Archive for the ‘Recommended Software’ Category

Live-Kitchen.com Serves Up 1 Million Make-and-Take Meals

Make-and-take meal industry consumers nationwide have ordered 1.36 million meals utilizing the Live-Kitchen.com web application created by Denver-based web developer Neon Rain Interactive, LLC. In addition to outright software purchase, Live-Kitchen.com began offering a monthly subscription option Feb. 1. The subscription will enable purchasers to cut the initial investment by two-thirds, and pay monthly usage fees.

Denver, CO (PRWEB) February 5, 2008 — Make-and-take meal industry consumers nationwide have ordered 1.36 million meals utilizing the Live-Kitchen.com web application created by Denver-based web developer Neon Rain Interactive, LLC.

Designed to help meal prep-and-assembly franchisees operate and market more effectively, Live-Kitchen.com is favored by franchisors from California to Florida. Primary benefits of rapid setup in 2-3 weeks and easy integration into existing websites have proven valuable to such companies as Denver’s Supper Solutions, Inc., Kansas City’s Social Suppers, and Florida’s Dinners for Dinner.

Features include integrated online ordering, patent pending web-based Point of Sale, eSysco integration, business class franchisee reporting, ROI tracking and in-store operations management; virtually unlimited scalability; and user friendliness both for customers and franchisees.

In addition to outright software purchase, Live-Kitchen.com began offering a monthly subscription option Feb. 1. The subscription will enable purchasers to cut the initial investment by two-thirds, and pay monthly usage fees.

Neon Rain’s web infrastructure division prototyped Live-Kitchen.com in 2003 with Supper Solutions, Inc., a franchisor that now has 24 stores in 3 states. Leanne Deister, president of Supper Solutions Franchising, Inc., says Live-Kitchen.com, “has been an integral part of all our IT planning and implementation. It’s incredibly user friendly, enhances franchisee communications, and enables us to track both marketing and operations data quickly and accurately.”

Don Fredal, President of Kansas City-based Social Suppers, likes system security. “We have a much more complete way of managing orders, and the system is very easy to use and update,” Fredal explains.

Other infrastructure features are:

  • Web based Point of Sale system – including support for credit card swiper and receipt printer / receipt emailer;
  • Content management system enabling the franchisor to update specific site areas;
  • Automated electronic customer reminders and follow-up;
  • Ability to track marketing program return on investment (ROI);
  • AJAX and Web 2.0 based usability features;
  • Gift Certificate and Rewards tracking system;
  • eSysco / Sysco integration;
  • Franchise-wide reporting and management;
  • Fast in-session menu printouts for selected attendees.

Extensive reporting tools allow both franchisor and franchisee to assess and address varied conditions, including: daily meal inventory to avoid food waste; attendee demographic and ordering information per location, regionally, and franchise-wide; customer data by kitchen, customer meal ratings; and weekly/monthly tracking to determine timeslot profitability.

For more information, contact Arif Gangji at 1-877-888-8811 (303-908-1492 in Colorado); www.live-kitchen.com; www.neonrain.com.

SIDEBAR:
Make-and-take meals are playing an important role in America’s desire to return to the dinner table. Tufts University research points out that nearly 80 percent of Americans say that eating dinner with their children is very important–but less than half actually do so nightly. A ConAgraFoods national survey reveals that more than 70 percent of parents experience some type of stress associated with dinnertime. Forty-seven percent of the stress comes from deciding what to make, 23 percent from preparing and cooking the meal, and eight percent from worrying about having the right ingredients. Clearly, make-and-take meals provide a way for families to enjoy time together without many of the usual meal preparation stresses.

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Utility Software – Webroot Spy Sweeper Anti-Spyware

All these SPAM comments got me thinking about Spyware. And since we all do business on the Internet, the Spyware threat it pretty high. My choice at combating Spyware is Webroot SpySweeper. This is a fantastic program which I have been using for about 2 years now. It does a great job of stopping malicious attacks to my machine and lets me know something is trying to make changes before it happens.

Its happened way too many times before, someone will ask, “Can I just check something on the Internet?” and then low and behold the machine is riddled with nonsense from some site that’s trying to install toolbars, browser extensions and download all sorts of things to “optimize” your PC or to make downloading music even easier.

I’ve had friends bring laptops for me to have a look at that were so riddled with spyware the machine barely ran anymore. It had so many things connecting to the Internet and attaching to browsers the computer was useless.

Well no more I say! I’ve put SpySweeper on all the machines I’ve owned (including the business ones) and I’ve never had another problem – although I’ve seen plenty of prevented attacks. Not only is it great at cleaning up a mess, if you put in on right from the beginning it’s great at making sure the problem doesn’t happen in the first place.

It uses “Shields” to prevent changes to your computer and let’s you know when a program does something within that area. For example, if something tries to run when the computer first starts up, or tries to install a program into your browser. It also helps to keep ads from popping up in your face. I recommend this for business and home use.

If you don’t have an Anti-Spyware solution on your machine already, I suggest using this. Even if you’re using the Internet “just for business” that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to run into some unsavory characters out there.

And to make it even better I have a great bargain for you.

