Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Saw my first Facebook political astroturf

Facebook logoImage via WikipediaThere are a bunch of accounts that are making the rounds attacking supporters of Rick Perry and John Cornyn. They position themselves as Tea Party conservatives in order to game Facebook into showing them people with similar interests. If you look at their profiles, they appear to be Super Conservatives with a cape and all; but they are the opposite.

All they can really do is go around trolling other users with public photos and comments. But, it can be confusing to the recipient to be attacked by other "conservatives". It's also time consuming to clean out your inbox and remove comments from photos, videos, etc...

The best you can do is block and report for harassment, especially when they go into hate speech, which they invariably do.

What can they hope to accomplish by posing as conservatives? I can think of a couple things:

  • discourage people from publicly supporting Rick Perry or John Cornyn on Facebook
  • put the Tea Party in a bad light. They make some really awful comments.
  • plant the idea of dissent amongst conservatives
  • keep an eye on what people are saying on the "other side"
I fell for the tactic at first; but the comments that the operatives make do not coincide with the public image their profiles convey. After looking at several of the profiles, I noticed that they were very consistent in their interests with little variance, which is necessary to carry out their aim.

This tactic is possible because Facebook uses the interests you list on your profile to feed you updates that are interesting to you. Thus, by pretending to be conservatives, they don't get extraneous information from people with whom they agree politically. It literally gives them a front row seat to the machinations of the opposition. 

I don't expect such tactics will last too long; people will begin to tighten up their circle of Facebook friends and access to their posts to keep the jokers out. But, it will be a while before others catch on and act accordingly. 

Be careful to not be baited into posting something inappropriate in the heat of anger. Quietly block and report. 

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Monday, May 30, 2011

A problem with making the ultimate sacrifice

Every year on Memorial Day, I hear people refer to soldiers who died in the line of duty as making the ultimate sacrifice. Something about the statement always made me uneasy. I agree that death is certainly a high price to pay.

However as a parent, I can't help thinking that the ultimate sacrifice is to sacrifice one's child. Many parents would rather die than have anything happen to their child.

But then, reality kicks in. There are those parents who would sacrifice their children without hesitation. For them, it would not be a high price to pay.

So, given that self-sacrifice is always a high price to pay and sacrificing a child is not always the ultimate price for all people, I defer to the age old reference.

Personally, being one of those who values my children above myself, I would honor the parents of fallen soldiers for their ultimate sacrifice.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fooling around with screen captures

I learned that the Samsung Galaxy Tab has the ability to take screen captures by pushing the back and power button simultaneously. Doesn't work in all apps. Still, it's a neat feature.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

War between clatko and pirillo on empire avenue

I've been watching Chris Pirillo take on Chris Latko on Empire Avenue ever since Pirillo decided the game is cool and worth playing. Both have the strategy of putting out a crapload of blog posts every day in order to produce high dividends and earnings.

The end product is that as the war escalates, they are both producing crap posts just to get ahead. Come on, who the hell has time to look at 70+ blog posts in a single day... for each one? I've got my own backed up Google Reader to deal with.
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Why two blogs

You may wonder why I have a Blogger blog and a separate Wordpress blog. Or, you probably don't give a flip. I'll explain it anyway.

Blogger makes a good Tumblresque blog that works really well with my Android phone and other Google products.

The Wordpress blog tends toward more substantive posts, more or less.

More to the point, I can't figure out how to import the Wordpress blog to Blogger. That is all.

Eating all the time

One of the downsides to low glycemic eating, if you consider it a downside, is the need to eat often. Your blood sugar level doesn't have a lot of wiggle room. So, it becomes necessary to provide a steady supply of LG food. Even so, you lose some weight.

You do, however, have to think ahead and carry snacks. If I don't do that, I start to get a hunger headache. You may experience the same.

Today's snacks cost $1.73

I decided to go buy some produce to munch on between meals. One pound of carrots, a cucumber, and a gallon of water. I have Nutrimeal for lunch (check http://shaine.usana.com to find out about the low glycemic shakes).

Coffee without sugar is getting easier to handle. It's about the only thing I can find at fast food joints that isn't processed with refined sugars or flour.

Did some heart pounding exercise this morning. Whew!

No refined carbs food is tough to find

Difficult to find food without refined carbs when on the go. Everything is breaded or uses sugar, bread, pasta, etc to increase the serving size. The non carb portions are meager.

Samsung Galaxy Tab will go to Gingerbread

There is news that Android 2.3 is rolling out to the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Non-carrier tablets are receiving the updates first; with updates coming to the remainder as soon as mobile carriers are able to work out the details.

I have read conflicting reports on whether the update will be done over the air or require manual updating. Samsung has an app called Kies that requires a computer app called Mini Kies, which is not available for download to U.S. customers.

The update is anticipated as it includes a newer version of Google Talk that allows video and voice conferencing, a direct competitor to Apple's Facetime.

There are other improvements in performance that make the update much anticipated as well. It is still not clear whether the subsequent update, Honeycomb, will make it to the Galaxy Tab. Some people speculate that the tablet does not have the horsepower to adequately run Honeycomb.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Taking time to plan out the week

Often one has a rough idea of what needs to get done in the coming week.

