Jan 05

Use Vitalsleep To Reduce Snoring Significantly

vtrssThe VitalSleep anti-snoring device is manufactured by the Snore Reliever Company that is based in the New York City of the US. It is a trademark product in its own right, complete with a webpage. However, it is still owned by the Snore Reliever Company. The VitalSleep helps reduce snoring significantly, especially at night. It has been designed to be comfortable during sleep and can be easily adjusted. The product has not been rated, this could be due to a number of factors; one of them being that the product is still rather new.

Customers have been able to speak about the product as well. Most of those who gave reviews said that they have been able to restore their marriages that were headed for collapse. A certain number of customers have been able to approve its use for those who bite their tongues while asleep. Many snorers who previously had a breathing problem while sleeping, leading to the biting of the tongue, have given VitalSleep the thumbs up as they are now recovering from the wounds their teeth inflicted on their tongues. Since it fully customizes into the mouth, the mouthpiece offers enough comfort to several users. Find more info at a vitalsleep review website before going for any other anti-snoring device.

What Causes Snoring?

Gaining extra weight could make someone snore at night. The extra weight can be a result of medication taken or an imbalance in hormones. It is important to have a sleep study done to establish the cause of snoring. Drinking a lot of alcohol before bed could be the cause of snoring. A snoring mouthpiece must be used every night to eliminate snoring that can result in poor health. An appropriate pillow must be used to support the neck and head to prevent snoring when throat muscles relax. Sleeping pills taken can also facilitate snoring.

Muscles weaken as one ages; a number of elderly persons snore in sleep. A snoring mouthpiece will stop snoring allowing a person to attain a good night rest. Colds, flu and other types of allergies could be the cause of snoring. Sleeping on the stomach or on the back could cause loud snoring. Being too tired before going to bed could also cause snoring. Most people who snore do not receive adequate sleep as they wake up frequently in the night; the circle of snoring continues until a solution is found. An elongated uvula could be the course of snoring; therefore, surgical reduction of the uvula may be necessary to eliminate snoring permanently.


Feb 20

With Data Recovery Services We Can Get Our Lost Files

If you have some important data in your computer and you are thinking that you have lost your data then you are completely wrong. The material or data which looks to be lost or could be lost actually and also not into your access as well into reality is not lost forever and can also get returned very easily. The data which is lost can be recovered with the help of professional data recovery services or utilities from data recovery service. Lots of times various people do not give much importance to such kind of incidents and afterwards suffer major problems and losses of their necessary material or data. It is the most important feature of data recovery service as they have qualified techniques and experienced techniques and qualities. So they should also be able to identify the cause of the failure and set it right in pure legal means and ways. Simple such kinds of technicians are professionally trained to work continuously until the recovery of data or until the time a solution to your problem is found. Data recovery services are really helpful for the people who are professionally required to store the data for emergency needs and they also get lots of worries if their data got lost.

Finding A Data Recovery Service

The particular data recovery service could be the safest substitute for recover some sort of drive with a mechanical harm. If there may be an uncommon sound on the hard drive, consider it mechanically bad. Also, it is a good idea to send a device to the lab if the magnitude of the problem is too big. Last not necessarily least, one sends the data to this recovery service on account of responsibility considerations. If the data is irrecoverable, it is the service exactly who says which, not an individual. To getting a recovery service asks local IT folks whenever they have just about any proven reference point. Maybe a site one too used in past times. Open Yahoo and search for the data recovery service, you start with the local location. Call them and ask about your situation. Make sure the following points tend to be covered: They truly understood your situation and just about any constraints thereof, Delivery and turnaround time, “”No data – not any fee”" policy. You do not need to pay whenever they fail to recover data. The data recovery service job just is not very low cost. However, there are typical cases that might go under a hundred dollars. Online companies are really as good, as well as cheaper, in comparison with local organizations. Never seek to manually correct a physically-damaged hard drive. Mailing a hard disk by using regular mail is disappointed, as it could get lost. Use an insured right away service.

Some Extra Services From Service Providers

When you employ the services of a data recovery service provider, you rest assured that you will get back on your daily computer services. There are experts that can help you on the same with the very recent data being derived first then the old data after. There are very competitive prices in this service for there are very many service providers trying to get clients choose their services. The service engineers who will be working on your confidential data will make sure that it remains confidential and it never in the public domain. This is very important for the companies dealing with very crucial and confidential data. The other very important extra service is the delivery of the repaired hard drive. The process is very simple for it entails filling up an online form giving details to the chosen data recovery service provider. There is a free evaluation of the situation of the hard drive and then they will inform you on the status of the hard drive and the estimated cost. This takes a few hours since the time of delivery. After that, you will choose to move on with the data recovery service or not due to one reason of another. These are the major steps towards your data recovery.

Why You Need A Data Recovery Service?

The major reason as to why one needs a data recovery service is due to data loss. Data loss is caused by several incidences. The first one is due to human error. This occurs when you accidentally format your disk. Statistics show that this is one of the major causes of data loss in the modern world. It is sometimes brought about by one becoming absent minded while working or not reading the instructions from the computer keenly. A person who does not have clear knowledge concerning computers can also find themselves in such situations. Another way you would need a data recovery service is the moment you lose your data through natural disaster. This could be floods, earthquakes, or fire. This completely damages computers including your disks. However, there are experts who can work on your disks and recover a good percentage of the lost data. Computer viruses are also a major cause of loss of data from your machine. You need to keep your computer completely protected from them by installing an antivirus. This antivirus should also be updated daily, weekly, or monthly to maintain its strength. Hardware or system problems are also a part of the reason why computers lose data. When not detected early enough, this could lead to a permanent loss of data.


Jan 29

Get Your Hard Drive Fixed By A Professional


Your sick and clicking hard drive should be replaced at once with one that does not make the noise. The clicking hard drive will not function at all. There are some people who can perform the common functions like changing the clicking hard drive with a new one whereas there are others that cannot do that and they need an expert to do it for them. You can read the manual and take up the task on your own if you can do it. You can have the hard drive removal tools and they can help you to fix such a problem. These tools are available and they can help you to fix any problem connected to the hard drive. The market has become very competitive and the fixing of problems related to computers are catered for by very many service providers who are in fact very competent and they are going to do it at pocket friendly prices that will not leave a dent in your pocket. Things have become easier and a clicking hard drive need not make you to lose your sleep for it can be fixed even immediately. You can reach out for the best service providers online or even locally.

Tips On Fixing A Clicking Hard Drive

It may be annoying to hear noises coming out from your hard drive whenever you use your computer; but there is a more pressing issue here. If you experience a clicking hard drive, then you may have a severe problem. This could range from a hard drive just malfunctioning or one that is near its death. Now, this should not really scare you if you like tinkering with the inside parts of your computer. You will only need some precision screwdrivers, dust remover spray and knowledge of the parts you will be playing with. But first, you need to check whether you really have a physical failure or some sectors in the hard drive can still be fixed. Run the CHKDSK C: /F /R command. This will run through the system of your computer and check for issues. The process will fix any damaged sectors. Restart the computer to see if the process has fixed your clicking hard drive problem. If you are still hearing the same noises, then you will have to remove the hard drive and check from the inside. Open the hard drive using a precision screwdriver and check if the arm is what is making the clicking hard drive noise. Use the dust remover spray; this will remove any dirt and dust that has accumulated in the hard drive. Plug the hard drive back and turn on your computer. If it is still making clicking noise, unplug it and clean the rest of the hard drive using the dust remover spray.

Recover Your Lost Data Quickly

With the advancement of technology, computers have become a must have for today’s generation. From personal documents to business worksheets, emails, and spreadsheets, computers have made work easier for many of us. The hard drive, in particular, comes to the rescue every time we need to store something that attracts our attention, a movie clip, music video, image, wallpaper. This is all good, until the hard drive develops problems and fails completely, leaving us to find a data recovery professional to help us out. Before the hard drive fails completely, it will give off some warning signs. Ever heard of a clicking hard drive? Such a hard drive produces a clicking sound every time the user accesses it. The clicking hard drive scenario has occurred to quite a number of us, only to be ignored. If you have such an experience, then you know what happens next. The hard drive fails to boot, and often will not work until a professional takes a look at it. Do not let your clicking hard drive go unchecked. If for some reason you cannot get the time to take it to a professional, at least take the precaution of backing up the data and shutting down the system. This will prevent any further damage to the hard drive, until it can be repaired  here.

