Saturday, March 31, 2007

WWW What Women Want

There are posts I particularly enjoy writing.
Those are the most trivial ones, but they have a special feature: they make me dream.
And, yes I am able to solve on this post a part of one of the hottest question for a man: WWW WhatWomenWant.
If they were able to enter a woman's mind, very often they would be quite hot and ambiguous encounters, no special needs, no hidden sensual dreams.
Women very often are simple creatures: they like shopping.
And they like shopping for the best the market can offer.
And if this best comes with a special discount is even better, not because they can save, but because with the same money they can buy more.
And where can they fulfill part of their dreams?
At Coupon Chief they can find coupon codes of over 1000 shops. Well, I know, sometimes you are really looking for the 1001 that is not there, but you can easily find the 878 that is very close to it (and sometimes reveals even a better bargain).
Coming back to me and my dreams, What Would I Want?
I just saw Las Vegas: $75 Off on 4 Night Flight + Hotel vacations and that looks really what I need right now.

But of course I also need to renew my wardrobe just for that trip.
So, I think I will also take advantage of 15% Off on Handbags Shoes Dresses & more at Bluefly that sounds great, with special offers on designer brand.
And if I have a little bit of money left, why not 15% Off on all PH and G Photo Paper Kits . I will certainly take photos there... Las Vegas and NEW CLOTHES...

This is a sponsored post, please read disclosure policy.

Marketing the Unknown


Can you market the unknown, the untouchable, something nobody can prove to exist?
It looks like the answer is not only YES, but that this Market has proved to be much more profitable than any other.

It is so profitable that it was born at the dawn of humanity, it grew and it is still the most profitable business on this earth.
Because it fulfills one of the biggest need of the human being: the answer to why and how and when and what Will happen of ME?

It is the Religion Market, the Market of the Life that WILL come, the Market of the dreams and expectations of humanity.
Nobody wants to die, everybody wants ethernal life and Religion promises it.
Does Heaven exist?
Who cares? Who can tell?
The important is the Faith in it, the important is believing...

Nevertheless it looks like this profitable business, as all the others, needs once in a while a boost, so the Vatican had to relay on the services of McKinsey consultancy to "refresh" an image that is getting "old".
So "old" that, in spite of the expectations of the commissioner, it didn't come without a bill (and a substantial one too).

Ready to count $$$$?

How much would you pay somebody who is able to have complete control over your sales process, to have a close look at which sales representatives are making sales, and which are squandering leads?
Somebody who is willing to work 24 hours a day (no stop for coffee, lunch, dinner) 30 days a month (including Saturdays and Sundays), 356 days a year (no Holydays)?
Somebody who is able to easily identify new potential customers and quickly refining your customized lead list, somebody who will tell your team how to be able to see what they need to do for the day, for a lead, or for any given time frame.?
Somebody who is able to show leads for a specific user or a customized task type?
Somebody who could even have the system automatically create tasks for your sales representatives based on hundreds of totally customizable triggers?

Admitting that you have the money to pay him, it is almost impossible for a human being to be so efficient...

So what about a software that does all that and even more?
That will cost 1/thousand times less?
You can have a sales management software that does everything and just requires a little bit knowledge how to use it.
So, the only thing you need is a website to upgrade...not difficult to find, isn't it?

This is a sponsored post, please read disclosure policy.

Let's talk about

Let's talk about the end of telephony and the beginning of communications, let's talk about the end of News and the beginning of information, let's talk about the end of marketing companies and the beginning of self promotion, let's talk about the end of monologues and the beginning of dialogs, let's talk about the end of Monopolies and the beginning of “entrepreneurism”, let's talk about the end of middle men and the beginning of a new era, in other words, let's talk about the Internet.

Friday, March 30, 2007

You get what you pay for

How does it work page ranking in most search engines?
Mostly on links and traffic.
But if you have a new website, no links and very little traffic, then you are destined to be very far away from the first pages, which are the ones that count.
Infact, being on page 30 is almost like being on page 300.
Most of the surfers stop long before.
So, how to be in good position? How to have high rankings?
With Big Web Links Bid Directory is not difficult.
You get the position you want with your contribution.
That will help your website to have the starting position to be known.
And from then on, it is up to you...

This is a sponsored post, please read disclosure policy.

Be number 1th in the blogosphere

If the Internet is the Network of netwoks it is also the Community of communities.
And IS the community in the Blogosphere to be IN.
It is the best way to be known for what you're worth and not because you have a certain amount of links or you are able to induce some robots to give you a high page rank.
How many times (at least it happened to me) surfing the top Blogs you found some that you really didn't understand why they were there while there were many others much better and unknown? (for example:
Well this IS the OPPORTUNITY.
If you are really worth you will have the chance to submit and a HUMAN, not a robot, will give his fair opinion. (that doesn't mean of course that HIS opinion will be like yours), but it pays to give it a try.
What do you have to do?
Submit or Submit a Blog post.
For that you NEED to join the Community. It takes a few seconds and the usual Mail verification.

As all communities it is not only possible, but welcome to look at the others' posts and COMMENT them.
Well, if you want to be an active part of it, you MUST not only give, but also take...and exchange views and opinions.
That is what the Internet and in particular the Blogosphere was born for. Isn't it?

This is a sponsored post, please read disclosure policy.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Real Time second life

Once , in the early beginning, our vitual life was time delayed.
Increasing the speed on the Internet meant not only faster surfing or faster downloading or faster uploading.
It meant something much more important.
Our virtual reality followed the speed of our connection and with it reached the speed of our real life.
There is no difference anymore between a connection with somebody a few meters from us and somebody a million Kilometers away.
Our voice and our image reaches them in the same time, and if there is a difference it is in the favor of the far away partner.
We can live in the same time in New York or Tokio or Milan.
We can see the same movies, we can listen to the same music, we can discuss of any subject, we can COMMUNICATE as much and as long as we like.
Doc Searls writes:
"The Live Web is is what's happening right now. It's dynamic. (Thank you, Virginia.) It includes all the stuff that's syndicated through RSS and searched by Google Blogsearch, IceRocket and Technorati. What I post here, and what others post about this post, will be found and indexed by Live Web search engines in a matter of minutes. For those who subscribe to feeds of this blog, and of other blogs, the notification is truly live. Your daily paper has pages, not sites. The difference is not "just semantic". It's fundamental. It's how you reclaim, and assert, your souls in the connected world. It's also how you shed dead conceptual weight, get light and nimble, and show Wall Street how you're not just ahead of the curve, but laying pavement beyond everybody else's horizon. It's how your leverage the advantages of history, of incumbency, and of already being in a going business."

Download an antivirus software from a virus-free source

It sounds funny, but it is not.
How many emails did you receive offering free antivirus software that in reality were nothing else than a way to fill your hard drive with viruses and spyware?
When it comes to cheat, let me say so, they have come a very long way...
Not so long ago somebody asked me (via email) to check my computer for spyware and offered a free software to do so.
Of course when I checked I found such a disaster that I hardly could understand how I could still use anything or doing anything considering the contamination degree.
And of course the same source offered to come at my rescue with another software that this time was not completely free, but considering the urgency and the situation looked quite affordable...

Well, now you can download free Norton Antivirus software directly from Google and I guess that Google could be trusted as reliable source (or at least among reliable sources).
And it is FREE.
Where is the catch?
I still have to find it out, but I guess you can consider it as a way to introduce you to other Google's software, which I, on my side, find useful, at least some of them.
Of course when they offer the free reader it is because somebody will use the software to produce the product you will be able to read...

So, what do you have to do?
Just go to Free antivirus Download , look at all the optional features and take advantage of this offer.
Because an antivirus is something nobody can survive without anymore...

This is a sponsored post, please read disclosure policy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Dilemma between privacy and security

People think there has to be a choice between privacy and security; that increased security means more collection and processing of personal private information. However, in a challenging report to be published on Monday 26 March 2007, The Royal Academy of Engineering says that, with the right engineering solutions, we can have both increased privacy and more security. Engineers have a key role in achieving the right balance.

One of the issues that Dilemmas of Privacy and Surveillance challenges of techchnological change looks at is how we can buy ordinary goods and services without having to prove who we are.
For many electronic transactions, a name or identity is not needed; just assurance that we are old enough or that we have the money to pay.
In short, authorisation, not identification should be all that is required.
Services for travel and shopping can be designed to maintain privacy by allowing people to buy goods and use public transport anonymously.
"It should be possible to sign up for a loyalty card without having to register it to a particular individual - consumers should be able to decide what information is collected about them," says Professor Nigel Gilbert, Chairman of the Academy working group that produced the report. "We have supermarkets collecting data on our shopping habits and also offering life insurance services. What will they be able to do in 20 years' time, knowing how many donuts we have bought?"

Another issue is that, in the future, there will be more databases holding sensitive personal information. As government moves to providing more electronic services and constructs the National Identity Register, databases will be created that hold information crucial for accessing essential services such as health care and social security. But complex databases and IT networks can suffer from mechanical failure or software bugs.
Human error can lead to personal data being lost or stolen. If the system breaks down, as a result of accident or sabotage, millions could be inconvenienced or even have their lives put in danger.

