I have finally taken some much-needed time off. The family and I are taking a week to spend some time in Florida. To be sure, I'll never officially stop working, even on vacation. But this reminded me of something that all small business owners deal with: namely overworking oneself. Remember to take some time off with family regularly. Assign your tasks to someone else temporarily, or plan for the downtime with your customers in advance. The point is, everybody needs time away from their business, even the most hardcore type A's need downtime. Just taking the time off and only checking in once a day with the office has helped me tremendously. It's allowed me to get the creative juices flowing again, and put the priorities back in order. The net effect? While some things may not get done quite as fast while I'm off, in the end everybody benefits, as I'll be back in the office refocused, rejuvenated, refreshed and ready to take care of my clients' IT needs. So don't forget to take the occasional time off with the family. It's actually good for business!
I'm still in a little bit of shock this morning. I got a phone call this morning from the station manager of AM 1300 KSET who let me know Teresa Hanson passed away last night from ovarian cancer.If you've ever listened to my show Geek Free Radio, you will know that Teresa was the afternoon news anchor at KSET, as well as the sidekick for Jack Pieper on The Afternoon Talk Show with Jack Pieper for 3 hours every weekday.Teresa's facebook introduction says it all:I want to be a Forest Ranger... no, a Veterinarian... no, Genetic Engineering... no, a Cruise Director... What? I can get paid for talking? I'll take that job!Teresa was the "GoTo" person at the station for all of the show hosts. She knew a little bit about everything, and she most certainly had an opinion on most things. She wasn't afraid to share it either. She even did a show with Jack Pieper about health care, and she openly discussed her disease and struggle with cancer. I have to say, I listened to that entire show, and it moved me enough to walk into the station the next day, and tell Teresa how much I truly admired her. She, of course, looked at me like I was crazy, because she was just doing what she always did, saying what was on her mind.On Geek Free Radio, Teresa was fondly called Geek Girl. I often used Teresa on the show to demonstrate how easy something was to do on the computer, or take questions from her relating to technology, and answer them on the air. I could always count on Teresa. I can't count the number of times that she would just sit in the studio during my show, preparing her news for the top of the hour. I would always introduce her on the air during those times, and get her involved in the discussion, whatever it was.At the radio station, we even discussed adding Teresa to Geek Free Radio permanently, since she and I always had fun with it. We were going to call it "Beauty and the Geek". When my show would get bogged down and get too "technical" Teresa could always come in and bring out the extrovert in me. In short, we always had fun when Teresa was "in the house".I would often joke with Teresa about her sense of style. She's the only person I know who would come to work in a pink dress, and then pull out her pink digital camera, her pink swiss army knife with built in compact, and then reach over and get out her pink laptop. She was the most color coordinated geek I've ever known!So, here's to you, Geek Girl. Please know that I'm praying for Brian and Abby. My loss is nothing compared to theirs. I'm honored to have known you. I will miss you. Especially on those days when you and I would be on the show together.Godspeed Geek Girl,Tim Beard
In the course of taking calls today during the Geek Free Radio Show I received one of the highest compliments a business owner can get. The caller to the show just called to tell me two things. First, he sincerely appreciated the solid advice I was offering to the listeners regarding watching what your children do not only on the Internet, but while they are playing with the seemingly infinite number of game consols available today. He was referencing the segment of the show where I discussed how parents may often keep up with what their kids do when it comes to surfing the Internet, but often overlook what is happening when kids are playing with the gaming consoles. Many, if not most of the modern consoles have the ability for the gamer to play online (the Internet) either with or against other players across the World. A pedophile was recently captured in the US stalking a 15 year old child whom he befriended while playing these games online. The caller stated he had never really thought of video games having that ability, and it was certainly something to watch out for. That is gratifying to know you can help people when it comes to technology in other ways than just offering advice for repairing computer issues.Oh, and the second reason for his call? Well, the caller offered that he was a former client of mine from a previous business from the days many years ago when we offered Internet access to Southeast Texas. It was nice to hear him talk about how we always treated our customers in a professional and courteous manner. That was just the icing on the cake!To your Success,Tim
After a lengthy process involving transmitter moves, tower relocations, land purchases, network installs, and other issues, the wait is finally over.I am happy to report that KSET 1300 AM begins it's live broadcasting on Monday 12/21/2009! If you are in the Southeast Texas listening area, please tune in (and call in) to Geek Free Radio, hosted by yours truly, at 11:00AM CST, every weekday.If you aren't in the listening area, you can still catch us at www.ksetlive.com where the show is streamed live 24hours a day.I promise to keep it as "Geek Free" as possible. Just good solutions to computer issues experienced by you, with an emphasis placed on technology and how it can benefit the small business, which is the backbone of the American economy. Look for interviews with Antivirus companies, Microsoft, and other software vendors. Don't worry. I won't be easy on them either. I'm honored to be the host of the show, and I'm looking forward to getting back on the radio. So check out the station anytime, and remember, it goes live on Monday. I'll do my best to answer your technology questions.You can also check out the lineup at www.ksetlive.com We have some radio veterans on our team, including the infamous Jack Pieper from 2pm to 5pm every day. I know Jack is anxious to get back on the air as well.Thanks for listening!To Your Success,Tim
Verizon's website is showing virtually every smartphone (with the exception of 2) has been reduced in price to $99 with a two year contract. 3 months ago, I paid $400 for my Touchpro! What could this mean? Has Verizon turned the corporate corner and decided to be nice to customers? I doubt it.
