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March 5th, 2013

Virtualization_Feb27_BThere are numerous tech buzzwords that surface each year, one of the more common in the past couple of years is virtualization. Being able to take physical systems and replace with a cheaper, often more efficient, virtual version, is something many businesses appreciate. Up to this point, most solutions have focused on desktops and servers. We predict that the next gadget to virtualize will be the smartphone.

Traditional smartphones are individual packages. The operating system and user are physically tied to the device. If you think about it, there are really only a few phones out there, and millions of people probably have the exact same one that you do. They differentiate their phones from others by the pictures, apps, videos, etc. stored on the device and the way they have personalized their phones.

Should you lose your phone, that data is likely lost, and you are faced with a potentially high cost to replace it. The two major operating system developers - Apple (iOS) and Google (Android) - have started to implement virtual backup solutions. Your contacts, apps and some personalization settings are backed up to the cloud and connected with a user account. When you enter the account information, you can quickly get the most important information from your phone back.

Combine this with the various cloud storage services that allow users to store their information, pictures, etc., with access from nearly any device. This integration with the cloud has enabled users to rely less on physical devices, and points to a potential virtualization concept: Non-dedicated devices.

The idea of non-dedicated devices is that you can use any device, regardless of manufacturer or OS, to access a system you can call your own. Imagine if your phone runs out of batteries. You borrow a friend's, log in using your username and password and that device instantly becomes personalized to you.

Could this work? There are currently three identifiable virtualization trends that point to non-dedicated mobile devices becoming  a reality:

  1. Increasing adoption of cloud services by mobile uses - Many mobile users have cloud storage apps installed on their devices and store some form of mobile related information or data on it. What's more, these apps are cross-platform meaning you can access them on iPhone, Android, Mac or Windows.
  2. Heavy personalization of mobile devices - OS developers have started to store more information in the cloud. Google, for example, can store your contacts and basic personalization choices - e.g., wallpaper and apps, pictures, and even your calendar, in the cloud. Make changes on your mobile and you will see these on your computer too.
  3. Ability to access whole work systems from a mobile device - There are apps for both Android and Apple devices that allow users to access and control their desktops and work systems directly from phone or tablet. This has decreased the need for users to be chained to their desk just to be able to do work.
It wouldn't be hard for an enterprising company to develop a system that integrates these three, already existing functions into a device. The only major stumbling block we can see is that current OS developers don't necessarily get along all that well. We predict that this virtualization will become a possibility on individual systems (Android and iOS), in the near future, but across systems may take longer.

We'd like to know what you think of non-dedicated devices. Would you use one? Are there any other problems you can foresee? Let us know today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 5th, 2013

gloStream_Mar05_AA new survey of 17,000 physicians by Black Book Rankings concludes that as many of 17 percent of physicians will switch electronic medical records (EMR) in 2013 because their first- choice systems aren’t meeting vendor expectations—a problem easily avoided with gloEMR, gloStream’s flagship EMR.

Most concerning to the EMR users surveyed were unmet requests made for sophisticated interfaces with other practice programs, for example. That’s not a problem with gloEMR, which is built on Microsoft technology and embedded with Microsoft Office, meaning it has a familiar look and feel. Additionally, most physicians already know how to operate it. Top that off with a user-friendly dashboard, and you have one of the most usable EMRs on the market.

“The high performance vendors emerging as viable past 2015 are those dedicating responsive teams to address customers’ current demands,” said Black Book’s managing partner Doug Brown, in a news release. gloEMR is one of those systems.

Other concerns for physicians considering a switch were complex connectivity and networking schemes, pacing with accountable-care progresses, and the rapid EMR adoption of mobile devices, the survey finds. gloStream is committed to keeping up with the changing EMR environment, and our confident that gloEMR can meet these needs as well.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic gloStream
March 5th, 2013

HealthcareIT_Mar05_AA new report suggests that 2013 may be the year of the great electronic medical records (EMR) vendor switch given that many EMRS are falling short of providers' expectations.

To come to that conclusion, Black Book Rankings polled roughly 17,000 active EMR adopters - and found that as many as 17 percent may switch out their first-choice EHR by the end of the year.

The reason: In light of Stage 2, provider demands are increasing, and EMR users are reporting that many EMRs aren’t living up to expectations. In fact, those polled cited numerous cases of software firms underperforming badly enough to lead them to lose market share.

