Update: I went back and purchased a different netbook, this time from Sony. You will notice that I deleted the reference to the previous one. The original screen size was just 1 inch too small. The 11″ Vaio is much better for my production needs!


Well, I finally caved in and purchased a netbook this week. Hence, I am downsizing, at least for the days that I am working away from my home office.

I have been working on a contract for the past several months and my laptop, an iBook (oldie but goodie), doesn’t have the software I need on-site. Thus, I have been at the mercy of the client’s PCs. This week I received a laptop from them to be able to work in different offices. Yes, the same week that I received my netbook. Great timing, eh?

The XXX that I purchased is pretty standard and runs on Windows 7. The keyboard is large enough for a full day or production, in my opinion. However, considering that I spend a great deal of time on my mobile phone keyboard (a nice LG phone) using Word and Excel, anything larger will seem almost full-size. So, check it out for yourself to see whether you agree.

The price was decent for the specs (under $300) so I’m pretty happy with my decision (i.e., I’m not likely to have second thoughts and send it back!).

I’m already looking for options to upgrade the memory from 1 to 2 GB. I’m not so much concerned with the storage since I store most of my files online but speed is always important. I will post again after I complete the upgrade.

Any other late adapters out there like me? Anyone still “holding out” for a big sale?

Let me know what you’re thinking. Let’s share ideas!

What’s in a name? Prezi

What’s in a name? Well, there’s certainly not much in the name but there’s certainly quite a bit in the functionality of Prezi. Prezi is an online presentation software far more advanced than the desktop software programs that I have used in the past.

Prezi presentations play like a Flash movie that a presenter can control with the click and roll of a mouse. A few basic templates are available in the free account and images can be uploaded to the presentation.   I am impressed by the design and user interface. There are some basic instructions found at :

01 Double click anywhere to write

02 Zoom in to develop your ideas

03 Use the zebra for structure and size

04 Add images from the Insert menu

05 Create your storyline

06 Click ‘Show’ to present!

So it seems pretty simple to use—I wrote “seems” because I am just getting started and I haven’t explored the extent of the program’s capability. I have completed steps 01 and 02 of a sample presentation that I will present to a potential client on 10/18. I will of course create a web PowerPoint just in case the presentation will not play on my client’s computer. I will update this blog, if necessary, to report any roadblocks!

Try it out! Prezi is free to use! Go to Important note: if you sign up for the free account status, then the presentations that you create will be visible to the general public. There is a very affordable subscription plan as well.

Let me know what you think about this software and how you’re using it. Let’s share ideas!

Advice: Monitor your wireless technology

Wireless phone service companies, phone manufacturers, operating system providers and apps providers (i.e., Skype.)—four entities that are part of the greater mobile phone industry, a.k.a. the players that can wreak havoc in the lives of an end-user consumer. How, might you ask? Well, if your technology provider has ever performed an update without informing you (and if you haven’t been reading the news…), perhaps you can relate. Here’s the story:

When I get a cell phone that I like to use, I don’t believe that I should get a new one just because my two-year contract has ended. New phones do NOT excite me nor inspire me to rush out and upgrade. As such, I am very happy with my phone of two years, though it had to be replaced a year ago for problems, and also last week. The replacement of last week has been the source of my angst.

First of all, I needed to get my contacts from the old phone (that had to be reset) and get them in the new phone.  I learned that though I was still able to use the web-based synchronizing software, it would be expiring at the end of this year (now < 3 months). The wireless phone company offers a different solution but of course it is not available for my phone because (drum roll, please)… it uses an operating system that is not compatible with the backup program. (What?!) Okay, fine, I will use this phone and keep getting replacements until the last phone on the shelf is gone. But though my needs are few, there is just one more thing I need: Skype.

By now most of you will have figured out that Windows Mobile is my operating system. Apparently, ten months ago (while I was sleeping), an announcement was made that Skype would no longer support Windows Mobile.  After diligently searching the web to find a Skype Mobile download (one WITH a valid digital certificate, and might I add that I learned quite a bit about digital signatures in my search—another upcoming topic!), one very astute blogger wrote that I could run the SkypeMobile download on my computer and then grab the cabinet (.cab) file and install it on my phone. It worked and had I written that man’s name down  I would laud and extol him to no end! So, I’ve got Skype again. Whew!

I consider myself to be a proactive individual so facing the ultimate demise of my phone model, I decided to start shopping for phones now. So what’s available?  Had enough of the Android commercials? I certainly have but it seems that Android has become, virtually overnight, the operating system of choice for my provider and others. My husband has an Android based phone built by Motorola. The phone is nice and slick but it’s really the operating system that has all the tech junkies (my hubby) excited.

I’ve tinkered with his phone and the multiple apps are nice. The phone is a time vacuum—more apps than I would ever need and the time just flies by unnoticed.  I suppose that’s why I’ve observed that my husband and other Android users spend a lot more time on their phones “tinkering” than they probably should. You can probably guess that I was not impressed.

