On a Denied Snow Day, Beware the Wrath of Schoolchildren

This one hurt.

If childhood affords few experiences more pleasurable than that of waking up to a snow day, it holds fewer disappointments more crushing than having a snow day snatched from your giddy grasp.

Perhaps, children, you’re wondering if you were somehow partly to blame. Maybe you got overconfident when the mayor declared a weather emergency before the first flakes had even fallen Tuesday evening, urging drivers off the roads.

Maybe you considered the snow day such a sure thing you neglected to perform the pajamas-on-backwards-leave-a-spoon-under-the-pillow-and-flush–ice-cubes-down-the-toilet ritual.

Whatever the reason, a city full of public schoolchildren awoke to a masterpiece of cognitive dissonance: 9 inches of winter wonderland out the window, and the caffeinated voice on the news radio ordering them to class.

The kids were upset. And the main target of their wrath was that two-faced mayor.

“I got mad at Mayor Bloomberg because he lets his kids walk like this on ice and snow,” said Kaitlyn Velazquez, a fourth grader on her way to Public School 166 in Long Island City, Queens.

To be sure, a lot of students did stay home, whether in protest or because of transit problems (of which there were few). Only 46 percent of schoolchildren showed up for school, about half the number who came to school last Wednesday, when the weather was fine. But those that did were fuming in their chairs.

On Twitter, where the older children go, the language was saltier than a coddled sidewalk, but the sentiment was the same as 9-year-old Kaitlyn’s.

“I know all those kids that had to go school today wish that bloomberg fell on that snow,” read the printable portion of a Twitter post by kathy890.

Those with an adolescent’s ear for injustice recognized bitter irony. “I could commit a crime and be safe in prison or I could go to school and risk my life,” wrote Fox_Fortune. “Good message bloomberg!”

But listen up kids, it was for your own good. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said so.

“Our kids are better off in school,” he said at a news conference on Wednesday, noting that parents who can’t find day care on snow days often have to miss work. His schools chancellor, Cathleen P. Black, had reached the same conclusion. “The last thing we’re going to do is close schools and put 1.1 million children wandering around with nothing to do,” she said.

And just because they canceled school twice last year doesn’t mean that it’s routinely done. Sit down now for a brief history lesson. During a 31-year stretch from 1978, when your dad was in knee pants, to 2009, the New York City public schools racked up a whopping total of three snow days. In 31 years!

Maybe kids were tougher back in Dad’s day, is that it? Don’t you want to be tougher than those private-school kids, many, if not most, of whom got the day off? Of course you do.

More mature children accepted the mayor’s decision as an opportunity for personal growth.

“if there’s school, there’s school,” SorinnaStyles wrote on Twitter. She tossed an obscenity the mayor’s way, then added, “but people like me should step up in school!”

Even some students who gave in to anger benefited from the experience: it got them to care, for the day at least, about politics and politicians. In a moment, a generation found its voice and its issue. There were calls for Mr. Bloomberg’s defeat from the office he has held for some of his younger constituents’ entire conscious lives. Indeed, his face is so ubiqutous as The Mayor that many children seem to assume that he will still be running for office when they reach voting age. Should that happen to be true, he seems to have lost a few votes on Wednesday, the Snow Day That Almost Was.

“Bloomberg. U ain’t gonna get any vote from me,” ikavin wrote on Twitter.

At Elisabeth Irwin High School, a private school in the West Village that followed the mayor’s lead and stayed open, the school library’s Twitter feed reported from the trenches: “We have school! Students talking abt staging a coup, taking down Bloomberg’s anti-snowday platform.”

Inevitably, though, the reality of another day at school took hold, the library’s Twitter feed reported: “Start of homeroom dissolved revolution.”

Tim Stelloh and Rebecca White contributed reporting.

Webmaster Forum | SEO Forum | Coding Forum | Graphics Forum
Go to Source

Forecast for the Ride Home: Unremarkable

Wednesday proved a resilient day for the region’s mass transit network, and most afternoon commuters should expect an unremarkable ride home.

Subways and buses are running on a normal schedule. Same goes for New Jersey Transit, the PATH and the Long Island Rail Road, although commuter trains on two branches on Long Island are still being cut short: east of Speonk on the Montauk line, and east of Ronkonkoma on the line to Greenport.

The Metro-North Railroad, which is operating on a reduced Sunday schedule, warned its passengers to “expect crowded trains and delays” in the evening rush. Service on the railroad’s Danbury and Waterbury branches in Connecticut remains suspended. Amtrak has suspended service between Boston and New York because of fallen trees that damaged overhead electrical wires.

Alternate-side parking rules will remain suspended in the city through Thursday. But parking meters will go back into effect.

Webmaster Forum | SEO Forum | Coding Forum | Graphics Forum
Go to Source

Photography Marketing And Selling Secret #14 – How To Present Your Prices On The Telephone

Photography Marketing and Selling are very closely related and intertwined in your photography business. Unless you master them both – you fail.

But most photographers think that the PHOTOGRAPHY is the most important part of their business. But the fact of the matter is that if you suck at photography marketing and selling, then no matter how great your photography is, you will starve. Sad yes – but so true.

And one of the most important areas of your business is the telephone. And in the Western Hemisphere, how you handle the question of your prices is one of the most important areas of the telephone (and E-mail, too, but I’ll talk about that in a later article.)

First, two important Telephone Sales Laws: Telephone Law #1: If you volunteer your prices before you are asked, it says two things: First, you’re worth it, and second, you’re proud of those fees.

Telephone Law #2: It’s not the actual prices you charge that matter – its’ how you present them to a prospect that determines your level of success.

