29 Apr

How to Pick the Best Mouse

The good ol’ two button mouse just won’t cut it anymore. They’re unresponsive, uncomfortable, and the cord somehow ties itself up every time you put it in your bag. However, buying a new mouse can be a pain, especially when you don’t know what to look for. Do you need a mouse that’s more forgiving on your wrists? Are you looking for a tangle-free mouse? If you’re having difficulty deciding on your ideal mouse, here are some things you should keep in mind.

 

Cable or wireless?

 

Choosing between a wired or a wireless mouse is a factor you have to consider if you’re planning on purchasing a new mouse. Wireless mice are generally more comfortable since your range of movement isn’t limited by a cable and they’re usually very travel friendly. However they tend to be less responsive than their wired counterpart, which can be a problem for users requiring more precise mouse control. In some cases, wireless mice can also interfere with other wireless devices nearby. Furthermore, wireless mice require batteries, which can be a drag if you forget to buy some at the store. If you’re planning on using the same mouse for both work and home, you run the risk of losing the tiny USB receiver for your wireless mouse.

On the other hand, wired mice are cheaper and easier to use since you simply plug it in and you’re good to go. The only problem you’ll have to worry about is dealing with tangled wires. So when you’re deciding on a new mouse, think about whether you’re looking for comfort or convenience.

 

Ergonomics matters

 

You’re going to be using the new mouse for a while, so it’s important to choose a mouse that feels comfortable in your hands. When deciding on the right mouse, focus on the size and the grip of the device. The size of the mouse usually comes down to the individual’s hand size. For example, someone with smaller hands might find larger mice quite unwieldy. Certain mice can also accommodate for different types of grips:

•Fingertip grip: With a smaller and flatter body, this mouse allows you to control the entire device with just your fingertips. This type of mouse usually provides you with more precise control of your cursor. However, it doesn’t give any room for your palms to rest on, increasing the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Avoid using this grip unless your work requires a lot of photo, video or sound editing.

•Palm grip: Palm grips are the complete opposite of fingertip grip mice. With a bump at the back end for your palms, this type of mouse reduces the stress on your forearm and wrist. This grip sacrifices precision for comfort so people prone to repeated stress injuries (RSI) should definitely opt for this type of grip instead.

•Claw grip: This type of mouse is usually the one people are most accustomed to. Named after the shape your hand makes when you hold this type of mouse, claw grip mice give you the best of both the palm grip and the fingertip grip. Like the palm grip, your palms can rest on the mouse but this type of grip also gives you a bit more control. While the palm grip is still the most ergonomical mouse, the claw grip gives a good balance of both comfort and precision.

 

Do more than right and left clicks

 

Don’t just assume that extra buttons on a mouse would mean that it’s only meant for gamers. Extra buttons add more functionality to your mouse. For instance, you can assign your spare mouse buttons to Copy and Paste so you’ll no longer have to input keyboard shortcuts. Want to switch between open windows quickly? You can assign the Alt + Tab (for Windows) and Command + Tab (for Mac) to those mouse buttons. While this isn’t a requirement when picking a new mouse, it’s definitely a neat feature that will save you some time.

 

DPI (dots per inch)

 

For precise movements, higher sensitivity is a must. Whether you’re editing images, videos, or audio files, you’re going to require more precise mouse movements to execute them well. If you ever had to move your mouse around because your cursor was stuck, then a high sensitivity mouse can solve your problems. Try looking for mice with 1200 DPI or greater for finer control.

 

Mouse specifications could be the last thing on your mind when it comes to buying new hardware. But comfort is important. A good mouse with the right fit, can make you more efficient and reduce the risk of injury. If you need some help setting up the best hardware for your company, give us a call at 1-866-BIT-WISE or email sales@eitnetworks.net. We’re happy to help.

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04 Mar

Geek Speak Decoded

If you’re not an IT professional or have an in-depth knowledge of technology, computer terminology can seem like a foreign language. While you certainly don’t need to be fluent in geek speak, having a basic understanding of it can help in a number of ways. For example, it can help you purchase the right equipment when searching for new hardware or more clearly explain a technical issue you’re having to your IT provider. Here are a few computer terms that can help you along.

 

App

– These days when someone hears the word “app”, they usually think of a program for their tablet or smartphone; however, the word “app” actually has a much more broader meaning. Apps, which is short for applications, have been around since the birth of computers, and the word really refers to any type of computer program. Some examples of common apps used today include Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, and Symantec Antivirus.

