Wednesday, December 26, 2007

» Ten threat predictions for 2008 | Threat Chaos |

» Ten threat predictions for 2008 Threat Chaos "Richard Stiennon Bringing order to threat chaos through news, views and analysis Subscribe Alerts Bio Mobile

Categories: Bank security, CyberCrime, Data Security, SOA, Security Industry News, Spyware, State Sponsored Hacking

ThreatChaos Predictions for 2008
1. Facebook widgets will be used to distribute malware"

be vigilant in 2008 - pR

» Ten threat predictions for 2008 | Threat Chaos |

» Ten threat predictions for 2008 Threat Chaos "Richard Stiennon Bringing order to threat chaos through news, views and analysis Subscribe Alerts Bio Mobile

Categories: Bank security, CyberCrime, Data Security, SOA, Security Industry News, Spyware, State Sponsored Hacking

ThreatChaos Predictions for 2008
1. Facebook widgets will be used to distribute malware"

be vigilant in 2008 - pR

» Ten threat predictions for 2008 | Threat Chaos |

» Ten threat predictions for 2008 Threat Chaos "Richard Stiennon Bringing order to threat chaos through news, views and analysis Subscribe Alerts Bio Mobile

Categories: Bank security, CyberCrime, Data Security, SOA, Security Industry News, Spyware, State Sponsored Hacking

ThreatChaos Predictions for 2008
1. Facebook widgets will be used to distribute malware"

be vigilant in 2008 - pR

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The CEO Poll: Crime and punishment | Managing | Strategy | Canadian Business Online

The CEO Poll: Crime and punishment | Managing | Strategy | Canadian Business Online: "The CEO Poll: Crime and punishment
Joe Castaldo
From the December 24, 2007 issue of Canadian Business magazine
A federal judge in Chicago sentenced fallen media mogul Conrad Black to six and a half years in prison for fraud and obstruction of justice. He must also pay a fine of US$125,000 and forfeit US$6.1 million. Investors aren’t looking for Canadian courts to sentence white-collar criminals as severely as U.S. courts do, according to Michael Watson, director of enforcement at the Ontario Securities Commission. But the 137 Canadian CEOs polled in a survey conducted by Compas Inc. disagreed strongly with that belief.
The majority of business leaders surveyed want our securities regulators to catch fraudsters with greater regularity, and want Canadian courts to impose tougher sentences on white-collar criminals. Canada is no more compassionate than the U.S., the CEOs believe, and Canadians certainly wouldn’t complain if lengthier prison sentences were handed down. In a previous Compas poll, some respondents indicated that our weak securities laws also act as a deterrent to foreign investment. “We have world class companies and world class executives. It is a shame that we are considered an easy country [in which] to get away with fraud,” wrote one respondent.
The CEOs were also asked to grade the effectiveness of certain mechanisms in place for making Canada a safe haven for investors. Our securities laws in general received a grade of 57%, while the OSC received 53%. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission fared better with a score of 68%."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Trends and opportunities HBR

The Biggest Management Challenges in 2008
By Sean Silverthorne

Seven years into the 21st century the world of business and management is certainly going through, if not revolution, at least evolution on a speedy scale.

Traditional business models are getting turned on their heads (Anyone seen Google’s share price lately?), resources and markets are available on a global scale (Medical tourism), and technology continues to be both the manager’s best friend (CRM) and worst enemy (Blackberry = 24×7 availability).

What do you think will be the big challenges for your business in 2008? asks Harvard Business, which is building a crystal ball around responses from readers. Some early comments:

The Network as Platform. “The most important trend in networking in 2008, indeed in all of IT, will be the emergence of the “network as the platform” for productivity, profitable growth, resource management and innovation. This trend will play a key role in helping determine success in business as well as in other areas of society (healthcare and education).”

Eco Business Opportunities. “As private and public entities respond to the extension of social responsibility, many new service provider opportunities will explode in the finance, e-waste, recylcing, remanufacturing, supply chain industry, and service entities.”

New Geopolitics. “Politically, between US election, China’s coming out party (summer Olympics), and Russia’s new (old) president, 2008 would be an interesting year. Economically, the battle for supremacy between central banks, sovereign funds, and the “real” economy could be on the headline in various disguises.
Volatile Markets. “The biggest challenges for the managers in the short term is to counter the impact of weakening dollar, rising crude, declining productivity in US and Europe, and outsourcing as competitive strategy.”

Dollar Decline. “For European businesses the continued decline of the US dollar against the Euro will remain one of the toughest challenges. It will be the catalyst for many changes related to repositioning within market segments, relocation of manufacturing to no-Euro zones and acceleration of innovation drive.”

Social Networking. “Companies must learn to effectively utilize social networking tools both inside and outside the companies to keep up with what the younger workers grew up with — fast and furious communication tools like texting, facebook, My Space, You Tube, etc. that spread the word now. Not in the next quarter, next month, next week or even next day, but NOW.”

Soft Skills. “The development and implementation of ‘soft skills’ will be one of the greatest management challenges in the future. With changing attitudes and values it will become increasingly necessary for organisations to undergo cultural change in order to attract and retain high quality young staff and to appeal to the changing values of society in general. The establishment of a culture of community which values all stakeholders, gives a strong sense of belonging and offers flexibility within a secure and diverse environment will be important.”
What do you think?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tax watchdog wants Ontario Northland subsidy reviewed; annual reports absent - Yahoo! Canada News

Tax watchdog wants Ontario Northland subsidy reviewed; annual reports absent - Yahoo! Canada News: "TORONTO - An 'essential' Crown corporation that has failed to disclose its annual reports for the last five years will right that wrong shortly, Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle said Friday as he tried to deflect 'pot shots' about subsidies for the money-losing Ontario Northland Transportation Commission.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation wants the province to reconsider nearly $20 million in annual subsidies for the commission, which operates bus, freight, passenger rail and high-speed Internet services in northern Ontario.
The company has issued regular financial statements, but hasn't released an annual report since 2002, and has previously shown losses of as much as $1 million a month, said Kevin Gaudet, director of the federation's Ontario chapter.
Given that, the government ought to reconsider whether its investment is worthwhile, Gaudet said.
'We don't have much insight into how well (the annual subsidy) was being spent or how well we think it ought to be spent.'
In 2006, Ontario's auditor general also expressed concerns about a lack of annual reports being filed by the province's Crown corporations and said regular public reporting was 'of paramount importance.'
'Doing so in a timely manner enhances the transparency of the actions taken and the results achieved by the agencies, thereby strengthening agency accountability,' Jim McCarter wrote in his 2006 report."

Overhaul the RCMP

It takes an unnecessary death to get proper action for the good . Be reminded of the following
"When generals are weak and lack authority, instructions are not clear, officers and soldiers lack consistency, and they form battle lines every which way; this is a riot." Sun Tzu's warning to military leaders is great advice to politicians. Deploying police or any public service people who don't have a consistent, repeatable process and who are not "on message" costs monumental amounts of wasted motion and leaves wheelbarrows full of money on table after table. We at PR strongly support the overhaul report calling for much needed reform. Might is not right, particularly if not wisely lead or used PR

Overhaul RCMP, task force says JESSICA LEEDER Globe and Mail Update
December 14, 2007 at 3:24 PM EST

TORONTO — A federal task force convened to help overhaul the RCMP recommended major structural changes for the 133-year-old force today, including granting the Force separate employer status from the government, the adoption of a civilian oversight board and the creation of a new, more powerful complaints authority.
The task force, led by Toronto lawyer David Brown, set a strict two-year deadline for the changes to be fully made, and asked that a special civilian body be set up to oversee their implementation, which will set the foundation for an additional 45 recommendations outlined in his task force's report, titled “Rebuilding the Trust.”
RCMP Commissioner William Elliott quickly embraced the report, saying he would use it to launch a necessary renewal of the federal force, including changes in its senior levels.
“It's an important document that will serve as one of the key drivers of change as we go forward. The report is, I believe, an important turning point,” he said.
Related Articles
Remarks by David Brown
Kelowna RCMP apologize to man hit twice by taser
RCMP to curb taser use
Mounties brace for high-level shakeup
RCMP should restrict taser use immediately: report
Watchdog needed for RCMP: MPs
From the archives
CSIS, RCMP co-operation improved since Air India attack, probe told
RCMP backup policy expected to cost 'tens of millions'
Internet Links
Full report (pdf)
Task Force
Mr. Brown said the task force realized through its consultation and research that “continuing to simply treat the symptoms ailing the RCMP was not going to fix anything and would only serve to compound the issues for future generations,” he said.
The five members of the task force spent five months travelling across the country to speak with RCMP members at all levels. Mr. Brown said his panel encountered “fierce pride in the Force” paired with “despair, disillusionment and anger with an organization that is failing them.”
He outlined a number of alarming trends his panel uncovered.
“With remarkable but disturbing consistency, we heard of chronic shortages of people and equipment, of overwork and fatigue, of issues of wellness, health and even safety,” said Mr. Brown.
“We learned about basic human management systems that haven't worked for years: mandatory unpaid overtime; discipline and grievance systems that don't work; a promotion system with little or no credibility; a sometimes embarrassing record of accounting to the people they serve.”
Mr. Brown said he found that rank and file members are “struggling to do their best under the tremendous burden of an inefficient and inappropriately structured organization.”
The task force's recipe for remedies begins, Mr. Brown said, with changing the relationship between the government and the RCMP, allowing the force to become a separate entity with separate employer status. Mr. Brown said the RCMP is not “just another federal department” and should be “free from unnecessary government constraints.” The force must be allowed to control its own finances and manage human resources decisions instead of being forced to contend with the federal bureaucracy, the task force suggests.

