Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Modernizing a 15 year old backend: The challenge

Modernization can be tricky, expensive, and time consuming and even innovators can get hung up when trying to move forward. Here's the story of one company that got the job done cost effectively and productively.

They are delighted by the result. And so are their customers.

Here's how they did it, and how you can do the same»

If you're interested in modernizing your backend, or bringing some legacy applications to the Web, let us know»

Monday, December 29, 2008

Top 7 underreported tech stories of 2008

Looking back on 2008 from an IT standpoint, which stories stick out in your mind? What will 2008 be known for from a tech perspective?

When I think back on the year, I think of themes like green IT, cloud computing, and business intelligence. I think of the iPhone 3G and the slew of “iPhone killers”. Of course, I think about the economic turmoil, which had a big effect on just about every industry, including IT.

But, which stories didn’t receive the coverage they deserved this year? just published a list of the top underreported tech stories of 2008. Can you think of any other stories that didn’t receive the coverage they deserved?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Holidays from your friends at mrc!

All of us here at mrc would like to wish everyone happy holidays and safe travels this season!

Click the image on the left to see mrc's 2008 Holiday Card.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Money-Saving Tip: Revitalize Your Aging ERP

We recently ran across a few companies facing the same problem. They have an aging ERP system which desperately needs replacing, but don't want to pay the extremely high price tag for a new ERP in this struggling economy. I can’t say that I blame them.

What should they do? In this case, the best solution is also the cheapest one. Many of these companies have opted to build new functionality into their old ERP systems with m-Power. It’s cheaper than replacing their current ERP system and provides all the functionality of an up-to-date system.

If you want to see how m-Power can help your aging ERP system, let us know. We’ll build you a free proof-of-concept application in under 24 hours. Fill out this short form to get started!

Monday, December 22, 2008

2008 Salary Survey conducted a great little survey which provides some very valuable information regarding IT jobs and salaries. Are you curious how your salary stacks up to similar jobs in the IT field? Want to learn a few ways to boost your paycheck? Which jobs are hot right now?

Learn all that and more with the 2008 IT Salary Survey.>>

Friday, December 19, 2008

7 ways to save money using web applications

I read it all over the news: Companies are cutting back, Company X has massive layoffs, corporate budgets are frozen, etc...

Everyone wants to save money, but no one has any unique ideas on how to save. It seems like the most common “money-saving” technique these days is layoffs. It’s unfortunate, because I personally believe some of the best money-saving methods are often overlooked.

For example, many of our clients have saved loads of money using web applications. We pulled together 7 of the best ways our customers used web apps to save money and put them in a presentation entitled, “7 Ways to Save Money with Web Applications.” Who knows, you might see a new money-saving technique that your company hasn't tried.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More spreadsheets, more problems

If I had a dollar for every time I heard about a problem caused by the overuse of spreadsheets, I could retire early. By “overuse of spreadsheets", I’m referring to tasks that spreadsheets were not meant to handle, such as reporting, business intelligence, shipment schedules, etc…

I know many companies are guilty of this, but I doubt that management at those companies know how much time and effort is wasted on spreadsheets. Here’s something to try: If your company uses spreadsheets extensively and you don’t know how long they take to create and manage, find out. You may be surprised.

I wish that a little wasted time was the worst problem associated with spreadsheet overuse, but it’s not. Read this forum post to learn about more potential problems, as well as the solution.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What's Hot, What's Not: IT Skills You'll Need in 2010

You know what I both love and hate about technology? It changes so fast. What’s current today may not be current next week. IT skills that are current today may not be current in a year. Like no other industry, those in IT must find a way to keep their skills up-to-date.

But how can you keep your skills current if you don’t know what the future holds? This might help: has published a report conducted by 3 research groups which predicts the most/least important IT skills in 2010. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

Friday, December 12, 2008

m-Power's 24-Hour Challenge!

I personally believe that enterprise application development is an unnecessarily expensive and time-consuming process. Enterprise applications, such as business intelligence, executive dashboards, report writing, e-Commerce, customer portals, etc… shouldn’t take months/years to build, and shouldn’t be expensive.

We think enterprise application development should take days instead of months, and we want to prove it. That is why, starting today, we are beginning the m-Power 24-Hour Challenge. You can now challenge us to build a fully functional web application (using your own data) in 24 hours with m-Power. The best part: It's absolutely free!

The process is simple: Tell us what you want, give us some sample data, and challenge us to build your web application in under 24 hours. Click here to get started!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tips for creating a great shopping cart and order entry system

Have you ever tried to buy a product online, but were dissuaded by the purchasing process? I know I have. For example, sometimes the site doesn’t seem secure, or the process is too difficult or confusing. Whatever the reason, a poorly constructed online order system spells lost profits for the vendor.

If your company utilizes an online order system, it must be easy for your customers to spend money with you. Check out our forum post entitled, “Tips for creating a top-notch shopping cart and order entry system” to learn a few best practices.

Monday, December 08, 2008

10 most important tech stories of 2008

2008 was a big year for technology. We saw the internet play a larger role in a presidential election than ever before. 2008 also brought legitimate competition to Microsoft Windows with the advances and increased popularity of Ubuntu and the unveiling of IBM’s “Microsoft-Free” desktop.

But that’s not all. released a list of the Top 10 IT Stories of 2008. Would you add anything else to the list?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Money-saving tip: Take a hard look at your soft costs

How much money does your company spend printing out forms, mailing invoices, or purchasing toner and paper? How much time do employees spend filing, mailing, or faxing? Be careful: These "soft costs" are hard to track and add up very quickly.

What can you do?

Automate these processes with web applications, such as an online sales portal or a web reporting solution. Instantly email reports, invoices, or forms with just a click of the mouse. You will save money on supplies and save valuable time for your employees.

The best part: These web applications will not only automate your processes, but they are easy to build with m-Power. We’ll even build you a free proof-of-concept application so you can see it for yourself.

Just fill out this short form to get your free proof-of-concept application.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

7 career tips for tough times

I run across a new IT job study seemingly every week, most of which contain conflicting results. Some say that IT workers have nothing to worry about. Others say that the industry is in trouble.

