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Open Source ERP Tool – PostBooks

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As the global financial crunch chokes companies badly across industries, ways and means to cut costs are now high on corporate agenda – be it large corporations or SMEs. One of the costs associated with business operations is that of software licensing. And when it comes to computerization, there’s no better solution than an Enterprise Resource Planning system which has traditionally been a high ticket software investment mostly out of reach of small businesses. With Open Source, this trend is set to change as there are a number of free ERPs available which businesses can use to automate and centrally manage their dispersed accounting, purchasing and inventory activities through a single integrated interface. These ERPs mostly have a paid support package in addition to a free version so as to support those having purchasing power, as well as those who just need the system to get started with with in-house expertise. One such ERP is PostBooks available in the shape of PostBooks.

This guide walks through the installation process over a Ubuntu 7.04 (and higher) system and brief introduction of the system. Note that unlike other software systems which are ready to run after download, ERPs require a bit more configuration as these systems are not self-contained. They make use of a database application to keep all the user-data and reports etc, whereas the front-end provides interface to enter business transactions. Often, ERPs are web-based, which means they require a web-server where the entire application is hosted. For this reason, there could be multiple files to download – one for the main program, and there could be database scripts to create necessary tables etc. Over a period of time, these installation steps are being made easier though.

Installing PostBooks in Windows:

Window installation is pretty simple process as the installer comes with database installation along with sample data. Simply download and install using the single executable file and run using username and password admin.

Installing PostBooks in Ubuntu:

Uubntu installation requires database and a bit of manual configuration. Here’s how:

Step 0 – Install PostgreSQL

This is a perquisite database for PostBooks ERP. Install it using the following command:

sudo apt-get install postgresql-8.1 postgresql-contrib-8.1

Step 1 – Download Postbooks

PostBooks offers multiple types of downloads that might suit different needs. For example, complete installers, separate client and database, documents, videos and even virtual machine version which means ready to run image of a complete pre-installed system in Virtual Box and VMWare formats. This guide walks through a common and easy to test installation where everything resides on one system. Advanced users can install database separately on a different machine to allow multiple client access across network.

Download the following 3 setup files using wget command:

The tar.bz2 file for Linux

Quick Start file

init.sql file

Note that the wget command downloads in the existing folder.

Step 2 – unpack the compressed file

Use the following command which unpacks the downloaded archive and creates a folder with the same name as the file.

tar xvfj PostBooks-2.2.0Beta3-Linux6.tar.bz2

Step 3 – Configure PostgreSQL and set it up for PostBooks

Open the file /etc/postgresql/8.1/main/pg_hba.conf in Text Editor and see the last section titled # TYPE DATABASE USER CIDR-ADDRESS METHOD. Here, comment out all the 3 uncommented lines by placing hash character in front of them and replace them with the underlined lines as shown below:

Existing section of the file:

# TYPE DATABASE USER CIDR-ADDRESS METHOD

# “local” is for Unix domain socket connections only

local all all ident sameuser

# IPv4 local connections:

host all all 127.0.0.1/32 md5

# IPv6 local connections:

host all all ::1/128 md5

Updated section of the file (updates shown as underlined)

# TYPE DATABASE USER CIDR-ADDRESS METHOD

# “local” is for Unix domain socket connections only

#local all all ident sameuser

local all all trust

# IPv4 local connections:

#host all all 127.0.0.1/32 md5

host all all 127.0.0.1/32 trust

# IPv6 local connections:

#host all all ::1/128 md5

host all all ::1/128 trust

And then restart the server using:

sudo /etc/init.d/postgresql-8.1 restart

Now create PostBooks database

sudo su postgres

psql -U postgres -f init.sql template1

createdb -U mfgadmin mfg

pg_restore -U mfgadmin -d mfg postbooks_quickstart.backup -v

Note that these commands have to be executed from the same folder where the downloaded files reside.

Step 4: Start PostBooks

From the folder where PostBooks is unpacked, use the following command to start PostBooks:

./PostBooks

Username and password is: mfgadmin

Overview of PostBooks

As is the case with any ERP, PostBook caters for all major operations of a small to medium sized production company. It can also serve other firms say in services sector or retail as only a sub-set of modules are required and rest become automatically redundant. The main interface has got menus at top describing each functional area of business that it caters to. This includes Products, Inventory, Purchase, Manufacturing, CRM, Sales and Accounting. Start off with System menu to configure basic structure of the organization. Sub-menu Master Information allows the user to define calender, currencies, exchange rates and departments etc. Second important area to configure is sub-menu Configure Modules where each details of handling earlier listed modules can be set. For example, while handling inventories, a check can be put in place to disallow purchase order receipt if the quantity differs from the order, or to pop-up a warning if the difference is in a user-defined range. Similarly, there are a number of configuration items that can define business rules – such as allowing sales discounts or not. General Ledger can be defined in detail through Accounting module configuration by setting format of GL hierarchy showing main segment, profit center, sub-accounts and their character lengths, along with defining mandatory accounts such as retained earning, exchange rate difference and discrepancy accounts.

