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Why do you do what you do?

Sep 25, 2013   //   by Dale Crowder   //   workIT  //  No Comments

The Reason We Do What We Do

I was recently reading a book on management and it asked this simple question, “why is it you do what you do?  If you can’t give a reason you do what you do, there is no way your going to convey that to other people.”  Sometimes we just read these things hoping it will expand our mind and make us better in the things we study but often times it doesn’t make any sense until we see a live application of it. This week I’ve been assigned a task of something that isn’t working as it should, not uncommon, our phone rings many times every day with things that aren’t working as the maker says they should.  In this case it was an email issue.  After confirming every setting, going through every error message, and reading every log, I came to the conclusion … it’s not working as the maker says it should.  That seems a bit awkward to hear that your support company has to come to the conclusion of “I just don’t know”, but as humans there comes a point where accepting that you just don’t know is the most intelligent solution you can possibly give.  Just so it’s followed up immediately by, “But I’ll find out.”  In this situation my next recourse is to contact Microsoft for a solution.  Being a Gold partner we have direct resources to upper level support engineers at Microsoft, so I begin my process of opening a ticket.  Here is how that went:
Please remember, this is not an incident that is a service down incident, this is just something that wasn’t working the way it should have and did not affect any productivity.
  • Monday 10:00 am, contact Microsoft via telephone for a support contract number.
  • Monday 11:00 am, after being on hold for 53 minutes, I’m passed to a young lady that redirects me to a “new” website that Gold partners have access to.
  • Monday 11-2, continue through this “new” website for Gold partners and get in a continuous loop of finding the “new” support numbers for the United States.  (btw, I could and did end up calling the Asia numbers).
  • Monday 3 pm, call Microsoft again with my Gold level access and tell them the new website just sends you in circles and explained I just needed a support incident contract number so I could open a ticket so they can fix their software.
  • Monday 4:30 pm, After being on hold for 75 minutes, I’m redirected to a different part of the “new” website because I’m told that can only be done via chat now.
  • Monday 5 pm, I find the chat link that is only listed on one specific page and find the message that tells me their hours are 8am – 5pm EST.  So my only option was to leave a message and await an email.  (Please keep in mind that I haven’t even opened a ticket yet)
  • Tuesday 9 am, go back to that web page with the previous chat window and join a chat.  I am in the ques, there are 187 users in front of me.
  • Tuesday 11:15 am, I am finally connected to a Gold level support agent.  He is very helpful and was able to get me my support contract ID and all the information I needed.
  • Tuesday 12:30, I call Microsoft Gold level support and attempt to open a ticket with my new found contract ID.  I’m redirected to a website where I can open my incident.
  • Tuesday 1 pm, I finish filling out the proper information about the support information including the 22 links to articles I followed to attempt to fix the problem before opening the ticket and all the important information concerning the incident.
  • Tuesday 2:15 pm, Receive a call from Microsoft and start explaining the problem.  As soon as I mention that it’s installed on a Microsoft Small Business Server 2011 they agent stops me and tells me he has to reassign the ticket to that team and it will be another 3 hours until I hear back.

#I’m thankful I’m not a silver partner.

Why do we do what we do, very simple, so you don’t have to worry about it.  As trained support technicians our staff’s #1 objective is to support you by being an extension to your staff when it comes to computer problems.  In the 4 years that Elad has been in business this is the 2nd contact we’ve had to make with Microsoft, all 8,486 other incidents have been handled right here by our support staff.  Our average time to accept and assign a ticket is under 2 minutes.  Our average ticket response time is under 10 minutes.  I’m very proud of our team and the success we’ve had supporting you so that we can do what we do, so you don’t have to worry about it.  Let us know how we can help.

Put out the fire before it starts

Feb 23, 2012   //   by Dale Crowder, President   //   posts, workIT  //  No Comments
by Brian Tucker
When the fire truck rolls up, it’s already too late – your house is on fire. Much like the tell-tale signs of a failing computer or a virus waiting in the wings, the “fireman mentality” doesn’t do much for keeping your computer up and files safe. By the time the fire gets put out, there is a chance your house could be gone. Likewise, your computer is much the same. The damage could be irreplaceable.

The “fireman mentality” is a reactive mindset, but here at Elad we can never stress enough the importance of a proactive mentality. So much so, we have adopted technology that allows us to monitor, track, and report many issues that can occur on PCs, servers, and other network appliances.

When a virus hits your pc, our antivirus software makes every attempt to remove it and notify us if a more direct, hands on approach is required. It’s much akin to your smoke detector going off, the automatic sprinklers kicking on, and the fire department is notified,
dispatched, and on its way.Even more so, on the preventative side, a hard drive or memory that’s full will stop your computer cold. An overheating processor can pose a risk as well. The health of these key systems and more are monitored in real-time and reported to Elad, many times with an automated solution deployed immediately.

