Microsoft MBA – or – Life Under Ballmer

I was offered the use of this graphic and I just couldn’t refuse.

Too bad I didn’t short Microsoft stock and buy Apple – oh, well.

It’s like when someone opens a restaurant and then hires someone else to run it while they do other things. You can tell the difference.

We’ll see how Apple does now that Steve is gone for good.

Microsoft MBA: Over 30 Years of Innovation
Created by:

How To Kill Stink Bugs

kill-stink-bugsStink Bug Problem? – Here is how to kill stink bugs and other pesky insects trying to get into your home or office. Spiders, wasps in addition to those pesky, smelly, insects.

Every fall we have this problem when the fields are harvested and the weather cools. These nasty bugs (and others) try to get into the house, car, everywhere.

I spray with an insecticide that has a residual of several weeks so it keeps on working. Save the cost of an exterminator!

This video shows a product that is inexpensive and easy to use. Considered safe for home, children, carpet & walls – but do your own due diligence to make sure you are satisfied.

Cyper WP Insecticide

Pick up this product at

What Would You Do With Your Police Departments Website?

I really, REALLY love it! Man busted by traffic camera gets revenge on Police Department. Legally.


Red light and speed cameras suck. There is no officer to explain the situation to. Pretty much no appeal. Some municipalities are even making SURE you don’t try to fight the ticket by assessing $500 – $2500 administrative penalties on you if you try to fight it and fail.

Do I like it when people blow a red light? NO! But I have seen a squad car pull out and nab an offender. The officer KNOWS there were no mitigating circumstances, but the driver immediately gets to face his accuser anyway (in a manner of speaking). Cameras watching our every move are NOT the answer.

Especially when some cities SHORTEN THE YELLOW LIGHT coincident with installing red light cameras.

Here is the scoop on the Bluff City, TN website and domain name:

The Bluff City, TN webmaster was on sick leave; the domain did not get renewed on time. This enterprising individual was at GoDaddy at the right time and grabbed the rights to the Police Department’s domain.

So what would YOU do if you had YOUR Police Departments domain name and could put up the website of your choice?

Here are some ideas I can think of:

  • Post ads for radar detectors with GPS positions of known traffic cameras
  • Upload photos & videos “honoring” the local Police force:
    • Here’s one of Sgt. Joe Blow doing what he does best – Eating a donut! Oh-O, Sgt. Joe, that belt looks like it’s getting kinda tight..
    • Here’s a video of Car 12 making a left turn into a parking lot WITHOUT using his turn signal – “Where’s a cop when you need one?”
    • This is me pacing Car 2 (the lieutenant) doing 41 in a 30. Hope he doesn’t look in his mirror and see me tailing him because, unlike the Lt., I am NOT above the law.
  • Provide a list, with map & photos of all the favorite spots the Police Department use for speed traps – the old fashioned kind where there is actually a POLICE OFFICER writing the ticket.
  • Here is an idea that is already being put to use at – links to helpful articles on how to get out of paying red light and speed camera tickets.
  • Advertise for attorneys who you can hire to fight tickets.
  • Put up a petition asking for signatures to take the cameras down.

This is just for starters.

Please add comments with ideas of your own.

SHARE! this post with your friends, let’s get the word out.

How To Set Your Privacy In FaceBook

This information was originally published on Yahoo! News. I am reprinting it here rather than linking to it since I have found over the years that Yahoo! takes the content down and then I am left with a dead link and you, the reader, get nothing.

So if you want to stay out of people’s view, but still want to be on Facebook, here are some things to look out for as you take another look at your settings.

1. Some of your information is viewable by everyone.

Everyone can see your name, your profile photo and the names of work and school networks you’re part of. Ditto for pages you are a fan of. If you are worried about a potential employer finding out about a quirky fetish or unorthodox political leaning, avoid becoming a Facebook fan of such groups. You can’t tell Facebook you don’t want those publicly listed. Your gender and current city are also available, if you choose to specify them. You can uncheck “Show my sex in my profile” when you edit your profile if you don’t want it listed, and you can leave “Current City” blank.

2. Your list of friends may also be public.

Facebook also considers your friends list publicly available information. Privacy advocates worry that much can be gleaned from a person’s list of friends — even sexual orientation, according to one MIT study. But there is a way to hide the list. Go to your profile page and click on the little blue pencil icon on the top right of your box of friends. Uncheck “Show Friend List to everyone.” Either way, those you are already friends with can always see your full list.

