Saturday, April 30, 2011

NetActive 30 April 2011

Barack Obama & the American Dream - Barack Obama would be a terrible poker player. He has certain “tells” that reveal his emotional status, especially when he is feeling nostalgic.

Jobs a Trump Presidency Would ‘Save or Create’ - **Written by Doug Powers Imagine for a moment that Donald Trump is elected president next year...

Should Doctors and Patients be Friends Online? - As many of my regular readers know, I have been a long time advocate for social media and I over the winter, I took a position as Social Media Manager for...

‘Top 10 reasons twitter is on top of the social media food chain’

Akhila K.
Beautiful series of posts on Gender Across Borders blog on intersectionality. Love this one: I am from...

Renee Schmidt
Check out: - My friend's site where SHE posts hip hop music, videos and cool other stuff :) @

Summer Jam 2011
Don't forget to to tune in to the Angie Martinez Show, Monday at 4pm for the official Summer Jam Artist Lineup!

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Millionaire Lottery Winner Hawking Book

If I were a big prize winner, I wouldn't bother selling anything on the net - I'd be too busy spending money and planning for my future.

Found in my "spam" email inbox: a message from LARRY!
Hover and click on the images to see what I've seen! Here's a link to "Larry"'s website, via the e-mail:

And here's a link to the Oklahoma Lottery:

Larry?

Why is "Larry" hiding his identity? (If that is "Larry" writing me?)

BlogCatalog Raising Ca$h for MyBlogLog Acquisition?

MyBlogLog is closing soon. BlogCatalog is trying to take it over, and my guess is they are trying to fund a purchase by gouging bloggers with their "$150 a month" "Power Blogger" program. Looks like they need a few more bucks.

Even though they have banned my blog from BlogCatalog, (the slap in the face came AFTER I blogged nicely about them) they continue to "keep me informed" via email.

Let's face it: Facebook and Twitter have really sucked the life out of both MyBlogLog and that ridiculous runner-up "Blog Catalog."

Here's the scOOp from the MBL e-mail:
Since initial enrollment for the Power Blogger program closed, we have been swamped with emails asking how to become part of this exclusive group. In response, we have opened Power Blogger enrollment up to 10 more success-driven bloggers. Take advantage of this limited-time offer and secure your spot as one of the next blogging sensations. Don't waste another minute reading someone else's online success story. Sign up for Power Blogger and start writing your own.
Let's see. They want to sell 10 spots at $150 a month. That's $1500 a month. And they have some signed up already, so maybe we can assume if they are borrowing money to buy MyBlogLog from yahoo, they need to pay back the loan at about $3000 or more a month, for X number of months...

Looks like they also have some "big name blogger" endorsements from bloggers with snazzy websites (maybe a little too snazzy for the rest of us)

Meantime, the folks at Famous Bloggers have been dealing with an invader.

And I continue to RECOMMEND ENTRECARD to all my fellow-bloggers!

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Internet Surfers - Proceed with Caution

