August 16, 2013

Blog Action Day

Filed under: Blog Action Day — Les Bain @ 12:21 pm

What is Blog Action Day?

Founded in 2007, Blog Action Day brings together bloggers from different countries, interests and languages to blog about one important global topic on the same day. Past topics have included Water, Climate Change, Poverty, Food and the Power of We with thousands of blogs, big and small, taking part. In 2012, Blog Action Day was held on October 15 with close to 4000 bloggers from 111 countries blogging about the theme the Power of We. Take a look at highlights from Blog Action Day 2012

Blog Action Day will be held on October 16, 2013. Register your blog to take part

March 17, 2013

Blank Lines in WordPress Post

Filed under: Uncategorized — Les Bain @ 4:14 pm

It is not good practice to put multiple blank lines into a post.

 

 
It should be done with CSS, or with another method.

 

 
However, clients want to be able to do it.

 

 
I am experimenting with different techniques to add multiple blank lines.

December 26, 2012

Holiday Season

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 2:36 pm

A most pleasant holiday season this year. Time with family. Good food. I saw a movie in a movie theater which I have not done for years. And there are good leftovers in the fridge.

November 12, 2012

Obama had better software

Filed under: Personal,Politics — Les Bain @ 9:23 pm

To GOTV (Get out the Vote), both the Obama campaign and the Romney campaign used a high tech centralized system to get out the vote.  The Obama campaign used Gordon.  The Romney campaign used ORCA.  Gordon worked, ORCA did not, in fact ORCA crashed in the afternoon of November 6th.   It pays to get good software.

October 15, 2012

The Power of We

Filed under: Blog Action Day — Les Bain @ 4:37 pm

Blog action day

Today is Blog Action Day.  The theme is the power of we.

I belong to a group that is raising the prosperity of everyone in the group by working cooperatively. We come together to define projects that help the entire group, and we meet to discuss the economy and what we can do to change it.

See www.surpluseconomy.com

October 13, 2012

Wine

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 11:56 am

I am pleased to be able to watch wine making in progress.  I am not watching every step, but it taking place close to me,  and I am paying attention.  It is a fascinating process.

October 7, 2012

The poor ain’t what they used to be

Filed under: Uncategorized — Les Bain @ 11:35 am

The poor ain’t what they used to be

Now we face what Andy Sumner, who’s probably the most talked-about scholar of poverty, calls the “poverty paradox.” The problem, he says, is that “most of the world’s extreme poor do not live in the world’s poorest countries.”

 

A fascinating article on the changes in poverty.  It is no longer enough to help poor countries and therefore those in poverty.  Those in poverty are now part of the developed nations.

October 1, 2012

Summer BBQ

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 11:56 am

There was a BBQ here yesterday.  I was feeling under the weather, so did not want to attend and infect anyone.  But the food was delivered to my door by my caring family, and it was delicious.  I have enough left overs to hold me for a couple of days, so I am feeling blessed.

September 30, 2012

Low Energy

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 12:49 pm

Some days are low energy days.  I am as productive as I can be with low energy.  They are good days to explore new ideas, to plan, to think, and to be grateful.

September 28, 2012

Blog Action Day

Filed under: Blogging,Personal — Les Bain @ 11:04 am

I signed up for Blog Action Day.

“Founded in 2007, Blog Action Day brings together bloggers from different countries, interests and languages to blog about one important global topic on the same day. Past topics have included water, climate change, poverty and food with thousands of blogs, big and small, taking part.”

I have participated the last several years.

September 27, 2012

How Your Vibration Impacts Your Path

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 7:51 am

A great post by Erin Pavlina.

How Your Vibration Impacts Your Path

Posted on September 27, 2012 by Erin Pavlina

What’s your dominant emotional state? Are you usually chipper, happy, and in a place of joy? Or are you depressed, sad, upset or anxious a lot?

“Your emotional state has a huge impact on your life path. Have you noticed that when you’re excited and happy you feel unstoppable? Things just fall into place. It’s like money drops from the sky. Relationships get better. Things start going better at work. You’re in the flow. Everything you think about manifests. Everything you want just drops right into your lap.
What’s happening is that your vibrational state is having a direct impact on your life path.
When you are happy and at a high vibration, you attract positive experiences. Life just gets better. You’re totally in the flow. Your boat is sailing along with the current and you don’t even have to paddle.”

Great post.

September 26, 2012

3D Printers

Filed under: Personal,Technology — Les Bain @ 8:40 am

My daughter gave me a good book to read called Makers by Cory Doctorow.  The people in the book worked with 3D printers, so I got interested in 3D printers.

It has been fascinating to read about them and to learn about them.  I am still looking for the “killer app” that will make them go mainstream.

September 24, 2012

Be Happy

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 10:13 am

Some feel the sequence is Work > Become Successful > Be Happy

I am thinking the sequence is Be Happy > Work > Be Successful

Being happy means working smarter, being in the grove, working toward one’s passion.

September 14, 2012

Good Projects

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 8:12 am

I am working on some good projects for clients that I like.  I am waking up full of ideas of what I can do next.  Sometimes I am even waking up and not being able to go back to sleep.  Typically,  I just get up and start to work.  Feels good.

September 12, 2012

Fear

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 10:03 am

Read an interesting article about Sherpas in the Mount Everest area.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19569256

Because of global warning, mountain lakes are bursting, overflowing,  and causing damage and death.  The Sherpas are upset at all the warnings.

“Instead of having to fear death like that again and again, we would rather die once if the lake really bursts out one day.”

I feel that way sometimes.  I would rather die once, then live in fear everyday.

September 8, 2012

Son’s Wedding

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 10:10 am

My son got married today.  They were married on San Bruno Mountain State Park.  Then lunch was served in a fine restaurant in San Francisco.  It was a terrific day.

The food was gourmet.  The attitude was warm and loving.  The day was crisp and cold.  (I still got a sunburn)

I love my new daughter-in-law.  A very happy day.

September 6, 2012

Birthday Dinner with my Daughter

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 10:07 am

I took my daughter out to dinner for her birthday.  We went to Red Lobster.  It was a favorite “birthday restaurant” when she was younger.  Dinner was delicious.  The staff sang Happy Birthday.  A good evening.

September 3, 2012

Spirit Rock – Jack Kornfield

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 8:04 pm

Jack Kornfield does a a class on Monday night.  It is now being live streamed.

I listened and watched tonight.  He is so calming.

Jack teaches meditation and mindful living.

The class is held at Spirit Rock.

September 2, 2012

Lunch with my daughter

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 2:12 pm

Yesterday was lunch with my daughter.  It is our weekly time together.  We run errands together, shop together, and have lunch.

  • We visited the new Whole Foods store in the neighborhood and both stocked up.
  • She got a bus pass for the month.
  • We got some things at the drug store.

