859.294.LINK (5465)

Get Help NOW!

WHICH MOBILE SOLUTION IS BEST FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

We frequently get calls from customers who are REALLY frustrated trying to use their iPads for remote access to an office PC.  There are several remote programs out there which CLAIM to make this easy – but let’s be real.  Those applications are trying to take a WINDOWS desktop (big screens, TWO mouse buttons) and cram it all onto a device with a 10” screen and ONE button.

Does this solution work?  Sure – if you OCCASIONALLY want to access your home or office computer from the pool or the beach.  For a long time, something like this was the only answer.

The good news?  TIMES HAVE CHANGED.

One of the big reasons people like the iPad is its small form factor and light weight – plus the price isn’t all that bad for a work “tablet” solution.  If your “principal” software – the app that you’re in all day long, day in and day out – has a native iPad app, then this is very likely the way to go.

For the rest of you who don’t have the luxury of a native app, the Windows 8 tablets are the answer.

While they’ve received a great deal of harsh criticism, the truth of the matter is that one of these tablet can TRULY be a real, no kidding remote or portable computing solution for your business.

Since December of last year, I’ve been using the Dell XPS 12 – a “convertible” Ultrabook.  Not the lightest or cheapest solution, this device is an ACTUAL LAPTOP with a screen that flips over and lies flat to become a tablet.  It has 8GB of RAM, an Intel I7 processor and a full version of Windows 8.  I dare say this thing could run circles around most of the computers in a typical office.

This and the many similar devices on the market are meant for the folks who sometimes need a laptop but often want a tablet.  Few moving parts and very fast, quiet operation mean there really are no compromises here.

On the other end, companies like Dell also make 10” tablets which run FULL versions of Windows 8.  With a price, size and weight very similar to the iPad, these devices offer a true tablet solution to companies which want the tablet form-factor but MUST run Windows to support their applications.

On the lower end, if you’re not looking to run older Windows programs but need more than what an iPad can do, the Windows 8 RT solutions (like Microsoft Surface and other similar tablets) can be a great answer.  They typically run a special version of Microsoft Office and are much “simpler” to deal with than an actual computer.  These devices can bridge the gap for those college students who need “more than an iPad but less than a full sized laptop” – and they’re cool.  At least that’s what the Microsoft commercial shows us!

So is the iPad the right answer? Sometimes.  But before taking a bite from the “apple”, give us a call and let us recommend the BEST solution for your company’s tablet needs.

Call us today at (859) 294-LINK or email mike@MissingLinkLEX.com

Time is running out to upgrade for CHEAP to Windows 8!

Attention, Windows Vista or 7 users!

Whether you’re a big fan of Windows 8 or not, if you think you might want to upgrade you CURRENT computer to Windows 8, you should purchase the upgrade BEFORE January 31st!

The introductory upgrade price of the Windows 8 Home AND Pro version of $39.99 is going to expire after that.

Now let me address of few things you might be wondering about:

-        While there are no guarantees, our experience has shown that any desktop or laptop that can run Windows 7 (or was cursed with Windows Vista) seems to be able to handle Windows 8 just fine.  It’s best to have 4 – 6GB of RAM but we’ve seen it work ok with as little as 3GB.

-        If you think you’re going to use your current machine for even one more year (ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE STILL RUNNING VISTA), it’s probably worth $40 to get to Windows 8.

-        You do not have to INSTALL the Windows 8 upgrade before Feb 1st, you just have to BUY it.  It is a DOWNLOAD ONLY upgrade at that price; however, you have the option to download the files (around 2GB) and install at a later time.

-        You CAN use Windows 8 without a touch screen.  We use it in both touch and non-touch environments.  Frankly, it’s not that much different than a telephone – we all can use one to make a call, whether we mean the one at home on a desk with just touch-tone keys or the smartphone in our pocket.  As the owner of a Dell XPS 12 Windows 8 Ultrabook/Tablet, I will concede that the touch capabilities do make it BETTER – but only for some things.

-        Windows XP users are technically able to purchase the upgrade; however, we’ve not seen many XP machines still in service which could adequately run Windows 8.

-        MOST programs that will run in Windows 7 (or Vista) will run in Windows 8.

-        ONE CAUTIONARY NOTE: Any of you who may have a touch-capable Windows 7 computer should verify your screen will support the touch portions of Windows 8.  Generally, the screen has to be completely flat all the way to the edges (no raised bevel) to fully utilize Windows 8 gestures.

