Is the Promise of the Paperless Office yet Another Jet Pack?

We have been hearing about the paperless office for what seems like years now, yet most office buildings today still depend on fax machines, copiers, and forests worth of paper documents. Is the paperless office like the individual jet pack? Long promised but never delivered? The simple answer? No. The world is still moving toward paperless offices. It is merely taking more time than some would like.

The advantages of paper

There’s a reason why paper hasn’t yet vanished from most offices: It is useful. Employees at even the greenest of offices—those workspaces most devoted to lowering the level of paper they consume—have uses for paper. Paper is portable. Employees can quickly scrawl notes on it. They can fold it up and slip it into their wallets or shirt pockets. Many employees prefer proofreading essential documents in hard-copy form. There’s something about proofreading a document on the computer screen that causes some employees to miss important errors or typos.

Less paper than ever

Paper is becoming less and less essential. A number of our past paper processes are now able to be performed on a computer. Team communication is dealt with via email. Even instant messaging has taken the place of paper notes to coworkers. Smartphones and tablets have taken over the dependence on a physical calendar/schedule system. If you take a glance back at how far business has come in the past decade, it’s pretty clear that paper, while not fully obsolete, is no longer king.

The future

It’s obvious that offices of the future will rely on less paper than even we do now, but will paper ever really go the way of the milkman? Maybe. Some people still prefer having their milk delivered from a local dairy but most are content to pick it up from the store when they need it.

Paper will most likely go the same route and it will be a personal preference as to how much paper is consumed in the office. As many of our business processes rely on digital solutions, there will always be a select few who prefer good old-fashioned pen and paper.

Get More Out of Your New iPhone With These Quick Tips

iPhones do a lot more than make calls! We are able to stream movies and TV shows, update our social sites, and listen to music. They can even give us direction to places we want to go. It appears as though the only thing they can’t do is the dishes. There’s a lot you realize your iPhone can do, but we wanted to share a few timesaving tricks you might have been unaware of.

Saving Time

If you find it hard to type a Web address on the small on-screen keyboard, before clicking in the address bar on your browser, turn your iPhone to a horizontal position. The keyboard will now be larger, making it easier to type an “e” and not a “w”. Here is a timesaving tip for making phone calls. When browsing the Web, if you locate telephone number you need to call, simply tap the phone number on the screen and your phone will dial it.

More Efficient Typing

Apple itself offers a number of tips for getting more out of your iPhone. If you are typing using the on-screen keyboard, try tapping the space bar twice at the conclusion of a sentence. Your iPhone will automatically include a period then capitalize the next word you type. If you need to spice up your message with special characters, just touch and hold a letter for a couple of seconds. As you do this, a variety of special characters will show up. After that you can easily insert these symbols into your message.

Quick Printing, Personalized Entertainment

If you own an AirPrint-enabled printer, you are able to print documents, emails, as well as Web pages from your iPhone. To print an email message, tap the Reply icon and then select “Print” and your phone will send the message to your printer. For a Web page, touch the “Action” icon and select “Print.”

Your iPhone can play your music, but did you know you can create a customized music playlist on the go? Open the iPod application, tap the “Playlists” icon and chose the “Add Playlist” option. After renaming your playlist, just navigate to the song you want to add and choose it.

The Segway turned 10!

It wasn’t that long ago that inventor Dean Kamen thought his two-wheeled personal transportation device, the Segway, would revolutionize transportation. Sadly, the Segway has grown to be synonymous with technology failure. Kamen envisioned a future filled people zipping around town on a Segway PT scooter to run errands and travel to work.

We are all aware that didn’t happen. The Segway is still around and it isn’t an entirely unusual site to see someone taking a Segway out for a “drive” around the block. For a “failed” technology, that is a pretty extraordinary feat!

Let’s discuss how the Segway really works though.

