Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The revolving door that is the Windows Presidents office.

Steven Sinofsky unexpectedly left his seat as President of Windows Division at Microsoft on November 12. In 2006, CEO Steve Balmer appointed five presidents for five divisions of Microsoft. Sinfsky was president of Windows and Windows Live.

Sinofsky is just one of several Microsoft Executives that have left in the past four years, many of whom are still in the running to potentially be the heir to the CEO. The list goes as follows;

1. Jeff Raikes.

He was with Microsoft for 27 years. With extensive experience designing Office programs he was promoted to VP of Microsoft Office, and retired as president of the Information Worker business line. He is now the president of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

2. J. Allard

J is best known for his work with XBox, Zune and Kin. He helped drive the path of Microsoft toward the cloud. He left shortly after Microsoft sided with the tablet friendly Windows 8 instead of his own two-screen tablet.

3. Robbie Bach

Robbie was head of the business end of things. When he left in 2010 he was the president of Entertainment and Devises.

4. Stephen Elop

he left to help Nokia as he is now their current CEO. He has the least amount of Microsoft under his belt as he was only there from 2008 until 2010.

5. Ray Ozzie

Ray left suddenly for unknown reasons. Could be the slow progress of cloud computing. He developed several products that were handed over to Sinofsky's team, and then killed. I would be mad to.

6. Bob Muglia

Muglia was president of the Server and Tools Division. He notoriously did not get along with Sinofsky, and with his foundation in hardware, it proved a rough transition to a cloud based environment.

7. Andy Lees

Not exactly fired in 2011, Lees was President of the Windows Phone Division. He was sidelined in 2011 but made a comeback in 2012 when brokering an agreement with Barnes and Noble that lead to the joint Nook Tablet venture. This upped him to Corporate Vice President.

8. Paul Maritz

Paul was with Microsoft for 14 years managing Windows 95, NT, and Internet Explorer. He left and became lead of rival VMware, and later EMC. A definite contender to replace Ballmer.

Windows 8 Apps store hits over 20,000 and most of them FREE

That may not sound like a lot of applications for an application store, but consider it has only been open for a fraction of the time the Mac store and Google Platy have.

Here's the really fun part; 18,000 of those are FREE! That's 87% of all the available apps. Not only that but nearly 500 new apps are appearing every day. The goal is to have 100,000 apps within 90 days of the store opening...so even though it's sprouting quickly, it may not be quickly enough.

With the holiday season in full swing there should be a boost in downloads. There should be thousands of computers and tablets being given for gifts and the first thing anyone would do is start downloading apps. Lets hope developers have enough to offer!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Holiday Shopping....at work, watch out!

We all know that Black Friday is just around the corner. For most of us, however, we will still be getting up and heading into the office as per usual...I requested the day off to visit a friend in Washington but for the REST of you is status-quo.

Retail stores aren't the only shopping outlets busy that day, so are their websites. That means people at their desks are browsing Apple's website and not their TPS reports. Shoppers are expected to spend $54.5 BILLION dollars online alone this holiday season.

So watch out on your productivity this holiday season, but the REAL potential problem is the use of company bandwidth. While most employees may be shopping on their personal laptop or phone, they will still be using the company network.

Before you get too stringent on your employees keep this in mind: allowing workers a bit of flexibility in time management actually HELPS productivity. Letting people take the occasional break from work tasks to read a quick article, check up on Brangelina, etc., helps prevent burnout and people feeling too repetitive which actually diminishes productivity considerably. It needs to be within reason of course!

So here's the question: is the occasional personal browsing affecting your bandwidth? That may just point to another problem - your ISP. You may need an upgrade in bandwidth or speed.

There are a few things to figure out BEFORE you upgrade anything  Do you have several employees streaming music on Pandora or Youtube? That's a HUGE reason for bandwidth consumption. I don't even get to stream Pandora from my office network. Nix that in the bud and you'll have a TON of free bandwidth.  

