Friday, May 28, 2010

Express Invoice at a Glance



A look at Express Invoice, the best professional invoicing solution for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small- to medium-sized businesses. Everything you need to manage and track customer billing and payments in one easy-to-use invoicing program.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Twitter Principle for Software

Not long ago I saw a tweet about our software that really hit on one of the standards we try to achieve with our software products. It was phrased in such a way that I really just loved and it has stuck with me:

@debreuil I'm still amazed WavePad is 500kb. The Twitter principle for software, if you can't say it in less than a meg...

Keeping our products small is very closely related to some of the usability issues we have talked about before, especially our goal to have customers actually using our software in three minutes or less. We strive for a fast download, simple program, and simple interface as much as possible. We want our software to be a quick, easy and intuitive solution, and the program’s file size plays a major part in reaching those goals.

We have set the bar high in this arena and there is always room for improvement. When preparing new releases of applications, programmers are warned if the file has grown by a significant amount, it's a flag that maybe a feature hasn't been streamlined as much as it could be. We are very cognizant that, in this internet age, people have been conditioned to expect results quickly, and by keeping the executable size of our programs we are catering to the user's desire to use a program as quickly as possible after downloading.

It is nice to see that someone has recognized some of this underling effort. With Twitter, it can sometimes be a challenge to condense what you want to say in the very limited space of 140 characters. You want to keep only the things that matter. We try to do that with our software too. We try to get to the heart of what people will want to do with the application and make sure we not only do that well but that it is as easy for the user to do it as possible. I think that focus is what makes the “Twitter principle for software” phrase fit us so well.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Florida Lawyer Reduces Paperwork and Cuts Administrative Costs with Express Dictate

If any job can claim to be buried in paperwork, it would certainly be the legal profession. Everything that is said related to any case must be documented, on the record, creating a constantly growing paper trail that can be hard to stay on top of. Just ask Richard Georges, a lawyer in St. Petersburg, Florida whose practice handles real property, corporate, wills, trusts and estates law.

“Dictating memos, correspondence, and mounds of paperwork is something that lawyers do all day, every day,” Georges said. He used to spend his days dictating into handheld machines, carrying tapes to his secretary, or using expensive systems that sent dictation over cords to a carousel tape machine on his assistant’s desk. But that wasn’t enough. He also wrote important case details down on paper and brought his scribbled notes to his assistant for transcription.

The paperwork was overwhelming, and he needed a solution that would enable him to devote enough time to strategize, research, to counsel his current clients, and to attract new ones.

Georges writes a column called Future Lawyer for the Tampa Bay Review. He served on the Florida Courts Technology Commission by appointment of the Florida Supreme Court, and is a past Chair of the Committee on Technology for the Florida Bar. He also served on technology-related Committees for the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Committee of the American Bar Association and the Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association. His knowledge, experience, and position afforded him the opportunity to do exhaustive research of every possible dictation solution.

efficient dictation and transcription reduces paperwork He found Express Dictate digital dictation software was a perfect fit for his needs, allowing him to record and send dictation directly from his computer. The software also included a Palm OS version that allowed him to dictate from his cell phone when he was away from the office.

“Express Dictate is the most useful, easiest to use, productivity tool in my arsenal,” Georges said. “Just dictate, and email the result to your transcriptionist.” This new dictation process is far more accurate and less time consuming than the old tape machine system. “My assistant no longer has to listen to me read to her, which has made her very happy.”

To see how Express Dictate can revolutionize workflow in your legal practice or office, cut down on scribbled notes, and relieve your assistant from doubling as a transcriptionist, download a free 14-day trial today. For your transcriptionist, Express Dictate works seamlessly with the free transcription program Express Scribe.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Converting Software For All Your Needs

New Doxillion PDF Converter Software, Convert text documents with easeYou may already be familiar with some of NCH's converter software for converting files between different formats; like Switch, for converting audio files, and Prism, for video file conversion. Well those two favorites are just the beginning! We’ve recently added Doxillion document converter software into the mix. With Doxillion, you can convert your text documents to supported formats for mobile devices and web pages. Convert text to docx, doc, rtf, html, txt and pdf quickly and easily. Even batch convert documents to handle thousands of files all at once.

