3 inexpensive ways to upgrade your business’ computers

Computers have come a long way in recent years – but when you look back a few decades, the mind boggles!

The computer code that took man to the moon in the Apollo missions has just been uploaded to the internet, and when it’s printed out and stacked, it stands as tall as the Margaret Hamilton, director of software engineering for the 1960s project. This astonishingly complex code is the grandfather of the streamlined codes that run modern computers, and it shows just how quickly the world’s IT systems are upgrading.

It can be hard to keep pace, especially in business where the need for effective computing is often leavened with the need to save money and make do with what you’ve got.

So, if your business has computer equipment more suited to an old school moon shot than your daily mission, here are three ways you can get computer upgrades without spending astronomical amounts:

1. Install a new operating system

Windows 10 was released last year and the consensus of its reviews is that it’s a “Goldilocks” – good for everything and suited for all computers.

Your computer’s operating system can be easily upgraded to a newer, more modern standard that allows your business to stay current without replacing your existing computer network lock, stock and barrel.

So, before you go shopping for a new computer, it pays to check if there’s a simple upgrade to a new operating system that will bring the same result – and save you money.

Bear in mind that you may need to upgrade your computer hardware to the modern standard to get the full benefits of the new OS – so see what works best for your business.

2. Switch out computer parts

Computers are a lot like cars – if you want to boost your sedan’s acceleration you whack in a turbocharger.

Likewise, if you want to improve your computer’s performance, install a new Solid State Drive (SSD) hard drive for increased performance or get a new LED monitor for better power usage.

Buying new computer parts and having them installed in existing models is a great way for businesses to upgrade their systems without spending the Earth.

3. Buy new computers

Finally, you can simply take the plunge and buy a new computer. Just like computing power itself has been advancing, so too has the affordability of computers – in favour of the consumer.

In the past, computers were quite expensive. But these days the industry’s emphasis is on software, not hardware, which makes computers themselves cheaper than ever.

You can acquire very powerful, modern units for bargain prices if you shop around. Or just come and see us at Computerman IT: one of the leading providers of computer services in Cairns.

We have a huge range of new computers, computer parts and software for great prices, and we can install them (and even tailor them) at your business with expert precision and friendly service.

How to pick your NBN plan

Australia is rapidly speeding into the 21st century with a fast, nationwide internet network, otherwise known as the NBN.

For homes and businesses, the high speeds and connectivity are the foundation for an innovative future, but like anything new, making the right choice can be difficult.

Luckily, the NBN has been designed with everyone in mind, including light users who occasionally check their emails, those who stream high definition video to multiple devices, and businesses who are just starting to explore the huge potential of Australia’s internet future.

Speed

For many people and businesses, the big advantage of the NBN is greater speed. Not just downloading, but uploading can be significantly faster on an NBN plan, to the point that it is finally possible in Australia to get access to an internet service that can even be too fast for your needs. So to get it right, it’s important to consider not only what you need the internet for, but how many people and devices will be using it at the same time.

If you’re just a regular home user who has been getting by with your one or two devices connected to ADSL2+, the lowest-tier packages starting at 12 Mbps are enough to do everything you are used to, including streaming normal video without any or much buffering.

But if you’re doing anything more than just uploading photos to Facebook, for example, an upload speed of 1 Mbps may not be enough – particularly for a home-based small business.

Data

Of course, the internet isn’t just about speed, it’s about data. Luckily, NBN plans are typically pretty generous, with even the lower tier plans offering 100 GB a month, which means streaming and downloading TV and movies can be done quite liberally.

The most popular NBN plans in Australia at the moment are the middle-range ones, offering up to 25 Mbps downloads and 5 Mbps uploads. The reason for this popularity is that pricing is pretty comparable to good ADSL2+ connections but offering significantly faster internet and more data.

A mid-range bundle might be suitable for a growing family that is going to use a variety of computers and devices on the same connection that will be able to cope with, for example, more than one video streaming demand at any one time.

The power of NBN

So while a mid-range plan with 25 Mbps and 500 GB will be more than enough for a reasonable family, large households and small to medium-sized businesses may want to consider going for the Big Daddy combo, with up to 100 Mbps downloads and a huge 40 Mbps upload speed that can be combined with unlimited data usage.

This sort of plan may cost a little more but it will be able to cope with almost any user demand, including a family with multiple heavy online gamers or hour upon hour of streaming HD online entertainment to multiple platforms.

Small businesses that send and receive large data files, rely heavily on cloud-based applications and want to do things like video conferencing and webinars will also benefit from going for a top NBN plan.

If you need more help with choosing your NBN plan or need some other IT support in Cairns, get in touch with The Mobile ComputerMan now.

Mac vs. Windows – We have a winner!

The Windows vs. Mac debate has been raging for years, and today we finally have a winner.

