EPC – Recycling Practices You Can Trust

In December, we published a blog post titled “Combating the Recycling Crisis.” In this post, we outlined the obstacles the US recycling industry currently faces, and what people can do to help lower the amount of waste headed to landfills. EPC would like to expand upon the last of these tips listed in that post:

Look for companies with trustworthy recycling processes. EPC has a strict no-landfill policy for its e-waste. When you take your electronics and appliances to EPC, you can be confident that your e-waste will be responsibly recycled and processed for reuse. 

If you have questions, you’re not alone. You may be wondering, “How can EPC make a promise like that?” or, “Can I really trust that none of my assets will end up in a landfill?” It’s important to ask these questions of any business promising environmentally sound practices. That’s why EPC wants to make things clear.

First, we should acknowledge that “e-waste” is a bit of a misnomer. The word “e-waste” implies that what we collect will become waste, which is not the case. The correct terminology is “e-scrap,” because what we collect is demanufactured and broken down into commodities such as steel, aluminum, and plastic. The materials we recover during the recycling process are suited to make housings for many types of electronics and are therefore in high demand. Spotters ensure no contamination enters the stream, and the result is a pure product we sell to various manufacturers to create new devices. Our no-landfill policy remains strict and firm.

Our word may not be enough for you—and it shouldn’t be. That’s why we have the certifications to prove it. EPC is proud to be certified to e-Stewards and ISO 14001 standards. These certifications deal with e-scrap processing and environmental protection. EPC undergoes frequent auditing to ensure compliance with these standards and continually raise the bar for our recycling practices.

Although the recycling industry continues to struggle, we are committed to maintaining and improving our efforts to keep toxic e-waste from contaminating the environment. For more information about e-Stewards, ISO 14001, or EPC’s recycling practices, visit the links below.

https://www.epcusa.com/certifications/

http://e-stewards.org/

https://www.iso.org/iso-14001-environmental-management.html

Bigger Doesn’t Always Mean Better When It Comes to Computer Monitors

by Tony Lovasco

It’s not uncommon for shoppers looking to upgrade their monitor to seek out the biggest display they can afford.  This temptation is unsurprising – when one shops for a television, the physical size of the display is typically the most important decision – why would it be any different for a computer monitor?  To answer that question, we must examine how a typical digital display renders content.

If you were to look closely at a modern flat-panel LCD screen, you’d discover that the images shown are made up of an enormous number of tiny colored rectangles.  These boxes—called pixels, or sub-pixels depending on how narrow you focus—are arranged in much the same way as the holes in a screen door.  Each pixel renders a very small part of the image, and when viewed at a distance your brain blends them together to create the illusion of a continuous picture.  The number and arrangement of these pixels is denoted as a measurement called “resolution”.

Resolution is expressed in the form of a ratio – the number of horizontal pixels by the number of vertical ones in the grid.  In the world of televisions, there are only a handful of common resolutions (for example, 1920×1080 is the resolution for TVs advertised as being 1080p). But in the world of PC monitors and laptop displays, there are dozens of different common resolutions, even when comparing two displays of exact same physical size.

A higher resolution display of the same size will naturally appear to be sharper and more refined than a lower resolution one, by virtue of the fact that your eye is able to more easily blend together a higher number of smaller pixels.  But equally as important is how much content will fit on screen. If the content occupies a fixed number of pixels, a higher resolution monitor will be able to display more on screen at any given time than the same physical size display with a lower resolution.

It’s important to remember that a larger physical display does not always have a higher resolution than a smaller display.  While resolution often increases with the physical size of the panel, some larger monitors are sold with lower resolutions in order to meet a budget price point.  The result is that you might buy an “upgraded” monitor, only to discover that you can’t fit any more on the screen than with the smaller one.

Due to the variety of different screen resolutions and the labor involved, many vendors don’t advertise detailed specifications of the monitors they sell, and instead only provide basic details such as the size and model number.  In those cases it’s always best to check out the monitor manufacturer’s website, where you should be able to find complete resolution information to make comparison shopping easier.

