The Care and Feeding of Small Office Technology

This is a series of documents dedicated to the use of small office technology and the basic concepts for anyone establishing a technology center in their home.The article can be downloaded in its entirety.

First in a Series: Technology in the SOHO.

Remember that first pet? No matter what it was, you loved it the moment you saw it. And then it hit you, how do you take care of it? Like that first pet, or for all of you parents out there, your first child, you suddenly wish it came with a good instruction manual. Then the beads of sweat start forming; how do you know if you are doing the best for your pet? What is the best food for it? Who do you ask? Should you check the Internet? These are all of the questions you should have asked before you took on this great responsibility.

A small home office is very similar. You started your business and hoped that it would take off. But the kitchen table is not exactly an ideal workspace. Perhaps you can still work at home, but you need a space with the right tools. Maybe your home is not an ideal workspace, so you decide to get yourself a small office space in town. Now that you decided what you want to do, you still need a list of things to get your small office off to a good start. This is that guidebook.

  1. You are the most important technology in your office. Nothing you buy is more important than what you started with. Knowledge is your first and best weapon. No matter what your job, in a small office, you are also the first technician for your technology. You have to take the best care you can to keep your gear working.
  2. The design of your small office environment needs to take into consideration: needs of the occupation, quality of technology, ergonomic requirements, file storage and retrieval space. Set your office up with comfort in mind.
  3. You get what you pay for. Free is nice and low price is good, but sometimes, what you need will cost money and you will often pay handsomely for it. The trick is to get help deciding what your new gear should be worth to you and what a reasonable price for that would be.
  4. Your technology is obsolete before you get it out of the box. Your mission is to get the best value for the price, and ensure the longest functioning life for your technology. Know your hardware and its software. Mastery of the technology and software you use most often is critical, because time invested in learning a program pays back tenfold.
  5. A small reference library is a must. You should keep a library of information regarding your network and other technology assets. Download and keep the PDF manuals and enhance them with books that may increase your understanding. This will help you troubleshoot basic problems with your technology. 75% of all computer difficulties can be corrected by the user without serious technical support. Keep track of your equipment, especially if you purchase new technology. Often, introducing a new piece of gear will play havoc with your existing setup. If you know your setup well, you can inquire online about the compatibility of a product.
  6. Be honest with your IT technician, when she comes to help you. If you are having recurrent problems, write down whatever you are working on and what happens when your system fails.
  7. Learn how to backup your important information. Loss of your business data can be catastrophic and over 50% of businesses that have lost their data go out of business in twelve to eighteen months.
  8. Maintain your updates and patch your software: A sign of the times is that software is never truly finished being developed. Even though you have paid for it, it often has undisclosed (or undiscovered) bugs and flaws that can only be corrected after you have paid for it.
  9. Install and run your defensive software regularly. There are so many threats out there, if you have anti-malware tools installed, they cannot help you if you do not use them.
  10. Listen to your computer. Try to be aware of its ambient sounds. If your computer sounds different, chances are it is having a problem. The temperature of your system may affect how it sounds; strange sounds often indicate that your system is in distress. Protect your investment in your computer technology; keep it clean and free of dust, dirt, food, liquids and debris that may cause it to overheat or short out. Get a good surge protector to protect against power spikes.
  11. Keep the number of a qualified technical professional; see her at least once a year. Be nice to her, too.

Best Hardware EVER!

  1. You are the most important technology in your office. Nothing you buy is more important that what you started with. Knowledge is your first and best weapon. Before we delve into the intricacies of technology and how it can be used in the small office, we need to discuss the most powerful computer on Earth.
  • You already have it. You got it the very first day you arrived on Earth and it still has the most sophisticated and adaptable software interface the world has ever known.
  • No other creature has managed to develop software as sophisticated, create and master tools as complicated as humanity has. Yes, there are other intelligences on Earth that might rival ours, the underwater phyla of the Cetaceans (whales and dolphins) but they have not managed to change their environment the same way we have due to our use of tools.
  • When fully developed, it has allowed humanity to master a near-limitless number of technological, scientific, social or philosophical disciplines, given us an opportunity to learn to speak over six thousand different languages, to navigate the myriad environments scattered across the surface of the globe, the ability to domesticate thousands of species of plants and animals, and even divine the hidden secrets of the universe using advanced mathematics and cosmological concepts.
  • It has allowed humanity to build some of the most spectacular structures in our twenty thousand year prehistory, and at one point enter the most inhospitable environments imaginable, plumbing the deep sea, scaling the highest mountains and crossing that boundary into the final frontier; space.
  • The award for best information processing platform ever designed on Earth goes to the Human Brain!

The Human Brain…

is currently the best computer known to Man. This organic super-processing computer has no technological equal on our planet. In overall performance, it is superior to any computer ever made. If you wanted to try to make a computer comparable to the human brain, using today’s technology it would:

  • Cover an area the size of the state of Texas (over 268,601 square miles!) and stand over 1000 feet tall (as tall as the Chrysler Building)!
  • Need to have a nearly infinite storage capacity, (when was the last time you bought a hard drive for your brain?)
  • Have to be able to process over 100 billion instructions per second! (take that Intel!)
  • Have to have the ability to handle 100 billion bits of information! (take that Microsoft!)
  • Have to possess infinitely adaptable software capable of upgrading itself whenever it wanted to! (you can develop a new habit in as little as 21 days.)

