I would like to introduce everyone to a very interesting concept: virally growing your fan base as a new writer. Of course old writers are welcomed also. But the idea is to ultimately share your ideas, produce a fan-base from the ground up while writing on this beautiful platform. Why not have a novel released overtime so people can read? Why not serialize some big vision or adventure that people look forward to so it’s not just another case of the ‘Monday’s’ or weekdays? We all looked forward to seeing “Lost” – but the power of reading is still something that’s relevant and still powerful. Without further ado: check out http://www.writerzweb.com – let your mind run free with adventure for writers and readers alike!

http://www.writerzweb.com

Just wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday. As for this year’s BF, it’s another mediocre one at best. Staples used to be one of the best places to shop but now the best deal is in Best Buy ranging from cameras to Hard Drives. Walmart is still holding strong with pretty good deals.

Good luck and don’t let the lines get you down!

As Black Friday comes around I hope to keep the blog updated as to what’s going on. I’m still a firm believer and pusher for new technologies and unique ideas to drive yourself to success.

I apologize for the lack of updates, but life does happen.

There will also be a review of the Acer TimelineX 1830t coming along. I myself always wanted an energy efficient light but powerful machine that I could bring anywhere for work and keep my productive throughout the day. It is however important to separate work from your home life. But if work is play then what’s the harm? Don’t tune out your precious loved ones, that’s all I have to say.

That being said. It is an amazing opportunity to work for Fantourage.com. It is an interesting concept and what I believe social media will turn into. But guess what, fantourage.com is first! It is the latest and greatest! Connect with bands, celebs and brand names, become their top fans, become devoted and EARN payback from that! We’ve already given out playoff tickets to Celtic and Cavs, meet & greet with bands, tickets to see bands. We’ve had huge celebrities give out rewards such as Taylor Hicks, Passafire, Trust Company and a lot of more amazing bands.

Check it out at http://www.fantourage.com

As mentioned by Engadget at http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/21/mcafee-update–shutting-down-xp-machines/, today was a total blunder by McAfee, the once reliable (right? right?) virus scanner company.

I believed in you McAfee, even when friends said you were slow I honestly believed in the security you would bring to me. Plus you were a familiar face from my days at UMass.

I not only let you into my life but let you into the hearts of my computers, laptops and netbooks. Not only that, I let you into the lives of others around the world.

But today, I saw the truth. You are slow and you gave me what I might as well call a virus. You destroyed all my systems at once because auto-update was on. Immediately one after another started counting down to oblivion.

But I am one lucky one as one computer refused to go without a fight and the svchost.exe file was not removed (a file very crucial to your Windows XP system).

I just had to copy it back and remove McAfee. Sorry pals…I’m now with AVG and my machines seem more zippy now!

Go figure…

And how the heck did it happen anyway?

Well I heart Norton and McAfee are just large virus scanner companies anyway…

I know it’s been a while, but there are some things that I can’t just get off my mind.

Apple has made good looking products for years. It is the edge that they seriously have in the consumer market.

But ever since the release of this so-called “magical device” that even the cavemen could predict would come out, things have seemingly been blown out of proportion. I am awaiting the simple review of an iPad: “I got it. It sucks” done, and boom.

Good looking product? check.
No support for 3rd party software? check.
Multitouch? check.
iPhone strategy? check.

See a problem with this? Except this is not an iPhone, it is quite worse. This is an example of Apple getting a little too cocky about their magical devices and creating something expensive and less useful than all other netbooks and tablet-converted laptops. Looks good? Indeed. Functional as the iPhone? No. Intimacy with your computer? That’s what Steve Jobs wants you to have. Except…It’s intimacy with his wallet.

But, good thing for Apple. The iPhone can be such a killer device and gets so close. But their “cockiness” allows competition just like Microsoft’s cockiness back-in-the-day allowed Apple to creep up on their heels and now, the free tried and true Linux.

