Archive for Advice

Getting organized

Cheap and simple. Your own mini, inexpensive personal organizer.


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Download DVDs onto my 30GB iPod

Trying to download DVDs onto my 30g iPod? Here’s how I did it.

The official way to do this is to purchase Quicktime Pro from Apple but it doesn’t support all video types (especially not ones that are downloaded off the net–but no one does that…)

However there is some free software out there for you:

A couple notes: you may want to shrink your DVD down to size before putting it on the iPod. A double layer DVD is about 8 GB. The converter naturally removes a large portion of that as it shrinks it down to 320 pixels wide but it can still be big. A decent program for grabbing your movie off your DVD onto your computer (do this before you convert it to an iPod format) is at

Sooo. Step one–Use DVDx to copy your movie off your DVD. Step two–convert the movie into MP4 format using Videora. By the way each of these steps will take some time–the conversion takes almost as much time as watching the video cuz that’s what the computer is doing–watching the movie and recording it in another format.


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Freedom of Custom Web-based Software Assets

by Tim Sloan, Pivot.IB Lead Developer

Before I begin, I have a quick disclaimer. I believe anyone can use the Internet to help their business. My great-aunt Violet asked for my help getting her online book store, specializing in Canadian and award winning books, up and running. It took a while but she took orders and was running an online business. She was 84 when she started the store and she lived in a tiny town in central Saskatchewan. If she can do it, anyone can. She operated her business for two years before she decided to close it down for health reasons.

Now here is a fundamental statement: the Internet is nearly ubiquitous. We can hook up our cars, our refrigerators, our television remote controls and nearly anything that runs on electricity. Since we have the Internet everywhere, it only makes sense that if we want the flexibility and freedom that comes with this power that we move our businesses and the software we use to run our businesses onto the Internet.

Within a year, several major cities will offer free wireless Internet to their occupants. As they do this, they’ll bring hundreds of thousands or even millions of new consumers onto the online world. They’re doing it to improve the economies of the businesses in their boundaries. Imagine if your city suddenly offered free Internet to everyone. Would you be ready for the dozens or hundreds or thousands of people what would suddenly start looking for local businesses or web-based businesses. If your business leverages the Internet in some way, you may be ready. If you operate your entire business online, you are definitely ready. My great-aunt was ready.

Custom web-based software has a few very interesting characteristics and some of these will surprise a lot of people.

Custom web-based software is available anywhere and therefore it makes people more productive. I’ve stopped in at libraries, at my parent’s house or even hooked up my laptop in coffee shops to do some work online. If your business uses custom web-based software, you can imagine how easy it would be to do a little work from home or even handle an emergency while you’re on a vacation. This is real freedom.

Custom web-based software scales up and down more easily than standard desktop software. More often then not, if you hire a new person, you can just add a new user. You don’t need to go buy a new license or install anything. Sure there are still limitations but for the most part, they are much cheaper to fix and simpler to handle.

You can use custom web-based software to expand your office. Not just new personnel but with custom web-based software assets, you can open new branches in new cities and have everyone tied into the same business processes. An initial investment in custom web-based software will pay huge dividends if you try to set up a new office.

It is a bit counter-intuitive but it should be noted that old computers, even old clunkers that are still running Windows 98 and are really slow, can still be useful if you have custom web-based software. Maybe a little RAM upgrade and a bigger monitor and suddenly that old beast is a functional unit in your business. While this may not do much for employee morale, it can be good for the balance sheet.

Also, if the software is built correctly, it doesn’t matter what operating system or web-browser the user has, that user can operate the software. Windows, Macs or even Linux operating systems all have anopportunity to work together.

Are you tempted to move your business’s software onto the Internet? Is it possible and how do you start? As well, how can this software make your business better? These are big questions that need to be answered before you begin.

My last piece of advice is that no matter what, make sure you take enough time to build your software well. Even if you’ve got a company promising a quick turn-around time on building the software, make sure you’re ready to extend the deadlines. There’s a saying in IT, “you can have it good, cheap or quick-pick two.” For a software asset, it’s important that it be good so you need to worry do I want to pay a lot and have it sooner or am I willing to wait and pay a little less. If you give a project enough time, you’ll get quality.

Great custom web-based software gives you something that can increase the value of your business. However, you’ve got to be willing to invest it the software to get it made right. With some patience, a bit of a budget and a clear idea of what you want to do, you can harness the power of the Internet to enable your business to do more.

For more details on custom web-based software for your business, contact us at or call 1-800-971-4673

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Important Warning…

John Scott sent me this warning. Take heed.

Generally, I hate the warnings that get sent around, but I have to admit that this one is important. Please protect everyone you know by sending this to your entire email list.

If a man comes to your front door and says he is conducting a survey and asks you to show him your bum.

DO NOT show him your bum.

This is a scam. He only wants to see your bum.

I wish I’d got this yesterday. I feel so stupid and cheap.

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Installing a Tile Floor

I invited my friend Darren (his school)over to help. He has the tools and he’s done it before. We started out by removing the existing floor (a terrible red carpet) and cleaning up the bad paper-backed vinyl tiles that were under the carpet. Turned out to be a bigger job than we thought. My brother was there to help and it was necessary. It took quite a bit to remove the paper from the plywood subfloor.

Under the supervision and careful eye of Darren, we laid down the tiles as best we could. Here are the results:

Georgia is scouting out the area.

Maddy is nearly camouflaged.

Conference about the changes.