Sunday

23" Touch Screen Makes Small Business Fun: Lenovo ThinkCentre M90z Multi Touch All-In-One Review (& Giveaway Info)

I was contacted by a company representing Lenovo asking me to review one of their products. Getting involved in a major hardware review is kind of a big deal, so I usually say no. I made an exception this time. Why? Because not only were they going to send one of their ThinkCentre all in one touch screen computers for me to test out in my business, but they're also going to let me give one away to one of my readers! (More information at the end of this post).

M90z_control-fingertips

Upon opening the box, I removed the unit from the reusable tote bag it was packed in. Setup took me only a moment. After firing up WIndows 7, I began playing with the touch screen on the 23″ 1080p display. The touch screen has a normal glass overlay that you can safely clean and disinfect. (I am now hooked on moving my hands in the air, poking and gesturing as I compute). The Lenovo M90z ThinkCentre takes up very little space; only 2.5" deep. The power supply is in the chassis so you don't have to look at an unweildy power brick that so many all-in-ones come with.

After working with it, I can see it is an excellent answer for both large enterprise or small business. It delivers powerful, multi-tasking computing, with an energy-efficient, space-saving and green machine. Integrated into a single unit it promises a well-organized, clutter-free work environment. The unit they sent me is powered by the Intel® Core™ i5 and comes with an Enhanced Experience for
Windows® 7.

As you may assume, I'm a huge user of Microsoft Office (Powerpoint, Word, Excel and Outlook), so that was the first I loaded up. All programs ran smoothly and fast. Next, I loaded the full Corel X5 Graphics Suite and ran it through some serious editing - not a problem at all. Last I installed QuickBooks Pro 2010, copied over my huge company files and breezed thorugh processing and posting. I'm also one who likes to open up a computer and hot-rod once and a while. The ThinkCentre M90z is easy-to-service featuring a tool-less chassis so you can quickly access and upgrade the memory and the hard drive

I can honestly say this computer makes running a business fun!

The short story is

  • 23" Touchscreen HD 1080 Active Matrix TFT Color LCD, anti-glare, CCFL backlight, 250 nits, 16:9 aspect ratio, 1000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. Intelligent auto-brightness control
  • Intel Core i5-650 3.2GHz with dual-core, Intel 64, Hyper-Threading Technology, Turbo Boost Technology, Virtualization Technology
  • 4 GB DDR3-1333 SDRAM (expandable to 8 GB)
  • 500 GB HDD
  • DVD-Writer DVD±R/±RW
  • Secure Digital (SD) Card slot, 6 USB ports, Audio Out, Stero Headphone Stereo Microphone jack
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator HD 1.72 GB
  • IEEE 802.11n, Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 Connector
  • 2 MP HD Webcam (on/off switch), Array Microphone with physical mute
  • Dual Independent Display (DID) support
  • Keyboard, Mouse - Windows 7 Professional
  • Energy Star, GREENGUARD, RoHS, EPEAT Gold, 80 Plus Bronze
  • 3 year on-site warranty

Come back to my site (or find me on Twitter or Facebook) beginning May 2 to find out how to win your very own ThinkCentre m90z! Other sites are participating in the giveaway over the next few weeks. Here's the schedule:

Lenovo M90z Giveaway Participants

>
Site   Start End Date
Free Tech 4 TeachersApr 14 Apr 18  
Ilja Coolen \ ICSS   Apr 15   Apr 19
Physician Mom   Apr 16   Apr 20
Scrubd In   Apr 17   Apr 21
Kathy Schrock's Kaffeeklatsch   Apr 18   Apr 22
Steve Harg adon.com   Apr 19   Apr 23
Box of Tricks   Apr 21   Apr 25
Clinton Fitch.com   Apr 22   Apr 26
Around the Corner   Apr 23   Apr 27
Tech Savvy Ed   Apr 25   Apr 29
Small Biz Technology   Apr 26   Apr 30
Ablet Factory   Apr 27   May 1
Click Newz   Apr 28   May 2
Geekazine   Apr 29   May 3
21st Century Education Technology   Apr 30   May 4
A GeekyMomma's Blog   May 1   May 5
Marsha Collier's Musings   May 2   May 6
VA Networking   May 3   May 7
Your Virtual Assistant   May 4   May 8
Jake Ludington's Media Blab   May 5   May 9
Mobile PC World   May 6   May 10
Dangerously Irrelevant   May 7   May 11
Bud the Teacher   May 8   May 12
Kikolani   May 9   May 13
Geeks To Go   May 10   May 14
Chad Lehman.com r May 11   May 15