“A modern-day police force cannot spend its days mired in endless bureaucracy and administration with the federal government,” Mr. Brown said.

The addition of the new responsibilities should be governed by a civilian Board of Management, which Mr. Brown said would be responsible for overseeing financial affairs, resources, services, property, personnel and procurement. The Board will be accountable to the Minister of Public Safety and to Parliament.
The task force also recommended “radical changes” to increase accountability and transparency inside and outside of the force.
“A modern-day RCMP will shed its cloak of secrecy while protecting the fundamental rights of Canadian citizens,” Mr. Brown said.
The most radical of those recommendations includes scrapping the “inadequate” External Review Committee and the Public Complaints Commission, the two separate bodies that currently handle complaints related to the RCMP.
To replace them, the task force is calling for new legislation to create the Independent Commission for Complaints and Oversight of the RCMP (ICCOR), a non-police body. Under the task force's plan, ICCOR will operate like a sort of hybrid ombudsman. It would deal with both internal and external complaints and be given the powers to conduct investigations, summon witnesses and compel testimony.
It would also report publicly on recommendations and findings, which would be put before the new Board of Management. And, unlike current practices, the Commission's findings will be binding on the RCMP Commissioner.
Mr. Brown said the public should be given a progress report on the changes by June 30th, 2008. He also said his task force hopes to see the board of management and independent complaints commission up and running no later than December 31, 2009.
He asked that legislative changes required to enact the task force's recommendations be “sped along as quickly as possible in Parliament”, and suggested the Force be granted special one-time funding from the federal government to aid their rebuild.
“I am confident that the recommendations we have made today will rebuild this national icon into a modern-day police force,” he said. “I believe that the lost trust among rank and file members will be restored.”

Do not get ripped off by overbilling

How to Catch Billing Mistakes

Wouldn't you love to know for sure that you're not being overcharged by banks, credit card companies and the like? Attorney Edgar Dworsky, JD, former consumer education consultant for the Federal Trade Commission and creator of the consumer advocacy Web site explains how you can be certain you aren't being stuck with false charges. Whether it's a bank, utility company, or credit card, he identifies the most common mistakes -- and tells who to call, what to say and how to get the problem solved in your favor.

How to Catch Billing Mistakes Edgar Dworsky, JD vercharges by companies -- cell-phone service providers, credit card issuers, utilities, banks and more -- are commonplace. In fact, they could be costing you hundreds of dollars a year.
These errors aren't deliberate. Companies point out that overbilling actually costs them money because customer service representatives must spend valuable time dealing with the resulting billing complaints.
Bottom line: It's up to you to scrutinize what you are charged and then question what you don't understand. Here are the most common billing mistakes and how to handle them...

Common errors: Misapplied charges, such as check-writing fees when you signed up for free checking... bounced check fees when your account has overdraft protection... out-of-network automated teller machine (ATM) fees when you didn't use an ATM outside your bank's network.
What to do: Call the number on your statement within 60 days from the date your statement was mailed -- most will quickly remove such fees.
utility companies
Common errors: Reading the meter incorrectly... bills based on estimated usage -- when a reading cannot be obtained -- that are wildly over the mark. Estimated usage is based on your patterns over the past year, so charges might even reflect errors on past bills.
What to do: Demonstrate that the reading is incorrect by taking a picture of the meter or scheduling a time for the utility company to send a meter reader to your home. Check the reading with him/her, and write down the number yourself. If the amount doesn't match what appears on your bill, report the error to the utility company. If the problem goes unresolved, contact your state public utilities commission (listed in your phone book).
TELEPHONE companies
Common errors: Charges you paid in the previous month that appear on your bill again because they weren't credited to your account... fees for services you didn't order, such as call-waiting... unreasonably high charges because a discount plan you signed up for was discontinued. Example: Your plan had a rate of five cents per minute for calls to Canada. Several months later, the plan was discontinued, but you never saw the notice. Your new rate is 25 cents a minute.
What to do: Complain to the phone company. It may correct your bill and offer to switch you to another plan that will save you some money -- it might charge you less than 25 cents but more than five cents. In general, you should report mistakes and/or overcharges to your phone company as soon as you receive your statement. You have 60 days to dispute unauthorized pay-per-call charges.
Helpful: Consider a one-price plan -- for instance, an unlimited monthly domestic calling plan as part of your long-distance service. Anything you can do to simplify the number of charges on your bill will reduce the likelihood of mistakes and save you time when scrutinizing the bill.
Common error: An item scans for a higher price than the one marked.
What to do: Of course, you should ask for the correct price, but because scanner mistakes happen frequently, it's worthwhile to shop at stores that have "price accuracy guarantees." This means that if there's a mistake, you get the item for free, or in the case of expensive items, you may get $3 to $10 off the correct price. Guarantees are offered by many drugstores and supermarkets.
Common errors: Mistaken charges for use of the minibar, movie rentals and telephone calls from your room. A recent study by Corporate Lodging Consultants found that 11% of all hotel bills are incorrect. Guests were overcharged an average of $11 per stay. Reasons: The complex structure of rates and fees... and the hotel industry has become lax about mistakes because business travelers rarely complain. Many business travelers figure it's not worth fighting inaccurate charges if the expenses are going to be paid by their employers anyway.
What to do: If you use a hotel's express checkout service, take a moment to review your bill for obvious mistakes. Get an employee or customer rep ID number when confirming a negotiated rate for a room -- or ask to be E-mailed a confirmation. Caution: Credit card issuers generally won't credit you back the money if a dispute with a travel vendor is over a rate discrepancy.
Common errors: Charges from a former service provider that you no longer use... extra charges tacked on by your card company, such as credit insurance or other services it sells and you don't want... a merchant's failure to post a credit for returned items... charges for services or goods that you ordered and never received.

What to do: Federal law requires that you first try to resolve the mistake with the company that overcharged you, not the credit card issuer. Technically, to dispute the charge with your credit card company, you must make the request in writing. Practically speaking, many people just call their card issuer. Review your credit card bills on-line once a week. You're more likely to remember what you bought and spot mistakes than if you wait for paper statements to arrive the following month. Also, you'll have fewer items to check than at the end of the month.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How feeble is our right of free speech

The prosecution of Maclean's magazine shows how feeble is our right of free speech

By Link Byfield

It had to happen eventually. A national publisher is now being prosecuted for political insensitivity. It marks the latest and most serious escalation of the long, slow war of Canadian governments against free speech.

Last year (Oct. 23, 06) Maclean’s printed a lengthy article entitled “The Future Belongs to Islam.” It was in fact a chapter from the book “America Alone” by Maclean’s columnist Mark Steyn.

The complaint was brought by the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC), after being initiated last spring by Muslim law students at York University.

CIC legal counsel Faisal Joseph, a former prosecutor, explained, “When you read that article, it sounds to some people {like} there’s an attack from the ‘Muslim’ world against the ‘non-Muslim’ world. We take real issue with that type of characterization and the implications of it.”

It’s undeniable that Steyn’s chapter – and his whole book – describe such an attack. He sees the western world as being intimidated and demographically overwhelmed by an Islamic culture hostile to western values.

This opinion, the CIC’s Joseph alleges, subjects Canadian Muslims to discrimination, hatred and contempt.

Maclean’s editor Ken Whyte met with the offended Osgoode students last spring, and offered to publish a longish letter from them, even though he had run 27 letters on the subject already, and the story was now five months old. But the students demanded five unedited pages in his magazine, plus an unedited cover picture.

Whyte refused, saying he would sooner see the magazine go bankrupt than surrender responsibility for its content. The CIC has translated this to him saying he’d prefer bankruptcy to journalistic balance.

