Saturday, June 07, 2008

Weekend Helpers

From the Dumb Little Man Blog, some Ideas to help you simplify your life:

The 5 Most Common Obstacles That Keep You From Reaching Your Goals

Posted: 03 Jun 2008 06:25 AM CDT

Written on 6/03/2008 by David B. Bohl, the author of Slow Down Fast.

Most people have goals, but lack a good strategy to reach them. They may have their goals loosely decided in their head, or they may have them formally written out on paper or the computer. It's often said that if you write your goals down, with as much detail as possible, and with clear action steps and dates when you will take the actions, you have a much better chance of achieving success.

Yet, even with your goals clearly defined and written down, you may encounter obstacles on the path to goal achievement. It's only natural that we will have successes and setbacks on any journey. But how we handle them determines whether we reach our ultimate destination. For example, you might be on a road trip and get a flat tire. Some people might freak out and say it's a bad sign, they should turn around and go home, it's not worth anything else going wrong with the car. Others might pick up their cell phone and call the auto club. They'll sit and read a book while waiting, then pick up where they left off. The difference is their attitude.

Let's take the example of starting an Internet business as our model to see how to overcome your obstacles. Here are 5 of the most common ones you may come across while seeking your goal:
  1. Too much information. You've read the books, taken the teleclasses, and studied the websites. You're on information overload, so you go into analysis paralysis. Which means you do nothing. Solution: Pick one person to study and go with that model. One of the earliest Internet success stories was Corey Rudl, and after he died, Derek Gehl took over. So if I were building an Internet business, I could choose him as my role model, and read his website, his ezines, buy his products, and take his courses.

  2. No clear plan. Many people get lost after they decide to pursue a certain goal. Most goals are merely a progression from where you are to where you want to be. You need a clear plan from A to Z so there's no guesswork. Solution: Derek Gehl, for example, has a 30-step action plan that can keep you on course.

  3. Shortage of time, money, or other resources. We often are enthusiastic about achieving a certain goal, but fail to do our homework before embarking on the course. Solution: Before you set out on your goal, figure out the amount of time you will need to put into this, the costs you will incur, and the resources you will need to obtain and use. For our particular goal of launching an internet business, these could include software for auto responders, shopping carts, and eBooks, a copywriter to write your sales page, and at least 2 hours a day to learn the specifics of online marketing.

  4. Mindset and attitude. If you don't have the mindset and attitude of a winner, you have less chance of succeeding. Solution: Find successful online marketers and study them. Talk to them. Listen to their language. Adopt the mindset of success by thinking and speaking positively. Adopt the attitude of success by seeing obstacles as opportunities and setbacks as feedback.

  5. Lack of support or guidance. You may hit some roadblocks and get stuck, not knowing what to do next. On any journey, support and guidance are essential. On a road trip, it's your map or GPS system. For an online business it's experienced marketers. Solution: find a mentor, coach, teacher, friend, joint venture partner, anyone who will hold your hand, guide you, support you until you reach your goal. Then you can celebrate together!

Going on Vacation

No, not me. Just some great ideas from the blog:

6 Things to Forget for Your Vacation

by Bill Lampton, Ph.D.

Ordinarily, you make a detailed list of items to remember for your vacation, such as:

  • Shut down and unplug the computer
  • Leave a message on your answering machine
  • Take passports
  • Confirm flights and hotel reservations
  • Stop mail and newspaper delivery
  • Pack camera and battery charger

That to-do list is helpful, and is generally much longer. However, I suggest that you make a second list-things to forget for your vacation. While your list of what to remember helps by making your trip more functional, your list of what to forget will foster a remarkable reduction in your stress level. You'll bolster your serenity, relaxation, and rejuvenation.

Here are six items to forget for your next vacation:

Sure, we all know the benefits of dieting, the health problems that accompany excessive weight, and how much unwise eating habits impact our appearance. Even so, we can-and should-reward ourselves by enjoying on vacation those desserts and delicious entrees we avoid the rest of the year. Yes, enjoy them without guilt, both for the great taste you get and as a reward for your year-round discipline.

During the first dinner of your cruise, let's say you're having trouble deciding between the chocolate cake and the coconut pie. Take both. Tomorrow you'll walk it off on your tour of the banana plantation. Or what if you even gain a few fun pounds? When you return home, your gym membership will still be valid.

The wireless workplace makes constant contact possible, which gives you business advantages prior generations didn't enjoy. If you belonged to the era of traveling sales reps who had to look for a vacant pay phone and keep plenty of quarters handy for long distance calls, you appreciate many incredible improvements in communication methods. Now, you never have to be out of touch.

During the regular work year, you've formed the habit of remaining accessible. "After hours" has become an obsolete phrase. This magnified access has boosted your interactions and your productivity.

Let's note quickly, though, that workplace connections are incompatible with vacations. Vacations imply a radical lifestyle change, with the focus shifted away from corporate life to your family and friends. This year, recognize that people who spend time worrying about clients, prospects, technology, budgets, unreliable colleagues, and the stock market aren't actually taking a vacation. So when you pull out of your driveway, leave those major concerns behind.

