Monday, April 20, 2009

April Edition of The Family Life Blog Carnival Moved to May

I had planned to publish the April edition of The Family Life Blog Carnival today but as I'm at a very busy stage of my project at work I don't have the time to get this edition out this month. Any articles that were submitted for the April edition will be considered for the May edition unless told otherwise by the submitters.

Due to my current workload and planned travel I'll be reducing my posts and online activities through the end of the month. I hope to return to more regular posting in May. I hope that everyone can take some time to enjoy some of the lovely spring days we're bound to have over the next couple of weeks.

Photo Credit: I thought that this picture was a great "gone fishing" picture. Holiday Azure courtesy of wernerbrau

Friday, April 17, 2009

Follow Me On Twitter

Twitter homepage

Are you on Twitter? Given recent surges in users and all of the recent press coverage there is a good chance that you are or will be.

A lot of famous people have decided to start using twitter in the last couple of years. Barack Obama got a lot of publicity using twitter during his presidential campaign and he was the most followed user on twitter for quite a while. When I looked other day he had been passed up by 5 other users but still had 749,682 Followers! CNN Breaking News had the most followers @897,969. After CNN, came Britney Spears with 873,333 followers, Ashton Kutcher with 869,604 followers, and The Ellen Show with 767,527 followers. Musical acts are using twitter more and more, John Mayer, Coldplay, Dave Matthews and Britney Spears (already mentioned as the 2nd most followed user) all are within the top 100 followed twitterers. Politicians have seen a way of connecting with their supporters and would be supporters with Al Gore, Senator John McCain, Downing Street (the famous street where of the British Prime Minister lives and the official twitter site for the Prime Minister's office), George Stephanopouls along with the previously mentioned Barak Obama are all among the top 100 followed twitters as well. Star Trek fans are probably not surprised to see Wil Wheaton, LeVar Burton, Brent Spiner are all among the top 100 most followed twitters and William Shatner (Captain Kirk, himself) isn't so far off back in the top 300. Other noteable twitterers in the top 100 include Jimmy Fallon; famous 7 time Tour de Francer winner Lance Armstrong; American Top 40 host Ryan Seacrest; actress Demi More (her user name is Mrs. Kutcher, by the way); Kevin Rose from Digg; motivation author and speaker Tony Robbins; Penn Jilltte from Penn & Teller; Martha Stewart; and GTD creator David Allen. Note I found the above users listed on April 15th at 7:55 Central European Time at Twitterholic, which ranks twitter users, I've mentioned them below in a section of helpful tools, services, and websites related to twitter.

Since twitter has been generating a lot of publicity with its famous users and media coverage in general, a lot of people are seeing it as a good way to promote themselves, their products, reaching out to customers and potential customers. Many of the media outlets are tweeting (a term used for the micro blogging updates/posts made by twitter users, I've included this in some of the terms defined below) news and twitter useage has spiked during events like the January inaguration of President Obama and the Superbowl, it allows a form of interactivity not possible before. Twitpic had pictures of the Hudson River Crash before most of the news organizations did. A search on the "Hudson River Crash" in SearchTwitter, yields five pages of tweets associated with the now famous crash landing on the Hudson River. Twitter is allowing and fueling more citizen journalism than ever before.

My Twitter Homepage

Close up of some of my twitter basic statistics

For those of you not familar with Twitter, I thought that I give you a quick explanation of some of the terms that you'll see on Twitter, you'll see most of these terms in the two screenshots directly above.

  • following are people that you subscribe to their updates, so you'll see their updates as they post them.
  • followers are people that subscribe to your updates, they'll see your updates after you post them.
  • updates are posts by yourself or other users.
  • @"your user name" shows tweets or updates where @"your user name" are mentioned.
  • Direct Messages are similar to email but they're limited to 140 characters. Depending upon your settings anyone or only selected people can send you direct messages. Direct Messages are often abbreviated as DM.
  • Favorites are tweets/updates that you have "favorited" to be able to find easily in the future.
  • Everyone are tweets/updates from the entire twitter population (sometimes referred to as the Twitterverse), these would include people that you aren't following as well as those that you are.
Some other terms that you might see on Twitter include:

  • Tweet: another term for the microbloging that twitter users do when they post updates. Tweets are limited to 140 characters.
  • RT: refers to retweeting, or rebroadcasting of someone else's tweet. This is generally encouraged because it can help your tweet go viral (or be wildly promoted).
  • #: hashtags are used around terms that help to identify them in search and there is an service that I've listed below that searches hashtags.

