technology kitchen gadgets

Six Must-Have Kitchen Gadgets

Your kitchen is a special place in your home. You and your family spend time together, you craft masterpiece dishes, mix drinks for your friends, and sometimes you just hang out at the counter and chat. Kitchens are no longer the places where you slave away with mixing bowls and whisks or sweat over a hot stove. Technology has infused the modern kitchen with style and flair, all while making cooking, baking, entertaining and serving more efficient. Boost your productivity with these six must-have kitchen gadgets.

  1. Food Prep Pad

The Prep Pad is a digital food scale that helps you determine the best portion size. In addition to weighing your food, the gadget provides nutritional data for your food choice. Input the food you are weighing, or scan the barcode, and review all of the information on your iPad.

  1. Air fryer

You can fry your favorite treats without having to dunk them in colossal amounts of oil. The air fryer has a drawer for your favorite vegetables, fries, and other fry-worthy foods. Once the food is in the drawer, you simply drizzle a little olive oil over the top for the crisp taste you crave.

  1. iGrill

iGrill is a thermometer that remains it the food while it is cooking. The cord extends out of the oven to a digital display screen. Instead of popping open the oven a dozen times, you can glance at the screen or get temperature readings sent to your smartphone.

  1. Wi-Fi Crockpot

Crockpots are awesome, but using one can be stressful. Not too long ago, you could only wish you were able to turn the crockpot on while you were at work. Now you can. The Belkin Crock-Pot WeMo Slow Cooker allows you to turn it on or off, adjust the temperature, and receive reminders with your smartphone.

  1. Ravi Instant Wine Chiller

If you are a wine drinker, you have probably been in a situation when the wine is flowing just as much as the conversation, but when you need a new bottle, it is not at the right temperature. Being the savvy wine drinker you are, you either waited or suffered through, but those days are gone. The Ravi Instant Wine Chiller is a tube that attaches to the top of the bottle and instantly chills the wine as it is being poured.

  1. Whirlpool interactive Cooktop

Okay, it’s a concept that was revealed at CES 2014, but it is awesome! The interactive stovetop accommodates your pots and your Pinterest account. The stovetop allows users to access recipes, social media pages, and email all while they are cooking; the interactive screen is right on the stovetop.

hardware as a service

Benefits of Hardware as a Service

Hardware as a Service, or HaaS, allows a Managed Service Provider (like Just Call the IT Guy) to lease out the hardware needed and install it at a customer’s site. A service level agreement (SLA) lays out the responsibilities of Just Call the IT Guy and the customer, such as whether or not they pay a monthly fee to use the hardware, or it could be that their payment is rolled into the managed service provider’s fee for installing, maintaining, or monitoring the hardware remotely. With HaaS, you reap many benefits and have no worries about your hardware. All the while, you are still keeping control of your network and all aspects of it, and have IT support any time you need it. Hardware as a Service has many advantages and is a rapidly growing service.

 

No Primary Costs with Hardware as a Service

 

By essentially leasing the hardware, Hardware as a Service allows you to get high quality services without initial high costs. You don’t have to worry about forking over a chunk of money to get started with a new setup. Now you can work the monthly fee into your budget instead.

 

HaaS Let’s You Keep Up with the Times

 

With HaaS, you no longer have to worry about using obsolete hardware. HaaS upgrades to state-of-the-art technology in a timely fashion. This eliminates the remorse of buying technology, only to have invested in something that is out-of-date shortly after. You will be able to keep up with other business’s platforms and not fret about trying to make your out dated stuff work with their newer systems. With HaaS, Just Call the IT Guy will also take care of hardware that breaks and needs to be replaced.

 

Scalable Systems

 

Your network will be able to easily handle an expanding amount of work in an efficient manner. Technology needs grow as your business does. HaaS allows you to add any amount of new components, depending on your company’s demands. If your business slows down or you decide to down size, you will not be saddled with extra, unneeded hardware as you only use what you need.

