Friday, January 28, 2011

Same State of the Union Address in 2011 and 2010 Emphasizes Obama Steps to Reelection

President Barack Obama delivers the 2010 State...Image via Wikipedia
Last Tuesday, President Obama delivered an elegant 2011 State of the Union Address1 to the nation. However, the speech did not summarize the current fiscal, political, military, or economical status of our nation. Instead, the Address summarized Mr. Obama's vision of the future of America.

In it, he outlined three steps our nation (or government) needs to take to "out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world"1:
  • The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation ... We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology1
  • ... then we also have to win the race to educate our kids1
  • The third step in winning the future is rebuilding America1
But, how different was this speech from the 2010 State of the Union Address2? Last year, the President began by summarizing the economic difficulties our country was facing. To help the  recovery, he proposed enacting fees on banks, financial and health care reform, and making business loans more available. He stressed that his administration cut taxes and made other improvements. Then, he outlined his additional steps for improving the nation:
  • Next, we can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow. (Applause.) From the first railroads to the Interstate Highway System, our nation has always been built to compete. There's no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products2
  • We should put more Americans to work building clean energy facilities2
  • Next, we need to encourage American innovation2
  • Fourth, we need to invest in the skills and education of our people2
While not in the same order this year, Mr. Obama stressed all 4 steps (except that he combined clean air and innovation together). Both the 2011 and 2010 Addresses included: Infrastructure, Education, and Innovation. In both speeches, he remain committed to enacting "clean-air" initiatives.

Thus, this comparison illustrates that the 2011 speech was simply a rewritten subset of the 2010 Address. It was not original and it did not indicate any change in governmental thinking or policy.

From these excerpts, we may conclude that the 2011 Version of the State of the Union Address was more of a campaign speech. It did not summarize anything new and simply reiterated his political views.

We may infer that the President is still trying to appease the union and student voting blocks, as well as special interest groups. Remember:
  • Building the bridges, roads, and railroads involve union workers
  • Investing in education directly benefits the teachers unions
  • Making education more available benefits both U.S. and international students
  • Many Wall Street new product initiatives involve clean air manufacturing and carbon credit taxation trading.
  • Trying to retain foreign students being educated in American Colleges benefits illegal aliens.
Taking these points as a whole, we can easily see huge special interest voting blocks that would support the President's reelection bid in 2012. And, the sad part is that our American Taxpayer dollars will be used for these campaign purposes if the President gets his way.
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Friday, January 21, 2011

Using the Television as a Learning Tool - Two Examples of a Child's Learning

We've always been believers that children learn from a variety of activities: playing with toys, games, other playmates; reading; watching the behavior or others; attending school; sports; etc. However, one activity that many parents discourage is: Watching Television. For whatever reason, adults often think that there is too much violence, and that this time can be better spent doing something else.

But, two unexpected questions that my son asked us when he was little made us aware to the importance of television in shaping his thinking. Both seemed a bit humorous at the time, but each has had a lasting impression on all of our memories.

The first example of his television learning occurred about a month before his 3rd birthday. One Saturday morning as we were driving home from a "You Too Can Swim" lesson at the local YWCA, my son asked: "Is that Ken Smith Chevrolet"? I looked to my right and sure enough, we were stopped at a red light just in front of the car dealer. "Yes", I replied, and then asked: "Can You Read"? "No" he said, "But it looks just like that on the TV".

The second example was when we visited Walt Disney World for his 5th birthday. We had gone on many rides and got the autographs of many of the roaming characters. Then, we went to the Hall of Presidents. In there, they describe a bit about the history of the country and end with an animated figure of each President standing up and introducing himself. After Ronald Reagan's turn, my son looked at my wife and I and asked: "Ronald Regan? Bonzo's father? He's a President too"?

We all laughed at his innocent questions but realized that he was learning to make visual and oral connections between what he had seen on television and with the real world. After that, we never discouraged his watching children shows or movies on the television. While we always monitored what he watched, we would take some time to review the show afterwards. Our son thought we were simply interested in his shows, but instead we were trying to assess what he had learned from that entertainment.

Perhaps his learning development was different than others, but we would encourage all parents of young children to consider using the television as a learning tool rather than assuming it is a waste of time.
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Measure Your Page Loading Speed with StopWatch

StopWatch is a free tool that measures the loading time speed of your website, blog, or individual pages. It is written in Javascript and runs on your local PC. To use it:
  • Simply click on this StopWatch link, 
  • Enter your URL in the input field located under the "Enter the URL to be measured:" title, and 
  • Press the Start StopWatch button.
When you do this, a new page or tab will open. At the top of the page is the StopWatch measuring device. It will show the URL that you entered, and a timing button that continues to increment until the page is fully loaded.

