Renee Prejean-Motanky

Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

10 Cool Things You Can Do With a USB Flash Drive

In Consulting, Tips You Can Use, Uncategorized on June 23, 2011 at 10:47 pm
USB Flash Drive SuperTalent Pico-C 8 GB. Stain...

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Transporting your data is probably the most common use for a USB flash drive. But there’s a world of other things you can do with these handy pocket-size drives. Here are 10 ways you can use that USB flash drive to do more than just move data.

1: Run portable applications

In addition to storing your data, you can run portable applications from a USB flash drive. For example, OpenOffice, which is a complete office suite that includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, drawing package, and database, is available as a portable application. Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird are also available as portable applications. When you combine the office suite with the ability to surf the Web and check email, you’ll be able to take your most vital computing applications with you wherever you go — right in your pocket.

If that’s not enough, you can choose other applications to install on your USB flash drive from PortableApps.com. You can even install an entire prepackaged suite of applications that includes such things as an audio player, games, an antivirus utility, and a handy menu system.

The PortableApps.com suite comes with a menu system to allow you to easily access your portable applications.

2: Boot an operating system

If you want to do more than just run your own applications, you might want to consider booting an entire operating system from your USB flash drive. You can boot either Windows or Linux from a USB flash drive; however, the process is not an exact science and you may be in for a technical adventure.

Fortunately, there are some guides you can follow. To learn how to boot Windows XP from a USB flash drive, see the article Creating a bootable USB flash drive for Windows XP. To learn how to boot a version of Linux from a USB flash drive, see the article Puppy Linux teaches an old dog new tricks.  Watch this video to learn how to create a bootable USB Flash Drive for Windows 7:

3: Connect to a wireless network

If you have a wireless network, you can use the Wireless Network Setup Wizard in Windows XP or the Windows Connect Now (WCN) feature built into Vista and Windows 7 to save wireless network configuration information to a USB flash drive. You can then use your drive to quickly and easily connect another computer or a WCN-compatible device, such as a router or printer, to your wireless network. To learn more about using the Wireless Network Setup Wizard, see the Help And Support Center, which is accessible from Windows XP’s Start menu. To learn more about using the Windows Connect Now feature, see Windows Help And Support, which is accessible from Windows  Start menu.

4: Create a password reset disk

A password reset disk can really come in handy if you forget the password to your user account on a Windows system that is not a part of a domain. If you find yourself in that situation, you can use the password reset disk to reset your password and quickly get back into your user account. In Windows Vista, you can use USB flash drive rather than a floppy disk as a password reset disk . For details on how to do so, see the article Create a Vista password reset disk using a USB flash drive.  Or visit this link: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/create-a-windows-7-password-reset-disk-and-use-it-to-reset-a-lost-password.aspx for Windows 7. 

You can use your USB flash drive as a password reset disk.

5: Boost performance

If you’re running Windows Vista, you can use a USB flash drive to speed up your system with the ReadyBoost technology. ReadyBoost can use the storage space on a USB Flash drive as an additional memory cache to aid the memory cache on your hard disk. And because flash memory is more responsive than a hard disk, with its physical moving parts, the memory cache provided by ReadyBoost can significantly improve system responsiveness.

Using ReadyBoost is easy. You just insert your USB flash drive into your Vista system and follow the onscreen prompts to configure and use ReadyBoost. If you want more details, check out the article How SuperFetch and ReadyBoost work together.  You can do the same for Windows 7.

6.  Manage it

If all you really want to do with your USB flash drive is transport data, and you’re running Windows XP, you can do so more efficiently with the Microsoft USB Flash Drive Manager (Figure C). Once you have installed this manager, you can easily copy files to and from your drive, back up and restore the entire flash drive to and from your hard disk, change the drive label, and even create an autorun.inf file to launch Drive Manager automatically when you plug in the drive. To learn more about and download the USB Flash Drive Manager visit the Microsoft TechNet Magazine site.

The Microsoft USB Flash Drive Manager provides you with a host of features, such as drive backup.

7: Use it as an MP3 player

Would you like to be listening to music when you’re using a computer at the office, but you don’t have an MP3 player? If so, you can use a USB flash drive as an MP3 player along with Windows Media Player and a set of headphones. Just copy your MP3 files to your USB flash drive, plug it into your computer, and direct Windows Media Player to build a library of the songs on your drive. You can use all of Windows Media Player’s playback features, such as playlists and favorites, to easily customize your music listening experience. And best of all, you won’t have to worry about running low on battery power

8: Password-protect it

If you use a USB flash drive to transport sensitive data that you would prefer to protect from prying eyes, should you lose the drive, Rohos Mini Drive  can safeguard that data. This security tool allows you to create a secret partition on the drive and then password-protect/encrypt that partition, thus protecting any documents you copy to that partition via the utility’s file manager. You can download (and read a review of) Rohos Mini Drive.

Using Rohos Mini Drive, you can secure sensitive files on your USB flash drive.

9: Run a Web site from it

If you are a Web developer, you may be interested to know that with Server2Go, you can easily run a Web server that supports Apache, PHP, MySQL, and Perl right from a USB flash drive. You can use Server2Go right out of the box without any installation. It runs on all versions of Windows, supports most common browsers, and is completely free. To a developer, the benefits of having a portable Web server on a USB drive are numerous. For example, imagine being able to carry a live Web site demo into a sales pitch meeting. For more information about this package, visit the Server2Go site.

