Archive for February, 2012

Replacement Of A Lost U.S. Passport Is Not Difficult

Passports are very important documents. They act as permission for an individual to enter foreign countries as well as return back to their own country of origin. The application process for obtaining a passport is extensive; this is why when a lost U.S. passport is experienced it is stressful. As long as the proper process is followed a replacement passport can take the place of the lost passport and the situation is resolved.

Reporting

A passport must be reported missing or stolen as soon as it is discovered as such. This allows for the proper authorities to invalidate the document. If a passport is found by someone or stolen this ensures they will not be allowed to use it. Before reporting a passport lost or stolen it is important to verify that that is the case. Once a passport is reported missing it is automatically invalidated. This means that even if you were to find your passport, you would still need to replace it. This is added security to prevent the use of your passport and it will be red flagged upon use.

Replacement

Once reported missing a replacement passport can be applied for. It is a similar application process compared to the new passport. Certain documentation is needed as well as the photos. However, if lost in a foreign country, the embassy can assist you in obtaining a replacement passport.

Loss Abroad

If a lost passport is incurred abroad it is a different situation. A passport acts as permission for someone to be in a different country. If an official asks for your documents and you cannot provide them, then you can be arrested and held until the proper documents arrive. This is why as soon as the status of a lost passport is known it must be reported to the officials. It will guarantee replacement and will give you temporary documentation until your passport arrives. In situations like these there are expediting services available.

Expediting

A American passport name change can be expedited in the event that you are in a foreign country. It can also arrive quickly if you need it for an upcoming trip and were not aware that you were, in fact, missing your passport. Expediting fees can be pricy, but in some cases they are necessary to meet deadlines. Private agencies have better expediting timeframes than federal agencies, but they also charge more.

What’s your X? Amplifying technology moonshots

Last week, we ran an experiment. We hosted a gathering, called “Solve for X,” for experienced entrepreneurs, innovators and scientists from around the world. The event focused on proposing and discussing technological solutions to some of the world’s greatest problems. Discussions began last week with this small event, and now we invite others to join the conversation on our website and our Google +page…

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Ways To Remain Drug Free After Florida Drug Rehabilitation Center

Permanent Recovery

People in the recovery process from a drug habit find it difficult transitioning back into everyday life again. After completing a Florida drug rehab center program, staying permanently drug free becomes the next necessary step. In the absence of support received during treatment, it’s vital that individuals maintain the momentum they developed while receiving specialized care. Here are important steps to take to help recovering addicts remain off drugs for good.

Ending Dependency

Joining an aftercare program is the first important action a person can take. It is a proven way to guard against relapse. Persons trying to remain free of drugs will find support and motivation from others who share similar experiences. Hearing about the struggles and successes of fellow attendees helps to keep one resolute.

Staying Focused

After joining, it is important to remain in a support system for as long as necessary. The support from a counselor is critical during this time. Studies indicate successful recovery depends on a commitment to stay in this kind of environment. It is important during this period to be aware that rehabilitation is only just beginning. Individuals that stop attending aftercare are prone to relapse more quickly than others.

New Behavior Patterns

The best way to counter feelings of restlessness is to develop new and healthy habits. This involves making new friends that don’t use substances. These people could be found in the aftercare groups. Staying busy finding employment and socializing with new friends will also help restore self-confidence, a necessary ingredient for successful recovery.

Implementing Strategies

Relapse prevention strategies learned during treatment is the recovering addict’s guide to staying drug free. It’s therefore of great importance to follow through on the steps that were outlined in treatment. The advice it contains on how to defuse stress is valuable in resisting the temptation to slip back into negative behavior and thinking patterns.

A New Support System

Developing a network of social support outside aftercare is another way to strengthen the resolve against using drugs. Aftercare is an effective way to resist the temptation of drugs, but so is support from family and friends. A person can use the motivation from these individuals to enhance the resolve that comes from attending a recovery program.

