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I decided I’m going to try to increase my reading non-IT books.  And I figured the best way would be to share with folks a book each month (yeah, we’ll see how long this lasts).

I just finished Paris 1919:  Six Months That Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan.  Written back in 2003 it’s an extremely detailed review of the process after World War I that led to the Treaty of Versailles.  This treaty was blamed (the author would argue against) for setting the stage for World War II.  At the very least it most certainly created rather arbitrarily defined countries and borders, especially in the Middle East.

It’s an interesting read.  Especially at a time where it’s easy to read the news today and wonder (whether you’re left or right facing) “how could any politician do such stupid things?”  Read this book and you’ll get a feeling for a good amount of the silliness, pettiness, ignorance and more that drove this process.

You’re Invited to the Simplex-IT Free Holiday Networking Lunch and
Geek Charity Raffle Event!

Yes, as usual, this month’s lunch is free of charge, with lots of networking for business owners, executives and IT professionals. But instead of our usual business presentation, we’ll be having fun raffling off numerous valuable Geek Gifts (like Windows 8 Professional, Office Professional 2013 and other goodies you’ll want to own).

And for every dollar in raffle tickets sold, Simplex-IT will match the amount (up to $500), and the entire proceeds will be donated to the Hattie Larlham Foundation (http://www.hattielarlham.org/) – a non-profit organization dedicated to creating opportunities and improving the lives of more than 1,500 children and adults with developmental disabilities in Northeast Ohio.

When: Wednesday, December 17, 2014
11:30am – 1:00pm

Where: Stow Hampton Inn, 4331 Lakepointe Corporate Drive, off Route 8 at Steels Corners Road

Please join us in the holiday spirit of giving for this relaxed, free networking event. So that we can properly prepare (seats are limited), please RSVP to:

Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

Simplex-IT picnic 2013

Simplex-IT’s 6th Annual Community Appreciation Picnic

Mark your calendars for August 13 from 4:00-8:00pm and join Simplex-IT as we welcome friends and neighbors, clients, local business owners and fellow Chamber of Commerce members from Hudson, Cuyahoga Falls, Akron and Fairlawn.

Once a year in August we forego our regular monthly business-oriented Lunchinar presentation in favor of an open-invitation picnic celebration in the back yard of our Worldwide International Headquarters (5225 Darrow Road, Hudson). This year will be no exception.

Simplex-IT will be providing the beverages, hamburgers and hot dogs; you will be providing the essential “special ingredient” and camaraderie for which this annual event is becoming known. In addition to the abundant opportunities to network with your peers we will have assorted back yard games to test your skills. Of course, there will be a veritable plethora of prizes! And for those who may be interested, we will also have available demonstrations of many of the information technologies Simplex-IT offers the business community throughout the year (including Microsoft’s Windows 8, Office 365 and Office 2013).

What should you bring? Your appetite, of course, a general sense of abandon and a lawn chair. That’s it! Plan on arriving early, staying late and having a good time!!

We do have one request. To ensure we have enough food and drink for everyone, we ask that you RSVP on EventBrite at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/simplex-its-7th-annual-picnic-tickets-11821387087, by email to John@Simplex-IT.comor phone us at 234.380.1277.

Don’t miss it! 

Release Your Inner Geek!

Yes, as usual, this month’s lunch is free of charge, with lots of networking for business owners, executives and IT professionals. But instead of our usual business presentation, we’ll be having fun raffling off numerous valuable Geek Gifts (like Windows 8 Professional, Office Professional 2013 and other goodies you’ll want to own).

And for every dollar in raffle tickets sold, Simplex-IT will match the amount (up to $500), and the entire proceeds will be donated to the Hattie Larlham Foundation (http://www.hattielarlham.org/) – a non-profit organization dedicated to creating opportunities and improving the lives of more than 1,500 children and adults with developmental disabilities in Northeast Ohio.

When: Wednesday, December 18, 2013
11:30am – 1:00pm

Where: Hattie’s Café, 164 N. Main Street
Hudson OH 44236

Please join us in the holiday spirit of giving for this relaxed, free networking event. So that we can properly prepare (seats are limited), please RSVP to John@Simplex-IT.com, by visiting http://GeekCharityRaffle.eventbrite.com , or by calling 234.380.1277.

Happy Holidays!

 Bob here.  Ok, can we all admit we’ve gotten over Vista?  From both a personal and a business standpoint, people are no longer saying “Wow, you’re brave” when they see the latest OS on someone else’s desktop or laptop.

And yet, a lot of people look at their network and say “Ok, but I’ve got <fill in a number that would make you nervous> workstations to…upgrade?…replace?  I’m not sure!”  And they start fretting about the D word.  Yup…I’m talking…Deployment.

That’s ok.  Seriously.  There are a lot of tools at your fingertips, and Microsoft wants you to know about them.

Which leads us to Microsofts “TechNet Windows 7 Deployment Firestarter” event, to be held on Tuesday, October 26th from 8am-12:30pm, at Microsoft’s Office in Independence.

There will be 3 sessions:

  • SESSION 1: Can We Bust This Myth? “It’s impossible to upgrade a Windows XP computer to Windows 7″
  • SESSION 2: Free Quick and Dirty Deployment Tools
  • SESSION 3: Automate your Windows 7 deployment using the MDT 2010

Yeah, I know.  You’re thinking “But Bob, can’t Simplex-IT do this for us?”  And of course, our answer is “Um, yup!”  But as most of you know, Simplex-IT is all about pointing out where folks can pick up the best technical info so they can do some of this stuff themselves!  So, if your organization is considering rolling out Windows 7 and/or Office 2010, I’d strongly recommend signing up for this event quickly!

