Saturday, August 15, 2009

Video Time: Brickhouse

Yes, I remember when this was a new song...


In 4 months I'll be 50. But today I decided to do a little reflection on (nearly) 50 years of living.

First of all I have friends both younger and older than me. As we get older, age isn't as important as it was when we were under 21.

Speaking of 21, last night my wife Kathy and I took my step-daughter Abby to Henry's, a local bar and restaurant in Fort Wayne for the first time.

Abby turned 21 two weeks ago but she was out of town, and the past week has been the one week that she has been home between her summer internship and returning to college, which she did this morning.

What and where is this place we call home?

Is it a house, a town, does it change, are you sad when you leave it or excited to start fresh?

Home for me for the first 18 years was where my parents lived. For 10 of those years it was the house in the picture.

As long as my parents lived in that house, it was a "home" to me.

In 2001 we sold that house and if you drive by today, instead of green, it is yellow, which ironically is one of my favorite colors.

I returned to that home in 1998 but it wasn't until I met my wife Kathy that I decided to make Fort Wayne my "home" again.

My three kids, Rachael, Josh & Tiffany were still in high school about 50 miles west of here and I expected them to go out in the world and explore the way I did.

All three of them went to college after high school and Josh just got his degree a couple months ago. My goal as their Dad was to help them become self reliant, responsible young adults who would chase their dreams, where ever it took them.

At the moment, Tiffany, the youngest at 23 has been married 2 years and moved to Oregon last year with her husband Jon but now they are back in Indiana, about 100 miles away and doing fine.

Her older sister Rachael is 25 until next month, and lives and works here in Fort Wayne. We ran into Rachael and her boyfriend Brandon last night at Henry's.

Josh is in Arkansas this weekend attending a wedding with his girlfriend Madeline. Next weekend we will see her in a play she is acting in about 60 miles from here.

I wonder at times what place my kids think of when they think of "home". I have lived with Abby and her mom, my wife Kathy for 8 1/2 years, yet out of respect for her relationship with her Dad, she calls me Scott which is fine.

We are content with where we live. We like Fort Wayne. I have lived other places and the house we now call home is just a couple miles from the house in the picture I grew up in. I have learned to take it all in and not get too attached to "things", instead attach yourself to people.

So the answer to my original question, Where is home?, is where the people and relationships are.

How about you?

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Friday, August 14, 2009

41 Friends

Here's what you could do tonight with 40 of your friends if they all brought their beds:

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Safe & Secure?

I read this article from last week, and changed all of my passwords this weekend:

Gmail flaw shows value of strong passwords

Becky Waring By Becky Waring

The disclosure of a back door allowing bad guys to repeatedly guess Gmail passwords should remind us all to protect our accounts with long and strong character strings.

There's a straightforward way to protect your online accounts — use signin phrases that are easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess.

The latest vulnerability affecting Gmail accounts was recently revealed by security researcher Vicente Aguilera Díaz in a posting on the Full Disclosure security list. (Aguilera previously revealed a Gmail flaw known as session-riding, which Google subsequently fixed, as reported by WS contributing editor Scott Spanbauer on April 23 and May 7.)

According to Aguilera's new security alert, Google allows anyone with a Gmail account to guess another Gmail user's password 100 times every two hours, or 1,200 times per day. No "captcha" keeps hacker bots from guessing passwords in this way. Worst of all: If a hacker controls, say, 100 Gmail accounts, 120,000 guesses can be made per day. Because Gmail accounts are free, many hackers control far more than 100 accounts, of course.

To its credit, Gmail requires fairly long passwords of 8 characters or more. However, as Aguilera points out, Gmail allows users to create extremely weak passwords such as aaaaaaaa.

A quick survey of my friends and relatives revealed that not one of them uses strong passwords. Most people have no idea how to create them. Yet everyone I asked expressed guilt at using easy-to-crack passwords: pet names, birthdays, and common dictionary words.

Most people's passwords could be guessed in far fewer than 10,000 attempts. And, despite using weak passwords, the people I interviewed say they rarely change their signin strings. (One-third of the people surveyed use the same password for every Web site they sign in to, and the infamous Conficker worm needed to try only 200 common passwords to break into many systems, according to an analysis by the Sophos security firm.)

