Grade your Marketing

Grade your marketing

This means a lot of things to many people. In this context, I am talking about the effectiveness of your website.

We are not talking about how pretty your website is, although this is important. We are talking about having all aspects covered, including:

  • Social Media
  • Blogging
  • Mobile Readiness
  • Lead generation
  • SEO

There is a very useful website from HubSpot http://marketing.grader.com/ that quickly checks your site and gives you a report. It tells you what you are doing right, and where you are missing a trick. I use it on a regular basis as it is a good way to determine if changes you have made improve or reduce the marketing effectiveness of your website.

Best of all, it is completely free.

By Richard Hobbs

Windows 8 Training: New features for end users

Description

Windows 8 Training: New features for end users. Windows 8 is Microsoft’s new Operating System. It is no longer designed exclusively for PCs, but also for tablets for example, where you can manage all your applications on a touch-screen. Although you don’t have to do it this way – you can still work with a mouse and keyboard on your PC. Compared with its predecessors, Windows 8 has undergone a complete transformation. The familiar user environment gives way to the so-called ‘Metro Interface’, where the previous Windows icons are replaced with coloured tiles.

In the Windows 8 course, you will become familiar these new developments and learn how easy it is to change over to working with the new Operating System. You will learn how to perform your day-to-day tasks efficiently and optimally in the new dynamic and user-friendly environment of Windows 8.

Please see here for full course information.

Do you understand your IT technician?

Do you understand your IT technician?

This is actually a very interesting question. Most techies talk their own language which they understand perfectly (most of the time). However, non technical folk at best struggle to understand, or worse, completely miss what is being said. This can cause issues later when services etc. do not match expectations.

GFI have produced a good white-paper which explains most of the more common terms in plain, simple language.

The white-paper can be downloaded here.

Feel free to contact us using the form below if you would like further information on any terminology, or simply want to ask us a question.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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Windows 8 – Should you Switch?

The most striking difference in Windows 8 compared to earlier versions, is the new user
interface. This replaces the traditional desktop with tiles that work perfectly
with a touchscreen monitor or tablet. Used on a normal monitor via a normal
keyboard and mouse, this is a little clumsy, but manageable. The old user
interface is still available and many applications will switch back to this
when they are launched. However, there are a few differences – the start button
is gone for good!

Like all changes to the Windows interface in the past, all changes become
acceptable over a period of time. After a while it does not seem so
strange and when used on a touch screen, as intended, the performance is
greatly enhanced.

Windows 8 is the first Microsoft Operating System to ship with its own
Anti-Virus built in. This means that your computer is protected from day one
and you do not need to panic about installing your own Anti-Virus. However, a
word of warning; the in-built Anti-Virus scanner does not score particularly
well against commercial products and even lags behind other free Anti-Virus
packages. So, while any Anti-Virus package is better than none, we would
recommend investing in a proper Anti-Virus package. The cost of this is minimal
compared to the potential losses suffered by your business if your server
or PC becomes infected.

Most other things under the hood are the same as Windows 7. So, the decision
to switch will be down to personal choice, or the fact that you are buying
a new system with Windows 8 as standard.

The average user will adjust to the new interface in time, but be prepared for
howls of “Where have they hidden … How do I…..” If you  want to get your users up to speed, we can offer a conversion course to minimize the disruption during the changeover, just call for details.

Contact us for free and impartial advice on any aspects of Windows 8 at enquiries@kenmal.co.uk or

Comments or questions are welcome.

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Understanding your business’s IT needs

Find out what you need to know to choose the right IT system for your business

The Government have produced this little video to help you decide what your IT requirements may be.

If you have any questions, please complete the form below:

Comments or questions are welcome.

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Office 365 Suites

Office 365 Suites

This blog is intended to help you decide which version of the Office 365 Suites is suited to your needs. It is not intended to help you choose between Office, and Office 365.

Currently there are 4 versions of Office 365, Namely Home Premium, Small Business Premium, Midsize Business and Enterprise.

