Don’t get in the News for being Hacked!

October 23, 2014

More and more often companies are in the news because their electronic computing systems were compromised.  This leads to their customers’ personal information getting into the wrong hands.  Sadly, the most common cause is not performing basic computer maintenance.  Basic maintenance not only updates Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Office, but updates non-Microsoft products too, such as Java, Adobe products, anti-virus software and others.

What’s more, these updates can be pushed out to all of your computers without causing any user downtime.  Emerson Technologies has tools that make this process very easy.  These simple steps go a long way to ensuring the integrity of your data.

To find out how, contact Emerson Technologies.

Important Dates to Remember

June 11, 2014

End of Life Support for these Microsoft Products:

Windows XP ……………………….. Apr 8, 2014

Office 2003 ………………………… Apr 8, 2014

Exchange Server 2003 …………. Apr 8, 2014

Windows Server 2003 ………….. Jul 14, 2015

Solid State Drives are More Affordable

June 11, 2014

Solid state drives (SSD) have come down in price and their use is gaining momentum.  Although they are not yet as cheap as traditional drives, they are worth the cost, especially in laptops.  Not only do you gain performance in access the drive, but solid state components use considerably less power than a traditional spinning disk, saving on your laptop’s battery life.

Traditional hard drives contain a metal disc that spins around very fast and an arm that reads & writes data to and from the disk.  The precision demanded with this operation makes them the most likely part on any computer to go bad.  If you are looking for something to upgrade on your laptop, consider replacing your hard drive with a solid state drive.

Maintaining Solid Email Infrastructure

June 11, 2014

Microsoft has for some time now publicized Exchange 2003 will reach its end-of-life support on April 8, 2014.  After this date Microsoft will no longer provide any support for this product.  The effects of this are already showing in that Outlook 2013 cannot connect to an Exchange 2003 server.  There are still many instances of Exchange 2003 being used.  If you are one such organization, it is essential to take steps to keep your email infrastructure reliable.  There are a number of possible solutions:

A) Migrate to Exchange being hosted at an Internet Service Provider.   Many Internet service companies offer hosted Exchange, allowing clients to have complete Exchange functionality without having to be concerned with the work of managing the hardware or software of a server.  This will have a monthly fee to the Internet service provider, usually something like $10 per mailbox per month, but that includes upgrades moving forward.
B) Migrate to Google Apps hosted Email.  Google continues to be a competitor to Microsoft and as such Google offers a hosted email solution called Google Apps.  It gives the most common functions of email including shared calendaring, contacts and more.  Although you can use Outlook for Google Apps email, most people prefer to use a web browser to access their email, calendar and contacts.  Google charges $50 per mailbox per year but for non-profit organizations, Google  offers this completely free of charge.
C) Upgrade an Existing Server/Infrastructure.  If current hardware in place can run a newer version of Exchange, that is the simplest path forward.  One advantage of running your own server is that you have complete control – over the size of mailboxes, size of attachments, etc.  And with your own server you don’t have to worry about an Internet company reading your email for marketing or NSA security purposes.
D) Add Hardware to your Infrastructure.  A server can be added for the sole purpose of hosting your email.


If you have questions or wish to discuss options for your organization, contact Emerson Technologies and we will be happy to discuss your situation.

Mac OS 10.9 to be Released Soon

October 14, 2013

Apple Computer will be releasing a new version of the Mac OS X operating system soon. Some of the biggest additions to this version is a much tighter integration with the mobile platform iOS. Code named Mavericks, Mac OS 10.9 also has much better functionality for working with multiple monitors.

There will undoubtedly be some software that is incompatible with Mac OS 10.9 when it comes out. Software & hardware vendors are already making updates to their systems to work with this latest release of OS X. If you’re not sure whether your hardware or software is compatible, contact Emerson Technologies and we will evaluate it for you!

Microsoft Products with Quickly Approaching End-of-Life

October 14, 2013

This is a reminder that in April 2014 Microsoft will no longer be providing support for a number of products, including the following:

  • Microsoft Windows XP – Released 12 years ago in August of 2001
  • Microsoft Office 2003 – Released 10 years ago in August of 2003
  • Microsoft Exchange 2003 – Released 10 years ago in October of 2003

If you are using any of these products, we strongly urge you to upgrade them prior to that end-of-life date. While end-of-life doesn’t mean they will stop working right away, they will not receive any support or upgrades from Microsoft. Already lots of software does not support the older Operating Systems and this will increase more and more in the weeks to come.

Contact Emerson Technologies and we will be happy to help you develop a plan to migrate your computers to an updated environment. Not sure if this applies to you? We can help with that too!

Java Update Released

June 26, 2013

Within the last couple weeks, Oracle released an update to Java.  Although you don’t run Java directly, other programs on your computer may use Java.  As a result, you may have Java but not even realize it.  Unfortunately Java has many security holes.

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Read more

Windows 8.1 Information

June 26, 2013

Windows 8 was released in the Fall of 2012 and quickly received an unfriendly response from the user community.  It was designed for touch screen devices such as smart phones and tablets and in those environments it works well.  But Microsoft wanted a common look and feel across all platforms so it is also on laptop and desktop computers.  In these more traditional environments it was very unwelcome by the public.  To address some of the unfriendly chatter about Windows 8.0, Microsoft is expected to release Windows 8.1 in the latter part of the 2013 summer.windows81 Read more

Updates Available

May 2, 2013

If you have used a Windows computer anytime in the last 12 years, then you have had little icons in the bottom right hand corner of your screen telling you that an update is available.  Not only that but you see them all the time!  Here are the most common updates and what you should do about them:

 

  • Microsoft Updates.  Once a month, Microsoft releases updates and patches for Windows, Office and other products.  If a serious security flaw is discovered during another part of the month, then Microsoft may have an additional release of updates instead of waiting until their time of the month.  Except for rare circumstances, we recommend you go ahead and install Microsoft updates – this will include a restart.
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  • Java.  A little orange square with a white cup of coffee indicates an update for Java.  Java isn’t a particular program, rather it is a programming language used by other programs.  This is updated all the time because security holes are often found.  Instead of clicking on this icon and getting the update, we recommend you go to the web site java.com and click on the big red button to get the most recent Java.  CAUTION: part way through the installation process it defaults to a check box that will install other software with it – it is not needed and we recommend not installing it.
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  • Adobe: A little red square with the Adobe icon indicates updates are available for one or more Adobe programs on your computer – Acrobat Reader, Acrobat Pro, etc.  Go ahead and click the icon and install the update.  CAUTION: part way through the installation process it defaults to a check box that will install other software with it – it is not needed and we recommend not installing it.

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Those are the most common but there are others.  Would you like to not worry about this?  Emerson Technologies performs automated maintenance on workstations (laptops & desktops) and all these and many other updates are included.  Give us a call to find out how we can ensure your organization is covered.

Dropbox vs Google Drive vs MS Skydrive

March 8, 2013

First there was Dropbox.  Then last year Google released their answer with Google Drive.  Then Microsoft got into the game with Microsoft Sky Drive.  What are they?  Are they useful for your business?

 Google Drive

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