Friday October 26th is a big day for Microsoft with the release of Windows 8. Windows 8 is a big departure for Microsoft and has a lot of big changes in both appearance and in underlying code. We have been working with Windows 8 throughout the development cycle and have been running the final version on a number of systems for the past couple of months ever since its release to manufacturing and partners. The biggest difference off the bat is the new start screen which replaces the start menu – this is going to be one of the hardest things for users to adapt to, but it is a great feature that offers many advantages, especially for touch enabled devices.
On Friday October 26th, most major retailers will begin selling new computers with Windows 8 pre-installed, and you will also be able to upgrade many older machines with a download from Microsoft’s website ($40 until January 31st 2013). If you have or do purchase a Windows 7 machine between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 you can get upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $15 which is an excellent deal (*Note: only Windows 8 Pro with the media pack contains Windows Media Center which included codecs for DVD playing and an interface to watch TV if you have a compatible TV card).
Windows 8 is the first version of Windows that is truly designed for multiple device platforms and has a number of features which make using it on a touch enabled device much easier than on previous versions of Windows. Windows 8 comes in several different versions and it is important to understand the differences – especially between the standard/pro editions and the RT edition.
Windows RT is made especially for ARM based processors (the kind used in many smartphones and tablets), and while it shares some of the code and looks similar to the new start screen on the other versions of Windows 8, it does NOT run software that was designed for x86/x64 PC’s and previous versions of Windows. It does run Windows Apps, and comes with a somewhat stripped down version of Microsoft Office with Apps for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. (In our opinion, it will be better for many people to wait a bit and check out the Windows 8 Pro tablets that are coming out which will offer the full features of Windows and run legacy programs as well as new ones.
For a detailed explanation of the different Windows versions, see this blog post from Microsoft made earlier this year: http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2012/04/16/announcing-the-windows-8-editions.aspx
Windows 8 is tightly integrated with Windows Live services which allow you to logon to Windows using your Windows Live ID (hotmail, live.com, outlook.com email address), and also gives you direct access to Windows Live services like your Skydrive files. Using a Windows Live account will also allow you to synch your settings between multiple Windows 8 devices which is pretty cool.
THE START BUTTON ON THE DESKTOP IS GONE! This is one of the most apparent and controversial changes in Windows 8 and will probably cause a bit of confusion among new users. Windows 8 offers both the new Start Menu screen as well as the old desktop mode, however the old desktop mode is missing the familiar Start button. (it is easy to jump to the start screen by mousing to screen corners, and there are also several third party vendors which have made start button replacements. Using the new start screen takes a bit of getting used to, but the live tiles are very cool and once you play around with it for a while you will find that it has some really cool features.
Touch Gestures are amazing! Windows 8 is optimized for touch gestures and support 10 touch points (yes you can play a piano app with both hands and use all 10 fingers!). Getting around Windows 8 with a touch enabled screen is a breeze as it uses swipe gestures to do many things like open the start screen and move between apps. (*Note: beware on buying older or clearance touchscreen computers as many of the older ones only come with 2 touch points and you will not be able to take advantage of all of the new touch features!)
We have been using a Lenovo A720 27″ all in one touch screen to test Windows 8 and must say that it is amazing! Swiping through apps and using the touch enabled programs is a breeze and it changes the way you can use your computer. We highly recommend going to a store like BestBuy (don’t listen to the salespeople there though!) and trying out some of the newe touch enabled systems before you buy.
Windows 8 has a number of features which improve both performance and security, and it comes with Internet Explorer 10 (2 versions, one on the start screen for full screen only browsing with limited add-on support and the second full featured version available from the desktop)
For Windows 8 support, and help with upgrades and new Windows 8 installs, visit http://pensacolacomputers.com . We provide computer service and repair in the Pensacola Florida area for small businesses and home users
HireFriday: it’s about community.
This week on Hire Friday chat ( #HFChat ) we have our own local Emerald Coast expert Marie Journey who will be hosting the topic “Hire a Hero, relocation, military vets in the job market”
Marie is a Recruitment Expert and Advocate for Hiring Military Veterans, and will be discussing relocation and how to minimize the disruption to your life.
