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Category Archives: Laptop

How to best utilize mobile tech for staff

Love it or hate it, mobile technology in the workplace is here to stay. While more and more companies are utilizing it as a way to up their productivity, there is a right and a wrong way to go about it. Here are four tips to help you successfully integrate mobile devices into your organization to create a more efficient and productive business.

Use the right tool

Some work tasks just aren’t cut out for mobile use. While using a mobile phone or tablet to send emails is an effective way to work on the go, trying to write long form reports on these same devices is a bad idea. As a general guideline, small tasks such as email, viewing documents, using search engines and project management apps are good for mobile work. Anything that is too detailed is probably better suited for a computer or laptop. Lastly, only train your employees to use and learn the mobile devices and programs that make sense for their role. If you want them to be most efficient, you don’t want to overwhelm them with every mobile tool your business uses.

Communicate face-to-face

Email is undoubtedly a valuable communication tool. But it’s also become the bane of existence for many of today’s employees and business owners. Too many emails kills your employees productivity, overwhelming them. And unfortunately, many times email is simply unnecessary. Instead of sending that email about a question concerning an upcoming meeting, simply go and ask in-person. You’ll likely get a response much quicker and you avoid adding yet another message to the email overflow.

Consider adding a face-first policy in your office. This means that every time your employees consider writing an email, they should question if it’s easier to just go talk with that person directly. If that person is located a quick walk away, then the conversation should take place in-person. This especially makes sense if your employee needs an answer within a few hours, as sometimes emails go unanswered for much longer than this. By enforcing an email policy, your employees’ inboxes are less likely to be overflowing and your communication will take place in a more timely manner.

Set boundaries

There’s no question that mobile tech can help productivity, but it can also hinder it. The problem is that many employees who utilize it have difficulty “switching off”. The lines between work and personal life begin to blur as completing work tasks is always right at their fingertips. While on the surface more work output from your employees may sound like a good thing, in reality it’s far from it. Being “always on” can quickly lead to burnout. And even if it doesn’t, if your employees don’t take time to break and recharge, their productivity will suffer. To demonstrate just how many employees fall into this trap of overworking, the 2015 Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index surveyed 2,602 employees and found that a quarter of them regularly worked after standard business hours, and four out of ten worked on at least one weekend a month.

So how can you resolve this issue as an employer? Simply set boundaries. Create time frames for when work platforms and applications can be utilized and for when emails can be sent and responded to. Also, don’t encourage employees to work on off-hours by sending emails during the weekend. If your concern isn’t urgent, then by all means wait till Monday to send it out.

Be flexible

While it may sound a bit contradictory to the last point, being flexible in your work policy can be a smart decision to boost productivity. By being flexible, we mean the ability for your employees to work at hours and locations of their choosing. Most people work better and quicker at certain hours as they are more focused at specific times of the day. And some people will work better remotely than they do at an office space as there can be less distractions. The Staples survey supported this fact as 59% of the employees surveyed said that flexible schedules had a positive effect on productivity.

Cloud tools like Office 365 and Google Apps can help encourage a flexible workplace. But regardless of how flexible your office becomes, be conscious that parameters on work, mentioned in the last section, should still be in place to prevent employee burnout.

Mobile devices in the workplace can go a long way towards making your business more efficient and employees happy. If you’d like to learn more about utilizing mobile devices in the workplace or how you can leverage technology to make your business more productive, call us today.

7 Warning signs of malware infection

As companies go to the Internet to conduct their business, their IT security becomes more vulnerable to many hackers and viruses. That’s why it’s even more important to recognize whether or not your systems are under threat from malicious software to swiftly fend off the infection. So how do you know if your company’s IT security is under threat? Here are a few warning signs to tell if you are a victim of malware infection.

Slow computer

The most common symptom of a malware infection is a slow running computer. Are your operating systems and programs taking a while to start up? Is your data bandwidth suspiciously slow? If so, your computer may potentially have a virus.