As a result, 31 percent of survey respondents indicated they were "dissatisfied enough" with their EMR to consider switching. Of those users, the reasons cited for the potential switch were as follows: The EMR did not meet the practice’s needs (80 percent); the practice had not adequately assessed its needs before choosing the EMR (79 percent); the EMR design did not fit the medical specialty (77 percent); and the EMR vendor was unresponsive to requests (44 percent).

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 4th, 2013

AndroidTab_Feb27_BThere are numerous devices that help make a business owner's or manager's job easier, or more efficient. One example is the tablet, which has become popular across the board in all industries. As with any tech, we want to keep the information on it secure, so most professionals will use a password that when entered will allow them access it. From time-to-time someone forgets their password, and is left wondering what to do.

If you forget the password or combination to unlock your Android tablet there are a number of steps you can take.

Before you forget your password As you probably know, Android is heavily integrated with Google. When you first turned on your tablet, you were likely asked to sign up for, or link, a Google account to your device. If you didn't you should do so as it will make unlocking your tablet easier if you forget the password or pattern.

You can assign an account by going to Settings and scrolling down to Accounts and selecting Add account. Press on Google and if you already have a Google account tap Existing and enter the relevant information. Pressing New will allow you to sign up for a new account.

Try, try again! If you enter your combination, but just can't remember it, try again another four times. You will be locked out for thirty seconds, then allowed to try again. During the countdown, you should see a button at the bottom of the screen saying Forgot Pattern? Tap this and enter your Google account information - email address and password. When you do, you should be taken into the tablet's password reset screen.

Buttons! On some tablets, there is a 'Safe Mode' that you can boot into. This should boot it into a simplified home screen with no access to apps, but access to settings, where you may be able to reset the screen lock. While this won't work on all devices, it's worth a try.

From the lock screen, press the Power button to get the on/off window. When this pops up, either press and hold the Power off (on the screen), or press and hold the physical button, and it should display an option to boot into safe mode.

On other Androids you may be given an option to Reboot. Try pressing on that for a few seconds and it should bring up the option to reboot into safe mode.

Last ditch effort! If the above tips still don't work, you have one final option: Factory reset.

Conducting a factory reset will completely wipe your tablet's memory, and return it the way it was when it came out of the factory. If your device has a removable memory card, it would be a good idea to turn it off and remove the card before resetting, as there is a chance the files stored on here will also be deleted.

Here's how to execute a factory reset:

  1. Turn your tablet off and remove the SD card, if there is one.
  2. Press and hold the combinations below until you feel the device vibrate:
    1. Power button + Volume up and down (if there is a physical Home button)
    2. Power button + Volume up + Home button (If there is a physical Home button)
You should either see the droid (green robot) with his stomach plate open, or the Android Recovery screen. If you see the droid, press the volume buttons until you see Recovery mode above his head, and tap the Power button. This should bring you to the Recovery screen.

From here, press volume down until Wipe data/factory reset is highlighted. Press the Power button and it should start the rest sequence.

Another option is to either bring it into the store where you bought it from, and see if they have a way to help, or you could contact us for assistance.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 26th, 2013

Office_Feb26_BMicrosoft Word has been an important business tool for many years and will likely continue to be so for many more to come. There are numerous features that are used on a regular basis that, while they should make things easier, can actually create more work. One such feature is copy and paste. However, Word has some interesting copy and paste functions that can truly make your job more efficient.

Here's an overview of Word's copy and paste feature.

Simple copy and paste As you likely know already, you can copy by selecting/highlighting text, or pictures and either right-clicking and selecting copy; pressing Ctrl + C (Command + C on Mac) or selecting File followed by Copy.

You can paste by either right-clicking and selecting paste; pressing Ctrl + V (Command + V on Mac) or selecting File followed by Paste. When you copy and paste, the highlighted text or image will be placed where you have placed the cursor.

While simple copying and pasting works fine for most situations, there are times when you are copying from one word document to another and need something else. Many documents have different text and layout formats which can make copying a bit inefficient, as you will likely have to change some of the text or image settings. Word has four built-in features that can make this easier.

These settings can be found by first highlighting what you would like to copy. You should see a clipboard above the highlighted text when you hover your mouse over it. Pressing the down-facing black arrow will open the different copy functions.

