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Geek Guru Software Support

Posted on September 30th, 2013 by Emily

 

If you’re interested in a new software package or suite, or are looking for some software to suit a specific task and don’t really know where to begin, we’re here to help!

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With our recent posts on Office 2013 and Office 365, we hope we’ve been able to provide some useful information on how to choose the best package for you,

At Geek Guru we pride ourselves on our friendly customer service. Anything that you’d like to know about any IT related subject, we’re here to help – including advice about software for different purposes.

Sometimes you may feel like it would be good if you had some software that could automate tasks, software that’s more suitable for your business or just something that can help you be more productive – in any such case, feel free to get in contact with us and we’ll do some looking around for you, and endeavour to find the most suitable software for your needs.

As part of our support packages, we can also help you to purchase and install your software if necessary. This means you’ll have nothing to worry about as we’ll do it all for you, and make sure it’s all set up and working correctly. If you purchase your software through us, we’ll make sure you have the correct amount or type of licenses required for your company or organisation, so you don’t waste some of your budget by purchasing more than you may need.

If you’ve recently purchased some software and need some advice about its functions, general usage, or how to get it to perform specific tasks, we may also be able to help. From assisting you ourselves with our wide range of experience and knowledge, to finding free online resources or paid training courses for you and your team, just let us know and we’ll do what we can to help out.

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If you’d like any further information on any kind of software, hardware or anything else IT-related at all, get in touch with us, the Geek Gurus are always on hand and happy to help!

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

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Choosing a Mouse or Pointing Device - Part 3

Posted on September 13th, 2013 by Emily

 

In the final post of our series on mice and pointing devices, we focus on size and ergonomics and the choice of wireless or wired devices.

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We’re adding two more points to our list of what to look for when you’re purchasing a new pointing device – the size and ergonomics of it, and whether to buy wired or wireless – and you’ll see why they’re just as important to consider as everything else.

  • Size and Ergonomics

This might not be something that leaps instantly to mind, but the size and ergonomics of a pointing device really do matter, especially if you’re going to be using the device for extended periods. We’ll be looking mainly at mice, but the same rules apply to any device.

Mice come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some small, some large. The most important thing is to buy one that’s going to be suitable for the person who will be using it. A lot of mice available now with more functions are truly huge – making them unsuitable or uncomfortable for people with smaller hands. Similarly, micro mice are incredibly fiddly and almost impossible to use by people with larger hands. The best thing you can do is go and try out a variety of sizes and see how they feel before buying one, then you’ll get an idea of the best overall shape for your hand.

There are shapes that fit left handed and right handed people, or some that can be used by either. Left handed mice are rare, though, and you’ll probably have to purchase online if you want one specifically designed for left handed people.

Whatever you go for, it’s important that it feels comfortable in your hand, doesn’t cause discomfort with prolonged use, and suits the way you prefer to use a mouse.

  • Wired vs Wireless

The main reason to choose a wireless mouse is really to be rid of a wire from the tangled mess that usually goes to the back of our computers. Without a wire, there’s no drag on the mouse, you can’t accidentally pull out the cable, and you can’t snag the cable on something accidentally. It also means you are not restricted by cable length on the positioning of your device. The connections at either end can’t be worn out either, as there are no cable connections to come loose.

There are drawbacks however, one of which is that the devices needs to be powered, usually by batteries. While there are a few mice out there now that can last on a single AAA battery for a whole year, you can probably expect to have to change the batteries every couple of months or so for a device in frequent use. When the batteries in the device are no longer providing enough power, often the device can begin to act strangely or stop working altogether. There are devices now that come with a rechargeable battery inside and a charging dock (plugged into the computer, doubles as a wireless receiver) that you can place it into when not in use. These tend to come at a higher price, but can be worth it in the long run.

If you’re in an office with a lot of electrical equipment trying to use a wireless device, you can also suffer from interference problems. If there’s another device working on a similar frequency nearby, it can cause the wireless device to malfunction or behave strangely. This is unusual in a standard desk setting however, as the device and its connector are usually close enough together that they have a strong enough signal to ignore any interference.

A wired mouse will have greater reliability and no need for batteries, but a wireless mouse offers greater freedom of positioning and no drag or snagging cable.

