Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Do I need a "press pass" for my website and how do I get one? Pt III


In my search for obtaining a "press pass" several suggested I look into

The South Carolina Press Association

The SC Press Association only recognizes print and television media; not online news sources.

The SC Press Association also charges exorbitant fees to join and charges even more to create "press passes" - they even charge for the lanyard!

I've also found it rather ironic that The Pickens Sentinel (a local news source I would sorta kinda consider a competitor) posted this article from Bill Rogers; the Executive Director of the SC Press Association, within a few days of my first part of this series:

Newspapers A Vital Part Of The Community

In, this piece, the head of the SC Press Association is essentially deriding online news with bogus statistics and a case study done in Darlington, SC. It's almost comical in it's "1 apple + 1 orange = 2 apples" line of thinking.

I also looked into The Media Blogger's Association. I was once a part of this organization for this blog; being an honorary inductee. It seems as though they haven't updated their site in a long time and it's very spotty when it is updated. (It's essentially a side project for its founders.) Joining requires a somewhat bogus course in "legal action against bloggers" and a fee. I'm also not sure how credible you'd be seen by someone recognizing credentials at an entrance or "press gate". The name itself instantly brands you as a "blogger".

One worthwhile organization to be a part of is the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The EFF was crucial to me in a legal matter that I faced with FIXYOURTHINKING.COM. Membership costs "whatever you want to donate". They do good work in protecting "online journalism and blogging". They are somewhat controversial though and I'm certainly not for ALL of their projects. Once joined, you may want to put their logo on a press pass and put  "Member" under it. Something like what you see.

By far the most creative and simply functional "Press Pass" I've seen recently is that of a local freelancer named Vince Jackson. Vince freelances for The Anderson Independent and typically covers Pickens County "taxpayer" related news. I've found him at most political events I've attended. He's a great writer with thorough detail. He's also well respected in his relations with the public. He's one of the few local journalists that has a personality.

His answer to a press pass is a business card with the word "PRESS" on it. It also has his name, email and phone number.
Private information blurred
I met Vince at a recent event and told him I was about to "publish" the story behind his card in relation to this story. He gave me some interesting additions ...

Vince said, "You are who YOU say you are and if you act the part. If a guy hands you a business card, that's who he is. Well, that's who I am."

He also added this anecdote; asking if I had ever watched The Three Stooges very much.

I nodded "yes" and he explained one episode where the Stooges wanted to get into an event, but didn't have the money for admission. As they walked away from the ballpark, they saw a vending machine that had buttons on it that said, "PRESS". They removed the buttons from the machine, placed them on their hats and tied some broom handles together to look like tripods and went up to the gate ... pointed to their hats and were let in.

He said that's where he got the idea of the business card. Clever!

So I created my own ... with email and phone number on the reverse side ...


Lastly, I've been covering political campaigns pretty heavily. I've made sure one campaign has seen me and heard from me throughout their run for office. While I'm not expecting a return favor from this candidate - I do hope that when the Presidential race starts up in the summer that they might be able to pull a few strings to get me an interview with a pretty popular candidate.

So, do I need a press pass?

It depends.

Read parts I & II of this series:

Do I need a "press pass" for my website and how do I get one?

Do I need a "press pass" for my website and how do I get one? Pt II

Monday, October 04, 2010

Do I need a "press pass" for my website and how do I get one? Pt II

I hate the term "blogger" and the term "blog".

It almost seems as if these terms are used to instantly discredit or put a writer into an inferior category of journalism; much like terms in the past such as "black" or "female" have been used.

In Part I of this series I mentioned …

"Many errantly think that a journalist or reporter has to somehow be qualified or certified or even has to be associated with a traditional media outlet like a TV or radio station or a newspaper."

Well, in the case of the South Carolina Press Association - this is true. You DO HAVE TO be associated with a "popularly circulated print or television news source" to be accepted. You also must pay an annual dues based on circulation or viewers. (Your State may have such an entity as a Press Association and their acceptance may differ.) I would not recommend going this route or pursuing anything with a Press Association, unless they have a specific BUT EQUAL acceptance of bloggers or websites.

So, if I can't get a "statewide" or "national" press pass - I have to go more local.

I first started with my local high school.

lf you are going to "micro-blog" or report on "local" news such as I'm doing with my site - one area of coverage is going to have to be the local school system. I try to cover as much as I can about the local High School and a little of the Middle School and Elementary School news in my hometown of Liberty, South Carolina.

I contacted the Communications Director for the school district. This is the person that typically handles "media contact" for the school district in which I live. This is what you should ask for in your efforts ~ Communications Director or "Media Contact".

My School District Communications Director stated that obtaining a "press pass" would most likely have to be a "school choice", but she would investigate opportunities for me.

So, I then placed a call to the principal of the local High School. The principal, whom I happen to know reasonably well, was happy to set up an appointment and essentially make me a Student ID with the ID badge system at the school.

(It also helps that I'm a school volunteer and have been SLED checked and volunteer trained.)

Here's what they decided on for the looks of my press pass for school events.



Obviously, I will have to renew this pass in 2012.

When I first started this website last September, throughout my first months of posting, I introduced myself to local officials - the Mayor and City Council at a City Council meeting and to County government at a County Council Meeting. This was opportune as the local papers cover both of these events as well. The "reporters" covering these local events were introduced to my website and my style ~ a local reporter, but also an active participant in the community.

I attended the Pickens County Delegation meeting in January of this year to introduce myself and my website to State government (area Representatives & Senators). At this meeting I asked State politicians to address three issues that faced Liberty residents. All three issues were resolved and I was able to report about it ~ gaining readers and respect.