Lunch was not elegant.  We stopped at McDonalds on the way home to get take out.  It was perfect.

September 1, 2012

Paying the Bills

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 2:03 pm

First of the month.  Checks start to arrive.  I bill many of my clients at the end of the month and then the checks arrive close to the first of the month.

The checks come.  They are quickly turned into cash and money orders that are sent to people that I owe money to.  The activity we call “paying the bills”.

Then we all start to automate the process, with automatic deposit and automatic bill pay.  The money moves around on its own.

It is all strangely satisfying.

August 31, 2012

Sharing PHP

Filed under: Business,Personal — Les Bain @ 2:05 pm

My son has a new job.   We are now using the same technology.  We are both using PHP.  It is so much fun to talk “shop” with my son about very specific technologies.

As a solopreneur, I do not often have the opportunity to talk about specifics of the technologies I use.

The conversations have inspired me to use the technologies in a more sophisticated way.

 

August 30, 2012

Dancing with Source Satsang

Filed under: Business,Personal — Les Bain @ 10:20 am

I have a client – Ashley with Dancing with Source.  Every month she records a Satsang Recording.  Satsang (sat means true, sanga means company) describes an East Indian philosophy (1) the company of the Highest Truth (2) the company of a guru or teacher, or (3) company with an assembly of persons who listen to, talk about, and assimilate the truth.

Each month I put the Satsang recording on the website and listen to it to make sure it is loaded correctly.  Each month it gives me a blessing.

August 29, 2012

Satisfied Clients

Filed under: Business,Personal — Les Bain @ 7:10 am

It is so satisfying to do a good job for a client.  Create something that they want.  Make the  changes that they need.

Yesterday:

  • a client who was not ranked on Google is now ranked very well.
  • a client who is doing an event how has an event website up and running

It always feels so good to be able to have satisfied clients.

I think I will try for some more today.

August 28, 2012

My networking group

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 4:48 pm

Like many entrepreneurs,  I belong to a networking group.  I have been in several over the years.   This one has been terrific.

It is the Pleasant Hill Chapter of the ABRA networking group.

  • I get good referrals and lots of business
  • I have good close contacts with the people
  • I get positive reinforcement
  • I just enjoy being with the group
  • I help them, and they help me.

A fine group.

August 27, 2012

Another Lesson on not Procrastinating

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 2:05 pm

It is easy for me to procrastinate when I have something to do that I find onerous.  Usually I find it onerous only because it is late, or because I am doing the task for a client that is angry or upset.  What I do not remember from time to time, is how satisfying it is to finally tackle the task and get it done.

I often put off doing the task for hours, before finally working on it.  It consumes time best spent elsewhere.  Meditation helps.  Exercise helps.  Sleep helps.

Yesterday, I learned again how wonderful it feels to finally take on the task and get it done.  The next time I want to do it without all the procrastination and putting things off.

But it does make for a clean place to live, as that is what I usually do when putting off the critical task.

It sure feels good to tackle the task and get it done.

August 26, 2012

Lunch with my daughter

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 9:06 am

Because of the change in my circumstances, I am having lunch with my daughter each week.

Well, we call it lunch, but it is a time to get together, get some work done as required, talk about anything and everything, and in general just try to help and encourage each other.

Now that she has started school, we are doing it on Saturday – so yesterday we met for lunch.  It is such a treat to have that time with her.

We have been setting goals for things to accomplish together, and we are working through some significant items.  We have marked some significant items as completed.  It is a special time each week.

August 25, 2012

Rubik Cube

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 8:46 am

Many years ago someone gave me a Rubik’s Cube.  It was before there was a  World Wide Web.

I solved it after spending lots of effort.  I had to figure it all out by myself.  I created my own style and own algorithms.

I saw a Rubik’s Cube in the dollar store the other day and got it.   This time I went to the World Wide Web to see some techniques for solving it, but that was just no fun, and I had a hard time understanding the instructions.

So with memory and some muscle memory, I worked on the cube enough to remember how to solve it.  I apparently taught myself a way that is different from what I see on the World Wide Web.  I am not very fast, but I do like changing the cube from chaos to order.   And doing it my way.

August 24, 2012

Reiki Sessions

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 11:16 am

On Thursdays, I get a Reiki session.  I have felt much better since I started these Reiki sessions.

I do not care to analyse why.  I am more than happy to believe it is magic, energetic healing, or a placebo.  It makes no difference to me.  I just feel better.

My Reiki Master just got back from an intense Reiki weekend, and I have benefited by getting very powerful sessions.

August 23, 2012

Master Mind Meeting

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 9:33 pm

On Thursdays, I have a regular meeting.  It has some qualities of a Master Mind meeting.  It also has some other very interesting goals.

It is a treat every Thursday to meet with the group and engage in some serious discussions about solutions, and not so much about problems.  We do projects that are beneficial.  It is a good group.

Today’s meeting was particularly animated and productive.  I am grateful for the group and their support.

August 22, 2012

Holidays with Family

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 1:02 pm

It is going to work out for me to live in my son’s in-law apartment through the holidays.

And for my family, that includes two birthdays, thanksgiving, and the eclectic end of year festivities.  I am very excited about getting to know my children as adults, and this will certainly be a wonderful way to experience that.

It will also let me focus on my business, as opposed to moving again.  I am delighted.

August 21, 2012

A great dinner

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 9:09 am

Had a great dinner last night with Alex and Tala.  The meal was delicious – pork, butternut squash, and greens.

The conversation was stimulating and wide ranging.

I love my family, and I also just really like them.

August 20, 2012

First, Be Happy

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 10:35 am

I watched an inspiring video on Ted.  The description of the video is  “We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity.”

http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work.html

If you want to be successful, first be happy.

  • Happiness leads to success; not the other way around.
  • There are practical guidelines to achieve happiness, one of which is to:  “Take two minutes to describe in a journal the most meaningful experience of the past 24 hours.”

March 5, 2012

Astral Sex: The Ecstasy of Out of Body Pleasure

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 6:48 pm

http://www.erinpavlina.com/blog/2012/03/astral-sex-the-ecstasy-of-out-of-body-pleasure/

I have never experienced this, but I found it fascinating.

“You’re probably already familiar with what it’s like to have sex as a physical human being, but did you know that you can also engage in sexual liaisons outside of your physical body? Yes, it’s true. You’re not limited to the physical. There’s a whole other world of sex, pleasure, and unbridled passion awaiting you outside of your physical shell. “

February 22, 2012

If a mugging was treated the same way as a rape.

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 7:15 pm

http://www.buzzfeed.com/derekj/if-mugging-were-treated-the-same-way-as-rape-r76

 

January 27, 2012

The Federal Budget as Household Income

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 10:12 pm

October 24, 2011

WikiLeaks Vs Facebook

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 4:36 pm

Wikileaks versus Facebook

October 16, 2011

Doorstep Farmers

Filed under: Website — Les Bain @ 6:37 pm

Today is Blog Action Day.  The topic is Food.  I am going to dedicate my post to my friends at Doorstep Farmers who deliver organic food to homes and businesses in the San Francisco East Bay.

