The System

We have talked a lot about businesses and their way to advertise and expand their customer base through online tools. Now, we’re going to take a step back and go back to basics. When first starting with IT in your business, there is a big question that is necessary to answer: What computer system should I use? Now, this question can’t have a universal answer because businesses have different needs to attend to. Here we shall go through some of the most popular of the systems that businesses use for their computers. These are Windows, Apple, and Linux.

Microsoft Windows

3D-Windows-7From all the classes I’ve taken, all I’ve heard is that Microsoft Windows is the computer system to use. While it is definitely one of the most common systems for businesses, there are still problems that can’t be glossed over. Currently, businesses that have been around a decent time work with Windows XP. The problem is that Microsoft is soon not going to be protecting users with Windows XP. This means that businesses will soon be more susceptible to cyber attacks. This is just an example of how much Windows changes over time and the consequences for not being up-to-date are extensive. When it comes to new updates, Microsoft users must once again purchase the program. Still, there are good qualities of Microsoft Windows for businesses. With the new improvements to the system, Windows has become more user friendly, mobile, universal, and expansive with their programs. Windows has become available with computers, tablets, and other mobile devices. Windows is currently one of the top computer systems for businesses along side our next system.

Apple

appleApple is becoming bigger and bigger in the market as the years go by. In the past years, more and more people can see more and more iPads in the hands of business people in the world. The market growth is rising slowly in the business world but it is still relatively small. While the system is less popular than Windows, it is growing. Many of the programs come in both Microsoft format and Apple format so many business people can use the same software while on different systems. Still, Apple is still small enough that businesses still have their reservations about the company and system. Apple is slowly changing though after the death of Steve Jobs now that they are catering more towards businesses as well as the consumer.

Linux

content_3This final platform is one system that is good but isn’t used often due to reluctant business owners. There are many advantages to using windows but it is understandable that businesses don’t use it. While some of Linux’s systems are user friendly, there are still some that are not easy to use. The programs that are run with Linux are not the same as Windows and Apple in most cases which allows for problems. Still, there are advantages to the system. The system is open source which allows for businesses to get their programs for free, create their own programs, and give allowance for the businesses to be able to create their very own customized system.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Windows | Apple | Linux

What system is the most popular, most used? What is your opinion on the choices?

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International Help

Lately, there has been a lot of community service projects that have cropped up in Reno that are great. There are two that have come to the University of Nevada, Reno that I have gotten somewhat involved with. It is important to help those that are asking for help and these two projects are such great initiatives that will help.

Raising Up Rainbows 

malloryThis is a project that was brought to my knowledge after a friend of mine since elementary school came back from India during winter break. She came back with a story so emotional that just hearing it was amazing. Mallory Fisher talked about the young girls home that she worked with that slept in a single room, came from horrific backgrounds, and barely had any resources. These girls and the women that run the house aren’t allowed to ask for things that they need but rather survive on the handouts that are given to them. Mallory came back with the project of raising money for them to have a water heater as right now, they take cold showers nightly up on the rooftop. I’ve gotten involved with helping to raise money and it’s profound to see how many people are willing to help. If you would like to donate and/or read more information about this amazing project, click on the link above.

Project Duwell

 This single project has managed to take UNR by storm this last year. Project Duwell came to UNR and has managed to raise a decent amount of money for its cause. This project was brought around by Duwell Medical and a student that is currently attending the school and working there. It is a non-profit organization that aims towards developing medical health facilities in densely populated areas in Bangladesh. Currently, the are in the works of building a hospital to create state-of-the-art health care for residents in the country.

These two projects are perfect examples of how the community can help each other. We’ve talked about community in a city and helping each other out but now we’re getting to the big picture and that is the international community. It’s important to never forget the people around the world and those that need any sort of help. These two projects are amazing and show that their achievement will make for a better community for either those children or for those people that need the medical treatment that they currently can’t have.