Since last year’s signing of the Veterans Oppotunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act by President Obama, there has been a strong movement to help get military veterans back into the workforce. This law provides tax credits for emplyers who hire unemplyed verterans and veterans with service-connected disabilites. Partnering with the Chamber of Commerce as well as the private sector, this movement is making it easier to connect our veterans with the companies that want to hire them.
With people like Margo Rose, the Founder and CEO of the HireFriday Community & Movement, many veterans are being connected with jobs all across the country. “Rose blends social media strategy, and human resources to strengthen job seeker, employee, and employer, and business brands. Margo realized that the strength of HireFriday is in its community. HireFriday increases your findability factor by making you rise to the top of google, bing, and all search engines. HireFriday optimizes your presence on internet platforms (SEO) on the open web. HireFriday blends the human resources and social media sphere with seamless continuity.”
Marie Journey can be reached at www.weselectthebest.com/military Everyone should #Follow Marie on Twitter! http://twitter.com/marie4CSWG.
Marie is currently in the middle of her own relocation. With her new job at C&S Wholesale Grocers, she is relocating her family from Florida to corporate headquarters in New Hampshire. In the past she has moved both nationally and internationally for employment opportunities. As a recruiter, she has also walked hundreds of candidates through the process for making the most of making a move.
Marie’s past includes working as both a corporate and agency recruiter. She has worked on behalf of such companies as Microsoft, SAP, Intuit, Dolby as well as providing agency support for clients such as Accenture, Cisco, Chase, and state government needs.
The present and future for Marie is located at C&S Wholesale Grocers. This company provides first-class warehousing and distribution services to some of the largest supermarket chains in the nation. In 2010 Forbes Magazine ranked it as the 10th largest privately held company in the nation with nearly $20 billion in revenue. Marie’s role includes executive level recruiting, building talent pools, and being available to connect with those interested in working at an action oriented, high growth, and privately owned company.
From our Friends at http://blogpensacola.com we thought we would share this as we love Colt-N-Broxon’s and hope that everyone will help keep this local Pensacola Business up and running:
Colt-N-Broxon’s is a fantastic Steak Buffet on New Warrington Road in Pensacola. Operated by the family that owns Barnhills buffet, the restaurant is struggling after some mis-information in the press and some bad practices by the State of Florida who in typical big government fashion, screwed over the business owners at the end of last year and forced them to close for a few days due to bureaucratic red-tape thus costing them thousands in lost sales.
I love this place – the food is top rate and you cannot get a better steak for that price anywhere – in fact it is hard to find anywhere in Pensacola that has a better steak at any price. The other offerings are awesome as well, with a great variety of things such as corn on the cob, a number of excellent potato dishes, a great salad and desert bar, not to mention the great steak fixins like sauteed mushrooms and onions and peppers.
Local Pensacola businesses have had plenty of challenges in the past few years, and I have to say that the folks at Barnhills and Colt-N-Broxon’s have not only made great places to eat here in Pensacola, but they have created jobs and given back to the community. It is up to Pensacola as a community to support local businesses like this. So next time you are planning on going out to eat, you should definitely check this place out for the fantastic food, the great people, and the warm atmosphere, and also help keep a great local business alive and make them thrive!
Visit them at: 10 S. New Warrington Rd Pensacola FL, 32506
Continuing with my posts on OfficeMate installations, I will go over some things I learned doing the actual installations. **Note: Make sure to follow the official OfficeMate guide, though be aware that the official guide has a few mistakes and is misleading in a few places as well.
First, ensure that your systems meet the software pre-requisites (for hardware requirements see my first post: OfficeMate v 10.5 Software Upgrade and Installation – First Impressions) A couple things to note on the software pre-requisites – you must have ‘at least’ Windows Installer 4.5 (version 5 is fine and the guide note is wrong in saying that Windows Installer 4.5 is included with Windows 7 – it is version 5 – I had someone call me and tell me that they were trying to install version 4.5 on Windows 7 because that is what the guide said it needed). Also, note that you must be running at least SP2 on XP to install v4.5 of the Installer (SP3 is recommended of course).
