Kitchen Remodeling - A Clear and Simple Guide That You Need to Upgrade Your Kitchen

Are you one of the tens of thousands of homeowners who have all said the similar thing: "This old kitchen has got to go!" Do you just want a simple makeover? Or a complete redo of your kitchen? You projects could be changing the wall color, upgrading with new appliances, or tearing everything down to the bare wall studs. Whatever your need is, you will need a clear, concise and easy to follow guide that walks you through the whole process. That includes budgeting, choosing materials and eventual remodeling. You can choose to have total control in your kitchen remodeling or you can always find someone to do it for you.

Remodeling a kitchen is a big job. But it is not so big that anyone, with the right guidance and understanding, could not feel confident to start at least some parts of the project. Looking for a useful guide is the very first step if you want to do kitchen remodeling by yourself. That guide should show you how to take your kitchen and remodel it in such a way that fits you wants and needs, no matter what shape it is now. Your upgraded kitchen will become a room you are very proud to use and show off. Within the guide, you will also find information on everything from cabinets, flooring to appliance, and decorating to sink installation.

In today's home, the kitchen has become a special point for the family as well as for entertaining. Because of that, you want your kitchen to be as functional as possible within your budget. To achieve that, you will need to think about design ideas and plans and the materials and equipment that your kitchen must have to meet your needs. You might not to be able to obtain all of your wants, but don't be afraid to put a few ideas in your design.

The guide should give you information on what materials and appliances should go into your kitchen. Also it should help you understand the kitchen remodeling process and makes you a smarter consumer. Besides, you should find much hands-on, how-to-do-it information that shows you how to tackle many parts of the projects, saving you good money, and making you feel very satisfied of doing it yourself. Even though you decide to have someone remodel your kitchen, the how-to information will still make you more informed and give you a better understanding when you have to deal with contractors.

Samsung LN46B750 - The Great New LCD TV From Samsung

What better way to enjoy the newest DVDs in town than by watching it with the new Samsung LN46B750? The new Samsung LN46B750 gives you the best of LCD technology, complete with new revolutionary settings in picture quality control and color control.

This new television also has a lot of added capabilities so you wouldn't have to worry about being limited with the things you can do with your wonderful new 46" LCD TV. It has an Ethernet port and a USB port at the back, so you can enjoy the World Wide Web and your other electronic devices together with your new LCD TV.

Samsung LN46B750 also was designed to contrast with other lines of LCD TVs because it's designed with a deep red hue that you would probably enjoy as a center attraction in your bedroom or living room.

Samsung LN46B750 also has power saving modes so you wouldn't have to think twice about using the LCD TV for long periods of time, even when you're recording your favorite shows or viewing your favorite digital photo albums. Aside from all these wonderful features you would also be enjoying a stream of the latest and most relevant information from the World Wide Web through the shiny, shiny screen of this 46" LCD TV wonder.

The Ethernet connection would make sure that you get your stock tips and news on time, when you need it, when you want it. Because the Samsung believes that you deserve to get the World Wide Web even if you're in front of an LCD TV. Another added bonus is that this particular LCD TV is compatible with the hot new product coming in from Samsung: the digital media player, which you can plug in and enjoy, at a snap.

Performance-wise, the new Samsung LN46B750 is a notch above the rest of the competition, which includes Sony, in terms of delivery of quality picture output and sound, and blur correction. The new Samsung LN46B750 also puts to the fore an advanced menu system with the features that you have been dreaming of, presented in a streamlined and simplified manner so that navigation would be a cinch compared to other more traditional menu systems present in other brands.

The Samsung LN46B750 is top of the line, and when compared to other brands, performs even better in terms of noise reduction, color control, blur reduction and other such features that are integral to the whole entertainment experience itself.

Aside from this, the way that the screen of the Samsung LN46B750 was made makes sure that the crisp and bright display would reach you without other physical distortions, thus making it a pleasure to watch even more. The new Samsung LN46B750 also has a nice swivel stand that comes with the delivery and installation, which would completely secure your viewing experience by making the television more secure and fun to watch. The swivel stand would also make sure that the entire weight is supported.

Hyperinflation - America Built Upon A House Of Cards

Hyperinflation is defined as a very high rate of inflation or inflation that has gone out of control. There are several definitions, on the low-end it's defined as a consecutive accumulation of inflation over a three-year period averaging 26 percent annually reaching 100 percent by the end of the third year. While on the high side, inflation can exceed 50 percent per month. Even lower degrees of inflation will still wipe out savings and purchasing power within a short duration of time.

Many government economists view the official Consumer Price Index or CPI numbers with skepticism believing the US economy is not suffering any inflation at present. However there are also those outside the government viewing the same CPI numbers who strongly believe were already experiencing the early effects of high inflation.

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out everyone who purchases food, fuel even medical costs sees were paying more today than we were a year ago. If you reflect upon that, you will also come to realize you were paying more last year than the previous year as well.

Below are four current problems with serious potential to create devastating inflation within America.

Monetizing debt and deficits -

As Federal Government expenditures continue to increase, there comes a point where excessive expenditures will reach a level that will exceed revenues. From this point ensuing deficits will become unfundable by normal or conventional means. Normally this is where the central bank would step in and fund any monetary differences by re-starting their printing press to create more money out of thin air.

Unfortunately further monetization will only increase and prolong problems within the economy. Whats really needed now is a cure, a medicine that will attack the root causes of economic failures, capable of reversing their course to turn the un-sound economy back around. This medicine is called austerity; it can be a very powerful tool to rebuild a failed economic system. With austerity however comes lots of pain and sacrifice.

Politicians would want to avoid this medicine at all costs because it's not likely to meet with any public approval. Concerned citizens within every politician's district will rise together, to threaten all of their cushy jobs, once at the polls. As the central bank starts their massive open-ended monetizing campaign (think QE 3, QE 4) it will lead to the "house of cards" becoming so unstable that the economy will eventually collapse upon itself.

Reduced capacity to effectively handle the crisis -

As every boom and bust cycle that's been created by government stirs up our society, it also robs every one of capital stock. This eats away at the very core of society. During the years of the Great Depression, America still had vast manufacturing plants capable of building almost anything from raw materials and could still export these products to foreign markets. Today those once great manufacturing plants have gone to countries like China who now control the majority of global manufacturing. The physical ability for the United States to "get by" has been severely reduced. For this reason, a crisis of this size will be even harder to manage, it will morph into a massive event, far greater than what American's witnessed during the Great Depression.

A completely bankrupt banking system -

Regardless what gets reported by the mainstream media, on economic reforms, the truth is all the western banks are mired in huge amounts of debt. For banks to turn profits these days, the entire banking system requires credit that is both cheap and easily accessible. The entire financial sector would be in dire straits should the Federal Reserve ratchet up their short-term interest rates. Banks would then be stripped of their abilities to generate profits any longer.

The possibility of a bank-wide collapse could actually become reality, should the Fed increase their ultra-low lending rates that only these large banks can receive. The highly publicized banking system "stress tests" that the Federal Reserve made public earlier conveniently skips over higher interest rates. The big reason for "looking the other way" is because if these banks had to be tested for this, they would all fail. Therefore to shield the entire banking system from past negligence, the Federal Reserve is prohibited from shutting down its printing press, even if real growth within the economy returned.

Debt expansion over economic expansion -

The reason any business borrows money is to invest that money properly within the business and come out with greater profits. In-turn they pay back the borrowed money, while still maintaining a positive cash-flow. Fundamental business principles in the United States for decades now have dwindled; it seems now that these principles are lost. It is generally believed these days that the US economy needs an ever-increasing quantity of debt just to sustain the current rate of growth. From 2008 until now the US debt has increased 67 percent but that is not all. The real GDP during the same period has run sideways.

Lenders will not close loans when they see that growth turns out to be reliant upon ever-increasing debt, they rather walk away. Sadly for the United States this practice is already in progress. Lender's such as China used to be the largest buyers of US Treasuries, more so then even the US itself. Now they have sold off those Treasuries reducing their exposure to American debt. So now the Federal Reserve has had to step in with elaborate bond programs such as QE 1 and QE 2. Thus buying massive amounts of Treasury bonds just to make up the difference where China basically stopped borrowing. The fondness for debt now exceeds real economic growth.

Is hyperinflation on the horizon? Once inflation is finally clear to everyone it will simply be too late to stave it off for two key reasons:

1. The price level is a key indicator. Printing excess money is the first thing to happen; from there we go to higher costs.

2. The masses will finally notice consumer prices for all common goods and services skyrocket. The reason for prices going vertical will be because all consumer prices will have been reevaluated. This means they have been converted to their real value, that of hard assets such as gold or silver. This is how investors find protection, in assets that naturally hedge inflation.

Many of your family, friends and relatives will not be worrying at a time like now, they don't see the signs. This is the time where they should really prepare. These could also be the same people who missed the warning signs on the housing bubble collapse, and the banking system which was on the verge of self-destruction a few years back. Once talking about inflation becomes common gossip, both the Fed and you will not be able to do anything to stop it. Instead, you will be watching your existence and standard of living going down the toilet.

Hyperinflation is resting upon an economic house of cards in America. The risk of one card getting knocked out by the constant mismanagement from Government and the Fed is too great. That house is about to collapse, so get yourself prepared today while time is still on your side. Invest in hard assets such as physical gold and silver and hedge your assets against massive inflation and ultimately the destruction of paper money.