Human rights law began forty years ago, inflicting itself on defenseless employers and landlords, but has gradually been taking on ever more powerful antagonists. Maclean’s is the most potent yet.

What most people still fail to understand, unfortunately, is that human rights law has nothing to do with civil rights. The traditional freedoms – our centuries-old civil rights – are to own property, assemble peacefully, speak your mind, worship God openly, and associate with people you choose.

Human rights law is quite different. It says that you have a right not to feel excluded or demeaned for who you are, and if you do the state will prosecute the offender and extract compensation. This requires government-appointed commissions to decide which social and racial groups they will protect and which ones they won’t, and where the line lies between free speech and “responsible” free speech as they choose, according to some moving political basis, to define it.

A wise law professor once explained the distinction between the two kinds of law thus: traditional freedoms require governments to leave citizens alone. The new anti-discrimination laws require governments to become ever more intrusive and restrictive.

Or as another wise professor once expressed it, “Freedom of speech is not the right to tell someone good morning. It’s the legal right to tell them to _____ off.”

We may not like talk like that, or opinions like Mark Steyn's. But just because they offend us does not mean governments in a free society should stop them. Governments can no more control public opinion than King Canute could hold back the tide.

Let's hope now that Maclean’s is being hounded, Canadian media will at long last take seriously the threat human rights commissions pose to their own freedom and everyone else’s.

- Link Byfield

Link Byfield is an Alberta senator-elect and chairman of the Citizens Centre

Monday, December 10, 2007

» Surveillance cuts both ways | Storage Bits |

» Surveillance cuts both ways | Storage Bits | "Massive storage has given governments worldwide the ability to record citizen activities and abuse human rights. And, as yesterday’s post on Deep Packet Inspection noted, technology marches on. But the recording and storage revolution cuts both ways. Citizens can capture government misconduct and bring pressure to bear on those who abuse their authority. Two cases in point A New York 17-year old was being interrogated by police over a shooting in an elevator. As the interrogation began he pressed the record button on his music player to record the 1 hour, 15 minute session. At the trial the detective, unaware of the recording, testified that the suspect “wasn’t questioned” about the shooting. But then the defense confronted the detective with a transcript it said proved he had spent more than an hour unsuccessfully trying to persuade Erik Crespo to confess—at times with vulgar tactics. Once the transcript was revealed in court, prosecutors asked for a recess, defense attorney Mark DeMarco said. The detective was pulled from the witness stand and advised to get a lawyer. The detective has now been charged with 12 felony counts of perjury"

This articale illustrates that using the tools you have can make a difference- record and share invisiable crimes- expose the truth and regain your liberty

Conrad Black gets sentenced-has class

Was justice served? 6.5 years for entrepreneurship- after he left or was forced to leave the media empire and stock declined to little- a phyric victory for the public at best in a lose-lose situation. At least he showed some class

"We have the verdict we have and we can't retry the case," Black told St. Eves in a brief statement before the sentencing.

"I have never once uttered one disrespectful word about this court, your honour, the jurors or the process."

He thanked the judge for her openmindedness, considering that he came in with an "almost universal presumption of guilt."

The former newspaper executive also apologized to shareholders of the defunct Hollinger International newspaper group, the company he was convicted of defrauding. It once controlled a chain of big-city Canadian dailies, the National Post, the London Telegraph and the Jerusalem Post, as well as the Chicago Sun-Times and hundreds of smaller publications.

The Black trial was one of the last high-profile fraud cases in which U.S. prosecutors, stocks regulators and others cracked down on white collar crime in the wake of the Enron Corp. scandal that wiped out billions of dollars of stock value about five years ago.

Besides tough new U.S. rules that required more detailed corporate disclosure to shareholders, U.S. prosecutors also won jail sentences against Martha Stewart, former WorldComm CEO Bernie Ebbers, Adelphia cable group CEO John Rigas and executives of Enron and numerous other companies accused of corporate fraud and wrongdoing.

Earlier Monday, Black had walked into the courthouse confident and smiling in the morning, accompanied by his wife Barbara Amiel Black and daughter Alana Black.

After the sentencing he was still smiling, offering only "No comment," as he left the courtroom with his family and a tight-lipped "the fact that we're appealing speaks for itself," as he and his family edged through a knot of reporters and into the familiar Cadillac Escalade to be whisked away.

Defence lawyer Eddie Greenspan said he was not happy with the verdit and "I'm not pleased today that he got a single day in jail."

"But, given what we came into in this trial, we were facing allegations that included $90 million in (anti-racketeering law) RICO-related fraud and we were facing what might have been tantamount to life in jail," Greenspan said.

"It was a very nervewracking beginning of the trial for somebody who was charged with a non-violent offence. But that's America today. At the the end of the day to end up where we ended up is a hell of a lot better than where we started, but it's not over."

"Conrad has good appeal lawyers and hopefully he's going to prevail on appeal," Black's U.S.-based defence lawyer Edward Genson said as he left court.

"I'm daily impressed by jude St. Eve and I thought she gave us a fair trial and a fair hearing."

Earlier in the day, St. Eve made several rulings that were good news for Black and his team, though denied Black's request to delay the sentencing or strike victim impact statements.

First, she said she would use 2000 sentencing guidelines to determine the sentence, a blow to prosecutors, who were pushing for a sentence under the 2007 guidelines - which could have doubled Black's time in jail.

She also dismissed the prosecutor's request to consider the full amount of the alleged fraud - $32 million - instead of the $6.1 million estimated by a pre-sentencing report.

As well, she added, Black's former partner David Radler was offered a plea bargain to testify against Black his deal under the 2000 guidelines, and he is "at least equally culpable as Mr. Black."

Radler has agreed to go to jail for 29 months and pay a fine and will be officially sentenced next week.

Black's co-defendant Peter Atkinson, chief legal counsel for Hollinger, was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $3,000 fine.

St. Eve dismissed a government's request to consider Black the ringleader of the fraud scheme, saying that "the evidence at trial demonstrates his co-defendant Radler was calling just as many shots in directing, in many instances, where the money was going."

She also noted it was Radler who was in charge of the running media company Hollinger's U.S. operations and ordering the money.

But, she said, she wouldn't consider Black a minor player either, saying that request hardly passed "the straight-face test."

Jeffrey Steinback, Black's chief sentencing counsel, told court that Black is a respected historian and loving father fighting for his soul, whose lack of remorse stems from his heartfelt belief that he did nothing wrong.

Black, he said, is not the bank robber prosecutors claimed but an entrepreneur, writer and devoted husband.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Advice to a fallen warrior in the Justice system

There are those that fight the system against extreme odds of winning. They waste their precious creative energy in trying to gain accountability -natural justice in a institutional system which does not care in its own self-interest. What should these motivated but misguided warriors do in the midst of this societal decay? Keep faith in your self and your own integrity-suffer the fools with quite indifference . Live your life on your(higher) terms and not the lowest debased standards of your desensitized institutionalized adversaries who really do not care.

Snatching Serenity From the Jaws of Chaos

Some time ago I read a fascinating interview (I don’t recall where) with a former Soviet dissident. Over a long period of years, he had been engaging in illegal activities, such as attending clandestine meetings and hiding samizdat publications in his home. Somehow, while going head-to-head with the Socialist monster, he managed to carry on a “normal” life: raising a family, working as an engineer, going out to an occasional concert.

The question was put to him: How could you maintain this double existence, knowing full well that at any moment, you might be arrested and jailed, even executed or tortured, your life utterly destroyed in the wink of an eye?

Responded the ex-dissident: The most fundamental form of resistance to tyranny is to live as if you had freedom.

These poignant words became lodged forever in my consciousness. So basic, so courageous. You don’t cower, you don’t despair of reality. You rather create your own, internal reality.

This vision has helped me overcome the temptation to anger, frustration, and despair, all of which could easily result from over-analysis of the manifold threats to liberty that are closing in on us from all sides.

Just the other day, after an overdose of blog reading, I was seized by these emotions. Then I recalled the words of our brave dissident. I thought: What would he do right now? Perhaps he would pick up a great work of literature, put on some Mozart, sit in an armchair, and read. This is what I did.
I was creating a little pocket of culture in the midst of decay, snatching serenity from the jaws of chaos. The menaces of the Brave New World swirl around us, but the great traditions of the West, our spectacular creations of beauty and intelligence, flourish in the space that each of us creates.

How simple, yet how profound, is this form of resistance to totalitarianism. It is good training for the trials and tribulations that surely await us.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Big Brother may ban smoking in your house – what's next?

