How to Conquer Public Speaking Fears

Does the thought of speaking in front of a room of people make your stomach queasy, palms sweaty and voice shaky? You’re not the only one! Many adults fear public speaking, but in the business world, it’s almost impossible to avoid having to do it. So, how do you get over this paralyzing, crippling fear of public speaking? Here are a few tips I have used:

Focus on the audience.

Have you ever been told to avoid eye contact with the audience and direct your gaze elsewhere around the room to ease your nerves or imagine they are all naked? Although this is popular advice, it’s not effective in easing your nerves. The right way to get over your public speaking fears is to focus carefully on the audience. Focus on the people listening to you will help you take attention away from your inner thoughts, which at this point are probably full of self-doubt and negativity. Silence this inner voice by paying attention to the people in the room instead of focusing on your thoughts.

Practice in the mirror.

If you can’t perform your speech in front of your own reflection, you won’t be able to do it in front of a crowd so practice, practice, practice. Take note of your body language and facial expressions to see what kind of impression you’re giving off. The audience will respond well if you appear welcoming and project a sense of calm, so work on controlling nervous gestures and relax your facial features so you don’t seem tense and closed off to your listeners.

Nail the intro.

Nerves tend to be the worst during the first few minutes of your speech. How you perform during this crucial time period will determine how you approach the rest of your speech, so it’s important to nail the introduction. What will happen if you make a slip up in the beginning? That inner voice, you know the one that’s been telling you about everything that could go wrong, will work you up and amplify your jitters for the remainder of your speech. Nail the intro, and you’ll realize your fears were unfounded, making the rest of your speech easier.

If you feel a freeze coming on then pause and look around at the audience, if you can get the pause in at the right place, after or before a major point you will visibly see them think and that’s a confidence booster.

Make it personal.

As a public speaker, you’re not there to relay information and statistics as if you’re reading directly from an encyclopedia. Your job is to use the information and add your own personal twist to it. Maybe Inject personal stories and career advice into your speech to make it your own, and to grab your audience’s attention. Are you wondering how making a speech more impactful will help you calm your nerves? It’s simple, the more confident you are in your speech, the more relaxed you’ll be. Looking at public speaking as sharing a piece of your story with the audience and you will realise it’s natural  really and not a big deal!

Do a practice run.

If possible, visit the room where you will be speaking in one day in advance. Where will you be standing in relation to the audience? Will the lights be shining in your face? Will there be a podium for you to place note cards on? Knowing the logistics of everything will help you ease your anxieties because you won’t have to worry about being unprepared. If your speech is accompanied with a presentation or visual, be sure to check what technological equipment is available for you to use. Don’t just check to see if it’s there, do a test run and make sure it actually turns on and works correctly!

The most effective leaders are often the greatest public speakers, so conquering this fear will be beneficial to you in the long run.

There is nothing new under the sun

If you went to a restaurant you wouldn’t expect only one choice of starter, main and pudding? That’s often your only IT choice but history is repeating itself, again.

Remember the 1960’s,  ’70s or 80’s? Well computers were big, mega expensive and in special air cooled hardened buildings, really out of the reach of mere non-government mortals and big business. Other businesses had to rent spare time on these megaliths when they weren’t being used for their main tasks.

AT107978 One company ACT were renting these big computers and running things like payroll for their clients who couldn’t afford one of their own. They were a “Computer Bureau”, storing and running data on big systems for small to medium sized companies.

The end of the Bureau

sirius_victor-s1_1ACT became so rich on this they invested in a thing called a Sirius PC, This meant that companies could run their own payroll on their own premises and then do more besides. The era of business computing had started and ACT knew it. We joined this revolution at its inception due to the foresight of our then MD, when we were a manufacturing and data transmission company.

The Sirius PC was the best and most successful PC available, even if later the inferior IBM overtook it. ACT became Apricot and were eventually swallowed by Mitsubishi.

The reason the bureau died was that it was limited, expensive, uapricotnreliable and the costs added up. Although the weekly cost of a 100 person payroll was modest at £200 a week, over five years it worked out at £52,000. You could buy a Sirius with all the Pulsar accounts including Payroll (Sage weren’t even at the amoeba stage then), WordStar and VisiCalc for £5,000 including installation and a dot matrix printer for £700. Over five years you would save around £30,000. The smaller businesses caught on too.

Let’s Zoom back to the future  – 30 years on – the 21st Century

There is a rush to the cloud, everyone seems to want to store their stuff on someone else’s computer and pay for it monthly. Seem familiar? We are now storing stuff on mega huge computers and paying a weekly or monthly amount for it. The reasons are; its peanuts a month, its reliable, I get the latest versions – all snake oil and wrong by the way.

Another technology bubble is bursting

Its now dawning on people very, very, slowly that the cloud is limited, expensive, unreliable and the costs add up. THE EXACT REASON WHY THE BUREAUS DIED. Why not have your own data processed on your own systems instead?

