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Samsung Electronics, a global leader in superior element options, nowadays introduced “H-sequence Gen 3,” a new line-up of LED linear modules that points high efficacy and permits handy replacement of fluorescent lights with LED lamps.
“With our new H-sequence, Samsung continues to steer the high-end business segment for LED add-ons through constant expertise innovation,” noted Jacob Tarn, govt vp, LED business team, Samsung Electronics. “we're directing our know-how potential to improving the excellent of LED lighting via significantly enhancing our LED add-ons’ performance and ordinary competitiveness.
Samsung’s H-collection Gen three provides mild efficacy accomplishing as much as 187 lumen per watt (lm/W) at 4000K, which permits LED luminaires using the modules to achieve mild efficacy above 140lm/W, delivering an optic effectivity level of about 86 p.c and LED driver effectivity of approximately 88 p.c.
presently, Samsung presents a few linear LED module line-ups: the V-collection for cost-efficient functions; the M-, S- and F-collection for standard LED lights segments; and now the H-series for high-performance LED products.
Samsung’s H-series Gen three makes use of the LM561C, the mid-energy LED kit with the optimum efficacy in its LM561-sequence line-up. as a result, the H-series Gen 3 has obtained 18 to 26 percent better efficacy than the company’s M-series Gen 2 modules. This function makes the H-series Gen 3 line-up smartly-suited to satisfy DLC premium requisites – technical necessities for LED lighting fixtures options advised by DesignLights Consortium™. DLC requisites are smartly diagnosed within the North American vicinity as a favorite potential of evaluating LED lights items when it comes to efficiency and excellent.
The H-sequence is available in three sizes: 1120mm (four feet.) 560mm (2 feet.) and 280mm/275mm (1 feet.). as the top rate version of the business’s M-series and S-sequence line-ups, the H-sequence has the equal kind elements as those modules (see chart beneath), while featuring a efficiency level that more than satisfies the high demands of the U.S. and ecu luminaire markets.
Samsung’s M-collection has been certified by UL, a product great certification requirements corporation within the U.S., while the S-sequence has been licensed with the aid of CE and ENEC, an identical necessities our bodies in the european. Sharing the form factors and pleasant certifications of Samsung’s M- and S-sequence, the H-sequence makes it possible for lights manufacturers to choose their LED modules in keeping with the particular working circumstances of their applications.
the entire line-up of Samsung’s H-sequence includes:
H-collection Gen3LT-H562C 2020 lm 187 lm/W 560 x 24 CE, ENEC LT-H282C 1010 lm 187 lm/W 280 x 24 LT-HB22D 4040 lm 187 lm/W 1120 x 18 UL/cUL LT-H562D 2020 lm 187 lm/W 560 x 18 LT-H282D 1010 lm 187 lm/W 275 x 18
* 4000K, tp=50℃
Tech planning is a important area when it comes to the growth of your company. don't go away it to the remaining minute!
December 12, 2005 15+ min examine
Opinions expressed through Entrepreneur contributors are their personal.
groups existed earlier than there have been computers, fax machines, telephones and copiers, but few entrepreneurs this present day would need to try to grow a company without the merits up to date counsel expertise can carry. only having entry to the cyber web--with its myriad alternatives for discovering consumers, constructing manufacturers, researching suppliers and communicating with personnel and others--can conveniently justify updating the know-how on your workplace. for many organizations, having the acceptable workplace know-how can mean the difference between a a success growth and one that falls flat on its face.
Managing technology and taking expertise of the opportunities it gives can prove daunting--especially for small-business homeowners who lack an intensive finances and a committed IT department. after all, reaching success during this expertise-dominant period is far more advanced than inserting a private desktop and a printer on a desk. You now ought to remember a way to take capabilities of an IT infrastructure, including a robust community, to compete extra easily. eventually, it's as a lot about vision--and setting up a viable strategy--because it is set specific computing.
Too commonly, companies leap from one system or application to a different but on no account recognize the total advantage of their expertise. without an outlined method, they make bad purchasing choices, undertake ineffective tools, and sometimes event a excessive stage of frustration. companies that excel typically set up technology concepts that help them profit a competitive competencies through charge discounts, technique advancements, quicker time to market, and better quality and repair levels. These businesses regularly exceed the expectations of purchasers, business partners and employees.
developing a Tech StrategyThe smartest agencies embody a method for evaluating their expertise desires and requirements earlier than implementation. Your first step is to behavior an IT/network audit to document the technologies you already have in location and the way they match your goals. you will need to verify the strengths and shortcomings of your present systems and their relative significance to your business ambitions. The audit should cowl right here areas:
expertise is essential to your enterprise, but that doesn't suggest you always must have the newest, most appropriate piece of device or application. here's a way to consider your latest know-how to look no matter if or not it's time to improve:
computers are without doubt to need upgrading on account of a software replace. in case you've lately begun using a brand new edition of an important application equipment and your computer systems' efficiency appears unsatisfactorily sluggish, it can be time to purchase new hardware. in any other case, that you may--and possibly should--make do with what you have. don't lengthen buying new computer systems just because the ones you have got are most effective a couple of years historical, even though. right through that span of time, performance of the models in the marketplace customarily doubles. Forcing valued clientele and personnel to wait on sluggish computer systems can charge you excess of a brand new equipment would.
cell methods should be upgraded without delay if a problem develops as a result of they're your lifeline to valued clientele and suppliers. If purchasers bitch about being kept on dangle, about telephones not ringing or calls no longer being answered, you may need so as to add traces, enhance your answering gadget, or perhaps hire more mobile operators. in case you predict your name quantity to surge sharply--in all probability because of an upcoming new product launch or seasonal buying--you can also are looking to improve your telephone system before situation starts, making bound you've got satisfactory time to enforce a new system, coach personnel and determine all of the bugs.
high-conclusion copiers can charge more than an entire workplace filled with computer systems. state-of-the-art fashions are more and more interchangeable with printers, because of the new generation of digital, network-in a position copiers. Some late-model digital copiers will also scan files and ship faxes. but fancy points don't imply you need one of these expensive machines. improve your copiers in case you adventure or foresee a significant boost within the extent of copies you produce. adding extras such as automatic document feeders and staplers are satisfactory but likely do not justify an upgrade.
The exceptional factor in regards to the march of technology isn't so lots that the machine keeps getting more affordable, or not it's that it continues getting stronger. And whilst you don't need to be on the bleeding edge of expertise adoption, one exception is if you completely need a specific technology that has been delivered very currently. Most new contraptions move through a steep rate decline after an preliminary part of high pricing. if you need something that's currently the latest aspect however that you would be able to reside with out it for ages, that you could keep huge quantities of cash via waiting to purchase until a number of months after it debuts.
What About Upgrading?Even in the event you can't justify procuring new gadget, that doesn't mean your historical tech has to languish. that you could all the time enrich your workplace computers with the aid of making improvements--adding memory or procuring exterior storage devices or sooner processors. Many individuals would rather prolong the lives of their computer systems than do away with them, and upgrading piece through piece can also eliminate the researching curve crucial to adjust to a brand new computing device. you're going to need to be just a little tech-savvy to take care of these enhancements your self--or have entry to a tech savvy worker or chum.
listed here are one of the crucial most constructive and low cost items you may are looking to purchase to convey your older computers lower back up to velocity:
whether you need computer drives to again up your primary hard drives or shop your digital video information, or a portable gigantic-capacity drive to raise a hefty company presentation, there are a few solutions that may also help meet your wants. customer complicated drives, akin to FireWire and FireWire/USB combo tough drives, present any place from a further 20GB to upwards of more than 300GB of storage capacity. Such external drives enable for short switch quotes between techniques and different drives. Most include add-ons and are easy to deploy, making the improve method brief and painless. And in case you're ready to invest in new computers for the workplace, you will always have the additional digital space for storing handy in case you need it.
The bottom line is that even with computer expenditures dropping, the more that you would be able to do to improve your latest machines, the greater money you might be going to shop unless you might be ready to purchase the new machines. in the long run, upgrading one piece at a time means that you can extra extend the constructive lives of your computers without slicing out chunks of your base line.purchasing New expertise
in case you've absolutely determined that you simply need to do greater than improve your present machine and application, although, it be crucial to answer a number of questions when in view that making a new expertise purchase:
once you be aware of what you really want, which you could birth searching round. probably the most average tech products entrepreneurs consider purchasing is new software. but earlier than you rush off to purchase any new programs, bear in mind that you've a couple of factors to trust aside from just the capabilities and fees of the utility. Your selections may still be in response to your business's size, industry, inner corporation, computing environment, technical skills and, of direction, the ever-crucial consumer interface. Even a good product can become being a nuisance if it's no longer intuitive to you as a person.
earlier than you go searching, make sure to consider your business's staple application. For each and every software, draw up a desire checklist of aspects or enhancements that would make the use of the equipment less complicated. often, the answer may well be as simple as an upgrade to the latest edition available. believe hiring an IT professional to check your gadget and enterprise needs and let you know no matter if you even should upgrade. Getting an authority opinion will also be a funds-saving circulation for small-company owners who would favor to spend time maintaining on the latest developments of their industries than on the newest in software.
when you decide you need something new, try it before you purchase it: check out application business sites for downloadable demos that can help you more suitable gauge how convenient their items are to make use of. If a demo version is never purchasable, there is constantly a detailed online tour that offers you a lot more tips than a paper brochure. And before you buy the kit outright, confer with the software business to peer if or not it's bundled with different software or gadget that you simply may be available in the market to purchase anyway. if you're shopping for a brand new accounting equipment or other crucial application, consider doing a "scripted demo," where you enter your information and run through verify eventualities selected to your company's transactions. It can be time-ingesting, but when you buy the incorrect application, it should be more expensive later.
