Insider Tips for Technology Shopping

first_img Register Now » Ramon Ray is Entrepreneur.com’s “Tech Basics” columnist and editor of Smallbiztechnology.com. He’s the author ofTechnology Solutions for Growing Businesses and has helped thousands of small businesses use technology as a tool to grow. Ray currently serves on the board of directors and the technology committee for the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. 5 min read When you’re on the hunt for business technology products for your company, you’ve got a lot of choices to consider. I’ve outlined six tech products that every business needs, and highlighted the two most important features of each–things you’ll need to keep in mind when you start shopping.Notebook ComputerA notebook computer is a powerful tool for professionals on the go, but how much it weighs can affect your productivity on the road. Weight is a critical factor to consider when buying a notebook computer. If the only commute you have is going from your desk to your car, a heavier desktop replacement notebook will do you just fine. But for all you road warriors out there, you’ll want to look for a five- to seven-pound notebook–it’s lightweight enough to travel comfortably with but won’t skimp on important features like screen and keyboard size, battery life and processor speed.The warranty on your notebook computer is also important. If you take your notebook everywhere you go, you want to ensure that if there’s a problem (you drop it or the hard disk crashes just before an important presentation), your technology vendor can provide fast support.Desktop ComputerYour desktop computer is much like a smoke detector–you probably don’t think about it until there’s a problem. There are two things that will make your desktop computer run most effectively–hard disk space and RAM. Ten years ago, creating videos, downloading software and storing pictures weren’t things many businesses did. Today, however, we’re doing this more and more, so you should really have a large hard disk on your computer. RAM is important because as hardware evolves, software does, too. The more software you’re running on your computer, the more RAM you need to run the programs without crashing your computer.Color Laser PrinterColor laser printers are coming down in price, and you can easily buy one for around $500. When shopping for a color laser printer, the two important things to consider are the speed of the printer and the quality of the print. You don’t want to have to wait 30 minutes for color prints of your latest brochure, and you want clients to have as high a quality print as possible. Having a color laser printer on site allows you to print in your office instead of having to go to your local copy shop for high-price color copies.Black-and-White Laser PrinterYour basic black-and-white laser printer is most likely one of the most used and abused devices in your office. So it’s important to make sure it offers quick print times, easy-to-replace parts (including frequent consumables like ink), and a good warranty.Quick printing is important because having to wait several minutes for your documents to print adds up after awhile. And what if you need to replace a basic part on the printer? You’ll want to find out how easy it is to replace and how much it’ll cost so you can decide the cost of the printer is justified.SmartphoneI’m not sure how many of you used the Casio B.O.S.S or Sharp Wizard electronic organizers of the 1990s–those were the days! Today any self-respecting business professional has a smartphone that blends a PDA and cell phone (most also come with a camera and other neat features). These mobile wonders also let you check your e-mail and surf the web.There are two main things to keep in mind when shopping for a smartphone: Do you want a Windows-based PDA, or something else, like a Palm or BlackBerry, for instance? And how heavy is your e-mail use? If your life revolves around Microsoft Outlook and other Microsoft-centric tools, a Windows-based PDA is probably best for you. If you want to read and respond to a lot of e-mails on the road, it’s best to get a PDA that facilitates the best use of typing e-mail messages and managing your inbox.High-Speed Internet ConnectionEvery high-speed internet connection is not the same, and you’ll quickly discover this if you’re not careful about which service you subscribe to. The two things to keep in mind are the quality of the service and whether the speed is asynchronous or synchronous. (Asynchronous means your upload speed is going to be slower than your download speed. Synchronous means your upload and download speed will be the same.) If your internet connection is absolutely critical to your business, then make sure your provider can guarantee you a certain quality of service (QoS)–99% is about the best you can get. You don’t want to have to call your ISP every other day or have to reset your router once a week because the connection isn’t good. If download speed is the most important thing to you but you’re mainly browsing the internet and checking e-mail, then you can save money by getting an internet connection with a slower download speed. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box.center_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. September 13, 2006 Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Globallast_img read more

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Why the Internet Needs the WayBack Machine the Site That Archives the

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The Wayback Machine, a service offered through Internet Archive, provides access to online history by preserving and offering access to websites from the past 20 years.“The Wayback Machine is used by hundreds of thousands of people every day, presenting snapshots, back in time, from more than 1.5 billion websites,” says Mark Graham, director of the Wayback Machine.The site was founded by Brewster Kahle, who also sold Alexa Internet to Amazon and is in the Internet Hall of Fame.To celebrate the birth of the world wide web, we caught up with Graham to talk about the Wayback Machine, how it benefits the public and some surprising facts about the service:Related: 4 Reasons to Be Excited by the ‘Internet of Things’1. How does Wayback Machine work?The Wayback Machine offers access to the billions of web pages collected through many partners and technologies. Even though it is a huge collection, it only takes hundreds of computers to serve thousands of requests per second. It is a testament to how far our computer technology has grown.2. What do we risk if something like this doesn’t exist?Without things like the Wayback Machine, we would deny future generations an ability to explore and learn from history that is increasingly digital. Oh, and for historians to try to piece together what that whole Pokemon (see: Go Pokébarbarians at the Gate) phenomenon was about.3. Why is this an important service to have? How does it benefit people?The average life expectancy of a web page is only 100 days before it is changed or deleted. The web is a record of our time, and without a record will lose history.4. How many staff members did you have when you started? How many do you have now?There are 150 employees of the Internet Archive, but there are now more than 1,000 librarians in 400 institutions shaping the holdings of the Wayback Machine by curating thousands of individual web collections through the archive-it.org service.5. What does this service tell us about how the internet has changed?People love to share and people love to learn, and people love cats. What is changing is how people are doing this. The web’s evolution, which now includes Youtube and Facebook, is making this easier and easier.6. What are the most striking changes in how we use the internet that you’ve noticed?That it is no longer a “nice to have” but so influential that governments block access to certain websites, or the whole internet, when they think they are threatened. The other obvious difference is that most people now access the internet via mobile devices, which are location aware by default, supporting a wide range of services that require that information.7. What are some surprising uses you’ve seen for your tool?On July 17, 2014, Igor (Strelkov) Girkin, a Ukrainian separatist leader, claimed responsibility online for the downing of what he thought was a Ukrainian military transport plane near the rebel held Ukrainian city of Donetsk. When reports that Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, with 295 passengers, had been shot down in the same area, his post was removed. But not before it had been preserved several times by the Wayback Machine, where it is available today.And on May 1, 2003, the White House issued a statement that said “President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended.”  Later the word ‘Major’ was added to the title and on Oct. 1, 2003, it read “President Bush Announces Major Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended.” Later still it was removed from the live web altogether, but you can see preserved copies of it.Related: Your Internet Signal Is Going To Be Transmitted Through Light8. What are some facts about the Wayback Machine that most people don’t know?That the inventory of more than half a trillion web captures is not the result of a single continuous crawling process but rather millions of separate crawls, defined by thousands of people, over the years.That the home for the Wayback Machine is a former Church of Christian Scientists, which is now a digital library where the hymnal page numbers of the wall have been replaced with mathematically significant numbers. We have a new beta that allows people to search for a site with keywords: https://web-beta.archive.org.9. What’s ahead?We are trying to help build the internet into the Library of Alexandria version two by making all the published works permanently available to everyone that is curious enough to want access (all books, music, video, software and web pages). That is the opportunity of our generation, and one we are trying to help make real.  Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. August 4, 2016 4 min read Register Now »last_img read more

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