NOVEMBER 29, 2017, MESA, AZ: In response to news that fewer women are being hired, ReFresh IT has committed to filling more open tech positions with women, noting a diverse workplace creates a more cohesive environment, reflects client base and employees are actually healthier.
According to Wired, women account for only 26 percent of all coders. And analysis shows women who don’t get in on the ground level rarely move into the higher level coding and tech positions. They are shifted toward more “people” positions and may lose out on career advancement.
“I love tech. It excites me and I love solving problems for our clients,” says Jacy Smith, Director of Digital Innovation at ReFresh IT. “The number of women graduates in computer sciences has decreased since the 1970’s and there are fewer and fewer women working in the tech industry. We recently had an opening for an entry-level help desk position and there were plenty of qualified candidates. If we want more women in tech, we just need to start hiring them.”
Smith, along with business partner Burt Cigler, agree change has to come from within. Create a demand and they will come sort of message. Their commitment going forward is to not only find but also advance the careers of female tech graduates through hiring practices, networking and mentoring.
Findings back them up. Recent studies suggest that companies benefit from not only having women on board, but also putting them in leadership roles. Gallup reported companies with more diverse teams that include women have an over twenty percent lower turnover rate. Those same organizations find it easier to recruit new hires.
Further, companies with female directors at the helm have seen a return on invested monies increase by 66 percent and sales increase by 42 percent; this according to Forbes. Gender equality appears to be a win-win. Companies report higher returns, greater productivity and a more cohesive working atmosphere.
In Tech, the importance of hiring coders and technical positions cannot be stressed enough. Putting computer science graduates that happen to be female in the same arena as their male counterparts nets the highest output and desired results. Hiring managers should look to women’s networking groups, graduate groups that include STEM students and make gender diversity an integral part of the hiring process.
CONTACT: ReFresh IT
Another strain of ransomware has been spotted in the wild. According to threatpost, it’s considered worse than the WannaCry outbreak. More details in this article https://threatpost.com/complex-petya-like-ransomware-outbreak-worse-than-wannacry/126561/
Although we are not a cybersecurity firm, we wanted to post a few things you can do to protect yourself and your organization from these extremely malicious attacks that could immediately halt operations and cause irreversible damage.
- For servers located at your business, backup all information on a regular basis and keep that backup offline somewhere like on an external NAS device with no internet connection. If you don’t have a server on-site, services like CrashPlan and Carbonite are great solutions.
- Test your disaster recovery plan- if you have one. In the event that your entire organization is taken down, it’s important to test how you will operate.
- Be careful what you click on. The majority of attacks spread through spam emails that are targeted at top-level employees since they likely have the most access.
- Make sure your computers and devices are updated. Microsoft actually released the patch for WannaCry back in March.
- Purchase and install an advanced anti-virus product, such as Malwarebytes. Most anti-virus/anti-malware companies have a free version, but they don’t have the real-time protection feature.
Please let us know if you would like to schedule a security evaluation or have any questions about how to improve your company’s overall security practices.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: APRIL 12, 2017
ReFresh IT LAUNCHES RETAIL ARM
Adding Value for Support and Consulting Clients
Mesa, Arizona: ReFresh IT, a local company offering tech consultation and support services, is thrilled to announce an expansion of their services. In addition to meeting the Information Technology needs of businesses all over the US, ReFresh IT now offers retail products both to their clientele and other businesses.
“At ReFresh IT, we often have the opportunity to help customers identify exactly what technology their company needs—without overspending,” explains co-founder Jacy Smith. “Now, instead of sending them out with a shopping list to Amazon or a brick and mortar, we can meet those needs in a way that’s cost- and time-effective, both for the customer and for us.”
ReFresh IT’s foray into the retail market will focus on meeting all your organization’s computing and networking needs:
• Computers—laptops and desktops
• Various Operating Systems available, such as Windows© and Chrome
• Software subscriptions to protect against malware or process information, etc.
• Networking equipment and security products
• Peripherals such as keyboards, extra monitors, and ergonomic devices
Place an order with ReFresh IT by calling 480.331.3450.
