CDP's Blog Entries

Networking Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 with Windows XP Problem - 12-28-2014

Windows 7 machines will sometimes have a problem connecting (mapping) to a Windows XP machine. "The specified network password is not correct" is the error you get from the Windows 7 machine. You can reboot the computers and reset your router and you still get the error.  Other XP machines on the network have no problem communicating with each other.

A likely cause of this can be the dates being different on the two machines. Check the dates to see if they are different. If so, make them the same.  Making the dates the same (synchronizing) will often work miracles.

Cloud Computing - 12-26-2014

Cloud computing refers to running productivity software remotely (e.g., via the Internet) on another computer instead of running it off of your computer. If you have an E-mail account with a web-based service like Hotmail or Yahoo, then you have had some experience with some form of cloud computing.  The E-mail software is not installed on your computer, but rather on a web-based server.  Using your Internet browser, you log into your E-mail account remotely. The E-mail software and storage of your messages is on the remote computer which means you can access it from any computer with Internet access.

Many of the major software companies are headed towards cloud computing to remain competitive.  This means in the future instead of installing a suite of software on each of your computers, you will only have to load its cloud application. The cloud application will allow you to log onto a web-based service which hosts all the programs (e.g., word processor, spreadsheet, database, etc.) you need to get things done.

Cloud computing is expected to change the entire computer industry as we know it. In a cloud computing system, local computers no longer will have to do all the major work when it comes to running applications. The computers that make up the cloud will handle the major work. The result being, hardware and software demands on the user's side will decrease and not force them to have to upgrade whenever a new major software release comes out. 

One major obstacle to cloud computing is security.  Many users are not comfortable with the idea of storing their private and important information remotely on someone else's computer. No matter how secure a company claims to be, there are always those that can hack it or steal it internally. In recently memories there was the scandal at Countrywide Mortgage in which company insiders stole and sold personal information of thousands of customers.  For security purposes, vital information stored on a closed system (no Internet Access) is still the best way to go.  Another major obstacle is convenience. Many users do not want to have to log onto the Internet to run their productivity software.  If the Internet goes down or if they are working off a mobile system in a dead zone, they will not be able to work.

Affiliate Marketing Programs - 02-01-2013

Affiliate marketing is one of the fastest growing Internet businesses in the world. An affiliate program allows anyone with a web site the opportunity to make money by promoting various products or programs at very little or no additional cost. There are currently a number of affiliate programs available on the Internet, for everything from books to computers. is one company well known for its affiliate program. You come across links to their web site and/or products all over the Internet.

In an affiliate program, when visitors to your web site click on an ad or link from your site to the affiliate's on-line store, the affiliate site will keep track of them. If they buy a product, you'll get a commission. It's that simple! Most affiliate programs are free to join and usually offer you between 5% to 20% of the sales. They will provide you with the links (code you need to place on your web site) to their products.

While you do not make as much as you would with your own direct line of products, affiliate program links are very easy to set up on your web site and can have you up and running almost immediately. There is no inventory needed on your part, no shopping cart required, no hassles of signing up for a merchant account. Before you know it, you will be ready to start earning money through your web site.

Turning Your Old Computer Into A Fax Server - 12/10/2012

The question often arises with many business on what should they do with their old computer once they get a new one. Many feel that since technology is quickly on the move, their old computer is now obsolete and worthless. While in many cases this may be true, it may not be true in every case. One solution for putting an old computer to use is to use it to receive incoming faxes.

Some businesses find themselves receiving many faxes a day. Most of these faxes are of little or no importance. Depending on the number of faxes received, the cost for toner/ink and paper can easily make their fax machine their most expensive office machine. For example, assuming a 5 day work week, 100 faxes a day at a modest 5 cents per page can cost $100 a month. That is $1,200 a year! For most businesses, this cost may even be much higher. Do the math on what each incoming fax is costing you.

To reduce your fax cost, an older computer can easily be turned into a fax server. And if this is the machines only function, it does not have to be all that powerful. The computer will capture the incoming faxes and you can view them on the screen. If the fax is important, print it. If not, delete it. In addition, if the right fax software is loaded, you can easily share faxes with others over a network. They can check for incoming faxes without leaving their desk.

