Nov 12 2013

5 Major Trends In Mobile App Gaming

Tag: Guest PostsBush Mackel @ 2:55 pm

App gaming is constantly evolving, with developers putting out brand new games just about every day. Of course, only a handful reach the top of the charts, and a lot of people can’t be bothered to go digging for more obscure options (when in reality these are often the best ones!). But among the constant creation and evolution of gaming apps, there are trends that emerge and help to define mobile gaming. Often these trends are a bit more specific than the broad categories you’ll find in app stores, like “puzzle” or “action.” So here’s a look at 5 trends we’ve been seeing in gaming apps throughout 2013.

MobileApps7

1. Tower Defense
Tower defense games have been popular online for years and years, and there have been a few app versions available for some time now. But it seems as if they’re climbing in popularity. “Kingdom Rush Frontiers” has become one of the top paid gaming apps available, and “Bloons TD Battles” even offered an interactive military twist on the popular format.

2. Interactive Puzzles
This is one trend that just won’t go away, and so it can be said to be intensifying every year. The current most popular choice is probably “Ruzzle,” but even old favorites such as “Words With Friends” are still very, very popular. It seems that any new twist on a word search or puzzle that incorporates social competition immediately tops the charts.

3. Casino Gaming
Casino style gaming is certainly not new to mobile devices. In fact, in the iOS app store, there’s an entire “Casino” category, so this is clearly nothing new. However, the concept of real money gambling is becoming a real factor in casino app gaming. Bet Fair is one great example of an online casino that now offers a range of apps to make mobile betting possible. From casino games to sports bets, these apps give you the capability to risk and win money from just about anywhere, and as online gambling becomes more legal in more places, this trend figures to skyrocket.

4. Horror Games
This is become a shockingly expansive category, and it doesn’t quite matter what your definition of horror is. For light fun with a horror backdrop, there are games like “The Curse,” a cartoonish puzzle game that sees you battle a phantom-like “villain” with intellect. For video game style horror, there are any number of classic zombie adventure games and shooters. And for truly creepy adventure style games there are haunting games like “The Room” and “Year Walk” to give you chills at night. Horror is red hot, and app trends prove it.

5. Console Quality
Console quality is unrealistic on mobile devices, but certain developers are pushing the limits. “Infinity Blade III” and “Grand Theft Auto 3” are great examples, as are the numerous adaptations of console sports game that pop up in app stores. As graphics and gameplay capability improve, the gap between app and console gaming is shrinking at least a bit.

This is a guest post written by Evan Miller. Evan is a gaming and tech enthusiast and writes extensively reviewing new products and services for various websites.


Aug 21 2013

Microsoft’s Latest 180 – Kinect

Tag: Video GamesBush Mackel @ 11:05 pm

In the time since we last spoke (around 2010 if memory serves me correct), I started to get more into listening to podcasts, some of which include “The Adam and Dr. Drew Show”, the “NGN n00bcast” (from my friends formerly of N00bAlert) and one of my new gotos, the “Married to the Games Podcast”. I’m really digging the latter podcast because the crew over go by the moniker, “Kids, wives and 9 to 5s” which really speaks to where I’m coming from as 30yr father of 3. But if you wanna learn more about then, head over to their site in link provided.

So I think they’ve all but admitted that they’re all PS3 guys and in their last podcast they brought up the most recent 180 by Microsoft on Xbox One features, in particular that now you can disconnect the Kinect from the console and it will still function (which they previously said was all but an impossibility). So their question, not being Xbox 360 guys was essentially:

“Doesn’t this most recent announcement make the Xbox faithful really ticked off? That you’re essentially gonna have to pay $100 more for something you don’t want anyway and now clearly don’t need.”

And as one of those 360 faithful I thought I’d respond.

A Little Background on Me
For those of you who are new readers or have forgotten, I am one of the Xbox 360 faithful. I wasn’t a day one adopter of the system but I got it early enough. I’m also an achievement whore which had me killing myself over Ninja Gaiden 2. I’m also one of the (apparent) few who is in a Family Plan and someone who uses their Kinect and someone who watches Cable TV on my xboxes by way of the cablecard and Ceton device.

