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Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer Vacation in the Southeast


It's Friday so let's keep it fun, relaxing and light.

What are you doing this weekend?

Well... Here's a great weekend roadtrip. Jump in the car and head to Logan Martin Lake, Alabama. This is the most beautiful lake! It's about 90 min from Atlanta. It's been a great kept secret until now - the NY Times just recognized it's potential. We love Pell City for boating, fishing and great antiques. If you find this is the place for you there are plenty of great vacation home choices. Here's the best,


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POPULATION The lakeside towns of Pell City, Lincoln and Riverside have a combined population of 18,780.

SIZE The 17,000-acre lake is 48 miles long by a mile at its widest.

WHERE Logan Martin Lake is about 30 miles east of Birmingham, and 90 miles west of Atlanta.

WHO’S BUYING Second-home owners and retirees from Alabama and Georgia and full-time residents moving there for work, some of whom commute to Birmingham or Anniston.

WHILE YOU’RE LOOKING The Hampton Inn (220 Vaughn Lane, Pell City; 205-814-3000; www.hamptoninn.com) has rooms starting at $109 a night.

See you on the lake. :)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Glade® Wisp® Flameless Candle

Most of you know that I'm a BzzAgent. It's a great program. For those of you not familiar with the concept, BzzAgent is a word-of-mouth agency where consumers can discover, recommend (or not) and then share new products and services with their family and friends.
I just finished reviewing the The Glade® Wisp® Flameless Candle.

Let me preface this by saying I love candles but have really disliked any of the scented electric-outlet air fresheners, really air fresheners in general. They were always so overpowering and fake smelling. I was skeptical.

When the package arrived I hesitated putting it in the living room because I expected it to stink up the house. I planned to put it in the basement or bathroom, but we had baby kittens and momma cat was litter box training them. Maybe now was a good time to scent up the house.

After reading the package I realized (and love the fact that) you can control the amount of fragrance that comes out. On the bottom of the candle there's a setting where you can adjust it to be a little or a lot of fragrance that 'puffs' out of the candle - no overpowering fake smell.

Another great feature is the automatic shut off. The candle will run for a 3 hour time period and then automatically shut itself off.

The Glade® Wisp® Flameless Candle combines continuous puffs of fragrance with a warm, flickering glow, letting you enhance the mood in any setting. Looks so real, you'd never know it wasn't a real candle. This was a real bonus!

I find this idea to be genius. Especially for those with younger kids. You get the great scent of a candle, the great look of a candle, without the dangerous flame.

I really love this product, and definitely will be purchasing more. If your a mom, this is a great item for you. If you have pets, I recommend it highly.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

3-D the future of the Internet

This is from Xerox innovation chief Sophie Vandebroek – taken from a recent Q&A interview in Computerworld,

In my mind, the 3-D virtual world is the future of the Internet. In the future, you don't need to be in the same room to look each other in the eye and understand the issues and collaborate on projects.

So here are a few of my favorite 3-D virtual places that you should be watching. They will shape the future of the Internet,

SecondLife
Kaneva
There

Kaneva also offers a great description of how the 3-D Internet will come to be on their platform web site.

So how can you capitalize on having seen the future today? I would contend that these are the Top Opportunities in Virtual Worlds,
  1. Access Pass/Cover Charge (aka Subscriptions)
  2. Professional Collaboration
  3. Entertainment & Event Planning
  4. Instruction & Education
  5. Building/Designing
  6. Professional Services
  7. Web & World Integration
  8. Trade/Exchange Rate platforms

They include opportunities for creators, for users, and for new secondary markets. I don't know about you but I plan to be a part of the wave as the next big powerhouse in online marketing.

Access Pass/Cover Charge (aka subscriptions)

At the current time, this is the opportunity that most of the existing players have been mining the most. The basic model is simple: charge a cover for users to access your environment.

Professional Collaboration

Business Week recently reported that Rivers Run Red saved $175,000 last year by holding meetings in SecondLife. This is no small amount of money for a small business and, in this age of increasing security checklines at airports and gas prices over $4 a gallon, virtual worlds may be the best collaboration platform yet.

Entertainment & Event Planning

Increasingly music stars are moving into virtual reality. The BBC, MTV, and Fox have already held events. Organizing events, preparing the space, publicizing, booking and training speakers are all jobs that require some level of expertise and there are dollars associated with providing that expertise.

Instruction & Education

There are opportunities around teaching classes in building virtual assets. In Kaneva, you can find people teaching how to create and program the basics. One can envision people getting paid for this type of work in the not so distant future. Harvard has already created virtual training grounds to explore virtual reality.

Professional Services

Virtual worlds, or the Metaverse as it is also referred to, have created an eco-system where professional journalists, DJs, ad agencies, and other types of services (some of the more risque ones involving the sex trade) are interacting on a daily basis. Economies are being created that mirror traditional world equivalents in the virtual realm.