Good to Great

Jan 20, 2012   //   by Dale Crowder, President   //   workIT  //  No Comments

New PC’s are in the air for lots of us. This can be an awesome experience or this can be a pain trying to get what you want and setup the way you need. Most users forget some basic steps or they just haven’t been informed of them. We expect new PCs to run good, but how about making a new PC run GREAT, after all you did spend your hard-earned money on it! Here are some simple steps that will improve your new PC before you even start working on it.

1.Remove the extra- Most PC’s purchased from a big-box store comes with all kinds of extra tools,trails, and worthless pieces of software on these machines. This all needs to be removed. If you aren’t going to use it then REMOVE IT. These things are just taking up space and will cause problems on your machine.

2.ANTI- Virus and Malware ASAP- So many people either forget or don’t realize how important this is. Most users only think their pc has been attacked by a virus when the pc totally stops working, but this isn’t the case viruses and malware outbreaks progressively get worse over time. This should be the first thing done after a pc is taken out of the box. As soon as the pc has a network connection it is vulnerable to viruses and malware.  Also make sure you are only using ONE antivirus solution on each machine.

3.Maintenance – This applies to all Windows deployment that you have. Be sure you have disk Cleanup and Defragmenter set up to happen regularly. Do not depend on your end-users to do this because they will forget, after all we are human. When setting up your scheduled maintenance to take place also set up scheduled antivirus and anti-malware scans to take place along with daily definition updates.

4.Disabling Services- Windows machines have services that are not needed. Example You never send or re taxes through your PC. Why not make sure the tax service is not running? Each user will need to go through and find the services that are useless to them and then remove them. Before you disable any services make sure you know what it does before you disable it. The links below can help with that info provided by TechRepublic.

5.Turn off Aero in Vista or Windows 7-  A PC can be slow right out of the box, if this happens it could mean it barely has the resources to run everything necessary. You can give it a boost by turning off the Aero feature in either Vista or Windows 7. This will disable all of the GUI elements of the OS, but give you back some speed. For Vista, right click on the desktop, select Personalize, and then click Window Color and Appearance. Next, click Open Classic Appearance Properties For More Color Options. In the Appearance Settings Dialog box select Windows Vista Basic from the Color Scheme list. For Windows 7 just right click the desktop, select Personalize, and then scroll down until you see Basic Themes, Select a basic theme and Aero will be disabled.

All pretty simple huh? There are many other ways to improve your PC, but these are the most basic and common things that can really help.

Need Help or have questions Ask Elad.

 

 

The Speed of Lightning

Jan 3, 2012   //   by Dale Crowder, President   //   workIT  //  No Comments

 Our society is very fast paced and we tend to get impatient when things try to slow us down. Browsing is a perfect example, EVERYONE wants to be able to browse faster.The #1 complaint we hear from users is that the internet is running slow. Of course you can try to increase or change your internet provider, but there are a few free steps that you can take to increase your browsing speed without spending a dime.

1. Use a faster browser- Internet Explorer is the most common browser, but is not the only one available and is definitely not the fastest browser available. Google Chrome takes first place in being the fastest web browser available. If you have gotten very accustomed to other browsers you will see a dramatic difference in the speed with Google Chrome. This is by far the best way to increase speed. Also Chrome helps speed things up by allowing you to enter a search string in the URL address bar. This helps from having to add another toolbar.

2.Disable Flash- Flash is basically in all web pages now. Flash makes things look great, but makes your browsing speed decrease. You can have flash turned off by default and re-enable it to view what you need. The biggest problem with this is that some browsers require an add-on to block Flash. For Chrome, you need the extension Flashblock. There’s also a Flashblock extension for Firefox. Internet Explorer has a built-in tool you can access by clicking Tools | Manage Add-ons. In the Manage Add-ons dialog box, double-click Shockwave Flash Object. Then, click the Remove All Sites button. This will disable Flash for all sites. Need help let us know!

3.Save your Web files on a RAM disk- Since the RAM disk will be much faster than your standard hard drive, using it to save all your browsers temporary files will create a faster environment for your browser. However, this solution is not for the newbie, and you will need to use a third-party to better achieve this task. Learn more.

4.Get rid of all those toolbars- This is something we have all been guilty of at one time or another, having to many toolbars. These toolbars slow down the browser in many ways. Some take up memory while others just take up bandwidth by sending and receiving data. This is really a users choice, if you want or need more toolbars then just be aware you may run slower, but if you want speed then get rid of the toolbar baggage!

5.Use tabs, not windows-Too many tabs can also slow down your speed, but tabs are your best bet for browsing efficiency.  Why is this? Tabs are more effective in a few ways, one is helps stay organized and you can find a page much faster if everything is in a single window. Not only is this easier on you but browsers like Chrome treat tabs differently. Chrome treats each tab as an individual process. So when a Web site causes a tab to crash, you can close the one tab and not lose all the other tabs you have running. Not all browsers support this behavior so in order to insure this you will need to switch to  the Chrome browser.

