Thursday, December 24, 2009

The 2009 Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival 3rd Edition

Welcome to the Third Edition of The 2009 Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival. Thank you for joining us and we hope that you'll find some Holiday Spirit. This is the last edition for 2009 and for those of you that are still looking for the perfect gifts or just some things to do for the holidays, there are several good articles for you this issue. We plan to run the blog carnival again next year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so be sure to check back. We've seen some really nice entries this year and look forward to next year's submissions, where we'll again hope to share with you all stories about how different people celebrate this time of year, family traditions, gift ideas. The Holiday Spirit is not intended to focus only on Christmas, in fact we'd love to to hear how other faiths celebrate holidays that are meaningful to them that occur this time of year. Iit would be great if we can use this time of year to bring people closer together.

Another Somebody presents best online holiday shopping posted at Another Somebody.

Christie Lohr presents Holiday Hotness posted at Christie Lohr.

Joanne presents Cheap Ideas For Christmas Gifts posted at Cheap Ideas For Christmas Gifts.

Peak Personal Finance presents Tips for Better Holiday Shopping posted at Peak Personal Finance.

Eric Gargiulo presents Holidays Gifts and Ideas for Women posted at, saying, "So, I’ve been researching “Holiday gifts for your girlfriend” just to see if my boyfriend is able to find good options for my holiday gift, which is a little selfish, but I want a good gift! And I have to say that a few of the options are fairly decent, and even I would be satisfied with nice jewelry (who wouldn’t) or a cheesy picture frame with a picture of us! There were however, many gifts that I did not think were suitable for the holidays! Holidays are supposed to be fun and although pretty lingerie could be a lot of fun, this isn’t really a gift for your girlfriend….is it fellas?? On a similar note, cooking ware is a household appliance and it’s more of a necessity than a fun holiday gift, so steer clear of kitchen appliances!"

Eric Gargiulo presents Holiday Gift Ideas For Men By A Man posted at, saying, "My girlfriend recently started looking at blogs about holiday shopping ideas for men and I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Most of these blogs are written by women who have no clue what men really want as a holiday gift. This inspired me to put some shopping ideas together for men by men."

mmresources presents Free Christmas Postcards posted at Oharas Postcard Junction, saying, "Christmas cards are a great way to spread the holiday cheer. A cost efficient alternative is chistmas postcards, we put together a few free christmas postcards for download."

Silicon Valley Blogger presents Online Shopping Tips To Help You Shop Safely posted at The Digerati Life.

Vera Lang presents How to Knit Christmas Tree Ornaments posted at Fine Craft Guild .com, saying, "These ornaments are both fun to make and fun to give. And, cost (next to) nothing. Classified as super easy, they make a good holiday activity to do with kids. Free patterns and tips to make them successfully provided. Super cute ~ check these out."

Kara Thurmond presents Food as Gifts posted at An Hour In the Kitchen, saying, "I’ve been making gifts for years. Not only do I get to satisfy my ever-present desire to be making something, I also get to avoid the holiday shopping crowds and hopefully create something my friends and family will enjoy."

Kimberly Clay presents Antique Christmas Gifts – Top 3 Antique Christmas Gift Ideas posted at Central Kentucky Antiques and Collectibles.

Silicon Valley Blogger presents Ebates Review: Online Rewards, Double Cash Back When You Shop! posted at The Digerati Life, saying, "where to get gifts at cheaper price."

Peak Personal Finance presents Saving Money on Holiday Gifts posted at Peak Personal Finance, saying, "Every extra dollar counts these days!"

Allan Inocente presents 7 Ways to Celebrate Christmas Without Breaking Your Piggy Bank posted at Rich Money Habits, saying, "Christmas is just around the corner. With all the 13th and 14th month pays being given just before the month of December, everyone enjoys his own “extra” jolt of cash. Suddenly, people have money to spend. Protect your money from unnecessary spending. Discover 7 Ways to Celebrate Christmas Without Breaking Your Piggy Bank!" presents Drinking App posted at Trimega Laboratories Blog, saying, "The NHS has launched a new phone app to help the health-conscious more accurately calculate the amount of alcohol they are consuming over the festive season"

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past and future editions can be found on our
blog carnival index page. I hope that you've enjoyed this edition and we look forward to your next visit. Feel free to submit an article, give us your comments, and spread the Holiday Spirit to others. Please check out the other Blog Carnivals that we run here in addition to the other articles.

Here are some Holiday Spirit articles from us that you might like...

Photo Credit: Some area trees naturally decorated at Christmas at Christmas 2007.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

The 2009 Holiday Spirt Blog Carnival 2nd Edition

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Welcome to the Second Edition of The 2009 Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival. I've enjoyed this time of year for as long as I can remember. First there was all the excitement of the kid wondering what he'd get for Christmas and how much fun you could have in this time of year. Later on this time of year become more about connecting with family and friends and letting them know how much they meant to me. After becoming a parent there was of coursed the excitement of seeing the holidays through their eyes and getting all excited again. Over the course of The Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival, I hope that you'll join me in getting excited and spreading some holiday cheer. I plan to do one more edition before Christmas so I hope to share with you all stories about how different people celebrate this time of year, family traditions, gift ideas. Last year when I chose the title for the blog carnival, I purposely choose Holiday Spirit because I didn't want to only focus on Christmas, and in fact I'd love to see some submissions on how other faiths celebrate holidays that are meaningful to them that occur this time of year. I'd love to hear how Jewish and Muslim people celebrate their holidays, it would be great if we can use this time of year to bring people closer together.

Billeater presents Save Money This Holiday Shopping Season posted at Billeater.

The Smarter Wallet presents Hot Holiday Gift Ideas For The Shopping Season posted at The Smarter Wallet.

Grazyna presents Decorating Your Kitchen for Christmas posted at Christmas Ideas.

Jen from windy ridge presents Christmas Day posted at The Chronicles Of Windy Ridge, saying, "Christmas at Windy Ridge"

Ella Moss presents 2 MORE LIGHTS « Zodiac Times posted at Zodiac Times. A little soul-searching at Christmas

Silicon Valley Blogger presents A Collection of Money Tips For The Holidays posted at The Digerati Life.

