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Kandace M. - Prospect

Verizon…The ultimate perfectionist

The Perfectionist & the Beast

Some of you might also be waiting for the the LONNNNG awaited debut of the iPhone for Verizon. If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you are aware of my dilemma with Apple/iPhone/Verizon. And although I try to keep my anxiety down by staying away from blogs or news sites that may make the slightest mention of the Verizon iPhone, I still find myself hearing about it from somewhere.

As I turned to my local TV news channel recently, not 5 minutes after turning it on, the news reporter confidently announced the infamous “iPhone/Verizon” merge. (Insert Sounds from Heaven here). Usually, this would not have caught much of my attention as I’ve read hundreds of articles about this supposed “merge” for months…maybe years, now. All being incorrect. The only thing that changed my mind about its validity this time was the “reputable source” it was coming from. According to this reporter, whose name I will not mention, the iPhone would be coming to Verizon NEXT YEAR!! And, although I heard the words “next year” I immediately replaced them with the words “next month.”

Huh? What was that? Oh. Well…Why not? Next month will be January, right? And January is technically counted as “next year”, isn’t it?

So after perusing the web when hearing the new (more “reputable”) information, and finding nothing to confirm what was said, I just settled it in my mind that the darn Verizon iPhone will not let me down once again and still debut next year/month- in January 2011.

Unfortunately, that belief was soon shattered when another article was brought to my attention. According to this article, the iPhone would not be arriving to Verizon until 2011′s 2nd quarter. It looked as though the company would probably not advertise the iPhone coming to Verizon until the 2011 Superbowl Sunday. It also included Verizon’s desire to have ample time to test and remove as many glitches  between the system and the iPhone before releasing it to the public.

What is up with Verizon?? I mean, I do give them credit because they learned from AT&T’s mistake by releasing the iPhone before confirming their network’s sustainability. It’s smart to really test things out before releasing data-heavy phones such as the iPhone. But, c’mon!

Its like being really excited for a first date with the most beautiful and popular girl in your school. You’ve anticipated this for weeks, replaying the date in your mind over and over again. When you finally reach her house to pick her up, she invites you in and tells you she needs an extra 10 minutes to get ready but to have a seat in her living room anyway. You’re still really excited and anxious but decide to look through some of the magazines on her coffee table to keep you distracted while you wait. Before you know it, you look at your watch and realize you’ve been waiting on your date for over 45 minutes and haven’t heard a peep from her since she let you in and ran upstairs. You start to get a little mad, but you hold your silence anyway and continue to wait. 45 minutes quickly turn into an hour and a half. Now you’re really steaming. I mean, who does this chick think she is? She’s hot. But not THAT hot! Your stomach is experiencing hunger pains, and you’ve read through all her dumb House and Garden magazines more than four times already! You knew she was a little of a perfectionist, but not by this much. Just as you feel yourself rising out of your seat to go upstairs and give her a piece of your mind, you hear foot steps coming down the stairs followed by her sweet voice yelling, “are you ready?”

This is how I look at Verizon. The prettiest and most popular out there. But the ULTIMATE PERFECTIONIST. Taking their sweet time in their decision and deal making, phone distribution, and network setup. Every “i” must be dotted, every “t” must be crossed. Not taking into consideration the time their customers wait anxiously for their new products to arrive.

The Perfectionist & her 1st offer to join Apple in 2007

The Perfectionist is clearly in no rush...

You down with OTB??

Does this picture look familiar??

It may not look familiar to you, however, it does to me. These men are at their local off-track betting station. If you’ve been fortunate enough to enter dirty bus stations such as the Port Authority on 178th street in NYC (near the George Washington Bridge-a bridge connecting New York and New Jersey) this scene of guys looming around the station is not a surprise to you. Their appearances are not far from the homeless people who are speckled around the station as well. In the days of my youth, before driving was an option and the idea of incorporating the more popular 42nd street Port Authority in my NY/NJ commute entered my mind, I would cringe at the thought of entering the bus station and waiting for my bus amongst these “loonies.”

‘Who are these people, anyway? Don’t they have anything better to do with their lives than walking or standing around with pieces of paper in their hands, starring at TV screens all day? These guys look shady. Am I safe? If they dont have day jobs, will they eventually rob everyone in the station?’ These thoughts of curiosity, combined with a little fear, entered my mind every time. 