So, is the IT industry safe? I guess it depends on what you read. Regardless, there are always steps you can take to increase job security, and make yourself a more desirable job candidate for future employers. I recently ran across a good article on that gives 7 tips to grow your career. You can read the article here.>>

Monday, December 01, 2008

Why offshoring software development will fail

Is offshore development posing a threat to the IT industry, or is it a passing fad? This article on argues for the latter, and I agree to an extent. I don’t believe it will go away anytime soon, but I do believe that companies who try it will soon find that it’s not as good as promised.

Many companies don't realize that a better way exists. They opt for offshore development instead of giving their current developers the tools to increase productivity. Tools like m-Power reduce development time by 90% and eliminate the need to hire offshore developers for many of our customers

See it for yourself. Try our free online lab and develop two web applications in under an hour.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Trivia Challenge!

In the spirit of the holidays, we have put together a fun little Thanksgiving trivia game. Think you know a lot about the origins of Thanksgiving? Try the Thanksgiving trivia challenge and find out. Who knows, you might actually learn something new.

From all of us here at mrc, we wish you safe travels and a happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

m-Power gains UDF Capabilities

Recently, we enhanced m-Power with new User Defined Function (UDF) capabilities. From a technical standpoint, this means m-Power users can take advantage of the power that UDFs offer.

From a practical standpoint, UDFs enhance m-Power with many new capabilities. For an example of some of the ways you might use UDFs, or to simply read more about this exciting enhancement click here.>>

Monday, November 24, 2008

10 Great Free Blackberry Apps

Blackberry smartphones are known for their functionality, and maybe more importantly, the ability to run external applications. Plenty of great, and sometimes free, applications exist for Blackberrys. For example, I recently ran across a great list of 10 free Blackberry apps on, which can be found here.>>

With the increased use of smartphones, I can’t stress enough the importance of proper security measures. We need to treat our smartphones with the same level of care that we treat our laptops. Things like password protection and remote data wiping are important, but sometimes even those aren’t good enough.

Here’s a great example of a company that took mobile security seriously. They wanted to enable their mobile workforce, but didn’t want to store confidential information on their PDAs. Find out what they did here.>>

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Spreadsheet Problem

Every day, employees across the globe spend a large amount of time pulling essential business data into spreadsheet programs like Excel, then they analyze the data, and then email their results to colleagues. This wastes a lot of time, is insecure, inefficient, and can lead to inaccuracies and multiple document versions that only add to the confusion.

This can create huge problems for a company, but many remain unaware of the potential dangers. This presentation explains the risks associated with this problem, as well as a great way to fix it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Future-Proof Your Business Applications

When purchasing software solutions for your business, a little planning will save you from plenty of future problems and expenses. No one can see the future, but there are steps you can take to minimize costs and frustrations down the road.

First and foremost, avoid proprietary software. Proprietary software ties you to one vendor, causing a number of potential problems. What if they go out of business? You're out of luck. What if they decide to drastically raise maintenance fees? You either have to pay or find a different solution. These are just a few important issues to consider before purchasing proprietary software.

My advice: Choose software that uses an open-source language, and you won't even have to worry about these problems. Read this forum post to learn more about the benefits of open-source solutions.

Monday, November 17, 2008

20 Most Sought-After IT Skills

In a difficult economy, it is always important for an IT professional to keep their skills and certifications up to date. However, it’s not always easy to figure out which skills and certifications will help you the most.

Maybe this will help: I ran across an article on that lists the 20 most sought after IT skills today. They also report that while IT skills continue to increase in value, certifications are becoming less important. But don’t worry, it also lists the top certifications most likely to make an impact on your salary.

But having IT skills isn’t good enough these days. Computerworld just published an article stating that IT executives place the most importance on ethics and morals when looking to hire new staff. You can read the entire article here.>>

Friday, November 14, 2008

Website problems

There was an internet problem last week, which resulted in our website being inaccessible for parts of Tuesday through Thursday. From what we heard, our communications company’s central box went down and we (and many others in the area) lost our T1 service for a couple days. So, if you tried unsuccessfully to access our website last week, that was the problem.

The good news is the problem has been remedied, and we do not expect to see any more such outages in the future. We've left the posts from last week on the blog in case there were any you wanted to visit. Just scroll down the page to find them.

We apologize for any inconvenience this outage may have caused.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Web Architecture meets the dashboard-

Flexibility and re-useability are two cornerstones to a solid web architecture. Take this Business Dashboard example, for instance.

Some users (like me), prefer a minimalist, all business approach like this one. Others prefer more control and a lot more information like this iGoogle example. (To sign on to this iGoogle dashboard, use account and password mrc-demo.)

With the right web architecture, the same business applications (in this case, servlets) can serve all desires. If you'd like to see how we published our servlets as google gadgets, check out this forum post.

If you'd like more information on how to easily create an executive dashboard custom to your business needs, just fill out this form and we'll show you how we do it. And remember, we don't just supply the software to help you get it done, we supply the training to make you successful, and the manpower to supplement your staff when you need something done quickly.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The 2009 IT Salary Guide

The Robert Half Technology company recently published the 2009 IT Salary Guide, which estimates the average salary per title and which skills are in highest demand. Overall, the projections for 2009 are encouraging.

I always find it interesting to see which skills are in highest demand these days. Just think: 5-10 years ago, many of these now “in-demand” skills were unheard of. It’s a good reminder how important it is for IT professionals to keep their skills up to date.

You can read the entire study here.>>

Friday, November 07, 2008

4 Benefits of Web-Based Reporting

When asked about his decision to move from character-based to web-based reporting, one of our clients recently said, “The bottom line is this: The world is going to the web.” He understood the benefits of web-based reporting, and the positive impact it would make on business. What are those benefits? Here are just a few:

Security: Password-protection, and a secure validation process, limits viewing and downloading to only your authorized staff - ensuring privacy and security.

Accuracy: Web-based reports run in real-time. There are no outdated copies of data-bases or spreadsheets floating around, guaranteeing that your reports will be current.

Time savings: Do you have staff that spends countless hours and days formatting, printing, faxing, and mailing daily, weekly, or monthly reports? Web reports allow your staff to focus on more mission-critical tasks.

Convenience: Web-based reports run from anywhere, and at anytime.

Want to see a live example of a web-based report? This example lets you request data for downloading via the Internet, have it run and e-mailed automatically to you. Feel free to test it for yourself.

If you like what you see, just fill out this short form and tell us what your interested in. We'll be happy to build a "proof of concept" web report for you.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sneaky Fees: 7 new ways you’re paying more

Have you ever been quoted a nice low price for a product, only to realize that the price is far higher once all the fees have been added? It’s an unfortunate practice, but many companies try to make a quick buck with these sneaky fees.

