Maybe you've heard the phrase "Lean Six Sigma" in the news or at work. This management strategy was developed by Motorola in the 1980s to reduce manufacturing defects, but it's applicable to a wide range of business models. The "sigma" refers to defect rates; "six sigma" is the very low rate Motorola set as its goal, and it's also shorthand for the lean processes that achieved it. Lean6 from Leanmap is a set of free Excel worksheets for implementing Six Sigma techniques. While you might think it's geared strictly toward … Read more
Environmental variables are Windows elements that specify basic system properties and control how various programs behave. They're stored in the Registry, and modifying them changes how the system or a particular program behaves. Experienced users can tweak their systems by modifying environmental variables, and Windows offers several methods, including the temporary Set command and the Registry Editor. We tried out Rapid Environmental Editor, or Rapid EE, from RapidPDF. It's a free tool that adds some sophistication, features, and ease of use to the process by replacing the cumbersome Windows dialog with a full-featured interface.
Before we ran Rapid … Read more
On Wednesday morning, subscribers to the indie-music download service Amie Street received an e-mail announcing that the company had been bought by Amazon. Existing customers get a $5 gift certificate to Amazon's MP3 store and must download all the music they've paid for by September 22.
Amie Street started by offering music from independent labels and digital distributors like The Orchard, and it was a pioneer of demand-based pricing--all downloads on the site started off being available for … Read more
Blitz Document is a useful tool with built-in templates for creating office forms. The templates help you quickly design and generate common and specialized business documents for a variety of purposes, including invoices, sales agreements, letters, and memos. There are "Sales Related Documents" like Invoices, Bills of Sale, and Sales Agreements. Businesses can use the templates as-is, but they're easily edited and customized for different needs.
Under the Common Forms tab in the Template menu, you'll find templates for frequently used office type purposes: faxes, letters, meeting agendas, and more. We really liked Blitz Document's … Read more
As its title may suggest, an MP3 player's primary duty is to play MP3s, which are more often than not music files. But audiobooks, podcasts, and other spoken-word content enjoy plenty of face time on portable audio devices, and why not? They offer an informative and entertaining way to pass the time. But for those of us who prefer our information and entertainment in condensed form, time is of the essence. Spoken-word content is one type of audio that (generally) doesn't sound completely absurd when sped up, and doing so gives the listener a way to get through … Read more
Smart Math Calculator aims to help users perform complex mathematical equations with a deep list of functions. Thanks to its simple interface and helpful features, this program has the ability to help even those who are not natural mathematicians.
This program's interface is certain to overwhelm anyone who has never used a scientific calculator before (it features a full range of equations and function buttons), but should look normal to those who have calculated equations using similar physical models in the past. While the program looks and operates like a traditional calculator, its interface shines with a Help file … Read more
Q: I am writing about the new iTunes price change. I remember reading that it would happen, after Apple announced it a couple of weeks ago. I was ecstatic about having iTunes Plus with all of the songs, and the opportunity at having cheaper prices. However, at the time, it seemed that some songs were going to go to a new price of $0.79, with most staying at $0.99, and a small portion going to the higher price of $1.29.
The time has come where the price change is in full effect and I have to say … Read more
As expected, Apple on Tuesday introduced variable pricing on iTunes, meaning that some popular tracks now cost $1.29 instead of $0.99. Less expected: Amazon.com has followed Apple into the fray. Scroll down today's list of top downloads, and you'll see a few tracks at $1.29.
According to a report in today's Los Angeles Times, Apple's iTunes Music Store will begin offering variable pricing for single-song downloads, raising the price of the most popular tracks to $1.29 while lowering the price of other tracks to $0.69. (CNET's Greg Sandoval broke the original story when Apple announced this variable pricing plan back in January.) Some industry players quoted in the story point out that raising prices in the worst economy since the 1930s doesn't make much sense--especially since, as I've pointed out many times in the past, iTunes competes with … Read more
CERN’s big collider now in action http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-10037565-76.html
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Congress questions … Read more