Thursday, August 31, 2006

Re: [TeamAC] I've "blogged" for the 1st time!!


Congratulations. I hope you don't mind my using this reply to help a number of others also journeying out into blogging and the mighty blogosphere as well.

I looked at your blog and here are my observations:
  1. Based on what you said about your background, I believe this subject to be a very very subject for you and your title and description look great.
  2. Turn off adsense in your settings. It will only distract from click on an ad to your ac site and I categorically do not recommend it for AC bloggers. If you were planning on making your blog your sole source of income and building it into a marketing powerhouse, then you would leave adsense off until you developed a sizeable following and then ease it into the site.
  3. You should put an ad for your ac site just above your about me on the sidebar.
    I recommend finding your adwords ad running on google ad copying it and pasting it into your blogger posting tool. If you do it right, then it will look just like an adword ad. Don't post that as an article, but in the upper right hand of that posting tool, you can click edit html. Do this and copy all of the html shown, then put that into your sidebar on your template.
    YES this is the hardest part of building your blog, but don't worry about messing it up as you can always reset your template and start over again.
    Once you get it where you are close or where you like it, then send me an email and I will take a look and make sure it is perfect.
  4. While you are in the template, find the links section and change the links there to link to things that you like related to the subject of the blog, or your other blogs!
Other than that, WAY TO GO! You just did it and it is a very good first go.

Another thing you want to look at is that your blogger profile is complete and filled out but not markety if you know what I mean.

Also, in your settings, remember to turn on comment moderation and if you'd like to email to your blog to post be sure to set that address up in settings as well.

And, if you have further questions, which you will, just ask. I love to help.

Also, not to overwhelm you, but consider joining if you agree to the purpose and responsibilities statement on the sidebar of that blog.

Finally, a tip I wasn't able to cover on the call. Comment on as many articles as you have time with legitimate comments and linkback to either your blog (automatic on blogger comments) or your ac site.

Be blessed,

On 8/31/06, Lorraine Davis wrote:

I have you to thank (or blame?) LOL ... I stayed up in to the wee hours of the morning after our Alternative Marketing call last night to start my first blog!!! I did it!!! I created my first blog!!!! -- seriously though, I do want to thank you SO MUCH for your determination to teach us all you know about blogging. Thank you for your time, commitment, and patience with all us non-techies out there ... what a blessing you are!!!
The call last night was so encouraging, I was inspired to just "DO IT" ... (never mind that I know little about what a blog should look like, how blogging works, why it works, or any of that ...). I'm an interior designer by trade, so I can talk about fabrics, colors, space planning, and all about granite for your kitchen countertop ... but blogging???? who would have thought?
Anyway, hope this encourages others out there ... don't worry about the details or perfecting the blog ... (if an interior designer can do it ... you can too!!) Would love to hear thoughts and any comments (I know I have LOTS to learn) and appreciate any suggestions for improvement ...
THANKS ERIC for all you do!!!!
Lorraine Davis

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Google Apps for Your Domain

Google Apps for Your Domain: "Now you can offer private-labeled email, IM and calendar tools to all of your users for free*, so they can share ideas and get things done more effectively. You can design and publish your organization's website, too. It's all hosted by Google, so there's no hardware or software for you to install or maintain."

Over 3 Million today

Today, my network went over 3 million.  Since the end of June the beginning of July, I have added 909 direct connections in my network and that plays out like this:
You are at the center of your network. Your connections can introduce you to 3,001,600+ professionals — here's how your network breaks down:  
Your Connections
Your trusted friends and colleagues
Two degrees away
Friends of friends; each connected to one of your connections
Three degrees away
Reach these users through a friend and one of their friends
Total users you can contact through an Introduction
Your network also includes 800+ users in your 5 LinkedIn Groups.

I have made a new service for my IT business where I help busy executives and sales managers develop their online pressence through ideas like this and blogs, etc...  There was an article in the recent Forbes that said essentially Google will either crush you or make you.  That is the truth about this as well.  The entrepreneur in me sees the value of this for any and all businesses looking for the strongest kind of new business, referral business.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Why Did Microsoft Delay IE Patch?

Why Did Microsoft Delay IE Patch?