Full Report...

Taxes relief

Do not misunderstand me, I am not writing about the joy of not paying taxes, or being authorized in one way or another not to.
The only way would be not having any kind of income, but at that point taxes would be the last problem to think of...
I am talking about the relief to find somebody who can, clearly and unmistakably, tell you how much, how and where to pay them.
Which now a day is getting a big hassle.
I believe in the idea that a country is no more than a Mutual Protection Society and yet I fail to understand why being just that makes it so increasingly expensive.
I promised myself I would not have entered the difficult path of legitimacy of taxes, but I cannot help being always polemic when it comes to pay.
At least you can find any kind of FREE advice when it comes to pay Arizona Tax.
"The top dogs of tax are hardly an agency one should tangle with, so if you have outstanding tax debt, this is the article you need to read."
I am positively sure that this particular situation needs some attention.
And the website of Secure Loan Consolidation is structured in the "Dummy way" which is the way I like.
You just write where you live, what is your total tax debt, if they are Federal or state taxes, and the type of tax.
You apply and then...well, you still have to pay, but let's say they make it much easier...
"Eliminate tax debt with our unique tax relief solutions".
That is what they say, I guess it pays to give it a try....

This is a sponsored post, please read disclosure policy.

Why capital should be taxed less than the secretary's income

"In this country, returns to labor are taxed at a higher rate and more consistently than are returns to capital. Warren Buffet has pointed out how his dividend income is taxed at a lower rate than his secretary’s income; this doesn’t strike him as fair. "

I agree on a lot of what you say.
But I do not agree on the fact that inheritance and capital incomes should be taxed as the secretary's salary.
The inheritance comes from money which is supposed to be saved by parents and on which they are supposed to have already paid taxes (if they didn't is another matter, you do not make laws on what could be, but on what you suppose it is)and taxing more the capital interest produces exactly what you are highlighting: that nobody wants to be an entrepreneur anymore.
Why saving and risking your money to actually pay again on it?
It's easier an eight hours a day job with paid holydays and pension...
The ones who decides about economical strategies have to keep this in mind: the consequences of what they do...
Do they want people to invest and to build new businesses? So, they have to help and encourage them, low taxes can be a good way...

Old media is a monologue, new media is dialogue

Ron Davison Says:

March 27th, 2007 at 12:31 pm
"Old media is a monologue; new media is a dialogue. It’s that simple and that messy."

That's it.
That is why news sometimes look more like gossip than news.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Maui and Sanfre'

"Those who managed to stop smoking marijuana long enough to string two consecutive thoughts together grokked the related notions of tropical paradise and land development with predictable results. That is, they turned the place into just an annex of California." Jim Kunstler

Maui is certainly a piece of Paradise compared to Sanfre', the place where I live.
But the people living here and there prove that the "Globalization" began long ago.
They prove that man, is the same, independently from where he is born.
And that greediness and corruption find fertile land all over the Globe (thus the word globalization)
Here in Sanfre' the building market has grown so much since the City Hall was allowed to tax and tax every year more for square cm. built or rebuilt.
Houses were built so close one to the other that you can look at your neighbor from your window and shake hands without risking to fall down.
You hear ALL what your neighbors say, so much that printing a local newspaper is useless, nobody would buy it, since everybody already knows everything.
It is like a Network from the first house of the row to the last one.
You open the shower in the bathroom of the first house and you get immediately clean on house 1257.
In 1258 you just get the leftover, since the water pressure is what it is, with 1257 houses before yours.
That is something that still needs to be fixed.

And what about the landscape?
I wouldn't worry too much, not for Maui, not for Sanfre'.
As Jim Kunstler says, "all man-made things are worthless pieces of shit" and thus they won't survive long...One day or another soon, Nature will get back what was stolen...

Mobile Money

Mobile Money
Smart Mobs writes:

"The Guardian reports "in what is being touted as a world first, Kenya's biggest mobile operator is allowing subscribers to send cash to other phone users by SMS.Known as M-Pesa,or mobile money,the service is expected to revolutionise banking in a country where more than 80% of people are excluded from the formal financial sector.Apart from transferring cash - a service much in demand among urban Kenyans supporting relatives in rural areas - customers of the Safaricom network will be able to keep up to 50,000 shillings (�370) in a "virtual account" on their handsets".Further,"M-Pesa's is simple.There is no need for a new handset or SIM card."

I see in that a great idea (and a competion to Banks is ALWAYS a good idea), but in the meantime a huge opportunity for "Mobile Crooks"...

The good news about news...

Richard Benefits offers some eloquent industrial-age advice:

Here’s what I’d tell the children:

"The good news about the news is that there’s no shortage of news. The best experts forecast a nearly boundless supply of news clear into the next century, so the news conservation efforts of the past (recycling, echo-chambering, and other forms of plagiarism) are no longer necessary and will phase out as soon as we have the means to harvest the coming bumper-crop of news."

The good news is that, since it is so easy and so cheap to read the news, more people read them.
The not too good news is that increasing the audience means a decreasing in quality.
Sometimes it is hard to see what is news and what is gossip, the second being the most requested (and thus the one producing a better revenue).

But news or gossip or ads or blogs, the positive thing is that people read again and read more and like to read more.
And they are getting so fond of news that many have taken to write. That is the Magic of our time (and the Internet).
Giving opportunities to readers and to writers.
And with all this big writing and reading we won’t certainly lack news…

Vox Pop Gagged

"ABC squandered an opportunity to get a candidate to respond to video questions from the people. Good Morning America solicited those questions. I submitted one. But they didn’t show one on the air. They should have not only showed one of our questions to Hillary Clinton, they should have put all the videos online so she could answer any and all of them on YouTube."

“Vox populi, vox Dei…” the Latins used to say.
But, at that time there was no YouTube…

What would I do with € 253?

€253 is the price of a Return ticket Milano-Toronto.
And that is what I would like to do.
Because I have never been there and I dream of going to Canada since long and also because there are so many things I like to do there that I couldn't choose a better place to go.
What would I do? Here are the ten best things to do in Toronto.

1) I would like to be on the tallest building of the world.
For somebody who is quite small that would be a great feeling...

2) I wouldn't miss the Canadian National Exhibition . Since I am fond of ethology I would consider to attend the hugely popular SuperDogs show with its new spectacle themed around "dog talk", entitled, "Woof, Woof, Arf, Arf, Bow Wow."
And I wouldn't miss the 11th Annual Toronto Urban Music Festival.

3) As a shopping lover I would go to the Eaton’s centre, and then see all of the trendy shops in the downtown area. It is one of the largest malls in Ontario, and is in the middle of the downtown area of Toronto.

4) I would spend my first evening just walking down on the main streets in the downtown area and go bar hopping.

5) I would try to see a sporting event or concert at the Skydome which is one of the first buildings of its kind to have a movable roof.

6) I would also look forward to visit the the golden horseshoe where there’s a ‘Little Italy’, a ‘Greek Street’ and a ‘Jewish District’. I would see the community, visit the cultural stores, restaurants, and be immersed in the culture.

7) On my itinerary is of course a special visit to the Royal Ontario Museum

8) And the Art Gallery of Ontario

9) The Metropolitan Toronto Zoo and...

10) Since I am adventurous, I would get a tattoo or piercing as a reminder of my trip... Some of the best tattoo artists and piercing locations are in the downtown Toronto area.
So, the only thing I still need is to find the € 253...
May be I could get some good ideas visiting the Foreign Exchange Market Who knows, if you exchange the right currency at the right moment you can easily make € 253 and may be something more...

This is a sponsored post, please read disclosure policy.

Building a society of idiots won't make a better future...

"InfoWorld, though, is a for-profit business not unlike the businesses many of you run or work for. I am an editor, which means I answer to the readers, not the advertisers. That will never change.
Nonetheless, I also know how the business works, or in some cases, doesn't work. The ad-driven economic model that supported print magazines for years (publishers deliver a steady stream of highly qualified readers, and advertisers pay for the privilege of putting ads in front of them) is unraveling. Given the alternative, advertisers want more immediate gratification and measureable results than print can afford them. On the Web, they can know who and how many people are viewing their message; they can target specific audiences and know exactly what they are getting. They can engage potential customers directly in ways print magazines never allowed.
There's no more guesswork."

The bad part of the new way of targeting specific audiences is the exasperation of it.
There is no mid way.
Either one or the other.
Profit IS king and value is just "price" or what "most like".
This brings to a progressive degradation of everything that involves information and entertainment.
Who says that what is profitable couldn't also be worth?
Who says that everything must be done with an IMMEDIATE ROI?
Sometimes the real profit IS in the future and what looks profitable today will be extremely dangerous tomorrow.
Building a society of idiots won't make a better future...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Do buyers come ready-made?

"The Intention Economy grows around buyers, not sellers. It leverages the simple fact that buyers are the first source of money, and that they come ready-made. You don't need advertising to make them."

I do not agree.
Today's buyers are very often "made" in a size that fits what they have to sell.
It is the "psycological cloning" that makes millions of individuals looking for the "mass market products" that most of the industry has to sell.

