Webconsuls Blog

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Clean Installs Don't Have to Hurt

Yesterday a clean install was performed on my computer. The process refered to as a "clean install" means all your data is going to be wiped off your computer and your computer is going to be as clean as it was the day you purchased it, maybe cleaner.

In my case my clean install was prompted by the need to reinstall an operating system as my Windows 7 beta was going to expire and needed to be updated to Windows 7 Release Candidate 1. Other reasons to do a clean install might be to clean out the cobwebs and improve performance. Viruses and harddrive crashes as well as other hardware failures may also force a clean install.

The warnings to back up and then back up some more generally fall on deaf ears. When the question is posed to a group of people about their data backup strategy the room quickly divides.

In the first group you have your smug fellows who do backup their files, second you have your optimistic group who are sure such a catastophe will never befall them or they have this pragmatic confidence that while this could happen to them they will certainly have gotten their back up act together by then and will be prepared, the third group have lost data, they know the damage it can do and yet they know they do not have a backup and their heads hang in shame and maybe a little bit of fear.

But there is another group. A group that "Lives on the Cloud", meaning the information in stored on the internet and not on your harddrive. Life on the cloud is "hardware independent" because your harddrive will die and you don't want it to take out your data with it. Let me give you a taste of how this can work.

How My Gmail Account has Changed the Reinstall Forever
By using gmail for your domain my email and all the related attachments can be accessed on any computer with a username and password. So after a clean install has been performed I log in to my gmail account and there are all of my emails just as I left them.

  • Log into my gmail account and access all my email.
  • Reinstall my programs by searching gmail for program name to find activation code and download most recent version of the internet.
  • My documents are all saved as Google Doc and are available upon sign in
  • My iGoogle Page has my bookmarks to frequented sites and important information which I reference often.
And I am back working at my clean computer and I know that I have my data. Do you?

Monday, June 29, 2009

What is Social Media Anyway?

Social Media in the news. Creating and Communicating with the people that matter.

Week two and again the tv is flooded with stories found using Social Media. CNN is replying to tweets from the viewers, and social media sites have become the hub of what is hot, right now.

What is social media anyway? In a nutshell it is user generated, shareable, embeddable, with commenting and voting added.

Does social media matter? Only if you think email matters, as internet users are spending as much time surfing social media sites as they are reading their own email boxes!

Welcome to the club gone digital, in a world where only a few love pickel ice cream those few can now find each other.

Need help finding your niche and fitting in? We can help.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

iPhone 3GS Web Speed Test

The iPhone web browser speed test knocks the competition out of the water. The statistics of the tests were rather astonishing. Medialets ran the SunSpider test suite with Safari 4.0.1 on a 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo White MacBook (the baseline for comparisons), Mobile Safari on the iPhone 3G with iPhone OS v2.2.1, Mobile Safari on the iPhone 3G with iPhone OS v3.0, Mobile Safari on the iPhone 3GS with iPhone OS v3.0, the "Browser" app on the T-Mobile G1 with Android OS v1.5 (Cupcake) and the "Web" app on the Palm Pre with Web OS v1.0.2.

iPhone OS 3.0 on the same iPhone 3G yields nearly 3X the JavaScript performance in Mobile Safari vs. using iPhone OS 2.2.1. Which should make everyone who has not bought a 3GS very happy. The iPhone 3GS steps up another factor of 3, bringing JavaScript performance on the iPhone 3GS to 12X that of a desktop machine that has well over four times the raw processing power.

The T-Mobile G1 running the "Cupcake" version of the Android OS finished the test suite in about 91 seconds. It is about a third faster than the iPhone 3G running Apple's OS (2.2.1). The Palm Pre had speeds that closely rival the iPhone 3G running Apple's OS 3.0.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

This Week We Are The World

My photo of 1985 "We Are The World" Album
This week we are the world. The world was all a twitter with tweets about the death of three American icons. These were three people from three generations.

