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Is this the future of mobile computing?

 

Above is an image of my trusty Blackberry Playbook with its new accessory – a bluetooth keyboard.  Now you must be wondering why would I put a keyboard on a tablet?  The answer is productivity.  You see all the tablets on the market at the moment are consumption devices in that you browse the web, use Facebook etc.  Have you ever tried to actually do work on them? It is not easy to be productive on tablets compared to a laptop for example. By adding a keyboard you effectively turn a tablet into a laptop and being productive becomes a lot easier (you can type without losing half the screen which you do with the onscreen keyboard).


So what? You still don’t have the software like Microsoft Office on tablets.

That is correct but that will soon be changing.  Microsoft are in the midst of bringing out the Surface Pro which will run a full version of Windows 8 along with the ability to run Microsoft Office.  By doing this Microsoft is giving the user a clear choice – do your work on a laptop, desktop or a tablet.  If you are able to get the software you use on a daily basis on a tablet you can then use a tablet more productively.  This is the first time that this has happened and it could be a game changer.  When you just want a tablet you disconnect the keyboard but when you want to actually do work then you plug it back in – you are getting the best of both worlds.

If users are taken with the idea of Microsoft Office on a tablet then you might see laptop sales start to suffer (PC sales are still going down anyway) which could seriously hurt companies like Lenovo, Dell and HP.  If however users are not really that bothered then tablets will continue to be used to consume data rather then produce it.

And what about my Playbook? I will probably use it more for consuming data than producing it but at least with its new keyboard I now have the choice.

About the Author

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Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

Will Windows 8 break Microsoft?

There has been a lot of talk around the internet lately about what will happen if Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 8, doesn’t take off.  The majority of the speculation surrounds what will happen to Microsoft itself if it doesn’t.  The short answer is a lot and also not a lot and below I will explain why.

Desktop

Microsoft’s is the dominant force in the world of the desktop operating system – fact.  If Windows 8 doesn’t take off would customers turn towards Apple or even Linux?  Some customers might switch to another operating system but the majority would probably switch back to Windows 7 (just like they switched back to XP when Vista flopped).  If this did happen Microsoft would continue to sell Windows 7 licenses instead and so by default increase revenues.

Tablets

This is where Windows 8 should work and work well.  I have played with Windows 8 in a virtual machine and would say it is useless on a desktop but should be pretty good as a tablet operating system.  To put it blunt it has to work here!!  Apple and Android between them have over 85% of the tablet market so if Microsoft wants a piece of the pie then Windows 8 has to work.  If not then I can’t see them competing in the future as they have been late to the party already.

Windows Phone

Again Microsoft were late to the party when it came to smartphones and their previous offerings haven’t been great. Windows 8 should be good on a smartphone but if customers don’t buy it then it could be the last hurrah for Microsoft in the smartphone market.


The Enterprise

This is Microsoft’s nest egg.  They dominate the enterprise and will probably continue to do so for quite a while.  While it is true the enterprise are looking at Windows 8 with some trepidation, if it is not for them they will revert back to Windows 7.

So to conclude.  If Microsoft 8 doesn’t take off will it break Microsoft? No.  They might have to admit defeat in the tablet and smartphone markets but their core business (business software and desktop operating systems) would still continue and with everything slowly moving to the cloud anyway there is always new opportunities.

What do you think?

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

Is Microsoft right to pull Exchange Server from Windows Server 2012 Essentials?

Is Microsoft right to pull Exchange Server from Windows server 2012 Essentials?  Interesting question this as it depends on which side of the fence you sit.  To answer it we first need to understand the logic behind it.

Microsoft has decided that it is going down the cloud route and are trying to position themselves (and their technology) as a major cloud player.  To this end they are pooling all their resources into developing a seamless path into the cloud (Office 365, Exchange Online etc) which they hope small businesses (and the enterprise) will take advantage of.  Just one problem many small businesses are not ready to take the leap into the cloud just yet with many liking to keep their data (emails included) in house.

So how exactly does this effect small businesses and what choices do they now have?


1. Small Business Server 2011 Standard will be supported until 2015.  This means that you don’t have to make the painful decisions just yet (I would start thinking about it though!!).

2. If you decide to keep Exchange Server inhouse after 2015 then you are going to need Windows Server 2012 Essentials installed on one server with a separate server for Windows Server 2012 Standard and Exchange (you can’t install Exchange Server on Windows Server 2012 Essentials by all accounts).  That is now three licences instead of the usual one.  It might work out cheaper to go for one Standard version instead of Essentials but either way it means more licences and more systems running.

