Monday, April 25, 2016
Author: Ken Scott
Top Tricks and Shortcuts in Microsoft Word

Microsoft’s Word Processor is one of, if not THE most used word processors in the world, so it stands to reason that there are no more secrets or useful functions that are still unknown to the majority. However, if the full range of your Microsoft Word knowledge is limited to clicking buttons and pressing CTRL + S, Z, Y, I, or B, you might find the following tricks and shortcuts incredibly useful:

You Can Double Click and Drag for Copy and Pasting

It’s true that using Control C and Control V to copy and paste is much faster than using the mouse to click the buttons, but there are individuals who feel much more comfortable using the mouse to do everything. In which case, a good compromise would be to double click in order to highlight any word you want to move and then simply drag the highlighted word to its intended destination.

Double Underline

Everybody knows that Control B makes text bold while Control U underlines it. But what if you need something more forceful? Simply press Control Shift D and you’ll have a highlighted word get a double underline. That’s certainly enough to stress an important point even further.

Make All Text Uniform

In this day and age of copying and pasting text from everywhere, the problem has to do with conformity. When you cut and paste text from all over the web, chances are you’ll end up having a document with font choices that are all over the place, and it can be a nightmare trying to highlight paragraphs and sentences one by one in order to change their text manually. You don’t need to go through all that hassle. Just highlight the text that needs to conform to the rest; then press Control and Spacebar.

Selecting Words, Sentences, and Paragraphs with the Mouse

Trying to drag your mouse all over the place just to select different lengths of text is tedious when you can instead just use these: double-click a word to highlight the word, control click to highlight a sentence, and triple-click to select an entire paragraph. 

Repeat Most Recent Command

If you need to repeat a command multiple times over and over, you don’t have to actually do the same keystrokes ad infinitum. Simply press F4 and Microsoft Word will repeat the last command you did. Pressing F4 a hundred times will be so much easier and faster than pressing Control + V a hundred times.

Return to the Last Edit Point

If you’re copying blocks of text from one part of a document to another, scrolling up and down the page can be a waste of time when you can simply press Shift – F5 in order to return to the last edit point.

Copy Formatting Real Fast

You can copy text really easy with Control + C, but what if the only thing you want to copy is the formatting? You’ll waste time manually checking one block of text’s font, size, and color and then applying it to another set of text. You can instead highlight the text whose formatting you want to copy, press Control Shift C, and then use Control Shift V on a selected text to apply the formatting you’ve just copied. 

Vertical Text Selection

Dragging the mouse to highlight a text is convenient, but what if you only want to highlight all the first words in a block of text? You can do so by pressing ALT then dragging the mouse vertically in order to make a vertical text selection.

Find and Replace

If you want to find specific sentences or words, you can press Control F to open the find tab, but if you want to find and replace, use control H. Additional tip: the search field in the find tab accepts formatting so if you only want to find all the boldface mentions of a word, type the word in, highlight it, then press control B. The same applies to replacing text – format the text you put in the “Replace With” field and then press okay.

Parallel Installs of Different Office Versions

Are you resistant to change? Or perhaps the different ways of doing things in the newer iterations of Office will disrupt your normal workflow so you just forego upgrading? Fear not. Microsoft Office supports parallel installs so you can retain the Microsoft Word that you’re used to, and install the newer version so you can practice it during your free time – until you grow accustomed to it enough that you can let go of the old Word.

This is also made easier by the fact that Microsoft releases office compatibility packs that give old Word versions support for newer file formats so that you won’t have any file format compatibility issues when shifting work between the two versions.

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Monday, April 18, 2016
Author: Ken Scott
6th Generation Intel Core i7

Launched in August 2015, the 6th Generation Intel Core series serves as the “tock” in manufacturer Intel’s Tick-Tock manufacturing strategy, where they first release a smaller version of an existing microarchitecture, dubbed the “tick,” followed later by the “tock” – which is a new microarchitecture with substantial changes and improvements. The Skylake is notable for being released mere months after Intel’s Broadwell, which was already successful in its own right, and with Skylake using the same 14nm microarchitecture, it’s a “tock” that seems largely unnecessary at first glance.

The Target Market for Skylake

One thing to keep in mind about Intel’s past few generations of processors is that they have already beaten the competitor in all aspects save for the pricing category and in the SoC (system on a chip) market, which has been cornered by AMD based on the viability of APUs that deliver performance that beats Intel’s on-chip GPUs as well as some entry-level videocards.

Overclock-Friendly

Skylake marks a change in Intel’s treatment of the enthusiast market, particularly overclockers. As opposed to launching locked processors before releasing unlocked “-K” iterations, the first entry in the 6th generation of i7 processors is the unlocked Core i7-6700K, clearly signifying that Intel had overclockers in mind this time around.

