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Scarlett of Suburbia

Field Notes from The Motherhood

Month

January 2010

Menu Plan for the Week 1/31/10 – 2/6/10

Sunday, January 31
Breakfast: French toast w Peaches, turkey sausage
Lunch/Early Dinner: Crockpot Maple Ham, Broccoli Rice Casserole

Late Dinner/Snack: Ina’s Croque Monsieur Sandwiches; Winter Vegetable Soup


Monday, February 1
Breakfast: Banana crumb muffins, vanilla yogurt

Lunch: Leftover Winter Veg soup, grape tomatoes, pita chips

Dinner: Salmonburgers, sweet potato pancakes, Asian cole slaw, Brownies

 

Tuesday, February 2
Breakfast: (Groundhog Day Tradition) Green Eggs and <leftover> Ham, toast and jam
Lunch: Mac & Cheese, carrot sticks
Dinner: Steak, grilled onions and mushrooms, baked potatoes

 

Wednesday, February 3
Breakfast:
Breakfast Bruschetta
Lunch:
Egg-salad sandwiches, carrot sticks, grapes
Dinner: Vegetarian Lasgne, tossed salad, garlic bread

 

Thursday,  February 4
Breakfast: Morning Glory Muffins, Milk
Lunch: Turkey Roll-ups, honey crisp apple slices

Dinner: Grilled hot dogs, Parmesan baked potatoes

Friday, February 5
Breakfast:
Blueberry buttermilk pancakes, turkey sausage
Lunch: Cobb salad, Morning Glory Muffins
Dinner: Make-your-own pizza bar

Saturday, February 6
Breakfast: Cinnabon Clones and strawberries
Lunch: Sandwiches made from leftover pizza bar
Dinner: BBQ Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, mixed veg

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Strategic Planning is Too Slow :: WSJ

During the recession, as business forecasts based on seemingly plausible swings in sales smacked up against reality, executives discovered that strategic planning doesn’t always work.

Some business leaders came away convinced that the new priority was to be able to shift course on the fly. Office Depot Inc., for example, began updating its annual budget every month, starting in early 2009. Other companies started to factor more extreme scenarios into their thinking. A few even set up “situation rooms,” where staffers glued to computer screens monitored developments affecting sales and finances.

Now, even though the economy is slowly picking up, those fresh habits aren’t fading. “This downturn has changed the way we will think about our business for many years to come,” says Steve Odland, Office Depot’s chairman and chief executive.

Walt Shill, head of the North American management consulting practice for Accenture Ltd., is even more blunt: “Strategy, as we knew it, is dead,” he contends. “Corporate clients decided that increased flexibility and accelerated decision making are much more important than simply predicting the future.”

Companies have long planned for changing circumstances. What’s new—and a switch from the distant calendars and rigid forecasts of the past—is the heavy dose of opportunism. Office Depot stuck with its three-year planning process after the recession hit, largely to make sure employees had a common plan to rally around, Mr. Odland says. But the CEO decided to review the budget every month rather than quarterly so the office-supply chain could react faster to changes in customers’ needs.

In one review session, managers told Mr. Odland that numerous cash-strapped consumers no longer wanted to buy pens or printer paper in big packages. The company soon created special displays promoting single Sharpie pens and introduced five-ream packages of paper, half the size of the normal big bundle. Pleased by those items’ popularity, Mr. Odland vows to continue the monthly budget meetings.

For Spartan Motors Inc., a maker of specialty vehicles, the recession triggered a massive overhaul of strategic planning. Officials used to draft a one-year strategic plan and a three-year financial plan and then review each one every quarter. Chief Executive John Sztykiel says that relatively inflexible method bears some of the blame for Spartan’s sharp drop in sales and gross profit during the first nine months of 2009. The Charlotte, Mich., manufacturer didn’t respond quickly enough to shifting demand, he says.

Last July, Mr. Sztykiel inaugurated a three-year strategic plan that he and his lieutenants update every month. The Spartan CEO has started to see a payoff. In November, the company agreed to buy Utilimaster Corp., a maker of delivery vans and custom chassis, for $45 million. Mr. Sztykiel is sure the deal wouldn’t have crossed his radar in time if he had stuck with quarterly strategy reviews.

Martin Reeves, a senior partner at Boston Consulting Group, believes more business leaders will start to rely less on static five-year strategic plans and more on rough “adaptive” strategies that consider multiple scenarios. Before the recession and the housing crisis, appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. considered scenarios based on a 5% increase or decrease in demand. Now, Chief Executive Jeff Fettig has broadened that to consider swings as wide as 15%.