However, before you immediately assume your computer has a virus, you should check if there are other causes to your computer slowing down. Check if you’re running out of RAM. For Windows, open task manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc) and go to the Performance tab and check how many gigabytes of RAM you are using under the Memory section. For Mac OS users, you can open the Activity Monitor app and under System Memory you should be able to find out your RAM usage.

Other causes of a slow system include a lack of space on your hard drive and damaged hardware. Once you’ve ruled out the other potential causes, then a virus may have infected your device.

Blue screen of death (BSOD)

If your PC crashes regularly, it’s usually either a technical problem with your system or a malware infection. You might not have installed the latest drivers for your device or the programs you’re running could possibly be incompatible with your hardware. If none of these problems are apparent in your PC then the virus could be conflicting with other programs causing your crashes.
To check what caused your last BSOD go to Control Panel> System and Security> Administrative Tools> Event Viewer and select Windows Logs. Those marked with an “error” are your recorded crashes. For troubleshooting solutions, consult forums or your IT department to figure out what to do next.

Programs opening and closing automatically

Malware can also be present when your programs are opening and closing automatically. However, do check if some programs are meant to behave this way or if they are simply incompatible to run with your hardware first before coming to the conclusion that your computer has a virus.

Lack of storage space

There are several types of malware that can manipulate the files saved on your computer. Most tend to fill up your hard drive with suspicious files. If you find any unknown programs that you have never installed before, don’t open the application, search up the program’s name over the Internet and use antivirus protections once you’re certain that it’s malware.

Suspicious modem and hard drive activity

Combined with the other warning signs, if your hard disk is working excessively while no programs are currently running or if you notice that your external modem is always lit then you should scan your computer for viruses.

Pop-ups, websites, toolbars and other unwanted programs

These are irritating signs that your computer has a virus. Pop-ups come from clicking on suspicious pages, answering survey questions to access a website’s service or installing free applications. Don’t click on ads where Jane says she earned $8000 a month staying at home. When you get pop-ups appearing out of the blue, refrain from clicking anywhere on the pop-up page and just close out of the window and use your anti-malware tool immediately.

Equally, free applications allow you to download their service for free but the installation process can be riddled with malware. When you’re installing a program from the Internet it’s easy to just skim over the terms and conditions page and repeatedly press next. This is where they get you. In the process of skipping over certain installation steps, you might have agreed to accepting a new default browser, opening unwanted websites and other programs filled with viruses. Just be cautious the next time you download something for free. It’s best to try avoiding any of these practices when you can in order to protect your computer.

You’re sending out spam

If your friends are telling you that you’ve been offering them suspicious messages and links over social media or email, you might be a victim of spyware. These may be caused from setting weak passwords to your accounts or forgetting to logout of them.

In the end, it’s best to know how malicious software affects your computer so you can take steps to rectify the situation as soon as possible. Regardless of whether or not your system has experienced these symptoms, it’s always smart to perform regular malware scans to ensure your business is safe. To find out more about malware and IT security, contact us today.

Tips to speed Windows 10 on your computer

If you’ve finally made the upgrade to Windows 10, you may be disappointed that it’s running slower than expected. You may wonder, what’s the cause of this? Well, thankfully there are a few typical culprits, and solutions to fix them. Here are four steps you can take to significantly speed up your Windows 10 OS.

Prevent programs from launching at startup

Windows loads several programs at startup so they’re quickly available. While Microsoft likely has good intentions for doing this, the auto-launch can also slow down the speed of your computer. To fix this issue, you’ll need to make some manual adjustments in the settings.

To see what programs are launching during startup, press Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Next, click on the startup tab of the Task Manager window, where you can easily disable any programs you don’t want launching at startup. However, there will likely be a few programs you’re unsure about. For those, it’s best to play it safe and keep them enabled.

Get rid of useless applications

Having a large amount of programs on your computer takes up valuable memory and hard disk space. In other words, it slows your computer down and makes it work harder than necessary. To quickly clean out your unused programs, follow these steps:

  1. Type Change or remove a program into the taskbar search box (this will show you all the apps stored on your computer)
  2. Select the program/s you no longer want, and click Uninstall.

