Beecher Web Labs announces The Proud Atheist site

We are proud to announce that we have helped a new client go live!

The Proud Atheist has come to life!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Create your own Free iPhone Shopping List

iPhone Free Shopping List

I have wanted an app that I can use to be my shopping list. Ideally the lists would be web-based and shareable with Mary, my wife. The list would also need to be live; meaning that if I checked something off it would be removed shortly from the list. This would be needed if I stopped at the store and Mary also stopped. She would see that the list is empty meaning that I had done the shopping.

I found my answer in the cloud, the iCloud. Since we have iPhone 4S’s we each have iCloud accounts. The iCloud is a cloud-based storage space that can be used to consolidate your mail, calendars, contacts, and reminders. You can have multiple reminder lists. I then set up a reminder list for each store. I then shared my reminder list with Mary. From my iPhone I can add items to a specific shopping list and it syncs with the iCloud and shares it with Mary’s phone. Now any item that is entered by either one of us can be viewed by both of us. Perfect!

Now to make it even easier let’s invite Siri to the party. Siri is a new feature available on the iPhone 4S. Siri is your personal assistant that you talk to. She then figures out what you mean and suggests a solution. So now, I tell Siri to “Add romaine lettuce to the Costco list” – Siri responds with “OK I can add this to your Costco list of reminders, shall I go ahead?” I then say “Yes!” and it is placed on my iCloud Reminder List. It then syncs with Mary’s iPhone. Brilliant!

Steps to Setup:

Go to your iCloud Dashboard at à https://www.icloud.com/ – You must set the Reminder Lists up on the web to allow sharing

Click on Calendar

Click on the Settings icon at the top-right

Click New Reminder List

Name the list as the store you want to shop at. I entered many, Von’s, Trader Joe’s, Costco, Sprouts, Home Depot, Petco

Click the little green icon next to the list name

Add the iCloud email address of the person you want to share the list with

That is it!

How to use:

Once you have the lists setup and shared all you need to do is tell Siri what you need to buy and where.

Me: “Add Diet Doctor Pepper Caffeine-free to my Von’s list”

Siri: “OK I can add this to your Von’s list of reminders, shall I go ahead?”

Me: “Yes”

Now when you go to the store you click on the Reminders icon on your iPhone, click the top left and choose which store you want. As you place items in your cart you check the box to mark the items as ‘Completed’

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

New Tax Intelligence Report Website

Beecher Web Labs has just added Tax Intelligence Reports to their client list.

http://taxintelligencereport.com is a blog site for Tax Professionals worldwide.

Kathleen Jennings is the Editor of the Tax Intelligence Report which interviews top tax executives on tax laws around the world, their impact on multinational corporations and emerging tax trends. The Tax Intelligence Report reaches more than fifty thousand tax professionals globally each month.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Keeping the inside of your computer clean


One of the most overlooked computer maintenance items is cleaning the dirt and dust out of the inside of your computer. This is a simple procedure that should not frighten you.

Your PC uses fans to keep its components cool. If your PC is in a humid environment, the moisture will stick to the components on the inside and any airborne lint, dust, or pet hair will stick to the inside. A very bad side-effect of this is that the build-up of gunk will cause your PC to run hot. The fuzz does not let the air get to the components to cool them.

To clean your computer:

  • Shut down the computer
  • Label and unplug all of the cables. Write down which cable goes in what plug.
  • Take the computer outside, otherwise everything that you blow out of the computer will start finding its way back in.
  • The case cover usually comes off easily via screws or latches. If you can’t figure out how to open it, check the manufacturer’s support website.
  • Get a can of ‘canned air’ – This is a spray bottle that has a long, thin tube that blows compressed clean air. You can get these at Costco, Amazon.com, or your local office supply store. Amazon http://goo.gl/L0ov
  • Next, you are going to use the canned air to clean out the inside of the computer. Please note that you must keep the can upright otherwise a stream of liquid propellant will come out and ruin your computer.
  • Look in the computer case and you will see pieces and parts. There should be a few fans. These may be very dirty. Use the canned air and spray all of the dirty parts. If you spray for a long time the can will get very cold and will not work properly. If that happens, just let the can warm up and continue.
  • At this point I always check all of the internal connectors to be sure that they are tight. When you are checking the connection you should always have one hand touching the metal case to insure that no static electricity is present. You can just push on them with your finger.
  • Once you are certain that all of the debris has been removed you can replace the cover and secure it.
  • Now you can put the computer back and start plugging in the cables.
  • Start the computer and all should be well. If it will not start the first thing to check is that all of the cables are in the correct ports.