I also have a background in Computer Science, I’m a web developer, Flash developer, Android developer… I worked as a QA tester at Bethesda Softworks and I did a lot of work as a video game journo with n00balert covering conventions like E3, PAX and New York Comic Con. Now I’m not saying that should or shouldn’t lend itself to my credibility but hopefully it at least shows I can see stuff in the game world from a couple different perspectives instead of just a straight up “fan”.

The Short Of It
If you’re looking for a TL:DR here it is – From everything Microsoft has collectively said or done in regards to the Xbox One up to this point, you probably already have an opinion on the system and I don’t think this latest 180 changes things that much. If you were already mad with Microsoft you’re probably a bit madder and if you weren’t mad you’ll probably let this latest gaffe slide too.

The Long of It
Whether it be the DRM, the Kinect, Indie Self Publishing or anything else Microsoft has done a 180 on – They’re really eroding the trust with their consumer. As a lover of their last system the new one has been eroded so much that imo it’s not offering much of a different experience than that of the PS4. I’m pretty sure that a Kinectless XBox SKU will come out as that (and the DRM) always seemed like software “switches” than anything hardware related anyway (i.e., they could easily or with 10 minutes worth of work) switch that stuff off as they choose. And let me add too that I like the Kinect, the new one looks even better and my wife and kids are looking forward to it. I think it was the right move to put it with every system so developers could “safely” develop for it but man oh man does Microsoft need to grow some balls.

All of these reversals just tell me that I don’t need with my money on a PS4 OR Xbox on day one. I’ll be content to lay back and see how they both pan out, and also whether or not I can get a PS4 + PSP bundle or Xbox + Titanfall bundle sometime after launch. But yeah, outside of nice enough games coming for both systems, I still have a huge backlog to get through on my current Xbox 360!


Aug 21 2013

Mic Check

Tag: PersonalBush Mackel @ 7:37 pm

exchange

I wonder if when I click “publish” if this will be pushed to the Twitter feed. See, these are the types of things you wonder when you haven’t written a post in over 3 years… Which is kinda nutz. I mean, I went from basically posting every day to posting nothing. And truthfully I don’t know if this post will mark a return to me posting with any type of frequency either but that you can probably blame on kids and Twitter.

So as one might guess, a lot can happen in 3 years and I suppose my last 3 years is no exception. Don’t get me wrong, nothing too huge but some nice little footnotes none the less. Here are the cliff notes (not necessarily in chronological order):

  • My first and only daughter was born which gets me up to the three kid mark
  • Lost my cousin Taahna Smith, the recipient of a heart transplant, a first cousin who I spent a lot of time with growing up.
  • Lost my beloved Monte Carlo when my wife sold it in a day on Craigslist w/ all my audio equipment still installed
  • Created and designed n00balert.com which I poured my soul into. Did a lot of great writing (which I have since removed from the site), a lot of great videos and convention coverage, got to tick off e3 from my bucket list and had a blast (along the way met Tommy Talarico. Steve Wiebe, Hank Chien, Billy Mitchell, Kim Swift, Seth Killian and other really cool cats)
  • Quit n00balert when I didn’t feel I could push it any further with the individuals involved
  • Bought a $1500 Black Friday special Samsung 65″ LED TV
  • Middle child threw a drumstick at Samsung 65″ LED TV within its first year of service making it a really big paperweight
  • Made my first Android app which has over 10,000 downloads
  • Hosted an exchange student from Hong Kong and taught her the value of the phrase “this sucks”

And there’s more stuff too (of course) which I may elaborate on in the future but of course that is presuming I write another post. Well one more I want to write is on the subject of the Xbox One, but again – We’ll see if that actually happens.


Jul 15 2010

Power Windows and Siding Review and Complaints

Tag: PersonalBush Mackel @ 8:58 am

Me and the wife were lucky enough to get into a small townhouse about two years ago now. Even though price-wise it wasn’t the BEST time to move, it certainly wasn’t the worst and in regards to our burgeoning family, we certainly needed the space. All in all, I think we are pretty content with our decision to buy.

