Business & Technology Crack – Does Business Drives Technology or Technology Drives Business?

Information Technology and the move to a computerized infrastructure model are bringing great changes to many industries. Often it is the CIO of the company who escort this fundamental shift in the business revenue stream. Leading others through modernization, revolutionize and transformation means you must be able to make changes yourself.

Forget about asking whether technology drives business or business drives technology. Stop perturbing about whether or not technology is strategic. Silence all the confusions about how advance this technology is to that technology. In technology, there are numerous questions that if you have to ask, you probably already know and don’t like the answer. A more satisfying line of inquiry is how much of your technological horsepower is actually being used to turn the wheels of innovation.

Some people says that Technology drives business modernization, novelty, success & Innovations that opens up new doors of opportunities, improves the company’s performance on the whole, sharpens the company’s market intelligence, and makes new things possible for the clients. Another school of thought is that the Business Drives Technology, as such integration is about assisting business to facilitate their profitability by utilizing technology and other resources available to the enterprise. But realistically speaking, the driving force comes from the CEO and CIO of the company, who both endeavor to leverage technology to its fullest potential.

In a society that has become entirely dependent on computers and immediate communications, technology is becoming the heartbeat in the process of office design as decisions on layout and services. Some aspects of technology, like the computer animation & communication, are highly visible demonstration devices. But more of it is in the largely unseen infrastructure, with the emphasis on sophisticated wiring and smart communication devices to provide for an ever greater flow, and on communications and power facilities to keep operations running through almost any anticipated calamity.

In the modernization of the today’s businesses, Common business drivers include; Mergers and Acquisitions, Internal Reorganizations, Application and System Consolidation, Inconsistent/Duplicated/Fragmented Data, New Business Strategies, Compliance with Government Regulations, Streamlining Business Processes. To achieve the success in the accommodation of these business drivers, the sturdy and smart input would be required from both the parties i.e. the business as well as the technology.

In a company, you could cover every surface in your office with how to manage change. But one aspect of change management that often dodges IT Managers is how to better influence corporate colleagues. If information technology drives business decisions, the IT executives must communicate and be persuasive with other department heads on key project management issues.

Strategic planning for Information Technology is one component of an overall company vision for success. This psychoanalysis facilitates IT professionals to successfully define short and long-term goals and ascertain the resources necessary to apprehend such goals. To ensure success, the strategic plan should be developed in a thorough but rapid manner, consist of a brief, succinct compilation of analyzed data, and provide opportunities by which additional planning and analysis can occur.

Several important benefits occur as the result of a successful strategic IT plan. First, employees are provided with an understanding of how their role fits in with the overall company structure. Also, this planning allows managers to realize additional opportunities for growth and success. Finally, important relationships between technology investment and positive outcomes, such as increased market share, are revealed.

It’s now become the industry dilemma that IT people need to know more about business. They need to understand the disciplines and the lingo of business process management, business performance management, customer relationship management, supply chain management, financial management, human resources management, operations management, etc. Lacking that knowledge, communication with business people and understanding of business requirements will forever be troubled.

On the other hand the Business people should also drive their efforts to know more about information technology. As with all communication and relationship issues, this is not a prejudiced problem. Just as IT people need to become more business-oriented, business people need to be more IT-oriented. They need to understand the roles and relationships among the many different kinds of technology upon which their information systems depend, and they need to understand the dependencies among those technologies. Business people need to have a working knowledge of the technology stack as it affects their capability to get information, perform business analysis, and make informed business decisions.

Beyond the relatively straight-forward needs of business becoming IT-oriented and technologists becoming business-oriented, there lies a new challenge. We must develop common understanding and shared perspective of value, an issue that is both a business concern and a technology consideration. When business and IT have different meaning and outlook for value, conflicts are certain to arise.

Business and IT organizations often have two evidently different perspectives of value. IT expert generally take a data-to-value approach. Where Data produces information, information enhances knowledge, knowledge drives action, action produces outcomes, and favorable outcomes deliver value. Business management typically uses a goals-to-value system. Business drivers and goals determine strategies, strategies drive tactics, which in turn produce results, and positive results produce value.

Effective business/IT relationships are ultimately a question of alignment. New IT skills, new business skills, and new perspectives that sets the stage for business/IT alignment. But it doesn’t assure alignment. To achieve genuine association there are several things that must be done; some by IT, some by the business, and some collectively.

Conflicts between business and IT organizations have existed from the very beginning of automated Information Systems. We have accelerated in so many ways both in business and in technology. However, the problem still pestilences most of the businesses. The Business/IT crack must go away. The cost is high; the value is null; and the barriers that it crafts grow bigger each moment. The problem can be fixed, and the time to fix it is now!

Source: Pervaiz Pyar Ali

9.99 $ the Psychology of Pricing

Setting the right price is also a matter of psychology.
There are several well established “rules”, which pricing
Should follow to be successful, as follows:
a) End your price with a 5, 7, 8 or 9. NEVER end in a 0 or
1. Doesn’t $19.99 sound better than $20? Isn’t 99 cents much
Cheaper than a $1
Don’t forget humans buy on emotion first and then justify
That buying decision with a rational explanation afterwards!
b) Something for nothing. We all love to get something for
Free. Many times on the Web you will see free bonuses
Offered with an ebook

If you have purchased my latest ebook “How to Search the
Internet” you will have
Received free bonuses to the value of $148! The most valid reason for using this strategy is that your
Ebook covers something new, maybe a new technique for doing
Something, which is not yet common knowledge
Don’t stick with this skimming strategy forever as your
Ebook sales will eventually peter out to nothing.
I have only scratched the surface of the ins and outs of
Pricing unfortunately pricing can be something of a black
Art and very difficult to do properly hopefully this
Article has put you on the right road pointing in the right
Direction An existing customer is more likely to buy from
You again In fact, it is not uncommon for more than 80% of
First time customers to buy a second product from the same
Source as the first this is especially true if the first
Product they bought was deemed by them to be of exceptional

