Sage Software – Hammond’s Candies Case Study

Disclosure: Sponsored Post

Regardless of size, if there’s something that all businesses need to pin down before they can scale and grow efficiently – it’s nailing down managing finances and customer relationship management.

When you first start out you may very well be able to manage your accounting, payroll, invoicing & payments and more from an Excel spreadsheet or Google Docs. The more adventurous may even attempt using one of the many free/open source CRM options that are available. These solutions may work short-term but eventually, if you are serious about your business growing you’ll need to take the step and get an integrated business management solution that will allow you to grow by allowing your business to be managed more  efficiently and providing valuable insights based on data not typically available to non-integrated systems.

The video below is a brief case study of how Sage helped Hammond’s Candies (the largest manufacturer of hand-made hard candies in the Untied States) scale their process by providing inventory control, and helping manage production planning to boost profitability.

Learn more about how Sage Business Management Software could help your venture by visiting SageCondifidence.com.

Should You Be (Or Are You) Allowed Do What You Want With Your Hardware?

Are EULA’s too restrictive?

Do companies like Apple and Sony overstep their boundaries and the law when the “shrink wrapped” licenses the force you to agree to when you purchase a piece of hardware?

Should they have any right or jurisdiction at all to tell you what you can and can’t do with something that you own. Do the EULA’s for a piece of hardware, such as the iPad, have any standing in real life or if you chose tho challenge them in court?

Formulate your answers to these questions and let me know what you think after your read Devin Coldeweys article on Crunch Gear –  The User’s Manifesto: in defense of hacking, modding, and jailbreaking.

SourceForge: Nobody Is Asking Why Now?

sourceforge hands tied

Bound by the law?

Sourceforge is now blocking access to sites from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.

Since 2003, the SourceForge.net Terms and Conditions of Use have prohibited certain persons from receiving services pursuant to U.S. laws, including, without limitations, the Denied Persons List and the Entity List, and other lists issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security. The specific list of sanctions that affect our users concern the transfer and export of certain technology to foreign persons and governments on the sanctions list. This means users residing in countries on the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanction list, including Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria, may not post content to, or access content available through, SourceForge.net. Last week, SourceForge.net began automatic blocking of certain IP addresses to enforce those conditions of use.

In all the commentary I am seeing, nobody has asked the very simplest and perhaps most obvious of questions: Why now?

These terms have been in place for nearly 7 years now. (The Entities list has existed since 1997)

Lets forget for the minute that one hell of a lot of the software hosted by Sourceforge is developed with the help of, or even entirely by, people living outside the U.S.

Lets also bear in mind that SourceForge has claimed that this is because of the “transfer and export of certain technology” to foreign persons and governments on the sanctions list, yet doesn’t give any details about what this technology is?

Surely everything on SourceForge can’t contain dangerous technology? Why not just restrict the programs which contain those technologies?

Not to mention the fact that everybody knows that any idiot, never mind some evil axis human overlord wannabe wouldn’t be able to use a proxy or Tor to get past the IP filtering!

Or is there something more at play here?

Google and China perhaps? Did the U.S. government pay SourceForge a call and “politely” remind them that these laws exist? Maybe because the government wants to show that it is willing to enforce it’s laws and send a subtle hint to China that the hacking of U.S. companies and theft of their I.P. might get them added to these lists?

I find it very hard to believe that the guys at SourceForge have had a sudden moment of conscience and, out of the blue, decided to comply with laws that have existed for almost 12 years and to their own terms and conditions which they have ignored for the past 7 years.

Windows 8 To Support 128-Bit?

windows_8

128-bit Windows 8?

The Windows 7 launch parties are soon to be kicking off but Microsoft is already looking to the future and working on 128-bit architecture compatibility for Windows 8 and 9.

While the stomping boots of progress cannot be halted in their relentless path, am I the only one who believes that this is premature? Perhaps the effort should be spent on getting everybody onto 64-bit platforms first and fully exploring the potential of the 64-bit space.

We have to have a cut off point. When will Windows 8 come out? 3 years? I believe they’re aiming for 2012. You can’t seriously expect me to believe that everybody, especially the notoriously slow to upgrade corporations will have abandoned their 32-bit hardware. Are vendors and developers going to have to support 3 versions of their programs?

Or will things still be like they are today, except instead of people running 32-bit applications on 64-bit machines they’ll be running 32-bit apps on 128-bit machines?

Dear twhirl, won’t you help out my stalker?

stalker Yesterday I managed to pick up a real stalker on Twitter and of course the person was daft enough to perform their stalking using their real name.