Once the modules are configured for basic characteristics and parameters, the next task is to define Maser Information for each relevant module using its own menu. This entails module specific information. For example, in Products, units of measurement, product category and product class constitute its master information. For accounts, this includes bank accounts, cost and expense categories etc. Under each module there are sub-menus for reports and analysis which makes this ERP quite comprehensive in nature.

There are other free ERPs available for Ubuntu as well – and most of them run on Mac and Windows as well. With ample documentation, user manuals, and free online demos available, small businesses can invest some time in researching the available options to save cost of acquiring a custom built ERP.

Options that can be explored include MyERP5, OpenBravo, Compiere etc.

OpenSource ERPs have come a long way from just being a concept to a reality in use by many companies around the world – with and without paid support. Its ironic that OpenSource solutions have not been explored to the fullest extent. But if done so, it holds a lot of promise starting right at the operating system level and growing up to the level of specialized applications such as ERPs.

Note: All the commands are to be used as root user.

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How to Start a Low Cost Home Based Business

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Low Cost Start Up Businesses ideas are literally lying around, just waiting for you to snatch them up. In fact, there are so many of them, you might have trouble deciding which one you want. One thing is for certain, there has never been a better time for home business start-ups. So the sooner you get going, the better.

One idea out of the many for low cost home based businesses that you should know about is right here at your computer. Online auctions are big business these days, and it’s likely you already have items ready you can post for sale.

With the profits from sales on those things you might otherwise call junk, you can hit your local flea markets, estate sales, and garage sales for more goods to sell online. You will be amazed at how easy and profitable this is!

Another low cost home business that you might want to consider is to buy vending machines. These are generally low-cost and low maintenance, and you can place them everywhere from your large local companies’ break rooms to carwash waiting areas.

The possibilities for where to put vending machines are as limitless as your imagination. Ideas for what to put in them range from peanuts to bubble gum. You can pick up this type of item at any discount club or grocery store for a song and pull in big profits in the bargain.

You can also form a personal errand service. The need for these just can’t be stressed enough. People are so busy these days that getting to the dry cleaners can feel like trying to get to the top of a mountain.

Other people who are in major need of a personal errand service are the elderly. They are particularly grateful to have someone to do their personal errands for them. Creating a personal errand service is a great choice for a low cost home based business because it offers so many people what they really want more of-time.

You also might want to consider car detailing as your low cost start up business. Americans spend more time in and money on their cars than anyone else in the world. And they’re willing to pay $150, and often a lot more, to have their cars clean and shiny. If you love cars and being outdoors, this is the low cost home business for you.

Moving services are also a good choice from the list of low cost home businesses. Do you know anyone who wouldn’t love to have someone else do the heavy lifting when it comes to moving? Didn’t think so. Plus, they’re willing to pay big bucks for someone else to do it! Also, this is an especially great home business if you live near a college or university. If you like physical activity, a moving services business might just be the ticket for you.

If having fun is more what you have in mind consider becoming a party planner. You can plan parties ranging from children’s birthday parties to gala events for large local corporations in your area. The terrific thing about this low cost home business is that you get to go to lots of parties! After all, you simply must be at those parties to make sure all those little details you planned for so carefully are attended to correctly!

The list for low cost start up businesses could go on for days. Hopefully, you’ve found the one for you or have gotten the idea for one from this brief guide. The main thing you want to remember when choosing the business that’s right for you is to consider your likes and dislikes.

After all, it’s going to be your business and you’ll be spending lots of time at it, so make sure it’s something you enjoy. After you make your choice, make a plan for the things you need to do to get your business up and running. Follow it, and before you know it, the checks will be filling up your mailbox!

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Possession of Controlled Substances

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What will happen to you if you are arrested for personal possession of cocaine or other controlled substances? Drug possession is one of the most common crimes in the U.S. Any possession of an illicit drug, such as marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, or heroin, can lead to serious charges. If the court determines that you had in your possession more than would be used for one person, you could even be charged with possession with intent to distribute or sell. If you or a loved one were charged with this crime, you need to be well-aware of every aspect of your case as well as how you can defend yourself.

