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Comment Re:Hey, MS, give them to people who will use them! (Score 3, Interesting) 236

My wife decided to try out a Pro 2 last year and it just lacked a lot. The Pro 3s have been getting much better reviews and I would say the hardware is certainly much nicer. But like many of you have commented on... The price is still a big negative for me. Sure their intro level 65GB i3 Surface Pro 3 is 799, but that is all you get. That does not even include their crappy keyboard/cover. For the Pro/RT/Pro 2s you had 2 options of keyboards, the Type Cover and Touch Cover. The Touch was the crappy no click keyboard and the type was an actual keyboard. But the prices were just ridiculous. Currently 119.99 for Touch and 129.99 for Type. Thankfully they have removed the Touch option for the Pro 3 but still leave you with a 130 dollar keyboard. They market the Pro 3 as a Macbook Air competitor, mainly boasting about Windows apps, removable keyboard, and touch screen. But here is what you get for a 799 Pro 3:

64GB i3 1.5GHz
4GB of Memory (64GB/128GB models)
up to 9 hours battery life (WOW That is great! Oh wait... fine print... ) For Web Browsing :( so basically anything more than that you will be lucky to get 4 hours.
Oh yeah no keyboard included in this... but we have a nice pen.
oh and Windows 8.1 of course (psst this runs better on a Mac)

Now what do you get with a base model Macbook Air for $899:
128GB storage 1.4GHz i5
4-8GB memory (for either model)
They say similar 9 hours of wireless Web, but I've multi-tasked and got some good life out of a single charge.
Keyboard included! Yep, you get that with the Air, no extra fee for it.
It has enough power to run Windows in a virtual machine or bootcamped. It will only cost me a license for Windows (or not depending on your resources).
The Mac touchpad and magic mouse work very good in Windows 8.1 so it is like a touch screen without all the finger prints.

Now if someone gave me a surface, I would certainly use it, but at this time I would not drop the almost $2K to replace my fully functioning Desktop or laptop. I just recently picked up a nice HP Probook 430 and after maxing the the RAM to 16GB it handles all my VMs nicely. My wife now has all my Mac stuff.

MS is on the right track, but they need better price points and marketing strategies, oh and to fricking throw in the keyboard! It is better to compare it to an Air but it is still Apples to Oranges as far as the tech goes. And you can't compare to an iPad either because again they are really not the same type of device. Then again with a nice BT keyboard and case, my wife uses her iPad Air like a laptop and only takes the MBP out when she needs to do something that requires a bit more heavy lifting.

Comment This is good (Score 1) 398

It probably would have saved a lot of tax dollars had they just implemented signs saying there were cameras prior to actually signing the contract to install them. It's the old "if you think you are being watched, you will behave properly" notion. There are areas around my state that say "speed tracked by cameras" and usually I obey the posted limit but there are times I don't and have yet to get a ticket.

If the signs don't stop the problem of speeders, then implement the actual cameras but be prepared to not see a huge revenue increase as once the word is out, people will obey the limits.

Comment Check for Wireless Sync (Score 1) 519

Not sure if it has been mentioned, I had a similar problem with my iPad and Wireless Sync being used. Once I disabled that, the system started to behave. On the Apple forums, there were a number of people having the same types of issues. If you always connect directly, then there is no reason to keep the Wireless sync enabled. Though each update to iTunes does seem to add more performance issues. One I am finding is with an agent causing a delay to closing iTunes because it might be used by something else. Haven't dived into that just yet but I plan to.

Comment First job out of school? (Score 1) 600

If it is, then I will be happy to give you some advise. As a number of people have already mentioned, keep it simple. With that keep it so it is easy for you to manage as well as easy for you to get support for. Sure you can save a ton of upfront cost putting some linux based solution in but I am a big fan of "you get what you pay for." So go with a supported solution.

Start with the back end and work your way forward. People knock Microsoft, but Windows SMB is pretty affordable. Just don't skimp on the hardware, get something scalable. Either way having centralized management of users and resources is key! It is much easier to build it now than to have to migrate to it later. I had a client that was running in full workgroup but had a server. The previous consultants never set them up on a domain, hell they didn't even have the OS they paid for installed on the server. So if you have the opportunity to build from the ground up, build it right!

