Don’t mention the war! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it.” Those immortal words from Basil Fawlty are particularly relevant at the moment. I am absolutely over all the talk of the recession. Will everyone please stop mentioning “that which cannot be named” and hopefully we will get away with it.

I have been asking people in my travels over the past couple of weeks if “that which cannot be named” is having a direct impact on their day-to-day lives. These people are not retired and they still have jobs. They still need to eat food and sleep somewhere at night. They still need clothes to shelter themselves from the elements. They still need electricity to keep their milk cold in the fridge – and I guess that means they still need milk.

In general, we all still need to live. Some people have told me that they are holding onto their pennies at the moment because they are seeing some pretty bad stories on the news about a number of no relevance to their daily lives on some abstract thing called the NYSE – in which most people admit they have $0 invested.

There has never been a stronger argument for the dilution of the power of mainstream media. Do we have a right to know the facts? Absolutely! We live in an incredibly lucky country where we have very liberal rights as to the freedom of our speech. Has the mainstream media gone too far in relation to giving their opinions as to the terrible times ahead? Absolutely – times two.

Personally, I am looking forward to my biggest end of financial year since the introduction of the GST on 1 July 2000. The Federal Government “Investment Allowance” will mean many smart businesses will be looking to bring forward purchases to this financial year to take advantage of the additional 30 percent depreciation.

And why wouldn’t they? If a business that has a turnover of greater than $2m buys $10,000 worth of notebooks from you on 31 May 2008, within 13 months they will receive depreciation deductions of $9,851.85 and by the time the client disposes of those notebooks, they will have received $13,000 worth of depreciation deductions for a $10,000 purchase. It sounds almost too good to be true – so try and take full advantage of this before someone changes their mind.

If you market this right, it should mean that the end of this financial year should be boom time. We just need to try and get the mainstream media to start talking about how crazy businesses are if they don’t buy lots of new computer equipment at the end of this financial year to take advantage of the Investment Allowance program.

Somehow, I am not convinced that it will receive quite the same media coverage. I am incredibly confident as we travel forward through 2009 – if not for the tax advantages highlighted above then by a conversation I had with a client this week.

This particular client was relatively new to my business and his old IT provider had provided very poor service. One of our first duties was to perform a clean install on his relatively new notebook as it was riddled with viruses. Everything went fine but the day after the technician left, the client was speaking to me on the phone because his scanner was not showing up in Photoshop.

Having 20 years experience in supporting clients, I have learned to go with the easy options first. As delicately as possible, not wanting to offend the client, I first asked the client if the USB cable on the scanner was plugged in and if the power was turned on. The client assured me it was – almost offended that I had asked such a simple question.

Once I had gotten that unpleasant business out of the way, I then proceeded to go through some normal troubleshooting steps in relation to making sure the drivers were loaded and the software was set up correctly. After the obligatory reboot, there was still no scanner showing up in Photoshop.
I then decided that I would test the basic operation of the scanner. I asked the client to press the button on the front of the scanner to see if it would trigger the software to open.

And then it happened.

The client said he couldn’t do that. “Why not?” I innocently enquired. “I can’t reach the scanner from where I am sitting. It is plugged in to my wife’s computer and her desk is a few metres away from mine. I will have to put the phone down and go over there.” He continued, “Do you think I should move it over to my desk and plug it into my computer? Do you think that might be the problem?”

After 20 years of supporting end-users, I now had a new question in my base simple question armoury. “Is the USB cable on the scanner plugged in to YOUR computer and is the power on?”

Suddenly I was a genius and I had solved a difficult problem. While there are true stories like that to tell and while we have PEBKAC (Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair) and carbon-based errors, there will be a need for high-quality IT providers.

Businesses are confused about SaaS and cloud computing, and IT providers are examining different business models. I feel confident though because while there are still end-users touching some device that vaguely looks like a computer, and as long as we keep quiet on “that which cannot be named” then we will all have jobs in the IT sector and the potential is there for strong business growth.

Am I completely off the track? Is the impact of the big “R” much bigger than I think? Tell me your thoughts on “that which cannot be named” at

Scroll to Top