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September 26th, 2011

Will the Windows Desktop PC become extinct? Is it going the way of the dinosaur? Are we seeing the beginning of an era in which a new wave of devices and operating systems will dominate the computing world? Read on and weigh in with your thoughts.

Last year, Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple, proclaimed the beginning of what he called the “post-PC” era. This, just after news of stellar numbers for Apple, surpassing Microsoft in market valuation for the first time in recent historylargely on the back of strong sales from its iPhone and iPad computing devices, threatening to displace the market for traditional desktop PCs according to many analysts. In some ways this is an ironic turn of events, considering that it was this same CEO and company that ushered in the PC era to begin with, more than thirty years ago.

But in that era, it was really the IBM PC that was the iconic symbol of that period. In August of this year, the IBM PC celebrated its 30th anniversary, which was introduced nearly five years after the arrival of Apple’s own desktop devices. But again in an interesting turn events, for nearly twenty of those thirty years, it was actually Microsoft and Intel, and not IBM, that reaped the benefits of the success of the PC device. It was Microsoft’s Operating System and Intel’s chips which earned the lion’s share of profits from the rise of the Desktop PC, not the manufacturers and assemblers. And as PCs decline as Steve Jobs predicted they will, this has prompted even the largest PC manufacturers such as HP to reassess their future.

But is the PC truly dead, if not dying? Even one of the IBM PC’s original inventors thinks so. In an interview with IBM Executive Mark Dean, who was one of the IBM PC’s original engineers, he predicts a day when the desktop PC will go the way typewriters did when desktop PCs came along. They will still be around for several years, he says, but in the future people will primarily use handheld or mobile PCs for work and play.

That may be true, but the future is not here yet. Earlier, Microsoft gave a statement that it still expects over 400 million desktop PCs running its operating system to ship this yeara business well worth over $19 billion dollars for the company. There are still several things that a Desktop PC, in particular those running Windows, can do better than handheld or mobile devices today, such as:

  1. Running business applications. Although many applications may be moving to the cloud, many business-critical applications such as accounting and financials, operations, project management, and customer management still require a Windows PC.
  2. Content creation. Have you ever tried to create a blog post, edit a photo, or animate or render a movie from a tablet? It may be possible but it’s still not easyeven for the pros. Most will still be doing their work on desktop workstations for still several years in the foreseeable future.

Do you agree? Are we in the beginning of a post-PC era or do you think it will be a PC-plus era as Microsoft believes? Weigh in and let us know!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.


May 18th, 2011

We are seeing Macs and PCs together in more and more offices. Here are some tips to make sure these devices can get along with each otherwhether it be sharing files between the two systems, sharing printers, having them talk to each other on the same network, and even running apps on both systems.

Unlike a few years ago when Microsoft’s Windows operating system virtually dominated office desktops everywhere, today we are increasingly seeing the use of other operating systems in the office. Typically these other systems are some model of Apple’s Macintosh running its own operating system called the OS X. The OS X, known for its sleek graphics, great multimedia handling capabilities, and easy-to-learn user interface, has gained favor among many users and businesses.

Sometimes, however, problems arise when having to use different systems in the same office or network environment. Here are some tips to eliminate common issues your users might face when working with others on a different system:

