Posts byKate Little

Organise yourself with iOS11

Organise yourself with iOS11

iPad iOS11 Files

Have you seen it? iOS 11 I mean… it is killing my phone battery (turn off Background App Refresh in Settings- General) until they iron out those cheeky little App bugs that keep us on our toes. They have finally made a file app though, hallelujah!!

When I go into schools and explain that all of the work they save to their iPads will usually be found in the camera roll, I can hear the collective sigh. We all take pictures of recipes and letters all the time… followed by 500 hundred pictures of our kids/ pets and selfies, only to have to go and fish the information we need at a later date. Yes, you can find your documents in Pages or save to iBooks, but all of those PicCollages and pictures of students work can be a real pain to find at a later date. read more

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Classroom App… are you using it yet?

Classroom App… are you using it yet?

Following the release of Apple Classroom last year, the issues have been ironed out and updated. It is time for you to start using it in your school! Have you used the Apple Classroom App yet? Do you know what it can even do….

Classroom is everything that we have been asked for in an App, when using iPads in schools. It does all of those things teachers were crying out for. Its main purpose is to help teachers to guide students though their lessons and keep up to date with the progress that they are making. The teacher is able to launch the App that they want to use on every iPad in the classroom; it can be a different App for each student if needed. This means, you can also limit the Apps that students can use.
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Each student is given their own Apple ID. They can then tailor their profile to be their own. For each lesson, the Teacher can assign the Apps for their class. If a student forgets their password, they are reset by the teacher easily, without needing technical support. read more

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Microsoft Surface as a Service

Microsoft Surface as a Service

Last year Microsoft decided to offer the Microsoft Surface computers on a subscription style basis for business users. They have called it Surface as a Service and have made a good attempt at getting their deal as good as ours… sort of. Surface as a Service enables business customers to pay monthly to lease for Surface devices, accessories, software, services, and support. Microsoft partners who are Surface Authorised are able to sell Surface as a Service; it’s not available directly from Microsoft. read more

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iPad insurance for schools

iPad insurance for schools

Schools all over the country are buying and leasing multiple iPads. Not only are they spending thousands on the devices themselves, but also on the insurance they will need to cover them…

iPad SchoolsApple devices are very expensive but so common. They have flooded the market with all of their must buy- must have products and even older models cost a lot of money. Whether it be phones, tablets, laptops or computers, Apple are often dominating. With the influx of Apple devices in to the home, businesses and schools, the insurance market has changed. Have you noticed a change in your policy recently? More and more insurance companies are excluding all Apple products from their insurance policy as they have been hit in the last year with expensive repair or replacement bills they are not used to covering. read more

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The new Surface Book with Performance Base is here… was it worth the wait?

The new Surface Book with Performance Base is here… was it worth the wait?

The new Microsoft Surface Book has finally emerged.We have been waiting patiently, but there are now alternatives.

Surface base performance leasing

The Surface Book with Performance Base is their new I7 laptop, with detachable screen, nVidia graphics, and a PEN

The Surface Book Performance Base is a 13.5 inch laptop with a removable screen (for those of you with your head in a hole and missed the last Surface Book). The Surface Book Performance Base isn’t so much as a new product as it is three updated models of the late 2015 version. Each of the Surface Book models incorporates the same Intel “Skylake” Core i7-based Clipboard tablet module but with a new keyboard base which supports a speedier Nividia Geforce GPU. The new higher prices also reflect the update ! With prices at £23.40 per week on a 3 year business lease it’s not cheap though does have 16GB RAM ,512GB Flash. read more

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Cyber Essentials for your business

Cyber Essentials for your business

Cyber Essentials is a Government initiative to ensure businesses are covered against cyber attack, and to impose an industry standard that you can sign up for and conform to. It has been mandatory for Government suppliers to have Cyber Essentials since 2014 but is due to be extended to many Business to Business suppliers… If you sell B2B then it’s a new ‘Badge’ you will need. It’s a good badge as it will force you to bring your own security up to date by following some simple rules. read more

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Lacie saves the day

Lacie saves the day

We have recently been singing the praises of our preferred storage solution LaCie. We have told you a little about it, but here is why it could save the day!

