Spring Maintenance Checklist

Gutters and downspouts: Pull leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Reattach gutters that have pelled away from the house. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drain. If leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak.

Siding: Clean siding with a pressure washer to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting.

Exterior caulking: Inspect caulking and replace if deteriorating. Scrape out all of the eroding caulk and recaulk needed area.

Window sills, door sills, and thresholds: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint or replace if necessary.

Window and door screens: Clean screening and check for holes. If holes are bigger than a quarter, that is plenty of room for bugs to climb in. Patch holes or replace the screen. Save bad screen to patch holes next year. Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint. Replace broken, worn, or missing hardware. Wind can ruin screens and frames if they are allowed flap and move so make sure they are securely fastened. Tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.

Drain waste and vent system: Flush out system.

Hot water heater: Lubricate circulating pump and motor

Evaporative air conditioner: Clean unit, check belt tension and adjust if needed. Replace cracked or worn belt.

Heat pump: Lubricate blower motor.

Foundation: Check foundation walls, floors, concrete, and masonry for cracking, heaving, or deterioration. If a significant number of bricks are losing their mortar, call a professional. If you can slide a nickel into a crack in your concrete floor, slab or foundation call a professional immediately.

Roof: Inspect roof surface flashing, eaves, and soffits. Check flashings around all surface projections and sidewalls.

Deck and porches: Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs, and railings for loose members and deterioration. Open decks and wood wings need to be treated every 4-6 years, depending on how much exposure they get to sun and rain. If the stain does not look like it should or water has turned some of the wood a dark gray, hire a professional to treat your deck and fence.

Landscape: This is a natural for spring home maintenance. Cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushhes from structures. Limbs and leaves can cut into your home's paint and force you to have that side of the house repaired. A little trimming can save a lot of money and time.

Sprinklers: Check lawn sprinkler system for leaky valves, exposed lines, and improperly working sprinkler heads. If there is an area of ​​your yard that collects too much water or does not get enough, run the sprinklers to figure out the problem. If it's not something you can fix yourself, call a professional before your lawn needs the water.

Transportation Management Key to Competitiveness in Global Wireless Marketplace

Wireless communication and the widespread use of smartphones and tablets have launched an online marketplace where people can shop at all times. The Internet provides a way to inexpensively market goods around the world and reach the palm of a customer's hand. At the same time, public offices depend on local sales tax revenue from area merchants. Healthy communities and quality public schools rely on local merchants to have what they want, when they want it, and at a price they are willing to pay.

There are many forces at work in delivering goods to wholesalers and consumers. Ports, rail, air, and interstate highways each play a role in bringing products from country of origin to final destination. Choosing the appropriate combination of intermodal transport involves balancing speed, cost, and frequency. In most businesses, effective transportation management makes a significant difference on the bottom line. Competitiveness depends on being able to find the fastest and cheapest way to move products.

As connectivity spreads to more parts of the world, current logistic patterns and transportation systems will adapt to new markets as they are created. During times like these, access to these new markets depends directly on expertise in transportation. For most businesses, this means partnering with a company that specializes in moving certain kinds of products and working in specific markets. Companies who undertake international trade without the appropriate level of expertise typically suffer lost revenues and productivity as they are presented with unanticipated challenges and additional costs.

Transportation management and logistic coordination are integral to success, and each mode of transport may be considered its own subfield with unique strengths and associated experts. Produce needs to move fast, but online retailers can offer a variety of shipping options at different profit margins. Aside from profits, transportation management can also contribute to competitiveness, both socially and environmentally. Socially conscious businesses want to demonstrate to customers that their processes are minimally impactful. Businesses concerned with long-term sustainability might view robust transport management as an integral part of their responsible action model.

Each business must carefully research transportation systems in its current and target markets to determine which modes of transport will be appropriate, as well as what policies are in place. A competent of universities have high quality transportation research centers that seek to explore policy, commercial transport, and comprehensive land use planning. These centers may have outreach programs to assist in local economic development by advising small businesses with endeavors that lack in-house logistical capacity. Ultimately, establishing the best transportation management system for any organization requires developing a relationship with the partner and outstanding clear goals and plans.

Cost Efficiency and Performance Drives Organizations to Cloud Computing

In the past decade there have been various achievements for the IT world and amongst that Cloud Computing is a very important one. Cloud Computing has consistently evolved and has turned into an ultimate IT solution for any organizations computing needs.

