A business client of mine uses a government website to get technical data for real estate properties on a daily basis. It works best with the Chrome web browser and last week I received a message that they couldn’t retrieve any data. They took a step into troubleshooting themselves and called technical support for the website. Technical Support said to clear the browser’s cache. They didn’t know how to do this so I was contacted.
This information was relayed to me and I ended up opening Chrome browser and on the far upper right there are three vertical dots for the Customize feature. I double-clicked and the setting menus appeared. I scrolled down to Advanced- Privacy -clear browsing data. The Cached images and files box was selected and the “CLEAR BROWSING DATA” button was clicked.
I had my client test the website and now it worked. It must have been a corrupt file in the cache.
I got an ominous phone call yesterday about a friend and mentor who passed away. After the shock wore off, I started thinking about where I met Vic Sockrider.
Around 2010, I heard about a new networking group in the Georgetown Shopping Center area and was encouraged to attend by Dave Windsor and John Dickmeyer. It was held at the Georgetown Bowl where Vic was the manager. He ran the Tuesday morning group which usually met in the activity room. He brought many business people together which directly helped all of us. He also introduced me to Mailchimp which I still use today. That’s when I discovered how much he wanted to help others improve themselves. He loved reading business and leadership books and sharing them with us at the meetings. The most interesting activity we did before the meeting was network bowling which was a great way to get to know each other.
Vic Sockrider was fun to be around. He was a great storyteller. I loved his stories and gentle spirit. My favorite story of his was when he got back from the army he got a job and his boss made him a “collector” because of his size and strong presence. I wish I could recall all the details of it.
The networking community is really going to miss Vic Sockrider. He was a humble man who touched many with his kindness. He was a member of the New Haven Chamber of Commerce and he helped find places for The Meet Me at 5 events.
The last networking thing we did together was start and run the New Haven Chamber of Commerce networking group last year with the help of Charlie, Monika and Sue of the Chamber. We ran it together in the beginning, but as time went on we saw less and less of him because of the traveling he was doing and other projects. He still managed to email a weekly meeting reminder to everyone. We still meet on Tuesdays and it won’t be the same without Vic’s smiling face or hearing about the project he was involved in, his grandkids, or getting rid of the groundhog in his backyard.
Wi-Fi can be mysterious to get functioning on a smartphone sometimes. One of my computer repair clients was frustrated with their iPhone 6 last weekend. Their data plan was being gobbled up so they disabled their cellular mobile data under settings. They assumed their home Wi-Fi network was going to take over but it didn’t. Now they couldn’t browse the internet or get their email. They also wanted to do a iPhone backup which sucks up a lot of data over the cellular network. It’s smarter to do it over Wi-Fi.
They assumed the iPhone was connected to their WiFi network and it was. It was not Ietting them browse the internet although It had worked in the past. Using my smartphones, I verified they could connect to the home network and they both could. Now I knew the problem was with the iPhone and not their Wi-Fi router. I next checked under settings- Wi-Fi and saw the network name. All settings were checked like security and password and they looked correct. I disconnected and reconnected to it and still no internet.
As a last attempt, I deleted the WiFi network connection under settings and then let the iPhone reattach. The network was configured and it began working. Now and my client can perform their iPhone backup. I double-checked that the mobile network data was still disabled and it was. Sometimes, you have to remove and reinstall to solve your problem!
This summer I received a phone call from someone new who owned a local business in Allen County. Their IT person passed away and they needed a replacement. They found my company on the Internet and liked what they saw. He had a question for me- “Who are some of your clients I might know?” Luckily, I was in my car and had my client business card portfolio next to me. I opened it up and began reading the names of the business cards to him. He stopped me after I read several of them and made our first appointment. I’m now their IT person and have been out to his business many times.
As you can see, it’s smart business to keep a business card portfolio of your clients with you. You never know when someone new will call and want to know your clients. Another thing to do is list client recommendations on your web site and ask clients to rate and review your Facebook and Google company pages. And don’t forget about LinkedIn recommendations. They’ve helped me, too.
One of my computer repair clients called a few Saturdays ago with the news that her UPS was beeping. An emergency service call was made and I replaced it with a loaner unit.
I used to stress to business networkers and my computer service clients how important it is to protect your equipment’s electrical power feed. Surges,sags, brown-outs and other electrical disturbances can damage hardware and scramble your data.
So what is a UPS? You can purchase a device to plug into the electrical outlet and plug your computer’s electrical cord into this device. It’s called a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) or battery back-ups. It goes beyond the protection of a surge-suppressor which only protects in case of spikes and surges. The UPS has two sides to the unit: a surge-only side and a battery/surge side.
