Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tonights Video: Stand by Me

Bet you haven't seen this version yet:

Need vs Want

It's a classic battle.

Do I need this or do I just want this?

Seth Godin wrote this on his blog recently:


I had lunch (a big lunch) with a college student last week. An hour later, she got up and announced she was going to get a snack. Apparently, she was hungry.

By any traditional definition of the word, she wasn’t actually hungry. She didn’t need more fuel to power her through an afternoon of sitting around. No, she was bored. Or yearning for a feeling of fullness. Or eager for the fun of making something or the break in the routine that comes from eating it. Most likely, she wanted the psychic satisfaction that she associates with eating well-marketed snacks.

Marketers taught us this. Marketers taught well-fed consumers to want to eat more than we needed, and consumer responded by spending more and getting fat in the process.

Marketers taught to us amplify our wants, since needs aren’t a particularly profitable niche for them. Isn't it interesting that we don't even have a word for these marketing-induced non-needs? No word for sold-hungry or sold-lonely...

Thirsty? Well, Coke doesn’t satisfy thirst nearly as well as water does. What Coke does do is satisfy our need for connection or sugar or brand fun or consumption or Americana or remembering summer days by the creek...

People don’t need Twitter or an SUV or a purse from Coach. We don’t need much of anything, actually, but we want a lot. Truly successful industries align their ‘wants’ with basic needs (like hunger) and consumers (that’s us) cooperate all day long.

Think you could live without the $1800 a year you spend on cell phone service and $1200 a year you spend on cable TV? Of course you can. You did ten years ago. But now, that high-speed, always-on connection to the rest of the world is so associated with your basic need of connection that you can't easily divorce the two.

As discretionary corporate and individual spending contracts, what’s going to get cut first? The obvious wants. The corporate dining room or the big screen TV for Christmas. What’s interesting to watch are the things that we can’t live without, the things we think we need, not want. Those things won’t get cut, yet most of them aren’t needs at all. That’s because the industries that market these items have done a brilliant job of persuading us that they are needs after all.

If you truly believe in what you sell, that's where you need to be, creating wants that become needs. And if you're a consumer (or a business that consumers) it might be time to look at what you've been sold as a need that's actually a want.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tonights Video: Simon Sez

Back when I was a disc jockey, the ad-libs I'd make about this song would come easy during the winter time with nasty road conditions. Enjoy!

Bailout or Bankruptcy?

Over the past few weeks we have heard about the cons, (and a few pros), of bailing out our auto industry. You've probably talked about it with someone.

Yet most of us don't really know what would happen if they were allowed to go under. (First of all, they don't just go under, they reorganize.) Congress told them to come up with a plan and do it fast, like 10 days.

Ain't gonna happen. Not a real plan that will be implemented. An outline perhaps.

I subscribe to Seth Godin's blog updates and use them on occasion on my Collective Wisdom website. However this piece I'm presenting here for you to read and mull over:

What to do about Detroit

I was in Detroit last week... I have family there. I also drive a car. And I would rather that the world doesn't melt and the economy thrive. So I'm uniquely qualified to weigh in on the automobile industry.

Not only should Congress encourage/facilitate the organized bankruptcy of the Big Three, but it should also make it easy for them to be replaced by 500 new car companies.

Or perhaps a thousand.

That's how many car companies there were 90 years ago.

That's right, when all the innovation hit the car industry, there were thousands of car companies, with hundreds running at any one time. From Wikipedia:

Throughout this era, development of automotive technology was rapid, due in part to a huge number (hundreds) of small manufacturers all competing to gain the world's attention. Key developments included electric ignition (by Robert Bosch, 1903), independent suspension, and four-wheel brakes (by the Arrol-Johnston Company of Scotland in 1909).[16] Leaf springs were widely used for suspension, though many other systems were still in use, with angle steel taking over from armored wood as the frame material of choice. Transmissions and throttle controls were widely adopted, allowing a variety of cruising speeds, though vehicles generally still had discrete speed settings rather than the infinitely variable system familiar in cars of later eras.

Between 1907 and 1912, the high-wheel motor buggy (resembling the horse buggy of before 1900) was in its heyday, with over seventy-five makers including Holsman (Chicago), IHC (Chicago), and Sears (which sold via catalog); the high-wheeler would be killed by the Model T.

