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Dear Winston Salem Drivers Downtown…

Pedestrian crossing sign on Queens Boulevard i...
Image via Wikipedia

I’m not sure where you people learn to drive, but sometimes I hope that your license gets revoked before you hurt someone.

When the light is green, you have to YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS.

When it is red you have to YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS.

Even when it is yellow, you still have to YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS.

This rule doesn’t change if you’re turning right either and am in a hurry. Pedestrians have right-of-way at a cross walk. All the time. Don’t believe me?

NCDOT rules state:

In North Carolina pedestrians have the right of way at all intersections and driveways but must yield to motorists when crossing at any place other than a marked crosswalk.

Go figure. A human body can’t take on half ton of fiberglass? How did anyone ever figure that out. So, quit driving like absolute frackin’ idiots because even as an accident, if someone gets hurt or killed, your life as you know it will either end up in a very big legal proceeding or worse, prison. And who would want that?

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First Thoughts about Bing.com

bing I have to say that from a technical perspective, I’m pretty disappointed with Microsoft’s Bing.com. A lot of press came out when Microsoft released Bing, and to tell you the truth, the fact that it held even number two for a day was pretty amusing. Mainly because most people didn’t know what it was.

I for one, was actually curious when I saw the tv advertisements and it had a bunch of pretty high contrast pictures. Bing.com? What the heck is that? Decision engine? You realize later on that the entire decision engine thing is sort of a joke. I’m not sure which marketing person came up with that, but Caterina Fake’s Hunch, is way more of a decision engine than Bing ever was. But with all of the imagery, I had thought that Bing finally hit on something that people have been waiting for. Image search on the next level.

Let’s not forget that Google had acquired Riya years back and there was a significant amount of press about that cool image searching. Basically, the thought is that you can give an image and the engine would be able to detect where faces were and perhaps next steps were to detect similarities in facial recognition and say… search out all of my pictures on the web. Now, image processing at this level isn’t something that’s revolutionary but in an indexed web form, it is. According to my father, whom I would say is an expert at image processing, it’s not about whether or not it can be done as much as the processing that comes with it. It takes a lot of power to determine if images are related and if there are matches in facial structures. That’s what I had thought Microsoft had cracked with Bing since that definitely would propel it into another arena, especially with its research into Photosynth.

Unfortunately, like many others, it was a real disappointment. It seemed that Bing.com was just another search and it still didn’t pull as accurately as Google does. While there are some that are touting the greatness of Bing’s moves in search and the gradual growth of market share, I frankly don’t see it. If the results were better or they had focused on something like images, I would definitely consider a switch. Call me a cynic, but I really don’t understand how seeing a picture of the Sydney Opera House today is really going to help me search for anything… for example: web based accounting startups.

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Winston-Salem’s Wrong Assumptions About Their New Stadium

New Ballpark #12
Image by Mr. Jincks via Flickr

Interestingly enough, I have recently just became a resident of Winston-Salem. And for the last however many years I’ve been here, I’ve been a resident of Greensboro. Well, it seems that to justify the new baseball stadium for the Winston-Salem Dash, they’ve used the Grasshopper Stadium as an anchor point even though there are some significant flaws in the argument.

Here are my thoughts on it based off of some of the things that were said on The Business Report off WFDD:

  • Grasshopper Stadium has done well for Greensboro. I agree here, but you have to also realize that UNC-Greensboro, Greensboro College, A&T and I might be missing some others, all converge on downtown Greensboro. The fact is that you have several major schools with students looking for things to do, and within walking distance. I will go as far as to say that some of the students at these respective schools only go to the games on Thirsty Thursdays because of… well, you don’t need me to explain it but it’s not because of baseball.

    I’ll also go as far as to say that the look-and-feel of the two downtowns are extremely different. Greensboro has Center City Park, which is another privately owned venture and other sorts of things that have the entertainment seekers running around at night. I’ve never gotten the same feel for Winston-Salem’s downtown which is very much more business oriented and has that sort of look and feel. Greensboro has always felt like an infant San Francisco, while Winston-Salem was an infant Chicago. Two very distinct paths which cannot be thrown into the same basket because the population size is somewhat similar.

  • The money is similar for the same seating. Yet, a big difference is how it’s funded. Grasshopper Stadium was all private money. About fifteen million was from the Bryan Foundation and the rest was raised through private means. Winston-Salem’s funding is between the tax payers and Billy Prim’s financing. When you have skin in the game, it makes it a different scenario.
  • Greensboro backed the stadium. Somehow, I’d like to say that if Greensboro’s taxes were up for grabs for Grasshopper Stadium, we would have a different story here. Everyone is always happy to partake in the festivities that someone else’s coin pays for. But when your coin is paying for someone else’s fun? It’s not always a loving situation. Greensboro’s City Council knew that and stepped away from it right at the beginning. I’m not at liberty to speak of the actions by Winston-Salem’s Council since I don’t know the local politics here. Needless to say? Obviously there are a lot of grumblings.

I will say that a huge mistake by a lot of people is not only looking at the situation, but comparing stadiums of larger sizes to this one. With a AAA team, Grasshopper Stadium is actually the closest comparison in cost, physical location and size. But the one big part that’s missing are the points above. It’s like trying to compare people from LA to NYC. Two distinctly different cities, with different cultures, and trying to figure out why the Dodgers don’t play like the Yankees. Something is just a little bit off there.

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Movie Review: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I finally had the chance to watch this movie off of Netflixicon streaming in HD, and I have to say…

What the heck was I thinking in waiting so long??

