Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tech Review: Detailed Feature Review of the TOSHIBA Satellite A305-S6837

This Toshiba Notebook is Stylish, highly versatile laptop with 15.4-inch LCD, webcam integrated into bezel

  • 1.8GHZ "Penryn" Intel Core 2 Duo T5550 processor, dual 320 GB hard drives 4 GB RAM (4 GB max), 8x multi-format/dual-layer DVD drive
  • Quad-mode Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), 10/100 Ethernet, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 graphics (up to 1279 MB total available memory)
  • Connectivity: 4 USB, 1 FireWire, 1 HDMI, 1 VGA, 1 S-Video, 1 headphone (with S/PDIF digital audio out), 1 microphone, 1 ExpressCard 34/54
  • Pre-installed with Windows Vista Home Premium / Webcam

Security Tech Tip: New paint promises high-speed Wi-Fi shielding

By Tom Jowitt , TechWorld , 01/21/2009

IT managers should start familiarising themselves with a new security tool, the paint brush, as Japanese researchers have come up with a paint that they say will block high-speed wireless signals, giving businesses a cheap option to protect their wireless networks.

The problem of securing wireless networks has been an issue for a while now. Wi-Fi LANs with no encryption or running the obsolete WEP system, run the risk of having hackers outside the building eavesdrop on wireless LAN traffic, or simply stealing bandwidth. However, there are a number of solutions, besides encryption, for companies wishing to secure their networks.

For example, Meru Networks said last year that it was using Wi-Fi signals to "cloak" wireless LANs and make it impossible for hackers to decipher them outside the office building. Other methods include putting energy-efficient windows in buildings, physically blocking radio signals or even turning a building or office into a 'Faraday Cage' using mesh metal. However these options tend to be expensive.

But now, according to a report in the New Scientist, paint can be used to secure high-speed wireless networks. This is nothing new though, as RF-blocking paints have been available for a number of years now. Indeed, EM-SEC Technologies successfully tested its own RF-blocking paint back in March 2007 to shield wireless devices and other electronic equipment within a building.

But what the New Scientist is reporting is that existing technologies are becoming increasingly obsolete as companies are now using new, higher frequencies to send data. For example, the best wave absorbers commercially available today are only effective up to around 50GHz, whereas the latest wireless communications tend to use electromagnetic waves with a frequency of over 100GHz plus. The Japanese researchers say they now have a paint that can block the higher frequencies.

So how does this new blocking paint actually work? Well, electromagnetic (EM) waves can only be blocked when a material's magnetic field resonates at the same frequency as the wave. The New Scientist says that wave absorbers are usually made from iron-rich oxides, but higher-frequency transmissions outstrip the power of iron to absorb electromagnetic waves. This is because the standard oxide coating has a maximum resonance frequency that is outstripped at 48GHz.

But Shin-ichi Ohkoshi's team at the University of Tokyo in Japan has now identified a new aluminium-iron oxide able to block waves with a frequency almost four times higher. They used a sensitive magnetometer (a scientific instrument used to measure the strength and/or direction of a magnetic field) to confirm that a powder of the new oxide can absorb EM waves of up to 182GHz at room temperature.

According to the researchers, the composition of the new material somehow distorts the bonds between iron and oxygen from their usual shape, which they believe explains the material's magnetic properties. They feel that further study, would lead to identifying new metal oxides that can absorb EM waves at even higher frequencies.

And it seems that the cost of this paint will not stretch IT budgets, as aluminium and iron are abundant materials and therefore the paint will be cheap to make.

"We collaborated with DOWA Electronics, a Japanese industrial company [to make a 100-kilogram sample order]," Ohkoshi is reported as saying. "The manufacturing cost is very cheap, around £10 ($14) per kg."

Security Tools: Logitech Video Camera Security System

First Look Review

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tech Review: Dell Latitude E6400

This is a great business laptop for field techs. Between the backlite keyboard, built in microphone and optional built in camera is a great machine.


Tech Review: TOSHIBA Satellite A305-S6837

This is an excellent laptop especially for those of you who like doing some gaming with your laptop.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tech Review: SUN O/S

Solaris is a Unix-based operating system introduced by Sun Microsystems in 1992 as the successor to SunOS.



Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tech info: Obama Blackberry

this is interesting information


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Business and Security Tips: Wireless Security Cameras

Chris Prillo is answering the question are WiFi security cameras safe for home use?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Business and Tech Tips: Tips and Tricks for Your BlackBerry Device

Blackberrys are very popular devices especially for small business owners, corporations and none profits. Theri ability to stroe contacts, sent emails, and generally assist in a person organizing their life is an invaluable benefit. 

This post is inteded to provide some insight and suggestions on ways to make better use of your device.






Business and Tech Tips: Using Your BlackBerry as a Modem for Your Mac

MAC computers are making a come back so figured should also cover how to use blackberry as modem on MAC computers.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Business and Tech Tips: Get Connected - How To - Tethering

This video discusses how to use your phone, PDA or Blackberry as a modem. This is a potential cost savings that will allow you to use your phone instead of having a separate cellular modem.

Most domestic US company's have the ability for their WAP enabled phones to act as modems for your PC or laptop. Being with Sprint here is their link -
sprint connection manager

If you are interested contact your provider - some provide this service free of charge and others as a bundle so make sure to check what additional rates (if any) apply as well as data limits (if any).


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Advice for Parents: 5 Legal Documents You Need - Alexis Neely

This is good information from my associate Ms. Alexis Neely. She is a very well versed law professional whose counsel I both admire and respect. Would strongly encourage all of you to listen to this video rather you have children or not.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Home and Small Business Security: Logitech Indoor Add-On Security Camera

Security is important whether you are a business or home owner. This system provides an inexpensive option for many to setup a system to protect your assets.

Remember there is no fool proof system but this is a solution with a good price point


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Humor: How to Piss off a Geek

This is so true. What many do not realize is that people like us when in hotels tend to go to sites or use web based applications that require more bandwidth than the average person because in some cases we are remotely controlling servers, augmenting websites or other things that earn us a living.

Chris manages the group http://geeks.pirillo.com/ of which I am a member.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Home and Small Business Security: Logitech Outdoor Add-On Security Camera

For small and home business owners who would like an inexpensive solution to security here is an option that may be of interest.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Business Lessons – a few thoughts on Security

Was at a client today that has changed their policy regarding campus access. The problem is that no strategic thought was given with regards to many aspects of the new policy as such there exists many deficiencies. Let me state this clearly and concisely – no effective comprehensive security system can be designed without a threat assessment.

 

While I will not identify the client I will address some points of importance. When you design a security system understand its purpose is to effectively protect your assets from theft and hold people accountable for their actions. 

Many people think a system of protection is an effective deterrent – not true and that is truly not what it is intended to do. Rather a comprehensive system (which included policies and procedures) is intended to create a level of protection to ensure the assets of the company (people, tools, data, etc) remain in possession of the company and that access to facility is controlled. 

This can be done as follows:

  • Performance of a comprehensive threat assesment
  • Creation of a comprehensive written security policy
  • Strategic placement of security cameras with DVR
  • Controlled access to sensitive areas
  • Controlled access to sensitive data
  • Picture IDs for employees
  • Picture IDs for vendors
  • Annual revision of policy 

Sure many people may believe they can solve a problem on their own and in some cases it is true however at a commercial level a professionally designed comprehensive solution reduces the possibility of problems due to oversight and balances the factors of cost, protection and ease of use with intended need for protection while limiting potential for abuse or penetration be internal and external threats.

Samsung demo transparent OLED screen



Thursday, January 8, 2009

Business Lessons – a few thoughts on Role Models and Protégé’s

Instead of a post please listen to the show Lets make Sense where I participated in a discussion with my friends Sean and Tshombe. The topic of this show: Role Models. 




Yes, that is really me you are hearing. Enjoy and look forward to your thoughts

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Business Lessons – a few thoughts on Employees vs Entrepreneurs

I was talking with an associate today and we were discussing company and the roles in the organization as well as organizational structure. That conversation inspired to me post this information and contrast an employee vs entrepreneur as well as a leader vs a manager.

CEO  

COO

CFO

CTO

CSO 

What many do not realize is that being a C level executive does not make you an entrepreneur. True you can be an entrepreneur who happens to be a C level executive but the majority of executives are merely well and sometimes over paid employees. 

