Personalize Your Art Decor – Photography

In our series of Art and Decorating Articles, we have discussed the value of art as perhaps the least expensive way to create the ambiance you want to achieve for your home or office. We have provided our insights into how to select the pieces that best meet your needs and how to hang your choices in the easiest and most effective way. Now we would like to begin a series of Articles on the Various Genres of Art.Remember the choice must be yours, reflecting the mood you wish the living space to convey and the personal joy it brings to you every time you view it.We all have a favorite place we love, that brings us joy. It may be a secluded forest, or a bright sun filled beach, or the peaks of majestic mountains. For each of us, there are special people that bring us joy and peace. Why not use the special places and people to create the joy and peace of your living space.Today, across the internet, local and national professional photographers offer a wide variety of photographic art. With new reproduction techniques, photographic art is available in all sizes and on different backgrounds including canvas. Local artists are your best bet if you want familiar scenes. Depending on your style, even historic photo art is available such as the famous “kiss” from the cover of Life Magazine at the end of World War II.While photography is almost 200 years old, the advent of the digital camera has changed the game allowing anyone to create the fantastic images you desire; and allow you to share the pride in your own picture decor.Getting started on creating your own photographic art is easier than you think. The first step is getting the camera. Don’t get hung up on an expensive camera, you don’t need it. A great shot is as striking to an ordinary camera as to an expensive camera. With a digital camera you can see immediately what you have captured and have the ability to re-shoot the picture until it is just right. When taking your photo be sure you have enough light to bring out the focus of your picture. Also, don’t forget the background if you are photographing a person or object keeping the background simple and light to bring out the subject. In nature scenes, the background of the ocean, trees, or flowers adds depth to make the photo natural and pleasing.Once you have captured the scene you want (whether your own or from a photo artist), don’t forget the frame. The final presentation of the framed photographic art is important to show the work to its best advantage.Photographic frames come in two basic styles which are metal or wood and are available in almost all colors and styles from plain to ornate. A simple black metal frame allows the artwork to stand on its own and is an especially good choice if you are hanging multiple pictures. A bleached white wood frame is often used for seashore scenes to contrast the blue green color of the water for an added natural look. Wood frames stained in the appropriate color can highlight forests or mountain scenes, again creating a natural feel.Which ever way you choose to go; purchased photo art or creating your own, you can have pride in creating the unique ambiance for your living space and feel good from the memories that are always there for you.

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Engineering Scholarships You Can Apply To

An engineering degree takes a lot of time and is quite expensive as well. These days, most people who would dare take an engineering course would be those who are rich and those who are funded by a college scholarship. If you are one of the latter, then you will know that the competition for an engineering scholarship, whether funded by the government or by private organizations, is quite stiff. You should know where to look if you want to get a engineering degree without the financial burden.Among the popular choices when it comes to college engineering scholarships and college grants is the University of Maine Microelectronics Scholarship Consortium. This program gives out scholarships based on merit and co-op work experience to promising first-year, sophomore, junior, and senior students interested in microelectronics/semiconductor industry and majoring in either engineering or science.The deal is that students must attend the University of Maine and must show academic promise as well as potential to grow in the microelectronics/semiconductor industry. Freshman college students are awarded with a $1,500 academic scholarship and will be given each year if he or she maintains eligibility.For those who are interested in structural and/or civil engineering, the Wire Reinforcement Institute (WRI) Education Foundation provides scholarships and college tuition grants. The fund, however, will not be awarded directly to the recipient but rather to the college or university where the recipient is attending.You can also check other engineering scholarships from various engineering organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Institute of Industrial Engineers, and the National Society of Professional Engineers. Engineering may be an expensive dream, but with scholarships available for such courses, you might become an engineer some day and create a better future for the world.

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Long Queue Problem – Simple IE (Industrial Engineering) Concept to Handle It