So, when I was sitting eating Sunday dinner a few minutes ago I was thinking about the tools I use for keeping track of Twitter and how they could be improved to enable my stalker to do a better job of it.

One of my favorite desktop tools is twhirl and one of the best features is that it notifies you with a pop-up and a sound of direct messages and replies.

What would be killer here would be the ability to enter a bunch of twitter users that I follow so that I always get notified of their tweets, otherwise some peoples which I really want to get, end up being  get lost in the crowd.

This would not only make my life easier, but my stalkers job would become a little easier as well (see I’m always thinking of others.. LOL)

What are your favorite twitter tools and what features do they have that could make my stalkers life easier?

Easy way to synch who you follow on Twitter and Friendfeed

I’ve been on Friendfeed for a while and have to admit to now using it all that much. I think much of that has to do with the hassle of finding the accounts of the couple of all the people I’m following on Twitter.

Well that may change soon as courtesy of Eric over at InternetDuctTape there now exists a program called “Twitter 2 Friend Feed Importer” which will plough through al the people you follow on Twitter and add then to your friendfeed account using Googles Social Graph API.

Twitter-2-Friend-Feed

It keeps track of who it has added over time. If you unsubscribe from someone using the web interface, they won’t be added again next time you run.

It uses Google’s Social Graph API to try and find connections between accounts on Twitter and Friend Feed (since Friend Feed doesn’t provide a good autodiscovery mechanism). You can play with the Social Graph API here. Unfortunately, this can be hit or miss. It works great on some people, but not so well with others.

It comes down to whether or not the person has been setting up XFN and FOAF links between their services. It shows a big failure in the social graph API. People who have claimed their accounts using Technorati, Claim ID or MyBlogLog are easily linked — others, not so much.

The program itself is still very basic (has no GUI) and as Eric admits, it’s a bit hit and miss but did successfully manage to locate a few of the people I’ve been following on Twitter and had failed (due to boredom and the monotony of searching for usernames) to locate.

Thanks Eric!

What ever happened to ION Linux?

Back in June of 2004 I wrote about Element Computers who had developed ION, a Linux desktop OS, which was supposed to run all windows executables at top speeds?

Element Computer has overcome the final barrier for Linux adoption
on desktops by mainstream businesses.

The company has unveiled the worlds first Linux desktop OS, called ION, which can run all Windows executables at top speeds, using a new WinLauncher technology powered by Win4Lin from Netraverse.

As of July 1st, all Element Computer laptops, tablets, and PCs will
become Win enabled, and allow users to copy and paste between Linux and Windows applications on the same desktop, combined with filesystem integration and common “My Documents”, drives and printers.

I know this OS was only ever supposed to be released with the hardware from Element Computers, but what ever happened to it?

Was it Element Computers bought out? Did it fold? Was their code merged into another distro and if so why do we still not have seamless Windows applications integration in Linux?

Proactive security

About 4 years ago I wrote a post called “Security, Microsoft and You…” and  I am amazed that very little has changed in that time.

Who’s running anti-virus software and thinks they’re up to date? Are you sure? Have you checked manually.. A lot of anti-virus software is configured to update once a week, but updates can and are released more frequently than that. Downloading manually, regularly, along with the automatic update keeps you safe all the time.. Also, it can reduce the size of your downloads, instead of downloading a big file once a week, little ones once a day.. you’ll hardly notice it..

Who’s got a firewall running? No, get one.. Don’t feel you need one? Do you suffer from the “Who’d want to hack me?” syndrome.. get over it.. Nobody might want to hack you, but that won’t protect you from worms that search for open ports to infect your machine…

We may be using Vista (or XP SP2) but many people are still not using automatic update properly and are still continuing to run to run their computers without anti-virus software, anti-spyware software or a descent firewall solution.

Here’s 3 quick and free solutions you can use to help protect your PC:

What solutions do you use to protect your PC?

Kill the browser please

It’s awesome that we can do so many things from inside our browsers but sometimes I don’t want to boot Firefox in order to be on UStream or Blog TV.

I’ll give a big hug to the first person to come up with a lightweight stand alone application that I can use to broadcast on services like UStream without having to fire up a resource hogging browser.

I’m sure this would be of benefit tons of people who have just one machine to broadcast from and could do with freeing up some RAM for other processes.

Update: TDavid has suggested PRISM for the job and so far it’s been working wonderfully. Thanks TD :)

You can check out Prism on Mozilla labs.