Archive for the ‘socialmedia’ Category

Don’t be worried – yet – about tardy T3s

via Don’t be worried – yet – about tardy T3s – The Globe and Mail.

I want to file my taxes and get my refund, but I’m still waiting for tax slips for a few REITs and ETFs that I own. Shouldn’t I have this information by now?

Not necessarily. Different types of tax slips have different mailing deadlines.

T5 slips – which report dividend and interest income – were supposed to be mailed out by the end of February, so you should have these by now.

But T3 slips – which report distributions from incDifferent types of tax slips have different mailing deadlines. (Mackon/Thinkstock)ome trusts (including real estate investment trusts), exchange-traded funds and mutual funds – have a deadline of March 31. So it could be a week or more before they land in your mailbox. T3s for REITs and ETFs are sent by your broker, whereas T3s for mutual funds are mailed directly by the fund company.

Occasionally, tax slips are delayed, however.

My discount broker, BMO InvestorLine, says on its website that it will “make every effort to ensure that tax slips are mailed by the date indicated; however, in the event that an issuer does not supply us with the necessary information in time, tax slips will be processed on an individual security basis and mailed as soon as the information is made available.”

I had a quick look on the websites of three ETF providers – iShares, BMO and Horizons – and the 2014 tax information has already been posted. I also checked the websites of three REITs – RioCan, Canadian REIT and Calloway – and they have also published the 2014 tax breakdowns for their distributions. So if you want to crunch the numbers yourself, you can. But to avoid mistakes on your return, you might want to wait until the official T3 slips arrive.

In the meantime, if you’re using tax software, you can always complete the rest of your return and then spend a couple of minutes entering the information from your T3 slips when they arrive. That way you’ll still get your return in long before the April 30 deadline.

How Scary is the US National Debt? Almost as scary as the fact Tony Robbins, yes the motivational speaker, is the one delivery this most depressing of economic insight.

300 million dollars out of thin air: Bitcoin turns four and approaches $30 value.

Money is a delusion – but a delusion that works as long as it’s shared. The value of a U.S. dollar was once tied to a government guarantee that you could, at any time, exchange it for a quantity of precious metal – but since America officially abandoned the gold standard in 1971, its value is now more or less rooted in its ubiquity. If large swathes of people decided they would no longer accept it, it would suddenly be worth a lot less.

The Bitcoin - global anarchist financial revolution, giant scam, great investment or some ...

Government currencies like the American dollar are also a bit odd, in that a government can decide to print more money at any time to serve its own purposes. This is very handy for the government, but through inflation it causes each individual dollar to be worth a bit less each time.

It’s a problem that will persist with pretty much any currency that’s managed by one central organization. And distrust of these organizations is one of the strongest driving forces behind alternative currencies like Bitcoin. The idea is to create an entirely new currency that’s widely accepted, fairly stable, and more or less inflation-proof because the money supply can’t be increased at the whim of some central figure.

So how do you create a new currency?

The answer, more or less, seems to be that you simply build it, convince people it’s worth something, and give them an incentive to get on board.

Bitcoin was first proposed in 2008 – a fortunate time, since faith in the global banking hegemony and government control of money was crashing as the global financial crisis kicked in.

It was designed by “Satoshi Nakamoto” – a pseudonym, possibly for a group of anonymous designers who have never revealed themselves. Bitcoin’s key selling points from day one were solid, trustworthy and transparent technology, a controlled money supply and a built-in early adopter bonus that made them very cheap to produce while the currency got off the ground.

The third point is probably the most important; Bitcoins are produced by getting a computer to crunch complex algorithms. Once a certain amount of work is done, you create a brand new bitcoin. That amount of work was very quick and easy early in the piece, so early adopters were able to churn out large numbers of coins. But the algorithms are designed to become progressively more difficult over time, until a point some time around 2040 when the supply will be capped forever at around 21 million bitcoins.

Effectively, if you got in early, you could use your personal computer to churn out thousands of bitcoins – giving early adopters a heavy incentive to find things to do with them. But now, the Bitcoin mining process is already so difficult that you need a specialized rig bristling with dozens of graphics cards to make any decent progress.

