Canale's Technology Tips & Tricks®
For your review, below are a few "Tips" that I've sent to my newsletter subscribers. If you enjoy reading these, then please consider subscribing and you'll receive my Tips, Tricks and Alerts two to three times each month.
What to do about missing "DLL" files
If you've done much computing at all, you've probably run into a program DLL (Dynamic Link Library) error more than once.
Theses frustrating notices typically occur when you try to start a program. The error message says something like "missing file name.DLL" and the program simply terminates.
This usually happens when you most need to run that particular software.
The next time this happens to you, check out the DLL Library page at DLL-Files.com
While they don't have every DLL know to man, they've got hundreds of them available on the site, and probably the one you need!
"Most technology-based writers aim and fire far above their readers' heads, thereby wasting their efforts and frustrating their readers. Mr. Canale will score a bull's-eye with everyone who practices real estate every day and has to face the routine challenge of staying ahead of the competition. You will be checking your mail daily for the next issue." - David L. Banks, Nothnagle Realtors, NY
Using Windows "send to" feature
When you right-mouse click a file and choose "Send To" from the menu, you will see a list of possible destinations. What's important to know is that you can add and remove your own preferred items to this list.
All you need to do is to make a shortcut to a folder or application within the C:\Windows\SendTo directory and it will then appear on the Send to menu.
For example, you can usually add a shortcut to send a file directly to your favorite e-mail software as an attachment by using this feature.
All you need to do is to use Windows Explorer to navigate your way to the "C:\Windows\SendTo" directory and then right-click your mouse to bring up an action menu.
Now select "New" and then "Shortcut" from the list and add any software application or destination (such as a zip drive or the "My Documents" folder) that you like.
From that moment on, you can always right-click a file and immediately send it to anywhere or any program that you want.
This is particularly handy for those files that customers and clients frequently request, such as your standard sales contract or an agency disclosure form.
You can also remove items that you don't use from the "Send To" list by simply deleting their shortcuts from the "C:\Windows\SendTo" directory.
"For the money, you simply can't beat the information that you provide us via the Canale's Tips and Tricks. I personally like your frank opinions on new software, etc. "We" need a profesional that says it like it is -- and you are "the man". - Eva Keagle, ABR, CRS, GRI, ERA - Colonial Real Estate, TX
Offering better online service
A study done in December by UCLA found that consumers shop on line for convenience more than any other reason.
The top three reasons listed for doing business online were Convenience, Speed, and access to Information. Contrary to what many would assume, getting the best price was actually near the bottom of the list.
Given this evidence, it's important for REALTORS, brokerages and associations to view their web sites from these consumer perspectives.
The question you need to ask yourself is "what does my site offer that is more convenient than the both the offline world as well as my competitor's sites?"
From the agent and broker's perspective, tools like daily real estate news, financial calculators, virtual tours, demographic information and electronic forms are much more important to the consumer than flashy self-promotion.
Realize that if the consumer can't find everything they need to know about real estate on your site, they'll find it on someone else's.
From an association's viewpoint, simply realize that if it's not faster, easier and more convenient to do something (such as registering for a class or ordering a lock-box) online thanoff, then the member will simply do business the old fashioned way: by fax and phone.
As a side note, The Yankee Group found that 29% of online transactions are lost simply because the site is too hard or complicated to navigate.
My rule of thumb here is that if they can't do it in three mouse-clicks or less, then they probably won't do it at all!
Keep that thought in mind as you continue to migrate your business and services onto the web.
"In particular I like the way you share web sites that benefit the typical computer user. I use the info from your news letter as topics for my office meeting and my office technology brainstorming group. I save the newsletters as a technology resource for the agents in my company." - John A. Veneris, Owner, Realty Executives Pro/Team, IL
Keeping your system up to date
FACT 1: All software has imperfections, bugs and inefficiencies. It's the nature of rapidly developing technologies.
FACT 2: Vendors are constantly creating updates, patches and other fixes for these problems.
The tough part is knowing when an update is available, and then finding and installing it.
The later versions of Internet Explorer have a "Windows Update" option under the "Tools" menu. From there, you will be sent to a Microsoft web-site that will automatically scan your system to determine which updates are available for your computer. You'll also be provided with a list of common updates for both your browser and for the Windows operating system itself that you can download and install automatically.
Additionally, there is an incredible utility called "BigFix" available at: (BigFix.com) which will essentially perform a similar function, but for a much wider range of issues.
BigFix not only looks for updates and patches available for download, but also checks common security risks within your systems's existing settings. Whenever it finds an issue that you should know about, it first fully describes the issue and then always offers you the option of installing the patch or modifying the setting.
Both of these services are free, and a monthly visit to each will keep your system running smoother and up to date.
