Friday, May 19, 2006

Whats best for my WLAN?

Alrighty then. This will no doubt be a bit boring for most of you. For that I apologize. But some have requested clarity.

That said, I've had a few buddies ask 'after they purchased routers for their LAN' what were the differences between 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g and how did they affect their network capabilities. So, after reading a article and subsequently calling a friend, head engineer for an ABC affiliate station, I figured an overview would assist some, educate others and just iterate to the vast majority what they already knew.

The basic goals of anyone attempting to set up a WiFi area are strength of signal and connection speed. In order to give due justice to the progression over the last few years we will give a little history lesson.

WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) products are based on standards which were set forth from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). These standards were used to transmit data, video and voice information across radio waves.

In 1997, the IEEE created our first WLAN standard and called it 802.11. This standard had a limited bandwidth of 2 Mbps and used a radio signaling frequency of 2.4 Ghz. This standard is too slow for most of our current applications but the radio frequency is the key point to remember here.

Then in 1999, 802.11b hit the scene. This supported a larger bandwidth of 11 Mbps (greater speed) and also used the same radio frequency of 2.4 Ghz as the original. Key point to be remembered, this frequency is utilized by most household appliances: microwave ovens, cordless phones, etc. What does this mean to me? Well, if you've set up your network in a house with these items they could interfere with your connection.

The development of 802.11a occurred simultaneously with 802.11b. 802.11a supports a larger bandwidth, up to 54 Mbps, but uses a radio frequency range of 5 Ghz. The higher radio frequency limits your range of your network primarily because it makes it harder for the signal to penetrate walls and other household obstructions. Further, due to 802.11a and 802.11b using two different frequencies they were NOT compatible.

What I've told some friends trying to decipher the differences is some manufacturers out there offer network 802.11a/b gear which will allow compatibility. But, then I follow that response with the fact that just a couple years ago, 802.11g was introduced. This option attempted to combine the best of both a/b worlds with bandwidth up to 54 Mbps while utilizing the 2.4 Ghz radio frequency for increased range of their signals. Further, backwards compatibility exists between g and b, meaning g would work with b network adapters and vice versa.

Now, in terms of pros and cons, 802.11a pros consist of the fastest speeds, supports more users and the smaller radio frequencies prevent signal interference from other household devices. Its cons are highest cost and shorter signal range. 802.11b pros include lowest cost and best signal range and not as easily obstructed. Cons are slowest speed, supports fewer simultaneous users, and interference from appliances is greater. 802.11g pros are fastest speed, supports multiple users and signal range is best and not as easily obstructed. Its cons are costs more than b and appliances may interfere.

In closing, I hope this little lesson gave some clarity and understanding as to the history of the 802.11 standards and which one offers the best answer to your WiFi network questions.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Birthday Girl

Today is a special day for my family. This monumental day marks the birthday of my mother-in-law. Now, I know what some of you are thinking out there. But, that old sterotype doesn't hold true in this instance.
I could could not have asked for a better mother-in-law ('beauty in purple' standing next to her lovely daughter). She welcomed me into her family the first time we met and to this day still puts up with my personality flaws... of which I have a couple.
Now, I'm not much of a birthday celebrater but in this case I gladly make an exception. Mary Ellen is an amazing lady who is constantly giving of her time and talents. Teacher by day and mother both day and night she is constantly using those called upon talents to aid her family and friends.
Mother of two girls and one boy and oh yeah married for 32 years, she is constantly in the middle of the soap opera we all know as "our lives".
Whether making a full course meal for a holiday or consoling one of her children, she pours her heart and soul into every occurrence.
As she is in much need of a vacation, her summer respite from school and the students is almost within her reach.
In closing, Mary Ellen I pray your birthday was both entertaining and satisfying.
Your son who loves you much!

New Projection Screens better investment than LCD or Plasma? YEP!

