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Follow The Two Minute Rule To Stay On Top July 23, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Technology, Top Tips.
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The Technotheory blog has an interesting post on using a simple rule to stay on top of tasks and emails: if you can do it two minutes or less, do it straight away.

“When you read your new email do you read all the messages once and then go back through them?  I do it, too, sometimes—but it’s the death of getting things done.  So here’s a reminder…

It’s totally cool to cherry pick which messages to deal with first based on the sender or subject, leaving the others unread.  But once you’ve started working with a message, deal with it now.

By dealing with it, I mean get it out of your inbox.  Maybe you should delegate it to someone.  Maybe you should respond with your calendar availability.  Maybe you should schedule a task to deal with it later.  But deal with it and archive it…so that it’s out of your inbox never to be stared at five more times.”

Read the rest of the post here. It’ll take less than two minutes to read, honest.

Agree? Disagree? Take two shakes of a tiger’s tale to let us know in the comments…

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£500,000 For ICT Investment July 23, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Merit, Technology.
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Merit and Liverpool Chamber of Commerce are working together on yet another land mark project offering financial assistance to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) looking to invest in ICT hardware and software.

A further £500,000 of grants via the European Regional Development Fund has been allocated to the ICT Investment Fund which will be awarded to companies successfully applying for grants from across Merseyside.

John Blades, ICT Fund Manager said: “We will award grants of between £10K-50K which must be spent by 30 November 2008. The funding can be up to 40% of the total project costs for new hardware and software.“

The funding is open to small and medium sized businesses in the Merseyside area, except those in the Retail and Agricultural sectors, whether or not they are Chamber or Merit members.

If you would like more information about how the ICT Investment Fund can help your businesses please call John Blades at Liverpool Chamber of Commerce on 0151 227 1234 or visit the ICT Investment Fund website at www.ict-invest.info to download and complete an application form.

Learn To Do Just About Anything Online July 18, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Friday Fun, Media, Technology, Top Tips, World Wide Web.
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It’s time for another post on how great the world wide web is. We’ve recently looked at how social networks can benefit business and a list of 80 sites to hack your life. So today, it’s a look at the sites where you can go to learn to do, well, just about anything.

Over on the Dumb Little Man blog, they’ve posted a list of 15 sites that can teach you to anything from learning to build your own website to looking after a sick cat. Some of them you may have heard of, some you won’t, and some may be a surprise.

The full list of 15 sites can be seen here, but it includes:

  • YouTube – yep, it’s not all dancing stormtroopers. Need to learn how to tune a guitar, build a blog or bake a nice cake? Chances are someone’s posted an instructional vid on YouTube.
  • How Stuff Works – with sections covering cars, pets, computers, business, food, money and more, find out how things tick here.
  • wikiHow – user generated content on a host of topics
  • Wired’s How To Wiki – Wired is the techy’s mag of choice, and its how to site covers technical matters such as gadgets, technology and computers. Geek out here.
  • W3Schools – become a web developer by using these free tutorials from the people who help set web standards
  • VideoJug – probably the largest and most comprehensive online video tutorial site, covering a mind-bogglingly broad selection of subjects.

Read the full list on Dumb Little Man here.

Businesses Miss Out On Social Networks July 11, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Technology, World Wide Web.
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The BBC reports that many businesses are missing out on the opportunities provided by social networking websites.

Many companies remain sceptical of sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and the like. They see them as distractions for their staff and of no use to the business community. However, researcher believe, according to the article that “Businesses which harness how employees use these sites stand to increase savings, productivity and profits….

“You have to look deeper as to why these people are using these networks. It’s to keep up with their friends, to mobilise them, to get involved in everything from politics to cleaning the local park. If you look at those reasons, then there are a lot of business counterparts.

“It can lead to better productivity if you can mobilise your people quickly through social networking.

“For example our press agency uses Twitter and FriendFeed to do things like find someone to talk to a reporter. With these networks you can find out who is online and get answers quickly. It’s about keeping distributed groups in touch and up to date.”

The reserachers also found that many people are using social networks to communicate in a way that is replacing email. In these times of overflowing inboxes, it can often be a more immediate way to stay in touch.

Read the full article here.

Liverpool Chamber itself believes that there are real benefits to be had from engaging with this technology. We’re on Facebook (you can be our friend if you like!). We use it to both be a part of Liverpool’s business and wider community, as well as to let people know what we’re up to and what events we’re running.

