Tag Archives: computers

Device Pitstop is Good for Small Businesses

Check out this article from inc.com, which highlights Device Pitstop as a great option for supplying small businesses with high-quality, affordable electronics. Check it out:

Device Pitstop employees working around table

10 Overlooked Budget Hacks for Starting a Business

Starting a business can be costly, but you can do it on a budget and still get the same results.

By Adam Heitzman

Let’s be real, getting a business off the ground is hard. Balancing employee management with everyday operations with promotions and PR with new client outreach with current customer satisfaction…yikes, that can get overwhelming and expensive.

Aside from your standard penny pinching accounting and budgeting tips, there are plenty of ways to stretch your business budget. By employing some of these overlooked budget hacks, you can shave hundreds off your operating costs and watch your profits soar.

  1. Locally optimize your website for more foot traffic.

The majority of mobile searches usually end up in a purchase from a local business. Think about mobile users who search on the fly: they might Google “Mexican restaurants near me,” read some reviews, and then select a nearby restaurant to eat at. For free or nearly free, you can optimize your website through reviews, citations, listings, and more to make sure you’re directing as much foot traffic into your store from the internet at possible.

  1. Maximize free resources.

Just about every business owner knows the importance of having a social media presence, especially since it’s free. But what many businesses overlook are the associations, groups, and networks that can be used to their entrepreneurial advantage. Customers like businesses that are part of associations and broader professional networks because it increases the trustworthiness of the brand. It’s also a great way to meet other business owners and develop mutually beneficial, professional relationships you can learn from.

  1. Negotiate with your suppliers.

And by negotiate, I mean haggle. When it comes to product suppliers and vendors, treat their asking prices as more of a starting point than the actual price you’ll be paying. Wifi, cable, office supplies-many of these things can be negotiated through your account manager, especially if your business has been a long-time customer. Shaving a few bucks off of bills here and there can add up to savings of hundreds of dollars.

  1. Barter your business with other businesses.

Back up to the mutually beneficial, professional relationships idea. You can barter the services you offer with the services of other businesses to achieve mutual goals. Let’s say you own a small PR firm and your office is in dire need of a professional paint job. Find a locally owned painting business and offer to do some PR work for them in exchange for some of their services.

  1. Outsource.

Election season has made “outsource” a dirty word, but you don’t have to outsource every last business function to another country. Freelancers and contracts can often be hired for much less than a full time employee. If there’s something you’d normally hire a position for, such as website design, writing, social media, etc., consider hiring an independent worker. More often than not, they can get the work you need done for a fraction of the cost.

  1. Cut employee costs.

If you don’t want to outsource any jobs and want to keep employees, you can always try cutting down the costs accumulated by employees. If you’ve been catering lunches once every week for years and the cost is getting to be a bit much, reduce it to just monthly catered lunches. Some businesses have even found a four day work week to be a better fit for their employees, who work hard to enjoy their extra day off, and their costs, which are reduced by not having a fifth day of office operations (think: water, electricity, etc.).

  1. Embrace inexperienced hires.

Experienced employees are awesome, but also expensive. Unless you’re in a business that absolutely requires a certain level of experience, such as a private medical practice or law firm, be more open to inexperienced employees. Recent grads are often willing to accept a much lower salary than someone with 5 years of experience, and with a little guidance, an inexperienced but bright employee can do just as good a job.

8. Buy used electronics/sell old electronics.

Electronics are one of the most necessary and expensive parts of owning a business. Computers, phones, laptops, upgrading outdated technology-it adds up quickly, but most businesses and offices can’t operate without them. The good news is that the prevalence and necessity of technology has made attaining it much easier. Try going through a reputable refurbished electronics store for your tech needs, such as Device Pitstop. You can buy your business’s electronics at a discounted rate, sell your older gadgets without biting too much of the cost, or even trade when it’s time for an upgrade.

  1. Buy discounted office furniture.

Much like electronics, another costly but necessary piece of office equipment is office furniture. Desks, chairs, and conference room tables are deceptively expensive. Discount furniture companies offer cost-effective solutions for getting your office the right look. You can rent office furniture or buy from a clearance selection for discounted pieces that are good as new. Taking the discounted route on the expensive stuff like electronics and furniture can save your business thousands of dollars.

