Category Archives: Technology

I am going to Internet Summit ’09, so you do not have to. Teaching class at UNCW the next day

I will be teaching a short class on social networks on Nov. 6th at UNCW.  The event is open to the public.  http://uncwec.org/events/?event_id=15

The day before, I will be attending the Internet Summit in RTP, which is a huge event with a ton of top-tier speakers.  My plan is to work on my presentation the evening before and incorporate are much of the material from the Summit as possible.  My goal is to capture the highlights and bring them to people who could not make the event.

If you are going to the IS, please let me know, I would love to catch up there.

Visit the following link for more information about the UNCW event: http://uncwec.org/events/?event_id=15

First Wilmington IT Infusion Event, 4/9, City Tavern

Matt Magne, Nathan Snell and I have been playing around with the idea of having a regular event where IT and technical people can get together to talk about technology with other like minded people.

This is the first of such meetings. It is going to be casual and you should come as you are from work or your home office.

You can get more details here: wilmiti.com where you can join the facebook group.

Event Info

Our first meeting will be at City Tavern at Mayfaire in Wilmington. Visit City Tavern’s Website

Come out an meet other IT professionals in a casual atmosphere and talk tech topics.

We have reserved a side room for the event and City Tavern has a full bar and great food.

Come by on your way home from work, or get out of your home office and come join the event.

This is the first of our rotating monthly events.

How do I create backup images of Windows and Linux Servers?

I am looking for the answer to this question.  Does anyone know the answer?

We have a small office network with four Windows 2003 servers and two Gentoo Linux servers.   What is the best software tool for me to make complete images of the hard drives of these machines?  Everything is working great and I would like to know if we had a catastrophic hard drive failure, I would not have to recreate the machines from Backups (done daily to Tape and HD) and OS install disks.  All machine have either mirrored or Raid 5 SATA drives.  We use Symantec backup exec for the backups.  There is probably at total of 500 GB of data including all the OS install across all the machines.

Is there a cost effective way to image these drives and store the images in case of emergency?  Also, is it possible to make images that could be run virtually in case of emergency?  Do any of the tools have a way to update the images automatically in the future?

thanks in advance,

Andrew

Teaching a class on New Technologies for Small Business & Personal Use in January

I am teaching another class in January. More info coming soon. Not sure how much it will cost, but they are usually very affordable or no charge.

Wed. 1/28/09, 6:00 – 8:30 pm. Will be in conjunction with the Burgaw Chamber of Commerce. We will probably hold it at the CFCC Burgaw Campus, 100 E. Industrial Dr. Burgaw, 28425.

‘New Technologies for Small Business & Personal Use’. – Learn about the latest technology, gadgets, web sites, etc. that you can use to improve your business and personal interactions. Topics will include such things as wireless internet, Blackberry technology, Iphone capability, iGoogle, twitter, web site ad placement, etc.

Local companies embrace social web technology.

For almost every company,  a website is a standard component of their public presence and a part of their marketing mix.  New web-based services like weblogs and YouTube  have experienced record growth for non-business and personal uses, but most businesses have not  adopted these technologies as quickly.   Nevertheless, some Wilmington area companies have begun to experiment with marketing through these social media services and have found them to be a successful way to communicate with potential and existing clients.

In contrast to a traditional website, information posted to weblogs or “blogs” is written in a  less formal tone, organized into categories and sorted by publication date.  A weblog can serve as an effective way for potential clients to learn more about a company or vendor and to become familiar with a business or services provided.  “Social media is an exciting new frontier for the marketing industry,” said Debbie Elliott, President of Talk PR, a local public relations and marketing firm.  “We are constantly exploring new ways to expand our clients’ exposure online, and what better way to sharpen our expertise than to experiment with our own brand?  Since launching the Talk blog, we have recommended the use of blogs to many of our clients as an effective way to communicate with their various audiences.”  Talk PR’s weblog was created in 2005 with Google’s Blogger platform and can be found at talkincblog.com.  In May, Talk PR transitioned the site to WordPress to add more customizable, interactive features such as polls, a roll of staff members’ favorite blogs and websites and social networking bookmarks.