Here's the topper: many respondents to my informal survey admitted to keeping an unencrypted file on their systems that lists every password they use!

You may not think the password to your webmail account is valuable. But anyone with access to your account can use it to send spam and ruin your online reputation. More seriously, you may have entered the same password at an online banking site, such as PayPal, or a site where your credit-card number is stored for easy ordering, such as Amazon.

Use tough passwords but make them easy to recall

You can see whether your current passwords — you do use more than one, right? — are rated "strong" by using Microsoft's online Password Checker. I bet you'll be unpleasantly surprised by the results.

Microsoft's Password Checker
Figure 1. Test the strength of your passwords by entering them in Microsoft's Password Checker.

The three keys to strong passwords are length, randomness, and use of different types of characters. Each additional character multiplies the potential combinations a brute-force attack must try.

Random passwords use upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. When at least three of these four categories are used, an eight-character password should suffice in most instances. According to the FrontLine security site, such a password would take a century or more to crack by a hacker using a single PC. The eight-character standard is also the minimum the Microsoft Password Checker deems "strong." Of course, the more characters in your password, the safer you'll be.

If you wish to create your own password, use a sentence or phrase you can recall easily and then tweak it for each account.

For example, start with the phrase "all good things come to those who wait." Then take the second letter of each word — or the only letter in the case of single-character words — to yield lohoohha. Then use upper case for every other consonant and substitute numerals or punctuation for certain vowels: loHooHh@.

(Never use any password-creation system you've read in a book or on the Web, including the example in the preceding paragraph. The password crackers read these articles, too.)

You can be as creative as you want with your rules. The goal is to produce a random-seeming combination of letters, numbers, and special characters — one generated by a set of rules you can remember and recreate.

Next, add a few characters denoting the site or the account for which the password is required. For example, you could add the first three letters of the site URL to the beginning, middle, or end of your base password, but five letters later in the alphabet, so "ama" for becomes frf.

By this time, you'll likely have a password that's at least 8 to 16 characters long and fairly random-looking — strong by any measure. When you need to change a password, keep the same rules and change just the base phrase.

Dos and don'ts to keep your passwords safe

Now that you know how to create strong passwords, follow these ten tips for using and protecting them.

  • DO use a password manager such as those reviewed by Scott Dunn in his Sept. 18, 2008, Insider Tips column. Although Scott focused on free programs, I really like CallPod's Keeper, a $15 utility that comes in Windows, Mac, and iPhone versions and allows you to keep all your passwords in sync. Find more information about the program and a download link for the 15-day free-trial version on the vendor's site.

    Callpod Keeper password manager
    Figure 2. Callpod's Keeper password-management utility lets you sync passwords between Windows and Mac PCs and iPhones.

  • DO change passwords frequently. I change mine every six months or whenever I sign in to a site I haven't visited in long time. Don't reuse old passwords. Password managers can assign expiration dates to your passwords and remind you when the passwords are about to expire.

  • DO keep your passwords secret. Putting them into a file on your computer, e-mailing them to others, or writing them on a piece of paper in your desk is tantamount to giving them away. If you must allow someone else access to an account, create a temporary password just for them and then change it back immediately afterward.

    No matter how much you may trust your friends or colleagues, you can't trust their computers. If they need ongoing access, consider creating a separate account with limited privileges for them to use.

  • DON'T use passwords comprised of dictionary words, birthdays, family and pet names, addresses, or any other personal information. Don't use repeat characters such as 111 or sequences like abc, qwerty, or 123 in any part of your password.

  • DON'T use the same password for different sites. Otherwise, someone who culls your Facebook or Twitter password in a phishing exploit could, for example, access your bank account.

  • DON'T allow your computer to automatically sign in on boot-up and thus use any automatic e-mail, chat, or browser signins. Avoid using the same Windows signin password on two different computers.

  • DON'T use the "remember me" or automatic signin option available on many Web sites. Keep signins under the control of your password manager instead.

  • DON'T enter passwords on a computer you don't control — such as a friend's computer — because you don't know what spyware or keyloggers might be on that machine.

