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Business news solutions items — Sept. 08

COMPUTERS

Access program is versatile

Parallels Access is a helpful new program that lets you run Windows or other operating systems on your Mac PC. Parallels Access connects your iPad to your home or office PC over a secure Internet or cellular hookup. Programs such as Quicken and Micro­soft Word appear as apps on your iPad’s home screen.

After downloading the Parallels Access app and installing a companion program on your Windows PC or Mac, you create an account with Parallels. Each time you sign in, you see an icon for that computer. Touch the icon on your iPad and you see your home PC programs as apps on your iPad. It’s easy to add apps for programs on your home PCs by simply pressing the “plus” icon on your iPad.

While you can’t conveniently transfer files between your iPad and your home computer, you can use workarounds such as emailing the file to your iPad or using Dropbox, the cloud storage program. But there’s a catch. While Pages, Apple’s word processing program, runs on the iPad, Word doesn’t. One workaround for using an incompatible file from PC to iPad would be to open the Word document in Apple’s Pages.

Parallels lets you try the Mac version of Access for two weeks free. If you’re using Windows, which is in beta testing, you get three months of free use. If you’re using Parallels on your Mac, you get the best of both worlds as you switch between the Windows window and the Mac desktop. There is no Android version. Parallels Access costs $80 a year for each PC.

— Harold Glicken,

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

SOFTWARE

Download addresses on labels

Q: Are there any downloads available (either free or for a nominal fee) for creating return address labels? I’m using OpenOffice, which does have an application for making labels, but the software makes it difficult to add clip art to the labels. (It places the clip art either above or below the address, not to the left of the address where I want it.)

A: Here are a few label-making programs I found at CNET’s Download.com, a database of software that has been scanned to make sure it contains no malicious code. All offer free trial periods.

• Label Maker Pro ($60) at http://tinyurl.com/nypa37j

• Easy Mail ($35) at http://tinyurl.com/kfxmles

• Label Designer Plus Deluxe ($40) at http://tinyurl.com/lrqaze4

• Small Business Publisher ($55) at http://tinyurl.com/jwt9evz

• Print Designer Gold ($60) at http://tinyurl.com/mpf752c

— Steve Alexander,

Minneapolis Star Tribune

WORKPLACE

Advice on enhancing skills

Q: Career coaches always tell people to keep their skills current and update them if they’re out of date, but I never see specifics of how to go about doing that. Do you know of any resources where I can look up what skills are most needed by companies, and where I can learn them, so that I don’t just waste my money studying the wrong things? The penalty is too great if I get this wrong.

A: Let your goals and interests drive the direction of your skill development. Just as the best career isn’t one size fits all, neither is the right training. It’s easy, however, to get overwhelmed by all of the options available.

How urgent is your need to enhance your skills? Your needs are different if you’re a recent college graduate vs. someone who has been in the same job for several years. If you’re getting feedback from your boss, or noticing that you don’t have the skills needed for promotion, also take note of that. What is your personal orientation to learning? Have major areas in mind.

— By Liz Reyer,

Minneapolis Star Tribune



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