Industrial Engineering (IE) Core Concept on time study is used in the manufacturing production line to measure the productivity of the workers. This method indeed can be easily applied in our daily activities as well to help increase our productivity without stress. No expensive software or engaging highly paid consultant for data analysis is required. It just needs a basic function stop watch and your curiosity to find the constraint!3 Simple Steps Time Studies (Let’s call it 3SS)1st S: Find out time spent each station process steps and time spent2nd S: Put each of the station process step and its time side by side to compare. Which one takes the longer?3rd S: Re-shuffle activities from the longer time station to the less one.Sound too simple to be true? Let’s take a demo of 3SS at a sandwich shop where customers queue up in front of the counter to place order with 2-3 workers to serve behind the bar.3 Simple Steps ( 3SS) is as easy as 123 3SS#1: Find out time spent for each station process stepsWorker#1 / Step# Activities Time taken ( 80 seconds) 1/1 Take and cut the bread1/2 Place slices of cheese and sausages1/3 Heat up the sandwich in oven1/4 Remove from oven & pass to next stationWorker#2 / Step# Activities Time taken ( 60 – 120 seconds) 2/1 Add types of vegetables2/2 Add types of sauces2/3 Wrap sandwich with wrapping paperWorker#3 / Step# Activities Time taken ( 15 – 60 seconds) 3/1 Check with customer if there is other order to add3/2 Prepare additional order if there is3/3 Inform customer the total amount3/4 Process payment3/5 Put orders and napkins into the bag3SS#2: Put each of the station time side by side to compare. Which one takes the longer?Worker #2 and #3 normally deals with more variables. Take the longest as the time reference if the sandwich shop customers’ preference profile is trending to more ingredients and more sauces, more special request. Now the adjusted times are:Worker#1 – 80 secondsWorker#2 -120 seconds (Worker #2 is the longest – constraint location found!)Worker#3 – 60 seconds3SS#3:Re-shuffle activitiesfrom the longer time station to the less oneIn order to reshuffle the activities from the longest/ constraint station, we will analyze what are the activities can be shifted/ modified or simplified. It is easier to further break down in the next level details for worker#2 as follow.Worker#2 /Step# Activities Time taken (seconds) 2/1 Add types of vegetables (45)2/2 Add types of sauces (55)2/3 Wrap sandwich with wrapping paper (20)After the re-shuffling: The stations and time is as follow:Worker#1 /Step# Activities Time taken (80 seconds) No Change in time1/1 Take and cut the bread1/2 Place slices of cheese and sausages1/3 Heat up the sandwich in oven1/4 Remove from oven & pass to next stationWorker#2 /Step# Activities Time taken (100 seconds) Move process 2/3 to worker#32/1 Add types of vegetables2/2 Add types of saucesWorker#3 /Step# Activities Time taken (80 seconds) Add in process 2/3 to worker#33/1 Wrap sandwich with wrapping paper3/2 Check with customer if there is other order to add3/3 Prepare additional order if there is3/4 Inform customer the total amount3/5 Process payment3/6 Put orders and napkins into the bagBalancing the activities, not simply add resourceThis simple 3SS is now completed. The gaps among 3 workers are narrower.See Productivity SummaryOld set up New Set UpWorkers process time 80/120/60 seconds 80/100/80 secondsBottle neck 120 seconds 100 secondsUnit made/hour 3600/120 =30 3600/100 = 36Above shows clear results that the shop owner needs not invest additional workers or stations to make customer happy. Customers get their order in shorter time because the time spent in queue is shortened.. Repeat this 3SS whenever there are changes in the work activities.Sharing this tip is not to diminish the professionalism and contribution of Industrial Engineers, but this is an Industrial Engineering concept which is easily and conveniently applicable to many daily encounters. Anyone can take advantage to reduce the wastage and improve the customers’ satisfaction through this self-check method. While hiring a full time Industrial Engineer or engaging a professional consultant may not be cost effective for certain circumstances or organizations, especially for small business, this type of method will bridge and balance the cost versus needs. It makes this scientific Industrial Engineering method easy to use while no workers are to increase their speed for higher productivity. Best, it can be done at anytime at practically no cost.Besides at workplace, extend these to daily household or casual activities is easy too. Can you think of some? For example: cooking – how many burners needed? Mind to share more ideas?

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Natural Products That Can Help Child Health Care

Very often without the parents knowing about it, toxic materials in the objects used by the children can harm their health. Avoiding such toxic materials in objects coming in contact with the child’s skin is therefore an essential part of health care and child development process. Natural products could be the best bets that can take care of child health very well.Why Child Health is Essential?But why is child health care so important? There are several reasons contributing to it.• Growth rate of healthy children is much better compared to those having physical or mental problems.• Illness and health problems can prevent development of child substantially.• At least before the child reaches school going age, any physical or mental deficiencies in him or her should be sorted out as far as practicable.Toxic Materials in Child BeddingMany parents use crib mattresses for their child. This helps them take better care of the child and offers better comforts for the child as well. However, many also do not know the possible dangers of such mattresses containing toxic elements, poisonous for babies. Majority of manufacturers use materials that are not only harmful to health but could be life threatening as well. Even organic mattresses could be toxic. It is therefore expedient getting the mattress checked by experts before use. Waterproof and organic mattresses for child cribs seem the best choice as they are non-toxic in nature.Growth of Immune SystemGrowth of immune systems in children are always commensurate their physical growth. However, the strength for combating diseases of any kind is always lower in children in comparison to the adult persons. Moreover, infants are not able to express symptoms they suffer and therefore it is necessary taking appropriate care in selection of remedies for them.Power of Herbal and Ayurvedic MedicinesNatural as well as harmless in sharp contrast to the traditional medications, herbal and ayurvedic medicines are normally made from plants and other natural products. Emphasis in ayurveda is on child care using as much home remedies as possible and avoiding any artificial or synthetic medicines. Moreover such remedies prescribed are always mild and does not have any harmful side effects; a feature of most prescription drugs.However the best natural product for the children that will never harm their health is the care, love, and affection of his or her parents and other family members. “A happy mind is the home of Almighty” as they say.

