Recent research into the cost of updating old mainframe programs indicates that it is a significant contributor to IT debt, and a possible drag on our global digital future. The study, conducted by technology consultants Vanson Bourne across the dynamic high-tech industries of Australia and New Zealand, has implications for the U.S. and every high-tech nation, as well as those still working to modernize. Roughly 10 percent more debt is expected to be piled on over the next five years.
The study concluded that the average firm would need $8-10 million to update aging mainframe applications, a 40-50 percent increase over the May 2012 figure, and the increases are accelerating. For companies relying on mainframes these upkeep costs are not optional, and must be justified as “worthy investments”. With the growing power of even a basic computer rental, is there really a need for these “enterprise legacy technologies” in the world of small, mobile, wireless, and distributed?
The study indicated that the average tech firm expects to use mainframe applications for another 10 years, with nearly half expecting it to be even longer. This points out the longevity of mainframe applications versus the regularly updated OS you get when you rent iMac, but long life presents other problems, like funding these large, energy-thirsty, expensive systems in the first place. Some 7 of 10 CIOs believe they’re running into compliance and/or risk situations in the meantime.
The report clearly forecasts a coming era—flush with every wireless gizmo and even wearable technology—where businesses simply must find a way to pay for fundamental changes or lose out on business growth, new product R&D, and the obtention of new customers. It is not inappropriate to point out, too, that recently divulged reports on NSA/CIA/FBI spying have raised general concerns about large, eminently hackable computer databases full of our private information. We will come back to that subject soon, but for now it bears mentioning as yet another result of “big for big’s sake.”
It Will Be a Challenge
A solid majority (72 percent) of survey respondents admitted the difficulty of transitioning mainframe applications to mobile devices. One major problem is the sheer number of platforms, especially in a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environment, where an iPad rental and a Chromebook PC need entirely different solutions. And Google Glass is on the way!
The best approach? Knowing your employees—and customers. Customer needs are forcing the changes coming into existence now. A full third of report participants are transitioning their mainframe applications into more modern languages (to work with our MacBook Pro rental and every other OS). Interestingly, a quarter of respondents are finding some success replacing legacy applications with “off-the-shelf solutions,” although many are less than ideal. We expect the majority of firms to take their mainframe applications to every device and OS that their customers use. We’ll keep you posted!
Don’t want to get bogged down with extensive technology upkeep and upgrade costs at your organization? CRE Rentals offers the technology items that you need to effectively run your business today, and you won’t have any of the anxiety associated with making large, and limiting, technology purchases. Put our inventory and expertise to work for you. Get a quote now or give us a call at 877-266-7725
Facebook is buying Oculus VR, the maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset, for around $2 billion. This is a fact—as opposed to much of the hype about the purchase, and the product itself. Recently, Sony announced its own headset, dramatically named Project Morpheus, so the momentum is building for “the breakthrough” that has been decades in the making. It’s time for a reality check on virtual reality.
The challenges now are legion. The public sees VR headsets as “gamer gear,” so Facebook will need to merge the technology into its huge (and still growing) social space. In an investor call after the purchase announcement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke of “sharing not just moments [but] entire experiences and adventures. Oculus,” he opined, “has the potential to be the most social platform ever.”
A Call for Clarity
In a statement reminiscent of Apple’s reactions to rumors about our original iPad rental, one PCWorld.com columnist went so far as to say, “Everything you’ve heard about the Oculus Rift is wrong.” Brad Chacos thinks the Oculus Rift is “a groundbreaking, affordable virtual reality headset,” but the public has “a skewed picture.” He lists five top “inaccuracies,” but two deal with Kickstarter funding and the Oculus SDK (Software Developers Kit). The other three points, however, are crucial to clarity here.
Not Just For Games: The “early software” for the Rift, or any other VR headset, will focus primarily on games and other diversions. But Zuckerberg did not buy Oculus to make shoot-’em-ups more realistic. Like Steve Jobs with the iMac, he “sees the future” and aims for it. What might he see? One simple example: Bossa Studios’ Surgeon Simulator is a game today, but delete the horror-movie elements and tomorrow it could be part of a medical school curriculum.