On Tuesday our blogger honored Ed McMahon, who passed at age 86. McMahon was a gentleman that we welcomed into our homes for more than 30 years as Johnny Carson's sidekick among other roles.

Yesterday, our blogger honored Michael Jackson, who passed at age 50. This iconic legend who most of us have watched for the past 40 years, from a little boy to a grown man, always surprised us with his talent and creativity, among other things.

I will not let the week go by without honoring Farrah Fawcett, who passed at age 62. For those of us who are Farrah's peers by age, we remember her smile and her gorgeous hair. All the women wanted hair like Farrah and all the men wanted the women in their lives to have hair like Farrah. She was a fine actress and you would know this if you saw some of her more serious movies. Now she will be remembered as a brave woman who was willing to share with all of us her struggle with cancer to the end.

In this world filled with technology...twitter, plurk, tagged, YouTube, my space, facebook, emails, blogs...today is Saturday and it is just a day to remember that in January 1985 Michael Jackson collaborated with Lionel Richie and produced with Quincy Jones a song that touched us all. We are the World! (United Support of Artists for Africa) We listened intently, we bought the album and together we tried to help save a continent, most particularly Ethiopia.


As this day closes, I will remember that Dennis and I played this album with our children when they were quite young. The album is still in our home carefully preserved for whatever reason. Maybe because it made us think, hope and assure ourselves that we are all part of this world and this week We Are The World making a choice.

Enjoy this remarkable YouTube video of the studio recording of We Are The World. I'd would love to hear from you!



....change can only come...when we stand together as one!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson- The King of Pop, dead at 50



Michael Jackson was the 'King of Pop', even if you are not a pop music fan. There are few artists that change the way music is played, viewed or in this case danced to.

When I think to myself about the classic hits of Jackson's career, I think of never being able to go to a wedding without hearing at least 3 to 5 of his hits, which then immediately fills the dance floor.

Personally I am more of a rock n' roll guy, but I will admit I don't enjoy dancing to anyone else's songs much more. The way this guy moved on stage set the tone for all single pop acts after him. You look at one of today's biggest acts, Justin Timberlake who's career aims at the exact audience of Michael Jackson's. Timberlake has basically said that he is just trying to be like Jackson. Originality is rare and can be revolutionary.

Michael Jackson continues the line of troubled mega-stars like Elvis, or in a sense the Beatles. With all of his recent problems and physical difficulties, may he rest in peace.

My final note is from my rock n roll perspective- check out how Jackson incorporated a rock solo played by Eddie Van Halen into a classic pop hit- 'Beat It'.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why would someone want to risk unlocking/jeailbreaking their phone?

Why would anyone want to risk breaking an iPhone worth few hundred dollars to use on another carrier? They say unlocking any phone allows you to use it on other carriers. Jailbreaking an iPhone allows you to install applications that have not been approved by the App Store (which also have the possibility of causing harm to your phone).

Now, why would someone want to risk buying an expensive phone for that? A better approach to using an iPhone is just signing up with AT&T. The best part of having an iPhone with AT&T is support. Since they are the only carriers for that phone, they are the only ones who can provide network support.

What are your thoughts on the risk involved with unlocking/jailbreaking your iPhone?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ed McMahon Dies at Age 86



This morning came with the news of Ed McMahon's death. Fighting bone cancer and pneumonia Ed passed away shortly after midnight at the Ronald Reagan/UCLA Medical Center.

Ed McMahon is probably most widely known as the side kick to Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show." Ed McMahon also hosted "Star Search" and was the face of "America's Publishers Clearinghouse" sweepstakes.

A talented pitch man, Ed McMahon was born Edward Leo Peter McMahon Jr. on March 6, 1923 in Detroit, but it was in Lowell, Massachusetts this pitchman honed his chops. At the tender age of 15 Ed took his first job behind the microphone for a circus visiting his home town. And that is how he began.

