Author: Jay Spear

Time to Find Your Bay Area IT Team

Finding quality IT Support is a lot like your search for a mechanic or dentist. You needed a competent professional with broad experience and a roster of satisfied customers. They have to be trustworthy, current, and open. And even on a weekend or a holiday, they have to be available.

Assess how you found other services for your family. These steps will resonate:

Ask around

Who are your peers in your industry. Not everyone is a competitor. Ask them how they manage their IT challenges, projects, and emergencies?

Ask your IT Support if they will let you talk to any of their customers?

Your future IT support partner is proud of the relationships they have developed with other local businesses. Who are these people? What stories do they tell?

Check the reviews

Even after meeting some of their select customers, look for reviews that might offer other dimensions to their history.

Look for short wait times

As you interview potential IT support companies ask them about their response time. Question them about their team size and coverage at critical times. Don’t just take their word for it – ask their customers.

Understand your service options

What will your IT partner do, and what won’t they do? This is a conversation, not a yes/no Q&A. Be curious and imagine your worst-case scenarios. Ask, discuss, listen. Develop confidence in their depth, experience, and readiness to support your business and help you achieve your business-changing goals.

Find a comfortable waiting room

Wait, what? A comfortable waiting room at the dentist’s office sends a message. They can only be with one patient at a time, but they care about your comfort. With your IT team, there may not be a waiting room, but your Bay Area IT Support should assure you they have considered your issue, prioritized the urgency, and care about your comfort while you wait.

Local or National?

An IT support partner can help you in many ways remotely. But working locally with your Bay Area IT Support is a crucial choice. You don’t just want someone on the phone, you may need them above your ceiling and under your desk.

Pacific Computer Consultants offers the best IT Support & Services for Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, and San Francisco. If you are searching for Bay Area IT Support start with us. We’re fast, friendly, and responsive. Call us today at 925-281-5826.

The TLDR on SaaS – Cloud Services Summary

The TLDR on SaaS or Can You Help Me Understand Cloud Services?

Cloud computing is everywhere. It touches every aspect of computing and communication and continues to evolve. For many of us, the concepts can be tough to parse, let alone, explain. To the uninitiated, many associate Spotify, Gmail, or DropBox when they think of the cloud. Each service delivers functionality to a web browser or a local app on your computer or device, and all or most of the data and processing are happing somewhere other than where you are.

Why should understanding cloud services matter to your small or mid-size business? Using Cloud Services will save your business money and it will offer your employees and customers services that they value. Software as a Service (SaaS) gives your business the possibility to lower IT costs by outsourcing hardware and software upkeep and support to the cloud. You shift IT costs away from hardware/software spending and toward other objectives. In addition, with applications hosted centrally, updates can be released without the need for users to install new software. Read on to learn more.

Cloud Service Models

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) delivers essential computing, storage, and networking resources on-demand, usually on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Advantage – Scalability, cost-effectiveness, pay-on-demand for utilities, location independence, redundancy, and the security of your data. 

Example – Rackspace, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Joyent, and more

Platform as a Service (PaaS) delivers hardware and software tools to users over the internet; usually, for application development. A PaaS provider hosts the hardware and software on its own remote infrastructure.

Advantage – You don’t have to start from scratch. When you want to build apps without taking on the entire technical stack of costs. It’s kind of like hiring a theater to put on a show instead of building the theater yourself.

Examples – AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Heroku, Windows Azure (mainly used as PaaS), Google App Engine, Adobe Magento Commerce Cloud.

Software as a Service (SaaS) delivers applications over the Internet. Instead of installing and maintaining software, you use it over the Internet. This frees you from complicated software and hardware management.

Advantage – You don’t need to install and run applications on your computer. Everything is available over the internet when you log in to your account. You can usually access the software from any device, anytime — as long as there is an internet connection. Most SaaS providers typically use a subscription model so you know your costs upfront.

Example – Spotify, Hubspot, Salesforce, Slack, Dropbox

There are tremendous values in expanding and shifting your business to Cloud Services. Talk with Pacific Computer Consultants today to identify solutions that may be right for you.

No One Works 365 Days A Year

You may have noticed Microsoft has made seismic shifts to simplify its product offering and strategy over the last couple of years. Regarding the Microsoft 365 moniker; I can imagine the arguments in the board meetings about these decisions. Would changes be disruptive or would they help the market understand what product they needed?

Why The Name Transformation?

