Why WordTracker Sucks

Chris Botterill

I’ve been working in the online marketing industry for a long time now and I have to say I am still surprised that the WordTracker tool at www.wordtracker.com still exists.

First of all, the data that the tool makes available to you is crap. Any person relying on the information that is pulled out of the wordtracker database’s are doomed from the get go.

If you take a look at the information found on the wordtracker website about how wordtracker collects it search data, you will see that the data they collect is from two very small, very niche search engines: dogpile.com and metacrawler.com. This is a major problem when you consider that these two search engines account for maybe half a percentage of the entire search engine market searches over any given period of time. In fact, the search volume is so small on these search providers you would be hard pressed to find any comparison of exactly how much market share they have – most studies ignore these two engines altogether.

The other problem is that these two search engines also attracted a very specialized type of searcher. Most search savvy users will avoid using these search engines as they understand that much of the results in these two search engines are populated with “sponsored links”. This means the while you will occasionally see some useful organic listings in their results they are more interested in providing results that they will make money form when a user clicks the links.

So when you look at wordtracker results and think you have found a set of super awesome keywords – think again. The keywords you are looking at may rarely (or never) be used in the search giants (google, yahoo, msn).

Popularity: 3% [?]


Windows Vista Folder Icon Problem (Resolved)

Chris Botterill
Categories: Tweaking

A while back I had the strangest problem with windows vista. For some reason all my folder icons in my computer changed on me!

The folder icons showed an image that I had in one of my old website publication folders – it was a picture of a cat and every single folder icon inside windows explorer showed this cat. Other than the fact it was annoying seeing this cute little cat everywhere I roamed in explorer, I wanted my computer back!

I tried for hours to fix it and could not seem to find a solution. Then I opened process explorer and recognized the process explorer.exe had a bunch of database files in the folder called C:\Users\Chris\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer hooked.

I killed explorer.exe, opened the command prompt, went to the C:\Users\Chris\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer folder and renamed all the files by typing in ren *.db *.db-old.

I restarted explorer.exe and VOILA! All my folder icons in vista went back to default and new db files were created in my folder.

Thought I might share that. And if anyone reads this and has the same problem, comment and I will post more complete instructions.

Popularity: 3% [?]


SHAW CABLE email and news servers

Chris Botterill
Categories: General Post

SHAW CABLE email and news servers

Calgary Shaw Cable mail servers:

  • Incoming mail server (POP3): shawmail.cg.shawcable.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): shawmail.cg.shawcable.net
  • News server (NNTP): shawnews.cg.shawcable.net
  • Proxy server: proxy.cg.shawcable.net
  • Domain suffix: cg.shawcable.net

West Kootenays Shaw Cable mail servers:

  • Incoming mail server (POP3): shawmail.wk.shawcable.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): shawmail.wk.shawcable.net
  • News server (NNTP): shawnews.wk.shawcable.net
  • Proxy server: proxy.wk.shawcable.net
  • Domain suffix: wk.shawcable.net

East Kootenays Shaw Cable mail servers:

  • Incoming mail server (POP3): shawmail.ek.shawcable.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): shawmail.ek.shawcable.net
  • News server (NNTP): shawnews.ek.shawcable.net
  • Proxy server: proxy.ek.shawcable.net
  • Domain suffix: ek.shawcable.net

Edmonton Shaw Cable mail servers:

  • Incoming mail server (POP3): shawmail.ed.shawcable.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): shawmail.ed.shawcable.net
  • News server (NNTP): shawnews.ed.shawcable.net
  • Proxy server: proxy.ed.shawcable.net
  • Domain suffix: ed.shawcable.net

Fot McMurray Shaw Cable mail servers:

  • Incoming mail server (POP3): shawmail.fm.shawcable.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): shawmail.fm.shawcable.net
  • News server (NNTP): shawnews.fm.shawcable.net
  • Proxy server: proxy.fm.shawcable.net
  • Domain suffix: fm.shawcable.net

Nanaimo Shaw Cable mail servers:

  • Incoming mail server (POP3): shawmail.no.shawcable.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): shawmail.no.shawcable.net
  • News server (NNTP): shawnews.no.shawcable.net
  • Proxy server: proxy.no.shawcable.net
  • Domain suffix: no.shawcable.net

Northern BC Shaw Cable mail servers:

