Discus Systems PLC - IT Support Company in Birmingham West midlands
0800 880 3360
 


Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 14th Mar 2012

Hydrajaws have chosen Discus to provide them IT support and also provide them with a new IT solution - we thank them for their business.

Hydrajaws develop, manufacture and sell a range of portable testers and accessories for establishing the holding force of anchors and fixings in most construction materials"

 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 14th Mar 2012

How to setup a Think Grid HTTP account - Outlook 2010

Download the guide of "How to setup ThinK Grid HTTP Account - Outlook 2010" (718kb)

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 15th Feb 2012

Virtualization can be defined as one physical computer performing the same function as multiple computers.

A single highly-specified computer is loaded with special software which allows resources to be managed & shared

For example if a company has five servers their usage could be analysed as follows:

• 5 separate physical computers running 5 different tasks. (File Server, Web Server, Database server etc;)
• 5 power supplies drawing power to run those 5 machines.
• 5 different pieces of hardware containing multiple components with the potential for each one to fail.
• 5 separate machines which cannot collaborate, so lots of resource will be unused such as computer memory, processing power and storage.

With a Virtualized system a company can:

• Have many ‘virtual’ computers running simultaneously on a single physical machine
• Save money on the purchase of hardware as less computers are needed , perhaps one or two highly specified machines could replace 5 or 6 individual computers
• Consolidate management of the machines therefore saving staffing costs and time managing the system
• Reduce energy consumption as there are less computers to power
• Make much more efficient use of resources as the new machine(s) will be able to share those resources.
• Improve redundancy: a virtualized system will improve levels of redundancy, virtual machines can be restored in seconds and with multiple servers the computing load can shared between machines, a failure in one machine will not lead to the failure of any of the ‘virtualised’ computers.

Most computers operate using as little as 4-7% of their resources. In a virtualized environment greater savings can be made in power consumption, physical space and resource utilization, multiple physical machines can be consolidated into fewer machines which permits resource to be allocated efficiently thereby reducing waste, there is less hardware to go wrong and there will be a vastly improved levels of redundancy.
 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 31st Jan 2012

After upgrading one of our Mac's to Lion, we found that you can no longer mount shared folders in either direction between each other. They fail with  “Connection failed” message.

1.Go to Preferences
2.Click on Sharing
3.Click on File Sharing on the left-hand side
4.Click the Options button
5.Uncheck “Share files and folders using AFP”
6.Check “Share files and folders using SMB (Windows)”
7.Click the Done button.

All should be OK now!

