- Comments: 4
- Written on: October 1st, 2009
An affiliate network called the Partnetka is working hard in Russia to bring malware to your beloved Mac at a bounty of $.43 per infection.
Affiliate networks are nothing new on the web – in fact they are much more common than you might imagine. The basic concept is that webmasters run websites that people go to. They use their websites to promote products and services and gt a piece of the action when people buy.
It turns out that according to ZDnet that this network was offering a $.43 payment for every Mac that could be infected and handed over.
Most Mac infections come in the form of DNS changing Trojans that are downloaded in relation to porn videos.
Affiliate networks are pay-for-performance deals. This means that someone out there somewhere intends to make more than $.43 on every Mac they can infect. The days of the Mac being an invincible platform are clearly numbered.
- Comments: 2
- Written on: September 30th, 2009
Schrock Innovations recently wrapped up a new fishing report application for the Nebraska Game and Parks website.
This application will give Nebraska fishers a whole new way to brag about their catches while helping others find the best fishing in the state.
What Does the New Application Do?
This new application allows fishers to upload a picture of their catch, the location where it was caught, and details about the type of gear that you used and your fishing technique.
Best of all, it gives the individual fisher the ability to rate their fishing experience overall.
The idea behind the application is to help raise awareness that Nebraska has some of the best fishing in the Midwest by SHOWING the proof and telling others where to go on their next weekend outing.
This is the kind of content that separates Nebraska’s Game and Parks website from those maintained by other states.
When Can I Upload My Pictures?
Expect the new application to go live in the coming months, so dig up all of your miracle catches and get ready to share your fish stories with the rest of Nebraska!
- Comments: 0
- Written on: September 29th, 2009
This week Steve from Podnutz and I recorded the first episode of Computer Repair Business Weekly. The podcast will be featured on the topITshop.com website and is designed to help current and aspiring independent computer repair shop owners keep their heads above water and MAKE MONEY.
The podcast will be released in weekly installments on topITshop.com as well as through iTunes when the website goes live in December 2009.
Steve recently sold his own computer repair company and I have owned and operated Schrock Innovations for over 10 years. The two of us have different perspectives and experiences to draw from and together on the podcast we offer some pretty unique conversation.
What Did You Talk About?
For example, in this episode we talked about why it is important to think about what kind of business owner you want to be before you open your doors to the world.
There are two kinds of business owners – Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs.
Small business owners enjoy a less expensive start up and easier management, but typically their operations grind to a halt if they don’t show up to work.
Entrepreneurial operations are more expensive and complex to start up, but if the owner executes properly they can run on their own as a systematized operation. This allows the entrepreneur to make his or her exit at some point and move on to a new venture while their old one continues to bring in money.
Where can I Listen?
The podcasts will not be released until the topITshop website goes live in December. If you follow topITshop.com on Twitter, you will know exactly when we launch and we will tweet when the podcast is released.
- Comments: 0
- Written on: September 28th, 2009
If you follow my Tweets you might know about a project I am working on called topITship.com.
Schrock Innovations does a great job breaking technology down for our customers and clients into understandable and practical servings. One of the reasons Schrock has been so successful is that its somewhat rare to find a tech company that can do that.
What is topITshop.com?
The idea behind topITshop is to serve the other side of the equation – other IT shops.
The website will feature video reviews that you can’t find anywhere else (not even cNet), informative articles about how to conduct business more efficiently, as well as marketing advice and proven-effective techniques for building a sustainable business.
Every year thousands of IT professionals ditch their employers to venture out on their own, and unfortunately most of them will fail. They typically fail because the owner is a technician, not a businessman.
When the new venture is created, the entrepreneur fails to realize that the skill set required to be a good technician is completely different than the skill set needed to build an effective revenue model and execute it.
topITshop.com is designed to help tech entrepreneurs and their employees bend the learning curve, survive the initial volatile start-up years, and prosper in an ethical way.
When Will it Launch?
We have the website designed, and have released it to our coders this week. I am anticipating a November / December launch, but there are a lot of loose ends that need to be wrapped up before that can happen.
You can keep up on the latest topITshop.com news by following the project’s Twitter updates.
Some of the content for the website includes:
- A Weekly Podcast Called “Computer Repair Business Weekly”
- Video Reviews of Components you will actually order (not cool stuff you can’t sell)
- Marketing Advice Articles
- Guest Contributors
- ID10T Stories (shop owners you know that we all have these)
- Tips on Refining Your Business Practices
Want to Be a Part?
If you are involved in the IT industry and believe you have content that would be valuable to others in the industry, we might be interested in talking with you.
If you are interested in becoming a contributor, email me your information, a description of what you believe you have to contribute, and what you want in return for your contribution.
This website is based on predictable, accurate, high-quality content, so make sure you bring your A-game!
- Comments: 0
- Written on: September 27th, 2009
After a bit of a posting drought, we have started posting our Compute This shows again on the Schrock Innovations website for those who couldn’t listen live, or live outside of the local market.
I have heard rumors that KFOR may be posting our shows as podcasts as well. I will look into it, and get you a link so you can subscribe through iTunes is you would rather do that than download the .mp3 files individually.