Needless to say, I eventually opted to use another bus station in my commute after a few short months. I eventually learned that these men were not your typical “loonies” but an example of typical men addicted to off-track betting, better known as “OTB’s”. Shortly after that, I learned that these OTB’s were not only located in the creepiest of bus stations, but scattered all over NY. Well, until today that is.

On this past Wednesday, December 1st, the New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. -the bookmaking enterprise  of 40-years-decided to shut its doors for good. The unanimous vote of the OTB board agreed to shut down today, December 3rd. Although it may help uneasiness in some Port Authority commuters such as I, the upcoming Christmas Holiday will not be as bright to the 800 employees who work directly with the company, including the extra hundreds or thousands of indirect jobs in the racing industry. Hundreds of people have already lost their OTB jobs over the prior months due to the company’s reorganization. As the OTB faces competition from casinos and other gambling operations, as well as its payouts to Governments and the horse racing industry, they have no choice but to shut its doors permanently.

Lack of a Hacking Hiatus

It’s been all over the news. The infamous “WiKiLeaks”.

However, the U.S. Government (and other large institutions) don’t seem to be the only victims of hacking this week. Cyber Monday, which was the result of a successful “Black Friday”, seemed to open the door for Hackers as well. While consumers were out shopping for on-line deals yesterday, Hackers were out shopping for the same customers’ personal banking information and more. Trojan software, which are installed on consumer computers without them knowing, are used to mimic legitimate sites and capture log-ins, passwords, and other pertinent information.

According to some hackers, “every day is a Cyber Monday” when it comes to hacking and obtaining one’s personal information off the net. Sales for this type of information vary from as low as $1 to as high as $1,000 per name (which all include the billing information, bank account log in, address, credit card number & 3-digit code of these consumers). A higher Black Market Price is usually placed on the personal information of the wealthy and super-rich.

Fortunately, people and on-line vendors have smartened up when it comes to “phishing” and are taking additional measures to secure sites and teach consumers how to protect themselves about Cybercrime.  And although it is out there, the demand for this type of information is far less than it’s supply at this moment. One of the reasons why information is still being sold at $1-$2 a pop.

Have a Social Networking page??…Better bring your ashthma pump..

Do you have a Facebook page??..If so, you better keep an asthma pump handy.

This was the case for an 18-year old Italian man who was “unfriended” by his girlfriend on Facebook. After being dumped by her, the depressed young man tried “friending” her again with no luck. He was, however, successful after creating a “fake page” on the networking site and requesting her under a new alias . What he found on her page next, literally, took his breath away. His ex-girlfriend not only broke up with him, but also started befriending new guys right after their breakup. This was too much for the young man whose asthma was triggered after looking through her page, latest pictures and status updates.

This 18-year old “Facebook/Social Networking Stalker” (as some may refer to him) may have received more than what he bargained for.

But how in the world can Facebook or any other Social Networking site cause an asthma attack, you might ask? According to Doctors, smoking and poor air conditions are only some of the few causes of asthma. Other things can trigger it such as stress and anxiety. For this young man, who previously had his asthma condition under control, the stress from seeing his ex-girlfriend’s behavior right after their breakup was too much for him to handle. The man was only able to control his asthma again after seeing a doctor, psychiatrist and concluding to keep off Facebook.

Moral of the story: If you suffer from Asthma, keep a pump nearby just in case you decide to start snooping around your ex’s social networking page. What you find just might take your breath away.

“Pin the Tail on the Close” Competition

Hedge Fund LIVE rolls out interactive trading community

Wall Street has entered a new era. Today’s market demands more from its leaders - more guidance, more honesty, and more information - HedgeFundLIVE.com delivers it all.

HedgeFundLIVE.com represents the world’s first interactive network of transparent trading firms. Whether you are looking for investment strategies, market analysis, or ways to hone your trading skills, HedgeFundLIVE.com is the resource you need.

Members of the interactive trading community have the chance to observe and listen to veteran hedge fund managers and traders as they operate in real time. The site allows you to switch between multiple live broadcasts, each emanating from a trading desk with expert traders, listen to strategy sessions, watch live trading screens, and participate in first-class trading seminars.

