Helps you stay productive on the road Guidance for Owners/Managers By Christopher Elliott
If you want to become a better traveller, you can skip some of those how-to books penned by armchair road warriors.
Instead, fire up your laptop computer and open Microsoft Outlook. Yes, I'm talking about that ever-present application that handles e-mail, scheduling and some word processing tasks.
Make the Most of Your Laptop
Odds are pretty good that you've got a copy of it installed on your laptop, and that you take your portable with you when you travel. (Regarding the latter point, a recent survey by Harris Interactive found that more than one in four laptop PC owners say their machine is one of their "most prized possessions," and nearly a third said they've regretted leaving it at home on trips and have turned around to retrieve it on at least one occasion.)
Outlook is to travellers what a paper clip is to MacGyver. It does a lot more than you think. (My apologies to those who aren't familiar with television show which had its heyday in the 1980s and '90s.)
Using Scheduling Features for a Trip
Marielle Barnes, a consultant in Bangalore, India, counts on Outlook's scheduling features to make her trip fall into place. "I use the task manager to keep my 'to-do' list in order," she says. "I organise the tasks by city, and type of function, so that items get grouped and can be easily completed in a stretch." An alternative is keeping her itinerary on a calendar or a personal digital assistant. But if the laptop is coming along for the trip anyway, why not use what you've got (especially when it has a bigger screen than a PDA)?
Robert Hanson relies on Outlook and a third-party application called Xpressions to access his e-mails from a phone - a nifty feature if you happen to leave your laptop at the hotel. "Outlook saved me from wasting money on a plane ticket by finding out the same day that I booked a non-refundable ticket that the meeting was supposed to attend was cancelled," says Hanson, from Wilmington, Del. "So I was able to cancel the flight without penalty."
Outlook has bailed me out a few times, too.
My favourite feature is the contacts manager, which has rescued me more often than I'd care to admit. How's that? I usually print a full itinerary with phone numbers before I leave on a trip. (Call me old-fashioned, but with a piece of paper you never have to worry about a low battery.) Being hopelessly absent-minded, that schedule has gone missing numerous times. Fortunately, I was able to retrieve the key addresses and phone numbers from Outlook rather than completely unpack my luggage in the middle of the terminal.
A Traveler-Friendly Upgrade
To say that Outlook has been underappreciated by the jet set in the past might be an understatement. But that is changing. Microsoft Outlook 2003 is designed even more with travellers in mind.
Here are a few of its handy features:
- Find it faster. Outlook helps you make sense of all the e-mail you receive on the road. Its new Search Folders "virtual" folders that contain views of all e-mail items matching specific search criteria let you quickly separate the important messages from the ones you want to ignore. Search Folders also flag priority messages first, so you don't waste time reading spam.
- Keep junk mail out. Speaking of spam, the new Junk E-mail folder separates out most of your junk mail into a separate folder, helping to un-clutter your inbox.
- Work without a Net. If you use an e-mail account through Microsoft Exchange Server, you can work offline while you're out of the office or if your connection is too slow. Outlook only tries to connect to the server when you ask it to or when you choose to do so in the "Send/Receive" groups.
- Mine your business contacts. The new Business Contact Manager feature, which integrates with Outlook, turns your address book into a powerful tool that can create, track, and manage your business contacts, sales leads and opportunities. Perhaps the best thing about Business Contact Manager is that it's as intuitive as the old Outlook, so you don't have to spend hours reading a manual before you can use it.
Think of the latest version of Outlook as MacGyver trading in his screwdriver for a power tool. Both gizmos worked fine, but somehow that drill just looks cooler. (Indeed, the new icons and "feel" of Outlook have my friends who use older versions or other e-mail systems drooling.)
But best of all, the Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager promises to make me more productive on the road.
As the publisher of a travel e-mail newsletter, I was particularly impressed with integrated features that allowed me to send personalised messages to designated contacts, with the help of List Builder. In an age when clients are less likely to accept "I was travelling" as an excuse for missing deadlines, that's something that will probably help me keep the customers I have. And maybe find some new ones.