Assuming that you have chosen a location that's not unreasonable for your level of income and savings, spend with joy. For a few days, look at expenditures as investments in your emotional well being.

Engage in activities you would customarily think of as frivolous and wasteful. Sign up for the scuba lessons. Buy more souvenirs than you're accustomed to bringing home. Order the catch of the day, normally set at a premium price. Purchase a waterproof camera. Take the half-day boat excursion to a neighboring island.

You have earned every dollar of your money, saved wisely, invested regularly, and shopped for bargains. Why? Merely to enjoy the accumulation? Abandon that approach for a week or ten days, and be extra generous to yourself.

Whether you rely on a regular paper calendar, a DayMinder, a Yahoo calendar, or even a combination, you regiment your life by the daily, weekly, and monthly cycles. Put all those aids aside the minute your vacation begins. One of the best questions you can ask on vacation is this one: "Is today Tuesday or Wednesday?" Consider every day an extended weekend.

In fact, shun the score keeping. Saying "just three days left" or "just two days left" takes your mind away from the ideal focus--today, with its varied opportunities for fun and frolic.

Just as you change your calendar dependence, don't check your watch every few minutes. And consider your day far more flexible than you're used to. Sleep an hour or two later, unless you're scheduled for an expedition. Go dancing at a spot that doesn't open until 10:00 p.m. Linger longer over lunch.

For almost an entire year, you have conformed to what others expect--in your wardrobe choice, grooming, and more. Now be daring and adventurous. Go skydiving or parasailing, or find a place that offers karaoke (quite daring for those of us who don't consider ourselves singers). Wear a funny hat you bought from a beach vendor. Leave your tie and fancy dress at home.

Forget these six Cs, and you'll come back more refreshed than you have ever been in your professional life.

Bill Lampton, Ph.D.--author of The Complete Communicator: Change Your Communication-change Your Life! -- helps organizations "Learn More. . .Earn More" through his speeches, seminars, and coaching. Visit his Web site: Call Dr. Lampton: 678-316-4300

Friday, June 06, 2008

10 Tips for College Success

2 out of 5 kids in my family are still in College. My son has 1 year to go, my daughter will be starting year 2 in the fall.

This is for them, and everyone:

Simple to Read, Hard to Execute: 10 Ways to Save Money in College

Posted: 04 Jun 2008 06:04 PM CDT

Written on 6/04/2008 by Soo L. of - practical tips and advice for men.

There are many costs involved with going to college including tuition, books, housing, entertainment, and food. These costs can quickly add up and make life after college a financial nightmare.

To avoid getting into a sticky situation yourself, here are ten practical money tips for you, the college student. Try some of these tips to lower the amount of debt you end up with, and to help clear your head after graduation. If you are the parent of a college student, send them this list.

  1. Be Careful Of Promotions On Campus
    There are certain companies and organizations that make money by preying on naive and unsuspecting college students. Some examples of this are credit card companies, loan companies, and employers looking for dirt cheap labor. Just be aware of the people out there hoping to make an easy buck off of you. Regardless of the endorsements, read the fine print.

  2. Don't Eat Out All The Time
    It may be convenient and tempting to eat out frequently, but it can end up costing you a lot of money. Start keeping track of how many times you eat out every week or month, to see how the costs add up. You might be surprised by how much money you spend on food.

  3. Use Your Credit Card For Emergencies Only
    With all of the expenses associated with going to college, it can be very easy to rack up a lot of credit card debt. So instead of making poor decisions with your credit card, save it for emergencies only. It is easy to overspend and spend without thinking when you're paying with plastic, but when you pay with cash, things are very different.

  4. Commute To School
    Living off campus and commuting to school is an option that can help you save a bundle of money. This is especially true if you go to school on an urban campus, where rent can cost a lot of money. The cost of gas, insurance, parking, and maintenance can be far less than paying for rent in many cases.

  5. Buy Books Online Before The Semester Starts
    Most college students know that buying books on campus can be a big rip off. The profit margins at college and university bookstores can be as high as 50%. The main reason why students buy from these book stores is because of convenience. It's so much easier to get your books on campus and go right to class, but the costs are just too high. If you plan ahead and buy your books online, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars per semester.

  6. Consolidate Loans
    Do the math and find out if consolidating your school loans will make it easier to pay them off in the future. In many cases, loan consolidation can help simplify and reduce your overall debt and interest payments.

  7. Get A Part Time Job
    If you have time outside of your academic and social life, consider taking on a part time job to make extra money. Having a part time job will give you some extra cash to pay for the things you need and help you avoid adding more to your debts. Many schools offer work/study programs that pay students tax free.

  8. Max Out Financial Aid And Scholarships
    Find financial aid and scholarship programs to help pay for your education and other expenses. There is probably a scholarship program for your particular major, ethnicity group, or background. Most of these scholarships require a simple essay and resume and can be well worth the time and effort put into applying for them. The bottom line is, if you're not maxing out the amount of financial aid and scholarships you receive, you're leaving money on the table.

  9. Take Advantage Of Student Discounts
    Ask around to find out about restaurants and entertainment venues that offer discounts to college students. You can get discounts on meals, movie tickets, concert tickets, and clothing just for having a college ID. If you're going to spend money on these things anyway, you might as well try to get a discount.