Monday

eCommerce, Facebook & Social Media: eBay On Location Attended by Eager Small Business Entrepreneurs #eBayOL #smallbiz

This past week, I was lucky enough to speak at the eBay On Location event in Las Vegas. The sold out event was one of the most energetic groups I've had the pleasure to meet at any conference. There were eBay sellers of all ages from all over the country. Aside from writing the For Dummies series on eBay, I've been selling on the site since 1997 and am now rated a Top Seller, so this conference was very special.

eBay made several announcements. One being the rollout of Facebook "Like" buttons on the listings pages directly under the listing title. Previously, eBay had "share" links to Facebook and Twitter hidden in the listings. This brings social media interaction to the top of the page.

Books

Social it was!  During my book signing, I heard many fabulous stories of success and encouragement. I also saw several well worn copies brought for me to sign (very satisfying). One gentleman, as I signed his book, thanked me and reminded me that we had an email exchange several years ago. (I put my email address in all my books, to encourage readers to connect with me).

He reminded me that he asked me via email what to do with boxes of old magazines, including Life and Look,  that he inherited, I suggested he weed out the special events and dates for sale, and then to go through the magazines for vintage ads. Many older advertisements would feature top celebrities of the day, and the artwork was often quite beautiful. He should then cut the ads out, put them in complimentary mattes, and put them up for sale as artwork. He did just that; and sales took off. Now he has a successful business centered around that creative idea.

It reminded me that indeed, the early years of eBay were the beginnings of Social Media. Without hundreds of rules and regulations, users connected freely. There were chat boards on the site, and email marketing went on very successfully.

I spoke three times during the event. Once, on Advanced eBay Business Planning, teaching the ins and outs of running a successful eBay business, including creating a business plan, managing budgets and tracking expenses, and grow operations effectively.

My second talk was on Best Practices for Building Your eBay Business which I gave twice. (The Fire Marshall closed the doors so not everyone got in). This was about the best practices to grow your business by streamlining operations, marketing yourself online and through social media, avoiding common pitfalls, and getting ahead of your competition.

Speaking at an event with over 1,000 attendees was amazing. Meeting the people I had met online was priceless. The best part? Seeing that many people are still willing to put in real effort to grow a successful business.

Thursday

New USPS Rates 4/17: Here are Pricing charts and information for Online Sellers #eBay #eBayOL

The U.S. Postal Service® announced a price change that will take effect April 17th, 2011. The average increase across all mail classes will be 1.7 percent. While the April 17th U.S. Postal Service Price Change will be more straightforward than the January 2011 price change, there are still some very important changes that you should be aware of. I have listed the most popular services used by online sellers in this post. Please visit the USPS site for more information.

Prices will change for the following mail classes:

  • First-Class Mail® letters greater than 1 oz. The price of a 1oz. First-Class Mail letter will remain unchanged at 44 cents
  • First-Class Mail postcards
  • First-Class Mail Large Envelopes/Flats
  • First-Class Mail Parcels
  • First-Class Mail International
  • Standard Mail®
  • Library Mail
  • Media Mail®
  • Extra Services

The U.S. Postal Service will be offering a Commercial Base rate for customers printing single piece First-Class Mail Parcel postage online. The U.S. Postal Service will reward customers for printing postage online and will discount this mail class from the retail rates. This is available to shippers who print their postage online and are registered with the USPS through an online service such as Endicia.com. For 60 day free use of their service, click here.

USPS Pricing Change Overview

Prices will change for the following mail classes:

  • First-Class Mail® letters greater than 1 oz. The price of a 1oz. First-Class Mail letter will remain unchanged at 44 cents
  • First-Class Mail postcards
  • First-Class Mail Large Envelopes/Flats
  • First-Class Mail Parcels
  • First-Class Mail International
  • Standard Mail®
  • Library Mail
  • Media Mail®
  • Extra Services

The U.S. Postal Service will be offering a Commercial Base rate for customers printing single piece First-Class Mail Parcel postage online. The U.S. Postal Service will reward customers for printing postage online and will discount this mail class from the retail rates. The Commercial Base rate will be supported through DAZzle, DYMO Endicia Professional and Endicia Label Server.