Picture Credit: Raising Up Rainbows | Project Duwell

Do you have any international project you are working on? Always outreach into the community to help achieve the goals!

Online Advertising

While businesses have a presence online through social media and their website, they also need to utilize other parts of the internet. To continue extending your audience outreach, it is important to have advertising out on the internet. While there are those that gloss over advertisements that are online, there are still plenty of people that notice them, click on them, and see what deals are happening at your place of business.

There are many different places that ads can be placed online and there are different ways to place up ads. There is an article that gives ten inexpensive ways to advertise your small business online. The first three that are given are the ones that I have seen the most online and that I can also agree are the most important. Here we shall go over each one.

Invest in Google AdWord

AdWordGoogle is quickly becoming the highest power of the internet. Now comes in the creation of Google AdWord. Say you go online and you go to Google.com to search something. When your results come up there are the ads on the side and then there are the ads in the tan box on the very top of the search list. These advertisements are powered by AdWord. AdWord takes what you have searched and looks through key words in the ads that they have archived on Google. It is important to have strong SEO for Google AdWord.

Try Facebook Ads

Facebook allows for businesses, organizations, and websites to place their ads on Facebook. Even though there are people that may not instantly go buy the thing that is being advertised, these ads give good publicity as many Facebook users end up liking the pages that created the ads.

Look into StumbleUpon Paid Discovery

Now, StumbleUpon is a social media platform that we haven’t really talked about. StumbleUpn is  social networking site that you can “stumble” around on the website which shows different websites that it has found based on the interests you put into your preferences. While this is an interesting way to find new websites and blogs, business can also utilize this. The rate is dependent on how many clicks actually is used in the website. StumbleUpon also gives free advertising for those websites that have received a large amount of likes as well.

You can view another article that discusses the best places online to post ads as well here.

Do you click on ads online? Does your business put up ads online and has it worked out? 

What Social Media Does

Social media can be used fr business and it can also be used for a community outlet as well. We have already discussed social media and how it can help businesses get connected with online customers in Signing On but what about as a community outlet for individuals? Now, this has been a blog post that I have been waiting for to write and I have finally decided to do so. So let’s get started….

Now, while social media is a very important component to marketing in businesses, it is a large component to individuals and community organizations. Social media can be used for getting events out into the open like Students in Free Enterprise did for the Let’s Can Hunger Games. It can also be used just to get out information about the actual organization so people can look online and see if there is interest.
There are many different social media outlets that people use to get into the community. Just to list some off there is: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Reddit, Digg, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, stumbleupon, Pinterest, Friendster, Yahoo!, Skype, AIM, and many many more. Someone is on at least one of these social media sites even if you don’t know it. If you have an email, if you have an account on something, if you post pictures…this is you being on social media. Social media outlooks is basically this: it is an online community center for people to come and gather in to share their ideas, network with new people, get out events and physical community groups and keep in touch with old friends and family.

"I use social media because..."

“I use social media because…”

Today, while writing this post I posted my own feeds in two of my social media outlets. One is Facebook and one is something that seems to be swept under the bed in embarrassment by most online social media users or really anyone that knows of the area, roleplayer.me. Now, in these posts I asked two simple questions that really are important when it comes to the use of social media. On both accounts, I asked people to comment with the end of the following sentences: “I use social media for…” and “I roleplay because…”. Why did I ask these specifically? On Facebook everyone has some other account on some other social media page whether it be email, Skype, Twitter, or what have you. Facebook has now become the central hub for all things social media as most things allow you to sign up using your Facebook account. On roleplayer.me, I asked this question because it is the question for the website. It’s one of the biggest communities online for this genre of social media and everyone is asked this question. “I roleplay because…” is the beginning of the sentence that defines why people use this website, why they do it, and why they have decided to be a part of this amazing community of writers. The pictures in this post are the responses that were received from the prompts given.

