Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Are you creating zombies?

This is an incredible article reminiscent of some of my best management courses in college. The author has created something called the zombie function. The author agrees with the horse whisperer, "The more you use the reins, the less they'll use their brains!"

This is a must read for managers including a great test to determine if you're a micromanager. This is from the Creating Passionate Users Blog.

Google Tips and Tricks

Google is by far the easiest to use search engine, in my opinion. They have been relentlessly rolling out new features and I'd like to share some of them with my readers. Here are some useful tricks:

  • Use a wildcard - When searching Google, the asterisk symbol (*) can be used as a wildcard. For example, if you want to search for cancer medical, medicine, etc. You can type cancer med* and Google will return all entries -- cancer medicine, cancer medical treatments, cancer medicine centers, etc.
  • Find a movie - I love this one! I wanted to see what time a specific movie was playing at a nearby town. I went to Google and typed movie: Chicken Little Albany,GA. Here's Google's answer for me. It includes movie reviews, the play time, the rating, the movie theater, directions to the movie theater and the movie times. In the taskbar shows the words: Movie Showtimes and I can show the times tomorrow, Friday, Saturday -- up to several days out! Wow

    33 reviews
    Chicken Little
    1hr 21min - Rated G - Animation/Family - IMDb

    Carmike Wynnsong 16 - Albany
    2823 Nottingham Way, Albany, GA - Map
  • Restaurant menu finder - NOw, I'm really in the mood for ribs after the movie. I can click on the Map button shown beside the movie theater and it takes me to Google Local. NOw I have a map with the movie theater on it. I can click in front of the address in the search box and type rib restaurant near 2509 Nottingham Way, Albany GA (notice I just had to type rib restaurant near the address was already there. It found 5 restaurants near the movie theater and put them on the map for me. It also tells me the distance in miles from the theater and gives me the phone number and description. This is done through a very cool indexing of restaurant menus. This is great, particularly when you are traveling.
  • Search Number range - To search for a price range, you can use two dots (..). To search for an iPod between 100 and 300 you can Google iPod $100..300.
  • Google Calculator - Google has a built in calculator. This is much faster than opening up windows calculator (particularly if you've put a google box on your toolbar. You can do simple (10% of 5000, 10*70) or you can also do number conversions (10 miles in km).
  • Search a website - You can search websites that don't have search boxes. Say, I wanted to search my website -- Just type -- this works with most any website.
  • Search from your cellphone - This is cool but not for the faint of heart. You will text your query by typing in 46645 on your cellphone. (This stands for GOOGL). You can then type in the word. If I wanted to find Ribs in Albany I'd type in ribs.31779. OK, so my final text will look like this 46645 ribs.31779. I can also do 46645 weather.31779 for weather or phone numbers or addresses of businesses by saying 46645 Long Horn.31779. You will get text-message responses free of charge (depending on your text messaging plan) within seconds. Definitely cheaper than connect 411 services.
  • Track FedEx Shipments - Just type in the shipping number into Google. IT will offer you a tracking link. Click on it and you can find out a lot of information on your package! (This also works with UPC codes, patent numbers, other numbers )
  • Flight Information - When you google the names of two cities, Google will offer to search for flights. You can also indicate which service to search. This is a great, easy comparison tool.
  • Find the phone number - One of the most frustrating things to find is that toll free phone number for a business when you know you need technical support and you want to talk to a live person. My husband received a Sirius satellite radio for Christmas so if he needed tech support he can type in Sirius Customer Support, if that doesn't work (it didn't) you can type in Sirius Customer Support 800, (or try 888, 877, 866-- the other extensions. That last search returned the 800 number. No more searching!
  • Stock Quotes - This is the easiest. Type the ticker symbol into Google to get a plethora of information about your stock quote.
  • Define words - And if you don't know what a plethora is, just type define: plethora into Google and then you get definitions from several sources. My students love this. You can click on the definition and get synonyms and antonyms as well.
  • Find out the weather - Type weather: Camilla,GA to get the weather in my hometown. Try yours out!
  • Find books - You can find books! Google has indexed books and continues to add many daily. You can type in books about farming. The first entry is a listing of the first three books and a link to Books About Farming. Click there to see a complete listing.
  • For a complete listing go to Google Search Tips . Wow!