.Net Framework 3.5 SP1 must be installed on the server and each workstation – .Net Framework 3.5 SP1 is included in Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2, though you should make sure that it is enabled (once again, the official installation guide is wrong in how to do this in Windows 7, the correct way is to go to Control Panel>Programs> Turn Windows features on or off, and ensure that there is checkbox next to the .Net Framework 3.5) If you need to install .Net framework 3.5 SP1, be aware that the link that is supplied in the OfficeMate installation guide is the link to the bootstrapper file which will download the reset of the file from the internet – if you are installing on multiple systems, I recommend getting the full install file then sharing it out on the network – you can get the full installation file here: http://download.microsoft.com/download/2/0/e/20e90413-712f-438c-988e-fdaa79a8ac3d/dotnetfx35.exe .
Once you have all the pre-req’s you will need to get the installation files from OfficeMate. **Note: The OfficeMate installation files are NOT digitally signed and you might get a warning when downloading and trying to install that the publisher could not be identified – IMO this is a serious security breach and there is no reasonable excuse why they don’t digitally sign their files!
You will need to download both the server and workstation installation files. I highly recommend sharing out the workstation installation files and copying it to each workstation and running it locally – I do NOT recommend running over the network, nor do I recommend what the OM official guide states about running it from a USB flash drive or CD/DVD – either one of those can cause issues if the installation stalls due to IO errors on the device.
As OfficeMate states “Prior to upgrading to OfficeMate Suite 10.5, you must set up security preferences. Security is required in OfficeMate and ExamWRITER 10.5.” This is NOT an option and is required! Follow the guide in regards to how to do this.
Prior to installing OfficeMate, ensure you have a validated backup of your Access or SQL database – if you are currently using a SQL database and are using SQL Express 2005, I highly recommend upgrading to SQL Express 2008 R2 (this allows a larger database size as well as includes a number of other enhancements). Also, ensure that your Server is running the latest patches and upgraded from Microsoft prior to proceeding with the server install. I would highly recommend that you take a full financial and inventory report prior to doing the upgrade and then rerun the report after the upgrade and do a compare before you start using OfficeMate again.
From my prior experiences with OfficeMate upgrades, I would personally recommend doing a full server backup prior to attempting the upgrade (bare metal or image) just in case something goes wrong and you need to roll everything back. If you are using an Access Database, you need to run the Repair utility (usually in C:\Omate32\repair.exe) – this will help correct any potential errors in the database that could cause the upgrade to fail. Once that is done, or if you don’t need to do that, restart your server. After the restart, you should disable all antivirus and screen saver programs. Also make sure that UAC is disabled (another security risk – I can’t believe that these software companies don’t know how to write a program that doesn’t make you disable a Windows security feature). To disable UAC in Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2, go to Control Panel > User Accounts > Change User Account Control settings > put the slider to the Never notify position (once again the ‘official’ guide is wrong – there is NO checkbox – do these people even try to do an install following their own guides???).
Once all of this is done, navigate to where you have saved the OM_Server.exe file, right click on the file, select properties, and then click the button that says Unblock. Once that is done, right click on the file and select Run as Administrator (though this may not be required, it can help eliminate some potential causes for failures). At this point, follow the official guide’s instructions, however be aware that you may or may not see all the screens they say that you will depending upon the type of install/upgrade you are doing.
Depending on the size/type of database you are using, as well as the server hardware, the upgrade process could take anywhere from 30 minutes to many hours – you can see what the upgrade is doing, but don’t be alarmed if something appears to freeze or not move for a few minutes at a time. Make sure you stay at the computer until the actual OfficeMate upgrade starts just in case there is an error in the SQL install/update part.
In the next post I will go through the Client installation as well as service releases and patches.
Feel free to contact me through my contact info at: http://pensacolacomputers.com – leaving comments here could take me a while to get back to.
