Winner of our monthly Service-Ticket Survey drawing

Monthly, we select a winner from all respondents to our service-ticket surveys. Congratulations to SA of LPH, our survey-response winner from last month.

Our winner received a $10 gift certificate, compliments of Bryley Systems.

Cathy Livingstone recognized at Annual Meeting

Cathy Livingstone, co-owner at Bryley Systems, was recognized at the Worcester County Food Bank (WCFB) Annual Meeting as a member of the Board of Directors at the WCFB.

Cathy Livingstone is recognized at WCFB

Bryley Basics: Intel® Compute Stick

Intel released its Compute Stick; essentially, a low-end PC that can fit into the palm of your hand or mount onto a USB port on a monitor (as shown below where the Compute Stick is mounted at the top-left of the monitor). It sells for under $150.

Due to its small size and low-power use, it can be used in these (and other) areas:

  • Thin client
  • Digital signage
  • Conference room
  • Machinery control

It can be controlled remotely through a Bluetooth-enabled keyboard/mouse. There is also an Android-based application that enables control through your smartphone.

Highlights:

  • Windows 8.1, 32-bit in current version*
  • Atom™ processor with 2Gb RAM
  • Integrated 802.11bgn wireless
  • USB 2.0 with a Micro SD slot
  • Must be powered externally

*Also available with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

We put it through its paces and found it slow, but adequate for low-end tasks. Its best feature is the small size, which can fit most anywhere.

Windows 10 Intel Compute Stick

Can Windows 10 revitalize the PC?

With the introduction of Windows 10 this summer past, Microsoft (and its PC vendors like HP, Inc., Dell, Lenovo, etc.) are hoping for a significant surge in the sales of Windows-based desktops, notebooks, and tablets. However, the results to date have been modest at best.

Microsoft seems to have done a good job with Windows 10:

  • The update process is free (for a year), reasonably easy (for individuals, but not as much for organizations), and somewhat user-friendly. Also, updates are now “continuous”, mimicking the operating system-update policies of competitors Google and Apple. 1
  • Windows 10 is more secure with enhanced security features and improved look/touch login via Windows Hello.
  • There are new, useful features like Cortana (voice-activated assistant) and Edge (Internet browser replacing the old Internet Explorer).
  • Microsoft added built-in apps like Maps, Photos, Groove, Movies & TV, etc.
  • There are many, new, mostly free apps by third-party developers. 2
  • Reset and Refresh have been optimized for SSD drives.3
  • Some of the wrongs with Windows 8 (ie: no Start Menu) are now righted.

Windows is also somewhat of a player in mobile devices with increasing sales in Microsoft Surface (now a $1B business) and Lumina phones (purchased from Nokia), which contributes about $2B quarterly. (Although growing, these sales represent only 3% of the sales of mobile devices worldwide.) 4

These improvements seem to be part of Microsoft’s two-part mission:

  • Have Windows 10 run across as many devices and screens as possible, and
  • Make consumers love Windows 10, rather than just need it.

On the positive side:

  • Microsoft reports that Windows 10 is installed on over 110M devices to date.
  • Gartner predicts that Windows 10 installations will eclipse Windows XP and Windows 7 by 2019.

However, Windows is losing market share (and has been for some time) to other mobile devices like smartphones and tablets; there are over 2B people running Google Android or Apple iOS-based devices compared to about 1.5B running Microsoft Windows. 5

Another troubling trend: Although PC ownership is relatively stable among adults (at about 73%), PC ownership among 18 to 29 year olds dropped from 89% in 2012 to 78% in 2015. (This may change as these younger folk enter the workforce and require a full-sized keyboard and large or multiple monitors.) 6

Basically, Windows 10 is off to a good start, but only time will tell if the Windows franchise will retain its powerhouse status.

References

  1. Windows 10 is here and you can get it for free at Microsoft.com.
  2. 10 (mostly) free must-have Windows 10 apps by Paul Mah at ComputerWorld.
  3. Windows 10: Disk Optimization by Russell Smith at Petri.com.
  4. Microsoft gets hardware foothold as Surface, Lumina sales jump by Nick Statt at CNET on 1/26/2015.
  5. Windows 10 Launch Results: A Success or Fail? in the 7/31/2015 edition of The Gazette Review.
  6. Smartphones, Tablets Take Toll On PC Ownership Among Youth by Joseph Palencher from the November 3, 2015 edition of Twice.

Winner of our CMBE raffle

Winner of our CMBE raffle

We held a raffle at our booth at the Central Mass. Business Expo (CMBE) in Worcester on November 5th. Richard Tienhaara II (pictured below), from Aaron Industries Corp., won the prize; a Runtastic fitness-tracking bracelet.

