Residential Real Estate: Homeowners’ Rights

Home Safety Check

Home Buying Caveats

Linux vs. Windows, Open vs. Closed

Leadership Elements

Networking: A Two-Way Street

Figuring Out What You Value

Open Source (& Free) Software Matures

Corporate Angels

Corrections or additions?

These articles were prepared for the May 11, 2005

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Survival Guide

Top Of Page
Residential Real Estate: Homeowners’ Rights

Buying new construction can be like purchasing the proverbial pig in a

poke, because you don’t really know what you are getting until the

house is built. Does the cellar flood or the roof leak in a heavy

rain? Will the house settle, leaving cracks in the wall?

Some new homes do turn out to be duds, and – warranty or no warranty –

the victims of unscrupulous or incompetent builders face a legal

ordeal that can sap their time and drain their finances.

On Monday, May 9, Acting Governor Richard J. Codey responded to an

indepth investigation into shoddy and deficient construction

practices, lax regulatory oversight, and poor remediation options for

homebuyers.

By executive order, every owner of a new home will receive a

Department of Community Affairs (DCA) pamphlet that explains how to

protect their warranty rights. The booklet is to be mailed within four

months of the closing date.

In addition, homeowners will be able to go to a DCA website for

information on claims against builders, industry standard guides,

housing codes, inspection information, and warranty rights. Said Codey

in a press release: "This executive order affords homeowners new

rights and protections and helps restore consumer confidence."

If a problem develops, the current drawn-out series of arbitration

meetings will be replaced by a single arbitration hearing. Instead of

the homeowner receiving money to repair the defects, the arbitration

will focus on actually getting the defects repaired. "The

method-of-repair standard should be the repair necessary to restore

the home to ‘as new’ condition and place the residence in compliance

with applicable codes and industry standards," says a press release.

To forestall any potential ethics problems, arbitrators who are

handling major structural or fire safety defect claims must be

licensed as architects or professional engineers and specifically

qualified in residential construction technology. If they are

operating under a private warranty plan, they must prove they are free

from conflicts of interest.

If a code violation is found after a new home has received a

certificate of occupancy, the builder must pay for the municipal

inspection services.

The New Jersey Builders Association supported this initiative.

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Home Safety Check

Smoke, gas, and carbon monoxide are well-known household hazards. But

because electrical safety hazards are less often in the public eye,

homeowners are less apt to be aware of them. Nevertheless, they pose a

serious risk to health and well-being. According to the U.S. Consumer

Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 411 people were accidentally

electrocuted, 500 were killed, and 5,000 were injured in electrical

fires during 2001, the last year for which statistics were available.

Many of these accidents can, however, be prevented.

During May, Electrical Safety Month, the Leviton Institute, the

educational arm of Little Neck, New York-based Leviton Manufacturing

Company, urges consumers to conduct an electrical safety inspection.

Look for overloaded circuits, cracked switches and outlets and those

that are hot to the touch, frayed or worn electrical cords,

improperly-rated extension cords, extension cords used for permanent

connections, and those that are run under carpet and appliances where

they can’t be seen or inspected. The Leviton Institute also urges

consumers to make sure they have GFCIs (ground fault circuit

interrupters) installed in areas where water and electricity are

likely to come in contact.

GFCIs protect against the risk of ground fault shock hazard. A ground

fault can occur when current leaks from an electrical circuit through

damaged or incorrect wiring, or from a defective appliance, such as a

coffee maker, shaver or hairdryer. If you are in contact with this

appliance and something’s that connected to ground, such as a metal

faucet or cold water pipe, this can be a potentially lethal

combination.

GFCIs don’t last forever. To test a GFCI, plug a lamp or radio into

the GFCI outlet. Turn on the lamp or radio. Push the test button on

the GFCI. If it is working properly, the GFCI will trip and power to

the lamp or radio will be cut off. If power did not go off when you

pushed the TEST button, there is an electrical problem and protection

may be compromised. At this point, you should contact a licensed

electrical contractor and have the device replaced.