  • DON'T access password-protected accounts over open Wi-Fi networks — or any other network you don't trust — unless the site is secured via https. Use a VPN if you travel a lot. (See Ian "Gizmo" Richards' Dec. 11, 2008, Best Software column, "Connect safely over open Wi-Fi networks," for Wi-Fi security tips.)

  • DON'T enter a password or even your account name in any Web page you access via an e-mail link. These are most likely phishing scams. Instead, enter the normal URL for that site directly into your browser, and proceed to the page in question from there.
Following these tips will help you keep your personal data safe online.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Stop Dieting

and eat like this instead. From the DLM Blog:

The 11 Most Important Rules For Healthy Eating...Yes, Most Important

Posted: 05 Aug 2009 06:48 AM PDT

You know what to do in theory, don’t you? Avoid processed foods and trans fats, include more lean protein, load up on the fresh fruits and veggies. Easy! Until, of course, you realize that the last time your weekly menu even partially resembled such a wholesome eating plan was sometime in the early 90’s, before stress, or adulthood, or the perils of keeping up online took over your life.

And these days the idea of eating healthy sounds moderately confusing at best, and just like too much hard work at worst. But it doesn’t have to be that complicated. In fact, if you follow these 11 rules for healthy eating you just might find that it’s a lot easier than you thought to be one of those annoyingly perky healthy people.
  1. Eat food that is as close to its natural state as possible
    While it’s true that not everything found in nature is good for you, the stuff that’s been classified as food is a pretty safe bet. The advent of the modern-day diet industry initially taught us that we know better than Mother Nature but really – what are the chances of that?

    Over the past 50 years we as a people group have adhered to ever stricter diets and in the same time-frame Western-world rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease have skyrocketed. Isn’t it time we got back to basics?

    My rule is to always choose foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Eat the whole egg, not just the white. Choose full-fat organic dairy over low-fat, antibiotic-ridden dairy. Include a small amount of nature’s fats (organic meat, avocado, oils, nuts and seeds) in your diet rather than opting for the packaged foods that may be low in fat but are typically high in sugar, synthetic chemicals, and heavens knows what else.

  2. Calories don’t count
    Visit the tribes of the Maasai people in Africa, or the Brazilians who live deep within the Amazon and you’ll visit a people exuding health, energy, and – for the most part – an enviable physique. Ask them how many calories they stick to each day in order to be so healthy and you just might be laughed out of the jungle. And you know what? This is not a situation unique to uncivilized people groups. Take a trip to the typical Frenchwoman’s home, or head over to the Dominican Republic, and you’ll find a similar situation (possibly minus the hunting and sparse clothing).

    If you choose to eat a balance of natural foods you’ll soon learn that calories don’t count. This is because when it comes to energy in versus energy out, 2 + 2 does not always make 4. Your body is perfectly capable of doing whatever it wants with the foods you eat, and I’ve seen people gain weight and feel awful on a low-cal diet, while others regularly indulge in meat, (good) fats, and a daily feast of vegetables, seeds, full-fat dairy, and nuts.

    It’s all about listening to your body – which is tough to do if your mind is overwhelmed with sugar and chemicals from all that low-fat food.

  3. Avoid dieting
    If you’re not going to count calories, then I guess you’d better give up dieting as well. (Bet you’ll be sorry to say goodbye). I don’t have to tell you that most diets depend on restricting something –whether it’s calories, a certain food group, foods at a certain time of day, etc. In fact, I’m sure you’ve been there at least once.

    Well the evidence is in, and it’s not pretty. Studies have shown that the more frequently you’ve dieted, the greater your chances of being overweight and even obese later in life. Dieting also puts you at greater risk of developing food intolerance and digestive problems due to the over-consumption of certain foods as others are excluded. Throw out the diet books, switch off Oprah, and take the time to find a lifestyle diet that will work for you for the long-term.

  4. Include protein
    Protein based foods are the building blocks of a healthy diet and protein has several important roles in your body, including cell repair, cell regeneration, hormone production, and blood sugar management. In fact, pretty much every different diet, while possibly excluding carbohydrate or fat, recommends some form of protein. This alone should indicate how important it is.

