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Signs Your Business May Need a Plasma Table

Does your company produce a lot of customized metal fabrication, or do you do a small amount of prototype cutting? If so, you might be a great candidate for a plasma table that’s designed precisely for businesses like yours.

Tables are custom-made to your specifications, which can reduce double work for your employees and improve the overall efficiency in your workplace. Using a plasma table can mean saving on wasted materials; it speeds up the process and makes the workload easier for your employees.

If you’re just starting to shop for the best plasma tables around, start by researching the reputation of the company. In an ideal world, they manufacture in the US, come with financing options so your startup stays in the black, and have a long history of industry-specific experience.

You also need quality installation and training to make sure the table works for you and not the other way around. Here are a few signs that you should be in the market for a plasma table.

1. Your workload is picking up

Instead of hiring more workers or putting existing employees under more stress, consider investing in the best tools your company needs. As you grow, you need and deserve better quality tools and platforms, perhaps including a plasma table.

2. Quality has been suffering

Have you noticed a lot of wasted materials, and cuts that aren’t precise? Or do your employees seem to be overloaded even though they’re the best around?

Before trying to tackle potential worker problems, consider whether a lack of quality tools might be to blame. A worker is only as good as the tools, including plasma tables, and vice versa; so make sure you’re on top of things.

3. You have new clients or a new worker pool

Take advantage of big changes such as a hiring spree or a big new client that just signed. This is a prime opportunity to update your equipment and get everyone trained at the same time.

By installing a new tool or device, you can take advantage of on-site training so everyone’s on the same page. Otherwise, it’s easy to lose track of who was trained on what, and that’s a dangerous downward spiral.

Finally, if you want to stay or become a big player in a competitive field like manufacturing, you have to have the right tools at your disposal. Your competition may already have them, and that puts you at a disadvantage. It’s time to level the playing field.

Mobile:

Apps Every Realtor Should Have

Selling properties is no easy job, but if you’re a real estate agent, you my be making it tougher than it has to be. The good news is that it’s currently a seller’s market, and more homeowners are looking to outsource the task of unloading their property. HouseSold

That means more commissions for you, but also a lot more work. But you should know that if it’s related to real estate, there’s probably an app for it.

Depending on your specialty, there are any number of apps that might work for you. If you own a real estate franchise, are in the field as a Realtor, or specialize in a niche type of property, you already have a full plate.

Check out MagicPlan, which enables you to customize floor plans with the swipe of a finger. The camera maps out a room and creates an instant mapping system, which means instant floor plans for your marketing efforts.

Apps to try

When it comes to the biggies like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor, Redfin, and others, you probably already have a favorite. But do you have their app?

Each one has its pros and cons, so don’t assume your favorite website will naturally turn out to be your favorite app. They’re all free, so spend a little time playing with each, and pick the one that looks like it could be your go-to resource. Any more than one and you risk wasting of a lot of time.

You need to be able to jot down notes quickly, especially when you’re meeting with sellers and buyers, and that’s exactly what JotNote Scanner lets you do. Part notetaker and part scanner, it can turn any iPhone into an instant scanner so you can share from cloud storage, email, and other locations.

Nobody has time for massive scanners anymore, so leave those high-tech gadgets in the office and streamline your mobile readiness.

Keep up with the competition

Real estate still entails a lot of paperwork, and there’s no telling when you might have to grab a few potted plants for extra curb appeal just before an open house. Lose that receipt, and you’ve instantly lost a deduction.

Apps such as Priximiant’s Digital Receipts let you snap a photo of a receipt and store it instantly. The app is free, and it helps you go green in a paperless environment.

Stay on top of the local market with LoopNet, which is basically an MLS for commercial properties. This is crucial for commercial real estate agents who need to have a pulse on what’s happening in the market at all times.

With more high-tech businesses sure to be launched in 2014, those commercial shoppers will be looking for property, and you need to keep up with their tech savviness.

Around The Web

last update: November 1, 2014

Social:

Searching for Tech Support Leads to Scams

If you were a hacker and created a site to obtain sensitive information, what sort of site would it be? According to computer experts, the most popular type of site is one devoted to tech support, because consumers instinctively trust such companies. tech support

There are certainly hundreds of legitimate tech support companies out there, so how can you distinguish a scam site from a real one? You certainly shouldn’t assume the top search results are the most reputable.

Kevin Boynton is the owner of a Richmond-based computer repair company. He says, “I get calls all the time from people saying ‘they took my money, I let them into my computer and they said they fixed all the problems and if I have any more problems, give them a call back but then they didn’t fix my problem.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, these people never get another reply. If you’re looking for a reputable tech support company, read reviews, talk to a live person, and get those testimonials.

The biggest niche

According to Boynton, the most common scams happen when consumers are looking for help with computers, not more complex tech help. “They see a phone number that says call us now for support, and they think okay.”

