Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Flexcar and Zipcar to Merge

Flexcar announced today that it will be merging with competing car sharing company Zipcar. This will be beneficial to current members as it expands the locations that they have access to cars along with merging of technology and resources. As an avid Flexcar user, I'm glad to hear this.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Why Winamp is Awesome!

I have tried using multiple media players through my lifetime: Music Match, Windows, Real Player, Quick Time...etc. But the one that has always stood the test of time and have consistently come out with a great product is Winamp. Winamp has been around for a while and constantly is putting out updates to improve its player even more. With an amazing community around it that create skins and plugins, Winamp is one of the best media players on the market.

What CRM to use if I am a small business?

Many business startup daily and have no idea on the best way to manage their contacts, customers, or products. The best way to do this is with a CRM or Customer Relationship Manager. The most popular one is SalesForce. The downside to SalesForce is that it has a high cost to entry...close to $1,000 for basic startup. This causes Small businesses to resort to using Outlook as event reminder for following up with contacts along with relying on their email client to keep a record of conversations and status of possible deals. This is something that is doable but takes a lot of time and things can fall through the cracks.

A great alternative to SalesForce that has just as many basic features is Zoho CRM. It is free to use and if you want the advanced functionality like bulk emailing and an outlook connector then it only costs $15/month. This means for $180/year you can have 4 people maintaining and utilizing a CRM. Tools like web form to lead capture allows a business to log a lead straight from their website so they don't have to waste time trying to copy and paste. I'd recommend that businesses look at using a CRM from the beginning because it is better to struggle in the beginning learning about CRM then trying to make the migration in the future from Outlook.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

San Diego Wiki Page

MindTouch has put together a page that aggregates content about the San Diego fire including Flickr photos, google maps of the burn areas, news feed and resources. Check it out:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Please donate to the Salvation Army

If you have any spare change please give it to the Salvation Army as they are doing an amazing job on helping all of the evacuees of the fire. If you can donate go here.

Update on the Fire

Today they flew in more plans to put the fires out from above. The smoke is still strong in downtown.

Here is a good map post done a google earth blog about the fires.

I hear that the winds are supposed to reverse direction over the next couple of days which will stop the spread of the fires westward but not sure how they will affect the areas that have been passed, especially the areas that so far have been safe.

I am safe along with my wife. Downtown is far enough away from the fire along with having less vegetation that would give fuel to the fire. Thank you to everyone who has shown concern for us. Our prayers go out to the firefighters out there along with families that are being evacuated and being affected by the fires.

Monday, October 22, 2007

San Diego Fire

With the brush fires rushing across San Diego County, there is increasing evacuation of people from their homes. Over 500 houses have been burned. The smoke is getting stronger in downtown as the fires head West.
Here are a couple of local news outlets that are covering the fire:

Here is a link to see Google News aggregation:

I'll keep up to date on the impact of smoke and fire on downtown

What should one use for an advertising engine?

Many people have a blog or a website that they throw ads up on. I use Google Adwords on my Blog. I've also dealt with other advertising campaigns like Yahoo and Industry Brains. The one thing that Google always does more successful than any other advertising company is that they don't put restrictions on things. They opened their gates for anyone to advertise and anyone to post. This is beneficial, because then you get more of a grassroots marketing on a large scale that can't be accomplished with other ad engines.

The downside is that you can't even come close to the revenue that you receive when you sell ads yourself. There are a lot of blogging based ad engines that increase earning potential. I will be investigating some when I go to Blog World in Las Vegas on November 8th-9th. MindTouch will be there too releasing a new hosted Deki Wiki. I will definitely be blogging about it so stay tuned.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

100 Posts!!!

This is LVTC's 100th Post! This might not seem like a big thing to some people but I am very proud of it since I never was very good at keeping a blog. A lot of things have happened during the last 100 posts:

I got married, moved, started working with MindTouch, and have continued my adventures like always. I hope that in another 100 posts I'll have just as much excitement and fun.

Well to make this an official post I need to talk about something besides this being momentous.
I just finished working with an Asterix contractor to install a Trixbox for MindTouch. Asterix is an Open Source PBX solution. We were running a Trixbox before and needed to update it to the most recent bits. I have to say that the most recent release of Trixbox is very promising. It is becoming more user friendly and possible for small businesses to implement. Help from an experienced Trixbox person is still needed, but it is getting there.

If you work with or own a small business and high call traffic is standard day to day, a PBX system, like Asterix, would help a lot and also increase your professional polish that is perceived when people call in.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Why is life so dramatic?

I was talking with my wife the other day about different things in life and how they can have such an impact even though in the grand scheme of things they aren't that important. I remember how stressed I was that I had to go to driver's ed. Not take the drivers test, but actually go to the class where you learn. It is the biggest waste of time, but I was stressed about it. Probably because I felt trapped since I couldn't drive away from it anytime I wanted to :)

But I look at all of these different situations in life that can build up anxiety and truly can cause harm if we aren't careful. So before you navigate away from my blog I want you to take a second and think about all of the stressful things in your life right now. Once you have them all in your head watch the following video, it is only 5 secs so you have time:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Earth is God's Zoo

Typically my posts are related to technology or my travels. I wanted to talk about something that came to me the other day when I was at the wild animal park. I was walking through the park seeing the animals going about their lives as if nothing was different. The wild animal park tries to simulate the animal's natural habitat, more so then a typical zoo. I got to thinking that maybe Earth is just one big Zoo and God is the Zoo Keeper. Our natural habitat is in Heaven, but for now we live in our artificial habitat on Earth. It kind of puts things into perspective. How the most powerful animal in the cage is nothing compared to a wild animal.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Awesome Text supplement Tool

Here is a tool that was features on LifeHacker that allows you to enter shortcuts for commonly used text like sales pitch, URLs, and other templated responses or info:

When do you hold the door for someone?

I encounter a problem every morning when I leave my building, I live in a condo building, how far behind does someone have to be for you to hold the door for them. You don't want to be rude and have the door slam in their face but in our lobby the distance between the elavator and the doors is about 50 feet. When I make eye contact with someone after I open the door for myself then I feel obligated to keep it open for them.

I guess there are a couple of factors that come into play here.

  1. Is the location of the door in a place where it is a good chance that you will encounter the same person again? if so then error on the longer side to hold the door
  2. Is there more than one person? If there is a group coming and by not holding the door they still have at least 5 feet to the door before it shuts, then don't hold the door
  3. If it is someone that has their hands full or has a stroller, then always hold the door as long as it isn't a really long time(over 10 sec) as that would seem awkward
  4. Anyone with a dog, because let's be serious, dogs can't open doors
  5. There used to be a distinction in regards to holding the door for women vs. guys...that rule gets thrown out, unless it is an elderly woman, then error on the longer side to wait for holding the door
I hope these 5 rules help you look like a proper person...please add your own thoughts if there are any other rules for holding the door.