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Complete IT Blog                              

Be More Cost Efficient With Upcoming Tax Changes

James David - Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Looking for new software? It may be worth waiting a few weeks until the new financial year.

The many complexities of tax law are not our specialty here at Complete IT; we prefer to be tangled up in Cat6 and SATA cables and our nerd arms tend to collapse under the weight of law textbooks, but a recent article on BIT regarding the 2012/13 budget has piqued our interest.

As we rapidly approach the end of the 2011/12 financial year, it’s time to turn our eyes to necessary business expenditure and tax, and how best to manage the two between the coming and going financial years.

New legislation announced in the 2012/13 budget includes changes for Small Business Entities, those with an annual turnover below two million dollars, which allow an asset with a cost above $1000 and below $6500 to be written off immediately. In the past it was necessary to depreciate assets that cost over $1000 over a span of years; a more complex process with a delayed return.

The new legislation is both simpler and more efficient – the sooner a business can recoup that cost, the sooner it can allocate the resource to an activity that will generate a return on investment.

The interesting angle for IT budgets in small business is that the $1000-$6500 price range is bang on for new equipment. New desktops, NAS drives, laptops and printers, for example, can all handily fall within that range.

So if you’re planning on purchasing something within that range, and don’t need it immediately, it’s more cost-effective to wait until the new financial year. You’ll be seeing the full benefit in your tax return years earlier than if your purchase falls under the 2011/12 rules.

The Complete IT store carries a full range of hardware and software for all levels of IT infrastructure, as well as offering procurement services and support for hardware upgrades and software licensing. All major brands and vendor support included. Head here for the store, and get in contact if you have any questions or would like a quote, here.

Image via Adobe.

 

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Encourage innovation with IT auditing

James David - Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Technology has irreversibly changed the ways in which we do business, and the next technological breakthrough could be the very thing that propels your business to the next level. But with technology changing so quickly and so subtly, what can you do to make sure it doesn’t pass you by?

Regular professional IT auditing could be the difference between your business picking up on technological innovations, and being left behind.

The word ‘audit’ often carries with it some quite negative connotations, but regular professional IT auditing could be the difference between your business picking up on technological innovations, and being left behind.

IT auditing looks at the state of a business’s IT practices and operations, as well as its IT environment, technological requirements, risks and exposures and wider industry standards, practices and developments. Performing regular IT audits ensures that a business’s changing requirements, exposures and external IT environment are monitored and measured. This encourages considered, efficient and effective IT planning and informed decisions that can be made quickly and effectively in the future.

IT auditing monitors emerging technologies, practices and possibilities, evaluates them in the context of your business and then factors them into short-term, medium-term and long-term planning. It means that thinking about and planning for technological developments is an integral and continual part of your IT development. And that means that by the time the next technological revolution hits the mainstream, you will already have identified it, monitored it, considered it and iterated on your implementation of it.

Innovation isn’t a rush of blind optimism. It is researched, considered, planned and developed. And professional IT auditing will help you to get there.

Give Complete IT a call on 1300 732 850, or email us here to talk about how our specialised IT consulting expertise can help to keep your business ahead of the curve.

James David

Your IT Implementation, Planning and Support Specialist

Complete IT

 

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Take the confusion out of choosing a web host

James David - Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It is easier than ever to set up and run your own website, but when you look at the hosting, registration and setup requirements of a modern website it may not feel like it!

Sometimes you just need some help to cut through all the jargon and get down to what is important to you or your business.

There are so many hosting and domain registration options available and so many different possibilities for website capabilities and setups that getting your website online can become quite overwhelming, frustrating and confusing. Sometimes you just need some help to cut through all the jargon and get down to what is important to you or your business.

And that is what we are here for and why Complete IT offers hosting, domain registration and web design services. Give us a call and we will help you plan for your online requirements and then choose a hosting plan that will keep your website online, performing well and looking fantastic.

Whether you want to run an e-commerce site, a corporate website, a blog or just an email address, we have a hosting plan to suit your needs. And should those needs ever change, our web hosting packages are designed to grow and change alongside you. So if you need more storage, an e-commerce solution or some additional bandwidth to cope with your website’s success, it is just a phone call away.

Peace of mind for you, your audience and your customers.

Speed, reliability, security and service: the four ingredients for a great host and the core strengths of our hosting packages. A hosting package from Complete IT will ensure that your website stays up and runs smoothly and that friendly and professional IT support is just a phone call away when you need it. Peace of mind for you, your audience and your customers.

So whether you are looking for a quality web host, professional IT support or some friendly advice, give us a call on 1300 732 850 or send us an email. We would love to help!

