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.
It took a while, but cooler heads are now prevailing in the discussion about whether or not professionals in film, TV, video, and the Web should continue with Apple on its Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) journey. In one of the best recent round-ups of opinion, Mac Daily News had a month-long thread in its forum about FCPX that was so productive, so informative, that one forum reader (“reader”) felt obliged to say, “What a relief to have [this] conversation without name calling or political thread-jacking!”
There is one big difference in the current discussion compared to last year’s: Leaving FCPX no longer means ditching Apple hardware (the new Mac Pro that media mavens are drooling over, the mighty MacBook Pro rental). It began as (almost) a Mac vs. Windows thing, but with the improvements to Adobe Premiere and other competing products it has become more of a software battle on OS X territory. That’s a bit better for Apple’s bottom line, but still leaves a lot to fight for.
Entertainment professionals speak out
One pro TV editor who “used FCP extensively for many years” at a national TV production company says there are 30 editing suites there, and FCP X is not running on any of them. He says some users moved to Avid (on Mac and PC), others to Premiere, as the omission of OMF export (Open Media Framework) from FCPX for the first year sent “a clear signal to pro users” that they were no longer the target demographic. This editor concludes that “Apple chose to make FCPX into a semi-pro” product (emphasis in original). Is the eventual target the iOS user?
Pro editors, confirms another “reader”, are now using Adobe Premiere CC (or 6), Avid Media Composer 7, and even FCP 7 (which can handle the 1080HD format). As FCPX is to software like the iMac is to hardware, one editor is certain that Apple does not want to “support the pro user.” She says this is “understandable, looking at [Apple’s] evolution direction.” Understanding, however, only goes so far—in this case, not that far. “I can still work on FCP 7,” one comments, “but how much longer? 1-2 years, I think.”
Slow Death or Revival?
Perhaps some of the most distressing news for FCPX (all of which you can get from an ongoing FCPX forum at CreativeCOW) comes from the editing suite rental companies. A manager of one such firm reports that, among the freelance editors over the past year, “By far the least used app is FCPX,” while Adobe Premiere is picking up fans fast. Checking his logs reveals that FCPX “has been used 3 times in 2 years [and mostly] for very small jobs.” This manager minces no words: “It was dead on arrival and is still dead.”
No matter which editing software you need, CRE Rentals has the latest PC, Mac computer rental to get your project done. We have served entertainment clients for over 30 years and are an experienced technology rental provider. Give us a call today at 1-877-266-7725 or contact us to learn more about our rentals and services.
YouTube entrepreneurs and podcast producers sued; international tech titans battling in court; developers targeted for creating mobile apps; offices around the country threatened for being in possession of ordinary scanners. Innovators of all kinds, the very creators of the future, are falling victim to “patent trolls.” Trolls can be individual lawyers, legal firms, or some other type of company, but they all operate the same way, buying up patents and making sweeping claims of infringement.
With no “loser pays” system in the U.S., it is cheaper for firms to settle than fight—but for years there was no reason to do either. There was no patent protection afforded software even as Silicon Valley took over the world. It was the mid-1990s before a federal court determined that an “algorithm…in a general-purpose computer” could be “patentable.” The U.S. went from zero software patents about 20 years ago to around 100 per day now, a deluge that has overwhelmed patent examiners and allowed vague, overly-broad claims that do not “delineate the boundaries of the invention.” In the hands of skilled patent attorneys, unbounded claims can be applied in a sweeping fashion.
The trolls take a toll
There were 5,000 patent lawsuits in 2012. For the first time, more than half were initiated by trolls. One good thing: Patent trolls often own weak software patents that are often successfully challenged. Between 1995 and 2011, of cases that proceeded to a judgement, patent trolls only won one of four. Notoriously obnoxious trolls fared even worse, with the most frequent litigators winning a mere tenth of their cases. Another positive development is the recent, well publicized pushback against patent trolls by Newegg, Twitter, and others. Still, even the smallest companies taking a patent case all the way can spend $1 to $2 million or more. This is an impossible sum for many.
The actions of patent trolls essentially constitute a fee on innovation, once that’s increasing annually. American firms made almost $30 billion in direct payments to patent trolls in 2011, while the overall economic cost is likely much higher. Plus there are other problems besides trolls, like “patent wars” where firms fight it out in court instead of the marketplace. Had Steve Jobs been fighting with Samsung (and others) in the late 1990s instead of a decade later, he might not have had time to birth the iMac and change history. And yet, both Apple and Google spent more money in 2011 on buying and litigating patents than on R&D.
