Netbooks aren’t as capable as PCs

Netbooks aren’t as capable, but are smaller and cheaper than a PC

The small netbooks are lightweight, less expensive than a PC, and can fit into a handbag or a briefcase.

More than 11 million consumers bought one for as little as $269 in 2008, and prices may continue to fall. PC makers say notebook computer prices could be affected by the trend, possibly with a 20 percent drop from early 2008 prices by the end of 2009.

The $269 netbook is made by Asus ‘Eee PCs (Eee stands for “Easy to learn, Easy to work, Easy to play.”). They are designed for basic tasks of Web surfing, email and word processing. They use Wi-Fi but have a limited storage drive capacity. To keep costs down, some Asus models ship with the Linux operating system rather than Microsoft Windows.

The keyboards are small, which could be a problem for some adults, but the size is perfect for kids. Dell’s $349 Inspiron Mini 9 has an 8.9-inch LED screen. It has 512 MB of system memory and Intel’s Atom 1.6-Ghz processor.

You can order it with Windows XP operating system instead of Linux. Dell has three netbooks, all of which have USB ports, other features and four hours of battery life, depending on the applications being used.

The $349 Acer Aspire One has a bright 8.9-inch screen, a 120-gigabyte hard disk and one gigabyte of memory. It’s about an inch thick. The keys are large and separated in order to make typing comfortable for limited work.

For $50 extra, you can get twice the battery power.

Cell Phone usage in USA infographic

This is interesting information on how much phone and text messaging we use each day.It compares teens to adults.
Cell Phone Usage
Via: Online IT Degree

Taking advantage of free WiFi at coffee shops

Thousands of coffee shops offer free WiFi service, which allows data to be transmitted via a wireless network. Business people are taking advantage of them.

It’s a definite trend, according to consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. John Challenger, the firm’s CEO, say he occasionally works out of Chicago coffee shops.

While connecting at coffee shops isn’t appropriate for all workers, connecting there can save time and auto expense. If you look into a city coffee shop, you will probably see users ranging from sales people to pharmaceutical representatives. They work from laptops but also meet with clients and hold meetings.

Stinky keyboards?

A survey of 150 information technology managers at Sunrise Software, a British company, shows that printer issues were the most common reason for a help desk call. But the survey also shows that in any given month, more than half of the service people had to handle various food-related problems. They encountered everything from potato chips in a CD drive, to keyboards ruined by spilled coffee and PCs melted to desks by an unknown substance. According to Best Buy’s Geek Squad, which services small business and home offices, keyboards are often rendered unusable by crumb buildup, and spills and odors from decaying food particles.

Not talent, not even education

 Calvin CoolidgeNothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence, determination and hard work make the difference. Calvin Coolidge

One laptop per child – Video

A non-profit organization hopes to help children in impoverished countries by distributing low-cost computers.

Designed with help from major companies including Google, NewsCorp, and Nortel, the XO went into mass production in November and has been tested in countries like Brazil, Nigeria, and India already.

Setting Up a Wireless LAN

Provided by HPEstablish a Broadband Connection
Wireless networks are always an extension of your broadband wired connection. Before you put your wireless network in place, be sure you have a T1, DSL, cable, or other broadband connection in place in your office.

Decide Who, What, When, and Where
Determine who will be using the network and what they’ll be doing on it. Find out when they’ll need it so you can prevent bandwidth-intensive tasks from bogging down your wireless network. Determine the number and location of wireless access points.

Get the Gear
Purchase the gear that creates the wireless network and connects you to the Internet—the access points, routers, and hubs. You’ll also need to purchase wireless network cards for every desktop, laptop, PDA, printer, or other device that will connect to the established wireless network. Be sure that the cards support the same standard and broadcast frequency as the wireless access point.

Implement Wireless Security
Wireless networks broadcast data packets—your information—out into thin air where anyone can pick up the broadcasts. So you’ll need to implement some wireless-specific security measures, such as MAC addressing, data encryption, and other traditional security techniques.

© 2007 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, LP

Online Marketing Strategies to Promote Your Business

By Holly BerkleyPicture yourself at the ball game cracking through a bag of dry roasted peanuts. You’re on your second handful when that familiar red and white logo pops up on the big screen advertising an ice-cold Coca-Cola. You immediately track down the next vendor with a basket of ice-cold drinks. This is called “pin point marketing.” It is the process of delivering an appropriate message at the right time that produces actual results.