Back in its heyday, Ford Motor made every single part of its cars, including raising the sheep that grew the wool that made the fabric that upholstered the seats. That's not true any more. Now, suppliers make just about every part. We need those suppliers, and we need them to stay healthy.

What we don't need are giant companies with limited choice, confused priorities, private jets and a bully's attitude.

I'd spend a billion dollars to make the creation of a car company turnkey. Make it easy to get all the safety and regulatory approvals... as easy to start a car company as it is to start a web company. Use the bankruptcy to wipe out the hated, legacy marketing portion of the industry: the dealers.

We'd end up with a rational number of "car stores" in every city that sold lots of brands. We'd have super cheap cars and super efficient cars and super weird cars. There'd be an orgy of innovation, and from that, a whole new energy and approach would evolve. Betcha.

More Google Tips

Sunday I listed some Google tips on my Collective Wisdom blog which you can see by clicking here.

Today, I'm featuring an article from the DLM Blog:

The 10 Most Useful Google Reader Productivity Tips

Posted: 14 Nov 2008 12:34 PM PST

I've tried many RSS feed readers which include browser based readers like Bloglines and desktop readers like FeedDemon but I have to say that Google Reader is by far the best tool for the job. For someone like me who subscribes to tons of feeds, it's an indispensable tool that gets me in and out quickly so I satisfy my information craving without killing my productivity. Since Google Reader may be the most popular browser based RSS reader, I assume that a fair number of you are reading this post from Google Reader. To share the wealth, I am providing some useful tips to help you become more productive while reading feeds and therefore avoiding RSS overload.

Keyboard Shortcuts
Google Reader provides an excellent set of keyboard shortcuts which can be easily accessed by pressing Shift + '?' in case you forget them. The simple shortcuts, like 'j' / 'k' for viewing next / previous item and 'v' for checking the original link would save you loads of time.

Manage Tags
If you are able to manage the tags feature in Google Reader, it can serve as a huge information resource. You just have to make sure that you separate the tags and folders, because for Google Reader both are same. For example, lets say I subscribe to 3 productivity related blogs. I'd tag them as 'Productivity' and automatically a folder gets created with that name which will include those 3 blogs. However, if I come across a good post in one of those blogs which I want to save for future reference, I'd assign a separate tag to that post which is different from the names of any folders I've created. This way I can easily access that specific post later using the corresponding tag.

Use List View
The default view in Google Reader is the expanded view which shows posts in expanded form. I'd recommend you to immediately switch to the list view which is much better and helps you check feeds faster. In fact, the list view also speeds up Google Reader load times.

Create a Top Priority Folder A person who doesn't want to spend the entire day reading feeds always has a top priority folder which houses the blogs he reads most frequently. If you haven't created such a folder until now, then go ahead and create one for yourself. Check the feeds in this folder everyday and leave the rest for weekends. Trust me, you'd never complain about RSS overload again. :)

Star Items To Read Later
Like Gmail lets you star emails, Google Reader lets you star articles. You can put this functionality to use when you are in a hurry and would like to read a post later during the day. Hence a single click can help you quickly access the post later when you decide to read it. And yes, make sure you remove the star after you've read the post. That would ensure you don't end up with too many starred items.

Integrate RTM
Remember the Milk (RTM) is an awesome task management application and Lifehacker mentions how you can integrate it with your Google Reader account. This could help you easily create to-do lists or reminders from something you just read.

Use Better GReader
Better GReader is a Firefox extension created by Lifehacker's editor Gina Trapani. It adds many features to Google Reader but if you were to ask how it makes you productive, I'd tell you about the preview item feature. This feature lets you view a blog post in its original form within Google Reader and you can add a comment to that post without leaving Google Reader's interface.

Search Efficiently
We know about Google Reader's search function but most of us don't bother to check the drop down menu which gives you many search options such as: searching read items, starred items and searching items within specific tags. If we utilize these options, we can easily find what we are looking for in Google Reader.

Use AideRSS to Filter Feeds
AideRSS is a cool tool which allows you to filter feeds and sort them in accordance with their ranks. The ranks are assigned using the PostRank technology and other statistics which this tool considers useful.