September 12, 2009 Show:
During this show we launched a new sale called the Great XP Escape Sale.
There was an early Husker game this week, so the call volume was a little light, but we did have a few callers and they asked questions like:
- Should I buy a laptop or a desktop computer?
- Why does my music sound different when I burn it to disc?
September 19th 2009 Show
During this show we wrapped up the Great XP Escape sale, talked about which browsers are the most energy efficient, and took a few calls as well.
Our callers asked questions like:
- My DVD drive disappeared from My Computer. How can I get it back?
- How can I fix a broken VGA cable?
- Why did my auto-fill stop working in the Yahoo Toolbar?
Compute This airs every Saturday morning on KFOR 1240 in Lincoln, NE from 10-11 AM CST. You can listen live on the KFOR website and call in toll-free with your questions at 800-825-5865.
- Comments: 7
- Written on: September 26th, 2009
With excitement building for the upcoming release of Microsoft’s latest operating System, Windows 7, a couple of familiar guests might be missing from the launch parties.
Microsoft has removed Outlook Express (Windows Mail in Vista) and Windows Movie Maker from Windows 7 deciding instead to promote their Windows Live products.
Windows Live Mail
The basic concept behind Windows Live Mail is that you can run it from your mobile device, your computer in offline mode, or live on the internet.
Rather than clicking on the “Send/Receive” button you instead click a “Sync” button. The idea here is that you can use your phone or computer in offline mode, and as soon as they go online they will “sync” with the online system to keep everything in one place that is shared with all of your devices.
Here’s a video that shows you how the process works from start to finish:
Windows Live Moviemaker
Windows Movie Maker has been included free of charge with Windows since Windows XP was released.
On the Windows Live blog, the lead designer on the Movie Maker project explained that the company’s research showed that most PC users employed Movie Maker to create small videos, video slide shows, or combinations of both with some titles and transitions.
Knowing that users were not using Movie Maker to create feature length films, Microsoft focused on making an application that can do what its user want quickly and easily.
For example, the “Auto Movie” feature allows you to select a group of pictures and an audio sound track and then let the computer do the hard work of organizing the images so they start and stop with the sound track.
Here’s a video that explains the most hyped features of Movie Maker:
Why Do I Have to Download It?
Windows 7 will not come with Movie Maker of Windows Live Mail (or even Windows Messenger) installed by default. Users have to make the decision to download the components from the Windows Live website or through the Microsoft Update (Windows Update) feature.
This solves a lot of anti-competitive issues not only in the US, but in Europe as well, while still allowing Microsoft to give its own products a slight advantage over their competitors in the marketplace.
- Comments: 1
- Written on: September 25th, 2009
I had a little debate today with some of the staff about Schrock’s 2009 Holiday Special system.
We have always offered a complete system (CPU, monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers) for $1499 in past sales. We have offered a tower-only option for $200 less, dropping the price to $1299.
So here is the question…
Do we advertise the Holiday Special as a $1299.99 tower only system and then offer the monitor and accessories as separate items for purchase or do we assume that most people will want the accessories, market it at $1499 and then offer the take-away discount?
If you Were Buying a New PC Right Now
If you were in the process of buying a new PC right now would you want to replace your monitor and accessories for $200 or would you fly with what you have?
- Comments: 1
- Written on: September 23rd, 2009
We have been hard at work for the past few weeks designing the Schrock Innovations 2009 Holiday System, and the first prototype testing is underway.
This year’s Holiday Special will feature 2 new technologies that have never before been used in a Schrock build. The result is a new Modular PC that is faster (not seconds faster but STUNNINGLY faster) more reliable, and better prep[ared for tomorrow’s technology than ever before.
What is the Holiday Special?
Schrock’s Holiday Specials are always highly anticipated because the systems push the limits of technology at an unbelievable price. We offer a complete system (including monitor, wireless keyboard and mouse, and speakers) for only $1,499.
These systems are configured with amazing specifications. This is not the typical Dell up-sell routine, where you are lured in for $499 and end up spending way more than you planned.
These computers are configured to rock your PC experience with no modification required.
This year’s Holiday Special Modular PC is no exception. We are keeping the exact details close to the vest at the moment, but I can tell you it will be running Windows 7.
Faster than Anyone Expects
ONe of the big reasons we are so excited for the 2009 Holiday Special is because one of the new pieces of technology we are introducing will bring MASSIVE speed increases to the table that will be unavailable anywhere else in Nebraska (even by special order form Dell).
This new technology will unleash AMAZING speed that most computer users have only imagined. In our tests this technology has cut processes that used to take HOURS down to mere minutes.
We get excited whenever a system we produce can dramatically improve a PC users’ experience. To put it bluntly we have not a game-changing PC since we introduced Lincoln to Windows XP and LCD displays ion 2001. This system will be just as revolutionary.
Reliable Beyond Anything You Have Imagined
The 2009 Holiday Special is going to be faster than anything we have ever built before at Schrock, but it is also the most reliable system we have ever built.
This system runs COOLER (temperature wise) than any previous computer we have built, even though it sports a quad core processor. Because it runs cooler, it also uses LESS POWER than other quad core systems we have released in 2009.
