Yeah, they’ve got an app for that!

July 1, 2010

Citrix, the folks behind “Go To My PC” and “Go To Meeting” as well as other applications, now have a way for you to use your office applications on your iPad.

Yeah, your iPad.

The iPad is now able to be used as a true business tool and not just a cool toy/gadget.

Citrix Receiver is now out and it allows you to do so much more with your iPad than many thought would be possible.  Read more from Citrix themselves.

Convergence continues and will not end anytime soon.  Much like televisions being more than simple monitors for tuners, DVR’s and Blu-Ray players, and mobile phones being used for more than just telephone calls, the iPad is showing that it will be more than a pretty electronic book reader.

The iPad is going to be a true tool for business.

How can you use it in your business?  Or should you?  That is where Midwest Computech can be of assistance.  As we have said here at the Blog before, Midwest Computech can find the ways to use technology where it is most effective for you, the business user.  Maybe the iPad is what you need, maybe a tablet computer or a netbook is a better answer.  It is possible that your smart phone may already do everything you need.

Give us a call and we can discuss it with and find the best solutions.  800-346-8934 or e-mail us at info@midwestcomputech.com to learn more.

By the way, this blog is written on a desktop PC.  We could write it from an iPad, notebook, netbook, tablet or even our mobile phones…..but for now, we will stick with our full-size keyboard.  We type much faster that way….for now.

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Hard Drives, not just for the computer any more

June 29, 2010

OK, so the title of this entry is a little obvious.  One of the first uses of hard drives outside of the computer was in the Digital Video Recorder (DVR).  The came the MP3 players, most notably the iPod.

Now, even the most casual television viewer has the ability to add an external hard drive to the DVR at the house.  Or to the home WiFi network.  The companies that make these products have made it easier and easier.  It is literally plug and play now.

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.com, columnist in Popular Mechanics, and law professor at the University of Tennessee, commented on Facebook recently how easy it has become to set up a WiFi network.  He is a technically savvy guy, being the force behind one of the first widely read weblogs, but he pointed out something that many others have been leery of accepting.  Technology is now, more than ever before, user friendly.

Feeding into that is the latest delivery from Seagate….the first 3TB (Terrabyte) external desktop drive.  And it is only $249.99 at Seagate’s website.  More from ZDNet.com.

All of that said, those who had to suffer through the flashing “12:00” may now be able to utilize these technological advances as easily as those who actually built their own computers in the 1990’s.  (Yes, we know that some still do this…but they are wanting to make “super” PC’s for various applications, gaming, video/photography, etc.)  The best part of this is that many people have less fear of being a do-it-yourself-er.  This is great if you are talking about your home WiFi network or adding capacity to your DVR.

This is not great if you are doing this at the office on the network.

While WiFi networks at the house are something you want to keep secure, identity theft being a HUGE reason why, what you need at the office is different.  Especially if you are dealing with the private information of your clientèle.

For example, if you happen to be a medical professional, there is a little thing called HIPAA. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act requires that medical practitioners keep patient information private and secure.  Do you as a home networking user/installer know the laws well enough to insure that a WiFi network that you install or maintain at an office is compliant with those laws?  Probably not.

Law offices, banks, accounting firms, schools, pharmacies, retailers, and many other businesses have both legal requirements and the trust of their customers to keep in mind when they set up a network or a WiFi network.

That is where the staff of Midwest Computech offers an incredible value to businesses, governments and schools.  We have worked with these situations for years.  When there is a change to the requirements OR just some best practices that come up, Midwest Computech knows all about it.

Could Midwest Computech help with your home WiFi or your DVR?  Probably, but that is not where we provide the best value for our clients.  It is at the office where Midwest Computech is at our best.

Find out more by dropping us an e-mail at info@midwestcomputech.com or calling us at 800-346-8934.

Meanwhile, that Seagate 3TB drive can hold about 120 movies in HD.  That should keep you entertained for a while.

Is the keyboard on life support?

June 25, 2010

The debate on the life of the physical keyboard has surrounded the smart phone market since the debut of the first iPhone.  The iPhone, and other phones like the Samsung Instinct and many Windows Mobile based smart phones, have had keyboard in their software for their touch screens.