Carm presents Xmas Party Games posted at Party Supply News, saying, "Holiday party's are great fun. Try out this quick thinking holiday party game."

Kristen Ellis presents Holiday Planning Made Easy For the Unorganized posted at Frugality In the Making.

Alex presents Christmas Cards Designs posted at Home Life Weekly, saying, "I have put together a great selection of Christmas Card designs they are really easy to make all you need to do is download the free Christmas Card design of you choice then print and fold."

Kerry Fletcher presents How to Decorate Your Christmas Tree Like a Professional Designer posted at Interior Design Info.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past and future editions can be found on our
blog carnival index page. I hope that you've enjoyed this edition and we look forward to your next visit. Feel free to submit an article, give us your comments, and spread the Holiday Spirit to others.

Photo Credit: A Christmas picture drawn by my daughter Sarah. It is posted at Flickr.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

What Is Social Media?

Social Media

Have you ever wondered what Social Media was or how you might be able to explain it to someone that didn't already have any knowledge of the subject or perhaps someone that had only heard some of the buzz words? Since a picture is worth a thousand words and can be so much better in getting our point across, I created the mind map above to try to make things clearer.

What Does Social Media Mean to You?

When explaining social media to someone it is good to get an idea of where they're coming from and what it means to them. Maybe they have a good idea of what it is already and only need to have some minor things explained or maybe you need to start a square one.

The Old Media And The New Media

Have you ever bought or read a newspaper, watched television, listened to the radio, or read a book or magazine article? These are all what could be considered "the Old Media". Newspapers are going out of business at an alarming rate, and there are lots of reports that suggest that more and more people are getting their news from the internet. This is where social media comes in. Almost anything that you want to "sell" or communicate is already being done on the internet via social media. The New Media makes use of many social media tools and will hopefully become a little clearer after reading this article and looking at the picture above. Social Media allows you get your message out in ways not even imagined even five years ago. I created the mind map based on an article that I saw in wikipedia on social media, so my structure started from there and I branched out a little. I used FreeMind to create the mind map. The mind map does not include every facet or tool available because there are many but it does give you a good picture of social media. I put a cloud around things that I use or are more famaliar to myself and possibly others. These are also areas where people might wish to start when there are lots of other options in any one area.


Communication is at the core of social media and all media for that matter. In the mind map it is one of the branches that includes:

  • Blogs- A blog (a contraction of the term "web log") is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. (according to Wikipedia). You're in fact looking at a blog now. For the mind map this is referring to various blogging platforms like Blogger, LiveJournal, Open Diary, WordPress, Vox, ExpressionalEngine.

  • Micro blogging- This is a smaller version of a blog that is easy to do and maintain. While Twitter is probably the most recognizable member of this category, it also includes: Plurk, Tumblr(I use this to share links and other things from my blogs), Jaiku, and fmylife.
  • Social Networking- There is a good chance that you're already using one or more of these sites that include: Bebo, Big Tent, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Orkutt, Skyrock, Hi5, Ning, Elgg, and Drupal.
  • Social Network aggregation- These are sites that aggregate or consolidate your various social network activities into one location. FriendFeed and NutshellMail are two examples.
  • Events- These allow you to promote and share events with others and include: Upcoming, Eventful, and
  • Social Networking Tools- These are tools that can be used to update one or more of your social networks and they all allow you to update Twitter (which as been listed under Micro blogging). Ping allows you to update several sites without having to log into each one individually. TweetDeck is an Adobe Air based tool that allows you to do all sorts of things with Twitter and is quite amazing. HootSuite is very powerful because you can use it to do a lot of things in Twitter but you can integrate it with Ping so that you can update several sites at once and you can schedule when your updates appear.


Multimedia is probably as you'd imagine it and includes:

  • Photo sharing- Flickr, Zoomer, Photobucket, SmugMug, and Picasa.
  • Video sharing- YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo, and sevenload.
  • Livecasting- These allow you to broadcast an event live over the internet and include:,, Stickam, and Skype
  • Audio and Music Sharing- imeem, The Hype Machine,, ccMixter, and


Collaboration allows you to work with other people and includes:

  • Wikis- According to Wikipedia a wiki is a website that allows the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor; are typically powered by wiki software and are often used to create collaborative websites, to power community websites, used in corporate intranets, and in knowledge management systems. Wikipedia is by far the best recognized within this category but it also includes PBwiki, and wetpaint

  • Social bookmarking- Is a method for Internet users to share, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web resources. Unlike file sharing, the resources themselves aren't shared, merely bookmarks that reference them (according to Wikipedia). Some sites include: Delicious, StumbleUpon, and Google Reader.

  • Social news- Refers to websites where users submit and vote on news stories or other links, thus determining which links are presented (according to Wikipedia). Digg is probably the most recognisable of this type of site but it also includes: Mixx, Reddit, and Now Public. When an article or link reaches the front page of Digg, there is the potential for a lot of web traffic to it, something most people putting content on the web want.

  • Opinion sites- inludes: epinions, and Yelp.

Reviews and Opinions

Reviews and Opinions focus on reviews, opinions, and getting answers to questions that you might have and include:

  • Product Reviews- Includes: epinions and
  • Business Review- is an example.
  • Community Q&A- These sites allow users to submit questions and get other uses to answer them. Yahoo! Answers, WikiAnswers, AskVille, Google Answers are examples.


Other here is referring only to...

  • Information aggregators- These are typically sites that collect information from a variety of sites and sources and include NetVibes and Twine (website).

RSS Feeds

RSS (Really Simple Syndication)- is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format
(according to Wikipedia). This allows publishers to easily notify subscribers when there is new content or something has been updated or changed and it allows people to easily follow their favorite blogs and websites without have to check all the time if there is anything new or updated. RSS Readers allow collect the "feeds" from the sites and blogs you've subscribed to and include: Google Reader, NewsGator, FeedDemon, NetVibes, Sage (Firefox extension), and Bloglines. RSS Publishers allow websites and blogs to "publish" when there is new content or something has changed, one of the most widely used RSS Publishers is FeedBurner.


