Taming the Beasts

Understanding Your Digital Landscape Seminar 11/16/2010

From the flyer, regarding the Seminar I’ll be conducting to help business owners, who are not technically enabled, to better understand what makes their business function:

Understanding the Digital Landscape

What is it?
How do you find it?
How do you use it effectively?

Computers save us time in everything from information storage and retrieval, calculation, graphic design, and report preparation. E-commerce allows our websites to keep our businesses running 24/7.

A failure at any point, from our office records to our online presence, can quickly snowball into a technological disaster, especially for a small business that doesn’t have an IT (information technology) staff in-house.

Seminar leader Curt Middlebrook, The Computer Whisperer, provides insights into the equipment, computer programs, and office and internet support services out there, and the people who provide them. You’ll learn how to maximize your online efficiency, and how to track the success of your online marketing.
This is a Lunch & Learn program, part of the Pinellas Park/Gateway Chamber of Commerce Success in Business Series. Your registration includes detailed information for evaluating every aspect of your company’s digital landscape, as well as a light lunch.

When : Tuesday, November 16; 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
Where : Park Station, 5851 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park, Room 202

Cost : $19.95 Pinellas Park/Gateway Chamber Members
$24.95 Non-members

Call Chamber Manager Larry Steinlauf at 544-4777 to register.
You must be registered to attend.

It’s a Jungle Out There!

Just a few thoughts from my world:

If anyone says they “know it all” about computers, excuse youself from the conversation and place their business card in the nearest shredder. I bet even Bill Gates wouldn’t even make that claim. I know some things about computers, some learned sitting up way to many nights trying things in programs or reading on the web, or hard copy books to find out how to make the computers do my bidding. I also know there are others who can do things better in some areas of the computing world, and I am constantly on the prowl for such people so I can build alliances with to provide better services to those I work with. My talent lies in figuring out how to use what’s on hand, and what is available to meet specific needs of individuals and businesses.

Here’s a basic condition any computer professional is up against: The possible combination of interactions between hardware and software is incomprehensible. While your system and software is with your daily, your set up is unique. If you are experiencing issues, your computer person will have to spend a little bit of time making sure they understand what your system is capable of (relates to many performance issues), what operating system you are using and if it’s updated, what security you have (or don’t on your system), how you connect to the internet, who provides your internet access service, and a plethora of other things, before they can begin to help find out why your system isn’t performing up to your standards.

You can save the most time you have to have one of use helping you by being ready to answer those questions, which may be a challenge if you have a hand me down system, but, more importantly, if you can say clearly what problem you are having and (here’s the key) what you were doing/trying to do when you had the issue come up. I promise it will be a much longer session if the only thing you can say is “my computer isn’t working right,” or “my internet is slow.” If you can say something like “every time I try to download a picture, Internet Explorer stops working” it will really help target the things someone has took look at on the way to solving your problems. Think of it as a real way to save yourself money when you’re paying for hourly billed help, no matter who they are. Better yet, when things start happening, if you can jot a few notes on what you were doing when the problem came, and what were the notices on the screen, or the way the computer improperly responded (like freezing up, or stopping a program) those will be exceptionally valuable (and time saving) tips for a tech to get you back to work. You may, in the course of taking notes, aslo find a pattern that points right at a solution, too. Once more, it saves you time, and therefore money.

Don’t worry too much about not knowing the right terminology. That’s our job, but if you capture specific error messages, it’s very helpful, especially when you aren’t on the other end of the 20 question, rapid fire exploration I’ll try to work through that isn’t for anything other than trying to get to the issue quickly, but I sense some people find intimidating. Think of such questions as the CSI detective arriving at the crime scene and all they want to know is what happened..

So, there’s a little of my side of the equation, and hopefully some help for you when you have to get someone to help you.

And, as a final note: Not everyone can possibly know everyting about your system the first time we show up, and it’s not becuase we are falsely representing ourselves, it’s just there’s a lot of possible combinations out there and how your system wrks (or not as this post discusses) is a unique circumstance that will take a few minutes to “frame” for the technician.

[Editorial note: This post was written on Tuesday afternoon and autoposted later. Try that on Blogspot…want to know more? Contact me for WordPress Coaching!]