Now, turn the clock back to 1992, and look at the laptop/notebook offerings of that day.  The problem with keyboards, critics asserted, was that they didn’t feel like the keyboards that users were accustomed to using.  The key stroke depths didn’t match, the size of the keys were too small, the spacing between keys were too close and so on and so on.

Now, this article from JR Raphael of PC World says that the smart phone keyboard is not ready to be thrown on the cart.

But is this just an unnecessary delay of the inevitable?

OK, sticking with the smart phone for a bit, you can argue this in either direction.  Some users like the tactile reactions that a physical keyboard gives.  Others realize that you give something up to have that keyboard, so the savings in size and weight more than make up for the lack of a physical keyboard.

In other words, there will probably be a debate in this market for some time.  The main reason why is the same as the reasons for sending a text versus calling someone.  A call may be more efficient, but there are times when typing a message is the only means of getting your message out in some situations.

Now, move this out of the smart phone market for a bit.  Is the keyboard on its way out there as well?

Look at the iPad as one area, but also with the improvements in voice recognition software, could this effectively replace the formidable keyboard?

Many claim that their problem with writing is that they cannot type as fast as the thoughts that they are trying to convey are running through their brains.  This is most definitely the case with those who happen to have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.  Remove the barrier of the keyboard for these people and you would be amazed at how much more these folks could contribute in a shorter amount of time.  Hamstring them with the keyboard and you frustrate them and push a loss of focus.

Maybe a move away from the keyboard will come in stages.  However, this is not something that will go away in a practical sense any time soon.

If you hear of changes that might be a good fit for you and your business and you think they are worth discussing further, contact your account manager at Midwest Computech.  Together, we can find a great way to meld technology into your business in the most effective ways.

As for this blog, a keyboard is necessary.  At least until we decide to go with a podcast instead.

Technology in Media, why it matters

June 24, 2010

Today, the Apple iPhone 4 official hit the streets.  That has gotten a lot of media attention, but more recently there have been a few stories about the use of technology in media.

A lawsuit between Google and Viacom came out in favor of Google.  The accusation was that Google’s YouTube allowed copyrights to be violated when videos were posted on YouTube.  More on this at Daily Tech.  The point of this story is basically that once again the law and technology are not exactly advancing at the same speeds.

But the coolest use of technology by the media in the past week, to many but not everyone, was the release of the Disney Pixar movie Toy Story 3.  OK, so a lot of the technology for Toy Story 3 came out back in the early 1990’s.  The rendering of the images goes back to the late 1980’s and the transferring the computer animation to film was developed in the 1990’s, both needed to make these stories come to life.

Last October, Disney and Pixar re-released the reworked the first two Toy Story films in 3D.  With the re-emergence of 3D, helped by digital projector technology, made this re-release a great way to market the new film months in advance of its debut.  Brilliant marketing, by using technology to take something old and make it new again.

The point is that this is a marketing story, not really a technology story.  And this is a great thing.  It illustrates one of the concepts that we at Midwest Computech have been delivering to our customers for a while.  Making technology transparent to the end-user.  It is there, it works and you do not have to give it a second thought.  There are still computer hobbyists out there who like to tweak and tinker, there is nothing wrong with that.  But for the rest of us, turning it on and having it work is more important.

If you are NOT seeing this at your office.  Time to contact Midwest Computech.  800-346-8934 or e-mail us at info@midwestcomputech.com to learn more.

Reminder – Join us for Pizza and help a great cause on Sunday in Columbia.

June 24, 2010

Reminder – – –

Coming up on Sunday, June 27th, Midwest Computech invites you to join us and ESPN’s John Anderson to enjoy some pizza at Shiloh Bar & Grill all while helping a great cause, the Buddy Pack program.

If you are not familiar with the Buddy Pack program, follow this link for more details.  The simple explanation is that Buddy Pack is a program to provide kid-friendly, nutritious food to students to take home over the weekend or holidays to supplement their school meals when there is not enough food for them at him.

On the night of June 27th from 6:00-9:00 PM, you can get a one topping pizza at Shiloh Bar & Grill for just $5.00 and 100 percent of the pizza sales to be donated to the Anderson Family Charitable Foundation and The Food Bank, which is for the Buddy Pack program.