Eddie Yates, a certified life coach and fitness trainer in Wilmington, said that a potential client from Rhode Island came across his weblog at usinmotion.com and informed him that she “all ready felt like she knew him” from reading the postings.  Yates reports that he  “posts to his weblog when something really strikes [him], but may go a week or so without something worth mentioning.”  Yates believes that the weblog is an important part of his site because it allows readers to understand his business and philosophy, and because it changes regularly, it keeps people coming back to his website.

In the Wilmington, weblogs written by Realtors account for a high percentage of the business weblogs.   A Google search for “Wilmington, NC Blog” returns a majority real estate-related weblogs.  Most of the topics discussed on Wilmington real estate blogs include the current market conditions, new developments and sales techniques.  “I have gotten a few leads from my blog and I am currently working with a customer that read my blog [post] about Short Sales” said  Exit Realty’s Michelle Roberts.  Roberts also can be contacted via SMS message from her website and uses the microblogging platform Twitter.   Twitter allows users to post 140-character messages, called “Tweets,” from a website, mobile device or via instant messaging to a central website.  These updates then can be then included in weblogs or subscribed to by other users called “followers.”  Twitter’s popularity is expanding rapidly and the site is currently used by a number of Wilmington graphic designers, realtors and local churches, in addition to a wide range of  personal users.  While Roberts has not seen any leads from Twitter yet, she admits that she is just starting to use it.

Talk PR also uses Twitter to put out updates on projects and connect with customers.  Twitter allows Talk PR to quickly update its “followers” on events or news happenings within the company, providing a window into a day in the life of Talk PR.  Interested visitors to Talk PR’s blog can click on the Twitter feed in the side bar to view the updates.

In addition to weblogs and other text-based social networking site like Twitter, video sharing  sites such as YouTube are becoming a popular way to connect with customers.  Wilmington, New Bern and Smithfield’s KOA  campground each have a YouTube channel with videos produced by the campground staff.  Local marketing firm Signal envisioned the YouTube project at KOA.  “We created YouTube channels for each of the three campgrounds and provided instructions on how to optimize the content and keywords to help with their search engine optimization efforts. The campground managers shoot a new video every month. We then update the web site and include the video in a monthly e-newsletter that we produce,” said Bryan Kristof, Signal’s Director of Marketing.  While these videos have a smaller reach than the majority of viral marketing sensations,  some of KOA’s videos have had over a thousand views as of the time of this article.

Publishing weblogs and other social media is not without its risks.  According to Nathan Snell, a recent UNCW graduate who blogs about social media at www.thesnell.com, authenticity is critical to the successful implementation of a business weblog.  “Inauthenticity is the probably one of the greatest things for a company to avoid when using social media properties (blogs, youtube, social networks, etc) or even when planning to engage with others on said properties. For example, a company who uses a blog strictly to promote products, events, and so forth is missing the purpose of social media,” said Snell.  Just like using “reply all” in an email, quick postings to Twitter or weblogs can lead to embarrassment if they are not thought out completely.  “On Twitter people accidentally send what was supposed to be a direct message as a tweet to everyone all the time,” said Snell.

In related news, Verizon Wireless recently completed a study comparing the monthly use of text messaging by their clients between 2006 and 2008.  The study found that this April, Wilmington-based Verizon customers sent or received  6,334,002 text messages compared to 112,405 in the same period in 2006.  Charlotte earned the number one spot across the state as the ‘textiest city’ with customers accounting for over 103 million text messages in April of 2008 compared to just fifteen million texts sent and received in April of 2006.   “The Big City Wireless Use study offers North Carolinians an interesting snapshot of how they have come to rely on their cell phones every day to do much more than make phone calls,” said Jerry Fountain, Verizon Wireless President for the Carolinas/Tennessee region.  “This study proves text messaging is a phenomenal way to communicate information quickly and efficiently to stay connected with family and friends, wherever they may be.”

May 2008 GWB Technology Column

North Carolina Biotechnology Center

North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s President and Chief Executive Officer Norris Tolson and Southeastern Office Director Randall Johnson, spoke on how biotechnology drives North Carolina’s economic development at  the Brunswick County Entrepreneurship Conference held on April 10th and 11th in Sunset Beach, N.C.  Some of the topics discussed were expanding the production of natural products, growing algae to produce biodiesel, marine fish farming and practical applications of marine biotechnology.   According to Johnson, entrepreneurship, expanding existing business and recruitment are three equally important components to economic development.