First-Class Mail Pricing

Postcards, letters, large envelopes (flats) and small packages can be sent using First-Class Mail®. This service is ideal for sending personal correspondence, handwritten or typewritten letters, and bills or statements of account. It may also be used for advertisements and lightweight merchandise. First-Class Mail prices are based on both the shape and weight of the item being mailed. For items weighing more than 13 ounces, use Priority Mail.

First-Class Mail Pricing - Letters & Postcards
Weight Not Over
(ounces)
Letters & Cards
(2010 price)
Letters & Cards
(2011 price)
Change % Change
1 $0.44 $0.44 $ - 0%
2 $0.61 $0.64 $0.03 4.92%
3 $0.78 $0.84 $0.06 7.69%
3.5 $0.95 $1.04 $0.09 9.47%
Postcard $0.28 $0.29 $0.01 3.57%
First-Class Mail Pricing - Large Envelopes
Weight Not Over
(ounces)
Large Envelopes
(2010 price)
Large Envelopes
(2011 price)
Change % Change
1 $0.88 $0.88 $ - 0%
2 $1.05 $1.08 $0.03 2.78%
3 $1.22 $1.28 $0.06 4.69%
5 $1.56 $1.68 $0.12 7.14%
10 $2.41 $2.68 $0.27 10.07%
First-Class Mail Pricing - Parcels
Weight Not Over
(ounces)
Parcels
(2010 price)
Parcels
(2011 price)
Parcels
(2011 Commercial Base price)
Savings Over Retail
1 $1.22 $1.71 $1.56 $0.15
2 $1.39 $1.71 $1.56 $0.15
3 $1.56 $1.71 $1.56 $0.15
5 $1.90 $2.05 $1.90 $0.15
10 $2.75 $2.90 $2.75 $0.15

The following are descriptions for each classification of First-Class Mail:

  • First-Class Mail Cards – rectangular cardstock mailpiece not contained in an envelope.
  • First-Class Mail Letters – small rectangular mailpiece no thicker than 1/4 inch weighing 3.5 ounces or less.
  • First-Class Mail Large Envelopes – flat rectangular mailpiece no thicker than 3/4 inch.
  • First-Class Mail Packages – a box, thick envelope, or tube weighing up to 13 ounces.

Media Mail Pricing

back to top

Mail books, sound recordings, recorded video tapes, printed music, and recorded computer-readable media (such as CDs, DVDs, and diskettes). Media Mail can not contain advertising except for incidental announcements of books. The maximum weight for Media Mail is 70 lbs and no more than 108 inches in combined length and girth.

Media Mail Pricing
Weight Not Over
(pounds)
Large Envelopes &
Parcels(2010 price)
Large Envelopes &
Parcels(2011 price)
Change % Change
1 $2.38 $2.41 $0.03 1.24%
2 $2.77 $2.82 $0.05 1.77%
3 $3.16 $3.23 $0.07 2.17%
5 $3.94 $4.05 $0.11 2.72%
10 $5.89 $6.04 $0.15 2.48%

Parcel Post Pricing

Parcel Post pricing has been greatly simplified. Most of the price cells will not increase on April 17th, and some cells will actually decrease.

Use Parcel Post when sending small and large packages, thick envelopes and tubes containing gifts and merchandise, delivery to all US addresses-including PO Boxes and military addresses, Saturday and residential deliveries at no extra cost. Package can weigh up to 70 pounds and measure up to 130 inches in combined length and distance around the thickest part.