Once you do this, you’ll then be guided through a number of steps to complete the uninstallation process.

Tidy up your disks

While most people like to clean out their houses come Spring, why not do so with your computer sometime this month? Thankfully, Microsoft’s Disk Cleaner tool makes it easy to do so.

To find Disk Cleaner, right-click any drive in File Explorer and select Properties and Disk Cleanup under the General tab. Once open, it will automatically find files that may be taking up unnecessary space, such as temporary Internet and system memory dump files, and presents them to you for your review. Once you’ve looked them over, you can easily erase them by simply clicking OK.

Turn off apps running in the background

Much to your surprise, there are likely some programs running in the background of your Windows 10 OS that you’re completely unaware of. Microsoft has enabled their native universal apps to do this so you can quickly access their features. However, it also will cause some slow down to your CPU, so you might want to disable them.

To find out what programs are running in the background, navigate to Start Menu>Settings>Privacy>Background apps. Then, switch off the programs you don’t want running at all times.

By following these four steps, you are sure to see a noticeable difference in the speed of your PC. If you’d like to learn more about how to optimize your Windows system or need assistance with your other Microsoft products, feel free to give us a call.

How scary is the new mac scareware?

If you wanted a classic example of how malware evolves, the new scareware discovered on Mac in the past few weeks is a perfect example. The way it attempts to fool users is unlike almost any of its predecessors. In other words, it’s very convincing. Here’s what you need to know about this new scareware on the block.

What is scareware?

For those who’ve never heard of it, scareware is a type of malware designed to trick you into purchasing illegitimate software. If you’ve ever been prompted to buy the antivirus software known as Mac Defender (also known as Mac Protector, Mac Guard, Mac Security, etc.), then you’ve seen scareware firsthand. Essentially, this malware burrows into your computer and attempts to scare you into purchasing their product, oftentimes which is antivirus. This new form of scareware on Mac works in the same fashion.

How this new Mac scareware fools consumers

If you’re familiar with scareware, you may think you have nothing to worry about. You already know how scareware attempts to trick users, so why should you be afraid of this one? The reason is this malware masquerades as an Adobe flash update, and quite a believable one at that because the installer is signed with a legitimate Apple developer certificate and downloads a legitimate version of flash on your machine. The catch is that it also downloads the scareware.

What happens once you download the scareware?

After you download the Adobe Flash update, the scareware is also installed on your system. You’ll then be prompted to scan your computer. If you do, it will claim you have a variety of malware on your system like Trojans, viruses, worms and more, in an attempt to scare you into buying fake security software to clean the malware out. If you’re reading this and have somehow gotten to this stage in the ruse, don’t buy the software.

Lessons to learn

Regardless of whether you’re a Mac or PC user, there is a valuable lesson to learn here. When getting software updates, ignore all prompts from random third party sites. Instead you should get your updates directly from the software developer.

Malware is becoming a growing threat for Mac users. So it’s important to remember that just because you use a Mac, doesn’t mean you’re automatically immune to security threats. If you’d like to know more about how to protect your Apple systems, call our Mac security experts today.

Get-more-from your laptop battery

Even in today’s world where electrical outlets are more numerous than ever before, there will still be times you need to push your laptop’s battery to the edge. Ever wish you could buy yourself a few extra minutes by extending your battery life? Here are a few tips to help you get every last drop of energy from your laptop battery.

Dim the screen

The easiest way to conserve your battery is to dim the screen of the laptop. The screen eats up a lot of energy, and chances are you don’t really need it that bright in the first place. The more you dim it, the more energy you will save. If you are desperate for battery life, turning it down to the lowest setting that still renders screen readable to you is the way to go. If you just want to conserve energy, taking it down to halfway will help conserve the battery and give you additional time down the road.