No definitely the buyers do not come "ready-made" they come in as many flavors as the big sellers need...

Where is "Blogging" going?

Blogging software is about adding features, growing ecosystem (technorati, digg etc. steph-note: god am I sick of those popularity things), pseudo-blogging things (Twitter etc. *steph-note: I don’t agree with Twitter being called a “microblogging” platform.)
Who writes for who? (Twitter: an individual writing for a small bunch of friends.)
Getting paid for blogging? Ads… or indirect revenue. Micropayments (indiekarma — looks interesting).

By (Stephanie Booth)

I have a personal view about blogging and the Internet.
The Internet is getting everyday more, for most of Internet users, something like an addiction, in the sense that is getting our second life.
The first, the real one is the one where we satisfy our material needs (eating, drinking and sleeping) the second is a new wide and wild world where we travel, entertain ourselves, in a few world live so intensely that the virtual part of it is getting more real than reality.
It is a democratic world, the only democratic place on this earth.
Because you are exactly like any other Internet user.
You can do all the things that anybody else can do.
And most of all, you can live how and where you like.
And who cares if when you switch off your computer your second life disappears?
You'll go back as soon as possible...

And what about blogging?
That is one of the communication means in your virtual life.
It is your home where you talk about yourself and what you think.
It is the place where you exchange ideas, where you find other people ideas.
It is the place where brains meet, where the virtual life finds its best expression.
It is the good addiction you cannot live without.

All the rest is JUST tecgnology

Cell phones on a plane

1. On a personal basis I certainly share Mike's view that we don't need people sitting at our elbow on a plane yelling into cell phones. [When confronted with a cell phone user at an adjacent table in a restaurant I often ask the inconsiderate person to step outside; I really like the idea of trying this on a plane....]

I don't now if this will be controlled by FCC policy, airline policy, social pressure, or market pressures. But years ago I liked Morris Air (a non-smoking airline) and regularly stayed in the "Non-Smokers Inn" in Dallas.
A NYT article from 22 years ago: fullpage.html?sec=travel&res=9E0DE0DB1038F931A3575AC0A962948260

2. Thus, I have no desire to encourage cell phone use on planes.

David Farber

I sometimes wonder if I am a special "alien" since i belong to the 3% of people living in Italy who doesn't use a cell phone.
And I am doing pretty well without it.
Everybody is talking about the "relationship era" but what I see around me are just people quarreling and fighting.
Welcome a little bit of silence!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Talking about Inks

If you want to have good results, it pays to use the good ink...
And that comes from somebody who always tries to save and always realizes that it would have been better to spend a little bit more.
But what if you can spend the same and have a better quality?
It would be very silly not to take the chance.
At Inkers you can find the best selection of the best brand of ink, (the original ink I mean) and you will find out that it is not even more expensive than the compatible.
Especially if you buy a good quantity.
At Bucks and Big Bucks you can find all the special prices for quantities.
And you can order on the Net and have it delivered even with free shipping. (Continental USA only, too bad).
So, the only thing you have to do is searching for your Toner Cartridge or, if you are too lazy, just dial 800-848-7232 and they'll be glad to guide you through. They love to help!

This is a sponsored post, please read disclosure policy.

Talking technology without knowing technology, what will be the next Killer application?

Computers are still too intelligent, or in other words, they are still not dumb enough.
The future will be in focusing more on what technology can do than on what technology is.
That was the secret of the success of Windows.
The dumb way to approach the Computer, the kingdom of the PC.
Everybody could use one and ENJOY using one.
It was more a play than a tool.
Because it was damned dumb and reachable.
You didn't have to study manuals or learning skills.
You just had to CLICK and something happen and depending on the action and the consequences you learned how to read, write, send and receive an email.
You learned how to copy and paste, how to download and save.
Millions learned it, and when millions use the same thing, that is going to be a "Mass Market Product" and usually wide spread "Mass Market Products" make somebody rich, very rich.

So, what will be the next killing application?
The dumbest, easier and most rewarding tool to reach what the "Mass" wants.
Beware of Technology!!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Future of Broadband

My prediction:

The "world wide mesh" will arrive in Asia about 2019, and in the U.S. in about 2039, due to frenetic lobbying and regulatory manipulation by incumbent telco oligopoly components eager to avoid having their existing revenue streams undermined.

In 2019, the average Asian "broadband" connection will exceed 100 mpbs, and the average American "broadband" connection won't exceed 10 mpbs... and 5-10% of the American public will still dialing into the 'net at 56kbps via POTS lines.

Given that, in 1999, an aunt of mine in Missouri was still connecting to the world via a party line that required operator assistance to place a long distance telephone call (I discovered this when attempting to dial into my server during an emergency), I don't feel I'm being particularly pessimistic.


I do not know about Italy, but I am sure I am not pessimistic saying that broadband will be on the verge of disappearing when we will able to see it in remote places in Italy like Trofarello (200.000 people)

How do you spell G-R-E-E-D ?

Arguments that ISPs should be able to charge Web
services who are *not* their customers for "premium" access to those ISPs' customers will lead us into an impenetrable quagmire ripe with abuse. Just imagine the ISP meetings regarding what the "standard" access capabilities should be, as opposed to the so-called "premium" service levels:

"OK then boys, we've got it settled. If they don't pay our premium, they get 300 bps effective access per IP connection.
That's our new standard connection rate for those deadbeats.
Ha! That'll leave plenty of bandwidth for our porn video offerings! Man, I love this business -- Ma Bell never had it better. Hand me another cigar, will ya'?"

Seriously, if the ISPs are allowed to start charging non-customers in the manner they envision, it will be only the first step in their long-term dream of establishing those walled gardens that the ARPANET-Internet evolution so inconveniently postponed for them.

By the way, note how the mainstream media has already switched to calling SBC by their new name of AT&T, even though SBC's public rebranding effort has only just begun (mentioning that AT&T has joined with SBC).

But we can all go ahead and call any of these firms by whatever names we choose and it won't really matter, 'cause it won't change the spelling of G-R-E-E-D.

Lauren Weinstein

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Where is the World going?

VCs have always made money at finding the ideal point of friction between the Present and the Future. Profits accumulate in the gap between What Is and What Is Possible. Web 2.0 is now firmly in the category of What Is.

The only thing I can say in defense of "Web 2.0" is that it's not "Venture Capital" (from Google Trends).
Peter Rip, General Partner, Crosslink Capital

It warms my heart to see that a VC understood that the Web is getting less "Venture Capital".
Because that is exactly what the Internet shouldn't be.
Very few have understood the potential of the Web, because, in spite of the growing amount of users, it still is "a world apart" at least for the big part of the world population.
To be World Wide it needs to be world spread, which is not right now, but it will.
That is going to mean that there is no need for VC, since with the Web... (whatever number it will be), everything will be "cheaply possible".
Just think how much it costs now a day to start a publishing business in the usual way and how much IT WOULD cost to start a publishing business in the electronic format.
Or to compose music in the traditional way and with a computer.
You can have a "one man orchestra".
The Killing applications of the future will be the ones that will allow exactly this: building a world where you just need your brain to start your own business.
All the rest will be JUST technology.
And slowly we are coming to that.

Drug addiction

Just this morning on the Italian news they were talking about a predictable increase in the use of cocaine of 50% next year.
The big problem is that the drug is so cheap right now that it costs like a package of cigarette.
But, even though smoking can be dangerous and addicting too, the use of cocaine is much worse.
First because the damages it does to the users and second because it is the way to much more dangerous drugs, like LSD and Heroin.
The drug treatment is not just a physical treatment to fight the addiction, that is probably the easier part.
It is the person and his psychological behavior that must be treated.
It is his lifestyle and his habits and his approach to life that have to change.
And who can help in this, better than people who WERE addicted and arrived to drugs and know what and how because they LIVED it?
"Stone Hawk stands by the Narconon® program, because the Narconon program worked for us when other programs failed."
That is what they say and I personally believe that the ONLY way to save a person who is addicted to ANY kind of drugs (talking of light and heavy has no sense) is to help him to do it Himself.
In a few words, if you do not want it, nobody will ever be able to oblige you and you will always fall back into it.
The only way is THE HARD way, the self understanding way and I believe in what they promise: "Start a new life at Narconon Stone Hawk and let the healing begin. Learn how to save a life, and your family."

This is a sponsored post, please read disclosure policy.

Simple or not simple: that is the future.

To increase household penetration of PCs and the Internet, it appears that greater simplicity is desirable (and simpler devices such as WebTV may be one way to achieve it). This will require intelligence primarily at the edges of the network, not inside it, but intelligence that does not require extensive involvement by the users or systems experts to make it work.
Although there are forces that are pushing the IT industry towards simplification, other forces are working in the opposite direction. The industry is still searching for the next "killer app," and application developers are in control. Further, attempts to provide differentiated service levels on the Internet are complicating the scene for both developers and users.
Whether the result will be more or less complexity is hard to predict. However, the fundamental attraction of a dumb-looking network and dumb-looking computers is undeniable, and the most successful companies are likely to be the ones that can deliver in this area. The trouble with the PC and the Internet is that they are not dumb enough. We should gain from putting more resources and intelligence into computing and networking to make them seem dumber.

