Archive for: November 2008

November 17, 2008

Web Hosting and Email

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 2:10 pm

I often help clients set up web hosting accounts.  I agree with the philosophy that you should have three different vendors for each of the following.

  • Domain Registration
  • Web Host
  • Web Master

I find all too often, having one vendor for all means one point of failure if a company goes out of business.

Web hosting companies often are most concerned about the typical web hosting stuff:

  • Size of storage and transfer
  • Availability of options like PHP and MySQL
  • Pricing

But I find that the thing clients are most concerned about is email.  Email is essential to most companies, and it is the email issues that are paramount.

  • What sort of Spam Filter does the web host provide? How effective is it?  Where is the spam email stored?
  • What web mail services are available, and how easy are they to access.
  • How easy is it to set up Outlook or Outlook express for an email account.

In many cases, email is a part of the myriad choices in the control panel, there are multiple spam filters available, and multiple web mail services.

I would encourage web hosts to have a special email button that is designed for clients with just a few options with suggested defaults for spam filters and web mail services.  It might be the only time that the client accesses the control panel.

November 13, 2008

“Ask Me” Blog

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 9:23 pm

An “Ask Me” blog can create content, generate more traffic, and help build business.

“Ask Me” blogs are based on Question and Answer.

  • Questions are received in an email.
  • The Question and the Answer comprise a blog post
  • Blog post comments can generate new questions.
  • Typical plugins are site maps or search to find topics of interest.

November 7, 2008

Google Local

Filed under: Internet,Technology — Les Bain @ 12:29 pm

Google Local is a service to help people find local businesses.  I recommend everyone go to Google Local – maps. google.com and search for their own business.

  • Search by your business name
  • Search by your business function

Then try and find your business in the neighboring towns or cities if they are close.  Are you satisfied with the results? If not,

Find Add or edit your business and follow the directions to add your business.  Some suggestions.

  • Add a picture of your logo to make your business stand out in the results
  • If there are nearby cities, add them to your website so you are found in neighboring cities
  • Consider adding the county to your website if you have the kind of business people search for my county.

November 6, 2008

Networking

Filed under: Marketing — Les Bain @ 7:05 pm

I am a member of the East Bay Business Leaders network group.  It has some of the traditional goals of a networking group – to get referrals and build your business.

The group is more informal than most groups.  The meetings are relaxed and fluid.

The group focuses on building relationships.  We are encouraged to meet one-on-one with each of the other members of the group.  The process builds richer relationships than most networking groups.

The group is committed to helping the community.  We use all the membership fees to provide scholarships to high school seniors in the area.

I like the group, and I am committed to growing the group.

November 5, 2008

Barack Obama

Filed under: Podcasts — Les Bain @ 6:06 pm

I am so pleased that Barack Obama is going to be the next President of the United States, but I do not envy him the job.

The headline of The Onion was Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job and unfortunately I think there is some truth to that.  It is going to be very difficult.

I believe Barack Obama is going to have to say many times that this is a long road, and things will not be fixed overnight.

The Republicans are not lining up to support President Elect Obama, but are meeting to decide how to get power back.  It will be difficult.

After 21 months of strenuous campaigning, Barack Obama got up this morning to go to work getting ready to be President.

I wish him well.  For all of us.

November 4, 2008

Election Day

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 3:02 pm

Today my daughter was able to vote in a Presidential Election for the first time.  She was excited, she stayed up all night, and she wanted to vote first thing in the morning.

I set my alarm and got up early so we could go and vote together.  We walked to the polling place.  There were no lines. The day was beautiful.

We both had our sample ballots, and we both voted.  Her enthusiasm was infectious.

We went out to breakfast together and talked about democracy and politics.  It was a magical time.

She had been very active.

  • Writing online about the candidates, issues and propositions.
  • Providing information online on how to protect against voter issues.
  • Providing information in forums on the neutral sites to research issues.

She is an ardent Senator Obama supporter.

Tonight we will watch the returns together and celebrate if Barack Obama is elected President.

November 3, 2008

Vote NO on Proposition 8

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 7:04 pm

I did not realize my Adsense was showing an ad that I do not support.
I have stopped the ad, but just to be sure, here is my position.

California

Vote NO on Proposition 8

Equal Rights for All

Free Software

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 6:52 pm

I mentioned the other day that I do not like to buy software.  The assumption is always that I find software illegally, but there are many ways to find free software.  This is a review of some ways I find free software.

Open Source Software.

Software that is maintained by a community of developers that is free to use.  The foundation LAMP software of the Internet – Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP is open source and free.  Other products I use for web based systems are all free.  Two examples:

  • Phorm for form processing
  • Audio Player for Audio

There are open source substitutes for Microsoft Office, Photoshop and Quickbooks and other expensive software products.  See List of Open Source Software.

Freeware

Freeware is software that has no cost.  If differs from open source in that it is generally created and maintained by an individual or company. I use the CNET service download.com to find freeware.  Download.com finds all software, but freeware can be filtered out.

Give Away of the Day

This is a service that offers a free download everyday. Many times it is a software product.  Today the software was CaptureIt.  CaptureIt is a powerful, flexible and easy-to-use screen capture software. It normally sells for 29.95.  Unfortunately, each product is available for only 24 hours.  I have been able to collect a nice set of utilities by subscribing to this service and downloading what I want when it is available.

November 2, 2008

RSS and Newspapers

Filed under: Internet — Les Bain @ 1:22 pm

When I discuss RSS and the fact that they can be used to create a virtual newspaper, one reaction I get is that people are used to newspapers.  They read them over coffee.  They take them to the bathroom.  They use them for their pets.

Hewlett-Packard has created Tabbloid, which takes RSS feeds and turns them into a PDF in newspaper format.  The PDF is emailed to you every day at a time you select.  One supposedly could print out the PDF and have a custom printed newspaper.

I am comfortable reading my RSS feeds online, but it is an interesting idea.