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2014 June Home // 2014 June

Should I Get A Tablet Or A Laptop?

laptop-tablet

I’m frequently asked this question, and generally there are a few easy questions to ask that will get you an easy answer. Tablets are great little devices for games, reading, movies, apps, etc. Laptops are great for writing papers, editing videos, editing pictures, playing games, watching movies, etc

So which one should you buy? That depends on what you want to do, and how much you have to spend.

Do you want to create something for others to watch or to read? a tablet doesn’t have a keyboard, and the external keyboards you can buy are usually too small to be useful in writing anything longer than a paragraph or two. A laptop is much more useful in this scenario, or even better, a desktop with a full sized keyboard, and a bigger screen. The lack of a big screen, precise controls such as a keyboard and mouse, and power also makes a tablet less useful for making and editing videos and pictures. While there are video and picture editing apps for tablets, they don’t even come close to the power offered by programs for the mac and PC, and the input method of a touchscreen is not accurate enough.

Do you need really long battery life? Tablets generally have much longer battery life than a laptop, because their less powerful hardware takes less battery power to run. Some tablets can run 8+ hours on battery alone, while 3 hours on battery is really good for a laptop.

Do you need to store a lot of pictures and/or videos? Tablets generally don’t come with much storage, so if you want to keep a lot of pictures and/or videos, a laptop is the way to go, and make sure you get one with a big hard drive.

Do you need to show a presentation on a projector or tv screen? While there are some technologies to allow you to do this using a tablet. The only way to ensure compatibility is to use a laptop, and have any adapters you need to go between hdmi, DVI, and VGA.

Generally neither a laptop or a tablet is very good at taking videos and pictures. The built in cameras might be acceptable, but they are rarely as good as those found in even point and shoot cameras or cell phones.

Most of the time it comes down to content creation, or content consumption. If you want to create something, use a laptop or desktop, but if you all you want to do is consume media, then a tablet will work better than a laptop or desktop.

What’s A Website Get Me?

top of google

I get people all the time who ask me why their website isn’t at the top of Google’s search results. Of course this is a really complicated question, which is not easy to answer. Usually the question that follows is well what do I pay you for every month? To which the answer is simple: Hosting. Buying a website gets you the website itself, and the content management system it’s based on which allows you to easily edit the site on your own. Hosting fee’s pay for the server on which your website is held, the software that runs it, the maintenance that keeps it secure, and the bandwidth that is used to allow your customers to visit the site.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a service that companies offer to try to get your website a higher ranking with search engines. This involves knowing and understanding an ever changing algorithm that search engines use to choose which order to display results in. Every time the search engines change their algorithm companies that offer SEO race to change the way they optimize sites. Because of this for most markets SEO is a constant task, not a one time job.
You can do some SEO yourself, such as making sure you use key words on your pages as often as you can without being tacky, using any SEO related tools built into your website such as URL rewriting, keyword tagging, etc, and keeping your content on your page fresh and up to date. Keeping your site fresh is big because search engines assume that new content is more relevant than older content.

SEM (Search engine marketing) is when you pay search engines to be at the top. these are the results that are separated from all the rest at the top, and some times have paid result or something right above or below it.

Social media marketing is using twitter, facebook, linkedin, ect. to drive traffic to your site or business. There are companies that offer services ranging from consulting on setting up your accounts, to helping you make posts.

The simple answer to what’s a website give me is a presence on the internet. From there, there are many tools to market your business, but first you have to have a presence. I like to compare it to renting space. you can rent a store front, but you need to get people to go to that store front with marketing and advertising.

If you have any questions, or are interested in a website or a service to market your website feel free to give me a call!

Finding The Balance

access denied

When it comes to employee productivity, there are a million different ways you can configure your computer systems to keep them on task. Some companies want the computers open and unrestricted so their employees aren’t restricted in how they do their job. They believe that employees really just want to do their job, and if you allow them the freedom, they will find the best way to get the job done.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article Christopher Mims says

If you’re like me, the first thing you do when you join an organization is figure out how to avoid the Kafka-esque nightmare that is the company’s own IT system. Because let’s face it, in most organizations, what should be the simplest tasks—purchasing, booking travel, even email—are Byzantine compared with how we accomplish them on our own.” –https://online.wsj.com/articles/keywords-let-staff-go-rogue-on-tech-1402268202?KEYWORDS=mims

He says that users should be allowed to try out new services and software for themselves, and if they find it useful, and it meets the companies security policies, it will be adopted by the companies I.T. department. This is a catch 22 for I.T. professionals, because it’s their job above all others to keep the computer systems up and running smoothly, and they can’t know that an end user has the know how to choose software and services wisely.