Deciding When to Leave

How long an individual remains in aftercare treatment is a personal decision, but should be made in consultation with an addiction specialist. Ultimately, the goal of addiction treatment is to foster drug free habits, accompanied by a general improvement in the affected person’s life. There should be strong evidence to support the idea that an individual is ready to stop attending an aftercare program.

6 CAPTCHA Alternatives to Improve Conversion

CAPTCHA is more than a catchy name, it’s an acronym — Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. But in practical terms, CAPTCHAs are often Consistently Annoying, and Prevent The Conversion from Happening A-Lot.

One study by Stanford University (link opens as PDF) found 3 human users agreed on the “translation” of the CAPTCHA only 71% of the time…

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Focus on The Business Model

Google’s Take on Search Plus Your World

A few weeks ago Google announced the launch of Search Plus Your World, which deeply integrates social sites (especially Google+) into the Google search experience to make it more personalized.

While Google claimed that the socialization was rather broad-based, the lack of inclusion of Facebook & Twitter along with the excessive promotion of Google+ raised eyebrows…

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Nonprofits and Social Media: Innovate the Basics

Back to basics is a theme I’ve seen with many nonprofit organizations over the past couple of years. With the economy slow to rebound, many NPOs have found that investing money in new ideas and new platforms isn’t really the right move for right now. This also means that many NPOs have avoided jumping into social media or expanding on their use of it. The basics are good – it’s what put most large NPOs on the map. The problem is that in the ever changing landscape of business and technology, even the basics have to change a little. NPOs need to embrace this change and learn to innovate the basics. Social media can do just that.

So what are the basics? It’s different for each NPO, but most organizations have a menu combination including some or all of the following: special events, year-end appeals, major gifts, education and/or advocacy programs. Sticking to what we know is good. But we can use social media to innovate all of these platforms to increase revenue and awareness.

Special Events

No matter what type of event has become your signature money maker, social media can help make it better. If you are planning a fundraising walk, run, or bike ride then social media is an optimal place for you to start recruiting. Promote the event on Facebook and Google+, highlight top fundraisers on your blog or Twitter, and make sure your website has a thermometer to keep track of where you are to goal on the event. Hosting a dinner auction? Create weekly posts to show off the best auction items you’ll have to offer. Create an invitation to post in all of your LinkedIn group message boards. Take advantage of the opportunity to sell more tickets online. Try special online sites that help you organize, plan and promote your event like Eventbrite. For more information read Mashable’s article “How To: Plan and Promote Events with Social Media.”

Year-End Appeals and Major Gifts

People give to your organization for many different reasons. But one thing many donors have in common is that they give because it feels good. Being recognized for good deeds also feels good. Take advantage of your built-in audience on social media sites and highlight and thank your most generous donors. You’ll want to get their permission first, but publically thanking people goes a long way to creating an ongoing relationship. For more information about innovating year-end appeals, read my December blog post “Nonprofits and Social Media: Putting the Appeal Back in Annual Campaigns.”

Education and Advocacy Programs

Education and advocacy programs probably aren’t making your organization a lot of money, but it’s key to developing awareness and cultivating relationships. The best press is free press and social media allows you all the air time you want to advertise your programs. Take it a step further and put up fast facts about upcoming program topics on Facebook and Twitter or spotlight a guest speaker in your blog. Post clips of videos from your last program on YouTube or Google+.  Put up links to your website that feature research articles, inspirational stories and other items you think will be of interest to your audience. While broadcasting your cause is important, remember the key to success is creating conversation. For more tips on how to use social media to further your advocacy efforts and promote education, read The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s article, “How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media to Spark Change.”

The basics are good. Innovating the basics is better. Whether you’re just starting with social media or your efforts have just stalled out, there’s no time like the present to get back on track.

Amy Stephan  (7 Posts)

This monthly Social Media and Nonprofits post is contributed by Amy Stephan. Amy is a consultant and non-profit professional with more than 10 years of field experience working in fundraising and development. She provides nonprofits with help in fundraising and major gifts, capital campaigns, board and volunteer development and staff leadership, working with organizations of all sizes to plan, implement and assess social media strategies. While holding leadership positions with local branches of organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the American Diabetes Association, Amy developed a passion for all things related to fundraising and non-profits. In addition to her non-profit work, she is a freelance writer and blogger who has worked as a full-time writer and editor for daily newspapers and magazines.