To quote from their website:

“Doorstep Farmers is a CSA (community supported agriculture) business that delivers produce to your door on a weekly basis. We deliver produce to you in one of four different size boxes (depending on your needs). The produce boxes contain the freshest, in season fruits and vegetables. Each box usually contains four different types of vegetables and two types of fruits depending on availability. The contents of each box will usually be listed a couple days before delivery so that you can opt to not have one type of produce delivered and an extra of another one. We then deliver the box of fruits and veg to your door for your enjoyment. All produce is locally grown and certified organic. 

Doorstep Farmers is a very simple idea. You decide what size box would be appropriate for your household. If you need help deciding what size would be best for your household you can take the quick four question questionnaire to help you decide on the most appropriate size for your household needs. You then can opt to pre-pay for your deliveries or you can opt for Electronic Fund Transfer which is automatically charged to your credit card every two deliveries. You will receive your produce weekly or bi-weekly depending on your needs.”

September 3, 2011

Business Coaching as Paid Nagging

Filed under: Management,Personal — Les Bain @ 10:40 am

There is a certain school of business coaching, where the process seems to be this.

The Interview: This is where the business coach asks the client about goals, intentions, mission and all the tasks and activities to reach those goals.

The Sell: This is where the business coach says to the client  that you can meet your goals by following a process, and my process says do these first set of tasks.

The Process: The business coach talks to the client on a regular basis and nags the client about completing tasks to meet the goals.  This is supposed to motivate the client to do the tasks so the client does not get nagged.

But I do not need the process because I have people that will nag me for free.  Please do not tell any of my free naggers that they should be charging me big bucks.

July 5, 2011

Doctor Who Companions

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 6:21 pm

Doctor Who Companions
Research and design by the Online Dating Site

April 28, 2011

BBC – Day in Pictures

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 1:12 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-13222978

This is one of my favorite Internet visits during the day.  It is striking images from around the world.

The reason I like it so much is that it reminds me every day not to be insular.  There are pictures of people from all over the world.  Most of the time they are dressed in ways that I never see in my day to day activity.

Many times they are engaging in activity that I have never seen.  Or celebrating a festival that is unknown to me.  Or recovering from a tragedy or disaster that I had not read about.

The site reminds me of the great diversity on our planet.

December 19, 2010

Spiders and Robots

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 3:32 pm

There are programs that read through the Internet, following links from one website to another.   They have several names.  I like the name spiders because they crawl through the World Wide Web. They are usually called robots or bots.

Some of these robots are controlled by search engines and crawl websites so the search engines can index all websites.

Others are looking for websites to exploit, and find forms to automatically fill out to promote or provide links.

October 15, 2010

Blog action day – Water.

Filed under: Personal,Politics — Les Bain @ 1:47 pm

Facts about water:

  • Unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.
  • More people have access to a cell phone than to a toilet.
  • Every day, women and children in Africa walk a combined total of 109 million hours to get water.
  • The average American uses 159 gallons of water every day – more than 15 times the average person in the developing world.

October 4, 2010

My Long Beard

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 2:21 pm

My beard is very long. I spend most of my time working from home, so I do not feel the need to keep it neat and trim like I used to.

People treat me differently now.

  • People smile at me.
  • Call me Santa Claus.
  • People ask me how long it took to grow.
  • Other men with beards tell me stories of their beards.
  • People yell over that they like the beard.

I need to get a more professional look, but it is fun for a while.  But I am not sure I can stand all the Santa references around the Holidays.

September 28, 2010

Snail Mail

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 3:39 pm

The US post office was always a given. The mail just got through. Now and again something was lost, but it was rare. That is how I always felt.

But now it is different. I have not been receiving all of my mail. Clients send me mail that I do not receive. There are about a half dozen times in the last few months where I did not receive a piece of mail I was watching for. I do not know how many times I did not receive something I was not looking for.

I finally gave up and got a Post Office Box.

August 2, 2010

Pogonotrophy – I have a full beard.

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 8:57 pm

July 31, 2010

Rewriting Code

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 9:19 am

In frustration, many programmers are fond of saying “there is never enough time to do it right, but there is time to do it over”.  When prototyping became the fashion, the saying was turned around to “if there is time enough to do it over, there is time to do it right”.

I needed to rewrite some code that I wrote several years ago this week.  I was surprised at how much I could improve the code as I rewrote it.

  • I changed common code into functions.
  • I applied some new techniques and routines
  • I consolidated several programs with similar functions into one program with parameters

The system now does much more than it did before, and the code is much more elegant.

July 22, 2010

Do you use Dreamweaver?

Filed under: Website — Les Bain @ 4:53 pm

I was talking to a potential client today about building a website.  They asked if I used Dreamweaver.  Interesting question.

I replied with the standard answer that it does not make any difference what brand of hammer a carpenter uses, and it should not make any difference what tool is used to build a website.

But it is a little more complicated than that.  If templates or other techniques are used, it can be hard to maintain  using another product.

July 13, 2010

I feel great today

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 11:43 am

I feel damn good today.  It is a wonderful day.  No good reason, just a good night’s sleep and a deep meditation to start the day.

April 26, 2010

Boobquake Day

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 12:24 pm

Today is Boobquake day.  See http://www.blaghag.com/ .  This is the sort of fun the Internet supports so well.  I will be watching to see if there are more earthquakes today.

April 12, 2010

Do one thing at a time

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 11:51 pm

Starting to feel overwhelmed again.  That is going to be my mantra.  Do one thing at a time.  Do it to completion.

March 19, 2010

Back to the Basics

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 1:49 pm

The last couple of days have not been very productive.  Time for “back to the basics”.

  • Establish the list of things to be done.
  • Put them in priority.
  • Work on one thing at a time.
  • Celebrate each completed task.

It is easy to say, harder to do.

February 26, 2010

Project Day

Filed under: Business,Management — Les Bain @ 12:04 pm

Yesterday I did not pay attention to my email, IMs, text messages, phone calls, or voice mail.  I got up and worked on one project all day.  I did not multi-task.  I took some breaks, but they were small breaks for coffee, a stretch, and a bit of family business.  I made great strides on the project, but it seems like it will take me all day to catch up with correspondence.  I wonder if that will work as a strategy – every other day a project day.

February 24, 2010

Took a walk

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 10:40 am

Today I woke up with the feeling there was too much to do in too little time.  Instead of jumping up and getting to work, I took a walk.

  • Some trees are in bloom with beautiful white flowers.
  • The birds were singing.
  • I stopped for coffee.

I still have a lot to do – but I certainly feel better.