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Home Buying Caveats

The New Jersey Bar Association points out that buying or selling a

home is a major transaction. Because the transfer of property in New

Jersey is very complicated, there are many serious problems that might

crop up when you are buying or selling real estate. For example:

Clear title problems. Missing heirs, forgers, invalid divorces,

irregular foreclosures, and other unexpected complications can leave

the legal ownership of the property up in the air, even though the

deed appears to transfer full title. The seller’s title to the

property may be burdened with mortgages, easements, unpaid taxes, or

other liens.

Hidden defects. You may not be able to determine personally beforehand

whether the property has any serious physical defects like water

conditions, structural problems, inadequate electrical wiring, termite

infestation, or radon contamination.

Boundary issues. The description or survey of the property may be

either inadequate or incorrect. You may be acquiring less property

than you think you are. Furthermore, deed or zoning restrictions may

prevent you from using the property as you would like.

Misunderstandings. All important details of the transaction may not be

included in the contract of sale. Even if you have verbally agreed

upon an item, if it’s left out of the contract, it’s unenforceable.

A carefully-drawn contract of sale can ensure that many of the above

problems will not haunt a home buyer. A contract of sale is the most

important piece of paper involved in any real estate transaction

because it sets the rights and responsibilities of the purchaser and

the seller.

The contract may be called a binder, a broker’s agreement, a

memorandum of sale, or a deposit receipt. Whatever it’s called, if the

paper contains the essential parts of a contract, it is a legal

contract of sale. After this is signed, no further "formal" or "legal"

contract is needed to bind you. From then on, any dispute between the

buyer and seller will be settled by referring to the provisions of the

contract.

The parties to a real estate contract prepared by a licensed real

estate broker have three business days to have the contract reviewed

by their respective attorneys. The attorney can have the contract

amended or even cancel the contract provided that the attorney is

afforded the opportunity to review the contract and consult with you

in a timely fashion.

An attorney can help get answers to questions concerning termite,

structural, and radon inspections, the zoning status of the property,

restrictions on property use, and property insurance. He may also help

with your mortgage commitment and explaining your prepayment rights,

and will often order and then review the survey and all title searches

that will define the description, location, and legal ownership of the

property.

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Linux vs. Windows, Open vs. Closed

Unless the computer on your desktop is a Macintosh, you probably have

never even considered anything other than Bill Gates’ and Microsoft’s

ubiquitous Windows to make your PC run.

But there is an alternative – free of charge – and there is even a

group to help explain it all: The LUG/IP (Linux Users Group in

Princeton) meets Wednesday, May 11, at 7 p.m. at the Lawrence Library

for a panel discussion on "The Open CD." The meeting is free and open

to the public. For information visit www.lugip.org.

The users group describes Linux as "an alternative to using the

Microsoft Windows operating system. Linux can be made to appear

similar to Windows, for those who are used to their desktop formats,

but it will out-perform the sometimes unstable MS product."

The Linux users are also proponents of open source software: "When

programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a

piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people

adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one

is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems

astonishing.

According to a statement from the Linux users group, "those in the

open source community have learned that this rapid evolutionary

process produces better software than the traditional closed model, in

which only a very few programmers can see the source and everybody

else must blindly use an opaque block of bits."

For more views on open source software (OSS) see the preview of the

Thursday, May 19, meeting of the New Jersey Technology Council

seminar, beginning on page 11.

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Leadership Elements

We know how to get there; we just don’t know where to go. Twenty years

ago, the business crisis was inadequately-trained managers. Faced with

global growth, companies pined for executives who could adapt,

negotiate, and compete on a worldwide scale. In answer, MBA schools

rolled up their sleeves, repackaged their curricula, and the corporate

realm quickly got all the properly trained managers it required. They

knew how to guide their firms anywhere.

