One other tip - more relevant if you're not using a forwarding service though - I've found it's well worth paying for USPS Express rather than USPS Priority Mail for boxes as it's usually not much more money (often in the region of 5%) and is SIGNIFICANTLY quicker - we're talking a difference of 2-3 WEEKS, at least from the US to the UK and in my experience.
Also, some more general tips about buying things online here. Ordering from dealextreme (the non AU warehouse version) takes around a month or more to arrive. Ordering things from HK/Chinese based ebay sellers can sometimes take about the same time, or sometimes take less than a week. You can often find a AU based ebay seller with comparable items and a slightly higher cost if you need something more quickly. If you're buying media (blu rays + console games particularly), order from UK based sites (eg Amazon UK) since they're the same region as us, and you'll run into less problems, as well as them usually being substantially cheaper. DVDs should be region free though.
I'd also thoroughly recommend http://ozbargain.com.au/ where members share good bargains that they've found, in addition to the whirlpool forums mentioned previously
Unfortunately the off-shore staff require so much support and help to do anything, that it takes 3 times as long as it should do do any one task, and the remaining on-shore staff are run ragged trying to do their own jobs as well as the demands of supporting the off-shores.
So here I am, doing what I've been told by multiple key people is an amazing job, taking on team leadership roles across some projects, delivering consistently on or ahead of time, working extra hours without question just to get the job done. How do I get rewarded for this? Still no rate rise (despite being promised one for over a year now), and an extended 1 year contract instead of 6 months (so now it's a year before I can have any chance of a rate rise).
The IT industry in this country is going from bad to worse, and I don't see any positive change happening any time soon.
To me, although there's good OSS photo management software, there's really none I'm aware of that is able to work well with multiple machines. The easiest way to do this would be pick one of the photo managers that uses a database to store photo information, then you basically write the sync agent that pushes updates to one database(+ associated photos) to the others.
Would be a very useful project, and nicely database heavy. Am considering doing the same thing myself using digikam as a base if ever I find the spare time...
Every single employee is issued with a mobile (cell) phone. At the office there's some kind of technology that will route any inbound "landline" calls to both your mobile phone, as well as any desk phone you happen to be logged into. There's also the option of using VOIP via a headset connected to your laptop, which seems to be the option most "phone heavy" people choose.
In reality: most people hardly use their work issued mobile phones at all, or even keep them charged. Most real time colloboration is done over instant messenging and the occasional conference call for meetings with people who are working from home or offshore.
Backups, IMO, is the easier one. What I do, get two identical hard drive enclosures, each with a suitably large drive in them (these days, look at 2Tb + each). Aim for a powered one (so you can use larger drives), preferably with eSata connectivity (for speed). Then mirror your photos and whatever else you want to back up regularly onto the drives. Then, every week or so swap drives, and take the now disconnected drive to somewhere off site (your work, parent's house, safety deposit box, etc). Doing the mirroring via an automatic scheduled task is better. Now you're covered for most risks, and if your house is on fire and you've got time to grab something on the way out, you grab the currently connected backup drive.
Now, how do you manage a large connection of photos, possibly stored across multiple machines? There's commercial solutions, with a pretty hefty price tag, but not much out there with distributed capabilities in the open source world. At least, not that I know of. For myself, I've kludged up something using f-spot as a base, and using Mercurial to track the photo database, but it's messy. And now, f-spot in Ubuntu 10.10 has become a pile of flaming crap, so I'm going to have to try the same approach in Shotwell.
The issue with facebook is really rather simple.
Facebook's value for its investors is that it's a gigantic comprehensive advertising database where the marks *cough* I mean customers input all the data on their own. People put information into Facebook that they'd never tell someone taking a survey and you don't even have to pay someone to ask them the questions. Achieving this goal is basically top on Facebook's list of long term priorities, just as it will be on any other free social networking site which doesn't want to operate at a massive loss.
The conflict is that the users of facebook didn't sign up for that. They want and quite rightfully expect a certain level of privacy for the content they post on the site. You might argue that telling everyone about your personal life is the antithesis of privacy, but privacy is about your ability to determine your own level of disclosure, not having some specific level of disclosure which the older generations find appropriate.
Essentially the end result of all of this is that every 6 months or so, facebook tries to turn all the information it has into cold hard cash and shortly thereafter their userbase throws a wobbly and they have to back out.
And, well, that may be the case. However, if you look, there's been an ebb and flow to the quality of CompSci around the US over the last several years. I still do what I can to keep quality up. However, we do have folks who're more interested in making sure the kids are Microsoft compliant than in determining if they understand the Science part of Computer Science.
And, as a result, Farmville/Mafiawars updates on Facebook temporarily stop.
Nothing of value was lost.
We use Salesforce.com (since rebranded as Common Ground), and I can answer most of these queries -- on tech backbone, it's the best you're going to get. It's all done in the cloud, and it's fairly robust commercial grade stuff. Exporting 50,000 records is just a question of downloading the CSV. If it's a really big job, they schedule it and ship it in an hour or so. Given that most NPOs can't or don't want to invest in their own hardware, putting it in the cloud is a really good idea. Likewise with data security concerns -- Salesforce.com is much better than leaving it to the typical NPO tech guy.
Of the versions you showed, the US version is for Vista, and the EU version is for Mac. Of course the Mac version is more expensive. It's for Mac (which means people will pay a much higher price for the exact same product even if it doesn't work as well as on competitors hardware; also development costs are spread across a smaller marketbase thus raising price), and its in the EU (which means it has VAT). Meanwhile, the same product comparatively, when both version are for vista, shows http://www.amazon.de/Adobe-Creative-Master-Collection-deutsch/dp/B003FSSL5K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=software&qid=1273780415&sr=1-1
The Vista EU version is 1784 Euro, which is 2230 USD. Its cheaper in Europe for the same product.
This, by the way, is a fairly niche product that hasn't been released yet, and due to its price, will only be purchased by those who have a very real need for it. No one is buying this unless they already have a way to profit from it or they are super rich and spend their money on software instead of cars and vacation houses.
If you don't like European software laws, set up your company in the US (business registrations are along the lines of $250 a year, and if you can't afford that but for some reason need $2500 software packages, you might try another line of business, for example not having one) and set up a European subsidiary that has to follow the software of the parent company in order to gain work. File everything under US GAAP and make sure you have a residence. A US citizen in name owning the company probably wouldn't hurt (keeping you as either an employee or a [non-general] partner. At any rate, keep the liability in the US, and you can use US software no problem. On the other hand, unless you are a fairly large (publicly traded or on the cusp of doing so) company, hiring expats for the sake of saving money on software doesn't really make any sense. While you *can* do this, it definitely won't be worth the time or effort.