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Signatures - Exclaimer Logo

Looking to standardise your business signatures?

Posted on May 12th, 2016 by

Your signature is more than just a way to avoid typing ‘regards’ each time you send an email. It’s your way to reach out to prospective clients with each e-mail sent from your business. What does your signature say about your business? Perhaps you have a carefully crated message that is in keeping with your brand identity. Can you guarantee that everyone else in your organisation is using the same template or even using a signature at all? By leaving signatures up to individual users you lose control over this important marketing channel.

What is Exclaimer

Exclaimer lets you control signatures centrally. It lets you enforce a specific template, or multiple templates for different business units or departments. By using Exclaimer you avoid the pitfalls of letting users manage their own signatures. Inconstant messages, typos and ‘off brand’ messages become and thing of the past.

Have you ever wished that your signature was the same when you sent email from your mobile? Ever sent an e-mail from a different PC just to find your carefully crafted message disappeared? With Exclaimer your signature is added by the server on each and every email. That includes emails from your mobile, webmail, Outlook and even automated emailed such as invoices.

What can we do

Geek-Guru are Exclaimer partners. We offer our clients discounted rates on Exclaimer licenses. We can set up systems for both on-site and O365 Exchange servers and can help plan, design and implement templates to maximise your impact with every email.

 

Posted in: Latest News

What Should Your IT Agreement Cover?

Posted on July 30th, 2015 by

Accessing computer services in Birmingham via a third party provider has become THE way to get the support you need to successfully manage your infrastructure without breaking the bank. But if you are planning to outsource the maintenance and management of this vital part of your company to another organisation then setting up an agreement or IT support contract with your chosen provider is important.
Here we take a closer look at the items that should be covered in any agreement when enlisting computer services in Birmingham.

Response times

An integral part of computer services in Birmingham is IT support on demand. Disaster can after all strike at any time but knowing where to turn to is essential. Your IT agreement should specify how fast your chosen provider should respond to a reported issue, as well as what timescales should be worked towards to resolve the problem.

The support process

Every IT support provider will have its own systems in place to ensure enquiries from clients are dealt with as efficiently as possible, a process that should be fully explained in the IT agreement.

Other factors to consider

There are many more aspects that should be communicated in your IT agreement, including activity outlines, exclusions, excess charges and hours of operation.
Contact us today to find out more about our computer services in Birmingham.

Posted in: Latest News
Geek Guru Tablet

The Tablet Conundrum – Part 10

Posted on March 02nd, 2014 by Emily

 

Bluetooth. If you’ve got a smartphone or a tablet, you’ll probably have heard of it. This time in our blog, we’ll look at what Bluetooth is for, and the many peripherals it can support.

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Bluetooth is basically a short-range personal wireless network function. Since its invention in 1994 by Ericsson as a wireless replacement for data cables, it has been through many improvements and iterations. The most recent version is Bluetooth 4.0, or Bluetooth Smart. In addition to “Classic” Bluetooth, and High-Speed Bluetooth, version 4.0 introduced a new type of connection known as BLE or Bluetooth Low Energy, and also improved security. BLE was designed to allow devices that connect and transmit very little information (i.e., smart watches, heart rate monitors or other medical monitoring equipment etc.,) to connect using much less power than a standard Bluetooth device. The result is that some BLE devices can get months, or even years of life, out of one button-cell battery, a very useful option for consumers or businesses who don’t want to be charging their peripheral devices on a daily basis.

The standard range of a Bluetooth device is 10 metres (or 33 feet). Some devices and peripherals allow connections to be up to 60 metres, but most small consumer devices are 10. If you move further away from the device than this, you will likely experience interference or signal dropouts and disruptions.

There are many kinds of Bluetooth devices that you can find to connect to your tablet. Headsets, speakers, keyboards and smart watches are the most popular, as they provide benefits to the user such as hands free, or being able to type on a physical keyboard instead of an onscreen one, which many people are used to. Bluetooth can also be used to connect your device to your car if it is Bluetooth enabled, to give features such as hands free communication or playing your favourite music directly from your tablet through the car’s entertainment system.
For people interested in tracking their heart rate, sleep or exercise habits, for personal fitness and wellbeing or other medical reasons, there are a multitude of devices out there that communicate and sync with your tablet via their own apps, making it easy to track your progress and statistics.

