February 2005

All of your business needs. One easy solution.

02/19/2005       Vol 2 Issue 2


IVAA BoD Nomination
Some of you may already know this, but I have been nominated to serve on the upcoming Board of Directors for the International Virtual Assistants Association. I am truly honored to be considered for this position within the IVAA organization. I have come to rely on IVAA and the membership there to help with questions and concerns about my business. It truly feels wonderful to have the opportunity to give back to the community. I already hold quarterly IVAA Virtual Assistant Connections here in Austin, which have always gone wonderfully, a great opportunity to speak to other VAs in my area and speak to those interested in becoming a Virtual Assistant themselves. The term would be for three years beginning April 1, 2005. Elections are in March. Just being nominated is truly an honor. To learn more about IVAA, visit http://www.ivaa.org 

Tech Talk With Tom
How to speed up that slowed down computer

We all do it: Write a file, delete a file, install a program, delete a program. It is the nature of people that use computers. Times change and so do the files you use. But then it starts to happen, files that used to open instantly now take 30 seconds or more. And computer boot up? Well, might as well go get the morning paper, you've got 5 extra minutes while you wait for Windows to come up.

What happened? You just spent your yearly computer budget on this top of the line machine and suddenly what once seemed almost too fast is taking forever to load the most basic file. What has happened is call Harddrive Fragmentation.

The technical stuff: Your harddrive is made of rows of magnetic strips that store information in the order that it is saved. Well, this is ALMOST true. As you delete older files, you leave blank gaps that the harddrive tries to fill up as you save new files. Since these gaps vary in size, one file or program can get spread out across a relatively large storage space. This doesn't really adversely affect your harddrive, but what it DOES affect is the time that it takes the harddrive to find every piece of the program or files that you've saved or installed. This is called "seek" time, and the more fragmented your harddrive gets, the longer this seek time becomes.

So, how do we get all of our programs back into a nice, easy to find order? Defrag!!!

First off, it is important to note, Defragging can sometimes take several hours, so it is best to start it right before you leave the office. Make sure all programs are closed and that noone is going to Remote Connect to your computer.

Ok, that said, open your "My Computer" window. This is usually the first icon on your desktop in the upper left hand corner. Ok, you should see a list of your available drives. Right click on the drive you wish to defragment (Usually C: is the most important one to do).

Right clicking will bring up a little menu, sellect "Properties". Just below the top of the Properties window, you should see several Tabs (General, Tools, Hardware, etc). The tab we want is "Tools".

Once you are in the Tools tabs, just click the button labelled "Defragment Now". Once the Disk Defragmentor window opens, just hit the "Defragment" button near the bottom, and go home. Or read a book. Or watch grass grow. ANYTHING except sit and watch the defragmentation process. (Trust me, it is THAT boring.)

What Disk Defragmentor does is make a list of all your installed files and programs, and moves them so that everything that goes together is physically close together on the disk. You should notice and immediate (though sometimes not drastic) speed increase on your computer when booting and loading files.

I usually recommend defragmenting once a quarter, but if you are a heavy file user, or have just gone through a major software upgrade, I recommend defragmenting immediately. An ounce of prevention now could save you a lot of heartache later.

Tom Beauchamp is the owner of LAN’s Edge in Austin, TX. LAN’s Edge is a computer gaming center that offers PC and xbox gaming as well as a high speed internet connection and PC sales and repair.  He can be reached at daystar@lansedge.com. Visit http://www.lansedge.com for more information.

An accountant is having a hard time sleeping and goes to see his doctor. "Doctor, I just can't get to sleep at night." "Have you tried counting sheep?" "That's the problem - I make a mistake and then spend three hours trying to find it"

This newsletter is published monthly by Candy Beauchamp of OffAssist. (c) 2005
Much of the advice in this newsletter is based upon the research, professional and personal experiences of the authors. If the reader has any questions concerning any material or procedure mentioned, the publisher and authors strongly suggest seeking the advice of a qualified CPA.

Important Tax Deadlines
2/15 - Last day for filing Form W-4 by employees who wish to claim exemption from withholding of income tax for 2004

02/28 - Form 1096 with supporting 1099s and Form W3 with supporting W2s for 2004 must be mailed to the IRS and SSA, respectively.



Reminders to close out year end

-- If you use an "Undeposited Funds" account, make sure to run a ledger report for this account to check for anything that may have been posted incorrectly.

-- Don’t forget to depreciate your assets!

--  Verify year end totals in your A/R and A/P accounts.

-- Remove any unused accounts from your Chart of Accounts.

--  Double check that all prepaid assets have been expensed for year end.

-- Run a year end balance sheet and Profit and Loss and compare to what you believe the "real life" numbers are.

-- Do not make any adjustments to the previous year once you give the books to your CPA.

*This list is not all-inclusive, but some quick reminders of commonly forgotten items.

Spotlight On... Linux Journal

This month the spotlight swings on over to the Linux Journal. Linux is a multi-user, multitasking operating system that runs on most platforms. It interoperates well with other operating systems, including those from Apple, Microsoft and Novell. Linux (pronounced with a short “i” and the first syllable stressed—LIH-nucks) is freely available — it can be copied and redistributed without fees or royalties. The source code for Linux is available on the Internet to anyone who wants it.

The Linux operating system is the brainchild of hacker extraordinaire Linus Torvalds. It began as a project while Linus was a 21-year-old student at the University of Helsinki. The operating system Linus originally created featured a mere 10,000 lines of code — today it boasts over 1.5 million lines of code written by more than 10,000 developers worldwide.

Today, with a firm base of at least 15 million users, Linux is growing exponentially as programmers, enthusiasts, vendors and end users exchange thoughts, implement ideas, contribute code and cooperate in the phenomenon known as Open Source to produce the operating system known as Linux.

Linux Journal is the premier Linux magazine, dedicated to serving the Linux community and promoting the use of Linux world-wide. A monthly periodical, Linux Journal is currently celebrating its eleventh year of publication. Linux Journal may be purchased at all major bookstores and newsstands and may also be ordered by visiting http://www.linuxjournal.com/.


Have an article you’d like to write for our monthly newsletter or want to be spotlighted?
Email candy@offassist.com.