If the K prefix isn’t obvious enough that this Skylake i7 is meant to be pushed to its limits, the retail packaging is noticeably thinner since the processor is shipped without an Intel stock cooler, requiring users to purchase a third party cooler. It may seem like a strange choice at first, but it makes sense when you consider the target market. Overclockers rarely have a use for the stock coolers Intel provides, as it’s not adequate when pushing the processor to its limits. The good thing is that the hole mounting for the new socket LGA1151 is similar to the previous generation’s, so existing heatsinks will be usable.

Massive Performance Improvements

Intel has released internal comparisons between the new Skylake i7 and several high end i7s from the Haswell, Broadwell, and Ivy Bridge microarchitectures and the performance improvements are significant enough to warrant an upgrade. According to the comparisons, the top end Skylake i7 is roughly 10 percent faster than the i7-470K, 20 percent faster than the i7-4770K, and around 30 percent faster than an i7-3770K. The older CPUs are still viable and can handle anything that’s out on the market, but the improvements are significant enough that Skylake can be a worthwhile upgrade. It becomes a must for people who are just getting their first PCs or those upgrading from a low-end model.

Not a Simple Upgrade

Unfortunately, the massive improvements provided by the 6th Generation Intel Core i7 comes with a catch. A 6th Gen Intel Core i7 is not the simplest of upgrades, even if you count the fact that you can reuse your old Core I cooler. In fact, the cooler is the simplest part.

For starters, you may need a new motherboard. The new LGA 1151 socket is incompatible with the LGA 1150 motherboards used by Haswell and Broadwell. Why did Intel require a change in motherboard? It’s because of another part that may need replacing: the RAM. Skylake supports DDR4 and requires a very different power delivery as opposed to its predecessors.

If you’re one of the lucky ones who upgraded to the high end Haswell-E platform in 2014, you may already have DDR4 memory on hand. If not, you’ll have to buy new ones. Skylake supports DDR3, but chances are it’s not the one you have right now. The DDR3 dimms that Skylake uses are called DDR3L, and they differ from the old ones because they are a lower voltage variant. These types of memory are rarely used that many motherboard vendors don’t even support them for their desktop boards.

Is the Upgrade Worth It?

There is a reason why Intel is targeting enthusiasts and gamers for the 6th generation of the Intel Core i7 processor: both of those market segments are known for focusing on performance and features above all else, and that’s what the Skylake processors offer.  It’s basically the usual recommendation of finding out what your needs are and just how much you are willing to spend to get it. Skylake costs a premium, but you will be getting your money’s worth and then some.

In a way, Intel is currently a victim of their past success. The previous generations of their high end processors are such great performers that Skylake isn’t really a cost-efficient or even practical upgrade, regardless of the improvements. However, if you don’t have a high end PC yet or just want the best performance and efficiency that money can buy, it would be foolish not to go for the Skylake.

Monday, April 4, 2016
Author: Ken Scott
Graphics Card

A graphics card is what makes your computer the versatile performer and entertainer it is. It’s the component that makes your computer a gaming console. A graphics card not only comes equipped with a dedicated video memory – a sine quo non of any video game, but also a processing unit which makes every piece of the gaming action look real.

So how does a graphics card work?

It translates data into those millions of pixels (or tiny dots) that come together to make the images you see on your computer monitor. Simply put, it takes all the binary data from the CPU and converts it into images. So a fast, effective and efficient graphics card can make all the difference to your computer gaming experience.

While the motherboard with integrated graphics is good enough for ordinary computer functions such as internet browsing, word processing, email etc, casual gaming requires a separate graphics card that’s not very high-end. Designers engaged in 3D graphic work as well as people who are heavily into gaming needs an exceptionally powerful graphics card.

Go for performance

Performance, naturally, is a key indicator to the efficiency of a graphics card. Loads of memory and a super-fast processor are what make for an excellent high-end graphics card.  A graphics card’s performance is measured by its frame rate or by the frames per second (FPS). In layman terms, it means the number of images it can show per second.

Though the natural FPS for the human eye is 25, majority of the powerful, fast and action-packed games need an FPS of 60. Within the FPS, you also need to look for vertices per second and pixel fill rate of the card. While vertices per second (also known as triangles per second) underlines the speed of creating a wire-frame image, the pixel fill rate is an indicator of the number of pixels the card can process in a second.

Check for hardware requirements

Since the speed of a graphics card is a reflection of the quality of its hardware, you need to check out the specifications of the card’s hardware before deciding on the one best suited for your requirements. The hardware includes memory bits, memory clock rate, bandwidth and speed (both GPU clock speed and RAMDAC speed).

The model number of the card is indicative of this data as it is a combination of GPU, clock rates as well as memory bandwidth. The memory of the card, or its bandwidth as it’s called, is really important to the selection of a good and powerful graphics card. Talking of memory, it’s not the size or RAM that makes a difference but the bandwidth that’s a vital parameter.