 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Wed 4th Jan 2012

RIM has nearly reached a decision about stripping its co-chief executives of their other shared role as chairman of the board,according to a report.
Should the change go ahead, it could meet a key demand from angry and disillusioned investors.
It breaks the stranglehold the current CEOs and co-chairs have on the company.
The National Post newspaper, citing "sources familiar with events," said Barbara Stymiest, currently an independent member of RIM's board, is leading the race to replace Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie in the chairmanship.
RIM shares jumped more than seven per cent on investor hopes that the struggling BlackBerry maker was listening to increasingly strident demands for change.
"Any talk about an independent chairman is going to give this company a boost. It will increase the likelihood the value of this company will be unlocked," said BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis.
"It breaks the stranglehold the current CEOs and co-chairs have on the company."
But other analysts doubted Stymiest, if named to the chairmanship, would actually assume the transformational role that activist shareholders are calling for.
Lazaridis and Balsillie, RIM's second and third-largest shareholders with a little more than five per cent of the stock apiece, are currently in the unusual position of sharing the two top-tier positions, as chairman and as CEO.
They have resisted large-scale change so far, even as investor pressures mounted as the shares tumbled 75 per cent last year after a series of profit warnings, and the botched launch and dismal sales of its PlayBook tablet computer.
RIM, which is also facing a slump in BlackBerry sales in the important US market, on Tuesday extended its steep discounting of the PlayBook, offering each of the three storage sizes at a flat $299 until early February.
A 16 GB version initially sold for $499, matching the price of Apple's popular iPad, while the 64GB version was $699. RIM sold around 850,000 PlayBooks from its launch in April until late in November, a tiny fraction of iPad sales.
Looking at options
The precipitous RIM share-price drop in 2011 prompted calls by some analysts and investors for RIM to consider strategic alternatives such as a split or an outright sale of the company.
Sources told Reuters last month that Amazon.com and other suitors had considered making a bid for RIM, but the board wanted to focus on a turnaround instead.
RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario-based, in June agreed to study its unusual corporate structure and report back to investors by the end of January.
RIM did not respond directly to the National Post report, but said a committee of its seven independent directors was on track to deliver recommendations by 31 January. That committee includes Stymiest, who has sat on the RIM board since 2007 and who is one of Canada's most successful businesswomen.
Analysts were not sure if Stymiest could herald the more radical change activist investors want if she took over as chair, or if such a change would just be more window-dressing at a company that has earned a reputation for over-promising and under-delivering.
"She's being thrust into the limelight to appease shareholders. It doesn't really do much for me personally," said Matthew Thornton, an analyst at Avian Securities in Boston. "This one action doesn't solve anything, in my mind," he said.
Trained as an accountant, Stymiest was a partner at Ernst & Young, then chief financial officer of Bank of Montreal's Nestbitt Burns investment bank before becoming head of the Toronto Stock Exchange in 1999.
In her five years as chief executive of Canada's largest stock market, she shepherded the bourse through one of the most transformative periods in its 150-year history.
She brought the exchange public in 2002, expanded the company into bond and energy trading, and acquired the resource-focused Canadian Venture Exchange, making the Toronto exchange a mining and energy powerhouse.
Notably for RIM investors and customers weary of BlackBerry network outages, Stymiest put an end to an embarrassing series of technical glitches that had plagued the exchange after it went electronic in 1997.
Stymiest left the exchange late in 2004 to become chief operating officer at Royal Bank of Canada, making her the apparent front-runner to eventually replace CEO Gord Nixon as the first female bank CEO in Canada.
But Stymiest appeared to lose influence at the bank, and was shifted to a lesser executive role in 2009. She left RBC, the country's largest lender, last year.
RIM shares were eight per cent higher at $15.67 on the Nasdaq and up seven per cent at C$15.83 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.