About ReFresh IT: In 2013, ReFresh IT co-founders Burt Cigler and Jacy Smith combined their experience in information technologies and launched ReFresh IT to bridge the gap between people and technology. The dynamic duo behind ReFresh IT pride themselves on their ability to communicate with clients on a level that doesn’t make technology sound intimidating, and offer services that include technology audits, strategy development, IT consulting, web integrations, and mobile solutions, among others. For more information, visit www.refreshmyit.com.
As Managed Service Providers, we rely heavily on tracking our time. It is the way we generate billing at the end of the month, but also works as an analytical tool for us to identify areas that need improvement or additional attention. One thing we don’t do often is punch out in a time-card style manner. However, we found a solution to help businesses with the ability to track hours and generate the info they need for payroll: Buddy Punch.
Buddy Punch offers a ton of features like job tracking, PTO/vacation time requests, automatic breaks, webcam punches, GPS tracking and robust reports. It integrates with most major payroll companies and offers flexible permission settings based on your needs. There is even a mobile app available for employees to use to punch in and out. Check out a full list of features here: https://buddypunch.com/features/
Do you have an app that you would like featured on our blog? Send your info to firstname.lastname@example.org and say hello!
The “Top 10 from CES” post has become one of our most favorite (and most popular) posts we publish on our blog. We both walked about 20 miles each to bring you this information. You can also check out the album of photos on our Facebook page.
Here is a list of some of the best things we saw this year. They are in no particular order. Enjoy!
1. WHOOSH! Sanitech and Protech 24 cleaners.
We rely heavily on keeping equipment clean. Most of our clients are in health care, so things can get pretty crazy when it comes to germ exposure. Thankfully, WHOOSH! released some new products this year- including Sanitech and Protech 24. The Sanitech cleaner not only kills germs, but also removes all odors.
2. Lander Nebo case.
Lander released a new case at CES- Nebo. It’s sleek, has a strap AND it has a thermoline layer on the inside to help regulate the battery temperature. The entire Lander line is made for adventure and is well-worth the investment.
One of the most useful things we spotted at CES this year was the goTenna product. It allows you to stay connected with others without a cell phone connection, which could be really useful for hiking and camping. It works off of tethering technology and by making a mesh network. Super cool!
Panasonic kind of blew us away with some of their advancements in research and technology. They’ve reinvented cooking (again). The concept smart table was among our favorites. It basically combines functionality of a table with a computer monitor. They also had a film that allows glass to capture light instead of passing through it, which allows any window to become a projector screen.
5. Brydge Keyboard.
The Brydge keyboard for tablets is probably the most sleek keyboard we’ve seen. It’s manufactured to look like your tablet and has a durable frame with some water resistance. They’ve even teamed up with Otterbox and Nite Ize to make an all-in-one solution for functionality and durability.
iHealth is changing the way we take care of ourselves. They offer a whole suite of products to help you better track your own health by weight, blood pressure and even blood sugar levels. All the data syncs to an app that you can review yourself or export and take to your doctor’s office.
7. ReSound hearing aid.
ReSound has reinvented the hearing aid. Their LiNX model is a tiny, discreet hearing aid that you can control with an app on your phone. It also allows you to set certain common environments and you can adjust the presets based on your surroundings and set favorites for common environments.
8. Impossible Polaroid camera.
If you love Polaroid cameras, there’s still hope. Impossible has released a new camera and still manufactures film for some of your favorites. They purchased the last existing instant film factory known to mankind and reinvented a product that everyone loves!
9. Kubo robot.
Investing in the future of computer science education is always a top priority for us. We spotted this cool, little robot that makes it simple for young kids to understand the beginning concepts of coding. It works with different tile sets for programming and spelling. PS- they launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to launch!
We’ve always been a fan of sculpteo since 3D printing made the debut at CES. The cool thing about them is that you can upload your designs and have them do all the work. Plus, they’re constantly expanding the materials and machines they offer. They even 3D printed a bike to ride from CES back to their office in San Francisco, CA.
Hurricane Matthew is about to make landfall stateside any minute now. Not only do natural disasters take a toll on public services, but it also takes a toll on infrastructure. I wanted to put together a few things to know/tips to keep in mind in the event that you or your family is faced with having to decide whether or not to evacuate.
- Make sure you have some cash to use for food or necessities.
