Robotics Fun for Everyone

The Hui O Momilani PTSO and Momilani Elementary School recently hosted an event called Everyone Can Code Night.  It was so awesome, even Governor Ige and the First Lady showed up!  Students and families had the opportunity to do coding activities and explore various new technology displays.  One of the most popular activities was the Dash and Dot robots.  Attendees programmed the robots to navigate obstacles, throw balls, and play music.  It was a fun activity that also taught vital coding skills.

The fun can continue at home by purchasing Dash and Dash robots and accessories from the Wonder Workshop website.  Click on the following ad first and 10% of your purchase will go to the Hui O Momilani PTSO.  Hui O Momilani sponsors various school activities and assists with fundraising efforts that benefit the students of Momilani Elementary.

GPS Keeps the Party Rolling

ANBPartyRentals_ComspecGPS

Here’s a good news, bad news story.  The bad news is that one of our good customers, A&B Party Rentals, had their truck stolen.  The manager noticed that it was missing on their camera system.  To assist with future incidents, their GPS system is now also configured to send an alert for any off-hours usage.  It is very important for this truck to be available so they can deliver bouncers, games, tables, and tents to their customer’s parties.  Like many other businesses, they would be out of commission without their delivery vehicle.

Now the good news.  A&B Party Rentals uses Comspec GPS to track and manage their vehicles.  With the aid of Comspec GPS Vehicle Tracking, they were able to direct the police to recover the truck in just an hours’ time!  The vehicle was found and there was minimal disruption to their operations.  A potential disaster was averted thanks to A&B Party Rentals' smart use of technology to improve their business.  Party on!

 

http://www.anbpartyrentals.com/

A&B Party Rentals (808) 688-7707

Smart Technology Prevails at the Windy 500

Saturday was a beautiful day for racing at Windward Ford in Kailua.  Music was in the air with sounds from Kapena!  Cub scouts, local businesses, and pinewood derby enthusiasts gathered for the first annual Windy 500.  The race was put on by the Ko'olau District scouts to raise money for the Aloha Council of the Boy Scouts of America.  Comspec sponsored cars, powered by "Smart Technology for Smart Business", made a clean sweep and won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd! Emcee was Tim Barrett from Oldies 101.

Kudos to all of the sponsors and volunteers that supported the event!  Thank you for supporting scouting!

#Windy500
#ComspecHawaii

Windy 500

It's the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500 and a new tradition is starting on the Windward side - the Windy 500.  Participants build a car from a pinewood derby kit and will have the opportunity to race for the win on Saturday, May 21, from 1pm-3pm at Windward Ford. Funds received will benefit the Aloha Council Boy Scouts of America

Look for the Comspec sponsored cars and see how they will finish! Let's race!

See the official pinewood derby car rules here: http://www.alohacouncilbsa.org/document/makahikipinewoodderbyrules/147008

"The pinewood derby is one of the most popular and successful family activities in Cub Scouting. Pinewood derby cars are small wooden models that Cub Scouts make with help from their families. Then they race the cars in competition. The cars are powered by gravity and run down a track. Most packs have a pinewood derby every year. It can be run indoors or outdoors. Every boy can design and build his own "grand prix" car to enter in the race." http://www.alohacouncilbsa.org/unit-fundraising/makahiki/pinewood-derby/52128

Charity Walk Hawaii

This weekend, Comspec will be volunteering at the most funnest walk - ever. Where else can you walk a 4-mile course and stop at each checkpoint and get a yummy bite to eat, refreshing drink, and goodies to fill your swag bag?

"The CHARITY WALK is a statewide event that occurs on Hawai`i Island, Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai and Oahu in May. In 2015, 11,200 walkers raised over $1.8 million to help our local charities. In 1974 the Hawai`i Lodging & Tourism Association, formerly the Hawai`i Hotel Association, sponsored a charitable "Superwalk" to benefit one major charitable organization. In 1978, the Hawai`i Lodging & Tourism Association members voted to extend the reach of support offered by the Walk's fundraising capability. The Visitor Industry CHARITY WALK is the result of this decision. Since its inception in 1978, over $28 million has been raised and helped hundreds of local charities throughout the State." (excerpt taken from - http://www.charitywalkhawaii.org/about-us.html)

Look for Greg & Jocelyn in the shuttle van and give them a smile & a wave. They'll be people-moving throughout the day.