At the bottom left of the brower window, you will see the various links that are being opened in the status line. These links are the other sites, advertisements, social networking items, and other measuring devices that you have installed on your page or as widgets in your blog.

Sometimes, you will see that the timer keeps incrementing, but the browser status label at the bottom left stays constant. This means that it is taking a very long time for that URL item to load and is slowing down the loading of your page.

So what is a good page load speed? According to Seo's Average Page Load Time of Top Ranking Websites in Google page, a loading time between 9.82 and 13.84 seconds is considered average. Anything less than 9.82 seconds is very fast. Pages loading between 13.84 and 17.98 seconds are slow. And, pages taking longer than the 17.98 seconds are very slow.

Once you know how long your page takes to load, you can make improvements by either:
  • Removing the items that take a long time to load, or
  • Move those items, or widgets, to the bottom of your page. This will allow the primary content to load and display more rapidly.
We discovered this helpful tool on Blogger. For other tips on increasing your blog's loading speed, visit: How can I make my blog load faster?
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Friday, January 7, 2011

How Hundreds of Bloggers Make Money with Adgitize

Perhaps the two most frustrating things bloggers experience are failing to attract readership and not making any money.  But, you're not alone. There are currently over 150 million blogs, and it is estimated that approximately 50,000 are created each day. 
However, many of us have resolved these problems by joining Adgitize, a free advertising network linking publishers and advertisers together.

Adgitize was launched in November 2008 by Ken Brown. Its mission is to provide bloggers with an advertising environment that brings solid traffic without click fraud risk. They do this by returning most of the advertising revenue received back to Adgitize community members. Currently, over 40 million ad views are displayed each month.

Joining Adgitize is 100% free. Once you become a member, you are encouraged to add their advertising widgets to your blog.

Adgitize rewards members with cash incentives for their participation. The cash rebates are based on a daily point system. Those members who earn 300 points a day will receive about $0.50 per day. Those earning 500 points will receive $0.70 per day. This means that:

Active Members Earn between $15 to $21 per Month

Members who accumulate $10 are paid the following month via Paypal.

To earn this income, you are not required to be an advertiser. However, those who do tend to receive more income.

To earn $15 per month as a publisher, you will need to do 3 things daily which will take 30 minutes to 1 hour of your time:
  1. Write a new original blog post
  2. Click on 101 member advertisements
  3. Write a 200 word post in their forum.
Additionally, you will earn additional points for the number of your blog's page views and the number of advertiser ads displayed. If you have good traffic, this can total up to another 100 points.

If you decide to advertise on Agitize, you will receive 100 additional points, and your click requirement is reduced to 51. Besides these two benefits,

Advertisers Ads are Displayed on Member Widgets
You Receive More Visitor Traffic.

The cost of advertising is $14 per 31 day month. There are also discounted rates of $78 for a 6-month ad ($13/month) and $144 per year ($12/month).

What we've discovered is that after you participate in the network for one month, you will have earned enough money to pay for an advertising month.

To help you overcome the financial hurdle, we are offering all new members who join Adgitize from our site, a one time rebate (via your Adgitize account) at the end of your first advertising term. The our cash rebate offer is:
  • $2 rebate for those buying a 1 month ad
  • $4 rebate for those buying a 6 month ad
  • $6 rebate for those buying a 12 month ad
Currently, this offer is good for all of 2011 and will expire on December 31, 2011.

To qualify for our rebate,
  • Join Adgitize using our affiliate link above
  • Purchase a 1 month ($14/mo), 6 month ($78, $13/mo), or 1 year ($144, $12/mo) Adgitize ad.
  • This offer is for New Members Only which Adgitize indicates you as our Sponsored Affiliate.
Remember, you don't have to begin advertising immediately. We recommend that you join Adgitize now, and begin participating and accumulating points. Once your earnings reach $14, then purchase a one month ad and see the difference in earnings results. After, you can determine whether you should remain an advertiser or be a publishers only.

Here's my experience. I've been an Adgitize member for over 2 years now. Currently I have a 6 month ad running, which cost me $78. Each month, my earnings from the site have ranged from $18-$21, giving me a profit of $5 to $8 per month. I'm targeting an annual profit of $80 which I'll use to take my wife out to dinner.
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