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9:58am EDT July 22, 2002

Balancing act

Chris Perrow, owner of Perrow Organizational Systems, likes to quote the statistic that the average professional faces 36 hours worth of work — every day. And loses 45 minutes each day searching for stuff lost in piles. The solution: Create a system for expediting all those tasks. In fact, it’s a priority we’ve had on the calendar for months. How to reach: Perrow Organizational Systems, (330) 686-0282


Good spin

How do you achieve a consistent level of excellence in management? “You need to focus on the internal aspects of your operations just as you do on client or customer service,” says Dan Stanowick, senior VP at the Akron office of Edward Howard & Co., which Inside PR magazine recently named the nation’s best-managed mid-sized PR firm. In its ranking of 150 agencies, the magazine spotlighted the firm—with offices in Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton as well—for its processes in strategic planning, investor relations, staff training and development and overall management.


It’s that doohicky thing with the little lines

Now that Europe’s new currency is a reality, businesses seeking global domination have yet another problem, the euro symbol. Where is it in those pesky PC fonts, anyway? The answer is as simple as it is frightening: it’s not.

Solutions are becoming available; for example, for $39.95, CenturionSoft’s new Eurofonter utility adds the euro symbol to all TrueType fonts. For more information, or to see what the symbol looks like, check out the company’s Web site at www.centurionsoft.com.


The spoken word

Utopian visions earlier in this century prophesied that technology would free us from the toils of work. Fact is, computers have increased our workloads in many cases. CEOs and clerical workers alike are now online and under greater pressure than before. But here’s a new PC program for use with your sound card that will relieve the pressure of all those e-mails.

It’s Talking E-mail, a Windows program by 4Developers LLC that audibly notifies you when you’ve got mail. An animated cartoon character pops up on your screen and begins reading the mail to you, whether in plain text, HTML or RTF format. While you’re busy with some other task, you can listen and decide if an incoming e-mail is important enough for you to stop what you’re doing and respond immediately, or put your reply lower on your priority list.

Using nothing more than your e-mail account and sound card, Talking E-mail allows you to specify if you want to hear who sent the message, its subject and how many lines should be read. You can stop the readout at any time, or launch your default e-mail program to reply immediately. To make receiving e-mail entertaining versus ordinary, you can customize the program’s cartoon character attributes to make it fun, choosing from a variety of animations, sounds and other settings to specify behavior and message delivery.

Talking E-mail costs $14.95, but before you buy it , you can download a trial version from www.4developers.com/talkmail. For more information, e-mail sales@4developers.com. You can be sure they’ll hear your request.


Fighting fraud

With online business booming and estimated to hit $37.5 million by 2002, it is becoming more important to be wary of fraudulent Internet practices. The National Fraud Center is an international provider of risk solutions, fraud prevention and interdiction programs to all in need, from small to mid-sized businesses and government agencies to Fortune 100 companies. The center’s Web site, www.nationalfraud.com, contains these tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of cyberfraud.

  • Study disclosure statements carefully.

  • Check with regulatory authorities for license information.

  • Make sure online investment companies are registered with state securities agencies.

  • Do not provide credit card or social security numbers unless you are positive the company is legitimate and the information is absolutely necessary.

  • Do not provide credit card numbers unless protocols are in place on a secure site.

  • Be wary of “free” bargain packages.

  • Do not be pressured into buying NOW. Understand the offer.


Armchair investing

There is a new product on the market to help the armchair investor avoid getting sacked. Indigo was designed by 20-year veteran at the Board of Trade, Frank Alfonso, who developed similar programs for future traders while at the board. The software, based on statistical research, has all testing and analysis built in. Indigo identifies actual trading patterns and has 100 percent objective buy/sell hold signals and signals the investor like an alarm clock when it is time to buy or sell.


Avoiding the hospital

Mobile Business Aid offers an alternative to the hospital for nonlife-threatening emergencies that happen on the job. CorpCare, of Akron General Hospital, has teamed up with national ambulance operator American Medical Response to bring paramedics and emergency medical techs to the workplace to treat minor injuries. The new service saves the time and money of the traditional emergency room visit. Mobile Service Aid expects to charge about one-third the cost of such a hospital visit. To sign up or receive more information, call (888) 267-4457.