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SearchCap: The Day In Search, February 3, 2012

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

  • 5 Common Tracking Problems: How To Troubleshoot & Fix Them

    I spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what is wrong with some clients’ analytics installs. Unlike types or broken code, or misspelled words – issues with tracking scripts don’t always raise their hands and scream, “Hey dummy, you deleted the </script> tag!” I thought it would be handy for the beginners […

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Register For Dual Diagnosis Drug Rehabilitation Program Today

Someone who is facing his or her addiction will certainly have to confront a number of challenges. Recovery is often an ongoing struggle, filled with ups and downs. In addition, those who are chemically dependent often have to deal with other conditions that exacerbate the problem. More and more, dual diagnosis drug treatment program provides the best solutions for addicts who are facing multiple issues.

Two Problems

One might be interested in learning about what programs of this nature entail. The psychiatric community is in general agreement with respect to the fact that addictive behavior is often accompanied by other conditions. The condition may predate the addiction or the addiction may have led to the condition but it is thought that both need to be addressed in order to have successful recovery.

Part of The Problem

A dual diagnosis rehabilitation program will treat the addictions and the accompanying conditions at the same time. Psychologists and clinicians have found that a simultaneous focus on drug abuse and the clinical disorders often leads to a healthy and successful recovery. There are a variety of elements that go into a program such as this. These may be slightly different depending on the clinic, but they basically incorporate similar concepts and philosophies.

Group Therapy

One common feature of this type of rehabilitation is some kind of group therapy. An important element in confronting addiction is discovering that you are not alone in the battle against chemical dependency. Recovering addicts often speak of a profound sense of isolation that they once felt. Realizing that one is not alone in the struggle can be empowering. This type of therapy may include things like testimonials from recovering alcoholics or addicts who have been through the same type of program.

Counseling

Individual therapy or counseling is another important element of the process. This may allow the addict to focus more deeply on many of the underlying issues. During individual sessions, the addict will be taught different coping skills to put into effect when one is overcome with the urge to consume drugs or alcohol.

Prescription Medication

If disorders such as anxiety and depression are present, psychiatrists may prescribe medication. This could be for a brief period or as a long-term treatment. The initial idea is to get things like anxiety and depression under control to be able to better focus on the addiction itself. While on medication, the patient will often learn, and put into use, emotional management skills to better manage the conditions and the urges.

Individual Assessment

All of the therapeutic elements are put together in a strategic manner. Additionally, the team of professionals will likely adapt some features to fit the individual. All of the participants will undergo a comprehensive evaluation to best determine the elements of the residential alcohol rehabilitation that are appropriate for that particular individual.

DropBox High I/O Issue

DropBox is a miracle, allowing you to share files and keeping all your files up to date without the need to install a file server. This problem happened when I tried to install DropBox on a Windows Vista laptop – an old Dell Inspiration 620. The symptoms reported by the user were slow application response times since DropBox was installed.

I had a look and the machine had a few gigs of disk space but DropBox was stuck reporting ‘Downloading 10 files….’ though it never seemed to do anything.

I had a look at the Resource Monitor application and sure enough DropBox had really high read/writes and the hard disk was running at 100%.

We decided to clean up some disk space and managed to free 9GB by deleting an old installation of Google Desktop. Within minutes the 9GB had disappeared.

It seemed that DropBox was downloading files and trying to write them to the disk but was failing due to a low disk space threshold within the application (there was at least some disk space left on the device so it wasn’t a physical limit). Given the laptop only had 110GB disk I turned on FileCompression which freed up another 10GB before I left for the day. When I came in DropBox had gone to its usual low disk I/O state, hard drive had 3GB free and the system was responsive again.