Just do this simple exercise

Add up all the money you spend on cloud computing each week or month, now add it up for the year, now look at it over five years. I recently heard someone push email on the cloud for £6 a user a month. That’s a staggering £3,600 for 10 users. We recently installed a system with 12 users for £700 all in.

Greed and the choice of none

When you buy cloud services its probably from a cloud salesman who doesn’t give you a choice, his only tool is price – often the last resort of the poor salesman and fuelled by the greed of the cloud providers. For example we, at CMX, are “whole of market” we offer 11 versions of Office, three are free the rest vary from extortionate to £40. We are paid 2.5 times more for selling you Office 365 on the cloud than one in a box, the box works out 66% cheaper than the cloud over 5 years and the joke is there is a free Microsoft Office online on the cloud anyway, Bet you no one mentioned that did they?

If you went to a restaurant you would expect one choice of starter, main and pudding? You would like a choice, so why are you only offered cloud?

The real choice

The cloud has it’s place free storage (while that lasts, not long now), getting vital data safely stored off premises, as a backup for when the broadband fails. These services are relatively cheap because they don’t need the pseudo fortresses of AWS, Azure or Dropbox. Two servers, different locations behind firewalls. Cost? 10Gb for £69 a year, and I’m not mentioning “safe harbor” today

So why the title?

Simple, its the proverb that’s as old as the bible, Everything that is happening now has happened before” and. “Everything that comes around goes around” The cloud will change as everyone brings their data processing back in house. Because your own in house processing is unlimited, inexpensive, reliable and the costs make sense, just like it did in the ’80’s.

If you want to set up your cloud on your own systems then talk to us. We can save money by installing a Linux server offering cross platform software that can be accessed on any device from anywhere in the world.

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If Microsoft, Apple, Google, Blackberry, Nokia and Open Source built cars …. updated


Many years ago there was an article that circulated around called “if Microsoft did cars”. The Apple version was complimentary but not the Microsoft one. We trawled all the cmx staff for their views as we sell both Apple and Microsoft and with the advent of the Apple car round the corner we were thinking and buzzing email ideas around.

If Microsoft Built Cars…

  • All Microsoft Car owners think Apple car owners are morons
  • If you were involved in a crash, you would have no idea what happened despite the fault message on the suddenly blue windscreen.
  • The airbag system would say “are you sure?” before going off.
  • New seats would force everyone to have the same size backside.
  • The FBI will have the right under the Patriot ACT to sit in your car and go through your things.
  • When your Microsoft Car10 goes wrong all your personal details, and everything you are carrying will be sent up to the cloud for storage without your consent.
  • The oil, fuel and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single “general car default” warning light.
  • You will be forced to “sign in” and upload your personal details when buying a car10 and it will check these details before it starts.
  • Everything you want in a Windows car is freely available from an Open Source design, only no one will know about it as there are only Microsoft or Apple salespeople.
  • Your cloud car will be available free of charge if you can find it as no one will tell you where you can get one free but its only there as competition for the free Google Car.
  • You will be offered a Cloud car without alternatives, which will cost you three times as much over five years but you won’t notice because you are paying weekly.
  • You could only have one person in the car at a time, unless you bought “Car2016” But, then you would have to buy more seats.
  • Occasionally, executing a maneuver would cause your car to stop and fail and you would have to re-install the engine. For some strange reason, you would accept this too.
  • Occasionally your car would die on the motorway for no reason, and you would just accept this, restart and drive on.
  • Every time they repainted the lines on the road you would have to buy a new car.

And as for Apple cars

  • All Apple Car owners think Microsoft car owners are morons
  • It will look exactly like a spaceship but will have the same inside mechanicals as a Microsoft car at five times the price.
  • The car will have wiring & seating technology invented at an obscure US University in the ’60’s but with an Apple twist.
  • They will be simple to use with two buttons, “Go” and “Park” designed for non-drivers.
  • There will initially be two versions, a single seater and a five seater
  • Everything inside will have a name that doesn’t tell you what is does. The heater controls for example will be labelled “Mars – Spacial illusions” and the seat adjusters, “InterStellar”
  • Your bank account will empty at random times for small amounts for an item such as “Sherpa” which is the charge for using the lights at night.
  • Sometimes your Apple car will breakdown, usually after an upgrade, for some reason you will sit there waiting for it to work again which it miraculously does, after a fortnight, this you accept as a normal fantastic service.
  • If your Apple Car won’t start you will have to take it in to the Apple Garage, where an Apple mechanic will do something magical for free and also charge you both at the same time but you will only remember the free bit and it not going wrong.
  • Although built to a internationally agreed and EU enforced refueling standard, for some reason only “Apple” fuel will go in the tank and can only be paid for by ApplePay linked to your car.
  • The In Car entertainment will only receive “Apple Radio”, Play Apple MP9’s, It will only play Apple CD’s with an expensive adapter. It will also play Apple iBash a new music standard which will be an updated copy of an old forgotten standard.
  • Apple drivers would be convinced that the car was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast, twice as easy to drive and dispersed happiness and fairy dust wherever it went with an immunity to potholes, rain and traffic jams..
  • The Apple car can only run on Apple 5 percent of the roads that are MAC compatible
  • The Apple car will become outdated 12 months after release and you will just have to have the next model which does what the old car did but with something extra you wont use.
  • There will be a queue outside the Apple showroom for 3 days before the first sale of each model.
  • The Apple car owners would get expensive Microsoft upgrades to their cars, which would make their cars run much slower and an Apple update would stop the Microsoft bit for a fortnight.

