Windows XP...it was nice knowing you

 

One of the most popular and longest lived Microsoft operating systems that we all know and love, Windows XP, has almost run its course. Microsoft has announced that they will end support for XP on April 8, 2014.

What does this mean if you have a Windows XP machine?

You will no longer be able to receive tech support from Microsoft if your computer has an issue and most retail outlets will likely discontinue support for XP as well.

The Computing Center will continue to provide support on a very basic level, with no guarantees that we’ll be able to resolve issues. Without being able to reach out to Microsoft for assistance, we may not be able to solve more complex problems.

What are your options?

In order to stay with your familiar Windows platform, your options are to upgrade to Windows 7 or the newly released Windows 8. In most cases, computers will need to be upgraded as well.  

Our recommendation is to start budgeting and planning for a change now, rather than waiting until you are no longer able to find support for your current systems. Contact us to learn about your options!

 

Computers - Is consumer grade equipment good enough?

Sure, it's enticing. You’ll save money right now if you run out to your local big box store or hop online and purchase that computer or that combo firewall/wireless router that's on sale. But is that money saved really worthwhile for your business in the long run?

They say that a penny saved is a penny earned, but when it comes to your businesses technology, that penny saved may cost you a lot more later on down the road.

The main reason is that the majority of equipment sold at the big box stores are for home users and aren't made for the higher demands of work environments. Think about it—is that computer that's on sale really going to meet the demands of your business, be compatible with your accounting and other software, last a long time, and really connect to your network? Probably not. Let's begin by taking a look at the most widespread piece of technology throughout any business in the country—the computer.

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Planning ahead with Microsoft

Some of us are natural planners.  Everything we do is on a schedule and planned well in advance.  Others are not.  The last minute or beyond is good enough.  We've found that keeping computer technology up-to-date is good for your productivity and security—as well as the bottom line. 

Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) and Office 2003 will be reaching end of support in April 2014. That's not quite two years from now!   We want to help you avoid the risk of running an unsupported version of Windows & Office, and to assist with your IT planning for 2012. The objective here is to highlight the potential risks involved with the upcoming end of support of these products and to outline the options available to mitigate these risks.  

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Apple Macintosh viruses reported

April 1st – the day when all sorts of jokes, stories, and elaborate hoaxes are played on the public by venerated news organizations, manufacturers, the government, and of course from the Internet.  Our friends at Google launched a fantastic new product based on Morse Code.  NOT!!

However, this past April, an issue that has been around for a while created quite a media stir and wasn't a joke.  Apple Macintosh computers getting viruses or more precisely a thing called a “Flashback Trojan Horse”.   Thousands of words were written about over 600,000 Mac computers being attacked by malicious malware code.  We had quite a few clients call us and bring-in their Macs – just to check.

So, is this real, a big deal, or not?  Some facts and suggestions:

The first thing to understand is yes, this particular issue is real.  However, the infection of 600,000 computers is actually quite small.  There are literally millions of Apple OS X licenses out there.  Not as many as PCs, but as these things go, this infection is pretty minor.  Our shop checked a number of client Macintoshes and we checked all of The Computing Center’s own machines.  Not one of them had the Flashback Trojan.

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HP combines PC & Printer divisions

The Computing Center has been doing business with Hewlett Packard (HP) since 1984.  We began by selling a desktop computer called the HP-150 and shortly thereafter began selling and servicing the first Laserjet which began the printing revolution.   We now sell, service, and support, virtually the entire line of HP network servers, desktop and laptop computer, printers, plotters, switches, and routers. Over the years, HP has greatly expanded its business to become the world’s largest computer company by sales volume.  Not a bad legacy for a couple of engineers who started out in a garage in Palo Alto, CA building audio oscillators and who’s early customer was Walt Disney Studios.

Large companies typically have many divisions and it’s common for each of those divisions to have separate profit and loss financial statements.   HP is no exception.  Many of us in the computer business have gotten used to HPs “alphabet soup” of ESSN, PSG, IPG, EB, etc. and exactly which division handles particular products, services, and programs.  Most of our clients don’t care…they care about getting the right product and services, appropriately designed for their needs.  

This past week, HP announced that PSG and IPG (printers) would be combined into a single division as a way to reduce some of HP’s internal complexity.  From our client’s perspective, there will be virtually no changes.   Inside, HP, the “merger” will allow overhead expenses to be trimmed, a gain operational and manufacturing efficiencies, and hopefully build on the successes inside the printer division.  

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