Six Reasons You Still Need A Desktop PC

Posted by admin on Sep 30, 2013

Like most computer users, you have probably already migrated to some sort of mobile device… a laptop, tablet or even a smart phone.  Does that mean your old desktop PC is destined for the scrap pile?  Well, that old computer – even though past its prime – is far from useless.  In fact, for some jobs, it is the perfect tool.  Here are six reasons to keep that old clunker around.

Dual Monitors: Yes, you can set up dual screens on your laptop, but the external one is usually much larger than the built-in screen, and so easily navigating between the screens can be a bit of a pain.  Just pop a dedicated video card into your desktop (if it does not already have one), connect two monitors, and you are off with double the productivity!

Raw Power: Mobile devices sacrifice speed over battery life, desktops don’t. So if you are a power user, your programs will probably run faster on a desktop.  Now, if your desktop is 10 years old… or older, forget about what I just said.

Expandability: Notebooks are not easy to fix or upgrade.  Their compact form means that most components are soldered together. About all you can effectively upgrade is the memory and the hard drive.  In a desktop, everything is fair game.  In fact, you can basically strip it down to the bare components and start over if you want.

File Storage: In many cases, your desktop has more storage space than your mobile device.  And if not, you can easily add an additional hard drive.  You can even backup your data from your laptop or smart phone to your desktop.

Better Productivity: Using the touchpad can be a pain for some notebook users, not to mention that the keyboards are usually more compact.  If you are a touch-typist or do a lot of mouse work, then a full sized keyboard and standard mouse can be a lot more productive.  Yes, you can connect a USB keyboard and mouse to a laptop, but you are losing the convenience of the laptop.

Remote Access: If you leave your desktop powered up all the time, you can have your own computer in the cloud.  Use one of the various remote desktop tools that are available, and you can access your programs, documents, and even printers from anywhere in the world.

Office hear you didn’t know you needed

Posted by admin on Aug 22, 2013

Taken from PC World.

You might think you don’t need much in the way of business equipment to get your work done—maybe just a PC with an Internet connection. But you’re missing out on some interesting, under-the-radar products that can speed your workflow, protect your business, and keep your body healthy during long hours at your desk. We’ve assembled a collection of ten peripherals and accessories that are so beautiful, smart, or helpful that you’ll wonder how you ever got anything done without them.

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Accept Credit Cards on the Road

Posted by admin on Jul 18, 2013

Are you a mobile professional?  Would you like to accept credit card payments wherever you are?  Would you like to do it for free?

Well, that last one I can’t really do, but there is a great deal from a company called Square.  For a $10 investment (and you get that back after your first transaction) you can get a small card reader from Square that attaches to your smart phone or tablet.  No start up fees, no monthly fees, just 2.75% per swipe for Visa and Mastercard.

Install a simple app on your iOS or Android device, plug in the small square card reader into the headphone jack, link your bank account, and you will be accepting payments in minutes.  The money is directly deposited into your bank account within 1-2 business days.

For more information check out or come in and talk to us about it.

Don’t Defrag Your SSDs

Posted by admin on Jun 25, 2013

If you are running a Solid State Drive in your computer, you should turn off the automatic defragment option in Windows.  SSDs are not affected by file fragmentation in the same way as traditional hard drives are and don’t need to be defragged.  Actually, it shortens their lifespan.  After purging a bunch of data from your SSD, you should restart your system and just let it sit idle for a while.  It will optimize itself.

Microsoft Surface Pro

Posted by admin on Jan 22, 2013

Taken from MarketNews

Microsoft announced that it would be releasing the Surface Pro hybrid tablet PC to the U.S. market in January at a starting price of $899 for the 64GB model. The price was expected to be considerably higher than the current Surface RT that came out in October, but is it too much for it to have a chance of success?

Considering that we’re talking about a full-fledged Windows 8 PC that shouldn’t have any major limitations for the user, maybe it’s not such a bad deal. On the other hand, once you go to 128GB and add the touch keyboard cover, you’re looking at a price tag in excess of $1,200. Some will say that a MacBook Air costs about the same and has similar specs, which is indeed true.

The Surface Pro is also a tablet, first and foremost, and adding the Touch Cover essentially turns it into a functioning PC. With access to Microsoft Office and an array of other Windows apps, isn’t this the best of both worlds? You have what appears to be an ideal combination of creation and consumption, particularly since the Surface Pro would ostensibly be able to run apps from both the Windows Marketplace and those downloaded from a Web browser.

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5 Reasons to Upgrade Your Wireless Router

Posted by admin on Jan 15, 2013

Chances are, years ago, you set up a wireless network in your home for a single task, such as enabling a laptop to access the Internet without having to use a cable. But over the years, numerous other devices have entered the scene that can use your home’s Wi-Fi network — HDTVs for streaming movies and accessing the Internet, printers, smart phones, tablets, video game systems, eBook readers, media players and more.

Can your network handle this increased demand?

If it’s been a few years since you installed a wireless router, the answer is probably no. The latest routers feature 802.11n technology (compared to the older 802.11g/b), which offers faster speeds — especially ideal for streaming video and playing multiplayer games. Some models also have multiple antennae, sometimes referred to as dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz speeds), to better handle a number of wireless devices at the same time. These new 802.11n routers also offer a broader range, easier setup and better security. Speaking of security, remember to password-protect your wireless network so your neighbours can’t piggyback on your Wi-Fi for free.