If you’re looking for a new tablet, most of them will come with Bluetooth by default. It can be a very useful feature!

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Check out our next blog for the final entry in this series!

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If you’d like more help, advice or information on choosing a tablet, if you’d like to discuss joining one of our support packages, or if you’d like to talk about anything else IT-related with us, give us a call or drop us an email!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Geek Guru Tablet

The Tablet Conundrum – Part 9

Posted on January 12th, 2014 by Emily

 

In this edition of the Geek Guru Blog, we explore the capabilities and benefits of Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC and Wi-Fi Direct.

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It really goes without saying that all tablets made now need some form of internet connection to be used to their full potential. Most achieve this through a Wi-Fi connection (or 3G/4G mobile data connection which we’ll discuss in a later post). It’s important to consider this when purchasing a tablet – if you or your business don’t have access to a wireless router or wireless access point, you’ll need to purchase one or use another device (such as a smartphone sharing its data connection in “hotspot” mode) to provide a wireless connection to really get the most out of your tablet, if it’s Wi-Fi-only.

GPS is another function found on many tablets, but it’s not as popular as it is on smartphones, simply because it’s rarer for tablets to have a constantly available data connection (especially if they are WiFi only) in order to use apps like Google Maps. Some software that pre-downloads maps to the tablet’s storage is available though, and can make your tablet a good replacement for a GPS navigation system, or a good backup in case your current GPS system is lost, broken or incorrect.

NFC is again a technology that’s really only recently begun to take hold, and is currently featured more on smartphones than it is on tablets, although it has made an appearance on some, such as on the Nexus 7 (2012 and 2013 editions) and the Nexus 10. NFC stands for Near-Field Communication, and it allows you to hold the device up to an NFC enabled information point, often in public areas such as bus stops or museums, and retrieve relevant data such as timetables or information about the exhibits you’re viewing. You can also hold NFC devices near to each other to exchange information or initiate links through Wi-Fi Direct (see below).  While this can be a useful feature, again most of the time it requires an always-on data connection in order to download information from the internet. NFC can also be used to make automatic payments or identify yourself – Some bus journeys and parking meters around the world are NFC-enabled to make it possible to pay with the NFC function and an app on your device (similar to how contactless card payments work currently).

Wi-Fi Direct, whilst being available since 2008, has only really started to come into mainstream use since 2011 and is becoming increasingly popular in smartphones and tablets. It allows devices to communicate using their Wi-Fi connections without having a wireless access point. Typically, the devices can “pair” to each other using Bluetooth or NFC first for security, and then the Wi-Fi Direct connection is negotiated, typically over WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) Bluetooth or NFC. This process is mostly automated, making it simple for less tech-savvy users, and the data transfer speed is usually much higher than your standard Bluetooth connection. It’s worth considering if you have devices you need to transfer large files between without access to a computer, or if you regularly share files with colleagues, friends or family members via your tablets or smartphones.

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Next up on the Geek Guru Blog, Bluetooth and its associated peripherals!

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If you’d like more help, advice or information on choosing a tablet, if you’d like to discuss joining one of our support packages, or if you’d like to talk about anything else IT-related with us, give us a call or drop us an email!

Call us on 0845 234 05800845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Geek Guru Tablet

The Tablet Conundrum – Part 8

Posted on January 09th, 2014 by Emily

 

At the heart of every device is a chip which contains its processor. They vary in speed and functions but nearly all tablets use a similar type. Read on to find out more about tablet processors.

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You may or may not have heard them mentioned before, but sometimes the manufacturer of a tablet will include the name of the device’s chip on advertisements. Nvidia’s Tegra, Samsung’s Exynos, Apple’s A series (A6, A7 etc), Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, and MediaTek – all of these chips have one thing in common. Their actual internal processors are all built on the same ARM (or ARMv8-A) architecture. For comparison, most common PC processors use x86 or x86-64 architecture. Architecture is the term used to describe a set of instructions – so all of these tablet processors use a similar set of instructions to get the job done.

The term “Chip” is used instead of processor, because often in tablets and other small devices, there is more inside the chip than just the processor itself. Other features such as a graphics processor, RAM, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS can be included inside the chip itself. This is known as SoC (System on Chip) – Hence the use of the word “Chip” to describe it.