The compatibility factor

Display is also critical to your final choice. Like other factors, this also depends on your needs. A really high-end graphics card would perform well only with a high-resolution monitor. Most fast-paced, action-packed games of today would be compatible only with a high-quality monitor. The compatibility of the graphics card with the CPU and the motherboard are also material factors in gauging its hardware efficiency.

It would not be incorrect to say that the compatibility of the video card with all computer related systems needs to be carefully checked out before deciding on a graphics card. Will it physically fit into the CPU, or is too large or small? Then there’s the question of power. How many power connectors does the graphics card have, and how much energy does it need to function smoothly? These points need to be kept in mind while choosing a suitable graphics card.

Look at the cooling capacity

Some graphics cards, especially the powerful ones, generate a lot of heat that can cause damage unless backed by a cooling system. While the inexpensive variety of cards comes with a reference cooler (which causes the excess heat to flow out from the back), the better ones are generally equipped with custom or aftermarket coolers.

The latter are unique to individual manufacturers and designed for the specific cooling needs of a particular graphics card. The custom coolers work silently and effectively but have the disadvantage of recycling the hot air emerging from the card into the case. This, in turn, lowers the ability of the card to get rid of excess heat.

Generally speaking, high-end graphics cards are more expensive than those delivering average performance. In other words, the costlier a graphics or video card, the more efficient it is. Cost apart, the specific requirements of the user are a critical factor in deciding on a good graphics card. If you don’t really need to go in for a lot of gaming or graphic designing, there’s really no point in spending a lot of money on a high-end card, which may also necessitate up gradation of your PC in other ways.

On the other hand, if your requirements are high-end then it’s better to buy a high-end graphics card to match, even if that entails an additional expense in making it compatible with your system.

Monday, March 28, 2016
Author: Ken Scott
Lenovo IdeaPad K1

Part of running a successful company is having the right tools to maintain success.  Knowing the latest in technology developments helps those in business stay on the cutting edge of success.  Many companies choose to rent or lease technology products, gaining the benefit of useful technology without the liability, expense, and maintenance of ownership.

Staying current on the latest products and developments in technology ensures that your business is equipped to compete in today’s market.  One of the main tools companies are using to succeed in all industries is the Android powered tablet.

Tablets are portable and convenient alternatives to the PC or laptop computer.  They are essential for the CEO on the go, and have highly recommended uses for trade shows and conventions.  They are typically lightweight, easily transported, and have a sleek and professional appearance.

There are several Android powered tablets that are recommended for corporate use.  One of the popular choices among professionals is the Samsung Galaxy Tab.  While similar to the Samsung Galaxy note series, the Tab series does not use the S-Pen stylus.  The Samsung Tab series was originally introduced in 2010, and has since released several models of varying size.

The latest in the series was just recently released on the Samsung website in Germany, and is called the Galaxy Tab A.  The newest model claims to be more powerful than previous model.  The design is also more attractive than the older models.  The newer tablet is lighter and thin, with a metal frame, and is available in black or white.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A has a quad core processor, and a 7 inch display screen with LCD technology.  Previous versions of the Galaxy Tab are available in 8 and 9.7 inch screen sizes.  If your business requires or can benefit from your taking quality photos, the 5 megapixel rear camera and 2 megapixel front camera will be ideal for your needs.  With 8 GB of storage, and expansion options for additional storage, you can handle large amounts of data and photo content.

The software used for the Galaxy Tab A is Android 5.1 Lollipop.  Lollipop is a version of Android OS which was developed by Google.  Its interface is built around Material design, and includes improvements to notifications and internal improvements, including improvements to the life and usage of battery.  The new Samsung Tab’s battery has a long life, and can handle long term heavy duty usage throughout the day without going dead.

Another popular pick for the modern business person is the Motorola Xoom.  The Xoom is an Android-based tablet computer by Motorola.  The system running the Motorola Xoom is the Android 3.0 Honeycomb, which is a mobile OS designed for tablets from Google.  The Motorola Xoom is frequently used for companies that utilize a lot of media and files.  The internal makeup of the Xoom is ideal for running multiple projects or tabs at one time, and for working on complicated projects, as you would on a desktop or laptop.

Another popular and affordable tablet is the Acer Iconia.  The most recent model is the Iconia Tab 10, which is known for being durable and easily transported.  The Iconia has a sensitive touch screen that allows easy writing and sketching, but the glass is durable and tough to prevent shattering or cracking.  The tablet is specifically designed for easy sharing, making it perfect for trade shows and conventions, especially if you are using a big screen display.

The final product on our list of recommended tablets for professional users is the Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1.  This tablet is unique in its web optimization, and comes with the latest in Flash content support.  For professionals who need large amounts of storage, advanced graphics or video quality access, the Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1 provides the advanced and superior technology to handle your needs.  The IdeaPad also has sharing capabilities to use for multiple users and interactions, as well as presentations.  Advanced technology like this comes at a price, and the Lenovo IdeaPad K1 can be around $499.00 to purchase.