Analyze Using Trends
The trends feature in Google Reader is an excellent way to analyze your feed reading habits. Here is an article which shows how you can manage RSS overload using trends in Google Reader. Cheers, Abhijeet
Written on 11/14/2008 by Abhijeet Mukherjee. You can catch him at Jeet Blog where he blogs about different Web 2.0 apps a nd online tools and how they can help you become more productive.Photo Credit:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tonights Video: Rat, Cat & Dog

My son and his gal have a couple of rats as pets, we have a couple of cats. I would only trust one of my cats with the rats, but this guy has done something amazing:

The Generation Gap

It's been around for as long as I've been alive and I'm pretty sure it's been around forever. We used to call it the "Generation Gap". It often occured during the teen years and then depending on the folks involved, it either grew wider or narrower as we aged.

These days it's more than clothing styles, language, or music tastes. This is from

behavioral_ruined_small.jpgADOTAS EXCLUSIVE — As we continue to evolve as a digital world, rapidly adapting new technology, the way people interact is also changing. Verbal communication is becoming a long lost art, as is people’s comfort level with it. Sending an email, text message, or IM is quick and painless — an efficient (and seemingly safe) way of communicating while avoiding verbal confrontation, rebuttal, or the dreaded small talk.There’s time to sit in front of your electronic device and ponder a clever and witty response. Technology is enabling people to abandon common forms of traditional communication in their everyday life and at work, especially those who have grown up with technology as an accepted norm — rather than a privilege.

According to the Forrester’s July 2008 report, “State of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2008,” Generation Y sets the pace for technology adoption and digital, far exceeds any platform of traditional media consumed spending. In a survey of 45,315 North American online adults, people 21–-25 spend an average of 17.6 hours online per week, with 65% of that time for leisure purposes.

They use it for anything and everything — as communication, entertainment, information vehicles, you name it. And being connected has never been easier — given that this generation is already logged onto their IM, created their personal avatar, has their cell phone on at their desk, and has updated the status of their Facebook page with where they are headed to for lunch.

They are truly living their lives online.

And communities such as Second Life make it easier, as do the advent of toys like Webkinz; however, you have to wonder: What is all of this plugging in doing to their interpersonal skills? Gone are the days when children used to actually walk down the street, and knock on the neighbors’ door to see if they want to play a game of kick-the-can before dinner. And forget about getting in trouble for venturing into the sewers with the older kids (wait … was that just me?).

Perhaps there is no place where the preferred method of communication and technology is more obvious than it is at work where following up with a contact to some means sending email after email after email after email. Where do you draw the line of email as a form of communication and not the form of communication?

Working on the media side in advertising, we often negotiate large media buys on behalf of our clients. Due to the fast-pace and flexibility of interactivity, this means media buys, optimizations, and at times, cancels are done quickly to maximize results for our clients. It’s highly unlikely, however, that you’re going to get the best rate or solution to a delivery problem over email.

What I’ve learned is that a five-minute phone call can not only expedite a resolution, but can also do wonders for your professional relationships. On a given day, I average as many as 300 emails in the office, but rarely receive more than three phone calls. I will most likely respond over email, but those who call are the first that I respond to, and if is deemed necessary, a phone call will precede the email.

Nowadays, there are inter-generational relationships in the workplace as veterans and boomers are retiring later, making differences in communication styles even more apparent. Generation Y, growing up surrounded by digital media, has become a generation of expert multi-taskers — listening to the latest edition of Sports Center, IMing a friend about meeting at the gym, gathering screenshots of the latest campaign, and entering an approved plan in DoubleClick MediaVisor while at work.

It’s easy — with all of this multi-tasking going on — for one generation to look down on another. Boomers may think of Generation Y: How can they possibly be productive when they’re connected to technology at every point? And Generation Y may just wonder why Boomers haven’t jumped on the technology bandwagon yet.