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Understanding Large-Scale Commercial Mortgage Financing Part 01

If you are looking for a commercial mortgage to support the financing (or refinancing) of large-scale income producing property, you can pretty much forget about banks. While banks will provide construction loans they tend to avoid the permanent mortgage financing in excess of one million dollars because of the risk associated with commercial loans. In fact, a bank will probably not make a construction loan without a formal letter of commitment from a lender guaranteeing the permanent mortgage take-out (a loan designed to cash out the construction loans provided by the bank).In any case, securing permanent mortgage financing in excess of a million dollars can be tricky business if you are new at this type of activity, have grade B-C credit and marginal cash on hand to support the project. Permanent mortgage lenders want to see a debt coverage ratio at or in excess of 1.2 (debt coverage ratio is the number that results from dividing the net operating income by the sum of annual mortgage payments). Example: Property A generates $120,000.00 per year in net (after expenses) rental income and the total mortgage payment is $100,000.00 then, 120,000/100,000 = 1.2 DCR. The DCR is designed to cover the loan in case of rent vacancies and changes to net operating income. A cushion for the lenders security.Then you have the task of finding a legitimate lender to provide the permanent mortgage. In a world full of crooked commercial loan brokers and shysters who will take your money and not produce a loan, there are a few quick things to make sure you are headed in the right direction to select a legitimate mortgage broker or banking firm. First, call any commercial bank and speak to the commercial loan officer. They can often provide names of mortgage brokers who specialize in arranging large scale financing and have some track record with the bank. This is not the final acid test but it is a good first place to go for guidance. Attorneys specialized in commercial real estate law are also a good source for referrals and you can find them by contacting your local bar association.There are primarily two kinds of players in the commercial mortgage business: 1. Commercial mortgage brokers and 2. Commercial mortgage banking firms. A mortgage broker tends to represent mortgage banking firms and mortgage-banking firms tend to represent life insurance companies, who provide the permanent mortgage financing. If you are working with a mortgage broker you want to avoid paying any up front fees to them to “process your loan” which is a common scam amongst unscrupulous operators in the industry. You will pay an application fee at some point in the transaction but it certainly isn’t to the first guy who says he can get you a loan. Rather, it will be when you are dealing with a legitimate mortgage-banking firm that is representing the Life Company. Before this happens, however, there will be (at least) representatives from the mortgage banking firm who will meet with you, walk the property and put their eyes on the project before an application is drafted.Always ask for references from the financial players who you can call to verify them. Ideally, you want names, telephone numbers and addresses to the properties they have funded. You can also ask the mortgage broker for the names of the banking firms where they will seek financing. In this case, you can expect to be forced to sign non-disclosure/non-circumvention agreements to protect the broker. Mortgage banking firms, on the other hand, represent life companies under contract and you, as an individual, cannot approach a life company directly.Securing a commercial mortgage is a complicated process if you don’t know what you are doing and it may pay dividends to keep track of these articles in the near future as I intend on creating a mini series about residential and commercial mortgages. Not sure at this point how deeply they will go but they will help you make better decisions.To your success!Do you like this tip? You haven’t seen anything yet! Check out our Smart Books Business products by clicking the link below. We have business kits, books and ebooks to help you get smart-fast. Check us out…. We’ll save you a TON of time and money.Copyright © 2006 James W. Hart, IV All Rights reserved

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The Point of Budgeting In Small Business