Oh, and you can meet Mizzou alum and ESPN SportsCenter Anchor John Anderson that night as well.  The Sunday event is just ahead of the John Anderson Celebrity Golf Invitational.  That also means some other celebrities will be at Shiloh Bar & Grill that night as well.

So come on out for a great time, some great pizza and helping a great cause.

By the way, we like Italian Sausage, or Pepperoni, or Extra Cheese….but we’ll pay our own way.  See you there!!

Concerned over privacy? Ditch your iPhone and iPad!

June 22, 2010

In an effort to improve services that Apple can offer their clients, Apple changed their privacy policy to require the sharing of location data for their users.

Read that policy and you only have to go as far as the second paragraph to see that this allows Apple to share this data with their clients…..probably for a profit.

Is Apple alone?

Apple claims that this data is simply location data and not personal information on individual iPhone or iPad users.  But how do you know?

TG Daily.com  has more on this specific issue.

This is great news for advertisers who are targeting specific types of users.  This may not be great news for those who have privacy concerns…..like those who have previously been victims of identity theft.

Big Brother may be watching, but Big Brother is a private corporation in this case.

Benjamin Franklin is often given credit for saying, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”  The author of that line is actually Richard Jackson, though Franklin was Jackson’s publisher.  The point is that you can replace safety for convenience in this case.

Don’t use the iPhone or iPad and you think this doesn’t apply to you.  Better re-read…or actually read…the privacy policy from your service provider.

Hot this week, more than the weather!

June 21, 2010

Happy Summer!

Last week, the Midwest Computech blog told you about a new portable 3D game from Nintendo.  But, that is something you have to wait until NEXT year to enjoy.

But what can you enjoy now?

Well, the iPad has been the HOTTEST e-reader on the market.  This is based on the number of units sold and the number of news stories about the device.  The Amazon Kindle has been quietly been selling a ton of units as well.  But back at Christmas the hot device that sold out and was back-ordered was the Barnes & Noble Nook.  This week, we see the Nook discounted to $149 for a WiFi only model.  (On-line ordering seems to be required to get this price, the Midwest Computech Blog staff has not gone to a Barnes & Noble store to confirm this….too busy enjoying Father’s Day and Toy Story 3 this weekend.)

e-Readers like the Kindle, iPad and Nook seem to be the move toward taking over from netbooks as the hot little device.  But do not look for netbooks and notebooks of all sizes to go away anytime soon.  PC manufacturers are fighting back with more features, faster processors and lower prices.  (Some members of the Midwest Computech Blog staff still long for the days of their Commodore 64’s and time in the air conditioning while playing Summer Games by Epyx.)  But it appears that more and more colleges and universities are encouraging their students to purchase e-Readers as a means to save money on textbooks.  That might be the means to insure the strong future of these devices.  It is a well-known technique in marketing to place products in the hands of college students to insure their usage by those same people as they age throughout adulthood.  Facebook is a recent example of this technique being highly effective, even IF the product is virtual in nature.

The traditional PC will have a future, but remember how the PC has changed in the last 15 years if you want to understand how the PC could change further over the next 5 years.  Yeah, that is not a typo…FIVE years.

And finally, the other portable device that we have grown attached to is the mobile phone.  [To be accurate, cellular is a term that is no longer accurate due to the mix of technologies used by the several mobile phone providers.  In fact, cellular was out-dated as soon as digital mobile phones hit the market.]  The mobile phone is used for calls, texts, photography, scheduling, e-mailing, cyphering without the need to consult Jethro Bodine, selecting programs for your DVR to record and many other things.  Windows Mobile 7 will be out later in the year, with it TONS of apps.  iPhone 4 comes out this week and MILLIONS of apps already exist for it.  Android phones are growing like crazy as well.

But recently an app came out that all of us could do without.  Yet, it is highly popular.  It is known to exist for both the iPhone AND the Android phones.

The Vuvuzela phone app!

Now, you do not need to watch the FIFA World Cup to be annoyed.

Yeah, there is an app for that.

