Archive for the 'Technology News' Category


The new Intel NUC – what’s in it for me?

buy Intel NUC in Perth WA

The new ultra small form factor NUC (Next Unit of Computing) has hit the market here in Oz. There is a red top box and a black box. The latter is for PC users and small office settings, the former is a media center PC. We are looking at the DC3217IYE or black model for simple home and small office use. Both models come as “bare bones” and need RAM, hard drive, and optional wifi card installed.

We installed Windows 8 on our test model, ran our own benchmark and network testing with the outcome as we expected from what is essentially an ultrabook in a desktop form factor. With the new Intel Ivy Bridge processor pushing the boundaries we were happy enough with the performance for what we wanted to do.

 The Intel NUC is not going to be a small form factor alternative for everyones’ PC but for those who use a computer to check and respond to emails, browse the web, and store the family photos – in a small office or home setting, this is a great way to save on space and at a lower cost than a tower or ultrabook. Vesa interface allows you to attach the NUC to the rear of Vesa enabled monitors, most are these days.

The Intel NUC comes as a bare bones kit. We have added tested 4GB Corsair RAM memory, and the Intel 310 Series 80GB SSD (solid state drive) which gives this platform a big performance boost. With Window 8 Pro this all comes in at $867 inc gst at time of writing. Please confirm pricing before ordering.

We provide full tech support for data transfer, install and setup onsite, plus each unit is setup with up to 25GB of cloud storage free.



BitTorrent downloads are a booming business

I remember reading about a single mum taken to court by the music industry in the USA and fined an extraordinary amount of money, in the millions, to send a clear message to every other single mum in the world – don’t download music for free, it’s illegal.

The outcome is different from the intended affect. We have seen the sledgehammer affect before, such as when Canon tried to use legal muscle to stop a flower seller in Tasmania expressing his views about the cost of Canon ink replacements. He posted every letter they sent him online so the rest of the world could watch the battle unfolding. It was a PR disaster for Canon and others like them who use defamation law to silence critics. Since that court case of the single mum and in spite of the crushing fines the torrent music download business has boomed,  and many recording artists are at odds with music industry moguls seeing illegal downloads as a good business proposition. Neil Young called torrent downloads the new radio station.

Musicmetric is a website dedicated to analysis of all music related information on the web whose data base covers 10 million releases and growing.  In a new report (BBC Torrent trend visualisation) trends in music BitTorrent downloads must be alarming for those media moguls and their lawyers and shows a huge increase in music downloading around the world. The source code for PirateBay is also now available as a code download to start your own download portal using Piratebay databases.

The trend is similar for movie downloads. It doesn’t always mean the quality is any better than a bali copy but demonstrates torrent downloads are on the rise for all media. A new site to find BitTorrent files without the use of trackers is moviemagnet.

Personally,  my preferred music is vinyl and movies are via AppleTV so I’m not going to get sued anytime soon 🙂


Google Business Photos brings Street View into the store

Here’s an interesting take on Google’s popular Street View on Google Maps. With online browsing and shopping so much a part of the everyday lives of people these days wouldn’t it be great if you could see inside the store, restaurant or pub before you spend your money.

The Google Street View technology is brought indoors with 360 degree panoramic views and interactive tours. Business owners can embed the technology and the photos on their own website or on Facebook and other social media sites.

With the explosion of New York style small bars in Perth it would be nice to take a tour before leaving the office.  Fridays of course. At the time of writing I was  not able to locate a Google endorsed (Trusted photographer) in our neck of the woods but there is a button to click to suggest your area, and another button for photographers to apply for trusted status.

More info at Google Business Photos


The solution to ipad wifi Dropouts

The internet is awash with forum questions about ipad wifi dropouts. Actually, it’s more like a tidal wave. Since the 4.3 ios update the issue has become more common. We had this problem to, complicated further by the distance from the front office to rear of building in the home with a couple of solid brick walls in between requiring a wifi extender and this seemed to make the problem worse.

The ipads and ipods connecting into this onsite wireless network just kept dropping out, even in close proximity to the router. Users needed to “forget this network” and rejoin. Even refreshing the DHCP didn’t help. The problem we discovered was a type of congestion and compatibility issue within the 2.4GHz range. In this situation we were able to resolve this by dividing the network into 2.4 and 5GHz. Problem there is the 5GHz has high speed coverage but poor depth of field. We resolved this by deploying a wireless access point (not an extender) at a midway point.

For Perth users in the home, an educational situation, or a business that uses ipads we set all this up for you. Contact one of our mobile computer technicians in Perth today.


Backup SMS messages with Windows Myphone

The Windows Myphone application allows you to backup SMS, contacts, photos and other folders to the Myphone website. It’s already installed on new Windows 6 Smartphones. If you need to install it on earlier versions of Smartphones visit


Hotmail’s new throwaway email accounts

I have a few email accounts over at Yahoo called throwaway email accounts that I use when I am posting in online forums for example. When these accounts start getting spammed out I close the account. Easy. And all this helps keep my life-long email addresses relatively spam free.

The problem is I have to sign in and sign out to read each accounts contents. Microsoft has recognized the need for throwaways, especially in pro-sumer and technical user areas, and created a single login system for multiple throwaway email addresses.

You can find out more over at cnet.


The beauty of IE9

Review Internet Explorer 9

The beauty of Internet Explorer 9

Microsoft has been losing its share of the browser market to Google Chrome and other browsers that offered faster browsing and more useful features. Browser upgrades from Microsoft between IE6 and IE8 have not been big on features or usability, other than security features and tabbed browsing (nothing new there).  I looked at the unveiling of the new IE9 Beta after “The Beauty of the Web” launch at the San Francisco Design Center with interest becoming caffeine fuelled wow. This browser is really neat.