This movie is absolutely fantastic and one of those that really don’t give away the ending until probably closer to the end. Which I appreciate since there are too many predictable movies out there. Jim Carrey plays Joel, whom is having his memory erased because his girlfriend had her memory erased of him. While he’s in the middle of this process, he realizes that he doesn’t want to lose her and tries frantically to save any memory of her.

What was absolutely great with this movie, and I made the connection here with Adam Sandler in Reign Over Me, is that it really seems that the comedic actors have a lot of depth when it comes to acting abilities. Even Jamie Fox, whom has had a multitude of serious roles has shown that while they all started in comedy, they can play serious parts extremely well and that there is more to it than one-sided acting.

The movie itself was fantastic and I urge anyone that likes drama to watch it, especially if they have Roku box. If you don’t have one, I would seriously advise you to look into getting one since it increases your Netflix account without any further cost outside the initial $99USD. In any case? Watch the movie. Yar.

Save 20% on 1 Item for Father’s Day Weekend at Barnes & Noble

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Save an additional 20% off one item with coupon code D3A7V3V. For each customer, this coupon can be redeemed once at online at bn.com.

This coupon is valid from June 19, 2009 to June 23, 2009 at 2:59 a.m. Eastern Time.

Anti-NC Affiliate Tax Gaining Support #ncaffiliatetax

Internet marketers everywhere are rallying behind the flag of social media. Just take a look at #ncaffiliatetax and see for yourself. I personally have written to Pricey Harrison (Guilford-D) about this and how it hurts small businesses and how it can not only put people’s jobs at risk but also put more strain on the state since if these jobs fail, there would be likelihood of more unemployment that the state would have to take into account.

Actions speak louder than words, and those that are pushing this through tell me that they don’t understand the Internet at all as a business source and how affiliate marketing and internet retail work. With this move by Amazon of notification of their NC affiliates, entire businesses will fail if NCGA pushes forward with this move. And here you thought that they were looking out for the citizens’ best interest…

Search for the rallies online. There are plenty to choose from. Write and call your representatives and tell them that your business is in eminent danger due to these bills. Either way? We have to protect our livelihoods and get those that we have elected into office to hear our cries for help.

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NCGA Unconstitutionally Taxing Scheme Will Hurt Small Businesses

The North Carolina Legislative Building in Ral...
Image via Wikipedia

I don’t know what the North Carolina Legislation is doing, but I can tell you that they’ll be hurting small businesses.

Crazy? Not at all. In fact, this morning I had to re-read my email twice and make sure that the email didn’t come from some hoax source trying to just get to respond with my email so they could sell me Cialis or Viagra or something.

This morning, I received an email from Amazon that said:

We regret to inform you that the North Carolina state legislature (the General Assembly) appears ready to enact an unconstitutional tax collection scheme that would leave Amazon.com little choice but to end its relationships with North Carolina-based Associates.

Hmm. They’re trying to collect taxes from Internet companies… again?!? Come on. It wasn’t but yesterday, I watched how Hong Kong’s civil servants take a voluntarily pay cut to help ease economics and taxes for this year. Yet, here we are in North Carolina, where we’re looking to throw up more laws on things such as taxes on cigarettes, driving mileage, even a text messaging ban while driving to try to make the economics jive. Meanwhile? We are not even enforcing the laws we do have in place such as the tint laws, covers on license plates, and all sorts of other things that could be bringing in revenue for the state.

This isn’t just Amazon mind you. Amazon is only the beginning of the companies that will refuse to do business in this state. There have been others and unfortunately the people that need it the most, the small businesses, are the ones that suffer from this move. Contact your media and state legislation right away. And if your business has anything to do with the Internet, we cannot let things such as this go through.

In the words of Gandalf the Grey, “You Shall Not Pass!”

UPDATE (10:18AM): News & Record’s Mark Binker covers some more details.

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Be Wary in Job Searches

Maximizing Your Job Search Workshop
Image by danieljohnsonjr via Flickr

If you’re one of the many that are searching for positions on the Internet and probably sending your resume along on those job sites, be wary. One of the latest scams that has been broadcast in the past six months through security firms has been an increase in identity theft through job postings.

Think about it. You’re desperate to become employed again, you hand over your social security number, name, address, and all sorts of other identification materials to a “potential” employer just to realize that they don’t exist. My suggestion? Do your homework.

While you might not stop every sort of theft, providing due diligence will greatly decrease the risk of being taken for a ride. See if that person actually represents the company that they claim they are. Are they overseas and using a local number to contact you? Do they represent a placement agency? Perhaps you’ve never even heard of this business that they claim is several miles from your house and it’s not in the phone book. There are always signs to these sorts of scams.

If you don’t, you take a great risk. If you do, you minimize that risk. And best of luck on your search.

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Netflix Customer Service Wows Me Again


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What can I say. Netflixicon continues to wow me with their automated customer service. Now, granted, this could be because I’ve been with them since … well, forever. In any case, it never ceases to amaze me that they just send me extra movies, or gifts (in the form of refunds) because of something that they mishandled or just think that it’s taking too long for the turn-around. In fact, I think this is the first time that their customer service has sent me an extra DVD due to the fact that it would take a bit for it to get here.

Don’t ask me why, but it makes me happy to support a company that actually thinks about the fact that I’m not made of money, and there are little things you can do that can make a person happy with your service. This is one of them. Definitely will have to take a page from their customer service book and apply it in my own accounting software business.

Amazon Gift Cards for Father’s Day

If you don’t know what to get your father (June 21) this year for Father’s Day, why not get him an Amazon Gift Card? I don’t know about you, but trying to figure out what my dad doesn’t already have that he wants is usually a tough thing. But with an Amazon Gift Card, it makes it a lot easier and I know he’ll use it since he often buys a lot of books online.

So if you can’t figure out what to get your dad? Amazon it.