We often think of the 'calm before the storm', but rarely do we recognize or even witness the 'calm after the storm'. This sunset occurred less than an hour after a severe storm, near Otter Falls, MB, that brought down a hundred trees near a cabin we had rented. The clouds became soft like cotton balls (mammatus clouds) and the sky was at peace.
This question blew up the internet this past few days. My daughters brought the image to my attention last night, making the rounds on Twitter under various hashtags #TheDress, #blackandblue, etc. Everyone, and I mean everyone, including my family, @justinbieber, and @talyorswift saw different colours, or both, at different times of the day, or saw it change colors before their eyes. I have seen both, but at first glance was black & blue.
First thought would be that it is one of those animated pictures, called GIFS, but it is not. You can screen shot the image, and it will still appear differently to various people. Scientists are weighing in. Late night talk shows will be weighing in tonight. People are arguing in the streets, and fighting in school hallways across the planet!
Fact: The source which originally got the controversy to go viral, via Tumblr, eventually determined the dress to be Black & Blue. In fact, other sources indicate the dress is ONLY sold in that color.
Human eyes are imperfect, and can be easily tricked to see one color and interpret as another. Our eyes are all different by so many factors, and the reality is that geometric shapes, angles, lighting, clever placement, and a thousand other things can mess up our brains ability to properly distinguish color. These illusions have been studied for years.
Example: How many different color circles do you see in the box below?
The answer: Only Two (Blue & Green)
Reality: The dress is black and blue, but sometimes your brain is telling you it is gold & white, and that’s OK! You are human. Booyaaa… mystery solved Unless, of course, you wanna argue about it?
I hosted this #webinar on May 27th/2014 for Canadians interested in getting their most common questions about wills and estates answered. I had convinced Manitoba lawyer and estate specialist Caroline Kiva to have a 45 -60 minute digital fireside chat. Question and answer style, but NOT as creepy as most politicians She did an excellent job answering the following questions…
What is typically involved in establishing an estate plan? And which professionals are typically involved?
Why do I need a Will and what happens if I die without a Will?
For clients who have minor children, are there specific provisions in the Will that need to be addressed?
Why do I need a Power of Attorney?
The Nitty Gritty
Can you comment on when Joint tenancy is most applicable for clients?
How do I transfer assets such as Cottage, Investment Account, Business to the next generation?
Briefly what are some points to consider for clients purchasing U.S. real estate?
Will there be taxes that may also have to be paid on death?
Do you recommend insurance as part of estate planning?
Recently the 2014 budget announcement indicated a change to the taxation of testamentary trusts. Can you briefly outline those changes?
Can you outline some non-taxable benefits reasons to still consider using testamentary trusts in an estate plan?
Can you outline some of the expenses that arise during the administration of an estate?
I hosted a webinar on May 5th/2014 for Professionals interested in getting the most of their LinkedIn profile and network. I had convinced professional trainer, Rachel Murray, to give her best tips and advice in under 45 mins. SHE DELIVERED!
Please share this with your kids, family & friends.
If you or your child take pictures with a smart phone, iPod, tablet and post them online. You may be be giving away your photos exact location to anyone online who wants to locate the exact GPS coordinates within a few meters; your home, school, etc. Yes it is very scary. There is no reason to give bad people access to your location or that of your children.
Side note: My mom likes to forward me all types of crazy emails. Did you see this crazy Internet one warning you? That one about emergency cellphone battery life? More often than not, I head over to www.snopes.com to see if it is a fake viral email. Sorry Mom, but you have sent me a few duds over the years. This time though she sent me something that I think that anyone who takes pictures with their phone or have kids who take pictures with iPods, smart-phone, or even iPads/tablets NEEDS to not only see.. but act on immediately. Kudos Mom and thanks for sharing.
Watch this video.
It is a couple years old, so isn’t new news, but has racked up over 10 Million views. Below the video I will give a resource ‘How To Post’ on how easy it is to ensure your iPhone, iPad & iPod phone pictures DO NOT contain any embedded location data.
The small instructions given at the end of the video are not up to date. Here is how to turn off Geo-Location data for the iPhone and other apple devices. All other smart phones would have similar setting as well; just consult Google and you should be good to go.
I try to always share truly useful technology and apps when I find, test, and discover they help save me time or solve a problem.
In doing my taxes this past year, I was able to NOT have to pull my gas receipts out of a shoebox and was easily able to tally up my expenses for my accountant faster than I ever have before.
Time Saved: Approximately 2-3 hours
As an experiment, I started taking pictures of my gas receipts with an app called OneReceipt. Which allowed me to tag the picture “GAS” and after each fill up simply throw away my receipt and forget about it. It also works on any other receipts as well. Their technology actually pulls the #’s off the receipt and stores them securely in the cloud. It also can analyze your spending and a few other things I haven’t tried yet
When it came time to do my taxes this spring. I logged in to their site clicked on the tag ‘GAS’ and voilà… done! All my gas expenditures exported as a PDF with a TOTAL. No calculator or eye straining required!!!
