Posts

Centralize your files with a network drive

It occurred to me the other day that the only reason we have a desktop computer at home is to hold digital photographs and music. With all members of the household owning laptops, this old, slow machine was taking up too much valuable real estate and something had to be done about it.

Still, I liked the idea of a centralized mediaphillic breadbasket, so I decided to replace it with a smaller unit to store our digitized sights and sounds. Read more

Technology Over the Years

Woody Allen used to say that 80% of success is showing up. I’d add that the remaining 20% is staying there long enough.

I was first introduced to Information Technology when I was in high school, back when the Apollo program was going on and the Foundations were singing “Build Me Up Buttercup”.

I am a member of a very small group of people around town who studied “Computer Science” 40 years ago and stuck with it ever since. I enjoy being at industry roundtables when we go around the room introducing ourselves and stating how long we’ve been in the business. I’m often the granddaddy of them all.

So naturally, over the years I’ve come to see all kinds of technology come and go and I thought this month I’d summarize the ones I think were truly revolutionary.

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Tracking Software Boosts Seaport Business

When I first met Chris Lambie, the new Herald Business Editor, I explained that I always strive for my column to be about real life business situations where technology plays a part, and to speak from personal experience as opposed to secondary research.

Why not then write a story about my company and something it has done for the local community, suggested Chris.

“You can do that?” I asked. I’m just a computer guy, not a journalist.

You can do whatever you want, explained Chris, provided you give full disclosure. So here goes:

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Small Business Owners in HRM are Technology Savvy

If ever I had to put together an army, I’d recruit Costco shoppers for their sheer loyalty. My comments in last month’s column garnered more feedback than usual, most of it illuminating the privileges of membership which I so callously discounted in my remarks.

In my world, the privileges of membership usually relate to technology groups. One such group is the company I work for, and recently my business partner, Dave Nicholson, did a survey  to find out how small and medium-sized enterprises – SMEs – in the Halifax Regional Municipality make use of technology.

What he found was quite interesting. Read more

Save Money by Using Virtualization

In 2008, there was a lot of talk around communications devices, but in many corporations one of the hottest IT topics was a technology called “virtualization”. So I’ll start the new year by explaining what virtualization is and why you might be interested in it.

Simply put, virtualization is a way of making a single computer do the work of many. As organizations buy more and more powerful hardware, they often find themselves with too much equipment and with capacity than is not being used.

With virtualization technology, these organizations can partition pieces of a single computer and use it for multiple purposes, efficiently using its capacity.

Without virtualization, companies often use multiple pieces of hardware, called servers, each one running a particular piece of software, confusingly also called a server. So the software servers, such as Windows Server (used for sharing files and running applications), SQL Server (used for corporate databases), Exchange Server (used for email), Internet Information Server (used for hosting websites), etc., each run on their own computer.

If each computer is only partially utilized, there can be tremendous waste in the cost of equipment, electricity, floor space, air conditioning, etc.

With virtualization, any number of software servers can run on a single computer, optimizing the use of hardware. In fact, even desktop operating systems like Windows XP, Vista, or Linux can be run in a virtual environment, and so can individual program applications. How they are configured is controlled by utilities that you use to allocate available hardware to your needs. These utilities allow you to set up “virtual machines”, whereby you allocate pieces of the computer’s central processing unit, memory, hard drive, and other resources, to each virtual machine.

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