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The NEXT “Big Thing” – The 4% Group and IMC Disrupts the Internet

Disruption

In the last few weeks I have been telling all of my on-line friends and students to join what I feel is the greatest opportunity to ever be launched in the IM space or niche.

If you market a product or service on the Internet, that is all about to change.

You have heard of “disruption“, haven’t you?

Disruption” occurs when an innovation that creates a new market and value network eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leaders and alliances.

  • We can find examples of “disruptive” forces in the past. Examples are:
  • when the telephone replaced the telegraph for communication
  • when cell phones replaced land lines for personal communication
  • when the personal computer replaced large mainframe computers
  • when LEDs replaced standard lightbulbs
  • when all cameras were replace by digital cameras
  • when Apple innovation disrupted just about everything with their stream of new, innovative products and technology

You get the idea.

What happens during these disruptive innovations?

What happens is that those on the “inside” of new innovations and so-called “early adopters” profit wildly from the disruptive forces at work in the marketplace and the economy.
The wave of disruptive innovation that is sweeping over the Internet and the $112 billion dollar adult learning marketplace today is the world’s first physical college for Internet marketing.

Background

Earlier this year, a small group of on-line marketing millionaires were discussing what is wrong with Internet marketing. Why do 96% of on-line marketers fail to make more than $100 bucks while the other 4% go on to become marketing millionaires?

What can be done to level the playing field so that everyone has a equal chance of succeeding? How can we best help these folks?

And then an idea, a unique innovation, a stroke of genius was born while these three or four guys masterminded this subject and its associated issues.

Here’s the Problem

There is no place you can go and learn how to effectively market a product or service on-line.

On-line marketing is not taught at colleges and universities or anywhere else for that matter.

“Wanna be” Internet marketers are relegated to learn in the trenches by trial and error and failure after failure until they finally “get it” or quit.

They often learn Internet marketing from books written by marketing gurus or over-priced seminars and how-to products offered by the same gurus.

But this type of learning doesn’t work. Either they wind up learning only a small, specific strategy that is only a fraction of the total on-line marketing picture or the unstructured information is blasted at them like a firehose and they suffer information overload in order to learn at least some of the material.

The marketing gurus have a wealth of information to share but they have no idea how to teach effectively. They are marketers, not teachers.

So there needs to be a way to deliver on-line marketing knowledge in a structured way so that the new people who come to IM can learn effectively and receive everything he/she needs to know instead of a tiny piece of the puzzle from a couple of books or seminars.

Traditional learning at colleges and universities is structured and includes a detailed curriculum, usually written by Phd. or Masters degreed teachers. They know how to deliver course material so that effective learning takes place.

But as I already pointed out, colleges and universities do not teach Internet marketing and never will.

Why? Because the risk are too great. Colleges spend years developing new course curriculums and turn out high quality learning.

But the Internet moves at light speed. Things change almost daily. What works one month may be useless the next.

You see the problem? Curriculum at a traditional college would never be able to keep up. So they avoid the subject of on-line marketing.

Liberal arts colleges and universities are also guilty of teaching subject matter but not the specific skills that are needed right now in order for students to find jobs and begin making a living right out of college.

Too many times students from traditional colleges graduate with a lot of book leaning only to join the unemployment lines while they figure out how to pay back the hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans.

There is a Solution for On-line Entrepreneurs and Businesses

The Internet is now the world’s marketplace. The “brick and mortar” businesses are in decline and those that are still around spend much time and money trying to learn how to effectively offer their products and services on-line.

“Brick and mortar” businesses suffer from the same issue as individual on-line marketers. Where and how do you learn this stuff?

Back to those Three or Four Guys and Their Mastermind

So getting back to those three or four guys who are trying to solve this learning issue for the desperate need of those who need to learn how to market effectively online, consider the following:

What if there were someplace a person could go to learn on-line marketing; a college that only taught Internet marketing?

And what if we brought in college Phd’s and Masters degreed instructors, who are masters at creating structured learning and curriculum, but know nothing about on-line marketing.

And what if we brought these people together with on-line subject matter experts, who know nothing about effective teaching or structured curriculum?

Don’t we get the best of both worlds if we simply bring these people together? Structured curriculum from teaching experts and IM expertise from the gurus who have been marketing on-line successfully for decades.