I have seen systems on other end of the spectrum also. When a company is too lenient with employees many resources can be wasted on entertainment such as games, videos, shows, and movies. I have seen companies bandwidth usage chop in half after blocking sites like facebook, twitter, youtube, etc. Eventually after blocking those sites the employees found other sites to waste time on, and we ended up using a whitelist to give them access to only websites they could go to rather than blocking sites they couldn’t. Their productivity also went way up.

There has to be a good balance between freedom and productivity/security. It is different for every job, and every company. Some of this is dependent on the wages of your employees, their sense of job security, and even their morale. Because ever company is different, I don’t believe there is any cookie cutter answer for this. It’s a balance that needs to be reached mutually between the I.T. department and the rest of the employees or one side will always be unhappy about it.

I help many companies come to reach this balance every day, one step at a time. I consult on, and implement solutions from strictly security  restrictions, all the way to “My employee’s can’t focus unless I take away all distractions”. If this is something you’re interested in, feel free to give me a call!

I was recently blown away by an article I read the other day by Rachel Barnhart from channel 8 here in Rochester about how few small businesses have websites, and how that affects their businesses (https://therochesterian.com/2014/06/08/why-no-website/). She references an associated press article which states

Fifty-five percent of small businesses don’t have a website, according to a 2013 survey of more than 3,800 small businesses conducted by Internet search company Google and research company Ipsos. That’s a slight improvement from the year before, when 58 percent said they didn’t have a website.” -https://www.buffalonews.com/business/some-small-businesses-still-operate-without-a-website-20140608

This is an amazing number of businesses that are missing out. What happens when a customer wants to find your hours? What if they want to find your phone number or address? At the very least you should be able to google your business and find all that information. If you could put a number on the value of the business you lose from not having a website what would it be?

We offer an easy to use solution, where anyone can put up their own information, media, social media updates, etc. or we can do it for you starting at just $500. Some companies we’ve done this for are www.hartterchiro.com, and www.hastocommunications.com. If you are interested in any website services, feel free to give us a call at (585)360-2572!

 

Help! My employee lost their laptop!

This is one phrase I hate hearing, because when I get this call, it all comes down to preparation. Any action that has to be taken to secure the data on said laptop has to be thought of and implemented before you think you need it.

Encryption:
Any sensitive data on a businesses laptop NEEDS to be encrypted. If you have customers information in any kind of book keeping program, or contact list on a laptop, and that laptop gets stolen you have to assume that information has been compromised. If you have any kind of financial data on customers (credit card information for monthly billing, bank account numbers from checks, social security numbers, etc.) They must be notified, and you could be held responsible.
The easiest way to do this is using BitLocker drive encryption which is built into certain editions of Microsoft Windows. With BitLocker you can set a password that anyone who wants to use the computer has to put in before the computer will start. If the drive is taken out of that computer and put in another one, the data will be useless without the correct recovery key.

bitlocker-e1423787015968

You can also use many 3rd party applications to do the same thing, which will be a whole other post.

Tracking and recovery:
There are many 3rd party applications which can be helpful in tracking and recovering your laptop after it has been stolen if you have the foresight to install it beforehand. PC magazine has made a very nice article about a few of them here https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2387748,00.asp These can be helpful if you lost your laptop, or if the police get involved when a laptop is stolen, but you have to buy and install them before you’ve lost the laptop.

So what do you do if you haven’t installed anything on your computer to track it? If you use gmail, and a person who has stolen your laptop tries to read your email, you can find out what IP address they are accessing it from by clicking on details in the bottom right of your gmail inbox. If you have drop box installed on the computer, you can find the IP address in the settings > security menu under the computer that you are trying to find.

The best way to secure your laptops, as with all computers, is to be proactive. If you would like me to consult with you on which software to use, and get a plan in place to r=protect you and your business give me a call at (585)360-2572

Do what you do

 

dont-work

Ever feel like this guy? You’re having one of the busiest days ever, just trying to keep your business running, and your computer seems to be holding you back… Not a good thought huh? I’ve run into quite a few customers in this exact situation lately.

The cost of a new computer seems high, but think about how much business you do on your busiest day. $500? $1000? $5000? more? What if your system was down on the wrong day? I’m not saying you should buy some ridiculous $2000 computer to send emails, but reliability and efficiency are paramount when choosing a new computer.

Let us help. You do what we do best, which makes you money. Trying to be a jack of all trades in your business will quickly turn into you becoming a master of none.