  10. Study Hard
    The best way to save money in college is to make the most of the money you're spending. If you study hard and do well academically, the thousands and thousands of dollars you spent to go to school will have been that much better spent. So do the best you can and make the most of your tuition dollars.
College is expensive and is getting more expensive each year. Most college students are unprepared to face the financial burdens that are required to earn a degree. With these ten tips, you’ll have a better chance of maintaining your financial health throughout college.



Here's Harv:

Harvey Mackay's Column This Week

Fear of failure scares off many successes

Of all the fears that come with being in business, I think the fear of failure is the worst, the most paralyzing and the most costly.

Costly? How can that be? Don't the actual failures themselves cost a lot of money?

Sure they do. But refusing to try new ideas, methods or products because you're afraid they might fail can prevent you from growing your business and your customer base. Fear can cloud your judgment and make calculated risks look like Mt. Everest.

I have taken some colossal risks in my career, not without some fear. But it was never fear of failure. I have had spectacular failures. And no, that is not an oxymoron. A spectacular failure can, and often will, lead to your most spectacular success.

Fear of failure starts at an early age. Throughout our school years, we are graded on what we learn. A big red F on a test is a demoralizing event, even when we knew we hadn't studied or prepared for the exam. The goal was always to make straight As and impress all your pals and parents. You aim for the honor roll, the dean's list and head of the class.

Fast forward about 10 years. You've gone out on a limb to support a project that sounds foolproof, but it's not working quite the way it was supposed to. Your brilliant career is tarnishing—you're worried that you will be labeled "a failure."

Stop worrying. Start learning from your experience. Sometimes a little tweak will fix the problem. Sometimes you need to scrap the whole mess and chalk it up as a teachable moment.

"A fall from the third floor hurts as much as a fall from the hundredth. If I have to fall, may it be from a high place," says Brazilian author Paola Coelho.

Orville and Wilbur Wright and Professor Robert Goddard knew something about falling from high places.

All of us who benefit from jet travel can thank the Wright brothers for learning from their failures. At the turn of the 20th century, after they failed to launch the largest glider ever flown, the brothers predicted that man would probably not fly in their lifetimes. But that didn't stop them from trying.

In 1903, Orville took their latest design, dubbed "The Flyer," for a few test flights. The first two failed. But the third attempt resulted in 12 glorious seconds aloft, the first powered, piloted flight in history. Fear of failure wasn't in their vocabulary.

In 1919, Professor Goddard published a scientific paper, "A Method for Reaching Extreme Altitudes." The essence of his work was that human space travel was possible. You can imagine how well his work was received, considering the Wright brothers had their first successful—but very brief—flight 16 years earlier.

The New York Times led the media criticism with the opinion that Goddard "does not know the relation of action to reaction. He only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in our high schools."

Was Goddard a failure? At the time, many thought he was crazy. In fact, Goddard is today considered to be the father of modern rocket science. The newspaper admitted its own failure, owning up to its ignorance some 50 years later. As the Apollo astronauts blasted off for the moon in 1969, the Times printed an apology for the 1920 editorial.

British author Samuel Smiles summed it up: "We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake, never made a discovery."

Failure is seldom fatal, unless you are like Karl Wallenda, the famous tightrope walker. Wallenda had fallen many times in his career, but always got up and tried again. However, he was killed in 1978 (at age 73) in a tragic fall in a promotional walk in Puerto Rico. His widow said, "All Karl thought about for three straight months prior to the accident was falling. It seemed to me that he put all his energy into not falling—not into walking the tightrope."

Keep your eye on the prize, and understand that sometimes you won't win. But you only lose if you stop trying.

Mackay's Moral: The biggest failure of all is not trying again.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

What's up with my former Boss?

Well, let me clarify who I am talking about.

Kristine Foate was the head of Summit City Radio at one time and last month she took over as the head honcho at the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce.

After Kris left, Lloyd Roach took over for about 11 months. Lloyd was the one that brought back ROCK 104:

Lloyd went back to his home in Pennsylvania about a year ago and here's what he is up to today:

Lloyd Roach debuts “”, billing it as “the region’s first all-local Internet radio station.” For Lloyd, the region is the scenic area west and south of Philadelphia (Chester and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania and New Castle County, Delaware). The lineup sounds just like the over-the-air stations Lloyd’s run and owned all his life: local news every half-hour (including cultural news) from a staff of reporters who cover the local municipal meetings. A live public affairs show. And what Lloyd calls a combination of “the classics and musical standards directed at the above-average income listener of the Brandywine Valley.” Radio veteran Doug Stirling is the station manager of the ad-supported, which Roach says is “all local and free.”

Kids Online (The Truth)

I get lot's of research email which I sometimes post at the Collective Wisdom website, but today I wanted to share with you here this tidbit of information about our kids and what they are up to online:

What Kids Really Do Online (Despite What Parents Think)

US moms and dads estimate that their children spend only two hours a month on the internet, but kids say they actually spend 10 times more time - or 20 hours - according to a recent study, the first Norton Online Living Report by Symantec.

What’s more, 41% of respondents age 13-17 say their parents have no idea what they do online, and only 33% of parents worldwide say they set parental controls and monitor their children’s online activities.