Liberally taken by Andrew Odlyzko

The lifelong learning

"If you run a business, have a website or just generally spend a great deal of time online, you’ll already be aware of the quickening pace of technology change.

In any business, it’s important to consider not only the technology you’re going to be using today, but also how the technologies of tomorrow will impact you down the road."

Not only.
Once you graduated at University and specialized on a subject and you had to keep up with the changes, once in a while, and in your spare time.
It was more a personal gratification than a necessity.
Now you graduate and few months later you should begin again, because technology changes at a speed that you shouldn't do anything else than going on studying.
That is where e-learning comes into the picture. The lifelong learning.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

How to Make Good Luck?

"So how do you make good luck happen? Beats me!"

Georganna Hancock blogs about writing matters at Writer’s Edge .

How many times we heard: this or that was the turning point of my life...this or that happened and changed the way I was living and so on...
But things happen and we just follow events, in our own personal way, which follows our own personal attitude toward life.
In life we have to choose and we choose and we do this or that and we do right or wrong, we simply do because we cannot not do or we do nothing because we are the types to do nothing and we just look at life and wait and we still wait when it is too late.
This is not my case, I always do, I cannot stay without doing, may be I do too much and I do also for the ones who never do, but that is life and you decide to live it the way you can.
May be that is free will or free consequences or luck or unluck.
There is nothing that is 100% good as there is nothing that is 100% wrong.
It is always up to the point of view.
So, how to make good luck?
I do not think that there is a secret recipe to make good luck.
You just do and sometimes it is a lucky move and sometimes it isn't.
If we knew, we wouldn't live, we would just be able to fulfill what we think is going to bring us happiness to realize that it doesn't...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

And the YouTube Video of the Year Award Goes to…

Could this be the new big event of the year? Probably not, but YouTube is extending a virtual red carpet out to a list of people who submitted their videos to YouTube over the course of 2006, and deserve to be recognized. Starting today, you can vote for your favorite videos that you’d like to see win a YouTube Video Award – trophy included.

To make it easy, they’ve divided the awards into 7 different categories: most creative, most inspirational, best comedy, musician of the year, best commentary, and ‘most adorable video ever.” Users will have five days to vote, and the videos with the most votes in each category will win.

Mashable is reporting that the list of nominees will be here sometime today, but as of now while I’m writing this, that list is not yet available. I’m sure Lonelygirl15 will be on that list somewhere, and maybe even one of my favorites, Evolution of Dance.

There are lots of YouTube fans lurking around here, so which video if any do you think will be triumphant in any of the categories? I’m sure there are plenty of deserving recipients, but I’m only left to wonder, what will these acceptance speeches be like?

By Ashley

Monday, March 19, 2007

Why an ad on the Net is MUCH more effective...

Scott Karp writes:

We've all heard that page views are dying...

I answer:

Ok, let's make a few calculations.
Let's say that an ad on a TV with 500.000 viewers costs $500.000. (I do not know how much it costs, I'm guessing and assuming a number which I believe as possible)
Let's assume that a PayPerPost ad on a blog which costs $5 is read by 5 people.
The cost is exactly the same.
But those five people ACTUALLY read the post and the 500.000 viewers just DO NOT SEE the ad anymore.
Unless you are giving away something attractive for an even more attractive price.
The TV viewers will SEE it and think: that is interesting and I could EVENTUALLY buy it.
How many will remember it a few hours later?
While if THE SAME is written and you read it and it is reachable with the click of the mouse, how many do you think will actually buy IT?

I guess this example explains that advertising on the NET can be much more effective.
And of course I am talking about selling and buying, which is why there are advertisers and people who write advertisements...

What makes a "good writer"

A good writer is the good mixture of writing skills and good content.
A genius for example was Oscar Wilde.
He knew about human nature, about life, about literature and knew how to write it.
That makes him unique and sublime.

You can have "good writing skills" but not knowing what to write, and you can have a lot of good ideas and not knowing how to present them.
That is life and that is why perfection is something so valued, because it is terribly rare...


While perusing Techmeme this morning I came across a thread of discussions surrounding the much-talked-about “A-List” class of bloggers, PayPerPost...
Reader Meet Author

Who told you that the bloggers who write a PayPerPost post do not enjoy writing it?
And what do advertisers expect from a post?
If they expect a technical review they are in the wrong place.
And also you are wrong if you think that a blog should be written by an expert on that subject.
You can find millions of articles on the Net written by experts on any possible subject.
So what do people want to find in a blog?
There is one only answer: something they enjoy reading.
And between millions of bloggers and millions of readers there is the Internet, the Magic tool that let's you enter in people's life and read what they like to write about themselves, about their life, about their hobbies, about everything.
And if you like it, you can go on reading and come back tomorrow to see if there is another amusing post, if you don't you just leave and never come back.
That is life and that is what PayPerPost is.
Something that connects bloggers to advertisers.
Good bloggers and bad bloggers, good advertisers and bad advertisers.
And what an advertiser mainly wants is to find somebody talking about himself or his products in a way that many people like to read it.
Just like advertisers on TV.
They want their ads advertised in the best way to catch the most and they pay in base of the "audience".
With the difference that you can forget to pay 5 dollars to have something spoken of on TV.
That is what PayPerPost is building.
And alternative and cheaper way to advertise on the Internet.
Because Banners, Ads, and so on have proved to be almost ineffective.
Good way, bad way?
"Ai posteri l'ardua sentenza"...I think you do not understand italian, but I am sure you'll understand what I mean.
Friendly posted by Patrizia, proud ownwer of VoIP blog in which I talk about VoIP, Myself and in my own personal way, about life...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Multimedia "contenting"

Even small papers in Britain understand that the key to the future is training. At Trinity Mirror:

And a training programme to improve journalists’ multimedia skills and give them the chance to contribute content ideas has also been launched. This includes a series of week-long video journalism courses and a series of one-day multimedia workshops, which will be attended by more than 70 journalists in the North West region before being rolled out across the division.

“to improve journalists’ multimedia skills”
I think that is a very good idea.
You often find “multimedia skills” in people who have no content to put in multimedia and people with good content who do not know how to present it in “multimedia”.
And of course, since good brains producing good content is something much more difficult to train than “multimedia skills” they go into the right direction.
If the mountain doesn’t go anymore to Mohamed, then Mohamed has to learn how to go to the mountain…

The globalization of clones.

Fred Wilson has an interesting idea: "Superdistribution means turning every consumer into a distribution partner. Every person who buys a record, a movie, reads a newspaper, a book, every person who buys a Sonos or a Vespa becomes a retailer of that item. It's word of mouth marketing, referral marketing, but with one important difference. The consumer is the retailer."

Or it could be just the opposite.
Very often word of mouth and customer's service are highly underestimated, and mostly because our economy is in the hands of a few monopolists.
And every day more so.
It is like a Mafia of higher level.
Buying the political help or involving politicians in enterprises is since long the way to rule the Economy without caring for the consumers.
On one side they make sure to have the power and on the other side they make sure to push the consumers to consume more and more brainwashing them.
Typical example is the "cell phone addiction".
Especially among the young people they are getting something you cannot live without.
They talk since long of the danger of the possibility of "cloning" the human race.
But nobody sees that a Psychological cloning is up since long.
Especially among young people (but middle age are no different, they just consume something else) all over the world you can trace the "typical clone".
Used jeans, rotten clothes and accessories, the latest model of cell phone and iPod.
The same tastes, the same words, even if in a different language.
This is the real globalization: The globalization of clones.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Big news goes unnoticed

"A coalition of Microsoft, Google, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Intel and Phillips have been urging the FCC to allow frequencies in the 700MHz spectrum which will become available in 2009 to be used for highspeed wireless Internet access. The news, according to a story in the Washington Post (hat tip to Galeal), is that Microsoft has built a prototype which finds and uses vacant frequencies and the coalition is supposed to have delivered that to the FCC for testing yesterday."

Fractals of Change by Tom Evslin

The 700 MHz is much, much better than 2.4 GHz.
That really means big competition (and the sunset of Fiber optic.
That means a huge amount of small providers will cover the rural zones of USA.
That means broadband will really be widespread in USA.
Tha means a big step forward to the future.
And for Europe a big step backward to the past.

For ALL WHO INVEST in EUROS: you do not understand a bit of Economics.
You do not understand a bit of the future.
The futures will belong to the ones with good infrastructures.
Because good infrastructures mean cheap delivery and cheap delivery means cheap prices.
Good infrastructures mean a widespread information and a widespread information means more culture and a cultured Nation is the winner...
Good bye old, conservative Europe.
You do not even see that the World IS CHANGING and you forget: everything must change in order to be ALWAYS the same.

