Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Red Dot Campaign

Tired of all the junk mail you get?

Then you should check out the Red Dot Campaign.

There is a lot of great info on the site.

Plus they give you various ways to do stop junk mail including downloadable No Junk Mail signs for your mail box or mail slot, a letter you can set to Canada Post or suggesting you sign up with the Canadian Marketing Association's Do Not Contact Registry (which I just did!).

We have mail slots and there are always flyers and stuff. Sometimes no mail, just junk mail!

Do-not-call doesn't apply to all

The CRTC's new national Do Not Call List (DNCL) takes effect today.

It took me a while to get our phone number registered online because the site kept crashing. I probably wasn't the only one registering ... but I kept trying! Success!

Here is some important information to know:

Do not expect calls to stop immediately.

Telemarketers have up to 31 days to update their lists and to make sure they do not call you. You could still receive calls within those first 31 days.

There's a fun article about the DNCL in today's Toronto Star.

Registering on the DNCL will not eliminate all telemarketing calls. According to the article, there are many exceptions:

For instance, charities can still call, which translates to a lot of organizations begging for your cash. Political parties and pollsters can continue to drum up support or canvass you for your opinions.

Newspapers get a special break, as do everyone you've done business with – banks, fitness centres, arts groups, utilities, department stores, car dealers, dress shops, credit card issuers and the guy who cleans your chimney.

Yes, you'll still get those calls from Bell Canada thanking you for using its services and wouldn't you really like to sign up for high-speed Internet right now?

And Sears and The Bay will probably try to sell you some insurance again.

If a business has an existing relationship with you – which covers a lot of territory – you can expect more reminders, notifications and friendly phone requests to come back for the next 18 months. (After 18 months those companies must stop calling unless you give permission.)

Hmmm ... that pretty well covers everyone who calls us!

Here's the FAQ and how to get on the list.

Here's more on how to get off telemarketers' lists.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Do You Use the Internet Like a Man or a Woman?




Your Surfing Habits are 60% Male, 40% Female



If we had to guess, we would guess that you are a man.

You use the internet to make your life more efficient - and to make you smarter.

For you, the internet is like a vast encyclopedia.

You search and surf extensively. You look up everything online.

Do Not Call List (DNCL)

When the phone rings at our place, neither Gord nor I jump up to answer it. Chances are it's a telemarketer.

We glance at the phone number and if we don't recognize it, we don't answer. If it's important enough, they'll leave a voice message.

The CRTC's new national DNCL takes effect tomorrow. Yay!

Here's the FAQ and how to get on the list.

Digital readers

I'd never heard of a digital reader until Ames got one a couple months ago.

With a compact and lightweight design you can take the Reader Digital Book almost anywhere. And with plenty of internal memory and a slot for optional removable memory cards, you can take hundreds of titles, user-selected Web content or other supported documents for reading on the go. It will hold approximately 160 averaged sized eBooks in internal memory and hundreds more with optional removable memory cards.

They were tested out at yesterday's Word on the Street book and magazine festival. There's an article about it in today's Toronto Sun.

You know I love love love to read. Though handy, I don't know if I would like a digital reader. As the article says, there's nothing more "magic" as the printed page. But I said I'd never switch to a digital camera either and now I have two.

Would you considering using one?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hiking to Hilton Falls

Gord and I went for a hike this afternoon on one of the trails in the Hilton Falls Conservation Area, about an hour NW of us.

It was a Singles Horizons event. There were about 20 of us and some of us brought our dogs (we brought KC). KC had a great time ... there was lots for her to sniff!

We did the Hilton Falls Trail, which is 4km.


There is a lovely waterfall along the way where we stopped for a half hour. You have to walk over some rocks to get to the staircase to get down to it but it's worth it!

Gord

KC

Gord went behind the Falls ... can you see him?

What's left of the sawmill from the 1800s

The water that flows by the old sawmill, next to the Falls

We climbed back up above the Falls ... here's looking down.

KC and Gord

Walking back ...


At the end of the trail, looking across at the Niagara Escarpment.


LeeAnn, the owner of Single Horizons, had lunch waiting for us ... sandwiches, salads, fruit and cookies!

