Carrollton Dermatology Associates
Dr. Thomas H. Lamb, MD.
Brighter Image, Inc.
RA-Lin and Associates
North Georgia Turf, Inc.
The computer's hard drive is one of the most essential components of your machine. This is where all of the programs and data are stored, and without it, the majority of computers would be more or less useless. Of course, hard drives have a finite amount of space, and you may eventually run out. One way around this is to use external hard drives, but are they useful for businesses?
Hard drives are separate drives that you can connect to almost every computer. The vast majority of drives use a USB cable, while some are Apple specific and use the Thunderbolt cable. Because computers, by default, don't rely on these drives in order to operate, they can usually be connected to other devices as long as they have the correct formatting.
There are numerous ways these hard drives can be used in the office. The most obvious is to back up data. Because many of these drives now come with a large amount of storage, you can easily fit computer backups and even systems onto a drive. Add in the fact that they are relatively cheap to purchase, and you can see how they can be a useful tool, especially when combined with other backup solutions.
Four benefits of using an external hard drive in your business The majority of external hard drives are used as some form of backup solution e.g., to actually back up systems, or to keep a copy of files, which afford several benefits:
Two different types of external hard drives
If you are looking to learn more about how you can leverage external hard drives in your business, please contact us today.
The Internet is by now an essential part of our daily lives. From connections at home, to our mobile devices and the office, many of us spend almost all of our waking hours connected and online. The thing is, not all Internet connections are the same. Are you aware of the different kinds of Internet connection available?
Below is a brief overview of the three major types of Internet connection available to many businesses.
Dial-up Dial-up uses a modem that is usually in your computer and connected to a phone line which in turn is connected to other modems. When you connect, your modem dials the other modems, which are usually owned by the phone provider, and establishes a connection, allowing you to access the Internet.
Dial-up is by far the slowest Internet connection, and is pretty rare in most population centers. It can still be found in some rural or remote areas, as it only requires existing telephone lines, but many Internet Service Providers (ISP) and telephone companies have stopped offering this service as technology has simply moved on.
Broadband Broadband refers to any high-speed Internet connection. There are a number of different types of broadband connections, the most popular being:
Other examples of wireless broadband include satellite broadband which is delivered to users by bouncing the connection off of geostationary satellites in orbit above Earth. Connection speeds can be as high as 1Gbit, but because of the distance the transmission has to travel, there is usually a delay of at least .5 seconds, or longer. If you are in a remote location, this is likely the best Internet connection available.
Looking to learn more about the different types of Internet connection available to your business? Why not contact us today to see if we can help.
Many portable electronic devices ship with limited amounts of storage space. Cameras for example rarely ship with an internal hard drive, instead relying on memory cards to store valuable information. Many Android smartphones and tablets also have a slot where you can stick a memory card in to increase storage space. The issue is that there are so many different types of removable memory cards that it can be challenging to differentiate between them.
This article is an overview of the two most popular types of removable memory cards that most electronics use: SD and CF.
SD Secure Digital cards, more commonly known as SD cards, are the most popular storage medium for smaller devices like smartphones and most digital cameras. There are three main types of SD card:
Each size of SD card usually comes in three different types. This designation actually dictates the maximum storage capacity of the card:
Another important point to be aware of with SD cards is the write speed - how fast data can be written, or saved, on the card. Manufacturers designate their SD cards in classes. Most manufacturers will use one of five class designations:
CF CF, or Compact Flash cards, are traditionally found in higher-end cameras like DSLRs. These cards tend to be much larger than SD cards, measuring 36mm length by 43mm wide. They are generally more robust - able to work harsher conditions - than their smaller SD counterparts.
Currently, CF cards are available with up to 128GB of storage capacity. While this is seemingly lower than SD cards, CF can write data a heck of a lot quicker. Take a look at most CF cards, and you will see the words UDMA - Ultra Direct Memory Access. This technology allows for faster data transfer between the memory card and the device.