What Is Data Recovery Service?

Data recovery is a term that has a meaning of finding data that has been lost. This data could be stored on the hard disks, flash disks and any other forms of storage in a computer. Many of the computer users who have no knowledge concerning data recovery always consider their data permanently lost and never to be recovered. This makes them give up, losing hope of finding their data ever again. Others have even fallen victim of misunderstanding the concepts that govern this particular subject. Data recovery service is often offered at a fee by computer experts who know how to recover lost data. A process could take few hours to days depending on how bad the disk has been damaged. Most experts visit your premises to do this assignment. If it is a complicated one that could take more time, they go with the disk to their workshops where they have it checked. Data recovery service does not guarantee 100% data recovery. A company that that guarantees you this could be after your money. On many occasions, computer experts have been able to recover up to 80% of your data. Data recovery service can be manual or through the use of recovery software. However, regardless of the formula one uses, you need to have an expert do it for you for best results.


Jan 26

Data Back Up Is Very Necessary

Some of the steps that can work if you want to fix the problem of a clicking hard drive for yourself are not that hard to follow. It is something you can do without a lot of hardships. The first step is to remove the laptop and make sure that it is on a level surface. That is the best surface for working on with such a task. The surface should be clear too. Hard disks work on a level surface and that is the reason as to why the level surface is required. You can try changing the drive for the drive for the fault can be on the CD or DVD but not on the hard drive. You should back up your data as you take the steps to do this. If the two first steps towards repairing your clicking hard drive do not work then it becomes necessary to involve an expert in doing this. With the help of an expert, there are chances of getting your hard drive repaired and recovering all your data. As you do these, never forget to back up all your data? Never leave your data in a clicking hard drive for the chances of losing it are high.

External Hard Drive Clicking

An external hard drive tends to emit a clicking sound owing to a loose connection, a faulty cable or a faulty power adapter. Further troubles can be avoided through a prompt troubleshooting of the issue. It is needed to unplug all the cables and check the cable connections. The cables can be plugged in and out of the sockets of the external hard drive to see whether any connection feels loose. In case hat a connection feels loose, it should be fixed immediately. There is a possibility of the cables being damaged. They should be carefully checked to see whether any damage to the cables had occurred. If the connection cables are in a satisfactory condition, the power adapter should be checked. Replace it with an identical power adapter to see the functioning. Perhaps, it is a technical malfunctioning of the power adapter, which leads to a clicking. It is important here, to use a power adapter from an identical external hard drive enclosure. If both the connection cables and the power adapter seem to function normally, the physical hard drive should be taken out of the external enclosure and it should be directly connected to a computer or an external hard drive enclosure which is functioning properly. If this displays normal functioning, without the clicking, it means that the external enclosure and the cables should be replaced, as they are faulty. If the hard drive still makes the clicking noise, when connected to a separate body, it means that the problem is with the hard drive itself. It should be considered for troubleshooting.

Tips On Troubleshooting A Clicking Hard Drive

Although your computer should be nearly silent while in operating mode, there are some muted clicking sounds that come from the hard drive. There is no need to panic over these, as they are normal. But, if you start hearing audible clicking hard drive noises, then you can begin worrying. Any clicking, grinding or squealing noise coming from your hard drive even at the simplest computer task and you should be alarmed. This could mean a simple firmware problem or you are looking at a dying hard drive. Depending on the degree of damage, you can still revive your hard drive using some troubleshooting steps.

First, you can look for some free hard drive diagnostic software which is meant to help users with clicking hard drive problems. These are readily available on the internet so you should not have a hard time finding one suited for your computer’s specs. If the software found errors on your computer and there are recommended steps to resolve the clicking hard drive problem, do not proceed at once. Make sure to create a backup of all your files first. This is important as there is a risk of losing all your data once you run those software fixes. It might or might not solve your hard drive problems and the most advisable fix still is to replace your hard drive. Read more . .

Power Supply Problems Causing Hard Drive Clicking

supply can cause this crisis. If the same power lead is used for the hard drive and the other devices such as graphic cards, the hard drive may start clicking. If many devices are connected to the power supply, the number should be reduced, keeping only the essential devices for the booting of the PC. CD/DVD drives, floppy drives and additional hard drives, USB devices, modems and internal PCI and PCI express cards should be disconnected as they do not contribute in booting. After disconnecting, the PC should be restarted to check whether the clicking has stopped. If it had stopped after the removal of devices from the power supply, it means that the power supply overload has caused the clicking and a large power supply should be used in such a context. If there is an access to a high rated power supply, it should be used to check whether the clicking stops. If the clicking occurs because of an overloaded power supply, this step would be a remedy for it. If these steps do not solve the problem, the hard drive should be removed from the computer to be checked in the context of another computer. If it functions properly, it is a herald that the hard drive is not faulty. In such an instance, the drives should be checked for other complications such as loose connections.


Oct 16

Definition Of Point Of Sale Software

This modern technology tool is widely used in the business industry today. It is designed to perform a number of tasks in a short time. Point of sale software is used in the business world to register cash, to calculate profits, losses, percentages increase and decreases, and to sum up sales. It runs on a computer network so that different people can use it at the same time.

Most retailers all over the world have found it very useful and have integrated it into their daily business practices.  There are two types of point of sale software on the market today:  the off-the-shelf version and the customized version.

While both packages perform almost the same functions, the off-the-shelf version is the cheaper, more basic option while the customized version can be modified for your specific needs.  If your  business is in the start up phase, it is good to go for the more minimal version, which can manage your contacts, leads, handle your sales, and the database inventory. Point of sale software enables you to monitor your business anywhere, saving you the time and expense of traveling to your business location all the time.

Downloading Point Of Sales Through The Internet
The problem with purchasing software is that it can cost you a lot of money but it may not be the exact version that you were looking for.  In addition to that, finding some of this software is not easy and may seem like you are wasting valuable time searching for that right fit when there are packages that are ready to go right off the shelf. The best option? Find and compare a few POS software systems that offer a trial demo. Find a few that seem to suit your needs best and download them directly from the internet, right in the comfort of your own home or where ever you happen to be.

Downloading a point of sale software demo from the internet lets you play around with its features, giving you some time to decide whether it is what you want or not.  Apart from that, purchasing the point of sale software through the internet comes with instructions and  guidelines for installation and use.

The best thing about it is that when you customize your settings, they will be personal, and no one except you will know the passwords. This offers more security than having someone else do the installation for you. This is because the person who installs it will know how you have customized it and that makes it easier for criminals to hack. Check out a POS software specialist at www.possoftwaresystems.net.
Getting a free point of sale software trial version through the internet is quick and easy. Nonetheless there are certain requirements that you will have to give to prove your identity. This is a normal procedure that not only works in the point of sale software but rather it applies to almost all the software that is available online. Some of the things you will be asked to provide by the site but some of them are just a necessity. Point of sale software from POS Software Associates is available here.

Some of the things that the site will require to have are things like a valid credit card. You must probably be asking yourself why they would need a credit card for a free trial? This is because they have to prove that you are an adult in order for them to give you the trial version – credit cards are a fool proof way to prove that you are over age. In addition to that, they will expect you to pay them using the credit card in case you want to purchase the full point of sale software version. Therefore, be ready to give up your information. Some other personal details may be requested for you to fill so that they can include you to their records in order to send you the upgraded version.

Retail management systems allow you to record all sales accurately. Accurate recording of financial transactions is necessary for well balanced computations. POS systems allow you to take note of inventory levels, and they actually become relevant when you notice discrepancies between your books and your actual stocks. When you notice that the numbers do not match, it’s time to examine your transactions. Many small businesses lack the resources to accurately record their transactions, and often don’t notice irregularities until they are obvious – and by that time, there is already considerable damage done. Here is where a good monitoring and computing system, POS, can be vital.

