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Январь 2009

How to find a fundraising auctioneer for your charity auction

How to Find a Fundraising Auctioneer for your Charity Auction

Copyright (c) 2010 Red Apple Auctions LLC

If you’re new to charity auctions or new to working with auctioneers, you might be unsure of how to go about finding and selecting a charity auctioneer.

Here are six steps auction planners can use to not just survive the selection process, but actually enjoy the conversations.

#1: Locate some auctioneers

If you’re starting from a blank slate, visit the National Auctioneers Association website* and use their «Find an Auctioneer» search tool. Auctioneers with a «BAS» credential indicates that he or she has had specific training and testing in fundraising auctions. It’s a good way to start weeding through the masses.

Similarly, if you research your state auctioneers association, many state groups also have a similar search tool useful for finding area auctioneers.

Another great option is to call other organizations whom you respect which are conducting their own charity auctions. Ask them who they use, and why.

#2: Research and compare auctioneers by studying their websites

To be frank … in today’s society, if a business doesn’t have a website, they aren’t doing much business. You can glean a lot from how serious a company is simply by reading what they have posted online. — Is the content fresh? — Do they showcase videos? — Are they active in their communities? — Are they even … relevant?

Almost weekly, I have auctioneers who contact my company, inquiring as to whether I’m hiring contract auctioneers. Before calling them back, the first action I take is to Google them and see if I can find their website. If I can’t find a website …and/or a photo … and/or a video … I’m not interested.

When I emailed back one auctioneer to inquire if he had a video, he said, «Sure. Search on YouTube.» What?!? Are you kidding me? This guy wasn’t even going to make an effort to provide me — his prospective employer — with a direct link to a video he would prefer for me to watch? Gosh, that made for an easy «delete.» I immediately knew that his customer service wouldn’t be a match for my company. Trust me, you’ll be able to pick up on similar cues.

Here’s something else to watch: If an auction firm’s home page seems less focused on fund raising auctions than it is on real estate auctions (or auto auctions … or consignment auctions … or antique auctions … or … whatever), then the firm probably is more knowledgeable about real estate. This might a perk for you … but only if you plan on selling some land and chattel in your benefit auction.

#3: Create a form with standard questions, and call some auctioneers

I tend to think it’s best if you can talk with all of your candidates within the same time period so you can compare them in one swoop.

Key questions you might want to ask include: — Are you available on our gala date? — How many events do you conduct per year? — How many events have you overseen with our guest count? — Could you describe the way you work with clients? — Do you have a video? (If they don’t, ask when you can watch them next perform.) — Can I speak with some of your clients who hold events similar to ours? — Could you explain your service offerings and pricing structure — … and whatever else is relevant for your event (emceeing, for instance)

HINT: Don’t begin by asking, «How much do you cost.» In most cases, a charity auctioneer will need to know a bit about your event before quoting a price.

#2 HINT: If you’re familiar with the Kepner-Tregoe ranking and weighting method for making decisions, it might be fun to use that process to help you decide. (Did I just type Kepner-Tregoe? Oops! My years spent in the corporate world are oozing onto the article…)

#4: If the auctioneer has given you referrals, you can call them

When you call the referral, ask if he or she is — in any way, shape or form — related to the auctioneer.

If they aren’t, ask about the auctioneer’s communication and performance style. We already assume the group liked the auctioneer (hence, they are a «referral,»), but we want to find out if the auctioneer’s style would fit in with our guests and organization. Ask questions focusing on that.

#5: If you want a proposal or need a final interview, set it up.

Request a proposal only if you’re serious about the auctioneer.

If you need the auctioneer to meet key decision-makers face-to-face, set up the meeting. Keep in mind that meeting face-to-face isn’t always an option due to distance. But early on, I did conduct a lot of in-person sales calls, especially if the Board was responsible for approving the hire.

#6: Ladies, it’s OK to say no.

(Hm. Haven’t we heard that before in a different context?) If you’re not into an auctioneer or know that you definitely don’t need his or her services, don’t ask for a proposal. Know that it’s completely fine to say «no thank you.» You won’t burn bridges or hurt feelings unless you drop the ball. But if you’ve moved along in the process and you’ve received a proposal, it’s only polite to let the auctioneer know when you opt for someone else. Give them a call (gosh, use SlyDial if you find it that awkward) to thank them for their proposal, and let them know you’ve opted for another candidate but will keep them in mind for next year.