Google continues to be very cool and more than that -- useful and time saving. I believe we will be easily googling from our cell phones, portable devices and computers for years to come. I believe voice googling is just around the corner.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

News from the blogosphere -- Chinese censorship

Some happenings in the Internet world in 2005 have me greatly concerned.

Did you know that MSN is censoring their new MSN China Portal in agreement with the Chinese government? Yes this was back in June, but it still bothers me.

The words and phrases blocked by Microsoft include "Taiwan independence," "Dalai Lama," "human rights," "freedom" and "democracy."

In a statement, lead MSN product manager Brooke Richardson said, "MSN abides by the laws, regulations and norms of each country in which it operates. The content posted on member spaces is the responsibility of individuals who are required to abide by MSN's code of conduct."

Now, Yahoo has helped track down a dissident journalist in China who will now spend 10 years in prison.

I am a believer in democracy and American business. I know that Yahoo and MSN state that they must comply with the laws in the countries in which they operate.

Bottom line, China is a repressive communist regime. It consistently imprisons and "reeducates" its citizens in ways that are agreeable to the government. It is an open secret that "about 30,000 people" are dedicated to policing China's "Great Firewall."

China's censorship is vast, and they are filtering many "objectionable items" out of China as well as seemlingly tracking some citizens queries to ferret out objectionable people.

With Yahoo, Microsoft, and yes Google "cooperating" extensively because they want to do business in China. I have to wonder.

I know that choices have to be made as many of the Internet businesses want to be the leaders in their fields and move to worldwide brands. However, China has a history of emulation and providing things more cheaply (just look at the automotive knockoffs they generate in plants located near American manufacturing plants.)

We as American's are participating in the repression and rape of the Chinese people. These people have no choice but to work for nothing and our businesses take advantage of it so that we can have $3 toaster's at Wal-Mart.

I do not hate the Chinese people -- I feel for them greatly as they are taken advantage of by such a terrible government. I dislike the Chinese government for what they are doing.

I also am ashamed that our American businesses are participating in such un-American behavior all for the almighty dollar. When the wall that separated Berlin fell, we cheered. With such ingrained alliances with the Chinese regime, I have a feeling many American businesses would rather it stay in place than evolve to a democracy.

I take issue with what is happening to dissidents in China. Thousands upon thousands of baby girls are killed in china (they have dying rooms at state run orphanages.) People are tortured, reeducated, and killed in china by the tens of thousands. An the world is more up at arms that there "might be" a terrorist prison run by the CIA in Europe.

There is something wrong with this picture.

I have to wonder if such alliances between Big American companies had existed prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, our own American countrymen would have helped reinforce the wall splitting Germany in half.

Indeed, that is what American companies are doing now -- reinforcing the Chinese firewall.

I think these countries should learn from Woodrow Wilson:
You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. You impoverish yourself if you forget this errand.
Woodrow Wilson (1856 - 1924)

Monday, December 26, 2005

New add ons for your gadgets.

I love gadgets! I particularly love gadgets that don't cost a lot but add functionality to the one's you have. I've profiled several add ons that you may want to get. All of these are less than $20.

1) An FM transmitter.

This lets you take your music from your laptop, iPod, Palm, mp3 player, or computer and transmit it over radio waves. You can then use any radio tuner in your house or car to listen to that music or movie.

Here are some cool ways to use this:

  • If you have a laptop with a DVD player in it, put it in the car to watch movies on long trips and listen to the sound over your car stereo. (If you want it for this, you may want one that plugs into your cig adapter.)
  • Listen to your favorite music in the kitchen from your computer in the office.
  • Watch a movie in your room on your computer with surround sound from that great stereo.
  • Play MP3's on your old stereo system with the great speakers by transmitting to the radio tuner.

