Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tip of the Week: Find Out the Ideal Amount of RAM Your Workstation Needs

If your computer is underperforming, then it may not have enough RAM to do what you’re asking it to do. When selecting a PC, how do you know if you have enough RAM?
RAM, or Random Access Memory, is found in every computing device; from workstations, to server units, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more. In the case of several of these devices, you can simply add more RAM if you find yourself not having enough. Not every device allows for this, which is why it’s best to buy a device with the correct amount of RAM in the first place.
For your consideration, here’s our handy RAM checklist:
1GB: Barely Enough
For PCs running the 32-bit version of Windows 10, 1GB of RAM is the minimum requirement. However, that doesn’t mean 1GB will be enough RAM to do much more than to run your OS. With 1GB of RAM, you may be able to squeak by doing some basic web browsing, checking your email, and using a word processing app, but forget about doing much anything else, or even running all of these tasks at the same time. To give you an idea of how little 1GB of RAM is, consider that most smartphones and tablets come with more than 1GB.
2GB: Not Much Better
For PCs running the 64-bit version of Windows 10, 2GB of RAM is the minimum requirement. However, like the previous example, don’t look to do much more than running your OS if your PC only has 2GB of RAM. Although, with 2GB of RAM, you can get some work done, while perhaps having a couple of tabs open in your web browser, but you’ll still be unable to handle a multimedia project or run a resource-intensive software solution.
4GB: Par for the Course
With 4GB of RAM, you should now be able to run multiple applications at the same time without experiencing any issues. 4GB makes for a more productive work experience, as well as removes much of the frustration associated with having a slow computer. Generally speaking, 4GB of RAM is the benchmark when dealing with a low-end office workstation.
Although, if you’re running a 32-bit OS with 4GB of RAM, keep in mind that you will only be able to access 3.2GB. Additionally, when using a 64-bit operating system, you’ll have access to the whole 4GB (and higher). It’s also important to remember that the 32-bit version of Windows 10 has a 4GB RAM limit while the 64-bit versions require more RAM.
8GB: Ahhh Yeah!
With 8GB of RAM, you’re now getting into the territory of using editing software, like the Adobe Creative Cloud or light multimedia. When working with media as well as running a basic office workstation, having 8GB will increase performance and minimize frustration. Also, for those interested in PC gaming, 8GB of RAM is a good place to start.
16GB and Up: Awesome. But is it Worth It?
With 16GB of RAM or more, your system will be the belle of the ball. However, unless you’re planning on using your computer for a resource-heavy task like video editing or running a virtual machine, paying for 16GB will likely be a waste of money.
This checklist will serve as a basic guide for selecting enough RAM for a single computer. In order to select enough computing resources and other components to run more serious and complicated hardware on your company’s network, we recommend consulting the IT pros at Net It On by reaching out to us at (732) 360-2999.
Disclaimer: Just to be clear, RAM is a hardware component and is not something that can be downloaded from the Internet.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The 3 Major Ways Managed IT Beats Break-Fix IT, Every Time

Every business has crucial IT systems that are imperative to its continued functionality. Usually these systems are maintained by an internal IT department, but many small businesses don’t have this luxury. Therefore, they have traditionally relied on break-fix IT companies to handle their technology problems when they hinder operations.
We’re here to tell you that there’s an easier way to handle your IT. Managed IT services provide a new way for businesses to get the IT maintenance and management they deserve, without giving in to the hefty costs and downtime associated with either repairing failing technology or replacing it following a downtime event.
The Disadvantages of Break-Fix IT
When you get right down to the nitty-gritty details, break-fix IT is an antiquated way to manage a business’s technology. Reacting to major problems is crucial, but the fact remains that there must be problems to react to. Most often, these take the form of hardware failures that could lead to expensive downtime and data loss, both of which could have been prevented if the technology was properly maintained. These disasters are powerful enough to derail your business’s IT budget for months. We assure you that throwing out a break-fix IT policy is the best way to ensure that the future of your business’s technology is as secure as possible.
The Benefits of Managed IT Services
Break-fix IT focuses on replacing broken technology rather than proactively preventing issues. This is what managed IT aims to do; save you money by taking better care of your technology in the first place, and offering preventative care that helps you dodge catastrophic hardware failure or costly technology expenses. Some of managed IT’s benefits include:
  • Fewer capital expenses: Since your technology will be getting the attention it needs, when it needs it, you won’t have to spend so much money replacing critical hardware components. You can write your managed IT services off as an operational expense, rather than a capital expense.
  • Less time spent on maintenance: Some businesses have an internal IT department that’s responsible for overseeing IT maintenance and management, while others don’t have anything at all. Outsourcing IT maintenance ensures that it gets done, while giving your staff the opportunity to spend their time on more fruitful endeavors.
  • Less downtime: If your hardware is properly maintained, it will have less of a chance to break down and cause downtime. Less downtime naturally leads to more profits for your business, and improved functionality as a whole.
How is your company’s IT managed and maintained? Are you still stuck in the days of replacing your technology when it breaks down, rather than taking proactive care to ensure that it doesn’t happen prematurely? Rethinking your approach to IT maintenance can be a simple way to free up funds for other parts of your business, as well as improve operations substantially. To learn more, give us a call at (732) 360-2999.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tip of the Week: 4 Life-Saving Alternatives to Driving While Distracted