  1. Promote partnerships with charities.

As the giving season approaches, advertising tends to get more expensive. A great way to maximize your brand’s exposure on a business is by partnering with a charity. Not only does it attract loyal customers and draw attention from a wider audience, but it also gets you tons of free marketing and publicity through your charity of choice. Team up with a local nonprofit this holiday season to save on marketing and outreach.

Click here to see more from inc.com.

HP Sure View Protects Your Privacy When Using a Computer

Check out this article from techtimes.com about the new HP Sure View screen available on the brand’s laptops for protecting the user’s privacy. Read more about this safety feature now:

device pitstop HP Sure View product

HP Uses New Laptop Privacy Screens To Keep Nosy People Out Of Your Business

By Fritz Gleyo

HP is continuing its campaign against possible IT threats, especially “visual hacking.” To help combat the problem, HP unveiled what it claims as the world’s only PCs with integrated privacy screens.

The integrated privacy screen comes to the HP EliteBook 840 and EliteBook 1040 as an optional feature called HP Sure View. By pressing the f2 key, the computer will enter privacy mode, which limits the visible light up to 95 percent when the screen is viewed at an angle and thereby, preventing prying eyes from seeing on-screen information.

“The addition of HP Sure View to our PC security solutions helps address the risks associated with visual hacking and gives customers the freedom to work more confidently and productively in public spaces,” says Alex Cho, HP’s vice president and general manager for commercial PCs.

HP developed HP Sure View with 3M privacy technology. Note that this is the same company that HP collaborated with to produce the privacy filters.

“HP Sure View helps address the concern of protecting sensitive information,” says Makoto Ishii, 3M’s vice president and general manager for the display materials and systems division.

According to a 2015 Ponemon Institute study titled “Global Cost of Cybercrime,” which was sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, data breaches cost large-sized organizations an average of $7.7 million.

A more recent Ponemon Institute study titled “Global Visual Hacking Experiment” (PDF) reveals that 91 percent of visual hacking attempts succeed. Moreover, roughly four kinds of private information get visually hacked in each attempt.

HP also associates employee productivity with visual hacking since 60 percent of them bring work outside of their offices. HP points to a 3M-sponsored study that found that employees who work in close proximity to others can be two times as productive when using a visual privacy solution.

Analysts say that the health care, security and finance industries, as well as the public sector are some of the possible immediate markets for the HP Sure View. HP says that integrating the privacy screen into the computer, as opposed to mounting them in front of the display, leads to better compliance with each company’s regulatory requirements.

Aside from the optional integrated privacy screens, both the mentioned HP EliteBooks come with fingerprint scanners and facial authentication for additional device security.

HP expects that the HP Sure View will be available starting September for the HP EliteBook 840 as well the non-touch and full HD touch versions of EliteBook 1040. The EliteBook 840 currently retails for $949 while the Elitebook 1040 is currently listed at $1,297.

Click here to see more from techtimes.com.

Man Cycles Across the UK in His Living Room with Virtual Reality

Exercising getting a little boring for you? Check out what one man did to keep his daily exercise routine interesting. Find out what did the trick in this article from theverge.com.

Device Pitstop man cycling UK with virtual reality
Photo from YouTube video.

This man is cycling around the UK in virtual reality using Google Street View

By James Vincent

Aaron Puzey says it started out of boredom. He’d been toiling away on his exercise bike for half an hour a day for years, and things were beginning to get tedious. “I’d been day dreaming for a while about the possibility of using VR to make it a bit more fun,” Puzey told The Verge by email. “And now of course the technology has arrived to make it happen.” His solution? Hooking a Galaxy Gear up to Google Street View and cycling the length of the UK — 1,500 kilometers from Land’s End to John o’ Groats — all from the comfort of his front room.

Puzey has been documenting his travels on his blog, Cycle VR, updating the site with edited video highlights of every 100 kilometers. He says he’s been lengthening the amount of time he dedicates to the journey, and reckons he’ll be finished in around 50 days.

One of the most interesting things, he says, has been navigating what is a highly constrained 3D world. “The single biggest problem with the Street View data is the high compression on the depth information,” says Puzey, with Google storing a limited number of planes to represent complex scenes. “Some thing, like buildings, fit very well to this model and look quite solid, but things like trees and hedges and anything lumpy often just looks a mess. I’ve also seen things like squashed bugs on the Google camera, bad colors in some scenes and strange black ‘sink holes’. However, even with those problems it still feels like I’m there.”

