Yesterday I was helping a friend place an order for RoboForm (exceptionally cool product, but that’s another story.)
The order came to around $40.00. I saw a box on the form for “Discount/Promo Code” (like most on-line order forms, I suppose.)
I wonder if there are any discount coupons out there for RoboForm. Quick check on Google for “RoboForm discount coupons”

Yea!!  There’s an $8.00 off coupon right there. Copy the discount code from the Google search results and paste it into the box on the form and immediately her order total dropped from $40.00 to $32.00. She was happy.

I have been ordering 3 or 4 times per year  from Duluth Trading.  Today I’m about to push the final [Place Order] button on a order for 4 T-shirts and a summer dress shirt from them, when the Coupon/Promo Code box captures my attention. Gotta go check Google!

Voila!  A coupon for free shipping on orders over $50.00.! Paste that in and a nice $15.95 saved.
I’m not to pass by those Discount/Coupon/ Promo Code boxes any more.  Since I place on-line orders 3 or 4 times a month, I can see this adding up.

You are, of course, free to steal my new money-saving skill for yourself.
Just send 25% of your savings to me at Pay-Pal. (Well no, just kidding.)


Civilizations always think they’re immortal

by John-Scobey on 2010-04-04

(Summary of a talk given by Daniel Eagleman to the Society of the Long Now in San Francisco yesterday.)

Civilizations always think they’re immortal, Eagleman noted, but they nearly always perish, leaving “nothing but runes and scattered genetics.”  It takes luck and new technology to survive.  We may be particularly lucky to have Internet technology to help manage the six requirements of a durable civilization:

1. “Try not to cough on one another.”  More humans have died from epidemics than from all famines and wars.  Disease precipitated the fall of Greece, Rome, and the civilizations of the Americas.  People used to bunch up around the infected, which pushed local disease into universal plague.  Now we can head that off with Net telepresence, telemedicine, and medical alert networks.  All businesses should develop a work-from-home capability for their workforce.

2. “Don’t lose things.”  As proved by the destruction of the Alexandria Library and of the literature of Mayans and Minoans, “knowledge is hard won but easily lost.”  Plumbing disappeared for a thousand years when Rome fell.  Innoculation was invented in China and India 700 years before Europeans rediscovered it.  These days Michaelangelo’s David has been safely digitized in detail.  Eagleman has direct access to all the literature he needs via PubMed, JSTOR, and Google Books.  “Distribute, don’t revinvent.”

3. “Tell each other faster.”  Don’t let natural disasters cascade.  The Minoans perished for lack of the kind of tsunami alert system we now have.  Countless Haitians in the recent earthquake were saved by, which aggregated cellphone field reports in real time.

4. “Mitigate tyranny.”  The USSR’s collapse was made inevitable by state-controlled media and state-mandated mistakes such as Lysenkoism, which forced a wrong theory of wheat farming on 13 time zones, and starved millions.  Now crowd-sourced cellphone users can sleuth out vote tampering.  We should reward companies that stand up against censorship, as Google has done in China.

5. “Get more brains involved in solving problems.”  Undertapping human capital endangers the future.  Open courseware from colleges is making higher education universally accessible.  Crowd-sourced problem solving is being advanced by sites such as PatientsLikeMe, Foldit (protein folding), and Cstart (moon exploration).  Perhaps the next step is “society sourcing.”

6. “Try not to run out of energy.”  When energy expenditure outweighs energy return, collapse ensues.  Email saves trees and trucking.  Online shopping is a net energy gain, with UPS optimizing delivery routes and never turning left.  We need to expand the ability to hold meetings and conferences online.

But if the Net is so crucial, what happens if the Net goes down?  It may have to go down a few times before we learn how to defend it properly, before we catch on that civilization depends on it for survival.

                                        –Stewart Brand

Stewart Brand --

The Long Now Foundation –
Seminars & downloads:


One Damn Thing

by John-Scobey on 2010-03-18

It is not true that life is one damn thing after another. It is one damn thing over and over.

– Edna St. Vincent Millay


Commercial Project Mortgage Default Rate Peaks

by John-Scobey on 2010-03-18

Author: John

Commercial finance and mortgage default rate reached 3.82% during 4th quarter of 2009, the highest seen since 1993 when it was 4.1% according to Real Capital Analytics. This represents a significant portion of banks’ losses in the last two years. Furthermore, the amount of “problem” lenders reached a 16-year high of 702 institutions. Financial advisor analysis shows that 2010 will demonstrate an even larger number of commercial projects on the problem list, possibly peaking in 2011 at 5.4%.

These numbers indicate that an important contributor to realized losses for banks lies in the bank’s institutional capacity in managing and funding commercial projects under mortgage distress. Moreover, traditional lending sources will tighten up on criteria needed to fund commercial projects. Business professionals, high level executives, and financial professionals are seeking private placement requirements to use private placement programs to finance or fund their commercial projects. While some have found success in private placement transactions, others have turned to venture capital, private money lenders, and alternative investments for project finance solutions.

Accordingly, $14.1B in multifamily properties (an area hit hard in the last 2 years) was sold via traditional mechanisms according to Real Capital Analytics. Private investors were the most active buyers representing close to 75% of purchases, REITs were second at 6%. Coming in 3rd were foreign investors (4%) seeking diversification for asset management strategy and wealth management protection.

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For more information regarding private placement programs, private equity investments, asset investment management and financial wealth management please visit:


My All-time Favorite Keystroke

by John-Scobey on 2010-03-14

Most of you know about and are even proficient with the classic Windows/Mac keystroke combinations for Copy, Cut and Paste: Ctrl-C, Ctrl-X and Ctrl-V, respectively.

I’ve observed that most people don’t seem to know the best browser keystroke, Ctrl-Enter. To use this, put the short form of the domain name you are headed for, say amazon, in the Address Bar and then press Ctrl-Enter.

Voila, you launch the Amazon web site:  This only works for .com domains, but that’s 95% of what most of us are headed for.

What’s your favorite keystroke combination(s)? Let us know in the comments.


Possible Posts

by John-Scobey on 2010-02-15


August 23 – September 22

You’re sailing along and suddenly see a big ramp in front of you, Virgo. Your choice: avoid the ramp, stay on the ground where you know it’s safe, and be content with a limited worldview, or hit that ramp head on and soar over the trees and beyond. Who knows where you might land? There is an incredible adventure waiting for you when you take that leap into the unknown.

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