To learn more about how Elad can meet your technology needs and protect your network, Contact us!

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Expanding our minds….

Jan 3, 2012   //   by Dale Crowder, President   //   Company News, workIT  //  1 Comment

2012 is here!!! We all get excited about a new year its a fresh start for individuals and businesses, we are all able to look back on the past year and put a new plan into place. Well, we have our plan and we are ready to get it going, but we need your help!

One goal of ours is to provide user friendly information once a week for readers. This information will help you as the user to learn more about technology and hopefully walk away with some helpful tips. Our goal at Elad is to “Make technology better” and what better way than to inform users.

Here is your job….if you are interested in receiving helpful tips,news, and reviews from Elad we need your email address. All you need to do is reply yes or no to WorkIT and if you want to submit a friends email or a different address send that also.

Click here  to start expanding your mind with 2012′s first article!

 

For more information or questions please Contact Us and we will assist you!

 

 

The FAKE…

Nov 3, 2011   //   by Dale Crowder, President   //   workIT  //  No Comments

Webster defines Fake as having a false or misleading appearance; fraudulent. That just sounds awful in my opinion. In today’s world you are always having to watch out for the “fakes”, always trying to make sure you are choosing a legit offer and in the technology world it is no different.

The latest “fake” is called the System Restore Virus. This is a virus that will pretend as one program that focuses on hard drive and system optimization. However, in reality, this is another addition to the lists of fake hard drive defragmentation programs. It differs from other rogue programs that will produce virus scan on the system. What System Restore virus does is scan the PC for known system and hard drive errors.  This fake application will provide PC Performance & Stability Analysis Report that will show false information regarding initialization errors, bad sectors and a bunch of critical errors. It also displays a bunch of fake pop-up alerts informing users of hard drive and system malfunction.Issuing these types of alert is specifically to make users think that computer needs a licensed version of System Restore to be able to resolve given errors. Malware authors push their programs to the edge where it can even disable legitimate antivirus programs on target machine. Therefore, System Restore reigns as the sole security and optimization software at hand.

The real solution to this kind of problem is to remove the culprit itself. Removing System Restore virus from a compromised system will also stop excessive annoyances it brings. Only use a legitimate anti-virus application and we discourage you to purchase the fake and unknown software.

If you are suffering from this virus or have more questions about preventing the System Restore Infection please contact us and we will be glad to help you.

To learn more about how Elad can meet your technology needs, contact Summer Blain at 270-737-Elad

Neat tool — ImageResizer

Oct 12, 2011   //   by Dale Crowder, President   //   Personal Blog, workIT  //  No Comments

From ImageResizer website. Click to enlarge.

Found a real neat tool today to squeeze images that people have saved on their pc and try to email as large attachments. After installing it, you right click on a picture or multiple pictures, tell it to resize and even select from pre-set sizes.  Handy little tool to have installed for everyone, never know when your going to need it.

Click here to visit the ImageResizer website and download the application.

UPDATE 11/16/2011, SR. WEB DEVELOPER DANIEL PANTOJA — This is a very handy tool for image resizing; it’s very similar to the script used by the top website publishing platforms and comes in REALLY handy when you need to resize a large image.

IPhone 4s

Oct 5, 2011   //   by Dale Crowder, President   //   workIT  //  5 Comments

Unless you live under a rock or in the Dakota’s you’ve heard about the upcoming release of Apple’s new product. But is it new? If you haven’t heard yet Apple did not change the overall appearance of the device, but they did change the inside. In other words, it’s faster. When comparing my iPad and my iPad2 there are considerable and noticeable speed differences, so if your an iPhone 4 user that has issues with your phone being slow, the 4s will make your life happier. Here’s my breakdown on the new product. Remember, this is just my opinion based off a pretty good understanding of Apple as a company, and as an owner or previous owner of almost all their 22 product lines.

I’m not going to go over each new feature, instead I’m going to post my opinion on a few of them for listening ears.

You can’t argue with dual core processing, it will be faster. Whether or not that’s something you have a problem with if your an iPhone4 user will determine how important that is.

The battery life has been enhanced. I personally never had a problem with the battery life. It’s not like the old days where you had a flip phone that would make it all week and you were griping about plugging it in every night. I believe now everyone is used to just plugging it in every night.

The camera does have an extra lens and larger aperture to let in more light. I’m excited about this, not because I’m a huge camera person. But because the iPhone already has a camera that can out perform any Android hardware I’ve owned, and now it’s better. I think other hardware vendors need to take notes.