Entertainment includes:

  • Media & Entertainment Platforms- Cisco Eos.
  • Virtual Worlds- According to Wikipedia a virtual world is a computer-based simulated environment intended for its users to inhabit and interact via avatars. These avatars are usually depicted as textual, two-dimensional, or three-dimensional graphical representations. You might have heard of Second Life, The Sims Online, or Forterra.

  • Game Sharing- sites allow multiple users to play each other in various games are becoming more and more popular all the time. Miniclip and Kongregate are a couple of game sharing sites.


Podcasts is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and downloaded through web syndication (according to Wikipedia). There are a thousands (if not millions) of different podcasts about a variety of subjects. More and more companies and people are seeing podcasts as a way of marketing themselves. In my mind map I broke podcasts down to:

  • Search- These sites allow you to search for podcasts and include: Podcast Alley and iTunes.
  • Subscribe- Allows users to download new podcasts that they're subscribed to. One of the more famous is iTunes.

Social Media is at its heart, social and provides a variety of channels in which you can communicate ("sell" and "market") your product, service, or idea. Unlike the "Old Media", you have a lot of possibilities of doing it yourself and aren't dependent upon the old networks to distribute your message. You have a message that you wish to get out and you want to find an audience that wants to "hear" your message, with Social Media you can find these people and they can find you, and better still is that it happens 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Social Media allows communication and conversations that never existed with the Old Media and people that receive your message can let you know what they think about it, maybe how you can improve it or what they like about it. Reaching an audience with Social Media is way easier than via the Old Media and getting your message out is a lot less costly to do than via the Old Media and you have a better chance of reaching your target audience. Because everyone has some sort of message that they wish to get out (regardless of if they realize it or not yet) the people making use of it and those that become active in the field will only grow. I've embedded a video put together by Common Craft that gives an even higher level simple view of Social Media below and I've written (and will continue to write) about several social media topics at this blog, so why not subscribe in your rss reader of choice or via email.

Social Media In Plain English

Other Articles that you might be interested in...

Credits: Social Media mind map created by myself. The Social Media in Plain English video is part of a series of video tutorials that make complex subjects easier to understand visit the Common Craft YouTube channel to see other In Plain English videos or visit their website.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival 2009- 1st Edition

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Welcome to the First Edition of The Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival. I've enjoyed this time of year for as long as I can remember. First there was all the excitement of the kid wondering what he'd get for Christmas and how much fun you could have in this time of year. Later on this time of year become more about connecting with family and friends and letting them know how much they meant to me. After becoming a parent there was of coursed the excitement of seeing the holidays through their eyes and getting all excited again. Over the course of The Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival, I hope that you'll join me in getting excited and spreading some holiday cheer. In the coming issues (between now and shortly before Christmas) I hope to share with you all stories about how different people celebrate this time of year, family traditions, gift ideas. Last year when I chose the title for the blog carnival, I purposely choose Holiday Spirit because I didn't want to only focus on Christmas, and in fact I'd love to see some submissions on how other faiths celebrate holidays that are meaningful to them that occur this time of year. I'd love to hear how Jewish and Muslim people celebrate their holidays, it would be great if we can use this time of year to bring people closer together.

The Smarter Wallet presents Best Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season posted at The Smarter Wallet.

Carlos Sera presents A Coffee Tale posted at Financial Tales, saying, "In December of 2006 my two oldest children came home from college for their winter break. My son, Carl, was a senior and my daughter, Veronica, was a sophomore. For those parents out there that don’t know this yet, college-age children are not early-risers."

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Ms. Legal Person Answers Your Holiday Questions posted at Mad Kane's Humor Blog, saying, "holiday humor" presents 10 Steps to Avoid Christmas Credit Card Debt posted at SpendOnLife.

Matthew Paulson presents Consumer Confusion Spikes Over Gift Cards posted at American Consumer News.

Wise_Bread presents Start Stockpiling Now: Four Cheap Christmas Gifts to Make posted at Wisebread.

Carole DeJarnatt presents Gifts for the Backyard Chicken Keeper or Birding Lover in Your Family posted at Fowl Visions.

Kevin Poulis presents – An Old Time Favorite Treat | posted at

Kerry Fletcher presents Favorite interior design gifts posted at Examiner.

Andrea Jackson presents A Good Christmas gift for a girlfriend posted at BestGiftBasketsForMen, saying, "A workable answer to a tricky question. What's a good Christmas gift for a girlfriend?"

Byteful Travel presents New Widescreen Wallpaper - Snowy Sight Indigo posted at Byteful Blog, saying, "I've released a new Snowy Sight wallpaper to help get you into the holiday spirit."

NAOMI presents Diary From England: MERRY XMAS! (WAR IS OVER) posted at Diary From England.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past and future editions can be found on our
blog carnival index page. I hope that you've enjoyed this edition and we look forward to your next visit. Feel free to submit an article, give us your comments, and spread the Holiday Spirit to others.

Photo Credit: A Christmas picture drawn by my daughter Anna. It is posted at Flickr.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

November Editon of The Family Life Blog Carnival

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Welcome to the November 2009 edition of the Family Life Blog Carnival. While many people in the U.S. will be thinking about turkey (and various other traditional Thanksgiving dinner items) and football, there is now doubt that being with family, extended family, and friends plays a big part in the festivities. Now matter how hard times may be for some of us, we can be grateful for the family and friends that we have. I've always liked Thanksgiving because I've thought of it as a time when we can be grateful for the many blessings that we've all have. It is a uniting holiday as well, because people will be dinning at dinner tables all over America with people of all sort of denominations, with atheists, with agnostics, and our differences don't really matter so much today, its almost as if they don't exist. People travel from far and wide to be with people they care about. While the American version of Thanksgiving is held on the forth Thursday of every November, other countries have their own version of Thanksgiving, held at various times throughout the year and it is nice to think that this is something else that can unite us all, a time that we can all give thanks for the blessings we've received.

The Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival will be starting shortly. I plan to run it every other week from around Thanksgiving through right before Christmas. With the idea being to put us all in that "Holiday Spirit" During this time the other blog carnivals run here (The Better Life Carnival, The Carnival of Productivity And GTD, and The Family Life Blog Carnival) will take their Winter Break, appearing again in 2010. This is the last "normal", non-Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival, that I plan to run in 2009. Thank you to everyone that has submitted articles for all of the blog carnivals! I hope that you'll continue to submit articles, read my blog carnivals (others as they meet your interests) as well as continue reading my blog posts. You can also subscribe via email or by RSS Feed so that you don't miss a blog carnival or any of the other posts. If you have ideas for topics or subjects that you'd like to see in future editions feel free to post them in the comments section at the end of this post. If you have any other comments, feel free to leave them as well. You can submit your blog article(s) to the next edition of the Family Life Blog Carnival using our carnival submission form. Links to past posts and the dates of future scheduled editions can be found on our blog carnival index page. You can also check out The Better Life Carnival and The Carnival of Productivity And GTD (also appearing at this blog) and look for the HolidaySpirit Blog Carnival (coming soon). Without further adieu, here is the November Edition of the Family Life Blog Carnival....

Keith Tusing presents Top Ten Fun & Free (or almost free) Things to Do This Weekend posted at CM Buzz.

Billeater presents Tips for Trimming Your Grocery bill up to 50% posted at Billeater.

Mommy's Life presents Fun Alphabet Learning posted at Mommy's Life.

KidsYogaOnline presents Animal yoga for kids: the hiss of the serpent posted at Kids Yoga Online, saying, "Get slithery with kids yoga when you slide into the cobra yoga pose. As one of the most animated kids yoga exercises, the cobra posture brings flexibility to your spine and strength to your back. Best of all, you get to hisss, just like a real snake!"

Sonja Stewart presents Life with Lots of Kids posted at Parenting Squad.

Leah Aharoni presents Mothers' Guilt posted at Ingathered.

Debt Kid presents Following up on Zero-Based Budgeting posted at Debt Kid.

ReliableWriters presents 4 Of the Most Common Personal Finance Mistakes posted at Deposit Accounts.

Wise_Bread presents Recession Journal VI: It's OVER!!!!!!!!!!!! Any Questions? posted at Wisebread.

I hope that you've enjoyed this edition the Family Life Blog Carnival. Stay tuned for future blog carnival editions as well as the other regular posts found here. You can submit your blog article(s) to the next edition of the Family Life Blog Carnival using our carnival submission form. Links to past posts and the dates of future scheduled editions can be found on our blog carnival index page. starts. Don't forget about the other blog carnivals run here (The Better Life Carnival, The Carnival of Productivity And GTD, and coming soon the 2009 HolidaySpirit Blog Carnival, as well as the normal articles appearing here and my other blog. I hope that you have a great Thanksgiving.

Other Articles of Interest...

Thanksgiving Review- Why not take sometime to review where you are with your life, similar to the Weekly Review in GTD, but with the higher altitude view on things.

Picture credit: Thanksgiving turkey, white background courtesy of davidlat.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

3 Good Twitter Tools

I don't know about you but sometimes it is hard to manage everything in the Twitter universe (Twitterverse as some refer to it) that is why I'm happy to have discovered three tools that you can use to keep things in order.

Twitter Lists

If you're using Twitter, I'm sure that you've heard about Twitter lists already, if not you should definitely use them. Here is a good video that gives a high-level overview of Twitter Lists...

Twitter Lists In A Nutshell

Facebook has had a listing function that you can apply to your friends for a while, so it is great to see Twitter put this into production. This can come in real handy to group people by whatever keyword you might wish to assign to them. It is also a good way to be able to quickly see if anybody on that list has tweeted something that you might be looking for and it provides you with a quicker way of finding things from people that you follow.

Another great thing about lists is that you can see the "public" lists of other tweeters that you follow. This can give you a peak into why people are followed. If you're following someone you can see the lists that they've created, so if there are key words in their lists that you're interested in, you might want to follow the people on their list or the list itself. This is another great way to meet people with similar interests to yourself or to meet people knowledgeable about topics you wish to learn more about. Further more you can look at the lists containing various tweeters and see other possible connections and people that you might want to follow based on the key words of the lists that they're in. You can also create "private" lists, if you don't want the world to see tweeters on a special list of yours.

Lists are also another way for people to market themselves on Twitter. If you get a reputation as in expert on a certain topic than people will be interested to see who is in your list for that topic.


Listorious is a site dedicated to Twitter lists. They have all kinds of interesting lists from Twitter that you can check out. If you're into sports you might want to find out what players are twitting from the NFL or the NBA. If there is a celebrity that you're a fan of and would like to follow, you're likely to find them in some list here. In the technology and worlds of social media there are various lists from Pete Cashmore and Robert Scoble to be found here. There are also lists about charities, nonprofits, and a whole host of everything under the sun. This site can help you add a little more fun and focus to your twitter experience. And of course you can follow Listorious on Twitter too.

Friend or Follow

Friend or Follow is really handy for getting an overview of who you're following on Twitter that isn't following you, as well as who is following you that you're not following, and those that you follow that also follow you. I've read all kinds of articles about people's strategy on who they will or won't follow, and because there are so many people on twitter you'll eventually want to come up with some kind of strategy for how you handle the who you follow topic. Personally, I don't wish to follow spammers and people that are overly obscene or offensive. I will sometimes follow people that have different and even opposite beliefs to my own because you never know when you might learn something and I know that I don't own the market on anything, so it is good to be open. There are various programs out there that will auto-follow people that are following you, theoretically cutting down on your administration in Twitter, but I don't do this because I've seen spammers, would be 'porn stars', and other people that I would just assume not follow. Because I don't always follow people right back, I find that there are a lot of people that will follow me and drop me before I've had a chance to see if I want to follow them or not. Then there are those that follow you, wait for you to follow them and then they drop you, so it can come in handy to see who is all three of your groups on twitter.