Stop charging your phone

It is almost second nature for people to charge their phones when they have a chance, but doing so while using your laptop can be a serious drain on its battery. If you need to maximize your laptop battery then unplug your phone, tablet or other device from it. You should see a big difference in battery performance almost immediately. In fact, it is best not to have any USB accessories, such as a wireless mouse, plugged in at all. These can also deplete your laptop battery in short order.

Only use what you need

While it’s fine to keep open multiple programs, applications and other features when your laptop is plugged in, these will eat away at your battery life when you’re away from a power socket. You should run a quick inventory on what you are using, and then close out of the rest. Do you really need to be running Skype if you are not talking to anyone? Probably not. Don’t just push them into the background, though. Be sure to close out of them completely. By only running what you need, you can reduce the burden on your battery.

Shutdown Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi can be one of the biggest drags on a laptop battery, because it is constantly using energy to search for new networks or to stay connected to the one it’s on. Not only that, but internet browsers, especially ones with multiple tabs open, can increase energy consumption. If you aren’t using the internet, you should shut off the Wi-Fi and close out of any browsers. If you do need to use the internet, avoid opening multiple tabs, watching videos or streaming music.

Plan ahead

If you aren’t sure when you will be able to charge your laptop again, it is best to implement some of these battery-saving techniques before the situation gets critical. Chances are if you aren’t using certain apps now, you probably weren’t using them 30 minutes ago either. The best way to conserve your laptop’s battery life is by being vigilant and alert to usage in advance. It is almost always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to the battery life left on your laptop.

Let us show you how to get the most out of your laptop battery. Our trained experts can also answer all your hardware questions. Drop us a line for more information.

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Asus Water cooled laptop – GX700 laptop of your nightmarish dreams

Gaming is a big theme of 2015. Acer’s unleashing a whole new line of Predators and Lenovo is taking on the challenge with a new range of gaming PCs of its own. But as aggressive and hungry for hype as both have been, neither is going quite as far as Asus, which today introduced the world’s first water-cooled laptop.

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Water cooling has traditionally been an exotic extra that gamers would append to their rigs to enhance their cooling setups, on the one hand, and to accredit themselves as hardcore enthusiasts, on the other. It’s grown increasingly easier to incorporate into modern PCs as the size of other components has shrunken and companies have started developing self-contained water-cooling kits that take a lot of the pain (and spills) out of the installation. Even so, water cooling in a laptop is about as far-fetched as modern gaming gear gets.




The Asus GX700 is still mostly a mystery at this point. Asus isn’t divulging many of this machine’s specs, other than to say that it will be the first 17-inch laptop with a 4K display. We know there’ll be an Nvidia GeForce graphics card inside it, and we can assume it will be ready to overclock once the water cooling rig is joined up with the GX700 to amp up performance. The premise of this laptop is that it’s a mighty pixel-pushing machine in its own right, but once it’s docked, everything can be turned up that extra bit further into the ludicrous sphere.

I struggle to understand how a big and heavy cooling setup is an improvement on something like Alienware’s external-GPU system that lets you power gaming on a laptop with a desktop graphics card (and replace that card when needed). That’s about as portable a setup as this, but leaves more flexibility for the user. Then again, we still don’t know the price and full details of the GX700. So, for now, let’s just enjoy the wild view.





For more information, visit http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/2/9251275/asus-gx700-water-cooled-gaming-laptop-ifa-2015-video

Photos from Tom Warren.

Need a tough work laptop? Try this!

  Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme:

a hardhat laptop for rough work environments




A fully rugged Dell Latitude laptop for miners, law enforcement, military, and any other harsh environments that chew up and spit out regular laptops.

After two years of research and development, Dell has come out with a fully rugged Latitude notebook that’s designed for use in field work where normal laptops might not be able to survive.

The Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme represents a new product direction for Dell. While it has had semi-rugged products for a while, such as its ATG range of Latitude laptops, this is the first time that the company has offered a product that can take a barrage of punishment and yet continue to function.



The Latitude Rugged Extreme is a 14in laptop that’s built using a combination of impact-resistant polymers and magnesium alloy. It’s a product that carries an IP65 rating for water and dust ingress, and it has gone through MIL-STD-810G testing for shocks and temperature variations.

