Oct 2, 2010

PC Image © 2010 Juice Today

Starting a computer repair business this day and age can be a bit tricky. In this article I will show you some of the most costly mistakes made when starting a computer repair business and how to avoid them.
Think Realistically
Whether you are the neighborhood computer guru or a professional IT Technician, you at one time or another have probably considered starting up your own business in computer repair. One of the most costly and common mistakes people make is expecting to get rich over night. Be realistic, you must first have an understanding that most successful business today didn't pop up over night. In fact many of them lose money in the first three years. Prepare yourself for a long uphill battle and don't quit your nine to five just yet, doing so can be very regretful.
Business Plan
Another costly mistake is not having a business plan. As many successful people have said, 'to be without a plan, is a plan for failure'. When developing a business plan think of it as a map for you to follow to get you where you want to go. Keep in mind you may start with a simple plan and rewrite several times as your objectives become more assessable. It's not uncommon for a company to rewrite business plans as the path to their objectives may change.
Know What to Stock
This is one of the major mistakes small computer repair shops make and can often lead to failure. Sales of new equipment and hardware may seem like a money maker, careful what you stock. If you decide that you want to sell computers and other gadgets keep in mind that todays technology is on the move and is forever superseding itself. If you decide to purchase stock for resale, you may ending up losing money in the long run. If your lucky you may break even but this is not likely. Lets say you just bought the newest and greatest graphics card to resell and you got it at wholesale pricing. Imagine you have it neatly displayed and are trying your hardest to push the sale. Now imagine that it doesn't sell so fast and new technology was just released. Can you see where I'm going with this? It's going to be a job in it self to keep your products competitively priced and still make a profit. This doesn't mean don't sell any products in your store front, it just means try to stay away from products that won't have a long shelf value. If you want to keep products on hand try only stocking the most common things needed like, Power supplies, Fans, Cables, Modems, Network cards, Memory, CD-RW's/ DVD-R's, etc. You know things that are common and will likely sell before they become obsolete.
Focus on Service
As you may already know the services you provide are vital to running a successful computer repair business. With out providing the service of repairing computer equipment your business will not survive. Up to ninety percent of your business revenue should be based of services. This is where the true profits emerge. People are coming to you because it's something they either don't understand, don't want to risk or can't figure it out on their own. Stay focused and up to date so you can be able to provide reliable services in a timely manor.
Price Competitive
Not pricing your services competitively can bring your business to a halt. Shop around find out what your competitors are charging for their services and try to price within their range. You don't want to cut your competitors throats either doing so will only start a price war which will do nothing but make both of you less money. It's also important to be respectful to your competitors you never know if they have that bracket you cant find anywhere and it's just laying around their shop. Another reason not to price to low is that people are often driven away when a service is priced to low, they often wonder whats the catch or it just seems a bit shady.
Advertise, Advertise, Advertise
If you don't advertise you won't get business. Advertise on the Internet, in libraries, supermarkets, laundry mats, anywhere you can think and never stop, it will pay off in the end. You may want to ask new customers how they heard of you so you can see what advertising campaigns are working the best and adjust accordingly.
Insurance is a Must
If you break, damage or ruin something you are liable most of the time. Get insured, without it you can be sued for everything you own. Customers will also be more likely to deal with you if they know this because they know they are covered no mater what. It's not that expensive, check into it.
Be Timely and Professional
Be sure to always keep your work clean and get the job done in a timely manor. Make no promises you cannot guarantee. If you tell a client their computer will be ready by three o'clock and it's not likely don't promise it. The worse thing to do is let them come in to find its not finished, this will earn you a bad reputation faster than anything. Remember word of mouth goes a long way. If you are falling behind give the customer a call and politely explain. They might be a little upset but at least you showed them the respect to call and they will most likely understand.

article by, Jason Akers © 2010 Juice Today

Sep 27, 2010

Cyber Security VS Privacy

Cyber Security VS Privacy 
photo © Adrian van Leen for openphoto.net CC:PublicDomain

