Archive for November 2008

Zelscope: Oscilloscope and Spectrum Analyzer

Zelscope is an application that converts a PC into a low-frequency oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer. A single user license is $9.95. A 14 day trial version is available.

Contact:

http://www.zelscope.com

Badcaps.net

Badcaps.net is a source of replacement capacitors and capacitor kits for motherboards. If you replace caps to repair motherboards this is a good source for replacement caps. If you are squeamish about soldering caps or are looking to outsource the work they can do it for you.

The company sells complete cap replacement kits for several makes and models of mainboards. They also create custom kits for you.

In addition to selling capacitors and cap replacement services the company also has FREE tutorials on its web site on how to replace capacitors on motherboards. The tutorials include a complete overview of the process, how to remove old caps properly, how to solder new caps correctly and how to identify bad caps.

The tutorials alone are a must read for any tech who wants to repair or refurbish motherboards. The company also has forums to discuss issues related to the replacement of bad caps and repair of motherboards.

Contact:

http://www.badcaps.net

 

Episode 28 – Merchant 911: Accepting Credit Cards Part 2

This week we are going to continue our talk with an IT professional and merchant who launched a website called Merchant 911 to help small businesses learn the pros and cons of accepting credit cards and provide them with the resources to fight credit card fraud.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :10
Intro 1:17
Billboard :40

News and Comment segment 4:33
According to the OnForce Services Marketplace Index report for Q3 released November 17, The company projects its total volume of service work to be $60 million by the end of 2008.

The Force Field Podcast Store. It is the first, only and official store for The Force Field Swag! We have T-shirts, golf shirts, The Force Field Official Mug, ball caps, other great gear. To order, simply go to www.theforcefield.net and click “Store” on the menu bar. Tell the world you dare to listen to The Force Field! Visit The Force Field Podcast Store and order your Official Force Field gear today!

Microsoft has thrown in the towel on Windows Live OneCare. A post in the Windows Live OneCare Team blog Windows Live OneCare Team blog November 18 announced that Redmond will end subscriptions to the service July 30, 2009.

Commercial Break 1:00
Get Great Web Hosting at GoDaddy.com and save 10%! Listen for the discount code in the show. GoDaddy.com 1:00

Intro to Interview 1:50
This week we’re going continue our discussion with Tom Mahoney from Merchant 911 and learn more about credit card merchant accounts. He will tell us how to shop around when setting up a credit card merchant account, what you can do to minimize the risk of a chargeback on a credit card transaction and how you can use the tools on his web site to protect yourself and your business from credit card fraud. Part 2 of a two part series.

Tom Mahoney Interview 22:22

Wrap up and Close :46

©2008 Savoia Computer. All rights reserved.

Episode 28 – Merchant 911: Accepting Credit Cards Part 2

This week we are going to continue our talk with an IT professional and merchant who launched a website called Merchant 911 to help small businesses learn the pros and cons of accepting credit cards and provide them with the resources to fight credit card fraud.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :10
Intro 1:17
Billboard :40

News and Comment segment 4:33
According to the OnForce Services Marketplace Index report for Q3 released November 17, The company projects its total volume of service work to be $60 million by the end of 2008.

The Force Field Podcast Store. It is the first, only and official store for The Force Field Swag! We have T-shirts, golf shirts, The Force Field Official Mug, ball caps, other great gear. To order, simply go to www.theforcefield.net and click “Store” on the menu bar. Tell the world you dare to listen to The Force Field! Visit The Force Field Podcast Store and order your Official Force Field gear today!

Microsoft has thrown in the towel on Windows Live OneCare. A post in the Windows Live OneCare Team blog Windows Live OneCare Team blog November 18 announced that Redmond will end subscriptions to the service July 30, 2009.

