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4 Practical Ways To Slash Expenses In Your Data Center

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Even though the experts will tell you the economy is getting better and better every day, companies today are still looking for more ways to reduce their expenses. One way to do this is to find ways to save money in your data center. With the cost of energy continuing to rise, now is the best time to start making some changes to save some money in your business. Keep reading to learn 4 practical ways to reduce business expenses in your data center: 1. Consolidate Your Data Center Facilities One of the largest projects you can take on to slash your expenses is to consolidate your data centers. This can also be the project that saves you the most money. If you have more than one data center, even if one of those facilities isn’t much bigger than your linen closet at home, then you’re bleeding money. Consolidate all your data center equipment under one roof to reduce your expenses. You’ll pay less in real estate costs, disaster recovery contracts, and have lower maintenance and support expenses. You’ll also get rid of redundant IT assets, hardware, and software. While reducing the number of data centers also means you’ll need less employees, it is highly recommended that you retrain these employees to fill other rolls in your IT department instead of letting them go. To give you an example of how much money you can save by consolidating your data centers, take a look at what the Utah state government did. After consolidating their data centers and machine rooms, they saved $4 million! 2. Rationalize Your Hardware According to the Cambridge Business English Dictionary, hardware rationalization is the process of using data to make decisions about how an organization or department buys and uses computers, software, and other products and tools to ensure they are as effective as possible. The result is not only hardware that is effective but also efficient, and often results in significant savings. The areas where you’ll see the most savings is in asset and inventory management, because you’ll be able to easily see which items are used effectively and which are not, and then make changes to eliminate the things that are not effective. Rationalizing your servers will lower your maintenance and support costs, energy costs, and overall hardware costs. 3. Virtualization Of Hardware Hardware virtualization is the creation of virtual versions of computers and operating systems, instead of using tangible items. Using virtual hardware will improve your company’s operational efficiency, support consolidation efforts, and assist with decommissioning and cost management programs. With virtual hardware, you will have less equipment in your data center taking up precious space, and you won’t have to pay as much for maintenance and support for the machines. Virtualization also reduces your energy costs, since there are less machines in your center that will require power. There is one thing to keep in mind about virtualization, and that is you may need a license to operate virtual hardware. But the savings you’ll get are worth that small stipulation. 4. Manage Energy Costs The biggest expense for data centers is the cost of energy to keep all the servers and computers running at a cool temperature. The more equipment housed in a data center, the more energy is used to...

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Want To Fly A Drone For Fun? Here Are A Few Tips To Get You Started

Posted by on Mar 16, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Whether you’re interested in aerial photography or you’re a model plane enthusiast looking to expand your hobby, drones represent a new, fun way to fly. The newest versions of drones available in online stores are a dream to operate because of their longer-lasting batteries, better optics, and upgraded remote controls, as well as the ability to control your drone via smartphone app. But if you’ve never operated one before, it’s easy to be intimidated by all the technology. And what are the rules for how high you can fly and where you can fly? Here’s a quick primer to help you get started with your new drone. The FAA Rules It’s a commonly repeated myth that the FAA has no authority in the airspace under 500 feet. However, this is untrue – the mistaken belief probably comes from the requirement for manned aircraft to stay above 500 feet. The FAA is actually responsible for the airspace from the ground up, so your drone is subject to FAA rules and regulations. Currently, recreational model aircraft, which includes small drones piloted for non-commercial purposes, are limited to flying below 400 feet, and you’re required to keep the drone in your line of sight at all times. You’re also required to keep your drone at least five miles away from air traffic and airports, and you’re not allowed to fly it on a military base or inside of a national park. If you want some help figuring out where you’re not allowed to fly your drone, you can check out the map of drone no-fly zones. Also, some drone models include GPS that can help you avoid off-limits areas. While the FAA doesn’t require it, it’s also a smart idea to stay well clear of power lines, stadiums, schools, and government buildings. Where And When Can You Fly? The FAA, as well as common sense, can tell you where not to fly your drone, but that may leave you wondering if there’s any good place to practice flying. Experienced drone hobbyists recommend that you start in empty fields or deserted parks. These are great places to fly your drone because you’ll be away from buildings, crowds, and interference, and you’ll have more room for error in a large empty area. Mornings are a good time to practice flying your drone. That’s when the wind will be at its least powerful, which makes for a better flying experience, especially for a beginner. You should definitely avoid flying in high winds or bad weather – visibility is important. You’ll also be more likely to avoid crowds of people by flying in the mornings. Avoid distractions when you’re first getting used to your drone. Show off after you’ve mastered the art of flying; until then, don’t bring an audience. Operating Your Drone Once you’ve found the right time and place to fly, you’ll need to acquaint yourself with your drone’s controls. Understanding what each control does is essential to a good flying experience, and can help you get better pictures from the drone as well. Most drones have four basic controls that you need to learn. The first control is the pitch, or elevator. This moves the drone forward and backward. The roll, or aileron, is the control that tilts the drone left and right....