POS systems also allow efficient management of discount sales events. This means you can quickly add discounts to items in the inventory data base – all you need to do is find the item code, add the sale price and every time that item gets run through the bar code reader, the sales price will come up. Your floor staff can also find out which items are on discount without any hassles. Markdown management is a tough task for many businesses. Identifying the items that are on discount and recording sales on discounted items are difficult tasks without help from automated systems.

The same holds true for promos. Sales calculations become a nightmare when you have to take note of items sold at regular price, items sold on discount, and items given as promotional giveaways or gifts. All these things should be put on record so you can properly monitor what’s going on in your business. This is another instance where a software-operated system is extremely vital to smooth business processes.

Advantages of Free POS Systems
Whenever something is free, people are compelled to take advantage of it. Business owners are highly encouraged to use free POS systems rather than traditional cash registers, commonly found in small stores. Some POS providers offer free trials of their systems. You can download them and get limited use to them and they do not require any upfront fees. You can immediately log in to start using the system.Typically, even with the free versions, integration with existing hardware is not a hassle. Pain is taken to ensure that the demo versions of the software run on the majority of hardware systems. The goal is to get you to use their software, and if it proves incompatible with any hardware systems, then that company has just lost a customer.

For most products that exist today, the rule of thumb is that the paid version is always better than the free version. However, with POS software, this is not always the case. It all depends on where your business is at. Larger companies will want to use the paid version because of the sheer scope of their business. The paid version generally offers 24/7 customer service, and offers more software features. Smaller companies that just need to record sales transactions and inventory checks will do OK with the free version until their business grows to the point that they will need to upgrade to the paid version.

If you are planning to add POS software to your current business management system, with the right software package, integration is generally an easy process. There is no hassle for server connection or terminal wiring. In accounting, work is made easier through POS systems. You can simply integrate other business ideas such as employee attendance and time keeping. Errors committed by employees are easily traced.


Sep 16

Five Point of Sale Tips

The layout of a store can be crucial, and the point of sale is the heart of that store. What you place around it is as important as where it is. Without realizing it, you can be making your business more or less appealing depending on where the point of sale is placed. Here are several crucial points to consider.

Make sure your point of sale is accessible. Naturally seeing a merchant close by and accessible will increase convenience, and also determine how appealing an employee seems. If they’re hidden behind a five foot tall counter or never in sight, it will come across as unfriendly and less appealing. Decide what to have around it. Is there any extra merchandise you want to sell, or advertisements you wish to promote? Point of sale is the guaranteed place for a person to see them. Moreover, it can set the atmosphere of your store. Is there candy? Brochures? Souvenirs? The point of sale may be the last impression the customer gets of the store.

Know what system to use. Do you want a mobile scanner? A cash register? Many companies are going with more digitized point of sale systems to handle complex tasks. What can you afford, what will impress most, and lend the most efficiency is crucial to understand the point of sale in your business.

The Aesthetic

Aesthetic value for point of sale equipment has been emphasized as time goes on. Devices such as scanners have become smaller and more elegant. Software designers have spent thousands of hours deciding on what the beeping sound for grocery scanners will be. In other words, there is point of sale software that is made to be seen.

Finding the right consultants who know about the display value of a point of sale area is invaluable. Appearance, more than actual material, can be the deciding factor as to whether people enjoy a point of sale. The most serious gripe in grocery stores isn’t the lack of food, but the inefficiency the customers may face in the checkout lines. That’s why people like expert John Hardy who has invested so much time into researching how visible point of sale software should look. If all else fails, he says, go with familiarity. People don’t want to see a huge area of computers and printers at the grocery store. Nor should a fancy restaurant have a loud, ringing cash register right in the middle of the guests.

Think of the five senses when it comes to point of sale: what should it look like? How does it sound (noise)? What will the customer leave thinking about? Having a nice looking point of sale as opposed to a plain one can make all the difference.

The purpose of this article is to guide the buying public in choosing their POS software. There are many available systems for sale, but you can only choose one. Considerations have to be made to ensure that the option you take is the right one for you and your business. We will name the top players in the field, making your decision an informed one.

The first in our list is Harbortouch. If you are only starting and you’re looking for a reliable brand, this one’s the best choice at a minimal upfront fee. For as low as $25, you will have the system delivered with complete package- hardware and software included. But if an upgraded version is what you’re looking for, then try AccuPos. So far, this is the only software that can provide line-item integration with the following accounting software: QuickBooks and Sage. Harbortouch and AccuPos are ready to use. Their systems are pre-defined and functions are pre-configured.

Depending on the scale of your business, there will be times when you can’t find the one that will fit your needs. If this happens, then you can go to POS Guys. This provider gives you the chance to do your POS Software your own way. You even have the chance to choose your own hardware and own payment processing provider.

Having a reliable point-of-sale system will always work to your advantage. If you’re after sales and sustainability, you can never go wrong by making the move to POS software. Your company will move faster, and your customers will be more satisfied. It will always be a win-win situation for both you and your clients.

The Key to Finding the Right POS Software
The key to finding the right POS software is to know what your business really needs. There is no right or wrong choice, but there is the optimal choice. It can be expensive or it can be affordable. You will need to find the right balance between quality and value for your money. You need to sustain your business and the best way to do that is to maintain a reliable point-of-sale system.

If you are still undecided on which one to buy, try the internet to broaden your search. There are companies which can offer shipping, just make sure that your location is included in their service area. You can choose from MACROS systems, Retail Software, POS Guys and the like. Their prices vary so make sure to compare the available features as well as searching for the right price. There are some whose program and hardware comes as one package while there are others who offer the components individually. When it comes to these two options; it is always best to choose the one that has everything in their package. Why would you buy only a portion of the service when you can have it all at once? POS software must be hassle free and worry free, like here.

Don’t entertain any more second thoughts if you have not yet made your decision to make that POS software purchase. With an antiquated tracking system and old dated cash register, the success of your business is unlikely to happen in today’s fast-paced environment.

For your business to become successful, you need to invest on tools that really matters. Among these tools is the point of sale software. This tool is very useful for small and large businesses. If you want to be more competitive, you need to use this software so that you would come up with decisions that will boost the sales of your business. You will not have any problem with installing this software since it will be done by technicians as well as its maintenance. There is now a lot of business that use this software and all of them don’t have any regrets in their decision.

A point of sale system is a combination of hardware and software that you can use to automate most of the things that are done in your business especially when it comes to managing sales and inventory. This system makes running your business more efficient. With this tool in your business, you can now do more work with using less energy on your part, which makes you more productive. You can easily add some modules on your point of sale system if ever you have some functionality that you wanted to add. Using it is also not a problem since those personnel that will be using it will be given appropriate training on the point of sale system, and a good place for that is http://www.possoftwaresystems.net/.


Sep 10

Point Of Sale Systems for Your Business

For business people in the retail industry, all you want is to make sure of is that your customers are satisfied with the service that you offer. You know better than everyone that customer service is the life of a business. When a customer is satisfied in the service you offer, he will surely come back. Having a point of sale system in your business can help you achieve your goal of customer satisfaction.

First, a point of sale system would help you be able to keep your prices the same in all the location of your business. It would surely be embarrassing on your part if a person would complain regarding the differences in the price of your product. You do not want this to happen since it will drive your customers away. Having the system in your business would ensure pricing consistency. The demand of a product would vary from one place to another. Good thing since the system can also help you have control on the balance of your stocks depending on demand and some other factors. Lastly, with purchasing a point of sale system, you will be getting all that you need in a single package, like some available at http://www.possoftwaresystems.net/. The good thing with these tools is that they often have an add-on module that you can demand when the need arises.

Things to Consider about Point of Sale System

If you have your own business today, surely you are thinking of how to automate most of the functions that are done in your business to make things easier and faster. The efficiency and speed of work is very important for the success of the business that you run. This is why a point of sale system has been quite popular for most successful companies today. If you are not yet using it today, now would be the right time to start thinking of it. You have to realize that running a business manually would require you a lot of effort and efficiency of output is in question.

