Monthly Archive for: ‘May, 2010’

The new Ghost Writer. Do you need a “Cyber Assistant?”

The Internet has become the single most important tool for people and business owners to keep in touch and be heard. Whether it be blogging, tweeting, or simply maintaining a presence on Facebook and other social media sites, these tasks can become overwhelming. Today busy people are turning to freelance writers to be their “Cyber Ghosts” to write blogs and post important events, product developments and services for them. This new breed of personal assistants are bright, Internet savvy and possess excellent writing skills.

Tune in and listen.

Starting a new business? Have you thought about your technology needs?

Thinking about starting a new business? Have you recently left corporate life either by choice or the result of downsizing? If you have decided to start your own business, chances are that you have already spoken with an attorney, accountant and probably have a plan in place to finance your new venture. However, have you given any thought to a Technology Plan?  Will you be setting up a home office? As an entrepreneur, you no longer can call a support desk when something goes wrong. How about a backup and disaster strategy?

Technology is now the single most important tool you will need to support your business.  Along with a traditional business plan, here are some technology issues that you should address before you are too far along with your venture.

1. Where will your business be based? At home, business center, traditional office, etc.

2. Will you be spending most of your time in your office or on the road. Is international travel involved?

3. What type of computer(s) will be needed? What about printers, scanners, etc.?

4. How will you be accessing the Internet? If there are multiple computers, will you need a network?  Will you need to be wireless?

5. What software will you need?  Have you considered the Internet has a resource for functions such as e-mail, telephone, contact information, calendars, etc.

6. Have you thought about support and maintenance?  Although, there maybe someone on staff that is able to handle simple maintenance issues, you should consider using an outside resource to reduce the amount of system down time.  Outsourcing your technical support permits you and your employees to focus on your business.

It is possible to save thousands of dollars by addressing your technology needs in advance.


When is the last time your computer had a checkup?

Do any of these problems sound familiar?

10. It freezes

9. It takes forever to start up

8. It shuts down by itself

7. It’s too slow

6. No more sound

5. Too many pop-up ads

4. I don’t think my anti-virus program works

3. I can’t print

2. Customer service is of no help because the warranty has expired

And the #1 reason is:

1. I don’t know whether to upgrade/fix or get the latest and greatest

You probably make sure your car keeps up with its maintenance schedule. Most of you are diligent about getting an annual physical. The same should be true of your computer. Why shorten the life of your computer? Save money by extending the life of your equipment!!

Are You Risking Your Job By Using Your Office Computer for Personal Use?

Office computers are the property of the company you work for.  According to an article in the current issue of PCWorld magazine, studies show that nearly two-thirds of all small and medium sized companies monitor the activities of their computers.  It also reports that one out of four companies have fired people for “Net related misdeeds.”

What this means is that it is possible for your employer to see all your incoming and outgoing e-mails as well as maintain a history of all websites visited. Not only are they concerned about you wasting time shopping, checking the weather, etc which impacts productivity, but the possible loss of proprietary information. Many companies have established elaborate controls that forbid downloading of programs and games.

Companies have the capacity to gather information if they are displeased with an employee or they feel that they are involved in activities detrimental to the organization.  It is not uncommon to find employees  conducting job searches in the office or texting disparaging remarks about their supervisors or other co-workers.

The safest course of action is to conduct all non-related company business on your own computer.  You will never know whether or not you are the target of company scrutiny.

Oh, one last thing.  If the company has given you a cell phone or blackberry, remember it is also their property.  Buy your own cell phone for personal use.

What you need to know before you buy a new computer

Since your present computer no longer supports your needs or constant problems are driving you crazy and proving costly to repair, you have decided it is finally time to buy.  It has probably been several years since your last purchase. Now, the number of choices available are staggering.

No doubt when buying a car, you think about how you will use it, price, brand, size, etc.  You don’t just walk into a dealership and drive out with a car.  The same is true when buying a computer.  So many models!! What do all those specifications mean?

Before walking into a store, you need to think about your needs.  Here are some things to consider.

Desktop or Laptop?  First, consider that whatever your choice, for the average home user, you are not giving up functionality by choosing a laptop.  If the computer is going to be stationary, then you probably should consider a desktop:  Big screen, and larger keyboard.  If you want mobility, then you need to think about a laptop.  However, what type of laptop?

There are 3 basic types of laptops.  1) A desktop replacement – Up to a 17 inch screen, larger in size and heavier.  Not meant to carry around with you, but a good choice if you have a space problem.  2) Standard Laptop – Usually up to a 15 inch screen, portable, compact. 3) Netbook – The most popular models have 10″ inch screens.  Small keys, but the ultimate for the mobile traveler.

When selecting a laptop, you must consider screen size, keypad and weight.  Go into a store and look and feel several different types.  You must be comfortable with each of three items.  Keyboards vary by vendor; some have raised keys like  standard keyboards, while some are flat.  If you plan on taking the computer with you regularly, consider the weight of the machine.

PC or MAC? The Windows 7 operating system and MAC’s Snow Leopard operating system are now quite competitive from a performance standpoint.  The PC still has a 90% + market share, primarily because Microsoft’s focus has been on the business community.  Home users are buying more MACs every year.  PCs are far less expensive than MACs, with entry level price points in the $300 range.  You will probably have to spend a least $1,000 for an entry level MAC.

MACs are more reliable, start up quicker, have fewer maintenance issues, and so far, not prone to viruses and spyware. Plus, Apple often scores higher on surveys of customer support.  MAC  built-in software is considered excellent.

Regardless of your choice, PC or MAC, desktop or laptop, there are certain specifications that are a must.  Don’t be fooled by price as bargain prices do not always mean you are getting the best machine for your needs.  Here are some of the more important specifications to consider.

Operating System – With a PC, insist on Windows 7.  With a MAC, go with  Snow Leopard.  Most machines come with 64 bit system and will enable programs to operate faster.

Speed – You do not have to go with the fastest.  Get one level lower, you will not be able to tell the difference and save some money.

RAM – Probably the most important and least expensive component – 2 GIGs is a minimum but go with 4 GIG, if possible. The more RAM, the faster the computer operates.

Hard Drive –  At least 250 GIG and more if within your budget.

There are many other items to consider, but these are the most important.  Most computers come with built in Wi-fi for wireless networks, a video camera for video chats, and several trial programs such as Microsoft Office and an anti-virus program.  You will probably want to purchase the basic version of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, however there are free similar programs available online.  Same with anti-virus programs, there are quite a few good ones online for free for the PC.

These are just some points to consider before you purchase your next computer.  If you are interested in a more comprehensive discussion, you may click on the link below which will take you to my Radio Program.  Click on the April 30th show.

The Net Radio Show