Allow me to elaborate – Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Richard Branson, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, etc are true entrepreneurs and business owners. What makes an entrepreneur – simply stated they have an ability to see what others do not and take a vision and concept and develop it to maturity through others to some level of maturity. True entrepreneurs comprise less than 1% of society. 

Wise Geek words it like this: An entrepreneur is an individual who accepts financial risks and undertakes new financial ventures. The word derives from the French "entre" (to enter) and "prendre" (to take), and in a general sense applies to any person starting a new project or trying a new opportunity.

 

Characteristics of an entrepreneur include spontaneous creativity, the ability and willingness to make decisions in the absence of solid data, and a generally risk-taking personality. An entrepreneur may be driven by a need to create something new or build something tangible. In the Austrian school of Economics, entrepreneurs are described as being engaged in the creative destruction of existing products and services. As new enterprises have low success rates, an entrepreneur must also have considerable persistence.

 

Entrepreneurs are generally highly independent, which can cause problems when their ventures succeed. In a small company the entrepreneur is able to personally manage most aspects of the business, but this is not possible once the company has grown beyond a certain size. Management conflicts often arise when the entrepreneur does not recognize that running a large stable company is different from running a small growing company. The problem is often resolved by the entrepreneur either leaving to start a new venture, or being forced out by shareholders. At Apple Computer, for example, one founder, Steve Wozniak, left to pursue other interests, while the other, Steve Jobs was ultimately fired and replaced with a CEO from a much larger company. Note that many years later, Jobs returned to the helm

 

Here is the best way to explain in some cases. Granted the challenge of running a small company is different from running a large and Entrepreneurs tend to be idea people who love control and creating new things. Business owners tend to be leaders – people who say follow my example and sometimes to their demise I will do it myself. Employees (which many CEOs are especially those that rose through the ranks) tend to be managers. A manager is not a visionary or leader rather this is a person who relies on control instead of inspiration and truthfully strictly managing to achieve short term objectives with out vision, growth or a new product development initiative one can expect this company to soon cease to exist. 


Manager vs. Leader (Judy Parsetti - Cincinnati, OH)

 

Managers
Emphasize rationality and control; are problem-solvers (focusing on goals, resources, organization structures, or people); often ask question, "What problems have to be solved, and what are the best ways to achieve results so that people will continue to contribute to this organization?"; are persistent, tough-minded, hard working, intelligent, analytical, tolerant and have goodwill toward others.

 

Leaders
Perceived as brilliant, but sometimes lonely; achieve control of themselves before they try to control others; can visualize a purpose and generate value in work; are imaginative, passionate, non-conforming risk-takers.

 

Managers and leaders have very different attitudes toward goals.

 

Managers
Adopt impersonal, almost passive, attitudes toward goals; decide upon goals based on necessity instead of desire and are therefore deeply tied to their organization's culture; tend to be reactive since they focus on current information.

 

Leaders
Tend to be active since they envision and promote their ideas instead of reacting to current situations; shape ideas instead of responding to them; have a personal orientation toward goals; provide a vision that alters the way people think about what is desirable, possible, and necessary.

 

Managers' and leaders' conceptions of work.

 

Managers
View work as an enabling process; establish strategies and makes decisions by combining people and ideas; continually coordinate and balance opposing views; are good at reaching compromises and mediating conflicts between opposing values and perspectives; act to limit choice; tolerate practical, mundane work because of strong survival instinct which makes them risk-averse.

 

Leaders
Develop new approaches to long-standing problems and open issues to new options; first, use their vision to excite people and only then develop choices which give those images substance; focus people on shared ideals and raise their expectations; work from high-risk positions because of strong dislike of mundane work.

 

Managers and leaders have very different relations with others.

 

Managers
Prefer working with others; report that solitary activity makes them anxious; are collaborative; maintain a low level of emotional involvement in relationships; attempt to reconcile differences, seek compromises, and establish a balance of power; relate to people according to the role they play in a sequence of events or in a decision-making process; focus on how things get done; maintain controlled, rational, and equitable structures ; may be viewed by others as inscrutable, detached, and manipulative.

 

Leaders
Maintain inner perceptiveness that they can use in their relationships with others; relate to people in intuitive, empathetic way; focus on what events and decisions mean to participants; attract strong feelings of identity and difference or of love and hate; create systems where human relations may be turbulent, intense, and at times even disorganized.

