4 Reasons To Have A Gravatar

Two years ago I wrote on this blog about how to get a gravatar. Now I’m going to give you 4 reasons why you should have a gravatar. But before I do, quickly let me tell you what a gravatar is. A gravatar is that image that you see next to some people’s comments or posts. That’s it; nothing overly difficult. And now, the why’s:

1. A gravatar lets people know who you are in some fashion. Whether you write posts on your own blog or post comments on other blogs, a gravatar will be associated with your email address, which is required for any blog you comment on, and of course when you set up your blog you probably set it up with a specific email address as well. The gravatar is set up with the email address, and thus people know it’s you. Yeah, at times it can be faked, but it’s rare.

2. You can use either a picture of yourself, your business logo, or anything else. Overall no one really cares, but of course there are reasons why you might want to select one thing or another. For instance, I use my image because I’m an independent consultant, and thus my face is kind of my brand as opposed to either logo I have on my two main business websites. Some people like to use logos for themselves instead, like Dennis, and I assume it’s because he’s trying to brand his internet businesses (that plus I keep assuming he’s funny looking; yeah, I’m ashamed of myself! lol). Others select something they like, such as animals or flowers or some other such thing, mainly because they’re not worried about doing anything in a business fashion online.

3. You can set up a different gravatar for every email you have if you’d like. I have 3 different blogs, so I have 3 different gravatars. If I advertised my businesses more often when I commented on blogs I’d probably have more gravatars. This could help folks decide if they want one gravatar for their business and one for their personal use.

4. You just seem more legitimate than you do without one. Remember what I was saying about URL’s? When people see your gravatar, and they’re used to you, they’re more comfortable with you and they know you’re legit and trustworthy. Having said that, Sire and I have learned that some scammers have learned how to scrape your identity, but it’s easy enough to know when you see something from someone you’re used to that just doesn’t look right. It definitely helps if you have a common name to separate you from someone else.

And there you are. You folks who don’t have one, think about getting one, whether you do a lot of online stuff or not. Ultimately it gives you a lot of credibility.

Slide and Negative Scanner







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First Day At My Conference

I’m not at home right now. I’m in Fort Lauderdale, FL, at the Annual National Institute of the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management. It’s a national organization for basically the people who bring money into either hospitals or physicians groups, or any other type of medical entity there is that has its own billing people. That’s a job I did for many years until going into business on my own, and I still consult in that field, of course. I’m also the local chapter’s president once more, so I’m down here at a conference in an official capacity, which earns me free passage to the conference other than paying to get here the hotel room.

I came in Tuesday, and actually it’s not the first day of the conference for everyone. I came in because there was board business to get to, and thus we had to be here a day earlier than everyone else. Still, it was an adventure on the day, so I’m going to talk about it.

The morning started at 4:25 with the alarm going off. My plane was leaving at 6AM, but it’s never crowded in the lines at the airport, so I figured I’d take a little bit more time than I normally would. I had also stayed up late trying to watch the football game, but I finally decided I needed at least 4 hours of sleep and took my silly self to sleep.

Got up, showered, put the last bits of things I wanted to bring with me together, and my wife and I finally leave for the airport, which is just over 10 minutes away; that’s pretty lucky. I check in easily enough, and then the first little snag hits; the bar that comes up on my suitcase so I can pull it around doesn’t want to go back down. So I’m standing there with the guy who’s waiting to xray the bag slamming down on this thing, and you know the last thing you want to do with any of these guys is have your bag look like there’s something wrong with it. I finally do get it down, though, and he just laughs; I hope it’s because he’s seen that before.

I go up the escalator to go to the gate and run into surprise number two; the line is long! Whoa; total miscalculation on my part! Now I start worrying a little bit; it’s 5:15, my plane leaves at 6, which means they’ll start boarding in about 20 minutes; ugh! But there’s nothing I can do so I just stand in line, and luckily someone comes in and opens a second line, and things start moving better. I’m carrying two things, my laptop and my CPAP for the first time; guess what they want to examine? Nothing I could do about that either, so I make it through the scanner without anything going off and take my time putting all my stuff back together until he brings my CPAP back to me, fine and dandy. I get to the gate just as they’re boarding the plane, and since they now load in zones I breathe a sign of relief that they haven’t gotten to my zone yet.