Handling a business is really a hard work especially when it comes to managing and reconciling short-term specials. In running a business, surely there will be times that you need to introduce some promotions in the form of coupons or discounts. This can be difficult to manage and trace if you do not have a point of sale system installed in your business. Many retailing business had been experiencing some problems for they lack the automation in monitoring things in their business. Also, it would be easy for you to see your business even if you are not actually there. You do not have to worry about anything since the point of sale system will let you see what is happening in your business.


Sep 02

How to Purchase POS Software

There are numerous benefits that come from using POS software such as recording each sale and transaction, which allows you to match your businesses’ sales with inventory. Taking for granted that the data was correctly entered into the system, the two should match by all means. These and many other benefits are what cause many retailers to embark on a plan of purchasing a POS software. There are many people who like to purchase the hardware as a separate purchase, and start to look for the software separately, which is the wrong thing to do. The software is different and each has its own unique hardware requirements.

The best thing when purchasing POS software would be to stick to the same vendor. Purchasing the hardware from the same dealer who sold to you the software is a wise thing to do. Because they understand how the two are supposed to fit together, they can assist you to optimize your system for steady and maximum output. This is such a nice way of avoiding the “blame game” where if something goes awry the software provider blames the hardware provider and vice versa. Always look out for reputed brands like POS Software Associates when you are planning about purchasing this software. Ensure the dealership has a proven track record on both the hardware and the software.

A Bit About POS

POS software is just another name for point of sale software, which is a more effective and complicated machine that resembles, but far surpasses, a cash register. This gadget incorporates both hardware and software, which have been made up in such a way as to offer efficient data storage, management of cash and handling various types of payment modes such as cash and electronic. These machines are similar to computers, and they are easily obtainable from various licensed suppliers. Integrating the pos soft ware in your retail business should not be very hard. All you need to do is to liaise with your staff, and find out what type of data is required.

POS software enables you to constantly maintain total control over your businesses’ sales and keep inventories while at the same time providing quick clients check out. Integrating this soft ware to your business is very beneficial not only for the sales counter, but for the order desk as well. The software is widely reputed for enhancing the operations of any business, boosting speed, accuracy and helping you to get an upper hand over your inventory. All these combined together, will only lead to more profits and relaxation, which will help to stay focused on expanding your business. Most POS software are affordable and easy to use.


Aug 28

Benefits of Point Of Sale Software

If you are running a grocery store, sports accessories retail outlet or just any other type of retail business which constantly runs a lot of transactions, both in credit and cash, a point of sale software is the perfect partner that you need. When you incorporate this software application into your business, you stand to reap numerous benefits such as tracking your inventory, transmitting meal orders to the kitchen, recording customer services and all these things are done at a lightning speed. Integrating this software to your business has been observed to cause improved productivity at the shop level while making it possible for the managers to rely on accurate solid data.

Another benefit of integrating the point of sale software is that it is easy to adopt. Many entrepreneurs have a common weakness, which is – they opt to use technologies, which are simple both to retail shop owners and to the employees as well. This software comes already equipped with an interface, which is not hard to follow. It gives business managers a stress free time, particularly when training new cashiers. This software program offers great flexibility and control to users. They are also very helpful in addressing the issue of customer queuing and make transactions periods quick and easy. The software allows business owners to compute price discounts, track cost and price histories automatically.

What About Restaurants?
This modern technology is capable of zipping your café order for a meal to the kitchen almost at an instant. In addition, it enables you to pay the taxi driver by an electronic credit card and allows you to shop for groceries at your favorite store. All these things have been made possible just by one thing. This is integration of point of sale software to your mobile phone. The style of shopping is dramatically changing now days, courtesy of wireless connections. Many retailers are now adopting the trend of using portable computers to seal business transactions. The shifting of this software into mobile allows restaurants’ attendants to process a customer’s credit card just at their tables.

Other than restaurants, the mobile point of sale software has also been adopted by other retail businesses such as car rental companies, which makes it possible for the cab owners to keep an eye on the car returns. Hotels too, were not left behind especially it comes to serving their customers drinks and snacks by the poolside. Their orders are just processed on the mobile gadgets. The devices also come in handy in field services, for example some public bus transport companies have integrated this software, which allows their customers to make reservations, make payments and print out the receipts in an instant. Find out more about this at POS Software Associates.


Aug 17

Point of Sale Systems for Business Establishments

Most people have already seen a point of sale system but they don’t know exactly what to call it. It can be found in many businesses in your area such as restaurants, shopping malls, bars and a lot of others. These point of sale systems are widely used in the market today because businesses have found the great advantages that day can provide to their fledgling establishments. POS systems have replaced the old style cash registers that have been used for several decades. Since the new point of sale systems were introduced, it has provided the business owner with a lot more ways to grow the business without spending a lot of time doing it. Using a good quality system, you can accurately record each transaction during store hours when customers are still purchasing; in other words, in real time.

Now no longer necessary to spend hour after hour working on tabulating your transactions for the day. Plus, you can also gather all of your client data together and discover exactly who is responsible for the lion share of your sales. Is information like this that can lead to superior success.

Do you ever wonder life seems like your stock is flying off-the-shelf but that your sales are not coming through as you would have thought? You may discover that you have yourself a little bit of a shrinkage problem. Yes, there could be something about your inventory that you need to take a closer look has. Your new electronic point of sale system can resolve the issue the next time around, ensure that none of your employees are taking you to the cleaners. If you think that it can , you a lot of money to have one, you are right because there are indeed expensive point of sale systems which can reach more than a thousand of dollars. However, there are lots of POS systems which you can afford to pay for without too much problem and will provide quick and easy return on investment. In the end, if you cannot afford to equip your company with a reasonable POS system, you are probably going to be sacrificing results in the future. That is not the behavior of a good business manager.

To ensure that your restaurant is a properly manage facility with that margins in industry, you may want to look to point-of-sale technology in order to help you. Not only will this system enables you to quickly your transactions, but it will also make your employee servers’ job a lot easier. Not surprisingly, the kind of systems are used by most successful restaurant managers, mainly because it technology virtually pays for itself within a year.

There I feel quite a few diners and A in the United States that rather businesses without any kind of electronic point of sale. While this is certainly not recommended, it certainly can be done. One of the things you have to ask of these entrepreneur is: exactly how successful are you? I think you would find that many of the are very small operations that are not truly taking advantage of their workers. Little mom-and-pop shops nowadays cannot afford to think like little mom-and-pop shops. You need to understand that there are always going to be reasons why companies that have full-fledged point of sale systems are going to be a lot more successful.

There are so many point of sale terminals available the day that often selecting one is not as simple as simply finding the lowest price and going with the system. There are various designs, functions and peripherals that help to make every POS feature a distinctive one. Certainly, the best way to go about any kind of point of sale purchases simply to decide exactly what you would like upfront and make sure that you are looking for a system that has of specific features. As an example, if you want to make sure that you have an iron grip on your inventory, make sure that you also get a point of sale system that is easily mountable to an inventory control program. Also, if you want to save time in your day to day business by not having to do double accounting entries, you will probably want a POS software program that integrates well with your accounting software. This may seem like common sense, but many POS system that there simply do not offer this function and a result people find that they are spending a lot more time accounting for their sales then they ever had. If you don’t have the feature, you can find yourself really regretting your purchase, which obviously makes no sense.


Jun 05

Point Of Purchase And POS Software Synergies

Charles Kessler, marketing director of Kesslers International, a London-based POP designer/manufacturer with over 100 employees, is quick to back Hancock’s claims: “Paper and cardboard are the traditional point of sale materials but we have lots of ways of glamorising POP.” Once we properly incorporate a good link to pos systems that are run by the retailer, it all comes together to offer serious benefits.

POS Systems like this help retailers.“We recently designed and made a special unit for Swatch that allowed people to test their watches. Basically the unit consisted of a ‘Swatch arm’, a clear plastic device that held a watch rigid on the counter top while customers slipped their hand and wrist through to try on the watch. It was a playful display and had a fun element to it. Swatch is a fun brand, so the unit communicated the brand values.

“As the watch was safely trapped on the POP unit and couldn’t be taken off, there was no pilfering problem. It also meant the unit wasn’t dependent on shop hours and didn’t need sales staff support. Customers could try on different watches without having to ask a shop assistant for help. The client was pleased with the units and more than 3000 of them were distributed world-wide last year,” Kessler said.

