Bringing Life Back

by IRIS Solutions August 31, 2011

As laptop batteries age, the battery life declines and before you know it, you are unable to use your laptop at all without being tethered to your power cord that's plugged into the only available outlet in a dark corner of your den.  Purchasing a new battery is an option, but before spending the money, give these simple and easy tricks a try to help extend the use of your battery.

- Charge the laptop fully.  Use the laptop unplugged until the battery is almost completely drained and then charge the laptop again.

- It's also been said that a way to recover small amounts of battery life is to charge the laptop fully and let the battery drain completely.  Leave the laptop unplugged and drained for 4-5 hours and fully charge again.

As with anything you could think of, there is also an app that can help you determine the current state of your battery.  The app is called "BatteryBar" and it's available in the Mac App Store as well as the Android Market.  It can be useful in that it will show the battery capacity and the usage of the battery, along with the percent decline of the battery capacity, so you can easily monitor the current battery life.

If all else fails, consider purchasing a replacement battery for your laptop and give us a call.  We'll be glad to assist however we can.

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iPad Fading into the Abyss

by IRIS Solutions August 17, 2011

The once beloved piece of technology, a frontier gadget, the all-anticipated iPad is starting to slow among American users.  With the availability of Android and HPOS based tablets at a cheaper price, the iPad will soon become as prevalent as a bag phone. 

The Android Market holds thousands of free apps, some of the exact same apps that are paid in iTunes, and has a much better user and graphical interface.  Sure you can stream movies on both and can use both as a bubble level, but the fact that Android is open source means you don't have to live with the bloat that Apple pushes and denies you the ability to weed out.  One of the most beneficial apps for the business user is Documents to Go.  This app allows you to view, create, edit, send, and receive documents in MS Office format.  In addition, this is a free app.

Android tablets are far more customizable to the user's needs and budget.  Apple has a tendency to tell you what you will have, not what you can get.  In addition, the IOS is not enterprise friendly and many companies are foregoing the gadgets for the latest and greatest Android tablet.

Another problem is compatibility.  Apple has a monopoly on transferability of files and syncing with your PC.  If you don't hold your original iTunes account on the PC you're connecting to, all is lost.  Android is as simple as plug and play.  With the use of the removable and expandable SD cards, the Android owner can take his/her files with them and not have to drag the whole pad around town for it to get scratched up, broken, or possibly stolen,

Want more options?  You can achieve this with the Android but not the iPad.  The Androids come in 5", 7", 8", or 10"+ sided tablets.  Overall, Apple created a market for items when there was not a market for them.  Apple owns the digital music market with the iPod and they revolutionized the smart phone market with the iPhone.  When they came out with the iPad they created yet another item without a market and made millions.  The iPad is a great gadget but IMHO the Android tablet gives you many more options.

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Feeling the Heat

by IRIS Solutions August 10, 2011

This has been one of the hottest summers on record.  We have had something like 50 straight days of over 90 degree weather.  This topic has been in every conversation for weeks now and people are staying inside and doing less outside.

You might ask, "Why in the world is an IT shop posting articles about the heat?"  We are not trying to be editorial writers for The Weather Channel, but we are as concerned as you are about heat... in regards to our electronics.

Heat is the number one killer of electronics.  Does anyone remember the red rings from the Xbox 360?  Do you remember the fix?  Put the device in the freezer for a couple of hours and see if they go away.  Pretty scientific, right?

Computers are no different than our human bodies, they crave cool air.  In addition, they are even more picky about the heat as they do not want the temperature to go over 78 degrees.  If  you consider all of the electronics in a computer and everything it takes to make a sentence turn into a sentence or an internet browser to show a webpage, there are millions of instructions on millions of chips working in that black box on the floor.  These components, just like us, need a cool place to work.

Seagate is a major manufacturer of hard drives for all computers.  They have done studies that show the MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) on a hard drive spinning all day, every day, is good for 4.5 years.  If you take this to the upper temperature spectrum of 78 degrees it drops in half.

In short, heat kills computers and electronics.  If you feel like the temperature of your computer or networking equipment is too high, please call us and we can look into this for you.  Otherwise stay cool during these dog days of summer.

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Tech Advice

Is Cable TV Headed Out?

by IRIS Solutions August 4, 2011

Just like traditional home phone lines from the major phone companies, cable television could be headed out.  I spent some time this past week looking through the channel selections from Time Warner and could not settle on what to watch. It was a Saturday evening and during the time when the big 4 channels (ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS) have started re-runs.  Thanks to Time Warner the channel selection is massive, but I  just wanted some basic "cops catch the bad guys" show for about an hour to feed my ADD just long enough before I feed my body a typically greasy burger and fries from the local watering hole.  Now I thought I would just look through my DVR list but remembered the major channels are playing re-runs so I decided to check back through On Demand but they only have the last three weeks of programming.

Well now that we have established my ADD and I have spent fifteen minutes looking for a one hour TV fix I remember  Hulu is just one of many online television sites.  I grabbed my handy laptop and logged right in and got what I was looking for: an episode of CSI that I have missed.  I started looking and could quickly view by show, network, genre, or even go to movies.  I did manage to find that elusive hour of free time to sit there and watch this show with little commerical interruption.

Take it one step further.  Netflix is yet another service but not free like hulu.  It is $7.99 per month but comes with movies, shows, and media sent to your house on DVD format.  Combine this with a PlayStation or Nintendo Wii, and an additional $8, and you can stream this off the internet.  Or if you don't want DVDs sent to your house, you can get the streaming only package for $7.99.  You can also watch this on your laptop, tablet, pc, or mobile phone.

So with all of this available and HD sources to match, why am I still paying for cable TV every month?


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