The Laptop Isn’t Going Anywhere…

It weighed 24 pounds. It featured a full-sized keyboard and a massive 5” screen. Retail price? $1,795. While it COULD be carried with the attached handle, and could fit* on your lap, the first “laptop” – The Osbourne 1, was only just a portable computer. It was however the first in the series of systems that we now call – The Laptop.

 

The need for being able to take your skill sets and ability to share information with you has been around since mankind could first scribe on a rock. Laptops continue to impact the social, hobby and work environments no matter what industry, place or living room you travel to. They continue to deliver full-powered, real-life software solutions to thousands of people per hour. They traditionally give you a larger screen than other options currently available, and allow you the instant ability to have a “pop-up office” anywhere you can put it down and open it. It doesn’t even have to BE your lap.

“But what about the Tablet?”

The age of “The Tablet” has more than arrived and – in a generation where much of today’s entertainment, software and data access is “streamed” from “The Cloud” – they are clearly an excellent tool to help provide you with access to data, instantly, anywhere. Will they “kill” the laptop? Will you never need a “regular computer” again because you have a tablet?

Far from it.

While the abilities, accessories and connectivity available today make tablets an excellent enhancement to both home and work productivity, they are not going to topple the world of The Laptop anytime soon. The reasons for this include:

  • A Keyboard: It’s true that voice to text and voice recognition potential has taken great strides, but we are still far from being able to accurately order a cup of “Earl Grey: Hot.” and then scribe a complete formal letter or proposal to one of your most important/vital clients. In most cases, typing is still life.
  • Not Having to Hold On to It: The world of “stands”, mounting armature, and an appropriately-placed backpack allow you to stack a tablet so that you can “watch” the content it’s showing – no one wants to sit and hope a tablet for long periods of time. The ability to place a laptop on a table, desk or your lap, flipping it open and GO – is a tall order to overcome for the tablet.
  • Screen Size: While the size of tablet screens is growing exponentially (iPad Pro, anyone?), one of the most impactful factors when it comes to championing a laptop is it’s screen. When you take our first two factors (keyboard inclusion, instant pop-up ability) and toss on a larger, typically more defined level. Laptops have even included “touchscreen” ability to help solidify their power.

What other factors do YOU think foster along the livelihood of the laptop computer? Tell us in the comments section below and click below to order YOUR business-grade, off-lease laptop from EPC today!

REMEMBER: You can also stop into our 5500sqft Retail Showroom where we can help you get what you need from our always-growing inventory of product!

 

What Is A COA?

WHAT IS A COA?

A COA, or “Certificate of Authenticity” is the sticker located on a computer system that has a 25-digit license key for the Windows Operating System, such as Windows XP or Vista. The COA verifies the validity of the operating system confirming that it is genuine. With the COA attached to the product, a legal copy of the operating system can be acquired from the original equipment manufacturer if the original restore media is lost (ie. Dell, HP, IBM, etc).

WHY DOES EPC LIST COA INFORMATION?

A lot of our wholesale buyers need this information. Many of our customers request that the COA information be placed in our ads so they can determine what machines to purchase according to the restore media they may have already or will be acquiring.

DOES THIS MEAN THAT NO OS IS INSTALLED?

Not Necessarily. Only about 50% of our computers being sold do not come with an OS installed. Please read the description thoroughly to determine what is and isn’t included with a particular item. If the computer advertised includes an operating system, there will be a NEW, Microsoft Authorized COA included with the sale (please see picture). The Buyer of a loaded system would then enter the 25 character alpha-numeric Product Key when setting up the computer for first use.

 

 

Interesting New Numbers on Data Breaches – The Numbers Will Stack Up Against YOUR Company

From Eric Levy: ITAD Sales, EPC, Inc.

EPC, Inc, now in it’s 30th year of business, continues to be a centerpiece of information in regard to Data Security. We have been offering companies of all sizes options that ensure compliance with specific industry standards to help protect companies reputation and information. A recent article from DataBreaches.Net shows just how important it is to be compliant.

“Nearly 1 in 4 data breach letter recipients became a victim of identity fraud, with breaches involving Social Security numbers to be the most damaging.”