Other ways of building in perceived value is to bundle
Several ebook together for a single price this price must
Be lower than the price of all ebook added together. For
Example if you offer two ebook that normally sells for $19
Each, selling them together for $29 would make them a
Perceived bargain and more attractive to a customer
With this strategy you
Price your ebook high and every sale brings a much larger
Profit at the expense of fewer customers, and therefore a
Smaller market share.
If you are pricing high on the net your ebook had better be
Unique and covering a subject that everyone wants to know
Something about Even then you are begging for someone to
Come along and undercut you on price.
The most valid reason for using this strategy is that your
Ebook covers something new, maybe a new technique for doing
Something, which is not yet common knowledge
Don’t stick with this skimming strategy forever as your
Ebook sales will eventually peter out to nothing.
I have only scratched the surface of the ins and outs of
Pricing unfortunately pricing can be something of a black
Art and very difficult to do properly hopefully this
Article has put you on the right road pointing in the right
Direction An existing customer is more likely to buy from
You again In fact, it is not uncommon for more than 80% of
First time customers to buy a second product from the same
Source as the first this is especially true if the first
Product they bought was deemed by them to be of exceptional

If you want to establish market dominance with your ebook
Then pricing to penetrate is a good strategy although your
Profit level will be low at the expense of acquiring a large
Number of customers

Source: Prem Bahadur
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Islam: A Religion of Hate or Love?

 Is there a reasonable basis for a Christian, or Jew, to have a justified fearful apprehension of the practice of Islamic theology, and of the aggressive Muslim agenda taught and represented by the Prophet Mohammed in the Koran?  Does the Koran teach that Muslims should be honest, peaceful, and tolerant human beings in their associations with people Mohammed called infidels, or is it quite the opposite?  These questions are answered quite differently around the world by Shiite and Sunni cross-sections of over-a-billion-strong world Muslim population.  The majority of these devout practicing Muslims are the religion’s fundamentalists who are citizens of the Middle-Eastern countries that were parts of the original Mohammedan Empire, which occupied and controlled most of the Holy Land, and a good deal of Europe, between 700-1100 A.D.

As is currently the case, the reading and interpreting of the Koran by a Muslim cleric in Islamabad, Pakistan and Kabul, Afghanistan, is considerably different than that done in a mosque in San Francisco, California.  The fundamental commandments of love and peace given by Mohammed in the Koran, the ones he gave while he was, supposedly, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, are quite different, and quite opposed, to the ones he later gave to his disciples in Medina, which he said basically abrogated, or changed, his former commandments.  These new commandments of abrogation mandated all faithful Muslims to seek out and, either, convert, capture, or kill infidels in accordance with, and fulfillment of, the sixth pillar of Islam, jihad or warring conflict. These infidels, according to Mohammed, comprised all Jews and practicing Christians, or those who worshipped the Christian trinity or Godhead.  Furthermore, Mohammed encouraged faithful Muslims to lie and deceive the infidels into postures of submission to the Islamic Supreme Being, Allah.  Over 350 verses in the Koran teach nothing but hate for the infidel. In one of them, (Muslim C9B1N31), Mohammed said “I have been commanded to fight against people until they testify to the fact that there is no god but Allah, and believe in me (that) I am the messenger and in all that I have brought.”   Hence, the meaning of the word Islam is rendered to mean submission to the will of Allah.  Classical Islamic scholars have argued that anyone who has studied the Koran or Qur’an, without having mastered the doctrine of abrogation is basically deficient.  Those faithful Muslims who do not accept abrogation actually fall outside the Islamic mainstream and, perhaps, even the religion itself.  Yet, the Ahmadiyah Islamic sect, today concentrated in Pakistan, consistently rejects abrogation only because it makes it seem that the Koran is not free from errors. 

Compared to the commandments of Jesus Christ, in the New Testament of the Holy Bible, which admonish all human beings to love and treat their neighbors as themselves, the commandments of Mohammed, in the Koran, are basically one-sided in terms of theological purpose, for they are written to only apply to how Muslims are to love and respect other Muslims, not how Muslims are to respect “all” of God’s children.  The austerity and strictness of fundamentalist Islamic theology, as taught and applied in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, do not derive from any other source than the Koran, as read and interpreted by classic Islamic clerics.  This is why Sharia Law (or traditional Islamic law) has been advocated by Islamic leaders of burgeoning Muslim populations in Western nations, such as the United Kingdom, as the law that should be allowed to govern all Muslims.  There are, for instance, so many fundamentalist Muslims in London that the British have allowed them to practice their own laws and traditions in place of British law.  Among other Islamic traditions, Sharia Law permits, and enforces polygamy and, even, honor killings, wherein daughters and sons of fundamentalist Muslim families, who choose infidel mates over faithful practicing Muslims, are murdered for the honor of the families.  And this type of law is what Barack H. Obama has been quietly advocating over the years, first as a senator from Illinois and now as U.S. President, for practicing Muslims in the United States, which has clearly demonstrated his higher regard for Islamic tradition and theology over what he claims are his Christian faith and values.  This might explain why an 18 percent-and-growing segment of the American electorate believe that Obama is not really a Christian in basic belief.     

The stark aforementioned dichotomy between the pure Christian love that was taught by Jesus, and recorded in the Bible, and the hatred and unabashed human conflict that was taught and emphasized by Mohammed, and recorded in the Koran, is the essence of this essay.  This obvious dichotomy is a blatant fact, and one that makes reason stare when Muslim Taliban clerics, in Kabul, Afghanistan, can read and interpret the Islamic commandments of Mohammed and derive a totally different meaning from them than, say, westernized Muslim clerics in Washington, D.C.  Of course, most argumentative Islamic clerics will endeavor to show equally rabid interpretations of Jesus’ words in the Holy Bible, and the New Testament, by introducing such evidence as the bloody Crusades, which were sponsored by the Jolly Popes of the Roman Catholic Church to reclaim the Holy Land, supposedly, in the name of Christ.  This tragic juncture in the history of Western Civilization is hardly evidence of the interpretation of Jesus’ words in his “Sermon on the Mount” and throughout the course of his personal ministry and the later ministries of his apostles.  For the Popes who ordered the Crusades did so not as representatives of Jesus, but as military emperors who issued their papal bulls in the name of vengeance for Western European interests.  No sane and reasonable person can possibly read the words of Jesus, in Matt. 22:21, and infer from his rhetoric anything other than a clear separation of church and state, wherein his statement to the Jews, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” was a succinct declaration of this separateness.  Jesus also declared before Pontius Pilot, in John 18:36, that, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”  Today, Christian ministers in Ankara, Turkey can read Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” and derive the same basic meaning from it that Christian ministers in London or Moscow derive.  Not so with Muslim clerics, in different parts of the world, who read the words of Mohammed, in the Koran, quite differently.