Check out our full range of converting software applications:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Evolution of the Photo Album

How making a slideshow can enhance the way we preserve memories
Photo Slideshow SoftwareWhen I was younger, I loved pulling out the photo albums my mom kept in the living room. There, in the cellophane-wrapped pages, printed on Polaroids and semi-gloss photo paper, was the evidence of our lives. I recognized the old house the pictures were taken in, and could see the resemblance of my parents’ faces in their younger form. I remembered old toys and costumes, and sometimes saw old friends. Everyone was always smiling, and it was the perfect reminder that I had grown from love. These photos made appearances at my graduations and my wedding, sometimes eliciting a round of laughter, and always reminding us of the paths leading us to that day.

As we learn to integrate our lives with a digital existence, the sensation of flipping through the sticky pages of a photo album will become a rare occurrence. But that doesn’t mean that the visceral experience will disappear; there will still be the unpredictable nature of seeing photos anew, in which memories arise and emotions are conjured up. I have realized that the pictures I take almost never make it to the pages of a photo album. They have different lives than the photos my parents took. They remain in chronological order on my camera, or stored on discs, hard drives, and SD cards. I almost never print them out.

But that doesn’t mean my photos are stowed away, rarely to be seen. If anything, there are more opportunities to share photos than ever. Between portable devices, mobile phones, online photo sites, and social media, photos have a new life. The slideshow, once a good excuse to take a nap while your uncle narrated slides of his latest motor home trip, is now a creative and highly engaging experience and is the ultimate way to share memories. Creating a slideshow today means taking advantage of technology to engage with our photos, and to reflect on our lives in ways we never have before.

With graduations coming up, and as we head into the height of the wedding season, now may be the perfect time to reminisce or put together a meaningful slideshow full of family memories. Here are a few tips for putting together your slideshow, and for amazing your friends and family:
  1. Get a slideshow program. Putting together a slideshow should be intuitive, especially when dealing with hundreds of photos. Photostage slideshow creator is easy to use, it handles multiple media formats, and you'll end up with a quality slideshow worthy of any special event.
  2. Gather your media. That’s right, I said media. Don’t limit yourself to digital pictures--scan in those old prints you have too. Then, look for video clips, but keep them short. Don’t worry if your videos aren’t in digital format, those can be converted if you use Golden Videos VHS to PC converter to convert home movies to digital format, and edit them down with VideoPad video editor. Don’t forget the music either. Choose music with special meaning; either songs that make you smile, or bring a tear to your eye.
  3. Organize your media. Once your photos, video clips, and audio are on the slideshow timeline, move them around so you can see how they relate to each other. Group similar pictures or find themes that match the music, and use blank slides filled with text to help break up the different sections. Or, try telling a compelling story either by recording narration or inserting captions along the way.
  4. Embellish. Adding transitions between the slides makes watching the slideshow easy on the eyes. Combine transitions with image effects to add visual interest to your slides. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Anything you apply can be undone, and your original media is safe and sound in its original form.
  5. Save for the correct medium. How will you be displaying your slideshow? Will you be posting it online, or projecting it to a room full of graduates? Be careful that you don’t save for YouTube if you plan on watching the slideshow on a wide screen TV. The resulting images won’t have the quality you desire.
  6. Share! No matter the complexity of the slideshow, the effort you put in will show through. Enjoy!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Video Downloader Software
Saving Online Videos Made Easy

Online Video Downloader SoftwareWith thousands of web pages and files added every day, sharing is the cornerstone of the web, and online video is all the rage these days. With it's oft times comic whimsies and profound sentiment, online videos are arguably the most popular form of shared content on today’s internet. And while uploading videos has become so easy it’s practically an automated service, the same can’t be said for downloading them. It could be that a family member or friend uploaded a video you want to show others. Maybe you keep an archive of files for creative inspiration. And, if you’re like me, having these files on-hand is more convenient than bookmarking every video worth remembering. Whatever the reason, saving online video files isn’t as easy as, say, saving an image. Many times, these files are encoded in a way that makes saving them locally near-impossible if you don’t have the right tools.

