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Seamus Byrne

Switch to better tech in 2010

How to find the best deals to switch to better tech in 2010 – Séamus Byrne gives you the keys to choosing the right time to upgrade, and how to find the best deals for your business. If you want your business to grow well, you'll need to regularly upgrade infrastructure, such as computers and phone systems, to take advantage of new technologies and to replace worn-out or obsolete hardware. You're not alone if you're concerned that any infrastructure upgrade could be a costly, complex process, but delay without good … more »

Switch to better tech in 2010

How to find the best deals to switch to better tech in 2010 – Séamus Byrne gives you the keys to choosing the right time to upgrade, and how to find the best deals for your business. If you want your business to grow well, you'll need to regularly upgrade infrastructure, such as computers and phone systems, to take advantage of new technologies and to replace worn-out or obsolete hardware. You're not alone if you're concerned that any infrastructure upgrade could be a costly, complex process, but delay without good … more »

Upgrade planning: When to take your business to the next level?

Don't fall into the trap of waiting too long to upgrade your business IT infrastructure. With a few essential strategies to drive your decision making, you should make plans to use an upgrade process to increase efficiency, improve productivity, and, yes, actually reduce costs. In a tough climate, the urge to push back an upgrade cycle by ‘one more year' is hard to resist. But there are hidden costs attached to sticking with the status quo. These include higher maintenance costs and support requirements, and limiting your business flexibility if … more »

Upgrade solutions: choosing the best and smartest

The prospect of a hardware upgrade is an appealing one now that the GFC is behind us and economies are steadily recovering. Before you make the decision, however, it's important to consider the overall impact of an upgrade on your business, and how you might be able to manage the switch cost-effectively. Finding your ideal upgrade solution A 2008 Gartner report titled To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade: That is the Question recommends any upgrade or replacement decision be examined from four viewpoints: 1. Business value: Ensure the upgrade provides … more »

Recharge your office

It's gifting season, and there's no better office gift than raw power. How often does your office ring with the cry of workers in desperate need of a phone charger? At one time or another we have probably been in the same situation. Low battery. Important call. Surely someone has a charger to suit our Nokia / Sony Ericsson / LG / Motorola / Blackberry device? When you get lucky, it's good to know someone else in the office was better organised than you. More often calls are missed, and … more »

Twitter lists enhance use case for business

Twitter has a new feature, Twitter Lists, which now lets users create groups to track specific sets of users more easily. Any list a user makes can be kept private or made public, and anyone can choose to follow public lists made by other users. It's helpful for Twitter power users, and when approached in the right way it enhances the potential of Twitter as a tool for businesses, too. Some interesting benefits of lists in a business context is being able to closely monitor users that you don't actually … more »

Ways to use Google Wave today

Last week we took a look at the basic ideas behind what Google Wave is, how it works, and how it is set to take email into the 21st century. That's nice to help you get an idea of where to start. But there's nothing like some direct examples to help wrap one's mind around how new tools can make the life you know better. So here we have suggestions for what you and your colleagues could be doing in Wave right now that would be much more effective than … more »

Meet Google Wave

As invitations to Google's latest grand project, Google Wave, begin to drip into the wider community even the geeks are finding they could use someone to hold their hand. At first glance, Wave looks like email. But then it is a real-time conversation. And a document creation tool. And suddenly it's hard to grasp what you should actually do with it. Or what it could ever be good for in ‘the real world'. This week a user manual has been released to the web , providing that leg up so … more »

Meet Google Wave

As invitations to Google's latest grand project, Google Wave, begin to drip into the wider community even the geeks are finding they could use someone to hold their hand. At first glance, Wave looks like email. But then it is a real-time conversation. And a document creation tool. And suddenly it's hard to grasp what you should actually do with it. Or what it could ever be good for in ‘the real world'. This week a user manual has been released to the web, providing that leg up so many … more »

Two screens really are better than one

Monitors now come very cheap, and almost every desktop computer (and all laptops) can run multiple monitors out of the box. Yet business owners are still reticent to supply their staff with a second monitor. Like the transition from dial-up to broadband, or from black-and-white to colour television, anyone who has spent time working with two screens never wants to go back. Users may claim they love to use dual screen arrangements, but does it actually make a difference to productivity? The answer is a resounding yes. Surveys and research … more »

Why you need to explore server virtualisation

Virtualisation. It's a hot technology right now, but there is a mystique to the concept that makes many small businesses shy away from the idea. Some may have experience with virtualisation on the desktop. Running Windows on a Mac, Linux on Windows, or other clever uses of running a limited OS environment useful for testing purposes. Big enterprise has seen significant benefits in the use of virtualised servers as the technology has matured over the past two years. But it is still difficult for many in smaller business to understand … more »

Best smartphone applications for business users

There is no question that smartphones offer great value to smart users. The trouble is finding the best tools and applications for your needs out of the thousands clambering for attention, even on relatively organised services like the iTunes App Store. With the smartphone software mentioned below, you can shave a few minutes off tasks you're already doing, use spare moments to start or finish important jobs, or get the jump on your competition. Blackberry®   BizTrackItTM (US$39.99) A project oriented, time tracking application that lets you clock in and … more »

Better email through keywords

Email Keys

We aren’t all as good at managing our inbox as we would like to be. Thankfully email software is making it easier to sift through the sea of messages when you’re looking for what you need this second. But now and then emails can slip through the cracks. Emails that you just know are tucked away in there, but you just can’t think of the best words to use when you search for them. As an email sender, how can you make it easier for your email to be found … more »

Stay together even when you’re apart

Remote connection tools are now an indispensable part of many business operations, yet there are still a lot of business owners who leave this type of software in the too hard basket. Here are four tools you can use easily. For a long time it was understandable that small businesses stayed away from remote connection tools, with firewall and security system reconfiguration part and parcel of getting such packages up and running. But now remote connectivity tools have more advanced network intelligence. So unless you specifically intend to stop them … more »

5 powerful tools for syncing your business to the cloud

Living in the cloud is a powerful concept, but in practice there are still times when we need to have access to our data when we are most definitely not online. Here are five powerful tools you can start using today to enjoy the back up and access benefits of making the cloud your main work filing and storage destination, while keeping everything synced on your desktop so it is still there when you need it in a pinch. Dropbox A lack of offsite backup in any business is asking … more »

Why web restrictions only hurt productivity

By now you've no doubt read articles telling you why blocking access to the Facebooks, Twitters, and YouTubes of the world will save you hours and millions of dollars in lost productivity. Personal distraction is a malignant force of the office that should be treated like cancer. Unfortunately, this type of ‘lost productivity' is a fallacy. Anyone who thinks they can achieve 100% office productivity needs to go run a robot factory and leave humans to their terribly human mental rhythms. Best be careful those robots don't break down. The … more »

The ups and downs of hyped technologies

If there's one thing you can count on in technology, it's that every ‘next big thing' is overhyped before we actually discover what it is really good for. Technology research and analysis firm Gartner regularly generates a graph that aims to chart just how hyped a technology has become. Their 2009 report was released in August, and for smart business owners it can offer some interesting advice on which technologies are ready for prime time, and what currently promises more than it offers. Since 1995, Gartner's Hype Cycle offers an … more »

Five ways to immediately spend less time in your inbox

Dealing with email should never be part of a job description, yet many of us are spending hours a day in an inbox. Reading, sending, and filing email messages rarely gets any actual work done. If you feel like your inbox is becoming a time sink, here are five immediate changes you can make to help escape email’s gravitational pull and get your productivity back into orbit. Kick the habit The best place to start is to stop checking for new mail automatically. If that seems too big a leap … more »

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