Conducted by Harris Interactive, the study sheds light on what kids are really doing when they log on:

  • Making friends. About a third (35%) of US online children age 8-17 have made friends online. That percentage increases as kids get older: 50% of US teens age 13-17 report making online friends. Some 33% of kids 8-17 report that they prefer to spend at least as much time with their online friends as their offline friends.
  • Social-networking. More than three fourths (76%) of US teens age 13-17 “constantly,” “frequently” or “sometimes” visit social-networking sites. Worldwide, about half of boys (51%) and girls (48%) do so.
  • Shopping. About one in three US children (35%) report being “very confident” or “confident” in shopping online. That number is 69% among children in China.
  • Fielding requests for personal information. About four in 10 (42%) US teens age 13-17 say they have received an online request for personal information.
  • Being approached by strangers. Though US adults estimate that 6% of their children have been approached online by a stranger, 16% of US children report being approached.

“Parents are in the dark when it comes to knowing what their kids are doing online. They don’t have a clue how much time their kids are spending online,” said Marian Merritt, internet safety advocate for Symantec. “This report clearly demonstrates a global digital divide between parents and their cyber-savvy children,” she added.

Adults Are Online Too

The study also revealed some interesting online behaviors among online adults:

  • Social-networking: More than half (52%) say they had made friends online, and nearly half of those (46%) say they enjoyed those relationships as much as or more than those made offline.
  • Blogging: Nearly a third (32%) worldwide work on their personal blogs at least sometimes.
  • Dating: Around the world, 23% (26% of men and 19% of women) report dating online.
  • Reading news: Internet users read news online at nearly an equal rate as they read it in traditional printed newspapers and magazines: 79% report reading news from online sites or blogs at least an hour a month, compared with 85% who report reading news from a printed newspaper or magazine at least one hour per month.
  • Getting beauty & fashion advice: About half of users across the globe get beauty or fashion advice online at least “sometimes” (48%).
  • Shopping: About half feel confident shopping online (53%), with confidence strongest in the UK (78%) and the US (63%). The region having the least amount of confidence in online shopping is Japan (33%).
  • Viewing pornography: About 4 in 10 (41%) in all countries report visiting pornographic sites, with about one-half of Chinese (51%) and Brazilians (55%) reporting doing so. Globally, men (58%) are much more likely than women (18%) to say they visit porn sites.
  • Gaming: Playing games online was reported by 72% of worldwide internet users.
  • Emailing: Nearly all adults across all countries email at least sometimes (99%).

About the Survey: The Norton Online Living Report survey was conducted online within eight countries (US, UK, Australia, Germany, France, Brazil, China, and Japan) by Harris Interactive on behalf of Symantec. The survey took place between November 12 and December 17, 2007 among 4,687 adults 18 years old and older and 2,717 children age 8 to 17 years old who spend one or more hours online each month. Results were weighted to be representative of the population of online adults and children for each country. The overall study entailed 15-minute interviews among adults and 5-minute interviews among children. Questions asked were identical across all countries, with some overlap between the adult and children surveys.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Kick up your Blog!

Here's some good tips and a link to even more tips to improve your blog:

Flog Your Blog

In a post at the Teasa's Tips blog, Yaro Starak outlines ten great ways to drive traffic at your new blog. These are only a few of his suggestions:

Write at least five major "pillar" articles. "A pillar article is a tutorial style article aimed to teach your audience something," says Starak. "Generally they are longer than 500 words and have lots of very practical tips or advice." So choose topics central to your blog's theme, then deliver solid information that will remain relevant and useful, even if someone reads it a year from now.

Publish one new blog post per day. These don't need to be as in-depth as your pillar articles—in fact, they can be brief, newsy items. The point is to tell visitors they can expect something new if they return tomorrow. "This causes them to bookmark your site or subscribe to your blog feed," he says.

Encourage comments at the blog. Readers are more likely to take your thoughts seriously—and to engage—if they see that others take the time to respond. Starak recommends prompting discussion by posing a question in your post, and responding to comments so the conversation maintains momentum.

The Po!nt: Says Starak, "Finding readers is all about testing to see what works best for you and your audience and I have no doubt if you put your mind to it you will find a balance that works for you."

Source: Teasa's Tips. Click here for the full post.

Fort Wayne Makes it in The Onion!

Thanks to Kevin at Labov & Beyond for pointing this out at their blog:

Memo to the fine, funny folks at The Onion…

You know, not everyone in the our humble little hometown here is a slack-jawed, smooth-brained, mouth-breathing oaf, staring in wide-eyed wonder at a sizzling plate of fajitas. They may make up the majority, but we’re not all like that. Oh, who are we kidding - it’s just an honor to have them think of us.

Here's the story:

FORT WAYNE, IN—Some two dozen patrons at a local Chili's Grill & Bar were reportedly transfixed Tuesday when a sizzling order of chicken fajitas was carried from the kitchen across the dining room to a waiting customer, sources said.