I then attended a Senator forum with SC Federal Congressional Senator Lindsey Graham. I waited until afterward and introduced myself personally and handed his aid my business card and told him I would report about the forum on my website.

Coincidentally, I have friended every politician I can think of for my district on FaceBook and Twitter; both Democrat and Republican. I've also friended State and Federal politician and government agencies. Most, if not all of these politicians and agencies have not just followed me but recognized me and ATLIBERTYTOSAY.COM as a "news source". A few certain politicians read the site every day. Jeff Duncan, who is running for House Of Representatives in the 3rd District (covering Liberty), has given me specific time and invited me specifically or exclusively to events.

The Mayor Of Liberty, Brian Deese, seems to acknowledge my presence at City events and encourage me to report.

Most County and State politicians (at least the ones I care to associate with or report about) recognize me now and seek me out to chit chat a bit and I likewise seek them out to shake hands or get a few comments. A few recognize me first for questioning or in line with other reporters.

Over the past year, I've been friending local residents on Facebook and Twitter. Many of these "friends" are now contributing regularly to content and ask questions that develop easily into stories and investigations. When they see me at events (usually with an ATLIBERTYTOSAY.COM) T-Shirt on - they know why I'm there. A few are even happy to see "the man behind the words".

Although I doubt I'd get credit for such efforts - my City's Police Department, Fire Department, and City Government have better websites and each has a Twitter account to inform local residents. This, in turn, has assisted me in reporting to my readers. If I'm covering a story where these officials are, they know why I'm there.

As for the major news outlets, I've broken a number of stories for the Liberty area since beginning the site. WSPA TV Channel 7's Amy Wood has taken notice of a few stories.

My mission has been to be at the local events that news outlets are at, letting them see me, and allowing me to see them. I plan to more formally introduce myself to local media at an event later this year ~ I just wanted to get some experience and notoriety under my belt first. The site is well built out now and has a lot of great information.

I hate to visit a site that looks like it was just started a day, a week, or a month ago.

Your mission may differ from mine. You may like to be less personal ~ I like to be involved in my community. I am faithful to the phrase, "Knowledge is power." As I discover information, I like to share. I don't want to be seen as a journalist or a blogger. I want to be seen as the guy who knows things - the guy you can come to for answers and information.

As I have typed this, I've discovered the next thing I need in order to obtain a press pass; a broader, more general mission statement and the trust of my community. I have yet to visit a website of a major news outlet and not see "haters". Hateful comments that are directed at the editors and reporters are posted all over the websites of The Greenville News, The Anderson Independent, and the local TV news sites. National media outlets (like CNN, NBC, and CBS) are considered to be biased and are attacked regularly and stereotypically under the moniker of "the liberal media". Fox News is on the opposite end of the vitriol towards media.

The new mission statement:
I am an observer and I desire to be a reporter for all things Liberty. I want to share with my community. I want to know Liberty, South Carolina and I want to give back everything I learn. My mission is to share the news of Liberty. My mission is to live up to Liberty's welcome signs, "Where neighbors become friends."
Now … onto gaining that respect …

Part III:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Do I need a "press pass" for my website and how do I get one?


Here's a repost from my local news website ATLIBERTYTOSAY.COM that I thought more of my FIXYOURTHINKING.COM readers would enjoy ...

Do I need a "press pass" for my website and how do I get one?

I finally had to ask myself that question. As my website has grown from about 200-300 visitors a day to well over 3000 a day - I've started to realize that more and more people are actually turning to ATLIBERTYTOSAY.COM for news. 

In turn, I've started to deliver more. I also have regular contributors now and regular readers asking questions that develop into stories. I've realized that other news sources are starting to aggregate the news I post here - like WSPA Channel 7.

A few days back, I realized that this site was so popular that it merited a major retraction when I copied some errant information from the Pickens County School District website.




_______________________


As I began to think of what I needed a press pass for, I had to ask those that would "be accepting them for admission" what I would need as credentials.

Many that I've asked are stumped. They've never thought of the question as no one has had to ask. They merely accept the facts, News 4 is News 4, The Greenville News is The Greenville News. 

Some thoughts I've had run through my head are to just wear a News Channel 7 hat and golf shirt (which I have) and walk up to the gate with a picture ID clipped to my waist. But, that would be dishonest! I desire credibility and recognition ~ something that's hard to do (by perception) when you're not attached to a multimillion dollar organization.

Many errantly think that a journalist or reporter has to somehow have graduated from journalism school, be qualified or certified, or even has to be associated with a traditional media outlet like a TV or radio station or a newspaper.


The thing is, there is no qualification! Sure, a journalism degree helps. Sure a big Channel 4 or News Channel 7 hat or shirt "looks" like you qualify ~ but it doesn't distinguish one person from another. NBC or CNN logos help. But, in the end, they are just logos. 


With some, these logos have bad connotations. FoxNews, for instance, has a reputation amongst conservative republicans as trustworthy, but warmongering amongst democrats. I suppose one might want to becareful what their website or blog "logo" looks like - at least by perception.



_______________________


One person I've noticed that isn't from a traditional media source is Bobby Rettew. I graduated from Daniel High School with Bobby. He and I made roughly the same grades as far as I remember.

He went to Clemson and graduated in Mathematical Science and Communications. He runs a website that's well known for social media interaction. He's an Apple Computer user. 

