Tag Archives: emerald computers

My new website

Last most I got back into the business of creating websites.  I did this mostly because the hardware part of my business has gotten a bit slow recently.  I did a few websites for some of my customers.  There are still thousands of small businesses just in my city that STILL do not have websites.  It is crazy.

Anyway after doing a few of these sites I looked at my own site.  It was version 3 of the Emerald Computers site, I have had it for about 2 years.  It was very limiting because I was in a fixed width and fixed height template.  It limited how much content I could have on any one page.  I decided it did not look good enough for a company that was going to create websites, add to that it simply did not generate sales.  So I spent 3 days designing and building the New Emerald Computers site.  I found a nice template that I liked, but the menu was simply too small so I created a pull down menu, for the first time.  I also did a few other firsts on this website.  I built the entire site without using tables AT ALL.  Tables are so lame and hard to work with.  I also made the entire site with proper CSS, no more setting fonts in the text.  Something else I did, for the fourth time is that I divided the entire site up using PHP.  I have found that this makes it SO much easier to edit a site.  Everything is server side includes.  Most of the pages are 5-8 different PHP files spliced together, the server does all the work so the user can not even tell.  But what this lets me do is change just one file and all of my pages are changed.  Yes I KNOW this is not new, in fact this was been going on for 10 years, but I have only used it for 2 years.

On sunday I decided that the site was better than my old one, even though only 60% of the content was written so I deleted the old one and uploaded the new one.   I did something on this page I never did on any of my other pages, I put a call to action at the bottom of all the services pages.  A visitor simply can fill out a short form and then I can all them and set up a service call, it also has a link to our contact page.    I just did it because I thought it would be nice, but to my huge surprise I have had over 10% of the people who visited this page fill out the form, and I called them tuesday and two have been converted into sales!!!  WOW.  On top of that my volume of phone calls is up over 50%, with almost half of the calls mentioning my website.  This is crazy, I did not expect results this fast or this good.  Google still has not even indexed the new site.  I am working quickly to get the rest of the site down.  Yesterday I wrote a huge page about dropshipping, and I also wrote one about how to upgrade a computer.

I hope this keeps up, I will keep my readers informed.  By the way this is why I have been fairly quite on the blog, I am too busy with this to blog much, even though some really important stuff is going on.

Computer Entry: Trends in Computer Pricing

I have been in the computer industry now for over 15 years.  During that time some trends have been the constant, that prices drop, and new technology is always making things.  So as of today this is what I am seeing in the world of computer pricing.  Here are my basic findings.

Laptop computers are very affordable. Laptops have been falling much faster than desktops, I think this is because they are all made by 7 main highly competitive companies, and they are trying to push eachother for market share.  The world of desktops is still controlled by many different companies and most all computers are built by companies in the same nation they are bought.  This raises costs, and reduces competition.

Margins are increasing. I have noticed that most stores that sell computer hardware have really increased their margins.  I was at Staples today and most of the hardware they were selling was at least 2.5 times their cost.  That is much larger than in the past.  I have seen this trend in retail stores.  Basically they know that if you want/need it now you are willing to pay.  In computer systems the big companies have really increased margin on desktop computers.  This makes a small company like me much easier to compete.  I think that most of this is due to the large reduction of competition in the retail market, most local computer stores are out of business and even big companies like COMP USA are basically gone.

Monitors have leveled off. LCD monitors have been coming down in price for a long time but they seem to reach a point where they don’t go down any more.  19″ and lower size monitors are only 10% less than they were a year ago.  22″ monitors are down a bit more but they still are near the price they were a while ago.

Hard Drive Prices are plummeting. Storage is king, this is mostly due to the higher data density.  They can put more data on the same hardware as before simply using new technology.  In just the last 2 months 500GB hard drives are down over 20% and most drives are down over 15%.  They are much cheaper than they were last year. Even with the decline in prices

RAM has leveled off. RAM is always going up and down, DDR2 RAM, the main RAM used to make computers is going down a bit but is fairly stable.  DDR has really dropped in price, at the start of the year it was double the price of DDR2, but not it is just a bit more.  I think this is mostly due to lowered demand of DDR.  If you are using a computer with less than 1GB of RAM right now then do yourself a favor and upgrade!!!