If you have been having Windows problems, it could very well be because of the latest set of patches. I have clients who are taken down from a run to a slow crawl and we are praying that the delayed patch talked about here will fix their problems.

Replace Microsoft Office with totally online tools: IT|Redux » My Office 2.0 Setup

Even Bill Gates himself said before the launch of Live (Their online version of Office), that we are looking at the end of the era of shrinkwrap software.
IT|Redux » My Office 2.0 Setup

This is a smart roundup of all of the possible tools that you might need and where you can get them or examples of the things you can do out there on the net.

Try them and share your experience with me either by email or by commenting on this post. Make a contribution. Be blessed to be a blessing.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Google's Wordprocessor

Official Google Blog: Writely so

No need for a wordprocessing program with it's limitations being stuck on your computer. Try Writely by Google.

One neat feature is that you can email yourself or have others email you popular document formats to a special writely address and have them automatically added to your writely account.


LinkedIn: Eric Standlee 865+ (eric at

Here's an update on what LinkedIn has been doing for me.
I went from just over 100 straight through the magical 500 to 865 connections in 1 month. It had taken me a little more than a month to get to 100.
As you can see if you connect with me, I have joined a number of linkedin groups and have started the small but growing LinkedInHouston Yahoo Group at .
I have had such success showing others how to do the same, that I have business owners and executives who see the value of an enormously large network on LinkedIn ask me to do it for them. It is a new business model I am working on to help those too busy or too scared by the size of the project take that step anyway as a new way to generate massive numbers of people inviting you/them to connect and share referrals.

If you'd like to connect with me go to:
LinkedIn: Eric Standlee 865+ (eric at
If you don't have an account you can view my profile at:

I'd also be glad to consult for you to get your large network and get tons of people world-wide referring business and contacts. If lil ole me can do this, imagine what you can do once you have a large network on LinkedIn.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

FairTax Blogburst 23-Aug-2006

by Julie of Degree of Madness

If you owe back taxes to the federal government, the next call asking you to pay may come not from an Internal Revenue Service officer, but from a private debt collector.

Within two weeks, the I.R.S. will turn over data on 12,500 taxpayers — each of whom owes $25,000 or less in back taxes — to three collection agencies. Larger debtors will continue to be pursued by I.R.S. officers. (link)

So now, private firms will have access to our tax information, or at minimum how much you (may or may not) owe to Uncle Sam. Our tax information is private. Or it was up until now.

Within two weeks, the I.R.S. will turn over data on 12,500 taxpayers — each of whom owes $25,000 or less in back taxes — to three collection agencies. Larger debtors will continue to be pursued by I.R.S. officers. (my emphasis).

And the IRS isn't too particular about the business ethics of the firms they select to receive our tax data:

One of the three companies selected by the I.R.S. is a law firm in Austin, Tex., where a former partner, Juan Peña, admitted in 2002 that he paid bribes to win a collection contract from the city of San Antonio. He went to jail for the crime.

Last month the same law firm, Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, was again in the news. One of its competitors, Municipal Services Bureau, also of Austin, sued Brownsville, Tex., charging that the city improperly gave the Linebarger firm a collections contract that it suggested was influenced by campaign contributions to two city commissioners.

And how will these debt collectors be paid? They will receive 25% of what they collect. Whether or not the tax bill is accurate or actually owed at all (the IRS is in a league of its own when it comes to mistakes, errors and general incompetence), will not be the concern of these collectors.

And the privacy issue is not insignificant. It's not clear whether these firms will be given the taxpayer social security number, but:

Private collectors will have authority to set up installment payment agreements, and gather financial information about those targeted, presumably to assess their ability to pay or to locate assets that might be attached.

Private collectors will have the authority to gather our personal financial information. Authority handed over to them by the federal government. Most everyone is aware of the aggressive, heavy-handed methods of collections agencies. I guess a partnership with the IRS just makes sense. A marriage made in heaven, so to speak.

The federal government already has too much access to our private financial information. And the ability of the IRS to audit at will, with no constraints or accountability is something we should not tolerate. And should not be forced to tolerate. And now private firms can get in on the action. And profit from it. At our expense.

There are so many good reasons to support the Fair Tax. Preventing the IRS from giving our private financial information to outside firms is just one more.