Not Ready for Primetime: The Oculus Rift can be purchased at the company’s website. The firm has sold some 75,000 of them since March 2013, but the “product” is not a finished consumer product, but a developer’s kit to help you create VR software. There is no date set for a consumer-ready device, and when one debuts, it will require the horsepower of a CRE computer rental. Until power requirements are reduced to work with tablets and smartphones, the VR social “dimension” will remain constricted.
Not the Only Game in Town: With Facebook’s clout (and cash), Oculus—which will operate “semi-autonomously” like recent acquisition WhatsApp—often appears to be the only VR company around. CRE agrees with PCWorld.com’s Chacos that you should keep an eye on a “wide range of companies [that] are developing virtual and augmented reality headsets…including game-industry heavyweights like Sony (of PlayStation fame) and Valve (creators of the Steam PC gaming platform).” We know you’re busy, so we’ll keep an eye out for you—and so, as we like to conclude, we will keep you posted!
CRE Rentals keeps you informed on future technologies while continuing to provide the technology that you need to get your projects finished today. If you’re looking for the new Mac Pro…we’ve got it! Give us a call today to find out about all of products and services. 877-266-7725
Since the Apple iWatch is an “official rumor” awaiting the mere technicality of the Cupertino firm’s own announcement, industry observers have already moved on to wondering about the competition (and it’s not just Samsung). There will be doubtless scores of lookalike iCounterfeits, as well as watches running on Android and other mobile OS flavors. But something tells us that the Classic Arcade Wristwatch is going to have a corner on the 1980s arcade game look.
For telling time, the bitmap display (good ol’ pixelated B&W) shows a large comet (hour hand), a small comet (minutes), and a rocket ship (seconds). The small joystick is nonfunctional, but the “Fire” button results in screen flashes and appropriate sound effects. The detail work is very good, and it’s definitely more of a conversation-starter than, say, our iPad rental. Still, this is a true niche product: not just for geeks, but retro ones.
Nothing Succeeds Like Excess
American pen maker Cross once had a pretty tight grip on the premium pen market in the U.S. Graduations, promotions, and other commemorative events would spike their sales year after year. Today there’s a huge supply of pens that can cost as much as our MacBook Pro rental. As one example, the Monteverde One Touch Engage Retractable Ink Ball Pen, a premium pen at a premium price, does offer some usefully simple features, like doubling as a stylus for touchscreens.
Like a Mont Blanc pen, this model from Monteverde fairly oozes class. Built of carbon fiber and other primo components, the One Touch has Monteverde’s ultra-cool retractable rollerball (unscrew the tip and behold!), as well as a fountain pen’s ability to suck up any ink and make it work. Substantial without being heavy, with a reportedly “sublime” on-paper feel, the One Touch is as futuristic as our new Mac Pro rental, as well built as a Swiss watch, and as classy as a pen can be.
Plugged… or Mugged?
The Sensory Fiction project at MIT, with no trace of irony, is using The Girl Who Was Plugged In by James Tiptree Jr. as its initial foray into “multimedia reading.” To experience Sensory Fiction, you wear a high-tech harness equipped with a scanner that reads encoded directions to dial up coldness or warmth and adjusts built-in LEDs to establish time or mood. Vibrating mechanisms affect the heart rate while an airbag compression system loosens and tightens around the torso. And it all follows the story’s plot.
“Traditionally,” the Sensory Fiction project objective states, ”fiction creates and induces emotions and empathy through words and images… Sensory Fiction [conveys] plot, mood, and emotion while still allowing space for the reader’s imagination.” Leave space, too, for those words and images that, when wielded by the sort of skilled creatives who use CRE render farms, bring you that “emotions and empathy” stuff.
Not sure about a high-tech harness that tightens around your torso?…we’re with you on that one. For today’s technology rental needs your best source is CRE Rentals. Interested to know about our products and services? Give us a call today 877-266-7725
Among the biggest and oldest bottlenecks in the computerized workplace are the aging input methods, specifically keyboards, mice, and trackpads. With tablets, and even our LCD touchscreen monitor rental, yet another input method is now available: Various finger moves and combinations on a trackpad or touchscreen will run your hardware and software. It’s a whole new dimension of “hands-on control.” Well, perhaps not so new anymore, as there are new products advancing an entirely different paradigm.