Let’s start by comparing the two to see what subtle – and not so subtle – differences there are between the two.

Manufacturing

Mac computers are manufactured exclusively by Apple, whilst Microsoft licences their Windows Operating system to other companies to be installed on their branded computers. This means that replacement parts can be harder to source and more expensive for Mac owners than Windows PC owners.

This also affects the price when purchasing a new computer. Due to the high level of competition from Windows PC manufacturers, you will generally be able to purchase a Windows PC at a more reasonable rate.

Software Availability

Without any argument, Microsoft has a wider range of software available for Windows PC users. This is not to say that their software is in any way superior to that which is available on Mac computers, but there is a lot more available for Windows.

In recent times however, the Mac software range has increased to include some packages that are available on Windows PC including the Microsoft Office Suite and several popular games.

Virus Protection

As the majority of computers owned across the world are using the Windows operating system, Mac has been overlooked for many years by those responsible for creating computer viruses. This is not to say that you do not need anti-virus on your Mac computer: there are viruses that will affect the use of your Mac, there just simply aren’t as many as you would find for a Windows PC.

Service and Repair

Owning a Mac makes service and repair simple. As Apple are the only manufacturer of the Mac computer, including hardware and operating system, if you have a warranty issue with your computer, you know where to go.

On the other hand, with a Windows PC, you may have to speak to several different companies before being able to find a solution to your problem whilst under warranty. In most cases, the store you buy the PC from will be able to help you.

After your warranty has run out however, most computer technicians are able to repair both types of computer.

And the winner is…

Us!

We, as the consumer, are the winner in every regard in this debate. There are so many differences between the two systems that as consumers we can get the best computer for our needs, whether it’s Mac or Windows.

Still not sure which one will best suit you? Why not have a chat to Computerman, a leader in computer repairs and computer sales in Cairns, today!

3 upgrades to improve your computer’s gaming performance

It can be a frustrating experience when your computer is too slow to run games properly, and it can really deflate the fun of gaming. If this sounds familiar, why not take your gaming performance to the next level with these effective upgrade ideas.

1. RAM (Random Access Memory)

Having more RAM or memory is always a good idea for computer performance and it is no exception for gaming. Upgrading your RAM is possibly the most cost-effective way of seeing a noticeable boost in gaming performance.

More RAM will allow you to run programmes and web pages in the background while you play games. All the programs you use have a memory footprint and eat up the amount of memory you have on your computer. Most computer systems have 4GB of RAM, but with memory-hungry games becoming more common today you really need to upgrade to 8GB or 16GB.

2. GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)

The most powerful upgrade for gaming performance is a new graphics card (GPU). It will really transform your gaming experience in a meaningful way, as games will run smoother and look a lot better. However, in many cases it’s also the most expensive upgrade option.

Make sure your new graphics card has the latest drivers installed as this can make a big performance difference. Also, take note that some graphics cards will require a new power supply for your computer, so it can handle the power demands.

3. SSD

A SSD (solid state drive) may not actually increase your frame rate for gaming but it will decrease your games load times dramatically. SSDs are much quicker than traditional mechanical hard disk drives (HDD), which means you will spend less time loading your games and more time playing them.

You will also see a big boost in your operating system’s startup time and how long it takes to access your files. SSDs store data on flash chips so they can access files in an instant. They’re also much smaller than a HDD so they take up less space inside your computer case.

If you need help with a slow computer or want to upgrade your memory, get in touch with the Cairns computer repair and upgrade experts today!

Four ways increased spending on technology can help your workplace

Technology has changed the world we live in. Nowadays, we browse our smartphones for the latest news, rather than reading newspapers, and our children are more likely to be found playing video games than hide and seek. But how has technology impacted on the workplace, and how has it helped?

Increased communication

Technology in the workplace is vital as it allows work colleagues to connect with each other, whether they are in the office, at home or in a meeting on the other side of the world. Email and cloud-based technology enable a business to send information to anyone anywhere in the world, and they can be in touch regardless of time constraints.

Improved business growth

Workplace technology almost eliminates the concept of space and time, with applications such as Skype conferencing reducing the need for travel and any costs associated with this. Business technology also allows a company to establish a global presence and connect with a greater customer base than it could previously.

Removal of boundaries restricting business expansion

While many businesses may have set out with a global reach in mind, the cost of doing this was previously far too high, especially for smaller businesses. Now, however, a company can set up a website, advertise and sell their products online, and even recruit employees using online technology. These concepts and many more allow a business to expand at far greater rates than would previously have been thought.

Greater business productivity

Fast and efficient technology in the office reduces the time spent on tasks, and increases workflow. Digital filing eliminates the need for paper storage and printing, saving space in the office. These files are also at the fingertips of anyone who needs them and can be found almost instantly with computer search capabilities.