A bit of progress
Just last week, major troll Lodsys dropped its case against Kaspersky Labs. Until recently, Lodsys had been doing well—the firm went after Apple once or twice, tweaked a few other tech firms’ noses, but recently skedaddled out of several courtrooms with the corporate tail between their legs. And, while gradually fading out on the Kaspersky case, Lodsys tried sticking up Martha Stewart for $5,000. Now, that’s not a lot to Martha, but the Lodsys brain trust should have, at the very least, read a few Cosmo or Elle columns about the lady—or a few tabloids, what the heck? So now, on top of everything else, they’ve gone and upset Martha Stewart? Game over. Those guys are so doomed. And amidst new patent reforms, more and more companies are starting to fight back.
From intense post-production tasks with an AJA Io HD to conference breakout sessions with our first-rate trade show convention rentals, our expert Account Executives will meet your precise needs. Call 877-266-7725, send a message, or speed things along even faster with our Quick Rental Quote form. When you’re ready, we’ll be here to help—any time, in any way, whatever you need! Call now!
If you don’t read the quarterly financials of the technology sector, join the club. Most people couldn’t care less. On the other hand, if you work for one of the many companies that completely missed “emerging technologies” and devoted themselves to PCs instead of smartphones and tablets, you might care when your job evaporates. And PC and tablet makers most assuredly do care about those quarterly reports, and they’re looking at the latest one from IDC (International Data Corporation, a market research, analysis, and advisory firm specializing in IT) that tallies 49.2 million tablets shipped in Q1 2013 (up 142.4% year-over-year), compared to 76.3 million PCs (down 13.9% y/y). Tablet sales are soaring, while PC sales are tanking, with the worst quarterly drop ever.
Tablets are fast approaching the point where they can do everything a typical PC can, while also being pressed into nearly continuous service as cameras, movie players, videophones, game arcades, and remote controls for household appliances. Even today’s low-end tablets can handle most jobs, even in corporate settings (where you could order a MacBook Pro rental if you want more power for a temporary project). This is the primary challenge facing PC manufacturers today: How can the desktop PC compete with lower-priced, portable devices that use less power, accomplish many common computing tasks, and also have that “hip-and-fun” factor?
Who’s who in the new crew
IDC shows Apple still leading in market share with 39.6% of tablet sales, with Samsung in (distant) second place with 17.9%. But the bigger story here is the number of leading firms that are not on the list. Think a minute: Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Sony, and Toshiba are all missing from the top spots, despite some of them making belated attempts at entering the fray. Dell and HP are hugely important, influential firms in the history of PCs, and a desktop computer rental is likely to be one of these premier brands. So how did they miss out on the biggest product debut since, well, the PC?
Short answer: Who knows? Perhaps some of the long-time computer makers…
didn’t see or understand the trend away from the desktop and toward portability,
came “late to the game” and can’t seem to catch up,
were indecisive and wouldn’t make a commitment, or
decided against the tablet market in favor of their “sure things.”
Interestingly, many of the same companies that missed out on tablets this time around missed out on smartphones last time around. Of course, smartphones currently outsell PCs by a huge margin, and there is a growing trend (think Galaxy Note) toward the phone/tablet combo (sorry, they’re going to be called “phablets” no matter what). Either set a trend or get on someone’s coattails, but if you miss out again—we’re talking to you, Michael Dell—your brand may be ready for retirement.
Whither the “withering Windows”?
At GigaOm.com, Kevin C. Tofel analyzed the 2012 tablet and PC sales results back in January, dubbing Microsoft’s flagship OS “withering Windows.” The point was that, despite the hundreds of millions of Windows users on Earth, a full third of all new devices sold don’t run Windows—they run Android and iOS. In the ‘90s and 2000s, if you were to rent laptops you’d find over 90% of them running Windows. The bar’s been lowered to under 70% of all devices now, and Tofel sees “no reason why the growth of non-Windows tablets will stop.” In fact, he “wouldn’t be surprised if by this time next year non-Windows tablets actually outsell Windows computers.”
