Falcons’ New Video Board

The Atlanta Falcons are getting the NFL’s largest video board in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Everyone loves a huge TV and they don’t get much bigger than a sporting arena video board.  The NFL’s biggest game is almost here and many of us are still thinking about football.  The Falcons might have had a rough year on the field but their future is looking bright above it.  The new Mercedes-Benz stadium now being built is expected to be a masterpiece of engineering and venue design.  Perhaps its biggest appeal among tech geeks, however, will be the gargantuan, ring-shaped video board that will be installed.  This massive, LED video board stretches around the inner circumference of the stadium’s dome.

Atlanta Falcons Mercedes-Benz stadium, halo video board

South Dakota-based firm Daktronics is building the stadium’s video board.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Tim Tucker quotes Daktronics’ CEO, Reece Kurtenbach as saying, “This ‘halo’ display is really a test of engineering capabilities and architecture coordination that our team at Daktronics is proud to accomplish.”

Just how large will this new halo video board be?  The Falcon’s official Twitter account described it as, “When laid flat and straight, the 360-degree halo board in Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be 1,100 linear feet long.”  As you can see in this graphic, that measurement exceeds the height of the Eiffel Tower.  It’s also 58 feet tall, making the total display size a whopping 63,800 square feet!  These measurements make the video board “three times as large as the current, largest, single display board in the NFL.”

We might not be able to gush about the Falcons’ record this season, but the new video board at Mercedes-Benz stadium will certainly be a point of pride for the team and the city.

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Google My Business

Google My Business can help small and local businesses manage their web presence across a variety of Google apps.

Google My Business is hoping to make being seen easier for local and small business owners.  Google My Business replaces and upgrades older apps like Google Places for Business and Google+ Pages.  It unifies all the metrics and options that deal with how your business is listed with Google.  

Foremost, Google My Business streamlines data entry.  It disseminates the information in your company’s profile to Google Maps, Google+, Google Search, etc.  This makes updates quick and standardized.  Managing multiple profiles is also made easy through a simple dashboard.

Google logo, Google My Business

Google My Business allows customers to reach you in several ways and across various devices.  For example, a customer using her phone to look you up in Google Maps can then call you with a quick tap.  Customers finding you easily is the first step but keeping them talking is the best way to ensure a sale.

Reputation is everything, especially on the Internet.  Google My Business also lets you easily access reviews for your company.  

Google My Business can be seen as a commitment by Google to help local and small business.  Unifying Google’s many, sprawling branches will certainly be a time-saver for business owners.  Easily crafting a uniform web presence can also add to initial customer trust.  Perhaps most importantly, Google My Business helps your bottom line in that it’s completely free of charge.  

If you’d like to explore the latest goings-on in IT or learn more about our company, please visit our website.  Feel free to share your thoughts on our service by leaving a review through Google or on our Facebook page.  Hearing from you helps us deliver the best customer experience possible!

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Office 2016

The newest version of Microsoft’s perennial business software, Office 2016, is here.  We take a look at some of the changes on offer.

Microsoft Office 2016 logo

Office 2016, Microsoft’s omnipresent office work software, was released not too long ago.  Here we’ll take a look at what you can expect when you upgrade (if you haven’t already)!

Office 2016 comes in two flavors:  a traditional, local license and a subscription to Office 365 via the cloud.  The new features of Office 2016 vary slightly depending on which version you use.  These differences generally fall along how Microsoft expects customers to use each product.  

The local version of Office 2016 introduces a few new features that focus on being able to find what you need quickly.  Smart Lookup examines not only selected text but also the context around it to find the best results on the web.  This can cut down on sifting through extraneous search results.  The Tell Me feature directs you to the proper tool for the task you’re trying to accomplish.  It dispenses with telling you how to use the tool, however, assuming you already know or can swiftly figure it out.  The new Recent documents feature in Outlook 2016 shows you documents you’ve recently worked on in any Office 2016 app.  This allows you to quickly find and attach files to an email without having to search through your files.