Teena and LeeAnn

Back in the city!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Book ~ "Publish and Prosper: Blogging for Your Business" (2006) DL Byron and Steve Broback

From Amazon.com ~ While personal blogs take up much of the blogosphere, blogs are quickly gaining popularity in business as an inexpensive and amazingly effective marketing tool. It’s time for a practical book about business blogging: this is the first book to demonstrate how businesses are blogging and how you can use blogging technology to converse with your customers to build your brand and sell your products.

Written from the business person/designer’s perspectives, this book shows how businesses can leverage current, real-world blogging techniques, tools, and platforms to promote and enhance their ventures. The key idea is that the conversation with your market is stronger and more meaningful with a blog. Filled with practical information and a how-to approach, this book provides case studies of companies as large as Boeing or General Motors and as small as Clip-’n-seal. Readers will learn about the types of business blogs, how companies use blogs, how to sell blogs to management and IT, effective blog design, content, and conversation, pitfalls to avoid, how to develop Web presence, and more.

I find blogging and the Internet and how they are fitting into businesses today very interesting.

This was an excellent book! It doesn't really start way back with the basics but if you are a beginner, you wouldn't be lost.

Lots of good info along with examples and links.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I don't heart cyclists

I'm not a fan of cyclists.

I know they aren't all bad ... but it's these bad ones who have turned me against all cyclists.

I think it's fabulous they are helping the environment and their health ... but why can't they obey the rules?

For the most part, they don't stop at red lights/stop signs. They ride on the sidewalk and then yell at people because they are in their way. The list goes on and on and on.

We have a car but I drive very little. Can someone explain to me why a cyclist needs to have half of my lane ahead of me? I can't get around him and I don't want to hit him. But he gets pissed at me when I honk my horn asking him to get out of my way.

I used to be open about cyclists ... honestly ... until a month ago.

I was waiting for the streetcar, heading into town for a Jays game. My streetcar stopped for me. I started crossing from the sidewalk. I saw the cyclist coming and assumed he'd stop since I had the right-of-way.

Nope!

He whipped right past me, yelled at me to get out of HIS way and called me a "F-ing ugly C" (yes, the "C" word!).

Nice!

That's when I lost my compassion for cyclists. That very second!

What's causing me to rant about cyclists first thing this morning?

There's an article in this morning's Toronto Star called Sometimes biking is just the ticket - to the tune of $110. The cyclist didn't come to a full stop and a cop gave him a $110 fine. He doesn't feel he's in the wrong and is fighting it.

I say it's about time!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Online time growing in Canadians' daily lives

Yet people still loyal to traditional media, likely finding less time for outings, socializing

Techno-savvy Canadians are spending an increasing amount of their time online, but not necessarily at the expense of watching television, reading newspapers or other forms of so-called "traditional media."

That was among the findings of a wide-ranging survey on Internet usage in Canada released yesterday by the Canadian Internet Project, a research consortium funded by both government and private sector partners.

While the study found that Canadians are increasingly living in a Web-centric world, it failed to find a link between a 10 per cent decline in people's consumption of traditional media sources – namely television – between 2007 and 2004 and a simultaneous 30 per cent increase in time spent in front of a computer screen.

Instead, the national survey of over 3,000 people conducted last year found that consumption of traditional media has fallen more or less equally among Internet users and non-users since the project collected data in 2004.

Interesting article in today's Toronto Sun ... you can read the rest of it here.

Here are some stats for you from that article:

* 95% - the % of Canadian Internet users who use email
* 78% - the level of Internet penetration in Canadian in 2007
* 51% - the % of Canada's most elderly population (60 years and older) who are online
* 40% - % of Canadians who use the Internet 15 hours or more each week
* 80% - Canadian males online
* 77% - Canadian females online
* 30% - Canadians who use wireless devises
* 12% - Canadians who have never used the Internet

I'm not surprised that almost half of Canada uses the Internet 15 hours or more. I'm on it waaaaaaaaay more than that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Book ~ "The IT Girl's Guide to Blogging with Moxie" (2007) Joelle Reeder and Katherine Scoleri

From Amazon.com ~ Want to break into blogging but don’t know where to start? Dynamic duo Joelle Reeder and Katherine Scoleri of The Moxie Girls show you how to start your first blog, polish your prose, get involved in blogging communities, make sense of RSS feeds, podcasts, photos and more — all with fun, humor and attitude!