3. You can hide yourself from Web searches.

There is a section for “Search” under Facebook’s privacy settings page, which is accessible from the top right corner of the Web site under “Settings.” If you click the “Allow” box next to “Public Search Results,” the information that Facebook deems publicly available (such as photo, fan pages and list of friends), along with anything else you have made available to everyone, will show up when someone looks up your name on a search engine such as Google. The stuff you’ve limited access to in your profile will not show up.

This is useful if you want people you’ve lost touch with, or potential work contacts, to be able to find your Facebook page. If you’d rather not be found, uncheck this box.

A second setting, controlling searches within Facebook, lets you refine who can find you once that person has logged on. Limit searches to friends only if you think you have all the friends you need and don’t want anyone to find you when they type in your name to Facebook.

4. Beware of third-party applications.

Quizzes and games are fun, but each time you take one, you first authorize it to access your profile information, even if you have made that available only to your friends. You’re also letting the app access some information on your friends.

Under “Application Settings,” Facebook lists all the apps you have opened your profile up to. If you no longer want to authorize access to “Which Golden Girl Are You?” you can always remove it by clicking on the “X” next to its name. Apps you use regularly, such as Facebook for Android if you update your status from your mobile phone, should stay.

Next, by clicking on “Applications and Websites” on the privacy settings page, you can edit whether your friends can share your birthday, photos and other specific information. Remember that applications can access your “publicly available information” no matter what.

The security firm Sophos recommends users set their privacy settings for two of Facebook’s own popular applications, notes and photos, to friends only.

5. Go over your list of friends.

The average Facebook user has 130 friends. But many people interact with a much smaller group when commenting on status updates, photos and links. So it doesn’t hurt to occasionally review your list of your friends to get an idea of just who can view your status posts, vacation photos and funny links you’ve shared over the years. Don’t feel obligated to add anyone as a friend, even if that person adds you first. For professional acquaintance you don’t want to snub, send them to a LinkedIn profile you can set up. Some workplaces and schools have rules about Facebook interactions between bosses and employees or students and teachers.

6. Create custom friends groups.

If you have friended a lot of people, sort them. Think of the groups you interact with in real life — co-workers, college buddies, girlfriends, grandma and grandpa — and organize your Facebook friends in these groups, too. Go to “All Friends” under the “Friends” button up top, click on “Create New List” and fire away. Then decide what aspects of your profile, and which status posts and photos, these people will have access to. Or, simply create a “limited” list for acquaintances or distant relatives and limit their access.

7. Customize your status posts.

Type “I’m hungry” into your status update box. Click on the little lock icon. You’ll see a range of privacy controls pop up, letting you either allow or limit access to the post. If you want, you can even hide it from everyone by clicking “Only Me” under the custom settings. Click on “Save Setting.” Repeat with each post, or create a default setting for most updates and increase or decrease privacy as you see fit.

8. Let your friends know you have boundaries — in person.

Many of us have woken up on a Sunday morning to find that an overzealous friend has posted dozens of photos from that wild party we barely remembered — the good, the bad and the hideous. Chances are, they didn’t do this to embarrass you, though if they did you have bigger problems. Rather, they probably don’t know that you don’t want these photos posted. Sure, tweak your photo privacy settings on Facebook. But if someone starts snapping pictures of you at a party, ask them to check with you before posting it anywhere.

9. Never assume complete privacy.

Even for the most tech-savvy person, unflattering photos, incriminating text messages or angry status posts about work have a way of worming their way out in the open.

That should go without saying, but, it happens every day.

Amazon Apologizes for 1984 Kindle Deletions

I’m talking about the book 1984, of course. See the original story about Amazon deleting 1984 from Kindles.

Amazon has apologized for deleting the books, and even though they refunded the money they are offering an Amazon gift certificate or check for $30.

Of course the pending lawsuit against them says they way overstepped their bounds and at least one person was a student with extensive notes on the book all tied into his Kindle. Apparently those can now be re-downloaded.

Hopefully this will never happen again.

Bonjour is Kind of a Pain

I know, everybody wants everything to be plug and play.

Unfortunately, sometimes that means these devices are running extra services:

  • that can crash
  • that hog memory
  • that can flood your network with unnecessary traffic
  • that cannot be ended by Task Manager (why?)
  • that have no uninstall utility

Bonjour is one of those services.

It is installed if you have iTunes, Skype, Gizmo etc on your PC.

mDNSResponder.exe runs all of the time.

