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Tech Buzz 09/04

Caring for disks, renewing anti-virus software and more

Proper Care and Feeding

CDs and DVDs may be more vulnerable than we thought. With so much of your important business data stored on those little platters, it's more important than ever to treat them right. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued guidelines and suggestions for caring for CDs and DVDs. Their tips apply to recordable and rewritable media as well as regular disks.

You may be tempted to stack your disks, but NIST suggests storing them upright, book-style. Cool, dry and dark environments are best for the long term. More specifically, keep the temperature less than 68 degrees and more than 39 degrees. And keep those recordable disks out of the sunlight, as UV rays can be damaging. If you're still wondering how best to label your disks, skip the adhesive labels and use a nonsolvent-based felt-tip marker. Adhesive labels can put a disk off balance, and trying to remove or reposition the labels can cause damage.

It probably won't hurt your disks to do the occasional stacking or to expose them to a 75-degree room. But the NIST guidelines are particularly important when it comes to long-term storage and archiving. Entrepreneurs who use CDs or DVDs for backup will want to find a clean, cool and dry place. And while you're at it, don't bend your disks, and keep them in their cases when not in use.

License to Upgrade

Pop quiz! In what month is your anti-virus software up for renewal? How about your operating system license? How about any of the other 20-odd programs you're running? It can be a big hassle to keep up with renewing all your software licenses, but the legal consequences of not doing so are even worse. Fines can be tremendous, and some software companies impose penalties.

Most entrepreneurs don't have the time or IT staff to keep track of every license. Fortunately, there's a Web site that can do it for you. CDW, an online technology retailer, has developed a free Software License Tracker geared toward growing businesses. The tracker contains the purchase and license history of any software bought at CDW. Entrepreneurs can also upload information for software purchased elsewhere. The Web-based customizable tool is accessible to any business that signs up with the CDW@work extranet service.


4.7
MILLION
new domain names registered in the first quarter of 2004-the highest quarterly figure ever.
SOURCE:VeriSign


13.5%
of the world's laptops will be powered by micro fuel cells by 2012.
SOURCE: ABI Research

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This article was originally published in the September 2004 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Tech Buzz 09/04.

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