In the last 30 years Microsoft’s presence in the technology sector of the economy has been dominant. It’s not merely its market share in tablets that signals a problem for the firm, it’s the burden of a legacy OS that has been pushed aside by flexible (and fun) new platforms. Combining a small form factor, touch capability, media prowess, WiFi, and long battery life, devices like iPad rentals, tablet PCs, and the latest/greatest thing, phablets, will experience strong sales as PC shipments continue tanking. You could argue that it’s all a semantic “construct,” that you can “define” things in and out of categories, compare apples and oranges, even ‘prove’ that 0=1. It’s all marketing, right?
What’s in a name?
Wrong. There really has been a irreversible change. Tablets have done so well because they are convenient and cover most of the bases for most folks. There are growing numbers of people, in fact, who are not replacing their PCs as often as they once did. They keep one around because PCs do excel at certain things—writing everything from letters to novels, editing digital audio and video, rendering graphics, and acting as both analog and digital hub for connecting and interconnecting this, that, and the proverbial other thing.
This is why PCs—let’s call them desktop workstations, shall we?—are not going away completely. It’s a needed form factor: A top-flight HP Pavilion or Apple Mac Pro rental has the expansion slots, drive bays, flexibility, and power needed for demanding work. Creative pros, scientists, photographers, designers, writers, engineers, and others will populate the “high-end” niche, which CRE will continue to serve with everything from audio visual (AV) equipment rentals to the mass storage needed for post-production. Wherever you find your challenges—on-site, on the road, or at a convention—your solutions are all right here. Call an experienced Account Executive at (877) 266-7725, send us a message, or visit our Quick Rental Quote page if you know what you need. We are always ready to help you!
Adobe’s announcement that its leading-edge Creative Studio programs are now “the Creative Cloud,” available exclusively via subscription, has generated more than the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth in the tech sector. Interestingly, in the past this kind of anger was typically directed at Apple, not “trusty old Adobe,” as people have called it for years. There are still details to be worked out, but the basics are clear enough, and we have them for you.
Creative Studio’s switcheroo
First, there’s a huge misconception, a basic error repeated even by “tech pundits” that should know better. Some people interpret “Cloud” in “Creative Cloud” to mean that the applications will be web-based, like the online Photoshop Express that makes “web crawling” seem positively supersonic. No deadline-driven designer will tolerate the lag of an 800MB photo file loading into a browser. Nobody at Adobe, which has helped power the Information Age since before you could rent laptops, would ask them to. The programs install locally and Adobe checks your subscription status now and then to confirm its validity. If you stop paying, you’re turned off.
The whole thing started in earnest with the release of Creative Suite 6 (CS6) in 2012, when Adobe offered it on DVD (the whole shebang is over $2,000) as well as by monthly subscription ($49.99) to the new Creative Cloud. For that, a user gets all the CS6 programs—but to sweeten the deal, students and current owners of CS versions 3 to 5.5 get the first year for $29.99 monthly. A single app (think Photoshop, the one indispensable program for all creatives) is $19.99 a month or some $240 annually. Doesn’t matter if you work in Windows or on an iMac, both OS types are covered as long as you’re net-connected, and you can install both.
So, does it cost you more or less? We’ll give you the conclusion of a good dollar-comparison discussion that you should read after this blog:
If you are a professional and use CS6 extensively, and always upgrade, you will definitely save money.
If you use several CS6 programs and upgrade every other year or so, you may break even but are likely to pay more.
If you use just Photoshop or another single application and/or upgrade rarely, there’s only a 50% chance that your costs will go up. Unfortunately, the other 50% chance is that they’ll go way up.
The core problem is that many people resist the notion of another monthly bill, like an additional insurance payment. They would rather buy software and use it until it doesn’t work anymore, rather than be compelled to pay—and to upgrade yearly! If you’re already doing high-end work on Mac Pros and Apple Cinema Display Rentals, running CS6 day and night, these new costs are probably incidental to you (or corporate accounting). For a freelancing college student or a self-employed designer, every penny counts.
Okay, then: Why?
Adobe claims that the move from CS to CC was done to put new features in the hands of users as easily and quickly as possible, instead of their waiting for yet another update or major release. The truth is probably a bit more complicated. Veteran Photoshop trainer John Arnold blogged that “50% of the people I talk to…are using a pirated copy [since] they feel they have to have it but they can’t afford it.” Arnold says the iconic program is “already way over priced” and “out of reach of most amateur photographers.”