3. What is the expertise of internal IT staff. Small Business Server 2011 Standard makes setting up Exchange Server very easy.  If you had to deploy Exchange Server on its own would your staff have the experience to do it? If not you would have to outsource meaning more overhead costs.

4. You could go down the cloud route and have your email hosted (either by Microsoft or someone else).  This would probably be the cheapest option but it means your data would be held off site.

5. Move to Linux or Mac instead.  Both Linux and Apple offer server options but again how comfortable would you or your staff be in setting up and maintaining the server (have you ever tried to set up an email server on Linux –  not easy).

Interesting choices hey?

To answer the question though personally I think Microsoft is right to pull Exchange from Windows Server 2011 Essentials and the main reason for this is that the IT landscape is changing.  Everything is moving to the cloud in some shape or another.  Small Business Server was never a standalone product but essentially a group of already established software (Server 2008 R2, Sharepoint, Exchange Server etc) and took time and money for Microsoft to continually support it.  Yes this will hit small businesses hard and will probably make money for Microsoft (it already has the small business market pretty much sewn up) but Microsoft had to go with the changing landscape.  If people like it or not the future is the cloud.

People wiser than me will have their own opinions so lets get the conversation started.  Do you agree?

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

Microsoft Office 2010 Invalid product key


You have purchased a new shiny copy of Microsoft Office 2010 and are in the process of installing it.  Up comes the product key screen so you enter your product key and get the error message: Your key is not a valid Microsoft Office product key.  Hey?  The solution to solve this is as follows.

Chances are your laptop came with Microsoft Office 2010 trial software already installed.  The key you have purchased will not work on a trial version of Microsoft Office 2010.  In order to install the copy of Microsoft Office 2010 you have purchased you first have to remove the trial version as it is not possible to install one copy over another. If you have issues removing the trial version using Control Panel (I have had this happen in the past) then use a tool like Revo Uninstaller which allows you to delete registry entries for the software you are trying to uninstall.

Hope this helps.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

Microsoft’s certification has been changed


I was browsing the internet last night when I came across the new certifications for Windows Server 2012.  They are:

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

Basically Microsoft is going for more cloud integration with its new line of products and has decided to change its certification path accordingly.

What I did notice is that the new MCSA also applies to Windows Server 2008 R2.  You see the exams required to achieve the new MCSA Windows Server 2008 certification are the same exams required to achieve the MCITP Server Administrator certification.

Microsoft have stated that if you already hold the MCITP Server Administrator certification you automatically enrol for the new MCSA.  So you receive a new qualification for not doing anything.  Great!!

 

So all this sounds rosy then doesn’t it? Not really you see I have one major gripe with the new setup.  Microsoft has decided that “The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification is for IT professionals and developers looking to get their first job in Microsoft technology”.  Since MCSA is the equivalent of the ‘old’ MCITP it means that overnight I have gone from an ‘expert’ in Windows Server 2008 R2 technologies to ‘looking for my first job’.   To get the same recognition I would now have to study for further exams to get to the same standing I previously held.  Doesn’t this just seem wrong?  The technology (in this case Windows Server 2008 R2) hasn’t changed but apparently my level of understanding has!!

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

Is Microsoft Windows the only way?


Here is a thought for you. Ask your average user what is a computer and there is a good chance the answer will be Windows. You see Windows and computers have become intertwined to such an extent that the average user doesn’t know anything different. Some might know about Mac but here is another one – Linux.

Linux is open source, that is all the code is freely available to anyone who wants it. You can modify it to your hearts content but you must also make your code freely available to anyone else that wants it. This provides a vibrant community where all the best ideas get used and the poorer ones get left at the wayside.

But what about all my applications like Microsoft Office? Linux has literally thousands of applications available. If you use Microsoft Office then try Open Office or AbiWord. If you use Internet Explorer then try Firefox. You see you can accomplish almost everything on Linux that you can on Windows. I say almost everything. For instance ITunes does not work on Linux (I have never been able to get it to work but will stand corrected if someone else can).

So why should you try Linux?

1. It is free. There are no licence fees. You can install Linux as many times as you want without having to pay a fee every time.

2.No Viruses. That is not totally true. There is a miniscule amount of viruses around for Linux but nothing compared to Windows. Most viruses are written for Windows.

3. Customize. You can change almost every part the operating system to suit your own purpose (if you choose) or leave it as it is.

4. It is stable.  You will spend less time fixing your system than you will with Microsoft Windows.

5. Easy to use.  I use Linux Mint 12 which is very stable, easy to use and I would recommend it to anyone as a desktop system.

Check out www.distrowatch.com for all available downloads for Linux. So there you have it. Welcome to the world of Linux.  Why not give it a try?

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

 

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