Use polls to make decisions

Almost 3 months ago I posted a message on every online profile that I have, stating that I will not shave my head nor my facial hair until the day before my Birthday on April 25th.
Without going into further details, I decided to change that statement.
And to help me make my decision, I created a poll to share with all of my friends and contacts, because I believe that sharing is giving.

Using polls will help you decide and make a lot of decisions no matter what you’re asking. In the example below I put almost every possible option a man could have for shaving. And I put a deadline for voting at 2 PM EST today, and I will obey the majority of votes that I will get by 2 PM.
 


 

Twtpoll.com is a new startup application from a new startup company called Twtapps. The company has a lot of cool applications to share with or without your Twitter account.

The way it works is very simple: Create the question, create the options, and submit. Then share the link on your Facebook profile or on your Twitter page.
You will have the option to embed the question or the results in your website or blog. That’s all.

Create your question at Twtpoll.com and share it with your friends

Another thing I should mention is “WpPolls” which is a WordPress free plugin to create polls on your WP blog. Easy to install and easy to use.

Bottom line is that you will get an answer or make your decision if you only ask and share. I would love to participate in your questions, so go ahead, create a poll anywhere and share it with us, send it to me on twitter, facebook or comment below and I will participate 🙂

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A new worm infecting over 9 million PCs

Note: This post was origanly posted on the Yahoo blog by Christopher Null. Christopher is one of my all time favorite tech blogger.
As my efforts continue to fight spam/junk/viruses as in this post, here is the exact post by Christopher from this link
:

Judging from the complaints and questions filling my inbox, Windows security looks like it’s already on track for its worst year this decade. The latest attack is a worm called Downandup, Downadup, Kido!, or Conficker (all the same thing), and it primarily seems to be being delivered via infected USB drives.

How’s it work? By tricking you into running the virus by modifying the way “autorun” works when you plug in a drive. Look closely at the screenshot above and you’ll see two entries for “Open folder to view files.” The one at the top is a phony entry that actually installs the virus on your machine… but of course it’s the default selection that pops up when you plug in a drive. Once installed, the virus spreads like crazy via a separate flaw in Windows networking system (now patched, so be sure to run Windows Update if you haven’t lately) and can quickly infect a whole office. F-Secure has more analysis on the clever way it tricks you into installing the malware yourself.

How bad has it gotten? Estimates range from 3.5 million infected in the first four days after it bean spreading to 9 million impacted… and gettng worse. By now I figure the numbers could top 15 or 20 million.

From an antivirus standpoint, fixing Downandup isn’t easy. The worm is particularly problematic because of the tricky way it involves the user in installing the software, bypassing auto-installation safeguards, plus its sophisticated way of avoiding detection, as it morphs its code constantly (using randomized elements) to make traditional, signature-based detection almost impossible.

Your best strategy for avoiding Downandup? Turn off AutoPlay/AutoRun on your computer (with Windows XP, TweakUI is the easiest way to do it). If you do see an AutoPlay dialog box like the one above, just close it and eject the disc or thumbdrive; browsing the drive manually for individual files should keep you uninfected, but you’re best off not using the drive at all. And of course, make sure your system is fully patched via Windows Update.

What if you already have Downandup infecting your machine? Try your standard antivirus utility as a fix. If that doesn’t work, F-Secure has a removal tool that should get rid of it. Good luck out there.

You can follow his blog here.

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Inauguration 2009 live online! History Web 2.0 style

History is being made as I am writing this.
As the first African American president, Barack Obama The United Sates Elect-President (At the time of writing this) with high expectations for the nation and the world for that matter.
CNN has partnered with Facebook to stream live the entire event, not only that, but also sharing your opinion though your facebook status update which live streamed right next to the video stream.

You can also catch the inauguration on Hulu or Joost live streaming by clicking on each image below:

or

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Use Digsby and change your life!

