open source software

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 August 2014 07:28 Written by Ed Beckmann Tuesday, 23 October 2012 02:55

What is Open Source Software (OSS)?

There is a good definition guidance on wikipedia here, but here is our version. Sadly if you are in the UK, you are amongst the least likely people in Europe or the US to have heard about it. All of the software used for our business is open source (i.e. not Microsoft or Apple).

Open Source Software is generally available free of charge and exists because:

  1. it normally runs on most hardware, and is particularly efficient so you keep hardware for longer
  2. you (or someone you hire) can alter the way the program works to suit your needs
  3. being able to alter it means that you can benefit from everyone else’s ideas and improvements – you do not have to wait for what one manufacturer deems is a worthwhile annual upgrade
  4. you can often benefit from a very niche programme that someone has written because their business needs it, but is happy to share it thus share the workload of maintenance
  5. for office work there are few problems exchanging documents, spreadsheets and presentations with the main big name. Unlike your problems when people using newer versions force you to upgrade!

It can often take a while for the penny to drop regarding open source, because it is common in business not to share ideas with others (therefore missing out on their input) or give something away with no strings attached rather than sell it. Likewise it is much easier to stick with the norm rather than make your own decisions.

Well, over half the web runs on open source software, as do most car computers and electronic devices like TVs, DVDs etc. You are likely to have heard of Firefox and Opera browsers which are also open source.

It is true that fewer companies at the small business end of the market support open source, but given they can do almost all of your maintenance remotely you do not need one in every high street. Equally be aware that if you ask an “IT expert” about open source you may not get a balanced view – just like going into a Ford garage and asking what they think of Renault cars.

more details here …


We are still a commercial business, so if a piece of proprietary software is the best tool for the job, we will use it! We just do not limit ourselves to one option or 2 big brands.

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Cost of using Internet Explorer 7 (IE7)

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 August 2014 07:28 Written by Ed Beckmann Thursday, 18 October 2012 02:40

Why Upgrade from IE7

An online retailer is imposing a tax on customers using Internet Explorer 7 web browser. Getting some members of the public to keep up with new technology can be almost as difficult as getting your brand some headline exposure in the competitive Internet marketplace. Australian online electronics retailer Kogan is attempting to kill both birds with one stone by implementing an “Internet Explorer 7 Tax” on customers who use the somewhat outdated browser when they make purchases. The tax will be levied at 6.8 per cent – 0.1 per cent for each month of IE7’s existence. IE7-using customers who place an order will get a pop-up message explaining the tax and offering links to download alternative browsers that will avoid the surcharge.

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From an article in ZEN Internet newsletter.

Discover Award Winning Broadband from Zen - Up to 20Mbps downstream, Unrivalled Customer Service, 1 month contract. Services start from just £17.99 per month inc. VAT. Order Now

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Making the most of LinkedIn (part 1)

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 August 2014 07:28 Written by Ed Beckmann Wednesday, 28 March 2012 03:26

linked in logo

Linked in is a very popular site with loads of uses, but you can waste a lot of time and project a poor impression if you do not use it skilfully.

In 3 articles I will summarise what is on offer, how to make a plan and how to make sure that you get value for the time you spend on the site.

First steps

This first article will give you some familiarity with it and suggest a plan of action. My suggestion is that you print this out and explore the linked-in site. There is plenty of online help so I won’t waste space here giving click-by-click instructions.

  1. make a plan – although it is not complicated, a plan will get you more success for less effort overall. So read the steps, make some notes, look around the site a bit and then make your entries
  2. go into the settings and read through them. Initially turn notifications of changes off, otherwise people will be bombarded by every entry you make when you set up – this will make them insensitive to things that you post once you get going
  3. decide what you want your ‘headline’ to be. The headline is the text that appears immediately after your name.
  4. prepare a good photo that portrays the image you want
  5. enter your past job roles in reverse order, so the most relevant is first in the list
  6. company pages need bona fide email address @companyname and not @btconnect, @hotmail etc.
  7. bear in mind your ‘keyword’ information that you worked out for your company website
  8. enter the links to your website(s) and make sure that you amend the titles of web links, especially if you are listing several
  9. set profile display as public when you are ready
  10. think about who you want as connections
  11. import contacts but be selective who you invite, or systematically find and invite people
  12. always invite with a personal message – it shows you have thought about them
  13. hide your connections to avoid contact-snoopers. If you do not hide contacts, then sales and recruitment agencies effectively have a free view of your address book just by visiting your page
  14. put your contacts into groups to that you can post messages to easily. Avoid overloading people with ‘noise’ from your social media, they get so bored with bland updates from you that they miss the valuable items
  15. set up company page
  16. set up your products and services before getting recommendations
  17. when asking for a recommendation, indicate what you are proud of or want to stress. This will reinforce your message rather than simply be a list of nice comments
  18. use Q & A areas to be seen as being helpful and constructive
  19. make comments weekly but not daily, to demonstrate that your aim is to make a comment when it has value
  20. if you set up a group, do something useful with it
  21. look at a group to get to know the tone before posting to it
  22. really challenge yourself whether a posting you plan to make is of real worth to readers. If it is blatant self-promotion, you will be joining about 75% of the noise that is flying around and you are less likely to be respected

Summary

This has been a very general whirlwind tour of linked-in, and hopefully you can appreciate the difference between being noticed and being respected on it. In the following articles I will progress with company pages and your products and services, but will not be covering the use of Linked in for harvesting leads.

Useful resources

LinkedIn for Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))
LinkedIn: A complete guide for Individuals, Self Employed and Businesses
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