So what IS my point exactly? Well first, Holiday shopping is bound to happen. Make sure that it is within reason. if you are noticing a slow down of your internet speeds look for the causes. Too many people streaming? Too many people shopping? Or maybe it's time for an upgrade in your internet service. If that's the case we can help! Give us a call and we'll see how to improve your speeds...maybe even talk to your employees about the proper use of bandwidth :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chromebook a steal at $199

First there was the Samsung Chrome book for $249, and then there was the release of the Acer Chromebook just a couple weeks later for $199.

So this begs the question: what's the difference?

Two obvious differences are battery life and storage space. the displays are the same with the same resolution, and both come with the chrome operating system. The Samsung Chromebook features a Solid State Drive with 16 GB of storage, while the Acer version comes with a hard disk drive and 320 GB of memory. That's a BIG difference, but the fact that the Samsung has a solid state is a little flashy at the cost of space.

The Samsung has 6.5 hours of battery life while the Acer has about half that. Yet considering the Acer has 20 times the storage it may not be that big of a selling point.

Both notebooks depend on the internet to function. It's Chrome based OS runs all of its applications in the browser. It has just begun to start incorporating offline apps that you can access with no internet connection.

We had a customer bring one in yesterday, the Samsung version, and it was a very neat device. The screen was crisp and bright and the entire unit was slim and light weight.

A good Christmas present perhaps?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Awesome Holiday Special from us to you!

We came up with a great offer for our customers for the Holidays. It's easy to shop for toys and gadgets and socks, but what about a service? You can offer your friends and family peace of mind by signing them up with a Club Fix IT membership.

We'll handle their monthly virus removal, disk cleanups, and even backups if you sign up for the Gold. Perfect for college students or family members with a new machine. They don't even have to be in the Treasure Valley. Our remote support is available and with the membership all services are at a discounted rate!

Each Club Fix IT membership comes with an annual 20-point Precision PC Tune-up. Sign them up between now and New Years and we'll give you a free Tune-up as well! That's a $200 value on top of the Club Fix IT savings!

Just give us a call today for details! Club Fix IT 208-367-1000

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

iPhone no longer top selling phone...It's the Galaxy S III

The elusive white whale of smart phones is the "iPhone Killer" to take down the iPhone as the most sought after hand held device on the planet. Enter the Galaxy S III. It shipped 18 million units worldwide vs iPhone's 16.2 million.

What does the Galaxy have that the iPhone doesn't? Well it has a bigger screen, longer battery life, and a higher pixel rate for it's camera. The iPhone 5 is made of aluminum, which while light, feels a bit more fragile. Then there's the app store debate. The Apple app store generally charges for every download, while the Android Market has thousands, if not millions of free applications.

Apple has gone to painstaking lengths to make the iPhone 5 as thin as possible...resulting in a bizarre change in connectors...but it IS very thin. The edges are now a bit beveled so it's more hand friendly. So point to Apple for a sleek design. While the Samsung's design is sturdy, there have been issues with a seemingly flimsy backside.

Like we said the screen is bigger. Not just bigger, like HUGE bigger. The iPhone 5 has a 4 in screen. The Samsung Galaxy has a 4.8 in screen. That's almost and ENTIRE inch! In the phone universe that's the difference between a planetoid and a gas giant.

Also point for Samsung for implementing a quad core processor. Wow.

These are only the results for the third quarter. We will have to wait and see if this trend has longevity. Because if Apple is good at anything it's keeping it's fan base loyal.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The future of the Internet

Can you remember a world without the internet? I remember I was in the 6th grade and every morning we watched Channel 1, a news program aimed at youth. It was amazing. It starred a young Lisa Ling and Anderson Cooper. (I suddenly feel my age). One day on our morning news an even younger Anna Paquin (around the time she became the second youngest Oscar winner in history for her best supporting actress in The Piano) came on screen and with her quirky New England accent told a room full of mesmerized children about "The Information Super Highway".

It was really hard to imagine as a sleepy 11 year old. I had an Apple at home but it didn't talk to anything or anyone. I had a drawing program and a few games and I thought that was pretty spectacular. Now it was being proposed that everything I ever wanted to know would soon be at my fingertips. It was hard to comprehend.