According to witnesses, the fajitas—a staple of the popular restaurant chain's menu—sizzled for all 14 seconds of the plate's transport across the room, and continued to sizzle for up to 10 seconds after being placed in front of a party of five seated near the restaurant's bar area. Though most dinner conversations reportedly ceased the moment fascinated patrons caught sight of the hissing, $12.99 entree, several customers were overheard to say, "That looks good," "Ooh," and "I think those are the fajitas." (READ MORE)

8 ideas for a more balanced life

Smart ideas from the Dumb Little Man Blog on Productivity and Time....

8 Ideas to Break Your Hurry-Habit While Preserving Your Sanity

Posted: 02 Jun 2008 10:55 AM CDT

Written on 6/2/2008 by Shamelle Perera, who blogs about personal development with a heavy focus on practical and actionable advice. Visit the Site at The Enhance Life or subscribe to the RSS feed.

It's been a hectic day as usual. The phone has rung at least a dozen times, you have attended 3 meetings, you spent an hour answering emails, dealt with 4 queries from colleagues who unexpectedly arrived in your office, and there have been 2 major crises to sort out. You have been busy but you don't really feel as if you have achieved anything. Before you know it its time to go home.

The chaos continues at home as well ….….

You always seem to be in a hurry. There seems to be too much to do, and just not enough time. Do you feel like you're chasing something, but you never quite catch up?

Don't you think it's about time to figure out just WHY you are always in such a rush and do something about it?
  1. Analyzing your current use of time: That sounds so simple, but in reality, most people find difficult to practice. We can get swept along in the cut and thrust of daily life without appreciating where our time goes by. Try keeping a time log. You will be able to identify people you don't need to talk on the phone, bits of paper mislead, meetings last longer than expected…

  2. Cut back on time wasters: When completing a time log many people are shocked at the amount of time that is wasted during the day. What is a waste of time (or not) is often a matter of opinion. You decide for yourself when you choose priorities. And yet, people often continue to spend time on an activity they've decided is a waster, usually because it's a habit or something that provides instant gratification. For example excessive television, games, pointless online surfing

    If you find an activity that is wasting your time, you might try scheduling a smaller amount of it rather than totally eliminating it.

  3. Accept the fact that you don't have time for everything: Do you have a hard time saying "No"? Make conscious choices and priorities about what you are going to do. Don't feel obliged or guilty about the other things.

    People will have wants and needs that don't always coincide with your own. You would do well to learn when to take time for others and when it's better to say no. You must decide whether or not the person receives your time by examining your values and priorities. There are times you will want to be sensitive to other's needs and go the extra mile. But when you weigh the situation and decide you must say no, don't hesitate to do so.

  4. Perfectionism: Do you spend extra time getting things 100% right when 95% would do? Does your attention to detail mean something else more important doesn't get done?

    Trying to be perfect takes too much time and effort. It creates too much stress and is impossible anyway. Your best is good enough. Live to a high standard, not to an impossible obsession.

  5. Delegate Tasks: If you can justify the cost of hiring someone to do the unpleasant or time consuming task, you should. Less enjoyable responsibilities such as laundry, house cleaning or house repairs etc are not only time consuming but also can drain you of energy.

    Why do all the work yourself? Share those household chores as a family. Besides a less-stressed you, there will be more time for your family and your kids will learn that great virtue called responsibility. Make sure to post a list of chores and the member responsible.

  6. Set time limits: If you have to work late, or during the weekend, set time limits for yourself. Whether you work for two or four hours, stop working at the end of that time and enjoy the rest of the evening or weekend.

  7. Have a place for things: Make things easy to find. Time spent looking for items is not only wasteful it's frustrating as well. It also has an effect on delaying daily appointments, which will leave you pressed for time.

    Put things in the same place so you don't have to think about where they are. Life is too short to spend time looking for things!

  8. Schedule fun time: People who are highly motivated to succeed sometimes forget to leave a little time for pure relaxation. Although the ideal situation would be to enjoy everything one does, many people find it necessary to work at things, which are not totally gratifying.
    A hard working individual may find it exhilarating to think of an activity as fun time, or "my time". For example, you could spend time with your children and view that as your fun time. You may view your daily walk as "my time that nobody can interfere with; no phone calls or interruptions".

When you are striving to gain and maintain your balance, whether it's working towards a single goal, or several goals, your pace should be relaxed and confident, not rushed and worried. When you put your top priorities first, take one thing at a time, and do the best you can. The important things get done while the less important things will simply have to wait. If you have many priorities which are all important, you'll just have to decided which are top priority, and put those first


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Update on Ft. Wayne Truck Plant

Awhile ago, I wondered outloud about the future of our General Motors Truck Plant. For now, it has been spared.

This story is from the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly which has business news every afternoon and morning on one of my radio stations, WGL AM 1250, WGL FM 102.9 and

General Motors Corp., struggling to return to profit after three annual losses, said it will close four plants, introduce new small cars and review whether to shed its Hummer brand of large sport-utility vehicles.

Gasoline prices exceeding $4 a gallon represent "a structural change, not just a cyclical change," Chief Executive Rick Wagoner told reporters today before the Detroit automaker's annual shareholder's meeting in Wilmington, Del.

The four plant closings will save $1 billion and cut North American truck capacity by 700,000 vehicles, Wagoner said.