Take a superb study your business and pinpoint those actions that take extra time than you'd like--those that make you mutter to your self "There should be whatever accessible that can try this quicker than i can." little question, there probably is. For that count number, suppose about these activities you under no circumstances appear to have time to do. From equipment for developing sites to time-billing utility, new products might give staggering options to complications you haven't yet resolved. be certain, even though, that the options are price the cash and time you are going to should spend to put into effect them successfully.
A customer relationship management (CRM) answer can support you streamline customer service, simplify sales and advertising efforts, locate new consumers and generate extra profits from current purchasers. you can listing consumer interactions with sales and consumer carrier personnel and retain a centralized database with present consumer assistance that all and sundry on your company can entry. this will enable your whole firm to keep in mind what every client wants and needs and provides you a 360-diploma view of your enterprise 24/7, with a view to help you preserve valued clientele satisfied and raise your final analysis.
improving Your NetworkWhile setting up a standard wired community to your computers and peripherals remains a viable choice, instant networks are getting faster, greater least expensive and more convenient to undertake than ever. turning out to be small agencies which have adopted a wireless solution are already reporting instant paybacks in larger productiveness, flexible utility mobility and improved worker delight.
A wireless infrastructure could make it less complicated to reconfigure your workplace house as your company grows and adjustments. also, the overall cost of a instant native enviornment community (LAN) is relatively economical--it's turn into very within your means during the past few years and costs are carrying on with to drop. And a instant community can support you enhance your productiveness: distinct computers can share printers and a single broadband internet connection without the trouble of working cables through partitions. you can entry your client database whether you are to your workplace or assembly purchasers in a convention room. personnel in the stockroom can update your inventory database in actual-time the usage of wireless PDAs. if you happen to have in mind productivity positive factors, each inner the workplace and at public "scorching spots," going wireless is an evident alternative, specially when compared to the charge of working a Cat 5 community LAN cable during a constructing.
despite the fact, on account that instant networks transmit data over radio waves, that can probably be intercepted, it be important to have a security method on your wireless network. An unprotected instant community is like an unlocked door--and too many small organizations are leaving their doorways extensive open.
below are some steps small corporations can take to make their instant connection greater cozy:
old PCs don't die, and they don't fade away, both. The regular workstation will run virtually continually, and the unsafe chemical compounds inside it'll survive in your native landfill for even longer. how many lengthy-lived-but-obsolete computer systems is your enterprise relocating round amongst staffers? there may be actually some extent of diminishing returns in conserving on to PCs past their leading, in addition to hidden prices in virtually any disposal formulation you opt for. Recycling, promoting them to employees or giving them to charity are all manageable alternate options, however all of them have fees attached--lots of which can also shock you. it be a good idea to have an exit method in your historic hardware--and it should be in region long earlier than the intrinsic cost of your PCs hits zero.
complete depreciation is regularly here earlier than you are aware of it, however there may be first rate news in that admire: The usual middle-of-the-road laptop now has a valuable lifetime of about three years; a excessive-end computing device, about 4 years. but be careful: Nurse an historic notebook along for too lengthy, and productivity suffers--for low-degree staffers in addition to managers. employee effectivity declines together with gadget effectivity, so when utility takes longer to load, displays take longer to redraw and incompatibilities birth to take place, reminiscence enhancements need to be deployed. Most ancient PCs have years of utility left in them--just no longer for you. There are hundreds colleges, neighborhood groups, senior homes and other needy associations that would be satisfied to take them off your fingers. lamentably, donation is an additional of the greater expensive disposal options. by the time you get achieved with moving, quickly storing, delivery, tax listing-retaining, making contractual preparations with the beneficiary, viable checking out and restore, and, of path, dealing with the ever-existing criminal exposure, IDC figures it is going to charge you $344 for every computer donated.
And the felony publicity is true. You might get sued for donating a faulty or virus-contaminated computing device, or you may well be requested to preserve the tax deduction. On the upside, the infrastructure for charitable donations is well-superior, making this option much less time-ingesting.
One ordinary choice for notebook disposal is selling them. IDC says your net out-of-pocket per workstation is $272 if you can sell it to an employee for $a hundred, and $119 in case you sell it to a 3rd-party broker for $200. (remember, charges vary amongst disposal alternate options and you may nevertheless deserve to scrub the machines of company counsel.) The decent news is, the computing device is long past. but in each instances, you need to promote the computing device earlier than its cost reaches zero. and those three years for a mid-range notebook and 4 years for a high-conclusion box go through rapidly. Of path, manufacturers vary. that you can look up the residual price of your computer in the Orion laptop Blue publication. You can buy the latest edition of the Blue book with essentially the most contemporary expenses from the Orion research web site. You can also search for fees for particular person PCs online at $three.ninety nine per shot.
In conventional, lots of pc disposal expenses are realized in tender greenbacks, and a certain quantity of those are mounted. IDC says it is going to charge groups at the least $one hundred fifty for each workstation taken out of carrier. First, there may be the labor concerned in bodily doing away with a gadget and its community add-ons, disconnecting peripherals and scrubbing the complicated pressure of application, passwords and sensitive enterprise information. Then there may be the downtime for employees all through the move. After that, your charges will fluctuate counting on how you choose to dispose of the historic computing device and might encompass fee for things like checking out and restore or, in many circumstances, contractual or different felony expenses.
and do not even suppose about tossing them within the trash. old PCs have chlorinated and brominated substances, Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC), heavy metals, gases, acids and plastic components--and that is the reason only for starters. All these chemical compounds have enormously long half-lives. You need your new condominium sitting on precise of these things? not to mention, the EPA will be all over the place you when you are found out throwing PCs in the trash.
TrainingBuying new expertise is continually just the beginning. If employees are not proficient on how to use the brand new equipment, your enterprise might not get the entire benefit of your investment. you could get employees knowledgeable in virtually any expertise, at any level and any area. Even highly skilled users may need training to use the newest programming and networking equipment.
start your seek practising by quizzing the company that bought you the technology. Many carriers have on-group of workers professional trainers who can come to your web site to teach employees on using new technologies. If no longer, they could likely refer you to a native enterprise that presents appropriate training. that you can also seem to be in the business yellow pages under "practising courses" and "working towards Consultants." you could choose from quite a lot of types of practising: classroom training with a reside teacher may also be done at your business or off-site, in the kind of a short tutorial or continuing sequence of classroom lessons. Having an instructor accessible helps rookies get questions answered.
if you can do with no are living instructor, check out video-based mostly practicing. type begins should you insert a pre-recorded tape or DVD right into a VCR or DVD participant. college students take notes and follow along in workbooks, similar to with reside academics. Video classes can also be repeated any time and are good value. Computerized practicing will also be delivered in a classroom with PCs, or by the use of the net. internet classes let college students opt for the time, location and pace of researching. Some are taught with the aid of an instructor who communicates over the web. college students can combine, mingle and talk about lessons in on-line chat rooms.
Managing Your technology CostsMany company house owners these days tend to set their tech budgets without having performed satisfactory analysis--and therefore have unrealistic expectations about how a good deal expertise really charges. really, many corporations should not have a pretty good understanding of the overall charge of ownership of their technology. When making decisions about technology budgets, organizations may still focal point much less on the technology itself and make choices about how know-how enhances different areas of the enterprise. determine what you deserve to do to run your business more desirable, and then go find the equipment to guide it.