But today’s business crisis is leaders. There is a need for people

with the vision to point us in the right direction. Can this more

ephemeral quality be met by yet another MBA skillset shift, or must

company owners seek it out and foster it on site? These issues are on

the table at the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s "Spring

Leadership Forum" on Thursday, May 12, at 8 a.m. at the Harrison

Conference Center on Scudders Mill Road. Cost $50. Call 609-924-1776

or visit www. PrincetonChamber.org.

Michael Hierl, CEO of Princeton’s Pacesetter Group, moderates.

Featured speakers include James Hyman, president of the Hopewell

Community Bank; Joseph P. Teti, CEO of Triangle Reprocenters; and

Janet Lasley, founder of Lasley Construction.

It was 66 years ago that Teti’s father, Joseph L. Teti, opened the

first Triangle arts supply store in Trenton. "He put it there because

in those days Trenton was the center of the universe. Later as

Princeton became the shining star, we moved up here." Today the third

generation has entered into managing Triangle’s 15 stores. Teti’s son,

John Paul, is assistant to the president. His daughter, Gianine, works

in customer service. Joseph’s own sister, Kathlene, acts as treasurer,

and her daughter works in outside sales. Yet success in Triangle is

scarcely all relative.

Teti is always on the lookout for capable new leadership talent. He

admits that he seeks leaders endowed both by nature and nurture; a mix

of learned skills and inherent traits.

Entrepreneurial spirit. While difficult to define, Teti finds this

trait easy to spot. His company includes 11 franchise branches, and he

says that most of the franchise owners have been working class people,

with no family role models of ownership or management. "At the same

time," he says, "their abilities were great and we had not enough

slots in house to hold their ambition."

This is a company owner’s most delicate dilemma. How is it possible to

let the leader forge ahead on his own, yet keep him bound enough to

the firm to bring the others along with him? For Triangle, the

franchise option has proved an excellent solution.

Urge to please. This may not fit the swashbuckling image of America’s

legendary capitalists, but for both Triangle’s Teti and Hopewell

Community Bank’s Hyman it is a top leadership attribute. "Each

individual, whether employee or customer, is unique," says Hyman.

"Each must be motivated in a different way. And a leader has to have

the interpersonal skills to do it."

Hyman experienced leadership in the raw as a sailor in the Vietnam War

in the late 1960s. Returning to finish his political science degree

from Rutgers in l972 after his military tour, he entered the field of

banking, where he has remained for the past 40 years. When this

Scottish immigrant, son of a plumber, speaks of pleasing, he does not

envision some cringing executive. "Pleasing people entails being able

to quickly deliver the service or idea that suits them, on time at

your own price."

Accuracy. The larger the business, the more important the details

become. A good business leader constantly absorbs enormous numbers of

facts on which he bases his decisions. The more precise his knowledge,

the better not only his decisions, but those of all the staff. A

passion for accuracy is contagious, Teti says, and it comes from the

top.

Inherent in this striving for accuracy is the ability to carefully

select and delegate to able individuals. If he truly is a leader, the

executive will acknowledge his own weaknesses and surround himself

with experts who can fill in the necessary skills.

Initiative. Annual reviews can bring up the employee mantra: "But I’ve

done everything you’ve asked. What more do you want?" Neither Hyman

nor Teti are seeking the individual who just performs all the tasks or

does his job by rote. "A leader must be able to maneuver within

policy, reason his way through to a solution, and do it on his feet,"

says Hyman.

As a final thought, Teti ticks off the obvious, but unfortunately rare

skills that an outstanding leader possesses – an absorbing interest in

the business, ability to meet deadlines, a non-threatening, congenial

persona, and just plain hard work.

"Not everyone has to lead others as an executive," says Teti, "but

everyone can exhibit leadership qualities – being there physically and

mentally, at their best, five days a week."

– Bart Jackson

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Networking: A Two-Way Street

When the word "networking" comes up, most people’s reactions are not

so different from those of Donna Mugavero’s MBA students in business

communications at the Rutgers Graduate School of Management. They’ve

heard that networking is something they’re supposed to do, but the

whole idea makes them uncomfortable. They may be shy, fear rejection,

or just not feel up to the task. Yet networking is essential, not only

to finding a job – Mugavero estimates that 70 to 80 percent of all

jobs come through networking – but also to advancing within a company

and even simply finding help with the mundane tasks of life.