After his ascension into heaven, Jesus taught through his apostle, James, that it is impossible for, both, good and evil things to proceed, in godliness, from the same person.  This profound biblical scripture, in Jas 3:11, explicitly illustrates this Christian principle. “Does a spring pour forth from the same opening fresh water and brackish?”  In Mohammed’s case it did, for he exhorted his disciples to say, and do, things that were both evil and, supposedly, good for Muslim interests.  This is a matter of historical record.  Would a true prophet of the true God say such things?  I don’t think so.  Now, as for the fear that true Christians in the United States should have of the spread of Islam within the republic, and the drastically increasing population of Muslim immigrants and their progeny, I sincerely believe that the international Muslim community has an agenda to subdue infidel Western countries through the strategy of becoming so populous within the various nations that, one day soon, Sharia Law will be inexorably voted into practice by an overwhelming Muslim majority.  That is, if they are allowed to multiply to such an extent.

The worldwide Muslim community was a potentially ominous sleeping giant before 1950, before the United States and Britain began surreptitiously interfering with Muslim homelands in order to control their rich oil resources and its production, and especially before the first U.S. invasion of Iraq in 1991.  The governments of the United States and the United Kingdom don’t relish recalling the 1954 CIA/MI6 led Iranian coup, Operation Ajax, that overthrew a democratically elected head of a Muslim state, and installed a U.S./British puppet dictator, the Shah, to head the Iranian government.  This, among other things, is looked upon by fundamentalist Muslims as a continuing compelling reason for vengeance against the Western infidel.  Moreover, Muslim immigration into the United States, before 1970, was at an all time low.  Then, beginning with the Iranian Islamic Revolution, in 1979, and, later, when the orchestration of the 9/11 mass-murders were conveniently blamed on fundamentalist Islamic jihad and Saudi Ossama bin Laden by the Bush administration, and, especially, after Afghanistan and Iraq were ineffectually invaded to overthrow the Taliban and Saddam Hussain, the fundamentalist Shiite and Sunni factions of Islam, the world over, began to theologically coalesce and work amazingly well together to oppose the invading infidels.  A rag-tag army of mostly untrained and scantily armed Islamic Afghani Taliban fighters have, since 2002, successfully kept at bay over a hundred thousand of the best trained Marine Corps, Army, and joint U.S. Special Forces troops, which have been sent to neutralize the insurgent forces throughout the mountainous country.  It would have seemed that the awful lesson learned by the Soviets in their attempted subjugation of Afghanistan would have taught the arrogant imperialist U.S. politicians controlling the U.S. military a significant lesson in fighting unjust un-winnable wars.  For that matter, Vietnam should have been the lesson learned for all time.  Yet, since 2003, the same sad effect has been experienced in Iraq, which leads a reasonable mind to conclude that suppression, and the elimination, of bloody militant Muslim opposition to U.S. presence in Islamic nations is virtually impossible. 

Since 1991, demographic facts support that immigration of Middle-Eastern Muslim men, women, and families into Western nations has increased 85 percent, and the current Muslim birthrate in the United States, and the United Kingdom, is approximately 7-8 children per adult Muslim woman.  No wonder the Muslim population in London has increased a staggering 85 percent between 1980 and the year 2000.  This is probably why the Muslim population was great enough in that British city for them to demand the practice of Sharia Law, which was officially adopted in Britain on September 14, 2008, with Sharia courts, possessing Islamic powers, set up in the capital city.  A colleague of mine said something recently that was extremely provocative in terms of its probable truth regarding the spread of Islam in the United States.  In gist, he proposed that, if the Koran encourages faithful Muslims to lie and deceive the infidel Christians and Jews into trusting them, in order to gain power over the infidels, how can you trust any practicing Muslim, especially the ones who arbitrarily interpret the Koran to say that Muslims are commanded to love and tolerate Christians and Jews.  This not-so-unreasonable Christian and Jewish perception of a probable Islamic agenda to conquer and control what conscientious Muslims perceive to be the great Western Satan is one held currently by millions of Christians and Jews around the world.  The proof, as they say, is in the pudding, or, in this case, what is written in the standard handbook for the practice of Islam, the Koran.  That very few of the hundreds of millions of Christians in the United States, the U.K., and Western Europe have no real knowledge of the abrogation taught by Mohammed in the Koran, and of the utter hatred expressed in its words against Christians and Jews, is a tragic reality.  Most of these uninformed individuals are accepting the interpretations of Islamic doctrine from, supposedly, westernized Muslim clerics, and wrongly believing that the Muslim communities in cities such as Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, Madrid, and, even, Sydney, Australia truly love and tolerate Christians and Jews.


I recall the words of a venerable Jewish scholar, Helmud Weiss, who had taught German literature at the University of Berlin during the time Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were coming to power.  He laughing had said to his concerned friends, when sternly advised to flee his homeland for America, that, “even if the Nazis do come to power, there will be enough men of good will in Germany to put a stop to Hitler’s anti-Semitism, for the words and ideas of the man are an abomination to all that is good.”   Nonetheless, history records that Professor Weiss was sent, in 1939, to the gas chamber at Auswitz.  Therefore, it would probably be a very good idea for all those people, who presently trust the practicing Muslims to have love and toleration for Christians, Jews, and all other non-Muslims, to read the Koran for themselves in order to derive a true and correct understanding of the religion established by Mohammed.        



