Friday, July 18, 2008

You always need updated anti-virus programs on your computer.

These days you cannot have a computer online and not have some type of anti-virus program. If you don’t have a firewall and a million and one safety features your system is going to get hit with something nasty. Even with a top of the line security system your computer can still be hit by something designed specifically to get past the anti-virus program. That is why the best ones update all time.

We got hit with one that was designed to get past Norton, it turns out we were the first to notice. We contacted Norton and they spent 4 hours on our computer, found and copied the virus and then used what they had to send out an update to block it and prevent others from getting hit. Then they told us it was going to take months of work to analyze the coding so they could come up with a way to destroy it. We were very lucky that we have our anti-virus program set up to automaticly run a diagnostic everyday at the same time. We got hit a few minutes before Norton ran its diagnostics. With in those few minutes it hit and damaged a lot of our core data. I am so glad we back up everything. It is scary how much time people put in to nasty programs designed to damage or destroy your data or even computer hard drive, or to steal your information so that they can drain your bank account and wreck havoc in other areas of your life.

Not every one understands that you have to upgrade your security every year and that you need have whatever system you are using to update as often as possible. I know people who thought that they only had to buy the program once and never update it. Yes they lost their computer and had no idea why. Also don’t go with a system just because it is what you know. Computer technology changes fast and what is available to protect your computer has changed as well. Take the time to check out the top 10 anti-virus programs before you buy any anti-virus program.

We just made a change to Bitdefender from Norton and are very happy. However both of these can be found as #1 on any number of top ten anti-virus lists. You need to take the time to figure out what anti-virus program will be best for your budget.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How to get fired or promoted

Depending on whom you work for this will either get you fired or promoted:

1) Tell offensive jokes that target every race, religion, age, sex and more. Then get deeply offended when someone else tells one.

2) Take a two-hour lunch everyday. If possible eat at your desk playing video games, listening to loud music (Christmas carols if you have them), and talk on the speaker phone with a very personal call.

3) Show up late, have your two-hour lunch, go home.

4) Show up in anything but what the dress code is. Shorts and a tee shirt or club wear goes nice. If you do wear something that is in the dress code make sure it is all mismatched, rumpled and only half done up or on. Cross dressing will probably get you promoted before being fired because companies don’t want the legal headache of a possible discrimination lawsuit.

5) Spend your day talking on the phone with your friends, family and significant other. Use the speakerphone when ever possible. Have at least one very private personal conversation a day. Glair at everyone who looks like they are listening and say things like “What is your problem, don’t you have your own life you have to listen in on mine.” Then talk even louder.

6) Pass your work onto the next person only half done, put notes on it about how you would like it done. If they pass it back to you criticize them for the terrible job they did on it as loudly as you can.

7) Repeatedly go back to your boss asking, “so how do I do this again?” Each time you go into his or her office talk louder, look more confused, hold your paper work upside down or bring in the wrong paper work.

8) Ask the boss or the boss’s significant other, or children out for a date.

9) Spend your day making paper airplanes and seeing who’s cubical they will land in.

10) Randomly hold soapbox derby’s using office chairs. Try to get others involved. If no one will, have a race around the office to try and beat your last score. Make sure you do the celebratory lap throwing water on everyone and screaming I won at the top of your lungs.

11) Complain about everyone, and everything they are doing and then do what you just complained about.

12) Show up everyday in some outrageous costume and then refuse to dress up for Halloween.

13) Call in sick every Friday, and then hung over Monday.

14) Call in once a week with a sick kid, this works best if you don’t have kids.

15) Bring your kids to work and then try and get everyone else to watch him or her so you can do your work. If someone does watch them don’t do any work.

16) Bring your pet in. Set it up in someone else’s cubical. Place the litter box (if there is one) outside your supervisor’s office door. Spend your day talking to your pet and taking it for walks. This works great with real pets but to take it to the next level bring in a pet rock, talk to it and take it for walks, dress it up in different outfits and ask people for their opinion on each one.

17) Make your cubical a home away from home. Bring in a bar fridge, hot plate, microwave, couch or bunk bed, clothing rack, TV and a stereo. Start inviting people over, spend the night, and have a party.

18) Fill your garbage can and recycle box with empty alcohol bottles. See if you can balance empty beer cans around the top of your cubical, then build a wall to make an office. If this does not work, bring in a water gun or elastic shooter and tell everyone you are doing target practice for when you bring in your BB gun. Start shooting at the beer cans with the water gun or elastic shooter yelling "Incoming".

19) Start running a book making business from your cubical (taking money bets), run an online betting site on your work computer, have poker games in the lunch room all day. Invite VIP’s to play at them.

20) Paint your cubical. This works great if you use different colors for the outside and inside. Offer to paint everyone’s cubicles.

21) If all else fails throw all your paper work in the air screaming “I can’t take this anymore, you are all to normal!” and start taking off your clothing as you run around in a big circle crying. (When in doubt flip out)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Gas prices are changing how we do business

The price of gas is changing how people buy. The higher the price of gas, the more expensive everything else is. This is reducing people’s disposable income dramatically. People are less likely to give into impulse buys; they want to feel they are getting great value for their money. They are less likely to buy something just because it is there and it catches their attention.

People are buying less luxury items, such as jewelry and purchasing necessities instead. Buying over the Internet is also down as the cost of shipping is up. Why buy something that has to be shipped when you can find a similar product at a local shopping mall and don’t have to pay for shipping. Just because an item seems to be a deal online does not mean it is once you include shipping and handling charges.

So how we market product has to change. You have to concentrate on the perceived value of the item, or that it is cheaper to buy from you then the local store even with shipping charges. Some places are even covering the cost of shipping. With fewer dollars available the competition for those dollars is becoming even more intense. I am quite sure that some small businesses and some big ones are not going to be able to survive for very long unless things change.

So the real question is how do we stay in business with a reduction in sales? For us it will be by cutting costs wherever we can. We are offering several different shipping options so people can get the one that fits their budget. We are reducing the amount of packaging that goes with products to reduce shipping cost. We are not purchasing any manufactured products for our inventory. Other then what we already had to put onto the website we are only adding our own handcrafted pieces to the website inventory. That is about all we can do. We don’t have staff to let go, other then ourselves. But until we make more sales we are not paying ourselves. It is going to be hard and our ability to stay in business will depend on how long this goes on for. We will be fine for at least a year. Hopefully things will be better by then.