remote-support

Microsoft sway

Sway

If you wanting a hybrid of a PowerPoint presentation and a web site that you can make yourself have a look at Microsoft Sway (preview version) the 2 min video below pretty elegantly describes how it all works and you can have a look at sample “sways” here.

It’s a good way to supplement an existing web site with some great looking user creatable content.

SwayVideo

Tags:
1554 Hits
0 Comments

The "best" way of purchasing Microsoft Office for your needs:

Unraveling the best way of purchasing Microsoft Office for your needs, here is a starting point:

Details and prices correct as of 10/03/15, based on $AU, sources:
https://products.office.com/en-AU/buy/compare-microsoft-office-products
http://products.office.com/en-au/business/compare-office-365-for-business-plans

Office 365 Home $12 month - ongoing (less if paid by the year)

5 PC's from the same "household"
Standard suite plus Outlook, publisher and access
**Non commercial use only
Extra benefits: Skype 60 minutes x 5, 1TB Onedrive storage x 5, free upgrades (while you continue to subscribe)

Office 365 Personal $9 month - ongoing (less if paid by the year)

1 PC only
Standard suite plus Outlook, publisher & access
**Non commercial use only
Extra benefits: Skype 60 minutes, 1TB Onedrive storage x 5, free upgrades (while you continue to subscribe)

Office 365 Business $12 month (minimum annual commitment - ongoing)

5 PC's *for that single licensed user*
Standard suite plus Outlook & publisher
Business use
Extra benefits: 1TB Onedrive(?) storage, free upgrades (while you continue to subscribe)

Office 365 Business Premium $13.86 month (minimum annual commitment - ongoing)

5 PC's *for that single licensed user*
Standard suite plus Outlook & publisher
Home or business use
Extra benefits: 1TB Onedrive(?) storage, Exchange based business email, free upgrades (while you continue to subscribe)

Office Home & Student 2013 $169

1 PC
Standard suite (*no Outlook*)
Non commercial use only
Extra benefits: No ongoing costs unless you chose to upgrade in the future

Office Home and business 2013 $265 (street price)

1 PC
Standard suite plus Outlook
Business use
Extra benefits: No ongoing costs unless you chose to upgrade in the future

Office Professional 2013 $599 (RRP)

1 PC
Standard suite plus Outlook publisher and access
Home or business use
Extra benefits: No ongoing costs unless you chose to upgrade in the future

 

1784 Hits
0 Comments

NBN compatible router?

[Note the information below is relevant to Fibre to the building only, this article is due for a rewrite]

Seeing as neither myself or a single one of my customers has access to that mythical telecommunications product the Australian NBN I haven’t bothered about this in the past. However I was specifically asked a modem/router future compatibility question a couple of days ago and I did some brief investigation and came back with this information, I have highlighted the main thrust of the info below:

Bit.com.au says this:

http://www.bit.com.au/News/346918,what-does-nbnfibre-ready-really-mean.aspxhttp://www.bit.com.au/News/346918,what-does-nbnfibre-ready-really-mean.aspx
An “NBN/fibre-ready” router means that the model [has] a Gigabit Ethernet WAN port, which allows for fibre or cable connections.

PC Authority says this:

http://www.pcauthority.com.au/News/291953,the-nbn-what-router-will-you-need.aspx
In an NBN equipped household the NTU effectively takes the place of the modem that you would currently use for ADSL or cable internet. This means the death of the commonplace modem/router hardware – moving forward you'll just need a router to spread internet around the home. At a base level this means that ‘NBN ready' modem routers have the capacity to disable the ADSL modem and take an internet signal directly.

The potential issue with such devices is that the hardware is designed around low ADSL speeds and may not actually cope with the demands of the highest end 100Mbit down / 40Mbit up NBN speeds. If you aren't going with this high end plan then router performance is less of an issue, but it is best to think of an ‘NBN Ready' ADSL modem/router as a transitional technology at best.

TPG have a good diagram here:
http://www.tpg.com.au/images/NBN-Equipment-Quick-Ref.jpg

I also found this useful FAQ on the NBN:
http://www.warcom.com.au/blog/wireless-router/nbn-in-australia-and-nbn-ready-routers/

3748 Hits
0 Comments

Looking for a budget laptop for the kids?

HP Stream 13 laptopLooking for a budget laptop for the kids to take to school? Check out the HP stream 13" it’s a low powered laptop in funky colours that runs on an Atom processor which give you great battery life as well as running FULL windows 8.1 so you can install any traditional desktop Windows programs or Windows store apps. That give it a lot more scope for usability than a Chromebook, or a “big-phone tablet” like a IOS or android with a tack on keyboard.