CPUs Fell off a cliff. The largest change in systems prices has come from the CPU.  They have fallen like crazy.  1 year ago a 6400 Athlon 64 was over $400 now you can get a Faster Quad Core version for UNDER $160.  Most CPU have lost over half their value, and the stock prices of AMD and INTEL have followed.

Motherboard have increased in price. The motherboard is the HUB that everything connects to.  Due to the higher demand and more precice demand of the rest of the better hardware it is now required to use a much better motherboard, so the average price of a motherboard has gone UP about 10% in the last year, but for that extra 10% you get much more for your money.  The old ones simply don’t exist any more.

Cases and Power Supplies have gone up. Power Supply Units have gone up slightly due to increased power stability required by todays newer motherboards, CPUs and RAM.  But cases have gone up by over 15%.  They are the largest and most bulky part of the computer, the production cost is tied to that of commoditys and they have gone up, and their shipping is tied to the price of OIL and we all know about that.

Optical Drives continue to decline. This year we have seen a 20% decline in the price of Optical Drives.  They simply can make more for less.

Flash Memory has plummeted. The price of flash memory has also fell like a rock.  Flash Memory is an open standard so cheap Asian production has killed the prices, this is great for us the customer, we now can have lots of memory to carry with us, or use in our toys.  The only thing that dropped faster than the memory prices is the stock of SanDisk, the largest producer.

Over all desktop systems have dropped about 10% in the last 3 months, and about 30% in the last year.  Now is a GREAT time to buy.  If you have a computer that is more than 3 years old then you should really think about upgrading to a new system.  It is a whole new world out there now.  Also many people may have bought a computer 2 years ago or so, but you purchased a computer that was built with 2 year old technology then you need to upgrade.  You will be glad that you did.  Click on the Image to the right to see our prices.

Computer Entry: How to select a laptop.

This article is part of my Computer series, click here for the list of other entries.

Today there are so many features on laptops. For most businesses they simple need a good laptop that works for a long period of time and at a great low price. So when they look at laptops they see units that are almost exactly the same with huge price differences. Many upgrades and things in the laptop world simply are not logical and not needed. I will talk about many of them and tell you the secret to finding the best prices.

For example 250 GB hard drives are fairly new, and 320GB laptop hard drives are still very rare. The standard is a 160GB hard drive. The larger hard drive, can ad 100-200 dollars to the price of the laptop, for just a bit more space. The average business customer uses less than 40GB of space so it is crazy to pay extra for this space.

One thing that you should know about laptops is that all laptops sold are really only made by 7 companies, and all of these companies are Chinese. Every brand you see is really a laptop from one of these companies branded with the company logo. Dell uses 5 of these 7 companies. Because of this you will notice laptops from different brands that look exactly the same, you will also notice laptops from the same brands that look totally different. The only one of these makers that sells laptops direct is Acer, but their laptops are usually very low quality and it is usually better to pay a bit more for better quality.

In the world of computers the price of something is more about how many of them are being sold and NOT about how good or complex the item is. The main cost in any item is the designing of the item and the equipment to make the item. For a CPU for example it costs up to a billion dollars to design a new chip and may cost less than $10 to actually make the chip. So if you make 20 million of these chips the cost is $60 per chip, but if you make 500 million of them your cost is $11 per chip. You even get more savings that that when you build a lot of the same item. Because of this many newer, better and faster things are much cheaper. Many CPUs are much higher in level than what you are buying but the maker just takes the higher ones and disables some higher features and sells them as a lower unit because it is cheaper to do this than make the lower unit any longer. RAM is also the same way, DDR2 is much better and faster than DDR but because it is made in much larger amounts it is cheaper. This is called “Economy of Scale” and it hold true from everything from your TV to you Car.

In the world of laptops this idea works all over the place. In my opinion HP and Toshiba make great laptops and because they sell so many they are actually better and more updated than laptops made for the same price by other companies. Because Sony is so much more money they sell less, and have a higher cost, a bad situation to be in. By far most laptops that are sold have a 15.4 inch screen, so laptops with this size are also the lowest priced of all laptops. Touchpads are by far the most popular and their price has plummeted so they now have the lowest price and are now the only choice most companies offer. DVD burners do everything you would want an optical drive to do, and because they are built in such number now they are cheaper than all of the lower types to put in, thus every laptop you will see has a DVD burner, because it is cheaper and has a larger perceived value to the customer.