Fast forward to today and while we like our little house, there are a lot of things we don’t like about it including how energy inefficient it seems to be. Add to that our complete disdain for our current windows and we were all about hearing what Power Windows and Siding had to say.

Power Windows and Siding Came a Knockin
It all started when somebody came to the house knocking on our door saying that their company was giving out free estimates on windows and that they would put the estimate in writing and would be honored for a year. I’m pretty sure we had gotten one of these guys at the house before and shirked them off, but for some reason we decided to give them a try this time. (I think it was because he said the estimate would only take 10 minutes). So we scheduled the appointment for that Saturday, didn’t think too much more of it and said goodbye to that guy.

A Very Good Presentation
That Saturday at 2pm, the representative from Power Windows and Siding came to our house to do the estimate. I won’t divulge the guy’s name but he was a really nice decent looking dude who went on to do probably an hour or two just straight presentation on the windows… And the presentation was good! He brought out lots of cross sections of the windows to show how they were made, real estimates from local competitors on the windows, he brought out the windows themselves, did a heat demonstration, discussed the company.. Again, it seemed really thorough and after the presentation alone it was hard to not want to buy the windows esp as how we can barely move the windows we have installed now.

Into Hour 3 or 4…
At about the hour 3 or 4 mark, we finally started talking about price. I think for 12 windows we were quoted a price of a little over $10K but don’t hold me to that. Now that price also came with a FANTASTIC double lifetime guarantee that covered the windows from ANYTHING. All acts of god, the kids, even if I locked myself out and broke a window to get back in. Being assured that we would never have to spend another dime on our windows and that we’d be saving some money on our energy bill was looking really attractive. BUT, we’re not millionaires and we concluded that $10,000 was just too far out of comfort zone. It was at that point that negotiations REALLY started as this guy would not take “no” for an answer.

The Estimate – 5 Hours of My Life Gone
It should also be pointed out that when we scheduled this appointment at 2 so that we could talk to this guy while the kids were down for their naps. Since then, the kids went down for their nap, got up from their nap, and we were all trying to just get some food. I had played a game of basketball before this and I was DYING. Every time the rep offered us a new lower price, he gave us some privacy to let us think about it but it was never “Here’s my phone number, think about it for a day”. At one point he even said, “Oh no problem! You two think about it – I can hang around.”

Now if this guy wasn’t absolutely charming and nice to talk to, I would’ve wanted to kill myself and that line wouldn’t've have flown. But don’t think I didn’t know what was going on either – It was quickly apparent that these Power Windows and Siding reps were trained to NOT LEAVE THE HOUSE hence him being at my house 5 hours after the presentation started. Adding to the pressure of everything is that all his reduction in prices were only available “that day”. But whatever… Sales guys are sales guys and I was pretty sure they’d find it in their heart to honor these one day prices two months down the road.

But after more talks, we finally got the guy down to roughly $9000 and with tax credits and their stuff I think it came down to $7500 which WAS in our wheelhouse. So after 5 hours of presentations, negotiations, famine, and dealing with the kids – We finally signed the papers and he was on his way. Again, we felt ok with the purchase because we had a couple days to cancel and we did get the price down to something we liked.

Of Course the Wife Cancels
I sat through a 5 hour presentation, hunger and headaches for these windows. I hate the ones we have now and was definitely looking forward to replacing them. My wife on the other hand had apparently made a secret unilateral decision that she wanted a minivan and she thus decided to cancel the windows. And it was funny that in all the things that we read, all the fine lines that we went over – We didn’t read the fine print on canceling which could only be done with TELEGRAM or HAND DELIVERING THE LETTER to their Power Windows and Siding HQ in PA. I mean, who the hell even knows how to send a telegram?

If you haven’t been able to tell already, this was par for the course with Power Windows and Siding… making it VERY difficult for them NOT to close the deal. Undeterred however the wife discovered you could also send a letter with delivery confirmation or something and so we did. It was at this point that they said that we had to have a followup meeting (you guessed it) IN OUR HOUSE to fill out some “internal” paperwork to really terminate the transaction! And my wife is telling me this as if that’s just the way it was! I on the other hand said, “Enough is Enough!”