  • Keep Source Formatting - Pressing this will keep the formatting of the text/document you copied from. This is the default option.
  • Merge Formatting - This will keep the text's format, without changing the format of the document you paste into. E.g., if the text you copied is a different font and size, it will be posted into the new document at the same format, but the next word typed will retain the previous format.
  • Use Destination Style - This will change the text you copied to the same format as the document you copy into.
  • Keep Text Only - This will copy only the text. All graphics, tables, charts and formatting will be discarded. When you paste into the new document, the text will be changed to that document's formatting.
This feature can help make it easier to copy and paste from one document to another. Office has many features that can assist in improving your productivity, or make your job easier. If you are interested in learning more Office tips and tricks, please contact us today.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 26th, 2013

Office365_Feb26_BWe all know that the tech industry is fast paced, always changing. The same goes for software; it's often released before it's 100% finished and updated with new features at a later date. This is the way the software industry functions, and will continue to do so well into the future. For example, Microsoft Office 365 was released in 2011 and has since seen numerous updates. There's a small update coming in March which will make it even easier to use.

The Office 365 update will focus largely on the sign-in process, and making it not only more efficient, but simpler. While this won't be a massive change, users who access their accounts on more than one device will find it much easier to do so.

Possibly the most intriguing thing about this redesign is that when you navigate to the login screen, the window will automatically resize to the resolution of your monitor or device. If you are on a handheld device like your tablet, the sign-in screen will now fit the screen size, instead of you having to zoom in to be able to see what you are typing.

This new layout will be best viewed on machines and browsers that are up to date, so be sure to keep the device/browser you use to access Office 365 updated.

Microsoft has also noted that this update will extend Single Sign On (SSO) for Office 365 capabilities. SSO can be boiled down to logging in once in order to access all services related to that software. For example, you can login to Office 365, and also be able to access SkyDrive, Lync or other Microsoft based services without having to individually log in to those sites. The update will expand the SSO capabilities, so employees won’t have to log in to multiple Microsoft programs once they have logged in the first time.

While not a huge update, it is one that makes the Office 365 system even more user friendly, which is great for those in your company who may not be the most tech savvy. You should notice this in early to mid March, or may have already been asked if you would like to try the new layout. You will have to opt-in on an individual basis.

If you would like to learn more about Office 365, or are interested in how it can help your business, why not contact us? We are happy to sit down and discuss your options with you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 22nd, 2013

Security_Feb20_BImagine you are in the airport waiting for a flight when you look down only to discover that your laptop is missing. This isn't a great thought, especially since many of us have important files and programs that we can't afford to lose. The problem is, if your device has gone missing, the chances of you recovering it are slim. The good news is that there is a possible solution that lets you track your device.

Prey is an Open Source - free - program that you can install on your computer or mobile device and track it when it's missing, or been stolen.

How it works First you have to download the software - from here - onto your computer (Windows, Mac or Linux are supported), and sign up for an account. You have a couple of options here: You can either sign up for an account with Prey and access a control panel through the website, or install it as a standalone which is recommended for advanced users as it requires some server configuration.

If you chose to go with the Web option you sign up for an account and install the software then register your main device along with extra ones like an Android, or your iOS device. Once you have downloaded Prey and linked them together, you are ready.

For mobiles, you can send these a text (from the Web Control Panel) which will initiate the established options you have pre-set for when your phone goes missing.

How Prey finds your device's location depends on the device. For laptops, it can turn-on your Wi-Fi connection and try to connect to the nearest access points. It can take the IP address of each Wi-Fi access point and from there get an approximate location - in some areas as close as 200 feet. On your phone, it turns on the GPS (if available) and tries to connect to Wi-Fi networks in range. These two combined can generate a fairly accurate location.

All this tracking information is sent to your inbox in the form of a report, which can be tailored to meet your needs.

What makes this program different from other similar ones is that it can be installed across multiple platforms and managed from one account. It's also free, which makes it even more attractive. There is also a Pro version which allows you to track more devices, for a monthly fee (USD$5 for 3 devices up to USD$399 a month for 500 devices).

Prey is just one of the many device tracking programs, and installing one may be a good idea, to give you a greater chance of retrieval if your phone or computer is lost or stolen. Do you use one already? If so, which one? If you would like to learn more about Prey and the other device tracking programs please let us know, we may have a great solution for you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
February 21st, 2013

Hardware_Feb20_BPrinters are among the more important pieces of equipment businesses have. They are one of, if not the only, way to create hard copies of data stored on your computer. There are a nearly limitless number of printing jobs that can be done. As such, manufacturers have introduced a number of different types of printers, making it slightly confusing as to the difference between all the models available.

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.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Hardware
February 21st, 2013

BCP_Feb20_BWhen it comes to your business there are many dangers that could negatively impact your bottom line, or even force you out of business. As such, it's a good idea to have a plan in place to help keep your business operational during any disaster. This strategy is commonly referred to as a Business Continuity Plan, and is something that companies will benefit from looking into.