Finding a quality tablet can be pricey, and if you are looking to provide tablets for your company or to use at a trade show or convention, the cost can be significant.  To reduce this cost, rental programs are available.  Renting rather than buying has many benefits.  For one, it’s less expensive. In addition to cost, you have working equipment that can be regularly repaired and updated by the rental company.

This is a benefit for both long term and short-term rentals.  One of the largest benefits is that you will always keep your business on the cutting edge of technology.  Rental companies constantly update their inventory, and can recommend the product that works best for your company and needs.

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Monday, March 21, 2016
Author: Ken Scott
Download Free

Today’s corporate world is highly dependent on technology.  If you want to communicate and accomplish tasks swiftly, you need the right tools.  Many companies lease large quantities of technological hardware to stay up to date. 

In addition to the right hardware, you need the programs that will take your business to higher levels.  Programs such as these can be costly, but free alternatives are always emerging.  These are some of the most popular free online or web app programs for business. 

  1. Yammer
    Yammer is an online networking program similar to Facebook, but specifically geared toward group communication and project management in business.  With Yammer, you can assign roles and groups, keeping task information private or public. 
    Yammer also comes with an easily edited word, excel, and “notes” platform which makes document uploading, sharing and altering easy and efficient.  Yammer is user friendly and does not have a lot of fancy graphics, so you can easily access and utilize Yammer on your Smartphone, laptop, PC or tablet.
  2.  Fargo
    Fargo is a professional outlining tool, which connects to your dropbox account to automatically update and save your work.  It’s popular in the business world for outlining ideas, to do lists, and projects.  Many professionals also use the tool to lay out major press releases, training guides, and client or colleague communication.
  3.  Google Docs
    Google Documents is a popular free program for professionals.  You can access Google Docs from most devices, but a tablet, PC or laptop work best.  Google Documents allows you to share documents with multiple users, and allows each user invited to edit the document for easy and fast sharing.  You must have a google account to manage Google Documents, but anyone you invite can access and edit the documents.
  4. Planning Pod
    For the company that hosts or plans large events, this online software is easy to use and comes with a free trial to get you started.  Based on professional event planning software, Planning Pod is accessible from any device and helps organize professional level events, including trade shows, conferences, informational presentations, and large meetings or conventions.
  5. Boomerang
    Boomerang is a great web based application for CEOs or busy business professionals who work constantly.  This application is easiest to use on a PC, laptop, or tablet.  Boomerang allows you to schedule your emails so that they send at an optimum time. 
    So, if you’re working all hours of the night, or have international clients, you can draft the email you wish to send and schedule its release for an appropriate time.  This eliminates the need to revisit the same task multiple times, and allows you to work when you have the task fresh in your mind.
  6. Trello
    Trello is known as the free alternative to BaseCamp, and is a project management tool that allows executives or managers to monitor their employees’ progress.  Users of this program can assign tasks, update progress, and mark an assignment as completed.  You can also create extensive to do lists based on each project.  In addition, Trello has a fantastic blog which instructs users how to make the most of the program.
  7. MailChimp
    MailChimp is a free email blast tool, where you can design your own email template and send the email to multiple recipients.  This tool is very useful in marketing for smaller businesses, as it’s easy to use editor can help create professional emails for no cost. 
    You can store multiple lists according to which group you are targeting with your message.  Using a PC or laptop to design your emails is recommended, but MailChimp templates have viewing compatibility with smartphones, iphones, tablets and computers.
  8. GoTo Meeting
    GoTo Meeting is a free web conference tool for conference calls.  Many professionals use GoTo Meeting for conference calls, because you can hold as many meetings as you need to at no charge.  The software is compatible with Apple and PC devices, and can be accessed for attendance through laptop, PC, tablet, or smartphone.
  9.  TurboCash
    As the free alternative to QuickBooks, TurboCash helps smaller businesses with their accounting needs.  You can reconcile accounts and manage balances.  This is another program that is highly beneficial to professionals who work or have clientele internationally, since the program can be configured for different currencies.

Having access to the programs that will help your company grow and thrive can make all the difference in your company and your bottom line.  Companies large and small are now using free online programs and web apps to make their business more efficient.

Using free programs can mean the difference of thousands of dollars per year, and beginning with free programs can open the door for upgrades in the future.  Keep your employees equipped with the latest in technological hardware to make the most of these programs.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Author: Ken Scott
Google Chrome Logo

Since its initial release in September 2008, Google Chrome has built up a huge user base around the world. As per StatCounter data, this freeware web browser had a 58% share in web browser usage worldwide as of December 2015. This makes it the most-used web browser globally. What is even more remarkable about the Google Chrome journey is that it now comes with thousands (one estimate says there are more than 50,000) of extensions, most of which can be synced not just with the desktop and laptop computers but also with mobile devices.