Steps you could take to decrease expertise cost include timely purchases, artful negotiation and internal controls can aid organizations shop megabucks. you could renegotiate present contracts for services such as network guide and consulting. Telecom is especially ripe for bargains. you could beginning by using environment bench marks for fees and auditing bills to make certain you are no longer overpaying. And as a substitute of buying all long-distance, native phone and other telecom functions from one vendor, dual-source it.
you'll want to additionally make certain you need something new expertise you do buy. stock all PCs, printers and utility. search for opportunities to consolidate purchases, standardize configurations and root out duplication. install a gadget to preserve doing it. choose a group of people from IT and other departments, and meet with them regularly to talk about what they need and the way to keep on it.
yet another strategy to retailer cash on tech purchases is purchasing refurbished hardware. Many online producers and sellers have sections of their web sites devoted to clearance retailers. You can also should poke across the web page to discover them, but it's worth checking into if you happen to're on a good finances. Refurbished items are always returns that have been regarded over and checked for functionality. As with auctions, investigate to look if all documentation and application is included. evaluate expenses to what's invariably charged to look if the discounts is worthwhile. commonly warranties are shortened. What could have at the start come with a one-year warranty can also simplest consist of a ninety-day assurance when or not it's bought as refurbished. if you're relaxed with that, go ahead and avoid wasting funds.
searching online for deals is also a good approach to store money to your tech finances. And bargain looking over the internet does not must be time-consuming. net websites equivalent to PriceGrabber.com, PriceSCAN.comand MySimon.comare hubs for price comparisons. they're primarily convenient if you already comprehend what you want and are only attempting to find the lowest rate. do not be blinded via what appear to be staggering bargains. always verify into an internet retailer's recognition when you are no longer already general with it. You probably recognize this already, but all the time use a credit card for your purchases in the event you must dispute charges later.
an additional notable useful resource for hardware is eBay. which you can pick up a wide selection of items--from further cellular telephone batteries to screens and ink cartridges--at expenditures that might make some dealers blush. however eBay is no utopia. You nonetheless ought to verify into the seller's recognition. additionally determine to look if the product you're purchasing is refurbished, if it comes with an long-established warranty or tech aid, and if all documentation and pieces are protected. Some entrepreneurs may additionally make a decision that the discounts are price residing devoid of some or all of these issues. it's no longer decent or dangerous, it be only a count number of figuring out what you feel at ease with.
if you are the classification of grownup who likes to "tackle the merchandise" before you buy, discover a native retailer that you would be able to visit in adult. fees may be a little larger in the event you just stroll into a store, but you also have the safety of getting a actual location to come back the product to in case of an issue. The Sunday advertisements are an outstanding location to compare expenditures, and also you should maintain an eye fixed out for specials and rebates at your local stores.buy or hire?
As immediately as expertise becomes obsolete, it once in a while makes experience to appoint as an alternative of purchase your subsequent round of upgrades. that you can hire or rent most kinds of workplace expertise, together with computer systems, printers, copiers and phone methods. here's how your alternate options stack up:
LeasingIf you're like many small businesses, you might be inclined to rent expensive technology it's likely to become without delay old-fashioned. Leasing permits you to get better-conclusion, extra costly gear whereas decreasing upfront outlays. month-to-month funds will additionally constantly be lessen than those for credit score-bought equipment. might be most important, despite the fact, you are transferring the possibility of obsolescence to someone else. If that excessive-conclusion notebook is a clunker with the aid of rent's end, just hand it returned to the proprietor and get a new model. examine the terms of your lease carefully. Scrutinize your alternate options for the end of the rent. You could be in a position to purchase the equipment for a small further price if you want to.
The capacity to have the latest machine is leasing's number-one perceived improvement and you may have predictable monthly costs. With a hire, you have a pre-decided month-to-month line merchandise, that could aid you funds more with ease. Many small companies fight with money circulate and ought to keep their coffers as full as viable, and leasing capability you won't ought to make investments cash up entrance. because leases hardly require a down charge, that you would be able to purchase new machine with out tapping plenty-crucial dollars.
The downside of leasing is that you'll pay extra in the long run. in the end, leasing is almost always more costly than paying for. as an example, a $4,000 computing device would cost a total of $5,760 if leased for 3 years at $160 per thirty days, however only $four,000 (plus income tax) if purchased outright.
and also you're obligated to maintain paying even though you stop the use of the gadget. depending on the lease phrases, you may also need to make funds for the whole rent period, notwithstanding you now not want the equipment, that could turn up if your company adjustments.
BuyingBuying your machine costs extra upfront. when you are purchasing on an installment plan in preference to paying money, month-to-month payments are always better. It can be comforting to understand you own your machine as opposed to employ it, but you may find yourself with an out-of-date desktop correct as you put the closing sign in the mail. one of the most benefits of purchasing is that it be less difficult than leasing. purchasing device is easy--you decide what you want, then go out and buy it. taking out a lease, although, includes as a minimum some paperwork, as leasing businesses commonly ask for particular, up-to-date fiscal counsel. They may additionally additionally ask how and the place the leased gadget may be used. also, hire terms will also be advanced to negotiate. And in case you don't negotiate properly, you could emerge as paying greater than you'll want to or obtain adverse phrases.
in the event you buy equipment, you name the shots concerning preservation. machine leases often require you to retain machine in response to the leasing enterprise's requisites, and that may get costly. if you buy the machine outright, you assess the maintenance agenda your self. buying gadget is also tax deductible. section 179 of the IRS code means that you can deduct the full can charge of newly purchased assets, reminiscent of computing device gadget, in the first year. With most leases liked by means of small agencies--called working leases--which you could only deduct the month-to-month payment.
The risks of purchasing machine is that the initial outlay can be too an awful lot. Your company might also should tie up traces of credit or cough up a hefty sum to acquire the gadget it wants. those strains of credit score and dollars may be used elsewhere for advertising, promoting or different functions that can assist develop your company.
and eventually, you might be stuck with outdated equipment. As mentioned previous, computer know-how turns into out of date without delay. A becoming small company may wish to refresh its know-how in some areas every 18 months. That capacity you're finally caught with out of date machine that you just have to donate, promote or recycle.
Contingency PlanYou on no account know how a good deal you rely on technology until you do not have entry to it anymore. If a disaster strikes, you may additionally no longer best endure direct losses of statistics and hardware, but indirect losses as a result of downtime. however with some foresight and planning, that you would be able to steer clear of sustained downtime--and lost profits.
First, create a broad, holistic plan to make certain business continuity, no longer just catastrophe recuperation. This plan should contain each a part of your company, similar to methods, operations, belongings, personnel and so forth. Your overall purpose: to avoid company disruption--then reduce it if it does turn up. To this end, remember to:
Apple’s existing 27-inch Thunderbolt video display is over 5 years historic and badly in need of an update. despite the fact excellent a 2560×1440 27-inch display may have been in 2011, it’s now not worth its $999 cost tag these days. New rumors suggest Apple is engaged on an updated 5K edition of the video display with Thunderbolt three help, and Apple may additionally have blanketed its own onboard GPU to be certain the monitor is at all times driven by using a appropriate pix card. The panel itself is reportedly very akin to the Retina panels Apple already uses with help for the DCI P3 colour general.
in line with 9to5 Mac’s sources, inventory of the present Thunderbolt display is drying up. That’s typically a sign that Apple intends to launch an drawing close product replace, and that’s where things delivery to get unique. probably the most issues with transport an impartial 5K reveal is that it’s complex to ensure that the vast majority of purchasers who may purchase the sort of reveal can definitely use it with their current hardware. this is especially authentic of desktop GPUs, which are usually less effective than their computing device counterparts. one of the problems with calling this better resolution “5K” is that it implies only a modest development over 4K. 4K changed into a very good advertising and marketing time period, since the new decision happened to include 4x the pixels of 1080p. 5K sounds love it’s only a 25% growth over 4K, but it surely really carries 1.77x extra pixels — and 14.seventy five megapixels is adequate to carry some computing device GPUs to their knees, even on the computer.
Apple’s answer to this issue is apparently to equip an external GPU without delay within the video display. while that might seem to be unusual, it really makes an outstanding deal of experience. Apple already built itself a custom timing controller chip for its 2014 5K iMac, and it could possibly keep it up using that chip with an built-in GPU.
There’s one issue that makes this movement a tad odd. The sign is carried via Thunderbolt three, which capability simplest future Macs with Thunderbolt three connectors would be in a position to use the hardware at 5K (the monitor would remain appropriate with older Macs when used at a reduce resolution). Then once again, Apple is typical for positioning itself on the innovative of know-how specifications, even when these requirements aren’t purchasable to most americans.Can Thunderbolt three force 5K?
There’s absolute confidence that Apple can drive 5K in the monitor, on account that they’ve been doing it for years with the 5K Retina iMac. The larger question is whether external Thunderbolt 3 has sufficient horsepower to deal with the signal. while Thunderbolt three’s 40Gbps transfer fee is greater than enough bandwidth for 5K, TB3 makes use of DisplayPort 1.2, now not the newer DP 1.3 or 1.4 requirements that explicitly permit for 5K.
i suspect the rationale Intel can support 5K over DisplayPort 1.2 is because Thunderbolt 3 implements as much as eight lanes of DisplayPort 1.2 (there are 4 lanes in a regular DP1.2 configuration). here is admittedly hypothesis on my half, however makes feel — if Intel can gang these lanes collectively it could have greater than ample bandwidth to feed a 5K@60Hz move.
