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Posted by Admin On23rd April 2008

A new series from Jesus Manuel Montane

Even if you’re not familiar with the book, The Hero of a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell, you’re familiar with what he calls The Hero’s Journey. The Hero’s Journey is the basic premise that permeates much of our religious stories, myths and fiction down through the centuries.

It’s the basic tale of a young person who must rise up and become the savior of the land. It’s a tale we see in Lord of the Rings, Dune, Star Wars and countless other epic fantasies. The premise inspired George Lucas, and now it’s inspired Jesus Manuel Montane, creator of the animated fantasy, Godspeed.

Godspeed takes place in a war ravaged galaxy where the evil Garud’Zbel seeks to bring havoc and darkness to all. Along with his army, the El’Thanat, he goes on the attack. It’s during one of these attacks that a young girl named Kira gets what should be a fatal dose of radiation. But instead of killing her, it gives her special powers and abilities. The young Kira must become a young woman to lead her people against the forces of darkness, and restore peace to the galaxy.

Writer/creator – Jesus Manuel Montane says, “Kira, the main character, is both a little child and a fully grown up woman at the same time, in parallel universes. She has a hard time, trying to understand what’s going on with her body and what are her new powers. It’s a metaphor of pre-adolescence.”

Stories like this come to us in many forms. There have been countless movies, novels, comic books and ancient texts that bring us new heroes to vanquish new villains. While the animated epic fantasy usually comes to the big screen, Godspeed is set to hit TV.

“We’ve spent two years creating this universe, this unique experience. Kids are, nowadays, too used to cheap, bad animated TV. Godspeed script and characters work on many levels, and its conceptual design is quite unique. The ships with sculpted faces, the symbols of each tribe… well, I would have loved it, if I saw it on TV when I was a child,” says Montane.

Godspeed promises to breathe new life into the animated fantasy genre with its intricate plot, sympathetic characters and full musical score. For more information about the series, check out their web site: maythesacredcombatbegin.com/ where you can view trailers and download extras.

Posted by Admin On22nd April 2008

Rentacoder Pic

If you’re a talented programmer or coder and you’re not sure?‚A about how to secure adequate work to keep food on the table while doing the work you love, RentaCoder has a solution to your problems.

At RentaCoder you have the opportunity to bid on an almost limitless pool of available jobs, negotiate a fee that both you and your buyer can live with, without having to concern yourself with whether or not you’ll be paid for your efforts.?‚A RentaCoder‘s escrow service is the vehicle that helps to ensure payment.

Bidding on projects doesn’t cost you a dime and you’re under no obligation to accept every project you’re offered, so you can bid to your heart’s content and accept those projects that allow you to maximize the amount of work you take on – at rates you can live with.

By utilizing RentaCoder‘s worldwide pool of available coding jobs, you’re no longer limited to a client base limited by the size of your hometown.?‚A The Internet is a global community and with worldwide opportunity comes a never ending supply of coding work.?‚A To take advantage of the chance to fulfill your income expectations navigate to www.rentacoder.com

Posted by Admin On21st April 2008

Coleman Research Group Pic

Coleman Research Group is a primary research firm.?‚A ?‚A They are?‚A dedicated to connecting top-notch industry experts with institutional investors, money managers, hedge funds and private equity firms who are seeking unbiased industry information. Coleman Research Group facilitates the flow of vital intelligence between?‚A clients and industry experts.

We found this description of Coleman Research Group.

Looking for access to top industry professionals? Want to make an informed investment decision by more fully understanding your industry??‚A Coleman Research Group?‚A can put you in touch with a network of thousands of top executives and professionals from within a wide range of industries and arrange a consultation with any number of those professionals. Armed with the priceless information you will obtain from the?‚A Coleman Research Group?‚A registered executives you will then be able to make that all important, informed decision more accurately than ever before.

Posted by Admin On21st April 2008

When talking about new Apple products it’s only natural that most of the attention goes to the iPhone and the MacBook Air. Machines like the Mac Pro and the iMac are still solid performers, but it’s tough to get excited about them because they’re getting pretty long in the tooth.

One unique item that’s gotten lost in the shuffle over at Apple is Time Capsule.

Time Capsule is an automatic, wireless backup system that works in conjunction with Leopard based Macs on your wireless network to simplify backing up your important data.

As we continue to embrace our computers and our lifestyles become more digital, the more important it is to back up data on a regular basis. Backups used to be a hassle because it meant setting aside time to backup your stuff, and often hooking up another drive in order to protect your data. Of course as files got bigger – and the data became more abundant – traditional drives grew to be an impractical means of storage.