You can still sign up to be a part of the day's event. Walk-ins will be accepted and registered at McCoy's Pavilion, between 5:30am - 7:00am on Saturday 5/21/16. Forms are downloadable here: http://www.charitywalkhawaii.org/oahu.html

Celebrate Reading

I recently attended an event called "Celebrate Reading and Movie Night" put on by the Hui O' Momilani PTSO at Momilani Elementary School.  Having been a past chairperson of this event, I was very curious to see what new things they had in store for us.  This year featured a guest story reader from Illinois!  Jennifer Ward, author of "There was a Coyote that Swallowed a Flea"volunteered to read to the kids via Skype.  The tech staff at the school set up a large projection screen TV showing the book pages with a Skype window.  The results were fantastic!  The story reader was enthusiastic and the kids were really engaged.   In the past, we had the reader hold up their book or project the pages with an overhead projector.  The large screen projection TV made a huge difference in keeping the audience entertained.  It was a great night and a great application of technology.

http://www.jenniferwardbooks.com/

World Backup Day

What did you do for World Backup Day?  March 31st?  You didn’t do anything?  OMG!  Well, I didn’t do anything either for this pseudo holiday that was probably made up by some manufacturer. However, as it was intended to do, I stopped to think about computer backup.  Many businesses are unable to recover from disasters and go out of business.  One of the reasons is that their customer data, designs, procedures, and whatever data they had is lost.  

Comspec has taken the latest technologies and implemented an affordable solution for small businesses. We use a multi-layered approach that combines an on-site backup device for quick recovery and low-cost offsite storage for disasters, such as fire or theft.  All data is encrypted at multiple stages to protect your sensitive information.  Smart backup technology is essential insurance to ensure that your smart business continues to operate in the face of disaster.  Happy (belated) World Backup Day!

http://www.worldbackupday.com/en/

Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club

Last month we attended a "Talk & Tour" event with the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association at the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club. What a unique hotel! It had a retro yet modern feel; the decor was intertwined with local art and contemporary flair. It was quite impressive to see the vintage Tori Richard fabrics used in the headboards. Check out the gallery above to view photos.

The hotel rooms were enhanced with a great use of color and telephone choice. The Telematrix 3300 is a popular model for hotels looking for that sleek, contemporary look. The phone comes in black, ash, and silver - and can be accented with colored inserts - to complement any decor.

Recently, the Surfjack was featured in the NY Times as "Waikiki's Hip New Place to Stay". Next time you are in Waikiki, check them out.

 

 

MAHINA & SUN’S (excerpt from http://surfjack.com/hotel/)

Honolulu-born chef Ed Kenney’s fourth eatery, Mahina & Sun’s, features his delicious and groundbreaking take on island cuisine in a hip, casual atmosphere. Kenney’s commitment to offering “elevated home cooking with a Hawaiian sense of place” and utilizing local, organic ingredients shines through in his dishes. Over the past decade, through his sister restaurants, Town, Kaimuki Superette, and Mud Hen Water, Kenney has been a pivotal figure in the rapidly growing food culture in the city.

 

 

Spectacular! Hotel Phones

So cool they have their own hashtag -- #spectacularphone

Delight hotel guests by making their calls for room service even more fun with Comspec's new line of 2016 Spectacular! Hotel Phones.

Take phones from boring and bland to branded and glam with a selection of vacation-inspired faceplates -- tropical flora, palm fronds, ocean, beach and more -- sporting your hotel brand.  

Select modern or traditional reliable industry-tested phone models in black, ash or silver to create a custom look for any hotel or lodging property.  