Home Premium

This is targeted for home use. It provides access to the the following cloud applications:

Word
Excel
PowerPoint
OneNote
Outlook
Publisher
Access
Web Apps (on Skydrive)
60 Skype world minutes/month
Basic support

Small Business Premium

This is targeted for small business use up to 10 users. It provides access to the the following cloud applications:

Word
Excel
PowerPoint
OneNote
Outlook
Publisher
Access
Lync
InfoPath
Web Apps
Basic support
Exchange Online
Lync Online
SharePoint Online
Basic IT administration Console

Midsize Business Premium

This is targeted for  business use up to 250 users. It provides access to the the following cloud applications:

Word
Excel
PowerPoint
OneNote
Outlook
Publisher
Access
Lync
InfoPath
Web Apps
Expanded support
Exchange Online
Lync Online
SharePoint Online
Expanded IT administration Console

Enterprise

This is targeted for  business use over 250 users. It provides access to the the following cloud applications:

Word
Excel
PowerPoint
OneNote
Outlook
Publisher
Access
Lync
InfoPath
Web Apps
Full support
Exchange Online
Lync Online
SharePoint Online
Full IT administration Console

If you would like on deciding if Office 365 is right for you, or have any questions, please complete for form below.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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Add Windows Media Center to Windows 8 Pro

If your PC is running Windows 8 Pro and you’d like to get Windows 8 Media Center Pack so you can watch and record live TV with Windows Media Center, you can take advantage of the following special offer:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows-8/feature-packs

Complete the form to get your Media Center Pack.  Supposedly it can take up to 72 hours to receive the key. Then follow the instructions on the Microsoft web site.

The email also contains the instructions – see below:

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. (If you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, and then click Search).
  2. Enter add features in the search box, and then tap or click Settings.
  3. Tap or click Add features to Windows 8.
  4. Then tap or click I already have a product key.
  5. Enter the product key, and then click Next.

Read the license terms, select the check box to accept the license terms, and then click Add features.

Windows 8 Upgrade

If you feel like a Windows 8 upgrade, now is the time to do it. Microsoft have a special offer running until January 31st 2013 whereby you can upgrade your system for only £24.99. After this date the prices increases.

Windows 8 Upgrade

Visit http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows/buy and click on the download button. This will launch the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant.

Note – ensure you have a backup of your system BEFORE you start in case you need to re-instate your current version and data!

The first thing is the Assistant will do is to check the compatibility of your hardware and software. Depending upon this report you can choose to continue or abort the upgrade at this point. Assuming you wish to continue, you will then be prompted for the usual credit card details etc. Once this is cleared, you will be issued with your Windows 8 serial number or product key. I recommend you make a note of this, although you will receive an email with the key.

Next the download will start. This is approximately 2Gb so allow enough time for this. Once the file is downloaded, it will be verified to ensure it is not damaged.

The main installation will now start. The first option you will get is to:

  • Install now
  • Install by creating media
  • Install later from your desktop

I recommend creating media just in case there are problems. Choose “Install by creating media” and click next. You can choose to use a USB flash drive or create and ISO image to be burnt to DVD later. I choose the ISO option and then burnt the DVD.

All we do now is to insert the DVD and allow Autorun to start. If you have Autorun disabled, then open the DVD and launch the file called “setup.exe”

After a few seconds, you will see a pop-up for Windows 8 as the installer starts preparing for the upgrade.

The first option you get is to choose if you want to go online to install updates to make the installation smoother. Having experienced a very had incident of doing this with a Windows server install recently, I choose not to. The updates will be downloaded and installed later as part of the normal Windows Update process.

You will now be prompted to enter the product key. Once this is validated (you will need a working Internet connection) you can click the next button. Accept the Licence agreement and you now need to decide what you want to keep:

  • Keep Windows settings, personal files and applications
  • Keep personal files
  • Nothing

I choose the first option as this is a working computer and I need all of the information and applications on it.