Note: 3 Hours of video/audio classes on digsby are available for free on Wahol.com

Ever since I have moved from using Trillian messenger into using digsby, my online life has changed.
To make it simple: Digsby is a universal IM and email application, in other words, you can use your existing IM account (Yahoo IM, AOL’s AIM, Google talk, MSN/Live, ICQ, Jabber or even facebook chat) and use it all within one easy (And light waight) window, and here is the best part: You can use multible accounts from the same providor at the same time. For example: You have 2 Yahoo accounts, one for personal use and one for your business, you can use both accounts at the same time and be logged into both instead of logging off one account to log in to the new one.

You can even open multible chats within one chat window, kinda like tab browsing in Firefox. Cool!

Another cool feature is that it will allow you to combine multible buddies if one person have more than one account (For example: one account on Yahoo IM and a Google talk account) you can combine them both to appear as one.

Not satisfied!

There are 2 more great features:

1. You get email notifications from your Gmail, MSN/Hotmail/Live, Yahoo mail, AOL email, IMAP and pop accounts. And you can reply directly from digsby!

2. (And that’s my favorite featuere) Social networking: Stay connected without having to go to your browser on facebook, myspace, twitter or linkedIn.

Digsby will keep you updated with your friends new status on facebook, or your naighbor’s mood change on myspace or your replies on twitter, and of course you can update your twitter status from digsby or @ reply to someone, or directly open your friends wall page on facebook.

Oh, besides the fact that I appear online on facebook almost 24/7 (when I am actually only on digsby), Digsby is truly universal, you will create one account on digsby during your first install, then if you travel or change computers, all you have to do is to sign in your digsby account and all the rest of your accounts that’s stored from before will load and log in automaticaly.

There are many other feature that you can find here. Or you can Join Wahol.com for free and learn even more by video and audio.

Digsby developers are always updating the software with new features, I have personally requested to add an RSS reader feature through their feedback requests, I also requested to have it as an Android mobile app so I can use it on my phone, there is also digsby for facebook application that is already published and ready for you to download in your facebook account.

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Now accepting money via Twitter (TwitPay)!

The idea is very simple: Tweet the following:

@GuruOfSales twitpay $5 for green earth cause

And I will get $5 from you in the form of an Amazon gift card (That I might use for the Green Earth group).

That’s it!

This is how simple it is.

More details?

OK, so you don’t have to send me money right now (Although I will take it to start the group) 🙂

I think that this is  great idea and a great business model, it’s simple and easy.
The way it works, is that you send someone a tweet (Twitter update) like the example above, you can send anywhere between $0.01 and $50.00.
Twitpay will keep track of your messages (Promises) and will send the recipient an amazon gift card every time they have reach just $10 in their twitpay account.
You can keep your promise or cancel it. it’s up to you.
Other ways to spend your twitpay money is to twitpay a charity or to twitpay (The company). However you need to remember that they will charge you a flat $0.05 for any payment that’s over $0.99

How do you check your twitpay account?

Just go to http://twitpay.me/yourtwittername (Replace ‘yourtwittername’ with your twitter name!) and you will see how much money you have or owe!

For more on twitpay you can visit the service here or read the FAQ here.
Please note: At the time of writing this, twitpay is stil under beta, they are still looking into more ways to integrate their payment systems. Please becarful if you’re sending money to any one. except if you’re sending it to me ;-p

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Be in the know! It’s you own health!

This is a guest post by: Rick Jones
Rik Jones is a self-described Technology Evangelist who’s writings can be experienced on his blog at www.surching4me.com

This post explain (in-depth) the idea by Google Health (Read more here) and how it will help you to stay in the know of your health conditions.

During the recent U.S. Presidential Race there were several recurring issues that were hot topics on the plate of every candidate. At the forefront was the issue of health care in the United States. Debates raged around the issues of privatization over national health care, insurance and pharmaceutical costs to an already struggling system.

There are some however, who are not waiting for politics to provide the solutions. This group is looking to reduce the costs of health care one challenge at a time. More importantly by providing all of us the methods to take back our health from an industry that seems in complete disarray. In this arena anything is possible.