An engaging laugh, jokes, skits and trademark phrases like, "H-e-e-e-e-e-r-e's Johnny" and "Hi yo" (we call them memes in social media) Ed was a forerunner of the early days of television and grew into a household icon. He will be missed

Monday, June 22, 2009

How To Use Twitter As Search





Unless you have been living under a rock for the past week you know that Twitter has moved from being a noun to a verb with the help of CNN & the Iran Election. With all western news services, internet & phone service cut off the people of Iran are the only news team in town, complete with spies and counter spies.

Twitter users everywhere have shown solidarity with the protesters by turning their Twitter icons green and changing their location to Tehran to thwart searches for protesters by Iranian security forces.

On 9/11 we were all Americans, as the protests unfold on Twitter, we have all become Iranian.

The World & CNN are watching from Twitter. Here is how you can too.

If you have not done so already go sign up for Twitter.

After you have your account go to http://search.twitter.com/ there you can see the top 10 trending topics.

Trending topics: Iran, #iranelection, #musicmonday, Wimbledon, Tehran, Perez Hilton, Tim Burton's Alice, Neda, iPhone, US Open

You can click these topics to see what is being said in real time on Twitter about each subject, or you can search for your own from the query field.

Once you get the results page notice in the top right "Feed For This Query" copy that link to your http://reader.google.com/ account click "Add A Subscription" and paste the link into the field and have your search come to you!

Tune in next week when I show you how to use hashtags on Twitter...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day from Waterville

Happy Father's Day from Waterville, Maine. As luck would have it, the internet is down today here in Waterville. Who knows why, maybe the non-stop rain. Anyway I asked Judy to send this greeting. Here is a photo of my dad holding me when I was a few hours old. That is my brother Aaron looking on.



This next photo is of me with my dad, Dennis, on the day of my Bar Mitzvah.



Over the years I have listened to Cat Steven's song "Father and Son." The words are remarkable and sooner or later I think all fathers and sons can relate. Enjoy this youtube video and Happy Father's Day.

Dan


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

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Being Tagged Is Annoying!

TaggedTagged (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On June 5, 2009, I received an email that looked as if it was being sent to me from one of our clients. It was from "Tagged" and the subject line said "XXXXX X sent you a message...". Keep in mind I recognized XXXXX X as the first name and first initial of the last name of this client. So I opened the email. There was a photo of the client and a message that said "You have a new message from XXXXX X, check out these private photos. OK, OK, are you wondering why I continued? Well, this client has frequently over the past few years found innovative ways to send me large photos to use on her website. So, naturally I thought I better oblige and enjoy being TAGGED! What I now know is this: Being TAGGED is Annoying!
  1. Even though I went through the process of filling out the TAGGED application, I never did see my client's "photos."
  2. I started receiving emails from TAGGED telling me that I was welcomed to their world, that I was receiving extra bonus points.
  3. And then suddenly on June 18, someone I have never heard of, one Robert Buy, set me FREE! Really?
I thought back to the days of my childhood. I am sure no matter how old you are you have some memory of playing a game of TAG. Don't you? Did you like it? I think basically we played tag to kill time and as someone said on Wikipedia: "The game continues until the players are tired or lose interest." Go ahead read up on the game of TAG on Wikipedia...it is very interesting.
On Friday morning I was all set to write this post about QWERTY, but my husband asked me to look at his new TAGGED friends. Oh, please...a regular smorgasbord of beauties. Then I began to think about this a little more: Am I the only person who feels being TAGGED is annoying? Apparently not. I googled and found the most interesting article from TIME.com dated June 11, 2009, "TAGGED: The World's Most Annoying Website."
Now hear this. I am going to cancel my TAGGED account because I am tired and have no interest in being annoyed with extra emails, bonus points and I was not set free by Robert! How about you, do you find being TAGGED annoying?
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Pay Per Click Ads- Including Your Price to Deter Untargeted Clicks

The continued quest in the Pay Per Click world of writing a good and targeted ad within the allotted 70 characters is not an easy one. It is widely practiced concept of writing an ad not only to attract searchers to your business/web site, but also to deter those that are not targeted to your desired audience- keeping in mind clicks are far from free. I have written in the past, not all traffic is good traffic in the PPC world.

