Webconsuls - Web Design, SEO, and SMO Specialists

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cooking, quick and easy, when you get down to it

I hate to take out my own food and am very lazy when it comes to it. I love to eat but find it a big waste of time to prepare it, cook it, eat it, and then clean up. I just don't find it being productive really.

Last night, my wife (still getting use to calling her that) and I went grocery shopping for ingredients to make tacos. I help clean up the house and she feeds me, that's our deal. =) So last night after we got home from the grocery store Zaheen started emptying out the bags. I was really hungry so I decided to give her a helping hand in the kitchen thinking it would get the food prepared faster. Zaheen is a vegetarian and I have never cooked meat before so it was a first time for both of us to make ground beef. You would not believe how easy it really is. It literally is as easy as boiling water. After about 30 minutes of preparation (which went by really fast) we had a delicious dinner.

What did we have?
Ground Beef
Spanish Rice
Beans
Cheese
Lettuce
Onions
Salsa
Avocado
All inside a flour tortilla

mm mmm good

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bangor Area Single Family Homes

One area that had rising real estate prices in 2008 was Bangor Maine where the median price of a single family home actually rose by 7%.

The folks at eradawson.com have provided information on single family homes in the Bangor area and helpful information for first time home buyers.

A little history puts things in perspective.
Who can remember back to 1988? It was a good year. October 16th saw the highest weekly gain in the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 517 points and a year end close of 8416. The Federal Reserve Interest Rate was 8.25% and peace finally came to Northern Ireland. The US announced its first budget surplus in 30 years and Bill Clinton survived Impeachment.

In 1998 a gallon of gas averaged $1.03 a gallon, and the Median Single Family Home Price in the Greater Bangor Area was $69,450.00!

A lot has happen in ten years! During that time local realtors have sold 9,514 Single Family homes in the Greater Bangor Area and the CPI (Consumer Price Index) has grown about 50%.

Today, adjusted for inflation, gasoline is about the same price it was in 1998, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is off compared to its 1998 level – a lot, and the Median Single Family Home Price has RISEN by over 62% to $149,650!

Year end 2008 home price numbers for the Area that are even more compelling show that over the past 12 months, in what has been, nationally, a very serious housing slump, the Median Price for a Bangor Area home has RISEN BY 7%! Local home ownership has been a great investment over the decade showing a COMPOUND ANNUAL RATE OF RETURN OF over 6.2%!

We think that as the economy turns local real estate prices will continue to rise and urge those thinking about home ownership to get sound financial advice, meet with their lender to find out how much house they can afford, and find a REALTOR to represent them as a Buyer Agent.

Most first time home buyers in 2008 purchased homes in the $100,000 to$150,000 price range.

In Bangor and Brewer and surrounding towns (Glenburn, Hampden, Hermon, Holden, Old Town, Orono, Orrington and Veazie) 251 homes sold in this affordable price range.
In 2007 the average sale price of these homes was $126,500 and over the past year rose to $127,350.

This is a clear indication that, in the affordable price range, home values remain very stable, in spite of declines of home prices elsewhere. It is also an indication of the strength of the Bangor area market economy and should give home buyers confidence in real estate as a solid investment.

If you are considering buying real estate,  take advantage of low interest rates and reasonable prices early in the year while demand is relatively low and position yourselves, with financing in place, to find the home of your dreams! Contact an agent today.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Our Brains Are Built for Change



Our brains are built for change. We are born with crude perception abilities, no cognitive activity and little control of our physical movements. Our brains evolve over a lifetime building a repertoire of skills and abilities unique to each of us.

In Michael Merzenich's talk he discusses the early exposure to sounds and the attempt by the developing brain to make sense of auditory input. By observing brain function with auditory input in a variety of species scientists have discovered the natural processor, our brain, goes to work making sense of sounds. In the first year of life the brain evolves quickly in response to its environment.

Even as an adult your brain is changing and morphing to adjust to skill building and new information. We all know that children go through profound changes but we often underestimate the changes we are experiencing. As we learn new skills our brain processors rise to the challenge and adapt to the new demands.

Technology offers constant change and challenge. In an interesting article from SEED MAGAZINE This is your Brain on Facebook
“Everything you do changes your brain,” says Daphne Bavelier, associate professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester. “When reading was invented, it also made huge changes to the kind of thinking we do and carried changes to the visual system.”
The study of adult brain plasticity, how the brain continues to dramatically change its wiring and function long after early development, has picked up speed in recent years as scientists realize that the brain is not static, but truly never stops reorganizing itself in response to the world. While in-depth examinations of what changes on a cellular and molecular scale remain very difficult in humans, indirect measures of brain changes, such as fMRI images, have strongly suggested that the adult brain is a highly malleable organ.
There is even evidence to indicate that video games may actually improve one's attention. But just like with everything, practice was the key ingredient to improvement. Practice leads to plasticity or in other words ... you can teach a dog new tricks.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Proximity Marketing via Bluetooth

In the not too distant future, you walk by your favorite restaurant, and your cell phone beeps, you have a new message, It is an offer for 10% your meal, with photos and video...

