When you are finishing work for the day, do you just stand up and leave without turning your computer off? Or, do you take the time to properly shut it down? Talk to 10 different people and you will get 10 different answers as to whether you should leave your computer on at night, or shut it down. And it is definitely one of the most frequent questions we get.
So, let’s take a look into whether you should shut your computer down at night or not. The first thing we should do is look at three myths that surround this topic.
Myth 1 – My computer is safe from power surges if I turn it off If you live in an area that has an unstable power grid, or is prone to random blackouts, you may be worried about power surges. In truth, if one reaches your computer when it’s off, it will do almost exactly the same amount of damage as if it was on. Therefore, you should ensure that your computer is plugged into a surge protector, even if it’s switched off.
Myth 2 – Leaving a computer on will cause it to overheat This isn’t quite true. Both laptops and desktops have fans and heat sinks that are designed to cool a computer efficiently while it operates. If your computer has a working fan, leaving it on overnight will not cause it to overheat. On the other hand, if the fan isn’t working properly there is a high chance it could overheat. In other words, if the fan isn’t working, you should get it fixed before damage is done.
Myth 3 – Turning a computer on and off, or leaving it on will cause parts to wear out quicker In theory, this is actually true. When a computer runs, it gets hot – high end video cards can run as hot as 180 F – and when it is shut down, the parts cool quickly. Anyone with a basic understanding of science knows that many substances contract when cooled and expand when hot. Therefore turning your computer off and on will cause wear from expansion and contraction. . Well, in truth, it really makes little difference. Think about other similar electronic devices like your monitor, TV or even phone. You no doubt turn these off and on all the time with no problem. Most computer components are designed for this too. In fact, many are designed to outlast the expected time you will use the computer. This means that the vast majority of people won’t notice a difference.
The truth behind these myths shows that there will be little outright harm to your computer if you turn it off, or leave it on. But the question about which is best to do still remains.
Reasons you should turn your computer off at night There are four main reasons as to why you should turn your computer off at night:
Reasons you should leave your system on at night There are three main reasons as to why you would want to leave your system on at night:
So, which is better? In truth, it really comes down to preference and how you work. If you work with an IT partner who manages your systems, it is a good idea to ask them what they would recommend.
If you just use the computer while you are at work, or are worried about potential security threats, then you can probably shut it down at the end of the day. That being said, if you do shut your system down, it is a good idea to run security scans on a regular basis while your system is on to ensure maximum protection.
At the same time, if you leave your system on, it is a good idea to periodically reboot it so important security and program updates can be installed and your computer can be refreshed.
Still not too sure what you should be doing? Why not give us a call to see how we can help keep your systems running and secure.
The tablet is regarded by many business owners, managers and employees as one of the more useful business tools, and the most popular tablet is Apple’s iPad. The iPad is a reliable device with a user-friendly interface. There are times however when you might run across problems with it. One issue, for example, is when apps stop downloading mid-way through, or just simply don’t update.
If you’ve ever had an app stop updating mid way through, or refuse to update did you know what to do? If you encounter this issue here are six things you can try in order to get the app downloading again.
1. Tap on the app Sometimes, the easiest thing to do is to close the download window and find the app on your device. Tap on it as if to open it. This could force the iPad to recognize that the files have not finished downloading and, if it does recognize this, will force iTunes to resume or restart the download.
2. Check iTunes for other pending apps If re-opening the app doesn’t work, try opening iTunes and tapping on the Downloads tab. Take a look to see if you are downloading other apps, movies, songs, etc. Often larger items will take priority over apps, sometimes even pausing the download. You can get around this by deleting any pending apps and downloads (make note what they are first so you can re-download them later). This should move the app you want updated up the list so it starts to download.
3. Restart the iPad The iPad, while a robust machine, might crash from time-to-time, especially if it is an older device and has been used heavily. Try pressing and holding the power button until you get the option to turn the device off. Then, wait about 30 seconds and turn it on again. This should clear up any issues from a crash, and may re-start the download within a few minutes.
4. Check your Internet connection A common issue that is often overlooked when trying to download an app or update is to check your iPad Internet connectivity. Try opening Safari or another browser and navigating to a web page. If this opens, you are connected to the Internet. If not, try looking at the top of the iPad for the Wi-Fi symbol, or data connection symbol. This should be on the top-left corner. If you are usually connected to Wi-Fi and don’t see the symbol, check your router, or open Settings, select Wi-Fi and tap on the network you usually use. Once you are connected the download should start within a few minutes.