 

The self-identity of managers versus leaders is strongly influenced by their past.

 

Managers
Report that their adjustments to life have been straightforward and that their lives have been more or less peaceful since birth; have a sense of self as a guide to conduct and attitude which is derived from a feeling of being at home and in harmony with their environment; see themselves as conservators and regulators of an existing order of affairs with which they personally identify and from which they gain rewards; report that their role harmonizes with their ideals of responsibility and duty; perpetuate and strengthen existing institutions; display a life development process which focuses on socialization...this socialization process prepares them to guide institutions and to maintain the existing balance of social relations.

 

Leaders
Reportedly have not had an easy time of it; lives are marked by a continual struggle to find some sense of order; do not take things for granted and are not satisfied with the status quo; report that their "sense of self" is derived from a feeling of profound separateness; may work in organizations, but they never belong to them; report that their sense of self is independent of work roles, memberships, or other social indicators of social identity; seek opportunities for change (i.e. technological, political, or ideological); support change; find their purpose is to profoundly alter human, economic, and political relationships; display a life development process which focuses on personal mastery...this process impels them to struggle for psychological and social change.

Just something to think about!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Business Lessons – a few thoughts on the state of the Economy (humor)

Due to current financial constraints the light at the end of the tunnel will be turned off until further notice!!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tech Review: Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

I got this video from a friend and thought this was too innovative not to post


Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

Here is the link to my friend who posted

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Business Lessons – a few thoughts on finding a mentor

We got this far doing what we have always done. To go further we need to do something different. It is shear insanity to do the things you have always done and expect different results. The inspiration for this post is Stephan Stavrakis who was kind enough to share the steps he used to find a mentor so he could take his business to the next level. Am not even going to tell you how much money he told me was left on the table in the last year – made me ill yet needed to know. 

Why do we need mentors or coaches – to share their knowledge such that we can apply it in creative and unique ways to our businesses by learning from their success and mistakes to grow. According to Caela Farren, Ph.D. www.masteryworks.com, Inc there are eight types of mentors

  1. Profession or Trade Mentor - This person will help you stay current on the important changes in your profession as well as react to your ideas about the new practices and competencies you need to master
  2. Industry Mentor – This person will help you Understand the trends, competitors, challenges and needed breakthroughs
  3. Organization Mentor – This person will help you clarify mission and strategies
  4. Customer Mentor – This person will help you get you up to speed on the various customers you serve
  5. Work Process Mentor – This person will help you understand the "ins and outs" of project management
  6. Technology Mentor – This person will help you understand and explore new technology
  7. Work/Life Integration Mentor – This person will help you negotiate life needs with work priorities
  8. Career Development Mentor – This person spots you, takes you under his/her wing, gives you coaching and advice, both personally and professionally 

So what steps do you use to find a mentor – according to Stephan Stavrakis he used seven steps: 

  1. I did alot of research on several "Coaches" and looked for walkers NOT just good talkers..
  2. Then I looked at Walkers - I needed to find someone that had experienced what I was experiencing
  3. I interviewed 20 of them until I found the one that overcame my current experienced and could prove it.
  4. Made sure he/she was a bigger visionary than me in terms of my business
  5. Then listened to their logic and their growth plans. Compared it to common sense
  6. Then made sure the person wasn't a YESMAN/WOMAN and really told me exactly what i had to hear.. Not being afraid to lose my business
  7. Ultimately, I chose the person I liked and they liked me because we had similar values.. Does that help? 

Suggest when you get a chance check out Stephan and following him on twitter or check out his site getting things done now.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Business Lessons – a few thoughts on Education

Regardless of the type of business you are in some form of education is required. Some of it may be as an apprentice on the job and others a more formal education like a certification or a degree. The goal of any education is to import the skills required to perform in a particular profession – typically it involves indoctrination in a certain way of thinking or being an engineer I can attest to the fact the curriculum is designed to reinforce a person’s ability to see and think spatially, notice patterns, learn their associated names, and approach to problem solving logically, methodically and systematically. Each course of study does something similar though the application of the knowledge is different. In the case of apprentice the master imparts his/her skills at the practical application of their skill set like in the case of a bricklayer, dry waller (rough or finish), pipe fitter, welder, etc. 

