Over the last few years (about 5) I’ve purchased about 2 laptops, and in most cases when I’ve upgraded I’ve given the laptop to my son and sold his off (or gave it away). Typically when I buy a new computer, I don’t go for the latest and greatest since speed isn’t critical for me but what is important is memory and hard drive storage (not as important as it used to be).
I use the laptop more for a desktop replacement but not would not necessarily purchase something equivalent to a desktop. Combined with a 2nd 21″ LCD monitor I’ve got my set-up perfect for what I do.
My latest “find” is a Gateway NV53 from TigerDirect which features Multi-Gesture ToucPad, something called MyBackup (who backs 500gb or 1tb drives???), 16:9 HD LCD, CardReader and HDMI output (sweet).
Other features are an AMD Athalon II X2 M300 processor, 15.6″ HD LCD, 500 GB HDD and 4 GB Memory. Also features a DVD Super Multi DL Drive, and Webcam.
You can see the full specs on the official Gateway site.
Unfortunately they no longer have this specific model available. It sold out pretty quick, especially when you consider you can have a great laptop for just under $400.00 CDN.
Now I’ve never used Gateway in the past, and haven’t done any reading on it so wasn’t sure what to expect. All I remember about Gateway is that they used to sell ugly laptops and they would compete hard with Dell. I ordered the laptop as it had a 30-day return policy on it, so figured I’m safe with taking a chance.
I ordered the Gateway laptop and received it within 10 days because I had ordered on a Thursday/Friday and there was a long weekend in between. Reviews I had read on the laptop said that many came scratched (lid/screen) or that the webcam didn’t work or other minor problems. Mine had none (knock on virtual wood).
I was surprised at the look of the laptop. Nice color (lid), sharp LCD and it wasn’t as thick as my old TOSHIBA laptop. So far, Gateway had scored a few points.
The other thing that I really liked on this laptop is that is truly supports an external monitor. Most laptops I’ve owned support an external monitor, but I could never get the true resolution or color – in fact the 2nd monitor was more of a hindrance in the past. Not so with this one – it supports the monitor perfectly! The colors are rich, the display is clear and sharp.
The 500gb HD is great but with external storage so cheap (you can get 1tb or 2tb for under $150.00) storage space isn’t an issue. As I used this as a desktop, I’m perfectly fine to use external storage. The other key factor that attracted me to this laptop is that FOUR (count’em 4) USB ports. I threw on a USB octopus and added another 5 ports instantly.
The keyboard is OK, I don’t like chicklet keys but I don’t use the keyboard on the laptop and instead use a Logitech laptop stand with built-in keyboard. The keyboard (on the laptop) also has a keypad. Something you don’t see on a lot of laptops. I didn’t purchase the wireless version of the laptop stand, but am happy with the one that I have ().
Things I didn’t like – all the “bonus” software on the laptop. I deleted most of that first. Shared video memory – the video card is 256mb dedicated, and can use up to 1.5gb of main memory, so far no issues with it.
I bought this as a “refurb” unit and so far have been very happy with it. It’s about 6-months old, but for the price (UNDER $400.00) it gives me the power, and speed that I need in a laptop without spending more than I need to. In fact, each laptop that I’ve purchased over the years has always been just one step behind.
While many may scoff at purchasing an older model of a laptop – you should seriously think about it as it does allow you to stay current (as current as can be) without spending a lot of money on the latest and greatest. Unless you are a gamer, you don’t really need to spend $2,000.00 on a laptop.
The sweet thing, when I upgrade in a few years time I’ll still be able to sell this laptop for at least 50% of the purchase price (as I’ve done with older machines I’ve had).
Regardless of the industry you are in, fraud and other activities can take up valuable resources that can be used elsewhere in the organization. With external fraud, there is also internal fraud – most recently I read about a Apple Supply Chain executive that has been under arrest for his part in a pretty large kickback scheme. According to the reports in SiliconValley he had over $150,000.00 in US currency in shoe boxes and over $20,000.00 in foreign funds. To top this he’s got accounts all around the world, not to mention safety deposit boxes with even more money in them.
Most recent reports put the kickback scheme at $1,000,000.00 – a lot of incentive to behave dishonestly.
This probably isn’t the largest kickback scheme to be uncovered, nor will it be the last but it does go to show you that crime, fraud is an issue that affects all types of companies.
How can companies protect themselves? It is difficult, but one of the first items they need to have is a thorough policy in place and that policy explained to staff. No policy, while does not excuse this behavior only opens the doors to challenges if the behavior is uncovered.
How to combat retail fraud? The key is communication between stakeholders and the willingness to share what has been found to law enforcement so that they are better armed to catch the bad guys.
Your front-line staff and managers also need to be trained to spot patterns – or how to “connect the dots”. If you can spot this early into a cycle you have the potential to nip the issue before it grows.
Fraud, theft, dishonest behavior by employees (this also includes things like stealing time, or office supplies) hurts the business in many ways – it decreases employee morale, if employees talk to friends the word spreads of vulnerabilities and can hurt the company’s reputation and goodwill in the long run and in the case of a small business quite possibly turn a company from profit to loss.
While eliminating this type of behavior is difficult, if not impossible putting in policies in place to explain the ramifications of the action to staff is one step towards ensuring internal theft is not an issue and when issues arise they are investigated quickly, and action taken immediately.
Amazon has some great books on this:
This book is not as much about detecting fraud as it is about developing company-wide awareness and implementing detection measures. These are the keys to not only fraud prevention, but also security in general. My perspective is as an IT security professional, and I found this book to be thorough in that it covers all key items, and also to be applicable to any size business.
What I especially like about this book is its wide coverage that touches on each of the most important elements of awareness and prevention, including an objective assessment of cyber fraud as a threat, an approach to analyzing risks and vulnerabilities, and how to implement controls and policies. In addition to these basics, the book also goes into the technical aspects of security (written so that a non-IT professional can understand the fundamentals), and related topics, such as information protection, and legal issues associated with web site content. While the latter are not specific fraud vulnerabilities, they represent business risks that are loosely related to fraud.
Other material that I found useful and informative included the chapters on internal protection controls and conducting audits and investigations.
Unfortunately when it comes to fraud and these types of topics, you won’t find many reviews of books since very few companies and individuals will want to say “hey – that helped combat the fraud issue we had”.