Additionally Microsoft have announced in the last couple of days that windows 10 will be a free* upgrade to windows 8.1 when released (*details to follow).

On the negative site there is no touch screen and it is a low powered device so although you can install full desktop version of Adobe Photoshop or Premiere on it you may not want to edit the next blockbuster movie on this device.

I don't normally recommend budget laptops, your standard department store $300 laptop (complete with 4 year old technology) is certainly NOT my recommendation, but this is not “that”. This is essentially a late model windows “tablet” with a permanently connected keyboard (and no touch screen).

To sweeten the deal it comes with a year’s free subscription to office 365 (MS office 2013, plus some other benefits)

Make your own investigations as to the suitability I haven’t tested it but I have seen some good reviews and from what I have seen it looks fairly robust and if the kids drop it three times in the year you will still have change from $1000 *sad face*.

 

Tags:
1791 Hits
0 Comments

StableBit DrivePool disk software

A more technical article than normal... I have some new software StableBit DrivePool, sort of like RAID (redundant array of independent drives) sort of like JBOD (just a bunch of disks) but without the negatives. Allows you to add multiple drives to the drive pool and then access them as a single drive, D: drive for example. If you have a hard drive fail then you only loose the data on that drive the same way as if you had half a dozen independent drives in the system, but without the drive letter craziness and the inefficiently of that fragmented file space, if you have ever had a RAID system or RAID controller/motherboard fail you will know what I mean.

Also has the following features:

  • Can add drives with data on them already without losing or having to move the data
  • If a single drive gets pulled and inserted into another PC (for example if the PC has a failed motherboard) the files are just in a normal (hidden) NTFS folder.
  • Optional Balancing (optional rules)
  • Optional Protection (duplicate the data but less overall storage space)
  • Easy to add or remove additional drives

Have been testing this on my media centre and its working well I found and extra 100GB that was lost due to inefficiency.

https://stablebit.com/

StablebitDrivePool

2231 Hits
0 Comments

Microsoft has released the "Microsoft band"

Microsoft has just today released their "band" which appears to be a fitness/health band, watch and notification center for your Windows Phone (Reminders, email notifications, social media notifications, who's calling, weather etc) and it even allows you to interact with the Microsoft Cortana voice activated assistant for taking notes or getting driving directions.

Looks like it also has an app so that it works with phones for people who have a phone from "those other manufacturers" as well but you miss out on some features if you don't have a Windows phone.

I haven't looked into the details yet (like availability dates for Australia), but the following screenshots look interesting and more information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/Microsoft-Band/en-us.

Productivity functionality:

MicrosoftBand1

Fitness and health functionality:

MicrosoftBand2

1961 Hits
0 Comments

Sick of plugging in your laptop?

Sick of plugging in your laptop?

Up until today every time I come back to my office I have set up my laptop on its stand then plug in:

  • Power/charger
  • USB Mouse
  • Other USB (out to printers and keyboard)
  • Monitor
  • Other monitor
  • Network cable
  • 3 x 3.5mm sound connectors for speakers

That's 9 plugs in total, a fairly painful/time consuming and a lot of wear and tear on my laptop plugs especially as I could go through that procedure 20 times in a day.

I have purchased a generic USB 3.0 docking station now I have to plug only two plus #1: Power, #2: a single USB cable, that's it!

That one USB cable achieves all the connectivity above and also allows for three screens (two external and the laptop screen) and 5.1 surround sound. Below are the details, for around $200 this is highly recommended (based on my experience so far) if you have a USB 3.0 laptop.

http://www.toshiba.com/us/accessories/Docking-and-Stands/Port-Replicators/Docking-Station/PA3927U-1PRP

ToshibaDynadock

 

 

 

2175 Hits
0 Comments

Backup plan in place for your personal files at home

Do you have a backup plan in place for your personal files at home.

I have had a look around today and confirmed that, in my opinion, the best on-line backup is still Crashplan: https://www.code42.com/store/

For one PC its $AU69.30 per year for unlimited data and it backs up continuously and automatically across the internet. All the data is transmitted and stored in an insanely high level of encryption on their servers.

A family plan is $165 which backs up to 10 computers if you have three or more PC's that's a good deal.

There are a few tricks for setting things up initially then there is a one time backup that copies all your data which may take a few days to complete but after that its pretty much set and forget and you get an email every now and then just letting you know that everything is going along OK.

Just be aware this won't work on a server (for business) its PC only.

If you want to work out how long the initial backup will take go here and run the test provided by another on-line storage provider: http://www.backblaze.com/speedtest/

Crashplan-logo

Tags:
1988 Hits
0 Comments

Screen cleaner product

MagiKleenI often get asked what product to use for cleaning computer screens, phones tablets etc. Here is the product I recommend along with the information from their web site. This stuff is great I last purchased from Harvey Norman.