Hotel branding and custom-programmed buttons can be included at no extra cost.  Blah-looking phones are so last century. Distinguish your brand with Spectacular! Hotel Phones from Comspec.
 

http://www.comspec-hi.com/telephones/

 

 

New from Comspec GPS

“With Comspec's new GPS program I am able to track all vehicle activities. I am very happy that I am able to monitor my vehicles’ DTC allowing me to set preventative maintenance schedules."  - Alvin Unciano,  Honolulu Cookie Company

 

NEW System-wide Upgrade and Subscription Plans

With the newly upgraded Comspec GPS system, you'll help your drivers and their vehicles stay safer and get to their destinations more efficiently in ways that are smarter for your business.

New Comspec GPS features include:

  • Monitor entire fleets using a customizable and easy-to-use web interface
  • Get speeding and hard accelerations alerts
  • Issue individual ID fobs to drivers who share vehicles
  • Benefit from nationwide Comspec GPS coverage
  • Select the monthly Comspec GPS subscription plan that best fits your business

 Advantage Plan: Equipment included with monthly subscription
       - No up-front equipment investment
       - Rely on equipment that is always under warranty
       - Leasing equipment instead of buying frees up your capital for other investments

 Professional Plan: Customer-owned equipment
       - Lowest cost of ownership

Keep the Bad Guys Out

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It seems like there is a hacking or data breach in the news everyday. There are many more at smaller companies that we don't hear about. Small and midsize business can be easy targets because they don't have big budget IT security departments.

Protect yourself as best you can with multiple layers of security.

  • Firewall
  • Intrusion Detection
  • Anti-virus
  • Anti-malware
  • Employee education

That last item is extremely important as employee carelessness or harmful intent are one of the biggest causes of security breaches.

Comspec IT can help with these and other security solutions.

I Hope You Didn't Miss It!

March 31st was World Backup Day!  Not impressed?  Well you should be.  This day was created to remind everyone the importance of backing up their data. Would your business survive if all of its financials, customer info, billing, and any other data was suddenly lost?  How would it recover?  What about personal data like family photos?  How do you get back all those precious memories?

We have gotten enormously dependent on electronic devices to store our data.  They can easily be lost, stolen, destroyed in a disaster, or just plain fail.  Are you using an online cloud service to store your data?  Those services have their own disasters to overcome or they may simply go out of business and poof!  Everything is gone.

So backup your data folks.  It's recommended to have three copies located on multiple devices and locations.  Happy World Backup Day!

Hour of Code

Despite the bad press of Hawaii's public schools, I am continually impressed by my children's school, Momilani Elementary.  Principal Doreen Higa and technology resource teacher, Shane Asselstine, recently put on a Hour of Code event with the assistance of the Hui O' Momilani PTSO.   Hour of Code is a global movement to introduce people to computer science.  It takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week(https://csedweek.org/).  Over 200 hundred parents and students gathered after hours at Momilani Elementary School to participate in this computer coding event.  The attendees did coding exercises that the children do in class.  Many of the parents were curious to see what their kids were doing and came away with a much better appreciation of coding.

Mr. Asselstine is a globally renown leader in utilizing games like Minecraft to teach computing in the classroom.  He has presented in conferences around the world and has contributed to books on the topic.  In addition to teaching technology to third through sixth grades students, Shane spreads his knowledge to teachers through workshops and training classes.

http://www.momilani.k12.hi.us/school_life/events/event_hoc
http://www.shaneasselstine.com/
https://hourofcode.com/us

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A Little Tech Can Go a Long Way

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I recently attended an event called "Celebrate Reading and Movie Night" put on by the Hui O' Momilani PTSO at Momilani Elementary School.  Having been a past chairperson of this event, I was very curious to see what new things they had in store for us.  This year featured a guest story reader from across the country in Illinois!  Jennifer Ward, author of "There was a Coyote that Swallowed a Flea" volunteered to read to the kids via Skype.  The tech staff at the school set up a large projection screen TV showing the book pages with a Skype window.  The results were fantastic!  The story reader was enthusiastic and the kids were really engaged.   In the past, we had the reader hold up their book or project the pages with an overhead projector.  The large screen projection TV and Skype made a huge difference in keeping the audience entertained.  It was a great night and a great application of technology.  

http://www.jenniferwardbooks.com/

Don't Pay For My Porsche. Our Philosophy.

