Archive for July, 2006

Canadian Economics of Baby Boomers

here’s a great article on the CBC Site.

www.cbc.ca/news/background/canada2020/essay-fortin.html

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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 info@pivotib.com or call 1-800-971-4673

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Commuting

The CBC posted a story about the commute times of people and that they are rising. There could be many factors, such as more traffic, urban sprawl, etc., but there’s no denying that it’s true.

I generally commute about 40 minutes per day. There are a few days (not many, maybe 2 or 3 per month) when I either work from home or am on the road and therefore no commute time. It would be nice if this were less but it’s not too bad. It’s about 135 hours per year or 3.375 work weeks of time.

I wonder if “commute time” is from door to door or time in the car driving. I like my parking situation but a lot of people have to find a parking space and then walk to the office.

I’d say the biggest issue that one is faced with while considering the amount of time spent commuting in a vehicle is, couldn’t I be doing something better with my time. Sure, some time in the car may be on a cell phone so technically you could be productive while commuting but that’s dangerous. Also, what if you don’t have any work that you can do on the phone?

Personally, I like the time in the car on the way home to decompress from the day. The morning radio is great for entertaining me on the way to work. Maybe that 40 minute per day isn’t a waste after all is said and done.

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Web Developer stuff

A Web Developer’s Bookmarks List. Huge list of useful links.

If you’re making HTML forms, you should make them pretty and accessible.

Need some icons for your website. Here are some free ones.

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