When I worked as an event planner at GE, I always called my vendors to deliver the bad news. It seemed to be the polite thing to do. And besides, I might want to work with them later and I knew my courtesy would be remembered.

Good luck!

* National Auctioneers Association website is http://www.auctioneers.org/

How to connect the 2d data matrix scanner

How to Connect the 2D Data Matrix Scanner

The UII marking of items are the efficient item management process of Government and private organizations. The UID data is engraved on the item or labels in the form of 2D data matrix symbols. The symbols are machine-readable codes and need to be decoded with a 2D data matrix scanner. The 2D data matrix scanner is an electronic device meant to interpret the printed barcodes on the items. Technologically, the device is developed with decoder circuitry that analyses the image data of the barcode and sends the interpreted data to the output port of the scanner.

Use of 2D data matrix scanner became widespread due to the use of 2D barcode symbols in the UII of the items. There are different methods of connection of the device depending on the usage.

Earlier, the barcode scanners of all formats used RS232 serial interface. The simple and electrical means of connection use easy and simple software, it needs to be written for particular computers and their serial ports though.

Proprietary interfaces are less common interfaces and were used with dedicated hardware. Wand emulation is another kind of output that decodes the raw wave. It can also convert the unrecognized symbologies into another kind of symbology that is easily recognized by the host device.

With the advent of innovative technologies, PCs has become the popular device. PCs and its standard keyboard interfaces are becoming convenient for any kind of user as they are easier to connect with physical hardware. With the commercial and general demand of reducing the complications of the associated software the ‘Keyboard Wedges’ have been introduced for connecting the 2D data matrix scanner. The ‘Keyboard Wedges’ is a hardware with characters from the barcode scanner appearing as if typed in through the keyboard and is attached between PC and its keyboard. This type of connection of the 2D data matrix scanner has simplified the use of the device. However, it has limitations in handling the content of the data matrix code.
Of course, these days, the USB connectors have replaced the keyboard ports for it is a more convenient hardware option. The easy integration of the scanner is retained by using a ‘software wedge’ in place of ‘keyboard wedge’.

PS/2 or USB cables are the becoming popular these days for connecting barcode scanners. The cables are connected with the 2D data matrix scanner at one end and the PS/2 keyboard port with another end. The data matrix codes are received by the host computer and converted keyboard input. Many scanner support the USB. Choices for the USB interface types are provided by many scanners. For instance, some of the devices have powered USB.

These days, most of the devices are being connected with wireless networking. The modern 2D data matrix scanners are also available with such facilities. The wireless enabled scanners are operated with the help of Bluetooth and WLAN. However, such devices use battery or rechargeable battery for their function which limit their time of operation.

With the changing technology the methods of connection of the 2D data matrix scanner is improving and being more user friendly.

Hull city guide, including hull hotels

Hull City Guide, Including Hull Hotels

Once known for its fishing fleet the city of Hull has in recent years undergone a revitalization that has made it among the UK’s most vibrant cities. First chartered more than 700 years ago by Edward I, Hull combines the best features of a bustling port with the amenities of a cosmopolitan city. In the forefront of British defence during World War II, Hull suffered widespread damage and has since undergone extensive rebuilding. A visitor choosing to holiday here will find museums, nightlife, sport and venues to rival any town.

Travellers new to the area may be surprised by the size and variety of the museums and historical sites Hull has to offer. Many are world class and boast renowned exhibits and respected educational facilities.

The Deep. In little more than four years of existence this superb aquarium has seen in excess of two million visitors. Thousands of schools have logged visits as well. Thirty exhibits examine life in the water from streams to the ocean depths. Hundreds of varieties of sea creatures including fourteen species of shark are on display via the deepest marine viewing bay in Europe. With its metal and glass clad point jutting into the harbour, The Deep is unlikely to be overlooked and impossible to forget. Admission is reasonable with family tickets available.

Ferens Art Gallery. Considered one of the best galleries in the provinces, Ferens houses a large collection of Old Masters in addition to a well regarded overview of contemporary British Art. Families will be interested in its children’s gallery. The best of the art world’s travelling exhibits make it here as well.

