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being your tech support

Spending all your time doing tech support for your own work environment

This one has inflicted me a lot in the past. Since I found the solution I am no longer troubled by it. I have classified various versions of this:

Techsupportis geekae

Geeks like me are natural tinkerers. With Linux and Windows we are constantly tempted to install the latest version of software, drivers, kernels etc. (This is also known as emergitis with Gentoo fanatics).

The trouble is that it is very easy to get tempted down this path and all to often things go wrong. I have in the past lost many days of bootstrap time doing this.

My solution in the end was to buy a Powerbook. It is hard for me to bring the mac down. I’m sure if given enough free time I can do it, but I feel like I can just focus on my work. If you are a diehard linux guy Ubuntu has many of the same “It just works” features that OSX has.

Techsupportis Virii Windus

I have heard so much about how windows users spend so much time repairing damage from virus and spyware attacks.

Save your self a lot of energy and do one of the following:

  • If you are a windows techie, lock the machine down once and for all
  • If you are a geek linux or mac
  • If you are neither of the above, just get a Mac. They aren’t as expensive as they used to be.


If you are a writer, write!. If you are a programmer, code! Do what you need to do and dont get distracted by all the technical noise that surrounds us all.


your online reputation

Today’s consumer is smarter than yesterday’s consumer, and with the technology available to make educated purchasing decisions efficiently and quickly, Web-savvy buyers are making the most of the tools they have at their disposal. Online reviews are permeating the Web in all shapes and sizes, from reviews of a local pizza shop to posted commentary on a new piece of software. Consumer-generated content is the new word-of-mouth advertising Learn how you can enhance your email marketing program today. Free Trial - Click Here., and its increase in popularity is attributable to the simplicity with which reviews can be posted on virtually anything.

In today’s connected world, business hours don’t exist, and consumers seem to have less free time. Maximizing the time they do have is important, and more consumers are looking to the Web to find that trusted merchant for that item or service.

However, risks can be associated with this new dynamic in purchasing behavior for the consumer and the merchant. For merchants, when a qualified consumer is looking for the best and most trusted vendor of a particular product, reviews can be skewed. The very nature of consumer-generated content on the Web suggests that in some circumstances, unknowing merchants are at an enormous disadvantage.

For consumers, non-authentic reviews can be misleading. Consumers can be swayed by an overwhelmingly positive review and select a merchant based on that alone, potentially overlooking a trusted, reputable merchant.

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Managing Purchases and Reputation

While educated consumers often are cautious about where and how they make purchases online, most consumers simply don’t know which merchants are the most trustworthy. This can represent an incredibly dangerous situation, where the consumer can put him or herself at risk for shady merchants to take orders without the intent to fill them. Additionally, there are untrustworthy merchants who set up shop specifically to steal from novice consumers who freely offer their personal and credit card information, thinking they are making a simple purchase. Much of today’s cybercrime is directly attributable to the uninformed consumer.

However, an informed and experienced online consumer knows where and when to make purchases on the Web. Experience can mean everything from regularly making purchases on a certain site to paying bills online regularly. It’s important for consumers to know where and when to provide personal information while making any purchase online, and consumers can make those determinations through online reviews. Consumers who post online reviews are often helping other consumers find reputable merchants.

For merchants, understanding today’s consumer means knowing consumer behavior and knowing where consumer-generated content is posted, relevant to their business. Smart merchants know that it’s essential to comprehend the increasing number of sites that feature reviews and the power they have within the business community. When reputable merchants are actively involved in the world of online reviews, they are typically much more successful than those who aren’t paying attention. Those who are paying attention most likely will have embarked on a reputation management program, where they are proactively managing reviews with their customers.

The world of reviews can impact merchants in any number of ways. Any person — a competitor, a highly emotional (and perhaps irrational) customer, or even someone who has never done business with the merchant — can post a review, whether it’s authentic or completely inaccurate, and this can sink a small business HP LaserJet M3035 MFP series -  Starting at $1,599. Save up to $500. Click Here.. Conversely, a merchant who understands the value of consumer-generated content and decides to take proactive measures through an effective reputation management program can manage content.

This is perhaps the easiest way for the merchant to not only have a say in what’s being posted online but also attempt to resolve any real gripes that might be posted elsewhere. Effective reputation management platforms typically consist of an easy and automated way to collect, manage and promote authentic customer reviews on their sites.