One of the key elements highlighted in the incoming President, Barack Obama’s health care plan is to focus on modernizing the U.S. Health Care System to lower costs & improve quality of care. The idea is simple; Health information technology investment aimed at reducing unnecessary spending that results from preventable errors and inefficient paper billing systems. In his administration’s plan, they are predicting that this will contribute in cutting the typical family’s heal care costs by $2,500 (US).
This term “modernization of health care” is not solely part of his heath care policy, but also it is documented in his Administration’s Technology policy paper. This is exciting news for the Technologist. One area of focus is that of migrating the management of medical information from a paper-based process model to that of an electrical one. This could prove to be a boom in many areas of Technology and as with any surge in a new technology field, getting in early is key.

Historically, pharmacies have been the public’s exposure to controlling their medical services. In reality, this was nothing more than acting as a messenger for the physician by delivering a paper prescription to a pharmacy then picking up their prescription. The evolution commenced with the expansion of pharmacy services as more and more traditionally retail stores opened their own pharmacies. Now these traditional pharmacies are fighting back by going electronic. First by establishing networks across their pharmacies providing a convenience of picking up prescriptions from any one of their stores.

CVS has recently raised the bar and positioned themselves inline with the incoming Administration’s goal of moving towards the electronic management of medical information.

CVS now allows the patient to manage their prescriptions on-line to include access to historical prescriptions which could be made readily accessible for the patient to provide to their physicians. On top of this, additional services have been made available to include information for the patient on Diet & Nutrition, basic Medical information and the ability to look up medication in their Drug Information Center.

If you haven’t noticed by now a trend is emerging. A trend that started with the likes of WebMD.
Actually treating individuals with respect and providing information to them to allow each person to take responsibility for their own Health Care. CVS and others are now taking this from the simple WebMD Informational approach to that of actual practical usage. At the end of the day in any instance it all revolves around the management of Health Care data.

What might appear to be an interesting retail battle shaping up for your personal health care management needs might actually be nothing more than a marketing exercise for a much larger player. One that has years of experience in the management of information and data. That 800 pound gorilla in the room also known as Google.

Currently

running in BETA, Google has introduced Google Health. According to the website, Google Health claims to put you in charge of puts you in charge of your health information. safely, secure, and free!

Not limiting themselves to simply providing an individual with the ability to manage prescription information, they have created the Google Health Advisory Council with membership spanning the Medical Industry, Government and Retail industries to focus on the difficulties individuals and health care providers face everyday with the current limitations in operating in today’s medical environment.

Google is also reaching out, looking for partners to assist in developing the means for individuals to access not simply prescription information but all medical records for management in one location. Giving the individual a power that continues to elude the medical industry to this day.

Naturally, the two most protective areas of anyone’s life are: finances and medical information. Google Health is an undertaking that would have never made it this far without an extensive set of policies designed to address the protection of this sensitive information. It is far too extensive to go through here so if you are interested in understanding how your information will be protected you can review Google Health’s Privacy and Policy page.

But wait…. There’s more!

It is one thing to have all of your medical information conveniently located in one place. But another to actually do something with that data. Information is only truly as valuable as the functions you can perform with it. This is where it begins to get “Fun.” Through APIs and security Google offers the opportunity for 3rd party services to interact with your profile information. As a test and for example, I created a profile with the fitness site LIVESTRONG.COM. From this site I can manage meals, workouts and track almost anything I choose on a daily basis in the day-to-day active lifestyle I am attempting to develop. At the same time they also offer a convenient iPhone application which I can use to track meals when out and about, not to mention actual workout information in real-time. Yes, more information relating to my personal health.

It is at this point where you gain the benefit through linking the information in LIVESTRONG with that of Google Health to again give you a centralized set of data to provide you with more control of your own health.

At the end of the day, that is what it is all about. Taking back control of our lives. For far too long we have all relied on the medical industry to tell us what we should do, what medication we need to take (despite the rumored kick-backs some physicians get for pimping products.) More importantly, we as responsible individuals need to become more informed on general health issues so that we may be able to focus on preventative medicine rather than become victims of an expensive health care system that appears more focused on operating as a business than as providers of a valuable service to humanity.