One draw back to a fax server is encountered when you want to send an outgoing fax. To do this, you will need either a scanner to scan the outgoing document into your computer and then send it off or a standard fax machine hooked up that you use only for outgoing faxes. If you use a standard fax machine for outgoing faxes, both devices can share the same phone line. You can place a y-splitter at the phone jack or daisy chain the two devices together - most computer modems have two ports to do this. The computer fax software will have to be set to pick up the phone prior to the fax for incoming faxes.

Three things are required to setup a computer as a fax server.

1) A dedicated phone line. This is the same type of line used by a regular fax machine.

2) A computer with a fax modem installed.

3) Software, such as the Windows XP Fax program. Most fax modems come with their own fax software package.

Why Get A Web Site? - 10/22/10

Few people can now make a good argument against the fact that the Internet is here to stay. It is definitely much more than a temporary fad! Modern society as a whole has embraced the Internet with open arms and has come to accept it as an important part of modern everyday life. It is now as important to us as television, radio, and the telephone, and in many ways more so. Below we discuss ten good reasons why you want to seriously consider getting a web site to better promote your business, products, or services if you do not yet have one.

1. To Establish A Presence On The Greatest Media To Come Around Since Radio And TV

It is estimated there are now well over 1 billion people worldwide, from all walks of life, who have direct access to the Internet from their home, school, library, or office. And the number of people who are gaining access to the Internet keeps growing astronomically. Many cell phone users now have access to the Internet through their service provider. The Internet has even found its way into third world countries. Thus, no matter what it is you have to offer, you can't afford to ignore this large number of potential customers.

2. In Order To Remain Competitive

A presence on the Internet can make your company look just as large as the biggest businesses in the world in your particular field. Many businesses are now finding an on-line presence just as important, or even more so, as having a phone or fax machine. If you do not currently have a web site on the Internet, you may be losing out big to your competitors who do have one. A general business rule to remember is that a company which does not remain competitive stops growing. And the company that stops growing will not be around for too long!

3. To Better Network With Others

Success in all businesses require that you make the right connections with the right people. Too often in business it is not what you know, but, rather who you know that leads you down the road to success. Now imagine the millions of potential clients, partners, and business associates that you can meet through the exposure of your own web site.

4. To Make Information On Your Company Available 24-Hours A Day

Imagine being able to get information out on your services or products any minute of the day, seven days a week. With a well planned out web site, you can let customers know what you do and offer, how they can contact you for additional information, where you are located, why you are better than the competition, how to place an order, and a whole lot more!

5. To Better Serve Your Current Customers

Making information readily available is an important way to better serve your customers. Often you may find personnel resources being wasted on the phone answering the same questions over and over again. With your own web site you can set up a page to answer the most frequently ask questions concerning your services or products and free up some of your valuable resources.

6. To provide on-line Forms

With your own web site you can make forms immediately available for your customers that they can print directly to their printer or that they can electronically fill out and E-mail to you. These forms can be used to place an on-line order, pre-qualify for credit, or request more information on a particular product or service. The possibilities with on-line forms are endless!

7. To Use Pictures, Sound, And Movie Files To Promote What You Have To Offer

On a web site you can add sound, pictures, and movie files to enhance your company's information and image. This far outweighs what any traditional brochure, letter, or memo can ever do!

8. To Tap Into International Markets

It is very possible for your web site to bring you valuable international exposure. Many of the people using the Internet are found outside the United States (e.g., in Asia and Europe) which makes the Internet a global market place. Once your web site is posted, it can be viewed by anyone from anywhere in the world who has access to the Internet. You can open up dialogue within international markets or vendors as easily as with the company across the street.

9. To Make Changing Information Available Quickly

Often information that you produce can change before it even gets off the press. Or maybe you catch that one critical error after doing a mass printing. The end result being that you now have a pile of expensive, worthless brochures, flyers, and letters. With a web site, you can publish changes to your information within minutes.

10. To Test Market New Services And Products Before Spending Too Much On Them

The cost of rolling out a new product or service can be very expensive and there is never a guarantee of its success. For the cost and time of a web page or two of HTML programming, you can obtain valuable insight into whether or not a particular product or service is worth the effort to pursue it.