  • Incoming mail server (POP3): shawmail.nb.shawcable.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): shawmail.nb.shawcable.net
  • News server (NNTP): shawnews.nb.shawcable.net
  • Proxy server: proxy.nb.shawcable.net
  • Domain suffix: nb.shawcable.net

Okanagan Shaw Cable mail servers:

  • Incoming mail server (POP3): shawmail.ok.shawcable.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): shawmail.ok.shawcable.net
  • News server (NNTP): shawnews.ok.shawcable.net
  • Proxy server: proxy.ok.shawcable.net
  • Domain suffix: ok.shawcable.net

Prince George Shaw Cable mail servers:

  • Incoming mail server (POP3): shawmail.ca.shawcable.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): shawmail.ca.shawcable.net
  • News server (NNTP): shawnews.ca.shawcable.net
  • Proxy server: proxy.ca.shawcable.net
  • Domain suffix: ca.shawcable.net

Red Deer Shaw Cable mail servers:

  • Incoming mail server (POP3): shawmail.rd.shawcable.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): shawmail.rd.shawcable.net
  • News server (NNTP): shawnews.rd.shawcable.net
  • Proxy server: proxy.rd.shawcable.net
  • Domain suffix: rd.shawcable.net

Vancouver (Abbotsford) Shaw Cable mail servers:

  • Incoming mail server (POP3): shawmail.va.shawcable.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): shawmail.va.shawcable.net
  • News server (NNTP): shawnews.va.shawcable.net
  • Proxy server: proxy.va.shawcable.net
  • Domain suffix: va.shawcable.net

Vancouver Central Shaw Cable mail servers:

  • Incoming mail server (POP3): shawmail.vc.shawcable.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): shawmail.vc.shawcable.net
  • News server (NNTP): shawnews.vc.shawcable.net
  • Proxy server: proxy.vc.shawcable.net
  • Domain suffix: vc.shawcable.net

Vancouver Central Valley Shaw Cable mail servers:

  • Incoming mail server (POP3): shawmail.vf.shawcable.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): shawmail.vf.shawcable.net
  • News server (NNTP): shawnews.vf.shawcable.net
  • Proxy server: proxy.vf.shawcable.net
  • Domain suffix: vf.shawcable.net

Vancouver North Shaw Cable mail servers:

  • Incoming mail server (POP3): shawmail.vn.shawcable.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): shawmail.vn.shawcable.net
  • News server (NNTP): shawnews.vn.shawcable.net
  • Proxy server: proxy.vn.shawcable.net
  • Domain suffix: vn.shawcable.net

Vancouver Surrey Shaw Cable mail servers:

  • Incoming mail server (POP3): shawmail.vs.shawcable.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): shawmail.vs.shawcable.net
  • News server (NNTP): shawnews.vs.shawcable.net
  • Proxy server: proxy.vs.shawcable.net
  • Domain suffix: vs.shawcable.net

Vancouver White Rock Shaw Cable mail servers:

  • Incoming mail server (POP3): shawmail.vw.shawcable.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): shawmail.vw.shawcable.net
  • News server (NNTP): shawnews.vw.shawcable.net
  • Proxy server: proxy.vw.shawcable.net
  • Domain suffix: vw.shawcable.net

Victoria Shaw Cable mail servers:

  • Incoming mail server (POP3): shawmail.gv.shawcable.net
  • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): shawmail.gv.shawcable.net
  • News server (NNTP): shawnews.gv.shawcable.net
  • Proxy server: proxy.gv.shawcable.net
  • Domain suffix: gv.shawcable.net

Popularity: 100% [?]