How do companies try to sneak fees onto your bill? recently published an article that lists 7 methods they might try. Besides their list, watch out for things like setup fees, activation fees, convenience fees, etc…

In the software world, be on the look-out for "free" software give-aways, that require an annual maintenance fee, training fees, and often consulting fees.

My advice to you: Ask the vendor/company to write down the final price, with all fees factored in. Make sure you know their pricing structure, and if necessary, what monthly charges to expect. This will help you avoid surprise and/or anger when it’s time to buy.

Monday, November 03, 2008

m-Power upgrade for mrc-Productivity Series Users

Just a reminder to all current mrc-Productivity Series users: Make sure you take advantage of your free m-Power upgrade.

If you are a current mrc-Productivity Series user on maintenance and warranty, you should have received a letter detailing this free upgrade and what you need to do. If you did not receive the letter, or if you have any questions about the upgrade, please give us a call at (630) 916-0662.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Money-Saving Tip: How to Cut Users (Without Layoffs)

When economic problems hit, many companies immediately start cutting back on expenses and spending. But what happens when you can’t cut back anymore and you still need to save money?

I remember a couple years back when one of our customers told us how they managed to save a ton of money. They had hundreds of users licensed for their MRP software. As with any ERP/MRP, some employees needed to use it extensively, while others would only use 1 or 2 screens. In their case, they had 200+ employees who only needed a couple screens.

They used m-Power to create web applications which pulled data directly from their database while still tying into their MRP. These web applications had all the information those users would normally access through the MRP, but were now accessible via the web. As a result, they were able to cut 200+ users from their MRP software, and saved hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Does your company pay for licenses for users who only use your ERP/MRP/CRM minimally? Fill out this short form if you would like more information about how you can save money with web applications.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is the Smartphone the Next PC?

I just read an interesting article on entitled, “Is the Smartphone the next PC Device?” My answer is "yes", I believe that the smartphone will eventually replace the PC for the average computer user. I know we still have a ways to go, but it is happening.

However, before we can embrace the smart-phone as the next PC, a big security problem has to be fixed. Namely, confidential information should not be stored on smartphones. It’s bad enough that computers can be hacked, but losing a phone with confidential information on it could be a disaster. Sure, there are remote wipes and kill switches, but damage can still be done in that short time between losing it and wiping its information.

Rather, companies should use their smartphones to access important information via web apps. That way you won’t put any data at risk if a phone is lost since no data is actually stored on it, and you can add as much security as you like in the web app. It's a better solution all around and one that needs to be adopted if a company is at all serious about security.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Importance of Executive Dashboards

Just as an automobile dashboard shows your speed, distance traveled, and fuel used, it also alerts you to vehicle problems in just a glance. An executive dashboard works much the same way.

An executive dashboard is usually a portal or intranet page that brings a variety of metrics together on one screen for a live overview of business operations for key decision-makers. They allow executives to make quick, but well-informed decisions. (Here is one example we built for the imaginary COO of our demonstrative and fictitious online bike distributor site.)

Executive dashboards vary within companies. A CFO's dashboard might monitor current, historical, and forecasted revenue. Or, a CEO might have a "greatest hits" dashboard, tracking applications culled from his top executives' dashboards. The focus is fully customizable to individual executive needs.

If you'd like more information on how to easily create an executive dashboard custom to your business needs, just fill out this form and we'll show you how we do it. And remember, we don't just supply the software to help you get it done, we supply the training to make you successful, and the manpower to supplement your staff when you need something done quickly.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Are you attending IOD 2008?

We are attending IBM's Information on Demand (IOD) conference this year! It is one of IBM's biggest events and is billed as the "premier information management global conference." It is being held at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas from Oct. 26th to the 31st. (That's next week!)

This is our first year at IOD, and we very excited to be exhibiting. Are you attending the conference as well? We'll be at booth #17, so please stop by and say hi. You'll get to meet Sal and Brian, and sample one of our delectable m-Power mints! Both Sal and Brian are witty and entertaining and we guarantee our mints will give you fresh breath for upwards of 5 minutes.

What more can you ask for?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The eternal IT debate: Build or buy?

Should you build it or buy it? When it comes to software, this can be a difficult question. Should you buy a pre-made solution, or build a custom solution? That is the question being debated in this article.

I believe a company is better off with custom-built applications for two big reasons:

  1. It’s designed for your company
    A pre-made solution will never exactly fit any company. However, if you build a solution yourself, you can design it to do exactly what you need it to do. You have complete and total control.

  2. It will grow with you
    A pre-made solution will not grow with your company. Often, the vendor might grow it in ways you don't want to go. Sooner or later, it will need to be replaced. On the other hand, a custom built solution is easy to modify. You can continue to enhance it as your company grows.
Now, I don’t think anyone will argue against the benefits of a custom-built solution. In fact, if not for the time and money constraints, I believe every company would go this route. If you could have a custom built solution in less time and for the price (or less) of a pre-built solution, I think it’s a no-brainer.

That’s exactly what you can do with m-Power. Here's a list of various applications that can be custom built with m-Power. Want to see how it works? Try our free online lab and build a couple web applications in under an hour.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Top 10 strategic technologies for 2009

It’s hard to believe 2008 is almost over, and it’s time to plan for 2009 already. As technology plays a larger role in just about every aspect of our lives, it’s important to have an idea as to what the most important trends will be next year.

Gartner has just released the list of what they believe will be the top 10 strategic technologies for 2009. I agree with much of the list, especially web-oriented architecture and business intelligence. From my experience with our customers, I believe those will become increasingly important throughout the coming year.

I also think there were a couple of glaring omissions. For example, I can’t believe they didn’t mention mobile computing. With the release of a variety of new smart-phones, mobile computing will become a necessity in the business world. I believe that businesses which are slow to adopt it will suffer as a result.

How about you? What technologies do you think will be most important in the coming year?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Business Intelligence: 10 Common Mistakes

The biggest problem affecting business intelligence today isn’t software. It’s people who think BI software is magic. It’s people who think that software is the most important aspect of business intelligence.

In reality, good processes and planning are the most important aspects of business intelligence. Just because you write out a 6 figure check for a BI tool, doesn’t mean it will help your company. Sure, buying the right software is important, but without a proper plan it’s just a waste of time and money.

