Thursday, September 17, 2009

Parts is Parts. Do you have phrases that you type often in Word 2007 or Outlook 2007 email? A quick way to save time is to save the phrase as a "Quick Part". In Word select the phrase and then go to "Insert" => Click on the down arrow under "Quick Parts" => Click on "Save Selection to Quick Parts Gallery". Give it a name and click "OK". Now whenever you need to enter the phrase click on the "Quick Parts" icon and select the phrase from the list of Quick Parts!

Monday, July 20, 2009

iPhone for Business Part 1

I recently added an iPhone to my stock of gadgets for the purpose of evaluating its suitability for use in business. I have a Microsoft Mobile Smartphone (XV6800) from Verizon that I have been using and will use it for comparison. In some ways this is not a fair comparison since some of the limitations of Microsoft Mobile are caused by the device and Verizon. For example, the XV6800 is made by HTC and is available under different names from other cellular providers. However the Verizon version has less memory and has the GPS locked to work with VZ Navigator only.

More to follow ...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Smart Phone Tips #1

Smart phones (PDA phones) are not that much different than your PC. When you have a problem one of the first things you should try is a soft reset. It's like re-booting your PC. A word of caution; make sure you are doing a soft reset and not a hard reset. A hard reset will erase all of your information and return the phone to its original software. You will be amazed at how many problems the soft reset can fix and how much faster the phone may run!

I do a soft reset everyday as part of my daily routine - a good habit to get into.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Backup Basics Part 2

In part 1 we talked about keeping your original install disks so that you can restore Windows and your programs if the hard drive goes bad. That's a good simple methodology for this type of protection. But what if you have many, many programs loaded on your PC? If you have a business suite and a graphics suite and some accounting software, it could take a full day just to restore the software.

Here is an easy solution that will cut the time it takes to get back to work. There are several software programs available that "clone" your hard drive. Basically they store an image of the hard drive including Windows, all of your software and all of your settings. After a hard drive crash you simply replace the hard drive, boot from a CD that the imaging software makes for you (don't forget to make one before trouble strikes) and restore your computer to the exact state that it was in when you made the last image. You can then restore any newer files from your online backup and your ready to go.

I use Acronis True Image. There is also free software available such as Macrium Reflect. Another benefit of this software is that it can be used to replace your hard drive with a larger one. Go through the same process, install a larger hard drive and your ready to go!

If you need help, please see the contact page on my website


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Backup Basics

The consequences of not having a sound backup strategy can be staggering. A small business could go bankrupt with the loss of critical data. An individual may lose irreplaceable items like digital photo’s or email from loved ones. Most people know that they have to backup their computers but many do a very poor job of executing a backup strategy. Here are some rules to follow to make the backup process effective and easy.

Rule #1 – The most likely event to occur is the loss of the hard drive.

When you lose a hard drive you need to be able to rebuild it from scratch; install Windows, Office, Photoshop, etc. When you get your new computer the very first thing you need to do is put the recovery disks in a safe place. Some computer manufacturers no longer provide recovery disks so you have to make them yourself or purchase a set from the manufacturer. I prefer to purchase a set – that way I know that I didn’t screw something up making the disks. As you buy and install other software put the install disks with the recovery disks. It’s also a good idea to keep any serial numbers or keys with the disks.

Rule #2 – Your backups have to be stored in a different building from where the computer is.

If you backup your data to a device, external hard drive, CD’s or DVD’s, or to a USB flash drive and store them in the same structure as the computer you risk losing both to fire, flood or some other disaster.

Rule #3 – The backup process has to run automatically.

It never fails – the one day you forget to backup is the day that disaster strikes. Don’t rely on your memory; use a product that runs automatically.


Complying with the first rule is easy and most people do a good job of keeping their hard disk recovery material in one place – or at least in one room.

Most small business and individuals fail to fully comply with Rules #2 and #3. The simplest way to comply is to use an internet backup service. Your computer is backed up automatically every day and the information is stored in a secure data center which in turn is backed up. I use Mozy, It runs every day automatically and all of your data is encrypted. They offer several packages starting with a free home user offering that allows you to backup up to 2GB’s. For $4.95 a month you get unlimited backup. They also have several packages for businesses.

If you need help please see the contact page on my website.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why This Blog?

I built this blog to fill a void. There is plenty of very technical information on the internet as well as plenty of information for "playing" with computers and the internet. What seems to be missing is a source of information for small businesses or individuals who use and rely on technology daily. A source that evaluates new technology, advises on its use and provides sensible recommendations, tips and ideas that are applicable to the small business, home office and individual. I hope that you find this information to be useful and applicable to your daily use of technology.