Last week, I blogged about Amazon remotely deleting selected books from their Kindle readers even after customers had paid for them. Apparently, the situation has progressed. Justin Gawronski had his electronic notes for his summer high school assignment on his Kindle, and they were rendered useless when Amazon pulled their "blunder" of the year by purposely deleting the aforementioned books from the Kindle devices.It looks like Justin has found a lawyer and filed a class action lawsuit seeking punitive damages for people affected by the deletions and an injunction against Amazon to keep them from improperly accessing any Kindles in the future.Now, I'm not one to justify frivolous lawsuits, but in this case, I say go get them, Justin. I think Amazon has it coming to them. After all, when you pay good money for a device, subscribe to the service, and pay for the books you read, what business does Amazon have digging around in your E-book reader, deleting books that you paid for, just because a publisher changes their mind about publishing in e-book format?Let me know what you think.To Your Success,Tim
According to Reuters (if you can believe them) Microsoft has offered to put other browsers into their operating system in order to settle a lawsuit from the European Union.In the old days where profits were consistently up quarter over quarter, MS would hang in there and fight out lawsuits to the bitter end. In today's market, it could make more sense for MS to cave in and settle the lawsuit.I wonder if this is a sign of times to come from the Redmond campus. Let me know your thoughts, please. The entire article may be found here.To Your Success,Tim
The BBC is reporting that Etisalat, a United Arab Emirates telecommunications firm, sent a text about an update to Blackberry users, suggesting it would improve performance. Those who downloaded and installed the application, found their battery life reduced, and their cellphones crashing.
According to Amazon, You Don't Own It Even If You Buy It! According to a news report, Amazon removed some electronic versions of George Orwell's books from the kindle store, and deposited a refund in accounts of people who had previously bought them.
Windows 7 has been in Release Candidate status for a few months. We have received information from Microsoft that Windows 7 will go to RTM, or Release To Manufacturing on October 22, 2009. That means it will be released in its final production form, available for purchase.
According to the Wall Street Journal, ATT, Verizon, Sprint and some others are under investigation by the Department of Justice. It seems the DOJ thinks they may be abusing their power on the cell phone market. How, you ask? One reason that comes to mind is the fact you can only get an i-phone from one carrier, and it cannot be used on any other carrier.
I ran across an article from the New York Times regarding the hows and how much of texting via your flavor of mobile carrier. While the article is a little technical, it explains why it costs the carriers virtually nothing to carry your sms messages. It raises the question of why the carriers have doubled the cost of texting over the last 3 years.
Just after I posted regarding the Internet taking over as the preferred medium for news, I ran across a small article about a newspaper company that has continually grown where others have not. It's the TriCityNews of Monmouth County, New Jersey, and it has grown at over 10 % a year since the dot.com bust. You can read all about it here.
Microsoft has extended the cutoff date for PC makers to install XP on new systems yet again. The new date: May 30, 2009. Now, it may seem to you that this is hardly worth blogging about, especially since it's Jan. 9th, 2009 and the new cutoff date is little more than 4 months away. But, before you pass judgement on this particular post, consider this: THE ORIGINAL DATE FOR XP'S DEMISE WAS JANUARY 30TH......OF 2008!
According to Isuppli, world sales of notebooks surpassed those of desktops for the first time in history. In the 3rd quarter of 2008, 38.6 million notebooks were sold. During the same period, desktop sales declined to 386 million. That's an increase in notebook sales of over 40 percent for the same period last year. That's a lot of notebooks!
Just a quick blog to say Happy New Year to everybody who follows my ramblings. I hope 2009 finds you healthy, happy, and profitable in your business. Forget the doom and gloom that the media seems to thrive upon. If your business is down, find a way to bring it up. Adapt, adjust, do what you have to. Find a way to distance yourself from your competition during these times. Invest in your business. Find marketing that works, and use it!