This type of chip is used because it has been developed specially to consume less power, produce less heat and be cheaper to manufacture – three great qualities that are highly desirable to manufacturers. It uses less complex instructions than the standard PC processor, but for the most part this isn’t an issue. Where more processing power is required, manufacturers have included multiple processing cores. This of course requires more power, but the constant development of both processor and battery technology means we’re provided with consistently faster, more efficient gadgets.

So what does this really mean for us as consumers? Well, generally, the more cores or the higher the processor speed, the faster and better your device will perform. Some multi-core chips like the Nvidia’s Tegra are designed to let the device run on the lower-power, more efficient core when idle or doing only simple tasks, which means your battery will last longer.

The more powerful the processor, the more you can do with the tablet. If you need a tablet for complex tasks and large data files, you’re going to want one with a fast processor and as much RAM as possible. If the most you’ll be doing on it is watching videos, checking email and browsing, you can choose one with lower performance, which will be cheaper.

Even if you don’t have a use for the power of a mid or high-end tablet, we would always recommend getting one that’s slightly more powerful than you currently need if it’s within budget. This means it’ll be usable for longer, before becoming obsolete. This also leaves room for you to do more with the tablet, should you choose to.

Most chips have “performance” and “power saving” modes – it’s just a case of choosing one. Generally speaking, the most powerful tablets are the most expensive ones. When it comes to individual models, review sites and discussion forums can often give a good idea of the performance and battery life of a product. If you’re in doubt, or just want a friendly pointer, though, Geek Guru are always here to help!

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Next time in our blog we’ll be looking at WiFi, GPS, NFC and Wi-Fi Direct.

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If you’d like more help, advice or information on choosing a tablet, if you’d like to discuss joining one of our support packages, or if you’d like to talk about anything else IT-related with us, give us a call or drop us an email!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Geek Guru Tablet

The Tablet Conundrum – Part 7

Posted on January 05th, 2014 by Emily

 

This time on the Geek Guru Blog we’ll be looking at battery life and features available to help you extend it if necessary.

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It’s annoying when your gadgets run out of juice just as you need them most. Luckily, technologies are evolving not only to allow your device to store more power, but to save power when required.

If you have a high-end tablet, the chances are that it’ll come with a powerful main processor and graphics processor, as well as other advanced features. Of course, more powerful tech requires more power, so usually the battery life of a high-end tablet running at full capacity will be much less than that of a budget model.

Most tablets on the market now, in any price range, come with power saving modes. They limit the speed of the processor(s) to make it consume less power, reduce power sent to speakers, reduce the brightness of the screen, and reduce power consumed by communications technologies such as WiFi or Bluetooth by turning them off when not in use. If you’re running a tablet in power saving mode, however, you’ll likely lose some performance as a result – the battery saving options allow you to trade off raw power for extended battery life.

The type of tablet and the job it’s doing is also a big factor in battery life. If you have a tablet connected 24/7 to Bluetooth peripherals, you’ll find that its battery life is less because of this, although a new iteration of the Bluetooth technology known as BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) or Bluetooth Smart is becoming more popular with manufacturers now as it allows the device to communicate with some peripherals without using as much power. Up and coming ‘Smart’ Watches use the technology, allowing increased battery life for both the peripheral and the host device. Always-on WiFi can also drain quite a bit of power, particularly if there is a lot of interference nearby or if the WiFi signal is weak. It’s best to turn both of these functions off if they’re not necessary – all tablets, smartphones and phablets allow you to do this manually within their settings.

Larger screen models are also more power hungry, as the screen is often the one part of the device that drains the most battery. Again, advances in screen technologies and automatic power saving adjustments mean that now you can still achieve great battery life even on the largest screen models.

Most power saving features on tablets are configurable. If you want your power saving feature to leave processing speed at max while activating all the other power-saving features, this is often possible from within the settings of the power saving feature itself. This means if you really need a feature to remain on to be able to work properly, you can have it, while saving power in all other areas.

