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Copeland Data News - October, 2012

FallIt is an interesting time of the year for technology. There are new products being released this Fall, including new offerings in the tablet and smartphone world for which we know will trickle down into our world of business.

While browsing this newsletter, if you think of anything you would like to discuss as it applies to your situation, never hesitate to drop me a note.  We are here to help and serve any way we can.

Thank you,

Tom

In this issue of Copeland Data News

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Windows 8

Windows 8, as it debuts from Microsoft, is looked to be released to market towards the end of the month. As mentioned previously in editions of Copeland Data News, Windows 8 is a new operating system, and in many ways, vastly different from its predecessors.

Windows 8 is capable of running on PCs, tablets and smartphones. This gives Microsoft the ability to leverage its technology across all current device types which is certainly an advantage over its competition.

You can review the latest on Windows 8 at www.microsoft.com/windows.

Microsoft is planning on offering an UPGRADE offer for any Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 users for $40.00. This is a limited time offer and is available until January 31, 2013.

Windows 8

Many of the user and support issues of Windows 8 are not yet known, so be very careful in implementing this new operating system all too quickly out of the gate. It is not recommended that any business PCs be upgraded to Windows 8 until all compatibility issues have been reviewed in your environment. On the home front, only you can decide if you are ready to take on the Windows 8 upgrade, knowing that there will be a learning curve as well as possible compatibility issues that may not be resolved quickly.

New Tablets

Kindle FireNew tablets continue to drive the consumer sector of technology, which in turn is slowly bringing tablets into the workplace.

Amazon has just released several new tablets to give customers a choice and at the same time nip at the heels of Apple's iPad with lower price points. More information can be found HERE.

Apple, on the other hand, has other iPad options up its sleeve, which will bring more variety to their offerings. While we have no details at the time of this writing, iPad is expected to offer a smaller, lower cost tablet to better compete with the success of the original Amazon Kindle Fire.

Barnes & Noble also sparked some recent excitement with their announcement of the Nook HD (7" tablet) and Nook HD+ (9" tablet).  These are the first tablets to feature multiple user profiles, which means it really becomes a sharable device among family workers or coworkers.

Web Design for Desktops, Tablets & Phones

Recent changes in HTML/CSS standards are driving a new trend in web design, called "responsive web design."  This is a tremendous step towards serving up your website and providing a great end-user experience regardless of the device being used to browse your website.

Traditionally, web servers would listen to incoming requests and provide the programmers with some information so they can guess what type of device was making the request.  The most appropriate website (desktop vs. mobile) would be served up, but this still did not take into consideration screen size and resolution differences between devices.  With so many types of smartphones and tablets now (not to mention whether they are being used in portrait or landscape mode), this became an expensive proposition to develop websites that may or may not work well on every device.  Luckily, we can now rely on responsive web design to do this.

Responsive web design relies on a browser's ability to perform "media queries" and select the best "stylesheet" for the web.  This is strictly based on the maximum number of pixels that can be displayed horizontally in a window.  These queries update dynamically as windows are resized, so even if you run a very high resolution on a big monitor but prefer to run smaller (non-maximized) browser windows, the layout is adjusted to meet your current window width.

This is probably best illustrated by example.  Visit www.bostonglobe.com and play around with your window width.  You can see how elements dynamically move around, menus change, and items are resized on-the-fly.  This allows developers to build one site that is just styled differently based on current window width.  Since it is one set of content, your site remains consistent across all platforms.

Boston Globe

WATCH FOR THIS! We are just finishing up a complete website rework for one of our customers, and have rebuilt it upon a clean, responsive framework.  With it's stunning graphics and video, it is possibly even a better example of how an average website can respond to various devices.

Please watch our Facebook and Twitter pages for the launch announcement later this week.

If you are considering a website rework, now is a great time to incorporate responsive web design into it.  Though it initially costs more to develop various style definitions, you will be providing the best user experience to your mobile visitors while maintaining one set of content.  With the rapid increase in tablet/smartphone owners, it is difficult to ignore their expectations when browsing your website.

Odds & Ends

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Microsoft's new tablet, called "Windows Surface", is scheduled to be released soon. Windows Surface runs Windows 8 on its own hardware and calls it Windows RT.  This follows Apple's formula in controlling both hardware and software for a device. Microsoft has not used this strategy all too much in the past, but they feel it is necessary to best complete with the iPad in the tablet world by controlling the entire user experience.  You can find out more about Microsoft Surface at www.microsoft.com/surface.

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Microsoft has Office 2013 in the works. While pricing and availability have not yet been announced, Office 2013 will be more "cloud centric" and offer better accessibility to various social networking functions. Additional information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/en.

Adding to the confusion is Office 365. While it's been available to businesses for a couple years, Office 365 will soon be available to consumers.  Visit www.microsoft.com/office365 for more details.

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IPv6, the protocol that will someday replace IPv4, is out there in cyberspace in a "Please Play Me" function. IPv6 solves the problems that IPv4 has - the world is running out of IPv4 addresses. IPv6 is vastly different than IPv4. While the focus of IPv6 is based on connectivity and security,  it is not compatible with IPv4. Most equipment out on the Internet is not quite IPv6 ready, which is hindering the deployment effort. We should be hearing more about this in months (or possibly years) to come, so stay tuned.

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Mobile payment systems are cropping up, giving anyone the ability to process credit card payments from a smartphone.  These solutions are a very convenient way of selling and receiving payments while away from the office. A few of these services include Sail, PayAnywhere, Intuit GoPayment, and Square.  While each service varies in functionality and fees, these four services can accept payments wherever you may need them, which may be a need that you have not yet resolved.

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All-in-one and small form-factor PCs continue to be popular. In many ways, the "big box" PC is slowing fading away.  Like many manufacturers, Dell has its ever-changing line of All-in One PCs.

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Devices built only on Google's Chrome browser have improved. Chromebooks are available, which look and act like a notebook, assuming you are always online.  Also, a Chromebox is also available, which you simply plug your display, keyboard and mouse into.

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Is your older Windows XP computer not running so great?  You are not alone. With the latest Windows updates and security processes running on PCs these days, you may have noticed your PC has slowed down. In the past, additional memory would solve that problem.  Sadly, today we are finding that these older PCs simply no longer have the CPU horsepower in the processor to run in the office environment.

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Another way to connect up to a monitor? In the recent past, VGA connections have been popular to connect a monitor to you PC. For higher-end solutions, DVI connections started showing up. Now we are starting to see more "DisplayPorts" (or "DPs"), a new interface that is completely digital. While you may think these cabling schemes do not affect the average user all that much, it does come up when you purchase new desktops or upgrade video cards. Always keep your video connection in mind, as VGA may no longer be a standard option.

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Need a new data connection to your building? We have good relationships with both Transwave and Time Warner,  so give us a shout if you are interested in upgrading. In some cases, "unbundling" what you currently have will get you better pricing and speed.

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The new iPhone 5 has arrived. Many iPhone users have been waiting for this phone, as it offers a variety of enhancements, including a larger 4" retina screen.

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The Buffalo Niagara Business Ethics Association is an important and vital organization to our region. The BNBEA applauds and honors companies who value ethics as a base foundation in their pursuit of business. Consider partnering with the BNBEA in this pursuit of business ethics. You can also nominate a business who you feel is worthy of this distinction of the BNBEA’s annual Crystal Award. You can find out more about the BNBEA at www.buffalobusinessethics.org.

Your comments are always appreciated...

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