This is a staggering number and cannot be overlooked. That means that if your company had an “average sized” Data Breach from a mishandled asset or drive of 554 leaked names*, you would have 139 customers or clients that now have had their entire identity taken from them. This is a process that can take from 3-7 years to reclaim not to mention the untold number of dollars that it will cost YOUR COMPANY to make this happen.

The next time you have retired assets that your boss told you to “get rid of” don’t just think of your potential feel good moment of running into that boss’ office and telling him you got rid of all of those “old” computers and were able to do it for no money. Think about that boss’ reaction when you have to tell him the guy that did it for free just stole you client’s identities and you now have to deal with the absolute costs associated with a breach – along with the unknown costs of lost business. EPC offers true, peace of mind and for very little time on your part. We offer fluid solutions to fit any company in any industry.

Contact EPC and learn more about our Industry-leading Data Security operations. We would love to help you review your protocols to make sure you are compliant within your industry.

*The data to describe an average size breach is from 2012. We expect the average size of a breach to continue to grow exponentially for the foreseeable future.

Please feel free to contact EPC and learn more about our Industry leading Data Security operations. We would love to help you review your protocols to make sure you are compliant within your industry.

Hands-on with Windows 7 Mobile

Tested.com was recently at PAX and got their hands on several Windows 7 Mobile handsets. Since PAX is a gaming convention they focus on the gaming features of the new operating system. However, they do spend a fair amount of time going over how the operating system looks and feels, how the mobile search and browsing work, conversations, calendaring and more. I remain cautiously optimistic that Microsoft can regain momentum in the mobile phone market, but think that the competition is a good thing for consumers. Plus if history is any guide, Microsoft will make their Windows 7 Mobile OS enterprise friendly, so perhaps there will be a worthy competitor to RIM and Blackberry. Watch the hands-on video after the break. Read more

The Value of Facebook…

There can be no denying that Facebook, like so many of the other New/Social Media tools available, is a force to be bargained with. With more than 500mil current users and the number climbing quickly daily, the networking power of Facebook has become an avenue of information, marketing and potential profit for any business.

EPC, Inc. would like to remind everyone about their Facebook presence online and invites YOU to “Like” EPC in an effort to grow the awareness and viability of our Facebook tether to the Internet.

Simply click here to visit and “Like” our presence on Facebook now!

It’s one of the best ways to find out about our current events, our charity efforts, our recycling initiatives and sales throughout the year. You won’t be sorry you did!

Do YOU have a Facebook account? Thought about creating a profile for yourself or your company? Tell us in the comments section below how YOU are using Facebook to change the way you communicate, network and do business. We’d love to hear about it!

Help us understand “the Value of Facebook” now.

A Sale is a Sale, Right? Wrong!

For those of you that haven’t taken the time to attend any of EPC’s recent sales, the time has come. This weekend, is EPC’s 2010 Tax Free Holiday Sale providing you with the opportunity to get some of the best computer equipment you can imagine, at a significantly discounted rate – and pay NO SALES TAX. Read on below for more details and be sure to tell your friends and family with students going back to school/college about this great sale!

“Mark Your Calendars! Saturday, August 7th, 2010 is the date for the EPC NO SALES TAX Computer Sale, and you’re invited! In addition to saving 15% on all used computer equipment, YOU PAY NO SALES TAX! Get there early from 8am-2pm and take advantage of great deals! Also check out the new “CLEAR” 4G Wireless Internet access – the fastest mobile internet connection ever to be offered! If you sign up during our sale this weekend, you get to take an additional 5% off your used equipment purchase! It all happens THIS WEEKEND!”

Click here to link to view the event flyer…

Click here to view the Additional 5% CLEAR 4G Wireless Internet Coupon…

10 very annoying system defaults

I was reading 10 seriously annoying default configurations at TechRepublic today and was inspired to come up with my own.

