August 31, 2007

Vista broke Firefox!



I was just using Firefox in Vista and look what happened.

UPDATE:The Interview is now up! My interview on the state of Post-Katrina New Orleans 2 years later

UPDATE: the interview is now up and I urge you to check it out. If you are a college student you need to check out the Financial Aid Podcast here or add it to your iTunes.


I was interviewed today by Christopher Penn of the Financial Aid Podcast. It should be available tomorrow at http://www.financialaidpodcast.com/katrina2007 You can call the comment line and leave your Katrina story at 206-350-1208. I also need to give thanks to Joshua Clark for making me aware of http://www.hurricanekatrinanews.org/. This is great site to a get a broad view of the recovery, links to news articles written about what's happening (or not happening depending on how you look at it) in New Orleans, information on the importance of wetlands, and links and phone numbers to government agencies and recovery focused organizations.
Check out Joshua's book at http://www.heartlikewater.com/


Powered by ScribeFire.

August 29, 2007

seen recently in City Park

Wild Boars in Couturie Forest

Weekend coworking this Saturday from 12 - 4

Alan Gutierrez put up Weekend Coworking at Bayou Coffee House on Think New Orleans. For those of you in New Orleans who want to explore coworking you can get your chance this weekend. I would be interested in opening a coworking space here in New Orleans if there is enough interest.

Traditionally coworking has been the realm of software developers, internet entrepreneurs, and designers. While we welcome individuals in these industries they are in short supply here so we need to think outside the box a little bit here for people that might be able to use this. I came up with: solo attorneys, real estate agents, consultants, out of town investors (temporarily here to explore investment opportunities in New Orleans), and community activist. What do you think? Leave your ideas in the comments or come buy on Saturday and talk to me in person.


Technorati Tags:

Powered by ScribeFire.

iPhone unlocked

If this could work on Sprint's network I would be ecstatic.

August 28, 2007

No sappy Katrina memories

Okay, Okay I know that it's the 2nd anniversary of the "event" and there are memorials all over town, candlelight vigils and post ranging from reflection to commentary on the politics that keep us from recovering. Well if you came here looking for that I'm sorry to tell you it ain't gonna happen.

I'm trying to move on and I just read an awesome book called the the Attractor Factor and I learned something very valuable. We need to stop focusing on what's wrong. What you focus on expands, so as long as we focus on what is wrong we will get more of stuff that is wrong. We need to focus on what is right and spend time visualizing what we want and taking action toward that. I know that this sound all pop psychology but it works. In the last week and a half I have attracted:
  1. a book I have been trying to get since February, but to no avail (Monday)
  2. a business venture that is going to bigger than I even imagined (this was on the first day, immediately after the book)
  3. a laptop better than the one I envisioned (Thursday)
  4. a possible house (yesterday)
  5. a solution to an online sales issue that I could not solve on my own (last night)

I know that all this sounds hard to believe and it is so easy that you dismiss it and say "that won't work". That would be a big mistake. I've had to give up some things, like talk radio and most television especially news, to maintain focus on the positive but it's worth it.

If you don't believe that you can give those things up ask yourself this "How much of what occurs on the news directly affects me AND can I do anything about it?" If the answer is no than stop worrying about it. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying you should not be involved in the political process or helping to bring about change. I am saying stop bitching and moaning about what is wrong and do something that is positive and achieves something, even if it is just raising awareness. Good local examples are Sandy Rosentahal (founder of levees.org), Maitri Venkat-Ramani (chief organizer of Rising Tide) , and Alan Gutierrez (founder of Think New Orleans). Instead of complaining these people are doing something.

I guess the point here is stop complaining and focus on solutions. Stop talking and take action. If you don't know what to do here is a suggestion. Turn off your computer, your television, and your radio. Get in your car and drive to a devastated area of the city and I'm sure you can find someone that needs help.

August 26, 2007

My Goals This Week

Okay, with thanks to Laura over at My Journey to One Million Dollars I'm going to post my goals for the week.


Monday August 27, 2007
Mon-Sun:

1. Finish units 2-7 in my Real Estate Licensing book
2. Submit my Real Estate Licensing paperwork and fees to LREC in Baton Rouge, LA
3. Get caught up to day 20 of 30 Day Challenge and make 5.00 by end of week.
4. Write at least one post per day for TechChris.com
5. Comment on 2-3 blogs per day
6. Answer any blog comments
7. Visit the 1k a day forums each morning
8. Spend 20 minutes a day doing Intentional Meditation

August 25, 2007

Google Reader Mobile now has Share

As some of you who subscribe to my shared feed know, I share quite a few of the post I read. I like to read feeds while I'm on the go from my Treo but I've never liked the lack of ability to share the feed from the Google Reader mobile page. Today, I logged on to Google Reader from my phone and THERE WAS AN OPTION TO SHARE THAT POST.

