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Is USB Type-C the Answer for Fast Data Transfer?

Is USB Type-C the Answer for Fast Data Transfer?

You might use USB every day for your general technology needs, but do you know the difference between the various kinds of USB? This week’s tech term is dedicated to investigating the different types of Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports, including its history, development, and uses.


The Origins of USB
First developed and implemented in 1996, the USB cable was created with the purpose of connecting devices to a computer in mind. A total of seven leaders in the computing and communications industry--Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, and Nortel--wanted to create a simple solution that could allow several different kinds of devices to connect to a PC.

Essentially, an early USB connection provided a data transfer of about 1.5 Mbps to 12 Mps. While this isn’t as fast as today’s standards, it was quite remarkable for the time. The first major release of USB technology was in September 1998, and it provided users with a 12 Mbps transfer rate on high-speed devices. Apple’s own iMac computer was actually one of the first devices to come with USB built into it, and it success played a major role in the commercialization and popularity of USB. The original USB came in two different connector types: type A, or standard USB, and type B, the more squared-off connector.

Innovations of USB
In August of 2000, USB 2.0 was released. The increase in data transfer was substantial at about 280 Mbps. Additionally, the first mini-USB (types A and B) were also developed. Furthermore, USB 2.0 introduced a new integrated battery charging feature, as well as fast data transfer from the emerging smartphone market. USB 3.0, introduced in November 2008, achieved an impressive 5.0 Gbs transfer rate, and the next decade would only further enhance this. September 2017 brought about the Type-C connector and USB 3.2, resulting in a transfer of around 20 Gbps.

USB Type-C
The USB Type-C uses a 24-pin USB connector system. You can identify it by looking for its rotational-symmetrical connector. We think that this is not just the most identifiable feature, but its most important as well. Nowadays, there is no wrong way to plug in your USB cable. In terms of size, the USB-C connector is larger than the micro-B connector. Just like the typical USB wire, one end has a type-A or type-B connection, while the other end has the new type-C connector.

For your reference, here are three of the best new features for USB Type-C:

  1. It’s designed to be easier to plug in since there is no discernible way that the dongle has to be entered into the device.
  2. Data transfer and power capability are basically twice what they were with USB 3.1.
  3. It’s designed to become a future-proof option for data and power transfer for mobile devices.

Unfortunately, not all devices support one cable, but maybe in the future this will become the new standard. For more information about new developments and the latest technology, subscribe to our blog.

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Save the Date: Microsoft Products End of Life

Save the Date: Microsoft Products End of Life

There are one of two reactions every person gets when they get a save-the-date card in the mail. They either are excited for an event or they realize that the event is going to cost them money. For today’s blog, we give you our version of save the date as some of the most widely used Microsoft products in recent memory are coming up on their end of support date, and for some businesses, this save-the-date might be bad news.

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Your Router Can Host Some Pretty Nasty Malware

Your Router Can Host Some Pretty Nasty Malware

Hundreds of millions of people use wireless Internet connections every day, and as a result, hackers are taking that as a challenge. They are now starting to develop malware that targets people through their routers. Recently, security researchers at Kaspersky Lab have discovered the malware named Slingshot. The code is designed to spy on PCs through a multi-layer attack that targets MikroTik routers. Today we take a look at Slingshot, and other router-based malware and what you can do about it.

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Know Your Tech: Cache

Know Your Tech: Cache

If you hang out around technology professionals for any period of time, chances are that you’ve heard the word “cache” used before. The word, pronounced cash, is usually heard in the phrase, “clear the cache,” but if you don’t know what this phrase means, how can you benefit from it? Since this week’s tech term is “cache,” let’s get into the details.

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Why You’ll Want to Consider Hosted VoIP Telephony

Why You’ll Want to Consider Hosted VoIP Telephony

Today, communications are an important part of business, and with nearly every organization looking to reduce redundancies, a lot of businesses are starting to take advantage of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions, using the resources they already have in place to avoid paying twice over.

With today’s ISPs delivering faster and faster speeds to businesses, much of the bandwidth a business uses is lost. By choosing to utilize a VoIP telephony solution, your company gets more for less. You are paying for access to massive amounts of bandwidth anyway, why not cut your communications costs while you are at it? Today we will take a look at the various types of VoIP that are available and why the switch may be just the thing your organization needs.