We’ll ought to wait and spot what Apple proclaims before we understand how the business has pulled this off, however’s unique to see extra corporations adopting exterior images, notwithstanding here is the first time somebody has shoved a GPU right into a video display. Intel collaborated with each AMD and Razer in setting up their XConnect external GPU hardware, and while there may additionally not be an immediate link between Intel’s work on Thunderbolt 3’s pics certification and Apple’s rumored 27-inch iMac, we’d be surprised if a few of that work didn’t lift over into products like this. Supposedly OS X can be in a position to sizzling-swapping between the screen’s GPU and the integrated hardware on a computer or Mac pro, though there won’t be any manner to make use of the two images playing cards together.
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AUSTIN, Texas • One by one they gather, some bringing cans of corn and beans, others just bringing themselves. One man brings a plant he calls coffee kale — a plant he’s only watered with freshly poured java, hoping to give it that extra kick.
“Anybody hungry? Let’s get this party started,” says tonight’s amateur chef, Jessica Mitchell.
They’ve come to make soup, that most simple of dishes. And they've come to make it together — all the while fashioning something far more complex, far more meaningful than just a meal.
Here, across the fence line from Austin’s city limits, exists a community of nearly 170 people who have lived years — sometimes decades — without a home. And living in their midst are about 50 people who have never known life on the streets: a cardiovascular sonographer, recent college graduates, retired pastors and even a high-ranking executive of a multi-billion dollar international technology company.
This Community First! Village sits at the forefront of a national movement to house homeless people in tiny homes, often because other solutions are too expensive or simply haven't worked.
In diverse cities including Seattle, Kansas City and Springfield, Mo., these villages mark the latest trend in a deadly serious effort to get homeless people off the streets and within the safety of four walls and a roof. The goal: Offer help before individuals succumb to the elements, violence, addiction, depression or other ticking time bombs that accompany a life spent surviving outside.
Some wonder if Colorado Springs should be the next city to join the movement.
Off a dusty, potholed road just outside the Colorado Springs Airport is an 18-acre tract where an Austin farmer and entrepreneur has set his sights on creating his own tiny house village for the homeless. The compound he envisions for this barren piece of land would immediately rank as Colorado's largest and among the largest in the nation, with 200 tiny homes and 50 recreational vehicles.
Joe Basel, 33, is not associated with Community First!, but he does not hesitate to reference it as his key inspiration. But Basel's vision differs in major ways from the Austin operation, which has robust substance abuse and medical services on site. Basel said his version might not cater solely to the chronically homeless.
For it to happen, he'd first need approval for a use variance by the Colorado Springs Planning Commission because the land is near an airport runway.
While no development plans have been submitted, Colorado Springs' point man in addressing homelessness says the concept is promising — if executed correctly.
"I support the idea of a tiny home village for the homeless under really one circumstance, and that is there are adequate services provided on the campus,” said Andrew Phelps, the city's homelessness prevention and response coordinator. "And that’s one of the things I think has made the Community First! Village (in Austin) so successful. It’s more than just buildings. It’s about building a healthy community for folks with wraparound services so people can continue to heal and find self-sufficiency.”+14
Shorty Joe gives Gumby, one of the community’s cats, a hug while relaxing in the community garden Tuesday, April 23, 2019. Joe, who was homeless in the Austin, Texas, area for 31 years, has lived the Community First! Village since November of 2016. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE
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Now the question is: Can a village such as the one in Texas be replicated in Colorado Springs?
On this night in Austin, someone new is spending his first night in the Community First! Village.
Carrying a can of vegetables, a spoon and a Tupperware container doubling as his bowl for the evening, Byron Burns walked sheepishly up the wooden ramp to the kitchen, offering his share for the meal.
He’s camped in Austin’s woods along a bus line since 2015. And his mother in nearby Bastrop has worked to get him here, indoors and in this community.
His face is a splitting image of singer-songwriter Jason Isbell, with a sculpted chin and steely gaze. But his voice is almost a whisper — underscoring his wariness of social gatherings.
“There’s a good sense of community,” says Burns, 45, of his new surroundings.+14
Missional Jessica Mitchell serves Byron Burns a bowl of soup on his first night as a resident of Community First! Village Tuesday, April 23, 2019, during Stone Soup Night at one of the community kitchens. People bring a bowl and contribute a food item to the soup then share dinner and conversations with other residents, staff, interns and missionals. Burns, 45, had been camping in the woods of Austin since 2015. After the meal, he returned to his tiny home for a good night’s sleep. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE
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To the east are 150 houses of 180 to 200 square feet, and to the west are 100 recreational vehicles, each lining roads with names such as Peaceful Path and Grace & Mercy Trail. None of the tiny houses has plumbing. They’re spartan but do have refrigerators, microwaves, crock-pots and quick-boil kettles.
Interspersed between the tiny houses are community bathhouses, kitchens and laundry rooms. Most of the residents formerly met the federal definition of chronically homeless: a person with a disabling condition who has been homeless a year or more, or who has had at least four episodes of homelessness over the past three years.
They don't have to be sober. Their only strict mandate is to pay $220 to $440 in monthly rent or face eviction.
To help meet that rent, the nonprofit offers myriad jobs to the residents, including maintenance and grounds-keeping, and gives them free produce grown on the premises.
On this evening, Burns doesn’t stay long — just enough to finish his soup, down it with a little grape soda and thank his hosts for the meal.
Then he walks down the steps and toward his own pre-furnished tiny home and his first night indoors in more than four years. He knows what’s in store. Along the way, he made a softly spoken prediction.
“I think I’m going to sleep peacefully.”+14
Resident Sherri Taylor walks back to her home with her organ, sign and Easter hat after the Monday morning breakfast gathering at Riverbend Church’s Outpost Monday, April 22, 2019, in Community First! Village in Austin, Texas. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE
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Does tiny have true potential?
The village here is unique for its size. But it’s far from alone.
Tiny house villages catering to homeless people have taken root in cities across the nation in recent years, including in Denver, where a village of about a dozen tiny homes has garnered praise from University of Denver researchers for its effectiveness.
In Colorado Springs, one-time mayoral candidate Juliette Parker has worked for a couple of years to create a tiny house village through her nonprofit MENDA, Meaningful Empowerment through New Development and Art. Her biggest roadblock — as with so many tiny house initiatives — has been finding land for it. Parker's efforts are not related to Basel's plan.
Fueling this nationwide push for tiny house villages is a steady climb in homelessness across many cities, coupled with a dire shortage in affordable housing that has left people stuck in shelters without much hope of moving out.
In tiny houses, some nonprofits have found a relatively cheap way to bring chronically homeless people indoors, where they finally can begin to address the deeper issues of addiction, poor health and joblessness that kept them on the streets for years.
But no two communities are alike, leaving advocates for homeless people uncertain about their true potential to help.
Some villages consist of little more than huts of less than 100 square feet placed on concrete blocks. Others, including this one abutting Austin, resemble carefully planned communities.
Are such homeless-centric tiny home villages offering respectable dwellings where anyone would want to live? Or do they amount to makeshift shanties — providing little more than shelter without access to nearby services such as food, medical and behavioral health care?
With so much variation between manufacturers, offering a blanket endorsement for the concept is impossible, said Eric Tars, senior attorney for the Washington D.C.-based National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.
“Our goal is that everybody be able to enjoy the human right to housing — to fully adequate housing," Tars said. "And where tiny homes fall on that is often somewhat fact dependent.
“Tiny homes look really cute when you first build them and they have a fresh coat of paint on them. But my concern is that without proper maintenance, these essentially become shantytowns. And that we end up segregating a huge swath of people, poor people, into these shanty villages. Then some of the complaints that occur around regular encampments start to crop up.”+14
Missional Jessica Mitchell gives Avery Keener, 9, a ride on her tricycle after Stone Soup Night in the Community First! Village Tuesday, April 23, 2019. Keener lives in the community with her mother, Robin Draper, who is on staff and was once homeless. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE
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The man who created this Texas village is quick to answer those concerns.
“Part of the big mistake of the tiny home movement — in terms of homelessness — is a failure to understand what we’re really trying to accomplish,” said Alan Graham, 63, sitting on the porch of his own tiny house in the Community First! Village. “It’s all about community. Housing will never solve homelessness, but community will.”
Graham's path to tiny houses started with a food truck.
It wasn’t the type of food truck so popular at breweries these days. Rather, it was a glorified pickup chock-full of food — all newly prepared, no leftovers — that met people where they were rather than forcing them to trudge to a central location.
Those early meetings were critical to what would happen over the next nearly two decades. No longer was he standing behind a counter ladling out the soup. Instead, he stood on the same side of that meal counter as the people seeking his food.
“It required this intimate, human-to-human, heart-to-heart relationship,” Graham said. “And that, to my mind, was the game changer. Because now you’re building a relationship with somebody.”
And as he got to know those people more, he became more curious.
