Don't get scammed online!

I received a panicked text from a colleague last week asking me what I knew about a company who he had allowed to connect and clean their two home Macs. He had received a notice on one of the machines saying he had malware on the network and to call a number to have assistance removing it. Immediately, I knew it was a scam. Unfortunately, he had already called the number and paid them via credit card over $200 to 'fix' the issue. I quickly had him end the call and remove the computer from the internet, severing the LogMeIn rescue session thi ...

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Comcast doesn't care about their business customers

Bitter, party of one, your table is ready! As you know, I run a business. It's a home-based business, so my needs for Internet speeds are not as great as they once were (I'm not hosting e-mail or Websites on my home server anymore), but I need a static IP address, which I pay for and is not offered on the residential plans. I also live in an area where DSL just is not an option. I'm too far from the central office for it to work. So, it's Comcast for me. To use that static IP address, I need to pay for Business Internet. I've done so for ...

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How I make a good password in a complex world

There our digital age, there is little that has become more important than choosing a good password to protect your information online. The Web has made it so not only do you need potentially multiple passwords, but passwords have needed to become more and more complex. I remember the first password I ever received. It was for my bank ATM and consisted of four numbers. I thought it was a pretty good password because I had a hard time remembering it. Gone are the days of four digit passwords, however. Now, most systems require at least eig ...

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Helping Waze get the word out about their KGO-TV partnership

Over two years ago I wrote a post about iPhone Apps I can't live without. One of those Apps, Waze, I broke out into an individual post a few months later. Last month, I received an e-mail from Di-Ann Eisnor, Vice President of Platform & Partnership for Waze asking if I'd be interested in being part of a TV piece for ABC7 (KGO-TV, San Francisco). I had exchanged e-mails with Di-Ann around the time I wrote those blog posts in late-2009 and early-2010. I was more than happy to help promote the Waze/ABC7 partnership by appearing as the "waze ...

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Doing the Moneydance and saying goodbye to Quicken 2007 for Mac

Like so many other Mac users, I've used Quicken for many years and Quicken 2007 for Mac since it was released. I went looking to see how long it's been and I really can't tell. I have transactions going back to 1994, but I know I've not used it for that long. It has been a while, however. As I mentioned in To upgrade or not to upgrade to MacOS X Lion? in August, Quicken's lack of a Lion-compatible version was something that has kept me on OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) on my home computer (I have made the move on my laptop, however). In late Oc ...

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Death of an iCon - Remembering Steve Jobs

I was driving home last night, listening to music on my iPod through my iPhone when I received two texts and a phone call alerting me to the passing of Steve Jobs. While I wasn't shocked, I was definitely saddened by the news. Everyone knew he was sick and had been for some time. I remember reading years ago how he had said he'd work for as long as he could meet his duties and expectations as Apple's CEO. On Aug. 25, he had resigned from Apple and who would have thought that just six weeks later, he'd be dead. Even having worked in Palo A ...

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New iPhone 4S doesn't bring buyers remorse

After waiting beyond the normal two-year cycle for a new iPhone and weighing the AT&T vs. Verizon decision, I upgraded my iPhone 3G to an iPhone 4, staying with AT&T in April. At the time, I was hedging my bet that a) there wouldn't be a new iPhone in June (I wanted the new phone to take with me on my vacation to Washington DC and New York, mostly to use to take photos), and b) the new iPhone when it was finally released wouldn't be that much better. I think I won on both accounts with yesterday's announcement of the iPhone 4S. Wh ...

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Comparing tablets

If Moses had his choice, which one do you think he would pick? This is chart from Reuters is probably the best comparison table of tablets (or pads, depending on your camp) I've seen. No question some will gravitate one way or another, but with the price-points being about the same, it really comes down to the features needed. While I'm a huge Apple fan (really, you didn't know that?) and would probably lean iPad 2, the Samsung looks pretty nice. Apple will need to play a little catch-up with iPad 3 hardware when it comes out. But, ...

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To upgrade or not to upgrade to MacOS X Lion?

