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ACE 2007 ...

Last night, Dave and I attended ACE at the Washtenaw Community
College. It was a great experience both on an intellectual level, as
well as on a practical level in terms of business executions.

We arrived on time to grab some food before the program officially
began in the auditorium. The first order of business was their keynote
presentation, Hybra-Drive Systems, by CEO Rick Goldstein. This is a
company that is working on a hydraulic hybrid vehicle. It was an
interesting talk that walked the audience through the entire journey
of the company from the concept stage all the way to its current
position of having a working prototype.

Next, the elevator pitch competition graced the stage with 6 Metro
Detroit companies hoping to earn their respective companies some
venture funding and exposure. The companies participating were
Advanced Technologies of Michigan, Blaze Medical Devices, Creative
Byline, Elkins Innovations, Razor Threat and TECAT Engineering. In the
end, Razor Threat CEO Greg Guidice impressed the judges to win the

After a short break following the elevator pitch competition, we were
treated to a breakout session on 'How to build a successful company in
a difficult market ?'. This is a video presentation of Geoffrey
Moore's Panel Discussion under the MIT Enterprise Forum/Stanford
Venture Lab program. The panel of CEOs include Dean Drako of Barracuda
Networks, Quentin Gallivan of Postini and Gary Steele of Proofpoint.

The entire event was very enlightening and encouraging. It showed
evidence that good products/services can become very well received and
good companies can become very successful.

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posted by Jeff , ,

Web design and development primer - Authoring tools ...

For the benefit of the many young or new designers and developers getting started in creating webpages, I would like to share some personal experiences. Historically, I have been dabbling with web projects since as far back as 1994/1995 when the Internet was still in its infant stage. Back then, the easiest and fastest way to get started was to get a Geocities account and set up a simple homepage. As Geocities mature through the months ahead, it was able to accomodate more customization such HTML tags and other scripts. As I grew out of the Geocities sandbox, I began to code webpages using text editors and WYSIWYG tools. One of the earlier tools that I have used was Microsoft Frontpage. It was simple enough to use and was suitable for me at that initial period of learning and experimenting.

Soon after that, I realized that Frontpage was encapsulating(hiding) a lot of the important features that I need in order to have better control over my websites. At that point, I sought out various tools that I could find on the web, downloaded them and used them on a trial basis for a couple of weeks. There were definitely many text editors, WYSIWYG tools and so on out there. I spent a few months time reading about them on forums and bulletins boards, trying them out extensively myself and then uninstalled the majority of them in the end. One of the tools that have continued to work for me up to this day is HTML-Kit.

I am impressed by the quantity and quality of plug-ins available for HTML-Kit. It makes designing and developing websites enjoyable. The features are straight-forward and user-friendly. I do not have to sit through a 3-month long course at a college to use HTML-Kit. I can't say the same for other programs such as Dreamweaver and Frontpage. Granted that I have occasionally worked on Dreamweaver for short amount of times, it is indeed a very robust and powerful piece of software. Chances are, unless your day job and paycheck depends on the web design/development industry, Dreamweaver is slightly overkill for most home-brewed projects. Of course, the price tag itself isn't exactly affordable for the small one-person operation starting out on a bootstrap budget.

HTML-Kit is essentially free, with new value-added options for a low fee. I have been happy with the clean code produced by HTML-Kit. Besides HTML-Kit, I am also happy to recommend other free choices such as Crimson Editor, PSPad, Notepad++ and also TopStyle Lite for CSS layout purposes. All these have stood the test of time for me because they have been reliable, they have been well-maintained and most important of all, they have worked for me with wonderful results time and time again.

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posted by Jeff , ,

Florida Gators - College Sports Powerhouse ?

The Florida Gators can easily be considered a premier athletic powerhouse now, with a convincing victory over the heavy-favorites Ohio State Buckeyes for the National Championship of the BCS. It isn't hard to recall that only 9 months ago that the basketball Gators enjoyed a glorious March Madness and went on to defeat the UCLA Bruins for the National Championship.

In light of such great achievements, I am drawn to the topic of great coaching. The University of Florida is the first college in history to have ever held the NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship title and the NCAA Football National Championship title at the same time. These amazing headlines wouldn't be possible without basketball head coach Billy Donovan and football head coach Urban Meyer. Personally, I have been observing Urban Meyer's progression through the years since his time at Bowling Green State University. Make no mistake about it, as much as I am a Michigan Wolverines fan as well as an Ohio State Buckeyes fan, I have a lot of respect for what Urban Meyer has done for the football programs at BGSU, Univ. of Utah and Univ. of Florida within short periods of time.

Once again, Congratulations to the Florida Gators, Coach Billy Donovan and Coach Urban Meyer !

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posted by Jeff , ,

Enter AGLOCO - the sequel to AllAdvantage ...

One of the most memorable episode from the Dot Com Boom of the late 90s for me was the luxury of being paid for the time I spent on the Internet. AllAdvantage was a wonderful service that displays ads in a sponsored-viewbar sitting on your screen as you go about your usual routine on the Web. For the most part, this sponsored-viewbar was really unobtrusive. It has never interfered with anything that I was working on. And the best part was the fact that the checks actually arrived ! Thousands of web surfers benefited from this advertising medium as they earned enough to make web surfing a lucratively-compensated hobby.

The Dot Com Boom and the Dot Com Bust may have come and gone, but sometimes, good things are worth resurrecting for a sequel. AGLOCO - the rebirth of AllAdvantage has arrived. This time around, the revival effort will involve slightly different strategies. The name actually plays off of the phrase 'A Global Community'. The concept is entirely about profit sharing and distribution through a vibrant and growing social network. There is absolutely no catch ..... just an honest attempt to spread the advertising dollars among the global web surfing community, much like the philosophy of open source software to spread the use of non-proprietary software.

Here is the link, if you wish to have a headstart. AGLOCO will compensate its members in the form of company shares, hence each one of us will own a small part of AGLOCO. These shares may eventually be cashed out. At this point in time, AGLOCO limits the maximum to 5 hours per month. I know I am personally on the Internet for way more than that. Bear in mind that the AGLOCO concept works best in numbers ..... therefore, it is important to spread the news by referring people whom you know. It should be an easy task to achieve because virtually everyone can gain from this service as a member of the Internet's first member-owned economic community ala Co-Op.

Click here to join AGLOCO. Enjoy the free, easy, no-catch reward for simply doing what you already do - surfing the Web.

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posted by Jeff , ,