External batteries, power ‘sticks’ and even solar panels are also available for many devices now – they act as an additional battery or charger if you need them. If your device is critical to your work, we’d definitely recommend getting one or more of these and keeping them charged as a standby option. At the Geek Guru offices we’ve tested a few and find them to be invaluable, particularly as they usually come with multiple connectors for all of the different gadgets we have!

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Next time on the Geek Guru blog we’ll be looking at the varying power of tablet processors, different types, and what they’re capable of.

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If you’d like more help, advice or information on choosing a tablet, if you’d like to discuss joining one of our support packages, or if you’d like to talk about anything else IT-related with us, give us a call or drop us an email!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Geek Guru Tablet

The Tablet Conundrum – Part 6

Posted on January 02nd, 2014 by Emily

 

Whatever you’re planning to use your tablet for, it will need charging. This time in the blog we’ll be looking at the various charging options available.

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If you’re up-to-date on tech news, you’ll probably already know that wireless charging (or rather, inductive charging) is a technology on the rise when it comes to smartphones, tablets and other gadgets. The idea is, you have a powered charging pad, and you simply place your devices on it to charge them. No cables required. This can be very useful if you have items in cases designed to make them resistant to dust or water, it means you don’t have to remove them in order to charge them. It also means that there isn’t any wear and tear on cables or ports, which can become an issue if the device is used a lot and needs to be charged very frequently.

Although this kind of technology is on the market and available at a reasonable price to consumers, it isn’t yet particularly mainstream, and you’ll find yourself having to shell out some extra for a special charging pad or other accessories if you want to really take advantage of this. Most tablets are supplied with your standard USB charging cable, although some manufacturers are now beginning to take advantage of the increased power available to USB 3 ports to enable you to charge your phone from your computer at a similar speed to what you’d expect from a mains charger, with the added advantage of increased data transfer rates to and from the device – Samsung’s Note 3 Phablet comes with a special USB 3 cable for these purposes. The one caveat is of course that to achieve USB 3 charging and transfer speeds, you need to connect the device to a USB 3 port, which isn’t available on all machines as yet – some older and lower end / cheaper machines are still stuck with USB 2.0 support only.

For those who charge their devices frequently from a computer and have access to USB 3.0 ports, though, this is a welcome change.

So, rather than being stuck with just one option, our options for getting “juice” into our devices is diversifying: faster USB 3.0 charging, wireless charging or standard charging through USB 2.0 or a mains USB charger – The more advanced options are going to cost more, but this is true of all new technology. Will it be worth the cost in its usefulness to you? Definitely something to consider when you’re choosing what to buy!

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Next time we’ll be taking a closer look at battery life for tablets, including some of the features available to help you save battery power.

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If you’d like more help, advice or information on choosing a tablet, if you’d like to discuss joining one of our support packages, or if you’d like to talk about anything else IT-related with us, give us a call or drop us an email!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Happy New Year from Geek Guru

Posted on December 31st, 2013 by Emily

 

We would like to take this opportunity to wish our readers, followers and customers a
 
Happy and Prosperous New Year!
 
From all of the staff at Geek Guru

Posted in: Latest News
Geek Guru Tablet

The Tablet Conundrum – Part 5

Posted on December 19th, 2013 by Emily

 

Durability might not be top of your priority list if you’re looking for a tablet, but we’ll take a look at all its facets and explain why we think it’s so important!

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Frankly, we think it’s important that when you suffer an attack of “butterfingers” (as we all inevitably do), you know your tablet SHOULD survive the fall. We think that it’s vital that it still works and charges after you accidentally trip over or snag the cable and pull it out of its power socket while it’s charging. Of course, no piece of technology is completely accident-proof, but there are some things to check if you are (like our design geek) rather accident prone at times, if you’ll be working in a hazardous or dangerous environment, or if the tablet you are buying will be used by children.

If you’re buying a tablet to use in a hazardous environment, such as on a workshop floor or in a kitchen area, there are some things you should consider. Build quality is one. Casing and ports is another. Some tablets on the market such as Sony’s Xperia Tablet S are designed to be splash-proof, which makes them ideal for use in a kitchen or even outside. Close attention is paid to areas such as ports and external sockets, where water, dust and dirt may get in, to make sure they can be covered or sealed as tightly as possible when not in use. Open ports can be a major problem if the tablet is carried around a lot, dust, fluff and dirt from moving it into and out of a bag, for example, can mount up over time and cause problems.