For sheer, eye-catching appeal, Kessler cites a project his company worked on for the women’s luxury toiletry brand, La Prairie. “They had a small facial serum that comes in a 2cm vial – obviously not a very visible product – which they wanted to promote at their counters in upmarket department stores. We designed and manufactured a dummy of the vial that was a metre high, made of plastics, wood and metal.

“It was a real statement, capable of drawing the eye. Because La Prairie is a prestigious product, our unit had to reflect this, so they were very stylish. We shipped the units out as one piece throughout Europe and some went to North America,” Kessler says.

Producing a POP unit that encourages consumers to interact with and examine a product is becoming increasingly common and was the challenge presented recently to POP manufacturer Kaleidoscope. “We were approached by one of Sony’s marketing agents who had this idea to help launch a new camcorder. One of the camcorder’s USP’s was a small screen attached to the camera which allowed the user to play back and view what he or she had just shot. The screen could also be folded down the side of the camcorder when not in use.

The marketing agents, Index, wanted consumers not only to try out this new feature, they also wanted to attract attention to the display. They came up with the idea of letting consumers pick up the camcorder and whatever the camera was focused on would be viewed on a nearby TV. People have such fascination for television that this would intrigue nearby shoppers to come and have a look and maybe join in the fun.

“After two or three prototypes, we came up with a unit made of wood with chrome legs and electronically wired so that whenever the camera was picked up it went live to a TV monitor that was part of the unit. And because is was electronically wired, if anyone tried to remove it an alarm would go off. Not an insignificant consideration when the camcorders being displayed were retailing for around [pounds]1300,” says Ian Parker, managing director of Kaleidoscope.

It distributed the [pounds]1000 POP units to more than a dozen European markets, including Germany, France, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

The use of lighting in POP displays is becoming more popular, so much so that one of the UK’s largest POP display and merchandising companies, NDI Display Group, developed a new range of illuminated display systems which it launched last year. The new system uses visual effects such as optical illusions and movement to hold the attention. Some of these effects include the ‘magic mirror’, where a changeable graphic appears on an otherwise blank mirror and ‘admover’ which uses dynamic graphic movement to keep a consumer’s attention.

One of NDI’s client which saw the advantages of using lighting was Mercury One 2 One. NDI developed a display with a downlit top that illuminated the unit. It is used to support Mercury’s mobile communications product range.

Peugeot is using a POP display unit with flexible lighting capabilities as part of the multi-million pound launch of its 406 model throughout the UK. Developed by POP specialist Fords Design Group, based in Bristol, the unit is described as a ‘showroom theatre display system’.

“Each tower in the display can be separately lighted for highlighting effect, depending on what the dealer wants. It is also highly portable so that each dealer can bring his or her selling space to life in the way that suits them,” says Stephen Henley, a director of Fords.

“There is a synergy there too as Peugeot had all the marketing agencies work together on the campaign to integrate the communication. So when consumers walk into a dealer’s, the effect will be: ‘I just saw that last night on the telly’,” adds Henley.

The display system is being sent to most of Peugeot’s 400-plus dealers. It not only can be used for the 406 launch but can be easily changed to suit other promotions, particularly derivative models of the 406.

Sometimes what works best with POP, and also POS software is design that subtly incorporates brand elements, particularly if it is meant to fit into the comfort of people’s living rooms. Last year, Sony had a retail display unit developed for its wide-screen TV range that combined both hominess and reflected the new TVs. “The free-standing display was finished in navy and light oak to get a stylish living-room environment, but the shelves and structure of the unit were finished in the same colour as the TVs with a curved front lip to mirror the shape of the screen,” said Chris Rice, the business development manager of Oakley Young 4th Dimension, the POP designer and manufacturer of the displays.

“The display had such an impact on retailers that, in addition to the 2000 units originally ordered, 1000 more have been dispatched,” crows Rice. Good design may be more expensive sometimes, but if pleasing retailers and punter alike is important for brand manufacturers, then it is money well spent.

Get advice and tips on POS software systems at – http://www.possoftwaresystems.net/


May 18

Baer Fabrics – Memories Of A Great Place

Baer Fabrics closed in 2008, sadly. It will be missed!

One day in the spring of 1981, Dorothy Burns was scanning the endless shelves at Baer Fabrics in downtown Louisville, looking for the perfect materials to adorn the wedding of her youngest daughter.

At the same time, her husband, Henry, was elsewhere on a similar quest for the right brand of champagne. Unable to decide between the final two candidates, he, too, arrived at Baer’s 515 E. Market St. store with two champagne bottles clinking and two glasses tinkling in his hands, searching for his wife.

Abraham Baer was soon called to the sales floor to investigate the disturbance.

Clued in properly, Baer helped Henry find Dorothy. The three of them sat in the store, sipped the champagne and arrived at a consensus on the wedding wine.

Baer soon was invited to the wedding and helped celebrate the ceremony on a beautiful June afternoon.

This is one of a number of stories that surfaced when Baer asked its customers to send in their favorite “Baer Tales” during a recent store-sponsored contest.

It also personalizes the kind of customer-oriented service–and ability to “go with the flow”–that has allowed the third-generation family business to thrive while many others in Louisville faded into history.

Today, the company bills itself the world’s largest fabric and button store.

“I’ve never run across a larger one,” says its president, Stuart Goldberg, who took the reins when Baer, his father-in-law, died in 1984. He’s the only member of the original family still active in the business.

The company employs 125 people, just under 100 at the Louisville store and the rest at a second store in Evansville, Ind.–figures that have doubled in the past seven years.

Even the current recession only dented a rapid growth rate that has seen company revenues triple since that spring day in 1981, according to Goldberg.

He estimated revenue growth of 10 percent for 1991, compared with a 20 percent average during most of the 1980s.

“We know there’s a lot of business out there, it’s just knowing where it is and how to get it,” Goldberg added.

The company has done that and more–actually creating thousands of new customers for itself through a unique company educational program that teaches people how to sew for fun.

More than 4,000 people attend Baer’s sewing classes annually–including 100 or so teen-agers who attend “Camp Baer,” a series of week-long sewing seminars that also provide sales experience and instruction on how to seek employment.

By advertising in national sewing publications, the company also has developed a profitable mail-order business–with its own 800 telephone number–that accounts for 10 percent of Baer’s retail sales.

And Baer Fabrics stays in touch, publishing a quarterly newsletter that goes out to more than 26,000 customers.

At the same time, Baer continually looks for new opportunities in its Commercial Products, or wholesale, division. The firm recently signed an agreement with a Japanese maker of high-tech vinyl to distribute its product–used for popular back-lit business awnings–in 22 states in the eastern United States.

To Goldberg, the ability to change with the times is the key to the company’s success. And Baer Fabrics has shown a knack for doing that since 1905, when Nathan Baer, a Polish immigrant forced to leave his job in a clothing factory because of lung disease, began peddling materials from his home.

One of his first customers was an apprentice tailor named Sam Meyers.

In 1930, Nathan’s son, Abe, joined the firm. Baer began supplying Meyers and other tailors with dry cleaning supplies. That enterprise made up the bulk of Baer’s business through World War II and remains a staple of its Commercial Products division, which still accounts for half of Baer’s revenues.

After the war, dry cleaners sprang up, the number of tailors fell dramatically and fabric “pattern” companies emerged.

As a result, home sewing swept the country–and Baer switched its core business to retail fabrics and sewing supplies.

That also meant the company “changed from a men’s to a women’s store,” according to Goldberg. It also opened the Evansville store.

The company began to pride itself as a supplier of “hard-to-find” items–a niche it dominates even more today. That helped the family firm ride out the waves in a highly cyclical business.

The biggest boom for fabric stores hit during the 1960s and early ’70s. Goldberg calls it “the double-knit era.”

Double knit made sewing so easy it attracted thousands of new customers to stores such as Baer Fabrics. But when the material went out of style, Goldberg recalled, it left behind a whole generation that didn’t really know how to sew with more traditional fabrics.

The industry hit a down cycle.