The video camera has a built in image stabilizer, THIS IS HUGE. I can’t believe Apple didn’t make a bigger deal out of this, I think it by far is the best new feature. This is also something that hardware vendors need to take notes on. I personally do NOT enjoy the Apple IOS (operating system). But you cannot argue with the hardware they have produced in the past.

Siri, or the new “personal assistant”. I’m waiting to hold judgement on this. I’ve been burned, you’ve been burned, everyone has been burned on voice recognition technology. With that in mind, apple seems to lead the way with new technology. We all have heard that Windows 8 is going to be largely driven by voice activation. So I’m waiting to see how good my new personal assistant is really going to be.

iCloud — Why didn’t apple just announce this, and leave everything else as is? This alone would have been enough to hold a press conference about and get the press it needs. Granted, I’ve been syncing music wirelessly using Spotify for some time now, but iCloud let’s me do it seamlessly between my Apple devices. LOVE THIS. Can’t wait to see what other software vendors do in Android and PC to compete with this.

Opinion

My opinion is this is not the finished product. I believe Apple did not call it the iPhone5 because it knows it’s not the finished product. They’ve made a few modifications to hardware and software and is releasing as a finished product, but I believe it’s not a finished product.

I don’t understand why Apple get’s all this technology together and then releases it all at once. They would make a lot more money and satisfy our desire for more technology if they would realease things on a faster schedule.

Will I buy one? That’s yet to be determined. My Samsung Android already has an 8 megapixel camera with a dual core processor. So their hardware enhancements aren’t too attractive to me. But I am interested in the image stabilazition, Siri, and iCloud. However iCloud will work with my iPad2, iMac, and MacBook so do I really need it on my phone too? I personally think the Android offers more benefits as a mobile device and dealing with mobile applications in a mobile lifestyle. Yes, I carry my iPad2 everywhere.

So wait, let’s see what 200 enhancements IOS5 has, then determine if you want to put out the cash on a phone. I’ll follow up later.

Open Books

Aug 22, 2011   //   by Dale Crowder, President   //   workIT  //  1 Comment

 I’ve always been the type of person that believes in an open book mentality.  Why?  If a book is open, you know it’s being utilized.  If a book is open, the person reading it is growing.  If a book is open, someone is becoming better.  As the opposite is true, a closed book collects dust, never gets utilized, and is never used for its intended purpose.  Elad is an open book organization.  We have no secrets and we understand that in order to be utilized we need to have open dialog with our clients.  Again, Why?  Because it helps us grow and become better.  I want every one of our clients to know that you have an “open” door to call or shoot me an email at any time.  Our mentality at Elad is to get better we must be better.

We love to hear back from you the things you like that we do as well as the things you would like us to improve on.  Thanks for your involvement with Elad, together we’re increasing the level of IT in Hardin County.

For comments Click here! 

To learn more about how Elad can meet your technology needs, contact Summer Blain at 270-872-4700 or by email: summer@elad.cc

HP Slate 500

Aug 5, 2011   //   by Dale Crowder, President   //   Company News, posts, workIT  //  2 Comments

After only two days of having my HP Slate 500 in my hand I will go on record and say this is the beginning of a beautiful thing.  I have a close relationship with my IPad1, then my IPad2, and up to this point anticipated the release of IPad3, but in the two days I’ve had my Slate, my iPad has only been used by the kids to play games.  Being in the business world I rely on most business things; Email, 4-5 websites, and general usage.  The Slate has given me this plus keeping it in a Windows7 environment we are all used to.

In my opinion there are a few tweaks that need to happen before it will become the iPad killer but the concept of having a full Windows7 Professional experience on something the size of my iPad will change things.  I can see the day that we laughed at having keyboards attached to our monitors and called them laptops.  I can see our children laughing at us because we used to have a pointing device in our hand to drag around the screen, I can even see the day where needing to 10 finger type is a crazy thought.  The screen is a bit smaller and not as brilliant as the iPad, but it will do EVERYTHING my pc will do not just what Apple says I can do.  The lack of a built in air card is a drag, but it is first generation so I’ll deal with the USB adapter for now.  Yes I said USB adapter, plus it has a SD slot so I can add up to 32gb extra storage on top of the 64gb internal. I would add a 64gb SD card, but who can afford those, but that is ok for me since everything is in the cloud anyway.  Final though, yes it’s first generation, but I would still purchase one before I bought a laptop.  It is PERFECT for college students who’s life is about social interaction with a dash of a professional PC experience for papers and research.

Wait,  I forgot about the camera’s, it has front and rear facing for all you face timers.  There are many more things I forgot, needless to say, this changes everything and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Disagree, want to leave a comment, go for it, I like push back.

Oh one more thing, instead of raising the debt ceiling the government should stop all it’s testing and development on the iPad and just use the HP slate, you’ve already done all the testing to make a Windows experience secure, save my tax dollars and just use what works, that will cause some conversation.

Tell us what you think! Post a comment below.

 

 

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