What is VoIP?
Voice over Internet Protocol is just that. The ability to make calls, and have a feature-rich platform that provides all the services that your traditional phone system offers, for a fraction of the cost per user. If this seems too good to be true, consider that the VoIP market is growing rapidly (over 15 percent per year). It works through your organization’s Internet connection rather than through dedicated phone lines. So, instead of having to pay for a separate system or add expensive hardware, VoIP provides an organization the immediate cost reduction without a discernible shift in functionality.

Hosted VoIP technology can be hosted either onsite or in the cloud, but since you won’t have to pay for and maintain hardware with the cloud-based platform, the cloud-hosted version will save you money. It is still a completely managed and maintained PBX server, but instead of having the system in your office, your organization can access it through web-based applications typically available on both desktops and mobile devices.

Benefits of VoIP
We’ve already outlined the cost reduction that’s possible with VoIP, but there are some other benefits as well. They include:

  • Easier to Manage: If anything else, switching to VoIP eliminates a vendor that you have to manage. More than that though, VoIP doesn’t need special hardware, it can use the same wiring and switches as your LAN.
  • Unified Communications: Installing a VoIP platform likely means that you are able to unify your organization’s communications platform, giving your staff the option to communicate multiple ways at the click of a button.
  • Functionality: A VoIP platform can integrate with all types of business-management software to provide easy access to the communication capabilities that often make business run better. VoIP also has innovative features like Voicemail-to-email transcription, interactive voice recognition, and integrated chat.
  • Scalability: When you need another user, it’s as simple as adding a line to your VoIP plan.

VoIP makes a lot of sense for the growing business and the established enterprise, alike. If you would like more information, contact our professional consultants today at 800.394.2301.

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Where You May be Seeing More AI Soon

Where You May be Seeing More AI Soon

The notion of artificial intelligence has played out in fiction, on the silver screen, and on the small screen for decades. Instead of having sentient cyborgs that enslave humanity, people are using A.I for our benefit. Today, we take a look at the A.I. of 2018 and how your business can leverage it for your benefit.


What is Artificial Intelligence
Today’s world is filled with data. All the experiences and thoughts humans have produced over centuries have provided somewhat of a record of what is expected from A.I. After all, if humans are going to replace workers with machines, ensuring they can do the jobs as (or more) efficiently is going to be important. For now, however, A.I. is being utilized in conjunction with people--trying to make our world better by making the applications and services we depend on more intuitive and efficient.

At one time there were the American Titans of Industry. Today we have Titans of Technology, and not one of them isn’t completely fascinated by the practical applications that artificial intelligence (in some fashion) can have for humanity. The thing standing in the way from all this glorious A.I.-fueled innovation, of course, is humanity. It seems every so often there is a report that is written suggesting that millions of workers can now be replaced with machines, and in the interest of shareholder profits, any business that has been able to leverage A.I. and increase its profitability has gone ahead and done so, often against public sentiment.

One study predicted that 47 percent of all jobs could be automated by 2033. That’s only 15 years off. If you’re looking for some current statistics, another report found in 2016 that up to nine percent of all workers are now unnecessary. Yet another suggested that 800+ of the largest businesses in the world, will cut between four and seven percent of their workforce and replace them with more efficient and less costly artificially intelligent machines.

How Your Business Could Use A.I.
You use A.I. every day without even thinking about it. Every time you use Google. Every time you use Uber or Lyft. Every time your email sends an incoming email to spam. Even as people all look forward to an inevitable permanent vacation as a result of A.I., it can be extraordinarily useful for the smaller business. Here are three ways even the smallest of businesses can take advantage of the growing A.I. market.

  • Operations - For small manufacturers or service providers many of the often-redundant parts of the job can now be automated. Since an A.I.-fueled ERP or CRM platform adjusts to the data you enter into it, it increases the level of automation that you can use to make your business more efficient.
  • Marketing - Small businesses rely on very targeted marketing campaigns, and by utilizing A.I.-driven marketing platforms, companies can reduce their marketing costs and target the audience most likely to purchase their products and services.
  • Customer Service - Customer service representatives have a tendency to flame out fairly quickly and actually deteriorate a company’s relationships with its customers. By using A.I. to automate a big portion of the customer service load, customers will get better support, and will tend to become repeat customers.

How has your business been able to utilize artificial intelligence? Do you foresee using A.I. in any capacity going forward? Leave your thoughts below and return to our blog for more great technology-related information.