Too many small businesses operate without budgets. And many small businesses that do have budgets aren’t getting as much out of them as they could. We’ve seen it time and again.It isn’t because the mechanics are difficult to manage. Everyone knows the basics of how budgets work: you track money coming in, you track money going out, and you do your best to plan for the future. In fact, the very simplicity of that formula is what leads some small-business owners to consider budgets not worth the trouble.Therefore, what we’ll discuss here isn’t what budgeting entails, because if you don’t already know that, you can find it out with ease. We’re more interested in why you should budget in the first place. Our suggestion, to put it plainly, is that budgeting is a way to amplify the very creativity and adaptability that allow small businesses to thrive.Budgets’ ReputationYou don’t become an entrepreneur because you have a burning love of spreadsheets. At least, not usually. Being an entrepreneur isn’t supposed to be about budgeting. It isn’t supposed to be about paging through endless columns of variable costs or putting caps on spending. It’s supposed to be about having the freedom to blend innovation and risk-taking with passion and expertise. It’s supposed to be about removing barriers, not building them.That being the case, small-business owners often see budgets as antithetical to the very spirit of entrepreneurship. According to this perspective, budgets impose stifling limitations. They’re artifacts of mega-corporate culture devised by clammy-handed people in windowless rooms with poor lighting. They may be necessary evils for sprawling, inhuman conglomerates, but when it comes to organizations that rely on individual personalities and individual decision-making, budgets are more burdensome than helpful.You might say the constraints imposed by budgeting make small businesses less nimble. Since nimbleness is one of their main advantages over larger rivals, budgets actually decrease small businesses’ ability to compete.Or so the story goes.Some of it is accurate. For instance, it’s true that passion and innovation go hand in hand with entrepreneurship. It’s true that small businesses should strive to leverage their size into a competitive advantage. And it’s true that budgeting for small businesses is much different from budgeting for colossal corporations.What’s not true is that budgets impose constraints. Budgets don’t actually impose anything. They merely describe constraints that are already present. Perhaps more importantly, they describe a business’s ability to cope with and even manipulate constraints placed on it by forces internal and external.Constraints and Entrepreneurial CreativityIf you’re an entrepreneur, you’re aware that your business doesn’t operate in a vacuum. It’s part of a staggeringly complex system. For instance, you have your relatively immediate concerns, such as your employees and your local government. You also have your relatively big-picture concerns, such as national debt and foreign trade policy. No matter what, when you start a small business you’re going to be hemmed in by laws, regulations, and unavoidable economic realities, all of which will have a major impact on how you operate.In other words, no small business starts out in a position of unfettered freedom. The very conditions that allow small businesses to exist also impose a variety of constraints. Working capital, interest rates, the minimum wage, the minimum competitive salary for professional employees-there are countless factors that limit what you can do and how much money it takes to do it.You can acknowledge the reality of these factors, but if you don’t have a budget, then you might not know the exact ways they’re affecting you. What particular constraints does a business in your industry have to deal with? Are there some that have a disproportionate impact on you because of the way your business functions? Can you make changes to reduce their impact? Are there constraints that you handle in an especially productive way? Can you turn this productivity into an advantage over your competitors? Do you approach some constraints the way everyone else does, even though you could be doing a better job with them?These are the sort of questions a budget helps you answer. It doesn’t create limitations that weren’t there before. Rather, it gives you a way to assess the pre-existing limitations that every small business in your industry has to deal with. The more thorough your assessment of those limitations, the greater your ability to work within them, work around them, or in some cases, make them work for you.Making limitations work for you is where entrepreneurial creativity comes into play. If you have enough details on your business’s limitations, then you’ll be better able to turn those limitations into innovations. A budget will help you marshal your creative energies and find the opportunities for profit embedded in the market’s constraints. It tells you exactly what assets you have to work with, and helps you map out how those assets can be put to the most productive use given the rules of the industry.After all, most of the market-based constraints you experience will be shared by your competitors, who also have limited amounts of money and freedom. Which of you comes out on top won’t be determined by who has the fewest constraints, but by who does the best job of manipulating common constraints to find the possibilities they hide.Speed, Spontaneity, and ProfitSmall businesses, precisely because they’re small, tend to be better than their larger competitors at taking quick, decisive action. It’s one of their vital advantages. By the same token, it’s one of the challenges that all entrepreneurs are bound to face. You’ll be forced to react on a moment’s notice to emerging opportunities or perils in the market-that’s a given.What’s less certain is the profitability of your reactions. Obviously, acting or adapting fast doesn’t do much good if it yields a loss.So what information will you use to make your quick decisions? Do you have a detailed, practical breakdown of your business’s strengths and weaknesses? Do you know exactly how many resources you can afford to redeploy at a moment’s notice? Do you know how efficiently different aspects of your business tend to use the resources you devote to them? Are certain aspects of your business already strained? Are certain aspects flush with the potential for expansion?A budget gives you a diagnostic readout of your organization. It tells you how much stress the business can handle and which areas can handle it. Hence, it helps you decide whether acting conservatively or aggressively in the short term will enhance your performance over the long term. Without a budget, you’ll be relying too much on guesswork, and many of your quick decisions may be needlessly risky.Supply-chain RelationshipsA budget not only helps you assess yourself, but also helps you assess your relationships with other entities, like vendors and subcontractors. This will be especially important when the market is in flux.As you know, successful entrepreneurship entails evaluating the vast array of forces that constitutes the market and determining where-for someone in your industry, someone with your passion and expertise-the opportunities and roadblocks lie. But no one can predict with any certainty how the market will behave tomorrow. There will be surprises. Sudden chances and sudden setbacks.We’ve already noted that the way you respond to these inevitable surprises will play a critical role in the profitability-or survival-of your business, and that your ability to make the right call at the right time will be drastically greater if you have a budget in place. This is not only because a budget tells you about your own resources, but also because a budget helps you deal with other organizations that affect you.Let’s say you experience a sharp increase in demand for your product. It’s good news, but it brings up questions: Do you have enough working capital to provide your product to