Our last regular Lunchinar talked about Windows 10 and how to prepare for it.  If you’re waxing nostalgic, here’s the online version:


The Quartet

Joseph J Ellis

In 1776 we signed the Declaration of Independence.  Then we won the Revolutionary War.  Then we became a Democracy.  Then the Civil War happened.

To a large degree I confess to being mostly ignorant of what happened immediately following the Revolutionary War.  Like most folks, I bought into the Founding Fathers worked together and figured out how to create this new Democratic Republic pretty seamlessly.

Boy, was I wrong.  This is actually one of the better history books I’ve ready in a while.  I illustrates the disconnect between the ineffective national government (which was truly more of a Confederacy of States than a Federal Government) and the all-powerful State governments.

For those of you who think the Founding Fathers could do no wrong and had singular goals and objectives in mind, read this book.  You’ll also realize that much of the mindset was based on compromise (especially dealing with Federal versus State powers).  And that much happened not because it was what all parties wanted, but what was politically doable.

The book focuses primarily on what the author sees as the four men most responsible for the creation of the constitution.  George Washington, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison take up a good share of the narrative.  But there’s a decent amount of attention spent on the political issues of the day as well.

A great read.

Simplex-IT welcomes Microsoft (with Windows 10), the City of Hudson (with more fiber!) and the Malted Meeple (now with more…um…Meeple).

Ok, hopefully you’ve heard about our 8th annual picnic this month (Wednesday August 19th from 4:30-8pm).

(click here to RSVP)

And you know that we always put out some good food, play some strange games and show off some new technology.

This year we’re taking it a step further.  This year you can talk with:

Folks from the Microsoft Store in Beachwood will be joining us with a number of Windows devices (can you say xBox?) to show how the stuff all connects together.  Not dog and pony show, but you’ll get a chance to play with it yourself.

We’ll also be joined by the City of Hudson (not the whole city, not enough room) who will be on hand to talk about the new high-speed fiber initiative (which Simplex-IT has a role, no surprise I’m sure).  If you’re a business owner in Hudson (especially downtown) you’ll want this informal chance to ask questions.

Finally we’re outsourcing our games.  Our neighbors from down the street (The Malted Meeple) will be on hand with some quick games for those so inclined.

Let me stress:

  • No sales pitches
  • No strong arm tactics
  • You don’t have to play if you don’t want to
  • We won’t kick you out if you have an Apple tattoo.

We usually have about 60 or so people attending.  With the additional activities, here’s hoping we attract a lot more!

Invite your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, kids and that one guy who works down the hall from you.  He’s bored.

Of course this is free, like everything else we do here at Simplex-IT.

What is Office 365?

Click here to RSVP for the webinar on this topic on Thursday August 13th from 11-noon (eastern)

Office 365 is a subscription based service to the Office programs you know and love. It’s kept up to date automatically, so there’s no software for you to purchase and install. Your subscription gives you access from up to 5 devices, so you can work from your computer, tablet, smartphone, whatever you need.


Office applications
There are a couple different ways to use the Office products with Office 365. You have Office Web Apps, which are basically web based versions of the familiar Office products, as well as the full versions. Office Web Apps have a lot of the same functionality, although not all. And of course you will still have the full versions of the Office products available to install on your computer.


Office 365 keeps all your emails in sync across all your devices. It’s also easy to share calendars and view scheduling information for people within your organizations.


Instant Messaging
Office 365 comes with Skype for Business (Or Skype depending on the subscription you choose). You’ll have individual and group Instant Messaging capabilities, availability indicators, and calling information. Check out our webinar on Skype for Business for more information on these capabilities.


Video Conferencing
Skype for Business also offers individual or group video conferencing. It’s fully integrated with Outlook, so creating meetings with links to Skype calls can be done right from your Outlook client. And Skype for Business isn’t limited to people within your organization, you can also communicate with people outside your organization.


Share files and collaborate in real time from any device. Working on a presentation or document with a team? With Office 365 you can edit and track other edits easily in one shared file. Version control is easy because everything is in real time.


So which subscription do you need? That depends on if you need email, Office, or both. Below is a more detailed table of the subscriptions:





Interested in Office 365? Join us for August Office webinar where we’ll demonstrate some of the basic functionalities and discuss the various subscriptions available.


CommunicationsEffective Project Communications

Click here to RSVP for the webinar on this topic on Thursday August 20th from 2-2:30pm (eastern)

Communication is critical when working on a project, but how do we best gauge how much is enough? Too much? In person or in writing? By groups or individuals?  Routinely scheduled or ad hoc? The answer depends on the size and nature of the project, the preference of the team, and organizational requirements. And all of this is determined as you create your communication plan.