An important part of education is continuing education. In most professions a certain amount of continuing education is required in order to stay abreast with new trends and best practices. In this case sometimes a certain number of hours is required to each year to allow the practicing professional to stay relevant. Take the field of inspection for example – each year new codes are developed and old ones revised and it is important for the inspector to be able to know what information is applicable in the performance of their job. This is also true in running a business, more effective strategies and best practices occur and it is important to stay abreast of them. 

Many business schools offer executive education courses. Having attended Tuck at Dartmouth College I have a personal bias and affinity towards this school and its coursework. The practicum taught is challenging – imagine the first year of am MBA taught a week by some of the leading minds in the country. In addition imagine a fresh set of eyes objective eyes whose agenda is to see you grow and succeed walking you through creative methodologies to make your business profitable, to understand money management and marketing as well as to evaluate your business on a micro and micro level and provide you with pointers on your strengths and weaknesses.  These types of courses offer you a chance to be professionally introspective and then apply that knowledge. Additionally these courses allow you an opportunity to interact and network with the country’s best and brightest current and future upcoming business owners to look for chances to augment their efforts through teaming, joint ventures and referrals. 

In this challenging business environment education is even more important. Another less salient benefit of education is it shows those around you that you are open minded and willing to learn more and new ways of doing things and that you are willing to delay instant short term gratification in the pursuit of a long term goal or objective. 

As a business here are some courses you may want to consider:

  • Focusing your strategy on High Performance
  • Balance statements, Income Statements and Cash Flows
  • Financial Analysis
  • Customer Orientation and Service
  • Designing and implementing a Marketing Strategy
  • Financing
  • Strategic Thinking in the changing market demographics
  • Decision Making
  • Operations Strategy
  • Strategic Alliances
  • Case studies 

Would like to offer this reading material for your benefit:

As a business owner I strongly encourage you to look for new and creative ways to always learn, grow and continue your personal, business and professional development through education even if it is just spending a little while each day reading and researching on the internet.

Business Lessons – a few thoughts on Goals

I hope you enjoyed. With the advent of a New Year thought I would talk about goals because so often people make new years resolutions. Yet for business goals are important. According to Wikipedia a New Year's resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous while a goal or objective consists of a projected state of affairs which a person or a system plans or intends to achieve or bring about — a personal or organizational desired end-point in some sort of assumed development. 

The last post completed my series of expanding on the points contained in the post Business Lessons - A few thoughts on making quality decisions.

  • Reliability
  • Quality/Integrity
  • Durability
  • Predictability
  • Consistency
  • Price
  • Warranty
  • Customer Service
  • References/Reviews 

As a business it is important that you make strategic (not emotional) decisions, plan term and balance short term objectives. Let’s dig in a little deeper – for a goal to be effective it must be reasonable and as much as possible take into account the TCO (Total cost of operation/ownership). Let me use two examples to break this down. 

  • You want to buy a car for an employee or technician. This car costs $300/mo – that is all you need to consider right? No, Insurance (required level of gas, maintenance (oil, tire, wash, etc)
  • You want to hire a new employee – their salary is $20/hr – done right. What is I told you their real cost is somewhere between $40 and $50/hr plus insurance and other miscellanies expenses including but not limited to training, tools, unemployment, health insurance, G/L insurance and the list goes on) 

In both of these examples you must also take current revenues and expenses into account when making a decision. In any decision it is important to make sure that your expenses never out strip your revenues least you end up in a financial deficit and are required to pull funds from other sources to cover the expenses. Doing this could mean none payment of some other current liabilities or possibly the termination of existing employees (see outfall of financial meltdown). 

So how do you plan for effective goals, ironically the first thing needed is introspection. You must know yourself and your priorities, strengths, weaknesses, abilities, etc which requires frank, honest and often harsh introspection. Nest you must be realistic and consistent with your goals and values. Why must your goals be consistent with your values, because if they are not you will never follow through with them.   

Once you have set your goals then the hard work starts, you must look at all of your actions personally and professionally to determine if they are moving you closer to or further away from your objectives. If they are moving you further away they should be eliminated and if they are moving you closer they should be enhanced. 

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