5. Check how much storage space you have Sometimes a download will stop because your iPad doesn’t have enough free storage space. You should see a message telling you that there isn’t enough space, and that the download will be paused. If you delete unnecessary or unwanted files and apps the download should resume immediately after the iPad senses there is enough room. If you are unsure how much storage space you have left open Settings and tap on General. Look under the Available section, and the number shown indicates how much space is available.
It’s important to remember that apps often take up slightly more space than is stated on iTunes, so be sure to leave a little extra and ensure space isn’t running too low. 6. Reset all settings Finally, if your app is still not downloading or has paused updating, try resetting all the device’s settings. This will not wipe your iPad’s memory, but will reset all changes you have made to settings. To do this, go to your iPad’s settings and tap on General. Scroll down to Reset, select Reset All and accept the prompt telling you your settings will be reset.
If you are looking to learn more about the iPad, and how you can use it in your office more efficiently, please contact us today.
Over the years the Internet has evolved from something solely inhabited by websites to an unrivaled content generator. The vast majority of people find this content – articles, blogs, etc. – by using Google’s Search. In recent months, a concept known as Author Rank has started to make waves in marketing and Search Engine Optimization followers. If you read tech, marketing or even business blogs you may have seen this term thrown around. But do you know what it is?
This article is a brief overview of Google’s Author Rank and why it could be important for your business.
What is Author Rank? This is probably one of the biggest Internet marketing and SEO terms of 2013, yet so few small businesses are aware of it. If you have a website where you post regular content like blog articles, Author Rank is something you should know about.
In order to explain this concept, you first need to look at one of Google+’s newer features: Authorship. What this feature does is enable you to link your Google+ profile page to content like blog articles that you have written and posted on the Web. Google ranks the quality of the content using an algorithm called Author Rank.
For example, if Google views you as an expert in Microsoft Dynamics because you have written a number of quality articles on a regular basis that are shared and liked, your articles are more likely to be higher ranked and will show up near the top of search results for similar topics.
If you have been searching on Google for various topics, say SEO, and seen results with people’s pictures beside them, the link is likely to an article where the writer has linked the content to their Google+ profile. Because they rank highly in that one term, their content will show in the results. This is actually Authorship/Author Rank at work.
What does this mean for my company? There is a bit of a knock-on effect with this concept: In general, if you produce high quality content on a regular basis that focuses on a singular topic or group of topics, Google is more likely to view you as an expert.
If you are viewed as an expert and your content is shared or +1’ed, there is a higher chance that the content and your website will show highly in search results. If your site and content show higher in search results this means more exposure for your company and possibly more sales.
How to establish Authorship Are you writing articles for your company’s blog? If you are, you should look into linking your Google+ profile to the content you create. You can do this by:
Once you have established authorship create content and be sure that the URL is posted on each post. Over time, if the content is good and shared, you should see a rise in your Author Rank. If you would like help establishing your presence or would like to know more please contact us today.
As a business owner or manager you likely need to make small decisions on a regular basis, and have likely gotten good at making them. There has also likely been a time when you have had to make a big decision that had a big impact on your business. This can involve a challenging process and is one reason why many businesses are turning to Business Intelligence (BI). While BI is popular, there is a new sector that is gaining business fans: Big Data.
You’ve likely seen or heard the term Big Data, but do you know what it is? Here is a simple definition, along with some examples and ways businesses can use it.
Define: Big Data If you search for definitions of Big Data, you will likely come across something along the lines of: Big Data is data that focuses on harnessing and using new forms of unstructured data that move into or through a business with high volume, velocity and complexity.
But what exactly does this mean? Well, many find this definition vague, at best. We found a definition, an equation in fact, that better explains Big Data: Big Data = Transactions + Interactions + Observations
Transactions This is highly structured data related to events. It always includes: Time, a numerical value and refers to an objective, or objectives. Examples of this include, invoices, travel plans, activity records, payments, etc. The vast majority of this information is stored in databases and can be accessed quickly and easily, usually through SQL (Structured Query Language).
