LetterNine i On Technology

LetterNine... keeping our i on technology.
Week of August 31, 2015

Back To School Shopping
When I was a kid, this time of year meant going to the store with my mom to get new clothes and school supplies for the upcoming year. I don't know if times have changed or maybe just my kids don't care about jeans and pencils, but it seems like "back to school" means shopping for laptops more than for clothes. Kids need new laptops, phones, and tablets to compete academically and socially. There are a lot of options out there, and everyone has a different budget for their kids, so there is simply no right or wrong answer. However, there are a few guidelines that may help when faced with a technology decision, especially for school.
  • Match Tech Investment With Expected Lifespan Of Usage - If you are looking for a laptop to last all 4 years of high school or college, don't buy a $250 Chrome Book or $400 laptop. While you can get some good deals on laptops, they are not good deals if you are having to replace them before their targeted lifespan is over. Along these lines, make sure the construction is durable. Kids are hard on computers, and need something that is built well. If you are faced with a tradeoff between a faster processor and a metal case, go with the metal case.

  • Size Matters - Lower cost laptops are typically bigger. It is harder for the manufacturer to design and build all components in a small space, so you end up having to pay more for the smaller devices. An 11" screen is a good size for portability for kids. It may cost a little more, but if you purchase a device that is too big for your child to have with them all the time, you are probably not buying the right laptop.

  • Cool Doesn't Mean Functional - Most schools will publish recommended models or specs for the students. If your child wants a Mac or a Surface because it is cool or because "everyone else has one", that is probably a bad reason to make a $1,000+ investment. I have seen some schools publish requirements that a laptop must boot up in 45 seconds or less. This rules out many hard drive based devices and limits your choices to tablets, laptops, or hybrids that have a solid state drive.

Jailbreaking Your iPhone
While we are on the topic of kids and technology, let's talk a minute about how proud we are of our kids when they figure out a way to make their Verizon iPhone work on the AT&T network. By "jailbreaking" his iPhone, little Johnny can now run apps that you can't, and his phone looks and works differently than yours. Take a minute away from bragging about how smart your little Johnny is and do a detailed audit of your credit card bill.

According to Palo Alto Networks, almost a quarter of a million "jailbroken" iPhones have been hacked (click here to read story). These hacked phones allow Apple ID credentials to be shared with the hackers and can lead to thousands of dollars of charges on your credit card that you or little Johnny didn't make.

How can we help?
As always, if we can help resolve any of your IT issues, please don't hesitate to email us at blog@letternine.net.

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