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Saturday, August 24 2013

Why Windows is still the King.

Operating systems.... everyone has a favorite, and some folks are more enthusiastic about their computer choices they preach it from the mountain top. Well, here's my take on the whole world of operating systems.

It's no secret, I build, and support Microsoft Windows computers. I feel that the computers we build here are built to a higher quality standard compared to other makers, but that's a topic for later.

Basically, a computer is a tool. It's a machine that can do most any function someone can manage to program it to do. Computers are doing more and more things at every turn, and even your mobile phone and satellite dish box are a form of computer. Some computers are made to do one specific function (computer appliance) and others are open ended, waiting to be told what to do.

Since a computer is just a device that will execute whatever instructions it's given, that is both the best and worst part of it. The up side is that with a well written, well designed program, it can do almost ANYTHING that can be dreamed up. The down side, is that a poorly written program can make a computer system misbehave... and an intentionally malicious program can really cause some serious damage.

Now, we have basically 3 competitors for the personal computer OS of choice. Microsoft Windows, Linux, or Mac OS. There's up sides and down sides to both. Let's start with the positives.

Windows-- Runs on a wide range of readily available hardware. Over 4 million programs exist for Microsoft Windows. Systems are standardized. Virtually any computer you could dream of building will be able to run Microsoft Windows. The most advanced realistic 3D Games are available for Windows. Support is available. Almost all computer hardware and accessories will run with Windows.

Mac OS-- Based on FreeBSD, a Unix clone, MacOS is exclusive to Apple computers. Approximately 20,000 programs exist for MacOS. Apple supports MacOS well.

Linux-- Linux runs on most general computer hardware. Almost all of the software for Linux OS's are free. There's no start up cost to running Linux. For those who like to program, the open source programs allow them to make customizations.

Although all are good choices, the simple fact that Windows has the most hardware choices, by FAR the most software choices, and the computer itself can be built in whatever configurations. Couple that, with all of the competition for hardware keeping prices low, and it's not a huge surprise that Windows is the dominant force.

in 1984, While the personal computer world was typing at command lines on AppleII's or DOS based IBM styles, the Macintosh really could have stolen the whole entire market. The 1984 Mac was a small, well engineered, easy to use system......... that didn't have many programs...... so it didn't do that much compared to the IBM counterparts. Thus, Microsoft came back with Windows and a good deal of Windows programs... and won yet another battle. IBM tanked with OS/2.... remember that?

The Number ONE reason that Windows is still the king is simply because you can do more with a Windows computer. More quality software exists for Microsoft Windows than for ANY other operating system. Of course, there's a lot of rotten software for Windows too... but that's where the wisdom of a veteran technician can help.

Feel free to consult us on your next Windows computer... or Linux system if you want go that way.... Premium Computer Systems is pleased to offer high quality reliable hardware in every computer system.

Monday, May 13 2013

Free, The most dangerous word on the internet.

The most dangerous word on the internet is indeed the word "FREE". The number one reason Internet Explorer experiences technical problems is due to the "FREE" toolbars and enhancements.

There are lots of very good things online that they don't charge for... but here's just a few to watch for.

Adobe Reader/Adobe Flash. -- I guarantee with each download or upgrade, it's going to want you to take Google Chrome, Google Toolbar, or McAfee Security scan. You already know what I think of Google... do we really need to give McAfee free ads on your PC?

Panda Cloud, Clamwin, and other freeware Antivirus -- Trust me, you DON'T need or want the free toolbar that takes over all your search settings and changes your homepage.

I could go on and on and on. There's lots of very useful products, but if they are not billing you or popping ads up at you, they are likely offering you some "FREE" junk that will.

Everything is going to data........

Virtually every service we need in our homes and businesses is now Data. With the exception of those clinging to the bell system for telephony, it's all data.

With the dawn of Digital television, satellites and cable are just delivering 1's and 0's... If you have Digital phone, or VoIP, it's just more data.

If telecommunication companies are going to survive, it's all about data. A few have seen the writing on the wall. Verizon is working on FIOS fibre optic, Time Warner is getting their speeds up...

Soon, TV as we know it will likely be delivered as an on demand data stream. Netflix and Hulu have the right idea.

Just some things to think about. If you have ROCKET fast data access, Phone, TV, etc. become very cheap to have. It's all about data.

Wednesday, October 17 2012

3CX is nothing short of SUPER!!

3CX is really a PBX for the "Rest Of Us".....

As everyone likely knows, I'm a big fan of VoIP technology for reducing communication costs, and providing advanced features. For the business phone world, I can't say enough positive things about 3CX. The #1 thing that I like about 3CX is that it's logical. Anyone with moderate computer skills can make changes and modifications to the 3CX phone system. 3CX is a bit unique in the telephony world, since it runs on Microsoft Windows. Prior to that, most PBX software ran on Linux, and was based on a software called Asterisk. Not that there's anything wrong with Linux, or Asterisk, but it's not nearly as easy to get started with. Configuration is more complicated, and most users have to take a training course. With 3CX, you can use a standard Windows desktop to run your phone system, and with a few hours of watching videos on it, most folks can administrate 3CX. There's only one other PBX that runs on Windows... and that's Axon by NCH. Axon is a nice program, but it's limited in function by comparison. If you need a full featured robust phone system for your office, and simultaneously want to have your phone bill drastically lowered, please give us a call! You'll be glad you did!

Saturday, September 29 2012

HP Printers are no longer the king......

I think the tile may be an understatement, but over the last 5 years, Our office has stopped selling or recommending any modern printers from HP. It's a fact known only to printer techs, but the early 90's laser printers that HP built a stellar reputation on were actually made with Canon guts. So the HP printers that made their mark in the business were not even made by them in full.

