All of the celebrations are behind us, it is time to get back to work. What are you planning to do this year to make your company more profitable?
We like to work together with our customers to help them plan ways to make their companies more productive, all the while keeping in mind that costs are just as important as increased productivity. Is your current configuration of servers, laptops, desktops, tablets and phone system up to snuff to handle an increase in production?
If your hardware is still good, then check your software. Using older, outdated software programs can cause production delays and frustrate staff and management alike. Make sure your old files are archived and there is plenty of room for the new files you will be building.
Are you still running Windows 7 or 8? We had a few posts about that here on the blog. It’s beyond time to commit to Windows 10 and all related server products. Yes, switching to a new operating system is frustrating, but once your people get used to the differences, it is worth having the protection of up to date software running on your systems.
“Platforms: Start using technology platforms to advance the organization. From search engine optimization to digital assistants to digital automation to virtual reality, what platform will you be using in 2020 to increase member value and the relevance of your organization?
Other online writers are emphasizing the changing face of your workforce. From Millenials who grew up with technology, to boomers, who have learned so much from their experiences and everyone in between. Your workplace culture has to be able to provide an environment that is good for all of these groups.
We look forward to a busy and prosperous year, and we hope the same for you.
I just read an article at Life Hack that offered this statistic, ” According to the recent GEM Global report, almost 100 million businesses are launched annually; which comes to over three businesses every second, or 11,000 new startups per hour. For these small business owners all over the world who compete head-to-head against big guns every day, technology is a vital tool that’s leveling the playing field for these entrepreneurs.”
Here in Vero Beach, there aren’t many places to build a career outside of the Hospitality Industries. People who want a new career, or who see the need for certain types of products or services simply start their own company. Company owners will do their due diligence, build a business plan, find an office, hire employees and all of the rest that goes with a startup. But today, that’s simply not enough. Now you need a system or network of servers, laptops, desktops, tablets, phones, and AR that will help you keep all of those plans in motion.
You need a social media presence, a web presence, and a robust computer network to run it all. It’s important to have the right tools available for you and your employees and make certain that lines of communication are open. Both technically, and in person. Studies show that the better we communicate, the more likely it is employees will be happy, and happy employees can make all of the difference in the success of a company.
It’s also important that your data is protected, that you are providing the most up to date security measures for anyone logging on to your system. Hackers abound and they have nothing better to do than to make your life miserable or cost you money to get your data back. These days they don’t just target big companies, in fact, they like to prey on the vulnerable. If you don’t have a full time IT Support staff or even if you do, it’s always good to have some help from an outside source like Unified Techs.
Managed IT Services, are they for you? Well, it depends. If your company stores customers’ data, if you accept credit cards for payment, if you have more than just a couple of employees, we would say yes.
While most computers look pretty much the same as they have for the past 20 years or so, the internals are changing and getting faster. You can thank the competive nature of the two biggest chip manufacturers for that.
AMD and Intel have been in competition for years. While AMD is known for cheap and realtively reliable chips to power laptops and desktops, Intel has always been the industry leader for the more expensive machines with higher processing power.
Digital Trends magazine recently published a post that goes into great technical detail as to why AMD pulled ahead in the race to see who has the fastest, most efficient line of Servers. The bottom line is it looks like AMD is keeping the pressure on Intel, and despite that, it seems to me that Intel still has the advantage in the higher-end products. Take a look for yourself and see what you think. This is a small excerpt from November 27, 2019, Digital Trends Website:
With cost serving as a major factor in building, upgrading, or purchasing a PC, choosing the right CPU often comes down to finding the one that offers the best bang for your buck.
In the past, AMD CPUs offered lower prices paired with lower performance. That’s not the case with its latest generation of CPUs. While AMD still represents great value for money, it does have several costly options which are even more powerful than the Intel alternative in some cases.
At the very low-end of the scale, AMD and Intel chips cost between $40 and $60 for a couple of cores and energy-efficient clock speeds. At the top of the scale, however, both camps have amazingly capable $500 chips.
For the red team, AMD’s Ryzen 9 3950X is the current king with 16 cores and 32 threads. It pierces that $500 range with a suggested price of $749.
Meanwhile, Intel’s current top gamer chip, the 9900K, comes with eight cores and 16 threads. It’s clocked a little higher with a 5GHz single-core boost versus AMD’s 3950X at 4.7GHz. It is priced at $472. For middle-ground options, our recommended Intel chips include the Core i5-9400F for $145 and the Core i7-9700K for $359.