“The rate of change and width of volatility is much wider and faster than what we would have assumed coming into this,” Mr. Fettig says. The company realized it could no longer count on “a reasonable set of assumptions,” he adds, “so we modeled very significant changes in scenarios.”

J.C. Penney Co. put its long-term strategy on hold and called in a substitute. In April 2007, Chief Executive Myron E. “Mike” Ullman III had unveiled an ambitious five-year plan as the Plano, Texas-based retailer launched its biggest expansion ever. But amid the slowing economy in early 2008, Mr. Ullman realized that “there’s no way you can have all gun barrels blazing.” So he devised a tentative “bridge” plan that lasted through 2009. “We hit the pause button on a lot of things,” he explains, while speeding up efforts to woo customers in fresh ways such as through social-networking sites.

Mr. Ullman says the bridge plan succeeded, and he cites Penney’s improved margins and lack of layoffs. Next month, he’ll offer fellow directors his views about reviving his 2007 strategic plan after he analyzes “whether it is as relevant as it was three years ago.”

Other executives have embraced “just-in-time” decision making, a tactic that Lowell Bryan, a senior partner for consultants McKinsey & Co., thinks will spread during the recovery. Premature decisions can create excessive risks, he says, but “opportunity costs are fantastic” when decisions are delayed for too long. McKinsey itself sought to capitalize on the recession-rattled environment with its October 2008 opening of a Center for Managing Uncertainty headed by Mr. Bryan.

Tying decision making closely to evolving facts helped a major U.S. producer of industrial goods avoid switching gears too soon. Battered by the downturn last spring, the McKinsey client (which Mr. Bryan wouldn’t name) considered closing a large plant. Officials carefully assessed the pluses and minuses of shutting it sooner rather than later, Mr. Bryan recalls.

They agreed instead to keep the plant open unless orders fell to a predetermined “trigger point,” he says. The trigger was never tripped, so the plant stayed open, and the company was ready when orders recovered rapidly last fall.

A big U.S. services-sector business hurt by inadequate strategic planning has decided to create a situation room modeled after the ones recently established by an Asian electronics concern and a Scandinavian bank, according to Mr. Bryan. This McKinsey client wasn’t prepared last year when a financing window suddenly opened, causing it to pay more to raise billions of dollars than a faster-moving company would have had to, Mr. Bryan says. He believes the situation room will bolster the client’s mobilization of strategic intelligence about capital markets, customer behavior and competitors.

McKinsey, along with several rivals, saw demand for its strategy consulting services fall during the downturn. “But now, we are seeing a huge pickup,” Mr. Bryan says. “Businesses are saying, ‘It’s time to think about going on offense again.'”

 

source: WSJ.com

Menu Plan for the Week 1/24/10 – 1/30/10

Sunday, January 24
Breakfast: French toast w Peaches, turkey sausage
Lunch/Early Dinner: Taco Bar

Late Dinner/Snack: Leftover Buffet; Blueberry Streusel Cobbler


Monday, January 25
Breakfast: 
Steel-cut Oatmeal with brown sugar and cream

Lunch: Homemade hummus, carrot sticks, grape tomatoes, pita chips

Dinner:  Maple salmon and mushroom couscous, asparagus, Key Lime Pie

 

Tuesday, January 26
Breakfast: Applesauce bread, cheese
Lunch: Salmon salad sandwiches (like tuna salad with leftover salmon), orange slices
Dinner: Cheeseburgers, oven fries and baked beans

 

Wednesday, January 27
Breakfast:
Breakfast Bruschetta
LunchBacon-balsamic Deviled Eggs, bread & butter pickle coins, organic “ritz” crackers, blueberries
Dinner: Vegetarian Lasgne, tossed salad, garlic bread

 

Thursday, January 28
Breakfast: Morning Glory Muffins, Milk
Lunch: Turkey Roll-ups, honey crisp apple slices

Dinner: Nigella’s Fish pie, creamy cole slaw, dinner rolls

 

Friday, January 29
Breakfast:
Pumpkin pancakes and turkey bacon
Lunch: Egg-salad sandwiches, carrot sticks, grapes
Dinner: Grilled steak n onions with baked potatoes

 

Saturday, January 30
Breakfast: Milk, strawberries, Easy Monkey Bread
Lunch:  Corn dogs, apple slices
Dinner: Parmesan chicken drumsticks, rice pilaf and mixed veg

 

Enjoy!

World Wide Web Numbers :: 2009

What happened with the Internet in 2009?

How many websites were added? How many emails were sent? How many Internet users were there? This post will answer all of those questions and many more. Prepare for information overload, but in a good way. ;)

We have used a wide variety of sources from around the Web. A full list of source references is available at the bottom of the post for those interested. We here at Pingdom also did some additional calculations to get even more numbers to show you.

