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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene Sweeps Through New York By THOMAS KAPLAN Published: August 28, 2011

Marcus Yam for The New York Times

Tropical Storm Irene swept through the New York City area on Sunday morning lacking anywhere near the force that had been feared, but still cutting power to more than a million people, toppling trees and flooding some parts of the city.
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Photographs Irene Lashes New York
Irene, now downgraded to a tropical storm, pushed into the New York area on Sunday, unleashing rain and wind on a city girded for the worst.
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    Chelsea Matiash/Associated Press
    A man crossed an empty Times Square late on Saturday. More Photos »

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    Though the storm packed strong winds and heavy rain, it never dealt the kind of punch that prompted city officials to order unprecedented evacuations. There were no reports of major damage to skyscrapers, and officials said the flooding appeared to be limited. In much of the city, people awoke anxious that they would see destruction out their windows, only to find a scene more typical after a major summer storm.
    Still, even after the squall was downgraded to a tropical storm as it moved up the Eastern Seaboard, it provided a thorough soaking for the region. On Staten Island, firefighters used boats to rescue more than 60 people from a flooded neighborhood; in Westchester County, National Guard troops in Hummers and five-ton trucks planned to convoy to Long Island to help with clean-up efforts.
    The storm, which had first come ashore on Saturday morning in North Carolina before slipping back over water, made landfall on Sunday about 5:30 a.m. near Little Egg Inlet, north of Atlantic City in New Jersey. The National Hurricane Center said that winds swirled at 65 miles per hour when the center of the storm finally arrived over New York City at about 9 a.m.
    City officials warned that a big problem could be flooding at high tide on Sunday morning, which seemed likely to coincide with when the storm was at its fiercest. But from daybreak onward, forecasts offered some encouragement. City officials said it appeared that the hurricane moved more quickly than they had expected, meaning less damage as the storm passed through the metropolitan area.
    In the Battery, the storm surge breached the seawall in several spots, including near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal in Lower Manhattan. Flooding was more serious in low-lying neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens and on Staten Island, with water, in some places, reaching people’s thighs and residents using kayaks to navigate inundated streets.
    Flooding was also causing problems on roadways across the city, including the Henry Hudson Parkway, the West Side Highway and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive in Manhattan, and the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. Pooling water also forced the closure of one of the tubes of the Holland Tunnel, and mudslides and flooding shut down a section of the New York State Thruway in Rockland and Orange Counties, as well as the Tappan Zee Bridge.
    The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is expecting a lengthy recovery from the storm, transit officials said on Sunday morning, although many parts of the system had yet to be inspected by repair workers, who were waiting out the final hours of the storm. Officials said many of the system’s low-lying train yards and bus depots were underwater, while flooding and downed power lines had damaged parts of the Metro-North Railroad.
    The storm’s greatest effect was on the power grid in New York City’s suburbs, where falling trees brought down power lines throughout the metropolitan area.
    In New Jersey, more than half a million customers were without power on Sunday, and the state’s largest utility, the Public Service Electric and Gas Company, estimated that it could take as long as a week to restore electricity to all its customers. Connecticut Light & Power said 566,000 customers had lost power — or nearly half of the state — which it said surpassed the outage caused by Hurricane Gloria in 1985.
    In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that at least 750,000 customers were without electricity on Sunday. That included 451,000 customers who get their power from the Long Island Power Authority, and 114,000 customers of Consolidated Edison. Many of those blackouts were in Queens, where 34,000 customers were without power, and on Staten Island.
    The most significant damage appeared to have happened outside of New York City. In some places in New Jersey, roadways were flooded out; in other places, they were blocked by downed power lines or other debris.
    Craig Ruttle/Associated Press
    Arseni Flax and his mother, Nelly, with their parakeets, as they evacuated Coney Island. More Photos »
    1 of 6
    Photographs Irene Lashes New York
    Irene, now downgraded to a tropical storm, pushed into the New York area on Sunday, unleashing rain and wind on a city girded for the worst.

      Readers’ Comments

      In Buena Vista, N.J., in Atlantic County, officials scrambled on Sunday to evacuate three dozen elderly residents from trailer homes that were threatened by sudden flooding. In Millburn, N.J., in Essex County, at least five houses had been struck by falling trees; widespread flooding was reported, and the authorities asked residents to boil their water before drinking it.
      Shortly before sunrise, the Millburn Police Department deployed a bucket loader to rescue a motorist who had driven around a barricade, only to get stranded in chest-high floodwaters. “We are not having a great morning,” said Lt. Peter Eakley, the township’s deputy emergency management coordinator.
      On Long Island, officials in Nassau County said they responded overnight to several house fires that were caused by candles. Around the county, trees had fallen on several state parkways, and many traffic lights had gone dark.
      As the storm neared, Nassau County officials deployed 11 high-axle vehicles provided by the National Guard to the most threatened areas to help residents who refused to evacuate. Mr. Cuomo said additional heavy equipment would be shifted to Long Island on Sunday afternoon to deal with the problems there.
      But elsewhere, the storm barely left a trace — or at least nothing that matched the nearly apocalyptic buildup to the storm, which spurred New Yorkers to raid grocery stores for bottled water and D batteries, and prompted city officials to reassure residents that they had learned lessons from Hurricane Katrina.
      In Midtown Manhattan, a small army of construction workers boarded up Bloomingdale’s on Saturday, and Times Square was virtually deserted by late Saturday night. But 12 hours later, the sun had begun to poke through the clouds. Tourists returned to the theater district, some not even carrying umbrellas. And a large video screen on the Port Authority Bus Terminal that carried an ominous warning about the storm switched back to flashing advertisements for Tropicana orange juice and Fidelity retirement planning.