And then Google……

  • Will give you a car for nothing
  • It will take you where you don’t want to go
  • It will only park where its not convenient
  • Your Google Car will look like everyone else’s so you wont be able to find where it parked itself.
  • It will occasionally move where its parked if you aren’t watching it.
  • Will want to crash with Microsoft and Apple Cars
  • You won’t find any mechanics anywhere to help with problems, but they usually come with a mate down the pub who knows not much more than you but is considered an expert.
  • It will have one seat but a paid for upgrade will get you a total of 1.5 seats  so you have to buy three upgrades for the average family
  • It won’t have a standard entertainment system but will play old black and white TV programs and makeup tutorials from Youtube, usually featuring cats.
  • There will be plenty of controls but you wont ever find where they are.
  • All the Chrome will be much heavier than normal and  make the car much slower
  • Occasionally you will go out on your drive to find your car unavailable for a few hours, this will be called an “outage” and will happen at the most inconvenient time. You will accept this as normal for a free car or cloud car.
  • Your car can be used easily by other people.
  • No one will consider your Google car as a real car, especially Apple and Microsoft drivers.
  • You will be able to drive your car anywhere, over seas and all lands even if there are no roads.
  • If it sees a face or name outside it will immediately pixellate the windscreen.
  • Google car owners think everyone is a moron, even other Google car owners but cats are cool.

If Blackberry made cars…..

  • There will be no doors to get in
  • No one will want one except for US Government operatives who will all own an Apple car as well.

If Nokia made cars…………..

  • Every one would have owned at least one, a while ago.
  • No one has seen one for years
  • People only have a vague memory of what one looked like and then remembered it having square wheels for some unknown reason.
  • Nobody mentions its battery life of a week but remembers there was no colour.

Finally if there were Open Source cars

rally fighter

  • They would be free
  • You could easily modify your car
  • You will never need to replace it
  • Owners will be called Nerds or Geeks unlike Apple devotees who have no collective name, they are above that even though their cars use Open Source technology.
  • Microsoft will open claim they love Open Source cars while making sure they won’t work in Redmond or surrounding areas.
  • There are millions of Open Source users and mechanics all over the world also known as nerds and geeks.
  • It would be as individually looking as you wanted
  • Have 1 to unlimted seats and the instructions will be in every langauge.
  • It would run on anything, petrol, diesel, paraffin, water. sunshine or air with an appropriate add-on
  • You can park anywhere for free, even inside  shops and offices.
  • You could add anything you ever wanted to a car
  • Your own downloaded car would look a bit cluncky but you can change that
  • There is a central repository for all improvements call Gitcarhub
  • You can upgrade and update your car for ever using Gitcarhub
  • The Entertainment system would play Radio, DAB, CD’s MP3, WAV, MP4, cassette, 8-track and 45,33,78 Vinyl.
  • It can go on land, sea, underwater and even fly.
  • There are plans for interplanetary OS cars
  • Every design has a silly name such as OpenCar, Oscar, Priddy Nonesuch, Mr Tibbs etc.
  • All Open Source owners would tell everyone their car was best, show it, prove it beyond doubt but everyone will still want an Apple or Microsoft car.
  • Feel free to correct, modify or add anything in this category then share it
  • Amazon, eBay, Tesco and 300 other companies will all have Open Source cars but no-one will notice.
  • No one would want one for birthday or Christmas.
  • Open source drivers know that Apple and Microsoft car owners are idiots.

Some of these comments will strike a chord, others will be offended (That’s the world of Political Correctness V2.0 where no one has thick skin, broad shoulders or a sense of humour). Please feel free to share this as long as we get a mention. If you want to talk about all the choices then talk to us we handle everything here, except Blackberry and Nokia (but who does?) So we can give clear unbiased advice for you and your business.

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10 ways to save and waste money on your computer technology spend

millionpound note

Yes, it’s a £million pound note and it exists, not that you will ever see one, they are used to back the money issued by independent UK banks. Small business wastes more than 1000 of these every year by making the wrong decisions when it comes to computers systems & software.