On my Core i5 desktop PC with a fairly standard business graphics card my new IE9 Beta started up in one second or less. Websites loaded in around one third the time they did in IE8. Graphics were sharper, text was more crisp, and videos were rendered beautifully with no sign of latency. The reason behind all this is IE9’s ability to distribute CPU intensive tasking across the PC, and directly utilise the fastest visual processing component in a PC, the graphics adaptor, to render what you see in the browser.  You can see more of the graphics rendering (Hardware Acceleration) capability of  IE9 at Joshua Davis’s site (geeks who were around in the 80’s will recall Praystation).

Visually, there is more room in IE9. Favorites bar, status bar, and command bar ar turned off by default (right click an empty area at the top of the browser to turn them on) but when turned on take up a minimal amount of room. The website you are currently viewing can be pinned to the favorites bar or to the taskbar in Windows 7 by dragging. You can use the tear off tabs and Aerosnap to view websites side-by-side.

IE9 browser window

More space in IE9 to enjoy the beauty of the web

The IE9 Beta is still in pre-release code and we found some problems using the latest version of WordPress to write this article. If you’re too curious to wait for a final Beta version you can download the Beta here. I found IE9 to be a 21st century browser that is lean and faster than anything I’ve seen to date. With Windows 8 around the corner making heavy use of sensor technology (including facial recognition logon) I can’t wait for IE10.


Free Folder Syncronization or backup tool

Free software for syncronization of folders

Free file & folder syncronization software

The most popular file and folder syncronization toolof the last few years is Microsoft’s SyncToy to syncronize folders between two separate locations, such as laptop or thumb drive, and the desktop computer. This is a good tooland works well,but we came across another free tool that does a similar job that is very easy to use, has a clean minimalist interface,and shows file and folder activity during the syncronization process.

It comes from Budosoft, a company situated in Malaysia, who offer other free software which requires no registration or trial offers. This includes a free (non-trial) version of its software for internet cafes with a range of features such as billing, expenditure, lock screen, and password management.  Tested in Windows 7 and services 11 PC’s and an admin computer.


Does your Small business need an ipad?

Like many others I had some reservations about the ipad. There’s no USB port, no DVD draw, no direct external monitor support (vga adaptors are available). The keyboard is not designed for speed typing and your other hand might be busy keeping the device steady on your lap. It can only open one app at a time so you can forget about multitasking. How useful can it be for small business?

To answer my insatiable curiousity about a new type of mobile device people queue up to buy I went online to Apple and bought the ipad wifi model. I’ve now had the benefit of using the ipad for a couple of weeks and the ipad and I have become inseparable.

First, a couple of things out of the way. The ipad is not a computer, a notebook or a netbook – it’s an ipad? Unlike a notebook or a netbook the creativity of the every growing libraries of apps for ipad is surprising. The ipad is optimized for one app at a time because this is an ipad not a computer. Do you really need to read an online newspaper and prepare a spreadsheet at the same time? Once we get over that we don’t need to ask why it doesn’t have USB ports or a DVD drawer. If you want to read a PDF or view photos you can transfer them with itunes, download them off the internet, or use some of the apps below to transfer folders and files over the air.

Some apps come standard on the ipad. I use my ipad to view my daily calendar from Outlook. I get an appointment prompt just like Outlook and a big viewing area compared to my mobile phone calendar and contacts. Like most laptop computers in small, micro and home based business, the ipad will be used for more than business. This is a great chance to catch up on reading anything from online newspapers and your favourite magazines, to business PDF’s and charts. The ipad high resolution LED backlit display makes this an excellent reader and viewer and this is among my primary reasons for owning one.

There are over 150,000 apps, free and paid. Many are entertainment based but there are many categories with apps being added to all the time.

Some apps I found of interest to small business are:

Billings Touch
This is an app based on the Apple Design award winning time and tracking application. For mobile users you can track and create billing data on the go.

iwork for Ipad
well known to Mac users, iwork creates presentations, documents and spreadsheets. If you travel this could be very useful.

DropBox for ipad – Free
Install Dropbox on your desktop PC(s), then install the ipad Dropbox app. This is a great tool for sharing documents for example. Just drop the document (Word, PDF, etc) into the Dropbox folder on your Windows based desktop PC and it appear in an instant on your ipad.

Jumsoft Money – Free
The app for personal finances, reminders to pay your bills on time, and password protected.

Documents to go
DocsToGo lets you create, edit and view Word 2007, 2010, Excel, Powerpoint, iwork and other files in Dropbox (Premium edition) or direct viewing, creating and editing.


Managing website passwords with your fingerprint

My favourites links keeps growing with every new must-have-in-my-favourites websites folder in Internet Explorer. Password rules vary from one site to another. There’s no standardising and some webmasters love dreaming up new ways to complicate my life and ensure I can never have a standard across the board all purpose catch-all password.

So then I found Roboform and have been pretty content with this program and never have to reach for that index notebook with passwords anymore. Eikon have gone one better to take the password manager out of the browser in the form of a USB stick with a fingerprint reader.

fingerprint reader

EIKON-To-Go Portable Digital Privacy Manager is made for notebook users. It uses your fingerprint to authenticate Windows logon, launch your favourite software applications by swiping a particular finger, password bank feature to remember all your online usernames and passwords on the web, simplify Vista UAC tasks, and switch user accounts easily and securely. Includes fingerprint reader and Protector Suite QL software.

Cost $66 RRP.