Recently a client of mine was getting a substantial amount of clicks and responses to the call to action of his site- phone call traffic- but those phone calls were mostly of poor quality. A tactic was chosen to modify the ad to let the searcher know up front the minimum cost of the service at hand, as to confront that searcher (potentially) before the per click charge was realized. This made a significant difference in the quality of caller, because we were able to educate the searcher to what he/she was getting into with the facility at hand.

That is, the ad itself, not the landing page, stated what the minimum cost was as to get in the door. This promotion of up front facts supports the no nonsense approach that works more times than not. We are looking to promote clicks for those not scared by the 'sticker shock' of the price- a way to potentially modify behavior in our favor and lower costs at the same time. In this instance the time of taking that un-targeted phone call traffic was also costing money.

It may make sense and work for you in your marketplace. Use this idea particularly with any competitive advantages you may hold and highlight those things. You can reach the searcher before they take money out of your wallet and put it into Google or Yahoo's.

Let Webconsuls reduce your spend with tools and methods like this. We'll put it into practice for your businesses unique needs.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Free baggage check in with Southwest Airlines

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-3H4 aircraft (...A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-3H4 aircraft (N540SW) pictured on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, United States in the airline's original desert gold livery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Airlines charge to check in each bag. In fact, the rate goes up depending on how many you check in. My wife, Zaheen, flew out to Austin, TX yesterday on Southwest Airlines and it turns out that they don't charge for the first two bags. That's how it use to be with all the airlines but seems like they are the only ones around that do not charge for the first two bags still.

Here are the airlines that I know of that charge
American Airline, America West/US Airways, Delta:
$15 for the first checked piece. ($30 on a round trip flight)
$25 for the second checked piece. ($25 + $15 = $40 x 2 = $80 on a round trip flight)

Next time you're purchasing your ticket, depending on how many bags you're checking in, it might be cheaper to fly Southwest than its competitors.

Oh and did I mention Southwest still serves snacks =)
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Three Easy to Grow Herbs to Improve Your Cooking

Pineapple Sage, Sweet Bay and Winter Savory have entered my culinary arsenal and they are here to stay. What has really changed is I now have these plants growing on my patio. Fresh herbs ready to go whenever I need them.

For a couple years now Darin and I have had our own garden. It started very haphazardly with a plant here and a plant there. We are starting to learn what grows as well as what we regularly use. Last year I started to use a lot of our fresh basil. Fresh basil grows easily and having access to fresh basil encouraged me to integrate it into more dishes.

This year I invested more time and energy into the herb category. I claimed all the patio space for herbs. The larger garden is about 3 flights of stairs from the kitchen so I knew if I was going to incorporate fresh herbs into my cooking it better be convenient or it just wasn't going to happen.

Pineapple Sage

My intension was to buy Sage. How happy am I that this was the only Sage option at the nursery. This herb was a great find. Pineapple Sage has a wonderful pineapple scent as well as beautiful flowers which attract hummingbirds.

I am looking forward to trying the herb in lemonade and more recipes.

Sweet Bay
Bay is not new to my herb collection but my Bay was always bought from the grocery store and who knows how long it sat on the shelf in the grocery store, not to mention my cupboard.

Fresh Bay leaves are actually stronger than their dried counterparts. A live Bay plant can replace the dried Bay in your cupboard. It is a beautiful easy to care for plant and can be trimmed into a topiary or bonsai if you are so inclined.

When you need to flavor a broth or soup carefully remove an older leaf. Older leaves contain more flavor. Bay leaves are very tough and sharp and should be removed before serving. I add a Bay leaf to mashed potatoes and it has made all the difference.