Instead of saving money you can easily be wasting it. We have cut fact from fiction to help you save money and stop wasting it. We will look at what you might easily waste or save over a period of up to six years.

Buying cheaper machines – Waste of £200
You really do get what you pay for. If you buy a cheaper machine you may think you are saving money but you are just buying equipment that is either already old or never going to be fast enough. You will be putting your hand in your pocket every two or three years or suffering for years with inadequate performance. A cheap computer costs about £300 but a good one will be £700 and will last three times as long. Save £200

Windows server – Waste of £9,000
Windows servers used to be good value because you got all the software you wanted from Microsoft but at a cut-down price for small business. If you want it now then it will need to be the powerful stuff that big business buys but with the hardware to suit. Email, Data and SQL with a meaty system will cost you around £12,000. You can get the same out of a Linux server for around £3,000. It uses powerful software that’s virtually free. This is a whole other subject so talk to us to find out more as not every supplier is clever enough to supply it.

Use the cloud – £unlimited waste
Beware the cloud-only salesperson. Using the cloud is just paying to use someone elses computer and if you pay for anything then you are just throwing money away 10 Mailboxes for business cost £6 a month each, that’s £4,320 over six years. It’s the same thing for Accounts, Backup, CRM, HR, It all adds up to a small fortune over time. Years ago there was the computer bureau, they died when people could do their own computing with a PC. The cloud has taken us back in time and up in costs. If you want to spread the cost use leasing. The cloud is good for offsite backup and sharing data but there are usually cheaper ways.

Lease a system – Save – £unlimited
The main reason for using the cloud is to spread the cost but it’s really expensive. With a lease you can spread the cost, saving your cash-flow, and at the end you can still own the equipment without paying any more. You can also save tax which if you can’t do if you buy it outright.

Refurbished equipment – save between £300-£600
Like buying a used car the price of IT equipment drops immediately its out the box. Some top end equipment is only in use for short times and then it becomes available with several years life still in it and usually with a years guarantee. A used Lenovo workstation can save you £300. Laptops are an even bigger saving, you can get a £1200 top end laptop for £400.

Use open source software – Save £unlimited
There are two types of software, they are both branded and commercial but one is owned by shareholders, the other is freely available open source. The difference is that software like Sage will cost you £thousands but open source software is free irrespective of users and size. If you consider that the Government have just endorsed LibreOffice which is a free version of Microsoft Office it might make you look at this option. Like Linux its only the technically capable computer companies that supply it.

Buy full support – Waste £unlimited
Support cost is the reason big companies have their own IT department or else they pay huge sums to support companies. There is a different between the next day support offered by Dell and the full support offered by people like Yellow Hammer. Full support means that you pay whether you use it or not. We offer a ClubClass package, most of the support you get is free and if its going to be a big bill then we give you a 40% discount for being a loyal client.

Extended warranties -Waste £unlimited
This is a bet as big as a lottery ticket. Equipment goes wrong in the first year or in the after the third. The first year is covered by a manufacturers warranty and a 3 year cover only gives you an extra two years, when the item is least likely to go wrong. You would be better getting CMX ClubClass cover, it covers the bits that the extended warranties don’t and it works out cheaper. You can always buy a lottery ticket instead of extended warranty, the chances of winning are usually better than betting on a fault.

Turning off your equipment at night – Save £900 per system
You average computer uses 200 watts but if its left on there is 16 hours a day its doing nothing but burning money. If you turn your systems off and on each day then you will save £900 on a 13p a Kw unit tariff. You can even automate it to turn off and on. The savings with servers is even more and you can save two to three times this amount. WE just add a simple program and some computers will turn themselves on at a pre-set time.

Talking to a single source adviser – Waste unlimited  £900 per system
If you ever want advice you don’t just ask someone who has a single solution, if you were looking for a vehicle you wouldn’t go to a motorbike shop. The salesman will try to sell you what he’s got, not what he hasn’t. A salesman from a single brand of software offers a choice of one, same as a cloud supplier, buy or don’t.

To make a real choice on what is best for you need to talk to people who have the experience and knowledge of all the options, A source who supply everything. Cloud, Hybrid, Hardware, Software, proprietary, Open Source, PC and Apple. That way you will examine all the options and you will know what is waste and what are savings.

CMX business computing is all about getting the right equipment, with the right service at the right price, now and for the future. We put your needs first,  not what makes us the most money, We would rather have a customer for years than make a quick-kill sale and then forget them. That’s why we deal with many solution providers. We don’t have sales people and we offer whole of market not a one product solution.cmx logo new 2015

Why your computer is soooooooooooo slow.

pcworking-snails-speedOne of the most popular computer questions people ask is “Why is it running slowly?” Over our 34 years of business we have narrowed down the list of possible answers. We will assume that your machine is not new, nor is it a super computer. These are listed here in the order of importance.