Inside you will find the need-to-know info to get your blog noticed: How to choose the right blogging platform or content management tool, select a web host, dress up your blog, manage blog content and keep your privates private! When you are ready for more, The Moxie Girls will treat you to insider dish on blog etiquette, analyzing blog traffic, blogging for business, creating podcasts and adding bling to your blog with plugins, add-ons and more. Throw in the refreshing cocktails, beauty tips and gossip with the Girls at the end of each chapter and you’ll be Blogging with Moxie in no time. So, what are you waiting for?

The IT Girl’s Guide to Blogging With Moxie is packed with the content you need wrapped in casual, engaging dialog and a cheeky, bite-sized format.

Yes, it's another book about blogging but this one is written in a fun and lively style geared towards women.

Lots of excellent information is covered, along with many many helpful links.

If you are new to blogging or looking to get some new and fresh ideas, you should check out this book.

The easy way out?

I'm always lamenting about my never ending battle to eat better and lose weight.

Though I usually don't mind exercising, I like to eat and have a beer, a glass of wine or a dark rum/Diet Coke on occasion. And that doesn't help with weight loss!

It's a hard battle that keeps getting tougher the older I get.

Wouldn't it be nice to go to sleep one night and wake up skinny? Where's that magic pill?!

Or if I could afford it, what about plastic surgery?

Here's what I might get done:

Facelift: Sagging skin on the face and neck can be frustrating and make people look older.

Eyelift (eyelid lift or blepharoplasty): Both the upper and lower eyelids can sometimes droop or appear puffy, making people look older or tired.

Browlift (forehead lift): Sometimes the eyebrows and forehead can hang low on the face. This can make people look tired or angry.

Rhinoplasty (nose surgery or nose reshaping): Some people are unhappy with the shape or size of their noses.

Breast Lift (mastopexy): Sagging breasts often occur after pregnancy, with weight loss, or with aging.

Liposuction: This is the most common plastic surgery procedure.

Tummy Tuck (abdominoplasty): For people who have excess skin and fat of the abdomen, or who have had babies, or have lost a lot of weight, tummy tuck can provide a new shape to the mid-section.

Botox Cosmetic: This treatment can remove wrinkles in treatments that last only minutes, but can take years off facial appearance.

Restylane, Sculptra and Other Injectible Fillers: These skin fillers can help remove lines and wrinkles, sometimes even those that are very deep.

Man, would that cost me a lot of money! Ha!

But if I had that kind of money, I would go to a Los Angeles plastic surgeon where all the actresses go! That's me sitting along side Meg Ryan or Nicole Kidman!

I wonder how much cheaper Toronto cosmetic surgery is than Los Angeles cosmetic surgery?! Hmmmmm ...

Nah, I'm too chicken to do it!

If money was no object, would you have plastic surgery? And if so, what would you have done?

Gusto Trip Planner

I love to travel so thought this website was really cool!

Gusto is a web site for people who love travel, built by people who love travel. But Gusto is more than that. It's also an online community of folks who are passionate about where they're going and where they've been. At Gusto, you'll find tools that make planning travel simple and fun, including our latest tool, the Gusto Trip Planner. The Trip Planner uses your travel preferences, along with expert tips and traveler reviews, to help you plan the perfect vacation. You can use the quick planner feature to have an itinerary built for you based on your interests and preferences. You can build a trip by theme, choosing from action/adventure, romantic, history buff, family time, shop 'til you drop, local culture and more. You can build a trip yourself by browsing through our destination information. Or you can choose a complete dream trip itinerary created by an expert or a fellow traveler. Travel planning on your terms — that's what Gusto is all about!

To try it out, I chose Toronto as my destination.

From there I selected the adventure "trip theme".

There were lots of suggestions provided like Canada's Wonderland, CN Tower, etc. along with links and prices.

Very cool!

So it you are planning on travel or just want to discover your own city, check out Gusto!

Half of Canadians over 60 online, study finds

Older Canadians are being drawn to the Internet in unexpectedly large numbers, according to a new study of online use across the country.

The latest report by the Canadian Internet Project suggests that 51 per cent of Canadians aged 60 and older are online users – a higher rate than Web use by all ages in many other countries.


Interesting article in today's Toronto Star ... you can read it here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What Kind of Bagel Are You?