Wi-Fi networks are popping up nearly everywhere and many consumers don’t realize the dangers, including real threats of identity theft, that come with using a Wi-Fi connection that is not your own. According to a recent poll conducted by Wakefield Research and Wi-Fi Alliance, 32 percent of respondents said they have tried to get on a Wi-Fi network that was not their own, 18 percent more than a December 2008 poll. The Better Business Bureau, along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), urges consumers to think ahead before surfing the Web on a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Wi-Fi hotpots like coffee shops, libraries, airports, hotels and universities are all breeding grounds for hackers. According to the FTC, new hacking tools—available for free online—make hacking easy, even for users with limited technical know-how.
Consumers should be cautious before using a non-secure wireless network and before sending personal information via unencrypted websites. When surfing on a non-secure Internet connection, an individual’s personal information, private documents, contacts, photos and even login information can be up for grabs as other users on the network have the capability of seeing what is being sent.
David Polino, Better Business Bureau President, warns consumers against two popular security scams that can be associated with using an unsecure Internet connection. “Many consumers don’t realize the repercussions that come from using a Wi-Fi hotspot. Phishing, a popular e-mailing scam, and text message scams, grow rapidly when hackers obtain access to personal information on the Web via an unsecure Wi-Fi network.” BBB urges consumers to protect themselves from such scams by securing their Internet surfing.
In order to confirm that an Internet connection is secure, BBB advises consumers to follow the FTC’s top Wi-Fi tips:
  • Make sure the connection is protected by a unique password. If a Wi-Fi hotspot doesn’t ask for a password, the Internet connection is not secure. If a hotspot asks for a password just to grant access, consumers should proceed as if the connection were unsecured. Only trust home and work internet connections that are protected by a customized user password. Wi-Fi hotspot connections with generic passwords are vulnerable to hackers.
  • Transmitted information should be encrypted. When sending personal information like addresses, credit card numbers and Social Security numbers over the Internet, make sure the website is fully encrypted and the network is secure. Look for https (the “s” stands for secure) at the beginning of the URL address to confirm its security.
  • Don’t stay permanently logged-in to wireless hotspots. Never leave your Internet connection running while your computer is unattended and make sure to log-off after every use.
  • Change your passwords frequently. When creating new accounts, make sure you use different passwords. Do not use the same password for different sites. If one password is hacked, the chances of other accounts being hacked becomes greater with repeated passwords.
For more advice on security scams, visit www.bbb.org or to learn more about protecting your privacy online and what to do if your information is compromised, visit www.OnGuardOnline.gov and http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2011/02/wireless.shtm.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

All About About!

Suddenly, all bloggers are knuckleheads.

The latest "advice" craze among "guru" bloggers involves tweaking or otherwise "tuning up" any blog or website's "ABOUT" page!

I've noticed a lot of articles like this one are making the rounds. And here's a somewhat milder post:
Richard Adams writes::: "Your readers want to know who *you* are. They want to know what makes you unique, what your experiences are and why they can trust what you’re writing." TRUE, but you don't HAVE to tell them everything anything.
Let's examine this realistically: quite simply, everyone has his or her own unique comfort level. No one should be compelled to believe they need give up more information than they would feel comfortable with. I don't believe that spilling your guts or detailing your resume is a requirement for an effective "about" page. I think the topic is without all the merit recently attributed to it, and is on its way to becoming another vehicle for "guru" bloggers to get links, sell ebooks and kiss each other's fannies.

RIPPED from Google: a few of the more legit advice articles...
Ideas for Crafting a Better 'About' Page - Baymard Institute
Awesome About Page Designs for Inspiration - designmodo.com
How to write about yourself, "about" pages | HowToWriteBetter.net


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THE BLOGGING CLASS ::: LESSON TWELVE

Today's lesson is all about BRANDING...

I've told you before how certain celebrities and blogebrities achieved fame via artificial internet buzz... now here's another celebrity who plays PR like a virtuoso plays a violin... this is something you should STUDY ON YOUR OWN and think of ways you can apply these techniques to BLOGGING!
I offered this comment earlier this week to an article I clicked on via microblogging platform twitter:

"You wrote “How do you shake off old paradigms and see something with new eyes?” – that can be a tall order. Perspective and knowledge come into play. For someone new to writing, blogging, publishing – your tips and techniques are like opening a treasure box. For somebody like me who has been reading (and writing) good advice for a long time, I ask myself “How many more times can we re-invent the same stuff and recycle it over and over again,” which is exactly the role the “guru” must play… to shake off those old paradigms one needs to (I hate to say it) “think outside the box.”