Greek Mythology and General Philosophy

The contrast between light and darkness was the first mental germ that developed afterwards into the contrast between good and evil.
And by slow degrees that lead inevitably to the highest abstraction of religion, morality and philosophy.
And the culture of today is nothing else than putting old thoughts into new words, old wine into new bottles.
That is the answer to those who ask: why do we study ancient religions and philosophy?
Because all what we think and do today was written long ago in the ancient books of mythology and philosophy.
The greatest of all arts is the art of life, and the best of all music is the harmony of spirits.
It is on this view that is looking for great creative writers to compose high quality articles on Greek Mythology and General Philosophy.
Greek mythology was the Greeks' religion and the fundamental of every religion of the past, and also of the religions of the present.
Because the past is not passed, it belongs to us more than the present, we feed on it as long as we live.
All religions had the same purpose, all were links in a chain which connects heaven and earth.
The Gods in the Greek mythology were much more human than the God of the actual religions, but in the Greek mythology there are old stones that we cannot reject.
The same and even more so for Philosophy .
How actual is Aristoteles ? Man is the measurer of all things, and what is science but the reflection of the outer world on the mirror of the mind?
Or Plato? All here on earth tends toward right, and truth and Perfection, nothing here on earth can ever be quite right, quite true, quite perfect. We are still in a cave seeing but the light of the ideal truth.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Again about Italian phones tapped

"I know a lot of people are concerned about Big Brother, but my response to that is, if you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?"

That is Exactly the point...and why Italian politicians will make a law against any "phone (that belongs to a politician)tapping"...

Big Brother in Europeans' everyday life

Privacy under pressure in Europe
By Bob Sherwood

Privacy campaigners claim it is the realisation of a Big Brother state, while some law enforcers insist it is a necessary response to the growing global threat of terrorism. For telecommunications groups and internet services providers, though, the prospect of Europe-wide laws requiring them to retain, and hand over, electronic communications data is a potential headache and extra cost burden.

A European directive is in preparation that will require the providers of publicly available communications services to retain details of fixed-line, mobile phone and e-mail communications for at least six months, and possibly up to two years. It is a requirement that even the US has not imposed in its war on terror.

Again about: Is it right phone tapping?

What is "right" is very specific to each culture/country, and sometimes to a political party or ethnic group. How do we all reach common ground to say when it is appropriate to restrict dissemination of information -- if it ever is?
The problem is not whether some particular speech/information should be restricted or not. Of course there are always some who will want to ban and some who will want to defend in any situation -- or there would not be a conflict. Democracy, of course, doesn't work to solve these issues, which is why such rights are normally constitutionally enshrouded to assure that democratic forces (at least simple majorities) do not have the power to make decisions on such issues.

The reason for this is not about any particular censorship target.
The real problem is once you decide there is information which must be censored, you must have a censor. A human or group of humans who will decide. And history seems to show that power is always abused.
Sometimes it is used in a way you like. But it always is later used in a way you don't like.
Thus the only winning move is not to play.

Brad Templeton

And the wolf slept with the sheep...

At the light of what is happening in Italy I curiously found this note:

From: "Steven M. Bellovin"
I hate to play clipping service, but this story is too important not to mention. Many top Greek officials, including the Prime Minister, and the U.S. embassy had their mobile phones tapped. What makes this interesting is how it was done: software was installed on the switch that diverted calls to a prepaid phone. Think about who could manage that.

I am perfectly capable of learning from my mistakes. I will surely learn a great deal today.

"A democracy is a sheep and two wolves deciding on what to have for lunch. Freedom is a well armed sheep contesting the results of the decision." - Benjamin Franklin

"And the wolf slept with the sheep...the sheep didn't get much rest..."(humbly Patrizia)

Gold rush

When I was little (and that was some time ago) once on TV I happened to see a transmission where an expert was giving advices how to invest a big sum of money for the future.
"I would buy gold", keep it and selling some once in a while to cover my expenses.
It is the best investment, the one you can be sure will keep its value in the future.
it didn't make much sense to me, also because at that time the currency was chained to gold and had the same value.
But those times are gone since long and with them also the value of our currency.
"The recent rally of the United States dollar notwithstanding, the greenback has nowhere to go but down . . . The dollar's current up tick is just a breather in its overall downward trajectory . . . The dollar is heading down, no matter what."
"The euro does not have much to recommend it, other than not being the dollar."

People who have not liked gold are re-examining their viewpoint. I think this will be a positive for gold bars , notwithstanding the many down days it has endured.
"The combination of problems in USA's financial system (think Fannie Mae (FNM, news, msgs), MBIA (MBI, news, msgs), American International Group (AIG, news, msgs) and General Motors (GM, news, msgs)), our inability to do anything to strengthen the dollar, the inherent weakness of other currencies and the inflation rate (which, while clearly not alarming, is running higher than any rational person would like to see) is exactly the recipe for a much higher gold price."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The easiest way to transfer money...

The easiest way to transfer money from a Bank to your account and then where you like to spend it, is certainly through a "Cashing In On credit card".
They say the third sure thing in life besides death and taxes is credit.
And it really looks they are right, if we have a glimpse to the amount of money lent and borrowed.
There are two players in the game: the lender and the borrower.
Of course BOTH want to make the best deal.
And the balance is usually on the side of the heavier dish.
Which in this case is without any doubt on the borrowing side...
The balance transfer rate is perhaps the most attractive and it has been used to advantage by many credit card users. Two good examples are credit card tarts and stoozers.
As the name suggests, credit card tarts move their money from credit card to credit card to take advantage of preferential interest rates and balance transfer deals.
Credit card tarts use 0% balance transfer offers to their advantage by moving their money to keep up with the latest deal. It works like this. A borrower with an outstanding balance on a loan, credit card or store card applies for a new credit card with a 0% balance transfer offer.
Once they receive the card, they transfer the balance onto the new card to take advantage of the preferential rate. This rate may last for a period of six to 12 months, depending on the card issuer. The borrower makes payments as usual, but these are used for clearing the debt.
Stoozers use 0% balance transfer deals to make money. To do this, they need a super balance transfer card. This is a card that allows them to pay money into a bank account without charging an additional fee. An alternative to this is a fee free credit card cheque that can also be used to pay money into a bank account.
The second aspect of stoozing is getting a high interest savings account.

Well, but where to find the details and how to?
On Card Guide Co.Uk you can compare credit cards
learn about the 0% deals balance transfers , 0% credit cards ,cash back and rewards.

This is a sponsored post, please read disclosure policy.

Not so fast...

Firms impose limits even as demand rises

By Carolyn Y. Johnson, Globe Staff | March 12, 2007

Amanda Lee of Cambridge received a call from Comcast Corp. in December ordering her to curtail her Web use or lose her high-speed Internet connection for a year.

Lee, who said she had been using the same broadband connection for years without a problem, was taken aback. But when she asked what the download limit was, she was told there was no limit, that she was just downloading too much.

Then in mid-February, her Internet service was cut off without further warning.

For Lee and an increasing number of people, a high-speed Internet connection is a lifeline to everyday entertainment and communication.
Television networks are posting shows online; retailers are lining up to offer music and movie downloads; thousands of Internet radio stations stream music; more people are using WiFi phones; and "over the top TV," in which channels stream over the Internet, is predicted to grow.

That means that more customers may become familiar with Comcast's little-known acceptable-use policy, which allows the company to cut off service to customers who use the Internet too much. Comcast says that only .01 percent of its 11.5 million residential high-speed Internet customers fall into this category.

How to get the best out of your savings

I know that it might sound anachronistic talking about savings in a period in which most of the people are struggling to actually "borrow".
But if you are among the lucky ones who can still save and invest part of his savings here are some useful tips how to get the most of it.
I know, I always was the one to shout that the best investment for your money was enjoying it, but once in a while I still have some wisdom and prefer to enjoy a little bit less or enjoy things that do not cost too much and just Save to enjoy tomorrow...
If you have 100 today you could find yourself with 110 in twelve months, not bad...
But how and where?
You can Compare online banking, find a savings account or checking account and earn more interest today with and I assure you that you can really find interesting ways to DIY much better that what your usual Bank has to offer.
Never heard about competition?
Well, in a moment in which people do not save and spend there is a big war out there to get what's left.
And, as usual, in the banks' war the customer is the winner.
Providing he is able to choose the best ( which is what best suits him).
So, coming back to the beginning, I was there and it really pays off to give it a try...

This is a sponsored post, please read disclosure policy.

Megabits to phones and gigabits to homes

FINDING IT HARD TO UNDERSTAND the "net neutrality" debate? On one side are the hip, cool, billionaire web service companies like Google, eBay, Yahoo, and even Microsoft. Net neutrality is their rallying cry. Despite the fact that they are basically schlocky ad salesmen on a grand scale, they're pushing this quaint, self-serving '60s notion that the Internet is a town square--all for one and one for them, or something like that. Everyone should be allowed to hang out in the town square and use it as they please, one low price, eat all you want at the buffet.