Commercial Break 1:00
Get Great Web Hosting at GoDaddy.com and save 10%! Listen for the discount code in the show. GoDaddy.com 1:00

Intro to Interview 1:50
This week we're going continue our discussion with Tom Mahoney from Merchant 911 and learn more about credit card merchant accounts. He will tell us how to shop around when setting up a credit card merchant account, what you can do to minimize the risk of a chargeback on a credit card transaction and how you can use the tools on his web site to protect yourself and your business from credit card fraud. Part 2 of a two part series.

Tom Mahoney Interview 22:22

Wrap up and Close :46

©2008 Savoia Computer. All rights reserved.

 

 

Merchant911.org

 

 

IT Industry Veterans Join CompTIA Educational Foundation Board of Directors

Board welcomes Gary Gillam, Wayne Mize.

Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. — November 19, 2008 The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) Educational Foundation , an organization that offers job education, training and certification programs aimed at bringing new workers into the high-tech workforce, today announced the election of two information technology (IT) industry executives to its board of directors.

Gary Gillam, vice president, North American Resellers Channel Operations, Xerox North America and current foundation board member, was elected to the position of secretary on the CompTIA Educational Foundation's board of directors. Gillam succeeds Peter Manni as secretary.

Wayne Mize, a former chairman of the board of directors of the Computing Technology Industry Association (2006-07) and a long-time executive with Ricoh, was chosen to complete Manni's term on the CompTIA Educational Foundation board.

"We are honored that Gary Gillam and Wayne Mize are a part of our board," said John Venator, president and chief executive officer of the CompTIA Educational Foundation. "They are both well respected and highly regarded in the IT Industry and will contribute greatly to the continued growth and success of the Educational Foundation."

Both Gillam and Mize will serve on the board of directors through August 2009.

About the CompTIA Educational Foundation

The CompTIA Educational Foundation provides career opportunities for individuals who have historically been under-represented in the IT workforce. With the support of individuals, industry leaders, companies and the government, the Foundation creates programs aimed at helping veterans transitioning out of the military, at-risk youth, women, minorities, dislocated workers, and individuals with disabilities to obtain the technical and business skills employers are looking for. Since its creation in 1998, the Foundation has helped more than 1,000 individuals enter the IT workforce, helping the industry alleviate its shortage of skilled workers. For more information or to make a donation to the CompTIA Educational Foundation, please visit http://www.creatingfutures.us/.

 

Contact:
Kara Kersh
Manager, Media Relations
CompTIA
630-678-8464
KKersh@comptia.org
www.comptia.org    

OnForce Releases 3rd Quarter Services Report

On-site Service Demand Remains Strong for Home Theater and Retailer-Focused Technologies

BOSTON, November 17, 2008 – OnForce, the world’s largest marketplace for IT and CE professionals, today released the OnForce Services Marketplace Index (OSMI) for the third quarter. This report highlights market trends and opportunities for growth in the on-site services industry. The OSMI report, available at www.onforce.com/OSMI/Q308 , is based upon more than 100,000 service events from the OnForce marketplace in the third quarter and offers a detailed view into the on-site services industry.

The report shows consumer electronics service demand remained strong in Q3. CE maintained its position as one of the three highest volume service categories, as installations and maintenance were required for higher-end electronics such as home networking, media servers and HDTVs.

“The Consumer Electronics Association recently projected that CE sales will grow 3.5 percent this holiday season, despite the down economy, so we know that consumers will still make major CE purchases that require professional installation,” OnForce CEO Peter Cannone said. “Many OEMs, VARs and retailers have yet to figure out the last mile of the consumer electronics sale – expert installation and support. This report helps show IT and CE companies how they can make on-site services a profitable part of their business and increase their customers’ satisfaction.”

The volume of service work flowing through the OnForce marketplace, estimated at $60 million in 2008, provides a statistical benchmark for the latest trends in IT and CE service. With nearly 1 million work orders completed since its inception, OnForce’s marketplace enables technicians across the U.S. and Canada to accept work orders from VARs, OEMs and national retailers for on-site service.

“Retailers leverage the summer and fall months to prepare for the holiday season and update their technology infrastructure and systems,” said Cannone. “The OnForce marketplace observed these trends and, in the third quarter, retailers focused on their in-store systems. This creates a lucrative opportunity for those VARs that service POS technologies.”