Source: Norton R. Nowlin
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Technology Disconnect

Technology disconnect is becoming a big issue, but most people are not aware of it or don’t want to talk about it. Isn’t that the problem in the first place? Let me just say, I love technology and gadgets too, computer, cell phones PDA, I pods and now the I pad. This stuff is cool, but what I see and I am sure you see it too. Most people are caught in this tech bubble and don’t know it. Have you walked into a store and checked out while still talking on the phone. Did you even say hello to the person cashing you out. How rude are we anyways? Do we ever experience the moment at hand? Are you seeing that people have discovered a new what to escape real communication. How do we share our lives, moment by moment. But lots of these moment are being lost because of lack of focus on the moment and people at hand. Have you ever experience a person who stops by to say hello and get a text message from somewhere in the stratosphere and now they are with you in body only, but having a so-called conversation with invisible texting buddy. What an intrusion this is. These people are missing the moment at hand. They don’t understand how the other person feels when this happen. We are losing respect for the people who are physically around us. I have to ask a question, are people afraid to share one on one these days. So to avoid openness and good conversation, they quickly answer cold text message instead of a warm “eyeball to eyeball” heartfelt talk. No wonder our society is getting cold and cruel.

Let us remember that when we are on the cell or text or pc or mac, whatever, remember there are warm live people who may want to talk to you, who need you, and want you to love them and to understand them. So the next time you look to use your toys remember not to try and escape, don’t get caught in the tech bubble or being a victim of the technology disconnect.

Source: Gary J. Cooper

Hollywood Films- Exciting the Youth

There are lots of films this year that Hollywood is going to give to the viewers. One of the most popular among these latest Hollywood movies is the “Phoebe in Wonderland” which is set to release on this coming 6th March. In this movie, Felicity Huffman and Elle Fanning stars as mother and daughter. It is basically a story of a troubled 9 year old girl who gets into an imaginary world when she has lots of problems living in the real world. Phoebe has some behavioural issues that steer her into trouble with her school principal, but she finds a good spirit in the drama teacher of the school. The teacher casts her in the lead role for Alice in Wonderland. Yet there are problems in her behaviour that can be full understood after watching this movie.

One of the most awaited among Upcoming Hollywood Movies is Sunshine Cleaning that stars Amy Adams and Emily Blunt. It will be released by the mid of March 2009. This film has been directed by Christine Jeffs. This is a fascinating story about a high school cheer leading captain who dated Rose Lorkowski ( Amy Adams ), finds herself a single mother working as a maid. Her sister ( Emily blunt ) Norah is still living at home with their dad Joe ( Alan Arkin ), a salesman in the movie. To provide better education to her son, Rose suggests Norah to go into the crime business with her to make some easy quick money. In no time, the girls get involved in lots of murders, suicides and so many other serious crimes. As they move up in this dirty business, the sisters find a true respect for each other and the closeness between them blossoms. By making their own improbable business, Rose and Norah experience temporary joy and happiness and they create a bright future for the entire Lorkowski family

One more among latest Hollywood movies is the ” Duplicity” that is set to release on coming 20th March 2009. This film stars Clive Owen and Julia Roberts in the lead. It is a very captivating story about CIA officer Claire Stenwick (Julia Roberts) and MI6 agent Ray Koval (Clive Owen) who leave government intelligence to take the benefit of the highly profitable cold war between two rival multinational corporations. Their mission is to secure the formula for a product that will bring a fortune to the company. Claire and Ray adopt this strategy to make some big cash and become more rich and famous people. Do they succeed in their policy?. Know it all by watching this most talked about movie that has been directed by the renowned director, Tony Gilroy .

So, if you want to watch Hollywood upcoming movies, just visit some sites that offer the information about these films and read the reviews to find out the best film for getting the complete entertainment and value for your money.

Source: Aradhana Gupta
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Grand Rapids Dental Practice Merger Nears Successful Completion

The merger of the practice of Grand Rapids dentist Robert Bochniak, DDS into the practice of fellow Grand Rapids dentist Ryan Van Haren, DDS that began in March 2009 is nearing a successful completion.  Both dentists have been working side by side at Dr. Van Haren’s office to transition patients from the care of Dr. Bochniak to Dr. Van Haren.

All of Dr. Bochniak’s patients who had appointments at Dr. Van Haren’s dental office at 2100 Raybrook SE, Suite 107, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 have now met Dr. Van Haren.  Many patients have expressed comfort with their transition of dental care to Dr. Van Haren with one patient stating, “Dr. Bochniak was my dentist for many years.  Sometimes transitions are difficult, but I feel l’m in excellent hands with Dr. Van Haren.”

According to Greg McGlaun, who is managing the merger of dental practices, “We had both fears and high hopes for the merger.  Our fears are subsiding and our high hopes are materializing.  A successful transition depends on providing a new dental home at which Dr. Bochniak’s patients feel comfortable.  Dr. Bochniak’s patients are now showing a high level of comfort with Dr. Van Haren.”

In a letter to patients, Dr. Bochniak stated, “It has been my privilege to have been able to take care of your dental health.  I have been fortunate to have so many wonderful patients.  However, the time has come for my retirement.  I will miss you all greatly.”

Van Haren Family Dentistry welcomes new patients in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.  Van Haren Family Dentistry can be reached at 616-949-2941.

Source: Greg McGlaun

The Rate of Technological Development

If we look over the last century and examine the rate of technological growth. We can forgive ourselves for feeling a little proud about how quickly things have moved forward compared to the previous centuries. Flying at speed. Moving underwater stealthily. Travelling in space to name a fraction of what the human race has achieved in such a short span of time.

The big question though, is could we have progressed any faster and further in that space of time? The answer to that question is a big resounding YES!

Since we have been civilised enough to be able to maintain a system of currency, we have had to rely on that very method of exchange, and commerce has taken full advantage of this situation. In fact, commerce has become so powerful that it actually controls the rate at which we progress.

There are currently three levels of technology in existence.

1) Commercial Technology.
This is the technology we use in everyday life. Covering all manner of toys, tools and useful objects. However, the level at which commercial technology is at. Is higher than that used in commercially available products. Now we could argue that the technology they hold back, is not fully tested, and therefore not completely safe. This might be true in very small percentages. The major reason for holding back is good old money. It’s all about making as much money out of a particular product before they move on to the next one. How many times have you seen products advertised as cutting edge at cut price? Only to find that they are outdated months later. Hard selling of latest technology at low prices is a key indicator that commerce is about to release a technologically superior product. So perhaps you can now see the control. What would happen to our technology if this didn’t happen?

