Linux in Small Business Update

February 29, 2008

I’m writing this entry on OpenOffice 2.3 running on used Dell PC running Ubuntu 7.10 Linux. I started using OpenOffice for all my writing about two years ago. Since I told people OpenOffice did everything Microsoft Office did, but was available free, I decided I should walk that walk so I could continute to talk that talk. After telling people Linux was a great way to get a reliable PC for free or next to nothing, and avoid much of the the security hassle of Microsoft Windows, I converted Read the rest of this entry »

Solid State Disk Potential Breakthrough

February 28, 2008

First came the MacBook Air, with the optional $1000 Solid State Disk option. I like that option, because SSDs are more rugged and reliable when used in real work environments. Many small businesses do the real work as subcontractors to the corporate vice presidents busy buying themselves MacBook Air laptop to play Solitaire on their next flight.

Computerworld reported Korean startup Read the rest of this entry »

Intuit’s Future of Small Business Report #3

February 27, 2008

Intuit has done a great job writing a series of white papers about current and future small businesses. Their latest, number 3, came out recently. Get it here.

The report verifies my thoughts – big companies are eating the medium size companies and getting bigger. Silicon Valley dreamers Read the rest of this entry »

One Step to Better Writing

February 25, 2008

Let me direct you to my friend Alan Elliott’s site. He runs a group called Dallas Area Writer’s Group (DAWG) and invited me and three others to critique their work earlier this month. I did a guest blog entry and gave information on two writing subjects.

Unless you’re writing for publication, the second piece of advice won’t mean much. But if you write anything, Read the rest of this entry »

Hiring Successful Salespeople

February 23, 2008

I like it when people I interview for stories appreciate the resulting article and place it on their Web site. That means I understood their message and conveyed it clearly to readers.

Last fall I did a story on the SalesDrive Web site and book Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again. Christopher Croner, Ph.D., the coauthor, is a psychologist fascinated with the “drive” mindset shown by successful salespeople, and how to identify that drive during the interview process.

If I get in a position where I have to hire salespeople again, I’m using Croner’s online test for the top three candidates for each position. That costs money, but only once. A bad or mediocre salesperson costs you money every single day.

Business owners always feel their product or service is top notch. So why do so many of them hire bad salespeople? Doesn’t a great product deserve a great salesperson? I believe it does, and if you don’t believe that, read Croner’s book immediately.

Blogging for Small Businesses

February 22, 2008

Many people wonder if a blog will help them or their business. I say that a blog provides the same type of personal connection between you and your customers, or potential customers, that you feel toward TV personalities. After listening and watching them, you feel like you have a personal connection. Your customers can feel that way about you through your blog.

But don’t just take my word for it, take an assessment test to see if a blog is a good fit for you. My friend Denise Wakeman and her partner Patsi Krakoff have a free assessment test on their site, Build A Better Blog. Take the test, get their result, and watch their free video. After that, you should have confirmation that a blog will, or will not, work for you.

Could be that a blog won’t help your cause or your business, but don’t just assume that. Could be that a blog will help your cause, but you need to understand more about the details before jumping in. Either way, the better idea you have of how a blog works and the work involved, the better your decision.

If you want to know more about Denise, watch this interview I did with her last year.

HD DVD not BetaMax

February 20, 2008

Many people are now making the “VHS beats BetaMax” comparison now that Blu-ray wins the high definition battle as HD DVD says “no mas.” But that’s the wrong comparison to make, because in this case, the better technical format won. Back in the 1980s, BetaMax was superior to VHS, but lost because of higher cost and mistakes by Sony, the primary BetaMax proponent.

This time Sony finds themselves on the winning side as Toshiba, the primary HD DVD proponent, gives up the fight. An excellent analysis by Robin Harris called HD DVD post-mortem: why did Toshiba fail? over at ZDNet does a great job summing up the battle in one short column.

What did HD DVD have going for it? The ability for manufacturers to make the high def DVDs with regular DVD equipment. Great for them, but not as great for users. HD DVD stores 15GBs per disk, while Blu-ray stores 25GBs per disk. More storage means better video and room for more extras.

Interestingly, Harris’ post-mortem attributes to Toshiba the same types of mistakes I remember Sony making with BetaMax back in the day. Guess Sony learned their lesson, and Toshiba learned their lesson the hard way this year.

This doesn’t mean much to many people yet, however. Only about one percent of DVD players sold last year were high definition. People waited for the dust to settle, and now it has. At least Sony and the movie studios hope that’s why consumers have been waiting to jump on the High Def train.

Editing Photos with IrfanView

February 18, 2008

I spent a couple of hours yesterday updating my publicity photos for 2008. If you must, you can see the new ones at> Press Materials > Photos. At least now my photo includes the shirt I wear onstage.

Getting ready for this onerous job (who really likes to look at pictures of themselves for a couple of hours? nobody I know) I checked out PCWorld’s roundup of 14 Downloads for Digital Photography. As nice as the roundup is, I didn’t download anything. I already have The GIMP on the Linux systems I’m running now, so I have no need to download the Windows version. None of the others did jobs I really needed doing, so I passed on all of them.

I am curious why PCWorld left out IrfanView, my favorite photo viewer and editor. Everything I needed to do when taking a large digital file (the original photo) and cropping it for head shots, then for little mini-photos to post on the Web page, I did with IrfanView. Crop, resize, save – all with IrfanView in amazingly short time.

Now IrfanView plays movies and music, too, which surprised me with the new version. It’s almost to the point that any file you click can display or stream through IrfanView. Highly recommended.

Swag Shop Now Open

February 16, 2008

I’ve had multiple requests for t-shirts and assorted other swag with the Technology Is Broken logo. Now I proudly announce the opening of the Technology Is Broken Swag Shop, ready for business.

There are two slogans along with the Technolog Is Broken logo: “Cuss. Kick. Reboot.” is the first, while the second is “…and I know who to blame.”

If there are other items you’d like, let me know and I’ll set them up quickly. If you have other slogan ideas, let me know, and I’ll send you a free t-shirt or cap of your choice if I use your idea.

The goal here isn’t to take over the New York fashion world, but to have a little fun. This also makes it easy to get one or two t-shirts for giveaways when I make appearances.

Broken Technology Bling. I wonder if CafePress does gaudy jewelry?

Expensive Liquids

February 14, 2008

What is the most expensive liquid you buy regularly? Most people say gasoline immediately, but that’s not even close. The gallon of milk in your fridge costs more than the gallon of gas in your car.

Being Valentine’s Day, you might think of perfume, and that’s a good guess. But look around your office, and you’ll see the answer. Hiding inside your inkjet printers is a cartridge containing liquid that costs you more than $5000 per gallon.

Read all about it from The Grouse at one of my favorite magazines, Popular Science. While the grousing is fun (don’t you visualize an old man yelling at kids to get off the lawn?) the takeway for this article is that prices have shifted. If you’re big into printing photos, your own inkjet may cost you far more per print than much better photos that last longer from various places.

A subject for another day is how kids today never print photos. Don’t believe me? Ask someone 25 or under the last time they actually handed someone a physical photo, rather than showing them an LCD screen on a digital camera or phone, or sending them a link to FaceBook. Then let me know if they’ve done so in the last year.