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USA, EU Join for Counterfeit Computer Raids

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In "Operation Infrastructure," coordinated U.S. and European authorities seized thousands of counterfeit computer components in November and December.

About 360,000 items, mostly computer networking hardware and ICs, were seized by the U.S. Customs and EC Taxation and Customs Union Directorate General.

The U.S. and EU said last year that they would establish the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to encourage countries to follow intellectual property rights established by the World Trade Organization and other global trade groups. The agreement focuses on improved international cooperation, best practices and the establishment of a legal framework to tackle counterfeiting and protect IP rights.
Counterfeit chips bite into sales of hardware companies selling genuine chips. A common counterfeiting practice is re-marking of chips, in which counterfeiters replace the label with a different brand name and different part number.

More than 130 million counterfeit items were seized in 2006, according to a study released by the European Commission last year.

ACTA to Stop Counterfeit Chips

“We Remove VISTA”

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We remove VistaA&D Computer shop earned their 15 minutes of fame by hanging this sign out outside their PC shop in New Hampshire.

The manager says out of all the signs they’ve ever hung to attract customers, “WE REMOVE VISTA” got the most response.

Probably because so many people were (are) having problems with Windows Vista, with compatibility issues for older software, and having trouble adjusting to the interface.

Microsoft is buying Yahoo to attack Google, squeezing into the mobile phone platform, promoting tablet pcs, pushing broadcasters into their IPTV standards, devising Silverlight to block Adobe Flash, creating their own embedded version of every popular add-on software from firewall to photo to media player…no wonder they don’t have time to wow Mom and Pop in New Hampshire with a user friendly OS.

To put this in context imagine…a Mazda dealer with a successful promotion, “We Remove Wankel Engines.”
Or a “We Remove iTunes” sign on the window of an iPOD shop.

Wankel, In Case You Didn’t Know

 

 

Keyboard “Quiver” for Gamers

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QuiverStandard backpacks aren’t long enough to hold a keyboard. And it’s so uncool to cart a keyboard around in its box. Now the Keyboard Quiver, a new, ergonomic keyboard case might become an essential tool of the gaming trade, holding a keyboard, mouse, headphones, cables, power cords and even MP3 players.

"The Quiver is the first bag specifically designed to meet the needs of competitive gamers," says Ken Newman, Director of Marketing for Falcon Safety Products, manufacturer of the Dust-Off brand. "Through our partnership with the World Cyber Games, we had an opportunity to work closely with professional gamers on the development of a product that would meet what we saw as an urgent need for the protection of sensitive and expensive gaming gear. Throughout the design process of the Quiver, we worked side-by-side with Dust-Off sponsored Team X30 and incorporated many of their suggestions into the Quiver's final design. Essentially, the Quiver is designed by gamers for gamers."

Measuring 21"x12"x6", the Keyboard Quiver is manufactured from a heavy-duty cotton canvas and features a single, over-the-shoulder strap that can be fitted for left or right handed use.
 For added comfort the strap is padded, and to keep a gamer connected while on the move, the strap also features a pouch designed to hold a cell-phone or PDA.

The outside of the Keyboard Quiver features three main zippered compartments. The zippered pocket on top of the case can hold a MP3 player and also features a headphone slot. The upper compartment can hold a mouse or other personal effects and the bottom compartment is designed to hold a set of headphones. The bottom compartment is also expandable, via a second zipper, to fit larger sized, bulkier headphones or additional gear.
Additional compartments include a mesh pocket for cables and other accessories, bands to hold cleaning accessories such as Dust-Off keyboard dusters, and slots to hold CDs, DVDs or game discs.

The Keyboard Quiver

The Coming Credit & Finance Crunch

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Let’s not talk ourselves into a recession but let’s face the fact there are economic forces beyond our control. So much so that Steve Jobs felt compelled to draft a letter to all his employees, saying “Our stock is down because we are buffeted by forces beyond Apple.”

The sub-prime housing credit scandal in USA will leave 15 million families in homes with negative equity. That credit crunch has extended into European banks.

EC Commissioner, Charles McCreevy in his Feb. 6th speech called CREDIT CRISIS & AFTERMATH says, “..what we saw – not just in the United States - but in parts of Europe as well - was a market progressively moving towards an assumption that one could indefinitely rely on mortgage refinancing with ever-rising debt on the back of ever rising asset values and permanently low interest rates.”

The recent European scandal with a rogue trader at SOCIETE GENERALE didn’t help calm the bankers and financial sector. And where do banks get money when they need it?  They tighten up credit, they look to their customers.

The banks may not look to you but they may look at your suppliers or your customers. The reason we refer to a “logistics chain” is the fact that we are all financially chained together. What affects USA today, may affect Europe tomorrow. What affects your supplier can affect you the day after tomorrow.

The head of IMF says there are general economic factors at play that could create the “perfect economic storm.” In I.T., we may get lucky and weather it. We are a resilient industry.

But we can also help ourselves.

At least one credit manager we know has a sign on his desk: “Don’t forget. It’s all about the money.” In .T., we have great products and services but to stay in business you need a department that bills, collects, and analyses financial data in a timely fashion.

Isn’t it strange that we have industry conferences for retail buyers, channel managers, marketing mangers, programmers and even for our end users…but nothing for our finance managers and credit managers?

And so much of their work seems to have been left to “on-the-job” training.

The Solution
In May 2008, the ECFC (European Credit &Finance Congress) will bring together financial and credit managers from high tech companies. Much of Tier 1 is already committed because of our sponsors.

Think how valuable it is to learn about better credit practice, how to limit fraud, how to best use credit insurance, and what tools and services you can use to best control your business financially.

ECFC 

Think of what your credit and finance people can learn talking to colleagues and other professional experts.

The general economy may force us (as vendors, as distributors, as retailers) to re-examine credit lines, to re-negotiate new credit with our suppliers, to tighten up our financial positions.

If not, the dwindling margins and tough competition in I.T. may be reason enough to improve the skills, practices and business networks of our financial and credit departments.

Please pass this important link on to your Financial Department…

The ECF Congress

Will Myfaveshop Revolutionise Etail?

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Former DSGi CEO John Clare and Lord Saatchi (of advertising agency fame) will launch (with big promises) Myfaveshop, a social networking internet retail venture.

  

While online shopping is currently very functional, Clare says Myfaveshop wants to recreate the social side of shopping online. In the prod demo, you can see that buyers get to “choose their own store design” and the products inside.

The site, expected to launch in 2008,  will charge retailers for the right to be on the site, as well as taking a cut of all sales via a commission charge.

It’s no accident that the demo focuses on “electrical” and the brands that Clare knew well at DSGi.

Myfaveshop Demo

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