Archive for February, 2010

Do You Design?

February 24, 2010

Today Macworld.com had a nice article on their top 5 design sites. While not all of us do our own designing it’s still not a bad idea to be up on design in general. By doing so you put yourself in a better position to discuss your design or piece with a graphic designer if you are using one.

They’re all good sites, some of which I already use. It made me review where I go when I want design tips. So in addition to those, I subscribe to these:

I’m sure they are plenty of others I use, none come to mind right off the bat. I highly recommend searching for your own and keeping up to date.

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Do You Use Salesforce?

February 19, 2010

Salesforce has been picking up a lot of steam (and customers) in the last year or so. I know it’s incredibly popular in the nonprofit world since they give the Enterprise edition to nonprofits for free (up to 10 licenses). It sounds like they just made it better.

Currently I’m working a lot with SharePoint, Microsoft’s collaboration & file sharing tool. It can do some amazing things but it definitely has some limitations. And it’s not known to be “fun” to use. The learning curve can be steep.  So what does this have to do with Salesforce? It looks like they’re taking aim at SharePoint with their new collaboration too, Chatter. And it sounds like it’s much more user friendly.

You can check out their demo video on YouTube here.

Windows & Support

February 9, 2010

So what version of Windows are you running? Most people I know are either on Windows XP or Windows 7. Only a few, myself included, have Vista. But even if you have those, you should pay attention. Microsoft is going to stop supporting certain versions of their operating systems.  Big deal you might think, I never call them anyway. But that also means no more updates and that’s a big deal. Let’s face it, no operating system is perfect. There has already been plenty of new (and bashing) around vulnerabilities & security breaches in Windows. The updates that Microsoft releases go a long way to minimize your risk by fixing (some) of these.

So no updates = no fixes and you will be at significant risk from hackers and such.

What’s no longer going to be supported?

  • Windows 2000 – Support for this operating system ends on July 13, 2010. And for God’s sake, why are you still running this???
  • Windows XP with Service Pack 2 – Support for this operating system ends on July 13th also. So you should upgrade your version of XP to Service Pack 3.  Although Microsoft encourages you (of course) to upgrade to Windows 7
  • Windows Vista RTM – This is the original version of Vista that would have come pre-installed on a new computer. Service for this version ends on April 13, 2010. Yikes! Upgrade to Service Pack 1 for Vista and you get support until July 12, 2011 or Service Pack 2 and you get even longer support.

And really, you should have the latest service pack installed anyway, just to be safe. Now I know that sometimes the service packs cause more problems than they seem to solve and many of us don’t want to rush out and be the first ones on the block to install them. So it’s ok to wait a little while to do so but not forever. And at this time, they’ve all been out long enough for most of the kinks to be worked out.

You can check out the security blog here for more information.

Is Your File Corrupt

February 4, 2010

I was helping a co-worker the other day with a Word document. She was experiencing all sorts of problems. It would look just fine on the screen but when she went to print it, all of the text on one line would be condensed into a tiny little square. This would happen throughout the document in random places. It would also do it if she converted it to a PDF.

Sounded like corruption to me. Unfortunately there is no “sure” way to test for this. You have to start over. And by that I really do mean START OVER. Do not copy one little character from that file into a new file or you could copy the corruption. Yuck!

So how does this happen and what can you do to minimize your risk? Files can become corrupt for a variety of reasons but one of the most common is because of how we do our work. Here’s what I mean:

I need to create a letter. I already have a old letter document that I want to use ‘most’ of the text from.

  • So I open it
  • go Save As
  • give it a new name
  • delete a bunch of text that I don’t need
  • type in new text that I want to replace the old text with
  • done

One the surface this doesn’t seem so bad. It’s a real time saver and I don’t have to re-type a bunch on information that I already have in an older document. Right?

Here’s the problem. The more times you go through the steps above, the move likely that your end document will start to get sloppy. What I mean by this is that “pieces” of computer code can get left behind when you delete and replace existing text with new text. That can cause corruption.

How many times has that document been copied? Your letter may be a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy …

That’s a lot of copies!

The better way is to create your base document and save it as a template. This format minimizes your risk of corruption as long as you use the template each time, not a previously saved copy of the document.

By using a template, you’re starting out with a relatively clean copy; reducing the risk of corruption. This applies to ALL file formats.