Alastair Sharp, Cameron French and Sinead Carew

 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Wed 21st Dec 2011

Amazon and others attempted to buy RIM, only to be turned down because the BlackBerry maker prefers to fix its problems on its own, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Amazon hired an investment bank this summer to review a potential merger with RIM, but it did not make a formal offer, said one of the sources. It is not clear whether informal discussions between Amazon and RIM ever led to specific price talk, or who else had approached RIM about a takeover.
RIM's board wants co-chief executives Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie to focus on trying to turn around the business through the launch of new phones, better use of assets such as BlackBerry Messaging and restructuring, two sources said. They did not want to be identified as the discussions are private. RIM and Amazon declined to comment.
While RIM could strike technology licensing deals and other kinds of commercial partnerships to boost revenue, an outright sale or joint venture is not on the cards for now, they said.
"They have had approaches from folks who have wanted to have discussions," said one head of technology investment banking at a Wall Street bank. "The issue is it is hard to find a value that makes sense with a falling knife."
Battered shares in the Canadian smartphone maker jumped 10 per cent in after-hours Nasdaq trade after the Reuters report.
RIM's market value has plunged 77 per cent in the last 12 months to about $6.8 billion following a series of disappointing quarterly reports, delayed phone launches, weak sales of the PlayBook tablet and other missteps. The shares tumbled last week on weaker-than-expected quarterly results and the announcement of a delay in the launch of the new BlackBerry 10 phones.
A RIM investor who declined to be named said the company was now essentially on the block.
"This story puts RIM in play, because shareholders are going to put it in play," the US-based investor said. "It's over. This is now a company where the activists are in charge."
Activist shareholder Jaguar Financial Corp has called for a sale of RIM as a whole or in separate parts, such as the handset business, the network services operation, or the patent portfolio.
But RIM's management has told interested parties they do not want to sell or break up the company at this juncture, the sources told Reuters. After last week's news, the board instructed the co-CEOs to set aside any options for a sale, one person briefed on the situation said.
"Selling the company or an economic joint venture is probably not in the cards right now," said the source. "Until you stabilize the platform, people are going to be very nervous about spending $10 billion or more."
Some potential corporate and private equity suitors are holding out for RIM's valuation to fall further, people familiar with the matter said.
Amazon, RIM still in discussions?
Amazon and RIM are still discussing ways to expand their commercial ties, which currently include a service launched last year to make Amazon's music catalog available to some BlackBerry users, according to the sources.
Amazon launched the Kindle Fire tablet in November, which, along with the content the company can package with it, is seen as a potentially formidable contender to Apple's iPad and iTunes store. Amazon does not make smartphones.
As for RIM, it feels it could better leverage its assets, such as the BBM instant messaging and the network operation centers that allow for messages to be processed, the sources said.
RIM could also look at licensing out its QNX operating system after the late 2012 launch of BlackBerry 10, which will be the first smartphones using that software, to give handset makers an alternative to Google's Android operating system.
Distraction
RIM's co-CEOs have spent months listening to ideas from investment bankers, strategic parties and private equity firms. These discussions are now viewed as distracting for management, sources briefed on the situation said.
One of them said the board has backed both Lazaridis and Balsillie, but is of the view RIM needs to develop a "deeper bench" of executives.
Spurred by RIM's share drop and Google's $12.5 billion bid for Motorola Mobility in August, Wall Street bankers have tried to pitch RIM to other mobile phone makers, including Samsung and HTC, in recent months.
Microsoft also looked at RIM at the same time, said one of the sources. Microsoft declined to comment.
But HTC and Samsung already have licensing agreements with Google's Android and did not see the value in tying up with BlackBerry, people familiar with the companies said. Samsung and HTC declined to comment.
 

Nadia Damouni

 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Wed 21st Dec 2011

Hillingdon Council today announced it would be moving over to a cloud model, using Google’s Apps for Business.

The local authority first announced plans to pioneer the Government move to the cloud in the summer, following a successful server virtualisation implementation and talk of desktop virtualisation project as well.

However, it only released a statement today confirming the Software as a Service (SaaS) model from Google for productivity apps was its next step on the cloud journey, with claims of almost £3 million in savings over the next four years as a result.

"Going with Google makes the most sense for Hillingdon economically and it will enable us to realise the tremendous opportunities afforded by cloud computing,” said Councillor Jonathan Bianco, the cabinet member for finance, property and business services at Hillingdon.

"Doing this means we're ahead of the curve in anticipating the changes in technology over the coming years.”

The migration process will be carried out by Google App reseller Cloudreach. Unfortunately this is where the pay as you go model falls down, as the company won a tender for a four year contract with the council. There is also the option to extend by two one year periods.

But all 3,500 employees at the council should me moved to the new web-based system early next year, which Hillingdon hopes will help with better collaboration in-house, as well as giving more opportunities for remote working.

"Simply, it makes both financial and business transformational sense to make the change," added Bianco.

Other local councils have run pilots of cloud schemes, such as Warwickshire County Council, which won Cloud Pro’s Cloud Initiative of the Year award for its implementation of Gmail.

However, Hillingdon claims to be the first council to sign up to a full on contract and throw themselves fully into cloud SaaS.