This gradual restriction of supply is what Bitcoin advocates maintain makes the currency inflation-proof. There’s no such thing as “quantitative easing” in the Bitcoin world. In fact, as the money supply crawls to a stop, the currency should deflate over time, making each bitcoin increase in value.

Of course, it also makes the Bitcoin system look a lot like a pump and dump scam as well – early adopters mined huge amounts of bitcoins early on for very little effort, and stood to gain huge amounts of cold, hard, non-virtual cash if they could convince other people the bitcoin was worth something. But let’s backtrack a little before we explore that.

How bitcoins work

The most important feature of a digital unit of currency is that ownership can be authenticated, and the money can’t be spent twice. You can ensure this by keeping a central ledger somewhere of who owns exactly which bitcoins – but the genius of the Bitcoin system is that this ledger is completely decentralized and run as a peer-to-peer system like the BitTorrent network.

When you make a transaction, the Bitcoin network sends out a notice and a confirmation process takes place. In this confirmation process, the transaction history of the particular bitcoin being moved is checked against the records of a number of different nodes in the system. Only when several nodes “agree” that the bitcoin is authentic does the actual transfer occur.

A bitcoin itself is just a string of letters and numbers – the system would be vulnerable to all sorts of hacks if it wasn’t for this peer-to-peer tracking system. And although the bitcoin’s entire transaction history is sent around the network for checking, it’s only a series of bitcoin wallet addresses that are used, rather than account names – making it virtually impossible to work out exactly who owned the coin in the real world.

This also makes it virtually impossible to prove you owned a bitcoin if you misplace its alphanumeric code. If you delete your wallet file or forget your passwords, your money is gone forever.

Getting money in and out of the Bitcoin system

First off, you need a wallet. You can either download the original Bitcoin client and run it on your own computer, or you can trust a third party online service like MyWallet to take care of it for you.

From there, there’s a number of ways to buy bitcoins with regular cash. You can strike a deal directly with another bitcoin owner over at Bitcoin OTC, use a big-time currency exchange like Mt.Gox or any number of others.

If you want to keep your identity as far away from the transaction as possible, you can use a cash deposit service like bitinstant – you notify the service that you want to buy X dollars worth of bitcoins, they give you some deposit details, and you simply walk into a bank (or another deposit location like a 7-11 or Walmart store) and drop off the cash with a given account and reference number. Once the transaction is verified, the bitcoins are transferred to your ownership. The process takes less than an hour and costs you a four percent fee.

To get money out of the system, you’ve got to effectively sell your bitcoins. The easiest method is probably to register with a big exchange, sell your coins and have them transfer the money to your local bank account.

There’s other services that will pay you back through Paypal, vouchers and all sorts of other options – and if you want to keep things totally anonymous, you can always strike a deal directly with somebody who wants to buy the bitcoins, and dodge the transaction fee in the process.

What’s a bitcoin worth?

Graph showing the value of 1 Bitcoin from 2009-2013. Created at bitcoincharts.com.

As I write this, close to US$30. Here’s a live update. The currency is still pretty volatile, its value changes constantly. If you’d bought yourself a bitcoin in December last year, you’d have doubled your money in the last 50 days.

That’s nothing compared to the gains the early adopters have made, though – bitcoins were worth literally nothing back when the system went online in January 2009. They were trading for less than US$0.10 back in September 2010, and only broke the US$1 mark in February 2011. They spiked up to US$27 in May 2011, then crashed down to US$3.50 within a couple of months when Mt.Gox and MyBitcoin were hacked, resulting in a leaking of user information and some straight-up bitcoin theft.

Right now, it’s riding higher than it ever has and spiking upwards like crazy, and there’s every chance you can still make money as a speculator – as well as every chance that it’ll crash again before 2014.

Read more…300 million dollars out of thin air: Bitcoin turns four and approaches $30 value.

Volunteers needed to go bald

The home show head shave may be cancelled if participants don’t sign up

Read more: http://www.mrtimes.com/health/Volunteers+needed+bald/7951958/story.html#ixzz2KoJQxPg4

Allen LaRose is looking for a few or more brave volunteers willing to lose their locks at this spring’s home show in Maple Ridge.