* Pensacola Computers is not officially connected to OfficeMate software in any way, and all opinions stated are my own observations and you may experience different results. This guide is meant only as a narrative of my own experiences and is current as of the date posted.
I have been working as an IT consultant with Optometrists that use OfficeMate for over 5 years and have installed OfficeMate numerous times for 7 different practices. I have successfully upgraded 4 practices in the past couple of months to OfficeMate 10.5 and am currently working on getting 4 more done in the coming weeks. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Contact info is available at: http://pensacolacomputers.com
We recently installed the Windows 8 developer preview on a few of our systems to check it out, and while this preview is not even a ‘Beta’ release, it does give us a good idea of the direction that Microsoft is heading
No doubt about it, Apple devices have made a huge impact over the past few years with some amazing innovations, but at what price to our technological intelligence? Apple has swarmed the market with iPods, iPhones and iPads, basically all the same device in a different size (the phone makes calls, but that is about the only main difference). Steve Jobs has decided how the world should use portable devices with his ‘Apps’ and he has done a masterful job at it. Have you ever noticed that nothing ever ‘appears’ to crash on these Apple devices? That is because Steve is quite a good manipulator, he decided that he would pull the wool over our eyes and made it so that when an App on one of his devices has a problem, it just disappears – no warning, no error message, just poof, its gone. This is a great psychological dupe of people. Many people end up thinking that they accidentally closed the app with a bump, swipe, or touch, when in fact the app just crashed due to bad programming by Apple or the Apps maker.
The Apple devices like the iPad have taught us a different way of doing things – and many times that way is harder and more innefficient. Sure, the iPad is a great device for consumption of data, for viewing things, for reading, for surfing the web, but it is quite innefficient at data creation. I have seen many businesses fall for the lure of the iPad, not so much because it helps them, but because of the cool factor (many ‘thought’ it would help them, until they actually tried to use them). Don’t get me wrong, Tablets definitely have a place in business, but it is sad to see someone like a doctor struggle with trying to enter data on an iPad and taking 10 times longer than it would take to sit at the PC that is right there. I almost laugh out loud when I see people trying to use an App clumsily with their fingers that would be so much easier to do on a real computer with a mouse and keyboard. When it comes to using technology efficiently, Apple definitely makes us dumb.
Then of course we have the wonderful Apple marketing machine that has placed Apple devices in Schools wherever they can. This is so the young impressionable ones will see them and want one – and who wouldn’t want a sleek, aluminum body laptop, or all in one with that big Apple logo? Of course no one explains to the kids that learning how to use an Apple won’t get them squat when it comes to applying for a job. Businesses do not use Apple computer’s, they are not made for business, they are not secure, they do not have hardly any business software, and 99% of the worlds businesses run computers other than Apple. A security expert at the latest Black Hat security conference summed up the danger of using Apple’s Server computer in a business environment when he said “once you install OS X Server you’re toast“. Learning how to use a Mac will actually probably hurt students when it comes time to venture out into the business world as they will have to relearn many things. It may be ‘cool’ to have that Apple in class, but cool doesn’t pay the bills.
Now don’t get me wrong – Apple makes excellent quality devices, they pretty much always have (despite their massive exploitation of Chinese workers, but hey, everyone does that <sarc>), it is also true that you have less of a chance of getting malware or a virus on a Mac (not because they are more secure, that myth has been shattered), it’s because people write most viruses today to make money and infecting computers that hold such a small share of the market just isn’t that profitable. The iPad is slick, it has an easy to use interface, and it doesn’t show errors like Android devices (which do tell you when there is an error with the software). The iOS devices have a wealth of apps, which also make a wealth of money for Apple, and you can find an app for just about anything that Steve Jobs will allow you to have, because after all, it appears as if Steve wants people to be dumb when it comes to technology, that is how Apple has made their money.
