Creative Computer Solutions Blog
This is CCSI's Company Blog Space

Jul
19

Had a really great staff meeting last week.  We did our Technology Sharing session to start off the meeting.  Here are some of the technologies of interest.

Gary Armstrong introduced us to a technology that none of us had seen before.  It was a printer and scanner that was built into the monitor http://www.yankodesign.com/2010/11/25/print-that-screen-literally/

 Jon Webb Brought us an article from Popular Science on laser power systems. http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-07/ground-air-laser-power-system-keeps-stalker-uas-aloft-two-straight-days

 Todd Johnson brought us an interesting study on non-secure passwords.  Pretty interesting what some of the most hackable passwords were http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57470878-83/yahoo-breach-swiped-passwords-by-the-numbers/

 Jim Finicle showed us another file sharing alternative.  There are so many out there now.  The trick for us is to pick the best of breed and add value to the solution for our clients. https://www.cubby.com/

 Travis Griggs contributed two new topic.  One was a demo of the new Windows 8 phone and Vixo.

http://www.techradar.com/videos/android-jelly-bean-vs-ios-6-vs-windows-phone-8-0Sy88RsjvX7BZ?ns_campaign=related&ns_mchannel=hl&ns_source=techradar&ns_linkname=0&ns_fee=0

 http://vixo.com/

Gusti Williams  shared a recipe with the group

Pan-seared Salmon with a Tangy Thai Sauce

This salmon recipe is melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Fillets or steaks of marinated salmon are pan-fried, searing in the flavors and omega-3 goodness of the fish. The salmon is then served with a tangy Thai lemongrass-honey sauce that marries perfectly with salmon’s natural flavors. A healthy, low-fat, and extremely delicious recipe that can be made in under 30 minutes and is a great everyday dinner entree that even your kids will love.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: SERVES 2-4

Ingredients:

• 2-4 salmon fillets (if making more, double the marinade/sauce) – if frozen, thaw in a bowl of cool water

• 1-3 Tbsp. canola oil (or other vegetable oil) for frying

• MARINADE/SAUCE:

• 1/2 cup rice vinegar (or substitute white vinegar or apple cider vinegar)

• 1/4 cup honey

• 4 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 fresh red chili, minced or finely sliced, OR substitute 1/2 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper

• 1 Tbsp. fish sauce (available in tall bottles at Asian/Chinese food stores)

• 1 Tbsp. soy sauce

• 1 tsp. dark soy sauce (or substitute I extra Tbsp. regular soy sauce)

• 1 Tbsp. minced lemon grass (see link for lemongrass tips)

GARNISH:

• a handful of fresh coriander or flat-leaf parsley

Preparation:

1. To make the marinade/sauce, place all marinade ingredients together in a saucepan over

Stir as you bring the sauce to a boil.

2 Reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer for l minute uncovered,  The sauce will gradually thicken (the smell of the vinegar is rather pungent as it cooks). When marinade/sauce has thickened, place in the refrigerator or freezer to cool for 5 minutes.
3. Place salmon fillets in a flat-bottomed pan or casserole dish (so that fillets aren’t piled on top of each other). When the sauce/marinade has cooled instead of hot), spoon 2 Tbsp. over each fillet. 1 per side, slathering it over the flesh (reserve the remaining sauce for later). Marinate in the refrigerator 10 minutes or up to 24 hours.

4. Place a frying pan or wok on medium-high heat, allowing it to warm up for at least 1 minute before adding the oil (this will help prevent the fish from sticking).

5. When pan is hot, add 1-2 Tbsp. oil, lifting and turning the pan to distribute evenly. Now place fillets in the pan.

6. Allow salmon to fry at least 2 minutes undisturbed before turning. If you turn the fish too soon, it will stick. Instead, allow it to “sear”, and it will come freely away from the bottom of the pan.

7. Fry the fish 3-5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish. Salmon is done when inner flesh is no longer transparent. For faster cooking, cover fish while it’s frying.

8. To serve: arrange on a serving platter or plates. Spoon a little of the sauce over each fillet. Place the rest in a side dish and serve as a dipping sauce (it can be re-heated or served at room temperature).

9. Serve with Thai jasmine rice, potatoes, or salad. If you want to spice things up, serve it with my Nam Prik Pao Chili Sauce Recipe on the side. Enjoy!

 

Jun
27

One of the challenges we have had with storing files and company information in the cloud was what would happen if the internet went down at the office.  How would everyone work.  Would they go home for the day, clean the kitchen at the office, do filing, or clean off one’s desk.  Not a great option for any busy office.  To be that dependent up on a weak internet link was not acceptable from any stretch of the imagination.