    In my experience, most people do not eat enough protein. If you think some chicken breast in your evening stir-fry or a slice of ham in your lunch focaccia is going to cut it, think again. I’m talking quality protein at all 3 main meals – and possibly in between, depending on your level of activity. Your main sources of protein should be from natural sources such as dairy, eggs, poultry, meat, and fish. Legumes, nuts and seeds also provide some protein.

    My personal recommendation is to stay away from soy due as many natural health experts are now linking it to hormonal imbalance and increased toxicity in your body. Read The Whole Soy Story by Kayla Daniels for more information on this.

  5. Be smart about fat
    If you’ve heard of Omega 3 - perhaps even swallowed the occasional capsule - then you’re already onto the benefits of smart or good fats. The most commonly known smart fats are the essential fatty acids Omega 3 (O3) and Omega 6 (O6). It’s crucial that you include these fats in your diet as your body is not able to produce them, and they are critical to your health.

    Good fats serve many wonderful purposes, including the reduction of inflammation, improved detoxification, and they’ve also been linked to weight loss.

    The typical Western diet tends to emphasize O6, through over-consumption of vegetable oils such as corn oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil. Corn oil in particular, is used in most baked and processed foods. A healthy diet should include an O6:O3 ratio of anywhere between 1:1 and 1:4, so it’s crucial that you take steps to increase your O3 intake. You can easily do this by including eggs, walnuts, oily fish, flaxseeds, leafy greens, and a good (mercury-free) O3 supplement. In nature you would eat up to 40 grams of O3 each day, and considering that a heart salmon steak only has around 7 grams of O3 I’d say that supplementation is a good option for everybody!

  6. Choose foods you enjoy
    What’s the point in trying to be healthy if it’s all uphill work? Many people I speak to are convinced that switching to a healthy eating plan requires them to give up everything they love and subsist on dry crackers with the occasional raw vegetable stick. The reality couldn’t be further from this miserable scenario.

    A truly healthy diet is one that embraces all elements of what nature has to offer. If you include loads of variety in your day-to-day food choices, and plenty of nature’s rich indulgent foods along the way then you’ll not only be eating as you should be, you’ll be enjoying a feast everyday. Of course you don’t have to eat every different food out there, and if there’s something you especially loathe then just steer clear. Myself, I’m not a big fan of broccoli and it never features in my diet.

    When switching to a purely natural diet it can initially be tough to adapt to foods and flavors that are not overly sugared or caked in chemicals, but trust me – give yourself a week or so and you’ll realize just how delicious real food can be. Try going back to a junk food or packaged food diet after this and I guarantee you’ll be digging your heels in every step of the way.

  7. Be adventurous with herbs, spices, and traditional foods
    Of course part of enjoyment is being adventurous with different tastes. I know I’d get pretty bored living entirely on meat and veg night after night. The good news is that herbs and spices from all the corners of the earth are a great way to make things interesting, and have tremendous health benefits to boot.

    Chili, for example, has been said to increase your metabolism, parsley keeps your breath fresh, and garlic may help to lower blood pressure.

    You can also freely add organic sea salt to any of your food. I love my salt so much that I actually add it to my drinking water from time to time (it’s a great way to re-mineralize purified tap water). Organic sea salt can be found at your local health or organic store and is grey or pink in color. It often comes in chunks, and contains over 90 different essential minerals - what a wonderful addition to your diet.

    It’s also worth considering traditional foods such as raw cacao (mmm, chocolate), coconut oil (high in medium-chain fatty acids, are great for your liver and metabolism) , and wild berries such as the goji berry (a wonderful snack which is high in antioxidants).

  8. Eat when you’re hungry but not before
    There is so much information out there telling you what to eat. Just trying to read and decipher it all is a headache in itself, and that’s without even considering additional questions such as how often you should eat. It’s popular for modern-day diets to recommend that you eat small meals at regular intervals throughout the day. This approach has taken off as it’s said to regulate blood sugar levels and ensure you don’t give in to the temptation that can come about when hunger’s a-gnawing. While this is a good approach for many people, it’s not necessarily the right one for you.