A better example might be the career of rap artist Nicki Minaj, who went from a relatively unremarkable, rather plain-looking minor player to a glam SUPERSTAR in demand for collaborative projects with the likes of Mariah Carey, Britney Spears etc., all in a relatively short 4-year timespan. Particulary interesting is how Minaj hijacked the “Barbie” franchise without stepping on any copyright toes: This could be a great lesson for bloggers… Minaj-icize your blogs!
Make sure you save/print this link: observe the "before" and "after" photographs. Now, substitute YOU and YOUR BLOG for the "before" ---- how do you want things to be/look "after" ?????

Andrew Cuomo's eStop

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES E-STOP LAW LEADS TO REMOVAL OF MORE THAN 24,000 SOCIAL NETWORKING ACCOUNTS AND PROFILES LINKED TO REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS
e-STOP Marks Third Anniversary as One of the Most Effective Internet Safety Laws in the Nation

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that e-STOP has resulted in the removal of more than 24,000 accounts and online profiles linked to registered sex offenders.

The Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP), authored by Cuomo when he served as Attorney General and passed unanimously by the Legislature in April of 2008, established numerous groundbreaking protections.

It requires sex offenders to register and keep up-to-date all current email accounts, screen names, and any other Internet identifiers with the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). The list is then given to more than two dozen social networking companies on a weekly basis and those sites use it to purge offenders.

"e-STOP is one of the most effective Internet safety laws in the nation, directly responsible for keeping thousands of sex offenders off-line and away from our children," Governor Cuomo said. "I commend the social networking sites that have agreed to continually use our data to ensure the safety of their users. e-STOP shows that New York continues to be on the forefront of Internet safety and its success is an example of what can be accomplished when we work together."

Provisions of the e-STOP law include:
    · Requiring sex offenders register all of their Internet accounts and identifiers (e-mail addresses and designations used for chat, instant messaging, social networking, or other similar Internet communication) with DCJS.
    · Authorizing DCJS to release state sex offender Internet identifiers to social networking sites and certain other online services to prescreen or remove sex offenders from using the site's services and notify law enforcement authorities and other government officials in conformity with state and federal law of potential violations and threats to public safety.
    · Requiring mandatory Internet restrictions for all level 3 sex offenders, offenders whose victims were under 18, and offenders who used the Internet to victimize a minor.

Laura A. Ahearn, L.M.S.W, Executive Director of Parents for Megan's Law and the Crime Victims Center said, "Regardless of the office he holds, to us, Andrew Cuomo will always be the Sheriff of Cyberspace. As parents and lawmakers struggle to keep up with the dangers of an ever-expanding digital universe, Governor Cuomo has stepped in, passed an effective law, and kept the spotlight on Internet safety. We applaud his successful efforts to expand provisions of Megan's Law to the Internet."

Around The Blogosphere 28 April 2011

A controversial shutdown of three localised British blogs has readers scratching their heads. The blogs served netizens in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Leeds. Each location had its own reporter aka "beatblogger"- DJ Leekee blogs::: "Launched as a local experiment in 3 cities throughout the UK, Guardian Local was set-up to connect local citizens to information sources and resources in their areas and bring them local stories, news and features that mattered to them!"
Don't forget to stop back here on the blog tonight at 7:37 PM New York (Eastern) Time for the latest installment of THE BLOGGING CLASS! I think you'll find tonight's lesson particularly interesting!
AMERICAN DREAM SMASHED BY "BEAST" ::: (CBSNewYork) — In a fiery courtroom faceoff, a heartbroken mother lashed out at the sentencing of the monster who brutally raped and killed her daughter.

CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman was in the Queens courtroom as the woman confronted the killer through a translator.

“Come back my daughter! My only child!” the mother said.

Even the most hardened courtroom observers were wiping their eyes. The mother, Guihua Yu, had traveled from a remote part of China to confront Carlos Cruz, 29, the man who beat, raped and killed her daughter last May.

Guihua Yao said her 23-year-old daughter, Yu Yao, had just arrived in the land of her dreams – America.

BLOGGER DAN NGUYEN has that all-important BACKSTORY.