LaCie leasing

Lacie 6big, 12big and more

The LaCie Professional solutions are manufactured and maintained with creative professionals in mind. Extensive video footage, expansive audio sessions, and sprawling image libraries require a large amount of storage. When these files then need to be edited, it makes sense that all are available in the same place and can be delivered at high speeds. High capacity AND high performance are needed in equal measures, and excitingly, both are available. Lacie feature Segate Enterprise drives that offer 5 years warranty and greater reliability than normal NAS drives found in Drobo and Promise boxes. read more

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Make your staff aware….

Make your staff aware….

When it comes to how to use your IT and behaviour on-line, your staff should know how to conduct themselves- its common sense, isn’t it? Here are some helpful reminders of how you should use your IT……. it’s not just sensible but with Ransomware becoming the number one security issue then these are prudent steps.

 Social Media… Be savvy

I can still remember the first time that I used the internet, it doesn’t feel like it was that long ago. Now I cannot imagine not using it multiple times throughout the day. Using social media has givenit security issue us all a way to communicate, and not just with our friends and family, but with the whole world. So many people now use social media, even those that shun FaceBook often have a Twitter, Instagram or even a Snapchat. It is all very well when we communicate to people we want to see our posts, but what about those that we don’t? read more

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Thunderbolt 3, an exciting, superfast port with a but….

Thunderbolt 3, an exciting, superfast port with a but….

Traditionally a laptop has several different types of port for data transfer USB, SATA or in Apple world it’s called Thunderbolt.. My ancient laptop has about 6… Now though; the shiny MacBook 12″  and the new MacBook Pro Touch Bar are equipped with one- yes ONE type of connection. The MacBook was released with only one connection but the new MacBook Pro 15″ has four.

The Thunderbolt 3 is a super fast wire (40Gbps) that lends itself to all of the data transfer and charging needs that the laptop has. This one type of connection alternatively called USB-C allows the user to connect all their ‘stuff’ though one type of lead and connection. read more

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Insuring a MacBook is becoming difficult ?

Insuring a MacBook is becoming difficult ?

Covering a new Mac is becoming expensive and cover hard to find.

If you have an Apple device, have you noticed any impact on your insurance? Apple devices are very expensive but so common. They have flooded the market with all of their must buy- must have products and even older models cost a lot of money. Whether it be phones, tablets, laptops or computers, Apple are often dominating.

With the influx of Apple devices in to the home and business, the insurance market has changed. Have you noticed a change in your policy recently ? More and more insurance companies are read more

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How to use your tablet in the classroom

How to use your tablet in the classroom

Are you thinking about leasing Apple iPads or tablets for your classroom but do not know how you will use them? Here are some great ideas and tips for how to get the most from your devices. When it comes to technology and education, tablets are the new holy- grail! It is no wonder; they really are a fantastic addition to the classroom.

Discover 360° videos. You can find so many resources made in 360° video by just Googling it. There is a large library available on YouTube and FaceBook also. If you want to take your class on a trip in to a black hole in space or surfing USA with a 360° virtual reality view, you can use your tablet or iPad. By moving the device and pointing it in different directions you can see all aspects of the view. This is particularly great for exploring different topics such as under the sea or different countries.Apple Leasing read more

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Are you a Start-up business ? Let HardSoft invest

Are you a Start-up business ? Let HardSoft invest

If you are just starting up, HardSoft are still able to help you with your leasing and finance. It is unusual for a company to be so supportive to those just starting out but HardSoft make a special effort to help new businesses get up and running. We will offer the same terms and conditions if you are an established company or you started trading last week. We will also not discriminate between sole traders and limited companies. HardSoft are willing to commit between £1000-£15000 of lease finance which can be used on hardware or software.Apple iMac Sierra read more

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Strongbox PC’s…Bespoke speed

Strongbox PC’s…Bespoke speed

STRONGBOX PC’s are bespoke units which are the perfect answer for Architects, Video editors, Photographers, Animators, colour graders and Music & sound professionals. If you are in need of a particular element for the performance of your machine, this is the one for you! HP with their Z Workstations dominate this market but are often not fast enough and can’t be built to spec.6-Core-Strongbox

Armed with one of these Strongbox Workstations, you can blow away the competition with the amazing products of these machines. A Strongbox will be made exactly how YOU need it to work. You can buy the components which are specifically needed for your software and not spend on the extras that are irrelevant to you. Located at Pinewood Studios this small company is dedicated to building and delivering your perfect Workstation. read more

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Financing your next Computer in Ireland

Financing your next Computer in Ireland

Christmas is fast approaching and there seems like a never ending list of things we all need to buy… Given the situation, you’d be forgiven for tightening the company purse strings. Spending big on new equipment is likely the last thing on your priority list right now, but then you face the risk of falling behind – especially when it comes to technology. There is, however, a solution.