Facts about Spyware and Malware

Chris Botterill
Categories: Virus and Spyware

Facts about Spyware and Malware

  • Spyware and Malware can easily be installed on a system without the user’s knowledge. In some cases one infection can propagate many more infections by downloading and installing malicious software stealthily in the background.
    It only takes one piece of software specifically designed to download and install other pieces of software to infect your system, after all, the beauty of a computer is that the only limit is the imagination.
  • There is no software available that can remove all spyware or malware because of the techniques that are used to release new variants and new strains of infections into the wild.
    In a recent study by PCworld (http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,119572,00.asp) analysts compared 9 of the top spyware scanning applications against each other. Each application was tested on a system infected with common spyware threats, and then compared against each other to see what product detected and removed the most. The top three applications detected 65% to 85% of the spyware on the test system, while all the other application detection rates were well below 56%, and as low as 5%.
  • Spyware and malware infections can make things like identity just a few mouse clicks away for criminals because of the ability of infections to gather and report personal information about you.
    As if the increase in offline Identity theft in the past year was not enough, Spyware and Malware have helped criminals mine information in the blink of an eye with one single click of a mouse. Online Identity theft and Fraud now leads the way as the method of choice to rip people off. The most upsetting fact of this trend is that while techniques and education are improving to catch and prevent fraud and identity theft, so is the turn around time for criminals to use the information. Most individuals that discover they have been a victim of stolen personal information realize this well after they have already been victimized.
    The Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit organization, shares these chilling facts about identity theft:
    - 13.3 people become victims of identity theft every minute.
    - It takes an average of 600 hours to fix your credit history after ID theft.
    - Victims face higher interest rates on all types of loans, increased credit card fees, higher insurance premiums, battles with collection agencies, and difficulties finding a job.
    - It can take more than 10 years to clean up your credit after ID theft
  • Spyware and Malware can slow down your internet connection speed dramatically
    Every piece of information that leaves your computer has to use some of your bandwidth. Heavily infected system can send so much information out at any given time that the availability of your bandwidth for legitimate uses suffers a dramatic loss of maximum data transfer. In some cases, malware and spyware can turn your computer into a zombie that relay things like spam and viruses which uses even more system and bandwidth resources. Take a look at some of the major companies advertising campaigns and you will see how important it is to them that users prevent their systems from becoming infected. A surge in network traffic for an ISP can lose them MILLIONS.
  • Spyware and Malware take away precious system resources in your computer, making boot times longer and over all performance sluggish.
    This topic is self explanatory. You only have so many resources in your computer to complete tasks. Every time you add another piece of software that requires attention, you are taking away resources from legitimate computer uses.

  • A spy Audit survey in 2004 suggests that over 90% of computers are infected with some type of spyware!
    Remember, this is a piece of software that generates these statistics. If you think 90% is a lot, imagine all of the other stuff it is missing! It has been suggested that EVERY online computer has some type of spyware on it. This is particularly true when a computer is used to surf the internet and view websites. The amount of information that can be gathered from cookies alone allow companies to gain valuable information about your surfing habits at your leisurely expense

  • Spyware and Malware can infect you when you install certain software on your computer without your knowledge. Screen savers, online games, PC performance applications and even some spyware removal programs can “bundle” spyware and malware into their software.
    Here is a list of bogus spyware apps: http://www.spywarewarrior.com/rogue_anti-spyware.htm
  • Many computer users resort to “reformatting” their computer to rid their system of spyware, resulting in complete data loss and hours of valuable time lost to working on their computers
    Time to reformat a system ranges from 1 to 4 hours depending on the method used
    Up to several hours to reinstall applications
    Risking re-infections if not done properly, making worse than before
    In most cases users lose ALL their data
  • Some variants of spyware and malware can install backdoors to allow hackers complete control over a system
    http://spamlinks.net/stats.htm – This is a HUGE resource showing statistics on the amount of spam floating around on the internet

  • Businesses and individuals can spend thousands of dollars in a year on tech support, losing hours, days and even sometimes weeks and STILL have the same problems from the start!
    http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,17240,00.asp – In this article there are facts like this:
    Of 31 total problems posed to 18 stores, 18 were misdiagnosed or left unresolved. That percentage of wrong responses is slightly higher than in our 1998 results.”

Popularity: 7% [?]


Customer Service Guide

Chris Botterill
Categories: Customer Service

Chris Botterill’s Technical Support Customer Service Guide

Included in this document:

  • Dealing with Conflict
  • Dealing with Unexpected Conflict
  • Preparation for Conflict
  • Listening Skills
  • Pro-Active Listening
  • The Sympathetic Response
  • Overcoming Language Barriers
  • Handling Customers with Poor Communication or Listening Skills
  • Phone Etiquette
  • Greetings
  • Holds
  • Transfers
  • Your Attitude Shows
  • Documenting Problems & Concerns
  • Documenting Expectations, Concerns and Problems
  • Agreed or Proposed Resolution
  • Understanding Personality and Desires

You may also download this document in PDF.

Dealing with Conflict – Summary

The most unproductive thing anyone can do in the early stages of a conflict is to try to prove a point, even if they know their right.

