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Tag Archives: Mobile

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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Ergonomics - Laptops, Tablets and Smartphones

Posted on August 23rd, 2013 by Emily

 

In the last of our blog posts this week, we’ll discover how you can make mobile computing more comfortable.

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Our use of IT is changing drastically. In 2012, almost 25% of all computers sold were tablets or slates. However, ergonomics still need to be considered when using these devices, and often are not. Many people spend hours a day with their necks at about a 45 degree angle, staring into a mobile or tablet screen, or slouched over a laptop.
Excessive use of laptops, tablets and smartphones without consideration for ergonomics can cause RSI, back, neck and shoulder problems. Luckily, though there are some things you can do to make your use of mobile IT far more comfortable.

  • Laptops

Where possible, it is advised that you use a laptop on a desk or other flat surface where you can be seated correctly. Laptop supports or laptop trays are also another option, and allow you to use your laptop from an armchair or similar relaxed seated position. It’s advised that you make sure there’s adequate support for your arms while using laptops, and that your arms and hands are as close to the neutral position as possible when typing.
It is not advisable to use a laptop directly on your lap or in any other way that can block the air vents, such as on a cushion. Doing so can lead to heat injury to you or damage to the laptop from overheating.

  • Tablets and Smartphones

Useful for working, browsing, emailing, and for many other tasks while away from the desk, tablets and smartphones have seen massive success and increasing sales in recent years. Stands for tablets are available, but as with other portable devices, the general advice is to take regular breaks, stop if there is any pain, and to use them at a comfortable angle to your body, for example as you would hold a book. If you need to use them for extended periods, find a sitting position that is comfortable for your whole body, and does not cause stress to any joints, muscles, bones or tendons.
There are support cushions made from memory foam, and other devices that are designed to provide a comfortable reading position that may be helpful when using tablets and smartphones.

One last piece of advice from those with experience – never hold a phone to your ear using your shoulder! Doing so can cause serious neck pain.

We hope that our foray into the world of ergonomics has been enlightening for you. We think you’ll agree that some of the statistics are astonishing, especially when it comes to lost work hour and lost productivity! If you need any further advice, feel free to contact us and we’ll see what we can do to help, or put you in contact with a specialist advisor.

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At Geek Guru, we like to make our clients’ lives as pain-free as possible – At least when it comes to IT! If another computer headache is the last thing you need, get in touch with us.

For IT advice or information, or to see what we could do for your business, give us a call on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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iPads for business – Part 4: Storing Data and Files

Posted on January 30th, 2013 by Tim

At Geek-Guru we have found that one of the greatest challenges in swapping your laptop for an iPad is managing your data. On your laptop you will be used to storing files on the hard drive or a USB pen disk. Files can be copied over at will and stored pretty much where and when you like. This is not the case with the iPad. Apple made a design choice early on to highly restrict access to the underlying file system on the device. You can’t just go nosing around on the C:\ drive like you can on a PC. This has some benefits, in that you are less likely to damage or delete some important system file, but also a lot of drawbacks. How do you get files on to the device, how do you share files between apps and how do you get those files back to your desktop or laptop when back in the office?

How should it not be done?

It is possible to add files via iTunes. Don’t!

How it should be done?

The easiest way to solve all of the issues presented by the iPad file system is to use a cloud synchronisation program. These will enable you to sync easily between multiple devices including PCs, MACs and Laptops. They also keep a copy of your data in the cloud meaning backup is covered automatically.

Accessing files on the iPad just involves downloading your cloud app of choice, finding the file and using the apps ‘Open In’ functionality to open the file in your chosen editor or viewer. Some editing packages (such as Quick Office HD) even have built in tools to access cloud services directly without using a third party sync app.

Some apps to consider

At Geek-Guru we have done a great deal of research on the various sync platforms and have some brief tips below. We’ll be reviewing some of these in more depth in future posts but for now this should be enough to get you going:

  • Dropbox – The original and still considered by many to be the best. You get 2GB of free space and support for this platform is very high in regards to integration with other apps. However, additional space can be expensive and support for multiple users is very dear. There is also no web editor for files.
  • Box – Probably one of the best in regards to enterprise file sharing between multiple users. Very well thought out apps and top notch cloud access but you do pay a premium for these features. Probably the most expensive option so only worth considering if you need the enterprise features.
  • Sky Drive – Microsoft’s cloud offering is our platform of choice for Windows users who also use Microsoft office. 7GB of free space, very slick integration in Windows and web versions of Office tools, such as Word and Excel, make this great for single user access. However, there is currently no shared access available and the iPad app could arguably be a little more developed.
  • Google Drive – Our app of choice for shared access. Very well priced and good apps available for both PC and IOS. However, web editing does involve embracing Google apps (their own version of Office) and a lot of people are not yet ready to drop Office completely. You can use this for storage alone, and continue to use Office, but then you might ask yourself why not just use Sky Drive?
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iPads for business – Part 2: The drawbacks!