Interactions This covers how people interact with one another, or with your business. This includes interactions such as Facebook posts and Likes, social feeds, generated content and even blogs. Basically, this encompasses any data you can collect through any type of interaction that this isn’t limited to business transactions. Many experts expect this part of Big Data to really take off and become more valuable as social networks become ever more integrated with our lives and the corporate world.
Observations This is information gathered from the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is associated with unique, individual things that have a virtual component that can be observed, and are connected in an Internet-like structure. Some examples of this include GPS coordinates from a person that visits your website on their mobile phone, or RFID chips in ATM cards. This data can be stored and potentially used to make better, more informed decisions.
When you combine these three things together, along with the data associated with it, you get Big Data.
Some sources of Big Data Here are just a few of sources of Big Data:
Ways business can use Big Data There are numerous ways small to medium sized businesses can employ Big Data:
There are many uses of Big Data, and as the world continues to generate more and more data, it will become increasingly important to employ Big Data techniques in your business. If you are looking to learn more about this topic, or any other part of Business Intelligence, please contact us today.
Social media is without doubt one of the most popular communication platforms. Since its rise in the early to mid 2000s, it has proven to be one of the greatest ways for a business to not only improve their brand, but increase reach and exposure. There are many features that enable this, with one of the best being Facebook Ads.
Facebook Ads is a way for businesses and users to get their content and advertisements seen by other users. There are two main types of advertising on Facebook: Ads and Featured Sponsored Stories.
Sponsored Stories is content created by Facebook users, usually through interaction with your Facebook Page, or content your company has posted (liking, sharing, etc.). Because actions like this show up on user newsfeeds, companies can pay to have these interactions featured on friends of the friends they originally interacted with. The idea here is to increase who can see your content in the hopes of finding new fans or more specifically, new customers.
Ads on the other hand is similar to traditional advertising in that you create and have more control over the advertising content. You can control the imagery, wording, title and even who sees the content. This gives you a great way to create targeted ads that specific customers and users respond to. Hopefully bringing them to your Facebook Page or even website. There are four different types of Ad:
A common question many businesses ask is whether these ads are actually useful and do in fact pay out. A recent study conducted by Internet advertising company AdRoll, which looked at the benefits and click-through rates (the number of clicks on an ad divided by the times it’s shown) of social vs. traditional search advertising such as through Google, has found that yes, ads do work.
The study found that ads that show up on newsfeeds have a click-through rate 21 times higher than targeted Web ads. What’s interesting is that the newsfeed ads have a click-through rate 49 times higher than ads that are posted on the right-hand side of Facebook. What this means for you, and companies posting ads on Facebook, is that your content will achieve greater exposure if it’s posted on newsfeeds.
If you are looking to learn more about Facebook and how it can help your business, you need to contact us today.
With the increasing integration of the Internet into nearly every system many companies have started to invest in cloud based solutions. One of the more well known systems is Microsoft’s Office 365 – the cloud based version of Office. In an effort to make Office 365 more appealing, Microsoft has recently announced an increase in storage for most accounts.
In late August, Microsoft announced that they are doubling the storage for almost every Office 365 user’s email account. Starting from August 29, email storage was doubled from 25GB to 50, which should be more than enough for every employee.
According to a blog post by Steven Brown, Marketing Manager for Exchange at Microsoft: “There’s no price increase associated with this change. Our doubling of your mailbox storage is simply part of our promise to continuously deliver value to our Office 365 customers.”
Storage increase not for all accounts While Microsoft is upping the storage limit for most accounts, there are a few that will not receive the bump. If you have Exchange Online Plan 2, Office 365 Enterprise E3 and E4, Government G3 and G4, Education A3 and A4 you already have unlimited storage and archive, but Microsoft has increased the default mailbox size to 50GB.
Exchange Kiosk and Office 365 Kiosk users are also receiving an increase in storage limits to 2GB. Beyond that, Microsoft also increased the storage size of shared mailboxes to 10GB.
Paying for expanded storage This upgrade in storage isn’t the only recent upgrade Microsoft has announced. The company also recently announced that SkyDrive Pro users have had their storage bumped from 7GB to 25GB, and admins can further increase this up to a maximum of 100GB per user. According to the article posted on the Microsoft Office 365 blog, the cost of expanding the storage above the default 25GB will cost USD$0.20 per GB per month. You will be able to expand the storage in pools of up to 25 users.
If you are looking to learn more about these announcements or how your business can benefit from Office 365, please contact us today to see how we can help.