You Are a Cinnamon Raisin Bagel



You are warm, loving, and genuinely selfless.

You enjoy comforting other people, and you easily fall into the roll of caretaker.

Of all the types, you're the most likely to be an excellent cook.

You tend to have something delicious for breakfast that you've cooked up for everyone.



I love toasted bagels, but just lightly toasted. Just enough to give it a bit of crunch but it's warm and chewy on the inside.

Cinnamon raisin ones are tasty ... my fav is sesame.

Monday, September 22, 2008

What Your Socks Say About You



What Your Socks Say About You



You Are:

- Quite dazzling

- A lively person

- Known as exciting

- Warm and open

We're too dumb to date!

In the latest More magazine, there is an article an about IntelligentPeople.com, an online dating site that requires members to pass an IQ test.

IntelligentPeople.com is a new online dating and networking community exclusively for intelligent people.

IntelligentPeople.com offers you the opportunity to meet and form relationships with people who, like you, have an IQ higher than the average person.

To become a member, you will have to pass the IQ test required for admission. Click here to take the IQ test now and join IntelligentPeople.com for free.

I had to know, if I was single, if I was worthy enough to join.

Gord and I just did the quiz together (just 18 questions ... a minute per question).

Here's message we got:

IQ Test Result
Sorry, you did not pass the IntelligentPeople.com IQ test.
If this was your first attempt, you have the opportunity to sign up again and have one more attempt to become a member. You cannot take the IQ test more than twice. Thank you for your interest.

Are you worthy enough to join?

Book ~ "I'm on LinkedIn -- Now What???" (2007) Jason Alba

From Amazon ~ I'm on LinkedIn -- Now What??? is a book designed to help you get the most out this popular business networking site. With over 12 million members, there is a lot of potential to find and develop relationships to help in your business and personal life, but many professionals find themselves wondering what to do once they signup. This book explains the different benefits of the system and recommends best practices so that you can get the most out of LinkedIn.

I signed onto LinkedIn last year but haven't really done anything with it.

This book was an excellent guide on not only how to use but also why to use LinkedIn.

And there are some great link and book recommendations, along with an accompanying website.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Book ~ "Design to Sell" (2006) Roger C. Parker

From Amazon ~ Not a designer? Don't have a big marketing budget? Now you can design effective marketing materials yourself with this guide written by best-selling author and design expert Roger C. Parker. This one-stop guide to marketing gives you the basics for creating effective messages and step-by-step instruction for using Publisher 2003 to design compelling, easy-to-read marketing materials that deliver your message successfully. Even if you're not a designer or you have no marketing experience, you'll get expert advice and learn how to:

- Develop a market empathy, think like your market and solve their problems using their language
- Format your message so it's attractive and easy to read by taking a crash course in graphic design
- Save time and money by using Publisher to create several different types of effective marketing pieces including postcards to promote your business and newsletters that keep you in touch with your customers
- Use techniques for quickly harnessing powerful Publisher capabilities
- Do it right from the start and avoid common pitfalls and design mistakes

Each chapter includes an interactive exercise as well as review questions with answers on the author's companion Web site. Also on the Web site are downloadable worksheets and templates, more illustrations of the projects in the book, additional before-and-after project makeovers, and other resources.

I like checking out books like this.

I usually pick up new ways of doing things and get fresh tips. Or reminders of how I should be doing things but have gotten lazy.

It's not just a "how-to" book on using Publisher ... there are some chapters on how to use parts of it. It's also basics about designing newsletters, postcards, etc.

It's worth checking out .. and the website has lots of great info too!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Are you more dog than cat?

I saw this over at Lady Banana's so stole borrowed it:



You Are: 70% Dog, 30% Cat



You and dogs definitely have a lot in common.

You're both goofy, happy, and content with the small things in life.

However, you're definitely not as needy as the average dog. You need your down time occasionally.

Free book!

Who wants a free book?!

"IN THE BEGINNING, there was the pie. The pie was without form and texture (and any manner of identifiable filling), and darkness was upon the face of the Home Ec Teacher …"

So begins the story of two girls, a friendship, and a pie. JUMBLE PIE, to be exact. A Home Ec project gone very wrong, except for the fact that it brings together two very different young girls and helps them form a friendship that lasts through bad haircuts, unrequited love, endless incarnations of Madonna, and their own evolving dreams ... Until New Year's Eve 1999, when another pie comes along, resulting in a pre-party blow-up that sets Juliet and Emily, women now, to remembering how it all got started.