I'm a little behind in my reading as I just finished my September 2011 issue of MacLife. I read with interest MacLife's editor Paul Curthoys' column (as I do each month) thoughts about upgrading to OS X Lion (10.7) or not. I'm sorry Paul, but I have to disagree with your conclusion -- I am not fine with Apple dropping support for Rosetta in Lion. Not at all. Unfortunately, it will probably keep me from upgrading anytime soon. Backing up a step, Rosetta is the software that allows applications written for older PowerPC Macs to run on newer In ...

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Five things I'd like to see in iOS 5 and beyond

Playing around with my Apple iPhone 4 for the last few weeks (having upgraded from an iPhone 3G), I've come up with a list of things I'd love to see in the next versions of iOS. Some of these I believe are coming with iOS 5, but some are things that if I were building a future version of iOS, I'd like to see included. Better push/text notifications - This is coming, I've read. Having the ability to see more than one notification on the locked screen is huge. I can't tell you the number of times I've missed a push notification because I though ...

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How I keep my e-mail inbox empty... really!

I have some friends and coworkers who's e-mail inboxes are out of control. Some have hundreds, or even thousands, of messages waiting for them in their inbox for them to deal with. To me, it would be information overload to have so much in my inbox. People are amazed when I tell them most of the time my four primary e-mail inboxes usually have a total of less than 20 messages. Sometimes, the boxes are even empty! What has worked for me is using a system of dealing with and managing my e-mails so as not to get overwhelmed by them. I don't rem ...

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The devil you know vs. the one you don't - iPhone coming to Verizon

There is little doubt Verizon and Apple will announce the coming of iPhone 4G (not to be confused with a 4G iPhone, which would be totally different) to the Verizon network on Jan. 11, 2011 at 11 a.m. Eastern (1/11/11 at 11, for numerologist - lots of 'ones' there). The question for me, however, is what to do with my iPhone service. I've had my 3G iPhone for two years now. I was one of the lucky who were given the opportunity to upgrade their iPhone after only 18 months, but I stayed pat on my plan, awaiting to see what Apple's next move was ...

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Is the Apple hype machine out of control?

Rumor sites on the Internet yesterday ware abuzz with speculation about Apple's cryptic homepage message posted about 24 hours ago. Everything from streaming iTunes, to the Mac App store, to a cure for cancer was tossed around as the reason for the day "you'll never forget". At 7 a.m. this morning (California time), we learned the true answer to this riddle was the arrival of The Beatles catalog to iTunes. My son even asked me last night about this announcement, if I knew what it was. I told him I had some ideas, but it's most likely not as ...

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When was the last time you made a backup of your computer files?

**UPDATE - August 22, 2015: This post is pretty old, but the basics hold true. The major change is not long after I wrote this Mozy changed their business model and was no longer unlimited. At that time, I changed my backup to Backblaze and have been very happy with it (I made a note of it in the comments). I have it running on two machines and have had to recover from a major issue with no problem. I have suggested to others as well and have had great success with Backblaze. Backups. They seem easy enough. Copy some files onto another d ...

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Palo Alto Online releases iPhone/Android App

It's always exciting to make news. Today is one of those days. This morning Palo Alto Online announces, with help from partner SachManya and YAPPER (short for Your APP MakER), our first Apple iPhone and Android-based device apps, with iPad and Blackberry apps to follow soon. (UPDATE 2:30 p.m.) We've seen press already from places like SiliconANGEL, Editors Weblog and a short story on Editor and Publisher. Here's how we got to this place... At Embarcadero Media, we've tossed the idea of an iPhone app around for some time. My thought has ...

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Waiting for the plane

Good thing I gave myself time to get to the airport this afternoon. It didn't dawn on me I had to go through customs before getting to the screening and onto the plane. About 200 of my close, US-bound friends were waiting for me as I walked through the customs door. The line was long and took about 40 minutes to get through. No problem, but no stamp. I guess that makes sense since I'm a US Citizen. Onto the screening where there was another long line. I had forgotten the people at NOW Toronto, who hosted the convention, had given us a bot ...