But if we are so smart why do we even need computers? Why do we seem so slow in comparison?

a) We don’t. Much of human civilization was completed and able to be done, long before complex computers were even in existence. We built the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World1, the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and sent men to the moon, all without the use of computers (the primary calculating device during the moon launch was the slide rule). In China, there are people who can still use an abacus faster than most people can use a calculator.

b) The human brain appears slow due to the overwhelming amount of data being processed. Unusual humans who are gifted, have specialized autisms or have suffered brain damage can exhibit computer-like functions like total recall, super-fast calculations or abstract thinking capacities that appear far in advance of normal human functioning. But the human brain at its best can be trained to do many of these feats.

c) Our sense of sight (which is our primary sense organ) is creating a visual information smorgasbord of sensitivity that prioritizes our vision, (what needs to be seen first, the cobra near me or that tree over there), can detect range to an object, discern the nature of an object, and determine what kind of benefit or threat that object might be to our existence.

d) Our eyes process about 575 million pixels of information per second, covering a 120 degree field of vision. This is a constant flow of information and we only discern what is important to us at the time, but no computer is capable of even a fraction of that capability yet.

e) We are constantly sorting and managing a huge amount of data from our senses. All of our senses are linked and capable of initiating information retrieval (so when you smell a cake baking you might remember your grandmother and all kinds of thoughts related to her) are all linked and processing simultaneously. No computer technology even comes close to the capabilities of our human senses!

f) Our brains do not dedicate functions to singular tasks like computers are able to: hence a computer’s apparent superiority with mathematical calculations.

g) We are also processing an entire virtual environment within our head. It is our abstraction of the universe based on our belief systems that we are constantly working with when we are interacting with the real world. This virtual environment is superimposed on our real-time view of the world, helping us navigate our way to our goals.

Why is this important? I mention this because many people have developed phobias about their computers or technology in general, preventing them from harnessing the complete power of that device.

a. Take back control of your technology. Have no more fear of your computer than you do your toaster. You put toast in, press the button and toast comes out.

b. Computers are just like your toaster or your refrigerator, nothing will come out of it that you did not put into it, but just like your toaster or refrigerator you have to be aware of what you put into it, to know what CAN come out of it.

c. Your computer will never do anything you do not tell it to do. So why does your computer do so many seeming inexplicable things, that you did not tell it to do? That, my friends is because computers are a product of their environment.

d. Computers will take instructions from anyone who knows how to tell them what to do. This could be as simple as printing your document or as complex as erasing your hard drive.


Footnote 1: And now a word from our sponsors…

Brought to you by the WikipediaSeven Wonders of the Ancient World is a well known list of seven remarkable manmade constructions of classical antiquity. It was based on guide-books popular among Hellenic (Greek) tourists and only includes works located around the Mediterranean rim. The Greek category was not “Wonders” but theamata, which translates closer to “must-sees”. Earlier lists included things like the Walls of Babylon. The list is at its core, a celebration of Greek accomplishments. Only two of the final seven were non-Greek. Interestingly enough, since the Colossus of Rhodes fell down after a mere 50 years (it fell in a massive earthquake in 226 BC), few historians could have seen it standing (Philo amongst them), and as a result; the exact form of the statue is unknown- but it is believed to have looked much like the Statue of Liberty.

Antipater’s first list replaced the Lighthouse of Alexandria with the Ishtar Gate. Of these wonders, the only one that has survived to the present day is the Great Pyramid of Giza. The existence of the Hanging Gardens has not been proven, though theories abound. Records and archaeology confirm that the other five wonders used to exist. The Temple of Artemis and the Statue of Zeus were destroyed by fire, while the Lighthouse of Alexandria, Colossus, and tomb of Maussollos were destroyed by earthquakes. There are sculptures from the tomb of Maussollos and the Temple of Artemis in the British Museum in London.

Wonder

Date of

Builder

Notable features

Date of destruction

Cause of destruction

Great Pyramid of Giza

2584-2561 BC

Egyptians

Built as the tomb of fourth dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Khufu.

Still standing

N/A

Hanging Gardens of Babylon

605562 BC

Babylonians

Diodorus Siculus described multi-levelled gardens reaching 22 metres (75 feet) high, complete with machinery for circulating water. Large trees grew on the roof. Built by Nebuchadnezzar II for his wife Amytis of Media.

After 1st century BC

Earthquake

Statue of Zeus at Olympia

466456 BC (Temple) 435 BC

Greeks

Occupied the whole width of the aisle of the temple that was built to house it, and was 12 meters (40 feet) tall.

5th6th centuries AD

Unknown, presumed destroyed by fire or earthquake.

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

c. 550 BC

Lydians, Persians, Greeks

Dedicated to the Greek goddess Artemis, it took 120 years to build. Herostratus burned it down in an attempt to achieve lasting fame. Rebuilt by Alexander the Great. Destroyed by the Goths, and rebuilt again.

356 BC(by Herostratus)
AD 262 (by the Goths)
AD 401 (by John Chrysostom)

Arson, Plundering

Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus

351 BC

Persians, Greeks

Stood approximately 45 meters (135 feet) tall with each of the four sides adorned with sculptural reliefs. Origin of the word mausoleum, a tomb built for Mausolus, a satrap in the Persian Empire

by AD 1494

Damaged by an earthquake and eventually disassembled by European Crusaders.

Colossus of Rhodes

292280 BC

Greeks

A giant statue of the Greek god Helios, c. 35m (110 ft) tall.

Toppled by an earthquake in 226 BC, with the bronze scrap removed in AD 654.

Earthquake

Lighthouse of Alexandria

c. 280 BC

Hellenistic Egypt

Between 115 – 135 meters (383 – 440 ft) tall it was one of the tallest structures on Earth for many centuries.

AD 13031480

Earthquake

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s