United States Federal law enforcement officials are cunstucting legislation to increase their capability to wiretap Internet based communications, arguing that they are behind the times and can't keep up with the rise of Internet communication versus the use of telephones. The bill would require all network based services and communication, from Smart phones to Facebook and P2P (peer-to-peer) networking have the capabilities and technology in place to be able to comply if served with a wiretap order. This would include the ability to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

What does this mean for you? At anytime the Feds want to issue a "wiretap order" anything you talk about, write about or communicate what so ever over any device can be and will be intercepted, unscrambled and decrypted at their discretion. That in-turn can be used to prosecute, harass, profile or discriminate against you. To sum it up, do we really have to give up our privacy rights in order to receive increased Cyber Security from the US government? You decide.
-The Juice

Sep 26, 2010

Change Blogger FavIcon

Before doing this Tutorial I highly recomend you backup your Template by using the 'Download Full Template' link under 'Design View' in your blogger settings.

Ever wanted a cool looking Icon in front of your Blogger URL but can't because Google Blocks it? Well heres a workaround.
First we need an Icon editor. I recomend getting IcoFx because its free and easy to use. Lets get started Download the Icon Editor and Install.

Select 'File' in upper left hand of screen and sellect 'New' a window will popup tick the following options:
Colors>True Color + Alpha Channel (32 bits)- this denotes the color and bit depth
Size>32x32- this denotes the icons size in pixels, I choose 32x32px so I can add a bit more detail this can be set at 16x16 if you like.
Hit 'Ok' to continue
To the right are your tools you can use to draw, they are pretty much self explainitory so I won't get into that for now.
I'll start my Icon by drawing a square with corners cut off with the 'Rounded Rectangle' tool and filling in the collor with the 'Paint Bucket' tool. You may also what to experiment with the 'effects' option in the upper left of the main menu. If you make a mistake you can use the undo button or by pressing 'ctrl' & 'z' at the same time. After you are all finished editing and are happy with your design you'll need to save your work. To do so go to 'File'>'Save As' and save as 'favicon.ico' Try to remember where you save it as it my be difficult to locate after you exit out of the program.
 Now we need somewhere to host the '.ico' file we created and be able to hotlink to our blog I have found that http://www.picpanda.com is an excelent source for this
A)Select 'Choose File' and browse to where you saved favicon.ico
B)Select 'Upload' to upload the file to Picpanda
Select and highlight & copy the code in the 'Hotlink for Websites' area as shown in the picture and paste it into a new notepad document
This may seem a little tricky but is really simple once you understand, the code we just copied is not exactualy what we want we need to extract just a snipit of it.
Look at the code and right after it says '<img src=' copy the web address that are in quotes and paste it under the other code in notepad. It should look something like this.

Now copy this code: <link href='xxx' rel='shortcut icon' type='image/x-icon'/>
Replace 'xxx' whith the web address you just copied, it should now look similar to this.
Next go to your blog and choose 'Design'>'Edit HTML' and look for a snippit of code that should look like this <title><data:blog.pageTitle/></title> and past in the Code that you copied to notepad after.
Hit 'Save Template' & then preview. That should be it. Enjoy having your own customized Favicon!
Custom Favicon Displayed in FireFox

If you followed my instructions step by step carefully you should now have a custom Favicon showing before your url like mine in the picture to the left. Be sure to check back often as more content is added daily. Good luck and happy Blogging.

Sep 24, 2010

Lindsay Lohan More Jail Time

Lindsay Lohan once again hancuffed and returned to jail today after LA Supreme Court Judge Elden Fox refused to set bail and ordered her to remain in custody. During the 10 minute hearing Lohan admitted to failing a drug test while on probation for her Drug & drunken driving case in 2007. Since then Lohan has been to rehab and jail. She was released twice from jail due to overcrowding. Her longest time spent in jail was 14 days on a 90 day sentence earlier this summer. Jude Fox said it's not likely that Lohan will be released any sooner than her scheduled court date in October.

Lindsay, grow up! Clean up your act, finish probation and get out of the spotlight!
-The Juice

Sep 23, 2010

Facebook Down?