Because Twitter has made its API (Application Programming Interface) publicly available there are more and more services and applications cropping up everyday. I've put together some twitter related services/applications as well as some websites that you might find useful below...

  • TwiTip is a blog edited by ProBlogger Darren Rowse. They publish a variety of wide ranging articles on the use of Twitter that is widely read.
  • MoMB is the Museum of Modern Betas lists 100 twitter related applications and services.
  • TweetDeck is a popular twitter client using Adobe Air
  • Twhirl is another popular twitter client also using Adobe Air
  • Twitdom lists most all of the applications and services associated with Twitter
  • Twitterholic ranks global users based on the number of followers. I ran my user id through (April 15, 5am local time) and ranked 30,224th globally and 7th in the Frankfurt, Germany area.
  • Twitpic allows you to share pictures on twitter
#hastags shows popular hastags on twitter. A search on "#followfriday" (a practice where twitter users recommend people that they follow that they think others should follow, a popular promotional tool) yielded 30 different variations of the hashtag.

You can tweet via twitter directly, typing your update into the box below "What are you doing?" on the twitter website (see my second screenshot) , through one of the twitter clients (I've mentioned a couple of popular ones above), or through a variety of websites and applications now available. I often use Ping (I recently wrote about it here)

Of the celebrity twitterers listed above, many won't follow you back, but some do, at anyrate it can be interesting to see what they're up to. I hope that you've found this post useful. If you're not already using Twitter, why not give it a try? Feel free to follow me, but please send me a DM with some reference so that I know who you are. I've embedded a Twitter in Plain English video below for some further explanation.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Greetings...Us And Them

As today is Good Friday and we're now into Easter weekend 2009, I wanted to take this moment to wish those of you celebrating it a Happy Easter and those of you that aren't I hope that you have a nice enjoyable and meaningful weekend! Last Easter I wrote Easter Greetings...14 Principles For Dealing With People, which is every bit as applicable this year (or any other year for that matter) but it conveys some principles that we should all apply in our lives regardless of what religion we follow, or even if we don't follow a religion at all, that can make life on this planet more enjoyable and meaningful for everyone.

Religion can be such polarizing force that often divides people into us and them and often gives its followers a form of tunnel vision. We've seen so many examples where extremism pops up resulting in death, torture, and mistreatment of non-believers, there have been so many wars that had some cause based on religious differences. So often religion seems to be an exclusive club, with one group driving for power,trying to control another group. So many of the various religions share some common principles but they so often focus on where they're different with each group believing that only they know the "true way" and others will be damned in the afterlife (or non afterlife). If we were to step outside of our human existence, maybe arriving at our planet from another planet, somewhere else with "intelligent life" we might be appalled, confused, and mystified by the things done in the name of religion. Not that we can all become aliens but we can step out of box and try to see ourselves from outside in and think about some of the things that we're doing.

Religion can be such a good force as well. There have been a lot of good things done by religious groups and they continue to happen every day. Religion often tapes into a basic human desire to want to help others and of compassion for others that is necessary in order for charities to exist and do the work that they do. There are so many schools and hospitals that owe their very existence to various religious groups, that just go to show that religion is not as bad as it might be painted up to be.