Taking a position in a disagreement is important in defining what you want, but is counter-productive in showing understanding as to what the other party wants.

The real question then becomes “How can you prove your point from a neutral position“? The answer is not as simple as the conflict itself, but there is a process that can help you achieve success in all your negotiations.

As you read on you will learn that all conflicts can be resolved using the same set of tactics, however, you may find that the way you apply these tactics will be circumstantial in the way you have the first contact with a client.

Dealing with Unexpected Conflict

There will be times when you are put into situations where a client may be upset or angry about something within seconds of dialogue. You had no previous knowledge that the client was upset, and you are unsure what the problem is.

Since you were unable to prepare for the conflict you may feel as though the other party is being over-aggressive, or even attacking you personally. It can be difficult to collect your thoughts when you are in these circumstances, and even more difficult to keep your emotions in check.

The key in these situations is to listen. Remain calm, cool and collected. One of the best ways to do this is to allow the client to vent and wait for them to come to you with a question. The point being made here is that when someone requests a response, it is an opportunity to re-gain control over the situation. The question that client asks is simply a cue to tell you it is your turn to talk.

When a client “cue’s” you to respond to their question, it is recommended that you provide an indirect response. The best tactic you can use to “avoid” answering a question and taking a side early is to use the question-a-question tactic. This tactic makes the other party commit to a reason for their complaint, and can help you build a foundation for your position later in the negotiations.

Preparation for Conflict

It can be difficult to call someone when you know they are upset. Chances are they will expect you to address their concerns immediately and they may have some built up hostility towards you – even if they have never talked to you before.

One thing that may help you to prepare for conflict is to understand that the client is not mad at you (if they are you should have a supervisor contact them), they are simply frustrated or angry over something they have no control over. Gather as much information about the situation as possible before calling them. Place the call when you are ready.

The first few moments of the conversation will always set the tone as to where the negotiations are headed. It is wise to follow a system for all calls that pertain to conflict. Below is a suggestion to how to make contact in these situations:

  • Place the call
  • When answered, ask for the individual you would like to talk to in a pleasing, upbeat voice. No one wants to talk to a downer, especially someone that needs results.
    Example: “Hello, may I please speak to NAME“.
  • Once you have the individual on the line, there are three things you need to do:
    • Inform them of your name
    • Inform them of the company you are calling from
    • Inform them of why you are calling them

    Example: “Hello (Client Name), my name is (Your Name) and I am calling from (Company Name). I understand you have an issue with (describe the issue) and I am here to help you today”

  • Remember to speak clearly, confidently and get to the point as soon as possible. You want the client to feel as though they are in good hands. First impressions are lasting impressions, especially in tense situations.

Listening Skills

Pro-Active Listening

In a typical sales or service environment you will be sitting or standing in front of the person you are dealing with. You are able to use body language (hand gestures and facial expressions) to assist in a conversation. When dealing face to face, you may nod your head to show that you agree, or frown to show that you may not agree.

When you are dealing on the phone the client cannot see your face. They have no idea if you are rolling your eyes or preoccupied by something else. This is why it is extremely important that you give most or all of your attention to everything the client says. You can do this by reiterating or re-phrasing questions or comments they have made and giving assurances you are still listening like “sure…” and “can you explain further…”

When you partake in pro-active listening, the customer will feel as though you care about their problem and that you are trying to understand how they feel. They may even turn from hostile to friendly.

The only way you will understand what someone wants is to hear them out. No matter how unreasonable or unrealistic the situation is, it is your job to figure out exactly where they stand. Some people believe that the only way to win is to debate over your position. If you were in the middle of a debate this may be true, however, your job is not to prove someone that you are right, it is to prove to them you truly understand their concerns, fully and completely.

Not only does proactive listening help you to clarify and fully understand the problem, it also:

  • Deflates anger and frustration as it allows the client to express all of their concerns
  • Builds a trust relationship between you and the client
  • Helps gathers pertinent information that you otherwise may not have known about
  • Helps you identify and prioritize their main concerns
  • Saves time as you will be able to isolate the client expectations quicker

The Sympathetic Response

A little understanding goes a long way. There may be times a client gets a raw deal and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Understanding how they feel in these situations, and offering sympathy can assist in the process of helping the client make sense of the circumstances.

The rule of thumb in being sympathetic to a client is to put yourself in their shoes, and imagine how you would like to be treated. You may even be able to offer information on how to deal with the situation, but always remember to keep your dealings professional and business like.