There’s certainly quite a few considerations to be made for purchasing a new pointing device, (perhaps more than you might think really,) but we’re confident that if you consider all of these points before you purchase, you’ll have a better, more comfortable experience overall. If you’d like to see any other kind of equipment covered in these articles, please do let us know at the address below!

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If you need more information about mice and pointing devices, or guidance on choosing one that’s right for you or your business, or if you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, get in contact with us!

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

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Choosing a Mouse or Pointing Device - Part 2

Posted on September 11th, 2013 by Emily

 

Continuing in our series of blog posts about mice and other pointing devices, this time we’re looking at the different device types and connection options.

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The type of device you use and the connection method are two other things you’ll need to consider when purchasing a new mouse or pointing device, so this time we’ve gone into a little more depth about the types of device available, how they connect to your computer, and why considering these things is important.

  • Touchpads, Trackballs and Tablets

The reason we’ve chosen the term “pointing device” rather than just “mouse” for these articles is because while most users will be using a mouse, some will choose to use a touchpad, (especially on a laptop), a trackball or a tablet. There are other options you can use rather than a mouse, if you prefer!

Touchpads are becoming more advanced, with the ability to use multi-touch and gesture commands on them to perform advanced functions such as scrolling and zooming. The advancement of touchpad technology means that touchpads now are becoming extremely useful, reliable and sensitive. While they do take a bit of getting used to, they’re now a good, easy to use replacement for a mouse on mobile devices such as laptops, and there’s no longer really a need to take a bulky mouse along with you. While it’s rare to find a touchpad attached to a regular desktop PC, some tablets (which we’ll discuss later on) now offer this type of functionality, so if you’re really a fan, that’s also a possibility.

Trackballs are not particularly popular, although some people still prefer them as they involve moving the fingers instead of the whole hand. They are basically an upside down mechanical mouse, you use your fingers or thumb to roll a ball which sits on rollers or inside a bay with LEDs which judge the distance, direction and speed of your movements. Most of them also have the buttons of a regular mouse, plus a scroll wheel. They take quite a bit of getting used to, although they are better for maintaining a neutral arm position and reducing stress on the wrist than standard mice, and so can be helpful if you suffer from RSI. They also don’t need a special surface or lots of room to track on as you’re just moving the ball and not the whole device. Those who use them extensively often say they offer improved control over a regular mouse.

Tablets, until now have been the realm of the graphic designer and the artist, but with touch devices taking off so much recently, and with improvements in handwriting recognition, they are gaining a new niche market from people who prefer to hold a pen or use them as a giant touchpad to perform everyday computer tasks. Not all tablets perform the role of touchpad, though, this is restricted mainly to Wacom’s Bamboo Pen and Touch range at the moment – although the ones that do support touch have a number of programmable buttons and support multi-touch functions and gestures to scroll and zoom, etc. They do take a bit of getting used to, and some older non-touch models have a battery in the pen that needs replacing sometimes, but if you are comfortable with using a pen and like the idea of using one to control your computer, you may like to try one. Definitely something we’d recommend trying out before purchasing – but our design geek wouldn’t be without one!

  • PS/2 and USB

PS/2 is considered a ‘legacy’ connector, (meaning it’s technically out of date and has been replaced by newer technology,) but many computers still offer PS/2 ports. PS/2 connectors are small, round connectors that were the predecessor to USB connections on keyboards and mice – purple port for keyboards, green port for mice. However, in some instances, they can still be pretty useful. If your organisation needs to disable all the USB ports on their machines for security reasons, (for example to avoid flash drives being plugged in), then the PS/2 ports mean that the machines are still useable with most standard devices – a converter can be purchased to convert a USB device into a PS/2 device if necessary.

PS/2 devices can have less delay since the signal is not sent into the operating system via the USB port but instead handled directly within the hardware – however this kind of delay should not be noticeable to the average user.

With so many devices being connected via USB now, there may be a lack of ports on your machine, this is another scenario where a PS/2 port may be useful – they are specific and can only be used for certain types of device, which means you can free up a USB port for use by another device.

The great thing about USB, though, is that the basic functions of USB pointing devices will usually work if you just plug them in (this is known as “plug-and-play”). It also requires very little hardware knowledge – Most people know about the small, flat sockets on their computer, and it would be a challenge now to find a computer without a USB port – which means if it a pointing device has a USB connection, you can probably use it on your computer (depending on compatibility with your operating system of course). A lot of desktop computers also have additional ports on the front now too, so if you don’t like messing around at the back of your computer to plug in a device, you don’t need to.

