What Does $1000 Really Buy?

Posted by admin on Mar 22, 2008

Taken from PC World Magazine, April 2008 Edition

Budget Price? Expect Budget Speed – Cheap machines are fast enough for everyday jobs such as e-mail and Web surfing, but they can be noticeable slow at handling heavier workloads such as multitasking in several windows at once, especially if one involves some type of multimedia.

Fewer Upgrades – With any laptop, cheap or not, you almost always have only two upgrade options: replace the hard drive or add memory.  With a budget PC, however, you will likely sacrifice some expandability.  For example, don’t expect to find the expansion slots you see in power and gaming towers.

Missed Connections – Though you should have more than enough to get by, you’ll have fewer slots, ports, and features in general.  For instance, many sub-$1000 laptops lack Bluetooth or Firewire.  Also expect fewer Firewire and USB ports on desktops, and generally none of the new, high-end connections like eSata.

Cheap PCs Got No Game – Budget PCs rarely have dedicated graphics cards, which are necessary for games and multimedia applications.  The cheaper the system, the more likely it will rely on video memory that is shared with main system RAM, and that’s especially true with laptops.

Plainer Looks – Cheaper laptops tend to come enclosed in a lower-grade plastic, and some desktops have cheap cases with small, buzzy fans and components that are held in by cheap screws.  Though some budget computers clearly look a bit more elegant than others, most have designs that that trend toward the utilitarian, to put it politely.

25 Days That Changed Everything

Posted by admin on Mar 11, 2008

Taken from PC World Magazine, March 2008 Edition

September 9, 1986 – The first IBM clone machine appears.
August 1, 1989 – Microsoft releases Office
February 19, 1990 – Adobe Photoshop is released
May 22, 1990 – Windows 3.0 hits the streets
May 24, 1991 – The Internet goes public
October 5, 1991 – Linus releases Linux
December 8, 1993 – Mosaic (the first graphical web browser) launches
April 12, 1994 – The first SPAM hits usenet groups
August 24, 1995 – Windows 95 “starts up”
September 4, 1995 – eBay bidding begins
March 1996 – Palm Pilots start the PDA revolution
October 30, 1996 – AOL offers flat-rate dial-up internet
July 9, 1997 – Steve Jobs takes back Apple
October 28, 1998 – Digital Millennium Copyright Act is signed
January 19, 1999 – RIM releases the Blackberry (er Crackberry)
March 29, 1999 – Melissa Virus spreads like wildfire
March 31, 1999 – TiVo (or PVR) transforms TV
January 1, 2000 – Y2K fails to wreak havoc
April 3, 2000 – US v. Microsoft monopoly case (Microsoft won)
July 26, 2000 – Napster is shut down
July 9, 2001 – Online grocery store “Webvan” closes shop
October 1, 2001 – Apple’s iPod goes on sale
November 9, 2004 – Firefox starts Browser War II
April 6, 2006 – YouTube turns PCs into TVs
June 29, 2007 – Apple’s iPhone changes the world.

What is in store for the future?  We’re not sure, but we are excited to be part of the journey!

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Why Is My E-mail Landing in Friend’s Spam Boxes?

Posted by admin on Mar 11, 2008

Taken from PC World Magazine, March 2008 edition

Some spelling checkers get suspicious when they see “cute” spellings or unusual characters inserted into words, so it’s best to avoid these. When possible, use your domain’s outgoing mail server.  An outgoing server whose name doesn’t match your domain name raises a red flag, unless it’s a well-known one, like Gmail or Yahoo.  Also, avoid links to graphics on the Web.

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How to Play It Safe with Software Licenses

Posted by admin on Mar 11, 2008

Taken from PC World Magazine, March 2008 Edition

The Business Software Association is on the prowl to catch small businesses that are using pirated software.  What is pirated software?  Simple… it is any program that is installed on a system without an associated software license.  You will have to read the license details for each program carefully, to determine if you are legal.  Some companies offer a site license (as many computers as you like, provided they are at the same address); some offer a per-user license (as many computers as you like, but a limited number of people using them at a time); but most are a per-computer license (one license for every system).

A 10 employee architectural firm was fined $67,000 for illegal software, another company was fined $110,000.  The maximum fine under the law is $150,000 per pirated copy of any Microsoft, Apple or Adobe program.  Also, it does not matter if you were not aware of the law, or the fact you had pirated copies of software.

Get Out Of Trouble

The first thing you need to do is to perform a software audit.  Make an inventory of every program installed on every computer you own.  Be sure to itemize version numbers and serial number.  Then, compare this data to your licenses or sales receipts.  If the BSA asks for proof of ownership, you must be able to prove that you purchased the software.

The next step is to figure out if every copy of every illegal program is necessary.  It is possible that you have programs installed on every system, just out of convenience… but they are seldom (or never) used.  Remove them.

The last step is to purchase the required licenses you require.  Depending on the number of licenses you require, you can save by purchasing bundles.  If you find that you need more licenses than you can afford at once, make a written plan to bring yourself up-do-date.  If the BSA audits your business, and they can see that you have a plan to purchase the required licenses over the next year, they may go easy on you.

If you need assistance in this process, please contact us and we help you every step of the way.

The End of the High-Def DVD Format War?

Posted by admin on Mar 11, 2008

Taken from PC World Magazine, March 2008 Edition

The battle between HD-DVD and Blueray looks like it may be coming to an end.  Earlier this year, Warner Brothers announced that it will back Blueray discs exclusively.  This means that 80% of Hollywood content will now be released in Blueray.  They join Disney, Lionsgate, MGM, Sony Pictures, 20th Centry Fox.

So if you are looking for a High-Def player, and cannot wait until the war is over, it looks like Blueray is the best choice.  We here at ICS are waiting until the battle is completely over before we choose a format.

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