Working together, courses in IM such as SEO, advertising, traffic, e-mail marketing, market analysis, customer relationships, conversions and sales techniques etc.. could be taught in a structured way instead of piecemeal using the firehose method, which only produces information overload.

Now that’s a stroke of genius. This learning would not only benefit the hundreds of thousands of “wanna be” on-line marketers that come on-line each day but would also benefit the traditional “brick and mortar” businesses who want to add an online presence for their product and company but don’t really know how to do that.

Enter TECademics

So TECademics (Technology united with Academics) was born out of that little mastermind of guys who were searching for a way to solve the issues that I have just described above.

The college professors were hired earlier this year to write structured course curriculum. The IM subject matter experts were hired to provide the course content which would be based on their years of successful application of on-line marketing techniques and principles.

They are working together to create what Internet marketing has never had – “structured learning”; akin to taking a college course. No more “fire hose” teaching where some guru just barfs everything he knows in your face.

TECademics was announced to the world on August 5-7 2016 at a Chris Record 3C conference in Phoenix, AZ.

More about Chris Record and the 3C conference later.

Prior to this time, the public had not been aware of the college or the monumental efforts it took to bring TECademics to fruition.

The first TECademics campus will be located in Phoenix Az. with plans to expand future campuses to other locations, including international locations.

Course work can either be taken onsite, online, or both.

Online courses will be state of the art using live virtual classroom technology and software that allows remote students an experience that permits them to be live in the classroom via two-way live video and two-way live audio.

There has never been an entrepreneurial college. This is the first of its kind. Obviously this will also disrupt the traditional educational system as we know it today.

Now the Best Part – Disruption Creates $$ Opportunity

TECademics needs both students and affiliates to help them get their products promoted so that they become known, trusted, and the preferred training center for online marketing students.

So they set up an incredible affiliate program that pays out $4,800/referral in commissions for a student or an affiliate that joins them.

Let’s stop here for a moment. There is one point that I want to clarify before going forward. This will help you have a better understanding of TECademics referral program.

TECademics has a range of products from $100 to $12,000. These are course package offerings.

Obviously there are thousands of students who desperately need and want this training. And there are also affiliates of TECademics who are more interested in promoting TECademics for commissions, or maybe they want to do both – take some courses and earn commissions at the same time.

The unique thing about this program is that you CAN do both. For example students will determine what area of study they need and sign up for that package. Once a student or affiliate buys into a package, they can promote it and take the courses in that package when time allows or vice versa.

Affiliates must buy into a package in order to promote it. And those are the only packages that they can promote. Commissions are always 40% for any package that you buy into and promote in order to get referrals of students or affiliates to the college.

But there is an Elite package that allows you to take all courses (if you choose to do that) and allows you to promote everything (including all other packages, TECademics events, new TECademics promotions, yearly TECademics car give-aways, TECademics all-inclusive vacations, and the Matching Millions program. The Elite package costs $12k and can be paid with $1,000 down and the rest paid in your TECademics back office in $1k increments.

I wanted it all so I bought into the $12k Elite package. I don’t like limitations. I want to promote it all and I want to take courses where I feel I have weaknesses in my IM skills. And I admit that I do have weak areas.

But the overriding reason why I did this, is because I see the vision regarding where this is going. Not only is this opportunity totally unique and disruptive to the status quo in Internet marketing, I happen to know through my own research that adult learning is a $112 billion dollar marketplace that is growing! And I want to be part of that.

So that’s the point that I wanted to make. I wanted you to understand that there are many product offerings, that commissions are 40% across the board, that you can be both a student and an affiliate, and that you must buy into whatever you want to promote.

(The video features Chris Record, CEO and Founder of TECademics describing the “vision of TECademics)

 

Let’s Get Back to Opportunity, Commissions, Dollars

This is where we left off before I interrupted the discussion in order to clarify some things about TECademics products and the affiliate vs. student programs.

Regarding the $4,800 commission that I threw out there – That’s the commission for one referral to the $12k Elite package. This is the package that I recommend for affiliates. And you will understand why I feel that way once I share the “Matching Millions” program with you.

But before I do that, let’s crunch some numbers.

If you do that math, it would take an affiliate 2.5 referrals to break even on their $12k investment. 2.5 times $4800/referral = $12k.

After that everything is profit. That’s pretty cool. Even though $12k is a big number, it gets a lot smaller when you put it in perspective.

