Archive for the 'Technology News' Category

 

End of life for Windows 7 and your options

 

For those with laptops who did not get a disk with their system the Windows 7 ISO downloads direct from Microsoft servers are no longer available to the public and free mainstream support for Windows 7 is also no longer available – as of January 13 this year.

End of mainstream support for Windows 7 means you cannot call Microsoft for free help if your system is broken. Because mainstream support has ended means extended support phase had begun, so you will still receive critical system patches and security updates and all security related updates via the usual update service will continue for the time being.

We provide a local service in Perth Western Australia, and a remote service to login and fix your computer anywhere in Australia for standard support fees. Contact us for remote support pricing or to book a support session online. We provide Microsoft Certified technical support and you can pay by credit card or paypal. We can remove malware, carry out a security scan, fix slow computers without the need for an onsite technician.

 

 
 
 

The cordless office dream in 2015 – Intel Skylake

skylake590Intel chipset releases and upgrades are referred to as Intel Tick-Tock. To keep pace or ahead of competitors Intel seeks to release upgrades or new technology approximately every year. Last year the Tick was the 4th generation Haswell (code name) nanotechnology (14nm). Last year we built all our custom built towers using the Haswell chipsets and CPU’s. Early 2015 we are going to see the new Broadwell chipsets which is a Tick, the Tock will come with the new generation Skylake which will have design and substantial performance improvements. Other IT writers have technical blogs which discuss the architecture and technology of Skylake, but this blog writer focuses on what the technology means to you.

So, on to the dream of the cordless office.

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Some aspects of cordless technology have been around for quite a while, wifi networking, wireless printers, wireless mouse. The advance in cordless technology comes from the work of Rezence™, the wireless transfer technology based on the principles of magnetic resonance (Intel is a key industry partner).

The future standard for wireless charging and power is called “Rezence”.  We are going to see laptops placed on a charge pad where they will be charged with no other user effort. Computers will have wireless mouse, wireless keyboard, wireless monitor, wireless printer. Current technology works in the 2.4GHz or (less common) 5GHz range, Rezence™ and WiGig™ work in different frequencies.

For those who use desktop computers or extended displays for laptops the HDMI or digital cable will be replaced  by WiGig (WiGig won the Popular Science Best of What’s New Award in 2014) and we can expect wireless display connectivity by late 2015 to early 2016 according to some industry sources. Various wifi charging pads are in the shops now and have been for some time but there has not been enough interest to deploy this technology on a mass scale because it is first generation. Rezence™ is next generation technology.

 

 
 
 

The best of free media servers

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Media servers are software programs that allow you to stream your movies, home videos, photos and music to devices on your network from your choice of storage such as a NAS box or an old PC. If you have a modern DLNA certified TV you can select media server from the menu and start watching movies over the WiFi channel or Ethernet.

One of the best free media servers around hands-down is the Plex Media Server. You can view movies for example not as lists, but as images complete with extensive metadata collected from an online database including synopsis, cast and crew, even trailers. If you are streaming to a DLNA TV brands such as LG and Samsung have the Plex plugin, others like high end Panasonic TV’s have a link to media servers where you will see a list with thumbnails too small to be useful.

Upload your camera photos and home videos from cameras and smart phones and watch via live streaming on your TV. There is also a Plex app for ipad and iphone but this is not free.

One of the really clever features under the bonnet of the Plex server is its ability to transcode video on the fly. You will not be bombarded with incomprehensible messages about codecs or file not supported. If a file is unable to play because of codec incompatibility Plex will transcode in the background.

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The hardware you will need.

Hardware specific to network attached storage and media storage is a subject big enough for its own post. You can in theory use a laptop as a media store or an old computer with decent specs, but you will need lots of storage space for a collection of movies, music, photos. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can fill up a hard drive.

SSD drives are still in the expensive range so if we are talking about electrical/mechanical hard drives choose your drive carefully. The new HGST technology or NAS /Storage specific drives are best. You can buy 3TB up to 6TB capacity drives.

