Welcome to the June edition of The Discus Diviner.
This month, we touch on the problem of what to do with those old PCs. The IT Support Guy finds himself back in school and gets a shock, and Damien offers some tips on how to secure your Blackberry.
And we announce 'Fast Start', our service for newly incorporated companies and those moving offices.
Next month, there will be an opportunity for you to win a Kindle 3G! Don't miss the July edition!
The IT Support Guy
It's a long time since Victor last set foot in a school. Memories of sweaty feet, bleach, and long echoing corridors flooded back the instant he crossed the threshold of Crow Lane Primary.
His company recently signed a contract to support the school's servers - quite a coup as it was in competition with the Local Education Authority. Apparently the headmaster hadn't taken too kindly to the news that the LEA's IT support function was to be outsourced offshore.
The call came through first thing that morning, from the panicky school secretary. None of the computers could access the internet.
'What's that, mate?'
Victor turns round and looks into the face of a boy, blue eyes big as golf balls in the lenses of his black-framed spectacles. No higher than Victor's waist, the kid's gelled hair sticks out like Dennis the Menace.
'This?' Victor opens his hand, revealing the Blackberry.
'It's a phone.'
The kid's eyes narrow. 'No, it isn't. Phones don't look like that.'
'This one does.'
'Has it got a camera?'
A smirk crosses the kid's face as he takes an iPhone 4 out of his pants pocket. 'Mine does. Five megapixels. Can yours do this?' He turns the phone in his hand and the image on it flips from portrait to landscape.
'No,' says Victor.
'That means it hasn't got a three-axis giro.' He leans closer to Victor. 'What are you doing?'
'Fixing your school's server - that's this big computer. There's a problem with the internet.'
'There's nothing wrong with the internet.'
'It's Mister Fiddler. He changed the IP address of the gateway. I tried pinging it from my laptop but it wouldn't.'
Victor's jaw heads for his chest. 'You know about pinging?'
The kid's eyebrows knot like spaghetti. 'Who doesn't? Except maybe Mister Fiddler.''
'Look, who's Mister Fiddler?'
'He's the Headmaster.'
NEXT MONTH: Victor goes to the Villa
Dains wins coveted award
A key customer of Discus Systems, Dains Corporate Finance, was presented with the coveted 'Deal of the Year' award at this year's East Midlands Dealmakers awards dinner for acting as lead adviser on the investment in Nottingham-based Trekmates, a manufacturer of outdoor clothing.
The dinner, promoted by Insider magazine, showcases and celebrates the outstanding achievements of the region's professional community. The awards are voted on by accountants, lawyers, investors and bankers from across the Midlands region.
The winning deal, which was completed in early 2011, was led, structured and managed by Dains and saw Enterprise Ventures invest alongside debt facilities from Coop Bank as part of an £8.7m deal.
The deal was declared by the judges to be 'the clear winner this year'.
Any old iron?
The original PC, the IBM 5150, was introduced to the world on August 12, 1981.
In June 1997, a mere 16 years later, a study titled Disposition and End-of-Life Options for Personal Computers predicted that nearly 150 million computers would be recycled by 2005, a goodly proportion ending their life in landfill.
Given the rate of change computer technology experiences, a huge number become obsolete each year. This growing number of end-of-life machines has become, and will continue to be, a disposal problem.
Thankfully, there is a solution.
Companies like Birmingham-based Environmental Computer Recycling and Removals Limited are dedicated to collecting and recycling computers and other electronic devices.
Environmental's Glenn Wallin says, 'No longer can you simply throw an old PC or printer in a skip. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations mandate hazardous materials and components are removed from the equipment and separately treated, in accordance with prescribed standards and procedures. We ensure those standards and procedures are followed.'
Discus Systems announces 'Flying Start'
Newly incorporated companies and those making an office move can take advantage of 'Flying Start', another of Discus Systems' innovative service offerings.
"Computerisation of a new office can present a challenge even to an established business," says Dayle Biddulph. "There are so many suppliers involved that it needs an experienced hand to project manage the installation. The last thing a company wants is to be a progress chaser. Having moved ourselves only last year, we know from experience how to handle a project in the most effective manner."
Discus Systems was founded in 1997 to meet the demand from small and medium-sized businesses in our local area for IT support and service. Originally based in Coleshill to the south-east of Birmingham, in 2010 we expanded beyond the capability of our offices and moved to prestigious new premises in Hampton in Arden, Solihull. From here, we are ideally located to solve computer problems for both new and existing customers in Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield, Tamworth, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Bromsgrove and Redditch.
The ethos of our company is based on the philosophy of Terry Biddulph, founder and Managing Director:
"Many of our customers have been doing business with us for as long as I care to remember. They value our commercial flexibility, high quality day-to-day support, expert project delivery and well-considered strategic advice. What matters to them is the same as what matter to us; the provision of a responsive service for solving their computer problems that represents excellent value for money.
For small businesses that rely on the internet and information technology, the challenge is one of balancing competing interests. In a tough economy, 'a penny saved is a penny earned'. At Discus, we constantly look for ways to save our customers' money without compromising quality. A recent example is our hosted telephony service. By employing this we can guarantee a saving of 15% on their call charges, with an annual 30% saving on their telephone bill a possibility.
In order to do this we have to keep abreast of a rapidly changing technology, and use our experience and judgement of what is good and what is not. That is why people are happy to deal with us. They trust in the advice and guidance they receive. We are happy to do this as it brings benefits to both parties."
Discus Systems provides a wide range of supporting services for IT, from installation, communications, networking, security, telephony, to onsite and remote support.
Thank you for reading June's issue of The Discus Diviner.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any comments or criticisms.