The importance and usefulness of the Internet isn’t lost on many people today. It has literally changed the way we communicate and consume knowledge as a whole. There are many companies that have enabled this, one of the biggest being Google, with their popular apps and services. While there are some incredibly popular and useful Google apps, there are many more that aren’t used as much but are still just as useful. One such platform is Google Groups.
Google Groups is one of the best functions for businesses that use Gmail. The core idea of this service is that it allows you to create online and email based groups where you can communicate with like-minded users. Some uses of Groups include:
Google Groups has been around since 2001 and while it has largely flown under the radar for many users, Google has kept the service alive and running, and has even recently revamped it to make some improvements.
New in Google Groups One of the new features introduced in the new version of Groups is an improved inbox which allows members of the group to create, share and track tasks and responsibilities with one another. The interesting thing about this feature is that you can create a single email address for the group that can be managed by all of the members. They can then assign tasks and mark these as resolved after completion. In other words, the new Groups feature is potentially a great way for companies to track workflow, and support tasks getting finished on time.
Another new feature is a mobile optimized version of Groups that can be accessed from any mobile device. This means you can access, manage and contribute to Groups from anywhere.
You can also look for and find Groups to join and contribute to. If you can find one that is related to what your company does, you could join and contribute. If you have associated your profile with your company, you will, over time, gain recognition and could start looking for new clients or ties through the Group.
How to set up a Group If you would like to create a new group you can do so by:
When you click on this, the Create Group window will open. From there, give the group a name, email address description, pick the Group type and set the permissions. You will be able to pick from up to four Group types including:
Once you have picked a Group type, you should set the Basic permissions which include:
Finally, once you have finished, press Create and your Group will be established.
If you are looking to learn more about Google Groups or any of Google’s other products, please contact us today to find out how this interesting platform can add to your business.
The modern tablet is designed to do almost anything. The internal components of some even rival low-end computers. While this is great news, there is one serious drawback: the battery. While our tablets are becoming increasingly powerful, battery life has remained generally the same – some tablets don’t even last a day. If you have a tablet running Android however, there are some steps you can do to get more out of your battery.
Below are five tips on how you can extend the length of time you can use your Android tablet without having to recharge.
Before you start you need a benchmark Before you do anything, you need to know just how much power your tablet is actually using. What you should do is create a benchmark. This can be done by:
Below the percentage is a list of actions and power draining processes, along with how much of the battery drain each process is contributing. Once you have noted how much power is being used, try these power saving tips:
1. Reduce the brightness of your screen Believe it or not, the screen can be a massive drain on power. If you have the brightness level cranked to max you will notice a drastic drop in the time your battery lasts. Try turning down the brightness as low as possible. You can adjust the brightness by going to your device’s Settings, tapping on Display followed by Brightness. Slide the slider to the left to lower the brightness or the right to increase it.
After each change, use the tablet for the same amount of time as you did in the benchmark and see how much of a difference there is. You may be able to get an extra hour, or more, out of your device by simply decreasing the brightness.
2. Manage your data connections Many tablets now come with mobile data like 3G or even 4G. While being able to access the Internet from anywhere is great, being always connected can really drain the battery, especially if you live in an area with spotty connection.
Unless you are streaming content, you don’t really need to be connected to 4G. You can turn it off by going to your device’s Settings, tapping on More… under Wireless & Networks, followed by Mobile Networks, and then Network Operators. You should then be able to pick between CDMA or LTE. Select CDMA and 4G will be turned off. Note: This will only work if your tablet supports 4G/LTE.
Also, some users leave their tablet’s Wi-Fi radio on even while they are connected to a mobile data network. This has been known to drain your battery as well because your tablet will always be searching for a Wi-Fi network. If you are using mobile data, say on the way into the office, turn off Wi-Fi on your device. This can easily be done by opening Settings and looking for Wi-Fi under Wireless & Networks. Slide the button beside Wi-Fi from On to Off.
3. Turn off unimportant notifications It seems like nearly every app you install comes with notifications. Many of these are likely less than important. On top of that, they also cause battery drain because the program is constantly telling your tablet to go online and look to see if there are any new notifications. It is a good idea to turn these notifications off.
The easiest way to do this is to go into your device’s Settings and look for Apps under Device. Tap on it and you will see a list of all apps installed on your device. Tap on one and look for a box that says Show notifications. If there is a check, this means that it is telling your device to look for updates, etc. Uncheck it to turn off these notifications.