Now, I know, usually the first question you and I get on the phone is “How much do you charge.” So you’re probably wondering how you’re supposed to “volunteer” your fees, if that is the first question.

Well, what you do first is to use the “Redirection Question” – which goes like this: “I’ll be happy to discuss our fees, but may I ask you a few questions first, so I know exactly what it is you’re looking for?” This question will almost always get a “yes” response from the caller, as it makes perfect sense that you need to ask a few questions before you can actually give her an accurate estimate of what the investment will be for her.

Then you ask questions – which have been designed to put her onto the right-side of the brain (the emotional side) as I have talked about in other articles. Then, before she asks again, once you have found out what is most important to her about her photography, who she’s thinking of having photographed, how she heard about you, etc. – you use the “Volunteer Statement” to give her an estimate of what she can plan on investing.

Now, the EXACT wording of the Volunteer Statement is extremely important. You MUST memorize it – word for word.

Here it is, based on years of research, study, testing and using this Volunteer Statement in my own photography business: “Before we go any further, let me give you an indication of how much you can plan on investing. Is that okay?” (Wait for her to say “yes”.)

“Most people in your situation can usually plan on investing between X and Y and get a larger one for themselves, and a few smaller ones for gifts. Does that fit within your budget?”

Then SHUT UP – don’t say anything more. Wait for her to respond.

You may be wondering about the “X” and the “Y” above. What you do is calculate the absolute LEAST amount she could get out of your studio – honestly – with an 8×10 and a couple of 4×5’s. This is the “X” you say. Then add a couple of hundred to the “X” and this becomes your “Y” above. So you are being totally honest with her, based on the fact that, to 99% of all callers, an 8×10 is a “larger one” and the 4×5’s are “smaller ones.” Truthfully.

Now, don’t underestimate the amazing power of this memorized statement – it’s truly stunning! But it has to be said WORD FOR WORD – exactly as stated above. One of the many “Keys” to this, is you have used a “ball-park figure” instead of a very specific amount of investment, and you have not mentioned any sizes or finishes, or any other numbers – as we know that numbers kill sales – because they are left-brain logical and analytical and we know that people invest in photography services for right-brain EMOTIONAL reasons.

If you will use this Volunteer Statement on every call you receive, you will see a terrific increase in your profits with your photography business. People who otherwise would have “kept shopping” will end up hiring YOU and working with YOU – and that’s a win-win. You win, yes, but the client is the real winner – as she gets the chance to have beautiful, emotional photography of those she loves – created by YOU in a way that no one else could do.

In my next article, I’ll explain exactly how to present your fees to a prospective client when she is in your studio, in person.

Hope this has been helpful.

All the best,

Charles J. Lewis, M. Photog., Cr.


Charles Lewis has created the ultimate guide – “The TOP 33 Photography Marketing Secrets” free E-Book reveals the secrets for getting hundreds of new customers – FAST – regardless of the economy, your town, or whether you work on main street or out of your home. Go here now: Photography Marketing Secrets

Webmaster Forum | SEO Forum | Coding Forum | Graphics Forum
Go to Source

Secure Online Payments

The seamless world of the Internet has broken open the physical barriers that existed across regions on the Globe. Today, therefore, you could be sitting in Munich and buying goodies from Seoul. Very convenient, and thrilling. But, when you pay for your goodies and swipe you’re Credit Card, are you sure, you are paying only for what you paid for? Chances are your Credit Card Information traverses through alien territory into the wrong pair of hands. The result, the next morning, you will find your Bank account eroded or emptied? Not a situation that most of us can afford or enjoy.

How do we then transact on the Internet and yet safeguard our hard earned monies from those Electronic pirates? The answer is relatively simple. Every time you choose to buy product or services through web-sites, before entering your Credit Card and other personal information look for information on whether the payment gateway is secured. Informed customers would always prefer to transact their business through secure sites and this will automatically bring in more business to Websites secured through SSL certificates from well known providers.

Payment gateways are secured through SSL or Secured Socket Layer. When you enter your personal and or Credit Card information into a secure site, an encrypted public key is created. This is termed as a handshake to authenticate safe transaction. The unique encryption method which gets established in the process will have a unique session key. This process protects theft of valuable data and only the transaction that you intend to complete is processed.

SSL certification has been found to be very reliable across, Internet users and also among the customers. These certificates are issued by a reliable and trusted authority, the Certificate Authority. The web-site through which you are attempting to transact business carries signs of the agency which has issued the SSL certificates. There are other similar agencies too, which offer these SSL certifications. When you click on the sign, the details of the certifying agency are displayed.

When you click on such secured domains, your system generates a SSL handshake which is accessed by the web-site server. The unique encryption method employed then allows a secure transaction to go through.

Why all this bother?

When you are transacting valuable business or even sending across precious data, it is necessary to route them through secure servers which have the seal of security such as an SSL certificate. In the absence of this Security, it would compare with sending a snail mail in a transparent envelope.

For E-Commerce and other Web-site owners, the SSL certification acts as a stamp of credibility and assurance of safety to their valuable customers.

For the Service Providers and other Vendors/Merchants in the Internet world, exhibiting their site security sign – a reputed one at that, not only assures the customer that the information he parts with will be securely handled, but also separates them from the crowd. Informed customers would always prefer to transact their business through secure sites and this will automatically bring in more business to Websites secured through SSL certificates from well known providers.

Mike Knudtson is the author of this article on credit card processing. He’s the President of the credit card processing company Electronic Transfer. For more information about the iPhone credit card terminal and Smartphone credit card terminals visit his site or call 1-800-757-5453.

Webmaster Forum | SEO Forum | Coding Forum | Graphics Forum
Go to Source