December 28, 2009

Expression Web Giveaway

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 12:18 am

Check out the Expression Web Xmas 2009/New Year 2010 Giveaway at http://www.frontpage-to-expression.com/expression-web-giveaway.html.

The contest is fun, but the real value is the following:

  • Check out Expression Web, the Website Development Product from Microsoft.  It is the replacement for FrontPage.
  • Get connected to Tina Clarke and Pat Geary .  They are great resources for both FrontPage and Expression Web.
  • Bookmark the websites.  They are some great resources.

Good luck on the contest.

October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 3:43 pm

Today people all over the world are participating in Blog Action Day and writing about Climate Change.

I have some personal issues that are capturing my attention today, the most pressing is that my wife is in the hospital.

Perhaps that is why Climate Change is so difficult.  It is “out there”.  I know it is imminent without significant change, but it does not have the immediacy of a life crisis, or paying the bills, or looking for a job in this economy.

We think of Climate Change as important but not urgent.  Perhaps the emphasis today will help us understand it is both important and urgent.

September 24, 2009

Capturing and Organizing Information

Filed under: Personal,Technology — Les Bain @ 2:33 pm

I like to stay informed on various topics:  Some examples are RSS and Website planning, design, construction, promotion, and maintenance.

These are the steps I use.

I create a Blog to hold the information for each topic.  I have a blog for

  • RSS
  • Website Planning
  • Website Design
  • Website Construction
  • Website Promotion
  • Website Maintenance
  • I use Blogger because I like to use certain tools, but most blog services have comparable tools.
  • I do not write the blogs, these are where I store references.  They are link blogs.

I subscribe to information sources about the topics.

  • Google Alerts
  • RSS Feeds
  • Twitter

When I read the sources and want to remember a source, I add the source to the appropriate blog.

  • I use the Google Toolbar “Send to Blogger”
  • I add my comments
  • It is immediately added to the appropriate blog.
  • I think about it as creating index cards for a term paper in the days before we used the Internet.
  • It captures the link, a summary, and my comments.
  • It takes the same amount of effort as bookmarking, but it has more benefits.

Periodically, I go through the blogs, summarize the information, and update my website.

Some side benefits

  • The Blogs have RSS Feeds that I send to twitter which sometimes elicits comments
  • I put Adsense on the blogs and make a little bit of money.
  • I add a custom Google search so I can search all the blogs when I am trying to find something.

September 2, 2009

DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) cleaning

Filed under: Business,Management — Les Bain @ 7:18 pm

I added a page to the website of a client (Allied Automotive and Muffler) today announcing that they do DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) cleaning.  I had no idea what Diesel Particulate Filter cleaning was, so I had to look it up.

Apparently there is another filter that needs cleaning regularly to help protect the environment.

It is always interesting what one learns by doing websites for different sorts of businesses.

August 17, 2009

Five Little Monkeys Preschool with Webcams

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 11:06 am

I have a new client – the Five Little Monkeys Preschool.

Five Little Monkeys has webcams in several places throughout the school.  The webcams are available so that parents can check on their kids throughout the day.  I just think that is a terrific idea.

July 20, 2009

Order to Cash

Filed under: Business,Management — Les Bain @ 9:39 am

The basic business process is Order-to-Cash which includes:

  • Taking customer sales orders from all the various sales channels
  • Fulfilling the order for either products or services
  • Generating an invoice
  • Collecting revenue

If you are an entrepreneur,  you will receive lots of business advice about various processes, but your Order-to-Cash process should be the basic process.

Set up the process, monitor the process, and improve the process.

July 15, 2009

Google helps sell netbooks?

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 10:09 am

Google is going to use a 15 year old operating system and a year old browser to build a free operating system for netbooks.

Why would Google do this? The speculation is most interesting.

  • It would provide a lower price point entry into the Internet.
  • It would therefore generate more Internet users.
  • It would therefore provide more opportunity to sell ads.

Google is in the advertising business.  That is how they make all their money.  The tech stuff is just a way to deliver the advertising.

I think it is great.  It provides a number of services for free if I can put up with ads – which I can.

I wonder, in the past, if anyone wanted to give away TVs so there were more viewers and more people to view ads.

May 18, 2009

A Tool is Neither Good Nor Bad, Only Thinking Makes It So

Filed under: Marketing — Les Bain @ 6:21 pm

Or – Don’t Throw a Great Idea Under the Bus Just Because a Few Idiots Are Mis-using it

by Karen Frank

OK, I am mad! I recently heard a “Networking Guru” talk and what this person said was outrageous.

This person basically said that Squeeze Pages are bad and never to use them – and further implied that anyone who does is dishonest and trying to cheat people out of money by selling garbage products with no value.

Well, thanks very much. I am enjoying my view here under the bus.

For those of you who don’t  know what a squeeze page is, it is a one or two page website designed to capture leads.  Most of us use this to get a person’s name and email address in exchange for information, usually at no cost.  For example, many of you gave your email address in exchange for the 7 Deadly Sins of Networking.

In my humble opinion, this “guru” is confusing a squeeze page and a long form sales letter, and further insinuating they have no place in an ethical, social networking driven business.

Wrong, wrong wrong.

Ok – This deserves a better explanation.

A typical “Squeeze Page” is fairly short and offers the “Squeezee” two and only two choices – Yes or no.  Part with your email address in exchange for information – or not. The reason it’s called squeeze page is not to “squeeze” money out of people, but to “squeeze” an email address and hopefully a first name out of someone who has an interest in more information about a product of service. This is also called a lead capture page or a lead generator page.

AFTER the prospect has opted in (agreed that they want the product or service and provided and email address and first name) on the “Squeeze Page,” they will sometimes be taken to another web page or website with a  “Long Form Sales Letter” on it. As the name implies this page is quite long and is promoting something. The more expensive the item, usually the longer the letter. In the case of 7 Deadly Sins of Networking, you aren’t taken to a long form sales letter. You have probably opted in to some of the “big names” newsletters or teleclasses and been taken to a page like this.

The long form sales letter exists because it is automating the work of a sales person. It’s job is to provide the prospect with all of the information they need to make a yes or no buying decision. That’s why the are so long. If they fail to adequately describe the benefits of having the product or service and build trust, the sale is lost.

The next time you see a long form sales letter, you’ll notice alot of colors bolding and headlines. This isn’t to shout at people, it’s because some people scan only headlines to make a decision and some read every single word.  You will notice that the headlines make sense all by themselves and they integrate with the rest of the copy too.

A great deal of market research has gone into those letters, and usually they are being market tested, meaning sometimes if you go back to that page, the letter will look slightly different.  This is called “split testing.” The marketing person is testing to see which letter gets the highest response rate. They may be using different colors, different testimonials or different copy.