There are rules of conduct one can follow to leverage oneself in the workplace and create a higher perception of marketability by looking to other generations. A handwritten note is still thoughtful when someone goes out of their way to provide a special gift or treat. A phone call is necessary when budgets are discussed to avoid confusion and rationale for changes, followed-up by an email to confirm details. However, sending media kits or insertion orders via U.S. mail or fax is not only inconvenient, it does not allow a soft copy to be saved on the shared drive and shared with peers, and it can create the illusion of an old system that needs to be updated.

At the end of the day, regardless of our generation, it’s important, particularly in the workplace, for us to learn from our generational differences and find a happy medium between recognizing the value and timing of reaching out to others via the appropriate human connections, and understanding the day-to-day importance of technological conveniences.

Hosting for the Holidays tips

As promised, here's the second Art of Manliness posting about Holiday visits:

How to Be a Gracious Host

host How to Be a Gracious Host

Image from magarell

Yesterday, we set down the rules of being the perfect houseguest. The host likewise has important responsibilities and expectations to fulfill. The ability to show hospitality has been a measure of one’s character across cultures and time. Hospitality goes beyond providing simple room and board; it involves making your guest feel comfortable, welcome, and at home. For many men who have finally landed their own place, this holiday season may be their first time hosting travelers. Following a few simple guidelines will ensure your guest’s visit will be a happy memory they will have forever.

1. Be on time to pick up your guest. No one wants to be standing at the airport like a dope with no one to greet them. Make your guest’s first impression of their trip a pleasant one by being there to warmly greet them as soon as they arrive.

2. Stock up on tasty treats. Your guest is on vacation; they want to relax and eat delicious food. Don’t leave them at your house with only an old jar of mayo in the fridge. Make sure there’s plenty of snacks to be had.

3. Make your abode as clean and pleasant as possible. After a long trip, there’s nothing like stepping into a host’s inviting home. You may not mind living in a mess, but that’s no condition in which to have a guest. Make sure the guestroom is particularly hospitable with an inviting bed and clean sheets. Even if your guest is sleeping on the couch, make the couch look cozy and comfortable.

4. Cook for your guest. Preparing food for your guest is an ancient rite of hospitality. It doesn’t matter if you’re not much of a chef, the effort is what counts. And always make breakfast for your guest on the first morning of their stay. There’s something quite welcoming about waking up to a home cooked meal.

5. Plan interesting activities for your guest. You want your guest to have a memorable visit and the best possible time while they are with you. Show them all your favorite spots and take them on all your favorite excursions. But also research some activities you know will particularly appeal to your guest and their interests. Even if you cannot accompany your guests on these sightseeing trips, give them a list of ideas, maps, directions, and everything else they need to go out and enjoy themselves.

6. Never act imposed upon. Every guest worries a bit that they are imposing on you. There’s never a need to magnify this insecurity. Always act as though you could not be more pleased that your guest is staying with you. You shouldn’t have to fake such a sentiment; while you may experience moments of annoyance, keep in mind that such visits are infrequent and that your guest will soon enough be returning to their distant locale.

What’s been your experience in hosting travelers? Have any advice you’d like to share? Drop a line in the comment box.

 How to Be a Gracious Host

The Art of Manliness Free Man Cookbook

Download Your Free Guide to Being a Gentleman in 2008.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tonights Video: Not Your Typical...



Short and (not) sweet, plus links to the others in the series afterward...

Visting for the Holidays Tips

The next couple of days, I'll feature a couple of blog posts from the Art of Manliness:

How to be the Perfect Houseguest

Posted: 16 Nov 2008 10:56 PM CST

2008-11-16_2149 How to be the Perfect Houseguest

Image by George Marks

Next week is Thanksgiving and with it comes the arrival of the holiday season. Many of you will be traveling to see family and friends this time of year. Staying with loved ones can be a great time, and everyone loves free lodging. But you must always remember that hospitality is a gift, one that should be accepted graciously. Here’s how to show your gratitude and make your stay a welcome and pleasant one this holiday season, or any time of the year.

1. Send money for groceries. If your host will be paying for your food while you stay, send a check ahead of your visit to cover the cost of groceries and the other incidentals involved in entertaining and hosting you. If you wait to offer dough until you are there, your host will inevitably turn down the offer out of politeness. So just mail a check before your trip with a note about how excited you are to be coming. If your visit will be short, take your host out to dinner and pay for the meal instead.