Tom Genot -

Over 15 Great Things About Detroit Metro Area

The Detroit Metro Area has a lot of really neat things for people to do and see.

I grew up in the Chicago Area.  I lived in the Cleveland-Akron Area, the Winston-Salem-Greensboro Area, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids, Michigan.  So I have not lived everywhere, but I have seen enough places to speak intelligently, and I know that Detroit has things to offer.  Detroit has some things to offer, despite what you hear in the news and from people with negative attitudes.

These are the things I would miss the most if I no longer lived here:

1. Professional Sports Teams: You have the Red Wings (Hockey), the Tigers (Major League Baseball), the Lions who are now winners in football once again, the Pistons (Men's Basketball), and the Shock (Women's Basketball).  There are also several Minor League Baseball teams within a short drive, too.

2. Proximity to Universities (within 2 hours): University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan State University in Lansing, Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Wayne State University in Detroit, University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, Adrian College in Adrian, Albion College in Albion, Alma College in Alma, Olivet College in Olivet, and the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio.  Plus, there are several other smaller colleges throughout the city and the surrounding area.

3. Coney Island Restaurants: These are your basic greasy spoon Greek restaurants, but you can always find Chicken Lemon Soup and mouth watering, heart-killing Coney Dogs waiting for you to devour.  For those who do not know what a Coney Dog is, it is a hot dog in a bun topped with a special Coney Chili, onions, and mustard.  It sounds disgusting and is, but it sure tastes good!

4. Arabic/Middle Eastern Restaurants & Culture: Detroit Metro Area has the largest Arabic population outside of Middle East.  This is a pretty amazing fact.  It is nothing more than a mere fact, unless you count all of the places that serve wonderful baklava, an intensely sweet bakery desert that is almost like candy.  There is good humus and bad humus.  When you go to the right places, there are few things as tasty as a piece of warm, soft pita bread dipped into property flavored humus.  Then you have your supremely spiced meats: gyros, kababs, schawarmas, and more.  You will not find a dollar menu at these places, but you can eat a wonderful meal without spending a truckload of money.

5. Pizza Papalis: Buddy's and Shield's pizza are Detroit's cornerstones for pizza.  They both have a good pan pizza.  However, as a non-native Detroiter, these do not compare with Pizza Papalis.  Chicago is known for their pizza.  There are many places outside of the Chicago Area that will claim to have Chicago-style pizza only to disappoint.  Pizza Papalis bakes a Chicago Style Pizza that favorably compares to Giordono's in Chicago.  Amongst my personal favorites, their spinach and three cheese pizza with sausage and mushroom pizza is a thick, cheesy pizza that melts in your mouth and makes a tremendous mess on your plate.

6. Cooke's Dairy Farm: There are other dairy farms, but there are two (2) things that separate this from the pack.  Their ice cream is the creamiest ice cream ever.  It's expensive and tremendously fattening but wonderfully worthwhile.  Also, they let people approach many of their animals, which are caged but are still extremely accessible.  This makes a fun date or a family outing.  The ice cream is really wonderful, though.

7. Casinos: There are three (3) casinos within Detroit city limits: Greektown, MGM Grand, and MotorCity.  You can stay at their hotels (which I have not done), but they all offer some adult fun.  Plus, there are many others throughout Michigan.  Often, there is entertainment playing in the background.  Winning is so fun, too.  We will not mention those other visits when we are not winning.

8. Greektown:  Besides the casino, this is a section of Detroit that offers a taste of city living in older days.  It also has several Greek restaurants.  There is a Pizza Papalis restaurant there.  After you eat and gamble, there are a couple of bakeries.  My favorite is Astoria, which has gigantic portions.  The only thing larger than the portions is the goodie selection.  When you are all done, you can take a quick tour of Detroit by paying fifty cents per person to ride the People Mover, a train that circles downtown Detroit and surrounding mini-neighborhoods.  The neatest part of this trip is when you look across the river to see Canada and its Windsor, Ontario skyline.  It looks really neat at night. Oh!  Did I mention the free parking if you park in the casino parking lot?

9. Mexicantown: This is a part of Detroit that does not really pass the "looks test," and the surrounding neighborhoods are uninviting, to say the least.  Once you get to Mexicantown, you will see a cluster of Mexican restaurants plus some shops.  The food is big-time good, and it's fantastically economical.  It's different than any other area I have ever seen.

10. Close Proximity to Canada:  Before the days of 9/11, this really was a benefit. Just on the other side of the river, the city of Windsor awaits.  You can go there by an underground tunnel or a bridge.  It is neat to see a culture that is not very different from the United States, yet you know that you are in a different country.  The shops look different.  They post speed limits in kilometers, not miles, per hour.  They use different currency; so their money looks different.  They have different candies.  Windsor is not nearly as large as Detroit, but it is every bit a city.  From my perspective, I feel like I am making a time warp to a simpler time when I cross the river.

11. Greenfield Village: This is an outdoor museum.  While that is unique, the real flavor comes from the setup. It is created as a historical village, waiting for you to discover it and learn history within it.  There was even someone who kept riding around the village on a unicycle.  Bands roam the village, playing old-time tunes.  You will get your exercise walking around it.  It is a large facility.

12. Specialty Fruit Markets:  There are many fruit markets, specializing in carefully picked fruits and vegetables.  Oddly, in my part of town in Waterford, there are not any, but in most other areas within the Detroit Area, there are.  Some of my favorites include Westborn Market, Papa Joe's, and Nino Salvagio's.  Bring your money, because these places are not cheap, but you will get the best.

13. Eastern Market:  I lived in the Detroit Area for years before I knew about this.  It is an outdoor farmer's market that is open every Saturday.  In the summertime, during the mid-morning, you will hear music playing throughout.  Eastern Market is a huge market, and I mean huge.  Not only do you have the market, you have actual storefronts that border outside the covered market area.  There are meat, fruit, and other warehouses.  If you go late enough (say one or two o'clock), you can get really good deals, as the vendors are looking to leave with as many sales as they can.  Plus, there is a grill station (actually several beside each other) that cannot be any shorter than fifty feet.  Oh, does it smell good, too.

14. Woodward Dream Cruise:  For those non-Detroiters, Woodward Avenue is a main throughway that runs from Downtown Detroit to Pontiac, an urban-suburb north of Detroit, about 30 to 40 miles.  This route runs through some charming suburban towns, anyway, but each year on one August Saturday, this road becomes a automotive showcase.  Drivers will cruise down Woodward for miles at a slow speed.  People are situated on the side of the road for miles and miles to see these old cars.  Plus, there are many side Old Car Shows on the side.  Here is where you can talk to the car owners, and so many of them are all too happy to tell you about their pride and joy.  It is really a silly thing, but it is also really neat and a whole lot of fun.

15. Close Proximity to Beautiful Parts of Michigan:  This includes beaches and parks.  Michigan is surrounded by the Great Lakes, and so many other rivers go through it.  Smaller lakes make their home inside the state.  Finding beaches requires no skill here.  You want to fish, swim, camp, or just walk around really scenic areas, you are never far from it here.  People mention "going north," and they mean that scenic areas with a simple lifestyle is found by driving north on I-75.  You can say this about many places, but it is true in Michigan more than most.

16. Near Many Orchards:  Depending upon what is "in season," you can pick strawberries, apples, peaches, blueberries, and more with only a short drive from Detroit.  Plus, many orchards offer hayrides and places for your kids to play.  It really becomes an event.

17. Frankenmuth:  This town is less than two (2) hours from most parts of the Detroit Metro Area.  This is a town that is an obvious tourist trap, but it is still worth seeing.  It is an old-time German town, placing a large emphasis on Christmas.  In fact, on the town's outskirt, there is a store called Bronner's, which sells Christmas themed things nearly every day, except, well Christmas.  The town's most celebrated restaurants are Zehnders and Bavarian Inn.  You can order many things, but I recommend the Family Style Chicken Dinner.  There are small shops within the downtown area, and it sits beside a scenic river.

I might have missed some other things, which is good.  That means that the Detroit Area offers even more than I am promising.  Enjoy Detroit!

Professionalism in the Workplace: Use It, Don't Lose It

It may seem like a no brainer, but, professionalism in the workplace is often overlooked and you may have found yourself in a setting where you noticed co-workers behaving in a manner you found relative to your 5-year-old child. It's easy to become comfortable and, with comfort, people sometimes find complacency. Carrying a professional attitude and image will not only help earn the respect of your peers, and leaders, but it is also necessary for career advancement.

Taking the time to contemplate how your professionalism in the workplace is affecting others is a great point of reference to consider. Overall, those who demonstrate professionalism in the workplace tend to display some of the facets listed below:

-They respect the time of others and value it - looking to ensure their interactions are rewarding and do not lead to circles of unresolved conversation.

-They follow through on, and live up to, their commitments. Whether verbal or written, they hold true to their commitments and immediately let their counterparts know if something has changed.

-They set a sound example by how they interact, handle difficult situations, and carry their attitude overall. They don't display extreme bouts of emotion when things don't go their way. Instead of making excuses, they search for solutions.

-They complete deadlines when expected, take their work seriously, and give 100% effort in their business.