Parcel Post Pricing
Weight Not Over
(pounds)
Zone Average 2010 Zone Average 2011 Change % Change
1 $4.90 $5.25 $0.35 6.67%
2 $6.34 $6.65 $0.31 4.66%
3 $7.55 $7.78 $0.23 2.96%
5 $9.41 $9.55 $0.14 1.47%
10 $12.51 $12.50 $(0.01) -0.08%

Domestic Service Fee Changes

Signature Confirmation
Signature Confirmation 2010 Price 2011 Price Change % Change Savings Over Retail
First-Class Mail (Parcels Only) Retail $2.35 $2.45 $0.10 4.08%  
  Electronic $1.95 $2.05 $0.10 4.88% -19.51%
Priority Mail Retail $2.35 $2.45 $0.10 4.08%  
  Electronic $1.95 $2.05 $0.10 4.88% -19.51%
Package Services (Parcels Only) Retail $2.35 $2.45 $0.10 4.08%  
  Electronic $1.95 $2.05 $0.10 4.88% -19.51%

International Pricing

First-Class Mail International - Letter and Postcards
Weight Not Over (ounces) Canada 2010 Canada 2011 Change % Change Mexico 2010 Mexico 2011
1 $0.75 $0.80 $0.05 6.25% $0.79 $0.80
2 $1.00 $1.08 $0.08 7.41% $1.34 $1.36
3 $1.25 $1.36 $0.11 8.09% $1.89 $1.92
3.5 $1.50 $1.64 $0.14 8.54% $2.44 $2.48
Postcard $0.75 $0.80 $0.05 6.25% $0.79 $0.80
 
Weight Not Over (ounces) 3-5 (2010) 3-5 (2011) Change % Change 6-9 (2010) 6-9 (2011)
1 $0.98 $0.98 0 0% $0.98 $0.98
2 $1.82 $1.82 0 0% $1.76 $1.76
3 $2.66 $2.66 0 0% $2.54 $2.54
3.5 $3.50 $3.50 0 0% $3.32 $3.32
First-Class Mail International - Large Envelopes
Weight Not Over (ounces) Canada 2010 Canada 2011 Change % Change Mexico 2010 Mexico 2011
1 $1.03 $1.08 $0.05 4.63% $1.03 $1.08
2 $1.29 $1.34 $0.05 3.73% $1.59 $1.65
3 $1.55 $1.60 $0.05 3.13% $2.15 $2.22
5 $2.07 $2.12 $0.05 2.36% $2.71 $3.36
 
Weight Not Over (ounces) 3-5 (2010) 3-5 (2011) Change % Change 6-9 (2010) 6-9 (2011)
1 $1.24 $1.30 $0.06 4.62% $1.24 $1.30
2 $2.08 $2.17 $0.09 4.15% $2.03 $2.13
3 $2.92 $3.04 $0.12 3.95% $2.82 $2.96
5 $4.60 $4.78 $0.18 3.77% $3.40 $4.62
First-Class Mail International - Packages
Weight Not Over (ounces) Canada 2010 Canada 2011 Change % Change Mexico 2010 Mexico 2011
1 $1.23 $1.72 $0.49 28.49% $1.23 $1.72
2 $1.49 $1.98 $0.49 24.75% $1.79 $2.29
3 $1.75 $2.24 $0.49 21.88% $2.35 $2.86
5 $2.27 $2.76 $0.49 17.75% $3.47 $4.00
16 $5.01 $5.58 $0.57 10.22% $8.25 $8.95
 
Weight Not Over (ounces) 3-5 (2010) 3-5 (2011) Change % Change 6-9 (2010) 6-9 (2011)
1 $1.44 $1.72 $0.28 16.28% $1.44 $1.72
2 $2.28 $2.59 $0.31 11.97% $2.23 $2.53
3 $3.12 $3.46 $0.34 9.83% $3.02 $3.34
5 $4.80 $5.20 $0.40 7.69% $4.60 $4.96
16 $10.76 $11.39 $0.63 5.53% $10.31 $10.89

 

 

 

 

Wednesday

How do you keep the human side of Customer Service in a fast-paced world? We'll have an answer at @FedEx #custserv

Next week I get to visit the FedEx Center is Dallas to discuss the topic with Sheila Harrell, Vice President Customer Service Operations.

It's bound to be a lively discussion since Ms. Harrell was the winner of the 2008 Customer Service Executive of the Year award. It was presented by The Customer Service Institute of America (CSIA), which provides organizations with education, certification and recognition in the field of customer service.

Invitation

I'm looking forward to signing my book, The Ultimate Online Customer Service Guide and meeting the customer service crew at Federal Express. It's going to be an eye opening experience - for all of us!

 

Monday

Chart of Wholesale Trade Shows during the year for eBay & Online Sellers. Great ways to find new merchandise!