Overcoming Language Barriers

There will be times you will have to communicate with individuals that may not speak clearly or that use English as a second language. Many people can become quite annoyed and even upset when there is a problem communicating with one another.

When you run into difficulties understanding someone it works best to slow down the conversation. You can usually do this by speaking clearly and slowly, and to use shorter sentences. Also make use of commonly recognized words that are short and clear. Do not get frustrated if you can’t understand the client – they will feel your frustration which can make matters worse.

Every circumstance will be different but sometimes you may have to take extreme measures. As a last resort you may need to explain that you are having a difficult time understanding them and if it is possible, you would like to have someone else in your organization help out with their problem.

Handling Customers with Poor Communication or Listening Skills

There are individuals that are bull-headed, or have difficulties listening to what you are asking of them. It’s not impossible to deal with these clients, but it does require a firm hand. Clarity is the key in these situations. You need to define and communicate a clear objective to the client and what it will take from both parties to achieve it.

You do not need to talk down to these individuals in order to have them understand, but you will need to share with them that you require their full cooperation to move forward. If you work on building a good relationship from the start it will be much easier to “tell” a client what they need to do.

In worst case scenarios, read the section on refunds to see how to handle a refund if nothing else can be done.

Phone Etiquette


A person can hear a smile in your voice when you pick up the phone, so practice what it takes to make your smile show.


If you need to put a client on hold make sure it is at an appropriate time of the conversation. Do not leave a client hanging with unanswered questions that you have the answers to. You must also have their consent by asking “Is it alright if I put you on hold?”(or something to that effect). It is very important that you specify the amount of time they may be on hold, or to give them the option of us calling them back.


As mentioned earlier you should always try to have the client in a conference with the person you are transferring to before the client makes the transition from your care to another’s care. Make sure to go through the main objectives and expectations while the client is listening so they can add or clarify anything else.

Your Attitude Shows

When you’re having a bad day people will know it. You may not actually come out and say you’re having a bad day but the way you interact with others will show your mood. Believe it or not, attitude is a choice. Whether it’s the tone of your voice or the way you “sigh” when something goes wrong, you are showing your attitude and people will feel it.

It can be very difficult to change the way you feel about something because that is human nature. We are not machines that can turn emotions on and off; we react and respond to situations and environments based on emotion.

You can control your attitude because you can control how you interpret things, and the way you handle them. For example, if you get into a situation where a customer is irate and simply will not listen to any logical reasoning, you have a choice to fight them or join them. If your attitude is to go against everything that they say, you will find your relationship with the customer will deteriorate to a point of ending the relationship. On the other hand if you were to listen to their problems and understand why they feel they way they do, you will actually build an alliance with the customer in the way they feel. This doesn’t mean you have to agree, but you still need to understand why they feel the way they do.

You will soon start to see that many people are upset for reasons unbeknownst to them. They might just need a chance to be heard, and by listening, you have given them something they wanted without even knowing it.

Attitude will set the tone for where you can take a relationship with someone. If you are inconsiderate or simply do not care, the individual you are supposed to be helping will see you as one more problem they need to overcome. Separate people from the problem and you will be able to solve the issue at hand with fewer obstacles.

The bottom line is that there is very seldom reason to lose control of your attitude. Your attitude will define the relationship you have with a customer and will enable you to take the relationship to a whole new level. Even when you disagree about something, you should still be able to agree to disagree. When you do this you are separating the person from the problem, and can start to work together to solve the problem.

Documenting Problems & Concerns

As you read through this article, you will hopefully be able to start understanding how to avoid problems and how to build relationships with people who have problems. Another part of understating and caring for someone’s problems is to record discussions you have had with the client. Imagine spending a great deal of time rebuilding a poor relationship with a client, only to have your feet kicked out from under you because you did not communicate the problem to others that would be involved in the problem resolution process.

There are three very important things that need to be documented when dealing with problems:

  • The problem (document it in detail)
  • The customer’s expectations
  • The agreed upon, or proposed resolution

Documenting Expectations, Concerns and Problems

The first step in resolving a problem is preventing them altogether. This is why you must document what the client expects and any concerns or problem they may have in achieving their desired results.

