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Archive for June, 2013

XP_EndOfSupportLast month there was an article on why it’s important to say farewell to Windows XP and welcome the very solid Windows 7 operating system (or Windows 8 if you really like a challenge). For many months to come you will read and hear about the end of support by Microsoft for the XP operating system and why your business must bite the proverbial bullet and upgrade to Windows 7.

Although businesses have been getting rid of Windows XP for at least the last 3 years, the fact remains that as of last December 2012, around 500 million users were still running Windows XP. Here are 7 of the top reasons it’s time to finally give up Windows XP now.

1. Tons Of Viruses. There is a huge library of viruses aimed at Windows XP and limited antivirus support still available.

2. XP Is OLD (almost 12 years old!). The 1st iPod was released the same year as Windows XP. In a world where the 5th iPhone has been released, no one should be left using an O/S that pre-dates the 1st iPod!

3. Least Secure Operating System (By Far!). ALL other platforms, including Linux, all versions of Mac OS X, Windows 7 and Windows 8 are more secure than XP by a huge margin. Windows Vista is actually a far safer option (scary!).

4. Built For A Simpler Time. XP was created for a simpler world of technology. It was formatted to fit to a screen only 640 pixels wide, and it showcased IE6 as a new product. The internet was a different place when XP was developed. Smartphones were non-existent, laptops were a luxury and tablet computers were science fiction.

5. No More Band-Aids. Only so many Band-Aid fixes on top of each other can be effective.

6. Support Is Ending. Mainstream support of XP ended 4 years ago (April 2009) with only critical security updates since then.

7. Malware Everywhere. You can continue to use XP, but with more malware than ever. XP is by far the most vulnerable platform to connect to the internet.

XP is a relic from a different world. Use at your own risk. Reach out to our team at CMIT Solutions of Denver to discuss the what’s required of your technology/IT environment to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7.

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In May’s print newsletter , I provided some quotes from local Denver area author, Mark Sanborn, who is the author of The Fred Factor and most recently, Fred 2.0. Last month I had another opportunity to hear Mark speak on a webinar on “How to be a Fred and Deliver EXTRAordinary Results.” It was great reinforcement of what he talked about in Nashville two months ago.

The first Freds I ever “knew” were Fred Flintstone and Fred Mertz (“I Love Lucy”). I would not designate either of these Freds as EXTRA-ordinary; however, one would have a hard time disputing the impact or effect each had on early TV history. At my wedding we had a Fred be one of the witnesses to our marriage contract. These Freds are all special.

Debi_MarkSanbornOne of the concepts that Mark Sanborn shared on his webinar was about happiness. Now, there have been philosophies on happiness over the decades and centuries as well as books and radio segments in the current day on the elusive and much sought after life that is filled  with happiness.

Three concepts to be practiced every day are:

1. Choosing to be happy.

2. Change for the sake of change. Switch things up. Sometimes you should change for the sake of change or to make progress.

3. Identify “Why” you want to renew your resolve. Ask yourself “What’s the basic problem with _____?” and then work to fix that problem.

As you are aware, I attend industry-related meetings and conferences  throughout the year and I am fortunate to have stellar speakers like Mark Sanborn. On his May webinar he mentioned the importance of instruction, training and continued education. He created a formula to address the benefit of education:

EXPECTATION WITHOUT EDUCATION IS FRUSTRATION

Wouldn’t it be nice to reduce the amount of frustration you, your family and your colleagues experience? I know that my kids would vote for reducing my frustration and stress when it comes to their schoolwork and my wish that they would keep things orderly in the house. I want to be a Fred because having more FUN in my life would be a welcome addition. To be a Fred is “choosing to be extraordinary.” Much like you have to choose to be happy, you must choose to be EXTRAordinary, or above and beyond ordinary.

I don’t think that you have to be extraordinary in all aspects of your life and work nor should you be.  However, and a big however, is that I’ll bet that you are EXTRAordinary in some area or aspect of your life.  You may not recognize that this unnoticed talent is above and beyond ordinary. Mark Sanborn said that you can find “success principles in the things that happen every day that are extraordinary and go unnoticed.”

Tying in with our featured person of the month and leadership guru, John Maxwell, it’s wise to recognize that “we lead our families, kids, friends “and more according to Sanborn. As part of leading your company and your family, Mark entioned following the CARE principle:  Create A Rare Experience.  When striving to be extraordinary or maintaining that special talent that is extraordinary, make sure to create a rare, special and unique experience.  Have a lot more fun by practicing the Fred way of life.

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For anyone MaryPoppinswho knows me, Debi Bush, they know how I love Disney – Disney movies, Disney songs, Disneyland (it’s the original). I have loved Disney since seeing Mary Poppins when it premiered in theaters in 1964. I promise that I won’t sing the songs to you. Several years ago at a conference here in Denver I heard a speaker talk about “The Disney Way” and I naturally bought the book that the speaker referenced.

