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International Women’s Day lunch 2017

GTB is proud to be a sponsor of the Kapiti International Women's Day lunch 2017 being held on Wednesday 8th March. Open to everyone, this will be a great event, so we suggest you think about attending.

Last year's lunch was a great success enjoyed by everybody, both women and men. Therefore, we're sure that the International Women's Day lunch 2017 will also be well worth attending.

This year's theme is #BeBoldForChange. "Call on the masses or call on yourself to help forge a better working world - a more inclusive, gender equal world."

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday 8th March 2017
  • Time: 12pm to 2pm
  • Venue: Southward Car Museum
  • Hosts: Kapiti Chamber (Women in Business group) and Kapiti Rotary Club
  • Tickets: $49 per person or a table of 10 for $450
  • Catering: 2 course lunch prepared and served by the talented people at Party Perfect. A glass or wine or juice on arrival.
  • Finally, a portion of every ticket sale is being donated to the Kapiti Performing Arts Centre which is just another great reason for attending!

MC'ed by talented and funny Kapiti actor Cohen Holloway, we're sure there will be great vibrations and connections between all present. There will also be great conversations with high profile panelists Kate Frykberg, Melissa Clark-Reynolds and Dame Susan Devoy.

Your Action Needed

So, click here to go to the event's webpage to learn more about the event, MC and panelists. You can also book directly from this registration page.

Alternatively, if you are interested in going to the Kapiti International Women's Day lunch 2017 and don't yet have anyone to go with; just get in contact with GTB and you can sit with us.

Come one, come all.

Microsoft StaffHub connects deskless workers

Office 365 continues it's march forwards with the latest new product launch - StaffHub. Microsoft StaffHub connects deskless workers to their organisations and to each other. They can be scheduled, re-scheduled, communicate, re-communicate, share and re-share (as Microsoft puts it).

Deskless workers are those, unsurprisingly, who do not normally work in front of a screen or who use a shared PC/Mac. They are people like retail workers, service workers, service technicians, hospitality workers, drivers. Unlike people who work behind screens, they have been largely left out of the revolution in workplace connectivity. Sure, they can get company emails, but among younger people especially, who reads those anyway?

Microsoft StaffHub connects deskless workers to their company, by providing a method of communication. Shift workers can be clear about when there shifts are, or if they are being asked to change shifts. They can also ask other workers to swap shifts - and its all visible and recorded. Staff can chat with each other via a chat service.

For the employer, this is handled as an add-on to the Office 365 product suite. Contact GTB for details or have a look here. Managers can setup schedules using a graphical interface, block-out time, etc.These schedules are then pushed to employees via the app.

StaffHub runs as an app (currently) on Android and iOS. It is also available on any browser through a web portal.

Obviously this is Microsoft further cementing the usefulness of the Office 365 suite. It looks to us like a simple and effective tool for people who do not have screens, but who do have smartphones. Now that Microsoft StaffHub connects deskless workers, the door is opening to empowering these workers by bringing them into the connectivity taken for granted by knowledge workers, and with benefits for businesses too.

 

Christmas 2016 & New Year Opening Hours

The GTB office, workshop and helpdesk will be closed across the festive season. Our Christmas 2016 & New Year Opening Hours are as follows:

  • Thursday 22 December - 8am to midday
  • Friday 23 December - 8am to 4pm
  • Saturday 24 December to Sunday 8 January - Closed

We will be reopening on Monday 9 January 2017 at 8am

Contract clients with urgent requirements can contact our Duty Engineer right throughout the festive season by calling 04 297 1040, Ext 713

Merry Christmas to everyone from the team at GTB!

 

Punctuation and Android voice recognition

GTB uses (and supports) Android voice recognition as well as iPhone voice recognition. Both directors know for sure that our own chosen environment is way better than the other, of course.

I love my Samsung Galaxy Edge S7, and once I got over the shock that it was surprisingly fiddly to start Speech-to-Text first time, I have found its Voice Recognition much improved over previous versions.

Punctuation for Android

Android’s recognition of voice dictation punctuation commands is limited compared to iPhone and iPad, but I find them ample for dictating emails and texts: say this (get this) ...

  • "Period" (.)
  • "Comma" (,)
  • "Question mark" (?)
  • "Exclamation" or "exclamation point" (!)
  • "Enter" or "new line" (new paragraph)

Voice recognition on iPhone or iPad

The voice recognition on iPhone or iPad is really very good. If you have not yet had a good look at this feature, then now is the time. Have some fun.