Pretty much everyone relies on debit or credit cards for purchases. Natural disasters not only knock out the power lines, but also the data lines used to transmit info back and forth. It’s best to keep a small amount of cash aside just in case. Small business owners should also have a manual credit card machine to use until services can be restored.
- Buy an chargeable power supply to keep cell phones running.
Companies like EnerPlex make some awesome power supplies for phones and devices. It’s best to only use them as-needed, but can give you some additional power when you really need it. Plus, they make an awesome solar power charging system that could come in handy for prolonged outages. Cellular data circuits will become overwhelmed during the height of the disaster, so be patient and wait for service to be restored. A small set of close-range walkie talkies would probably be more handy than cell phones.
- Your electronics will be destroyed.
This is one of the difficult parts of natural disasters that many people will have to deal with afterwards. If you store a large amount of personal information (financials, photos, important documents, etc.), consider removing your hard drive from the computer and placing it in a waterproof container- like Pelican Case. Just make sure your computer is unplugged before you remove the drive! Most information can be recovered from the drive even if you no longer have the computer.
It can be difficult and frustrating to find answers following a natural disaster. Crews will be dispatched as soon as it is safe to work on restoring things like electricity, telephone and internet service, but it can take time depending on the severity of the damage.
We’re hoping that everyone stays as safe as possible.
ReFresh IT is three! It’s weird. Last year’s post talked about all of our exciting accomplishments and changes. This year has been so incredible and crazy all at once. For the record, Burt is still working on his post from year one.
We haven’t done much traveling this year. In January, we returned to CES in Las Vegas so we can stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest tech advancements. We returned to the “Caring for the Caregiver Hack” in Richmond, VA in March. It’s, by far, one of my most favorite events. The students there really get a sense of the impact they can have by working in technology. It’s fun to see their transformation in such a short period of time. I’ve continued to work with the CodeDay AZ group, which is a fantastic event that introduces kids of all coding abilities to programming. Head’s up! The next event is scheduled Nov. 12-13.
We made a big step this year by moving into a new office space in Mesa, AZ. It gives us a lot more room to work on things, hold meetings and have an overall sense of belonging. Although it was scary and happened faster than I thought it would, I have to say that it’s been worth it.
Our goals remain the same in that we want to provide a different type of IT support to our clients and also provide the best support we possibly can and in an efficient manner. We strive daily to become better technologists and we do this by forming partnerships with great vendors and occasionally attend conferences. For example, AZ StRUT made a generous donation of 100 Chromebooks to our charter school client this year. It’s a great organization and we’re happy to be involved with them.
Spoiler alert: we’ll be making some big changes after the first of the year so we can expand the level of support to our clients. We’ll post more about that soon, I’m sure.
As always, I can’t thank all of you enough for your continued support. It means the world to us to have such a genuine client base that understands where we’re at and where we’re going. And, not to mention, thanks to our family and friends for the tremendous level of support they provide. We couldn’t do it without you!
Until next year!
I won’t lie. We’re always in search of quality products that prove themselves to hold up against some of the toughest conditions. Most of our clients work in industries that are not easy on devices. I think we found a good solution.
We first discovered Gumdrop Cases at CES in 2014. We were lured into their booth by an antimicrobial case that appealed to us for healthcare workers. They had an assortment of different options that were really impressive. They were at CES again when we went back this year and we were impressed with all of the products and cool things they’ve developed since the last time we saw them.
I touched base with them last week to see if they were still up for a review. I got an email back (from the CEO!) right away who said they would be more than happy to participate. I was shocked at how quickly their team organized everything and got it shipped out. It’s like I blinked and everything was here.
To start, I was overly impressed with the installation of the Hideaway case onto our iPad Air 2. I’ve always had problems installing protective items on devices. Please don’t ask Burt about the number of air bubbles I get on screen protectors. It’s embarrassing.
I immediately propped it up on the super functional, magnetic stand. It has two options- one for viewing things and the other for typing. All you have to do is flip the device around to use one mode or the other. Plus, when you’re done using the stand, you just have to kind of wiggle it and it snaps back into place.
