Archive for the 'Small Business IT' Category

 

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and next generation DDR3 memory for around $1000-$1200 with business editions of Windows, yet pay the same price for outdated retail stock.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

 
 
 

10 Million Dominos thank you from Google.

The new Google search algorithm is called Caffeine. It follows the trend towards local based search and while this is helpful if you are looking for a computer shop in Kalamunda, Google Places fails a good percentage of small businesses whose services are not tied to a location, but service the greater metro areas.

Thanks for the thought Google.  But will we ever see a revision of Places for businesses that are not location specific?

You can see the full Google thank you here.

 
 
 

How to buy a domain name in Australia

To start a website for your small business you need to register a domain that is either directly matched to your registered business name or company name, or is associated with your business. The rules according to the registration authority in Australia are:

  1. an exact match, acronym or abbreviation of your company, business, trading, association or statutory body name or words in your registered trade mark;
  2. or be closely and substantially connected to you because the domain refers to a product you manufacture or sell or a service you provide.

Costs to register a new domain name vary widely and domain name registrars in Australia vary widely in their pricing. Melbourne IT is one of the oldest registrars and hosts and at the time of writing the cost to register a com.au domain is $140 for 2 years. Another domain registrar, Netregistry, is also a veteran in domain registration and their costs for a com.au domain is $49 for 2 years at the time of writing.  Smartyhost is an Australian domain registrar and host owned now by MYOB. Their com.au registration cost is $19.98 for 2 years.

If you’re looking for cheap domain hosting there are pitfalls to look out for with some registrars such as additional monthly fees to park your domain, or, when you choose a host and need to divert the domain name servers to your new host you may be charged an ongoing fee.

If you are going to optimize your new website for search engines such as Google you should ensure your domain is hosted on servers on the Australian continent. Many aussie hosting providers simply buy space on a server in Texas for example and resell the space. To achieve good positions on Google in the future your domain extension and hosting server should be regional. Choose your host carefully, ensure they are not listed on blacklists. Some cheap hosting providers may be hosting your website on a server with the same IP address (non dedicated) as spammers or unscrupulous websites.

Many of our clients are hosted with Smartyhost and we give them a high score for technical support that is local and user friendly, good hosting prices and services, and reasonable domain name registration fees.

 
 
 

How to build a successful online business

Winning Business Online Training links

Thinking about starting an online business? The Australian government has enlisted the Sunrise Show’s Koshi to present a series of tutorial modules called Winning Business Online.

The current government also intends to streamline the process of registering business names on a national level, rather than a state by state basis with separate fees being paid to each state government. This will make it easier for online business to protect their business name.

Another incentive for small business is the instant write off for assets up to $5000. This would be a good opportunity to buy your new computer or other equipment you need.

There’s more information about government incentives, tax breaks for smallbusiness and programs here.. We found government websites on these subjects to be outdated or hard to locate.

 
 
 

Sending large attachments that won’t get lost

Acrobat Extension for sending attachments

Send Large Attachments with Outlook 2007

The Bigpond limit for email attachments is around 10mb. Anything over this size might be stripped out by the receiving server so your recipient never sees the attachment. Because of binary data conversion in email programs an attachment can be bloated by up to ~30%, and the content of the HTML email also needs to be factored in to the overall size of the sent item.

Programs for sending attachments at http and ftp have been around for a long time, such as usendit and others. Acrobat now offer a free program for sending large attachments that integrates nicely into Office Outlook 2007. Once installed you have the options for sending attachments like you normally would, or via the Acrobat plugin. What we like about this offering from Acrobat is it’s free, and the brand name is familiar to most internet users.

 
 
 

Windows Home Server for small business file sharing & backups

Small and micro business with 3 and up to 10 computers on the network, can avoid the costs associated with full server installations by using Windows Home Server for file sharing and automated backups.

Using a workgroup network often means backing up data from individual machines. This is a problematic way to backup data because backups are forgotten, or not backed up correctly causing problems when restoring from the backup.

Windows Home Server is a low cost solution (our Home Server with licences for 10 users is $1130 inc gst at time of writing) for small networks wanting the efficiency and centralised data storage of a server without the overheads of contract IT support services.

 
 
 

A quick guide to the new Intel Core i-series processors

Would you buy a new computer with a 3.3GHz Core i5 processor, or a 2.66GHz Core i5 processor?

The choice seems obvious at first and I notice a lot of retailers subtly exploiting complexities of core models and steppings to sell cheaper computers. In the above example the 2.66GHz processor would be your best choice because it’s more powerful, offers greater multitasking capabilities with four cores instead of two cores in the 3.3GHz model.

You can download the whitepaper at our computers perth page in a jargon-free friendly format and get a heads up on buying a new PC.