Blog

Coming Soon: Interchangeable Cell Phone Chargers

When it’s time to upgrade your cell phone, there’s a cost you probably don’t think about until it’s time to pay the bill: the charger. Sure, your new purchase comes with a wall charger. But if you want to charge your phone in the car, that old one you have just won’t work. Fortunately, all that is about to change. Seventeen wireless handset manufacturers have agreed to make interchangeable chargers that will work for the majority of new cell phones, according to USA Today. This is expected to take place by 2012. Hurray! One less expense at the cell phone store!

3 Turnkey Ways To Learn More About Your Customers

These days, getting up-to-date information from your contacts isn’t easy. On top of managing your e-mail and phone calls, now you have to check Facebook, Twitter, My Space, and Linked-In just to make sure you don’t miss something. It’s enough to make your head spin. But Microsoft Outlook may have the solution. Outlook Social Connector (OSC), a recent add-on to Outlook, puts all your social media communications and emails in one place, eliminating the need to check multiple sites for the info you need. Both avid fans and rare users of social media will likely find the new OSC tool to be a big time saver. Here are 3 reasons why: 1) Communication History. Can’t remember the last time you e-mailed a certain contact? Looking for an attachment referenced in an e-mail? Your mailbox is searched and recent messages, as well as a list of attachments you’ve exchanged with that person, appear. A quick look at the OSC reveals the last time you received an email from them, and one click opens it up. 2) Updated Contact Info. In real time, your OSC will go out to social networks and let you know what your colleagues and friends are up to. If your contacts update their profile or change their status, OSC will tell you that too. 3) Adding New Contacts. With a simple click, you can request to be someone’s friend or colleague on any social networks you’re connected to. The OSC then automatically saves them as contacts in Outlook.

ThinkTech Is Growing – In More Ways Than One!

As some of you may know, in 2009 ThinkTech added another C.E.O. (Chief Executive Offspring) to the family. (That’s Pam, Nathan, Zachary (3), and Brody (8 months) in the picture). In addition to growing our literal family, we’ve grown our client family as well. We now have locations in the following three areas: Southeastern MA ( headquarters ) Southwestern FL Central TN We will be busy continuing to expand all three locations this year and providing exceptional support to our wonderful clients. If there is ever anything we can do to make your “WOW” experience with us EVEN BETTER, be sure to call us at 508-992-2541. FREE FRESH FLORIDA ORANGES OR TENNESSE GOO-GOO CLUSTERS Know any businesses that could use computer and network support in either of our two new support areas? Call us at 508-992-2541 or send an e-mail to jessica@thinktechonline.com with the name and contact information of any of your business friends who are looking for a good, reliable IT support company…and get “paid” in oranges or chocolaty goo-goo clusters!

Paper Chaos: “Good Riddance”

Paper is expensive. Ink, supplies, cabinets, storage, and payroll to handle the paper; it all costs money and time. Just 15 minutes a day of paper shuffling equates to a FULL work week of non-productive time per year. Want to get that time and money back? Then consider a document management solution. By using document imaging, your paper piles are converted into organized, easy to find electronic files. Good document management systems can also streamline processes, eliminate redundancy and increase the ability for your employees to collaborate on documents. Say “Bye-bye, paper…Hello, technology.”

If Your Ex-Employee Deleted All Of His E-mails, Would You Know What To Do?

Though sometimes necessary, letting go of an employee is never easy. No one wants to think that their employees would do any-thing inappropriate when they leave. But the fact is…it happens. When you think about all the company information that person was privy to—and the damage this person could do – it’s downright scary. Thankfully, Microsoft Exchange 2010 protects you from that. This popular e-mail system uses a feature called the “legal hold” to prevent an unscrupulous employee from deleting important messages to cover his tracks. If any employee in your company deletes or alters an e-mail, this new version of Exchange can save this message for you. To help prevent any funny business from happening in the first place, you can even have the e-mail system warn the employee that the “legal hold” feature is on. In addition to protecting you from a bitter employee, the new Exchange can help with other legal matters, too. Let’s say you are having a disagreement with a vendor. To support your case, you need to gather all the e-mails your company has sent to them. The new Exchange makes that a snap. With a few clicks, you can search everyone’s mailbox for relevant e-mails without going to each employee looking for it. How do you get your hands on this software? 2 options. Option #1 – Own it. You buy the server, software & pay for set-up, but retain all the control. Option #2 – “Rent” it. Coined, “Hosted Exchange” this gives you the flexibility to “share” the software and hardware costs with other businesses thereby greatly lowering your upfront costs. Which Option Is Right For You? Call Us: 508-992-2541

Could Facebook Ruin Your Business?