An introduction to leasing

Leasing is essentially the rental of a product; you pay monthly to have constant access to something, instead of paying outright to own it. It’s an approach that most businesses will be familiar with, as it’s commonly used for things like cars, photocopier machines and phone systems. Rarely is it considered for IT equipment, however – despite the obvious benefits on offer. read more

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Fancy a FREEBIE with your Mac?

Fancy a FREEBIE with your Mac?

Fancy a freebie?? Of course you do! This month, as always, we have some exciting freebies on offer! Join HardSoft and experience our  ‘One Stop Shop’ approach to computer leasing. We offer a complete package service, revolutionising IT leasing. We supply Apple Macs, finance them and provide warranty for all of our products. This means that the customer only has to contact HardSoft to purchase, repair, for technical support and replacement.

Our legendary freebies for this month have been announced! If you are thinking of leasing any Apple iMac or MacBook we are offering one of these two options; read more

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iPads; the perfect companion to learning outside

iPads; the perfect companion to learning outside

You’re in the outdoor classroom; your children find a caterpillar. You stop time to let the children examine it in detail; you guarantee that every child gets the chance to investigate it. You magnify the caterpillar to see how it eats – and make it crawl in slow motion as the class query how it moves.iPad learning

You breezily answer the torrent of questions about what it eats; what kind of butterfly it will become; and are unphased when asked what it tastes like. You seize the moment because you have to hand all the resources you need for the life cycle topic – before taking a minute to record the entire process in the children’s learning journeys. read more

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Swift Playground For Your Classroom

Swift Playground For Your Classroom

When Apple released iOS 10, they also released their own coding app, Swift Playgrounds. This was exciting news for schools! Swift Playgrounds allows students to learn to code using Apple’s coding language Swift.

What is code?

If you’re not familiar with the term ‘code’, in its simplest form, code is the language used to make Playground Swiftcomputer software and programmes. Today, code powers almost everything around us – from starting your car through to ordering a takeaway and everything in between.

Perhaps not surprisingly, it is now part of the National Curriculum that all students learn to code. read more

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Home user Freebies!

Home user Freebies!

If you are a home user looking for interest free credit on a Mac, HardSoft have some great Mac leasing offers for you. The finance can run over 6, 12 or 18 months and is cheaper than Apple Finance and PC World. Applying is quick and easy with almost instant decisions. As always, HardSoft are squeezing in even more to your lease deal. This month we are offering more exciting FREEBIES!!

If you need some help choosing your freebie, look no further.

  • AVG antiAnti virus-virus.  Keep yourself up to date and protect yourself from malware. With this great freebie, your Mac will be kept up to date with the latest cloud protection. Don’t be held to ransom! Let HardSoft equip you with the protection that you need to secure your data, details, internet payments, websites and reputation!
  • broken-macbook-air-sellAccidental Damage Cover for 1 year. Unavoidable accidents are always a worry! Choose this option and your device is covered against those horrible accidents that isn’t covered by warranty. Anything from spills and drops are covered. We allow a maximum of one claim per device per year. This does not cover loss or theft which can be purchased separately from HardSoft Computers.
  • Cloud storage2TB Cloud Back- Up for 3yrs. Your data is crucial, do not loose it! By backing up your data to the cloud daily, you are choosing the safest form of storage and also very easy to use and access. With 2TB of data allowance, you will be able to store a huge amount of data. Cloud storage also allows you to access your files anywhere on the web, you can even download an App to see your data on a phone or tablet.

HardSoft Power Bank

Along with your freebie, we will also throw in a HardSoft powerbank! charge your USB device on the move with this handy pocket sized battery bank. Perfect for those who need to power their phone on the Pokemon Go! read more

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Minecraft for Education

Minecraft for Education

Released in September 2016, the hotly anticipated Minecraft for Education is a collaborative and versatile platform that can be used by educators to encourage 21st century skills.

