Return on Technology

ALTOM: How the Amish make technology work for themRestricted Content

February 13, 2010
Tim Altom
BusinessWeek (www.businessweek.com) has a recent story about a growing $1.8 million enterprise that’s doing just fine without the Internet, Web site, texting, customer-resource-management software, a fax machine or a single computer. In fact, the company doesn’t even have electricity.
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ALTOM: Does instant messaging make business sense?Restricted Content

January 30, 2010
Tim Altom
An instant messenger is one of those technologies that seems silly until you start using it.
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ALTOM: See the light, and get on the fluorescent bandwagonRestricted Content

January 16, 2010
Tim Altom
It’s hard to imagine an invention more commonly used than the light bulb. It’s a shame that by 2014 we probably won’t be able to buy them anymore, at least not as readily as we do now.
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ALTOM: How does 3G matter to your cell phone?Restricted Content

January 2, 2010
Tim Altom
3G is the third generation of cell technology and is designed to make it easier to send video and other bandwidth-hungry material.
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ALTOM: Here are some technology glitches to put behind us in 2010Restricted Content

December 19, 2009
Tim Altom
If you’re not involved in one of these massive failures, you can take solace in the much smaller problems you have every day.
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ALTOM: It's time to rethink reliance on PowerPoint presentationsRestricted Content

December 5, 2009
Tim Altom
A college administrator believes technology shifts the educational focus from the wits and wisdom of the instructor to the bullet points in the presentations.
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ALTOM: Is Facebook folly or a fantastic marketing tool?Restricted Content

November 21, 2009
Tim Altom
Companies are using Facebook as an alternative way of reaching a vast audience, not as a replacement for their own Web sites.
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ALTOM: What's available about you online may surprise youRestricted Content

November 7, 2009
Tim Altom
A half-hour perusing the various social media sites can give you carloads of information about your sought-after individual.
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ALTOM: Why can't we use cell phones on a plane?Restricted Content

October 24, 2009
Tim Altom
Who among us hasn’t pondered life’s great questions? Why are we here? Why aren’t we somewhere else? Why do some people never learn how to parallel park? And perhaps most mysterious of all—is it true that operating electronic devices on an airplane may cause it to go out of control and crash? Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is that nobody really knows.
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ALTOM: Is it worth tracking employees and their vehicles?Restricted Content

October 10, 2009
Tim Altom
Employees often react badly to, as they see it, being followed around. There are even privacy laws to consider.
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ALTOM: Take the time to set up smartphone securityRestricted Content

September 26, 2009
Tim Altom
It’s remarkable how many people don’t bother setting security features on their expensive smartphones. Because they keep the phone somewhere close to them most of the time, they believe it’s secure, but that’s not true.
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ALTOM: Who says you can't move your office home again?Restricted Content

September 12, 2009
Tim Altom
Many micro-businesses stuck a toe into the office-rental waters, regretted it, and they’re retreating to home offices.
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ALTOM: Want to experiment with 'Vanishing' e-mail?Restricted Content

August 29, 2009
Tim Altom
I’m wary of the “send” button. I’ve sent thousands of e-mails, and a fair number of them proved to be problems later on.
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ALTOM: Should you trade your shredder in for a bonfire?Restricted Content

August 17, 2009
Tim Altom
One thing I love about my line of work is that the simplest things get fascinatingly complicated.
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ALTOM: A voice of reason amid the craze over social media

August 3, 2009
Tim Altom
Now there are hordes of Web sites in every industry, for every region. If you use your site to attract business, you’re a snowflake in the world’s biggest blizzard.
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ALTOM: Technology moves too fast for law to keep upRestricted Content

July 20, 2009
Tim Altom
Technologists don’t usually give the law a basketful of respect. From our point of view, the law is struggling frantically to stay within a hundred yards of our bleeding edge. By the time the law gets around to speaking on a technical subject, the subject may not even exist anymore.
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ALTOM: Go above and beyond Google for Web searchesRestricted Content

June 22, 2009
Tim Altom
It's getting so you have to use a search engine on the Internet to find a search engine. There are now dozens, perhaps hundreds, many of them highly specialized.
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ALTOM: Want tech product advice? Here's where to lookRestricted Content

June 8, 2009
Tim Altom
Grabbers do little research before buying gadgetry. Investigators like to know in advance what they're getting. It's to the investigators I speak.
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Are new, low-cost laptops good for business?Restricted Content

May 25, 2009
Tim Altom
Today, there are some small "notebook" machines on the market that mock the high prices of their bigger siblings. These can be had for $200 to $400, and have enough features to make them real business tools if you're not too demanding.
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TV talent shows teach recruiting lessonsRestricted Content

May 11, 2009
Tim Altom
My stony heart melted when Susan Boyle got a spontaneous, thunderous standing ovation from the skeptical crowd at "Britain's Got Talent," the latest United Kingdom contribution to the TV talent show genre.
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Let us bow our heads and text in unisonRestricted Content

April 27, 2009
Tim Altom
A friend of mine is a minister and an expert on church management and growth. During one of our discussions, it struck me how much starting and running a church is very like running a business. There are the same problems with morale, with retention, with site selection, finance, marketing and growth pains. And with technology.
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There's more to 'tweets' than meets the eyeRestricted Content

April 13, 2009
Tim Altom
I'm starting to rethink my initial reaction to dismiss Twitter and now see its benefits to gauging opinion, as well as gathering ideas and doing research.
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Here's how to unlock the secrets of PDFsRestricted Content

March 30, 2009
Tim Altom
PDFs are still a mystery to many business folk, even those who routinely receive them and read them.
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When is it time to chuck old computer equipment?Restricted Content

March 2, 2009
Tim Altom
If a computer-related device still works without any tinkering, I'm inclined to keep it.
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Use your cell phone as a tracking deviceRestricted Content

February 16, 2009
Tim Altom
My dream application for a cell phone is to use it to locate a person in a crowd.
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