Allen LaRose of Manion & Associates held up a picture with inspirational words from Ghandi, and a photo of himself from a past head shave for cancer.

The financial advisor/branch manager at Manion & Associates is hoping several helpers will sign up to have their heads shaved at the Ridge Meadows Home Show, held this year from May 3 to 5 at Albion Fairgrounds.

Each year at the home show, Manion & Associates hosts the Headshave for Cancer in support of the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation and Ridge Meadows Hospice Society.

LaRose said the fundraiser was organized by local firefighters, starting in 2001.

The volunteer group was made up mostly of emergency services personnel and RCMP members from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

LaRose originally got involved as a participant nearly a decade ago and since 2008, Manion & Associates has been the chief organizer, renting booth space and recruiting volunteer barbers.

In the early 2000s, most of the participants raised pledges, and those who didn’t simply donated money. The combined dollar totals was usually “a respectable amount,” LaRose said.

But support has dwindled in recent years.

“In the years that we haven’t had a larger group committing and taking part, the amount of dollars raised has been significantly smaller,” LaRose said.

Manion & Associates absorbs the cost of the booth rental and marketing the event, which includes producing posters and brochures. This ensures 100 per cent of the money raised go to the causes.

LaRose sacrifices roughly 150 hours of his own time to promote and organize the head shave, each year.

But in tougher economic times, LaRose is contemplating cancelling this year’s fundraiser.

“It’s getting to the point where we have to make a call: is it worth the effort and cost to put it on, if we’re not going to have the commitment of participants?” Larose said. “If I’m going to cut a cheque to run a head shave, I’m wondering, well, am I better off just donating the money directly to the charities.”

The crucial element moving forward is participants. “[These are] people who are willing to have their heads

shaved and go out and raise money, raise pledges,” LaRose said. “I know from experience it doesn’t take much to raise a couple hundred dollars in pledges per person.”

To get involved, call LaRose at 604-463-6060 or email him at allen@ manion.ca.

Originally, funds raised from the head shave went to the local hospital’s oncology department.

“But the hospital foundation came to us when we first took [the head shave] on and pointed out that cancer patients get treated by many parts of the hospital and not just the one department,” LaRose explained.

And, at one time, the head shave solely benefited the hospital foundation.

Then it became apparent to LaRose, who was on the hospice society board, that more than 80 per cent per cent of the people the hospice works with are cancer patients and their families.

Whether the head shave goes ahead or not, LaRose plans on contributing to causes that have had a direct effect on his life.

In September 2002, his mom Dee was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As her condition worsened, Dee was admitted to Surrey Memorial Hospital, due to a lack of space in the palliative care unit at Ridge Meadows Hospital.

This was not ideal for Dee, according to her son, who said the best place for her would have been the McKenney Creek Hospice Facility, which did not exist at the time.

Dee died April 8, 2003.

After her death, because of the money raised from the head shave, Ridge Meadows Hospital acquired the equipment that would have treated Dee locally, instead of in Surrey.

The local hospital now has the equipment that would have allowed Dee to receive treatment in her own home.

tlandreville@mrtimes.com

© Copyright (c) Maple Ridge Times

Read more: http://www.mrtimes.com/health/Volunteers+needed+bald/7951958/story.html#ixzz2KoJjml8e

Dead Hare

Posted: November 1, 2011 in Funny, socialmedia, twitter

 

A man was driving along the highway, and saw a rabbit hopping across the middle of the road. He swerved to avoid hitting the rabbit, but unfortunately the rabbit jumped in front of the car and was hit. The driver, being a sensitive man as well as an animal lover, pulled over to the side of the road and got out to see what had become of the rabbit. Much to his dismay, the rabbit was dead. The driver felt so awful he began to cry.

A woman driving down the highway saw the man crying on the side of the road and pulled over. She stepped out of her car and asked the man what was wrong.

“I feel terrible,” he explained. “I accidently hit this rabbit and killed it.”

