SSD: Make Your Old Computer Your New Computer

SSD: Make Your Old Computer Your New ComputerSSD

The solid-state drive (SSD) has swiftly become the go-to upgrade to breathe new life into an aging computer, and for good reason too. An SSD swiftly brings an old laptop or desktop up to date with modern machines in just a single step.

The price of solid-state memory has fallen dramatically in recent years. As costs have dropped, the popularity of the technology has increased exponentially. At one time an SSD was a rare treat for serious PC enthusiasts, now it’s cheaper and more readily available than ever. No other single solution is as cost-effective, quick to swap, and impressively effective as swapping out an old hard drive in favor of the faster and more modern SSD.

Out with The Old

The hard disk drive (HDD) is a technology that dates back as far as the 1950’s. They became the default solution all PCs would use for decades to come. Most old laptop and desktop machines still contain their original, worn hard drives they left the factory with.

The HDD was a mostly mechanical device. Inside a solid outer casing was a series of spinning disks arranged in a delicate stack known as a platter. Each disk could read and save data using a tiny needle moving across the disk’s surface.

The technology looked and worked much like a miniature record player. Like a record player, widely in use at the time that hard drives were developed, the hard drive had some serious drawbacks in their use.

The series of tiny disks and needles that made up the HDD were incredibly fragile. Vulnerable to dust or movement, computers commonly succumbed to hard drive failures that rendered the machine and its stored data unusable. Occasionally, simply moving a laptop while reading or writing data can damage a hard drive’s spinning disk.

In with The New

The primary reason to switch to a more modern SSD, on top of their impressive durability, is the incredible increase in speed. The SSD has no moving parts at all, working more like a digital camera memory card than a vinyl record player.

An SSD simply makes the process of retrieving and saving data to storage many times faster. Eliminating the mechanical component, removing the need to move a physical disk, and not needing to physically pick up the data means a much faster and smoother operation.

Computer startup, where the operating system loads all its data from storage, can take as little as one-quarter of the time of a comparable HDD. Additionally, loading regular applications and data from an SSD takes a fraction of time of an HDD.

An SSD completely breathes new life into an old machine. Computers with an SSD replacement for the hard drive feel like using an entirely new machine for a fraction of the cost.

Replacing the main mechanical component additionally eliminates wear and tear working to break down your machine. While a HDD slows over time, degrades, and can eventually suffer mechanical failure; an SSD remains as durable as the day it was purchased.

Ideal Laptop Upgrade

In a laptop setting, the SSD makes complete sense. They require less power than older hard drives, making the most of your battery charge.

In addition, not needing a large disk platter, mechanical parts, or protective outer case means they are about half the weight of a mechanical drive. Making an old machine lightweight brings it another step closer to a modern machine.

They run almost silently too. The familiar click-clack of the hard drive inside a laptop is a thing of the past. Many users comment on the noise their laptop used to make starting up and loading programs. Noisy laptops are a tech throwback we’re happy to leave behind.

For many who feel like their old laptop or desktop is showing its age, the prohibitive cost of purchasing a whole new machine keeps them invested in their old one. A simple, fast SSD upgrade can make your old machine new again at a much smaller price. If swapping long startups, and slow load times sounds right for you, consider upgrading to an SSD. You won’t look back.

Give us a call at 319-227-7000, and we can give your machine a new lease on life.

2019-01-31T09:46:17-06:00February 12th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Build Better Meetings

Build Better Meetings Build Better Meetings

Business meetings can be a double-edged sword. Often they are as likely to rally staff and build momentum as they are to halt progress and kill productivity.

Productive meetings are key to keeping team members on track and everyone on the same page. A poor meeting is as harmful to the progress of a project as losing multiple members of staff.

Finding the balance is important for good business. There are tools and techniques to make sure that your meetings are not standing in the way of your business.

Streamlined Scheduling

One of the biggest hurdles to planning a meeting can be simply booking a space. Finding an available room, with the right equipment, in a time and place which everyone can agree on can be a logistical nightmare. Repeated emails back and forth to agree on the venue alone can consume hours out of the day.

There are technical tools available to help. Outlook’s scheduling assistant can be a great place to start. The office package is designed to help you find a time and place convenient for everyone.