On the other side are the monopolist plumbers like Verizon and AT&T and Comcast. These are the folks who laid the pipe that delivers the Internet--the blogs and pirated movies and photos of Shiloh Brangelina--to your house or office. They think the Internet is more like a giant shopping mall, and they're the mall owners. You the customer can walk around as if you were in the town square, but the tenants (see billionaire web service companies above) are going to have to pay for the upkeep of the premises. If they're one of the anchor stores, they might pay a lot.
Hate to break the news, but your "fast" DSL Internet access is no longer considered high speed. In parts of the world, cell phones are faster.
We'll never get 10 megabits to our homes, let alone the multiples of that speed that are possible and affordable today if these telco Goliaths keep covering up their crown jewels. As Dean Wormer might put it: Fat, drunk (on profits), and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

But the answer is not regulations imposing net neutrality.
So how do we fix this? Are we stuck in telco hell? Silicon Valley can ignite a political arms race and spend more on lobbyists, but why play an old man's game? Instead, these webbies should get creative, change the rules. Bam-Bam, not Barney Rubble is the future. Take the telcos and cable companies out at the knees.

Here's an idea: Start screaming like a madman and using four letter words--like K-E-L-O. And fancier words like "eminent domain." I know, I know. This sounds wrong. These are privately owned wires hanging on poles. But so what? The government-mandated owners have been neglecting them for years--we are left with slums in need of redevelopment. Horse-drawn trolleys ruled cities, too, but had to be destroyed to make way for progress. How do we rip the telco's trolley tracks out and enable something modern and real competition?

Forget the argument that telcos need to be guaranteed a return on investment or they won't upgrade our bandwidth. No one guarantees Intel a return before they spend billions in R&D on their next Pentium chip to beat their competitors at AMD. No one guarantees Cisco a return on their investment before they deploy their next router to beat Juniper. In real, competitive markets, the market provides access to capital.

Sure, property rights are important, but that doesn't mean we can't shake a cattle prod at our stagnant monopolists and say "update or get out of the way." The mantra should be "megabits to phones and gigabits to homes." We'll only get there via competition.
We don't even know what new things are possible. Bandwidth is like putty in the hands of entrepreneurs--new regulations are cement. We don't want a town square or a dilapidated mall--we want a vibrant metropolis. Net neutrality is already the boring old status quo. But don't give in to the cable/telco status quo either. Far better to have competition, as long as it's real, than let Congress shape the coming communications chaos and creativity.

Liberally taken from Robert J. Berger - Internet Bandwidth Development, LLC.

The P2P of searching...

Bookmark is a feature I use very often.
And very often I get angry because I do not remember where I stored my bookmarks and, as usual, when I look for B I find A, which is what I was looking for when I found C.
It was with the utmost pleasure that I found out the easy way to store ALL my bookmarks, dividing them in categories and being able to see them from ANY computer I was working at.
That can look strange, but when you happen to live with a Programmer you may have to change computer quite often and loosing a hard drive or being able to access it with a lot of trouble, makes life hell.
Especially if you like to store what you see when you surf.
How many times we find interesting articles or pictures or addresses when we surf for something and we do not have the time to peruse them?
I do it quite often and I usually bookmark the page and think: I will come later...
So, I really think this is it.
I already created my user profile and it was easy (and free)and now I am going to begin.
Bookmark Topic is the main category under which your related bookmarks are stored.
You just have to name your Topic Group and then assign it to a category from the list provided.
And this is not all.
There is also a very interesting feature, in my opinion, the best.
In the Public Topics you can share research or information on a specific topic, you can publish your bookmarks on your blog via an RSS feed, create a sitemap for your own Website with a link to BookmarkAll,set up an account for your school with links to study aids, teachers, etc.
I mostly like that "Sharing the research or information".
That means I can use somebody else's research on a special topic and he can share mine.
Time saved on both sides and also sharing of knowledge.
Of course if you are an expert of a certain subject you find things that somebody who isn't will hardly find...
On the Private Topics you can safely store your on-line banking information, allow selected access to sites related to your business, keep photo upload sites available only to friends and family and I guess many more things that one can think of...
So, the place is called and I am looking forward to meet somebody with interesting bookmarks.
Yes, I am going to call it the P2P of searching, and it is even legal...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Don't like ID cards? Hand over your passport...

By JAMES SLACK Last updated at 23:09pm on 9th March 2007

Anybody who objects to their personal details going on the new "Big Brother" ID cards database will be banned from having a passport.
James Hall, the official in charge of the supposedly-voluntary scheme, said the Government would allow people to opt out - but in return they must "forgo the ability" to have a travel document.
With one in every eight people saying they will refuse to sign-up, up to five million adults could effectively be refused permission to leave the country.
Campaigners reacted to Mr Hall's remarks with fury, saying they were yet more evidence of the lurch towards "Big Brother" Britain.
Phil Booth, of the NO2ID group, said: "The idea that ID cards scheme is voluntary, and people can opt-out, is a joke.
"There are all sorts of reasons why people need to travel, not just for holidays. There is work, visiting relatives.
"What are these people supposed to do? It stretches the definition of voluntary beyond breaking point. They will go to any length to get personal information for this huge database. Who knows what will happen to it then?"
Mr Hall, chief executive of the Identity and Passport Service, delivered his warning during a Downing Street "webchat".
One concerned member of the public, Andrew Michael Edwards, asked what would happen to people who refuse to join the £5.4 billion scheme.
Mr Hall replied: "There is no need to register and have fingerprints taken - but you will forgo the ability to have a passport".
Officials later explained the meaning of his remark.
The first ID cards will be issued in 2009, to anybody who applies for a passport.
People will be required to give fingerprints, biometric details such as a facial scan and a wealth of personal details - including second homes, driving licence and insurance numbers.
All will be stored on a giant ID cards Register, which can be accessed by accredited Whitehall departments, banks and businesses.
While The ID Cards Bill was going through Parliament, peers agreed an "opt out" with Ministers for people who needed a passport, but did not want to participate in the ID cards scheme.
It was the only way the Lords would accept the legislation, amid howls of concern that it represents yet another move towards a surveillance society.
But, as Mr Hall's comments this week make clear, the opt-out only applies to being physically issued with a card.
In order to get a passport, people will still have to hand over all their personal details for storage on the ID cards Register - where they will be treated in the same was as those who agreed to sign-up.
They simply avoid getting the card - even though they will have to pay the full combined price of £93 for an ID card and passport.
It means that, despite the Government repeatedly insisting the scheme is voluntary, the only way to avoid signing-up is to never obtain or renew a passport.
Therefore, anybody who objects to ID cards on principle and wants to keep their personal details private must remain in the UK for the rest of their lives.
Critics said it was clear ID cards were being made compulsory by stealth.
Some 6.6million people apply for travel documents each year.
Mr Booth said legal challenges were inevitable, as restricting the right of free movement is a grave breach of human rights law.
A YouGov survey, published three months ago, found 12 per cent of Britons would refuse to take part in the scheme, even if it meant paying a fine or serving a prison sentence.
Mr Booth predicted many of this group would be prepared to bring test cases to challenge the Government's position in court.
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg said: "This comment confirms long standing suspicions that the government's claim that the ID database will be voluntary is simply not true. The voluntary claim is serving as a fig leaf for a universal compulsory system.
"Once again the government's ID card plans are being pursued behind the backs of the British people."
Labour has become increasingly obsessed with the introduction of ID cards, claiming they will help to beat fraud and illegal immigration.
But both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have fiercely opposed the scheme, amid concerns costs could spiral out of control.
Academics have predicted the final bill could reach up to £20 billion.
There are also concerns Ministers could be tempted to strike financial deals to pass on personal details, in a bid to recoup some of the enormous costs.
If the Tories win power, it will be scrapped immediately.
Mr Hall's comments will fuel the suspicion that Ministers are involved in a desperate race against time to get the project off the ground, and get as many people's details as possible before the next General Election.
The Home Office said it had never hidden the fact anybody refusing to give their biometric and other personal details to the ID cards database would not be eligible for a passport.
A spokesman said it was more cost effective to link the issuing of passports and ID cards, rather than allow people to register their details for one but not the other.

Monday, March 12, 2007

About Spectrum Gold Rush

The S&L Crisis of Our Time
When the history of our time is written, the current spectrum auctions will be its S&L Crisis.

Just as it did 25 years ago, the government is giving away a "sure thing" to sharpies that in fact is anything but. Back then it the power to get over-extended in the real estate market. Today it's the power to get over-extended in spectrum hoarding.
Two things are actually happening at the same time.
a.. We're finding all kinds of spectrum to be suddenly useful, so the government is selling it to hoarders.
b.. New radios and cellularization are making every hertz of spectrum ever-more powerful.
All this is precisely what happened a decade ago, with fiber bandwidth. The Internet boom made fiber lines appear attractive. But DWDM, which I've called Moore's Law of Fiber, was proving that the capacity of each line could be increased a hundred-fold, and more.
The same thing is happening again. Demand for wireless services is increasing arithmetically. But the ability to supply that demand is increasing geometrically. The cost of providing that service, in the form of Internet bits, is being driven down toward zero.
Here we have some of the playes in the 1980s scandal. Recognize any of 'em?
As in the Internet broadband market as a whole, the only thing holding all this up is the bottleneck that cable and phone providers have on the "last mile," the network that exists between a fiber co- location and your home or business. Anyone who can bridge this gap -- with WiFi, WiMax, or any other radio-based solution -- can capture enormous value (as in the open source business) by keeping their own costs low and keeping their own prices below the competition indefinitely.
The only reason this has yet to happen is because the value-capture is short-term. At the end of this process, the value of a wireless bit falls to nearly zero and nearly everyone goes under. (That's why it would actually make sense for the industry to support municipal WiFi builds.)
But the result of the auctions will be that new players have put billions on the table, money they will need to get back by building competitive services.
And so the process will begin.
When all this unwinds, we're going to find some crooks who bilked the auction process, we're going to see some suckers who bought air, and we're going to see the government bailing-out the industry in order to save what is left, just as it did last time.
Let's pray the government in power then drives a harder bargain than the one that met the S&L mess.
Dana Blankenhorn

Skype is not so anonymous...