Mugavero defines networking as "building and nurturing personal and

professional relationships to create a system of information,

contacts, and supports." For her, the key to networking is building

mutually beneficial relationships. This is contrary to the widespread

– but erroneous – ideas expressed about it by her students. They

perceive networking as trying to get something from somebody, and they

tell her they hate to call someone and ask for favors. She tells them

that there is "always a give and take." Not only are you part of

someone else’s network, but they are part of yours.

Mugavero speaks on "Networking – Learn to Love It!" on Thursday, May

12, at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn at Tinton Falls. The event is

sponsored by the Central Jersey Women’s Network. Cost: $44. Call

732-408-1871.

According to Mugavero, networking is typically used in four contexts –

on a personal level, among colleagues and superiors at a current job,

for making sales, and for job seeking.

To illustrate the personal side, Mugavero relates the story of a

friend whose daughter asked her for information about getting a

mortgage. Her mom soon got back to her with the help she needed, and

the daughter responded in surprise: "I can’t believe you just know all

this stuff." The mom’s wise return was "you know, honey, I don’t know

all this stuff, but I know a lot of women who know all this stuff." By

maintaining a web of personal contacts, her mom and many other

plugged-in networkers are usually able to find any help they need.

Internal networking within a company or organization is critical for a

person’s advancement. It involves meeting people in various levels and

departments in a personal way – what a lot of people call "shmoozing."

This includes having upper management know your name and face. In many

companies, says Mugavero, for promotions, special projects, raises,

and ratings, the more people who know you and know about you – even if

you met at a softball game – the better. They remember you at

evaluation time and can also provide information you may need to do

your job. But, she cautions, "it’s about more than being nice to

people; it’s about making sure to develop relationships that work both

ways."

Networking is also important for the business owner and salesperson,

and is invaluable for the job hunter.

Mugavero finds that, aside from networking naturals, many people don’t

realize the importance of networking. And even if they do, they often

either don’t know how to do it or don’t like to. For these people,

Mugavero has a few suggestions:

Start small. When you go to company or industry events, set a small,

doable goal. For example, "go to the event thinking, ‘I’ll get into a

conversation with one new person.’" That’s not too daunting, and

success is likely. Then at the next event, try for two, then maybe

three or four. Setting a small goal and succeeding, she observes,

"gives us the confidence to keep doing it."

Be knowledgeable about a few things. Many people tell Mugavero they

don’t know what to talk about. She suggests being knowledgeable about

current events, sports, popular movies, and books. "The more things

you can get into a conversation about, the more comfortable you are."

Become really good at questioning. "Collect questions that work for

you – things that you know are good conversation starters," she says,

suggesting that good questions are reusable. At a company picnic you

might ask people how long they’ve worked for the company or what

projects they have worked on. At a social event, you can ask how they

know the host. A good all-around question is: Do you have any

vacations planned? Who doesn’t like to talk about vacations?

"We like to talk about ourselves," says Mugavero. "You can appear to

be a great conversationalist if you have a lot of questions. You can

keep the conversation going and don’t have to talk a lot."

Create a 30-second introduction. Be prepared with what is basically a

canned introduction of what you’re looking for and what your skills

are. If you want help, know what you’re asking for and be able to

express it concisely. "You need to have this down pat, so that you

don’t stumble," she advises. With this information at your finger

tips, you can take advantage of any unexpected encounters that might

lead to a job.

Make your introduction distinctive. Mugavero tells of a friend who is

a financial planner and is always on the lookout for a client. At

meetings she uses the following opener to introduce herself: "I make

dreams happen. I work with clients to find out what their dreams are

and help them build financial plans to get them there." Suppose

another financial planner at the same meeting introduced herself with

"I’m a financial planner and I work for XYZ Company." Which person

would people tend to remember?

