Making business sense with Macs

Apple logoIn the world of business, with the notable exception of “creative” industries, IT is dominated by Microsoft Windows. Apple’s Mac enjoys niche success in art and media related circles, but hasn’t been able to crack into mainstream business use.

This is not for lack of trying. Apple’s website has a section devoted to how some businesses have switched to Macs and how they are using them to help run their businesses. I was delighted to find a page or two specifically about accounting firms, hoping to read some inspiring case studies.

One such study talked about a small, sole proprietor CPA firm in San Diego that was running exclusively on Macs. The main benefit the CPA cited for making the decision to use Macs was the lower total cost of ownership, from not having to spend money on maintenance.

“People say Macs cost more money than PCs. But Mac is really far more cost-effective over time, because there’s so much back-end cost in using PCs. Suddenly you’re bringing in consultants to battle viruses, or recover lost data, or troubleshoot network issues. So many businesses spend a fortune maintaining their PCs.”

That advantage, as well as some others, is highlighted in a recent opinion piece in Computerworld. More, after the jump.


Hosting my email with Google

A little while back I realized that it might be worthwhile to direct all my blog-related email through an address, and leave my regular Gmail for personal correspondence.

I set up and began using it for blog business. But I’ve never liked using standalone email clients like Thunderbird or Outlook. I prefer web-based email, specifically Gmail.

Luckily, Google had recently busted out yet another new service: Hosted email. For those with domains, Google would host your mail for free once accepted into the beta program.

I applied for the program and only a few days later was provided with the required invite code to sign up. I’m using the Gmail Manager extension in Firefox to keep track of my regular Gmail account and my account.

Here is what the customized login screen looks like:

email hosted by Google GmailSince the readers of this blog are hip and “with it”, I don’t even need to extol the virtues of Gmail over the traditional mail organization systems found in Outlook et al. Suffice it to say, I’m loving Google’s hosted email service!


Google continues to improve Spreadsheet

Last week Google released an update for their Spreadsheet web app, and it shows they’re continuing to improve the product. This is a good thing, as I previously wasn’t too impressed.

Google ExperimentalNow you can right-click on cells and select basic options from a context menu such as cut, copy and paste, and insert and delete rows and columns in a similar fashion to Excel.

Best of all, Google isn’t trying to re-invent the wheel through the way users interact with the spreadsheet. Tables aren’t a new thing and we’re all comfortable with how they work.

Not so good, however, is that I can see the day when I may have to eat my original words – that this thing wouldn’t catch on. If Google keeps this up, it just might.


Online whiteboard perfect for collaboration

GE has designed a free web-based whiteboard you can use without any registration and can invite others to join your session via email or instant messenger.

The service offers more advanced drawing tools than just scribbling around freestyle, too. You can create shapes, type text, create straight lines, change the background colour, and stamp various symbols. It’s crying out for a tablet but is still pretty useful.

I may try to incorporate something like this into a future audit planning meeting, as soon as I’m experienced enough to run one.


Now that’s a severance package!

Departing Senior VP and General Counsel Timothy Stevens of Borland Software has worked a deal whereby he gets to keep the “Company-issued laptop computer, monitor, printer and docking station used by Executive prior to the Separation Date together with the related loaded software, accessories and power cords.”

If I left my firm I wouldn’t want to keep the laptop! My personal laptop is so much better, faster and newer! Of course I’m just a junior so I get the old equipment. Partners and senior managers have nice stuff.

Good thing that dude remembered the power cords though… Can you imagine him getting home with his kit and then just realizing he had to go out and buy a power cord with his paltry $130,000 severance payment?