December 2006  
All of your business needs. One easy solution.
12/05/2006           Volume 3 Issue 12   www.offassist.com
'Tis The Season To Say "Ahh..."

Ah, my most favorite time of the year.

I love the lights. The holiday spirit (and spirits, for that matter) is nice, but most of all I love that this is the calm before my storm. December is traditionally my quietest month of the year, work-wise. It is the one time of the year I know I can take a breather and just enjoy life for a while. Why?

Because starting right after Christmas, the insanity begins. Every January I find myself actually dreaming (having nightmares...?) about W2s and 1099s.

Happy Holidays and Merry New Year from everyone at OffAssist! This season, take time out to smell the hot chocolate :)

In this issue...
Copyrighting Your Website

- by Candy Beauchamp

Website plagiarism is on the rise. I've seen my own website, as well as those of my colleagues, being copied over and over and it is so frustrating. About once a month, I find someone has stolen part or almost all of my content and I have to go through the process of contacting them to remove it. Usually, they remove it promptly. Last month, someone refused and I was forced to go to the expense of engaging my attorney to handle it. Since this problem is becoming more and more frequent, I now have a standing agreement with an attorney to handle all copyright infringement issues.

All of this has led me to look into copyrighting my website. Contrary to popular belief, you can't just put a little© on your site and be done with it. You do have to file with the Copyright Office. The government's guide on how to do this can be found at: www.copyright.gov/circs/circ66.html

What steps do I take to try to stop Internet plagiarism and catch it when it occurs? Rather than rehash what has already been said, I'm going to point you to an excellent article by Vonnetta Booker-Brown of Right-Hand Concepts.

The direct link to the article is: www.righthandconcepts.com/articles.htm#content

Everyone wants to have great, attention-getting content on their website. Done properly, your content can set you apart from the crowd and help you get better ratings in the search engines. When a person or business copies other people's work, they are not only hurting the people that they are plagiarizing from they are also hurting their own chances of being found on search engines. I am not even going to go into the damage to a business' reputation if they should get caught.

Please, everyone, take time to write your own content, or hire someone to do it for you and make sure it is work-for-hire (so you are the legal copyright holder) and take time to file the copyright with the government. When using a content writer, make sure your agreement with them specifies that any content they write for you is wholly original and does not infringe on anyone else's copyright.

Some resources:
Quickie QuickBooks Q & A
JB from HI asks:

Q: My checkbook register is displaying all of my transactions by date order of the actual transaction. How can I see the register by order of check number instead?

A: While in your checkbook register, you have several options for viewing the checkbook register information. On the bottom left of your register is a "sort by" and to the right of that is a drop down toolbar. To view your checkbook register by transaction number, you would select the "Number/Ref" option. If you would like to see the transactions that have not cleared your bank account at the bottom of the register, you would select the "sort by - cleared status".


 
 
 
Important Tax Deadlines
December 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for November issued payroll

December 20 - Texas Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly filers

January 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for December issued payroll

January 20 - Texas Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly, quarterly and annual filers

January 31 - Employer's Quarterly Payroll Tax Report(s) Form 941
- Employer's Quarterly TWC (Texas Workforce Commission)
- Employer's Annual Federal Unemployment Tax, Form 940
- Forms W-2 and Forms 1099 must be mailed/postmarked to recipient
Spotlight On...
The Hidden Helpers

Let me introduce you to Lauren Hidden of The Hidden Helpers, a virtual assistant business focusing exclusively on writing and editing. Lauren's husband, Ed, gets kudos for her business' name, originally "The Hidden Helper", an awesome name for a virtual assistant and one Lauren says she is frequently complimented on.

Prior to becoming a stay-at-home mother, Lauren was in public relations with a Fortune 500 company. While home she decided to become a full-time freelance writer. Over time she discovered she had a passion for editing and, in 2004, opened The Hidden Helper.

Like many new virtual assistants, Lauren often took on work she was not entirely passionate about, but has since refined her services to focus on business writing and nonfiction. It was definitely the right move and her business has grown to the point where it is now The Hidden Helpers. Lauren has a team of people who help her provide top-notch ghostwriting, editing, proofreading, and research services to authors and professionals.

If you look at her website you'll see lots of great information on Lauren and her business, so we asked her what was the one question about her business or niche/specialty that no one has asked her and she wishes they would?

Here's what she said:
"What people should ask me: 'How can I improve my business writing?'"

"My answer: 'For everything you write, ask yourself, "So what?". If you can't answer that question, you need to rework your writing so you can.'"
For more info on Lauren Hidden and The Hidden Helpers, visit them on the web at www.hiddenhelper.com.


Joke of the Month

It's hard for me to trust bankers to count properly.

If they could count, banks wouldn’t always have eleven windows and three tellers.

Tech Talk With Tom...
Question of the Month:
If having one firewall on your system is good, is have two or more firewalls on your system better?


Answer:

Although many people think "more is better", this is definitely not true in the firewall world. If your primary firewall is set up and configured correctly then you should not need another firewall. Why not? Simply because of the way firewalls work. Imagine having a house with an outer and inner wall, spaced just inches from each other. Both are good, strong walls and could easily hold up the house by themselves. You put windows in the inner wall so that you can see outside. You have to put the same windows in the outer wall so you can see it as well. Is the outer wall really giving you any additional protection?

The same holds true for firewalls. The "walls" are the ports that you keep blocked all the time. This prevents intruders from remotely accessing your computer. The "windows" are the ports that you keep open, or open so that you can access certain online programs. You would have to open the same ports in both firewalls to be able to get through.

Instead of buying a second firewall, just make sure your first one is set up properly. Spend a little time in the configuration wizard and make sure that you are only opening ports that you really need open. I also recommend going through your configuration settings at least once a month to ensure that you still need all of the ports open. If you stop using a certain application, make sure you close those ports until they are needed again.

Tom Beauchamp is the marketing and tech expert behind OffAssist. He can be reached at tom@offassist.com.
 
Have an article you'd like to write for our monthly newsletter or want to be spotlighted? Have a QuickBooks question or something you'd like to see in the Tech Tip?

Email candy@offassist.com.