Thursday, December 20, 2012

Clean Up Your Desk to Work More Efficiently

Clutter can build up on your desk quickly. It can get in the way of your work if you must move papers simply to reach your mouse. What about under your desk? Do your feet get tangled in a mess of cords? If this describes you, here's a few tips to help your get your wires and work under control.


  1. Tackle the wires - There are two good options here: one affordable way is to invest in a few large binder clips. These clips, obviously, work great for keeping papers in order. You may be surprised at how effective they are for keeping computer cables under control too. The more expensive option is to invest in wireless charging pads. These pads enable you to charge everything from a wireless mouse to a digital camera to your smartphone. No longer will you need dozens of wires to plug into your mobile and wireless devices. With a charger, you can simply connect these devices to one mat-shaped device, popularly known as a powermat, to recharge them, again substantially reducing your reliance on computer cables and power cords.
  2. Reduce desktop clutter - The simplest way to reduce this mess is to rely less on paper. With so much business communication occurring through email, there's less reason than ever to clutter your desk with printed memos and messages. Avoid, too, from printing out news stories, time sheets, and other business communication. The more paperwork that you store electronically, the less paperwork you'll need to spread across your desktop. For those papers that you utterly must have, store them in binders or file cabinets and store them as quickly as possible.
  3. Throw things away – This may be the most self-evident one but it’s remarkable how quickly sticky notes and other scraps of paper can build up. If you are done with a note you wrote yourself, or a printout from a meeting, just throw it away. If you'll need it later, then file it in the appropriate place. The faster you get these things off your desk, the more effective you will be. Often visual chaos can lead us to feel like we have more difficult tasks ahead of us than may be the case.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Laptop Hunting Tips

When you are shopping for a new laptop, what do take into account? Writer Sam Grobart for the New York Times recently wrote an article with some tips for you. One of the primary things that Grobart suggests is to pay attention to the graphics card instead of the processor speed. The typical laptop user is going to be someone who uses it to watch movies, surf the web, email people, and utilize general office programs. These people should focus on the more mundane features of laptops such as, screen size, memory, and weight.


Weight matters


Let's start with weight. The advantage of a laptop is that it is portable. Laptops, though, won't feel so portable if they weigh more than six pounds. Laptops that break that six-pound line can stress your shoulder when you're carrying it in your backpack or duffel. It shouldn't be too hard for smart shoppers to find laptops that weigh less than six pounds. Some weigh just two-and-a-half pounds.


Screen size


If you like watching movies or videos on your laptop, look for a screen that measures 13 inches diagonally. This is the perfect size: big enough for movie-watching but not too big for a carrying bag.


Memory


RAM, or random access memory, matters in relation to laptops. Grobart advises that consumers purchase laptops that include at least 4 gigabytes of RAM. Laptops that have less than that simply move too slowly. You will experience those frustrating delays between hitting a key and something happening on your screen. Don't worry about going above 4 gigabytes, though. Typical laptop users won't ever need more than those 4 gigabytes. There are certain factors that shouldn’t concern laptop users. One is the processor. Grobart writes that all processors used today are fine for laptops. He also recommends that buyers not worry about battery life, either. That’s because a laptop’s battery life will vary depending on how you’re using your machine. Always bring a power cable with you and plug in. That makes battery life an especially unimportant factor.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Electronic Health Records: Are Doctors and Hospitals Going Digital

Everything is going digital nowadays, even medical records. Last time you were at the doctor did they take out an envelope to access your health records? Or did your doctor pull it up on some type of computer?


Electronic health records


Recently medial professionals have been implementing software called EHR (Electric Health Records). This has become more and more popular. The percentage of office-based physicians who use EHR software stood at 57 percent in 2011, which increased from 50.7 percent in 2010.


Electronic records good news for patients


EHR is actually a great thing for patients. With electronic documents, doctors are less likely to misplace information and can access your documents more quickly. No more shuffling through papers. With the touch of a button, they can now access all of your information, which gives doctors more hours to spend with patients and shortens the length of time patients have to wait.