"It is very clear to me that you have considerable technical knowledge and, more importantly, you are willing to share it with the rest of us. Your newsletter provides a most valuable service. I find that the product information and explanations you give in your newsletters saves time and money. I'm in it for the long haul, and I need all of the valuable information that your newsletter provides." - Erika A. Boucher, SRES, MCP, Weichert Realtors, MD
Changing Your Computer's Ownership Records
If you've every bought a used computer, or simply were not the original owner of a system for any reason whatsoever, then you've probably been frustrated by the fact that your computer thinks you're someone else.
While this may only be a very minor frustration when you're installing new software, many people get quite annoyed by this problem.
The computer owner information is contained in your system's registry files and can be easy edited.
However, before you do this, it's best to go to your "Start Menu" then choose "Run" and enter "scanreg" first. This will launch a simple utility to assure that your registry files are not corrupted and it will also prompt you to backup your registry files, if you computer has not already done so with the last day.
Once you've completed that step, then go back to the "Run" command but this time type in "regedit" and this will open the registry editor software.
Now go to the Edit menu and choose Find.
Type "RegisteredOwner" into the dialog box and this will take you directly to the appropriate section where you can double click the entries for Owner and Organization to edit these entries.
Once you're done, simply close the registry editing software and the next time you restart your system, it will reflect the changes you've made.
"I really enjoy receiving the newsletter. It is not too much information and yet the information is extremely valuable. Technology is a changing world and having someone like you available to keep us abreast of this info is just what I need. Thanks and God Bless" - Sherrye McMorris, CRS, GRI, SRES, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, NV
Keep on smiling, it's good for business
Most people involved in sales (or most business for that matter) recognize the value of the smile.
The act of smiling can be very disarming in meetings and negotiations and it's a known fact that those people who smile a lot are better liked than those that don't. Being liked is always good for business!
You probably didn't know that researchers have found that a smile can be recognized from 300 feet away and that it's effectiveness crosses all cultural divides.
Additionally, those who smile a lot tend to marry younger and to live both longer and happier lives.
Clearly, smiling is not only good for business but for your personal life as well.
Now, Dascher Keltner, a psychology professor, has found that there's a discernable difference that can be detected between genuine smiles and those that are faked.
A real heart-felt smile includes contractions of the muscles around the eyes, while forced smiles genuinely do not.
As a consumer, if you're wondering just how genuine that salesperson really is when they smile and shake you're hand or offer you a "great deal" just make sure you look at their eyes. If the muscles around the outsides (the crow's feet) aren't involved, then they're most likely pretending.
More importantly, as a salesperson or businessperson, make sure that you don't try to fake too many smiles. People can often pick up on the insincerity, even if only on an unconscious level.
Being perceived as insincere isn't going to help your business much.
Better yet, practice your smiles in a mirror. First, fake a smile. Then recall a joke or listen to something funny, smile naturally and notice the differences.
If you can learn to generate a smile at will that's indistinguishable (by forcing your eyes to participate) from a genuine one, then you've got a pretty powerful tool at your disposal.
"I've been receiving your newsletters for maybe a year or so now. I find myself anticipating it's arrival, and then looking forward to reading it once I receive it. I have used a lot of the tips and tricks you've shared in regard to computer software, file maintenance, etc. I have discovered that I value the time and effort it takes you to research the different aspects you've shared on these subjects because so many times I've saved time and money by implementing what you've suggested." - Ann M. Underwood, Associate Broker, CSP, e-agent, Woods Bros. Realty, NE
Simple back-up strategies
You've probably heard by now that anyone can purchase a CD drive that will not only read traditional CD's but can write to blank CD's as well.
With the cost of these drives now down in the $200 price range, this is an affordable technology for use in backing up your system.
This is especially true as a typical CD can hold 650 MB of data, and costs as little as .40 cents, depending on the type and quantity you buy.
However, it's not usually necessary to back up your entire hard drive. All you really need to save is your personal data. The actual programs you own can always be reloaded from the original software disks or CDs.
The easiest way to achieve this is to put the majority of your own files in the "My Documents" section of your hard drive, and then to simply back up that one directory to a single CD on a regular basis.
However, when this folder's contents exceeds 650 MB then create addition directories to keep the size of each folder to less than what a single CD will hold.
For example, you could have separate directories for My Documents, My Photos and My Databases. As long as each contains less than 650 MB of data, you could backup all of your personal files using just three CDs.
Best of all, if you ever need to restore lost data, you will know exactly which CD contains the missing information.
"There are many motivational speakers who I only differentiate by the cost of their lectures. You have a very unique niche in that you know how computers and technology can and do allow REALTORS to be more successful. The material in your Newsletters is unavailable anywhere else in one place and is of immense benefit to our profession. I always learn something new and helpful from your contacts with us and am pleased to take this opportunity to thank you." - Charles Wehland, ABR, O'Conor, Piper & Flynn ERA, MD
Stephen M. Canale
Preparing Professionals for Competition in Tomorrow's Marketplace