Beware of more government terrorist activity that attacks your personal freedoms PR

Dear Friend, by Campbell MD

By now, smoking has been banned nearly everywhere: in bars, in restaurants, in offices, in movies, on planes, and – this one always gets me – at outdoor stadiums. The only place it's still OK to smoke is in the privacy of your own home, right?


There's a growing movement by the anti-smoking fascists throughout the country to create a smoke-free housing law. This law would ban smoking in multi-unit residences like apartment buildings and condominiums. That tug you feel is the anti-smoking lobby trying to pull away another of your personal freedoms.

I'm not a believer in smoking bans. But as a believer in personal freedom, I'll be the first one to hand you a match if you want to light up. I've pointed out time and again that smoking is not the primary cause of lung cancer. And yet, this myth persists. And the anti-smoking lobby is using it to further their cause.

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the smoking ban provides several hundred miles of blacktop. Why? Because wholesale government bans enacted under the guise of the "greater good" are always, always about the restriction of personal freedoms. (Did you know that Hitler was the original mastermind behind government regulated smoking bans?

As I was saying…Smoking bans are the first step on a slippery slope toward the obliteration of our individual rights. The simpletons in Congress and the Senate are often more concerned with celebrating our rights than protecting them. The smoke-free lobby seems to neither realize nor care that such a ban is discriminatory and, therefore, unconstitutional. Thankfully, there are some smart people speaking out against this ban. Many real estate companies are pointing out that this so-called "health concern" is about to take a big swipe at the sanctity of one of the most fundamental American rights: private property.

Don't let all this smoke cloud an issue that's crystal clear. When the government comes to your door and says they want to pass a ban to protect you – and your children – slam the door in their face. Whether you light up after you slam that door is up to you. And that's exactly how it should be.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Privacy issues -Facebook - the social networking coal mine | Between the Lines |

User beware -who gets access to your personal information! PR

Facebook: The canary in the social networking coal mine by ZDNet's Dan Farber -- Facebook has stirred up a great deal of controversy and now harsh criticism with its Beacon advertising program. Three weeks after launching Beacon Facebook, the company did a 180-degree turn to make it more palatable for users rather than advertisers. It still fell short of the total opt-in approach that some critics called for.See full article...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Just 6% of Canadians feel schools deserve an A: survey

While Canadians believe strongly in public education, a report Friday revealed only six per cent feel their schools would score an A, while the proportion of Canadians who feel confident in the system has slipped dramatically from numbers gathered in 1984.
Still, the Canadian Education Association's Public Attitudes Toward Education study showed that even though fewer than half of Canadians (45 per cent) now express confidence in their schools, more Canadians (60 per cent) feel satisfied with the school system in general.
Back in 1984, when the CEA first asked Canadians to assess their confidence in community schools, more than three-quarters of Canadians felt confident.
The dramatic decline in confidence in 23 years, combined with an upward trend in satisfaction, suggests that Canadians believe school systems are improving but don't believe in the sustainability of those improvements, the non-profit group said.

But most people are satisfied with public school system Hear ,see,speak no evil maybe.WHY ? your omments please....

Medical tassers -Where is the Common sense?

Where is the common Sense?
When Rules are Wrong: Border Patrol Stops AmbulancePOSTED by obserant blogger casNOVEMBER 18, 2007 AT 10:02 PM TO POLITICS, US, CANADA.cas shares news of government rules and regulations rum amuck at the US-Canada border:"An ambulance rushing a heart attack victim to Detroit from a Windsor (Ontario) hospital ill-equipped to perform life-saving surgery was stopped for secondary inspection Monday by U.S. Customs, despite the fact it carried a man fighting for his life. Rick Laporte, 49 -- who twice had been brought back to life with defibrillators -- was being rushed across the border when a U.S. border guard ignored protocol at the Detroit portion of the tunnel and forced the ambulance -- with siren and lights flashing -- to pull over."

This reminds me of a story a few months back here in Virginia where a husband was pulled over and issued a reckless driving ticket for going over 80mph. The catch: he was taking his wife, who was in labor, to the hospital. It's these people's jobs to uphold the law, but come on, have half a brain and make exceptions for special circumstances!

How do we stop this? Just like Tassers which are legal but abused by "robotic" officialsh and if used without common sense

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Winning in a bad negotiation using problem-centered behaviour

Everyone has dealt with bad situations relating to people-the issue is do you want to save it or move on

People are difficult for several reasons. They may have unresolved issues in their personal life that affect their attitudes and commitment to the negotiation. They may lack empathy and make insensitive or inappropriate remarks, or they may simply be unskilled in negotiating and make mistakes. Whatever the cause, try not to over-react and make the situation worse.

Decide Whether You Want to Save the Situation -removing the shoe
You've had a long day and things aren't going well. Do you want to rescue what's left of the negotiation? If not, suggest postponing the negotiation to another day. If you do want to persevere, try the following approach.

When someone asks us for help, or appears to need it, the natural tendency of most people is to try to offer a solution. We generally produce one of the three kinds of behavior :

  • we advise people what to do;

  • we tell them;

  • we offer to do something for them under certain conditions.

This is called "solution-centered behavior" because it focuses principally on finding an answer. Sometimes this works, but it is rather easy to produce a brilliant solution to what later turns out to be the wrong problem. And when this happens, it is, of course, your fault!
An alternative approach is to use "problem-centered behavior," which means going "below the line" shown in the diagram, and questioning the other person about how he or she understands the problem.

You can do this either by consulting ("What exactly is the problem?", "When did it occur?", "What might have caused it?" and so on) or reflecting ("I can see that you're very angry about this, what's causing it?", "What aspect of the problem is troubling you most?"). The key message here is to consult about facts, reflect on feelings (Source: Margerison). The purpose is to make sure that you both share a clear understanding of what the problem is. In fact, helping the other person to clarify his or her thinking about the problem often allows the answer to emerge as if by magic. The other party then feels as if they "own" the solution, so they feel committed to it and you may not need to use the solution-centered behavior at all. Even if the answer does not appear automatically, though, you can now direct or advise from a much better understanding of the issues.

Tap Into the Power of Questions
The key to the "below-the-line" approach is that it obliges you to ask questions, which is always a good idea if you have to deal with difficult people, as it enables you to control the conversation-if you ask a question, people will usually answer it. This approach avoids confrontation, and it may get you valuable information about the person or the negotiation.
Remember the Guidelines

  • When in doubt go "below the line": consult and reflect.

  • Ask good, useful, open questions: plan them carefully

  • Ask for the other party's proposals or ideas-don't give yours first.

  • Ask for clarification of the other party's proposals rather than saying what is wrong with them.

  • Ask about their goals and objectives rather than telling them about yours.

  • Ask how you can help them.

  • -Have a Backup Plan If All Else Fails

If the other person is still being "difficult" and hindering the negotiation, more drastic action is needed. Either he or she doesn't want the negotiation to succeed, or is unable to conduct the discussion properly at this time. In any case, you need to do something to move things along.
Acknowledge that there seems to be a problem and ask three key questions:

  • Does he or she want to continue the discussions?

  • Would it be better if you spoke with someone else? A more senior member of staff, for example?

  • Is there anything you can do that will help him or her feel more comfortable with the negotiation?

Deal With Difficult Situations - key tip -deal with it!
Not all negotiations take place face-to-face these days; in fact, most negotiations happen over the phone or by e-mail. People sometimes opt for this to save time, but it's very much a second-best situation: avoid it as much as possible, except for simple negotiations.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Senate reform paradoxes

What committees will make the required changes to the Canadian Senate?
The Senate is the great Unfinished Business of Confederation. It should have been settled 140 years ago. Now it looks like Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are angling to fight a national election on it. Unfortunately, the politics have become truly Byzantine.
Everything about the Canadian Senate is paradoxical and deceptive.

Conservative Senator Hugh Segal says he has the blessing of the Prime Minister to introduce a motion in the Senate calling for a referendum on whether the Senate should be abolished. This referendum would occur with the next national election.

Paradox 1: Sen. Segal himself does not want the Senate abolished – in fact he’s a longstanding champion of reform. He may just want the Liberal Senate majority to defeat his motion in the Upper House, to show once again how obstructionist and undemocratic they are.
Because meanwhile, Jack Layton and the NDP (who have always wanted the Senate abolished) plan to introduce the same motion in the Commons, and the minority-government Conservatives, it is rumored, will ensure it passes.

Paradox 2: the Tories do not want the Senate abolished. They just want to make Senate reform the main issue of the next election campaign.
Paradox 3: it won’t matter which way the referendum goes, because Parliament lacks the power to shut down the Senate. But either way, a referendum enables a majority Conservative government to open the whole constitutional issue of the Senate with the provinces.
The Constitution requires that most provincial governments agree to reform the Senate, or to vaporize it.