The choice of CPU, Hard Drive, Optical Drive and many of the other parts of a laptop, and computers in general are based on this idea. Now to get the best deal you need to look at many different laptops and notice the trends. A laptop that floods the market may be $100 less than the others and yet be much better. This is why people hire my company to find their next laptop, we know the trends and we have a very small markup. They can pay us and still end up with a faster and better laptop and pay LESS money than if they went to wherever they normally go for laptops.

What Exactly to look for in a business laptop.

When you look for your laptop simply compare the specs from one laptop to another, but it pays to have a huge source and look at large lists of laptops because you will often find a better deal on that list.

Balance: When you look for any computer look for balance, too much CPU power at the cost of everything else will result in a slower computer. Also think about what you want to use the laptop for. If you want to play high end games then insist on a laptop with a higher end video card, it may cost $100 or more extra but will do what you want. With computers running vista you really need at least 2GB of RAM to do things efficiently. If you find a great deal on a laptop with only 1GB, buy it then upgrade the RAM later, it may be much cheaper. Don’t spend the extra money getting a much larger hard drive, first 90% of all users never use the space, second if you need more space you can get an external hard drive later, but mostly that extra bit of space really costs a lot of money in most cases. Almost every laptop comes with Vista Home Premium. This is ok for about 90% of the people out there, but if you expect to join a domain be sure to get the business version. Also if you really need XP you are looking for a older out of production laptop, these would have been sold at a much higher price to the seller and they will be asking more for them, and you get less new features than a Vista laptop.

Battery Life: Also think about battery life, for the road warrior out there it is important to have that computer last a long time. So this is what you should look for, first you need to have a processor that can scale back and use less power when you don’t need full power, but can scale up as when you do need the power. The AMD Turion is the best AMD chip at this job, but Intel really dominates this concept with their Core 2 Duo and their entire Centrino line.  Companies have spent a lot of time and money focusing on power saving, so newer technology chips are much better at this than older ones.  For any laptop the MAIN use of power is for the screen, usually it is hard to find the power consumption of the screen, but again newer technology is better.  To get all this best technology be willing to pay for it.

Size: For many people, the size of the laptop is very important, they want a smaller, thinner and more portable laptop. Because of economy of scale there is a common size that most makers make, small enough to sell in huge number and large enough to not be too much money to make. When you want to go smaller you fight economy of scale and also the fact that smaller parts cost more. Because of this smaller, thinner laptops cost much more. Every now and then a company will make a really small laptop in a large quantity and if you find that you can get a great deal on a laptop just the way you want. Don’t get the smaller laptop unless you really have figured out how much you are really paying for that option.

Laptops also change really fast. Think about how they are made. The design of the laptop, and making the first one is over half the cost of the entire run. So companies will make the really hard analysis to decide how many of a laptop design to order from the places that make them. Once the production run is over that laptop is usually never made again. Because it takes so long to build a container of laptops, maybe 2 weeks, then 2 more weeks to ship them it these companies have to predict upfront how many may sell. Usually the production run is less than a few full shipping containers. So the company, lets use HP, designs a laptop, orders 10,000 of them. They are made and shipped, they arrive in the US and are quickly sent to wholesale warehouses and retail stores all over the US. Amazon buys some, Wal-Mart buys some. Before the container even lands in the US HP will try to have it all sold. If it is all sold they may order another production run of 10,000. Almost every week a new, better chipset or CPU or something comes out, and often for a better price. So the designers are always looking to go to the next thing. And that brand new, popular design is now put out of production, never to be made again. Most designs are already put out of production before the first customer even gets one. It is a harsh business with huge risks and huge investments. This is also why only a few companies are really players in this business.

Every now and then a design is produced in a larger amount than that which can be quickly sold off. When this happens they slash the price and dump it on the wholesale market. Sometimes they just sold this computer for $700 to Wal-Mart and have only 500 units left and the design is no longer made so they dump it for $500 or less. Most wholesale companies only mark up parts 10% or less because there is huge competition. Only computer companies can usually buy from these wholesale places, this is exactly what we do here at Emerald Computers. We look for the best of these wholesale deals, select them and we post an online flyer and send email updates to our customers. If you are not getting our email you really are missing some great deals.