(Note: use common sense when spraying liquid onto electrical goods)

http://www.magikleen.com.au/magikleenlcdplasma.html

MagiKLEEN Optical, LCD & Plasma Flat Screen Cleaner

The Best Screen Cleaner on the Market

This product is the Rolls Royce of screen cleaners; we can now claim to be the NO 1, LCD/ Plasma & Flat Screen cleaner in Australia. We sell to most major Retail, Commercial, Government & selected computer stores including Air Services Australia which control the majority of Air Traffic control Towers throughout Australia, they now use our LCD Cleaner to clean their screens after passing stringent quality control guidelines.


Our product is environmentally friendly, completely harmless, non toxic & non-flammable.
It is completely safe on all screens including modern coated screens.
Leaves a streak free finish.
The shelf life of the product is 5 plus years.
Cleans CD & DVD discs & optical surfaces without damaging the surface (cameras, videos, GPS units, glasses etc).
Australian made ingredients.
We have taken out an Australian Patent on the product.
    
MagiKLEEN Optical, LCD & Plasma Cleaner emits with each pump a 125 micron spray (0.125 ml) our unique formula requires only the smallest amount to clean even the most dirtiest screen, unlike cheaper products or imitations that are just soapy water. We sell this product in a kit form. The kit comprises of our patented formula & specially matched cloth. We can then guarantee our product will not scratch the surface it is cleaning.

Tags:
2163 Hits
0 Comments

"Server based mail"

Why do you recommend "server mail" what's the benefit?:

Microsoft Exchange (also included in the Office 365 subscription product) is a "Server based mail product" all the mail is maintained and stored on the server.

When using server based mail you start up Outlook, it makes connection to the servers and then synchronizes mail, calendar events, contacts and tasks both ways up and down (from and to your PC):

  1. Changes (new email, moved mail, created folders mark as read etc.) that you may have made in Outlook when you were offline (such as on a laptop or if the server was down) will be sent back up to the server
  2. Changes (new email, moved mail, created folders mark as read etc.) that we made on another computer or via web mail or a smartphone will be synchronized from the server down to your Outlook.

Additionally, Exchange server provides the same premium experience on mobile devices and tables such as Windows Phone and tablets, Android, and IOS.

The huge advantage to this is that all your computers/devices are kept in sync and changes made in one place (such as read and delete actions) will be mirrored to all your devices/access methods.

Isn't this the same as the free IMAP service I can get from my ISP?

If you have experienced IMAP you will have some understanding of how this works but IMAP is extremely limited by comparison. There are a number of other features such as shared folders calendar collaboration, remote wipe for your phone (for lost phones) available in exchange but that's enough information for now.

2780 Hits
1 Comment

Joomla

As some of you know I recommend Joomla as the basis for your web site. Its a great (and free) product that is used by many huge organizations for their web sites, people such as the United Nations and loads more.

What does Joomla! mean? The name Joomla is a phonetic spelling for the Swahili word "Jumla," which means "all together" or "as a whole".

JoomlaLogo

 

 

Tags:
web
Recent Comments
digitalwelcomemat
Thanks Belinda Ill have to find a prize for you for being the first to comment!
Sunday, 23 March 2014 14:56
1870 Hits
2 Comments

Network/infrastructure monitoring

I have had a couple of people asked me lately about network/infrastructure monitoring. So I thought I would share with you a product which I use to monitor a couple of sites including my own internal infrastructure.

Without going into too much detail (and in order to get to the pretty pictures as quickly as possible) the concept behind network monitoring is to add certain sensors to constantly check for issues with servers, printers, routers, wireless access points etc. Conditions and levels are set for warning or full alerts depending on the device or service in question and notifications are sent to relevant staff if these conditions are triggered.

Without monitoring there is often no indication that things are going bad and the first thing that I hear is when all the users are locked out of the server. With monitoring I can see trends or emerging issues and restart a server or otherwise take some other action after hours or at a convenient time and thereby avoid a crisis. This type of product is not a magic bullet but it's a good tool to have and its saved me a couple of times.

Image 1 (below) is a listing of all the monitored objects on the network, note the memory warning on one of the servers:

PRTG1

Image 2 (below) shows the detail for that memory issue, note the yellow "warning' level and the red "alert" level on the graph.

 

PRTG2

1924 Hits
0 Comments

Looking for a low cost (but still great) smart phone?