I wish I had a screenshot to show you but I haven't quite figured out how to get screenshots of my Treo on to my computer.
If anyone knows a free way to do this (I don't do it often enough to pay for specialized software) let me know.

August 24, 2007

30 Day Challenge Pre-Season


I was in such a hurry to get started on the 30 Day Challenge that I skipped the pre-season stuff until today. It's really a shame because the info on setting up Firefox and iTunes was very useful. They also had some good stuff about Bloglines but I'm a die hard Google Reader fan so I'm not switching.
If you haven't heard of the 30 Day Challenge just click the link above or search for it in Google and you will get lots of info. The short description is that in 30 days you will make you first $10 online. Ten bucks doesn't seem like a lot and it isn't. The beauty of it, is that it's something that most people can see themselves achieving. Once you make $10, $100 is easy, then the jump to $1000 is fairly simple. If you would have shot for $1000 from the beginning you would have a lot of doubt about your ability and most likely would quit before you started.
Go check out the challenge and see if you can make your first ten dollars online. Aside from the money you make you will learn a lot about internet marketing, SEO or search engine optimization, and that could be useful to bloggers or anyone who promotes themselves online (like Realtors).


Powered by ScribeFire.

Technology in education, the importance of libraries, and the death of the newspaper.

This is a great video by Robert Scoble with Elliot Soloway a teacher who brought Larry Page into his classroom to speak to his students. If you have been living under a rock for a while and don't know, Larry Page is one of the founders of Google.

At the end of the video Scoble talks about the importance of reading and libraries and mentioned that Warren Buffett said "everything he learned about investing he learned in a public library." This is a powerful statement about the importance of the library. It also makes me think about how important it is to get that information online for access from computers, iPhones, PDA's, etc..

Scoble also mentions that he does not subscribe to any print newspapers and that they are slowly going to go away. He goes on to say that his son will likely never read or buy a newspaper. I agree that the age of print media is dead and this is already changing the world of marketing.




I'm planning on returning to the world of real estate and, from a technology perspective, this is an industry that is being dragged kicking and screaming out of the stone age. This is probably due the large number of over 50 agents in the industry. I know that I have personally contacted Realtors via email and NEVER RECEIVED A RESPONSE! Others have taken from a FEW WEEKS to A FEW DAYS! This is unacceptable in this day and age and will not fly with most GenX and ALL GenY buyers.

They also persist in running ads in print publications like the newspaper and local weekly publications. The local publications will likely lead to some results but putting your an ad for someones home in the newspaper is just a waste of money. Your clients are going to go online and search the MLS directly, go through your company's website, or logon to Realtor.com. If your Realtor has clue, they have a website that will allow you to sign up for updates that will email you when a new listing appears in the MLS that meets your search criteria. This is much more effective than searching through 20 pages of small print ads that tell you next to nothing about the home.

This is where I'm making my stand. I WILL NOT ADVERTISE MY CLIENTS HOME IN THE NEWSPAPER. I ALSO WON'T HAVE ADS TELLING YOU HOW GREAT I AM, HOW MANY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF HOMES I'VE SOLD, AND PUT ALL KINDS OF ACRONYM DESIGNATIONS BEHIND MY NAME THAT YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND OR GIVE A DAMN ABOUT.

I will let you know that I care about what's important to you: getting YOUR HOME sold, quickly, at the right price, and with the least hassle to you.

August 19, 2007

I am Louisiana




You're Louisiana!

You were born on the bayou, and have never seen a good reason to leave.
Of course, you might also just be stuck in the mud of the marshy swamp, grasping for
nearby vines. You like the night life, baby, and can definitely let it all hang out.
You also have some traditional influences, most of them French, but you tend to discard
these for the sake of fun. No one enjoys Tuesdays more than you. Walk softly, and carry
a red stick.



Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

August 17, 2007

New Orleans homeowner's contact your congressional representatives

New Orleans City Business just released an article about the new Bureau of Governmental Research Report Cementing Imbalance: A Post-Katrina Analysis of the Regional Distribution of Subsidized Rental Housing(link downloads the report).



This article states that "prior to Katrina, New Orleans had two-thirds of the region’s subsidized rental households but only one-third of the region’s population." It goes on further with "If developers build the planned rentals, New Orleans will be home to 65 percent of the region’s very low-income subsidized households, compared with 70 percent pre-Katrina". Now if you believe, as some, that the population is approaching pre-Katrina numbers this isn't so bad because it's just as bad as it was before. If you are more realistic and understand that the real population numbers are about 60% of pre-Katrina numbers, than this is VERY BAD!!