As for the network, if it is not already wired, well you may want to consider running hard Cat 6 cabling. Hire someone to do it since they will do it properly. Also remember it costs the same in labor to run multiple runs to a location as it does a single run. So plan for expansion. Same goes for the network hardware. Do max a single switch with just what you need, make sure you have room to add more connections.

For the storage server, well where is this data stored now? Are we talking GBs of current data or TBs? Also you mentioned Archving, well how often will this archived material be needed? Will it be accessed frequently or maybe once a year? You can always move it to optical disc and store in a secure location. You could also store it on the web as well.

As for moving everything to "THE CLOUD" well sure, you can host your entire server infrastructure there. There are decent companies out there like Rackspace for hosting services. But if you are working with large media files then you may want to keep some things in-house. To back all this up, well you can go with online backup solutions. Check out reviews, but keep in mind that the initial upload could take days to almost weeks depending on your bandwidth and the size of your data. So you may want to look at some form of backup-to-disk and then run your online backup of those files.

But before you begin ordering and what not, work with the staff and figure out what your budget is. That will help you decided what you can build.

If you are not fresh out of school and this isn't your first job, well then I am with the rest of the guys, quit and let them hire someone who can do the job and please go back to Geek Squad!

Comment Educating and lockdown (Score 1) 369

It certainly isn't a bad idea to test new hires. I currently have a non-profit client that has a large number of service staff that use laptops. A majority of them have absolutely no clue how to use the computers. Most see the application and confirm they know how to use computers. Frankly I believe laptops are reserved for slightly more advanced end users. We were back and forth with this client a couple times a week because their most recent user was completely computer illiterate. She didn't know why her laptop wouldn't stay on.... I checked the docking station and the power cable was not connected.

Many state agencies require prospective admin staff to take an exam before they can apply for a job. These exams cover a number of topics that have to do with the level of job they are going for. I don't see a problem with developing similar standards for non-government jobs. Then again its tougher for a small business with no IT staff to go through this. What I would recommend is to get your parents to hire an outside firm to help them not only with their IT support but with educating their users. They should easily be able to develop a hiring quiz for new hires as well as develop training plans for users.

Locking down the workstations is also not a bad idea. Get regular users out of the local admin groups on the workstations. Make sure AV is being properly updated and even look into installing a small business class firewall that does some content filtering as well as gateway AV. Sonicwalls provide these services and usually at a pretty good rate.

Good luck!!

PC Games (Games)

EA Shutting Down Video Game Servers Prematurely 341

Spacezilla writes "EA is dropping the bomb on a number of their video game servers, shutting down the online fun for many of their Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3 games. Not only is the inclusion of PS3 and Xbox 360 titles odd, the date the games were released is even more surprising. Yes, Madden 07 and 08 are included in the shutdown... but Madden 09 on all consoles as well?"

Jetman Attempts Intercontinental Flight 140

Last year we ran the story of Yves Rossy and his DIY jetwings. Yves spent $190,000 and countless hours building a set of jet-powered wings which he used to cross the English Channel. Rossy's next goal is to cross the Strait of Gibraltar, from Tangier in Morocco and Tarifa on the southwestern tip of Spain. From the article: "Using a four-cylinder jet pack and carbon fibre wings spanning over 8ft, he will jump out of a plane at 6,500 ft and cruise at 130 mph until he reaches the Spanish coast, when he will parachute to earth." Update 18:57 GMT: mytrip writes: "Yves Rossy took off from Tangiers but five minutes into an expected 15-minute flight he was obliged to ditch into the wind-swept waters."

Comment Boo hoo (Score 1) 249

I say take all that iPhone money and invest it back into the network!! As a former Verizon customer now turned AT&T slave because I wanted an iPhone, I am a little sad that I was swayed over such a phone as nice as it is. Granted at my last two homes I had barely 2 bars for Verizon and now have full bars for AT&T. Then again the calls still drop. Go figure. So even if they used accurate facts, I would still say "sure they have coverage but it ain't that reliable!" I have a feeling that after the 2 years I may be swinging back to Verizon.

Comment Using an outside IT firm (Score 1) 730

If you are a large startup and you may require an internal Network Admin. Eventually companies get large enough where they do need an internal IT staff that can take care of day-to-day activities and then use an outside consulting company for projects and even extra hands.