Enter Goldberg, who joined the firm in 1976 with a master’s degree in business from the University of Michigan and experience as a partner in a heavy-truck dealership and truck-parts distributorship.

He said he considered the move carefully.

“I had such a wonderful relationship with my father-in-law, I didn’t want to ruin it by going into business with him,” Goldberg recalled with a smile.

By 1979, Goldberg and Baer had decided that education was the key to developing a new generation of retail customers.

Taking a cue from other large stores in the industry, Baer Fabrics began a series of sewing seminars, paying noted lecturers to come to Louisville on a regular basis.

When that proved costly, Baer turned to providing its own lessons–eventually building two large classrooms in its downtown Louisville store.

Goldberg believes Baer was the first sewing store in the country to take that step, although a handful of others in large cities have since followed suit.

The company also made a conscious decision to promote sewing entirely as a fun hobby–rather than a needed skill or essential element in home economics.

The strategy paid off. Baer’s latest round of growth began in about 1980 and continues today.

In the early ’80s, Goldberg realized that most of Baer’s customers were over 35. With that thought in mind, Camp Baer was founded.

Early response was lukewarm. Goldberg and other company managers worried that teen-agers didn’t want to sit in front of a sewing machine all day. “We were dead wrong,” he says now.

These days, each of the camps is full, with eight to 10 students paying $85 tuition for a week of instruction at the Market Street store from two teachers Baer recruits from area colleges and its own customer base.

Meanwhile, with the help of its mail order business, Baer has become a major national supplier of costumes to the theater and dance industries.

And the company continues to develop new commercial customers. It has added automotive and marine supplies to its home upholstery business.

Baer uses every inch of its 85,000-square-foot building and its buying power to build its reputation as the place to find items that can’t be found anywhere else.

Whole walls, for instance, are devoted to zippers or old-fashioned suspender clips that are no longer in production.

“You can’t sell from an empty wagon,” Goldberg likes to say.

Baer moved to its current site in 1972 when it was forced out of its store on the other end of Market Street by an urban-renewal project. The company strongly considered a move to the suburbs at the time–but the cost for a similar amount of space there would be “prohibitive,” according to Goldberg.

All that space comes in handy for Baer’s service businesses.

For instance, Baer stores boxes of hangers for its dry-cleaning customers, delivering them only when companies such as Highland Cleaners need them.


May 18

Shopping In Kyoto

Kyoto has always been one of my favorite places to shop for cool stuff. Two shops, Nijusanya and Katsura-Ya, have wonderful handmade combs and hair ornaments carved in Japanese motifs. These are used for arranging traditional hairstyles but a designer might consider framing them in a Plexiglas box for a stunning wall piece. Some shops sell only purses, or only belts, for the local geisha clientele; these, too, would be nice in frames. In the same neighborhood, Isamu Noguchi lanterns can he found at Miura Shomei for reasonable prices.

Yokohama Street had many antiques and curios and nearby on Nawate-dori Kyoto Guin specializes in screens of all kinds. Down on the right many good prints are available on Shin Monzen, “Shopping Street.” On Teramachi is Takana Bamboo Arts, which makes and sells things designed for the tea ceremony, still popular in Kyoto. The dark woven bamboo vases and flower baskets at $45 would look fine in any living room, as would lampshades, banded in bamboo, for about $100. On the same street Yamanaka Seikado specializes in Kyoto metalwork, with lovely pewter teapots, bowls and vases from $30 up.

Even though Kyoto is the center for traditional handcrafts, this mingei, or folk art, is getting harder and harder to find. There are odds and ends in a lot of places on Kawaramachi-dori, off Shoji-dori, but the best is at Yamato Mingei Ten with many signed papier-mache pieces; giant cats and dogs and fanciful beasts, colorful accents for any room. On this street, too, is a splendid collection of Japanese paper umbrellas (wagasa), all fragrant with persimmon tannin. An enormous one, almost six feet in diameter, costs about $250 and can be used outside in the garden. Stop in at Marufuku, whose sign announces they are a “fine art curious shop,” and often there are indeed both fine and curious things available: antiques and large and small accessories. Down the street is a purveyor of old and new Japanese prints and an art book store.

If you are interested in pottery, try to find a street called Kiyomizuzaka, which is lined with shops selling nothing else. An afternoon might be devoted to the antiques district south of Sanjo-Keihan station. Here, on Nawate-dori and Furumonzen are treasure troves of lacquerware, ceramics, textiles and old and new kimonos. Latticed shop fronts, characteristic of old Kyoto, face the narrow street.

One shop, started more than a century ago, is Nakamura Kotaro’s Chinglreya, a haven for collectors, textile designers and craftsmen who appreciate the incredible collection of textiles, priests robes and kimonos. This is on the east side of Nawate-dori; across on the west side you will find the tiny shop of M. Yoshida with a cache of porcelains, and lacquerware squeezed in among chairs and tables.

At S. Nishimura on Furumonzen you can buy early-20th-century kimonos for $40 up to about $350, to use as wall hangings. Poke through the piles of silk fragments for pillow-makings. Ask directions here for the store around the corner of the elder Mr. Nishimura, father of the proprietors. His extensive collection of antique kimonos and textiles is among the city’s best.

Kyoto is beautiful!

A doll shop may sound mundane, but this is not true of K. Fuji’s at 14 Nawate-dori. Kyoto has long been the center of Japanese doll-making and here you will find old and new versions of appealing baby dolls. Elaborate geisha dolls are dressed in antique fabrics. Boy and girl dolls from Girls’ Days and Boys’ Days long past cost about $200. A marvelous set of elder sister paper dolls, over 200 years old, are only $28 and would be stunning in a frame. Glass cases for dolls are available here.

If you happen to be in Kyoto the end of the month you can spend a fascinating day browsing at two colorful temple markets, Toji Temple on the 21st and Kitano Tenjin on the 25th. In Japan, even a flea market is beautiful. Red and white banners float overhead, booths are decorated with blue and white signs or black and red calligraphy. The smell of incense permeates the air and the faint sound of drums, wooden clackers and chanting comes from the temple. Everything from antique swords, painted fans, lacquerware furniture and Kyoto dolls to plastic dishpans is for sale. Among the antiques and crockery are mountains of old kimonos, tied in bales and hung on makeshift racks, all for sale at rock bottom prices. Some have holes or worn places; you won’t have to feel like a sinner if you have these cut up for pillow covers. Bargaining may be difficult; it helps to have a translator, but you can always use pencil and paper to present offers.

Even if you don’t buy anything it is fascinating to wander through the crowd or visit the temple. You might stop at one of the small shrines, hung with colored banners with bells along the bottom. After donating a coin, the supplicant yanks the fabric to get the attention of the god and then says a prayer. Be sure to indulge in some of the absolutely delicious tidbits at the tempting food stalls.

Many tours of Kyoto include a stop at the Kyoto Handicraft Center. The place is a seven-story tourist trap with quite appalling prices. Our advice is not to buy anything except small paper goods or prints. New sets of elder sister dolls are made of varied hand printed paper and cost only a few dollars. Like the old ones, they would be fun to frame. If you have a big suitcase, you could consider the 3-ft.-high paper bride dolls, or a group of smaller ones to back with some of the glossy tea paper sold here. Don’t even look at the kimonos; the prices were higher than those in the States. The Center does have a good map of Kyoto, but at the top it says “Have a Nice Day!”


Mar 08

Woodworking As A Hobby

After a rigorous day at the office, Bob Pennington dons his epoxy-encrusted T-shirt and makes a beeline for his shed, where he stows the 34-foot twin-engine cabin cruiser he is building. Pennington, a 47-year-old operations manager for a Jackson, Miss. trucking company, has spent every spare minute for the past three years on the boat. For him, it is its own reward.

“When everybody else is in bed, I stand there looking at what I’ve managed to do one stick at a time, and the hair on the back of my neck stands up on end,” he says.

After the frenzied, cash-driven spree of the 1980s, many baby boomers are retreating to the garage for a sense of personal accomplishment. The hours when they roll up their sleeves and restore old automobiles or work with wood provide a special satisfaction. And retailers, noting a growing demand for tools and hardware, have begun pitching their wares to this affluent audience.