Jennifer Scott

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 19th Dec 2011

** Updated ** - 05/06/2018.

 

Some of you may remember a while back this lovely little deal from Fujitsu-Siemens (now Fujitsu)

"Fujistu-Siemens in the UK has recently announced their Lifebooks4Life program, which at first sounds a bit like some sort of gang tattoo, but turns out to be a new program that entitles you to a new laptop of the same value (adjusted 10 percent for inflation) every three years for the rest of your life. Granted, you'll be obliged to purchase a three year warranty with each new machine, and the machine must remain in warranty (you know what that means -- no cheap, off-brand RAM upgrades and absolutely no mods). But still -- a new notebook every three years for the price of a warranty? This doesn't sound like a disaster waiting to happen. Not at all. And one more caveat: you can't pass this contract on to your next of kin. Those of you in high-risk professions -- Dare Devils, Soldiers of Fortune, and contributing editors at Engadget -- might want to pass this one up."

I'm sure some of you are looking to Claim your Lifebook for Life... but have found that the website such as...

http://www.fujitsu-siemens.co.uk/lifebook4life/

http://www.lifebook4lifeclaims.co.uk/

No longer actually work!

Fear not... we've done some digging for you and to claim your Lifebook4Life all you have to do to get your Lifebook for Life Claim Resolved is contact a company called Opia./ Trojan Electronics - http://www.trojan-electronics.co.uk/

eMail: help@lifebook4lifeclaims.co.uk or call 0845 094 9493
 

Best of luck with your new laptop - one slight catch, you need to pay for a full price warranty and it must be in warranty.

Good luck!

**Update** - 13/01/2012

You'll need wipe the laptop back to factory shipped (with the recovery disks)
They'll send you a postage note to post it back (so postage is free)
They inspect & test it for 30 days.
They then determine if its in good condition and also whether you'll get another one.

This is no way as easy as you might think - there are a lot of hoops and many places to catch you out.

**Update** - 31/07/2012

You'll also recieve a letter which might confuse things stating that you need to return the next one within a 15 day window otherwise you invalidate your claim.

So basically in conclusion you have to be really on your game to get your new laptop - sure they'll give you one but make sure you have your wits about you.

**Update** 05/06/2018

This offer is still going but it is very strict on the window, you still email help@lifebook4lifeclaims.co.uk keep in mind you'll need to return your old laptop, wait for inspection which can take anything up to 8/10 weeks and then wait another significant amount of time for the replacement to be shipped. They appear to be very loose on the original spec so you may get sent a very different machine to the original standard you purchased. Some win.. some lose. If you want to fight it out they will consider your opinion.

For example a customer of ours sent in a Fujitsu Lifebook E751 (7 series) and they replaced with  Fujitsu Lifebook E448

256Gb SSD Hard drive as opposed to the 500Gb hard drive
A smaller display. 14 inch instead of 15.6 inches.
No CD/DVD read/writer
No separate number keypad
No finger print reader
No docking station
No anytime USB Charge

 

 

 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Fri 16th Dec 2011

Thank you for 2011!

 

Just to let you know... you're covered this Christmas! - Although the helpdesk will be eating mince pies & drinking sherry on the...

26th December 2011
27th December 2011
2nd January 2012

So we'll be wont be covering you on these days...

We'd just like to say Merry Christmas & We hope you have a great 2012

Service Level Agreement for support quality over the festive season
 


Discus Systems stresses that any SLA that addresses technical support should be very specific about the
quality of the technical support personnel. Speaking of the all-embracing help desk, SLA's for technical support can
be suspect. Companies have been known to hire inmates from prisons, mentally unstable people, and other marginally employable people,
anyone who will take constant abuse for £4 hour:
 


Not Discus we have Dave, Damien Andy & Martyn!


Andy Guy


Damien Biddulph


David Calvert


Martyn Harrison

 


Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!    


 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Thu 15th Dec 2011

The European Branch of Nishikawa Rubber Co have once again chosen Discus to implement, install & configure their new computer systems in their European branch.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Nishikawa for their continued custom and look forward to many years ahead.

 You can find Nishikawa at...

Nishikawa Rubber Co.
Unit 4 Park Farm Barns,
Chester Road,
Stonebridge,
Nr Meriden,
Warwickshire,
CV7 7TL UK

TEL 44(167)693-7510



 
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