With the Fair Tax, the IRS will be abolished. No other tax plan under consideration abolishes the IRS. This is important. The IRS operates under the "guilty until proven innocent" theory. And however unjust that may be, that's the way it is. It will never change. The IRS has power that most politicians only dream about. And IRS abuses are legend. And most of the abuses never make the headlines. They are relatively small in nature but very significant to those involved.

The convoluted tax code is an outrage. The enforcer is an even greater outrage. Leave your Constitutional rights at the door when the IRS shows up, 'cause you no longer have any. The IRS has virtually free will to demand access to every single detail of your financial life. With no probable cause.

Some things just can't be reformed. Our tax code is one of them. The IRS is another. With the Fair Tax, we will all pay our fair share, but we won't have to give up our privacy, or our sanity, to do it.

The FairTax Blogburst is jointly produced by Terry of The Right Track Blog and Jonathan of Publius Rendezvous. If you would like to host the weekly postings on your blog, please e-mail Terry. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Progressive Democrats' Sales Tax

Reprinted with permission from Running in Circles

by Connor Carney

The Progressive Democrats' Sales Tax

I consider myself to be fairly liberal on most issues. So some of you might be surprised that I am about to take a position that’s usually the providence of hardcore conservatives. I support HR25—the Fair Tax Act of 2005.

Yeah. The one that would replace virtually the entire tax system with a 23% sales tax.

I read about it most recently in an unnecessarily hostile editorial by Matthew Holmes. Truth be told, his article did nothing to convince me that the tax is a good thing. But it convinced me to wade through the full text of the legislation, and I’ve decided that not only is the Fair Tax Act justifiable, it is the ideal legislation for progressive Democrats. I’ll explain why.

Defining “Progressive”

I used the word “progressive” up there in my introduction. Exactly what that term means can be a little shaky sometimes, but when we’re talking about tax code, it has a pretty clear meaning: people with more money shoulder more of the tax burden. Using this definition, sales taxes are usually something progressives would avoid, since they often hit the poor the hardest. Most sales taxes make life considerably harder for the impoverished, because they increase the cost of basic necessities, making it harder for people to get by.

A National Luxury Tax

This proposal isn’t like that. The secret lies in Title II, Sections 301-303, a provision called the “family consumption allowance.” These provisions allow families to purchase necessities without paying taxes on them. (“Family” means “1 or more family members sharing a common residence”).

This exemption does something interesting: it means that the government would only get taxes from the sales of nonessentials—things that the impoverished, by definition, don’t buy. By allowing essential products to be purchased without the tax, it turns the “national sales tax” into something more like a “national luxury tax”.

In other words, people who spend most of their money on things like food, clothing, and medicine end up paying almost none of the tax burden, while people who spend a greater percentage of their income on luxuries pay a greater percentage of the tax burden. People who don’t have very much money almost uniformly fall into the former group, while people with lots of money almost uniformly fall into the latter group. People with more money shoulder more of the tax burden—it’s as progressive as is gets.

Helping the Needy

The family consumption allowance is a rebate, mailed monthly by the Social Security Administration to families of 1 or more(?!?). According to II§301, the amount of the rebate check is equal to the product of the tax rate and the poverty level.

Using this definition, families making (and thus spending) less than the poverty level could conceivably receive more money in their rebate check than the actual sales tax rate.

This is a similar concept to the Earned Income Tax Credit currently administered by the IRS, with a few exceptions. Unlike the EITC, it the consumption allowance can be claimed by the unemployed. The consumption allowance would also require a lot less paperwork than the EITC—just names, address, proof of citizenship, etc. That’s a good thing for families who are especially time-constrained or people who are poorly educated. And statistics show that such families are exactly the ones who would need such a credit the most.

Tax Evasion

Of course, the Fair Tax Act would also virtually eliminate tax evasion. Right now, companies can move their assets offshore and avoid paying U.S. taxes on them. Some people, particularly business executives and accountants, consider it to be good business.

I, along with most Democrats, consider this to be tax evasion. The Fair Tax Act would put an end to it. The Act would mandate that anything sold in the United States would incur U.S. taxes. There’s really no way to outsource that. Businesses couldn’t get around it by moving production to China, or by moving their income to Bermuda. If they want to sell their product in America (and they all do), it will be taxed.

