Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Windows App Store opens

Microsoft Office the most widely used operating system on the planet so it's hard to understand why the biggest obstacle Microsoft has in the application department is relevancy. With rivals like Apple and Google (Android), it's a stiff competition. So Microsoft is holding a four day seminar in Redmond Washington "Build" to pitch to developers.

Microsoft wants to put a dent into the tablet application market. Currently Apple dominates with it's iPad. Windows hopes that with it's new tablet based platform, Windows RT, it will become a stronger force in the handheld markets. Convince the developers and then it's up to the consumer. We'll see if they bite.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Windows 8 is now available! Check it out

Windows 8, Microsoft's new operating system that encompasses the tablet experience, is out in the wild as of today!

Microsoft made a BIG decision to make operating systems across ALL platforms uniform. That means that you will have a similar experience   When you get on your Windows smart phone or tablet you will be met with the same user interface as you would on your PC.

The look of the interface has already earned a nickname among the social networking universe as "Window's Metro" because of it's bright colors and touch sensitivity.

 And here it is folks! Your Metro, I mean interface:

Right click on icons to select them. You can customize tiles by dragging them around the screen. It's like it's core operating systems set to "Easy". It's contacts will be a miasma of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn...etc. Also, you can easily set a background image to each monitor in a dual monitor set up.  

Being that this OS is including tablets and smart phones there has got to be apps right? Of course right! So Microsoft is jumping on the app bandwagon. Apps can show up as tiles, or rather a tile of a shortcut to the app.

Start up and shut down times are considerably faster thanks to a simplified hibernation routing that stores the OS's kernal session to a file on the hard drive.

Malware scanning is integrated into file transfers so may notice a bit of slower speeds there. This totally ok though because there is a new file transfer dashboard that lets you pause and cancel transfers as needed. There's also some really handy restore sail safes installed in case of disaster. There's a "Refresh your PC"  option that will back up your data, re-install Windows, and load your data back up. And for a more hardcore tool you have "Remove Everything" that does just that: nukes your system and re-installs  a Windows 8 from the beginning.  

So if you're giving it a try let us know what you think! Personal feedback is more valuable than an article any day! Tell us what you think.

Monday, October 22, 2012

About Us

Here at TVIT we help our clients with all sorts of stuff!

We help businesses get networked and running smoothly with little to no hassle. Business Services

We help residents set up wireless routers and protect against viruses. Residential Support

We'll help you buy a new computer! These are just examples of systems we can help you find.

So browse around, there's nothing we won't help you with when it comes to your computers and technology.

Star Trek Inspired Computer

Star Trek is one of my favorite shows. Specifically The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. One of the most overlooked characters in the shows is "Computer". She has all the answers. She flies the ship in and out of danger. She will tell you where your friends are at whether they like it or not. She's great.

Google is using Star Trek's Computer to develop the "ubiquitous computing" computer. You will not longer have to go through the laborious task of getting your phone out of your pocket, unlocking your phone, and googling for an answer. Simply state your question and the voice prompted search will supply you with as answer.

This can be incorporated into all sorts of home devices and appliances. Imagine you're cooking dinner and forgot what order to add ingredients into the pot for that awesome creme sauce. Ask your refrigerator and the answer will pop up on it's built in monitor. Ah yes, butter, flour and THEN milk. BINGO (add a little garlic and parmesan, spoon over breaded chicken breast and your family will think you're a genius....but this isn't cooking with Casey, it's computers so I'll get back on topic)

How about you want to know if there's any episodes of Battlestar Galactica playing. Ask the display you  have mounted in you living room wall.

Have a bet with a friend about who's had the most cameo's in movies, Steve Buscemi or Stan Lee. Just ask your toaster. Well that may be a bit far fetched but you get the picture. Convenience is just around the next space anomaly.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Benefits of Cloud Computing

"The Cloud". It's the term on every bodies lips these days. It sounds so ethereal. It sounds so...confusing.

Things keep getting smaller and smaller. Your computer, your monitor, and now your storage. Your storage has gotten so small in fact that it turned into a cloud. Basically that means that you don't need hardware anymore to set up back ups or store files. There is a vast network of systems worldwide dedicated to doing that for you thanks to the internet.

One obvious benefit of cloud computing is in the case of disaster which might ruin your hardware and you are stuck with data loss. If you store your pictures, videos, files on the cloud, you could run over your laptop with a truck and all your precious data is not lost!

Another obvious benefit is space, physical and technical. When using the cloud to store documents you don't need hardware taking up desk space. Also when you are using hardware, there is a finite amount of usage drive space to fill up. If you have a 1TB external drive, that means you have 1TB of space. If you need more then you go out and you buy ANOTHER drive and that takes up more desk space. There is virtually endless storage space available, well, virtually.

