The Chip Merchant

Customer of the Month: SportKat

“For over 16 years, SportKat has been a leading provider in the development of devices that meet the growing need of balance therapy, training and rehabilitation. With the introduction of computer driven balance products we begun sourcing off-the-shelf computers to drive our software and manage our balance products, but we ran into unexpected situations, including lack of consistency within builds, little to no support on configuration changes, and less than adequate assistance to overcome such situations.

We began shopping around for a new supplier, and decided to start working with TCM in 2009. TCM is a small business that caters to the small business, so they have low overhead and can move fast to accommodate their customer’s needs. We were thrilled to be able to work directly with TCMs engineers to determine the best configuration for our needs, and to be able to tap into the years of hardware experience that TCM provides. The final solution fits our needs perfectly, has a price-point that is comparable to what we were getting for our off-the-shelf configurations, and full support on the back end from the TCM staff and from the manufacturers, through TCM, if there is a need.

TCM works closely with many providers, including industrial and embedded manufacturers that build products that surpass the durability and availability of mainstream parts and products you find in the typical computer you purchase, which extends the life of the product, the availability of the model, and reduces the impact and costs of test and evaluation, recertification, and others.We are greatly satisfied with TCM as our OEM computer provider. We trust and recommend TCM.”

– Justin Belliveau, Engineering Manager, SportKat LLC, San Diego,

SportKat, LLC develops balance therapy, training, and rehabilitation machines. The company’s product portfolio includes portable and mid-level proprietary machines in addition to its flagship system, the Korebalance. All of the company’s products offer strength, flexibility and agility training as well as orthopedic rehabilitation, fall prevention, motor skill training, and therapy for victims of degenerative disease such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s.

Tech Industry News

Windows 8: Should You Upgrade?

With the release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 Consumer Preview, many people have now had their first look into the future of the world’s most widely used OS. As a company that services both businesses and consumers, we have already been asked, should I upgrade to Microsoft’s latest and greatest once Windows 8 is officially released later this year?

There are several factors to consider before answering the question. The first being what type of customer are you? Are you a consumer or business? In addition, how do you currently use your current OS? Is it for work, play or a little of both? Do you primarily use a desktop or do you have a laptop or netbook because you are always on the go?

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Tech Tips

Updating Your “Legacy” Machine

It’s a pretty common occurrence among today’s contemporary industry to have antiquated (legacy) machines still in service. You may have a computer that functions as an appliance for your business that drives machinery over Serial or has a piece of software that only operates on an old, no longer supported Operating System.

Generally, the reason businesses have these machines around despite the rest of the network being updated on a regular basis is that such transitions are problematic. Newer machines lack appropriate device interfaces, necessary OS for software packages to run, set up may be laborious/cost intensive and/or you simply never got around to it. Unfortunately, this style of non-proactive maintenance of critical systems greatly increases your exposure to loss. If the machine goes down and you can’t fix it, what’s your contingency plan? How will business be impacted and for how long?

Luckily, there is a way to get your legacy computer up-to-date without having to start all over.

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