Friday, June 27, 2008

I Have Toner All Over My Pants!

Will this Ink Rub Off During A Presentation?

Managing cost is a vital skill in the business world. Office supplies are a huge culprit in sucking the life out of budgets and in particular, ink cartridges.

I stumbled upon this article and thought you all would find this of interest; comparing brand-name ink to third-party ink.

If you're a busy individual, I have quoted the conclusion:

The Bottom Line on Printer Inks

Depending on your printer, you may be able to find cheaper, third-party inks that perform as well as or better than the brand-name stuff. In our study we found that third-party ink cartridges usually cost less and often yielded more prints than their manufacturer-made rivals. On the other hand, in most cases, we confirmed the printer manufacturers' claims that their own inks produce better-looking images.

Deciding between brand-name and third-party alternatives depends in part on how you plan to use your prints. If you want high-quality color photos that future generations will be able to enjoy, then OEM inks are usually a better choice.

Many of us, however, don't need the best ink supplies that money can buy. If your prints tend to be for one-time-only office presentations, text documents for school, or temporary color images (such as plain-paper photos), inks from third-party supplies may be a reasonable cost-saving option. And over the lifetime of your printer, cost savings from buying third-party inks can be considerable.

~the GURU

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Blogroll *Updated*

Hello everyone,

As I like to support fellow bloggers, I have been following a couple business-based blogs for the past couple months and have decided to add them to my blog roll as they provide great information. I believe business owners will find what they have to contribute very helpful.

They are:

Rescue Marketing

Weakest Link Consulting

Both provide insights, advice, and raise awareness about happenings in the business world.

~the GURU

Monday, June 16, 2008

No IT Clowns Here Part II - Stephen King's "IT"

Companies to need Savvy up their IT

I wrote an article back in December 07, titled "This Isn't Stephen King's "IT"" and as I was reading the Wall Street and Technology web site today, I stumbled across this article about IT. Once again, it addresses the fact that people are so opposed to something they do not understand and refuse to embrace technology. To make matters worse, this author provides no real backing of his assumptions in regards to IT, which, in the end, makes him one of the main reasons IT gets such a bad rap.

Right off the bat, the tone is set incorrectly in this article about how IT should be viewed.

"In good times, the challenge is how to spend the money wisely; and in bad times, the challenge also is how to spend the money wisely."

IT cannot be viewed as simply managing costs associated with developing a business' infrastructure. I'll be one of the first to tell you that IT projects can and are expensive, but if the big picture vision is there and well thought out, success awaits you. Businesses that irresponsibly throw money around will suffer the fate of having a shoddy IT department,
but companies that utilize IT to attack and resolve business inefficiencies have more than just "15 minutes of IT fame."
A sand trap many businesses fall into are getting caught up with "buzz words" and not really seeing how the applications can benefit their business. They buy the product, not the solution. We can thank the salespeople that strive for the quick sale and not the long-term success.

The Author mentions that IT Departments "fail to build a sustainable practical environment" (Habbal, Mayiz 6/11/08). I challenge that remark and to ask how often a business agrees to an IT Project and then quickly disregards it before the solution is implemented!! As the list of insults are thrown at IT, words such as "appalling", "staggering", and my favorite, "exceptionally frightening" are mixed together, it is no wonder people think IT is from Stephen King's novel.

Mayiz Habbal has strong words towards IT, yet no evidence backing up his claims. I understand IT undertakings have failed, but also a lot of flourished. Apple fans love IT. iPhone software is the result of IT investments.

IT helps companies attack inefficiencies. Businesses that have multiple departments and have issues of the "silo effect", by bringing in an ERP solution and allow all those businesses to communicate seamlessly does wonders for breaking down barriers. Walmart owes all of it's inventory success to Information Technology. Its inventory systems allow both the supplier and Walmart to "talk" between intranets with ease.

Imagine if Walmart had to call each one of its suppliers for every store?! YIKES!

Overall, I am not saying IT is perfect. It is not and that is because businesses can be very loose when it comes to investing properly. Then, when a project fails, they blame the IT department when, in the first place, the other departments in the business did not fully harness the solution being presented.

There is no cookie-cutter answer for a business when it comes to IT. Every solution is customized to the business. Forcing a product on a business never leads to success. The product has to provide that solution that answers the issue posing a problem to the business. Once the corporate world realizes this, IT will be basking in the high life.....

~the GURU

A little video of Stephen King's "IT". Your IT guy is not the Clown.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Do You Like Being "Always Home"?

Home Landlines Becoming Obsolete? At What Cost?

In a May article in BusinessWeek, studies are showing that home landlines are slowly being replaced by wireless devices (cell phones). Consumers either keep landlines for internet connections or simply have them because they always have. Recent trends to absolve the use of landlines are due to cost and the demand for being able to be contacted "anytime"and "anyplace".

However, while wireless technology is the wave of the future, there is a point I want to raise and it should be duly noted, but before I divulge my point and issue, let's go over the pros and cons of the growing way to communicate.

The pros of ridding our lives of landlines are the following:

1) One less number to worry about. If we did not have our personal contact lists with numbers programmed in, our lives would be chaotic. I remember when I used to have so many numbers memorized it wasn't even funny. Now, I can simply look them up in two seconds and begin my call. Also, instead of "guessing" where the to-be-called-party is (are they home? are they out?), we can call one number and be done with it all.

