The end of Windows XP

by Dereck Senter on July 11, 2013

Welcome to Information Technology (IT) made simple.

This week our subject is Windows XP, end of life.

On October 25, 2001, Windows XP was released.  It was a follow up operating system to Windows 98, and Windows ME.  Windows 98 was a good, stable operating system that a lot of consumers liked, because it was good for gaming.  It was not secure.  Windows ME was a disaster from the moment it was introduced.

XP was important for Microsoft, in that, they needed an operating system that was secure, business friendly, and gaming friendly.  It seemed like a tall order, but Microsoft did deliver.

It was a bumpy road at first.  But, Microsoft came through with updates that completely stabilized XP.  It became the bench mark operating system.

Fast forward to 2006.  Microsoft Vista is released.  It is supposed to be the successor to XP.  It was what I would consider a disaster.  Vista was more secure, but it was secure to the point of not allowing users to do their daily functions.  It was also very “heavy” on the computer.  Which made it slow.  Our recommendations at the time were to keep XP.  There was no reason to upgrade.  Many others felt the same way, and Microsoft kept selling and supporting XP.

In 2009 Windows 7 arrived.  Everyone was concerned that this might be a Vista repeat.  Fortunately, Windows 7 was usable, and secure, and fast.  Leaps and bounds better that Vista.  It seemed at the time though, that there still wasn’t enough reason to switch from XP.  There was a bit of a learning curve to Windows 7.  It wasn’t exactly the same as interacting with XP.

This brings us to present day.  Last year, Windows 8 was released.  It is much faster, and more secure that both XP and Win 7.  The problem is, the interface is Very different.  It has a learning curve for users to get used to it.

Microsoft has released two very good operating systems in a row, and have decided to retire Windows XP.  It is time.  XP is very difficult to keep secure.

So, on April 14, 2014, Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP.  What does that actually mean?  Will XP machines around the world stop working?  The short answer is no.  What will happen after that date?  Microsoft stops putting out updates for it.  Security updates and stability updates.  This is a big deal for some.

Immediately, Windows XP will no longer be HIPAA compliant.  In HIPAA, one of the main requirements is to use an operating system that is continuously updated by its manufacturer.  That leaves XP out in the cold.

Luckily, with the other, more modern operating systems available from Microsoft, there are plenty of options.  Both Windows 7, and Windows 8 are available to step in, and take over.  Windows 8 is an excellent choice for any touch screen device that you may want to use. Windows 7 is a great choice for desktops.

If you have any questions or comments, please give us a call, or leave us a message on our Facebook page.

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Wireless

by Dereck Senter on February 14, 2013

Welcome to Information Technology (IT) made simple.

This week I am going to take on a big subject: Wireless.

Wireless might be the most confusing subject of them all.  There are so many different terms used to describe wireless.  Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G, 4G, 4G LTE.  There are also some lesser known descriptors, like WiMAX for example.

It may be easiest to break them into groups.

Lets talk about home/business wireless first.  Wi-Fi and Bluetooth fall into that category.  Even in these categories, there are sub categories.  Wi-Fi for example has terms associated with it like; 802.11 A, B, G, and N.  Those are the actual standards that Wi-Fi is based on.  Standards are needed to make sure that different companies’ equipment will talk with each other.  All we need to know is that “N” is the most current standard.

Wi-Fi is best used for transmitting larger amounts of data across a limited distance.  Distance is usually limited to a building, as an example, but not always.  Laptops almost always have Wi-Fi as a built in device.  Most cell phones and tablets have it as well.  This allows the devices to be connected together.  It also allows for internet, if the network you are connecting to, has internet available.  Wi-Fi does not automatically mean internet.

Bluetooth is up next.  Bluetooth has a much more limited range and data transmission capability than Wi-Fi.  “Then why do we have Bluetooth?” you might ask.  The answer is simple.  It is inexpensive to build, and very small.  Bluetooth devices can be miniaturized because the electronics to make it work are very small.  It makes it easy to have small ear pieces, and the like.  Not much data exchanges hands between a phone and an ear piece.  It is the right technology for the job.

