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IT spending has to be done cautiously, even in a "use it or lose it" situation. Be prepared to act as your clients' voice of reason in IT spending.

IT Spending: Putting a Budget Surplus to Good Use

IT Spending: Putting a Budget Surplus to Good UseIf you sell to government, non-profit or educational accounts, your firm may be accustomed to managing this next challenge. But, if sales to small businesses are your bread and butter, you may not as tuned into the "use it or lose it" purchasing philosophy in IT spending.For example, if youre the science department chairperson for a local school district, and you have a $500,000 budget this year for computer products, you "need" to spend it. IT Spending: Use It or Lose ItIf you don't spend the money, any funds left over will not carry forward to next year. And, the board of education probably will believe your department no longer needs the full annual $500,000 budget for computer products. Your departments allocation likely will be reduced going forward.So theres a year-end rush to deplete the technology budget account; regardless of whether the timing is right for getting the best purchase value or controlling computer support costs.Small Businesses Often Fall Into The Same IT Spending TripJust because a client is having a "great" year, quarter or month, your client shouldnt rush out to buy every PC gadget and gizmo he or she has ever dreamed of having or heard someone gushing about.As your clients virtual CIO, when appropriate, you need to act as their IT "grown-up" (be a little more sensitive in how you assume this role though) and remind them of the priorities spelled out in their annual technology plan.Make Sure Your Clients' Plan Includes IT SpendingYou have a written IT project plan for your clients, right? If not, a detailed project plan not only keeps your clients "IT spending" priorities straight, a project plan assures your company a steady stream of recurring consulting revenue throughout the year.Copyright MMI-MMVI, Computer Consulting 101. All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

How Safe Is Safe?

How Safe Is Safe?

There has been an increasing amount of emphasis in recent times on the subject of keeping the information on your computer safe. The terms Back-Up, Archive, Data Storage and Security being mentioned frequently, but what is all about?In simple terms, people are increasingly holding more and more information on their computers, be it photos, personal data and finance, business data, accounts, contacts, addresses and much more. What everyone needs to understand is that the information held on your computer is a very vulnerable entity and can be very easily and completely lost, either by component failure, malicious acts or theft. If loss of the information you keep on your computer would cause you distress, then you need to take steps to ensure it is kept safe and that you would be able to continue even if your computer was stolen.The only definite way of safeguarding against the many different kinds of threats is to have a copy of the valuable information and keep it away from the computer, this is commonly referred to as back-up. In case of loss, the information can then be restored to a computer from the safe back-up copy. A back up consists of an exact copy of this important data, kept on a separate storage medium such as a CD / DVD or an external tape or hard disk drive.Naturally, a back-up is only as good as the last time that you actually made a back-up copy, so it is common practice to create a new back-up frequently and overwrite the old copy. How frequently you do this depends on how often your valuable information changes, the more changes, the more frequent the back-up. A back-up can be performed manually by simply copying the data you wish to back-up to your chosen media, or the process can be automated by using specialist back-up software programmes. Back-up software allows you to select the data that needs to be backed-up, when to make the back-up and where to copy the backed-up data to, this set up can then be memorised by the back-up software. Backing-up your data then becomes a relatively quick and simple process.Many confuse back-up with "archiving". Archiving is where you transfer data, which is important enough to keep, but no longer required (e.g. old photos, old accounts) to an external, safe storage medium for future reference. The archived data is then removed from the computers main hard drive to free-up space.Whether backing-up or archiving, there is a choice of media you can record your copy on to:Floppy or Zip DiskA Floppy or Zip Disk drive provides a simple solution. The downside to this method however, is very limited recording space and not a particularly reliable or long-term solution.Recordable CD or DVDIf you have a CD or DVD recordable drive, this is a better longer-term solution with more space. The downside is that the recording process can be a pain as you cannot just drag and drop and that you need CD's or DVD's to record on.This type of backup can be cumbersome, time consuming and sometimes frustrating, depending on the software and the quality of disks used.When using this method of backup, remember to check the disk you have transferred your data to, to make sure your computer can read the disc ok in future.USB Pen DrivesAlso known by various other names USB Pen Drives are an excellent low cost solution for smaller back-up purposes being easy to use and they are also great for transferring data from one computer to another.External USB Hard DrivesFor most users the best storage solution for back-up and archiving purposes is the USB external hard drive, being reliable, easy to install (just plug in to your USB port) and easy to use (just drag and drop your files to be backed-up). USB External Hard Drives are available in pocket or desktop sizes and storage capacities from a few Gb to 250Gb + offering a huge amount of recording space. Being a plug in device they can be easily disconnected and kept separate from your computer and out of harm's way. Some external USB Hard Drives like Iomega come packaged with back-up software too.

Paper roll was an exercise in guerrilla publishing.

Paper roll was an exercise in guerrilla publishing.

