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The global chip crisis is continuing into 2022. The industry has been hit hard by a worldwide shortage of chips, which are used in computers and other electronic devices. This has left small businesses across the world to scramble for alternative solutions to their computer needs, as they can no longer source new parts on demand. For many companies this means relying on older equipment that may be slower or not as reliable as newer technology would be or buying older product that is still available in distribution warehouses. The future looks bleak as demand is set to outstrip supply for the indefinite future.

The global chip crisis started in 2016 as a result of China’s weak economy and the demand for technology dropping across developed countries, which caused companies to scale back on investment. This problem became more serious last year when Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd reported that they would be cutting their production by 30%.  Read more...

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We’ve been watching Elon Musk’s new satellite-based internet service with interest.  SpaceX opened it up to more people last night, and if you are working remotely and live in an area where high speed internet isn’t available to you, you might want to get signed up.  People that sign up now are supposed to receive their equipment later this year.  Speeds are up to 150mb/sec with latency in the 40ms range, which is better than old DSL lines and most cellular-based services.

It is not a mobile solution – it is not intended for use while traveling, unfortunately.  Service is locked to the general area around the address you provide when signing up.  The satellite dish automatically aims itself, so installation is relatively straightforward.  Pre-orders are $99 (refundable), the equipment is $500, service is $99/mo, and you can sign up at  

This is an option for people who can’t get fast service over fiber or cable – perhaps those still limited to old copper lines.  Read more...

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The tax man cometh, and things tend to get busy at SpireTech during November and December.  This year-end appears to be no different.  Oftentimes, equipment availability and delivery times get extended – so plan ahead!  If you are considering some year-end upgrades, please let us know soon so we can get your projects estimated, scheduled, equipment ordered, and installed. 


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used with permission from Tektonika (HP), by Karen Gilleland

Unlike fine wine, your cyber assets don’t get better with age. Any PC more than four years old is not only costly to keep, but it’s also hack-friendly tech that could pose serious office security risk. Old PCs lack the built-in security triggers needed to repel the thousands of malware threats discovered each hour. With new technology, you could avoid 70–80 percent of the top malware detected.

Down-level hardware could potentially jeopardize your business—and that risk carries a price tag far exceeding an investment in state-of-the-art technology. As Two River Community Bank put it, “The risk just isn’t worth it.” There’s no reason to stick with outdated hardware, especially when computing power is growing exponentially and faster than ever. Older hardware may be costing you precious time, and the longer you delay updating old equipment, the further behind you’ll fall in the skills, knowledge, and technology needed to compete with companies on top of the curve.  Read more...

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used with permission from HP Tech@Work

How can SMB owners determine if workstations are right for them and, if so, how to select the best machines for their particular needs?

Workstations have been around long enough now that it’s safe to start talking about how modern versions of these machines are nothing like the pricey behemoths grandpa used back in the ‘90s.

Today’s workstations are vastly improved with processing, graphics and storage capabilities being enhanced on a continual basis. At the same time, they have become much more compact, mobile, stylish and affordable over the years, with prices on some models starting at less than $1,000.

Considering all these benefits, it should come as little surprise that small- to mid-sized businesses are starting to consider workstations as an alternative to the consumer PCs they’ve traditionally favored.

But how can SMB owners determine if workstations are right for them and, if so, how to select the best machines for their particular needs?  Read more...

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used with permission from, by Phoebe Rouge

You’ve read recent news stories about a vulnerability discovered in the WPA2 encryption standard. (Some reports refer to it as KRACK – Key Reinstallation Attack.) Should this be of concern to your business? Yes. Does it warrant further action at your company? Absolutely.

If you or anyone at your business uses a smartphone, laptop, or IoT device connected to a Wi-Fi network, the information sent over that network could be at risk. Researchers have found a bug that lets attackers “break” WPA2 – the encryption that protects most wireless networks – leaving data you send exposed.

The bad news is that this isn’t just a problem with a specific device or manufacturer. It’s a problem with the encryption standard nearly all Wi-Fi devices on the market use to scramble communications, prevent eavesdropping, and deter tampering. The chilling upshot is that if anyone at your business uses a device to connect to a wireless network at work, at home, or on the road, this bug means they can’t rely on that connection being secure.  Read more...

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used with permission from the Microsoft Devices Blog

Writing a report, research paper or even a novel is easy on your Surface.

The Surface family of devices is known for its versatility, and nowhere is that more evident than in the many ways you can interact with your Surface. Whether it’s through the keyboard, Surface Pen, or by voice, you can always connect with loved ones, friends, and colleagues.

Taking notes on your Surface is a great example. Jotting a quick note or even writing a long-form story can be done by typing, writing by hand, or even by dictation.

And with Windows 10, your Surface continually collects and assesses your handwriting and voice so it can improve character recognition and provide you with a personalized user dictionary and text completion suggestions.


For most people, typing is the easiest way to take notes on a Surface device. On a Surface 3, Surface Pro 3 or Surface Pro 4, make sure you attach a Type Cover or, if using a Surface Book, ensure that the display is locked into the keyboard.  Read more...

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The postmortem and what you need to know

We’ve known for some time that there are a finite number of writes that a solid state hard drive can endure. This is because the type of memory commonly used for SSD data storage can only be erased a certain number of times.

SSD drive manufacturers publish this specification as Life expectancy, Endurance, or Mean time between failures. More expensive Data Center type SSD’s have a longer endurance specification.

To mitigate drive failures and extend drive life, manufacturers set aside a certain number of blocks beyond the published capacity and use these as spare blocks. When a block of memory wears out, a spare block is used in its place.

To complicate matters, if you use SSD’s in a server application behind a RAID card, drive health information is hidden from monitoring by typical operating system tools. This is why we were caught by surprise with a recent failure – normally we would have been alerted by our monitoring tools.  Read more...

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Used with the permission of
by Marc Solomon, Vice President of Security Marketing

As connectivity continues to expand, security must advance right along with it.

More than thirty years ago, John Gage of Sun Microsystems coined the now famous phrase: “The network is the computer.” Indeed the true power of the computer comes from being connected, and with more devices connected the power grows exponentially. We see this today with cloud computing and increasingly with the Internet of Everything (IoE) which is creating unprecedented opportunities for networked connections among people, processes, data, and things.

Largely because of this exciting evolution, we are now facing a similar inflection point with respect to security. To capture opportunities made possible by ever-expanding connectivity, security must evolve in lock-step. In effect: “The network must become the security device.” Let me explain.

The widespread adoption of the cloud and the IoE brings new business opportunities in the form of greater speed, efficiency, and agility, while also changing the game on where data is stored, moved, and accessed.  Read more...

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In honor of the recent release of the Apple watch, I thought I’d take a look back at the electronic stuff I’ve worn on my wrist over the years.  I’m embarrassed by most of this now, but I can laugh at myself – so here goes:

timex ledTimex LED watch.  Mine was black plastic of some sort, not this shiny stuff.  I think my parents got one for me so I’d be on time for classes or know when to come home. Pretty nasty looking now, but very common in its day. This one reminds me of Battlestar Galactica – maybe it’s the metal, or the red LED.

bttf_casio-ca50The Casio calculator watch. Highly coveted in days gone past. Looks like you can still buy one of these, but I’m not sure why you’d want to.  I remember pushing on the little rubber buttons with my fingers, and how sometimes a pencil or eraser was easier to get in there.    Read more...

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