Enter FlashLynx video downloader. Downloading video files shouldn’t be as difficult as it is, so make it easy on yourself. FlashLynx is a free, user-friendly online video downloading program for Windows. Simply type in the web URL of the video you want to download, choose the video file format (there’s over a half dozen to choose from), decide where to save it, and you’re done. Simple.

FlashLynx is also a stand-alone program, not a shady online video conversion service hiding in a dark lonely corner of the internet. So if you have a list of YouTube videos you've been wanting to burn to edit video clips together from, burn to DVD, or simply save, mosey on over to NCH, well-lit part of the internet, and download your free copy of FlashLynx video downloader software.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

International Call Recording Laws and Regulations

Last week we looked at Call Recording Laws in the US at both the Federal and State levels. Similar to how laws vary from state-to-state in the US, telephone recording regulations vary from country to country, and when you're recording an international call you need to be cognizant of the regulations of all the countries involved in the call.

call recording softwareBecause many countries do not have specific laws covering telecommunications, or their laws are so vague they regulate on a case-by-case basis, your first course of action should be to check with your local government’s telecommunications authority. Local government agencies will be familiar with the various international telephone recording regulations. A great resource for Americans is the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) website, where there is a state-by-state listing of relevant local authorities. Outside the US, the consulate in any country is a good place to start; you should be able to find their contact information online. Be advised that calling these local authorities is important. It is not enough to do research online, there are simply too many variations and details.

Examples of international call recording laws:

Canadian one-party notification for call recording
Similar to a majority of U.S. states, Canada requires "one-party notification." This means you can record any phone call you participate in, even if you don’t inform the other caller.

British call recording notification law
The United Kingdom mostly requires single-party notification. However, the laws in the UK are somewhat vague. One of their missions is to protect employees by requiring non-recorded telephones in the workplace. So there’s little guidance for, say, an entrepreneur who works at home alone but makes sales calls they want to record. In such cases, it is advisable to check with a local attorney before recording any calls.

Australian call recording notification law
Australia’s applicable law, The Telecommunications (Interception) Act of 1979, states that whoever is being recorded must be informed. And this goes beyond mere phone calls to include any communication, including: "a conversation, a message, any excerpt of a conversation or message, whether in the form of speech, music or other sounds, data, text, visual images, signals or in any other form or combination of forms." Australia’s laws are extensive, so it’s worth taking a look at the guidelines available through the Australian Communications Authority (ACA).

Whether you want to set up a call recording system for quality assurance, compliance or any other reason, no matter what country you are in it is important to check your local laws, and the laws of other countries you will be recording. Particularly when laws are vague or have exceptions for businesses, you should get in touch with a lawyer or government official to make sure that your call recording plans won't be in violation of any laws.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New Free Business Card Designer Software

Business Card Design SoftwareWe are really excited to announce the newest addition to our software library, CardWorks, a completely free business card design application. CardWorks comes complete with a range of business card templates you can use to create the perfect business card for your every need. So whether you are a job-hunting grad doing networking rounds or a part-time freelancer working from home, you can easily select and customize a business card design to fit your personal or corporate brand, giving your clients, customers and business contacts easy access to all your pertinent contact information.

In addition to the templates that are built into the application we are working on creating a diverse business card template library that we will be continuing to add new designs to. These additional templates will also all be available completely free to download and use with CardWorks.

business card design software color schemesOne of the coolest features in this program is that not only can you select a template design for your business cards, but you can also change the color scheme on any one of the templates. This greatly multiplies the number of possibilities, giving you additional control over the final design, and making it that much easier for you to find a perfect fit for your business.