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How Tablets Can Help Reinforce Skills For Kids With Special Needs

Posted by on Feb 2, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

If you have a child with special needs, you may be wondering how you can enhance his or her learning experience without causing undue strain. Any tools that can make learning easier or present information in a new way can be beneficial. And, since every child is different, what works for one child may not be helpful for another. Luckily, some of the newest technology tools make learning easier and more enjoyable, particularly for kids with special needs. Here’s a look at some of the ways that tablets can help kids with special needs. Improving Communication Skills For kids who struggle with either verbal or written communication, tablets are a useful tool for self-expression and conversation. Some tablets offer apps and tools that make it easier for kids with communication problems. There are apps that supply text-to-speech tools, which is helpful for reading text to a student who struggles with vision or reading comprehension. And, there are voice transcription apps that allow kids to speak and have their words transferred to text. Kids can even use apps that reinforce spelling rules, phonics basics and other information through visual tools. The multi-sensory input can help kids with processing disorders. In fact, there are even apps that make it easier for kids to create pictures for communication. Kids with autism can benefit from this, because it makes it easier to associate certain words and thoughts with images. Support for Visual Impairments In addition to the text-to-speech support, many tablets now provide apps that offer voice support for navigating the screen. These apps allow kids to touch an image on the screen and receive verbal descriptions of the selection. Some versions of these apps even provide adjustments to the speech rates, making it easier for a child who is struggling with both hearing and visual impairments. These voice applications can even help teach letters, since they will spell out letters as a child makes selections. With integrated word prediction and spelling support, it simplifies the text entry process. If you have a child who’s struggling with a learning disability and having trouble with letters and spelling, this is a great visual tool for reinforcement. Accommodations for Hearing Impairments Sometimes kids with hearing impairments have difficulties with online learning because of the background sounds. If your child uses a voice app to help with reading, the app will silence the background music and other sound effects. This makes it easier to hear the primary sounds, which is one of the biggest struggles for kids with hearing problems. Additionally, tablets typically support headphone use, which can help your child focus clearly on the sounds without disturbing anyone else in the room. Refining Motor Skills Since tablets have become more mainstream, the touch-screen navigation has become increasingly popular. For kids on the autism spectrum and those with other developmental disorders, motor skills can be challenging. The touch-screen encourages kids to work on their fine motor skills, while the ability to create shortcuts makes it easier for kids to navigate into favorite apps and programs without difficulty. Developers have built apps for various tablets that allow you to set up certain movements and tasks that your child will have to navigate to progress through the app. These can be used to reinforce specific motor skills and...

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Laptop Security On The Road: Tips For Protecting Your Data