It is refreshing to know that this issue is
finally getting the attention it deserves and my hopes are that the efforts of CVS and Google spawn a new era in a healthier society.

For more on Google Health, read more here.
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Introducing Google Health


Still under beta at the time of writing this article, coming from Google Labs, a new approach by Google to help the public with their medical history. The way I think about it is that this new tool will help you take back control of your life.

How?
By providing more than just medical history management tool for you.

You will get many options as soon as you sign in with your Google account (with a very strict privacy policy):

1. Store and manage all your health information in one place. And it’s completely free.

2. Start tracking a medical history and learn about your conditions.

3. You can import your medical records.

4. View your history.

5. Find out how medications might interact (Which is very useful) as Google Health will automatically check any interactions may happen between your drugs, allergies and stored conditions. Then provide you with tips, all in one place.

6. Make your health information work for you.

Refill prescriptions online, ask for a second opinion, or get personalized health information based on your profile.

7. Search for doctors and hospitals. integration with Google Maps and info is seamless from within Google Health (My personal favorite option in this tool).

You can sign up (Or sign in) for a Google Health account by going to the Google Health Homepage.

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Goog-411 A cool service from Google!


Note: This service is available only in the USA & Canada, and just in English!

Many of G1 phone and iPhone users use Google search by voice options on their phones today, but did they know that Goog 411 existed before any other Google voice service?

The idea is very simple, Dial the number and speak your question.

The options available are great too, watch the video below for a great example, and remember that this cool service is not just to find a great Sushi place, the system can text you information, connect you to your result listing for free, figure out your location based on your number (You can always change your location) or even “Map It” will send the map to your mobile phone. And it’s all for free!

The only charges you pay is to make the call or receive the SMS if you requested, but no 411 charges at all. Cool huh!

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Windows 7 and Windows Live & Facebook at CES


I am not disappointed at all of the CES Microsoft keynotes. Some people didn’t like the fact that there are no new products, but if you really listen closely to Steve Ballmer’s (Microsoft CEO) keynote, you will realize that there are new cool stuff out there but it’s just not hardware.

Instead Microsoft is concentrating on the new Windows: Windows 7 and also launching a variety of products for Windows Live.

I can’t wait for Windows 7, so I am following a blog called: Engineering Windows 7
What really grabbed my attention is the new/old partnership between Microsoft and Facebook.
Windows Live is now 100% integrated with Facebook, Windows 7 is in the making to do the same, but as of today, every update, message, wall message, photo, video or status update that you do no facebook, will show on your windows live profile page as well, I think that this is a huge step forward by Microsoft, kind of like the OpenSocial and Friend Connect from Google, but actually working and more applications supported (Like windows live mail for desktop) as of today!
I am taking a look at every option and will write an article about it all in the near future.
4 Cool Windows 7 Features: The new desktop, faster boot time, more battery time and the touch screen user interface for the touch screen computers.
I am waiting for my copy of the Windows 7 Beta version to do some testings on my own 🙂

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Web 2.0 workspace (Twitter)

After Facebook workspace, comes the next giant: Twitter!
Scouting the “non-virtual” real world of web 2.0 workspace,  the behind the scene of Twitter is here.
Twitter quickly becoming already became a huge social media player, big corporates like Dell and big news media companies are using Twitter to reach out to their clients and viewers.
If you are reading this, chances are that you came here linking from my Twitter update (Tweet) on my Twitter page.
As of the time I am writing this, there are 4390 Twitter followers that’s getting my updates (Including any new blog posts). That’s close to half of the number of RSS subscribers that I have for this blog. In a very short time Twitter became as powerful as it is.

Why is Twitter powerful?

It’s not what the software does, it’s what the people do with it. And Twitter was built based on sharing.

If you’re not following me on Twitter yet, do so by going here.
And if you are not an RSS subscriber yet, do so by going here.

There will be a lot more talk about Twitter in the near future, but for now, I bring to you the workspace of Twitter in this photo gallery:

Photos credit: “kohtzy” and Scott Beale / Laughing Squid @ laughingsquid.com