1. Windows Update

I love the idea of Windows Update, but its implementation drives me crazy. First, every update seems to require a restart of the computer. Coming from a linux background that is extremely frustrating, especially on a Windows server. No I can’t restart the Exchange server 3 times a week, thank you very much. Second, some updates are only visible after prior updates are installed, which compounds the restart problem. Third, there’s no way for 3rd party software developers to latch into this update process. This makes keeping a machine secure much harder, forcing admins to rely on tools from vendors like Secunia to keep their systems up to date.

2. User Account Control (UAC)

Much has been written about UAC, a feature of Windows Vista and later that prompts the user performing risky actions – like installing software. Unfortunately it prompted so much that many simply disabled the messages. I personally feel that UAC was one of the “features” that prevented mass adoption of Windows Vista. Thankfully Windows 7 gives you more granular control of the messages UAC displays.

3. Internet Explorer on Windows Servers

I completely agree with the author of the TechRepublic article. Internet Explorer on a Windows 2003 or 2008 server is virtually useless. Yes, you shouldn’t use Windows server for general purpose browsing, but with nearly all reference guides and support online there are times when you must use a web browser on the server.

Say you are in the server room, working on an Exchange server that’s not working. You need to research an error message from the system log so you hop over to Google. Instead of showing you the website you are prompted to add Google to the Trusted sites list. Click on one of the relevant links, add the site to your Trusted sites. Repeat this a few times and tell me that you don’t want to throw the server through a wall.

4. “Are you sure you want to empty the Recycle Bin?”

The whole point of the recycle bin is to prevent accidental file deletion. You have to interact with the Recycle Bin in order to empty it. Why confirm again that these are files need to be deleted?

5. ActiveX component install process

I know that ActiveX is a major security risk, but do I really need to confirm 3 different dialogs before it will install an ActiveX component in Internet Explorer 7 or 8?

6. Menus that change based on frequency of use

This came into vogue after Office 2000 implemented “Personalized Menus.”  The basic idea was that the Office apps had too many options and the average user could not get to the options that they needed quickly. So if an option was not used often, the software auto-hides the option for you. Yeah – great idea. Try walking a friend through a configuration change, only to discover that the menu option is hidden. Here is an idea – if there are too many options in a program, perhaps it is too complex and should be streamlined.

7. Hiding File Extensions

Why design a file system that requires the use of an extension to determine its file type, then design a file browser that hides those extensions. This is the first setting I change on any Windows machine I manage.

8. Hiding System and Hidden Files

If #7 is the first change I make, this one is number two by a few seconds. This one is even cross platform as the Gnome file browser also tries to “help” you by hiding these files from view.

9. Errors cause Copy / Move operations to stop completely.

Ever try to move a bunch of folders from one drive to another – maybe you are backing up your photo collection, maybe you are moving documents from one computer to another. If one file cannot be copied the whole process just stops. Now you have to figure out why the file copy did not work and start all over again. To solve this one, install a 3rd party file copier like TeraCopy.

10. Desktop Cleanup

Everybody uses the desktop a little differently, I tend to use mine as a scratch pad. I keep files that I am currently working on the desktop, and move them to other locations when they are no longer needed. The Desktop Cleanup wizard is like a maid that comes in behind you and starts putting files into random cabinets.

I know it seems like I was picking on Windows with this list, I know there are just as many annoying system defaults on other platforms, but these are the first ten I could think of. Chime in with your list in the comments section.

Cellphone Tethering: Is it a big deal?

Is a smartphone really that smart if providers put limits on how its data connection is used? Cellphone tethering, or using your cell phone to access internet services on your computer, is in the news because of recent actions by Apple, Palm, and Google.

Apple is releasing their new OS for their phones, dubbed iPhone 3.0, that includes tethering – unless you live in the US because AT&T tethering support isn’t available yet. Earlier this spring, Google pulled all tethering apps from the Android app store at T-Mobile’s request. Palm has sent a polite cease and desist to the “Pre Dev Wiki” website asking for tethering instructions to be removed because they might upset Sprint, Palm’s exclusive service partner in the US. Given that tethering has been available on phones for several years now, why are cell providers suddenly so concerned? Are they worried that customers would cancel their land based internet connections in favor of cellular based ones? Or that tethering would cut into the USB data card market? Read more