Bobby Rettew
I never knew Bobby to be a writer. I did see him working before his current gig at a media company in Greenville on several occasions.

I audited a few classes at the University Of Georgia Grady School Of Journalism ~ known pretty well for their annual Peabody Award. I worked at a local radio station for a few months and I have worked for Apple Computer.

I've always been a writer. I've written in a personal journal since I was 10. I also won several writing awards while in school.

If legal analyst's blogs are to be believed, I personally secured "blogging as journalism" in some landmark litigation that I was a part of.

Bobby's presence exudes media ~ he carries around an expensive DV camera. Sometimes, when I've seen him covering an event, I've seen him in a multi-pocketed tan vest holding a tripod ~ the stereotypical presence of a photographer.

I do not exude media - I carry my iPhone and I wear normal, semi conservative clothes - usually a T-Shirt and shorts in the summer or a black mock turtleneck and jeans in the winter.

One thing is common to both of us though - we both ARE our work - we both fit the part. You would think Bobby reports and records and photographs for his company BobbyRettewLLC, just as much as you'd think my "looks and personality" and "equipment" matches my style of reporting on ATLIBERTYTOSAY.COM.

Bobby is a recorder. Bobby is great at what he does and he garners the respect he desires quickly. He's also earned a lot of accolades ~ one being that he filmed all the overhead shots of Greenville's "Get Google Broadband" efforts from a helicopter. Something, which is undisputed, an awesome effort and amazing job.

I'm an observer. I like to share my thoughts and opinions with others ~ hoping they become educated as I did while researching ~ even while I typed.

As I have typed this, I have discovered the first thing I need in order to obtain a press pass; a mission statement. It needs to be published and distributed to the School District, Local, County, and State Government, the major news outlets, and to the major local churches. Each of these is important and I'll explain why in Part II of this series.

Here is the ATLIBERTYTOSAY.COM mission statement:
My name is Philip Smith. I have lived in the Upstate of South Carolina since I was 4 1/2. I have always been an observer, but more so a participator. I have always enjoyed writing. I received my first "honor" writing a series of short stories that my friends in 2nd grade would literally beg me to deliver to them each week. I won a robot and a microwave in a national essay contest in 4th grade. I won the Ben Robertson Essay contest in 5th grade. I have kept a lengthy daily journal since I was 10. My family, originating in Liberty, South Carolina has a history of great writers. Ben Robertson, a cousin of mine, is famous for writing Red Hills and Cotton.  Red Hills and Cotton covers observations of the Old South. Ben Robertson was also a journalist and "southern reporter" for The New York Times. I am an observer and I desire to be a reporter for all things Liberty. I want to share with my community. I want to know Liberty South Carolina and I want to give back everything I learn. My mission is to share the news of Liberty. My mission is to live up to Liberty's welcome signs, "Where neighbors become friends."

With all this said, and mission statement written, I think I will make this entire article about the "journey of obtaining a press pass" a broader mission statement.

Part II:

http://www.fixyourthinking.com/2010/10/do-i-need-press-pass-for-my-website-and.html

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Have A 2Wire Wireless Gateway DSL Modem From AT&T And It Started Sending Me To https://pattcwprt.att.motive.com/100.html - Claiming To Be An AT&T Password Reset Tool

AT&T 2Wire Wireless Gateway Model 2701HG-B

This router can be accessed by going to:

http://192.168.1.254

or

gateway.2wire.net

... in your browser.

Over the weekend ... I had a 2Wire Wireless Gateway DSL Modem from AT&Tsuddenly sending me to

https://pattcwprt.att.motive.com/100.html

Which purports to be a "Password Reset Assistance" page.

Well, it is - even though it seems very suspicious.

On Friday, I had to have my modem rest after a recent outage in my area for AT&T DSL.

I had done everything I knew to do myself before calling AT&T technical support.

Apparently, AT&T "reapportioned" my 2Wire modem - when they do this - sometimes the network doesn't remember your NETWORK PASSWORD - a password that is different from your personal password or system password. In fact, it's a number you probably don't even know until you have a problem like this.


My Mac (a Black 2.4Ghz Black Intel MacBook) is completely up to date with Mac OS 10.6.4 Snow Leopard and Safari 5.0.1 - apparently AT&T's password reset system doesn't recognize either as a compatible means to access their "Password Reset Tool" - as it asks that you access this page with Safari 1.3.2 or higher.

The only way I was able to access this page was to use an older iMac with Tiger (mac OS 10.4) and an older version of Safari on it.

Once I launched Safari on the iMac, I went right through all the steps to rest my "AT&T Network Password".

So ... to sum up ... I couldn't find ANY information anywhere on the net on how to reset the "Network Password" and AT&T Customer service was of a no help at all - although all were friendly.

Monday, July 19, 2010

No Other Phones Have The "Antenna Issue"

Copied & Pasted from the new DroidX manual (also in the Droid Eris manual):

Your device has an internal antenna. This product should be operated in its normal-use position to ensure the radiative performance and safety of the interference. As with other mobile radio transmitting equipment, users are advised that for satisfactory operation of the equipment and for the safety of personnel, it is recommended that no part of the human body be allowed to come too close to the antenna during operation of the equipment.


AND

To assure optimal phone performance and ensure human exposure to RF energy is within the guidelines set forth in the relevant standards, always use your device only in its normal-use position. Contact with the antenna area may impair call quality and cause your device to operate at a higher power level than needed. Avoiding contact with the antenna area when the phone is IN USE optimizes the antenna performance and the battery life.