Writing a great long form sales letter (as you might imagine) is an art and not just anyone is capable of doing a good job. That’s why copywriters are hired at outrageous prices to create compelling copy that sells.


I submit that, just like going to a real store, if you don’t know like and trust the sales person (the sales letter) the product, and completely buy into the value of what you’re about to invest, only spend as much as you are willing to lose.

So here’s the deal (and why I am still steaming as I write this)  It’s not the long form sales letter that is the problem, nor is it the squeeze page – it’s the person who uses them to sell junk instead of something of real value.

Many of the people in the audience of the conference I attended use squeeze pages and long form sales letter ethically. They are promoting fantastic products and services that will change the lives of their potential clients.  I am looking forward to checking out ALL of their websites to see what I need to buy next – so look for me on your list! You do have a list – ? ! ?

When you take away the squeeze page and the long form sales letter you take away an important tool that works.  The big names wouldn’t use them if they didn’t work. And remember – it’s always a good idea to  model successful people who have the results you want to have.

So, I steam as I think of that presentation because by making the blanket statement that these things are bad, or used unethically, the audience was basically thrown “under the bus.”

We are not evil if we use those tools and the tools are not evil.  I for one, get incredibly positive comments about the 7 Deadly Sins of Networking.  They are grateful that I choose to share some of my best information at no cost to help them make more money.

I know I am doing good in the world and that my squeeze page is helping me do that.  So, until my squeeze page and long form sales letters stop working, I’ll continue to use them – proudly and profitably.

Networking Expert, Karen Frank publishes Networking News, a semi-monthly newsletter devoted to helping you avoid marketing disasters and networking faux pas.  Get the home study course “The Seven Deadly Sins of Networking and How to Avoid them” Free when you sign up for Networking News at www.7deadlysinsofnetworking.com

May 3, 2009

Twitter

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 8:01 pm

What kind of twitter person are you?  Which part of the grid are you in?

My feeling is that sucessful twitterers are in more than one grid.

Twitter

Twitter Grid Private Lifecasting Public Mindcasting
Insightful    
Insipid    

May 2, 2009

Introducing 3E Communications

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 2:39 pm

My colleague Karen Frank has re-branded her business to 3E (Elegant, Easy & Effective) Communications with some grand opening deals.

From her announcement:

“So (may I have a drum roll please) announcing 3 E communications! Elegant, Easy, Effective business communications for the entrepreneur.

And while the new look and logo etc. is still in development, my new website is up www.3ecommunications.net and my new email works karen@3ecommunications.net .

And what would a grand opening be without a grand opening sale?”

Karen can help with your business communication.  Check it out now for some grand opening deals.

April 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Dave Winer

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 9:25 am

Who is Dave Winer?  This is from Dave’s blog.

Dave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master’s in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor’s in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

I do not know whether he bumped up the age yet or not, but it is his birthday.

I read Dave’s blog.  I follow him on Twitter.  I listen to his podcasts. I am smarter for doing so.

Sometimes when I talk to people I share Dave’s ideas.  Usually I give him credit.   Sometimes I don’t.   Thanks Dave.

I met Dave Winer once.  Shook his hand.  Said thanks for all his contributions to the Internet.  And I am pleased to add my good wishes today on his birthday.

April 12, 2009

Online Backups

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 8:46 pm

I have used three different online backup systems.  Here is a quick analysis of some features – and why I am moving to Memopal.  This is not a careful evaluation, just my notes as I move forward.

Online Backups

Feature Carbonite Mozy Memopal
Support External Drive No Yes Yes
Backup as soon as saved Yes No Yes
Keep multiple versions No No Yes
Keep backup when local is deleted No No Yes
Unlimited Storage Yes Yes 150GB
Yearly Price $54.95 $59.40 $49.00
Use to Share Files     Yes

Business Continuity, Security, and Backups

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 12:16 pm

Robin McCain and I gave a presentation on Business Continuity, Security and Backups to PASS (Professional Association of Support Services) on Saturday morning April 11, 2009.

Outline:

  • What is Business Continuity.
  • Business Continuity for Computers and Networks.
  • Backups are the essential tool for Business Continuity.
  • Computer Security.

Please leave any questions or comments here.

March 15, 2009

Open Source Software

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 10:44 pm

Robin McCain and I gave a presentation on Open Source Software to PASS (Professional Association of Support Services) last Saturday morning. 

Outline:

  • What is Open Source Software?
  • What is not Open Source software?
  • Why use Open Source software?
  • Are there Obstacles to using Open Source Software?
  • Where can one find Open Source Software and Resources?
  • What are some Open Source Software Products?

Please leave any questions or comments here.

February 4, 2009

President Obama and the Honeymoon

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 1:54 pm

The stories have already started about President Obama that the honeymoon is over.

  • Nominated cabinet members have tax problems.
  • Buy America will start an international trade war.
  • Afghanistan will be the new Vietnam, or the new Iraq.

Democracy is a messy process, and this is not the end but the start of the Obama presidency.  When the going gets tough, the tough will need to get going.

Mozy backups and external hard drives

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 1:19 pm

I use Mozy for my offline backups and I am very pleased with the service.  I moved to Mozy because my previous service did not support external hard drives.

I did run into a situation with my Mozy backups that should have been immediately obvious, but I did not catch it for a while.

The first backup you do with an offline service takes a good while.  I backup about 30G which is certainly not an exorbitant amount, and the first backup took 3 – 4 days elapsed time with the computer not running 24/7.

Each day the backups run anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour.  However, ever now and again the backups seemed to start over, and take  the entire 3 – 4 days again.  It happened again this week so I finally stopped to figure it out.

Every now and again I would start the computer without the external hard drive – which I do from time to time if all that I am going to do is use the Internet.  The problem happened when the automatic backups started during the time the external hard drive was off.  Mozy did the little bit of backups from drive C: and then assumed 29G was deleted, and deleted it from my backups.

The next backup had to start over.  Once I figured it out, it was easy enough to control, but it took me a couple minutes of thinking to figure out what was happening.

A quick email to Mozy support (which is very responsive) confirmed my diagnosis.

Software Maintenance Costs and the Walk Throughs

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 9:09 am

There was a turning point in the development of software when it was finally discovered that it took more time and money to maintain a system than to develop it.  The emphasis shifted to creating systems that were easy to maintain.

To make a system easier to maintain the first goal was to create a system with fewer bugs.

To create the system with fewer bugs, there were a number of processes that were used.  One of the most interesting and controversial was the “code walk through”.  Programmers after they created a piece of code, usually a subroutine, sat with their peers for a review of the code.

The goal was to reduce bugs and reduce overall maintenance.  Programmers are not known for their social tact, and it was difficult at first to teach that when you reviewed code, you had to do it with some tact.

Some programming sites made the rule that before you pointed out any errors, you had to say something positive.  There was a famous story that one programmer who after reviewing the code of another programmer struggled to find something postive to say, until he finally blurted out “thank you for writing so clearly so I can see all the errors”.