New Years Resolutions have had a bad rap. I see many a blogger, author and commenter suggesting resolutions just don’t work! I’m curious as to why. What makes CHANGE so difficult? Why do New Years resolutions fail more often than not?
I have a theory!
No one hands us an easy RECIPE FOR CHANGE. We have plenty of books, blogs, courses and gyms that will happily take our hard earned money. But they never come with that bonus coupon that guarantees they will also motivate you to butt out, wake up early after a long sleepless night to work out, slap your hand when reaching for a bag of chips, or to not work late and spend more time with your family.
Let’s face it! We are hardwired to resist change. The short term pain too often trumps the long term gain. Having said that, I believe there is an effective recipe for change that works more often than not! It is so effective I am often afraid to use or invoke it in my own life. I’ll let you be the judge.
The most effective agent of personal change is TRUE FEAR of failure!!! Let me explain. When failure is personal and silent it sucks big time, but is easily dismissed. When failure is public and forever in the eyes of your closest friends, family and co-workers the mere thought of it is like trying to imagine jumping out of a plane without a parachute, swallowing a scorpion or gnawing off your own arm. Sorry for the horrific visuals, but the latter examples are clearly not easily dismissed.
Use this recipe to your advantage! If you REALLY want to change, subject yourself to potential personal and public humiliation. If you want to lose weight; bet your 10 closest friends and family members you will achieve your goal by XYZ date or you will pay each of them $(painful amount of money). Need motivation to work out four times a week; send an email with the plan to your co-workers detailing how you if you fail, by XYZ date, you will work an entire week wearing pajamas and will make a $(painful amount of money) donation to a charity or association you ABSOLUTELY DO NOT want to publicly support!
You can achieve this on your own or, for those that truly understand and accept their lack of motivation, YES there is a website that will force you to comply. Use www.stickk.com and increase your success odds from a mere 30% to a whopping 70%. Complete your recipe for change using the digital equivelant of eating humble pie.
For the remainder of 2013 I look forward to bringing you digital rockstar style RECIPES for life, food, tech shortcuts, and digital goodness that will help make your, and my, life better in 2013! I too plan to eat my own humble pie.
Happy New Year!
PS. Blog Update: I will slowly be adding my favourite slow carb and cheat day recipes here: /recipes/ ( If you are into slow carb please share your favourites and I would love to hear feedback on the recipes I post). If you are not into slow carb… here is my original post on the diet/lifetsyle. /slow-carb-diet/
It’s been too long since I have blogged… It’s good to be back!!!
Time to highlight my best digital tips, life tricks and apps that have helped me in 2012. I hope you are looking forward to 2013 being your best year ever!! FYI some of these tips I really had my GEEK HAT ON so if one doesn’t interest you…skip on to the next!
This list is in no particular order, but these 10 are the ones that have had the most dramatic impact for me and I know you will benefit the most from. Each one is truly worthy of its own post.
Although from a geek stand point I am probably a few years late to the party, I truly discovered the power of short codes in 2012. The power of never having to type the same thing twice has literally saved me 3-4 hours per week. These two programs that cover both PC and Mac have the power to change the way you work and or play. Why type out lengthy email addresses, frequent comments, passwords, paragraphs, templates, follow up emails, complaint letters, and the list goes on and on and on!
As a recap the efficiencies you can create are nothing short of amazing. I saved 3-4 hours a week in unnecessary typing this past quarter alone.
* my motto is ‘Never Type Twice’ * What follow up emails, meeting notes, marketing, or anything else can you create short codes for? * Remember to create short codes that you won’t commonly type. For example I use ‘xm’ to bring up my meeting note template.
Let me know if you need any help with this.
PS. In typing this entire email I only had to type your name and ‘xbreevy’
I have been using the cloud to store data for a few years, but until mid 2012 never truly integrated into my digital life. This is the year I took the plunge and decided to move my entire PC to Dropbox.
Why? As I am using windows computers (desktop and laptop), an iPhone and an iPad I wanted access to everything on my computer regardless of platform (device agnostic I also no longer wanted to have to worry about backing up various computers and devices. Now I don’t have to! Everything is available from any device and even if a computer blew up I seriously don’t care as I have EVERYTHING important to me in the cloud.
Call it digital peace of mind.
3. Slow Carb Diet:
Although this has been a previous tip of mine, and is now very main stream, I still come across people who have not heard about how to lose 20lbs in a month with out feeling hungry! This is a lifestyle must have for me as I am frequently on the road, eating in too many restaurants and too often am not able to exercise ( an excuse I know)! I frequently eat slow carb and drop 10 lbs in two weeks mostly after falling of the healthy eating bandwagon at Five Guys Burgers and Fries
My three favourite slow carb foods are Indonesian Scrambled Eggs, Black Beans w/Red Peppers, Onions and Jalapeño, Curried mashed Cauliflower. Drop me a line if you want t o share recipes.