Don't believe me?

http://member.america.htc.com/download/Web_materials/Manual/DROID_ERIS_Verizon/DROID_ERIS_Verizon_English_UM_11_5.pdf

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Movie Review: Inception



Inception is my kind of movie … something that makes you think throughout. It also is somewhat educational. Throughout my life I have always tried to control my dreams. The movie's plot briefly and simply describes how one goes about creating a dream, populating a dream with people and ideas, and then controlling the aspects of that dream.

The plot of Inception revolves around controlling other's dreams in order to suggest ideas in reality. Leonardo DiCaprio's character "Cobb" must plant an idea in someone's head - if he can succeed he's promised the freedom to return home to his children. He assembles a team to enter the dreams of a wealthy heir to a global industrial empire.

I'd rate this movie a 9 out 10 and a must see in movie theaters for the full effect. If you like the thriller and suspense genre - you'll love this movie.

From Webster's Dictionary:

inception (as in "origin") n. : an event that is a beginning; a first part or stage of subsequent events

The Apple "iPhone 4 Signal Loss" Press Conference



Provided below is a link to the Steve Jobs (and crew @ Apple) talk on the iPhone 4 signal issue ... It also explains the process to get a free bumper.

My take on this issue ...

1) All iPhones have had this problem - one of my Nokias (that I still use as a back up) has this issue

2) This is a rather common problem with cellphones ... "where you hold it" ... but the iPhone has a particular spot that is "made worse" by the touch of your skin.

3) Methinks Verizon has stepped into the role of Creative (an old Apple iPod rival) ... at ANY chance they are PLANTING FUD into the media - even going as far as making things up like "what anonymous Apple engineers have said".

4) A case (mine is made by a company called Rocketfish) did help my signal "issues" greatly as did the update to the iPhone OS (OS4.0.1)

You can see the press conference here:

http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/100716iab73asc/event/index.html

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Mel Gibson Case ...

About 70% of the traffic for this site centers around my recording phone call laws reference ...

An item of interest to me has been the recent Mel Gibson case where his "Mistress" girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva has apparently recorded multiple phone conversations between herself and Gibson and given them to the media.

From what I'm able to see from research, Grigorieva is a naturalized American citizen residing in Los Angeles, while Gibson is an American born (but Australian raised) U.S. Citizen who has residences in multiple states and countries but claims Malibu California as his primary residence.

This is the California law regarding telephone conversation recording ...

California

Although California is a two-party state, it is legal to record a conversation if you include a beep on the recorder and for the parties to hear. This information is included with California telephone bills:

California prohibits telephone monitoring or recording, including the use of information obtained through interception unless all parties to the conversation consent (California Penal Code Sections 631 & 632). There is no statutory business telephone exception and the relevant case law all but excludes this possibility. California courts have recognized "implied" consent as being sufficient to satisfy the statute where one party has expressly agreed to the taping and the other continues the conversation after having been informed that the call is being recorded. Violation is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500, imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. A civil plaintiff may recover the greater of $3,000 or three times the amount of any actual damages sustained.



While I can't be certain that Gibson has been informed he was being recorded, the recordings by Grigorieva may be illegal.

I should note that in no way do I condone or in any way admire his outlandish uncontrollable temper, but he still has a right to a private conversation if he so wishes.

Just because he's a public figure does not make his private conversations public.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

What To Do When USB Peripherals Won't Wake From Sleep And Stop Working

I posted this on my new support site for my USB Ethernet Adapter and thought I'd share it here:

You may come across an issue with your adapter where it won't work unless you restart after being in sleep mode.

Here are some suggestions to cure this issue.

First, know that this is a common issue with ALL driver based peripherals. This sometimes includes printers, hard drives, and various other adapters.

Sometimes, unpowered adapters just don't have any juice to kickstart the USB chain's 5 volt electrical line.

Sometimes, your Mac can go into "deep sleep" mode and it's an actual issue with your Mac that cannot be remedied. Two such Macs are the iBook G4 and iMac G4 - but it's still a some do/some don't kind of issue.

Another thing you can try may sound odd, but I'll explain it ...

Go to the Bluetooth settings on your Mac in the System Preferences Control Panel ... Apple Menu/System Preferences



Click on Bluetooth ...

This window appears:



Click on (Advanced ...)

This window appears:



Check the box that says, "Allow bluetooth devices to wake this computer"

Close the Bluetooth Control Panel.

This will allow your Mac to "see" an unpowered device. The Bluetooth controller on older Macs is a part or function of the USB bus.

Another thing to try is to uncheck "Put hard disks to sleep when possible" in the Energy Saver Control Panel ...



Again, these solutions may work, they may not.

When your computer was surged or lost ethernet, other components of the Mac could have been damaged and you may not be able to prevent "deep sleep issues".

* Don't have a bluetooth control panel? Go to Applications/Utilities/Bluetooth and enable it. You do NOT have to have bluetooth capability to use this tip.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"I" don't "C" Any Activity "@" iLoad



Last night I got a comment on one of my older stories:


Anonymous said...

I actually bought an iLoad at a flea market recently for $5.00. I only bought it to get the seller to drop the price on another item I really wanted. After getting it home I tried to sync it up with my mp3 player but found it to be useless. SO... I hacked it and turned it into a mini-computer running Puppy Linux. As a matter of fact, I'm typing this message on it right now.
See the iLoad isn't totally worthless, all it needed was a screwdriver, a Dremel tool and some ingenuity and Voila' an underpowered but very cheap computer ensues.


I replied with the following:

fixyourthinking said...