You will have to tweak it a little. I bought mine at Wal-Mart but here is a FM TransmitterBORDER=0 at Amazon if you like to order online (it is a little more expensive - I found mine at Wal-Mart for $19.95.) Anyone receiving a laptop or MP3 player for Christmas needs this!

2) A Car ChargersBORDER=0 for your electronic device

This allows you to charge your laptop, mp3 player, pda, palm, anything on the go. Do not order the one from the company that makes your product unless you want to pay a premium. Get the cheapo one at WalMart or this one from Amazon.

This is a must if you want to watch movies on your laptop in the car! That laptop won't make it over an hour or so. It is also great for those of you who take digital cameras on trips -- you can charge your battery for your camera on the go!

3) Extra Memory CardBORDER=0

NOw, this one item may cost a little more depending on how much memory you want. Computers aren't always handy to download things -- you'll be happy if you have an extra SD card or flash card or whatever type you have. Again, walmart has cheapies!

4) Rechargable batteriesBORDER=0s -

This is an absolute must! You will simply go broke with all of the electronics around! RAdio Shack has some great recharging stations. It is also very environmentally friendly. Here are some online stations.

5) USB Flash DrivesBORDER=0

This is a must! The students I teach who lose floppies always lose their data. I've yet to determine if it is the cheap floppies, the state of the lockers, or some sort of mega magnetic force generated by all of the magnetic devices in their lockers but floppies aren't reliable.

I like the memory keys that go on keychains. Everyone should have one, no exceptions. It is simply the way to get data, backup data, etc. IF it is with you all of the time it provides a perfect backup for mission critical items such as your financial software.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Learn something new: Sign up for the blogging class!

I've been getting e-mails over the past couple of weeks and seem to have quite a bit of interest in a class.

I'm discussing the possibility of a class in Camilla in the next month that would cover the topic of blogging. You would create a blog of your own (using the free blogger system) and I would teach you the basics. It will be a 2 hour class.

I'm working on the structure of the class now. If you are interested, please send me an e-mail. I can have 19 people in the class. It will cost $35 per person. You will have materials you can take home.

Read about why you should have a blog and sign up!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Online Word Processor saves time and money

There are so many new web aps that I have on my list to try over the break, that I doubt I will get them all. Web aps are the hallmark of the Web 2.0 phenomenon.

Today I am composing on a cool new web app called . This is an online word processor with all of the basics that most businesspeople would need. This is different from wikipages in that you can keep things confidential and still invite collaborators. You can keep wikipages private but this web app allows you to import and export from Word. The only person needing word is the final person to work on the document. Everyone else can just use writely. (Save on software!)

This is a must use for bloggers. Microsoft Office has several glitches that cause all of us who blog to have to use other word processors. By using writely, I can copy and paste directly into my blog without a hitch. Yeah!

To start, just log onto and create an account. You can then create and edit documents. You can even collaborate with other people at your office if it is a group project. The difference here between this and a wikipage is that writely is a word processor.

Until the produce the final word document, they can edit from any computer where they can log onto This is a great advantage for folks and provides them with portability. (Just remember, I suggest you never enter your username and password for anything in public internet cafes -- they are a haven for hackers!)

Another great feature is the ability to directly produce Adobe PDF files from writely -- something you cannot do with Word.

So much for lugging those bothersome floppy disks that always give out. Do your research from home or the office. Login to writely and add your changes and be done.

Very impressive! Let me know your favorite web apps. This has got to be killing the folks at Microsoft.

Recent Reviews:

Other cool web aps to try:

Take some time to "play" with some of these new apps. A business that isn't collaborating is missing out on efficiency and increased competitiveness.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Here, robot robot -- make my business more efficient!

There was a great article in this month's Reader's Digest about robotics making our lives easier. Many of the items were far fetched like the rubber sink, the robot that attaches to your wall and mops your floor while you sleep. I'm sure they'll be there but they are not currently meaningful.

I want to tell you about one item that I have seen work and I believe can begin to save businesses on janitorial fees. There are two janitorial essentials businesses need -- continual vacuuming and continual trash dumping. Trash dumping -- that can happen during the day without bothering workflow. Vacuuming -- now that is another story.

