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Archive for September, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Bailout Ballyhoo Continues

Okay, so the big financial companies failing is scary. But, not being a numbers gal, I couldn’t wrap my brain around how our government could fund this huge bailout while running on a budget deficit and being further in debt than it has been in the history of this nation.

So I bugged Candy. A lot. Every time she talked or Twittered about the bailouts, I sent her a note asking, “But HOW can they (we) afford it?”

She tried to explain, but, well, I still don’t get it. But she did send me some handy links for more info. I’m going to pass the links on for those others out there (there are others, right?) who, like me, don’t quite get it.

NPR: Now We See It: The White House Bailout Proposal – Scary points made here!

Who knows where all of this is going to end up? I certainly don’t, but at least I know more than I did before.

PostHeaderIcon Summit: Apex, the Topmost Level Attainable

It’s coming…

IVAA’s 3rd Annual Online VA Summit is only a little over a month away. IVAA members’ early registration discount–a chance to save 20% off Summit registration–ends at midnight Central time on Wednesday, September 24, 2008.

We are virtual assistants, and, for many of us who started our business to be home with children and family, traveling to the in-person summit is difficult, if not impossible. Enter the online summit. A full day of networking, great seminars, and lots of take-homes in the form of full recordings of sessions that you can go over later at your leisure. Heck, if you can’t attend the summit, you can still register and get the recordings–how many professional conferences can you say that about?

Look at the definition of “Summit” in the title bar and you’ll see why we call it a summit and not a conference. The purpose of the IVAA Summits, both in-person and online, is to help VAs reach the “topmost level attainable” in their chosen profession.

FYI, Candy will be presenting a discussion on the personal and professional benefits of volunteering at the online summit this year. You don’t want to miss that, do you?

Hurry up and register today!

PostHeaderIcon When the Boat’s a Rockin’…

…you have clean, natural power that looks good from all angles.

According to The Times (of London) via CNN, Google has applied for a patent to build data centers (server farms if you’re old school) off the British coast. The data centers would be built on boats and designed to use the water’s natural motion to power the servers and/or cool them.

Aside from the whole risking life and limb in the not-known-for-its-friendly-nature North Atlantic thing, the idea looks good on paper.

  • Clean energy source? Check.
  • Lower costs? (No rent on the open ocean.) Check.
  • A new revenue stream for the struggling maritime industry? Check.
  • Smaller aesthetic impact? (Have you SEEN a data center? The building are ugly and have enough lines and cables running to them to audition for the part of Frankenstein’s lab.) Check.
  • A whole bunch of seasick computer guys? Check.

That last was just to see if you were paying attention. It sounds good, but we’ll have to wait for more details before we can judge the actual feasibility of floating data centers.

PostHeaderIcon (Video) A tour of my office… Dual Screen, Dude!

I recently (okay, just now) got a new gadget – a Flip Ultra camcorder thing – SUPER cool. Of course, I immediately needed to find something to video. I hadn’t shown pictures of my office in a long time, so thought I’d do that. I even refrained from cleaning it up. Still not as messy as some people, but to me, seems like a disaster area.

At any rate… I give you… my office… and yes, I know I called it a Flip “camera” – I’m obviously losing brain cells.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzJ--YN-i8g]

Here are the pics from May 2006. Wow. I really need to rearrange some stuff I think. And I LOVE the kid’s artwork on my desk area, so that’s staying, but sometimes it’s a bit distracting. LOL.

… hmmm….

PostHeaderIcon Bailout

I am not Candy, she who is CRESS designated. That means when she asked me to blog the whole Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac thing I smiled and nodded and like I always do…Glad she couldn’t see over IM how cross-eyed and teeth-gritting I was.

The sum total of my knowledge of mortgage finance is where to mail my mortgage check, and that I have to look up every month. So, I’ve been learning this week. And, honestly, I still don’t get it.

But these folks do, so I’m going to send you on a link tour to people who can talk about the bailout knowledgeably–unlike me.

Under New Management: Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae
What rescue means for mortgage rates
Dollar climbs after mortgage bailout
Fannie and Freddie 101
Fannie & Freddie: Buying Friends in D.C.
Fannie, Freddie storm wallops insurers, too
Dems: Departing mortgage execs pay ‘too high’
Fannie’s borrowing costs plunge
Mortgage rates drop after Freddie, Fannie bailout
Treasury offers mortgage takeover FAQ
Greenspan: Government Faces Tough Decisions in Lehman Case

PostHeaderIcon Gustav Buys Time

Residents and business owners in areas affected by Hurricane Gustav now have until January 5, 2009 to pay taxes due between September 1, 2008 & January 5, 2009. These include things like quarterly estimated taxes, extended tax returns, and more.

For full details, there’s a pretty good article at CNNMoney.com.

Oh, and yes, we are as flummoxed as the rest of the world by the Fannie/Freddie bailout. We’ll be posting on it later this week, we just want time do a little research.

PostHeaderIcon Bad Economy=Bad Time for the IRS

Americans are pretty much always disgruntled with the state of our ridiculously overcomplicated tax system and the agency that administers collection of it. Add a declining economy and, well, it’s getting ugly out there.

The latest? A Center Point, Alabama man tries to kill himself (?? the article is a little unclear on this point) by ramming his car into the Birmingham, Alabama IRS office.

PostHeaderIcon Sued for PAYING for Software?

Yep. An organization that promotes adoption by the public sector and government in Canada is suing the government of Quebec for buying expensive proprietary software from mega corporations like Microsoft and Oracle.

Linux Journal sums it up here.

The full article can be found on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation site, here.

The press release from FACIL, the organization in question, about the suit is here.

On the one hand I agree with LJ writer Marcel Gagne that it seems fiscally irresponsible for governments to claim poverty while spending a lot of money on software. On the other hand, I have to wonder what type of reliable, constant support is out there for free software. I know everything I have ever downloaded that was open source or free explicitly states that there is no organized support, just forums and listservs–which may have the solution a user is looking for, but it is not always easy to find.

I can see both sides on this one, so it will be interesting in the coming months (years? this is the goverment we’re talking about here…) to see how this develops…

What do you think?

PostHeaderIcon Happy Labor Day!

Hopefully you are here today:

Or somewhere equally awesome and won’t see this til tomorrow!

Relax & Have a Great Labor Day y’all!