Minecraft_logo_block

For teachers who have never used Minecraft before, getting used to the system can be a steep learning curve, but there is a handy training section to get you started with the controls and how to craft.

The beauty of Minecraft is that there is no real right or wrong way to play! It’s an open world game, meaning the teacher can create the goals that the students need to reach. The creative and building aspects of Minecraft enable players to construct buildings from blocks. Other activities in the game include exploration, resource gathering, and crafting. read more

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Professional Graphics Cards

Professional Graphics Cards

If you have invested thousands in your software, you will probably need to upgrade your machine/ graphics card to cope with it. Not even Lewis Hamilton could win a Grand Prix in a Ford Focus… When purchasing expensive graphics software, you need to ensure you have the latest hardware to use it on. Using software such as DiVinci Resolve, AutoCAD and SolidWorks costing between 5-10k it is going to be another large expenditure to get your hardware updated and working for you.

NVIDIA Quadro lineupGraphic workstations are perfect for the creative and design professionals who prefer to be PC based. Sporting dedicated graphics cards, we can support you in your choices and help you to make the best decisions of what to lease. With a large range of graphics cards available to you, we can advise on those which are recommended by the software companies and match it with a Workstation that will be best fit for your requirements. read more

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Ruggedised PC Laptops

Ruggedised PC Laptops

If you are using your laptop as a mobile device for work, is it taking daily abuse?? How much punishment can a Laptop really take, especially if you are in the field of some of the harsher working environments- like a building site or a desert? A regular laptop, although mobile, does not always stand up to the assault of regular travel even if meticulously looked after. Durability is at the top of the list for many laptop users in business.

With the introduction of the iPad, tablets are more commonly used in outdoor situations, especially when using for simple tasks where simple of recording of data is needed. The iPad or other tablet solutions however, do not suit those working in very harsh environments and who need the full spec of a laptop. read more

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Easy Solution for a Second Display

Easy Solution for a Second Display

The cheap and easy way to get a dual monitor set up.

Duet Display is an App for PC and Mac, which allows you to utilise your iPhone or iPad as a display for your Mac or PC. The App was developed by ex-Apple engineers who have made it possible to use an iPad or iPhone as a second stream seamlessly. Although it had been done before, it hadn’t been done this well!

Duet app

The beauty of Duet Display is that it looks and feels like an Apple product and is just as easy to use. This App is so much better than I had expected and has given my old iPad a new lease of life as a portable secondary screen with the use of an App and the charging cable! read more

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Exchange vs. Office 365

Exchange vs. Office 365

What email server software is running your business?? Thinking of making the jump to Microsoft Office 365? Is it the right choice for you though?

Historically Microsoft Exchange Server  was the only option for your email. With the emergence of Office 365 in 2011 you can now opt to keep all of your data in the cloud on Microsoft’s dedicated servers. You do not need to install and maintain an on site email server but it comes as a subscription. Although Microsoft still offer Exchange, they are no longer promoting it in the SME space, preferring for people to take out their subscription based services. There are pro’s and con’s to both methods, ultimately it is your decision… here is some information to help you to make that decision. read more

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Why you need a 12″ MacBook in your life…

Why you need a 12″ MacBook in your life…

Have you been considering the new MacBook recently? We have had some brilliant feedback from customers, detailing why it is working out so well for them. Here are some reasons that the 12″ MacBook might be the laptop for you- there is more to it. This lightweight little beauty is so portable, so pretty and so powerful with tech specs recently updated – available with Core m7 CPU- and built how MacBooks used to be made.macbook HardSoft

I said it, it is lightweight. Does this mean it is flimsy though- not at all! It is actually one of the best build qualities I have seen on an Apple laptop and certainly, the stylish and streamlined chassis feels up to the challenge of everyday usage. I would always protect the aluminium case with a case, but this is not essential. A plastic hard case, however, is cheap and easy to procure from Amazon.
read more

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Fancy a Freebie with your new PC ?

Fancy a Freebie with your new PC ?

