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How Much Storage Should I Have For My NVR?

A Network Video Recorder (or NVR) is a device that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB flash drive, SD memory card or other storage device. This NVR is connected to your security cameras installed in your home or business so you can store the footage and remote viewing on devices. This sends the recorded information from the camera directly to the NVR via ethernet cable.

The number of cameras an NVR can handle is defined by the number of channels (cameras) it has. This can range from 4 channels to 16 channels and up.

Things you need to know:
What the camera’s resolution is
Video quality
Frame rate per camera
Daily recording hours
Number of days you will be recording
Number of cameras you have

Once you have this information, you will know what size recorder you will be required to use to store the footage.

When you are looking to have an NVR installed in your home or business, give us a call! We do everything so you don’t have to! Gamma Tech sells top of the line electronics all across the board so you can be sure that you are getting the highest quality for the price!

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Cat5 vs Cat5e vs Cat6: Which Do I Run In My Home?

You may not even know what Cat wire is. Cat wire, or “category wire” is a twisted pair cable that carries signals. You use this in your own home to connect computer to a network for example. The difference between Cat5, Cat6, and Cat6e is the bandwidth they offer. Cat5 has become almost obsolete due to the other Cat wires being faster and more efficient.

Category 5 is the slowest out of the bunch, offering the slower speed of 10/100Mbps at 100MHz. Length of this cable cannot exceed 100m to reach this speed.

Category 5e (the e means enhanced) has basically replaced Cat5 wire in new installations. It is designed to reduce crosstalk and other signal interruptions, and can handle 1000Mbps at 100MHz. If you want to compromise on price yet still receive a great speed/signal, this may be the best option.

Category 6 has been commonly used in networks, while being able to handle 10 Gigabits of data, at 250 MHz. Cat6 wire is also more expensive to use, and can at times be difficult to install. If you are running cat wire through the walls, this may be the best option for you.
The “crosstalk” or interference has gone down due to the wiring updates. This reduces signal interruption and maximizes speed. You want to future proof your home and not go backwards with technology. When you are ready to install wire in your home, make sure to call Gamma Tech! Our AV wiring team knows everything there is to know about Cat wire. We are ready to serve you!

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Ransomeware: What It Is And How You Can Be Protected

 

A recent cyber attack has surfaced a malware called “Ransomeware,” which can completely lock your files on your computer and requires you to pay a certain fee to attain the files that have been compromised. It has been said that this attack occurred through stealing certain tools from the NSA. At the end of the day, these hackers are really holding your files for ransom.

 

These hackers can get into your machine via a variety of methods including SPAM emails, direct hacking, infected websites, or other computers that are infected on your network. This is spread easily by hacking into other computers on a network making it and endless cycle. Also, using outdated software can make you an easy target. Sadly, these hackers are advanced and major companies such as FedEx have even taken a hit from this malware.

 

What steps you need to take to protect you and your devices:

 

The first step you should take, is make backups of all your files. Whatever is important to you on your computer, back it up! So for example, if you have a backup of all your files on your computer and you become a victim of this malware, you can take the machine and wipe it clean and start fresh. Having the backup will simply load your backed up files back on your computer getting rid of the ransomware.

 

Another great asset to have is antivirus software. This software helps to eliminate all virus threats, using helpful tools like pop-up blockers and avoiding suspicious attachments.

 

The good news is, Gamma Tech can help! We do both backups and antivirus protection! If you are a commercial customer who participates in our managed services Gamma Tech Antivirus is included along with our ransomware proof backup. So if any problems are to occur, we can assure that our expert IT technicians will be there to help!  If you’re a residential customer, give us a call so we can ensure your machine is protected from crooks attempting to hold your files ransom.

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Music Streaming Services Compared

Apple Music

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What We Like
If you have iPhone or iPad you don’t have to download another app, it’s already built in. You can access it through your Music app on Apple devices. When you sign up, you get the first 3 months free. There is a “For You” tab that learns about your taste in music and shows you music recommendations.

What We Don’t Like
The sound quality isn’t nearly as high as its competitors. There is no free mode with Apple Music, and is very cluttered; not easy to navigate. If you are an Android user or ever plan to in the future, the Apple Music platform is not the most friendly one to use.

Cost: $9.99/mo

Spotify

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What We Like
You can connect your Spotify account to Facebook and see what your friends are listening to. Spotify also has great high quality audio.

