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Thursday
May212015

Don't wait till the last minute!


It’s almost that time!

With your exams all done and school out for summer, its time for some TLC for your hardest working friend... your computer. While you are not using it over the summer, now is the perfect time get your computer in for a Tuneup! For just $99 plus taxes, we can run a full diagnostic test on your computer and make sure all the components are running to specification, make sure all your updates are done, and perform a hard drive optimization to help speed up your computer.

If you have recently upgraded to Apple’s newest operating system, OS X Yosemite, you may have noticed your system running more slowly. This can usually be solved by a simple RAM upgrade - the newer OS is more memory-hungry than the old one! We can look to see how much memory your computer has, what it can support and make a recommendation for an upgrade!

Don’t be like your friends and leave your computer until school starts! Beat the rush and bring your computer in for a Tuneup by July 31st and save yourself $10.00 if you mention this blog!

Thursday
Apr092015

Top 11 Misconceptions About FileMaker

Since FileMaker’s first days under the Claris banner up until today, they have accomplished quite a lot; they have not only become a subsidiary of the ever-powerful Apple Inc., but have released many versions of their database application software which has culminated to their newest release, FileMaker 13.

Whether you are a current FileMaker user or your last experience was back on FileMaker 7 (released more than 10 years ago), you’ve probably heard some misconceptions about what FileMaker can and cannot do. Today, we thought we’d clear some of these misconceptions up for you. So, here it is, CoreSolutions Presents: “Top 11 Misconceptions About FileMaker”

FileMaker is Mac only software. FALSE – Contrary to what some believe, FileMaker is compatible with both Mac and Windows. For example, some of the supporting FileMaker Pro operating systems include: OS X Yosemite v10.10, OS X Mavericks v10.9, OS X Mountain Lion v10.8, OS X Lion v10.7, Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro, Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 7 Professional, and Windows 7 Home Premium, among others.

If you cannot code, you cannot use FileMaker. FALSE – There are plenty of FileMaker users, who have zero experience coding, who have mastered the functionality of FileMaker. New development tools have made it the easiest it’s ever been to transfer your paper and Excel sheets into a FileMaker database. Much of the creation of databases revolves around simple drag and drop functionality and FileMaker Pro 13 is loaded with prebuilt starter templates, so you don’t have to start from scratch. The starter solutions include everything from simple contact and task management solutions all the way up to content management systems.
 
FileMaker is much too simple to handle my database needs. FALSE – Alluding to the previous point, FileMaker is very user-friendly and an easy to understand software. However, this simplicity and easy to use nature should not take away from the true magnitude at which FileMaker can operate. As they say, looks can be deceiving; it may look simple, but it can more often than not handle your database needs just fine.

I can do it all on my own, I don’t need a developer. FALSE – Some think that FileMaker is so simple that they would never need to hire someone else to build something they could do themselves. Developers who are experts with FileMaker often have numerous years of experience that can help you build and deploy your solution faster and mitigate many challenges before they arise. Additionally, expert developers will be able to help with your systems analysis and workflow discovery. This saves you money in the long run. To ensure you are truly hiring a FileMaker expert; FileMaker has a certified developer program in which they vet potential members and have benchmarks that developers must reach to maintain their certified status.

FileMaker is a non-relational database. FALSE – FileMaker is not only a relational database; it is a relational platform. Since version 7, FileMaker allows multiple users to contribute to the same project from different locations. Cross-platform relational databases allow for teams to construct and build databases in an ever-interconnected workflow.

FileMaker only has single-user software. FALSE – FileMaker has countless features that utilize multi-user functionality. A few examples include:
FileMaker Pro allows users to manage and share important information with their teams. It allows you to share data and materials, using iPads, iPhones, Windows or Macs, through a network with up to five other users.
FileMaker Go 13 allows iPhone and iPad users to receive up-to-the-minute information through the FileMaker Server using mobile communication.
FileMaker Server 13 allows FileMaker Pro users to instantaneously share information with their team; there is not even a restriction on the number of networked clients you can have.
FileMaker WebDirect (available in FileMaker Server 13) allows you to run and share your solutions directly on a web browser.

Any third party backup software can be used to backup information on the FileMaker server. FALSE – To ensure everything has a proper backup and none of your data is lost, the built-in backup scheduling feature in the FileMaker Server must be used. It is the only way to properly backup data and ensure everything is saved correctly.

