Google for Nonprofits is Rewarding On Two Fronts

I love to help people.  I really do.  If someone is genuinely stuck on something, there’s no better feeling than being able to use a resource I have at my disposal and come to the rescue.  This sense of chivalry was probably ingrained in my head due to a penchant for Superman comic books in my youth, but the intent is genuine.  A resource that gives me that giddy feeling every time it is employed is Google for Nonprofits.  Nonprofit organizations are in a difficult situation:  they all need business class tools to be effective, but do not have business class profits coming in to pay for everything.  A lack of funding for effective tools can easily turn goals into disappointments.  Google for Nonprofits resolves this problem by giving organizations a state-of-the-art Internet platform at a tiny fraction of the cost. Read more of this post

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The Google Apps Calendar – More Powerful Than You Realize

Google Calendar

Image by HRC via Flickr

Organization is the key to efficiency, and most of us (including myself) are too lazy to be organized.  People that have all of their papers “just-so” on their desk with their color coded tabs and rubbers bands and sticky notes and highlighters drive me crazy.  It amazes me that they can actually find their work when it’s buried under all those office supplies.  What I need is a personal assistant that follows me around and lets me know everything I’m supposed to be doing at a specific time.  Someone to tell me things like “Call your client at 11am,” “Your mom’s birthday is tomorrow,” and “At 2:00 you have a company meeting about buying more office supplies.”  Unless you make Charlie Sheen money, you’re probably not able to pay someone to walk behind you all day rattling off your schedule.  However, technology has once again provided a suitable substitute. Read more of this post

Firefox 4 – Fashionably Late to the Party

Firefox 4.0 announced release date:  November 2010.  Actual release date:  March 22, 2011.  This huge delay allowed heavy hitters Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer to get their foot in the door ahead of time.  What could have caused a four-month delay in its release, and was it worth the wait?  Let’s take a look.
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Internet Explorer 9 – Unleashed!

Microsoft has pushed Internet Explorer 9 out the door and released it to the wild.  As the first major update to Microsoft’s popular web browser in nearly two years, Internet Explorer 9 brings many improvements such as improved web standards support, better performance and graphics acceleration.  Read more of this post

Contacting Large Groups? You’re Probably Doing It Wrong…

Email Campaign

Image by JASElabs via Flickr

One of the struggles of running a business is reminding people that you exist.  There is a lot of competition out there, so your customers have to be continually reminded of why you’re the best!  The question is, “What is the most effective way to get the word out?”  Mailing flyers and letters is one way, but it’s expensive, takes a long time, and you have no idea how many people actually looked at your mailing vs. throwing it away.  Calling gives more instant results, but it is slow and annoys people (I know I make a point never to use any business that calls me during dinner).  Email would seem to be the most efficient and least expensive method of communicating with your customer base, but it has its own set of problems:  creating an effective email is difficult, spam filtering, and face it:  if the email isn’t interesting, they’re not going to read it.  The main disadvantage to these three methods is, in the end, you have no idea how effective your message is.  It’s like putting a message in a bottle and hoping the ocean takes it to someone.  Ironically, I would be more likely to read a message sent to me in a bottle than a mailing due to packaging, but that’s another topic. Read more of this post

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Walkthrough

Windows 7, the latest client version in the Mi...

Image via Wikipedia

Windows 7 is viewed as a vast improvement over Microsoft’s Vista PR disaster, and the first major update for the operating system recently became available.  Service packs are a series of security patches, bug fixes, and new features Microsoft periodically groups together into a “pack” for more convenient installation.  Unlike service packs for earlier versions of Windows, this one doesn’t really have any major new features.  If you’ve kept up with your regular windows updates, there’s really no need to drop everything and install this right away.

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The Money Pit of Doing It Yourself

Home Office - My Desk - Old 2005

Image by fensterbme via Flickr

I was helping Dave, one of my long time clients, with an email problem the other day.  He was complaining of email performance issues; things such as “it takes a long time to send messages,” and “email takes forever to show up when I check the Inbox.”  The first thing I do with this type of problem is check the Internet connection.  Diagnostics showed it to be working well, but there was a lot of traffic being sent out from his network.  So much, in fact, that it was crippling the ability of his office to operate.  After a bit of detective work we pinpointed the problem:  Dave’s in-house Exchange server is going berserk.  “It’s been a problem for a few days…I was hoping it would fix itself,” he explained.  He’s holding off on calling his server technician because an average visit costs over $600.  Many small businesses can’t afford a bill like that on a regular basis, yet problems seem to pop up on a regular basis when you’re running your own equipment.  It’s a bad situation that’s really affecting Dave’s bottom line. Read more of this post

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