The modern home/small office HP printer is just an absolute disaster. I'll gladly give a few reasons.

1. Drivers/Software-- Do we really need a 300MB download to make the device work? 2/3rds of the software are things like "buy cartridges" and "let us spy on you"... oops I mean "Customer Experience Enhancement"... riiiight.

2. Wireless that won't stay connected. Over and over, I have service calls to fix HP wireless printers. I see HP printers every week that just managed to forget their wireless settings and go AWOL. The worst of it are the ones that CAN'T be reconnected by the control panel on the front.

3. Ink... Ugh. Cartridge expiration? What's next, a refrigerator that refuses to open because the milk expired?

So, What do we do about it? Well, for starters, support another printer maker. At present, I do have a few favorites.

Inkjet -- Brother inkjet multifunction units are a winner, and there's generic ink on the market that costs far less than OEM if you're looking to be thrifty. Print quality is good, and the unit prices are great. I also like Epson printers, although the consensus is with ALL inkjets, you need to print with them. If you let them sit idle on the shelf for too long, bad things happen.

Laser-- believe it or not, Samsung is delivering some pretty good value. There's been lots of winners from their product family. Brother Laser printers are usually pretty good too, but some models can be very plastic. I'm selective with those. Okidata is a favorite for durability. The Oki printers really have a long duty cycle.

Before you buy ANY printer... figure out your operation cost. Every printer has a published page yield per toner or cartridge. So just do some simple math. If my laser printer prints 5000 pages per toner, and the toner is $100, that means about 2 cents per page for toner. It only takes a moment, and can save you some big dollars.

Three things that make a GREAT printer.

  1. 1 Low Cost Per Page
  2. 2 Print Quality
  3. 3 Long cycles between maintenance.

Evaluate your printers like a technician, consider how much it's going to cost to run, and how much Junk it wants to put on your computer.

Thursday, September 20 2012

You probably pay too much for your phone service.......

It's a given that just about every business has high speed internet installed. It's more or less a mandate to keep things going. We order supplies, file warranties, and manage accounts using it. So why do many business and home users still use the "Bell" system for telephones? Just because we've always done it that way, doesn't mean there isn't a better way. Thanks to the power of the internet, telephone service now costs a fraction of what it once did.

You mean like Vonage??? Sort of... but better. Even Vonage is too expensive, they have contracts, their help desk doesn't speak the best English.... I could go on. VOIP, Voice Over Internet is a great solution to curbing costs, and when properly implemented, works as well as your existing phone system at a greatly reduced cost.

There's been lots of excuses in Lorain County of why folks haven't made the switch to VOIP, and most have been valid. First off, Centurylink's telephone numbers are NOT easy to move to VOIP carriers. Most VOIP providers can't do it. CallCentric can! We at Premium Computer Systems have been able to save regional businesses and residences up to $200 per month on phone costs! The CallCentric system's pricing is based totally on how much you are actually are on the phone. Most of us are on the phone for a few hundred minutes per month. 300 minutes of phone use would lead to a phone bill costing less than $10 each month. Calls to anywhere in North America cost the same, whether a few miles away, or many. If you have Centrylink, Windstream, Time Warner, WowWay, AT&T, or even Vonage... I can get your bills lower with a change over to CallCentric. I'll gladly detail all the costs of the system, so there are zero surprises. Even with breaking bundles, clients lower their monthly invoices easily. Most phone providers charge $40/mo or more, and some on top of that charge extra for Long Distance. You would have to be on the phone for well over 2000 minutes to approach that initial $40 cost.

Please take a moment to consider the savings you could receive. We will gladly review your current phone costs, and work up a plan to reduce your phone costs. Most clients save over 50%!!

You can have a look at at the CallCentric site.... but you'd be better off phoning us,

Monday, September 17 2012

Put on your tin foil hats kids........ It's going to be a fun adventure! aka. Is Google an evil Big Brother?

Hmm.... Before you just say I'm crazy and like to hang out in bomb shelters, Have a look at a few things around here. Once upon a time, the internet was a place pretty much free of advertising. Do you remember that time? If you do, you likely remember BBS's and when 14.4 was FAST for a dial-up. It used to be the etiquette that you didn't spam anything, or anyone. Commercial ads were a big no-no.

Of course, that eventually changed, and now there's more ads than content online. Seems like many of the ads lead to scams, and there's nothing more annoying than the "Junkware" that has been written just to get ads all over your computer. In all of this, one group has officially made this once taboo internet thing into big business. If you don't know the answer, I'll give you just one guess.

google-evil.jpg

Huh? Yeah, these guys are the BIGGEST spammers on the web. The email clowns are coming from all over, but hands down the biggest spammer of the web is Google. But it gets worse.

Have you ever tried any Google product? Google Earth? Google Voice? Whatever...... Well, even if you uninstall it, Google is likely still keeping tabs on you. SAY WHAT? Google keeps track of you through cookies and software on your computer to know who you are, who you talk to, who you email, where you like to go... and they keep it on file for at least 18 months. They claim it's for helping target the right ads to you. I think there's more to it than that.

Essentially, Google has their finger in so many parts of your world, that even if Google is NOT being evil with the information, anyone who breaks in to Google is going to have lots of information to play with.

You can call me a tin-foil hat wearer if you like, but I really want Google out of my way. I have a few neat tricks that will help you out with that. I highly recommend visiting Fanboy's Ad-Block home page.

http://www.fanboy.co.nz

They have auto-block lists you can ad to most any browser, such as IE or Firefox. I doubt they'd do you any good on Chrome since you're inviting Google to spy on you by using it in the first place.

The most Dangerous word online is FREE. There's lots of good free things, but there's 5 evil ones for every 1 good one.