The good news is you don’t need to break the bank to pick up a new wireless router, as prices start at $30 for a basic802.11n model capable of streaming up to 150 megabits per second. Routers that can handle up to 300 Mbps speeds start at $50 and routers with speeds up to 450 Mbps typically start at $100.

There are five reasons to consider the upgrade:
1. Faster speeds: Newer routers can handle streaming high-def video, multiplayer games.
2. Broader distance: Access the Internet anywhere in your home or on a porch or backyard deck.
3. Support for more wireless devices: Connect a couple dozen devices without noticing any slowdown.
4. Better security: Newer routers offer more secure ways to safeguard your network and information.
5. Simpler setup: The latest routers are easier to setup, offering interview-like questions for users to click through to get going.

Networking your Home Theatre System

Posted by admin on Oct 7, 2012

Pretty much all the AV manufacturers agree that networking has become a baseline feature with their products.  Even entry level TVs and Surround Receivers are coming equipped with networking capability.  So why, you may ask?

There are several reasons, but on the most basic level, it allows you to easily download updated firmware (software) for your device, fixing problems and adding features. In addition, however, there is the plethora of sources that you can stream media to and from.  Your new Surround Receiver or TV might be able to stream content from YouTube, Netflix, and internet radio stations without the need for a computer.  You could have a media server (basically a big hard drive full of movies and music) connected to your home network and be able to pull content directly to your TV in the bedroom or the stereo in the kitchen.

Connecting everything with a Cat5e or Cat6 network wire is the best method, but there are a few options for using wireless technology as well.  For HD video, you will want to make sure you use Dual Band wireless devices.  For lower-resolution video and audio, you can get away with the standard wireless technology. Setting up all the devices on your home network can be a bit tricky, but if you plan it out properly, you can save yourself a lot of headaches.  We at ICS are experts at networking, and can help you with this process.

You should stay away from using the routers that are supplied by many Internet Service Providers (ISPs).  Even low-cost entry level routers have better features than the ones provided by your ISP.  We suggest investing in a good quality router and switch that can handle the amount of data traffic you will be running through it.

If you are planning on investing in some new AV equipment, or are interested in networking your home, come in and chat with us.  We can help you with every stage from planning to installation.

Asus TF700: A Tablet that thinks its a Netbook

Posted by admin on Sep 20, 2012

The newest tablet offering from Asus – the Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 has a bit of an identity crisis… but that is a good thing!  Powered by the Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, and a 10.1 inch 1920-by-1200 pixel display, up to 64GB of storage and running Android, it is one of the best tablets on the market.  Add to that, the fact that it is only .3 inches thick and weighs only 1.31 pounds, it is one of the lightest and slimmest Android tables around.  The battery lasts over 8 hours, and only takes 2 1/2 hours to recharge.  It also supports Bluetooth 3.0, a Micro-HDMI port, a MicroSD card reader, and a proprietary connector to be used with the optional keyboard dock.

What was that?  A keyboard dock?  Yes, you can attach was Asus is calling the keyboard dock that will allow the tablet to morph into a clamshell-style Netbook.  So, if you can’t decide whether to purchase a tablet or a netbook… just buy the TF700 and you will get both!

How Business Routers and Consumer Routers Differ

Posted by admin on Sep 6, 2012

Taken from PCWorld Magazine, September 2012 Edition

If you are in the market for a new router for your small business, you might be tempted by the features and low cost of consumer-oriented routers.  But can a consumer router deliver everything that your business needs?  What is the difference between a consumer router and a business router anyway?  Glad you asked.

Basic consumer routers are compatible with the 802.11n networking standard, usually have a 4-port wired switch, have wireless encryption, a built-in firewall and usually a 2×2 antenna array that can handle a total throughput of 300 megabits per second.  Sounds great, right?  Even the higher-end consumer routers have 3×3 antenna arrays and can handle gigabit speeds… some even have built-in USB ports, data traffic prioritization, virtual networks and even media server capabilities.  So why not use a consumer router for your business?

Business routers also use the 802.11n networking standard, have a 4-port switch, wireless encryption and a built-in firewall.  They also support data traffic prioritization, virtual networks and all the other features that a consumer router does.  The difference is in the quality of the hardware and the software.  Business routers are traditionally built with better components so that they will last longer, but where they really shine is in the security features.  They also deliver scalability, redundancy, and sometimes support for multiple internet connections.

If your business relies on the internet (and what business doesn’t these days), then you should consider upgrading your router to a business-class model.  We here at ICS can help you figure out what is the right option for you, and help you perform the switch-over with minimal downtime.

Stronger signal when you need it, where you need it.

Posted by admin on Jul 31, 2012

Wilson electronics cellular signal boosters work by overcoming signal loss caused by obstacles like brick, concrete or steel at your home or office, or the metal surrounding your car.  Their signal boosters are compatible with all cell phone providers, and 4G solutions are available as well.  And every product is backed by a 30-day, no questions asked, money back guarantee, and a 1 year manufacturers warranty.  With a Wilson booster, you can say goodbye to dropped calls and slow data indoors or on the road!

ICS Computers is your local dealer for Wilson boosters and antennas.  We can help you find the best solution.