For the busy business owner, demands on schedules make it mandatory to use their smartphone while on the go. While it’s important to be productive, safety is even more important. Therefore, you should never use your phone while driving in such a way that puts you and others at risk.
In many places, talking on your phone while driving is against the law, and the penalties are even more broad for using your smartphone while driving for tasks like texting and checking email. Distracted driving has become an epidemic on the roadways and the damage it causes is staggering. Consider these sobering statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation:
  • At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010.
  • Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of driv­ers who were distracted at the time of the crashes.
  • In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
Obviously, the best solution to this problem is to put down the phone altogether, keep your eyes on the road, and your hands at ten and two. However, for many modern workers, this is one luxury they can’t afford. If you must use your smartphone while on the go, consider these four options.
  • Bluetooth headsets: A wireless headset frees up your hands, allowing you to talk on the phone while keeping both hands on the steering wheel. Another helpful feature of many Bluetooth devices is the ability to speak commands into the device, making it so you don’t have to handle your phone in order to make phone calls. Many newer vehicles have built-in handsfree capabilities with the stereo system, letting you make and take calls without taking your eyes off the road.
  • Voice recognition technology: Even better is voice recognition technology which allows for the use of apps and even replying to texts by simply using your voice. This technology makes it possible to drive without ever needing to handle one’s device.
  • Find alternative ways to be productive: You may be surprised to learn that there are other ways to be productive on the go besides communicating with your phone. Take for example, listening to an audiobook or playing back your sales presentation in order to fine tune it. You can also try just turning off your phone during your commute and benefitting from being unplugged from the world, even if it’s only for a short drive.
  • Have someone else do the driving: Just because you lack the funds to hire a chauffeur, doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to travel by having someone else do the driving, allowing you to focus on your work. Carpooling is an environmentally friendly option, and public transportation can be worth the aggravation if it lets you hunker down and get work done during your commute.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tip of the Week: 4 Tips to Writing Effective Emails

We’ve all been in a situation where we’re watching our inbox waiting for someone to send an email back. However, you might be limiting your own success by making your emails be too long, too wordy, or even too brief. According to a study by Boomerang, there are several ways to make your emails more viewer-friendly, and it all starts by analyzing what you’re currently doing with your outbound communications.
Keep it Simple
If you want people to respond to your emails, believe it or not, the best way to do so is to keep your messages as simple as possible. Boomerang found that emails which were written at a third-grade reading level had a 53 percent chance of receiving a response, while those written at a college reading level were the least likely to obtain a response at 39 percent. Granted, the context of the email and its purpose will heavily influence the content of the email, but the point stands that the average email (like those used as an update or a follow-up) should be relatively short and sweet.
Use Some Emotion
Another idea is to create emotion with your words. If you create a slight sense of dissatisfaction or happiness, you’re more likely to get a response to your email. According to Boomerang, the difference could be somewhere between 10-to-15 percent compared to neutral or passive emails. Of course, it’s only effective if it’s believable. You want to avoid being overly negative or positive, because if the receiver can read between the lines, they’ll realize that you’re only trying to get a response and aren’t genuine.
Keep it Short, but Not Too Short
How many times have you opened an email and grown exhausted from reading the whole thing? Other business owners are the same way. They don’t want to read large walls of text if they can help it. Plus, considering how many people receive countless emails a day, the more consolidated you can make your message, the better. The length range that’s most likely to receive responses is between 50 and 125 words, so keep it somewhere between there for around a 50+ percent chance of receiving a response.
Keep Your Subject Line Short
Long email subjects aren’t doing anyone favors. In order to capture the attention of your recipient and incite a response, you want to keep your subject short and to the point. Emails with subject lines of three or four words have a 48 percent chance of being responded to. Considering how no subject emails only received a response 14 percent of the time, it seems that any subject is better than no subject at all.
By following these tips, you’ll be more likely to receive replies to your email messages. Doing so can increase the likelihood that you won’t miss out on a great business deal due to the message being ignored. Do you have a certain method that you use to coax your recipients to respond to your messages? Let us know in the comments.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Tip of the Week: This Free Extension Helps You Get to the Bottom of Your Grammar Mistakes

To become a grammar expert takes years of education--a luxury that few modern workers have. Thankfully, there are tools available online that can make anybody a grammar expert. One such tool is Grammarly, a free Chrome extension and web-based app.
Whereas most basic word processing programs have a spellcheck feature and not much in the way of grammar help, Grammarly checks spelling, grammar, and goes even further by explaining why it’s suggesting the correction in the first place. By taking just a few brief moments to read Grammarly’s suggestions (which appear on the right side of the screen), users will be able to better understand their mistakes, and thus, make fewer errors in the future. Compare this to mindlessly right-clicking squiggly lines and you can see what makes Grammarly the better tool for the job.
To use Grammarly, users can upload their document to edit it in the app, or Grammarly will automatically check work in your browser for websites that support it. When using Grammarly in your web browser like this, just be sure which webpages are compatible. Take for example Google Drive apps like Docs, Spreadsheets, etc.; these are not compatible with Grammarly.
When using Grammarly, keep in mind that its suggestions are just that, suggestions. It’s not a perfect program and because language can be such a screwy thing, what you typed may actually be grammatically correct, given the context. However, Grammarly does its best to take context into consideration, and it will even go so far as to provide alternative examples so your message can be more concise and accurate.
Like most free apps, Grammarly offers a premium edition for a monthly fee. Grammarly’s Premium edition includes:
  • Microsoft Office integration
  • 24/7 support
  • Complex grammar error detection (sentence structure, style issues, vocabulary suggestions, etc.)
  • Contextual corrections
  • A seven-day money-back guarantee
While using Grammarly is still not the same as taking an actual English language course, for the business owner, it’s probably the next best thing. And by far, the best part of using this tool is that your writings will have far fewer mistakes, making it seem like you’re a grammar expert (when you know that, deep down, you’re not).