With Friend or Follow you can get a csv file of...
  • People that you follow that don't follow you back
  • People that follow you that you don't follow back
  • People that follow you that follow you back
This can give you a snapshot that you can use to compare where you were when you took the snapshot to where you are at some other point in time. If you're someone trying to build a twitter following this could be very useful. With the files being in csv format, you can slice and dice like you would with any other Excel file and use them in all kinds of creative ways. If you're tweeting for business purposes and are using some kind of Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) there is probably some way that you can import/export the files for use in your software. Those of you marketers out there can probably see the potential if you think about it for a moment or so.

Well, I hope that you find all three of these tools useful. They can really help you to try to keep some kind of order in the chaos that is twitter.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The November Edition of The Better Life Blog Carnival

Welcome to the November edition of The Better Life Blog Carnival. As I prepare for The Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival, I thought that I'd publish one more edition of The Better Life Blog Carnival. This will be the last edition of this blog carnival that I will publish this year. I enjoyed publishing The Better Life Blog Carnivall over the year and look forward to seeing all the great submissions next year. This edition includes over 30 articles all to help you live a Better Life, so there is bound to be something for everyone.


Tisha Tolar presents Getting Bored With Yourself? posted at Empowering Mom.


Edan presents Park City Ski Resorts posted at Park City Condo Lodging, saying, "Find out all about Ski Resorts in beautiful Park City, Utah, site of the 2002 Winter Olympics."

Alvina Lopez presents Traveling Cheap When You’re a Student – Here’s How You Do It posted at MasterDegreeOnline.

Kristen Garcia presents Make The Most Out Of Any Vacation posted at The Happy Mother, saying, "In our current high stressed world, it is more important than ever to have a nice, relaxing vacation."

Personal Development

Cody Butler presents Personal Development Success posted at Dream Life Coaching Blog. Ask your questions., saying, "Article detailing the basic principles of personal development success."

Mike King presents The Key to Personal Development. Belief posted at Learn This.

Tiffany Colter presents
Balance, Not Deprivation
posted at Hidden Leaks, saying, "A balanced life comes not from depriving yourself financially, but finding the middle ground that allows spending AND saving on a reasonable basis. This article shows you how."

Broderick Durisseau presents Overwhelmed? posted at Broderick Allen - Personal Growth and Enjoying Life's Journey.

Relax presents Knowledge can become your enemy if you are not careful (The Curse of Knowledge) posted at The Wise Curve, saying, "Common sense tells us that knowledge brings power. But do you know that knowing too much might do you harm?"

Arin Vahanian presents Why Life is About Choice posted at Super State.

Lucky Balaraman presents How To Find Happiness, Step 1: posted at Calm and Cool.


lkodanko presents How to Still Be matter how long it's been! posted at Words On Wendhurst.

Weight Loss

Lucky Balaraman presents Get the Weight Off Your Mind in 10 Minutes a Day posted at Calm and Cool, saying, "If that title has the ring of a typical fitness course to it, there's a good reason. There are a lot of similarities between mental fitness and physical fitness. A mind burdened with useless attitudes is as unhealthy as a body blanketed with layers of fat. And wouldn't you know, just like there are guaranteed prescriptions for bodily fitness, there are indeed several foolproof prescriptions for mental fitness. It's two of those mental fitness prescriptions that I am going to touch upon now. They are uncannily similar to certain prescriptions for physical fitness. You'll see..."

Productivity And Focus

SpiKe presents The 80/20 Rule And The Importance Of Value posted at Organize IT.

Tisha Tolar presents You Must Be Able to Say No posted at Empowering Mom.

Erick Simpson presents Disconnecting - Time to Quiet the Noise and Refocus posted at Managed Services.

Sue presents Abraham Hicks Says "There Are No Wrong Choices" posted at Helping Your Entrepreneurial Spirit Create Self, Create Health and Create Wealth.

Customer Service

Ben presents Eight Ways to Beat Bad Customer Service posted at Money Smart Life.


Erika Collin presents How to Prepare for a Pandemic: 100 Tips, Tools, and Resources posted at Masters in Health Care.

Joel Gray presents Healthy Cooking for Special Diets posted at Health Tips 101.


Billeater presents
You want Tips? You Can't Handle These Tips!
posted at Billeater.


Mike Batey presents Jivamukti Yoga posted at Yoga Mad, saying, "Created by David Life and Sharon Gannon, Jivamukti yoga is a yoga style that combines physical, spiritual and philosophical aspects of traditional yoga. The Jivamukti method of yoga is one of the nine internationally recognized styles of Hatha yoga, the other eight being Ashtanga, Iyengar, Viniyoga, Sivananda, Integral, Bikram, Kripalu, and Kundalini."


Matthew Paulson presents How to Stay Relevant on the Job and Reduce Your Layoff Risk posted at American Consumer News.

Money And Finance

debt kid presents 3 Books that Changed my Financial Life Forever posted at DebtKid.

Jack Schmidt presents 7 Tools For Your Money Belt posted at SectorMatic Money Journal.

Frugal Living

MoneyNing presents Inheriting Generations of Frugal Living posted at Money Ning saying, "Think ahead and do something for your future generations. Start saving."

MoneyNing presents How to Deal with Frugal Advice posted at Money Ning saying, "Don't just skip the article if you think it doesn't apply to you as it might be useful later on in life."

Homemaker Barbi (Danelle Ice) presents Are Frugal Sacrifices Worthwhile? posted at saying, "Are Frugal Sacrifices Worthwhile? It is important to look at your large goals and make sure that the way you live now is helping you to get your money to be meaningful for you."

Andrew Cowan presents Moving to a smaller apartment - Personal development - frugal living posted at Andrew Cowan, saying, "I recently moved to a smaller apartment which has been beneficial in more ways than just the financial. That said, I am "making" $300/month from my decision to downgrade my apartment. Money in the bank!"


Jack Schmidt presents 10 Ways to Fuel Your Own Economy posted at SectorMatic Money Journal, saying, "SectorMatic Money Journal: Personal Finance - Everything for the Big Spender on a Budget. Now you can live like a fat cat, even if you're on a money diet. Laugh all the way to the bank with Jack Schmidt and SectorMatic. It's for you!"

Sonja Stewart presents The Casserole Club Makes a Comeback! posted at Parenting Squad.