At any rate, Microsoft Office Mobile 2010 was released earlier this year and the company will be releasing its Windows 7 phone on October 11.So perhaps there will be a wireless service provider–phone manufacturer–operating system combination that will meet my needs as my current phone becomes obsolete. So, no matter what, I will have to upgrade at some point, against my will.

Well, I assert that it’s time for a mobile phone revolution! Fellow consumers, let’s stand up and confront these various companies and let them know that we, the consumers, are in charge here and that we are not going to accept their lack of regard for our needs anymore. Enough is enough! …Oh wait, my cell is ringing. I have to take this call.(:-P)

Let’s share ideas!

On the Hunt for a “Real” Job

Well, in the midst of this roller coaster economy, I have decided to put my CV out in cyberspace and, in some cases, directly into the hands of human resources recruiters, to find a “real” job.

In the spirit of this blog, the topic today will be on the job hunting websites. The new websites out there for hunting for jobs have become a little more sophisticated, and older web companies have improved their search and submission tools. I prefer, and is great as a one-stop shop. is a good site for localizing a search to a general region. I would give the most improved award to The site has really come a long way in terms of the initial sign-up process (I lost the password to my old account so I had to start a new account).

Back to the job hunt…

I’m still getting some business but my near-term (6 months) forecasts, based on recent trends, are not economically appetizing. For my long-term clients out there, do not be concerned. I will continue to work from home in the evenings and weekends as projects come; however, at this point, it will not be feasible to support myself 100% via a work-at-home career. In light of that fact, I will be looking for a position in a company.

I’m sure there are others out there who, like me, are finding themselves required to make a few changes to adapt to the economic environment. Let me know what’s going on. It has been very quiet for the past few months!

Let’s (still) share ideas!

Teleconference – Need a new phone?

In a recent post I wrote about my home telephone line and how much I needed it, but only when it wasn’t working properly. Since that time, the phone has been working well and of course, I don’t really need it much.

Today I participated via teleconference in a board meeting of a non-profit organization based  in a city two hours from where I live. I am a new board member and today was the first board meeting that I could attend was held. I might have attended the meeting in person if I had chosen to rearrange my schedule (pretty much impossible!) but I was thankful to learn that a teleconference meeting number and passcode was provided for those who could not be there in person.

Well, it seems that though the organization had the meeting numbers set up, a “good” teleconference telephone had not been purchased. I was disturbed that (pure conjecture but I’m pretty sure about this) that a regular telephone with regular speaker phone capability was in use. I called into the meeting via Skype and I could barely hear anyone despite having my speaker volume set at the highest level.

While discussing the newly formed board member attendance policy, someone (I couldn’t hear very well) said, “We prefer to have everyone meet here in person so that we can see each other, face to face.” Hmnnnn…videoconference anyone?

If I hadn’t resigned today, I might have volunteered to perform a financial analysis of the costs of reimbursing board members for travel around the state, compared with the cost of purchasing some conference room equipment. At any rate, my parting suggestion was that the board members consider purchasing new equipment. Perhaps a new committee will be formed to review available technology regularly against the organization’s growing needs for state-wide communications. Sounds like a good project for someone!

What has been your Technolo-gee business experiences with (or without) teleconferences and videoconferences? Let share ideas!

Technology Taken For Granted – Land Line Telephones

I’m sure some of the readers opted to skip this article after reading the title but if you’ve made it this far, enjoy!

I survived six days without use of my land line telephone service. After that shock, I am going to be a bit more appreciative of this older technology that many of us in the wireless communication age often take for granted.

Five years ago, squirrels chewed through the protective casing of the telephone lines and as I suspected, the same thing happened this past weekend. Despite the promises that I would be back in service yesterday, the repair technician did not arrive until late this afternoon. By that time I was just grateful to be back in service. I even looked forward to the next telemarketing call!  But back to the purpose of this post.

Dependency on the line

In the past, I relied on my land line telephone for DSL service but thankfully, I am using cable now. Otherwise, without the line in service, my DSL and my primary back-up internet connection (dial-up service) would have both been out for six days. As someone who can barely survive without her checking email every hour, that would have been a truly life-changing experience. Fortunately, I do have broadband service through my cell phone company and in the event that service failed, I will head off to the library to make a wireless connection!

In addition to providing a back-up internet connection, my land line is also my fax line. Whoa! Did I use that word? Well, although I have scanners, there have been occasions where I still need a fax machine. After this week, I have decided to search for good online fax services, which will be the subject of my next post. Let me know what you’re using!

In the meantime, if you are still using a land line telephone like me, I hope that your local squirrel population finds something else to chew.

Have a story about an odd technology failure! Let’s share ideas!

Using the iPod for more than just entertainment

It has been a while since my last post because of my busy schedule….and a busy schedule is great for at home professionals!