The first thing I utilized was email. I could write to out of town family members quickly. It was great. While away from my mother I felt a little less home sick. Then I discovered gaming, and forums, and chat rooms. The internet was far more than I ever couldn't image.

Right now we see the internet as a place. We go there for information, or entertainment. But that's all going to change as the web becomes more integrated into our lives. It will be apart of every thing we currently take for granted: opening doors, preparing our dinner, and even driving to work.

Think of the internet as one giant algorithm that recognizes patterns in our lives and adjusts accordingly. You can already see traces of this in the advertising that pops up when your on line. While not a perfect science, it is often fairly accurate. Now imagine that on a larger scale. For example: (and I'm completely making this up so I hope I get royalties!) we may be able to pay for everything via our smartphones. So you go to the grocery store and all you have to do is link your phone to the payment console. Now image that yourphone keeps track of everything you buy EVERYWHERE and generates the appropriate coupons and discounts automatically. you don't have to clip and hunt anymore. The pattern recognition that you buy a LOT of coconut milk automatically gives the best deal. Now that's convenience.

Friday, November 2, 2012

6 Tips to a faster computer!

1. Remove Spyware and protect your system against viruses -

You can get a free scan and cleaning tool from: Malwarebytes, and Anti-virus at: Avast!. Now this is not a fix all, install it once and you're good, solution. You have to continue to use it. We have countless customers that call in with viruses AFTER we install these, or other anti-virus, and get them running. They wonder how they could have gotten a virus with the software installed. Well you have to continue to USE it. Activate the program, run scans, and clean up infected files at LEAST monthly.

2. Free up disk space -

Use disc cleanup to:

Remove temporary internet files.
Delete downloaded program files, such as ActiveX controls and Java applets.
Empty the recycling bin.
Remove Windows temp files.
Delete optional components.
Delete programs you don't use.

Here is a great resource to walk you through a disk cleanup for Windows Operating systems: Windows Disk Cleanup

3. Speed up access to data -

Run the disk defragmenter.  This is fairly easy but can take some time. Go to Start Menu > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter. In the dialogue box that pops up select the drives you wanted to run this on. general your C: drive, and any other drive you use frequently.  Select "Analyze Disk". After the analysis is complete select defrag. It can take several minutes to complete so do this when you aren't in need of your computer.

4. Detect and repair disk errors -

hard drives can develop bad sectors and this can slow down the processing speed. If you use your computer daily, do this once a week.

Start > Computer > right click on drive (C: for instance) > Properties > Tools > Check now. In the Check disk dialog box select "Scan for and attempt recovery of bad errors and sectors. After it's complete select to "fix".

5. Learn about Ready Boost -

This is a work around instead of adding more memory. you can use non volatile flash memory to improve performance.  For Windows 7 go here: ReadyBoost.

6. Upgrade to Windows 7

Because it's great.

And remember, we'll help you with any and all of this! Treasure Valley IT

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Awesome new Tech for the Holidays!

Need gift ideas for the techie in your life? There is never a shortage of cool gadgets and gizmos to choose from.

There's the obvious; a new iPad mini, a working borg costume...but what if you want to get creative? Here are some ideas:

Gamer in the family? How about a wireless Fender Mustang Pro-Guitar for Rock Band 3? For your guitar enthusiast that aspires to fly through expert in Rock Band. Retails for $149 and available at most popular retailers.

For the PC Gamer on your list the AMD's Radeon 6850 graphics card is both powerful and relatively inexpensive. You'll be blown away by the extra skins you can access for Skyrim when you upgrade your card. Retails for $179, available at Amazon, NewEgg, and more!

Rovio Wi-Fi Roaming Robot is for...well EVERYONE. Who doesn't love robotic pets?! And get this; it doubles as a home security camera. $199 Available at Thinkgeek.com.
For the techie fitness buff there's a Fitbit. My folks have these and LOVE them! It keeps track of all your energy expenditure, food intake, steps, heart rate, even if you wake up at night! Check out their website here: fitbit.com.

And don't forget that we can help you out too! Give us a call at 208-367-1000, or chat with us on our website: TVIT and we'll give you some ideas and even get it ordered for you!