Hard drives containing movies need maintenance so don’t wait until you are on the verge of losing your precious data, use our local or remote support service to carry out annual checks on the integrity of your data file systems.

 

 

 
 
 

The amazing Pono Media Player is Free.

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For all you music lovers out there with classy laptop or PC speakers from the likes of Bose, or the Bowers & Wilkins computer speakers you are going to love the free media player from Pono Music. Neil Young is the CEO and driving force behind this special digital to analogue or DAC system, born out of frustration with crappy, souless digital music. There is a hardware player as well going for about $399 which is claimed by its promos to be the closest thing to a live performance. The project was funded through Kickstarter.

You can download the free media play for Windows here.

 
 
 

R.I.P Windows XP

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Windows XP retires on April 8 2014. We seen this scenario before with Windows 98, and again with Windows 2000 so we know what to expect – bugs, virus exploits, spyware, malicious-ware, rogue programs seeking to extort money, address book hijacks, data loss.

If you use a program that is no longer updated and will only run on XP then you can run this in Windows 7 with various options and tools, such as a virtual machine. If you have customer data or have privacy concerns the advice is generally to update as soon as possible.

How will banks see your unsupported system?

We already know that banks insist that antivirus be installed on your system and this can be crucial if your card is hijacked or bank passwords stolen by keyloggers or spyware. Banks often will not allow you to access online banking in an insecure system. Be forewarned that banks will quickly view XP as an insecure and unprotected operating system.

How do you update? If you do not want to go with Windows 8 or have an older machine you can find a copy of Windows 7 and manage the upgrade yourself. To make sure you take the least problematic path we are offering local clients a Windows 7 upgrade and data /email migration that can save you days of downtime. Our service usually takes just a couple of hours and you can get back to work or play.

You can also bring your XP PC to us in Duncraig for less than the cost of onsite tech support.

 
 
 

Windows XP end of life

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In April 2014 Windows XP will retire. It’s been a good and popular OS and for many it will be a case of drag me through the coals to a new Windows operating system. But this is something that has to be done and our long experience with moving customers from Win XP to Windows 7 is that it is painless and beneficial.

If you prefer progressing to Windows 7 instead of Windows 8 for your small business you would be advised not to leave it until the last minute to ensure there are still plenty of stocks around for Win7. As usual we do not recommend buying an upgrade disk, but a full system disk.

For Perth, Western Australia customers bring your laptop or PC for our special installation and migration package from XP to Win7 for around the cost of a retail edition of Windows 7. We will transfer all user data to the new installation and the cost includes your copy of Windows 7 on a disk.

Some conditions apply. Call us on 0400 241 756 to book your PC or laptop in. Cost includes an analysis for compatibility issues.

 
 
 

The future of screen technology may be closer than you think

Remember in the film Avatar the computer screens were transparent. This is an example of capacitive screen technology first described in 1965 by E A Johnson. Other films followed that showed transparent, capacitive, touch technology.

Over at TAT.se research (Research in Motion) in Sweden their researchers have produced a video with predictions for this type of technology as early as 2014. Fascinating stuff. Sorry about the ads.

 
 
 

New generation wifi from Netgear promises 3X speed and whole of home coverage.

When N-technology arrived a few years ago it was great. Wireless speed improved, there were less bottlenecks, in the 2.4GHz range the wifi signal extended further than 802.11G standards.

Today, technology demands more of routing and wireless technology to stream HD vision and audio, movies and apps on our ipads, DLNA devices like TV’s, and N-technology doesn’t quite get there, especially in homes where multiple people on ipads, appleTV, laptops and smartphones are all online at the same time, chewing into available bandwidth and speed.

The new 802.11AC wireless routing technology has arrived and changes everything, with vastly improved speed, wider area coverage, improved reliability (yes! less dropouts), and the ability to transfer data at gigabit speed, previosuly only available on high speed gigabit enabled devices.