Everyone knows at least three people who are in need of on-line training or who would be excited to learn of this passive income opportunity. Even if I didn’t have the $12k, I would have gladly put it on a credit card; knowing that I have 30 days before payment is due. During that time I’m confident that I can promote and find three people who are interested in either aspect (student or affiliate) of this opportunity.

But That’s Not All…. The “Matching Millions Program

Every affiliate or student that associates themselves with TECademics participates in the “Matching Millions” program.

Here’s how it works…..

Once you earn $100k in commissions through referrals, TECademics will bonus you another $100k for a total of $200k! And once you earn a million in commissions, TECademics will bonus you another million for a total of $2M dollars!

That’s totally unheard of in the online marketing world!

You have three years to work towards your matching bonuses. And you can collect them only once.

Let’s do a little more math….

21 referrals to the Elite package times $4,800/referral commissions equals $100,800. So for a paltry 21 referrals, you get $200,800 and that includes your matching bonus.

209 referrals to the Elite package times $4,800/referral in commissions equals $1,003,200 dollars or $2,003,200 dollars which includes your matching bonus.

Can you imagine becoming a multi-millionaire with only 209 referrals instead of the usual tens of thousands customers that other online marketing programs require?

This is unheard of in the Internet marketing space. No company or opportunity has ever offered those kind of bonuses.

Now you should see why I bought into the Elite package for $12k and that’s all I promote. I just plunked down the $12k like many others did without question.

And I set a goal to earn my matching $100k by the end of the year and my matching $1M bonus by the end of 2017. I encourage you to do the same.

One last point I want to make is that this program doesn’t compete with anything that you are doing now. Don’t think that you have to drop everything in order to participate in this opportunity.

TECademics has a cool membership level that allows you to join as a ambassador. That means it doesn’t cost you anything AND you get access to Chris Records Vault of free software to download. This is not old, retired junk. This is multi-millionaire training that applies to what is working now. And it’s free. Chris explains in a short video. No strings, no obligation.

But here’s the cool part. Even as a free ambassador, you can promote TECademics course offerings. You don’t earn commissions right away. But interested parties who used your link to join a particular course program, stay tagged to you for life. So in the future if you join TECademics at whatever level, those tagged to you when you had an unpaid free account will pay out 40% commissions to you.

Pretty cool, huh?

CLICK HERE TO JOIN TECADEMICS AS A FREE AMBASSADOR.

 

(The video below features Michael Hamburger, VP TECademics Sales, explaining the TECademics compensation plan.)

What is the Four Percent Group?

The Four Percent Group is an elite group of about 1.000 marketers that are and will continue to dominate this opportunity. We are the “marketing engine” that drives students and affiliates to TECademics.  And we make big commissions for doing that.

Where did the name come from? It came from the fact that 96% of those working at Internet marketing fail to earn even $100 and they usually quit. The other four percent do whatever it takes to reach their goals and they succeed wildly.

If I said anything that captures your interest, I encourage you to join The Four Percent Group at a minimum. It only cost $49/month to join. And you earn 50% commissions on referrals to the Four Percent Group. That’s a continuity commission which means you get that 50% commission check every month; not just when referrals join.

So if you referred two people to The Four Percent Group and that’s all you did, you would get $44 in commissions every month and that would just about cover your monthly membership dues to The Four Percent Group.

Here’s why it is important to be part of this group…

All the “big guns” in Internet Marketing belong to this group. That should tell you something.  You are in good company. This group includes online legends like Saj P, Miles Seegers, Jon Penberthy, Shaqir Hussyin, Paul Lynch, Vick Strizheus and others. Twelve marketers who were already millionaires joined the Four Percent Group. Does that mean anything? Like perhaps this is a “no-brainer” opportunity?

But I admit that TECademics and The Four Percent Group are not for everyone.

Let’s talk about Multiple Streams of Income – so far, members are collecting commissions from referrals to aWeber, GetResponse, Clickfunnels, ClickMagic, and Clickbank. Why these? Because these are tools that new members need for their promotions. New companies and streams of income are being added daily to The Four Percent Group’s portfolio.

All Four Percenters use the same System to promote TECademics and The Four Percent Group. Systems work. People fail.

You get the system for nothing. Your marketing funnels (Clickfunnels) are created FOR you.

Your e-mail swipes are created FOR you.

Your links are created FOR you.