What makes this shiny new toy different is that it is reaching you via Bluetooth!

Range? Up to half a mile with the right hardware. In Europe proximity marketing via bluetooth has already been used at bus stops to market "High School Musical" with downloadable ringtones, wallpapers, and discount codes.

Once you have the server set up the cost to send a message to users in range? $0

Proximity Marketing via Bluetooth coming soon to a cellphone near you.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Three Ways to Enjoy the Living Desert

I am sitting at my desk right now. It is Saturday 6:51AM and the view from my Tucson home office is pretty spectacular. The doves are nesting in the porch eves, the hummingbirds are fluttering around the blooming ocotillo and the prickly pear are preparing to bloom. As a write, a little bunny just walked up on to the porch enjoying the early morning weather. This week the Tucson desert around our home has been particularly beautiful and I thought I would tell you about three ways to enjoy the living desert.

I don't want any of you to worry that my hints are going to cause you to do anything too strenuous. In fact you don't even have to physically be in the desert to enjoy the living desert. And remember, this is Judy writing today. I gave up hiking, backpacking, camping, and bicycling a long time ago. So here we go...

1. Rent or buy a copy of Walt Disney's The Living Desert. This film was released in November 1953! Yes, I know that is over 55 years ago, but it won the academy award in 1954 for best documentary and if you have never seen it, then you are in for a surprise. There was a time that I offered a You Tube video clip from the movie that deals with the cute ground squirrels; however, as is often the case the video has been disabled. Here you can visit a Walt Disney site and view the limited trailer. My parents took my sisters and me to see this movie in 1954 and I have never forgotten the beauty of the blooming cactus.


2. If you live in a desert environment, particularly around Tucson, AZ, then just take a walk in your neighborhood. It is spring time in the desert and for the next few months the cactus will take turns producing beautiful flowers and fruit. Just yesterday I was retrieving my neighbor's mail and I had to stand back and wonder at the simple beauty of the living desert. And if you really think that a desert tortoise is just to be seen in the movies, here is a photo that Dan took last summer in Gates Pass a few miles from our home in Tucson..Dan Helfand's photo of two desert tortoise



3. For those of you who can not rent or buy the Living Desert and do not live in the desert, I invite you to watch my slide show of a RED TORCH CACTUS. This cactus is located outside my bedroom and Daniel decided to chronicle the blooming process. These photos were taken over the course of 24 hours. And you should know the flowers really are only in full bloom for one day! (I created this slide show using Googles' Picasa Web Albums.)

So I will sign off for the day, more living desert for me to see, sans snakes!

P.S. If for some reason my slide show is really not of a Red Torch Cactus, I hope one of my readers will correct me.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Google AdWords- New Interface (in Beta)

Google AdWords is allowing some of its established clients view and actually use it new interface, which is in the beta stage.  This new approach is designed to 'make campaign management faster, clearer, and more intuitive' in their words.  And I must say, that while I am still getting used to it, the new interface is also prettier in a way.

Here are some other notable differences:
1. Custom Graphs on every management page
2. Single tab editing for keywords
3. Bid Editing all on the keyword tab, no longer needing a separate page
4. New Reports- search query and URL reports
5. Specific Content Management tab- for better assessment and custom bidding

It is always good to see the big search engines attempting change and progression when so much of the time complacency and ignorance are the big criticisms of a company that knows it is the biggest dog in the yard.

Has anybody else tried this new interface and found anything super useful or even found bugs to look out for?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Swoopo Electronic Auction Website with a twist

Would you pay money to place a bid? We are all familiar with Ebay for online auctioning websites which work the traditional way. You place a bid, and the winner pays and takes the item. Swoopo works a little different.

Here is how Swoopo works. The price you see is not the actual price you pay. It's simply for cosmetics and attraction such as an Apple iPhone for $15.00. Each bid placed goes up from a penny to 20 cents. Each bid also costs $.75 to place. After placing the bid, the timer on the auction will jump up by 5, 10, 15, or 20 seconds. Its genious how the concept works for the business because there will only be one winner and those that did not win, looks like they gave their money for donation to the company. The person that won, probably paid a fraction of the cost of the item itself. The winner probably did not pay just $15.00 for the ipod, instead he probably had about 50-100 bids or so placed and a dollar for each bid. So in the end, the winner probably paid less than $125 + shipping and handling which is still a third of the cost of the phone.