The first trip from Syracuse to Washington D. C. was fairly nondescript. I got to share my little row of seats with a very attractive young lady, but who’s in the mood to talk that early in the morning, right? I put on my headphones and listen to a book on my MP# while she falls asleep. The first trip took about 50 minutes, and then we had to wait outside the gate about 15 minutes because the plane arrived a bit ahead of schedule, and another plane was at our terminal. Once we finally get in I realize I have 50 minutes before the next flight; time to get something to eat.

Now, y’all know I’ve been on an eating plan (actually maybe you don’t), but it’s now a trip, and the doctor said if I went off my plan during my time away not to worry about it, just do what I can do. So what’s the first thing I see? Cinnabon! Yup, popped over there and got a cinnamon bun; yum! But I knew I needed some real food as well. There was a place called Five Guys, and they were serving egg sandwiches, and you could add a hamburger with it; do that bad boy! I ate my sandwich, then my cinnamon buns, and walked to my next gate, where five minutes later we loaded for the next flight, this one to Florida.

This time around I have an older gentleman next to me and I assume his wife, though I could be off on that one. It might have been his daughter; now that’s kind of scary. And his breath; oy! But there’s nothing one can do about that. Now, one thing I noticed on the first flight, and then again on this one, is how easily I can fit into the seats. Exercise and losing some inches is really working!

Get into Ft. Lauderdale and what hits me immediately is the humidity; it’s supposed to rain my entire time here off and on, and with the heat and the ocean it’s not the best combination for me. I go to baggage claim and my bag is the 4th one off the carousel; that’s never happened before. I want outside and ask for a cab and it’s there; wow, two for two. I just might make that noon meeting after all.

I get to my hotel, check in, and see I have 5 minutes to make it to the meeting. Man, I’m hungry, as it’s not 4 1/2 hours since I last ate. Nothing I can do about that, so I rush to the other hotel, since I’m not staying in the same hotel as the convention (why not? My hotel is costing me $79 a night; the other hotel would cost me $250 a night). I get there and can’t find anyone; turns out the thing doesn’t start until 1PM. Ah, time to find food.

I come back to my hotel, then realize their restaurant is gone; under renovations and won’t open until spring. This young lady tells me there’s a grill in the other building that serves lunch. I head over there, and the woman there tells me that because of the weather lunch is being served at the bar that I just walked past in the other building. I go back and the guy says they won’t start serving lunch until 1PM; what the hey? Nothing I can do but go to the other hotel to see what I can find there to eat.

Other hotel, a Marriott, has one thing open for lunch. Most of the food on the menu looked, well, yucky except for one thing; a hamburger. And that hamburger… $15! Talk about being a captive audience! I’m stuck, so I go in, order my hamburger, and then greet someone I know, who invites me to her table. I go there, finally get my burger, ask for mayo and the woman brings me two packets; I’m paying $15 for a burger and I get packets?

Finally I’m feeling good, and we head to the meeting. I find that they’ve put me on the legislative committee, which means we discuss which policy initiatives we’d like to present to government officials that can help us with medical billing issues throughout the country. My committee, led by someone else, debated this thing for more than 2 hours. I’m going along with the recommendation, even though I tend to think it won’t really solve our issues, but I’m not going to say what it is since it’s official business and not just my business.

Finally get out of that and the rest of the day is ours. I come to the hotel, hook up internet ($9.95 a day), turn on the TV and I’m watching Voyager while trying to do some things online. I learn there’s a Ruth Chris Steakhouse about 10 minutes away, so I call another friend down here and off we go in a cab for dinner. Man, I ate a lot, but it was worth it, since the nearest Ruth Chris to me at home is in NYC, 6 hours away.

