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Posts from November, 2017


Latest Popular Smartphones Significantly Dip in Drop Test Performance

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

After years of improving smartphone glass durability, a shift design is bringing back the perils of dropping the device only to discover the glass has cracked on impact. The newly released iPhone 8 and iPhone X aren’t doing well in drop tests, with screens breaking relatively easily. A “drop test” measures the durability of a device by dropping it on a hard surface and gauging the damage.

However, this isn’t a sign that Apple has made a design flaw, but rather a reflection of industry design trends taking away protection where material durability improvements can’t compensate. The full-front-screen-equipped Samsung Galaxy S8 performed abysmally in drop tests as well.

On Smartphone Productivity

Cutting-edge smartphones are a great way to increase productivity in the workplace as the faster performance and new features lend themselves to better problem-solving. However, implementing a device that is prone to breaking means employees will hesitate to use it over damage fears or won’t use it at all because it’s broken.

Why is this Happening?

Two design trends can take the blame for screen cracking:

  1. Newer phones are using glass on the rear of the device in addition to the front to enable wireless charging. This doubles the amount of glass on the device.
  2. The “bezel wars,” or the push to shrink borders and increase screen size, are eliminating the amount of material on the device itself that can absorb impact damage.

While modern smartphones are using increasingly durable glass, the increase in total glass used and lack of side protection make the devices vulnerable to fall damage. However, the more durable glass is doing very well in scratch and bend tests.

The Dollars and “Sense” of Repairs

The good news is the glass is a repairable component; the bad news is the repairs can quickly approach device replacement costs. There are three options for a repair; which one to go with varies on experience and severity of the damage:

  1. Manufacturer Repair or RMA
  2. Independent Repair Shop
  3. DIY

The cost and complexity of a front vs. rear glass repair can vary greatly depending on the phone. For example, replacing the rear glass on the Galaxy S7 will run a person about $70 professionally or can be done for around $20 in 45 minutes by a modestly skilled DIYer. Comparatively, a Galaxy S7 front screen and glass repair runs about $190 from an independent shop. The iPhone X is different, with Apple charging $279 for a front display replacement and $549 for a rear glass replacement. The front screen replacement costs are in line with each other, while the rear glass replacement costs are dramatically different.

How can I Protect my Investment?

Fortunately, your business can take a few safeguards to avoid having to replace the device:

  1. Get a protective case and require its use
  2. Get an extended warranty or device care package

Is your business using the right technology for the job and the right accessories to get the most out of those devices? The IT Consulting experts at MPA can help your business increase productivity by getting the most out of tech. Contact us today!

Don’t Neglect Surge Protectors in Your Workplace

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

Businesses use surge protectors every day without thinking about them; however, they are an incredibly important piece of technology that can make the difference between a $20.00 and a $2,000.00 equipment replacement. While uncommon, a power surge can wreak havoc on computers, monitors, TV screens, smartphones, printers, routers, and any device connected to a power supply. Making sure your office devices are properly protected at the outlet is an efficient way to avoid a potential disaster recovery situation.

What is a Power Surge and What Does a Surge Protector Do?

A power surge, also known as a voltage surge, occurs when a power source delivers an increased voltage for more than three nanoseconds. Surges can occur from a wide range of events including lightning strikes, power grid problems, massive static electricity discharge, or a change in the building’s electric flow. A surge protector is a device that diverts extra electricity out through the grounding pin on its plug so that the higher voltage doesn’t reach any connected devices, thus avoiding damage.

Best Practices

It’s very easy for employees to fall into the habit of not using the proper protective practices for workplace devices. However, it is important to use the devices because the minimal upkeep costs mitigate risk for expensive damages.

