10 Things You Didn't Know Your Laptop Could Do
Written by: David Borg, Dell Canada
Laptops have, for years, been the “go to” devices for productivity and fun when we’re on the move. Whether we’re surfing the Web, completing some work outside the office, of just playing games, laptops provide the power and the convenience that a lot of us need. Even with the recent skyrocketing interest in the tablet market, there are some things that a laptop can do that those other devices just can’t. At the same time, there are quite a few things that a laptop can do that many of us don’t even know about.
1. Problem Steps Recorder (PSR)
Our laptops give us a lot of freedom, which is good, but too much playing around can lead to functionality problems, which is bad. Unfortunately, trying to explain exactly what happened can be a challenge all on its own, which is why your laptop can use the PSR to reproduce the problem. You don’t have to express yourself with phrases like: “When I clicked on the little square thing near the bright circle thing and it didn’t do anything” when you can just use this feature to record and report the problem.
2. Remote Access
This, much like power of attorney, should only be given to people you really trust. Allowing a knowledgeable friend or trustworthy technician to access and work directly on your laptop – even when they’re not in the room – can save a lot of time and stress when you’re trying to get some work done.
3. Power Usage Analysis
Never take your battery power for granted. If you are working on the move, you need to make sure you are using that power as efficiently as possible. There is a command-line utility in Windows 7 that can monitor your current power usage trends and provide recommendations for improvements.
4. Complete System Image Backup
The more you transport your laptop, the more you increase the chances of losing important data. This could be through losing the entire laptop or just dropping it and damaging the system. A complete system image backup can be saved to a network drive, external hard drive, or to CDs and DVD and used to create an exact copy of your previous laptop on a new system.
5. Play Hardcore Games
The desktop PC is the stereotypical choice of the hardcore gamer, but most modern gaming laptops can provide enough power to be competitive and mobile. You can even overclock the CPU on some laptops to run just as hot as the desktop models.
6. Use as a Media Center
A laptop can easily become the media center of your home. By connecting it to your TV, you can suddenly play your Blu-rays, DVDs, stream your favorite TV shows and listen to your playlists. Connect some Bluetooth peripherals and you can do it all from the comfort of your own couch.
Many people believe that what you buy is what you get, and if you want to upgrade your system you’ll have to buy a whole new laptop. In fact, laptops are often easily upgradable, and it’s a relatively simple process to add more RAM, change out the hard drive, and add other components.
8. Synch with Other Devices
Work on a laptop doesn’t have to be confined to that one device. It’s easy to sync your work to other devices, like tablets or smartphones, so you can stay connected wherever you go. This could include everything from the bookmarks on your Web browser to all the files you’ve saved to the cloud.
9. Go Off Road
If your work (or play) takes you into the areas that are less than technologically friendly, where weather and geological conditions are a real threat, you can use a ruggedized laptop to ensure you make it back home with everything in one piece. These laptops are specifically designed to handle adverse conditions and unforeseen accidents.
10. Reuse and Recycle
There are a lot of salvageable components on a laptop, and it’s possible to transform an older model into a home server or remove the hard drive and repurpose it as an external drive for another computer. There are a lot of options for extending the life of your laptop.
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.