October is Small Business Month in Canada

technology_bannerCisco is offering a series of seminars in October to promote Small Business Month in Canada.  As small business owners ourselves, RDC Networks has partnered with Cisco Systems and Cisco Capital to make sure your small business has the ‘right-sized’ technology for your business, and at the right price.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to find out about the technology that Cisco makes available to your small business during these upcoming free webinars.

Who should attend?  Any small business owner or employee.

What are you waiting for?

To find out more, check out the free webinar schedule here or download it here

Cisco SBW

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RDCNetworks and HalTech present the Halton Windows 8 Launch Party – October 26th

Description: Works well with others

Join us October 26th, 2012 at 7pm in Burlington for an evening of tech, as Mitch Garvis and Ruth Morton of Microsoft Canada, walk us through a demo with the unveiling of the new Windows 8 Operating system. There may even be some Windows 8 devices to play with!

You don’t have to be a geek to attend. Whether you’re a home user, student, or seasoned I.T. professional, there is something for everyone.

What if there was a faster, simpler, and better way to do it all? What if one solution, could help meet the needs of your business? What if it could deliver more productivity, security, control, flexibility, and balance. What if it was a better way to connect. A faster way to work. A simpler way to manage.

These are the demands your business faces. And those demands are all about to be met.

Mitch Garvis is a Renaissance Man of the IT world. He is a partner with SWMI Consulting Group, in addition to being a Virtual Technology Advisor – Windows Infrastructure for Microsoft Canada. Among his numerous certifications are several MCITPs, as well as the new MCSE: Private Cloud. He lectures and trains on a variety of topics including System Center, server virtualization, desktop deployment, and security. You can read his blog at www.garvis.ca, or follow him on Twitter as @MGarvis. In his spare time he likes to break things, and has recently earned his Second Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. He makes his home in Oakville where he has one wife, two kids, two dogs, and two minutes to himself per day.

Ruth Morton is a Technology Advisor for Microsoft Canada. Based in Guelph, Ontario, Ruth travels across Canada building relationships with IT managers and professionals, and talking about the latest in technology. She is a host for the AlignIT Manager Tech Talk series (www.microsoft.ca/alignitshow) and writes on the Canadian IT Manager and Canadian IT Pro blogs (blogs.technet.com/cdnitmanagers & blogs.technet.com/canitpro). Ruth is known for her authenticity, her ability to build trust and her knack for facilitating the connections and dialogue that matter most to those with whom she speaks. She gets inspired by the opportunity to open up people’s minds to the possibilities of Microsoft, to their own potential, and how technology can impact the world. Before joining Microsoft, Ruth worked as an IT professional for over 12 years implementing enterprise technologies and formulating IT strategies for organizations in Canada, Europe and the US.

Space is limited so register early!  RSVP on Eventbrite http://windows8halton.eventbrite.com/

Windows 8 Preview at Silicon Halton Oct. 9

Silicon Halton Meetup #36 – Windows 8

Microsoft is releasing Windows 8 in late October 2012, and is promising that it will be a game changer. Windows 8 focuses on people and apps, and gives powerful new ways to use social technologies to connect with people. It’s Windows reimagined.

Join us on October 9 at Emma’s Back Porch in Burlington, ON to see what’s new and what it means for your business. You’ll learn:

Windows 8 – Mitch Garvis

  • Tour of Windows 8 – What is new, what is the same, and what just looks different
  • Editions of Windows 8
  • Using Windows – Touch versus keyboard & mouse
  • Logon Options
  • Integration with cloud – Microsoft Account, SkyDrive
  • Windows To Go

An End User’s Perspective – Robert Duvall

  • Content is on the PC and in the cloud
  • People, not files, are the center of activity
  • Touch isn’t a requirement for Windows 8
  • The days of remembering lots of login passwords are gone with gesture logins

Presenters / Panelists

Mitch Garvis is a Renaissance Man of the IT world. He is a partner with SWMI Consulting Group, in addition to being a Virtual Technology Advisor – Windows Infrastructure for Microsoft Canada. Among his numerous certifications are several MCITPs, as well as the new MCSE: Private Cloud. He lectures and trains on a variety of topics including System Center, server virtualization, desktop deployment, and security. You can read his blog at www.garvis.ca, or follow him on Twitter as @MGarvis. In his spare time he likes to break things, and has recently earned his Second Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. He makes his home in Oakville where he has one wife, two kids, two dogs, and two minutes to himself per day.