10: Lock your PC

Have you ever seen a movie in which a person in some secret government installation simply inserts and removes a card to log in and log out of a PC? If you thought that idea was cool, you’ll definitely want to investigate Predator (Figure E). Once installed and configured, this little freeware utility will allow you to turn a USB flash drive into a key you can use to lock and unlock your computer. 

With Predator, you can use a USB flash drive as a key to lock and unlock your computer.

While the USB flash drive is connected to your computer, everything works as it normally would. Once you remove the USB flash drive, your computer is locked down — the keyboard and mouse are disabled and the screen darkens. To unlock your computer, you just plug in the USB flash drive and the computer will be unlocked and you can begin using it. To learn more about Predator, and/or to download it, visit the developer’s Web site.

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When It Comes To Digital; “Be There or Be Square!”

In Communications, The Internet on June 22, 2011 at 12:31 am

Below is a link to the latest Scott Klososky blog article (Scott is a leading technology futurist and a frequent consultant to a company called “We Simplify the Internet” (WSI,) with whom RPM Marketing is teaming on a project geared toward helping low income older Americans to get online.  It’s a project that truly resonates for me personally because of its importance and potential to have universal impact not only for seniors, but for all underserved populations.  RPM is proud to be involved.

This article is speaking to business leaders, but the underlying message is relevant to everyone: “embrace and leverage the latest technologies or be at a staggering disadvantage to those who do.”  

“Since the caveman days, the species with the best use of tools has dominated. Many centuries ago technology (starting with the development of metals and gun powder) changed the political fortunes of the countries, or despots that wielded them. In the business world for the past 50 years, companies that adopted new technologies before their competitors prospered.”  “Today, while some companies are stalled with just a website or are still trying to figure out Facebook and Twitter, others are on to Online Reputation Management, Social CRM, Crowdsourcing, and building Rivers of Information.”

As Gary Smith, digital consultant at WSI, so aptly pointed out; “When it comes to the Digital World;” as the old saying goes, “be there or be square!”

http://www.technologystory.com/2011/06/13/trd-–-do-it-or-strangle-slowly-part-one/

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10 Reasons Why Your Network Is Your Greatest Asset

In Business Development, Communications, marketing, Social Media on June 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

An individual’s greatest asset is his/her network. The network that’s an asset is the one made up of real relationships.

Facebook and Twitter have no value if you don’t use them properly.  In looking at profiles on these social media for a number of large and small businesses, I’ve observed that most of them aren’t going about it in the right way. Businesses jump on the Facebook and Twitter bandwagons with the hope of generating sales. They load their news feeds with sales plugs and expect   “friends” to buy whatever they’re selling. They use Twitter to make announcements rather than to engage conversation.

The right way to use social media is to focus on building relationships. Wish friends and fans “Happy Birthday”; “Like” their statuses, share information and even provide  useful content that’s OUTSIDE of your business area of expertise to help them out (for example: share an interesting news item, a great sale on computer equipment, a super auto repair shop, great business tips, etc.). Show that your thread is useful and that you are there to connect with them, not simply sell them something and you will see results.

DON’T create a business profile and start adding people as friends – users hate this. Get to know your privacy settings and use your personal profile as the “face” of your company.

Below is a list from Steve Tobak of BNET on what you stand to gain from building a great network:

  1. Introductions. Whether you’re an entrepreneur in need of venture capital or a marketing VP looking for the best PR firm, you’re more likely to find it through your network than by any other means.
  2. Opportunities. Over a 30-year career, most of my major career and business opportunities came from my network. Business associates, friends of friends, casual conversations, business meetings, social events, whatever. But you’ve got to pay attention.
  3. Sorting out thorny problems. Anyone who thinks they’ve never met a work problem they can’t resolve has never been a CEO. The problem with problems is that they keep getting escalated until there’s nowhere left to go. The buck has to stop somewhere. And getting a fellow exec to help sort out a monster problem is a big plus.
  4. Recruiting. Perhaps the most critical job of any manager is to hire talented people, and the best place to find them is through your network. And not just for direct reports, but also for recommendations on peers, key employees, board members, you name it.
  5. Ideas. I don’t know about you, but most of my best ideas come from bouncing them around with like-minded people.
  6. Competitive intelligence. It’s a big, hairy global market and smart executives dig for competitive intelligence. Much of that info comes from sales and marketing, but where do you think they get it from? That’s right, their network.
  7. Sensitive issues. Top executives often face sensitive issues they can’t discuss with others at the company. Sometimes they just need an outside perspective from another CEO. For example, some of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s friends are Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Mark Hurd (when he was CEO of H-P, as well). Makes sense, doesn’t it?
  8. Seeing the big market picture. A huge component of any manager’s success is her ability to anticipate significant market changes. While nobody has a crystal ball, if you get enough anecdotal data from enough sources, you can get a pretty good picture of what’s going on.
  9. Moral support. Business is full of tradeoffs. Rarely are critical and complex issues black and white. When top execs wrestle with gray issues, it’s nice to be able to pick up the phone for advice and support.
  10. You don’t know what you don’t know. While there are exceptions, know-it-alls don’t typically get ahead. Smart managers know what they don’t know and that means they depend very much on comparing notes with others in their network.

Is your network your biggest asset?

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