With information being stored in the cloud you can access it anywhere. It also allows for others to access your data easily if you need them to. Cloud computing services can more often then not be accessed with a computer, tablet, or mobile device. That's convenient!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Microsoft Surface and Touch Cover

Microsoft Surface comes out October 26th and starts at $499. But what is it?

Well short is that it's a Tablet Computer. it has an extra large 10.6 inch screen. What's so unique about this tablet is actually one of it's accessories; the Touch Cover. It's an ultra thin and flexible touch keyboard. What I mean by touch keyboard is that it doesn't actually have buttons, just a surface that mimics a keyboard.

There's a pretty cool video here.

Looks like it snaps on and off pretty easily. There is a stand on the back of the tablet that props it up and then with the Touch Cover keyboard your tablet instantly resembles a mini laptop. That's REALLY convenient. Tablets are cool for not for typing emails or updating your blog! oh....and they come in different colors! swooon

Monday, October 15, 2012

Microsoft to challenge iTunes and Spotify with new music streaming in Windows 8

Xbox Music will now be integrated into Windows 8 as it's default music player. It's a free music streaming software platform that can be upgraded to ad-free for $9.99 a month.

The service will debut on Xbox Tuesday, October 16th, 2012. The service will also be rolled out via PC and tablet with any Windows 8 purchases or upgrades. An interesting twist is that there will be a version available for the Android and Apple platforms.

Microsoft is turning the Xbox brand into something more than just gaming but an entertainment hub.

This puts a lot of pressure on Pandora and Spotify. Windows 8 will undoubtedly sell millions of copies of it's new operating system over the coming years, and having Xbox music as it's default player will put that service in front of all other streaming music players.

There will be nothing stopping customers from downloading another service on their devices but there are advantages. You will have unlimited play back of any song in the library instead of just having to wait for one of your favorite songs to be replayed. There will also be a cloud accessible database. This means you can access any song in your library from any of your devices that has the player installed, your phone, tablet, Xbox, PC, etc.

Zune will continue for Windows 7 users but will over time will be getting phased out in favor of Xbox Music. I like the idea of having all my music accessible wherever I am. music streaming is great, but I know the sometimes there's just a particular song that I want to hear which makes me pause my streaming service and look it up on line via Youtube or something similar.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Benefits of Setting up a Network

Networks can be set up anywhere, not just the office building. You may be thinking, "What's the point?". There are quite a lot of benefits to setting up a home network to make life easier for you.

File Sharing

This will erase your need for flash drives, external drives, burning info to disks, or zip drives (remember those?). You will be able to easily access files on another computer in your home. 

Data Backup

You can back up your data on another system. Let's say you have two computers. have each computer back up to the other in case of crash or corruption. That way you are always covered!

Printer sharing

You don't need a printer for each computer in your home. One printer for the den, one printer for the office, one printer for little Timmy's room....no longer. Get one. Even better, get one that's wireless so you don't have to worry about cables. (Don't know how to set up a wireless connection with a printer?....that's ok we do!)

Internet Sharing

Some Internet Service Providers will try to talk you into multiple accounts for your home. Don't do it. It will save you hundred of dollars to just share one connection in your home. There are lots of internet packages in the Treasure Valley that offer high speeds that will be enough for multiple users. This is not suggested for dial up connection, however, since it will be noticeably slow.


You can play multi player games if you're all networked together. A lot of popular games have a feature called LAN MODE. LAN stands for Local Access Network. Ever heard of a LAN party? Well now you can have your very own!

Home Entertainment

You can integrate your gaming consoles, like the Xbox 360 or the PS3, to your network. They can be included in the file sharing, and have access to your Netflix account your networked internet setup.

It's convenient, it's fun, and it makes you look cool! In my own home I like it because I have several movies stored on my computer. What I used to do is load up the movie on a thumb drive and then plug it into my Xbox and play it from the consoles media player. That's  not hard by any means, but it can take several minutes to load onto the drive and then the format may or may not even work on the Xbox. With my TV hooked directly into my computer I just change the input on my TV to the one I have my computer hooked to and it makes my TV a second monitor for my TV. Then I just select the movie and play! I can surf the web from my couch, watch documentaries from Youtube...it's great!

Setting all this up can be a little tricky but we can help. Just give us a call and we'll get you set up too! Treasure valley IT

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Basic Computer Tips

Shut down your computer properly.

That's right! There is a right way. If a computer is shut down unexpectedly, it may have been in the middle of an operation. By interrupting the process means the computer has unfinished business and can leave corrupt files lingering in your system. To avoid this, shut down all the programs that are running and then go to your start menu and select "shut down". If it takes a few moments that's ok, don't force it, it's just tidying up. 