Balancing Your Home-Based Business And Family
- 10/05/2010

There is nothing quite like being your own boss and having your own home-based business! The benefits of watching your kids grow up, the flexibility of the work hours, and spending quality time with your spouse are tremendous. The problem is that a family and a home-based business are both in their right respect full-time jobs, neither of which you can afford to neglect. The trick is to do a juggling act and accomplish both jobs simultaneously.

The following are a few tips to help you better balance both your home-based business and family. Use them as a guide to tailor a strategy that best meets your specific needs.

1. Have someone help you watch your kids.

Find a trust worthy person (mother, father, close friend, etc.) to come and watch your kids for a few hours a day during the most busiest time in your work day. Having that time to make those sales calls and attend to business during peak hours is a big help. You will still be home and have the chance to spend quality time with your kids and watch them grow up, but, they will not be in your way while you get your work done.

2. Everyone in the family needs their job.

Identify the roles and responsibilities of you, your spouse, and your kids around the house and in your home-based business. Remember, you all have a "BIG" stake in the success of your business and must work together to make the best of it and make it work.

3. Good communication with the family is crucial.

Skillfully communicate with your kids and spouse. Sometimes one of you may have had a bad day and need a little extra breathing space. Even though you each have a specific role and responsibility to perform on a daily basis, do not etch it into stone. Always allow for flexibility.

4. Arrange a special time to concentrate on work.

Negotiate with your spouse to watch the kids on the weekend or some evening during the week so you can focus solely on your business, catch up on work, make phone calls, etc.

5. Reward your kids for allowing you the time to get work done.

Make your business fun and educational for your kids by taking them on errands that are combined with some fun time. Treating your kids to such simple places as McDonald's will make them more tolerant during the errand and provide you with the chance to spend some quality time with them.

6. Keep the kids involved with the business.

Provide your kids with activities that keep them busy and lead them to believe that they are helping you with your business. This can include such things as stuffing envelopes and pasting stamps. Not only will this create quality time together, but, it will build self-worth and accomplishment in your kids.

7. Create a reasonable schedule for your kids to follow.

Set aside a special time each day for your kids to keep busy while you work on your business. Talk to your kids about what they would like to do during this time. Maybe watch a video? Work on their own "pretend business?" Play with their toys? Do their homework? Read? Just make it clear to them that they must keep the noise level down and not disturb you except in an emergency.

8. Getting domestic help has its advantages.

Hire someone to help clean your house or do your yard so you can spend the extra time napping, working on your business, or spending it with your family.

9. Reduce the time spent in the kitchen.

Cut down on the number of times you cook during the week. Have your spouse and kids help you cook one or two nights a week. Ordering out once in a while can also be a big treat for the entire family.

10. Make a special work area for you and the kids.

Set aside a special work place for yourself. A spare bedroom, a desk in the den, or any area you can call your own. Be firm and lay down the law concerning this area. Let your family know that this is your special work place and they should not disturb it. Set up similar areas for the kids so they can do their homework, coloring, or drawing. This will help them to better understand the concept.

11. Run your home office as professionally as possible.

There is no reason not to run a home-based business as professionally as an outside business. Teach your kids either not to answer your business phone or to answer it in a professional manner. Also teach them to remain extremely quiet when you are on the phone. Yes, this is very difficult to do, but, it is a must for the home-based business.

12. Do not get so caught up in your work that you neglect your family.

Putting work before your family can be much too easy to do. When it comes to a home-based business, there is always something to do and the work never stops. Thus, set apart a special day and time that you spend with your family. Let your answering machine pick up the phone, ignore your pager, turn off your cell phone, and enjoy your family. Remember, your family should be the most important thing in this life and your home-based business is geared towards making life better for them!