a large number of new customers/clients? What are the current resources of each division of your business? How many more resources does each division need if it’s going to ramp up its activities? How efficiently does each division tend to use its resources?These are all internal questions that may well lead to others, such as: What do your vendor accounts look like? How much new inventory can you afford to purchase? What type of sales will you need if you’re going to pay off the new purchases on time? Can you afford to hire subcontractors to help with the push?And, of equal or greater importance: What’s your plan for a downturn in demand? Will you find yourself in a precarious position with your vendors? Will you be able to keep promises to new customers? Will you be able to pay your subcontractors for the hours they’ve put in?Indeed, budgeting can provide invaluable support for all your relationships. As noted on, “your suppliers are in all likelihood mapping out their expectations for the year and you can help them do so by providing your outlook. As a best practice, you should share your budget and the variety of scenarios you might face to see whether they can handle each level of demand” (Field 2010).Since your business is one element in a network of other businesses, it’s important for you to be able to communicate both your capacities and your expectations to the people you rely on. A budget serves as a tool for facilitating such communication. It gives you a concrete way of describing not only where you stand, but also where you will stand in a given scenario. Thus, it helps foster strong partnerships and avoid uncomfortable conversations.This doesn’t mean sharing every detail of your budget, nor does it mean sharing some details with everyone. It simply means that guarding your budget like a state secret takes away some of its efficacy. You can use select portions of your budget to assist you in negotiating with critical partners-i.e., you can be prudent about the information you divulge without being obscure. How much do your current business partners know about your budget? Is it enough for them to understand your capacities and your needs?The BankSpeaking of business relationships: you don’t want to mess around with the bank. Plain and simple. This is a relationship that should be as friendly and open as possible. And what do bankers like? Budgets. As the American Bankers Association (ABA) says, “You are flying in the dark financially if you don’t have a budget for all income and expenses.”Come to them without a budget, and bankers are going to feel like you’re wasting their time. They’re certainly not going to be interested in loaning you money (or more money). “Prepare for your financial review with your banker,” says ABA. “Have current inventories, cash flows and balance sheets ready.”When your banker asks you how your debt is structured, and whether you have an imbalance between long- and short-term debt, what are you going answer? Trust us: if you show up to that meeting with a budget, you’ll be glad you did.FlexibilityJust as the market’s unpredictability makes budgets useful, it also makes them fallible. A budget is like any plan: it will contain inaccurate predictions and require ongoing revision. That’s simply a condition of commerce; some academic models are predicated on entrepreneurs having perfect foresight, but we all know that’s not the case. Businesspeople, even the world’s most celebrated financial prognosticators, get it wrong sometimes.That doesn’t render planning completely useless. Even if your plans don’t entirely match the way reality unfolds, they serve as benchmarks against which you can assess your progress. They record where you wanted to go, where you actually went, and why the two didn’t coincide. In that way, they indicate which areas of your business are performing well, and which need to be modified in order to meet next quarter’s goals.When it comes to small-business planning, certainty is off the table. Nothing is guaranteed, including budgets. But setting expectations and monitoring progress remain indispensable to long-term survival. They help small-business owners analyze why they’re drifting off course, and also help them formulate corrective measures.How do you see a budget? As a static report that turns old news into flimsy predictions? Or as a series of living documents that records how you adapt to change?PersonnelThorough budgeting calls for a great deal of effort, and many small-business owners can’t spare the necessary time or energy. Frankly, while the minutiae of budgeting are of interest to the entrepreneur, they are not the entrepreneur’s main job. If they were, then a good head for numbers and a background in financial analysis would be prerequisites for entrepreneurship. Yet plenty of small-business owners have succeeded without an affinity for mathematics or statistics. Entrepreneurs don’t all begin as certified public accountants.That being the case, most small-business owners hire a bookkeeper. A bookkeeper collects and organizes your financial information, which, again, is time-consuming and requires close attention to detail. Too much time and too much attention for small-business owners to sacrifice. But even if you’re not involved with gathering and sorting your financial information, you needn’t remain aloof from it. To get the most benefit from budgeting, you’ll want to be accustomed to reading your financial statements and locating important data in your financial system. When you meet with your bookkeeper, are you talking about his or her methods? Is he or she showing you how your financial information is organized? Are you able to navigate your bookkeeping software on your own, so as to pull up specific pieces of data without your bookkeeper’s assistance?Proper bookkeeping is important, but it rarely goes far enough in the analysis department. You’ll notice that the bulk of our discussion has revolved around using budgets to orient yourself in the market-i.e., using them to take advantage of opportunities and to minimize risks. That requires more than tabulating numbers; it requires interpreting them. It requires fitting your numbers into a larger picture.Is there anyone in your organization besides you who (1) monitors your finances on the close-in, detailed level, and (2) relates the details of your finances to your big-picture performance? If not, chances are you’d benefit from a dedicated financial person. Someone whose duties involve painting a comprehensive picture of your financial universe-more comprehensive, that is, than the picture you’re able to paint on your own, simply because you have other things to do.As with most aspects of running a small business, getting the most out of budgeting requires skillful delegation. If a budget is going to inform your decisions at major turning points, then it’s a good idea to have someone to consult with, someone who’s been looking at the same numbers as you while also looking at the same problems.TakeawayThe value of a budget doesn’t rest on the accuracy of its predictions or the stringency of its cost-cutting. Instead, the value of a budget rests on how well it articulates your business’s financial strengths and weaknesses. A budget exists to help you balance risk against opportunity, to help you determine whether aggressive or conservative action is the right thing for the moment. It also exists to help you communicate with your business partners-to, in other words, cultivate healthy, mutually beneficial relationships with the organizations you rely on.Above all, a budget exists to de-mystify, or express in concrete terms, the limitations imposed on your business by the market. Thorough budgeting, especially when undertaken with the right personnel, can enhance your creative initiatives and merge adaptability with profit. In short, budgeting is a way to sharpen, not blunt, a small business’s advantages.CitationsAmerican Bankers Association. Ten tips for small business owners during tough financial times., Anne. 2010. How to budget and manage inventory for 2011. Inc.