The software is a key, but underused, component within Office 365. Simply adopting a scheduling assistant can cut down meeting planning from hours to minutes.

With everyone fully connected and on the same page, every meeting is improved from the first minute. The scheduling assistant can be found under New Items > Meeting in the Outlook home tab.

Bringing in Outside Help

Of course, not all meetings are internal affairs. Often, a successful meeting involves staff members from third-party organizations, clients, and consultants too.

This is a prime area for technology tools to help. Tools such as FindTime and Doodle.com both serve as scheduling assistants to arrange suitable times and locations to coordinate meetings with multiple parties.

The process is simple, each party selects available or desired times to meet. This process is done independently and based on priorities for each user. When everyone has added their input a mutually convenient slot can be found for everyone.

With modern technology there’s no reason to spend hours, or even many minutes, wrestling over when and where to meet. Using the tools as they are designed cuts out a huge amount of overhead cost from meeting planning.

Idea Capture

The most common complaint staff have about business meetings is the lack of available participation. Many show up, yet just feel like audience members.

When staff members feel their contribution or input to projects isn’t valued, it can lead to a dramatic drop in morale and much deeper issues within the firm.

Tools such as GoWall.com are changing meetings for the better and giving staff members a bigger voice. The site provides attendees with the resources they need to contribute to meetings without disrupting the flow.

The idea behind GoWall is very simple and highly effective. While concepts are communicated as part of a presentation or ongoing conversation, participants are free to contribute to an “idea wall” in real time. This shared wall contains ideas, contributions, and notes from all participants that add to the conversation.

Since ideas are shared between all participants, everyone can be inspired to contribute. This deceptively simple idea helps all members to feel they have a chance to have their voices heard and their contributions valued.

Worthwhile Meetings

Meetings can be a difficult topic in some workplaces. Some firms have had historic failures and huge losses in productivity as a result of too many meetings running far too long. In some environments, formal meetings have all but been banned already.

Using modern technology solutions, we can put the productivity back into meetings. Cut out the wasted time and get to the points that matter. With these simple yet highly effective tools, we can build meetings that create productivity instead of hampering it.

2018-11-26T17:37:56-06:00December 18th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Buying Tech in Time for Christmas

Buying Tech in Time for ChristmasBuying Tech

Christmas time is back with us again. The latest devices and gadgets are hitting store shelves just in time to keep up with the rush. Magazines, television, and the web are brimming with advertisements and reviews of the latest tech your money can buy.

Before you rush out to buy the gadgets you’ve been waiting all year for, consider a few important questions before parting with your hard-earned cash.

Does This Technology Do What I need?

First, you must ask what problem you are trying to solve with a new piece of tech. The most important thing to consider is how adopting your new device will improve on what you had before.

In some cases, a sleek new gadget or device for fun is good too.

When you’ve answered this question, you should consider whether there is other tech or competing devices out there that can perform even better.

Should I Become an Early Adopter?

Early adopters are people that anticipate the release of new tech, wait in line on release day, and pride themselves on having the latest gadgets to hit the shelves. If you recognize yourself in this description you are likely to snap up the latest devices the day they are released. This eager anticipation, however, is not always the way to get the best deals or the best gadgets.

Companies often rely on new product hype to give sales an early boost. Waiting for the marketing and hype to subside, even a little, can save you a lot of money.

After initial sales fall, companies often mark down their prices to keep their devices attractive and sales high. When newer, faster, sleeker devices hit the market, companies cut prices to maintain strong sales figures. For the budget smart consumer this is an opportunity for a bargain. A device good enough to buy on launch day is well worth waiting for.

Have I checked The Reviews?

We are fortunate enough to have access to seemingly unlimited amounts of information at our fingertips. Often weeks before a product is released, reviews are available across the web.

One of the best things you can do when considering a new device, particularly a high-cost purchase, is to watch and read a wide variety of product reviews. It pays to be cautious of reviews that are particularly glowing, or too downbeat. Keep an eye out for middle of the road reviews that fairly weigh the pros and cons of each device.

Have I Found the Best Deal?

There are many ways to keep an eye out to make sure you get the best deal on your device. If you can, monitor prices over time to see how they rise and fall to find the best time to purchase.

