Happy Birthday to us!!

Today Limbtec is 12 years old, so we thought it would be good to see what was happening in 2002 when we started.

Operating Systems

Let’s start with Windows XP, when we started a new computing experience had just hit the streets, it was Windows XP, and it has lived as long as we have as a company.  Having said that most of our customers were still using

  • Windows 98
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows NT 4
We also had a few installs of Windows 95, and I do remembers looking at a Windows 3.11 system at some point, along with these we have also seen
Vista, 7, 8, 8.1
along with server 2003, 2008, 2012
This is without mentioning the work we have done on Mac both OS X, and it predecessor, and the few Linux/Unix issues we have dealt with.
Internet Connectivity

ADSL had really only just come out with blistering fast 2MB connections, although a lot of customers were dialing up (YES Really) on 56K connections, or maybe if they were a little posh might have an ISDN connection.  Currently sitting here on a FTTC connection at 76MB, having said that we also do far more online, not just with social media, but almost everything we do is reliant on an internet connection.
Storage
Servers had 10Gb or so of storage, and these we were replacing with servers with 40Gb of storage, now even the smallest of small business have 1TB of storage available to them, and probably even more than this
Although even small businesses had an advantage to having a Small Business Server, now a lot of these customers are using Office 365 and a nice fanless NAS box for on site document storage.
Backup of these were done by tape, DDS 4 or smaller, now for a lot of people the backup is done online into the cloud, and if it is an onsite storage it will more than likely be on to external drives.
Screen’s
Almost everyone had a crt screen (about 15″) sat on their desks, then LCD screens still around 15″, now we put out mostly 19 -21″ as standard and a lot of customers buying 24″ +.  Also seen the introduction of touch screens, which now with Windows 8 offers a new way of doing some tasks.
We have also said goodbye, to the floppy drive, and starting to see end of optical drives specially in mobile devices. Processors have become much faster, and with multiple cores, and memory, well that now comes in amounts never even dreamed of 12 years ago.
Now just wondering what the business IT environment will be in 12 years time?
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Good Bye Windows XP

Windows XP is finally looking at end of life this year.  With 31% of computers still using Windows XP

Windows XP Logo
Windows XP Logo

(Source: NetMarketShare)  What are your options?

Firstly how old is your hardware that Windows XP is installed on?  Some people are running hardware that is 7 or 8 years old, in which case we certainly believe it is time to put this out to pasture, and get yourself a nice shiny new computer.  What if for some reason you are running XP on hardware that is less than 3 years old?
So your options are as follows
  1. Replace the hardware, and then run the Windows Easy Transfer Wizard to migrate your data and settings to your nice New Windows 8 device.  Hopefully you will have purchased something with Windows 8.1 pre-installed! But if you didn’t then you will need to download the Windows 8.1 Upgrade, this will be available in the store.  If it isn’t the first screen you see, then simply run the Windows update, the computer will need to reboot, and then when you visit the store the upgrade will be available.
  2. Keep your current hardware, to install a fresh copy of Windows 8 or even Windows 7 you will need to take a copy of all your data, then install a fresh install, and then restore your Data as per the instructions here http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows7/help/upgrading-from-windows-xp-to-windows-7#T1=tab01
To be honest most hardware that isn’t past it due to age (and by this I mean less than 3 years old) will probably be Windows 7, anything older than this it is time to change the hardware, otherwise you may end up with Hardware failing, and then all the time and expense of getting Windows 7 or Windows 8 running will have been wasted
  • Work more securely
  • Get the latest software
  • Stay supported
  • Reduce Downtime
What options are available to you to upgrade?
  1. Buy new hardware with Windows 8 pre-installed
  2. Buy a boxed product or digital download
  3. Buy Licenses to upgrade the computers in your business

To find out which is the better or cheaper method call us on 01752 546967
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Various happenings from this month

We’ve been doing a lot of Network Cabling Jobs, in the last few months, and with more coming up, I do wonder why? A few years ago we were all tempted away from the cable, and to fly free from our desks, we must all remember those ads from Intel ( I think they were at least). From great venue across the world!
Of course this has in the main been replaced with smart phones, and tablet computers. The non i-pad tablets are really developing at a pace now, there are some great designs and the usability is really great. I have also been pondering over the Nokia & Microsoft tie up. Both companies will want to gain traction over the rest of the phone market, although I’m still not sure how much a dent they will make, I am certain that they will be throwing money at this to capture the market. We should see some good deals on some very good phones!

Upgrades
Thinking of upgrading your computer to a nice new Windows 7 device, please check out what peripherals you will need to replace. I have been dealing with someone who replaced their laptop with a nice new Sony Viao, unfortunately thee ended up with a 64bit version of windows on it. And his scanner which is used, doesn’t have either a driver nor any software which runs properly on the new computer. It is always worth running the Microsoft Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor at least then you can work out the true cost of the new computer.

SLA’s
I’ve been putting the finishing touches to our new SLA’s, and along with this I have been building a menu for all our services. It’s all due for release in just over a week.

Well that is about all that’s been happening int he last few weeks.

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1st post of the year

Well, our first post of the year. It has been a slow start with the weather. but it has left us with some time to tie up lose ends on some new products, which we will be releasing over the next month or so.

One thing that has been in demand is for people to work remotely. A number of our customers had this in place, the problem for them was in the main it wasn’t designed to work for the entire work force.