Powering the Segway

The Segway PT is powered by electric motors. Those motors are fueled by a number of lithium-ion batteries that are simply charged by a common household electrical socket. Five gyroscopic sensors, two tilt sensors, and two computers with specialty software prevent the Segway from falling over.

Making the Segway Move

The user plays the largest role in making the Segway move. By simply shifting your weight in the direction you need to go and moving the handlebars slightly, the Segway’s sensors acknowledge the change in balance point and react appropriately. The latest version of the Segway has a top speed of 12.5 MPH. For obvious reason, it works best on flat surfaces.

Lowered Expectations

The buzz was pretty big around the Segway when it was initially announced, but it never quite lived up to it all. Some even believed that the Segway would be more popular than the Internet overall!

However, once the Segway was released many thought it looked odd and you looked bizarre riding one. Others thought it looked unsafe. Regardless, the negatives were enough to prevent the Segway from reaching its promised potential.

Disaster Recovery: What it Means For Your Business

Disasters can happen to any company and they come in many forms and severities. They could be everything from a natural disaster, to a well-meaning employee accidently downloading a dangerous virus, to something crucial getting mistakenly deleted. These what-ifs can keep you up at night, so for your own reassurance develop a disaster recovery plan.

Decide What’s Important

First off, figure out what data is the most critical to get your company back up and running. What information needs to be backed up and saved and what can you afford to lose? This should help you figure out what you need to back up. Choosing an online provider or storing your data in the cloud can be the best way to ensure you can access your data quickly.

Make a Plan

The second step is figuring out the steps that must be taken to get your company back on its feet as quickly as possible. Consider the worst possible scenario and how to recover from that. Which systems have to be restored first and what technology will be needed to do this?

Know Your Workflows

I’m sure you have the big picture of your company processes, but how about all the day-to-day processes that you don’t have memorized? Ask your employees to document their workflows and the specific tasks they preform. By doing this, if something does happen, anyone can pick up where they left off and nothing gets looked over.

Decide Who is in Charge

Many people panic when disaster strikes. To make sure the panic doesn’t make things worse, put someone that has helped you build the plan in charge of carrying out your data recovery plan. This way you are available to reassure everyone and supervise the company and you can be the strong leader your employees need in time of crisis.

Disaster can happen to anyone! So before it does, develop a good plan so that you know what to do. It will make both your employees and you feel more secure.

Manage your projects effectively with these online tools

The chances are good that you, as a small business owner, are juggling many projects at once, and the odds are equally high in this era of virtual workers that many freelancers and consultants spread throughout the country are working on these projects. It can be tough to keep track of the progress of these projects, and it can be equally challenging to assign new tasks, share essential documents, and request updates from these far-flung workers.

Project management solutions

Fortuitously, numerous companies offer top-notch project management tools for small business owners. By employing these tools, you can keep your various projects on track and prevent costly missed deadlines. Here is a glance at some of the best project management tools available today:

Basecamp

Basecamp is still one of the most widely used online project management tools for entrepreneurs. There is a simple reason behind this: It features an easily understood interface that lets you easily manage any of your small business projects. You can tap into the system to communicate with project managers, delegate new tasks, give your okay to submitted documents and marketing materials, or schedule meetings. You can even enable your clients to access Basecamp to allow them to offer comments on the work that you as well as your team have already carried out.

Quickbase

Inuit business software creators have developed a project management tool called Quickbase. This tool has many of the same features of Basecamp while being able to facilitate both large and small companies all with a clean and simple user interface.

Huddle

For the more creative projects, like marketing and advertising, Huddle is ideal. Certainly one of this tool’s perks is its live-conferencing tool. If you need to collect the team in a quick and easy fashion, this tool allows you to, regardless of where your team members might be.

Deskaway

This is a good tool for updating team members on a projects progression. Easily create blog posts, congratulatory messages, and quick updates.

There are many other choices for project management tools, each with their own benefits for individual businesses. Be sure to look for the one that will help your business manage your projects and personnel the best.