There are eight different UDMA numbers which indicate how fast data can be written.
If you are looking for a new memory card, it's important to pay attention to what your device's manufacturer recommends, largely because these cards - both SD and CF - can be expensive.
Looking to learn more about memory? Why not give us a shout, we'd be happy to sit down with you.
There is a rising trend among home and private users to want to connect and share what is on their computer on their TV. The ability to show content from sites such as Hulu on your TV is not a new demand, and in fact many users have been doing so through the use of HDMI cables for a number of years. Recently however, there have been a number of devices that utilize WiFi to display content on your TV or other similar device. This technology has piqued the interest of numerous businesses who have asked if or how they can use this technology.
These devices, often referred to as dongles, come in a variety of different sizes, with a variety of functionality. However, they serve one main purpose, to allow you to stream content on your TV. Here is an overview of three of the more popular devices that enable this capability and some examples of how businesses are using it.
Apple AirPlay This little black box allows Apple users to stream content from their Apple computers or iDevice onto any monitor with an HD connection - most users connect the AirPlay to their TV, but if you have a projector with HDMI in, or a VGA adapter, you should be able to hook up AirPlay to bigger screens and even projectors.
The strength of this device is that it allows you to share what you see on your iPhone or iPad. If you have a presentation on your iPad, you can simply connect to AirPlay and share it on a big screen - no more having to carry around a bulky laptop.
AirPlay also supports mirroring. If you have a newer Mac laptop, you can connect to AirPlay and share your laptop's screen, and essentially turning any HD enabled monitor into another monitor. Again, this is ideal for users who need to give presentations or live demonstrations.
The main downside to the AirPlay is that to be able to share your screen, you need to have Apple devices.
Google Chromecast This recently announced dongle was created by Google as a way to stream content like Netflix on your TV. While it is brand new, and the capability is yet to really be seen, the device does allow you to share what is on your browser with the screen/TV it is plugged into. The caveat here is that you have to use Chrome. If you have Chromecast and the latest version of Chrome, you can simply hit a button on Chrome and it will be mirrored to the TV or a display the dongle is plugged into.
There are two reasons this device could attract businesses. The first being the price - at under USD$40, it is the cheapest of any similar device. The second being it is easy to set up. You plug it into a free HDMI slot on the monitor you want to use, plug in the USB cable to a free port or wall mount, turn on the device and connect it to Wi-Fi using a tablet or phone app. This is especially useful for companies that use Google Apps like Drive, as you will be able to give presentations on the big screen easily.
The downside here is that this is new technology, so the features and streaming are limited for the time being. However, this should change fairly rapidly, especially because Google has made the software code that enables streaming to the device available to everyone; more apps and streaming should be coming soon.
Dell's Project Ophelia This may be a project you haven't heard of yet, but it holds some interesting promise. Project Ophelia is a small network enabled device (about the size of a thumb drive) that you plug into any device with an HDMI port. It then connects to a cloud service and displays the content on the screen.
An example of this is connecting to a virtualized desktop, whereby you are able to access your work computer from nearly anywhere. Think, no more carrying a laptop. Just plug it into a TV screen and attach a keyboard and mouse and away you go, connecting to your office over Wi-Fi.
If/when Dell launches this device, it could be a viable virtualization alternative, and especially useful for employees who move around to say different offices or locations on a regular basis. Not much else is known about the device at this time, but it should be coming soon; within the next year or so. Check out Dell's Project Ophelia page here to learn more about it.
Should I get one of these devices for the office? This is a tough question to answer. If you give presentations or use a TV for group meetings or teamwork, these devices could be a useful and inexpensive way to enable streaming. This could be especially useful for employees who are on the road and don't want to carry heavy laptops or worry about systems being compatible.
