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Archive for October, 2013

GremlinsAlthough many businesses have been getting rid of Windows XP for at least the past three (3) years, the fact remains that as of early 2013, around 500 million business computers were still running Windows XP. While the witching hour for Windows XP has not yet arrived, we at CMIT Solutions of Denver have been speaking with those few clients of ours who still have some machines running XP, Server 2003 and Office 2003.

Here are 7 Reasons Why Getting Rid Of Windows XP Will Likely Exorcise Hidden Gremlins And Goblins Lurking In Your Computer Network:

  1. Tons Of Viruses. There is a huge library of viruses aimed at Windows XP and limited antivirus support still available.
  2. XP Is OLD (almost 12 years old!). The 1st iPod was released the same year as Windows XP. In a world where the 5th iPhone has been released, no one should be left using an O/S that pre-dates the 1st iPod!
  3. Least Secure Operating System (By Far!). ALL other platforms, including Linux, all versions of Mac OS X, Windows 7 and Windows 8 are more secure than XP by a huge margin. Windows Vista is actually a far safer option (scary!).
  4. Built For A Simpler Time. XP was created for a simpler world of technology. It was formatted to fit to a screen only 640 pixels wide, and it showcased IE6 as a new product. The internet was a different place when XP was developed. Smartphones were non-existent, laptops were a luxury and tablet computers were science fiction.
  5. No More Band-Aids. Only so many band-aid fixes on top of each other can be effective.
  6. Support Is Ending. Mainstream support of XP ended 4 years ago (April 2009) with only critical security updates since then.
  7. Malware Everywhere. You can continue to use XP, but with more malware than ever. XP is by far the most vulnerable platform to connect to the internet.

XP is a relic from a different world. Use at your own risk.

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Section 179 of the federal IRS tax code has continued to remain intact for several years. I’ve been writing about it for at least three or four years. And, with the end of support for Windows XP coming quickly, your firm could take advantage of Section 179 tax deductions to purchase the necessary hardware and software upgrades.

A recent online survey conducted by Balboa Capital reveals that 45% of small to medium-sized business owners are not familiar with Section 179 of the United States Internal Revenue Code, which allows companies to write off up to $500,000 worth of qualifying new or used equipment purchased or financed during the 2013 calendar year.

The beefed-up depreciation deduction has been enhanced numerous times by stimulus acts of 2008, 2009, and 2010, specifically to provide much-needed tax relief for small businesses and encourage them to invest in their future. Typically, depreciation deductions are spread out over time, but Section 179 allows business owners to write off the entire cost of a purchase the year that they buy it.

sec179Many people think Section 179 occupies some complicated corner of the tax code. But it’s actually quite straightforward: any business showing taxable income can use the deduction, and nearly everything from computers to off-the-shelf software to manufacturing equipment to certain business vehicles to office furniture qualifies. Dreading the impending death of Windows XP? Section 179 provides the perfect impetus to upgrade from the outdated OS, which Microsoft will end support for next April.

Section 179 does have limits, however. The total amount that can be written off is $500,000, and if the total cost of equipment purchased exceeds $2,000,000, the deduction is reduced dollar for dollar. But the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2013, which extended Section 179 again, does allow for larger businesses that exceed the $2,000,000 purchase threshold to take a bonus depreciation of 50% on new equipment.

Now for the kicker: Section 179 can change without notice each year, and right now, the total deduction allowed is forecast to drop from $500,000 in 2013 to $25,000 in 2014. Unless Congress acts to extend the 2013 allowance, which financial experts don’t anticipate, the 50% bonus depreciation will also disappear. That means if your business is considering ANY sort of hardware or software upgrade, NOW is the time to take action. Why wouldn’t you want to write off $500,000 from your taxes?

Another major perk of Section 179 is the leasing option that allows you to acquire up to $500,000 worth of equipment without actually spending $500,000 this year. Your firm has options of paying cash or leasing. If you select the latter, CMIT Solutions can introduce you to our leasing or financing partners or you can approach your business banker.

Claiming the Section 179 deduction on your 2013 taxes is easy, although it’s not automatic: you or your tax preparer must fill out IRS Form 4562, the deduction must be taken on an item-by-item basis, and complete records of your business equipment purchasing or leasing must be maintained.   

But remember: barring significant action by Congress, the Section 179 deduction will decrease from $500,000 to $25,000 as of January 1st. If you want to deduct up to half a million dollars from your 2013 taxes, you MUST purchase or lease qualifying equipment before December 31st.

Once you’ve consulted with a professional tax advisor about the benefits of Section 179, call or email CMIT Solutions to map out the hardware and software purchases that can deliver major tax advantages to your business. Who doesn’t want to reduce their tax burden AND upgrade their tech environment at the same time?

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Android phones have come a long way in the last few years, and the Apple iPhone may have lost a bit of the pizzazz that it had just a few years back as the new phone on the block. There will always be Apple iPhone loyalists; however, the Android phones have a strong presence in the smartphone marketplace.

iphone5s-selection-summary-2013

iPhone 5s

samsung galaxy

Samsung Galaxy

If you’re thinking of making the jump from iPhone to Android, here are 5 critical areas of your phone you need to consider before you move:

1. E-mail, Contacts and Calendars. If you’re using Microsoft Exchange for e-mail, then this step should be a breeze. All of your e-mail, calendars and contacts should be housed on your Exchange server and will populate automatically once you set up your account. If you’re using Google Apps for these services,
it will be even more seamless!

2. Apps. Your iOS apps are going to be stuck on your iPhone and not transferable. You’ll certainly find the Android version of these same apps on the other side, but be sure to check this out ahead of time so that you’re not stuck searching for a workaround for a critical work function upon arrival.

3. Music. The easiest way to move your music from iTunes onto your Android phone is by

creating a Google Music account on the same computer where iTunes is installed. You can then use Music Manager’s iTunes option during setup. You can even continue to use iTunes and sync any new purchases with your Google Music account automatically.

4. Photos and Videos. Your best option to move photos and videos is to simply download them from your iPhone to your computer and then re-upload whatever you want/need to your new phone. Another option is to use a cloud sharing service such as Dropbox to move these files wirelessly across devices.

5. Text Messages. If you must move text messages, use the free iSMS2droid app. Or use the Samsung Kies software to restore an iPhone backup (if you have a Samsung Android phone).

Finally, if you’re really thinking about moving from your old iPhone to an Android phone, make sure to pick a higher-end Android phone, such as the Samsung Galaxy. To be happy with your decision, you’re going to need to feel like you’ve actually upgraded.

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There are not enough days in the year  to appreciate a pizza made in an authentic brick open with firewood that cooks in minutes due to the heat of the oven. While looking at monthly themes  earlier this year, I quickly noticed that there were two major themes for October – National Pizza Month and National Diabetes Month.

Pizzaiolo Fabio making pizza

Pizzaiolo (pizza chef) Fabio making pizza

The origin of pizza, as I learned in Latin class in high school, comes from The Aeneid by Ovid. Aeneas was told that he would have arrived at his final destination when he is eating his plate. Neither the New Yorkers nor the Chicagoans can truly claim pizza as theirs. I will not deny that both the thin and thick versions of pizza are tasty; however, I favor the thin which is often referred to as Neopolitan-style pizza.

If you’re looking for an authentic Italian (thin) pizza here in Denver, I would recommend Parisi Trattoria to anyone.

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