My advice to managers and leaders: Get involved. Don’t just write it off as an IT job, work with IT to make sure it’s done right. Setting up a business intelligence solution should be a collaborative effort between the technology experts and the business experts.

Poor planning isn’t the only mistake that can be made when implementing a BI solution. For a list of common mistakes to avoid, read this article on entitled, “Business Intelligence: 10 Common Mistakes.”

Looking for powerful, yet affordable business intelligence? Check out our m-Power demonstration site, for examples of BI applications m-Power can create.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

10 tech skills in high demand

The funny thing about technology is how fast it changes. However, one overlooked benefit of changing technology is that the “in-demand” skills are constantly changing as well.

For instance, those who know a lot about BI or CRM tools are in high demand today, whereas they wouldn’t have been in demand 10 years ago. Keeping your skills up to date is more important in the tech industry than anywhere else.

The difficulty lies in determining which new skills to learn. There is an endless supply of “emerging technologies”, not all of which actually stick around. It’s important to learn new skills that will last and be in high demand.

Curious to learn which skills are needed these days? Take a look at this list on, to see the top 10 tech skills in high demand today.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Benefits of Java

I have never been secretive about my views on the Java programming language. Simply put, I believe it is the ideal language for enterprise applications.

Now, I know there are people who will debate me on this. Some believe that .Net, Microsoft’s proprietary answer to Java, is better suited for enterprise applications. Still others will argue that PHP is better, usually because they have someone available who already knows PHP. I have found that most PHP supporters have not actually tried Java, because they cannot afford the time to learn it.

Yes, it’s true that Java is a difficult language to learn, but it comes with many advantages. We have put together a short presentation that explains Java, lists a few benefits, and offers a side-by-side comparison with .Net. That presentation can be found here.>> (Warning: There is sound)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Big IT Decisions for the Small-Minded

Technology is changing ever so rapidly, and changing in ways that will drastically affect the way we do business. It’s more important than ever to keep up, as we rely on technology far more than we ever have before.

Let’s face it, if your company expects to survive in the future, you must stay ahead of the technology curve. That is one issue the author points out in this article entitled, “Big IT Decisions for the Small-Minded” He complains that people spend their time arguing about trivial technology issues, when there are huge ones to discuss.

It’s true. Some of the biggest topics of discussion center around browser preferences, mac vs. pc debates, Microsoft’s big ad campaign, why Vista is horrible, etc… Meanwhile, there are plenty of things to worry about from a technology standpoint. What goes into good Business Intelligence? Should we move to SAAS? Will the internet eventually make the operating system obsolete?

Knowing about the technology isn’t good enough anymore. We have young people entering the workforce that grew up with the technology. They don’t know life without email, the internet, or cell phones. People that focus on the business, and how to use emerging technology to help the business will be the ones that make a difference.

What do you think? Which emerging technology will make the biggest difference in the way we do business? Join the discussion in our forum.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

23 Things I wish would go just away

Sure, technology brings conveniences that we never thought possible. But, it also brings annoyances that we never dreamt of.

For example, these days you can do practically everything on your cell phone. Yet, with this added convenience, comes added annoyances. For example, I’ve received telemarketing calls on my cell phone. I’ve received text message advertisements. They make me mad, but would I stop using my cell phone just to make the unsolicited phone calls and text messages stop? Definitely not.

That's not the only annoyance that comes with the convenience of technology. Far from it. On the same note, here’s an interesting piece on entitled “23 Things I wish would just go away.”

What aspect of technology do you wish would just go away?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Build-A-Web-App Workshop

Creating powerful enterprise-level Web applications doesn't have to be complicated.

Here, you can create a custom, live, lightning-fast, portable and flexible database-driven Web application in just a few minutes with your current skill set.

Enter our Build-A-Web-App Workshop»

Friday, October 03, 2008

ERP Lessons from Rich People Who Stink at Golf

You’ve probably seen it before. A bad golfer buys the best equipment hoping it will make him better at golf, when in reality, a bad golfer with nice clubs is still a bad golfer. That’s the analogy used in this article entitled, “ERP Lessons from Rich People Who Stink at Golf.” Many people think the best golf clubs will make them a good golfer, just like many companies think that an expensive ERP will always make them more efficient.

However, for an ERP to help a company, they must be running smoothly to begin with. An ERP is not designed to fix bad processes, but rather to make the current process more efficient.

I agree with the author’s point, but I believe there’s another point to be made. Many companies think that an expensive ERP is all they’ll ever need. After all, a product that costs 6-7 figures should do it all…right?

What a company needs to understand is this: ERPs are still pre-made solutions, and therefore won’t fit everyone perfectly. No matter how expensive it is, there are always a few things an ERP won’t be able to do. Many are surprised and/or upset to realize they need something else besides their ERP.

Many companies need ERP add-ons, or additional software that supplements their ERP. This is not uncommon. Here’s a good example of a company that bought an expensive ERP, only to realize they needed functionality beyond its capabilities. Find out what they did to fix the problem>>

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

25 Best Business Software Tools and Web Services

If there’s one thing I like, it is inexpensive software that makes life a little easier. Lucky for us, there is no shortage of software that fits that description. It seems like there’s software to automate or help with just about everything these days.

With all of the different things a business or business person needs, and all of the different options designed to meet those needs, it’s sometimes difficult to choose the right one. That’s where lists like “25 Best Business Software Tools and Web Services”, can come in handy. It covers many different types of tools, so there’s bound to be one that can help you.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Website Design 101: What you should do

It’s really easy to point out bad web design. Why? Because there are so many bad websites, and even more annoying features incorporated into websites.

We recently asked the question in our forum: What aspect of a website annoys you the most? You have provided a lot of great responses so far, but don’t worry, if you have an opinion on the matter, it’s not too late to join the conversation.

Now, I’d like to turn the question around, and make it a little more difficult. My question is this: “What makes a good website? What features in a website make your browsing experience more pleasant?”

I know, it’s a tough question because it’s easy to take good aspects of web design for granted. In your opinion, what are the best things to do when creating a website? Join the conversation in our forum post titled, “Website Design 101: What you should do.”

Friday, September 26, 2008

Website Design 101: What not to do

Last week, we posed the question: “What aspect of a website annoys you the most?” If you could talk to a room full of web designers, is there any one thing you would ask them to stop doing? What could they do to make your browsing experience a little more enjoyable?