Easily downloadable from the Chrome Web Store, the vast majority of the extensions are free. But it would pay to be cautious about what you download since these extensions, like all apps, tend to slow down the system. Here is a list of 10 of the best and most useful Google Chrome extensions for you to try out.

OneTab

This is ideal for those who want different web pages opening through different links without the hassle of managing multiple tabs. OneTab, as the name suggests, compresses all the open tabs into one tab. What makes this a useful extension is that the single compressed tab comes with the facility to enable easy reference to all the original tabs. The web pages and URLs can also be easily shared as this extension facilitates easy export of the tabs into a comprehensive list of the links.

TabCloud
Talking of tabs, there’s another Google Chrome extension called TabCloud, which helps easy saving of open tabs and their import from one desktop to another. It’s managed simply by saving the open tabs to the cloud and then opening one or all of them, as required, on to another desktop. There are a host of other features for ease of convenience in the use of TabCloud.

Boomerang
This one takes the basic functions of Gmail to a new level. With this extension, one can schedule sending of a message or even set up recurring email messages. It also helps in the postponement of emails; that is easily done by pushing an email out of the inbox and setting it to return at a specific time. For subscribers, this service comes with unlimited message credits while the free service allows scheduling of 10 messages a month.

Google Dictionary
Speed is of essence, especially in the midst of urgent work. The Google Dictionary extension makes it easier and faster to find the meaning of a new word, at the click of a button and without opening new links or tabs.

Video Stream
With this extension at hand, there’s no need to use complicated media server software to stream videos directly from the computer to the Chromecast or Android TV. An excellent feature of Video Stream is that it is compatible with a large variety of video formats at full resolution. It also supports subtitles.

Any.do
For the busy professionals of the day, especially CEOs trying to multi-task a large number of things, Any.do is an ideal partner. It’s a cross-platform that enables syncing of tasks and checklists from all desktops and devices. The result: there is just one comprehensive list of things to do, and of reminders which can be accessed anytime, anywhere.

LastPass
This free password manager is a welcome solution for any user seeking a short-cut to remembering the long list of passwords needed for myriad websites. It not only helps remember the passwords but in fact enables the generation of new secure passwords of all the websites that one wants to track.

Just Not Sorry
Now this one is just perfect for busy professionals who want every email from their account to make an impression. It functions by flagging words and phrases which are likely to dilute, if not negate, the impact of the communication.

ColorZilla
A computer system is as much about good designs as it is about good content. So if there’s Just Not Sorry to help improve the content of an email, ColorZilla does almost the same kind of work for a graphic designer. It helps in the creation of an exact color match, backed by a host of other useful features, such as palette viewer, gradient generator, etc.

StayFocused
This is a great choice for those wanting to stay focused on their task instead of wasting time on unproductive search. This is an excellent tool to help limit the amount of time spent by a user on time-wasting websites.

These extensions are available online at the Chrome Web Store, which was launched in 2010. They operate, along with applications and browser themes, in HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Google Apps Script. Easy to manage (simply by going to chrome://extensions), they can be easily hidden, turned off, repaired in the event of being corrupted, adapted for use on multiple devices and even deleted.

Thursday, March 3, 2016
Author: Ken Scott
Technology SIgn

The ages of archiving and organizing documents are long gone, actually the days of doing things manually have been forgotten.Nowadays technology innovations are life-savers for the big firms. Imagine in this technological era functioning without smart phones, laptops, personal computers, Wi-Fi, it would be a collapse of the scheme.

The existence of computers has rapidly become a big component of everyday activities. With the assistance of one touch you are at the center of billions information that otherwise would take a lot of time.

Gadgets ease your whole day movement, big firms rely on them constantly, and we can arguably state that we are nothing without them.

But let’s befairt. Not everyone can buy all of these necessities, and what happens if you buy and spend a lot of money for the gadget in need and it went into a technological coma?

That’s why we are here, to help any customer, regardless of their field. We take into consideration that nowadays buying every technological equipment can be all sorts of difficult, so we found the solution to your troubles. We are leaders in the business of renting and delivering wide variety of products such as: laptops, IPAD’s, tablet, audio-visual equipment and server rentals. We excel in the renting process from beginning to end.

Our motto is renting is the best option possible. We help you in maintaining your money in your pocket, and we are providing technology for every occasion such as trade shows, training seminars and etc. for any length of time.

Our basic goal is to reduce your expenses to a minimum, and accommodate you with supplies for a stable short and long-term relation.

At Computer Rentals your request is our stir, everything you desire we accomplish.

