Archive for January 2009

Winner of Technibble Contest announced

During the last six weeks had a contest on The Force Field podcast. The prize was a copy of The Computer Business Kit from Technibble , a collection of sample business forms and documents that are needed in the computer business. It contains maintenance contract samples, work order samples, engagement forms and more.

 The rules were simple.  All you had to do was send an e-mail with the number and the name of The Force Field episode which featured Bryce Whitty and Technibble on the show to  comments@theforcefield.net by January 30, 2009. All correct entries were entered in a drawing held today.

The answer was Episode 20 – Technibble .

The winner of the Technibble contest is Michael Murray of Bartow Onsite Computer Solutions . Congratulations, Michael!

For those who didn’t win, don’t despair.  I am planning more contests for the coming year with more chances to win great prizes. Listen to The Force Field podcast for  more information and your chance to win.

If you would like a copy of The Computer Business Kit, it can be purchased directly at www.technibble.com for $49.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

OnForce releases year-end 2008 Services Market Index Report

2008 was year of break-fix work and new network installs as both companies and consumers did more with less, buying only what they need and not what they want – except in certain areas

BOSTON, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ — OnForce, the world's largest marketplace for IT and CE service professionals, today released its first annual OnForce Services Marketplace Index (OSMI) Year-End Report for 2008. Based on information provided by the OSMI and the company's strong relationship with its customers and service provider network, a picture is emerging of a year filled with challenges – but also opportunities. The company also released its Top Five Predictions for 2009 based on the OSMI and industry-wide data.

"Last year we saw a significant trend towards businesses and consumers fixing what they have and tightening their belts," said Peter Cannone, CEO of OnForce. "This trend will continue across 2009. Businesses are looking to outsource more of their services in order to increase profit margins and cut costs. This is evident by the growth of both buyers and service work orders placed through our marketplace in 2008."

"For 2009, diagnosis and repair services will become a major focus as businesses are likely to continue delaying new equipment purchases. We also anticipate businesses that do purchase new technology will move towards less expensive brands or unbranded alternatives," said Cannone.

"We also expect that end-users will pressure vendors to cut prices even further. Overall, the most significant trend in 2009 will be the continued use of outsourcing, as corporate IT departments are asked to do more with less. It isn't going to be easy, but there are opportunities for growth and success even in a down economy."

Compiled from more than 300,000 service orders completed across the OnForce Marketplace in 2008, the OSMI is a research tool that highlights market trends and growth opportunities for VARs and solution providers in the onsite services industry. Over the course of 2008, several trends were seen – for example, the move to repair rather than replace – which OnForce expects will continue into 2009.

The OSMI data from 2008 revealed a number of additional key findings:

 

  • 2008 saw a sharp increase in the "break-fix" – or repair – sector. Up to 65% of all work orders were break-fix across all service sectors, PC desktop, printer, network POS, server, TV/Video, PC Laptop, VoIP, wiring & cabling, home theater.

 

  • Desktop computers, TV/Video and Point-of-Sale (POS) systems were the highest volume onsite service categories in 2008, and accounted for over 50% of all work orders in 2008.

 

  • Consumer Electronics accounted for four of the top five most expensive onsite services in 2008 (with the average cost per service of ~$250).

 

  • Over the course of the Q4 holiday season, desktop computers ranked as the highest volume category for onsite service (over 22% of all Q4 work orders) with TV/Video coming in a close second (with over 21% of all Q4 work orders).

"There are really five key trends that we expect to see in 2009," said Cannone. "With the economic clouds still looming we see that most businesses and consumers remain in cost savings and belt tightening mode. They desire to fix rather than buy, they recognize that cheap can be chic, they will increasingly rely on outsourcing for corporate IT, and they will seek lower prices and have difficulty predicting demand. These are the challenges of the coming year and businesses need to recognize them in order to thrive in a challenging economy."

Cannone gave his Top 5 Predictions for the coming year based on what he saw as major industry-wide trends and within the OnForce marketplace:

Fix not Buy

"With the economic storm still gathering, one thing we've seen in the OSMI and heard from our customers and pros is fix it first and then buy only what you need," he explained, "Consumers and businesses will continue to delay purchases of new equipment and opt for break-fix services for the foreseeable future."

Cheap Become Chic

"Businesses and consumers are also seeking new ways to tighten their belts. We're seeing a shift to purchases of lower-cost equipment; PC vs. Apple, non-branded PC vs. branded; netbook vs. notebook, etc."