You don’t need to know anything about Internet marketing. We have no-cost training for new members. And we have members who know virtually nothing about on-line marketing. We also have newbies who are collecting their first commissions ever.

As a Four Percenter, you’ll be invited to join our private, members only mastermind FaceBook group.

You’ll have Support from a tech. hotline and from your peers in the Four Percent Group Facebook mastermind group.

Your leads and referrals are tracked FOR you. This includes Four Percenters that you have referred. Later (even years later) if they decide they need the TECadmenics Elite package for $12k, that’s your $4800k commission; not someone else’s. Your leads and referrals are tagged to you for life.

In conclusion, if your goal is to associate yourself with TECademics, it makes perfect sense to join The Four Percent Group and get the heavy-marketing-lifting done for you.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE FOUR PERCENT GROUP.

Lastly, The TECademics Event in November

Chris Record is the founder and CEO of TECademics. As I said earlier, TECademics was launched/announced to the public at Chris’s yearly 3C conference in Phoenix. Chris is a successful, expert, on-line marketer and has been sponsoring his 3C conference for years. Only this year’s conference last August was special. TECademics was introduced to the public for the first time.

The “3C” stands for Create, Capture, and Convert. Create traffic, capture leads, and convert those leads into sales. Those high-level topics cover all you really need to know in order to be successful in on-line marketing.

Many people think you need to be a techie, you need to program in HTML, you need to build complicated stuff like marketing funnels or landing pages, you need to build a website and you have to spend thousands in other tools that you will need in order to be a successful on-line marketer.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Most of that stuff is either done for you (like in the Four Percent Group) or you can hire others for a pittance to do it for you (elance.com, odesk.com).
Anyway, Chris covered all of the 3C’s in three days at the August conference. The upcoming conference is November 19th and 20th and 21st at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas . Chris will be teaching topics such as Shopify, Print-on-Demand, and Facebook Strategies. One topic each day.

By the time you leave the conference, you’ll know everything you need to know about the hottest technologies on the Internet NOW. This in turn will give you a fast start to making commissions with The Four Percent Group and TECademics. And if you feel the need for more training, you can always attend a class at TECademics for your weak areas as part of your $12k Elite TECademics  membership.

I encourage you to get tickets to this conference ASAP. It will literally change the rest of your life.

I think it was Dan Kennedy, a legend in marketing, who said “You become like the five people who you hang around most”. There will be twelve (12) millionaire on-line marketers at this conference. Get a VIP ticket so you can hang out with them.  Make sense?

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR TICKETS AND HOTEL RESERVATIONS.

Conclusion

In closing I would like to remind you that “Systems work, People fail”. Within The Four Percent Group there are already members who have earned their $100K bonus checks when they only became aware of this system and opportunity in June this year. There are also “newbies” who have earned their first commissions in on-line marketing.

The system works. You can either join us or watch us get rich. It’s your choice.

At a minimum I would recommend that you start by joining The Four Percent Group. That’s a great place to start. Don’t think about the Matching Millions program for now. Just join The Four Percent Group, get a couple of referrals so you break even on your monthly dues, and then you’ll eventually catch the vision of where the Group and TECademics are going and where this can take you. That’s when you should start thinking seriously about TECademics Elite and $4,800/referral commissions.

You can join The Four Percent Group here.

** Disclaimer – I can’t promise you results. Your results will depend on the amount of time and effort you put into this opportunity. The examples sited above are only examples of what is possible. Results vary widely.

1

Have You Had Your Dose of Crime for the Day?

I get up in the morning about 6:00 A.M.. I don’t have a real job so I can get up about whatever time I want. But it gets light here at 6:00 A.M., so I get up.

The wife usually has the news on by then. I call it the “body count”. I hate the news. It’s depressing and totally negative. Who is it that decided that all we Americans are interested in hearing about in the news is who died or got killed while we were asleep?

I mean, really! How would your day go if you could hear some positive information on the news in the morning at 6:00 A.M.? Wouldn’t that empower you and put a smile on your face for the day?

But what we get on the news instead is who murdered who, what mass shooting took place in what school that we might have missed the day before, who did we or Russia bomb overnight, how many civilians were killed, how many psychotic killers escaped from what prisons last night, how many refugees drowned in what body of water while trying to escape a war zone to freedom, how many refugees were turned back from what border to a life of misery and death, how many planes crashed overnight and what was the death count, and most important, how many innocent people died of domestic violence while we were peacefully asleep?