From wide range of computer, laptop and MacBook rentals with brands like: “Dell”, “HP”, “IBM”, “Sony”, “Lenovo”, “Samsung”, where the best thing is that you can choose which operating system you need: Windows 8, Windows Vista, MacIntosh, Linux and more, also we provide server rentals and rentals for Tablets, IPads or any product from Apple.

As for servers, our previous work with big firms and corporations such as: “Bank of America”, “Microsoft”, “Deloitte&Touche”, “NBA” and “Boeing” is a proof which shows that we are the best. We as a company still maintain excellent communications with all of our clients.

Our employees make certaine everything is functional and up and running when the event starts. We even stay during the event to make sure that everything goes to plan. Our company provides tech support 24/7. The service also includes the dismantling of the gear after the event. One of the best features in using our services is that you rent top-notch gear every time, and with fees like ours, at the terminal of the day you will feel lucky you did not buy, but you rented.

Our rental plans diverse from any other you have ever acknowledgedd. We as a company like to treat every request, and every wish accordingly, we suit the rental plans to your needs. Our renting prices vary from client to client, individually assessing the demand. We are great that way, we tell all of the costs in advance, so you won’t be surprised at the end with cost you weren’t aware of. We are flexible with our rates, because we listen and appreciate the needs of the client.

Basically from now on you don't have to worry about updating your own equipment when you can rent it instead for fraction of the price.Also now you don't have to worry about maintenance costs every year, there won’t be any. We feel that renting computers is just the sensible thing to do, business wise and its tax deductable.

At computer rentals we provide all kinds of gear for your necesity. If you are ever in doubt trust us when we say renting is the best option for all customers, you get the best that is available at the moment, and you get quality service for a very small portion of what you would have spent if you bought all that gear. Renting is better in every way.

When thinking of renting anything, from now on think Computer Rental, our services are offered nationwide, and if that is not a plus we deliver to all of the hottest tourist destinations. Take this exceptional opportunity and contact us about anything you have upcoming. We will be more than professional and arrange the required products and go through a rental plan with you. We have the best employees and with their help we will answer all of your questions and concerns.

Make the first step towards low risks, and small fees, feel free to contact us even just for information, and most important become one of our clients, because we treat clients as family.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Author: Ken Scott

When it comes to alternative PC operating systems, contrary to popular opinion, Linux is the not the sole choice in the woods. A few alternatives are coded by large companies and a few others are projects made by hobbyists.

It is recommended that you install virtual machine programs like Vmware Player or VirtualBox to test and enjoy them.

Linux and more

If there is a list of alternate operating systems, Linux will invariably find a place. It is at the pinnacle of the alternative PC OS world. It comes in a number of flavors, termed Linux distributions. Mint and Ubuntu are the most well-known and used. In case you wish to install any non-Windows OS on the PC- and use it- the sensible thing to do is to install Linux. It is like UNIX as a operating system.

Other than Linux, there is also FreeBSD. It utilizes a dissimilar kernel. However, it uses a majority of the same software you will use on general Linux distributions. Both Linux and FreeBSD provide similar user experiences.

Chrome OS

The Google coded Chrome OS is created on Linux kernel. However, it substitutes the user level software and desktop with specialized desktop which exclusively runs Chrome browser and the Chrome apps. The OS is not an all-purpose PC OS. It is purposefully designed so that it can be pre-installed on Google made specialized laptops, termed Chromebooks. The good news is that you can install the Chrome OS in your PC.

SteamOS

SteamOS is created by Valve and is presently in its beta stage. In pure technical terms, SteamOS is simply a Linux distribution. It includes a majority of standard Linux software. There is one small thing though: this operating system is now positioned as the new gaming operating system in PCs. Underneath the new version is older Linux. The computer, however, boots up to a distinct Steam interface purposely created for living rooms. Personal computers that are shipped with preinstalled Steam OS are termed as Steam Machines.

Android

The Linux kernel also founds its place in Android. However, everything else is extremely different from the typical Linux distributions. It was originally crafted for Smartphones, but it is now also found on Android desktops and laptops. It should not come as a surprise that a number of projects aim to run Android on standard PCs. To put in perspective, even Intel develops their own Android port to the PC hardware. All in all, Android is not the best operating system for the PC. There are reasons for it -like you cannot employ multiple apps at same time. There is no bar to installing it if you need it.

Mac OS X

The Mac OS X comes preinstalled on Mac Apple computers. The Mac is a standard PC with a standard hardware. The only barrier to installing Mac OS on a standard PC is the license agreement dished out by Apple. The company also restricts their software. If you can bypass these limitations, Mac OS X can run smoothly in any typical PC. Many individuals do exactly that- leading to the term hackintoshes.