Paradox 4: provincial consent is required because the Senate is supposed to be the representative of the provinces in Parliament. Not that it has ever been. But the Constitution plainly states that’s why it exists.

Paradox 5: The provinces themselves no longer want the Senate to speak for them. Provincial premiers long ago came to fancy themselves the defenders of their provincial powers and interests. It’s a satisfying delusion on their part. Except for Quebec, Ottawa works them all like play-dough. Ottawa has the money, Ottawa has the spending power.

Paradox 6: the final absurdity. We have a Prime Minister who wants to give the provinces the Senate, gift-wrapped in ribbons – a chamber whose constitutional powers are almost equal to the House of Commons – and the premiers are refusing to take it.
Except for Alberta, not one provincial government is willing (so far) to hold Senate elections. Harper has asked them to and they won’t. Even though there are already 12 Senate vacancies, and in two years over one-quarter of the seats in the Upper House will be empty, neither Harper nor the premiers intend to fill them.

Paradox 7: And for a simple reason. The premiers do not want provincially-elected senators supplanting them as federal spokesmen for their provinces, and Harper does not believe the Prime Minister should be filling a House of Parliament with partisan lackeys whose constitutional purpose is to hold him, when necessary, in check.
This bizarre situation signals something important.
It means that Harper, if he gets his majority, fully intends to reopen the Constitution, and will drive his own constitutional agenda just as relentlessly as Pierre Trudeau a generation ago.
And I say good. What Trudeau screwed up, Harper can fix.
- Link Byfield

Friday, November 02, 2007

Are you a politician?

Stop Kidding Yourself -- Everyone's a Politician!
Dick Morris
So you want to be promoted -- or help someone else move up? Get a stop sign placed on your street corner -- or halt commercial development in your neighborhood? Run for president of your civic association or the PTA?

If so, you need to learn what politicians know. Personal and career situations may not seem like politics, but they are. Office politics, civic association politics, municipal politics, corporate politics -- they are all politics, and the same ideas that candidates use to get elected can help you. Winning is winning.
Here's how to use political strategy to get what you want...

Don't try to do what everybody else does. Instead, do what nobody else does, and persuade your boss or organization that it's important. Be the sole supplier of a service and then sell the service.
If you try to be the best salesperson in your company, the most efficient data processor in your division or the best writer in your firm, you will face lots of competition. Your path is filled with wannabes who will fight you for every promotion. But if you are the only person who can do something that nobody else is thinking of doing, the path ahead will likely be clear.

I never tried to tell Bill Clinton, whom I first met when he was the 31-year-old attorney general of Arkansas, that I, at age 30, was the best campaign manager he could hire. The world was -- and is -- crawling with campaign managers, so I invented a new phrase -- political consultant. I told Clinton what the job entailed, making it up as I went along, and that I was the only one in captivity.

You don't have to be a political candidate to use an issue to get what you want. Issues are the oars we use to row our boats ahead -- in any water. If George Bush can use the fear of terrorism to get reelected, you can use the need for more stop signs to win the job of neighborhood association president. Find an issue that differs from those of your opponents (or rivals for the position you want) and that appeals to the majority of your group or to your boss. The issue can be central to your group's function or ancillary to it. It doesn't matter. All that matters is that the issue matters to your constituency.
Do you work for a mutual fund? Position yourself as the guy who advocates socially responsible investments. Want to become head of your civic group? Emphasize how you favor outreach to minority and poor neighborhoods. Seeking a promotion? Position yourself as the person who knows how to make the Internet work for your company.
Important: It is easier to sell an issue than to promote yourself. You don't have to talk about how great you are, just how important your issue is.

All of politics works on the favor system. It is the most basic, unwritten law of the political process. Every politician keeps a mental inventory of the favors he/she has done for other politicians and, on the other side of the ledger, records his IOUs. The politician who doesn't pay back a favor by doing an equivalent good deed finds himself cut off and his sources of largesse dried up. This favor system works in business, community life, social interactions and every other form of personal communication. As my grandmother said, "One hand washes the other."
The way to play the favor system is to spread strategic favors around that can trigger rewards later. Are you in a position to contract out services for your company? Or arrange which pizza parlor to use for your civic group's lunch? Or recommend a person for a job?
Maneuver and wrangle your way into a position where you have favors to dispense. Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, was a low-level clerk at the Kremlin under his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. Putin was the one who handed out favors -- everything from hotel rooms to airline tickets to jobs to contracts for services. He passed them around so skillfully that he parlayed the job into the presidency of Russia.
Once you have favors to distribute, the next question becomes, to whom do you give the plums? Don't waste them on people just because they are friends or longtime associates. Look to see who is in a position to do a favor for you in return. Who can give your company some patronage back? Whose support will you need to move up your particular ladder? Whom do you need to cultivate to achieve your objective?
Always be aware that there are two kinds of people -- those who pay back favors and those who don't. The ones who don't aren't necessarily bad people... they just don't get how the game is played.

Very rarely can you move up the ladder of your ambition step-by-step. There are usually too many people on the rungs above you -- and your company, student group, civic association or church would have to pay too high a price for jumping you up out of turn.
The Bible says that a "prophet is without honor in his own land." Well, it's usually like that in your own company or organization. Those in power always see you as the kid who first walked through their door years ago. Your own people rarely give you credit for what you have become. You may have grown before their eyes, but it takes a stranger to notice it.
So the way up is diagonal. Move from one ladder to the next. Every time you join a new company, organization or civic group, people see you at your new level.
I grew up in New York City politics, but the politicians there couldn't believe that I had become a political strategist. They kept seeing me as this kid who ran around campaigning. So I needed to go to Arkansas to work for Clinton to win the credentials that I could take back to New York to get the time of day from the politicians there.

So can you be or become a politician to become effective for yourself and your organization?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Liberals win back to back majority in Ontario, 50% of the population did not vote

Fifty per cent of the voters took the time and effort to hand the ruling Liberals a new majority. Fifty four per cent voted on electoral reform- the majority of those that voted rejected the proportional representation alternative.

What happened to those that did not vote? Has the political process become so irrelavant or jaded that this "not interested" has been lost to the democratic process. This is a sad example of the loss it or loss it principle . The question becomes who really represents these disinfected individuals who have chosen not to participate in the fundamental democratic process?

Good, bad or indifferent -Ontario will reap what it has sown for the next 4 years

forbes -worst jobs 21 century

The Worst Jobs For The 21st CenturyBrian Wingfield,
Related Stories
In Pictures: The Worst Jobs For The 21st Century
Economy Didn't Need Fed's Help
Jobs Report Just Right For Wall Street
Wall Street Cheers Jobs Report
U.S. Jobs Outlook: Weak, Not Dreadful
Health care, education and financial services--if you're looking for work in the coming decades, these are the fields to get into.
What to avoid? The usual suspects. According to the projections by the U.S. government, manufacturing jobs are expected to decline by more than 5% by 2014 as production moves overseas. Same goes for textile workers, such as sewing machine operators, who will see a 36% drop in employment. Technology will kill off more office positions, such as file clerks. They'll see a 36% drop in their ranks by 2014. Digital cameras will zap the manual photo processing industry by about 30%. And that guy who comes around to read your electric meter? Expect to see a lot less of him, too.
But these are the obvious victims as the U.S. moves from a goods-producing economy to a services-producing economy. More interesting are the jobs that are likely to experience slower than average growth (average being about 13%). This is where the surprises are.
In Pictures: The Worst Jobs For The 21st Century
Like computer programmers. Despite all the advances--and expected job growth--in the computer industry, expect the number of programmers to increase by about 2% between 2004-2014. Why? Outsourcing. Americans who want a career in this field should find a specialization, like cybersecurity.
Another endangered species: journalists. Despite the proliferation of media outlets, newspapers, where the bulk of U.S. reporters work, will cut costs and jobs as the Internet replaces print. While current events will always need to be covered (we hope), the number of reporting positions is expected to grow by just 5% in the coming decade, the Labor Department says. Most jobs will be in small (read: low-paying) markets.
Radio announcers will have a tough time, too. Station consolidation, advances in technology and a barren landscape for new radio stations will contribute to a 5% reduction in employment for announcers by the middle of the next decade. Even satellite radio doesn't seem immune from the changes. The two major companies, XM and Sirius--which now have plans to merge--have regularly operated in the red.
Anyone who regularly books their flights online can tell you why the travel agent business is in jeopardy. So here's a surprise: The Department of Labor only predicts a 6% drop in travel agent jobs by 2014. The demand for luxury and specialty travel, and increased spending on tourism, will buoy the industry somewhat. If you do plan to be a travel agent, best to find a niche field or specialize in specific-destination trips. Travel agents might also find success in organizing groups of foreign visitors to their home markets. But remember, the travel industry is highly connected to swings in economic conditions.
Worse off? Federal employees and their amazing benefits. Washington employs nearly 2 million people, not including the military, making it the country's largest employer. After Sept. 11, 2001, it expanded significantly due to homeland security needs. But those days may be coming to an end. By 2014, federal government jobs--excluding the Postal Service-- will only have increased by about 1.6% above 2004 levels due to the transfer of some jobs to state and local governments and the increased use of private contracting companies. Don't believe it? A report compiled by a House of Representatives panel earlier this year found that government spending on contracts rose by 103% between 2000 and 2005.
Should you be discouraged if a career you pinned your hopes on is not expected to grow? Not at all, says Anthony Spadafore, director of Pathfinders, a career counseling company in Alexandria, Va. He says that if people pursue their fields that play to their talents, they'll be able to compete for the top jobs where competition is fierce, even if the industry is diminishing.
"The idea of shrinking and hot fields, we think it's sort of a rudimentary way of looking at things," Spadafore says. "Believe it or not, there's still a need for bank tellers."
In Pictures: The Worst Jobs For The 21st Century
Want more info? The Department of Labor has some excellent information, including the bi-annual Occupational Outlook Handbook, which includes career descriptions, salary information, employment projections and working conditions for hundreds of jobs. (The next version is due out early next year.) Another good resource is the Occupational Outlook Quarterly, which profiles specific careers. Last year, the publication issued an entire volume related to growth projections.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Police can be sued over wrongful arrests and convictions: top court