Then recently several providers have come up with new technologies that provide a local cache of the company documents at the client location.  This is much like what a proxy server in the old days used to do with web site information.  Local copies of frequently used files were stored on a local server, and served up locally from the web proxy server.

Enter the Hybrid Cloud

The Hybrid cloud offers the best of both worlds.  You have your files securely stored in the cloud and you have a local copy at your office.  This can be in the form of  small hard drive device in your office, or on the hard drives of the computers in the office.  There are huge benefits in this approach in that files are on your local network and you get fast access and that you are not reliant upon the Internet to access your files.  Should the Internet go offline, you still have your files.  When the Internet Connection is restored, the system will upload your changes to the web.

 

Creative Computer Solutions will soon be rolling out the CCSI Hybrid Cloud solution to some of our current clients and to new ones as well.  We feel that with the new Hybrid Cloud, we are ready to come to market with a viable solutions that meets and exceeds many client needs.

For more information and a demo of the CCSI Hybrid Cloud, contact us at our Offices in Vancouver Washington.  Our phone number is 360-944-5111.  Ask for Kirk or Scott

Creative Computer Solutions, Inc.

Mar
01

We have been doing a 5 minute Technology Sharing topic at the beginnings of each of our staff meetings where all of our staff brings in one new tech topic to each of our staff meetings. 

In our February meeting, Gusti Williams shared http://preyproject.com/ with us.  It is a way to keep an eye on your laptop if it is stolen, and hopefully recover it.  Check out the video here http://vimeo.com/18728980

Gary Armstrong shared Joimme.com, Chrome to Phone and Site to phone that will allow a person using a phone to immediately share the content with other people via text message.

Travis shared http://www.screenconnect.com/

Korean researchers have developed in an app prototype which makes reading e-books more like flicking through the pages of the real thing.  http://www.screenconnect.com/

John Banes showd us the Buxton Collection

Jon Web shared the Quad Rotor Robots from uPenn.  A video can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YQIMGV5vtd4

Apr
22

This morning Shari and I visited the Clark County Skills Center for a breakfast meeting. We had a great breakfast. I had the special for $2.00 of two eggs, two bacon and two pancakes and Shari had the Ham and Cheese omelet. The kids had amazing service skills, cooking preparation and it was really tasty. For more infomation about the Clark County Skills Center “A Touch of Class” Program, visit them on the web at http://www.ccskillscenter.com/restaurant.html

Apr
16

Well gang, this was my first experience with the Andoid operating system and I found it to be pretty cool.  The interface is sharp and yes, there is an app for everything, just like on my iPad.

I found that I kept trying to do stuff that I could do with my iPad, but could not.  With the 1 week eval unit that I had, I didn’t have time to find work arounds for stuff like being able to screen capture the screen to a jpeg, or could not copy photos by just holding my finger on the photo like I do all of the time with my iPad.  But I am sure that if I had the unit long enough, I could figure out how to do everything you can with an iPad.

I think that what I discovered for the most part is that the iPad is great for people with an iPhone and an Android is perfect for people with an android phone.  I think that where people will get frustrated is when they have the newer Android OS like honecomb on their tablet, and they cannot get that same os, or it’s features,  it on their phone.  Make sure and pair up your phone OS with your tablet, or it might be a little frustrating.

That is all for now.  I am going to get an iPad 2 next to review.

Cheers,

Scott

Apr
14

I recently purchased a uc320w Cisco phone system for our office.

It is an easy install and seems to be well supported by Cisco.  We previously had a Microsoft Response Point System, that was abandoned by Microsoft, and wanted to move into a supported product.  We were looking for a product that our customers would love.

Cisco announced the uc320w March 1, 2011.  Creative Computer Solutions was an early adopter of the system.    I purchased a base unit, switch and 15 phones.  It is installed and working today in our office.

I feel that the uc320w phone system will be  a great system when it matures.  It needs some TLC from it’s design team to make it a truly unique product in the market.  In it’s current iteration, it is nothing more than a simple phone system that rings on your desk.  (It does have that cool Cisco “TV Show 24” ring)

It would be really great is someone would come out with a “Small Business” phone system at an affordable price for small business.

Small business seems to be left in the dust much of the time, due to their size. They are expected to use older technologies, older telco thought processes, and phone systems with older thinking.

My suggestion for the Cisco Marketing and Sales team is to get in a room with some real “Small Business” people, “Small Business Technologists” and “Creative Thinkers” and design a phone system that is amazing.