Gesture Glove…Coming to a Cubicle Near You
Now, from the inventive world of the gamers, comes another input device that offers hands-off control. The technology revolving around the Nintendo Wii, Sony PS4, and Microsoft’s own Xbox One (which is catching up to the PS4 in the sales race) has led to the development of the Gesture Glove (Gesture Glove Mouse and Air Mouse Glove in some markets) by Japanese firm Thanko Co., Ltd. A 2.4GHz wireless radio (Bluetooth) connects the device to just about anything:
Android and iOS tablets;
PCs running Windows XP SP2, Vista, 7, and 8; and
Macintoshes running OS X 10.5 or later.
As it is based on technology that has thus far been used for games, and not productivity software (or even handy-dandy tablet apps), there has been some resistance to the Gesture Glove. It looks a bit clunky and it does take getting used to unless you’ve been using a similar game-controller. The moves you learn for Microsoft Office on a PC will work just as well with Office for Mac on our MacBook Pro rental. Controlling media files for volume, playback, etc., is also a learn-once, apply-everywhere proposition.
A simple wave of your hand (your right one, as there is no “left hand” model) initiates control of the on-screen cursor. A device wrapped around the glove’s index finger has two buttons for invoking right and left clicks with your thumb. Finally, a pause button is on the underside of the button device. Fact is, you can get a lot done with just a few moves and gestures. The integrated USB charger provides 12 hours of use after one hour of charging. Like most Bluetooth devices, it has a maximum range of about 30-40 feet.
A Crowded Field… for Now
The new Gesture Glove is based on a design project by Google and is an exclusive offering from what is known as Japan’s “rare things shop,” the Thanko firm. Its compatibility with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android makes it a broad-based peripheral anyone can use. Plenty of other companies are jumping into this market too. As the technology progresses, and better and better glove controllers (and other new input devices) are developed, we’ll be back to update you!
While CRE does not currently stock the Gesture Glove we do have the latest and greatest technology, including Mac Pro, wifi arrays and HD 4k monitor. Let us solve your technology rental needs by calling today 877-266-7725 or simply Contact Us.
Lately the tech media has been full of stories about Microsoft’s Xbox vs. Sony’s PS4, the advent of cheaper phones, cable company mergers, and Internet security. There is so much happening at times that it’s hard to know what to focus on every week. We thought we’d take this opportunity to mention a few other important developments, ones that deal with practical, everyday tech that everyone can use and benefit from. In no particular order, then, here are some recent headlines you may have missed:
• Latest iOS 7.1 Release Features CarPlay
Apple’s most recent update to iOS, 7.1, is a freebie that fixes a hefty collection of bugs and brings some thoughtful touches to Siri (now that other firms are releasing talking helpers). The headline-worthy news, though, is the CarPlay interface, debuted at the Geneva Auto Show. Apple fans will likely love it, although the critics are already picking it apart. We shall see!
• Amazon Increases Prime Membership Rate
Not long ago Amazon acquired the movie catalog of Lovefilm, some 70,000 titles, and pundits predicted it would lead to an increase in Amazon Prime membership. They were right; price has gone up by $20 for an annual membership. Members can access Amazon and use their membership benefits from any MacBook Pro, PC laptop, iPad rental, or even a smartphone, but number-crunchers are debating the value of the membership. It will be interesting to see what happens, since this is one of Amazon’s core business models.
Valve Shows Off Steam Controller Upgrades
Spokesmen for Valve, the upstart console maker, stated at January’s Steam Dev Days game developer conference that the company was considering “major changes” to the Steam controller. This latest iteration of the device is meant to move Steam users from the bedroom to the living room. The 2013 prototype had a central touchscreen and four hard-to-reach front buttons, with main control triggers and “paddles” on the unit’s backside. Traditional controller design is evidently back in favor, with two diamond-shaped button layouts almost identical to the Xbox or PS4—and the touchscreen, used to great advantage on tablets, laptops, and our own LCD touchscreen monitor rental, was determined to be overkill. Those big, round, high-resolution touchpads—don’t they look like speakers?—are still the major user interface.
What Do We Know About iOS 8?
Just a quick mention: Chinese website Weibo claims to have obtained leaked screenshots of iOS 8, Apple’s next mobile operating system. The images show some expected changes—the new Healthbook app, for instance—but there are also three unexpected additions: Preview, Tips, and TextEdit. The authenticity of the images are now being debated.