Finally: Catholic Church suspends rogue Chicago Rev. Michael Pfleger - News out of the Windy City tonight: Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George has at long last suspended prog nutball Rev. Michael Pfleger.

The appearance of Egyptian political activist and tweep Gigi Ibrahim on The Daily Show brought a wave of support and protests from fellow tweeps, who covered the Egyptian revolution. Tarek Amr wrote this post for Global Voices.

Malaysia: Boot Camp to “Help” Effeminate Boys
Based on their effeminate tendencies, 66 schoolboys from the state of Terengganu in Malaysia were recently sent to a boot camp aimed at "helping them behave in a proper manner". The boys were identified by their schools, who were instructed last year to identify students who displayed feminine qualities. The blogoshere in Malaysia is divided over this issue.

Digi has launched the DiGi WWWOW Award, it's 1st people’s choice Internet awards for Malaysians by Malaysians.

On the heels of Japan's flying girl, here come Taiwan's lying girls. The Lying Girls will show you a really, totally, different way of viewing Taiwan…

Would You Pay For Search? - How much would you pay for Google if it were not free?

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Birth Certificate Circus ::: Smoking Gun Opens Up "Birther" Can of Worms

When I was waiting for the bus this morning, I was thinking of writing a new post about the Barack Obama "birther" brouhaha. It was gonna be a kind of a "so what, move on" piece. Heck, I'd already posted and updated an article regarding that birth certificate, but in the course of the day, the President released his document (Donald Trump proudly took credit for the release) - but then Matt Drudge posted a link to a website that apparently had been scrubbed clean - a site that supposedly did a step-by-step document dissection in Adobe Illustrator and presented an argument that the paper was a fake. The site was originally posted on the Smoking Gun, which then brought the "birther" concept to new levels... here it all is, ripped from DRUDGE!

HERE IT IS!

OBAMA SHOWS LONG FORM...

IS IT REAL?

Composed of layers?

TRUMP TAKES CREDIT...


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RIP Bahare Alavi


The One Million Signature Campaign and the Iranian women’s movement have lost one of their brightest stars forever. 22-year old blogger and women's rights activist Bahare Alavi died in a car accident. She wrote for years in Dokhtare Khorshid blog. She is dearly remembered by colleagues, friends and fans.



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Sticky Graffiti (Almost Wordless Wednesday)

Whilst out walking, I happened upon something new... it looks to be Graffiti prepared at home on USPS address stickers which are then applied to street structures? [hover and click on image to enlarge] Much faster than traditional means of applying graffiti and no need to carry paint cans or markers...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Internet Eraser

Hello Bloggers! This is LESSON ELEVEN in my continuing series THE BLOGGING CLASS!

My Mission: To benefit every blogger, in every way, every time, every day!
It's quite unusual for information to vanish from the internet. But it does happen! There have been more than a few times when I've found a picture or text about someone and then when I went back to look it a month or two or three later, it could not be found. There are still a few posts on this blog that bear dead links because the pages at those urls were deleted by the website or weblog owner(s).
(Arissa Cheo aka Arissa Luna, Cheo Zhen Shan) HATES THIS PICTURE ::: the Fashion & Media Entrepreneur/Famous Singaporean Heiress used her clout and Ca$h to have blogs decommissioned that have carried it! (Except for this one I've linked to (click on Arissa's Eyes), and who knows how long it will last!)

Not too many people have success at wiping their digital footprints off the world wide web:

Scores of Spaniards lay claim to a "Right to be Forgotten" because public information once hard to get is now so easy to find on the Internet. [deTailS]
Below is a snippet of an article that Adam Thierer posted April 17th 2011 on forbes:::"Last December, Common Sense Media, an influential media watchdog and online safety organization, proposed letting kids or their parents delete information that children or teens had put online but later regretted. “Web companies should develop tools that make it easier for young people — or their parents — to completely opt out and delete this information,” the organization argued. They called it the Internet “Eraser Button.”