Learn more about this exciting new application at: www.nchsoftware.com/businesscard. We hope you will give it and our other business software products a try.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

How VoIP Works

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, indicating the ability to carry vocals over the internet. Many businesses and homes are switching to VoIP softphones because the price is significantly lower. These lower costs are great, and just knowing that VoIP really can help you save might be enough, but for those inquiring minds out there here is brief introduction to how VoIP works.

VoIP internet telephoneVoIP technology takes advantage of existing data networks to transfer calls letting the Internet do most or all of the work. So by paying for your Internet connection you are already paying for the networking capabilities needed to have a VoIP telephone call. This means that many providers will offer completely free phone calls for calls made from one VoIP caller to another, or PC-to-PC calls, because they are handled entirely "on-line." When you want to call someone on a land-line phone, SIP gateway providers can connect you to a local phone service. The SIP provider uses the web to get your phone call as close to the other caller as possible before connecting to a standard phone line. This virtually eliminates long-distance charges altogether, which is why the rates are so much lower.

Advantages of VoIP
  • VoIP is very scalable, letting you transmit more than one telephone call on the same broadband-connected telephone line, making it easy to add extra telephone lines
  • Because VoIP is location independent, you can take your VoIP phone with you wherever you go, provided you are connected to the Internet
  • VoIP reduces the need for dedicated phone wiring and some of the expensive hardware needed for a complete traditional telephony system
Tip: When choosing a provider, it is usually better to pick one who offers service specifically in your area. If you are calling a particular country a significant amount, choosing a provider from that country can potentially further reduce your costs further.

To learn more about the technical side of VoIP you might to check out the VoIP Demystified Video where the good people at HowStuffWorks.com give some more details about how VoIP works and voice information is transferred.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Call Recording: A Great Tool As Long as You Know the Law

From medicine and law, to journalism or sales, voice records are kept for a variety of professions, making call recording software more and more popular. Any time when you need the voice equivalent of a paper trail—documentation that someone takes responsibility for saying something official—call recording can get the job done. Call recording can also be great for keeping minutes of conference calls.

telephone call recordingBut there are very serious laws governing call recording. So before you start recording, here is a quick introduction to the legal issues surrounding call recording:

First, US Federal law does allow recording of phone calls and other electronic communications with the consent of at least one party on the call. This means you can record any phone call you participate in, even if you don’t inform the other caller. At the State level, it gets a little trickier; some states have added another layer of requirements on top of the Federal law, insisting that all parties know when a conversation is being recorded.

It is important to note that when you record a conversation, you are subject to the laws of both the state you are physically located in, and the state(s) of the other people you’re calling. For example: California prohibits recording calls from other states unless the Californians being recorded have been told. So even if you are in New York, you are subject to California law if you record calls made to a Californian.

This is the reason why most American customer service departments begin their calls with a recording that says: “This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes.” They say quality assurance, but they’re also keeping themselves in compliance with the recording laws of all states.

So how do you know what the law is near you? Thirty eight states and the District of Columbia permit individuals to record conversations they are having without informing the other parties, according to The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP), a DC-based non-profit organization that offers free legal assistance to journalists. These laws are referred to as “one-party consent” statutes, and as long as you are one of the people having the conversation that’s being recorded, it is legal.

There are 12 states that require, under most circumstances, the consent of all parties to a conversation. Those states include: California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington. Warning: Sometimes these laws are inaccurately called “two-party consent” laws but all parties must consent to the recording in these states even if there are more than two.

One law that applies in all states: It is almost always illegal to record a conversation that you a) are not participating in and/or do not have consent to record, and b) could not naturally overhear.

The RCFP has a complete state-by-state guide of all call recording laws. Once you have done your due diligence and checked the call recording laws in your area, you can start enjoying the benefits of call recording software, and still sleep easy at night.

For International Regulations regarding call recording, look for a follow-up post on International Call Recording.
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