A large number of organizations in the Washington, DC area have implemented telecommuting policies for their staff. Combined with the rising number of remote workers, these telecommuting policies create an environment where proper unified communications is a must. When people are working from out of the office, it’s imperative that they have full functionality and access to their work.
Business managers generally view their IT service providers as people to contact when their computers malfunction. They’re more than satisfied if all they have to do is call a number, speak to a “tech person” and await word that the computer is working properly once again. This “break-fix” paradigm is what many consider to be the entirety of satisfactory IT service.
Small and medium sized Washington, DC businesses, are increasingly seeking cloud-based solutions to satisfy their IT needs. Popular cloud solutions, such as Microsoft Office 365, provide cost-effective productivity software to their users. However, there are many myths about Office 365, myths that can readily result in an organization making unwise choices that could easily add unnecessary IT costs to an already stretched IT budget.
Microsoft Consultants may be characterized more by their diversity than by their uniformity of expertise. Consequently, choosing the appropriate expert for your business may seem like a daunting task. BUT, it doesn’t have to be. Your rationale for selection may be as simple as picking the one with the lowest bid and hoping you’ll receive the service desired.
Every year, businesses throughout the Washington, DC area are seeking innovative ways of cutting costs. One particular trend, in this regard, is transitioning from a traditional telephone device to a versatile VoIP phone system. Advantages of such a change include amongst others, greater productivity, more options, and lower costs. Unfortunately, however, outdated thinking has prevented this change from happening more quickly.
Many organizations in the Washington, DC area have IT functions that are essentially “invisible” to the rest of their corporate operations. All too often, what transpires within the confines of the “IT world” remains relatively unknown to the majority of users across the organization. That is, of course, until problems happen and productivity is severely impacted. Unfortunately, waiting for problems to occur before asking questions is too late.
IT service providers whose job it is to support their clients should be staffed by qualified, certified technicians. Certifications assure that a technician has expertise within a certain area of IT. Applying the skills of certified technician’s guarantees that a client’s needs will be met and the job will be properly completed, the first time.
IT Support may be regarded as the backbone of your organization’s daily functions. Choosing the right IT service provider, however, comes with some important considerations, including identifying realistic budgets and understanding the nature of support your organization actually needs.
Some things in life are so common and mundane that they barely, if ever, receive notice. For years, my keyboard was one of those things.
I sit at a desk for hours at a time, working with objects that range from mundane to functional and it is uncommon, even rare, to find exceptional equipment that not only makes work easier, but enjoyable. I swapped out my boring, ordinary keyboard for a mechanical one and it changed my attitude toward a large aspect of my work. Typing has turned from a chore into something I actually enjoy.
Google released its next update, version 4.1, to their Android mobile operating system, and in keeping with the theme of dessert/treats that go in alphabetical order, it’s named Jelly Bean. While it’s not a large of a jump as Gingerbread was to Ice Cream Sandwich as far as appearance, it’s definitely a big leap in easy access to information and has been fine-tuned under the hood. For users of Ice Cream Sandwich (version 4.0.4), the user interface is very familiar at first glance, and you wouldn’t be blamed for mistaking one for the other, but once you start to use it, it becomes abundantly clear that Google has worked hard on this.
One of the biggest additions is Google Now, which is basically Android attempt at Apple’s Siri, a voice recognition search and automation tool. Google Now has seen the shortcomings of Siri and improved upon them. Not only can you do everything Siri can, like search the internet and map, dictate emails, make calendar appointments, and see the weather, but it’s also relies on GPS data to let you know public transit info of stops near you, when you should leave to get to your next event depending on the traffic, sports scores, flight info, translations, currency conversion and local places near you. There are so many more actions it can perform, that I can’t list them all, but trust me, it’s upwards of 80. One small but important difference to Siri is that you don’t need to talk to your phone to get what you want; you can also just type it out so you don’t look like an oddball out in public.
Notifications have also been revamped, they contain more information than before, and if the program has it built in, you can expand them to see more or select certain options instead of opening the app and doing it there. It’s great for things like Foursquare when it pops up asking if you want to check in at a location, the “Check In” button is right in the notification so you don’t have to exit the app you’re currently in. Emails will also show more of the message text, rather than just the subject and sender.
Almost all of the Google Apps have been tweaked to look nicer, function better, and run smoother. Google Maps now has the option to save chunks for offline viewing. The area that you can save in one chunk is rather large, roughly the size of Connecticut, but if that’s not enough, you can always save as many overlapping chunks as you want. While the stock keyboard has been improved to include predictions, it’s still not as good as third party keyboards like Swype or Swiftkey 3.
With all of these improvements you might be wondering if Jelly Bean will get bogged down, and the answer is no. A large part of the update has been something the engineers at Google call “Project Butter” which has produced an OS that is exactly as that, butter smooth. Whether it’s playing an intense game, or just scrolling home screens, it’s very apparent that it’s smoother. Even on the same exact device (Galaxy Nexus), it’s visibly smoother than Ice Cream Sandwich. This subtle, yet crucial improvement may not be noticed by the standard user, but it’s the difference between being aggravated that your phone is sluggish and feeling like your phone is from the future.
While I agree that calling it version 5.0 would be too much for the additional features and subtle improvements, it also seems like calling it 4.1 doesn’t do Jelly Bean justice. Several devices will be getting the official update in mid-July, including the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, Motorola Xoom and will come preloaded on the Nexus 7 tablet they also announced last week. For other phones though, it might be much longer, because after Google releases their next version, the manufacturers then tweak the OS to add their own interfaces and apps (bloatware). Not only does it take a very long time, but most users would rather just have the stock OS instead. For that reason, only about a dozen phones even have Ice Cream Sandwich on them. So assuming Jelly Bean ever gets to your phone, you will notice the difference and you’ll thoroughly enjoy the improvements.