A similar idea is currently being considered across the Atlantic. The European Union, which has far more sweeping privacy controls than the U.S., is now considering a so-called “right to be forgotten” online. The E.U. defines it as “the right of individuals to have their data… deleted when they are no longer needed for legitimate purposes.”

While U.S. policymakers have yet to embrace so far-reaching a concept, a bill introduced this week by Senators John Kerry and John McCain mandates “data minimization” by website operators, which could provide an opening for broader regulation. Some congressional Democrats are rumored to be interested in the Eraser Button concept."

I suggest anytime you see something you may want to keep, save it on your PC or use one of the bookmarking services. To save an entire visual, hit the "PrintScreen" button, open Paint and then CTRL+V, save the image as a JPEG. You can also "save the entire webpage" to a file.

If a page has recently disappeared, it may still exist in Google's cache. Should you locate it there, you definitely want to do the PrintScreen method on it!

Sometimes material is still out there, but you have to know the exact URL because it's fallen off search engine's radar.

From 2007::: (Hmmm... wonder how many of the following links are still "alive"?!?) A very curious case: Mai Shiozaki. A friend from one of the local TV stations wanted to see a picture of Ms. Shiozaki. Now, this woman is a TV anchor and reporter. Should be no problem to find a picture. Wrong! Whatever search engine she checked, my friend kept getting messages like: We did not find results for "Mai Shiozaki". How can this be?

Perhaps Ms. Shiozaki used a service like THIS.

But there still exist digital clues, remnants of what may have happened:
Marblehead P.D. confirms Tara Arnold or her father dropped a dime on WKOW's Mai Shiozaki by sending copies of the one year old police report to her corporate managers at WKOW and to the local Madison newspaper. They should really feel proud of themselves for further destroying the life of Mai Shiozaki and any possibility of gainful employment in the TV biz for her. When does someone suffer enough for a mistake they made in the past and are now sorry for making? When will the very business Mai Shiozaki yearns to work for stop reprinting an old gossip column article from a Boston rag which unfortunately keeps showing up on Google and ruining her chances of working again? (source)
Fast Forward to 2011 - Mai Shiozaki has returned to the web on a limited basis, it would seem!

And then we have the phenom of UNPUBLISHING A BLOG...

You might also enjoy these posts ::: How To DELETE your Facebook pages.

TechRadar UK ::: 24 hours back on 56k dial-up: what's it like?

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The Bare Necessities

The global financial storm, like the tornado-laden storms crossing the United States in recent days, is wreaking previously unexperienced levels of havoc on the consumer. Prices of various commodities are headed to the stratosphere, led by gas and by coffee:



Gas prices across the country have jumped about 40% since last fall, to more than $3.80 a gallon nationwide — more than $4.00 here in New York.

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is uneasy with high oil prices and concerned about their impact on the global economy, the chief executive of state oil firm Aramco said Tuesday.

Oil prices recovered from early losses on Tuesday, with Brent crude LCOc1 trading up 16 cents at $123.82 a barrel at 1059 GMT. Aramco Chief Executive Khalid al-Falih's comments at an industry event in South Korea had weighed on sentiment earlier, when prices fell amid a wider decline in commodities.

"We are not comfortable with oil prices where they are today...I am concerned about the impact it could have on the global economy," Falih told an industry gathering in South Korea.

Amid higher oil prices and government spending cuts, the US economy now appears to be slowing. The euro struck a 16-month high against the dollar and the Swiss franc notched a record high versus the US unit Tuesday, while the dollar tumbled to an all-time low point of 0.8745 Swiss francs. Markets are keenly awaiting Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's first news conference on Wednesday. With billions of dollars riding on Bernanke's comments, the conference is expected to be a cautious affair.

Investors pushed the price of gold, a hedge against inflation, above $1,500 an ounce for the first time last week.