Fancy a freebie?? Of course you do! This month, as we have been focusing on the troubles our customers are having with malware, we are introducing a new AVG anti-virus protection to our freebies. Join HardSoft and experience our  ‘One Stop Shop’ approach to computer leasing.  We offer a complete package service, revolutionising IT leasing. We supply devices, finance them and provide warranty for all of our products. This means that the customer only has to contact HardSoft to purchase, repair, for technical support and replacement. read more

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Getting started with iPads in the Classroom

Getting started with iPads in the Classroom

If you are starting out with iPads in your school, the number of Apps recommended and available can be confusing. It can be difficult to know where to start, the expectation of parents and peers adds pressure to a new learning situation. Here is a simple guide to the in-built Apps iPad as standard… and what you can do with them.

iBooks HardSoft iBooks- Similar to a kindle, this app allows you to download and store books including texts. iBooks are often tailored to be interactive, incorporate web links and 3D pictures. Reading on the iPad also means that with a (double) tap of your finger you can highlight a word or piece of text, get a definition, have the selection spoke back to you or add a note (which can be colour coordinated). Notes can be searched for easily from any other page – which makes finding quotes simple! No more of those scribbled in messy texts! read more

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Pic Collage for Kids

Pic Collage for Kids

Due to the popPic collage kids HardSoftular demand in schools for their original App, Pic Collage, Cardinal Blue have now released Pic Collage for kids. The original Pic Collage is also free but has a public gallery which may contain content not suitable for students.

Pic Collage for kids is a safe, free app that can be used across all subjects to make any collage, leaflet, poster or labeled picture.

Photo’s can be taken directly in to the app, chosen from the camera roll or imported directly from the Internet (careful of copyright!). There are a number of preset options for fonts, colours, background patterns and a range of stickers.The pictures, labels and fonts can be moved and rotated with a simple swipe or flick, especially helpful for primary students. read more

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Sonos Audio in the office; case study

Sonos Audio in the office; case study

As a newly authorised reseller of Sonos, it is easy for us to sing their praises. We love the speakers! But what about other people? People who aren’t trying to sell them? I went down to the Blue Dog offices in London to see how they are getting on with Sonos in their office.

Sonos HardSoft Leasing

Blue Dog are a Graphic Design agency based in the heart of Shoreditch. They’ve been offering creative design, branding solutions, animation, digital design and video production to a wide variety of clients since 1996. With 13 staff in the office, they are an extremely busy and brilliant bunch. Not only do they have a dog (yes a blue-ish one) called Roman who is as cute as pie, they also have Sonos!! Bonza… read more

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The top 5 SEXIEST Windows Laptops

The top 5 SEXIEST Windows Laptops

Laptops are getting hotter and hotter… it is true, the aesthetics of laptops are now as important as their components. With smooth, sleek designs and beautiful materials being used to build them, we cannot get enough of these exquisite little bad boys. Here is a list of the HardSoft top 5 as voted for by our fully qualified sales team.

 5. Dell XPS 13. Steve in the office has one of these, he is always telling me howDell laptop HardSoft great it is. From him, that is praise enough! This little gem has a borderless infinity edge display in full HD. It also boasts a 256GB SSD which provides fast, reliable and silent storage. It looks damn sexy too! If you want your laptop to look this good, our leasing solutions start at just £11.75 +VAT per week on this product. read more

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Why your school should lease.

Why your school should lease.

… And lease them from HardSoft!

If your school is in desperate need of some technology updates, but you do not have the budget to cover your requirements why not lease? Actually, even if you have the budget, why not spread the cost and free up some of that cash? With a HardSoft lease, you are not just leasing the technology but our 25yrs of expertise and support.

There are so many advantages to leasing, let me tell you why…

• Whoops, I just told you the first one, release your capital. Why not hold on to those precious funds and spread the cost? Resources for schools are always precious, why not use your budget on a number of things that the school needs and not just on technology.  Payment can also be deferred to suit your needs. We are so flexible, we will tailor our products to suit you. There are no hidden costs when leasing with HardSoft and our transparent pricing is available on our website. read more

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The new iOS for Education

The new iOS for Education

Apple have made some exciting new announcements for iOS 9.3 for all of those using them in education…(You can update in Settings- General- Software Update.)

 This is why you should get updating ASAP!! 