Outsourcing and Corporate IT

"Based on what we're seeing in the market, we predict an accelerating shift to outsourcing by many corporate IT functions," continued Cannone, "and service providers using the OnForce platform may see an increase in this type of work."

Customers Become the Price King

"Decreasing demand will put customers in the driver's seat when it comes to pricing for service and equipment. If the past is a guide, VARs that are looking to reduce costs throughout the installation and aftermarket service supply chain will result in greater opportunities for OnForce technicians."

The Future is a Foggy Place

"With everything that is happening – the continuing economic slowdown and general unpredictability of the market – it is difficult to gauge demand for in-house service techs. In 2009," concluded Cannone, "this uncertainty will lead to more service providers turning to OnForce to supplement their labor force."

The OSMI 2008 Year End Report and Q4 report is available for download at:

www.onforce.com/OSMI/2008

http://www.onforce.com/OSMI/Q408

About OnForce

OnForce is the leading marketplace for information technology (IT) and consumer electronics (CE) service professionals. The company enables VARs and solution providers to find skilled professionals in virtually every zip code in the US and Canada. 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 and CE service buyers and 13,000 service professionals who work in a number of technology categories, including computers, printers, networking, VoIP, point of sale and consumer electronics. For more information, visit www.onforce.com.

OpenOffice.org releases version 3.0.1

(TheForceField.net ) January 27, 2009 — The OpenOffice.org Community officially announced the  release of OpenOffice.org 3.1 to the public today. OpenOffice.org 3.1 is the latest release of the open source office suite originally developed by Sun Microsystems and is considered by many to be one of few serious competitors of Microsoft Office.

The latest version of OpenOffice.org addresses several minor issues and bug fixes and includes enhanced support for grammer checkers as well as an increase to the number of words in word lists. OpenOffice.org 3.1 is considered a minor update to 3.0, released on October 13, 2008.

A complete list of issues resolved in the new version is available in the developers' release notes at http://development.openoffice.org/releases/3.0.1.html .
 

OpenOffice.org Logo

John McCreesh, OpenOffice.org Marketing Lead, announced the release in an e-mail to the OpenOffice.org marketing group this morning and hinted that the next version was two months away. "The next release of OpenOffice.org to contain significant new user features will be OpenOffice.org 3.1, scheduled for general availability at the end of March," McCreesh said. The Office suite is released under the GNU/GPL and is freely available. OpenOffice.org v3.0.1 is currently available for download in over 90 languages  for Windows, Linux, OS X and OpenSolaris at http://download.openoffice.org .

 

 

Business XL

 

Episode 31 – The State of the IT Industry Part 3

This week we are going to talk with a VAR in California, discuss how he entered another area of IT to keep his business profitable during the current economic situation and ask him where he thinks the industry is headed. Part 3 of a 4 part series.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :10
Intro 1:17
Billboard :25

News and Comment segment 5:21
Circuit City announced that it would clear out all remaining inventory and close its stores by the end of March.

Enter the Technibble contest and Win! We are giving away The Computer Business Kit from Technibble (a $49 value) FREE. Listen to this episode of The Force Field for your chance to win!

Microsoft released Windows 7 beta to the public January 9. Early reports say the beta is more stable than Vista SP1. Industry experts believe Microsoft could release Windows 7 to the market sooner than expected.

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 2:01
In episode 29 we talked with Pat Palmer, heard how his business is doing well in spite of the economy and how he expects this trend to continue in the months and years to come. In episode 30 we talked with Kris Crispell and he told us the same thing. This week we wil talk with Crisantos Hajibrahim of Virus Woman . He will tell us why he entered a new and growing area of the IT market to keep his business profitable, hear how he did it and find out how he is riding out the economic storm – in the cloud. You can view the video of his Google I/O 2008 Presentation – Becoming a Google App Solution Provider mentioned in the show. Part 3 of a four part series.

Crisantos Hajibrahim Interview 16:26

Part 4 Teaser :15

Wrap up and Close :46

Comments, questions or suggestions? Send them in to comments@theforcefield.net. Feedback on this topic will be read by the host and included in future episodes of the show.

©2009 Savoia Computer. All rights reserved.

Episode 31 – The State of the IT Industry Part 3

This week we are going to talk with a VAR in California, discuss how he entered another area of IT to keep his business profitable during the current economic situation and ask him where he thinks the industry is headed. Part 3 of a 4 part series.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :10
Intro 1:17
Billboard :25

News and Comment segment 5:21
Circuit City announced that it would clear out all remaining inventory and close its stores by the end of March.