Have a business card. Even if you’re not working, it’s easy to have a

business card made at Staples, a print center, or on the ‘Net that

includes your name and contact information. "If someone is meeting a

lot of people and pulls a card out the next day, they’ll remember if

they have made a commitment," says Mugavero.

Follow up. Don’t wait until you really need to follow up. "If someone

has offered to pass along your information, to give you contacts, or

to chat about their industry, job, or company, following up in a

couple of days is important," she says. Don’t wait until you really

need it.

Plan informational interviews. "Networking when job seeking is not

only important for contacts," she says. If you are thinking about

moving to a different industry, "it is helpful to meet with someone in

that industry and find out how your skills will transfer."

When you do manage to schedule an informational interview, she has a

few words of advice: (1) Be prepared. "If someone is giving you one of

their more precious things – their time – don’t go in shooting the

breeze," she says. Have specific questions ready. (2) Stick to what

you came for. If you asked for an informational interview, then that’s

what it should be. Don’t ask for a job or contacts. (3) Be mindful of

the time. If you asked for a half hour, don’t go overtime. The person

should remember meeting you as a pleasant experience. (4) Send a

thank-you. A quick E-mail is fine.

Mugavero owns a marketing communications business and works as a

consultant for Shared Learning, a Branchburg-based company that

focuses on communication issues in the workplace. She came to her

networking expertise when her students started asking questions about

it, and she added it to her course.

Mugavero received a B.S. in computer science from Montclair State

College and an M.B.A. from Seton Hall University. She is a member of

the Board of Governors for Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at

Rahway, a board member of the Interfaith Council for the Homeless of

Union County, a charter member of the New Jersey Chapter of the Women

Presidents Organization (WPO), and a member of the Executive Women of

New Jersey (EWNJ).

Mugavero’s final recommendation is to "be known as a networker."

Networking is a two-way street, and she suggests being on the giving

end first. One way to do that is to take a minute and jot down a few

notes when you meet new people. If you know of a great contact for

someone, let them know. If you see an article that would interest

someone, send it.

If you’re known as someone who helps others, says Mugavero, eventually

you’ll be able to get the help and information you need.

– Michele Alperin

Top Of Page
Figuring Out What You Value

Cynthia Palka says that most people don’t understand that they use

values to make decisions. But they should. Understanding the

connection between the two can help you make smarter decisions,

achieve balance, and decrease stress around future decision-making.

Palka was scheduled to describe how to best bring values into the

decision-making process on Tuesday, May 17, before the Central Jersey

Women’s Network. The meeting was canceled at the last minute, but

Palka’s talk, on "Mastering Change from the Inside Out: Using Core

Values to Make Smart Choices," will be rescheduled in the fall. Call

908-281-9234 or check www.cjwn.org.

A certified empowerment coach, Palka is president of Future Map, a

professional coaching and consulting firm based in Endicott, New York

(www.futuremapinc.com). She is convinced that anyone can discover how

what they think and feel on the inside (their core values) influences

what they do on the outside (their decision-making).

Each person has a different level of awareness. Some people are very

aware of who they are, why they’re here, what their gifts are, and

what their purpose is. Other people just can’t go there – and it’s

enough for them just to make it through the day, get the job done, and

manage the house and pay the bills.

"Life coaches help people become aware of what’s going on inside

themselves," says Palka. "I help people go inside their heads. I ask a

lot of questions to help them get in touch with what they’re thinking

and how they feel about their life. I help them think about things

differently and shift their perspective."

If that sounds similar to therapy, it’s because there’s a thin line

between therapy and life coaching, with some therapists beginning to

add coaching to their practices.

"Therapy typically focuses on your past," says Palka. "Emotional

baggage can prevent you from making the changes you want to make. Life

coaching is very present and future-focused; it starts with who you

are today. Like a therapist, we ask questions about the past because

each of us is a product of our experience. But our focus is on the

present and the future."

