A Sad Farewell to The Computing Center’s First Client

 By Larry Baum

 

This past Saturday The Computing Center said a sad farewell to our first paying client.

Our dear friend, David Flinn unexpectedly passed away on December 23rd.  (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/theithacajournal/obituary.aspx?n=david-galbraith-flinn&pid=187650477&fhid=11708)

 

As our business got started back in 1978, finding that initial customer, particularly one who was willing to pay for our goods and services was all-important. With that first paying client we became “real”. For us, that first client was David Flinn. 

 

Thirty-nine years ago Dave took a chance on our fledging computer company with our focus primarily on using computers within small businesses.  We started out providing him and his various businesses with billing and basic accounting software initially via access to mainframe and mini-computers. As the years went on and small computer technology became “faster, better, and cheaper”, we provided Dave with desktop computers for his offices and home, then laptops, wired and wireless networking all the way to today’s tablets and smart-technologies.  Our technicians and engineers regularly visited his home and offices to make sure that everything worked just so.  Dave became a familiar and welcome face in our offices too. Interactions with him were always friendly, good natured, and professional.

 

As we grew, even though Dave was no longer our largest client, he remained important to us – and taught us that clients of all sizes are critical to our success.  Our “service first” philosophy and treating all clients, whatever the size, with the same attention, comes directly from our early and continued interactions with David Flinn.

 

Along with being a client, Dave also gave us advice.  Not just on the specifics of what he wanted and needed from us for his businesses, but how we could become better known in the community and how to find and nurture new clients: “Join the Chamber of Commerce” and “Join Rotary!” were just two of his suggestions.

 

Taking Dave’s advice to heart, The Computing Center joined the Chamber of Commerce shortly after we formed the company. Over the years our involvement in the Chamber increased with Mary Stazi and I being board members, several staff members serving on various committees, and our helping the Chamber build its first website. 

 

I was a bit more reticent about joining Rotary.  I would be the youngest member. I didn’t like the idea of no women in Rotary and weekly attendance was essentially mandatory.  Dave, being a past Rotary president, assured me that there would be women members within 5 years (he was close – it took about 7 years) and the club would be OK if I missed a meeting or two. And he agreed that there should be more younger members too. So, I joined. What I found were a lot of people very interested in the new small computer technology and how it could be leveraged within their businesses.  I learned a lot about giving back to the community – just as Dave had done.  And I wasn’t the youngest member for long.  Mike Brown and Dave’s son, Dale joined soon after and were younger than me.  Today, the children and grandchildren of some of those Rotary members are now Rotary members – all giving back.

 

As you read Dave’s obituary, there’s a lot of reminders of what one person can do within a community and the impact they can have. David Flinn had a very meaningful impact on everyone he came in contact with especially on The Computing Center and on its founders.  He will be missed.

The Mainframe Computer Isn't Going Anywhere - Except Maybe to Mars

 by Steve Moore, Senior Story Strategist, IBM

We'll admit it - some of us at The Computing Center are science and space geeks. So this article about how Mars exploration will essentially require taking mainframe level computer systems along with human spacefarers caught our eye. Also, look at the author's title - definitely cool!  If you're like us - read on! 

 

At the International Astronautical Congress in September, Elon Musk announced a vision to build a base on the moon in addition to his famous plans to build a permanent human colony on Mars. The announcement came with images of rockets, landing pads, refueling tanks and structures for human habitation. It’s an inspiring vision — but it can be easy to forget the individual steps it’ll take to realize the dream.

As Musk makes clear, long before SpaceX sends humans to the moon or Mars, they’ll have to send unmanned missions to establish the early infrastructure. In addition to propellant plants and solar panels, the early missions will almost certainly require systems for receiving, storing, analyzing and transmitting huge volumes of data. And with no humans on site to intervene, those systems will have to be incredibly robust, highly automatic, adaptive, self-monitoring and self-healing.

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Protecting Your Business from Negative SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a website design technique to maximize how a search engine like Google ranks and displays a website search result. This article discusses how "Negative SEO" can potentially harm your rankings and damage your business.

Negative SEO -- does it really exist?   And if it does, what is it and how can you protect your site?

Consider this post a short whirlwind tutorial for a typical small business website.

What is Negative SEO?

Negative SEO is when a third party targets a website and attempts to lower its rankings and placement in search engines.  In other words, someone with bad intent uses search engine optimization techniques to harm another site.

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Staying on Top of Your Email Inbox

We've all been there. You return from vacation or a holiday and what do you find - hundreds of unread emails! It's tough to sift out the relevant emails from the spam.  And you might miss an important work emails from your employees, co-workers, or clients.  So, what to do?

Here are some tips on how to cut out the spam, irrelevant emails, and other detritus clogging up your inbox. A lot of this junk comes from years of giving out your email address when you sign up for accounts and services, ranging from your email address being sold, to mailing lists you once signed up for but are no longer interested in now.

Try these tips for a few weeks and see how your inbox looks then.

  1. First, start unsubscribing. Look for the unsubscribe link or button on any repeating emails that you don’t want to be on. Multiple emails every day from that vendor that sold you software years ago? Unsubscribe. Never actually read that newsletter you signed up for? Unsubscribe. (Yes, even from our eNewsletter if you don't find our information useful!)

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Oh "!*&^" Our Website Just Got Hacked!

About once a month, we get the call - "Something or someone has hacked our website, email, desktop, or server."  The calls rarely come from regular Computing Center clients but it does happen. We are there to help and have a lot of experience in recovering and restoring and getting systems going again. This article from HP descrbes the major steps that are taken to deal with hacks. You can do-it-yourself, but as we tell our clients - we do this work all the time and isn't your time better spend doing what you do?

What do you need to do to get your site back online? Three steps to recovery.

After the initial panic subsides, your mind starts racing and you find yourself asking the question, “What do I (or my IT folks), need to do to get our site back online?” Read on for more...

What are the first few things you do when the alarm goes off on Monday morning? If you're anything like me, your morning ritual includes a bold coffee blend and a quick perusal of social media before settling down at your desk for the day.

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