It's quite interesting how it works and to win, I assume takes strategy for when to bid at the right time ot win with the lowest bids placed, saving you money.

What do you think about this site and would you use it?
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Prostate Cancer and the PSA Test

I am not a physician and you should consult your physician about any medical decisions that you make.

The handling of prostate cancer is a confusing area of medicine for many men.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. It will affect about 1 in 6 men. In the US in 2008 there were about 185,000 new cases diagnosed and about 29000 deaths.

The diagnosis of prostate starts with two simple and inexpensive tests, a digital rectum exam or DRE test and a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test. Generally the PSA test will indicate the possibility of cancer before the DRE test. Neither test definitely identifies prostate cancer, for that a biopsy is required, which is a more expensive and more involved procedure. If cancer is found, treatment options include surgery to remove the prostate and radiation. Both are major procedures and can result in complications. With surgery, if the cancer is confined to the prostate and if the surgery removes all of the prostate material, then the patient should not have to worry about prostate cancer again. A third option is called "watchful waiting" which involves doing nothing major but following up with regular exams to monitor the spread of the cancer and perhaps changes in diet and taking supplements.

On one hand you might think, have the tests annually and if a biopsy is indicated, have it, and if cancer is found, treat it. Seems simple enough. Many men follow that path. However prostate cancer can be very slow growing so many or most of these men were treated for something that will never affect them.

There were some recent studies published on the PSA test. In the US study 77000 men were split into two groups, one got the PSA test and the other did not. While more cancers were found and treated in the first group, the men in that group did not live longer. A European study found it took screening 1,410 men and to treating 48 to prevent one death.

Prostate cancer is usually slow growing. However it can be aggressive. And there does not seem to be a way to identify the aggressive cancers.

I think that right now there are no right or wrong answers. The choice you make depends on your physical and psychological make up. If you are elderly or have an expected short life expentency, why be tested at all. I have a friend who is a retired medical doctor with diabetes. His view is that the diabetes will get him before the cancer, so he is not tested.

You might chose to forego the PSA test. Based on the European study that would mean that 1410 men would be spared a biopsy, and 47 would avoid treatment. However one would die. If you can live with yourself taking the chance, why not? Of course, many can not.

If you are found to have cancer, them maybe "watchful waiting" should be given more serious consdideration.
I have a friend who has been "watching" for 8 years or so and he is doing fine. However, if you are "waiting" and the cancer gets out of the prostate then you face much more difficult treatment and perhaps death.

In my opinion the one thing that is clear is that a man should not panic if his PSA indicates the need for a biopsy nor should he panic if the biopsy says prostate cancer. Time is clearly not the enemy and he should gather as much information as he can about his situation before making a treatment decision.



Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's is April 21 and Everyone Knows Today is Earth Day



Happy Earth Day! Composting is finally cool.

As a child I grew up with a compost bucket in the sink. There was a strict protocol of where glass, metal, paper and of course organic material was to be put. It was also my job to run this little stinky bucket out to the compost pile. I really hated compost and the entire process of composting. It was an embarrassment when friends came over. I longed to throw things away in the trash like everyone else.

I never thought the day would come when I would long to compost.

That day has arrived. I saw the most impressive kitchen composter on television last night. It turned simple table scraps into beautiful loamy soil.

Summing it up with the most appropriate cliche I can think of "even a worm turns".

Monday, April 20, 2009

Columbine High School Massacre 10 Years Ago Today



10 Years Ago Today, The Columbine High School Massacre, Where were you?

I was having a discussion this morning regarding the theory that,

"It takes a beach to raise a child" 10 years after Columbine ask yourself, if my child is up to no good, Would I know? Who would tell me if I did not notice? and a more troubling thought,

"Antidepressant medicines increase suicidal thoughts and actions in some children, teenagers, and young adults."