Many more innovations were added to the Office 365 version of Office 2016.  The industry has been moving toward more cloud-based functions, of course, so this makes sense.  (It also encourages users to switch to the subscription platform.)  The bulk of these tools revolve around collaboration with a focus on OneDrive and SharePoint Online.  For instance, real-time co-authoring of shared documents is now supported through Office 2016.  Attachments may be sent as the files themselves or as links to the shared documents.  This can reduce file clutter and keep all changes in one place.  Office 365 Planner allows users to plan and organize collaborative work, including assigning tasks, due dates, and updates.  Skype for Business is now directly accessible through Office 2016, allowing you to easily speak to collaborators while working on the documents.

Overall, while Office 2016 is firmly rooted in providing for more traditional users, it continues to evolve to meet the new ways professionals work.

If you’d like to explore the latest goings-on in IT or learn more about our company, please visit our website.  Feel free to share your thoughts on our service by leaving a review through Google or on our Facebook page.  Hearing from you helps us deliver the best customer experience possible!

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Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift will be available later this year but are consumers ready for this VR technology?

Oculus Rift VR, virtual reality

Oculus Rift, the long-awaited virtual reality (VR) headset, will see release later this year.  A US price of $600 has been announced.  This includes the Rift, a case, an Xbox One controller, a wireless receiver, remote, sensor and two games (a shooter and platformer).  Some may find the price a bit hard to swallow, especially since you’ll need another device to run this peripheral.  In a recent interview with GameSpot, Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey explained that he understood the pricing concerns, but sees the Rift as VR’s introduction to mainstream markets.

Pre-orders are scheduled to begin arriving in customers’ hands in May.  We’ll have to wait until mid-year to see if the Oculus Rift will catch on with consumers but it won’t be alone.  As Luckey points out, research and development into VR technology has exploded in the last few years, and shows no signs of slowing down.  

What could the Oculus Rift and other VR systems bring to the masses?  The first application you’ll probably think of is gaming.  There are several titles in development, including the aforementioned platformers and shooter bundled with the Rift.  Other games include Dead and Buried, in which you take on the role of an Old West gunslinger.  A more modern first-person shooter is Bullet Train, which allows you to unload an arsenal on hordes of enemies.  The ubiquitous Minecraft is also heading to VR in the very near future!

Videos and other media are also big draws for VR.  Facebook is already allowing users to upload 360-degree videos.  Short films are being professionally produced for use with the device as well.  Oculus is also developing Medium, an artistic program that allows you to sculpt virtual clay in three dimensions.

Will the future of Oculus Rift and other VR products be boom or bust?  You can discuss your thoughts in our comment section below!

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TrueITpros 2015 Gift Guide

Here is our trueITpros 2015 gift guide to help you with those last minute gifts for the tech-lover in your life.

TrueITpros 2015 Gift Guide

TrueITpros 2015 Gift Guide

A gift guide can be an invaluable thing during the holiday season. It can be hard to know what someone really wants, or even where to start with your Christmas list. With less than a week left until Christmas morning, you may need a little help with those last minute gifts you’re in luck. We love all kinds of tech-related gifts, and this gift guide gives you a list of all the latest and greatest tech gifts this year. We checked it out, and here are some of our favorites.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the Amazon Echo is at the top of our list. Under the “Homebody” section of this gift guide, it gives you a review of the product and lists some of the features. It is a speaker that can tell you the weather, help you manage your calendar and much more. You do have to submit a request to purchase the product, once you are approved you’re in the clear to purchase it. This is the perfect gift for someone you may not be seeing until the New Year, giving your request time to be processed and your purchase to be made.

Another great item on this gift guide that works for a last minute (but still important) gift need is the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. Check under the “Boomers” tab on the gift guide for a review of this product. This is a great idea for someone who is always reading, from books to newspapers. The paperwhite feature is great for both indoor and outdoor reading.

No matter what kind of gadgets the people in your life are interested in, this gift guide has a lot of great options to help you with your shopping. For help with all of your new gadgets, or other IT questions, call the professionals at trueITpros at 678-534-8776 today.  Happy Holidays from trueITpros!

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