  • File Sharing. There was a time when transferring files between a Mac and a PC was a painful process requiring understanding different file system structures, resource forks, file name limits, and other such nonsense. Thankfully those days are over. Many Mac applications today can open files created on a PC and vice versasuch as office documents, images, video, and more. Getting files from one system to another is also easy as you can transfer via a removable drive. Both systems should recognize the file system on the driveespecially if it was formatted using Window’s file system (doing it the other way around might be a bit more difficult). OS X “Leopard” Macs can also read or write to drives that have been formatted using a special format from Microsoft called NTFS, and other freely downloadable utilities can also help. If this sounds like too much work to understand, you can also simply burn a CD or email files from one system to anotheror better yet, set up a network for file sharing.
  • Making Macs and PCs talk on the same network. If you’re a little more tech savvy, you can connect your Macs to your PCs directly or via a network. Typically this requires a network cable connected to both devices and having network sharing turned on. Enabling network sharing is outside the scope of this tip, but many online resources are available to help you connect a PC to a Mac or a Mac to a PC.
  • Running the same desktop applications on both a Mac and a PC. For really advanced users, did you know that you can run Windows on a Mac or OS X on a PC? The former is bit easier and more common, thanks to techniques such as dual booting or virtualization. In dual booting (what Apple calls “Boot Camp”), you essentially install both operating systems on a Mac and on power up, you can choose which operating system to boot. Virtualization on the other hand is way slicker as you can run both operating systems at the same time. In virtualization, you boot Windows in a window within OS X, allowing you to effectively run Windows applications on a Mac. There are also many commercial applications that can help with this.
  • The future: Cloud Applications. As we all start to access more cloud-based applications, the operating system you use is no longer as critical. As long as your systems have an Internet connection and a browser, then you can use different systems and it doesn’t matter what operating system or hardware is being used.

So running both Macs and PCs in the same office is not necessarily a bad thing, as it has been in the past. Dozens of options exist today to make the situation manageable, if not downright easy. If you need help, don’t worry we’re here to assist. Call us today to find out how you can get Macs and PCs to work together for your business today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 21st, 2011

Skype, together with its partners Panasonic and Samsung, has developed the first generation of Skype-enabled TVs that allow you to call and receive video calls from anyone who has Skype, and make video calls to users with Skype (v5.0+) for Windows or Mac on their computers or laptops.

Technology continues to evolve each day, and the internet especially has made life easier and more convenient. You can shop online, conduct research from any location, bank online, and even have meetings and conferences online. There’s no need to fly from one state or country to another for board meetings, and no need to pay for expensive telephone bills for conference calls. Downloadable internet programs allow you to meet as long as you want, and if both parties have downloaded the same program it’s free. One such program is Skype.

Skype is a software application that enables registered users to make voice calls and group chats over the internet, as well as use offline messaging, instant messaging, and chat history storage. Calls between Skype users are free, and calls to landline and mobile phones can be made for a fee using a debit-based user account system.

In January 2006, video conferencing between two users was introduced, and in 2010 Skype began offering free video conferencing with up to 5 people. Today, Skype has brought video conferencing a step further:  to your widescreen TV.

The Skype-enabled TV was developed by David Dinka and his team as a result of interviews conducted worldwide asking respondents about their communication needs. The interviews uncovered a common desire to be able to speak to their colleagues, family, and friends from a more comfortable place than their desks, and they prefer to make video calls on a big screen.

Together with its partners Panasonic and Samsung, Skype has developed the first generation of Skype-enabled TVs that allow you to call and receive video calls from anyone who has Skype. You can also video call users with Skype for Windows or Mac (version 5.0 and above) on their computers or laptops.

How does it work? You’ll need a Skype-enabled TV (Sony and VIZIO will also offer models later this year) and a webcam developed specifically to work with your TV and Skype. These special webcams have built-in microphones that allow you to make calls from a distance without having to shout or move closer to the TV. Some Panasonic TVs will even allow you to make HD video calls. To maximize your video calls, it’s recommended that you have a 1Mbs symmetric broadband connection.

For entrepreneurs with several offices around the country or even around the world, this will be especially useful, allowing them to link offices and have a full-time video connection for free.

And with Skype TV, you won’t have to stay glued to your desk staring into the small screen of your computer during conference calls. You can be seated comfortably on your sofa with a clear view of everyone involved. And because the service is free, you won’t have to worry about rushing through meetings to keep operation costs down. You get your work done at the pace that you set.

For more details about Skype TV, please visit the Skype website:  www.skype.com.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.