Tag Archives: Google

Navigating The Cloud: Gold Mine…Or Minefield?

24 Aug 16
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Is the cloud a good fit for your company or not? On the one hand, taking full advantage of today’s cloud capabilities could be key to becoming a top player in your market. On the other, without proper oversight, just one cyber-break-in could bankrupt your organization…

Feeling a little confused, or perhaps even overwhelmed, about your company’s cloud options?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In this article we’ll help you unravel your choices so you can make the most out of this game-changing technology.

To really take full advantage of the cloud, there are (at least) three things to consider:

  1. Whether to use a public or private cloud network – or both.
  2. Which cloud-based apps deliver the best value for your organization.
  3. How shared servers can help you save time and cut costs.

So just what is a “public” versus “private” network, or cloud? Simply put, a public cloud serves many organizations, while a private cloud is proprietary to just one. We’ll cover each so you can more easily navigate the pitfalls and possibilities each one presents.
Which Is Best For Your Network: Public, Private…Or Both?
One advantage to using a public cloud is that you can start using it in just minutes. It allows you to easily scale up or down, as your business needs change. And, with pay-per-use pricing, you only pay for what you need.

However, compliance with government regulations often can’t be achieved in a public cloud. Also, public networks don’t offer the same degree of control that a locally based private network can provide. And in a public cloud, you never know who you’re sharing a server with.

All that being said, a hybrid cloud may be your best model. For instance, compliance-controlled work can be handled in a private network, while less restricted tasks can be done over a public one.

Cloud-Based Apps: Microsoft Office 365 vs. Google Apps For Work

You’ll find countless cloud-based apps for business. However, Office 365 and Google Apps For Work are two of the most popular cloud-based productivity suites in the market today. Both allow you to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations on your own, as well as in real time with team members. They also provide video conferencing and cloud storage. Here’s a quick rundown:

Storage – At a paltry 30GB, the storage you get with the basic version of Google Apps For Work pales in comparison to the 1TB you get with the Office 365 Business Essentials plan. Yet, moving up a notch to the Google Apps “Unlimited” plan gets you unlimited storage, beating Office 365 hands-down.

Collaboration – Both Google Apps For Work and Microsoft Office 365 make real-time collaboration with team members in different locations easier than ever. Due to its simplified features and web-based origins, Google Apps may be easier to work with. However, users accustomed to Microsoft Office may prefer the more familiar feature set of Office 365.

Then There’s Amazon…

Amazon-shared servers allow you to grow and shrink your web presence with demand, easily store and retrieve data from a super-reliable network of worldwide data hubs and deliver content at blazing speed – all at minimal cost.

While Amazon has led the field in this new type of service, companies like Microsoft, Google and IBM, as well as niche players like Rackspace, SalesForce and Oracle, have all jumped into the fray.

Each offers a varying range of toolsets that can make your network more productive and reduce overall operating cost.

Navigating your computing choices in today’s cloud-driven world can be complex. And it isn’t getting any simpler as the field rapidly evolves. Not sure what to do? We can help!

New ad blocker technology means faster page loads—but what about us?

06 Apr 16
lverbik
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If you’re doing business online, then you probably know about ad blockers and have accepted the fact that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. And, as if there aren’t enough obstacles to selling online, there’s a new beast on the horizon that takes ad blocking to another level: It’s called Polaris and it’s a new ad blocking technology embedded in its own Opera browser.

Unlike what we’ve faced in the past with ad blocking extensions in Chrome, Firefox and other popular browsers, Opera’s new ad blocking technology is native—at the web engine level—meaning that it’s more powerful and insidious to get around. Developed by techxperts at Harvard, the technology maps out a sequence for downloading a web page’s info bits, resulting in fewer network trips for the browser, and thus, faster page load times. For businesses that advertise online, it is a little worrisome.

Why is this happening, why!? It’s about improvements to page loading speed. We all know there’s nothing more exasperating than waiting for a page to load. We will sit patiently for about 2 seconds and if it goes beyond that, we’re freaking out and writing complaint letters to the technology companies—or cussing out the computer and getting up to grab a sandwich so we don’t have to deal with watching the spinning “page loading” icon.

Even more than that, people are sick of the bloated online ads that not only suck up bandwidth to load up, but oftentimes obstruct the content you’re reading and refuse to close down when you X them out. Or the ads with the unsavory DOWNLOAD buttons that, if clicked, could send you a virus. Tracking and privacy are also concerns.

So you can’t blame the world if it wants to block ads. Remarked one spokesperson for Opera: “Ad-blocking technology is an opportunity and a wake-up call to the advertising industry to pay attention to what consumers are actually saying.” This means that it might be time for businesses to create better ads—relevant, engaging, non-annoying ads. They might be the only ads that get through if the future of ad blocking is anything like Polaris.

Opera boasts that, with its Polaris ad blocker, their browser runs, on average, 45 percent faster than Google Chrome with Ad Block Plus extension, and 21 percent speedier than Firefox. That makes it enticing enough to worry about.

You probably don’t need to worry about Opera blocking your ads yet since it is a relatively unknown and unused browser compared to Chrome and the other top names. But as it is the way things are going to increase internet speeds, one should take heed and begin to look at the types of ads you’re creating—making them sleeker and smoother and more unobtrusive. And possibly at other avenues that don’t rely so much on ads, such as inbound marketing.

PCWorld has a more detailed techy explanation on the story…

Put the Zip Back into Google Chrome

23 Mar 16
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Like the old story of the frog that gradually, unwittingly gets itself boiled in a pot of water, users of the Google Chrome browser may not realize they’ve been cooking in their own accumulated data bits, suddenly finding one day that their browser is operating super slowly or crashing all the time. Because Chrome is the most widely used, popular browser on planet Earth, it’s worth mentioning these easy tips for putting the zip back into your Chrome.

