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  • Aspire » Technology

    26 Feb


    The Cloud…it’s everywhere!  You can’t walk down the street, check your twitter feed or shop (at Amazon) without hearing about the Cloud!  The Cloud of course is cloud based computing…basically it’s the ability to do stuff online without knowing the physical location of where all that computing magic is happening.

    Cloud capabilities can include services (Google Apps is probably the most well known), data storage (I previously told you about Dropbox) and Entertainment (Netflix anyone?).  The Cloud is getting bigger every day and it’s opening up a bunch of amazing opportunities.

    Check out these 2 really cool, cloud powered applications that will really rock your business productivity!

    Read More…

    03 Sep

      photo by exfordy

    I like to keep track of stuff – notes I take during a meeting, ideas that come up at odd times and get thrown onto a post-it note, a cool website I run across, powerful images I could use for blog posts, interesting videos or a important emails.  Historically I haven’t had much of a system for being able to track all of that stuff…but I think I may now have an answer that could really work!

    I stumbled onto Evernote over a year ago and I was intrigued by the possibilities, but I wasn’t sure how practical or helpful it would be.  At the time I had an older Palm OS phone that didn’t let me do much of anything and I was primarily just using one computer in my office.  Fast forward to now – I’ve got an Android phone, I’m using a laptop and a desktop for different things and I need access to all of my stuff from all of those places.

    Read More…

    21 Jun


    I continue to be surprised with some of the cool applications and sites that pop up… a lot of free stuff and generally pretty innovative!  From a business standpoint, free may not be the best way to go, but I think the developers are in a tough situation.  If you want people to find your stuff, try it out and talk about it, your best bet is to make it free and get it out to a lot of people.

    So that’s what I’m doing here – talking about 3 interesting, useful and free sites that you should check out today.

    Read More…

    24 Jul

      photo by flattop341 

    When your hard drive goes up in smoke you likely will end up losing some data, but you will also need to re-install all of those tools that you use to get stuff done.  The basics – Word, Excel, etc. are pretty straightforward, but if you’re like me, you’ve probably collected some more specialized applications that you’ve found just make life easier.

    I thought I would share a couple of those here today – these are tools that I hadn’t really thought about using…until I didn’t have them (and then it becomes an issue!).

    Screen Capture

    I’m sure there are a lot of uses for Screen Capture tools (basically taking a picture of what ever’s on your computer screen to share with others).  I use it when I’m updating presentations and potentially as illustrations for documents or blog posts. 

    As far as I know, there aren’t really any ‘standard’ applications that come with Windows (I’m sure the Mac people have something, because they have all of the cool stuff) but the good news is that there are a lot of interesting choices available and many of them are free.

    If you’re looking for a good round-up of choices – this site has a good list of screen capture tools.  There’s a premium tool called Snag-it that I’ve used that is excellent, tons of functionality, easy to use, but it costs around $50 – give the free 30 day trial a shot if you think you need a really strong solution.

    I also think Jing is really cool  but it’s a big solution when all you really want is a quick partial screen shot.

    What I’ve ended up using is an older freeware application called MWSnap, it doesn’t ahave a lot of bells and whistles, but it works well, does what it says it will do and I’ve never had any technical issues (not necessarily true for some of the others that I’ve tried).

    Print to PDF

    Another tool that I find myself using quite a bit is the ability to Print to PDF format.  A lot of times you’ll find a document online that you’d like to share or keep and there’s not a good quick way to save it (you could also cut and paste into a word document, but that can take a long time and usually doesn’t work very well).

    Printing to PDF is done by an application that sets up as a printer option on your PC – when you choose to print something you select the Print To PDF application instead of your regular printer and you will end up creating a new PDF file.

    I’ve now used a couple of different free applications for this – the first one is called PDF995 and is actually part of a suite of tools that can do a lot of really cool stuff that I never even knew was possible (like the ability to append and combine multiple PDF documents together).  The free version is the same as the paid version in terms of functionality you just have to deal with a sponsor page view every time you use it.  To upgrade to the ‘paid’ version only costs $9.95 (hence the name).

    The other app I’ve used for this is called DoPDF, it’s simple, it’s small and it works as promised and does what you expect (and it’s free).  You can’t ask for much more than that.

    What tools do you find to be really useful?  I’d love to get some more ideas on what’s out there, share your comments here.

    Shawn Kinkade  Kansas City Business Coach

    16 Jul

    There are some things that you take for granted, sequels are almost never as good as the original, Stephen Colbert is funny and when you hit the power button your computer is supposed to turn on, not give you the dreaded Blue Screen of Death…!

    Unfortunately the unthinkable happened to me and it’s been a painful couple of days (so far).  I was initially hoping that it might be something minor that could be fixed (although after a couple of hours of trying, it was clear that it wasn’t going to be fixed by me!).  So I called my friend Tim New over at Onsite Logic and had them take a look at it.

    It’s never a good sign when the conversation starts with “Did you notice that burning smell?”.  It turns out that my hard drive had fried (literally) and short of a really expensive procedure all of that data was gone forever – Old Reliable had failed me.

    The good news is that not all was lost – I had done a few simple things that kept it from being a major issue.

    Read More…