Police can be sued over wrongful arrests and convictions: top court
Posted By Jim Brown
Posted 1 day ago Updated 1 day ago
Police can be sued for negligence over wrongful arrests and convictions, the Supreme Court has ruled, dismissing warnings that allowing such lawsuits will have a "chilling effect" on law enforcement.
But the resounding declaration of legal principle rang hollow Thursday for Jason George Hill, who brought the case to the high court after being exonerated on a bank robbery charge that cost him 20 months behind bars.
Hill, of Hamilton, was the victim of an "unfortunate series of events," wrote Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, but the actions of Hamilton-Wentworth regional police didn't amount to negligence.
The nine judges were unanimous in ruling against Hill based on the facts of his case. They split 6-3, however, on the broader issue of whether the public should be able to sue at all in such circumstances.
McLachlin, writing for the majority, concluded that people can sue police forces and individual officers under common-law tests of negligence.
The finding could have a major impact in future because it's easier to prove negligence than it is to prove malicious prosecution, the main alternative available to the public.
McLachlin said police "owe a duty of care" to suspects, and that officers' conduct "should be measured against the standard of how a reasonable officer in like circumstances would have acted."
"The existing remedies for wrongful conviction are incomplete and may leave a victim of negligent police investigation without legal recourse. To deny a remedy (on grounds of negligence) is, quite literally, to deny justice."
The Ontario and federal governments, backed by the national associations representing police chiefs and rank-and-file officers, contended that allowing actions for negligence would have a "chilling effect" on law enforcement and would spark a rash of spurious lawsuits.
McLachlin rejected both arguments. The notion of a chill on police activity is mere "speculation" unsupported by hard evidence, she said, while the legal system contains enough safeguards to deter any "glut of jailhouse lawsuits" mounted on spurious grounds.
The chief justice also took pains to point out that not every mistake made by police will automatically make them liable for damages.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Election warning APES promise free everything

The APES are offering free bananas again -it must be election time Monday, September 10, 2007

Voters turn to bringing accountability back into the government service equation;

How do we get our real entitled ,paid for government services back? Fight for them and counteract government APE-isms and their negative consequences on your right to live your life with the minimum of government intrusions and expensive artificial government imposed annoyances. Protect your natural rights of quite enjoyment ,liberty. What are government APE-isms? What is a government APE?

An APE is defined as a government, government directed individual or government funded agency that abuses its authority and misuses its public mandate and the public’s rights and trust for their own interest and not of the stated organization mandate, the stated customers needs and/or the people that they are supposed to serve,help and protect.

  • A - using their Authority in a frivolous, arrogant , officious manner to deliver services in an intimadating , autocratic and bureaucratic , unprofessional, secretative and non transparant way , that is costly,economically absurd and ineffecient to increase their own self serving power, agenda and importance and to increase compliance costs on their targeted victims in a punnative and demeaning way.

  • P- using their Power to perform in an ineffective and costly manner. Incessantly talking the talk at great lengths but always defering the real and needed delivery of the service or walk. ( A group of highly Paid Public Resources that never become accountable for walking the talk- they talk never walk the talk because of the real risk to themselves.)

  • E- demonstrating a lack of Effeciency and Effectiveness in supplying basic services to their customers and constituents by complicating and drawing our issues , rather then simplfying and fixing problems and challenges in a timely manner. Empowering themselves at the expense of the front line and customers that they are supposed to serve.

Always challenge and make the APES accountable this election-do not accept free bananas and excuses for bad performance with your tax money

Ontario MPP's, politicians list

Election time is here. Ask your mpp an accountability question- where did my money go and why should you get more of it? Show me proof that you spent my money wisely Why should I vote for you?

If everything is free why does it cost me more to live?
Ontario MPP's, politicians list

Friday, September 07, 2007

Election warning

The promises of free goodies paid for by your money are coming! Be aware of the danger -use your common sense.

ASK Questions and get an accounting of why now and not before. Cynicism is earned when there is no delivery of past promises.

Election warning

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A useful reference for those making public presentations

A useful reference for those making public presentations

PubCon Street Tips: Giving a Kick Ass Presentation
Date: August 14, 2007, 11:27 amCategory Tag: "Unfiled" Posted by: Brett_Tabke
PubCon Street Tips on Giving Presentations : Investing in our Speakers
"According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two.
This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy."

I am sitting here in a sea of speaker and session proposals for PubCon Las Vegas 2007. I have never had to make the kinds of decisions we are facing for this year's PubCon. We have increased the number of sessions again and the amount space we have reserved.
We get many questions about presentations at every conference. PubCon is known as a conference that embraces newbie speakers that are experts in their fields. We have seen it all. Even the old school professional speakers like to keep up with the new techniques and make a better presentation every time. So, while we prep for these presentation assignments, I am reminded of what it means to be a good speaker and how to develop into a good speaker. I think I am an average to above average speaker. I only got to that point by being a student of the presentation. I know there are many quality speakers that never take the time to study presentation for presentations sake, but the majority of us have to put some work into it.
At WebmasterWorld, PubCon, and other industry conferences, I've seen close to a thousand presentations. I've moderated over half of those panels. I've felt nervous, envious, sympathetic, and elated for those speakers I have seen. I mostly feel like I want to help them become better speakers. I have seen great first time speakers, and I have seen seasoned pro's fail. The one clear difference between a great presentation and a presentation I should have stayed in bed for is speaker preparation.

The Power of a Confident Presentation
Your ability to give a great presentation will help your career, ring a sales bell, or promote yourself effectively in an ever increasingly complex business world. Speaking with confidence is a skill that transcends the presentation and will help you throughout your life. Public speaking breeds confidence that will be the difference between getting a promotion, making a sale, or winning a friend. While chair of PubCon, I have seen people go from wallflowers to confident public speakers. The affect it has had on their lives and careers has been profoundly positive.
The old saying that business is a contact sport has never been more appropriate than today. You have good odds of making a great contact at a conference face-to-face. Exercise that opportunity and it will come back to you many times over. Making new contacts is part of the reason people attend a conference.