Basically, it’s a unit that’s waterproof (though not fully submersible), dustproof, shockproof, and capable of withstanding hot and cold climates. It can be used outside on rainy days, in environments where dust and dirt can’t be avoided, and in places where knocks might be common (mounted in a vehicle, for example). Furthermore, the construction materials that have been used allow it to be used in some environments where hazardous materials are present.

Its specifications as a laptop are typical: you get your choice of a fourth generation Intel Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 CPU, up to 16GB of RAM, optional Nvidia GeForce graphics, and up to 512GB of solid state storage. It’s what’s present around the edges of the laptop that creates a point of differentiation.

The usual flaps and seals are there to make sure all the ports and slots are covered securely when they are not in use (usual as far as rugged products are concerned, that is), and these ports and slots include those that are modern (USB 3.0, USB 2.0, SD, and HDMI), in addition to some throwback technology.

You get a VGA port for connecting to projectors and older monitors and TVs, but that’s not even the oldest port on offer. In fact, the Latitude features two serial ports that are native. These are said to still be in high demand in certain fields where diagnostics from machines need to be downloaded, or transfers from meters and other devices need to be made. Two Ethernet ports are also present, which allows for more secure networking.


As a rugged product, the Latitude Rugged Extreme is a bulky product, and it needs to be in order to incorporate all of the protections for its internal components. The outside shell acts as a fortress for those components, complet

e with a carry handle, and there is a rhyme and reason to the way it has been shaped. For example, Dell had feedback from customers who wanted a product that could stand up on its own like a briefcase, so it incorporated flat sides which give the laptop that capability.

Other design features are of a more technical nature, such as the inclusion of three pass-through antennas, which Dell claims is one more than its competition offers. On the Latitude Rugged Extreme, there are pass-through antennas for the GPS, mobile broadband, and Wi-Fi modules (it’s 802.11ac). Dell said it has also borrowed inspiration from the automotive industry by incorporating Direct-View LCD technology in the screen in order to make it usable in bright outdoor conditions.

The screen resolution is 1366×768, which is low when you compare it to many consumer laptops, but this is the most commonly supported resolution for the sectors that Dell is targeting with this rugged laptop. The screen also has touch capability, but it’s of a resistive nature, and this means that it can be used effectively even while a user is wearing gloves.


Despite being a fully rugged product, Dell said the water resistant keyboard on the Latitude E6420 XFR has been designed to feel normal, rather than like mushy rubber, and it’s a backlit board that can be used to type easily in dark environments. At the product’s demonstration in Sydney, the laptop was shown sitting in a glass tank, and then had dirt and water thrown on it from the top. The dirt and water was mashed into the keyboard a little and then brushed off. The keyboard still worked while being a dirty mess.

Dell said that it has an advantage in offering a rugged product to its customers: the Latitude Rugged Extreme has 80 per cent of the DNA and components of regular Latitude models, and to an administrator who is looking after these machines, it will look like just another Latitude running a standard image. The machine supports vPro management (for the Core i5 and i7 models), and, just like most Dell products, there are various support and service options that can be considered.


Security includes TPM, optional fingerprint reader, Dell encryption tools, and SmartCard reader facilities (including contactless capability). The battery has six cells and a 65 Watt-hour rating, with options including a 9-cell, 97 Watt-hour battery, and long life cycle batteries. The starting weight of the Latitude Rugged Extreme with the standard 6-cell battery is 3.81kg.

A smaller, Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme product is also being offered by Dell. This is a hybrid product with an 11.6in screen that can be flipped around in its frame to turn the unit into a tablet. It’s the same principle as the Dell XPS 12 hybrid, but in a rugged enclosure.

Posted by Elias Plastiras (PC World)— 08 April, 2014 15:0 http://www.goodgearguide.com.au/article/542376/dell_latitude_14_rugged_extreme_hardhat_laptop_rough_work_environments/