It should come as no surprise that bringing traders together in a public forum inspires a sense of competition. In homage to the competitive nature of professional traders, HedgeFundLIVE.com invites you to partake in their “Pin the Tail on the Close” competition. Simply tell them where you think the S&P Cash will close on December 31st, 2010 to 2 digits (example 1275.25).

Visit HedgeFundLIVE.com, and click on the “Pin the Tail on the Close” icon for more details. Earliest accurate submissions will take precedence, ending November 30th at 11.59pm. We offer all guests the opportunity to blog on the site and potentially sit at one of their synthetic trading desks. Prominent individuals will be given a definitive seat at a synthetic desk and blogging locations as well as the opportunity to show their own personal trading videos on the HedgeFundLIVE.com site.

Take the simple step to become part of an interactive trading community at www.HedgeFundLIVE.com and go the “Pin the Tail on the Close” page.

Apple, where art thou?

I still remember the disappointment I felt years ago after finding out the iPhone would be carried exclusively by AT&T instead of coming to Verizon Wireless. How torn I was. I really liked the iPhone. But I liked Verizon more. All those years of reliability. In the hills and valleys, no matter where, I always had service. My contract was up for renewal when the first iPhone debuted but I refused to just up and leave my trusted carrier with the blink of an eye! And WHY did Apple decide to go with AT&T instead of Verizon? I would ask my self this same question over and over again. (Sigh). I guess I’d just have to wait for the new all-touch blackberry Storm (iPhone’s rival at the time) instead and search high and low for a theme I could download to make it look like the much adored iPhone.

That was me about 2-3 years ago. Fast forward to about 3 months ago, when I thought I’d put all of my wishes and desires of the iPhone behind me. I was proved wrong the minute I heard the iPhone would be coming to Verizon later this year. I couldn’t believe the news! I searched for new news articles about the iPhone/Verizon merge every day. It seemed like everyone was blogging, tweeting, and talking about it. But as the days, weeks, and months passed, I found the new news topics and opinions of its editors to be not only contradictory, but frustrating. One day headlines would read about the introduction of the iPhone to Verizon as early as the end of 2010. The next would state the phone’s unavailability until early to mid 2011. Others would quote CEO’s denying any knowledge of  the merge between the iPhone and Verizon in the near future, while speculators supporting the merge thought the denials stemmed from VZ not wanting to affect current Android sales. And still others stated that the much wanted iPhone sales coming to Verizon was a rumor and actually confused with that of the iPAD.

Needless to say, I have stopped searching the news every day to keep track of the so called merge between my favorite Verizon and iPhone. Like most, I have been burned by all of the media attention which, although good for the two companies involved,  can be a consumer’s best friend or worst enemy. My contract is up for renewal again. In fact, I have been eligible for an upgrade since the early summer. I was, however, awaiting the iPhone’s availability through my carrier before upgrading. Things have changed now and I am tired of the old bait and switch. I have now set my affections upon a new operating system. At least I know where Android stands.

Cool QR Code video…

Tappinn responded to my blog with his YouTube video demonstrating the future of QR Codes. I hope you enjoy! :)


‘Risky Money’ Sizzle Reel


QR Codes: The New Wave of Technology

Quick Response Codes, better known as “QR” Codes, seem to be the new wave in Today’s technology. It is a matrix (two-dimensional) bar code that was created in 1994 by Toyota’s subsidiary Denso-Wave, an auto components manufacturer, as  a way to track parts in vehicle manufacturing. It consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on top of a white square background.

Its purpose was later changed and included in convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users. Also known as “Mobile tagging,” the bar codes are placed in mobile and smart-phones with cameras, as the cameras are used to scan and read the data from the bar code.

My first interaction with the QR code was through my blackberry device. I am a frequent BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) user, and am especially fond of the BBM group chats (sort of like an AIM instant messaging app for blackberry users only). But after having no choice other than to get a newly (refurbished) blackberry every month for 13 consecutive months, due to reoccurring issues that I will disclose on another blog at a later date, I got tired of having to manually re-enter all of my BBM contacts and groups. This is when I was introduced to the infamous QR Code, also known by BB users as the “BBM Barcode.”

One click of my camera button and I was immediately reconnected again. No longer would I have to enter all of my contacts’ pin numbers one-by-one by-one. I now had the luxury of taking a picture of a “BBM Barcode”.. Click, and Wahla! all of my groups and contacts’ information was immediately zapped and saved into my phone.

