Things to Take Note Of When Buying Sonic Producer

Finding a good and cheap solution for computer generated music is rather difficult. Hundreds of software are available, some of which are even available free of cost to the enthusiasts. Sonic Producer claims to stand out in this niche by providing a solid platform for all the music producing needs of a small group. The solution provides an easy to use interface which can be used to make melodious beats to go with the rest of the symphony. I will review the important characteristics of this platform outlining the advantages of such a system and the disadvantages associated.

I have used Sonic Producer for a couple of months now as a reviewer for an online music magazine. I was pointed to it by a fellow editor and I thought to give it a whirl and give my opinion on the system. The most striking feature of the system is the ability to quickly generate beats using presets available through the interface. The member’s area comes bundled with a lot of resources for learning how to make music, understand what production is all about and judging which beat is truly outstanding and which are just bad.

The site has a nice collection of video tutorials which can help you to learn how to play drums and guitar. Starting at the very beginning, the instruments are explained in details and how they behave under different touches. Most of the emulated instruments that come with the package are capable of producing good quality electronic music. Some expansive keyboards and drums are provided with the sequencers and equalizers.

I would recommend that they redo the videos from scratch. Although the audio quality is excellent in these videos they are obviously not recorded by professionals and I sometimes felt at a loss in following what they were trying to show. Being in business for more than a couple of years now, they still have not installed phone support and rely on the more mundane methods of emailing and forum support which can take time and usually left unanswered for days. In the meantime I was able to find the answers elsewhere. The web site interface needs a facelift as it looks bland compared to some of the competitors of Sonic Producer.

Launching a good platform demands that the people running the show makes support available at all times. Lacking severely in this department the website does offer an interesting mix of tools and resources for anyone who wants to learn to produce music using the old method of self study. The other factor is cost which is at the low ends of such online solutions so that may be the deciding f actor for most of the people.

How to Secure your Computer Systems – 10 Tips for Small Business Owners

As a Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator, a Certified Computer Forensics Specialist, Network
and Security Consultant, Software Developer, and Data Recovery Expert, my passion for technology
is undeniable. I also enjoy helping people, especially when it comes to my passion. This white paper
is centered on 10 important points to keep your computer systems secure.

1. Make sure that your password is secure.
This means any passwords in use should have some degree of complexity. A common standard for
secure passwords is to have a minimum of 8 characters, and be a mixture of letters, numbers and
symbols. For example, the user Jane Smith could use a password similar to Ja$mith1, providing a
good amount of complexity and very easy to remember. The symbol: $ can be used instead of s or S,
@ can be used instead of a or A, even 0 can be used instead of o or O.

2. As the Business Owner or as a Partner you should not hand your password to anyone, nor should you
write it down and leave it in your work environment or office.

3. Confidential information located on your network should be restricted and only allow access to the
appropriate individuals. Make sure you test the access rights or delegate this to a trusted individual.

4. Your personal computer should be password protected and automatically enable password protection
if the computer system has not been utilized for several minutes, this will prevent anyone from
snooping around on your computer while you are in the restroom or on a lunch break.

5. All Computers in your office should have Anti-virus software installed. Commercial products such as
Symantec Antivirus http://www.symantec.com or free software such as provided from Grisoft
http://www.grisoft.com.

6. All Computers in your office should also have Anti-spyware software installed.
This will help to keep your computer clean from other malicious programs on the internet that could
generate pop ups, capture confidential information, and slow down your computer system tremendously.
Commercial Anti-spyware programs such as Spyware Doctor from PC Tools can be found at
http://www.pctools.com. Free Anti Spyware programs such as Microsoft Windows Defender can be found
at http://www.microsoft.com and Adaware at http://www.lavasoft.com.

7. Keep your systems updated.
Microsoft provides an update feature that can be accessed from within Windows. It is used to update the
computer system with new improvements and security fixes. It is generally located under “All Programs”,
then click on the “start menu” to find “Windows Update”. If you are unable to locate the “Windows
Updates”, then updates can also be accessed directly from the Microsoft webpage.
http://www.microsoft.com. The same principle applies to other computer operating systems such as Apple
and Linux.

8. It is a very good idea to implement a Firewall.
There are two types of Firewalls: Hardware-based and Software-based. Your Firewall of choice depends
on the size of your organization. If you have less than 10 computer systems, I would recommend using a
Software-based Firewall on all of the computer systems. A commercial Firewall such as Zone Alarm Pro
can be found at http://www.zonelabs.com. Windows XP also has a built-in Firewall that can be utilized.
Hardware-based Firewalls vary depending on the size of your organization and the level of sophistication
desired. A good Firewall for Small Businesses is the TZ 170 from Sonic Wall http://www.sonicwall.com.
This Firewall is optimal for organization of 10 – 40 users.