If you don't give regular presentations, or if you don't use Chrome, Android or Apple devices, these devices are not the best solution. After all, most newer laptops have HDMI ports and can broadcast/share their screen when they are plugged in (some may need an adapter). Our best advice would be to get into contact with us if you are curious about these devices. We may even have a better alternative that will work with your systems.
One of the integral components of a computer is the processor. It's considered the brain of the computer because it runs all the various programs and software. The most popular processors are the Core processors created by Intel. Intel has recently introduced the latest version (generation) of their processor, code named Haswell.
While the new processors are not out just yet, many business owners and managers are wondering what exactly this new version will bring and whether upgrading is worth it when it's released?
Overview of Intel's processors If you have looked at buying a computer in the past three years you have likely heard or seen computers being advertised as having an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7. These processors are Intel's current line or models, used in laptops and desktops.
This year's generation is called Haswell by Intel, but many computer manufacturers will not use this name when presenting technical specifications to users. They will instead use the model name e.g., Intel Core i7 4xxx.
Changes made with Haswell There are numerous changes that Haswell processors bring and here are three that businesses will benefit from:
Should I upgrade my systems? From what we can see about Haswell it will be worth the upgrade for businesses with aging systems, or users needing a boost to the processing power of their systems. If you updated last year, or even the year before that, you will likely be better off waiting a while yet.
Another option could be to wait until computers with Haswell processors enter the market, which should be by mid summer. You will probably be able to get computers with a third generation processor for a lot less. Meanwhile, a third generation processor should be more than able to meet all of your computing needs, especially if you have or invest in a Core i7.
If you are thinking of upgrading or would like to learn more, please contact us.
Computers are complex machines. If you’ve ever looked inside one you know it’s a confusing mess of wires and components. Like all machines, over time they will start to slow down and run slower than before. When this happens it can be troublesome for your productivity, and you may not be able to afford to purchase a new machine. Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep your machine running smoothly.
Below are four things you can do to keep your PC running smoothly.
1. Shutdown properly
If you turn your computer off at the end of the day, or it freezes, it may be tempting to flick the off switch on the power bar, or press the power button until it turns off. This isn’t ideal for your computer’s health because when a computer is unexpectedly shut down, there could be damage to the operating system.
You may notice that when your computer crashes, it takes longer to reboot. This is because Windows is actually searching for, or trying to repair any damage that may have been done. There is a chance that powering down improperly could cause files to become corrupted which may make the system inoperable.
Therefore, you should follow proper shutdown procedures. If you need to shut down quickly, try pressing Control+Alt+Delete and selecting Shut Down from there.
2. Close unnecessary programs running in the background
Some programs are written to be always running in the background. If you look in the bottom right of your screen, you should see programs running beside the clock. In truth, most of these likely don’t need to be open. You should be able to right click on the icon and close them. This will save computing resources and make your computer run smoother.
A word of warning: It’s best not to shut down the antivirus or security software as this will leave your computer open to attack. Also, don’t shut down anything from NVIDIA or AMD as this is your video card software. Closing programs like this could cause your computer to crash.
3. Utilize Add/Remove on a regular basis
Chances are high that you have installed a fairly high number of programs on your computer, some of which you may not use anymore. Those you don’t use just take up valuable hard drive space, and should be removed on a regular basis. You can do this by:
It may take a few minutes to scan your system for programs, but a window will open with all the programs you have installed. Click on those you don’t use anymore and remove them. We strongly recommend that you do not go into different files and delete programs, this could damage your system.
4. Use a malware scanner and antivirus program
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it is still worth mentioning that having an antivirus program and malware scanner is a good idea. Many viruses and other malware often hijack system resources causing the computer to run slower, or crash. A regular scan can go a long way in minimizing this, which means your computer will likely run better for longer.
If you are looking for ways to keep your older systems running at their optimal levels, please contact us today to see how we can help you.
Have you ever talked with, or listened to computer or tech experts and heard them banter back and forth using terms that sound outlandish and weird? It's possible that one term that's had you scratching your head is overclocking. The question some manager's may ask when they hear this tech term is, "What exactly is overclocking and can my business benefit?"