Even the feel and shape of the casing itself can be a contributing factor when it comes to durability. Tesco’s budget tablet model, the Hudl, shows this in action. Its more rounded corners, chunkiness and rubberised finish make it friendlier for small hands; it’s even marketed as a family tablet and there’s a range of accessories to make it suitable for kids such as additional rubber cases and volume limited headphones. In a similar vein, the iPad Air has an aluminium backing, which, while remaining thin and light, provides good protection for the internal hardware of the tablet as it can’t break or crack in the same way plastic can.

If you choose a tablet that’s a bit more fragile, though, there are things you can do to improve its resilience. There are ‘armour’ and ‘shell’ style cases for many of the popular brands of tablet, especially the iPad, which has cases designed to block all the buttons and make the tablet shockproof so that you can give it to a young child without (much) worry. It even has complete enclosures like the “LifeJacket” (made from polycarbonate) that make it waterproof and buoyant for use in the water.

Even the most basic of cases can protect the tablet from knocks and scrapes, and we suggest that if you carry the tablet around regularly inside a bag or pocket, that you invest in a cover that prevents the screen from getting damaged too, such as a lightweight neoprene case (or if you want a sturdier one, they also come in plastic, rubber or leather varieties.)

Next post we’ll be having a look at charging options, stay tuned!

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If you’d like more help, advice or information on choosing a tablet, if you’d like to discuss joining one of our support packages, or if you’d like to talk about anything else IT-related with us, give us a call or drop us an email!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Geek Guru Tablet

The Tablet Conundrum – Part 4

Posted on December 17th, 2013 by Emily

 

In this continuation of our blog series exploring tablets, we take a look at screen size and covering, and why it’s important to choose one that suits your needs.

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One of the most important factors in the success of the tablet as a whole has been portability. Even the most powerful one can be slipped into a protective case, and then into a backpack or handbag and transported around with minimal fuss. Of course, a larger tablet will be more expensive and heavier than a smaller one, so it’s important to choose one that will meet your needs. From the smallest ones dubbed “Phablets” (cross between a phone and a tablet, like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phone) to a 10” Android tablet or Microsoft’s Surface Pro, there are lots of sizes to choose from.

For Android tablets, the most popular sizes are 7” and 10”, although some manufacturers do make 8” versions. For iPads, there’s two choices – the standard size iPad or the iPad Mini. When you’re choosing a size, it’s first advisable to consider the tablet’s main purpose. If you need something lightweight and highly portable, but with a screen large enough to read and type emails or watch movies on, or browse the internet, then you’re probably going to be looking for something around the 7” or Mini category. If it’s photo editing, composing long emails, editing complex documents, or watching HD video content, you’re probably going to want a larger screen to make things easier or nicer to look at.

Many people are using tablets to accomplish the tasks they used to use laptops for, such as note taking, portable presentations, checking emails or watching movies on the go, or just for some entertainment. As such, the larger tablets are much more suited to this task than the smaller ones. 7” tablets and “Phablets” are, however, still great as super portable devices, for taking notes, reading, browsing, watching movies and perhaps the odd game of Angry Birds. Dependent on your style, the precision you need, and even your hand size, we’re sure that you’ll find a good size tablet. We recommend going into shops to try them out first-hand (while trying not to get caught by their sales pitches), or trying a friend or colleague’s device out before you consider buying anything – you may be surprised at what feels the most suitable or the most comfortable up-close.

Most tablets are covered by toughened or strengthened glass, the two most common types are Gorilla Glass and Dragontrail glass. These are specially toughened types of glass that resist scratches, cracks and chips whilst remaining thin and light. Generally, the higher the price of the tablet, the better quality the glass will be – which means a more expensive tablet may have a clearer, more scratch resistant or thinner and lighter screen covering – or even a more responsive touchscreen. The type, thickness and durability of the glass used can be important if you’re going to be transporting the tablet around a lot or using it in potentially hazardous situations.

If durability is something on your mind, worry not, we will be covering that in the next blog post!

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If you’d like more help, advice or information on choosing a tablet, if you’d like to discuss joining one of our support packages, or if you’d like to talk about anything else IT-related with us, give us a call or drop us an email!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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