There are no less than a thousand articles out there that deal with the tax evasion issue, so I won’t say much more about it, but corporate tax evasion is contrary to the spirit of a progressive tax system. It’s currently legal in many forms, thanks to loopholes in our indecipherably complex tax code. That’s bad, and this would put an end to it.

Illegal Immigration

The Act would also provide a serious new tool in the attempt to end illegal immigration. It wouldn’t involve any weapons or border guards or checkpoints or fences—and it wouldn’t cost the government a single extra cent. Again, it has to do with the consumption allowance that I talked about a few paragraphs back.

See, only citizens are eligible for the credit. That effectively increases the cost of living for illegal aliens (okay, okay, “undocumented immigrants”) by 23% (assuming, of course, that they live under the ceiling for such a credit, which I’m just guessing that most do.

Since the primary motivations for the border jumpers are economic, this throws a wrench in the whole concept of entering the country illegally. It gets at the reasons that illegal immigrants are trying to come into America—which is exactly what a lot of Democrats have been saying we should do all along.

Where Does All The Money Go?

The budget of the IRS is currently over ten billion dollars per year, plus the equivalent of a hundred thousand federal employees. Let’s think about that for a moment: ten billion dollars and a hundred thousand people… what could we do with that?

Some of it, of course, would go to the collection agencies established in III§302, but not nearly the scale of the IRS. For one thing, there’s a lot of administrative overhead that gets out of the way because the new Federal Sales Tax Bureau would, for states that already implement sales tax, be working with an infrastructure that is mostly already in place.

So let’s look at what we could do with the money, and with those employees. Let’s assume that a high school can accommodate 2400 students for 3 million doallars a year. That’s an average—in some places it costs more, in some places less, but it’s a fairly realistic estimate. $10 billion would cover the entire cost of operating over three thousand high schools—that’s the total cost of educating 7,200,000 students.

And that doesn’t include the agency’s hundred thousand employees. Let’s say we divided them evenly among the states and put them to work in DMV offices. Anybody who has ever applied for a driver’s license can appreciate the notion of having 2000 extra people in the DMV office. We could do that, in addition to the school thing, for no more than we are already paying just to operate the IRS.

No Tax Cuts for the Rich

The income tax and payroll tax systems that HR25 would replace have not been working out too well for progressives in the past four years. Why? Because the systems we have in place are too obscure. How many people even know what it means to “tighten the tax brackets?” How many people even realize that their income is not all taxed at the same rate?

The simple fact is, George Bush’s “tax cuts for the rich” that were so offensive to the idea of a progressive tax system were only possible because the tax system is so unbelievably complex. Under the system that HR25 proposes, targeting tax cuts at the top 1% of income earners would be not only politically impossible, but literally impossible. Why? Because the system inherently gets a greater percentage from those with more disposable income. (See the section above, “A National Luxury Tax”).

Unlike the current system, the national sales tax would do this without any disparity in the established rates. In other words, the only way that politicians could shift the tax burden away from the rich would be to explicitly give them a lower rate. That, my friends, sits in the dictionary as the cardinal example of “political suicide.”

But Shouldn’t Businesses Pay Their Fair Share?

One of the more obvious questions that comes up when we talk about replacing our entire tax system with a sales tax is whether it shifts too much of the burden away from business. A few people go so far as to say it shifts the entire burden away from business. And quite honestly, I cannot see how that is the case.

The argument that a sales tax shifts the burden away from businesses is fallacious because it assumes that consumers have unlimited disposable income. I will concede that if you are rich enough to believe that, you should absolutely oppose HR25. Most people I know do not have an unlimited supply of money.

If consumers had unlimited spending money, then the businesses could go on as usual. They’d hang on to their existing margins, pass the entire cost of the tax on to consumers, and the price of everything would go up by 23%. Again, that’s assuming that every customer has unlimited money.

In the real world, if the price of almost anything were to actually go up by 23%, they would price almost all of their existing customers out of the market. We’re talking a serious hit to their sales. So, we can expect most of them to change things to keep their numbers up—to decrease margins in exchange for increased sales. They don’t have to, but those who don’t will find that most of their customers can’t afford their products. No customers=No income=No business.

