Archive for March, 2012

Less than a month ago, my son misplaced his iPhone 4S and didn’t realize it for a few hours. When he alerted us to the phone’s disappearance, he immediately used his MobileMe Find My iPhone app on his iPad and the computer (easier to read view).

He locked the phone ASAP so the thief couldn’t use it. There is also the “wipe” functionality which many phones, including Windows phones, have so all data can be erased. This is a great security tool for anyone to have. This app saved my son from me being completely angry with him.

It was a stressful 18 hours at the Bush family homestead. An expensive phone was missing. We were able to track it down with the MobileMe Find My iPhone app (http://itunes.apple.com/app/find-my-iphone/id376101648) where it narrowed down its location to a handful of homes in a nearby neighborhood. Lesson that we learned and will not repeat is that it’s probably not the safest thing to go knocking on doors at night asking if the residents have seen your missing iPhone.

The saga continued. The following morning we looked at Find My iPhone and the phone had changed locations. Thankfully, it was still nearby so we went to the street to where the GPS pointed us. We decided that this location was not safe to go knocking on the door. Later that morning the phone changed to yet another (nearby) location. We narrowed it down to a small retail area and entered a small, no name phone store on whose outdoor sign was written “….-Unlock.”

That was the key! We entered the tiny no-name store and had someone at home click on the app’s  “Play Sound” and we heard our homing beacon loud and clear! We told the employee that it was our phone and we looked behind the counter. It was my son’s iPhone and the screen saver with Justin Tuck’s photo (NY Giants player) confirmed it. The woman said that a customer brought it in to be unlocked. Customer my foot! How does she spell “I-L-L-E-G-A-L or T-H-I-E-F?”

 Lucky for her and her “customer”, we didn’t contact the police. We just wanted the phone back. My son had the box with the ID to match what was in the iPhone. Pretty exciting!

What else is to be learned from this wild experience of ours?  Have a tool or app to lock, wipe and locate your device. Security of one’s data (names, phone numbers, photos) is essential whether it’s personal or corporate data.

FYI: There are some app solutions for protecting your Android device – phone or tablet as well as Windows phone.  Check out these articles: http://www.pcworld.com/article/250040/how_to_locate_your_unprotected_android_device.html


On a final note (new to this article), I am sorry that I didn’t call the police when we retrieved the iPhone at the no-name store. I am confident that this unlocking of stolen phones happens on a regular basis and should be stopped. However, a colleague told me that a good thing has come from this saga in that I have been able to relate a true life story to my readers and make them aware of the dangers as well as tools to protect their data and safety. Thanks Jerry.

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E-mail driving you crazy? Every time you delete one, do five more show up? Are you finding it impossible to answer every e-mail you receive?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re not alone!

Some people are even declaring e-mail bankruptcy — they dump every e-mail in their inbox and start over. If that’s not an option for you,
then here are 10 tips to reduce e-mail overload.

1. Get a good spam filter. Even if it saves you just 10 minutes a day, that adds up to over 59 hours a year.

2. Cancel subscriptions to unwanted mailing lists, and opt-out of LEGITIMATE e-zines. But be careful! Trying to opt-out of spam e-mails will only alert the sender that they have a LIVE address. Also, make sure you are careful to check the “unsubscribe” or “opt-out” box when purchasing items online.

3. Ask your friends to remove you from joke groups or chain messages. Simply explain your situation and, if they are good friends, they’ll take you out of their message group.

4. Don’t post or publish your e-mail on web sites. Spammers will steal it and put it on their lists.

5. Don’t respond to every e-mail you receive. Yes, it’s okay NOT to respond to some e-mails. If it’s a group e-mail, don’t respond with “okay” or “:)” — it’s not necessary unless the sender is specifically asking you a question or requesting a response.

6. Be succinct. Restrict your messages to a few sentences. If you can’t, pick up the phone or talk in person. This will avoid the back-and-forth of e-mail conversation.

7.  Take advantage of subject lines. If possible, put your question in the subject line, or your message. If that’s not possible, make your subject line very descriptive so the recipient knows what your message is about. Here’s another tip; create a set of codes with your coworkers and place them in the subject line to help them process and prioritize messages. For example, use “FYI” for informational messages. Use “AR” for action required and “URG”  1. for urgent messages.

8. Block time to answer your e-mail and fight the temptation to check your e-mail every few minutes. You will save yourself a lot of time and be far more productive.