Enter the Technibble contest and Win! We are giving away The Computer Business Kit from Technibble (a $49 value) FREE. Listen to this episode of The Force Field for your chance to win!

Microsoft released Windows 7 beta to the public January 9. Early reports say the beta is more stable than Vista SP1. Industry experts believe Microsoft could release Windows 7 to the market sooner than expected.

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 2:01
In episode 29 we talked with Pat Palmer, heard how his business is doing well in spite of the economy and how he expects this trend to continue in the months and years to come. In episode 30 we talked with Kris Crispell and he told us the same thing. This week we wil talk with Crisantos Hajibrahim of Virus Woman . He will tell us why he entered a new and growing area of the IT market to keep his business profitable, hear how he did it and find out how he is riding out the economic storm – in the cloud. You can view the video of his Google I/O 2008 Presentation – Becoming a Google App Solution Provider mentioned in the show. Part 3 of a four part series.

Crisantos Hajibrahim Interview 16:26

Part 4 Teaser :15

Wrap up and Close :46

Comments, questions or suggestions? Send them in to comments@theforcefield.net. Feedback on this topic will be read by the host and included in future episodes of the show.

©2009 Savoia Computer. All rights reserved.

 

http://media.techpodcasts.com/theforcefield/media.libsyn.com/media/theforcefield/The_Force_Field_31.mp3

Does Obama really have a Blackberry? Does it really matter?

For months I’ve noticed headlines about President Obama and his use of a mobile phone. At first I sort of just shrugged it off as it was just somewhat of a novelty, at least to some, that a president would carry around and use one. Millions of Americans have and use cell phones every day and it seems only natural that an American leader would do so as well. Even if past presidents never carried or used one, it was only a matter of time before one of them did. So what’s the big deal?

Apparently the media thinks it is one. In fact, they seem to be somewhat fixated on exactly what device Obama uses and worry over whether or not he plans to keep it.  If it was one article for filler or diversion that would be fine, but they’ve been harping on it for months now and it’s getting a little ridiculous.

Computerworld published an article yesterday over an argument as to whether or not Obama’s phone is actually a Blackberry and, if not, what it possibly could be. It’s not the first one they’ve published, either. There seems to be some real concern at Computerworld as to whether or not the President gets to keep his Blackberry, if it is indeed one.

It’s not just Computerworld. CNN, Wired, Gizmodo and other media outlets, both old and new, are hung up over Obama’s phone. They’re not playing around, either. They are making a serious issue out of it, or at least they are trying to.

Seriously, with all the real and important issues to cover, who cares what mobile device he uses? Apart from the obvious promotional aspects of the this trivia for the manufacturer of the device, whatever it really is, why is this worth anyone’s time or effort to worry about or even discuss?

Yes, I know and understand what the real concern is about. It isn’t all about fashion. It’s about security. There is some real concern about just how safe it is for a U.S. President to be using any old mobile phone to discuss things that could affect our national security. It is a real issue and I certainly understand that. But, let’s be real here. 

First, just how secure can you make any mobile device? If they can be secured they can also be hacked. As far as I know there is no wireless device that is completely secure and unhackable. If the communications are that classified and sensitive, the bottom line is that he really shouldn’t be using a commercially available, personal, consumer grade mobile device for those communications at all.

Then again, he is the President. If he wants to use a Blackberry, the NSA should find a way to make it happen so that he can.

Which brings us back to the celebrity aspect of it all.

This isn’t one article on the President and his phone. This speculative drivel has been going on for quite awhile now. It seems every day Computerworld or some other media outlet has published or recycled one more article attempting to spark some sort of debate over the president and his mobile communications device. That’s fine for a little diversion but to make it into some sort of major story or debacle is utterly ridiculous and a waste of web space on an otherwise informative site.

Are we all that shallow and hung up on the details of a popular figure, whether it be a corporate executive, pop star, sports icon, politician or some other celebrity that we expend our time and energy worrying about what mobile device he or she uses instead of what he or she may do with their status or, in the case of the President, what policies he may enact that could affect our world in the years to come?