I will start the post today with a question: how much time do you have to sit down and read these days?

I do not have enough time to spend reading the financial and international news and other materials essential to being a successful trainer, translator, and investor. In addition, some days I do not have enough time to sit and study the Bible the way that I would like (at least 1 hour), or read books that I enjoy (except when I’m exercising and even then I may have to take work with me).

As I begin to receive more projects (thank GOD!) I am making an effort to utilize the technology available to me to be able to dual-task (something like multitasking except I limit myself to two activities!). Lately, I have gotten more use out of my iPod, a gift from my husband. I have downloaded books, news recordings, an audio Bible and study lessons, and language reviews (Spanish, French, Portuguese, German)

Last week, I traveled out-of-state to visit family and I took my iPod with me. During the day, I was helping out with food preparation, decorations (*for a surprise birthday party) and cleaning, so I turned the iPod on for several hours during several days (it has a great battery life!) to catch up on some of my “reading” and studying.

Eventually, I hope to seek transcription projects and I am planning to use the iPod as a tool to work remotely, i.e., while sitting in the waiting room of my dentist’s office, shopping, at the fitness center, or working in the yard at home.

How do you use your iPod in your work? Let’s share ideas!

Getting Organized: Professional and Personal Planning

This was a week to remember! First of all, that dreaded date, April 15, got here so fast. Second, I was blessed to receive a few translation projects. Third, months ago I signed up to volunteer in two different activities. Fourth, I had a DIY project that I started the week before and phase two was due to be completed today (April 16). In addition, I had to keep my home stuff (dinner, cleaning, time with husband, bible study in group and alone, phone time with relatives, etc.). So, how does a work-at-home professional keep it together with all of this going on? Very carefully (and with a lot of prayer)…

I program all of my important activities into the calendar of my phone. I have a smart phone, which has been a life saver for me. Other than maintaining my calendar, I read and respond to email messages, search for projects, send text messages and even occasionally use the device as a phone, often from while exercising at the fitness center (multi-tasking!). The calendar has a nice reminder feature that alerts me prior to important activities.

I had dinner with a colleague last night and she said that she had just gotten her first smart phone this past week. Once she gets used to all the features (some of them for entertainment purposes only), I know that she won’t be able to go back to the old style phone (“dumb” phone?).

I am always worried that I will forget about something, and I have a habit of destroying my cell phones, so I also use the Yahoo calendar as an additional means of keeping me on track. It allows me to send email message reminders so since I am always checking my email, I am always aware of important activities.

So how do you stay on schedule? What computer software are you using? Let’s share ideas!

PDF Document Image Instead of Text? OCR Text Recognition

Today I received a 130-page document from a potential client, around the same time my Adobe Acrobat software decided that an update was necessary. I clicked the update button…and then the email arrived.

The document was text was contained in an PDF image, pretty much what is created when someone copies a document on and the document is later scanned as a PDF. Since I needed to get an accurate word count in order to provide a quote for the translation job, I had to wait on my Adobe Acrobat to finish updating so that I could use the OCR Text Recognition tool (under Document on the menu bar). In the meantime, I decided look around the internet for other OCR text recognition software and websites offering the services. Here’s what I found:

NOTE: This is just a list of options found on the internet. I am not being paid to promote/advertise any products. The searches were conducted using and Anyone downloading software should take some time to learn how to protect against viruses or other executable files that could damage your computer!

1. Freeware:

2. Omnipage software

3. Upload your document and scan it online at

4. Adobe Acrobat (purchase alone or as part of suite)
What other options are you using? Let’s share ideas!

The Hype of Skype

I’ve been using Skype for over two years now and despite the occasional audio problem, I consider it an essential home office tool. Ever since Oprah started using the program on her television show to communicate with her audience all over the world, I’ve been reading and hearing more about its use.

If you haven’t felt the urge to download Skype to your PC or mobile phone device, here is a brief summary of how I use Skype.

Skype Chat

This past week I received an order for translation from an agency whose Project Manager was traveling to another country and would be working from a different time zone for the duration of the project. The PM is a pretty avid Skype chat user so I kept my computer status set to “connected” (conectado) for the five days from contracting through project delivery. I also set my status to connected on my mobile telephone so that I could still have real-time  communication during the time that I was teaching, while driving and during other non-PC face time. So, when the unexpected problems of this project arose, I was able to respond within seconds to all inquiries.

Skype Phone

I use my cell phone for business purposes and though my service package has a large number of included minutes, I prefer to conserve minutes whenever possible. Skype allows me to make national calls to non-Skype phones for a low annual rate.  As my business grows I will be able to communicate directly with customers in different countries, at no cost if they are also Skype users. I could also purchase one of the international pay plans. Currently, that would not be cost effective for me since I do not have a cluster of clients in any one country.

What impresses you most about Skype?  Don’t know Skype? Here’s a good page to view:

Let’s share ideas!