According to downrightnow.com & DownForEveryoneOrJustMe.com Facebook is down. Could it be a conspiracy?  An enraged group of anti-social hackers, outragged at the new movie 'The Social Network' due to release in October. Maybe just a stunt to get free publicity for their movie. Regardless in my opinoin it seems the whole nation has become to dependent on these social tools technology has blessed us with.

It all makes me wonder what "wide spread panic" may have been caused by this unexpected downtime.  Maybe a pale and malnourished  teen in Arizona got up from his computer for ten minutes to talk in person to his next door neighbor best friend.  Maybe Mrs.Johnson wasn't able to Facebook her husband  the missing ingredient for the family dinner plans of a lifetime.  Maybe I'm stuck writing this stupid article because I can't tend to 'Farmvile'. Who knows... although one thing that I do know is, we all need a break from our social networking lives. With that said I'm off to take a walk. Who knows what interesting things  I may find outdoors.

Sep 22, 2010

Music or games – free speech is free speech, say legal, advocacy, and industry groups. Photo (CC-BY-SAFHKE.
A California ban of the sale of violent video games to minors may not seem relevant to the world of music on first blush. But the music industry, joining everyone from software makers to legal groups to state Attorneys General, feels otherwise. Overzealous restriction of the sale of games, these groups say, is tantamount to an attack on rights of free speech protected by the United States Constitution. And while the California law would make a separate set of rules for gaming, the message from the music industry, as others, is clear: diminish the freedom of one medium, and you diminish us all.
In addition to the National Association of Broadcasters, The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) joins an amicus brief with booksellers, publishers, novelists and writers, music retailers, “amusement and music operators,” and the Recording Academy, jointly filing their protests with the US Supreme Court.
Amongst the authorities cited in that brief: reviews of the game Halo, histories of banned books and laws concerning free speech, violence in Elizabethan England, and Homer and Aeschylus. (Yes, Homer’s Iliad Book 13 sits alongside Grand Theft Auto.) Even Punch & Judy, Tom and Jerry, and Little Red Riding Hood make an appearance. So does the Bible.
Of course, the music industry is sensitive to these attacks, having been at the business end of similar, ill-fated litigation. Books, magazines, newspapers, television, broadcasting, music – there simply isn’t a medium in America that hasn’t had to fight off similar complaints.
There are various arguments for whether or not gaming is reviewed as art, though here, there’s enough legal precedent to assume they are, in the eyes of the law. More telling, however, is the observation that “protection accorded to depictions of violence did not turn on … merit.” (The case cited in the brief protected gory, grisly images and descriptions of crime, which New York law tried to ban in the 1940s. At the time, the Supreme Court conceded it couldn’t understand why you’d want such a thing, but that merit was not the basis for the ruling.)
And that’s the bottom line: free speech is not about merit, or one medium or another, just as this Supreme Court decision is as much about music or words as it is about games.
The precedent, legally, is clear, leaving only the “newness” of the technology as a defense. Here’s the brief’s response to that issue:
"California also appears to suggest that the new technologies represented by video games require a reassessment of First Amendment principles. Technological change usually causes fear and uncertainty.
In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, technological change has repeatedly revolutionized entertainment media and communications, as well as the storage, retrieval, and distribution of information. Each of these technological advances—movies, television, the Internet, and now handheld, interactive electronic video games—has brought with it the fear that the new technology would corrupt the young. But there is no reason to permit fear of novel technologies to diminish fundamental constitutional rights such as the First Amendment."
For any artist, for anyone in the business of expression, this is a case to watch, at least in regards to US law.

Sep 18, 2010

Jupiter Close

   Hurry grab your telescope and get ready to look to the heavens. This upcoming astrological event won't happen again till 2022. The way Jupiter orbits the Sun we can get a close look on September 20th, 2010. Jupiter will be 75 million kilometers closer than our previous encounter in August 2009. The next time Jupiter and Earth pair up so closely wont be until 2022. We can expect Jupiter will appear about 4 percent brighter than normal due to one of its brown cloud belts will be hidden from view.