Winter Savory

By far the sleeper hit of our whole herb garden is Winter Savory. A delicious addition to most any meat and potato dish. I add Winter Savory to chicken by stuffing the interior cavity with the fresh herbs. I also will gently melt butter with the herb and then baste the chicken with the savory infused butter as it cooks. The smell is like none other.

I have not found this herb in stores. That was a huge surprise once I found what an easy and delicious contribution this herb makes. Maybe your local stores will differ, but I see no other option to enjoying Savory than to grow it myself.

Another very fun thing about herbs is that they all tend to come with a story. Even through I would not have discovered Savory in my local grocery store it isn't to say that Savory hasn't been around for a long time. The Saxon's were great fans of Savory and it is said that "Virgil encouraged the planting of savory near one's beehives because of the wonderful flavor it adds to the honey." Winter Savory Recipes

I would encourage anyone with gardening and cooking aspirations to start with a simple herb garden. Start small and pick a few herbs that you can grow easily and that correspond with dishes you want to make.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

CarrotMob Using Mob Mentality To Make Positive Change




How Organized Consumer Purchasing Can Push Change.

Who else besides government is big enough to change the world?

We are.

CarrotMob, using mob mentality to push positive change.

The problem with corporations is that they will do anything for a buck.

The solution is that corporations will do anything for a buck!

Think you are too small to have an impact?

Try sleeping with a mosquito in the room...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Smule Did it Again with Leaf Trombone

All week long I have been playing around with Smule's Leaf Trombone on my iPhone, a fully interactive trombone! It's a lot of fun learning how to play classic songs like Stand by Me and Hallelujah; and after one masters a particular song they can perform it on the World Stage and be judged by their peers. With Smule's Leaf Trombone World Stage you can be an artist and a judge; having that ability is what makes Leaf Trombone so amazing.

If the Ocarina was fun let me just tell you from experience that Smule Did it Again with Leaf Trombone. Smule's applications make the world just a little bit smaller and a little bit better. The kicker for me was the fact that you can write your own songs and (or) convert your favorite songs to be played on the Leaf Trombone.

Playing Leaf Trombone is easy: blow into your iPhone's microphone (or, in Touch mode, simply touch the screen) and press down on the leaf to play a note. Slide your finger towards you - you'll hear the pitch get higher, just like a real trombone.



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iPhone 3Gs New Features

The iPhone 3Gs' new features are forces to be reckoned with! I have had an iPhone now for just under a year, in that time I have come to love and cherish it. The iPhone, in my opinion, had the most potential to revolutionize mobile technology as we knew it! Overnight, it quickly became the most useful piece of technology that I have ever owned.

After the initial infatuation period ended, I began to realize that there were things that disappointed me about the iPhone. I learned very quickly that with all modern marvels there will be glitches and hiccups along the way. Beta, Beta, Beta! The iPhone is a painting that has yet to be finished, always changing and always evolving; adapting to the needs of the people. Everything that disappointed me with with the iPhone 3G the 3Gs has made up for!

We now have the ability to: copy and paste, take video, send picture and video text-messages, and the list goes on and on. The 3Gs is faster and smarter, we have the capability to make our own applications and now that there is a digital compass we will never get lost! The possibilities are absolutely endless, and I'm pretty sure that the sky is no longer the limit. Here are the details on just a few of the new features:


iPhone Video


"Now you can shoot video, edit it, and share it — all on your iPhone 3GS. Shoot high-quality VGA video in portrait or landscape. Trim your footage by adjusting start and end points. Then share your video in an email, post it to your MobileMe gallery, publish it on YouTube, or sync it back to your Mac or PC using iTunes."


iPhone voice control


"Voice Control recognizes the names in your Contacts and knows the music on your iPod. So if you want to place a call or play a song, all you have to do is ask."


iPhone tethering


"Surf the web from practically anywhere. Now you can share the 3G connection on your iPhone with your Mac notebook or PC laptop."


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Who needs a US Passport?