2) "Always Home." By having one number that travels with individuals everywhere, it is like one is always home and will never miss a beat. If someone walked out the door and the phone rang three minutes later with a new meeting spot, a cell phone allows the travelling to be contacted about the location change.

3) It's less expensive. Why pay for both a home number and cell number? Just consolidate.

4) No Solicitors!!!!! Dinner will be peaceful and there will not be 32 issues of Vogue on the door step in a couple weeks.

Now that you're ancy to cancel your land line service, wait just a moment for the cons:

1) Emergency Service Providers have a more difficult time tracking people down. Now, in time this will get better (GPS etc etc), but when calling from a land line phone, location is almost exact. While with cell phones, tower distance/signal strength play a key role.

2) Comfort. Having extended phone calls on a smaller device can cause discomfort and while subject oneself to that if they do not have to? Plus, why drain your batter even more?

3) Memory. I would be curious to see if people had better memorizing skills before the creation of cell phone contact lists. Personally, I do not know as many numbers as I used to. Thus, if I were in a situation where I did not have some one's phone number, I'd be rather bothered.

4) Signal Towers. I am no expert and if any of you readers know, what happens if lightening hits the tower? Lose signal and no other tower can pick up the extra signals or is too far? What type of issue could that cause? If a parent is trying to call his child who is out too late and cannot call?

5) What if solicitors eventually lobby for the ability to call you on your cell phone? Now wouldn't that stink?! I would much rather have those calls go to my land line phone than my cell.

-and now, the main point I want to address in this article-

Sure, we all laugh at the Verizon slogan of "Can You Here Me Now?" But, have you actually thought about that phrase? We say it more than we think. How annoying is this? I want to be able to have a conversation and not have to repeat myself or angle my head just right to receive optimal signal. Plus, voice quality isn't always as crisp as a land line phone. For those of you that are followers of my blog, you know that I praise the motto of "you get what you pay for."

We all know our landlines very rarely go down. They are RELIABLE. Even when the power is out, they work. Most people have their more private conversations in the comfort of their own homes. Imagine when you're speaking to your great grandmother who lives in Europe and it is hard enough to understand her due to her "wise and mature" voice, throw in some cell static and your call is not going to be a good experience. Or, in the midst of a very important conversation, you have been speaking for a few minutes only to realize that the call was dropped two minutes ago?

At this point in time, we, as consumers, need to start to go after quality again, not just cheap. It will come back and bite us. Why settle? I hate having to repeat myself when having a conversation or have to re-call after a call is dropped. In time, the service will be better, but not yet. Notice how I did not touch upon the business side of things, imagine being on a call with a vital client and the call is dropped.... how are you viewed in their eyes?
Don't sacrifice quality..... because who honestly wants to be "always home?"

~the GURU

Le Link to the Article

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sell It On eBay! Airline Fee Satire

Time For Some Guru Satire

First, I take my blog very seriously as I try to educate my audience, share some opinions, and give advice, but we have to have some fun every now and then, so here we go:

Below are a couple links about all the new airline fees that are popping up and causing chaos, if you have not heard about them, you are living under a rock.

You're Charging Me for What?!

Funny Comic

Packing Light Pays

So, obviously, we have the baggage fees and now some are possibly speculating about the weight of you and your bags being charged as well. Quite simply, airlines need to become more versatile and diversify their portfolios..... my solution; their own eBay Auction sites.

Picture it now, you just enjoyed your flight. You paid $15 for your checked bag, your pants still don't fit quite right after they made you take them off for "security purposes". You had a baby two rows up screaming the entire time, your lap top battery died half-way through the flight, you were frozen the entire flight because you dared not wrap yourself in the disease infested blankets, the stewardess gave you only 1/4 can of Ginger Ale and no pretzels, and if you're really really really lucky, the flight allowed cell phones... Could this trip be any worse?

Yes it could. It turns out after you filed slowly out of the plane (which they shut the air off as you awaited the gate to be opened to save on electricity), you left behind your suit jacket which housed your fountain pen, wallet, sunglasses, but you did not realize this until you passed the security check point.

Now, we would expect the airlines to notify you once they searched the jacket and found your I.D., but not anymore ladies and gentlemen, I introduce the Airlines eBay Store!!

Airlines have a cash cow in their grasps. Tons of people leave belongings behind, so instead of returning them, put them up for auction!

I can see it now, your suit jacket, pen, wallet, and sunglasses all end up on the Auction site, along with the thousands of other items left behind on planes.
If you really think about it, airlines could become a electronics/small articles
of clothing store
To top things off, you can use your Frequent Flyer Miles on the auctions too! Talk about an added bonus for flying with your carrier of choice.

This could help alleviate all the gas issues and drive the airlines into an entirely new industry.

So, the next time you forget a personal belonging, do not even attempt to contact the airline carrier, save yourself the trouble and go to eBay and buy your stuff back...

The be-all will be when on your next flight the gentleman to your right happens to have a pen that looks identical to your "lost" pen and those sunglasses have the same scratch on the frame as yours did......

Oh, what the future could hold.

~the GURU