What We Don’t Like
This is actually our favorite streaming service to use at Gamma Tech. The sound quality is still not “high definition”, but it is still very good and better than most. Some big name artists have removed their music from Spotify due to their royalty rates.

Cost: $9.99/mo

Pandora

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What We Like
Pandora uses stations. You can create a station around an artist, song, or genre. It won’t play songs solely from a certain band, but play music that was in the same genre or similar artists.

What We Don’t Like
Has a very limited selection of music compared to its competitors. It is very basic. Also due to licensing restrictions, only 1 track per album can be played at a time. So listening to the Star Wars soundtrack all the way through won’t ever happen.

Cost: $4.99/mo or free with ads

Tidal

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What We Like
It offers a lot of exclusive content only available on Tidal such as concerts, videos, and playlists by big name artists. Gets a lot of attention because of its high sound quality.

What We Don’t Like
Not too many people use this service. Sure it has the best sound, but Spotify is just as great for half the cost.

Cost: $9.99/mo for Basic or $19.99 for hi-fidelity

iHeart Radio
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What We Like
If you want your favorite radio stations you listen to now mixed in with some stations you create yourself, this is the one for you. What we like is that ITS FREE! Free is good! Its very simple and easy to use.

What We Don’t Like
The variety isn’t as vast as its competitors. Being solely radio based and not being able to pick an artist to stick with may bother some users.

Cost: $9.99/mo or free with ads

Slacker Radio

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What We Like
Has a vast library of music, great stations, and playlists. The program itself is very sleek, and has great sound quality. If you love sports radio, you’ll love this service even more with live ESPN Radio. Also has news stations and even The Weather Channel.

What We Don’t Like
Very similar to the Pandora and Spotify, certain features are only available through the premium membership.

Cost: $3.99/mo or free with ads

Tune In Radio

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What We Like
There are endless possibilities with Tune In. You can listen to practically anything you wish. What we love about TuneIn is that it is accessible just about anywhere. Apple, Android, a Smart TV, you name it, you can probably stream Tune In. You can connect Tune In to your Facebook just like Spotify. There is a History tab that will show you a stations entire playlist before you even start listening.

What We Don’t Like
There is a buffer. Constantly waiting for music to load can be very annoying. Some stations won’t even load. Not all local stations will appear like iHeart Radio, and you need a very good internet connection. Lastly, there are ads that come up at the bottom of the screen as if they want you to click on their bait.

Cost: $9.99/mo or free with ads

 

It all comes down to what your preferences are and what you are comfortable with. Pick the best streaming service for you this summer!

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Building a Home? Your Technology is a Service

If you’ve ever built a home, you are well aware of the MANY decisions that need to be made in order for that home to be built. If it’s a custom home, it’s only exaggerated.

But, few items in your home are like the technology solution you choose. Let me explain.

The floor in your home, is ultimately a product. It’s easy to grasp and easy to recognize a poorly installed floor. There is skill to installing it, but choose the right builder and they’ll ensure the flooring is properly installed.

Same for the appliances, paint, concrete, landscaping, kitchen cabinets, countertops, lighting fixtures, garage door, and the list goes on…

But nothing in your home is so integral to everyday living as your home technology. And typically your builder is not as adept at recognizing a poorly installed system. Think about it. Especially if there is home automation in the home, who is going to ensure the automation works as designed? When the TV doesn’t turn on, who will be responsible for getting it working? Who will be responsible for ensuring the system is easy to use and operate? Who will ensure the system works as designed and isn’t constantly having issues?

All of these questions are who and not what. Sure it matters what system you buy, but the reality is if you buy the best system but have poor service, you really have nothing.

We see this all the time from customers. They purchase a Crestron system or a Savant system because one of their friends have it, or they have it in another home up north. But suddenly, they find the system is a complete nightmare to use and we are called to rip it out. The cause wasn’t because Savant and Crestron have a poorly made product, but instead the company that installed it offered a poor design and/or a poor level of service, rendering the system useless.

So the question ultimately becomes, are you buying a product or a service? And although your proposal may indicate you’re buying a list of products, it couldn’t be more misleading.