I called them up regarding this appointment and it was clear to me that they were on full scramble mode trying to keep this appointment to make one final stab at us. I was transferred from one CSR to the next until I finally spoke to someone who seemed able to end the insanity. She tried to give me some line about “Since this is such a big order, we need you to file some internal paperwork with us…” but I just had to cut her off, “LOOK, your internal paperwork doesn’t have anything to do with us and there is NO reason to send someone to our house again. We are done.” to which she quickly said “Thank you” and hung up.

Power Windows and Siding Conclusion
When I researching this company and seeing other people’s reviews and complaints, almost everyone complained about the process that I went through. And while they are definitely pushy as hell, I don’t think I’ve seen or heard any complaints from those who actually got their windows. Honestly, I wish I had been one of them.


Jul 07 2010

This is How You Start New Relationships!

Tag: PersonalBush Mackel @ 8:10 am

Not too long ago, I was in LA at a Direct Sales Conference for Women. It was the first time I had gone to a conference for my web design business and it was also the first time I had gotten a chance to meet my designers (since they live in Hawaii).

It was a pretty cool affair (despite me coming down with both a sinus and ear infection) and I met some very talented, passionate individuals out there including a very peppy and enthusiastic Stephanie Nivinskus. She’s one of those people that just gives off a good energy when she’s near ya know? So we talked a bit amongst the blaring music and all the commotion of the conference and we said that we’d definitely think about the other for various opportunities that would come down the line.

So fast forward to a week or two ago and Stephanie dropped me a line asking me for some technical help on her website, ImpressionsOnCall.com. Thankfully I was able to help, and that weekend we chatted on the phone where I tried to give her some tips on the finer points of website editing and the like. Well, we ended up having a great conversation (not only about her website) but also her marketing business as well as how our businesses could help each other. And let me tell you – Having the chance to partner with people who are passionate about what they do really gets me going. (And bubbly personalities don’t hurt either)!

So then get this – A couple of days ago I got an e-mail from the aforementioned marketing professional where she asked if I had “received the chocolate yet”? I’m like, “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?” So after I finished accosting the wife on the subject, I turned my attention to the UPS man and eagerly awaited the delivery. A day later I got this awesome package complete with an fantastic feel good card and 4 delicious (and I mean DELICIOUS) brownies!


Send Out Cards

And let me tell you, nothing makes me feel greater than getting compliments about what I try to do – Not the applications I make or the websites I put together, but the effort I try to put forth for everyone I work with.

So thank you Stephanie for brightening up my day and here’s to a great many projects together!
Everyone else, make sure to check out Impressions Marketing for all of our marketing needs!


Jun 29 2010

Installing WordPress Multisite for TLDs

Tag: Blogging,Entrepreneurship,My Websites/SEO,ProgrammingBush Mackel @ 6:33 am

These days, a lot of the websites I create are using WordPress on the backend. It’s a breeze to install, fairly light weight, and the developer community around it is fantastic.

The only complaint that I ever have with it is that its framework is being updated ALL THE FREAKING TIME. And it probably wouldn’t bother me as much as it does, but having it say “There’s a new WordPress version” every time you login is kind of annoying. And its even MORE annoying when it happens on CLIENT sites because they expect you to constantly update it for every little change in version. Usually I just say “No thanks”, but despite this I still try and update it for the big releases.

And ladies and gentlemen, I believe that WordPress 3.0 is such a release.

Multisite Functionality Built In
If you’ve been a user of WordPress for any period of time, you may want to check out all the cool additions that are now in 3.0. For me, the biggest feature has GOT TO BE Multisite Functionality or WordPress Mu integration. If you’re not familiar with WordPress Mu, it allows you to run multiple sites off of one WordPress installation. But because it was always treated as a bit of a seperate product, there was an evident lack of consistency between the two products from a usability and functionality point of view. Now to be fair, I don’t know for sure that that has changed, but everything I’ve seen so far leads me to believe it has.