I have to turn it off. It’s just too depressing. How can anyone start the day with a smile on their face, a positive attitude, and enough energy to change their world for the better after listening to that crap!?

Who decided that we need to hear about that stuff at 6:00 A.M.? Are they brain-dead or something? Surely there must be something good that happened in the world while we were asleep. Why can’t we hear about that?

How many governments made decisions overnight that will create a better life for their citizens? What new innovations did mankind discover that will make everyone’s life easier and more fun? How many miracle babies were born? How many towns were restored from natural disasters? How many weapons were destroyed because they are no longer needed?

President Obama appeared on the news the other day to ask why, only in the USA, do we have to have a school mass murder on a regular basis? Crime.

We wake up to reports of crime on the news. We get it again on the news at noon and again at 5:00 P.M..

People who watch TV on a regular basis can get more crime on most channels at night. Those who play games on their computers or on the TV set can get more crime, war, and killing since most popular games are based on those themes.

So you can literally go through an entire day without ever having got away from the subject of crime.

And in the shows that you watch and the games that you play, you can even participate in crime. You can do this on your mobile phone in case a TV or a computer is not available.

And our President asks why are Americans  are so caught up in crime? When we are exposed to crime every waking hour of every day, how do we avoid it? I rest my case. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

If we want to get crime out of our minds, then let’s tell the TV networks that we don’t want to see it on TV or the news.

Let’s tell the FCC to ban computer and TV games that are focused on crime.

And we don’t want to read about crime in the newspapers or in magazines. We want to get through one day without having to deal with crime. Just one. Then they can harp on crime for the rest of the six days of the week. But we have the option of turning the TV off. Right?

What would that be like? Can you get through a day without knowing who got killed in the world while you were asleep? Of course you can.

Does it matter to you one dot who’s spouse shot their mate or kids during your day? Would that change what you do or think about during the day? Of course not.

Unless the event took place in your town. But then you would hear about it through other means such as a phone call, or talking to friends and the neighbors etc..

But com’on; you don’t have to turn on the news to find out what is happening in your neighborhood, do you? If so, then you need to get out more.

I don’t claim to be any different than anybody else. I’m just a retired old fart that is doing whatever I can to make my world a better place for everyone else.

I keep a positive attitude despite the bombardment of the opposite. I’m picky about what I allow to enter my brain so I either ignore or turn off all of the negative news and information that is pushed my way.

My focus is to make each day better than the one before. What’s wrong with that?

Yes, my day is not always peaches, roses, and cream. Bad, disappointing things happen. But instead of whining about those events, I get to work solving those problems in a constructive way. And my life is better for it. It’s satisfying. And the people, family, or creatures that I help are satisfied that someone cared enough to help.

So, in answer to President Obama, my response is the whole dam country is focused on crime because that is all we are fed everywhere we turn. The news media, the trade rags, and the entertainment industry are obsessed with crime and they want to make sure that we, the citizenship of this country, are obsessed with it too.

If you are as weary and tired of this crap as I am, just turn it off.

0

We’re Mad as Hell! And We’re Not Going to Take It Anymore!

I rarely write about politics. Primarily for two reasons. My feeling has been that government is just too big and complicated to deal with anymore. So there’s nothing one person can do about political issues except vote.

Secondly, it’s easier for me to be apathetic and look the other way than it is to complicate my life with daily worrying about political issues that I can do nothing about.

So I’m guilty; guilty as hell. I’m guilty of not giving a rip about what goes on in Washington D.C..  And it’s that kind of attitude that has got us where we are today. I contribute to that mess. And I’m sure that a lot of other folks do too.

However, I have some good news and some bad news……..

First, The Good News

The good news is that  it’s no longer a secret what is wrong with our economy and government. Some say it’s an Obama problem. It isn’t. Some say it’s a problem with Democrats in general. That’s not true. Others say we didn’t have these problems until we pushed this “global economy” thing and now that the whole world is just one giant economy, our political/economic affairs are in shambles.

But everyone seems to know that a big problem does indeed exist. That’s good. That’s a start….

The White House

Neither party seems to be able to put forth true leaders for President. What ever happened to the Abe Lincoln’s, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s, and the John F. Kennedy’s of the world? You know; people who could lead and had vision. We’re in a leadership vacuum with only a 40% approval rating for the current President.