Here's a brief overview of overclocking.
Definition: Overclocking When it comes to most tech based devices, the processor (or CPU) is the integral component that functions as the brain of the device; it runs the show. The job of the CPU is to take instructions and input from all the other devices and components and execute them. For example, double-click on a program on your desktop and the CPU computes what to do with the mouse click (open the program), and runs the related code, which is shown as the program opening.
One thing many computer sales people talk about is processor or CPU speed. This is the number of instructions it can run in one second. These instructions are grouped together into one cycle, and one cycle per second equates to a Hertz. You may see computers that have 2Ghz processors, this means 2 Gigahertz or 2,000,000,000 cycles in one second.
Now, when manufacturers release a new CPU they design it to run at a standard, or optimal speed, and will generally limit it. This is done to preserve the life of the components, however there are often ways to break this speed limiter. When you raise the maximum clock speed, beyond the intended clock speed, you are overclocking it.
Why overclock? The main reason users overclock a processor is to make their computer or device run faster. By overclocking, programs will often run or open faster and the general operation will seem smoother. In other words, you can get more out of existing technology without paying to upgrade.
Are there any drawbacks? While overclocking will give you more power and speed, there are some serious drawbacks that make this option risky. The biggest being heat. As you probably have noticed, when you use some devices (say a laptop on your lap) for an extended period of time, they get warm. That's because the components of computers create heat, lots of heat. When you overclock, the processor works harder, thereby generating more heat.
Computers are designed to operate at certain temperatures and if this level is surpassed, the components can wear out more quickly or in extreme cases melt. This means that overclocking will cause your computer's parts to wear out quicker and will decrease the life of the device.
Should we overclock our devices? Did you know that you can overclock nearly anything with a processor? The most common are computers and new smartphones, especially Android devices. When you hear people talking about overclocking their device, they are almost always talking about personal devices.
While it's true, you will get a speed boost in the short run, overclocking will increase your IT budget in the future, because you will have to replace parts more often than is usual. Because most businesses tend to use their technology longer than personal users, any action that causes tech to wear out more quickly is not a good idea.
That being said, you can also do the opposite of overclocking. Underclocking is telling a computer's processor to run slower than it's designed speed. This will increase component life but decrease processing power, and could be beneficial for companies that have new computers and don't need intensive computing resources.
Before you take any actions however, it is best to talk to us, as we may have a better solution for you and one that will cost less.
There are many tools that business managers will consider to be an integral part of their job. One tool most will agree on is the computer. Simply put, many of us would not be able to do our jobs without them. While they are indispensable, many users don't know much about their trusty desktop or laptop. There is no doubt that the modern computer is a complicated machine. However, it could help to know a bit about the hardware you use on a daily basis.
Here's a basic overview of the seven essential hardware components of the modern computer that businesses rely on. These components are found in nearly every computer, and now many tablets and smartphones too.
1. Motherboard Think of the motherboard as the backbone of nearly any technological device. It holds all the major components of the computer, including the hard drive, processor, memory and peripheral ports like the USB. Most motherboards in computers, and to some extent laptops, are called expandable. This means that you can replace components as long as they are compatible. For example, you can take out a hard drive and replace it with another that has more storage capacity.
If you can't take parts out, you may see the term mainboard used. This term is usually applied to devices like TVs, washing machines, refrigerators, and so on.
2. Networking cards Networking cards, or network interfacing cards, may be separate cards or integrated into the motherboard. Their purpose is to provide a way for your computer to connect to the network and Internet.
Many new computers will have the network card integrated into the motherboard, along with other components. If you own a laptop, you can connect to Wi-Fi networks through a Wi-Fi card which is usually close to the outer edges of the device. Most desktops don't have this card, but you can purchase them if you want to be able to connect to Wi-Fi.