Hands on History Museum. A delight for the family and history buffs of all ages, this museum is a fine introduction to Victorian times with a specific emphasis on the homes and lives of the people of Hull.

Streetlife Museum. One of the four museums which make up the Museum Quarter on High Street. Travel through two centuries of Hull transportation in this museum whose mission is to document the evolution of Hull transport. Realistic climb about exhibits will both entertain and educate. Wilberforce House, birthplace and home to Hull son, slavery opponent and member of Parliament William Wilberforce, sits adjacent to the Streetlife Museum. Currently undergoing a massive renovation, it will re-open in 2007.

Arctic Corsair. Christened in 1960 and retired in 1987, the Arctic Corsair is the last of a proud tradition of fishing vessels that for centuries were the lifeblood of Hull’s economy. Known as a side winder, this proud ship was opened for visitation in 1999 and has logged thousands of eager boarders. Kept as she was when a working fishing trawler, the Artic Corsair is not suitable for disabled visitors or small children. Contact in advance for a guided tour.

After a day of museum exploration a little shopping, easy going sight seeing and just plain relaxation may be in order.

The Princess Quay. Located in Hull’s harbour, this unusual shopping centre has a multitude of shops and entertainment spanning three decks. Dining is also available on the quay proper as well as in dockside restaurants.

One World Trading. Shopping with a conscience is the idea behind this fair trade market. Its wide eclectic range of imported goods based on the concept of fair trade offers many one-of-a-kind items.

The Humber Bridge. At one time the longest single span suspension bridge in the world, The Humber Bridge toll way is travelled by more than 100,000 cars a week.

Hull New Theatre. Home to plays, musicals, ballet and spectacular Christmas entertainment, the Hull New Theatre has served the area since 1939.

East Park, West Park, Queens Garden. Hull boasts a wide array of public gardens throughout the city which offer personal recreation, picnic areas, floral exhibits, animal parks and water sports.

Hull offers a fine mix of traditional and modern pubs and restaurants for both the family oriented and the young, single traveller or couple.

Ye Olde White Hart. This historic pub dating from the sixteenth century sits hidden in an alley at the juncture of Bowlalley Lane and Silver Street. Legendary amongst locals the White Hart has undergone a recent rejuvenation with an eye to preserving its roots. A popular addition is the area billed as the city’s first all weather beer garden.

The Minerva Hotel. On the pier overlooking the Humber this traditional British pub and hotel offers Tetley cask, other name brand ales and a rotating menu of discriminating brew. Cribbage, dominoes, and big screen sports television make this a pleasant place to while away a few hours. The well served traditional British food, view of the river and family friendly atmosphere are additional reasons to put The Minerva on a visitor’s agenda.

Venn on Scale Lane. The upscale diner will enjoy this well reviewed fish restaurant which is a Michelin Guide favourite. Reservations recommended.

Old Custom House. Delectable food for a wide variety of palates along with a large and very serviceable wine list are served at this family establishment.

Jaz Caf? Bar. Visit this caf? in the evening for distinctive food and drink coupled with a revolving schedule of live music from jazz to salsa.

Hull Hotels

Iso 9001 — when are we ready

Iso 9001 — When are We Ready?

An effective Quality Management System (QMS) is never really “complete”, as there should always be emphasis on continuously improving the performance of the processes that make up the QMS and the products that are provided the organization. While a properly designed QMS isn’t ever going to be truly finished, it can be “ready” in terms of being an adequate, suitable and effective tool capable of having a positive impact on the operations being performed by the implementing organization.

For many organizations, this “readiness” is validated by obtaining third-party registration from an accredited ISO 9001 registrar. For organizations that new to the registration process, as the name implies, this is an activity performed by an accredited outside organization to verify that the organization has adequately documented and effectively implemented their QMS in accordance with the requirements of the ISO 9001:2000 standard.

Prior to attempting ISO 9001:2000 registration, an organization should assess their level of preparedness and degree of compliance with the ISO 9001:2000 standard. Primarily, this assessment is made through the performance of a formal, documented “internal audit” of the QMS and its related processes, performed by either qualified internal personnel or by utilizing the services of an outside contractor. The performance of an internal audit is specifically required by the ISO 9001 standard, so it must precede the registration process regardless.