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Missing the point

Yesterday Palo Alto-based startup Hawthorne Labs announced Apollo, which they are saying will "finally finish off newspapers". Their iPad-only App will aggregate news from the Web and create a Pandora Radio-type experience for the user, learning what the user likes and delivering new content based on the previous preferences. I don't have an iPad so all of this is based on what I've read from Hawthorn and from sources online. (I would love to try it to see what's up with it, if someone wants to dump an iPad my way!) There is something, ho ...

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Looking for the hockey rink

I realized on my first walk all over Toronto, I missed where the Toronto Maple Leafs play, so after the sessions today, I headed back out in search of it. Ends up it was a block from where I was several times yesterday! I got there via the PATH, which is this maze of tunnels under the city. It's like a city in a city. Around every turn, there are new shops or places to eat. I had made a text file of the directions before leaving the hotel, so I knew more or less where I was going. I am proud to say the Yahoo!Map directions were not all that ...

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Lord Stanley and his cup

I'm not a huge hockey fan, but I appreciate the sport and the people who play it. I don't ice skate well, especially skate backwards! When we first walked in, we were allowed to take a photo with the Stanley Cup! Pretty amazing given we were able to touch it no less. Would they allow you to take a photo with and tough the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the Football Hall of Fame in Canton? The answer is no (I've been there). I think they realize how much the cup means to hockey fans and to make it available to the fans is amazing. I made an appe ...

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Darn you Betty White!

No David Foley. I guess he had gotten a call the night before to appear on the new Betty White show in Hollywood, so while I was flying east, he was flying west! Not a total loss, the first few sessions were good. Always picking up good stuff. The evening event, however, was what I was looking forward to -- Access to the Hockey Hall of Fame. ...

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Lost in Toronto (if only for a moment)

I wasn't sure what I was going to see, but knew I wanted to take a walk around downtown Toronto. So, just after 9 a.m., I took off east from the hotel, mostly looking for breakfast first, but that would come much later. Since I really didn't know where I was going, but knew I was walking opposite where I knew I wanted to end up, I really can't say I was lost, but I sort of was. I knew where the CN Tower was in relationship to my hotel, so I figured if I found that, I could find my way back to my hotel. As an aside, I don't have Internet a ...

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Onto Toronto, ON, Canada, eh!

It's no secret, I don't travel much. Working for a local community newspaper company, my travels take me usually as far East as Pleasanton and as far north as San Rafael. So, I was excited when I was given the chance to travel abroad to Toronto for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies 33rd Annual Convention. It started off well enough, being dropped at SFO just after 9 a.m. with plenty of time to get through security and to the gate for my 10:45 a.m. flight. Security is always a challenge, having to remember to take off your shoes, ...

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Dear author... please sign my Kindle?

This is something I've been thinking about for some time now. I was at a conference in January where author Ken Doctor gave a presentation about the future of journalism. He was giving out copies of his newly released book, Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get and offering to sign them for us. Of course, being the news junky I am, I got in line and had my copy signed. As I approached the front of the line, the person in front of me didn't necessarily want a printed copy, but said "how about signing my Kindle (copy)" ...

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First 5,000 miles

"...I would walk 500 miles And i would walk 500 more Just to be the man who walked 5,000 miles To fall down at your door" Maybe not walked 5,000 miles, but turning 5,000 miles in on my 2010 Toyota Prius was something for sure. Still loving the car. I averaged 49.3 miles for my first 5,000 miles! Not bad and almost double what I was getting with my 1994 BMW 318i I replaced. I still feel like I never fill up the car and I have to remember how to do it each time I do... I guess that will happen when you only fill up every 425+ miles! I de ...

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An Apple-less Macworld, or maybe it was iPhoneWorld?

I went Friday to Macworld 2010 in San Francisco. I wasn't expecting much, but what I found was even less than that. I figured an Apple-less Macworld would be light on Mac stuff. I don't even know if I recall seeing a Mac anywhere in the building save the people who were demoing iPhone apps. There were plenty of iPhone stuff, however. There were skins, cases, protection pieces, gloves (yea, iPhone gloves) and plenty of apps. No Adobe either... you'd think they would have taken the opportunity to do some Apple-bashing, but nope. I had hi ...