While I normally write primarily about technology, this is something that really chaps my hide and I have been frustrated beyond belief trying to find the correct channels to deal with these kind of issues. The quick backgroud: a few days ago, there was a notice at our house from Gulf Power stating that there would be contracted crews in our neighborhood (West Pensacaola, Warrington) that would be trimming trees that were too close to power lines. The notice stated that the tree trimmers would use approved methods of trimming to ensure minimal impact on the trees etc etc.
First of all, we have a huge oak tree in the front (probably close to 100 years old) and they were not in any way ‘careful’ of the tree – they basically butchered a lot of the tree and while I have no problem whatsoever with them removing limbs that might be dangerous in terms of placement near the power lines, this was way over the line in terms of what they cut. That bothers me, not only because these trees are so old and are still recovering from hurricanes, but because they ‘could’ easily have done a better and more proper job.
The other major issue that I have – and this is really not just a personal issue, but this is negatively affecting my finances and personal business – the huge pile of limbs was left on the right of way in front of my house and it is blocking my mailbox! The mailman cannot get to my mailbox due to the huge pile of limbs and as a result, I didn’t get mail Thursday (the day they cut the limbs) or Friday, the next day, and as it is now late Friday night and the limbs are still there, I doubt I will get mail tomorrow either! This is completely unacceptable! I cannot understand how this can be so poorly planned that the limbs are not immediately or very shortly thereafter removed after being cut. Thankfully we have had a sprinkling of rain today, as with the extreme fire danger we have had, the last thing we need is huge piles of tinder wood sitting in front of our homes! After calling Gulf Power customer service I was told that there really wasn’t anything that they could do about it there, and I was directed to the supposed ‘supervisor’ for my area of West Pensacola and given his number, on calling his number I get a recording stating that he is on vacation and directing my call to another number – call the other number and I get a recording. I leave a message there and no-one ever calls me back. I then call the local Pensacola office of Gulf Power where I explain my issue to the person there and am forwarded to another recording to which I leave a message that no-one ever calls back from (granted by then it was late Friday), but seriously, I can’t believe that I am going to have a huge pile of limbs in front of my house, blocking my mailbox for what will probably be the entire weekend!
What I want to know, is who planned this? Who decided that it was OK to cut a whole lot of limbs off trees and then just leave them in front of people’s houses for days after? This during a high fire danger time, and also when the piles of limbs were left with no regards to things like mailboxes, or water meter/shutoff valve access etc? There is absolutely no reason for something like this and even worse, no-one seems to be resposible for this. The sad thing is that in the end, there isn’t jack that I can really do about this short of move the pile of limbs myself – Gulf Power doesn’t seem to care about it, the company that did it doesn’t care as they are just a contract company and they are getting paid regardless, in the end, it is the consumer who gets screwed. But that’s ok, I will blog about it, I will put it out on the web, and then when someone searches for Gulf Power Pensacola Customer Service, they might see this and realize that they are not alone if they have gotten screwed too.
To be completely fair to Gulf Power in all this – I did receive numerous calls from people at Gulf Power today (Monday – 4 days after the limbs were cut) promising to rectify the situation and apologizing for the inconvenience. For that alone I give Gulf Power props for being commited to do better at customer service. Asplundh Tree service rep also came by and apologized for my mailbox being blocked. A very nice gentleman at Gulf Power did tell me that mailboxes should never be blocked, nor should driveway line of sight be dangerously blocked, nor should things like water meters or other things be blocked by limbs. He also indicated that it was a general policy that debris was not to be left any longer than absolutley neccessary and certainly not over a weekend. In today’s world of contracted companies and subcontracted workers, I understand how sometimes things go astray, and I thank Gulf Power representatives for taking the time to talk to me and try to rectify this situation. Of course in my opinion the situation should never have happened, however sh*t does happen and it is up to consumers, customers, and the public to complain when things aren’t right so that the powers that be are aware of the problems and have the opportunity to try to correct them and make sure they don’t happen again. Yay for the power of the blog!
I have just run into a real nasty new version of a Rogue fake antivirus malware that in addition to screwing with a user’s machine, actually performs a malicious act by hiding all of the users files as well as public shared files on the users computer. I have gotten a few calls from people saying “Help, I lost my files”, or “all my files are gone”. This malicious new virus/malware makes it appear as if the user files have been deleted or wiped off the computer. The files are not lost or deleted though, they have just been hidden.
