Friday, April 25, 2014

Computers and Tablets are Child's Play (and More)

“He’s too young for that.”

“That’s not a toy.”

“She shouldn’t be using that, it isn’t good for her.”

The above are a few of the phrases parents might hear when their children are seen scrolling through a tablet, tapping on a smart phone, or manipulating the mouse on a computer.  Whether it is a result of the “generation gap” or just a general misunderstanding of the uses of technology, there are those that immediately turn their nose up at the idea of a child interacting with what these people apparently see as a “grown up” item.  For some, the idea of bringing a toddler into the computer world while still in diapers is as insane as allowing him or her the keys to the car.  Some will even pull up insane ideas to support their belief (my favorite is, “The child will get radiation poisoning from touching the screen.”).

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Goodbye Windows XP

If you’re still using Windows XP, now is a good time to think about upgrading.  Today, Microsoft rolled out its very last update—last, as in ever—for the 13 year old operating system and is solidly set on looking forward.  

Now, chances are, you’re not reading this on an XP machine because you’re probably an uber-techie more excited about getting Windows 8.1 Update today than depreciating your dusty old XP box, but let’s look at who is actually impacted by the end-of-life for one of the most popular versions of Windows ever.

(Note: XP still holds a whopping 27% of the desktop market 13 years after its release and as of 8 April 2014, its expiration date.)

So, who still uses Windows XP other than the obvious slow-to upgrade old-timers and penny pinching buy-once-it-should-work-forever type?
  • Banking.  You’ve probably heard by now that ATMs are one of the largest segments to be impacted by the phasing out of Windows XP.  Many ATMs still use XP, and while they’re not necessarily a large security risk, some concerns exist despite the fact that ATMs feature secure connections to financial networks and generally don’t access the Internet.
  • Retailers.  It is easy to overlook the good ol’ mass retailers, but c’mon… think how long it took to get rid of DOS applications for transaction systems.  A select few companies still use DOS programs, or programs rooted back in the Windows 95/98 era.  The same is true for Windows XP.  Sound ridiculous?  Well, I walked into Home Depot the other day, and sure enough they were still running XP to power their POS terminals, and no, it's not just them... many retailers still rely on XP because it offered amazing stability for its time.
  • Backroom IT.  Admit it, if you’re serving in an IT capacity for a small or mid-size business as an employee or consultant, you know what I mean here.  Somewhere at XYZ or AcmeCo. sits a computer in an otherwise desolate backroom that powers a neglected intranet portal, SharePoint installation, or a drastically misunderstood and little-used (and probably decade old) ERP, CRM, or BI system of some type.  We both know that this server will sit, unattended and little used, until cockroaches inherit a post-human Earth. 
Of course, there is a technological case for upgrading these systems, especially today, but in most cases there is also a strong financial benefit.  It is hard to convince someone that any type of expense is acceptable, however, and other industries (i.e. banking) have other concerns, like glacial timescales being required to enact any change in an attempt to avoid failure of mission-critical systems that really aren’t redundant for the most part.

However, if you are a consumer sporting XP and reading this on a 2002 Compaq featuring IE 6, 7, or 8… do us both a favor and go buy a new inexpensive computer from Amazon right now.  You’ll help yourself by having a computer worth having, and us because, yep, you guessed it… we’ll get a commission. 
Here are our top computer picks for emergency upgrades from XP to Windows 8, with prices as of today on Amazon:

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Multinewmedia Update for 5 April 2014

Today, we've released our first Multi • New • Media webcast in the form of a simple news update.  This type of webcast is the smaller of our two types of webcasts planned, with the longer being a multi-presenter hour-long webcast delivered to audiences with interactive features.  To listen to the top stories of this past week in the "Multinewmedia Update for 5 April 2014", use the player below or visit the "Webcasts" page here on Multi • New • Media..