Dec 062015
My newest ride

My newest ride

There are two types of motorcycle riders- Those who have laid their motorcycle down, and those who will!
It happened in 1998 in Elbert- Colorado– they had just finished laying six inches of gravel thru the entire town for future paving plans. I was cruising along great until I turned off the main road. When the leader of my trip decided to make a U-turn, things didn’t go well for me! Quite inexperienced at the time, I attempted a low speed U-turn in the loose gravel. I thought it would never happen to me, but I dropped the Harley Davidson like an old movie stuntman on a lame horse! Luckily it hasn’t happened since, my current ride is shown above.
What does the above incident have to do with computers– A LOT! There are two types of computer owner/operators- Those who have had a hard drive crash and those who will have a hard drive crash sometime in the future. And so it goes, a few months ago, the hard drive on my main computer crashed. The good news was that I had a backup of the data on my computer, but I did not have a backup of the image on my hard drive. What does that mean? That means that my operating system needed to be reloaded and all of my programs needed to be reinstalled and registered. Many do not have original software and/or serial numbers to re-register software.
So again- Do as I say, and not as I DID! Make sure you back up on a regular basis all your information. It can be done on a manual basis, or by utilizing software and/or hardware systems to automatically sync or copy your information. This is NOT a time to skimp!  After all, if you suddenly lose the data on your server or one of your critical computers in your business, what would you do? Over the years, I have used a product called Carbonite to backup my data. Their prices are reasonable and today they have even more options than were available when I first started using them.  If you are interested in looking at either backing up just your data backup or also backing up the actual image of your hard drive, I suggest that you check them out.  You can click here to learn more.  They even have free trials!
Why, you ask am I focusing on this topic with so much intensity? I have looked in the eyes of clients who have lost all of the data on their computer, and as an Act! software consultant and trainer it is devastating not to be able to help!
Don’t let it happen to you– It will ruin your day and probably negatively affect your business!  Give me a call if you need information that will protect you from loss of data on your computer system. You can then sleep much better with less worry from the DATA GRINCH!

Kathleen Vanden Broecke, Act! Certified Consultant & Trainer

Effective Business Solutions



Jan 262014

For the past few years, Microsoft® and IT professionals have been trying to remind us that Windows® XP would stop being supported starting April 8th, 2014.  What does it really mean?

1.  Microsoft® will no longer be releasing security patches for computers running Windows® XP operating systems.

2.  As time goes by, you will find that new software and applications that you desire along with hardware (printers, scanners, and copiers) may not be compatible with your Windows® XP computer. Click here to go directly to the Microsoft® site for details.

 What should you do if you are still running a Windows® XP machine?

1.  If you work with an IT professional, consult with him/her for their input, they know you and your needs best.

2.  If you do not have an IT professional, I have listed several considerations for you.

a.  Is this computer connected to the internet?  If it is, you very well may be vulnerable to security attacks.

b. Does this computer run an application that is vital to your business?  If so, you may want to disconnect it from the internet and continue to use it while you decide on whether or not you want to upgrade your current software or migrate to another.   Don’t wait until it stops working and cripples your business.!

c.  Have you been dragging your feet on upgrading because of all of the “horror stories” regarding Windows® 8?  It is true that Windows® 8 requires time to get used to.  The good news is that you can still get Windows® 7 on many computers (you may have to look a bit) and Microsoft® will support Windows® 7 until January 14, 2020!  Interesting article published by PCWorld just this week!

d.  I would strongly suggest that you do not upgrade your current Windows® XP computer to either Windows® 7 or Windows® 8.  It is almost certain your hardware will not run well.  With both desktop and laptop computers at such reasonable prices these days, it pays just to buy a new computer and start fresh.

What is the lesson here?  If you depend on your computer(s) in your business (who doesn’t today?), make a concerted effort to keep your technology up to date. If not, you will end up rushing into making decisions that should be made in a more calculated manor.  As you move forward, make sure that you have trusted advisors to assist you in your technology decisions.

Happy 2014!

Kathleen Vanden Broecke, Act! Certified Consultant & Trainer

Effective Business Solutions


Apr 042011

Carpal tunnel syndrome.

How do I know? Within the past few weeks I was experiencing pain in my shoulder radiating down my arm and eventually reaching my wrist and hand. One day, after providing online support for one of my ACT! database clients for several hours, the pain in my wrist was to the point that I knew a trip to my physical therapist was in order.

Over the years I have known many people who have had carpal tunnel syndrome, but I didn’t think it would ever happen to me! While working with clients, I work on several styles of keyboards and mice. Do you have a prevention program at your business? The cost in loss of man hours can be very high, not taking into account the inconvenience of one of your key employees going to therapy several times a week or even worse, having surgery!

My physical therapy office suggested that I see their occupational therapist for my first visit. They said that patients are arriving in large numbers with the same problem and much worse. What is surprising to them is that the patients are younger and younger each year. The results were that I was diagnosed with “pre carpal tunnel”. Good news for me, but incredibly humbling. One of the things that I learned was that this comes from cumulative behavior.

My occupation as an ACT! Consultant and Trainer depends on my ability to use a computer! In order to ensure that my “pre carpal tunnel” condition does not progress into full blown carpal tunnel syndrome I have been very motivated to follow my therapist’s directions.

First – Performing several exercises diligently several times every day.

Second – I am visiting the therapist twice a week.

The third has been the most difficult. I needed to limit my time on the computer during my healing process. Just take a minute and think of all of the tasks that you perform on your computer or cell phone every day. E-mail, tweeting, texting, job responsibilities etc. This was actually an eye opening experience for me.

Fourth – Purchasing an ergonomic keyboard and mouse. As I examined the documentation on correct computer posture, I also found that an under the desk keyboard tray was in order.

Click here to find exercises to help protect you and your employees.

These have been my experiences and are in no way meant to be seen as a doctor or therapists diagnosis.