Now what about my answers to these questions? I believe that they are very important questions and, of course, I have my own opinions as well. I use social media for keeping contact with my family and friends. I use it to get my brand out to the community as well as network with people that can help me while I can help them. I use social media as an outlet on the online world. Now, I roleplay for the reasons that were given in the responses. I roleplay because it is a way out of real life and a way to get the imagination going. While it may seem nerdy, I believe that it is an amazing community with amazingly creative writers. It isn’t just writing stories either; this community was the reason that I began to start coding in the first place for profiles and it has grown into a career I am working to obtain.

"I roleplay because...."

“I roleplay because….”

Social media is an amazing tool not just in the business world and it needs to be utilized to it’s utmost potential. As shown above it can be used for community organizations, individuals, or just those that love the escape into a whole new community.

What communities are you involved in online? Finish one (or both) of the prompts yourself as well below!

 

Signing On

social-media-buttonsThere are always those important components to a business that groups preach about. There’s the need to advertise, the need to have community outreach; with the I.T. department and also marketing/management department, there is social media. Social media is an important and fundamental tool for a business that wants to have their brand online. While we have discussed how important it is to have a website, it is also necessary to know how important it is to have eyes in ears in social media as well. Now, this isn’t a rundown of what I have learned in my own class about social media. This is what I have learned from personal experience and a little addition to fill the gaps from class. I have always believed that social media is one of the most important tools for a business to have and have preached it to the businesses that I have helped with online work.

There are multiple websites that businesses should be located on. These include Facebook, Twitter, a blogging platform, Google, Yelp and LinkedIn plus many others. There should be a way for online customers to be able to contact the business and a way for the business to get their brand out to those customers. Social media can be used for so many different things to help a business. Customers can send private messages if there are any questions, businesses can post any promotions that are being held, customers can post up reviews about their experiences, and one of the most important uses, the business can get their name out by customers sharing their pages around.

An article for Business 2 Community has shown that social media has actually helped budgets for different businesses. Having a decent strategy for marketing your website is fundamental for success. The article also gives factors that are needed to be considered to have a positive result that can help budget your business.

  1. Prepare your social media strategy
  2. Preparing and optimizing the social profiles
  3. Content development for social media platforms
  4. Running and managing the social media campaign
  5. Monitoring the progress on the social media platform

If you aren’t good at getting social media set up, keep a look out for companies that will help out. One example is Business Breakthroughs International. They will help with different tools to help your business grow and flourish online for the world to see.

Now, say you are an individual but you have a brand that you want to promote, you can easily use these social media outlets as well in the same manner. Take these tools and turn them into what you need and can use for yourself.

Picture Credit

How do you interact with businesses through social media? Does social media help your business? Need any help with social media for your business or need tips and tricks, just comment below!

The Hunger Games

The-hunger-games-trilogy-1920x1200That’s right. You read the title. The Hunger Games. We all know the books and movies and we all know the story. Personally, I think the series awesome and when I was reading them, I could barely put them down. The first book alone is in 26 languages, in 38 territories, and have printed over 1 million copies. The first movie had a gross box-office success of $685 million. Obviously, this series is beyond popular and in my belief…might even get up close to the height of big-name franchises like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. My question here is, if you had the opportunity to, would you use something this big and this amazing to market and create something of your own?

You may be wondering, this is categorized in the personal section but this sounds like a professional post. What’s going on?! Don’t worry. While it has a little marketing factors involved it’s personal. Any event and product creation uses marketing some how. This is just how I have.

The University of Nevada, Reno Enactus team has partnered with Campbell’s and participated in the Let’s Can Hunger Project Partnership. We started at the beginning of the school year back in Fall and just this last semester, we have seen our participation soar to greater heights that we expected. Those that choose to participate give a pledge at the beginning of the year to 5,000+ pounds of non-perishable food/funds and donate them to a charity of the team’s choice. Our team has decided to donate our proceeds to the local Children’s Cabinet.

276854_326028290846112_1434427672_nTo be able to collect our goal, we had tabled in front of Sam’s Club for two weekends and managed to collect over 6,000 pounds of canned food! Now we have one event left to go and that’s where the Hunger Games comes in. It’s important to have a project like this get out to the public as it is very important to the community. We want the biggest participation that we can get and we used The Hunger Games to do so. We are spinning the theme of reducing hunger and reducing problems in the community to be a help to us and to help raise cans and funds for our cause. It was just our luck to be able to have such a big and well known franchise be available to us for this project. While we have our signs and our themed event (a nerf war that’s played in the same fashion as The Hunger Games) we also have commercials to pump people up for the event that are like the movies and characters portrayed in the movie and books. You can check out the teaser at least below now.

Picture Source: Mockingjay

Want a ticket to the event? Comment below!

A Common Language

So you want to get get your business online now? First off, check out my blog post Build a Website if you are looking to get started with putting up a website for your company. If you are already passed that and ready to begin to design your page, you’ve come to the right post. As I said in the Build a Website post, I mentioned all the different platforms that can be used to create a website. Now, let’s get on the technical side. While it is important to know other languages, my personal opinion is this: everyone that is making a website should have a strong understanding of HTML.

What is HTML to begin with? It stands for HyperText Markup Language. It is the main markup language for creating web pages, etc. that can be displayed on web browsers. My personal favorite for looking different codes for HTML is w3schools.com. They have great tutorials and they show the exact code that would be needed. They also give different tools for coding as well like charts of codes to different colors you wish to use.

The following are different codes that I believe are helpful for getting started with your webpage.

Links
<a href=”URLGOESHERE”>TITLEGOESHERE</a>
Example: Shelbyisms
ExamplePictures
<img src=”URLGOESHERE” atl=”TITLEGOESHERE</a>

Emphasized Words
<i>italics</i>, <u>underline</u>, <b>Bold</b> There are also sights that use the following: <em>Italics</em>, <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>Underline</span>, <strong>Bold</strong>
Example: Italics, Underline, Bold

Breaks and Paragraphs
Place the paragraphs at the beginning and end of your paragraph as shown or you can make different lines with a breakline. There is also another way to show breaks and that is by placing a horizontal line where you want it to go.
Paragraph code: <p>PARAGRAPHGOESHERE</p>
Line break: <br> or </br> or <br /> (it’s by preference and what works with the website you are using)
Horizontal line: <hr>


Lists
There are two types of lists that can be made. There are those that are numbered and those that are in bullet form. Bullet lists can be made as follows
<ul>
<li>ITEMHERE</li>
<li>ITEMHERE</li>
</ul>

Numbered lists are made as follows
<ol>
<li>ITEMHERE</li>
<li>ITEMHERE</li>
</ol>

In the end they look like this

  • Item here
  • Item there
  1. Item here
  2. Item there

Of course, there are many more things that should be learned when working with HTML. Using w3schools is a great way to know everything and a great tool for if you have any questions. There are also many books at stores like Amazon that go into detail about HTML as well. If you have a blog on WordPress you can easily practice there. Here’s how:

  1. Go to a new post page
  2. In the box where you write out the post, there is the option to either type in visual or in text. Visual allows for the user to use the formatting functions at the top of the screen or quick key on the keyboard (ex. Ctrl + b for bold). The text option allows you to code everything by hand. Here you can practice writing out your code to create your blog.
  3. After you write you post in the text tab, click the visual tab. This will now display your post in the way you have formatted it but without all the code and in the way you want it to be.

Below shows the two different tabs for a picture reference.

visual
text

Have you coded in HTML? What codes have you found useful to use? Have any further questions or comments about the language comment below. 