When purchasing online, many sites include a box to add a coupon code when you are ready to buy. It sometimes pays to jump over to Google and search the website name and ‘coupon’ or ‘voucher’ to find out if there are any good deals.

A quick search can save you as much as 10, 15, or 20 percent on some purchases. Sometimes companies send out offers to appeal to groups they want to market to. A company’s Facebook page may get different offers or vouchers than its Twitter followers or newsletter for example.

It can pay to search around for offers and vouchers to get money off before you checkout. Five minutes work can save huge amounts of cash.

Purchase in Confidence

If you have asked yourself these questions, done all your research, and found the answers you’re looking for then you may well be ready to buy.

You can do so with the confidence that you’ve done all your homework and you’re getting the best deal and gadget for your money.

319-227-7000

2018-11-26T18:38:35-06:00December 4th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Protect Your Firm Against Zero-Day Attacks

Protect Your Firm Against Zero-Day Attacks

Protecting your business against the latest IT threats should always be a top priority. Updating antivirus and patching your operating system is a great way to start. What happens, however, when a threat appears at your door before security firms have had a chance to catch it?

A security threat that exploits a previously undiscovered vulnerability in the computer is known as a zero-day threat. The name “zero-day” is designed to imply how long since the vulnerability was discovered. The term also indicates that system developers have had zero days to fix it.

A newly discovered attack might be packaged into a computer virus or worm. This will allow it to spread far and wide while inflicting the maximum amount of damage possible. When spread successfully, a new exploit has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of computers before an operating system or anti-virus update can even be issued.

There are a number of ways we can protect your business or lessen the damage from a zero-day attack.

Preventative security

The number one way to mitigate the damage from any attack to your system is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Maintaining a good firewall and up-to-date antivirus is the best step you can take to ensure the security of your system.

A firewall, monitoring traffic in and out of your network, reduces unauthorised entry over the network. Even without knowing the exact nature of the attack, suspicious activity travelling in and out of the system can be stopped.

The same is true of modern Antivirus. Even when it can not identify the specific zero-day threat from its virus database; it can often identify malicious intent from learned behaviour in the system.

A Locked Down Network

Should a zero-day threat make it into your network, our next goal should be to limit its effects. By restricting user access to only essential files and systems we can limit the damage done to the smallest number of systems. Good security policy dictates that each account should only have full access to the systems needed to complete the user’s job. For example, users from the accounts department shouldn’t have access to sales department databases.

In this way, the damage of a single compromised account is limited to only the network area it operates in. Such limited impact should be easy to control and can be reversed with regular backups.

Good Data backup

Whether your entire network has been exploited or only a small area has been affected; good data backups are your protection against major lasting damage. Having a good backup means having the procedures in place to both create regular backup copies and make sure they can be restored at a later date.

Reliable and well-tested backups are worth their weight in gold. Knowing your data is safe and your system can be recovered is peace of mind against even the most highly destructive zero-day attacks.

Intrusion Protection

While the precise methods of a zero-day exploit can’t be known in advance, a network intrusion protection system (NIPS) can monitor the firms’ network for unusual activity.

The advantage of NIPS over a traditional antivirus only system is it does not rely on checking software against a known database of threats. This means it does not need updates or patches to learn about the latest attacks. NIPS works by monitoring the day-to-day patterns of network activity across the network.

When traffic or events far out of the ordinary are detected action can be taken to alert system administrators and lock down the firewall. Devices such as USB drives and mobile devices can all introduce threats to the network. They can often make it past the firewall because they are physically introduced to the system.

NIPS protects against threats introduced to the network from both external and internal sources.

Full Cover Protection

Used in combination these techniques can prevent, protect, and mitigate against the kinds of threats that even the top security firms haven’t patched yet. We think it’s important to keep your firm secure whatever it might come up against in the future.

If you could use help protect your business against online threats, give us a call today at 319-227-7000.

2018-11-04T12:28:28-06:00November 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Increase Your Productivity with Dual Monitors

Increase Your Productivity with Dual Monitors

Conventional wisdom states that cluttered workspaces lead to a disorganized mind. Mess prevents productivity and begins to hamper professionalism. Shouldn’t that apply to the computer desktop too? Let’s see how to Increase Your Productivity.

