Computer

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Computer

You need a big screen monitor now

POS SOFTWARE

The coronavirus has caused significant change across all our lives. We all have to deal with the new normal. Today in the world of business, life moves on, and effective meetings need to be done. 

So today, almost all of us are using online meetings. 

This was a growing trend earlier but this pandemic has speeded up the process, and I am sure that this trend will continue even if COVID-19 suddenly disappeared. Today in Australia, court hearings are being done with zoom and skype.

 

Now I would say that every business needs the proper equipment to participate in these meetings.

What I suggest you need is to upgrade your back office computer by adding another monitor. 

This will give you a Dual Display, which allows you to participate with the online meeting and also get organised. , It is said that dual monitors increase productivity by 20-30 percent.

The monitor should have built-in speakers if your premises can use them, I think it looks better then a headphone and works better. Also like many others, I find extended use of a headphone painful on my ear. That is why I prefer to use the built-in speakers. 

Since you are going to be looking at people, not text for quite a while on these conferences, I would recommend a 4K display to see a decent image. Plus you need something that is a reasonable size so nothing smaller than a 27 inch. Who watches TV on small screens nowadays if they can help it.  Check it out and make sure that it is clear and has a readable screen (to prevent headaches), I prefer the brighter displays to cut down on the glare. Remember you are right in front of it for a long time.

What would you be able to see here say on a small screen?

With us, a typical online meeting has over eighty (80+) people attending. I have attended meetings with much more.

I use a 34-inch gaming monitor.

 

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Cloud from home WIFI problems

POS SOFTWARE

We had a problem with one of our clients a few days ago trying to use their laptop at home over WiFi for work.

If this is you then there are two problems that I suggest you look at:

1) Make sure your WiFi modem is close to where you are working. Ideally, it should be in your view, construction, e.g. cupboards, doors, etc. and distance will reduce your WiFi speeds.
2) If your WiFi modem is old, it may need replacement. Technology has moved on. If the modem is fine, but the WiFi needs help, consider instead of a new modem, going to mesh WIFI. You get boxes like this which plugs into your modem and handles the WiFi.

These you place around the shop to improve the WIFI signal, so you tend to get better speeds as well as less dead zones.  Plus you get a more extended range. 

 

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Working from home

POS SOFTWARE

 

With our point of sale, there is a range of solutions for remote working. There are many advantages to doing so for one thing it saves time. You do not have to travel to work to get the information you require, and you can work whenever. The other now is that it increases social distance.

Also, it may be very useful now to set up cloud computing or VPN because if you have staff that can work from home, I am sure that they will appreciate it too.

 

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Webcam

POS SOFTWARE

 

We all this virus running around, I think many of you are going to find that many schools, suppliers and others are going to be using video conferencing rather than sending people out. Besides being more time effective and cheaper, it also means less social contact.

For most of them, your smartphone is fine, most laptops have an inbuilt camera and microphones already set up. I prefer the laptop as its a bigger picture.

If you wish to use a computer you need to purchase a Webcam and Mic which will clip onto your computer and allows you to see on video and chat face-to-face over the Internet in real-time. 

* Although I suggest that you make sure its resolution on standard is at least 640 pixels by 480 pixels nowadays for very little more you can get a high definition (HD) video, with 1,600 pixels by 1,200 pixels so I would say an HD.  

* The higher the megapixels the better. 

* Look at the frames per second (fps),  lower fps rates will create problems including jumpy videos with out-of-sync audio. I would recommend looking at nothing less than 30 but more is better. Over 60 fps its overkill.

* I find built-in microphones better than headsets. It is less restrictive.

* Low-light sensitivity can be very useful as often we tend on my computer to work in low light so the light is often not the best

* You need a decent internet connection speed but most of us have that now anyway. 

 

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Internet speed

POS SOFTWARE

Does not matter how fast the internet goes, we all want more speed.

No two places are the same.

The problem is that today we have in Australia seven different nbn connections and your internet speed depends on what connection you do have, how many people are on the internet in your area and the distance that you are to the fibre cable.  Now it is slowly getting to be only fibre as most of the copper is gone. 

If you want to know what type of internet connection you actually have and your options click here.

If you want to test your internet speed click here.

As a rule, I would say that a modern business needs a broadband download speed of 40Mbps (megabits per second). What you need to check is a few times in the day as it changes eg morning, lunchtime and evening.

We had a client that tested their connection and then they complained. It was discovered that some of the internet wiring was corroded, and once that was fixed the problem went away.  So it pays to check.

 

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Some tips to save costs on a computer repairs

POS SOFTWARE

Point of sale systems is excellent, till something goes wrong. Then for some reason, people seem to lose all sense of reason and proportion. The fact is that they are all mechanical devices and all of the parts will sooner or later fail and everything will be replaced. I know we run a comparatively big computer repair business.

If your computer or one its components are not working or acting very strange. Here is a simple checklist you should try before doing anything.

1) The first question to ask yourself, is it used to work, what has changed now? If you can think of that something, check that. 

2) Make sure that nothing is stuck down, and it looks like it should work, is the computer keyboard keys stuck, is the paper free on the printer if the printer is the problem, etc. Try to isolate the problem to find *the problem*.

3) Switch off the part and wait a minute, use the time to take some deep breaths. Now switch it on and test it. 

If that does not fix it, try switching off everything the computer and the part, wait a minute and then switch them on again and test it.  

4) If that does not fix it, check the cables from the part to the computer, check the cables to the part/computer, often the problem is a cable is not incorrectly. They are loose and then came out a bit.

