Stories by Zack Stern

Process credit cards anywhere: Five smartphone tools

Whether you work as an in-home massage therapist, operate a taco truck, or run some other small business, you're missing sales if you can't process credit cards. However, a number of mobile payment tools now let you accept credit cards on an iPhone, an Android handset, a Windows Phone, or a dumber handset. You just need to sign up, attach credit card reader hardware, and navigate the fees.

Written by Zack Stern03 Dec. 10 01:49

How to take screenshots on an Android phone

You're probably used to pressing PrintScreen (Windows) or Command-Shift-3 (Mac OS X) to capture occasional computer screenshots. But the operation is not so easy on an Android phone. What if you want to taunt a friend with proof of an online game victory, record a strange error message, teach a relative how to perform a task, or capture an image for your blog? You can still do it, but you'll have to walk through a few more steps.

Written by Zack Stern24 Oct. 10 00:34

Samsung Q430 cuts corners, still feels nimble

The Samsung Q430 has the specs required to zip through work and play. Aside from those internal components, parts of the laptop feel like Samsung isn't trying very hard; a dull display, pointless and annoying software extras, and a few cut corners hold the Q430 back from excellence. Even with this missed potential, the underlying performance makes the laptop worth considering for general-use, mid-range buyers.

Written by Zack Stern21 Sept. 10 05:39

How to clean a dusty PC

If your desktop PC's case gets dirty as time goes by, grime can clog the fans that keep internal parts cool. If airflow is blocked, those parts could overheat.

Written by Zack Stern27 July 10 15:50

Work smarter with online collaboration tools

Budget constraints and limited technical support make it critical for most small and medium-size companies to work as efficiently as possible. An important first step in getting more and better work from relatively few people is to enable them to work together in real time, no matter how distant they actually may be.

Written by Zack Stern12 March 10 03:40

Free online invoicing tool boosts productivity

Invoice management is crucial for any business. But especially if you're just starting out, you might be tempted to save a few dollars on an invoicing application by submitting bills as Word docs or other text files. Don't waste your time trying to invent your own payment system. A free, server-based tool could be all you need.

Written by Zack Stern08 Sept. 09 05:07

E-mail campaign services can save costs

You could spend a lot of time creating e-mail newsletters and promotions, only to take even longer trying to manage lists and send everything out. Forget trying to send to Outlook groups; spend a little extra, and go with an e-mail campaign service. You'll make up the difference in your labor costs and valuable tracking results that can hone your next mailing.

Written by Zack Stern08 Sept. 09 05:10

Automated tool tracks business hardware and software

If you can lovingly call your small- or medium-sized business IT department "scrappy"--maybe you're both company president and network administrator--the right tools can make the most of your resources. Inventory auditing software can keep track of company hardware and software without taking your time from other tasks. You'll be able to keep track of assets, plus you'll gain valuable troubleshooting clues, such as an always-current list of software version numbers.

Written by Zack Stern01 Sept. 09 01:12

Smartphone tool improves IT response time

Medium-sized business IT support can be critical. When your website, network, or employee PCs are down, you're wasting money. If your IT staff is away at these tense moments--especially off-hours--it might take extra time for them to get in front of a PC to fix the issues. Instead, mobile administration software lets your IT staff manage infrastructure anywhere from a smartphone.

Written by Zack Stern25 Aug. 09 06:50

Free online productivity apps available now

I'm looking forward to <a href="">Microsoft</a>'s <a href="">browser-based edition of Office</a>. While the company isn't leading the trend to cloud-based apps, it's certainly in the middle of the movement. Microsoft's suite will be released next year, but you can save money by accessing online office-style apps right now. In-browser productivity suites are typically free. Plus, I like them for lightweight systems, such as netbooks, where Microsoft's desktop suite feels too bloated for even typing.

Written by Zack Stern15 July 09 09:01