Uninstall trial software and unused programs the right way.

Erasing the desktop icon does NOT remove the program from your computer. It only removes the short cut. When a program is installed it can store files in several places throughout your system. Some programs have a tool that will uninstall it. This can be accessed by going to your start menu, opening the programs lists, selecting the program, and then selecting uninstall. That is not always available however. So the easiest route, and one that you can use for any software installed on your computer, is in your control panel. Open up your start menu, go to control panel, and you should see an option for uninstall programs. This will populate a list of everything installed on your PC. Now be careful, just because you've never heard of something doesn't mean it's not vital to the functioning of your PC. Only uninstall something if you're sure you don't need it. For instance, did you download a trial of a game and the trial period is up and you don't want to purchase it? DO this process, find the game on the list, and uninstall it. Poof! It's gone and you won;t be bother with it's popup's to buy it anymore.

Set a Computer Maintenance Checklist. (If you're comfortable working with your PC)

This is for more familiar users. There are several steps you can take to maintain your system. Think of it as an oil change for your computer. It's fairly detailed so I'll just leave this here: Computer Maintenance Checklist

Use Anti-Virus.

There are a lot of options and picking the right choice can be confusing. We can help you decide what will work best for you, install it, and show you how to utilize it.

Perform Regular updates. 

You know that pop up you get that says "Windows Updates Available"? Those aren't spam and they are updates that your computer needs to run smoothly and interact with other programs better. You can set up your computer to run these automatically if they aren't already. Give us a call if you need help to set up this convenient feature.

Learn how to multi-task like a pro.

An awesome keyboard shortcut to switch windows without having to leave the keyboard is Alt-Tab. It brings up a window showing all the running programs. Just keep hitting the tab button while the Alt button is held down until you reach the window you want to access. Release the Alt key and VIOLA! 

If you have any more questions computer tricks or maintenance or basic training we're hear to help! Give us a call!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Windows 8 upgrade for Windows 7, and what you get

If you purchased Windows 7 or a computer with Windows 7 installed on it between June 2 2012 and January 2013 you are eligible to upgrade to Windows 8 for $14.99.

You can register your purchase on the Windows website. Then you'll receive an email with a promotional code along with purchasing instructions and when the download is available.

A nice Bonus that is included? 90 Days of Microsoft technical support at no charge.

There are some new great features that Windows 8 has to offer. There's the Windows Store similar to Google Play, or Apple App store.Prices will range from $1.49 to $999.99. There will still be free apps available, but if a developer decides to charge for the application, pricing has to be set to a minimum of $1.49, NOT the regular 99¢ that we're all used to seeing in other app stores.

Windows 8 is optimized for touch screens. That's pretty cool but irrelevant for most PC users, but a big boost for tablets.

Windows 8 can integrate with other Microsoft Accounts to synchronize user data. Do you have Xbox Live? I sure do. Well that is considered a Microsoft account and can now be managed in the new operating system.

Better use of multiple monitors. The task bar can be displayed on more than one device. That's great. But not only that, you can customize each task bar so they are different per screen. This will come in quite handy for my home set up where I do a lot of graphics. I can keep all my Adobe programs pinned to one side and all my resources and specs on the other.

Also the look of the Task Manager is going to change some. Tabs will be hidden by default and only the running applications will show. Resource utilization will be represented by a heat map, with darker shades of yellow for the heavier use. Performance will be categorized by CPU, memory, disk, ethernet, and wireless. The Processes tab lists application names, application status, and overall usage for CPU, memory, hard disk and network resources.

Integrated parental controls will be pre loaded. This allows Administrators of the system to monitor user activity, filter web sites, restrict applications and limits usage time.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Microsoft Office 365...Cloud Based Management

What is Office 365? I'll tell you....

It has the familiar programs; Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook...you know the ones. Some of the new features are  cloud based email, video conferencing, file sharing, secure administration, and the ability to edit documents remotely from anywhere.

Outlook on 365 gives you 25GB of storage space. When synced with you mobile device, you can remotely wipe your data if your phone is ever lost of stolen. Your emails will be filtered for spam, and free of advertising.

The instant messaging and conferencing features are great for business. You can view who's on line. Set up meetings with people on your contact list. There is PC to PC calling and you can set this up with audio and visual. This can potentially save travel costs by having remote online meetings that can include up to 250 participants. In the virtual meeting set up you're able to share desktops and presentations easily.

Anyone, anywhere can access the up to date version of a file. You can control who can see files and invite other's to have access. There's even an internal social network.

Need a website? You will have access to SharePoint Online. The hosting fees are included in your 365 plan. No designer needed.

On the go a lot? There's even an app for that.