Thursday, May 28, 2009

Web Secret #54: Kableflags

I don't know what your desk is like, but mine looks like NASA mission control. I have two cordless phones, a VOIP phone console, a laptop, two USB hubs, a wireless router, a wireless signal booster, a 22 inch LCD screen, a printer, a fax machine, chargers for a broad range of electronic devices - but wait - there's more.

I won't bore you further. The point is that identical black power cords and various black wire tentacles spread all over the place.

My neat freak spouse is appalled by the mess. I don't care about the mess. What I care about is when something goes wrong with my little high tech empire. Say my wireless router acts up and I need to reboot it (aka unplug it). Which one of those ten identical looking plugs, (inserted haphazerdly into a giant power strip), should I pull?

In the past, I would try to follow the cords to their source, (this required Twister like moves over and under my office furniture), and usually, because I have the patience of a toddler, I ended up pulling plugs, (with attendant catastrophic results), until I found the right one.

Fortunately, these tragic days have come to an end because I am now the proud owner of a set of Kableflag™ Cable Identification Tags. Each hard rubbery label wraps around a cord to mark its function. Unlike tape, the tags won't age or become disagreeably sticky. You can get a set of blank tags, and label them yourself.

Or you can buy a preprinted set. For example, the Computer Cables Pack includes labels for computer, scanner, speakers, monitor, printer, keyboard, mouse, network, UPS, phone line.

Sanity and electronic order for under $7.00 a pack. Sold.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Web Secret #53: Read the Manual!

A few weeks ago, I was idly clicking my StumbleUpon toolbar, when I came upon a website called The Manuals. Be still my heart.

I have discovered the world is populated by two kinds of people. One group consists of people like my daughter Jamie. Since middle school, if you give Jamie a cell phone, ANY cell phone, she intuitively, immediately, knows how to operate it. Within minutes, she is making conference calls, setting up voice mail, uploading secret intelligence, and incurring national debt sized data charges.

I, on the other hand, along with the people in the second group, need, want, must have The F@#$%!ing Manual. In the 21st century, this is a bad thing because:

a. The manual is not included. Have you ever bought an iPhone? NO MANUAL!

b. The manual is 1,000 pages long

c. You have lost the manual

d. The manual was eaten by your dog

So imagine my delight when I came upon The Manuals - Free Manuals Online. They assure me that they have 5,770,000 free manuals which I can view or download.

Need a manual for the iPhone? No problema. They offer a number of them, including a comprehensive one from

Still struggling with Adobe Photoshop? How about a manual from

The Manuals website pretty much consists of a single search window into which you type your product name and then click "SEARCH". Seconds later you have a selection of relevant manuals to choose from.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Web Secret #52: StepRep

The Internet can be lethal to your personal and professional reputation.

You have no way of tracking if those unfortunate photos are now posted on someone's blog, or if someone has written snarky comments about your latest article/event/business on their website.

Some people respond to a negative invasion of their privacy by following my tips on becoming Web Dead.

But most of us are here to stay. So what can we do? We can sign up for a FREE StepRep account. StepRep allows you to monitor, manage and build your reputation and it takes less than five minutes to set up.

All you need is a Google account (if you don't have one you can sign up for it on the Step Rep website.) You fill out a profile with your name, your work and company information, any websites, blogs, etc. your involved with. Then you click "Go Get It".

I signed up and within seconds, StepRep pulled up dozens upon dozens of articles, blogs, newspapers, and websites that mentioned me. There was stuff even I had forgotten about, like a letter to the editor I wrote to the New York Times in 2002, a tweet about my blog entry on The Ethics of Online Counseling, and a comment I posted on someone else's blog.

Better yet, you can note whether the mentions are positive, negative or neutral. You can even click "not relevant" and StepRep "learns" which items are not important to you.

Anything positive you can use to promote yourself and your business:
  • Post positive remarks on your website as testimonials
  • get in touch with people who are saying nice things about you - they could become clients
  • post comments on blogs and gain increased visibility for your organization.
Negative comments? You can:
  • learn from them
  • ignore them
  • respond to them
StepRep - an easy way to find out who your friends and enemies are - in just seconds.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Web Secret #51: Pelican Micro Cases™

One of my friends is on her fourth iPhone. One drowned accidentally in a pool, one was swept away at sea (who knew high tide could reach that far...), and the last one was crushed to death when she inadvertently left it on top of her car, and then put the car in reverse. She could have used a Pelican Micro Case™.

What's so special about these cases? Well first of all, the case can withstand up to 5,000 lbs of pressure. To help you visualize this feature,, (which sells them), shot their infamous "Ziggy the Hamster Survives in a Pelican Case" video. Ziggy is placed in a case, is run over by a Lexus SUV and survives unscathed. (PETA members please don't call me - no hamsters were harmed or even actually used for the stunt.)

Secondly, the case can withstand temperature ranges from -10° F to +200° F. So you can go to hell and your case will survive.

Thirdly, the case is water resistant, so while it won't protect your valuable small electronics if you take them scuba diving, it will protect them in the pouring rain, or on a boat, or in your son's backpack which he left outside during a snow storm.

The cases come in a variety of cool colors and 6 different sizes, and prices start at a mere $9.42. Pelican Micro Cases™ - my friend could have used one...