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.

7 tips to facilitate working from home effectively.

The social distancing measures introduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted an unprecedented number of people to start working from home. Whilst there are both business and personal advantages to working from home, without the right support in place, it can be a challenge. Take a look at seven proven strategies which can help remote workers to remain motivated, productive and effective.

1. Keep critical resources accessible and secure

With employees now working remote and using personal devices, maintaining security on company data and resources is more important than ever. Maintaining system security, ensuring data protection and making sure that back-up’s take place should be a priority. Remote IT support can provide the added expertise needed to make sure the core functions of an organisation remain intact.

2. Start leveraging the cloud

Whilst existing software may function perfectly in an office environment, the added complexity of working remote may expose how dependant that software is on everyone working in a single location. By leveraging the cloud, you can provide access to company resources no matter the location. Office 365 is a perfect example of this, allowing staff to access company data securely from any location with their internet connection.

3. Ensure IT support is available

It’s not just remote workers who will value the services of an experienced IT specialist; it’s important that IT support is available to maintain servers and other company resources. Managed IT Services can complement your existing IT Support by detecting and resolving issues before they begin to impact on your ability to trade.

4. Enhancing communication with staff and customers

The restrictions put in place by the pandemic mean that, for many businesses, the need to keep customers and staff informed is even greater than usual. In the current environment is it essential to maintain your communication technology. From trouble-shooting email issues to ensuring your inter-office chat systems are in accessible and reliable, remote IT support can assist.

5. Increasing the speed of your internet connection

A change in working practices, and an increase in internet usage may mean your internet speeds and quota are no longer suitable. Making a quick phone call to your internet provider to see if you can increase your internet speed may relieve the frustration of slow internet connections.

6. Assess your ability to work through this crisis

If COVID-19 has brought anything to light, it’s that some business are not prepared for staff to work from home. By using an IT Consultant, you can plan for these scenarios and implement strategies and technology to mitigate the risks. Working practices won’t be the same after the COVID-19 pandemic has abated and an IT specialist can advise on how best to future-proof your IT to ensure that remote workers can be accommodated with ease.

7. Flexible IT support that adapts with your business

It’s difficult for businesses to work out just how much business they’re likely to generate in the next few weeks or months. Remote IT support can be used flexibly, providing additional capacity if needed, but with no need to pay a retainer if not required.

Contact us to find out how remote IT support can ease the transition towards remote working.

5 tips to stay productive while working from home.

With the COVID-19 outbreak forcing millions of people to work from home, we thought it would be a good idea to provide a few tips to help you remain productive. Working from home presents some unique challenges which, if you’re not careful, can lead to lower productivity and increased stress levels.
Follow these five steps when setting up your home office to ensure a smooth transition to working remotely. If you do it right, there’s no reason why you won’t be productive. In many cases, you may find yourself more productive at home than when you’re at the office.

1. Make sure you have a good internet connection

The first thing you need to take care of is your internet connection. You won’t be able to do much without one. So if you don’t already have an NBN connection, make sure you upgrade before setting up your home office. If you are currently on the cheapest slowest option you may want to consider upgrading to a faster connection.
You should also make sure your connection is reliable. If you live in a remote location it could be several days before an engineer can get to you. So having a backup connection is also a good idea. A simple 4G/5G mobile data package will provide you with enough emergency bandwidth should your primary connection fail.

2. Make use of cloud software

Working from home these days doesn’t mean working on your own. There are several options open to you which, if used correctly, can improve collaboration. For example, Office 365 and Google Drive both allow you to share documents securely with colleagues.
Instant messaging app Microsoft Teams is another useful tool for collaboration, which provides a more customisable solution than instant messaging services such as WhatsApp. Microsoft Teams helps you to organise chats into public or private streams. You can also connect the app to other apps including Office 365, Google Drive and Salesforce. This allows you to create an integrated working environment which is much more productive than email.

3. Think about security

At home, you are not protected by a sophisticated corporate firewall. That means you need to think carefully about how you connect to the corporate network. You should ensure all devices are free from viruses and malware. Make sure your anti-virus software is up to date and carry out a full virus scan. You should also ensure you are using the latest version of your operating system and that all security patches have been applied.
If you use a single password to access all your devices you should think about upping your password security. There are many password managers out there such as LastPass which can help you create and manage secure passwords for all your devices and apps.