ROLLING PAPERS is a 'zine outta somewhere in England, but I am not sure where as there is no address in any of the five 'zines the sent me (even though he asks readers to send him pics...hmm...) He calls a frontside air over a hip an indy, which would pretty much disqualify him from a review and relegate him to the ranks of wannabe snowbrucers, but the zine is pretty damn funny in places, makes fun of the usuals--mullets, rollerbladers, posers, etc., has some cool clip art stuff, and road trips as well.The invention comprises a method and system for preventing the unauthorized removal of paper rolls, such as cash register receipt paper rolls used by retailers, as well as the anti-theft paper roll and methods of preparation therefor. The method comprises affixing to the paper roll an electronic sensor, wherein the sensor emits a detectable signal; and detecting the presence of the sensor when it passes through or near a detection point at the retailer's location. In one embodiment of the invention, the sensor is an adhesive strip, affixed to the core of the paper roll, wherein the core of the paper roll comprises a flat surface integrally formed therein, onto which the sensor is affixed.Through the first several years, Paper was an exercise in guerrilla publishing. "David and I both operated out of our apartments," recalls Hastreiter, adding that her partner bicycled around the city, picking up copy on specified street corners at prearranged times. "We had other jobs, working for newspapers and book publishers, and enlisted friends to help us out. The type was set at CBS because we knew someone in the typesetting department. The art director worked for The New York Times. We would bring galleys up there, have dinner in the employees' cafeteria, and copy edit as we ate."Paper's fiscal style is staunchly conservative: prudent, self-reliant and cautious. A lean-and-mean operation-employing messenger services is absolutely verboten and business lunches are paid for through ad swaps--Paper functions as a case study of a stand-alone publication that generates a profit without compromising its integrity.

Flash USB Drives: Backup Easily, Conveniently And Securely

Flash USB Drives: Backup Easily, Conveniently And Securely

Tired of switching CD/DVD discs while backing up? Flash USB drives to the rescue!If you already backup often, you are doing the most you can to secure your files against accidental file deletion and recovery, file damage and what not. Also, you may be considering making your backups as easy and painless as possible. So what may be a remedy to this issue?Naturally, you need to consider several backup media and select the one suitting your needs and requirements. Among all, CD, DVD and flash USB drives are considered.You may as well use CD to backup, but you will either need to dump CD-R discs often, or insert a CD-/+RW discs often to make another backup. Someone else can also misplace your backup CD disc or overwrite your backup data with other information. Moreover, a CD only admits about 700Mb of data, which may not be convenient. Nor is storing multiple CDs of your backup copy.The same can be said about backing up to DVD. Of course, a DVD admits from 4.7Gb to about 18.6Gb of data, but is it really convenient backing up to DVD? An external hard disk drive or a flash USB drive will be speedier, more reliable and easier overall.Here is when a flash USB drive comes handy. It not only allows faster data copying than CD or DVD, but can also admit from 256Mb to 4Gb of data (or maybe more). Moreover, you can take the USB drive with you anywhere you go and transfer the data between distant computers without resolving to FTP backup. Of course, one of the drawbacks of a flash USB backup is that the drive is only limited to about 100 000 writings, while another slight disadvantage (or an advantage, if you put it nicely) is that the device is so small you can easily misplace it.

Dell: Putting on stickers is costly

Buying a new computer is an exciting event for most people. Many consumers find it fun to unpack and put together their new PC, expecting it to look clean and flawless. But many are disappointed when they find tacky Microsoft and Intel stickers cluttering an otherwise sleek design. The stickers either fade and peel themselves off over timemaking the computer look even worseor the consumer has to delicately and painstakingly peel off the stickers by hand in order to make the obtrusive logos disappear.Finally a company with some influence is doing something about it. Dell, the PC giant, is having talks with both Microsoft and Intel about omitting vicarious advertising from its machines. Dell doesnt care that other companies logos are seen on their computers as much as it cares about saving some extra dough. For them, putting the stickers on each computer takes a lot of time, and therefore money, especially considering Dell is the worlds largest PC maker, currently supplying more than 16 percent of the worldwide PC market. As the Chinese and Latin American markets continue to grow, putting those pesky stickers on each machine becomes what Dell has called a significant bottleneck. Certainly Intel and Microsoft are going to fight to keep their logos on every machine they powerincluding Dellsso stay tuned. But perhaps our days of picking off pesky logo stickers are numbered.

Technology Vendors: Contact Information for Parts and Resellers

After you have learned to explain the concept of a "real" network to small business prospects and clients, you can look into the vendors out there providing small business server suites (both client/server and Web-based). The following is a listing of various technology vendors and websites for product or reseller/partner information.Apple Server Solutions Reseller/Partner Information:http://consultants.apple.com/ IBM Small Business Suite for Linux Reseller/Partner Information:http://www.ibm.com/partnerworld/consultants Microsoft Small Business Server Product Information:http://www.microsoft.com/sbserver/ Reseller/Partner Information:http://www.microsoft.com/partner/ Novell Small Business Suite Product Information:http://www.novell.com/products/smallbiz/ Reseller/Partner Information:http://www.novell.com/partners/channel/ Oracle Small Business Suite, powered by NetLedger Reseller/Partner Information:http://www.netledger.com/portal/partners.jsp Red Hat Linux Training/Certification Information:http://www.redhat.com/training/ Sun Cobalt Qube 3 Appliance Product Information:http://www.sun.com/hardware/serverappliances/qube3/ Reseller/Partner Information:http://www.sun.com/partners/ Trustix Small Office Server Reseller/Partner Information:http://www.trustix.com/index.php?kat=Partners&p=77|The Bottom Line about Technology VendorsVARBusiness Magazine has two great online resources to help you research "technology vendor" partner programs. You can access the VARBusiness Annual Report Card at http://www.varbusiness.com/sections/main/2002arc.asp. In addition, the VARBusiness Partner Program Guide, listing over 340 partner programs, resides at http://www.varbusiness.com/sections/main/2002ppg.asp .Copyright MMI-MMVI, Small Biz Tech Talk. All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

Summary

IT spending has to be done cautiously, even in a "use it or lose it" situation. Be prepared to act as your clients' voice of reason in IT spending.