Monday, December 28, 2009

Take the 100 Day Blogging Challenge

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Image by shainelee via Flickr
My friend Luis Sandoval over at the Daily Slacker is challenging bloggers to write blog posts for 100 days straight. This seems a bit ambitious for me; so naturally, I'll jump right in.

Earlier this year, I missed NaPodPoMo, which is a 30 day podcasting challenge I would have liked to do. I got so wrapped up in blahness that I could never come up with material for podcasts. I seemed to have been writing and saying the same things over and over on all my other content.

On the other hand, I know that creativity is partly talent; but mostly just a discipline of making something, anything. I'm guilty of waiting for inspiration rather than sitting down and pounding out a post on the keyboard.

With that said, Luis, count me in. Some days may be better than others; but at least I'm putting something out.

If you feel like you need to get your blogging muscles in shape, consider taking the 100 day challenge too.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Freelancing: The Next Step After Survival

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After almost a year of freelancing part-time, I can look back and say, "Wow. Maybe I can make it after all." Having some steady income was a major part of my decision in going it part-time. The challenge was then, how do I make up the other half of my income. There have been some tough weeks since going freelance in January. However, I can't say that there have been tough months. The business is there; however, it has been unpredictable with respect to cashflow. While, I am not rolling in money, I know that I can survive, at least. Now that I know that I have a pretty decent shot at surviving, what next?

The next step in my freelancing quest, now that I have confidence in my ability to generate business, is to refine my processes. Many business owners are very intimately knowledgeable about their business because they see the numbers every day. They have been involved with most of the details of their business from its infancy. If something is off, they can sense it. I am getting to the point where I can see how the business model works. Seeing this, it is possible to tweak the model to reduced wasted efforts and increase revenues.

Some of the things I have learned the hard way:

  • You MUST charge what you are worth to be able to survive until the next job.

  • Listen to what the client needs and deliver that. Only offer something better when they are ready to invest time in learning something new.

  • Master your calendar. Most business is not an emergency. Plan your work and personal time, or else you'll never have personal time.

  • Always be on the lookout for new business. Opportunities are sporadic. It is better to have too much opportunity than not enough.

  • Decide whether you'll be a night person, or a very early in the morning person. Quiet time is vital if you have a family.

In short, I find myself ready to take that next step in my freelancing business: giving it structure. The old days when I could fit an appointment into my "busy schedule" are gone. I actually have a busy schedule now; and it is important to make sure that I get the most out of my day to make it all worthwhile. My days are full; but not busting at the seams. My next goal is to generate enough business to be able to hire somebody to help me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Help Give Hunger the Boot

Explosive Fitness and the Food Bank RGV have teamed up to help you get fit for the Holidays. Your donation of food allows you to participate in the Give Hunger the Boot fitness boot camp. The event is held every Saturday through December. This is a great deal, if you have ever paid a trainer to help you get fit.

Friday, September 18, 2009

brands on the show with zefrank

zefrank does a great job explaining brands. he even touches on the decline in mass communication platforms.
Posted by Shaine Mata
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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Dr. Evil: Hang on Mini-Me! If anything s...

Dr. Evil: Hang on Mini-Me! If anything should happen to you I don't know what I would do. [pauses] I'd probably move on, get another replica but there would be a 10 minute period there where I would just be inconsolable.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

David Armano: Brand U.0

The protesters

Tea Party protestors turned out in force.
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Posted by Shaine Mata
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More health care reform discord

A battle of political wills took place at Archer Park in McAllen, Texas today.  No, not really. sponsored a health care reform vigil. Naturally, the local Tea Party movement heard about it and turned out to protest. I was hoping to see fur fly. Instead, it was a battle of symbolism and signs.
I'm going home to spend time with my family. I think most people have done the same given the low turnouts on both sides.The health care debate has jumped the shark for me. yawn
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San Carlos School Supply Drive

Maricela De Leon has made progress in her mission to provide school supplies to the children at the elementary school in San Carlos. I admire Mari's just-do-it attitude. I like how she can turn a crazy idea into reality.
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Posted by Shaine Mata
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Monday, August 31, 2009

Giving Pocket Bags to San Carlos School Supply Drive

Pocket Communications provided Social Media Club RGV with some cool bags and hats to give away at our meetings as door prizes. My friend, Maricela De Leon, pictured here, is organizing a school supply drive for the children at the elementary school in San Carlos. I decided to regift the bags to the drive so that they can pack the school supplies in them.

Maricela was very excited with the donation. I wish I could take credit; but, Pocket Communications deserves the credit for their donation to SMCRGV. We are simply re-routing to where the bags will do the most good in the community. So, thanks to Pocket for their generosity.
Posted by Shaine Mata
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Third Rail of Health Reform: Cost

Today, there is a live webcast of a health reform conference in Nashville, TN. The public is welcome to submit questions to be asked of the speakers. You can go to to participate. With the heated debate on both sides of the political spectrum, this is a great opportunity to view just the facts.