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It's official... Toyota recalls 2010 Prius

Letters should be coming soon, but this morning Toyota Announces Voluntary Recall on 2010 Model-Year Prius and 2010 Lexus HS 250h Vehicles to Update ABS Software. They say the process will take between 30-40 minutes. Having done updates before (obviously not on cars), they rarely take the time they say, so we'll just have to wait and see how long they take. Waiting for my letter... ...

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Waze to go!

A while back I wrote about some iPhone apps (Music, Sports and Navigation: Five (or nine) iPhone Apps I can?t live without). One of those Apps was Waze, a free driver-generated map and real-time road information App for iPhone, Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile devices. I use this App daily. Not so much for getting where I need to go because overall I'm really good with direction (except when driving in San Francisco), but for seeing what's out there in the way of traffic and if there is a better route to take. They make it fun to use as w ...

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Your milage may vary

Now 3,000 miles into my new Toyota Prius, I couldn't be happier. Sure there have been issues with not being able to stop by some or the car going without the driver wanting it to, but my 2010 Toyota Prius seems to hum right along. As for milage, my attempt at using the Eco mode as I said I would actually saw just about the same miles per gallon as I had gotten previously., a worse result than I expected. I'm thinking I drive at least as good as the Eco mode "makes" me drive, so having it only only frustrates me when I step on the "gas". O ...

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First tank of gas

It took two weeks (almost exactly) to go through my first tank of gas in my new Prius. That's not the real story, however. What was impressive is I went 465 miles and the fact I only had to put 9.5 gallons of gas into the car. That's a lot of miles per gallon! Yea! This tank included back and forth to work, a trip over Highway 17 to Santa Cruz for a consulting job and basic normal driving around the area. This was all on the normal hybrid mode (although I have used the EV or stealth mode from time to time just because it's cool). For t ...

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Music, Sports and Navigation: Five (or nine) iPhone Apps I can't live without

To say I can't live without these iPhone Apps is an overstatement, obviously. When I got my iPhone 3G in January, I knew there would be Apps I'd find useful for lots of different things. I didn't know how much I'd come to use them, though. With Apple's "no return" policy, I have mostly stayed away from paid Apps. Some I have purchased have been ok while others I've deleted almost immediately. The list below started with five Apps. As I thought about it more, two Apps are on here for the same reason and I grouped them together. Then I tho ...

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My new car

Back in February 2007, I wrote a post "Maybe I?m obsessed, but I don?t think so?" where I talked about the Toyota Prius and how many were out on the road. Well, now there's one more. On Saturday, I joined the Prius craze by purchasing my very own. Granted it has taken several days for me to get it, but tonight, parked in my garage, is a brand new 2010 Barcelona Red Prius. This will be my fourth car, but the first one I've ever purchased new. I finally did figure out why there were so many on the road -- the question I had asked myself ...

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What did the passengers think?

[caption id="attachment_50" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Path of flight 188 when it got \"lost\""][/caption] I've read a lot about the Northwest Airlines flight that overshot the Minneapolis airport by 150 miles last week. What I haven't seen or heard yet is what the passengers thought. I don't fly very often, but you can bet if I was expecting to land somewhere at a certain time and we were still at 30,000 feet at that time, I'd be asking some questions. ...

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My plan to get the economy back on track

As anyone who has not been living under a rock know, the United States Federal Government has decided to give billions to companies to make them stronger. Some have said "they are too big to fail" and we can't have it. If you look at the current Dow, there is only one original company (General Electric) still trading. The others have basically failed, being sold, split up or closed. There is not such thing, in a free market society, as not being able to fail. I've heard a local San Francisco radio host say time and time again, if they are to ...

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Newspapers evolution to obscurity?