February 1, 2009

Flexibility and Complexity in Software Development – II

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 5:30 pm

To deal with the issues of complexity and flexibility in software development, programmers and software developers have tried various techniques.

One technique is to try and make the software as flexible as possible.  It is hard to anticipate each and every requirement for the system, so the system is made as flexible as possible.

There are several methodologies.

  • One is make the system is “data driven”.  There is a database or data source that determines the behavior of the system.  To change the system, the data is changed.  We see examples of this when we provide information to a system like Header, Title, etc. that are then used throughout the system.
  • The other is to make the system code as easy to maintain as possible.  This has led to various techniques such as
    • Structured Programming
    • Object Programming
    • Reusable Code
    • Modular Programming

All these approaches are designed to make changing the system easier and quicker.

January 31, 2009

Flexibility and Complexity in Software Development

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 7:00 pm

Picture this:

A person wants to buy a car, so they go to a dealer that provides a way to order a car to specifications.

The person makes selections from a number of options

  • Car model
  • Car color
  • Specific Tires
  • Interior options
  • Sound system options
  • and many others

And gets a car delivered  to the specifications.  The person looks at the car and is pleased that it looks like everything is to specifications.

The person gets in the car and says

  • The steering wheel is too low.  Instructions are given to adjust the steering wheel.
  • The seat is too close.  Instructions are given to move the seat up and back.
  • The sound is too loud.  Instructions are given to adjust the sound system.

And then the person says

  • The roof is too low.  Please raise it up a couple of inches.
  • It is at this point that things fall apart.
  • Perhaps instructions are given to lower the seat to no avail.
  • Perhaps explanations are offered as to why roofs are not flexible.

The issue of course, is that certain assumptions are made about cars that are general knowledge.

  • We know we can add a steering wheel cover with little impact.
  • We know we can usually add a CD player with little impact.
  • We also know that if we want to ignition moved to the other side of the steering wheel because we are left handed, that is probably a major alteration.
  • We know that the roof of the car cannot be raised or lowered.

The same is not true for software.

When someone comes to a software developer, there is not a clear understanding of what features are easily modified or added, and which ones are not.

  • Those of us who have developed software know very well the experience of asking many questions about what the system requirements are, developing a sytem to those requirements, and then being asked why the system does not do a certain functionality that was never discussed.
  • If we are lucky, the functionality is as easy as adjusting the seats.
  • If we are not lucky, we have to argue why it is so hard to raise the roof a couple of inches.

January 3, 2009

Twitter

Filed under: Blogging,Technology — Les Bain @ 10:24 am

I am spending more time twittering than blogging these days.

  • On Twitter, the post size is 140 characters, so it is conducive to posting a quick thought.
  • Even though it is irregular, the Twitter responses are usually quicker than blog post comments.
  • Blogs are certainly conversations, but they are more deliberate.  Twitter is like chatting at a party where you drift in and out of conversations.
  • I use TweetDeck to access Twitter.
  • TweetDeck allows you to establish subsets of all the people that you follow.  I have subsets for friends and family and a subset I call Uptweet (upbeat) for people that post positive and joyous posts.  It provides lots of little inspirational thoughts during the day.

December 12, 2008

All in one SEO Pack

Filed under: Internet — Les Bain @ 12:20 pm

Installed.

Some features:

* Automatically optimizes your **titles** for search engines
* Generates **META tags automatically**
* Avoids the typical duplicate content found on WordPress blogs
* For WordPress 2.3 you don’t even have to look at the options, it works out-of-the-box. Just install.
* You can override any title and set any META description and any META keywords you want.
* You can fine-tune everything
* Backward-Compatibility with many other plugins, like Auto Meta, Ultimate Tag Warrior and others.

Upgrade to Version 2.7

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 11:37 am

I upgraded WordPress to 2.7 today.

I use the automatic upgrade plugin which certainly makes the process simpler.

I like the new dashboard so far, and everything looks good.

December 9, 2008

President Bush and President Elect Obama

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 2:16 am

It is quite a study in contrasts to watch President Bush and President Elect Obama.

President Bush does not look harried.

  • He is enjoying himself.
  • He is getting 6 security briefings a week.

President Elect Obama is looking very busy.

  • He is getting 7 security briefings a week.

Doonesbury had a great cartoon on why Bush was relaxing while president.

http://www.doonesbury.com/strip/dailydose/index.html?uc_full_date=20081207

I just hope President Elect Obama keeps his perspective, continues to play basketball, and saves the country.

November 17, 2008

Web Hosting and Email

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 2:10 pm

I often help clients set up web hosting accounts.  I agree with the philosophy that you should have three different vendors for each of the following.

  • Domain Registration
  • Web Host
  • Web Master

I find all too often, having one vendor for all means one point of failure if a company goes out of business.

Web hosting companies often are most concerned about the typical web hosting stuff:

  • Size of storage and transfer
  • Availability of options like PHP and MySQL
  • Pricing

But I find that the thing clients are most concerned about is email.  Email is essential to most companies, and it is the email issues that are paramount.

  • What sort of Spam Filter does the web host provide? How effective is it?  Where is the spam email stored?
  • What web mail services are available, and how easy are they to access.
  • How easy is it to set up Outlook or Outlook express for an email account.

In many cases, email is a part of the myriad choices in the control panel, there are multiple spam filters available, and multiple web mail services.

I would encourage web hosts to have a special email button that is designed for clients with just a few options with suggested defaults for spam filters and web mail services.  It might be the only time that the client accesses the control panel.

November 13, 2008

“Ask Me” Blog

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 9:23 pm

An “Ask Me” blog can create content, generate more traffic, and help build business.

“Ask Me” blogs are based on Question and Answer.

  • Questions are received in an email.
  • The Question and the Answer comprise a blog post
  • Blog post comments can generate new questions.
  • Typical plugins are site maps or search to find topics of interest.

November 7, 2008

Google Local

Filed under: Internet,Technology — Les Bain @ 12:29 pm

Google Local is a service to help people find local businesses.  I recommend everyone go to Google Local – maps. google.com and search for their own business.

  • Search by your business name
  • Search by your business function

Then try and find your business in the neighboring towns or cities if they are close.  Are you satisfied with the results? If not,

Find Add or edit your business and follow the directions to add your business.  Some suggestions.

  • Add a picture of your logo to make your business stand out in the results
  • If there are nearby cities, add them to your website so you are found in neighboring cities
  • Consider adding the county to your website if you have the kind of business people search for my county.

November 6, 2008

Networking

Filed under: Marketing — Les Bain @ 7:05 pm

I am a member of the East Bay Business Leaders network group.  It has some of the traditional goals of a networking group – to get referrals and build your business.

