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How to Manage Documents in a Paperless Environment

Consider for a moment how many documents are floating around your business at any given point. Memos, notes, invoices, receipts, and whatever else you happen to accumulate in the course of business, all floating around the office. This isn’t a great approach, and unfortunately, the classic solution for this, the filing cabinet, isn’t the most effective solution anymore.

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Why Aren’t Users Buying More Tablets?

When tablets first hit the market, the general prediction was that they would eventually replace PCs as the de facto device for computing, However, based on their steadily declining sales, this prediction seems to be a little off base–but, why? A closer examination provides some insight into why tablet sales have dipped.

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Apple vs Samsung: Who Makes Better Tablets?

In today’s mobile-centric world, portability is becoming more and more crucial to success in business affairs. This phenomenon can easily explain why tablets are commonplace in boardrooms and briefcases. With Apple and Samsung offering two heavy-hitting tablets (the Galaxy Tab S3 and the iPad Pro), we’ve decided to analyze their features head-to-head to find out which is the supreme option for your business needs. Read more

It’s Summertime! 3 Ways to Get the Most From Your Tablet

It’s summertime, and the living’s easy… unless you’re a small business owner. The heat and great weather is the perfect excuse to take off for a while and use that vacation time you’ve been saving up. But if you’re still worried about leaving your business behind, the mobile technology of a tablet can help you keep in contact and still enjoy your vacation.

One of the best things about a tablet is the fact that it is designed for media consumption, and you can saturate your vacation with music, YouTube videos, and more. However, if you feel you need to bring a tablet with you on vacation, there are some things you should be aware of that will let you take advantage of its full potential.

Keep Your Tablet Safe from the Elements
Your body might be resistant to the crystal-clear waters and silk-like sand, but that doesn’t mean that your tablet is, too. What would happen if a breeze picked up and kicked sand in your direction? Not only would you get a mouthful of gritty sand, but you’d also likely experience problems with your tablet. Sand isn’t compatible with your tablet, and neither is water, especially in excess.

To prevent your vacation from meeting a watery grave, modern science has produced a spectacular tool that can keep your tablet safe from the elements. It is called the “plastic baggie,” and it can now be found at any of your local retail stores for a modest fee. You can use the tablet through the bag with little risk of actual damage, but you still might run into problems if you decide to take a dip in the water with your tablet. Not even the mighty plastic bag can save it from floating off with the tide, if you’re not careful!

Avoid Mediocre Hotel WiFi with a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
You’ll probably be staying in a hotel with wireless Internet access, but just because it comes with the room doesn’t mean it’s safe. And if the wireless service is substandard, your access to the wondrous Internet will be significantly limited. You should especially be careful about the security of these networks, as they are typically not well-monitored or secure. As a business owner, you use your tablet for more than just media, so you can’t afford this risk.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) from Michell Consulting Group can help mitigate this issue. You, and only you, will have access to a private network designed to keep you safe from outside threats. You can know with confidence that your network is as safe as can be from hackers and other malicious online elements.

If you are worried about having bad wireless service while on the move, you can always try a wireless hotspot-activated device that uses your mobile data plan. This basically turns your mobile device into a wireless router that you’ll be able to connect your laptop and tablet to. This means you won’t have to rely on someone else’s network, and it gives you more privacy as well as a more reliable connection.

Don’t Forget – You’re on Vacation!
This is the most important pointer of all. Just because you can connect to your workplace while on vacation doesn’t mean you have to. You’re on vacation, so enjoy it. Take a load off and have some fun. You’ve earned it! We’re sure that your business won’t be reduced to a pile of embers without you there.

Be sure that you don’t turn your tablet into your vacation, though. Spend time in the nice outdoor weather, and don’t forget to put down the tablet from time to time. The entire reason you are on vacation is to escape the monotony of your workplace’s technology, right? So relax, and enjoy some time separated from it.

If you take advantage of these three tips, you’re practically guaranteed to have an enjoyable, media-enriched vacation. For more pointers on how to take full advantage of your technology, contact Michell Consulting Group at 305.592.5433 ext 2601. By the time we’re through with it, your technology will work for you, instead of the other way around.

Is Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 Finally Going to Succeed?

The new Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is out and Microsoft is hoping that they have a winner on their hands. It’s a sweet piece of technology, to be sure, with a 12-inch screen and a Core i3 processor for the base model, but, like previous Surface models, it’s unlikely to experience the same level of success as Apple’s iPad. Why is this?