Check your calendars and these sites for entry information. Know that only online sellers with State sellers permits will be admitted. These shows are not open to the public!
Show Name
Location
Start/End Date
Year
Monroeville, PA
Mar 4
Mar 6
2011
Chicago, IL
Mar 6
Mar 8
2011
Hyannis, MA
Mar 8
Mar 9
2011
Minnetonka, MN
Mar 11
Mar 15
2011
Atlanta, GA
Mar 12
Mar 14
2011
Portland, ME
Mar 12
Mar 14
2011
Greensboro, NC
Mar 19
Mar 21
2011
Dublin, OH
Mar 19
Mar 23
2011
Dallas, TX
Mar 24
Mar 27
2011
Boston, MA
Mar 27
Mar 30
2011
High Point, NC
Apr 2
Apr 7
2011
Chicago, IL
Apr 3
Apr 5
2011
Santa Fe, NM
Apr 5
Apr 6
2011
New York, NY
Apr 12
Apr 15
2011
New York, NY
May 15
May 18
2011
Las Vegas, NV
Jun 4
Jun 6
2011
High Point, NC
Jun 5
Jun 8
2011
Dallas, TX
Jun 22
Jun 28
2011
Charlotte, NC
Jun 25
Jun 27
2011
Dublin, OH
Jun 26
Jun 29
2011
Washington, DC
Jul 10
Jul 12
2011
Baltimore, MD
Jul 11
Jul 13
2011
Atlanta, GA
Jul 13
Jul 20
2011
Los Angeles, CA
Jul 19
Jul 25
2011
Los Angeles, CA
Jul 22
Jul 25
2011
Orlando, FL
Jul 23
Jul 26
2011
King of Prussia, PA
Jul 24
Jul 27
2011
Glendale, AZ
Jul 28
Jul 30
2011
Chicago, IL
Jul 28
Aug 3
2011
Monroeville, PA
Jul 30
Aug 1
2011
Las Vegas, NV
Jul 31
Aug 3
2011
Las Vegas, NV
Aug 1
Aug 5
2011
Salt Lake City, UT
Aug 4
Aug 6
2011
Minnetonka, MN
Aug 5
Aug 9
2011
San Francisco, CA
Aug 6
Aug 9
2011
Greensboro, NC
Aug 6
Aug 8
2011
Henrietta, NY
Aug 7
Aug 9
2011
Seattle, WA
Aug 10
Aug 16
2011
New York, NY
Aug 13
Aug 18
2011
Seattle, WA
Aug 13
Aug 16
2011
New York, NY
Aug 14
Aug 18
2011
Dublin, OH
Aug 20
Aug 24
2011
Denver, CO
Aug 25
Aug 30
2011
Dallas, TX
Sep 10
Sep 12
2011
Atlanta, GA
Sep 10
Sep 12
2011
Chicago, IL
Sep 12
Sep 14
2011
Chicago, IL
Sep 12
Sep 15
2011
Miami, FL
Sep 20
Sep 22
2011
Las Vegas, NV
Sep 20
Sep 23
2011
Louisville, KY
Sep 23
Sep 26
2011
Charlotte, NC
Sep 24
Sep 26
2011
High Point, NC
Oct 22
Oct 27
2011
New York, NY
Oct 25
Oct 28
2011
Sevierville, TN
Nov 3
Nov 7
2011
Gatlinburg, TN
Nov 4
Nov 7
2011
Greensboro, NC
Dec 3
Dec 5
2011
Myrtle Beach, SC
Dec 4
Dec 7
2011
Hight Point, NC
Dec 4
Dec 7
2011
Atlanta, GA
Jan 11
Jan 18
2012
San Francisco, CA
Jan 15
Jan 17
2012
Los Angeles, CA
Jan 17
Jan 23
2012
Los Angeles, CA
Jan 20
Jan 23
2012
Orlando, FL
Jan 21
Jan 23
2012
Glendale, AZ
Jan 26
Jan 28
2012
Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 26
Jan 28
2012
New York, NY
Jan 28
Feb 2
2012
New York, NY
Feb 12
Feb 15
2012
Las Vegas, NV
Mar 11
Mar 14
2012
H/T to my favorite vendor website GreatRep.com