Many of these consumers never bother to do their research; they blindly trust what might be a marketing scam. “They will answer the phone as HP Support, but they are going to give you a hard sale and they are going to try to talk you into buying some sort of support,” Boynton warns.

Somewhat on the plus side, many of these scam artists are “just” out for your money and are not seeking to install malicious software on your computer. If you’re looking for a technician to actually repair your computer, be wary of any high pressure sales.

While this may not be illegal, it’s an iffy business model that indicates they don’t put the customer first. Plus, you can always challenge credit card purchases if you didn’t agree to the purchase.

Bigger fish in the sea

On the other hand, some sites are indeed designed strictly to steal your information. These probably won’t turn up among the top Google search results, but some companies do a great job of manipulating search engine optimization (SEO) for short periods of time to get higher rankings and attract potential victims.

If a “support company” is actually doing something illegal, they’ll be caught soon enough, but possibly not in time to save you. Your best move is to trust your gut, do your homework, and rely on real reviews.

Social:

Open Letter: The Web We Want

We’ve become dependent on the web as a civilization. Our future – the children – are dependent on it as well. Shouldn’t it be accessible by all? If you agree with Firefox that user privacy is important and that the web is for everyone, join them. Sound off at http://mzl.la/1hHyqBq

Mobile:

Is a Handyman in Your Smartphone a Good Idea?

You have access to absolutely everything in your smartphone, from YouTube videos on how to fix a garbage disposal to apps on the basics for being a handyman. This is certainly convenient, and in some cases it can save you a lot of money and hassle.

However, no technology can be a genuine substitute for a true handyman. Is the trend of everyone going DIY and being frugal getting out of hand?

There are some handyman services you can certainly do yourself most of the time, such as swapping out a light bulb or cleaning a rain gutter, assuming you’re physically capable. However, handymen do a lot more than that, such as full remodeling, plumbing, and some are even certified electricians.

Many of these tasks require a license for a reason; they can be dangerous in a newbie’s hands. Here’s how to tell if a handyman task is doable for you, or you should get professional help instead.

Know where the technology comes from

If you look at a six-minute Vine video on how to install a deadbolt, you might have a better idea than you did six minutes ago, but you’re no handyman. While there’s no chance of getting electrocuted as there would be with doorbell wiring, do you really want to risk having a door that’s less than 100 percent safe?

If a burglar targets your home, you want the peace of mind of knowing an expert installed the locks. Websites such as YouTube and Vine certainly have some very helpful tutorials, but you need to look closer and see who posted them.

Read the handyman reviews and see if the social media site links to a professional company or organization. Is the person who made the video a certified expert who has testimonies to back him or her up? If so, you’re on the right path.

Understand your own limits

There are how-to guides online and apps targeted for fellow handyman professionals and Average Joes alike. It’s not the creator’s job to keep you safe from yourself, so make sure you understand if you’re in the target demographic or not.

If everything sounds Greek but you think you may be able to follow along, it’s probably better to sit this one out and call in the experts. It’s understandable that you desire that grand feeling that comes from taking care of your own homestead, though.

If you want to improve your handyman skills, there are many ways to do it. It can provide you with great satisfaction in the long run, but you shouldn’t dive into the deep end right away.

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Mobile:

Apps for Choosing the Perfect Paint

paintcolorapp

Choosing the color of a house or apartment building can give you a lot of stress. You want it to stand out, but in the right way; yet the building still needs to look like it matches the neighborhood.

You don’t want to be that bright purple matte house in a sea of beiges and grays. But you also want your style and personality to shine through. Looking at a swatch of color in the home improvement store isn’t much help, but fortunately there are apps that will come to your rescue.

First, your should recognize that painting a residential structure yourself is rarely a good idea. Go to a local professional company that won’t just do a standout job, but can help you identify a color scheme that’s perfect for you.

Next, start considering which apps can help you find the ideal color, just in case you want a little more variety. The DIY Home Color app enables you to explore a slew of recommendations based on style, the effect you want to achieve, and general trends.

An app for all homeowners

The HGTV Color Guide is a sure thing, because the Home and Garden network is already a proven expert in all things home-related. Browse by color, check out more than 150 themes, and enjoy insider tips on the best paint colors by style.

If you’re feeling really ambitious, the AnyPaintColor app features 130,000 hues from scores of designers, so you’ll have pretty much every option at your fingertip.

For those who have a more refined taste and are up for trendsetting when it comes to curb appeal, the Benjamin Moore Color Capture app allows you to turn any favorite photo into a color scheme.

Love that snapshot of the beach? You can mimic the photograph and the feel of that day by reproducing the palette in your mobile device.

A colorful life

Download ColorClix by Olympic Print and enjoy an approach that’s similar to Benjamin Moore, but with a more traditional twist. Sherwin-Williams’s Color Snap is another option, and this app lets you share your ideas easily.