With Outlook 2003, the learning curve is steep on a few functions - I'm still trying to figure out how to get my navigation pane to do what I want it to, for example - and users of the old Outlook will have some adjusting to do.
But it won't take long to get the hang of it. And once you do, the new Outlook will become an even bigger reason (if you need one) to bring your laptop on a trip.
Headsets are headphones with a microphone attached, making a device that you can wear on your head to easily hear and record sound. Their popularity has risen sharply with the recent growth of voice chat on the Internet, both on Internet phone services such as Skype and in online games such as Xbox Live.As a consequence, most electronics shops now sell headsets. As most headsets at the cheap end of the market are unbranded, however, it can be very difficult to know exactly what youre getting for your money.As a rule, you should try to avoid buying headsets from the big High Street electronics retailers, as they will generally sell very cheap headsets for much more than theyre worth. Smaller computer shops are a better bet, as are independent music stores and games shops. The best place to buy a headset, though, is one where you can compare features objectively and right now, the only place you can really do that is on the Internet.Since you cant see or touch the products on the Internet, shops have to go to a bit more effort to provide you with technical specifications, which allows you to compare what youre getting for your money across different sites. On shopping sites like Amazon that have reviews, you can read opinions from people who have actually used the headset already, which saves you the fear of buying a dud, and will often give you information about what the package does and doesnt contain that no other source will tell you.The best way to buy a headset, though, is probably to compare them at the big shopping sites first, and then write down the model number of the one you like best and try to find it at a discount on auction sites like eBay. This way you get the headset you want for the best price.
Since the usage of free MySpace layouts is large, there is always the question whether anyone can create such layouts or not. There are plenty of sites dedicated to these layouts, and anyone can access them. Many designers create layouts and post them for free on sites. Since they are posting it for free, you can do it as well. All the services related to MySpace are free.Creation of free MySpace layouts will need technical details, so there is always the need for technical expertise. However there should be creative expertise as well. No one is interested in creating a shabby layout, and most of all no one will use shabby free MySpace layouts. So creating layouts is also a very interesting activity for many people.With this people can showcase their talent because MySpace layouts will need a lot of creativity. There are also many free sites, which allow people to post free layouts. You can also post as many as you want, as posting is also free. Thus creating free MySpace layouts will include only the designing work, and all you need to do is apply the right techniques. Anybody is allowed to be part of the MySpace community, and it is a free service for all users. So because it is free, free layouts are also offered. This will give a lot of opportunities to make the profiles more interesting. Creating free layouts for MySpace is also fun. You can get to choose any theme of your liking. So if there are MySpace layouts that are not available with something you like, one can be created.This could be of any theme, as there are many interests and these will vary from user to user. With the creation of layouts you can use any sort of imagination, with the design as well as colors. This is because there is no restriction to the designing of free MySpace layouts. You can use any sort of characters and also any theme of your choice. Finding sites to post layouts is also very easy. You can contact the site owners, as there are plenty of sites hosting free MySpace layouts. You can also create as many as you want. The creation of various layouts will give options to all users, as they can choose as many layouts as they want. So there is no restriction to the amount of free MySpace layouts that are available on the sites.You can also form groups and create free layouts, as people are sure to give many ideas. You can join the MySpace community itself and find people who are interested in creating MySpace layouts for free. This will make the activity more interesting as all the members will be from the same community. There is no need to spend any money for this activity.
Computers are one of the most interesting and complex machines on the planet. They have the ability to intrigue anyone who sits down and attempts to use it. On the other hand though, they also have the ability to confuse the heck out of you! When I think about computers, I think about the internet, Microsoft Word (for school), and games. What sort of computer I buy should be user friendly in all three of these aspects.First you have to make a big decision... Apple or Windows. They both have great features, and are both more user friendly for each individule user. Windows is compatible with several computer manufacturers, including HP Pavilion, Compaq, and Dell. Now, in my case, I need to take a close look at each option, as I have specific uses for my machine. When purchasing a computer you should be aware of what your main purpose with it is. For some it is business, others gaming, and for many, it is used for school. Make sure you test each version, Apple and Windows. If Apple seems the most compatible with your purpose, then congradulations! Your choice is made. But if you decide Apple is not right for you, take a look at all the operating systems that there is for Windows. There are several, each with different features, and you should choose the one that is right for you.As you can see, the purchase of a computer is not always black and white. What's it going to be for you?