Some other highlights from the third quarter report:
• Point-of-sale (POS) was the fastest-growing category, climbing two spots from Q2.
• For the third consecutive quarter, Desktop Computers emerged as the highest volume category.
• Security, Peripherals and Consumer Electronics were the most expensive service categories.
• Laptop Computers and Networking were the least expensive categories.

Hartford, Conn., ranked as the most expensive city for IT and CE service requests. Of the top 10 most expensive IT and CE service cities in Q3, two were located in Texas, including Odessa and Eagle Pass; while two were located in California, including San Luis Obispo and Santa Ana. Only Santa Ana, Calif., retained a top 10 ranking in terms of being a most expensive service city from Q2 to Q3. Texas also finished in the top three state rankings for highest work order volume for the third straight quarter.

Houston and New York remain the cities with the highest volume of service requests quarter over quarter consecutively. St. Louis, Dallas, Denver and Portland, Ore., were among the fastest rising cities in terms of IT and CE service requests. Charlotte, N.C., and Tampa, Fla., were among the fastest declining IT and CE service cities in Q3.

About OnForce
OnForce is the leading marketplace for contract information technology (IT) and consumer electronics (CE) service professionals. The company enables VARs, serviceorganizations and staffing companies to find skilledprofessionals in virtually every zip code in the US and Canada. These IT service firms turn to OnForce to expand theirgeographic and skill set coverage without adding overhead or upfront expenses. OnForce enables increased buyer control and reduced management costs, whileimproving service levels and offering faster response times than traditional methods offinding contract technicians.

Since its inception, the OnForce marketplace has been used to successfully complete nearly 1 million work orders. The OnForce community is made up of 5,000+ IT service buyers and nearly 14,000 IT service technicians who work in a number of technologycategories, including computers, printers, networking, VoIP, point of saleand consumer electronics. For more information, visit www.onforce.com .

MEDIA CONTACT:
Amber LaCroix
Airfoil Public Relations
aklacroix@airfoilpr.com
(248) 304-1431

Getting in the business? Gotta have a plan

Last week we posted an announcement from Palo Alto software promoting a small business webinar. At the time I thought it something to pass along to anyone who would be interested. But a while ago I started thinking about it and it occurred to me that for some techs getting into the IT business, such a webinar, while promoting the company’s products, might actually be a good first step toward opening up shop.

The thought came as I glanced over my shoulder at the bookcase behind me in my office and my eyes fell on the retail box for Palo Alto’s Business Plan Pro 2005, which I purchased a few years ago to update the business plan for Savoia Computer. I had used an earlier version of Business Plan Pro and felt compelled to upgrade for some of the newer features. I had also prepared a business plan with BPP for a client as a paid consultant and wanted to be able to update his as well. I hadn’t used it for awhile and after I  built a new computer for myself last year I just never reinstalled it.

It isn’t that I didn’t want it on my system, it’s just that I had been thinking about getting out of the computer business to do something else and felt that I really didn’t need it anymore. But so far the other pursuits have not paid off as quickly and easily as I thought they would and I haven’t been as organized and focused as I should be in reaching those goals.

I watch a lot of techs get into the business without a business plan. When asked, they say that they know what they want to do and how they are going to get there. They say they aren’t planning to get a loan from a bank, so why go to the trouble of creating a business plan? Apparently they think that a business plan is something you create as a formality to impress a loan officer in order to convince them that your idea will work so they will lend you the money. It isn’t something you actually need to run a business.It is just part of the process of securing a loan.

Actually, that isn’t the purpose of a business plan at all. Sure, it’s needed for a loan and required reading for potential investors, but it isn’t something created solely for that purpose. It is a document bankers and investers refer to that is supposed to already be there – a living, working roadmap for building your business.