    The truth is that some people do need to eat 5 or 6 or even more small meals each day, but others function and look their best when they eat only 2 to 3 times per day. If you consider yourself someone who ‘lives to eat’ as opposed to ‘eats to live’, you probably fall into the first category. It’s important that you listen to your body. The key to health and ideal weight is to wait until you are hungry to eat. Not starving, mind you. But you definitely shouldn’t be eating ‘just because’ it’s lunchtime.

  9. Quality counts
    It stands to reason that a diet rich in nature’s rich foods is one with a focus on quality. Unfortunately the typical supermarket fare that most of us consume is often produced as efficiently (cheaply) as possible, and you pay the price with your health. There’s a tremendous difference, for example, in the health-giving benefits of a cage egg (which has an O6:O3 ratio of around 20:1) compared with an organic egg (which has ideal O6:O3 ratios).

    According to many health experts, supermarket fruits and vegetables (which, let’s face it, often lack color and flavor, have in many cases been boosted with dyes, waxes, and even fresh smells in order to trick you into believing they’re fresh. How do you think the supermarket gets the produce on the shelf looking ‘just right’ without first picking it before its time and then taking steps to slow the ripening process. I’ve heard of one major supermarket chain that keeps its apples in its warehouse for up to 12 months! My recommendation is to buy from smaller grocers, markets, or organic stores wherever possible. When it comes to meat and dairy, choose organic or at least free-range.

  10. If it sounds too good to be true, it is
    If a product tells you it’s low-fat, or low-cal, or maybe even low-sugar, and still promises to deliver all the taste of its more natural cousins, then you can bet there’s a problem. Your body was not designed to subsist on foods that come in a package or are all but 100% man-made in an effort to meet the latest government ideal of what’s good for you. A simple check to determine the BS factor on any product is to check the ingredients label. I tell my clients that the longer the list, particularly if it includes things you can’t pronounce, the worse it is for you. I don’t have to tell you that healthy eating is built on real food, not chemicals and artificial sweeteners.

  11. Be realistic and don’t be afraid to break the rules once in a while
    It’s all very well to proudly follow a healthy diet, and I do believe that you really will feel so good eating this way that you simply won’t want to revert to old habits. But we all have occasions when we just can’t be bothered making an effort, when we run out of time, or when we’ve simply earned the right to indulge and let loose. In my opinion this is actually an important element of healthy eating.

    Binging on chocolate or chips is not healthy, but taking the time to enjoy them ‘just because’ is great for the soul and could even benefit your body if it means it keeps you on track the rest of the time. I recommend you follow the 80/20 rule – make an effort and eat the right foods 80% of the time, and let your hair down the other 20%. Just don’t be surprised if it ends up being only 10% as your energy, health and motivation builds with each consecutive day of healthy eating!
What tricks or techniques do you use to motivate yourself toward regular healthy eating? Do you have a #12 that we should add to this article?

Written on 8/5/2009 by Kat Eden. Kat is a Personal Trainer from Australia. Visit her blog Body Incredible to be inspired with the latest nutrition tips, weight loss advice, and motivational thinking. .Photo Credit: compujeramey

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Google Tips

First of all, if you are not using Google as your primary method of searching for something online, stop it!

Yahoo, Bing, and all the others do not compare. More people use Google than any other search engine, worldwide.

Still, perhaps you could use some help. This is from a client of mine that does P.R. for McDonald's and other businesses:

Tech Tip: Advanced Search Techniques To Help You Google Like a Pro

Nathan DeSelm
Written by:
Nathan DeSelm

By now, I’d say almost everyone knows how to search the Web using Google. If you’d ask most people how proficient they are in finding things with Google, I’m sure most people would rate themselves pretty highly. It seems like a relatively simple skill.

However, the reality is that most people are barely scratching the surface when it comes to online search. Sure, they find what they are looking for eventually, but they are often doing it the hard way. By using specific search “operators” in Google, you’ll gain ninja-like searching skills that are sure to put your friends to shame.