Missionary zeal has further fueled religious division. So often various relgions focus so much on recruiting which is often not welcome by people that don't want to be converted because they already have a religion that they're happy with or because they've made a decission that they don't wish to follow any religion, but they have made a decission that should be respected. This missionay zeal often causes arguments about which religion is correct and why one is better than the other and often these people will never be "freely" converted. Certainly espousure to new ideas will cause people to adopt the new religion from time to time but there needs to be less of a combative attitude adopted and practiced. If you ever get to really travel and mingle with people that don't share the same faith that you do, you'll find that most of them don't really want to be "converted". If we can open our minds and really listen, you'd be surprised at some of the things we can learn from each other. It is commendable that you wish to share your beliefs with others, but do respect their right to have different beliefs and to think differently than you do.

Religion is also so often at the heart of mankind's desire to know who we are and why we're here. It helps up to somehow make sense of things that can't be explained away with science and common sense. When you think about it there are leaps of faith that are needed by all of those "believe" because as much as people have tried over the years to prove the existence of one or more supreme beings, the proof has never been universally accepted by everyone and in the life that we all live now, it doesn't seem like it will happen anytime soon. Baring a Judgment Day, our world won't be able to say with absolute certainty that religion is right or wrong.

Judaism, Islam, and Christianity share some tenants that bring them closer than many of the Eastern religions (i.e. Buddhism) but we can look to bring the religious (and even non-religious) groups together by looking for commonality and realizing that we all share the same planet and can adversely or positively affect each other. We need to avoid the groupthink mentality that has led to so many of the religious conflicts over the course of human history and avoid focusing on our differences. We need to respect other people's right to believe differently and think differently than ours. By harnessing the different experiences and thoughts that the different groups' members have, you might be surprised by the diverse ideas and solutions that can be generated. No one person has a monopoly on great ideas, they can come and do come from everywhere.

If we have a debate with someone that believes that others that don't believe as they do must die, we probably stand little chance of "convincing" them, but I would ask what kind of god would ask you to kill other people that have not done anything to harm you. We've all been given the gift of life and should not put ourselves in the position of deciding who should live and die based on their religious beliefs. Many of us have families to raise and we should raise our kids to respect the individuality of others and many of the other positive aspects of religion. There are many great people in all the religious groups that would be good friends or just good people to know, if you can not focus on the differences in religion. Those that give their lives for their religious cause, are depriving their families and friends of their existence. I can't think of too many reasons why I want to give my life and not know my daughters as they grow up and watch the people that they become and the grandkids that I might one day have. I can't imagine giving that all up. For myself and my kids, I have to think that any god would not really want their followers killing others that didn't believe as they did, and certainly I don't wish to follow any such god.

Lastly, look at the actions of your religion and persoal beliefs. Are you doing anything that purposely excludes others or trys to dominate or hurt others? If so, why do you think that those people in the "them" group would want to be part of the "us" group and how would you feel and act if you were in the "them" group? It is great if you attend your service on Sunday (or whenever it is) but then if the rest of your time you're mean and inconsidderate of others, do you think that your religion and life might be out of balance? Many of the religious groups do proport to believe that you should "do onto other as you would have them do onto you", so why not treat others the way that you'd like to be treated (hopefully you're not someone that is really into pain). While you can be religious, why not look at other people as all trying to live their lives just like you, that have families, friends, and dreams of making their lives better. We're all in this planet together so lets see if we can make it better for our grandkids and future generations. Respect other peoples right to live differently and believe differently than you.

Photo credit: spring flowers courtesy of hirekatsu.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Are You Using Ping to Update Your Social Networks?

Are you on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or any of the other ever expanding social networks? If you're on more than one, and there is a good chance that you are, you could probably use a tool to update multiple social networks in one go. Well, maybe is something that you could use.

The social networks that works with

At the moment Ping works with over 30 different social networks. When you set up your account you can decide what accounts you'd like to update as your default and you can send updates to them all at once or you can do individual ones if your update seems more appropriate for one of your social networks. At the moment my default is set to update my profile @ Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and Mashable. Besides the social networks that I've currently set up, you might want to update friendfeed,, tumblr, hi5, bebo, Linkedin, or any of the others that Ping works with.

