The Business of Appearance

As I look at the gray in my hair, I begin to wonder whether I would ever get any ‘work’ done – and I’m reminded once again how much has changed over the past few decades.

There was a time when artificiality of any kind by men was considered the height of vanity. People (myself included) would roll our eyes at a man who dyed his hair, or wore a poorly fitted toupee. Unless they were Hollywood Stars or News Anchors, it just seemed, well, a tad much (oddly enough, in one of the double standards that benefits women, I’ve never heard anyone seriously complain about a little tweak here and there for the ladies) .

Nonetheless, these times are a-changing (which also shows my age, as the original ‘change’ was about 40 years ago), and people are becoming more comfortable with adjustments – especially men.

For example, perusing my favorite cosmetic surgery site, MYA (now offering ‘Cosmetic Surgery for Men‘), I was asking myself, would I get a tummy tuck (or body reshaping, as they call it)? Face lift? Liposuction? Botox (ok, not botox; if you saw my face you’d realize there’s not enough botox anywhere to take of THAT).

After all, who wouldn’t like to be a bit trimmer? And for men especially, the face gets more craggy and distinguished as we get older (or so my wife tells me), while the ‘love handles’ will never make a girl swoon.

Also, in this day and age, a professional appearance works to your favor. Study after study shows pretty people do better. Like it or not, it happens; and cosmetic surgery may be your ticket to evening the balance.

Of course, there’s one more (big) aspect: safety. When I talk surgery, I do mean reputable and competent, not just anyone (for example, the intro to the MYA clinic shows a number of stars who get work done – and famous testimonials are powerful!)

Evaluate the pros and cons, find someone you trust, and then analyze the benefits. As for me, I’m going back to MYA to research the tummy tucks…

Is FireFox 3.5 Worth an Upgrade?

I could take a long time to get to the answer, or just:

Short answer: yes.
Long answer: very soon, but not yet – especially if you have plugins you use regularly.

With a complete revamping of its Javascript engine (called TraceMonkey!), and numerous tweaks, it’s considered to be ten times faster than FF2 – and I consider that to be plenty fast.

Other user experiences include better image display for richer viewing, direct video viewing, and the option to save the video to your computer.

Possibly the most ‘hushed whisper’ aspect of FF3.5 is the privacy mode – blocking sites from being cached or recorded in your History, clearing History, or even doing a whole browser session without leaving a trace. And while everyone goes ‘nudge, nudge, wink wink’ and immediately thinks porn, there’ s a very real application to this – testing websites.

Revisiting the same website over and over for testing caches files, cookies, and sets the History – all of which needs to be cleared each time if you want to do a fresh visit to a sire. This could be a real boon for testing.

Of course, as with all upgrades, there’s issues – and my reason to suggest NOT going for it right now is if you have favorite plugins that are not carried forward (yet). If any of them are deal-breakers, then wait a while.

You can read more about the future of browser technology at FireFox Central.

Surviving the Economy: Not Government Handouts but Private Buyouts

With the the many stories of ‘American handout money’ making the rounds, it’s obvious people are looking for creative ways to stay afloat in these times.

But although the American government’s aid in in the news, merging or acquiring companies to keep them going has a long history. And dealing privately has advantages: ask anyone about AIG or GM and watch their face. AIG in fact has plans to change their name, since the stigma of taking government money has ruined their current one.

In contrast, dealing privately, finding a company that fits well for you, and that works well with your business, can result in a stronger business. They aren’t interested in a bailout; they’re interested in a business that makes money, so that a successful merger or acquisition can benefit both sides. And of course using a broker to find these partners saves you time and effort. For example, a company like Generational Equity advises companies on ways to stay afloat via mergers and acquisitions, among other things.

There’s too much focus on handouts these days – but avoiding the charity route can give a company options that can end up making it stronger.

New eBay Changes – DSR Fixes?

I’ve already discussed the eBay ‘free listings’ offer. Now they announce a change to the selling system, including a new ‘Power Seller’ criteria, and changes to the DSR (Detailed Seller Ratings).

There’s much more of course, but it’s the DSR adjustments that most interest me. Previously, buyers could rate a seller from 1-5 in satisfaction on a variety of categories. And if the average went too low, a seller could actually be banned (and as Melissa of The Scrapbook Exchange points out, that ban can come very innocently).

Now, rather than average scores affecting you, the emphasis will be on low scores (rating 1 or 2) and the total of them; also, international ratings won’t be included, so if Customs holds on to that box, you won’t suffer for their mistake.

eBay seems to be working hard to make their site the popular experience it used to be. I for one am glad to see them back off from banning people (the old feedback system worked great for years). I hope it continues…

Busy As a Bee, er, Hummingbird?

In the world (and business), bees are used as a measure of productivity – ‘busy as a bee’, ‘buzzing around’, ‘make a bee-line’, and so on.

But they aren’t the only busy thing out there – and I think it’s time hummingbirds got equal mention!

OK, it’s a bit facetious – but I was visiting a site for hummingbirds and started reading about these little creatures, with their mad flapping. It turns out their wings are hinged differently from other birds, allowing almost 180 degrees of movement, and explains why they can hover. There’s even one called the ‘Lucifer Hummingbird’!

The fact that they have to eat constantly to keep their energy up is, I think, proof that they should be used more often as an example of activity. Watch a hummingbird in your backyard, and I’m sure you’ll agree.

Don’t have hummingbirds yet? Then grab yourself some hummingbird feeders, populate your back yard with them, and start rewarding them for their frantic activity.