I upgraded earlier this year from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 6S Plus, and probably the biggest unexpected benefit has been how good the voice recognition is. Txt me and my reply to you will most likely have been dictated. It's quicker, easier, and feels better than having to type. I just say what I want to say and it appears as text. I push Send.

What to use voice recognition for...

I also use it for "writing up" meeting notes, drafting emails, making notes about all sorts of things and capturing ideas. It's much easier to dictate a shopping list into an email to myself than it is to type it, or hunt for paper. I've used it with Microsoft Word, Outlook, Evernote and the native iPhone email and Txt applications.

It's also good when I'm out and about - because I can dump ideas or notes to it straight after a meeting, or in the car (as its hands free) or while waiting somewhere in otherwise wasted time. It doesn't send me a sound file I need to listen to and probably won't, it sends me actual text.

What NOT to use voice recognition for...

The voice recognition on iPhone or iPad is not perfect of course. You may not feel like dictating a Txt message or email if you are in a public place because people may hear you.

It also gets words wrong - especially colloquial, technical, kiwi words and names (unless they are names in your address book). So you couldn't often dictate and just send an important email to a client for instance. Especially if you mentioned Paekakariki. Unless it was very short you'd probably need to dictate, save as a draft and tidy it up for sending later. But it still may be quicker to get the bulk of your message down by voice recognition.

How to use voice recognition on an iPhone or iPad...

When you are in an app that is waiting for a keyboard input from you, you will see (if you have the feature) a microphone symbol in the keyboard next to the Space bar

Dictation Keyboard Icon

Just push that button and talk. Whatever you say will be turned into text in the app you are in. Speak normally, but also speak clearly.

I'd suggest you think about the next paragraph and what you want to communicate, then push the microphone button, say it, and then push the microphone button a second time to pause recording. Then think of the next paragraph, etc.

Using punctuation make s big difference. Punctuation is accessed using Voice Commands. For example while dictating say "comma" and a comma will appear. Say "full-stop" then "New Paragraph" and you will finish one paragraph with a full-stop and start another leaving a line between them. Here's a link to a list of commands - (Thanks Matt.)

Summary

Voice recognition on mobile devices could be really useful for you. Compared to my past experiences, the voice recognition on iPhone or iPad devices is really quite surprisingly good - to the point that it is now a productive tool for me. I know others have had a similar experience, and I know of people for whom it still seems to problematic. But if you're prepared to give it a try and speak clearly, thinking about what you say before you say it, and putting up with it not getting some words correct, then it's definitely worth a try.

PS - I have my Siri set to 'English'. I have lived in England, so I have a slight accent in that way, but I think for many kiwis we are closer to Siri 'English' than we are to Siri 'Australian'. Have a play.

 

 

Office 2007 end of extended support

This month marks 12 months until Office 2007 end of extended support. So, if you are still using the Office 2007 suite, here's a few things to be thinking about.

Assuming you want to stay with Microsoft products - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher and OneNote, then most small to medium enterprises will have 2 main options, Office 365 or a perpetual licence.

Office 365

Office 365 is a whole suite of productivity and application programs made up into different bundles. They are the sorts of programs that many organisations and people need to help them do their daily work better, more quickly and more powerfully. So you basically pick the bundle that contains the things that you need. And you pay a relatively low per user monthly fee for access to them.

For example, if you were currently using Office 2007, you could instead get Office 365 Business. This bundle gives you the 2016 versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher and OneNote. You can download these on up to 5 devices per licensed user and you will always have the latest versions of the programs.

Enterprises often benefit in many ways from going to this simple monthly payment model. It means you don't need to buy new costly package every few years so flattens cashflow. It also helps with internal administration - we've seen many businesses with the admin headache of having people on different versions of Office - Office 365 gets rid of this.

There are many other aspects to Office 365 besides Word, Outlook, etc. Perhaps the other key thing is that you can get Exchange Online which gives you modern business-grade email capability. About 12 years ago I bought a server so my PA and I could have access to my emails and calendar - it cost around $8,000. Now I could get the better features for less than $15 a month.

There are also many other programs that come with Office 365 depending on which bundle you get - Sway is a cool-looking online presentation package that can sort of replace PowerPoint and we're finding clients who want a fresh snappy image are loving it. Skype for Business is a great package if you are wanting high-definition video/audio conferencing or desk to desk calls. Etc.