The Congress

What happened to our representation in Congress? We elect a bunch of “no-bodies” that no one ever heard of and then once they arrive in D.C., their only interest is in getting rich on our tax dollars and spending whatever is left over. Have you ever wondered why one candidate would spend $100 million dollars in order to gain a seat in Congress? That new record was set in the most recent mid-term election by a candidate for the U.S. Senate, who would represent North Carolina, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

What is it that causes candidates to desperately risk anything and everything in order to get a seat in the federal government? I don’t think that it has anything to do with representing the issues that most concern you and I.

The Judicial Branch

The judiciary branch is supposed to be non-partisan. But the judges on the Supreme Court are appointed by the sitting President, and the President takes care to appoint a “good ole boy” whose philosophy is closely akin to that of the President and the President’s party. So much for the non-partisan part.

How many more years is the Court going to debate abortion? That debate began in 1973. How long will gay rights be debated? The debate started in 2003 with Lawrence vs. Texas. That was eleven years ago. Is there anyone in our government who is capable of making a decision?

Oops! There’s Also Bad News

Now the bad news…. We let all this happen. By we, I mean all of us. We have been apathetic all these years about what takes place in Washington D.C. primarily because we all feel that there’s nothing to be done about it.

Like I said, I’m just as guilty as you are. But as the old adage goes, “you can try the patience of a saint”. I’m not a saint but I’ve been told more than once that I’m pretty short on patience. Now I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore. You may feel the same way once you watch the following video.

I don’t know where this video came from. Somebody uploaded it to YouTube in March 2009. Our current President took office January 1 of the same year. One of my wife’s good friends sent the video to us in e-mail and my wife asked me to watch it.

It’s easy to be apathetic about politics and then go on with your life. But when someone throws everything that is wrong with government in your face in 6 minutes, it’s pretty intense. I was livid. I was aware of the issues. But, due to my disinterest in politics, I try not to think about them.

  1. Why are our “public servants” in Congress exempt from Social Security when the rest of us are expected to live on a puny S.S. check once we turn 62 years of age?
  2. Why do our “public servants” get to retire on full pay for life when the majority of the people that they represent cannot even make ends meet in retirement? After the Great Recession,  many “baby boomers” can no longer afford to retire.
  3. Why do our “public servants” get fee medical/dental insurance for life when the rest of us get “Obamacare”?
  4. Why do our “public servants” vote on their own pay raises in secret when their constituents haven’t see a pay raise in years? (Caterpillar Tractor Co. comes to mind. Bloomfield Business Week Magazine recently reported that workers at Caterpillar haven’t seen a pay raise in over 10 years).

Now Let’s Cut to the Video!

I’m going to stop jabbering for fear of getting myself into more hot water. WATCH THE VIDEO! It’s good and it’s well done. How good, you say?

I’ll share this with you. I received unverified information that a White House staffer discovered the video on YouTube and made Mr. Obama aware of the video. Obama watched it and was deeply disturbed by its content. So much so that he secretly summoned the video creator (a civilian) to the White House. Before doing that, he instructed his staff not to mention or talk about the video or the meeting with the video’s author. There was to be no press or even an acknowledgement that the White House knew anything about the video. As I said, I cannot verify this information. Take it for what it’s worth. It came to me via an e-mail stream from people that I know and trust. WATCH THE VIDEO.

So how did that feel? I was pretty much left speechless. How much of our money do you suppose is being wasted in Washington D.C.?

Don’t even attempt to answer that. So what now? I’m not feeling quite so apathetic anymore. I seem to have been shaken out of my political stupor. Or maybe it was the video in combination with the most recent Congressional mid-term election fiasco.

Time to Take Action!

Here’s what I intend to do. First, I’ll send that tea bag to my Congressmen. I have plenty of tea bags. They need to get tea bags in the mail year round.

Then I will bookmark the contact information for the two Senators from my state (Wisconsin) and the House representative from my district. And I will be more vocal about what they are doing (if anything) in Congress.

Do you have any idea how easy it is to get on-line, click on a bookmark in your browser, and fire off an e-mail to your Congressional representatives to let them know how you feel about the issues at hand? I can do that. Heck, I send and receive all kinds of e-mail in the course of a day. Why shouldn’t I pop off a couple of e-mails and let my guys in Washington know what I think about the way that they are behaving?

What would happen if all of us did the same? Now that’s a pretty scary thought.