I come back to the hotel feeling sluggish, and I decide I need to hit the treadmill. I do 40 minutes on the treadmill, sweating up a storm, come back to the room to watch poker, and the night is done.

I’m going to be here through Saturday, and I may not recount everything else like I did here. I did want to get a post in, though, so you know where I am if I skip another day. I want to relax some, work some, and finally try to see what this place is all about. I hope y’all are having a great week wherever you are.

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Four Reasons To Put A URL In When Commenting On Blogs

I’ve noticed that sometimes people don’t put urls (web addresses) in when they make comments. Almost everyone has either a website or a blog somewhere that they could link to, so it would seem like the natural thing to do. It’s not a required field, though, so many people don’t even think about it. So, I figured it was time to give people some reasons why it’s a good idea, and I’m going with four.


by Beth Kanter

1. You get a backlink to your blog. If you know SEO you get this concept. If you don’t, the idea of a backlink to your blog is that sites such as Google try to determine how much of an authority your site is online, and one of the criteria is how many backlinks you have going to your site. The more the merrier, as long as they’re somewhat related to what you do, but even if they’re not backlinks can only help. And supposedly they help more when you’re getting a link from another site and not having to link back; that part doesn’t matter to me, just take the link. By the way, this is why there’s so much comment spam, because these weasels are hoping to find those blogs that don’t monitor their comment spam so their sites can grow in prominence; and you thought it was so you’d buy Viagra from them. lol

2. People might click on your link and check out your site or blog. If people like your comment, sometimes they feel compelled to check you out. And none of us are on the internet so we can hide from others, right?

3. If you blog, CommentLuv will be your friend. If you put a link in and you have a blog, you’ll notice that on blogs that have that little heart on them that you see below, it will pop up your latest blog post. That’s from a site called CommentLuv, and it’s there to help people get their content noticed while they’re participating on another blog. Go to their site and register, and suddenly you have the ability to pick from your last 10 blog posts to decide which one you want to highlight. This works great if you comment more than once on someone else’s blog, or if there’s a specific older post you want to highlight.

4. It verifies you’re not a troll. Spam is one thing; trolls are another. Trolls are people who post without any real identifying information. If your blog doesn’t require an email address,then people can post anonymously, and that means they don’t always have to show the proper respect your blog deserves. They can go after you or other people and don’t care whose feelings are hurt. When I was dealing with trolls on one particular post earlier this year regarding Akismet a bunch of them came to the blog and posted these really long and threatening messages, which of course I could care less about. None of them left a url, and all the email addresses were fake. They just wanted to rant, and they wanted to hide. I just deleted them all, which was easy for me to do. If you have the appearance of having something to hide, people don’t always trust the comment. I at least give the benefit of the doubt, but not everyone will.

And there you are. Any questions, comments, please share.

Plantronics CS50 Wireless Office Earset






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Sunday Question – What’s Your Favorite Holiday?

We’re getting into what’s known as the holiday season, at least in the U.S. This weekend, as a matter of fact, is Columbus Day weekend, and banks are closed, as well as no mail delivery, on Monday. Yeah, we still give Columbus credit for discovering a country that was already thriving; so be it.

When I was a kid, I loved all holidays; I think most kids do. As I got older, I stopped liking every holiday except Thanksgiving. That was when Mom pulled out the stops when it pertained to food. She’d make the large turkey with homemade cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, yams, peas (okay, I didn’t like this part, but it was part of the bargain) and of course the hot rolls. Then later on we’d have our choice of either homemade sweet potato pie or strawberry cake; yeah, I hate strawberries, but there was something about Mom’s number one homemade dessert that overruled it all.

Since Dad passed Mom has stopped cooking, and thus the day isn’t any different than any other time I visit her. So, it’s now swinging around to Christmas, where I love seeing the faces of people when they get gifts from me, and I’m starting to enjoy once more receiving gifts from others; I hadn’t enjoyed that since I was 13, and I’m not sure why. Christmas was also my dad’s favorite holiday; I don’t think Mom ever had a favorite holiday, and that puts her with my wife.