Posted by Shaine Mata
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

New Media for Campaigns

Great presentation by Net Victories
Celinda Provost and Shanna Weisfeld
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Posted by Shaine Mata
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Texas Democratic Party McAllen Boot Camp

Here are a few photos of the Campaign Boot Camp the Texas Democratic Party is putting on here in McAllen. It is a two day event aimed at helping candidates, staffers, and volunteers raise their campaigns to the next level.
Shaine Mata
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Posted by Shaine Mata
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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Use Google Talk to update Twitter

The Computer

The Computer

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Twitter used to offer the ability to use Google Talk to interact with your Twitter stream. If you are a recent convert to Twitterianism, you may not know that this was an option once upon a time. It offered the convenience of having your Twitter stream on any computer without installing an application. You could simply log into your Gmail account and start twittering via GTalk. There is a way that you can still post via GTalk; but, it's not a perfect solution.

GTalk as a Twitter client had its limitations. For example, you could not retweet with the push of a button. You could not look up profiles, you could not reply to a tweet directly, and many other things that Twitter clients do. It was not perfect; but it was lightweight and almost instant.

You have two options for updating Twitter via GTalk. The first is; the other is FriendFeed. is very similar to Twitter. You can use to update your Twitter stream by GTalk. The disadvantage to is that you will not receive the Twitter feed. This serves well as a one-way tool. You can check your Twitter account on the web for replies when it is convenient.

FriendFeed gives you more of a two-way conversation. You will receive a stream of content from your FriendFeed friends, which includes Twitter and any other accounts they have plugged in. If your friends are not on FriendFeed, you can add them as imaginary friends to receive their Twitter stream. The disadvantage to FriendFeed is that not everybody uses it.

The added advantage of FriendFeed as a conduit for Twittering via GTalk is that you can reply to specific items. If you are following a ton of people, FriendFeed also has the advantage of grouping them so that you only get a stream from some people through GTalk rather than all of them. Adding imaginary friends isn't scalable if you follow a lot of people on Twitter. You just don't have the time to keep track of it.

I use an Android phone, which has a native Google Talk client. As a result, it works instantly and only updates when there is something to update. This minimizes the amount of time you have to wait to send/receive. Whereas Twitter clients batch updates, an Instant Messaging client updates each message individually, saving battery life and time. In other words, it uses fewer resources.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Why so serious?

Don't read racial undertones into Barack Obama being depicted as The Joker unless you are ready to attribute the same to George W. Bush being depicted as The Joker
There is no racism. It is a political statement. Politics can be puerile. 
Laugh it off. Then, get your butt out and vote. 
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Posted by Shaine Mata
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How to write a blog post

Many bloggers do not write clearly because they do not get to the point and they meander in their writing.
Get to the point.

Don't meander in your writing.

In summary, get to the point and do not meander. 
Posted by Shaine Mata
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Yahoo did the right thing

I was just reading that Yahoo's recent partnership with Bing would be its demise. I was once a big Yahoo fan; but have made the migration to Google. Let me tell you why Calacanis is wrong. First, there is no comparison between Google and Yahoo. When Yahoo started off, they were simply a directory. For ages, you had to request to be in their directory rather than they just crawl your site. That's where they went wrong.

Their next misstep was to let Google power their search, and let things ride. 
Once Google moved on, they had no search capability. That is their problem. Yahoo sucks at search. They always have because they only indexed "submitted sites" they though were worthy. 
Given this shortsightedness, it was no wonder they were left behind. Given their inattention to search, I think partnering up with Bing is a good idea for now. During this 10 year deal, they can figure out what to do stay alive.

What Calacanis fails to realize is that Google's revenues come from their Adwords/Adsense combo. Yahoo has a weak version of that. Most people think that Youtube is losing money; and they are as a divison; but, it makes money for Google. The Google has also invested in other free services like Picasa, Blogger, and even Google Voice. How do they expect to make money? Advertising silly.

The more sites out there owned by Google, the wider their reach. The can insert Google ads in every nook and cranny of their empire. Yahoo, on the other hand, has been pulling back. Rather than expand their market reach and make advertising through them appealing; they have been cutting back on their web real estate. Newspapers have the same problem; with declining circulations, they are crazy to think they can charge the same or higher rates.

For now, Bing will keep Yahoo alive. This should give them time to figure out a decent game plan. Calacanis is off; because search is not where the money is. Search is what gets people in the door. The money is where people see your ads. Unless Yahoo works to expand their ad base, they are doomed to be second or third best.
Posted by Shaine Mata
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Yahoo CEO says they were never a search company:

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hidalgo County Judge JD Salinas Fundraiser

There was a Fundraiser held for Hidalgo County Judge JD Salinas at Copper Canyon in McAllen today. The event was from 6 to 9 pm. The judge counted some of his work during his term in office, which includes the county drug discount card and repairs to the levee system. Judge Salinas mentions that he would like to continue his work. Some of the big projects include laying the groundwork for the I-69 corridor and the construction of a border loop.

I recorded some of his speech on my phone, which doesn't have the greatest quality. I also had to break it up into pieces.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Food Bank RGV's Summer Soiree

I had the pleasure of attending the Food Bank RGV's Summer Soiree at the Ramirez Family Jaguar dealership in McAllen. Along with a bunch of sponsors, the Food Bank RGV was able to put this event together through Facebook communication.

I was able to get a video interview with Terri Drefke, the Ececutive Director, but it did not save properly on my phone. I'll see if we can get a statement from her later.

It was a great experience. There were good people. It was definitely the place to be on Thursday night.
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Posted by Shaine Mata
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