Fugitive exec nabbed after Skype call

Kobi Alexander, the founder of Comverse, was nabbed in Negombo, Sri Lanka yesterday by a private investigator. He is wanted by the US government in connection with financial fraud charges. He is accused of profiting from some very shady stock-option deals, to the detriment of Comverse shareholders. Once the deals became public and he was indicted, he resigned as CEO and fled the US.

Alexander was traced to the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo after he placed a one-minute call using Skype. That was enough to alert authorities to his presence and hunt him down.

The fugitive former CEO may have been convinced that using Skype made him safe from tracking, but he—and everyone else that believes VoIP is inherently more secure than a landline—was wrong. Tracking anonymous peer-to-peer VoIP traffic over the Internet is possible (PDF). In fact, it can be done even if the parties have taken some steps to disguise the traffic. Continue...

About birthdays

Is it somebody's birthday?
Or your own?
I like to make gifts to myself and my birthday is usually a good excuse.
When it comes to me, of course, I always know what to buy, usually the problem is knowing what NOT to buy.
But when it comes to somebody else I always lack ideas.
If you live in UK (but also somewhere else, many are willing to ship internationally) there is a website that collects all the addresses of a wide range of Birthday Gifts ideas' suppliers.
You do not have to spend time shopping. You can sit in front of your computer and choose.
And they also have good suggestions.
Sometimes you do not have the palest idea that meets your money expectations, but there you can really find just the right thing.
Let's be honest, if we could just forget the budget, there wouldn't be any problem...
I am always looking for something that looks expensive, but comes cheap, and that is USUALLY hard to spot...
But they search the web for the best deals on any category (and I didn't count them, but I never saw more all together...) so, you save time and money.
Besides that they have things I didn't even know they existed!
So, you can have a good chance to make a very unique present...

This is a sponsored post, please read disclosure policy.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

About copyrights

I agree that copyright owners deserve fair compensation.

First, I believe that most copyright does not create new wealth as do inventions. Generally copyright only shifts wealth from one pocket to another.

I have known many top inventors. Dr. Damadian (MRI), Wilson Greatbatch (Pacemaker), Gordon Gould (Laser), Gertrude Elion (Leukemia treatment and other inventions), and Jim Fergason (LCD) to name a few. The value of those inventions are incalculable. What is a movie or song worth to society? Is there any comparison?

Second, I think that the priorities are backwards. Copyrights have very robust protections, protections which have steadily increased while the ability to protect patents is much more limited.

Third, I think that the term of protection for copyright is far too long.
Most certainly copyrights deserve protection for a long enough period to give a reasonable return. How about twenty years or the life of the author, which ever is greater? The Mickey Mouse bill really was outrageous. DRM is outrageous.

Forth, I believe in fair use for both patents and copyright (i.e. research).
The problem is that the copyright interests are attempting to force people to pay again and again for the same work. They are trying to kill all fair use.

Fifth, copyright interests are impeding innovation, not based on the merits but with abusive litigation. And many of the bigger copyright interests are campaigning to weaken inventor's rights while at the same time overreaching with their own rights. Copyright owners should be chasing infringers not crippling new technology.
I am deeply disturbed by the actions of companies like Apple and their iPod.
The truth of the matter is Apple is not a great innovator today. They did a good job of packaging others inventions and of marketing, but they really did nothing to advance the collective arts.

I also do not understand why anyone would by music which is locked in a propriety format. I sure will not. When I pay for a product I do not expect to be forced to watch commercials as is the case with DVD.
I do not mind paying for rights, but I will only do so once for any given work. I will not purchase products which unreasonably restrict my ability to use those products. I will not purchase software with copy protection.
I have a right to make backups and if I cannot backup one product I look for an alternative. I will not pay for subscription software unless there is valuable and constantly updated data which merits ongoing payments.

Ronald J Riley , Exec. Dir. Ronald J Riley, President InventorEd, Inc. Professional Inventors Alliance

San Jose, a sunny place to live

If you plan to move or to buy a home in San Jose I think you are a lucky person.
I was there many years ago and what I liked best was its wonderful weather.
It never rains in California...well, it isn't 100% true, but close to it...

And if you come from a place like the North of Italy, you certainly appreciate it a lot.
No freezy Winters or chilly Springs, cold Autumns or the hottest Summers...
If the weather is not the issue you can be sure to have many other reasons to live there.
San Jose is the gateway to Northern California! It's a clean, safe, family-friendly city with world-class amenities. It has great golf courses, one-of-a-kind museums and is a short drive to wineries, the beaches of Santa Cruz, the Monterey Peninsula, Napa Valley and San Francisco.
The region houses many large technology companies such as Adobe Systems, Cisco and eBay. Also, South San Jose is home to the IBM Almaden Research Center. This provides many employment opportunities for home owners and contributes to the large middle to upper-class professional population that invests in South San Jose real estate.

If you are searching for South San Jose Homes & Property it pays to make a visit to Realty Direct.
There you have the whole list and links to Real Estate in South San Jose, besides any useful information you might look for, like a detailed description of recreational opportunities, educational, historical and cultural attractions.

This is a sponsored post, please read disclosure policy.

Is Google evil?

News: Internet privacy? Google already knows more about you than the National Security Agency ever will. And don’t assume for a minute it can keep a secret. YouTube fans--and everybody else--beware.

Google Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the two former Stanford geeks who founded the company that has become synonymous with Internet searching, and you’ll find more than a million entries each. But amid the inevitable dump of press clippings, corporate bios, and conference appearances, there’s very little about Page’s and Brin’s personal lives; it’s as if the pair had known all along that Google would change the way we acquire information, and had carefully insulated their lives—putting their homes under other people’s names, choosing unlisted numbers, abstaining from posting anything personal on web pages.

That obsession with privacy may explain Google’s puzzling reaction last year, when Elinor Mills, a reporter with the tech news service cnet, ran a search on Google ceo Eric Schmidt and published the results: Schmidt lived with his wife in Atherton, California, was worth about $1.5 billion, had dumped about $140 million in Google shares that year, was an amateur pilot, and had been to the Burning Man festival. Google threw a fit, claimed that the information was a security threat, and announced it was blacklisting cnet’s reporters for a year. (The company eventually backed down.) It was a peculiar response, especially given that the information Mills published was far less intimate than the details easily found online on every one of us. But then, this is something of a pattern with Google: When it comes to information, it knows what’s best.

From the start, Google’s informal motto has been “Don’t Be Evil,” and the company earned cred early on by going toe-to-toe with Microsoft over desktop software and other issues. But make no mistake. Faced with doing the right thing or doing what is in its best interests, Google has almost always chosen expediency. In 2002, it removed links to an anti-Scientology site after the Church of Scientology claimed copyright infringement. Scores of website operators have complained that Google pulls ads if it discovers words on a page that it apparently has flagged, although it will not say what those words are. In September, Google handed over the records of some users of its social-networking service, Orkut, to the Brazilian government, which was investigating alleged racist, homophobic, and pornographic content.

Google’s stated mission may be to provide “unbiased, accurate, and free access to information,” but that didn’t stop it from censoring its Chinese search engine to gain access to a lucrative market (prompting Bill Gates to crack that perhaps the motto should be “Do Less Evil”). Now that the company is publicly traded, it has a legal responsibility to its shareholders and bottom line that overrides any higher calling.

So the question is not whether Google will always do the right thing— it hasn’t, and it won’t. It’s whether Google, with its insatiable thirst for your personal data, has become the greatest threat to privacy ever known, a vast informational honey pot that attracts hackers, crackers, online thieves, and—perhaps most worrisome of all— a government intent on finding convenient ways to spy on its own citizenry.


This policy is valid from 11 March 2008

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content.