Next up is the Cell wireless.  I’m sure you have heard the terms 3G, 4G, and LTE, but what does that mean?  Again, those descriptors are for standards.  Though in this case, the standards are much looser. Take 4G for example.  There are a number of different cell companies that say they have 4G.  That just means they are using a 4th generation wireless design.  You usually can’t use the same phone on an ATT account, and then switch it to Verizon.  They are 4th generation, just not the same design.  LTE is another example of 4th generation design.  WiMAX actually is as well.  WiMAX is similar to Wi-Fi as far as technology goes, except the signal from WiMAX travels much farther.

Your cell phone connects to a network, much like Wi-Fi, just a much larger one.  The wireless signal is designed to travel much farther than Wi-Fi.  The equipment to make that possible is of course much more expensive as well.

Even though all of these technologies are considered wireless, you can see they are much different.  Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can be used for the home and office.  It is inexpensive, and does a very good job of moving data.  Cell wireless technologies are much more expensive, but work over a much greater distance.  Once again, this is the right technology for the job.

Thank you for taking the time to read “IT made simple”.  If you have any questions or comments, please leave them on our Facebook page.

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Why “The Cloud”?

by Dereck Senter on January 16, 2013

After much prompting, I am finally putting my thoughts in a blog.  Everyone else seems to have one, so why not me?  Welcome to Information Technology (IT) made simple.

I am going to try to simplify different topics of technology.  So, we might as well start at the “top” and discuss “The Cloud”.

I’m fairly sure you have heard of “The Cloud”.  It is that thing out there (pointing to the sky) where our pictures, emails, and music live.  You can back up your computer data to “The Cloud”.  Your personal information, including your medical records, can be kept in “The Cloud”.  But really, what does that mean?  We need to take a few steps back.

Many years ago (maybe not so many), when you wanted to keep/store information, you would have to store it on your own computer (A PC).  Over time, your PC had thousands of pictures, music files.  What happened when your PC died?  What happened when you wanted to view that picture of “Sally” when she was 3?  There was also that issue of cost.  PC’s used to be pretty expensive as well.  There were many questions, few answers, and lots of limitations. Though, we could see the possibilities.

Then the age of the internet dawned.  You could attach your PC, to other PC’s.  Have a web-based email account, which would allow you to talk to your friends for free. View websites with pictures and text from companies that could afford to put a server (large PC) on the internet.  It was slow, but you now had access to a ton of information.

The internet, of course, is nothing more than a large number of computers connected together, and open to the public.  It was a wild, free place.  It could have dangers as well.  Others accessing your information for instance.  It was still expensive, there were even more questions, and limitations.  Lots of possibilities!

So far, we have the PC, and the internet.  The next bit of technology is what really made “The Cloud” possible.  High speed internet.  That may sound strange, but users (you and I) do not like to wait for anything.  In order to move a picture or music file to the internet, it would take a long, LONG, time.  No one wanted to wait.  High speed internet made it possible to put your data on other PC’s or Servers, fairly quickly.

All that being said, “The Cloud” is nothing more than a group of secure servers that are available on the internet.  They have large amounts of storage, and incredibly high security.  With high speed internet readily available to large chunks of the population, it makes it financially possible for companies to share/charge to use some of the space they have on the internet.

Risk is very low, when you put data in “The Cloud”. It is a very secure place to keep your information.  Security comes in two forms; encryption, and duplication of your data. Your data is scrambled, to make it nearly impossible for someone to figure out what it is.  It is also kept in more than one place, to keep it safe from natural disaster, or power outages.

“The Cloud” is a safe, affordable way to archive your personal or business data.

Thank you for taking the time to read “IT made simple”.

 

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Now is the Time

by admin on December 20, 2012

Now is the time to begin your EMR readiness planning and Kinetic Datacom can help your practice accomplish a successful EMR plan. The great thing is that EMR in the cloud is more available now than it was just six months ago. The partnership between Kinetic and Dell Computer Corp. allows you to now have access to the top of breed EMR solutions available on the cloud. This means less cost up front because in most cases practices have the right hardware in place and won’t need to make a very large upfront investment. This also means a speedier implementation to help you achieve the all-important Meaningful Use deadline(s). Give us a call today and we can give you a free initial consultation to get your practice ready for EMR.

Unify Your Medical Image Archiving

by admin on December 20, 2012

With Dell’s Unified Clinical Archive, you can consolidate image data from proprietary PACS in one, patient-centric archive. It eliminates the need for costly data migrations when changing or updating PACS and facilitates data sharing for enhanced clinical collaboration.

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