Category Archives: Free Applications

What’s Code Got To Do With It?

programmer_600Computers and Technology are moving at lightning speed. Every day there seems to be a new development in the tech industry. Have you ever wondered how technology is moving so quickly? Besides the hardware engineers who design the concept, what makes computers work are the developers and programmers. They are the  “coders”, who understand computer languages. They tell the androids to ‘make it work’.  From websites, to Windows applications, to Apple apps, all are made possible by a person sitting behind a computer, programming  a set of code. These codes are the brain and functionality of the software we use today.

There is a shortage of coders on the market. Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and other major powerhouses are constantly competing to recruit the best coders/programmers and developers to join their team.  These most wanted jobs demand six figure salaries.

kidscodeYet schools across the country don’t introduce computer coding into the curriculum, not even as an elective. Colleges and Universities offer degrees on Computer Science, but by the time a child is 18, they have already been primed in other areas, which may not prepare them to enter into the field of programming.  

codeThere is a website, http://www.Code.org which was developed to help individuals interested in the field of programming. Whether you are 6 or 60, it’s a great website to visit. There are testimonials on the importance of computer programming, and they will guide you a level of understanding on how to start coding. Computer programming is not for everyone, but what is?  Visit www.code.org to get a feel of what computer coding is all about.  See if that may be a path worth taking!

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CS Technologies Plus – 30 Years of Offering Technology Solutions

CS Technologies Plus continues to stay in the forefront of technology.  2013 marks their 30th anniversary and business owner, Lisa Groner has been an employee since day one.  CS Technologies Plus (CST) was formerly known as Computer Showcase, CSOnline, The Learning Center and CSOnline Security.  anniversary

CST’s Computer Showcase division offers computer hardware and software sales, installation, diagnostic and repair, networking including wireless & cabling/fiber installation, AV and Digital Signage technical solutions and services. “If it is technology related, CS Technologies Plus provides the corresponding services” states Groner.

In May 2012, CST was awarded the desktop/laptop purchase and install contract (State Contract # 4900000208) with Clarion and Edinboro Universities, selling and supporting Dell hardware.  Also in 2012 additional manufacturers were added to the companies COSTARS Contract (Cooperative Sourcing to Achieve Reductions in Spending), which aids in the sales of technology products to public sector entities (schools and government agencies), without going through a collaborative bid process.

Windows 8 was released in the 4th quarter of 2012. Windows 8 offers Windows 8new levels of productivity, security and mobility without sacrificing performance or choice.  CS Technologies Plus is selling both Windows 7 and 8, realizing that some customers may not be ready to make the big jump to a new operating system. CST’s sales team seeks to find solutions for individuals, small-to-medium businesses or larger public sector customers; the team provides the best possible solution at the best price to customers in any arena.  At the end of 2012, CST became an ASUS reseller recognizing ASUS’s sustained growth in the laptop and tablet marketplace. customerservice

Located in Seneca PA, CST certified technicians cover a geographic area from Erie to the southern border of Pennsylvania from Johnstown to Youngstown, “We have the most knowledgeable technicians in NW Pennsylvania who are constantly upgrading their certifications”, states General Manager, Holly Berlin. “Our technicians value the customer relationship and strive to provide quality customer service every minute of the workday and beyond.”

The company’s training division, The Learning Center, is a private licensed school in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  They offer classes via a public schedule and also customized/corporate classes based on a business or public sector’s training needs.  The Learning Center also teaches high-end technical courses for two Technology degree programs offered at Venango College of Clarion University.  Venango College teaches the general education courses and The Learning Center teaches the technical courses. Students not only learn through classroom instruction but they also get real world experience by working with CST staff in our technical service department.  In addition, CST trainers are teaching some of the computer courses for Clarion University through their Continuing Education Department.

The Learning Center will provide more cloud computing application training in 2013.  Cloud computing allows users to save files and documents on the web and to access them from any PC, Mac or Phone at any location at any given time.

Security Alarm technology trends continued to change in 2012.  The Security/Surveillance Division, CSOnline Security,camera1 has kept current with the changing technologies, giving area residents and businesses state-of-the-art management and control with their security systems offered.  Smart Phones are playing a major security role in keeping the customer notified and in control of their home or business with most systems offering Apps to manage and receive notifications of alarm events, and to access video cameras for remote live view. Wireless solutions have opened up new possibilities as well, making the installation more efficient and the interface with existing networks a snap. With the diminishing of the standard telephone land line, CST has moved to offer 4G cellular and Internet based communication for alarm system monitoring.

CCTV systems, that were generally more popular with businesses, have become more affordable for residential home centerowners. The cost between analog, HD and network camera systems is shifting in favor of HD and network based systems as the HD and network IP camera systems become more affordable.  CST now offers Cloud based CCTV and access control management systems which give medium to large scale businesses an overall cost benefit, ease of system management and worry-free data storage.