-They are honest, upfront, and respect others -they don't engage in gossip, poor behavior, or take advantage of others.

-They listen, support others, and are positive in their approaches - they are genuinely happy to see others succeed, lend a hand where possible, and are team players.

Sounds pretty direct and simple, yet, in settings where these items don't exist productivity levels are lowered, as is motivation and effort. I've always told teams that I've trained to keep the personal business at home, giving yourself a break from it while at work. When in the office, focus on the tasks at hand and look out for your career - if you are genuinely displaying the items mentioned above, your chances for career advancement are much greater, versus someone who exemplifies the exact opposite. In addition, a lack of professionalism can mar your reputation, which will affect your chances for future advancement and growth. All in all, be yourself, and keep the aforementioned items in mind. You deserve a thriving and amazing career; don't allow slips in professionalism to hinder that.


Seven Words That Will Make Your Website Worth Viewing

Seven. It's just a number like any other, but it does seem to come up on a fairly regular basis. There's the Seven Wonders of the World, The Seven Deadly Sins, and the Seven Dwarfs: Happy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Bashful, Doc, Dopey, and my personal favorite, Grumpy.

Phone numbers are seven digits, and they say the optimum brand name should be no more than seven letters long. Seven it seems is a magical number, as the average human brain can only grasp seven things at a time. Interesting, my wife says I've got trouble with two, never mind seven, but that's another story.

So I've been thinking, what are the seven most important words associated with Web-marketing. I'll give you a hint: Search, Engine, and Optimization don't make the cut.

So what words do make the list? What are the seven words that will make your website worth viewing?

Words Can Move You

By someone's count there are 171,476 entries in the Oxford English Dictionary, plus another 47,156 words that have fallen out of favor. This of course doesn't count the 9,500 additional permutations, that don't deserve their own special attention.

Fifty percent of these words are nouns, twenty-five percent are adjectives, and 14.285% are verbs, with the rest made up of all those other things, the purpose of which most of us have long since forgotten.

Others may find fault with these numbers, but no matter what the total, it's a lot of words. Of the several hundred thousand words to choose from, the average person recognizes less than ten percent, while the average teenager seems to only be able to handle about half that amount; of course that doesn't count slang, instant messaging jargon, or the ever-popular four-letter variety.

Why the heck are there so many words if we all refuse to use them. I mean why waste all those perfectly good words on English teachers and college professors. By the way, they say swearing is the refuge of the feeble-minded, people who can't express themselves in a more articulate manner, but to be honest, I really don't give a damn.

Here's the thing, words have meaning and impact, and they provide the emotional context of our communications, to which we can add subtlety and nuance through their delivery by means of tone, cadence, and gesture.

So as important as words are, the way they are delivered is even more important.

What Website Design Is Really About

The other day I was listening to a local all-news radio station. It is mostly rip-and-read wire service stuff that they repeat over-and-over like some kind of psychological torture, but they do provide traffic reports on a nauseatingly regular basis. You only have to wait ten minutes until they repeat everything, so if you want to hear what traffic snafus to avoid just wait a few minutes; but here's the problem: the announcers talk so fast that no matter how hard you concentrate, you can never quite get the particular information you need; and if you're driving you have other things to consider, like the idiot in the Hummer who just cut you off.

None of these guys ever uses a period, let alone a semicolon or comma. Either they have very small bladders and are under pressure to finish quickly, or they're late for their afternoon pilates class. They seem so intent on rushing to the commercials that they never deliver the content in an appropriate manner. And your website just might have the same problem.

Too much information is as bad as not enough. Information overkill leads to information anxiety, buyer's remorse, reduced satisfaction, unattainable expectations, and purchase-decision paralysis.

Website owners have been told that visitors won't wait for anything, that they are impatient, and you've got to get to the point fast, make the pitch and close the deal; well that just isn't going to work with any sophisticated product or service.

Your website presentation needs to slow people down so they hear what you have to say, and you have to say something worth hearing.

Website design is about more than layout, markup language, and technical wizardry. Website design is about communication, it's about turning advertising into content, and content into an experience that viewers will remember.

Seven Words To Remember

1. Communication

People are always asking us what's wrong with their websites, and the answer in the vast majority of cases can be summed-up in a quote from the movie, "Cool Hand Luke" (1967): "what we have here is a failure to communicate." Communication is the key to success, and that doesn't just apply to your website, it applies to almost everything you do both inside and outside your business-life.

If your website isn't communicating on both a rational and emotional level, if it doesn't provide the psychological and emotional context of your marketing message, then exactly what is it doing?

2. Audience

I can't think of too many people who actually like being sold. In fact, sometimes customers get so irritated by sales tactics that they end up not buying the thing they came specifically to your website to purchase.

Solving the problem is merely a question of altering your perspective; the average buyer is predisposed to dismiss and ignore high-pressure tactics, and meaningless sales pitches. So instead of treating customers like customers, try treating them like an audience. Audiences want to be engaged, enlightened, and entertained. And that is the most effective way to make a sales impact.

3. Focus

All too often websites inundate their Web audiences with facts, figures, statistics, and an endless list of features, benefits, options, and whatever else the sales department can think of throwing in. All that stuff just confuses people.

Focus your message on the most important elements of what you have to say. If your website can embed that singular idea in an audience's mind, then it has done its job.

4. Language

The words used, and how they are put together provides meaning; they inform personality; they provide mental sound bites; and they make whatever you are saying, worth remembering.

Language is one of the critical elements of 'voice', the ability to convey personality; and writing without a 'voice' is instantly forgettable.

5. Performance

Even the most articulate prose can be lost in a befuddled delivery. Communication is more than words; it's a combination of language, style, personality, and performance.

Things are rarely what they seem. Even our memories are a stylized versions of what we've actually experienced. Creating a memorable impression is about managing the viewer experience, and providing the right verbal and non-verbal cues that make what is being said memorable.

6. Personality

Every business has a personality. The first problem is, few medium-sized companies ever attempt to manage that persona, and as a consequence, the buying public forms its own opinion. And that opinion is often not the way you want to be regarded.

The second problem is companies either don't have a firm grasp of who they really are, or they know, and they are afraid to promote it. If your company's identity isn't worth promoting, it is time to think why that is, and change it. The bottom line is, a company without a personality is a company without an image, and that makes you instantly forgettable.

7. Psychology

The most important feature you can offer your audience is psychological fulfillment, not deep discounts, fast service, or more bells and whistles.

The real reason people buy stuff is that it makes them feel something. Cosmetics make women feel attractive or sexy, while cars make men feel they've achieved some level of status. Even services make people feel important, as in "I've got a guy, who does that for me." Finding the psychological hot spot in your marketing, and promoting the hell out of it consistently and continually should be your primary marketing goal. All those features and benefits are merely the excuse for a purchase, not the reason.

The Web Is Fast Becoming A Video Environment

Websites are not just marketing collateral; they are not just digital brochures. They are a new presentation medium that requires specialized communication skills, and knowledge of how best to use the medium.

You may be a great salesperson, and nobody knows your business like you do. You may even be skilled at delivering speeches at conventions and seminars, but performing effectively in front of a camera is a whole different ball game, and for most people, it's way out of their comfort zone, let alone their skill level.

The same old methods that used to work won't work any more. You're no longer competing with just the company down the street; you're competing with the entire world.

Web-businesses may never actually meet their customers face-to-face, or even talk to them on the phone, so it is imperative that they use marketing presentation methods that deliver an experience worth remembering.

Pico Projector Roundup

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pico Pocket Projectors

Projectors have become essential business tools; at just about every meeting there's a projector attached to a laptop displaying spreadsheets or presentations. At home, a projector can replace an LCD TV or Plasma TV by filling a wall with a movie, console game, or YouTube video.

There's a new class of projector emerging that fits in the palm of your hand. Some of these are being built into phones and it wouldn't surprise us to see them appear in HD camcorders and digital cameras. Called handheld or pico projectors, these tiny devices can be used for business or personal entertainment.


There are still very few of these devices that you can actually buy today but you should see more become available as this hot product category grows. Here's a rundown of some of the latest of these little gems:

Microvision PicoP

Microvision hopes to see its laser-based pico projectors in everything from cell phones to laptops. Their SHOWWX projector has been shown at trade shows filling a large screen with a fairly good quality image. Early adopters should expect to pay around $400 - $500 for these when they go on sale.

3M Micro Professional Projector MPro110

The 3M Micro Professional Projector MPro110 weighs 5.6 ounces and can display a 50 inch image using LED LCoS technology. Though the picture is not as high quality as a 50" Plasma TV, this pico projector has been on the market over 6 months and costs $359.

Optomo PK101

Optomo's PK101 pico pocket projector uses DLP technology with an LED light source. It weighs 4 ounces and can project an image up to 60 inches. It costs around $400.

AAXA Technologies P1 Projector

AAXA Technologies sells their P1 Projector for an MSRP of $259. It has an SD card slot, built-in speaker and uses LED LCoS technology.

Samsung MBP200

The Samsung MBP-200 is an updated version of the MBP-100. It uses DLP Pico technology to display an image up to 50 inches. It includes a microSd card slot, headphone jack, and 2.2 inch screen. A possible alternative to Samsung TVs.

Toshiba PICO

News on this stylish pico projector has been sparse since its announcement at CES in January 2009. Reports indicated it could shed 10 lumens of light on a WVGA (848 X 480 pixel) image.