Documentation will have a cascading effect for every person that works with the client behind you. The ultimate customer relationships are the ones that continue to grow with each contact, not ones that have to start from scratch every time the customer deals with someone new. The client needs to build a trusting relationship with the company, as much as the people they deal with.

When every person understands what the client wants, the client will feel cared for – no matter who they deal with – and respond by coming back time and time again.

When documenting expectations, make sure to start by prioritizing and focusing in on the main problems the client wants resolved. Do not focus on the things you would like to do first, even if you think they are more important. You can always discuss the problems with the client to see if they are aware of the other issues at hand.

Make sure you communicate the plan that you have in resolving their issues, and confirm what you are about to do is what they want. This is accomplished by asking questions like “is this correct?” and “is there anything else you need looked at before I begin?”

Agreed or Proposed Resolution

When you have dealt with a customer and addressed their concerns make sure everyone knows about them. In some cases you will not be able to help the client with the problem and will require someone else to deal with them. In these scenarios it is very important that everyone is clear on what has to be done. This means documenting the discussion with the client, and what you have both agreed upon.

Whenever possible, try to introduce or involve the other person who is going to help resolve the problem into the discussions. You may be promising something that cannot be done and a good way of preventing these problems is by getting the person that is going to be fixing the problem involved in the discussions of resolving their problems. Use conferencing if possible – but at the very least document exactly what the client expects and why.

When you involve everyone in the conversation there is no question as to what was said or interpreted as every person was a part of the transition. With particularly difficult customers, it is beneficial to introduce them to the next person they will be working with making sure you reiterate the customers expectations and goals while they listen on the phone.

Understanding Personality and Desires

There are many different personality styles you will meet when dealing with clients all over the world. A good resource in understanding personality types can be found here: http://www.geocities.com/lifexplore/oldham.htm.

You cannot possibly categorize every customer you deal with, but you can start by understanding that everyone shares similarities. The first thing to remember is that everyone thinks of themselves first. This is generally the simple honest truth. If you throw a softball at someone’s face they will raise their hands or duck to protect themselves before the people around them. It’s instinct. You cannot be successful in serving a customer if you cannot find what it is they want. Instinctively they will have something they desire – even if they don’t know it – that is why you are working with them in the first place.

You will deal with many different people from many different cultures. Some people will have very similar beliefs to yours, and some will not. The point is that you never know what you are going to get so always start on common ground. If you can build a relationship based on the fact that you understand the client’s desires it will be much easier to deliver a successful experience by working “with them”, rather than “for” or “against them”. Most people like to work together and will enjoy the experience of helping them reach their goals and desires.

Occasionally you may not be able to deal with certain customers. This is normal, and difficult situations can be avoided by making sure the client is dealt with by someone who can relate to them. Explain to the client that you are going to get someone who can better serve them because you may not be able to achieve what they desire. It is of utmost importance that you stay with the client for the whole transitional phase from your care to another care.

About the Author

Chris Botterill has worked in a variety of industries over the past 15 years relating to customer service, technical support, internet marketing and public relations. Please contact Chris Botterill to ask a question or submit your comments. You can also use the comments section below.

You may also download this document in PDF.

Popularity: 3% [?]


Tips for Creating a Strong Work Environment

Chris Botterill
Categories: Employees

Creating a Strong Work Environment

Developing a strong work force requires the following elements

  • Opportunity and Advancement
  • Accountability and Responsibility
  • Boundaries and Roles

Opportunity and Advancement – Create an open opportunity environment

When an employee sees that they have an opportunity to advance, they tend to work harder. Those who do not want to advance; there are two variables to consider:

  1. They may be happy where they are, and do not wish to pursue further goals. These individuals can prove to be a huge asset, as they prove that things are working for them, and the company.
  2. They do not intend to help the company move forward to meet it’s objectives for many different reasons, including, but not limited to:
  • Personal or Company conflict(s)
  • In-Experience
  • Ulterior motives
  • Poor communication
  • Not enough incentive

What can Opportunity and Advancement do for your company?

  • Create new jobs for positions that never existed before
  • Build on themes such as teamwork and trust, while creating a competitive and productive environment
  • Promote company awareness, and define roles for individuals

How should Opportunity and Advancement be offered?

  • Inclusion – Make sure everyone knows what the ultimate goals of the company are
  • Regular goal setting meetings on an individual basis
  • Offering opportunities to individuals, rather than forcing them

What are some of the problems that could be associated with an open opportunity environment?