Well, here’s your chance. Join the conversation in our forum and voice your opinion on this very topic.

Our goal is simple: We want to turn your responses into a helpful article for web designers or webmasters of company sites. We hope that it will provide them insight into how others view their site.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

10 ways the economic problems will change IT

The state of the economy has been all over the news this year, but was shoved into the spotlight last week. I knew that the credit crunch was affecting the financial industry, but didn’t realize it was so bad until last week.

We’ve seen the effect on the financial industry, but what about IT? How will the IT industry be affected by these economic problems? I ran across an article on entitled, “10 ways the credit crunch will hit IT” which attempts to answer that very question. It’s a pretty good read, and I feel that most of it is spot-on.

What do you think? How is the economy affecting IT at your company?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Debugging and the 5 Stages of Grief

Anyone who has ever written a line of code knows the pains of debugging. In fact, some would say it causes emotional pain. According to this article, a programmer goes through 5 stages of grief upon realizing there’s a bug in their code.

More importantly, bugs waste time, costing companies hours in productivity. As a result of these lost hours, bugs also waste money. I remember a report about 5 years back that placed the cost of software bugs on the economy at around $60 billion. Wow.

From a programmer’s perspective however, bugs are no fun to fix. The general consensus I’ve received from programmers is that while they love their jobs, they hate debugging.

We’ve had many programmers tell us, “m-Power makes programming fun again!” Why? It’s simply because m-Power generates open source, error-free java code. It allows them to spend their time being productive, without having to worry about bugs.

Try it out for yourself for free. Build 2 error-free applications in 45 minutes with m-Power using our online lab. You don’t even have to know Java or be a programmer to use m-Power.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wanted: Cheap, Talented IT Workers

The latest problem to hit the IT industry: talent, or lack thereof. As this article states, corporations are complaining that universities aren’t producing enough qualified job candidates. As a result, corporations turn to outsourcing to answer the talent problem.

Meanwhile, outsourcing leads to job cuts, which results in more IT workers in need of jobs. Therefore, if more IT workers need jobs, then the IT talent is out there just waiting to be hired. If talent is available, what’s the real problem here? The real problem is this: Companies want cheap, talented IT workers, and that’s hard to find in the U.S.

Therefore, companies turn to outsourcing for the apparent cost savings. On paper, it looks like a great idea. If you can get the same job done for half the price, why not? They fail to realize that there’s a whole lot more than money to think about when considering outsourcing. Just read this article to learn a few of them.

Here’s my question for you: If you could keep your development in-house and complete projects faster and cheaper than you could with outsourcing, why wouldn’t you? Try our online lab to learn why m-Power is a practical alternative to outsourcing. It will only take 45 minutes and could end up saving your company a bundle.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

20 (more) IT mistakes to avoid

Problems have a way of just sneaking up on you. Sometimes they arise as a result of mistakes that just slip through the cracks, and you don’t realize that you are doing them until it’s too late.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” With that in mind, I urge you to read this article entitled, “20 more IT mistakes to avoid.” Who knows, maybe you will be able to stop a problem before it happens.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Website Design 101: What not to do

The great thing about technology is the speed at which it advances. Unfortunately, with every great technology advancement, there are people who will figure out how to use it to annoy you. Take for example the telephone. Great invention. Now throw in telemarketers. Annoying.

We have recently been adding forum posts aimed to help with web design. But now, I'd like to turn that around and ask you a question: What features annoy you the most about certain websites? How have people used new web technology, or even old technology, to make your internet experience a little less enjoyable?

We've started the discussion with our forum post, "Website Design 101: What not to do". We'd love to hear your thoughts on the issue.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rich Internet (Business) Applications

Rich internet applications (RIAs) are web applications that have features and functionality of desktop applications. They are interactive, flashy, and usually offer rich functionality. More and more, they are being used to answer the demand for a better online user experience.

While I believe that RIAs are very useful for a business, there are a couple things that companies need to keep in mind before using them:

  1. Don’t use RIAs just because they are flashy. Figure out how they can be used to help your business before you do anything.
  2. Keep it simple. There are many possibilities when using RIAs, and it’s very possible to go overboard with functionality. Don’t confuse the user. Create something that is both beneficial and easy to use.
For instance, here’s a good example of how RIAs can be used to compliment Business Intelligence. Scroll your mouse over the little “callout” icons on the page and you’ll see one beneficial use for RIAs. Do you see how simple that is, yet very helpful at the same time?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Top 10 Cities for Tech Jobs

Which city/metro area in the U.S. is the number one location for technology jobs? I thought it was the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, until I saw this list. Surprisingly enough, at least for me, it wasn’t even in the top two. Even more surprising for me was the number 2 city. Never would’ve guessed it.

Where does your city rank? You can find the entire list here.>>

Monday, September 08, 2008

How to Keep Visitors on Your Website

A good website will tell a visitor everything they need to know, and what they should do, all in a matter of seconds. Does your website do that? Take a good look at your company website. Is it clear and easy to understand, or is it confusing?

Does your website need help attracting and retaining visitors? We have a few tips for you in our latest forum post entitled, “How to keep visitors on your website.”

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Contradictory IT Industry

It’s no secret that the economy is affecting the IT industry, but here’s what I find strange: No one seems to exactly agree on how the economy is affecting IT.

I recently read two articles published in the last few days. One article reports that CIO’s are trimming staff. The other reports that CIO’s are having trouble finding people to hire, and that IT workers are in demand. Both of these articles are based on survey results.

Which is it?

I’m not the only one to notice this. Here’s an interesting article in which explains a few of the seeming contradictions in the IT industry today. For example: The author reports that IT budgets are getting tighter, but cost cutting is not a priority. Sound contradictory?

Here’s the reason: There’s not a lot that can be cut easily these days. Rather than sitting idle and weathering the economic storm, IT shops should be focusing on how to grow the business. They must look for ways to achieve fast returns on low investments.

It’s not as difficult as you might think. Here’s a good example of a company that used a low investment to increase profits dramatically.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

20 Tech Habits That Will Improve Your Life

I’m a firm believer in using technology to better your life. Lucky for me, there are plenty of tools out there that promise to do just that. But not all of them actually deliver on that promise. How do you weed out the good from the bad? recently published an article detailing 20 tech habits that will improve your life. I hope you find it as useful as I did.