James David

Your IT Implementation, Planning and Support Specialist

Complete IT

 

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I fell in love with Adobe Lightroom 3

Seth Reinhardt - Friday, September 10, 2010

I recently took my trusty Canon 5D and the brilliant and astoundingly affordable Canon 50mm f/1.8 for a family adventure up the coast. This means that I have returned with several million photographs.

Which presents me with a problem.

I know that there are some magnificent shots nestled within this sea of digital imagery, but sorting through them is looking to be a herculean task.

And that is why I have Lightroom 3 installed. I knew it was good, but this is my first chance to really get stuck into some heavy work with it. I imported my latest batch of images into my Lightroom database, sorted them by date and tagged them with the names of the events at which they were captured. The result is a well organised, searchable and actionable database of images.

Lightroom 3 originalLightroom 3 retro

From there it was incredibly easy to browse through my images; tagging, comparing and scrutinising them and flagging the ones that I want to go back to for further post-processing. There’s plenty of post-production grunt as well, whether you simply want to clean your images up a bit, add a little pop, or go for some more intensive image manipulation. And, thanks to Lightroom’s non-destructive editing, originals are kept intact and everything you do is stored in a history tab, complete with live-preview, that lets you jump around through the different stages of your editing.

You’ll have to head to Photoshop if you want to get deep into filters or chopping, but that’s ok - the two programs exist to satisfy different needs. Lightroom is like a digital darkroom: a tool for photographers; amateur, professional and everything in between, who want to build, maintain and use a database of images.

And that’s what I love about it. The image database that Lightroom builds is incredibly powerful. It has not only saved me a huge amount of time organising, processing and sorting my images, but it has brought out images that may have been lost in the crowd and exists as a fantastic tool for actively using my images in the future.

So often the images we capture digitally can become disposable or lost, but with Lightroom that won’t happen. It makes it so easy to find and use your images that they’ll never get left behind or lost in the crowd again. And for that I love it.

Head here to try it

Or head here to buy it

 

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Toshiba recalls Satellite laptops due to overheating

Paul Risbey - Friday, September 03, 2010

Melting plastic power input.

Australian Toshiba notebook users were yet to report issues that saw the hardware maker and Canadian health authorities recall 41,000 laptops, the vendor said.

Affected models included the Toshiba Satellite T123, Satellite T135D and Satellite Pro T130.

Wednesday's recall was issued by Health Canada and the US Consumer Product Commission. 

"The DC-in jack [where the AC adapter plugs into the laptop] can overheat to the point of melting the plastic base around the DC-In jack opening," Hea;th Canada said.

"This poses a risk of burns to users who touch either the DC-in jack or the AC adapter plug when overheating or melting of the plastic occurs."

Toshiba Canada had 14 reports of excessive heat or smoke from the faulty jack while there were 129 US reports.

The laptops were sold from August 2009 until last month.

The Satellite Pro T130 was sold in Australia through Toshiba Australia and Harvey Norman.

A Toshiba Australia spokesman told iTnews that "Australian consumers have reported no incidents of overheating around the AC adapter plug area in the Satellite T130 notebook".

"The US, Canada and European markets have experienced a limited number of incidents regarding the issue which have been addressed swiftly with a BIOS download from their local country websites," he said.

"The update will determine if there is a potential issue and if so, immediately disable external power of the product, preventing it from overheating."

Source: CRN

 

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The iPad is exciting, but also makes me sad

Seth Reinhardt - Friday, August 27, 2010
iPad

As the resident IT support/manager/everything in my family I am in charge of looking after anything that is associated with the word ‘megabyte’ or which may, at some point in its life, come across cabling of some description. So, when we decided on an iPad as a gift for an upcoming big birthday, I was tasked with setting it up and filling it with interesting things to play with. This seemed like an excellent excuse to play around with some new gadgetry. Then I picked one up and it made me sad.

iPad

When I look at it as a lover of gadgetry, the iPad is undeniably cool. Its thin, stylish design and brushed metal construction give it a great feel in your hands and make it very easy on the eyes and its wonderfully organic touch screen makes it a joy to use. It benefits from years of intelligent, creative and innovative people developing for the app store and that, combined with its ubiquitous connectivity, gives it incredible potential. But it’s that potential that leaves me disappointed.

As soon as I had it powered on and registered to iTunes I had a bit of a “What now?” moment. What am I supposed to do with this thing that I can’t do more portably on a smartphone or more powerfully with a computer?