The message box to enter your updates

Ping allows you to send updates via the web, phone, and email. As you enter your text in the message box (see picture above), it counts down the number of characters that you have left. Since I often use to update twitter, I'm limited to 140 characters on my default setting. As the characters entered approach the limit the counter turns red. After you've completed your update click the "Ping it" button and you update(s) will usually show up within seconds at your social network(s).

What I like best about Ping is that it allows you to easily update your social networks without having to log-on to each one, so you can do it quickly and it is real easy to use. If you don't have a lot of time, it allows you to quickly make updates without getting distracted by all the bells and whistles of many of the social networks.

Why not give a try. Are you using What are you updating with it? Are you using another tool to update your social networks.

Monday, April 6, 2009

April Edition of the Carnival of Productivity And GTD

Welcome to the April edition of The Carnival of Productivity and GTD. We have over 30 articles aimed at helping out to be more productive, organized, and just plain get things done. Thank you to everyone that submitted articles. If you have any suggestions for topics or comments in general, please be sure to include them in the comments section below. We hope that you'll share any articlies that you found useful and interesting with family and friends that you thing might be interested in them and why not subscribe via an RSS reader or email, so that you don't miss future editions?


Relax presents How to apply German work ethics in your life posted at The Wise Curve, saying "Let’s see how we can apply the German’s productive working habits in our life to improve our own work performance."

Viraj Sawant presents Office time for your internet business posted at, saying "How To Use Your Office time productively for your internet business ."

Barbara Brabec presents Your Business Journal | Handmade for Profit - Cashing in on Your Creativity! posted at Handmade for Profit - Cashing in on Your Creativity!, saying "It’s important to keep a written record of what you’re doing when you start a new business or move into a new area of learning and business growth."

axel presents Jet-Like Motivation posted at axel g.

Jim DeSantis presents Have Fun Unleashing Your Latent Creativity posted at Unleashing Creativity at On Line Tribune, saying "You have some great ideas. You toss them around in your mind. You tell friends about them. They go nowhere. Why? They go nowhere because of what your friends said or because you have the misconception that only a select few are able to unleash a steady flow of creative genius. And, you, of course, couldn't be one of that select group. That is not true at all."

JC presents Tupperware Saves Time posted at 6Bubbles - Grad School, Money, Life.

Burak Bilgin presents 3 Achievement Strategies posted at Distiller's Corner, saying "Three strategies that will empower you to achieve your goals, and realize your vision. "

The Smarter Wallet presents Stop Procrastination By Knowing How Much It Can Cost You posted at The Smarter Wallet.

ITAKEOFFTHEMASK presents Time Consuming Activities for Bloggers posted at Make Money Faster!, saying "Are you guilty of these time wasters when you blog? Efficiency is the key to successful blogging and making money online."

ames presents The 4 Golden Rules Of The Mind Sweep posted at Organize IT.


Burak Bilgin
presents Get What You Want! posted at Distiller's Corner, saying "Goals are like a blueprint of a bridge over the gap between us and our desires. To get what you want, you have to build your bridge, by realizing your goals."

The Smarter Wallet
presents 5 Free Online Calendars and Personal Planners To Organize Your Life posted at The Smarter Wallet.


Jim Hudson presents Declutter your Mind and Eliminate your Irritations posted at Accelerate Me! Personal Development Blog.

Stefan Chapman presents The Concept of SlowThinking posted at Slowthinking, saying "Slowthinking is in tune with GTD. Take time to sort the information your receive not just reflex react to it."

Thursday Bram presents Managing Your Skype Contacts: 5 Tips posted at Home Office, saying "Make your Skype usage more productive by organizing your contacts."

Alex presents Weekly Menu Planner posted at Home Life Weekly, saying "This free weekly menu planner will help you to organize a weekly menu which can be used for helping to plan meals in advance for busy moms, help with your weight loss plan for the week ahead etc. The weekly menu planner it is excellent for helping you to budget for food more clearly and give you focus to help you follow a weight loss diet."

Burak Bilgin presents The Big Picture posted at Distiller's Corner, saying "Draw the big picture of your life and occupation and don’t get lost in details."