It's been a while since I last wrote. I've been really busy trying to help the company I work for make the evolution from a print company (albeit weekly newspapers) to a multimedia company. We've made some great strides, but there is still much to do. Yet, all around us, newspapers have closed and failed. Of those that haven't, some of the biggest are on the brink of disaster. The Seattle P-I has turned to a Web-only format; Denver's Rocky Mountain News has closed it's door. When asked whether he would consider buying more newspapers, War ...

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Newspapers have to evolove... but can they? Here's what I think they need to do...

If traditional newspaper companies are going to ?survive? the Internet, there are two things that they are going to have to embrace for their online media: make it ultra-local and interactive. Small(er) local print media are best positioned to deliver this. However, before they can do this transformation, they have to understand one thing: You are NOT a newspaper company anymore, but rather you are a MEDIA company, like Time Warner or General Electric or even Google (yea, I said Google). Your art is no longer just the printed word on newspri ...

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TheTownBlogger.com

I've been working on this for about a year (you really couldn't tell by the graphics, however). It's been one of those things that have been on-again-off-again, but I think it's finally ready to roll out. What is it? It's the TheTownBlogger.com, a place where you, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area can go and list your blog or site and people can look them up. What makes it different from other sites is that it's organized geographically by either the subject or the author. For instance, since I blog from San Carlos, California, my blog ...

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Converting Unix Epoch Dates in Microsoft Excel

Ok... this is one of the more 'geekier' posts I've written, but I was trying to convert a Unix epoch (the number of seconds from January 1, 1970) to a standard time using Microsoft Excel. I found a solution online, but it didn't work completely for me, so I thought I would add my solution here, mostly so that when I need to use it again, I'll be able to find it! Searching Google, I had found this site which converted the epoch for me but I kept coming up with the wrong date and time... All the times were about four years in the future. Obvio ...

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Technorati

So we built a new news program and wanted to include all of the 'Social Tagging' sites out there, which meant I had to go sign up for all of the sites. I did on Technorati and it asked if I wanted to claim my blog. Of course I did, right? So that's what this post is doing. Technorati Profile ...

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About Frank Bravo

Frank is a husband, a dad, an IT professional, a coach, a musician and an all around good guy. He lives in San Carlos, CA. You can visit Frank's LinkedIn Profile here ...

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Ordinary wall or a doggie portal

Ever wonder what your dog (or pet) is up to when you're not at home? Our family has. A lot, actually. We have a cockapoo, Gracie, who is just over three years old. Gracie seems to sleep a lot while we are home. Sure, she plays and gets up to see what's going on in the house, but mostly, she sleeps. We wonder if it's because of the wild parties she goes to overnight and while we are not home. Wild parties?!?!? Yes, wild parties. The boys are convinced (and the wife and I are not far behind) that the wall in our kitchen is more than an norm ...

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Obsession continues (or should I say started) with Macs

Several years ago, I wrote a column for the Palo Alto Weekly (Link and I have pasted it below) in which I outlined why I am a huge Mac/Apple Inc. fan. I don't think that much has changed in the five and a half years since I wrote it. The Apple Stores have done a great job getting a great product out to people so that they can touch it and play with it in a setting that is Mac-friendly. One reason for adding this link here is to have it preserved. I have had the domain name TheMacFanatic.com for years with the idea of creating a Mac fan si ...

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Maybe I'm obsessed, but I don't think so...

Ok. Maybe I am obsessed about this issue, but it amazes me how in a relatively short amount of time in a relatively small geographic area, there are what seems like hundreds of Toyota Prius owners. First off, I don't own one, but I have started to notice them more. Unless you have been living under a rock you know about the explosion of gas and electric 'hybrid' cars coming on the market. Of all the cars like this, it seems like the Prius is the most purchased, at least on the San Francisco Peninsula. Here's an example of what I am talking a ...

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Our trip to Macworld 2007

I took my department to Macworld yesterday in San Francisco. I remember the days when Macworld could fill up both sides of the Moscone Center. This year we were able to get through it in about two and a half hours. I think that the reality is that there is little that is left for these types of shows anymore. That, plus most companies have tiny little booths with just one or two people in it, makes for a quick day. Yes, I saw the iPhone (soon to be renamed Apple Phone, I am sure) and the AppleTV box (which was a lot smaller than I thought). ...