Let the man carry a Blackberry, iPhone, Google Android phone, Samsung, Motorola or whatever device he wants to use. As long as they can secure it to NSA standards and make it work, frankly, I don’t care what brand it is and his personal preference of a phone is none of my business anyway. What I want to know is what he is doing while he is in office and how it will affect my family, my business and my life in the next four years. Cover those stories instead. That is what is really important. The rest of it is utter nonsense.

Top 20 Tax Tips for Businesses

Financial education company Pathfinder Business Strategies names the most powerful, yet underutilized tax deductions for businesses of all kinds

Sebastian, Fla. (Vocus/PRWEB ) January 22, 2009 — Aftershocks from the United States' current financial crisis will continue to cripple companies of all sizes across the nation for years to come. And now, American businesses can make every dollar count by taking tax deductions they've been overlooking. Financial education company Pathfinder Business Strategies LLC announces top 20 tax tips for businesses of all kinds, naming the most powerful, yet underutilized tax deductions available. Pathfinder shares how to legally convert your largest personal expenses to business deductions and save thousands of dollars in taxes. Unfortunately, most businesses pull from a list of 25 to 50 business deductions, while there are more than 300 available.

Pathfinder Business Strategies Logo

Pathfinder's top 20 tips apply to all companies — from the sole proprietor running her startup from home to the owner of a multinational C-corporation. The tips include how your company can pay for your child's wedding or education, buy big-ticket items like golf clubs or a watch through an awards program, and much more.    

"From our financial coaching sessions with entrepreneurs and business owners, I've noticed most of them are severely under-utilizing tax deductions that would significantly lower their tax liability and put more money in their pocket at the end of the day," says Pathfinder Business Strategies Founder Drew Miles. "Our country's poor economic status isn't likely to change soon, so it's that much more important for businesses to take advantage of tax breaks they're legally entitled to. Surviving and thriving in today's ever-changing market will require taking advantage of every opportunity."    

Now that the 2008 tax year is coming to a close, it's time business owners become acquainted with deductions they should be taking moving forward so they can keep receipts and good records throughout the year.

For nine years, Pathfinder Business Strategies LLC has been helping entrepreneurs and business owners save thousands of dollars in taxes annually. The financial education company offers a host of services and products, including a financial coaching program, entity structuring expertise and a monthly magazine about wealth building and tax savings, Pinnacle. Formerly a New York lawyer, Miles now specializes in tax strategies and entity structuring. The company is located at 10305 102nd Terrace, Suite 102, Sebastian, FL 32958. To learn more about the company, please visit www.pfbs.com or www.save10kintaxes.com or call 888.695.2765.

Contact Publicist Echo Surina at Philanthropology LLC to schedule an interview with Drew Miles or receive Pathfinder's top 20 tax tips or list of 300 deductions for businesses.

Contact:
Echo Surina
Philanthropology LLC
www.philanthropology.us
602.332.9445

New eBook Helps Introverts and Shy Profit from Networking Easily Even in Down Economy

The newly launched ebook Networking Secrets for Sales Reluctance is perfect for financial planners who think that networking is a process for realtors or direct marketers. It is also an approach for people in IT who want to meet potential business prospects, not just other salespeople. It also has ideas for freelancers who are photographers, therapists, women in sales who get excited about networking but then find it difficult to talk with people.

Williamsburg, VA (Vocus/PRWEB ) January 22, 2009 — You've met them at networking events: people who hang around the edges. Usually they're the introverts or shy business people. Even though the explosive growth of social networking in 2008 is undeniable, the best of business networking, particularly when the economy is down, combines both online and in-person, and that's why sales veteran, Patricia Weber's new ebook is a must read, and do.

Patricia Weber

"My ebook includes some similar problems my coaching clients bring to me," says Weber. "My blog, Sales Tips for Introverts, talks about these problems." Weber wrote this ebook to help introverts, shy and just sales reluctant, who either might start a business during an economic downturn, or are in business already, yet suffer from faulty thinking, "My expertise will bring in sales revenue." Networking Secrets for Sales Reluctance gives a specific way introverts in particular will appreciate: an internal step by step process with at least seven specific network reluctance examples.

Weber uncovered some recurring patterns in networking beliefs in over 200 introvert and shy salespeople who answered an online survey. This ebook is for women in sales who claim they get queasy just thinking about them. It is also for the financial planners who are out networking but seem to never meet the right people. It's for freelancers like accountants, husband and wife teams, or women in sales who claim they have to go to too many to make it worthwhile.