 

Browser

– Your window to the Internet, a browser enables you to access all the information there is online. In fact, the Internet is virtually inaccessible without the use of a browser, and you’re likely reading this article on a browser right now. Google Chrome, FireFox, and Microsoft Edge are a few examples of common browsers.

 

Search Engine

– Not to be confused with a browser, a Search Engine is a page you visit within your browser that allows you to search and find what you’re looking for on the web. You type keywords or phrases into a Search Engine, press enter, and then the web pages and files that contain those phrases and keywords are presented to you. Google, Bing and Yahoo! are a few of the Search Engines available.

 

Hard drive

– A hard drive is essentially a storage unit for everything on your computer. Everything from your operating system to applications, such as Excel and PowerPoint, are stored on your hard drive, and it allows your computer to access these files and programs for your use. The more hard drive space you have, the more applications, videos, documents and various files can be stored on your computer.

 

Motherboard

– If your computer had a heart, the motherboard would be it. The motherboard is a circuit board that powers your RAM, CPU and hardware, enabling it all to communicate with each other. If the motherboard is taken out of the equation, your computer will be unable to operate.

 

CPU/Processor

– If the motherboard is the heart of the computer, then the CPU, or Central Processing Unit, is the brains. A CPU carries out the instructions it receives from the different hardware and software operating on the computer. At one point or another, everything on your computer goes through the CPU. And the more powerful it is, the faster it will be able to operate and the more advanced applications you’ll be able to run.

 

RAM

– Random Access Memory stores all the temporary programs and data that your computer is currently using so they can quickly be accessed by your computer’s CPU. For example, if you are running Microsoft Word, Google Chrome, Adobe Reader, and Skype all at the same time, RAM enables you to access them fast – without having to reopen them every time. The more RAM you have the quicker these programs will run. Once your computer shuts down, it will no longer store these programs in the RAM, but instead in the hard drive.

 

These are just a handful of terms a layperson may come across when asking for technology service or talking about computers. If you’d like to learn more about the tech talk that is native to us IT professionals, or have any concerns with your current IT, don’t hesitate to get in touch at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net.

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14 Jan

Google and Password-Free Logins

Passwords such as “Password123”, “Mycomputer” and the classic “123456” can pose a very real threat to small and medium sized businesses everywhere. Easy to crack and hack, if your staff are logging in to company accounts with over simplified passwords, they are putting your business at risk. Adding to the danger, phishers also know that people are always the weakest link in a security chain. To address these issues, Google is trialing a new way of logging in, but what is it and how does it work?

 

So what exactly is Google’s master plan for squaring up to malicious phishing attempts and the perils caused by easy-to-crack passwords? The tech giant is currently trialing a new login option for Google account users. This will let anyone who has enabled the option to log in using their smartphone, completely eliminating the point at which you would normally enter a password. The system uses your phone to verify your identity by sending you an alert that gives you the option of whether or not to log in to your account.

 

During the trial stages, the folks at Google have invited what they are terming “a small group of users” to test out the potential password-free function on their personal Google accounts. The method appears to be easy to use and, if the trial is a success, could offer a far more secure way of accessing an account. By authorizing your phone to let you log in, you are effectively removing the need for a password.

 

To initiate a log in, the testers type in their email address on their PC or Mac. This will be followed up with a notification on their phone asking them whether they wish to log in to their Google account. All they then do is click the “yes” option and the computer will log them in automatically. For anyone concerned about not being able to log in due to their phone having a flat battery, being forgotten at home, or worst case scenario lost, there is no need to worry for the option remains to log in the traditional way by clicking a link saying “Use your password instead” at the bottom of the page.

 

Should the trial go ahead and password-free smartphone authentication becomes the norm, the advantages from a security perspective are clear. As stated above, simple passwords simply don’t protect accounts properly. Should someone – whether a hacker, a dishonest employee with an agenda, a recently fired employee with a grudge, or a competitor – put their mind to it, figuring out poor passwords is really not that hard, especially if they have insider knowledge about the user. Date of birth, favorite football team, an unfortunate obsession with Justin Beiber – these are all things that can be used to crack a password. And let’s not even get started on Password123.