Haiku

In 1998, BeOS was the PC operating system. It was lightweight and in 1998 ported to Intel x86 platform. However, it was not successful against the then power of Microsoft Windows.  Be Inc. then initiated a court battle against Microsoft, on charges of pressuring the likes of Compaq and Hitachi to stop BeOS hardware release. The matter was finally settled out of court, with Microsoft paying about $23.5 billion to Be without the admittance of guilt. Palm Inc. eventually acquired Be Inc. Haiku is the open source BeOS reimplementation. It is an alternative view of what would have happened if Microsoft desisted from using brutal business practices during the 1990s.

EcomStation

IBM and Microsoft were the original creators of OS/2 operating system. The latter left it, but IBM continued its development. OS/2 finally competed with MS-DOS and early stage versions of Windows. Even after Microsoft won the battle, there continued to be old PCs and ATMs along with a large number of old machines continuing to use this OS/2. IBM now no longer develops this OS, but Serenity Systems-another company- has rights of its distribution. They call this operating system eComStation. This OS is modeled on OS/2 of IBM and includes extra applications like drivers along with a number of other enhancements. Incidentally, you have to pay for this OS. If you want, you can download a demo version.

ReactOS

ReactOS

It is an open source and free reimplementation of Windows NT architecture. It is one of the many attempts to re-implement Windows as the open source operating system compatible with Windows servers and applications. ReactOS has no similarity with Linux, with coding similar to Windows NT.

You can always rent a computer with these operating systems to determine which option works the best for you, before you buy one.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Author: Ken Scott

Internet of Things (IOT) is a network of electronic physical devices, that are embedded with software and sensors, that has network connectivity. These devices can connect to the Internet and collect data, or exchange information with each other. A few of these physical devices or 'things' are cellphones, wearable devices, washing machines, refrigerators, headphones, and so on. To understand IOT better, consider the following example.

Your alarm clock can wake you up in the morning, then sync with your coffee maker to let it know that you have woken up. The coffee maker will then start brewing coffee. By the time you are ready, your coffee will be ready too.

Following are five of the best open source operating systems for Internet of Things.

1. Contiki

Contiki is an open source IOT operating system that is ideal for memory-constrained systems. It particularly focuses on low-power wireless IOT devices like alarm systems, street lighting systems, radiation monitoring systems, sound monitoring systems for smart cities, and so on. Most of the Contiki run devices are severely constrained in terms of power, bandwidth, and processing power as well.

Contiki is designed to have memory in kilobytes, power in milliwatts, processing speed in megahertz, and bandwidth in kilobits / second. Contiki needs only 10 kilobytes of RAM (Random Access Memory) and 30 kilobytes of ROM (Read Only Memory) to function properly on a non-GUI (Graphical User Interface) system. A full GUI system needs about 30 kilobytes of RAM. A complete version of Contiki has all the following features.

  • TCP/IP networking, including Internet Protocol v6
  • Multitasking kernel
  • Pre-emptive multithreading
  • Screensaver
  • Personal web server
  • Basic telnet client
  • An Internet browser
  • Networked remote display using VNC (Virtual Network Computing)
  • GUI and Windowing system
  • Protothreads

2. FreeRTOS

FreeRTOS is a very popular real-time operating system for IOT devices. The operating system is open-source, however, it permits a user's proprietary code to remain closed. This facilitates the use of this operating system in proprietary applications. Designed to be simple and small, FreeRTOS's kernel consists of only 3 or 4 C-language files.

The C-language helps the code to be readable, easily portable, and maintainable. The features of FreeRTOS include software timers, multiple threads or tasks, semaphores, and mutexes. For low-power application, a tick-less mode (a process in which timer interrupts are delivered only as required) is available. Thread priorities are supported as well. It has a four-schemed memory allocation also.

3. RIOT

RIOT is a microkernel-based operating system for IOT. The source model is open-source. It is known as the friendly OS for IOT. RIOT is developer friendly and resource friendly. Its key features include real-time capabilities, high energy efficiency, communication stacks for both wired and wireless networks, low memory footprint, support for C++ and C language, and support for low-power hardware. RIOT runs on 32-bit, 16-bit, and 8-bit hardware.

It can be run as a Linux or MacOS process with the help of a native port. The operating system provides multiple network stacks, including Internet Protocol V6. Developed by an international community of open-source developers, RIOT is available on GitHUB, a web-based Git (a version control system for software development) repository hosting service.

4. Tizen

Tizen is an open-source operating system for IOT, based on the Linux Kernel. The operating system targets a wide range of IOT devices like tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, smart cameras, smart home appliances, smartwatches, printers, and so on. Tizen OS is a project within Linux Foundation. The project is governed by TSG (Technical Steering Group) composed of Intel, Samsung, and other major mobile industry giants. The first consumer device based on Tizen was Samsung's NX300M smart camera.

