Webconsuls Blog

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Webconsuls 2009 Winter Newsletter

Webconsuls Newsletter, Winter 2009, 4th Quarter

With the holidays upon us, we wanted to take a few minutes to wish all of our clients a happy and healthy New Year. This newsletter will take you down memory lane as Webconsuls turns 10 years old, spotlighting those clients who have been with us for those 10 years, welcoming new clients and sharing some milestones.

Webconsuls turns 10!

Dick and Dennis actually met at an ARCO Business Seminar in June 1981; however, their careers took them on different paths. It was not until October 1999 when Dick and Dennis met again and decided to form Webconsuls.

Dennis likes to recall how Webconsuls came to be...he was recently interviewed by http://www.arcoalumni.com/ and here is their article:

ARCO Alumni Dennis Helfand and Dick Fay built entirely new careers post ARCO. Their focus is to help commercial clients "generate new and/or additional revenues through web presence marketing." Says Helfand, "We transitioned from a 'hobby' to a serious business enterprise very quickly. Webconsuls currently has about 90 clients across the US and a few based in Asia and Europe".

Having been Director of Public Affairs and Field Operations, at ARCO, Helfand took the 1985 Early Retirement Package at ARCO Alaska, "my wife and I bought a 120-bed country inn resort in New Hampshire's White Mountains National Forest area, which we operated from 1986 until 1997. In the mid 1990's, while at the inn, I became interested in learning about marketing the property via the Internet and pursued this activity with great interest. When we sold the inn, we were already realizing quite a bit of revenue from internet-generated leads."

After relocating to Newport Beach, CA, a number of my former NH-based competitors (friends nonetheless) contacted me to market their facilities over the internet. This became a sort of hobby, earning a few dollars here and there in the process. Then two serendipitous events occurred.

1.An inn owner and close friend had been trying to sell his property through Realtors. There were very few prospects and not a single serious buyer. I suggested selling his property over the Internet for a "marketing fee." This was in 1998 and I believe it may have been one of the first commercial property sales via the Internet. Best of all, my web marketing fee amounted to just about one percent of the total sales price!

2. The second fortuitous event was meeting my former Crude Supply Manager for lunch in 1998. I asked him about Dick Fay (W. Richard Fay) from ARCO Transportation Company. He said Dick recently retired and was looking to do something new and interesting.

The rest is history. Webconsuls.com was established in 1999. We formed an LLC and got serious very quickly. On-Line courses and technical publications gave us new skill sets and we gradually acquired outside specialists to assist us as our business grew. My wife Judy, a business analyst in the information technology field joined Webconsuls in November 2006.

We have seen our business thrive and look forward to continued growth and new experiences.

Clients come and go...
Over the past 10 years Webconsuls' team has had the privilege to work with over 300 clients in a variety of industries. Each client is unique and that is what makes web design, SEO and SMO so interesting and vital. Judy recently looked back to see which clients started with Webconsuls in the Fall of 1999 and of those which ones are still our clients. Interestingly enough, there are four! They are New Hampshire Campground Association, Motorcars East, Newport Channel Inn and Edna Deeb Law.

Here are some interesting facts from Webconsuls first business quarter: 22 clients, nine California clients, nine New Hampshire clients, four Connecticut clients, 31 invoices!

New Clients round out our base...
We are happy to introduce you to our newest clients and we invite you to check out their websites.

Big Brother, Big Sisters Mid-Coast Maine **

Celebrate a New Life **

Creative Care

Fagan Pool Services **

Green Clean OC **

Hacienda Restorations **

Hardline 830 **

Hidden Treasures Photography **

Law Office of Carilyn Ibsen **

Promises Foundation

Rockport Inn & Suites

Snap Out of It Now

Surfing Heritage Foundation **

We are also working on either new sites or redesigns for

Savoir Faire Language Institute

Whipz Inc

Forrest General Healthcare Foundation

Executive Maintenance

Wallace Physical Therapy

Law Office of Salvatore Ciulla

The Internet Grows and Evolves

Dick Fay remembers how when they first started in 2000 Webconsuls could make some small changes to a site and viola! the site would be on the first page of Alta Vista. The number of competitors to most sites was measured in the hundreds, pay per click was in its infancy with something called Overture, Google was an upstart, and no one had heard of Social Marketing. Potential clients were trying to decide if they "needed" a web site. Websites themselves were usually static and straightforward.

Now some clients face thousands or millions of competitors for key terms, Google has about 70% of the search engine marketplace, pay per click is huge and requires expert management to be successful. Clients are deciding when to redesign their web site to keep it up to date with the available technology. Facebook, Twitter, blogs and video are staples of many successful businesses whose owners work hand in hand with Webconsuls to grow their business.

Webconsuls Grows and Evolves

Webconsuls has also grown and evolved over the last 10 years. We have added a third partner, Judy Helfand. The entire team keeps up with the latest in Search Engine Optimization. We have added specialists in web design, pay per click, social media, and link building. We have redesigned our web site several times to reflect our growing business. We have added a blog and links to news feeds on Search Engine Marketing and Social Media. Check them out:

Search Engine Optimization - http://www.webconsuls.com/seo-news.php

Social Media Optimization - http://www.webconsuls.com/smo-news.php

You can also follow us on Twitter -  http://www.twitter.com/webconsuls

Let us know if you have a twitter account and would like us to follow you.

Webconsuls' Team News...

As most of you know Malik Moosa-Soomar, our web development specialist and designer, was married to Zaheen Allibhoy on April 11, 2009. Dennis, Judy, Dick and Fran were happy to attend their wedding celebration in Austin, TX. Speaking of weddings, Dick and Fran were married February 20, 2009. Keith Hansen, our pay-per-click specialist, and his wife, Diana, welcomed a baby boy, Layne, on April 26, 2009.

We are happy to welcome Alycia Kaczuwka as our new Social Media expert. Alycia is working with our clients focusing on brand-building using tools like blogs/RSS, Facebook, Twitter and social bookmarking. She brings her extensive background in audience development and website design to social tools to keep the SMO process in focus as an integrated part of a web-based marketing plan. In addition, Alycia has a comprehensive background in web analytics using Google Analytics and Omniture to measure campaign performance and return on investment.

Happy Holidays

This year rather than send a small gift to our clients we are making donations to the following:

Olive Crest Homes and Services for Abused Children
Since 1973, Olive Crest has transformed the lives of over 50,000 abused, neglected, and at-risk children and their families.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine
The vision of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine is successful mentoring relationships for youth in Knox, Lincoln and Waldo Counties, contributing to better schools, stronger communities and brighter future.

The Promises Foundation Miriam's House
The Promises Foundation is committed to restoring hope for families by creating a safe environment for mothers and their children to grow and develop the tools they require to live meaningful and self-sufficient lives.

Sincerely,

Dick, Dennis and Judy

Monday, December 21, 2009

Google Readies Launch of iPhone Rival

When Apple released the long awaited iPhone it completely changed the mobile technology forever. Gone were the days of flip phones, mobile computers that could make phone calls became the bar. Every technology company has tried to create a rival to Apple's iPhone technology and have failed miserably. What's strange about the apparent lack of competition is the fact that Apple created a product that was far superior to AT&T service capability which in turn has created a lot of very unhappy customers. Since the beginning it has been one thing right after the other with the iPhone features and AT&T's inability to make certain features work. I personally know several people who gave up on the iPhone altogether, in search of finding a better product that can facilitate their needs. Google is one of those companies who have taken on the challenge of trying to provide mobile Internet users what they need. Their success with the Android was little and didn't do much to weaken Apple's grip on the market; so what did Google do, they went out and tried to make a better product.