4. Stick to your normal working hours

When working from home it may be tempting to lay in bed until lunchtime and then work into the small hours. But you should avoid doing this at all costs. Research shows that people who work irregular hours are more prone to mental health issues, disrupted sleep patterns, gastrointestinal problems and cardiovascular disorders.
So stick to your normal working hours if at all possible. This will reduce the risk of disrupting your body’s biological clock. This will help you stay alert, keep your concentration levels high and give your body time to recharge. This is particularly important when there is a virus ripping through the population.

5. Avoid distractions

Working from home means you are exposed to a bunch of distractions such as the TV, internet, garden, family dog, kids. You name it, they’re all there to stop you from getting on with your work. And don’t forget no boss is looking over your shoulder to stop you from taking advantage of them.
So it’s a good idea to set up your workstation in a separate room. Then let everyone in the house know that this is your work area and you should not be disturbed during the working day. Of course, there is nothing to stop you from socialising during coffee and lunch breaks. But for the most part, you should work away from the rest of the family.

Need IT support while you’re working from home?

Working from home can be a rewarding experience, but there are certain issues which need to be overcome. One way you can smooth the transition is to ensure you have adequate IT support at home. Many corporate IT departments don’t have expertise supporting hundreds of home users.
That’s where we come in. Our experienced team are experts at supporting the needs of independent home workers. Our solution provides secure remote access allowing us to solve most issues quickly without the need for a home visit. So don’t worry about not having the support you need while isolating at home. Get in touch with us today for a FREE quote to see how we can help you remain secure and productive.

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!

5 reasons why you need remote support services

Has COVID-19 forced your company to adopt remote working practices? Working from home poses IT challenges for both business and the workforce. From difficulty setting up devices for work, through to concerns regarding security, back-up and data protection; The current crisis brings many problems to light. Responsive, fast and capable of working on a wide variety of networks and set-ups, remote IT support can ease a range of COVID-19 related challenges. Here are five reasons why a large number of businesses are embracing remote IT support to keep their operation running smoothly.

1. Flexible IT service when it’s needed

Sometimes you might require critical assistance; at other times a little maintenance or updating is all that’s needed to keep your system working smoothly. Remote IT support offers an adaptable service that’s geared to meeting your needs. Support can be offered to individual members of staff, working from home to ensure critical services are maintained. Both scheduled and emergency work can be easily accommodated.

2. Geography isn’t a barrier!

A major advantage of remote IT support is just that: it’s remote! Particularly if your team are now working from home, workers will be located over a far larger area. In addition, many will have different set-ups, requiring individual solutions. A remote IT worker can solve problems regardless of physical location.

3. You only pay for what you use

In these uncertain times, it’s hard to set budgets for your l IT capacity. When you use remote IT solutions, you only pay for what you use. The flexible relationship between client and provider promotes optimal value. Remote IT professionals are used to being “summoned” to solve issues, then moving on to other work. This strength ensures you receive high-grade support exactly when and where it’s needed.

4. Spotting problems before you do

With Managed IT Services part of the responsibilities of remote IT support can be to keep an eye on your network to make sure everything is running smoothly. In the event of anything untoward being discovered, remote support can take defensive and restorative action promptly – often before users notice that anything is amiss.

5. A workforce with enhanced skill in remote working

Nobody knows what the working environment is going to look like post-COVID-19, but it’s unlikely to be as it was before the pandemic. Remote support can work with individual employees as well as entire businesses, giving them the capacity needed to work well remotely. This expertise is a long-term resource that is likely to be useful further down the line.

Remote IT services include: updating and maintaining server software; file management; maintenance and diagnostic procedures; solving specific issues on a laptop, server or desktop; providing appropriate training and support for workers who are trying to get to grips with the complexities of accessing their work from home.

Get in touch to find out more about the quality and cost benefits of accessing a remote IT service.

Do you need professional IT Support.

We can help you on-site and remote. Contact us 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.