2) Military Technology.
This is more advanced than commercial technology. There’s a lot of military technology we know about, and a lot we don’t know about. Governments will hold back the release of this technology into the commercial arena, because it can give them a tactical advantage in a military sense. The components used in military hardware will generally have a longer life than those used in commercial products. I remember having a component catalogue in the 1980’s. I could buy standard or military components. Standard were guaranteed for 1 year. Military for 5 years. They are generally more expensive. Commerce avoids using these products. The excuse is cost but it’s more likely to be because they want to sell you products at regular intervals. Having a product that lasted for a long time would be counter productive to them.

3) Experimental Technology.
This area is way ahead of commercial technology, but is closely watched by the military. There are developments currently in progress which are things that you possibly, couldn’t even comprehend, or didn’t even think was in the realm of possibility. The deepest and most secret of these are run by government bodies, and some of them, apparently, don’t exist. Again, this is for tactical reasons. If you could see what they were cooking up you would be amazed in one sense, and possibly frightened out of your skin.

So there we have it. After taking all these points into consideration, it’s quite obvious to see that progress is thwarted by these processes. Well, let’s see what the next few decades bring. Don’t worry though. Most of it is already here.

Source: Jeffrey Edwards

The Inspiration Behind James Bond

You might not be a reader of the spy genre but no doubt you have heard of Ian Fleming’s work. In 1953, the world was introduced to his creation of James Bond, the most popular fictional spy in history. With this British MI6 agent, Ian Fleming’s place in literary history was cemented. Upon Fleming’s death in 1964, he left behind a legacy of books and film that has captured the imagination of fans for decades.

It is hard to imagine that the legendary name of James Bond was inspired by the most trivial of things. The name of the famous spy was actually lifted from the author of a bird guide book. Fleming had wanted his hero’s name to be suitably dull and contrast it to the extraordinary events that would happen around him. And so the legend of James Bond was born, with the inspiration of a bird guide author.

Ian Fleming described his James Bond books as fairy tails for grown-ups. Perhaps that’s why he injected he embellished his own best qualities and breathed life into them in Bond. Both Fleming and Bond had a naval career background attaining the rank of Commander in the British navy. Both enjoyed the decadence of fine wines, champagnes, fast cars and cool spy gadgets. Bond was a character of elegant taste and in many ways, Bond was really a romanticized version of Fleming.

If Bond was an idealized projection of Fleming, then that would also explain his animal magnetism with the opposite sex. Fleming was known to be a womanizer and naturally, Bond took to his preferences of the perfect woman. With Bond’s Hollywood inspired good looks, he never had any trouble with the fairer sex.

Undoubtedly, James Bond’s exciting career, spy gadgets, elegant lifestyle, sexual exploits made him an engaging character to follow for men and women alike. It is therefore with some surprise that when Fleming first introduced him in the book Casino Royale, the legend did not take off. But as luck would have it, a certain American president name John F. Kennedy would appreciate Bond’s charisma and would name From Russia With Love as one of his favorite books. Perhaps he saw a kindred spirit? It was then that the Bond books would arise in popularity.

Today, the franchise of James Bond continues on in books and film even after the death of Fleming. New authors and actors continue the legacy and what better way to honor the author, than to let his alter ego James Bond live on forever?

Source: Mariam Ma
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Inventory and Appraisal

At the most basic level, the inventory is the list of the assets of the probate estate.  It is a tool with two main purposes.  It gives notice to the interested persons of the items that are part of the estate (and, if not listed, what is not part of the probate estate[1]).   The inventory also provides the probate court with the information necessary to calculate the inventory fee.

Within 91 days of the appointment of the personal representative, the information necessary for the computation of the inventory fee must be submitted to the court.  See MCL 700.3706 and MCR 5.307.

Note that not all inventories must be filed with the court.  In unsupervised administration, it is permissible to submit the inventory for review by the court.  The inventory fee will be determined and the inventory will be returned without filing.  An inventory that has been submitted but not filed must be sent to “all presumptive distributees and to all other interested persons who request it.” MCL 700.3706(2)  The proof of service (PC 564) should be kept and, as appropriate, filed with the court.

The amount of the inventory fee is set forth in MCL 600.871.  The inventory fee must be paid before the final account is filed or one year from the commencement of the estate, whichever occurs first.  Especially with illiquid estates (like where you can’t get the house sold), this timeline can pose a problem.  Wayne County Probate Court is dealing with this problem by having the personal representative sign an Inventory Fee Acknowledgement and Extension to Pay form (WCPC 380).  A number of probate courts throughout the state include inventory fee calculators on their websites.  Simply enter the amount of the inventory and the fee is calculated.

Form PC 577 should be filled out and submitted to the court in order for the personal representative’s obligation to be satisfied.  If you represent the initial personal representative, the inventory includes the value of both real and personal property at the time of the decedent’s death.  Subsequent personal representatives will need to file an inventory as well.  These inventories will be valued as of the date of the subsequent personal representative’s qualification to serve.

Preparation of the inventory may require having appraisals done, contacting investment companies or banks, looking up blue book prices for cars, and/or having the personal representative go through the decedent’s personal belongings and report anything of high value.  The Instructions for Form PC 577 provide list of items that should be submitted to substantiate an asset’s value.

It is important to make sure that all the inventory items are listed with enough detail.  With bank accounts, the account number as well as the address of each financial institution must be listed.  If the value of the property is determined by an appraisal, make sure the appraiser’s name and address is included, as well as a legal description of the real property or a detailed description of any personal property.

The value of stocks for inventory purposes is the average high and low value on the day of death, multiplied by the number of shares.  There are several web sites that can help you find this information.

Real property is included on the inventory list as long as it is not held as joint owners or entireties property.  Make sure that with all real property the commonly known name is listed and that the legal description and tax ID are included.  Even though you should note any encumbrances on the property, you cannot reduce the value on the inventory according to Michigan Court of Appeals decision Estate of Wolfe-Haddad v. Oakland County, 725 NW2d 80 (2006) .  The value of real property for the inventory is determined by either doubling the state equalized value (SEV) value or by an appraisal.  The SEV should be from a recent property tax bill. Though an appraisal is more expensive, with the declining market it can be a lot more accurate.