Adobe has been having difficulty persuading creative freelancers and small firms—who are paying for render farms, mass storage, and other things—to pay for upgraded software when older (legacy) versions will do. (Microsoft and other companies seem to have decided that subscription services are the solution, too.) Low- and no-cost Photoshop alternatives on Mac and Windows include Rawstudio,GIMP, and GraphicConverter, all very good programs. However, Adobe products are uniformly excellent, and there is no way a pro CS user will ever accept a lesser program as a substitute.
If you make money in modern media, you must have industry-standard tools. You have to have what you have to have, a circular logic that pro users—freelancers, corporate employees, educators, and grad students—recognize and accept. Both amateurs and certain professionals, however, will have the entire spectrum of reactions, considering the amazing range of people using Adobe products. Tell us your experiences and we’ll share them with other readers when we return to update you on this continuing saga.
Our first 2012-in-review blog was “Business Tech Hits of 2012″, and it covered advances in enterprise computing, integrated systems, and IT. This blog is the consumer tech version of that same blog, covering personal computing and electronics. As always, some will say we should have made other, different, fewer, more, and/or better selections. Be that as it may, here’s what we think you should know about:
Free Office Software — LibreOffice is the best free, open source office software suite. Created by some members of Apache OpenOffice’s original development team, it has outdistanced OpenOffice (more features, fewer bugs) and every other open source Microsoft Office-compatible application for producing presentations, documents, slide shows, spreadsheets, and more. It has you covered on the iMac and has Windows and Linux versions, as well.
Soundbars — The picture quality of today’s plasma display rentals and flat-panel TVs has increased dramatically, but audio quality has actually decreased because it’s difficult, and thus expensive, to build good sound into thin panels. Soundbars emerged as a one-piece, plug-and-play solution, but the first models were unimpressive. In 2012, however, high-quality soundbars arrived from Bowers & Wilkins, Atlantic Technology, and many others. Some are made to replace multiple surround-sound speakers, but the niche is coalescing around the single soundbar. With their own amplifiers and standard line-in jacks, you can use most any digital device from an mp3 player to a CRE MacBook Pro rental to play audio.
Streaming — Audio/video docks for smart phones and tablets are a dying breed, another technology rendered passé by wireless technology. Whether it’s Apple’s Airplay, Bluetooth, DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance), or something else, wireless streaming technology solidified its grip on consumer connectivity in 2012. A docked iPad rental isn’t available to you for multitasking while the music or video plays. The only real use for the docks now is charging, so when wireless charging hits its stride, they’re complete goners.
Tablets for Kids— Of all the niches, “tablets for kids” is the one that differentiated itself enough to succeed last year. A fall article at Examiner.com found that “the market for children’s computer tablets [in 2012] was very successful” for the LeapPad from LeapFrog Enterprises, as well as VTech’s InnoTab, Oregon Scientific’s Meep, and the Kurio Kids tablet from TechnoSource. Just as CRE’s tablet PC rentals are configured with the proper applications for professional use, the Tabeo 7-inch kids’ tablet from Toys-R-Us runs Android 4.0, has 50 preinstalled tutorials and games, and includes a reading app called iStoryBooks. Amazon is taking a different route to engage kids: Rather than make special kiddie models, the Fire HD includes a potent and eminently tweakable app, Kindle FreeTime, for parental control of games, activities, and chat rooms, of course.
A single call or e-mail puts you in touch with an experienced Account Executive who will develop unique solutions for your unique challenges. As always, if you know what you need right now, you can visit the Quick Rental Quote page and take care of business right now—24/7/365!
Larry Jordan is a well-known independent filmmaker, video expert, and trainer whose word carries a good deal of weight in the intertwined worlds of tech and media. When Apple revised Final Cut Pro to create the oddly dumbed-down Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) in 2011, Jordan was harshly critical of the product. He even wrote a satirical “help desk” article about the best ways for Apple to alienate its most devoted software customers, who also happen to buy hardware (from iMacs and laptops to towers and servers).