      When’s the right time to ask for a referral? BY JOANNE BLACK

      When should I ask for referrals? A common question from salespeople that reflects the discomfort many of us feel when we ask for referrals. We don’t want to appear pushy or “salesy” or arrogant, so we push asking for referrals further and further out in our sales process.
      Many think we should wait until we sign a deal, others when the client implements and yet others when the client sees an ROI on their solution. We wait and we wait, and often the relationship with the initial buyer is so far removed, that we never ask. Referrals do not just happen, you have to ask.
      What’s the lesson here? That we should never lose touch with our buyers or the other individuals we work with during the sales-and-implementation process. But you need to earn the right to ask for referrals. You have done that when you receive a referral to a prospective client; during the sales process, when you have added value and your client has thanked you; and during the implementation process.
      So, it’s never too soon to ask for referrals, to follow up or to get an introduction. Remember: When your referral source introduces you, he actually helps the individual he is referring to you. They introduce you, a credible resource, saving that person a ton of time and contributing to his success.
      And remember to say thank youIt’s never too soon to say thank you. Thank your referral source for introducing you—with a phone call, an email and, most important, with a personal, handwritten note. (You can’t say thank you enough.)
      Your referral source wants to know that he has made a good introduction, and you need to confirm that by showing your appreciation. Now he knows what a good referral looks like, and he will continue to think of great sales prospects to send your way.

      Saturday, August 27, 2011

      7 Deadly Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make By Jessica Swanson, Manta Marketing Expert

      Before you launch your next marketing campaign, whether online or offline, make sure to avoid some of the most common marketing mistakes.
      1. Failure to write a powerful headline.
      Whether you're writing a newspaper ad, email message or press release, you must create a powerful headline. Research suggests that your headline is the most important part of your ad. It is absolutely essential that you draw your prospective customer or client into your ad and keep them interested in what you have to offer.
      2. Absence of an irresistible offer.
      In marketing, 40% of the response that you receive from your prospects is directly related to your offer. In today's competitive marketplace, you need to present your client or customer with an offer that they simply can't resist. Offers can range from discounts to offering a free report, but the fact remains that if you have an irresistible offer, people will respond.
      3. A weak or non-existent call to action.
      Every single time you create an ad, you want to direct your prospective client or customer to take a specific action. This action can be to call a toll-free number, visit a website or place an order. If you fail to tell your prospect exactly what you want them to do, they won't do anything. Take your prospect by the hand and show them what they need to do next in order to guide them through your sales process.
      4. An inadequate list.

      Even if you have the best product since sliced bread, you need highly targeted and responsive prospects. This can be accomplished by building a list. There are dozens of tools that allow you to build a list quickly and efficiently. The best way to accomplish this is by asking prospects to supply you with their name and email in exchange for your “irresistible free offer.” Most marketers agree that growing a list is perhaps one of the most important jobs for any small business.
      5. Relying on one marketing message.
      On average, consumers are exposed to over 4,000 marketing messages every day. Recent research suggests that your clients and customers will need to see your marketing message between seven and twelve times before they even take notice. That means you can never rely on sending one message to your prospects; instead, you need to send repeated messages to them over and over again. Decide how you will deliver your message and then make sure to develop and continue a relationship with your prospect in an ongoing process.
      6. Failure to measure campaign effectiveness.
      There are literally hundreds of ways to market your small business. Over time, you'll most likely tap into dozens of these marketing platforms. However, it is absolutely vital that you take time to measure the effectiveness of your various marketing campaigns. This can be done with simple spreadsheets or fancier CRM systems. No matter how you measure your marketing, you must understand what is working and what is not working so that you can be extremely effective.
      7. Not communicating with your current customers.
      It's vital to provide ongoing communication with your current customer base. You've spent valuable time and money acquiring new customers. Moreover, 20% of your current customers will purchase from you again. Make sure that you communicate with your customers on a regular basis, solicit their feedback and provide value to them over the long-term. This will help build your small business over time.
      Whether you are a brand new small business owner or an established veteran, it's essential to avoid these most common marketing mistakes. To be successful over time, you must continually work to improve your marketing effectiveness. If you do, your business can grow with ease.
      About the Author: Jessica Swanson has helped thousands of small business owners, all over the world, implement low-cost, high-impact DIY marketing campaigns. Armed with years of teaching and a M.S. in Written Communications, Jessica takes complicated marketing concepts, turns them upside-down, and makes them incredibly simple and outrageously straightforward.
      Known for her energy, passion and "get-it-done" attitude, Jessica shares her savvy marketing tips through her weekly ezine, blog, podcasts and videos. To download your FREE Shoestring Marketing Kit, visit: www.ShoestringMarketingKit.com.
      Jessica recently joined the Manta team of industry experts.