 

Good Maintenance and Troubleshooting

 

With HaaS you receive continuous support from Just Call the IT Guy. Not only do you get the equipment with the SLA, but you get service and maintenance. When you outright purchase hardware, once the warranty runs out, you’re in trouble if there is a problem. With HaaS, that is never an issue.

 

Excellent Security

 

Usually, newer is better when it comes to security and IT hardware. Often it is requires that you upgrade both software and hardware for better security. Sometimes you need to purchase another piece of hardware as a backup system for your improved safety. With HaaS, your continuous protection is included as part of the fee and upgrades are made. Part of the SLA may include destroying hard drives and certifying that used hardware be legally recycled for extra security measures.

Treadmill desk fitness technology

Fitness Technology for the Holidays

We are officially in the season that is loaded with extra sides, creamy glazes, festive confectionaries, wines, beers, and extra weight. On average, Americans gain one to two pounds during the holiday season and don’t necessarily work it off. A traditional Thanksgiving plate alone is roughly 4500 calories with 229 grams of fat. After the holidays, many people feel like stuffed turkeys and swollen Santas. How can you keep the calories in check and maintain a healthy weight over the holidays? Fortunately, Americans love technology as much as holiday festivities and good food. Fitness technology can help keep your waistline in check this season.

 

  • Gaming consoles

Working out does not have to be boring and monotonous; make it fun with a gaming console. You can choose any physical activity game that requires you to get off the couch and get moving. Whether it is dancing, golfing, boxing, bowling or skiing, as long as you are moving, you are burning calories. Gaming consoles are also a great way to get your friends and family involved as well.

  • Online sites

Sites such as ShopWell.com allows users to input their health profiles and dietary needs. The site will come in handy when you are shopping for and eating holiday meals. The site makes suggestions to assist the user with eating foods that accommodate their dietary needs as well as makes recommendations for healthier food alternatives.

  • Treadmill desk

The office is a black hole of holiday calories; they are everywhere. A treadmill desk is a smart way to stay keep moving whether you consume the delectable goodies or not. A treadmill desk may help you get one-step closer to your New Year’s resolution long before the first rolls around.

  • Smartphone apps

Apps such as Lose It! and My Fitness Pal are excellent companions for you during the holidays. The apps allow the user to enter height, weight, goal weight, activity level, and food intake. The apps encourage accountability and makes suggestions to assist the user in meeting his/her fitness goals. When you see your weight increase and the high-caloric foods smother your goals, you are likely to make better decisions about your fitness and food choices.

  • Wireless body monitors

A device does not lie when it is hooked to your side. If you feel as if you might fudge a few fitness, activity and weight numbers at the end of the day, you should consider wireless body monitors such as Fitbit. The Fitbit band monitors your daily activity levels, sleep patterns, and personal health goals. When you are more conscious of how much or how little you are moving throughout the day, it is easier to recognize healthier actions.

 

Hewlett-Packard split

Everything You Need to Know About the Hewlett-Packard Split

Haven’t heard the news? Hewlett-Packard recently announced that they would be dividing in to two separate companies. What could this mean for consumers? Here is everything you need to know about the Hewlett-Packard split.

Hewlett-Packard will now be two different companies. One company, named Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, will be focusing on business related products. The other company will be dedicated toward PC sales, printer sales and personal use products and that company is now named HP, Inc. The company maintains that their decision to divide is to that they can remain competitive in today’s rapidly changing IT world. Hewlett-Packard Enterprise will also encompass everything outside of computer and printer sales, however due to the amount of business they conduct through consumer sales the divide is almost an even split.

Hewlett-Packard made it clear when they announced this split that the motivations were primarily because business based products and personal use products really needed to be divided so that the companies can function independent from each other. Often times it can become important for funds be made available for each section of a diverse company. The company is also eliminating 55,000 jobs simultaneously, which adds an additional dynamic to Hewlett-Packard’s decision to split the company.

