It's all coming together

As you will know from our previous columns, convergence and connectivity are the themes of 2016 and the mobile phone is finally joining the party. I think it is fair to say that traditionally, it has often been practical issues (such as signal strength at the MD’s house!) that have played a major role in the decision making for which carrier your company uses. What is the point of a great tariff if you never get a signal? The modern always-connected culture that has driven the rise of cloud-based solutions such as Office365 and VoIP telephony is now influencing the technology behind your mobile phone. Business users need to be connected to the tools they use from wherever they may be and this is about to take a leap forward. This summer will see the emergence of a new type of mobile experience, the phone you use will be able to constantly change its provider to give you the best experience possible. Bad signal at home, no problem your phone will hop on to the best alternate available. Being out of the ...

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Business is the real winner

We were very honoured to be chosen as finalists in the Hertford Entrepreneur of the Year awards a couple of weeks ago. We didn’t win the award (It’s fine, we have come to terms with it!) but what we did see was a number of local businesses, all very successful and each of them fully engaged with their vision. It became clear as the companies presented their cases that success in business is almost always linked with a well-oiled IT machine. We are incredibly proud of the positive impact our IT solutions have and there was a real sense of achievement as we reviewed the clients we work with and the technology they use. We have a deserved reputation we are fiercely protective of but it is the solutions themselves, their relevance and application that has helped us play such an important role in our clients’ operations. VoIP telephony is now a major player in the communications market and this year will see a new convergence with your mobile solution that is exciting us a great deal, watch t ...

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Why you need to go Superfast

We regularly get asked about poor connectivity in our home town of Hertford and across the county. It is possibly the biggest misconception we face. I can assure you right now there is absolutely fantastic connectivity available to the vast majority of Herts businesses. Yes, if you are located on a farm outbuilding (as we once were!) then you may struggle but most companies already have a number of excellent options to improve their link to the outside world. A common barrier for high-grade broadband is the sense that as you only pay tuppence for your home connection, this is all your business should pay. Your business broadband however is probably one of the most important and influential components of your company. It is deserving of proper consideration and not only extends into your client connections, disaster recovery, staff morale and trading practice but also affects the performance of cloud-based solutions such as Office 365 and VoIP telephony. Good quality broadband is about the upstream speeds yo ...

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Cannot connect to Microsoft services using apps such as Xbox Live, Groove Music or Wunderlist

Issue: Cannot connect to Microsoft services using apps such as Xbox Live, Groove Music or Wunderlist when using Windows 10 or 8.1.  Wunderlist will report "We were unable to connect to your Microsoft Account just now. Please try again." Groove Music will report "Can't sign in. Make sure you are connected to the Internet, then try again. If you're definitely connected, make sure no firewalls or proxy servers are blocking access to Xbox services.  0xc00d1126 (0x800c0005) " Explanation: After carrying out research with a network traffic analyser, we discovered that the PC will not perform a DNS lookup for hostnames to connect to these services when the DNS server set in the network interface IPv4 settings with a private network. e.g. 192.168.1.0/24 Most private networks will use a DNS server (Windows Domain Controller) or DNS relay agent (Router) on the local network to lookup addresses. Solution: Option 1: Set your DNS servers in the IPv4 settings to a static address to a publicly available DNS ...

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New Year, New You

2015 gave us the biggest shift yet towards the convergence of IT services and a strengthening of the cloud-based always-on business model and we expect 2016 to be no different. We have spoken previously in this column of our belief in technology and its potential to be your business’s greatest tool, whether it be communications with VoIP telephony, streamlined infrastructures, disaster resilience or the full maturity of cloud-based enterprise. The options for success and improvement have never been so accessible and so affordable. January traditionally finds people queuing to join the gym following a few weeks of gorging and drinking like a 17th century French duke, so why not do the same for your business and spend a little time investing in the ‘fitness’ of your company; the performance and the processes used to bring your vision to market and service your clients. We cannot emphasise enough how exciting, innovative and commercially-viable the current practices in IT are and how they can ...