  • Back Stabbing – Some people may feel threatened by others trying to succeed
  • Mis-management – Some individuals will have a different perspective of their roles and position
  • Passing the buck – Individuals may believe that they must make decisions that are best for the company, and pass off work that other may not be able to perform because of their own responsibilities

How do you counteract the problems associated with an open-opportunity environment?

  • Accountability and Responsibility
  • Boundaries and Roles

Accountability and Responsibility

Accountability and responsibility requires the following factors:

  • Strong, defined leadership
  • Well laid out expectations
  • Soft and hard deadlines or goals – projects and tasks to be completed by date and/or by importance
  • A job description
  • Strong communication system

How do I define leadership?

Leadership happens, as much as it can be defined. The true test of defining leadership begins with understanding, communication and evaluation. May leaders simply do not have the opportunity to lead, as they are restricted or limited by opportunity and advancement.

Defining leadership is a tricky feat. Some managers do not want to be “overstepped”, so they try to keep the leaders down, and even sometimes “hidden”, by focusing too much time and energy on keeping them busy. This can be counter-productive, as the ones that truly need guidance and support will not be receiving it.

A true leader promotes strengths and in return builds an empire of strong capable individuals, which fill roles. 2 strengths will out power 10 weaknesses.

How do I make people understand their expectations?

  • A job description – there is no better way to layout someone’s expectations then from a job description. A job description summarizes what is expected out of an individual on a day to day basis.

Deadlines and goals – Without a final goal or deadline, no would be expected to finish anything.

Popularity: 3% [?]


Important new Microsoft patch release out of schedule

Chris Botterill

Heads up… M$ has released a patch out of the regular patch cycle.

This may not seem like a big deal, but if I know M$, this wouldn’t be happening if this wasn’t a big deal. Read on…

Microsoft’s urgent security update: What it means | News – Security – CNET News

Earlier today, Microsoft did something unusual. The company made an exception to its normal security processes and issued an “out-of-band” urgent update. The update applied is classified as critical for Windows XP and older versions and is considered important for Windows Vista.

After speaking with Microsoft earlier today, I strongly suggest that users understand the importance of this update and begin emergency patching procedures immediately. While exploits around this Windows vulnerability have been limited thus far, Microsoft concedes that it could be exploited by old-school Internet-based worms a la 2004 and do massive amounts of damage. In addition to patching Windows systems, I also encourage users to install the latest security signatures from endpoint and network security vendors.

I doubt we’ll ever see another blaster worm incident again, but this is still a little scary nonetheless.

To get the patch, visit http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/

Popularity: 4% [?]


Canada Identity Theft Stats Revealed for 2008

Chris Botterill

Hmm, this is a disturbing trend, although I suppose that the more people that use the internet the more it’s going to happen:

More online shoppers aiding identity thieves

According to statistics from Phone Busters and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre, which is operated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadians have reported 8,048 cases of identity theft so far this year, totalling $7.3 million in losses.

In 2007, there were 9,971 cases of identity theft reported, totalling only $6.4 million in losses.

Amazingly enough, a lot of these identity theft problems are not just happening to “newbies” on computers – I just had a friend of mine who would be considered a high level computer user, well aware of how identity theft works have his credit card details stolen and put to use.

The sad part is that he could only trace the details back to one transaction he made at a U-haul depot.

This pretty much means that we are no longer in control of protecting our own identities. No matter what precautions you take, you may still be a vicitim if the companies you are doing business with are not careful with you personal information.

Popularity: 3% [?]


How to Remove Viruses and Spyware Manually

Chris Botterill
Categories: Virus and Spyware

I uploaded a video to YouTube about 8 months ago and it’s been a hit. It shows you how to remove viruses and spyware manually, using only free tools and utilities. Here’s part one and part 2. I would appreciate comments and feedback if you found this to be useful.

I invented this technique years ago and shamelessly named it after myself (or my nickname).

Introducing “The Botts Technique” to manually remove any virus or spyware – guaranteed to work!

Video 1 (Part 1) – How to Remove Viruses and Spyware Manually

Video 2 (Part 2) – How to Remove Viruses and Spyware Manually

Please recommend on your favorite social site, and leave comments!

Popularity: 6% [?]


Lock Bumping

Chris Botterill
Categories: General Post,Video

Very interesting, and scary at the same time…

Popularity: 3% [?]