Wow ... no matter how bad the product - you got a good deal. $5 is worth paying for any electronic that has a slot loading optical drive.

The unit is a mini ITX computer - there's nothing special about it all.

I did notice their site hasn't been updated in a long time and I noticed this at the bottom:

© 2005-8 iLoad, LLC, Campbell, CA 95008, All rights reserved worldwide. Patents Pending Worldwide.


Dealing with Wingspan Partners LLC is one of the worst backstabbing experiences I've ever had. I honestly hope their company is outta business like their website indicates.

[UPDATE] The websites www.iload.com and wingspaninvestmentpartnersllc.com no longer resolve.

Monday, May 17, 2010

You Could Get The Ax At Your Next IMAX Movie ...



Got a snap of this at a new IMAX theater that just opened in Greenville SC.

If only every movie theater strictly enforced all of these rules.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Do I Have To Pay Taxes On My eBay Sales? How Do I Figure It Up?

So that I could complete my 2009 record-keeping, I figured out the exact "tax record" for my eBay sales.

From the eBay help pages:

Are my eBay earnings taxable?

As a seller, you're required by law to declare and pay taxes on income from what you sell. To determine what you need to charge buyers and pay in income tax, we recommend you consult local and federal laws, or your tax professional.


Many people THINK eBay earnings aren't taxable, but they are - in every state.

Every year that I've been selling on eBay since 1997, I have included my income from eBay on my taxes.

It usually ends up being beneficial anyway because it's a significant part of my business expenses as well.

Here's how I figured up this year's taxes:

First, I called eBay.

I used the CONTACT US link and typed in "taxes".

This brought up the answer above and gave me a link to call.

YOU MUST USE THIS METHOD OF CALLING because this "link to call" will give you a "pin number" to authorize you to talk to a live representative.

I did this twice and both times I went through different cues of topics - so your mileage may vary for the "cue to live rep" step.

I finally got an eBay rep on the phone.

You'll have to explain the nature of your call.

Tell them, "To obtain tax liability information."

Here's the information you need to get and to record ...

The FIRST & LAST name of the eBay rep you are speaking to.

His/Her complete job title.

Today's DATE & TIME

Your total gross sales from January 1 to December 31 of the tax calendar year.

Your total eBay fees charged to you in that same year.

Here are what my notes look like (with amounts X'd out)

Name of Rep: Zezil XXXXXX

Time: April 29, 2010 1:38PM EST

Job Title: Customer Service Support/General Support Team @ eBay

Tax Year 2009 (gross sales): $XXXX.45

Total eBay fees: $XXX.20


(You'll have to lather, rinse, repeat with PayPal to see how many fees you paid for accepting PayPal payments or you could just figure a generic 3.25% - which is acceptable)

Total Paypal fees: $XXX.43


Next you need to subtract other costs to come up with your profit or loss:

Total USPS shipping costs: $XXXX.70

Total shipping packing supply cost: $XXX.40

Total cost of goods sold $XXXX.00


Additionally, you may have had expenses for:

Gas/Delivery

Advertising

Internet access

Customer Service correspondence

Trash disposal

Refunds/Returns

(Some of the expenses above may be covered in other areas of your Schedule C (itemized business deductions) on your taxes)

_____________________________

+/- $XXXXX.72

You are most likely going to come up with a general figure because of the itemized deductions and "other expenses" part.

Just remember that you don't pay taxes on gross sales ... it makes me wonder how many people do and how many people are NOT including their eBay income because they somehow think it's under the table or like a yard sale.

In 2001 and 2002 I taught an eBay class at Greenville Tech ... I was surprised to find out that eBay reports the incomes of anyone who sells more than $1000.00 annually to the IRS.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Steve Jobs' Open Letter About Flash

Steve Jobs has written an open letter on the Apple Website regarding Adobe's Flash web technology:

Steve Jobs: Thought On Flash


The basic topics of the letter cover:

It's not open.

The "full web.

Reliability, security and performance.

Battery life.

Touch.

One of the web's greatest hidden evils: rollovers. Rollover flash ads don't fit with the Touch interface.

Basically, Flash is built around the idea of mouse input, and would need to be "rewritten" to work well on touch devices.

Development.

If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features."

________________________________


I'd like to add my own two cents about the PC side concerning Adobe Flash:

While I have worked for many PC shops over the years to do their Mac work ... occasionally I'm asked to assist with the influx of PCs that need to be virus cleaned. The main culprits for loading viruses on PCs are Flash and infected Adobe PDFs.

And then the Mac side of things:

Since I sell my own networking device for Macs - one common question I get is how to speed up the internet. My first suggestion is always to try to avoid sites with Flash ... but if you must visit them ... download a program called Click To Flash.

From The Click To Flash description:

The advantages of ClickToFlash are numerous. Since Flash isn't loaded until you specifically ask for it, your CPU usage will stay at normal levels when browsing the web. This has tons of benefits: web browsing stays speedy, your Mac laptop won't get as hot, and your Mac's fan won't come on as often. In fact, we guarantee* that ClickToFlash will quintuple your battery life and that it will protect those precious parts of your body on which you rest your laptop!

Best of all, ClickToFlash even supports viewing all those ADORABLE meowing cat videos, annoying dog videos, and hilarious rickrolls from YouTube without using Flash at all! That's because YouTube also offers H.264 videos, which are used when viewing YouTube on the iPhone. With ClickToFlash, you get access to those same, higher quality videos.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Rare Prototype That Isn't Rare Nor A Prototype Makes Its Way Back Onto eBay



Yesterday this auction popped up on eBay:

VERY RARE PROTOTYPE Apple Interactive Television Box


In June 2008 ...