Robert Duvall – President – RDC Networks. Robert is the President of RDC Networks. He specializes in: Windows Server technologies; Exchange Server; Cisco Unified Communications; and Blackberry Enterprise Server. Robert currently holds several certifications including Small Business Specialist, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist and CCNA. Prior to, RDC, Robert was a trainer for the Compumaster division of Skillpath Seminars for 13 years, training business individuals on Windows Server, Linux, Windows Operating Systems and Cisco.

Event Snapshot for Your Calendar

Topic: Windows 8 – Take The Tour
Target Audience: Technology entrepreneurs, business owners, professionals, educators and students
Meetup Track: Technology Innovation
Date & Time: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 @ 7pm
Location: Emma’s Back Porch. 2084 Old Lakeshore Rd, Burlington | Google Map
How much it costs: Nothing but your time.
Pre-Event Q&A Silicon Halton members can participate in a pre-event conversation with the organizers and facilitator in our private Linkedin group. Help them make this meetup relevant to you.

Registration is FREE at the Silicon Halton LinkedIN Group site

Windows 8 First Impressions: What you actually get!

I have read many articles of what people do and don’t like about Windows 8, but they usually point to just the cosmetic appearances of Windows 8 and not the really importing things that matter to the end user.

I remember the huge shift from Windows 3.11 to Windows 95 and wow the uproar over that was defining for sure, but after users had it in their hands and started to use it, every user would agree they would never think of going back to that mess of 3.11.  Change is never well accepted and we can equate this paradigm shift to the Windows 95 days to be certain.  Microsoft is completely changing the interface and will do again another 15 years down the road, so what are the three things what really entice me?  Here is the list:

1.       Windows to Go:  This could be the one thing that we all have been waiting for.  Users and Network admins alike.  It allows the user to bring their complete computer along with programs they use and love, anytime, anywhere. 

So I did a few experiments with USB2 and USB3.   I would like to make it clear I am using a laptop with no USB3 capabilities but the speed difference between the two was crazy when making the Windows to go stick.   My first attempt was 4 hours with all the bells and whistles installed in my transfer.  The file size was about 10 gig in total.   The same on a USB3 was about 1 hour.   Yes a huge difference and I believe it is because of the files extracting on the USB device itself.   The procedure was straight forward which I will post here but to a novice this will be an intimidation for sure.   This is where the IT consultant will be able to help out.   In later versions or service packs I would love to see a button that allows the user to make their own Windows to go stick, but for now my steps will get you there.

2.       Built in Hyper-V full 64 bit version: This will allow you to run multiple OS Versions should you choose, with the speed and ease of a standalone workstations.

Let’s be clear, all your windows 7 programs you currently use and enjoy will work on Windows 8.   There now that we have that out of the way what about XP?   Well just like windows 7 some of your old XP programs may have issues, this will still be the case for your Windows 8 environment, and however you can run a virtualized XP, Windows 7 or any other OS other than MAC in your VM.   This will allow you to have backwards compatibility options right out of the box.   This version will support both 32bit and 64bit environments, which the older VM did not support so now no limitation in platform options.  Another argument for Virtualization of a PC is for your work.   You may not want to attach your windows 8 environment to the corporate office which locks down your personal machine and thus puts you at the mercy of the corporate IT department.   What you could do is run a Windows 7 VM, attach that to the corporate environment and if you ever leave the company or the corporate IT dept. needs to deploy, change or lock things down tighter they can, and it will only affect the VM.