The laptop market is a different story. Most of what you’ll find are based on Intel processors of various generations and integrated graphics. As a Dell representative pointed out last year, Intel’s portfolio is simply huge compared to AMD: The gap between the two companies is substantial in terms of market share and “use cases.”
AMD is set to have its hardware at the heart of many laptops by the end of 2019, however. It’s already included in a few new offerings, like the new Acer Swift 3 or the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3. Progress on the mobile front will continue into 2020, though there’s a long road ahead.
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
For now, however, the market is mostly dominated by Intel. You can pick from a wide range of configurations, including 8th, 9th, and 10th-gen CPUs. The latest range sports Intel Ice Lake 10th-generation processors with 11th-generation onboard graphics. They represent some of the most capable and efficient laptops available, like the new Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. As an alternative to Ice Lake, Intel also offers 10th-gen Comet Lake processors, which include a special six-core Core i7.
Typically if you’re looking for good, all-round power in a laptop, Intel Core i5 processors from one of the recent generations are a great bet. Core i7 and Core i9 CPUs offer much more general computing performance, but unless you’re performing some heavy workloads, a Core i5 is going to be more than enough in most cases.”
Overall, both companies produce processors within striking distance of one another on nearly every front — price, power, and performance. Intel chips tend to offer better performance per core, but AMD compensates with more cores at a given price and better onboard graphics. Until Ryzen 4000 mobile chips land in 2020, Intel has a serious lead in this category
Mid-range Ryzen processors are well worth considering too. The Ryzen 3600 and 3600X offer incredible value while being very capable gaming chips. Even at the very low end, AMD’s Ryzen with Vega APUs offer decent gaming performance that’s worth considering. But their weaker processing capabilities mean they aren’t the best value long term unless you plan to upgrade down the line.
Unless you’re trying to play at very high frame rates or are locked to lower resolutions, like 1080p, the CPU is rarely the limiting factor in games. Springing for a more powerful graphics card will usually yield better results than shelling out cash for a more powerful processor.
And don’t forget that syncing technology like FreeSync and G-Sync can also make a big difference in gaming appearance, with or without optimizing your processor.
In some cases, you can opt for the best of both worlds. Intel and AMD recently partnered to create combination chips with Intel CPU cores and AMD GPU cores on the same die with the likes of the Core i7-8809G. In our testing of the 8809G-equipped “Hades Canyon” NUC, we found it to be a solid gaming machine, so it could be that this partnership leads to much greater hardware options in the future.”
What does this mean for business owners? It means that these two chip manufacturers are competing for who can make the fastest, most reliable products and while we as end-users probably don’t give a big whoop about who actually wins, the competition of these two companies and the quality and speed of the processors and servers will ultimately benefit you. The Faster the processing speed, the more data you can move in a shorter period of time. The better access you will have to data which will ultimately improve your business and so on and so forth.
It’s all too easy to fall into a comfortable rut. Repeating a routine that has worked well for us or our company in the past, not wanting to reach too far outside of our comfort zones, and just moving along with the tide. But is that a good way to move your business forward? Some say, “NO”
Forbes magazine published a post on the Five Most Important Skills for managers to develop back in February of this year. Not one of those skills on the list was the ability to stay the same year after year. Instead, what the writer valued as the skills a good manager should have were:
The ability to learn
Value your staff
The Willingness to empower”
You can read the entire piece at this link Forbes . For purposes of this post, however, I would like to talk about the first point in the post, Curiosity.
It seems an odd term to equate with a successful business, but it’s really not. If you aren’t curious about how your competitors and fellow business owners are running their operations, or about new methodologies or technologies which could make your services or products better than they were this year, then you will be falling behind the curve.
Here is what she had to say:” This means becoming more agile and more open to new experiences, as well as being more aware of which technologies could work best for their organizations and more open to implementing those technologies. Being curious allows managers to better listen to their colleagues and workers and to take on board new ideas that could benefit their organization, argues Vanderheyden. It enables managers to consider new solutions to any obstacles that they might encounter, allowing them to react quicker and more effectively.”
At Unified Technology Solutions, we are constantly educating ourselves in order to offer the people we work with the very best solutions for their technology needs. We are curious by nature and we think it’s because of our willingness to look at things and puzzle out how they work that we are so good at what we do.
What are you curious about going into the end of this decade and coming up on a new one? Better yet, what SHOULD you be curious about?
About this time every year, we talk about preparing for the upcoming new year. If your company is growing, if you are considering a move to a new location, if you are adding new data processing tools, then you would be wise to give us a call and let us help you put a plan together.
Time after time we get called in after things have been put in motion, and almost without exception, it would have been less expensive and much more efficient if we had been in on your plans from the beginning.