Given the changing market, it is no wonder that Hewlett-Packard is making major changes. Currently, businesses are moving away from large in house network systems and switching to managed service providers and cloud computing. This is one area that Hewlett-Packard has failed to keep up. Mobile computing is on the rise, and today’s consumer is utilizing their smart phone or tablet in replacement of their home computer. Instead of adapting, they continued forward with PC and printer production. Unfortunately, Hewlett-Packard recently fell from their spot as the number one PC producer with Lonovo taking the lead.

Their new decision to divide the company coupled with the large number of job lay offs has consumers wondering if the future of Hewlett-Packard is in jeopardy. Luckily, it doesn’t look like the company will be going anywhere any time soon. Their stock prices have maintained throughout the latest news and share holders are likely thankful for that.

For businesses who choose Hewlett-Packard products, you can rest assured that these items will still be available regardless of the company’s decision to divide. Business products and consumer products will likely not experience a significant change

potentially unwanted program

Here’s a PUP You Will Never Love

A PUP or (Potentially Unwanted Program), can bring you and your entire staff to a screeching halt and they are doggone annoying and potentially dangerous.

It all begins innocently enough with your consent to download a “free” program from a website, but rest assured its likely not free of PUPs. Most of us do not use the Custom Install option that would help to identify the hidden annoyances such as toolbars, unwanted browsers, and popups. When selecting a normal installation, these rarely-noticed accessories ride in with your install even though they are listed in the download agreement that you claimed you read (but really did not) when you added that mandatory checkmark. These conveniently hidden installation options can include spywareadware, and dialers.

Although PUPs are not viruses they can cripple your performance and render you useless. No single program can usually combat this alone, that is why we recommend a program that is a real-time scanner in addition to a second opinion scan.

Our Managed Anti-Virus Program ensures that your network and staff does not suffer downtime due to the inability to work caused by PUPs and viruses that have infiltrated your system, hijacked your browser, and often times embedded themselves in your registry resulting in a lengthy and costly cleanup process. Our program includes virus monitoring through a managed anti-virus program, a second opinion scan, spam filtering, and web security that prevents malicious programs from phoning home and delivering your collected data.

employee morale

4 Employee Morale Boosting Tips for The Workplace

As the days get shorter and outside temperatures drop it is very common for office morale to take a hit. Employers are bound to notice that their employees might be more likely to be dragging themselves in to the office. Here are some suggestions on how you can improve the morale in the office:

  1. Find Time for Some Fun!

A common way to keep employees excited about coming in to the office is to designate time for some fun. When it is nice out, many companies host picnics for their staff. While the winter months are here, those outings fall by the wayside. Pick one day and invite employees to step away from their desks to play games. Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit or team video games are a great way to get your staff to feel appreciated, and it doesn’t cost a fortune.

  1. Show Appreciation to Office Staff

Often times, employees have ambitious ideas about how they can better their job performance or company processes. A lack of recognition is the most common cause of unhappy employees. They consider themselves experts at what they do for you, so give them some time to pursue ideas that they are passionate about. This can be a great way to show your staff that you recognize them and appreciate them. Many companies, including Google, allow their employees to spend some time on independent projects as they relate to the company.

  1. Staff Community Service Days

Taking time to step out of the office can be a great opportunity to build camaraderie. Your employees can take the wheel by identifying charitable organizations that are in need of volunteers. Designate a community service day once or twice a year, and you will be helping out the community while increasing office morale.

  1. Team Building Activities

Employees greatly appreciate when they are provided a nice meal. This is especially appreciative if there are instances where employees have to work long hours to meet goals. Showing appreciation will instantly improve the overall morale in the office. Some companies allow employees to organize lunches during which they pick a theme and each person brings one item to share. Be sure to allow your employees to relax and enjoy this time. Trying to fit in trainings during these special occasions might negate your efforts.