The simplest way to clean and organize your digital desktop is to add more space. Just adding a second screen doubles the available room and makes organization a breeze.

Getting work done with a single-monitor setup is a balance of poor compromises. There never seems to be enough space and the little space available is full of clutter and mess. Switching between windows or tabs wastes time and distracts from work to be done. Stacking windows together, side-by-side, or top and bottom wastes valuable screen real estate. The resulting clutter of windows makes it hard to focus on what is important.

While most tasks can be tackled feasibly with a single monitor; two makes the same tasks faster, simpler, and much more enjoyable.

Two Monitors, Many Uses

Data entry with two monitors is far easier than data entry with one. Having source data on one screen, laid out in large type, and the destination on another makes the job a breeze. By eliminating the need to scroll tiny windows or switch tabs, forget and repeat; the same job can be done in a fraction of the time.

Graphic design, image manipulation, and editing are key areas that make the most of a dual screen setup.

Stacking one image on each screen allows you to make quick comparisons to make sure your work is going in the right direction. Organizing your editing space is made simple too. Stacking your tools, menus, and options on one monitor with your image maximized on the other helps to stay focused and finish the task.

Beyond Just Two

Having more than a single screen helps you to track tasks you need to keep on the back burner. A team chat window to keep on top of collaboration, status updates for business-critical services, or the latest stock price. These windows and dialogues can remain open and serving updates on a secondary screen while you keep your work focused on your first.

It is not uncommon for stock traders or financial analysts to maintain 6 or more screens running from a single computer. Many uses this to track various stocks or indices so they don’t miss a beat.

Setup How You Like It

Multiple monitors can be arranged in almost any practical configuration imaginable. While traditionally positioned in landscape orientation, second, third, or fourth monitors are often rotated 90 degrees to portrait orientation.

This setup is used often by software engineers, editors, and users reviewing large amounts of text. The lengthwise orientation allows multiple pages to be read from the screen at any one time.

Multi-screen setups, no matter how they are arranged, behave the same as if all the monitors were just a single screen. Mouse input moves from one monitor to another as if there was no difference between them. From the user’s perspective, there is no difference to how they interact at all.

A Boost to Productivity

There is a scientific advantage to multi-monitor setups too. A survey by Jon Peddie research found that adding an extra monitor boosted a user’s output by as much as 20 to 30 percent.

A productivity advantage of even 10 percent is prized and very hard to come by in the business world. Receiving a productivity reward of over 20 percent for just the cost of adding a second monitor is something few firms can afford to pass up.

The satisfaction of decluttering your digital desktop and keeping your focus in the zone is worth it alone.

Give us a call at 319-227-7000 if you would like us to boost your setup by adding a second monitor.

2018-11-04T12:09:44-06:00November 6th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Business Tools to Take Your Business Out of The Office

Business Tools to Take Your Business Out of The Officebusiness tools

Being engaged in business used to mean staying wired in at the office eight to twelve hours a day. In the modern day, this is completely untrue. Often the most efficient workplace is spread far and wide and always on the go.

Today you can completely unplug from your desk with just your laptop computer and 4G modem. The freedom to work out of the office and even on the move is a huge advantage gifted to modern businesses. A simple mobile phone tether is enough to work from anywhere in the world.

The Right Tools for the Job

The most important part of working on the go is ensuring you don’t lose touch with your team. Maintaining total collaboration between team members can be tricky. Luckily, there are tools that will help you to stay on top.

Microsoft Office 365 provides the traditional tools and support of Microsoft office, but adds remote team collaboration and cloud support too. Files can be saved into the cloud, worked on, and accessed anywhere for review. At one time, remote working meant taking a copy of a file somewhere else to work. Changes to the original weren’t reflected in the remote copy and at least one version was destined to be lost forever.

Software packages such as OneDrive allow the entire team to work on a single centralized file saved to the cloud. Whether you edit on a beach, plane, or train; your team in the office gets the same version you do, at the same time.

Collaborative Working

The key to remote working is the ability to collaborate in a digital space with everyone at once. Modern software such as Office 365 allows all team members to be working on a single document at the same time.

Whether the project calls for killer spreadsheets, expertly crafted documentation, or a knockout presentation; everyone can pull together and hit it out of the park.

