Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"I wanna rock witcha baby..."

I feel a little bit like I'm cheating on Apple...cheating on steve jobs and, frankly, cheating on all of the other people in my life who I go on and on and on and on about my fave brands (of which, Apple is at the top of the pyramid. Other faves: Jet Blue, Commerce Bank, Tivo & the Container Store).

Anyhoo, back to my Apple mistress. The site isn't super well designed and the functionality isn't great, but mP3 search has something that makes up for all that: .10 songs. Yep, folks, you heard me right, you can download an entire album for pretty much the cost of one song on itunes. Why are the songs so cheap? No freakin clue, but then I don't really give a rat's ass. It's a Russian site, and you know those Ruskies like to march to the beat of their own drum.

I do realize there are those of you out there who still download songs (and video and computer programs and porn and all sorts of stuff for free) and I totally salute you. Maybe you are smarter than I am...or more patient, but I just have not figured out a way to do that easily that avoids crappy versions of all of the above and wasted time downloading. I was willing to pay .99 a song to avoid it, so .10 sounds pretty darn dreamy.

You also might be wondering if its safe to give your credit card info away to some random, foreign bargain basement mp3 site. Though I can't really answer your question, I can say that I've already braved the waters and everything has turned out fine. T-minus 7 hours, and my identity has not be stolen yet.

You should also know that getting the songs into itunes isn't quite as easy as it normally is and the artist/song/album field don't automatically fill in properly, but again people, for .10 seems like its worth a couple extra strokes at the ole' keyboard. OH! And for $30 (which, according to my shoddy math is 300 songs) you get 30 songs free. They also seem to have a number of cool, live albums of many of our fave artists that I have not seen round these parts (guess they're European?).

* A special shout out to my friend Blake Levin for tipping me off about this little gem. Blake also introduced me to my fiance Greg, so his shout outs should really be reaching epic proportions.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Ecards Makin' a comeback

Just as the music industry has struggled with giving music away and the phenomenon of downloading, so too has the stationery industry struggled a bit with the issue of ecards.

As we've seen with music, I don't think ecards are going anywhere. And, in truth, I think ecards vs. real cards are totally different markets. Though there are certainly instances where sending an ecard will appropriately take the place of sending a real card, for many other instances, a dancing puppy just won't do.

Having said that, I love ecards. And in a way I think they get people thinking more about stationery and all of the reasons we should be using it. I'm even willing to pay, if the ecards are snazzy enough.

The NYT has an interesting article on the whole ecard phenomenon.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

How to work extrmely well

I recently came across this great article from Fast Company about "How to work extremely well."

Not surprisingly, most of the suggestions don't have a heck of a whole lot to do with actual work. Taking time for yourself, nurturing relationships and remembering to have a life all seem to be pretty critical to doing the best work you can do.

I love this--good work is not always about work--It's about being the best "you" you can be and sitting back as all of the rest falls easily into place.

True dat.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Buckle down and bootstrap!

Lately, clicking on "view all history" within my business bank account literally sends waves of nausea through my body. I mean, I get that you have to spend money to make money, but sheesh.

So, I was super happy to come across this article by blogger Guy Kawasaki (via LifeHacker) about the Art of Bootstrapping for your small biz endeavors.

There are some great tips in here about how to keep your boat afloat, watch your bottom line and not spend needlessly. I think I might print this article out and tape it to my debit card.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Have you ever been surfing the web and happened upon a site with a paragraph or two that seems VERY familiar. Like so familiar, you realize its been copied off of your own damn site without your own damn permission??? Eh hem. Anyway, its no fun, for shizzle. But there is this awesome resource out there called Copyscape that with one little click of your mouse, will search the web to find copies of any of the text that appears on whichever url you choose to enter into the handy search box.

They also have a cute litte "plagiarism warning banner" that you can dowload for free and post on your own site to ward off would be copycats.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Multitasking multiplies

With few exceptions, (i.e Watching Lost) I rarely do one thing at once. Right now I'm watching a season one episode of Veronica Mars, typing a blog entry, finishing a load of laundry, sporadically adding items to my "to do" list and intermittently petting my dog. I'm not good at focussing...I'm a mega multitasker.