Aiptek Pocket Cinema V10

You can actually buy this LCoS pico projector based on 3M technology. It has been on the market for over a year and sells for $285. It only gets a 3 out of 5 rating on but it will project a 42 inch, 640 X 480 image and includes an SDHC card slot.

Toshiba PICO

This projector is powered by the 3M optical engine that will display a 50 inch VGA (640 X 480) image. It includes a 3.5 mm audio jack and a built-in volume switch. They claim 80 minutes of use on a charge. The projector is innovating like many of the Toshiba TVs out in the market.

Pico Projectors in Cell Phones

If Texas Instruments has any say in the matter, every cell phone will have a built-in projector. TI unveiled its latest generation OMAP chip set at Mobile World Congress 2009. The OMAP 4 claims to be three times faster than its predecessor which will enable mobile devices to project images faster as well as record video and play it back at high rates. TI's chip set has powered mobile devices like Samsung's recently launched phone (available in South Korea).  The phone can beam video or photographs from the phone to a flat surface.

Projectors Built In to Eyeglasses

An Israeli company named Lumus has developed eyewear that uses LOE (light guide optical element) to make a pair of glasses that you can see through as well as view an image on. A tiny projector located inthe temple of the glasses spreads an image across the lens using light guide technology. If it works as well as they say it does it could be a good alternative to bulky goggles that you can't see through when they're off.

Kitchen Remodels That Scoff at the Recession

As the family meeting ground and the room where it all gets done - cooking, entertaining, conversation, math homework - the kitchen is the heart of the home. Whatever lifestyle revolves around your kitchen, making it a place you want to spend your time is an exciting venture. The folks at The Detroit News recently highlighted this fact in an article titled "Remodel your kitchen, the heart of your home."

Therein, the newspaper cited Remodeling magazine's 2008-2009 "Cost Versus Value" report to reveal that "nationally, the average cost for ... a major kitchen remodel is about $56,000, while the cost of a minor remodel is roughly $21,000." While that may sound like a lot of cash, fortunately, a kitchen remodel affords homeowners an excellent return on investment.

In spite of a firmly entrenched recession, the phrase "The kitchen is the heart of the home" holds especially true today. And "with more people staying in their homes rather than moving, kitchen remodeling is a hot topic" even at the hefty price tags quoted by Remodeling magazine. The economy is simply causing homeowners to approach kitchen remodeling differently. "Today's typical homeowner is more cost-conscious and is leaning toward more sleek and simple designs. For example, "people [are] remodeling with general cabinets, but spending more on their counter tops and back splashes to provide the accent."

Other kitchen remodeling trends the recession is spurring include a toning down in design choices and a leaning toward "green" kitchen designs. Homeowners are yearning to get back to basics and many of them are opting to make their kitchen makeovers an environmentally friendly one. Price, of course, is still the determining factor when it comes to implementing eco-conscious kitchen elements.

Perhaps that's why, then, many kitchen remodeling experts are seeing their "remodelers coming in to buy the low-end cabinets because their customers just want to replace their old ones at the least cost, or do-it-yourself-ers who are buying the high-end cabinets because they are saving money on the installation."

Cabinetry isn't the only place remodelers are cutting corners, however. They're also opting for less expensive countertop surfaces. Because its prices have remained stable, granite is still a very popular kitchen counter top selection. And no kitchen makeover would be complete without new appliances, where the global financial situation is leading to "a shift away from all-stainless appliances toward a fully integrated look that blends in with the kitchen design."

It's in their new appliances as well that homeowners can realize their yen for a greener kitchen without breaking the bank. That's because "appliances are much more energy efficient today." In fact, many of today's refrigerators can be run for "about the same cost as a 100-watt light bulb, which is around $70 a year."

An online kitchen super center can provide ideas, sparks of inspiration, assistance and advice, so that homeowners can save money while still getting the kitchen of their dreams. With links to major manufacturers of kitchen cabinets, counter tops, appliances, hardware, faucets, sinks, flooring, lighting, windows and wall coverings, it can also assist homeowners in making that single focalized impact they're craving.

Black, Silver and Red Sony Ericsson Satio

The Sony Ericsson Satio is a complete mobile package with wide variety of functional as well as entertainment features. The Sony Satio is a perfect choice for all those people who wish to have a multipurpose gadget loaded with all essential features.

This latest Sony Ericsson phone is available in three attractive colour schemes including the Sony Ericsson Satio Black, Red and Silver editions.

It is rightly been said that first impression is the last impression and thus for a phone to look impressive it is very essential for it to have good looks. This latest phone from Sony looks stylish and definitely adds to your personality.

Its candy bar form has dimensions of 4.4x2.2x0.5 inches. You can comfortably carry this handset either in your pockets or in your purse as it has weight of only 4.4oz. The availability of this handset in attractive colours of silver, black and Bordeaux gives you enough choice to have the one as per your taste.

The wide TFT display screen is 3.5 inches wide. This makes the phone look very attractive and interesting. The resolution count of the screen is 360 X 640 pixels which along with 16 million colours enhance the experience of viewing graphics and images. The accelerometer sensor proves to be an added advantage which adds to your convenience level.

The time has gone when mobiles were used only as a means of communication. Today's phones are loaded with wide variety of features including exciting multimedia options. This latest handset from Sony is also a great option if you are looking for multimedia functions. Its 12.1 MP camera comes along with 16x digital zoom which helps to take high quality images of even far away objects. Additional camera features of the Satio includes geo tagging, auto focus, smile detection, face detection, image stabilizer, xenon flash, LED flash, VGA video recording and many others.

You will also have facilities like using a secondary video call camera. You will love this model even if you are a music lover. It supports multiple formats like AAC, WAV, MP3 and others. The Satio also allows you to enjoy music on FM radio. The list of additional multimedia features is also very long and it includes features like video streaming, 3D games, java applications, You Tube applications and others.

You will never have any problem of connectivity and network in this handset. The phone is provided with quad band GSM along with technological support from Wi-Fi, EDGE, GPRS, HSCSD and HSUPA. The USB and Bluetooth facility allows easy connectivity to other compatible devices as well. In order to make you internet experience enjoyable the handset comes with full internet browser that supports standard protocols videos and images. Its web feeds function allows getting all updated news whenever required. This phone from Sony has OS belonging to the Symbian Series and CPU belonging to the ARM Cortex A8 600 MHz and PowerVR SGX graphics.

It can be concluded, there is no dearth of functions and features in this latest mobile from Sony and thus it has become a hot favourite among the users.

eBay Pulse - Most Watched, Most Popular Items - How Many Watchers?

Did you ever wonder what it takes to get onto eBay Pulse? What kind of Watch Count is needed for an item to appear on an eBay Pulse page? Normally Watch Counts are private data, available only to the seller of the item in question and eBay Customer Support. But with the help of certain software, you can (legitimately) lookup the Watch Count of most any eBay Pulse item -- and many other items listed on eBay.

But wait -- let me take a step back in case I'm moving too fast here...

You've been to eBay Pulse, right? It's the place on eBay where, among other things, top-watched auctions are showcased for the rest of the world to see. Auctions who've accumulated the most number of "Watch This Item" clicks bubble their way up to the Pulse page for their category, and perhaps even to the main eBay Pulse page. Such clicks act as "votes" of popularity for items, whether in popular Auction format or alternative listing formats such as Fixed-Price or Classified Ad.

So what kind of numbers (i.e. how many watchers) does a seller's item need to accrue to climb into the limelight on eBay Pulse? As an eBay shopper or onlooker, maybe you're curious. If you're a seller, knowing the Watch Count of Pulse items in your category can help you measure yourself up against your competition. I had a closer look at Pulse using an online utility and here are some trends that I found on the eBay US site, as of this writing.

Top-watched auctions seem to get visible on the main Pulse page past the 200-250 Watch Count range. And it's not uncommon to see items who've elicited over 600 votes to appear there as well. Naturally this can always change as auctions come and go in the marketplace and as eBay tweaks its threshold criteria.

For a while there have been sellers who've used clever marketing techniques to accumulate watchers at an extremely accelerated pace so that they can guarantee themselves placement on Pulse. They employ strategies that range from the benign "click here to watch this auction" links within their auction listings to custom scripts that are likely used in violation of eBay policies. Lately eBay has cracked down on the latter, but when those auctions were visible on Pulse they had inflated Watch Counts in the 100,000+ range. Yup, that high.

Drilling down into certain Pulse categories, one can see figures that are easier to fathom. The Tickets category tends to have items in the 100-200 range, although a celebrity event or hot football game can garnish Watch Counts above 400 or even in the 1,000+ terrain. The Real Estate area tends to feature its most popular properties and land auctions at 200+, and over in eBay Motors it's not uncommon to see 400+ watchers on an auction, especially for early- to mid-century Fords.

Looking for a cheap laugh? Then head on over to the Everything Else category where you'll find at the top of the list such in-demand items as a common toothpick, empty bottle of laundry detergent, or a piece of mint candy -- all offered with free shipping, of course. These festive sellers enjoy showing off their creative listing templates and sometimes hope to make it on the 11 o'clock news with their zany item (or entertaining listing), much like the seller who spotted an image of the Virgin Mary on their grilled cheese sandwich and sold it on eBay for US$28,000.00 back in 2004. These items grab numbers of active watchers across a broad spectrum, from unimpressive single-digit Watch Counts up to 10's of 1,000's in certain cases.

