Archive for April, 2010

What do Confucious, Abraham Lincoln and Donald Trump have in common …

April 26, 2010

[tweetmeme source=lansystems only_single=false]… they are quoted hundreds of times a day on Twitter.

For the record, I like a motivational quote as much as then next gal.  The targeted quote used to introduce an article or chapter can be informational and inspirational, but thousands of quotes a day on Twitter are just Internet fodder.

Successful social media aficionados have to post and tweet many times a day even if they have nothing of consequence to say.  Right?   No. You can reach your desired audience with interesting and beneficial information while maintaining your decorum.  Got to use a quote here – “Less is more” Robert Browning

Etiquette in the virtual space has the same rules as in the physical space.  You would never spam someone at a dinner party and if you did you wouldn’t be invited again.  Before jumping into your sales pitch, you’d take time to get to know the person and establish rapport. Before sending endless correspondence, you’d ask permission and if declined you would happily respect the request. 

Online doesn’t mean anonymous. In fact, your local online community is a just that – a community.  Although it’s larger, it still has the same expectation of etiquette, manners and acceptable behavior as any community. You are expected to be polite in person and online.

Facebook and other online social sites give us the opportunity to have more friends than ever before.  That’s because we can more easily keep up with the activities that make us friends.  It is estimated that before social media, we had an average of 150 friends.  With social media, that average is up around 700.    But we still expect kindness, politeness and courtesy from our friends.  I like Aliza Sherman’s 10 Golden Rules of Social Media as a guide to using the online communities. Regardless of the media, we are people communicating with people. 

As the social media and marketing experts (that’s all of us) decide what is an effective online strategy and as our expectations of social media as a marketing tool are redefined, we should remember what our mothers taught us –

If you can’t say something that’s not spam, don’t say anything”

“There is no substitute for good manners”

“Silence is golden”

and “Don’t forget the Golden Rule.”

Until next time … shhhhh

Girl Scout Engineers!

April 18, 2010

[tweetmeme source=lansystems only_single=false]LAN Systems helped sponsor a Girl Scout event yesterday at Southern Polytechnic State University introducing the girls to engineering as a career. Although the number of women in engineering is growing, the growth has been modest compared to other careers. That’s because even though girls have the smarts, if they don’t take the required math and science in high school, engineering school is a far reach.  As a group, girls get less math and science training.  That’s where we help.

Through programs like Girl Scout Engineers, women engineers show girls that math and science is fun and challenging.  The girls always amaze us with their brilliance and their technical ability.  Studies tell us that unless we reach girls by the 5th or 6th grade, they probably won’t get the courses needed in high school. That’s why the Girl Scout program is so important.

The activities included building a circuit, puff vehicle, ship-a-chip packaging and designing simple machines. The girls enjoyed making a circuit to illuminate a light bulb and were excited when they were able to “blow-up” the filament.  In ship-a-chip, the girls designed packaging for a potato chip and then we dropped an atlas on it to see the survival rate. We engineers of both genders like controlled destruction!

Several teams designed and built vehicles that made it from start to finish in a single puff.  The vehicles were made of paper, straws and LifeSavers.  All the girls knew about simple machines because they had been studying them in their science classes.  Kudos to the 5th grade science teachers.

Engineers make this world a better and safer place.  Often women choose engineering because they love technology and want to help people. To see that excitement in the next generation of female engineers is rewarding beyond compare. 

So encourage your daughters and sisters to explore math, science and technology.  And I’ll guarantee there will be a female scientist or engineer to provide the inspiration!

Pictures at LAN Systems Facebook page.

LAN Systems BBB Ad on Youtube

April 16, 2010

Video by the BBB with LAN Systems featured.

The Internet is the Wild, Wild West ….

April 12, 2010

[tweetmeme source=lansystems only_single=false]

 and there ain’t no Sheriff in town!

Just like the western frontier the Internet is a place where opportunity abounds, but it is not without danger.  If you understand risk, manage uncertainly and protect yourself from diabolical people, the Internet is a magical place. When online, a good rule to follow is “when in doubt – don’t.”

Two main problems with the Internet are that 1) there are more scammers than can be counted and 2) it is hard, sometimes impossible, to determine authenticity. 

In the Wild, Wild West if some cowboy came riding up to you, you’d better be a quicker shot or have a trusted friend covering your back.  You could never take any chances because there were all kinds of hoodlums out there, alone or in gangs, that were trying to separate you from your property.  And if you had established your homestead (website, email address), you’d have even more to worry about because they would always know where to find you.