The woman told the man not to worry. She knew what to do. She went to her car trunk and pulled out a spray can. She walked over to the limp, dead rabbit, and sprayed the contents of the can onto the rabbit. Miraculously, the rabbit came to life, jumped up, waved its paw at the two humans and hopped down the road. 50 feet away the rabbit stopped, turned around, waved at the two again, hopped down the road another 50 feet, turned, waved, and hopped another 50 feet. The man was astonished. He couldn’t figure out what substance could be in the woman’s spray can! He ran over to the woman and demanded, ” What was in your spray can? What did you spray onto that rabbit?” The woman turned the can around so that the man could read the label. It said:

“‘Hare Spray’ Restores Life to Dead Hare. Adds Permanent Wave.”

The Economics of Happiness – Jeffrey D. Sachs – Project Syndicate.

NEW YORK – We live in a time of high anxiety. Despite the world’s unprecedented total wealth, there is vast insecurity, unrest, and dissatisfaction. In the United States, a large majority of Americans believe that the country is “on the wrong track.” Pessimism has soared. The same is true in many other places.

Against this backdrop, the time has come to reconsider the basic sources of happiness in our economic life. The relentless pursuit of higher income is leading to unprecedented inequality and anxiety, rather than to greater happiness and life satisfaction. Economic progress is important and can greatly improve the quality of life, but only if it is pursued in line with other goals.

In this respect, the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan has been leading the way. Forty years ago, Bhutan’s fourth king, young and newly installed, made a remarkable choice: Bhutan should pursue “gross national happiness” rather than gross national product. Since then, the country has been experimenting with an alternative, holistic approach to development that emphasizes not only economic growth, but also culture, mental health, compassion, and community.

Dozens of experts recently gathered in Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, to take stock of the country’s record. I was co-host with Bhutan’s prime minister, Jigme Thinley, a leader in sustainable development and a great champion of the concept of “GNH.” We assembled in the wake of a declaration in July by the United Nations General Assembly calling on countries to examine how national policies can promote happiness in their societies.

All who gathered in Thimphu agreed on the importance of pursuing happiness rather than pursuing national income. The question we examined is how to achieve happiness in a world that is characterized by rapid urbanization, mass media, global capitalism, and environmental degradation. How can our economic life be re-ordered to recreate a sense of community, trust, and environmental sustainability?

Read the rest of the Article ….

The Economics of Happiness – Jeffrey D. Sachs – Project Syndicate.

A family of three tomatoes were walking downtown one day when the little baby tomato started lagging behind. The big father tomato walks back to the baby tomato, stomps on her, squashing her into a red paste, and says, “Ketchup!”

The RSA leak exposes the dirty under-belly of the commercial security industry, it’s a story that sounds like it’s straight out of Hollywood.

Then – We’ve packed this episode full of Audience questions, and our answers. Find out how to plan for failure, start building a website….

All that and more, on this week’s TechSNAP!

Checkout Jupiter Boardcasting and TechSNAP here

Four Things Mark Zuckerberg Should Tell Every CMO

by Michael Scissons

Michael has written a great article about Facebook marketing.  Here is an excerpt of some key points I found interest and important.

Engagement on the Facebook walls of leading brands is down 22%. Brands aren’t playing for the long term. Engagement is the crown jewel of a community marketer. It’s always talked about and drives the relevance and power of the platform. We reviewed public engagement data for 300 of the top brands on Facebook over a one-year period starting in July 2010. The results show a clear decline in average engagement.

Many are likely to blame Facebook, but it’s more likely that marketers themselves have led to this decline. Dissing audiences with bad content, coupons, polls, contests, and boring filler is the way to blow off engagement in the long run, even if it makes a few campaign results shine in the short term.

Not all 300 brands saw a decline. Some brands were rock stars and beat the Street. The winners included brands like Deutsch, Renault, Hermes, Lowe’s, and Chanel. These brands didn’t have the most fans, but day in and day out, they are performing magic in keeping their fan base engaged.

Local pages drive 36% better results. Global results are built one region at a time. A few words to the wise from our data wizards:

Bigger is not always better and,

Regional programs perform significantly better then global ones.

Check out the whole article here, Four Things Mark Zuckerberg Should Tell Every CMO