 

Next time, in the final post of this week, we’ll be taking a look at the sizes and ergonomics of mice and pointing devices, and weighing up the good and the bad points of wired and wireless devices.

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If you need more information about mice and pointing devices, or guidance on choosing one that’s right for you or your business, or if you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, get in contact with us!

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

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Choosing a Mouse or Pointing Device - Part 1

Posted on September 09th, 2013 by Emily

 

This week in the Geek Guru blog, we’ll be pointing out (pun intentional) some of the things you can consider when you’re looking to buy a new pointing device.

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The mouse and keyboard are really something many people take for granted now. The presence of a mouse (or pointing device in general) is something that’s only really come become standard in the past few decades, but is something without which we would be well and truly lost today.

Many people don’t put much thought into purchasing or using a mouse; if it works for its purpose, then it’s fine – which, for a lot of people, may be true. However, putting a little consideration into what pointing device you use with your computer, especially if you use it for extended periods, can make a whole lot of difference to your productivity and comfort.

  • Mechanical vs Optical and Laser mice

Although mechanical mice are rather outdated, they are still available to buy now – however we really don’t recommend you buy one. Mechanical mice are those with a ball and rollers in the bottom as a method of tracking how far, how fast and in which direction you move the mouse. They got clogged up with dirt, dust and debris, needed cleaning regularly and were not the most precise of tools – in fact, we’d bet that the most enjoyment you could get from a mechanical mouse was removing the ball from your colleague’s mouse while they were getting a coffee, and watching them try to figure out what was wrong when they got back to their desk.

The advent of the optical mouse made life much nicer for everyday mouse users, optical mice are far more sensitive and precise, and don’t require anywhere near the same amount of maintenance that a mechanical mouse requires. They work on pretty much any surface (unless it’s completely smooth, glossy or shiny such as glass) by using an imaging device to capture the surface illuminated by the LED light. They track the tiny changes in the surface of your mouse mat to measure how fast and how far you move the mouse – at a rate of about 1000 images per second.

Laser mice take this theory a step further and use a small infrared laser instead of an LED to track the surface, meaning the movements can be measured much more precisely, resulting in a higher sensitivity, with some laser mice coming with the guarantee of working on a completely smooth or transparent surface.

We’d recommend optical mice for everyone now as they are inexpensive and generally reliable (depending on brand and manufacturing quality, of course). Laser mice may be more suitable for those who need greater pointing precision (for example, in the creative industry).

  • Simple vs Multi-Button Mice

Another consideration not really made very often is about the number of buttons on a mouse. Most mice now come with two main buttons and a scroll wheel, which can sometimes be used as a clickable third button. Some mice come with more (sometimes many, many more) buttons, that can be programmed using software to perform certain tasks. Contrary to popular opinion, these aren’t just useful for gamers, designers or IT professionals – they can be very useful in day to day use, especially if you have to use the same key combinations or shortcuts a lot during the day.

If you find yourself using a certain command in a program a lot, you can most likely use a multi-button mouse to speed up this action. This is because a lot of frequently used commands in software have keyboard shortcuts – and you can assign this shortcut to one of the buttons on your mouse. For example, if you spend a lot of time using the copy and paste commands and have a mouse with two extra buttons, you can assign one button to the “copy” command and another to the “paste” command – meaning all you have to do is select what you want to copy, as normal, and click the “copy” button on your mouse.

 

Next post we’ll continue on the subject of pointing devices, and discuss different connection types and device types available.

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If you need more information about mice and pointing devices, or guidance on choosing one that’s right for you or your business, or if you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, get in contact with us!

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

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Geek Guru Tablet

Choosing the Right Equipment - Tablets

Posted on September 06th, 2013 by Emily

 

Our series of posts on how to choose new equipment continues today with some important advice for those who are considering buying a tablet for business or personal use.

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Tablets are soaring in popularity. In 2012, almost 25% of all new computer sales were tablets. They are becoming popular, because they combine the processing power for everyday tasks and multimedia along with a larger touchscreen than most smartphones, in a package that is lighter than some hardback books, and is easily portable.