Office (perpetual) Licencing

You can still buy the older-style 'perpetual' licence if Office 365 is not right for you.

So with the upcoming Office 2007 end of extended support, you now buy Office 2016. You install it, and you use it. And just like with Office 2007 now, one day you will need to replace it.

Wrap-Up

So while Office 2007 end of extended support is on the one hand something that needs to be addressed, on the other hand it could be an opportunity to catch-up with where the world is moving.

Office 2016 is widely regarded as a step up with better features and smoother use than Office 2007. With Office 365 you can move to a monthly payment, and you can also review how your emails are being run and move to  a future facing, flexible and very cost-effective email package.

We'd be delighted to help. So if Office 2007 end of extended support is affecting you, just get in touch.

Brother printer with free tray

Ideal for medical practices, this ‘while stocks last’ special deal is for a Brother printer with free tray. Plus, all Brother printers now have a 4-year warranty, applied retrospectively as a free upgrade!

Our medical and practice clients mostly prefer the Brother brand. We like them too, as they tend to just run and cause few problems. And Brother now has a really hot deal for people looking for a two tray mono laser printer – a Brother printer with free tray.

All prices exclude GST, delivery and installation. While stocks last.

Special Offer – Brother Office Laser printer, with a FREE 500 sheet paper tray

Hot price $351.00 for printer RRP $608.65

Plus free additional paper tray RRP $299

An ideal printer for medical practices because it has 2 trays to cater for A4 and A5 printing without having to change the paper.

  • High Speed 40ppm Mono Printing with Duplex
  • USB, Network and Wi-Fi Standard
  • Super High Yield Toner (up to 12,000 pages)
  • 4 Year Warranty

New 4 Year Brother warranty – in a very pleasant move for customers, Brother have extended the warranties on their printers to 4 years. This applies to new printers of course, but it also applies retrospectively to existing printers as a free warranty upgrade, as long as only genuine Brother consumables have been used.

Designed for demanding office environments with medium to high print needs, the HL6180DW gives you speed, efficiency, and economy, all in one robust package. The very economical running costs, with super-high-yield cartridges and double-sided printing, mean you can print as much as you need. And you can connect to your network with a cable or wirelessly, whichever best suits.

This great printer comes standard with a paper capacity of 500 sheets, which you can increase to 1000 by purchasing the optional 500-sheet tray.

So, if your practice is in need of a solid workhorse two tray mono laser printer, or if you need to replace your ageing fleet in consult rooms, then now is the time – please get in touch quoting 'Brother printer with free tray'. While stocks last.

Evernote Certified Consultant

GTB now has an Evernote Certified Consultant in the form of Mark Ternent. Mark says “Evernote can be used to run many aspects of the typical small to medium enterprise, intuitively and powerfully.” There are currently only 3 ECCs in NZ, and Mark is the only one in the Wellington region.

Evernote Links…

Evernote Basic – FREE – Discover a new way to stay organized. Save notes, tasks, ideas, inspiration, images, or anything you find online. We’ll sync it all between your phone and computer, automatically.

Evernote Plus – Keep all your projects together and access them across all of your devices with Evernote Plus. You’ll have more room for your notes, synced wherever you go, and accessible even when you’re offline.

Evernote Premium – Organize your work and declutter your life across all your devices. Write, collect, annotate, and present all in one place. Discover connections and tame information overload to be your most productive.

Evernote Business – The individual power of Evernote Premium, plus added team and admin features to get more done.

Many people hear about Evernote, so they download it and give it a go. We at GTB come across a lot of people who use it and think its great. This was pretty much where Mark was at when he decided to do the Evernote Certified Consultant course and exam. “Having used it over several years for all sorts of notes, clippings, ideas, and easy document scanning for my phone; I became intrigued about how it could really add value for business people. More than just a few poorly organised notes and document scans here and there!”

The Evernote Certified Consultant course helped him to understand better. “I had heard about businesses running themselves in Evernote, and the Evernote Certified Consultant course helped me to see how. Being around people from all over the world who were passionate about Evernote and talented in its use was a steep learning curve.” In fact, the learning curve was much steeper than expected, as there was quite a bit of work needed to pass the Evernote Certified Consultant course.

We’ll write more blog articles on Evernote in the future. But for now – here are a few comments and ideas…

It’s intuitive and easy to get going. This is very important whether you use it on your own, or plan to extend it to your colleagues or even your entire business. In these days of change, things need to be intuitive and Evernote fits that bill.