A more appropriate comparison, according to Palka, would be to a

personal trainer. They don’t do the exercise for you, but rather they

provide knowledge, a roadmap, and emotional support. A life coach is

like a personal trainer who helps you make changes in other parts of

your life.

Palka was certified in coaching by the Institute of Professional

Empowerment Coaching (IPEC) and is a member of the International Coach

Federation (ICF). She holds a BS in chemistry from Canisius College in

Buffalo and a earned an MS in chemistry from Princeton in 1995. A

former West Windsor resident, she lives with her husband and two sons

in upstate New York.

She started her career as a chemist with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in

Monmouth Junction, where she worked full-time, attended graduate

school three times a week, and tended to a newborn. She is familiar

with making life-changing decisions, having left a Ph.D. program at

SUNY Buffalo to get married and have a baby, and then switched

careers, and started her own company.

"Look at my life transitions, from chemistry to executive recruiting

to life coaching. It took me a long time but if you’re aware it makes

the journey a lot easier."

Palka’s husband, Joseph, is currently undergoing his own transition.

Having worked for Baker Environment for a dozen years, he did what

Palka calls the inner/outer work to decide what he really valued doing

in life. He’s now going to school to become a math teacher.

"I define values," says Palka, "as experiences that you need to have

in order for life to be meaningful and satisfying for you. So the

things that we value are the things that we do and the things that

show up in our lives. So if you say your family is a value, tell me

how you demonstrate that in your life."

About decision-making itself, Palka says people get stressed out

because they don’t understand what they’re basing their decision on.

"Most of the time, we only look at the pain of our current situation,

not the gain of the future," she says. "If the decision is to quit

smoking, you know that smoking is bad for your health. You know what

you would gain if you quit. It’s enlightening for people to take a

close look at ‘the gain’ of their current behavior. Most people don’t

do that, but if we weren’t gaining something, we wouldn’t be doing it.

For instance, many smokers use smoking as a way to socialize. But if

they could find a way to socialize without smoking, you wouldn’t need

to smoke anymore."

Palka encourages clients to face down the pain of taking an action by

writing everything down in one of four quadrants, pain/gain juxtaposed

with a current/future action. "It gets all the fears out on the table.

Once you have everything down on paper, you can make a fully informed

decision on whether to change the behavior or situation." It helps

people find different ways to keep the gain without the pain.

According to Palka, there are five things that stop us from making

changes in our lives. The first are external circumstances – things

that affect your life at any given time that you just can’t change.

The other four are all in your head:

Assumptions;

Limiting beliefs;

Interpretations;

Fears.

"Life coaches help people deal with the fears, the assumptions, the

interpretations and the limiting beliefs that are associated with

change," she says. "Then we help them figure out their goals and how

to make the changes they decide they want to make."

Sometimes decisions are hard to make simply because we don’t

understand at that moment what we value more. "Many times we are

forced to make a decision between two things we value – like attending

the 5 p.m. business meeting or making our child’s soccer game," she

gives as an example. "Once people realize that they’re trying to make

a decision between two things that are both important to them, it

relieves the stress. Because no matter what they decide, it’s

something they value!"

"Life coaches look at people as perfect – as creative, resourceful,

and whole with the ability to make the changes they want to make,"

says Palka. "They just need help figuring out how to do that."

– Fran Ianacone

Top Of Page
Open Source (& Free) Software Matures

Which technologies will drive a massive resurgence in innovation over

the next decade? Which will transform or kill entire new industries –

or spawn new ones?

CEOs, CIOs, CFOs, and CTOs get answers at the New Jersey Technology

Council seminar, "What’s Next in IT – Technology in Perspective," on

Thursday, May 19, at 4 p.m. at Automatic Data Processing headquarters

at 2 Journal Square in Jersey City. Speakers include Rick Pinto of

Princeton-based Stevens & Lee at 600 College Road East; Jacob George

of Yash Technologies, who speaks on security issues; Rajiv Bawa of

IBM, who speaks on software as services; and Bill Puig of Multimedia

Solutions, who addresses Internet marketing. Cost: $40. Call

856-787-9700.