For those of you unaware of the new style projection screens out there... be aware! You will start viewing these screens with more and more regularity at future trade shows. They are proving to be a better investment based on weight, ease of use, and looks.

The newer screens are much lighter than your LCD or Plasma screens(hereafter referred to as competitors) out there and can be hung almost anywhere within your display area. The competitors can only be placed in certain places and often need to be accompanied by costly stands!

The projections screens are virtually indestructible and only a quarter-inch thick. Their advantages over the competitors are many: light weight, easy travel features, ease of set-up, many size options and low costs. Also, projections screens can be set up quickly to display products, services, video, Power Point presentations or advertisements looking every bit as crisp and clear as their competitors.

Plus, unlike their competitors, they emit no glare, reflection or washout and light cannot shine through. The screen's matte material provides an intensive translucency, making presentations appear to pop off the screen.

Screens come in a variety of sizes, shapes and custom cuts up to 6.5' x 10'.
Finally, for renters, a small projector and a screen are easier to handle and less expensive than a plasma screen TV.

For inquiries please take a look at c-techsolutions and then call us smashhitdisplays. We'd love to outfit you with a projections screen to make your next show a crystal clear success!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Where the hot spas are

This was compiled by Sue Pelletier, MeetingsNet. It was my duty to post here in honor of my wife, who is a huge fan of the Homestead Spa. Plus, the proximity to Mother's Day is no coincidence. Every mom should experience a day of pampering. What better gift to present on Mother's Day than a gift certificate to a Spa. So, on behalf of them here are some tops spas to jot down just in case you feel the need to give generously:

Where the hot spas areMay 5th, 2006
According to Forbes, the top spas are:
The Spa at Chiva Som, Hua Hin, Thailand
The Spa at CordeValle, San Martin, Calif.
The Spa at The Four Seasons Resort Bali, Jimbaran Bay, Bali, Indonesia
The G Spa at Hotel Gansevoort, New York City
The Greenbrier Clinic at the Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, W.V.
SpaHalekulani at Halekulani, Oahu, Hawaii
The Spa at The Lanesborough, London
The Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, Fla.
Chi Spa at The Shangri-La, Pudong, Shanghai, China
The Spa at Stoweflake, Stowe, Vt.
The Spa at The Homestead Resort , Hot Springs, Va.

Oh yeah, mom and Shan enjoy the certificates ;)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Why you should choose a color other than black, blue or silver for your display?

When it comes to purchasing a table top, 8 foot, or 10 ft trade show display, one should try thinking "out of the box" in terms of selecting a color. The three most commonly chosen colors are black, blue and silver. Actually, they are purchased in that order.

Speaking as a devil's advocate, Why would you chose a display in one of those colors when everyone else is doing the same? Wouldn't your mission be to separate yourself from the competition? What better way to do that then flaunt a different color i.e yellow, red, green, etc.
Differentiating yourself from your fellow presenters should be one of your trade show goals. For it is the job of the display to attract attendees to your booth...period. That's all a display in its bare essence is supposed to do.

Wouldn't it make more sense for you to choose a color which is actually boisterous and stands out in the crowd? For once the attendee is drawn to your display it is then up to you to finish the deal and attain a new customer.

But, I digress. We were talking color. Alright, still not convinced try looking at the situation from 180 degrees. If you are an attendee and you have limited time to visit many booths in a single day, wouldn't your eyes draw you to a booth which is set apart from the pack. A different color would almost brand your booth area. In actuality, a different color would draw the attention of the attendee because it breaks the monotony of the sterotypical color base.