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Tip of the Week: Creating Canned Responses in Gmail

Tip of the Week: Creating Canned Responses in Gmail

If you’re like most business users, you rely on email quite a bit to stay apprised of what is going on, as do most of the people you are likely in communication with. As such, you most likely understand that, while most emails require some kind of response or confirmation of receipt, not all of these messages require a heartfelt message. This is where Gmail’s Canned Responses come in handy.


This week’s tip will go over how to set up your own canned responses to streamline your repetitive, but necessary, communications.

How to Set Up Canned Responses
First, you’ll need to log in to the browser version of Gmail. Once there, click on the Gear icon in the top right under your profile image and select Settings from the menu. From there, you’ll see a horizontal menu that will display Advanced, click into it. You will see the option to enable Canned Responses. Click the radio button to select enable, and then save your changes. You can now create canned responses to use in your correspondence.

Creating and Using Your Canned Responses
To create a canned response to use, open the message composer and write out what you want your message to say. Once you are satisfied with your return message, access the message window options by clicking the button in the bottom-right corner. That menu should now have a Canned responses option, with a sub-menu that allows you to save a New canned response. You will be prompted to give your new response a name, and then it will be saved for future use in that sub-menu.

What kind of messages would you anticipate using canned responses for? Tell us what you think in the comments!

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Technology Addiction is a Very Real, Very Scary Thing

Technology Addiction is a Very Real, Very Scary Thing

Technology has become essential to workplace functionality and personal productivity, but while the long hours spent glued to our tech during the workday are a necessity, the time we spend at home with our personal devices is definitely voluntary. However, more and more people - children especially - are finding it harder to let their devices power down.


This is the hallmark of technology addiction, or Internet addiction disorder (IAD). While it isn’t yet officially recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), IAD caught the attention of health professionals in the 1990s and 2013 saw the addition of Internet Use Gaming Disorder to the DSM-5.

What Makes IAD a Problem
Many of the features and trends that are widely taken for granted in applications today - autoplay, in-app purchases, and even notifications - are actually undermining our self-control. Instead of being able to set down the device and move on to something else, these tactics have made it so that we feel compelled to compulsively check these devices.

After all, you never know what you may miss if you don’t check right now.

Of course, needing to use technology for work and being addicted to technology are two very different things, but that doesn’t change the fact that children and adults alike have increasingly presented the warning signs of this addiction in their personal lives. That’s right - as much as the attachment to technology has stereotypically been framed as a young person’s problem, it can affect adults just as easily.

In a poll, 66 percent of parents felt that their teens were investing too much time into using their mobile device. No real surprise there, right? However, the same poll measured that 54 percent of children believed that their parents were checking their own devices too frequently as well.

Symptoms of IAD
IAD has a few warning signs and symptoms that present themselves in the behavior and mood of the person affected. Repeatedly checking for incoming text messages or updates and excessive social media use are common behaviors to keep an eye out for in your loved ones, and possibly in yourself.

Those afflicted with IAD also frequently feel euphoric while using their technology, and when they aren’t, often feel restless. IAD sufferers are prone to social withdrawal and experience diminished interest in activities not centered around a gadget. Some schools have even implemented technology fasts, where students have gone without their precious devices for a week. Teachers have noted that these students often exhibit physical symptoms of anxiety while their devices aren’t accessible. Students will reach for a device that isn’t there, all the while shaking and sweating.

How to Reduce Addictive Tactics
Above, we mentioned how many modern applications have features that encourage this kind of pervasive presence and dependence. To avoid these affects, it is probably best that these features are deactivated for non-essential applications.

Notifications are some of the biggest culprits of encouraging persistent use, so if the information isn’t essential to your professional or personal life, you don’t need an app trying to get your attention. Ask yourself: do you really need to be informed that your energy has been refilled in that mobile game you play more than you should? At the very least, using the mute notifications feature will help keep your attention from being pulled away when it shouldn’t be.

Many of the same apps that spam you with notifications are also the ones that encourage users to make those tempting in-app purchases that give the user an edge, or more frequently, extend the amount of time you can use the app before you have to wait again. This is most common in the free versions of these applications, so if you insist on using the app, it is more economical in the long run to just bite the bullet and pay for the app itself.

What piece of technology can you not bear to be without? Share it with us in the comments.

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