Now is the time to start to think about this and perhaps even a little bit deeper into full disaster recovery. If you are a Small business, do you use Microsoft Small Business server? if so why not use the Remote Web Workplace?
A short 60 second presentation is Available from Microsoft
Also available is a short presentation about sharing a conference call and presentation using Microsoft Office Live Meeting

Both utilise technology that helps with travel budgets, or ease of access if we get snowed in again.

New this month is our Disaster Recovery Solution, a very cost effective method of providing Disaster Recovery for small businesses details are available from our website For a small cost you can purchase seats in bundles of 6 or 12. Contact us for details.

We are starting to have discussions with a lot of our clients about how we can best improve their use of technology to help improve their business. Still carrying out IT Audits, and discussions with possible new clients, if you want to know more then drop me an email martin@limbtec.com

LAPTOPS
However you dress them up, they really don’t like drinks being spilt into them, and they don’t like being stood on or having things thrown at them. Basically treat them like they will break, as they will if you do any of the following.

BT
Well our BT issues keep on going on and on and on. It now appears that the shiny copper cable going from here to the street cabinet, may not be a shiny, or indeed contain much copper anymore.
You would have thought the simplest solution would be to rerun fresh copper from end to end, but apparently patching every couple of weeks or so with bits of cable is far better.

Come on BT get your act together and get this 11 month (actually 11 months and 1 day) issue resolved.

I am intending to post this blog every Friday PM, but this is subject to change!

Thanks for reading and more next week.

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A review of the year

Well, just about Evonne does a review of the year, although this year most of the TV programmes are a review of the decade.

This time last year I sat down and wondered what on earth was going to happen through 2009, we had already been hit by a couple of Bad debts, and we needed to alter the way we work. The good thing for us was at the end of 2007, and moving in to 2008 we had sorted out our marketing, refreshed our log and branding. So the answer was all we could do was try our hardest, support our customers, try and reduce costs where possible, and offer to be flexible on payments should the need arise.

And so the year started, we were hit with another couple of customers going bust, but in the main our customers were surviving reasonably well. So we started looking for more customers, we have increased our Business to Business Support customer base by 25%, this has resulted in us keeping our income slightly above the previous year, as we had lost some customers and the others were not spending as much.

We saw rapid growth in our Home User market, particularly in our laptop repairs. Replacement Screens, and replacement power jacks accounting for most of the laptop repairs.

The biggest issue we have seen a rise in, for move businesses and consumers are issues with broadband. In the main and issue arising either with the router, or mainly issues with the actual connection and the ensuring battle with the ISP, but mainly due to BT.

We had a BT Install that had the filter int he wrong place, but the main issues have been with line issues, or other BT issues, I have to add most of these occurred after most of the exchanges in Plymouth were upgraded to BT’s 21CN platform. We ourselves have had an ongoing fight for 10 months, other have faired better. But int he main if I had to award a technology villain of the year it would have to go to BT. Please BT in the new year will you take note that customers do have issues and mainly these issues are with your network and not their router or extension cable. And when you run one of your tests and it doesn’t run due to a complete lack of bandwidth their is an issue, and the issue is with you.

Enough of that rant, the I-phone has grown in stature and with the host of apps is probably my recommendation for a smart phone for businesses.

Microsoft released Windows 7, and should have a raft of releases in 2010 scheduled. It was a pretty flat year for releases with manufacturers perhaps holding back until people have money to spend, but this has to change next year! (look for announcements by Google and Apple in January)

Looking forward, Plymouth has some major plans ahead this summer will see FIFA visit the city to select the venues for the 2018 World cup bid, I’m sure we will all blow them away. then we just have to wait til December for the announcement of who will get the World Cup. One unusual hero in technology in the city has been the chamber of commerce. Hopefully we will start to see the plans they have produced start to come true. We may well See H2O move into the city to provide fast (and i do mean fast, faster than we currently have) Broadband to the city, by laying fibre to premises using existing conduit (Mainly the sewer system). This will help move Plymouth ahead, and may help force BT to improve the plans for Fibre to the Cabinet in the City!

Well this is my last blog post of the year. Hopefully I will post even more next year, but you can follow the day to day ramblings on twitter – www.twitter.com/limbtec

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Updates

Firstly, it seems Microsoft has finally got round to sorting some of their security holes. On Tuesday MS released 10 new security patches for Office, Internet Explorer, and Operating systems.
Whist mentioning Operating Systems, Apple will release it next version (Snow Leopard) in September, the month before Microsoft’s release of Windows 7.

We have been busy as well, our hosted email can now be on Exchange 2007, and we can offer a reduction if you already have an Outlook License. We are now also partners of WASP, and can provide a range of systems to scan items including EPOS.

We are also working on a new website for a local Cricket Club, which we hope to have up and running soon.

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Microsoft Office Live

Are you a small business, or thinking of starting a business.
have a look at Microsoft’s office live.

Depending on what you want, this could even be free. You get a free domain name, and you will then have a business looking email address.

I always get worried when I see a new business, with a hotmail or gmail address. Even worse when it is an established business.

We are currently working on plans on how we can support businesses using Office Live.

If you want to give it a try (currently free as it is in Beta) but want to have some back up, sign up and contact us we will come and see you and give you free support for the short term whilst we develop our offerings around Office Live.

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