A phone system that does everything you could imagine. Can you even imagine what would happen to the small business phone system market. If Cisco, or some other vendor, would come out with a truly revolutionary low cost phone system that does everything, does it well, and is forward thinking in it’s approach. Imagine everyone using the Cisco name as a benchmark in it’s thinking. The small business industry could begin thinking about Cisco as we all do with Apple products like the iPhone, iPad other products.

With the uc320w, it is clearly a follower product at this time.  It really does not do anything special. What if it did. What if it could do follow me, direct email integration with exchange, distinctive ring, What if it could… Be the leader in small business communications. To do what no other company does for small business. To be so entrenched in the media that people are calling us and asking us to sell them the Cisco Small Business Solutions.  I want marketing directed at a product that makes my customers ask me for “The Cisco” phone system.

What if…

Scott Huotari, President / Owner

Creative Computer Solutions

360-944-5111

Nov
02

Day one of the #HTG Orlando conference. Great content and it it really cool catching up with all of the other HTGers.

It is so amazing to see how much we have all grown since our company, Creative Computer Solutions first joined over two years ago.

I was in a meeting today, and to recall that Jamieson West, with JWCS was only 2.5 employees just a few years ago.

I am so proud to be a part of the awesome group of computer service professionals, owners and managers.

Cheers y’all

Scott

Oct
05

As an owner of a Small Computer Consulting company I enjoy playing with new technology.  When new tech toys come out, I most likely one of those “early adopters”   I get the product, I run it through its paces, and often get bored pretty quickly.

Yesterday, my computer died.  It was like the old story about the mechanic that drives the beat up Audi.  My computer was 4 years old, and I kept it running.   I patched it, and babied it and kept it running for a long time without a rebuild.  I knew that if I didn’t keep it going, I would have to spend days rebuilding and reinstalling all my programs.  So I put up with it’s little nuances and slow speed.    Just to avoid the day it would take to get a new computer up and running.

Yesterday… Dead computer.  Luckily I had a new computer here that was not being used.  I installed Windows 7 on it, got office Installed, Outlook set up and Quickbooks installed.  OH MY GOD.  It is screaming fast.  I think I am in love with my computer again…  Why did I wait so long…

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I was compelled to blog this, since so many of us spend hours waiting on slow computers or putting up with issues that we should not have to.  With the newer, faster computer I can be more productive, and not have to wait any longer.  Just booting up the computer this morning was lightening fast, programs opened in a blink, and I sit here wondering if I saved anything in the long run.  Probably not…

Scott

Oct
04

Microsoft Research put out an update on what they are working around the Surface, SecondLight and Lightspace technologies.  This is some very cool, forward thinking stuff.  Imagine this in your home, your office etc.  You have a document at work.  You put it in your hand, and when you get home, you “Hand It” to your home computer.  No more emailing a document to yourself, Putting it on a USB key, or CDROM disk.  Just put it in your hand… 

You could also hand a recipe to a co-worker, they could carry it home and drop it on the PC in their kitchen.

Very cools stuff.  http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/04/microsoft-lightspace-brings-surface-plus-shadows-to-any-table/  There is also a background video showing some of the tech behind the new tech.

Aug
04

Remember when we were all kids, and we saw an old movie with the gals of the USO, singing and dancing and entertaining the troops.  Well they are still aroung and kicking at www.uso.org.  I was sending them a check this AM, and wondered how many other people know what they do for our troops overseas.  One program is called Operation Care package.  Here is the jest of that program. 

OPERATION USO CARE PACKAGE

Due to the threat of anthrax following Sept. 11, 2001, the Department of Defense suspended its practice of forwarding letters and packages from the American public to “Any Service Member.” In its place, the USO initiated Operation USO Care Package as a way for the American public to show its support for the troops.

  • The program is the only one of its kind endorsed by the White House and the Department of Defense because of its adherence to security codes.
  • Major corporate sponsors include American Airlines, AT&T, Avon, Bass Pro Shops, Countrywide Financial, Jack Daniels, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.
  • The public can make monetary donations only.  A $25 donation will sponsor a package for a service member who is either deployed or is en route to an overseas assignment.
  • Packages contain items requested by the troops.Each package contains, at a minimum, a 100-minute prepaid international phone card, a disposable camera, toiletries and sunscreen.The packages weigh approximately 2 lbs.
  • The packages contain items donated by or purchased from manufacturers in bulk.
  • USO Care Packages are distributed through USO Airport Centers that service military personnel deploying to overseas destinations.  They also are distributed through centers that have special “send-off” celebrations and are sent directly to the troops on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan and other overseas destinations.  While Operation USO Care Package does its best to honor special requests, it is unable to include personal messages to specific service members.

Visit the USO website for more detail.  Post a note on my BLOG is you decide to donate.  We can all help our troops and support them.

Scott