Warren Buffet said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.” Nowhere could this idea be more true than on the Internet. With lightening-fast speed, one negative post about your company on Facebook or other social media site can travel to hundreds or thousands of potential customers or employees and ruin your reputation. On top of the humiliation of “losing face,” from negative online feed-back, you could lose customers, sales, and vendor relationships, too. The Un-Truth While some “company-bashing” comments might be warranted, here’s the worst part: some are completely untrue. Obviously, there’s no way to fact-check everything posted about your business. Most online comments about any business are actually just pure opinion. Think negative online opinions on Twitter or Facebook will just “blow over?” Not likely. Posting something online makes it available for anyone to copy and distribute instantly. So even if you delete the initial post, the same information may already be posted in 18 different places. Once something is online, it’s pretty much there to stay. How Your Reputation Could Be Tarnished There are four ways potentially damaging messages could be said about your company. 1. Competitors. It isn’t difficult to hide your true identity online. All your competition has to do is pose as an “average Joe” and pretend to be your customer. Then he can post negative reviews, damaging comments, or horrible customer experiences that never happened. In a matter of minutes, he can make your loyal customers have their doubts about continuing to do business with you and ward off potential new clients. When this happens to you, proving these comments are posted by your competition is no small feat. Even if you could prove who the culprit was, you wouldn’t be likely to nail him. Since social media is a relatively new phenomenon, there is very little case law available. What is available pertains more to employees’ social media activity than to your competitors. 2. Employees. Without intending to, employees could post or comment about confidential company information and put the business at enormous risk. Merely commenting on a project or a particular customer could cause the competition to steal business away, or could make the customer leave, upset that your employees are writing about their dealings with you for all the world to see. Then there’s the disgruntled employee. According to a recent survey by Deloitte, 74% of employees say it’s easy to damage an employer’s reputation using social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.). Recently, a bank sued one of their ex-vice presidents after he posted confidential company documents online. Allegedly, the documents exposed illegal activities. The law suit requested the forceful removal of the documents. The bank lost the case, saying that the website and the ex–vice president had a First Amendment right to keep the documents online. In addition, the judge pointed out that taking down the documents would do little good, since they could have been copied and re-posted by other sites. 3. Employees’ “Friends” And Family. Turns out it’s not just employees you need to worry about…but their circle of friends and family, too. In a recent U.S. court case, a restauranteur was quoted in a newspaper article as saying that he treats his employees with “dignity and respect.” When the father of a former employee read this article online, he was not too happy. He left a comment that the company had been sexually harassing his daughter and that the owner condoned the behavior. The company looked for justice by suing the father for defamation, but the case got thrown out. The reason? The court sited these comments as opinion and not applicable to defamation laws. 4. Customers. Social media and other online chat has made it easier than ever for customers to let the world know about negative experiences with your company. Of course, the best thing to do is work diligently to keep your customers happy and avoid this issue altogether. But just one “minor” incident can send a bad vibe to all your prospects at the speed of light online. Though you can’t prevent customers or competition from posting whatever they want, you can have some control over what your employees do. How To Prevent Online Company Bashing First, make sure you have a computer use policy. In it, you can dictate what employees can and cannot do online and include a section on banning any conduct that could damage your company’s reputation. Second, monitor your employees’ activity online. Newer content filtering appliances allow business owners to keep an eye on where their employees are going and even what information they are posting online. FREE 2-HOUR SERVICE CALL HELPS YOU PROTECT YOUR REPUTATION During the month of April, we’re giving away 2 FREE hours of service to use as you wish. You can have us review or begin writing your computer use policy, help you develop a plan for monitoring negative online comments or review your firewall for other Internet threats. Don’t miss out! Call us for your 2 FREE hours today! 508-992-2541

Protect Your Kids Online For Under $30

Nearly 90% of 8-16 year olds have seen inappropriate images online. Most of them stumble upon it as a result of conducting research for their homework. With frightening numbers of pornography, child predators, and other harmful online risks, protecting your children’s online activity is a MUST. With the following 4 features, Net Nanny Parental Controls software by ContentWatch ($29 at www.hermanstreet.com) helps you do just that. 1. Blocks “Mature” Games. The software scans the online game for its ESRB ratings (like movie ratings, but for computer games). If the game isn’t kid-friendly, the computer blocks it. 2. Filters Facebook. Net Nanny can provide parents with a report on who their kids’ “friends” are, what pictures and videos they are looking at, and their Facebook Instant Message conversations. 3. Prevents Proxy Sites From Working. Content filters work by making a “blacklist” of sites that it won’t allow. If you tried to type in a blacklisted website address, you wouldn’t get very far. But there’s a sneaky way around this called a “Proxy Server.” Proxy Server web addresses are usually content neutral, so users can go there without flagging the blacklist system. Once in, your child can navigate to their original blacklisted site. Net Nanny prevents this by blocking both proxy server entries and the inappropriate website itself. 4. Keeps Parents Informed. If your child is trying to gain access to something you have blocked, Net Nanny sends you an e-mail alert.