Nokia-Lumia-520-front-pngThere is a newish, low cost Windows phone out, the Nokia Lumia 520 for $179 (no contract, not locked)
https://www.dicksmith.com.au/unlocked-smart-phones/nokia-lumia-520-windows-8-unlocked-black-dsau-em5198

It has a great Sat-navigation included for free plus you get your email on your phone and all the other things you would expect. The only limitation with windows phone is the "smaller" apps like Westfield shopping guide or blue mountains tourist info at aren't typically available for windows phone but hopefully this will come in the future, and all the everyday staples are well provided for with the exception of Google services.

For $179 outright purchase price that's pretty cheap for a 4" screen size smartphone device with:

  • phone
  • Sat-navigation
  • music player (ipod)
  • PDA (email, calendar, contacts)
  • basic camera
  • game console
  • video player
  • MS office mobile
  • eBook reader
  • Audio book player
  • and its expandable by MicroSD card for those really big music, photo or video collections.

Things have come a long way in recent years once upon a time you had to buy all these devices separately, that's a lot of functionality for a pretty small price.

This is a great phone if you don't want to spend too much (for a personal prepaid phone account for example) and great for teenage kids as well (these are very tough and relatively inexpensive).

If you want a high end device, windows phone comes in higher price tags as well for such features as wireless charging, up to 6" display, and massive 41mp digital camera.

2189 Hits
0 Comments

Want your start menu back? - Start8 from Stardock!

I suggest you upgrade to windows 8.1 and get your start *button* back, secondly learn to use windows 8 how it was designed, ask me for a 2 minute demo for your light bulb moment. But, if after that you still want to get your old start *menu* back then have a look at this product.

It's $5 per PC so it won't break the bank.

http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/

Their blurb:

The Windows® 8 start menu returns with Start8®! Download the world's most popular Windows 8 start menu.

  •    Add the best Windows 8 start menu to your desktop
  •    Windows 7-styled start menu enhanced for Windows 8
  •    Pin Modern applications to the Windows 8 start menu
  •    Boot directly to the Windows 8 desktop

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Start8.png

Tags:
2284 Hits
0 Comments

Soundgecko

Do you need to consume a lot of web based textual material, if you like it to be read for you (like an audio book) then have a look at the free (or paid) service from http://www.soundgecko.com.

Sign up for a free account, email the link for the web page and they will send you back the link to the audio in 10 minutes or so. This is available in a number of different formats:

  • Streaming via the link in the email (Just click and listen)
  • RSS (subscribe to your personal “podcast”)
  • Phone app (including your Windows phone)
  • Download the MP3 file

 

There are a few limitations on the free version as follows:

  • 30 Articles per day maximum
  • 4,000 words
  • Random voice gender


In the full version you can also do things like send PDF’s and have them converted/read.

One final thing to consider is that it’s a computer generate voice and it does very well based on my experience but it’s a bit hard to listen to for long periods (over say 20 mins at a time) and there is also some content which doesn’t lead itself to being computer-read such as content with a lot of numbers, non-english words or perhaps industry/profession specific words. For example I don’t know how well it would handle Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis which is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, "a lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine silica dust, causing inflammation in the lungs."

Happy listening

b2ap3_thumbnail_SoundGecko.JPG

2308 Hits
0 Comments

Nokia 1020 smartphone with 41 Megapixel camera

Once again leading the rest of the world in smartphone technology another windows phone has had its product launch in the last couple of weeks.

The Nokia 1020 is on its way, complete with 41 Megapixel camera, yes 41mp!

It’s hard to believe not only is it an extremely high resolution image but the excellent quality sensor, low light capability and image stabilisation make this not only unique but so far ahead of the rest it’s hard to believe and that’s not only the camera either. Even my Nokia 920 has wireless charging as standard, NFC (Near Field Communication to allow for visa payments via paywave/EFTPOS), it even works with gloves (for the ski field) and has a host of other unique features.

http://www.nokia.com/global/products/phone/lumia1020/

b2ap3_thumbnail_Nokia1020.JPG

2542 Hits
0 Comments

Wi-Fi not quite reaching all areas?

If you find that your Wi-Fi network is not quite reaching all areas in your home or business? Have a look at this product its a Wi-Fi extender, it takes the signal received from your existing Wi-Fi hotspot and relays and amplifies it so that you can get more coverage. (model number F9K1106au)

http://www.belkin.com/au/F9K1106-Belkin/p/P-F9K1106

b2ap3_thumbnail_WirelessRangeExtender.png

 

 

2115 Hits
0 Comments

Welcome:

digitalwelcomemat now has a blog!

Subscribe for the news as it happens, call me for support on 0404 493 770 or access my remote support solution here: http://help.digitalwelcomemat.com/

Digitalwelcomemat provides IT consultancy and services for business customers on the NSW Central Coast in Australia.

Search

Contact:

Give me a call: 0404 493770

Go to top