They say the first step to beating an addiction is to admit that you have a problem. Dealing with someone who has a gambling addiction can be painful. They have a tendency to withdraw from family and loved ones, so what are you supposed to do when someone you care about has developed a "gambling addiction" .There are several things you will need to do and some of them are very hard to do. The first thing you have to do is to hide all your valuables, and if this person lives with you, then you need to keep them behind locked doors and if that is not possible then take them to a bank and lock them in a safety deposit box.If this person is you child or your spouse then you need to limit there access to your money. In many circumstances people have spent their family's savings and kid's college funds. So if at all possible try to get that persons name of the accounts if it is not already too late, and cancel all their credit cards.At some point you will have to confront them. When you do confront them it is important to not yell and do not get angry just tell them how what they are doing affects you. Make sure that all the persons close friends are there to help with this.It is important that everyone take turns and tell the person how his gambling has affected their relationships, but in a non angry, caring manner. This will help the person realize that the people that care about him see something that maybe he does not and hopefully will take an honest look at his gambling.Remember the goal of confronting someone is not to make them stop gambling, it is to help them recognize they have a gambling problem and to encourage them to seek professional help.Some people recommend that you try to get your friend to go to a gamblers anonymous meeting, but I do not recommend this. Gamblers Anonymous is a great organization that truly helps those with gambling problems stay away from gambling, but before you are ready for this most people need one on one sessions with a psychologist or a counselor trained to deal with gambling addiction.After all is said and done, you must be prepared because most of the time the gambler continues to gamble, maybe they will make a brief attempt to stop before starting again in secret.With most addictions the person with the problem needs to hit what they call a "bottom". This is when the gambler has lost everything that really meant anything to them, such as family and friends, and it is only at this point many will see the problem and seek help.If you know someone who is unwilling to admit their gambling problem I recommend that after you have tried your best to get this person to seek help if they do not, you may have to be prepared to leave them, remember at some point you have to abandon a sinking ship before you go down as well.To find more information on gambling addiction search gamblers Anonymous and Codependence websites.
We all deal with them, those little computer problems that arent quite big enough to warrant a call to the Computer Guy. You know, like every once in a while your camera wont transfer its pictures the right way. Or like the times when all of a sudden your computer shuts down for no apparent reason and with no warning whatsoever. Dont forget those odd Run Time Errors with the crazy numbers in them. I love those. The worst part is, you could probably fix some of these things yourself if you just had a little help or guidance. Calling a professional, while sometimes necessary, can be both a greater inconvenience and of course a greater cost. It may take forever to contact them, and when you do get in touch with the help desk, they always make you reboot the thing twelve times before you get any real advice.Let me be clear on a couple things before we continue. First, I am a professional computer technician and have been working in the industry for over 15 years. There are numerous occasions where a professional is needed to help with or repair your PC. It is often my advice to have your system evaluated at least one every three months. On top of that, there are many things a novice should not try on their PC for fear of causing more harm than good. Not everything is this way though.Ive said it before and Ill say it again. Your best way to help maintain your computer is by staying informed and educated. Im not suggesting everyone run out and get a Computer Science degree, but I am suggesting you use some of the top notch free resources that are available to you. The largest these days is of course the internet.Dont get nervous yet, Im not suggesting you look up some super hi-tech article and study it until you know it inside and out. You dont have to. The net is full of people who already understand these things and are more than willing to pass some of that understanding on to you. They do this in forums.Forums are a wonderful thing. A lot of forums are actual cyber communities of people who love to talk about various topics. They have people of varying skill sets, all interacting in a friendly supportive way. I know theres a free computer support forum out there with people in it just waiting to answer some of your questions.So next time those pop ups are driving you crazy, and you cant reach your favorite help desk, stop by a computer "support forum" . Youll be surprised at how good an experience it can be.-Dave
Helps you stay productive on the road Guidance for Owners/Managers By Christopher Elliott