New Logo for Small Business in Portland OR

Some of you were kind enough to help a client of mine pick a new logo for his company. You may remember that I posted a link to a survey that showed his current logo and two other alternatives he was considering.

The three he wanted to have compared were:

logo testing for portland remodeling companyLogo C was his original logo and overwhelmingly (by a factor of 4 to 1) you chose Logo A as a much better alternative.

If you would like to see the logo implemented in his website you can visit www.squaredealremodel.com. Note that we are still in the process of tweaking the site so it is not quite finished.

By the way, if you live in the Portland Oregon area and would like to improve your home I can heartily recommend Square Deal Remodeling. I’ve actually interviewed quite a number of their clients and I can tell you that I heard great reports about the work they do. I saw the newly remodeled home of one client and it was beautiful. The woodwork in particular showed lovely craftsmanship.

Windows 7 Upgrade and iPhone

Looks like the problem with my USB ports and Windows 7 also affects my ability to update my iPhone. The other night I attached the iPhone and was notified there was a firmware upgrade available. Unthinkingly I clicked “yes”. A few minutes into the upgrade the process froze and left my iPhone unusable! Not a happy situation. I retried but without success.

Fortunately I had recently bought a USB card for another computer. The card has the VIA chipset which I had heard works ok with Windows 7 x64. After I installed the card and plugged my iPhone into that port instead, the iPhone recovery software went into action and now all is fine. I was pretty worried for a while!

I also tried attaching my USB hard drive and can confirm that it works fine also.

Not sure what is going on with the other USB ports. They worked fine with Vista x64 but not with Windows 7. This is a fairly recent computer and is less than 6 months old so I am surprised it isn’t working, particularly since some users reported the issue during the Windows 7 beta.

I do like Windows 7 for the most part so this USB problem is an unfortunate glitch that needs to be fixed quickly before many others experience the same thing.

Windows 7 Upgrade Experience

Over the weekend I upgraded my computer from Vista (64 bit version) to Windows 7 (64 bit) and I thought some of you might find my experience interesting.

After putting in the DVD of Windows 7 Ultimate, the installer told me that a number of my existing applications, including iTunes, would have to be uninstalled prior to the upgrade. I don’t know why this should be required but I did as instructed. This meant that for iTunes my computer had be to deauthorized.

The installer then went to work and for the most part it went smoothly. I didn’t time it but it was probably around 3 hours or so. That is not counting the time to backup my existing Vista 64 system which I did with a program called Acronis True Image 2010. I wanted to make sure I could restore my existing situation should things go wrong.

Upgrade Glitches:

After installation most things seemed to work pretty well with a few exceptions:

  • I reinstalled iTunes but have found that the computer does not always seem to recognize when my iPhone is attached. Eventually it worked but not consistently.
  • My USB external hard drive that I use for backups is initially recognized but after about 10 minutes of file archiving activity, Windows 7 fails to recognize the backup folder and the backup fails. I researched this one and it appears that quite a few people had this problem during the beta testing of Windows 7. It seems like it happens only to 64 bit versions and with a particular chip set for the USB internal hub. I know people with HPs and Acer computers (perhaps others) have the problem. Some folks have got around the issue by installing a PCI USB card with a different chipset. Obviously this needs to be fixed and it is disappointing that Microsoft did not fix it during the beta.
  • My installation of Pinnacle Studio 14 would not run. I uninstalled it, reinstalled it and all now seems to be fine
  • An older application I have called Cakewalk Pyro 5 will no longer run. Interestingly it was really an XP application that was not supported under Vista but it always ran fine for me. I was expecting that Windows 7 would have better compatibility than Vista but apparently not in this case
  • After upgrading to Windows 7 I discovered that the firmware of my internal hard disk and my bios were in need of upgrading also (not related to the Windows 7 upgrade). One for the hard disk was to prevent a potentially serious problem so I really needed to do it. Unfortunately the patch programs provided by HP would not run under Windows 7. After a bit of investigation I discovered I could make an ISO file (I’m showing my nerd side here!) manually and was able to upgrade the firmware. This is not something the average person would be able to do.

Experience Using Windows 7

For the most part I like it. Here are some thoughts:

  • The computer is noticably faster and is more responsive
  • Startup is a little faster (although Norton 360 takes a while to get settled) and Shut down is significantly faster
  • Some of the irritating things of Vista are gone (e.g. the way the folders kept changing to a different format depending on the content of the folder — but usually Vista guessed wrong!)
  • I don’t like the default sounds but they are easy to change. There is a default thump sound for just about anytime a window opens. You can bet I turned that one off. Irritating after while but easy to fix.
  • I like the new interface. Its not a huge difference but nice improvements.
  • The new library function could be useful but the defaults were not helpful for me so I changed them

The Bottom Line:

I like Windows 7. It is definitely better than Vista but I have been surprised about compatibility being less than Vista in my experience. I haven’t yet discovered any “must have” new feature but I like all of the improvements I’ve encountered so far. Actually I can understand when people say that Windows 7 is what Vista was meant to be. That probably sums it up well. Nothing hugely sexy or “wow”, just a solid nice operating system. Now if only I could get those external hard drives working properly. It would be nice to be able to do backups!