So much so, that nausea can be a problem, especially when he’s navigating complex routes — like roundabouts — that have been squashed into only a few layers of depth. “The problem [is that I’m] telling the ‘bike’ in VR to face in the direction of the path it was moving along,” says Puzey. “Then I had a breakthrough and realized if I make it face about 5 meters ahead of where I was it made an enormous improvement.”

Puzey says he had to develop his own app to download the 3D data from Street View and make it viewable in the VR headset, but other than that, the setup was simple. He just taped a Bluetooth cadence monitor to his bike to measure its RPM, and sends this data to the Gear VR as instructions to advance through his route. “I find I have to spend quite a bit of time nursing my app through as it gets stuck or crashes,” he adds.

And is he planning on taking any other cycle trips in the future? Puzey says 1,500 kilometers is enough to be going on with for now, but that he’s always liked the idea of visiting Japan, and might take a trip there in the future. “Using Street View I can visit pretty much anywhere.”

Click here to see more from theverge.com.

How To Protect Your Eyes From Computer Vision Syndrome

It’s no secret that hours spent looking at computer, smartphone, TV and other digital screens every day strains our eyes. But there are ways to prevent the painful symptoms such as headaches and dry eyes. Read the article below from the American Optometric Association for some great tips to protect your eyes from Computer Vision Syndrome.

Click here to see the article on the American Optometric Association website, aoa.org.

Computer Vision Syndrome, also referred to as Digital Eye Strain, describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use. Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems when viewing digital screens for extended periods. The level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of digital screen use.

The average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer either in the office or working from home. March is Save Your Vision Month and the American Optometric Association is working to educate both employers and employees about how to avoid digital eye strain in the workplace. To help alleviate digital eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule; take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.

Device Pitstop info graphic that says 20, 20, 20
Infographic courtesy American Optometric Association.

The most common symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) or Digital Eye Strain are:

  • eyestrain
  • headaches
  • blurred vision
  • dry eyes
  • neck and shoulder pain

These symptoms may be caused by:

  • poor lighting
  • glare on a digital screen
  • improper viewing distances
  • poor seating posture
  • uncorrected vision problems
  • a combination of these factors

The extent to which individuals experience visual symptoms often depends on the level of their visual abilities and the amount of time spent looking at a digital screen. Uncorrected vision problems like farsightedness and astigmatism, inadequate eye focusing or eye coordination abilities, and aging changes of the eyes, such as presbyopia, can all contribute to the development of visual symptoms when using a computer or digital screen device.

Many of the visual symptoms experienced by users are only temporary and will decline after stopping computer work or use of the digital device. However, some individuals may experience continued reduced visual abilities, such as blurred distance vision, even after stopping work at a computer. If nothing is done to address the cause of the problem, the symptoms will continue to recur and perhaps worsen with future digital screen use.

Prevention or reduction of the vision problems associated with Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain involves taking steps to control lighting and glare on the device screen, establishing proper working distances and posture for screen viewing, and assuring that even minor vision problems are properly corrected.

What causes Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain?

Viewing a computer or digital screen often makes the eyes work harder. As a result, the unique characteristics and high visual demands of computer and digital screen device viewing make many individuals susceptible to the development of vision-related symptoms.

Uncorrected vision problems can increase the severity of Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain symptoms.

Viewing a computer or digital screen is different than reading a printed page. Often the letters on the computer or handheld device are not as precise or sharply defined, the level of contrast of the letters to the background is reduced, and the presence of glare and reflections on the screen may make viewing difficult.

Viewing distances and angles used for this type of work are also often different from those commonly used for other reading or writing tasks. As a result, the eye focusing and eye movement requirements for digital screen viewing can place additional demands on the visual system.

In addition, the presence of even minor vision problems can often significantly affect comfort and performance at a computer or while using other digital screen devices. Uncorrected or under corrected vision problems can be major contributing factors to computer-related eyestrain.

Even people who have an eyeglass or contact lens prescription may find it’s not suitable for the specific viewing distances of their computer screen. Some people tilt their heads at odd angles because their glasses aren’t designed for looking at a computer. Or they bend toward the screen in order to see it clearly. Their postures can result in muscle spasms or pain in the neck, shoulder or back.

