Tag : monitor

Big Monitors conquer Big Workloads

From experience I can vouch for the benefits of having more surface area to complete tasks, and the digital world is no different. Just like when I’m cooking dinner at home, I need room to work. I need music, I need clean tools, I need space to let my elbows kick out to either side freely (yes this applies to the kitchen and the office).

So of course I am a huge supporter of the multiple monitor desk space. First thing I did this spring was reorganize my desk life. Pushed my laptop out to the left a tad, replugged my monitor and voila, I felt instantly more productive. Why? Because I can see everything I need to do, all at once. I can have my outlook open on my laptop screen, checking emails and the calendar, while I am writing blogs on my larger monitor. This basically ensures I miss nothing, which is how I like things to be. Do yourself the favor and take a minute to look at your desk situation. If you are looking at that tiny laptop screen and thinking you could really benefit from a new monitor or even two, I’m with you, and I have complied a list of the best monitors to increase your work productivity.

Desktop monitors generally fall between 15 inches and 34 inches (measured diagonally). The bigger the screen the more you can expect to pay, so take into account the amount of space you have at your desk. A 24-inch display is a solid choice for the average user, but if you have the room in your budget and on your desk, you can opt for a 27-inch or even a massive 34-inch display. I personally recommend a curved monitor. Not only is this cutting edge, but makes for a more comfortable working experience. If you spend a significant chunk of your day starring at your monitor, the curved design will allow for a better range of vision, not to mention the picture quality will be insane compared to any monitor you’ve had in the past.

Dell UltraSharp U3415W – $900

34 inches  / 3440 X 1440 resolution/ HDMI, MHL, DisplayPort and mini DisplayPort 6 USB ports

Excellent and my personal top pick for curved 34 inch display. The price is high but it packs the quality to match, with In-Plane switching panel technology, with anti-glare non-reflective screen. Split screen capabilities, picture in picture, picture by picture, great sound, and amazing clarity. A sure fire win!

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Acer Predator XB271HK – $800

27 inches / 3840 X 2160 resolution / HDMI, DisplayPort, 5 USB ports

Top pick for big screen, performance, gaming, crisp colors and gray-scale reproduction. Only get two video inputs sadly, but has excellent gaming features. Still appropriate for the workplace if you have the cash and the desire for ultra crisp visuals.


BenQ XL2730Z -$500

27 inches / 2560 X 1440 resolution /DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA 5 USB ports

This 27-inch display pairs Twisted Nematic (TN) panel technology with AMD’s FreeSync dynamic-refresh technology to deliver excellent gaming performance with sharp, accurate colors and a Quad HD (2,560-by-1,440) resolution.XL2730Z-front-on

AOC G2460PF – $200

24 inches / 1920 X 1080 resolution /DVI, HDMI, MHL, DisplayPort, VGA 5 USB ports

If you’ve been itching to get your hands on an FreeSync-enabled display, but have found the prices prohibitive, check out the AOC G2460PF ($249). This 24-inch monitor uses AMD’s FreeSync anti-tearing technology to deliver smooth gaming action, and it offers a quick pixel response, speedy refresh rates, and low input lag. The gray scale is nothing compared to the BenQ however.


Bluetooth Monitor-Samsung SyncMaster

bva is always looking for good monitors because they are crucial for user satisfaction and create ease of use which is important.  We got wind of this cool 23-inch monitor from Samsung, this monitor also comes with a small USB dongle for your laptop that allows you to wirelessly connect to the Central Station. With the dongle and drivers installed on your system all you have to do is walk within five feet of the monitor and the base will recognize the laptop and a connection is made. Video quality via wireless USB is not that great and there is a noticeable lag, but it’s fine for everyday office tasks. As an added bonus you can connect to the internet wirelessly via the USB dongle as long as you have a wired connection to the base’s Ethernet port. Lastly, the base can be used as a four port USB hub to connect to a variety of peripherals.  On top of the base are a series of touch sensitive buttons used to navigate the on-screen display, adjust volume and brightness, and select an input. The Menu button that takes you into the Picture settings menu  is where you can access the Samsung Magic presets, including Magic Angle, Magic Bright, and Magic Color.

Here are some of the features:

  • normal HDMI and VGA inputs
  • docking station capabilities with multiple USB ports
  • wired Ethernet port
  • audio output
  • laptop can connect wirelessly via a tiny USB dongle
  • good color
  • viewing angle performance
  • USB super charging ports
  • 1920-by-1080 resolution
  • non-reflective matte anti-glare coating

This monitor has a three year parts, labor, and backlight warranty, the Central Station comes with a driver/user guide CD, a PC to dock USB cable, and the wireless USB dongle.  The monitor’s Eco Saving feature lets you reduce power consumption by 50 or 75 percent, but in doing so the screen image becomes almost too dim.  The Samsung Central Station (SyncMaster C23A750X) is a unique, yet pricey solution($499), but fits a need for many work environments.