We’ve also just signed up to Twitter and are eager to see how that pans out. Plus we use this blog and Upcoming to stay in touch with interested parties. We also post pics from our events of Flickr, a good way to get a real feel of what we do across to our members. And that’s all above and beyond our normal old website (which is due for a BIG change soon).

Let us know if you’ve had any experiences with sites like these in the workplace by leaving us a lovely comment. Can you use social networks, or are they blocked? If you can, do you? Has it helped your business?

Tidy-Up Friday July 4, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Technology, World Wide Web.
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Cable Tidy CardHere’s a few quick posts with some great tools and tips to protect and tidy your computer and your desk. A most satisfying way to spend a Friday afternoon…

Top Five Windows Maintenance Tools – Includes free applications to dump unwanted files and programmes as well as fast defraggers to keep your PC ticking over nicely.

Top Five Antivirus Applications –  A cool list of tools to help keep your machine safe and virus free. We may have linked to this before, but it’s such a vital job we thought we’d highlight it again.

Make a cable tidy from an old loyalty card – A nice Blue Peter-esque project that both declutters your purse / wallet AND tidies up those Medusa-like cables trailing down the back of your desk.

All links taken from or found on the Lifehacker site.

Easy Online Invoicing For Freelancers (And Others) July 3, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Business, Technology, World Wide Web.
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Creating professional-looking invoices then tracking and managing them can be a complicated and time-consuming task. If you’re a freelancer, self-employed or running a small business, it can be a serious drain on your time.

However, those nice chaps over at the Lifehack website have put togather a handy list of web-based alternatives. These tools can help you stay on top of the whole process, from beginning to end. By managing your invoicing system more efficiently, you can concentrate on whatever it is you set up business to do in the first place.

The full list goes into greater detail, but includes:

Paypal: Simple and classic for the minimalist approach.

Blinksale: Greater control over the look and feel of your invoices

Freshbooks: its free account gives unlimited invoicing

Invotrak: another simple and free tool.

Whilst most of these support multi-currency invoicing, it’s worth checking out the full article for greater detail on what each service offers and at what price.

Read the full article at Lifehack here.

Retail Crime Alert – Watch Out For Key Catchers July 2, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Business Crime Direct, Technology, World Wide Web.
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The Business Crime Direct Team would like to draw your attention to a scam recently uncovered which may be useful to our members.

This is a key catcher that was discovered attached to a computer terminal in the Business Centre of a 5-star central London hotel. But the facts are just as relevant to all businesses, particularly if there are credit card transactions.

The key catcher was connected to the rear of a computer in order to capture any data that passes from the keyboard.

The common use for such items is the capture of credit card data, or other personal data that can be used in fraud.

Over the past two months other hotels have recovered similar devices from their reception areas. The devices had been connected at the point of sale equipment.

Our advice is for hotel management to make regular inspections of their computers to ensure that no similar devices have been installed.

Should a device of this sort be located then please contact the Police.

We would further ask that once discovered, the terminal is left untouched until the Police can assess the potential for the recovery of forensic evidence.

Any CCTV of incidents involving such items should be saved and downloaded where necessary.

Any information to:

Tony Jopson or Constable Sheila Morrisson
Tel: 0151 224 1859 or 07900 915877
tony.jopson@liverpoolchamber.org.uk
www.businesscrimedirect.co.uk

Digital Inclusion Minister To Visit Leading Projects In North West June 18, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Education, Liverpool, Policy, Technology, World Wide Web.
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On Thursday 19 June, Digital Inclusion Minister, Huw Irranca-Davies MP will visit two leading digital inclusion projects in Liverpool and St Helens. The so-called “digital divide” is increasingly seen as a major barrier to personal, community and regional economic well-being in the UK, which is the least skilled workforce in the EU. Mr Irranca-Davies’ visit will include:

  • The AIMES Community Grid project. Acknowledged as a leader in its field, AIMES is leading the Digital Inclusion & Enterprise Programme (DIEP), established as a result of the Government’s 2007 “Digital Challenge”. Mr Irranca-Davies will visit St Cuthbert’s Catholic Community College for Business & Enterprise in St Helens where pupils and parents have been using the managed computing service provided by the Community Grid project since May 2007. As part of the wider DIEP, strategically supported by the GMDDA, AIMES will provide access for around 5,000 homes in the Greater Merseyside region via the Community Grid system over a 2 year period from May 2008.
  • The EverybodyOnline Liverpool 8 project is another highly successful digital inclusion initiative focusing on internet and digital technology support for parents. It includes use of the internet, and day-to-day skills such as shopping and banking online, and email. Mr Irranca-Davies will visit a PACT (Parents & Children Together) session at South Liverpool Personnel in Liverpool to speak to users direct.

