Local Flooding Affecting Computer Technology

During July, the Ithaca area has experienced record rainfall.  While great for most of the crops and our lawns, there have been a number of flash floods affecting several business and organizations.  Fortunately, this doesn't happen often in our area. However, a flood, even when small, can damage or destroy computer and other electronic technology.  A number of local clients had siginificant damage to some or all of their computer technology.

Some reminders:

  1. When installing new or updating computer technology, network servers, or any electrical or electronic equipment, avoid basements and other near to the ground locations.  Seems obvious, but in most businesses, putting the network server in the basement seems like "just the right place" and "out of the way".  It is, until the day water finds its way to the same place.  If you must put a server or computer in a basement, keep it well off the floor and be very vigilant should there be the possiblity of a flash flood.

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Helping out Remote Employees

 A lot of companies and organizations have remote workers these days. Here are some Microsoft tools to make their jobs easier and days less isolating.

Remote employees have come a long way since the days when trying to work while away from the workplace was like a sentence in solitary confinement. Thanks to the Cloud, they no longer have to use cumbersome methods to access office computer files or receive access codes from special devices just to make a phone call. But, do your remote employees really feel like they are part of the team?

There’s a lot to be said for the sense of community formed by team members who are all in the same physical location. Here are four pitfalls of working remotely and how Microsoft tools can help employees from San Francisco to South Beach collaborate as if they are all sitting around the same table.

Access to files and software

When attending meetings, the people in the office conference room have an advantage over remote employees. As discussions shift from one document to another, remote attendees have to scramble to locate those files and get them on their screens. Too often, the discussion shifts to something else by the time they get a first glance at the previous file.

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Issues Using Refilled Toner Cartridges

 5 reasons you’ll regret using refill ink

Editors Note - This article is written by HP and does have a singular point of view.  We at The Computing Center work closely with our clients to provide the best toners and inks available.  Unlike others, we don't sell the cheapest "Toner of the Week". Substantial consumable savings can be had by selecting high-capacity and multi-pak toners over standard toners and by properly setting up printers to use the right amount of toner per page. Our goal is create long-term value for all our printer clients by providing and installing the right printers, setting them up properly, and using the most cost effective consumables.

If you use remanufactured ink or find yourself tempted by the cost savings, you may want to rethink your stance. Consider this: HP invests hundreds of millions of dollars in research and development in imaging and printing. It takes 3-5 years and up to 1,000 prototype formulas to perfect each new ink. The bottom line is that Original HP ink is not just colored water—it is scientifically formulated with very specific ingredients, proportions, and quality expectations that carelessly refilled and remanufactured ink just can’t compete with.

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Engage your Clients with Great Content

Used with permission from Microsoft US Small and Midsize Business Blog

A few years ago, a startup called Groove that makes helpdesk software found itself just months from running out of money. The founders did something unusual for businesspeople in that situation: They devoted themselves to rethinking their content marketing strategy. Then they took the radical step of telling the story of their company on their blog with complete transparency, including revealing their actual numbers. The result of this daring move? They now have more than 6,000 customers and annual recurring revenue of $10 million.

Interested? That’s because you’ve been hooked by a story:

  • Use the power of storytelling. Narrative is fundamental to the way the human mind works. It’s how we construct meaning and make sense of the world—just think of the power of myths in shaping societies and belief systems. We tell ourselves stories about our own lives to discover who we are. Tests of blogs with identical content—where one is straight bullet points and the other first sets up the real meat of the matter with a story—show that people spend more time on the narrative version and engage more strongly with it. So tell your customers a story.

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Online Collaboration Tools

Collaboration - Many people say that there's not enough of it, between people, in business, or in life. Some say we should collaborate more in-person, but sometimes, that's just not possible. There are dozens of collaboration tools available; nearly every major software manufacturer has one. Here's good review of some online collaboration tools that can help you business or organization be more productive.

Is your team having a communications breakdown? Or maybe just leaning too heavily on endless email threads? From workflow management apps to all-in-one collaboration tools, here are some of the many services available to help your colleagues cut down on email (yay!), get work done more efficiently, and—here’s the best part—have more fun.

Group messaging

  • Slack: is so popular that there’s a good chance your office is already using it. If not, this cloud-based tool should be the first one you look into. Its themed channels for teams, customizable alert settings, archiving, and search capabilities make it a robust tool for both real-time messaging and storing old conversations for easy reference. Many people are also using Slack channels for personal use outside of work, so your team will probably adapt to it easily.

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