For a program that is “new” – one that was recently designed, developed and implemented, I personally recommend that an additional, informal review be performed preceding the more formal internal audit, just as a means of assuring that the organization has “covered all of its bases”, so to speak (think design review). This way, an informal review determines if an organization is ready for a formal internal audit, a formal internal audit determines if an organization is ready for a third-party registration audit, and a third-party registration audit determines if an organization meets the requirements for ISO 9001:2000 registration. Whew.

The purpose of this review is not to collect objective evidence of program compliance (such as in an internal audit), but rather to ensure that the program is ready for more formal assessment. As part of such review, I would initially consider at least 10 key items:

• An adequately communicated Quality Policy

• A designated Management Representative

• A documented Quality Manual

• Documented procedures required by the standard

• Additional procedure and/or Work instructions as appropriate to the complexity of the processes being performed

• Internal training of personnel on the QMS and on the activities they are performing

• A documented Management Review

• At least one Internal audit

• Adequate historical data relating to the performance of the QMS

• Adequate analysis of process performance

There’s one more key item, while not directly addressed, is implied in each above — Implementation, Implementation and Implementation. Implementation is KEY. And remember, it never happened if there’s no record that it was performed.

The degree of documentation generated as a result of this activity should be left to discretion of the organization, but as this is an informal review, this could be considered technically as outside of the organization’s internal audit program. Being for “informational use only”, this activity wouldn’t be subject to the same documentation requirements as an audit, unless this was a requirement specified within the organization’s procedures. Again, this is an informal review, not a formal internal audit.

Documentation should however be generated regarding any issues that were identified during this informal assessment, through the Corrective Action or Preventative Action process established with the organization’s QMS. This activity will ensure that any deficiencies are adequately addressed and also serve to demonstrate the effectiveness of these two key processes. This also provides information that can be used as part of the organization’s management review.

How gaming has changed: machinima filmmaking today

How Gaming Has Changed: Machinima Filmmaking Today

The term machinima originates from the mix of three words. Nevertheless this was not right initially. Originally, the term was made from the combination of machine and theatre, but modified to include the term animation after a typo.

More specifically, machinima comes from the first five letters within machine. In addition, this includes the second and third letters within animation, along with the fifth and sixth letters in cinema. Ultimately, the mixing of the term refers to a moving 3d animation.

The term machinima roots trace back the 1980s. Inside this era, a large number of demos were released. While bearing that in mind the demos didn’t advance to include public distribution or storytelling till further advancements inside technology.

The first game capable of recording multiplayer gameplay came with the release of Doom by Id-Software in 1994. Additionally, the games open architecture enabled MODs for the first time. MOD refers to modifications made within the game.

Usually these MODs are made with either the tools in the game or other kinds of options such as after effects cs5 or premiere pro. The following year, Id software released Quake. With this game, players had the choice to play against multiple folks over the web, totaling up to 16 players.

Within this same year, a group of individuals referred to as the Rangers, released the first machinima movie, «diary of a Camper.» Additionally, advancements were made with the development of the Little Movie Processing Center within Quake by Uwe Girlich. This was done by reversing the engineering within the games demo format in order to edit game recordings.

In 1999, gamers Quake 3 no longer allowed for the altercations within the recorded game code. In addition, Unreal Tournament was released by Epic games. The game featured an open architecture in addition to the ability to use scripted movements for the camera.

The Frag flicks and Speedruns are among the sub-genre named ‘Quake movies’ and are commissioned for starting machinima. The name changed from ‘Quake movies’ to machinima in 2k in order to express the skyrocketing amounts of exploration done inside virtual filmmaking inside gaming. Additionally, the term was selected as a simpler way to explain the quantity of creativity used within the virtual world of 3d animation.

Additionally, the machinima website is founded and gives a place for people to work on their movies and communicate with others in forums. The Academy of Machinima arts and Sciences AMAS founded the Machinima Film festival that occurs within 2002. The festival concentrates on independent films made inside this arena.

The very first machinima promo video appeared on MTV and was the end production from Fountainhead Entertainment, together with the English band Zero7 and Tommy Palotta who made their own software tool that was based off Quake3. They named the tool Machinimation. Overall, machinima is expected to keep on growing inside its renown. This particularly is the case since there remain more pragmatic characters. Additionally, tools have become more flexible and simpler to use too.