Best Practices for Managing Your Online Reputation

Today’s Web-savvy consumers are looking for a few key features before they buy online that merchants should employ, such as the following:

  • Site Security and PrivacyThe Web can be an enormous maze to navigate for online purchasers. Security typically plays a major role in consumer and merchant confidence. In fact, a recent Pew Internet & American Life Project study reported that 75 percent of participants do not like sending personal or credit card information over the Internet. Despite this fear, almost 70 percent of the respondents feel that shopping online saves time, and almost 80 percent feel it is convenient, the report also states.Secure sites should have trust seals like VeriSign (Nasdaq: VRSN) Latest News about VeriSign, or McAfee Latest News about McAfee, which ensure that a Web site is safe and that a consumer’s personal information will be protected. It’s not just the seal or the logo that represents this level of trust; it’s the authentication or validation technology behind it. Only a handful of companies can truly secure an online transaction or verify that a Web site employs safe practices.
  • Customer Reviews and FeedbackConsumers look for online reviews and feedback of businesses. They share experiences and opinions about businesses across the Web, and more than 80 percent of those who read reviews said that their purchasing decisions have been directly influenced by those reviews, according to Deloitte & Touche.Consumer-generated reviews, especially if authenticated (i.e. via e-mail or other authentication techniques) and validated by a third party, are a powerful tool and can provide valuable insight into a merchant or product. Consumers look for online reviews and ratings about brick-and-mortar businesses, as well.

    On the flip side, always highlight to visitors that you’re open to customer feedback, by making it easy for consumers to actually give you feedback, and by being proactive by asking for it at every relevant opportunity — for example on checkout pages, outbound e-mails and other customer communications.

  • Policies and Contact InformationThere’s nothing worse than being promised a gift to arrive by a certain date and then not getting it in time or simply not getting the product ordered. Shoppers can determine the quality of a business by the way it handles any customer complaints or disputes.A reputable business should display contact information clearly, including a physical address and phone number; have strong return and refund policies; and provide a mechanism to collect feedback and resolve any disputes that may arise. Additionally, bonded merchants guarantee purchases with a bond from a trusted third party.

Consumers don’t always arrive at a retailer’s site directly or with previous knowledge of the site. By providing security Free Trial. Security Software As A Service From Webroot. information, online reviews and displaying clear policies, consumers will have a better handle on the business itself, feel more confident, and can make more informed shopping decisions.


Dear cbbell,

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Docstoc Sync is a simple downloadable application that automatically syncs documents from your computer to Docstoc MyDocs. Automatically upload documents from any folder on your computer and keep them sync’d with Docstoc MyDocs.

With Docstoc Sync you get:

• Automatically sync your My Documents folder with Docstoc
• Keep all your desktop documents updated on Docstoc
• Easiest way to publish with drag and drop desktop folder

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hit me later emails

Managing your email through a follow-up system (like our own Trusted Trio) is the best way to stem the endless tide, but sometimes you might not trust yourself to get back to something on time. HitMeLater, a free email service, will re-send any emails you forward to it, based on when you said to send it. So when mom emails to ask you for an answer Friday on the gift you’re getting your sister, forward it to friday@hitmelater.com, and it appears at the top of your inbox Friday. The author says the site’s “secure” and “spamless,” but I don’t see a visible privacy policy. It shouldn’t be a primary mail manager, but HitMeLater could be handy when you’re checking mobile email or need double-assurance that you’ll follow up on a message. No registration required.

decrease spam

Free email protection service akapost isn’t the only way to hide your email from spam bots and unknown correspondents, but it is one of the most hassle-free ways of doing it, for both mailer and respondent. Once you set up your account with akapost, you can use it as a simple redirection tool by posting it in forums or on your website (and then using the right filter for mail coming through it), or by writing directly to people you don’t quite trust with your address yet. Add .akapost.com to a message sent directly from your protected, registered address, and your recipient just sees your akapost address, while any replies still come to you. akapost protects one email address for free, while charging for additional or group addresses.

use your itunes for more than just tunes

by Lifehacker

You’re not going to spend another tax season scrounging around for receipts and digging through your filing cabinet for the remains of dead trees, wondering if you’re claiming everything you should. No siree! Next year, all your tax documents – heck, all your important paperwork – will be converted to PDF files and organized into search-based folders. Your receipts, ebooks, scanned newspaper articles, tax forms, gadget manuals and client contracts will be available at your fingertips whether or not you’re by your filing cabinet.

And you can organize them using iTunes.


Yes, I know iTunes isn’t a document organizer, but it does a surprisingly good job at it anyway. Using iTunes’ Smart Playlists and its PDF support, you can build a document library where PDF’s are automatically sorted into keyword-based lists. Let’s get started.

