Archive for August, 2004

Outlook search software PLUS how to find wifi hotspots

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

I get this nice technology newsletter by a guy named Jordan Ayan, and today it gave me TWO cool hints. One’s for a new add-on to Outlook that allows fast, deep, and easy searches (they’re ahead of Google’s gmail after all!). Get Lookout search software for Outlook.

The other is so interesting and seems so helpful that I’m going to paste the whole thing in here.

HOW TO FIND WIFI HOTSPOTS

Wireless access points – places where you can obtain wireless access to the Internet – are popping up just about everywhere today. But how you locate wireless (“Wi-Fi”) “hot spots”? One practical solution is to search a directory of wireless access points on the Web before you head out with your wireless laptop or handheld computer. Here are some of the most popular wireless directories: Wi-FiHotSpotList http://www.wi-fihotspotlist.com/

: This comprehensive directory lists thousands of wireless access points worldwide, and can display their locations on a MapQuest map. WiFi411.com ( http://www.wifi411.com/

: This directory lists over 22,000 free and commercial Wi-Fi hotspots around the world, and also includes a guide that contains information about the basics of wireless Internet access, tips for setting up a wireless network in your home, and steps on how to connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot. Intel ( http://intel.jiwire.com/ )

: This large directory, operated by this well-known computer chip manufacturer, offers numerous search criteria, and also lets you browse hotspots by city name and country. Intel also provides Wi-Fi troubleshooting tips, and detailed information on each of the major commercial Wi-Fi (fee-based) services. Wi-Fi-FreeSpot.com ( http://app.subscribermail.com/cc.cfm?sendto=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ewififreespot%2Ecom&tempid=63595C5855&mailid=barbara%40reallygoodfreelancewriter%2Ecom )

: This directory is focused exclusively on free, public Wi-Fi hotspots. Unlike the others, which
are designed to support various types of keyword searches, Wi-Fi-FreeSpot.com is more suited to browsing. This site also contains a related directory that lists hotel chains that offer free wireless access – useful if you travel a lot.

Excerpted from Jordan Ayan’s Executive Technology Briefing -subscriptions are
available at no charge by visiting Create-It.

Nice job, Jordan.

What's in an attitude?

Thursday, August 26th, 2004

Well, the question arose in a meeting the other day–what does it matter if your employees understand your brand? It stimulated my thoughts on that subject–I’m a great believer in selling the brand to employees as much as you do to your prospects and customers.

The benefits to be gained include potentially greater productivity, but the biggest thing I think you gain is the positive attitudes people tend to adopt when they feel a part of something more important than just their little piece of it.

So this month’s newsletter tells a story on this topic. If you don’t subscribe, you can find it at “Should you care if your employees care about your brand”

If you like what you read, you can get more each month by subscribing to GetMoreCustomers marketing tips newsletter.

Sun–another forward-looking tech company invites employees to blog

Monday, August 23rd, 2004

Sun even gives its employee bloggers an official site from which to practice this powerful craft. On the site they have little “click here” icons to the WC3.org code validator for CSS and XHTML. And they even give the hit stats right there on the home page. Neat.

One blogger writes about how he set up his wireless node deliberately so that people all around his house could access it–and how all his neighbors are able to keep working on their laptops duirng the frequent power outages in his little neck of Canada, just north of the Bay area.

As this phenomenon grows, we are all going to have to watch that we don’t spend too much time on the blogging trail…

Heavens, what if some people just stopped working altogether (since jobs are disappearing so fast anyway) and started bartering and helping each other without exchanging money…

RANKING 97 – I know that usually most employees at small to midsize businesses wear multiple hats, so it may feel scary to think of giving them time to do something like blogging. But your customers are going to love it–and you’re going to find it pays off in greater loyalty and more referrals–which is after all the best way to get new customers. There’s no time like the present to get started.

If you need help, put your list of questions together and give us a call at 440.646.0041. $97 for a half hour phone conference. $27 for the answer to a single question by email.