A lesson for the rest of us, courtesy of Apple and AT&T

June 18, 2010

On Tuesday, Apple and AT&T started taking pre-orders for the new iPhone 4.

Or so they thought.

Remember the old saying about the road to hell….

Even radio talk show host, and political lightning rod, Rush Limbaugh complained to his millions of listeners that he could not order the new iPhone…and he wanted to order several for his staff.

Despite the glitches, including the inadvertent sharing of the personal information of customers to other customers, they still sold over 600,000 iPhone 4 units on the FIRST day.  Even though, in typical Apple fashion, dating back to the 1970’s, Apple could not guarantee a delivery date for the new product.

Details are available from this article at Wired.com.

The point of bringing this up and talking about the misfortunes of two very large corporations is to point out one huge fact, this could have been avoided.  Furthermore, you could avoid a similar fate.

Identity theft is a HUGE problem, so when the ordering system is so overloaded that is starts spitting out your personal information out to someone else, that is what the attorneys call a liability.

It is unlikely that anyone who is actually reading this blog will have a product to sell that meets the level of the iPhone, but we HOPE you do.  We really do.  But the odds are against it.  However, you may have a product that you are going to want to sell on-line.  Will YOUR infrastructure be able to support it?

That is where prior planning can prevent poor performance.  Apparently, Apple and AT&T were set.  So they thought at least.  To their defense, they did hit TEN TIMES the traffic on their websites than they did for the first day of pre-orders for the iPhone 3GS.  They didn’t project this to be as hot as it was.

Often times, we at Midwest Computech tell our clients that we are not trying to sell you the equipment that you just need today, but also what you will need in three to five years.

So when you have your hot new product, whether national in scope or just local, contact your Midwest Computech Account Manager AND your e-commerce software vendors to have a plan in place.

As the old saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail.  No one wants to plan to fail.  And, no matter how good the sales of 600,000 iPhone 4 units sounds, in the end, Apple and AT&T left money on the table.

Maybe Apple and AT&T can leave money on the table, they will probably get it back later.  Will you?

Don’t take that chance.

Save the date – Sunday, June 27th…read on

June 17, 2010

Coming up on Sunday, June 27th, Midwest Computech invites you to join us and ESPN’s John Anderson to enjoy some pizza at Shiloh Bar & Grill all while helping a great cause, the Buddy Pack program.

If you are not familiar with the Buddy Pack program, follow this link for more details.  The simple explanation is that Buddy Pack is a program to provide kid-friendly, nutritious food to students to take home over the weekend or holidays to supplement their school meals when there is not enough food for them at him.

On the night of June 27th from 6:00-9:00 PM, you can get a one topping pizza at Shiloh Bar & Grill for just $5.00 and 100 percent of the pizza sales to be donated to the Anderson Family Charitable Foundation and The Food Bank, which is for the Buddy Pack program.

Oh, and you can meet Mizzou alum and ESPN SportsCenter Anchor John Anderson that night as well.  The Sunday event is just ahead of the John Anderson Celebrity Golf Invitational.  That also means some other celebrities will be at Shiloh Bar & Grill that night as well.

So come on out for a great time, some great pizza and helping a great cause.

By the way, we like Italian Sausage, or Pepperoni, or Extra Cheese….but we’ll pay our own way.  See you there!!

Game Time….In 3D!!!!

June 16, 2010

The E3 show is on in Los Angeles.  Sony has their new game system that could kick the backside of the Nintendo Wii….but remember that Microsoft tried to beat the iPod with the Zune, so who knows.

But the hottest device out of E3 is the new Nintendo 3DS.  This is the latest game device from the very popular DS series of handhelds.  Simply put, this is NOT your grandmother’s Game Boy.  Not even your uncle’s Sega Game Gear.

It has a similar lay out, the bottom screen is the touch screen.  But this time the top screen supports 3D….WITHOUT Glasses!!!!!

This from USA Today.

The 3DS can also take 3D pictures thanks to two cameras on the outside of the case.

How can Midwest Computech help you with the new Nintendo 3DS, due out next year?  Well, if you buy one for your Midwest Computech Account Manager, they can “work” on theirs to give you tips for yours.  Or, have their teenagers play with it at least.