      Magic Italy in Tour: Caffè Haiti Roma represents the Italian products of excellence | Caffè Haiti Roma

      Magic Italy in Tour: Caffè Haiti Roma represents the Italian products of excellence | Caffè Haiti Roma:

      'via Blog this'

      PeopleString Weekly Tip 8-26-11

      A Simple Tip With A Residual Benefit! by PAUL CASTAIN on AUGUST 26, 2011

      Take a few minute today and reflect back on your week.
      Commit to writing all the thank you cards that you didn’t get to.
      Not only will you display superior jedi skills to the recipient . . .
      You will have taken an informal inventory of some things to be grateful for.
      Way to end your week wealthy dude!

      Support Online Piracy Piracy is a litmus test for authentic culture and a censorship-free internet. 82 comments Micah White , 08 Apr 2009

      Spoof designed by The Pirate Bay, the world's largest online piracy website

      The battle between online pirates and corporations is heating up. In the last few days both sides have had significant victories. The pirates have proven yet again that they have guts after a version of the newest X-Men film was released onto The Piratebay, the world's largest pirate website, before it was released in the theatres. But the corporations are fighting back in States such as France and Sweden which have passed laws that will, if unopposed, inaugurate the death of the internet dream. No longer a wild frontier, unsettled and open to future possibilities, the fight against online piracy is justifying increasingly draconian measures that will put our online behavior under the corporate-capitalist microscope. Under the pretense of monitoring whether we are downloading pirated culture, corporations have engineered a symbolic coup in which the spirit of the internet has become inverted. The capitalist bullies are taking back the playground, unless we fight back. The only way forward, toward the original dream of censorship-free communication, is to build mainstream support for online piracy based on the argument that piracy is a litmus test for authentic culture.
      The French plan to lock down the Internet involves, predictably, collusion between the State and corporations. According to the New York Times, "The law empowers music and film industry associations to hire companies to analyze the downloads of individual users to detect piracy, and to report violations to a new agency overseeing copyright protection. The agency would be authorized to trace the illegal downloads back to individuals using the downloading computer’s unique identification number, known as its Internet Protocol, or IP, address, which the Internet service providers have on record." In other words, all French internet traffic will be turned over to private corporations who will sift through every website visited, email read, and late-night IM conversation had looking for "illegal downloading". If a user is caught three times, then their internet connection is disconnected, permanently. Such an audacious internet surveillance scheme would probably not have passed had it not targeted an activity few of us are willing to stand up and publicly endorse. That is precisely the reason we must do so: if online piracy is the backdoor by which control of the internet will come, then we must openly acknowledge what many of us already secretly believe -- that online culture should be free and remixable, the laws of capitalism shall not apply here.
      Piracy... the word sends shivers up the spine as it evokes hungry Somali pirates seizing cargo and holding hostages. But online piracy is not the same, to make a copy is not a depletion, but a multiplication of the original. Online piracy, we should really call it online replication, is a beautiful thing for it offers an easy litmus test for authentic culture. Take, for example, two hypothetical films: one made by struggling idealistic art students and the other by a big name director backed by a major studio with a multimillion dollar budget and nationwide advertising campaign. If each film was pirated and watched by a million people we could reasonably expect that the film students would be ecstatic (without an advertising budget their film would have been doomed to the art house circuit) while the big name director would be furious. Why? Because the film students are doing it for art while the director is doing it for the money. This is, in simple terms, what I believe the political potential of piracy to be -- piracy allows us to quickly ascertain the authenticity of a cultural product. Roughly, we could say that an authentic cultural production would be one that does not suffer from piracy because the artistic goal is in line with remix culture. Let us endorse the artists who support piracy and pirate the ones who don't. In this way we will be helping authentic culture while destroying inauthentic, capitalist culture.
      There is no swifter way to bring about the de-commercialization of art than to undercut the profit motive. Likewise, there is no better way to promote a blackspot culture than to actively copy and distribute the cultural productions that speak to us and the future we'd like to build. If we pirate everything, how will the artists get paid? That is precisely the point: piracy opens up the possibility of imagining new ways of being and new ways of supporting the potential of art to change the world.
      Micah White is a Contributing Editor at Adbusters magazine and an independent activist. He is writing a book on the future of activism.www.micahmwhite.com




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