We have an incredibly large 3,100 square foot concrete floor facility at my father's farm. To sweep and resweep -- it took forever and we really just felt like we were pushing the dirt around.

That was until he got a roomba by a company chillingly named iRobot (Will Smith had a movie by this name.) This little baby moves around the floor quietly and gets up the dirt. When we leave, we make sure we put the countless dining chairs up on the table (the more clear area the better) and the floor stays spotless. With seven grandchildren and a dog -- that is amazing.

Now, how can this apply to your business? Well, how about having daily trash pickup handled by someone in your office, easy enough. Try a Roomba and move it to a different room nightly -- or for that matter get a one for the large rooms. Set it to vacuum at night. When it is "tired" a/k/a batteries are running low -- it returns to the docking station for a new charge.

This is definitely one item on my wish list. I think it has a business application and not just one for tired housewives. I'd like to see an industrial version that moves itself from room to room and uses GPS.

Currently for less than $300 you can get one of these. I believe we will continue to see rote routine jobs such as these supplanted by robotic devices with increasing frequency over the next several years. They have just announced the Scooba for linoleum flooring that is just coming to market.

I am dissappointed that they don't have a more commercial offering for carpet cleaning as I think that is where real potential lies, but until then, smaller home offices and high traffic offices with secure information make great locations for the roomba.

Now that is a bright idea!

Buying information:

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Use blogs to keep content fresh

A great way to keep content fresh on your website is to use RSS feeds on your website. Although I wrote this blog for schools -- I think every business could use the advice.

At the blog I cover how to put your calendar online, how to post up to date news, and how to post up to day photographs. All of this without expensive training classes and no cost to you. (Well, maybe a little code from your webmaster.)

I've used countless software programs for web pages and haven't really found one that is truly "easy." But I can honestly say, anyone can blog, anyone can use rsscalendar, and anyone can use flickr.

Read to see how.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Wake up America: Invest in brains that cannot be exported!

I know I usually post about technology and items to implement in your business, however every so often a stat comes to my attention in my educational reading. I came across this is the November 2005 issue of Edutopia:
The difference in annual pay between a person with a master's degree and a person over eighteen without a high school diploma. On average, graduates holding MA and MS degrees earn paychecks starting at $60,445, while those failing to graduate from high school take home $18,826. Getting that diploma boosts that figure by nearly ten grand, a bachelor's degree snatches a yearly income of $51,194, and those with doctorates start at $89,734.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Most business people I know would not argue with these numbers even if they are on the "wrong" side of the numbers. It is apparent that a college education which many view as an "extra" four years should not be considered "extra." It has often bothered me that we import and educate a significant number of students from overseas to our colleges when we have so many people that desperately need education.

With the inception of NAFTA and soon CAFTA and other free trade agreements that will invariably come our way -- we need to invest in the thing that will truly keep trade on our side -- education.

IN Design News' recent issue - they have a cover article -- America's High Tech Quandry.

In this article, the relay that China and India both are headed or already at one million engineers in their country. And that's not "watered down" engineering degrees such as some are purveying now -- but authentic, qualified, engineers. I'd like to quote from the article:

Indeed, what can we do? With China's educational system cranking out engineers like toy soldiers, with India simultaneously graduating some 350,000 engineers a year, and with the U.S. at just a small fraction of that—75,000 is the best guess—questions about America's future competitiveness are inevitable.

Increasingly, those questions are being asked by some of this country's most knowledgeable leaders: University deans; chief executives; military officials. They're worried, they say, because the United States is a country of lawyers and business executives, not engineers. So where will our competitiveness come from? How will we out-innovate countries that are graduating five, ten, maybe 15 times as many engineers as we are?

"It's going to put us at a significant disadvantage over the next few decades," notes Geoffrey C. Orsak, dean of the School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University (SMU). "Imagine if the next Microsoft is founded in China, rather than in the U.S. Ninety-five percent of the desktop computing would be controlled by people who might not be our allies."