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Open Source Software Versus Proprietary Software – An Insight

IntroductionNot long back, Microsoft ruled the roost in software industry. It is ironical that the software giant is now stretching itself to the limits to overcome the crisis it is facing largely from the open source software market. The software prices have plummeted due the leveling factor the proprietary software faces now in the form of free and open source software. It is good to see programmers and software professionals, world over uniting to share their know-how to produce good quality software. During the 1980′s pc’s were introduced which paved way for large scale computerization in all walks of life. There was a time when software prices were astronomical and Microsoft dictated terms. Now with the advent of internet and web based applications, FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) is available for download and customizing from individuals as well as organizations.Before we examine the nuances of FOSS, it would be appropriate to discuss the various barriers that exist in Proprietary or Closed Source model. Under Closed Source model the source code is not revealed to the public. Examples of this kind of software include the popular Microsoft Office suite which is the most widely used office automation package world over. Microsoft is the chief proponent of this category of software right from the advent of Pc’s. Compared to this, FOSS model allows the user to download the software free of cost and also make modifications to the source code. This has resulted in large scale development of free and open source software and a number of Indians have joined this bandwagon. The advantages cited by proponents for having such a structure are mutual benefits such as sharing of knowledge, superior products and acceptability and not to say the cost savings.Free software means the user has the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it means that the program’s users have the four essential freedoms:
The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
(references: )From the above mentioned four freedoms given to the user regarding the use of free software, it is apparent that the user has a free hand in even deciding the using the software and customizing it. This is in stark contrast to the rules regarding proprietary software. The sense of service and trust is essential for FOSS to survive. Internet has opened doors for this acceptance by masses. With increased download speeds and reduction in usage costs, downloading a software is no longer a daunting task.Proprietary softwareIt is evident that for the primary business model for closed source software, the manufacturer imposes certain constraints and restrictions about accessing the source code and also on what can be done with the software. It may be noted that it is very easy to copy and redistribute software. FOSS suppliers do this as part of their policy. Taking this as a threat to their profit making motive, proprietary software firms sometimes create an illusion of artificial scarcity of the product. This is like black marketers who create artificial scarcity of food products during a crisis. In this case of proprietary software the end-user is not actually purchasing the software, but is only granted the right to use the software. Hence it can be clearly evidenced that the source code of closed source software is considered a trade secret by the proprietor.FOSS (Free and Open Source Software)FOSS does not limit the use of software as done by closed source software. The suppliers of FOSS generate revenue through support services. An example for such a company is Canonical Ltd, which gives its software free of cost but charges for support services. The source code is given along with the pre-compiled binary software for convenience of the user. As a result, the source code can be freely modified. However, there can be some license-based restrictions on re-distributing the software. Generally, software can be modified and re-distributed for free, as long as credit is given to the original manufacturer of the software. FOSS may also be funded through donations. Linux community has effectively harnessed this model to provide a number of successful and popular packages. Software like OpenOffice and MySQL has been immensely in the open market and has forced Microsoft to reduce its prices and provide error-free operating systems and solutions.Windows 7 was released in India at a lower price keeping in mind the competition from FOSS. Windows Vista was not a success, largely due to the fact that its memory hungry interfaces and applications were not popular among the users. To tide over the criticism faced by Windows Vista, Windows 7 was released at a lower price and with better features. The credit for this change can be attributed to the overwhelming popularity of FOSS.On the whole it can be said that the in the coming years, FOSS will play a major role in shaping the software industry and by giving the user the final say. The positive side of this competition is that Proprietary software will improve in quality and will be forced to clamp restrictions on pricing. This is a positive signal for the software sector globally.

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Want to Make Money Online? An Online School is Where You Go to Learn

When I first got into Internet Marketing I thought the business was populated with geniuses. I thought these marketers had far more moxie, know how, and work ethic than I did. I also figured that they knew something that I didn’t know, and worse, something I couldn’t know!Of course, that turned out to be correct.I didn’t know how to find out what they knew. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.Newcomers to Internet Marketing (IM) have all kinds of ideas, some of them goofy, some of them about right but, the fact is, newcomers don’t know much.The folks who are making good money selling info-products online are very well schooled in skills newcomers know nothing about. They can make it work for them, we can’t. What’s so unusual about that? Nothing, really.I know a guy who can replace my water pump in two hours. I couldn’t do it in two days! Is he smarter than me? Maybe, maybe not, but one thing is for sure. He’s done it before. Many times. How many times have I done it? Zero.I’m going to say something that may be too obvious, but, IM is not brain surgery. It’s a LOT easier. You only need two things to succeed at making money online. You have to want it (motivation) and you need to know how (skills). Motivation you have to give yourself. Go for it! Be all you can be.These skills you’ll have to learn. They are practically priceless. These are skills that translate directly into money! And you can get the “knowhow” for way under $100. That includes hosted websites in YOUR name and an entire curriculum laid out for you to study. You can’t lose, you can only win.I knew very little about IM when I started at one of the online schools.Four months later I had built a website business of my own that had traffic AND I was building a list! I wasn’t making any money at first but it started to grow. You can do this too! Go learn how.Enroll in an online school. Follow and learn the lessons! Do your homework. Then apply your new skills and make money online. You can do it! It’s even fun! Especially when the money comes in.