No matter where your tech loyalties lie, you can’t deny the crazy success of Apple’s iPad over the past four years–selling over 200 million units. There has to be something more to it than the performance of the iPad’s hardware (especially when Microsoft’s Surface Pro models have more power under the hood), and consumers are too smart to buy iPads by the crate just because it has an Apple logo stamped on it (or at least we hope so). We think the success that the iPad has seen over Microsoft’s tablet offerings has to do with the differences in the way the two products are designed and used.

The most noticeable distinction between Apple’s iPad and Microsoft’s Surface Pro is that Apple is really comfortable with the iPad just being a tablet, while Microsoft has taken the angle with its Surface Pro to make it less like a tablet and more like a laptop. If one was to compare the hardware between the two products, one would think that the tablet-as-a-laptop angle should work out nicely in Microsoft’s favor because they’re offering a more heavy-duty product. However, here’s the problem; if a consumer wants a laptop, they will buy a laptop.

The reverse can be said about tablet shoppers looking for a tablet. Apple knows this, which is why they worked hard to design their iPad and their MacBook to be so different from each other. By doing this, Apple has a greater chance of selling the consumer both an iPad and a MacBook. Whereas the tablet-as-a-laptop angle taken by Microsoft with the Surface Pro means that, if you buy a Surface Pro, then you have no reason to also purchase a laptop, and vica versa.

Apple’s strategy with the iPad requires the development of apps and software specifically for the iPad. This way, it can stand on its own feet, and after more than four years of developing iPad exclusive software, iPad has a strong foundation to continue to find popularity with consumers–this despite the fact that overall mobile device sales appear to finally be leveling off after experiencing a five-year boom.

Looking to the future, it appears as though Apple’s mobile device strategy has set themselves up for more profits, seeing that iOS users significantly outspend the users of others devices. Christmas Day 2013 is an example of this with 23% of all online sales coming from iOS devices. The nearest mobile competitor was Andriod with 4.6%, and Windows RT, Microsoft’s mobile-exclusive OS designed to be more in line with Apple’s tablet-as-a-tablet approach, didn’t even make a dent in online sales.

Come to think of it, isn’t it odd that you rarely hear anything these days from the Microsoft camp about Windows RT? Microsoft has yet to officially pull the plug on Windows RT, but their lack of marketing for it and their increased efforts to promote Surface Pro as a tablet/laptop hybrid is pretty much a death sentence as far as RT goes. For Microsoft, the addition and promotion of Windows RT was too-little too-late in light of the huge gains made by iPad.

Additionally, Microsoft’s big marketing push to sell Surface Pro as a fully operational Windows 8 tablet created confusion in the market due to shoppers assuming that every Microsoft-made tablet had full Windows 8 capabilities. This led to disappoint after the consumer found out that the Surface tablet they were considering (because of its low price) was equipped with Windows RT, and they would have to pay more and upgrade to Surface Pro in order to get the heavily-touted Windows 8 tablet-as-a-laptop experience.

When the tablets from both Microsoft and Apple are compared side-by-side, it is here that the rubber hits the road and the user will find out firsthand that the iPad is designed for a full touch-screen experience, while the Surface Pro still requires its users to carry a keyboard or stylus, due mostly because of their attempt to be a hybrid-laptop.

Galen Gruman from InfoWorld explains how this breaks down:

The biggest problem is Windows. The operating system and its applications are designed to use a keyboard and a mouse at a foundational level. You simply need those devices. Microsoft knows that, of course, which is why it has often bundled pens with its tablets as mouse surrogates and why it has more recently offered the Type Cover snap-on keyboard, an accessory that’s optional only in name. What those accessories leave you with, of course, is a laptop. All Microsoft has done is deconstruct the laptop into several pieces you have to reassemble to work properly.

When shopping for a tablet, a user that comes across the Surface Pro with its optional-yet-necessary detachable keyboard may think to themselves, “Maybe I should just get a laptop, like an Ultrabook or a Macbook Air.” Point Apple.

Based on the fundamental differences between the two devices, it doesn’t seem likely that the Surface Pro 3 will pull Microsoft ahead of Apple in the tablet battle, at least not for this round. But hey, for all you Microsoft enthusiasts out there, the tech world is full of surprises and upsets are always possible.

We (and a lot of users) love the idea of an all-in-one mobile device that runs all of our everyday applications that we’re used to on our PCs and laptops. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with the Surface Pro 3, and it even impresses in many areas, but it’s still got a ways to go before it inundates the tablet market quite like Apple has with its iPad.

Microsoft versus Apple, where do your loyalties lie? Or do you enjoy watching the battle rage between the tech giants from the sidelines of the Android camp? Share with us your thoughts in the comments!