That concludes the November edition of The Better Life Carnival. You can submit your blog article to the next edition of The Better Life Blog Carnival using our "Submit an entry to “The Better Life Carnival” carnival submission form. Past posts and future editions can be found on our "Blog Carnival index for “The Better Life Carnival”blog carnival index page. We hope that you'll stay with us through the Holidays and check out or other posts as well.

Photo Credit:
Ponta de Areia courtesy of rsocar

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bertone Beatle Bonanza


I'd like to say congratulations to Bertone Beatle Bonanza on the podcast's 5th anniversary.  A few years ago this was one of the first podcasts that I listened to and have been listening to ever since.

On Halloween the 5th Birthday show was uploaded, a real treat at over 3 hours and 19 minutes for fans of the show and Beatles fans!  Guest on this special episode include:
  • Eric Parashos- a former administrator of the "Shabby Road" message board and writer for a Beatles parody website, and occasional co-host
  • Chris O'Dell- the inspiration for the George Harrison "Miss O'Dell" song, and author of "Miss O'Dell", a former Apple (the Beatles record label) employee and Beatles friend.
  • Woody Lifton-  a former host of "Pop Goes The Beatles", organizer for the "Beatles Tribute Cruise" and administrator for "Best Beatles History"
  • Joe Johnson-  a host of "Beatles Brunch".
To eliminate any confusion upfront if you go to the podcast site you won't find five years of podcasts.  This is because the show started out as a college radio broadcast and later evolved into an early podcast.  Jousha started doing a Beatles broadcast when he was in his early twenties. He has an amazing knowledge about the Beatles, especially when you consider he wasn't even alive when the Beatles were together! 

A semi-regular segment on the show are episodes called "Wednesdays With Wings" where all the Wings songs are being played from the beginning onward. in each segment one Wings song is play before or after Joshua gives some commentary about it.  As with most of us, life happens and there have been times when there were no Wednesdays with Wings but episode 49 was recently released.  Since Paul McCartney has released the most material of any of the Beatles, I wonder how long it will take to get to his last CD?

The first episode that you can find at the site has a date of October 17, 2006 and included an interview with Pete Best (the drummer before Ringo). You might enjoy some Beatles Christmas in July in September, which includes Christmas messages that were recorded for Beatles fans over the years. The show has interviewed some interesting people so far talking to Denny Seiwell, Rod Davis (from the Quarrymen, John's band before the Beatles), May Pang (famous for "the lost weekend" with John), Laurence Juber (from Wings), Nancy Andrews (one-time fiancee of Ringo), and others.  September 9, 2009 was a big day for Beatles fans and Bertone Beatle Bonaza did three different episodes related to this special date.  On 999 Beatles remasters were released along with a Beatles version of Rock Band. 

I'm a huge Beatles fan and have really enjoyed my journey with Bertone Beatle Bonaza. If you have the time and the money you can take a cruise with Joshua and other Beatles fans in March 2010. May Pang and Nancy Andrews are both scheduled to be there. By the way Joshua did manage to dig up the first episode (which was broadcast on October 30, 2004). Congratulations to Joshua on five years of shows.  Here is hoping that the next five are just as great, if not better.

Photo Credit:  My iPod

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!


I just wanted to wish a Happy and Safe Halloween to everyone that will be trick or treating or partaking in some of the various other festivities this weekend.

If you have kids, you're probably already doing or have done some things to help them enjoy this time of year. We had a pumpkin craving party yesterday, inviting a couple of my daughters friends over along with their parents to carve up pumpkins (Jack O'Lanterns).  The kids all used markers to make their design and the grown-ups did the carving.  The kids were excited about taking out most of the pumpkin insides.  Later on we had baked pumpkin seeds made with some olive oil and a little salt (a nice tasty and easy to make snack). When the kids were off playing, the grown ups watched "Its The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown", a classic Peanuts Halloween special. 

We're taking the kids to a local American base later today so that they can "trick or treat" in more American style. We've taken the kids trick or treating (house to house as they refer to it locally) for several years now, but this will be the first time that we've gone to a base to trick or treat, so I'm excited to see how this will turn out.  I was really surprised to see how Halloween is growing in popularity in Germany.  While not all of the houses or apartments have treats for the kids, many that are decorated do.  A lot of the people do give out treats to the kids get a kick out of seeing the kids in all their cute costumes.

I hope that you'll all use a little safety and enjoy yourselves this Halloween by following the follow advise...
  • If you have concerns about some candy or other treat that your kid has received, discard it if in doubt
  • Maybe you can take the kids to a local party put on by friends or some other publicly organized party or trick or treating, to avoid taking bad or unsafe treats.  This can also add a little more fun to the festivities
  • If going trick or treating be sure to dress appropriately (I remember that it often rained, sometimes snowed, but more often than not was just plain cold!)
  • Do trick or treating in groups, for your kids safety (the parents can also enjoy the company of other parents this way)
  • If throwing a party where alcohol is served, make sure that nobody drinks too much and drives home.  Designated drivers would be a good thing
  • Show some respect for people that don't like Halloween for religious reasons, you can choose costumes that aren't demeaning to other religions

I hope that everyone has a Happy and Safe Halloween.

Photo Credit:  The pumpkins that we carved up at our little party last night.  Unfortunately, my flash didn't allow me to get the whole effect with the darkness outside.  

Friday, October 23, 2009

October Edition of the Carnival of Productivity And GTD

Welcome to the October 2009 edition of The Carnival of Productivity And GTD. There have been some really great submissions since the last edition that we ran of The Carnival of Productivity And GTD. and so we're excited about sharing them with you. This is the last edition of this Blog Carnival for 2009, look for the next edition in 2010 . If you have any suggestions for topics you'd like to see covered in future editions, feel free to leave a comment. If you have a post that you'd like to submit, please do so via the submission from link. Thank you to everyone that submitted posts! Remember that by subscribing via your RSS reader or via email, that you won't miss the next blog carnival hosted here and you'll know when new material has been posted. Enjoy.