2. Show up on time. If you tell your host that you’re going to come in on Wednesday morning, show up at that time. If you’re running late, make sure to call ahead and update your host on when you’ll be arriving.

3. Bring a gift. To show your appreciation for the free lodging, bring a gift. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive. Baked goods, flowers, bottles of wine, or unique gifts from your home state are always appreciated.

4. Keep your area neat. Before you leave each day, make sure to make the bed and straighten up your room. Put your dishes in the dishwasher after you use them.

5. Pitch in with the chores around the house. Always be willing to help around the house. Help prepare the meals, wash the dishes, and take out the trash. A gracious host will never directly ask you to help, so just get in there and start lending a hand.

6. Let your presence interfere as little as possible with your friend’s normal routine, household duties, and career. You friend may of course wish to take time out to hang with you, but you should never be the one to impose on their time. Do your best to conform your routine to the routine of the household, as to not get in the way or create an imposition.

7. Disclose your schedule. Let your host know your schedule every day and do all you can to stick to it. This will help your host plan when to serve meals and how late they need to stay up.

8. Do not ignore your friend altogether. If you friend lives in a “destination” city and the purpose of your trip is both to visit with your friend and to see the sights, you should not entirely eschew the former to pursue the latter. No one wants to feel like you are simply using them as a hostel. Do your sightseeing when your friend is at work, plan activities together for when they are not, and invite your host on your excursions.

9. Come with some ideas about what you want to do and see. While your friend will surely have many things they wish to do with you, they should not be expected to entertain you all day long.

10. Even if you don’t find all the activities your host plans for you enjoyable, keep your disappointment to yourself. Part of visiting a friend is accompanying them on excursions that they enjoy. Your friend is working hard to entertain you, let them know you appreciate their efforts.

11. Don’t criticize your host’s hometown. If you are say, a proud New Yorker paying a visit to your country cousin in Omaha, do not go on and on in unfavorably comparing their city to the Big Apple. Most people are proud of their hometown; be generous in your compliments of it.

12. Always ask. Remember, you’re a guest. Even if someone tells you to make yourself at home, still ask before you start using things. It’s just polite.

13. Don’t overstay your visit. Try to keep your stay shorter than three days. Your host has things to do and they can’t put their life on hold forever.

14. Strip the bed before your leave. Your host will likely wash the bed linens after you leave. Help make their job easier by stripping your bed before you depart.

15. Write a thank you note. Showing true hospitality is one of the greatest kindnesses a friend can bestow. Be sure to express your gratitude to them be sending a note of thanks soon after your trip.

Have any more tips on being a good houseguest? Let us know in the comments.

Tomorrow: How to be the perfect host.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tonights Video: MM BD

Got this tip from Kim Komando today, (The Mouse is 80 today):

For more fun, go here:


Those three digits mean only one thing... Bond, James Bond.

But who is the real Bond? At the coffee shop Sunday we were talking about this, and the Art of Manliness Blog has some thoughts on the matter too:

6 Lessons in Manliness from James Bond

Posted: 13 Nov 2008 11:02 PM CST

173847148_e4e56eb01f_o 6 Lessons in Manliness from James Bond

Editor’s Note: In honor of Quantum of Solace being released today, AoM contributor Cameron Schaefer has put together this rundown of Bond’s most manly qualities.

Admit it, if you’re a man, you’ve thought about how cool it would be to spend a day in the shoes of 007 himself, “Bond, James Bond.” The cars, adventure, beautiful women, and all the ridiculous spy gadgets. Seriously, who wouldn’t enjoy sporting a wrist-mounted dart gun?

But, there’s something else that attracts us (in a manly way) to Bond. It’s not just the lifestyle and accessories, it’s how he embodies so many of the qualities that we admire in a man. Confidence, strength, self-control (with one glaring exception), independence, and charm mixed with a bit of brute force. He seems to hold the world in his hands, but he’d just as easily give it all away.

Starting with “Dr. No” in 1962, each incarnation of Bond, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, has given men a look at how to live the high life, one of sophistication and grace, but far from gentle. The following are some lessons that every man can take away from the life of James Bond.