Federal government encouragement


The government is even behind the movement to digital documentation. The government is also pushing physicians to file their prescription information electronically rather than by hand. This, too, is smart; pharmacists tend to make prescription medication mistakes if they are attempting to read the often-incomprehensible handwriting of doctors. If they can access prescriptions electronically through their pcs, the chance of mistakes falls drastically.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Holograms: Will Apple Do It Right

Remember when tablet computers seemed like the stuff of science fiction? Or how about smart phones? There was a time when phones that allowed you to surf the Web and send e-mail messages sounded like the technology of the future. Now these are the technologies of the present. So what's next? Ben Kunz, a writer for Bloomberg Businessweek, has his own prediction: holograms.


Apple and holograms


Kunz predicts that Apple devices—its iPhones and iPads—will soon display holograms that look like something you'd see in a contemporary science fiction film. In fact, Kunz's story on Bloomberg Businessweek is accompanied by a photo of Robert Downey Jr. from the 2012 hit movie The Avengers using his own nifty holograms. Again, this may appear to be the stuff of fiction, but Kunz writes that he's basing his prediction on real news: Apple's patents and recent purchases. Then there's the competition in the tablet industry. Apple needs something to help set it apart from its tablet competitors. Holograms may very well be that thing.


Apple's plans


So how exactly could interactive holograms be created?  Using forward-facing cameras the user’s eyes could be tracked and a screen that projects beams of light could be used to create different angles of the object. This could create a very realistic hologram that will maintain its visual integrity.


The future of 3D?


What’s the greatest issue with 3D holograms? 3D technology has so far failed to capture the imagination of consumers. Kunz writes that the sale of 3D TV sets have been slow. Even games like Nintendo's 3DS handheld system, which don't require players to put on 3D glasses, have seen lukewarm sales. So why would Apple invest heavily in the technology to generate holograms? Apple seems to have a history of taking failed ideas and making them become successful. This goes all the way back to the times when Apple took the idea for the mouse from Xerox, made it more efficient, and saw sales soar. Apple also debuted its iPhone and iPad devices long after Microsoft first attempted to introduce a pen-based tablet PC that never quite caught on. Also, Apple's 3D holograms will be different. They'll be far more realistic, and they won't call for users to wear 3D glasses to view them. So what’s the message here? Get prepared for holograms. Once Apple's programmers get moving on a technology, they seldom misfire.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Windows 8 Transition Tips

Windows 8 looks distinct from any of the systems that have come before it. And, generally, the reviews have been positive. If you are prepared to upgrade to the new system, here are some strategies to ensure the transition goes smoothly. If you would like more tips, read this article on the Smallbiz Technology website that goes more in-depth. Here are the tips we thought were most critical.


Do the Research


The first thing you need to check before upgrading may seem obvious. Make sure your computer can run efficiently on Windows 8. A machine must have the following requirements to be able to run Windows 8: 1GB of RAM, 16GB of hard-drive space, and a 1GHz processor. These are the same requirements as Windows 7. So if you are already running Windows 7, there's no need to check.


Backups


There are many reasons why having a secure backup of your important documents is a good idea. But particularly before you begin an upgrade it is crucial. You could store your info in an external hard drive but if you feel that this can be expensive or you simply have too much data to move easily, you can opt for a private cloud service. Many managed service providers (MSPs) offer these services. This will ensure that your essential data is safeguarded if something goes wrong throughout the upgrade.


Setup utility


To make sure your computer will support Windows 8, Microsoft offers a setup utility that searches your computer for the appropriate elements. This is important, particularly if you are running Windows XP as Microsoft will stop supporting XP in 2014. After you upgrade, you are going to need to reinstall all of your drivers and software. So you will need all of your installation disks. This may seem like a hassle, but the new features of Windows 8 are worth it and in the long run you will be glad you made the upgrade. But before you do, make sure you take the appropriate steps.

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