Antique car associations report that doctors, lawyers and architects are combing junkyards for spare parts. No fewer than 29,000 home-built airplanes are under construction at the moment in garages and backyards across the nation. Meanwhile, a slew of amateur boat builders are crafting classic reproductions of Kris Krafts.

Woodworking dominates the back-to-the-garage movement. Today, 11 woodworking magazines and six mail-order tool companies cater to an estimated 10 million woodworkers. Each week on PBS’ The New Yankee Workshop, Bob Vila’s affable former partner Norm Abrams walks 4.5 million viewers through simple furniture-building projects. Executive producer Russell Morash gets hundreds of request to feature cradle and computer desk construction.

To get a better handle on the new breed of woodworkers, Better Homes and Gardens’ Wood magazine and Rodale Press’ American Woodworker each conducted consumer surveys. Results reveal the average woodworker is male and spends 7.3 hours a week in his shop. Roughly 50% have managerial or professional jobs and their median household income is $45,000.

Woodworking rules!

This kind of demographic makes marketers salivate. It’s no surprise retailers are stocking up on screws, slides and hinges, as well as on drill bits and circular saw blades. Furniture refinishing remains the leading project category, and demand for sandpaper, spray paint, polyurethane and oil finishes has risen. Garrett Wade, a specialty-tool mail-order company in New York, has set up a hot line for customers with questions about matching colors and finishes, as well as finishing techniques.

Garrett Wade’s Woodworking, like many catalogues, goes after high-end craftspersons. Tools are lovingly displayed like gems on the page. Catalogue copy flatters readers’ image of themselves as serious hobbyists with detailed explanations of, for instance, why Japanese saws cut on the pull rather than on the push stroke.

Lee Valley Tools in Ottawa, Ont., recognizing another characteristic of the boomer demographic, markets scaled-down tools for children. “There are some horribly concerned yuppies who want this quality-time thing with their children,” suggests the wry owner Leonard Lee.

Nevertheless he sympathizes with professionals who miss the gratification of working with their hands. “These guys sit in front of a computer monitor all day without producing anything discernible. Few people can look back on a day’s work anymore and say `I moved a pile of dirt from point A to point B today,’” Lee says.

Lee and other retailers must compete with Sears, the industry giant. Woodworkers still recognize the Craftsman brand from their fathers’ shops, and associate it with quality and value. Sears has expanded its tool offerings over the past two years to ensure woodworkers will remain loyal.

Despite the competition, however, marketers with an eye on the garage are finding plenty of baby boomers ready to spend in order to create. And they haven’t even reached retirement yet.


Jan 12

The Berkeley And Oakland Fires

Does anyone else remember these fires. I was there, and it was pretty crazy at the time:

In a scenario somewhat identical to their coverage of the October 1989 earthquake, San Francisco Bay area newspapers hit the red alert button and went full out to report on the fire, which took 23 lives, caused billions of dollars in damage and left many Bay Area residents without homes.

The Tribune and other papers put almost everybody available on the story. They opened up dozens of extra pages, ran special sections, published scores of sidebars and featured several pages of photos, many in color.

There were angles in the entertainment, sports and business sections.

If the coverage proved one point, it is that, recession or no recession, newspapers will still put out a 110% effort for a big story.

Said one editor, “I didn’t think about the overtime then and I don’t want to think about it now.”

“With few exceptions our staffers worked around the clock,” Newton said.

The financially strapped Tribune devoted 20 pages to the fire on Oct. 22, including two full pages of pictures.

The blaze hit hardest in one of the Tribune’s main circulation areas.

“The Trib is the primary newspaper for at least 2,500 households in the fire zone,” Newton said. “It was right where we live.”

He added that the paper was attempting to locate its customers by running a community bulletin board, which also listed locations of shelters and the streets damaged.

One of the homes destroyed was that of Davida Small, a clerk in the paper’s feature department.

Maynard’s home was miraculously spared, while the house next door and others on the street went up in flames.

In his first-person narrative, Maynard said: “After Nancy and the children were settled in our office, I went back to the neighborhood. It was like visiting hell at Ground Zero. Cross Road, the little street on the north boundary of our property was a ball of flame. Every house on both sides of the street . . . was engulfed in flame.”

“Sunday is usually a down day but we geared up very quickly,” said San Francisco Examiner managing editor Phil Bronstein. He noted that the paper rounded up 50 people to handle the story.

As an afternoon paper, the Examiner tags well behind its JOA partner, the a.m. San Francisco Chronicle in circulation, but in reporting the fire, being a p.m. publication proved an advantage, Bronstein said.

“We made excellent use of the fact that we are the only p.m. paper in the area. Nowhere else could people get an update than in our late afternoon edition.”

The Examiner also has reporters who live in the Oakland hills.

“Some were protecting their homes with hoses while holding a notepad in their other hand,” Bronstein related.

While flames leaped to within 200 yards of his home, reporter Lance Williams was on the phone with Bronstein, “providing good information and color,” according to the editor.

Chronicle managing editor Matt Wilson said that on Sunday afternoon editors rounded up “everybody we could find,” including photographers who had been covering the San Francisco 49ers football game at Candlestick Park.

“We took a swat-team approach to the story,” Wilson said. “On Monday and Tuesday, we put more people on it.”

The Chronicle ran seven-page special fire sections Monday and Tuesday. They contained numerous sidebars on such angles as the insurance aspect of the disaster and the fire department’s performance.

Four Chronicle staff members lost all or part of their homes in the inferno. Business writer John Eckhouse was in Russia on a story when the fire wiped out his house.

Photographer Eddie Ledesma narrowly escaped with his life when the fire roared between him and his car while he was shooting. The auto was engulfed.

“October is the cruelest month for us,” Wilson commented about the fire and quake.

Street circulation shot up 7,000 on Monday for the San Jose Mercury News, which involved two-thirds of its editorial staff in fire coverage, including people assigned from the Sunday magazine, sports, business and the opinion page. The paper added 7,500 extra copies Monday morning with color fire photos on Page One.

“They sold extraordinarily well,” said managing editor Jerry Ceppos.

Ceppos said the M-N takes credit for an exclusive enterprise story that raised the question of whether firefighters were responsible for letting the fire get out of hand. The story was picked up by AP and was given prominent media play.

The M-N published five fire pages the first day and seven the following day, in addition to stories in other parts of the paper. One was a personal account by staff writer Pete Carey, who told of helping his 87-year-old father gather up belongings from his house and fleeing with him.

One M-N reporter, Frances Dinkelspiel, and her husband dashed to safety as their home and car went up in smoke. The house had been purchased only a few months ago.

The Hayward Review in Alameda County, the scene of the fire, recruited “everybody that could be found,” according to editor Bob Wynne.

“This was every bit as big a story as the earthquake and, in one sense, bigger,” Wynne stated. “The difference is that the fire was not over in 15 seconds. It kept going and going.”

The Review and other papers in the Alameda Newspapers group pooled their resources to cover the conflagration. The Review published an eight-page special section, including one for color photos.

Photographers Jay Solmonson and Nick Lammers, who live in the fire zone, were working the 49ers game when the blaze broke out. They took their film to the office and then successfully sought their families after the paper had put them up in a hotel. Their homes escaped damage.

Clay Haswell, managing editor of the Lesher newspapers in the East Bay, said, “We pulled out all the stops.”

The flagship Contra Costa Times displayed 16 color photos on the first day while coordinating its effort with sister papers, the Valley Times, West County Times and the San Ramon Valley Times.

Lucy Mantz, data processing director for Lesher Communications, died in the fire. Her body was found near her home.

Reporter Mike Spencer almost was a casualty. He was gathering information at the scene when a fireball rolled down a hill and destroyed his nearby motorcycle.

Haswell said the Lesher papers threw 40 reporters and photographers on the story.

Two staffers, sports columnist Dave Newhouse and reporter Dan Borenstein, wrote personal accounts for the Contra Costa Times. Newhouse told about evacuating his house and Borenstein’s piece was in the form of a letter to his 71-year-old father whose house was gutted by the fire. The son advised elder Borenstein not to visit the site “until you feel ready for the shock.”