9. Storing company information on USB Sticks to work on information at home, is the biggest most recent
trend. Make sure your company has a policy that specifies if such devices can be used and more
importantly to what degree.

10. Remote access tools such as Remote Desktop or PC Anywhere should be used with caution, given
they
open doors to your computer system and to your network.
Cyber criminals are attacking more and more Small Businesses assuming they are easy to bait.

Use these
tips to improve the security of your computers, your data and to counter cyber crime.

On-Demand CRM – Integration Hub for the Small Business or Enterprise Department

There is an interesting phenomenon happening in the small and medium business segment. The widespread adoption of on-demand or software as a service (saas) CRM, led by Salesforce.com, and followed by companies such as NetSuite and RightNow Technologies.

Well, that’s not really new.

What is new is the expanded use of saas CRM software within these mini-enterprises, whether independent businesses or smaller divisions or departments of larger corporations, as their principal business platform. Since saas CRM manages the lifeblood of the business, sales and customers, and is increasingly more user friendly and flexible, it is becoming the preferred method for companies to manage their business.

As a result, it is also becoming the de facto integration hub, or SOA enabler, for the smaller enterprise.

A case in point is the experience of a well-known educational products sales company. It’s parent company sells educational toys through retailers. However, it launched a division that sells education-oriented items to schools and school districts, such as a handheld screen-based interactive tool that uses story narratives to teach English proficiency to non-native English speakers. This newer division established a territory sales model, with geographically-based sales executives selling to school districts in their area.

The main corporate entity has only a handful of account managers who sell to large retailers such as Wal-Mart and Toys’r’Us. Whereas it is geared towards a retail sales model and related B2B IT infrastructure, the newer division had the infrastructure needs of a territory-based direct sales model. They required a CRM application to track leads, opportunities, and closed sales, and because of the reduced bandwidth of this smaller business unit, they required the efficiency gains of an automated commission calculating application.

With no dedicated IT resources (IT resources are tied to corporate and are available “on-loan” to the new division), and a need to ramp-up quickly, the division chose to bring the CRM and commission calculation functionality of the on-demand model. They chose Salesforce.com and Xactly Corporation, respectively, to fulfill these functions. The one on-premise application they had access to was Oracle Financials for accounting.

The missing piece was to integrate these applications together. They chose to go with a packaged integration platform, adopting their subscription-based pricing model and on-premise software.

In addition to being the CRM platform for the new division, Salesforce.com is also serving as the de facto “enterprise service bus” to incorporate the accounting functionality of Oracle Financials, and to trigger Xactly to do it’s job of calculating sales commissions.

This use of Salesforce.com as a de facto on-demand ESB platform was noted in an August 2007 white paper entitled “Busting Myths of On-Demand Integration,” by Peter Coffee, Director of Platform Research.

“On-demand platforms exhibit the growing capability to provide a foundation for integration,” he said, citing a May 2007 announcement of the Salesforce.com SOA technology that enables the exposure and consumption of web services.

In the same paragraph he notes:

“This is not to say, however, that a move to a Web services protocol strategy (such as that of using a saas application such as Salesforce.com) is a prerequisite for on-demand integration…there are options available for use with the salesforce.com platform” such as custom coding or a third party integration platform.

In other words, on-demand applications, Salesforce.com being the most prominent, are quickly establishing themselves as integration hubs the way ESB providers such as Sonic Software, IBM’s Websphere, and BEA’s Weblogic were formulated to be.

These SOA solutions, however, are cost-prohibitive for smaller companies, divisions or departments, and are often managed by enterprise IT staffs who are unresponsive to the needs of the department. These smaller enterprises have to fend for themselves, and are adopting on-demand applications that require little to no IT involvement.

IT typically has to get involved when it comes to integration, according to Coffee. Such was the case with the educational products company. Their IT department provided the input that the newer division needed to give the technical “thumbs-up” to the integration solution. But due to human bandwidth issues they decided to go with a fully delivered integration solution as opposed to the traditional toolset that is typically sold to IT departments.

Tying together Salesforce.com, Oracle Financials and Xactly Corporation was done in the span of four months and cost less than $50,000. Why did it take that long? Because they had to take a breather between deciding on an integration vendor and a commission calculation vendor.

Compare that with enterprise application integration projects which typically take nine months or more and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and you can see why Salesforce.com, together with fully configured integration solutions, are quickly becoming the “integration hubs” or systems of record for the smaller enterprise.