Posted on January 14th, 2013 by Tim

So if you read last weeks blog post on the benefits of iPads you may be about ready to run off and buy one for your business right now. They’re lightweight, offer great battery life and lets face it they are incredibly desirable. However, you may want to consider some of the limitations of iPads before you take the plunge (yes, I know it’s almost heresy to say so but iPads are not perfect).

What an iPad is not

We touched on this in our first post in this series. Namely that the iPad is not a Microsoft device and does not run Windows. On first glance this may not seem like an issue but there are some circumstances were you may need to run Windows based software.

Consider these cases:

  • You have some bespoke business software that runs on Windows
  • You use Office extensively and need full Office functionality on the road
  • You need to use software that does not have an IOS version such as Sage Line 50
  • You have paid for software that runs on Windows and don’t want to pay for new software on your iPad
  • There simply isn’t an app that does what you need

In each of these cases an iPad would not tick all of the boxes and you would require a laptop or tablet running Windows. It could be that an iPad would do 90% of what you require but that the 10% is still enough to rule it out as your sole mobile device.

Drawbacks of the iPad over a laptop

Even assuming that you are happy with the functionality of an iPad and are sure that you can find apps that fulfil all of your needs you may still rule it out on other grounds.

It’s worth bearing these points in mind:

  • The iPad does not work with flash based websites. Whilst a lot of businesses have re-engineered their websites to work on IOS devices, not all have.
  • File storage can be clunky and illogical. Accessing files on an IOS device is unlike anything you may have seen before. Whilst there are ways around the way IOS deals with files they can be clunky and prone to user error. For those used to a PC that has a shared file system this is irksome at best and a complete show stopper at worst.
  • There is no facility for expanding the storage or saving files to flash memory cards. I.e. you can’t just pop a 16GB SD card in to an iPad like you can with most other devices. The size of iPad you buy to start with is what you have for the life of the device.
  • There are no USB ports, network ports, CD/DVD drives or other such technological delights you may be used to on a laptop. This may not be an issue but it’s worth bearing in mind before you ditch that laptop completely.
  • It’s a touch screen device and typing large chunks of text will always be slower than using a traditional keyboard.

So there you have it – the drawbacks in a nutshell. Many people will decide that whilst the iPad only does 90% of what they are after, it does it so well that it’s worth sacrificing that last 10%. Equally they may decide to take both a laptop and iPad on the road and use the two in different ways and at different times. Whatever you decide it’s worth piloting any iPad roll-out before you spend a great deal on devices. This way you can be sure that you don’t end up missing some critical business function that the iPad is simply not capable of fulfilling.

 

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iPads for business - Part 1: Why use an iPad?

Posted on January 09th, 2013 by Tim

There’s no doubt that iPads are here to stay in the business world. They are easy to carry, lightweight and with great battery life they represent a strong choice for anyone who requires a portable device to access web and email on the move.

At Geek-Guru we often get asked whether an iPad makes a good replacement for a laptop. This isn’t always as straight forward to answer as it sounds as they are very different technologies serving different business needs.

In this blog series we aim to answer some of the more common questions, dispel some myths about iPads and offer some advice on how to get the most from them in your business.

What is an iPad?

The Apple iPad is a touch screen tablet device that offers mobile computing functionality in a compact and light weight body. The most important thing to remember is that an iPad is running IOS (Apples own software) and not Windows. This means that it runs apps designed for IOS and can’t run the Microsoft applications that you are probably used to. The most common question that we get asked, by far, is whether an iPad will run Microsoft Office. The answer to this is no but that is not to say there are not comparable word processing or spread sheet applications that will do some (although not all) of what you are used to.

What the iPad does very well is offer a lightweight device to browse the web, access email  and take advantage of numerous other apps to keep in touch and manage business data on the move. As the leading tablet the iPad has a huge number of apps available including many of those you will be used to on your PC or laptop (such as Skype, DropBox etc). This means that many of the things that you previously used a laptop for you can probably do on your iPad.

Whilst it may not be your primary reason for getting one it’s worth saying that the iPad also represents a great entertainment system. All of the major streaming services such as Love Film, Netflix and iPlayer have apps available which means at the device you have used for work can also be used to wind down at the end of the day. Users who work away from home a lot or travel frequently will appreciate the simplicity of having a single device for both work and pleasure.

The benefits in brief

The iPad is a great business tool and excels at the following:

  • Lightweight, easy to carry and excellent battery life when compared to a laptop
  • Perfect for on the road web browsing
  • Comes with tools for email and company messaging
  • Perfect for communications services such as Skype
  • Lightweight document creation (basic word-processing, spreadsheets)
  • A wealth of other apps covering everything from task management to presentations.

With all these benefits you may ask why an iPad would not be good in all circumstances? Check out Part 2 next week where we look at some of the things you can’t do with an iPad and why you may decide a laptop is still the way to go.

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