From experience, I find that it is best to sit down and plan things out. One should put things down on paper.

It is not so much to remember what needs doing, rather as a reminder of one's priorities each day.

Depending on the level of thought and trouble, only schedule about 3 to 5 major things each day. Life only gives you that much to accomplish each day between interruptions and poor planning by others.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ordering pizza online

Domino's has a good mobile site for ordering pizza on your mobile. However, I could not find a mobile app in the Android market.

Pizza Hut, on the other hand, has an app. This makes the process much easier.

Local businesses that deliver may consider mobile apps. On second thought, even if they don't deliver, so long as a customer can pre-order and pay, all should work well.

Friday, May 20, 2011

An imperfect solution for feeding Google Buzz to Twitter

I've been experimenting with a way of feeding my Google Buzz stream to Twitter. There are a couple of services like Buzzcantweet and Buzz2twitter, which technically can do the job. However, they aren't fast enough for me. I'd prefer fast updates, or one I can force.

Something I had considered in the past was to feed the Buzz RSS to Twitter. Turns out that Feedburner can do this. The only problem is that it pings the source every 30 minutes, which doesn't work for me. I had given up until last night when a fellow geek posted his location from Buzz.

He said he was using feedburner. I checked it out again, in case a new feature was added. There wasn't a new feature, just the Socialize option that was there before. Then I thought about pinging Feedburner whenever there is an update. Of course, there is no ping control in Buzz.

But, I did find an option on Feedburner to ask it to update the feed manually. You can bookmark the link to force the update, which kicks in a Twitter post right away rather than waiting 30 minutes for an automatic polling.

It's not perfect; but it's good enough for me. Even if I forget to force an update, Feedburner will check in 30 minutes.

The reason this is so important to me is that I prefer to work in Google Buzz. I may on occasion go over 8 posts in 30 minutes, an update maximum for Feedburner. By forcing an update, I can ensure that all my updates are posted. It also allows me to tweet from Google Talk on my Android devices. Talk feeds status updates into Buzz through Latitude.

It's a bit of a labyrinth; it works for me.

Slow down with your Groupon

Groupon is a great service. They can get people in the door, no doubt about it. However, before you make the final agreement, be sure you can afford the deal.

There are two types of marketing campaigns, awareness campaigns and lead campaigns.

Awareness campaigns are generally a calculated loss. You hope that customers will remember you and visit again sometime. Many businesses are realizing that a 50% discount is great for bringing customers in the door, but not so great for things like, I don't know maybe, making payroll.

A sales lead campaign, on the other hand, expects customers to buy something from the outset. More importantly, the cost of your lead is factored in so that you make a profit.

I'm not saying you shouldn't use Groupon. Just keep in mind that you may lose money in the deal today. If the deal is done right, you'll gain new customers who might not have tried your business otherwise. Whatever your loss, consider it a marketing expense.

It will pay off in the long run; but today, it comes out of your pocket.

Close to breaking 2 Million (e) on Empire Avenue

My income strategy seems to be paying off. As I invest more in the top income generators, the more dividends they pay out, which means I can buy more shares. So, my daily dividend income has increased noticeably in the past couple weeks. All this without really engaging in the whole social media aspect.

I should reach 2 million (e) sometime in the middle of next week.
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Where did I put those notes?

Trying to find where I wrote down user names and passwords. I really have to streamline where I put things so I don't have to look everywhere.

Torn between Twitter and Google Buzz

I really like Twitter for its speed and flexibility. However, I find Google Buzz attractive for its connection with Google Places and Latitude.

Twitter has more users whom I follow; but Buzz has more depth.

I'm experimenting with feeds to Twitter from Google Buzz to see what gives me the best results.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Qik - Mobile video by Shaine Mata

Was testing out the Blogger posting feature on Qik. Doesn't show in the Buzz stream like Youtube does. Using iframe works well through RSS.

New exercise method has me in pain

Marine of the United States Marine Corps runs ...Image via WikipediaActually, I don't think it's so much the method than it is that I actually exercised.

I've been reading that intense, anaerobic exercise in short spurts, like when a big scary dog chases you, develops your fast and super-fast twitch muscles. The major benefit, however, is that this type of exercise releases your own HGH into your blood. This is important because athletes and young people have high levels of HGH because they engage in all out exercise more frequently than older people do.

You can read more about this at Dr. Mercola's website.

The end result of all this is that it's a way of combating metabolic syndrome.

Aerobic exercise simply burns calories; it does not release HGH.

Additionally, you have to be careful to not consume any sugar within 2 hours of your exercise session as this stops HGH production.

In any case, I'm sore from engaging in high intensity plyometrics. But it's a good feeling. It wasn't so great yesterday when my heart was trying to leap out of my chest and my legs were wobbly.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Slacker is now On Demand

Slacker.com now allows you to play any song or artist on demand with their Premium subscription. I'm currently on their Plus subscription; tempted to try Premium.