So what would I do it I was going to buy a laptop today? You choice for a laptop or any computer is based on what you plan to use the computer for and your personal habits.  Here is the logic that I use, if you need help choosing a laptop then email me your phone number and I will call you and help you with the process.  Lets make it fair and give me a budget of under $1000.  First I would budget in a Microsoft Wireless Laser Optical Laptop Mouse.  They are really a must have for me for long usage, and at under $25 they are a bargain.  Next I would look for a Turion based laptop unless I could find a special on a Intel based one.  The Turion ones are usually at least $100 less for the same speed.  I almost never go a long time on battery power so for me personally batter life is not much of a concern.  What is a concern is a high resolution screen.  I would stick to a 15.4″ size simply because it is just the right size for me, 17″ it is a bit to big, but I try to get at least the 1440×900 resolution, maybe the 1680×1050 (WSXGA+).  I would not get the very common 1280×800 because for me and my eyes I can see much better than that and I need the space.  I don’t game on my laptop so an average video card is good for me.  And I have a few external hard drives, and most of my data will stay on my main computer so a 160GB drive is ok for me.  I like to multitask so I would need 2GB of RAM, I would not get more than 2GB because it takes extra power to run that extra ram, and I almost never go over 2GB, also I like to hibernate my computer and more RAM makes that much slower. When a new OS comes out I may upgrade the RAM.  I would still look at computers with 1GB because I know can upgrade the RAM very cheap on my own.  I do watch DVD movies and I like to have good sound so I would look for a computer with a nice DVD drive and good speakers.  I would also look at a picture of the laptop first, different makers have much different styles and I only like some of them.  I also like black better than silver, but that will not kill the deal.  I found a laptop just like this for only a bit over the budget.  You need to look for one based on your needs.

So when you are ready for your next laptop you now have much more information, you will probably have more than the employee selling the products. I wish you good luck, and if you ever need help feel free to email or call my company, we will be happy to help you.


Computer Entry: Hard Drives

I have been in the computer industry for over 15 years now. I have been to almost every Comdex and CES that you could go to. I have been spending many hours over the last decade thinking about technology and studying it. This will be the first of many blog entries with the name Computer Entry in front, in these entries I will talk about the world of the computer. It may be interesting or very boring depending on where you sit. My target audience is the business owner, not the techie. I will share what I have told hundreds of clients, in an easy to understand format. It will start basic and get more complex as the blog goes along.


The hard drive is a small disk that is inside your computer, it is used to hold data for long term storage. (Contrary to what many customers think the hard drive is NOT the tower that you see.) The hard drive is also not your RAM even thought it has random access. Your computer has two main types of memory. First is your RAM, RAM is fairly fast, directly connected to the motherboard, and requires power at all times, even it is the working, short term memory. Your hard drive is about 1% the speed of RAM, it only uses power to read or write data and is MUCH larger than your RAM. You hard drive is where all of your files and programs are stored. The hard drive stores data on metal disks called platters. These work much like you would imagine a record player working with a read/write head on the end of an arm that swings back and forth, it is moved by changing a magnetic field at its other end. On each disk there are thousands of tracks, these are not viable but only magnetic. Along each track the metal is charged by a small magnet on the tip of the write head, the charge will stand for either a 1 or 0.

The first hard drive I used in my first computer was 4 inches tall and 6 inches wide, it was about 10 inches deep. It had 4 platters, each side of each platter was used and contained a whole 4MB of data, for a total of 32MB. The year was 1988. There were a hand full of companies that constantly worked to make the drives smaller, faster, cheaper, quieter, more robust, and most importantly contain more data. Every month a new drive was released that would set a new standard, a trend that is still true today. By 1995 I purchased a drive that was only 3.5 inches wide and 1 inch tall, the same size standard for most of todays drives. It was much faster than my old drive and held 540MB of data. It also used the new IDE interface. Every few years a new standard would come out for communicating the data from the hard drive to the motherboard, but by far IDE was the longest serving, most widely used standard. Not until 2006 was it surpassed in usage by SATA. Sata2 is now the main standard, it is faster, uses less power and has a very small wire which is nice for airflow. We put this type in all of the computers we build.