 6 Lessons in Manliness from James Bond

1) Finish What You Start. A man can be counted on to complete the mission, whatever it may be. Anyone can start something, but very few can consistently finish. James Bond shows us that determination isn’t an optional part of manhood, it’s required.

Think of the men in your life you look up to. Chances are they are people you can trust to do what they say. These are the people we follow, model, and celebrate. For them, how one starts the race isn’t nearly as important as how one finishes. When things get hard and go wrong, it doesn’t cause them to throw in the towel, it only pushes them harder. In the same way, Bond is a closer, something for which all of us men should strive.

2) Dominate Technology. Bond is a man that keeps up with the times. He is a master of the current technology and gadgets, but never their slave. You won’t find Bond spending hours each day frivolously texting away or sporting a permanent bluetooth headset. Wherever Bond is, he is ALL there, not constantly sidetracked by his Blackberry. He uses technology when he needs it and chucks it when he doesn’t.

Technology can be a great asset, but like many things it can often warp into something we can’t live without. In doing so, it takes a place in our life that it has no business taking. Bond is the type of man that keeps tech in it’s proper place- a place of servitude.

james_bond_pierce_brosnan_007-300x236 6 Lessons in Manliness from James Bond

3) Know Your Enemy - Like any good practitioner of war, Bond never enters a battle without knowing the intricate details of his enemy. Not just who he is, but how he thinks, what he desires, what he fears and how he can be exploited.

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. - Sun Tzu

For Bond, and for all men, sometimes the enemy is quite obvious, while at other times they cleverly hide their ulterior motives. Your enemy could be a business rival that is seeking your destruction or even some type of character assassin like an addiction, a weakness, or a character flaw. Regardless, knowledge is key to victory in any of these areas. Identifying the enemies in your life, learning their ins and outs, and defeating them at every turn is something Bond understands and all of us should as well.

jamesbond-vi 6 Lessons in Manliness from James Bond

4) Dress to Kill - For centuries, part of being a man meant dressing well for every occasion. Suits, hats, collared shirts and well-fitting trousers were a necessary part of living well. Somewhere along the line it became acceptable for a man to leave the house in baggy sweatpants, t-shirt, and a baseball cap.

You might be saying, “But I’m a man, only women care about how they dress.” To you Bond would reply, “You’re an idiot, kind sir, ” as he walked off with your girlfriend. How a man dresses says something about him and men who dress well exude and inspire confidence. So ditch your old, ill-fitting rags and invest in a quality wardrobe. After all, the first step towards being Bond is dressing like him.

5) Know How to Handle Your Weapon - Bond, understands the value of having a firearm and knowing how to use it. While he only discharges his weapon when absolutely necessary, 007 is well-equipped to defend himself and those around him when the situation arises.

Becoming a skilled firearms user doesn’t mean you need to turn your house into a one-stop armory. Simply stopping by the local gun range every once and awhile and/or taking a gun safety class can make a big difference. Also, a man should know how to properly clean his gun. After all, a quality weapon is a valuable tool, but it is only as good as the person operating it.

bond1sea 6 Lessons in Manliness from James Bond

6) Stay Cool - Remember that one segment in the last 007 movie where Bond cracked under the intense pressure of his mission? Me neither. Bond shows us that being a man means staying cool under pressure. Life is tough for everyone; get over it. Great men have the inner fortitude to handle themselves with confidence and self-control even when the world around them is crumbling.

Part of dealing well with stressful situations is being prepared for them.

“On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other days and other fields will bear the fruits of victory.” - General Douglas MacArthur (US WWII General and war hero)

Bond is able to remain calm because of his past training and experience. Apart from training, playing competitive sports is a wonderful way to learn how to handle stress and prepare for battle, whether it be against the “Man With the Golden Gun” or simply the young hot shot competing for your job.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tonights Video: What I Want For My Birthday

I was watching this last night and when I saw the first car, I was hooked. That is the car I've always wanted. But wait and watch the whole clip!

Mother Knows Best?

From the DLM Blog last week comes this insight.