Check the connections of the wires, if they are not firmly in, that may be the problem. Give them a push.

5) Even if you have not found anything here, I would suggest that you turn everything off and wait for a minute and try again, sometimes a miracle happens, and it works.

By now, I would say about 3/4 of all problems are solved but if you are now and it is still a problem, well the reality is that there are numerous ways that your system can break down and malfunction and it depends on your level of computer skill on how much you can fix.

If you have the time and you want to get hands dirty you can put the problem into Google, and ask for some troubleshooting assistance be careful even with an experienced technician, the challenge and expenses can quickly snowball. 

If the problem is still there, then its time to give us a call or your hardware supporter. If so note:

What exactly is the error
If possible write down the errors or take a photo of the error.

How do you get the error
The hardware engineer first instincts will be to try to reproduce the error in his mind. So how did it happen? Was there anything happening when the error appeared, does it come and go, etc 

Make sure you have a backup
 

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Backup

POS SOFTWARE

Yesterday, one of our clients went down, and they had no backup. We had to rebuild the hard drive and managed to get most of it back. Then after patching, we managed to get them going.

Every site without exception should have a backup. There was a court case where the judge ruled that backups are the user's responsibility, and it not done it is misuse.

Okay, why should you backup here would be a few reasons?

- A computer is a mechanical device; any part of it can fail and go down. 

- A virus/ransomware can wipe out your computer. Our clients get now about one major attack a week.

- You accidentally destroyed your information

- Power surge, I have seen computers fried.

Along as you have a backup, we can put together a computer, send it out to you, and you can often be running the same or next day.

Here are four rules for backup

- Make sure you are doing *regular* backups, we have had to sometimes restore people with old backups as such they lost their records for several days of trading. 

- Make sure you have at least one backup secure in another physical location, e.g. home, you never know what can happen to the shop, e.g. fire.

- Do not rely on "the cloud". The cloud is simply someone else computer, and it can go down too, for peace of mind, I would strongly recommend that you have a physical copy.

- Make a cloud backup, cost nothing with our system, and it is fastest and convenient to use.

 

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Disable End of Support Notifications in Windows 7

POS SOFTWARE

A few of our clients have some old Windows 7 and other older versions of Windows and have no plans to upgrade them. What is happening is that Microsoft is starting to send them advertising messages that they are out of support. These will not stop, in one form or another, I expect that every one of these older computers to keep sending you this message. It can get irritating as you have the word already how long does it keep having to be repeated?

If your planning is to stay with Windows 7 on some computers, this here is how to get rid of these messages.

 

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Windows 7 support ends today

POS SOFTWARE

Microsoft has ended support for Windows 7 today. It is our strong recommendation and just about everyone in the I.T. industry that you now plan to move to Windows 10. In particular, we strongly advise that you do not use a Windows 7 computer for internet banking, email, surfing the net and processing EFTPOS transactions. 

If you must use a Windows 7 computer, please be aware that you need a new antivirus package as on Windows 7, your Windows Security Essentials is almost dead.  What Microsoft will do is support and rollout malware signature updates for the next three years, but that is only like a third of what it used to do,

Most computers can be updated to Windows 10 at no or little cost but please contact us before attempting to do this as some computers and some of your devices may have problems.

 

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Digital signage advertising and Old computers

POS SOFTWARE

With Windows 7 going, the question many are asking now is what they can do with their old computers?  

What do you do with them and no-one wants them!

What we used to use them a lot was as backup data storage units. Now almost all these and have been replaced by cloud backups which work better and cheaper — my costing of what in a point-of-sale environment, computer costs see here.

Well here is a use that they can be used for is advertising. 

Have you noticed that printed signs and posters are now rapidly being replaced by computer screens? 

The software for creating a digital signage system used to require expensive specialist software, now there are many software slideshow software available that can do it or if you wish many photographers will make you a professional one at very reasonable prices.

I think it is better to learn to make it yourself and they are now not hard to make, besides being a lot of fun it is advantageous to create one. It is one of those things that is not hard, but you need to spend a few hours to do it as there is much to learn.

What a slideshow software does it take many still photos, which any smart camera now can take and entertainingly displays them one after another one after another in a video.

You will need to be about 5 to 20 minutes, and I would recommend about 5 minutes as each still photo is displayed in retail for about 5 to 6 seconds. Each picture has a gap of about 1 to 2 seconds. This is all very approximate as I find that often each photo demands a different amount of display time. If you are trying to present an intricate image, you may need much more, if you are trying to say, "We have tons of greeting cards," then you may want less time for each image. So as such, you need about 45 photos. Many you can get from the supplier, but I doubt its worth the hassle. Walkthrough the shop after it has a clean. Carry around a black sheet of paper to put products on it and go with your modern smartphone taking high-quality photos, the higher the quality, the better. As you will probably be rejecting about 75% of the images, you take, you need about 160, which should take you about 30 minutes of your photoshoot — trying to take each photo in some reasonable order. It makes it easier later. Otherwise, you will need to sort to get them into some logical order. Now put these images on your computer, and go through and delete the ones you do not want. Be ruthless as you can always go back and get some more. This is one significant advantage an amateur photographer has over a professional photographer; the amateur can go back and get more photos if required.

I do not recommend adding sound in point of sale environments, as it will drive you crazy hearing it repeatedly the same tune although I do admit that it does work and attract people. 

Take your video, mount it on the old computer which is somewhere in the shop, and let it play on the old monitor or better still an old digital TV and run your slider show which will advertise your products and services. 

You will not be sorry with the results.

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