Microsoft customers had a difficult time deciding which product was right for them. For example, the mid-tier business suite was called: Office 365 Business Premium but the premium tier suite was called: Microsoft 365 Business.

See any problems there? Now add to the confusion: Office 365 Business Essentials: had more cloud services than Office 365 Business.

How did Microsoft solve this? They renamed everything Microsoft 365 Business. That’s it. And depending on the tier of service and extension of offering, they completed the name with: Basic, Standard, or Premium.

Makes a lot more sense doesn’t it? I’m convinced it’s a challenge for existing customers, but it makes more sense for the rest of us.

But There’s Still A Problem With The Name

Microsoft believes their product name changes are a thing of the past but I’m not sure. I know there are 365 days in a year and that’s what the vibe Microsoft is shooting for. There are also plenty of egos that want the world to know they are pulling 80-hour workweeks. But let’s do some math. NOBODY is in the office 365 days a year. Normal people are looking at something closer to 261. Microsoft 261 Business doesn’t quite have the same pop to it. What if we worked extra – 6 days a week, and still take time off for the holidays. Well, that’s 297. Marketing wouldn’t go for it. We could round it up and go with 300. What do you think? You like it?

Office 300 Business – What’s The Ideal Work-Life Balance Anyway?

Where did 40 hours / 5 days a week – come from? There’s a really listenable story about this. Here’s the TLDR:

Workweeks used to be a lot longer than 40 hours, but by the late 19th century, they started to shrink to something closer to 60. Workweeks kept shrinking and then scientists decided to study worker productivity. They noticed that 10 hours on a high-speed assembly line was tiring and workers were getting sketchy. Then, in the 1920s, Henry Ford adopted the eight-hour workday. This was good for productivity and it was a convenient number to run his factories 24 hours a day. Finally, it took the Great Depression to make 40 hours the standard. The Government saw a shorter workweek as a way to fight unemployment by spreading labor out to more people.

There ya go. You can thank scientists, Ford, and the Fed for the 261. I could keep going – have you heard of The 4-Hour Workweek
I’ll stop. Microsoft would never go for Office 26 anyway. Regardless of the number of days you are in the office, remember somebody, somewhere is working, and everybody needs Office 365 Support.

What You Mean When You Say It Sounds Good

For me, the words Quality and Sound evoke an image of a vinyl LP purist extolling the virtues of vacuum tubes. This is someone who has gone out of their way in the pursuit of what the sound-engineering world calls good. Fortunately for most of us, digital technology has blown the doors open to sound quality and has made it way more accessible to the rest of us.

From VoIP Services in the office to Apple AirPods, sound quality is simply something you have come to expect. Most of us would not be able to explain what quality sound is or why it’s good. We just seem to know intuitively. Let’s pick it apart.

When we visualize sound we see zigzagging lines representing frequencies. When we listen to a reproduced sound, we hear the frequency response. That is, how perfectly the speaker reproduces the original recording. Got it? Good! Now let’s carve up frequency response.

Audiophiles define quality as how good a frequency sounds. They may talk about the feeling of that sound. This is called tone quality. It’s the elements of that tone quality, that define what you’re hearing. These tones are often referred to as the lows, highs, and mids.

Low Tones – An average listener might think of bass as a single type of sound tucked away in a corner in a directionless subwoofer. But when you hear quality low tones you know it. A good low has an indescribable dimension, almost an echo, and a brightness like when you hear a rumbling explosion or a thunderclap from an approaching storm.

High Tones – Highs are understood by pointing out what they aren’t. A straight high frequency is what you hear in a bad car stereo or that tinny sound from a portable transistor radio. On the flipside, quality highs are one of the best examples of tonal quality at work.

Mid Tones –  Where 70 to 80% of the audio lives. Often we focus on the low and high-end but the mid-range is really what ties tonal quality together. Mids determine how enjoyable your listening experience is.

There is one more thing to consider. If you put two music lovers in a room and ask them to share the greatest album ever on their personal choice of headphones – you know where this is going, don’t you? You won’t get the same answer, from either of them, even if they’re talking about the same album. Why? Because even when you break down the components of sound into frequency response and tonal quality, as we have here, we just hear things differently.

Do you remember The Dress that broke the internet a few years ago? No one could agree whether it was black and blue, or white and gold. With sound, it’s the same. Fortunately most of the time, those differences don’t vary wildly and sound designers can create experiences appreciated by large groups. Teams can experience crystal clear VoIP Services and crowds can experience the powerful feeling of sound at the movie theater.