As someone trained by extroverts through her early sales career she claims, "Introverts have some specific needs when it comes to networking, and being an INTJ in Myers Briggs type talk, I can tell you trying to be an extrovert is not the way." After hearing over and over again similar feelings about networking "getting no where," Pat had it and decided to get this information to those introverts and shy who want to know this in an affordable way and format.

One of Weber's teleclass participants, Gail Cort, FitnFoxyLifestyle Coachingclaims her networking reluctance gone: "I was thinking that I am not a good sales person. I am more of a doer. I have been going NOWWHERE fast and I hated the thought of pitching a sale, picking up the phone was daunting. Now I feel more confident about it with what you introduced. I am ready to talk with potential clients without feeling like a used car salesman (woman.)"

"I wanted to launch the ebook with giving people at least a chance to experience coaching, to get results more quickly." Weber's ebook is now available for ordering, along with a complimentary short personal coaching session for anyone who purchases the ebook. Go to http://www.introvertsellingtips.com for sample accompanying audios and details.

About Professional Strategies Inc:

Patricia Weber is a nationally recognized expert as a Business Coach for Introverts, and serves clients around the world since 1990. Pat offers a wide array of professional development services including business coaching, training, and personal coaching for the public and private sector.

For more information, visit http://www.prostrategies.com or contact Patricia Weber at 757-870-1953.

Flash Drive Memory cost jumps 87% in the past 2 weeks

PRLogJan 19, 2009 – Flash drive memory chip suppliers are fighting back from their strategy of buying market share. The extreme price decline seen during the past 9 months that was the spearhead of the drive to corner market share has nearly broken the fiscal backs of the major flash drive chip suppliers.

The collusion between the major chip makers to increase their market share through price cuts failed to produce the results that the chip makers anticipated. This failure to deliver a knockout blow to the minor market chipmakers has prompted the flash drive chip manufacturers, Samsung, Hynix and Intel to reverse course and drive prices back up through the reduction of their manufacturing capacity.

John Graham of Blue Loyal flash drives declares “ For the past year we saw a reasonable and steady decline in the prices of flash drive memory from Samsung, Hynix and others. These savings allowed us to pass the new lower prices along to our customers. Now we have had to change prices on a daily basis by as much as 3-5%, in the past 2 weeks prices on some sizes of flash memory have risen by as much as 87%. We expect the price increases to come to a halt when Chinese New Year takes place next week but we have no idea as to what the price are expected to be after the Chinese national holiday”.

Flash drives are the #3 selling item in the U.S. and European promotional products market. Sales to the promotional products marketplace are expected to top 3 Billion USD in 2009. Combined retail and promotional logo flash drive sales are expected to reach 10 Billion USD in 2009. If the current price increase to flash drive chips stays steady it is expected that the overall market valuation could increase by 9% to the above stated figures.

Blue Loyal is a North American based company with flash drive manufacturing facilities in Shenzen China. Blue Loyal and its brand Flash Drive Direct are one of North America’s leading suppliers of flash drives to the promotional products industry.

John Graham
john@blueloyal.com
604-272-8809

#105-12500 Horseshoe Way
Vancouver BC Canada
John Graham
778-338-3908
 

Circuit City short circuits: all stores closing

(TheForceField.net) January 9, 2009 –Circuit City announced yesterday that it will clear out inventory and close its stores beginning today.

In an announcement posted on its web site January 16, the big box retail consumer electronics chain said the company was going out of business and would close all 567 stores across the country. The company said it would begin liquidations sales today and sell off remaining inventory until the end of March. Firedog tech services will complete existing repairs but no further jobs will be performed.

The announcement came as no surprise to the industry as Circuit City has struggled for a number of years against competitors such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2008 and already closed some of its stores. The company was also in talks with at least two potential buyers in an attempt to sell off the chain, however the deals fell through and left the company no other option but to shut down.

"We are extremely disappointed by this outcome", vice chairman and acting CEO James Marcum said in a press release on the company's web site January 16. "The company had been in continuous negotiations regarding a going concern transaction. Regrettably for the more than 30,000 employees of Circuit City and our loyal customers, we were unable to reach an agreement with our creditors and lenders to structure a going-concern transaction in the limited timeframe available, and so this is the only possible path for our company," Marcum said.

The closing comes at a difficult time for the nation's economy. It will add 34,000 employees to the number of jobless. It will also leave the market with fewer competitors in the retail consumer electronics market and will leave consumers with fewer choices.

The official announcement is available at http://www.circuitcity.com/closed.html .

 

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