When it comes to hard drives people really like to focus on speed. Unfortunately the total speed of a hard drive is a complex formula that is very hard for most people to understand, so many people look at just part of the formula and often get misled. The interface used to matter for speed but for now SATA2 is so fast that it is faster than all drives that exist so the interface no longer matters. Lets think about it in easy to understand terms. It is made up of three basic things. First you need to know how fast the arm can move the read/write head. Because you are always moving to and from different locations they take the average and give you that rateing. Usually it is from 3-10ms. The faster the better. Once you have moved the head to the right location you need to wait for the disk to spin and the data you need to move under the head. It could be 1% away or 99% away or anything in between, so most people use the number for the disk to spin half a rotation. The faster the disk spins the shorter this time will be, and also the faster the data will go under the head.

Many people stop here when they shop. They only look at RPM and Random Access Time and think that will tell them how fast their hard drive is BUT they are VERY VERY mistaken. Even high level tech people are fooled by the most important part of a hard drive. That is how dense the data is that is on each track. If you are dealing with very small bits of data it does not matter much, but today most people deal with very large files, you may have to spend a second or two reading one file. There is a drive out there called a Raptor, it has a very fast arm and it spins at 15,000 RPM BUT it only holds 74GB of data on two sides of two platters, the data density is very small by todays standards at 18GB per side of a platter. Now we can take the standard 320GB hard drive that our company uses on our basic computers, it has a slower random access time and spins at only 7200RPM, BUT it uses only one platter, with 160MB on each side. So the Raptor will find the data much faster but the “Slower” hard drive I use reads it 5 times faster once it is found, it only takes a few 100k of data and my drive is now faster. For a large file, or files that are stored in the same order they are accessed my drive smokes the Raptor every time. For many small files the Raptor wins. The Raptor is much louder, much hotter and for 1/4th the space it costs 3 times the price, not a good deal for anyone I know, but their marketing sure sells hard drives.

Another thing you need to think about is gyroscopic forces. You have a metal platter spinning at a rate over 140 times per SECOND. Anyone that has played with a gyroscope will tell you that when you move a spinning object in one direction it will push in another. If the head is over the part that bends the platter could crash into the head and scratch the platter, this what they mean when a drive crashes. To avoid you need to avoid moving a spinning hard drive. Now this is harder than it sounds when you consider many people have a laptop as their main computer. Because of this laptop platters are smaller and spin much slower and they also have a lot of shock absorbing. Some even have features that sense a fall or too much movement and quickly move the head off of the drive to prevent a crash. Even with all of this I am still very careful with moving a laptop too much, and I always back up data from a laptop.

Now everyone has heard about defragmenting your hard drive. What is this all about? Well sometimes, in order to fit the data on the drive the hard drive spits up the file into separate pieces. It is still one file to your os but it is stored in many different fragments, this really hurts speed because for you to read that file you have to read ever piece. If there are 100 fragments it could take a few seconds. Back in the days of DOS and Windows 3.1 it would write the data in the first open slot and was always fragmenting the drive. Each newer OS puts more and more safeguards in place to try to keep this from happening. Now with Vista this problem is almost gone.

I will leave you with the info on the my newest hard drive. It is the first Terrabyte hard drive to only use 3 platters, each with 160MB per side, the highest you can buy. It is 7200 RPM, very quiet and HUGE. Samsung really did a great job on this drive. This drive cost only half the price of that drive I told you about from back in 1995. Impressive how far we have come.

Thanks for reading. For more tech stuff on hard drives go here.

I am torn between all that is possible

Right now I feel that I am at a cross roads. I know so much, I know so much that I could never hold down a job, I know what it out there, and working for someone else is not an option. I am a true entrepreneur. Now that being said there is so much out there that I can do but I have limited time and limited focus. I choose to spend a good deal of time with my family because that is a priority. Let me tell you, my readers, what I am thinking about right now.
My main company for over a decade has been Emerald Computers. It was a great business from 1997 until about 2003 but then the industry changed, and got much more cutthroat and less fun. Also the profits dropped out. I lost my passion for it. Passion is a subject I have been thinking about a lot recently. If you do not live your life doing what you have have passion for you are living a wasted life. 80% of people can not stand their job, they can not stand what they now do for a living. 20% of the people their work is their passion, and they love to do it. For years I loved computers, not because of the technology but mostly because I could open peoples eyes up to what is possible and I loved that. But my business did less and less of that and more and more of the grinding out work that was not fun. When the passion left so did the profits. I went from averaging 70 hours a week working my company in 2002 to about 30 in 2005 to almost less than 5 in 2007.