Personal property generally has little value to the estate.  It should be included on the inventory but the amount attributed to it should be nominal.  Some practitioners do not include the tangible property on the inventory unless it has significant value.  If there is truly something of value in the inventory, it should be appraised.


According to MCL 700.3703(4), the personal representative must give an annual account of all the receipts and disbursements until the estate is fully distributed.  This account must be served on all the interested persons in both supervised and unsupervised estates and must be filed with the court in supervised estates.

In supervised estates, the format of the accounting must comply with the format requirements of MCR 5.310(C)(2)(c).  Because you never know when you’re going to need the account to be approved by the courts, even in an unsupervised estate, it is always good to follow the format rules regardless of the type of estate.  Account of Fiduciary forms (PC 583 or 584) help you comply with these rules.

The top of the Account form identifies the probate court, the number of the account (1st Annual, Final, Interim), the case number and the case caption.  These details should be completed with care.   The account period runs from the date the Letters of Authority were issued and can be for no more than one year per account.

After filling in all the basic information about the estate and the personal representative, you must first enter the beginning balance.  On a first accounting, this will be the inventory amount.  If it is a second or subsequent accounting, the beginning balance will be listed as the assets remaining at the end of the first or immediately previous accounting.

After figuring out the beginning balance, it is necessary to account for any income in the accounting period in Schedule A.  Both the source and the amount received have to be included.  If the name of the source makes it unclear as to what the nature of the income was, it is usually good practice to put a general description.  The income listed in Schedule A does not include any newly found assets. Such discovered assets must be included in an amended inventory.

Next, you must account for all of the expenses during the accounting period in Schedule B.  Expenses include any administrative costs, any creditors that were paid, attorney’s fees that were paid, expenses of the personal representative that were approved and paid, and any distributions to the beneficiaries.  Be sure to include the name of the creditor or individual and the amount that was paid. This section does not include any losses from assets listed in the inventory that were sold off.

Transparency in how the funds were spent is key.  Written support for the disbursements is the best way to get your account accepted by the court and the interested persons.  The court will require a summary of legal, accounting and fiduciary fees.  The bills for these services should include what services were performed, by whom, how much time was expended for each task and the billing rate for each task.

The next section, Schedule C, is where you account for any gains and losses in the sale of assets.  For example, if a stock was liquidated during the accounting period the value at the time of death (from the inventory) and the value that it was liquidated for must be entered.  A total gain or loss for that asset is then calculated.  After all the assets are entered, the net gain or loss is calculated.  If there is a net gain, it is entered in Schedule A.  If it is a net loss, it is entered in Schedule B.  If no assets are sold or need to be accounted for, it is acceptable to use the Short Form, PC 583, rather than the Long Form PC 584.

In Schedule D, all the assets that remain in the estate are accounted for.  For example, if there is a house or car that has not been sold yet, it should be listed.  Also any bank accounts and the value at the time of accounting must be listed.  The description and the value (with the possible exception of bank accounts), should be the inventoried value, not the market value at the time of accounting.  Attorney fees and fiduciary fees incurred during the accounting period, whether paid or not, must also be recorded on the form.  A written description of the time spent and services performed must be attached.  If an attorney is acting as the personal representative it is important for them to separate their time between fiduciary responsibilities and legal services.

It is important for the fiduciary to be aware, from the beginning of the administration, that if he or she wants to be paid for the work performed, the fiduciary must track his or her time in detail.  Also, it is always good to explain to the personal representative that the more organized he or she is with the receipts and accounting, the less attorney fees will be incurred while filling out the accounting forms.  It will save both time and money in the long run if the staff does not have to track down a missing expense or income source or spend time going through shopping bags full of disorganized receipts.

The estate must send a copy of the accounting to each beneficiary if he or she has not received that beneficiary’s full share.  One the share is paid in full, the personal representative is no longer to provide that beneficiary with future accounts. Regardless of whether the estate is supervised or unsupervised, proof of service should be filed with the court.  It may be desirable to have the Probate Court approve the account each year.

Tax Issues

Early in the administration, the personal representative should obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for the estate.  The estate is a separate taxing entity and should therefore have its own EIN.  The decedent’s social security number should no longer be used for tax reporting.  An EIN may be obtained by mail, phone (800.829.4933) or on the web (  If obtained by phone or web, the EIN will be issued immediately.  A Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship (IRS Form 56) should also be filed with the IRS.

The personal representative must remember that state and federal income taxes still must be filed for the final year of the decedent’s life.  This can be done on a standard 1040.  Remember, this is only income that was earned by the decedent before his or her death.  A surviving spouse may elect to file this final return as a joint return.  If the personal representative files this final return, the decedent’s death should be made plain on the top of the return.  Be mindful of filing deadlines and if necessary obtain an extension of time to file.

If the estate has gross income of more than $600 in a year or any taxable income the estate must file a fiduciary income tax return.  This return is filed on IRS Form 1041 for the federal return MI-1041 for the state return.

It is important to do an early analysis of the estate to determine the estate tax liability.  If the gross estate is in excess of the then applicable estate tax exemption amount ($2 million for 2008, $3.5 million for 2009, no maximum for 2010 and $1million for 2011), an estate tax return will need to be prepared.  The forms are IRS Form 706 and MI-706.  This return is due nine month’s after decedent’s death.  An extension of time to file is available.

Especially with larger estates, it might be in your best interest and your client’s best interest to hire an outside accountant or at least consult with an accountant to make sure that all the forms are filed correctly and timely.  Do not be afraid to admit when you are over your head.


Before closing the estate it is important to make sure that all the administrative duties have been completed.  All of the creditors and taxes must be paid off or otherwise addressed.  When this is done, do a final accounting using PC 583 or 584, serve it on the beneficiaries of the estate who have not received his or her complete share, and file a Proof of Service with the court.  The process for completing the final account is as described previously.  The “Final” box at the top of the form should be checked.  Unlike prior annual accounts, assuming assets in the estate, the ending balance will be $0.00.