It's official — the media and blogging are at war

Sunday, August 22nd, 2004

Is this funny or what? The Olympic Games Committee has officially banned athletes or any members of their crew from blogging about the Games.

“To protect lucrative broadcast contracts, athletes and other participants are also prohibited from posting any video, audio or still photos they take themselves, even after the games, unless they get permission ahead of time. (Photos taken by accredited journalists are allowed on the personal sites.)”

I can hardly think of a more powerful testament to the power of blogging. Money talks, folks. The voices of the people must be silenced if they threaten the status quo of how money is made. I now give Microsoft even more credit for encouraging its employees to blog; but then, they’re so often ahead of other organizations on these kinds ofissues. The Olympic Committee will eventually catch on that it doesn’t have to be either/or. Blogging, as a method of gaining publicity, complements the media beautifully.

They’re threatening to pull credentials from athletes who blog and impose sanctions as well as seek monetary damages. Geez. Are you watching the Games? You’re not an athlete, so you got nothin’ to lose. Go ahead and blog your heart out.

Science helps business in extremely practical ways

Thursday, August 19th, 2004

A technique for reading DNA has now been applied to reading and isolating spam emails.This is a sign of things to come.

“Instead of chains of characters representing DNA sequences, the research group fed the algorithm 65,000 examples of known spam. Each email was treated as a long, DNA-like chain of characters. Teiresias identified six million recurring patterns in this collection, such as ‘Viagra.’

“Each pattern represented a common sequence of letters and numbers that had appeared in more than one unsolicited message. The researchers then ran a collection of known non-spam (dubbed “ham”) through the same process, and removed the patterns that occurred in both groups.”

Rate of error–deleting a genuine email–was 1 in 6000. How much time do you waste deleting emails? Is it worth that risk?

Anyway, I have long noticed that patterns exist everywhere we look. Here’s another illustration of a technique from one discipline having direct transferrability to another. This is a jog-your-thinking discovery if ever there was one.

Imagining the possibilities…

Wednesday, August 18th, 2004

A colleague sent me this item this morning. Scientists can use your skin to transmit key data–and unlock your car door. “A credit-card-sized system should run for up to three years without a change of battery and could cost only a few dollars to make…a number of car manufacturers in Europe and the US are testing the technology.”

This technology promises great things. I can envision the day when those with disabilities will be able to benefit tremendously from this improvement in performing remote activities.

It’s almost like being able to transmit your thoughts–except of course the program (of what you want to do) has to be already written by a software engineer.

Let’s say you’re paralyzed or just simply a very frail elderly person and you need to perform some physical task–like get something down from a shelf you can’t reach. Hmmmm. Maybe you could guide your personal robot–without having to use your hands–by transmitting simple directions such as up, down, left, right, clasp, unclasp, etc. .

Did you know that Microsoft holds a patent on using the human body as a two-way data network? Man, those guys think of everything.

Best-selling book of business mentors' advice available now

Tuesday, August 17th, 2004

I am very proud to announce that the book I’ve co-authored with business gurus Brian Tracy (famous for several decades for his sales and business wisdom), Mark Victor Hansen (the genius behind the Chicken Soup for the Soul series), Robert G. Allen (a renowned financial whiz) and others has arrived on the market. It’s called “Create the Business Breakthrough You Want: Secrets and Strategies from the World’s Greatest Mentors.” It’s endorsed by business giants Ken Blanchard (of One-Minute Manager fame) and Dr. Stephen Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) and I’m delighted to say it’s already on the best seller list.

Every book is a labor of love. Every book is an overcoming of obstacles. This book is no different–except there was a team of highly committed people working on it instead of a few lonely souls. I am very pleased to offer you this opportunity to share in the wisdom of many great business minds in a single book.

RANKING 99 – You–owner or executive in a small or midsize business–THIS BOOK IS DEFINITELY FOR YOU. Many of the authors of this book began as entrepeneurs–with the same passion and dedication that you have. You will see yourself in these pages; you will learn new ways of looking at challenges. You’ll feel a sense of support and caring. You’ll find out tricks for traveling from struggling entrepreneur to successful CEO. You’ll be inspired. Do yourself a favor and read it.