So, in closing before you invest in a pop up or panel system try purchasing a display in a different color than black, blue or silver. You'll thank me for it before the show after you've had a chance to look at all the dull booths around yours', during the show as the attendees are drawn to you like bees to honey, and finally after the show when your cash register is filled to the gills with the mighty greenback!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Margaret Katherine

Well now. It seems my nephew, Joe "the Golden Child", has some new competition! Margaret Katherine, newest member to the family as of Friday, will shortly open Joe's eyes to the fact he's no longer top dog!
Well, Joe you took advantage of that mantra for two years. Now, it's time to pass it along to your baby sister. To say the young lady is a welcome addition as our side of the family has wished for a little lady for many years now is a major understatement!
Marg and mom are well and recouping from their hospital time. Congrats and look forward to seeing you both very soon ;)
Uncle E

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Graphic Requirements from your Favorite Printer...

Have you ever felt like Charlie Brown when he answers the phone and here's the wa wa wa wa wa wa on the other end. Well , we are constantly being wa wa'd (scolded) by our favorite printer, Simon. Simon like all of us lives in the age of time poverty where we are constantly trying to shave time from our regular activites to make time for other activities. This is especially important when it comes to large scale printing graphics.
In order to do so in the most time effective way, we've found a few proven methods to uploading graphics to the printer. One should save their graphics as a tiff as opposed to psd, jpeg, eps, etc. Reason being, tiff files saved in LZW compression act more like a zip file and take less time to render. This as Simon will attest to means the time it takes for him to open and render/transfer the image to the screen is cut sometimes in half.
Further, when you are sending large format files always attach a pdf version of the file so your favorite printer can eyeball the product to make sure the tiff matches up correctly with the pdf. If you have any PMS colors which are embedded in the graphic attach a smaller file to inform the printer that matching needs to happen for this particular file. I'm sure there were a few points missed which Simon will fill you in on as soon as he responds to this article.

Well, as stated above time is of the essence so I bid you adue.

Joseph Turns Two

I know. You really don't want to know about my personal life beyond my favorite music, movie, books, etc. But, this could not be subdued.
My God-son, Joseph, the Golden Boy, flanked by mom and dad, turned the "Big Two" last week and as usual I was perplexed about what to do in terms of a gift.
Gift giving for kids has never been one of my strong suits and it wasn't made easier with a nephew.
The Chosen One, as I call him now since he's taken the family by storm, is at that age where he runs through toys like I run through Pepperidge Farm's Goldfish- Parmesan version... voraciously!
Anyway, since his attention span is smaller than that of a nat I decided to let my wife choose and she decided on Thomas the Train books.
They still seemed like a waste of time given his age but you tend to agree with your better half whether you want to or not. In addition to the books, I started a mutual fund in his name when he was born and just added a few more bucks hoping that will acrue greater than his collection of toys.
Happy 2nd JW!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

An eBay Seller's Tips for Product-Sourcing at Trade Shows

OK. The article attached references a woman's experiences as she attended her first trade show. It's interesting because she offers tips to make the experience more comfortable and more rewarding.
Something as simple as the comfort level of our shoes is extremely important but most would not think of it given everything else which is on our minds.
Rebecca Shapiro, first time attendee, gives some great insight. Go figure. She's an artist by trait. Take a gander...

How to Choose the Correct Trade Show Display?

A few month's back I wanted to create an article for the average person looking to purchase or create a trade show display. The article gives an accurate account of the steps one should undergo before jumping in and purchasing a display. It's in essence a grocery list of what to know, do, and ask before you make that all important step.

Strong Arm Sales Stop Success Cold

My first inclination after reading the introduction to this article was how can someone be so unconfident in who they are that they would allow themselves to be bullied into making a purchase. But, after reading further, I understood it was focused more on the booth patron than the show attendee. With that being said, most companies have but a short period of time to attract and create new customers. The article informs one of a list which the booth patrons can go over before the show to give them an outline or template of how they can win over show attendees. Take a read...

Lighting Pros Give Tips

Yes, yes. We all know lighting is important when presenting at a trade show. This is an extremely generalized tip list which you could easily substitute Graphics, or Booths into the Lighting category and it would make equal sense. My point is its general but you could fashion it to make it more specific for your trade show need. i.e. Insert graphics for every instance of lighting and you will understand my point!