That is it! We recommend that you clean the inside of your computers twice a year. If you are in an environment that has excess lint and dust you should clean it more often. You are done! I use a site called Toodledo.com to manage my to-do list. I set a task that repeats every 6 months.

Tony Beecher

Beecher Web Labs

Note: This article assumes that you do not have an IT Department who is responsible for maintaining your computer.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beecher Web Labs Backup Strategies

by Tony Beecher
dennisI have been burned more than once by a catastrophic hardware failure where my single backup method failed and I was reduced to starting from scratch. I have since done an incredible amount of research into backup strategies. I hope that my research can help save you from the pain of losing your business-critical data. System failure is not only extremely stressful; it can break a business.

Steps to a good backup strategy are:
1. Back up your business-critical data every day
2. Perform a secondary backup to your data
3. Take a copy of your data offsite
4. Test your recovery process before you need it

Protect Your Data

Too many business owners feel that they are too busy to take the time to back up their data. This mindset can be easily cured when their disk drive kicks the bucket, taking all of their customer information, sales, financial data, inventory, and email with it. Try to imagine how you would run your business without this vital lifeline. You need to remember that a disk drive will die one day. It is just a matter of time.

Popular backup methods include:
– Backup to tape
– Backup to a disk drive
– Backup to CD/DVDs

The most common defense method is a backup to tape. This can be performed unattended using a variety of software programs; some are even built into the operating system. My backup strategy is to copy all of my important data from both of my servers to a 4mm tape every night, using Symantec/Veritas Backup. Every morning I swap the tapes. I maintain a continuous supply of 2 weeks’ worth of tapes. The stockpile of tapes allows me to go back in time in case someone deleted an important file a week ago and just now noticed.

Another backup method utilizes an additional disk drive. This drive should be either a network drive or a self-contained USB external disk drive. This is a lower-cost alternative, but I recommend that you use this as a secondary backup since the backed-up data will live in the same place as the main computer.

If you do not have a great amount of data to protect, you can always back up to a CD or DVD. This can be a lower cost method, but it requires more manpower than the other options.

As a backup to my backup plan I also use Second Copy to copy my critical data from my mail server to my file server every night. I also have Second Copy perform a copy of the user files from file server to mail server nightly. This way if I have a catastrophic failure that is confined to one machine, I can simply rebuild the server and perform a file transfer to quickly put the data back in place.

Take a Copy of your Data Offsite

One of the most important steps in your backup strategy is to maintain a copy of your data offsite. By physically taking a copy out of the building, you are protecting yourself from a major building catastrophe. With a copy of your data you can rebuild a computer and have access to your financial, inventory, and receivables data.

Another way to get your data offsite is to use an online storage facility. There are many companies who have backup servers on the Internet. They offer programs that run on your computer and copy your important data to their servers on a scheduled basis. Two of the companies that I use are Mozy and Xdrive. You can do a Google search for ‘online data storage’ for other similar companies.

I currently keep the last 2 days’ worth of backup tapes in my briefcase. By keeping 2 copies I am hedging my bet in case the first tape has a problem. I figure that it is better to recover from data that is 2 days old instead of losing my data completely.

Test your Recovery Process

It is also important to test your ability to retrieve your data from your backup device before you need it. This test will insure that you can perform the task in an emergency. My recommendation is to build a folder structure on your disk with some sample files. After you have performed the backup you can delete the test folder and then restore the folder from the backup.

Taking a few moments to rehearse your recovery strategy can save you an incredible amount of stress when a disaster occurs.

Apply These Methodologies at Home

It is also important to note that these processes can and should be applied at home. I am sure that you have known somebody who had something go horribly wrong with their home computer and lose their data. These days a typical home PC holds your finances, investments, email, home inventory list, digital photos, and much, much more. Imagine you came home and found your computer missing. What would you do?

Here is what I do. Every night my home computer uses Second Copy to move any new or changed data to my wife’s computer at 1:00 A.M. At 3:00 A.M. my wife’s computer moves her critical data to my computer. In order to get a copy of our data offsite I use Mozy to take a copy of our critical data and store it every couple of hours. It only copies new or changed data. I also occasionally burn a copy of my data to a DVD and take it to work for storage.

Paranoia? I don’t think so. We all know that computers are far from perfect, and that they can betray us by crashing without warning. You’ve worked hard to build your business; don’t allow your critical information to disappear. I learned the hard way that one backup system is not enough. Use multiple strategies to protect your hard-earned data.

Beecher Web Labs

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment