Boston Collegiate Charter School

Welcome Boston Collegiate Charter School!

LightWire is thrilled to welcome Boston Collegiate Charter School (www.bostoncollegiate.org) as a new LightShield managed services client.

Ranked in 2015 as the 3rd best high school in Massachusets, Boston Collegiate has both a middle school campus and a high school campus. LightWire looks forward to managing Boston Collegiate’s IT infrastructure and assisting the school administrators and teachers in helping their students achieve amazing success in school!

When simple problems go wrong – can’t install a network printer

Sometimes, even what seems like a simple problem on the surface can be challenging to solve; this where having a technology partner like LightWire allows you to focus on your business while we manage the technology.  Recently a customer had problem where some of their computers were unable to connect to a shared printer on the print server.  Most commonly this is due to security permissions or drivers but in this case those were not the problems, it was one of those “PC Load Letter” printer moments that could drive you crazy.

After reviewing all the normal culprits, I turned to the event log where, to my surprise, I could could see that the printer was tried to be accessed with credentials that were not valid.  After doing more research there turned out to be a registry entry that had not been automatically removed properly which was causing this small subset of computers not to be able to connect to the print server.  Once those were deleted, our customer was able to connect to all of the shared printers.

While we were troubleshooting, doing what we do best, they were focused on what they do best – running their business.

#vSMBchat Recap – How virtualization can help your business

Recently I participated in a TweetChat with VMware and  Alan Renouf, Senior Technical Marketing Architect for VMware.  We discussed a wide range of topics including some of the tools that can help small to medium sized businesses leverage technology to reduce operating costs, implement disaster recovery and provide levels of redundancy that were not cost feasible in a physical world.  If you want to learn more about virtualization and how it aligns to the goals of your business contact us using the form to the right or call (617) 395-8008 for a free consultation.

Highlights from the #vSMBchat with VMware

 

You can find a full recap of the #vSMBchat TweetChat here.

About LightWire

LightWire is a Boston based technology services business focused on bringing to small businesses across Massachusetts a level of technology expertise, experience, and sophisticated services historically accessible only to large enterprises.

Learn about virtualization best practices for your business

On Wednesday March 27th, I will be joining Alan Renouf (@alanrenouf) for a TweetChat about virtualization options and best practices for small and medium sized businesses.  You can follow along on your favorite Twitter client or at TweetChat.com starting at 1PM EST (10AM PST).

Here’s how to participate in #vSMBchat:

Follow @VMwareSMB@alanrenouf and @jfrappier on Twitter
At 10AM PT @VMwareSMB will pose a few questions using the #vSMBchat hashtag to get the conversation rolling.
Follow the #vSMBchat hashtag (via TweetChat, TweetGrid, TweetDeck or another Twitter client) and watch the real-time stream.
Make sure to tag your tweets with the #vSMBchat hashtag.
This #vSMBchat should last about an hour.

The chat is open to all, or you can also RSVP ahead of time with Twitvite

More about Alan and Jonathan:  Alan is a Senior Technical Marketing Architect at VMware focused on the automation and integration of VMware products. Alan is a frequent blogger at http://blogs.vmware.com/vipowershell and has a personal blog at http://virtu-al.net. Jonathan joins us with 12+ years in various IT roles at small to medium sized companies with up to 250 servers.  He is a VCP5-DV and has been working with VMware in production environments since version 3.5.

Are big software companies getting too big?

Here at LightWire we work with and are partners with all types of companies so we can offer the services that best fit the needs of our customers, but we have been noticing a trend lately.  The larger software companies seem to have trouble releasing quality products at the right time, and its not just bugs – its compatibility between even their own major products.  Most notably of late the two companies with snafus during launch were Microsoft and VMware.

Microsoft recently released Windows 2012 and Exchange Server 2013 – both major products for the company, the previous versions of these applications were Windows 2008 and Exchange 2010.  One major problem, if you were using Exchange 2010 and wanted to upgrade to Windows 2012 you couldn’t – they weren’t compatible!  These are products that are not even two years apart – if you were on Exchange 2010 you were stuck on Windows 2008.  Of course the obvious track would be to upgrade to Exchange 2013…but there in lies yet another problem – you can’t upgrade from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2013!!  That’s right, at launch there is not a direct upgrade path, you would have to install Exchange 2013 as a completely brand new installation and migrate everything, that flies in the face of 10+ years of tried and true Exchange upgrades.  While Microsoft plans to fix this in a future “patch” for Exchange 2010 they should have had it ready for the Exchange 2013 launch.

Over the summer, VMware released VMware View 5.1 and vSphere 5.1 – sounds like they would be compatible.  In fact several KB articles and blog posts suggested that bug fixes for VMware View 5 would be addressed with Hardware version 9 which is the version available with vSphere 5.1, but like Microsoft, they launched the product before they were ready and it was several weeks before you could use View 5.1 and vSphere 5.1 together.  That’s not to mention several other bugs and problems introduced with vSphere 5.1 which caused early upgraders headaches.

Thankfully for our customers, this kind of thing is just another day in the life for a technologist and we have successfully implemented these technologies even though the vendors who released the software weren’t ready for them.

 

Calling all iPhone users with iOS 6.1 – time to update!