They can be a valuable tool for business and personal users alike, allowing notes to be taken or tasks to be completed quickly and easily.

So, what kind should you choose? Like smartphones, there are a few considerations that need to be made before you choose. Firstly, you’ll want to consider what the purpose of it will be. If it’s to be something used for many applications at once, or to open complex applications or large databases, you’ll need one that’s capable of handling whatever you can throw at it. If you’re just going to use it for reading documents, replying to emails and accessing the internet, you may be able to go for something a bit simpler.

These are the factors we feel have been most important to many of our clients at the moment:

 

  • Processor Speed / RAM
  • Storage Capacity
  • Screen Size
  • Battery Life
  • Size / Weight
  • Durability
  • Design
  • Available Apps
  • Manufacturer
  • Budget

 

Really, when it comes to tablets, there are only really three choices for operating system – iOS, Android or Windows 8. Tablets using Windows RT have had a poor reception, and their popularity continues to decline. As such, we would not really recommend anyone to purchase Microsoft’s Surface RT, but rather to consider the Surface Pro that runs a full copy of Windows 8.

When it comes to Windows 8 vs Android vs iOS, it’s really user preference. For ease of use and stability, iOS is king, but for sheer number of apps, configurability, and developer options while still being an operating system designed for mobile devices, Android usually wins out. For integration into a Windows network, and running the same apps you can in the office on your PC, Windows 8 tablets come in top, although the Surface Pro does sometimes seem more like a laptop than a regular tablet. It also often depends largely on what technology the user already has – for example, those with an iPhone may prefer to purchase an iPad for enhanced connectivity between devices, and Android devices work much the same.

All three of these operating systems can read many types of documents through the use of various apps, plus they can also cloud storage systems like Dropbox or SkyDrive to sync documents. They can connect to Microsoft Exchange (many business mail servers operate on Exchange) and perform simple tasks such as browsing the internet or playing media files.

When it comes to choosing a model, it’s pretty similar to smartphones. For example, if you’re going to be using it for extended periods, you’ll need good battery life. If you need a simple, user-friendly interface, you may go for an iPad. If you have a limited budget, then Google’s Nexus series may be the best choice. If you’re a designer or artist, then Samsung’s tablets with the specially designed S-Pen and pressure sensitivity may be what you need.

Again, with technology of this type (as with smartphones) you tend to get what you pay for, and we always advise going with a reputable manufacturer and vendor. There are many cheaper models available for simple, everyday use, but some of these may lack the necessary power for your business needs, so it’s best to find out exactly what you’ll need it for before making a choice.

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If you need more in depth advice about tablets or any other IT-related topic, then be sure to get in contact with us at Geek Guru. We’ll be happy to provide some more information tailored to your needs, and help you find the ideal piece of equipment.

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

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Geek Guru Phone

Choosing the Right Equipment - Smartphones - Part 3

Posted on September 04th, 2013 by Emily

 

So you’ve heard about the different operating systems available. What else should you consider when looking to purchase a new smartphone? There’s more than you may think…

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The decision to purchase a new smartphone shouldn’t be made on the strength of the software alone. If the device doesn’t have the capacity to store much, lacks the processing power to do what you need it to, or is flimsy or badly made, you’ll soon be looking to replace the device again.

You may wonder what else there is to look for in a smartphone, so, with that in mind – here’s a list of things that we feel should be considered.

Make sure you have a rough idea of what kinds of things you need it to do, then consider the following:

  • Manufacturer / Retailer – Purchasing from a reputable manufacturer and retailer is the best thing you can do to ensure that your phone will be of certain quality and safety standards, and will be replaced if there is a manufacturing defect.
  • Processing Power – More complicated apps require more processing power to run. More processing power means a faster, more responsive phone.
  • RAM – More ram allows you to have more apps open simultaneously, switch between tasks more smoothly and open larger files.
  • Storage – On-board storage or Expandable via Micro SD Card, more storage space allows you to store more apps and files directly on the device.
  • Screen Quality – Higher resolution screens mean that things appear less pixelated and often makes things easier to read
  • Camera – Some businesses may use this feature, (for example, the presence of a front facing camera for video conferencing) so the presence and quality of any cameras should be considered.
  • Size and Weight – No one wants to carry something that’s too large and heavy for them to use effectively or too small to see everything they need to.
  • Battery Life – Some smartphones have huge processing power but of course, doing high demand tasks on the device often drains the battery faster. Some phones have power saving modes to use and consume less power, others have more powerful batteries.