Mr Irranca-Davies’ visit underlines the importance placed on the Digital Inclusion agenda at Parliamentary level, as Professor Dennis Kehoe, Director of AIMES, explains: “Digital inclusion is a crucial enabler of economic regeneration and growth. Internet access can transform cities and communities, providing improved access to employment, education and health information. The internet can also help to combat isolation and increase a sense of community. We’re delighted to be able to demonstrate our digital inclusion work to Mr Irranca-Davies in person.”

The AIMES digital inclusion project provides a fully managed internet access service to users, a key element in its success and sustainability. AIMES and its technology partner, e-communications specialist OciusB2, provide broadband internet access, a range of software packages, all equipment required, plus training and support to users of the Community Grid. The first 125 homes are now live and for the first 12 months, the service is provided free of charge.

More information here.

Firefox 3 Is Launched June 18, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Technology, World Wide Web.
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Firefox, the web browser that’s quicker, safer, more secure and just downright cooler than all the others has released its version 3.

This updated browser has improved its speed and built in a shed-load of tools to make browsing the web that much easier. As well as the usual add-ons and tools, it’s now easier to manage your favourites, stay one step ahead of fake websites, manage downloads and find the info you want. Plus a load more of tricks I haven’t discovered yet.

Download Firefox 3 here.

Get Portable Firefox 3 here (to run of your USB memory stick on any machine)

Lifehackers Top Ten Firefox Tips

Got any tips (or gripes) about FF3? Let us know in the comments.

Laptop Crime Prevention Advice June 17, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Business Crime Direct, Technology.
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I dares ya!Please find attached some valuable information to safeguard your laptop from Liverpool Chamber’s Business Crime Direct team. At the moment the city centre is a ‘hot spot’ for thefts of laptops. This information may protect you from being the next victim.

Laptop theft is a significant threat to business security. A stolen laptop often means a loss of sensitive and valuable data stored on the machine, which could have a detrimental effect on your business this could ultimately lead to a risk of identity theft.

Having a computer stolen has a cost – and not just the money you spend buying it or the money to replace it. There’s the inconvenience to you, your staff and company, the loss of records and the possible loss of business.

Evidence shows that a victim of computer theft has a significantly higher risk of suffering another theft usually within three months

There are some simple precautions that can be taken now to protect your equipment and business. You can:

  • Always lock the door to your office
  • Going to lunch, or taking a break? Carry your laptop with you or secure it in a locked area
  • If not in use put it in a safe and lock it. Remember it’s small and portable.
  • Ensure business survival! Back up all data to another storage device TODAY.
  • Introduce appropriate access control for the building and areas where computers are in use
  • If a laptop is carried in a vehicle store it within a purpose made safe within the boot, it may be inconvenient but the loss of the computer is more so.
  • Make it unique to you or your company. Mark it in such a way that it’s readily identifiable. This will reduce its saleability and make it easier to trace.
  • Anchor equipment to solid furniture, floors or walls using appropriate means. Remember it’s only as good as what it’s fastened to!
  • Review existing security precautions, regularly.

This list is not exhaustive –  it is designed to increase awareness.

If you need more advice contact your local Police Crime Reduction Officer who will be pleased to offer advice and provide a security assessment of your premises as required.

The staff at the mobile Police Station, which is located each day in Lord Street, outside what was The Gap will security mark laptops and mobile telephones for you….FREE OF CHARGE….

The Mobile Police station is there from 0930 to 1530 Monday to Friday.  All details are on the Police website www.mersyside.police.uk and look under Neighbourhood- newsletter.

The is also the facility at the Mobile Police station  to register you mobile telephone with National Mobile Phone Register  (NMPR).  Should your mobile phone be located when lost/stolen the register will be checked immediately and if you have registered you will be re-united with it.