Building/Designing

Love fashion? Home decor? Creating new digital goods and selling them in the virtual space may be for you. Most goods from the real world can have a digital equivalent and companies like American Apparel have noticed the space, and sub-contracted the development of those goods to a third party. More exciting is the popularity of a new breed of digital fashion designers. Their work realized only in the virtual world as highly sought after pixels.

Web & World Integration

Virtual Worlds are generally closed spaces. Some, like SecondLife, have started opening up to the wider net. For example, users can now visit Amazon.com in SecondLife, thanks to the Amazon API and SecondLife’s ability to call on it from inside its virtual world. Those opportunities represent a new space and integration houses with expertise in both the virtual world and the wider web will be well positioned to take advantage of those opportunities.

Trade/Exchange Rate platforms

Another portion of the secondary market is surrounding the thin link between the trade that happens in those virtual worlds and real dollars. Companies or individuals who manage to create a platform that offers a way to trade from one of the virtual worlds into another might find themselves as the new middle-men in a space that is bound to grow economically and profit from making a small percentage on every inter-virtual world transaction.

I Bought a New Car, Believe it!


Yes, I know. I've been car shopping for over a year now. What of it? This is a ten year plus commitment.

I fell in love with a 2003 mint-condition Audi A4. Did a little online research. Asked a few friends. Then I ended up back at the same CarMax dealership where I almost bought a Chrysler Pacifica had each of you not ridiculed me about being completely uncool. Once I really considered how often I'd need that third row seating and the gas mileage I knew a small luxury sedan would be best for me. Thank you to everyone that offered such great advice.

Coco and I are getting along great! She drives like a dream. Now, how do I cancel that car finder e-alert?


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How Cozy Should Yahoo Get With Google?

Google and Yahoo are exploring a partnership in which some Yahoo search inventory may be monetized by Google's keyword ad system. Yahoo hopes such a deal would goose its cash flow as Google's system generates more revenue per query.

Is this a good idea?

Money.CNN.com - Yahoo announces Trial with Google

My Favorite Blogs

GigaOm recently posted, 10 Blogs We Love which inspired me to list some of mine that may or may not be in your reader already...

  • YPulse: Teen trends, attitudes, products, and companies
  • Bronte Media: Online advertising, market analysis
  • Raph Koster: Game design, social gaming
  • Slideshare Most Favorited: Top presentations from Slideshare. LOVE this one.
  • Marketingcharts: Recent data, charts, and info from marketing companies
  • Futuristic Play: Andrew Chen on metrics, viral, user experience, game design
  • Redeye VC: Josh Kopelman, Philly-based leader in the Internet industry
  • Agenda: Luxury goods market, global marketing
  • 500 Hats: Dave McClure's blog on Facebook, social platforms, metrics, etc.

A few of the informative and entertaining...

  • X17 Online: Paparazzi pictures, celebrity candids
  • Edge.org: Big thinking, scientific discoveries and predictions, philosophy

;-) Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Caylee Cecelia Romaniello


We have a new cousin, Caylee Cecelia Romaniello was born April 25, 2008.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Field Day Follies

Today was second and third grade Field Day at East Lake Elm.


video

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Went Car Shopping Today

It wasn't by my doing. Jay decided he'd buy me a Mercedes for my birthday this Thursday. (Yes, there is still time to get me a gift :D ) I caught wind of the plot and high tailed it to the car lot before the deal was sealed.

No, a Mercedes is not exactly the car for me. After I was ridiculed by my friends for foiling the plot, I switched off my phone and started browsing the CarMax lot.

Yes, I know. I've been car shopping for over a year now. What of it? This is a ten year commitment between the car and I.

I purchased the little green VW Jetta I have now for $12k in May of 1999. She was two years old - one owner - with 33,000 miles. What a great car! Almost ten years and 190,000 miles later I reluctantly admit it might be time to add another car to the fleet BUT I will never sell the Jetta.

So today I'm thinking a Chrysler Pacifica is my choice. I set up a CarMax notification to email me if a silver, black or white Pacifica with leather, DVD player, GPS Navigation, video camera, sun roof, third row... pop up on a Car Max lot anywhere in the southeast US.

Fingers are crossed. Wish me luck. It's time to commit. Anyone have any advice?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Google Pops the Cherry

I started my Monday reading TechCrunch as usual. Google will be launching its own data portability effort called Friend Connect. Is an “open” social network coming? Using Friend Connect, any website owner can, according to the press release,

“add a snippet of code to his or her site and get social features up and running immediately without programming.”

There is nothing really earth shattering here, just that the Friend Connect tools are designed such that there’s no need to do any actual coding, just plug in your site’s info and copy and paste the code into your page.

It would be nice is if eventually Google or somebody makes it possible for websites to combine the Friend Connect data with their own. Oh, and how does this factor into the MyWorld speculation?


So there you have it. Google pops the blog cherry.

I blog about...