Enjoy!

Email

  • 90 trillion – The number of emails sent on the Internet in 2009.
  • 247 billion – Average number of email messages per day.
  • 1.4 billion – The number of email users worldwide.
  • 100 million – New email users since the year before.
  • 81% – The percentage of emails that were spam.
  • 92% – Peak spam levels late in the year.
  • 24% – Increase in spam since last year.
  • 200 billion – The number of spam emails per day (assuming 81% are spam).

Websites

  • 234 million – The number of websites as of December 2009.
  • 47 million – Added websites in 2009.

Web servers

  • 13.9% – The growth of Apache websites in 2009.
  • -22.1% – The growth of IIS websites in 2009.
  • 35.0% – The growth of Google GFE websites in 2009.
  • 384.4% – The growth of Nginx websites in 2009.
  • -72.4% – The growth of Lighttpd websites in 2009.

Web server market share

Domain names

  • 81.8 million – .COM domain names at the end of 2009.
  • 12.3 million – .NET domain names at the end of 2009.
  • 7.8 million – .ORG domain names at the end of 2009.
  • 76.3 million – The number of country code top-level domains (e.g. .CN, .UK, .DE, etc.).
  • 187 million – The number of domain names across all top-level domains (October 2009).
  • 8% – The increase in domain names since the year before.

Internet users

  • 1.73 billion – Internet users worldwide (September 2009).
  • 18% – Increase in Internet users since the previous year.
  • 738,257,230 – Internet users in Asia.
  • 418,029,796 – Internet users in Europe.
  • 252,908,000 – Internet users in North America.
  • 179,031,479 – Internet users in Latin America / Caribbean.
  • 67,371,700 – Internet users in Africa.
  • 57,425,046 – Internet users in the Middle East.
  • 20,970,490 – Internet users in Oceania / Australia.

Internet users by region

Social media

  • 126 million – The number of blogs on the Internet (as tracked by BlogPulse).
  • 84% – Percent of social network sites with more women than men.
  • 27.3 million – Number of tweets on Twitter per day (November, 2009)
  • 57% – Percentage of Twitter’s user base located in the United States.
  • 4.25 million – People following @aplusk (Ashton Kutcher, Twitter’s most followed user).
  • 350 million – People on Facebook.
  • 50% – Percentage of Facebook users that log in every day.
  • 500,000 – The number of active Facebook applications.

Images

  • 4 billion – Photos hosted by Flickr (October 2009).
  • 2.5 billion – Photos uploaded each month to Facebook.
  • 30 billion – At the current rate, the number of photos uploaded to Facebook per year.

Videos

  • 1 billion – The total number of videos YouTube serves in one day.
  • 12.2 billion – Videos viewed per month on YouTube in the US (November 2009).
  • 924 million – Videos viewed per month on Hulu in the US (November 2009).
  • 182 – The number of online videos the average Internet user watches in a month (USA).
  • 82% – Percentage of Internet users that view videos online (USA).
  • 39.4% – YouTube online video market share (USA).
  • 81.9% – Percentage of embedded videos on blogs that are YouTube videos.

Web browsers

Web browser market share

Malicious software

  • 148,000 – New zombie computers created per day (used in botnets for sending spam, etc.)
  • 2.6 million – Amount of malicious code threats at the start of 2009 (viruses, trojans, etc.)
  • 921,143 – The number of new malicious code signatures added by Symantec in Q4 2009.

Data sources: Website and web server stats from Netcraft. Domain name stats from Verisign and Webhosting.info. Internet user stats from Internet World Stats. Web browser stats from Net Applications. Email stats from Radicati Group. Spam stats from McAfee. Malware stats from Symantec (and here) and McAfee. Online video stats from Comscore, Sysomos and YouTube. Photo stats from Flickr and Facebook. Social media stats from BlogPulse, Pingdom (here and here), Twittercounter, Facebook and GigaOm.

Take 5 Minutes to Protect Your Privacy on Facebook

Those of you who edited your privacy settings prior to December’s change have nothing to worry about – that is, assuming you elected to keep your personalized settings when prompted by Facebook’s “transition tool.” The tool, a dialog box explaining the changes, appeared at the top of Facebook homepages this past month with its own selection of recommended settings. Unfortunately, most Facebook users likely opted for the recommended settings without really understanding what they were agreeing to. If you did so, you may now be surprised to find that you inadvertently gave Facebook the right to publicize your private information including status updates, photos, and shared links.

Want to change things back? Read on to find out how.