There are some other considerations that eBay seems to take into account when screening auctions for Pulse eligibility. These criteria aren't disclosed, but I've noticed that an item's bid count and/or number of "Contact the Seller" emails can play a role. Nevertheless, the Watch Count is the primary ranking factor, and it can be fun (and potentially profitable too, if you're an eBay seller) to see the wide range of counts that eBay Pulse items can amass.

Sky Online TV Player - How to Use It

Sky Player is an online TV player that allows you to watch Sky TV programmes with or without signing up to Sky TV. With a Sky TV subscription, you can watch the recorded programmes for one month from the date of its broadcast. A limited number of channels like Sky News offer live content online.

What contents Sky Player offers online

Sky Player offers a wide range of on-demand programmes including 500+ movies, Lifestyle and culture shows, contents from National Geographic channel, BBC iPlayer programmes, Sky sports, entertainment pack etc.

Non-Sky TV customers can watch limited number of movies, channels, programmes. They can sign up for a monthly subscription to watch additional channels, episodes, TV programmes of their choice. Subscription rate starts from GBP 15 on a minimum one month contract. You can also add Sky sports and other premium contents for GBP 34 per month.

You can also rent Sky Online TV programmes from GBP 1 up to GBP 3. Sky movies are free for online TV customers, while some premium movies may cost GBP 3 per movie on rental.

Requirements to watch Sky Player

  • Make sure that you have Adobe Flash version 6.0 or above, installed in your PC.
  • You will need to install Microsoft Silverlight 2.0 before watching TV on Sky Player.

Reliable broadband speeds are important for watching online TV

To watch online TV, you need a broadband connection with reliable speeds (2Mb or more), as streaming videos do not appear in sequence, if your broadband connection is too slow. Fast broadband speeds also helps you to download the contents in minutes, so you need not wait hours to download large size videos.

Check the download limit of your broadband package.

If you are on a broadband package with monthly caps, make sure that you have enough usage allowance to stream or download videos online. Avoid exceeding monthly caps as it leads to extra cost or just switch to some unlimited broadband providers.

Tip: If you are a Sky TV customer, you can claim free broadband (2GB monthly usage allowance) from Sky - quite enough if you are a light user.

What Makes Antique Barber Chairs So Distinctive?

We've all seen folks with rooms full of antique artwork, cars, toys, coins, clocks and what have you. Antique barber chairs however, aren't as common as the other collectibles. It's not that the chairs are only for those involved in the barber shop or salon business. Sure, they are more likely to collect them, but these antique pieces are generally for anyone who can sit on a chair. They can be used as display pieces in a spa or in tattoo shops. They can also serve as leisure seats during idle moments. For savvy investors, they could be worthy investments. Whatever the purpose, these chairs are certainly worth talking about.

Barber chairs began in Rome in 296 B.C. Back then, barber shops were places for gossip. A variety of information have been exchanged in these establishments. Want to know the latest trend? Having second thoughts on a certain politician? There's only one place to find answers. If one needed to know the talk of the town, there was no better place to go but a barber shop. Apparently, barber shops were like taxi drivers in modern times. They are good sources of information.

During the Roman times, these chairs were designed luxuriously as if the one sitting on them was a member of royalty. These days, barber chairs are more tailored to functionality rather than design. We now have styles with adjustable footrests and removable headrests for comfort. We also have models with reclining back rests and powered by hydraulics for convenience.

Koken chairs are one of the most popular antique barber chairs among collectors. The Koken Barber's Supply Co. based in St. Louis manufactured them during the late 1800's, and they were regarded as groundbreaking at that time due to their hydraulic design. German-born Ernest Koken was the owner of the business and is also the inventor the design. The company went out of business in the fifties and was acquired by its competitor, Takara Belmont roughly ten years later. Kokens are highly sought after because of their elegant design and exceptional quality. It's no wonder that they've made it through the years. Depending on the condition, a restored piece can sell for several thousand dollars.

The barber's chair has since become a unique piece that we see in shops, spas and salons today. It is often used as a display in museums, specialty shops, pawn shops and in homes of private collectors. Then again, it is a great conversation piece. They have become a symbol of comfort and chatter.

When or How Do You Know It's You Who Needs to Change?

One of the ways I know I need to change is when I find myself thinking thoughts in a certain way for an extended time, or I think pretty much the same types of thoughts over and over, but none of this thought activity moves me forward or causes me to feel the way I desire to. This is especially true when it involves another person's behaviors that I feel a challenge, contrast, or conflict with, and wish they'd change so I could feel better. What about you? What do you do that leads you to see the most obvious and first change to make is in you?

One of the first things we could, should, or would change is our thoughts; and fortunately for us, since we're the only ones who have them, we can address them. That random thoughts will happen spontaneously is a given. Trying to control or stop this fact is a waste of time. But you can transmute thoughts, that is redirect them, once they happen, which takes practice.

However, it's important that you distinguish between thought contemplation based in a genuine desire to solve, resolve, or improve and negatively dwelling on or harping on a matter, the latter being a thought activity that will never get you to where you want to be: peaceful, no matter what.

You're going to interact with, or live with, people whose behaviors could be improved; and others will feel the same about you. When someone's behavior triggers you out of your serenity and joy, your quickest way back to those feelings is to change something in or about you, starting with your attitude, mindset, or perspective, and followed by constructive or productive words and/or actions, or even appropriate silence and inaction at times.

You could say a good goal is to stay in peace and in trust in the Universe (though, this is more than a mere goal, it's a desirable way to be); but the words "stay in" puts you on the spot: Who can stay in that mindset all the time? However, as I said a moment ago about thoughts, you can transmute and redirect negative energies that surface in you, which will take practice. And this is a worthy practice because your peace and trust in the Universe are the fastest pathways for the Universe to rebalance what you perceive as having gone off-center in you and your life, in accordance with how Law of Attraction is designed to work, and does.

It's not always necessarily a simple matter to return to peace and trust once triggered by someone or an event, but it is doable. What is also doable is to practice peace and trust in the Universe before you're triggered. It's like that old saying, "A stitch in time saves nine." If you practice on smaller annoyances, you begin to fine-tune yourself for if or when larger ones come along. None of this means you deny, suppress, or never share what you feel; it's about what you do with and about your emotions that surface as a result of your feelings, and your beliefs.

When you think about seeking or having peace, you may think of a quiet place like an isolated beach or an ashram, or a walk in nature, or eliminating every annoying person or matter from your life. However, there are other ways to seek and create peace that we may not as readily think about: assessing and modifying some of our behaviors. Here are some general behaviors some may want to look at:

-Any of your behaviors that consistently trigger or annoy someone or a number of others in a not-good way.

-What you say and/or do in a consistent manner that doesn't cause you to feel good or better about yourself, others, and any aspect of your life or life in general.

-You're always, nearly always, or far too often for your own good, in a negative mood or mindset.

-You consider yourself superior to all or certain others, which always results in your mistreatment of them, and their subsequent mistreatment of you.

-You expect and wait for anyone or anything to change, to please your ego-based needs and desires, before you feel good or happy. Note: I'm addressing ego-based needs here, not realistic or practical needs, or behavior anomalies that require real internal or external adjustment for the well-being of those involved.

-You consistently practice negative levels of gossip or complaining (which is not the same as productive venting to an appropriate listener).

-You're free with criticism and opinions, whether or not you're asked for these, and deliver them in ways that are non-supportive and don't encourage the understanding, illumination, or improvement you desire.

-You get angry fast and often, and "go in with gloves on" rather than pick your battles, and pick a more appropriate time to address them.

-You practice payback or revenge.

-You practice unusual, non-productive, or harmful levels of self-condemnation.

-You base your self-worth on anyone or anything external to you, and forget or ignore that you are an expression of the Universe.

-You believe you have to do everything about or in your life, and don't include the Universe as your partner.

What you see in the above list are behaviors or practices that, if we changed or adjusted enough to not do them or not do them the same way or as often as we do, we would experience more peace. There are two ways to seek peace: where you receive (like sitting on a quiet beach or having a serene hour alone or getting a massage) and where you give yourself and others a more pleasant, peaceful experience by modifying your own behaviors that don't serve you (or them) in a good way. These are changes you can assess the need for then follow through on with practice.

We all deal with the need or necessity of change differently, especially when it's a change in us that's needed. Here are some very generalized descriptions of how five behavior types may approach a need for change.

1. Aggressive types will use coercion, force, verbal abuse, and/or physical abuse against others. But, they won't necessarily recognize their aggressions as such; or if they do recognize them, they may decide they are justified. They may think this is the way to get things done the way they want them to be done: the end justifies the means. They believe little to nothing needs to change about them.

2. Passive-Aggressive types will resist doing what they need to do or what others need or ask them to do, especially if the request is demanding or authoritative. They may toss out "zinger" statements to make someone feel guilty because they are uncomfortable speaking their truth in a better way. They believe guilt will show (or force) others the errors of their ways; and they'll mope and sulk until the change they desire is obvious and consistent. They control others, or attempt to, by making them feel at fault for how unhappy they feel.