Even when you’re not working out of the office or busy on the road, collaborative software can help to power your team working locally too.

Admin Done Remotely

Modern software has impacted the way in which we do bookkeeping and accounts too.

Similar to being tied to your desk in years gone past; accounting software was once stuck solidly in the desktop too. Previously, batch runs of calculations were required to provide reports on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. Today, cloud computing has opened up ways to speed up business in ways we couldn’t have imagined.

Cloud-based accounting packages such as Xero or Quickbooks Online allow for your accounts to be done remotely. Moving the resource and strain out of your firm takes it out of sight and out of mind.

Security and maintenance of your accounts databases, for example, falls to cloud professionals instead of your business. Rather than waste company time on submitting documents and calculating taxes they are done in the cloud and submitted to you instead.

Make your Accounts Work for You

Maintaining your accounts is made as simple as logging into a single portal. This tool allows you to take both your admin and your work out of the office and keep it on the go.

By the time your accounts are due, your accountant simply has to log in remotely and pick up where you left off. By the time taxes are due the work is done and you can get on with the important things.

Getting work done out of the office and on the go is a huge boost to productivity. Modern technology enables you to keep team members up to speed, continue collaborating, and even stay on top of your accounts from anywhere in the world.

Give us a call today at 319-227-7000 to talk about how we can help you unwire from the office.

2018-11-04T11:30:50-06:00November 6th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

5 Ways to Extend Your Phone’s Battery

5 Ways to Extend Your Phone’s Battery

Today’s phones can help us do more than ever before. In addition to making phone calls, we use them to send messages, post photos on our favorite apps, watch videos, play games, and endless other activities. Since our phones can accomplish so much, we’re on them often. That means we’re draining a lot of phone battery. In our busy lives, we aren’t always near an outlet and don’t always have a phone charger ready. If our phones die, we risk missing out on important notifications and being unable to easily communicate with others. So what strategies can we use to extend our battery life?

Check Apps’ Battery Usage

When it comes to battery usage, not all apps are created equal. While checking your email uses a small amount of power, any apps that use GPS drain a significant amount of your phone’s battery. This is because they are constantly talking to the GPS satellites. Check to see which of your apps are draining your battery most and limit usage.

Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

If you aren’t on your personal Wi-Fi, it’s always good to connect to the Wi-Fi wherever you are. However, this isn’t always an option. When you’re not connected to a strong Wi-Fi, it’s good to turn both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off when you aren’t using them. They drain a large amount of data because, even when not connected to anything, they are searching for your home’s Wi-Fi and car’s Bluetooth. That’s how they autoconnect when you are back within their range. Downloading podcasts, videos, and audiobooks at home can save your battery when you’re out because you won’t have to stream these items over Wi-Fi.

Lower your Phone’s Brightness

One of the easiest ways to save battery is to reduce how bright your phone’s screen is. The brighter your screen is, the more phone life it is using up. Most phones adjust the brightness levels based on how light your surroundings are. You can override this and turn the level down to save battery. The more you dim it, the longer your battery will last.

Go on Power Saving Mode

When you put your phone in Power Saving Mode, it stops it from automatically checking to see if there are new emails, powers off your display faster, and reduces screen brightness. It also turns off certain visual effects and some other features take a lot of battery. On some phones, it also makes your apps run a little slower.

Buy a Built-in Battery Case

Some people need to use power-draining features often and have phone-heavy lifestyles. If this is you, it may still be a struggle to keep your battery lasting throughout the day. If all of the other options aren’t sufficient, you can buy a phone case with a built-in battery. This extra battery charges your phone while using it making it last longer throughout the day.

While any of these methods will help you extend your phone’s battery, it’s best to combine a few options. Our phones make our lives much easier, but they can’t do anything for us if they’re dead because we let the battery run out. Even more importantly, we want our phones usable in case of an emergency. Luckily, using these methods will help keep our batteries alive throughout the day. Just remember to charge them again at home.

Are you in need of our services? Contact us now at 319-227-7000.

2018-10-06T21:46:18-06:00September 11th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Right Tech for Your New Business

How to Get the Right Tech for Your New Business

Right Tech

Congratulations on your new business! Start-up costs can easily escalate, and tech is often one of the bigger expenses. It’s not that everything is high priced, but the sheer number of technologies available can overwhelm smart decision making. The latest tech is dangled in front of you with amazing features you didn’t know you needed, and suddenly your budget has gone boom!

