Printer Services Update

In case you haven't noticed, there is no such thing as the "paperless office"! Computer printers come in all sizes and speeds and are important parts of every business. When we founded The Computing Center was founded in 1978, one of the first products we sold and serviced were printers. We still do today.  

 

After many years, our primary printer technician has decided to leave The Computing Center to pursue another position.  To replace him, we now have two certified printer technicians available for both warranty and non-warranty service.  We'll be announcing our newest printer and computer service technician who is joining The Computing Center shortly. He has decades of experience with Hewlett Packard, Xerox, Dell and other printer systems. And Tom Santspree, who you may have met in his printer consultants role, will also now be assigned to as needed to provide repair services.

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Artificial Intelligence Basics

Despite the grave warnings from Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) apocalyse hasn't arrived quite yet.

AI, however, is advancing in new ways to help us. From predicting earthquakes to improving cancer diagnoses, here are AI’s latest futuristic advances—plus the one that can help your business right now.

So what is AI, anyway?

You already know the Hollywood examples, from HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey to the Borg in Star Trek, and Skynet in the Terminator. But real-life AI isn’t quite that advanced yet (and, fortunately, not as bad-tempered either). AI falls into two basic camps: Strong AI and Weak AI. Strong AI is programming that can mimic the way the human mind works—and it doesn’t exist yet. Weak AI are systems that can behave like humans, but they don’t operate like a human brain. However, there are weak AI systems that are approaching an “in-between” level—ones that are inspired by human reasoning even if they don’t quite work the same way—and that’s where the most exciting research is happening right now.  

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Could you be fooled by a robot on the phone?

The prospect of artificial intelligences (AIs) that can get away with fooling humans is leading experts to question whether it's time to regulate telemarketing phone calls from robots.

Wendell Wallach, author of A Dangerous Master and senior adviser to The Hastings Center, says new laws may be needed as the lines between humans and simulations of human activity get blurred.

"If you're basically intelligent you still should be able to deduce when you're talking with a bot," he says. "But perhaps that space is closing more quickly than we would think. I wonder whether we're going to need to signal that it's not a human."

Wallach believes it could still be some time before an AI could phone you up and dupe you into thinking it was a person for long. "There'll be all kinds of inversions of grammar," he says.

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WannaCry Ransomware Attack Redux

Tens of thousands of words have been written about the "WannaCry" ransomware attack on computers and computer servers all across the world. Below is a summary of what occurred. Fortunately for Computing Center cients, no one got hit. We are very diligent about keeping Microsoft and other operating systems fully patched and up-to-date. Additionally, the perimeter security systems that we deploy kept the expoit from even reaching many networks.

But this is not over. The next exploit could be far more difficult to detect and recover from. We continue to caution all our clients on the basic three steps that every business and organization must take to protect its computer systems:

  1. Be absolutely vigilant in securing your systems, including running all patches and updates promptly.
  2. reliable backup and disaster recovery solution remains the best and most effective defense against ransomware attacks. If you are hit with ransomware, restoring your system and data from fresh backups is the only way to recover without paying the ransom.
  3. And finally, people should be cautious when opening emails and attachments (particularly executable files and zipped files). Employees can greatly benefit from IT security awareness training on how to recognize threats and suspicious activity.

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There's more to Microsoft than Office 365

With all the bad news out there regarding Internet security, scams, and hacking, some of the "good stuff" gets left behind. This month, we're highlighting several of the "other" Microsoft products and services available through The Computing Center.

Most of us know about Windows 10 and Office 365, and rely on them daily.

But I’m here to tell you there’s a lot more going on at Microsoft.

Packed inside of Windows 10, packaged up with other offerings or simply available as standalone products, there’s a ton of business productivity just waiting to be unleashed on your business.

Recently I visited the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond for a tour with its crew of Small Business Ambassadors (I’m one of them). I discovered that Microsoft is innovating all over the place. Here are 10 highly useful Microsoft products and features that if you are not aware of, I suggest you explore:

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