 

The other thing of significant importance is the fact that should password-free log in go ahead, it will stop phishers in their tracks. The phishing ‘business’ is a booming one and those unscrupulous people who contact end users and attempt to extract personal information from them by pretending to be from a trustworthy source could find that their days of stealing passwords are numbered. If the phone becomes the means to log in, the phisher is rendered impotent. There is no password to hand over and of course the phisher doesn’t have access to the phone to click the “yes” button.

 

Google has made a few facts clear to its guinea pigs. The first of which is that the trial works on both the iOS and Android platforms. Users can still log in with their existing password should they desire and Google’s “unusual sign-in” policy remains in place should they detect anything suspicious and need the user to complete an extra step as proof it’s really them.

 

Should password-free, smartphone login be launched it would be a massive step in the right direction towards plugging the security holes that are caused by human error or carelessness. Setting a password such as “123456” might seem kind of dumb, but it’s amazing just how many people do! At the other end of the scale, phishers can be frighteningly convincing and are able to con even the most tech savvy or diligent users out of passwords, credit card details and more.

 

If you’d like to know how we can help you ensure that you are operating in the safest possible security environment, contact us today at 1-866-BIT-WISE or helpdesk@eitnetworks.net.

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11 Dec

Is the iPad Pro Worth the Money?

Whether you’re considering a new tablet as a gift for a loved one or are interested in decking out your offices with a couple dozen of them, the iPad Pro is worth your consideration. With the ability to use a keyboard as well other new features, this iPad takes a quantum jump ahead of its predecessors. Here are four of its best features that are worth a look.

 

Stunning display

 

The iPad Pro’s display makes images look pretty, one of the reasons Apple is touting it as the go-to device for graphic work. It offers a 2732 x 2048 resolution, with 264 pixels per inch – more than either the 13- or 15-inch Macbook Pro. This is certainly one of the best features of the iPad Pro and a technological achievement for Apple.

 

Better battery

 

When it comes to battery life, the iPad Pro ranks fairly high compared to other tablets. While many tablets offer eight hours of battery life on a charge, the iPad Pro chimes in at a max of 10 hours. The reason for this slightly longer life has a lot to do with the display. The screen operates at 60Hz when there is animation running; however, when you’re performing other tasks, like scrolling through web pages or reading an eBook, the screen reduces the amount of energy it consumes and instead runs at 30Hz. Because of this, 10 hours of battery life is a genuine possibility. Of course, though, if you end up watching videos on it all day then it certainly won’t last as long.

 

Sensitive stylus

 

There’s no arguing – at $99, the Apple Pencil is expensive. Price aside, though, it is a really nice tool that is capable of creating high-quality images. Two areas in which it excels are pressure sensitivity and tilt detection, both of which allow you to add shading like you would with a real pencil. It’s also worth noting that the stylus does not use Bluetooth connectivity. Instead, the iPad Pro can tell when the stylus is close to the display and scans for “tip signal”. All this adds up to is a drawing experience that is as close to using a real pencil and paper as you can get.

 

The new Keyboard

 

The fact that the iPad finally has a keyboard brings this device into a whole new realm of tablet – one that can arguably become a laptop replacement. And while not perfect, it performs just as well as a regular keyboard, and is also quite comfortable to the touch, covered in a woven fabric that is easy to clean. As for drawbacks, it can only be propped up at one angle, which can make it uncomfortable to work with when you don’t have a desk or table to set it on. And like the stylus, the keyboard does not come cheap; it’s priced at a whopping $169.

 

Is this a laptop replacement?

 

Yes, it could be. However, don’t mistake the iPad Pro as capable of doing EVERYTHING your Macbook Pro can. Because it runs on iOS 9, you will not be able to use all the same applications you would on your Macbook, and you will have no file access. Additionally, the iPad Pro only includes two ports – a Lightning connector and a headphone jack. So while you could potentially use the iPad Pro as a laptop replacement, you will be limited in terms of functionality if you choose to do so.

 

If you are ready to deck out your offices with some brand new IT, call EIT Networks today to learn how we can help you. You can reach us at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net.

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27 Nov

Samsung Pay Expands Payment Options

As mobile payments move ever closer to becoming the norm for settling bills and undertaking financial transactions, Google Wallet and Apple Pay continue to be the services that hog the limelight. While it may appear on the surface that these are the only popular options, Samsung Pay is also getting in on a slice of the NFC-technology action. The Korea-headquartered technology giant has taken another step forward by announcing its integration of support for eight more credit and debit card issuers within Samsung Pay.