In most cases, symptoms of CVS or Digital Eye Strain occur because the visual demands of the task exceed the visual abilities of the individual to comfortably perform them. At greatest risk for developing CVS or Digital Eye Strain are those persons who spend two or more continuous hours at a computer or using a digital screen device every day.

How is Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain diagnosed?

Computer Vision Syndrome, or Digital Eye Strain, can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. Testing, with special emphasis on visual requirements at the computer or digital device working distance, may include:

  • Patient history to determine any symptoms the patient is experiencing and the presence of any general health problems, medications taken, or environmental factors that may be contributing to the symptoms related to computer use.
  • Visual acuity measurements to assess the extent to which vision may be affected.
  • A refraction to determine the appropriate lens power needed to compensate for any refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism).
  • Testing how the eyes focus, move and work together. In order to obtain a clear, single image of what is being viewed, the eyes must effectively change focus, move and work in unison. This testing will look for problems that keep your eyes from focusing effectively or make it difficult to use both eyes together.

This testing may be done without the use of eye drops to determine how the eyes respond under normal seeing conditions. In some cases, such as when some of the eyes’ focusing power may be hidden, eye drops may be used. They temporarily keep the eyes from changing focus while testing is done.

Using the information obtained from these tests, along with results of other tests, your optometrist can determine if you have Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain and advise you on treatment options.

How is Computer Vision Syndrome, or Digital Eye Strain treated?

Solutions to digital screen-related vision problems are varied. However, they can usually be alleviated by obtaining regular eye care and making changes in how you view the screen.

Eye Care

In some cases, individuals who do not require the use of eyeglasses for other daily activities may benefit from glasses prescribed specifically for computer use. In addition, persons already wearing glasses may find their current prescription does not provide optimal vision for viewing a computer.

Eyeglasses or contact lenses prescribed for general use may not be adequate for computer work. Lenses prescribed to meet the unique visual demands of computer viewing may be needed. Special lens designs, lens powers or lens tints or coatings may help to maximize visual abilities and comfort.

Some computer users experience problems with eye focusing or eye coordination that can’t be adequately corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. A program of vision therapy may be needed to treat these specific problems. Vision therapy, also called visual training, is a structured program of visual activities prescribed to improve visual abilities. It trains the eyes and brain to work together more effectively. These eye exercises help remediate deficiencies in eye movement, eye focusing and eye teaming and reinforce the eye-brain connection. Treatment may include office-based as well as home training procedures.

Viewing the Computer

Proper body positioning for computer use.

Some important factors in preventing or reducing the symptoms of CVS have to do with the computer and how it is used. This includes lighting conditions, chair comfort, location of reference materials, position of the monitor, and the use of rest breaks.

Location of computer screen – Most people find it more comfortable to view a computer when the eyes are looking downward. Optimally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level (about 4 or 5 inches) as measured from the center of the screen and 20 to 28 inches from the eyes.

Reference materials – These materials should be located above the keyboard and below the monitor. If this is not possible, a document holder can be used beside the monitor. The goal is to position the documents so you do not need to move your head to look from the document to the screen.

Lighting – Position the computer screen to avoid glare, particularly from overhead lighting or windows. Use blinds or drapes on windows and replace the light bulbs in desk lamps with bulbs of lower wattage.

Anti-glare screens – If there is no way to minimize glare from light sources, consider using a screen glare filter. These filters decrease the amount of light reflected from the screen.

Seating position – Chairs should be comfortably padded and conform to the body. Chair height should be adjusted so your feet rest flat on the floor. If your chair has arms, they should be adjusted to provide arm support while you are typing. Your wrists shouldn’t rest on the keyboard when typing.

Rest breaks – To prevent eyestrain, try to rest your eyes when using the computer for long periods. Rest your eyes for 15 minutes after two hours of continuous computer use. Also, for every 20 minutes of computer viewing, look into the distance for 20 seconds to allow your eyes a chance to refocus.

Blinking – To minimize your chances of developing dry eye when using a computer, make an effort to blink frequently. Blinking keeps the front surface of your eye moist.

Regular eye examinations and proper viewing habits can help to prevent or reduce the development of the symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome.

Click here to see more from the American Optometric Association.