Stop 1: Who is in the room?
20-30% of the attendees will relish your presentation. Anything you put on the screen - they will love.
25-50% of your attendees are there to see someone else on your panel.
20-30% of your attendees will loathe all PowerPoints and are in the room because they need the information and don't want to miss anything.
5% are there just for the question and answer period (Q&A).
5% of your attendees are there because their boss said they needed to be there.
5% of your attendees are there because the WiFi is good in the room.
2% are there because their phone/laptop needed charging and there is a plug on the wall.
5% are there because they don't wish to walk back to the room while waiting for the next session.
5% are there because they are blogging about the session and need to beat Barry to the post button.
5% are there because there is a cute guy/girl on the panel.
What Should it Look Like?
The Big Opening:
Gracious: Thank your host, thank your moderator, and thank the audience for being there. This simple act will help to get a repeat invitation to speak. Always promote and thank the host up front. They got you there - thank them for the honor. Never try to upstage your host, or become the master of ceremonies - that is your moderators job. Don't take over the session - participate in it. You are a guest in their house.
Cheers Dudes: Let the audience know that you want to meet them and they can see you around the conference and should feel welcome to come talk to you.
One Theme - One Theme Only Please: Follow one central theme and nail it. Use every slide to prop up the core theme and should in some way refer back to your overall presentation theme.
Respect the Scope: Limit your bullet points. Be very selective. You don't want people reading your bullets, you want them looking and listening to you. Your power point is a tool - don't let it overshadow you by reading your own bullet points. Instead, read your notes about your bullet points. Try old fashioned 3x5 cards with large print for your notes.
The Big Five: Each presentation should have at least one slide for each of the big five: a chart, a graph, a list, a human picture, a funny picture, and finish with 3 take aways and your contact info.
The Stunner Opener: Start with a stunner of a statistic, a really funny experience, or a real world case study. However, don't attempt to tell a joke unless you are really really good at it. Nine out of ten jokes fail during presentations. Leave the comedy to the professionals like the one at the right.
The Survey Opener: Finding out who is in the audience with a survey question is a great ice breaker and opener. So ask for a show of hands. Some people in the audience just get giddy over being able to participate and they hang on your every syllable. Bueller?... Bueller?... Bueller?

Lead Them: Let your audience know what you are going to cover and what your theme is all about. Some people even number their slides backwards so the audience can follow along to the end.
Hitting the Sweet Spot:
One Slide Per Minute: Use a maximum of one slide per minute. You can talk that long. If you do more than one slide per minute, the audience will follow only the screen and not you.
No Pitches: Dude, you work for a cool company -- maybe even yourself -- but please only mention your company name or products one time. Nothing turns stomachs faster than a sales pitch.
Big Quote: A witty saying or quote from someone always grabs attention. (psst: the one with Ford at the right)
Work the Room: Go clockwise around the clock and look at each of your audience members in turn. Don't fixate on one person (like a college friend or coworker). Work the room.
Don't Distract: Don't look at the projector screen and don't use a laser pointer. People find them annoying and rarely can see them in the back of the room.
Stay Tech Light: Double check your tech prep. Avoid software or tech that is nonstandard on a simple machine with Office installed. I have seen every type of technical problem. Never ever use any type of software your host doesn't explicitly say is on the presentation machine. For example, software such as movies, sounds, or flash all have problems. Never count on an internet connection and always have a Plan B if you do. Internet connections have a staggering 50-75% failure rate at conferences. I have seen internet problems at every conference I have ever been too. PubCon, SearchEngineStrategies, and even Traffic, have all had internet failures during presentations. Never count on a live internet connection. Always prep a presentation that does not have the whiz bang version of software X that you really need. Even if it is supposed to be on the presentation machine, they could have swapped machines. Plan for the worst - especially if you are at a tech conference where attendees will saturate the WiFi with their own laptop connections.
All Demos Suck: Don't ever do a product demo unless the session is a product demo. People loath product demos - especially software demos - they are 95% unintelligible in a big room.
Bring A Backup: Give your PowerPoint to your host via the accepted means. Take a copy on USB stick and/or CD (careful - many systems don't have CD's these days).
Movement: Find out if you are allowed to walk-n-talk while you give your presentation. If so, practice with a remote mouse/clicker and take it with you to your presentation.
Bond with the Panel: Refer to one or two of your panel members during your presentation. Then make sure to say hi, or shake their hand before your session - build a bond. You are a team and that panel member may be the best contact you make at the entire session.
Leave Props to Home: Props rarely work. Handouts work even less - they cause a distraction.
Give Aways: "If you come up and see me after my presentation, I will give you a new pen, a new hat, sign your conference book, or give you a new car." Then swap business cards. At PubCon Vegas 2005, I gave away simple key chains at a presentation once and was given the business card of a producer who later put me on national TV.
The Big Surprise!: You will have a moment of surprise in your presentation. Watch for it and react accordingly. You will have no idea when your audience will find something you have said funny and laugh, moan, or groan. Don't panic - just smile -- pause as necessary -- and move onward.
Dramatic Pause: A pause here-n-there in your speech gives your audience a break and lets them think, breath, and take a drink of water. Oh yeah - always have a glass of water near the podium. Only half full because you might shake and spill it.
Panel Topics: Cross check with your other panelists about their topic coverage. Always respect the topics you are asked to speak about. There is no more solid way to end your speaking career at a conference, than by talking about apples when your host asked you to talk about oranges.
FONT SIZE: Use one font size larger than you think you need.
Three Words: charts, graphs, lists. Three more words: people love them!Ok, fess up -- how long did you stare at the pie chart at the right, before you realized it didn't mean anything? People love charts, graphs, and lists. They will see them before they see anything else on the screen. You can even do an entire presentation (or blog post) in nothing but list style presentation. Nine out of ten people love a good list. Tenth guy? There is a bad seed in every crowd.
Eye Candy: Be sure to leave a chart or graph on the screen for a couple of minutes for people to grasp the data. Even if the data is not necessarily what it seems. For example - you tell people you have 26 points to make and you only really have 25? If you don't leave that on the screen long enough, they won't notice. HSteel - Prep Work
owever, if it is to be published on a CD, a blog, or printed in the conference book - consider it.
Fear Factor: Nerves of Know the Audience: Ask your host who will be in the room. What is the typical attendee make up? Why do they come to the show? Don't assume you know from just looking at the layout of conference website. Many people think that PubCon is just the WebmasterWorld crowd - when in fact, less than 50% of the 2006 attendees are WebmasterWorld subscribers.
Visualize: Practice, visualize, practice, record, and practice. Visualize your presentation. Stop and walk through your entire presentation in your mind. Make it go perfectly as you expect. Practice your presentation until you can almost recite it from memory. Now relax, slow down, smile and exude confidence. The old saying; Fake it till you make it is accurate and appropriate. No one knows your presentation better than you.
Record: If you have a tape recorder, or a camcorder, then record your presentation and watch it. Yes, it can be hard to watch yourself the first few times, but nothing will make you a better presenter than watching yourself and taking action.
Be Casual - Stay Cool: How should I dress? Unless your host says otherwise, business casual is the rule of today's conferences. Dress one notch above what is appropriate for your audience.
During Question and Answer Period:
Repeat the question back to the audience so you make sure everyone in the room heard it.
Write the question down - even if the question isn't directed at you. While someone else responds, you can formulate your own answer. It is surprising how many good speaker don't use this trick. Even more surprising is how good it works.
Answer the person's question. Sound silly? I regularly see people respond to a question and finish their 2 minutes of time by asking, "what was the question again"?
Answer any question you are confident about answering, but never try to fake it in the question and answer period.
Watch how the pro's from the big corporations handle Q&A period. They have huge public relations facilities and train their speakers. They are masters of public speaking and Q&A sessions. At every PubCon, I am amazed at how the big search engine speakers always write down questions from the audience. That gives them time to think about an answer and finish by referring back to the question when done.
Want to ruin a great presentation? Be a blabbermouth during Q&A. This is where some great speakers die a quick death.
Presentation StrategiesThe Meet-N-Greet Strategy: Some people say you should meet as many people in the audience as possible. That means you should get into the room while the previous presentation is still going on. During the break - don't run to the podium to grab a chair - talk to the audience that is there instead. Also, if the panel before you is at the stage, walk up and ask one of the speakers a question to get a feel for what it is like to be on the receiving end of a speakers attention. How do you feel, and how do you want your audience to feel when they talk to you?
On Friendly Ground : Visit the room where you are speaking. Check out the room you are speaking in, as soon as you can. If there is a lunch break and the room is empty - go up to the stage, stand there and practice your presentation from memory.
Press Props: Everyone has a blog these days and there will be press and/or bloggers in the room. Ask the host for a press list. Identify those people and let them know you are available for an interview before you go to the show. At the show - find them and shake their hand - talk shop - bond - write an article for them. Backlinks rule the web.
Problems: Always acknowledge problems. If there is a problem with the projector, or the sound, or room is too hot/too cold - feel free to mention it. Don't apologize for it, but do acknowledge it. It builds a bond. People like to complain together and they also like to celebrate together. If you acknowledge problems, you don't seem like you are trying to ignore it. Some speaker trainers say you should ignore problems. I think telling people what they are already thinking, deflates the issue and makes you seem like one of the gang.
Multi Speaker Order Strategy: Go first or go last, but try to avoid the middle ground. The first speakers has the attention of the room. The last speaker can add some occasional comments about the previous speakers presentation. By the same reasoning - never give a presentation when someone elses slides are on the screen.