It’s important to offer benefits and good pay, but that isn’t always going to cut it. Even employees who are paid can become unhappy if they don’t feel valued. Show your employees you care and keep morale high.

cloud computing security

Cloud Computing Security Myths

Many companies are turning to cloud computing to replace in-house servers and storage. While many are taking advantage of the benefits cloud computing has to offer, there are still some myths that keep business owners from making the switch. Here are some cloud computing myths about security to help you feel more confident in cloud computing:

Cloud Computing: Secure or Susceptible?

One of the major myths about cloud computing is that there are major security loopholes. Considering the recent celebrity photo leak from their iPhone cloud accounts, it seems obvious that the security is lacking, right? On the contrary – the software and hardware that major cloud computing companies use and offer to their clients has a higher level of security.

How can this be? If hackers can get to celebrity accounts then aren’t we all at risk? The short answer is no, we are not all at risk. The iPhone cloud is a large medium specific to the cell phone accounts you use for the pictures you take on your phone. You might have a few documents or videos, but no one is going to be storing 10 years of tax returns on their iPhone cloud accounts. Most people aren’t really interested in what your iPhone cloud account contains, unless of course – you are famous.

Cloud Computing Offers Higher Security

Since iPhone cloud accounts don’t house things like your social security number, there isn’t too much worry about your identity getting stolen that way. Which is exactly why cloud computing companies deploy high end commercial grade security measures to the businesses they serve. It is important for cloud computing companies to take into consideration the sensitive nature of the files that their client’s may be storing. Cloud computing companies deploy multiple layers of protection, not only to safeguard your information for being shared but also to ensure that the files are safe from corruption and can be easily recovered.

Another major myth about cloud computing is that clients who share the same cloud are at risk of being attacked or infiltrated by each other. This is a basic idea that on the surface seems like a clear threat. Thankfully, the cloud is more complex than most of us might imagine. Clients who share the same cloud have no ability to gain access to anything outside of the cloud account that a business has been assigned. Just because your house is on your street doesn’t make it easier for you to rob your neighbor – and this same idea applies to security regarding cloud computing.

Cloud computing continues to be one of the most secure options available today for businesses. Still have questions about the cloud? Ask Just Call the IT Guy for answers!

Kinect Technology for the office

Xbox Kinect Technology is More Than a Video Game – 5 Ways it’s Transforming Business

When you hear Xbox you immediately think of video games, but did you know that businesses are now integrating this gaming technology? Specifically, they are using Kinect technology for business, which allows you to use gestures and motion instead of a video game controller. Here are some examples of how integrating Kinect has transformed business:

1. Better Demonstration: Kinect allows companies to develop more meaningful presentations. By engaging the viewer, companies are able to demonstrate detailed information and provide a more comprehensive understanding of their subject matter. For example, car companies have used Kinect to showcase cars, enabling buyers to experience the vehicle without needed to provide a full lineup of cars. This is especially helpful in instances where there is limited space.

2. Move with Ease: The use of Kinect allows businesses to conduct video conferences during which they can move around the office and never be out of sight. Kinect tracks your movements and adjusts the camera while you walk. This proves important for companies that utilize teleconferencing to conduct every day business.

3. Share Information: Many businesses have several office locations and communicate with video conferencing. It can be burdensome trying to video conference with someone and they can’t read information from your white board, leaving you to attempt at sharing desktop information. With Kinect you can zoom right in, preventing interruptions.

4. Training: Employee training is an exhausting task that every employer must provide and every employee must suffer through. By using Kinect, new employees can get an in depth understanding of your company and the products you sell. Additionally, by using Kinect you can also develop simulations of daily duties to ensure that they are up to the task or identify areas of weakness.

5. Customized for your Needs: Many businesses are turning to Kinect to develop in house applications that serve their needs. For example, physical therapy applications have been created which serve a therapeutic purpose. In the education field, developers have designed interactive learning programs. This is extremely useful, as in both cases it is likely if that by making the activity fun, the user will engage more frequently. Clothing companies have designed Kinect programs which allow the user to virtually try on clothing without the hassle of undressing. How can Kinect transform your business?