At Gamma Tech Services, we are a true service company. No other company offers such a high level of service and attention to detail. We won’t tell you that we never screw up, but when we do, we always make it right. Our staff are experts in their individual fields and put you, the customer, first. With 10 years of business under our belt, we have the reputation to prove the level of service we provide and as the owner I am in this for the long haul. At the end of the day, I personally stay current in all of the fields of services we offer to ensure I can personally take care of any concerns a customer may have.

It’s this winning formula that has allowed Gamma Tech Services to have staying power and year over year rapid growth without any conventional marketing.

So if you’re building a home, or really buying anything technology, ask yourself, “Am I buying a product, or a service.” And be sure to choose the right service company.

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The Reason for Blog Silence

If you’re a reader of our blog, let me apologize for the delay in updating it. It hasn’t been for naught though. As you most likely know, we are moving, and the move has been consuming all of our extra time and energy, normally spent on our blog. The list of improvements for the new office include:

1- all new wood flooring throughout
2 – painting of all interior
3 – security cameras covering entire inside and outside
4 – all new electrical outlets and switches
5 – several new doors and beautiful French doors in a couple areas
6 – new furniture and art throughout
7 – wiring throughout
…. And much more…

Needless to say, we are investing heavily in our space in both financial and time resources to make it a more productive and also more inviting environment for our customers to visit us. Although we are still a ways off from the finished product, the results have already been rather impressive. Thanks to our awesome employees and the contractors we employed we have a space that is truly everything we have wanted.

The reality is that we believe this space will continue to propel us forward as we grow the company in size and professional offerings. This year we added our VoIP services and phone systems and have installed far more than we anticipated. We continue to grow our managed services for our commercial clients at a steady 5% per month and the audio video side has continued to add new customers and strategic sources of referrals. And this month we added on a new service with automated window treatments and shades that we are very excited about.

We know all of this growth requires a new space and we believe that this space is exactly that. We are excited to have a location that allows us to better exhibit our service offerings and better present the level of service we provide.

2015 has been an exciting year and we know by the beginning of 2016 that we will have this new office fully ready to go. I hope you’ll drop by and see us, but for now, stay tuned!

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Facebook Newsfeed Explained

If you’ve seen pictures going around or your friends complaining about Facebook “hiding” your posts from your friends, than you’ll be interested in understanding the truth.

First of all, they are right in that your news feed is not a comprehensive list of all your FB friends’ posts. There is an algorithm that FB applies to load your news feed. The exact algorithm is based on logic that no one knows besides the FB programmers, but from what we can figure out is it is as follows:

1. If you have a new friend, their statuses are shown to you on your news feed.
2. If you do not “like” or comment on their statuses than their statuses begin to be hidden from your feed.
3. If a particular post of your friend’s gets more traction or likes, it will be shown on your feed. IE someone getting married or the like.
4. If you do not like these posts or comment on them, FB basically determines you are not interested in their posts and hides all of their posts.

This is all balanced and follows the ebb and flow of your likes, but that is the basic idea.

The pictures that promise to get more friends to see your posts work, sorta. They basically will trick the algorithm to think the post is gaining traction as your friends that normally see your post will hopefully all like and comment. The result is that friends that don’t see your posts normally will see your post…

BUT

There’s a cost. Most likely the friends that FB decides to show the post to will decide that the picture is just a “scam” and may not like post. The result is that FB will determine that those friends truly are not interested in your posts and not show them to those friends at all.

So the moral. Just use FB as you normally would and don’t try to trick it. It will have unintended consequences and they probably won’t be positive. FB pays software engineers thousands to ensure the algorithms are always one step ahead.

In the meantime, if you want to see your friends posts that aren’t showing up on your feed, go to more and then most recent.

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The Internet is Changing

The Internet is changing, and it’s changing for the better.

Gamma.Tech

That’s not a mistake. It’s actually our new web address, and it’s thanks to something called gTLDs. gTLDs were created to freshen up Internet web addresses by providing more endings to web addresses. Instead of .com, for example, we now have literally hundreds of new “endings” or extensions to choose from. And because of this, you may be able to get a new domain you never thought possible.

Take our new Gamma.Tech domain. I’ll admit, it looks a little strange at first, but when you consider that we had no chance of securing www.GammaTech.com, it’s exciting to know we have a domain that’s not as long as www.GammaTechServices.com. Eventually, our email addresses will be “@Gamma.Tech” instead of “@gtmail.us”. That’s exciting to say the least!