OperatorHow to Use It
“Quoted Phrase”When you add quotes around a phrase, Google will only show results with the entire phrase. For example, the search “villing and company” would not find a page that said “villing is the best advertising company”. This is great for finding specific quotes or phrases.
The + signAdding a plus sign before any word will make sure that that word is included. This is especially useful when it is a word that Google would typically ignore (such as “the”, “I” or “a”) or when you don’t want Google to search for plural variants or different spellings. For instance a search for +favorite +movie would tell Google to ignore lists of favorite movies and also ignore pages that had favorite spelled “favourite”.
The - signAdding a minus sign before any word will return search results that include the other words in your search but DON’T include the word with the minus sign. This is useful for searching for things that might have alternate meanings. For instance, if you searched for bulls -chicago -sports you would eliminate most of the sports-related results.
The ~ symbolIf there are multiple synonyms for the thing you are trying to search for, you can include them all in your search by using the tilde, which is usually found at the top left of your keyboard. For instance, if you’re looking for a cheap flight, you could search for ~cheap flights, which would include synonyms like “inexpensive”, “affordable” and “low cost” in the same search.
Using ..If you are searching for something that uses a range of numbers, you can enter that range using two periods without any spaces. For example, a search for laptop $300..$500 will return results for laptops priced between $300 and $500. You could also do this to find a specific date. For example, a search for brad pitt 1950..1980 quickly brings back that he was born in 1963.
The * characterLet’s say that you’re searching for lyrics, but you forget a couple words in the phrase, for example “I’m ___ on sunshine.” You can use the asterisk to represent one or more missing words and combine that with the quotes like this: “I’m * on sunshine”. This will quickly return anything with that phrase, in this case “I’m walking on sunshine”.
Using “site:”Sometimes, you want to find something on a specific Web site, but the site doesn’t have a search engine (or the one it has sucks). In that case, you can use Google to search the site by using the “site:” operator. For example, you could search the Villing site by including “” in your query. For instance, nathan would find every page on the Villing site that included my first name.
Using “phonebook:”This one is especially for all you stalkers out there. It may be a little creepy, but you can find many residential phone numbers by using the “phonebook:” operator. This only works for residential phone numbers, but it works both ways: phonebook:nathan will find phone numbers for everyone with “nathan” in their name; phonebook:574-277-0215 would find the name and address for the person with that phone number (if it were residential). By the way, if this freaks you out, you can remove yourself from this listing using this form.
Using “filetype:”Have you ever wanted to find something online that was in a PDF or Word document? If so, you can narrow your search significantly by using the “filetype:” operator. filetype:pdf statistics would search for the word “statistics” in online PDF files.

There are many more search operators to help narrow your search, but these are the ones that seem the most useful. I personally use the “site:” operator quite a bit to find things on Web sites that have horrible built-in search functionality. It may take a little effort to re-train yourself to use some of these, but often it can make the difference between finding something in one minute and not finding it at all.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

How to Quit

from the DLM Blog:

First Step to Escaping the Cubicle For Good: Set A Date

Posted: 10 Jul 2009 09:33 AM PDT

cubicleHave you ever fantasized about quitting your day job? Have you ever woken up on a Monday morning and dragged yourself into work, wishing you could do something else for a living? Do you hold your tongue through pointless meetings? Would you go into a different career – or self-employment – given the chance?

Perhaps you’d echo the words of Bubbly Krish, who told me “I would appreciate if you could write something on leaving the rat race to be your own boss”.

My first thought was where to begin? And then I thought about how I left the “rat race” myself and became my own boss. The crucial step, I think, was to set a date for quitting.

Does that sound a bit simplistic? Here’s why and how it could work for you:

Pick Your Date...
I can’t tell you “quit in three months” or “quit in six months”. How long you need depends on your situation. But I can tell you that if you set a firm, realistic but slightly challenging, date to hand in your notice, you’ll find that everything else starts falling into place.

Decide on the date that’ll be your very last day ever in your current job. Circle it on the calendar. Now work back two weeks (or four, depending on your notice period). Write “hand in resignation”. Draft that resignation letter today, with your resignation-date at the top.

Your dreams of quitting will suddenly start to seem more real.

Work Becomes More Bearable
Surprisingly, the mere act of setting a date to quit can make your current life seem that bit better. When you’re having the week from hell at work, you can tell yourself “it’s just for three more months ... two more months ... one more month.”