Apple pioneered seamless backup through their iDisk, which enabled .Mac users to buy disk space on Apple’s servers to backup their data with an Internet connection. Automatic backup became available with OS X, which meant that users didn’t have to “remember” to back up. They could specify which files they wanted to backup automatically and it would happen whenever they got online.

Still, purchasing backup space on outside servers is impractical when you have multiple computers in the house. Now that home-based wireless networks are beginning to dominate, a device like Time Capsule arrived just in time.

Time Capsule comes with either a 500 GB or a 1TB hard drive, which should be plenty of space for the average user. Backups are performed through Leopard’s backup program, Time Machine. Apple states that the initial backup of your hard drive could take several hours or more, but once it’s complete, the only files that automatically backup are the ones that have changed.

In addition to the storage capacity, Time Capsule is also a full-featured 802.11n Wi-Fi base station that allows every computer in your house to be hooked up to a wireless network.

One of the big advantages of the Time Machine/Time Capsule system is that backups always take place in the background so you’re not interrupted when you’re doing work or just messing around. Also, users don’t have to set aside a day in which to backup their files because it happens automatically everyday.

It’s still wise to back up those files you simply can’t afford to lose to an off-site location. The reason is that, devices like Time Capsule are still vulnerable to breakage or damage in a catastrophe.

Requirements for using Time Capsule are a Mac running OS X Leopard with wireless networking capability.

Prices for the systems are: $299 for the 500 GB and $499 for the 1 TB model. And when you consider that you’re also getting a wireless base station, it’s a pretty good package deal.

Posted by Admin On21st April 2008

VoIP is gaining popularity everyday due to the low monthly rates and virtually unlimited areas you can call to. AOL has had several forays into the VoIP arena, but hopes their new AIM Call Out will be the one that will stick.

AIM Call Out is a new outbound pay-per-use service from AOL that allows AIM users to bridge two PSTN numbers that appear on the AIM dashboard. According to a post by Tom Keating at VoIP & Gadgets blog, AOL’s technical manager Gavin Murphy said, “This is an outbound-only pay-as-you-go product used through the AIM 6.5 or later client. We provide competitive rates to over 200 countries. Also included is our WebConnect feature that allows you to bridge two PSTN phone numbers through an interface on the Dashboard. The Dashboard also provides lots of handy features like a Call Log with click-to-call capabilities, and access to your AIM Address Book contacts.”

To use AIM Call Out users buy credits in $10 or $25 increments, which appear in the AIM dashboard. Then it’s just a matter of entering your phone number and the number you want to call. The rate for the call appears on the dashboard so you can gauge how much it’s going to cost versus how much time you’re going to talk. Users also have the option of setting up Auto Refill, which tops off their credit when it drops to a dollar or less.

When using Web Connect to place calls globally, the caller will have to pay the rate of the country they’re calling, PLUS their own rate. To be fair, the rates currently listed on the AOL calling map are very reasonable and users can alleviate this by engaging in PC-to-PC calling, which is free.

The big advantage for AOL in bringing out AIM Call Out is that millions of people around the world are already AIM users, which makes for a substantial installed user-base that can be easily tapped. Depending how AOL markets this service, it could be a huge boost in revenue now that dialup Internet is in decline.

However, AOL is at a disadvantage right out of the gate because they charge for bridging two numbers when using their Web Connect feature. Call Out’s big competitor, JaJah offers free calls between JaJah users.

Another downside to AOL’s AIM Call Out is that Mac users are left out in the dark, whereas Skype offers Mac compatibility, and JaJah is a platform independent, browser based product. Granted, this isn’t a huge issue for AOL as there are far more Windows users worldwide than there are Mac users. Still, with AOL being a shadow of the company they once were during the early days of the web, you’d think they’d do everything they could to bring as many people into the fold as possible.

Time will tell whether AIM Call Out will be a player or merely an also-ran. Right now, they’ve got a hill to climb because the VoIP revolution started without AOL, and they’re going to have to play catch up. Clearly, their first priority is to target the huge, installed base of AIM users. AOL will need to convert them before they go after their direct competition.

Posted by Admin On17th April 2008

Daily Lit pic

Daily Lit – It’s an interesting concept. We each read through a multitude of emails?‚A every day. So, what if you could take some of that email time and read books? That’s what Daily Lit is all about. You choose a book and each day they will email you a portion at the time you specify. They even have some of the classics such as Pride and Prejudice that you can read for free. The reader can control the size of the excerpt they receive from the book each day. So, we tracked down the web site’s founder. Her name is Susan Danziger and this is her interview.