The new classroom app will finally allow teachers to look at any screen in the class and view whaApple Education HardSoftt the student is doing. They will be able to project their students work on to the board to display it (using Apple TV). Open apps, websites and books on their students iPads. If you are using a shared set of iPads rather than a dedicated 1-to-1 scheme then you will now be able to log in to each device with a personal Apple ID. This also means that with a personal ID, students can use any iPad that they are given. They will easily gain access to all of their own apps, books and documents. For the little ones the log in will be a passcode to make the process accessible to them. read more

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CleverTouch for your School

CleverTouch for your School

It seems like everything is touchscreen these days, I have to wrestle my toddler from trying to use her fat fingers to prod my laptop screen and television… Is this the future for technology? If it is, how will our children be prepared to become part of the digital workforce?

We are working together with CleverTouch, the market leader for interactive touch screens for education, to offer schools touch screen devices on lease.

CleverTouch screens for education are the future for teaching. Long gone is the black board and white board. The smart board and projector are being left behind to make way for the innovative new CleverTouch clevertouch HardSoftscreens. These multi-touch screens are being utilised in the classroom to create exciting and information packed lessons. Students are actively participating in lessons using the interactive media. Using CleverTouch, educators are given the opportunity to include interactive aspects to the lesson, this is not just a board for presenting and displaying information. The screen can be saved at any given moment to preserve an idea or keep as evidence of a students work. The screen shot can also be emailed to students and parents to continue the learning outside of the classroom. read more

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Sonos for your office

Sonos for your office

Sonos is a super smart speaker system that is controlled using an App to stream music. You can play your music from one or more speakers in multiple rooms. It takes minutes to set up, including downloading the app and you are ready to go. It looks great and takes sound quality and usability so much further than your £20 Bluetooth speaker that you thought was a good idea…

Sonos Speaker System. HardSoft ComputersThere are a wide range of speakers available from small to large, all offering the ultimate sound experience. Using multiple speakers in one location, you can create your own wider stereo sound. The system runs on either a WiFi network or dedicated Sonos network. Your speaker range will be as wide as your WiFi network dictates. If you do not have a completely reliable WiFi network, you can plug your speaker in to your router, creating a dedicated Sonos network for your office. Each Sonos speaker that you have serves as a wireless repeater to expand the range of your dedicated network. Because your Sonos speaker system runs from your WiFi and is not a Bluetooth device, you do not have to have your music source in such close range. It also means you can control multiple speakers from one device playing different music or the same on each in different rooms. You do need internet to use Sonos… it is designed to use your internet and wirelessly, WiFi to connect and play. read more

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AirWatch Mobile Device Management explained

AirWatch Mobile Device Management explained

Unknown-1MDM (Mobile Device Management) is the perfect way to configure and control content and use of  iPhone’s and iPad’s wirelessly with a single action. If you are using iPads in your business or school, you need to think about how you are going to sync and load apps to them. An MDM gives you full control over each iPad and prevents the user from downloading and deleting apps. This is a perfect solution for schools and business users with a larger rollout. If you are using a small number say to 60 devices then Apple Configurator (which is free of charge)  can be used to sync your iPads daily and quickly distribute apps. If you are using a larger number of devices and want them locked down, then you need to utilise an MDM. read more

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Surface Book vs. MacBook Pro

Surface Book vs. MacBook Pro

The new Microsoft Surface Book is going to be released in the UK on the 18th February and we are now taking pre-orders. As always, we are taking the opportunity to compare it to the Apple Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 08.57.48equivalent, and the results are surprising. Where I would usually spend the next 500 or so words bashing Microsoft, but I can only find good things to say…

I will point out here, that the Surface Book is Microsofts first laptop and must not be confused with the Surface Pro, which is a competitor to the iPad. After the success of the Surface Pro 3 and now Surface Pro 4 this seems like a natural step for Microsoft to deliver a laptop. Microsoft are so well known for their Windows 10 OS and although they have been making gaming consoles for many years this is their first move in to the laptop market. The MacBook Pro is a force to be reckoned with, in the laptop world and stands out as leader. read more

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The New HP ZBook Studio -Mac beater ?

The New HP ZBook Studio -Mac beater ?