In contrast, let’s say you are enjoying those same peanuts when an advertisement for Toyota Trucks pops up on the same screen. It’s a nice ad, but not nearly as effective. This is an example of “interruptive marketing.” It is not truly targeted because it is not what you are actively looking for at that moment.

What does this scenario have to do with your business? Well, rather than wasting valuable marketing dollars on billboards, 30-second television ads or radio commercials (all examples of “interruptive marketing”) focus your energy on putting your product in front of potential customers while they are looking for it. Unlike when people watch TV or listen to the radio, Internet users are actively looking for a solution to a problem. If you can place your product in their path at the right time, you’ve made a customer. The most cost-effective way to achieve this is by combining your marketing message with important content that users are already actively seeking out.

Start by submitting “how-to” or “industry news” type articles to relevant Web sites in your industry. Unique Web content is important to all size companies. And, buying custom content is expensive and time consuming. As a result most companies are willing to trade a free plug for your Web site or company for an informative, well-written article.

Every article you submit should enhance your company’s position as an expert or industry leader, while providing valuable information at the same time. Content written around your company or product also helps your business gain credibility, which is extremely important for small businesses.  When a potential customer reads your article, you have already established yourself as an expert in that field. By the time the customer clicks over to your Web site or gives you a call, you have a very hot lead.

Perhaps you own a local painting business. Your target customers are most likely looking for home improvement information online, so you could exchange stories and “how to” advice with local carpenters or electricians. Or take it a step further and submit your “expert painting advice” to popular home improvement and real estate Web sites. You can swap content with anyone in your industry that is not a direct competitor. By doing so, you’ll open your company up to a wider audience while building up your credibility.

Also, think about what type of person will be using the Web site you select to post your article. For example, studies show that a mother of two who needs a quick dinner recipe will do a quick search, and then print out the page. So animated banners ads or even a link to your Web site may not be the most effective way to get her attention. On the other hand, adding a clip out coupon to the article would be very effective.

In traditional media, one positive sentence in editorial is worth much more than two paid advertisements. The same is true on the Internet. Getting a free link or product mention on another Web site is an extremely valuable way to gain high quality leads. Combine that free link or product mention with a well-written article and you’ll turn that product mention into a sale.

Holly Berkley is the author of Limited-Budget Online Marketing for Small Business and owner of Berkley Web Strategies, a San Diego-based Web design and online marketing company specializing in helping all size businesses succeed online.

Buying Your Next PC

Provided by HP

Stationary or Mobile?
Determine whether you need a stationary computer—either a desktop PC or a workstation—or a mobile computer—either a laptop or a notebook. Desktops offer faster performance and expandability; laptops are more portable and flexible. If you’re going mobile, consider a stationary docking station for your laptop.

Desktop or Workstation?
If you’ll be stationary, choose between a desktop PC that supports common business applications such as e-mail, Internet access, and basic software applications, or a workstation that supports processing- and memory-intensive technical applications such as MCAD, software development, video processing, and oil and gas applications.

The CPU (central processing unit, or processor) performs math calculations and functions as the “brain” of the system. Evaluate the applications you plan to run to find out if you need 32- or 64- bit processing, as well as the recommended processor speed [measured in gigahertz (GHz)]. Also consider if you need a single processor or if your application needs the support of dual processors.

RAM (random access memory) is temporary storage that provides the working space for your computer to operate. The more memory you have, the more programs you can run at once, and the better the system will perform while multitasking. For standard business applications, 512MB of memory is a good start. For more memory-intensive applications, consider up to 1 GB of memory. Be sure that you have additional room to grow as your application requirements change.

Disk Storage
The hard disk is the primary data storage location. The bigger the hard disk, the more you can store; the faster the hard disk, the quicker you can access your files. Consider the amount of data you expect the computer to store, and look for a system that supports that data with room to grow. Most computers can handle a series of drives instead of just a single drive, giving you expanded storage space as well the ability to add more.

Consider the importance of the data you plan to store on the system, and how it will be connected to other systems that might house sensitive company information. While every computer in your business should have anti-virus and anti-spam software installed on it, those systems that will hold particularly sensitive data may need to be extra-secure to better protect your company’s intellectual property and networks.