First of all, I don't have Porsche. I believe in great value, not overpriced excess, so I drive a reasonably priced, performance sedan. Can you guess what it is? Mercedes? Acura? Infiniti? Hah, it’s a Pontiac! Stop laughing. The Pontiac G8 received great reviews as a 4 door sports sedan that’s been compared to a BMW at half the price. It has a whopping American V8 engine and great handling. My IT manager also believes in the concept and drives a Scion FRS, which is a budget friendly, two door sports coupe that is a real scorcher and tuned to impress.

So what’s my point? Go for high performance at a reasonable price. It is common for the most expensive option to be overpriced because the technology is new and vendors charge a premium for it.

The best combination of price and performance is commonly in the mid to high-midrange region. Carefully consider the return on value versus price. My company believes in the right solution, for the right situation, at the right price. Although, if you want to pay me a high fee so I can buy a new Porsche, I’m fine with that.

Ask us about providing IT and GPS services for your business. - Greg

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The Telephone Lives On

For many of us, "real" desktop telephone use has diminished drastically.  A lot of folks have cancelled their home telephone service in favor of mobile phones.  I just went on vacation and used a desktop telephone more than I have in a long time.  I booked dinner reservations, changed dinner reservations, cancelled reservations, requested more towels, booked early checkout, and asked a multitude of dumb questions at out hotel.

Teledex m-Series

Teledex m-Series

The hotel room phone still remains the best way to get service. Other options such as tablets are available but are expensive and complicated to manage.  

The plain old telephone is inexpensive, easy to manage, and familiar to the guests.  In fact, the phones aren't just plain anymore.  Hotel room phones come in many styles and colors to compliment the room's decor and enhance the guest experience.

Looking for phones for your hotel? Ask us about our line of Spectacular! phones. 

10 Reasons GPS Tracking Will Work for Your Business

 1. Find vehicles in the event of an accident or injury. One of our customers sends technicians to work in remote locations and can see whether they arrived and left the site safely.

 2. Identify vehicle theft and pinpoint vehicle location for recovery. One of our customers noticed on the tracking screen that one of their vehicles was missing. They then used the GPS tracking to recovery the vehicle quickly.

 3. Document customer pickup and delivery times to avoid customer complaints. Customers may ask for refunds because their tour or delivery was late. GPS tracking can be used to verify that you were on time and on schedule.  One of our tour companies has used this to effectively reduce these situations.

 4. Optimize vehicle routes to save on time and fuel expenditures. There was a famous study by UPS that showed making left turns slowed down deliveries and used more fuel. They took this data and made appropriate adjustments to improve their efficiency and fuel usage.

 5. Know where your $100,000 vehicles is. If I was responsible for a fleet of expensive vehicles, I would sure like to know where they are at all times.

 6. Know where your passengers are at all times. Transportation companies are responsible for the lives of their passengers. Vehicles can be quickly found if they are late, lost, hijacked, or in an accident.

 7. Know where your valuable cargo is at all times. Cargo can be in the thousands or even millions of dollars.  Prevent theft and loss of property with GPS vehicle tracking.  You can also monitor whether your delivery is on-time or stuck in traffic.

 8. Combine GPS tracking with vehicle diagnostics and monitor fuel mileage and maintenance issues. A vehicle's built-in computer provides error codes that show when something is wrong and needs maintenance.  The computer may also provide fuel mileage which can be used to assess whether the vehicle is operating properly.

 9.The best GPS tracking systems include roadside assistance. Implement a complete solution for your vehicles. Track them, monitor their performance, and have a roadside assistance plan for towing, jump starts, lockouts and running out of gas.

 10. Be green. Combine GPS tracking with vehicle diagnostics to ensure vehicles are in tip top shape which results in reduced fuel consumption and emissions.