A person may be arrested for personal possession of cocaine or other controlled substances pursuant to Health and Safety Code 11350(a), which states: Except as otherwise provided in this division, every person who possesses (1) any controlled substance specified in subdivision (b) or (c), or paragraph (1) of subdivision (f) of Section 11054, specified in paragraph (14), (15), or (20) of subdivision (d) of Section 11054, or specified in subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 11055, or specified in subdivision (h) of Section 11056, or (2) any controlled substance classified in Schedule III, IV, or V which is a narcotic drug, unless upon the written prescription of a physician, dentist, podiatrist, or veterinarian licensed to practice in this state, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison.

Health and Safety Code 11350(a) is not a wobbler, and can only be charged as a felony, which could result up to 3 years in state prison. Fortunately, if a person is charged with personal possession of a drug offense, the majority of the time that person will be eligible for a diversion program where their arrest and conviction could be ultimately dismissed as long as they fulfill the necessary requirements. A few different options for that person would be programs such as (PC 1000), (Prop 36) or (Drug Court).

Remember that each case is looked at differently and the outcomes could be greater than what is listed based upon circumstances of the individual cases. If you or someone you know has been arrested for charges under Health and Safety Code 11350(a), contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with the handling of these types of offenses. Which attorney you choose to defend you could make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Please do not risk your future or your freedom by failing to retain a strong legal advocate to fight for you.

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Is It Worth Bringing a Claim?

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One of the most common questions raised when you consider bringing a claim for compensation is “will it be worth it?” It is commonly known that bringing a claim is a long, laborious and stressful process. It is not something that should be taken on lightly. Even if your legal team do the majority of the heavy lifting for you, you will still need to be involved and you will need to be able to commit to the case. Therefore, it is not uncommon for many people to want to know if the hard work and the potential stress involved will be worth it.

To answer this question firstly your legal professional will need to know what your idea of worth is. For some a claim will be worth it if you can have your day in Court, stand up in front of a judge and say, “these people did me wrong, they were negligent,” to have a judge agree with you and confirm that you have won your case is enough for some. But for others the financial outcome of the case is what makes it worth it, will the claim, if won, provide enough compensation to make the work involved worthwhile.

The majority of clients tend to fall in the middle of these two, the fact that they feel they have been treated negligently and want to prevent that treatment from happening to someone else is a large part of their motivation, however the financial aspect is also present and needs to be sufficient enough to make the work involved worthwhile.

Sadly, it is almost impossible for any legal professional to answer either of these questions. There is no guarantee that you will win your claim just because a firm has taken it on. Things happen in cases that make weak claims much stronger and strong claims much weaker and these events can happen at any point in the claim. Just because your legal profession says you have a 70% chance of winning at the beginning of your claim does not mean that on the day of the trial you will still have a 70% chance of winning, you might only have 50% or you might have 80% circumstances change regularly.

It is also almost impossible to give a valuation of a claim right at the beginning. This is because your legal professional will need to break down your compensation into what is known as General Damages and Special Damages. General Damages being the compensation for pain, suffering, loss of amenity and Special Damages being the monetary loss. The money you have had to spend because of your injury that you would not have had to pay otherwise. For example, pain killers you had to purchase, time spent by friends and family in helping you that they would not have done if you had not been injured.

So to provide a proper value your legal professional will need to know all of your financial losses incurred because of the negligence, as well as have a detailed medical report from an independent medical expert to value the pan and suffering part of your injury.

Once your claim has reached the point where you have provided your legal professional with all of the information as to your financial losses and you have been examined by an independent medical expert then a financial value can be placed on your claim/

To calculate your general damages your legal professional will review and analyses your medical report which details your injury, your treatment and your symptoms. The report may also hazard a guess at when your symptoms will resolve or plateau. Once your legal professional has that information they turn to a publication called the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines which list various injuries and give a bracket of value. For example Wrist Injuries, Bracket a) Injuries resulting in complete loss of function in the wrist. Deformity may increase the award depending on severity are worth between £35,000 – £72,500.00

Once your legal professional has a bracket, they will then look at previous case law. They will be looking for cases where someone suffered an injury similar to your and had a similar recovery period. The mechanics of the case does not matter. So if you suffered a broken wrist in a car accident that healed fully after six months, your solicitor wouldn’t be looking for someone who suffered a broken wrist in a car crash. They will be looking for a case where someone suffered a broken wrist that healed fully after six months. Once a few cases have been found with similar injuries and recovery times inflation will be added and you will have a figure!