Gal Josefsberg presents REVIEW - Xobni posted at Gal Josefsberg, saying "This is my review of the Outlook add-on, Xobni. I've found it to be an invaluable tool and one of the few add-ons worth getting."


John presents How To Conserve Electricity For Beginners posted at Conserving Electricity In The House, saying "I would like to contribute this article on how we can establish a road map for conserving electricity in the house. It's all about the how, gaining awareness and changing mind set which helps to drive actions leading to results."

Sandi Mays presents Microsoft Excel - How to round numbers in the same cell without a formula posted at Business Tools Blog, saying "Microsoft Excel - How to round numbers in the same cell without a formula."

Sandi Mays presents Is there a way to calculate business days in Excel? posted at Business Tools Blog, saying "Calculate business days in Excel?"

Silicon Valley Blogger presents How To Become A Millionaire In 10 Steps Flat posted at The Digerati Life.

Joe Manausa presents First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit | Tallahassee Real Estate Blog posted at Tallahassee Real Estate Blog, saying "In case you did not hear the good news, the American Recovery And Reinvestment Act of 2009 included significant improvements to the temporary First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit. While many might view this as a great benefit aimed only at the first-time homebuyer, the reality is that it will help stabilize the housing market by bringing more buyers into an inventory-laden problem in need of more demand."

Joe Manausa presents A Small But Significant Shift In The Housing Market posted at Really Better Real Estate, saying "One key trend to pay attention to in any local real estate market is the movement of the sales success trend. What this measures is the total number of home sold divided by the total of homes listed (put on the market) during the same period of time."

Aparna presents Uses of hair clippings-Best out of Waste posted at Beauty and Personality Grooming, saying "What do you do of those hair clippings after you cut your hair? Some salons collect this unwanted pile of hair and send it for making wigs. But most of the time it is just tossed in the trashcan without giving a thought to the fact that it can be put to some use."

Sarah Scrafford presents How an Average Investor Should Use Currency ETFs posted at Currency

MoneyNing presents Our Eternal Pursuit of More Wealth posted at Personal Finance Blog by Money Ning, saying "Is money never enough? Know what's important and you will be much happier!"

Mr. Bear presents Great Depression Myths posted at Great Depression Version 2: Bear Market and Economic Depression, saying "With all the comparisons between our current financial and the Great Depression, it is time to dispel some basic myths about the Great Depression"

Janet Ross presents Google Cash Detective-GCD-The Google Adwords Playing Field Shifts posted at Biggest Firesale Of Online Marketing Products, saying "Frustrated with you online marketing efforts? Need to find a way to advertise your business with pay per click advertising using Adwords, and be profitable? Ever wanted to know which keywords make you money and which don't? Keep reading this article to find the secret."

Get800today presents Online Control Puts You In the Drivers Seat posted at Toll Free Numbers.

GreatManagement presents 99% Of All Managers Know The Basics Of Management But… posted at GreatManagement Blog, saying "I believe 99% of Managers know the basics of Management but only a small percentage actually ‘do it’.Why is that?Here's why..."

Barry Wright III presents Contact Information posted at 3stylelife.

Jay Green presents Remote Computer Maintenance: RCM posted at Remote Computer Maintenance.

Silicon Valley Blogger presents Start an Online Business: Open an eBay Store, Build a Website or Blog posted at The Digerati Life.

Debbie Dragon presents Writing for Money WIthout Being Published posted at Empowering Mom - The Work At Home Moms Blog.

Ella Moss presents VENUS RETROGRADE « Zodiac Times posted at Zodiac Times, saying "Venus goes retrograde, and so do our lives."

This concludes the April edition of The Carnival of Productivity and GTD. We hope that you found some useful articles. Stay tuned for future editions of this carnival as well as the other posts at Systems-Overload. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Carnival of Productivity and GTD using our Submit an entry to “The Carnival of Productivity and GTD" carnival submission form. Past posts and future editions can be found on our Blog Carnival index for “The Carnival of Productivity and GTD” blog carnival index page.

Photo credit: productivity courtesy of m880.

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