Clearly, Kinect is a versatile product. By integrating Kinect in your business you can transform your business and boost productivity.

it support

Why You Should Switch to Proactive IT Support Instead of Reactive Support

If you are like most small businesses, you don’t think about technology maintenance until there is a problem that prevents your ability to use the technology. Waiting until something breaks or is simply working inefficiently before you fix it is called Reactive IT Support – and chances are it’s costing you a lot more than you need to pay for your technology maintenance. Not only will you spend money calling in IT support teams to find and diagnose the problem as well as figure out how to fix it; but you will typically experience downtime that prevents you from working and making money. Reactive IT environments cost a lot of time, money, and lost revenue. Here’s how a proactive IT support approach can help you:

Proactive IT Support Prevents Most Problems Before They Happen

When you switch to a proactive support environment, you are actively monitoring your network and technology systems all the time for any sign of trouble. You will keep software and hardware updated, and notice an issue before it causes downtime in your organization. Most major problems are prevented before they even happen – meaning your employees are able to work and continue generating revenue without delays in service delivery due to a malfunctioning network or computer.

Proactive IT Support Ensures Business Continuity

One of the advantages of turning your workplace into a proactive IT support environment is the assurance of a business continuity plan. Part of proactive IT support is ensuring your data is reliably backed up, from your email and contact lists to documents and files and even the configuration of your network and phone system. Most reactive IT environments don’t even think about the need for backup and recovery until after a disaster wipes out their office or network. Between 80 and 90% of businesses experiencing a natural disaster or major data loss will go out of business, but being proactive eliminates that risk.

Reduce Technology Expenses

It is really difficult to budget for IT expenses in a reactive IT environment – you simply have no idea when things are going to need to be fixed or how much it will cost. In a proactive IT support environment, you pay the same amount each month to keep everything up to date and maintained.  You can easily budget for your IT expenses and eliminate many of the extra expenses associated with calling vendors to come and fix your technology when it breaks, or even reduce your own IT department payroll costs.

No business or organization is immune to the possibility of technology problems. Being proactive can eliminate downtime for your company, save money, time, and even ensure your business continues to operate after data loss or disaster. Why wouldn’t you want to be proactive? Ask us about our Managed Services (Flat Rate IT) solutions.

cloud computing

3 Ways Cloud Computing Increases Office Efficiency

Minimizing costs while increasing efficiency is the goal of just about every business owner. When you transition to cloud computing, you can achieve both reduced expenses and increased efficiency. When you streamline your operations and minimize operational expenses you have the ability to achieve higher levels of profitability.

Here are three ways cloud computing can increase the efficiency in your office:

  1. The Cloud is Both Scalable and Flexible

When your business grows, one of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face is keeping up with the growing expenses required to outfit additional employees and technology requirements. The cloud makes it easy and more affordable to add new employees to your network. When you require more bandwidth to meet the growing needs of your business, a cloud-based service can automatically recognize the need and meet the demand. The flexibility of cloud-based programs like Microsoft Office 365 help businesses remain organized and flexible in industries of constant change.

  1. The Cloud Provides a Competitive Edge to Businesses of All Sizes

It used to be only large enterprises with seemingly limitless marketing and technology budgets could compete with other large businesses. With the cloud, businesses of all sizes have access to the same technologies and can compete on a level playing field. Businesses of all sizes can remain competitive with a business continuity plan, ensuring the business remains operational even when faced with disasters or data loss.

  1. The Cloud Reduces Your Overhead Expenses (and Your Carbon Footprint!)

Cloud computing uses only the required amount of server space, therefore reducing your commercial energy consumption. Not only does this reduce your overhead expenses, but it reduces your corporate carbon footprint, which is in line with changing consumer values and their preference for working with environmentally friendly businesses.

Integrating Cloud technology into your office has the ability to reduce expenses, increase productivity and efficiency and make you more competitive in the process. For any business owner looking to grow their business cloud technology is a solution that can meet the needs of your business where it is right now – and grow alongside you as you begin reaching your goals.