Unfortunately just because your legal professional says your claim is work £5,000.00 does not mean you will receive £5,000.00 at the end of the day. Negotiation will cause the figure to change, if you settle before trial you will usually be advised to accept a slightly lower figure as you are removing the risk of attending trial. If you win at trial it will be up to the Judge to award you compensation.

With regard to Special Damages, these are paid to cover all the costs you incurred as a result of your injury, they are essentially refunding/reimbursing you.

There are a lot of various expenses that can be reclaimed such as:

  • Travel costs for medical appointments and treatments such as Physiotherapy
  • Loss of earnings
  • Time spent by friends and family helping you do tasks that you would normally do yourself.
  • Medicines either prescribed or not

Tip: Keep your receipts! I cannot stress this enough. You will be asked to prove your loss, and you will struggle to do that without receipts.

In conclusion, it is up to you to decide what your claim is worth to you. Compensation is broken into two headings General and Special. General is the payment received for your injury and Special is the compensation received for any financial loss you have suffered. The two headings are then added together giving a figure to start negotiations.

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How to Create an Email Marketing Campaign Your Audience Will Love

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4 Reasons to Discover the Value of Email Marketing

Whether you sell a product or service, work from a home office or a corporate one, starting an email campaign can be incredibly beneficial.

Sending consistent newsletters to your followers gives you the ability to develop a “Know, Like and Trust” relationship with them that will dramatically increase your brand visibility and market reach.

Yet many business owners and entrepreneurs pass up this golden opportunity to build relationships and increase sales. Are you one of them?

In this week’s blog, I’m going to share some reasons why your small business should create an email marketing campaign and offer some tips to help you increase open rates.

What is the Value of Email Marketing?

Let’s start with 4 reasons why your small business should send out a newsletter.

1. It reminds people that you’re there. As much as you’d like it to happen, your customers aren’t sitting at their computer daydreaming about your brand. Sending them relevant content can keep you top-of-mind among your target audience.

2. You can get truly personal. For example, greeting someone by their first name, or even using data on their past purchases to suggest complementary products or services can be hugely beneficial. In fact, open rates for personalized emails average 18.8% compared to 13.1% without personalization.

3. It boosts your website traffic. Links within your newsletter drive traffic to your website and social media platforms, which means increased brand awareness, leads and sales.

4. It’s cost-effective advertising. By using a service like Constant Contact to create newsletters, you can quite easily design a newsletter to send to thousands of people. From segmenting your audience to managing unlimited marketing campaigns and lists, you can do a lot within a platform like Constant Contact.

See our recommended newsletter providers for more info. And remember while it may be tempting to use a newsletter template, hiring a professional web designer to create a unique one that reflects your brand is better for your customers.

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Read: How to Target Your Ideal Clients with Digital Newsletters

Regardless of the size of your business, eNewsletters are an efficient way to reach current and potential clients and to easily measure the results of your efforts.

But before you send out newsletters for digital marketing purposes, you need to make sure you’re targeting the right people with the right messages. Here are 5 ways to get started.

Read more on our website.

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4 Email Basics to Increase Open Rates

Your open rate is the percentage of the total number of subscribers who opened your newsletter.

While open rates vary by industry, stats show the average is about 17.80%. So if you want to get that number even higher, here are 4 things you need to do when you create an email marketing campaign:

1. Determine your goals.

Like any page on your website, your newsletter needs to serve a purpose. Here are a few common goals for Digital Newsletters:

â— To drive traffic to your website

â— To increase brand awareness

â— To build your authority in your industry

â— To increase leads and/or sales

â— To promote a product, service or event

Like I mentioned in my last blog, you need a compelling CTA. What do you want your visitors to do on a particular page? Each page on your site should have a call to action that encourages your potential customers to do something.

2. Craft a compelling subject line.

The subject line is the first thing anyone sees, and it’s what encourages people to open your eNewsletter. It should be short and attention-grabbing, telling your audience what to expect when they open the email.

Obviously, you can’t cover every topic within your newsletter in the subject line. Focus on the meatiest, most important message you want your target audience to receive.

3. Give people a reason to sign up.

With so many messages flooding your customers’ inboxes, it’s hard to cut through the noise. Instead of just saying “sign up for my newsletter,” offer your website visitors a discount, free content download or something else enticing.

It’s also essential to remember the purpose of sending your eNewsletter is to inform, engage and entertain your audience. It’s NOT a place to drive a pushy sell. If you do that, expect to see your newsletter subscribers drop off.

4. Learn from your data.

It’s not enough to just send out email newsletters with the content that you think your target audience wants to see. To ensure the value of email marketing, you need to measure your efforts.