Here is a link to uninstall bonjour.

Amazon is Sued Over Kindle Deletions is being sued by a 17 year old after remotely logging back into Kindle devices all over the world to delete the classic book “1984” which it found to be a pirated copy that had been offered for sale.

This is disturbing to think that Amazon feels the right to reach back into a device to delete something that had been purchased. Automatic refunds were given but that does not compensate this teenager who had written extensive notes about the book for a class assignment.

All of those notes now reference a non-existent book.

This is shameful of Amazon to think they can do this with no prior notice to consumers that they even had the ability to do this, let alone the right.

While this is not exactly “cloud computing”, I am less than enthused about the Kindle for this very reason. When I buy something I want it in my own personal possession, and this is one reason why.

I hope this lawsuit does achieve class action status and I further hope that the courts will prevent Amazon or anyone else from doing something like this in the future.

File Your Taxes Online – Maybe Even For Free

It’s tax time again. For some, filling out their tax return is a joy because they know they have a refund coming; and these days, who can’t use the money.

For others, completing and filing a tax return is just a dull, boring, rotten necessity.

The good news is that tax preparation software makes the job easy and virtually eliminates errors. Whether you want to install software and do your taxes on your own computer or you prefer to fill out the tax forms and file online.

With FreeFile from the IRS, you might even be able to complete your tax return online and efile it for free from one of the participating tax software vendors.

Check out and and see what some of your options are.

Get it done and get your refund, that’s what I always say.

Should You Buy Online or Buy Locally?

There are a number of reasons to shop and buy online, in no particular order:

  • Don’t have to leave home, can do it in your underwear at 3am if you want
  • Easy to compare prices, including tax & shipping
  • You can save money – by increased selection of merchants and many times no sales tax. Shipping costs may negate savings of sales tax but many online vendors know the value of the words “free shipping” when competing for sales
  • You can benefit from reviews written by previous customers
  • Easy to compare products

But one thing that you should consider when shopping and buying online: did you go to a local retailer first to pick their brain or “touch and feel” the product?

The Bible says that a worker is due his wages. If you find a local retailer to be helpful or you feel you could not have made the decision without seeing the product, then do the right thing and buy from them even if the cost is higher.

The same goes for a website. If one particular website was the most helpful far and above the others, don’t go back to the site with the lowest price and buy from them. Don’t reward a merchant with a poor website, reward the one who has put forth the effort.

And in the flavor of my blog post of earlier today Moving The Free Line – Part 1, don’t begrudge someone their commission either. There is nothing wrong with someone going to the trouble to review or promote a product in some way and being paid for their effort. Presuming, that is, that their effort was of value to you.

Note, that after writing that post earlier, I realized that this website did not have a disclosure policy, an oversight I have corrected. (More recent websites that I have started I have included a disclosure policy as I learned about website “required” pages. – thanks Jeremy!) Again, the emphasis is on value; if someone helped you, you shouldn’t mind helping them.

A personal anecdote in this regard of buying online versus buying locally is in order. I recently took my family to the local Best Buy (I cringe just walking in) to look at Apple iMacs since we don’t have an Apple store within a 3 hour drive and gas is almost $4 a gallon. Best Buy is the only store in our area that claims any Apple product on hand.

What I found was a table of product on display that had the look and feel of a garage sale. The Mac AirBook looked like it was well used and abused. The actual iMacs were absent from the table. A somewhat arrogant but helpful young lad explained that someone had intentionally closed the lid with the mouse on top of the keyboard and destroyed the screen of each of the two display models.

“Don’t you have any more we could look at?” I queried.

“No,” he answered, “but we should have those back in about 10 days or so, we had to send them in for repair”.

Gee, don’t you suppose Best Buy can afford to put some other units out for display – possibly even ones that look attractive to buy and own? Yes, I understand damage happens, some people aren’t nice.

But how many sales do you suppose they lose in the 2 to 3 week time period they had no product on display? How many sales do you suppose they lose because the display product looks beat up?

My business philosophy is this: “Do it right or don’t do it at all”. In my humble opinion, Best Buy should put away the garage sale table and quit selling Macs.

I happen to have business interest in a website that is an Apple affiliate and I could make a commission (albeit small) if I bought an iMac through that website. But if Best Buy had attractive product on hand for my wife to try out and fall in love with, chances are we would have brought one home that day.

If we ever buy an Apple laptop, we will probably buy online instead of buying locally.