When you know you won’t be staying much longer, you stop worrying about your promotion opportunities (or lack of them). And you don’t need to think about the horror of the annual Christmas party if you’re leaving by the end of November...

Your Plans Gain Focus
When you know you’ve only got, say, three months, your plans will start coming into focus. Perhaps you’ll spend a weekend doing some serious research about the area you want to go into. If you’re planning to freelance, you’ll find the motivation to use your evenings to begin building up a client base. If you’re starting a business, you’ll start looking into what steps you need to take. Maybe you’ll dust off that novel and start sending it out to publishers. Perhaps you’ll find the energy to play at local gigs again. If you’re thinking about going back into education, you’ll get down to writing those grant applications or going for those scholarships.

It’s all too easy for our dreams to be just that – dreams. Fantasies which, deep down, we know aren’t ever going to come to anything real. But putting your “I quit” date on the calendar takes those dreams out of your head and into the world.

You’ll Get Your Finances On Track

Lack of money traps many people in jobs they hate. If you’re deep in debt, or if your monthly expenses are huge, you might feel that you have no choice but to stay in the rat race. A firm date gives you something to work towards – and it helps you deal with having to budget and control your spending in the short-term.

Topics like debt, frugality and cutting monthly expenses are far too huge for me to go into here. Some great blogs on these subjects include Get Rich Slowly and The Simple Dollar. Both have huge archives of useful material, but you might particularly want to check out:
Having a firm quit date means that you’ll be much more motivated to take small actions that add up: brown-bagging lunch, curbing your impulse spending, eating breakfast at home instead of stopping for a latte and muffin on the way to work, carpooling, having nights in instead of nights out... You could end up saving a huge amount on everyday expenses.

Finally ... Keep Yourself Psyched Up
Once you’ve set that date, you don’t want to lose the motivational rush you felt when picking it. I love reading books, ebooks and articles that are both motivational and practical, and which inspire me towards my goals. A couple of recent ones aimed at helping you leave the rat-race are:
Do you dream of leaving the rat race? What would you rather be doing? When are you going to quit? Set a date today, and let us know in the comments...

Written on 7/10/2009 by Ali Hale. Ali is a professional writer and blogger, and a part-time postgraduate student of creative writing. If you need a hand with any sort of written project, drop her a line ( or check out her website at Aliventures.Photo Credit: sylvar

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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Video time: Another Kind of Church

Did you head to church sometime this weekend?

Was it like this?

Watch CBS Videos Online

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day Extra & Explanation

So far this year I have featured over 220 Fort Wayne websites every morning on this blog. What qualifies as a Fort Wayne Site-of the-Day?

First, it needs to have a Fort Wayne connection. Either the person or business is in the Metro Fort Wayne area, or perhaps it is the Fort Wayne version of a national site like Craigslist.

Some of the sites were temporary, promoting an event.

Some of the sites were blogs, others were static corporate sites.

I have avoided Facebook pages and Myspace pages simply because so little effort is required to have one and they didn't fit my purpose for the Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day.

Which brings up the question, What is the purpose?

This project began in 2008 when I was looking for others in the area that wrote blogs, and I wanted to promote them and create a community of local people who had ventured into this realm of social media. I thought perhaps I'd find 20 or 30 blogs, but I ended up with around 50.

Then I got bored and frustrated with the project and stopped. I was running out of material.

After a couple months hiatus, I decided to return the feature on January 1st, 2009 with a daily commitment and expanded criteria. I also promote it each day with a tweet on Twitter.

Recently I have told a couple of friends who are web designers that it could also be a good lead source for them to find websites that need updating.

Today I received a request via twitter for promotion of a Fort Wayne based site that does not fit my criteria because their main site is a MySpace page.

If you are interested in showing them how to create a non-MySpace and non-Facebook site on the web, you can contact them and offer your services. Having your own domain name adds credibility (even though there are also plenty of non-credible people who have their own sites with domain names).

This organization has put a lot of effort into their page and there are some excellent links and resources. They are very active online and in person in our community.

So without any more explanation of the "what and why" of the Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day, here's an extra one for your browsing pleasure.

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Click here to go there