I did this story on FYT:

Is The Apple Set Top Box A Prototype Or Is It Even Rare?

The majority of the units that are availible in the United States are NOT prototypes. They were actually used "in room" at hotels at Disneyland California - roughly 5000 units were distributed. There was never ANY intention for these to be availible to consumers. Most of the "rare" jargon was written by a guy who acquired a bunch of these and wanted to sell them on eBay a few years back.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Aptera Officially Launches




Aptera Forums Reveal Official Aptera Launch


Well ... the rumors of a redesign weren't true. Yes, the car is lower to the ground than the original and it gets no where near the range of what was originally promoted ... but the Aptera HAS officially launched. Orders will start to be fulfilled according the link above.

Check out the link above for a very detailed set of pictures and part analysis.

Friday, April 09, 2010

iPhone 4.0 OS Keynote Posted On Apple's Website



http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/1004fk8d5gt/event/


I highly recommend watching ... if you're interested in all the iPad will do and new enhancements that will come to the iPhone - which should finally address any and all complaints watch the keynote from the above link ... wow!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Toe Mouse!

Very innovative design from a company called Yanko:

http://www.yankodesign.com/2010/04/07/flip-flop-mouse/



From Yanko:

Flip Flop Mouse

The Toe Mouse is especially designed for those who have upper limbs disability and cannot use their hands to move the mouse. This ergonomically designed gadget uses our natural ability to grip between the toes, for manipulating the Mouse. You need to slip it on, between the big toe and second, just as you would wear your flipflops. The sensor below the big toe acts as the left click button and the one below the second toe is the right click. I find very little flaws in this design, and going by the determined grit we have seen in handicapped people; if they can conquer pen and paint brushes without using hands, then this mouse is no big deal!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Movie Reviews: Alice In Wonderland 2010 / Clash Of The Titans 2010



Over Spring Break I saw Clash Of the Titans (2010) on opening day with my son and yesterday I finally got around to seeing Alice In Wonderland (2010). Here is my review of each:

Alice In Wonderland (2010)

Alice In Wonderland (2010) is directed by Tim Burton, starring the only lead that is in a Tim Burton movie; Johnny Depp. I love Depp as an actor but he's become very constrained in the worlds of Burton. He's played so many diverse, can I say, weirdos in various movies that he's basically tapped out his talents. Depp's version of the Mad Hatter is a mish mash of his other roles as captain Jack Sparrow, Willy Wonka, and Edward Scissorhands - this may be on purpose somewhat - after all the Mad Hatter is mad and I suppose they wanted to portray him as having multiple personalities. The role just doesn't come off well and the make up in my opinion isn't convincing - it's just oddball.

If you've seen the Peter Pan (remake/update) Hook with Robin Williams then you've seen this movie. The plot is VERY weak - essentially making Alice forget her previous journey to Wonderland and rediscovering her past by reliving it in a similar way. Only this time, as a grown up, Alice can do the things she didn't in the "animated" version - such as slay the Jabberwocky.

I wasn't interested in this movie as I watched - I'm admittedly not a fan of the Alice In Wonderland tale. The imagery is frightening as is all of Burton's creations. I would in no way recommend this movie for your children.

Clash Of The Titans (2010)

I was really looking forward to this update of the classic Clash Of The Titans - of which I'm a big fan. The original seemed perfect to me - making the world very true to mythology and seeming very fanciful. The original also had a very unique story that kept you interested.

The new movie is quite bad. It's effects are top notch, but the creature design isn't nearly as innovative or fascinating as the original. The story is also intentionally set up to make movie goers question the role of religion and God(s) in man's life. The only update to the story that I liked was Medusa - I thought she very terrifying - even though you don't really get to see her face.

I would single Ralph Fiennes as particularly lackluster in his role as Hades. I'm a big fan of Liam Neeson, but his role as Zeus is uninspiring. He doesn't look like Zeus or act like you'd think Zeus would.

A lot of the movie seemed to be scripted just to be different from the original, but retain enough of the original elements just to appease fans. This purposeful script deviation confuses the plot and adds unnecessary elements that only serve to make the movie 20 minutes longer than it should have been.

The only positive thing I can say about this movie was actually a negative in the original - there's a quick 5 second scene where "Bubo: The Owl" is brought out and made fun of. I cracked a smile.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Will iPads Be Unsellable?

Since my FIXYOURTHINKING regular readers have helped me out with grammar issues ...

While typing an article for my other website ATLIBERTYTOSAY.COM I stumbled on this grammar issue:

Because donated items are often unkept - they often go bad out in the weather and are unsalable. These items are carried off to the Pickens County Landfill and dumped.



The dictionary (on my Mac and my iPhone) corrected my typing from "unsellable" to "unsalable" - apparently the commonly "heard" term is "unsellable" but it's slang.

What do you say?

[UPDATE] I saw this show title on TV:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Things You'll Need To Record Phone Calls

I love maintaining this reference .... and I particularly like answering various commenter's questions.

Why???

Because I wish that all the knowledge contained was around years ago. Over the years, I've been threatened by people (including attorneys) trying to say they'd sue me if I recorded their conversations. I've also been told that I didn't understand the law. Well ... not any more. I have researched EVERY state, researched case law, consulted with attorneys, and read just about every reference I can find regarding cellphone and land line recording of conversations.