On this 10th anniversary of Columbine ask yourself "Is My Child At Risk?"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Facebook and Internet Explorer 8

Surprised you. Didn't I. Here it is Saturday morning and the title of my blog is almost technical. Facebook and Internet Explorer 8! I am going to try to make this post short and sweet. Here is what I experienced this week from a technical standpoint.
  1. For the past few weeks every time that I have opened IE 7 I have seen an invitation to download IE 8. Finally, I thought why not? So I did. It seemed to download efficiently and there were many new features to see and use.
  2. As a "member" of Facebook, I log on to Facebook about once or twice per day. I don't really have time to be on Facebook all day long taking surveys, tests, etc. But on the day that I downloaded IE 8 I went to Facebook and what do you know...there was a message at the top of my Facebook home page that said: ALERT! You are trying to view FACEBOOK using IE 6, please update your browser to IE 7!
  3. Are you kidding me? I would have understood if this alert message had said "You are trying to view FACEBOOK with IE 8, but Facebook is not compatible with IE 8. Until we have updated FACEBOOK to be compatible with IE 8, please view in Firefox."
  4. I let a few days go by and when I wanted to sign into FACEBOOK I did go to Firefox. But this became annoying.
  5. This morning I once again went to FACEBOOK on IE 8 and the strange warning message was gone, BUT the view was still screwed up (my technical term).
  6. Once again, on FACEBOOK I clicked on HELP and searched the phrase "Internet Explorer 8." What do you know, someone actually posted the solution to my problem: "While you are on Facebook: Click on "Tools" then click on "Compatibility View Settings". Facebook's web site will appear in the "Add this Website" box. Click the "add" button and you will be all set. Facebook will now be viewable with all of its features in IE 8!"
  7. Now I ask you: According to Facebook's Press Room, FACEBOOK has 200 million active users, don't you think that with 200 million active users that FACEBOOK could make sure their software is compatible with IE 8 or at least they could post a message that made sense and gave IE 8 users instructions of how to correct the view?
What I have just described to you is one of the new features of IE 8. That is a Compatibility View. The first time you visit a web site using IE 8 you will see a little box to the left of the "refresh button". Hover over this box and it says: "Compatibility View: Websites designed for older browsers will often look better, and problems such as out-of-place menus, images, or text will be corrected." GREAT!!!! This makes IE 8 worth it to me. There are other new features like, "re-open closed tabs", "InPrivate" and "Use an Accelerator."

I am sure many of you are saying to yourself, why does Judy use Internet Explorer when she could use Firefox, Chrome, etc? Habit...yes, I happen to feel comfortable with IE, as do many other people. And the bottom line is this: Webconsuls is responsible for designing and upgrading our clients' sites. As such, we are required to test new and upgraded sites in all browser types and versions.
Let me know what you think.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Boss ME-50 Guitar Effects Processor

The Boss ME-50 is a guitar processing unit and full effects pedal. Included effects types: tone modify (EQ), compression, noise suppression, reverb, overdrive/distortion, modulation, delay, expression pedal effects-- all for under $300 brand new.

Back in the late 80's and early 90's when this type of effects processor was first created, a much larger and heavier unit was less capable and cost about 4 times as much. This being my 3rd floor effects board in my musical career, I have some comparisons to make over time as technology has become more efficient.

'Pound for pound' as the saying goes, this little machine packs the greatest punch all things considered, again including price. The best aspect of it though in my opinion is its usability. It works less like a computer as past super-complex units have, and more like a touring kick-board. It's manual setting is where it shines best by allowing its user to simply and easily access and modify any parameter without bending down and cycling through menu after menu with a guitar on his back during a gig. The external expression pedal too, is great. It is a kick on and off while the off mode doubles as a volume control.

I am really happy with the sounds I get out of this board and the quality it gives for the price. Any one can figure this board out in a day and that is revolutionary in the history of these multi-effects processors.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

One Week After My Wedding in Austin, TX

I missed my blog post last week because of wedding celebrations in Austin, TX. It was last Saturday on April 11th, 2009, when Zaheen and I had our wedding reception. The wedding went great and it was probably the first in our culture that everything went on time! Usually food is not served until 11pm or even 12am but at our reception it was served before 9pm.

We had guests fly in from all over including Dick, his spouse Francene, Dennis, and Judy from our Webconsuls team. It meant a lot to me that they came and experienced two out of the five days of an Indian/Pakistani wedding. From Zaheen's side we had family from India and Canada fly in. Friends from Oklahoma drove and others from California, Arizona, and Atlanta had flown in to join us in celebrating our journey in a new life together.

I will have pictures to post in next month's blog once I get them from the photographer but I do have portraits that we took at Zilker Botanical Garden. My brother-in-law, Nooruddin Gheewala, took it for us at no charge and did an EXCELLENT job with his Nikon D-60 D-SLR.

Everyone told us that the wedding week will end very fast and you will think to yourself, "I can't believe I spent that much time and money in executing the events when each is all over in few hours". I am proud to say Zaheen and I don't feel that way at all. Instead of greeting the guests the entire night and sitting up on a stage to take photos with the family and friends we danced the night away. We made it our night to remember and had the time of our lives.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Recession or Depression in Your Area?