 

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when you’re looking for a new smartphone. Some of the points mentioned may not be as important as others, as requirements vary from individual to individual.

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Next on the Geek Guru list – Tablets! Considering buying one? Give our blog a read first and it may help you to choose the best one for you or your business!

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If you need more information about smartphones or guidance on choosing one that’s right for your business, or if you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, get in contact with us!

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

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Geek Guru Phone

Choosing the Right Equipment - Smartphones - Part 2

Posted on September 02nd, 2013 by Emily

 

Continuing our articles on how to choose equipment that suits your needs, today we’re looking at two more types of smartphone available on the market.

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While iPhone and Android are the two most popular OS choices for new smartphones, there are two more options. These options are a little more uncommon but still have their own style, strengths and weaknesses.

  • Windows Phone

While Windows based smartphones have limited popularity at the moment, they do still have something to offer businesses. The Windows Phone UI is in the same ‘metro’-type style as Windows 8, meaning if you like the way Windows 8 is laid out, you’ll be comfortable with Windows Phone.

It also has many of the apps offered on Windows 8, through Live Apps, which can be useful if you find yourself looking for an app to use both on your PC and on the move. It is integrated well with SkyDrive, and comes with a built-in Office 365 companion package that allows you to use Outlook, Lync, SharePoint, and read Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.

Because it’s not as popular as Android, it lacks some of the apps, but it is still a useful, robust, Office 365-integrated operating system, supported by Microsoft with regular updates.

Like Android, there are various manufacturers who make Windows phones, so there are a variety of models to choose from, varying in processing power, size and price.

  • BlackBerry

BlackBerry smartphones used to be very popular with businesses, because of the way BlackBerry phones were geared towards communication – most still come with a full QWERTY keyboard, and this makes them attractive to people who need to send long emails or messages while on the move. Another popular feature is the tighter security of BlackBerry, which makes them good for businesses with mobile workers who regularly need to handle sensitive or valuable data – And you can bring all of your employees’ devices together with the BlackBerry PC platform, making them easier to manage. Blackberry devices are built with constant use in mind and usually have good battery life.

Unfortunately, while the feature set of some of the phones is very good, many of the phones are slow and unresponsive, lacking the raw processing power that really is needed for some tasks. They are also complicated to set up, and difficult to troubleshoot if things go wrong.  Some models are also extremely fragile.

The operating system, while secure, seems slow, and because the devices are restricted in hardware, there are fewer options available than with Android. Like all other types of smartphone, it has an app store, but the choices here are also, unfortunately, rather limited.

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Although the phone’s operating system is a huge consideration to make when purchasing a smartphone, there are some other things you’ll want to consider. We’ll be including a checklist of other things to consider in our next post, so be sure to come back for more information!

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If you need more information about smartphones or guidance on choosing one that’s right for your business, or if you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, get in contact with us!

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

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Geek Guru Phone

Choosing the Right Equipment - Smartphones - Part 1

Posted on August 30th, 2013 by Emily

 

If you’re looking to purchase a new smartphone, there’s a few things you should consider. Today we’ll take a look at the first two main types of smartphones available for potential buyers.

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At the moment, there are four main types of smartphones available. iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone. While they all have some similar features, they also have an awful lot of differences.

We’ve put together some of the basics you should know about the four main types of smartphone, to try and help you make a more informed decision.

We’ll start off with the two most popular choices available:

  • iPhone

The iPhone runs iOS, Apple’s proprietary, strictly controlled software for its own hardware. iPhones have become immensely popular over the past few years, and the current iPhone 5 is no exception. One of the benefits of an iPhone is that they are all manufactured identically, so the operating system is designed to run as smoothly as possible on specific hardware, meaning bugs are rare. They are mostly well designed and built, to strict quality standards.

iOS is also very user friendly, offering a wide range of apps from the App Store for advanced users, while still being simple, intuitive and easy to use for those who are not fond of technology.