3. Graphics card A graphics or video card can come in two varieties - integrated or expansion. An integrated video card is connected directly to the motherboard and is usually found as a part of the processor. An expansion video card is a separate card that is connected to another part of the motherboard called an expansion port. The job of the video card is to create the graphics and images that can be shown on a monitor. Without one of these, we would not be able to visualize the data, and computers would be useless.
4. Processor The processor - also known as a Central Processing Unit or CPU - is the brain of the computer. Its job is to carry out the instructions of computer programs that are stored in the computer's memory.
The speed of a processor is measured in MHz or Megahertz. This measurement indicates how fast a processor can read electrical pulses. For example, a 100MHz processor can read 100,000,000 pulses of light in one second. As a reference, most mid to high-range computers have processors with speeds around 3.0GHz.
5. Hard drive The hard drive is where programs and files are stored. More traditional drives are called Hard Disk Drives (HDD) and are comprised of a series of magnetized disks which store the data. These disks spin under a magnetic arm which can read and write data.
Newer hard drives are called Solid-state Drives (SSD) and use electrical circuits to store data. These are much faster than traditional HDDs and are starting to be found in more and more computers.
6. USB ports The Universal Serial Bus, or USB, is a standard that covers a certain type of cable, connectors and communication. It is a standard way for computer components like mice, keyboards, phones, etc. to be connected to the computer. Nearly everything that is not a physical part of the motherboard or internal computer is connected using a USB connection.
The cool thing about the USB is not only does it allow you to use your computer as a communication device, but it also allows the connected device to draw electrical power from the computer, essentially transforming your computer into an electrical outlet. That's why you can charge your phone, or run an external hard drive simply by plugging it into your computer's USB port. This standard has become so popular that many computers now come with multiple ports - some with as many as eight!
7. Monitor ports Computers are great, but without monitors, they would be largely useless for everyday use. Monitors come in many sizes and varieties. Newer monitors can connect to your computer through HDMI or VGA ports. HDMI - High-Definition Multimedia Interface - is a newer format that can display high-definition images, while VGA - Video Graphics Array - is typically found in older monitors.
As technology advances, you will see fewer VGA monitors and connections in use, with many manufacturers offering monitors that only use HDMI.
This was just a basic overview of the essential components of a computer, if you would like to learn more about the machine you use on a daily basis, please contact us. We would be happy to sit down with you and give you a more detailed tour of the inside of your computer.
There are many different tools and pieces of hardware businesses use and rely on. One of the more common, found in nearly every business, is the printer. Printers come in all shapes, sizes and categories and it's not uncommon to find more than one type of printer in a single business. When it comes time to replace, or buy a new printer, many bosses are at a loss as to the different kinds of printers out there.
Here is a brief overview of the five main types of printers most often used in businesses.
Impact Impact printers work by physically striking an inked ribbon onto paper, one dot at a time, to make up the printed image or word. Most users refer to this printer as a dot matrix which is the name of the physical printing mechanism.
Impact printers are the simplest and oldest form of printer used by businesses. They are most often used for documents or forms that require multiple impressions, like paychecks and older style invoices. While you can still find companies using these printers, and can still buy them, most businesses are opting for more efficient, and quieter units.
Laser Laser printers use create a static charge on a drum which attracts and melts toner, which is then passed over a piece of paper to produce the printed image or text. They are fast, efficient, print high-quality text and are generally economical.
These printers are similar to large photocopy machines, (they use the same technology), and can often offer the same capabilities, just in a smaller package. They are best suited for offices that print large amounts of text, like business reports and simple graphics.
Inkjet Inkjets physically spray ink from a nozzle onto the page to make the graphic or text. These printers are generally slower than laser printers, but tend to produce higher quality printed images, and are usually cheaper to purchase.
If you have a business that needs to print high-quality graphic-heavy documents e.g. brochures, the inkjet is likely your best bet. On the downside, ink is absorbed by standard paper causing some smudging, so for the best quality you will have to use more expensive printer paper.
