Windows 7 – Launches Today!

The much awaited Windows 7 launches today from Microsoft. My company is a Microsoft Partner, so I’ve had an opportunity to review Microsoft’s new Windows 7 Professional operating system on my own laptop for several weeks now, and I can tell you I’m really pleased – probably more pleased with this operating system than with any Windows launch before it. I upgraded from Vista Business after some file system corruption problems forced me to wipe my system – the RTM version of Windows 7 had just been pressed, and thought it was a perfect time to try it out – and I’m very glad I did.

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Health Care Reform – Redux

As everyone knows, the health care reform process is in full swing in Washington — and the fur is flying over just how to do it.  The biggest deviation from the norm that we keep hearing is the Public Option.  Unfortunately, as with most government concept programs, there are a dozen different ways to describe just what this will actually look like.  I’m not going to delve into this here, but in a nutshell, it’s CONFUSING. But that’s not the only option on the table, and it’s not the best option either.

We hear alot of talk about how wonderful France’s health care system is (#1 ranked in 2000 by the World Health Organization).  Would something like their system be better here?  Maybe.  But, it does tend to go against the grain of  our American culture.

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Google Apps, Outlook Internet Calendars, and SSL

I use Google Apps Premier Edition for my business, and while I really like the GMail interface, there are times where I need to use Outlook.  And, while I’m not exactly one of the Microsoft Faithful, I do happen to like the look and feel of Outlook 2007.   The new Google Apps Sync tool (available for GA Premier users like myself) is a really impressive tool, and has made it much easier to use Outlook with Google Apps.  But, Google Apps Sync only handles your main calendar – and I use multiple calendars.

Now, Outlook 2007 has this great feature called “Internet Calendars” that lets you subscribe to and iCal calendar – including Google Calendar.  Unfortunately, like most things Microsoft – and many things Google these days – there’s a little snag:

Cannot verify or add the Internet Calendar in Outlook.
Cannot verify or add the Internet Calendar in Outlook.

Outlook gives you this nasty little error message if you’re trying to connect to the Internet calendar over an SSL-encrypted connection.  And, for a number of reasons, I enforce SSL on my Google Apps service.  Looking around, I couldn’t find anyone with a solution.  Even some very good pages like the How To Geek, and knowledgeable folks like markwilson.it, didn’t seem to have an answer.  So that’s the end, right?  Nope.  Now, my IT buddies will fall over from shock – especially coming from me – but it’s actually Microsoft and Internet Explorer 8 to the rescue!

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Health Care Reform

After listening to President Obama’s Town Hall meeting today – specifically on the biggest issues with health care in the US – I think he’s going after the right things, but I’m not sure he’s got the right reasons.  To summarize some of the president’s comments…

  1. The biggest economic/deficit issue is the cost of Medicare & Medicaid programs, due to the skyrocketing cost of health care.
  2. If health insurance were affordable, everyone would have it.

If you’ve ever looked at the billing rate for medical procedures, it’s clear that health care costs are ridiculously high.  And as a business owner, I certainly agree that health insurance premiums are equally obscene.  But, here’s the real kicker: Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance companies are RESPONSIBLE for our out-of-control health care costs!

Read on, and I’ll explain why we can’t get a doctor to spend more than 10 minutes talking to us during a visit, can’t afford to pay for health insurance, and can’t afford to pay medical bills without it!

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Misunderstanding Disaster Recovery Can Be Disastrous

A friend of mine sent me an article from LifeHacker about the JournalSpace website being wiped out at the beginning of January, 2009.  Jeff Fitzpatrick’s blurb, Hard Lessons in the Importance of Backups: JournalSpace Wiped Out, talks briefly about what happened, and reminds us all to backup our data.

But, what happened to JournalSpace is more than just a failure to backup  data – it’s a perfect example of misunderstanding disaster recovery – or DR, for short. Good IT people will tell you, it’s not just about doing backups.  Although that’s a big part, it’s really about knowing how to recover from whatever catastrophic event – the disaster – and what tools you will use to help you.  In this article, I want to talk about a few of the ways you can protect your data, and some scenarios where they are good and bad. Continue reading

Paying Off Credit Cards

With the “Credit Crisis” going on, we’re all thinking about money.  Need to pay off some debt?  If you’re like me, you have multiple credit cards and tend to carry a regular balance.  You may have some other debt or loans out there that you want to pay off, too.  (Sub-prime mortgage, anyone?)

I won’t take credit for this one, since the advice has been out there for some time.  But, paying off higher interest rate credit cards first will have the biggest impact on your debt, and keep the most money in your wallet, rather than your financial institution’s wallet — they’re getting bailed out by the government anyway.

I know what you’re thinking: “I pay as much as I can on ALL my cards, that’s the best I can do.”  WRONG!!!

Here’s a simple system to help bring down your debts as fast as possible, without putting too much strain on your monthly budget.

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Where do I start?

I’ve always been a believer in the idea that Life is a journey – and this will be one of mine. I see so many good blogs out there that are focused on a particular topic or specialty.  I’m not that kind of person, and I’m not going to pretend to be. I have knowledge, experience, and opinions about all kinds of things that I plan to share. I’ve had the opportunity to work in a number of industries, and I love learning about just about anything. So, the results of that will end up here.

Of course, there are a lot of things that just make me crazy, too! I fully intend to use this platform to rant about any and all of them. Expect to see commentary, opinions, rants, and general ramblings on anything and everything I’m interested in. Including, but not necessarily limited to:

  • Business
  • Investing
  • Parenting
  • Personal Development
  • Politics
  • Relationships & Family
  • Technology
  • and, things that just generally make me crazy!

So, welcome aboard! I’m glad to have you along for the ride!

Sincerely,
Ryan Maizel