The Associated Press reported the plants were in: Oshawa, Ontario; Moraine, Ohio; Janesville, Wis.; and Toluca, Mexico.

The closings aren't expected to affect the Fort Wayne Assembly Plant, said spokeswoman Alicia Kocher. It makes GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado pickups. The plant resumed full production in late April after a strike by GM supplier American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. caused it to temporarily shut down. (read more)

Be A Man

I don't recall how I found this website/blog, but it's filled with excellent ideas:

The Virtuous Life: Wrap Up

Posted: 01 Jun 2008 10:50 PM CDT

For the past 13 weeks, The Art of Manliness has been running a series entitled “The Virtuous Life.” Each week we took a look at each one of Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues and how men could implement them in their life.

Today “virtue” has taken on soft and effeminate connotations. But originally, the word “virtue” was inextricably connected to what it meant to be a true man. The word comes from the Latin virtus, which in turn is derived from vir, Latin for “manliness.” These days guys excuse their lack of virtue by hiding behind the excuse of being “just a guy.” Men need to do better and strive to improve themselves each day. It’s time to restore the tie between manliness and virtue.

What follows is a summary of the entire series with links to each virtue. We hope you found the series helpful and will revisit it in the future for inspiration.

Let’s get started.

Lessons in Manliness: Benjamin Franklin’s Pursuit of the Virtuous Life

This is the post that kicked off the series. In it we discussed Benjamin Franklin’s goal of moral perfection and how he set about attaining it through living his 13 virtues. Franklin, a printer, had a small book of charts made up that allowed him to keep track of his progress in living the virtues. You can get your own Benjamin Franklin virtue chart here.

Ben admitted that he was never able to live the virtues perfectly, but felt he had become a better and happier man for having made the attempt.


Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

Franklin began his list of virtues with temperance because it was the virtue that would develop the self-discipline necessary to adhere to the other 12 virtues. Temperance calls for a man to avoid overindulgence in food or drink. By conquering your primal urges for food and drink, you’ll have the confidence to start making improvements in other areas of your life.


Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; Avoid trifling Conversation.

We live in an age of constant noise and chatter. Etiquette and polite manners have sadly not kept pace with developments in technology and our quickly changing culture. In the virtue of silence we took a look at how a man can practice this virtue in regards to cell phone use, customer service, and the internet. A man must learn when and when not to open his mouth.


Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

If a man wishes to thrive in this world, he must develop order. But the laws of physics tell us that the universe and everything in it tends towards chaos and disorganization. A man must fight against these natural laws and the path of least resistance. Yet taking on complex organization systems will only cause more imbalance in your life. Instead, make small changes by rectifying each slip into disorganization the moment it happens. Do it now.


Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

Resolution is the firm determination to accomplish what you set out to do. In this post, we looked at the story of Alexander the Great conquering the island of Tyre as an example of manly resolution. From Alexander’s conquest at Tyre, we extracted four ways to help improve your resolve in life.


Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

American’s savings rate is negative. That’s right, Americans are spending more than they’re saving. With the sluggish economy and soaring gas prices, practicing frugality is quickly coming back into style. While there are countless blogs that go into detail about how to live frugally, it all comes down to one principle: spend less than you earn.


Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.

Hard work has been the hallmark of every manly man. However, industriousness has gone out of style. People today are looking for get rich quick schemes that will afford them a huge payout with minimum effort. In reality, honest work is a beneficial and refining endeavor that should be embraced, not disdained. In this post we take on the cult of “The Four Hour Work Week,” illuminate the value of work, and explain how you can be more industrious in your life.


Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

If you frequent blogs or internet message boards, you’ve probably noticed the prevalence of gossip, sarcasm, and lying. Unfortunately, we’re starting to see the demeanor that pervades the internet rub off on people in the real world. In this post we discuss how gossip, sarcasm, and lying can harm you and others and how you can work on avoiding these vices.


Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

When I look back at the men I admire most, they all had one thing in common: each of them stood up for the little guy. In a society plagued with apathy, what this world needs now more than ever are men who will stand up for justice. Find out how you can develop the virtue of justice in your life as well as areas that you can implement the virtue.


Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

Are you looking for more fulfillment and satisfaction in your life? Society will tell you that “more” is the answer, that more money, more stuff, more women, and more pleasure are the keys to gaining satisfaction in life. In reality the secret to a fulfilling life is moderation. In this post, we offer five tips on how you can practice moderation in your life and in turn increase your happiness and pleasure.


Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.

While many would say cleanliness is more a sign of femininity than manliness, the reality is that developing cleanliness develops a man’s attention to detail, discipline, and order. Of all the virtues, the meaning of cleanliness has changed the most over time. In this post, we discuss that history and then offer suggestions on meeting today’s standard of cleanliness in your home, dress, and personal grooming.


Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

The irritations of modern life have left many men hot under the collar. Controlling one’s anger is the mark of a cool and composed gentleman. There are many social and health benefits to controlling your anger. In our discussion on tranquility, we provide 5 suggestions on how men can control their anger and start living more peaceful and tranquil lives.


Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.