3. Passive types will fold their energy up like a telescope, and offer no resistance. They suppress the bad feelings they have, but they have them in spades. Passivity, though, lasts for only so long before the person opts for another behavior to release the pressure that's built up. This is because they are not actually easy-going (a very different mindset), but one of the other types above in disguise.

4. Assertive types look for ways to collaborate or compromise. They speak out and they listen to what others have to say. They're ready to take needed action, and take it. As long as they don't cross over into aggressive behaviors, they stay in the "assertive" zone. They do what they can to accomplish what they set out to do, and often feel confident about decision-making. They tend to encourage, guide, or mentor others.

5. Spiritual types observe what's going on. They ask themselves and/or the Universe for right questions then seek and ask right questions of others. They ask and trust the Universe to show others, as well as themselves, adjustments that need to be or could be made, rather than charging into battle about matters. Their mantra for more complicated circumstances (and life) is, "I may not know how or when this will be taken care of, but I know the Universe is working on it." They pay attention to signals from the Universe about how and when they should take certain actions. They mostly stay in, or return to, peace and trust more easily, based on experience and lots of practice. They tend to be more easy-going than other types because of this.

The first three types above are examples of unskillful behaviors, which can be transmuted into skillful ones with guidance and practice. And all five types have "shades," as well as "flavors" of skilled and unskilled aspects. Also, under certain circumstances, any of us might display behaviors from the five types: we may desire to be skillful at all times, but find this isn't always the case. But with practice, we can always improve our ratio of skillful-to-unskillful behaviors.

When we don't observe our own behaviors through the appropriate lens, we miss opportunities to choose ways to have and be the feelings we desire most. Look back at the list of behaviors to consider, and perhaps add your own. Look back at the five behavior types and see which one is your current predominant style and which one you'd prefer to be your predominant style. Be honest, and kind, with yourself as you do this. Always aim at making choices that keep you in integrity and encourage you to do your best and feel your best in any given moment, even if you slip or trip up first. It's a good practice, one you'll appreciate.

Practice makes progress.

© Joyce Shafer

You are welcome to use this article in your newsletter or on your blog/website as long as you use my complete bio with it.

5 Reasons To Use Associate Press Distribution

If you have spent much time thumbing through the newspaper you will find that "AP" is tagged on almost every photo or on every story. The AP refers to the pool of information and photos that has morphed "the world's largest newsgathering" known as the Associated Press. If you understand the Associated Press, you realize the value of getting your information publicized by them and placed in their collection of information. We will look at the value in Associated Press distribution by way of encouraging you to pursue seeking publication with the AP.

1. The world has access to you. You and your business are worth knowing about, right? What better place to advertise for you than the world's largest gathering of journalists and photographers? The Associated Press has a worldwide presence and to have your news published by them is hitting the public relations jackpot.

2. Rapidly elevating publicity. Not only does the world have access to you but the AP elevates that access quickly. If your news release is seen as significant and the Associated Press seeks to publish your news, you have just tapped into 1,400 different news agencies. Can you feel the gravity of that publicity? You have bridged networks that could take lifetimes to accomplish independently and you have bridged them in hours, days or months. If you release news and that news is published through Associated Press distribution, you will have a streamlined flow of publicity for your company that reaches the corners of the earth.

3. It is free! There are no charges to submit a news release to the Associated Press. In fact, there are even local regions that you can submit your information through and have it elevated by the AP all for free. The only thing you need to do is determine which regional desk to send it to and fire away (check the "Contact Us" page of

4. It is an honor to have your work displayed by the AP. For those whose field of work involves videography or photography, having a piece of their portfolio published by the AP can be advantageous for your career.

It is not a coincidence that Pulitzer Prize winners have been AP photographers and journalists. The world senses that what the AP reports is accurate and real. To have your work endorsed by the AP gives you their stamp of approval and consequently a piece of their legacy.

5. Credibility. To have your news published with the AP is to have a level of credibility added to your work. If you are a small business, there is an added sense of legitimacy. If you are a big business, there is an added sense of accountability and transparency.

The AP takes seriously its reporting and is not in the business of entertaining the latest gossip and rumor mill. It is a historic society of people who value accuracy in world events and have no time for fallacious and inflated stories. Therefore, to have the AP publish your news is to have them grant you the credibility your business will appreciate.

There are probably another two-dozen ways in which the Associated Press Distribution would benefit your business but the intent it to get you thinking in that direction. If you are seeking to get the publicity you desire and the credibility you demand, diligently seek to release your news to the AP, your business can only benefit from AP distribution.

Targeting a Social Media Marketing Campaign

Social media marketing is a specialised field, but that does not mean that the principles and common sense used in a good marketing strategy need to fly out of the window. Although a social media marketing campaign can appear to be low or no-cost apart from the time involved, this is not the case. Using the wrong platforms, getting the tone of the campaign wrong or attracting the wrong sort of content can all cause costly damage to the brand.

There is a lot to consider - here are some ideas and examples of how customers might use the social sites.

Which sites should be targeted?

Eschewing the obvious answer 'as many as possible' - consider what happens on social sites, who uses them and how they come and go.

Social media sites can grow rapidly - and drop out of fashion just as rapidly. The old 'usenet' groups now have very few users, but fifteen years ago when they were the only practical method of online discussion and communication they were extremely popular. The newer social networking sites have also waxed and waned. is a good example - down from fifty million users to twenty million in the space of one year (December 2010 - December 2011). Meanwhile Tumblr and Pinterest are growing - the rate of increase is slower than the drop shown by other sites, but steady. Pinterest has been described as 'Facebook without the complaining' and could well be the next 'go-to' social site. It allows images, videos, blogs, 'likes' and links to the other social networks, and is attracting attention for this 'one-stop shop' capability.

Consider also the time spent by users on social sites, rather than the number of individual visits. A short visit may count towards the access statistics, but is of less use to the brand than a longer visit where the consumer is far more likely to be reading the content, engaging with it and (hopefully) planning to spend some money.

For 'time per visit' Facebook is currently well ahead of the others. As most Facebook users will know, it can be addictive, leading users around their friends and to the sites that their friends have 'liked', and it is a good place to make hours disappear! However as Pinterest and Instagram grow in volume, and become more integrated, the time spent on these sites per visit is also rising.

For sheer volume, Twitter is the leader with billions of Tweets. Of course volume is not all - analysis of the contents of tweets produces the statistic that well over 45% are what was uncharitably categorised as 'pointless babble' - items such as 'what do I have for dinner?', 'just fell over' or 'very drunk now'. However Twitter has moved rapidly into everyday life and language, and the short hashtags and ease of use makes it ideal for an audience on the move.

How does your target audience use the social media sites?

Think for a moment about how you use the various social sites, and how the people that you know use them. There are an infinite number of possible profiles, and gathering information about how your customers see you is one of the key inputs to your social media marketing plan.

Here are some examples of varying online behaviors among a small group.

1) Someone aged 35-45 with a job in engineering or government IT. This person keeps their personal and professional lives separate, and limits their online presence due to concerns about security. They may not be using social media on a mobile device. Their usage pattern might be:

- Facebook for friends and family, for chatter, for keeping in touch

- LinkedIn for professional contacts, current resumé and job hunting

- Flickr for sharing photos

2) Someone in the 25-30 age bracket with a job in new media. This person uses mobile devices, likes to be constantly in touch and frequently updates their profile and information. They use:

- LinkedIn for job hunting

- YouTube to showcase their work, and to comment on the work of others

- Twitter for frequent tweets and following other users

- Facebook - for posts, photographs

- A blog on WordPress, linked to their other profiles

3) A 22 year old just starting up their own business, for example in cake decorating or fashion. This person does not have many 'real world' contacts yet, and so is leveraging a large network of 'online friends' to try to kickstart the business. They will be a frequent mobile user and will be relying on images to attract customers. They use:

- A Facebook group for advertising to friends and contacts, plus their own personal page

- An active Pinterest page, showcasing the cakes or fashion items

- Postings on Instagram

- Twitter for spare time, celebrity gossip and news

These are just a few permutations - but even this small sample shows that a social media marketing campaign needs to be carefully tailored for the target group. For instance, they all use Facebook but they will check it with different frequencies and for different times. In addition, some may screen out or be irritated by advertising, while others will follow it.

What should be considered for multi-site updates?

The social media sites provide useful tools to link up profiles, lessening the work required to have a presence on several sites, but updates still need to be tailored. For example, the short posting needed for Twitter will seem too abrupt on Facebook, and Pinterest needs an attractive, eye-catching image as well as text.

The tone of the postings or tweets will also need to be tailored to the audience. While there is no need for 'txt-speak', mirroring the language and concepts used by the target audience is always a way for a brand to build friends. For an international site, the use of American or British English will be relevant - many such sites offer a choice after detecting the location of the user. Sites aimed at non-English speakers should also offer multilingual postings.

How can I measure results?

There are many tools available to monitor social media marketing. Just like the sites themselves the tools come and go, but the current leader among the free tools is Google Analytics.Web traffic analysis and monitoring has come a long way since the early days of simple visitor counts. It is now possible to track exact paths through the site, time on each page, conversion rates, use of mobile platforms and dozens of other metrics. Your main problem may be making sense of the data - this is where you will need to acquire or hire in some social media marketing experience.

Who Am I to Shoot for Something MORE?