If we have never worked with your company before, it’s the time for us to come in and study your operation. If you are a current customer, then we have a pretty good idea of how things are currently running, what upgrades would be necessary to add more software and computers.
It’s also a great time to think about ditching your old phone system. At UTS, we can help you pick the best solutions for the phone traffic at your firm.
Some companies may need to use more of the features of their new VoIP system than others will. Still, there are also current customers who have a VoIP system installed and they aren’t taking full advantage of some of the great tools which come along with the newer VoIP Systems.
It’s also important to make sure you have the latest version of Antivirus software running on your system. We can run checks on your computers and clean up any junk, or malware that might be hiding on your system.
We can perform “Housekeeping tasks” to keep your systems uncluttered and running smoothly. In other words, clearing off old documents and moving them to an archival device. Cleaning out old usernames and passwords.
Be prepared for a fast start on the first few business days of 2020. Give us a call.
There are a number of companies that use Microsoft Word to type, format and store documents. They use Microsoft Excel to create financial reports and track inventory. They use Microsoft PowerPoint to share information at Seminars and corporate training.
Living in Florida, one of the first lessons anyone learns is that sudden and radical changes in temperature and humidity will totally wreak havoc on your electronic devices. You may not realize this, but just the simple act of carrying your laptop from your air-conditioned hotel room out to the swimming pool can create real problems.
Condensation can quickly form on the inside of your laptop in situations like this, and when you combine water + electricity + moving parts it is a recipe for disaster. First thing, you must be sure that you power off your machine prior to moving it (good advice regardless of the temperature), and just wait a few minutes for your system to adjust to the new conditions before powering it back on again.
When your laptop or tablet is exposed to excessive heat, especially for extended periods, it causes all sorts of issues for devices. In fact, it’s not unusual for these devices to begin to experience unexplained crashes, random shutdowns, as a result of being left in very hot air. It is likely, in those circumstances that you will most certainly lower the life of your laptop or tablet, so please think about protecting your, or your employer’s investment.
So what should you do first: Check where the intake and exhaust vents on your laptop are located. Most computer manufacturers place them at the side or rear, while poorly designed ones may put them on the bottom. Regardless, though, it is far too easy to block those vents by using your laptop on a soft surface.
Pillows, beds, even your lap can restrict airflow and cause significant heat build-up. When the surrounding air temperature is already 30+ degrees Celsius, that’s the last thing you need. Always place your laptop on a hard surface such as a table or chair when in use and/or elevate it slightly using a solid object, and it will stay remain much cooler over time.
Please realize that even when turned off your laptop can still be affected by the heat. Leaving your laptop in the car can wreak unspeakable damage. It’s not unusual for cars parked in direct sunlight to reach temperatures two or three times hotter than the outside air, for example. In that kind of heat, the components in your laptop will start to expand. This can potentially cause both short and long term damage, and as notebooks become ever-smaller and more cramped inside, this problem only gets worse.
Just these simple tips can make such a difference in the longevity of your system.
We’ve all heard the phrase, work smarter not harder. We have also heard umpteen experts telling how to schedule our day and get the most work done during our workday but we rarely hear about batch scheduling our tasks for efficiency.
Task-batching is very similar to time blocking but takes the method a giant, more efficient step further.
Batching involves completing similar tasks in a scheduled block, avoiding the need for switching back and forth between skills and concentrations.
Research shows that task switching is hugely detrimental to productivity. When we change our focus, it can take, on average, 15-23 minutes for your brain to “catch up” and re-focus.
Depending on how many different types of tasks you have on your to-do list, that can really add up, leading to a tremendous amount of lost or otherwise wasted time.
For example, every Monday you might plan out your Facebook or Instagram feed for at least a week. So instead of thinking of something to post every morning, you only have to think about it once per week (and then you don’t have to think about it again until next week!)
It works well because it keeps you focused on the task at hand. This can significantly lessen your struggle to think of things to post and it would take so much more time editing the posts day by day. But because you do them all at once, your attention is completely focused to easily create a week’s worth of content in an hour, for example.
This method is really the best way to make the most of your time.
Think of it like this. Your brain is like a computer with at least 30 tabs open and your brain is just jumping back and forth between ideas. But when you focus primarily on one task instead of 20 minutes on blogging, 30 minutes on Twitter, you get the point. You can focus and keep on task like never before.
Scheduling and batching is the best use of your time and will help you get so much more done! More time = more money.
How does your workweek look? Let me know in the comments if you have a similar structure to me, or if you have any other time-saving, productivity ideas!