The Rogue antivirus is a class of malware that pretends to be a real antivirus or antimalware program or some cases I have seen recently a fake windows diagnostic program that says you have memory errors or hard disk errors. In reality these programs ARE the infection. The fake program usually gives you messages that your system is infected or has issues, and tries to get you to either buy a worthless program, or get you to give someone your credit card number. Don’t do either!
To the user, it appears as if all their files – documents, music, pictures, files on the desktop etc have simply disappeared. Don’t worry though, this is not the case. The virus/malware sets a hidden attribute on all the users folders and files and also does the same to public shared folders and files. This can be undone by selectively resetting or unhiding the folders and files that have been hidden **NOTE: Be careful doing this as not all hidden files and folders in your user profile are meant to be unhidden, some are hidden by default and should remain so. If you are unsure of what to do, contact a computer professional to help you.
At Pensacola Computers, we can help you if you are not sure how to do this yourself, and can even do it in a remote session – for help removing viruses and malware, and recovering lost or hidden files visit http://pensacolacomputers.com for contact information.
Deluna Fest is in its second year here in Pensacola Florida, and this year is shaping up to be one of the most exciting ever. The DelunaFest organizers have teamed up with three local Pensacola Beach resort hotels to offer what promises to be a unique music festival experience.
With 85 bands on 6 stages, Pensacola Beach is going to rock the world. Deluna Fest 20011 Best Bands on the beach is going to be a new catchphrase that is going to go viral on the internet. Although the lineup has yet to be announced, there have already been hundreds of people who have purchased VIP resort packages, and many more who have gotten in on the early bird ticket sales. Deluna Fest organizers certainly have taken care of the local Pensacola Florida residents with a host of great locals only early bird offers. More info can be found at: http://delunafest.com, follow on twitter @delunafest
Early bird GA and VIP tickets online on April 12th, plus more Resort Packages coming!!!
Follow at Pensacola Connect for the latest news on the Bands Lineup
I am pretty ticked of at AVG at the moment, for a number of years I have recommeded AVG free anti-virus to many home users because it has been one of the best free Antivirus solutions that I have found and is good at protecting most home users. It seems that a recent AVG update from yesterday is now causing quite a few computers to experience Blue Screens and endless restarts, not allowing people to get into Windows at all, even through Safe-mode. When safemode doesn’t work, that is a real problem because then the only option is to boot from some kind of recovery medium (your install CD, bootable USB, or bootable cd). So far I have seen this on both Vista and Windows 7 Machines but there is a fix, albeit not an easy one.
If you are currently running AVG and Windows Vista/Windows 7 you may want to uninstall AVG until this issue is addressed (that is if you can boot into Windows).
To fix this issue, you need to boot your computer using either: your original Vista DVD, a bootable USB or CD with portable XP or DOS that has NTFS read/write abilities, a Windows 7 DVD will also work. If using the Vista or Windows 7 DVD, once the initial setup screens have loaded, you will want to select the repair options (look at the bottom left of the dialog box) you will then need to go to a DOS prompt. From the DOS prompt you will need to navigate to the Program Files (x86) directory and rename the entire AVG folder to something else. Reboot your machine and you should then be able to get into Windows.
Once in Windows you will need to remove AVG (at least until they get this mess sorted out – maybe for good if this issue is any indication). I recommend running one of the AVG removal tools here: http://www.avg.com/us-en/download-tools
Make sure to install some kind of antivirus – there are a number of other good free ones, such as Microsoft Security Essentials: http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/ , Avira Free antivirus: http://www.avira.com/en/avira-free-antivirus , or Avast Free: http://www.avast.com/free-antivirus-download
Hopefully AVG will come out with a fix ASAP and I’m personally thinking that they should offer their paid for version free to anyone who was hit by this bug.
If you need help with this issue in Pensacola, please visit Pensacola Computers and give me a call.