While a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) can be complicated, and comprised of many different objectives, the main reason companies include this in their business strategy is to build up resilience. Disasters of many kinds can result in either lost data, sales or even business. While a BCP won't prevent large-scale disasters, it will help your business recover quicker.

When looking at how resilient your business is, there are three main aspects to consider.

RTO RTO stands for Recovery Time Objective and is the time period from the beginning of the disaster to recovery of operations. This number, or time period, will be different for every company. For example, companies that operate online stores will likely have a short RTO, as they rely on 24/7 uptime to conduct business and sales.

In general the RTO is an objective, one that employees and stakeholders should strive for. Having one can help planners identify potential problem areas along with critical functions that must be recovered and any preparations that will be necessary. If a business does not address, or identify a set time to recovery they could see an unnecessary increase in recovery times, or worse lost profits.

RPO RPO stands for Recovery Point Objective and represents the amount of data a business is willing, or can afford, to lose. The easiest way to figure this out is to look at your systems and think about how much data or information you personally can lose before being unable to do your job. From there, you can work out the frequency with which you should back up your systems.

For example: If you figure that you can lose a day's worth of data, then your backup should be done on a daily basis. If you currently back up your data or systems once a week, and figure you can only miss a day, then RPO helps you realize this is not enough and that you need a system or plan that better meets your needs.

The difference between RTO and RPO is that RTO is a broad process that covers the whole Business Continuity timeline, while RPO is focused on data and backup.

ROI When looking at different Business Continuity systems, it is always a good idea to calculate the ROI, or Return on Investment. You can calculate the cost of the integrating any plan, time to implement and recovery, expected value it can bring your business and avoided losses. This will give you a pretty good picture on whether current systems are strong enough, and if new alternatives are better.

By figuring out the time you expect to recover, how often you should back up and the total ROI of proposed, or existing, systems you can gain a clearer picture of how resilient your company is.

If you're looking to make your company a little more resilient, why not get in touch with us? We are happy to sit down and discuss your options with you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 20th, 2013

OSX_Feb19_BOne of the more common things all business owners and managers need to do is to share files and folders with colleagues and employees. Most will usually just use email, however this does have its limitations. There are numerous other ways to share important information, including utilizing a feature that is built into most operating systems.

If you use Apple's OS X in your company you can share files and folders by using the Public or Shared Folder. This folder can be found by:

  1. Opening any file. In the left-hand side of the window scroll down to Places.
  2. Clicking on the user account you log into your computer with. This is usually your account name with the house icon beside it.
  3. Double-clicking on the Public or Shared Folder.
This folder is set up to share any files that are placed in it with other users on the same computer or network. Depending on the version of OS X you use, you may see a folder labeled Drop Box. This is a folder where you can drop files into for you to see and use, but is not related to Dropbox, the cloud storage program.

How to set up your Shared Folder Regardless of your version of OS X, you should have Shared Folder. You can configure which files and folders you want to share by:

  1. Clicking the Apple icon at the top-left of the screen.
  2. Selecting System Preferences followed by Sharing.
  3. Ticking the box beside File Sharing.
  4. Pressing the + under File Sharing and selecting the folder you would like to share, followed by Add.
You'll notice that when you click on the file you chose to share, you will see a black bar that says: Shared Folder across the top of the folder window.

You will also notice the window labeled Users identifies a number of different users, along with the privilege each has. These permissions, which you can apply, dictate what individual users can do with the shared files or folders. There are four different privileges you can assign:

  • Read & Write - Users can open, edit, copy and delete files in the folder.
  • Read Only - Users can open and copy files out of the folder.
  • Write Only (Drop Box) - Users can copy files into the Drop Box folder but can't see what's in the folder. They can overwrite files if they drag and drop a file with the same name into this folder.
  • No Access - Users cannot see or access any of the files or folders.
Should my company use this? Using the Shared Folder be a good way to share documents with users within the same network. However, there is little to nothing in the system to keep the files secure. If someone connects to your network, and you have allowed Everyone to see Read & Write they will be able to see, edit and possibly delete files.

It is also a good idea to be aware that the Shared Folder is set to share with anyone connected on the same network. This means that if you connect to another network that isn't in the office, the Shared Folder will be accessible to other users on the same network. This can create a bit of a security issue. To negate this, you should turn off file sharing from the System Preferences, Sharing option if you aren't using it, or are away from your main network.

At the very least you should ensure the sharing permissions are set in a way whereby files aren't accidentally shared. If you would like to learn more about other ways to share files with your colleagues, please contact us, we may have a solution for you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Apple Mac OS