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November 2004 Efficiency Newsletter

Technology does not create productive people. We do.

This has been a quiet but busy month for SET Consulting. We've continued to travel to such places as Oklahoma, Arizona, and West Virginia for training...while still improving our services and marketing in the DC & Baltimore areas. If you still haven't experienced our productivity training, visit us on November 18th while we present with Nate Walowicz from IMT Wireless on "The Secrets of the Mobile and Productive Legal Professional" for the Bar Association of Baltimore City. This presentation will take place at 11:30 at Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston's Baltimore office. For more information or to attend, feel free to contact me.

Some Big News: If your business is located in Maryland, it may qualify for matched state funding for up to $50,000 of our training. Don't miss this opportunity to make your staff more efficient at half the cost! Don't forget to VOTE today!

Tip of the Month

Buy Accessories Inexpensively on Ebay

You can find anything on ebay, but certain products are especially inexpensive. While I use ebay for a diversity of both business and personal purchases, I always search ebay first for electronic accessories and cables.

Just last week I needed some ethernet cables, which typically sell between $8 (7') and $40 (50') at stores like Staples and Radio Shack (plus tax). I purchased seven on ebay (all brand-name) for $18 (after shipping) and saved over $50.

The same is true for cellphone accessories (batteries, headsets), laptop accessories (power cables, components) other wiring products (audio, video), and anything that's been out for a while. For instance, I just purchased a network hub that retails at Staples for $73 for a whopping $18. Same exact device, but mine was used.

The trick to success on ebay is understanding the inventory (knowing what can be purchased used vs. new, and when a warranty is needed), recognizing when brand-name counts, and always researching the seller. It took 5 minutes for me to do all of this on the two purchases I've referenced here...but if I spent more time or waited (by bidding and deeper researching, rather than selecting "Buy It Now" auctions), I likely could've cut the cost in half on both.

The next time you need to make a routine purchase, consider ebay. If you use ebay judiciously you may save a lot of money. Happy bidding!

Tool of the Month

The Google Desktop Search

The Google Desktop Search utility allows you to search files on your computer much in the same way that google.com allows you to search the internet. The Google Desktop Search is a free (for now) application that you download and install from Google. It will archive Outlook / Outlook Express, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, text, and AOL Instant Messenger files. It will also fully archive all the pages you've searched on the web. This information will not be sent back to Google, but some of your usage data will be.

To try the Google Desktop Search, download it from desktop.google.com and follow the instructions. The initial install will take a while to index your files, but then it leaves a minor footprint on your PC. If you find that it seriously slows down your desktop, you can uninstall it from Add/Remove Programs.

This tool is not as mature as similar (more expensive) applications, but it most likely will become more powerful and feature-rich in the coming months. It's worth a try as it will save you a lot of time over Outlook and the Windows Search Companion.

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