In 2003, he and about a dozen other advocates spent three nights sleeping outside with the same people visiting his food truck. The experience changed his entire perception of homelessness.
“And now you’re beginning to really learn their stories,” Graham said. “And I began to realize and put all the pieces together that what they really lacked was family.
“It’s an infinite number of ways that that family gets fractured, but for the most part, it's fractured extraordinarily early on. You know: single mothers, no fathers, father’s in prison, drug and alcohol abuse — all of that kind of stuff that leads to that profound catastrophic loss of family.”
Graham started by offering one person an RV, but he quickly set his sights on creating a village where he could offer a community, one that would stand for family.
His initial site in Austin garnered intense “not in my backyard” opposition. He turned to Texas’ unique land-use rules, where zoning generally doesn’t exist in unincorporated areas. So literally on the other side of Austin’s eastern city limits, he set up shop — raising millions of dollars and creating his own small city on 51 acres.
Here, none of the tiny houses has back doors. Their front doors all face at least a few other units — packed so closely that neighbors could sit on their own front porches and easily converse.
“The world thinks it's housing and a shortage of housing, affordable housing …. “(but) people need to live in a community. People need to be around people that care about who they are.”+14
Shorty Joe gives Gumby, one of the community’s cats, a hug while relaxing in the community garden Tuesday, April 23, 2019. Joe, who was homeless in the Austin, Texas, area for 31 years, has lived the Community First! Village since November of 2016. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE
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Village offers goods, services
Almost every inch of this village is geared toward instilling a sense of community.
On a recent Tuesday morning, a few hundred yards from Graham’s front porch, an open-air kitchen bustled with activity ahead of a community brunch as three people — a formerly homeless tenant, a faith-based mentor and a volunteer — cooked sausage, bacon and eggs laid by hens living on the village’s nearby farm.
Down the street — called Goodness Way — several men wrenched away and earned a paycheck in an auto shop where tiny house tenants do emissions tests, oil changes and car washes, among other services. The tools and machinery — including a 12,000-pound car lift — were donated by Austin auto dealer Charles Maund Toyota, which also trained the residents in mechanics.
Farther down the road sat the Community Market — a small store packed with paintings, small sculptures and jewelry made by residents to sell to the outside community.
Some of the figurines were forged at the community’s own blacksmith shop, where a staff member works the kiln and trains people newly off the streets. He has even held a metal-working competition here that’s open to the public. Other items for sale were made by tenants at the village’s woodworking shop.
A 40-feet-wide outdoor cinema sits at the end of the road. It was sponsored by a downtown draft house. And every Friday night, families from surrounding neighborhoods gather with village residents for free community movie nights.
About a dozen RVs and teepees, too, provide Airbnb accommodations for people visiting this vibrant city. A few of the Airbnb units resemble the tiny houses that residents here call home. These line a creek bed lush with flowers.
At the main entrance, a bus stop draws people heading downtown or elsewhere to work. Austin’s buses never went this far east before the village took root, but the nonprofit’s leaders managed to persuade the city to extend a line so residents — most of whom don’t have cars — could get around.
The amenities are important to the village’s success, Graham said. But even more important are people like him, who have never been homeless but who choose to live here.
People like Pablo Rangel, 48. Despite having never been homeless, he signed a one-year lease to live with his two young daughters in this village and act as a Christian mentor to tenants who are newly off the streets. They're called "missionals," and they come from all walks of life.
“I've seen miracles here, and I see them every day," Rangel said.
It’s a sight, he says, that every city should have the opportunity to witness.
At the center of this community, a thriving garden grows almost every vegetable imaginable. On this overcast morning, a dozen people plow the ground by hand and pick mulberries and kumquats. Volunteers provide a constant source of produce, most of it free to village residents.
Activities such as these help people make the transition from life on the streets, said Heidi Sloan, 33, director of the Genesis Gardens.
“One of the big things that’s a struggle for people when they first move out here is having a reason to get up and do something in the morning and figuring out how to manage their own time,” Sloan said.
A garden "needs you," she said, "but it’s not a person that needs you, because that can be really messy and intimidating to start out with. A plant that needs you, or an animal that needs you, is a really safe place to start wanting to be needed and seen in that way again.”+14
Resident Ellis Johnston, center, works in the Community First! Village garden Tuesday, April 23, 2019, with volunteers Erik Schuchmann, left, and Liz Rosa from Ojo Labs in Austin. Johnston, who was homeless for eight years, sleeping on the streets of Austin and under a downtown bridge, is one of the main gardeners in Community First! Village. The produce from the garden and eggs from community’s chickens are free to residents. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE
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Keeping all of this going is a perpetual effort, said Amber Fogarty, president of Mobile Loaves & Fishes, the nonprofit that operates the Community First! Village.
Donations provide about $4.4 million of the nonprofit’s $6 million annual operating budget. No funds come from the government; it’s all private money. And most of that goes to pay the nonprofit’s roughly 60 staff members, who maintain the grounds and operate the many programs.
“In order to make it self-sustained based on rent, you’d have to charge rent that is unaffordable for the people you serve,” Fogarty said.
That's a distinct contrast with the nascent plans for a tiny house village in Colorado Springs.
Basel plans to use his partner company, Paradigm Partners, to help finance and build the village for at least $14 million.
He said a “substantial portion” of cash rent collected at the village would go toward “maintenance and debt services and paying back the money we borrowed,” and the village might be profitable “someday.” He then plans to create a nonprofit that would seek donations to help provide services at the village.
The Austin village's substantial fundraising heft can be attributed to the trust it has established with the surrounding community and its donors, Fogarty said. “We’ve built a lot of trust, and I think we’ve done something that inspires people,” she said.
Last fall, the Texas nonprofit broke ground on a massive expansion to the west to accommodate another 300 tiny homes and RVs, bringing its capacity to about 550 people.
Once it’s finished, the nonprofit should be able to house nearly a quarter of the 2,200 or so people counted during the city’s federally mandated Point in Time homeless count, and about half of the people who said they were unsheltered.+14
Streets in the Community First! Village are named with positive messages. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE
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Tiny house villages being considered elsewhere would be well-served following the Community First! model, said Austin advocates, calling it a blessing for the city and surrounding Travis County.
“We think the tent is big and welcome all strategies that are willing to work with clients who are chronically homeless,” said Ann Howard, executive director of the Continuum of Care for Travis County, which coordinates the area’s homelessness response. “And Community First! definitely does that.
“We sort of look at them as a housing provider, but they’re much more than that. From our focus, we try to find places where people can live and maintain that housing. I usually describe it as heaven on Earth for some.”
Since the village’s inception in 2015, it has boasted 85 percent retention, Fogarty said. Slightly fewer than a dozen people were kicked out for not paying rent. And others were told to leave for bad behavior.
A major key is the health care and substance abuse treatment services on the premises.
Many people here continue using drugs or alcohol after they move in. Such behavior is allowed as long as it remains indoors and doesn't affect any neighbors.
It's all part of the Housing First ethos — a research-proven, federally endorsed strategy for helping chronically homeless people get off the streets. It entails prioritizing housing above all — even job assistance or substance abuse treatment — because people otherwise are far less likely to overcome the core issues that led to being homeless.
For people such as Vanessa Yancey, 52, who has struggled with a crack addiction, that approach was a lifesaver.
“If this place hadn’t rescued me, to be honest, I think I’d probably be dead,” Yancey said. "The way I was doing it was ridiculous. I’d sometimes stay up for days and days, and then I’d sleep for days and days.”
She sobered up nine months ago after using the drug here for years. She now lives in one of the RVs.
“You have your own place — you have a key that you can go and come as you please,” Yancey said. “You ain’t got to go sit up under a bridge or sleep under a bridge. It’s home — finally home.+14
Helen Hopkins, right, shows a visitor her tiny home Monday, April 22, 2019, in the Community First! Village. Hopkins has lived in the community just outside the city limits of Austin for two years. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE
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Springs officials to visit Austin
Clad in a black leather Harley Davidson jacket and sporting a dark, almost burgundy beard, Basel steps in his black cowboy boots across a flat plot of land on Colorado Springs’ far east side. Not much is here but still leafless trees, prairie grass and a few dirt roads. With nothing to stop it, the wind blows a little harder, a little colder.
On the western edge is Sand Creek and a couple of abandoned homeless camps strewn with trash.
Basel said the property’s owner is a partner, along with about four other people, including him. Here at 5501 E. Pikes Peak Ave., they want to create the nation’s next major tiny house village.
“You will never see a piece of trash on this property ever again,” Basel said.
Already, he counts City Council President Richard Skorman among his early supporters. Skorman plans to visit the Texas village with Councilwoman Jill Gaebler, El Paso County commissioner Stan VanderWerf and Phelps later this month.
As at the Austin community, Basel said, sobriety won’t be required at his village. The only mandate will be to pay rent, probably $350 a month.