“The key is to start the business here and it will grow. The big question is how to move the ideas from the mind to the marketplace‚” said Johnson.

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April 2008 GWB Technology Column

Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless’ Wilmington call center is expanding and will hire 150 new full-time customer service professionals as part of its plan to expand its operation and support increased demand for its wireless products and services.  The company plans to hire approximately twenty-five new employees per month through November 2008.  Verizon Wireless currently employees more than 1200 people in the Wilmington area in their customer service, information technology, training and financial services departments; it also has two full-time employees and two interns in the fitness center.

“Our customer service team helps us deliver on our commitment to provide an exceptional experience for our existing customers and the new ones we plan to add this year nationwide,” said Human Resources Manager Rob Clayton. “We have been very pleased with the talent pool in Wilmington.”

Clayton also commented that he started eleven years ago as a customer service representative and has since advanced to his current position in management.

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March 2008 GWB Technology Column

McKim & Creed wins design award for website.

McKim & Creed, a engineering firm, started in Wilmington, with an office in downtown Wilmington, won the 2007 Construction Writer’s Association (CWA) for best website.   CWA a non-profit organization for professional journalists, writers, editors, and publicists serving the the construction industry and presented a total of  three national awards this year for electronic communications. Web sites are judged on criteria such as quality of content, overall design and use of innovative and accessible technology.

The number one challenge for this industry is hiring and retaining good people and this site helps attract quality employees, especially recent graduates,  said Pete Kienle, Chief Marketing Officer McKim & Creed and past national president for the Society for Marketing Professional Services.  Kienle stated that the firm has put a greater emphasis on their online presence than most of their competitors and that more employees are increasingly using the web to research employment.

“Most firms in this industry would not have spent as much money and time on their website but we felt it was money well spent, the owners are thrilled to death,” said Kienle.

The firms has also hired a full time person to administer the site and create a company intranet and used video of staff throughout the site.

The website (www.mckimcreed.com), launched in July 2007 and was built by Signal, a design, marketing, and technology firm with offices in Wilmington and Raleigh. The website includes a custom-built content management system that enables McKim & Creed staff  to update key portions, add pages and content to the site, said Bryan Kristof, Director of Marketing for Signal.   “McKim & Creed was easy to work with because they already understood the design and construction process.”   Since the award, there has been “huge activity” on the site, said Kienle.

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Confirmed: OS X 10.5 (Leopard) iSyncs with Nokia e70

I am still testing out OS X 10.5, and in the process need to ensure that once I convert my laptop I will still be able to sync my Nokia E70 with it.Out of the box, OS X 10.5 does not sync, but a simple install of the official Nokia iSync plugins adds the functionality back.  So far the calendars, contacts and todos sync without any big problems.

One todo from the phone, that was set to not have a due date, was imported with a 2015 date, but that is not a real issue.

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This should work with any of the phones listed on that page.   

Worst Cell Phone Feature Ever: Key Locked Blackberry 8820 calls 911

On Wednesday night, I traveled to Chapel Hill to get a head start on the drive to CED’s annual Tech Conference. The conference was great, but that is another story. While sitting in a friend’s yard, we were interrupted by the Carrboro police looking for someone who had called 911.

My friend Blake Watters, knew immediately it was him. His Blackberry 8820 has a great feature, it allows your to accidentally call 911 while the phone is locked.  When in key lock mode, you get three options:Blackberry 8820 911

  1. Unlock Phone
  2. Emergency Call
  3. Cancel

I guess some brain trust at RIM decided that instead of accidentally calling your brother or mother-in-law and leaving a garbled message on their voicemail, your phone should be able to accidentally call the police by sitting on your phone.

The best part is that since the 911 dispatcher has access to the triangulation information from the cell towers, they are able to find your withing a couple of hundred feet. The officers were understanding but I could imagine a time when they would not be so interested to learn about the technical reason you made a call to 911.

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