There is an old joke (and kind of sick joke) that defines a recession as when your neighbor loses his job and a depression as when you lose your job.

In my area of Southern California housing prices are down but certainly not as steep as in other areas of the region. Many people that I talk to say that there business is off but that they are holding it together. Some see a small upturn recently.

Last weekend we were in Austin, Texas for Malik and Zaheen's wedding. There is considerable construction in downtown Austin and much of it seemed to be apartment buildings. A local businessman that we met said his March 2009 was better than his March 2008. Austin is home to the University of Texas and is the state capital. One would expect that large university towns and seats of government are less impacted by economic cycles (good and bad) than areas with a strictly industrial base. Austin, of course, also has some industry and considerable high tech, the home of Dell for example.

What is it like where you live? Is there a recession or a depression in your area? Do you see an economy that is really down or one that is just somewhat off? Any signs of recovery in your area?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Search Engine Marketing Newsletter Spring 2009

The current economic downturn in the U.S. is hurting many clients. We think that you can not just wait for the storm to pass, but must work to survive in the rain. We also think that our clients who take a long view and who work hard now will be in the best shape when the economy recovers. Lastly, we think that the Internet is the most cost effective way to promote many businesses.

In this newsletter we discuss a free offer from Webconsuls, some ideas that may help your web site generate more business, and a case study of a site revision done with one of our clients, the Lodge at Moosehead Lake. We also highlight new clients well as the redesigns for some current clients.

A Free Offer From Webconsuls


We know that the text on many of our client’s sites is outdated. We also know that many of our clients have been very busy running their businesses and just have not had the time to review their sites and bring their text up to date. And we have had nominal charges for text revisions.

In this downturn you may be less busy and may have the time to review your site. We are suspending our charges for text updates on our clients' web sites.

So go through your site, see what text needs to be changed, what can be enhanced. Do you have new testimonials to add? Prices to change? Services to add? Staff members to change?

Email your changes to Dick (dickfay@webconsuls.com), Judy (judy@webconsuls.com) or Dennis (dennis@webconsuls.com). We will review them and schedule the changes as soon as possible. If your change request is beyond just a text change, then we will discuss any possible charges before making the change.

Improve Your Web Site


Your web site can probably be enhanced. While we can not make major changes for free, we will try to do them as inexpensively as possible. Here are some ideas:
  1. Start and maintain a blog:  A blog is a relatively easy way for you to add content to your site and provide current information. Since the search engines love content, more relevant content could bring in more visitors and more visitors could be more business. Your blog is only limited by your creativity. A hospitality site may want to write about seasonal changes in the area, a lawyer may want to write about a successful resolution to a case or perhaps the implications of a major ruling. You could use a blog to mention special limited time pricing. Our experts can help you set up the blog and teach you how to maintain it. We provide an on-line tutorial for participating clients. The maintenance is easy and you might even find it to be fun. 
  2. Add video to your site and/or youtube.com: The search engines are starting to integrate video results with their search results. So a video may provide more visitors and then more business. Visitors may also stay on your site longer to look at an interesting video and that could enhance your sites performance. There are relatively inexpensive video cameras that do a great job for web video. Our experts can discuss the process with you and get your started. Again you may find it to be easy and fun. 
  3. Upgrade Your Website: Does your site reflect well on your business today? Does it reflect well on you? How does it compare to your competitors? A site that looked great in the past may be outdated today. So when you are reviewing your text, also review your look. We can not build new sites for free, but we can work with you to upgrade your look and we will do our best to keep the costs down. Another advantage to a redesign is your site may have built in a way that is considered old-fashioned today. The sites we build today take advantage of techniques that were not available a few years ago which do not change the look of the site but allow the site to load faster which makes it more "search engine friendly." 
  4. Get involved with Social Media: You have probably heard of the most popular social media sites, such as facebook and myspace. Once mainly associated with teen and young adults, these sites are now used by people of all ages. The social media sites are not used to directly market your business, but to reach people, make them aware of your business, and then they may make the people they reach aware as well. Some of the popular Social Media sites: LinkedIn: Facebook: Twitter:
     

A Case Study in Refreshing Your Website…


Lodge at Moosehead Lake Buying an existing business in today’s world also includes inheriting a web presence. On June 1, 2007, Linda and Dennis Bortis left the corporate environs and fulfilled a life-long dream by purchasing The Lodge at Moosehead Lake and becoming innkeepers. As if this change in lifestyle were not enough, what with learning a new trade and familiarizing oneself with this beautiful property, Linda and Dennis soon felt that their website did not do the property justice. But what to do?