Whether it will serve as many chronically homeless people, however, remains unclear.
Basel plans to erect about 200 tiny houses — all without plumbing — that circle community bathhouses, showers and kitchens. Another 50 RVs would dot the property too.
Basel said his community likely would employ fewer people and provide fewer resources for residents. He also isn’t set on whether it will cater as heavily to chronically homeless people or will hew slightly closer to workforce or senior housing.
“We just don’t know yet,” he said. “Our heart is for the individuals who are falling through the gaps currently, and we’re prepared to do whatever it takes to love them.”
To prove he's serious, he plans to move with his wife and children, ages 4 and 2, into a tiny home on this dusty property in the airport's flight path while the village is developed.
The tentative name is Sand Creek Village, for the trickling stream on its western flank. The creek, he says, "is definitely the feature that makes this site a high-end resort, as compared to a slum.
"And that’s our intention — is to build a beautiful high-end resort that anyone in Colorado Springs would love to live in someday.”
Still, whether Austin's feat can be replicated in Colorado Springs remains to be seen.
That village took years of work and decades of relationships forged with well-heeled donors. Its leaders credit a massive network of volunteers who visit the campus daily to keep it running.
Most important, many say, is the village's leader and founder, Alan Graham.
"It works because you’ve got committed people involved,” said Patrick Howard, executive director and CEO of the Housing Authority of Travis County. "And to me, that makes all the difference in the world.
“If you can find an Alan in your community, you can make it happen. But it’s got to be an Alan type person to do that. And he didn’t do it alone — he had a collective group of people that he convinced: 'Hey this is something that needs to be done.'”
Tech planning is a critical area when it comes to the growth of your business. Don't leave it to the last minute!
December 12, 2005 15+ min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Businesses existed before there were computers, fax machines, telephones and copiers, but few entrepreneurs these days would want to try to grow a company without the advantages modern information technology can bring. Merely having access to the internet--with its myriad opportunities for finding customers, building brands, researching suppliers and communicating with employees and others--can easily justify updating the technology in your office. For many companies, having the appropriate office technology can mean the difference between a successful expansion and one that falls flat on its face.
Managing technology and taking advantage of the opportunities it provides can prove daunting--particularly for small-business owners who lack an extensive budget and a dedicated IT department. After all, achieving success in this technology-dominant era is far more complicated than putting a personal computer and a printer on a desk. You now have to understand how to take advantage of an IT infrastructure, including a robust network, to compete more effectively. Ultimately, it's as much about vision--and developing a viable strategy--as it is about actual computing.
Too often, companies jump from one system or application to another but never realize the full benefit of their technology. Without a defined strategy, they make poor buying decisions, adopt ineffective tools, and often experience a high level of frustration. Businesses that excel typically establish technology strategies that help them gain a competitive advantage through cost savings, process improvements, faster time to market, and improved quality and service levels. These firms often exceed the expectations of customers, business partners and employees.
Developing a Tech StrategyThe smartest companies embrace a process for evaluating their technology goals and requirements before implementation. Your first step is to conduct an IT/network audit to document the technologies you already have in place and how they match your goals. You'll want to determine the strengths and shortcomings of your current systems and their relative importance to your business objectives. The audit should cover the following areas:
Technology is vital to your business, but that doesn't mean you always have to have the latest, greatest piece of equipment or software. Here's how to evaluate your current technology to see whether it's time to upgrade:
Computers are most likely to need upgrading as a result of a software update. If you've recently begun using a new version of an important software package and your computers' performance seems unsatisfactorily slow, it may be time to buy new hardware. Otherwise, you can--and probably should--make do with what you have. Don't delay buying new computers just because the ones you have are only a few years old, though. During that span of time, performance of the models on the market typically doubles. Forcing customers and employees to wait on slow computers can cost you far more than a new system would.
Telephone systems should be upgraded quickly if a problem develops because they're your lifeline to customers and suppliers. If customers complain about being kept on hold, about phones not ringing or calls not being answered, you may need to add lines, improve your answering system, or perhaps hire more telephone operators. If you expect your call volume to surge sharply--perhaps because of an upcoming new product launch or seasonal buying--you may want to upgrade your phone system before trouble starts, making sure you have enough time to implement a new system, train employees and work out all the bugs.
High-end copiers can cost more than a whole office full of computers. Today's models are increasingly interchangeable with printers, thanks to the new generation of digital, network-ready copiers. Some late-model digital copiers will also scan documents and send faxes. But fancy features don't mean you need one of these costly machines. Upgrade your copiers when you experience or foresee a significant increase in the volume of copies you produce. Adding extras such as automatic document feeders and staplers are nice but probably don't justify an upgrade.
The great thing about the march of technology is not so much that the equipment keeps getting cheaper, it's that it keeps getting better. And while you don't want to be on the bleeding edge of technology adoption, one exception is when you absolutely need a specific technology that has been introduced very recently. Most new gadgets go through a steep price decline after an initial phase of high pricing. If you need something that's currently the latest thing but you can live without it for a while, you can save significant amounts of money by waiting to purchase until several months after it debuts.
What About Upgrading?Even when you can't justify purchasing new equipment, that doesn't mean your old tech has to languish. You can always improve your office computers by making upgrades--adding memory or purchasing external storage devices or faster processors. Many people would rather prolong the lives of their computers than get rid of them, and upgrading piece by piece can also eliminate the learning curve needed to adjust to a new machine. You'll need to be somewhat tech-savvy to take care of these upgrades yourself--or have access to a tech savvy employee or friend.
Here are some of the most effective and least expensive items you may want to buy to bring your older computers back up to speed:
Whether you need desktop drives to back up your primary hard drives or store your digital video files, or a portable large-capacity drive to carry a hefty business presentation, there are several solutions that may help meet your needs. Consumer hard drives, such as FireWire and FireWire/USB combo hard drives, offer anywhere from an extra 20GB to upwards of more than 300GB of storage capacity. Such external drives allow for quick transfer rates between systems and other drives. Most come with accessories and are easy to install, making the upgrade process quick and painless. And when you're ready to invest in new computers for the office, you'll always have the extra digital storage space on hand should you need it.
The bottom line is that even with computer prices dropping, the more you can do to upgrade your existing machines, the more money you're going to save until you're ready to purchase the new machines. In the long run, upgrading one piece at a time allows you to further extend the effective lives of your computers without cutting out chunks of your bottom line.Purchasing New Technology
If you've absolutely decided that you need to do more than upgrade your current equipment and software, however, it's important to answer a few questions when considering making a new technology purchase:
Once you know what you really need, you can start shopping around. One of the most common tech products entrepreneurs consider purchasing is new software. But before you rush off to buy any new programs, keep in mind that you have several factors to consider other than just the capabilities and costs of the software. Your selections should be based on your company's size, industry, internal organization, computing environment, technical expertise and, of course, the ever-important user interface. Even a great product can end up being a nuisance if it's not intuitive to you as a user.
Before you go shopping, be sure to evaluate your company's staple software. For each program, draw up a wish list of features or enhancements that would make using the package easier. Often, the solution may be as simple as an upgrade to the latest version available. Consider hiring an IT professional to examine your system and business needs and tell you whether you even need to upgrade. Getting an expert opinion can be a money-saving move for small-business owners who would prefer to spend time keeping up on the latest developments in their industries than on the latest in software.
Once you decide you need something new, try it before you buy it: Check out software company websites for downloadable demos that can help you better gauge how easy their products are to use. If a demo version isn't available, there's usually a detailed online tour that gives you a lot more information than a paper brochure. And before you buy the package outright, check with the software company to see if it's bundled with other software or equipment that you might be in the market to buy anyway. If you're shopping for a new accounting package or other critical software, consider doing a "scripted demo," where you enter your data and run through test scenarios specific to your business's transactions. It may be time-consuming, but if you buy the wrong software, it will be more costly later.
Take a good look at your business and pinpoint those activities that take more time than you'd like--the ones that make you mutter to yourself "There must be something out there that can do this quicker than I can." No doubt, there probably is. For that matter, think about those activities you never seem to have time to do. From tools for creating websites to time-billing software, new products could provide brilliant solutions to problems you haven't yet resolved. Make sure, though, that the solutions are worth the money and time you'll have to spend to implement them successfully.
A customer relationship management (CRM) solution can help you streamline customer service, simplify sales and marketing efforts, find new customers and generate more revenue from existing customers. You can record customer interactions with sales and customer service personnel and keep a centralized database with current customer information that everyone in your company can access. This will allow your entire organization to understand what each customer wants and needs and give you a 360-degree view of your business 24/7, which will help you keep customers happy and boost your bottom line.
Improving Your NetworkWhile setting up a traditional wired network for your computers and peripherals is still a viable option, wireless networks are becoming faster, more affordable and easier to adopt than ever. Growing small businesses that have adopted a wireless solution are already reporting immediate paybacks in higher productivity, flexible application mobility and greater worker satisfaction.