Of all the techy problems you can have, slow browsing is probably one of the most annoying, in our humble opinion. You’re fast, brilliant, efficient, productive—yet you can’t get this darn page to load up so all your work comes to a screeching halt.

Don’t be the frog—don’t simmer to death in a slow Google Chrome browser. Here is a three-pronged philosophy for getting Chrome back to optimum speed:

  1. Clear Your History Often

If you’re like most people and you might be since the average person is like most people, then you don’t even think about the accumulated history gathering in your cache. For every visit you make to a website, that browser data is stored in a virtual storage bin. Over time, the bin gets stuffed with bits of information that sucks up memory and causes your software to struggle to get things done. This can be easily remedied by making a habit of clearing your data history and cache periodically. Give yourself a reminder alarm to clean it out every month; it’s simple and can make a big difference.

  1. The Fewer Plugins, the Better

Again, the average user probably isn’t even aware of how many plugins they’ve downloaded over time. If your Chrome browser is running slowly, it might be time to check this. Just type “Chrome:plugins” into your browser bar and it will reveal all your plugins currently in use. Even if you are not actively using them, each plugin will load and remain operational, thusly clogging up your browser with unnecessary software data bits. Simply uninstall or disable those you do not use. Feeling lighter? Good—there’s one more tip.

  1. Clean Up Your Extensions

Here’s another one you’ve probably been collecting each time you see a cool new thing to add to your Chrome experience. Pinterest, Hola, Pockets, WOT, Last Pass—the list goes on. You may have extension overload. Just type “chrome://extensions” into the browser to see your collection. Now which ones are you still actually using? Get rid of the rest, and this—combined with steps one and two above—will start to free up memory and create a leaner, faster cheetahlike Chrome. And that means a less annoyed, more productive, more efficient you.

Contact Techno Advantage for additional IT advantages to learn better smarter ways to get things done.

Space commerce (Cool Technology News)

24 Feb 16
lverbik
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Some people call us space commerce cowboys…

There’s e-commerce and then there’s space commerce. While you thought e-commerce opened up the world to businesses, now space commerce potentially makes the universe our marketplace.

Space commerce is a real thing taking shape in our market landscape (or spacescape). The wick has been lit and it’s only a matter of time till it takes off full force.

We aren’t just talking about commercial space travel here—an out of this world notion in itself! Space commerce is bigger than that, impacting the areas of energy, medical, IT, advanced manufacturing and communications.

Did you know that in 2015 President Obama signed a pro-asteroid mining bill into law? This bill allows companies to extract, use and sell material obtained from space bodies such as asteroids, the Moon, Mars and other heavenly bodies, for commercial exploration and use. The part I find most fascinating is the sheer audacity of anyone laying claim to anything in outer space at all—but maybe that’s just me.

The law, known as the US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015, or HR 2262, allows asteroid mining companies to retain rights to the resources they have collected. Eric Anderson of Planetary Resources, Inc, said that “this legislation establishes the same supportive framework that created the great economies of history, and will encourage the sustained development of space.”

This area of commerce is exploding like a supernova, fueled by such factors as:

  • Companies including Google and its company Planetary Resources, SpaceX (PayPal’s Elon Musk) and Virgin Galactic/Qualcomm/OneWeb pursuing worldwide internet access using light satellite technology.
  • The cost to launch payloads into orbit is reducing, now putting space access within reach for more companies.
  • A skyrocketing (forgive the pun) increase in international spaceports is redefining the global marketplace with new possibilities in travel, space tourism, point to point shipping, low gravity experimentation and orbital launch capabilities—currently nine counties on this planet have the capability for orbital flights. But it is now becoming more within reach globally.
  • NASA’s purchasing policies are evolving to bring about innovation and cost efficiencies.
  • Surging interest on the part of venture capitalists to invest in commercial space companies.

It is cool to think about the untapped treasure of the minerals found within asteroids—they are said to be rich in concentrated amounts of iron ore, and other precious metals. Dollar value in the trillions.

Another exciting aspect is the growth of satellite and space-based data services in the private sector, selling these capabilities as services to the government and other businesses. The new Obama space mining law opens our free-market culture far higher than we’ve ever dreamed possible. And it seems there’s nowhere to go but up. It’s exciting to be living in these times and see some of the things we only read about or imagined now becoming a reality in our lives.

Accomplish More On Your Mobile Device

01 Dec 14
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Microsoft announced today that they have acquired Acompli, an email app available on iOS and Android. Acompli is designed to help you work faster and smarter with emails and calendars on your mobile device. The service works with a variety of messaging services including Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Google and Yahoo. Unlike most systems that split email and calendar management into separate apps Accompli allows for both in a single app, all with keeping your most important email at the top.

Without an Outlook app available for iOS, this would seem to help close a gap in Microsoft’s mobile offerings.

“This acquisition is part of our company-wide effort to help people accomplish more with their mobile devices.” Rajesh Jha, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, said in a blog post.

This is not a new direction for Microsoft. Earlier this year the company released mobile versions of their office suite for iOS and Android. They quickly rose to the top of the app charts.

With email being so central to most people’s work lives, having a single, simple location to handle all of the various inboxes most users have, similarly to the role of Outlook on the PC, would make life easier for many.

Techno Advantage wants to help make your life easier by being your trusted IT consultant.  We are a Microsoft Certified Partner and can help you explore all the options available to you and your business.  Contact us today!