Tizen is developed using HTML5, C and C++  language. Tizen provides app development tools based on jQuery and jQuery Mobile, two  JavaScript libraries. Since Tizen 2.0, an application framework based on C++ is also available. Tizen 2.0 alpha, also known as Magnolia, offers enhanced web-based framework with a lot of features, including better security for web apps. The SDK (Software Development Kit) platform featured allows developers to use HTML5 to develop apps that run on supported devices.

Tiny OS

5. TinyOS

TinyOS is a very popular open-source operating system for IOT. It is designed specifically for low-power wireless devices. It is an embedded OS written using nesC, a dialect of the C programming language. The operating system programs are built out of CBD (Component Based Development), some of which present hardware abstractions. Interfaces are used to connect the components with each other. TinyOS provides components and interfaces for packet communication, sensing, routing, storage and actuation.

TinyOS has only one stack. It is completely non-blocking, thus enabling it to maintain high concurrency with the only stack. However, it forces the developers to write complex codes by combining many event handlers. To support complex and larger computations, TinyOS posts tasks that can be run later. Tasks are non-preemptive and they run in FIFO (First In First Out) order. To run CPU-heavy apps, TinyOS uses a thread library called TOSThreads.

You can rent a device that runs any of these open-source operating systems, try it out first, and then download, and install it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Author: Ken Scott
Xen Project Software

Qubes is an open-source operating system that is security-oriented. It basically provides security through isolation. It uses Xen hypervisor (a microkernel design that allows multiple operating systems to function/execute on the same computer concurrently) for the purpose of providing security isolation between different domains. The Xen hypervisor schedules the CPU, and does the memory and power management. The operating system was selected as a finalist in the 2014 Access Innovation Prize for the Endpoint Security Solution category.

Importance of security

Malware and viruses can cause serious damage to your computer, both software and hardware. They can affect your whole operating system, in which case you will have to re-install the operating system. This means spending money. You will have to pay the technician for re-installing the OS. You might also lose many important files. A malware can also work in the background, and steal important information, like your credit/debit card information, while you make online transactions.

Firewalls and antivirus programs are effective to an extent, but they can also fail occasionally. For example, a malware creator can check if an antivirus program recognizes a particular malware.  If it’s recognized, then they can rewrite the codes until the antivirus programs no longer recognize it. By the time an antivirus discovers the new threat, it might already have been too late for a lot of users. Also, the antivirus programs usually make your system slow. You also have to update the antivirus programs constantly.

Directly booting your computer from a CD or a USB stick while performing sensitive activities can make your personal computer secure to a certain extent, but the fact is, you are still running the same software stored / installed on your computer. That means, if your session is compromised, then all the activities and data performed during the session are also compromised.

Qubes approach to provide security

As stated earlier, the Qubes implements enhanced security by its Security-by-Isolation method. In a normal operating system, there are millions of lines of codes, and billions of hardware and software interactions. A bug in any of these interactions will allow a malicious program to infect, and take control over a machine. To counter this, Qubes isolates various environments. By doing this, if a virus infects a machine, it will affect only one environment. The other environments will be safe.

Qubes compartmentalizes the various sections of digital environments into securely isolated VMs (Virtual Machines). A virtual machine is a simulated system with its own operating system. It runs as a program/software on your computer. A virtual machine is basically a computer within a computer. The advantage of this is that you can keep your data in different VMs. This means, in the event of a virus affecting a system, it will be able to do harm only to the files stored in one VM. All the other VMs will be secure. For example, you can keep a VM specifically for opening files or emails that you suspect has malicious contents.

Now, not every VM software are equally effective when it comes to security. For example, Type 2 VMs or Hosted VMs like VMware Workstation or VirtualBox. They are popular because they can be run under Windows operating systems. However, these VMs will be compromised if their host operating system (like Windows) is compromised.

Qubes uses Type 1 or Bare Metal VM called Xen. Xen runs on the hardware instead of running inside an operating system. This means, Xen will not be compromised in case the operating system gets affected. In all reality, compromising Xen is not impossible, but it is extremely difficult.

Qubes makes it in such a way that two or more VMs running under a Bare Metal or Type 1 hypervisor can be used as an integrated operating system, securely. For example, the operating system puts all the application windows on the desktop with unique colored borders showing the trust level of their respective Virtual Machines.

It helps to securely perform copy/paste operations, and file transfers, between different VMs. It also helps for secure networking between Internet and VMs.

How is Qubes security different from using separate physical machines?

Using separate physical computers with conventional operating systems to store your data can certainly be more secure. For example, storing your important files in one computer and using a different computer to go online. However, even that approach has its own risks.

  • Physical separation can be expensive and cumbersome, because you have to buy and setup separate computers for each security levels needed.
  • There is no secure way to transfer files between computers running conventional operating systems.
  •  Individual systems are still vulnerable to attacks. Opening a harmless looking file can still put the system at risk.
  • Malware that can bridge air-gaps are real, and they are becoming very common.

You can rent a computer that runs Qubes, try it out and then decide to buy it.

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