Communal Areas

Think about the times that you go out to a location to have a meal. Envision that you are with a group of friends. Want to try something new? Well, here is something you may not have heard about. I came across this little restaurant downtown a few years ago that a friend had pointed out to me. It was Basque food which was something I had never had before. I was finally at that stage in my life where I was basquemore willing to try new things (which is completely different from when I was younger. I used to sit at the table for hours after everyone had finished, refusing to eat).   Now you must be asking, where am I going with this story? What does this have to do with the community? It has everything to do with the community actually. I finally went to the restaurant that year and have gone multiple times and it has a very unique environment. Louis’ Basque Corner Restaurant  has amazing food in good quantities, multiple courses, and most important of them all, it is in a family style seating arrangement. This means that you don’t get to see alone, secluded with your friends or by yourself. You sit at long tables with other parties that have come to eat as well. You share different courses together and you get to socialize with people in your community that you may not have known about. Now that’s a communal area. Definitely look around your town and see if you can find a family style restaurant like this. It will definitely be worth your while. If you’re in the Reno area, try the Basque Corner!

Next on the list of communal areas is an easy one but my personal favorite. Ever since I was little I have always loved to read. I was one of those people that hid under the blankets with a flashlight after bedtime and read to my heart’s content…or at least until I was so exhausted that I passed out. One of my favorite places to go was the library. Like I said, it’s an easy communal place. You find community in the ability to check books in and out whenever you wish, you can use the computers, the printers, and/or the copiers. I believe that the best part of the library is the fact that they have different events held all the time and you can socialize with people either your age or people that have the same interests in you. On the same subject of libraries, there are amazing used book stores as well anywhere. My personal favorite is a small shop in San Mateo, California called B Street Books. They sell at inexpensive prices, buy your books to sell again, have books from any subject, and it’s a quaint shop that you can spend hours in.

co-opFinally, this last year I found an amazing place in Reno. The Great Basin Community Food Co-Op is really something special. They sell natural, local, and organic foods that help people eat right and help the community thrive. Buying local really is the way to go. They have items from vegetables, tea, coffee, a wellness section, books, etc. and everything is local or natural foods just off the market. They also hold meetings for local activities and events in Reno as well!

Photo Credit – Basque Corner | Great Basin Community Food Co-Op

Have you been to anywhere that’s communal like these locations? Thoughts on the locations I chose? Comment below.

 

A Bus-What?

With graduation coming up, I have been thinking a lot about what I want to do for work. I’ve always had an interest in the computer world. I started working with HTML back when MySpace was the hottest thing around. Simply learning to code a page with an overlay and making it look amazing could begin a fire in someone that is kept lit for the rest of life….or at least for me. I’ll admit to even still itching to get my hands on some of that code and messing around and adding pictures and text areas to create a very awesome end result. When I got to college I thought about majoring in something else but Information Systems was calling and I allowed to be taken away by it like a child following the Pied Piper. Granted…nothing bad happens in the end. So, what exactly have I decided to do with my life? I’ve thought long and hard on this question and after three and a half grueling years of mulling over the question, I believe I have finally decided. Business Analyst.

By definition, business analysis is “the practice of enabling change in an organizational context, by defining needs and recommending solutions that deliver value to stakeholders.” Just like my favorite motto, a business analyst helps businesses help themselves. Now this may not sound like IT work but I promise it is. IT business analysts are becoming the hottest thing in the IT world right now. Money Magazine has rated IT business analyst one of the country’s top 12 jobs to pursue. According to Computer World, analysts want variety. This means they want multiple projects to work on rather than working on an exclusive program. It also means that there should be a variety of people that will be the end-users for the programs that are being created. In the end, analysts deliver perspective into what the business needs, wants, and can do.

analysisAccording to the figure, these are the steps of how to start and grow as a business analyst according to The Business Analysis Blog. They say that it is in fact harder than expected to become a good BA and to have that ability to mentor others that are where you are….well now. Shadowing a BA will help clarify any questions while on the job and to inspire your interest. Next, perform in the project you are currently working on. There’s nothing wrong with getting started right away . Next is to be a junior BA in a new project. It’s good to get those projects under your belt. The more projects you do, the more roles you take over and can understand for the next round of projects. Next, be the top business analyst for another project to challenge yourself. Finally, begin to mentor others as you move up to senior business analyst. Give people that spark that your mentor instilled in you.