Now, Google readies launch of an iPhone rival, the Nexus One. Named after the 'replicants' in Ridley Scott's science-fiction film Blade Runner and the Taiwanese company HTC procured the contract to create the Nexus One. Google will have full control over the Nexus One and it will have the Google logo right on the phone. Retailers expect Google to sell the Nexus One direct to customers through its website. I am optimistic that Google with not make the same mistakes that Apple has made and I am hopeful that they will create a product that is not hindered by the network providers inability to serve its customers.

All I can say is that in the UK there are four network providers that can service the iPhone, but in the United States there can be only one. "Google has approached several mobile phone operators in the UK, including T-Mobile and Vodafone, to gauge their interest in supporting its rival to the iPhone ahead of its launch in Britain next year", reports the Guardian. How is it that an American company like Apple could throw their American customers under the bus?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wiimote to play a MAME game on the iPhone

I feel like I am part of a group that feels that Apple is not letting us use our iPhones to the fullest. The iPhone is amazing, its abilities surpass all others and that should be noted; however, the restrictions that Apple has can be bothering regarding bluetooth keyboard ability, tethering, and having to have AT&T. My iPhone is not cracked and I have no plans to jail break my phone, but I feel like Apple is not letting us use the iPhone the way its designers intended; in turn this causes people to want to jail break their phones - go figure. Fortunately, independent companies have been working on ways to harness bluetooth capabilities with the iPhone; it gives us with iPhones running OS a preview of what we could have if Apple would come to their senses.

Modder ZodTTD, creator of the iControlPad, uses a Wiimote to play a MAME game on the iPhone. Zod has not announced the availability of this mame4iphone version yet. The same principle could easily be applied to a bluetooth keyboard and make every iPhone user's life that much easier. Those are just my thoughts, I encourage you to watch the short video below:


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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eight Google WAVE Invitations - Is Anybody Going to Wave Back?

Česky: Ikona pro sociální síť. Je součástí bal...(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today, November 28, 2009, I finally received eight Google WAVE invitations to distribute! But before I distribute them I thought I would share some of my observations about Google WAVE and some links to interesting articles about it as well.

Thanksgiving has come and gone this year. I hope you had a peaceful holiday. It seems Thanksgiving Day is always a day filled with various conversations that take place as dinner is being prepared and while one is waiting for the next football game to start. This Thanksgiving was no exception at our home, but now I am wondering how many families stopped long enough to engage in a conversation about Google Wave. That's right. You read correctly. We actually had a brief conversation about Google WAVE. I think it was Aaron who asked the question: "Ok, I waved, is anybody going to wave back?" To this Daniel grinned and said that he, too, had noticed that it doesn't seem to do a lot of good if you wave and no one waves back. What is with that? We collectively wondered aloud!

I received my invitation to Google WAVE on November 12, 2009, but I have been reading about it since May 28, 2009, when Google announced the WAVE to the world at its I/O developer conference. A follow up post on May 31, 2009, was even more interesting, particularly the comments by Yefim Natis. I was encouraged to sign-up to be a Google WAVE beta tester on July 22, 2009. But I believe I didn't follow up on that suggestion, as I was busy working on a number of Webconsuls' projects at the time. So when the big day came, September 30, 2009, I did not get one of the 100,000 original invitations. But that does not mean that I didn't follow the WAVE's progress along the way. On October 19, 2009, I enjoyed reading a TIME Magazine piece by Lev Grossman, Google Wave: What's All the Fuss About?

I think it was shortly thereafter that I began to really think about the WAVE. Some press was good and some press was negative, was the WAVE alternately and literally at its crest and ebb with each passing day? A friend questioned why I was not in a rush to be part of the WAVE. My immediate answer was really twofold and it continues to take shape, even now that I have my invitation and can send invitations to my friends.
Here are my thoughts:

1) I spent about eight years in an IT department where part of my job description included Quality Assurance, either directly or in a supervisory position. Quality Assurance or QA, as it is known in the business, is a very fancy name for being a TESTER. Test the system until you can break it! I believe the average pay for a QA with a few years experience is somewhere between $45,000 and $60,000. Now, let's multiply $50,000 X 100,000 beta testers for Google WAVE. What you must understand about QA and what Google figured out a long time ago is this: Testing has a way of sucking you in...not unlike a rip current! It is hard to stop, once you start. And many people want to be able to say they were in on the ground floor of this WAVE. Be assured Google is good about listening to your comments ("test defects"), as they are anxious to have a good product. They will make you feel "valuable", albeit you are an unpaid volunteer.

2) While I love the beauty of the ocean, as a youngster I had many bad experiences with rip currents. Growing up in Southern California the beach becomes part of your life, but it can mean certain death. Therefore, the word WAVE has not always had a pleasant connotation. Let's think about it: tidal wave (OMG), permanent wave (ugly hairdos), microwave (makes you sterile if you are not careful), brain wave (you hope you have them, but it is bad news if people are looking for them), rogue wave (think The Perfect Storm), wave of nausea (TMI), heat wave, cold wave, seismic wave, good-bye wave (almost always sad).

As I close today, I invite you to read a few more articles:

Google Wave May Be The Future, But the Future is Not Real Time

Why Google Wave Sucks and Why You Will Use It Anyway

Google's Infinite Strip

And...I want to share with you a YouTube video about the Laguna Beach Greeter (notice it is not the Laguna Beach waver). There was a time when the only road to travel between San Diego and Los Angeles was the Pacific Coast Highway. One of my most vivid childhood memories was riding along PCH with my family and seeing Eiler Larsen, the greeter who welcomed all who traveled through Laguna Beach until 1975. He waved his hand...it was a good WAVE.



As always, let me know what you think and leave a comment if you want an invitation.
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Marking Veterans' Day 2009


Marie Lynch, Joseph Eagen, Sister Eagen, Margaret Ryan (Nee), Bill Eagen
Did you ever come across an old photograph and wonder where and when it was taken? I actually inherited a number of photographs from my parents and my husband's parents. Pretty soon I will hand them down to my children. But today, I thought about this particular photograph and it occurred to me that sharing it with you would be part of my marking Veterans' Day 2009.

This photo pictures L-R Marie Julia Lynch (my mother), Joseph Raymond Eagen (my father), one of my father's sisters, my father's maternal Aunt Margaret Ryan (Mag), my father's younger brother Bill (kneeling). This photo was probably taken in Great Falls, Montana, definitely taken prior to my parent's marriage (1942) and later than October 1936 (the month of my father's enlistment in the U S Navy). Based on the rather sad looks on everyone's face, I am guessing this might have been taken around the time of my father's mother's death in early 1939. I do know my father was allowed to come back to Montana from China to see his mother before she died, as a special request to the US Navy. (See Letter Here)

During my childhood my father would often take us aboard some of the US Navy ships that were stationed in our hometown of San Diego. I have these vivid memories of him boarding these ships and the young sailors saluting him. He felt at home on these ships and he was proud of his naval career.

In Winter 1979 my younger brother, Michael, was commissioned as a Naval Officer, a young ensign.
(See photo on right) While my father lived to see this event, he died shortly after on March 27, 1979. Some 25 years later I was honored to be invited to my brother's Naval Retirement Ceremony. He retired as a Captain. At this ceremony a beautiful poem was read. It brought tears to my eyes that day, as it does today thinking how proud my veteran father would have been of his retiring son, Michael.