There is actually an exception to this. Businesses that cater almost exclusively to the indescribably wealthy could conceivably pass the entire cost of the tax to customers, but keep in mind that that is a relatively small market (and will remain that way), simply because so few consumers fall into the “indescribably wealthy” category.


It’s kind of hard to believe that I’m finishing up an 1900-word analysis of the tax code. I mean, who am I to evaluate the complex intricacies of tax law?

Ordinarily I’d defer to the accountants on an issue like this. After all, they’ve studied economics and spent years of their life working with and around the tax code. They know taxes like some people know their way home from work. I, by comparison, am a rank amateur.

But this is an issue where deferring to accountants is profoundly dumb. The accountants, as people who make their living off of a tax code so complex that only trained professionals can understand it, are inherently biased against a tax code so simple that garbage men can understand it.

And so I don’t, in this case, trust the people who I would usually look to for analysis. Instead I’ve done my own analysis, and I’m liking the prospect of a tax code that even I am able to analyze. Pretty cool.

Like most progressive Democrats, I’ve learned to be pretty averse to sales taxes. But in this case, we have a proposition that actually bolsters everything that progressives fight for in a tax code. I don’t believe that any progressive worthy of the cause can oppose HR25, and those who give any thought to it should wholeheartedly support it.

The FairTax Blogburst is jointly produced by Terry of The Right Track Blog and Jonathan of Publius Rendezvous. If you would like to host the weekly postings on your blog, please e-mail Terry. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll.

real+media+convert+to+mp3+free - Google Search

real+media+convert+to+mp3+free - Google Search

Here is a long list of Real Media to MP3 converter software. Try one and tell us here in the comments which one you liked.

Here is CNet's's recommended downloads:

If you find something that works well, please be sure to tell everyone here in our comments below this post.

Audacity: Free Audio Editor and Recorder

Audacity: Free Audio Editor and Recorder

I was wrong. Audacity is still my favorite, however it cannot convert wmv files nor can it do real media/real audio files.

I will find something that can.

But, in the meantime, I have been able to play the file in real player and then in audacity record the audio and then export it to mp3.

Stay tuned for more.

IT|Redux » A LinkedIn Success Story

IT|Redux » A LinkedIn Success Story

This is an amazing success story with LinkedIn and another way to step out of the box in your use of LinkedIn.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Many Still Don't Use Anti-Virus Software

Do you fall into the crowd, or are you protecting yourself?
Herb Weisbaum: Many Still Don't Use Anti-Virus Software
KOMO, WA - 14 hours ago
SEATTLE - The Internet remains a dangerous place. According to a new survey by Consumer Reports, US computer users lost more than ...

Letspowwow Collaboration Software: Free web collaboration, conferencing, online meeting, and phone conferencing

Need to see your client's/partner's desktop? Need to share your desktop with someone else? Do it for F.ree!

I just learned about this free service that rocks:
Letspowwow Collaboration Software: Free web collaboration, conferencing, online meeting, and phone conferencing



This is a great site to stay on top of the best of the web.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Let's Say Thanks

Let's Say Thanks
Here is a great way to say thank you to those who are serving. As a veteran of 6 years in the USAF during Desert Shield, I know they need to hear us say thanks.

Be blessed to be a blessing.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Increase your Exposure for Free

I joined a service two months ago, and with very little effort every day (because I believe in consistent action) I have had over 340 people connect directly with me. The service is called LinkedIn and is at Through this service, I continue to receive invitations to connect directly from qualified professionals in prestigious companies around the world.
Some who have put their profile on LinkedIn are lucky to have 10 connections. How did I get so many people looking at my professional profile on LinkedIn when others haven't been able to do 1/3 or less? How have I made it so that I have more than 2 million users worldwide who will find me and ask to connect with me? How have I driven so much traffic from linkedin to my websites? How have I increased subscriptions to my autoresponder?
Stay tuned for more...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Virtual Handshake—Complimentary E-Book Edition

The Virtual Handshake—Complimentary E-Book Edition

This is F.REE. Download it now while you can.

I am just reading it now, and I think there are things you can take away from this book and use to grow your network.