One of the limitations of the iPhone is that it has a unibody design and thus the battery is not user replaceable, nor can you add more storage like you can in most Android phones. iOS also feels limited sometimes with the tight controls Apple have over the App Store and configuration options.

  • Android Phones

There are a wide variety of Android phone models out there, but the two most popular manufacturers at the moment are Samsung and HTC.  There are many other manufacturers, though, and there are so many makes and models that it can be confusing to know what to buy. However, because there are so many models, there is a phone to suit pretty much every pocket.

Android OS is not limited to a small, specific set of hardware to run on, so you can get phones ranging from blazing fast speed with super multitasking capabilities, HD screen and great graphics in games, to a small and simple smartphone that you could use to check your email, browse the web and make calls. Because of the variety of hardware it’s designed to run on, there are often more bugs in the Android operating system, but because there are less controls on what’s run on Android and what’s available in the Google Play store, there are a wider variety of apps and the OS is far more configurable, making it good for power users. That said, there is still a side of Android that can make it a good, cost effective choice for users who don’t want too many complicated options or features.

Many Android smartphones come with the capability of adding additional storage space through use of a higher capacity MicroSD card, good for people who take tons of photos, have a massive music collection, or need to store large amounts of data or large files on their phones.

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There’s a lot more to consider when buying a smartphone, and we’ll be covering the other two types, along with some other features you may want to consider, in our next few articles. Keep your eyes on our blog for more useful info!

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If you need more information about smartphones or guidance on choosing one that’s right for your business, or if you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, get in contact with us!

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

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Choosing the Right Equipment - Printers

Posted on August 28th, 2013 by Emily

 

Looking to buy a new printer, and interested to know what your options are, and what the pros and cons are of each type? You may find today’s post to be helpful!

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The type of printer you need really depends on the type of printing you’re going to be doing. If you’re printing smaller amounts of full colour documents, images or photos, then a high end inkjet printer may be what you need. If you don’t print too often, and you are not worried about speed, a consumer inkjet may be just the job. If your business produces mainly text documents (for example correspondence for mailing,) at a high capacity and needs them done quickly, then a laser printer may be the best option for you. Here’s our list of pros and cons for each type of printer.

 

Laser Printers

 

Pros:

  • Fast
  • Efficient
  • Super sharp quality
  • High capacity

Cons:

  • Paper printing only
  • Not great for photos or images
  • Larger and heavier
  • More expensive to buy and maintain

 

Inkjet Printers

 

Pros:

  • Cheaper to buy (depending on quality) and maintain
  • Print on a variety of media (fabrics, transparencies, transfers, etc.)
  • Good colour blending for photos, images and colour documents
  • Smaller and lighter

Cons:

  • Slower printing
  • Less sharp for text printing
  • Smaller capacity
  • Some models not designed for constant use

 

As you can see, each kind of printer has is benefits and drawbacks. You’ll probably know better than anyone what you’ll be using your equipment for, and what kind of quality you’ll need. If you’re still unsure, give us a call and we’ll help you to choose one that suits your needs.

Multifunction printers are now overtaking regular printers in popularity, simply because they have now become more affordable and smaller. Most devices of this kind incorporate a document scanner that either scans documents to your PC, or turns your printer into a photocopier, with no PC input necessary. These can be incredibly useful in smaller businesses where they can eliminate the need to purchase a separate photocopier that would otherwise be used only very occasionally.

Networking is also a consideration to be made when it comes to choosing a printer for business. Some printers are specially designed to be plugged directly into a network, (usually used for high capacity printing or large networks) while some require connection to a PC in order to be connected to a network. Others operate using a WiFi connection to your network if available, which can again be very useful if space is limited or cabled networking is unavailable. It also means the printer can often print wirelessly from tablets or mobile devices, and does not need to be connected to a computer to be used on a network.

On Friday, we’ll be discussing the different types Smartphone available and how to choose one that best suits your needs.

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If you need more information about the types of printer available or would like some additional information or guidance on choosing one that’s right for your business, or if you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, get in contact with us!

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

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Geek Guru Laptop

Choosing the Right Equipment - Laptops

Posted on August 26th, 2013 by Emily

 

This week we’ll be explaining some of the newest features available on various devices and how you can choose the best device for your needs and budget.