I got an email from a old colleague yesterday. He said, "Hanging in cubes doing finance must seem like ages ago!"

It took me back. The days when I used to walk hallways with manila folders, attend board meetings, and participate in office gossip and politics. The days of being told that rather than be myself, my behaviors needed to match and fit into the company's "values" and "traits". The days of in-house faulty reporting systems, emailing with financial assistants in India, and term sheet reading for the commute home.

I remember one day talking with another young women colleague outside her cubicle - we were working on a deal that was financing a cosmetic company. The company was started by a young women about our age and her company was now asking for hundreds of millions in funding to expand the business.

Both of us were like - Why didn't we go that route? Do something fun and creative and live a prosperous life?

Instead, we were stuck in cubicles pushing papers for the big players in life.

Deep down there was a part of me that always felt I was supposed to play big. But the voice in my head would say "Who am I?" Who am I to do something different, creative, make a difference, live an abundant lifestyle?

My parents after all came from country farms in Ireland. They immigrated to the States for more opportunity and to be able to provide us with greater education and ultimately, better job opportunities.

In the most loving way, the opportunities they dreamed for us looked like stable, secure, well-paying jobs with benefits and pensions.

Who was I to shoot for something more?

Throughout the years in the deepest part of me, I knew I had the ability to do something BIG. Have a big impact. Change the world somehow. Call me a dreamer, but it's always been in me.

This year my visions got even bigger. More money, more love, more travel, more students, more readers.

Yes, the last few years I've had a pretty big amazing life - Traveling around the world, completely changing my life's work, living abroad - it's not something everyone gets to do, or even wants to do. Some people just want the simple, secure, traditional path. That's awesome. There's nothing wrong with that. But it's not me.

I'm talking about stepping it up a notch. Listening deep down to the message you have to share with the world. Starting a blog. Or your own biz. Traveling to a country you've never been and staying awhile. Having the most wild romantic love affair that lasts. Actually believing you can make (and deserve to make) as much money as you wish to have.

If you're anything like me there's doubt. Almost always. I'm not immune. I have to work at it. There is still a voice in my head that says that I have to financially struggle. That life is tough. It's hard to find a good man and true love. That writing a book is daunting. That I can't write. And who am I to write a book anyway?

But these are all mental patterns that keep us stuck playing small. Notice them. Challenge them.

So, I digress. Back to the old colleague and his email to me - He said he resigns to his passions in his free time in the burbs. He said even though he's stayed in the traditional job path he's always had the feeling that there had to be more.

He's right. There is more. For some people, the traditional job is good enough. But for many of us, probably you who is still reading, you know there's more. More opportunity for adventure, love, happiness, wealth, and purpose. So, what are you waiting for?

It's time.

Step in.

Play big.

Five Tech Trends to Look Out for in 2013

2013 is a year of harsh change for the tech industry. We have just experienced 5 years of rapid, untidy and troublesome innovation, and mobile phones and tables aren't the future any more -- they are the present.

Effective mobile products linked to broadband-speed cell systems are actually a day to day reality, and it will take bigger screen or faster processor to create an effect this year. Consider 2013 as the year of refinement and reckoning.

Listed here are five large developments to keep close track of:

1. The outlook of Microsoft

Microsoft continues to be very candid about "missing an generation" of mobile innovation after Apple introduced the apple iPhone, and 2012 involved a furious catch-up effort: the company released the completely rethought Home windows 8 for Computers, Home windows RT for tablets and Home windows Phone 8 for mobile phones. Boss Steve Ballmer also repositioned Microsoft as Bing a "products and services" company and he introduced the Surface Tablets, both created by Microsoft itself to contend with traditional PC companies for example Dell and Sony.

That's lots of bold bets, and everyone has to repay in 2013. Laptop Computer era has ended, and Microsoft needs to show customers it's something to provide inside a world centered by tablets and mobile phones. Home windows 8 and Surface sales have been slow to date, so we'll observe how the company does. There's one all-but-guaranteed bright spot though: a brand new Xbox 360 will be introduced this year.

2. Can Apple get its software mojo back?

Apple found success this year by presenting an apple iPhone having a bigger screen as well as an iPad having a more compact screen, but it has to pay attention to software in 2013 to stand above its competition.

Apple Boss Tim Prepare has released two apple iPhones since overtaking for Jobs, and each of them have include buggy, incomplete flagship software features -- the apple iPhone 4S released using the charming-but-not-so-helpful Siri voice assistant, and also the apple iPhone 5 released having a homegrown Maps application so buggy that Tim had to apologize to clients.

Meanwhile, archival Google has started shipping the best apple iPhone applications around -- I have changed the majority of Apple's applications on my small apple iPhone homescreen with Google-built substitutes for example Gmail, Google Maps, Chrome and YouTube. The majority of my peers in the market did exactly the same. That's a bad sign.

Cook just fired Scott Forstall, the questionable mind of iOS development who presided over Siri and Maps. Designer Jony Ive has become responsible for both software and hardware, so we'll find out if the organization can restore its status for condition-of-the-art software design using the next apple iPhone and iPad.

3. Will Amazon go face to face with Apple and Google?

Amazon Boss Shaun Bezos was very blunt as he introduced the brand new Amazon Kindle Fire HD in September -- he introduced it as the "best tablet available on the market. Which was an apparent shot at Apple and also the iPad, but Amazon's real competitor may be Google, especially as the marketplace for books, music and films moves entirely online.

There is no way Amazon wants people searching on Google to locate content and items from multiple sources. Amazon really wants to build an ecosystem so robust you won't ever wish to leave. Think about what Apple did for music using the iPod device and iTunes and}imagine Amazon doing that for everything.

However the Amazon Kindle Fire items aren't sufficiently good enough to contend with the iPad yet, and Amazon does not have the help it must contend with Google either. It must offer e-mail services and a social experience wouldn't hurt either. That is a big undertaking, but Amazon is among the couple of companies using the scale, infrastructure and assets to get it done. The gossips are becoming even louder. We'll decide if Amazon considers a large relocate 2013.

4. Can Facebook develop?

2013 will be Facebook's first year as a public company, also it needs to prove that it's really a stable, reliable investment. That's very difficult task: Facebook determined how to earn money selling advertisements on its website just as the majority of its customers switched to smartphone and tablet applications.

Selling advertisements on mobile is not as easy, and Facebook needs to learn how to display relevant advertisements to smartphone customers without crossing the privacy line -- a line about which customers are progressively worried. But Boss Mark Zuckerberg needs to response to his traders now, and also the pressure cross that line increases every single day that Facebook is not earning enough money.

5. Can Google take Android back from Samsung and also wireless service providers?

Here's the brutal truth from the smart phone market: the only real firms that make anything are Apple and Samsung. Almost every other company, from HTC to Sony to Google's own Motorola, is battling. And that is a massive problem for Google.

Apple clearly creates its very own software for the apple iPhone, but Samsung's phones all operate a personalized form of Google's open-source Android, and Samsung is so dominant that it could split off and begin building its very own operating system, just like Amazon did using the Amazon Kindle Fire. That might be an enormous blow to Google.

Google also needs to try to limit the influence of wireless service providers on Android. Companies for example AT&T and Verizon are too pleased to stock up Android products with unnecessary crapware and bloatware that it ruin the consumer experience while stalling important software updates.

The bitterness between Google and also the service providers has become so deep that Google's new Nexus 4 flagship device does not come with an LTE radio the service providers simply wouldn't cooperate.

That's in stark contrast towards the apple iPhone experience, which is pristine and controlled by Apple from the beginning. This is the control that irritates many customers but offers a feeling of support and security towards the relaxation of Apple's countless clients. There is a happy balance between your two extremes, and Google must think it is before Android starts to slide away entirely.

These are merely five of many items to consider in 2013, from the way forward for TV towards the rise of wearable computing. After many years of rapid change, we have all got computer systems within our pockets. The following couple of years is going to be by what we all do together to create our way of life better.

Thursday, January 3 by Joseph Reina

The Truth About Network Marketing - From One Sceptic to Another

What is Network Marketing

Network Marketing is often called Direct Selling, Affiliate Marketing, or Multi-Level-Marketing(MLM). It is an honest, viable business structure. It is designed to build a marketing and sales force by compensating not only sales made by the individual but also the sales made by the people that individual has introduced to the company. This structure effectively moves the task of building and supporting a sales force away from the company and onto the individual. The company benefits from this because it can focus on the product instead of building a sales force and the individual benefits because it can hire others and make overrides on their efforts in addition to their own. A company can use the structure to create a sales force quicker and easier than traditional means. That may be critical to the company's success, particularly if the company has a new hot product.

What Network Marketing Is Not

Network Marketing is not a pyramid scheme. It is not a scam. A pyramid scheme is illegal, Network Marketing is not. A pyramid scheme is a business setup where the primary and many times the only way to be compensated is to recruit others into the business. In a pyramid scheme, there is essentially no product. Instead you simply sell "nothing" to others in order to get them to join. While con artists will attempt to use the structure as a guise for their pyramid schemes, it doesn't mean all companies that use Network Marketing as a sales structure are themselves a pyramid scheme. In fact, it is fast becoming a recognized structure among business leaders today, including Donald Trump. It has also been used in part by respected companies such as PayPal, AT&T Wireless, Wachovia, and Vonage. It is also not a get rich quick scheme. As with any business, no matter the structure they choose to employ, you have to work to be paid. The same is true of Network Marketing. However, even though it doesn't offer instant riches, it does offer some unique advantages over traditional employment opportunities.