Monday, September 01, 2008

What does your website say about your company?

Why does your company have a website, and what is its purpose? Is it to keep up with the times? Provide information? E-Commerce?

These days, your website should be more than just information or e-commerce. Your website is the face of your company. Like it or not, it says something about your company to potential customers.

If you haven't given this much thought in the past, read our latest forum post entitled, “What does your website say about your company”.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Inadequate Tools Send Software Down the Drain

According to a recent study, Fortune 500 Companies abandon one-third of software development projects after implementation because they don’t meet user needs. Also, the average project costs $3.2 million and takes 1,300 person months to complete.

Isn’t that ridiculous? We always just assume that Fortune 500 companies have their act together. Guess not.

Reasons cited for this failure includes poor planning, lack of a process, and inadequate tools. The first two reasons can be easily corrected internally. However, when choosing a development tool, here are a few steps to take.

  1. Create a list of things you need to accomplish with this tool. Don't settle for anything less.
  2. Take it for a test run. Learn as much as you can about what your "learning curve to productivity" will be before your invest.
  3. Ask for a sample application. Make the vendor prove theirs is the right solution for you.
Following these steps could be the difference between success and failure. Take this Global 500 Company for example. They knew what they needed, found a good solution, and took the proper steps to ensure success.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

5 ways to drive your best workers away

Talk to any manager today, and they’ll tell you how difficult it is to attract good talent. Many of those managers will also complain about how difficult it is to retain good talent.

If that’s the case, they have no one to blame but themselves. Talent retention is the responsibility of the manager. If you have trouble keeping your best employees around for very long, maybe it’s time to take a good look at your management style.

How do you keep your best talent? You can start by not doing these 5 things.

Monday, August 25, 2008

CSS Tutorial #5: Cascading Order and Inheritance

When working with CSS, do you ever come across problems that just don’t make sense? Almost like the code isn’t doing what you told it to do? If it’s not a syntax error, it could have something to do with cascading order and inheritance.

In this CSS tutorial, you will learn the basics of cascading order and inheritance. When two styles conflict, which one is used? Which selector is most important? These questions are all answered in the latest tutorial, which you can find here.>>

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Simpler Approach to SOA

If I've learned one thing in all my years in this industry, it is this: Keep it simple. More often than not, the probability of failure is directly proportional to the level of complexity in a project.

Here's an interesting article in, entitled "A simpler approach to SOA" which touches on Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Web-Oriented Architecture (WOA). The author explains how a "keep it simple" approach is far better when it comes to SOA.

I wish more people would espouse the KIS approach. Why try to force a complicated SOA on your company when you could accomplish the same thing faster with a WOA? SOA is more difficult, expensive, and has less of a chance to succeed than a WOA.

Choose the simplest solution that will solve your problem. Whether it's an SOA or WOA, m-Power can simplify doing it. We've kept it simple in this WOA demo site. . .

Click here to see a good example of a WOA.>>

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

30 Skills Every IT Person Needs

From a skills standpoint, how would you rank yourself as an IT professional? If you think you know quite a bit, then here's a good test for you. Read this article entitled, “30 skills every IT person needs”.

How many of them do you have? Would you add anything to this list?

Monday, August 18, 2008

8 Ways to Improve Your Business Systems

In a perfect world, enterprise software (ERP’s, MRP’s, BI, etc…) would do everything you need it to do and more. Anything with a 6-7 figure price tag should work smoothly, install easily, and create revenue for your company…in a perfect world.

But, the world isn’t perfect. Anyone who’s ever implemented an ERP knows it often takes longer, costs more, and does less than you thought. (Exhibit A: Read about the Waste Management/SAP litigation.)

A couple things to watch out for with enterprise software:

  1. One size does not fit all. Every company is different, and every company may need different features. You can’t expect a boxed solution to exactly fit all of your company’s needs.
  2. It becomes outdated. Your business needs will change over time, but will your enterprise software keep up? Probably not without expensive upgrades.

But don't worry, there are ways to overcome these obstacles. Find out how: Read our free white paper which examines 8 different approaches for improving your Enterprise Systems.

Friday, August 15, 2008

10 Ways to Kickstart Underachievers

When you hear the word “underachiever”, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Most likely, it’s the name of a previous coworker or employee.

What happened to that underachiever? When it comes to poor performance, a manager generally has two options:

  1. Terminate the employee, or...
  2. Try to help the employee
Unfortunately, managers usually choose the first option based on the assumption poor performance is always the employee's fault. In reality, there are many reasons for poor performance, some easily correctable, and others directly tied to the manager themselves.

Before pulling out that pink slip, try to help an underachieving employee. This article in lists 10 ways to potentially do just that.

I personally like number 5. Having the right tools to work with can make all the difference, for any employee or company. For example, look at what this company was able to accomplish with the right tools.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Career Tip: How to Move Up at Work

What kind of person are you? Are you one who constantly looks for ways to advance your career, or are you satisfied just staying put?

I think that most people would claim to be, or at least want to be, someone who is not satisfied just standing still in their career. If you are that type of person, make sure you read this article in entitled, “Career Advice: How to move into a leadership role”.

Monday, August 11, 2008

How to: Create rollover buttons with CSS

What is a web button? In its most basic form, a button is a link, a doorway to another page. That being said, would you rather go through a plain door, or a fancy door?

Web buttons play an important role in web design. If used correctly, they can attract visitors to a specific page, and if used incorrectly, they can do the exact opposite.

In the past, fancy web buttons were only possible with javascript or Flash. But did you know that you can do the same thing with CSS? How? This forum post entitled, “How to: Make Rollover Buttons with CSS” will clearly explain why this formerly difficult task is actually quite easy.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Free Whitepaper: Application Modernization

Business technology is moving at such a rapid pace, it’s sometimes hard to keep up. However, the need to modernize legacy applications is greater than ever, for a few very important reasons:

  • Legacy applications are both expensive and difficult to maintain.
  • Companies need to keep up with competition
  • Modernized applications increase business agility
If modernization is so critical to the success of a company, why do so many hold off? Is it the price? Complexity? Fear of the unknown?

If you have questions about modernization, we have a free whitepaper that explains it in detail. This whitepaper covers the reasons to modernize, the 4 different ways you can modernize, and important details to watch out for in the process.

You can find the free modernization whitepaper here.>>

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

IT jobs at risk in 2009?