Many people I've spoken to, including my wife, wish they had known me when they had problems with an ex. Most lawyers, most police, most judges, don't know the law or interpret it incorrectly. I've found quite a few attorneys using my reference in court cases ... I even have had a judge use the reference in a ruling because it is so well documented.

From the reference:
I can record ANYTHING I wish - laws may prevent me from using this information, but it is ALWAYS up to a judge to allow ANY evidence as admissible whether obtained illegally or not. That being said ... know that a sneaky attorney could call for a mistrial because you submitted evidence improperly or illegally. Read ALL of the comments below to see where I have thoroughly discussed this scenario.

To clarify; know that one can record anything without notification - even in a 2 party state. It is a threat to use or actual use of these recorded conversations to defame, frame, or harass where these laws come in to play.
I record ALL of my calls that regard money or family. Using NON COMPUTER hardware is easier to present in court and less suspect for tampering. Plus it's just easier to use no matter how awesome the interface or the operating system on a computer. With a call recording device such as the one featured here from TELEPHONECALLRECORDER.COM you can organize all your recorded phone calls in iTunes very easily. The SleuthGear Voice D4002 has the added benefit of having a microSD slot - making archiving of your conversations even easier.

Keystroke loggers … I've been asked at least a half dozen times over the years to help retrieve AOL Instant Messenger logs from a computer of a suspected cheating spouse.

These devices aren't cheap ... but know that my hourly rate is $100+ and I'm inexpensive for a computer technician. Why not have a device that you can use in the future and keep some of the data private and keep some of the embarrassing evidence to yourself. A keystroke logger is very stealth and wont be recognized, especially on a desktop computer.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

AMC Theaters Make "No Kids Under >6 After 6" Policy

Awesome. I'd like to see Regal implement this and take it a step further. No cellphone conversations in the theater during the movie from all day to all night.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Picture Of The Facade Around The Apple Store Coming To Greenville In Haywood Mall



By the size, this obviously won't be a mini store - thank goodness. But by mall constraints - it will be the same ole same ole mall design. I'm very excited.

What Does My Cable Or Satellite Provider Pay For The Channels I Have ?

Below is a chart detailing the prices Dish Network, DirecTV, Charter Cable, Time Warner, and Comcast pay to the various networks to broadcast their stations via their service.

One common question is, "If these are the prices, how can they make the deals they do for the first six months or a year?" That's because of deals that are struck. When I worked with Charter, I discovered that the average station was a flat rate of 5¢ per channel for the first six months in cost to to them. This means that if they provided you 60 channels for $29.99 - their cost for the first six months was only $3. The next six months channel wholesale costs would move to half of their normal value. The second year, channels would cost similar to what you see below.


Via The Consumerist:



(CLICK ON CHART FOR LARGER VIEW)


One thing this chart really shows is that "a la carte pricing" where the consumer pays only for channels they want would be a much better deal. For example, ESPN, which I don't watch, would allow me to get 20+ channels in it's place.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

About Ad-blocking ...


A few weeks ago, I started a part time job working at a local PC fix it shop - hired mostly to do any Mac work that came their way, but to do most anything else too.

One highlight of this job was my perk of getting to work on my websites during any down time - the one you're reading and my local website to where I live ATLIBERTYTOSAY.COM.

One day, not having my Macbook, I asked the owner of the PC shop if I could use his computer to look at my website. I noticed that the formatting was off. I couldn't figure out why ... then he made the quip ...

"None of your ads are showing up."

I said, "Oh, why is that?"

He told me he had ad-blocking software turned on and that he hated ads.

My Google adsense ads and a few private ad contracts are honestly my ONLY motivation for keeping this site going nowadays. For my ATLIBERTYTOSAY.COM website it actually pays my bills. If you have ad blocking turned on, you take away from what Google measures as a hit on my webpage. Not even viewing ads hurts my revenue stream, without which I would not be able to make the time to update this site.

To give you some statistics:

- The "Recording Phone Calls" reference which I answer and update religiously is viewed over 5000 times monthly.

- My bluetooth headset references are viewed by over 1000 monthly

- My "As The Apple Turns" and Jack Miller stories are linked all over the web

- My "Worst Date For An Apple Tech" story has received over 100,000 hits since I wrote it

- My "Together Dating" reference and "Bidzirk" story have become major parts of litigation to protect consumers, bloggers, and constitutional rights.

Here's a poignant article summary from a website called ARS TECHNICA about the importance of advertisement:

"Ars Technica recently conducted a 12-hour experiment in which story content was hidden from users of popular ad blocking tools. Explaining the experiment, Ken Fisher appealed to Ars's readership: 'My argument is simple: blocking ads can be devastating to the sites you love. I am not making an argument that blocking ads is a form of stealing, or is immoral, or unethical, or makes someone the son of the devil. It can result in people losing their jobs, it can result in less content on any given site, and it definitely can affect the quality of content. It can also put sites into a real advertising death spin. As ad revenues go down, many sites are lured into running advertising of a truly questionable nature. We've all seen it happen. I am very proud of the fact that we routinely talk to you guys in our feedback forum about the quality of our ads. I have proven over 12 years that we will fight on the behalf of readers whenever we can. Does that mean that there are the occasional intrusive ads, expanding this way and that? Yes, sometimes we have to accept those ads. But any of you reading this site for any significant period of time know that these are few and far between. We turn down offers every month for advertising like that out of respect for you guys. We simply ask that you return the favor and not block ads.'"

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Why Don't They Just Call Us "Leanders"?