BetaFlow :: Okay, so I have to ask you, have you read any books by email and if so which ones?

Daily Lit :: I’ve read a number of books via DailyLit, including Pride and Prejudice, THE THREE MARTINI PLAYDATE, BEST OF TECHNOLOGY WRITING 2007, and HOW TO LIVE ON 24 HOURS A DAY, a fun 19th century self-help book. I just started Berlitz DailyLit Spanish Lessons.

BetaFlow :: Cool. So, let’s pretend you do not own Daily Lit. Seriously. Let’s say you’re a mom trying to balance your career while taking care of your three kids. Suddenly you have an inkling to read the famous novel Pride and Prejudice. Why would you choose to read it through Daily Lit instead of in print or direct download?

Daily Lit :: Not sure if you knew this, but funnily enough, I AM a Mom with 3 kids trying to balance a career – so no need to imagine that!?‚A In fact, the reason I started DailyLit was that I had absolutely no time to read, running from work to the kids – and at night I was totally exhausted.?‚A Since DailyLit installments come directly into my Inbox (I’m always reading e-mail), I’m able to fit books into my incredibly busy life.?‚A Each installment can be read in about 3 minutes, and if I have a little downtime, I can use the “send me the next installment immediately feature” to keep reading.?‚A Books via direct download would just never get read, and print books are inconvenient and heavy to carry – they’re never there when you have a few extra minutes, and my bag is already too heavy as is.?‚A

BetaFlow :: Well… I obviously had no idea that you have three kids. For all I know you are a tech savvy nun. So, now that we all know betaflow has special powers and is much more than JUST a web site and speaking of nuns let me ask you this… What about devotionals? I know it’s common for Christians and others to read daily devotionals. It seems like that would be perfect for Daily Lit. Is this genre a major part of your client base?

Daily Lit :: Daily devotionals – or rather DailyLit Devotionals! – is a great idea and one we’re currently pursuing.?‚A In fact, we’ve been signing deals with some major publishers to expand our section on religion – not just Christianity but other religions and spirituality in general.?‚A We’ve also serialized in short installments major parts of the Bible http://dailylit.com/search?search=religion and plan to launch a serialized version of the Qur’an and other major religious texts as well.

BetaFlow :: I am curious how and why you get started in this. So, can you fill us in on the history of Daily Lit?

Daily Lit :: We started DailyLit after seeing the New York Times serialize Breakfast at Tiffany’s in special literary supplements to their newspaper (the supplements came every few days, I believe).?‚A It was a great way to read this book since we always brought the newspaper with us while commuting.?‚A ?‚A Then it dawned on us – what do we carry around more than a newspaper but our Blackberries.?‚A ?‚A Albert, my husband, who has a PhD from MIT in Information Technology (he was previously President of Deli.ci.ous that was sold to Yahoo) mocked up the initial DailyLit program.?‚A We started reading classics ourselves and then added books requested by friends, and it all took off from there.

BetaFlow :: Recently I came across a discussion around Steve Jobs’ interview with the New York Times when he commented that more than 40% of Americans didn’t read a single book in the last year. This seems very alarming – what are your thoughts?

Daily Lit :: Assuming that’s true, I think the problem is that traditional books don’t fit into today’s busy lifestyle.?‚A To find a few hours to sit down with a book is nearly impossible these days with family, work, the Internet, TV, and movies.?‚A Books are heavy to carry, and they’re rarely around when you have a little down time.?‚A The great thing about DailyLit is that books are able to integrate into your life.?‚A They come directly into your inbox (or RSS feed) in installments that can be read in under 5 minutes so it gives you that little nudge to read books every day, and with the on-demand component, you can read more if you happen to have a bit more time.

BetaFlow?‚A :: I noticed a section on your site where people can post pics and stories of unique places where they have read book excerpts from Daily Lit. So, what are some of the most memorable?

Daily Lit :: I love the one of my husband reading his DailyLit installment on a blackberry on a ski lift in Utah.?‚A I’m still waiting for the underwater shot or the one of the astronauts reading in space.

BetaFlow :: Final question, if one day the internet dies and with it?‚A Daily Lit?‚A dot com, what will you do?

Daily Lit :: I suppose I’d run a bicycle route to hand out daily installments of books –think of the health club costs I’d save by biking to over a million folks every month!

Posted by Admin On28th March 2008

ReputationHAWK

This week we interviewed the guy behind reputation HAWK dot com. Interesting name – so what exactly do they do?