Author Melanie Lynne Hauser will send you an ecopy of her book ... and all you have to do is ask for it here! I did!

Click here to read why she's giving it away. It's worth reading how the publishing business works!

Condo 101 course

I spent this morning in a course called Condo 101 put on the the Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI).

The course will provide participants with a basic knowledge of the Condominium Act, 1998 and is an excellent means to find out what you need to know to be effective as a Condominium Owner or Director.

The course will be especially useful for those interested in purchasing a condominium or who want to know what a condominium is and what it means to live in one.

I'm the president of our condo board (I've been on the board since 2002). I found there was a lot of good information. Presenting were an auditor, engineer, lawyer and property manager.

If you are in the GTA and on your condo board, you should definitely check it out!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Would You Make a Good Pirate?




You Are 30% Pirate



Ahoy matey! Ye can think o' yerself as a swashbuckler in trainin'.

If ye study hard an 'do what the captain tells ye, ye may be gettin' part o' the booty.

Get to work on yer pillagin', swordfightin', an' drinkin'.

Ye dasn't want to end up in Davy Jones' locker, so make sure ye pipe down when the captain be around.

Book ~ "Down the Coaltown Road" (2002) Sheldon Currie

From Chapters ~ Set in a small coal mining town in Cape Breton at the beginning of World War II, and against the backdrop of labour unrest in the coal mines, Down the Coaltown Road dramatizes a significant but almost forgotten event in Canadian history. After Mussolini took Italy into the war on the side of Hitler in June 1940, able-bodied Italian men were rounded up and interned in camps, some for as long as three years. Most of them had worked in the coal mines. Their families were left without income, and suffered the usual hostility and abuse that accompanies such episodes. In Coaltown, that drama plays out among a cast of memorable and finely wrought characters.

The police come to take Tomassio. But Tomassio's arms, strengthened by fifteen years of loading coal with a pan shovel, fling off the officer and he bolts. This act has far-reaching consequences for everyone in Coaltown: for his wife, Anna, who learned in Italy at an early age how to get what she needs from a man; for his son Gelo, who suddenly is the man of the family; for his lover Cathy, who had renounced one family for her husband and risked losing another for Tomassio; for his enemy and Cathy's husband Ump, a brash and bigoted man; and for his friend Big Jim McMahon, who stood up for him against an angry mob.

As the social fabric of Coaltown strains and rends, it falls to Father Rod MacDonald - who lost an eye, but not his faith, in the war - to mend the pieces and transform individual acts of contrition into acts of redemption.

Remember when Gord and I saw the play Lauchie, Liza and Rory in August, which was written by a former prof of mine, Sheldon Currie? And Sheldon was in the audience and I said hello?

Shortly after that I got an email from Sheldon ... he must have searched and found the post about the play on my blog. He offered to send me a copy of this book. It arrived on Tuesday.

I enjoyed this book. It was an interesting story and I cared about the characters who are not flawless.

I spent my high school years in Sydney River, not far from where this story takes place so recognized most of the places. And it was fun to read and remember the expressions that only a Cape Breton uses.

So would I recommend this book? Yes!

Mac and Dad

KC and I just took a stroll around the CAMH grounds.

We came across Mac, a seven-year-old Pointer, and his dad cuddling on the grass. Too cute!


Alas, KC isn't a cuddler.

TypeRacer

Wanna improve your typing speed AND kick some butt?

Then check out TypeRacer!

So what do you have to do? Just type. You can either practice by yourself to improve your time or race against friends and other users to see who's the fastest typer.

Go ahead, play a few games and start reducing your time spent typing!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Shady Nook Crafts Candles

Remember all those votive candles I bought last winter? 144 in total.

I ran out a couple weeks ago.

Panic!

I found Shady Nook Crafts on ebay who was selling tarts at excellent prices with lots of variety of scents. And they will be mailed to you.

So I bought some ... enough to last me for a while.

So far I've used butterscotch and citrus (that's what's going right now). They have a strong scent and smell great!

So if you are looking for candles, tarts, etc., check them out (though they are cheaper on ebay).