With all the benefits that Cloud Computing offers to users the major ones being reduction in capital costs and improved efficiency it makes an organization very flexible. The USP of Cloud has always been cost savings for the organizations. It also brings the organizations load of looking after maintenance and support activities. In addition to that it also allows the users to shift focus to more important business activities thereby increasing productivity.

Even though there have been various issues with the cloud initially but now more and more businesses are moving to the cloud and making use of the latest in technology to give their businesses a competitive edge over others. SMB's also have embroidered the cloud given the cost advantages it provides to the company. And large organizations that adopt cloud computing usually do so as way to transfer their not so important aspects of business to the cloud resulting cost reduction for the company.

The Cloud is used in various ways:

Many people know cloud computing as a single solution. However, there are various ways to deploy a cloud solution based on an organizations requirements and budget. The Cloud is split into three delivery models viz. the Public Cloud, the Private Cloud and the Hybrid Cloud.

Many users adopt the Public Cloud model which is third party service often provided for a fee or rent for using the computing resources of the service provider. On the contrary, a Private Cloud is a set-up on the organization premises to be used exclusively by the business and partners only. It may be cost to deploy a private cloud but it has its own set of advantages as well including increased security and controlled access to data. A Hybrid Cloud on the other hand is combining the public and the private cloud. It makes possible use of both the cloud environments by shifting the work according to the needs.

With competition intensifying day by day it is necessary for businesses to switch to more modern and flexible IT solutions like Cloud Computing and reduce their dependence on traditional systems. However, it is also necessary to make a proper analysis of all the three models of Cloud computing before choosing anyone for the organization.

The Cloud is a very useful IT solution and businesses need to assess their requirements properly to deploy the correct model and make use of this highly efficient technology and boost their productivity.

How to Select the Best Mobile Payment Application

Mobile point-of-sale (POS) solutions enable merchants to accept credit card payments where it is most convenient for their customers. Mobile payments allow merchants to accept and process credit card payments in the aisle, outside the store or anyplace customers prefer to pay. Small business owners or large enterprise merchants with a mobile sales team or non-traditional storefronts can expand their business and increase revenue by accepting mobile credit card payments using their existing smart phone.

Mobile POS systems are setting a new standard in convenience and are easy to implement and support. Merchants equipped with an iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile or Google Android device can submit, authorize and settle transactions quickly and securely.

Mobile POS systems offer several advantages:

  • Decrease Processing Cost- Merchant can lower their processing cost by using a single merchant account to accept retail and mobile payments.
  • Customer Satisfaction- Improve the customer experience by offering multiple payment options.
  • Flexibility- Mobile transactions allow merchants to take your storefront anywhere you go.
  • Stability and Reliability- Mobile POS software rivals those of the largest e-commerce, trading, and portal Web sites. Mobile POS applications can handle millions of transactions every month.

Lower Entry Cost

Considering that most people would rather lose their wallet than misplace their cell phone, it comes as no surprise that the mobile platform is quickly becoming a new payment option for small business owners. For many, our cell phone never leaves our side. It maintains its place at the dinner table, is easily accessible on your belt clip or in your pocket, and often, somehow it even manages to end up sharing your pillow at night. Today, cost conscience merchants can accept credit card payments without purchase traditional point-of-sale equipment or paying for expensive system customizations.

Market Expansion

Mobile POS solutions are priced for the small business owner and independent sales representative. Merchants can purchase a quality smart phone payment application from $0-$29.95. Questions to ask your mobile payment provider:

· Is the mobile application PCI compliant?

· Does the application support both small and large payments?

· Does the system require a payment gateway service? If so, recognize payment gateways require an additional recurring monthly fee.

· Does the application support swipe and non swipe transactions? Swipe transactions provide lower processing fees.

· What card readers are supported?

· Does the card reader support data encryption?

· Does your system provide online statements for viewing customer transactions?

· What mobile phones are supported?

· Does the system ensure no customer payment information is stored on the cell phone?

· What are all the fees associated with accepting payment?

· How quickly are customer payments funded to the merchant’s bank account?

· What is the license agreement? Specifically can the merchant load the mobile payment application on multiple devices?

We’ll undoubtedly see many mobile application providers come out of the woodwork as the industry matures. However, merchants should look for a mobile payment provider with multiple years of experience in the payment processing industry.

Top Mobile Payment Applications

1. MobileAuthorize (Google Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iTouch, Windows Mobile)

2. iPayPOS (iPhone)

3. RoadMerchant (BlackBerry)

4. MobileMerchant (iPhone, Windows Mobile)