  1. How much money do you think this country could save if we asked Congress to retire on the average retirement stipend of their constituents instead of full pay for life?
  2. And as a bonus for our government representatives, let’s require them to pay into Social Security, just like we do. So that they can enjoy that Social Security check when it arrives every month after the age of 62. But they must be careful not to let greed overtake them. Because if they have any ideas about retiring rich, that puny little Social Security check gets taxed so that what’s left can barely buy a tank of gas. I know that from first-hand experience.
  3. How much more would our government save if we asked our Senators and Representatives to reduce their monthly pay to the average monthly pay of their constituents? No need to vote on raises anymore. If average monthly pay for their constituents goes up, so does the pay of Congressmen from that state or district. If it goes down, same deal for Congressmen. Maybe they would give a little more consideration to raising the minimum wage IF IT DIRECTLY IMPACTED THEIR PAY!
  4. How much more would this country save if we asked Congress to locate and buy their own medical and dental insurance, just like we do? Do you think that would change their opinion of ObamaCare, which the majority of the people in this country hate?

Why is it that our representatives in Washington D.C. do not live under the same set of laws and policies that we do?

Take Action With Me. I Did the Leg-work Below For You

I’ll stop pestering the issue now. I think you get the point. In order to make your life easier, here are the bookmarks that you need in order to fire off an e-mail to your Congressmen whenever the urge strikes you.

The House of Representatives (http://www.house.gov/)

  1.  In the upper right hand corner of the Home Page, just below the search bar, note that is says “Find your Representative”.
  2. Enter your zip code and click on Go.
  3. On the next page you’ll see a thumbnail photo of your representative on the left.
  4. Next to the thumbnail photo you’ll see a little envelope icon. Click on it.
  5. Now you are ready to type your e-mail and let your representative know what is on your mind. How hard was that?

(Hmmm. It says the House is not in session now, November 8, 2014. What a surprise! Did I miss a holiday or something?)

The Senate (http://www.senate.gov/)

  1.  Again, in the upper right-hand corner of the Home Page, you will see a drop-down menu where all you need to do is pick your state and click Go.
  2. Bingo. The next page displays your senators information.
  3. No thumbnail photos this time. But note that each Senator has their own website. Click on the link.
  4. That will take you directly to their contact page on their website where you can compose your message right on their page.
  5. Note that there is a check box so that you can request a response to your message from your Senator. How cool is that?

Now when writing to your Congressmen, there’s no need to be eloquent and proper. You are exercising your right to free speech. The contact information is there specifically for your use. Just be you. There’s something about being you that makes what you write become real. Does that make sense?

Be nice and be polite. Being nice gets results. Being rude, disrespectful, and going into a rant tends to get ignored.

Summing It All Up

I found the video to be so compelling that I had to do something. I hope that you feel the same way. I promise not to write about politics anymore.

My tea bags are on their way in the mail to my one Representative and my two Senators.

My bookmarks are saved in my browser. I think the first issue that I will raise in e-mail with my Congressmen will be about pay. I want to know how much I am paying them and how they feel about reducing that amount to the average pay of the constituents in their district or state.

And I think it’s only fair that I mention that I support performance raises. Their constituents can vote on their congressmen’s performance each year and also vote on what percentage increase/decrease they feel is warranted based on the performance rating scale. Let’s make this easy and do the voting online based on sufficient e-mail reminders from our representatives. We’ll work out the details later.

Did you watch the video in it’s entirety? Did you send your tea bags? Did you bookmark your representatives web page or website? Good for you! Now we’re doing something about the problems identified in the video, and we’re no longer sitting on our “bums”.

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What’s More Important to You, Internet or Electricity?

This is not a trick question. Think about that question. I had no choice but to think about it, when I recently lost Internet connectivity on two unrelated occasions. And I didn’t like, what seemed to be, the obvious answer.

In this post we’ll take a realistic look at the Internet bandwidth at YOUR home, and figure out who ate the Internet. And then we’ll expand the discussion a bit and look at how fragile Internet infrastructure is on the world stage.

This Discovery Gave me the Creeps 

I’m sure that all of us take Internet connectivity for granted. After all, you can get connected to the Web from just about anywhere; at eateries, at the library, at hotel/motels, even at gas stations. When all else fails, we can simply pick up our smart phones or iPads and get connected via the nearest cell phone tower. Well, some of us can do that.