Multifunction An increasingly popular printer is the multifunction or all-in-one. Part copier, fax machine, scanner and printer, these machines bring a number of important office tools together into one package. These printers often come in both laser and inkjet versions and many can even connect to Wi-Fi.
If you are looking to replace existing components, like the scanner and copier, these types of printers are an ideal solution. If you are looking for a new printer then they are perfect, as you won't have to buy other peripherals.
Thermal Thermal printers use heat and specially treated paper to print. You see them most often in receipt and cash machines. If you own a restaurant, store, etc. one of these printers can be a valuable investment.
There are a wide variety of printers out there, and we can guarantee that there will be one that meets your needs. If you are looking for a new system, or to replace existing components, why not call us today. We may have a printing solution that fits your needs.
Laptops are invaluable machines that allow you to take the office with you, without having to lug around a massive desktop. What is also really useful about them is that most new laptops have the same power as desktops but in a much smaller case. There is a price to be paid however: Cram enough components into a small space and they will generate heat. Lots of heat. Excessive temperatures aren't good for laptops, and need to be addressed.
Here's five tips on how to reduce the heat your laptop generates
Keep it out of the heat and sun - Laptops are designed to operate within a set heat range (usually between 30 and 55 Celsius or 86 to 131 Fahrenheit). If the ambient temperature is high, the laptop's operating temperature will be higher, which will greatly increase component wear and the chances of your device overheating. It's best to keep your laptop in a cooler room and out of the sun. If that's not possible, turn off your computer when it's not in use.
Put your laptop on your desk, not the couch - Those pieces of rubber on the corners of the underside of your laptop are like tiny feet, they are meant to provide enough space for air to circulate under the device and cool it. You'll notice that if you keep your laptop on a fabric surface like a couch or table with a tablecloth, the bottom gets really hot. To avoid this, it's best to keep your laptop on a solid, flat surface.
Don't use your laptop on your lap - Despite the name, laptops don't the best thing to use on your lap. There have been incidents in the past of laptops overheating and burning users. This happens because air can't circulate under the laptop and pull heat away. So best to keep your laptop on a flat surface rather than on your lap.
Invest in a cooling pad or lapdesk - If you find that the bottom of your laptop gets hot even on a desk, you could look for a cooling pad. Your laptop sits on this device, which plugs into your USB port, while fans cool down your machine by circulating air. If you feel comfortable with your laptop on your lap then look for a lapdesk which has a flat surface for it to sit on.
Clear dust out of the machine - Dust is one of your laptop's worst enemies. It often collects in nooks and crannies and over time can cause components to stop working. One place you'll often find a lot of dust is on the cooling fan's blades. If it builds up, your fans will not be able to spin and cool your laptop. To tell if your fans are affected by dust: Put your hand near the fan vents and run a power intensive program, or watch an HD movie. If you can feel a steady stream of hot air coming out, you are ok. If you don't feel anything, it might be time to clean your fan.
With many laptops, you won't be able to access the fan without opening the case. It's important to remember that many manufacturers have a clause that if you open the case, the warranty is voided. If your machine is still under warranty, take it into a vendor to be cleaned. Also, if you're unsure about what you're doing when you open the case, it's best to let professionals clean your computer instead.
It's good to remember that laptops will always be warm to hot when you use them, and more power intensive programs will cause them to heat up even more. If you don't take steps to manage the heat though you could see the life of components and your battery decreasing, and an increase in random shutdowns. If your laptop shuts down, or starts to beep, this is a good indication the components are overheating. You should give your computer at least half an hour to cool down before starting up again.
In general, not taking care of your laptop will mean you will have to replace it earlier, which is an added expense many businesses can't afford in this current economic climate. If you find that your laptop isn't running the way it used to, and seems increasingly hot, don't go out and buy a new one. Instead, give us a call, as we may have a cool solution for you.