Today I am sharing this poem with you in appreciation to my father and all veterans.


The Watch

For twenty years,
This sailor has stood the watch

While some of us were in our bunks at night,
This sailor stood the watch

While some of us were in school learning our trade,
This shipmate stood the watch

Yes...even before some of us were born into this world,
This shipmate stood the watch

In those years when the storm clouds of war were seen
brewing on the horizon of history,
This shipmate stood the watch

Many times he would cast an eye ashore and see his family standing there,
Needing his guidance and help,
Needing that hand to hold during those hard times,
But he still stood the watch

He stood the watch for twenty years,
He stood the watch so that we, our families,
And our fellow countrymen could sleep soundly in safety,
Each and every night,
Knowing that a sailor stood the watch

Today we are here to say:"Shipmate...the watch stands relieved.
Relieved by those YOU have trained, guided, and lead
Shipmate you stand relieved...we have the watch!"

"Boatswain...Standby to pipe the side...Shipmate's going Ashore!"

- William Whiting, 1860

Saturday, November 7, 2009

SMO and SEO News Feeds For You

Judy Helfand, AKA Judy Eagen June 1974
It seems it is almost impossible to keep abreast of all the SMO and SEO news. You can scan the headlines on Google, Yahoo, your favorite newspaper or tech magazine and the amount of information is astounding. Just today I again realized I have an account with Google Reader which automatically sends me more information. I signed in and saw my Google Reader inbox had 851 items! I guess you now know I have been too busy for Google Reader. But this post is not about the Google Reader, it is about how to keep our Webconsuls' clients abreast of internet marketing news. Turns out Webconsuls set up SMO and SEO news feeds for you and our clients over two years ago. So again I ask the proverbial question: Is anybody "listening" or in this case reading?

The experts keep talking about Twitter. I have a Twitter account, I follow and am followed; however, there are a few things about Twitter that annoy me. Today I will just mention two: (a) some people provide TMI (too much information) or should I say information that is redundant (since they have more than one account) and useless information; (b) it often takes two to three clicks to get to the meat of the message. Let me give you a real life example. Today I signed into my Twitter account around 6:30AM (MST). I read a Tweet that said: "6 Reasons to Embrace Social Media Today Web 2.0 Journal". So I clicked on the link, but instead of being taken directly to the article I was taken to a TweetMeMe page that listed 65 Twitterers who had RT (retweeted) this article. I then click on the original link and I am taken to a blog post by Web 2.0 Journal. I read the article, it was interesting, but didn't really provide too much new information, it was more one writer's opinion. Just like my blog post today, is basically my opinion.

Here is my advice for today. If you want to go to one place and read the headlines for SMO, then I invite you to visit Webconsuls' SMO in the News Page. There you will find the current SMO headlines and you only have to click once! If you want to read the SEO news then visit Webconsuls' SEO News Page.

P.S. If you want to find me on Twitter, click here.
P.P.S. If you are wondering about today's photo...this is from 1974 when I was employed by the Cal State Los Angeles University Newspaper, The University Times, a daily paper in those days.
P.P.P.S. As always, let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How do you combat the bad reviews?

Most of us have used the opinions of strangers to guide us. Maybe we crossed a movie off a list because we saw a bad review on television or went to a new restaurant based on a review we read in the newspaper. The Internet lets us all be reviewers and almost anything can be reviewed. You can rate books on amazon.com, local businesses on yelp.com and DUI attorneys at gotdui.com. And you can use those sites, and countless others to help you chose a book, a restaurant, or a lawyer.

Of course, any review is subjective. For example, The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown's latest book, has over 1400 reviews, almost 500 of which are positive and about 650 are negative. Also, the quality of service at any business can vary. So before trusting a review, read carefully.

If you own a business, you need to understand that your next customer might review his or her experience on the Internet. Just as bad reviews in the New York press can doom a Broadway show, then a bad report can seriously hurt a business.

How do you combat the bad reviews? The first thing to do is to try to not get them. Be on top of game as much as possible. If you see that a customer is dissatisfied, try to find out why and do something to satisfy them. Be honest in your advertising so that customers don't expect one thing and get another.

The second thing is to try to get good reviews. Encourage your satisfied customers. Publicize your good reviews and their sources.

Here are ten other things you should consider.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

BWE09 Looking in the Rear View Mirror

Blog World and New Media Expo 2009



This year I had the opportunity to attend BWE09, better known as Blog World and New Media Expo 2009. This event took place from October 15-17 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Unlike many of the 2500 attendees this was my first year participating. And unlike many attendees I did not spend my days there blogging, tweeting, or otherwise updating my friends and followers. I just tried to take in the process, that is I tried to listen and learn. And hopefully, I will be able to care for and serve some, if not all, of Webconsuls' clients. I actually thought about writing this post as soon as I returned home or even while I waited in the Las Vegas Airport, but then it occurred to me that it would be better to really write about BWE09 looking in the rear view mirror. So here are some of my "bytes" on BWE09.

  1. While I have been participating in blogging for about two years and I am on Facebook and have a Twitter account, I would not rate myself as someone that knows everyone in the blogging and new media world; therefore, attending this event was not about hooking up with old friends, but meeting new people and learning from the "experts."
  2. The exhibitors were varied and engaging. I enjoyed talking to people from all over the world, like the Zemanta team from Slovania (and, yes, I intend to learn more about their product). The ArmyStrongStories.com team was engaging and they had a great display. And then of course, I enjoyed speaking to Robby Berthyme who was representing wheretogetengaged.com 
  3. Brian Solis moderated a good keynote discussion about the "New Celebrity" with Anthony Edwards, Jermaine Dupri and Robin Antin. All of these participants made it very clear that if you are using Twitter, Facebook, etc...you need to be yourself, engage with people, and manage your own accounts (don't hire a staff to do this). Write about yourself or your cause, don't just keep re-tweeting!
  4. One "outtake" from this keynote discussion is that I found it incredible how rude 70% of the audience appeared to be behaving. This was an hour long presentation and it was beyond me why people could not just sit and "listen", as opposed to working on their laptops, running their fingers over their iPhones or thumbing it on their Blackberry. This behavior was annoying and to top it off, even though they were really not paying attention, they would join in the intermittent applause like robots or dummies.
  5. Dave Peck of LSF Interactive was interesting and provocative in his conference "How to Socialize Your Content". I just discovered that he posted many of his "rules" here for the small business owner. His advice I intend to try to incorporate into Webconsuls and to share with our clients.
  6. I really enjoyed the conference "How Twits Lay Golden Eggs - The Art of Social Engagement for Business"...Chris Brogan and Laura Fitten had a lot to offer and they did not make the audience feel inept, but offered real guidance.
  7. Dan attended this conference for Webconsuls also. It was interesting to watch Dan, who had not been to Las Vegas since he was 13! It was great to attend the conferences and then share what we had learned.
  8. Las Vegas is an aging city and I don't think it is aging gracefully. As we rode the marvelous monorail I noticed that many of the buildings look dated and dirty on the outside, almost as if the original architectural plan did not allow for majestic aging. Many strange and vacant lots can be seen as you ride "behind" the strip.
  9. I don't think I am the only BWE09 participant that questioned the parties that BWE09 sponsored. As one person said on Twitter: "bwe09 parties are a lot like Twitter - noisy, loud, dark, and ineffective at organizing communication". I couldn't agree more! Imagine being at the Mirages' Jet Night Club with many of the same people who could not put down their laptops and iPhones during the keynotes, only it was too dark to read their nametags and the music was too loud for introductions. Another person echoed these sentiments: "The parties at #bwe09 remind me of college. How old are we? Where are the real parties?"
  10. Flying Southwest Airlines will be a subject for another post.
  11. Finally, I would like to thank the three ladies that shared a Hilton Limo with Dan and me. We were attempting to get a taxi to go to the airport and we found ourselves sharing a limo with Kim Rowley and Joanne Dinslage of Key Internet Marketing and Maarika Neudorf of Enterprise Estonia. We had a fun ride and got to meet three more BWE09 attendees.