When Linda and Dennis first contacted Webconsuls, we explained that the current site had been designed and built per the specifications of the previous owner/innkeeper. Our best advice was to take time to get to know the website, its contents, navigation, good features and not so good features. In other words, get comfortable with your new life and keep copious notes on how you want to enhance the site.

Over the past 20 months, Linda and Dennis have done just that. They prioritized their goals and learned the business of inn-keeping. As time went by, Linda sent us new text, new photos, had us create new pages and became a blogger. But in December 2008 Linda approached us with her vision of a redesign of her home page. Given the economic times we all now face, Linda and Dennis felt sure they could not and should not invest in a whole new website, but they could tell their story better. That is, they could offer their website visitors dramatic photos of both Moosehead Lake and the lodge. Linda also new she needed to make the home page a virtual invitation to “check out” the entire site.

The lesson here is that Webconsuls cannot run your business and we certainly cannot know every detail about your business. The relationship that Webconsuls seeks to have with their clients is one of mutual respect and coordinated effort to present your business in its best light. Linda and Dennis represent some of the best in understanding this symbiotic relationship. Here are a few helpful hints:
  • Really study your site, not just the text and photos, but the flow 
  • Learn about how to reach new guests, like newsletters, press releases, join organizations and associations. Don’t be afraid to brag about your property. 
  • Study your statistics and analytics 
  • Learn how to take good photos and how to upload them in your Picasa account. 
  • Obtain feedback from your guests or customers. 
The new look and feel of the home page is dramatic. It took a while to get to this point with many phone calls, emails, documents, testing, but now Linda reports: "I'm getting a lot of great comments on my home page. The lodge was full for Valentine's but one room and we had 38 for dinner – higher than any other special dining night since we got here." This is all great news and while the website refresh was not free, it was affordable and obviously it is producing a good return on their investment (ROI).

New Clients


We welcome some new clients:

Affirmations is a private alcohol and drug abuse treatment center located in Scottsdale, Arizona that treats various addictions in a uniquely non-judgmental and affirming manner.

Agua Dulce is a women’s extended care facility whose program is designed to further strengthen recovery, minimize relapse potential, address lifestyle changes, and develop a complete aftercare plan.

Octopus Pool Cover Safety Frame is the only pool cover safety cover frame that securely fastens any safety cover without the need to drill rivets, bolts or anchors into the pool deck.

Synergy Group Services is a family/physician owned and operated drug and alcohol rehab center, located in beautiful West Palm Beach, Florida. Their caring physicians and trained rehab specialists provide the nurturing environment needed for effective addiction treatment.

Unity Recovery Center in Hobe Sound, Florida has an objective of providing the highest quality personalized drug and alcohol addiction treatment services available at an affordable price.

Hope by the Sea is a Southern California Drug Rehab center located in San Juan Capistrano that offers individualized treatment programs for drug rehab at reasonable cost because addiction and alcoholism affect everybody.

Wonderful Windows does window cleaning in Orange County California. They have told us : “In the first week of putting my new website online I received three new customers that can turn into regular business. Webconsuls rocks !!!”

Redesigned Sites


In addition to the Lodge at Moosehead Lake we have recently redesigned several client sites.

Lasting Recovery is San Diego's Premier Intensive Outpatient Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center. Lasting Recovery helps men and women interrupt the emotional turmoil and destructive pattern of alcohol and drug abuse. We assist individuals to reclaim their health, build self-esteem, heal their relationships and develop strong relapse prevention skills.

Sea Cliff Hale is a beautiful vacation home in Poipu on Kauai and perfect for large family vacations, family reunions, group golf getaways and or just a visit to paradise.

The Rise of the Culture of Availability



Behind the catch phrases of social media and that never ending list of strange sounding websites there is a human need to connect. These technologies are enabling us to create a shared narrative. To create our identity out there on the internet with words and pictures. This identity is becoming just as valid and possibly more engaging than the "brick and mortar" existence of our everyday lives.

Constant connection through smartphones and other mobile technologies creates what Gleeson dubs, "the rise of the culture of availability" and with this an obligation for us to be available. How we choose to prioritize the demands of our "ever-connected" culture remains to be negotiated as our attention is pulled in various directions at any given time.

The opportunity to create and share is there. Create and share great things. And please do not text and drive.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Top Five Free iPhone Applications

Top Five Free iPhone Applications



Awesome Ball is a great time-killing app. Use the accelerometer to bounce a ball around with realistic physics and graphics. Double-tap the screen to select a different ball to bounce.



As the ace pilot of the airforce in WWII, your mission is to destroy the secret weapon prototypes of the Nazis. Fasten your seat belt and get ready for some non-stop action!