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New Mattress

My wife and I bought new mattress yesterday. The one we are getting rid of is the same one we got when we got married. That's 13-plus years on the same mattress. The way we figure it, some marriages don't last to a second mattress (you are 'supposed' to replace them about every 10 years)! It gets delivered today. We are looking forward to a good night sleep tonight on our new mattress! We bought it from Mancini's Sleepworld in Redwood City. We've bought stuff from them before and they always do a really good job and have the best deals. T ...

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Day after Thanksgiving

Way to much food yesterday... ...

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I didn't think it would work

And I was right! That 25peeps thing didn't work at all for me. Maybe it's because I didn't post an actual photo of me. I used the Mac Fanatic logo instead. Anyway, doesn't matter. I have updated my LinkedIn Profile. If you know me, go ahead and lets link up. If you have a job in my field, let me know about that too. Always looking for a good opportunity. Don't get me wrong, I like what I do... ...

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Crazy

I'm trying this to see if it works for this site... if it does, I'll write more. Promise! 25peeps.com Go ahead and click on the link... it's an interesting idea of popular blogs. ...

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A new venture gets better

I've written a few times about Sopebox.com and our SopeCal product which allows newspapers and publishers to have a calendar system that works for both their online and print ('dead tree') editions. I'm happy to say that things are continuing to move forward with it. We have about a half dozen newspapers looking at it, including a rather large chain of weekly papers. We are hoping that soon they will sign on and even more will find it. We have built a new product we are very proud of and think it will be even better than SopeCal. There is a ...

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SopeCal getting some following

I had written a while back about the SopeCal, an online calendar for newspapers where a paper can allow a person to submit the information once and it be ready for both online and print (submit once, publish anywhere, so to speak). We have signed our second client hopefully to be rolled out in the next couple of weeks. Very exciting! ...

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Here and there...

I just got finished putting together our 2006 household budget. It was harder than I thought. Things like gas prices and PG&E charges are so up in the air that it is hard to decide how much to put aside for it! Hopefully some stability will return to the economy in 2006 and things will level off (or go down!). Most of our holiday gifts are purchased at this point except for a few more things for the boys. Got to get that done soon... AYSO soccer is over and Little League baseball is right around the corner. My older son will play kid-pitc ...

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Back to school & projects

The boys start back to school today. They aren't really excited about it, but I am sure as the day goes on, they will be. One has a new teacher this year, the other will have the same as last year. We are running some promos on Fogster.com (http://www.fogster.com), but haven't gotten any used yet. Over the weekend, we broke 200,000 home page views on the site. That may seem like a small number for nine months, but it's average per day is around 1,000. Not bad for starting. We have an opportunity to be on the radio next month as well. I ha ...

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Ok. I think I am getting the hang of this...

Like I have written before, I don't know if this is something I can do every day, but I think I can sustain it a little. We have made some modifications at work to Fogster.com (http://www.fogster.com), that will allow for easier access to approving listings online. That has been one of the biggest problems since the start. It is mostly because of copying and pasting links or links not being clickable. In any case, I think we got a pretty good system now. We are moving our Pleasanton newspaper offices this week. I have also updated my S ...

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Trying something new...

This is now the second blog software I have tried. I thought the first (pMachine) was pretty good, but couldn't get the RSS stuff to work. So, I am trying WordPress now. RSS seems to be working ok. We will see... ...

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Making the switch to OS X

After spending hours upon hours on our computers at the office to upgrade to OS X, the idea was floated to just clone the drives and install. What a great idea! It took us less than four hours to do seven machines yesterday where it would have taken four hours per machine previously. Not bad at all. ...

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My first foray into blogging

I am sitting here at the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies conference and I am thinking about the presentation that I saw yesterday by Tony Perkins (AlwaysOn.com) about how blogs are the thing that in the next five years will change the way media interacts with their public. What's the big thing, I am asking myself. The only way to find out is to try it myself. So, here I go. I don't know if I will continue too long, but we will give it a shot. ...

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