4. Turn off the GPS A popular use for tablets is as a navigation tool in the car, largely because of the bigger screen and the fact that most tablets have a GPS receiver. While useful, it can be easy to forget to turn off the GPS when you aren’t using it. Android currently allows apps to get location information from GPS satellites, and this means that they will likely cause an increased power drain.
If you don’t need your tablet to provide accurate location based information, you can turn off the GPS connection by going to Settings and looking for Location access or Location in the Personal section. Ensure that GPS Satellites isn’t ticked.
5. Watch out for widgets Widgets are a feature of Android that many users love. These smaller versions of apps provide detailed information with usually on one or two features. For example, one of the Gmail widgets shows your main Inbox. When you tap on an email, the app will open. While these are useful, they can drain the battery.
It is therefore a good idea to get rid of widgets you don’t really use. This can be done by pressing on the widget for a second or two until it lifts off the screen a bit and you see Remove appear at the top of your screen. Drag the app over Remove and let it go. This will take it off of your screen.
In order to get longer battery life out of your device, try playing around with different settings. Compare this to the benchmark you established earlier and see if battery life increases. If you optimize correctly there’s no reason why your tablet shouldn’t last for up to 10 hours with normal use.
Looking to learn more about Android tablets and how they can help your business? Contact us today, we’d be happy to have a chat.
Email is by now, the most important communication tool at the disposal of business owners, managers and employees. While it is incredibly useful, it is also a bit of a pain, with many users feeling overwhelmed by the number of emails they receive on a daily basis. The problem with this is that important emails may be forgotten or get lost in the huge volume of incoming messages. If you have an iPhone or iPad and use the Mail app, there is actually a feature that can help prevent this – VIP Inbox.
What exactly is VIP Inbox? The VIP Inbox is a feature that allows you to set certain people as ‘very important’. When they send you an email, it will be automatically highlighted and easier to see. They will also be viewable from a specific Inbox or folder within your main Inbox. The emails aren’t moved, or duplicated, they are just easier to see. This is a great feature for users who receive a large number of emails, most of which are less than important, or users who have too many emails and tend to lose important ones from specific senders, clients, employees, etc.
When you activate this feature, you can set who is a VIP, and even set specific notification sounds and settings, which will make emails from these people stand out when you receive them. You can then select this Inbox when you open the Mail app and then view only emails from VIPs.
How to establish VIP Inbox If you would like to set up a VIP Inbox, you can do so by:
Contacts you select will be automatically registered as a VIP, and any future emails should be labeled as such. Once you have finished selecting your VIP list, you should customize the notifications associated with this Inbox. This can be done by:
From here you can customize:
The key factor to be aware of here is that this will not clean your Inbox. What it will do is enable you to better track emails from important contacts. From here, you can focus on reducing the number of emails in your Inbox. If you would like to learn more about this feature or how the iPhone and iPad can help improve the way you work, please contact us today.
There so many different ways you can use an iPad that it’s often mind boggling. While surfing on the Internet, many iPad users rely on Safari, Apple’s browser that comes preinstalled on every Apple device. While Safari is without doubt a solid browser, for some reason it doesn’t always show the Bookmarks Bar on the iPad, making it a bit confusing to actually get to your favorite sites.
Here is a brief overview of how you can obtain and manage the Bookmarks Bar on your iPad’s version of Safari:
Adding the Bookmarks Bar You can enable this feature by:
This will add the Bookmarks Bar to every window of Safari on your iPad. When you launch Safari, you should notice a new grey bar below the URL bar. When you bookmark a page and save it to the Bar, you will see the name of the page appear.
Adding bookmarks to the Bookmark Bar If you would like to add bookmarks to this Bar, you can do so by:
The name of the site should pop up in the Bookmarks Bar to the right of the last bookmark added to the Bar.
Editing the Bookmarks Bar Eventually you will want to edit the Bookmarks Bar. This can be done by:
You will now be able to select different bookmarks. If you press the red circle with the X in it beside each bookmark, it will be deleted. If you tap on the bookmark itself you should be able to edit its name and URL. Tap Done after you have edited or deleted what you need to and any changes should be updated. Looking to learn more tips about using your iPad? Contact us today to see how we can help.