I was thinking about the different tools I use on a day-to-day basis to handle operations at the sushi bar and also to communicate with customers, suppliers, and the team at Standing Sushi Bar.
It might be helpful for others starting up a business to see the IT infrastructure that I use to run Standing Sushi Bar.
Computer – No brand desktop PC purchased from Sim Lim for 399 SGD
Operating System – Windows Vista for the sushi bar PC (I wanted to use Windows 7 and had the release candidate installed but the Micros machines were not compatible with it so I had to downgrade to Vista). Windows 7 and Snow Leopard for my desktop PCs.
Point of Sale Machines – Micros E7 running Windows CE
Web Site – www.standingsushibar.com is powered by Office Live. Free
Blog – http://standingsushibar.wordpress.com is hosted on WordPress. Free
Twitter client – The main Windows desktop client I’m using is TweetDeck. I also use Tweetie when I’m on my Mac. On my mobile device I’m running Twikini. TweetDeck and Tweetie are Free
Mobile Phone – vital to staying in touch with the restaurant. I’m using the HTC HD2 which is powered by Windows Mobile 6.5. A Windows Phone. My Microsoft e-mail, personal e-mail, and sushi bar e-mail all synchronize with this device.
Design Software – To create brochures, menus, etc. I use Microsoft Publisher.
Office software – Like most of the world, I’m using Microsoft Office 2007 and the Office 2010 Beta. Office 2010 Beta is Free
E-mail Client – Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010. Also Outlook mobile on the phone. For web access to the sushi bar e-mail account I use gmail. Free
Financial Management Software – I used to use Microsoft Money but that was discontinued so now I use Intuit’s Quicken
Sales Analysis – I use a combination of Microsoft Access and Microsoft Excel. The daily sales reports are exported as text files which I then put in an Access table. Using Excel I have created a PivotTable which connects to the Access database and automatically refreshes.
File Synchronization – To keep files synchronized across the PC at the sushi bar, my home desktop, my home Mac, my various laptops, and my mobile device I use Live Mesh. Free
Instant Messenger – To minimize sending SMS messages, I use Windows Live Messenger to communicate with whomever is at the restaurant when I am at a computer. Free
Blogging Software – To write blog entries I use Windows Live Writer. Free
Wireless Network – 802.11g D-Link router and a D-Link. WPA2 protection of course!
Web Cam – I have a remote camera which I can control via the internet. It is the D-Link DCS-5220. I haven’t gotten it to work with my mobile phone yet but apparently it can… works quite well with a PC.
Dynamic DNS – Since my IP address for the computer in the sushi bar changes frequently, I have a URL that automatically goes to the current IP address. I use DynDNS.com. Free
Remote Access – I travel a lot but I want to be able to access the main computer from anywhere. I use Remote Desktop (built into Windows) to connect (via the URL that DynDNS automatically routes to the sushi bar’s current IP address). Free
Internet – Singtel DSL subscription
E-mail Provider – Google Apps (a variation on consumer Gmail). Why not Hotmail? I liked Gmail’s support for IMAP – it keeps the mail synchronized across all my devices and computers. Free
Domain Name Provider – Network Solutions
Cable TV – Singtel’s Business Mio TV
Music Service – Microsoft Zune
Printer / Scanner / Fax Machine – I wish the world could be paperless and rely on e-mail but amazingly there is so much stuff that needs to be photocopied and faxed. I use the Brother MFC-7840N Multi-Function Centre.
Digital Camera – Fuji FinePix F200 EXR and the HD2’s 5 megapixel built-in camera
What I use at home to relax after a long day – Xbox 360, beer, and Bill Murray.
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