If I only read my junk mail

(Editor's Note:  We have known Jane Cage for well over 20 years as a business owner and now the Chief Operating Officer of Heartland Technology Solutions.  She's based in Joplin Missouri and has been very active in her community rebuilding after the devestating tornado in 2011.  It's really nice to see that Jane has kept her sense of humor.)

 If I only read my junk mail, I wouldn’t be writing this article in English. I could have "Fluency in Spanish in ten days?" or I could "Learn Japanese Rapidly" by "Utilizing our sneaky linguistic secret".  

If I only read my junk mail, I would be a better communicator by "Breaking Bad Communication Habits" and learning to "Be a mentor & Teacher". I could even "Learn Psychology completely online."  

If I only read my junk mail, I would have more cash in my pocket because I could "Avoid Pain at the Pump" and "Get a Free Shoes!" I could get "30% off select furniture" and an whopping "85% on Printer Ink –Shipping On Us."


Apple Macintosh viruses reported

April 1st – the day when all sorts of jokes, stories, and elaborate hoaxes are played on the public by venerated news organizations, manufacturers, the government, and of course from the Internet.  Our friends at Google launched a fantastic new product based on Morse Code.  NOT!!

However, this past April, an issue that has been around for a while created quite a media stir and wasn't a joke.  Apple Macintosh computers getting viruses or more precisely a thing called a “Flashback Trojan Horse”.   Thousands of words were written about over 600,000 Mac computers being attacked by malicious malware code.  We had quite a few clients call us and bring-in their Macs – just to check.

So, is this real, a big deal, or not?  Some facts and suggestions:

The first thing to understand is yes, this particular issue is real.  However, the infection of 600,000 computers is actually quite small.  There are literally millions of Apple OS X licenses out there.  Not as many as PCs, but as these things go, this infection is pretty minor.  Our shop checked a number of client Macintoshes and we checked all of The Computing Center’s own machines.  Not one of them had the Flashback Trojan.


Why settle for fine?

Editor's Note - We have known Laura for over 10 years as a computer systems integration business owner, entrepreneur, and prolific writer.

Have you ever said, “I’m fine” rather than, “I’m great”? How about when you’ve gone to a restaurant and said the food was fine rather than it’s wonderful and yet you kept going back to that same place rather than find another restaurant that had better food and service and perhaps even a better price? Fine to me means that it is just satisfactory. That the experience just meets my minimum requirements for that interaction. I don’t know about you, but I prefer my life to be filled with exceptional experiences whenever possible especially if it is possible for me to shift the experience with just a little effort.

I was talking to my mom the other day, she recently had open heart surgery and is recovering at our house, and I asked her how she was feeling. She said she was fine but when I prodded her for a deeper answer she said she had a headache and she was in pain. Comparatively, she was fine to where she had been a few weeks prior, but she really wasn’t fine. A couple of Tylenol and about 20 minutes later she felt great. You could even see it in her eyes. Why are we willing to settle for fine when we can be great?

All it took for great to happen in this case was Mom being willing to admit what wasn’t great and then analyze if there was a way to change fine to great. I have found that 99% of the time it is that easy to move from fine to great, wonderful, awesome or even just to good. In a restaurant, it may mean sending the salad back if you asked for it with no dressing and it came out laden with dressing or engaging the wait staff in a conversation and asking their name to let them know you appreciate them. Watch how your service improves with just that little bit of attention on your part.


Better Business Bureau - Tips on where to give

Americans seeing the devastation wreaked by recent tornadoes are responding with generous gifts of time and money, as they've traditionally responded to disasters throughout the world.  But even when needs are close to home, givers should take steps to assure themselves that their donations will go to legitimate and reputable charities and relief efforts that have the capability to help victims, cautions the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.


"Despite long experience in giving for major natural disasters, and with the desire to quickly help those in need, Americans sometimes forget to heed advice that's relevant to all charitable giving," says Art Taylor, President and CEO of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.  "In the present situation, we advise donors especially to learn about what individual charities are doing and the time frame of their work. Donors who know what to expect from the charities they support are less likely to question the benefit of their gifts." 


BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following five tips to help Americans decide where to direct donations:


Take time to check out the charity. The best way to avoid being disappointed in helping Storm Relief Charities is to find out more about the charity before making the donation.  Unfortunately, most people don't. Donors should review the charity's website and go to third party sites such as the BBB Wise Giving Alliance (www.bbb.org/charity) to learn more about the charity and verify its accountability.


Identify what stage of relief the charity intends to provide. There are three general stages to relief efforts.  Find out which stage the charity is intending to address.  The Emergency Response stage involves immediate assistance and rescue needs and takes place within the first days after the storm.  Next, Disaster Relief occurs in the first month and provides clothing and temporary shelter for displaced families.  Finally, the Recovery Stage can last over a year and involves clean up, repair and/or rebuilding homes, and other long-term recovery needs.


Bill Gates' eleven rules

About ten years ago, Bill Gates gave a speech at a High School in California about what they would not likely learn in the classroom.  A few things have changed over the past decade, but the rules that Gates suggests are still VERY true, not just for kids, but for all of us.

UPDATE - 22:10 ET - We have been informed that Bill Gates apparently did NOT write these rules or give the speech where they are attributed to.  Still - they are worth reading!!!  From more information about origin of "the rules" checkout:  www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/schoolrules.asp

Rule 1: Life is not fair -- get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.


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