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IT Solutions | The End of the XP Era

  
  
  
  
  

The end of the XP Era

With the release of Windows 8 just around the corner, Microsoft has released the official dates for the end of XP support. Windows XP sales stopped as of October 22, 2010 but users were and are still able to downgrade copies of Windows 7 to similar level copies of XP.  XP has been the backbone of home and business computing for nearly 11 years but with the success of Windows 7 Microsoft has put the old warhorse out to pasture.  What this means for the average user is not a whole lot.  Windows XP will continue to work along with all the applications designed for it.  The major change is that there will be no more service packs, updates, or security fixes.  For retail Customers this has already happened as of April, 2009 however Commercial customers with extended support are covered until April, 2014.  After the end of support it is recommended that users upgrade to a newer version of Windows to continue to receive security patching from Windows Update.   It is important that you have a plan in place to keep your systems up to date and running smoothly.  

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IT Support | Next Apple iPad To (Probably) Include USB Port.

  
  
  
  
  

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- by Jon, "My Hair Is More 'Cinnamon'", Pentecost

According to the Apple Insider website, the next edition of the iPad that is expected out in the first quarter of 2011 is rumored to contain a USB port.  This is a contrast to any previous Apple mobile device out there, as previous devices needed an adapter to use USB, if it was even possible to use USB.

So why the change to add a USB port as opposed to using the standard 30-pin connector that Apple has been using for iPods, iPhones, and iPads?  It may stem from the European companies that are working to standardize to a common mini-USB charger for all mobile devices (see the article).

Having a build-in USB port would be nice for iPad users, as they might be able to use existing audio devices or keyboards they already have and wouldn’t need to purchase a separate adapter for it.  Now the question I have is if it is going to be the current standard USB 2.0 or are they going to support the new USB 3.0 standard that is coming soon?

If you are interested in learning more about what mobile devices like the iPad can do for your company, contact us about our Trigon Mobility Solutions as a part of our Philadelphia Mobility Solutions that are available.

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IT Support | NYT's Top Picks for Apps to Kill Time.

  
  
  
  
  

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New York Times:

Games are a clear favorite for the stranded legions at subway stops and grocery store checkout lines, but this category has a staggering number of choices. Apple’s iTunes Store helps narrow those choices with the Game Center, a selection of around 1,700 highly rated, high-selling apps, including 30 featured titles.

You’ll find the usual suspects, like Angry Birds, Flight Control and Doodle Jump, which are perfect for situations when you have three free minutes. If you already have these games, try Let’s Golf 2 ($5 on iPhone), Blokus ($5 on iPhone) and Tetris ($1), or newer games like Trucks and Skulls ($1), Astronut (free) and Zoo Rescue ($1).

Nice of the New York Times to provide us with this handy list, yes? Since we're getting into iOS apps, I'll throw in my two cents. I was never a fan of Flight Control, but Angry Birds is an obvious choice for your hard earned monies. One they missed, however, was The Incident. A great, old school pixelated game that has you moving your iPhone ever so slightly to have the main character avoid falling debris. The coolest part, is that if you have both an iPhone and an iPad, you can use your iPhone as a controller for your iPad. Cool! Even cooler, you can plug your iPad into your TV, and you have a super cool gaming device!

NYT moves on to Android:

That said, Android has Angry Birds, Let’s Golf 2 and Tetris, which are all solid choices. Glu Mobile, the maker of many popular and free iPhone games, like Gun Bros and Deer Hunter, will introduce some of those games to Android in the coming weeks. Gun Bros is expected to appear this week.

Oof! The choices look bleak on Android, friends. But, you have Angry Birds on Android, AND it's free. Free if you don't mind some pesky ads, that is. Gun Bros sounds...fun. And possibly violent. So I'm in.

Know anyone with a Blackberry?

BlackBerry users who are accustomed to second-rate apps have it slightly better when it comes to games. The genre’s most famous mobile games are missing, but thanks chiefly toElectronic Arts, great ones still await, like Need for Speed Shift 3D, Yahtzee, Tetris and Risk. All sold for $1 apiece last week.

Hm, weak sauce as well. So, the bottom line here is that you should go out and get an iPhone and also as iPad. I mean, that's only like, $1000. Chickenfeed! Let's just hope Santa was very kind to you and your family.