FileMaker can run in a small office, up to 5 users in a peer to peer user environment. Technically True – While this is technically possible and this technique may have been used in the past (peer-to-peer sharing), it is in your best interest to not share peer-to-peer FileMaker databases. FileMaker Pro cannot backup to the database automatically, FileMaker Server can. The risk of losing data is so much higher in peer-to-peer sharing. Don’t make this mistake and risk losing hours of time spent working, pieces of data inputted, and potential profit for your business.

FileMaker is just a database application. FALSE – As mentioned earlier, FileMaker is a platform which allows for the collaborative construction of databases throughout a team of FileMaker users. FileMaker can be accessed via Mac, PC, iOS, and Web browsers.

You cannot create your own custom themes on FileMaker. FALSE - You bet you can! You can get creative and make your own theme or modify existing themes. FileMaker has inherited a simple and elegant design focus from Apple Inc. Some of the tools FileMaker has added include gradients, patterns and effects (emboss, engrave, drop shadows, etc.) to fit all your customizing preferences.

FileMaker is NOT a secure system. FALSE – FileMaker Server uses powerful AES 256-bit encryption. So, what does that mean? Advanced Encryption Standard is the design that the US government has used since 2002 and was the first encryption algorithm that was publicly created to be approved for the NSA and all their top secret information.


So there you have it. Hopefully, you have learned something new and you have enjoyed the read.
CoreSolutions Software Inc. is an industry leading custom software solutions firm based in London, ON. We have 25 years of experience building innovative customizable software applications, alongside our exceptional service and support. We create solutions that simplify complex data and solve complicated problems; we give you the tools which empower you to manage your solution.

CoreSolutions Software – Going Beyond Software.
Do you agree with our misconceptions list? Feel free to send us an Email, send us a Tweet, send us a smoke signal… however you need to reach us, we are willing and ready to respond. Our website is www.coresolutions.ca.

Thanks For Reading.

Kyle Mayer, Marketing Manager, CoreSolutions

   
Wednesday
Mar112015

48 Hours With my Fitbit Surge!

When winter turns to Spring, people invariably turn their thoughts to the great outdoors.  After a long, hard winter of overeating and sedentary living those thoughts can often expand to include exercise and fitness.  I must admit that I was a bit skeptical about committing to wear a fitness device.  Since the advent of the smartphone, many of us have stopped wearing watches.  I am no exception to this way of thinking.

The Fitbit Surge fits comfortably on your wrist (it comes in a small and large band option). I was able to set it up and "sync" it to my iPhone in about 10 minutes.  Ever since, it has automatically forwarded my heartrate, steps taken and calories burned directly to my phone (and also to the Fitbit dashboard in my web browser).  Seamless!

The biggest feature I was originally interested in was the built-in GPS run-tracking feature.  As a test, I started a "run" with the GPS on.  After I finished, the Fitbit Surge found my phone at home and synced up the GPS data so I could "see" a map of my run with interval times!  Just what I've been looking for!  I'll be using the feature quite a bit as the weather improves...

One feature I have yet to try is sleep monitoring (I've been taking off the Fitbit Surge as I head to bed).  As I grow more accustomed to the Surge I may try wearing it to bed so I can gather data about my sleeping habits, see how many times a night I wake up, etc.

Recharging is accomplished with the included USB charging cable.  It usually takes about 2 hours for a full recharge, and that should easily last throughout the day. I've read that runners that use the GPS monitoring feature should be able to get up to 5 hours (a slow marathon) of use while recording that run before exhausting the available power.  The chances are that YOU would run out of energy before the Fitbit ever would!

I've added a link to a great (and much more detailed) review of the Fitbit Surge.  Stop into Outpost2 at the White Oaks Mall to pick up yours today!

http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2015/01/fitbit-surge-depth-review.html

Stay healthy!

-Peter Miazga, Fitbit Surge Trainee 

 

Thursday
Feb262015

WiFi – Networking Made Easy

WiFi is a technology that allows to you connect your devices without wires. Apple has long been at the forefront of wireless technology. This technology has been fully integrated into Apple's lineup of Macs and iDevices. This integration has been designed with ease of use in mind.