Nov 21

Keeping California Water Clean

During World War II, dewatering of the Penn mine resulted in fish kills that essentially wiped out the salmon in the Mokelumne. As a result, EBMUD was required to maintain a fish hatchery at the dam, but, because there was no requirement that the utility maintain adequate river flows necessary for the fish to survive once they left the hatchery, the kills recurred.

In 1977, major fish kills because of mine wastes in the Camanche reservoir resulted in the issuance of a Cleanup and Abatement Order to New Penn Mines, the owner of the mine. The order was ignored, as were most subsequent orders.

Other attempts to deal with New Penn Mines also failed, and in March 1979, EBMUD, the state Department of Fish and Game (DF&G), and the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board agreed to a joint cleanup of the mine discharges. They built surface diversion ditches and a series of ponds along Mine Run creek above the point where it drains into the river.

The potential problem of contamination of groundwater in the 55,000 linear feet of underground shafts at the mine, with a capacity of perhaps 30 million gallons, was not addressed. As Dennis McCord, current supervisor at EBMUD’s Pardee center says, “Our contention is that there is no seepage of toxins from Penn through dikes or groundwater into Camanche. We think that the only problem is when the containment dikes overflow due to heavy rains.”

Such overflows, both controlled and uncontrolled, began in 1979, the same year the water quality board rescinded its Cleanup and Abatement Order noting that EBMUD had “removed the accumulated muds from Oregon Bar and constructed Mine Run Dam which effectively prevents further contributions of zinc and copper to Lake Camanche.”

Despite that assurance, the spills continued on 24 percent of all days throughout the next 10 years, with more than 42 million gallons going over the dam some years.

Throughout the ’80s, pressure mounted to control the toxic discharges from Penn Mine. EBMUD continued to point out that it was not the owner of the mine, but requests for materials and threats of fines against the absentee owner were ignored.

Eventually, the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance filed a complaint with the water quality board charging EBMUD with violating the law by operating outside waste discharge requirements and without the necessary permits. The utility then quietly filed for a waiver from the Waste Discharge Requirements and an exemption from the provisions of the Toxic Pits Cleanup Act (TPCA), which would mean it would avoid having to conduct a hydrogeological assessment report (HAR). Penn Mine was not mentioned in the waiver request.

Although hotly contested by the various fishing and conservation groups, downstream users, and the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, the water quality board granted the exemption and waiver. And, in late 1990, EBMUD filed a request with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to have the mine removed from its list of toxic waste sites. The same local groups that fought the waiver subsequently accused the utility of trying to make an end run around federal anti-pollution laws.

EBMUD, however, constantly reiterated its position that it did not own the mine and, therefore, was not responsible for the pollution from it. Nevertheless, the state’s attorney general had held in numerous cases that “dischargers are the persons who now have legal control of the property from which such drainage arises. By failing to take action which is within their legal power to halt the defilement of the drainage or to render it harmless with treatment before it departs their property, (they) are responsible for the deleterious discharge.”

The attorney general also noted that, “the fact that the persons who conducted the operations which originally produced the harmful material have left the scene does not free from accountability those permitting the existing and continuing discharge of the material into waters of the State.”

Eventually, in the face of continued complaints by the DF&G and the California Sportfishing Alliance, EBMUD began a program to protect the Mokelumne River Fish Installation, including the injection of potassium permangante to reduce hydrogen sulfide, as well as establishment of an in-reservoir outlet and better management of the outlet and its withdrawal system.

But the biggest problem, that of adequate river flows, remained. Until the utility agreed to release water from the dams, they argued, fish in the hatchery were doomed once they left it.

The Committee to Save the Mokelumne argues that the best short-term solution is dilution of the contaminants with increased riverflows and higher reservoir levels. It points out that, “although millions of Californians drink treated delta water (considered lower quality), EBMUD has consistently demanded only ‘pure Sierra water.’ It has refused to seriously consider allowing part of its allocation to flow down the Mokelumne to be recaptured from the delta,” fearing that its own water supply would run short.

Meanwhile EPA has listed the Penn Mine on the short list of cleanup areas under the Clean Water Act. This means, among other things, that individual control strategies must be developed to reduce discharge of toxic pollutants from point sources.

EBMUD, however, points out that, under the law, dams and dikes cannot be considered point sources.

The water quality board recently received $330,000 ($100,000 of it from EBMUD) to study the problem at Camanche. Of that amount, $70,000 was used to drill wells to investigate the potential groundwater pollution. The entire cost of the study is less than that of a full HAR, which can cost more than $500,000, and the Committee to Save the Mokelumne accuses the utility of trying to avoid undertaking the larger assessment, which, presumably, would reveal the extent of groundwater contamination at the site.

McCord defends EBMUD, however. “This is where (the committee’s) argument falls apart. No one has found a groundwater contamination plume. There are as of this year five groundwater monitoring wells looking for contamination. We are doing it at our own lab in Oakland, and the results are public information.”

Critics argue that EBMUD is not really looking for a groundwater contamination plume, however. According to McCord, the worst case scenario “would be a definite conclusion that groundwater contamination is occurring and that it is a function of our efforts to contain surface run-off, with heavy metals leaching to the groundwater. It may cost $100 million to clean up the surface waters, but it could cost $1 billion or more to clean up the groundwater.”

That being the case, McCord uses the old EBMUD argument once again — “our position is still that the contaminated element is off our property and the fact is the runoff crosses ours.”

However, the utility has compiled a list of alternative strategies to control acid mine drainage, but it states that source mitigation measures “would necessarily be the responsibility of the owners of New Penn Mine, Inc.” Unfortunately, the company has gone bankrupt, and its owner has died. Alternatively, the utility argues that “options could be undertaken by the current owners of new Penn Mine, by the state of California or by the EPA.” McCord, however, admits that “they will probably end up holding our feet to the fire.”

The first alternative listed by EBMUD is the “No Action Alternative,” but it does recognize that the California Administrative Code would require the closure of surface impoundments and place requirements on the ability of the system to handle 25-year event 24-hour storms that may not be met by existing structures.

It also notes that although public utilities are now exempt from the provisions of Proposition 65, which requires cessation of discharges of chemicals known by the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity (including lead, arsenic, cadmium and chromium, all of which occur in Penn Mine wastes), the legislature is expected to soon eliminate that exception.

The second alternative is source control, which would involve removal of tailings and treatment of standing water, followed by closure of the ponds. Although this would solve the problem, it would be expensive even if a suitable landfill for the tailings could be found. Even the conservative EBMUD estimate of the cost of this option is $140 million; and a cheaper version, involving on-site disposal is $80 million.

A freshwater lagoon in California.

Alternative three would be to install a permanent packaged water treatment plant at Mine Run reservoir which would be able to treat expected discharge for rainfalls of less than 36 inches per year. Such a plant, treating 200 gpm with lime, flocculation, sedimentation and sludge dewatering, would run for three to six months a year.

However, it would not meet the regulatory requirements of Title 23 regarding the closure of the mine operations, so, according to EBMUD, “the owners of Penn Mine (now apparently non-existent) would still be obligated for final closure of the mine workings. The owners would also be responsible for the costs of the water treatment facility,” $400,000 initially and $210,000 annually for operation.

The fourth alternative, “improved operation of existing system,” is the one officially favored by the utility. Its report on the alternatives states: “Assuming that EBMUD will be responsible for the continued operation of Mine Run Reservoir, and that the reservoir will not be closed under the provisions of the Toxic Pits Cleanup Act because of unacceptable environmental impacts, this alternative will incorporate best management practices to minimize releases of acid mine drainage to the Camanche reservoir.”

EBMUD proposes to begin with monitoring of water from Mine Run reservoir and possible seepage from mine shafts and diversion structures. It also proposes preparation of an overall water balance showing inflows and outflows during a one-year period, while conceding that “it is difficult to provide an accurate water balance because of lack of data …”

This alternative, though, seems unlikely to satisfy either the government entities or the private groups that are concerned with the Penn Mine problem. In view of this, McCord says, “I fully expect some sort of plant — perhaps a lime plant, because the whole thing is very acidic. Maybe we can neutralize it with lime slurry.”