Posted by on Jan 28, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

As a business traveler, you recognize the importance of having Wi-Fi access on the road. With so many public Wi-Fi options available, it’s easy to find a free connection in most airports, hotels and even coffee shops. When you’re stuck at the airport waiting for a flight, it may seem like a productive choice to sign onto the Wi-Fi and get some work done on that presentation. Public Wi-Fi doesn’t typically offer encrypted connections though, so you’ll want to take steps on your own to secure your data. Here are some tips to keep your connection and your data safe while you’re on the road. Shut Down Automatic Connections If your laptop is set to automatically connect to an accessible Wi-Fi connection, it can connect to a public network without your consent or knowledge. That connection can put your data at risk, especially if you don’t take steps to secure your information first. Disabling automatic connections ensures you have to manually connect to a network, so you’ll know any time your computer is connected. Avoid Ad-Hoc Wi-Fi Networks Not every wireless network visible to your computer is a public Wi-Fi broadcast. An ad-hoc network broadcast is one that’s sent out through a single computer instead of an access point or router. If you connect to one of these networks, it connects you directly to the other computer. This can give the computer owner access to your files, where he or she could easily steal data from your computer. Avoid this by being selective about the Wi-Fi network you connect to. Check with the hotel or the airport to ensure that you’re connecting to their network. They can tell you what the broadcast identification is for their network. This single step ensures that you’re not connecting to a rogue network that’s broadcast from someone’s personal computer. Use a Firewall Product at All Times Before you connect to any wireless network, turn on a firewall on your computer. Some operating systems have a built-in firewall that you can use. In other cases, you may prefer to install a third-party application to secure your hard drive. The firewall prevents any unauthorized connections to your computer. Visit Secure Websites If you have to log into a website, opt for the HTTPS version of the site. HTTPS is the secure protocol, so it creates a secure connection between the web server and your computer. This helps to reduce the chances of any data interception. If you have to log in to the site, make sure that it’s an HTTPS connection. Don’t sign in to your banking or email without validating this first. Shut Down File Sharing If you typically have folders or files shared across your company network, those files may still appear publicly shared when you connect to a Wi-Fi broadcast on the road. Before you sign on to any public network, shut off your file sharing functionality. That keeps other network users on the public network from accessing any of your files. Skip the Online Financial Transactions Whenever possible, don’t make any online payments or banking transactions when you’re on a public network. Yes, online banking and bill payments are convenient, but they’re also a security risk if you’re on a public network. Wait until you’re home or on a secure VPN...

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Did Your Console Just Run Out Of Lives? 3 Steps To Help You Get Your Broken System Professionally Repaired

Posted by on Jan 12, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Gaming consoles can provide you with years of entertainment, but often it only takes one accident to put your system out of commission. Whether a spilled drink is the culprit or your console suffered an unfortunate fall, you’ll find yourself in the unpleasant predicament of needing it repaired. If you’ve never had a console repaired before, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the steps to take and the options available to you. Step 1: Check Your Warranty Current generation gaming consoles come with one year warranties for accidental damage, and both warranties can be extended by purchasing additional coverage from the manufacturer. If your console is less than a year old, you may not need to pay for repairs at all. Using the serial number or the registration information, if you have it, you can go to the website for your system’s manufacturer and check whether your machine is covered. If you didn’t register your system when you bought it, or if you bought it used, you may not need to worry just yet. You could still be able to get a repair through the warranty, but you’ll need to call the customer service department of your console manufacturer. Make sure you have the receipt for your purchase to prove you bought it within the past year or the receipt for extended warranty coverage to prove you paid for an additional plan. If your warranty has expired, or you don’t have the documents necessary for warranty coverage, you should prepare to have your console privately repaired. Step 2: Get Dialing Most tech shops only repair computers, though many are starting to branch out to phones and tablets. Damaged consoles, however, are still a somewhat tall order for many smaller businesses. For that reason, you’ll need to do your research online to locate tech repair shops that accept broken consoles for repairs. Using the Internet or your local phonebook, make a list of several shops to call. You should also write down the specific problem with your console and anything you might have done to try and fix it. Next, call each shop on your list and explain the problem with your console, then request a quote for the repair. The quotes you receive will not be binding, but they will give you a good idea of the ballpark prices you can expect to pay. Make a note of the labor charges for each shop, as these are what will increase the cost if further repairs are necessary. Don’t limit your search just to tech shops in your area, either. Many companies, like Nation’s First Office Repair, allow broken electronics to be shipped in for repairs and then return them to their owners once the fee is paid. In some cases, the cost of shipping and service may still be lower than comparable deals in your area, so you could save money by including these businesses in your search. Step 3: Weigh Your Choices If your console is brand new, then it’s obvious you’ll save money by having it repaired, unless the repair costs more than the purchase price. However, older consoles can present somewhat of a dilemma when it comes to repair value. As the value of older consoles drops, repairs become less and less worth the money....

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