The most recent version of WiFi technology is IEEE 802.11 AC, commonly referred to as Wireless AC. Wireless AC has been standard in Macs since 2013. It offers speeds up to 7 gigabits per second. By contrast the older standard, Wireless N tops out at 300 megabits per second. That is up to 20 times faster! This upgraded connection will allow you to transfer your favorite movies and music quickly from one device to another.

Both wireless AC and the predecessor Wireless N operate in the 5 Ghz frequency band. Operating on the 5 Ghz frequency band means that they are less likely to pick up interference from other devices such as cordless phones and microwave ovens. Wireless N although slower will work for non power users. When you upgrade from an older standard such as G you should make the jump to wireless AC. You will experience faster speeds and a more reliable connection.

Security is major concern when it comes to wireless networking. It is important to set a good password when setting up your access point. That means not using a phone number or something that a stranger could easily guess. The current standard for securing wireless networks is WPA2. Be sure to select it when configuring your access point for maximum security. WEP is an older standard for securing wireless network and is not recommended because it does not offer much protection.

Apple currently offers a few different products which make setting up your home network a breeze. The Airport Extreme is an excellent way to set up your own wireless network. It features Wireless AC and three Ethernet ports for wired connectivity. It is extremely easy to set up for users of all skill levels and offers convenient features such as printer and storage sharing. It even lets you set up a separate network for guests.

The Airport Express is a handy tool which allows you to extend the range of your wireless network. As long as it is in range of your Airport Express it will give you expanded coverage which is useful in larger homes and businesses.

For users that are looking to have both a back up solution and a high powered networking device Apple offers the Airport Time Capsule. It has all of the features of the Airport Extreme plus it has built in storage so you can use Time Machine over your network.

At Mac Outpost and Outpost2 you can find a wide range of networking products and a friendly experienced staff that can help you select the right solution for your needs. We can also come out on-site and set up all these networking devices for you! Call us anytime!

Bennett Wood
Wednesday
Feb042015

Five fun things to do with your digital photos

 

In decades gone by, our picture-taking habits typically meant shooting  a roll of 24 or 36 photos followed by a trip to the drug store for processing. We organized our photos into albums or simply left them in the colourful envelopes (promising ourselves we would EVENTUALLY get albums for all these priceless memories.)

Fast forward the clock to 2015, and most of us are taking pictures by the thousands on our digital cameras, smartphones, and iPads.  The fact remains that most of these photos never see the light of day, let alone become a permanent archive (in the form of a 4 X 6 print).

Herein lies the question: WHAT do we do with all of these photos?  

Keep reading and you’ll hear about five super EASY ways to keep these precious moments alive. But before I continue, let me first stress the importance of backing up your photos.

Photo prints.  Seems obvious right?  Well let’s take it a step further. All those photo processing centres that used to develop our rolls of film now have handy digital machines that will print your photos while you wait.  Often you’ll find them for as little as 20 cents a shot.

Digital Screen Savers.  Do you have a computer or an Apple TV?  Create a slideshow album of some of your favourites. You can even get creative by creating seasonal albums that can be rotated or switched with a few clicks of the mouse.

Iron-ons.  Most office supply retailers have a selection of do-it-yourself printable iron-on transfers.  A great gift idea that can go onto a variety of fabrics and clothing (for example t-shirts and aprons).

Personalized Gifts.  Unique examples of products that are available include mugs, mousepads, coasters, calendars, Christmas cards and even blanket throws!

Hardcover Books.  Saving my personal favourite for last; carve your memories into a permanent record with a professionally printed photo book.  Organize and edit all your photos in the comfort of your own home, and upload the finished product to a variety of online services. The finished product is shipped right to your door and is worthy of any coffee table! Share memories of your vacation or family event in impressive style, and similar to some of the other suggestions in this article, they too make great gifts!

BONUS - Back Up.  Okay, this one might not be fun, but it is necessary!  Always make sure you backup your photos several times!  You're never going to have another opportunity to take pictures of your child's fifth birthday party or vacation to Florida!  Don't let your family down!  Always have redundant copies by backing up your digital photos to multiple locations. If disaster strikes you won’t have negatives for reprints!  For large amounts of photos an external hard drive is best.

If you have questions please ask for help. It’s what we do!

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