It is time for us to wake up in America and stop making fun of the geeks -- and get our children to be them. No, not the kind of geek who sits in front of the computer and does nothing physical. We should be physically active, hardworking, intellectuals who can handle the rigors of complex thinking!

What is wrong with being an engineer? I'm married to one and he's great! He doesn't wear horn rimmed glasses and he doesn't snort when he laughs. He enjoys a good paycheck and good job doing work he loves.

As an educator, businessperson, and patriot -- I want to see our country succeed. We need to "dis" the stereotypes about engineers or we can "kiss" our prosperity goodbye.

A marketable labor force that is technically adept is essential to our future. Toyota and Hyndai have recently built plants here in the US and are doing well. To attract manufacturing -- we don't need cheap labor -- we need technically adept labor. Some of the biggest issues of these automakers has been training our labor force.

Education starts in elementary, middle, and high school but it must continue into college. And we must produce graduates in technical fields as a cornerstone of a prosperous future. For when we invest in education, we invest in America, as long as the bodies of the American people are here, their brains will be also.

Friday, December 09, 2005

"Wiki Wiki" business plans

I believe a new innovation comes along every so often that transforms the way we communicate and do business -- the wiki page is that innovation.

"Wiki wiki" means quickly in Hawaiian. It was used for this technology because of the quick ability to learn, use it, and create web pages. I have been teaching high school students of various abilities, and have yet to find a student who could not "get wiki!" (See my teaching blog about this experience.)

Wiki pages came to the forefront of knowledge with the use of wikipedia on the Internet. This online encyclopedia uses wiki pages. Anyone can join and edit.

There is an article in entrepreneur magazine that has my interest. I'd like to quote this article:

Alan Flohr, senior vice president of sales and business development with Informative, a Brisbane, California-based customer influence management company, got firsthand experience bringing wiki into a business when his CEO asked him to give it a try. "We're in a cutting-edge area of marketing. We deploy technology that helps our customers get closer to their most influential consumers," Flohr says. "We use wiki [internally] to help speed our time to market and to communicate with our team."
Wiki's are a cutting edge tool for cutting edge companies or companies that just want to be extra competitive in a tough world.

What can I do with a wiki?

Using this technology, a business can take documents or projects that require group editing, collaboration, or feedback, and make a central place for the editing of the document in an easy manner. The document can link to other documents in house or link to resources or newspaper articles on the web.

Users can comment to each other in a private place behind each page as they discuss items on the page.

Its usefulness and ubiquitous availability have made it an excellent collaboration tool for small entrepreneurial companies where key decision makers are constantly out of the office. Using the wiki they can update marketing plans and collaborate with advertisers, update business plans and collaborate with financiers, plan complex events, and more. Their uses are as varied as the pieces of paper in an executive's inbox.

But, I don't want my private information available to the public.

Wiki is the technology, it can be hosted for public or private view. -- the service that I use allows users to pay $5/month for a private wikispace. For my classroom space, I have it for public viewing but have restricted it to private editing (my students and I.)

But, brightidea guru, I'm technologically challenged.
When I say it is easy -- I mean opening a gallon of milk easy. The first couple of times you open a gallon of milk, you have to learn the technique for getting the little plastic ring off, but once you've done it -- you don't think twice!

Where should I start?
  1. Make a list of the most common documents that require group input and cooperation -- this not a tool for personal letter writing, use MS Word for that -- business plans, marketing plans...
  2. Make a list of the most common events/ activities that require collaboration internally and externally -- advertising, marketing, customer mailers, new construction jobs, new product launches...
  3. Pick one item that needs to be done "wiki wiki" and involves several people.
  4. Select a wikispace (you can start with a free one) -- have your technologically inclined person or yourself go through the tutorial and give the others a 5 minute "how to." (Literally -- 5 minutes.) Remember, to keep it private, subscribe to a private space.
  5. Begin. Use it. Evaluate.
Get ready to move "wiki" fast!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Top 5 most useful technologies for an executive

This is my stab at the top 5 most useful devices out there:

1) Wi-Fi Enabled Laptop-
This is a must for an executive on the road. I would never, I say NEVER use a public terminal for anything but random surfing. Anyone who enters any secure information of any kind on a public terminal WILL be hacked! (Walmart has just come out with one for under $600)

2 & 3) Bluetooth Anything with a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)

I particularly like Bluetooth enabled PDA's with built in MP3 capabilities. My husband went on a trip recently with a fellow employee who had a handheld PC with Bluetooth -- he had downloaded an e-book. He used a Bluetooth adapter for his car that allowed him to tune a radio station for them to listen to the e-book in the car. (I show a Bluetooth adapter for the car by Belkin to the right)

I also use Bluetooth to hotsync my Zire 72 with my PC at work. From anywhere in my office I can synchronize my information and surf the net if I actually have to.

My next cell phone will be Bluetooth -- then I will be able to pull up contacts on my PDA and send the dial info directly to the phone. (Even better the Smart Phones are PDA's, MP3 players, and cell phones combined -- look at the Treo devices.)

My brother in law travels to Europe a lot and says that everything over there is Bluetooth - particularly the cars. I believe Bluetooth is a must in your car.

For those who are saying blue-wha? Blue tooth is just another way to transmit information from one device to another. It just has some features that make it more secure and practical!

4) A News Aggregation Service (RSS Aggregator)

I've expounded on the incredible greatness of my bloglines accounts. Get one! There are many RSS aggregators out there. Get one, learn to use it and subscribe to any page of interest with the XML, RSS "chiclet" on there.

No, that's not the gum -- it is the little Orange looking rectangle with RSS or XML printed on it. There is one on this page!

5) A Blog

All the other items are ones you "get" for yourself that feed information to you. This is where you give something back. I believe that all professionals in decision making positions should either have a private blog within their company to expound on their current projects/ ideas, etc. that will be read both by people above and below them in the corporate structure.

But even better, a public blog to share your information. With the inception of blogs as a mass communication tool, it becomes a method to truly disseminate information.

The only drawback to a small town is that I have often felt cut off from the cutting edge ideas that I am addicted to. I simply must have new ideas, fresh thoughts, fresh inspiration. It is a constant effort to get out and grab information, go to conferences, etc. With blogging, I can share my small piece of the puzzle and then discuss ideas with people in the forerunners of their field.

I have not yet found a blogger -- even the biggies -- who has condescended to me yet! It is really a great world on the blogosphere.

My computer science class has created a neat page on blogging with several free resources. Of course, I like!

I look forward to your comments and feedback on this one. Perhaps I missed your favorite!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Learn about Web 2.0

I know that many techies feel that the Web 2.0 is a word that shouldn't have been coined-- however it is here.

It is amazing as I guide students to learn about this amazing technology. They live and breathe and understand it. Some have called this Generation @ -- who knows!

My computer science class is creating a wikispace to talk about Web 2.0 and define various aspects of it. It is a great resource to learn more and see what the web has to say. Check it out at

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Use bloglines to compete

This article is about the number one most useful thing a business person can have today -- a news aggregator.

It will be a news aggravator if you don't do it right. There is something new on the web called RSS - (really simple syndication). It can be very confusing, however.

I've tried several services and methods -- here is the easiest and best that I teach my students to use. I have found the best use of RSS is to sign up for an account like bloglines and subscribe to the information that interests you.

Here are the steps:

1) Go to
The only required is an e-mail and password

2) Set up your free account
Remember, use another password other than your e-mail password -- some folks think that is what they are asking for-- it is not!

3) Pay attention to the choices when you are signing up -- they will help you pick the most popular choices in the categories you are interested in. However Do not select everything! You will become buried in information and not know what to do. (If you want to see my blogroll-- just go to and look at my blogroll. I read most of these daily, so check out my three blogs for what I think is going on.)

4) Go into your account! You will be tempted to start reading everything, but everything is marked to be read! It is just not realistic that you will sit down and read 200 articles unless you really have some time on your hands -- I strongly suggest clicking "Mark all as read." (I also do this when I've hit the highlights and won't read again until tomorrow - it prevents info overload.)