Proper Disposal of All Things Electronic

As much as you’d like to, it’s really not safe to just throw away old computers, network equipment, or any electronics like TV’s, cell phones, and DVD players. If disposed of improperly, these items contain toxic chemicals, like arsenic and mercury that can harm the environment. How do you dispose of these things properly? Check out these two tips: 1. Reuse. This is the most environmentally friendly of the disposal methods. Find another use for your old equipment. For example, you might be able to use an old PC as a firewall, run a basic program like an older voicemail system, or make it a toy for your kids or grandkids to beat up. 2. E-cycle. Some major retailers, like Best Buy and Dell, offer recycling programs for computers and home electronics. If it’s your cell phone you are looking to get rid of, you can find a local program by going to http://www.earth911.org/ or http://www.mygreenelectronics.org/

Could Buying A Computer Actually Increase Your Cash Flow?

Buying a new computer isn’t cheap. Sure, the computer itself is pretty inexpensive, but then you have to purchase software and peripherals. Before you know it, you’ve tied up at least $1,200 of your cash on the thing. Then there’s the labor to install it. If you’re not under an all-inclusive type of IT service plan, the labor could run you a few hundred dollars more. Of course, the situation worsens when you have more than one system to replace. What’s A Business Owner To Do? Until recently, if you needed a new computer right away, but didn’t want to tie up your cash, your only option was to lease it. Not anymore. The recent credit crunch took the option of leasing new equipment off the table for many businesses. This means that you either have to part with the cash, or forgo the new technology you need. “Hardware as a service,” otherwise known as “HaaS” is a new way business owners can gain financial benefits and peace of mind when purchasing computers, servers, and network equipment. Like businesses who lease their computer equipment, HaaS customers also pay monthly for their infrastructure. This allows them to keep more cash in their pocket and gives them the tax advantage of converting a typical capital expense into an operational expense. But unlike leasing, HaaS can also alleviate computer headaches in these 3 ways: 1) No More Expensive Surprise Upgrades. If your computers or server don’t meet the minimum hardware requirements when your line of business software releases an upgrade, you could be forced to lay out thousands of dollars that weren’t in your budget. With HaaS, your computers are automatically replaced with new ones every 3-4 years, ensuring compatibility with almost any software refresh. 2) Dealing With Warranties Are A Thing of The Past. With a HaaS program, you get your equipment AND the service included in the monthly cost. Anything that goes wrong with the computer (like the inevitable computer crash just days after your warranty expires), is the provider’s problem to resolve. Plus, since HaaS computers are replaced regularly by your provider, you don’t have to settle for refurbished parts or old computers for very long. 3) One Easy To Understand Invoice. Simpler is better. Instead of receiving different invoices for hardware and labor, a HaaS plan means you get one invoice for virtually all your IT needs, giving you a truer budget number for IT related expenses.Think of it like this: Purchasing your computers with a HaaS program is like having a condo. You get control of what goes in it, yet you don’t have to worry about maintenance, building code issues, or updating the façade. Plus all your services and amenities are included in just one monthly fee. Want new computers without the big upfront outlay of cash? Call us today to learn more about HaaS and find out if it’s right for you. 508-992-2541 or e-mail us at info@thinktechonline.com

Shiny New Gadget: Motorola Droid Phone

Here’s a quick run-down of the good, the bad, and the bottom line on this new phone. The good: Most users of the new Motorola Droid Phone really like its display screen; fans cite the phone’s large, crisp picture and vivid graphics. The phone also has a pretty fast Web browser, (reportedly much faster than that of the Blackberry), a Google Maps Navigation app, and better messaging and contact management. With Verizon as its carrier, the Droid has very reliable service. The bad: The QWERTY keyboard seems to be a bit awkward, especially if you don’t exactly have dainty hands. Some people dislike its weight, too, since it weighs a full ounce more than its closest competitor. Also, because the dialpad control is restricted to the home screen, driving and making a phone call is rather difficult. Not surprisingly, music and video capabilities are not as strong as the iPod’s. In addition, there’s no Bluetooth voice dialing. The bottom line: Overall, the Droid is a good smart phone with good service, useful Google maps, and a killer display screen. It’s a great touch-screen upgrade from the Blackberry and gives its competition a run for the money.