We are trying to build a better New Orleans than we had before. This means decentralizing poverty. Research has shown that mixed income communities are better for the residents through reduced crime and improved property values. Also if you mix in some owner-occupied condos amongst rental units and allow the renters the opportunity to possibly purchase their unit they tend to take better care of it. If the developers of these communities were to implement mixed-income and option to buy into their plans I would not be so worried, but I am not that optimistic.



The other issue to consider is what happens when the next Katrina hits (or maybe the next DEAN). Do we really want a concentrated population of individuals who for economic reasons cannot afford to leave? Do we want a replay of Katrina?



If you leave in New Orleans you need to contact your congressional reps NOW and demand that that the subsidized rental program be expanded to include all South Louisiana parishes.

August 16, 2007

Business school professors discover something salespeople have known for years

I just read article in the Stanford Knowledgebase newsletter about a study by business professors William W. Maddux of INSEAD, Elizabeth Mullen of Stanford, and Adam Galinsky of Northwestern who "discovered" something known by salespeople for years.

Mimicry a big plus in negotiations, a new study suggests

Lovers do it, confederates do it -- and now, a new study suggests, negotiators can benefit from doing it as well.
Benefit from mimicking, that is -- mimicking simple gestures, postures and mannerisms of the person with whom one is negotiating, whether for a job, a house, or something else.




Remember what works for salespeople can work for customers also. As much as you want the deal the salesperson wants the sale and sometimes, even more importantly, they want your approval. Salespeople are human beings just like you and they want to be liked. If you can use mimicry to get them to like and trust you, you may even get a better deal than you originally imagined.

Unannouced demolitions of New Orleans homes

Thanks to Alan Gutierrez and his post on ThinkNola for alerting me to this.

The city of New Orleans has issued a response to the unannounced demolitions that have received national coverage(WSJ and MSNBC) lately. Here is a link and I've reposted it below:


Imminent Health Threat Demolition Resident Assistance Program
Fact Sheet

BACKGROUND

On February 1, the New Orleans City Council passed Ordinance number 22499 M.C.S. The Ordinance, authored by Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, amended and reordained Chapter 26 of the Code of the City of New Orleans, to add a new Section designated as Section 26-263, Condemnation of Public Safety and Welfare. The Ordinance allows the City to demolish or remediate property deemed an imminent health threat 30 business days after the posting of the notice. The Mayor’s Imminent Health Threat Resident Assistance Program, beginning Wednesday, August 22 through Saturday, August 25, 2007 will allow homeowners the opportunity to submit proof of abatement to reverse a demolition condemnation.
DEFINITION OF IMMINENT HEALTH THREAT
According to City Council Ordinance No. 22499, following an inspection of the structure the determination is made on whether or not the property is a "serious and imminent threat to public health, safety and welfare...by reason of being unremediated, ungutted, open to the public, unsafe, unsanitary or conducive to ill health."
ELIGIBILTY
Any property deemed an Imminent Health Threat and condemned for demolition.
TIMELINE
Program Period: August 22, 2007 – August 25, 2007Deadline to Comply with Ordinance: August 25, 2007
HOW DO I REVERSE THE DEMOLITION CONDEMNATION?
To reverse a demolition condemnation, beginning August 22 through August 25, the property owner must submit in person or by certified mail proof (photos) that they have gutted and secured the structure. The photos must document the following:
Inside of the property gutted and contents removed;
Grass cut in front, back, side yards and
All doors shut and secured
Upon receipt of proof, the property will be scheduled for a follow-up inspection to validate the remediation claim. Failure to comply with the Imminent Health Threat Ordinance by August 25, 2007 will result in the demolition of the property.
HOW DO I SUBMIT DOCUMENTATION?
A property owner can submit documentation in person or by certified mail.
In Person:New Orleans, LA (August 22-25, 2007)
Office of Code Enforcement1340 Poydras Street, Suite 1100
St. Bernard Recreation Center1500 Lafreniere Street
Houston, TX (Saturday, August 25, 2007)
Journey Home Center3611 Ennis Street, Suite 113/114Houston, TX 77004
Certified Mail:
Office of Code Enforcement1340 Poydras Street, Suite 1100 New Orleans, LA 70112
WHO DO I CONTACT?
If property owners have any questions about the designation of their condemnation notice or the necessary steps they must take to reverse the demolition condemnation, they may contact the city’s Bureau of Code Enforcement at 504-658-4300 or 504-658-4200.

ACT scores improving in Louisiana

According to an article in New Orleans City Business:

Louisiana's improvement on the American College Test during the past five years has outpaced the national average, state education officials said today

This is great news for people planning to move back to the area from their long exodus after Katrina or for those new to the area. This may also be one additional factor to consider before you move away.