According to a recent survey by Goldman, Sachs & Co., the IT industry is feeling the effects of a slow economy. Going into 2009, staff cuts are likely, with contract workers feeling the brunt of the cuts.

A second survey indicated that IT spending will also decrease. CIOs want to stick with tried and proven methods over new technologies and ideas. They are looking for a fast and high ROI from their purchases.

How else will the slow economy affect the IT industry in 2009? Read the full story on>>.

Monday, August 04, 2008

CSS Tutorial #4: DIV and SPAN Tags

If you had to create a web page, could you do it? If so, could you do it without using tables?

How can you design a web page without using tables? In this latest CSS Tutorial, entitled “CSS Tutorial #4: DIV and SPAN tags”, we overview the DIV and SPAN tags and how they are used in design and layout of a page.

If you are still unclear why using CSS is better than using tables, read our forum post entitled, “Benefits of Using CSS for Website Layout”.

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Myth of the Interchangeable Programmer

The software development industry has a problem. According to this article in Datamation, the problem stems from two software management formulas (SMFs) that drive much of the industry:

  • Software Produced = Number of Workers x Hours Worked

  • Cost of Software = Number of Workers x Hours Worked x Hourly Cost Per Worker
At first glance, these equations might make sense. But, look again and you’ll see the problem: They use the assumption that all developers are interchangeable. Based on that assumption, logic dictates that quantity is better than quality, and low priced developers are always the best option.

Sound familiar? This is why companies use offshore developers.

In reality, all developers are not equal. The formulas fail to account for things like individual skill, work ethic, incorrect cultural assumptions, distractions, etc… Rather than answering project deadline problems with more developers, try to find ways to make your current developers more productive.

It’s not as hard as you might think. This company made their developers more productive and was able to meet a near impossible deadline despite being short a developer. Find out how they did it>>

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How to avoid 14 common IT mistakes

Here’s an unsettling statistic: According to this article, only 29% of IT projects are completed successfully. One contributing factor is that IT departments are repeating the same mistakes over and over.

Most of the problems boil down to poor planning or lack of communication, but all are correctable. Find out what the problems are and how to fix them>>

Monday, July 28, 2008

Application Tip: Functions and UDF's

Most m-Power developers don't know that they can use data-base functions and even their own User Defined Functions (UDFs) in their m-Power servlets.

In this forum post, I will show you how to develop your own UDFs, how to call them in your servlets, and some of the powerful things you can do with them.

Think of it as External Objects on Steroids!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Application Development 2.0

By now, you know what Web 2.0 means, and have no doubt been saturated with the term. Well, here’s a term you may not have heard of: Application Development 2.0.

As you might have guessed, application development 2.0 involves applying web 2.0 concepts to application development. According to this article in, there are 5 ways to do that:

  1. Involve users in quality assurance

  2. Keep it simple

  3. Build quickly

  4. Release early and often

  5. Let users decide new features
In short, application development 2.0 is all about the users. The developer must receive input from users and then work quickly to give the users what they want. As a result, many are abandoning the more powerful (but more difficult) languages such as Java, and using dynamic scripting languages for the sake of speed.

However, some people like to get the best of both worlds. This developer found a way to use Java to create feature-rich applications faster than dynamic scripting languages. Find out how he did it>>

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

6 Recession-Proof IT Jobs

It seems like at least once a week, some big company makes the news for “massive layoffs”. It kind of makes you wonder: Who’s next? Obviously, certain industries are hit harder than others, but it’s enough to make anyone at least a little nervous.

Here’s a bit of good news. A study was recently completed which lists the 20 most recession-proof professions. How does IT rank in this list? Out of the 20 jobs listed, 6 of them were in IT.

Is your job one of them? Find out here>>

Monday, July 21, 2008

Upload at Will

We are excited to introduce a new m-Power enhancement: uploading. As the name implies, it gives m-Power users the power to create applications that upload files.

How might this benefit you? Here are just a few ways:

  • Do you need to receive files from customers or partners? Think of things like damage claims processing, maintenance & warranty tracking, YouTube or iTunes type functionality.

  • It eliminates the need to use inferior file transfer options, such as email.

  • It's integration is seamless - automatically connecting the uploaded object or file to the data-base record that tracks it.

If you are currently an m-Power customer, this documentation will explain how to set up and use the upload function.

If you are not an m-Power customer, learn more about it here>>

Friday, July 18, 2008

Most Employees are Frustrated With IT

There are always two sides to a story, and I’m sure this article is no exception. A new Gartner report is out, with findings that aren’t exactly shocking: Employees are frustrated with IT.

I’ve heard it before, and it usually goes like this. Someone brings a project to IT with a pre-conceived idea of how long it should take without understanding either the complexity of the project or how many other projects IT is currently working on. When it takes longer than expected, they become frustrated. Meanwhile, IT is frustrated with the unrealistic expectations.

What's the answer? Unfortunately, it's unlikely that the expectations will change, but does that mean IT has to find the solution?

Not necessarily. This company found a solution, and met a near impossible deadline as a result. Find out how they did it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

5 Ways to Put Your Value in the Spotlight at Work

Do you ever feel like you work hard without receiving recognition? Do you add a lot of value, but nobody seems to notice?

Maybe you need to do a better job of demonstrating your value.

This article in entitled, “5 Ways to Put Your Value in the Spotlight” will help you do just that. It outlines methods you can use to generate a “buzz”, and help you get noticed.

Monday, July 14, 2008

CSS Tutorial # 3: Class and ID Selectors

Last week, we explained CSS syntax, and how easy it is to use. This week we move into two of the most important concepts in CSS: Class and ID Selectors. Anyone who wants to use CSS must learn why Class and ID selectors are important, how to use them, and the difference between the two.

This tutorial will give a detailed explanation, as well as a sample webpage to illustrate these concepts. If you're interested in learning all about Class and ID selectors, click here>>

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

10 Emerging Technologies That Could Change Our Lives

Try to think back 10 years ago. How has life changed since then as a result of technology? Thinking back, I’m amazed at the drastic changes that have occurred in 10 short years.

For instance, digital cell phones were just coming out, and all you could do with one was…make and receive phone calls! It was rare for a battery to last all day, and phones were getting so “small” that people could carry them on their hips without being too much of an interference.