4. For Songwriters: My Voicelive 2 has changed the way I write music. No longer do I have to wonder how a chorus would sound with a female harmony in 3rd or 5th, a gang vocal in the bridge, a lower baritone harmony in that pre-chorus is all just a click away. It will never replace the real thing, but has become an essential tool for me to work out song ideas!
5. Gmail: Year after year stays on the top of my list as the best free email platform on the web. If your still stuck with an email address and held hostage to the monthly bill from your Internet provider… You’ll never regret the switch!
Earlier in 2012 I had a great idea for a mobile phone app after sending my associate pictures of receipts for expense report, as we had hit a deadline and was out of town. Wow! wouldn’t that be a great app; just snap a pic of your receipt, tag it and throw away the receipt knowing it is in the cloud forever, properly dated and tagged gas, office supplies, etc! Again my brilliance was trumped by someone else who HAD already created an APP for THAT! Never lose a receipt again … Priceless!
7. Mint.com and Mobile Apps: Although slightly depressing at times when I realize just exactly where my cash is going each an every day or month. There is NO SIMPLER way to get a grasp on your household budget. Just securely input your bank accounts and automagically your inflow and put flow of cash is crunched for you. Easily see where your cash is going, set alerts, and work towards having your money work for you, instead of the other way around!
8. Jotpro: Allows me to write on my iPad as seamlessly as I do on paper.
This one is specific to tablet users and I will not lay claim to discovering such a life changing product, but it has allowed me to ditch paper entirely during my work day. I only carry a real pen these days for emergencies or when a server at a restaurant forgets to bring one along with the bill. I use the following note taking apps on IOS; Notes Plus and Daily Notes (integrates with Text Expander for pure digital utopia!)
9. GoToMeeting (PC, MAC and IOS): I often do 20+ meetings per week. I had dabbled with GoToMeeting in previous years with minimal success, but the latter part of this year I pushed remote clients to truly buy in to meeting with me more regularly on a virtual basis. The result has been astounding! I have found that the 100+ meetings I have done have been nearly as productive as face to face meetings. If you meet with or could be meeting with people (anywhere in the world) GoToMeeting should be on your must try list! To try it Free for 30 days: CLICK HERE
10. Skype:I know almost EVERYONE uses Skype for free video chatting. Skype is so much more! Probably 2% of the calls I do are video calls, 20% instant messages and 80% of the calls I make are outbound phone calls to long distance numbers in North America. Skype long distance calling is cheap as borsch and the call quality is 100x better than the cell phone reception I get in my basement home office.
Again, Happy New Years and I hope 2013 will be your best year ever.
In the blink of an eye I married the girl of my dreams, created my hit songs Emma, Hanna & Grace, accepted my most important job as a Dad , succeeded and failed in business, wrote an unsuccessful book, cried through two heart surgeries, recorded an album, partied at the Playboy mansion, experienced too many funerals, and learned way more than the five lessons that will guide me though the next 40 years (assuming I am so lucky)!
You can do ‘ANYTHING‘ you put your mind too!!!
Be present and live for today. You can’t change the past or predict the future!
LOVE with all your heart, but remember it’s not everything! Love is about what YOU put in.
If you’re not changing you’re dying! “Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Gandhi (Embrace change even when its uncomfortable)
Life is not about the destination. It’s about the journey… you can’t take it with you when you’re gone!
I have had a long standing picture album on Face Book called my Weird & Wacky album that I have decided, rightly or wrongly, to share with you and the rest the world wide web. These are pictures I have taken over the past few years that made me laugh, scratch my head or were just so whacky I had to keep them. Hope you enjoy Weird & Wacky Wednesday!!! As I take more random pics I will post them on Weird & Wacky Wednesdays.
If you are in Sales & Marketing then no doubt you are emailing your customers and prospects on an ongoing basis. If you aren’t using a service that specializes in email marketing, then you are losing out on increased sales, your valuable time and ultimately money. If you are still sending emails via BCC (Blind Carbon Copy), get with the times my friend as you are not only NOT personalizing your emails, you are potentially opening yourself or your company up for spam complaints and potential legal issues.
On to the task at hand comparing two of the world’s most premier online email marketing services, often referred to as auto responders. I have aimed to make this as impartial as possible, and ask that users of either services, or other competitive products, comment as to their thoughts and experiences.
Here is a side by side comparison of features & costs:
Last UpdatedJan 4th, 2012
Cost Per Month
$15 for 500 email addresses to $150 for 25,000
$19/500 email addresses to $130 for 25,000
Free Phone, Email & Chat
Free Phone, Email & Chat
Native Shopping Cart Integration
Note (May 2010): I am now exclusively recommending AWEBER & not Constant Contact. I had an unfortunate run in with a Constant Contact representative & as a result prefer to affiliate myself with a company that appreciates those who send them business.
If you aren’t currently an Aweber user, I’ve negotiated for you a 1$ Test Drive of the service below… when you click on the banner below to get to the Aweber landing page, just click on their PRICING link and you’ll see the 1$ trial/test drive.