Here’s how to get the tech right for your business, without the headache and drama.

1. Check if you actually need it

In a lot of cases, using a cloud application means you can skip the big server purchase, along with the on-site technician to manage it. Many of your business programs will have a cloud option that allows you to get all the benefits without the big expense. Before you make the tech purchase, work out which applications you’ll be running and whether a local installation or cloud access is preferred. As part of this stage, think about how you’d like to use the applications – perhaps remote access is a priority, or perhaps collaboration will underpin your business culture. This level of clarity is often overlooked and the number 1 reason why tech expenses spiral.

2. Get expert advice

It’s easy to ask friends and family what to buy, but there are many more factors to consider than just their personal preference. You trust their opinion, of course, but they may be speaking from a consumer perspective or basing their recommendation on brand loyalty. Every business is different and pairing the correct technology with the business will save you a lot of money in the long run.

3. Buy business grade

Unfortunately, the computers and laptops you see in department stores aren’t up to business standard. They’re designed for home users to perform quick tasks, not run a full 8 hour (or more) workload. Business grade systems have additional features that your business needs, plus longer warranties and better support. Even the attached devices like networking or printers are built to a higher standard, to last longer and perform better. Considering the cyber climate we live in, taking a special interest in the security offered by the business grade technology is a wise decision.

4. Prioritize flexibility

Businesses evolve rapidly during their first few years and the last thing you want to do is go out and buy new tech, playing catch-up with your vision and smushing together an assorted mismatch of devices. Your new technology should be as scalable as your business, which means making purchase decisions based on strategy, not price. Perhaps this means instead of workstations for employees, you only need tablets. Rather than having a fixed point of sale system, you might choose mobile checkout devices so your staff can assist customers on the go. These examples highlight how easy it is to commit to certain tech because it’s ‘what you do’ but later discover you’re locked into a certain way of doing business. Trying to change your processes down the line impacts productivity, efficiency and culture in a big way, so we recommend buying with your future success in mind.

5. Choose an IT partner

During your set up and moving ahead through growth, you’ll need an IT partner who can not only help with your purchase strategy but support you through any tech problems as they arise. That’s the difference between a partner and a supplier, they’re committed to driving long-term business success.

You’ll be able to call on your partner and know they’re immediately up to speed with your business, they know how IT can help leverage your competitive advantage and which critical systems they should focus on. Getting good tech in place shouldn’t be seen as just an expense. It improves productivity and allows you to serve your customers better while enjoying consistent growth.

If you need an IT partner to help your business grow, give us a call at 319-227-7000.

2018-10-06T22:54:57-06:00July 17th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

5 Tech Travel Tips You Can Use

5 Tech Travel Tips You Can Use

Travel Tips

Travelling soon? For most people, this also means making sure your tech is packed and ready for the adventure. Smartphones, ebook readers, tablets, laptops and smart watches are now so light and portable that you’d never think of leaving them behind, plus they can add a ton of value your experience.

Here are a few tips to consider before you hit the road.

1. Backup to the cloud

While you’re relaxing on a beach or hiking your way to freedom, your tech is always going to be exposed to a level of risk. This might range from accidentally leaving your laptop at a cafe to having it stolen from your bag, but either way the problem is the same – your data is now gone. If you’ve backed up your devices to the cloud (eg Evernote, Microsoft OneNote or OneDrive) you’ll be able to access your files easily and securely from anywhere.

Hot tip: Scan or save important documents like itineraries and passports to the cloud.

2. Pack the right cables

Begging random strangers for a loan of their cable isn’t much fun, so remember to bring the exact cables and chargers you’ll need. Most smartphones and tablets use universal plugs like Micro USB, USB C or Apple Lightning, so you can get away with only packing one cable. Many locations now offer powered USB ports but be sure to also pack the right charger as well, it’s a convenience you’ll appreciate. If you’re travelling overseas and the socket is different, remember to pack a plug converter, and depending on your destination, you might even find the voltage is different. It’s a good idea to check whether you also need a voltage converter before you try and charge.