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The Top 20 Twitter Clients being Used in 2012

I recently changed my main Twitter client (more information on that below) and decided to create a new LinkedIn Poll for Groups in my Social Media Strategies for Business LinkedIn Group to find out what others use. I asked my 2,500 group members: What Twitter client do you use for business? Statistically speaking, the results can not represent the entire user base for those who tweet, and I only gave the poll readers a choice between 5 popular clients: Twitter.com, HootSuite, TweetDeck, CoTweet, and SproutSocial. The leading client in the poll as I write this blog? SproutSocial.

Cibo, a digital agency based in San Francisco, saw my tweet and responded as follows:

I am assuming that Cibo pulled in this data directly from the Twitter API, so I believe these results are a good enough sampling to be pretty indicative as to the top 20 Twitter clients being used in 2012. Chances are you are using one of these, but with the changing social media landscape and your potentially shifting objectives and ways in which you and your business use social media, I thought it was a good idea to do a short review of the top clients in hopes that you might want to try a client or app you may have never heard of before.

1. HootSuite is a web-based social media dashboard designed to manage a whole slew of social media platforms above and beyond Twitter — Facebook, Linkedin, and have even begun limited support for Google+ — and multiple social profiles in one interface. It also offers the ability to produce reports based on custom analytics to better track brand awareness, follower growth and other pertinent demographic data. Initially built for internal agency use, we can now say that HootSuite is the most popular Twitter client in 2012. Needless to say that if you haven’t tried HootSuite yet, you owe it to yourself to sign up for a free HootSuite trial!

2. The “web” entry refers to those who send out a tweet from  Twitter.com, which underwent improvements and now sports a new interface, is still a relatively simple and elegant approach to tweeting, searching and discovering. If your business only has one account for tweeting, Twitter.com is still an option, and even if you use other clients listed here, you still might be finding yourself coming back here on occasion.

3. Tweetdeck, which was acquired by Twitter last year, is a social media dashboard application for managing Twitter and Facebook accounts, and it is safe to say that it was the leading client outside of Twitter.com before the emergence of HootSuite.  Once only available as an Adobe Air application, it is now compatible with several operating systems including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Chrome OS and Linux and is also available for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future to this application, which is another good reason to search around for alternatives just in case…

4. Twitterfeed is a utility that allows bloggers to “feed” their blog posts or other RSS content to Twitter, Facebook and other platforms thereby enabling publishers to reach a wider audience and while receiving real-time data. Yes, that’s right: The fourth largest client for tweeting is an automated one…

5. Facebook features the ability to sync one’s Twitter account to his or her Facebook page. This allows your Facebook posts to be automatically tweeted and retweeted on your Twitter account. I’m personally usually not a big fan of cross-posting from one social media website to another, where hashtags mean nothing and the @FacebookUsername don’t translate to @TwitterUsername.

6. The Tweet Button is a small widget that can be embedded into websites (such as online magazines and news sites, including this blog) which gives viewers and readers the ability to share articles of interest to their followers. It is fascinating to see the amount of sharing of content that internet users do on Twitter. This means that if your website doesn’t have a Tweet Button, you’re missing out!

7. Twitter for iPhone is the official app that is compatible and can be downloaded to an iPhone, iPad or an iPod touch powered by at least iOS 4 or later. Twitter developed this application by purchasing the creators of the best client for the iPhone at the time: Tweetie.

8. CoTweet is a social media management tool that allows teams  to manage one or more Twitter accounts by offering such capabilities as tweet assignments, notes, and on duty status. Similar to a HootSuite or a TweetDeck, I praised the “archive” functionality in CoTweet and announced that it was one of my Top Twitter Applications in a recent blog post. However, CoTweet’s parent company, email marketing software company ExactTarget, announced just recently that the free edition of CoTweet will no longer operate after February 15, 2012. While ExactTarget will be releasing a new social media management dashboard called SocialEngage to replace it, I have already switched to a new client (keep reading!).