What you’ll need to digitize your documents as PDF’s

  1. A scanner. Document scanners are small, sleek and super cheap these days – some as low as 50 bucks – so pick one up to digitize dead tree material like newspapers, magazines, or paper receipts. Your scanner software will most likely provide an option to output the scan to a PDF document. If you’re going to digitize stacks of paper at once, you’ll want one equipped an auto sheet feeder. (Hardware’s not my forte, and the model you get depends on your needs and budget – but this thread has some recommendations from your fellow readers.)
  2. A print-to-PDF program. Windows users should download the free CutePDF writer for the ability to print office documents, email messages, images and web pages to a PDF file. (Seriously, CutePDF is a must-have.) Mac users, printing to PDF is all built into to OS X, so you don’t need to do a thing, except choose PDF from the print dialog.

Create a separate iTunes library for your documents

Strange bedfellows, your 1099’s and those Beck MP3’s, so you’ll want to create a whole new “all business” iTunes library for your PDF’s. To do so, hold down the Shift key when you launch iTunes (Option for Mac users), and hit the Create Library button from this dialog:

Give your document library a serious name – like “PDFDocuments.”

Once you’ve got a new library set up, you can drag and drop PDF’s onto it to add them. But before you do, a couple of tips for dealing with PDF’s in iTunes:

  • By default, when you add PDF’s to your iTunes library, iTunes copies them into the folder where it keeps its data, leaving you with two copies of the document on your hard drive. It also creates artist and album subfolders, which don’t apply to your PDF’s (they’ll all be “Unknown Artist” and “Unknown Album.”) To keep your PDF where you originally stored it, in the iTunes Preferences pane, the Advanced tab, uncheck “Copy files to iTunes Music Folder when adding to library” and “Keep iTunes Music folder organized.”
  • Remove all the music-specific fields from the default listing, like Artist, Album, and Last Played by right-clicking on the column header and unchecking them:

Develop your tag vocabulary and create Smart Playlists

Once you’ve added a few PDF’s to your iTunes library, you want to organize them into virtual folders – actual playlists. The advantage playlists have over folders is that one document can live in more than one playlist – so that 1099 form from 2006 can live in the taxes list, the 2006 list, the income list, and the 1099 list.

You could manually create playlists and drag and drop your PDF’s into them. Even better, you can use Smart Playlists that dynamically populate based on keywords. For example, I renamed the PHP Manual PDF “PHP Manual (ebook code)” then created a Smart Playlist for ebooks, all PDF’s where name contains the word “ebook”:

But I’ve also got a “Code reference” Smart Playlist that matches all the PDF’s with “code” in the name, and the PHP Manual is listed there, too.

Like all tagging systems, you’ll have to develop a vocabulary that works for you and stick to it to make sure all your PDF’s appear in the Smart Playlists they should. For example, for tax documents, I name them by year, purpose (income/deduction), and form number (1099, 1098, etc.) So it’s easy to see all of 2006’s 1099’s, or all my income documents overall.

Add your playlists to folders

itunesplaylistfolder.pngYou can also group like sets of playlists into a folder. For example, my tax document playlists are all in a folder called “Taxes.” If I click on the Taxes folder, I can see all the PDF’s contained within the playlists in the Taxes folder. Convenient.

If you want, you can use any of iTunes’ music metadata fields, like Artist, Album, Genre and year to slice and dice your PDF’s, but to me that’s taking the “shoving a square PDF file into a circular music file slot” too far. I stuck to adding keywords to the name of the document only. That way, if someday I want to use another program and all my PDF’s have keywords in their title, they’ll still be easily searchable. (Also, Spotlight, Vista’s Saved Search folders and Google Desktop will all find PDF’s with keywords in their title – but not other iTunes metadata fields.)

“But PDF’s aren’t music files”: Why – and why not – iTunes

My three requirements for choosing a PDF organizer were: that it’s free, cross-platform (at least Mac and Windows), and that it supports tagging (so that one PDF could be “filed” under several “folders.”) iTunes fit the bill on all these counts.

However, there are serious drawbacks to using iTunes this way. There is no in-iTunes PDF viewing or previewing – no PDF reader at all, in fact. You’ll need to use Adobe Reader, FoxIt or Mac’s Preview to actually open the documents. Lastly, iTunes cannot search the contents of a PDF, which also hurts me deeply. (However, Google Desktop Search and Spotlight can.)

If these drawbacks are a no-go for you, there are alternatives. Mac users married to the O, S and X should check out the free Update: $34 Yep. Windows users who are willing to spend some cash, Rick recommends PaperPort (which goes for about $200 if you didn’t get it with your scanner.) As far as I know, PaperPort does not support tagging. A similar application to PaperPort is previously-mentioned, free DocsVault.

wake up your email communication?

Webapp Resnooze sends timed email reminders to yourself and friends and gives you the option to “hit the snooze button” on the reminder to get it again later. Select either a text message or a URL for Resnooze to email you and the frequency—daily, weekly or monthly. Delete or repeat the reminder using a link in the incoming email—good for “read it later” bookmarks, tasks due at a later date, or email messages you want to follow up on in a week.