    Ok, that is it for today. I am going to get busy learning how to apply all that I learned - stay tuned. In the meantime enjoy the photo of Dan with the BWE09 "Change Girl" as he wins the iPod Shuffle.

Dan Helfand with the BWE09 Change Girl

Friday, October 9, 2009

This Month's Five Most Interesting Bits of New Information

The last few weeks your Webconsuls' team has been busy and our blog has been quiet. I don't know about you, but it is amazing what you can learn in a month's time. Here are this month's five most interesting bits of information that I learned and I want to share with you:

1. Did you know that Gmail has a send limit? About a week ago we received a call from our client saying that she was sending out an email broadcast to her customers asking them to participate in a fundraiser for the victims of the earthquake/tsunami. All of a sudden she noticed that she could not send any email or receive any email. She called us and here is what I learned:

"In an effort to fight spam and prevent abuse, Google will temporarily disable your account if you send a message to more than 500 recipients or if you send a large number of undeliverable messages. If you use a POP or IMAP client (Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail, e.g.), you may only send a message to 100 people at a time. Your account should be re-enabled within 24 hours." (Go here to learn more and keep in mind that many email services have a send limit, this is why some clients like to stay in contact with their clients by a newsletter service like or similar to Constant Contact.)
2. Twitter 2.0 seems to be just around the corner. Rather than have me rehash what someone else has discussed so eloquently, I will point you to the article. "Are We Ready for Twitter 2.0?"

3. Blogger does provide great on-line support. The other day I was on their site and I saw a section called "Recommended Articles and Discussion." One of the discussions was entitled "Too Many Good Bloggers are Giving Up" . Now, this caught my eye!!! So I clicked on it and enjoyed the conversation. If you have a blog and you have given up or you are thinking about giving up, I invite you to read the posts and join in the discussion. You might just refresh yourself enough to keep on BLOGGING!

4. During the past few weeks our team has been discussing the nature of our Webconsuls' blog. The questions raised are these: Should it be more technical? Or, do our readers want to learn more about the team as people and read anecdotal stories, as well? I will tell you that the team was split on this, but today I read an interesting article on an SEO/SMO newsletter. The article had to do with Social Networking pitfalls the 4th pitfall to avoid was this: "It's not about sell, sell, sell! If all you're doing when you visit the various sites and post your updates is pitch your latest program, product or service then it's no wonder you're not seeing results. Share information with your network, whether that's your own information or you're passing along information from clients and colleagues. The more you share, the greater your results will be. Whichever social networking arena you're active in (and it may be more than one) remember the "social" in social networking - it's to build relationships, make new contacts, and socialize. Inform your network, not sell to them." I think based on this guidance and our own practical experience from being part of Social Networking sites, new clients may come to you naturally.

5. Finally, as this Columbus Day Weekend gets underway, I know that our New England innkeeper, hotelier, restaurateur, livery, and entertainment clients will be busy beyond belief as the autumn brides and mountains blush and foliage season peaks; but won't they be surprised to learn that Tucson, AZ has its own foliage season! And yes, Mt Lemmon is 2869 ft taller than Mt. Washington!

New Hampshire Foliage - North Conway

Aaron and Dan Helfand with Cranmore Mountain Lodge Guests - Circa 1989

This week's photos are from my days in New Hampshire. The one of the children is of Aaron and Dan enjoying a "Tom Sawyer" moment with children who were guests at the inn. Aaron and Dan were "teaching" them how to rake the autumn leaves and make Leaf People!

"Teach Us to Delight in the Simple Things"...Rudyard Kipling

Let me know what you think of Judy's "bytes"...see you next week.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Back Woods Maine Mule Train

Morgan SX-704 grapple skidder – a modern skidd...Morgan SX-704 grapple skidder – a modern skidder with dual function fixed boom grapple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Life in Maine is a little bit slower than the rest of the country. People pride themselves on doing things by hand and using out of date technology - so-to-speak. My friend G.W. Martin believes in using animal power as opposed to gas powered engines to get things done around the farm. "The trick isn't getting them to pull, that's easy - it's gettin' them to stand still". This morning as the sun was rising in Montville, Maine I was a part of the Back Woods Maine Mule Train. The log that you see in the pictures weighs approximately 2000 pounds, and the two Mules Bonnie and Olivia move it with no problem.

Everyone else in the area uses a machine called a Skidder, it's basically a bulldozer with wheels and a claw. G.W. has used a Skidder before to haul wood, but he would rather use animals to get the job done. There is a lot to be said for doing things the old fashion way. Enjoy the photos:


Back Woods Maine Mule Train
Back Woods Maine Mule Train
Back Woods Maine Mule Train
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thank You, Senator Kennedy, for Keeping the Dream Alive

Eternal Flame John F Kennedy grave Arlington Cemetery 1988
Today Senator Ted Kennedy will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, close to two of his brothers. I never lived in Massachusetts, so Senator Kennedy was never my senator, but I do think that for the last 47 years he really was a senator for all of us. If you are unfamiliar with his legislative efforts, you might be surprised to know that Kennedy played a major role in Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, National Cancer Act of 1971, Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, or COBRA, Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, Civil Rights Act of 1991, Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA), No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, to name a few. But today's blog really isn't about Mr. Kennedy's legislative accomplishments, it is more about my wanting to say: "Thank you, Senator Kennedy, for keeping the dream alive!"

I never met Senator Ted Kennedy, but I wish I had. I did not meet President Kennedy, but I did have the privilege of meeting and hosting his son, John F. Kennedy, Jr., at our inn in March 1991. I did not personally meet Senator Bobby Kennedy, but I did attend an event for him (sitting in the second row) on June 5, 1968, in a large ballroom at the San Diego El Cortez Hotel, the evening before he was assassinated after winning the California Democratic Primary. In the Spring of 1988 Dennis and I traveled to Washington, D.C., and of course visited Arlington National Cemetery, viewing the eternal flame and visiting the grave-sites for President Kennedy and Senator Bobby Kennedy, as well. And you know from last week's blog post, we went to Cape Cod in April 1991, and we actually went to Hyannis Port to see the Kennedy compound.

These personal anecdotes aside, as an adult I always felt reassured that Ted Kennedy was in the U.S. Senate looking out for all of us. I will miss his humanity, his vigor, his moving speeches and his dedication.

I learned yesterday that his favorite song was "The Impossible Dream" from The Man of La Mancha, and performances at his Celebration of Life Service included, "The Impossible Dream," sung by Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell.**



To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

My heart is heavy today. May Mr. Kennedy be peaceful and calm as we lay him to rest.


**Brian Stokes Mitchell performs "The Impossible Dream" from "Man of La Mancha" on 28 Sep 2008 at the Salt Lake City convention center, accompanied by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Brian won the American Theatre Wing's Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for "Kiss Me, Kate" in 1999. He was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical for "Ragtime" in 1998 and "Man of La Mancha" in 2002, and for Best Actor in a Play for "King Hedley II" in 2001.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The iphone Sucks? Who Knew?