Now, these codes are not only being used to scan and download applications onto phones anymore. As of recent news, even broader uses are being created for QR codes. You may have already seen them being placed in magazines, signs, buses, business cards, or anything that needs to store addresses, URLs or other necessary information or instructions. QR codes have been found to be useful especially in marketing. Billboards, print ads, store displays, direct mailing campaigns and contests, email marketing, websites and coupons are some of the few places you may also find them in.

I’ve even heard of QR Codes being used to send holiday cards and invitations to people. A company called Paperlink “is reinventing the world of traditional paper communications by using custom QR codes to take stationery, personal communications and marketing from one dimension to three.” Companies like Paperlink have created a new era of “Social Stationery” through making custom QR Bar codes that allows people to create and receive personal cards, invitations and announcements in a whole new different way.

These QR codes have the ability to be scanned with a mobile app which will display specific text, URLs, links, photos, animation and more. Consumers can create the social stationery by building the card, announcement or invitation with a QR code on it which will lead the recipient to a landing page built by the sender. Recipients of the card/QR code will be able to view details of the event, look at or share pictures, comment on it, RSVP, map it, add it to their calendars and more.

Can you imagine running into an old high school buddy on the street? You guys begin talking about life after high school, finding great careers, meeting the loves of your life, etc. You guys seem to be really hitting it off. You think, ‘Hey, I haven’t seen this dude in years.  Why don’t I invite him to my wedding? After all, we have enough in the budget to add two more to the list since we cut out those pricey invitations.’

You immediately invite him to the wedding and pull out your Blackberry or Android phone. He thinks you’re pulling it out to store his address so that you can mail him the invitation, but you instruct him to take a picture of the bar code located on the screen of your phone instead. He takes the picture with his camera phone and walks away with a bit of confusion as you also instruct him to RSVP as soon as possible.

You, on the other hand, walk away feeling happy about winning the fight between you and your fiance over trashing the idea of sending traditional paper invitations to all of your guests in the mail, and emailing the QR codes to them instead. Yeah, your back may still hurt from having to sleep on the couch a few nights for not budging on the invitations. But hey, at least you saved a couple of grand on some fancy shmancy invitations that no one reads anyway. Not to mention, you can now afford to invite your old high school buddy from the money saved, and..QR codes are the way of the future…Everyone will be doing it sooner or later. Right?

You assure yourself that this idea for the “QR Code” is a new phenomenon.

Rich getting Richer, Poor getting Poorer: Shrinking Middle Class in America…

The American Dream…

The foundation of America was built on top of a strong middle class workforce who believed anyone could obtain their “American Dream.” However, the dream of nice houses surrounded by a white picket fence, Social Security  benefits, and sending your kids to college with the intention of getting a nice job after graduation, currently resembles more of a nightmare than a dream.

America was built on the hard labor of the middle class, but a lot of those manufacturing and service jobs once held in the U.S. have been shipped overseas. Currently, we find those white picket fences have foreclosure signs hanging from them due to the major housing bubble. Borrowers once looking to get a piece of the dream, now find themselves unable to pay the increasing mortgage payments on their adjustable-rate loans.  Social security is also said to run dry by 2037, and contributing Americans are not protected from decisions made by congress to deny them benefits when their time comes. The job market is still suffering, and many of those not included in the 9% Unemployment rate are still living paycheck to paycheck. The chance of parents affording the expenditures of sending their kids to college are not as promising as they once were. And those fortunate to attend college are finding they are not guaranteed a job after graduation, on top of having to repay high student loans.

Is this evidence that the foundation of the American “Dream” is cracked and crumbling?

The struggling middle class are working to make ends meet and stay afloat, and with the slow economic growth and high unemployment, they seem to be facing onslaught from all sides.

In 2005, the bottom 20% of household earners in the U.S. had an average annual income of $10,665,  while those in the top 20% earned an average of $160,000. When taking a look at the current ‘Great Recession’, as it is referred to by some, the unemployment rate is stuck at 9.6% while CEO pay is increasing. The income gap is widening and now, in 2010, the top 20% of workers (making over $100,000 per year) received almost 50% of all income generated in the U.S., compared to almost 4% earned by those below the poverty line.

It looks like many of those who once enjoyed a modest slice of the pie are without jobs- with little chance of return.