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Car Finance – What You Should Know About Dealer Finance

Car finance has become big business. A huge number of new and used car buyers in the UK are making their vehicle purchase on finance of some sort. It might be in the form of a bank loan, finance from the dealership, leasing, credit card, the trusty ‘Bank of Mum & Dad’, or myriad other forms of finance, but relatively few people actually buy a car with their own cash anymore.A generation ago, a private car buyer with, say, £8,000 cash to spend would usually have bought a car up to the value of £8,000. Today, that same £8,000 is more likely to be used as a deposit on a car which could be worth many tens of thousands, followed by up to five years of monthly payments.With various manufacturers and dealers claiming that anywhere between 40% and 87% of car purchases are today being made on finance of some sort, it is not surprising that there are lots of people jumping on the car finance bandwagon to profit from buyers’ desires to have the newest, flashiest car available within their monthly cashflow limits.The appeal of financing a car is very straightforward; you can buy a car which costs a lot more than you can afford up-front, but can (hopefully) manage in small monthly chunks of cash over a period of time. The problem with car finance is that many buyers don’t realise that they usually end up paying far more than the face value of the car, and they don’t read the fine print of car finance agreements to understand the implications of what they’re signing up for.For clarification, this author is neither pro- or anti-finance when buying a car. What you must be wary of, however, are the full implications of financing a car – not just when you buy the car, but over the full term of the finance and even afterwards. The industry is heavily regulated in the UK, but a regulator can’t make you read documents carefully or force you to make prudent car finance decisions.Financing through the dealershipFor many people, financing the car through the dealership where you are buying the car is very convenient. There are also often national offers and programs which can make financing the car through the dealer an attractive option.This blog will focus on the two main types of car finance offered by car dealers for private car buyers: the Hire Purchase (HP) and the Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), with a brief mention of a third, the Lease Purchase (LP). Leasing contracts will be discussed in another blog coming soon.What is a Hire Purchase?An HP is quite like a mortgage on your house; you pay a deposit up-front and then pay the rest off over an agreed period (usually 18-60 months). Once you have made your final payment, the car is officially yours. This is the way that car finance has operated for many years, but is now starting to lose favour against the PCP option below.There are several benefits to a Hire Purchase. It is simple to understand (deposit plus a number of fixed monthly payments), and the buyer can choose the deposit and the term (number of payments) to suit their needs. You can choose a term of up to five years (60 months), which is longer than most other finance options. You can usually cancel the agreement at any time if your circumstances change without massive penalties (although the amount owing may be more than your car is worth early on in the agreement term). Usually you will end up paying less in total with an HP than a PCP if you plan to keep the car after the finance is paid off.The main disadvantage of an HP compared to a PCP is higher monthly payments, meaning the value of the car you can usually afford is less.An HP is usually best for buyers who; plan to keep their cars for a long time (ie – longer than the finance term), have a large deposit, or want a simple car finance plan with no sting in the tail at the end of the agreement.What is a Personal Contract Purchase?A PCP is often given other names by manufacturer finance companies (eg – BMW Select, Volkswagen Solutions, Toyota Access, etc.), and is very popular but more complicated than an HP. Most new car finance offers advertised these days are PCPs, and usually a dealer will try and push you towards a PCP over an HP because it is more likely to be better for them.Like the HP above, you pay a deposit and have monthly payments over a term. However, the monthly payments are lower and/or the term is shorter (usually a max. of 48 months), because you are not paying off the whole car. At the end of the term, there is still a large chunk of the finance unpaid. This is usually called a GMFV (Guaranteed Minimum Future Value). The car finance company guarantees that, within certain conditions, the car will be worth at least as much as the remaining finance owed. This gives you three options:1) Give the car back. You won’t get any money back, but you won’t have to pay out the remainder. This means that you have effectively been renting the car for the whole time.2) Pay out the remaining amount owed (the GMFV) and keep the car. Given that this amount could be many thousands of pounds, it is not usually a viable option for most people (which is why they were financing the car in the first place), which usually leads to…3) Part-exchange the car for a new (or newer) one. The dealer will assess your car’s value and take care of the finance payout. If your car is worth more than the GMFV, you can use the difference (equity) as a deposit on your next car.The PCP is best suited for people who want a new or near-new car and fully intend to change it at the end of the agreement (or possibly even sooner). For a private buyer, it usually works out cheaper than a lease or contract hire finance product. You are not tied into going back to the same manufacturer or dealership for your next car, as any dealer can pay out the finance for your car and conclude the agreement on your behalf. It is also good for buyers who want a more expensive car with a lower cashflow than is usually possible with an HP.The disadvantage of a PCP is that it tends to lock you into a cycle of changing your car every few years to avoid a large payout at the end of the agreement (the GMFV). Borrowing money to pay out the GMFV and keep the car usually gives you a monthly payment that is very little cheaper than starting again on a new PCP with a new car, so it nearly always sways the owner into replacing it with another car. For this reason, manufacturers and dealers love PCPs because it keeps you coming back every 3 years rather than keeping your car for 5-10 years!What is a Lease Purchase?An LP is a bit of a hybrid between an HP and a PCP. You have a deposit and low monthly payments like a PCP, with a large final payment at the end of the agreement. However, unlike a PCP, this final payment (often called a balloon) is not guaranteed. This means that if your car is worth less than the amount owing and you want to sell/part-exchange it, you would have to pay out any difference (called negative equity) before even thinking about paying a deposit on your next car.Read the fine printWhat is absolutely essential for anyone buying a car on finance is to read the contract and consider it carefully before signing anything. Plenty of people make the mistake of buying a car on finance and then end up being unable to make their monthly payments. Given that your finance period may last for the next five years, it is critical that you carefully consider what may happen in your life over those next five years. Many heavily-financed sports cars have had to be returned, often with serious financial consequences for the owners, because of unexpected pregnancies!As part of purchasing a car on finance, you should consider and discuss all of the various finance options available and make yourself aware of the pros and cons of different car finance products to ensure you are making informed decisions about your money.