3. Download offline data

It’s no secret that global roaming can give nasty bill shocks. The easy access data you normally use over Wi-Fi or get included in your cell plan has us all accustomed to being connected. While travelling, you might find yourself in a location where data costs a fortune or it’s not available at all. Download any files you might need, including important documents like itineraries and bookings, so that you can access them even without a connection.

4. Update and scan

Just like you’d make sure you’ve got the right vaccinations and travel gear, make sure your tech is ready to travel too. Set aside a few minutes to run updates for your operating systems and apps. The last thing you want to deal with one your trip is a cyber attack! While you’re doing your pro-active thing, turn on password protection for all devices so that only you can unlock them.

Hot tip: Use a complex password that is hard for thieves to guess.

5. Mark your territory

Almost exactly the way it sounds, let everyone know this tech belongs to you. Write your cell number on portable devices in case you get separated so whoever finds it can give you a quick call and save the day. Don’t want to use permanent marker on your shiny tech? Grab some sticky labels you can peel off when you get home.

You can also get little Bluetooth tracking tags to stick to your gear, so that if you ever lose something you can chase it down. Similarly, you might like to consider enabling the “find my” feature on Apple devices. Having this feature switched on also means you can disable your device remotely, an excellent security option if it’s been stolen.

Need help preparing your tech for travel? Give us a call at 319-227-7000

2018-10-06T22:56:52-06:00July 10th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

What’s Best for Your Computer: Shut Down or Sleep?

What’s Best for Your Computer: Shut Down or

Sleep?Shutdown or Sleep

Most homes are trying to reduce power costs by turning off lights and appliances, but do the same rules apply to computers? After all, it requires more than flicking a switch on your way out the door. Some people believe you should shut down after every use to save wear and tear, others believe you should never shut down your computer – ever. Others simply want to make sure the pages and apps they left open are still there waiting for them. So, who’s right and what are they really doing?

Back when computers were clunky behemoths that took a long time to start, you’d go nuts at the person who shut it down when it was your turn. If you have an older computer, maybe you still do. Modern computers actually have two options for their downtime: Shut down or sleep.

When it shuts down, the system goes through and closes any open programs (often prompting you to save first), then gradually cuts power to all components. It’s a methodical process that seems quite fast to us but is actually made of 100+ intentionally ordered steps. If there’s a sudden blackout or you hold the power button until it turns off, it means the steps aren’t followed and damage is possible. The second option is to put your computer to sleep. This can be triggered by an automated timeout or a user click. Your system uses a special type of memory called RAM to hold all your running programs exactly as you left them but use minimal power. The hard drive stops spinning, the graphics card lets the screen go black, and even the system fan slows to become almost silent. When you wake it by moving the mouse or pressing a key, it ‘wakes’ again almost instantly.

Reasons to Shut Down

A switched off computer isn’t drawing power which is a tick for the environment. But shutting down is about more than saving power. It can sometimes give improved stability over a machine that’s been running for days/weeks. This is because every time you shut down, you give your computer a chance to clear out all temporary junk files it’s been carrying in memory. It also triggers various health checks on startup that may otherwise be missed, important routines like checking for updates or scanning for viruses. It’s certainly more convenient to spend an extra minute booting up than lose everything to a cyber-attack. For older computers or those under heavy strain like gaming or video editing, shutting down also provides a necessary chance for the components to cool down.

Reasons to Sleep

Speed is the big selling point here. You can literally sit down and start working where you left off without the delays of bootup, finding your program, opening your saved files, scrolling down… it’s all right there and ready. You can even tell it how long to wait before putting itself into sleep mode, just in case you get called away and forget. Windows updates still run in the background, so that’s okay, but it’s important to note that your computer might get stuck waiting for a reboot that never comes. Those pending updates may stack up, ineffective until it either forces a reboot or becomes unstable enough that you give in to a restart.

The best method is….

Since the whole point of having a computer is that it’s ready to work when you are, we recommend shutting down at night when it’s definitely not in use but using sleep mode during the day. Updates will get all the rebooting they need, memory is refreshed for the new day, and you’ll get the best of both worlds – speed and stability.

 

We can help your computer boot faster, give us a call at 319-227-7000.

2018-10-06T23:11:28-06:00June 12th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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