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Archive for January, 2009

PostHeaderIcon Job hunting? It might be tax deductible

DailyNews.com recently posted an article listing ways that those currently looking for a job could cut their taxes. Methods listed include: deducting mileage to interviews, mailing and printing costs, and other costs incurred while looking for a job.

The full article can be read at:

Uncle Sam has eye on jobless aid

PostHeaderIcon New Address for Tax Filing in DE, NY, and RI

“The Internal Revenue Service has announced that taxpayers in Delaware, Illinois, New York, and Rhode Island who file paper income tax returns will send them to different processing centers this year.

Taxpayers in Delaware, New York, and Rhode Island will now send their tax returns to the IRS Kansas City Service Center in Kansas City, MO. Taxpayers in Illinois will now send their tax returns to the IRS Fresno Service Center, in Fresno, CA.”

For more information check out:

IRS announces last minute address changes for filing tax returns

PostHeaderIcon Advertising, Culture, and Your Business

A lot of people say that your advertising needs to meet the needs and requirements of the culture around you. With all of the law suits and regulations that are being thrown around, you definitely cannot ignore the constraints thrown onto a business by what culture demands.

Kellogg’s latest changes to their advertising are a perfect example of this point. The company’s CoCo Pop’s cereal has been a mainstay in many households morning routine for years. Prior to 2004 100% of their advertising was targeted directly at children. The commercials were fun and usually involved animated mascots or popular characters. However, culture has demanded that companies stop selling to children. Adults have grown tired of children whining and groaning in the grocery store breakfast aisle to get their way. Today, 90% of Kellogg’s breakfast cereal advertising occurring during “family prime airtime”. The new commercials spend more time on the quality of the product than on proving how fun it is to eat.

That is not to say that a company cannot mold culture to its needs. In the early 20th century bad breath was nothing to be afraid of. A firm handshake and a steady eye were all that people were judged by. However, Listerine’s product advertisements soon changed this. By 1920 “Chronic Halitosis” was a catch phrase known well throughout the United States. Advertisements asked women if they could live with their man “even with breath like that.” Listerine, a product originally intended as a battlefield antiseptic, suddenly became a household name.

Companies need to pay attention to current cultural and legal trends regarding advertising. It is hard to sell a product when the customer has been offended and the FTC levies hefty fines on those that disregard advertising regulations. However, culture is not static. The culture of the United States, what is popular and what is not, changes on a constant basis. Never miss the opportunity to mold culture to the needs of your product. As author James B. Twitchell says,”Listerine did not make mouthwash as much as it made halitosis.”

For more information on advertisements that shaped our culture, check out James B. Twitchell’s book: “20 Ads that Changed the World: The Century’s Most Groundbreaking Advertising and How It Changed Us All.”

PostHeaderIcon New Year, New Tech?

We are not saying that just because it’s a new year you need new technology.

This is a good time of year to assess your tech, though. Now is the time to think about what works in your office and what doesn’t and take some time to think about the future. Do you have a tool that doesn’t work quite the way you want it to, anything from your CRM solution to your mobile phone?

Make a list of all the technology you use in your daily life, both professional and personal. Is it a long, scary list? Resolve to make it shorter. Is the list short and the number of things you still use outdated solutions for long? Resolve to make your list longer in 2009–if that’s your goal. Decide what works and what needs work and carve out some time to research possible options.

Unsurprisingly, we’re not the only ones who think this is the time to think about your 2009 technology needs. Check out some of the New Year’s tech resolutions articles we found around the web–it’s good food for thought.

ArsTechnica’s 2009 Tech Resolutions

One of my personal faves mentions, among other things, cleaning up techno-clutter. Check out these 5 resolutions at PCMag.com

Infoworld’s top tech resolutions for 2009 are interesting, to say the least, but more geared toward large, enterprise operations, although, as open source advocates we especially like #2.

We’re trying to be greener, so Ted Sansom’s Green Tech Resolutions for 2009 is especially appealing.

A little lower tech, but more real-life oriented is this list from the Chicago Tribune’s Eric 2.0 column.

Tell us YOUR 2009 tech resolutions.