Computerman IT offers your business an affordable, efficient and friendly computer service in Cairns. We specialise in computer network setup, computer upgrades, server installation, software upgrades and computer services. We come to you, and we can assist your business with website builds, email setup, cloud-based IT service installation and virus removal. Ask us for a quote now. Upgrade, save and take your business to the next level.

Why computers still beat mobile devices

As mobile technologies like smartphones and tablets become ever more impressive, powerful, versatile and popular, with long-lasting batteries and high-res screens, it is reasonable to wonder if the desktop computer or even the laptop might soon go the way of the dodo. In fact, it is already possible to do almost everything on a mere mobile phone that you used to need a powerful and unwieldy PC for, including streaming, multi-tasking and gaming. Many of us will already know people – our mums, for instance – who have said goodbye to Windows, keyboards and mice because their iPhone will do just fine. Confirming the trend, there is no doubt that computer sales are generally on a downwards trajectory.

But there is life in the world of traditional computers yet, which is why you should keep Cairns computer repairer – Computerman IT in your contacts list. Mobile technology is great, but many people who have even fully and completely embraced it will still have something as old-fashioned as a desktop computer on their desk. The reasons are many, like the ease with which large and varied monitors can be plugged in, for instance. Connectivity in general is still much better in computers than mobile technology: think USBs, SD Card readers, and so on.

Larger, more stable devices with an advanced keyboard and a mouse are still preferred by many technology users, for instance designers and writers who find that even a laptop cannot keep up with their ergonomic needs. There is also the issue of content storage, with on-board memory still better in the larger technology than its tiny counterparts, and advanced users still having the need for something closer to their chests than ‘the cloud’.

No computer can compete with the usability of a modern mobile that fits in your jeans pocket, but that versatility comes with a downside – it’s easy to damage. Much less likely is that you will smash your PC on the bathroom floor or – worse still – drop it in the toilet. Some people also prefer desktop computers for their businesses over laptops, for two main reasons: PCs are less prone to overheating, and they’re less likely to be stolen.

Ease-of-use aside, the complex versatility of the tasks computers can perform is still head and shoulders above mobile devices. Ask an experienced PC user about the relatively simple task of cropping, reducing the resolution and emailing a photo, for instance, and whether they’d rather do that on a computer or an iPad.

Is upgrading to Windows 10 right for your business?

Since the launch of Windows 1.0 in 1985, Microsoft has steadily expanded and upgraded this highly flexible operating system, arriving at the very latest version – Windows 10. There’s a good chance your business runs one of the legacy versions of Windows and you’ve gotten very used to it. But the question now pressing is: should you upgrade to the new version? There have been mixed reviews about Windows 10 and recently some controversy as some users were automatically upgraded to the new version and experienced glitches. To help you make the best decision for your business, let’s go through the pros and cons of Windows 10.

All devices are catered for equally

Windows started life as an OS for PCs, then with Windows 7 and Windows 8 became more optimised for smartphones, laptops and tablet computers as these systems gained popularity.

The consensus among reviews for Windows 10 is that the new version is a kind of “Goldilocks” Windows, where all devices, including PCs, can run the new system smoothly and get all of the new features (provided your computer meets the minimum system requirements).

A criticism of Windows 8 is that it eliminated the start menu, which frustrated PC users. But in Windows 10, the start menu is back, and the new OS offers a very balanced, easy to use interface, no matter what device you use.

So from a traditional business perspective, Windows 10 has a lot of offer – steady, reliable interface, an easy to use layout and all the features and functions you’re used to, with a few new twists.

The cutting edge stuff may not suit

On the flipside, Microsoft 10 has introduced and refined many innovative features, like touch screen technology, virtual desktops and Cortana, a personal assistant who can help you navigate the system and perform tasks.

This is all great stuff, but for regular, everyday business use, it may not be of much use to you. Plus, there will no doubt be plenty of upgrades in the future to keep these new features up to speed, which can be annoying.

That said, it’s nice to have options – the world of work is always changing, so having a balance of traditional tech and the cutting edge stuff may be good for your business.

Windows 10 – it’s up to you

In the end, whether you upgrade your business’ computer systems to Microsoft Windows 10 or not, the decision should revolve around whether or not it will benefit your business.

If you’re happy with how things are, then by all means keep your old system going. If it ain’t broke, there’s no need to fix it.

But inevitably, Microsoft will stop supporting older versions of Windows, so jumping on the bandwagon now could save a lot of hassle. Plus, you’ll have a new system working hard for you that could unlock abilities and potential you never knew you had.

At Computerman IT, we love helping businesses across the Cairns area navigate the technical pitfalls of software and hardware. So if you need some computer support or advice on software upgrades, we’re always happy to help.