9. Respond to messages when you open them so you only read them once. If the e-mail requires an action step, schedule the action step and delete it from your inbox.

10. Set time aside in the morning and the evening to process your inbox. Shoot for a completely empty inbox. File messages you need to keep and set reminders for messages that require you to follow up.

Now, here are some tips to keep from adding to the e-mail overload of others…

1. Be courteous when forwarding an e-mail: summarize the thread and why you are sending it at the top of the e-mail.

2. Don’t copy someone on a message unless it is necessary. And explain why you’re copying them. Recipients won’t need to guess your intentions. This means less back and forth messages.

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Who would have thought that we would experience a winter storm – not quite a blizzard – in early February or all the snow to follow it? When I was helping to put together my CMIT Pacesetters quarterly in-person meeting (aka “the onsite meeting”), I would not have imagined that we would be watching the snow accumulate for more than a day outside our meeting room at the Sheraton DTC hotel. Fortunately, everyone in our mastermind group had arrived safely before our first event – dinner.

CMIT Pacesetters Ski Team 2012

Our group is approaching our fourth year in existence. Phil and I have been fortunate to be original or charter members. Just as teams or departments in a company evolve, we have become intimately involved with growing each other’s CMIT businesses.  A week before we all gathered in Denver I was sharing with a prospect about our Pacesetters group. He was impressed with what we do, especially the deep dives into each business.

And, it is only getting better as we face the challenges of continued growth in an ever changing industry. There are more engineers and staff on each of our teams, more clients on our CMIT Marathon (proactive IT support) program, and we all juggle work and family or is that family and work.! I think it’s the latter. For me, add in Rotary to the juggling mix.

Over the years I have written about our Pacesetters group and the enormous benefit of being part of an accountability group. Most groups like ours are comprised of representatives from different companies in the same industry. I am a member of one of those and it has been great. The unique aspect to our Pacesetters group is that we are all separate businesses; however, we all work under the same corporate umbrella of CMIT Solutions. It takes us to an even deeper level of functioning and supporting one another.

 In addition to each of us supporting and challenging one another, it is also important to have similar relationships with one’s strategic alliances. Phil touched on this topic in his February column. Similar to a business having customers versus clients, a business like ours has vendors and strategic alliances. We develop and nurture relationships with our Clients and in a similar vein we do the same thing with our Strategic Alliances. It makes life (and work) a lot more enjoyable and rewarding when there is a 2-way, collaborative relationship with the key players. We will go the extra mile for those special alliances and help grow their business as they help us to grow ours.

Lastly, one of the rewarding moments of our group is recognizing and celebrating success where a Pacesetter has ascended to the next milestone level within our system. This photo is of my colleague Evan (left) and our CEO Jeff as Jeff presents the ruby pin to Evan for his achievement. What a great moment for Evan and for all of us because we believe that we have all contributed to his success. I know that Evan will be there to cheer and support CMIT Denver and our other Pacesetters in reaching new heights as well.

Our next Pacesetters meeting will precede the kickoff of our CMIT Annual Convention in Lake Tahoe. Don’t get any ideas that we will be lounging around. We will be working to take our group and each CMIT office to the next level and beyond! 

Have a great month in March! Beware the Ides of March and live it up on St. Pat’s Day. Live it up every day.

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Windows SkyDrive is a free tool that only requires me or you to have a Windows Live ID. Well, naturally I have one since I am a long time Microsoft Partner and am required to have one.

SkyDrive   has made life easier for me and family members in a variety of ways. I shared a file with my 9th grader that is stored on SkyDrive. We have a family calendar for special events and travel schedules. My mother-in-law posts her busy schedule and we can see where she is which saves me time from emailing her and waiting for her response. I have posted a variety of documents and photos on SkyDrive to have easy access from any device, any time and anywhere. That’s the beauty of the “cloud.”

What can SkyDrive do for you?

  • It provides me 25 GB of free storage in the Microsoft cloud which also means it’s backed up which gives me a sense of security. Naturally, I have business class offsite backup with our CMIT Guardian solution for my business docs.
  • There is the calendar function which can be shared with others.
  • Messenger (IM) and Hotmail are available as well as MSN
  • You can edit on the fly docs, spreadsheets and more in the IE browser or in the application itself.
  • You can create folders to enhance organization of files much like you do in Windows Explorer or Microsoft Sharepoint.

Check it out at http://skydrive.live.com. Remember, you will need to create or use your Windows Live ID.

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