 

Samsung Pay, which the company claims to be the most accepted mobile payment system around, already supports payment made through three of the major and most popular networks in the United States and elsewhere: Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. The latest development will be of most benefit to customers in the US, or those with accounts at these US-based financial institutions but who themselves are based overseas.

 

Among the newly supported payment methods are Visa cards issued through the American bank Chase and through the Navy Federal Credit Union, as well as MasterCard credit and debit cards held against accounts with the following US institutions:
 
•Citizens Equity First Credit Union
•Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union
•Security Service Federal Credit Union
•State Employees’ Credit Union
•SunTrust
•Virginia Credit Union

 

Other major banking institutions already supported for transactions processed through Samsung pay include Bank of America, Citibank, U.S. Bank, and Synchrony Financial. The growth of Samsung Pay and the widening choice of options for making use of the service are signs of the increased importance of the mobile payments sector – something to which smart businesses are paying close attention, in order to be able to identify how to best exploit the growth opportunities this presents.

 

Find out how you can make mobile payments work for your business – give us a call at 1-866-BIT-WISE or send us an email at sales@eitnetworks.net.

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16 Nov

Computer Buying Guide

Buying a computer is an important decision, whether doing so for yourself or for a loved one this holiday season. Rushing out and getting the first thing you see may have huge ramifications later on. You want something that is just right and will last for years to come. You want something that seems like it was designed with you in mind. With that said, here are some considerations to make when you are in the market for a new computer.

 

Desktop or Laptop?

 

This depends on your working style and environment. The rule is quite simple: if you rarely work out of the office, get a desktop PC. If you need to work at home, on the go, or at client meetings, then go for a laptop. It’s worth noting that desktops are generally cheaper than laptops at similar specifications, have a longer usage life, and make for easier changing or upgrading of components. Laptops, on the other hand, are very portable due to their compact size, they consume less energy, and they offer a more flexible user experience.

 

Processor

 

If you want a computer that loads programs in a flash, completes tasks almost instantly, and runs smoothly at all times, then we recommend you invest in the strongest processors available. The performance of a processor is determined by its number of cores and speed, so the bigger the number, the better. Processors with two to four cores will often suffice for most users. However, if your tasks involve rendering high-definition images, animations, graphics, and analysis, then for optimum results it makes sense to get a processor with more than four cores.

 

RAM

 

Random Access Memory (RAM) allows your computer to perform multiple tasks at once without a hitch. Just like processors, the amount of RAM your computer has will determine how fast it will run when you work on several programs simultaneously. Nowadays, standard computers come with 1-2GB of RAM. However, we advise you to get at least 4GB, or even 8GB, of RAM so that you can navigate smoothly between tasks such as email browsing, Internet surfing, and working on word processing documents and spreadsheets.

 

Hard Drive

 

The bigger the hard drive, the more space you have to store files. If you plan on using your computer with no peripherals, you’ll want to choose a computer that offers the biggest hard drive. But remember that you can always purchase an external hard drive to transfer or store files if your current hard drive is running out of space. Another thing to consider in a hard drive is its spin speed. Modern computers usually have 5400rpm or 7200rpm drives, the latter being more efficient. The faster your hard drive disk is spinning, the quicker data can be transferred to and from it.

 

Operating Systems

 

Picking an operating system is a big decision when it comes to choosing a new computer. You’ll probably want to stick with an operating system you’re already familiar with, since it can take some time to adapt yourself to a new OS. Here are some of the popular options available on the market:
•Windows
•Mac
•Linux
•Ubuntu

Most people will just go for either Windows or Mac OS, because the complexity of Linux and Ubuntu mean they are not popular among everyday users.

 

Custom Build

 

If you are in the market for a work PC, you will probably look for a standard, vanilla, run-of-the-mill PC from Dell or HP. These devices function well for daily business activities. However, if you want something with a little more pizazz and power for entertainment purposes, consider ordering a custom-built PC or building one yourself. There are many considerations to be made, but if you want something on which to play games or run any type of power-hungry 3-D program, buy or build a computer with a powerful video card in it. This rules out Apple products, of course, as their devices come “as-is,” but the amount of customization for a PC is staggering. The benefit of a custom PC is that you can set a budget and adjust your purchase accordingly. Having a PC that is tailor-made for you is a great feeling, and if you build it yourself, you will earn a sense of accomplishment.

 

Want more hardware tips and tricks? Get in touch with our technology experts today at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net.

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25 Sep

An Android Tablet for $50!