1. It was born slow

Some computers are never destined to be fast. If it was cheap, then it will be slow. If you have an i3 or AMD then its started life as a slow machine. Imagine using a Citroen 2CV in a Formula 1 race and you get the picture.

2. Age
Computers slow down from the day you buy them. It can be age of the components (10%) but usually its whats been loaded on it since you bought it or your requirements have changed. A kettle is a kettle to the day it goes bang, no updates, no changes just the occasional de-scale maybe.

3. Slow anti-virus
If you have McAfee, Norton or Kaspersky then your machine will slow down, these are big lumbering AV systems, they might be better than nothing or AVG but try something nimble, light an effective such as ESET.

4. Too many programs running at once
Users download utilities, updates, apps and other programs that often run in the background. The more programs that are running – whether you see them or not – the less time your your computer has to do other things you are asking it to do. Web browser helpers, too many Anti-malware and Virus programs. As each one is added, it will slow down your machine’s processing speed

5. There’s not enough free or slow RAM
This isn’t as bad as it used to be but Random-access memory (RAM) is what your computer uses for temporary working and thinking space. The more programs running at a time, the more RAM is used. If it runs out is starts using the hard disk as temporary storage area and that s 100X’s slower. Slow RAM also affects performance, see 1. above.

6. You have a virus/malware infection.
Internet slowdowns and slow computer operation can be a symptom of an infection. Dont use the Antivirus that’s on your machine, it didn’t get it first time (Probably Norton, McAfee or a free one). Use ESET or Trend online scanners or talk to us.

7. You have low hard drive space.
Lack of hard drive space often affects older computers, or computers that do a lot of video editing or design work. Hard drives, which store all of your computer’s information, have a finite amount of space. Once they’re filled up, the computer no longer has the ability to manipulate files. The computer will slow down, eventually becoming unusable.

Generally, Windows will alert you to “low disk space” if this is the case. Moving some of your less-used files — such as pictures, music, and movies — to an external hard drive would free up some of your computer’s hard drive space and make it run faster. Deleting temporary files and performing a disk cleanup are also good ways to reclaim wasted space. Another solution? Install a bigger hard drive.

8. Restart your computer.
Every once in a while, it is a good idea to restart your computer. A computer cannot complete some of its updates until you restart. Restarting your computer can also free up memory resources tied up by buggy programs known as Terminate and Stay Resident.

9. Sharing or insecure wireless network.
If your internet is running slowly, but your computer is running quickly, you could have a lot of activity on your wireless network. Check to see if anyone else on your network is doing something that uses a lot of bandwidth (like streaming video or playing online games), as this can make your computer run slowly. You should also make sure your wireless network is secure so someone else isn’t using your Internet bandwidth.

10. Too many “bells and whistles.”
Animated pointers and hi-resolution images of your favourite snap shots may look nice, but they can also slow your computer down. Since animations and images load into memory every time you start your PC , there is less processing power available for more important tasks.

11. You have a scanning program running.
When a scanning program such as an anti-virus, anti-spyware, or automatic backup is running, your computer may respond slowly if your machine is prone to slow down. These programs should be run at least once a week, but don’t plan on using your machine while they are running.

12. Your computer barely meets your software’s minimum requirements.
Software usually has a list of requirements. These specifications are the absolute minimum levels needed to make the software run. If your computer just meets the requirements, the software will run, but it might not run well.

13. Fragmented hard drive.
Your hard drive is very busy so its low on time, it saves bits of a file all over the place, rather than all together. This works fine for a while, but everything is scattered, and it takes your hard drive longer to find everything and put it back together. Imagine scattering a novel in any space in your house and then going to get it all when you want to read it. It’s important to defragment your hard drive to help the computer organise itself better. Defragmenting your hard drive will put everything back in order and in the right place.

Those are the reasons but what can you do about it? Try talking to us, we have more knowledge and experience that most of the other IT companies in the area and we will give you that advice free of charge, just give us a call on the number below that is nearest to you and we will be happy to advise you.


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Government IT experts say the cloud is too risky

We often go on about the hidden costs of cloud computing but cloud computing might help people work faster and smarter, but it’s not secure enough to meet government standards, according to a poll of government IT workers.

In a survey released Thursday by Dell and Dimensional Research, nearly eight in ten government information technology workers (74 percent) said that the insecurity of cloud networks would likely prevent more agencies from moving their work to those platforms.

Cloud datacentres are the focus of many successful attacks.

Cloud systems have been the focus of many deastating cyberattacks in recent years, finding targets ripe for exploitation. The June security breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) showed that governmental IT systems were badly in need of security updates.