Your project communication plan can be as simple or complex as you need. It’s purpose is to document how various information within a project will be communicated. Some common methods of communication you’ll see in communication plans are:

Project Reports: Probably the most important communication, reports are usually listed specifically by name. You’ll also want to document the recipients, the sender, and the schedule of delivery. Oftentimes we’ll set variances for reports as well. For example, a standard budget report might suffice, unless the budget exceed 10% of the plan, then perhaps we would want to also include a detailed budget report, and escalate the recipients.

Meeting Notes: You’ll want to determine how to best distribute meeting notes. Options might include saving a document to a shared folder, sending and email, or making an entry in a SharePoint site.

Contact Information: If you are working with a diverse team, especially those outside your organization, it’s great to get everyone’s contact information in one place.

Meeting plan: I like to document a plan for scheduled meetings in my communication plan. I’ll list who should attend, the nature of the meeting, and the options for participation. For example:

Meeting Cadence Attendees Options for attending
Working level meetings Weekly or as needed TBD In person or phone
Status meetings Bi-weekly Resources with active and upcoming tasks In person or Skype call
Project review Monthly Entire project team In person


Go to resources: I also like to list resources that are specifically responsible for certain things that might impact my project. For example, who should we talk to if we need elevated access rights? What about after hours supports, is there anyone available for that?

I typically like to have some conversations during the beginning of the project to determine what would work best, and then go over that plan before the project starts (or during if need be). Your communication plan doesn’t have to be formal. It’s purpose is to help document who needs to know what and when. Sometimes it’s as simple as emailing meeting notes and providing a weekly report. And sometimes it’ll be more involved. The most important thing to remember about communication plans is to customize them to meet the needs of the project. You don’t want to over communicate – your team will start to ignore your emails if they receive 50 a day. But not communicating enough can impact the project. So have some conversations about communications needs and preferences and you’ll set yourself up for an effective, well informed project team.

Join us on August 20th for the Project Management webinar on Project Communications. We’ll look at some of the reports available in MS Project and Project Web App and discuss getting the right information to each person on the project team.

Fiber comes to the City of Hudson, courtesy of…The City of Hudson!

The City of Hudson (home of Simplex-IT) last month announced plans to implement fiber-based high-speed internet connectivity, starting with the downtown area (yes, for those who have not wandered through our fair city we do have a very nice downtown).

Fiber is not only good for your diet and digestion, but also leads to extremely fast internet speeds.  And the price is usually pretty good.

Of course this won’t be implemented overnight, but soon.  As in you’ll have fingers let over if you count down the months on your hands soon.  And it will be phased in (which makes sense) based on geographical areas.

So does Simplex-IT play a part in this?  What do you think?

Join Simplex-IT and some folks from City Hall at our picnic this month.  We’ll be happy to answer questions about the fiber initiative.

If you want to see the announcement, check out this video:


“The Post-American World Release 2.0” by Fareed Zakaria

I confess…I like Fareed Zakaria.  He’s a host over at CNN, and he’s a columnist for both Time and the Washington Post.  Yup, he’s got an agenda, but for the most part I like his reasoning and his ability to see the interplay of trends and processes.

The original Post American World was written in 2008.  It was updated in 2011 to include some thoughts about the wonderful financial call-it-what-you-will that happened soon after.

It’s an interesting premise.  The 21st century is going to see a lot of changes.  Not all of them are doom and gloom.  But the positioning of the United States is going to be significantly different at the end of the century versus the beginning.  “Developing” countries such as Brazil, India, Russia and China are hardly worthy of the term “developing” any more.  And the relative importance of the US in terms of economic dominance is going to change.  Not because of trouble in the US, but because of prosperity elsewhere.

On the surface, that actually sounds pretty cool.  The free market system is…wait for it…working!  For the most part that brings stability, opportunity and relative peace.  It’s not perfect by a long shot.

But that means that the relative differences in terms of economic, social and political prominence between the US and these other prosperous countries will have to adjust.  We’re going to have to get used to not being the be-all and end-all in terms of the world.

Fareed lays the discussion out with what I think is a thoughtful discourse.  It’s actually a pretty easy read, and although it includes a lot of facts and statistics, the narrative is pretty smooth.

The one complaint is I do think he’s not considering the impact that technology will have in the next 2-3 decades.  The increase in job displacement I think will be significant, and have an impact worldwide.  But you don’t hear a lot of folks talking about that directly.

I recommend this book highly if you’re interested in a great perspective of where this world is heading.

Our 8th Annual Picnic (now with Microsoft and…Meeples?)

Simplex-IT started in August 2007.  In 2008 we celebrated our new offices with a picnic.  And we haven’t looked back (except to see who’s been following us).

We just like to get together with folks and have a good relaxing time.  We usually have some technology out to play with, a couple of games…that sort of thing.  No big deal.

And we’re going to do this again…except different.  We’re bringing in some friends to help us celebrate.

