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Start Page: Top 5 New Year's (IT) resolutions for 2013

Kim Brand
December 19, 2012
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StartPageBrand.jpgStarePage1.gifYou’re a year older, but are you a year wiser? You trudge down the same poor-productivity path year after year hoping that somehow the work will wane or your staff will step up. You ignore new versions and repel updates because you were barely trained on the last one and don’t have time to invest learning the new ones. Make this the year you get out of the poor-productivity ditch.

Resolution No. 1: Upgrade to Office 2010 (or 2013) and LEARN IT!

Say what you will about Microsoft, they know how to dominate a market. And no market is so dominated as the one they dominate with Office – aka Word, Excel and Outlook. If you make a living with words or numbers they are your toolkit. Are you a craftsman or a klutz?

The best part about Office 2010 is that Outlook search got a lot better. Search is the soul of information management. If you are hoarding thousands of emails in your inbox or folders, you deserve the joy of being able to find something faster.

Resolution No. 2: Empty your inbox

An inbox makes a horrible to-do list and worse project management system. Your inbox is where email goes to die. Resolve to move email to folders – and if you can – delegate your inbox to someone who can help. Assign expiration policies to folders . . . use it (file it) or lose it.

The new version of Outlook lets you drag emails to tasks. With the right system you can simply convert requests delivered by email to tasks you can assign to your staff in a single stroke.

Refer to my website http://emailtrainwreck.com for more about email.

Resolution No. 3: Learn keyboard shortcuts

Since the invention of the mouse I’ve noticed too many seconds are wasted by aiming smaller and smaller arrows at smaller and smaller targets and clicking to do almost everything. By the end of the day you’ve probably wasted enough time to play an 8x8 game of Sudoku. If you are going to waste time, at least you should have fun doing it!

Almost everything you do with a mouse can be done with a keyboard shortcut. Ctrl-S for example saves the file you are working on. Visit http://shortcutworld.com for hundreds more in dozens of programs – especially Word, Excel and Outlook.

Resolution No. 4: Change your passwords

2013 will probably be a good year for hackers. More high-value targets, more online applications, more connected hackers. Protecting yourself doesn’t need to be complicated; just use passwords that have a mix of upper and lower case letters, a number and a special symbol or two. (I wrote about this last January in the Indiana Lawyer.)

Don’t use the same password everywhere! And if you ever lose a password and have it (or a link to a password reset page) emailed to you, DELETE THE MESSAGE! If someone hacks your email and browses your inbox, imagine their delight when they find the credentials to your banking and shopping sites kept there forever!Startpage2.gif

Resolution No. 5: Unhook, disconnect

Studies have shown that as our focus is stolen by the constant interruptions of our digital life, we think less, react more and actually lose IQ points. It is ironic that the Internet, source of all knowledge, is making us stupid.

Most of my customers are afraid to disconnect. It takes courage. But the first step is to make an agreement with the people you connect with about your availability. I’ve added a link to an ‘Email Policies’ page in my Outlook signature. Everyone who receives a message from me is welcomed to learn ‘how I roll’ with email. Setting expectations is everything.

Try this: Share your inbox. Outlook rules are fine, but only a human can decide how to reply, forward or call someone making an urgent request via email (which is stupid all by itself). Leave the rest to wait for your ‘four-times-a-day’ email review windows. Seriously.

I hope you have a happy and productive 2013!•

__________

Kim Brand is a technology expert and president of Computer Experts Inc. He is the inventor of FileSafe, an on-premises file server, and he speaks and writes frequently on technology subjects. To attend a free seminar on Outlook titled: “I Was An E-Mail Sinner,” contact his office: info@ComputerExpertsIndy.com or call 317-833-3000. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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  • Have you tried?
    An interesting alternative to iGoogle is also Startific. It displays icons and widgets, connects all your favorite links and all your bookmarks, etc and organize them into a pretty nice interface, like you probably haven't seen in a quite while, check it if you want at www.Startific.com

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  1. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  2. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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  4. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  5. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

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