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Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

PostHeaderIcon New Year, New Tech?

We are not saying that just because it’s a new year you need new technology.

This is a good time of year to assess your tech, though. Now is the time to think about what works in your office and what doesn’t and take some time to think about the future. Do you have a tool that doesn’t work quite the way you want it to, anything from your CRM solution to your mobile phone?

Make a list of all the technology you use in your daily life, both professional and personal. Is it a long, scary list? Resolve to make it shorter. Is the list short and the number of things you still use outdated solutions for long? Resolve to make your list longer in 2009–if that’s your goal. Decide what works and what needs work and carve out some time to research possible options.

Unsurprisingly, we’re not the only ones who think this is the time to think about your 2009 technology needs. Check out some of the New Year’s tech resolutions articles we found around the web–it’s good food for thought.

ArsTechnica’s 2009 Tech Resolutions

One of my personal faves mentions, among other things, cleaning up techno-clutter. Check out these 5 resolutions at

Infoworld’s top tech resolutions for 2009 are interesting, to say the least, but more geared toward large, enterprise operations, although, as open source advocates we especially like #2.

We’re trying to be greener, so Ted Sansom’s Green Tech Resolutions for 2009 is especially appealing.

A little lower tech, but more real-life oriented is this list from the Chicago Tribune’s Eric 2.0 column.

Tell us YOUR 2009 tech resolutions.

PostHeaderIcon Free Quickbooks! 12-22-08 Only!

Are you putting off switching to QuickBooks because you just don’t think you need it yet, and can’t justify the expense?

Well, you can stop stalling now. On Monday, December 22, 2008, Staples and Intuit are teaming up to help small business owners get a mostly free copy of QB 2009.

Mostly free because it involves discounts and rebates, and still paying sales tax, but still, it IS mostly free. The promotion is available in person or online at

Check it out here and remember it is ONE DAY only, 12/22/08!

PostHeaderIcon Online Resources

A lot of our readers are VAs. and other work-from-home professionals. Whenever we run across a resource the we find useful, or think our readers might find useful, we like to share.

How about 101 resources? Check out’s list of 101 online resources to make running your online business a little easier. The list includea a litte bit of everything, from Backup services to VoIP options and a ton in-between.

PostHeaderIcon Which Wiki?

Are you thinking about adding a wiki to your business toolbox? There are tons of options out there now. How can you decide which one is right for you?

Here at OffAssist we favor a combination of Google Docs and BackPack.

For good advice and feature comparisons, check out Answer their handy questionnaire and let them help you find the right Wiki for your (or your clients’ for you VAs) needs.

PostHeaderIcon Soocial – Cross Platform Contact Management

Have I mentioned that I lurve Lifehacker. Even now, working for the man as I do most of the time, they still have great tips I can put to use in my own life. A nifty example is Friday’s post about Soocial.

I’ve had my smartphone for 6 months now, and I still barely use a fraction of its capabilities and one of the reasons is because the syncing process drives me nuts. Soocial could help. At the very least, now that I’ve added a gmail account to my already lengthy list, it would keep me from having to recreate my existing contact list.

Oh, yea, and my favorite part, Soocial is free.

My second most favoritest bit? The visuals they use to convey that it is “Hassle-Free” (think Hassel(hoff)-Free)

PostHeaderIcon Goodnight Sweet GUI…

Do you remember the first time you encountered Windows, specifically a 3.x version?

When all of a sudden you could navigate your computer visually instead using a bunch of commands–although those still worked for those who needed time to adjust.

For better or for worse, no matter what you think of Windows, it was a HUGE moment in user-driven computing. And now the early versions are finally gone for good. As of November 1, 2008 Microsoft stopped issuing licenses for all Windows 3.x products. For more details, check out BBC News’ article on the subject.

Am I the only one surprised that this just happened? I haven’t actually SEEN a computer with Win 3.x since, uh…. 1999.

PostHeaderIcon We Will, We Will, Click You!

Eh? What do I mean?

I’m talking about clickjacking, a nasty little browser expolit that, according to Jeremiah Grossman, of WhiteHat Security, “…gives an attacker the ability to trick a user into clicking on something only barely or momentarily noticeable. Therefore, if a user clicks on a Web page, they may actually be clicking on content from another page.”

And, no, Firefox and Mac users are NOT safe from this one, it apparently affects ALL browsers. Read more at the Linux Journal blog.

PostHeaderIcon Extending XP… Again.

Microsoft confirmed on Friday that they will continue shipping Windows XP media through July 2009. Read all about it in this ComputerWorld article.

Yea, Vista is a BIG hit…lol.

PostHeaderIcon Smart Phone Mania!

Time for some ~real~ fun stuff!

Check out CNN’s list of 10 nifty apps for your phone here.

Even more interesting are reports of a shortage of developers for phone applications. So, if you know how to write software for smartphones, even this economy could be good for you. Especially you open source folks 🙂

PostHeaderIcon Microsoft MAPPs Out New Security Plan

I heard about the new MS MAPP (Microsoft Active Protections Program) at accountingweb, but the article didn’t make much sense (possibly because I’m still on my first cup of coffee?) so I went to the source for more details.

Because I just click the little icon (unless my geek in residence specifically says not to) I never paid attention to which day of the week/month my Microsoft updates occurred and didn’t know about Patch Tuesday. Basically it’s when Microsoft releases all their big software and, here’s the important part, security patches. These patches cover vulnerabilities in MS software that can be exploited by hackers and virus writers.

In order for most security software companies to figure out what and where these holes are so they can better design their products to block them, they have to reverse engineer Microsoft’s updates. Then they can update their own products to prevent people from exploiting these holes.

The second post above, from Microsoft, indicates that they (finally!) realize what an inefficient system this is. Microsoft’s MAPP will share critical information about these security holes with selected security product providers BEFORE Patch Tuesdays to give them more time to develop a fix before the announcement of the security issue repairs are made to the public. All under an ironclad seven ways from Sunday NDA, of course.

Oh, and if you are running, well, anything Microsoft, since one of the August patches involved the Microsoft Image Color Management system for Windows 2000, XP, and Win Server 2003, you prolly ought to go ahead and click that little shield icon in the lower right.