But .tech is just one option. The list is so long that I won’t take the time to list it here, but some of our favorites are:

.construction
.company
.cooking
.design
.dental
.engineering
.marketing
.life
.repair
.ninja

Some of these get to be pretty short, and since they are all fairly new—with new ones being released weekly—now is the time to secure your perfect domain name. It will take some time before people get used to them, but when they do, you’ll have an awesome, short domain name that people can easily remember.

Checkout the full list of new gTLDs and visit a domain registrar like GoDaddy.com to register your new gTLDs today. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

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Should you wait for Windows 10?

On July 29th, 2015, Microsoft released the latest version of Windows, Windows 10. In the days since its release, we’ve received calls from several customers who are experiencing issues upgrading to Windows 10. As with any new product release, we recommend that you do not upgrade to Windows 10 until all of the initial kinks have been worked out. If you like to live on the cutting edge and can’t wait any longer, make sure you back up all of your data before you upgrade.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How much does the upgrade cost?
A: If you currently use Windows 7 or 8/8.1, the upgrade to Windows 10 is completely FREE! You have until July 29, 2016 to take advantage of your free upgrade.

Q: Can my computer run Windows 10?
A: If your computer meets the following minimum requirements, you can upgrade to Windows 10:

  • 1 Ghz or faster processor
  • 2 GB RAM for 64-bit; GB RAM for 32-bit machines
  • 20 GB storage for 64-bit; 16 GB storage for 32-bit machines

Q: Is it safe to upgrade to Windows 10?
A: Even though you a free to upgrade to Windows 10 if your system meets the requirements, we strongly encourage our customers to wait until most of the bugs from the initial release have been fixed. As we mentioned before, if you decide to upgrade, always make a backup of your data beforehand.

From now until August 31, 2015, we are running a Windows 10 Preparation Special. For just $150, you will receive:

  • 500 GB external backup hard drive
  • Automatic local backup software, configured to backup all documents, pictures, videos, favorites, and music.
  • Windows 10 compatibility check
  • Windows 10 reservation, if you are eligible to upgrade
  • 15% off Windows 10 installation service at a future date
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Your Dreams Need a Pro

You just got a new entertainment system and you hook it all up. It’s great but you suddenly realize you have to use 7 different remotes just to use the TV. No worries. You pick up a Logitech Harmony remote at Best Buy that promises to be user programmable and problem is solved…

Except when someone else tries to use it. Or when you don’t point it long enough. Or the devices get out of sync.

Suddenly the money you saved by doing the setup yourself is starting to feel more like money wasted.

Thankfully, this isn’t a true story (or so we hope) and you can avoid this situation before it ever happens! Call us first.

There are many things that we as professionals can do that you simply cannot. There are products, resources, and tools that no matter how much you buy off Amazon, you’ll never have. All of these elements allow us to present you with a truly professional, enjoyable entertainment experience.

One example of these products and tools is our custom programmed remote controls. Our remotes are different than what you can buy at Best Buy or Amazon, and unlike Logitech remotes, there is no need for a “help” button.

The secret has to do with what’s called discrete on/off. Discrete on/off as the name suggests allows us to specify and separate on from off. A “power” button on the other hand simply switches the device from one power state to another. If it’s on, it turns off and vice versa. This is how off the shelf remotes work and the result is frustrating. If you have 4 devices to turn on to watch TV and you hit the “Watch TV” activity you may find that one device didn’t respond and stayed off. No problem, just do it again, except this time they all turned off except the one that missed previously which is now on. You finally just end up getting up and manually getting everything to turn on.

Our remotes on the other hand are discrete. Meaning we tell each device to turn either on or off and not “power.” The result is that devices never get out of sync and if they do, simply press the activity button again and watch as everything syncs back together. It truly is dummy proof.

Our remotes offer other advantages like rechargeable batteries so you aren’t having to replace batteries frequently and radio frequency control so that you can control components in another room or behind a closed cabinet door. This allows for a much cleaner look as now you can hide that ugly box from Comcast in the cabinet below the TV.

If you are in need of a universal remote trust no one but Gamma Tech Services. We have installed hundreds, if not thousands, of remotes and each one is customizable for your needs/wants.

It’s time to start actually enjoying your system and the remote is the first step to doing so. It’s the main part you interact with and we argue one of the most important. Get a remote today from us and don’t look back.