Apple’s pro community
In case you didn’t know, Apple isn’t just a favorite brand of hip 20-somethings with glued-in earplugs. Apple’s various image editing and processing programs, led by flagship FCP but also including Aperture and Motion, have long been the favored tools of many artists and engineers. We know because our Mac Pro rental is what many of them use for this demanding work.
But recent years have seen powerful Windows and Linux software take a bite of Apple’s market share. The hostile reaction of the film/video community to FCPX took on additional urgency for the Cupertino giant when users started switching, not just to other software, but to another OS entirely. A desktop PC rental can be just as powerful, but the seamless integration of Apple software and hardware was the premier solution. Is it still?
Features both new and reborn
A major complaint against FCPX was that it eliminated longstanding features even as it failed to keep pace with competing products. In order to make certain that “FCPX 2012″ recaptured lost customers and enticed new ones, FCPX’s latest version includes multichannel audio editing tools, dual viewers, MXF plug-in compatibility and RED camera support.
As time goes by, it appears that Apple really is serious when it comes to FCPX. The initial release was a disaster, much too radical a departure (and not in a good “Steve Jobs” kind of way, as represented by our iPad rental), but the cleanup crew has done a good job. Making amends has consisted of giving FCPX buyers the aforementioned features as free updates.
Most of the major complaints about FCPX’s initial release were addressed in a reasonable amount of time. As a group, media pros are happy that FCPX is (almost) back to being the Final Cut they know and love, but are not quite ready to pledge undying loyalty to Apple. That won’t happen until a new, suitably potent and insanely great Mac Pro is released. You listening over there at One Infinite Loop?
Count on CRE Rentals to support you with both high-tech gear and first-rate advice. A single call or e-mail, or a brief visit to our Quick Rental Quote form, puts a world of high-tech equipment, conference gear and event production rentals at your service, and our expert Account Executives have the know-how to help you with all of it. Call now!
For over 30 years now, Microsoft has been at the center of Information Age activity, so when you want a sense of the current “state of the PC,” that’s where to look. On Thursday, August 23rd, the company debuted its new logo (“25 years in the making”) in preparation for the October 26th launch of Windows 8. Every Microsoft product and service – from Office and Windows 8 on your desktop PC rental, to Windows Phone 8 on your cell, to every single Xbox game – will share this common look and feel. A Microsoft blog post sounded positively Apple-like in touting the “familiar and seamless experience on PCs, phones, tablets and TVs” that is expected to result from the new OS.
We’ve blogged about the trends in hardware for 2012, so you likely know that the “next big thing” is actually the “next small thing” – the ultrabook. To achieve a svelte form factor, manufacturers are largely dispensing with optical drives, which are themselves starting to fade away as flash memory gets cheaper and broadband more widespread. Along with its near-monopoly as the pre-installed OS in PCs, Microsoft is positioning itself as the middleman between users and every type, size, and style of digital device, from phones to tablet PCs.
A white-hot niche
In mid-May we blogged about how the Asus Zenbook was heads and shoulders above most ultrabooks. In just the last few months, however, other manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon with gusto. Ergonomics seem to be fairly well established – size, thickness, weight, etc. – but there is no uniformity whatsoever on what ports are supplied, whether they’re standard size or mini, how well the keyboard works, or the accuracy of the multi-gesture trackpads. Still, whether you want to buy or rent laptops, you can now give consideration to light, nimble and powerful units from Dell (XPS 13), Lenovo (IdeaPad U300S), Samsung (Series 9) and others, including the one that started it all in the non-PC world - the MacBook Air.
Remember, too, that graphics performance has been boosted on many of the higher-end models, giving these small form-factor devices enough oomph to output to plasma display rentals (and a few even have full-size VGA out, meaning no adapters to lose). In fact, it’s the visual dimension that Windows 8, with its “Metro” style and colorful icons, is using to communicate its new, improved wonderfulness to (hopefully) new throngs of Microsoft fans. The new ultrabooks are going to show off Microsoft’s new logo and now OS to great effect, even as the firm tries to hypnotize the world into forgetting the word “Metro.” Well, we’ll see soon enough if the public “gets it.”
The Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference (RTECC) is a unique one-day event that takes place in dozens of locations around the globe every year. In the third week of August, RTECC will be in Irvine (Tuesday, the 21st) and San Diego (Thursday, the 23rd), bringing leading-edge thinking and in-demand information about the many existing and emerging opportunities for real-time and embedded computing. And check this out: It’s all free, including the parking.
