Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Web Secret #112: The World Is Flat

In 2005, Thomas L. Friedman published, "The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century". The title of the book is a metaphor for viewing the world as a level playing field in terms of commerce, where all competitors have an equal opportunity.

I encourage you to explore the many other ways the world has become flat on the Internet, with a multiplicity of resources available to everyone with very little effort.

Here are some tips - from the sublime to the ridiculous:

Oh To Be In England - The people in Great Britain, Australia and a host of other countries speak English. Guess what - They often have books, articles, blogs and other great stuff earlier and better than we do. Here are a few examples from my international surfing adventures:

I certainly wasn't going to wait for the third book in the Millenium Trilogy, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" to be published in paperback in the US. I ordered it from months ago.

As a slightly plump but radically cool person; I wasn't going to restrict my retail therapy to the unimaginative US "plus size" market. Instead, I ordered an awesome leather biker jacket at a great price from Their international shipping rate is only $6.00!!! (News flash - many international websites offer amazingly attractive shipping rates.)

People in other countries often have a different perspective on things. If I want to know what's really happening in the world, I go to foreign online news outlets to get the rest of the story. For example, will give me the Australian side of the coin. If you are lucky enough to speak a foreign language or two, there is a Google News outlet for dozens of countries from Spain to Singapore.

Oh Canada - I never used to know people who didn't have medical insurance. But now, thanks to the recession, I do. When my insurance challenged friends need meds, I steer them to the Canadian Drugstore where they can save about 50% on drugs.

How many different ways can you say Wikipedia? We knew that my maternal grand-father, Jacob Schapiro, was a pioneer in the German automotive industry, but information was hard to come by. Until I had the idea to check out Found him! Is your German on the weak side? Mine is - so I translated the Wikipedia entry with a click of the mouse on "translate this page" in the Google listing. Not exactly elegant, but readily understandable.

Bottom line - don't limit yourself to US websites. The resources of our flat world are at your finger tips. The easiest way to access a foreign source is to go to the relevant Google site as your starting point. I speak fluent French, so when I am craving something Gallic, I go to, enter my query in French and voila - I access a site that I wouldn't ordinarily find.

Bon voyage!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Web Secret #111: 6 People Who Rock the Net

Part of my job is looking over hundreds of websites, blogs, Face Book pages, Twitters, and more every month. With that much on my plate, I only follow a very small group of experts on a regular basis. This blog post honors this select group:

1. Bill O'Hanlon - When I grow up, I want to be Bill O'Hanlon and it's not just because he lives in my favorite place in the whole world, Santa Fe. Bill is a therapist, an "A list" speaker, and a writer extraordinaire. In addition, he is a master marketer and has figured out how to make the World Wide Web and social media work for him. Visit and you will discover his whirlwind of blogs, international speaking engagements, published books, newsletters, and more. Bill's Tech Boot Camp opened my eyes to blogging and social media in January 2008. Thank you Bill!

2. DeeAnna Nagel - Want to know what we will be doing in 2020 or 2030? DeeAnna knows...and she's probably doing it already. DeeAnna is one of the visionaries behind the Online Therapy Institute and the author of the recently published Therapy Online: A Practical Guide. When she isn't traveling around delivering important presentations, DeeAnna is hosting conferences and providing consultation in Second Life, a virtual world where OTI owns its own virtual building. So cool.

3. Jeff Bulla - Jeff is an internet and social media expert living in Sydney, Australia. He updates his eponymous blog brilliantly, virtually every day and I read it - every day - carefully. He mostly writes about how corporations use social media, or has advice about how they should use social media. His stuff is relevant to anyone trying to enhance their business and their branding - regardless of their field. His blog is my bible.

4. Will Baum - Will is a psychotherapist based in Los Angeles and the mind behind Where the Client Is. I am not sure exactly what Where the Client Is, is - is it a website, a blog, an online magazine, or something else? Who knows and who cares. All I know is it's the go to resource to build your private practice.

5. Michael Klaybor - Another new technology pioneer, Mike used his clinical expertise and fluent Russian to become one of the very first psychologists to deliver international consultation via Skype. He also creatively harnessed Twitter and blogging to provide support and counseling to the many isolated and anxious high risk pregnant women on bed rest via iRestAssured. Mike is an early adopter and can be relied upon to have the latest gadget, or gizmo du jour. He creates podcasts, webcasts, and has a black belt in karate. He is from the Midwest and speaks Russian. He reliably amazes me.

6. Gary Vaynerchuk - Gary sells wine. Why is he on my list? As a very young man, Gary was dragged into the family business, a local liquor store called Shoppers Discount Liquors. In 2006, Gary launched Wine Library TV, a daily video blog about wine. He could be seen in jeans and a t-shirt, sitting in his back yard, schmoozing expertly about wine. By 2008, this video trailblazer had raised the annual revenue of the store from $4 million to $60 million. You can watch Gary talk about wine, social media, and pursuing your dream on his website. Want to be inspired, entertained, and educated about the potential of social media to gain exposure? Visit

May the Net be with you.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Web Secret #110: Read the Manual (part 2)

Way back in May of 2009, I wrote about the importance of reading manuals and posted some online resources for said manuals.

A year has passed and I just came across the mother lode for guidebooks of all kinds:

The Guide Database aka Guide DB.

What's so amazing about Guide DB?
  1. They claim to link to over 47 million guidebooks and manuals of all kind
  2. They not only cover technology, but every kind of guidebook you can think of - from car manuals, to obscure dictionaries, to instructions for that filter system in your fridge that you threw away 5 years ago.
  3. Feeling bored? Explore their index of top guides for inspiration. Who knew you could still find out how to operate the 2001 Ford Windstar?
  4. Want to read the latest? Review their list of recent guides. How about an English - Hindi Medical Dictionary? A compilation of Jazz Chord Progressions? World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Game Guide?
Using the Guide DB is a snap. You type what your looking for in their search window and click "Search!" I have an old Palm TX, so I typed that in, and voila! User Guide For The T|X Handheld download comes up.

Simple and useful - I like that.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Web Secret #109:

I have randomly stumbled upon before. The site is a daily blog that promises cool websites, computer tips, and downloads that make you more productive. YAWN.

I was about to click away yet again, when I somehow noticed they have a section called MakeUseOf Guides. I decided to check it out because I just bought my mother an iPhone, and quite frankly she needs major help (more than I have patience to give) using it.

You know what it feels like when you just discovered something that immediately makes your life better - even in small ways?

A manual? Isn't that so 20th century?

Not these manuals - they are awesome. They use pictures! Screenshots! Simple explanations! There are about 25 of them, ranging from the practical "How to Build a Great Media Center for Your Home", to the obscure "The Big Book of BitTorrent", to the challenging "The Idiot’s Ultimate Guide to Building Your Own Computer" (not sure why I would want to do that...)

I immediately downloaded, "The Underground Guide to the iPhone" for my mom and, "The Incredible Free Manual for Every Mac User," for myself. (Quite frankly, I am still on that Mac Snow Leopard learning curve having recently somehow deleted my "downloads" folder from my dock...)

You can view the manuals online or download them to your computer - in which case you will be asked to subscribe to the blog (you can easily unsubscribe.)

Either way, you will thank me.