This version of the CNet Buzz Report has some interesting tech stories, but I was flabbergasted to hear their ripping of the iphone.  I was taken by this negative slant not because I have one and love it- I'm a Blackberry guy- but because everyone on this blog thinks the device is the second coming.

I have heard the iphone has some amazing apps, which must be true because CNet admits it does, but their take on why the iphone is a loser is interesting-- the phone doesn't work!!!

What are your thoughts on their critique?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How Does Google Maps Show Traffic Data?

Ever wonder how Google Maps can generate traffic data? It's quite simple how it works.

When you turn on 'My Location' on your mobile phone, it sends data which includes your location and speed to Google's headquarters which then provides accurate traffic data on Google Maps. With the amount of people using Google Maps now, it also provides the traffic on local streets (major streets that is).

Google Maps for Mobile is free. The website is compatible with Android, BlackBerry, Java enabled phones, Windows Mobile, Palm OS, Symbian S60, and of course the iPhone.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

XM SkyDock is a Docking Station for your iPod Touch or iPhone

With each passing moment the iPhone gets a little bit better, and I'm beginning to think that there is nothing that the iPhone is not capable of doing. Sirius XM will be releasing a dock connector accessory receiver for the iPhone and iPod touch at a media event next Wednesday, allowing full Sirius XM service via their devices. This is a pretty big deal for those out there who have already been using and love satellite radio as well as those who are interested in trying it out. The XM SkyDock is a docking station for your iPod Touch or iPhone that turns it into a satellite XM Radio receiver. The dock will consist of an XM antenna, power cord (also featuring the new transmitter technology), and docking station that turns your iPod/iPhone into an XM Satellite Radio receiver using the Sirius XM app.

The Sirius XM Premium Online iPhone application was released in June, and it will act as the interface for the satellite service. The dock should be priced at just under a hundred dollars which seems pretty reasonable. I am looking forward to the release of the dock as I am sure it will be pretty sweet.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I Once Sent a Postcard from Oak Bluffs

I got up this morning and to tell you the truth I really didn't know what to post about today. The week has been busy working with clients, Dan is rafting this weekend, Aaron returned from his vacation, our client Jason Ackner stopped in for a visit - it is fun to meet our clients "face to face", it is nice to receive happy news from Facebook friends (Deb and Dan Fischbein's oldest son Josh is getting married today and Scott and Elyse (Wolf) Davidson returned to the Mount Washington Valley Theatre Company to perform in "Hello Dolly" directed by Andrew Glant Linden with assistant Bev Brennan and receiving rave reviews), we had a terrific rainstorm in Tucson yesterday about 3:00PM, and now it is Saturday morning. I happened to read an article this morning from Time.com which had to do with the President and the First Family taking a vacation on Martha's Vineyard, specifically Oak Bluffs, and of course I thought back to my one and only trip to Martha's Vineyard. I think I once sent a postcard from Oak Bluffs. If I didn't, I should have.

It was 1991. On April 1st Dennis and I decided to take a few days off from the inn and travel to Cape Cod with our good friends, Gerry and Elaine McManus (by the way we still hear from Elaine; however, she and Gerry divorced around 1996 - see their photo below taken by me on this trip). I believe we were trying to celebrate Gerry's birthday. What we didn't realize was this: in those days most of Cape Cod is still not really "open for the season". But off we went and after stopping at the local Chamber of Commerce we actually found a nice hotel on the water called the Ocean Club on Smuggler's Beach South Yarmouth. By about the third day of our adventure and after seeing two movies, Dances with Wolves and Sleeping with the Enemy, we thought we would take a ferry ride to Martha's Vineyard. Again, we soon learned that you don't just show up to take a ferry ride. You need to plan this if you intend to take a vehicle with you to Martha's Vineyard. So there we were at Woods Hole and we decided with our 'devil may care' attitude to board one of The Steamship Authority's ferries that did not carry vehicles and did not have restrooms!

Elaine and Gerry on the ferry to Martha's Vineyard
When we inquired of the ferry staff how to find the restrooms they advised us that we would need to wait until we arrived in Vineyard Haven. And so we arrived, but the public restroom on the dock was closed for renovations. People on the dock directed us to The Black Dog (a well known restaurant); however, they were not open yet for the season! So we decided to walk into the town, as certainly some establishment would allow us to come in and use their restrooms. No luck. The businesses were either closed or emphatic we could not come in and use their restrooms. We walked further until Gerry said he would not continue on this "forced march". At that point Gerry and Dennis hailed a passing taxi. The driver stopped asked us where we wanted to go and our response was: "Take us anywhere on this island where we can use a restroom and have a meal."

Next stop: Oak Bluffs. I remember how friendly the taxi driver was to us. He took us to a great little restaurant, whose name I cannot recall at the moment. (Funny how your brain can recall the name of the restaurant that was not open, but cannot remember the name of the restaurant that was open and treated us so kindly.) Anyway the taxi driver told us he would come back in a couple of hours and pick us up for our return trip to the Vineyard Haven harbor. And sure enough two hours later we were back in the taxi and on our way.

I enjoyed learning more about Oak Bluffs in the Time article. Wonderful interesting history. So today as the First Family prepares to spend a few August days in Oak Bluffs, I will remember fondly my few hours there some 18 years ago!

Friday, August 21, 2009

What is Fantasy Football?

As the NFL season approaches, many of us sports geeks play a game where we draft our own team of offensive players who gain points to determine a winner within our own made up leagues.  Especially if you are in a city without an NFL franchise to root for (like me in LA- ridiculous), Fantasy Football brings an added element to the NFL season.  These league are provided by CBS, ESPN, and Yahoo just to name a few.

This is a great way to learn about other teams and moreover have a vested interest in more than just your city's team.  And since many leagues are play for free, there isn't a lot of risk.

Some leagues have been continued from year to year with the same set of owners/managers of these created teams.  My family and friends league has existed for 9 years with the same set of guys, and that is average.

Certain very competitive leagues can take themselves very seriously and include a entrance fee of hundreds of dollars.  Other leagues expand the points system of scoring to include team defenses and even individual defensive players.

Drafting in fantasy leagues can be 1 of a few different types.  Drafting players can start carte blanche every year, others can allow teams to keep a number of players and still others decide to auction players off.  You can see how developed this hobby has gotten.

Maurice Jones-Drew for the number 1 pick.  Agree or disagree?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Will LeapFish compete with Google and other Search Engines?

LeapFish.com is a search engine portal that allows you to search through Google, Yahoo, and MSN (Now known as Bing). Some say that LeapFish might even be competing with Google but I don't believe it can since its main search results are based off of Google's engine.

LeapFish does have some nice features though; it displays the Market Summary, top News, and Latest Videos from Youtube. The interesting thing about the videos is you don't have to hit play, simply place your mouse over the thumbnail and it will begin playing.

The search is nice because you have the ability to compare results from the top three engines and see where your site ranks based on the keywords you enter.

As for advertising on LeapFish you pay for the keywords as would with any other PPC Campaign except you keep the spot until you are willing to sell it. For Example, if you purchase "California Drug Rehab" you hold that spot for every time someone searches that until you want to sell it. It's interesting but not sure if it will last.

LeapFish has also been known for taking their client's money and it's possible those rumors began because of their advertisement slots.