Why I Need WordPress Mu or WordPress Multi-Site
If you don’t know why this is so cool, you probably have not tried to use WordPress Mu and/or have never had a collection of sites powered on WordPress. In my case, I have done both. I had one site that is no longer up called Learn Stuff Online which was basically an About.com before About.com was what it is now. It was supposed to generate tons of AdSense revenue but it was a lot harder to manage than I thought it would be. I had multiple “subjects” on multiple subdomains (hometheater.lso.com, internet.lso.com, etc) and always updating html files to update content on the site became old quick. So one day I had an epiphony to try this whole WordPress Mu thing and I got it KIND OF working. To be honest, it took a lot of work and never felt all the way there as I had to do a lot of fudging on the functionality side to get things working the way I thought they ought to.



Fast forward a couple years, and now I have a collection of my own MFA sites that are powered by WordPress. And more to the point, they are all powered by their own separate WordPress installations. So when I need to create a new site, update the WordPress base or update the slew of plugins on these sites – It’s a huge pain. Now to be honest I don’t think that’s why I hardly update content on those sites, but I think it definitely has kept me at arms reach from doing anything really impactfull with them.

Multisite in WordPress 3.0 is Awesome
But now with WordPress 3.0, I can run all of these sites from a single WordPress installation. That’s right, I’m not just talking about subdomains or directories on a single domain (which you can do too), I’m talking about powering multiple TLDs with a single WordPress 3.0 installation. It took me a lot of figuring out to do it, but with a bit of research and a LOT of work, I did it – And I’ll show you how to do the same. Oh, and before we begin let me say that I host with LunarPages and I have a dedicated server. I’ll show you exactly what I’ve done and I think if you’re in a similar (or even not) a similar situation you should be able to do the same.

Steps to Install WordPress 3.0 Multisite

  1. Download and Install WordPress 3.0.
  2. Download and MANUALLY install the Trunk Version of the Domain Mapping Tool.
  3. Create new WordPress site.
  4. Map TLD to new WordPress site.
  5. Test new WordPress site.

Download and Install WordPress 3.0
So first, go to WordPress.org, download version 3.0 and install it on a domain on your server. Once you’re done and you can ensure that it’s working – go to the next step.

Download and MANUALLY Install the Trunk Version of the Domain Mapping Tool
This part of the tutorial is what I really gleamed from Otto’s post sited below and linked here: http://ottopress.com/2010/wordpress-3-0-multisite-domain-mapping-tutorial/. The domain mapping tool is what’s going to make sure that when someone hits one of your TLDs, that it goes to the appropriate place for your single WordPress installation to serve its particular content. To get the files, download them from here: http://plugins.svn.wordpress.org/wordpress-mu-domain-mapping/trunk/, and then follow steps 1-3 on Otto’s site to MANUALLY INSTALL the Domain Mapping Tool.

Create New WordPress Site
At this point, you should have the Domain Mapping Tool rockin’ and rollin so in your Dashboard go to “Super Admin->Sites” and fill out the bottom blanks under “Add Site”. So for instance, you can enter “test” for Site Address, “Test” for Site Title and an appropriate e-mail for Admin Email. Once you’re editing this new site, change the “Domain” blank to the exact address of your TLD (i.e, example.com). For “Path”, enter “/”. Under Site options, make sure Siteurl is the domain name “http://example.com”, under Home enter “http://example.com” and for Fileupload Url enter “http://example.com/files”. Then scroll all the way down and click the “Update Options” button.

Map new TLD to WordPress Site
Now at this point, your WordPress install should be setup to serve files and content for your new site. And even though we’ve pointed everything correctly in the Domain Mapping Tool, we haven’t actually setup your TLD to point to this WordPress location. For me, this was hands down the hardest part of the install as I couldn’t figure out how to get the server part of this whole thing working. What started me on the good path was Matt Dunlap’s post on the subject here: http://mattdunlap.org/website-development/wordpress/how-to-create-a-network-of-top-level-domains-with-wordpress-3-0.html where he directs you to editing your httpd.conf file. I did this and I believe I got it to work, but I really didn’t like editing my conf file directly. So instead, I went into my WHM and parked my new TLD on top of the domain I installed WordPress on. After that I was IN baby!