5) Wait a little while -- surf -- or wait until tomorrow. Then you can go back into your account

Learn to add feeds
The true power of bloglines though is in adding feeds. You can subscribe to this feed, for example. Here is the easiest way!

I prefer to use the "Sub with Bloglines" button that I've conveniently placed on the toolbar of my web browser. Then, when I find a blog (like mine) that I want to subscribe to -- I can just click that button and it takes me through the process of adding the subscription.

The easiest way to do add this button is to scroll down on the startup page (after you've logged into your account -- you'll see your feed list on the left and on the right a page that says Home > My Feeds)

You will scroll down until you see the words Subscribe to It -- then a link that says "Subscribe with one click from your browser toolbar."

Click on the link and follow the instructions! (Two steps) Then you can go to my blog, or any other blog or page with RSS and add it to your bloglines account -- just click on the button on the toolbar.

Use folders
It will then ask you what folder to add it to and other information. I highly recommend making folders to organize your info. When you do that -- just click on the folder on the left that you have been created and bloglines puts EVERYTHING in that folder together -- your news from the New York Times will be put in with the news from the WSJ and your Google news -- easy as Mrs. Smith's apple pie!

Check daily

Bloglines will notify you when there is new information -- just click and read.

Integrate with Google

I particularly like the feature in google where you can make a search-- you can then subscribe to that search through Bloglines -- when new search information arises, you're there! I've done this with Google News -- I find it to be much more comprehensive than the New York Times and it links to all of the articles on that topic.

Just e-mail me with your questions! If I have enough interest, I may do a class to help you set up your accounts over Christmas -- it would take about an hour. Get out there and get competitive!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Socrates was against writing!

“[It] destroys memory [and] weakens the mind, relieving it of…work that makes it strong. [It] is an inhuman thing.”

The sentiment above is from Phaedrus - Plato quoting Socrates in 500 B.C. Greece. The “it” in the quote is writing.

Socrates was nervous since his information technology of the day, memorization, was about to be aced out by a new information technology, the stylus.
There is an article today on the astounding results coming out of Jerry Mangus' textbookless classroom.

Mr. Mangus uses computer based activities to teach fractions to fifth and sixth graders and at the end of the year, the scores for his sixth grade class were 20% higher than for any other sixth grade class in the school-- including that of the gifted students!

Rather than working math problems the wrong way, students receive instant feedback and learn the correct way each time! What a concept!

We must press forward with innovation although those educated in the last century may not agree. We are not educating ourselves.

Although premier thinkers may disagree with the use of the laptop and the computer -- the paper and pen, laptop and keyboard, memorization -- those were just the medium for information. As long as the information is being taught and is relevant to students -- they will learn!

After all, if folks had listened to Socrates, we would still be memorizing everything we wanted to read!

Move ahead!

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

How to get your goal

"A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be." Wayne Gretsky
I have been contemplating this quote today and feel it applies to technology and competitiveness in business. It is difficult to be on the cutting edge. It is tough! You have to try things that don't work sometimes and you have to look dumb sometimes.

Whether it is implementing new technology or a new curriculum -- anything new is risky! I believe in pushing the envelope.

Alvin Toffler in FutureShock stated
  • "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
It is time to learn something new. Web 2.0 is emerging -- no it is not here yet. Will your business be a casualty or will it be a victor? (My computer science class is building a wiki page of information that is turning into a good resource.)

Look into it. Learn about it. I believe every businessman or woman who wants to compete should get a bloglines account (RSS technology) and learn how to use it to subscribe to important information. Last week I asked all of my students to subscribe and set up an account -- who was first -- my eighth graders. The older students already set in their ways couldn't understand this new part of the Net. They are now -- can we keep a young mentality and learn new things even if we don't understand them. (Of course my answer to any unknown knowledge is to Google first and guess later.)

Act now! Learn Now! Politicians without blogs will become irrelevant! Business people who are not using RSS feeds will not be able to compete! Learn now!