Most major attacks on government and private servers alike have exploited the most common vulnerability in network security: employee carelessness. When employees choose weak passwords or open unrecognized attachments, they give hackers a way into a system that might not otherwise be vulnerable. Whether the server is run by the government or Amazon’s highly regarded S3 service, its security is only as robust as the weakest link in its network—and hackers are getting better at casting a net wide enough to ensnare that weak link.

Hackers head for the best rewards

There are many reasons that hackers attack a target, fame, power or fortune. The power attacker just wants to get in to prove how good they are, how bad the data centre is and gain the power as in the recent Ashley Maddison hack to close down what they downt like or the fortune of blackmail or fraud. So why data centres and not Joe Smith?

Actually home and small business users are under automated attck but the bicg cloud centres are the new main target, the gains can be great, ease of entry is actually easier and the publicity is fantastic. So if you trust the cloud with  your personal or bsuiness data then you are in a tiny minority.

Realise that the more data that data centres hold the more of a target they are and the less the security then the more profit they make so their greed will cause your loss. You have been warned what every sensible IT person already knows. Only you know how safe your data is when its in your hands, otherwise you dont have a clue.

If you want to make your data safe and you want to save 66% of your computing costs then ring us at any of the centres now, or email me or even ring me on 07881917525

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Why the Space Shuttle is connected to the Romans in the UK, especially the horses backsides.

Horses Pulling Roman ChariotThe size of the Space Shuttles booster rocket was decided by the size of a standard Roman horse’s backside. How come?  Well read on and get to the end as there is a moral to this story.

When we saw a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there were two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs might have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory had to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track.

US rail gauge – 4 foot 8.5 inches

The railroad track gauge (width between the two rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?

Because that’s the way they built them in England, and the US railroads were built by English expatriates.

Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.

Why did “they” use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons which used that wheel spacing.

Based on the existing Coaches

Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that’s the spacing of the wheel ruts.

Roman chariots made the ruts

So who built those old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe (and England) were built by Imperial Rome for their legions. The roads have been used ever since. And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots first formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for (or by) Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

So the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman war chariot because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses. Thus, we have the answer to the original question

Specifications and bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse’s ass came up with it, you may be exactly right,.

So, the major design feature of what is arguably the world’s most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a Horse’s Ass!

Now the twist to the story . . .

Amazing isn’t it, this has been repeated all over the world and accepted as a good story and entirely plausible, it will carry on being repeated but some people think its not true, well at least some of it. If you want to find out more go to

The moral is that something is accepted as true because it’s plausible, at cmx we never take anything at face value we investigate and try everything first. You may be tempted to just use Microsoft servers and Office 365 but we have solutions that work the same and will save you £8,000 and £600 respectively. So if you want to talk to us and find answers to the questions we ask then email or pick up the phone 24/7 and talk to a human in Colchester, Ipswich, Braintree or Bury St Edmunds (We don’t do machine answering).

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Why pay for any Software when you can what you want for free? – explained using LEGO

legoI remember interviewing salespeople for cmx, I had 8 sales guys out of 18 staff and needed some more. I asked them a question during the interview, we ended up only hiring the guys who got it right.

“You are the salesman in a hardware store, a customer comes in and asks for a 1/4″ masonry drill, What does he actually want?”

The correct answer is a variation on “holes”. You see the customer only saw the drill as a means to an end, he wanted holes in a wall, the good sales guys asked why a drill? They then found out about the customer needs and then offered things to help such as screws, rawlplugs, brackets, shelves, in fact anything to help. The customer wanted “holes” but he was thinking “shelves”.

In this brainwashed world everyone thinks I need Sage, ACT!, Office, DropBox, Microsoft Server & Exchange

– That’s our masonry drill. Instead of thinking about the “holes” and the “shelf” which is Accounts, Customer management, Word processing, Presentations, spreadsheets and email.

There is a world of free software out there which does the job and usually better than the brands you know because millions of people in the world are contributing to improve it.

Why doesn’t everyone sell Open Source?

You don’t sell it, its free and because sales people don’t make money out of you and they don’t have the knowledge to install it, they send you to the cloud instead.

Is it a commercially reality?

Most open source software is available in two versions, the first you pay for using it and get direct support which means you have to deal with several software companies, not a good idea for small business. Or the free version which is installed by someone, like us at cmx,  who actually understands computers and software. We install it and support it but don’t sell it. We can install a full accounting package with multi company, multi user, multi currency that works on PC’s tablets, phones and Apple for £300, that’s the installation charge, we offer support at £8 a month. That’s £480 over five years. Xero will cost you £1200 for much less.

OK the LEGO bit

By now you will have the idea but you won’t understand it, watch this and then come back for some more information.

OK so why pay Microsoft, Sage, Dropbox around the average for 10 users of £38,000 over five years? Everything they do is available somewhere else for free or pennies. We have off the shelf solutions for Email servers (Exchange), Shared storage (DropBox), SQL, HR, Projects, Backup, Accounts (Sage, X

ero) Office (Ability, OpenOffice LibreOffice) Servers (Linux BSD).