Have you used it? What are your thoughts on this website?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ideas to Improve the iPhone

Manny Ramirez on deck at Dodger Stadium
Manny Ramirez On Deck at Dodger Stadium  - Taken with my iPhone.

About six weeks ago I broke down and got an iPhone - a 3GS no less. I moved up, way up, from a razor cellphone.

I think the iPhone is about the coolest thing. When I was on vacation I was connected to news, weather, sports, and email without TV or computer. After I made a wrong turn I typed in the name of the restaurant I was seeking and the abbreviation for the state and got directions from my current location. I have an app that tells me about LA traffic and another about speed traps. It keeps my contacts and calendar in sync with my gmail account. I took a picture at the Dodgers and emailed it to friends and relatives.

With apps the iPhone can get constantly more powerful, easier to use, and more fun. I just bought an app that gives grill recipes, shopping lists, and video tips. So my iPhone should get better and better.

However it is not perfect. Here are some areas for improvement.
1. Better phone coverage. The iPhone locks you in to AT and T. I don't get service at my home in California, nor does my daughter in Pennsylvania. One complaint that I hear pretty regularly is that the worst thing about the iPhone is the phone.

2. Having birthdays in my contacts appear on my calendar. Evidently you can do this with a mac but I am in XP land. I know I can buy an app that lists birthdays or something but I want them to show on my calendar. I have found a free birthday app that seems to work fine but it does not put the birthdays on the calendar.

3. A way to test apps. There may be a zillion apps. There also seem to be about a million sites that rate apps. And the ratings and comments can be all over the map.
While apps are generally inexpensive how will I know if my experience will be "Love this app" or "Complete waste of time." Why now allow a free download for a week and then disable the app if not purchased?

4. A better battery. Maybe this as good as it gets with batteries. I know I can buy something to extend the life. Hopefully future iPhone will have better batteries.

5. Linkage between the calendar and maps. If I pull up a name using the contact app and touch the address then I see the address on the map app and can get directions. However if I go to the calendar app, find a meeting, and touch the address I get nothing. I would think it would be easy to get the location of the meeting on the map app.

What ideas do you have for iPhone improvement?

I hope to add my list in future posts.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How to Find New iPhone Applications

To keep track of the ever changing list of applications for the iPhone and the iPod Touch AppShopper is a great resource.


As you look across the top of the page you may choose to search on All, Paid, or Free apps. There is also a button for Updates, New Apps and Price Changes.

One of the more convenient ways of keeping track of new applications you may be interested in is to use RSS feeds which will alert you of new changes.

The RSS Feeds come in a variety of choices as well. You may choose to be alerted to all changes in the app store, only new apps, only paid and updates as well as price changes have their own feed.
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Monday, August 17, 2009

Social Entrepreneurs Using Micro Financing To Promote Change







Be the change you want to see in the world. As We and our children's children get stuck with billions is bailouts by the brain trust in washington for the fat cats on wallstreet, bankers and automakers, Watch this video about how $27 can change the lives of an entire village. Social Entrepreneurs using Micro Financing to make real change.

What is Microfinance? From WikiPedia

Some principles that summarize a century and a half of development practice were encapsulated in 2004 by Consultative Group to Assist the Poor and endorsed by the Group of Eight leaders at the G8 Summit on June 10, 2004:

  • Poor people need not just loans but also savings, insurance and money transfer services.
  • Microfinance must be useful to poor households: helping them raise income, build up assets and/or cushion themselves against external shocks.
  • Microfinance can pay for itself. Subsidies from donors and government are scarce and uncertain, and so to reach large numbers of poor people, microfinance must pay for itself.
  • Microfinance means building permanent local institutions.
  • Microfinance also means integrating the financial needs of poor people into a country's mainstream financial system.
  • The job of government is to enable financial services, not to provide them.
  • Donor funds should complement private capital, not compete with it.
  • The key bottleneck is the shortage of strong institutions and managers. Donors should focus on capacity building.
  • Interest rate ceilings hurt poor people by preventing microfinance institutions from covering their costs, which chokes off the supply of credit.
  • Microfinance institutions should measure and disclose their performance - both financially and socially.
Microfinance can also be distinguished from charity. It is better to provide grants to families who are destitute, or so poor they are unlikely to be able to generate the cash flow required to repay a loan. This situation can occur for example, in a war zone or after a natural disaster.

"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The World of Mouth Revolution

The world of Socialnomics has taken over and it is clear that Social Networking is not just a phase that will be over soon. The fact is that social media has a life of its own and it grows automatically, replicating itself like a virus. Just about everyone on the planet with access to the Internet has some kind of social networking account, and everyday that goes by more people sign up. The Internet is the voice of the world and it's calling out to us, this is the world of mouth revolution. It cannot be stopped and the statistics in the video below will back up that statement. People do not want directions they want conversations, everyone wants to feel like they are a part of this world that continues to get smaller as networks grow bigger. Watch the video and see for yourself!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Were you at Woodstock 1969?

So here we are with another one of those 40th anniversary Saturdays. Were you at Woodstock 1969? I am going to save you a lot of reading time. I was not at Woodstock 1969, but you all know I am old enough to have been there. It so happens that Woodstock took place in Bethel, New York, and at that time I lived in San Diego, California. I couldn't travel to New York; I had to go to work every day for Wells Fargo Bank. But all this aside I would like to take just a few minutes today to honor the memory of Woodstock and, yes, I do have a friend who was at Woodstock and indeed performed at Woodstock!

We all either knew about the music festival or soon learned about it when 500,000 people showed up and the media decided to pay attention, most of us could not really appreciate the magnitude of this festival until the Academy Award Winning documentary "Woodstock"* was released March 26, 1970 (this film has been remastered and re-released in June 2009 to celebrate the 40th anniversary). Keep in mind the average 20 year old could not easily travel to New York State for a three day festival. There was no way to purchase tickets on-line or even by phone, in fact according to Wikipedia, the "ticket sales were limited to record stores in the greater New York City area, or by mail via a Post Office Box at the Radio City Station Post Office located in Midtown Manhattan."

Over the years I have often thought back to that weekend. I remember sitting in the clubhouse of my apartment complex in the Hollywood Hills. It was then 1977 and in walked Richie Havens and he sat down next to me and introduced himself. Wow! Who will forget Richie Havens singing "Freedom"? But much later, actually around 2002, I had the pleasure of meeting Dallas Taylor. You might remember Dallas. He was the drummer for Crosby, Stills and Nash (CSN) and yes, he played at Woodstock. Dallas authored a book Prisoner of Woodstock. As mentioned on Amazon, Taylor provided the backbeat for some of the brightest stars of the Sixties and Seventies, most notably Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, with whom he performed at Woodstock. For more than 25 years Dallas has  spent his time helping others find recovery. Last summer, Dennis and I enjoyed seeing Crosby, Stills and Nash on their Summer 2008 tour. It was quite the evening sitting in an open air arena with our oldest son, Aaron, enjoying great music and memories.

Prisoner tells two tales: one of Taylor's successes and failures in the rock music business, and the other of his struggle with drug addiction." Dallas has been our friend and client for many years and now with almost 25 years of sobriety Dallas continues to work with the music industry with Music Cares.

I have one more anecdote about Woodstock. I opened this blog by telling you I was not there, but I actually knew someone who was there; however, I also know someone who lived in New York City at the time, was 20 years old, had tickets to Woodstock, started the drive to Bethel and when he got stuck in traffic he decided to turn around and go home! (Of course, this may be an urban legend, but this person is Dennis' first cousin.)