Exactly one month ago I was on Facebook making a comment to a Webconsuls' team member. Why I was commenting is not important; however, what I determined in the commenting process was that my team member did not have a US Passport. His exact words were: 'Last time I left the country I didn't need a passport, We don't get out much...' Don't get out much? What if you have an emergency? What if you have an unexpected opportunity? The US Passport rules changed effective June 1, 2009. Who needs a US Passport?

The easiest answer to my rhetorical question is every US Citizen should have a US Passport. Effective June 1, 2009, US Citizens now need a Passport (or an enhanced Driver's License issued by some states) to re-enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and 17 nations in the Caribbean region.

Perhaps you are wondering why I am discussing passports on a Saturday morning. Well, I learned a long time ago that having a passport just makes good sense. In 1981, Dennis had to travel on business to France. Before he left he insisted that Aaron and I get our passports, just in case there were an emergency and we had to travel to France. So 28 years ago this month Aaron and I were issued our first US Passports. (See the photos below).

Now let's talk about today. Webconsuls has clients in foreign countries and while we have not yet traveled to visit our client in Cambodia or the Bruzzos in Italy, it could happen! Here in Tucson, the owner of La Fuente Restaurant recently asked us to travel to Mexico for an afternoon.

The up shot of my Facebook discussion with my team member is that this week our Tucson neighbor offered us the use of his condo in Rocky Point, Mexico(overlooking the Sea of Cortez). We called our team member and asked him if he wanted to go with us...but alas, no US Passport!

Who needs a US Passport? You tell me....

Judy, June 25, 1981
Aaron, June 25, 1981

Friday, June 12, 2009

Chickenfoot's 1st Single "Oh Yeah"



Chickenfoot is a new rock n roll group consisting of veteran musicians- Sammy Hagar (vocals) and Mike Anthony (bass) from Van Halen, Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers (drums) and the guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani.

Take a listen above, if you are not a big fan of the current state of rock n roll music (like me) you will be pleasantly surprised that these wily veterans are putting out the classic sound rarely heard today.  Granted this first single isn't the deepest subject matter, but there is still a place for a good anthem in my book.

Also look out for the performance of this track live on the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Twitter tweet or retweet button on Blogger template

You've seen the Digg button on most blogs but how often have you seen a tweet button?

Twitter has been growing since it was developed and is more of a social trend to be on twitter more than anything else. Now you can allow your business or personal blog posts to be tweeted.

Here is how it works, Website http://tweetmeme.com/, allows you to tweet a specific page or a specific blog post and provides the code for it (very friendly). What it does not show you is how to add it on a blogger template.

Here is how you can modify your blogger template to include a tweet button how we have here (look on the top right).

1) Locate the following line: <BlogDateHeader>
2) Place the following code:
<div style="float:right;">
<script type="text/javascript">
tweetmeme_url = 'STEP-3';
</script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://tweetmeme.com/i/scripts/button.js"> </script></div>

</script>

3) change STEP-3 to <$BlogItemUrl$>
 
A bit of HTML or blogger template experience may be required.

Contact Webconsuls to get a FREE quote on a custom personal or business blog.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Play Rock Band with The Beatles!



Play Rock Band with The Beatles!

Gamespot gives a look at the new Beatles Rock band version.

6 people playing at once and 3 part vocal harmonies, HOW FUN!

Here comes the sun! Sun Sun Sun, Here it comes!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

View from Hogback Mountain

This will be a quick post today, coming to you from Dan, via Judy Helfand in Tucson. Dan is visiting in Maine and wrote up his weekly Sunday post, but did not save it in blogger. This morning he is in Montville, walking up Hogback Mountain to see his friends. No internet connectivety in this little section. So here is an up close and personal view from Hogback Mountain. More later in the week.

