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Archive for March, 2009

PostHeaderIcon I think I must be a trend setter!

Ok, so here I am at SxSW. I finally found a comfy chair to sit in. It even has a little fold out laptop stand! One thing I’ve noticed here is that “alternative” is pretty much “mainstream” at SxSW. So here I sit, in my comfy chair with about 10 other people right around me. It wasn’t till I got out my netbook that I realized something:

I, Tom Beauchamp, am officially a rebel!

Every person around me has something “alternative” about them: hair, clothes, piercings, you name it. 5 of them have iPhones out. All 10 have Apple laptops. The little light up logo’s are taunting me!

Here I am with basically a pretty boring guy and I stand out like a sore thumb!

So I figure I must be the trend setter here. Next year everyone will be wearing black leather jackets, using Palm cellphones, and running eeePC’s! Ok, maybe not. But never fear, even if you follow the mainstream there are places where YOU are the “alternative” person in the room.

PostHeaderIcon From the floor of SXSW

So here I sit at the world famous South by South West Conference in Austin, Texas. For those that aren’t familiar, SxSW started as a music festival and over the years has become host to entertainment, interactive, and other types of media. Today the conference is split into 3 parts: Music, Film, and Interactive. I am here for the Interactive part.

So, what does Interactive cover? Just about any type of interactive media you can think of: online games, blogging, and many other forms of media (some I’ve never heard of). I laid out my schedule last night and have a fun-filled 4 days ahead.

Since OffAssist has been trying to expand out social media presence, that is the track I am most interested in. I start off with a “How to make the most of SxSW” class and from there jump straight into the Social Media craziness.

Of course, that is once everything starts. For now, I’m enjoying the mix of people here. Colored hair and piercings mix with suit and tie and everything in between. Of course, there are several people with suit and tie, colored hair, and piercings all in one. And I’ve heard 7 or 8 different languages, and at least 4 different versions of English since I’ve been here.

Should make for an interesting weekend.

PostHeaderIcon Not Everyone has a Bleak Outlook

So, who is supposed to pick up the load when the Chryslers and GMs of the world are failing? Well, that is you and me. But not how the government is currently doing it. Right now we are trying to rescue the economy by rescuing the businesses that caused a lot of the current economic troubles. But there is another way….

Enter Tech Ranch in Austin, Texas. Tech Ranch is aimed at helping the economy recover by concentrating in another area: the high tech startup. Yes, we’ve already seen a huge crash in this area back in the late 90s. However, the reasons for that are well-known and also avoidable. That is what Tech Ranch does. It trains high tech entrepreneurs to not only get their business off the ground but also to make it through those rough first 5 years.

For more information check out:

Entrepreneurs optimistic about Austin’s high-tech industry

PostHeaderIcon Free 1-year digital subscription to Linux Journal!

Straight from the horses mouth:

“Want a free 1-year digital subscription to Linux Journal? This is your lucky week. Watch the daily Tech Tip videos this week and collect the secret letters hosts Shawn Powers and/or Mitch Frazier announce during the videos each day. Come this Friday, unscramble the letters to reveal the secret word(s). Everyone with the correct answer who responds by 11:59:59PM U.S. Eastern Standard Time March, Friday 13th, 2009 wins a free digital subscription to Linux Journal — it’s that easy!

Follow this link for further contest details, and good luck!”

OR: Follow this link straight to the source:

PostHeaderIcon Taxation by the Mile?

I just read an interesting article over at The gist of the issue is this: how should the government pay for new roads and to repair existing roads? Currently this is done mostly through a tax on gas. The new plan calls for an over 50% raise in this tax. But that is not all…oh no…that is not all…

The powers that be are also looking at a “technology based” method of tracking how many miles you drive in your car and then taxing you on that. What type of device would this be? A GPS? An odometer recorder? I really don’t know, but I am against it.

Of course, with more fuel efficient cars on the road, the gas tax is a system of diminishing returns.

Here is a link to the full article:

I HATE This Idea: Taxing Drivers By the Mile.

How do you think we should pay for new roads and repairs?

PostHeaderIcon 2 Minutes With A VA

2 Weeks ago Candy launched her new web-site “2 Minutes With A VA”. The questions keep pouring in! If you have a question for Candy or Tom, or just a general VA type question head over to and let us hear from you!

Here is a link to the PRWeb press release:

Successful Virtual Assistant Launches Interactive Blog to Help Industry Newbies

PostHeaderIcon Excel Based 1040 Form

Too lazy to run down to the IRS office? Too cheap to buy a copy of Turbo Tax? Think that the H&R; Block lady is a spy for the Commies? Then here is the IRS form for you:

“Just in time for tax season, Glenn Reeves of Burlington, Kansas has created a free Microsoft Excel-based version of the 2008 U.S. Individual Tax Return, commonly known as Form 1040. The spreadsheet includes both pages of Form 1040, as well as these supplemental schedules.”

Get the full scoop over at

Free Microsoft Excel-based 1040 form available

PostHeaderIcon Client QOTD: “I need to send Wil Wheaton an Atari”

(this story is shared with permission)

I get some weird stuff in bookkeeping. I mean, like, really weird stuff… but today… well, today is my birthday and apparently one of my favorite clients gave me the most awesome gift ever. Laughter. I just can’t stop. And the more I think about it, the more I can’t stop laughing.

See, one of my clients is Linux Journal. A cool group of geeks that keep me on toes with some of the oddest stuff… I am a semi-geek, but mostly I’m a numbers geek that really likes my computer and gadets. So yeah, I fit right in, but sometimes… sometimes…

I get an IM from the publisher that basically said “I need to send Wil Wheaton an Atari. Can we send a paypal out for it?”.

Um. Okay. We can surely do that, of course… but no, I had to ask… I knew of Wil Wheaton, I mainly knew he played one of the kids in Stand By Me, but I knew he did something else super geeky… so of course I ask “Why are we sending the Stand By Me kid an Atari?”

Right about now, I’m thinking this conversation is getting really weird. I look up Wil on IMDB and realize he’s also a Star Trek actor. Makes a little more sense now, but still…

See, apparently Wil and Shawn Powers over at LJ are having an Atari-off at PenguinCon and Linux Journal is a sponsor.

Okay, so that makes sense, we are sending the Star Trek guy an Atari so he can play with the editor guy at a geek convention.

The best part? The receipt I got from them… it said, “Wil Wheaton’s Atari receipt. I have no idea where you’ll book this one. :)”