Test Final WordPress Site and Tweak if Necessary
So at this point if you’ve setup everything correctly and you’re money like me, you should be able to see your new site when visiting your new TLD. If not, you obviously need to find out what’s wrong. For me, it’s usually in the individual site settings under “Super Admin->Sites”. There’s a little checkbox labeled “Update siteurl and home as well”. This whole section just doesn’t update as I thought it would so I ended up going back in and editing this information again.

NOTE : This was a REALLY long post and I will probably come back and edit it when I get the chance to make it much more helpful.

Also, it wouldn’t be nice of me to not credit the various pages I found that helped me out installing WordPress Multisite on my own server:


Jun 02 2010

Ceton InfiniTV 4 Multi-Tuner CableCard

Tag: Computer Stuff,Technology/GagetryBush Mackel @ 6:38 am

Very recently I bought my wife a Hauppauge TV Tuner for mother’s day. I think we had talked about getting one before so we could downgrade our cable boxes from Verizon FIOS’ HD DVRs to their regular HD boxes, but admittedly when we got the tuner we didn’t even have cable.

That didn’t stop us from using it however and we installed it in a Windows 7 box using just a regular OTA antennae. And even though we didn’t end up recording too much with it (what’s their to record on regular TV anyway), we were blown away about how cool Windows Media Center is when it has a tuner to play with.

If you’re a home theater buff like myself, you will really marvel at how sleek, elegant and functional Windows Media Center is… Especially if it’s your first TV Tuner/Media solution.

Return of the Cable
So fast forward a couple months and cable has once again returned to our house along with its huge bill for renting their cable boxes. And if have cable and don’t think it’s a racket – YOU IZ CRAZY. I mean, I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but a Verizon FIOS HD DVR is probably something like $13/mo and a regular box has to be about $7 so every month I’m spending $20 extra to “rent” their equipment which I absolutely need to watch their programming! Again, it’s a racket.



And because of this I started looking for CableCard tuners. I heard about them a while ago through the AVS Forum but now doing some serious research, I was amazed to find that as much as these were lauded over, basically only 1 really exists in the ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner and you can’t find them anywhere except on eBay and then only if you’re lucky. I swear you can’t even buy them from ATI’s website! (And let’s not forget they usually sell for north of $200 too).

Enter the Ceton InfiniTV 4 Multi-Tuner CableCard
So if you haven’t heard, some company called Ceton has made a new card that looks like it’ll blow the ATI one out of the water. The Ceton InfiniTV 4 accepts one CableCard, allows you to view or record 4 channels at once, and view these programs all around your house! Do you realize how cool that is? So instead of me paying the $20 a month I am now, I can just do the Verizon FIOS CableCard rental of of a few bucks PLUS I can watch the programming on more TVs without having to pay any more to the man!


Ceton Infinity 4 Multi-Tuner CableCard

Now admittedly the card has a “high” price tag of $399 but I figure I’d make that up quick if I’m distributing the programming to 3 TVs like I’m going to. The only real problem now for me is that Ceton has delayed shipping the card (I think I heard because of a parts shortage) meaning that I’m going to have to hang in here with my high cable bill for a little while longer. But in any event I’m still way excited about it. Anything that helps me bring media into the house and reduce my monthly bill gets two thumbs up in my book.


May 31 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

Tag: Random NonsenseBush Mackel @ 8:46 am

Here’s to all those that have served and are currently serving. You’re braver souls than I.




May 26 2010

My Precious Philips Prestigo 10 Remote Has Been Destroyed!

Tag: Technology/GagetryBush Mackel @ 9:07 pm

I knew it would happen eventually.

I knew at one point in my life, one of my kids would break, tear or otherwise destroy one of the possessions near and dear to my heart. And honestly I thought it was going to be one of my comic books, one of my 360 games, my Wii sensor bar… Something like that.