This is why Amazon, eBay, Google, Tesco and virtually every big business knows, its out there for nothing and its what the NHS, Government and Police don’t realise so they waste billions of your money re-inventing the wheel and buying brands.

Queen-VictoriaI don’t want to learn anything new!

In that case don’t ever buy anything new, or ever, if you get a new car you have to learn how to work the heater and all the switches, the fundamental driving is the same though. That goes for kettles, cookers, TV’s, you name it.

All the Open Source software is easy to use, its driven by users wants so if you get a copy of office it works and feels like Office in familiar ways. Remember the switch to XP and then  to 7 and now Windows 10 they all do the same thing but in a different way.

We offer clear alternatives because we know business, computers, support and software and we want you as along term customer, that’s how we make our money, by saving yours not by taking as much as we can.


or email me or call me personally on 07881917525 to get our help and start saving.

Are cloud services sold by the ignorant, stupid or just greedy?

10-midlife-career-change-snake-oil-salesmanI am very frustrated at the people selling cloud services, they don’t have alternatives and they appear to have a total lack of understanding about simple maths. Either its stupidity, lack of knowledge or they don’t think for them selves. You cant blame the client £6 a month sounds a cheap cash-flow friendly choice.

I listened to someone spout on about Microsoft Exchange in the cloud “for as little as only £6 a month”. I did some simple maths, 10 users over five years is £3,600. We have just installed a 12 user email server on an existing i5 PC in Leiston for a one off payment of £600.

Lets look at a 10 person company using Office 365, Microsoft Exchange, Xero accounts and Business Dropbox;

  • 10 Exchange accounts £60 a month
  • 10 Office 365 accounts £70 a month
  • 2 XERO users £40 a month
  • 10 Dropbox accounts £170 a month

£20,400 over five years.

These figures are based on those presented to us by a client who had signed up for these services. That’s a whopping £340 a month or £20,400 over five years. He moved from the cloud which is after all just renting someone else computer because his broadband went down for four days, so it was expensive and unreliable.

Save 66% and spread the cost

We can supply an in house Linux server to provide these for a quarter of that figure and on a lease its £26 a week and that is with off site (cloud)  backup storage.

“Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity”

Cloud computing is not always the best choice, its usually sold by the inexperienced salesman who gets a huge commission for selling you the cloud as he can’t sell you anything else, like an in house solution or hybrid. So stop and think, do the maths.

The reason for the surge in cloud based solutions is they are an easy sale and the alternative from Microsoft now that the Small Business Server has gone is horrendously more expensive, about £18,000 more. We install Linux servers because we have the expertise and they cost around £3000. Thast something the cloud salesmen can’t do.

We would earn 3x more by recommending the cloud

Maybe it’s pure greed, if I told you we earn three times more selling Office 365 than Office home and business would you give it some extra thought, especially when there is a free online version no-one talks about?

How about writing and spreadsheet software for nothing or Microsoft Office online on on your Android tablet for free?

That’s why we say 30 years experience really counts – our knowledge goes on long after the others run out of steam and you will be always paying for their lack of alternatives.

Ring us now to find out the clear alternatives & go to our YouTube channel for quick 60 second explanations.

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It’s just dawned on me – The massive mistake made by every new business


And it all started because it dawned on me at a business meeting what an uphill struggle faces new businesses and I haven’t seen a new business ever get it right unless it was started by an old business.

What makes me such an expert?
I was lucky*, I started with cmx as an electronics designer, it was a company with 23 employees in a 6,000 sq. ft building. I swiftly moved up through Technical Director, Financial director and ended up where I am today. Managing director of an IT company with centres at Colchester, Ipswich and subs at Bury St Edmunds and Braintree.

I started with something large, existing and then I steered it to a totally different company, I have learned by my mistakes but I have learned much better lessons from other peoples mistakes. We have changed a lot in the 34 years we have existed.

So, I have never ever been a self-employed, one-man band, start-up from nothing. So what can I teach you? Well its what I have learned from decades of marketing and yes, its something that seems to be a total avoidance area for the new business for a number of reasons. Its also something that hit me only a fortnight ago.

The blinding inspirational flash.
I was sitting in a breakfast network meeting, I do six a fortnight, listening to a marketing person do their 40 second pitch and it suddenly dawned on me. I spend a lot of time on marketing my business, how the hell does a small start-up or new business do this? They cant, its impossible, how do they ever succeed? I can spot them in a network meeting, the new and likely to fail, nice guys they are enthusiastic and totally unprepared.

Its not arrogance on my behalf, its a simple fact, small business don’t market themselves. They think they do, but they don’t, they cant, but they should, or else they will be doing something else in a very short time indeed. Its a “why spend money on that question.”