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From your correspondent - article 2

Read the article from the October edition of The Business written by our technology expert and key Account Manager, Simon Lunness. To get the full Business supplement, it is available here: http://www.hertfordshiremercury.co.uk/thebusiness.html Communication is the key I think we can all agree that good communication is fundamental to any successful business. Over the years, technology has transformed the way that companies communicate on all levels, with e-mail becoming a major player in the way people engage with one another. However, good old telecommunications is probably still chief amongst the tools we use to stay in touch and in keeping with our theme of improving your business through technology, we shine the spotlight on IP telephony or ‘VoIP’ as it is more commonly known.  Admittedly, VoIP had something of a shaky start. Excitement at the potential led many firms to rush headlong into it without the proper research or planning. Naively, many plugged Internet-ready phone ...

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From your correspondent

This week saw the first article from our very own technology correspondent, Simon Lunness, in the local business press in Herts and Essex. Simon is contributing a column in the 'The Business, a monthly online and print publication aimed at keeping local enterprises in the know. His initial piece for September covers the dramatic transformation that IT has undergone in the recent era and how this impacts commerce. A full transcript of the article can be read here, but we recommend that you get hold of the full publication here: http://www.hertfordshiremercury.co.uk/thebusiness.html Improve your business through technology From the early machines of the post-war era to the modern day wireless tablet, commerce has used computer technology to be bigger, better, faster. Since the first email was sent, we have seen the indomitable rise of the Internet permeating into all areas where companies communicate and transact. This global network became over time ubiquitous, untethered and truly mobile, spawning ...

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From hosting to branding

Not being content with getting a company online, we want to make sure that we really do improve a business through technology. When Steve Thomas of Homes Mortgages came to us recently to sort out some technical issues with his email and web hosting, he asked what we could do about how it looked too. Sending and recieving email is one thing, but giving a professional image is something else. Likewise, with a website. Having a presence online is essential these days, but is it saying the right thing about your business?  Well, in this case one thing led to another and from getting their email, domain names and website hosting onto a single platform with a local provider andwith the features that the busy staff required, we were soon giving the whole comapny a make-over. What started out as some technical housekeeping turned into a full brand refresh, so that Home Mortgages online presence and its online communication with customers reflected the firm accurately. After a short consultation, our creative m ...

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A truly unlimited business phone system from just £12 per user per month

Are you getting a business advantage and real value for money from your current telecoms provider? Is your company truly efficient in the way that it communicates with customers, suppliers or even just internally with one another? Are you sure that calls are being taken on time, every time, across your organsation? If you answered 'No' to any of the above questions, you should talk to ITbuilder about their Horizon offering and turn that into a definite 'Yes'. Horizon is cloud technology provided on an affordable, subscription basis offering big-business communications features without any heavy up-front investment and a monthly rental that is very likely to be a reduction on your current phone costs.  Operated by a leading UK telecoms giant and brought to you by your local IT specialist, who are there 'For people in Business', you can rest assured that you have the right team on your side to adopt a thoroughly modern communication system and improve your business through techhnolog ...

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How to mount a USB drive in a Hyper-V Virtual Guest

If, like many an IT bod, you have need from time to time to pass a USB drive through from a physical Hyper-V Virtual Host to a Virtual Guest machine running on it in order to to copy data, then here is a quick tutorial on how to do it.  1.       Connect USB drive to VM Host 2.       On host run powershell Get-Disk command to determine the disk number: 3.       Once you know the number, just pipe it to Set-Disk -IsOffline $true: 4.       On Hyper-V manager add a SCSI disk to the VM guest and select the USB disk which should be presented as a  physical disk 5.       Open up computer manager on the VM Guest and go to Disk Management 6.       You should see the disk is Offline – Right Click and make it online   On step 5 I could not see the new disk there but saw that it was in device manager ...

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