Why Network Marketing

Network Marketing is a not a get rich program but instead a real business opportunity and one that requires real work. That being said, the unique advantages offered by Network Marketing are incredible compared with what's available in the traditional job market. First, you get to set your own hours. You are effectively your own boss. So if you do not feel like working one day then you do not have to. Of course it goes without saying that just because you can doesn't mean you should. But it is nice to know that you could if you wanted to. Another way to look at setting your own hours means that you can literally work as much as you want. You set your business hours and can operate whenever you want. This provides the potential to increase your earnings simply by working harder.

The second great benefit is the ability to work from home. We all hear about the work-from-home scams that are posted on those little signs on telephone poles along the roads. Well, unlike most other work-from-home offers, it truly allows you to work from home, provided you have the bare essentials to do business. By bare essentials, I mean a phone line and a computer if you need one. But you should consider that while working from home sounds great, it does require a certain level of self discipline to keep focused and get some work done.

Finally, the single greatest thing is the truly amazing opportunity that exists when they first begin. Imagine being there when Bill Gates decided to start Microsoft or when Google was first starting up and actually having a chance to join. Network Marketing provides that same kind of opportunity. Of course joining a Network Marketing company can be beneficial at any time but it is exponentially true when the company is just starting out. The expression of get in on the ground floor has a certain truth to it when regarding Network Marketing companies. This is mostly due to the fact that the earlier you get in, the more people you will have under you. That isn't to say that you shouldn't join a company that is well-established and been around for a while. For example, Mary Kay is still a viable business and you can make some money in that company. However, you have to consider that to get into the company you will be going underneath someone and that person is underneath someone else and so on. Imagine being that first person way up the chain that has thousands of people below them. That is the opportunity that exists by getting in early with a company.

Examples of Network Marketing Gone Wrong

Networking Marketing companies, like any other business out there, can be fraudulent, unethical, and in certain cases just plain scams. However, when a single business is caught in a scam, say an investment banker, it looks bad for the investment banker but not necessarily for investment banking as a whole. The same is not true of Network Marketing. When one Network Marketing company is caught in a scam people take the assumption that this one bad company represents all Network Marketing. We have all heard of people getting scammed by Network Marketing companies that go out of business, never end up paying out, or simply prove too hard to make a profit in. I'd rather not point fingers but a certain MLM comes to mind. This particular company recently boasted in a national magazine that they had sales of over $2 billion dollars a year. Right below this they said they had over 1 million distributors. For those who can divide, that's only $2,000 per year per distributor. That's assuming all distributors were performing the same. In reality, the top 5-10% made decent money while the rest made pocket change or even lost money. In an Independent Business Owner Compensation Plan released by the company itself, it stated that the average distributor earned $115 per month or $1,380 per year BEFORE taxes. Folks, that comes out to about $.69 cents per hour for an average 40 hour a week job. And these people paid to join the program! The good news is that not all Network Marketing companies are bad. There are indeed some very good, honest, and reputable Network Marketing companies out there. Many of which can earn you a decent living with some work. The key to avoiding these kind of Network Marketing disasters is to do some diligent research, run the numbers, use your head (too good to be true and it probably is) and make a sound decision before signing up with any company.

Examples of Real Network Marketing Success Stories

Like I said, not all Network Marketing is good, but not all is bad either. You can find several examples of successful Network Marketing companies out there. The key difference with a successful company is that it has a real product to sell. For the company to be successful with the Network Marketing structure, it must focus on the product. One such example is Mary Kay. Mary Kay started in 1963 and has since grown to a trusted global name in skin care, makeup & body care. It is an impressive organization in terms of volume and size. Mary Kay serves as one the few examples of a successful self-consumption company. In my opinion that is because they have a solid product that there is a demand for. Mary Kay offers some unique compensation to its beauty consultants including the very original pink Cadillac. Of course to earn the Cadillac requires you to achieve a certain level of success within the company. However, General Motor's estimates that they have built over 100,000 pink Cadillacs for Mark Kay.

Another great success story is that of Art Williams and his A.L. Williams company which later came to be known as Primerica. Art Williams was a football coach from Georgia. He happened across the idea of replacing old whole-life insurance with term life insurance (which is cheaper) and investing the amount you saved from switching. On a coaches salary, Art had very little chance of getting a company started with traditional means. He instead adopted the MLM or Network Marketing model. This allowed him to hire and train additional part and full-time individuals to help market his product. Using the power of Network Marketing, Art Williams went on to sell billions of dollars worth of insurance surpassing the top two insurance companies combined. Today the company has over 100,000 independent representatives and Art himself has a net worth of $1.4 billion. I have several people who I know that have made millions with the A.L. Williams company. You'll hear more about them later. For now, just know that A.L. Williams is the perfect example of how a company with a great product can use Network Marketing to become hugely successful.

How to Choose the Right Network Marketing Company

One of the first things you should do when entertaining the idea of joining a Network Marketing company is research. Find out about the company and what it is offering. As with all real businesses, the product is the key. The company has to have a great product that people are willing to pay for. If the product is not great than neither is the opportunity. Try to put yourself in the customers shoes, would you buy the product? If so, is it affordable compared with the current market? Take the time to research and fully understand the product. Test the product if you can. At the very least try to get some real life feedback from existing customers who have bought the product. Doing so will put you in a position to make an educated decision about joining.

As a general rule, there are certain types of Network Marketing companies that you should avoid. The key among those are businesses without a product. That is, you make a majority of the money from recruiting. These are shady MLM companies that are closer to a pyramid scheme than a real Network Marketing company. The second and perhaps more important to avoid is the self-consumption companies. These types of companies depend on you to buy their product as well as sell it. Do NOT invest in these types of companies unless you absolutely love the product and can afford it. Otherwise, you will eventually run out of "friends" and family to market to and will end up with a garage full of "product" and no one to sell it to.

Even with a great product a company still finds that a capable management team is essential to long-term success. Before joining a company, do some research on the founders. This is particularly true of new companies. Find out who is behind the curtain and if they have a reputation, good or bad. You are looking for people with a proven track record and lots of experience to make this company work. Another consideration is if the management team has a plan to manage growth. I've seen several Network Marketing companies with a great product, build a sales force just to collapse under its own success. The company should be upfront and honest about what plans it has to prevent this from happening. These should be real concrete plans and systems that are in place not just a "we have it covered". Funding is very important as well. While it is true that Network Marketing companies are easier to start they do take funding to keep going and maintain. Particularly in the beginning when sales are slow and people are just coming on board. And as history shows us, there may well be times when the company needs more money to operate than it is making. Having a management team with access to capital is crucial for long-term success of the company. Most of the companies you hear about going out of business were founded by people without sufficient capital. The last and also one of the most important parts of picking the right company is to evaluate the compensation plan. That's what Network Marketing is all about right? Making money and hopefully lots of it. So you have to make sure the compensation plan is viable, realistic, and still profitable. Never join any Network Marketing company that isn't up front and honest about their compensation plan. Always demand to see it and demand that any point systems be fully explained with realistic examples.

Can you make money without recruiting people. That is a key question to ask yourself whenever you are introduced to a new compensation plan. Even though you are (or should be) planning to build a sales team, it's important to know that you can make decent money without doing so. For this to work, the commissions offered by the company have to be sufficient. Depending on the price of the product and the amount of volume you expect to be able to sell the commission will differ. As a rule, you should be very wary of any compensation plan offering commissions less than 20%. Obviously, the higher the commission the better. Almost as important as the initial commission itself is the idea of a residual. Does the compensation plan allow for residuals? It effectively allows you to stack your work. In other words, you can sell something once and continually be paid on that sell every time the client renews. Residuals allow you to build true wealth by earning money on work you already did. That's exactly how the guys at A.L. Williams got rich. To this day they continue to receive checks on policies they sold more than 10 years ago.

The final question related to the compensation plan is how does team building work. It's important to have a full understanding of the mechanics used in the system. If they use points you need to grasp exactly how points are earned and how they convert into cash. If they use a binary or front line system, you need to understand the rules of both. Again, the company should be very upfront about how their team building works and how you are compensated for it. I'm not usually too interested in the team building because, as a sales man, I usually go after selling the product and consider the team building to be just an added bonus. However, if you are a big networker or well connected, the team building can earn you more money. By hiring and training the right sales people, you can build a very profitable team and earn more money than you could possibly earn just selling yourself.

Do Your Research, But Hurry!

As I said, you can have success by joining a well-established company. However, if you can manage to find that rare company with a solid product and good management that is just getting started then you should research quickly and jump on it. One key to easy success in any company is getting in early. As the company grows, super stars and rock star marketer will take notice and be recruited into the system. If you can get into the system before them they will be working for you and that can mean a lot of money. The longer you wait the more saturated the market will become and the harder it will be to make money. Time is money no matter what business you are in but it is particularly true in MLM. Once you join an MLM you should within two weeks recruit two other people and sell the product at least once. This is absolutely essential to your long term success with the company. Something about getting that first sell and hiring those first two people just makes it so much easier. Trust me, if you do this you will find the rest seems to just fall into place.