You need to look at your eNewsletter metrics to see:

â— Who’s opening your emails

â— What links people are clicking on

â— Who’s unsubscribing

Once you have some numbers around your emails, you can tailor them better to meet your audience’s needs.

***

You can’t argue with the value of email marketing! Sending out consistent newsletters is one of the most effective marketing tools for your business and can grow your brand visibility and sales big time.

If you don’t feel like starting an email campaign is the best use of your time or energy, find a professional marketing team like us who can handle the writing, marketing, and technical components. It’s the ideal way to increase open rates, leads and sales even more!

To your business success,

Susan

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Project Manager Career Profile

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Education and certification with project management (PM) emerging as one of the fastest-growing fields in the country, many professionals are exploring a project manager career path. The PMI® studies paint a very bright picture for those who plan on carving out a career.

Jobs and salaries are on the rise a recent PMI report indicates that 25% of companies that have reduced their headcounts in other specialties will still be hiring project managers, while an Anderson Economic Group study predicted that approximately 1.2 million PM jobs will need to be filled each year through 2016.

The availability of open positions is just part of the appeal; the substantial salaries are another enticement. Payscale.com reports that it managers typically earn between $74,299 and $103,710 a year. PMI’s annual salary survey indicates that those with industry certification – such as the PMP® designation – earn upwards of $100,000 annually.

Career opportunities and potential earnings are two of the most important factors that individuals must consider before choosing a profession.

A place in every industry professionals possess skills that can be used in virtually any industry – from information technology to consumer goods to business services. This career mobility ensures that one can readily find work, even if their current industry is affected by an economic downturn or cyclical demand.

Skills required for a PM career before entering into management, you need to ask yourself whether or not you have a passion and aptitude for this type of work. If you’re up to the challenge overseeing the contributions of a diverse team and managing the expectations of key stakeholders, this may be the position for you. The profession requires strong communication and organizational skills, the ability to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously and an understanding of the functional roles of departments throughout the organization.

Training and education the first step in becoming a manager is to get the right education. You don’t necessarily need a PM degree, but you do need to have specialized training. Industry certification will give you an even greater edge in securing the best positions.

When evaluating your training options, consider what will make your resume stand apart from the competition. A credential from an accredited university shows that you are serious about your career path. The good news is that with the widespread availability of online programs, location is no longer a limitation.

Embark on your career path. Project management training and industry certification can help professionals land their first position. Over time, successful project managers will be assigned projects of increasing size and complexity. Those who prove themselves on the job and demonstrate a commitment to continuous learning have excellent advancement potential. Take the first steps toward a career today, and you’ll be on your way toward a wealth of job opportunities, a lucrative salary and genuine long-term career satisfaction.

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Violating NY Move Over Law May Result in License Suspension

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Last year, New York troopers gave out 16,000 tickets for violating VTL 1144-a. More tickets can be expected this year with the newly amended New York Move Over Law extending the obligation to amber lights such as construction vehicles and tow trucks now in effect.

One obvious result of enforcement of VTL 1144-a is rapid accumulation of points on the driver record; and this can unknowingly lead to a suspension of driving privileges.

On January 1, 2011, New York began enforcing its original Move Over Law. The law mandates that drivers use caution to avoid an accident when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped or standing on the shoulder of a road with its emergency lights flashing. In a multi-lane highway, a driver must slow down and move over to create a safe distance for the emergency vehicle. In a single lane road, VTL 1144-a requires motorists to slow down and exercise caution.

The newly expanded New York Move Over Law effective January 1, 2012 applies the same caution requirements to tow trucks, HELP trucks and any vehicles being used in the construction or maintenance of roadways.

Tow truck operators and highway construction workers have almost unanimously voiced their support for the new New York Move Over Law. Tow truck drivers express concern about having to watch their backs while working and that oftentimes it can be quite frightening on the road.

Motorists violating the amended New York Move Over Law face a fine of up to $275 plus court surcharge and a possible jail sentence of up to 15 days. Violators may also have three points tacked onto their driving record.

Three points on a driving record is not significant…unless the driver has already been issued a couple of speeding tickets. Eleven points for traffic violations in 18 months may result in the New York Department of Motor Vehicles suspending your driver’s license – usually for 31 days.

Let’s take an example:

Last year, you received a speeding ticket for driving 72 mph in a 55-mph zone. This is 4 points on your driving record. A few months later, you were issued a ticket for rolling through a stop sign – 2 points. While driving on the New York Thruway, you were ticketed for talking on your cell phone while driving — another 3 points. At this point you have amassed 9 points on your driving record in 18 months.

If you are convicted for violating VTL 1144-a, then you may lose your driving privileges for month as well as a hefty fine.

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