Trade shows? It's about free stuff; take it from a couple of pros

Personally I used to be all about promotional items, freebies, swag, schwag, etc. We've all been to movies or grand openings and received free t-shirts, pens, pencils, cups, hats, posters, etc. Though I am not an advocate any longer from a personal war chest standpoint, it's these precise items which help those working trade shows to lure prospective customers into their booth area.

Now, while we are at a show its all about who can collect the most schwag. But, when you return home you realize you have attained nothing more than a collection of stuff you won't use again unless you re-gift them come Christmas time. But I digress, it's really about the swag and how it works as a lure for the casual show attendee. If you have a few minutes the attached article gives a great overview of what these types of items can do for you and how they can separate you from the proverbial pack while presenting at a show!

The most important paragraph/sentence in this entire article is the last one. "And at the Home Show last month, I found a contractor for a remodeling project. I scored a nice free pen. He scored a $5,000 job.". It just goes to show you the importance of free stuff. This one job more than paid for the pens and a significant amount, if not all, of the monies invested to go to the show.

The Winning Strategies for a Successful Life

I know I know you read the title and are thinking what kind of psychological doubletalk is he dishing today. Well, Colin, a friend I met while on honeymoon in Antigua, writes daily articles concerning business and economies of scale. But this one was a complete departure from his normal rhetoric.

So, Colin's article asks the question, "Are you living your ideal life?" Further, he asks a series of questions to quantify whether we are in fact living successful lives.

To me, time and the inclination to act on impulse are our biggest opponents when looked at from a strategic point of view. They both constitute what we do not just monthly, weekly or daily but hourly. All of us long to do what we want when we want in order to achieve that feeling of zen or Feng Shui, etc. It's those that act and make the time and take a departure from their regular schedules that will live more ideal lives and achieve those states and thereby feel better about their lot in life.

Colin asserts one should integrate a few of his ideas at a time in order to become a better person. Further, he asserts those who have fun and want to constantly learn will better themselves.

Some Ways to Find Trade Shows

For all of you out there clamoring to find some trade show displays near you or anywhere in the country for that matter, I've attached a few sites for you to peruse.

  • Some Ways to Find Trade Shows
  • Search on Google, Yahoo and other search engines for lists of Trade Shows, like this website Search convention centers in your area to view their calendar of events
  • Visit It's geared for vendors, but why not look there for a list of shows? I just typed in my specific industry, craft shows, and found a list to browse through.
  • Join a professional organization and attend its local events in your area. This is a good way to network and find out about specific trade shows.
  • Purchase trade magazines and browse the ads and classifieds. This is always a good resource for trade shows as well as products.
  • If you already have a few suppliers you are buying from, ask them. They're always happy to share that information.

Safety Tips for Trade Shows

Safety. We all know "Safety Bobs" out there who are constantly alerting us to "our" unsafe actions. Well, I never gave safety a second thought pertaining to the trade show industry until I read the article attached.
Julia O'Conner, Trade Show Training, Inc has some interesting albeit bland tips one should brush up on before entering their trade show calendar year.

How Trade Shows Work- Trade Shows for Dummies!

It's a humbling feeling. You've just been told to plan the company's trade show activities for the year and you have no idea where to begin! Arghh. In the past, one given this daunting task woud a) faint, b) scream, c) yell loudly, d) breathe into a paper bag, or e) all of the above.
Well, that was the past. Welcome to the future and how to avoid those feelings of distress.

In the attached article, clicking on the title above, Lee Ann Obringer, writer for
HowStuffWorks , takes a look at why trade shows are so effective, how to select the best shows, and how to manage the process from start to finish. She provides tips, checklists and web links that will make the job a heck of a lot easier for you. In essence, it's Trade Show for Dummies
If you wish to start with why it makes sense to attend trade shows just click on the title above!