Ben Reytblat, CEO of software service company, CE Dev, short for

Cost-Effective Development, a company with offices at 87 Saratoga

Drive in Princeton Junction, represents the open source technology

viewpoint.

"I’ll try to get a feel for how many members of the audience are

familiar with open source and define what it is and why they should

care," he says. "There are a lot of business people from small to

medium-sized companies and start-ups who might not be aware that there

is an alternative point of view from that of Redmond," he adds, naming

the Microsoft’s home town.

Open source software programs are those with licenses that give users

the freedom to run the software or operating programs for any purpose

– to study, discuss, repair, modify, and tinker – without having to

pay royalties to proprietary-based companies, like Microsoft.

Proprietary-based companies typically require permission and a hefty

fee any time the user – who doesn’t own but merely leases the

technology – needs to make modifications.

The open source movement has been building momentum in the techie

world – the same culture that brought you the Internet and the World

Wide Web – for almost 20 years. Open source is finally breaking out

into the commercial world, and while larger companies tend to be more

focused on risk-aversion and not as "open" to an open source

solutions, smaller companies are generally more willing to take risks

on newer technology. That’s where open source advantages really shine.

"Even though executives may be exposed to it at work and their kids

may be using it at school, most probably don’t realize that open

source solutions are cheaper to acquire and cheaper to support," says

Reytblat. "Cost is the elephant in the room. We have found that open

source is one of the best ways to use your budget as efficiently as

possible, while giving you the most control possible over your

application.

Reytblat started CE Dev with his wife, Susan, two years ago. He holds

a BA in mathematics from the University of Illinois, and an MS in

computer science from Rutgers. Having lived in New Jersey since 1980,

Reytblat worked for 10 years at AT&T Laboratories, teaching computer

architecture and languages. Traveling around the country, he taught

Bell engineers how to switch from analog to digital technology and

then worked in network management systems. He and his wife live in

Princeton Junction with their baby daughter, and another child is

expected soon.

While open source software solutions may not be the answer for every

problem, they are flexible, secure, safe, and budget sensitive.

"Often – but not always – open source alternatives are more secure,"

says Reytblat. "Many of the costs, like time and energy, that go into

defending against viruses and worms, are less with open source

solutions. Nothing’s perfect and these challenges don’t go away. But

the cost can be substantially lowered."

But open source may not always be the way to go. Reytblat strongly

supports the use of proprietary databases in more critical

applications. "We use them from time to time because none of the

current open source databases are yet up to the standards set by

Oracle, Sybase, or Microsoft," he says. "I’m an engineer, and as an

engineer, my job is to find the right tools for the job. That’s what

the customer is paying me for. As much as I am a proponent of open

source, I am not a religious zealot. I don’t believe open source is

the solution for every problem. There are times when other solutions

are clearly more appropriate."

While open to using proprietary software, Reytblat is more than

comfortable with open source. "I’ve been in this particular open

source pool for about six years now and the water is perfectly fine,"

he says. "Come join the fun."

– Fran Ianacone

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Corporate Angels

Family & Children’s Services of Central New Jersey

(www.nj-counseling.org) has received a grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb

of Princeton. The donation will be applied towards the provision of

mental health and substance abuse services to uninsured and

working-poor families, according to Mimi Ballard, executive director.

Employees of Amper, Politziner & Mattia, an accounting firm at 731

Alexander Road, with an assist from an 11-year-old and his classmates,

have donated $7,150 for tsumani relief. The contribution was given to

Asha for Education, whose tsunami relief efforts focus primarily on

children’s causes.

The 11-year-old, Jon Risk, is the son of Amper employee Robert Risk,

director of information technology for the firm. Jon initiated the

collection among his sixth-grade classmates, raising a total of $125.

His parents matched the contribution and added it to the amount raised

by other Amper employees.

More than 100 employees of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New

Jersey, including a number from Mercer County, joined in the March of

Dimes Walk on May 1. Last year they raised $11,000 during the one-day

event.

Corrections or additions?


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