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One recurring problem with using Word is that it can be hard to see how many spaces are between words or where a paragraph really ends…

Word has a special button for this but most users don’t recognize it and so miss it completely! It’s an icon representing the proof readers paragraph mark. You can find it on the tool bar here:

word-paragraph-tool-lg2

Click that and it will show you the formatting details including paragraph marks and a dot for each space. If you see multiple dots in a row then you have more than one space!

Happy editing!

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Creating schematics & printed circuit boards

I’ve been using the Open Source tools found on Linux for a number of projects. A current project requires a printed circuit board be made. Using gschem to capture the schematic then pcb to do the layout I have created what I needed for this project.

Both tools are members of the gEDA family of electrical engineering tools.

Thinking your project may need a board? We can offer the design services for the board or we can install & teach your designer how to use these tools.

Little Building Blocks

Big things are made from little things. Revalation? No, just standard engineering design practice!

I’ve been playing (yes, even engineers get to have fun) with one of the little building blocks known as an “Arduino“. Its a family of small single board computers that make great building blocks for other projects, both large and small.

Students and hobbyists both have been enjoying the use of these for a few years now. You too might find them useful for solving all or part of one of your engineering challenges.

Business Marketing

So you have a shiny new website now.  Right? If not, please DO call us – we can help you get started! But ok, you DO have a site and you’re having trouble keeping up with the web traffic, right? Well, its only been a week after all….

But how about for those of you with a site that’s over a year old? Still not seeing the traffic you’d expected? Not getting the orders you’d hoped for? Perhaps your site, like so many created each day, is actually an extremely well kept secret!

Not to worry, we can help!

Here’s one suggestion – be sure to include your website as part of your branding. Sounds easy enough – but how to do this.  Simply be sure that everything that represents you and your company includes the web address!

I’m constantly amazed at how many people spend the time, effort and cost to put together a site but then don’t tell anyone about it! You have to market the site to help get the word out. Then, let the site work for you by spreading the word about  your business.

Be sure to include the web address in / on:

  • business cards
  • product packaging
  • product instructions
  • brochures
  • phone book ads
  • flyers / handouts
  • trifolds
  • newsletters
  • postcards
  • your email signature
  • small / portable signs
  • billboard ads (depends on how “readable” your web address is at 50 miles per hour!)
  • promotional products like pens, water bottles, and other give aways
  • and more!

Stuck on designing one or more of these? Our graphic design services can help. Get started now – take an inventory of all the things that could be branded with your web address and then create an action plan with timing to get them all updated.

Good luck in your business!

Backups and You!

This will be the start of something big. Possibly for me but hopefully for you!

In the computer world there is a dirty word. Well, possibly sever or even many – but here we’ll mention only one. Backups! Everybody needs them but few actually DO them. Why, you ask? Because they are so difficult? Well, partly. Are they expensive? Not necessarily. Are they just not necessary? They most certainly ARE necessary!

Have you ever had a PC crash? Know anyone who lost all their vacation photos? Had a home fire and their computer was part of the wreckage? Had their laptop stolen in the middle of a school semester?

Now – how many of them had a recent backup such that they were able to restore what they had before? Sadly, not enough! Home PC users often simply live with the loss. After all they can always replace those photos of Aunt Phyllis, right? Well no, since she passed away last year. Wedding photos from their sister’s precious day? Well, they can always take more if Sis ever remarries. The same person. In the same place. At the same time of the year. Without anyone aging. Minus poor Aunt Phyllis, of course.

Business people live with the issue daily but many small offices have never done a true impact analysis to know what they would lose. Large firms understand this, they understand the value of their data and they understand the cost of recovering after disaster strikes.

Do you?

Stay tuned for more information on this subject – and more!

Some of our services…

Many small businesses have trouble managing their customers. No, not because they are hard to deal with! Without customers, where would we be!

No, I mean “manage” as in Customer Relations Management. Keeping track of their addresses, phone numbers, important contract details, notes on their families and interests, birthdays, and so on.

I can help! There’s a fantastic program called Act! devoted to managing our customer data. I can get you started by installing Act! on your office computer, your laptop and your assistant’s desktop computer. Then I can link them all together so that you can all share the data! No more calling your assistant to have them search for a phone number only they have! Now have a single place where your entire team can keep all your customer information! Imagine the time savings! Imagine having the ability to reach out and contact customers are the right time – not too often but not once a year either.

Just one of the services we can offer.

Hello world! And Welcome!

Welcome to MJ Anderson Consulting. I can provide a variety of services to you.

Our goal is to provide support to small businesses who may not have the luxury of having an IT department in house or of even having someone who “knows computers”. We are available on an as needed basis to help with your projects.

With computer skills first developed when Bill Gates and I were both still in school, I can provide assistance with networking, computer installation, wireless, applications such as Microsoft Office, database programming and maintenance, web page design and web site creation. I can even help you set up blogs like this one, wikis and bullet board systems.

Why suffer? Let us help you! I can take the systems approach that is impossible for individual product vendors. They are ultimately responsible only fort he single item they supplied. Although potentially excellent with their product(s), the vendors generally can not help get the entire office / operation all tied together and functional.

Lets get started!