4 quick tips for easier computing

Too many people, particularly those who did not get handed a smartphone in the cradle, the digital age is something that will always feel a little alien. You probably need a little support from an expert like The Mobile Computerman – home of computer support in Cairns – if your blank screen or bleeping internal speakers are driving you crazy. But there are also plenty of little secrets that you can learn to make life on computers just a little bit easier and fun. Here are a few:

1. Windows Key Shortcuts

We all know that pressing the Windows key brings up the Windows menu. But if you combine it with pressing ‘D’, your desktop handily pops up. The Windows key also does a lot of other things, so look it up and have fun. Some other little-known but very handy shortcuts are Control-Backspace, which deletes an entire word; Control-Shift-T, which re-opens the last browser tab you accidentally closed; and right-click-S on a photo to ask Google to look up more information about it.

2. How to browse privately.

Need to go incognito? Let’s say you’re buying a gift for a loved one and don’t want the online jewellery store to appear in your internet browser history. Just press Control-Shift-N and a new browser will pop up for you to do all of your surfing – ninja-style!

3. How to lock your computer when not using it.

Do you share a house with people who are constantly grabbing your laptop when you’re making a coffee and posting not-very-hilarious Facebook statuses on your behalf? Lock them out by combining the Windows key with L, which will lock your computer and require your password to unlock it. That will teach them!

4. Faster Internet Browsing & Text Manipulation

Work with a lot of browser tabs and get frustrated with having to click the tiny ‘x’ to close them? Just hover on the tab and ‘middle click’ the mouse button or scrolling wheel – tab gone. And if you’re on a laptop and don’t have a middle mouse button, press both the left and right buttons together. Another handy laptop shortcut is when highlighting text – do you find holding the left mouse button while dragging across the mouse pad awkward? Just click once where you want to start highlighting and then Shift-click at the end. Done. Copy/paste made even easier.

If you have any questions or want a one-on-one coaching session one of our experienced and friendly technicians will be happy to help. Call today!

3 signs that your computer may have a virus

Unfortunately the tech revolution of the 21st century has also brought about more sophisticated computer viruses. Unlike the computer bugs of the 1990s, modern viruses are becoming very good at staying hidden. This way they can hijack your computer, steal your sensitive data and potentially even spy on you, without you even realising that your computer has become infected. There are however tell-tale signs which let you know you may have a problem. Here are just three:

1. Your computer has slowed down dramatically

There are many reasons that a computer may slow down. One of the most common causes is just age, another is that your hard drive might be too full, but a third possibility is that you may have a virus. If your computer is relatively new and isn’t overloaded with files, then this is definitely worth looking in to. Viruses operate in the background of your system, using up precious processing power and slowing all other operations down. If your computer has slowed down dramatically and you can’t work out why, then a virus could certainly be the cause.

2. Links don’t take you where they are meant to

Do you often find that, when you click seemingly harmless links, they don’t take you where you want to go? You may be reading an online newspaper for example and, instead of going to the sports section, a link may send you to a gambling site. Viruses will often hijack links on a web page, so that when you click on them, it will send you to a sinister site. Keep an eye on what you’re clicking on, and run regular scans for viruses to combat this.

3. Battery drains much faster than it should

As previously mentioned, viruses can take up a lot of processing power and this can not only effect how fast your computer runs but also how quickly your battery runs out. If your battery is draining faster than you think it should, that may be a sign there are things happening on your computer that you don’t know about.

If you have any questions or you’re experiencing any of the above issues on your computer, call us today for a security assessment and removal of your virus infections.

4 easy tips to help your computer run faster

There are few things more frustrating than a slow personal computer or laptop – whether you’re working from home or just uploading holiday pictures on to Facebook. Below are four easy tips to help make your computer run much faster and save you both frustration and time.

1. Clear your desktop

It’s easy to save documents, programs and pictures to your desktop and then forget all about it. But this does slow down your computer. Clean up your desktop and only keep the essentials on there. It’s best to keep everything else in a separate folder. You’ll soon notice how much quicker your computer loads every time you turn it on.

2. Upgrade your computer’s memory

Another reason your computer or laptop may have dramatically slowed down is because it is running out of memory. Check how much memory you have left and consider investing in a memory upgrade. They are usually reasonably priced.

3. Keep nasty computer viruses away

Installing anti-virus software is vital to keep your computer safe. This may take a bit of time and cost a little bit of money but if your computer is invaded by a virus, it can slow it down dramatically and can even cause major damage.

4. Get rid of programs you no longer need

You may have had your computer or laptop for many years and have downloaded and installed numerous programs on to it. Many of them are probably running in the background. Perhaps it is now time for an audit. Check what programs you no longer need and get rid of them. This will create extra memory on your computer and will also help it run faster.

Questions?

If you need help with a slow computer or have any questions about installing anti-virus software and upgrading memory, get in touch with the Cairns computer repair experts. We can answer all your IT support questions and provide same-day virus removal services; we also sell, deliver and set up computers on site. Call Computerman IT on 07 4036 1320 or email us.