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Tech Startup Versus Tech SME: Who Wins?

Investing in technology products and services offers entrepreneurs a platform for business profit. Interestingly, steering business and software strategies toward the tech industry scales a venture up for huge potential to contribute to economic development. When it comes to typical tech enterprising, a business is either an SME or a startup, categorically.The World Bank categorizes small and medium enterprises in general as having less than 50 and 300 employee headcount, with total assets and annual revenues of less than $3 and $15 million respectively. Reflecting different quantitative factors, the yardstick according to the European Union for small and medium businesses are headcounts of less than 50 and 250, and turnovers of less than €50 and €10 million.While strikingly similar in most other ways, tech startups and SMEs dramatically differ in source funding, funding size, as well as collateral. In terms of maneuvering their business and software strategies, all information to succeed in the game can be very overwhelming both for tech startups and SMEs. Talking about the surefire path to tech startup failure, TechStartups blogcites, among others, a bad strategy, a bad business model, the wrong team and lack of funding.Small and Medium Enterprises: Tech TalkProviding hands-on assistance to bring programs to scale, Innovations for Poverty Action or IPA, hails SMEs as drivers of economic growth, employment, social mobility and innovation, owing to the way they respond and grab new opportunities that offer business growth potential. SMEs are often the vehicle by which the entrepreneurial-spirited emerging markets and developing economies want to make a mark in a given industry.From the perspective of technology-oriented SME customers, there is risk that comes with dealing with small entities, but with a reward may just be worth it. In an aim to enhance their competitive advantage, SMEs are more likely to offer personalized customer service at its best, and with the SME founders, most likely providing easy talk for particular negotiations.In comparison to established tech vendors, early stage tech vendors are most likely to offer services of “lesser sophistication,” but they offer crucial leaps in product or service effectiveness, productivity and cost savings.Tech Startups: The Inside StoryIn collaboration with market research firm YouNoodle, BusinessWeek has recently released its a-list of 50 tech startups which – after being formed no earlier than 2005 in the United States, China, Russia, India and Israel – are making the buzz and gearing up for massive growth.A highly particular kind of business, tech startups were formed with the specific goal of creating an enormous value for not only for its customers, but also its shareholders and employees.Tech startups are likely to go head-to-head with the bigger names in the sector, and may remain in the shadows of bigger companies, or risk competing with them. For startups to win the game, Entrepreneur Magazine suggests taking the innovation challenge, and strategically turning large competitors into acquirers. As such, venturing on tech startups amidst an ensemble of potentially bigger business rivals makes a smart business decision.Tech SMEs and Startups: Strategizing toward SuccessStartup and SME success can be elusive, but those who make it are eventually able to hire and train thousands, employ better international business marketing strategies, and then become global successes that inspire others while they create an indelible mark in the industry. It entails the careful implementation of business and software strategies to determine, grab, or even create opportunities for growth, which does not come without a process.A Reuters blog points out the value of not over-sharing the venture, because “the plans can spread fast.” Consequently, entry-stage tech entrepreneurs may be compelled to compete with established companies prior to creating a solidified head start. As a classic example, small tech ventures are faced with the temptation of announcing that they have pioneered at something.Without realizing that their product is yet unready for prime, these entrepreneurs can end up struggling to live up to the hype they have created. Getting caught up in the noise that competitors make can be self-damaging for tech small businesses as well. When being more prudent with better-planned business and software strategies and actions, SMEs and startups become better prepared for success.Reuters also warns about a common, yet often ignored, pitfall when it comes to first-time tech entrepreneurship: marketing a bad product. In maximizing the opportunities for a tech SME or startup, entrepreneurs can leverage on the marketable, or better yet, create a product that clearly stirs the interest of the target market.

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