© 2007 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, LP

How to Set-up a Home Office

By Linda Novey-White

Establishing and maintaining a home office requires a healthy dose of the five P’s (Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performances). Through a telephone conversation, the client won’t know if you are using a desk in your bedroom. But in order to succeed, it is important that you commit yourself to professionalism. Not everyone can work at home; many find it distracting on many levels. One of the first problems I had was with my dog.

The dog barked every time the Federal Express man made a delivery or someone approached the door. Distracting sounds of the dog barking incessantly or the doorbell chiming while talking on the phone with the CEO of a multi-national company will not leave a favorable impression. When the kids began to leave the home, I insisted that they would acclimate faster if they took the dog. I also got a quieter doorbell.

Set up your office professionally, as though you were working in a downtown office. There are enough distractions—the refrigerator, telemarketers, repairmen, delivery people—without having to work in an undesirable environment. I worked out of my unfinished basement once and I found the office was always disorderly. I had converted a bedroom and used bits and pieces of office furniture and equipment. I hated to walk into that mish-mash each day, so I kept finding reasons not to go there. My business suffered.

Finally, I started to look for office furniture packages, which included desks, matching file cabinets and computer stations. The costs were prohibitive. One day a cabinet maker came to repair our entertainment center and I asked him to take a look at my office. After telling him what I needed to accomplish in the office, he and I drew the original design on the back of an envelope. I now have a totally built-in office, with computer desks, mail center, file cabinets, bookcases and ample collating and storage space. I had it built from regular laminates in off-white, though I could have chosen wood tones or various colors. The cupboards hang from the ceiling on three walls over the counters, and under the counter space (except for kneeholes) are drawers and filing cabinets. Some shelves are enclosed and others are not. And, I’m surrounded by my family photos and pictures of exotic places I intend to travel. Total cost: less than $2,500. It was built off-site and installed in one afternoon; it’s a total business cocoon.

Situate your work space according to your work style. Position your most needed files, printers, phones, copiers near your work area. Don’t worry about “normal” order. My “R” files are near my desk, not in their alphabetical order. Why? Because for the past two years, my two largest client’s names began with “R” and I used that drawer most often. The copier was purposely placed farther away, so that I am forced to get up from my chair and move about.

Now about that chair! Don’t be tempted to buy a cheap one! What you save in initial costs you will spend in medication for your backaches. If you are like most business people working from home, you will spend many hours in that chair. Sit in it for more than three or four minutes before buying it and be sure it fits your lower back and doesn’t inhibit your arm movement at the computer.

Some people put different colored carpet in their offices than the rest of their house. Some make the door face a hallway rather than the patio or pool. Some paint the walls a different color. All these things are fine, if they help you concentrate.

You will also find that when you are working from home, your family expects you to accept deliveries, consult with repairmen, etc. Keep this to a minimum. Do only those things that you would do if you worked in an office tower downtown. I don’t go to the grocery store or hairdresser in the middle of the day, even though it may be less crowded . You must think of your time away from the office as time and money lost, otherwise you will become less of a business person and more of an errand runner.

My office has three separate phone lines: one is a dedicated fax/modem line and two are incoming lines, one of which is also a home line that can be answered at my desk. It will not appear professional to callers if you have call-waiting, rather than a dedicated business phone. Clients are frustrated when they are told that they have to wait until you hang up the phone to fax something, because you didn’t invest in the proper phone equipment. I once was speaking with a consultant, who asked me to fax his contract to the local Kwik-Copy location because he didn’t have a fax in his office. I began to worry about his commitment to being in business, since fax machines are now available for less than $200. I never sent the contract.

I recently heard a definition of “consultant” as a person who was gainfully un-employed. If you don’t want to be described as such, make a commitment to setting up your office in a business environment that helps you concentrate solely on your business. This is your best long-term investment.

Linda Novey-White is president of Linda Novey Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm for service industries. Her firm specializes in customer service and quality management training, motivational and evaluation programs. Her clients have included Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, Omni, Loews, and Hyatt hotel companies. For 16 years, Novey has traveled weekly to cities all over the world comparing standards for service and quality in the service industries. She is a member of the SCORE Board of Directors and a 1997 recipient of the Avon Women of Enterprise honor.