Good job Apple for allowing competition and making a bad product that I will surely pass on. Let me know when I can connect USB devices to it, I can run other browsers and programs, I can add an external hard drive, I can do more than my netbook basically. Bigger iPhone? Hmm, not quite at all. It’s not even as convenient. I’ll stick with an iPhone.

As some of you may be aware of, I was also involved in co-managing the group PinkSlipCoffee of Boston for the unemployed. It was primarily a meetup group that gained a lot traction that interested the New York Times, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal and Marie-Claire magazine. We’ve had 330 “Life Explorers” to date and over 800 Unique Visitors to the website to date.

With my partner Stephanie L. Cooper (stephanielcooper@gmail.com), I, WaiJe Coler (waije.coler@gmail.com) am also regretfully officially announcing the closure of our quite successful group.

It was a great, fun and invigorating journey for the both of us. However, the pro-bono attitudes we had for the people unemployed had finally took its toll on us. The time we would spend on our online venture and physical meetups just took so much time and made a big dent on our finances. That doesn’t take away from the fact that we are proud of the group and have enjoyed seeing people coming and going, and also getting jobs through this rough economy. It doesn’t take away the fact that I’ve enjoyed seeing the smiles on people’s faces, and meeting multiple individuals each with their own unique life-story to tell.

We are still keeping the website up and keeping an open mind on the online portion. It can be used for its forums, posts and dynamic informative resources. However, our time spending on it is very very limited.

I hope this doesn’t come as a downer to anyone. I am very grateful to have been presented the opportunity to  meet all the different amazing people in person. I have enjoyed every talk, every activity and game, every spark of energy we were able to muster up from the meetups. And it was an honor and enjoyable experience to work beside Stephanie Cooper, especially on the late nights we would spend brainstorming on who was going to speak, what we were going to do and what venue we could use. It wasn’t an easy task at all.

Thanks for the wonderful journey you all! And keep in touch! And good luck in these rough economic times. It IS turning around. Thank you.

And now, some closing words from Stephanie:

Hi Pink Slip Coffee Members,

After much deliberation, I have decided to close down the meetup group for Pink Slip Coffee. This has been an incredibly difficult decision for me as we have grown to become a terrific group and a much needed outlet for the Boston area. I, as many of you, am faced with financial challenges at this time and will need to secure full time employment. I have researched ways to keep the costs as low as possible for the group while still trying to be paid a little for my time and covering the meetup.com expenses. I really wish there was another way that I could afford to keep everything up and running, but I have exhausted all known options. WaiJe and I will be leaving PinkSlipCoffee.com running as usual and please, please use this as a resource for any help and support for each other. If anyone wants, I can add the member connection list to this site so everyone can keep in touch.

I wish everyone the absolute best on the job hunt and in the future. I always have my personal email address if you wanna write or ask for advice or anything!

Thank you for your dedication, support, and for making my first entrepreneurial venture so great :)

- Stephanie & WaiJe
StephanieLCooper@gmail.com
WaiJe.Coler@gmail.com

Just a little information on the upcoming stories.

The Timeshare story will be stickied and remain on top of the page for a bit so that it can get some exposure. There is also an upcoming story that is very close to my heart that’ll be stickied as well and will be at the top even longer.

But back to the order of things.

As I work on this unknown project I decided to try out this Wordpress Blog on the side to convey information and show you the steps on the success or failure of this up and coming project.

The reason I chose WordPress is because of its ease of use, the PHP technology (which is widespread) and because I’ve already had experience extending WordPress and working with the plugins.

If you know Java and C++, PHP should be relatively easy to learn, which is the path I took.

Couple that with the fact WordPress is quite popular, easily themeable and there is already a huge widespread support for it, plus the fact it won the 2009 Open Source CMS Award it’s become clear why I decided to choose this.

And for those who are about to venture out on a limb and try blogging with WordPress, here’s an interesting page that initially confused me at vs. It’s Categories vs Tags. Happy reading.

This is not something that I’ll usually do. But we (as a family), currently have a timeshare for sale out in Manhattan, right next to Time Square, Central Park, the Theater District, Carnegie Hall, and more!