1. Who Can See The Things You Share (Status Updates, Photo, Videos, etc.)

Probably the most critical of the “privacy” changes (yes, we mean those quotes sarcastically) was the change made to status updates. Although there’s now a button beneath the status update field that lets you select who can view any particular update, the new Facebook default for this setting is “Everyone.” And by everyone, they mean everyone.

If you accepted the new recommended settings then you voluntarily gave Facebook the right to share the information about the items you post with any user or application on the site. Depending on your search settings, you may have also given Facebook the right to share that information with search engines, too.

To change this setting back to something of a more private nature, do the following:

  1. From your Profile page, hover your mouse over the Settings menu at the top right and click “Privacy Settings” from the list that appears.
  2. Click “Profile Information” from the list of choices on the next page.
  3. Scroll down to the setting “Posts by Me.” This encompasses anything you post, including status updates, links, notes, photos, and videos.
  4. Change this setting using the drop-down box on the right. We recommend the “Only Friends” setting to ensure that only those people you’ve specifically added as a friend on the network can see the things you post.

2. Who Can See Your Personal Info

Facebook has a section of your profile called “personal info,” but it only includes your interests, activities, and favorites. Other arguably more personal information is not encompassed by the “personal info” setting on Facebook’s Privacy Settings page. That other information includes things like your birthday, your religious and political views, and your relationship status.

After last month’s privacy changes, Facebook set the new defaults for this other information to viewable by either “Everyone” (for family and relationships, aka relationship status) or to “Friends of Friends” (birthday, religious and political views). Depending on your own preferences, you can update each of these fields as you see fit. However, we would bet that many will want to set these to “Only Friends” as well. To do so:

  1. From your Profile page, hover your mouse over the Settings menu at the top right and click “Privacy Settings” from the list that appears.
  2. Click “Profile Information” from the list of choices on the next page.
  3. The third, fourth, and fifth item listed on this page are as follows: “birthday,” “religious and political views,” and “family and relationship.” Locking down birthday to “Only Friends” is wise here, especially considering information such as this is often used in identity theft.
  4. Depending on your own personal preferences, you may or may not feel comfortable sharing your relationship status and religious and political views with complete strangers. And keep in mind, any setting besides “Only Friends” is just that – a stranger. While “Friends of Friends” sounds innocuous enough, it refers to everyone your friends have added as friends, a large group containing hundreds if not thousands of people you don’t know. All it takes is one less-than-selective friend in your network to give an unsavory person access to this information.

3. What Google Can See – Keep Your Data Off the Search Engines

When you visit Facebook’s Search Settings page, a warning message pops up. Apparently, Facebook wants to clear the air about what info is being indexed by Google. The message reads:

There have been misleading rumors recently about Facebook indexing all your information on Google. This is not true. Facebook created public search listings in 2007 to enable people to search for your name and see a link to your Facebook profile. They will still only see a basic set of information.

While that may be true to a point, the second setting listed on this Search Settings page refers to exactly what you’re allowing Google to index. If the box next to “Allow” is checked, you’re giving search engines the ability to access and index any information you’ve marked as visible by “Everyone.” As you can see from the settings discussed above, if you had not made some changes to certain fields, you would be sharing quite a bit with the search engines…probably more information than you were comfortable with. To keep your data private and out of the search engines, do the following:

  1. From your Profile page, hover your mouse over the Settings menu at the top right and click “Privacy Settings” from the list that appears.
  2. Click “Search” from the list of choices on the next page.
  3. Click “Close” on the pop-up message that appears.
  4. On this page, uncheck the box labeled “Allow” next to the second setting “Public Search Results.” That keeps all your publicly shared information (items set to viewable by “Everyone”) out of the search engines. If you want to see what the end result looks like, click the “see preview” link in blue underneath this setting. 

Facebook loves to change settings on users — be sure to check that you’re not inadvertently sharing content. These are 3 quick steps to take. I check my settings at least monthly (I’m kind of OCD like that) and was stunned to see that my personal photos were being displayed if someone looked me up on Facebook. Not that I have anything to hide (LOL — far from it), but there are some things I would like to keep ‘more’ private than others. And I’m sure many will agree with this sentiment.

Design Inspiration :: Wonderwall

http://wonder-wall.com/#project/en

What’s Your Sentence?

I've gone through this exercise over the past month and highly recommend it for getting focused on what you want to achieve.