Time Magazine (via lifehacker) says that all of this multitasking is actually helping us all to get less done.

Apparently we're all supposed to just be doing one thing at a time--focussed on one particular task and not dividing our attention among many.

Yikes. I need to work on this one big time.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

First impressions count for everything

I'm really good at making "like it or not" decisions. I mean that if I'm in a store and see something I like, I know it immediately and waste no time walking right up to the register. I can spot a beautiful purse hiding under a mound of ugly ones, I can scan racks and hone in on THE piece or walk into a store and immediately know if its going to be a good one or not. This is a great skill to have...particularly for someone who likes shopping as much as I do.

Interestingly enough, I have a pretty identical experience on the web. Within a few seconds of a site loading, I scan the front page and give it a mental thumbs up or thumbs down. Generally, if its a shopping site and I've given it a mental thumbs down, unless they have something I REALLY want that no one else does, I'll just navigate away. Apparently I'm not the only one.

BBC News recently published a story about a study that indicates that our brains make a "like it or not" decision within a twentieth of a second after viewing a webpage.

Not that we all needed any additional reasons to snazz up our sites, but this certainly says a lot. For those that think the overall look of your site isn't that important to the success of your business, I say (with full on intensity and fervor) "You CRAZY."

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Will you just DO IT already???

Sometimes I wish that I had someone/something to nudge me with that phrase every once in awhile. Here's why: I typically let our laundry build up until the "piles" reach Mt. Kilamanjaro status, I hate filing with a passion that can't be quenched, thanks to our adorable yet hairier than a gorilla pooch, our couch requires daily cleaning/vacuuming that is, in actuality, attended to on a monthly basis and my "call ovrnight prints" (which SUCKS, by the way) for a refund item has been on my to-do list for 5 weeks now.

I admit to feeling slightly better about all of this procrastination when I come across sites like Hassle Me--yes its nice to know that I'm not alone.

Hassle Me allows you to send recurring little reminders for yourself via email every few days or so. Trying to get to the gym? Drink more water? Remember to thank those around you for jobs well done? These little emails could help you stay on task.

The site seems fairly new, but they already have some cool things in the works like hassles via IM. Mine would likely need to read: "we notice that you have not done anything closely resembling 'work' in the last 46 minutes. We realize that the ever shrinking weight of Nicole Ritchie and Hollywood's "breakup mania" are both important and worthwhile topics, but don't you have some crazy bride to tend to? Order to ship? New account to get? SIGN OFF NOW!!!"

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

New habits by the month

Ok, last new year's goal setting article (I promise).

But I just loved this break it on down month by month goal setting article from Success Begins Today (via Life Hacker).

This article is such a perfect example of all that's good about the recent explosion of interest in ideas for "life hacks." The ideas in this article are so simple, yet for some odd reason they've never occurred to me in quite this way before. Brilliant!

Fresh Starts

Ok, so sue me; I'm still riding high on the New Year's bandwagon. But I'm not the only one--LifeHacker has a great article on little things to do to help you get a fresh start goin' for the new year.

And for those of you who have already violated your diet/health resolutions, USA Today has this to say.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

User Friendly Resolutions

I'm not the hugest fan of new year's resolutions.

I love the *idea* of making resolutions: identifying something in your life you want to change and doing it. The problem is that most of us don't stick with it and then the whole association with new year's resolutions becomes one of disappointment/shame/bitterness, etc. So whatever it is you wanted to change, doesn't get changed and then you just feel bad about it. Am I just speaking for myself here? Perhaps.

Personally, I've begun the practice of making resolutions all year long. I don't make such a big deal about it and don't associate it with the normal resolution song and dance b.s., but who needs a january 1st date to actually make a change. Not me!

Having said that, it is always nice to be reminded that we have the power to make these changes in our own lives, and the first of the year does provide a nice starting point for that.

So, for those of us who are making resolutions (however they might look for you), Yahoo has a nice article on how to break them down into nice bite-sized bits. Happy resolving, everyone!