Yup, part 2 of our “Is IT Obsolete?” Lunchinar from last month is now online:

By Kim Komando

One thing I like about running a small company is the ability to act quickly. Decisions are not bogged down by layers of management. In fact, most moves are made with the interested parties meeting around a conference table.

But there can come a point when your business outgrows this arrangement. You need constant, reliable and secure communications with others in the company to ensure successful growth. You need an intranet. An intranet is similar to a Web site, and it uses Internet protocols, but it’s an internal network exclusive to one company. (An “extranet” also is an internal or private Web site, but access privileges are extended to designated customers, partners and/or others.)

Most large corporations use intranets. Information distribution is a huge task when you have 10,000 or more employees. Intranets can help cure that headache. I hear you, “I don’t have anywhere near 10,000 employees!” But I can give you three major reasons why your small business should invest in one. Here they are: continue reading…

Simplex-IT Summer Picnic

This year’s annual Simplex-IT Picnic was a sucess! Bob, John, Kevin and I enjoyed meeting and talking with over 60 people, like Dave who came all the way from Youngstown! We had an exciting foosball game as well as live entertainment provided by our own John Harrow!

Simplex-IT Foosball

The hamburgers and brats were great thanks to Bob’s wife Julie providing her grilling expertise as well as great baked beans!

Our guests were able to view the new Disaster Recovery solution from our partner, eFolder, and of  course, everyone got a good look at Office 2010 we had on display.

Plus we were able to show Microsoft’s New SBS, code-named Aurora (which just started its Beta release Monday).
 
The lucky winner of our free copy of Office Professional Plus 2010 was sales and marketing professional, Colleen Cleveland. Everyone else walked away with a stylish purple stainless steel water bottle courtesy of Microsoft. 

You can view pictures of the picnic on our Facebook page by clicking here.
Hope to see you at next years picnic!

By Monte Enbysk

As a small-business owner, you’re not likely to hire a new employee and then become totally clueless as to whether that person ever shows up for work.

You’re also not likely to take on a new partner without some way of tracking the revenues, benefits or efficiencies gained from the relationship. So why do so many small businesses build Web sites, invest in online marketing campaigns and then devote little or no effort to analyzing the return on their investment?

“It’s more common than you would ever realize,” says Elisabeth Osmeloski of Beyond Ink, a search-engine marketing consultant based in Portland, Maine. “People are not taking the time to look at Web log files or traffic trends — even those who spend a lot of money on online advertising.” Because a vast number of small businesses are still relatively new to the Web, many have yet to take the next step of tracking their return on investment (ROI), she and other experts say. continue reading…

We like to simplify how we define things.  Watergate made the term “cover-up” so passé.  Now it’s “Contragate,” recently “Climategate,” and my personal favorite, “Billygate.”  By simply adding a suffix, we can lump every perceived scandal together!  And the best part is, we don’t even need a lot of letters to do it.

Sometimes, though, we prefer a word.  “Bubble” comes to mind.  We had the “Dot Com Bubble,” of course the “Real Estate Bubble,” and the one I hope bursts sooner rather than later, the “Silly Band Bubble” (please-please-pleeeeeeze burst soon!).

But once in a while, a simple letter will do.  Those who were around the dot com days of the 90’s remember the craze of the letter ‘e.’  All you had to do was to attach that letter to the beginning of any boring, traditional old school way of doing anything, and *wow!*  You had yourself something really cool.  Mail became eMail.  Shopping became eShopping.  Commerce became eCommerce.  Dating became eDating, and Divorce became…well, more common, it would seem.

And now I’m seeing a new kind of stereotype happening.  And it’s unavoidable.  And the best thing is, it has the benefit of seeming to be well-defined, but in fact it isn’t.  Which is really cool, if you want to act really smug and yet not really know what you’re talking about (why are you looking at me that way?).

It’s “The Cloud.”  I know, I know…if you’re like me, you instantly think of “The Clouds,” written by Aristophanes back in 419BC.  This play includes the famous line “I have a bum-bailiff in the bedclothes biting me.”  (Actually I confess…I don’t have the courage to search what a bum-bailiff means)

Anywho, you’d be wrong.  “The Cloud,” in this case, refers to something altogether different.  If you ask Wikipedia, “Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand…”

Huh?

Ok, this means that something “out there” is providing specific resources to you “here.”  But by that definition, a web site could be Cloud Computing, right?  Well, yeah.  But for most purposes, people are talking about a specific service that until recently would be housed inside your organization.

Why should you be interested?  If you’re a small organization, you can “rent” cloud-based services, like email through Microsoft Hosted Exchange, without buying a server, licensing software, backup devices, battery backups…and if you’re a large organization, you can essentially outsource the entire maintenance of standard applications (again, email being a poster child) so your IT staff can focus on applications specific to your organization.  More and more services are being offered through the cloud.  Backups, anti virus, anti spam, archiving, database apps, CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

And there’s more on the way.  If you’re not sure how to take advantage of The Cloud, give me a shout at Bob@Simplex-IT.com.

One thing that isn’t Cloud Based, though, is our 3rd Annual Simplex-IT Picnic.  Held at our worldwide Headquarters at 5225 Darrow Road, it’ll be on Wednesday, August 18th from 4-8pm.  Last year we had over 70 people.  This year, who knows?  It’s free and open to the public.  Please RSVP so we know what kind of burger you like by calling in at 234.380.1277 or emailing John at John@Simplex-IT.com.