Menu Plan for the Week 1/17/10 – 1/23/10

Sunday, January 17
Breakfast: French toast w Peaches, turkey sausage
Lunch/Early Dinner: Slow Cooker Pot Roast, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables

Snack: BBQ Chicken Pizza, popcorn

Monday, January 18 
Breakfast:  Steel-cut Oatmeal with brown sugar and cream

Lunch: Tuna salad sandwiches, grape tomatoes, pita chips

Dinner: Shredded beef enchiladas (pot roast leftovers), refried beans, Death by Chocolate

Tuesday, January 19 
Breakfast: Applesauce bread, cheese plate, grapes
Lunch: Salmon-pasta salad, orange slices
Dinner: Magnificent mini-meatloaf, steamed broccoli and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies

Wednesday, January 20 
Breakfast:
 Yogurt parfait: 2% greek yogurt, honey, Nigella’s granola, fresh strawberries, sliced banana & OJ
LunchLunch Box Hot Dogs, tinned peaches
Dinner: Spaghetti chicken casserole, tossed salad, garlic bread

Thursday, January 21 
Breakfast: Morning Glory Muffins, Milk
Lunch: Turkey Roll-ups (no onion), honey crisp apple slices

Dinner: Minestrone soup and cornbread muffins

Friday, January 22
Breakfast:
Pumpkin pancakes and turkey bacon
Lunch: Egg-salad sandwiches, carrot sticks, grapes
Dinner: Chicken nuggets, jasmine rice, haricot vert (green beans)

Saturday, January 23 
Breakfast: Peaches n Cream Smoothie, Easy Monkey Bread
Lunch: Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Potato-Bacon-Leek soup
Dinner: Roast Beef with roasted parsnips and carrots

Enjoy!

If you are inspired — post a link to your weekly menu plan below.

How Your Twitter Authority Affects Google’s Real-Time Search Results

So what are some of the factors Google takes into consideration when determining which tweets will show up in real-time search results?

Factors that Determine a Tweet’s Authority

1. Following: One way Google deems your tweet valuable is by the number of followers you have.  Therefore, tweets from a user with 1,000 followers will have more authority than tweets from a user with only 100 followers.  Google also takes into consideration the number of followers the people following you have.  So if you have a lot of followers who themselves don’t have large followings, Google won’t consider your tweet to have as much authority as one from someone whose followers also have a lot of followers.

2. Reputation: This brings us to the factor of reputation.  In the case of real-time results from Twitter, Google weighs heavily on the reputation of those following you.  To put it in simplest terms, the more followers you have with high authorities, the more likely Google will see you as an authority yourself.  So if someone like @GuyKawasaki (who has 205,000+ followers) is following you, your tweets will have more power.

* Note: These first two factors are similar to one way Google determines a Web page’s search ranking, based on the idea of recommendations, where if a high-quality pages links to another page on the Web, the quality of the linked-to page increases.

3. Hashtags: It may be time to rethink your use of hashtags.  In an effort to reduce the likelihood of spammy content showing up in real-time results, Google says it will try to avoid showing tweets that include hashtags, as hashtags are known to attract spammy tweets.  However, this may not be a death sentence for hashtags altogether.  As is apparent from our screen shot above, it doesn’t look like Google is elminiating all tweets containing hashtags.  Hashtag use might be something to think about, but before we jump to any conclusions, it looks like we may need more concrete data from Google on how hashtags factor into the equation.    

4. Signals: In order to deliver the most timely and topical information in real-time results (especially for common search terms that yield tons of results regularly), Google looks for signals to determine the freshest content.  Google pays attention to news sites, blogs and tweets to determine the latest trending topics related to common search terms.

5. Spam: One of the biggest concerns people have with Google’s new real-time feature is regarding spammy results.  However, most of the standards Google is putting in place to determine high-quality tweets are also aimed at eliminating spammy content from showing up in real-time results.  For example, a spammer is less likely to have a large number of followers and is even more unlikely to have followers with authority, which is why Google stresses the importance of following and reputation. 

The Importance of Your Twitter Authority

If you’re still trying to understand the value of Twitter for marketing, Google’s new standards for delivering quality real-time results from Twitter should give you a nudge in the right direction.

Because Google now weighs heavily on a users’ Twitter authority in determining their tweets’ worth for real-time results, it becomes even more important for marketers to develop and build authority on Twitter.  Start out by grading your Twitter account to determine your strengths/weaknesses.  Being established as a Twitter power user will give you a leg up in generating more exposure for your tweets and, ultimately, the content you’re promoting.  

Spend some time building your following and making your tweets more keyword-rich in order to be picked up in Google’s real-time results for the search terms you’re looking to show up for.  In a nutshell, use Google’s new real-time feature as another opportunity to use Twitter to get found!

More reasons to be active on Twitter AND other social media outposts.

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