Sit back, take a break, rent the movie or in the meantime I invite you to watch a YouTube video of CSN Woodstock 1969



If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

*Roger Ebert once said: "Woodstock is a beautiful, moving, ultimately great film. It seemed to signal the beginning of something. Maybe it signaled the end. Somebody told me the other day that the 1960s has "failed." Failed at what? They certainly didn't fail at being the 1960s. Now that the period is described as a far-ago time like "the 1920s" or "the 1930s," how touching it is in this film to see the full flower of its moment, of its youth and hope. The decade began with the election of John F. Kennedy and ended as the last bedraggled citizens of Woodstock Nation slogged off the muddy field and thumbed a ride into a future that would seem, to many of them, mostly downhill."


Any thoughts?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Les Paul Passes at 94 Years Old Yesterday

Les Paul died yesterday from complications from pneumonia.  If you have never heard of Les Paul or wonder why the music community is making such a big deal for this guy, let me share my perspective.

Les Paul created the guitar for rock, pop, country, funk, rap etc, etc.  The picture included are my personal instruments with Les Paul's name on them.  They are made by the brand Gibson, and here is a short list of musicians who use the Les Paul instrument- the Edge, Slash, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Dean Deleo, Mike McCready and Stone Gossard, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello and the list goes on.  Odds are your favorite performer had this guitar used in their band.

The testimonials for this pioneer are endless at every music source I visit.  While his music was before my time, his instrument is timeless.
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

iPhone has the capability to deposit checks?

USAA Bank allows you to deposit checks using the iPhone. USAA Bank already has an App on the iPhone as do most Banks but USAA Bank is the the first to allow their customers to simply take a picture and send in the deposit. This feature will only be available in San Antonio, TX initially and then grow depending on the results from the first dispatch.

Customers take a picture of the front and back of the check with the iPhone's camera and send it directly to the clearing system. The paper check can then be thrown away or filed for your records.

Check at the App Store this week for updates to see if you are able to deposit your check as well.


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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Car Games for Family Driving Vacations





As a kid summertime meant the annual summer vacation. While these times were ripe with adventure and excitement for us kids I can't help but now reflect on these memories from a new perspective, the parent. There is actually a renewed level of comedy to my memories as I recall my parents struggle with the vacation they planned and the vacation which happened.

I do feel a twinge of guilt. My generation is getting the easy way out. We have Nintendo DS, iTouch, portable gaming devices to entertain the kids. Cars now come equipped with video players to captivate young audiences. In some cars the front seat can enjoy different music than the backseat. Bye bye Hannah Montana. Not to mention the various GPS devices for those who are retiscent to ask for directions.

So what has happened to the iconic "vacation car game"?

It is alive and well. But for those of you who have been too plugged in too long to remember the low tech days. Here is a link to directions for each game.10 most popular car games of all times. The classics include:

  • I Spy
  • 20 Questions
  • License Plates
  • Slug-a-Bug
  • Where's the Alphabet?
  • Name That Tune
  • The Picnic Game
  • Count the ...
  • Tunnels
  • Geography Lesson

My Dad's very favorite game was "who can fall asleep the fastest" and when you fell asleep you were to whistle in order to claim your victory.

I can't help but agree with him on some days. When I am asking for the car to be quiet while navigating 5 lanes of traffic or asking for the foot to be removed from my lower back I think back in reverence and admiration "Wow ... my parents were so very patient ... and no potty mouth."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ice Cream Freeze Let's Chill


San Clemente Fiesta



Sunday was the 55th anual San Clemente Fiesta and street fair. And as you can see from the above shot up Del Mar, it was a packed house. Lucky for us Ella has been spending the last few weeks at the Boys and Girls club getting ready for her "Prime Time" Dance review, so just in case you missed it I bring you "Ice Cream Freeze" as preformed by the San Clemente Dance 7 & under group.




Feel free to sing along!

Ice Cream Freeze - (Let's Chill)- by Hanna Montana (Miley Cyrus)

Everybody do your dance
Ain't nothing better than an all night jam
Are you ready for something a little new tonight
I got a brand new step thing you're gonna like yeah

C'mon boys
Gotta do what I do
Just follow my lead
Everybody let's chill

Do the ice cream freeze
Strike your pose
Can you do the milkshake
Shake it shake it down low

Can you snow cone slide left to right
Put your hands in the air
We could party all night

Do the ice cream freeze
Strike your pose
Can you do the milkshake
Shake it shake it down low

Can you snow cone slide
Left to right
Put your hands in the air
We could perty all night

Shake it shake it shake it shake it shake it down low
Then do the ice cream freeze
All kind of stepping make you feel good
Triple step, butterfly, sugar foot (sugar sugar foot)

But I'm comin' with a new thing
What do you need? (that's right)
Now everybody wanna do the ice cream freeze (woohoo)

C'mon boys
Gotta do what I do
Just follow my lead
Everybody let's chill

Do the ice cream freeze
Stike your pose
Can you do the milkshake
Shake it shake it down low

Can you snow cone slide
Left to right
Put your hands in the air
We could party all night

Do the ice cream freeze
Strike your pose
Can you do the milkshake
Shake it shake it downlow

Can you snow cone slide
Left to right
Put your hands in the air
We could party all night

Did I hear anyone say party?
We're just gettin' started (woo!)
Wanna take it from the top
Will you know I will

Now everybody let's chill
Lights, camera, freeze
Everybody let's go!

Do the ice cream freeze
Strike your pose
Can you do the milkshake
Shake it shake it down low

Can you snow cone slide
Left to right
Put your hands in the air
We could party all night

Do the ice cream freeze
Then you do the milkshake
Shake it shake it shake it shake it shake it

Do the snow cone slide
Put your hands in the air
Go crazy!
Everybody let's chill...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Breakfast Club Weird Science Sixteen Candles

John Hughes suffered a heart attack while taking a morning walk during a trip to NYC to visit family at the age of 59. He directed such '80s hit films as "The Breakfast Club", "Weird Science", "Sixteen Candles" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". I grew up watching his movies; they never seemed to get old for me or my brother. John Hughes invented the teen movie as we know it today; his movies spoke to us and showed teens going through the struggles of coming of age. He will be missed sorely, but his movies will live on despite the changing of hair styles and clothes that kids wear today. It doesn't matter who you are, there will always be a message to take away from his movies.

John Hughes used the pen name Edmond Dantes, homage to the lead character in The Count of Monte Cristo. He inspired the "Brat Pack" movement of the 1980s and he said "I don't think of kids as a lower form of the human species". John Hughes gave kids strength and reminded them that it was alright to be different. The following quote has always stuck with me over the years from The Breakfast Club, when Mr. Vernon the Principal asks the kids to write a letter to him about who they think they are? The group decides that it would be better for Brian Johnson to write a letter for all of them. "Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was that we did wrong. What we did was wrong. But we think you're crazy to make us write this essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us... in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That's the way we saw each other at seven o'clock this morning. We were brainwashed."

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Remembering August 8, 1974, Richard M. Nixon

A few months back a friend of mine suggested that I might write a book titled "51 Cards!" When I questioned her on this title, she said: "51 Cards" is the title Kevin (her husband) proposed for your yet to be published autobiography. It alludes to your lamentation that the Baby Boomer generation is "not playing with a full deck" due to the emotional scars inflicted by such events as the Vietnam war, the assassinations of MLK, JFK and RFK, etc." I think the title is perfect and I have often said that people of my generation lived through many life changing events in our formative years. This is not an excuse, but an explanation of what we are about. And so today, I am remembering August 8, 1974, Richard M. Nixon. It was on this day, 35 years ago, that the President of the United States (POTUS) Richard M. Nixon announced his resignation as a result of the Watergate Scandal.