I would also suggest you use a UPS even if you have a laptop computer because it’s power supply/AC Adapter can be damaged by electrical disturbances, too. But I want to caution you to not connect a printer to the battery/surge side of the UPS and especially a laser printer because they can damage the UPS. Plug your printers into the surge-only side.
In the past twelve years I have attended many business networking groups and get invited to many as well. I enjoy going to new groups with the possibility of meeting new people and reuniting with ones from my past.
This summer, my Facebook company page got a message from a familiar name, although I couldn’t place them at the time. “Hi, it would be lovely to see you at our networking event. It’s 12-2pm on 14th July or 28th July at Stoke Rochford Hall. It’s 50% business and 50% social with all sorts of different business owners attending.” It continued with more information that I’ve left out. I was busy at the time and forgot about it.
I later went back to the message to respond and realized I didn’t know this person or Stoke Rochford Hall. I researched the location and the person and discovered they are a little bit further than I was willing to travel for a networking event. We messaged back and forth and I let them know I was in the US and as I suspected – they were not. They lived near Grantham, Lincolnshire in the United Kingdom and saw my business name and assumed my business was named for where I reside. We had a good laugh and I realized having an English last name also confused another chap from the UK who says I won an award there. The award plaque was available to me to be paid in English pounds.
Has your business name ever confused someone?
One way to advertise and promote your brand or business is to create a Facebook brand page for it. I did that for my computer repair company, Shane Grantham Consulting, Inc. I originally categorized it as a Company, but I could have done it as a local business. When Facebook users search for computer repair, I show up along with others in my category.
One feature of my company page is Reviews. Facebook users can rate my company between 1 and 5 and also write a review. Hopefully, a prospective client will read them and choose me over my competition since I have over 30 with an average of 4.9/5.0.
I try and rate and review my networkers and service providers on their pages, but the other day I was going to rate someone and I couldn’t find their Review button. I messaged them and they said they didn’t have one. A few days later they added it. Make sure your Facebook brand page has a review button and if it doesn’t, go into Settings – Edit Page -Reviews and change it.
One of my closest business networking friends is research specialist John Dickmeyer. John worked for the ACPL for many years and he has his own TV show on Access Fort Wayne. He is also interested in computers and we are always learning from each other during our talks.
I’m old enough to remember cassette audio tapes and I still have lots of them and still play them. John gave me a great idea what to do with them to preserve their contents last week. He uses Linux Mint on one of his computers and one of the built-in programs is Audacity which is for recording and editing sounds. John uses audacity to play and record the tapes to his Linux computer and then burns them to CDs if he chooses. I’m going to try that tonight with a cassette tape deck I just connected to my Linux computer. I’ll let you know how it goes.
One of my new computer clients was working on their Windows computer this summer. It started to give them grief and they decided to wipe it clean and re-install the operating system. Well, something went wrong with their procedure and their computer was stuck in some kind of limbo-land with just a blinking cursor when it was turned on. Their next move was to reinstall Windows, but they had no Windows 7 DVDs.
That’s where I came to the rescue. We talked it over and they liked my idea of installing Linux Mint 18 on it. With Linux they can browse the web with multiple browsers, write letters, create spreadsheets, edit videos, create PDF documents, watch videos, and anything else they could do on Microsoft Windows. The other nice thing with Linux DVDs is you can test drive it before you install it. It’s free and safer to use.
Once we got Linux installed and tweaked, the computer was very fast and responsive. My client also doesn’t have to worry about malware like they would with a Microsoft Windows computer. After a few days I checked with them to see how they were doing and they said, “Linux is great- I’m keeping this computer for me!” The computer was doing so good that they were going to use it for themselves instead of letting their family member have it! That’s how good Linux is! If you want to check Linux out, just ask me.
I learned early in my work life that it’s important to collect recommendations from people who know your work. My father relied on colleague’s opinions of people he was hiring and he taught me to ask my employers for recommendation letter’s when I was still in high school. When I was 16, I worked for Holly’s Landing, a restaurant in Fort Wayne. After being there for a year or two, four recommendation letters were in my possession from my managers. I used them in interviewing for jobs in and after college.
Fast forward to the present day and I still do this with Social Media and my web sites. Well, I don’t ask for physical paper letters – I ask for Google and Facebook reviews and LinkedIn recommendations. It has helped my computer business when brand new people search for my category and find my company with numerous positive reviews and testimonials on social media.