Windows 7 and the iPhone

A short while after upgrading I tried to sync with my iPhone. Read about my experience upgrading to Windows 7 and the iPhone

Social Media and Linked-In for Sales Prospecting

In my newsletter I have begun a series on sales prospecting using social media. The last two issues have been on techniques and tips to use Linked In to find and develop sales prospects. Future issues will focus on Facebook and Twitter.

My newsletter is free and you can unsubscribe at any time. At the moment if you subscribe you will get issue #1 on LinkedIn with the second LinkedIn issue a few days later.

Use the link below to get both issues. If you use my usual newsletter link you will only get the last newsletter.


Word 2007 Trick to Removing a Paragraph Style

It has been driving me crazy how to remove a style that I had applied to a paragraph. Originally I had set it up to be an “emphasis” style but when I pressed “normal” nothing happened for some reason. It remained emphasized! Very annoying. After quite a bit of research I figured out one way to remove it.

First click on the tiny “Style Options Icon” at the lower right hand side of the Style section on the Ribbon. At the bottom of that menu are three other icons. Pick the second one which is the “Style Inspector”. From that, select “Clear All”.

You would think they could have made that a little simpler. And besides, how come just selecting “normal” didn’t work? Sheesh.

If anyone can enlighten me further I would appreciate it.

Duct Tape Marketing Coaching Program Starts this Thursday! (webinar series)

As many of you know, I have been running a group marketing coaching program called the Catalyst over the summer. It went really well and I have decided to run it again this fall (or autumn if you speak English as I do!). It is designed to help business owners put in to action tried and tested marketing strategies and techniques to grow their business.

I don’t need more head knowledge……..

A couple of people commented to me that they are not in need of more information on how to run their business. They told me they had plenty of information but were lacking instead in the time to put that information into action.

I sympathize. Running a business takes up hours of time and energy. Unfortunately finding time to do marketing is a requirement for a successful business; just like investing in good employees or a new piece of machinery. Marketing when done well can take your business to the next level.

Its about marketing action!

Our program is not about head knowledge. It is about action. Sure you can attend my workshop, take notes and just listen but at the end of the day your business will be no better. One of the benefits of a group coaching program is that it gives you a framework and an incentive to get things done.

Helping you be more efficient and more effective

We do our best to keep things efficient. For example we help you create a core messaging strategy which can then be used in every other marketing activity you do. That saves you time and it makes sure that you are communicating to your prospects the same way every time. We also help you design your marketing for each stage in the sales cycle. When someone has barely heard of you they may need different information than from someone who is further down the sales cycle.

 

Editing a Creative Vado HD File

This is not really a marketing topic but I know some of you are using some of the new mini-HD camcorders like the Flip and the Creative Vado in your business so I thought I would share my experiences. I have a Creative Vado HD minicam and the quality is really quite good. Unfortunately most videos need a little editing but few video editing programs seem to like the highly compressed h.264 codec. That is a problem since the editing programs that come with the these minicams are pretty basic to say the least.

I had great expectations when I bought an upgrade to my copy of Pinnacle Studio recently. Supposedly it was compatible with the h.264 codec but when I loaded in my Vado footage, there was something wrong. The preview showed a mass of green lines and the image was doubled and overlaid. Disappointing.

I wondered what it would be like if I rendered it and saved to another file type and to my surprise it did it fine. The output file had no problems that I could see. Even more surprising was the the file in the project now played correctly also! All I can assume is that the preview viewer of Pinnacle Studio has problems with the Vado HD file but when rendered all seems well. I shall keep exploring.

UPDATE: Pinnacle Studio 14 has a background rendering function. I have discovered if I add my Vado HD footage to the time line and leave it for a while it will eventually play properly without the artifacts.

The Difference Between Facebook Pages and Groups

There is a lot of confusion over the difference between “Pages” and “Groups” on Facebook. The difference is actually quite simple:

Pages are used by celebrities, brands and companies. Only the legal owner/representative can create a page. A group however can be created by people who have an interest in something without being the legal owner.

For example I could create a group about iPhones but I couldn’t create an iPhone page. Only Apple can do that.

What’s In a Brand?

Came across an interesting site called www.brandtags.net. They call themselves a a “collective experiment in brand perception”. When you go to their site you can look at the most common words and phrases that people attach to specific brands. Most of what they show are the larger companies so as to have enough data to be meaningful.

Note that to be able to see the data you have to contribute by giving a word or phrase for 4 brands. When you have done that the system will let you view the companies you are interested in. Check it out.