The personal representative has authority to make distributions from the estate as partial distributions during the course of the administration and at the conclusion of the administration.  If proceeding in unsupervised administration, court approval of such distribution is not required.

If proceeding in supervised administration, court approval must be sought prior to any distribution.  See MCL 700.3504 and 700.3505.  The personal representative should petition the court for approval of the proposed distribution.  Notice of Hearing (PC 562) and Proof of Service should be sent to all interested persons.  The parties can execute waivers and consents (PC 561) to expedite the process and perhaps obviate the need for a hearing.

Be careful when making partial distributions.  Once the funds flow out of the estate, it may be difficult or impossible to retrieve the funds from a beneficiary if additional costs or expenses are incurred by the estate.  The personal representative does have authority to seek recovery of estate assets improperly distributed to an heir, devisee or creditor.  See MCL 700.3911.  It is the better practice to be cautious in making distributions.

When distributions are contemplated, the personal representative may give the recipients notice of the intended distribution.  Providing written notice of the type and scope of the distribution puts the recipients on notice and if he or she objects to the distribution, such objection must be given in writing to the personal representative within 28 days.  See MCL 700.3908.  If there is disagreement about the distribution proposed, the parties can reach an agreement to alter shares.  See MCL 700.3914

The preferred method for distribution is an “in-kind” distribution.  See MCL 700.3906.  That is, distributing the assets of the estate in the form in which the estate obtained them.  This is true whether the assets are cash, stocks, bonds, vehicles, business interests or real estate.  If the recipients of the estate do not want to receive certain assets owned by the decedent, they will be sold as part of the administration with the proceeds distributed.  In the current economic conditions, inability to sell the real estate may delay the conclusion of administration.  In those circumstances, the beneficiaries sometimes elect in kind distribution of the real estate so that the estate may be closed and the real estate sold outside of the estate.

When distributions are made, it is important that the personal representative receive signed acknowledgement of the receipt of the distribution.  This acknowledgement is most easily obtained using the Receipt of Distributive Share form (PC 588).  This form can be modified to accommodate different kinds of distributions.  It does not need to be limited in use to distributions of tangible property.

Informal Closing

The personal representative’s signature must be notarized.

The interested persons have 28 days to object to the closing of the estate.  After 28 days, a Certificate of Completion (PC 592) may be obtained.  The estate is then complete.

Formal Closing

If the estate administration is a supervised administration, it must close formally.

Formal closing is accomplished by filing Petition for Complete Estate Settlement.  If a will has already been formally adjudicated then PC 593 is used.  PC 594 is used if the decedent died intestate or if the will has not been adjudicated previously with the court.  It is advisable to include a Schedule of Distributions and Payment of Claims (PC 596) and the final account with the Petition.  Once the hearing is set, send these pleadings, a Notice of Hearing and Proof of Service to the interested persons (the devisees of a testate estate, heirs unless there was a previous adjudication of testacy, claimants, and any other persons whose interests are affected by the relief prayed for). An proposed Order for Complete Estate Settlement (PC 595) for the judge should also be submitted with these pleadings.

If the petition requests discharge of the personal representative (which it almost always should), be sure that the inventory, accountings, notice of appointment, notice regarding attorney fees, notice of spousal election and allowance, affidavit of publication to unknown creditors, a statement that all Michigan estate taxes have been paid or that no federal estate tax return was required to be filed for the decedent and any proofs of service are all filed with the court.

If you can obtain Waivers and Consents from all of the interested persons, you may be able to avoid the need for a hearing.

After the hearing, assuming all goes well, the court will enter the Order for Complete Estate Settlement.  Parties have 28 days after entry of the court’s order to file a motion to set aside the order.  Once that time passes, the parties are barred from contesting the matter, the personal representative is discharged and the estate is concluded.

If the estate has not been completely distributed, the personal representative will need to present proof of the distributions and seek an Order of Discharge (PC 597).  Each beneficiary should sign a Receipt of Distributive Share (PC 588) which could be filed with the court.


A full probate procedure is not usually necessary for a non-resident who simply held property in Michigan.  The appointed personal representative in decedent’s domicile state, called the foreign personal representative, can usually take care of the matters as long as a local administration is not pending in Michigan.  63 days after the decedent’s death, a person holding property belonging to the decedent can turn the property over to the foreign personal representative and be released of liability.  The foreign personal representative must present proof of the domiciliary personal representative’s appointment and a sworn statement made by or on behalf of the representative stating (1) the date of the nonresident decedent’s death (2) that local administration, or an application or petition for local administration, is not pending in Michigan and (3) that the domiciliary foreign personal representative is entitled to payment or delivery of the property. See MCL 700.4201 and 700.4202.

Notice of Ancillary Administration Filing, PC 619, is used if the foreign personal representative needs to do more than collect money and the decedent’s property.  For example, if the foreign personal representative needs to sell a piece of real property.  This form must be filed with the court and it gives the foreign personal representative the power of a local personal representative without actually opening an estate in Michigan.  These powers are set forth in MCL 700.4203 and include the power to execute deeds and discharge mortgages.  This does not result in local administration or local appointment of the personal representative.  By filing the Notice of Ancillary Administration Filing with a Michigan probate court, the foreign personal representative does submit to the jurisdiction of the Michigan court for estate related matters.

If an application for local administration is entered, the local powers of the foreign personal representative are terminated and a local personal representative is appointed.  The administration in the decedent’s domicile then has no bearing on the Michigan estate administration.

If the estate that you are administering here in Michigan has property located in other states or countries, it will be necessary to seek the assistance of counsel licensed in the other jurisdiction.  There are many attorneys in Michigan who are licensed in multiple jurisdictions.  They may provide a nearby solution to probating property at a distance.


In theory, uniformity of practice suggests that the probate practice should be identical from one part of the state to another.  But as Yogi Berra said, “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”  This section is aimed at highlighting some differences of approach across some of the probate courts in our state.