I even strategically built my home theater enclosure to minimize the risk that they would get this stuff putting my CD like media up at the top, the receiver below it (so they couldn’t change inputs while I played), and cable boxes below it.

But it appears it was all for naught because in one instant – They got hold of one of my wife’s hand weights, threw it, and completely broke my *sob* *sob* Phillips Prestigo 10 Remote!

“How do I… Get through one more night without you?”
If you happen to recall, I absolutely loved the Prestigo. It was what I had dreamed about for longer than I even knew. One remote to control everything… A beautiful color LCD screen… Big attractive buttons… And the price was just soooo good.

I put in the time too… I programmed all my devices including my cable box, projector, receiver, and blu-ray player. I had the macros set up so that I could push a button and turn everything off, or go quickly from watching TV to playing XBox. Now those days are far behind me and I’m left with a flickering, broken reminder of what my life used to be.



Picking Myself Up and Moving Forward
Fast forward a couple weeks later and I think I’ve finally started to get through the grieving process. THAT means that I’m ready to get a new remote. Only problem is, I don’t know which one to get. I COULD go with the replacement for my old hotness or I could kick it up and try something new. Problem is, I don’t really know what else is out there that’s not going to cost me a freakin’ arm and a leg. I mean… I’m not rich YET. (#);)

So anyone out there have any good suggestions?


May 24 2010

Taking Care of My Business with Quickbooks 2007

Tag: Case Study : BWD,EntrepreneurshipBush Mackel @ 9:48 am

While it might sound silly (with me being a business owner), I don’t think that I’m a numbers guy. So when it comes to filing our taxes and figuring out which number goes on what line – I’m pretty useless. And since this past filing was really the first time where my main business made any money, I was even more useless than normal and my wonderful wife had her work cut out for herself.

So at the advice of my mom, (who herself is more or less self-employed as a Real Estate agent), I visited her CPA who gave me the skinny on what I should be doing financially with my business, how I should be tracking my money, and what deductions I was probably missing.

Why I Need to Change
After an hour or two of talking with this guy and frantically scribbling down notes, I knew that it would really be to my company’s benefit to start taking my financials more seriously. Plus I knew it would take a lot of pressure off my wife too. I mean, even though I’ve never been one to make people do things for me and the business is for the family and not just me… I really don’t feel good about having the wife do all that work every year since I know others could do it faster and easier. Additionally, (and this is honestly new to me but would’ve made sense if I had stopped to think about it), apparently when you apply for loans and such from banks, you generally provide your financial records which at this point I’d be unable to do because they’re in such disarray.

I’ve Started with Quickbooks!
And yes, it was what my CPA suggested. Basically I can track all of the monies of my business in the program, and at the end of the year (or quarterly or whatever), I can submit a file to my guy that he can use to easily do my taxes. Now, I’m not sure how easy I thought it was going to be to jump into the program but there is def a learning curve to it. For me, it took me about a day, the help of a “Learn Quickbooks” DVD and searching through the Intuit forums to really get going. And by “going”, I mean halfway through getting my records up to date for the year.



You see, I started Quickbooks what… Yesterday?, some 5 months into my company’s fiscal year. And if you’re as new to this whole thing as I am, know that Quickbooks wants to account for EVERY SINGLE penny coming and going from your business. “Of course it does, what’d you think it’d do?” Well what this means in practicality is that every transaction from Jan 1st 2010 to now has to be entered, and correctly, so that your balance from Dec 31st 2009 goes up and down to the correct balance on your statements now… For me, that’s a lot of statements to enter!



But It’s Worth It
At this point I’ve setup all of my clients and their current contracts into the system (which again took me the better part of a day) and I’m sure it’s gonna take me another full one to get all my year’s transactions into the system. But already I can see that this will be great for my peace of mind and organization. It has tons of reports you can run, invoicing, and a bunch of other stuff that I could go into. For me, I’m just very excited to be able to (at a glance) figure out how much money is still coming to me by way of contracts. Of course I could set this up in Excel or something but setting up all those relationships so that sending invoices, receiving invoices, reporting and everything else plays nicely together would take QUITE a long time so again – I’m glad someone did the work for me.


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