The next stage appears to carry out the same checks as the initial assessment – essentially checking the machine and applications are going to work OK. Any software that is not compatible must now be uninstalled before you can proceed. In the case of this Laptop, this meant uninstalling the Bluetooth Win7 Suite and the Digital Fingerprint Software. The process is easy, as against each incompatible application is an uninstall button.

Once these have been removed, you can hit the Refresh button and check again. Once the listed applications have been removed you will probably need to restart the computer before you can continue the Windows 8 Upgrade. Remember to remove the DVD when you reboot.

After the reboot you have the option to continue where you left off or start again at the beginning. Insert the DVD back into the drive and “Continue from where I left off”

The Application check is repeated once again to ensure that nothing will stop the installation. This time the Assistant reports that you are ready to install, and confirms the setting you made earlier. In this case it was to install Windows 8 Pro and to keep all Windows settings, personal files and applications. Select “Install”. Expect several reboots as is the norm with installing a Microsoft operating system.

Once the progress indicator reaches 100%, we are getting near the end of the Windows 8 upgrade. Following this reboot, we see the first signs of Windows 8 as it attempts to detect all the hardware and install the necessary drivers.

Another reboot and Windows 8 moves your settings into the new system. This is the scary part as you don’t want to loose any information.

Now you get the chance to personalise the system. Remember these settings can always be changed later. 1st choice is the colour, I left it at the default of Blue. Next up is the “Settings” options, again accept the default to use Express settings as you can change them later. Next you will be prompted for your password, enter it and choose “Next”. Finally you can choose to enter your email address associated with a Microsoft account, or skip this and use your old username and password. As this is a business machine, we do not want to use the Microsoft login details, so I choose “Skip”.

Finally a working desktop. Now is the time to explore the new interface and find out where all of your applications have gone.

See the next blog if you wish to install Media Centre.

 

ICT Support

 ICT Support

Kenmal Business Systems are dedicated to “Making Networks Work”. Based in Bishop’s Stortford on the Hertfordshire, Essex border, our aim is to provide inspired but at the same time, practical and cost effective, ICT support and ICT services.

Schools are often on the receiving end of substandard levels of support, lack of vision and poor quality of service. Unfortunately, the support and service provided by various local authorities and internal support providers does not always meet the needs of the school. It is not unheard of for school staff to be told to wait for days, before problems are eventually resolved. Sadly, the solutions offered by local authorities are sometimes outdated or over complicated, far outweighing the requirements of the school. The end result can be an expensive, difficult to use and manage system; not what a head teacher needs when providing essential ICT for staff and pupils.

Here at KBS we aim to provide a personable, reliable and above all professional service, to meet your budget. We can help you provide a solid, support foundation for your schools ICT needs.

So, why not consider moving to a “3rd Party” provider? Many other schools have already discovered the benefits of a more personal, friendly, efficient and above all, cost effective ICT Support service.

If this is what you need for your school, your staff and your pupils, contact us now for further information.

For your quotation please supply as much information as possible.

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A Christmas tip from Kenmal Business Systems

A Christmas tip from Kenmal Business Systems

It may seem a little early to be thinking of Christmas, but planning in advance ensure that nothing gets forgotten as you rush out of the door on Christmas Eve desperate to get to the shops before they close.

Most of us close for the festive period, although many offices have limited staffing. However we all turn off equipment etc. to save on the electricity, and most of us turn the heating down.

Remember when you turn down the heating for the Christmas period, your server needs to be kept warm. As strange as it sounds, you spend most of your time in the summer keeping it cool, but too low a temperature is as harmful as too warm.

Therefore be kind to your server this Christmas and ensure then temperature does not drop too low. If it does, you may be in for a nasty shock in the New Year.

If you are unsure, we recommend an ideal temperature of around 18C. If the temperature falls too low or rises too high, then problems will occur. A slow gradual change is not a problem, it is the sudden change that causes the problems. This is exactly what you do over Christmas. Turning the thermostat to the frost setting and leaving for Christmas is a sure way to spoil your new year. It is fine to turn the temperature down in the normal office areas, but your server needs to be help at a constant temperature.

If you are uncertain, contact us for free, friendly advise.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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