Wayne also has another quote I like: "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

New Orleans to Offer Wi-Fi to attract business

In an effort to revitalize New Orleans, its mayor, Ray Nagin, has announced their efforts to blanket the city with Wi-Fi within one year.

Although after the city is restored to normalcy, the speeds will have to be pulled down a bit, the hope seems to be that city wide Internet will make the area much more conducive to business.

Think about it -- nothing is left with all infrastructure including the one that delivered their prior Internet -- gone!

I think that wi-fi is definitely an economic development tool.

I think Wi-Fi makes a lot of sense and would be a great plus for small communities like mine of Camilla, Georgia. Vacationers could come to our city away from it all but still sit in our new coffeeshop and surf the net or shop in our shops and still use their wi-fi enabled devices.

We have the technology now to do this with our City Internet -- all we need is a couple of wireless nodes and we're set!

We've made such strides in revitalizing downtown. We have many people now I know who travel to Albany to sit at a "hot spot" drink coffee or have their family shop while they work. Yes it is early and many citizens would not understand -- but the types of people who do understand have money and demand wi-fi. We want them shopping in Camilla.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Start your adventure with Firefox

I've been experimenting and learning about new web experiences over the last weeks and months. I first want to list the number ONE improvement that I've made to my Internet Experience. I went to the Firefox website - and downloaded the new Mozilla Firefox.

I must say that the glitches on my older Windows 98 machine as I used the Internet as well as my problems with Norton Internet Security seemed to evaporate into cyberspace.

My favorite features (along with links explaining them) are:
There are affiliate programs where you can earn points referring folks to firefox, however, I'm not one. I just think it is a great program and it has improved my Internet experience.

Remember, however, don't dare try to uninstall Internet Explorer - it is part of your Operating System (OS) and although I know some that have tried it, it is not advisable!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

My story

When I was 8 I fell in love with computers as I wrote adventure games on the TRS-80.

After growing up in rural Georgia, I graduated magna cum laude from Georgia Tech. I was a market analyst in the cellular business and then a GM of 3 markets in Georgia. After having one child and pregnant with my second, I resigned from Cellular One.

Over the next three years, I enjoyed my family and did the most unappreciated job on earth – stay at home mom. To keep my mind sharp, I began writing my own web pages. Corporations and individuals asked me to teach them – and I started my own training and web site design business. I provided customized training courses for local companies, government, and colleges. I focused on efficient, useful, training focusing on features people use every day!

Then, I was hired to teach computer science at my children’s school. Since 2003, I've worked to transform lives with cutting edge experiences and a goal of teaching high schoolers how to learn about new technology. (Such a strategy prevents obsolescence.)

I still create web sites and teach adult classes "in my spare time." I love technology -- inspirational books, and anything that makes my life better!

I love to talk about these ideas and always have. This is why I have my business and this blog -- to share with others my opinions on the most life transforming ideas out there!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Transforming yourself from the inside out

As I make my first post on Thanksgiving - I am down another 1/2 a pound (at least for now.) I am on pound number 28 on a 40 pound journey to find myself again.

Six months a go, the Monday after school let out for the summer, my husband and I said "enough." We were overweight, headed for diabetes, heart disease! Our backs hurt, we were listless, hungry all the time, and just plain cranky!

We've tried many things but never really 100% and never really together. This was it! He said we'd be doing Body for Life!

It is tough to explain the program -- we've had our ups and downs. I do know that the greatest thing is how I feel! I feel 20 years younger and can run a mile faster than I did in high school. I can keep up with my three kids. Just go to the website and you'll see more.

I believe this classifies as my first Bright Idea because of the overwhelming change it has had on my life. It has been easy to follow in terms of food.

I wish more people would follow a similar program but it seems most just want to take a pill and lose weight quickly. Yes, the first couple of weeks of losing 6 and 5 lbs were great -- but honestly most weeks are down 1/2 and down 1 -- not these stellar weight loss numbers posted by folks on the Biggest Loser.

The best way to lose weight is the old fashioned way -- eat less and exercise more! I feel great! I feel alive again! I feel rejuvinated! Wow -- now that is a bright idea!