Welcome to the Official iPhone app for the Masters Golf Tournament. For the first time in history,



V2.0 of the International smash hit is now the world's ultimate full skeleton X-Ray machine



The lite version limits to english words and 8 hidden words. Please checkout the full version with lots more features: - Up to 16 hidden words!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

April Wedding in Austin

On February 26, 2009, our team member, Malik Moosa-Soomar, wrote about the traditions of an Indian / Pakistani wedding. Well, this is the big week for Malik and Zaheen. Their April Wedding in Austin!

Yesterday April 10, 2009, Dick and Francene Fay and Dennis and I were honored to be invited to day two of Malik and Zaheen's wedding celebration. Day two is the Pithi and Sangeet event.

Enjoy the photo of Malik and Zaheen taken last evening.


I would write more today, but I am having computer problems. Tonight we will be attending the day three of the celebration wedding dinner and reception.

"There is no long distance about love, it always finds a way to bring hearts together no matter how many miles there are between them."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Brain Age- Sharpening the Mind


Brain Age is a 'game' played on the hand held entertainment device by Nintendo called the DS.  This game is also a tool for sharpening the mind.  If you are familiar with the recently popular Wii Fit, the format for tracking the performance of your brain is the same as the Wii Fit tracks the body.

Brain Age challenges your memory, concentration and other skills by tracking a series of interactive tests daily.  Some of the tests include math- write in the sign to complete the equation, 5 ? 1=6, choose the largest number in a series of moving and different sized numbers, count monetary change due from a transaction, memorize as many of 25 numbers randomly set in a 5 by 5 square given 2 minutes-- are all examples that are timed.

The fun in this game is the ability to challenge yourself over a period of time.  One's scores are charted and your ability to progress over that time is what is interesting.  I started this game off with a brain age of a 54 year old, and have gotten it down to 30.  Keeping the mind sharp is like going to the gym, using the 'muscle' keeps it in shape.

How are you keeping your brain sharp?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Apple says Thanks a Billion

Last week the Apple App Store reached a new milestone with the sale of their billionth application. It took only 9 months for the feat to occur! It's pretty amazing how applications have become a staple in most of our lives. There are very few things that I cannot figure out with my iPhone: translation, exchange, communicate, or level a table.

I believe this to be a sign of the future of mobile computing and cellular communication in our world. With more than 35,000 apps available and there are more than 37 million devices that run Apple's mobile OS, more than 21 million of which are iPhones; it is easy to see which way the trend is moving - Up!

The thirteen year-old kid that purchased the one billionth app will be rewarded with a bunch of Apple products, including $10,000 in iTunes credit, a 17-inch MacBook Pro, a 32-GB iPod Touch and an Apple Time Capsule. Lucky Kid!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

AT&T Virtual Receptionist Comes To The iPhone



Still waiting for that Google Voice Beta Invite? Are you an iPhone user? Why Wait?

Announcing the new AT&T Virtual Receptionist. It's AT&T's new multi tiered business phone system that comes free with 60 toll-free minutes per month. So download the app and get your own toll free number right now!

And if you ever need more minutes, and who doesn't? You can add more time to your account. There is even an all you can eat package for $25 bux a month.

With AT&T's new Virtual Receptionist you wont be Lampooned, there are no long-term contracts and no hidden fees or surcharges of any kind! And according to AT&T the new Virtual Receptionist App does not change your current AT&T wireless or data plans or rates one dime.

Time to update your signature line with that shiny new toll free number!

Darin R. McClure
Director of Social Media
& Technical Services
MCSE MCP MCP+I
http://webconsuls.com
darin@webconsuls.com
darin.r.mcclure@gmail.com (Google Talk)
(949) 370-3069 (My iPhone)
(888) 470-4596 (Toll Free)

Do You Follow Me?
http://twitter.com/DarinRMcClure

Monday, April 6, 2009

MacHeist Bundle is Unlocked with One Day Remaining



This year the MacHeist III bundle is being sold for $39.00. MacHeist donates 25% of each bundle purchase to a partnering charity of your choice. With only one day remaining in the sale the quotas to unlock the full package have all been met.

This is the last day to grab the entire bundle of software from MacHeist.com.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Remember April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King

Today is Saturday, April 4, 2009. This is one of those historical days that stays in your mind. You wake up and think to yourself what is special about this date. And then you remember, April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King was assassinated.

In 1968 we didn't have cell phones, iPhones, the Internet, personal computers. We depended on learning about the news by radio and for the most part black and white television sets, and the newspaper. Your social networks were not virtual like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube; on the contrary your social networks were your friends, college classmates, co-workers, family members.