Joe Smith redundant but good at what he did
Lets Look at Joe Smith, He was employed by Suffexshire County Council as an office manager and he was pretty gooCorporate employeed at it. In 2009 he was made redundant, he had his redundancy payment but with a few loans, mortgage, working wife and children he needed a job. He quickly found that he was in a large pool of people looking for work.

He decided that as his best skill was organising people he would take his skill and knowledge and become a consultant, the dream, working for your self, being your own boss, working from home, everyone needs a business advice, what could go wrong?

The leap into self employed heaven
He found an accountant and used his own bank. He joined the local chamber of commerce and Business and Corporationsa trade association. He had some business cards printed online by Vista print and some leaflets from a local printer. He organised everything with VAT & HMRC. He insured his car for business cover and found professional indemnity insurance. All before he did all this he dedicated his efforts to the most important thing, what he should call himself and he chose JSBC (thinking; HSBC – familiar and Joe Smith Business Consultant). Oh and he got a web site and e-mail from the cheapest he could find. He even came up with a buy two hours get one free offer and a free initial consultation. His hourly rate was £40. He joined a couple of networking organisations, one was fortnightly and nothing was compulsory and the other was a weekly referral organisation with strict rules

He was busy, right up to the end.
He spent £6,000 in his first year and £6,000 in his second, he picked up two clients because he was cheap, he was also busy, he visited a total of 20 prospective clients a year with the free offers but he only had 100 hours of paid work each year, about two hours a week. He earned £4000 and a bit morCorporate employeee in the second year. He didn’t cover his costs, let alone his fuel and getting a wage. He is now looking for a job, dream smashed.
Joe was his own worst enemy
He was good, knew his stuff, he did what he thought were the right things, what did he do wrong? Well it was simple. He did his own marketing. Effectively he thought he had planned but he hadn’t. Marketing is the secret to finding your prospects, targeting them, converting them to clients and then finding more on a continuous basis. Its a specialist task and you need a knack for it as well as knowledge and experience.

The thing I have learned in all the years I have been running a business is that marketing is vital. I spend three days a week marketing, I have several other guys here to help me do the actual IT work. Otherwise I couldn’t do it, but I still ask marketers for the occasional help.

A hiding to nothing.
A start-up doesn’t stand a cats chance in hell of success if they have no experience of actually running a small business and their accountant, usually the first business contact doesn’t have a clue about marketing either.

They don’t have the time, knowledge or experience to dedicate to marketing and if they did, they wouldn’t be able to do the work which leads to the feast-famine model. They are too busy to have ongoing business and then too much time for marketing.

What you need is a support network of fellow business people and someone to plan everything for you. Effectively Joe thought he had planned but he hadn’t. Marketing is the secret to finding your market, targeting it and then growing your business.

Unless you are lucky, like I was, you start with nothing
Remember when you start you don’t have a business, you have something you are good at. That wont pay the bills unless you have a marketing plan. Your first move should be to set enough money aside to pay for a marketing consultant.

They will help you plan and prepare, they will have all the business contacts you need to decide how you are going to get clients, who to use for websites, printers, accountants and then you will have a budget and a plan. When this is in place, now and only now, start trading and follow the plan.

Nothing succeeds like success
Business success will follow. Marketing consultants only exist from success, you will never find a successful one with a string of failures behind them. The good ones are at network meetings, being a presence and meeting people, they are following their own plan.

There are several I would recommend, talk to them, decide who is best for you and who has the experience you need. They all have slightly different areas of expertise. When you are earning enough then get a business coach for the next stage.

Who would I recommend?
Who would I recommend for a start-up or recently started-up? In Suffolk or Essex I would heartily recommend Alexandra De’Cort from Beckett Media, Sarah Eden of Tangible Marketing and Louise Stephens from Marketing Fox. These are all my favourites. How did I meet them? Over the years at networking groups, I have met them, gTwo workersot to know them, like them and I trust their knowledge and experience.

That’s how networking works so if you are new to business then talk to them, you will get to know, like and trust them and they will probably introduce you to the world of business networking too.

As an add-on we often have new businesses approach us about IT and we often advise using what they have or obtaining some of our refurbished equipment. What we often see is cheap or inappropriate equipment, which needs replacing in a couple of years, again talk to an expert first and ideally one who will have your interests at heart for the long term relationship and not one who is after the biggest commission cheque they can squeeze out of you.

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* I am Glyn Cheeseman, MD of CMX Business Computing. The opinions I am expressing are by own based on my experience in business and talking to many business people over the years. I ran this article across several people I know before I published it. Apart from my professional qualifications I have attended many business courses over the years and I still attend training sessions where I can as I believe that you can really learn from others experience and knowledge. Although I usually spout about computer related things I occasionally feel there are points and subjects that need raising. follow me on @glyncheeseman and sign up for this blog.