My Shane Grantham Consulting web site is my main promotional venue and after looking at it last week, I realized only five recommendations were listed. Many more are on my Facebook, LinkedIn and Google accounts. So I decided to learn how to add them to my web site. Now I have 15 or so and am adding a few every day. I simply copied them from Facebook and the other sites into my wordpress website.
If you have a website, see if you have recommendations listed and add them if you don’t. How else are your potential clients going to know how good you are when they arrive at your website?
Fort Wayne Readers Choice Awards is finished for this year. My category was Electronics- Computer Repair store and I didn’t win first, second or third place. Naturally I was curious who won and I started comparing the winners to my company. Two of the winners did what I do, computer repair, and the last one was a store and I left them out.
I first looked at Google reviews and I found the winner had a 4.2/5.0 with a sample size of 16 ratings. The third place winner had 3.4/5.0 with a sample size of 66 ratings. My Google rating is a 4.9/5.0 with 35 ratings. The interesting thing is compared to the three winners, I have a higher Google rating than both of them if you look at just the score of 4.9. I learned from my one semester of college statistics, the sample sizes are different so its not a completely fair comparison.
Now let’s look at Facebook reviews: the first place winner has a 5.0/5.0 with 62 reviews. Third place had a 3.9/5.0 with 75 reviews. My company page, Shane Grantham consulting, has a 4.9/5.0 with 32 reviews so we can see I have a lower sample size than the two winners. So I came in second on Facebook for pure score, but I had the smaller sample size between the three of us.
So what does this mean? We could get the sample sizes the same by discarding the high and low reviews until every one has the same number; 16 for Google and 32 for Facebook. Nonetheless, It means I did pretty good against the two winners on something we can measure and isn’t secret like the Readers Choice awards.
What do you think about this? Or do you care about Readers Choice Awards?
This weekend I was messing around with an old Dell business laptop which still had its original operating system, Windows XP, installed. I wanted to see if the laptop would let me install Linux Mint 18.2 on it and allow Windows to remain functional in a dual-boot scenario. I’ve done this with other computers with Windows 7 and Windows 10. I booted with my Linux Mint DVD and the process began. Linux has an option where you can test-drive it before you install it. This allows you to see if your hardware as in video, audio, network, etc. work in Linux before you install. Linux Mint is free, much safer and stable than Microsoft Windows. Linux got Installed and there is new life in this old laptop. When the computer is turned on, Windows XP can be accessed and so can the new operating System, Linux. Have you got an old Windows computer? Try Linux on it.
I take a lot of photographs with my smartphones and they pile up fast. I just checked the SD Card in one phone and it has over 500 photos in two months time. When it gets this full, I like to use my computer with 2 large monitors to sort and file them on my server.
To transfer the photos I use my USB phone charging cables and tonight one I rarely use was tried. The phone started charging when it was connected to the Linux computer, but no folders opened on the Linux computer as usual. I checked my smartphone settings and nothing changed. I tried two other USB cables and the thickest one worked, allowing photos to be copied. My guess is the thinner cable didn’t have enough current capacity for the data to travel through it. The thicker one must have more data capacity because all 500 pictures were copied from my phone.I now know which cable to use in the future.
My workshop/garage has all kinds of old computers and electronics I keep for spare parts. Lately, I’ve noticed the collection is growing beyond my means to hold it all. Additionally, it is aging and the demand isn’t as great for some of them. I wanted to sell some of them and make a little money and get the parts into the hands of someone who needs them for their repairs.
In the past I’ve used eBay and Craigslist, but didn’t like eBay’s fees and Craigslist’s reputation for trouble. FaceBook has a new feature for selling and buying things called called Marketplace. It’s fairly simple to use and I have many computer items listed on it. When a Facebook member wants to ask questions it’s easy for them to do and easy for you to respond. Try it out and let me know how it goes.
I received a phone call one Friday afternoon from someone I didn’t immediately recognize. The caller had a computer issue they needed fixed. They mentioned we were connected on LinkedIn and then I realized where I knew them from. They didn’t ask many questions and we met and they gave me their computer to repair.
Later, I was checking my smartphone and noticed a LinkedIn notification that someone viewed my profile. Now it makes sense: they didn’t ask me any questions in person because they already researched my qualifications before we met.
This isn’t the first time someone I never met in person hired me for computer repair based on my LinkedIn profile. That’s why I preach to networkers to have your LinkedIn profile up to date with all your services, products, experiences, etc. included Another feature of LinkedIn is the recommendations. Ask for recommendations from clients, supervisors, co-workers and anyone else who knows you professionally. I have 40 recommendations which was probably a factor when the new client called me. And don’t be selfish: also write recommendations for people who deserve them. How has LinkedIn helped you?