My local paper, The Greenville News writes in a story about a potential Apple Store locating within my state:

"Apple is the manufacturer of the popular iPhone, iPod and Mac laptops. So intense are customers’ loyalty to the products they sometimes call themselves the Cult of Mac."


I'm a former Apple employee, lifetime Mac owner, iPhone owner, Mac User Group member, Apple Tech, Computer shop tech, topical Apple blogger ... Never in my life have I ever heard someone I know identify themselves as a "Cult Of Mac".

* Leander Kahney is the author of The Cult Of Mac Blog

Sunday, February 28, 2010

iPhone Snaps


This is a picture of a package from a toy my wife and I spotted at a flea market in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

iPhone Snaps


Here's a picture of a South Carolina custom license plate that says "THX-1138".

(Google if you don't know what that means)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Apple Issues Repair Extension For Faulty MacBook Hard Drives



Apple has launched a MacBook Repair Extension Program for hard drive Issues, allowing customers of Apple's early MacBook models to receive free repairs or compensation for previously paid repairs related to hard drive failure.

Black and white MacBook models sold between May 2006 and December 2007 may be eligible for the repair program.

Symptom:

A flashing question mark appears on screen when the MacBook is turned on.

Affected MacBook models:

13-inch black and white MacBook models with the following processor speeds and hard drive capacities:

- Processor speed - 1.83GHz, 2GHz, or 2.16GHz
- Hard drive capacity - 60GB, 80GB, 100GB, 120GB, or 160GB

The repair program covers hard drive issues on these machines for three years from the date of purchase or until August 15, 2010, whichever offers longer coverage.

Apple's new program appears to relate to mechanical failures of the read/write head in Seagate drives used in Apple's early MacBook line reported as long as ago as November 2007. Apple acknowledged the reports and noted that it was looking into the issues soon after, but waited over two years before finally issuing an official repair extension program for the affected MacBook machines.

My hard drive AND the replacement I received failed. I am now using an SSD and have been happy with it. I have been very disappointed in Seagate hard drives.

* Nod to MacRumors for the tip

Steve Jobs To Release Official Biography As Exclusive iPad iBook?



The New York Times is reporting that Steve Jobs is cooperating with a writer for an official biography.

Apple’s chief executive is set to collaborate on an authorized biography, to be written by Walter Isaacson, the former managing editor of Time magazine, according to two people briefed on the project.


What if Steve Jobs plans to make the release of this book an exclusive iBook (preloaded) on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch?

Then donate the profits of the sale (after the exclusive) to charity .... hmmmm ... very interesting.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Create your own iPhone App ...

Create Your Own iPhone or Android App in Minutes With iSites

Creating a self-branded iPhone or Android app just got a lot more accessible. iSites, a new service (just launched last month) allows you to take your website’s RSS feed and data and quickly transform it into a full-fledged iPhone app. You can also monetize it for a one time $99 fee. It takes about 3 - 5 minutes from download to finished product - no programming knowledge necessary.

NOTE: It seems several apps like this came out at this week's MacWorld Expo - but aren't nearly as feature rich and appear to be a lot more costly to use.

http://isites.us

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Warning Messages From Apple's Disk Utility After Permissions Repair In Leopard



This morning, I was doing some routine monthly maintenance on my MacBook with Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard).

I launched Apple's Disk Utility and started "Repair Permissions" in the "First Aid" tab.

The repair was taking a while ... when I viewed the log all of this came up:

Warning: SUID file "Applications/Utilities/ODBC Administrator.app/Contents/Resources/iodbcadmintool" has been modified and will not be repaired.

Permissions differ on "Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/CodeResources", should be -rw-rw-r-- , they are lrwxr-xr-x .

Permissions differ on "Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/Frameworks/InternetUtilities.bundle/Contents/CodeResources", should be -rw-rw-r-- , they are lrwxr-xr-x .

Permissions differ on "Applications/iTunes.app/Contents/Resources/iTunesHelper.app/Contents/CodeResources", should be -rw-rw-r-- , they are lrwxr-xr-x .

Warning: SUID file "System/Library/Filesystems/AppleShare/afpLoad" has been modified and will not be repaired.

Warning: SUID file "sbin/umount" has been modified and will not be repaired.

Warning: SUID file "bin/rcp" has been modified and will not be repaired.

Permissions differ on "Applications/Front Row.app/Contents/CodeResources", should be -rw-rw-r-- , they are lrw-rw-r-- .

Permissions differ on "Applications/Image Capture.app/Contents/CodeResources", should be -rw-rw-r-- , they are lrw-rw-r-- .

Permissions differ on "System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras/RemoteDesktop.menu/Contents/CodeResources", should be -rw-r--r-- , they are lrw-r--r-- .

Warning: SUID file "usr/bin/quota" has been modified and will not be repaired.

Warning: SUID file "usr/bin/rlogin" has been modified and will not be repaired.

Warning: SUID file "usr/bin/rsh" has been modified and will not be repaired.


What does all that mean?


I found the following information:

• This is a common problem in Leopard (although I've never had it until today)

• Definition: SUID (Set User ID):

The SUID permission causes a script to run as the user who is the owner of the script, rather than the user who started it. It is normally considered extremely bad practice to run a program in this way as it can pose many security problems. Later versions of the Linux kernel will even prohibit the running of shell scripts that have this attribute set.

• It seems this may be a Time Machine error that causes these "settings" to be modified

• There's no cause for alarm, as it mostly seems to be a Disk Utility reporting error

I found this website to have detailed answers:

http://macsolvers.wordpress.com/2009/01/21/suid/