Well, this is where it gets interesting. If you or your company is getting bashed on the net – they can evidently ‘fix’ it. But they don’t contact the owners of the offending web sites which is what we immediately assumed, instead they focus on pushing the negative information off of the first few pages in Google. This new field is known as internet reputation management or online reputation management.

That appears to be what matters the most. These days when someone want’s to know something, in unison, we all go to the same place – the mother of all information, Google, lovely google. Have you tried Googling your name or your company’s name lately? If your company is getting attacked on the front page of Google then it’s almost a lock that your bottom line is already being negatively affected. This is where the reputation Hawk service comes in. So, check out the interview below with the web site’s founder – Chris Martin.

BetaFlow :: Okay, so your like an internet janitorial service?

reputationHAWK :: Ha! yea I guess so man. Thanks, I needed a shot of humility today.

BetaFlow :: So, what kind of messes do you clean up?

reputationHAWK :: We usually help companes deal with the negative comments found in open source sites. In most cases the culprits are blogs, forums, or review sites.

BetaFlow :: By open source, you mean?

reputationHAWK :: Web sites that allow visitor comments. Keep in mind there is no accountability system on the internet. Anyone can say anything about anybody and do it anonymously. Have you ever been fired?

BetaFlow :: Maybe.

reputationHAWK :: Well, let’s say you worked at Bob’s Cleaning Supplies and they fired you because you had a habit of coming in too late. You go home angry. What stops you from creating a profile on the internet. You could give yourself the name “Bob Mayberry” and claim you used to be one of their clients. You spend a few hours bashing Bob’s Cleaning Service on the internet in blogs, forums etc. Now when visitors go to Google and type in “Bob’s Cleaning Service” you get inudated with a flood of negative reports. Now Bob’s business is slowing big time and he has no idea why? It’s simple. Bob’s potential clients are going to Google and doing a search on his company’s name. They see all of the negative reports and find a competitor to call.

BetaFlow :: That sucks. So, you come in and do what?

reputationHAWK :: We evaluate the situation and see what we have in front of us. We then put together a plan and work on getting positive information about Bob’s Cleaning Supplies in front of the false negative reports. If we can get the negative publicity out of the top 20 in Google than we are golden. 99% of visitors will stay within the first two pages of Google results.

BetaFlow :: How long does that take?

reputationHAWK :: It totally depends on the amount and strength of the negative publicity.

BetaFlow :: What makes negative publicity strong or weak?

reputationHAWK :: Google uses complex algorithms to rank web sites. There are numerous factors that make up that rank by Google. So, for example if you are being blasted by a page on a web site like Wikipedia, or a government site than that would be considered very strong negative publicity. But if you have some negative press on a remote forum than that is generally weak and much easier to bump in Google. The time frame to clear the top 10 can range from two months to over a year. It is entriely dependent on the strength of the negative pages.

BetaFlow :: Who is your typical client? What’s his story?

reputationHAWK :: Alright, for example, one of our clients offers a web based software program. A few months ago they started a new pricing model. When someone signs up and submits their payment info they are told that their credit card will be charged $29.95 a month until they cancel. This company has many satisfied customers but there are a few who evidently did not pay attention to the payment terms and when their account was debited the following month they went straigt to sites like Rip off Report and Bad Business Bureau. So, when you type in the name of this company the front page is flooded with the negative reports. Just think about the impact it can have. A potential client going to Google to search for info about your company and sees a listing featuring you from a web site called the Rip off Report.

BetaFlow :: So, will you help anyone?

reputationHAWK :: No, some companies simply deserve the negative press. We turn down more inquirers than we take on.

BetaFlow :: Have you been contacted by crazies?

reputationHAWK :: Lol. Sure.

BetaFlow :: Such as?

reputationHAWK :: Let’s see, the other day someone submitted the form on my web site and in the description of the problem field he typed in, “False, outdated information posted by idiots,” I thought that was pretty funny. But, a crazy one, hmmm. Okay this one was pretty bizarre. I get a call from this guy in London. I introduced myself and asked for his name, “Let’s just call me Steve,” he said. That’s when I pretty much wanted to put the phone down and get back to what I was doing but of course my southern hospitality gets me in trouble and I ended up wasting an entire hour talking to him. I assured him of confidentiality and that i needed to know the name that was receiving negative press online or I wouldn’t know whether or not I could help him. He refused and then began telling me this story where I was supposed to imagine and understand his online dilemna and tell him how to fix it. It was something like, “Okay, so you have a guy who works for a company for say twenty years and then all of the sudden he is fired. Well, one of the workers there…” For some foolish reason I got into his game and started trying to follow his story and figure out what his problem was which proved ultimately impossible. At the end of the story I told him that I just needed to know his name. He then said that he could not give it to me and offered this solution instead. He would fly me to London or New York and we would meet at a resteraunt or a hotel lobby. At this point he would still remain anonymous. He would then pay to show him how to fix the problem that I knew nothing about. I don’t remember how I got off the phone but it was no more than a minute after hearing his solution.

