google initiative to help small business get their business online with no upfront costs, and low ongoing costs after the first year.

Your new website will have the look and feel of a template design, but the fairly basic starting presentation can be customized. Google is offering a $75 Adwords starter package (which is available elsewhere as well) along with tips and advice for small business.

Your site will be automatically added to Google’s index so you will need to put some planning into your SEO (search engine optimization). See the SEO how-to post here.

This is a good offer if you are looking for an entry level website, a com.au domain name, and a reliable host partner.

 
 
 

How to backup and archive emails from multiple email clients

One of the problems we see commonly in Outlook and other email clients with no quotas applied, is a reluctance to delete anything. I know, I do it, or rather don’t do it myself. I shudder when I see the size of my deleted items folder in Outlook but something in me resists hitting the permanently delete button.

IT admins are always looking for ways to avoid using PST because a large PST can become corrupted with the potential for all data inside the store to be lost. Backing up your PST or exporting the PST to a backup has inherent risks. A better solution would be to archive /backup emails independant of the personal store in Outlook.

It’s also common to have multiple email accounts at work or on the home PC, such as gmail, Yahoo, Windows Live Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird. Now you can backup and archive your emails from these multiple accounts from one centralized program. You can also use MailStore for importing purposes from other email clients.

The MailStore backup/archive becomes a searchable database to quickly and easily locate emails based a range of search criteria.

Where do I get such as a useful program and how much is it? Head on over the MailStore where you can grab a copy free.

 
 
 

Which is the best laptop to buy in 2011?

A quick guide for small business and prosumers.

 “which is the best laptop to buy?”

The majority of our clients at Wired office fall into the small business, prosumer, home office category. While enterprise and corporate have an IT manager who knows how to buy laptops, small business usually ends up at a retail outlet to buy a new laptop or notebook.

There are so many options on the shelves and, at a retail level and buying a mid priced laptop is not always a reliable rule of thumb because you could be buying more than what you need, or what a salesperson recommends. This is not always reliable advice or objective advice.

The buying criteria?

First consideration is buying a laptop for what you want it to do, not for what you will never use. An example of this is paying $1700-$2000 for a consumer level laptop with multi-media and gaming capabilities. If you are thinking the high end processor automatically relates to faster overall processing power you would be wrong. Hi-end processors such as Core i7 show their mettle under load or high CPU use. For everyday computing such as reading and sending emails, surfring the web etc., you will find a Core i5 processor better fits the need. Core i7 processing power is typically useful for gaming, spreadsheets, line drawing, video editing. In normal computer use this level of processor core is not accessed because it isn’t required by the application.

Another consideration when buying a new laptop is the technological life of laptops these days, the durability of modern laptops, and the limited standard warranty period. For example, screen replacement or motherboard replacement can approach the cost of a new laptop and remain among the most vulnerable components we see for repair enquiries.

Our recommendation is to spend as little as possible without sacrificing performance. Yes, it is possible!

a)       Buy your new laptop from an IT channel reseller to benefit from unbiaised advice; you get the same warranty, with reliable after sales service.

b)      Avoid Windows home edition software; business editions offer data safety and ease of data restoration.

c)       You can buy new IBM Lenovo laptops with state of the art Intel Core i5 chipsets and next generation DDR3 memory for around $1000-$1200 with business editions of Windows, yet pay the same price for outdated retail stock.

Visit our notebooks page for more info