In 1968 I was a freshman at the University of San Francisco. Spring break was about to begin and I was not going home to San Diego. Here is a clip of the CBS Evening News, April 4, 1968.



As the years have passed, I remember April 4th for many reasons. "There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them."

Friday, April 3, 2009

MLB 2009

The 2009 Major League Baseball season is finally upon us after an extra long spring training due to the World Baseball Classic- (baseball's version of the World Cup).  The 1st game of the season is this Sunday night- Phillies vs. Braves.

Last season you will recall the national league's Philadelphia Phillies beat the cinderella Tampa Bay Rays 4-1.  Where the Rays a fluke, and who will be this year's cinderella?  If you're not a big MLB fan you should know that unlike the other major sports, just making it to the playoffs is a significant accomplishment in only the division winners and 1 wild card advances.  So a cinderella in this sport to make it to the postseason is more than just exceeding expectations.


Here are my predictions by League:


                                   American                              National


West                          Athletics                                Dodgers


Central                      Indians                                  Brewers


East                           Red Sox                                 Mets


Wildcard                   White Sox                              Cubs


This year the Mets finally get to play in September, but the Cubs will have to wait at least another year for a title pushing it to 102 years (and counting).


World Series- Indians over Dodgers
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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Seat Guru, your source for airplane seating

When you book a flight, you get the option to chose a seat but how many people actually know what a good seat is compared to a bad seat? For some time, I always thought sitting near the airplane wings would be loud but turns out the end of the plane is louder.

www.seatguru.com lets you select your airlines and the airplane you are traveling on and shows you which seats are good and which are not. They forget to mention that the DC Adapter on some seats is a 2 prong (which was useless for me since my laptop has a 3 prong adapter).

The one thing this site does not have which I was told had is seating for infants. I personally do not like to be seated near infants primarily because they get cranky and loud so your flight for 3 hours (or however many hours) will be of a baby crying.

Check it out, was it helpful for you?
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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hey An Up Month

Well we finally had a month when the major averages moved up. And that is no April Fools joke!

Here is how we did.

Our portfolio of 10 stocks from Fortune Magazine gained $269 and now has a value of $9027.
Name Symbol Last price Change Shares Cost basis Mkt value
Altria Group, Inc. MO 16.02 -0.36 65.74 1001.31 1053.11
Annaly Capital Management, Inc. NLY 13.87 0.41 62.38 1000 865.24
Dell Inc. DELL 9.48 -0.01 96.68 1000 916.52
Devon Energy Corporation DVN 44.69 0.07 15.07 1000 673.31
Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. DO 62.86 -2.96 16.8 1000 1055.84
Fluor Corporation (NEW) FLR 34.55 -0.28 22.06 1000 762.3
Johnson & Johnson JNJ 52.6 -0.41 16.55 1000 870.37
Medco Health Solutions Inc. MHS 41.34 1.74 23.62 1000.71 976.54
Pfizer Inc. PFE 13.62 -0.08 55.9 1000 761.37
Potash Corp./Saskatchewan (USA) POT 80.81 -0.98 13.52 1000 1092.62
Cash
-2.02


-2.02
Total




9027.22

Our low risk portfolio gained $285 and looks like this:
Name Symbol Last price Change Shares Cost basis Mkt value
Schwab Total Stock Market Index Inv SWTIX 14.02 0.19 181.52 2800 2544.94
Schwab International Index Inv SWINX 11.21 0.27 90.43 1200 1013.67
Schwab Total Bond Market SWLBX 8.75 0.02 670.77 6000 5869.26
Cash
0


0






9427.87

Our medium risk portfolio gained $360. Portfolio looks like this:
Name Symbol Last price Change Shares Cost basis Mkt value
Vanguard Total Bond Market Index VBMFX 10.1 0.01 390.79 4000 3947.01
Vanguard Total Intl Stock Index VGTSX 9.39 0.22 167.6 1800 1573.79
Vanguard Total Stock Mkt Idx VTSMX 19.32 0.25 195.43 4200 3775.69
Cash
0


0






9296.49
Our rebalancing act gained $320 and looks like:
Name Symbol Last price Change Shares Cost basis Mkt value
iShares S&P 500 Index (ETF) IVV 79.62 0.63 61.1 5476.05 4864.74
Cash
4523.94


4523.94






9388.68


We then rebalace by selling some 2.14 etf shares:
Name Symbol Last price Change Shares Cost basis Mkt value
iShares S&P 500 Index (ETF) IVV 79.62 0.63 58.96 5282.4 4694.35
Cash
4684.33


4684.33


Hopefully we have some good months ahead.