Web Page Layout (foreground) - 09/29/2010

There are two major parts to a web page: the foreground (what people see) and the background (e.g., meta tags that are not seen). While you always want the foreground design of your web pages to look appealing to the eye, you also want the layout to work in your favor.  There are three very important things to consider in the foreground layout of your web pages:

1. Pretty Up The Top Part Of The Web Page

While you want the whole page looking beautiful, pay special attention to the top part of your web pages.  This is the most important part of each page. This is the part that a visitor sees when they first come to your page without having to scroll down the page to see more. It is going to either catch the viewer’s attention and convince them to stay to view more or cause them to click on through. You want some sort of attention grabber at the top of each page! This can be a catchy quote, video, eye catching title, awesome graphics, or a combination of all these. Be as creative as you can!

2. Put The Items You Want Most People To Pay Close Attention To On The Right Side Of The Page

Most people are right handed and the right side of the page is the natural side for them to look. For example, you are advertising a product on your page and have an eye catching picture of it and buy now link. It is much better to place these on the right hand side of the page where it will more likely be seen. Or maybe you have a list of products and you rather draw the reader into the text description rather than the picture. Place the text description to the right of the picture.

3. Make Use Of Tables To Organize Your Web Page

Tables are very powerful layout objects you can use on a web page to organize items.  A table is made of columns and rows.  The spot where the columns and rows intersect are called cells.  Placing items in the cells allow you to organize them.  For example, you have text and a related picture.  On one computer it looks lined up.  On another computer with a different screen resolution, it is offset.  To get around this problem, place the items in a table with two columns.  In one cell place the text and in the other the picture.  Now no matter what the screen resolution is set at, they will be aligned.  The table boarders can be hidden (turned off) so they do not display 

Office 2007 to 2010 Upgrade – 09/21/2010

One question that has been asked by many end users is if there are enough differences between the 2007 and 2010 programs to warrant upgrading from 2007 to 2010.

It all depends on what you are planning to do with your software. The jump from 2007 to 2010 is like going from version 2000 to 2003. Learn one version of a program in 2007 or 2010 and you can easily use the other version.  Both 2007 and 2010 programs use the same file format. The biggest noticeable difference between the 2007 and 2010 core programs (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) is that the Office Button has been replaced with the File Button. Most people new to the 2007 environment were not aware that the Office Button was a file level menu. They thought the Office logo was there for decoration.  In 2010 it has been replaced with the File Button.

While there are a few more bells and whistles in 2010 (e.g., Saprkline charts in Excel and a print screen capture feature in Word) most of the basic options found in the core programs are the same as 2007, making upgrading unnecessary for the average user.  Power users on the other hand may find some of the new bells and whistles worth the upgrade.

The one program which has changed the most between 2007 and 2010 is Outlook. In 2007, Outlook is a mixture of both the old and new environments. For the most part, when you first log in, Outlook 2007 looks a lot like the 2003 environment with the Menu Bar and toolbars. It is not until you get into the various modules (e.g., email editor) that you see the new environment of the Office Button, Quick Access Toolbar, and Ribbon. Outlook 2010 now has the new look when you first log in, gone are the Menu Bar and toolbars.

So upgrading from 2007 to 2010 is a personal decision.  For the average user, sticking with 2007 should be ok.  Power users or heavy Outlook users may find 2010 well worth the upgrade.

Online Marketing Going Strong - 09/18/2010

Even with the slow economy, there are still many money making opportunities over the Internet if you have the right products or services.  The Internet is not a fad that will go away soon.  It is no doubt here to stay!  Most people now have access to the Internet either via computers or their cell phones which mean there is much potential out there.  

People are especially using the Internet to look for things to help them get through these tough economic times, make them feel better by taking their minds off things for a while, or looking for information to increase their knowledge.  If you can somehow tap into one of these three key areas, you too can do well online.  Within the broadest limits imaginable, there is no one to stop you, no one to second-guess you, and no one to restrict your growth.

At the focal point of all your online marketing endeavors should be a well designed web site promoting your products and services.  A web site should be viewed as an online store that is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and can be reached from anywhere in the world.  The design of your web site should be such that it incorporates two very important aspects:

1. Brings in visitors

The best web site in the world does you no good if it does not bring in visitors.  Your web site must be designed to increase exposure both on the surface (e.g., looks and ease of use) and in the background (e.g., keywords and other meta tags).  People must know it is there and can easily get to it.  By using media such as classified ads, tweets, blogs, reciprocal links, and search engines you can get visitors to your web site .