Now try to think forward a few years. How do you think technology will change our lives? The Technology Review has published a list of 10 emerging technologies for 2008, which are most likely to change the way we live. What do you think? Can you add anything to the list?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Is Outsourcing a Security Risk?

When you hear the word, “Outsourcing”, what comes to your mind? Big savings? Big pain? Smart business? Necessary evil? According to a recent security study detailed on, the two words that should come to your mind are, “Security risk”.

Most of the participants in the security study agreed that outsourcing increases the likelihood of hacking. However, while they feel that internally written code is far safer, many companies still outsource their application development, undoubtedly for cost reasons.

Quite a dilemma? Do you choose the cheap but vulnerable option, or the secure but expensive one?

What if you could choose the cheap and secure option? We think you can. Here’s how.

Develop your applications internally with m-Power. m-Power generates java code through a simple point-and-click interface, increasing development productivity tenfold. It’s cheaper than outsourcing and builds industry standard security into everything it generates. You will save time and money, without worrying about security.

To learn more about m-Power click here. To experience m-Power for yourself, try out our free online lab!

Monday, July 07, 2008

CSS Tutorial #2: CSS Syntax

Following up last week’s forum post entitled, “CSS Tutorial: Style Sheet Types”, we are now moving into CSS syntax. If you are new to CSS, you will find it very easy to understand and write.

In this next forum post entitled, “CSS Tutorial #2: CSS Syntax”, you will learn the basics of style sheet syntax and how to write a simple style sheet.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

100 Best Places to Work in IT

As an IT professional, what do you look for in a company?

ComputerWorld recently published a list entitled, “100 Best Places to Work in IT 2008”. According to their findings, IT workers want:

  • good pay,
  • challenging work, and
  • ample opportunities.
Companies who made the list do a good job of combining those important things with other unique perks.

Did your company make the list? Find out here.>>

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Spend to save?

How would you like to buy some savings? Purchase a cost reduction? Spend to save?

Sound ridiculous? Well, according to this article in, spending money is often the best way to earn it. In a slow economy, it's especially important to spend wisely in order to position your company for long-term cost reduction. According to the article, companies should spend money on things that will make them more agile or provide immediate business benefits.

Does m-Power fit that description? Our customers tell us that m-Power typically pays for itself after just one project. But don't take it from us, here's a happy customer who reported an ROI that was "way beyond what was originally conceived" using m-Power.

Curious to see what m-Power will do for your company? As a proof-of-concept, we will build you a custom web application over your own files, absolutely free and without further obligation. Just fill out this short form to get started!

Monday, June 30, 2008

CSS Tutorial: Style Sheet Types

Over the past few weeks, we’ve added some high level CSS tutorials to our forum. Our forum is used by people with a wide variety of skill levels in a wide variety of areas. That being said, I’ve recently received a few requests for some more basic CSS tutorials.

Over the next few weeks, we intend to take a step back and examine the basic principles of CSS. Please check out our forum for the first of these tutorials entitled, “CSS Tutorial: Style Sheet Types”.

Friday, June 27, 2008

5 Things You Should Never Tell Your Boss

Do you find yourself often telling your boss things like, “That’s impossible” or “There’s only one way”? Do you regularly surprise him/her with bad news? Well, your boss doesn’t want to hear it, according to this recent Computerworld article entitled, “5 Things You Should Never Tell Your Boss”.

While I liked the article, and thought it had some good advice, I think it just takes a little common sense to figure out what your boss doesn’t want to hear. Just try to put yourself in your manager’s shoes, and ask, “Would I want to hear this if I was in his/her position”?

For those of you who found the first article interesting, you would probably enjoy the follow-up article entitled, “5 Things You Should Always Tell Your Boss”.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Positioning with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

Before Cascading Style Sheets, a web developers tool for layout was the table. With CSS comes more layout options, which provide for easier positioning, neater code, and more versatility. However, positioning is one of the most misunderstood parts of CSS.

The two extra layout tools made possible with CSS are called "positioning" and "floats". However, before you learn about these tools, you must first understand the box model. But before you can learn any of these concepts, you should understand why they're important. We have written up a few handy tutorials explaining these concepts, which can be found in our forum.

To learn why CSS is better than tables for layout, click here.>>

To learn more about the box model, click here.>>

To learn more about CSS positioning, click here.>>

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The BI Market Is Shrinking?

According to Gartner Research quoted in this article, the Business Intelligence (BI) market grew 13% internationally in 2007. In the US, however, it grew only 5%. Considering the growing importance being placed on BI, that’s a little surprising. Analysts say the weakened US economy is the main factor, which will continue to have a negative impact on BI in the US.

Gartner's research leads me to the conclusion that many companies don’t see business intelligence as being worth the cost. If a company truly thought that the benefits of a BI tool would pay for itself and more, they would buy it. However, when you have to drop 6 figures on a BI solution, that’s a hard concept to grasp.

Good business intelligence doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn't take much research to find that there are affordable options that have all the power at a fraction of the price. A weak economy doesn’t have to be a reason to avoid BI.

If you’re curious to see what an affordable BI solution can do, check out our Crazybikes demo site, which was built using m-Power. If you would like to see what m-Power can do for you, we will build a live custom web application over your own files, absolutely free and without obligation. Simply fill out this short form to get started!

Friday, June 20, 2008

How to: Do more cool things with AJAX and your web 2.0 servlets

This post will show you how to:

1. Make asynchronous servlet calls in your web 2.0 servlets,

2. Fill input fields with information obtained through an asynchronous call,

3. Fill an area of the screen with information from an asynchronous call.

That sure sounds onerous. What this post really does, for those of you who will stick through a little tech talk, is show you how to make your web 2.0 servlets behave as if the information is coming from a locally attached PC.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

15 Turning Points in Tech History

In your opinion, what are a few of the greatest turning points in tech history? Just for fun, try to come up with a few, and then read this InfoWorld article entitled, “15 turning points in tech history” to see if any of yours are mentioned. I personally found the article to be fascinating, though I would have made a few changes.

For example, the lithium-ion battery was a seemingly small breakthrough with huge implications. It helped make the cell phone revolution possible over the last decade, which in turn affected countless aspects of our lives, from the way we communicate to the way we do business. Do you really think that the cell phone would have had such a huge impact if they had large clunky batteries that couldn’t hold a charge all day?

I’m curious to hear your thoughts. What would you have added or removed from this list? Feel free to comment to this post with your ideas.

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