Wired Office offers it’s Perth WA customers an installation and setup service onsite from just $90 for selected areas, to make sure you get the most out of the new technology. Call today for service on 1300 661 624

 
 
 

Understanding the new cloud based Office 2013 Home Premium?

Microsoft Office Home Premium 2013

Cloud based solutions are a natural evolution in computing because the cloud makes sense. No one is going to lose their MYOB company file any more when a hard drive dies, and your most important and critical data is safe when it is on a managed server in cyberspace, when using Skydrive for example. Skydrive makes your data available on each computer you use, such as desktop at home and laptop in the office.

When you use cloud storage with Microsoft’s new cloud based Office 2013 Home Premium you have access to creating, reading and editing documents from any computer anywhere in the world. In the past small and micro business needed to buy a MS Office OEM licence for each computer/laptop, or a retail licence for 2 computers. Office 2013 Home Premium 365 is subscription based. You can licence up to 5 computers on PC or Mac on an annual subscription.

The student edition of Office 365 is a 4 year subscription for 2 computers PC or Mac with 60 minutes of Skype and 20GB of cloud storage and sync.

For those who prefer to have a box or disk these will also be available.

As always there is plenty of criticism about Microsoft being a late starter to the cloud and Office functionality but, with one billion plus people using Office, I’m giving them a little leeway.

For pricing on all OEM editions of MS Office 2013 in Perth WA, give us a call

 

 
 
 

How to buy best value business laptops in 2013

 

 The number of laptops on the market now makes it harder than ever to choose one that’s right for you and your small business or mobile computing needs.

Let’s try and simplify this.

There are three types of laptop categories. Within those categories are price and specifications. Price will often determine the specifications, and thus the performance you can expect.

The three categories are:

desktop replacement laptops. Popular with engineers and CAD workers for example, they are not light or easy to carry around but are powerful with a large screen.

mobile laptops for business range from 13.3″ to 15.6″ as standard sizes. The 15.6 is popular for people who spend a lot of time at a desk with 25% mobile computing. This category of laptop is popular with small business and professionals.

ultrabooks are fashionable, light and thin. Many do not come with a DVD draw as the DVD era draws to a close, and they tend to be more expensive – offering less for more dollars. Some people do not like the often flimsy feeling of Ultrabooks.

What about specifications?

Intel’s latest stepping in processors is the 3rd generation (Ivy Bridge). This is nano-technology which has more performance than 2nd generation, but particularly in the graphics department. In most cases there is no need to seek out specs with independant graphics processing, chances are you will find all the graphics grunt you need on the die.

Intel’s processor family is the Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7. Core i3 is the slowest of the group and may be suitable for light email and internet users, like your grandma. Core i7 is the top stepping but i7 is not increased performance out of the box, it’s there when you need acceleration. Core i5 is best all round for performance for everyday users in business.

There are also incremental steppings for each of these processor families. The 3210M Core i5 is good model.

What about warranty support:

There is a consumer laptop and a business laptop. The latter is traditionally sold by the business IT channel. Many small business folks and professionals now make buying decisions which includes the type of warranty the laptop comes with.

If you buy consumer class you may need to mail it back to the support center and or take it back to the department store and wait for it to be returned. You can see why onsite warranty or even courier pickup and return warranty is more attractive.

Business laptops also tend to offer greater battery life, from approximately 6 hrs through 8.5 hours, and as they are built to run all day are built using superior materials. We see business class laptops that are 4 – 5+ years old come in for repairs, seldom seen in consumer class. The support cycle for business class usually outlives consumer class so that business laptops can adapt to new technology, operating systems and drivers. Consumer class laptops are not consistent over the production cycle, making it difficult to source the replacement parts.

The models and prices change so often we can’t print them here, but send us an email and ask for the current best value business laptops for 2013 and we will send it to you. For Perth business we offer free delivery to most metro areas with workshop or onsite technical services.

Shown above, the new HP Probook, sturdy metal construction, Intel Core i5 processing power – $1149 inc gst for Perth metro delivery.