Another new pieces of technology cuts the odds of a PC breakdown by an amazing 75%. This PC has more up-time, less lag time, ind its overall cost of ownership is dramatically lower over its expected 8-year lifespan.
Power for Today and Potential for Tomorrow
As always, this Schrock system is Modular. That means your computer has everything it needs to meet your demands today, and it can grow with you as your needs change in the future.
Schrock Innovations is the only company in the country that offers Modular computers, and that is why our Holiday Special systems last more than 8 years while other manufacturers are lucky to get three years out of their builds.
How Can You Learn More About This Computer?
Unfortunately, you will have to wait a little while longer before we let everything out of the bag. But there are some things you can do to make sure you catch the tidbits when we do let them out.
- Subscribe to the RSS Feed on this blog. You’ll get an email as soon as we release anything.
- Follow me on Twitter – I am prone to moments of weakness. If something slips, it will happen here
- Get on Schrock Innovation’s mailing list – Contact Schrock and ask to be added. It’s free and rumor has it there is a coupon involved
- Listen to Compute This every week. Chris Goforth has a way of getting me to talk
- Comments: 2
- Written on: September 21st, 2009
Every day in the news you hear more bad news about the economy, but great news about your 401-k value. How does this contradiction translate into opportunity for your business?
You can hire the best talent available in the marketplace on a contract basis because people are out of work and they will be for some time.
If you hire clearly overqualified people, they will simply take your position until something better comes along.
Instead, hire the people you need on a contract basis. The differences between contract employees and regular employees are subtle (but important).
Most importantly it opens up a door of opportunity that can help your small business get the talent it needs to grow. Eventually you might grow to a point where you can permanently hire your contract help!
How can the stock market keep going up if the economy is tanking?
Remember that stock values are based on company profits and activities. The economy on the other hand, is primarily driven by individual consumers.
Companies can generate huge profits by reducing the number of people they employ, as long as they can manage to somehow continue delivering their products and services with their remaining workforce.
Experts often cite recessions as times when employee productivity goes through the roof. Employee productivity goes up because a company’s remaining staff must pick up the workload of the laid-off employees or face the chopping block themselves.
Fewer people doing more than ever is a recipe for business profits, and hence the stock market does well. On the other hand there are tons of highly trained and qualified people who are stuck on the sidelines polishing their resumes.
Turning on the 1099 Tap
With so many people out of work for such a long period of time, the small business owner has a unique opportunity to leverage talent they otherwise could not afford.
When you hire someone to help your company you can bring them on as an employee or you can hire them as a temporary contractor. There are certain advantages and disadvantages to each:
- Advantage - You control their every activity
- Advantage - You invest in their training and development to make them more productive
- Advantage - The employee relies on you as their main income source
- Disadvantage - You are responsible for benefits, including unemployment payments if things don’t work out
- Disadvantage - Over-qualified people might take your under-paying position to tide them over while their resume circulates in higher-paying circles
- Disadvantage - Employees come with HR nightmares like paid time off, sick days, maternity leave, office politics, and government compliance regulations
- Advantage - You tell them what needs to be accomplished, and they make it happen
- Advantage - Lack of a regimented management structure can sometimes lead to better results and new ideas
- Advantage - Contract employees are less expensive because you don’t have to worry about benefit packages, overtime, or payroll taxes
- Disadvantage - Contract employees are like for-hire mercenaries. They can work for anyone, including your competitors
- Disadvantage - Contract employees are typically less committed to big-picture corporate goals
- Disadvantage - You can’t control them. If you have control and direction of their activities you have to pay taxes on them as regular employees
Using Contractors to Grow
From time to time my company has used contractors as gateway labor when launching a new division, testing out a new product or service, or simply when we could not hire an employee at an agreeable rate.
Eventually, all contract relationships end – abruptly. Typically, the best you can hope for is a 30-day notice provision in your contract.
While that sounds better than a voluntary 2-weeks notice form a regular employee, it can be devastating to lose a key person in the infancy of a product.
Employees are typically more loyal to the corporate goals, so the odds of them seeing a project through to a transition point are typically better.
Once your product, division, or service is viable, transition your contractors to employee status, or replace them with qualified people. Whenever possible, have the new employees train under the contractor.
Opportunity is Everywhere – Even in Bad Times
No matter how you decide to find your people, know that the “bad economy” has created a pool of very talented labor that can be a game-changer in your business strategy.
All you have to do is know how to tap it affordably and control its growth to cash in.
- Comments: 4
- Written on: September 19th, 2009
There is a new piece of exploit code circulating on the web that takes advantage of the SMB v2 service in Windows Vista to remotely access your computer.
At this time there is no patch to fix the problem (although the problem was repaired in the final release of Windows 7). Bevause thuis is a new exploit, it is also likely that any attackers using this code could also bypass your security software.
To TEMPORARILY fix this problem, there is a utility you can download to turn of the SMB v2 service. This may impact your home networking situation depending on your configuration, however it will not impact most users at all.
In the absence of a patch, here’s what you can do:
To revert the workaround, and re-enable SMBv2, you can: