Supporting our Local Economy

 

Jennifer Tavares - President - Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce

The Computing Center has been a member of the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce since our founding in 1978. We work hard to support local businesses of all sizes and the vast majority of our clients are in Tompkins County. Please consider keeping business and personal purchases local.  It helps us all. 

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy local—and that’s kind of the same.” – Unknown

It may seem a little early to mention shopping locally for the holidays—after all, I’m still picking up Halloween candy wrappers. Having accidentally started my holiday shopping during Ithaca’s Wizarding Weekend on Saturday, I feel like it’s early, too. I can share, however, that my purchase felt really good, because it was from a small, independent, locally owned business—which also happened to be a Chamber member.

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Time to Ditch you Desktop?

Our friends at Hewlett Packard have a vested interest in providing new PC, laptops and other mobile devices to the industry.  Given that, this is a good discussion of when it's time for a business or organization to consider whether to continue with desktop PCs or consider other devices.

Desktops have supported your business and workforce for years. But with new developments (wireless docking) and new form factors (Ultrabooks, detachables, tablets), desktops are now just one of a number of viable options for businesses looking to replace their aging fleet and/or upgrade their existing capabilities.

So the question is: desktops or mobile devices? Here are four questions to help you make the right decision for your needs.

1. Do you need to upgrade your PCs soon?
While it's nice to think ahead, you probably don't want to replace your desktops while they're still performing well and meeting your needs. As a general guide, large enterprises refresh their PCs once every three years on average,1 while small businesses hold on to their PCs for five to seven years on average.2

Answer yes if:

  • Your desktops are taking longer and longer to start up or complete complex tasks
  • You're holding off on upgrading an important piece of software because you're concerned your desktops can't handle it
  • You're spending more than you'd like on annual PC maintenance

Answer no if:

  • Your desktops are performing as expected
  • Employees have the tools and performance they need to function without unnecessary delays

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Embracing Innovation for Small Business

Innovation and reinvention -- buzz words to be sure, but we  live with it every day. Even small businesses need to innovate and reinvent to meet the needs of of their clients, vendors, and to remain relevant. Microsoft, not a small company, but one that has helped many companies embrace innovation disccusses the needs to do so and how to go about it.

Innovation is quite possibly one of the most overused words in the business world today, but the definition — a new method, idea, or product — is at the center of what allows small businesses to expand and contribute to overall economic growth.

Once considered antiquated, brands like Old Spice and The Yellow Pages have managed to successfully innovate in the modern age — reinventing themselves to reach a new generation of consumers. Whether you have a long-standing business in need of a refresh or you’re just getting started, continuous innovation helps your business stay relevant and top of mind for consumers.

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What's an EIN

Once in a while, there's information about business that obvious to many of us, but can be completely new to someone just starting out in business. An EIN is an unique identiier fo businesses much like Social Security numbers are unique to individuals.

One of the key responsibilities for many new businesses or businesses that are restructuring is obtaining an Employer Identification Number, or EIN, from the IRS.

An EIN is a unique nine-digit number that identifies your business for tax purposes. It’s similar to a Social Security number but is meant for business related items only.

As a business owner, you’ll need an EIN to open a business bank account, apply for business licenses and file your tax returns. It’s helpful to apply for one as soon as you start planning your business. This will ensure there are no delays in getting the appropriate licenses or financing that you may need to operate.

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Dealing with Power Outages

We lost electrical power early this morning.  At about 7:15am, the power at The Computing Center and a number of the surrounding buildings in the Cornell Business and Technology Park dropped for less than a minute.

For us, it wasn't a big deal.  All our servers and the ones that we host along with all our network infrastructure kept humming along running on their uninterruptable power supplies (UPS's). Desktops that were left on last night and weren't on UPSs systems dropped off as well as most of our phones.  But all it took was a  few reboots and we were back running.

However, if the outage had lasted 10 more minutes, our servers would have started to shut down well before their backup battery power was depleted. That controlled shutdown system required planning and gets tested regularly. Without it, getting ourselves back up and running after an outage would be a lot of work.

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