I always was thinking about Real Estate, how it is a business where you make real things that stand there for many years. I know people that drive around a city and point out buildings they had a hand in making a decade before. Also I LOVE the art of the deal, where you negotiate price and terms and come up with a deal. It is like a huge game, trying to get the best for your side in every deal, nothing in business is more fun for me. Real Estate is the land of the largest deals, and the fastest way to make real big money. You can be creative and make transactions by bringing parties and ideas together in unique ways.

Now the problem with real estate is that you need knowledge or you need money. I don’t have this type of money because my computer company took it all, and my knowledge is all theory. I think I know at least 90% of what I know, but every time I think I have it all figured out I find out more I don’t know. Because of this a fear has set in so I do nothing, which is the worst thing of all to do. When you do real estate with no money to invest you will find the deal every now and then but it is far from steady, so I wanted to have something that was more steady.

Because of this I started looking for a MLM, because before Emerald Computers, and even during it I made some good money in the world of MLM business. With all the tools I have for online marketing and communications I figured I would have a huge advantage at any MLM that I would join. So I spent a good deal of time looking into everything that I could do. After looking for months almost all of the major MLM businesses that I saw were promoting a health product that they produced for $5 and sold for $50. I figured out that I really don’t have a passion for doing a MLM that is based on a health product, I think deep down that many of these don’t work, and that even if they do I don’t want to spend my life selling them, I have more important things to do.

So after a while I decided to work with a company called Nouveau Riche. What they do is have a college right down the street from my house. For 1 week every two months they teach a full week of really high quality classes about Real Estate. I bought the CD version of these classes, they were good. Next they provide a community of investors. It all sounded really great, just what I wanted to do. Then I really pushed it hard, trying to find people to invest with, trying to find people to pay to go to the college. They had an event where you could invite people to and they would have a 6 hour sample of classes that were taught by the school. I had been to them in the past, and they were great. At the end they would have a short 30 minute sales pitch for the college. This time there was new leadership and they promised it would be even bigger and better than before. I was really excited. I invited over 100 people. I got 40 people to say they would be there. It was all going well. Then on the day it was backwards, it started out with over two hours of hard sales, worse than if you went to a timeshare. That was followed by even more sales, and then an hour of decent education, followed by 2 more hours of hard sales. The people I had there all felt screwed, and lied to. They wanted education and what they got was this junk. After that day I have not gone to any meetings and have not talked to any leaders in the company, it was a bust for me.

So then I started looking a MLM that was for something that I could stand behind. I set down some rules. First it had to be something that was a good value, it had to save people money or make them money. Next it had to be something that was product driven, I wanted to product to sell the company. (One of my best friends Fred Coit is a big leader in Monavie and they have a great product driven company.) But next I wanted to do something that I would have a passion for. Last I wanted something with no marketing restrictions. You many not know that most MLM companies have many restrictions on how and where you can market, and I wanted something I could hit heavy online, and be creative with my marketing.

After about 2 months of looking I finally decided on SendOutCards, they offered a product that was only 1/3rd the cost of the competition with better service, it was product driven meaning that most people in it only really promote the product. I think that they are the BEST MLM for my style.

Now I am torn. What do I do with my days, I have a computer company, I have a ton of time, energy and passion devoted to getting into the real estate business, which is my true passion. And now I have this new business that is really fun and has a great product. For the last two month I have been floating. I have been like my 10 month old son, I focus on whatever seems the best at the time, but I may change on a whim. Last week a typical day was for me to wake up and talk to a few computer customers, then talk to a real estate agent about some houses then call a few people and tell them about SendOutCards. For the last few months when people ask me what I do for a living I really don’t have a good answer for them. I was at a meeting last Wednesday where I stood up and talked about Emerald Computers and SendOutCards, handed out flyers for SendOutCards and business cards for Capital Active (The Real Estate Company). I must have seemed very confused to some of these people.

So this is where I sit now. Emerald is the business that is putting food on my table, it is what I live on but every time I want to make money I have to trade large amounts of time for it. Sometimes it is easy and I get a call and make $500 in 2 hours, other times I make calls all day and make nothing. SendOutCards could be a huge business and with two months of good effort I could have a team large enough that I could pay all my bills from the money it makes. And Real Estate could make millions with ease and joy if I could get all the pieces to the puzzle together.