The overall texture of the case is awesome. It’s a grippy, rubberized texture that helps with keeping ahold of your device. All of the ports are covered with a flap and the buttons seem to work just fine. They even have a hole in the replaceable screen protector so you can still use Touch ID!
The only issue we discovered was that our Square card reader wouldn’t fit into the headphone jack. Womp womp!
Seriously, though! Gumdrop makes a wide variety of cases for a ton of different devices (including cases for Chromebooks). It’s a great investment for anyone looking for some top-of-the-line protection.
PS- they sent us two cases to review so we shipped the other one off to a client in VA to get some additional healthcare industry feedback. We’ll post an update once he’s spent some time with it!
Also, if you have some free time… Check out their drop test videos so you can see how awesome their products are!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mesa, AZ (June 1, 2016)-ReFresh IT, a technology consulting and support company, opened its doors in Mesa, AZ on June 1, 2016. The company was started in June 2013 and officially launched in September 2013. It was founded by two Arizona State University alumni, Jacy Smith and Burt Cigler.
ReFresh IT provides diverse services to Arizona businesses as well as businesses outside the state. “We’re not your typical IT company,” says co-founder, Jacy Smith. “We work hard at finding appropriate technology solutions for businesses based on their needs and budget.”
The company will be hosting a Grand Opening celebration open to the public on Friday, June 24 from 3-7 p.m. The address is 7165 E. University Dr. Suite 152, Mesa, AZ 85207. Light refreshments will be served. In addition, new school supplies will also be collected for Backpack 4 Kids AZ.
About ReFresh IT:
In 2013, ReFresh IT co-founders Burt Cigler and Jacy Smith combined their experience in information technologies and launched ReFresh IT to bridge the gap between people and technology. The dynamic duo behind ReFresh IT pride themselves on their ability to communicate with clients on a level that doesn’t make technology sound intimidating, and offer services that include technology audits, strategy development, IT consulting, web integrations, and mobile solutions, among others.
For more information visit www.refreshmyit.com.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ReFresh IT provides support to event for 2nd year
Richmond, VA (March 18,2016) — Seven Virginia university teams participated in the second annual “Caring for the Caregiver Hack” in Richmond March 18-20. The teams were made from a variety of health care students to computer science and engineering studies. Each team was paired with a caregiver who has experienced first hand what it means to care for a family member or loved one during the most sensitive time of their lives.
The event is hosted by SeniorNavigator and the Lindsay Institute for Innovations in Caregiving and is aimed at developing technologies that benefit the lives of caregivers. Major sponsors of the 2016 Caring for the Caregiver Hack include: AARP, the Society for Certified Senior Advisors, Capital One, Pfizer and UnitedHealthcare. It was hosted at the Troutman Sanders building in downtown Richmond.
“It’s always a pleasure to see young minds developing new things- especially when focusing on solving a problem,” said Jacy Smith, Director of Digital Innovation. “We were happy to be invited back a second year to help the SeniorNavigator staff throw such a wonderful event.”
The winners and their projects from the event were:
- Grand Prize ($5,000 Cash Prize): James Madison University for “My Time” – an app to encourage and remind family caregivers to make and take time for leisure during the midst of the caregiver’s busy day.
- 2nd Place ($1,000 Cash Prize): University of Virginia for “Quilted Stories” — a social media online app that harnesses the power of story-telling to create real human connections.
- 3rd place ($500 Cash Prize): William & Mary for “Simply Connected” – an easy-to-use web-application that allows long-distance caregivers and other family members to stay connected through the power of simplified technology.
In addition to the prizes awarded at the event, an additional grant was secured so that a second round competition could be offered to all the teams. It will provide the winner $10,000 in seed funding to develop the project more plus 10 hours of donated business and legal counsel from LeClairRyan.
A complete album of photos from the event is available on Facebook.
About ReFresh IT:
In 2013, ReFresh IT co-founders Burt Cigler and Jacy Smith combined their experience in hospice information technologies and launched ReFresh IT to bridge the gap between people and technology. The dynamic duo behind ReFresh IT pride themselves on their ability to communicate with clients on a level doesn’t make technology sound intimidating, and offer services that include technology audits, strategy development, IT consulting, web integrations, and mobile solutions, among others.
For more information visit ReFreshMyIT.com.