Of all the virtues, chastity is probably the least popular these days. We live in a society in which that glamorizes and exploits sex. Sex is everywhere, on the internet, on T.V. and in our magazines. But the ubiquity of sex has only cheapened a once sacred act and turned it into just another consumer good to be selfishly consumed. In this post, we take a look at the harmful effects of today’s “hook-up” culture.


Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

The typical image of a manly man is one who is supremely confident, bordering or arrogance. Humility doesn’t seem to fit in that manly image. However, some of the greatest men in history have been the most humble. Humility isn’t weak, submissive, or self-abasing. Humility means having the quiet confidence to allow your actions to speak for themselves. After discussing a lesson on how not to be humble from Greek legend Achilles, we discuss five things you can do to be a little more humble.

Download Your Free Guide to Being a Gentleman in 2008.

Photoshop like tools

I receive updates in my email from this guys blog, some of which are very helpful.


14 Photoshop Online Alternatives

Posted: 01 Jun 2008 06:58 PM CDT

Here are 14 online tools to edit your photos, create graphics, add effects, etc.

  1. Picnik: Edit all your photos online, from one easy place.
  2. Splashup: The only full-featured, free range, image editor online.
  3. Aviary: is a suite of web-based applications (RIAs) for people who create.
  4. Photoshop Express: Official Photoshop online editor.
  5. Snipshop: Edit pictures online.
  6. FlauntR: Free online photo editor with photo editing features similar to photoshop.
  7. Pic Resize: Resize photos before posting them on your MySpace, Xanga, Facebook.
  8. Pixenate: Photo editor of choice for photo printing and photo sharing businesses.
  9. FotoFlexer: The most powerful online photo editor in existence.
  10. Phixr: Online Photo Editor
  11. LunaPic : Free Online Photo Editor
  12. ResizR: Resize images easily.
  13. Wiredness: Quick and easy browser based online image manipulation and photo editing.
  14. Dumpr: Online photo effects.


Monday, June 02, 2008


Big Brother is watching you.

But it's likely that no one is paying attention.

Odds are that every week you are being captured by a video camera. Maybe everyday.

Over the weekend, I noticed the signs at Target that said they were using survailance cameras.

And while it used to be a novelty, it has now become common place. Most retailers don't announce they are watching you, but look around as you go about your life this week and you'll start to notice the cameras.

Are they being monitored live? Or are they just recording and then viewed only if something goes wrong?

Do you use an A.T.M.? Did you smile pretty when it silently took your picture?

Here's what prompted me to write about this today:

Minnesota town tells Google Maps to get lost

This is as far as Google Maps Street View will take you in North Oaks, Minn., before it politely takes a right turn.

(Credit: Google)

A small town in Minnesota has told Google that its Street View feature can hit the road.

North Oaks, a private community of 4,500 residents north of St. Paul, isn't too keen on outsiders traipsing through its privately owned streets--even if is only on the Internet. According to the city's Web site, the roads are privately owned, and a no-trespassing sign greets potential visitors to the city.

So city officials were really unhappy when images of their streets and homes appeared on the Google Maps Street View feature, which presents a view of dozens of United States cities from a driver's perspective.

The North Oaks City Council sent the Internet search giant a letter in January demanding that images be removed or risk being cited for trespassing, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

"It's not the hoity-toity folks trying to figure out how to keep the world away," Mayor Thomas Watson told the newspaper. "They really didn't have any authorization to go on private property."

The company removed the images shortly thereafter, a Google representative told the newspaper.

"This is very rare, where an entire town would request to be taken off," Google spokeswoman Elaine Filadelfo told the paper, adding that the company removes images when individuals make the request.

Google is no stranger to complaints about its Street View service. Not long after the feature launched in May 2007, privacy advocates criticized Google for displaying photographs that included people's faces and car license plates. In May, the company announced that it had begun testing face-blurring technology for the service.

In April, a Pittsburgh couple sued Google over photographs of their home that appeared on the company's site, saying Google should honor a private road sign on their street. It claims that Google's "reckless conduct" has "exposed plaintiff's private information to the public."

For those who weren't exactly comfortable with ordinary photos of their property appearing on the Net, get ready to reveal a little more. A couple of weeks ago, Google confirmed that it is gathering 3D data, along with the photographs it takes for its online Street View service.

Avoid E-mail overload Tips

If you manage to avoid checking your work email over the weekend, then odds are that there's a "bunch of junk" waiting for you on Monday mornings.

From the Dumb Little Man Blog that I subscribe to, here are some tips, some of which I use to manage my email:

7 Ways To Manage Your Email Like An Expert

Posted: 29 May 2008 08:19 PM CDT

Written on 5/29/2008 by Abhijeet Mukherjee, of Jeet Blog.

If you are someone like me who is online 15 hours a day, then I am sure you understand the importance of email and are always hunting for ways to manage it better. It won't be an exaggeration if I say that today, email is the second most common way to communicate after telephone. And I am sure it will surpass it soon because I can already see people using their phones to in fact send email.

Hence today I decided to list 7 simple ways to better manage your email and increase your productivity while dealing with your inbox. These are the methods that I have followed and they have helped me a lot. Before I start, I'd like to mention that these ways are only for those who get less than 300 to 400 emails (excluding spam ) a day. If you get more, then I strongly suggest you to immediately hire someone else like a virtual assistant, to manage your email.