The Big Finish
At PubCon, we always ask speakers to end with three take-aways, (don't call them take-aways, call them real world applications of what you just talked about).
Finish on time, but if you run late - be ready to roll to your last screen at any point. Be flexible - stay loose, and don't fret if it changes.
Put your contact information and logo on the screen last. If you go last, you can often get your last screen left on the screen during a Q&A period.
Ask for links. Yep, ask people to link to your website if they liked your presentation. People laughed when Guy Kawasaki ended with asking for links, but he got enough to make it worth his while to come back again! If it works for a seasoned pro like Guy - it can work for everyone. (note: Guy, there is your link. Thanks)
After the Panel
When your session is over - stick in your panel chair like glue. If you have people in front of you that wish to talk - don't move - make the next people remove you. Go to the hall and continue talking with people that came up to you. This is your customer base - your fan base - use it wisely.
When someone hands you a business card - follow up.
One word: Toastmasters.
PubCon: Grade A Speaking With a Hangover
Lay out your speaking attire the night before going out to a fun PubCon bash. Put your PowerPoint on a USB stick and put it in the pants pocket. Make sure you have cab fare and directions prepared if you are staying away from the conference hotel.
Pack some eye drops in your overnight bag for every conference. Use 'em for the redness.
Light colored or clear alcohols are better. They have fewer byproducts. Milder hangovers.
Less than one drink an hour and skip the beer bongs, jello shots, and tequila twisters.
Fill up on as much food as possible while drinking. Multivitamins and especially Vitamin C are said to help some people.
Pain killers (aspirin tends to work better with hangovers).
Eat as soon as you think it will stay down.
Bland liquids - lots of water - caffeinate liberally - Gatorade if available.
Take a long hot - then cold shower.
Go last on your panel.
Warm climates like Vegas, make partying much easier than cold climates like - oh say - cold and windy Chicago.
Turn down the brightness on the presentation laptop then request the lights be lowered so people can see the screen better.
Buy a pair of lightly tinted sunglasses that look like real glasses.
Women - avoid high heels the day of your presentation. Men - clip on ties only.
If you expect a hangover, then bribe your chairman to put you last in the day very early on in the speaking selection process.
Speak every chance you can. Submit your name to every conference that you can. Toastmasters - everything - do it all. The more you do it - the easier it gets and the more people will want you back as a speaker.
Thanks, cya in Vegas Baby!Brett Tabke
..."Remember to be nice to the people on the way up the ladder of success, because you will see the same people on the way back down." - unknown

Friday, July 13, 2007

Sprint's Dear John customer letter | TechRepublic Photo Gallery

Sprint's Dear John customer letter TechRepublic Photo Gallery: "Sprint's Dear John customer letter"

Would it not be nice to write a similar letter or opt-out letter to government agencies as a customer who keeps paying for services that are not being delivered. PR

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Office politics destroys companies

Raw ambition and quik fixes do not make up for a lack of talent or ability to deliver results

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The purpose of democracy and freedom of choice Food for thought

What is the essence of sovereign government?
Ultimately, is government something done for us, or done to us? The whole discussion turns on this. In the final analysis, is government to serve or impose?
Social and economic programs, for example, ostensibly represent governments acting “for” us -- whether as an innovative private company or as an indulgent uncle it is never clear.
On the other hand, policing – taxation – licensing of cars, dogs, restaurants and guns – and everything down to standard weights and measures, are typically done to us, or to someone else. They regiment what we all must do and must not do.
Any of these impositions may be absolutely necessary for public order, or may be utterly stupid; but either way, it’s what sets governments apart – their power to impose.
The purpose of democracy
Efficiency is the concern of supermarkets and car dealers. Maximum sale for minimum investment. They have competitors. They must be imaginative and efficient, or perish.
But governments don't. No organization that can compel the entire population to pay for its own overstaffing, irresponsible mistakes and occasional blatant injustices will be creative and efficient, except at imposing its will, because that is its business.

It is a fundamental error to see governments merely as administrative services, like the sales and accounting staff at Walmart. Walmart can't force ypou to surrender 40% of your income for products you can't get and probably don't want.
For this reason, it's best to give the most powerful government as little responsibility as possible, and favour less powerful, more controllable orders of government with more. For the lower and closer sovereignty lies to you and me, the easier we find it to control. But this been said often enough.
Given Ottawa’s usurpation of social sovereignty over the past 50 years – from the unemployment insurance revenue grab in 1940, to the ponzi-scheme Canada Pension Plan in the 1960s, to the straitjacket Canada Health Act in the 1980s – it is surely time to bring the democratic reins back closer to hand and back to the provinces (or the grass roots citizens and taxpayers) where it originated.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Normal people donotmake thatmuch / MSN Finance - Surprise! We don't make that much money

Take this incontext of the rapidly expanding 100,000 $ club of government employees.PR

Savings & Debt John Caspar - Sympatico / MSN Finance - Surprise! We don't make that much money: "Surprise! We don't make that much money

By John Caspar
April 04, 2007
Last week, I regaled you with some interesting data from the good folks at Statistics Canada regarding retirement savings. That was all about what we save. This week, let's talk a little bit about what we make. Specifically, how much money are people making out there, and where do you stack up?
All the data here is for the 2004 calendar year, which is the most recent income data available.
Just so you can brace yourself, we'll start with median total income. The median is the mid-point, where half the included population is higher, and half is lower. “Total income” in this case includes income from employment, investment, government transfers, private pensions, registered retirement savings plans and other income. You know. Total. And the median total income for Canadians with an income was…$24,400. If you made more than $24,400 in 2004, congratulations, you were in the top half of income earners.
Now, before you calculate that fully half of Canadians work for less than $12.20 an hour, bear in mind that “total income” will capture part-time employees, after-school student jobs, etc. Those people will pull down the average with a low income that may not be representative of hardship. That being said, the bottom half of total income earners is also populated by people who are out of the work force and living on low incomes provided by pensions and government benefits. Many of those people do indeed have financial hardship.
The median employment income for Canadians in 2004 was $25,400. That's just counting the working folks.

Now, before you calculate that fully half of Canadians work for less than $12.20 an hour, bear in mind that “total income” will capture part-time employees, after-school student jobs, etc. Those people will pull down the average with a low income that may not be representative of hardship. That being said, the bottom half of total income earners is also populated by people who are out of the work force and living on low incomes provided by pensions and government benefits. Many of those people do indeed have financial hardship.
The median employment income for Canadians in 2004 was $25,400. That's just counting the working folks. The highest median employment income by province was the Northwest Territories by a wide margin ($35,400), followed by the Yukon ($28,300), Ontario ($27,900) and Alberta ($27,500). Newfoundland was the lowest at $17,000.
But let's move back to total income for Canadians, and climb further up the scale to see where the meat is. Let's move all the way up to where about 2/3rds of individuals have lower incomes. In 2004, you were in the top third of incomes if you made more than…are you ready? $35,000.
I know what you're saying. Let's go higher! Okay, let's move up to the top quintile line. At this level of income, 80 percent of people made less than you. The number? Only 19.8 percent of Canadians with an income made $50,000 or more in 2004.
Now, although a bit over 12 percent of individuals had incomes between $50,000 and $75,000, the atmosphere thins out pretty quickly above that. Only 7.6 percent of people had incomes of $75,000 or more in 2004. Only 3.4 percent made $100,000 or more. And by the time we get to the $150,000 or more category, we're down to just 1.3 percent of income recipients.
People with 2004 incomes of $200,000 or more were a rounding error: only 0.7 percent made $200,000 or more. And you can be 99.5 percent sure that any randomly selected Canadian earned less than $250,000.

Those are the stats for individuals. The nice folks at Stats Canada also track the incomes of various family groupings, so we can get an idea of where entire households compare by income. “Couple families” are couples (married or common-law, including same-sex couples) living at the same address, with or without children. No singles or lone parents are included. The median total income from all sources for all members of such families in 2004 was $64,800. Less than a quarter of such households had total incomes of $100,000 or more. And just over 8 percent had incomes of $150,000 or greater.
So, there are the stats, and that's what we make. Now, consider some of the implications of this information. If there were folks who made $50,000 a year and didn't feel like they were making enough to get by (and there are), it would be useful for them to consider that based on 2004 figures, 80 percent of Canadians with an income make less. If their individual income was close to $65,000, that would be enough to push them into the top ten percent of incomes received by Canadians just two years ago. Ninety percent of the 23.4 million people with an income in Canada made less. If they felt they weren't getting by at an income level that's higher than that of the vast majority of the people in one of the richest countries in the history of the world, do they have an income problem? Or is it a problem related to something else, like choices or expectations?
Looking at the statistics of what we all make, it looks like it couldn't just be the money.