Mobile Monitors

Today’s trend in the computing workforce is one where you will find people using two, three and sometimes even four monitors to get their work done. The idea of flipping between applications is in the past as users have found that having multiple applications opened on different monitors has increased their productivity. This is true in regards to mobile users as well. Awhile back I picked up a portable Toshiba Mobile LCD Monitor that I can easily connect to my laptop via USB connection. No more am I flipping from application to application while onsite at client working on their network and servers. I can view my documentation on one screen and the servers or another application on the second screen.

What’s also pretty cool is if you’re in meetings and need to show a co-worker or potential client something instead of rotating your laptop for them to see the screen, you could already have the second monitor hooked up and cloning your laptop screen so that they are seeing what you are without either of you moving. What’s really cool about this Toshiba monitor is that it comes with a case and when closed it about legal sized portfolio, and the case doubles as a stand. The monitor is completely USB powered with a resolution of 1366×768 HD. http://us.toshiba.com/computers/accessories/mobile-monitor/

There are other mobile monitors out there such as the Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421
There are other mobile monitors out there such as the Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421 http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/product-and-parts/detail.page?&DocID=PD015702 this one has the same screen resolution and also comes with a case. The ThinkVision LT1421 14-inch Wide Flat Panel Monitor (1452) features:
•14-inch (355.6 mm) viewable image size
•Display resolution of 1366 x 768 matching mainstream Notebook resolution
•Slim (21.5mm, as slim as 9.3mm)
•Light weight (monitor: 0.84kg/1.8lbs; with protective case:1.35kg/2.97lbs)
•Photo frame tilt stand adjustments for viewing comfort (12 degree~40 degree)
•Brightness adjustment button for 16 level brightness
•USB 2.0 connection

Another place to look for a mobile monitor is www.mmt2.com. They have two pretty cool options, one for
your laptop they are calling Field Monitor Pro (these actually include a built in 10key pad) and another version called Monitors2Go (these are built to work on ipads as well as laptops and other portable devices).
The Toshiba and Lenovo monitors are priced around $199, the mmt2 monitors are due to be released sometime this year, pricing has not be listed for these as of yet.

Best Antivirus

bva has had many difficulties with antivirus over the last two years, applications that are trying to be more than just handle virus protection. bva has seen a common trend on the support center/helpdesk that many issues that surface in our ticketing system come from some anti-virus trying to do more then monitor or protect viruses.

It has been very frustrating but thought bva would voice our recommended products after testing.

  1. Kaspersky Anti-virus
  2. Trendmicro
  3. AVG Antivirus 2012
  4. Bitdefender Antivirus
  5. Webroot  Antivirus
  6. ESET NOD32
  7. Panda Antivirus
  8. Norton 2012

Windows Intune – Optimistic View

BVA has been in the cloud for sometime.  Obviously being in the cloud means alot of different things to alot of different people.  Everyone seems to have their own spin on the term.  For some time now we have wondered if Microsoft would come out with System Center for the cloud (BPOS). The overall BPOS solution has been fairly stable and successful yet there have been a few pitfalls but have worked through them with support.

As its core, Windows Intune is a cloud-based version of the desktop management capabilities customers could previously get by deploying Microsoft System Center technologies. For those that do not know that Microsoft System Center, it’s basically a bunch of older product put together via a large suite of applications.  That being said the applications contributed are valid and great products.  It’s basically the old SMS desktop management system and basically MOM.  These are tried and tested application that BVA has deployed for several years, yet all required their own on-premise servers.  Therefore, Window Intune, rather than hosting a System Center server on-premises and managing desktops from the server, administrators using Windows Intune load a client onto the desktops.  Administrators can access, via a browser, the management software and tools in the cloud and manage and secure those desktops through the cloud. In addition to the product features, the monthly subscription will include upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise for every covered desktop and an option to buy the otherwise hard-to-get Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP).

When the first limited beta of Windows Intune arrived in April, Microsoft described it almost exclusively as a midmarket IT-focused offering, with a slightly lower-end core audience than the System Center suite of products reaches. Core capabilities of Windows Intune include the ability to centrally manage the deployment of updates and service packs to PCs, to manage protection of PCs through the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine, to receive alerts that help administrators proactively monitor PCs, provide remote assistance, track hardware and software inventory, and set security policies.  For users familiar with Microsoft’s other product families, Windows Intune combines a Web-based management console with the desktop malware protection and reporting of the Microsoft Forefront Protection Suite and the update management, inventory and software deployment of Microsoft System Center Configuration manager 2007 or Microsoft System Center Essentials. Windows Intune also has the operating system distribution capabilities of Configuration Manager.

After reviewing all the facts it seems that this will be a great offering for our client base.  We are going to try this out at a client next month and we are looking forward to really seeing the real-world applications and cost savings.  I think it is fair to say that I am a little apprehensive about the security associated in imaging desktops through the cloud, but time will tell.  As a collective unit, BVA is staying positive with the security and ease of use.