This is in all seriousness. The timeshare was bought a while ago and we feel it is time to sell it, though it would sorely be missed. We’ve had a lot of fun memories in that area.

So wherever you are, please feel free to contact me at waije.coler at gmail dot com if you are interested. The price is negotiable, but the current asking price is 26.

For more information on The Manhattan Club (our timeshare), please feel free to go to their website. The timeshare may also be traded for others around the country including (I believe) out of country. NY is a highly sought out place and the Club guarantees 7 days a year there, right in the middle of it all.

Here are some images to help entice you.

Thanks, and sorry for the soliciting…This will hardly happen.

manhattan_club2manhattan_club1

Hopefully everyone had a great Thanksgiving and a good Black Friday – if you celebrated that! And hopefully you didn’t spend so much. If you did, hopefully what you bought is put up to good use.

But as to continue the last article, there is an important part of being en entrepreneur starting from almost zilch. You must also take care of yourself outside of your business. One of the most useful tools that I’ve found on the web is FatWallet!

As I mentioned before, it has a great community of specialists from all walks of life. Not only can you get good deals on consumer goods (or know what is a good deal), but you can also find recommended credit cards, learn about property investments, and about high-interest Savings Accounts.

That’s right. Some people don’t realize or know that there are Online Banks that offer high-interest Savings Accounts. Usually people stick to the most popular bank, for example: Bank of America. Not to say that this is exactly bad, because they do offer a wide variety of resources that online Banks don’t, such as widespread ATMs, personal checks, etc, etc.

And some people will go with these large widespread banks and put money into a CD (Certificate of Deposit) for high-interest rates. However, with CDs, you cannot touch your money with the designated amount of time for the money to mature, unless you want to get penalized. With online Savings Accounts you can touch it for usually a maximum of 6 transactions per month (by U.S. law), but they match up or are sometimes higher than the usual interest rates for CDs.

So, why not educate yourself with various ways to improve your finances and make your decisions efficient and as cheaply as possible?

Another thing people do is go with a credit card issued by their bank. PAY ATTENTION! There are credit cards that offer great interest rates and rewards! I’ve had personal experiences joining credit cards that offer no rewards or only one reward (at the initial time of purchase).

There are also credit cards that in fact offer an introductory rate of 0% for 3-12 months on purchases. There are credit cards that offer balance transfers or cash withdrawal with no fee and no interest rate for 3-12 months. Take advantage of these tools and don’t be trapped with a credit card that offers no rewards! You may save  lot…and sometimes, you can even double up on the CashBack.

Because of FatWallet!’s CashBack policy and credit card companies’ rewards policies, you may, for example, earn 5% from FatWallet! and an additional 5% from your credit card. Think about that! You just saved 10% on a purchase, but what makes it even better is you might’ve saved more because the users of FatWallet! deemed your purchase a good deal which is usually quite a bit off the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price). So imagine, realistically, saving 20-30% overall on a product. True you’ll have to spend the extra time doing your research and reading reviews, but generally, green on FatWallet! means good. And usually, you’re going to buy with a credit card anyway!

Remember though, Credit Cards are GOOD as long as you pay them off. Even in this economic downturn, we are still a nation that runs on credit. Credit allows you to get a good Mortgage on a house or buy a car. So for those who are skeptics and only use cash or debit cards…why not earn rewards and get a good credit score for the future? Why not save 20-30% on products? As long as you pay off your credit card and remain consistent on your monthly payments, there are only rewards, and you can gain a lot.

Without further ado, here are some forums and discussions that are useful on FatWallet! Don’t forget to sign up for account if you plan on participating in the discussion or want to be eligible for CashBack!

Now for a new user on the Web it may be a bit challenging to get used to the format of “forums” and “threads” which used to be similar to how Bulletin Boards work. But read the other users’ comments and learn from what they say. Users’ that may not be as useful as others may also get voted in the “Red” for what they say. So it’s all based on popular opinion, but the general consensus is pretty good and reliable on this site. Green (votes by many users) can definitely be counted on.