One thing that is not up for debate are CRE’s excellent service and customer commitment. We continue to rent the latest technology equipment from Mac Pro to 4K HD monitor for entertainment production offices to corporate events. Want to learn more about our products and services? Call us at 877-266-7725.
Microsoft Office for iOS was a rumor for much longer than it’s been a “fact,” but as with all things Microsoft, if Mary Jo Foley says it’s happening, it is. Fact is, Apple could never break into the enterprise world with its Macintosh computers, but has been making serious headway with the iPad as many other large firms have been outfitting employees with tablets.
Meanwhile, with uncharacteristic subtlety, Apple has gradually injected itself into the enterprise, and Microsoft (like other software developers) wouldn’t mind having its flagship product on all those new iPads heading for big companies. Of course, both Apple and Microsoft also win when companies like CRE Rentals add to their iPad rental inventories.
Sneak Peek at Office for iOS
It appears that you’ll need to purchase an annual subscription to Microsoft Office 365 to access Office for iOS when it debuts. (Fortune 500s will get better deals, of course.) Start by either opening an existing document or making a new one (the latter only in Word or Excel, not PowerPoint). There are some usable templates to get you going, but unfortunately this is where the going gets tough. Building a completely new document from scratch is a grueling process, as there are strange limitations throughout. Let’s take a quick look:
Word: This is not the beloved Office for Mac word processor you find when you rent iMac computers. On Office for iOS, Word’s default bullet list limits you to two lines; you cannot add new pictures, replace fonts, or apply new formatting to paragraphs; and the app uses non-standard taps and gestures. Essentially, you can use this version of Word to perform some light editing on documents you made in another, full-featured version of Word.
PowerPoint: Unlike Word and Excel, you cannot create new presentations, only edit the text on template slides. The insurmountable problem, of course, is that you can’t adjust text boxes, fonts, or font attributes. Use more than the provided space and confusion reigns. Again, it may suffice for minor edits but it is by no means an enterprise-level tool.
Excel: The venerable spreadsheet makes out best in this emasculated package. All the functionality missing from Word and PowerPoint are present in Excel. You can make a variety of original charts, shade text cells, auto-adjust number displays, and use standard Excel formulas. There’s a reason that Office is on almost every PC and Maccomputer rental in the known world: Excel is the best spreadsheet ever, hands down. It even shines here.
Unfortunately, as presently constituted, Office for iOS shines in very few other ways. The collaboration features are strong, allowing individual comments on cells, paragraphs, slides, even specific words. Not only can you grab files from OneDrive, but you can also access all of your different SharePoints. If you are heavy into collaborative working, the sharing/commenting features could be useful. Still, it would make sense to consider Google Docs before investing in this low-rent Office.
Is this Apple’s move into the Enterprise world? Only time will tell but in the meantime, CRE Rentals has been renting iPads, Mac equipment and the latest technology to companies large and small. With over 30 years of experience and now 21 locations nationwide, we can get you the rental equipment you need, where you need. Get a quote now or give us a call at 877.266-7725.
In August 2012, the Consumer Electronics Association decided to retire the term “4K” and dub the latest resolution champ “Ultra High Definition” instead. Partially defined as a resolution of “at least 3,840 x 2,160 pixels,” Sony decided the very next day to call the technology “4K Ultra High Definition,” now the industry-wide term. With the advent of 4K-UHD, there are now four major screen resolutions used: standard definition (480p/540p), high definition (720p), full high definition (1080i/p), and ultra high definition (2160p).
Today, with HD and 4K sets widely available, most television programs, online videos and DVDs are still broadcast in standard definition, which is 480 “lines” per the tube-TV-era specification. There’s a good reason that graphics and post-production pros get up close and personal with a 4K monitor rental. The benefits of 4K are even greater for professionals in design, multimedia, video, film, or post than for home theater aficionados, who are understandably excited about the new resolution, too.
4K: For doers, not watchers
TV makers big and small will release 4K models or lines in 2014, most of them in the “premium” niche, along with the “smart” TVs that display streams from your MacBook Pro rental, PC, iPad, or phone. For the kind of creatives that CRE supports with render farms and other high-powered tech tools, there is a lot of work ahead. That’s a double-edged sword: They’ll work a lot on 4K displays, creating better and better graphics and viewing experiences for others to watch on their own home theater 4K screens. (More about consumers and 4K coming soon!)