Have you ever been in awe of the creative side of Disney (its innovation over the past 80 years) and at the same time admired their consistency and sticking to their philosophies and high standards? The executives at Disney learned the hard way in the 1970s and 1980s that they couldn’t rely on what they did in the past to carry them forward. So, what happened? Disney went back to its roots and started a whole new era of animated features starting with The Little Mermaid and Beauty & The Beast. Beauty & The Beast was so real to its viewers with its story and the music that made it so special that it was nominated for Best Picture for the Academy Awards. After that, Hollywood decided that an animated feature film should not be in the same category as a film with human beings. Lesson learned?

Tigger-PoohWhen I was in the cable TV industry, there were two major trade shows a year that I attended on behalf of whatever company for whom I was working. The Disney Channel booth was always busy and I would find myself there during my break from booth duty and stand in line for at least 30 minutes to have a custom Disney drawing created just for me. This organization creates experiences that can stay with a person for a lifetime.

So, in the spirit of Disney and in the spirit of taking your business to another level of customer service following are the 7 tenets or guidelines from which Disney employees are trained. Think about how you can incorporate and customize these for your organization to make the experience of your customers or clients special so they’ll always want to stay with you.

  1. Make eye contact and smile.
  2. Greet and welcome every guest
  3. Seek out guest contact.
  4. Provide immediate service recovery
  5. Always display appropriate body language
  6. Create dreams and preserve the “magical guest experience”
  7. Thank each and every guest

I loved the mantra of “dream, believe, dare, do.” If you dream it, you can believe in it (whatever “it” is), dare to make it a reality and do (execute or implement) it.

Here’s a link to an article about creating a Disney-Like addiction to your company for some extra food for thought.

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Windows 8 was released in 2012. But if you’re still having trouble with the new operating system or are hesitant to have Windows 8, don’t despair: Microsoft’s latest update represents the biggest redesign in the classic operating system’s look and feel since Windows 3.1 jumped to Windows 95. The evolution makes technological sense, though. The old Start menu is replaced with a touch-oriented Start screen that will appeal to anyone with smartphone experience. Meanwhile, the new color scheme and tiled interface sure is easy on the eyes.

Windows_8_Start_Tiles

But that doesn’t mean that the wholly redesigned Windows 8 is easy to use. If you’re here in Denver, you can attend free workshops at the Microsoft Store at Park Meadows Shopping Center. The website has a listing of classes during the week  and on the weekend and they’re complimentary.

So here are 10 tips to make your experience with Windows 8 a breeze:

1) Don’t let the lock screen scare you.Windows 8 opens on a lock screen — but doesn’t tell you what to do next. If you’re on a computer, tap the space bar or spin the mouse wheel; if you’re using a tablet, swipe upwards to reveal the login screen. Enter your password and you’re in business.

2) Organize interface clutter. That new interface looks snazzy, right? But if apps you don’t use are cluttering things up, right click or swipe down and select Unpin to remove them. Then, drag and drop the remaining tiles into easily identified groups to suit your needs. If an app has a larger tile that takes up two slots, you can also right click it and choose “Smaller” to free up valuable Start screen space.

3) Personalize your background images. You use the computer all day — give yourself something nice to ogle during downtime! You can change your lock, user tile, or Start screen images by pressing the Windows key + I, clicking “Change PC Settings,” and choosing the Personalize option.

4) Want to see all your applications in list form? Several options will get you to this easy-to-read view: press the Windows key + Q; right click an empty part of the Start screen; or swipe your finger up from the bottom of the screen and select “All Apps.”

5) Figure out what’s running and when. The lack of Windows’ old-fashioned taskbar might mislead you into thinking you have no apps running. You can still press Alt+Tab to toggle through any active programs, though. And if you press the Windows key + Tab, a pane on the left-hand side will show you all running apps.

6) Embrace Internet Explorer’s full-screen view. Open Windows 8’s dedicated browser and you’ll see no toolbars, menus, or sidebars. But simply right click an empty part of the page, or swipe your finger down from the top, to reveal several search and find options. And if you prefer the old-fashioned desktop version, click the spanner icon and you’ll be good to go.

7) Keep your personal information private.Default Windows 8 apps can use your name, location, and profile photo. But pressing the Windows key + I, clicking on More PC Settings, and selecting Privacy can help you hold some of that info back.

8) If you’re using a computer, learn as many keyboard shortcuts as possible. Don’t dig the new touch screen? Keyboard shortcuts — typically the Windows key and one other button pressed in tandem — can get things done equally as fast. Visit Microsoft’s Windows 8 keyboard shortcut site here for a comprehensive list and start practicing.

9) Learn how to take a screenshot first. See something you like on an Internet site or inside an application? Hold down the Windows key + Print Screen to save it for future use (the image will automatically go into your My Pictures folder with the filename “Screenshot”).

10) Ready to call it a day? Shutting down Windows 8 isn’t easy without the familiar Start button. But move your cursor to the bottom right corner of the screen, click the Settings icon, and you’ll see a power button. Click that and “Shut Down” or “Restart” options will appear.

BONUS TIP: Do you prefer the classic Start menu instead of the new Start interface? If so, you may be interested in purchasing Start8, a plug-in for Windows 8 that implements a Windows 7-style Start menu with new enhancements. The plug-in can be purchased here for $4.99.

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