As a final note, notice the rates of the CDs and then the High-Interest Savings Accounts. You can generally make more in interest in the Savings Accounts plus you have the option of touching your money.

I would have it set up so that you do have a general bank account with checks and widespread ATMs, and have the Online Savings Account linked to it. Remember, only 6 transactions max per month! So all the surplus money you have, you should definitely put it in the savings.

But how about a CD or Stock Market? Well, the Market is still going up and we were officially listed as coming out of the Recession (then again, we’ve been economically in trouble for a while when there was no official word on whether or not we were in a Recession), so the safest bet are banks, especially when they are FDIC insured. True, there is a slight chance of governmental collapse in which money and banks may mean nothing, but the true foundations are pretty strong and it would take a lot for that to happen. For CDs with higher interest rate, you can take the chance with them. But the good thing about the Banks is that as they begin to do well again, they will raise their interest rates for you. With CDs, you are stuck. Now, CDs are good when you feel that the economy is about to go downward. However, I feel, in my personal opinion, the economy is in fact on the rebound. So when the average rate of Interest was around 5.5% a couple years back, and now the average is 1.5%, that may be the lowest we’re going to see in a long while. The economy is finally becoming stable and show what it’s worth, rather than being overly exaggerated as it was for a while.

So yes, Stock may be an interesting option, but always have a portion of your money in safe (no pun intended) accounts, just in case. You may never know! And plus, doesn’t it make you feel better you are earning a better interest rate than most banks?

Feel good about yourself, do your research, save money, it’ll pay off in the end and it might amaze you how much you save and how much you learn about business and saving money in general. Live frugally and cheaply but with quality.

As Thanksgiving rears its popular head I find myself scarce for time especially when there are multiple projects in the oven at the moment (so to speak).

Black Friday comes ever so closer and I have reviewed and suggested several items at Best Buy to wake up early for. However, I am uncertain if I am able to get to the other stores that I recommend, such as my all time favorite, Staples, then Walmart and Target.

The sign of the economy is showing as Staples used to have more free-items (after EZ rebate) especially free surge-protectors, which you can never have too much of as you continuously work with technology and try to protect it. While the Universal Remote is still free at Staples, they list a surge protector as around $6 or so. Hardly a deal.

Still, there are some items on sale at these places. In particular, there is a hard drive available for around $70 that’s 500GB at I believe Staples. I have to take a closer look. For the gist of it, it’s a portable HD that can be powered just through a USB port. There was a deal at Target for a 320GB for $65. This is a great deal.

Without further ado, if I cannot manage my time correctly and be able to give my opinions on other Black Friday deals, I leave you with some great resources:

  • www.bfads.net – BFAds – This is one of many BlackFriday sites that provide ads and details on what is on sale from every vendor possible. This is my personal favorite and trustworthy site that I have looked at throughout the years. However, it doesn’t necessarily provide you with the info on whether or not an item is a good deal. It’ll list everything that the vendors wants you to see that is on sale.
  • www.slickdeals.net – Slick Deals – Another personal favorite, this also has a Black Friday section. This will help validate what deals are good and what are downright terrible. It is a close knit community of new people and experienced alike. Look for the thumbs up on an item for a good deal. You may also see past deals that were excellent according to the entire community, which is usually a good indication and one that I swear by.
  • www.fatwallet.com – FatWallet! – This is also a favorite for the reasons above for Slick Deals. FatWallet will also help you with your finances and other life situations. It is a larger community and allows “Cash Back” in which if you sign up for an account in FatWallet, you can earn Cash Back by buying something from one of their vendors through them. Don’t be discouraged, they have almost ALL of the popular vendors on file such as Dell, HP and NewEgg!

That’s it for now. Until next time…

The above sites also help in being an entrepreneur especially if you are splurging and rewarding yourself. FatWallet! is especially helpful. More on that on a later time. And until next time…Have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the people around you and/or the peace!