Investment industry fighting animal-rights extremists in England

Sunday, August 15th, 2004

This entry is a duplicate of the one I just made in BioMedNews–because it applies equally well to bioscience and to business.

England is a land of extreme animal lovers. Now it appears some of them are taking extreme measures to stop animal experimentation–they’re hitting companies where the money is. “Anti-vivisectionists have extended their campaign to cover shareholders and firms that do business with companies that conduct animal experimentation.” Leaving aside the moral rectitude of threatening, bullying and intimidating as a tactic, these extremists have found a powerful way to force compliance to their demands by targeting the money behind big pharmaceutical and bioscience companies like Glaxo SmithKline. So now business people have to learn to deal with terrorists, just as governments are doing.

While I can applaud the fact that some little guys are going to force a huge corporate giant to do something, the technique is off base. Terrorism and vigilantism are just that, no matter who is doing them and for what cause.

Blogging gets ever easier

Thursday, August 12th, 2004

Those of you who’ve been using the Google Toolbar for a while already know. I knew that Blogger simply HAD to get better because Google had bought it, but it was sure slow in coming. And now it’s getting better all the time.

Once you download the toolbar and install it (very quick and easy process) you have some unusual and delightful capabilities that you didn’t have before. #1 is that you can use it to search for a URL without typing all the folderol (http, www, etc.) and you’ll probably get links to what you’re looking for. If you tried that in the address box, you’d usually just get “page not found” or “we have no idea what you’re talking about” or some such unhelpful
message. #2 is the ability to click a button and have all of your personal information (name, address, email, phone, etc.) automatically inserted into a form. I love that one–can save you some time and annoyance.

But my very favorite function is “Blog This!” Let me tell you about this cool feature. When you’re wandering around the web, searching for whatever, you might often run into something that you think is worthy of an entry in your blog. The normal procedure is to either bookmark the site and pray you’ll remember to go back to it when you have time, or open another browser window to open your blog (normally several steps in itself), then switch between windows (reading and perhaps copying text), then publish the entry (a couple of steps and some scrolling usually involved there), then close the other window.

NOW, with “BlogThis!” when you stumble on something worth blogging, you select some text and click the icon in your Google Toolbar. Up pops a window with a blog entry screen already populated with the headline from that story and the beginning of an entry that contains your highlighted text PLUS the already formatted HTML hotlink to that page. You take it from there and click Publish (no scrolling required) and you’re done.

It’s elegant. It’s simple. It saves tons of time. I’m thinking this cool functionality may be why it took Blogger such a long time to implement some improvements–they wanted ‘em to be spectacular.

If you haven’t tried it (I’m using it now), go for it.

Oh, and of course, all you Small to Mid-Size Business owners and execs simply must realize that fate is drawing you ever closer to blogging. Stop fighting it. Get the Google toolbar and be done with it–in a very efficient manner. ” ))

Personal Records to Go – medical and otherwise

Wednesday, August 11th, 2004

The Nebraska Medical Center hands out CDs containing their complete medical records–including current medications–to patients who travel or move away or whatever.

What a cool idea. Anybody else doing this? What about colleges and universities? How many hours did I waste tracking all my transcripts every time I went to another school (total I think 6 or 8 by the time I finished moving around and got my degree)? What a waste of time and energy.

Vaccinations from when you’re a little kid? When you’re traveling in certain countries? Know how they have those little ID tags for “I’m allergic to…” or “I have lens implants…” Now, with technology the way it is, we can produce tiny little CDs that contain thousands of kilobytes of data–you can put them in your wallet or wear them on your body somewhere. For data that doesn’t change, you could have the thing certified once and for all (Adobe Acrobat now has electronic certification capabilities) and never again have to haul out the paperwork. I remember the big brouhaha when electronic signatures came out–were the lawyers/courts going to accept them.

Heck, you can charge 10 grand over the phone and never have a signature these days. Ain’t it funny how our societal opinions change?