The group is more informal than most groups.  The meetings are relaxed and fluid.

The group focuses on building relationships.  We are encouraged to meet one-on-one with each of the other members of the group.  The process builds richer relationships than most networking groups.

The group is committed to helping the community.  We use all the membership fees to provide scholarships to high school seniors in the area.

I like the group, and I am committed to growing the group.

November 5, 2008

Barack Obama

Filed under: Podcasts — Les Bain @ 6:06 pm

I am so pleased that Barack Obama is going to be the next President of the United States, but I do not envy him the job.

The headline of The Onion was Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job and unfortunately I think there is some truth to that.  It is going to be very difficult.

I believe Barack Obama is going to have to say many times that this is a long road, and things will not be fixed overnight.

The Republicans are not lining up to support President Elect Obama, but are meeting to decide how to get power back.  It will be difficult.

After 21 months of strenuous campaigning, Barack Obama got up this morning to go to work getting ready to be President.

I wish him well.  For all of us.

November 4, 2008

Election Day

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 3:02 pm

Today my daughter was able to vote in a Presidential Election for the first time.  She was excited, she stayed up all night, and she wanted to vote first thing in the morning.

I set my alarm and got up early so we could go and vote together.  We walked to the polling place.  There were no lines. The day was beautiful.

We both had our sample ballots, and we both voted.  Her enthusiasm was infectious.

We went out to breakfast together and talked about democracy and politics.  It was a magical time.

She had been very active.

  • Writing online about the candidates, issues and propositions.
  • Providing information online on how to protect against voter issues.
  • Providing information in forums on the neutral sites to research issues.

She is an ardent Senator Obama supporter.

Tonight we will watch the returns together and celebrate if Barack Obama is elected President.

November 3, 2008

Vote NO on Proposition 8

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 7:04 pm

I did not realize my Adsense was showing an ad that I do not support.
I have stopped the ad, but just to be sure, here is my position.

California

Vote NO on Proposition 8

Equal Rights for All

Free Software

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 6:52 pm

I mentioned the other day that I do not like to buy software.  The assumption is always that I find software illegally, but there are many ways to find free software.  This is a review of some ways I find free software.

Open Source Software.

Software that is maintained by a community of developers that is free to use.  The foundation LAMP software of the Internet – Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP is open source and free.  Other products I use for web based systems are all free.  Two examples:

  • Phorm for form processing
  • Audio Player for Audio

There are open source substitutes for Microsoft Office, Photoshop and Quickbooks and other expensive software products.  See List of Open Source Software.

Freeware

Freeware is software that has no cost.  If differs from open source in that it is generally created and maintained by an individual or company. I use the CNET service download.com to find freeware.  Download.com finds all software, but freeware can be filtered out.

Give Away of the Day

This is a service that offers a free download everyday. Many times it is a software product.  Today the software was CaptureIt.  CaptureIt is a powerful, flexible and easy-to-use screen capture software. It normally sells for 29.95.  Unfortunately, each product is available for only 24 hours.  I have been able to collect a nice set of utilities by subscribing to this service and downloading what I want when it is available.

November 2, 2008

RSS and Newspapers

Filed under: Internet — Les Bain @ 1:22 pm

When I discuss RSS and the fact that they can be used to create a virtual newspaper, one reaction I get is that people are used to newspapers.  They read them over coffee.  They take them to the bathroom.  They use them for their pets.

Hewlett-Packard has created Tabbloid, which takes RSS feeds and turns them into a PDF in newspaper format.  The PDF is emailed to you every day at a time you select.  One supposedly could print out the PDF and have a custom printed newspaper.

I am comfortable reading my RSS feeds online, but it is an interesting idea.

October 30, 2008

Internet Presence

Filed under: Internet — Les Bain @ 3:24 pm

Presentation to the East Bay Business Leaders on how to build your Internet Presence.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Outline:

Content:

  • Create Branded Content
    • Register Domains for your business name
    • Consider Blogging
    • Manage your RSS feeds
    • Add Audio, Podcasts, and Audio Blogging
    • Add Video, Vlogs (Video Blogs), etc.
    • Consider a Content Management System
    • Add an internal system to keep track of everything.
  • Load your Content to other sites 
    • Load Video out to Video Sites using YouMogul or Traffic Geyser
    • Load Text to an Article Management site or Squido
    • Load your photos to Flickr
    • Load Presentations out to slideshare.net
    • Load Data to swivel.com

Social Systems:

  • Social Content       : YouTube, Flickr
  • Social Networking : MySpace, FaceBook, BeBo, LinkedIn, Friendsters, Okut
  • Social Bookmarks  : del.icio.us,
  • Social News           : Digg, Newsvine, Netscape
  • Social Reference:    Wikipedia, Yahoo Questions

Footprints:

  • Comments
  • Forums
  • Twitter
  • Directories
  • Sort Engines
  • Mahalo
  • Personal Information
  • Google Local Search
  • Reputation management with Google Alerts

October 28, 2008

Building your Internet Presence

Filed under: Internet — Les Bain @ 2:37 pm

Building your Internet Presence means far more than having a website and blog.  There are so many ways to build an Internet Presence, that the idea is to pick the ones that are right for you and ignore the rest.

Do not go and get a Facebook account, a MySpace account, a LinkedIn account, join multiple forums, and try and use Twitter, Ponce and Jaiku.  It is too much.

  • Create a branded presence – with a webpage or blog.
  • When you create content, load it out to the content sites.
  • Join one Social Networking site like LinkedIn and pay some attention.
  • Manage your reputation.

October 26, 2008

Open letter to Governor Sarah Palin

Filed under: Podcasts — Les Bain @ 6:53 pm

Dear Governor Sarah Palin,

I think you got a raw deal from the campaign of Senator John McCain.  I think you were over coached, and not allowed to be yourself.  That is unfortunate.

It appears now you are looking forward to 2012.  However, there are some things that I am very concerned about.

I am sure you have found the response to your nomination gratifying, but please consider.

  • You are talking to the Republican base, which is not a majority of Americans.  When you run again, you should consider changing your message to include more of the United States of American.
  • You say that Senator Obama is the most liberal Senator in the United States Senate as if that was a problem.  I am supporting Senator Obama because he is liberal.  To win, you will need to get votes from liberals, conservatives, and moderates.  Please see Reagan democrats.
  • You talk about being in the pro-American parts of the country.  You cannot divide the country and win.  You need the support of the entire country.
  • You allow those at your rallies to defame an honorable Senator of the United States of America.  You must unite to win, not divide.

I am a liberal, and will probably never support you, but I am also an American and wish to see our country united, not divided.

October 23, 2008

Content Management Systems

Filed under: Technology,Website — Les Bain @ 10:00 am

I gave a presentation this morning at the East Bay Business Leaders on Content Management Systems.  It is the fourth of a series of presentations on how to build business by using the Internet.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

October 22, 2008

Content Management Systems

Filed under: Website — Les Bain @ 7:55 pm

Websites are built by webmasters.  Webmasters are the intermediaries that create and maintain websites.