As a creative person I wish I could’ve picked up a pressure-sensitive stylus, loaded up Photoshop or Lightroom and gone to town drawing, chopping and post-processing. That, to me, would make it an amazing device; the organic feel of drawing with a pen on a portable and connected device, with all the power of modern digital creative software.

iPad

I would love to be out with my camera and be able to sit down, drop the photos straight into my Lightroom database on the iPad and get to work sorting and post-producing them. Or load up a powerful drawing app and be able to sketch digitally, with true pressure-sensitivity, wirelessly and portably, wherever I happened to be.

I guess it’s the idea of a powerful, digital, portable and connected sketchbook that gets me. And that’s what leaves me disappointed.

Plants VS Zombies HD, however, will always be awesome.

I know there are uses for the iPad, so what are you using yours for?

 

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Intel SSDs to jump in capacity

Seth Reinhardt - Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hard drives have been falling in price at a phenomenal rate in recent years and now represent really great value. You can buy a high quality 1TB 3.5” Seagate drive, or a 500GB 2.5” drive to drop into your PlayStation 3, for just over a hundred bucks. I used to pay that much for a spindle of CDs!

But what hard drives haven’t done recently is dazzle us with high tech upgrades and cutting edge performance improvements. The drives I have in my PC today spin at the same 7200 RPM as the ones I had in my PC five years ago. The biggest improvements to hard drive technology have come in the form of reliability and stability, with performance improvements being pretty slight.

intel x25-m

Image via Intel

That’s where Solid State Drives (SSDs) come in. They use flash memory, instead of spinning platters, to provide storage. This means they have no moving parts, which makes them reliable, long lasting and very, very fast. Unfortunately, it has also made them far more expensive per gigabyte and limited them to lower storage capacities – this high performance 80GB Intel X25-M is $433. This makes them fantastic drives for your operating system install and your critical apps, but not much more than that.

Intel’s roadmap shows that this may well be set to change. In May they announced production of NAND flash memory that uses a smaller 25nm process to get 8GB of memory on each chip, double the previous limit of 4GB. This technology is now looking to bear some fruit, in the form of increased capacity for Intel’s upcoming SSDs.

Its X25-M drives look to be expanding to 160GB, 300GB and 600GB models, while the X25-V series will go from 40GB to 80GB. That’s a huge jump in capacity! A 300GB SSD is plenty for an operating system install, a full suite of applications and associated files. With the right price point, this could be a nice entry point to the speedy world of SSDs. Intel’s Enterprise range looks to be growing as well and will be replaced with 100GB, 200GB and 400GB models.

It’s great to see this innovation in hard drives and I’m looking forward to SSDs becoming more affordable and more mainstream, as well as sub 20 second boot times for my Windows 7 machine!

Via CRN Tech

 

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Work with your head in the clouds: Windows Small Business Server – Aurora

Seth Reinhardt - Friday, August 20, 2010

Microsoft’s Windows Small Business Server Codename “Aurora” is now available for preview through a Microsoft Connect download.

Clouds are very exciting things, especially when they adorn the skies of the internet. They keep track of the tabs I have open in Firefox, so that I can access them from my work PC, as well as my home PC. They sync my mail, contacts and calendar across my desktop, laptop and iPhone. They even take care of my backups for me.

And now, they will make powerful new technologies, once only available to larger enterprises, available to small business at a cost-effective rate, without additional strain on infrastructure and its management.

Aurora is Microsoft’s codename for the new Windows Small Business Server platform that they are designing specifically for small businesses of up to 25 users. They believe that every business needs a server and want to make one available that will suit the needs and capabilities of small business. Aurora will take care of backup and file restoration, down to individual files and workstations; provide online, browser-based access to those files and workstations and provide a reliable platform on which to run critical business applications. And it can be upgraded or downgraded as needs change, without costly infrastructure management and maintenance.

What’s great about working with cloud services as a small business is that, because all of the hardware work is taken care of off-site and piped through the cloud, all of these powerful technologies are made available without the associated costs of purchasing, managing and maintaining the requisite infrastructure. This makes them more affordable, more powerful and more flexible.

It provides access to much more powerful hardware than would usually be feasible in a small business situation. Then, if your needs change all of a sudden, there is no need to research, purchase, install and set up expensive new hardware - just change your level of service to fit and you’re done. Fast, clean, simple and effective.

Problem with the server? They’ll fix it. And while they are, you’ll be running on another part of the grid – so you probably won’t even notice! Not in the office? Your work is no longer tied to your hardware: access your documents, apps and even your computer online through any modern browser.

Aurora looks like a fantastic evolution of Windows Small Business Server and I’m looking forward to seeing it in action!

Have a look at the preview build on Microsoft’s Connect site.