-        LASTLY, we do want to say that your business may not be quite ready for Windows 8 just yet.  Much more thought and planning has to go into your business computing environment than your personal computers.  While PURCHASING the upgrades now might be a wise move, we’ll need to wait until we can be sure your other software will be supported under Windows 8 before INSTALLING.

 

I won’t use this time to address all the different nuances of Windows 8 – I will just say that it’s not as scary or horrible as it’s made out to be and you can pretty much just use it like you do Windows 7 – as long as you’re willing to learn a few new mouse tricks and/or finger gestures.

The upgrade process is fairly smooth and takes about an hour or so (after the files download).  The upgrade warns you of software that won’t work or requires special procedures BEFORE you commit.  If you choose correctly, you will still have your settings and data.

AS ALWAYS, WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND A FULL SYSTEM BACKUP BEFORE ANY ATTEMPTS TO UPGRADE YOUR COPY OF WINDOWS!

If you have further questions or need our assistance with an upgrade, please contact Mike Runyon at mike@MissingLinkLEX.com or 859-285-0514.

Who IS our “Daddy” now?

So picture this…it’s a fairly quiet Monday (as Mondays go) at Missing Link.  We all go out to lunch to celebrate the anniversary of our tenth year in business.  Good times.

We come back in from lunch and shortly thereafter, well – SkyNet begins to takeover the planet (if any of you are Terminator fans, you get the reference…if not, sorry)!

We start getting a few service calls that seem normal enough at first – except that as we go to respond to them, some of our own tools start to misbehave.  Throw in a text or two from friends and associates warning me that our emails are bouncing (we have LOTS of warnings and alerts that should be telling me these things before a lady from church via a text message!). 

Now we’re in full combat mode – troubleshooting our own problems so that we can assist with the sudden, crazy ones our customers are seeing.

From there, things go downhill for the next couple of hours until…everything clears up…all on its own.  SkyNet is dead and the humans have won…for now.

Only later did we learn that a  hacker group (supposedly) had taken down GoDaddy.com for a few hours.

For those of you non-technical folks out there, GoDaddy.com, along with Register.com and Network Solutions, is one of the larger companies who register and maintain Internet Domain Names (like www.YourBusiness.com).  They can also host your web site, email or do one of a number of other things; however, their primary purpose, as far as many small businesses are concerned, is to register and host their internet domain name and DNS records.

This is where the problems REALLY came from today.

Imagine the Internet as one gigantic library and DNS as the Card Catalog System (takes you back, doesn’t it?).  When someone wants to visit your web site or send you an email, their computer (or server – just go with me here) has to reference this catalog (or DNS) to know how to find your systems.

Just like us, their systems don’t remember the information they lookup indefinitely (or we could never move our email or web sites), so they have to periodically check back with the card catalog (DNS) to get new information.

Today, the hackers effectively “hid” the entire card catalog from the whole internet for a few hours.  Those folks who had “looked up” information recently were ok but anyone else…well, they just found a big empty spot on the carpet where the catalog used to sit.

All over the world, email bounced and web sites vanished into thin air – not because the data was gone…but because computers didn’t know how to find it.

Now there are a lot of people giving GoDaddy a really hard time right now over this.  I’m not going to pretend I’m happy about how our afternoon went at Missing Link.

But let’s face it – some very big organizations have been taken down by hackers before.  GoDaddy isn’t the first and won’t be the last.  Franky, I wouldn’t want to start throwing rocks from my glass house if I was running one of these big companies.  There have to be some pretty smart guys working at GoDaddy to do what they do.

I’m also not sure this is a case where we “take our business elsewhere” over this one incident.  Does GoDaddy have some crazy marketing and cheap prices (maybe the WalMart of the internet?) – yes…but this could have just as easily been one of their competitors.

Unfortunately, this DNS area is not one where we can have a great deal of redundancy either.  Some steps can be taken (I’ll be looking into some of my internal setup for sure) but this isn’t an easy area to shore up due to the way the internet was designed.

So what’s the moral of this story?  Aside from the normal “due diligence” we should normally use when choosing vendors for our business products, my only advice is to “expect the unexpected”.  As the world around us becomes ever more fascinating with phones, tablets and connections to the internet everywhere we turn, let’s just remember to “look before leaping”.

A bit of research on Google before downloading that latest cool “app” or signing up for the “service” you heard about on the radio is probably in order.  Ask other business owners – and your I.T. professional – what they think about the product or service.

Call Missing Link today at (859) 294-LINK if you have questions about DNS, GoDaddy or anything else relating to I.T. and your business!

AVG Better Business Bureau Commerce Lexington Microsoft Certified Partner Mozy Postini Webroot