Bridging the Gap has the five steps for becoming a Business Analyst.

  1. Learn about business analysis and confirm your career choice
  2. Identify your transferable skills and leverage points to develop your positioning
  3. Get tangible feedback by putting out feelers
  4. Approach your work with a BA mindset and strengthen your positioning
  5. Focus your efforts to find your first BA opportunity

Now that you have all the job skills or at least are ready to work on them, how do you get a job as a business analyst? Make sure your resume fits what you are looking for. When giving descriptions of activities completed while at work, mention anything related to BA that you have done. Network and dig deep as well to find those BA jobs that are available at other companies. It’s surprising to see what companies actually need business analysts. More tips can be found here.

Now, this may not be helpful information for your job but it is definitely helpful. It’s helpful to see that everyone needs to do their research on the career they want. It’s also important to see that there are many people in the community with ample information about anything that will lend a hand when needed. Just make sure you research, look in the right places, and decide on your career.

Picture Source: The Business Analysis Blog

What do you want to do for a career? Have you done plenty of research to have an idea where to start and if it’s right for you?

Blankets

I think to be personally involved with the community you don’t just look at them for help but you give to the community as well. You can give in big ways and small. For this article, it is small but it still can help. I made these blankets for my family for Christmas and am so glad I found the article on Custom Scrapbook Maker. It was an inexpensive and personal gift for my family. Joann fabric and craft store has inexpensive and very comfy fabric as well. I got a fantastic deal on their blizzard fleece. So this is me, sharing a great idea to the community. You can make them for people you know personally or make them and send them to an organization that gives clothes and blankets to those people in need!

 

blanketsFor an infant/toddler blanket – use 1 to 1 1/2 yards (for each side)  [I used a yard]
For a child blanket – use 1 3/4 yards (for each side)
For an adult – use 2 yards (for each side)

What you need:

  • The two pieces of fleece should be the same size. Pieces may be the same pattern (which is what I used), two different patterns, two plain colors or a pattern on one side and a plain color on the other.
  • Scissors or rotary cutter (will need cutting board for rotary cutter) Tape measure or ruler
  • A 4″ x 4″ piece and 1″ X 4″ of paper [I cut a piece from a cardboard box]

Instructions

  • Take your two pieces of fleece. Put one piece on top of the other lining up the edges so they are even. (One side will be the front and the other side will be the back )
  • Trim off any selvage around the edges of your fleece. ( Cut as straight as possible, but remember, these blankets are forgiving!) [I used sharp scissors and it is okay if they aren’t completely edged with each other equally. One of the sides can be a little bit longer than the other.]
  • Find your 4″x4″ paper and lay it on the corner of your blanket. Then cut out the corner through both layers. Do this to all four corners.
  • Time to make the fringes. Cut 4 inches into both fleeces at 1″ wide. it is easiest to lay the tape measure or ruler across from the corner of the cut out from one corner to the other. The fringes don’t have to be exactly 1″, but keep them close to that.
  • Proceed to cut 1″ intervals on all four sides.
  • Starting on one side, start tying your knots (using one fringe from each fleece). Tie knots on every other fringe around the entire blanket. [If you pay attention, there is a way to choose which side of the fleece can go onto the top of the knot and then on the bottom. I think it’s cool to make them into a pattern. I only knotted it once for the grown-ups, but the children got double knots]
  • Turn the whole blanket over and tie the remaining fringes into knots until your blanket is finished. [I did all the knots at the same side instead of flipping the blanket over. It made it easier to not skip over any of the knots to be made]