The expectations of the security industry in 2013 is continued growth, with emphasis in video surveillance and access control systems, as businesses, schools and universities move to tighten security for personal safety as well as controlling access to facilities.  “Despite the negative impact on our economy, CS Technologies Plus is seeing an increase in the demand for security and video surveillance solutions. Unfortunately with higher crime rates, there is a greater need for protecting assets and property”, states Jim Welch, Security/Surveillance Specialist.Follow CS Technologies Plus Blog

The staff at CST continues to operate their blog called “Tech Talk” which is updated monthly versus weekly with articles that cover a wide range of technology topics.  Staying up to date with changes in technology is a little easier when you read their Tech Talk blog. Sometimes silly, sometimes fun, always informative, this blog sifts through technology’s impact on our daily lives to give our readers usable stuff.  Best of all, it’s free, no fees, no cost, no sales.  “Tech Talk” can be found at https://cstechplus.wordpress.com.

The Internet division, CSOnline, continues to be a local Internet Service provider offering Internet connectivity, web Internet-Advertisinghosting and design services on a regional level since 1996.  In 2012 the company upgraded their webhosting technologies enabling them to create and offer more modern day search-engine friendly websites with clean permalink structures, integrated link management, a user-friendly back-end, and the ability to support plugins, widgets, multi-user blogging and incorporate social media.

In 2013, CS Technologies Plus looks forward to new products, services and opportunities.  “Thirty years of continual business is a huge milestone for any company, but even more for a technology based company”, states Groner.  “I am really proud of our longevity, our employees and our technical capabilities.  The past 30 years has thrown many significant challenges at us, as there is always on-going learning and certifications when technology is involved.”  Groner adds, “2013 and beyond won’t be any different.”

Written by:
Holly Lynn Berlin (Gibbons), General Manager
Jim Welch, Security/Surveillance Specialist
Lisa Groner, President/CEO

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A Smart Approach to Campus Security

Most colleges have several emergency platforms in place to protect their students and faculty.  This includes access control systems that control access to buildings, classrooms, offices, etc.  Also in place are powerful CCTV systems that canvas the campus as well as emergency call stations that are dotted all over the campus.  But one challenge that colleges face is, how to get emergency and event notifications to students as well as to visitors and Alumni who are not in the campus database.  Laws in place state that everyone on campus must be notified of dangerous situations, 24/7. How is this done?

smartphone

Some universities have turned to GPS cellular notification systems that utilize the most widely carried notification device, the Smart Phone.  (Currently it’s estimated that 52 percent of the population of universities have smart phones.  By 2016 it is expected to be at around 90 percent.)

 These systems will signal a smart phone and alert users of any emergency incidents or even non-emergency events happening on campus. This technology creates a geo fence around any sized area and alerts anyone with the app downloaded. Inside the geo fence, you receive the specific alerts.  Outside the geo fence, you do not receive the alerts.smartphone2

 An alert can be sent campus-wide of an emergency or to a single building that may just be without hot water, for example.  In the event of a crime, the app will also send a photo or video of a suspect.

leftAnother hi tech approach to campus safety is using the smart phone in conjunction with campus security systems to create mobile alerts both to and from the students and faculty.  The student or faculty member registers with the campus security to use the system with their personal information, cell phone and picture.  In the event of an emergency, security can be notified via cell phone.  Even if the caller cannot speak, the campus police have the GPS location of the caller, the picture registered with the caller and can respond.

Another example of how this works is as follows:  A student is working late on a project.  Its dark and they may be afraid to walk to their dorm or to their vehicle.  They just log into the system, enter their location, destination and estimated time to arrive to the dorm or car, etc.  The student can set a specific “alarm time” that if they do not check in when they arrive something is wrong.parkinglot

If the student is late arriving at their destination, the security officer operating the CCTV system turns a campus Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) camera in the correct direction to locate a student in the route that may be having trouble. Larger universities have well over 100 PTZ cameras and can have over 600 stationary cameras in place!

camera1The system will even check in with the student with a text, half way, to verify all is well.  When the student arrives, they check in and log out of the system.

camera2Unfortunately, the need for campus security will increase.  Integrators will utilize every technology possible to increase safety and speed up emergency notification and response.  In the years to follow, the Smart Phone will be the personal device of choice to accomplish it.

– Jim Welch, Technology Specialist

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by | December 19, 2012 · 2:46 pm

Before you buy that Windows Surface Tablet!

With the recent release of Microsoft Windows Tablet, you may be consider purchasing this tablet, …BUT before you delve into this class of tablet, let’s do a little bit of surfacing, shall we?

The new Microsoft Surface Tablet is being offered in two configurations/specs.   The current released version contains Windows RT, which runs on an ARM Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, which is the standard processor found in many Android tablets.  This is important because it means that you will not be able to install any legacy windows applications into this Windows RT tablet.  You must visit Microsoft Store in order to download exclusive apps which will tailor to this particular operating system. The starting price for the Windows RT tablet is $499.

The other version of Surface tablet, and soon to be released, will have Windows 8 Pro operating system. This will have the familiar Intel Processor (Ivy Bride, Core i5), allowing the device to run previous windows application as far back as Windows XP. This version will also allow installation of RT applications as well as third party software.  My prediction is that the Windows 8 Pro version will have a much higher price tag than that of its RT cousin.  I would guess the price will be around $999 w/ 4GB RAM  (RT version has 2GB RAM). The keyboard option will mostly like be an extra $99. Think super “portable laptop with touchscreen”.

For more information, visit Microsoft’s Surface Tablet website.

 

Chrissy Le
Technology Marketing Specialist

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Need to Re-Direct A Website?

html redirect

One of the most requested items we get is “How do I make an html redirect page”.

Strangely enough this is one of the easiest things to accomplish, but then anything is easy when you know how to do it!

Here’s the code:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN”> <html> <head> <title>Your Page Title</title> <meta http-equiv=”REFRESH” content=”0;url=http://www.the-domain-you-want-to-redirect-to.com”></HEAD> <BODY> Optional page text here. </BODY> </HTML>

Code Description:

<meta http-equiv=”REFRESH” content=”0;url=http://www.the-domain-you-want-to-redirect-to.com”> is the part that actually does the redirecting.

The number preceding the url (in this case zero) tells the browser the number of seconds to wait before redirecting to the new url.

You could set this to 5 and add some optional text to your page – something like:

“Please wait while we redirect you to our new site”.

That’s it! Just copy the code, save it (i.e. save as index.html) and your html redirect will work perfectly.

Our web designers know I don’t like working in code, I am more of a “What you See is What you Get” kind of a Gal. So, If I can follow this procedure so can you.

Happy Coding!

Holly Berlin, General Manager

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Tech and Pseudo Invasion of Privacy

We hear a lot about our privacy being invaded by such modern technologies as cell phones, Twitter, FaceBook, credit and debit card usage tracking, etc. I wonder, though, did we ever really have the privacy we’re claiming to have lost?

An immediate example that comes to mind is the telepathic communication between parents living in small communities and close-knit neighborhoods when their children do something wrong. I know I never got home before the news of my disgraceful behavior did. This happened even when we were living with no telephone.

Then there were the party lines. Do you remember them? Anyone could listen in. (How many times did you drop a handset when someone yelled, “I know you’re there listening, you get off right now or I’m telling your mother!”)

Of course, the parental communication zone had nothing on the school gossip-rumor incubation zone. Age never mattered. It began in kindergarten. I don’t think it ever stops. The topics may change over time – from who got a new bicycle to who was dating who or who got what job – but it is still gossip and rumor.

It’s a very active part of society. From co-workers talking to each other to the people who you see publically, news of what you think, do, say, wear and dress gets around quickly….although not necessarily accurately. I’m convinced when they complete translations of cave paintings, they’re going to discover they were the tabloids of the day.

What technology has brought to the mix is just a function of speed and distance. While it may have taken news of bad behavior about 15 minutes to reach your folks, today that same behavior announcement can travel around the world twice in about 10 minutes – in multiple languages – with multiple twists on hairstyles, companions, clothing, locations, money spent, and/or drugs consumed.

It’s still the same old same old gossip/rumor mill.

Only now it’s on steroids.

And satellites.

Carol Smith / Training Manager

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Holey Magnolias

Blogging this week about FotoFlexer, another online photo editing website. www.fotoflexer.com With FotoFlexer you can edit photos from photobucket, myspace, facebook, flickr, Picasa Web Albums, or by uploading a photo directly from your computer.
I uploaded a photo of my mom and dad’s Magnolia tree to FotoFlexer. Here is what the photo looked like before editing.  I love, love, love the pink and when the Magnolias are in full bloom, they are magnificent to look at. A true sign of Spring.

After checking out all of features of FotoFlexer, I decided to edit the photo making just a couple edits, I added the “Lomoish” effect to the photo and I then decided to turn this photo into a poster (which is a feature in FotoFlexer). Then I simply added a title to my poster and some text. Well now what do you think? This all took a matter of virtually minutes. How fun!


When you are ready, give FlotoFlexer a spin (be sure to experiment) and let us know what you think! We didn’t see any pricing on their website, so we will assume that this editor is free for the time being, but just note that could change at any time.

 Since we are on the search for photo editors that are as good as the retired Picnik, be sure to share any you are using with us, so we can in-turn share them with all of our followers. 

Happy Photo Editing!
Have fun and be creative!

-Holly Berlin, General Manager

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