2. Makes the sale

Once you get visitors to your web site, you must close the deal.  Getting 10,000 hits a day does you no good if you are not making any money from them.  You must entice your visitors to buy now and make it as easy as possible for them.

Wireless Security – 09/14/2010

The latest trend in networking is built around wireless devices. The advantage of this type of a setup is that any wireless device within range can be connected to the network without any kind of cabling. This gives you a quick connection and full freedom to move about with your laptop and other wireless devices.

Connecting to a wireless network is extremely easy to do. In fact, it is too easy! This means hackers, neighbors, or just the curious who are within range can connect to your network as well. Thus, protection protocols need to be put in place to keep your connections private and secure. This means that you want to be sure that encryption security is turned on for your main entry points (e.g., your wireless router).

Most DSL and cable modems now come with a built-in wireless router that already has security features turned on. This means the first time you try to connect with a laptop, you will have to enter the security connection key, usually found on the bottom of the wireless modem. Wireless routers you purchase separately come with the security featured turned off and you will need to set this up. How to do this should be explained in the literature, usually on the installation CD, which comes with the router. Most wireless router installation programs will walk you through this process as part of their setup wizard.

Tip: If you can connect to your network with a laptop that has never been connected before and do not have to enter a security code, your entry point is not secure.  Most wireless laptops will also tell you if the entry point is not secure.

Windows 7 - 09/11/2010

Windows 7 was released to the general public on October 22, 2009. Unlike Windows Vista, which introduced a large number of new features, Windows 7 was intended to be a more focused, incremental upgrade to the Windows family of operating systems. It is fully compatible with all applications and hardware supported by Windows Vista.

While in many ways Windows 7 can be viewed as Vista on steroids, there are some obvious differences. It has a redesigned Windows Shell with a new taskbar called the "Superbar" and a home networking system called "HomeGroup". Some applications that were included with prior releases of Microsoft Windows, including Windows Calendar, Windows Mail, Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Photo Gallery, are not included in Windows 7. Instead, many of these applications are offered separately as part of the free Windows Live Essentials suite that can be downloaded from Microsoft.

While some older, obsolete features are being phased out in Windows 7, it looks to be one of the best operating systems designed by Microsoft.  It is very reliable and fast.  Some of the newer "bells and whistles" really stand out.  For example, one of the biggest visual changes in Windows 7 is the removal of the Quick Launch toolbar from the Taskbar. The Quick Launch toolbar has been replaced with the ability to pin applications to the taskbar. Buttons for pinned applications are integrated with the open window task buttons. The Windows 7 taskbar also allows the reordering of taskbar buttons. Click a button and drag to move it.

To the far right of the system clock is a small rectangular button that serves as the Show desktop icon. This button is part of the new feature in Windows 7 called Aero Peek. Hovering over this button makes all visible windows transparent for a quick look at the desktop. Clicking this button minimizes all windows, and clicking it a second time restores them.

There are six different editions of Windows 7, each designed and marketed toward users with different needs. Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate editions are available for retail sale to most consumers worldwide.  The other three editions are aimed at specialized markets. Not only are there six different Windows 7 editions, but there are 32-bit or 64-bit versions of each edition.  If your CPU is more than a few years old, there is a good chance that you can only run a 32-bit version of Windows 7, however if you have a modern processor you can run the 64-bit version.  Each of the Windows 7 editions support the 32-bit processor architecture and all, except the Starter edition, support the 64-bit processor architecture.  32-bit or 64-bit architecture refers to the memory address length that can be referenced by the processor.  Theoretically, 64-bit applications are much faster than 32-bit.  However, for software to take advantage of the 64-bit architecture speed improvement, it must be written for 64-bit.







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There are some older applications that may not work under Windows 7 which means there is some planning needed prior to upgrading.  For example, those who are using Outlook Express for email might want to start thinking of upgrading to Outlook or another email program supported by Windows 7 prior to the move if they want to keep all their old email for historical purposes.  Windows 7 does not have an Outlook Express option nor does it support it. While still in the XP environment is it very easy to convert the Outlook Express files into an Outlook PST file. 

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