For the rest of you, here are the ways to manage your email like an expert:
  1. Set a time frame: This is very important; it is easy to lose track of time while checking your mail. In between the deleting and replying, you simply lose track of time and find later that 4 hours has slipped by. You could probably set 3 slots of 20-30 minutes each, during different times of the day, to check your email. Use reminders or other time tracking tools to keep track of your time.

  2. Use Gmail: If you are using a different web based email then waste no time in switching to Gmail. It will make you much more productive. You could also switch to Gmail without changing your original email address, which is probably preferred. Here is an article that explains how to do it.

  3. I advocate the use of Gmail, not as a die-hard Gmail fan, but as someone who has tried out various email clients in the past 5 years and found that nothing else compares. It has some amazing features including filters and keyboard shortcuts and if you use a desktop client like Outlook or Thunderbird, then Gmail also provides for IMAP access which makes life easier.

  4. Prioritize using Labels / Folders: It's important to differentiate the important mails from the unimportant ones. If you use Gmail, then you can set filters which will do the job automatically by applying labels or re-routing the incoming mail. In all the other email clients, there are folders which you can use to prioritize your email as well. You can make folders named "friends", "Reply today", etc. and when you open your inbox, immediately start shifting mails to their respective folders.

  5. Be Precise: Be precise and to the point when answering emails. You could even skip 'Hello' and 'Regards' if you want; I don't think anyone will mind it. Learn to use one-liners effectively. If you use web-based email and Firefox as your browser, then there are some add-ons like Paste Email which helps you to paste repetitive texts in forms or emails with one or two clicks.

  6. Delete Ruthlessly: You can easily conclude from the subject line of an email if it's worth reading. If it isn't, delete it without thinking twice. If you slack, thinking that you probably might read it later, then believe me, that email will remain there as unread until you finally decide to do away with it. Act upon the email the first time you see it by either responding immediately, deleting it, or setting it as a task to accomplish at a specific time.

  7. Don't leave it for the next day: Try and finish replying to the emails and clearing your inbox within the time frame you decided. I know, it's not always possible, especially if you get more than 100 emails a day, but if the emails go pending then the next day it becomes much more difficult for you to sift through your inbox. Think of your inbox like a snowball, the more it rolls, the larger it gets.
    Tip for Outlook users from Jay: If you receive an email that you want to address tomorrow, right click on it and drag it to your task pad. You can then assign a due date and a priority level. Heck, you can even assign it to someone else on your team. If you constantly do that, you'll have a good task list to work from and a clean inbox. This will completely remove the constant inbox browsing that you're doing now; not only is that habit unproductive but it's downright frustrating. If it's something that will take a long time or if it's a critical task, drag it to your calendar instead and actually create an appointment with yourself to dedicate time to it.
  8. Replace the source: Inspite of trying out the aforementioned 6 steps, if you still find it difficult to manage your email, then check the source of emails and try to replace it with something more useful. For example, if you get tons of emails from the contact form in your website, then identify the major concern which visitors have and then publish something on your website which will help those visitors, thereby helping to reduce your incoming email flow.
Email is a great tool if you learn how to manage it. Unfortunately most people are managed by their email. Get it under control by implementing some of these tips. If you have other keen ideas, let us know in the comments.

- Abhijeet .................Must see.................

Web Warrior Tools: Ridiculously helpful guides to everything.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Why I don't have a dog anymore.

He had too many bad habits.

Actually I found this picture while looking for items for my picture blog. I have new posts scheduled for every other day over there.

Dealing with Angry People

I read Seth Godin's material. I have some of his books, and get his blog updates in my email.

I have a series that I'm running on my Collective Wisdom Blog that started today and continues thru July 7th on Marketing Tips from Seth.

But he writes about a lot of subjects.

This arrived the other day:

Angry people are different

Angry people are different from other people. They are not just an inch or two along some curve. Instead, there's a gap in the curvAngrycurvee, a vertical chasm, separating the angry from everyone else.

You may encounter angry prospects (angry before you even got there) or angry customers or angry regulators or even angry employees. They're similar to each other but different from the rest of us.

It's tempting to treat an angry person just like a typical person, just... angrier. This is probably a mistake, because anger brings its own reality along with it. An angry customer isn't just a little less valuable than a non-angry customer. In fact, she's on a curve all her own.

I have two suggestions for dealing with angry folks:

  1. Sometimes, you can just avoid them. You can choose not to work with angry people. Just move on. There are plenty of non-angry people out there.
  2. You can acknowledge the anger and understand that until you make the anger go away, all responses are going to be off the charts and completely useless to you. The opportunity in working with an angry person is that you can somehow turn that angry person into a non-angry one... and from there, move them up the curve to a relationship you both value. The mistake marketers make all the time is that we believe that moving the person up the curve is the next step. It's not. No one moves while they're angry.

"I'm never coming back to this restaurant again!" is angry.
"Our special next week is lasagna..." isn't going to do the trick as a response.

"I'm angry that my candidate didn't win the primary,"
so, "Consider my health plan," isn't going to work.

"You cancelled my flight!" is angry, thus...
"That's our policy sir, read the ticket," is obviously a lousy marketing ploy.