What is real-time, embedded computing?
Briefly and broadly, real-time and embedded computing refers to operations carried out by devices with built-in (embedded) software. Modern vehicle braking systems and vending machines are good examples, and you’ll see another if you rent interactive kiosk units from CRE. At an RTECC event, (software) programmers, (hardware) engineers and (corporate) managers focus on specialized computing systems for
military and aerospace,
image processing and medical instrumentation,
telephony and data communication,
industrial and process control,
vehicular maintenance and control,
consumer devices and more.
Free… and valuable event!
A highly focused conference comprising keynotes, workshops and exhibits, RTECC offers free registration, open-door sessions and complete access to the exhibition hall. With parking and lunch also complimentary, your budget for trade show convention rentals and other promotional expenses is looking better all the time. A free conference with all the bells and whistles is great in and of itself, but as real-time and embedded computing is a huge, broad, growing niche, RTECC is a no-brainer for many.
In fact, real-time and embedded computing is among the most exciting new technology fields, with innovative products, sophisticated professional journals and significant industry buzz. If you have reserved an RTECC booth (or intend to now) consider running an eye-grabbing presentation on an all-in-one multitouch display PC, perhaps requesting visitors’ contact info in exchange for a bit of convention swag. RTECC invites you to explore opportunities, network with colleagues, meet industry experts – and get a look at the competition while you’re at it.
“Technology knows no borders”
Year after year, thousands of people attend RTECC events all over the world because they get what they need to succeed. Open-door breakout sessions, the latest on emerging technologies, top industry experts – there’s so much to see, hear and do that you’ll need an iPad rental for each of your conference team members. The iPad is ideal for audio, typed or handwritten notes, still photos or video.
8:30am-2:30pm on Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Hilton Irvine (Orange County Airport Hotel)
18800 MacArthur Blvd.
Irvine CA 92612
RTECC San Diego
8:30am-3:30pm on Thursday, August 23, 2012
San Diego Marriott, La Jolla Hotel
4240 La Jolla Village Dr.
La Jolla CA 92037
CRE can multiply the effectiveness of every cent you invest in conferences or computing. Call or e-mail an experienced Account Executive about your next conference or critical post-production project. Visit our Quick Rental Quote page if you know what you need, and you’ll be in and out in a jiffy.
In the first days of the Information Age, when home PCs were still pricey novelty items, “computer user” was synonymous with “programmer.” It was not possible to get a PC desktop computer rental stuffed full of applications for writing, design, database work, engineering and so on. In fact, if you needed a new program, you either wrote it or paid someone else to do so. Today lets consider three ways to get the unique software you need – by writing the code, paying for it or some combination of the two – in this introduction to custom conference apps.
DIY (Do-It-Yourself) methods to coding
The first commercial software packages to appear were operating systems, but the 1980s brought productivity programs, the 1990s saw hardware breakthroughs and the early 2000s gave us total connectivity . As the years passed, off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all software couldn’t cover all the bases, so custom apps – at first only for desktops, then for laptops and now for tablets (like our iPad rental) and smart phones – began growing in popularity. With the power and flexibility now available on mobile devices, they have become the latest, greatest platform for custom conference apps. So, how do you get exactly what you need?
DIY methods range from really doing it all yourself to leveraging various technologies like WordPress to simplify the process. In the first instance, either you or your “code head” need solid experience as developers – on multiple platforms, with various programming languages – to build the apps you need for specialized conference use. For a fully integrated, works-anywhere strategy, your apps will need to have versions for tablet PC rentals, Apple and Android smart phones, netbooks and laptops.
Plug-in and play option for Conference Apps
One option is use a WordPress plug-in developed by Top Quark. Working together, this plug-in can create a custom mobile app for Android, Blackberry and iOS. Without having to deal with any original coding, you simply make adjustments on a settings page to create custom apps for conferences. A smart phone can now download all the conference data so conference attendees can run the app even in “airplane mode.”
IntoMotion, Zerista, TripBuilder EventMobile, Conference Compass and other firms can provide a menu of services for building a custom conference app, doing either a little or a lot as you decide. With some firms advertising $20,000 custom app “bargains” as others promote $99 specials, it is important to look into all possible alternatives for creating a custom conference app.