RSVP by clicking here

First of all, Microsoft.  Some folks from the Microsoft Store up in Beachwood are going to bring some toys so we can show off “The Windows Experience.”  It’s hard to realize just the level of integration Microsoft is bringing with Windows 10 (including non-Microsoft devices) without seeing them together.

“Sooooo….is this going to be a Microsoft love-fest, where all is wonderful, and all that?” I hear you cry.

C’mon, you know us better than that.  We only talk the reality of stuff.

So maybe you don’t want to talk tech.  Ok, then.  Games.  Our new friends over at The Malted Meeple (just down the street from us) will be joining us and bringing some interesting games for the willing to try out.  As in board games.  Without consoles, joysticks, wifi or electricity.

Simplex-IT picnic 2013

Simplex-IT’s 6th Annual Community Appreciation Picnic

Don’t want to do that?  Cool.  Just relax, have some burgers and/or brats, and have a good time.

Join us Wednesday, August 19th from 4:30-8pm

RSVP by clicking here

Windows 10.  Let the hoopla begin.  July 29th is the release date.  Obviously Microsoft was looking for just the right way to celebrate “National Lasagna Day.”

And the upgrade will be free!  Well, free to a lot of people.  Windows 7, 8.1?  Yup.  Well, except for Enterprise users.  Unless you have Software Assurance.

And of course you need to Reserve your upgrade.

Does that include Windows Phone?  Well, of course.  If the phone OEM isn’t blocking it.  And depending on your carrier.

Are you the IT guy for your company?  It’d be kind of funny if you came in the next day to a lot of workstations upgrading to Windows 10.  Well, funny to us, anyway.

Join us for the last regularly scheduled Lunchinar for Simplex-IT.  Help us say goodbye to an era of bad jokes, ok pizza, decent giveaways and bad PowerPoint slides.

We’re not going to talk about Windows 10 (we’ve already had 2 lunchinars on that).  We’re going to talk about the process of getting Windows 10.

  • When:  Wednesday, July 15th
  • Time:  11:30-1pm (Eastern)
  • Where:  Courtyard by Marriott in Stow (or online)

Click here for more information and to RSVP


Access your files anywhere and with any device using OneDrive (webinar)

OneDrive is the free cloud based storage solution from Microsoft. It’s accessible from any device, and much easier than emailing files or using a flash drive. A lot of our devices don’t even have USB ports, and I’d always lose those things anyway.

RSVP for the webinar by clicking here

OneDrive comes with your Microsoft account, and you get 15GB of space. If you need more, you can purchase more – anywhere from 100GB for $1.99/month to 1 TB for $9.99 per month. In Windows 8 and later you can access OneDrive from the One Drive app tile.

OneDrive for Business comes with most Microsoft Office 365 accounts, and you get 1TB of space. It’s very similar in function to the personal OneDrive (in fact it gets downright confusing sometimes).

When you save something in OneDrive it gets stored “in the cloud” (namely servers belonging to Microsoft).  If you want to, you can install a client app that will also copy all the files locally (extremely handy).

To get started using OneDrive, just save a file to One Drive instead of your local computer. It’s as easy as selecting the OneDrive option from your list of locations. If you have many files on your local computer, you can either move or copy those to OneDrive. If you chose to make a copy for OneDrive, be sure not to get the versions mixed up. They’ll be named the same thing, so you’ll want to pay extra attention to the location in which you’re accessing them.

You can change the default location for saving files to OneDrive as well. In Settings, and PC Settings, you’ll see some options for OneDrive. Under “Save Documents to OneDrive by default”, select “On.” You can also control which folders are kept in sync as well. In settings, select the Chose Folders to select specific folders to sync and not to sync.

You can access OneDrive through Windows Explorer, where it can be configured just like any other storage location. And, you can create a folder hierarchy for file management, just like you would in your hard drive, or My Documents folders.

But is it secure??  We are always concerned about the security of our data, right? With OneDrive, your files are only accessible by you, unless you choose to share them. To keep safe from hackers, be sure to use a very strong password and add security information to your Microsoft account, such as your phone number, email address and a security question.

There are apps for Android, Apple, and Windows devices too. Just install the appropriate one on each device you wish to use OneDrive with. It’s handy to have the ability to work on file at the office, and then pick back up from your tablet at home or on the go when you want to make changes.

Are there problems with OneDrive?  Yup.  Uploading large numbers of files can corrupt your local copy, plus there are some limitation.

Interested in seeing OneDrive in action? Join us on July 9th  from 11-12 for this month’s Office Webinar, where we’ll demonstrate OneDrive and talk in more detail about the benefits and capabilities.  We’ll also be giving away a copy of Microsoft Office 365 courtesy of Microsoft.

 RSVP for the webinar by clicking here