 3.       Access to Marketplace:  This is turning out to be really a cool feature.  This bridges the gap between the mobile phone/surface user and the laptop/workstation user.   By using your Windows live ID it knows what you have purchased for programs/music/video and anything else you can connect to in the cloud and give you the same experience on every device.

This is a great cool feature and will be offered on all Windows 8 versions.   The thing I like the most is users sometimes just need a quick program to make their computer experience either easier or more enjoyable.   My Father would be a great example of this.   He is on his own but looking for a recipe or just wants to watch an old movie or TV show.   Crackle allows you to watch some great old shows, and even some current ones for free.   The days of it being complicated, cumbersome or waiting for his techno-savvy son are now gone.   Oh what will we talk about now?

Conclusion:

Most people are asking me why the change in the desktop?   It’s clear over many years of me going from company to company that people have about 50 icons on their desktop at any given time.   So if your desktop has clutter why not organize it?   The live tiles allow you to expand or shrink your experience without changing font sizes and for those of us who need to call IT every time we change our glasses this is a cool feature.   Also the tiles show you what is waiting in your Inbox, Social Media and anything else you can think of without ever opening the program.   I didn’t think I would use this feature but now I use it all the time for my business apps.   I can tell if there are emergencies of failed backups, antivirus notifications, email and appointments just by glancing at the screen.   Now the experience will be tailored to you the end user in every way.  All we have to do now is play with it, and find our new love for a new interface.  Time will tell.

 

Sneak Peak at Windows 8

Rob Duvall will be presenting a sneak peak at Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system at an upcoming Milton Chamber of Commerce Springboard morning seminar session, before the official public availability on October 26, 2012.

Space is limited so register early.

Where:  Milton Chamber of Commerce, 251 Main Street E., Milton, Ontario

When:  Wednesday. September 26, 2012
8:30am – 9:30am

Cost:  Free to Milton Chamber of Commerce members, $10 non-members

Register here

How Compliant Are You?

You may have heard that Microsoft does periodic software compliance audits on random companies but most people have never heard of anyone actually having an audit done…until now.

This year, we have seen four companies be put to task by Microsoft.  And don’t think a Software Compliance audit only happens to ‘big’ companies.  Our latest one has only 7 employees!

Let’s review what is involved in a Microsoft Software Compliance Audit:

1) Microsoft will send you a copy of any Volume Licensing Agreements they currently have on file for your company.
2) You will be given a deployment summary (Excel spreadsheet) to list any Retail or OEM software titles which you return to them by email.
3) You will be asked for copies of all invoices pertaining to software purchases which may include the actual hardware purchased with the OEM software installed.
4) You must list a minimum of 5 license keys for each version of each software title installed on all computers
5) Once Microsoft receives your deployment summary they will analyse the Microsoft software in use against the licenses held and provide you with an Estimated License Ownership Position. 
6) When this is done, a finalized License Ownership Position (as of the date of the consultancy) will be provided, detailing what you own and what Microsoft understands you are using, based on the information you have   supplied.  This final summary will detail over-licensing or any apparent variances that may need to be remedied.
7) Along with the final License Ownership Position summary you will also receive a Software Asset Management (SAM) Tips guide.

What  do you  get out of the review?

1) Consolidation of all your licensing records into one concise report which can then be maintained and modified by your organisation in the future;
2) A certificate from Microsoft confirming that you completed the review.
3) Assistance with understanding licensing rules, and, in particular, how they relate to your own specific situation
4) Licensing expertise and advice available to you throughout the process
5) Guidance regarding on-going Software Asset Management to eliminate waste and redundancy and mitigate risks of non-compliance.

What Can You Do Now?

1)  Gather all hardware invoices and store them in one place.  Most of us file our purchase invoices in a box filed by year.  Make an extra copy and keep it in a convenient place.
2)  Make note of license keys, usually kept on a sticker at the back of the computer (then buried in a mess of wires under your desk).  Keep it with the invoices.
3)  Print a copy of any downloadable license keys.  Leaving them in your email for safe-keeping never works.  Envariably your hard drive will die and there goes your proof of purchase.

Still confused?  Give us a call.  We can help!