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One of the services we pride ourselves on at Geek Guru is our IT equipment advice. We like to keep ourselves up to date with current technological developments so that we can help out our clients when it comes to choosing a new device.
Purchasing IT is something of a minefield if you are not completely sure of what you want or what certain technologies are. You could end up purchasing something that is not powerful enough for your needs, or you could end up spending way too much on super advanced tech that’s not really necessary. This is where we come in. We’ll help you to pick something that’s right for your budget and your needs, and explain its features to you in a way you’ll understand. With that in mind, we thought we’d share some information about a few of the things that should be taken into account when purchasing a new laptop.

  • Size and Weight

Probably the most important consideration to be made when purchasing a laptop is what the device will be used for. Is it intended to be a lightweight, ultra-portable device? Is it to be a desktop replacement? What kind of tasks will it need to perform? Screens range from 11” to 17.5”, and the larger the screen size, the larger heavier the device will be. Ultrabook-style laptops are the thinnest and lightest, and tend to have 11” or 13” screens; regular everyday laptops are around 15” and desktop replacements around 17” or 17.5”.

  • Durability

Where will the new device be used? If it will be moved around while in use or used outside frequently, you may need a device designed to be weatherproof, rugged and shock resistant. A machine designed to be moved around a lot will need to be thin and light, but also should have no parts that are easily breakable and decent battery life. A desktop replacement needs to have components designed for long term use and adequate cooling for the high temperatures that can be produced if the computer needs to perform long term processor intensive tasks.

  • SSD

SSD stands for Solid State Drive. These kinds of hard drive are much faster than normal disk based hard drives because they have no moving parts, whereas a normal hard drive still has a spinning disk and a reading head, and takes time (albeit fractions of a second) to read the data. Using a solid state drive means there is no disk spin time and data stored on the drive can be accessed much faster.
There are two different ways that an SSD can be incorporated into a laptop. The first is as an SSD Cache. This is a small SSD drive (around 32GB) that is used in conjunction with a regular hard drive. They often use some form of software to determine the most regularly used files on a computer, and then store these dynamically on the SSD. This can reduce the time it takes to open regularly used software, or complete other regular tasks. Since SSD technology is still quite expensive, having a hybrid drive that works in this way can also cut down the cost for end users by using a small capacity SSD to speed up a regular disk based hard drive. This technology is present in many mid-range laptops on the market, and can speed up machines for everyday use.
The second way that an SSD can be used is by using a large capacity SSD to completely replace the normal hard drive. This provides very fast access to everything that’s stored on the drive, and is ideal for people who regularly use complex software applications or regularly access large files. SSDs are also less susceptible to physical shock and run more quietly than normal hard drives, but are more expensive to purchase.

  • DVD Drive

When purchasing a laptop, it’s important to think about what it’ll be used for. One major space saving approach used by many laptop manufacturers now is to avoid including a DVD drive, since use of removable media like DVDs is declining rapidly as a greater proportion of people gain access to broadband internet. People have started to back up their files online using cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox, and stream movies and television shows using services like Netflix, meaning that removable media such as DVDs are becoming less and less popular especially on laptops, where USB flash drives and memory cards can serve the same purpose. Choosing to go without a DVD drive can save space and weight, which are important factors when picking a laptop.

  • Bluetooth

In our opinion, a largely underestimated technology, Bluetooth capability in a laptop opens up the possibilities of connecting to a wide range of wireless peripherals, including other Bluetooth-capable devices like tablets and smartphones, or wireless communication headsets. Bluetooth comes as standard on many laptops, but it is worth checking out, as it can be very useful for connecting devices together or transferring data directly between devices, no matter what operating system they’re running (for example, the seamless, wireless transfer of files from an Android smartphone to a Windows laptop.)

  • Warranty or Insurance

Another important thing is to make sure the manufacturer is reputable and has a good warranty service should the machine break down. For example, at Geek Guru, we often recommend Lenovo to our customers as their build quality is generally consistent and their warranty is usually very good. Other IT suppliers may have differing opinions, but most will agree that if you buy a cheap, obscurely branded laptop, you often get what you pay for in terms of quality and service.
If you wish to cover your laptop for accidental damage, you can also purchase separate insurance or an extended warranty for it, usually from the manufacturer or retailer.

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If you want any further information or advice on choosing a laptop, or you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, give us a call, and we’ll do the best we can to help.

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

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