 

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Boom! Shake shake shake the room: Sony HTDDW7500 review

Seth Reinhardt - Tuesday, August 17, 2010
sony htddw7500

‘Minimalism and ‘finesse’: two words that Sony weren’t particularly concerned with when designing the MU.TE.KI HTDDW7500. I get the impression that they were thinking more along the lines of ‘awesome’, ‘boisterous’ and ‘riotous’ when they put together this imposing beast of a home theatre system. That’s not to say that the HTDDW7500 is completely without grace, it’s just not what it’s about.

The HTDDW7500 rocks out with a boisterous sound to match its awesome 80s looks. It isn’t for everybody and won’t, for example, fit so comfortably in a small studio apartment, but it knows what it is and does an excellent job of being itself.

Sony’s Muteki HTDDW7500 is an 11 piece home theatre system that packs excellent performance and features into a fantastic price. It offers 1695 watts of 7.2-channel surround sound: two floor standing front speakers, a centre channel, four surrounds and two 200-Watt, 10-inch, subwoofers. The Subwoofers get their own dedicated power amplifier, while the speakers are driven by a receiver that is also responsible for decoding and processing the audio. Subtlety is another word that didn’t make it into HTDDW7500 design discussions.

Codec support is one limiting factor of this system, as the receiver is not capable of decoding the newest high-definition audio codecs: DTS-HD Master Audio or Dolby Digital True HD.  It can, however, pass the signal through an HDMI connection to a source, like a Playstation 3, that is able to decode it. This way it is possible to get high-definition, lossless audio from the HTDDW7500.

Once you get the various components into your newly defined home theatre room and connected up, setup is fairly simple. Sony’s Digital Cinema Auto Calibration system uses a microphone to listen to the system in your room and calibrate accordingly.

Audio performance is everything you’d expect and then a little more. The HTDDW7500 laps up big summer blockbusters and does an excellent job replicating the exciting, rock and roll performance previously reserved for the cinema.  It doesn’t falter when it comes to softer, more refined material either and will do an admiral job with gentler flicks and TV. Pop and rock music are fantastic on this setup, though if all you are looking for is to immerse yourself in the world of Chopin or Stravinsky, there are better options available.

The HTDDW7500 is a convincing argument for investing a little bit more into your lounge room, inviting some mates around, renting Commando, Star Wars or anything else with a lot of explosions and cool lasers and keeping the (increasingly expensive) price of a movie ticket to spend on home theatre upgrades, popcorn and blu-rays. And maybe some La-Z-Boys in which to laze while you enjoy the awesome aural worlds of film, games and music.

Hit this link to get it on sale now for $1,3990.0 $1,119.60

 

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Kyocera FS-C5200DN: a low-maintenance, value for money workhorse

Seth Reinhardt - Friday, August 13, 2010

Kyocera Mita is known for durable, high quality machines that run on a pittance. The FS-C5200DN is no exception to this and at 44% off while stocks last, it is an easy choice for any workgroup or small business.

kyocera fs-c5200dn

The Kyocera FS-C5200DN is an A4 colour workgroup laser printer designed for workgroups who need high quality, speedy prints, long service life and incredibly low cost per page printing. It is rated to up to 21 A4 pages per minute for both colour and black printing, with a time to first print of 12 seconds or less and comes standard with a 500 sheet paper cassette and a 150 sheet multipurpose tray. If 500 sheets are not enough, you can load it up with 2150 sheets with optional paper feeders.

Kyocera strive to lower the lifetime running costs of their printers; they even have a Total Cost of Ownership calculator on their site, and the FS-C5200DN is a great example of this focus. It uses their ECOSYS system, which is designed to improve environmental efficiency by reducing the waste generated by reliance on expendables and maintenance. Drum life is rated to 200 000 pages, which should be enough to last the life of the printer and Kyocera say it’s good for 65 000 pages per month. The FS-C5200DN is a workhorse. Colour cartridges should last 6000 pages and blacks 7000.

Print quality is excellent, with sharp black text and colours that pop nicely, though some have noted minor clarity issues with black text over colour backgrounds. The FS-C5200DN does an admirable job of photographic prints as well and delivers a much more natural image than is expected from a colour laser printer.

If you are looking at a printer like the Kyocera FS-C5200DN, you are looking for a workhorse that will satisfy your workgroup or businesses printing needs reliably, elegantly and cost effectively and that’s exactly what it is going to do. It delivers sharp, crisp text with vibrant colours and does it with class-leading cost effectiveness while requiring almost no maintenance. The FS-C5200DN is fantastic value every day and at its promotional price of $1,692.90 $947.49 it is practically unbeatable.

Head to our online store to pick one up. On sale while stocks last.

 

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