HP ZBook Leasing HardSoft Computers

Thinner & lighter than the MacBook Retina

The new HP ZBook Studio Mobile Graphics Workstations has arrived ! … This super fast, highly anticipated laptop is bursting with exciting new features. HP are also aiming to “bring the sexy back to workstations” which is shown in this new ZBook Studios attractive and sleek design. With a 15.6″ screen and only 18mm thick, the ZBook Studio G3 is crammed full but at only 2 kilos weighs nearly the same as a MacBook Pro Retina – and is somewhat faster ! This is HP’s thinnest and lightest WMobile Workstation yet. Supporting up to 5 external displays, this laptop is perfect for graphics professionals to work on and display from. This is a powerful Workstation which is offering amazing speed and graphics for Creative professionals. Many Creatives like the feel of a Mac and are forced into a PC/Windows environment by the need to run software by Autodesk or Blackmagic. read more

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Parental Leasing of iPads for your School

Parental Leasing of iPads for your School

Want to lease iPads for your school but don’t have the funds? Have you thought about utilising our Parental lease scheme? Often called “1-2-1” our Apple iPad schemes for schools are becoming more and more popular within education and for good reason too. The statistics show that students are performing better with iPads in the classroom. Often an iPad for every student is out of the reach of too many schools – and parents and because of this, we have introduced a new Parental leasing scheme. read more

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Do you need Anti virus on a Mac ?

Do you need Anti virus on a Mac ?

Got a Mac? Thought about Virus issues ? Probably not … but you should……

Mac users, have been very lucky to avoid malware that has plagued PC users. This is because OSX is so much harder to build a Virus for. It is a huge misconception though of the Mac user that they do not need to invest in anti virus or malware solutions……

Your Mac is not immune to viruses, they have not encountered as large a number as other platforms but it does not mean they aren’t coming. With the explosion of Mac’s being bought in the consumer and business markets, it is only a matter of time until they too are targeted by the Virus creators. read more

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Focus on the HP Sprout

Focus on the HP Sprout

HP Sprout HardSoft

HP Sprout

Well I never, there has been a Blackberry, Apple Raspberry Pie and an Apricot… But I never expected a Sprout! I was wondering if it was a nod to loving or hating Brussel Sprouts but I actually think it is imagery for a sprouting idea- in to a creative tree. Although the name could be aimed at the innovative, to me, it makes it sound quite childish…

The new Hewlett Packard Sprout is an all in one computer bundled with a 3D scanner. The 3D scanner can be used to create mashed pictures, 3D prints and stop motion video’s. The new interface means that you can be really hands on when creating and using touchscreen or using the interactive mat. The computer also comes with a stylus,  bluetooth mouse and keyboard. read more

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Server RAID options explained

Server RAID options explained

When leasing a Server, our customers are usually aware that they need to state which Raid rating they require, thanks to an outside source like an IT consultant. They just do not know what it actually means. If you would like a VERY simple explaination, read on…

RAID is an acronym for Redundant Array of Independent (previously inexpensive) Disks and refers to the practice of storing the same data on multiple disks, therefore a number remain redundant (ie not used). The reason for this is reliability, availability, performance and capacity. The level of RAID you need depends on your need for each factor in conjunction with each other ! read more

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Thinking of getting BT Infinity? STOP… and call us first!

Thinking of getting BT Infinity? STOP… and call us first!

Upgrading to BT Infinity or Fibre ? Speak to us first before you end up losing the internet altogether

Thinking of updating your current Broadband to Fibre Optic? What a great idea! With BT offering up to 76Mb download speeds at great prices, why wouldn’t you? This is happening up and down the country, our customers are upgrading in their droves. We know this, because after installation, they are on the phone to us in complete despair as their networks no longer work!

Fibre Optic Broadband does not work in the same way as ADSL broadband. The existing kit that you have may not be compatible with your new service and steps need to be taken to ensure a bt infinityseamless delivery. Although a router may be provided, it will most probably not be efficient enough for your business. It is important to ensure that you have all bases covered and do not agree to a new contract and installation before you have spoken to us. We will be able to explain what you need to update in your system and why. Once you have had installation, you cannot go back. The old internet will be cut off and you cannot have it re connected immediately to carry on with your day to day business. We are striving to ensure we have companies up and running as quickly as possible but it is becoming a large drain on our technical staff and with prior planning with us we can avoid downtime. read more

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Finding the right iPad case for the Classroom

Finding the right iPad case for the Classroom

When speaking to schools about iPad leasing, a main concern is always breakages. That is why at HardSoft we offer FREE accidental damage cover on all of our iPad leases. To negate the amount of breakages schools have also took the decision to give FREE covers with all of our leases too. Deciding on which case to go with has been a long process for us, this blog will take you on our journey to help you decide which case is right for you.