On June 15, 1974, I received my BA degree from California State University, Los Angeles. What I recall most about my last year in college were the Senate Watergate hearings. These hearings ran from May 17, 1973 through August 7, 1973. The hearings were televised, but remember I was working and going to college full time, so being able to watch the televised hearings was a luxury. The university was nice enough to set up televisions in the library so that the actual social network of students could stop by the library in between classes to watch the hearings. Remember now, this is when we still only had three networks...NBC, ABC, and CBS. Oh, and yes we did have our newspapers. According to Wikipedia "Each network maintained coverage of the hearings every third day, starting with ABC on May 17 and ending with NBC on August 7. An estimated 85% of Americans with television sets tuned in to at least one portion of the hearings." The Senate issued its seven volume report on June 27, 1974.

Within a few weeks of my graduation I went to work for a small financial corporation. Every evening I would go back to my little apartment and turn on the news. But on August 8, 1974, I hurried home as Richard Nixon was going to address the nation at 6:00PM PST. We had learned this from listening to radio news that afternoon. That evening I watched intently as Richard M. Nixon announced his resignation. That was 35 years ago today and I invite you to listen to part of this speech here or visit the Miller Center to hear the whole speech.

The next day I went to work, but I brought my television with me. At 9:00AM PST, August 9, 1974, all of the employees gathered around this little 12 inch Zenith black and white television to watch Gerald Ford become our 38th president. It didn't matter which political side of the aisle you were on, this was, hopefully, a once in a lifetime event. If you want to learn more about this time in our history, I invite you to read "All the President's Men" by Woodward and Bernstein and "Blind Ambition" by John Dean.

It is funny, last evening I happened to catch Lewis Black on HBO. It wasn't a new bit, but I listened again to him as he described how "our" young lives were ruled by fear during the cold war. We practiced for air raid drills, nuclear bombs, hid under our wooden desks, and watched some of our parents waste their hard earned money building bomb shelters. "51 Cards", indeed!

"There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them."

Friday, August 7, 2009

Peter Jackson presents 'District 9'



District 9, is the new Peter Jackson movie involving captured and imprisoned aliens here on earth. Watch the video for a brief intro and the official trailer.

I am bringing this film to your attention because I am not a big alien movie or blockbuster big effects guy-- and it still looks interesting to me. My interest comes mainly from the fact that in this movie, the aliens are not superior as usually portrayed. (Not to mention Peter Jackson is behind the project.) These aliens are vulnerable enough that they are imprisoned, instead of the normal physical, technological, and mental dominating beings that movies like Independence Day portray.

Personally, new ideas or new takes on an idea are what I look for in a movie keeping my attention. This is especially true in the modern day where with special effects, nothing is impossible to create.

Again, I haven't seen this movie so this is not a first person recommendation, but instead I am simply saying I am going to see it over the weekend at some point.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Enhance Business Client Relationships with PriorityClient

PriorityClient.com enables businesses to enhance their relationships with their clients at a more personal level. Imagine having a service that would mail greeting cards to your preferred clients  birthdays, important occasions, and holidays.

Your client will never know it didn't come directly from you. They even personalize it by having your digital signature printed on the cards for that personal touch. You can choose from a variety of cards and gifts to send. They have created five different categories which allow you to organize your clients and send gift card certificates as well.

Quite simple how it works: once you sign up, add your clients, select what you want to send during birthdays or holidays and they will do the rest. You will also receive an email notification on the day of their birthday to remind you of it.

We've all seen card services for consumers but rarely do you hear of a Business - Client relationship service.
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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Augmented Reality Applications Are Coming


I was always a bit thrown by the term "augmented reality." A brief glimpse at the definition in Wikipedia clears the terminology up.

"Augmented reality (AR) is a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time."

In our video a new application, TwittARound, still in beta and may soon be available in the iPhone app store which encorporates "augmented reality" and Twitter.

GPS, compass and camera show where Tweets are coming from. You can literay see those Tweets coming at you!

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Surfing Heritage Foundation



Photosynthing is a great way for you to experience a remote location, in this case a museum display from anywhere on the internet. "The Surfing Heritage Foundation preserves the history of surfing for future generations. We collect, preserve, and document surf craft, print, photos, oral histories, art, cinematography, and surfing memorabilia. Through education and outreach we tell surfing's story and bring its rich lore to life."

Watch today as we roll out the new Surfing Heritage Website!!!


Saturday, August 1, 2009

How to Remotely Unlock Your Car Using a Cell Phone

Today is Saturday morning, August 1, 2009. As you might know I had company all week and new company arrived this morning at 2:30AM. I am not kidding. Anyway, I am a little tired, but I thought I would share with you a clever helpful tip that I learned about a month ago. Here is how to remotely unlock your car using a cell phone.

Does your car have remote keyless entry? If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home (or elsewhere with another person who also has a cell phone), call that someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the other person at home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock.

Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other remote for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk.)

I learned this helpful hint in The Pelham Parkway Times which we receive in the U.S. Mail, because Dennis grew up in the Pelham Parkway section of the Bronx!

Ok, now it is Sunday, August 2, 2009, and my oldest son called to say the tip described above does NOT work. I tried it also and could not accomplish the feat of opening the car door. If anyone out there has tried this and found it to work, please let me know.


One more item today. Today is my friend's birthday. I don't know how old Jonathan B. Daks will be today, but I do know this: he has been my friend since the summer of 1978...31 years. Here is a photo of Jonathan. This photo, with Dennis, was taken in our home in Anchorage, Alaska, the summer of 1985!!! Nice memories and a great friend.
Jonathan B Daks and Dennis Helfand 1985 Anchorage, AK

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Canker Sore or Mouth Ulcer Treatment Remedies To Relieve Pain

Top three remedies for canker sore treatment to relieve pain. The remedies help relieve the pain and speed up the healing process of canker sores/cold sores/mouth ulcers.

Different names: Canker Sore, aphthous ulcer, oral ulcer, aphthous stomatitis, Sutton's Disease
Don't know what a canker sore is? Read the Wiki here.

1) Fast Treatment: I found this to be very painful but very effective. Take a pinch of brown sugar and apply it to the infected area. Repeat two to three times to make sure it stays there and leave it there. Do this after brushing your teeth before going to bed and after breakfast. Brown sugar sucks the acid out allowing it to heal.

2) Fast Treatment: Take a glass of hot water and salt which most of you may already know and add a piece of alum salt rock. In my family we buy alum at the local Indian grocery store and it is a natural antibiotic salt rock which can heal many cuts and wounds. Once you have the hot water and salt, drop the piece of alum in there and gargle with it (do not swallow the water). Repeat this multiple times throughout the day.

3) Pain Relief: It's very hard to eat or drink water so to relieve the pain temporarily I would recommend using Zilactin B. I have used Oragel, Anbesol, Cloraseptic but none of those work anywhere close to Zilactin B.

Here is a page that provides more steps you can take if my recommendations did not work out for you: http://www.wikihow.com/Treat-Canker-Sores-or-Mouth-Ulcers
(Thanks Judy for finding this link)

What are other remedies that have helped you? Share your input as I get these once a month.