The TVs at CES 2014 revealed that manufacturers have accepted the fact that we have entered “the 4K era.” Today’s creative and production pros depend up0n the highest possible resolution for use in the entertainment industry and a 4K display offers unmatched visual clarity. CRE now offers a 50-inch ultra high definition monitor with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, perfectly suited for film editing, video, and post production with its stunning picture clarity and superior color saturation. CRE has worked closely with the entertainment industry, from music and TV shows to feature films, awards shows, and state-of-the-art animation.
Good for Business, Too
What works in the entertainment industry can also do double duty in the business world, where clear and direct communication that gets noticed is essential to corporate events. A 4K display monitor will grab the attention of conference attendees by replacing traditional printed signage with motion graphics, beautifully rendered. You can easily control messaging and everything else with a MacBook Pro or iPad rental. Since 2014′s the year that 4K screens will replace the current “high-end” 1080p models to become the latest and greatest, don’t wait too long to ask us about how they can help you, too!
You can also depend on CRE Rentals for technology rentals you need to set up a production office or to make a splash at your next corporate event or conference. Our seasoned professionals can help so complete a Quick Quote (if you know what you need) or give us a call at 877-266-7725.
Although it’s gaining in recognition, wearable technology is often misconstrued as simply a small fashion niche of pretty but impractical “tech-looking” clothes, jewelry and other personal bling. Now here comes Fujitsu with a true high-tech glove that enters the production side of the equation by outfitting the glove with Bluetooth for wireless communication. It also interprets hand gestures. And these capabilities are geared toward work, whereas other gloves will use the same technology for game control. (And that’s okay!)
Launching sometime “next year,” the glove comes with a head-mounted monitor that displays input from the glove sensors via Bluetooth. (Conceivably, you could direct a signal to a MacBook Pro rental, too.) The glove will recognize whatever wireless components are touched, and display any info they are putting out. In addition to offering tremendous efficiencies in production, construction, and other industries, the glove is also the practical solution for people working while they wear other gloves. Fujitsu’s glove enables more work in more places.
iWatch – Really?
Rumors are flying about the Apple watch, dubbed the “iWatch” by almost everyone, and the unique, “futuristic” charging methods being contemplated. Of course, according to Apple, the product doesn’t exist, but some rumormongers suggest that Apple’s nonexistent watch will have inductive charging, introduced last year on such smartphones as Google’s Nexus 4 and Nokia’s Lumia 920. After all the R&D the firm has put into battery technology since CRE first stocked an iPad rental, Apple should be able to engineer a smart watch with smart power.
Multiple sources report that Apple is also looking at additional ways of charging the iWatch (and our Mac Pro rental, and every other iOS or OS X device). One smart way is to use inductive charging, which produces electromagnetic fields from a base charging unit that are picked up by the device. But that’s not all: Other ideas range from solar cells beneath the displays to simple, straightforward kinetic charging. The latter is already used on various products, and the Power Pocket is yet another piece of wearable tech that uses kinetic energy to charge phones.
Wherever that point is, where love of technology meets love of candy, more and more people seem to be finding it with 3D printers. At CES 2014 there were a couple of candy-centric 3D printers, the ChefJet and the ChefJet Pro. The entry-level model is a bit smaller and produces only monochromatic treats, but the ChefJet Pro makes colorful eats. Both create chocolates and other confections in shapes nearly impossible with regular baking/cooking methods. The Pro model can also create edible images in “photo quality” for use on cakes or other confections. Just remember: You are what you eat!
CRE knows a sweet deal, which we offer on everything from render farms for production pros to a video wall at your next conference, composed of sharp, crystal clear monitors. When you are ready to get your own sweet high-tech gadgetry, contact us or give us a call at 877-266-7725.
According to major tech watchers, Microsoft is “mere weeks” from releasing the recently leaked Windows 8.1, Update 1. Preliminary builds of the software have found their way to the Internet. Although we can’t assume every feature now present in Update 1 will make it to the release version, there are enough changes, improvements, “do-over’s” to make for a fairly comprehensive (p)review. Since Windows users far outnumber any other kind, important changes to the OS are essential news.