If you thought implementing tablet technology into your business setup was beyond your company’s budget, it might be time to reconsider. Online retailing giant Amazon could be about to shake up the tablet industry with the launch of Amazon Fire. This super-economy Android tablet will retail for just $50, putting it within reach both of home users and of businesses looking to buy in bulk. Here’s what you need to know.

 

The seven-inch Amazon Fire tablet is due to launch on September 30, meaning it will be available just in time for the holiday season – great for individuals looking to treat themselves or loved ones, but also good news for businesses looking to use technology to increase efficiency ahead of the busy peak period.

 

Given the tablet’s budget positioning – with likenesses to Google’s stripped-back Chromebook, which performs basic functions but is of only limited use without an internet connection – it’s not surprising that it isn’t as powerful as more popular options. While its software is based on Android, the device actually runs on Amazon’s Fire OS 5 Bellini operating system. That means it does not support the Google Play apps used on the vast majority of Android tablets – which will be a drawback for some users – but it does work with the Amazon app store. Other key specs include a 1,024×600 pixel display, a 1.3Ghz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage that can be increased further by using a microSD card. According to Amazon, the Fire supports seven hours of battery life during moderate usage.

 

Perhaps most interesting, though, is the fact that the Fire comes with built-in advertising-based screensavers displaying Amazon promotions; a small additional payment is required to switch these off. Again, it’s hardly a shock to hear that there’s a semi-catch of this kind when the tablet itself only costs $50. It might also represent a shift in the market positioning of tablet devices, with more focus on business models similar to those of no-frills budget airlines and hotels, where extra payments are required for meals, seat selection, windows, towel rental, and so on.

 

Either way, the Amazon Fire could be the way into tablet use for companies that need their employees to have the ability to work remotely and flexibly, but which don’t require the more intensive capabilities of pricier higher-end devices. To learn more about adapting mobile technology in your business in order to boost efficiency and productivity, give us a call at 1-866-BIT-WISE or email sales@eitnetworks.net.

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18 Sep

Get More From Your Laptop Battery

Even in today’s world where electrical outlets are more numerous than ever before, there will still be times you need to push your laptop’s battery to the edge. Ever wish you could buy yourself a few extra minutes by extending your battery life? Here are a few tips to help you get every last drop of energy from your laptop battery.

 

Dim the screen

 

The easiest way to conserve your battery is to dim the screen of the laptop. The screen eats up a lot of energy, and chances are you don’t really need it that bright in the first place. The more you dim it, the more energy you will save. If you are desperate for battery life, turning it down to the lowest setting that still renders screen readable to you is the way to go. If you just want to conserve energy, taking it down to halfway will help conserve the battery and give you additional time down the road.

 

Stop charging your phone

 

It is almost second nature for people to charge their phones when they have a chance, but doing so while using your laptop can be a serious drain on its battery. If you need to maximize your laptop battery then unplug your phone, tablet or other device from it. You should see a big difference in battery performance almost immediately. In fact, it is best not to have any USB accessories, such as a wireless mouse, plugged in at all. These can also deplete your laptop battery in short order.

 

Only use what you need

 

While it’s fine to keep open multiple programs, applications, and other features when your laptop is plugged in, these will eat away at your battery life when you’re away from a power socket. You should run a quick inventory on what you are using, and then close out of the rest. Do you really need to be running Skype if you are not talking to anyone? Probably not. Don’t just push them into the background, though. Be sure to close out of them completely. By only running what you need, you can reduce the burden on your battery.

 

Shutdown Wi-Fi

 

Wi-Fi can be one of the biggest drags on a laptop battery, because it is constantly using energy to search for new networks or to stay connected to the one it’s on. Not only that, but internet browsers, especially ones with multiple tabs open, can increase energy consumption. If you aren’t using the internet, you should shut off the Wi-Fi and close out of any browsers. If you do need to use the internet, avoid opening multiple tabs, watching videos or streaming music.

 

Plan ahead

 

If you aren’t sure when you will be able to charge your laptop again, it is best to implement some of these battery-saving techniques before the situation gets critical. Chances are if you aren’t using certain apps now, you probably weren’t using them 30 minutes ago either. The best way to conserve your laptop’s battery life is by being vigilant and alert to usage in advance. It is almost always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to the battery life left on your laptop.

 

Let us show you how to get the most out of your laptop. Our trained experts can also answer all your hardware questions. Drop us a line at 1-866-BIT-WISE for more information.

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