They can't give houses away either - er- I should say banks WON'T extend credit to otherwise qualified buyers - prices for new homes have tumbled 11% since the end of last year. Existing home prices slid 5% in the same time period. Vacancies dot neighborhoods across the Capital Region.

Cars are available - and being purchased - even though some consumers are waiting it out to see if Ford brings out an electric and/or hybrid model. FoMoCo is doing well right now... "In 2010, Ford rebounded from the recession that helped send its cross-town rivals into bankruptcy protection, earning a total of $6.6 billion. Ford said it expects profit to be even higher for 2011." ~ NY Times

Robert Gibbs: Schenectady to Facebook?

Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs visited the Capital Region Monday night - yours truly was there, covering the story for public radio...

A pair of reports appearing in newspapers owned by News Corporation
(which also owns Facebook vanquishee MySpace) suggest that Gibbs won’t be going west to California for a senior communications position with the social-network.


Robert Gibbs served as 28th White House press secretary under Barack Obama - he spoke at Union College on his second visit to the Electric City in 5 months - he was here in January when President Obama visited GE.

His appearance at Union College was just his third speaking engagement since leaving the White House, bringing his talk, "Inside Washington: What's Next" to Memorial Chapel.

Reporters were given the opportunity to conduct Q&A with Gibbs before his speech. I was surprised there weren't more of us at the event!

Gibbs appeared relaxed and confident, even though the Schenectady talk was only his third professional speaking engagement since leaving the White House.

Gibbs mentioned the Obama Birth Certificate issue in his presser and in his speech. My guess is that Team Obama may be playing it close to the vest, holding onto the document then releasing it close to election to instantly discredit the other side, kicking 'em down a notch.
Related ::: Obama ‘Absolutely’ Born in Hawaii: CNN
Gibbs also said that Mitt Romney has best chance of becoming the GOP nominee, and he warns the Hispanic Vote will be critical - he says if Republicans don't get the Hispanic Vote - they can't win the Presidency!

Gibbs has reportedly been in on-and-off talks to join Facebook's communications team, a job that could be worth millions in salary and stock options, according to The New York Times. If Gibbs accepted the position, he would be one in a string of Washington veterans to join the Facebook team as it continues to strengthen its presence on Capitol Hill. He didn't comment about FB at the presser.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that talks had “fallen apart in the wake of a leak to the media that made a deal for him to join the company sound imminent.”

The New York Post’s Page Six reported earlier this month that the interview process hadn’t gone too well for Gibbs. “Some people liked him, some people liked him a lot and others didn’t,” a source told the gossip column.

Since 2009, Facebook's Washington team has grown from two to eight members, with a roster including former Federal Trade Commission Chairman Timothy Muris, who served under President George W. Bush; Catherine Martin, a deputy assistant for Mr. Bush; and former Obama White House staffer Marne Levine.




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BONUS Video ::: Trump chats with Eliot Spitzer





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Around The Blogosphere 26 April 2011


Disgusting Male Fans Of Korean Pop Group Girls’ Generation - Chinese fan video of Korean pop girl group Girl’s Generation performing several of their latest songs from their most recent Oh! album was filmed by a Chinese fan when the group visited Beijing as Samsung product spokespersons. It quickly accumulated nearly half a million views the day it was uploaded...

Photos posts
Puerto Rico: ‘Speak Your Mind' Online

Read this post.
Under the slogan "Speak your Mind," the online magazine Qiibo covers everyday Puerto Rican politics and the latest entertainment and technology news. Global Voices author Cesar Santiago interviewed the staff about their interests, their place within Puerto Rico's online media, the possibility of alliances with traditional media, and the Puerto Rican blogosphere.
Remember #Chernobyl 25 years ago today - watch Globe Trekker Ukraine http://goo.gl/t5Oe9
Baseball’s Greatest Play, 35 Years Later - "Safe!"
Aljazeera.net
You have reached Mexico's narco blog: "The narco blog uses much of the information citizens upload to other social networking sites," says Pedro Perez, president of the democratic union of journalists in Tamaulipas
How to Add Facebook Comments to Thesis Theme
Bahraini blogger Mahmood Al Yousif writes about paranoia and mobile phones. Is the worry about mobile phone invading privacy warranted?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Around The Blogosphere 25 April 2011