  • Choose the Right Features: Not all surge protectors are created equal; look for features like indicator lights, a UL rating (just having one rules out poorly constructed models), a clamping voltage under 400 volts, a joule rating of at least 600, and a minimal 1 nanosecond response time.
  • Have Enough Available Outlets and Keep Spares on Hand: Preemptively avoid having employees plug devices directly into wall sockets by making sure the surge protectors in use at workstations, desks, and other electronic devices are at locations that have a handful of free outlets. Keep a few spare surge protectors available just in case.
  • Don’t Keep Splitters in Your Office: Power strips and surge protectors look very similar but have an extremely important difference: power strips are adapters that increase the number of available outlets for electronic devices and do not offer any voltage increase protection. If you have any in use, replace them.
  • Don’t Daisy Chain: Do not connect surge protectors to other surge protectors, as this won’t provide any additional protection. Instead, it’s just more likely to cause a short.
  • Connect Laptops and Smartphones to Surge Protectors: While devices that have their own built-in power source offer a small degree of voltage regulation protection, a surge protector is still necessary to protect these devices while charging spike. A substantial surge can still break these devices.
  • Uninterruptible Power Source Alternative: A UPS device, also known as a battery backup, can be used in place of a surge protector for devices like desktop computers. These will also keep the devices working for a brief time in the event of a power outage.
  • Replace Surge Protectors When Necessary: Some surge protectors have an indicator light that will tell you if the device has broken; replace these immediately. Protectors without indicator lights should be replaced if they are known to have deflected a substantial surge or are several years old.

The IT consulting experts at MPA Networks are ready to help your business keep its computer investment protected from harm.  Contact us today to learn more.

Problems with Power Loss: Tips for Workplace Computer Battery Backups

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

It’s inevitable: employees working hard on a time-consuming project and then out of nowhere, the lights start to flicker and the power goes out. Suddenly, those workers express their frustration by pulling out their hair because they’ve just lost hours’ worth of work. In addition to being portable, laptop computers have a major advantage over their desktop counterparts: they can still work when the power goes out. Fortunately, battery backup devices also referred to as uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), keep desktop computers running even when the power isn’t working like their more portable counterparts.

What is a UPS?

A UPS is a battery-powered device that resembles a large surge protector designed to provide a continuous flow of electricity to any devices it plugs into. This provides protection from changes in the power flow including surges where too much power comes through, complete power loss when no power comes through, and fluctuations where the amount of provided power is insufficient to keep everything running. In short, UPS devices provide short-term disaster recovery.

Why You Need Protection from the Unpredictable

Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to predict when the power is going to fail. Occasionally, a powerful storm might blow through your area which increases the risk that the power will fail, but it’s no guarantee. Your office could experience 100 intense storms and never lose power, but then lose power for hours on a sunny, bright day because a strong wind gust knocked down a power line.

Installing a UPS device between a desktop computer and a power outlet can minimize power loss risk.

UPS Features

  • Types: There are two types of UPS devices: “standby” and “online.” Standby devices will switch on as soon as a power interruption is detected; however, there will be a several millisecond lag so that the computer may or may not avoid shutting down. Online UPS devices run the power to charge the battery and then continuously power the computer from the battery itself. Online UPS devices will not interrupt power until the battery is depleted.
  • Capacity: When selecting a UPS, you need to make sure the UPS is powerful enough to run your computer. Battery life can vary greatly depending on the UPS device capacity and how much wattage the computer will draw. Some devices can keep the computer running for hours, while others only a few minutes. Depending on the capacity, the UPS may serve as a “save now, shut down” backup or provide the ability to continue working.
  • Slots: The UPS has a specific amount of power outlets built in, so make sure it has enough to run the bare minimum. Do not be afraid to let non-essential devices like a second monitor or printers lose power.

Note: While laptop devices don’t need a UPS to keep running during a power outage, they still should be connected to a surge protector when charging to prevent device damage from power flow irregularity.

The IT consulting experts at MPA Networks are ready to help your business find strategies like adding UPS devices to desktop computers in order to increase productivity and avoid potential disasters. Contact us today to learn more!