Dan used his iPhone to send this photo via gMail.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Good Night GM...Que Sera, Sera

Today is the 65th Anniversary of D-Day and this past Monday Americans waited to hear the news of General Motors' bankruptcy. Yes, the same GM whose industrial power helped our country be on the winning side in WWII. The news of this bankruptcy was startling, even though we have had so many shocking economical events in the past nine months, I feel this news hits a part of us that is not just about the economy, but our life's memories. If you read my Saturday post regularly, you know I am not an economist, and I do not have an MBA. I have, although, worked for major US corporations, mainly banks, and in my day was quite proficient in the automobile financing world. But today's post is not about economics, albeit I am heartsick for all those workers impacted by this latest chapter in the American automobile industry. No, today's blog is about my memories of GM. And so I say: Good Night GM...Que sera, sera.

For the record, my life's memories as they relate to automobiles are not just about General Motors' products. For example, I do remember fondly my mother learning to drive in late 1953. We had what I believe was a very used Plymouth. Then one evening in 1954 I remember my father coming home from work. When he came through the door I ran to him and grilled him, as little ones do, what had he brought us? I expected ice cream, but to my surprise, he smiled and said: "I brought you a new car!" Outside sat a brand new 1954 Plymouth sedan. It was two toned, dark brown and beige. And it was in that car in 1956 that we (our the family of six) traveled from San Diego to Great Falls, Montana, to show off our new baby brother. It was during this trip(I was 6.5 years old) that the magical car radio repeatedly played "Que Sera, Sera", (the 1957 Academy Award winning song from the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, The Man Who Knew Too Much.)


By the time we reached Montana I had memorized this wonderful song and my father happily had me sing it for his brothers and sisters! Memories.

My days and nights with General Motors began in 1959. My father traded in the 1954 Plymouth and purchased a 1959 Chevrolet Impala. It was two toned (green and white), no accounting for taste. I never cared for the color, but it seemed so fancy. In 1964 my father traded up for the latest Chevrolet Impala, four door, a really big engine, and a pale blue. He was beside himself. See a typical window_sticker.pdf here. Following the General Motors' Mantra...my father loved to see the USA in his Chevrolet. In the summer of 1964 our family made another jaunt to Montana and the song of the summer was the "The Girl from Ipanema", which won the Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965. I believe everyone had a love affair with this car...even Hertz featured this model in their Rent a Car ads in 1964. (I am sure the only reason I saved this ad, which you will see in my Picasa Web Slide show, from my 1965 Hilton Hotel room was because of the Impala.)

The summer of 1967 my parents drove me to college in this '64 Impala. I wore some flowers in my hair and they dutifully dropped me at the University of San Fransisco and tried to avoid getting lost in Haight/Ashbury on their way out of town!

Here are some car facts about me:
1. Since 1968 through today I have owned 13 vehicles. 41 years...13 vehicles. Two(2) were General Motors products, three (3) were Chrysler products and eight(8) were foreign models.
2. What I love best about my General Motors vehicles is this: In 1980 we brought our new born Aaron home from the hospital in the 1979 Buick Regal and in 1984 we brought Daniel home from the hospital in our 1984 Chevrolet S10 Blazer.
3. In 1997, Dennis and I drove across country with Aaron and Daniel in our 1994 Dodge Caravan...more memories.

My friends know this about me. I am not a car person. I do not care about cars, I hate worrying about vehicle upkeep, I would love to have all of the money I have spent over the past 41 years buying, renting, leasing, insuring, and repairing vehicles. I would happily live in Manhattan, Chicago, or San Francisco and take mass transit. But I will never trade the memories of being brave enough to ride with my mother when she was learning to drive and I was only four, or my father settling in the driver's seat for a Sunday drive in the country, or road trips to Montana, Las Vegas, Denali, Howe's Cavern, the Bronx, Washington, D. C...and let's not forget front bench seats, no seat belts, no A/C, crossing the desert with a canvas radiator bag.

So today, que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be. But for some reason I cannot bear to say good-bye to GM. I will remember the great ads, Dinah Shore, and my favorite from 2002.