Still growing strong on Empire Avenue

Empire State Building from 5th AvenueImage via WikipediaI posted a little bit about my strategy on Empire Avenue a while ago. Basically, I'm taking all my income and investing it into high income-producing investments. I could invest in growth; but the only problem with that strategy is that it's hit or miss.

Some members of Empire Avenue are duds; others are slow growers, and others might grow quickly in their valuation.

Rather than spend countless hours researching and checking innumerable people in whom to invest, I spend about 5 minutes per day investing in blue chip stocks. They pay out regular dividends and retain their share price.  I save time and trouble.

More importantly, I don't even have to be a great participant in Empire Avenue to generate income. Even if nobody invests in me, I have about 16,000 17,000 eaves waiting for me every day. I plow that back into my investments and make a bunch more the next day.

A warning: this totally circumvents the entire purpose of Empire Avenue, which is to reward your social media activity and sociability within the network. I'm still #winning.
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How to work with Google without getting hired

You may have heard of the brain-bending exams Google uses to find new hires. You may not know too much about programming. Perhaps your talents are more along the lines of marketing and selling. So how do you work with Google? Well, everybody knows that Google makes most of their money through advertising. Those little ads that are all over the Internet and on search results generate billions of dollars a year for Google, because they work.

The problem that you are solving, my Marketing friend, is helping local businesses and organizations get their websites in tip top shape and ready for online advertising. So far, Google has made tons of money from people figuring things out on their own. But, they need YOU to help the less adventurous business owners who want to advertise online, but don't know how to get started.

There are a couple things you can do to get started in helping your community get with the times. You can sign up for Google Engage for Agencies. Through this program, you can score coupons for Google Adwords to give away to your prospects. There are four training slideshows that you need to watch to get started, that's all. There isn't even an exam.

If you want to get a little further involved in the business, you can join the Google Certification Program. Besides becoming certified in Adwords, there are other programs available through their Partner Programs.

You don't need to reinvent the wheel. Google has some damned good wheels for sale; but they don't have the salesforce. This is where you come in. Where else can you get paid to help others make money?

Why is this such a great opportunity?

  • People Google stuff before they buy it

  • People Google on their mobile phones to find businesses, get directions, and get phone numbers.

  • Not everybody has a website, which would make things so much easier for customers

  • No inventory to buy

  • You can work from home

  • Your effort has a direct impact on your income

You'd be doing your community a favor by helping them find things in town much easier. In addition, you help local businesses generate more income, which raises the standard of living for your community. So, get out there.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Microsoft Security Essentials is slipping

I've used Microsoft Security Essentials as a decent antivirus for a while. Having cleaned computers for a few years already, I can tell you that none of the antiviruses out there are 100%. Some are better than others, most are merely adequate.

When clients ask me which antivirus I recommend, they are really asking, "which is the cheapest antivirus that does a fair job." Some of the popular free antivirus apps out there have performed dismally. I clean those out routinely.

I was impressed when Microsoft came out with OneCare, which has morphed into Security Essentials. Best of all, it's free. What I really like about MSSE is that it doesn't bog down your computer like the others. You can actually get some work done during a virus scan.

As far as the ability to catch threats, MSSE has done a good job. Lately, however, I've been cleaning computers in which MSSE doesn't even see the malware. Fortunately, I clean computers using a variety of tools for good measure. I'm disappointed that MSSE isn't doing as well as it used to.

I've been looking at other options, premium options, to recommend to clients.
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Working late

Removed the hard drive for a virus scan.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Upset tummy

Woke up with upset tummy. Hesitant to pour some much needed coffee.

Still rocking the tablet

Started checking out the possibilities for content creation using an Android tablet. Not a major difference except for more horsepower and storage room for files. Satisfied overall. There is room for improvement; but there always is. I'll take what I can get.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Android Appeals to the Masses


We have seen the battle between Apple and PCs play out. Although Apple produces a superior product that makes the technophile salivate, in the end, customers want choice and lower prices. We are seeing the same game play out between Apple's IOS and Android.

Apple has the iPhone and the iPad. They are sexy, dependable, and pricey. Google has an operating system. Manufacturers are free to run with it, resulting in a massive explosion in users for Google.

Recently, Google announced that they activate 400,000 Android devices each day. They recently became the top mobile OS.

What sets them apart is that Android is available on cheap and even free handsets. Good luck getting a free iPhone. The battle is going towards class warfare. Those who can afford IOS and the two most expensive mobile networks vs everybody else. For the record, there are way more poor people than people who can afford Apple products. That is what set PCs apart from Apple computers; it is what will make Android come out ahead.

Something else that nobody is realizing is that a result of this great adoption of Android by the economically challenged is that they are unwittingly becoming immersed in Google products like Google Maps, Buzz, Places, Latitude, Gmail, Contacts, Calendar, and Talk. Android has made these so seamless that it is difficult to know when you are switching from one to the other.

Ultimately, Google is building a base of content by the masses who don't keep up with the latest social media trends. Unfortunately, those involved in social media are too involved in their little circles that they don't realize that another universe is evolving without them. 90% of success is just showing up; Google is there already. Are you?