I work for an IT consulting firm that actually specializes as both staff augmentation and full time IT support. Most of our clients are small to medium businesses. Some with as little as 10 employees. They don't have enough for a full time person to work on so they use us once a month. We also have an oncall/helpdesk department to handle things when the primary engineer is not on-site. But we also don't automatically give ourselves remote access without the permission of the client. We have some clients that only remote us in when there is a problem. Others trust us fully to be their full time IT support. It really depends on what your product is. I've signed confidentiality agreements with clients in order for them to allow me to work on their systems.


In this day and age IT is a major part of many businesses. You really can't take it for granted. Also you can't go around being paranoid of every IT person. Of course they are going to have full access to your systems and data, but if they are good they will not jeopardize their reputation by stealing data. You get what you pay for also. Look for the companies who have been doing this for a while. Look at their partnerships (Microsoft Gold Partner etc..) Many vendors require that their partners meet certain criteria so not every consulting company can be a Gold Partner just because they know about the product. They need to have a certain amount of certificates among their engineers.


As far as the remote monitoring, well that is a cost savings to you. It costs much less to have someone remote into the systems to look at it than to have someone travel to your office and look at something that may only take a few minutes to fix.

Comment Re:Jiu-Jitsu (Score 1) 582

That was excellent Jiu!!
We used to only get offered comp-time for any off-hour work for our clients but then management realized that they were not getting enough volunteers for off-hour work so they changed the options to comp time or extra pay for doing the work. Gotta love those off-hour remote Exchange defrags! :D

Comment Better Planning (Score 1) 655

Aside from the hardware, you also have to consider support for the software. Microsoft will limit support on the OS eventually. Windows 95 was EOL a very long time ago.

The best bet would be to plan better. Most manufacturers will not warranty workstations for more than 5 years. Shortly after the system will become End of Life. This is of course if you are going with a brand computer. If you build them, you will need to check the manufacturer warranties on all the parts. So you need to put some IT planning into affect.

If he wants something that will last long, your best bet would be to look into a small business level server. The hardware in an official server is designed to run for long period of times with longer life spans as well. Desktop grade hardware will eventually fail and it certainly will if it is running extended periods of time.

Now on top of all that, you also need to consider support for his business application. Can this database and software be migrated to newer platforms? If not then he may be looking at other problems beside just keeping his hardware running.

Hope this helps.

Comment Vanguard is still running? (Score 1) 45

Ha! Didn't even know the game was still up and running. Good for them. But yeah I was certainly one who jumped in and attempted to play. I got fed up with the ridiculous lag as well as the system requirements to play it at the time. Since then I've got a better rig. Unfortunately Blizzard just keeps my addicted arse coming back to WoW.

Think there are plenty of us out there that would love for someone to come out with an MMO that makes us feel what we felt with WoW 4 years ago. Since then nothing has done that for me.

Comment Short term contract jobs (Score 2, Interesting) 613

If you are good, you can always pick up contract jobs. Right now I have a full time job and no point in leaving at the moment. But if the something ever happened and the company closed or I was laid off I would go for the 6 month contract deals, if anything you can use them to learn some new stuff as well.

As for the Anonymous guy who has a thorn in his side about IT pros calling themselves engineers, well true not everyone one of use could be considered that, but the good ones can. We are given problems every day that we need to "engineer solutions for."

Comment Re:Carefully protected? (Score 1) 803

um, I think this was geared towards the corporate infrastructure. I've gone on a lot of technical pre-sale visits and many small businesses that have heavy storage don't back it up. Then they ask about online backups. We still recommend tape or tape libraries.

As what I do at home, for one I do not even have close to a TB of data. But I just backup to disk. having a copy of data store elsewhere is better than nothing. What home users should do is buy a couple inexpensive external drives and do regular backups of their computer HDDs, at least their personal DATA. Get a firebox safe and store the drives in that.

What I recommend back to the corporate/small business owners is to get at least 2 weeks worth of media as well as monthly tapes. Store the monthlies off site. They can spend the money on Iron Mountain or they can keep it in someone's home safe. (I don't recommend the home safe, but whatever works!). The more data you have the larger the the backup solution will be. But then you have to ask yourself how much is this data worth to the company?? Suddenly $20K is not looking to bad.

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