On the Internet, the cowboys are the scammers and your trusted friend is your firewall, Spam filter and malware protection software to name a few.  But even with these helpers covering your back, you could fall prey to a malicious attack.  So you have to have a backup plan to protect all your critical data.

On the Internet, anyone can pretend to be anyone.  Determining someone’s authenticity is just not that easy.   In the Wild, Wild West anyone could steal the sheriff’s badge and the judge’s credentials.  Unless you had another way to identify them, you could be fooled.  This happens several times a second on the Internet.  A scam artist masquerading as a someone authentic gets you to download malware, adware, ransomware, gives  you a virus, steals your identity, gets you to buy something or send money to claim your million dollar inheritance.  Many of these scams are so obvious that it is hard to believe that people still fall for it, but then again it is the Wild, Wild West!

For ways to protect yourself, see our Tech Notes at

OMG IONO Wa UR Saying!

April 9, 2010

[tweetmeme source=lansystems only_single=false]Every generation has its slang and every industry its acronyms.  Most of these abbreviations are just alphabet soup to outsiders.  But if you are going to join an industry or snoop on your teenagers, you have to learn the lingo. 

12 round blue icons in a communications theme. Each icon is grouped. 6 background colors includedThere are many abbreviations that have multiple meanings.  Take GIS – I learned it as Gas Insulated Substation.  The first time I heard GIS used as meaning Geographic Information System, it was in the context of “we need to update the GIS with the latest maps.”  It didn’t make any sense at all.  At the risk of embarrassing myself and sounding stupid, I asked what does GIS mean? You’d have thought I had two heads.  After that I made a policy that acronyms have to be defined before they are used. I compiled a list of acronyms for our industry and put them in a manual and later and eBook. Not many people want to know what SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) means, but there are some that live for this information! 

As you know, the military is great for acronyms and has some very flowery ones.  Parents have to know what  PAW, POS and P911 mean as well as a host of others that describe what your children are doing.  Scan through the list and I think you will be surprised at the number of text message abbreviations dedicated to specific actions and emotions. 

Will this generation destroy the world with text messaging?  I don’t think so.  Every generation was going to destroy the world because of their reckless abandon and callous disregard for the way society works.  Look rock-n-roll music, mini-shirts, MTV, the Internet and text messaging – each a danger in itself, but here we are.  The analog generation figured it out and I think this millennium generation will too. 

BTW, text abbreviations work for casual communications, but don’t use in business correspondence or resumes.   If you are not hip with the current lingo, look it up before retweeting or repeating.  There are several sites that have deciphered lists.  NetLingo has a good list with tips.

OMG IONO Wa UR Saying! means Oh my gosh, I don’t know what your are saying!

Wait! Before you send that email ….

April 7, 2010

[tweetmeme source=lansystems only_single=false]… go visit your customer or pick up the phone or look over the cubicle to see if anyone’s home.

In this fast-paced, digital, virtual world, we often opt for the electronic message and the virtual experience. There are many amusing stories like the students that text message as they walk past each other at school; parents that are amazed their offspring will answer a text message, but not a phone call; and musing over the abundance of tweets about the cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

At the risk of seeming to be “way back in the 90’s,” opt for the personal interaction and show someone that you really care.  There is nothing like a happy voice or a smiling face to make us feel human.

Time for full disclosure, I read and send many emails – too many emails. I text a little and tweet, but I do enjoy talking on the phone and face-to-face conversations.  Most people do. Being old fashioned, I still send handwritten thank you notes that are often hand addressed.  The other day someone told me how much they appreciated my thoughtfulness.  Wow! It made the writer’s cramp worth it.

Electronic messages are important for getting out information, quick updates and retaining a copy of correspondence. Unless you are sending to someone you know very well, don’t try to be funny through sarcasm.  Many an email war has erupted because humor or sarcasm came across as insulting.

So before you send that email, consider these –

  • Don’t copy the world on your emails.  You know what happens to emails when you are one of many in the distribution list.
  • Don’t forward chain emails or hoaxes.  They just clog up the internet and irritate the recipient.
  • If you want something done, don’t send to more than one person.  If you do, they will all ignore you.
  • Whenever you can, talk to your customer, coworker or employee.  You’ll be surprised how good it feels.
  • Use email, but use it wisely.

 Next time,  text abbreviation primer for the analog generation.

Mary Hester joins as contributor

April 4, 2010

[tweetmeme source=lansystems only_single=false]Mary Hester’s profile on

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April Puzzle

April 2, 2010
Parent to the college student, “If you can solve this cryptarithm, you’ll get your wish!”   

*Hint in the parent’s message.

Send your answer to  All correct answers will be entered in our monthly drawing.