Yet another alternative, Voice of Color, offers a similar approach but is known for designer twists that can be achieved with a frugal budget.

No matter which app helps you pick, keep in mind that nothing compares to quality paint with a professional touch. While it might seem like you’re saving a lot of money going DIY, what’s the end result really going to look like?

You certainly wouldn’t paint your car yourself, and your home has the potential to be an even bigger eye catcher (in a good or bad way).

Gadgets:

What Techies Can Learn from “Basic” Technology

It seems as if the disparity between blue-collar workers, such as mechanics and utility laborers, and the techies of Silicon Valley is getting bigger every year. But these two industries have a lot more in common than you might think. gadgets

At the heart of each is technology and innovation, though Silicon Valley has a stronger leaning toward electronic technology as opposed to old-fashioned nuts and bolts. If you recall that the old-fashioned variety is preceded modern technology, then it’s easy to see how the two can learn from each other.

For example, utility workers can boast of combined experience that’s decades longer than the technology industry. This is the industry that created debris caps to optimize safety and was literally “in the field” well before Intel sent drivers out to test rural Wi-Fi as its idea of fieldwork

Auto workers were doing test drives to ensure those Google employees got to work safely well before the Google car was a twinkle in an engineer’s eye. So what might be some of the rules and tricks of traditional technology that could transfer to contemporary high-tech?

Testing, testing

If you think a software engineer does a lot of tests, that’s nothing compared to the civil engineer who’s charged with ensuring that buildings and bridges are stable, or a utility expert who has to keep buildings safe in the event of earthquakes and other natural disasters.

The rules of testing, re-testing, and a triage system for getting as many eyes on a project as possible began in more traditional fields. Many mistakes were made in the beginning, because human lives were at stake, and the end result is that today’s engineers (in all fields) are fairly well protected when they’re on the job.

From the day the wheel was created, innovation has been the foundation of all specialties of engineering. There’s always room for improvement, whether you’re talking about a car or the latest smartphone.

There’s also a lot of overlap these days, with airplanes full of software and electrical engineering. The skill set necessary for all types of engineers, whether you’re in utility management or hardware development, is so refined that this is the reason they receive that hefty salary.

Back to basics

The greatest thing modern tech geeks can learn from their predecessors is that there’s no reason to re-invent the wheel … and safety always comes first. Look at the path that’s already been set down for you. It’s been tried and tested many times over the years, so take advantage of it.

Mobile:

Explore the New World of Mobile Banking

Our world has become a place where everyone’s glued to a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. Fewer people are visiting their bank in person these days. mobilebanking

Gone are the days when you drive to the bank, wait in the queue, and conduct a transaction with a teller in front of you. Today, we order a wire transfer while commuting to work on a bus or waiting in line at a restaurant.

What is mobile banking?

Mobile banking refers to a financial transaction conducted via a smartphone or similar mobile device. Mobile phones have become ever cheaper and therefore more available to billions of people around the globe.

This has inevitably led to mobile banking solutions that were happily embraced by customers everywhere. The introduction of apps on popular iOS and Android mobile platforms has contributed to the unprecedented success of mobile banking.

Most of the major banks such as Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citi, and HSBC offer access to banking services via mobile devices.

Mobile banking services

Most of the services offered at a typical bank branch are now available via mobile apps. For example, you can view balances, study statements, withdraw cash, deposit checks or cash, email receipts, transfer balances, view tax forms, review credit and debit card transactions, locate ATMs and branches, set account alerts, and contact customer support … all via your mobile device.

Reasons for the fast acceptance of mobile banking

There are several possible reasons for the swift and massive acceptance of mobile banking services. The main one is the convenience of being able to do banking transactions anytime, anywhere.

Most institutions are not charging any fees for mobile banking services. When it’s free, people seldom think twice before trying the service.

A bank’s reputation depends on providing an application that’s secure. Most banking apps offer a secure environment to conduct business. So it’s no surprise that mobile banking services have enjoyed positive customer response across the globe.

Mobile banking in developing nations

It’s been estimated that the total number of mobile banking users will reach 1 billion by 2015. Around 80% of these will access the services from developing nations.

Mobile banking is expected to outgrow traffic via online banking. Mobile operators are scrambling to build partnerships with banks and technology companies to increase the access to mobile banking services.

Users in emerging countries are using mobile services for paying utility bills, domestic and international money transfers, and much more.

The case for secure transactions

Despite the success of mobile banking, security experts are still concerned about the potential risks associated with banking via mobile devices. Financial institutions are increasingly scrutinized by regulators for compliance with banking rules while securing billions of transactions handled via mobile devices.

New sets of payment security standards are constantly introduced and reviewed by security experts.

It’s hard to predict the future of mobile banking. Mobile banking may wipe out many physical branch offices in the next few decades. But whatever happens, the future likely belongs to customers who will benefit from increased access to banking services.

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