Why Mom Was Right About Everything

Posted: 12 Nov 2008 11:17 AM CST

When you were a kid, your mother gave you lots of good advice. And like most kids, you probably ignored a lot of it. But whether you’re sixteen or sixty now, try revisiting some of those wise things that mom said: they’ll help in all areas of your life. Here are just a few examples:
“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Sure, there are times when you just want to blurt out what’s on your mind. Maybe your friend’s done something stupid – or maybe your partner’s bad habits are driving you nuts. But how many times have you lost a friend or hurt your partner because you spoke in anger and said something cruel?

If you can’t trust yourself to say something nice, then it’s wise to keep your mouth shut. You might have to tackle someone’s behavior – but do this gently, when you’re feeling calm.
“Wash your hands before eating.”
How many of us make a point of always washing our hands before eating? When you were a kid, prone to grubbing around in the mud, picking up snails and worms, and following it up with a spot of finger-painting … mom almost certainly made you wash your hands before a meal.

Now you work in an office, or have a nice clean home, you don’t need to bother, right?

A number of experts suggest that you might be very wrong there. For example:
  • “Work stations contain nearly 400 times as many microbes than lavatories.” (Lifting the lid on computer filth)

  • “The phone comes out as the germiest object in the office, followed by the desktop, keyboard, mouse, fax machine, and photocopier.” (Dr. Germ)

  • “It's very easy for hands to spread bacteria all round the kitchen, because we touch so many things, from food to fridge handles, towels to can openers.” (Eat Well, Be Well – Cleaning)
Finish your dinner before you eat dessert.”
Could you do with losing a few pounds? If so, going back to some of the rules that mom had when you were a kid can help. Eating a healthy entrĂ©e is better for you than filling up on chocolate fudge cake: only eat dessert foods when you’ve had a proper meal first, and you’ll be less likely to overindulge.

How about following some of these rules too?
  • No snacks (except fruit or nuts) between meals.
  • Soda as a special treat, not an every day drink.
  • Candy limited to once or twice a week.
  • Eat your vegetables.
"Brush your teeth at least twice a day.”
Do you brush your teeth twice a day, every day, for at least two minutes? Or do you find it too much of a hassle? Getting into the routine of regular tooth-brushing (after breakfast, and just before bed) will help prevent costly and painful visits to the dentist.

There is no better way to prevent bad teeth than brushing teeth. It’s such a basic oral hygiene procedure that everyone knows about it. (Brushing Teeth)

In the UK, one in ten people don’t even brush their teeth once a day. (ShortNews article.)
“Tidy your room.”
Stop reading for a moment, and have a look around your room. How tidy is it? Is there more clutter than you’d like? Are you always “about to get around to tidying up”? Do you find yourself wasting time hunting for important files? Is your stapler never where it should be?

When mom nagged you to tidy your room, she knew what she was talking about. Can you enjoy your work when your mood is being dragged down by piles of clutter? How efficient are you if you have to regularly hunt through all the mess to lay your hands on the one thing that you need? Set aside some time this week – even just fifteen minutes will help – to tidy up. Too busy? Then you definitely need to do this, as the state of your desk is eating up time and energy which you can’t afford.
“Write thank you notes.”
When you were given birthday presents, I bet mom made you sit down and write a bunch of thank you notes. You might have grumbled (I know I did), but there were a couple of great reasons for it. Firstly, it’s plain old good manners. If someone gives you something or does you a favor, you should thank them.

If that’s not motivation enough for you, consider this:
"I will also grudgingly tell you the hidden secret of thank you notes: They improve the frequency and quality of the gifts you receive. People like being appreciated, and if they feel you actually notice the nice things they do for you, they’re more likely to give an encore performance." (How to Write a Thank You Note)
And if someone’s helped you out in a business context (perhaps they’ve interviewed you for a job), writing a thank you letter is an excellent way to make sure they feel appreciated.What other wisdom did your mom have that you know would help you out today? Share some of her great advice with us in the comments – and let us know what you’re doing to follow it!

Written on 11/12/2008 by Ali Hale. Ali runs Alpha Student, a blog packed with academic, financial and practical tips to help students get the most out of their time at university.Photo Credit: sir_scutter

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tonights Video: Presidential Dance Off

Thanks to Craig at New Haven Print for featuring this video at his web site:

Faster with FireFox

Sunday's are a prep day for me. Prepare for the work week ahead, Prepare many of the blog posts I can do ahead of time, (I will do a minimum of 40 each week, spread out over 4 or 5 blogs). So I found this article helpful, and I'm sure you will too.