At least you don't have a Chrome OS.

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IT Support | Nokia Making Windows Phones, Earth Stops On Axis.

  
  
  
  
  

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Slashgear:

Like the Verizon iPhone, there are some tech industry rumors that simply refuse to die, and today it’s the turn of Nokia and a potential Windows Phone 7 device that’s getting raked over the coals once more. Notorious insider – and not known for his love of the Finnish cellphone company – Eldar Murtazin claims that Microsoft and Nokia have been holding ongoing talks regarding a Nokia-branded Windows Phone 7 smartphone range.

According to Murtzin, the meetings were at the prompt of newly-instated Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who is the ex-head of Microsoft Business. He suggests that the first Nokia WP7 devices will reach Europe in Q2 2011, with the “characteristic features” of the Finnish company’s products.

Remember Nokia? Sure you do. They made those small cell phones that everyone had before the Razr. But I bet you're wondering, "what have they done for me lately?". Well, you and me both, friend. You and me both.

I'd answer that, but I still haven't thought of anything. Nokia still makes a ton of money in Europe selling low cost phones to those that haven't gotten the wonder of the iPhone. Mmmm, iPhone. 

Ok, back to Nokia. Their Meego and Symbian platforms haven't exactly caught the states on fire. They've made no allusions to getting on the Android bandwagon, so WP7 could be just the thing to get them back into the game. Who wouldn't want a nicely refined OS to put on your sexy phone hardware? Who!?

All I'm saying is that I haven't been wooed by any current WP7 hardware, and would like to see Nokia take a crack.

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IT Support | We Worry About ASA Changes So You Don't Have To.

  
  
  
  
  

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- by Chad, "The Machine", Weaver

Alright, I think I have had enough time to wrap my head around the changes to the ASA code in the newest release to share with you some of the massive changes.  The newest release is any code version 8.3 and higher.  I’ve been configuring ASA, PIX firewalls, and Cisco routers so it took me a little bit of time to get the differences in structure between the ASA and PIX vs. Routers.

I had a great grasp on the concepts thanks to my time invested in those routers. When you work for a top notch IT Support company serving the Philadelphia area, these things come in handy.  But, in this new release there is a curve ball when it comes to NAT.  These changes are going to make it a little tough going in the transition, but I think as everyone gets used to this new way of doing things it will be second nature again very soon.  Plus, I want to provide a few examples of the old way vs. the new way to get you started.  One last thing before I jump in to some examples, if you’re planning on upgrading from 8.2 or below to 8.3 be advised there is a greater memory requirement that some ASAs sold previously will need to be upgraded to meet. 

I want to give a quick explanation on the new way of doing things before we jump in to some details and basic examples.  The way we configure NAT now involves creating network objects in the object to define network objects, and using the NAT keyword to create the translation.  This is done  directly in the network object configuration rather than in the global configuration as was the previous way.

 

Examples:

For the first example I want to go over the standard NAT for your inside addresses to a single public address, or a dynamic PAT.

The old commands looked something like this.

Hostname(config#)Global (outside) 1 1.1.1.1

Hostname(config#)Nat (inside) 1 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0

This would translate the inside addresses of 192.168.1.0/24 to 1.1.1.1

New commands:

hostname(config)# object network Inside-nat-object

hostname(config-network-object)# subnet 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0

hostname(config-network-object)# nat (inside,outside) dynamic 1.1.1.1

 

These commands do produce the same result but as you can see where the configuration for “nat” is made is also quite different, versus 8.2

Let’s not forget an example of interface overload, or dynamic PAT using the outside interface.

hostname(config)# object network Inside-nat-object

hostname(config-network-object)# subnet 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0

hostname(config-network-object)# nat (inside,outside) dynamic interface

Same basic idea here, define what you are translating then using the nat keyword define how to translate.

Next let’s take a look at a couple static NAT and PAT commands for different uses, and that should cover most basic configuration needs to get you started.  I may do a follow up post with a much more in-depth look at some of the more advanced configurations.

Example:

To map a single host IP to an external IP through a static NAT used to look like this.