GriffinTo start with, our main aim was to get the devices protected. Robust tough cases are a big market and we went with the Griffin Survivor. Retailing at around £35 this is by no means a cheap case, especially when you are supplying hundreds. The makers boast that the case protects your device when drops from a 2 meter height is weather resistant and made from heavy duty military standard protection. We have found that there are very few breakages with this case, although it has been far from perfect. When purchasing these cases we were considering our own needs, they have not translated so well in to the needs of the customer. These large rubbery cases add a lot of weight to the device. They are also dust and sand proof, therefore every port is covered with a rubbery plug. The one for the camera is fully removable, feedback was that they were quickly lost. The other port covers were difficult for little hands to remove and the the speaker one, although could be spun around to keep if off but not fully remove it, propped the device up at the end. There is a helpful kickstand supplied but this is also remove able so can be misplaced. I visited a school recently who after a year of use barely had any left. The design of the kickstand means that it can put on either side of the device but as the screen spins I do not think this is an innovative design. In conclusion, this case is great for keeping the iPad safe but a little too robust for schools. read more

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iPad Pro vs the Microsoft Surface Pro 4

iPad Pro vs the Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Microsoft announced the arrival of the Surface Pro 4 yesterday, some feel as though this device is the rival to the iPad Pro.  Here is the low down on both, you can make up your own mind. As neither are available yet, this is how the two compare on paper. The iPad Pro will be available in November although a date is yet to be announced. The Surface Pro 4 will be available in the UK on the 12th November 2015.

The Surface Pro 4 is marginally smaller than the iPad Pro. The display of the Surface is 12.3 inches whereas the iPad Pro is 12.9 inches. The Surface Pro 4 is also slightly heavier, with it’s lightest model weighing 786gms vs the iPad Pros 712gms. The magnesium silver case on the Surface has not changed from the 3 and the iPad pros aluminum case will be offered in three colours, Silver, Gold and Space Gray. read more

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Prolonging the life of your MagSafe charger

Prolonging the life of your MagSafe charger

Apple laptops are by far, in my opinion the best laptop to buy for longevity.  Their resilience to viruses and the build quality is far superior to other laptops on the market.  What I cannot understand though is why they cannot make a charger that lasts more than five minutes.  All other laptops I have owned have used the same power source and should I forget it, I can usually find something else around that uses the same adaptor.  It has never broken, although I have never had a laptop other than an Apple MacBook that lasts more than 2years. read more

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Apple iMac 5K vs Mac Pro Quad Core

Apple iMac 5K vs Mac Pro Quad Core

There’s a division of opinion on which Mac is best way to go for high level, fast processing in the graphics and video editing industries.  Our infographic outlines the clear differences between the two.    

The iMac wins hands down on cost. It’s cheaper and includes the 5K Retina 27” Display.  However there’s always a compromise, and this comes in the form of performance. The more expensive Quad Core Mac Pro has a faster CPU and graphics card, using the much faster Flash Storage.

Nevertheless, you still have to add a screen to the Mac Pro.  Some customers view this as a bonus as they can select the screen that’s right for them. read more

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How lease renewal works

How lease renewal works

Renewable flexible leases are vital for businesses that want to keep updating their equipment. Staying on top of technological advances is key to keeping up with and getting ahead of your competitors.

Similar to a mobile phone contract, when the lease nears its end, businesses can choose to renew their contracts to get something new and keep their old equipment too, or they could walk away.

Want to learn more? Read on to find out exactly how HardSoft’s lease renewal works.

How does it work?

Once you take out a lease with us, you have the option of renewing. This allows you to keep all of your equipment – the remaining rental payments will be included in the cost of the renewal. If you’d rather, you can even sell your old equipment. read more

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