Content Management Systems reduce the need for Webmasters.  They are systems that allow direct updates to the website.

Content can include text, images, photos, audio files, video files, electronic documents and web content. 

Content Management Systems empower the user, they cut out the middle man.

Understand, that webmasters can still be used, but it empowers both the website owner and the webmaster to make changes quickly.

Some content management systems are Drupal, Joomla, Elxis, XOOPS, Xaraya, Mambo, and Zikula.

October 20, 2008

Time Shifting

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 1:59 pm

It used to be that when something was broadcast like a tv or radio show, you watched or listened when it was broadcast.

When I was a boy, we lined up our chairs in front of the radio to listen to “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar”, “The Long Ranger”, “The Shadow” and others. You had to listen when they were broadcast.

Now with TiVo, On Demand, Recordings, and the Internet, we can listen to most broadcast shows at any time.  This is called time shifting.  Time shifting typically refers to TV shows, but it also refers to Internet audio like podcasting.

We can now schedule our listening and viewing in the same way we schedule our reading – at our convenience.

On the other hand, with things being time shifted, most every show is available at all times, giving us even more listening and viewing choices.

October 19, 2008

Disintermediation

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 12:53 pm

One of the trends of the Internet is disintermediation – getting rid of the middle man.

  • Blogs are writers without editors or publishers.
  • RSS feeds are distributed without syndication companies.
  • Podcasts are like radio shows without radio stations and transmitters.

You can write, record, and distribute to a world wide audience without intermediaries.

October 17, 2008

What happened to the Database?

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 5:08 pm

When I work with clients, I create a task database to keep track of tasks and status.  Both the client and I can add and update tasks, and it provides constant visibility.

I create PHP files to drop, define, load, and list the data base files.  I use that technique so that I easily drop, define and rebuild the data base files and reuse the code.

But I had a problem.  The database kept being deleted.  It was very frustrating.  I thought perhaps someone had hacked into the code and was running the database routines to drop and define the database files.

I started to backup the database with any database change, and enhanced both the database backup and restore routines.

Then I put a silent routine into each database PHP routine that sent a silent email with all the information about who was running the routines.

In a few days, I started to get emails showing the database routines were being run and the database files were being dropped.  But when I did a IP reverse lookup I was surprised to find that the routines were being run by the Yahoo Crawl Robot.

I did have a robots.txt file disallowing the folder in question, but that was apparently not working.

I had to add a user id and password.

October 16, 2008

Podcasts

Filed under: Podcasts — Les Bain @ 7:53 pm

I did a presentation today on Podcasting for the East Bay Business Leaders networking group.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

October 15, 2008

Poverty

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 8:46 am

Today is Blog Action Day.  The topic is Poverty.

I try to relate to poverty.  I remember trivial things in my life.

  • Selling books at the used book store to get money for food, but I drove to the book store.
  • Sleeping in my car at a rest stop for 3 nights, but only because I was waiting on my new apartment to be available, and I did not want to spend the money.
  • Hitchhiking with little money and accepting change from a generous person, but I used the change to buy cigarettes.
  • I lived below the supposed poverty line as defined by the government when I was in the service, but we had lots of benefits.

I have never known poverty in my life.  I always had the capability to earn money.  I had friends with money.  My family always welcomed me.  I have been “short”.  I have had “cash flow problems”.  I have never known poverty.

But especially in this nation of abundance, people should not have to live without the necessities of life.

It seems in this country we are Socialist when it comes to big business, Capitalist when it comes to poor people.  I think we should rescue the poor and not wall street.

I add my blog today to the all the blogs that want an end to poverty.

October 14, 2008

Audio on the Internet – Podcasts

Filed under: Podcasts — Les Bain @ 10:48 am

Podcasts

  • The word podcast is a combination of broadcast and IPOD.  It is an audio broadcast designed to allow it to go directly to an MP3 player like an IPOD.
  • Podcasts are a technology that sprang out of Blogs and RSS.  Podcasts are technically an RSS 2.0 enclosure.  The new technology was getting the audio from the RSS feed to the IPOD using software known as Podcatchers.
  • Apple has problem with the term Podcast, so many are using terms like Webcast.
  • There is an informal convention that Podcasts should be shorter than 40 minutes.
  • Most podcasts are listened to on computers.
  • Podcasts are regular radio shows without the need for a radio station.

October 13, 2008

Recession Business Ideas

Filed under: Management — Les Bain @ 10:34 am

What sorts of businesses are recession proof?  This is a random list of trends that might happen during a recession or depression.  There are some business ideas buried in there somewhere.

Get it Free or Buy it Used or Buy it Cheap

  • FreeCycle.com
  • Pawn shops, Thrift stores, Secondhand retail
  • Classified including online like Craigslist or eBay
  • Used Cars
  • Walmart, Target, K-mart
  • Fast Foods

Do It Yourself and Repair versus Buy

  • Auto parts companies.
  • Home Depot and Do It Yourself
  • Appliance Repair, Automobile repair

Reduce Transportation Costs

  • Bicycles
  • Mass transit
  • Online meetings (as opposed to travel) On24, Webex, Ustream, Chat Tools

Entertain yourself at home

  • TV
  • Rent a movie versus Go to a movie with Netflix and BlockBuster
  • Video Games
  • Comfort Foods

Escape

  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Internet
  • Role Play Games

Deal with the Stress

  • Meditation
  • Religion

Handle the tragedies

  • Vehicle repossession, bankruptcy lawyers, fix repossessed houses

October 12, 2008

The Nasty Campaign

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 5:09 pm

The Presidential Campaign is nasty and getting worse.  It makes me grieve for the United States of America.

The only good news that I can find is that there are so many United States citizens that are passionate about politics.

I have to go on a personal news blackout.  It is getting me depressed.

Senator John McCain started out with the best intentions to run a positive campaign.  The seduction of power and winning is apparently too much temptation.

Senator John McCain needs to be concerned that he leaves the campaign with any honor at all.

October 9, 2008

RSS Conversation

Filed under: Marketing,Technology — Les Bain @ 5:44 pm

This morning at the East Bay Business Leaders meeting I talked about RSS.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

October 5, 2008

The Presidential Campaign

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 5:36 pm

Some thoughts:

  • The Presidential Campaign is getting far more attention than the Congressional campaigns.  The Congressional campaigns could be more important.
  • Those people I know that are not involved in the campaign are much happier at this point in time than those are very involved.
  • Sometimes it appears that Senator Barack Obama is the calmest person in the campaign.
  • I fear for the country during the next month.  The negativity will bring many down, and create strong rage in others.
  • I just want it to be over.
Next Page »
css.php