8 Killer Shortcuts A Blogger Should Master With Firefox

I just used tip 5 to get the link to this article:

8 Killer Shortcuts A Blogger Should Master With Firefox

8 Killer Shortcuts A Blogger Should Master With Firefox - Image courtesy of

As a blogger, we would have to go through our daily ritual of reading blogs, commenting, checking out updates on our RSS reader, emails, and so on. Here’s a list of the 8 killer shortcuts that you should master on Firefox to get those things done and help free up a whole lot of time that will be better utilized for writing your next big article.

  • 1. Ctrl + T = New Tab

    The “New Tab” feature had been one big reason to why Firefox was exceptionally popular ever since it’s first launch on November 9, 2004.

    “New Tab” helps when you are about to look up for some references on Google or Wikipedia while writing. This too allows you to go get distracted on other media sites like Facebook to chat up with friends, or on Youtube to look for some videos like the ninja cat that sneaks up to the owner while not moving.

    The best use for this “New Tab” feature is to get you to your Wordpress (or any other type of blogging platform you are using), another tab for your email, another for your RSS reader, one more tab for anything else random of your choice, the first thing you load up your browser.

  • 2. Ctrl + W = Close Tab

    After having about 15 new tabs opened thanks to the speed in opening new tabs, it is time to close them as fast as you can count from one to three - without the need to move your mouse cursor over to the close icon button (which would be blended into the entire tab on the browser).

    Using the “Ctrl + W” way to close a sequence of tabs is faster than using the clicking method.

  • 3. Ctrl + Left Click = Open Link In New Tab

    Most likely you should have a RSS reader and have subscribed to a few blogs like mine as an example, or receive tons of emails that grabs your attention, and you find those that are worth reading and want to open the links in a new tab.

    The fastest way to get that done is to use the “Ctrl + Left Click” on the link to open up the page in a new tab. No need for the traditional way of going to the right click menu and clicking the option which takes tons more time.

    The cool part is that your screen won’t be taken to the new tab, but still stays at the same page where you can now open up let’s say, the 12 new updates that you have in your RSS reader in different tabs.

  • 4. Ctrl + Shift + R = Full Refresh

    “Full Refresh” would be extremely valuable for developers and website designers. It will override the cache - means that new images that are uploaded or new javascript code can be reloaded with the new data that might not have been retrieved by a normal refresh.

  • 5. Ctrl + L = Highlight URL (from address bar)

    Maybe it’s 4 in the morning and you have just published your new article and getting ready to send out your address for the entry to your friends. You are in the freshly published post, and here’s the best time to select the entire link by pressing “Ctrl + L”. Which now you can use the shortcut to copy and then paste it to wherever you require it to appear in.

  • 6. Ctrl + Shift + L = Bookmark Page

    The “Ctrl + Shift + L” quick bookmarking feature allows you to bookmark that exceptional article or resource that you could refer back to later on in the day or week.

  • 7. Backspace (in a tab) = Go Back One Page

    This is particularly useful when you may have proceeded on to a following page from a link in a page by accident, and would like to go back to the place where you were from.

    Press the “Backspace” key helps to go back one page with ease.

  • 8. Ctrl + Alt + Del = “The Last Resort”

    You won’t have to use the “Ctrl + Alt + Del” function with Firefox. Unless… there’s more tabs opened than you can get to visit in a week at one given moment, with half of it coming from video clips, and another quarter of them happen to be sites that uses huge flash files or running several java applets at the same time.

    That’s when you will invoke “The Last Resort” to kill off the entire processes and get back your laptop resources that the browser would have hogged from the fictional scenario mentioned.

Of course, there are many more shortcuts created for Firefox that you too could use for a faster browsing experience. But you will still be better off with mastering these 8 first. You will actually use them and find them very reliable and helping you to be a more effective blogger!

Yes, you can now track 800 blogs with ease with these killer shortcuts!

Do share in the comments some of the other shortcuts that you use in your life as a blog owner and writer, and how much faster they had been in your own personal experience.