I will say good-night to GM, savor my memories and wait and hope the reinvention is successful.
P.S. Let me hear about your GM memories and enjoy my YouTube video selections and Picasa Web Album.
P. P. S. A good friend just read this blog and he reminded me that in 1960 my father purchased a used 1940 Cadillac mourning car. It had jump seats and held about 10-12 people. It was the real fore-runner in our family for a mini-van. Go to this blog post to read about my dad and see a photo of this crazy car.

Friday, June 5, 2009

What is the Difference Between Baseball and Men's Softball?


What are the major differences and rule changes between baseball and men's softball?

Other than the difference in the ball itself being bigger and less dense, there are major differences.

Softball has an extra player in the lineup totaling 10.  Defensively this means there are 4 outfielders instead of 3, or once in a while that extra player will be added to the infield directly behind the bag at 2nd.

The pitching is the major difference from hardball.  Pitchers in softball have a requirement of an arc above the batters waist, no higher than 10 to 12 feet depending on the league.  Because the pitch is underhand, the scoring is much higher on average than hardball, where 20 to 30 runs can be scored per game.

A few other minor differences include no leading off as a base runner.  After the pitch a base runner can be 'picked off' through the use of a force-play (not having to tag that runner).  Also, because the pitching is underhand, most leagues have a home run rule where team A cannot have hit more than 1 more home run than team B.

These rules can vary from league to league, but to the hardcore baseball fan, these rule changes are major.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Twitter Phone by INQ Mobile

INQ Mobile released a Facebook phone last year and plans on releasing a Twitter phone by the end of this year. No information has been released whether the phone will be released in North America or Europe. It should have a QWERTY keypad to easily post a 140 character message on twitter but not confirmed.

The phone will cost less than $140 and given the price, you can't expect to have any high-end features on this device.

Personally, I feel that phones with the web browser allow you to access social networking sites. The only thing this phone has going for it is the price and somehow making it a reduced monthly fee for using the data plan on most service providers.

Will this handset last in the mobile market or has the Twitter trend run its course?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Is your business listed on YELP?

On April 24, 2009, Darin McClure sent me a link to an article about YELP. The title of the article was "Yelp Allows Business Owners to Talk Back On Site". I read the article that day and I really thought it should be a subject for a blog post, but until today I have not had time to talk about it here. The more research I did about YELP, the more I realized I didn't know or understand a lot about this particular social networking site. Is your business listed on YELP?

I would like your input. Maybe you can answer some of my questions:
  1. Do you have a personal YELP account?
  2. Do you often write business reviews on YELP?
  3. Do you rely on the YELP reviews?
  4. Can you explain how the "search" program works in the back end?
Regarding #4: If I go to YELP and search for Mexican Restaurant in the specific zip code of 85705, then how can there be 160 results with the first result listed located in the zip code 85719? There is no rhyme or reason to the listings, they are not in alphabetical order, review frequency order, etc. Or am I missing something?
Now if I do the same search on Google Maps there are many more results, but they are listed in zip code relevancy order. In other words, Google lists first those restaurants actually located in 85705. Makes sense to me.
I hope that someone out there in YELP land can explain this phenomena to me.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

National Neil Diamond Day is June 2



I have never been wished a "Happy Neil Diamond Day" but if there ever was a day to do it today would be it. June 2 is officially "Happy Neil Diamond Day."

At 68 Neil is actively playing music, writing as well as touring extensively. A look at The Official Neil Diamond Website will also show that Neil is actively engaging audiences with social media. Neil Twitters and a teaser to his account as well as an invitation to follow are front and center on his website. Very Nice Neil!

If you haven't had a chance to wish someone a "Happy Neil Diamond Day" be sure to. Follow up Neil on Twitter.

If you have questions on how to develop a web marketing strategy which integrates Twitter and other social media tools contact us at Webconsuls for a quote today.

Monday, June 1, 2009

20 Years Ago Today Tiananmen Square



It happened in Tiananmen Square.

Al Jazeera TV's documentary on the world's largest and most influential pro-democracy movement, that was violently crushed 20 years ago today.

Where were you when one man stood up to a tank?