BetaFlow :: Could you have shown him how to fix it?

reputationHAWK :: No way, not without knowing who he was and the negative sites he was up against. Plus there is no overnight ‘fix’. There are only solutions that take alot of time and persistence.

BetaFlow :: Do you get contacted by celebrities?

reputationHAWK :: Usually the only time I get contacted by a celebrity is when one of their former acquaintences who knew them before they became famous goes off on them in a forum or blog and the page found it’s way to the front page of Google.

BetaFlow :: So, how do you decide who to help?

reputationHAWK :: We basically have two main criteria. The first one simply relates to ethics. If the company or individual is rightfully receiving negative publicity than we do not have the desire to help him or her bury those negative pages in Google. The second parameter is budget. These projects take alot of man hours and the company has to have some sort of budget room for the campaign if they really want to solve this problem and keep it that way.

BetaFlow :: Final question, if one day the internet dies and with it reputation hawk dot com, what will you do?

reputationHAWK :: I once lived in Costa Rica for a month. I rented this shack in the jungle for $400. The shack sat right next to this beautiful river that was almost crystal clear when it hadn’t rained. The river flowed out into the pacific. When I was there I met this old man who I could tell was an American. I found out that when he was young he was a reporter in Chicago but a tragic family event led him to pack up his things and move to Costa Rica which is where he had been for the past forty years. The local children would bring their broken bicycles to him and he would sit down and fix them. That is basically what he would do during the day. He would fix these kids bycicles and sit on the beach. If the internet died I think I would move my family to that town in Costa Rica and go hang out with him.

?‚A

Posted by Admin On17th March 2008

I figured Yahoo Buzz, yet another Digg clone, would have been a flop when it launched on February 25th. Three weeks later, the site seems to have picked up a bit of steam. The big benefit that Buzz offers over Digg is that top stories on Buzz are published on the Yahoo homepage, therefore exposing the link to a ton of viewers.

TechCrunch wrote about their recent Buzz experience. On Saturday, TechCrunch was linked to from Buzz at 5:45PM PST. Despite Saturday being their typical slow day trafficwise, TechCrunch saw their highest traffic day ever and over 1,000 comments were posted on the linked story.

Other sites have seen similar response. Salon had 1 million unique visitors to their page the day they were linked to from Buzz. US Magazine had their second highest traffic day ever with 32% of the visits coming from Buzz. Sugar, Inc sites have had almost 1.8 million unique visitor sent from five different stories on Buzz.

Buzz publishers must be invited to use the service. That’s a bit of a difference from the Digg model. But Yahoo Buzz appears to have the same web server crushing power that Digg has been famous for. Yahoo is continuing to ramp up the number of links posted on its home page from Buzz.

Posted by Admin On12th March 2008

Douglas Merrill, Google VP of Engineering, has posted an interesting entry on The Official Google Blog discussing how Google keeps your information secure. He discusses the philosophy, the technology, the process (Sarbanes Oxley, SAS 700, and PCI compliance), and the people. When thinking of Google and the number of services they offer, security becomes a big concern for many people. Having your email, blogging, and search habits all linked together by one company tends to concern people. Hopefully, Google is really on their toes with security and this blog isn’t just market-speak.

Posted by Admin On12th March 2008

Jivox provides templates for creating online video ads. Now, knowing my readership, I know that most of you will absolutely hate this company. But it is an interesting idea for not only online publishers, but also bricks and mortar companies.

Jivox online video advertising is a powerful new way to tell your customers about your business beyond the visual and geographic limitations of search engines and banners. With Jivox, you can easily create Free professional video advertisements for your business with music, visuals, and more. Through the exclusive Jivox network your ad will appear “on the digital air.” Jivox pinpoints the sites your customers go to in the markets you need to reach them. You only pay for the actual sites where your video ad runs.

Once you create your free ad, you then define demographics of your target audience and set the budget for the ad. Jivox then takes over and sells the ad within their own network and that is where this startup intends to make money. Do it yourself business people are a good market to go after, especially with free services.