So there’s the question; what’s your favorite holiday, no matter where you live?

Happy Holidays Tie by Peanuts Gang -  Green Polyester - neckties.com

Happy Holidays Tie by Peanuts Gang – Green Polyester







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Random Thoughts Three

In March 2009 I wrote a post that I called Some Random Thoughts. It was basically a quick hitter of commentary on some current topics and basically rants I had that I just needed to get off my chest. Then last November I had a political rant on health care in America. I’m feeling the need for my third random rants post, thus that’s what this one is. I hope you read and comment; I’m having my say anyway.

In the United States, the political season is upon us. This year it seemed to start earlier, as we started getting hammered with political ads back in July. That’s because then it was the beginning of primary season. I hate political ads, and have never been swayed by any of them. To me, most of the process is fake, and most of what you hear in an ad is a lie. One thing that’s really odd these days is that, unless it’s an ad attacking someone, they never say what party they’re with. If they’re attacking Obama, you know the person is Republican; if you’re not, you’re a Democrat. Frankly, I hate attack ads, and surveys have shown that an overwhelming majority of people say they hate them. Yet they work, and the nastier one can make their ad, the more likely they’re going to be elected. It’s the fault of the people; if more people did their own research into someone instead of deciding based on political ads, these things would go away, or at least temper themselves. We are our own worst enemies; it’s a shame.

It seems that everyone I know says they hate bullying. Yet bullying still continues, and frankly it’s starting to get out of hand. We had bullies back in our day as well, but I don’t know of a single kid who ever committed suicide because of a bully. The thing is, almost no one seems to ever help a kid being bullied. Parents say they don’t know; schools say they’re not allowed to do anything; the police say it’s not their jurisdiction. I’ve always said if I were a parent and my kid was being bullied that I’d have gone to the other parent’s house and threatened to beat that parent up, or gone directly after the kid. Sure, that’s when everyone else gets involved. Even other parents are bullying some kids, and then don’t want to take any responsibility when a kid kills themselves; y’all remember that story, right? Everyone needs to be watching their kids, but the parents of kids being bullied and the parents of potential bullies. The latest girl to kill herself was only 12 years old; neither she nor the kids bullying them were legally old enough to even be on those sites. Hillary Clinton was right; it takes a village to raise a kid. And on this topic, y’all need to go read this post by Holly.

Next, there seems to be too many kids being killed in some fashion by parents these days; what’s all this about? The latest was a pastor down south who “forgot” his 14-month old daughter was in the van and she died of overheating. There has been a rash of these all over the place; what’s wrong with people? In my very first rant I mentioned fathers who were killing their kids to spite the mother; now it seems there’s a lot more mothers killing their kids, and it’s usually because they just decide they don’t want to deal with them anymore or are doing it because they want to be with some man who doesn’t want to have kids. There really needs to be more education and more oversight on young mothers, otherwise this epidemic is going to keep happening, and it has to stop.

And finally, a word about “isms”. I put a question out on my FB business page asking people if they’d ever step in to help someone who they saw was a victim of some kind of “ism”. The only response I got was one guy who said he didn’t understand the question. That tells me that he, and others, have absolutely no understanding of what to do when they see someone being treated badly because of racism, sexism, gayism, etc. There are just too many of us deciding to “mind our own business” instead of stepping forward to help someone when they can. Are there times when you should err on the side of caution? Sure; that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up the phone and call 911 or something, does it? Bad things are going to continue happening to people until someone decides to step forward and offer some kind of support. When Rodney King was beaten, the only support he got was some guy who filmed the whole thing, and the local populace acquitted the police, not believing their own eyes. When it takes the federal government to protect someone’s rights, it shows that the entire system of common sense and decency if flawed. Remember this part of the old axiom; if you don’t stand up for someone else’s rights, when it’s your turn there won’t be anyone to stand up for you.

I think that’s enough. I have more but now I have to go drink something cold and cool down. Just some things to think about; what are your thoughts?

Tolerance






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