The owner(s) of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The history of the gas station

The history of the gas station
By Ira Rosofsky

In 1900, there were 20 million horses and only 4,000 cars in the United States. Where there are gas stations today, stables and blacksmith shops stood.
In its early days, the oil industry existed to manufacture kerosene, a fuel for lamps. Gasoline was a waste by-product of this process -something usually thrown away.
Early motorists, looking for this abundant waste product, went to their local general store or kerosene refinery and filled up a bucket from a barrel of gasoline. This practice was not exactly convenient or safe.
The need for cheap and plentiful gasoline grew as the need for kerosene fell with the rise of electric lighting. In 1905, about 25,000 cars were manufactured in the United States, and Sylvanus F. Bowser perfected a pump that would take gas out of a barrel and fill a car's tank. The world's first "filling stations" started opening that same year.
Typically, a general store would place a pump out front on the sidewalk.
Soon, cars were snaking up and down Main Street, blocking the movement of pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages.
This problem grew much worse by 1910, when there were 500,000 cars looking for gas and blocking traffic while doing it.
A new type of filling station began to appear - the drive-in. Sometimes covered by a canvas awning, the pump would be located on a lot off the street, and maybe the pump would even stand next to a store that sold auto supplies and food - a business similar to the gas station we know today.
Around the same time, the government broke up Standard oil, which controlled most of the oil in the United States, into a number of smaller companies.
Suddenly, many new companies were competing for customers. Gas was cheap and plentiful. How did a new company get motorist to buy its gas rather than a competitor's?
In 1914, Standard Oil of California developed a standard design for its 34 gas stations. The company also put their employees in uniforms, provided free air for tires, and gave away road maps. When you drove into a Standard Oil station, you might have a whole team pumping your gas, checking your oil and tires, and cleaning your windshield.
Oil companies competed by seeing who could provide the most free services.
Architect Robert Venturi has called the gas station one of the world's first examples of a "decorated shed." A decorated shed is the opposite of a building designed to look beautiful, such as a cathedral. It is a building with this main architectural purpose: to be a backdrop for a sign that advertises what is sold inside. On any commercial strip, signs are what first catch the eye, not usually the design of the buildings.
From signs and slogans, motorists knew then as they know now that they could find something reliably comfortable and familiar no matter how far from home they traveled. Just as many people are "lovin' it" at any McDonald's of today, you could "trust your car to the man who wears the star" at any Texaco gas station in the 1930s.
The basic gas station design has remained the same over time: a big sign over a shed containing auto supplies and snacks; a pump with an awning; and bays for service.
However, not all stations were completely standardized. Just as distinctively different food stands exist, distinctively different gas stations were built.
They were usually not part of a chain and relied on looking different to attract attention. Some of these buildings are what Venturi called "ducks" - buildings designed to look like what they are selling. The name came from a business shaped like a duck that sold ducklings on Long Island, New York.
In Maryville, Missouri, motorists could fill up at a gas station shaped like a gas pump. In Winston-Salem, North Carolina, you can see a preserved Shell Oil gas station in the shape of a shell. Other stations, while not quite "ducks," were still unusual. Many East Coast gas stations looked like lighthouses. Other gas stations were designed in the shape of teepees or windmills. These remarkable shapes were attempts to draw attention while competing with the overly familiar national chains.
Unusual designs became less common as the large oil chains came to dominate the sale of gas, much as national department store chains have put local general stores out of business.
However, old gas stations are not forgotten. Many enthusiastic people are devoted to the hobby of pctroliana. They collect old gasoline signs, oilcans, even old gas pumps. Many of them dream of restoring old gas stations in much the same way as a group restored the shell-shaped Shell station in Winston-Salem.
In comparison, the corporate gas station has remained purely practical.
Perhaps the greatest change in the gas station experience started in the 1970s, when gas started becoming scarcer and more expensive. The oil companies realized that it was expensive to provide free maps, free windshield washings, and free air for your tires. Now they will be happy to sell you a road map, let you wash your own windshield, and charge you a quarter to put air in your tires.
And you have to pump your own gas.
It is expensive to pay for a squad of people to fuss over your car.
Today, one clerk takes your money while you do all the work.
Is this convenience worth the loss of the fun of getting gassed up at a lighthouse?

Gold War

Gold Expected to Dominate the Investment Horizon, Experts Advise Early Stock Purchases (Reno, NV – March 5, 2007)

Traditionally, gold has had an inverse relationship with the stock market. When stocks go up, the price of gold usually falls; when stocks flounder, the price of gold usually skyrockets.
Some experts believe it could mean a lot for investors in 2007, because gold is once again catching the eye of the investor. For General Metals Corporation
, the news couldn’t come at a better time.
“With our plans to begin drilling at Independence Mine, we’re more than thrilled to hear gold is making a comeback,” states company CEO Stephen Parent. “We’re even more excited with our location; it’s a proven producer.”
General Metals acquired the Independence Mine in northern Nevada and became a public company last year, trading under the symbol GNLM.
Predominantly a silver mine from 1938 to 1987, the Independence Mine is estimated to contain over two million ounces of gold, as well as over two million ounces of additional un-mined silver.
As the Independence Mine is essentially an island within Newmont Mining’s Phoenix Mine, the area is already a proven producer.
According to Parent, they plan to remove the precious metals in two phases. “Phase one includes our ‘shallow’ targets,” says Parent.
“The shallow targets contain less gold, but they’re easily and quickly accessible, which will encourage early cash flow.
Phase two is where the majority of our gold will come from. It’s deep mining, but we expect it to produce 1.4 to 2 million ounces of gold.”
They expect to produce 20,000 ounces of gold in the first year, 60,000 ounces in the second year and 70,000 ounces in the third year -- approximately $101 million from early estimates.
The company also anticipates an additional $1.36 billion to be gained from phase two production. In an effort to increase their mining production, General Metals has recently acquired the Nyinahin Mining Concession in Ghana.
Located in one of the most active exploratory areas in the world, this concession shares borders with several major mining companies, including Newmont Mining, Napoli Gold and Dunkwa Continental Goldfields. “Financial experts are predicting gold to play a key role in investor’s profiles during 2007,” adds Parent.
“But due to the timely nature, potential investors will need to act quickly in order to maximize their gains.”

"One concrete change in the U.S. financial system was the most telling. Way back in March 1971, four months before Nixon closed the Gold window, the "permanent" U.S. debt ceiling had been frozen at $US 400 Billion. By late 1982, U.S. funded debt had tripled to about $US 1.25 TRILLION. But the "permanent" debt ceiling still stood at $US 400 Billion. All the debt ceiling rises since 1971 had been officially designated as "temporary(!?)". In late 1982, realizing that this charade could not be continued, The U.S. Treasury eliminated the "difference" between the "temporary" and the "permanent" debt ceiling.

The way was cleared for the subsequent explosion in U.S. debt. With the U.S. being the world's "reserve currency", the way was in fact cleared for a debt explosion right around the world. It was also cleared for three of the biggest bull markets in history."
"Governments learned in the 1960s and 1970s that it was impossible to meet an increased demand for Gold with physical Gold. They needed a paper substitute. Gold "derivatives" provided that substitute. With more tradable alternatives to physical Gold, it became far easier to control the Gold price. But on top of the derivatives themselves, other specific mechanisms were developed to help control the price of Gold."
The gold rushes and the abandonment of gold-as-money under the modern welfare/warfare state shows how governments, fearing the affinity of free people for gold, fight it, thereby helping to destroy whole countries along with the gold mining industry.
Only a gold standard can return an ailing world economy to its full potential, reduce unemployment, help restore law and order, and help to secure peace and freedom for mankind.

This is a sponsored post, please read disclosure policy.

Customer value

March 08, 2007

What's the value of a customer who doesn't pay you anything? If you're running a hot dog stand, the answer is probably "zero." But if you're running a two-sided market - a market, like eBay or or AdWords or YouTube or Digg or even Second Life, that needs to attract both buyers and sellers (or content generators and content consumers) - the answer may be "a lot." EBay, for instance, earns most of its money from its sellers, who pay the company a fee whenever they sell something through the auction site. The buyers don't have to pay when they make their purchases. But while eBay receives no direct revenue from the buyers, the buyers nevertheless represent a crucial set of customers for the company - without buyers, there'd be no sellers and hence no business.

Nicholas G. Carr

You can call it also Page Rank, or Search engine placement or in any other way.
At the end your website or blog is worth for the number of readers or users.
Just like TV.
Audience makes the price.
And I say the price, because what's worth today is JUST the price, not the VALUE.

About Drugs and what to do

I belong to the "Flower generation".
I lived it marginally, but I did.
It all began in the sixties.
Before, in the previous century they mostly consumed opium and sporadically, since it was expensive and most people had no money to eat, least to "enjoy drugs".
It all began as a trasgressive fashion that went with long hair, short skirts and "grass".
From grass they passed to LSD and Heroin.
From a trasgressive movement it became a progressive and soon a destructive one.
The "flower generation" has become the "adult generation" from trasgressive most of us has become conservative, but drugs still find lovers and adepts.
I never tried it, but read and studied enough to understand that once you fall, it is hard to come back.
1-800 is a non-profit that takes phone calls (toll free) from people seeking drug rehab.
They are a service designed to help drug addicts, alcoholics, chronic relapse victims, and their families find effective drug rehab treatment and intervention for alcoholism and drug addiction of the highest quality at no cost.
There are thousands of drug rehabilitation and alcohol rehabilitation organizations in this country at the moment, and knowing which one to send your loved one to is a daunting task.
This is a sponsored post, please read disclosure policy.