August 15, 2007

Just arrived


Just arrived
Originally uploaded by unogeology

I won these a few months ago in an Endgadget blog commenting contest. They finally arrived today!

Life and Career Redirection and Focus

I've read the 4-Hour Workweek and I've been practicing the Law of Attraction from "the Secret" and some interesting things have happened.




This has all happened in the last 2 days.


I've spent some time Wednesday morning determining how much it would cost to get started and do it correctly. I've come up with a figure between $5,500 and $12,000 depending on how much advertising I want to do out of the gate. This also assumes 6 months of lead time between opening the doors and receiving any income. If any Realtors out there want to weigh in on this or offer advice I would be willing to listen.


I have figured out a few things:


  • I'm going to go with Keller Williams and

  • I'm going to the Slidell office because of the awesome leadership and educational opportunities available there.


All of the offices are great but from what I have seen the leadership and depth of knowledge offered by Slidell Office Team Leader - Jim Brown is a notch or two above the rest. The difference between winning and losing is so small that every little advantage helps. Of course it is up to me to apply that knowledge if I want to be successful.

I read a great quote from Tiger Woods on Jason Alba's blog yesterday, it was:

“I came here to win. I didn’t come to hit a few balls, or to walk around on a nice day, or to drop a few pounds. I came here to win.“

I'm doing this to win. To win for my family, myself, and the customers I will ultimately serve.

It's going to take me a few months to get the capital together so keep posted here and at ChrisJohnstonRealEstate.com

August 10, 2007

What parent's can teach you about efficiency

Wendy Piersall always has some awesome stuff on her blog. This post shows how efficient working parent's can be. I personally plan to implement the automated shopping list and I may try having my groceries delivered. I know that these tips are for working parent's and I just blogged about starting a business but again if you are practicing the 4-Hour Workweek everything is about elimination and automation of what you can't eliminate. This is perfect!
Head on over to eMoms at Home and check it out.

August 9, 2007

In pursuit of freedom

I am sitting in a training meeting for prospective reps for my company and re-recruiting myself to the business. Lately I have been disgusted with having a boss and being stuck at a computer terminal all day long. I don't dislike my boss, he's one of the best I've ever had but I don't like anyone having control over my time. I want to be able to take off when I want. If I want to go to a movie at 2pm on Tuesday I want to do it. You can't do that with a job.

This dovetails perfectly with my plan to live the 4-Hour Workweek. I want to schedule my business around my life not the other way around. I'm also extremely excited that I can have a business that truly helps people. A business that improves peoples lives by helping them in an area that most people struggle with, their finances.

For 30 years this company has been helping average ordinary families take control of their future by educating people. We explain how most life insurance companies take advantage of people. Why most no-load fund investors make less money than other investors even though their fees are lower. Why people always ask the wrong question when they borrow money.

I plan to expand on this a little bit if I can clear it with my compliance department. I'm also going to profile some other sites and blogs that teach some sound financial concepts.


Sent from my Palm Treo

August 3, 2007

Why New Orleans voters keep re-electing corrupt politicians


I have often said that the corruption here will continue because everybody down here believes that all politicians are corrupt EXCEPT the guy they voted for. Well, today on Kathy Sierra's blog I found an image that best exemplifies my message.

August 1, 2007

You CAN actually make money online


I have been reading a blog that has blown away any preconceived notions I had about earning money online. Amy Bass at My Debt Free Goal is working towards a goal of being completely debt free. This isn't a little bit of debt either, it's $72,900 of credit card debt and she wants to pay it off in 2 years. That's $3037.50 a month if don't calculate in interest. It's a phenomenal goal but what's even more impressive is that based on her track record since May I have no doubt she will achieve it.
Go over to My Debt Free Goal and check it out.

I have one small suggestion Amy, publish full RSS feeds.

Google Maps has new features

OK, Google Maps has added a "how long it will take in traffic" estimation in your Directions results. What I think is even cooler though, is that you can drag the blue line over to other highways or streets to reroute your directions, that is way cool. This is useful if you live in a city where Google supports traffic information, not New Orleans, and you want to try alternate routes with less traffic.
Check out this post over at the Google LatLong blog.

The opposite of excitement is boredom


As you know I have been reading the 4-Hour Work Week and in it they explain that the opposite of excitement is boredom. I believe this to be true. I have been eliminating virtually every mailing list that I've subscribed to, cutting down my RSS feeds, posting on Twitter less, and now I'm really bored.
I'm still exploring the parts of the book about starting my Muse (a source of income for those who haven't read the book). Hopefully once that is in place I will have money to do things to fill the extra time I have freed up.