So my question for my readers, is this multitasking normal for someone who is a serial entrepreneur, and what would you do? This is interactive so please leave a comment, I will reply to them.

OK, I admit it, I was wrong. My OS Choice.

As most of you know my main business is Emerald Computers, a computer company, where I sell computers and give advise.  Many people look to me as their computer expert.

Well for the first year of Vista being out I was negative on it, right when vista came out I was in my Ubuntu phase.  I was trying to use linux as much as I could to see if it really could replace everything that I did.  Because of this I did not personally use Vista, I used it on the computers I was fixing but not on my main computer.

After 6 months of trying Ubuntu I decided that, for me, a power user there were too many things that just did not work yet.  There were MANY things that were much better, than the Microsoft world, but lack of support for my games, QuickBooks, Photoshop and yahoo chat with webcam were the things I could no longer live without.  I went back to XP, and I was happy.  Well in late April XP crashed on me for the 3rd time.  I needed to reload so I decided to take a gamble and install vista.  I figured my computer is VERY fast so even if vista is crappy slow it will still not be that bad.  I have used vista on about 50 or so customers computers, and mostly disliked it due to the fact that most things were moved around.

Well vista loaded, it did it faster than XP, and almost all of my hardware was detected.  It was great.  Next I loaded my software, and I load a lot of things, I have checklist of about 30 things that I load on every new computer.  Almost everything I had worked right away, the ones that did not were fixed by upgrading to the newest version.  Even when you are an Administrator you don’t have real administrator rights, this is just like Ubuntu.  In Ubuntu you just put sudo in front of anything you want to run as an admin.  In Vista you do sort of the same, you just right click on it and click on “Run as Administrator”.  It was a very easy.  As a computer geek there were about 20-30 things I changed to make it easier to use, such as network settings, sharing settings, and all the programs I run.

So now I have been using it for a month, I wanted to wait a month before I wrote this blog so that I had a more expert opinion.  I run Vista SP1 Ultimate.  I have found it to be better than XP in almost every area, and in the areas it is not better it is exactly the same as XP.  I was surprised how many small programs are basically exactly the same as XP was.  I thought they would rework everything, but there are major things the left the same, even though the XP version was bad (Such as how fonts are loaded,

Now many people have said that Vista is slower.  I have seen many customers that have 4-5 year old computers and they load vista and YES it is slower.  My computer is 3 years old but it was a top of the line computer when it was built and it is still faster than 90% of the computers our company makes, it is a 4.9 on Vistas performance scale of 1-5.  So on my computer it runs great, it is MUCH faster than XP, and almost as fast as Ubuntu.

So if you have at least 1GB of ram and a Dual Core CPU Vista is great for you.  If you have a single core CPU or 512MB of RAM stick with XP.  Basically if your computer is over 2 years old and you want vista just get a new computer.  I can help you with that if you leave a comment, I can tell you want you need for your usage model.

So my OS of choice is now Vista.  It runs all the stuff I need and is fast.  There are many good ideas and features in Ubuntu that Vista could easily put in.  I don’t agree with some of the philosophy behind Vista, about making closed source drivers, and pushing towards trusted computing, for this reason I hope Ubuntu will soon be able to run, with ease, all of the things I need, and then I hope it starts to gain popularity.  Until then I will use Vista, or the next thing that MS creates.

Emerald Computers, a short history from a business POV

I started a computer company in 1998, and thought I knew it all but I quickly learned so much more. I moved that store a few doors down and this time designed in the way I wanted all future stores to be like. I created systems for doing everything. Then I set out on opening more stores. By then it was 2004 and the market for computers was crashing, the wars by the big companies erased all the profits in the industry. By 2005 we were back to one store. By the end of 2007 we decided that the retail storefront was not the way to go. We moved to a much lower rent area, and just serve corporate and online customers, the ones with the best profits. The wars are over and the profits are back in the computer industry, and with our reduced cost, decade of experience we are ready to explode. All we need now is a capital infusion to get us to the next level. Even if we only get .5% of the US market that is still huge.

Now we are looking for investors.  People who can see the vision and are willing to go there with us.  They will, of course, share in our success.