Click this link to get SpySweeper for $10 off ($19.95):
SpySweeper for $19.95

You can read more about SpySweeper and Webroot at:
www.webroot.com

You can find more SpySweeper bargains at this site:
http://www.wow-coupons.com/search.php?Search=webroot


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Utility Software – ZoneAlarm Anti-Virus and Firewall

Another utility you should at both home and office is a good antivirus program. For many years I was a devout Symantec Norton Antivirus user, all the way back to the Dos days and early Windows. However, the cost of the Norton product keeps increasing every year. Plus, spending $50 a year just to keep viruses at bay seems a little steep, especially since the program will stop working when you subscription ends.

However, I have found a cheaper but still effective alternative – ZoneAlarm Antivirus and Firewall. I have been using this one for about two years now as well and have had very good results with it.

The firewall is used to monitor both incoming and outgoing traffic. Get notified if a program is trying to access your machine from the Internet and get that same warning when programs from your machine try to access the Internet. In most cases a program trying to connect to the Internet is fine, but if an oddly named program all of a sudden appears, there may be trouble. I’ve had this happen, it makes quite a mess.

The antivirus portion is self explanatory, I’m sure we’re all familiar with virus threats. Considering the junk that exists out there on the web that is trying to get in to our machines, not having some level of protection is just asking for trouble. I’ve been in situations where as soon as a machine connects to the Internet it’s infected, having a firewall and virus protection with help prevent this from ever happening.

So much of our work is done on the web that having a program like this is vital. Normally that protection usually costs quite a bit, but ZoneAlarm is very affordable. At $19.95 for one year of updates, it’s less than half of most other programs. And the program isn’t watered down. Its found virus and Trojan programs in .zip files I’ve downloaded from the Internet and deleted them immediately. I didn’t even get a chance to get myself in trouble!

For the money, there is no reason not to protect yourself. Plus, if you want more protection features such as anti-spyware, anti-spam and anti-phishing, and identity theft protection they make additional products us well including their Internet Security Suite which features it all.

Right now all of their programs are on sale at 30%. So you can get the full protection in the Internet Security Suite for $50 which will protect 3 PCs.

If you don’t already have something protecting the business and homes machine, I would suggest this as your solution. Trial versions are available so you can examine all the features.

ZoneAlarm: ZoneAlarm Store
Antivirus: ZoneAlarm AV
Internet Security Suite: ZoneAlarm Internet Suite

Graphics Software – Paint Shop Pro XI

My personal choice in graphics software is Corel Paint Shop Pro. It has excellent image manipulation features such as the usual crop and resize, but it also the power photo tools like Curves, Levels, Masks, Layers and all sorts of other photo adjustment tools. But aside from that you can be very creative with Paint Shop by using all the Picture Tubes, Picture Frames, Creative Masks, Filters and Effects and dozens of other nifty built in toys.

I use it exclusively for creating web graphics and it’s so easy to take an image and layer additional images and text on top of it. I can do text and graphics manipulations in Paint Shop in one step that normally take about 4 or 5 in Photoshop and other apps.

I sort of make it sound like a toy app, it’s not. This is a very powerful, full featured graphics program. It has a lot of the same features as Photoshop, but it’s so much easier to use. I really don’t think this program gets enough credit.

I also have an easy way of saving a bunch of money. You can get Photo Shop for around $60. It normally retails for $99.

Here’s what you do.

Click this link to get Paint Shop for $79. Then use this coupon code 08SAVE15 to save 15% more. It must be entered in all upper case letters to work. The total cost should be $68.

The link below is for the upgrade version. In all truth, I have the previous version so I upgraded, however, I have since rebuilt this machine and reinstalled Paint Shop and it never asked me for a previous version. This could be the full version of the program. But anyway.

Click this link to get Paint Shop for $39 and then use the same coupon code of 08SAVE15 to get another 15% off – remember, all upper case letters. The total should be $33…

Using either link you get Corel Creative Edition 2 (retail $20) which is a huge bundle of Masks, Picture Tubes, Frames and all sorts of other nifty effects. It’s great for those newsletters and other graphics projects.

You can read more about Paint Shop at www.corel.com.

Utility Software – Roboform

I came across Roboform almost two years ago and now use it for both business and personal use. Roboform is a top-rated Password Manager and Web Form Filler that completely automates password entering and form filling.

Basically it creates an add-on to your browser that allows you to fill in forms or enter passwords by clicking a button. You set up Roboform once with your name, address, phone number, email address, etc, etc, etc. The next time you come across a page that needs this information, simply click the button and all the fields will be populated. It works great for all those forms you have to fill out when creating a new account for something. Especially with a business, this is a huge time saver.

The other huge benefit is the password manager function. I keep all the username and password information for my bank accounts, credit cards, subscription websites and anything else that needs me to log in. I even use it for regular discussion forums. When you go to a new site and type something in (username and password) you will be prompted if you would like to remember the information. The next time you visit that site you can click the button and those fields will be automatically filled in.

It’s also great for online ordering. A standard order form always asks the same thing such as address, email, and credit card number. Now you can click the bank account you want to use and the form will be filled in with the right billing information and credit card numbers. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing, but I can order online faster than ever before! :)

You can also log into secure sites without typing the password in front of anyone. If you have to use your computer in front of customer you can still log in and you won’t have any concern about them watching what you type.

Roboform comes with a master password you need to know in order to use it. It’s so convenient and helpful I use it multiple times a day – every time I need to log in!

And what’s more, you can save $10.

Go to www.roboform.com download a copy. When you are ready to checkout use the code INP save $10. You will now get the program for $19.95 instead of $29.95.

I highly recommend this one.

RoboForm: Learn more...

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