Static (inside,outside) 192.168.1.2 1.1.1.2 netmask 255.255.255.255

New:

hostname(config)# object network my-first-NAT

hostname(config-network-object)# host 192.168.1.2

hostname(config-network-object)# nat (inside,outside) static 1.1.1.2

 

To expand on this idea, if we want to translate a service specifically http for this example or port 80 it would look like below.

hostname(config)# object network my-first-webnat

hostname(config-network-object)# host 192.168.1.2

hostname(config-network-object)# nat (inside,outside) static 1.1.1.2 service tcp 80 80

 

These Examples can get you going in the right direction.  

 

These are just some of the technical aspects you don't have to worry about with Trigon working for you. Who wants to worry about all that mumbo jumbo? Not you, friend. If you think you need Trigon to take a look at your network infrastructure, give us a call.

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IT Support | Working On The Go

  
  
  
  
  

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by Liz Pagnotti

Are you an organization that permits your employees to telecommute? How about employees who have offsite meetings and need to connect to your company files? Does the technology you use make it productive for both the employee and your bottom line?

There are at least 2.8 million telecommuters who consider their home to be their primary place of work and millions more that work while offsite…Starbucks while sipping a 2 shot non-fat vanilla latte or the local McDonald’s while eating their Happy Meal. The right technology can make the difference between a successful telecommuting initiative and an unsuccessful one.

Trigon Technology Group can assist your organization to optimize your Information Technology so that you can productively allow your employees to telecommute while ensuring the security of your company information.

 

Interested in how we can help set you up with an XBOX at Starbucks? Well, we can't help you there, but be sure to contact us for YOUR IT mobility needs!

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IT Support | Palm Pre 2 Announced to Subdued Fanfare

  
  
  
  
  

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Engadget:

As for Pre 2 itself? Little is being revealed at the moment, but we're told to expect a 1GHz CPU, a five megapixel camera (LED flash, extended depth of field, geotagging, and video capture), glass display and a "sleeker, streamlined design" that still combines a touchpanel with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. In other words, it's a faster, slimmer Pre, and some would argue it's what the Pre Plus should've been. At any rate, SFR customers in France will get first dibs on Friday, with Verizon and an undisclosed carrier in Canada scheduled to get it "in the coming months." Oh, and as for US-based developers? They'll be able to purchase unlocked UMTS versions of the Pre 2 (!) in their homeland, though pricing remains elusive.

A very strange launch for the newest Palm product in a very long time. Just a press release? Even then, it's marginally updated hardware. This is going to be the first Palm phone sold under the new HP banner, and it sounds like the phone is being branded as the "Palm Pre 2", while the OS is now called the "HP webOS 2.0". Not at all confusing.

When I had gotten a Palm Pre Plus for a week thanks to a friend inside of Palm, it was running very compelling software. The hardware was really dragging the phone down, however. I remember just booting the phone took over 2 minutes. That's slower than most computers. Integration for mobile enterprise users was great, which is always a plus in my book. And also the book of an IT Support company serving the Philadelphia area. My exchange accounts connected with ease, and thanks to the notifications inside of the phones OS, getting emails and texts was very unobtrusive. When compared to the Pre's notification system, the iPhone looks like a cardboard cutout. That's no hyperbole. 

It's great that Palm or HP, or whoever, is putting out new webOS phones, but it would be even better if they put out brand new hardware to match. Wishful thinking, HPalm?

 

Does your IT staff balk at your usage of an, but underpowered webOS phone? We can help, we also give out free high 5's!

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IT Support | The FCC Wants to Save You Monies.

  
  
  
  
  

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New York Times:

Julius Genachowski, the F.C.C. chairman, will propose what he calls the commission’s consumer empowerment agenda, aimed at ensuring that users of new technologies do not have to worry about hidden costs, confusing billing practices and what the commission calls “bill shock.”

In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Genachowski said that the five-member commission would consider proposed rules that also would require cellphone and mobile Internet companies to notify customers when they were about to incur roaming charges or other higher-than-normal rates that were not covered by their monthly plans.

Who doesn't want to save money? In terms of cell phone bills, there could be nothing worse than going over your texting and/or data plan.

Apparently, Verizon disagrees;

The mobile phone companies are less enthusiastic. In a filing with the F.C.C. opposing new billing and notification regulations, Verizon Wireless said that it agreed that consumers should have “access to clear information regarding their wireless usage.”

But, the company added, “intense competition has led wireless carriers to provide consumers with usage information” and many mobile phone companies “have developed tools that allow customers to monitor and control their usage in various ways,” including on their mobile devices and online.