Is Metro moniker a goner?
Much despair greeted Windows 8 when it “went cubist,” dumping the Start button and Desktop for its Modern interface. Update 1 will apparently detect the type of device it is running on, then boot to the Desktop for regular PCs like our computer rental, or the Modern-tiled interface for tablets, touch-enabled PCs and laptops. Or not. You can boot wherever you like by changing your PC Settings.
Microsoft’s SkyDrive is now OneDrive, and installs with the OS. In another move to educate users to address important issues up front, there is now a PC Settings tile on the Modern Start screen. Scrolling down from the Start screen to find PC Settings with all the other apps is not the way to encourage its use or get important things done quickly. Were you to use this coming OS with our LCD touchscreen monitor rental you would get a Start screen with easy-to-spot buttons for Search and Power Options (Shut Down, Restart, etc.). These are small but smart improvements.
Putting Windows back in Windows
Right-clicking on the Start and Apps screens now gets you what the rest of the world’s computer users get: a contextual menu. Bring your mouse to the top of the screen in a Modern app and a black bar with Close and/or Minimize buttons pops up (and appears momentarily at app startup). The Store icon is pinned to the Task Bar by default, and you can add other Modern apps that will run full-screen as usual. The Task Bar can now be displayed within Modern apps, too. Users asked, Microsoft answered.
Not sure which Windows software to use? CRE Rentals can help! We support a variety of industries, and work with all kinds of media pros, designers, post experts, and animators who know their way around render farms and the other high-tech gear behind every cartoon, cable series, and movie. Call us today at 877-266-7725.
There are colorful graphics all over the Internet illustrating various marketing strategies that are “ideal for the digital age,” many even depicting the classic “three pillars” of sales, awareness, and advocacy. But those pillars now support all manner of faddish notions and countless high-tech helpers that blast your marketing message to the world. With all the confusion over tweets, texts, and bandwidth causing many marketing campaigns to seriously under-perform, now is a good time to get back tobasics with timeless marketing principles that work.
Before you make goals, before you devise tactics to carry out your strategy, you must take stock of your current situation. Sometimes referred to as an “environmental scan,” this in-depth overview considers everything involved in your enterprise: technology, equipment and computer rental needs, production processes, industry metrics, competition, general and specific economic indicators, customers, and local, regional, state, and federal laws. You can’t chart a course without a map, okay?
Goal setting Now that you know your starting point, you can decide where you want to go. When you do sit down to create your corporate goals and objectives, you might find the “SMART goals” system worth your attention. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely, which echoes the high standards Steve Jobs set for his secret iMac developers in the late 1990s.
Strategy There are as many opinions on business strategy as there are stars in the night sky, so your best bet is to read widely, remain skeptical of grandiose claims, and come to a reasonable position. As much an educational process as the other steps, developing your business strategy might introduce you to such tools as perceptual mapping and portfolio analysis.
Tactics Businesspeople conflate tactics with strategy and tell their marketing directors that they want a “viral marketing campaign” that will hit every inbox, smartphone, and iPad rental in the Western Hemisphere. But that’s a tactic, not a strategy, and no one can guarantee that anything will “go viral” (and beware of anyone who does). Truth be told, many campaigns go viral but have little effect on sales or PR.
Monitor We’re trying to keep this advice jargon-free, but part of an effective strategy means defining your key performance indicators (KPIs). Monitor performance with KPIs and you will know how well your tactics are working to fulfill the company strategy. Needless to say, it is vital to be completely honest in making these appraisals.
You will continue to revise, update, and perfect (ergo, “evolve”) both tactics and strategy based on your KPIs. (The indicators themselves may need some revision, too.) When the campaign is ongoing, it is wise to continue with a healthy optimism, as well as a healthy skepticism. You may have had an intelligent design for your strategy, but it’s good old evolution that will keep everything on track as the world barrels forward in its unpredictable way.
Now, here’s something that’s completely predictable: CRE’s top equipment and unparalleled customer service. With 21 offices in major metro areas, we offer technology rentals that could help you achieve your marketing goals (or help you complete a last minute project or prepare you for an upcoming event). Give us a call at 877-266-7725 to learn more.