MoneyNing presents How to Get Out of a Rut and Out of a Slump posted at Money Ning, saying, "Ever in a rut? Here's how to get out."

Scientific Living presents Concentration Brings Happiness (Why People Think They Can Actually Sing) posted at Scientific Living, saying, "Why concentration brings happiness, and how to get it."

Self-Development And Goals

Yetti Chiu presents Goal Attainment posted at Michael A. Podolinsky's Success Series Blog, saying, "Goal Attainment. How to set goals you will attain?"

Carolyn Friedman presents How to Build Self Confidence posted at Hospitality Management Schools, saying, "Self confidence is something you gain naturally with success, but you must know how to build this asset even when you have seen more failure than tasted success."

Ralph Jean-Paul presents A Bugs Life: Applying the Success Principles of Ants posted at Potential 2 Success, saying, "Even though ants are responsible for so many tasks, they always seem to accomplish everything they set out to do. Because of their success principles, if ants were human, they would be the most successful group of people on the planet. Learn their productivity habits and apply them to your own life."

Steven Handel presents Criticism and Goal Achieving posted at The Emotion Machine.

Finance And Inve$ting

Silicon Valley Blogger presents Investment Tools, Software and Resources You Can Get For Free posted at The Digerati Life, saying, "Improve your investing efforts with these tools!"


Joshua Seth presents How To Self Publish Your Own Book – Day 3 | Joshua Seth posted at Joshua Seth Blog, saying, "Self publishing your book is a lot easier than it used to be. You can use dictation software to eliminate much of the actual writing, outsource the layout and design work over the internet, and use Amazon for worldwide distribution. As a result of helping my coaching clients to write and self publish their own books over at I’ve actually gotten better at this process myself. They say the teacher learns the most and I’ve found this to be true."

Suzane Smith presents Top 100 IT Industry Blogs posted at Online IT Degrees, saying, "Blogging would not even exist if it were not for IT professionals collaborating, reviewing, and outdoing each other on a constant basis. Before, it was a behind the scenes process.To get the best in information technology blogs, stop by the below top 100 IT industry blogs by companies, corporations, professionals, and those who just outright love the business."

That concludes the October edition of The Carnival of Productivity And GTD this is the last edition for 2009. You can submit your blog article to the next edition of The Carnival of Productivity And GTD in 2010, using our "Submit an entry to “The Carnival of Productivity And GTD” submission form". Links to past editions, as well as the current scheduling of future editions can be found on our The Carnival of Productivity And GTD index page. Thank you to everyone that submitted articles for this edition! If you have any topics that you'd like to see covered in a future edition, or any feedback in general, feel free to leave a comment. Be sure to stay tuned for the other two Blog Carnivals hosted here (The Better Life Carnival and The Family Life) as well as the normal articles that are posted here. Look for The Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival returning in November. Thank you.

Photo credit: Old Time courtesy of benkersey.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Systems-Overload's Second Birthday

The Systems-Overload Blog had its second birthday last month, I didn't want to let this ocassion pass by without saying a word or two.

Ok, my first post on this blog was a welcome to the blog post dated September 16th and a GTD Overview followed shortly after on September 19th, so going by either date as the birthday, it is obviously a little later. Steeling a concept from "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", life has happened this past year and it can sometimes throw the best laid plans of mice mice and men off track, if not in a totally different direction.  A lot has happened in the second year at Systems-Overload and I thought that I'd take a moment or two to talk about some it.

I was privileged enough to go to Copenhagen several times.  I did a post about Copenhagen at the DC Heron Family Blog as well as uploading several pictures to Flickr. With traveling and other things associated with work, I wasn't able to blog as often as I had planned but life often provides us experiences that we wouldn't change for anything. 

Besides going to Copenhagen, I did some other traveling this past year.  The family and I made a nice trip to the Center Prac in Erperheide. I also took my first trip to East Germany. I also suggested that readers consider using the train in their travel plans. I even had some suggestions for the Airline Industry.

The world has been through a lot in the past year with the Financial Crisis and all. America made history by electing Barack Obama, irregardless of if you like him or not, an African-American has been elected President of the U.S. and maybe in the future we can look more at the candidates than race or gender  (this is my hope anyways).  I suggested new rules for CEOs before all the news broke about all the perks and privileges some of these people are getting and all the fervor erupted.  I wrote about Us and Them and how religious differences seem to be tearing us apart instead of uniting us.

When I started the Systems-Overload Blog, one of the topics that interested me and that I wanted to write about was Social Media and Social Networking.  I asked if readers were using ping to update the social networks? I wrote an article about Twitter giving an explanation of how it works and some of the people that are using it. I became a big fan of,  I've had a lot of fun on, reached 2000 listeners, announced an 80's party and had it. I plan to write more on Social Media and Social Networks, so be sure to stay tuned (why not subscribe via email or add the blog to your RSS reader?)

In January I wrote about green cars at the 2009 NAIS (Detroit Autoshow) and in September I went to the 2009 IAA (Frankfurt Autoshow). I applied for and got my first press pass, so I was able to see the vehicles there like I never had before and I took over 800 pictures which are available in Set 1 and Set 2 at Flickr. There was a lot activity on the pictures at Flickr and a request to use some of the pictures in a publication in Eygpt! Mini is celebrating 50 years and put together a video in honor of the occasion as well as other cars that were on display at the autoshow.

This has been a big year in Germany. Angela Merkel was re-elected and Germany celebrated 19 years of being united after the Cold War finally ended.

I've written a few articles for some good causes this year. I participated in Project 2996 for the second time, writing about a few of the victims of September Eleventh this time.  I feel deeply connect to this project as my mother lost a battle to cancer as the world shook with this tragedy, so whenever the subject is brought up I think of here.  I'm still hoping to start a foundation to honor her memory (this is a big one currently on my Someday/Maybe list!).  Not long after the start of Systems-Overload's second year, I wrote a piece for the 2008 Blog Action Day and published my 2009 efforts last week.  I enjoy these collaborative efforts that make you feel connected to others and make you feel like part of something bigger than yourself.

We celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the Moon-landing this year and not long after the we lost Michael Jackson, who gave us his "Moonwalk".  I didn't write a specific post about Walter Cronkite, but I did mention his passing in the moon-landing article, I know that he'll be missed and I wonder who, if anyone, will be stepping forward to fill his shoes?  Controversial former Big Brother star Jade Goody lost her battle with Cancer and she brought media attention to cancer living much of her final days before the camera.

I got into hosting Blog Carnivals this past year. I started by announcing the Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival, which I host during the Christmas season. After that experience I decided to add three more semi-regular Blog Carnivals. In November, the Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival will be running again and my three others will be taking a break till next year.  While I'd love to hear stories about how people celebrate Christmas, I'd also like to hear how people celebrate non-Christian holidays that occur in this time of the year.  I always like the Christmas time of the year because of all the hope that it can give people. When I started the three Blog Carnivals this year I thought that it would be a good way to share interesting articles with my readers and thought that it would be a good way for other bloggers to get some exposure (because I know how hard that can be!) Some of the "life events" have caused me to shift the publication dates around a little but I'm pleased to see all the submissions that I've received, all in all I've received over 1000 submissions between the various carnivals. Please keep those submissions coming. 

Looking at what I've written so far, I did write a lot more than I realized!  I'm currently thinking about what directions I want to go in my third year and beyond.  I'd sure welcome your input.  Comments are always welcome and encouraged.  Speaking of comments, I do wonder why I have so many oriental comments to one post that I wrote? I'd really like to know what is being said!  I'm looking forward to year three of Systems-Overload and hope that you'll all join me and spread the word.

Photo Credit:  Hobbit and I taken in December 2008

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009 - Climate Change

Systems-Overload is pleased to take part in the 2009 Blog Action Day where the focus is on Climate Change this year. This is the third year that we've participated (here are our posts from 2008 and 2007). Climate Change has become quite a popular topic over the last several years and many companies are trying to brand themselves as green and world leaders are at least paying lip service to the subject but so much more needs to be done and can be done.

In the area of climate change I see several issues that have encroached into this space, making it more complicated and seemingly unmanageable.

  • Many global/multinational corporations have expanded at alarming rates into emerging markets.
  1. Easier and hire and fire workers and less worker protections
  2. Less environmental regulations to deal with
  • The governments in these emerging markets don't have the necessary infrastructure
  1. Additional costs borne by the new localities
  2. Tax subsidies/abatements provided to lure in new business
  3. Don't have experience writing environmental and labor regulations to be enforced upon global companies
  4. Don't have proper agencies with proper personnel to keep companies in line
  • Governments in the areas that are losing plants and jobs don't have the necessary international cooperation needed to enforce "good corporate citizenship responsibility" on companies
  1. They have lost tax dollars and the budget necessary to enforce the laws that are already on the books
  2. They're too distracted by the Global Financial Crisis to stop job losses
  3. Corporations have too much lobby power and can easily impact pending legislation via a variety of means
  4. It is too easy for corporations to move
  • Too much focus on "maximizing shareholder value" and executive profit, without regard for long-term impacts on health and viability of the company's clients, employees, and the communities that they do business in

Having identified some of the problems that are making climate change unmanageable what can be done? What can you do?
  • Let your elected and corporate leaders know that you don't approve of this any longer.
  • Write to your elected and corporate leaders, be sure to include company boards, CEOs, congressmen, and senators, as well as presidents, and so on
  • Let businesses know that you won't buy their products as long as they act irresponsibly
  • Let your government know that any contracts that they sign with such businesses need to impose some form of responsibility on those that they do business with. When you're paying the bill, you can set some conditions!
  • Let business that you do business with know that if they have contracts with irresponsible vendors that you won't do business with them any longer. Supply chains can be very long today and you'd be amazed at how many vendors your average business has dealings with
  • Make your family and friends aware of things that you've found out and encourage them to join in on any boycotts
  • Before buying a product or service check to make sure that the company is truly an ethical company as well as being environmentally responsible
  • A well known IT company is a poster child for what is wrong with companies today
  1. They paid its CEO over $107 million dollars over the past four years and six top executives (including the CEO) combined for compensation totaling over $140 million dollars in 2008.
  2. This CEO saw his compensation grow from $25 million in 2007 to over $42 million dollars in 2008, a 68% increase.
  3. This company has laid off 40,000+ employees during the current CEO's tenure with most of those jobs being moved into emerging markets (off-shoring)
  4. This CEO requested a "voluntary" 5% may cut from the employees earlier this year and told the employees that he was taking a 20% pay cut (but this is off his base salary, before all his bonuses) and for most normal employees 5% can make the difference between making mortgage and car payments and have a huge impact. The company has made billions in profit the last few quarters, so the pay cut wasn't necessary for the company's survival (unlike some more notable companies that have really been fighting for their very existence).
  5. Many IT companies are moving more and more jobs to off-shore locations. If this companies want to continue to do this type of activity, they should have to make sure that all employees that have been made redundant have "comparable" positions, or pay until they find such positions! Business needs to work more with government to make sure that local education meets their needs, not that this is used as an excuse to move more positions off shore.
  • Give some serious thought to where you buy your stuff, not just what you buy
  1. One well known and very large retail company is known for not paying their employees very well, many of this company's employees are making wages that put them just above the poverty line and some aren't able to pay for health care coverage. This should not be allowed
  • Buy from and support local companies and products whenever possible. The company mentioned above has a reputation for going into a community and forcing several local businesses into closure because they can't compete on price and volume. It is the local companies that are more likely to be active in the community and do the things that used to make our towns nice places to live in

  • Let your corporate and government leaders know that you want to see more international cooperation. Corporations should not be above the law. If companies move headquarters to avoid their tax and other responsibilities, they should not be permitted to do business in your area. Can you imagine a company today that doesn't want to be able to see its goods and services in America, if they couldn't sell in this market, they might not be in business for long
America has the largest economy in the world and has a huge impact on the rest of the world. The financial crisis has shown how interconnected things have become in the last few years. It is time for consumers and taxpayers to "encourage" our businesses to be the responsible enterprises that they should be.

Photo credit: Industrial 4 courtesy of kkiser.