It’s easy to format and share information. It’s also easy to organise and file it control who has access to it, and what access they have. The Notebook structure allows individual notes to be organised and structured and makes them visually and intuitively more accessible. So you can use it as your procedures manual or for company reference documents. It can also be used for projects or jobs. Compared to using many document files, it’s simple and fast to maintain, and easy for users to get to the right information.

It’s easy to clip and gather resources. Evernote has a web clipper app which works really well. It means you can save web pages and images for later reference. The bookmarks function in web browsers rapidly becomes difficult to administer if you want to bookmark a decent number of sites, whereas Evernote is easier to organise. The Tags feature in particular means it is easy to track and recall just what you want at the click of a button.

The Tags function also suits tracking information which changes, which means Evernote can be used for processes. For example; you are on a trip, you get receipts for expenses, you quickly scan them and give them a Tag . The Tag alerts your accounts department who can process your expense immediately. Once they’ve processed it, they give it a new Tag which marks it as completed and filed for future reference. Job done. No bunches of paper to retain and hand it, and easier and quicker for everyone.

GTB’s mission is to bring the best of ICT to our clients to enable their businesses, and then to be there when you need us. We feel that having an Evernote Certified Consultant on the team is a great step forward. Ask us how you can use Evernote to power-up your business.

Elevators that go both ways

As cities get more and more crowded and buildings get bigger and bigger – how to move all the people becomes more of a challenge. Could these elevators that go both ways be the answer?

In London, a recent debate about the growing demand on the city’s underground system came up with the solution of “Willy Wonka” elevators. These elevators can go sideways as well as up and down. This allows more people to be moved directly to where they need to be, and could be a key part of easing the pressure.

MULTI was developed initially for tall buildings, to double elevator shaft capacity, reduce elevator footprint and also offer vertical & horizontal movement. Could they develop into a prime solution for the challenges faced by metro stations and other transport hubs?

MULTI is currently being installed at the company’s test tower and is expected to be ready for initial testing in 2017. Click here for a 2 minute 35 second video to see how the elevators that go both ways will work to transport people from their office buildings to metro stations.

Windows 10 end of free upgrade

Regarding the upcoming Windows 10 end of free upgrade period in July, we’re advising many of our business clients to not take the free upgrade. Might sound a bit weird given its free and all that, and our recommendation is conditional, but here’s why…

Firstly, we’re Microsoft Silver Partners, and we like very much Windows 10. It is the successor to Windows 7, which was the successor to Windows XP. We have it installed on our home PCs and devices … but … for many small to medium kiwi businesses and organisations, there are risks to taking the Windows 10 end of free upgrade.

If you love playing with technology, and if your system is working well and meeting all your needs, then stop reading here. What follows does not apply to you.

We’re really aiming at business people who are too too busy with their own work or client work to mess with IT, or who don’t have the desire to risk money on technology that does not offer them something tangible.

What we suggest you do instead, is remain on Windows 7 until you buy your next PC or laptop.

  • There is very likely NO practical (that you care about) business need or advantage to upgrading your Win 7 workstations to Win 10 for most average SME business users*
  • Win 7 will be fully supported by Microsoft until 2020, with extended support beyond that. Thus your current workstation will be fine on Win 7 until you need to replace it
  • Most Win 10 upgrades go fine, but a few get messed up and our experience is that these can take many hours to fix
  • Some staff will not welcome the new interface, and this may create some frustration and lost productivity while they adjust

* Sure, Win 10 is a better platform, and its definitely on the pathway to the future, and many people like the interface, but for most of our clients and their teams, it simply doesn’t make any difference to their day to day, unless they are experiencing problems with their current setup.

If you are on XP, then you need a new PC (please get in touch) and if you are Windows 8 – then its your call.

MedTech – MedTech just announced at Engineers seminar that Win10 support for MedTech is nearly here: as of the next major release v22.2 – although no confirmed date yet. While this is great, it doesn’t leave much room before the Windows 10 end of free upgrade period finishes.

So for those of you who like Windows 10, take advantage of the upcoming Windows 10 end of free upgrade period if you like, but be aware there are some risks. For those of you are really couldn’t care less, you just want your people to be working and IT costs and hassles kept to a minimum, then consider what we have said and maybe stay with 7.

If Microsoft are reading this, we know you are trying to get to 1 billion Windows 10 devices, and we wish you well. But please do not send a hit squad around as we’re just telling it how we see it because we care for our clients.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.