Syria: Blog interview with Opposition activist Ammar Abdulhamid

Read this post. American blogger and Syria expert, Joshua Landis, conducted a video interview with exiled leading Opposition activist Ammar Abdulhamid on the Syrian unrest. Speaking on Landis' blog, Syria Comment, Abdulhamid was questioned on a variety of topics concerning the Syrian revolution, from the dangers of a sectarian breakdown, to the regional implications of a potential collapse in regime.
Wenzhou Wedding Motorcade Worth Hundreds Of Millions RMB - Chinese netizen reactions to a 26-car wedding motorcade in Wenzhou, China made of expensive super cars like Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Rolls Royces...
#musicmonday - Blast from the Past! - Emma, also known as Emma, Emmaline or Emmeline, is a song by Errol Brown and Tony Wilson released as a single by Hot Chocolate in 1974.
Best $5 Ever Found


And no, it's not a link from Matt Drudge or The New York Times website... nor is it an accumulation of thousands upon thousands of links. Would you like to know what the strongest and the most powerful link is? I'll give you a hint: it's something YOU can easily give but seems as if it is almost impossible to receive. Put simply, you have the power to give it away but getting it back represents a difficult link-building scheme at best!

SEO gurus will most definitely not agree with the adgitizer on this one!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Next on my list...

Thinking... thinking... always thinking... such is the life of a blogger...

I hope everyone is enjoying the Easter/Passover season! Good times, good food, getting together with family and/or friends! Cherish these times!

This should be a fairly interesting week ahead: I've got some exciting radio assignments coming up, so those of you following my work prepare to enjoy some treats! The weather forecasters are predicting 70s for this part of the country thourghout the week, although we have a slight chance of rain every now and then.

Look for global financial news to dominate the headlines early in the week:

The U.S. economy probably grew at a slower pace in the first quarter as a jump in gasoline prices caused consumers to cut back, economists say...

I told you groceries are suddenly way too expensive, thanks to the high cost of gasoline, and this can't help the economy! (From the D'oh! Department: “The economy has hit a bit of a soft patch,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “If we continue to get these sharp jumps at the pump, that will be a major hit to consumer sentiment. There is a tipping point for consumers.”)
Jeff Cox/cnbc ::: Weakness in the US currency feeds upward pressure on commodities, which are priced in dollars and thus come at a discount on the foreign markets.

One result has been a surge higher in gasoline prices to nearly $4 a gallon before the summer driving season even starts, a trend that economists say will be aggravated as demand increases and the summer storm season threatens to disrupt oil supplies.

"All we have to have is a couple badly placed hurricanes which could constrain some of the refinery output capacity in some key locations," says Richard Hastings, strategist at Global Hunter Securities in Charlotte, N.C. "If you get weakness in the dollar concurrent with the strong driving season concurrent with the impact of one or two hurricanes in the wrong place, prices could go up in a quasi-exponential manner."
Housing isn't much better: Four out of 10 sales of existing homes are foreclosures or otherwise distressed properties. The Case-Shiller home price index for February will be out on Tuesday.

The Federal Reserve will hold a two-day meeting in Washington starting Tuesday to set interest rates: look for Chairman Ben Bernanke to hold the first of his newly-scheduled "quarterly press conferences." Come Thursday, the gross domestic product estimate for Q1 of 2011 is due.

For those of you out there struggling, remember this: a low-paying job is decidedly better than none at all!

And, if it is any consolation, the GLOBAL economy at this time is described as "risky" at best... and that "road to recovery" many believe we're on: I think they're not correctly reading the roadmap! More to follow!
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