9. Twitter for Mac is a desktop application designed specifically for the Mac. It is a sister app to the official iPhone and iPad apps that was originally known as Tweetie. Amazing how many Mac users are also heavy tweeters!

10. The web service dlvr.it allows bloggers to publish, distribute and syndicate their content across various social media platforms. Dlvr.it has become popular recently as a TwitterFeed replacement in that it gives you more robust filtering and analytical capabilities. Once again, though, this is a platform for automation.

11. Paper.li enables people to publish online newspapers based on twitter topics — stories and articles — that they like, giving their readers fresh news daily, automatically, like a personalized broadcast. If you thought you’ve been seeing a lot of Paper.li tweets recently, you’re not alone. As a source of tweets Paper.li is now a huge player, and it will be interesting to see if this trend continues – and how it evolves.

12. Originally known as Tweet Later, offering the ability to back then a cutting edge way of scheduling your tweets to post in the future, SocialOomph is a service, both free and paid, that offers productivity solutions for social media users. Among its many features are the ability to manage many accounts, post scheduling and blog integration. I know many Internet marketers who are still heavy users of SocialOomph, but I don’t know how many enterprises have adopted them.

13. I was happily surprised to see another app that I regularly use and highly recommend, Buffer, make it to the top 20 Twitter clients in 2012. Buffer offers a smarter way to schedule your tweets.  Plan out all your tweets for a particular day, fill up your Buffer with your desired tweets, then Buffer schedules them for you. While not a true client per say, Buffer is a perfect complement to help you schedule your posting on Twitter and on their recently added support for Facebook.

14. Tweetie for Mac was designed originally for the iPhone and later made available for desktop, but after being bought out it is only available now as the official Twitter client. I assume that these are the diehard Tweetie users who have yet to upgrade to the “official” client for whatever reason, but this obviously isn’t an option anymore for you or your business.

15. Echofon is a client that this available for iPhone, Mac, Windows, and Firefox. It has the ability to automatically sync unread tweets between a computer, and iPhone and other devices. While Echofon has always been a popular Twitter client for the iPhone, it now supports browser and PC environments as well. I was honestly surprised to see it make the top 20, but apparently a lot of you out there are using them!

16. Twitter for Blackberry is the official app specifically for use in Blackberry handsets.

17. Twitter for iPad is another official app that was developed after the release of the iPad and is a sister application to the official iPhone and Mac apps.

18. MarketMeSuite is a social media tool and software created for social media marketing and management. Its creators aim is to turn one’s followers into customers via better online engagement. Once only used by Internet marketers and social media enthusiasts, MarketMeSuite is now used by more than 20,000 businesses. To be honest, this is the one tool on this list that I’ve been looking to spend more time investigating, so if you’re a user, please share your impressions in the comments. Thanks!

19. SproutSocial is another social media management tool for Twitter and Facebook, but this one offers contact management, competitive insight, lead generation and more unique functionality. Since SproutSocial also had the killer archive feature I was looking for, and was also available for the iPhone, I switched over to using SproutSocial as my main social media client early in 2012 and am not looking back. If you haven’t, sign up for a free SproutSocial trial - and discover what you might be missing!

20. The web service bit.ly is a tool that helps collect, organize and shorten links and URLs. It is available via web or mobile. Many users use the bit.ly bookmarklet to easily create tweets with shortened links which they can then analyze the results for later.

When you analyze these top clients and realize how many are for mobile, iOS, automation or are or will be discontinued, it is safe to say that the top Twitter clients in 2012 for any business to consider come down to:

  • HootSuite
  • Twitter.com
  • TweetDeck
  • SocialOomph
  • Echofon
  • MarketMeSuite
  • SproutSocial

For any business that tweets, however, they are undoubtedly using Facebook and are looking for a cross platform social media dashboard. Those 5 clients in bold above are what you should be investigating if you are looking for a new client to use in 2012.

I find that active tweeters often have very deep and passionate relationships with their social media apps, so now it’s your turn: What do you use for your Twitter client and recommend to the world? Any surprises in the above results?

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