Category Archives: Business

Macs at the Top in Reliability!

Rescuecom of Syracuse, NY has released its “Annual Computer Reliability Report“. Rescuecom, which was founded in 1997, provides computer repair and support services for PC’s, MAC’s, Tablets, Phones, hardware and software. Their estimated annual revenue is $18.2 million.

As we who have used Macs for years could predict, Apple tops the list of computer vendors in terms of hardware reliability. As they state in the report “The annual RESCUECOM 2017 Computer Reliability Report shows that Apple is leading the pack for computer reliability, while continuing to hold a large U.S. market share.” They go on to quote Fletcher Previn, VP of Workplace as a Service at IBM “Every Mac we buy is in fact continuing to make and save IBM money.

Good information to keep in mind when you are contemplating your next computer purchase or when a friend is about to make a purchase. Macs to cost more, but there is value to the product.

Blinkist Enables You to Read Several Books Per Day


I am a big proponent of Continuing Education. I saw a Tweet recently by a IEEE colleague (@DevonRyan) extolling the virtues of Blinkist. Blinkist provides insightful summaries of non-fiction books (1000+ and growing) that can be read in about 15 minutes each using your web browser. These can also be read use their mobile App (available for both Android and iOS) and you can listen to the audio versions.

These allow the reader to read and absorb a tremendous amount of information without dedicating too much of our increasingly scarce free time. Now this is a service that does not come free (well, it does sort of).

If you check the available plans, there are three:

  • Blinkist Free (Free), read one pre-selected book per day, browse the catalog
  • Blinkist Plus ($49.99/yr)- any title, read off-line
  • Blinkist Premium ($79.99/yr) – All features of Plus as well as ability to listen to audio

I joined a few days ago and have read their summaries of two books. I can see where it is helpful, but clearly condensing a full book into what can be read in just 15 minutes must skip over a lot of material. However I can see where reading the summaries would be useful to point you at which books you might want to devote more time to.

If you are trying to improve yourself or wanting to learn, but have limited time, this may be the perfect service for you.


Paper Book Sales Grow


I made the switch from paper books to eBooks when I bought my first iPad back in 2010. I have read a paperback or two since then, but I really prefer eBooks. The larger adjustable print size, the ability to easily carry around a library of books, and the back lighting allowing me to read in the dark are big pluses for me. It surprised me when I saw that eBook sales figures showed a drop in 2014 of 1.2% to $3.20 billion, then again in 2015 by 11.3% to $2.84 billion.

Surprising too was the increase for 2015 in sales from brick and mortar book stores, increasing 1.8% to 4.15 billion. I am glad to see this particular statistic as I really like visiting book stores. I guess that is why Amazon has begun opening their own brick and mortar stores.

Source: AAP Sales: 2015 Store Sales Rose 1.8%


IEEE Innovators, Engineers & Entrepreneurs Workshop


Being involved in the activities of the IEEE Central Texas Section, I want to promote the workshop that we are hosting next Friday, February 26. The “Innovators, Engineers & Entrepreneurs” workshop, a full day at the AT&T Conference Center on the south side of the University of Texas at Austin campus. This will be our capstone event for Engineers Week.

The workshop will feature some well known speakers – Bob Metcalfe, co-inventor of Ethernet; Donna Wilkins, founder of Charity Dynamics; and Devon Ryan, founder, LION Mobile – among others. Please take a look at the program and see if the presentations are of interest.

Workshop topics include:

  • Power & Energy, Energy Storage, Photovoltaics, Water
  • Internet of Things
  • Privacy and Security
  • Incorporating Legal Organization, Intellectual Property
  • Robotics, 3-D Printing, Manufacturing Automation

If you are thinking of creating a start up, then this will be of great value. Among the presentations are:

  • startup funding
  • how to start a company
  • working with legal teams
  • dealing with security

The workshop is open to all interested parties. You can still register on-line or Friday at the door, though the cost jumps up to $125.

Conference Calling with

I have used many conference calling facilities over the years, both in business and with volunteer organizations. I am currently the chair of two committees of the Central Texas Section of IEEE and, because our members are spread out over a 100 mile stretch of IH-35 in Central Texas, it is not always possible to have face to face meetings. We had been using a paid service, but one of the committee members suggested that I look at FreeConferenceCalling.

Anyone can sign up for a FreeConferenceCalling account. FreeConferenceCalling limits the free conferencing service to just 10 simultaneous callers, though more can be added for a charge. The meetings I hold all have 10 or fewer members in attendance so this service works very well me.

I signed up and we have now been using FreeConferenceCalling for a few months. While a very few callers to my committee meetings have complained about call quality, overall, I think that the service is quite good. The conference number I was assigned when I signed up is in a different area code, so all of the calls are long distance. However, everyone calling in to my meetings have cell or home service with free long distance so that is not a problem.


  1. Free for up to 10 callers
  2. Anyone can sign up for an account
  3. Additional services can be purchased if needed


  1. Only 10 callers can use service without charge
  2. Users must have phone service with free long distance or they are charged by their phone provider for the call
  3. A few users have complained about call quality

This is a great idea for a small business, small non-profit or even for a family wide conference call.

Review of “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right hook”


“Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” was published in 2013 and was written by Gary Vaynerchuk ( This is Mr. Vaynerchuk’s fourth book.

This is a non-fiction business book discussing the best ways to use social media for marketing. This is a little outside my area of expertise, but I did find the ideas interesting as I use various channels of social media.

I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (