IT is filled with often-abused buzzwords. Let’s cut through and get to the quick of what these buzzwords really mean.Continue reading
For this week’s technology term we take a look at what uptime means as it pertains to your IT.Continue reading
While the world is still effectively split between PCs and Macs, we have at least one file format that bridges the divide: the PDF. This file format became standard in business communications,and is now used the world over.
Today, we’ll dive into the history of the Portable Document Format and why it is so well-suited to business processes.
The Creation of PDFs
Think about what a PDF is best known for: the capability to share information as it was created, period. The document looks and acts the same whether still digital or if printed, regardless of a user’s operating system.
Before the PDF was created, sharing information between two different operating systems was as difficult as… well, as doing anything else between different operating systems is today.
Over at Adobe Systems in 1990, co-founder John Warnock drafted a paper titled The Camelot Project, describing how limited prospects were when it came to digitally sharing information. Warnock would go on to assemble Team Camelot,the group that ultimately created the PDF to be what it was imagined to be – a universally-compatible document sharing platform.
However, the Portable Document Format initially wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today.
For one thing, it initially required the purchase of Adobe Acrobat in order to be utilized, and the long download times of the early Internet certainly didn’t help matters. However, Team Camelot continued to add functionality as the Internet grew in popularity, and the format was eventually adopted by the International Organization for Standardization and made an open standard format.
PDFs, and Their Advantages Today
Now, there are essentially three different kinds of PDFs, each with their own capabilities and limitations. This all depends on the makeup of the PDF and whether or not it has a ‘text’ layer under the ‘image’ layer.
Scanned PDFs – Scanned PDFs are effectively a photograph of a document, saved onto the computer as an image. As such, they are not natively searchable or editable, although certain programs can be added to them to change this.
Digitally Created PDFs – These PDFs are those that are created in the computer, with all components still able to be altered. This includes the images displayed upon the PDF.
Searchable PDFs – Remember how we mentioned that scanned PDFs can be made to be searchable or editable? That’s thanks to Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and the fact that this process adds an editable text layer to the image layer. This enables greater interaction with these PDFs. Many document scanners come with software to convert a scanned document into a searchable PDF, and is the core foundation of a paperless office.
There are also numerous advantages to leveraging a PDF for your business purposes. Not only are they convenient to use and universally compatible, additional security can be set up to protect these documents and their contents.
Did you ever think that simple PDFs had such an involved history? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Businesses all over the world are making strides to limit printed documents if they aren’t needed, and a large part of this is that printers require a lot of specific resources.
Depending on the model, a printer might need ink, but the laser printers require a product called “toner” to work as intended. This week’s tech term is dedicated to the difference between ink and toner, as well as which one you’ll need for your specific printer.
Ink vs Toner
First, we’ll have to explain the difference between ink and toner. Ink is made by mixing a pigment with a liquid base, like water or alcohol. Nowadays it’s made of synthetic material, but for a longtime, it was made using various plants and minerals found throughout the world. Oil-based ink was used in the first printing press, developed in 1440, resulting in a major push forward for human civilization.
Toner, on the other hand, is more of a powdery substance that is used in laser printers. In the past, it was made with carbon powder and iron oxide mixed with a polymer. Rather than being printed onto the page, toner is basically melted onto the page, resulting in a much faster process. Found inside laser printer cartridges, toner comes in sets of cyan,magenta, yellow, and black.
Cost is calculated on a per-page basis, soup front costs generally aren’t taken into account. A good example is the use of laser printers, which are more expensive than their ink-fueled counterparts, but can finish print jobs much more quickly and in a more sustainable manner. This speed is able to offset any price issues that come from their use. Here are some other pros and cons of toner-based printing:
- Toner-based printers tend to last longer: Comparing the lifespans of the two, a laser printer will generally outlast an ink-based printer, producing more pages.
- Toner-based printers tend to produce better prints: A laser printer is more precise, leading to higher-quality images and better prints. Over time, a laser printer will produce superior prints to an ink-based printer.
- Toner-based printers are much faster: As perhaps the biggest benefit, laser printing is much faster than ink-based printing. For companies that have a lot of printing to do, a laser printer is simply the better product.
- Toner-based printers (and refills) are more expensive: The better the technology is, the higher the price tag. You’ll be paying more for replacement toner cartridges, even if you’ll be getting more out of them in the long term.
- Toner is messy if you refill your own cartridges: Refilling ink-based cartridges isn’t the easiest either, but if you are trying to save money, know that refilling a laser printer toner cartridge is difficult and you may not get the print quality you would with a new cartridge.
Knowing how your printers work is critical to your business’ success. For help in making the best printing choices possible, give WheelHouse IT a call at (877) 771-2384.
People use computers for almost everything nowadays. However, when they don’t work as intended it can be endlessly frustrating. Whether you have hardware that isn’t properly connecting, or you have software that isn’t responding the way it normally does, many times before you call for assistance there are things you can do to try and fix the problem, or at the very least, understand what the issue is. This process is called troubleshooting.
Today, we’ll take a look at what it means to properly troubleshoot computer issues, and when it is your responsibility to look to the professionals as to not cause more problems than when you started.
We’ve all done it: something is a little bit off, so naturally we try to fix the perceived problem, only to exacerbate things. The problem is that we are clutching at straws. The theory behind troubleshooting is that every problem has a solution, and by eliminating potential problems, you’ll be able to, at the very least, ascertain what is causing the issue so that you can resolve it.
In order to properly troubleshoot a problem,you should have an effective knowledge of the system you are investigating. Chefs don’t typically investigate crime, why should a salesman investigate why their computer isn’t functioning properly?
Not to say that a salesperson (or a chef, for that matter) can’t fix a computer issue they have, but typically to go in blind and successfully troubleshoot an issue, you need to have the knowledge required to understand the system you are troubleshooting.
The first key to successfully troubleshooting a computer is to start simple. By starting at the beginning you can quickly rule out certain simple problems. With any luck, it will be some simple adjustment and you’ll get your system up and running quick. To give you a good example of what a successful troubleshoot looks like, we’ll take the simplest problem a user can run into and go through the scenario, and the potential problems you are facing:
You sit down to your computer and press the power button and the machine doesn’t power on.
If the machine isn’t powering on, you can quickly ascertain that it has a connection or hardware issue. First you will want to check the connections.
- Check the power cord on both ends to make sure the system is connected to the power strip or outlet.
- If you are using a power strip to make sure that it is plugged into an outlet.
- Once you’ve determined that the computer is properly connected you’ll need to consider new hardware. If the computer you are troubleshooting was working well previous to adding a piece of hardware onto your machine, you can bet that this piece of hardware has something to do with it.
- If you’ve checked both the connections and haven’t installed any new hardware on the machine, you’ll want to take the cord that powers your monitor and swap it for the one that powers your desktop. If it turns on, then you know you have a bad cord that can be easily replaced.
- If this doesn’t work it is likely a problem with the machine’s power supply.
That is just one example of a basic troubleshoot to a very basic problem. As situations get more complex, more variables are presented making working through advanced issues more time intensive.
The IT professionals at WheelHouse IT are masters at troubleshooting IT-related problems, and can be of great value to organizations that seem to have a near-constant set of technology issues.
We have well-documented procedures and processes in place to keep support effective and efficient. If your organization has technology problems that you can’t effectively troubleshoot, reach out to us at (877) 771-2384 today.