Winner of Bryley's 2015 CMBE Raffle

Bryley Basics: Enabling GodMode in Windows 10 (and Windows 8)

With Windows 8 and Windows 10, Settings and Control Panel are separate entities with different functions; it would be nice to access both from the same folder when making configuration changes, rather than switching between the two.

GodMode is a simple and useful Windows shortcut:  It combines Settings and Control Panel into one folder on your desktop.

To enable GodMode:

  • Create a new folder on your desktop.
  • Copy and paste the following into the folder’s name: {ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}
  • You will now have a folder named GodMode that contains all Settings and the Control Panel

Please review Sarah Jacobson Purewal’s article Activate GodMode in Windows 10 in the August 18, 2015 edition of CNet.

The cost of unexpected, computer-system downtime

Every day, someone’s computer cannot connect to something that they need to do their job; we call this downtime, usually caused by an outage, and it can impact a group of people within an organization, often at the least convenient of times.

CA Technologies surveyed 200 companies in 2011 and estimated that over $26.5 billion is lost each year in downtime; small organizations lost $55,000 (on average) each outage.  (Please see InformationWeek’s: “IT Downtime Costs $26.5 Billion in Lost Revenue”.)

Not only that, outages tend to be lengthy (hours or days) and can damage an organization’s reputation.  Plus, some industries (i.e.: manufacturing and financial services) can suffer a high rate of revenue loss.

Some components of downtime with significant value include:

  • Reduction in employee productivity
  • Revenue/opportunity loss
  • Penalties assessed

Reduction in employee productivity

If you assume that employees are unable to do anything during a computer outage, it is not too hard to measure the cost:  Number of employees impacted by the outage multiplied by the average cost/hour per employee.  So, 100 employees making at an average of $40/hour (pay, benefits, and taxes) would be 100 employees * $40 average cost per hour = $4,000/hour.

However, most employees can find something productive to do during an outage:

  • Schedule impromptu meetings
  • Review printed materials
  • Cleanup their work areas

Not exactly what their managers might want, but some productivity occurs during an outage, so you might want to add-in a productivity factor.  For example:  If you assume that employees are still 25% productive during an outage (meaning they are 75% unproductive), you can recalculate the cost per hour thus:  75% * 100 employees * $40 average cost per hour = $3,000/hour.

Revenue/opportunity loss

Revenue loss can sometimes be easy to quantify; a computer numerical control (CNC) machine tool waiting on the input of a computer-aided design (CAD) diagram or a computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) program can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars per hour in lost revenue if the CNC machine cannot access these items.

Opportunities lost are a bit tougher to quantify, but here are two examples:

  • You are a supplier to a large organization that has an online bidding process; you lose Internet access while the bid process is ending, but before you submitted a bid, resulting in a lost potential sale to your largest customer.
  • Your online store is unavailable during an outage, resulting in customers unable to buy from you and going to your competitors.

Penalties assessed

Outages can put health at risk (i.e.: medical services) or can lead to missed deadlines (i.e.: overnight delivery); these situations can result in penalties assessed to your organization by a government agency or by the customer.

Bryley Systems introduces Joan Lunman, Internal Systems Advocate

Bryley Systems introduces Joan Lunman, Internal Systems Advocate

Bryley Systems is pleased to announce that Joan Lunman has joined the company as Internal Systems Advocate.  She has over 10-years of experience in the IT Service industry, having most recently worked at TAB Computer Systems Inc. in East Hartford, CT.

Joan has an excellent understanding of day-to-day operations as well as the functions of ConnectWise, the leading, IT-oriented, Professional Services Automation tool used at Bryley Systems and many other firms.

Joan has a BA from Potsdam State University in Potsdam, NY.

Profile Picture of Joan Lunman

 

Winner of our monthly Service-Ticket Survey drawing

Monthly, we select a winner from all respondents to our service-ticket surveys. Congratulations to TG of TOB, our survey-response winner from last month.

Our winner received a $10 gift certificate, compliments of Bryley Systems.

November Coffee Connections at Bryley Systems

Please join Bryley Systems as we host the Assabet Valley Chamber of Commerce (AVCC) November Coffee Connections, an early-riser networking opportunity.

The November Coffee Connections is on Friday, November 20th, from 7:30am to 9:00am in our office at 12 Main Street, Hudson, MA.  There will be refreshments and door prizes while you network with over 50 professionals.  Plus, you will have an opportunity to introduce yourself and your organization to all that attend.

The event is complimentary, but space is limited, so reservations are required.  Free, two-hour parking is available on Main Street and on nearby side streets.

Please email Info@AssabetValleyChamber.org and ask to register for the November Coffee Connections at Bryley Systems.

Hope to see you then!

WRCC Coffee Connection