The business plan isn’t a marketing piece for investors, although it can be one. It is a blueprint for starting and managing your business. It is a tangible layout of your idea, a method of putting your ideas on paper to flesh them out and ensure that you have a clear vision of how you will proceed in your venture and what turns you expect it to take. It is a timetable for your business project and a roadmap of your goals for success. It isn’t something to doodle up on a restaurant napkin and toss out with the dinner tray, it is something to write down, reference and follow. It is your plan of action for success.

My client is a perfect example of someone who did not understand the purpose of having a business plan. I spent a considerable amount of time and effort preparing a business plan for the client only to have it come to naught. Sure, he paid me for doing it, but his sole purpose for the plan was to obtain a business loan. Yes, he got the loan and as soon as he did, the business plan was put away and forgotten.

If there was anyone who needed a business plan to follow, it was this guy. He is the type who tends to come up with an inspirational idea one day, implement it on day two, then decide it isn’t really what he wants to do on day three and by the end of the week has changed his mind completely, abandons it and comes up with something else.

He had some good ideas, some of them had great potential, but he wouldn’t really see them through.  He would start projects before he really thought them through and drop them before they had a chance to really develop. Needless to say his business isn’t doing very well at all. In fact, he still owes me money for another venture.

This is not to say that a business plan has to be followed to the letter. On the contrary, you need to be flexible and change your plan as you go along. As I said earlier, it is intended as a living, breathing document that changes and grows according to the needs of your business.

However, without a solid plan, you risk becoming like my client, forever struggling because you have no real sense of direction.

So, while attending a webinar on business planning isn’t mandatory, I highly recommend it. 

AVG flags Windows file as Trojan, cripples systems

(TheForceField.Net ) November 11, 2008 –  AVG issued an update for its populare anti-virus scanner November 9 that tagged a critical file in the Windows operating system as malware and deleted it, crippling an unknown number of systems.

A error in a virus definition update issued Sunday caused a false positive during a scan that indicated the Windows system file user32.dll was infected with a trojan called Generic9.TBN and deleted the file. Once the file was removed, users could not boot into Windows. Windows XP running AVG versions 7.5 and 8.0 were affected.

The solution was to boot to the Recovery Console from a Windows CD and restore the file to repair Windows and perform a restore installation of AVG. The company acknowledged the issue in their forums and posted a repair procedure and a fix tool on its support site. 

AVG apologized for the snafu in a press release on PRNewswire. "AVG sincerely regrets the inconvenience users have experienced", the release stated. "We are working to remedy the problem and ensure that any other potential vulnerabilities are identified and eliminated before they can impact users."

Windows Vista was not reported to be affected by the issue.

 

Parts Now!

Parts Now! is a distributor of Laser printers for HP, Lexmark, Canon and Toshiba. In addition to sales of printer parts the company also offers online training for HP and Lexmark printers.

The company is based in Middleton, Wisconsin with an office in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and a distribution center in Hayward, California.

Contact:

Parts Now!
3150 Pleasantview Road
Middleton, WI 53562 

Phone: 608-203-1500
Toll-Free: 1-800-886-6688

Web Site:   http://www.partsnow.com/index.asp

Computer Exchange Ltd.

Computer Exchange Ltd. supplies printer parts for Lexmark, HP, Xerox, IBM and Brother printers and is a Lexmark Master Partd Distributor, HP Authorized Parts Distributor, Authorized Xerox Printer Parts Distributor, IBM New Parts Reseller and Brother New Parts Reseller. The company offers repair services for most major brands of printers. In addition to parts sales, they also buy parts for mainframes, PCs, monitors and printers. The company is based in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Contact:

Computer Exchange Ltd.
3105 Sweetwater Road Building 100
Lawrenceville, GA 30014 

Phone: 770-806-3939
Toll-Free: 1-800-883-0800

Web Site: http://www.computerexchangeltd.com/home/index.cfm

Show Call-In Line
Skype Me™!

or call 407-278-5698 from any landline phone!

Techpodcast Network
Get it On Your Phone!

Listen to Stitcher

Audience Survey
The Force Field
Recognition
Rick’s Picks