Hiatus

It’s time to take a hiatus from the blogosphere for a just a little bit. I must say, it’s tough to get away from the pull of the net. I need to concentrate on other non-internet related projects at this moment in time. I don’t have a timetable when I’ll return, but the site is still available for viewing. Send me an email via my contact form if you like to contact me personally. Thanks for checking my site.

Classic Joke

It’s time to pull out a classic joke. This one is about Heaven and Hell. Heaven is a place where the lovers are Italian, the cooks are French, the mechanics are German, the police are English and the government is run by the Swiss. Hell is a place where the lovers are the Swiss, the cooks are English, the mechanics are French, the police are German and the government is run by the Italians.

Airfares

My knowledge of internet sites providing airline deals is a bit stale. For years I’ve relied on Priceline, Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz and Hotwire. Recently, I helped a friend find a good airline deal online, so I whipped out my usual list of websites. But, I found them to be inadequate. I had to jump from one website to another to find the best airline deal. Not fun. What I was really looking for was a website that aggregated and compared prices between the sites I just mentioned above. Here’s a couple of websites worth checking.

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Advertising

Last year, $28.6 billion dollars of advertising went to newspapers. Television ads still dwarfs everything else when it comes to marketing products with an annual income of $53.9 billion dollars. Internet advertising revenue is just a paltry $8.3 billion. What this tells me is that television is still king when it comes to marketing products. But there are some trends worth checking. Last year in 2005, internet advertising grew at 13.3% over the prior year. Technology is paving new avenues for pushing products to consumers. Advertising are now reaching blogs, mobile devices and even podcasts. To most consumers, commercials are a nuisance, but from a business point of view, it makes the world go round.

One of my petpeeves on a website is Google’s Adsense. Every blog and personal website seems to have a section dedicated to the Google links. Do people really make money from these links? Will someone tell me how much money people have made by having these links displayed on their blog. I have no idea. Is the advertising distraction worth it? Ok, everyone has a price. Would I do it for $2000 a year? Well, maybe. Come to think about it, I might do it to cover the cost of hosting. That’s only $120 annually, but Adsense is still a nuisance to me.

Happy Birthday America

On July 4th, 1776, America declared independence from Britain and a new democracy was born. Each year on July 4th, Americans celebrate our freedom and independence. Happy Birthday, America! We are going to the park and barbeque, but we are cutting the day short to watch the World Cup at home which happens every four years. Can’t miss that. Italy vs. Germany tomorrow. It should be a good match! Well, I ended up not seeing this game live. I Tivo’ed it before leaving the park. Stupid Comcast DVR. Since the game went into overtime, the overtime was not recorded. I ended up seeing the game replayed on ESPN last night. Awesome game!

Starbucks Targeting Kids?

At a recent visit to my local Starbucks, I’ve noticed that more and more teenagers are hanging out at the popular coffee retailer while sipping their favorite drinks. Starbucks is quickly becoming the after-school and weekend bars for teenagers. I’m not exactly sure what the the older teenagers are drinking nowadays, but the likelihood of it containing coffee is fairly high. Starbucks does have drinks such as the Banana Coconut & Creme Frappuccinos, Strawberries & Creme and the Double Chocolate Chip that do not contain coffee.

More families are making stopping at Starbucks a family event. Younger kids are most likely to order the non-coffee Frappuccinos. Even toddlers are introduced to Starbucks by their moms at an early age. Well, not to drink the coffee, but just being around the smell of it after a couple of hours hanging out in the shop.

Starbucks says that it isn’t marketing to kids. Fine enough, but the non-coffee Frappuccinos often popular with kids are laden with high doses of sugar. A 16 oz grande-size Bananas & Creme contains 550 calories and 15 grams of fat. It’s not a lean drink by any means if you’re concerned about childhood obesity. According to the American Obesity Association, as much 15% of American kids are obese. A fair enough warning to parents.

To cut down on calories, I have been opting for a non-fat drink or just plain old tea. But, there’s no way getting around to caffeine. Young kids really don’t need caffeine. Some adults do. I said some since some opt not to drink it. It would be interesting to see twenty years from now, the impact and legacy of the Starbucks generation of teenagers.