Petition for Approval of Sale of Real Estate

A Petition for Approval of Sale of Real Estate (PC 646) only needs to be filed if court approval is required to dispose of real estate.  For example, if the Letter of Authority gives the personal representative restricted powers, this pleading will most likely have to be filed, served on the interested persons, and a hearing will be held (unless waivers and consents are obtained from all interested persons).  If the personal representative’s powers are unrestricted this step is not necessary.  When filing the pleading, remember to include a tax assessor’s statement with the SEV and a copy of the Purchase Agreement.  Wayne County Probate Court has a slightly different form to be used.

Notice of Continued Administration 

If an estate is unable to be closed within a year of the appointment of the personal representative, a Notice of Continued Administration (PC 587) must be filed within 2 months of the estate’s anniversary.  It also must specify why it is necessary to continue the administration.  For example, assets may still need to be disposed of and distributions made.  This form must be served on all interested persons.  Some courts accept these notices with little difficulty.  Others are much more demanding in the rationale for keeping an administration ongoing.

Information Changes

It is very important for the courts to have current and accurate information about the personal representatives (and the attorneys for that matter).  Wayne County and Oakland County both have specific forms that need to be filled out.  In Wayne County, there is a Change of Address form.  In Oakland County there is a Fiduciary Information Form (PEMH 1018) that must be filled out and can be found on the Oakland County Probate Court’s website (

Other Wayne County Probate Court Forms

An Affidavit Regarding Whereabouts of Certain Interested Persons (WCPC 23) can be filed with the court if a beneficiary or heir cannot be found.  This is more often used in unrepresented estates, but can also be filed by attorneys.  There is also a Testimony Interested Parties for a Wrongful Death case (PC 09).  It is slightly different than a SCOA Testimony Interested Persons.  It does not need to be filed.  It can be useful to determine parties entitled to take under a wrongful death case.

Other Oakland County Probate Court Forms

A Petition and Order for Discovery Estate Not Exceeding $15,000 is available in Oakland County.  This allows a person with a relationship to the decedent to obtain bank and property records, assuming the estate is less than $15,000.  This form looks similar to a small estate affidavit but it is used to gain information about the decedent’s bank accounts.

There is also a Request for Extension of Time for Compliance (PEMH 1063).  This form can be filed with the court if a Notice of Deficiency has been issued against the fiduciary.  If granted, it allows the fiduciary 28 more days to comply with the notice.

Other Kalamazoo County Probate Court Forms

Kalamazoo County has a separate Notice of Intent to Close that they will send to the personal representative if a continued administration is not filed (PC 589).  After 63 the court will enter an order administratively closing the estate (PC 599).

Be aware that many pleadings that have to be filed with the court require a filing fee.  The fee schedules for Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Kalamazoo County are included.

Finally, attached you will find a chart displaying degrees of kinship that can be useful in determining heirship.

[1] Non-probate assets, such as those that are jointly held or beneficiary designated, are not listed on the inventory.  These kind of assets generally pass by operation of law and will not be probated.  Typical examples of jointly held assets include real estate or accounts held by husband and wife.  On the death of the first spouse, the survivor will receive the asset without the need for probate.  Typical examples of beneficiary designated assets include life insurance and 401(k) and IRAs.   On the death of this kind of asset, the named beneficiary will generally receive the asset directly without the need for probate.

Source: T. Scott Galloway

Michigan Banquet Halls In Michigan

There are many Michigan banquet halls in Michigan (well over 400 for you to interview). If you are planning a wedding reception, then the selection factors may be more demanding. Traditional private parties will still require some time when browsing around. This list will help you select the right one.

Options for Outdoors

Is there an outdoor patio? Is it an up sell? Can you get it thrown in if you book during certain times of the year? There are other options that vary between Michigan banquet halls. Other options include gardens, outdoor tented areas, pathways, and more. I will tell you why these may be important later.

Layout & Setup

Layout of the hall is not something to overlook. It might make it harder for some of your other vendors to do what you want them too. Rooms might have different layouts. Depending on your style you may want to consult with any of your vendors if you suspect a problem with your banquet venue layout. For example accent lighting does not work well with a room filled with windows. More and more banquet halls in Michigan are trying to give you a variety so that they can appeal to different tastes.

Banquet Halls in Michigan $

Oh, let us not forget that pricing IS an important factor. Please keep in mind it is not the most important. Some venues can charge an arm and a leg because of how much detail is put into their layout; others have more simple economic solutions. This is not to say that you should ignore pricing. When you interview with different banquet halls in Michigan you will notice the price ranges. My best advice is for you to go with the one that is most convenient with you want to accomplish.

Number of Guests

This is a biggie! Make sure that the Michigan banquet halls can meet the needs of your guests. All banquet halls have a max capacity, and some even have minimum requirements. Before you start interviewing with your venues please have some sort of number in mind for how many you will be expecting. If you are using them to caterer the meal, then your head count will also be required for the quote for the meal. Also remember that your vendors who work hard for you may require a vendor table at your event and you may want to include them in the head count.

Outside Vendors Yes or No

When you do not use outside vendors your packaged price brings your total down. This includes in house DJs, caterers, florists, cakes, photographers, and videographers. Now, what are the drawbacks to using in house wedding vendors? If you have your heart set on a couple of banquet halls, then you may have to use their in house DJs. Let us say that you interview the DJ and he does not seem that competent, what do you do? Exactly, this is one of the drawbacks. Some companies sacrifice quality for quantity when they are in house contracted. You might have to use their bartenders as well. This means you can not bring in your own alcohol. There are many pros and cons, but you get the idea. Your best bet is to interview other vendors that are not in house beforehand. This way you will know how to negotiate with the in house vendors or hall because of the reasonable quotes you got from other wedding vendors in Michigan.

Michigan Banquet Halls

To summarize everything, you will have to evaluate the overall appeal of the banquet hall. Can your photographer take great shots outside? Is there a chapel? If your reception hall is not being used for the ceremony, then is it close to the church? This is where the number communication failure happens, in route from church to hall! Will there be changing rooms if you are having your ceremony there? Do you need to do much decorating, or is it already presented well? You can see how all of this factors into pricing. Good way to find out is to ask how many weddings they did last year and ask for recent references from people within the past year. Make sure these references are similar with your event type.

Source: Robert Reno