Browsing Posts in What’s Happening?

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

 

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.

 

Email
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.

 

Collaboration
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.

 

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

We first started the monthly Lunchinar concept back in January of 2009.  A simple idea, we’d just invite people to the Simplex-IT office, get some pizza, share some ideas about what’s going on in IT.  No sales pitch, nothing fancy.

Within the first six months, we outgrew the office, and found a great home the Hattie Larlham’s Café in Hudson.

We’ve shown Windows 7, Windows 8, 8.1 and 10.  All months before their release.  Google Glass, cloud servers, various versions of Office.  Business Continuity, Social Media for small to medium businesses.

3 years ago we started the “Geek Raffle” which raised funds for Hattie Larlham in December.

Then we started videotaping the event, and editing them for posting on YouTube.  John Harrow took care of that.

Fast forward to 2015.  We’ve added several webinars each month.  Although we’ve continued the lunchinars, the attendance has lowered to about the same as our webinars.

But the cost in terms of time and money is significantly higher for the Lunchinar.

So I’ve made the decision to put an end to the Lunchinar.

Sorta.

July’s Lunchinar will be the last of the regularly scheduled Lunchinar.  But we’ll have some additional events on the 3rd Wednesday of each month moving forward.

August will be our annual picnic (that ain’t going away).

September will be an online event (more details to follow).

October will be Simplex-IT’s first field trip (yup, I kid you not).

November will be an online event (more details to follow)

December will still be our Geek raffle (although some details might change from prior years).

January will be our annual “IT Trends for 2016.”

Each week the Cleveland Plain Dealer selects a person and promotes their business and career.

On Sunday they hit a new low and selected me.

Click here to read their folly.

MicrosoftDeals on various Microsoft products expire on June 30th!

Microsoft’s fiscal year ends on June 30th.  Because of this, Microsoft always has promotions and deals for their licensing that expires on June 30th.  This year is no exception.

Offers on:

  • Office 365
  • Project Online
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft Licensing
  • Migration Costs
  • Open Value Subscription
  • Software Assurance

These offers differ from product line to product line, but they usually end up somewhere between 10-30% off what you would pay throughout the rest of the year.  And many of these offers are limited to only if you purchase the product through a Microsoft Partner (that would be someone like us).

Also, Microsoft has quietly announced that some products will actually see a price increase after June 30th.

So…act now, save money.  Wait until after, price increase.

Interested?

Click us at Sales@Simplex-IT.com, or call us at 234.380.1277.  And you know we don’t do the whole high-pressure approach.  We’ll help you determine the product and licensing plan that’s best for you and your organization (even if it’s not with us).

For June’s Lunchinar we’re going to do a business level introduction to Microsoft’s cloud service, Azure.

Although we’ll go into the technical details (to a point), the key focus is going to be how Azure can be used by Small to Medium Businesses (SMB’s).  We’ll discuss Azure in terms as an alternative to traditional Information Technology (IT) solutions (like servers).  But we’ll also discuss how Azure can be used to extend how SMB’s extend their IT resources to vendors, customers and external employees.  And Azure does this at a fraction of the cost of in-house solutions (usually).

But what is it?  Actually, it’s changing weekly.  Microsoft has created a remote environment that can be configured as servers (so it’s kind of like you having a server, but “out there”), or services (so you don’t have the server, just what you use the server for).  You can use Azure for Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery/Off Site Backups.  You can use it for distributed databases, remote connectivity and more.  You can create a Single Sign On environment based on your Active Directory (network) credentials.  And a lot more.

And you pay only for what you eat.  Increasing or decreasing the amount of resources you need is relatively easy.  So if you’re a seasonal company you can arrange to have beefier (more $) resources available during the busy season, and smaller (less $) resources during the rest of the year.

But there are tradeoffs.  Connectivity speed, full server level access become potential issues.  Security requirements need to be taken into account (well, they should be already, but you lose the luxury of being Pollyannaish about it).

Join us at this upcoming Lunchinar.  We’ll be both in person as well as online.  And we’ll discuss (and demonstrate) this environment, talk both features, functions, benefits, drawbacks and costs.  And one lucky attendee will pick up a copy of Microsoft Office Professional 2013, courtesy of Microsoft.

  • When:  Wednesday, June 17th from 11:30-1pm (eastern)
  • Where:  Hampton Inn in Stow (plus Online)
  • Click here to RSVP

____________________________________

At Simplex-IT, we specialize in sharing our knowledge with several free webinar and Lunchinar events each month on topics such as Microsoft Office, Project Management and Data Practices.  Contact us at Info@Simplex-IT.com, Twitter (Simplex_IT), LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/company/simplex-it) or FaceBook: (http://www.facebook.com/simplex.it).  You can also check out our YouTube channel with over 100 videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/SimplexITBob

 

Skype for Business logo

 

Lync is now Skype for Business!

If you’re a Lync user, you may have noticed a change already – Lync is now Skype for Business! Join us on June 11th (see below to RSVP) for our monthly webinar where we’ll talk about Skype for Business and demonstrate some of the collaboration capabilities. We’ll be giving away a free copy of Office 2013 to one lucky winner too!

Skype for Business can be used to increase communication and collaboration in a number of different ways:

Voice Calling (VoIP) – Audio calls are easy in Skype, and you don’t pay for long distance or airtime. And Skype for Business integrates with your previous contacts from Skype, so you’ll have one tool for your business and personal calls.

Video Calls – One-on-one video calls can be much more personal when you can talk face to face, even if it is virtually. With Skype for Business, you can have those discussions and be able to see facial expressions and body language, or just check out your colleague’s new haircut.

Video Conferencing – Similar to the one-on-one video calls, but with more than two people. This is great for bringing teams together with a more personal feel. Who’s wouldn’t prefer to look at their colleague’s instead of staring at a conference speakerphone the whole time?

Screen Sharing – It’s easy to share your screen during a call. Whether you are working on a project with a co-worker and need to share your screen on the fly, or leading a scheduled presentation, Skype for Business makes it easy to share your screen with your participants.  You’ll see Simplex-IT using Skype for Business for our webinars too!

Online Meetings – Integration with Microsoft Office makes creating online meetings easy! In Outlook, instead of creating a “New Meeting” just select “Skype Meeting” instead. A link to the Skype meeting will be created for you in the body of the meeting invitation. From there, it’s the same as creating a meeting. Your recipients can then use the link provided to join the meeting.

Skype for Business

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instant Messaging – For a quick message, who has time for email? The instant messaging capability in Skype for Business makes it easy to send a message to your contacts. It’s also great for back and forth conversation type communication, rather than the one-sided email that’s easy to lose in your Inbox. Conversations are saved in Outlook, so you can go back and reference them at any point, with no email clutter. You can also see your contacts availability, and let other’s know yours. Leaving for the afternoon or on an important assignment and can’t be bothered? Change your status to Off Work or Do Not Disturb to let everyone know. You can create groups, favorites, and much more.

Skype for Business Instant Messaging

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to learn more about Skype for Business and see it in action? Join us for our monthly Office Webinar!

What: Skype for Business
When: Thursday, June 11th 11am – noon EST
Where: Online
Click here to Register!