If you own an iPhone and use it to sync with your Exchange email and calendar, make sure you update from iOS 6.1 to 6.1.2 to fix a bug that can cause excessive traffic to your Exchange server.  In small batches it may not be noticeable but can negatively impact your server and thus, ability to send and receive email.  This is the second major, and well know bug in Apple’s Active Sync implementation (Active Sync is how your mobile device syncs messages with the Exchange email server).  The first major bug (if you don’t count the original iPhones inability to use Active Sync at all) allowed those who had delegated their calendar to another person to “hi-jack” meetings and cancel the entire meeting even if that person did not originally create the meeting.  I have seen first hand how that bug can cause confusion for everyone including IT departments.  In the case of this most recent bug, Apple moved quickly to provide a fix where as the calendar hi-jacking bug survived through several versions of iOS.

 

One more reason your small business should have a technology partner – Microsoft Office 2013 licensing

Now that Microsoft Office 2013 is on the shelves at your local retailer, its important to understand the new licensing terms.  A retail copy of Microsoft Office 2013, the kind you would buy at your local BestBuy, Staples or even online at Amazon, is tied to a single physical computer.  This means that if at anytime you replace your computer (it fails, need something a little more speedy) you will have to buy a new copy of Microsoft Office.  In previous versions, this was not true as you could move the software from one device to another so long as you stayed within your licensing restrictions (depending on version).

For businesses, this can become extremely expensive as a typical version of Microsoft Office will typically be effective longer than the computer.  You can, however, purchase your Microsoft Office licenses through a partner and not be bound by this restriction with future computer upgrades.  LightWire, a Microsoft Solution Provider, can help you with your next Microsoft Office purchase as well as many other technology needs.  Contact us today at the form below or by calling Ian or Jon.

Don’t go free for security software – the importance of a quality anti-malware solution

So much of our lives (personal and business) runs through technology that anti-virus, or anti-malware tools are more important than ever (did I mention its actually required by the state of Massachusetts if you are a business that has Personal Information about a resident of Massachusetts, so all/most of your employees?).  The software vendors behind these tools have done a very good job over the last 10 years at improving and protecting our computers, so much so that I have started to see an alarming trend – people and business relying on free software to protect the very computers they rely on to operate their business.  PC Magazine did a review of the major anti-virus providers and Microsoft’s free security tool for businesses (with less than 10 computers) ranked dead last in effectiveness.  This comes just 2 months after Security Essentials lost is certification from an independent lab.

So what are businesses to do?  Well you may have noticed in that fancy infographic… wait you didn’t click the link?  Okay the infographic below, that Norton Internet Security (made by Symantec) was the top ranked product and LightWire is a Symantec partner.  For just $2 per computer/mo.  you can have a fully managed and automated anti-virus tool on all of your computers.  If you are interested in adding this solution to your account give us a call or email Ian or Jon.

PC Magazine Anti-Virus Review

The Blackberry 10 is out – will it be enough to save Blackberry?

Image from www.blackberry.com

After several delays, and a lot of media attention the BlackBerry 10 from RIM Blackberry is finally available, but will it be enough to save the former darling of mobile device computing?  For a long time Blackberries were the preference of business users around the world and even carried them into personal use devices, but after years of stagnant development, it may not be enough.  Most of the hardcore Blackberry owners I know, who for a long time really opposed Apple and Android devices have now switched, and love the eco systems they are a part of the way they used to love their Blackberry.  The device, from demos and pictures certainly looks solid and their licensing of Active Sync means that you no longer require software to access corporate email either through a Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) or personal desktop software which was absolutely the right thing to do or these devices would be completely irrelevant.   I wonder, with iThings and Androids already dominating the market, and Windows Phone which is a very solid mobile device (I’m not sold on Windows 8 for computers yet but the phones are great) struggling to gain traction, is there enough room for Blackberry to survive?  Will you switch back to Blackberry, either personally or at work?

 

LightWire partners with Cybernetics to bring enterprise class storage to small and medium business in the Boston market

LightWire, Inc. has entered into an agreement to become a certified reseller of Cybernetics storage and backup appliances.  “The partnership with Cybernetics allows us to offer our clients high performance storage systems that were once only within the budget of large enterprises.  This agreement allows us to be strategically positioned to help our customers expand their virtual, non-virtual and private cloud environments” said Ian Findlay, founder of LightWire, Inc.

LightWire was founded in 2005 by Ian Findlay, whose long career as a technology consultant, manager, and innovator positioned him to observe how small businesses continually struggle to effectively and efficiently manage the technology within their companies.

Since running a small business typically means that the staff wears ‘many hats’ and perform many different jobs, the job of managing IT is frequently given to the person who knows the most about it. With LightWire, you can turn over that responsibility to a highly skilled team at a fraction of the cost of hiring full time employees.

With LightWire, your company not only gains access to skilled people to manage your company’s technology, but also to a suite of services typically reserved for larger organizations – from hosted applications to collaboration tools to offsite data backup, you can quickly increase the impact technology has on your company and its customers. Since LightWire purchases equipment and software on behalf of all of its clients, we can leverage our increased purchasing power to deliver lower prices and flexible billing schedules on hardware and software purchases.

Cybernetics (www.cybernetics.com) was founded in 1978 and headquartered in Yorktown, Virginia, Cybernetics is a privately held corporation specializing in the design and manufacture of high performance disk, tape, and virtual tape storage solutions. Their product line features cutting edge technologies which have been rigorously tested to deliver seamless compatibility and solid reliability, along with innovative – and exclusive – features that provide greater functionality, data accessibility, and return on investment than any other storage solutions provider can match.