Gee, thanks. Isn't it bad enough they want a monopoly on apps, now they want to ensure we go over our limits?

I will say this; ATT's mobile app for the iPhone is very well done. I can open the app and check how many texts I've sent during the current billing month, how many minutes I have left, and I can even pay my bills. Fun!

It may not be fun, but it does help me from going overboard. The FCC is doing a good thing, but I think they're just trying to help people that really just use their phone for calls. Anyone using a phone with apps has to be smart enough to check their date plan. Right?

Right?

 

Would you like to save monies on your IT Support team? We'd like to help.

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IT Support | Windows Phone 7 Officially Official.

  
  
  
  
  

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CNet:

"Everybody should be able to take a look at a Windows Phone and say, 'I can represent me in this device,'" Ballmer explained.

To that end, there are nine Windows Phone 7 devices that will be available in the U.S., from manufacturers Dell, HTC, Samsung, and LG. "You see phones with keyboards," Ballmer said, gesturing to a row of all nine devices in front of him. "You see phones like the LG phones that can play to TV, you'll see super beautiful screens like the beautiful screen on this Samsung...very large screen as you see on this HTC device right here and of course rugged, for-the-hardest-use-type phones like this Dell device."

Whoa, look at that badboy. A slide-out speaker? Truly, we are living in the future. And amazingly, this future involves a Windows mobile phone.

A few years ago, who would have thought such things? And to that end, who would have thought this Apple fanboy would seriusly desire said Windows Phone? As CNet stated in their headline, "Windows Phone 7 debuts: One phone won't rule them all", it really seems as though Windows wants to compete with Android and just get into peoples hands. 

At this point, the battle for marketshare is still up for grabs. But, I still can't get over how slick the OS looks. The hardware so far doesn't really scream out at me. In fact, I'd love for a vendor to create their demo video WP7 into actual hardware. The hardware at launch seems swell enough, but for an iPhone 4 user to switch to WP7, there needs to be something eye catching. I'm not there quite yet. But great news, Cut and Paste IS coming early next year to WP7.

Rest assured, as a fabulous IT Support company that serves the Philadelphia area, we'll be ready to support your Windows Phone 7 needs!

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IT Support | Logitech Unveils Google TV Box, I Yawn.

  
  
  
  
  
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Press Release:
Logitech today unveiled Logitech Revue™ with Google TV™, a compact, plug-and-play companion box with its Logitech® Keyboard Controller, which together provide seamless control over the Google TV experience and home-entertainment devices. The company's portfolio of products for Google TV also includes the Logitech® TV Cam and Vid™ HD service for HD video calling from the comfort of one's sofa. In addition, Logitech is offering the Logitech® Mini Controller for Logitech Revue as well as other applications designed for the Google TV platform.

"Just as we have done with the PC and with home entertainment systems, our role with Google TV is to give people the ability to control and interact with their content and devices with unprecedented ease," said Gerald P. Quindlen, Logitech president and chief executive officer. "With our line of products for Google TV, Logitech will help redefine the user experience in the digital living room."

Yesterday was a big day for the Google and Logitech. Not sure if it was a big day for IT Support fellas that help Philadelphia area companies, but still, big. So, in short, Google TV can connect to your cable box, and give you access to the internets, as well as your cable channels in a neat UI package. You also get a keyboard (!) to use in order to navigate. If you have an iPhone or an Android phone, you can use that as well.

My question is, who wants the web on their TV? Moreover, who wants to use a keyboard to use their TV? The answer to that question is "not me", obviously.

Several of my nerd friends have hooked up cheap computers to their TV's so that they can access Hulu, Netflix, and illegally download movies and TV shows. The key word there was "nerd". Is the general public going to want to traverse the web on their television using a keyboard? Generally, when I wonder if something is a quality product, I wonder if my mother could use it. There is no way in heck my mother would be able to use a Google TV. The second I put that keyboard in front of her, I would be slapped in the face with it.

Also, the box is $299. It's main competition is the $99 AppleTV, and you cannot browse the web, play games, or watch any web-based video content. Unless you have an iPhone or an iPad, that is.

All I'm saying, is that the controller that comes with the Apple TV has 2 buttons and a directional pad.

You're welcome, mom.

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