A wireless infrastructure can make it easier to reconfigure your office space as your company grows and changes. Also, the total cost of a wireless local area network (LAN) is relatively inexpensive--it's become very affordable in the past few years and prices are continuing to drop. And a wireless network can help you improve your productivity: Multiple computers can share printers and a single broadband internet connection without the hassle of running cables through walls. You can access your customer database whether you're in your office or meeting clients in a conference room. Employees in the stockroom can update your inventory database in real-time using wireless PDAs. When you take into account productivity gains, both inside the office and at public "hot spots," going wireless is an obvious choice, especially when compared to the cost of running a Cat 5 network LAN cable throughout a building.
However, since wireless networks transmit data over radio waves, which can potentially be intercepted, it's important to have a security strategy for your wireless network. An unprotected wireless network is like an unlocked door--and too many small businesses are leaving their doors wide open.
Below are some steps small businesses can take to make their wireless connection more secure:
Old PCs don't die, and they don't fade away, either. The average PC will run almost forever, and the harmful chemicals inside it will survive in your local landfill for even longer. How many long-lived-but-obsolete computers is your company moving around among staffers? There's definitely a point of diminishing returns in holding on to PCs past their prime, as well as hidden costs in just about any disposal method you choose. Recycling, selling them to employees or giving them to charity are all viable options, but they all have costs attached--many of which may surprise you. It's a good idea to have an exit strategy for your old hardware--and it should be in place long before the intrinsic value of your PCs hits zero.
Complete depreciation is often here before you know it, but there's good news in that respect: The average middle-of-the-road PC now has a useful life of about three years; a high-end desktop, about four years. But be careful: Nurse an old PC along for too long, and productivity suffers--for low-level staffers as well as managers. Worker efficiency declines along with equipment efficiency, so when software takes longer to load, screens take longer to redraw and incompatibilities start to occur, memory upgrades need to be deployed. Most old PCs have years of utility left in them--just not for you. There are tons of schools, community groups, senior homes and other needy institutions that would be happy to take them off your hands. Unfortunately, donation is another of the more costly disposal options. By the time you get done with moving, temporarily storing, shipping, tax record-keeping, making contractual arrangements with the beneficiary, possible testing and repair, and, of course, facing the ever-present legal exposure, IDC figures it will cost you $344 for each PC donated.
And the legal exposure is real. You could get sued for donating a defective or virus-infected computer, or you may be asked to defend the tax deduction. On the upside, the infrastructure for charitable donations is well-advanced, making this option less time-consuming.
One popular option for PC disposal is selling them. IDC says your net out-of-pocket per PC is $272 if you can sell it to an employee for $100, and $119 if you sell it to a third-party broker for $200. (Remember, costs vary among disposal options and you'll still need to scrub the machines of company information.) The good news is, the PC is gone. But in both cases, you have to sell the PC before its value reaches zero. And those three years for a mid-range PC and four years for a high-end box go by quickly. Of course, brands vary. You can look up the residual value of your PC in the Orion Computer Blue Book. You can purchase the latest version of the Blue Book with the most recent prices from the Orion Research website. You also can look up prices for individual PCs online at $3.99 per shot.
In general, a lot of PC disposal costs are realized in soft dollars, and a certain amount of those are fixed. IDC says it will cost companies at least $150 for every PC taken out of service. First, there's the labor involved in physically removing a system and its network components, disconnecting peripherals and scrubbing the hard drive of software, passwords and sensitive company files. Then there's the downtime for employees during the move. After that, your costs will vary depending on how you choose to dispose of the old PC and may include payment for things like testing and repair or, in many cases, contractual or other legal costs.
And don't even think about tossing them in the trash. Old PCs have chlorinated and brominated substances, Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC), heavy metals, gases, acids and plastic additives--and that's just for starters. All those chemicals have incredibly long half-lives. You want your new house sitting on top of this stuff? Not to mention, the EPA will be all over you if you're discovered throwing PCs in the trash.
TrainingBuying new technology is usually just the beginning. If employees aren't trained on how to use the new equipment, your business won't get the full benefit of your investment. You can get employees trained in almost any technology, at any level and any subject. Even highly experienced users may need training to use the latest programming and networking tools.
Start your search for training by quizzing the company that sold you the technology. Many vendors have on-staff professional trainers who can come to your site to train employees on using new technologies. If not, they can probably refer you to a local firm that offers appropriate training. You can also look in the business Yellow Pages under "Training Programs" and "Training Consultants." You can choose from various types of training: Classroom training with a live instructor can be done at your business or off-site, in the form of a short tutorial or continuing series of classroom lessons. Having an instructor on hand helps learners get questions answered.
If you can do without a live teacher, check out video-based training. Class starts when you insert a pre-recorded tape or DVD into a VCR or DVD player. Students take notes and follow along in workbooks, just like with live teachers. Video courses can be repeated any time and are low in cost. Computerized training can be delivered in a classroom with PCs, or via the web. Internet classes let students choose the time, place and pace of learning. Some are taught by an instructor who communicates over the internet. Students can mix, mingle and discuss lessons in online chat rooms.
Managing Your Technology CostsMany business owners today tend to set their tech budgets without having done adequate research--and therefore have unrealistic expectations about how much technology really costs. In fact, many businesses don't have a good understanding of the total cost of ownership of their technology. When making decisions about technology budgets, businesses should focus less on the technology itself and make decisions about how technology complements other areas of the business. Figure out what you need to do to run your business better, and then go find the tools to support it.
Steps you can take to lower technology cost include timely purchases, clever negotiation and internal controls can help businesses save megabucks. You can renegotiate existing contracts for services such as network support and consulting. Telecom is especially ripe for bargains. You can start by setting bench marks for rates and auditing bills to ensure you're not overpaying. And instead of buying all long-distance, local phone and other telecom services from one vendor, dual-source it.
You should also make sure you need whatever new technology you do buy. Inventory all PCs, printers and software. Look for opportunities to consolidate purchases, standardize configurations and root out duplication. Set up a system to keep doing it. Pick a team of people from IT and other departments, and meet with them regularly to discuss what they need and how to save on it.
Another way to save money on tech purchases is buying refurbished hardware. Many online manufacturers and retailers have sections of their websites devoted to clearance outlets. You may have to poke around the site to find them, but it's worth checking into when you're on a tight budget. Refurbished items are usually returns that have been looked over and checked for functionality. As with auctions, check to see if all documentation and software is included. Compare prices to what is normally charged to see if the savings is worthwhile. Often warranties are shortened. What might have originally come with a one-year warranty may only include a 90-day warranty when it's sold as refurbished. If you're comfortable with that, go ahead and save some money.
Looking online for deals is also a great way to save money on your tech budget. And bargain hunting over the Internet doesn't have to be time-consuming. Web sites such as PriceGrabber.com, PriceSCAN.comand MySimon.comare hubs for price comparisons. They're especially handy if you already know what you want and are just looking for the lowest price. Don't be blinded by what seem to be incredible bargains. Always check into an online retailer's reputation if you're not already familiar with it. You probably know this already, but always use a credit card for your purchases in case you have to dispute charges later.
Another great resource for hardware is eBay. You can pick up a wide array of products--from extra cell phone batteries to monitors and ink cartridges--at prices that would make some retailers blush. But eBay is no utopia. You still have to check into the seller's reputation. Also check to see if the product you're buying is refurbished, if it comes with an original warranty or tech support, and if all documentation and pieces are included. Some entrepreneurs may decide that the savings are worth living without some or all of those things. It's not good or bad, it's just a matter of deciding what you feel comfortable with.
If you're the type of person who likes to "handle the merchandise" before you buy, find a local retailer you can visit in person. Prices may be a little higher when you just walk into a store, but you also have the security of having a physical location to return the product to in case of a problem. The Sunday ads are a good place to compare prices, and you should keep an eye out for specials and rebates at your local stores.Buy or Lease?
As quickly as technology becomes obsolete, it sometimes makes sense to rent instead of buy your next round of upgrades. You can rent or lease most kinds of office technology, including computers, printers, copiers and phone systems. Here's how your options stack up:
LeasingIf you're like many small businesses, you're willing to lease costly technology that's likely to become quickly outdated. Leasing lets you get higher-end, more costly gear while reducing upfront outlays. Monthly payments will also usually be lower than those for credit-purchased equipment. Maybe most important, however, you're transferring the risk of obsolescence to somebody else. If that high-end PC is a clunker by lease's end, just hand it back to the owner and get a new model. Check the terms of your lease carefully. Scrutinize your options for the end of the lease. You may be able to buy the equipment for a small additional fee if you want to.
The ability to have the latest equipment is leasing's number-one perceived benefit and you'll have predictable monthly expenses. With a lease, you have a pre-determined monthly line item, which can help you budget more effectively. Many small businesses struggle with cash flow and must keep their coffers as full as possible, and leasing means you won't have to invest cash up front. Because leases rarely require a down payment, you can acquire new equipment without tapping much-needed funds.
