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New Stuff – Hardware and Software

With the holidays in our rearview mirrors, it’s time to look at what’s new, already, besides the ever-present Apple rumors. One new product that’s here is Brookstone’s HDMI pocket projector. Let’s take a look at it along with some other new hardware and software products.

The pocket projector looks really cool, and it fits with where many of us are headed in 2013 – a move to more mobile devices and greater use of the cloud.  For personal uses, you can show pictures stored on a web-based service or use an app to show a YouTube video. If you have photos or videos already stored on your device, you can access them directly. Either way, you don’t have to pass your phone or tablet around to everyone in your group.

For those of you who give presentations, you can now avoid dragging along a laptop and avoiding all the things that can possibly go wrong when you hook your computer to a projector. You can connect one of these to your smartphone or tablet and use an app that works with programs such as Keynote or Documents to Go, which emulate Word, PowerPoint and other Microsoft Office programs. Mobile devices have good reliability records, and you usually have the option of connecting to remote servers via Wi-Fi or cellular service.  Just make sure you have the right cables. It comes with adapters and cables for most devices. If you have an iPhone or iPad, yes, you will need to get special adapters and connectors.

If your need is new “standard” technology for 2013, our Windows OS saga continues. We continue to see a lot of customers having difficulty with Windows 8. You can send the computers back, but it’s a cumbersome process.

The better path is to do some careful research. You can order certain desktop and laptop computer models from most manufacturers with an option to have it run Windows 7. Just be sure to read all the product details and technical specs to see that the computer meets all of your performance needs and has the ability to run Windows 7.  If you’re not sure or have any questions, call us (973-433-6676) or email us for answers and advice.

Making a List

Now is a good time to take an inventory of your computers, servers and other office equipment. Many of our clients have “evolving” technology – moving from older to newer equipment in stages. We’ve been taking inventories of computers, servers, versions of Office and operating systems as we visit for service calls. Many don’t believe their systems are as old as they are. However, an accurate inventory will help you plan and budget for new systems in an orderly manner and minimize office disruptions.

On the software side, the Microsoft Outlook web app has some good upgrades, which you get automatically if you subscribe to Office 365. We posted a link on our Facebook page to an article from Microsoft that describes the features in the upgrade.

One of the new features we like is the ability to use webmail offline. However, you need to have IE 10, Safari 5 or Chrome 16. We want to assume it will work with Firefox soon, if it hasn’t already been done. Once we have the chance to test it all, we’ll give you a report.

If you use Microsoft Exchange for your email, datacenter enhancements have enabled the service  to increase the limit of sending 1,500 emails per day to 10,000. The limits protect the online service from becoming a source of spam and keep customers’ email messages flowing.

We believe in the cloud and highly recommend it for many of our clients for better data security, easier access to data and automatic upgrades to keep your systems current. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us for questions about or help in moving to the cloud.

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.