The downside of leasing is that you'll pay more in the long run. Ultimately, leasing is almost always more expensive than purchasing. For example, a $4,000 computer would cost a total of $5,760 if leased for three years at $160 per month, but only $4,000 (plus sales tax) if purchased outright.
And you're obligated to keep paying even if you stop using the equipment. Depending on the lease terms, you may have to make payments for the entire lease period, even if you no longer need the equipment, which can happen if your business changes.
BuyingBuying your equipment costs more upfront. If you're buying on an installment plan rather than paying cash, monthly payments are usually higher. It may be comforting to know you own your equipment rather than rent it, but you may find yourself with an out-of-date machine right as you put the last check in the mail. One of the benefits of buying is that it's easier than leasing. Buying equipment is easy--you decide what you need, then go out and buy it. Taking out a lease, however, involves at least some paperwork, as leasing companies often ask for detailed, updated financial information. They may also ask how and where the leased equipment will be used. Also, lease terms can be complicated to negotiate. And if you don't negotiate properly, you could end up paying more than you should or receive unfavorable terms.
When you purchase equipment, you call the shots regarding maintenance. Equipment leases often require you to maintain equipment according to the leasing company's specifications, and that can get expensive. When you buy the equipment outright, you determine the maintenance schedule yourself. Buying equipment is also tax deductible. Section 179 of the IRS code lets you deduct the full cost of newly purchased assets, such as computer equipment, in the first year. With most leases favored by small businesses--called operating leases--you can only deduct the monthly payment.
The disadvantages of buying equipment is that the initial outlay may be too much. Your business may have to tie up lines of credit or cough up a hefty sum to acquire the equipment it needs. Those lines of credit and funds could be used elsewhere for marketing, advertising or other functions that can help grow your business.
And eventually, you're stuck with outdated equipment. As mentioned earlier, computer technology becomes outdated quickly. A growing small business may need to refresh its technology in some areas every 18 months. That means you're eventually stuck with outdated equipment that you must donate, sell or recycle.
Contingency PlanYou never know how much you depend on technology until you don't have access to it anymore. If a disaster strikes, you may not only suffer direct losses of data and hardware, but indirect losses due to downtime. But with some foresight and planning, you can avoid sustained downtime--and lost profits.
First, create a broad, holistic plan to ensure business continuity, not just disaster recovery. This plan should involve every part of your business, such as processes, operations, assets, employees and so on. Your overall goal: to prevent business disruption--then minimize it if it does occur. To this end, you should:
Apple and Samsung typically show off glitzy hardware innovations — dual-lens cameras; bigger screens — to mesmerize millions into buying their new smartphones. Google has taken a different approach: It wants to sell people on better software.
That was abundantly clear with the Pixel 3, the search giant’s latest smartphone, with software features powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. When you take a blurry photo, for example, the Pixel’s camera software can capture a series of alternate images and look for a clearer shot. When you get a call from an unknown number, you can use a screening tool to determine if it is a robocall. (I recommend using this feature with caution — more on that later.)
“The phone is powered by A.I. so that we let Pixel do really useful, delightful things,” said Mario Queiroz, Google’s vice president of Pixel hardware. “The phone doesn’t get in the way. Things just happen for you.”
The Pixel 3, which will be available on Thursday, is a modest piece of hardware otherwise. It comes in two screen sizes — 5.5 inches and 6.3 inches — that are slightly smaller than phones from Apple and Samsung. The smaller Pixel costs $799; the larger one is $899.
The screen technology is OLED, which offers better color accuracy and contrast than its predecessor, LCD. The rear camera has a single lens, because Google felt its A.I.-powered camera software was so good that it didn’t need to add a second one. Like other high-end phones, the Pixel 3 is water-resistant, and its body is composed of glass to support wireless power charging, a feature that I have found marginally useful.
After testing the Pixel 3 for four days, I’m convinced that Google did the right thing by emphasizing its software. The Pixel 3 is a superior Android phone to Samsung’s top-rated Galaxy devices thanks largely to Google’s clever camera and intuitive interface.
But I wouldn’t say that the new Pixel has the all-around best camera — I prefer the iPhone camera’s more lifelike colors. Still, the Pixel 3’s software smarts offer some advantages, like the ability to take superior photos with the bokeh effect, which puts the picture’s main subject in sharp focus while gently blurring the background.
Here’s what I found about the Pixel 3’s most important features.Top Shot
Let’s say you take a photo of a group of people and one person blinks. Using Google’s new photo-optimization tool, Top Shot, there’s a chance you can salvage that photo by choosing a better shot with that person’s eyes open.
To use Top Shot, you turn on a feature called Motion Photos, which are essentially three-second videos capturing the moments just before and after you take a shot. When you snap a picture, Google’s camera software can analyze those before-and-after moments for a better image to recommend.
Google’s theory is that Top Shot will change the way people take photos: Instead of snapping several shots of the same subject and manually picking the best one, users could instead shoot a single motion photo and then let Google suggest the best image.
For me, Top Shot didn’t profoundly improve my photos or change my habits. For example, in a park, I still took a half dozen photos of my dogs until they both smiled at the camera. But when I reviewed my favorite photo, Google recommended two different shots as a potential Top Shot — and I did pick the one where the dogs’ faces looked clear.
It’s impressive that Google is capable of detecting the qualities of a good photo, but I found the process of reviewing and selecting the recommended shots to be time consuming. It was quicker to use the old technique of snapping a bunch of photos and manually swiping through them to decide which you like most.
In other words: For now, I don’t consider this a must-have feature.Portrait mode
A better reason to consider the Pixel 3 is its impressive ability to take so-called portrait mode photos, those DSLR-like images with a gently blurred background and sharpened foreground.
This effect is useful for producing artistic-looking photos of people, food and objects. Portrait mode is the Pixel 3’s strength: Compared with both Samsung’s Galaxy phones and Apple’s high-end iPhones, which use dual-lens cameras to take portrait mode photos, the single-lens Pixel 3 camera was more reliable at sharpening the intended subject.
Here’s an example: When I had dim sum for lunch and used the Pixel 3’s portrait mode to snap a photo of five soup dumplings inside a basket, the camera appropriately sharpened the five dumplings while blurring out my partner in the background. When I took a portrait mode photo with the iPhone XS, the camera blurred out one of the five dumplings. I eventually got the iPhone camera to sharpen all five dumplings with a few more tries, but the Pixel 3 did it in one attempt.
It’s remarkable that the Pixel 3 can produce these images with a single lens. Google accomplished this largely with what is known as machine learning, which involved computers analyzing millions of images to recognize what’s important in a photo. The Pixel 3 makes predictions about the parts of the photo that should stay sharp and creates a mask around it. A special sensor inside the camera, called dual-pixel autofocus, helps analyze the distance between the objects and the camera to make the blurring look realistic.
Having this smart camera — which has the potential to become even smarter through software updates — is a compelling reason to consider the Pixel 3. Google said it planned to add more camera features in those updates, like Night Sight, which helps people take photos in the dark without using a flash.
“What we’ve been able to do with machine learning to produce image quality in photography and video, it really surpasses the need for us to do more,” Mr. Queiroz said.Eliminating robocalls?
Nowadays, it can feel daunting to take a phone call from an unfamiliar number because it is most likely a robocall — a scammer or spammer using an automated dialing system to steal your personal information or to sell you something. To fight robocalls, Google built a screening tool into the Pixel 3.
Beware: Using this feature comes with some risk.
The screening tool works by tapping a button when you want to screen a call. An automated message will ask the caller to state his or her name and purpose for calling. From there, the user can receive a transcription of the caller’s response and decide whether to take the call.
The tool works well: I screened a call from my partner, and Google did a perfect job at immediately transcribing her response (“My purpose is to eat dumplings, so leave me alone”).
But be wary about using this tool. The No. 1 rule when dealing with robocalls is to not answer them, according to the Federal Communications Commission. The No. 2 rule is to hang up immediately if you do answer a robocall. That’s because picking up the phone or engaging with the caller indicates that your phone number is active, which could land you on a list to be flooded with even more robocalls.
It's unclear if using the tool would count as engaging with the robocaller. Google said that in its testing, it did not see an increase in spam calls after the screening feature was used. The company said the alternative — to ignore all unknown numbers — was not feasible because calls could be coming in from doctors, delivery drivers, restaurants and service providers.
It remains to be seen how effective the screening tool will be when Pixel customers use it en masse. I still think the safer — although imperfect — solution is to not answer calls from suspicious numbers, like those that are nearly identical to yours.Bottom line
After all the tests, here’s the short version of who should buy a Pixel: You should get one if what you care about most is having a phone with a great camera that does the best job of running Google’s Android software.
But I don’t recommend messing with the robocallers. The bots will always win.
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