Now I don’t exactly live in the dark ages. But I do live in the  remote, sparsely populated area of far Northern Wisconsin. The best that you can do for Internet service in my area is to “get connected” via CenturyLink’s telephone wire which supports both our telephone service and our DSL Internet service. The DSL Internet service is 1.5 Mbps; hardly what I would call DSL. For comparison sake, DSL over a cable service in a metropolitan area, like Milwaukee, can be as fast as 50-60 Mbps. But the cable companies like Charter or Comcast Cable, do not have cables in rural areas. The population of rural areas are too sparse to make stringing cables over that distance profitable. Satellite Internet service is an option, but very expensive.

My 1.5 Mbps Internet service over a telephone line costs $40/month. Over Wildblue’s satellite service, that same 1.5 Mbps is $80/month. If I were to subscribe to Exede’s satellite service, I could get 12 Mbps for $65/month plus $10/month to lease equipment. For comparison sake, 6-8 Mbps Internet service in metropolitan areas normally runs $20/month.

I used to have a Droid X2 smart phone with a built-in hotspot. Reception was good in the winter but poor in the summer. Then I learned from Verizon that in order to use the hotspot (that was already built into my Droid) for my desktop computers, I would have to pay them another $25/month. I discontinued the service. They were already soaking me for $80/month, including $30/month for data, and I felt that I ought to be allowed to use the features of my Droid without additional cost. The phone alone, was not exactly cheap!

So I have three computers running on a 1.5 Mbps phone line. And that has served us well. That’s not blazing fast. But it’s not slow either.

And then it happened………………….

Spring had arrived and the “snow birds” were returning to their summer homes. Snow birds are local residents who choose not to spend their winters in northern Wisconsin. So they go south for the winter to some place warm. Sometime beginning in mid-May to Memorial Day weekend, they return. With the population of our little community increasing by 30%-40% in the spring and summer, more demand is placed on the bandwidth of the telephone lines which carry Internet services to our homes.

We watched each week as the speed of our Internet service dwindled from 1.5 Mbps to 1.2 Mbps all the way down to .23 Mbps.  Between 2 P.M.  and by 7 P.M., Internet response was so bad that we gave up and shut the computers off completely.

I had visions of all the kids in our community sitting in front of their laptops gaming on the Internet and downloading Netflix movies all afternoon which they would watch later that evening. Or worse yet, they were watching movies over the Internet using live, streaming video without having previously downloaded the movie. That would be like trying to push an elephant through a straw, considering that they were using the same 1.5 Mbps Internet service that I was using. After all, we have lived here since 1999 with no Internet issues at all until now – 2013. The problem had to be the “Internet hogs” that just returned to their summer homes from Arizona, Florida, California or wherever they went for the winter to find warmth. My Internet service was fine during the winter!

I put up with this for a couple of days. On the third day, the proverbial poop hit the fan. No Internet service at all. Just “Waiting…..” on the screen. That’s when reality hit me. I can’t live without the Internet. I felt angry, vulnerable, stressed out, worried. I couldn’t even get online long enough to pay my bills. Paying bills with “snail mail” is tedious and slow. There would be late charges and interest. Some accounts might bounce if I couldn’t get online to shuffle money between accounts.  I couldn’t check the weather. And the storms that we get off of Lake Superior and our 14,000 acre lake are nasty. I couldn’t get to my e-mail accounts or my websites. I was pulling my hair out.

That’s when it became painfully obvious to me. We depend on the Internet like we depend on electricity in order to live. I wasn’t sure which was more important. I think that I’d rather be without electricity. I don’t need electricity to access the Internet. I have a whole-house backup generator system that runs on natural gas. So why do I need electricity? With natural gas prices being so low, I can probably  generate my own electricity far cheaper than buying it from the power company. What hurt the most was that I was totally unaware that I had become so dependent on Internet access. That revelation hurt.

Time to Take Action!

I called CenturyLink, my Internet service provider, and tried to convince them that Internet bandwidth was exhausted in my neighborhood and they needed to do something about it.  I told them that the families that had just returned from warm places were gaming online all day and that they were streaming video at night in order to watch movies on their computers. After all, they probably assumed that our little 1.5 Mbps Internet connection was just as fast as the 60 Mbps connection that they had in Phoenix, or Orlando, or L.A. or wherever they spent their winters.  What do city people know about bandwidth? Right? I had it all figured out. I pointed out to the CenturyLink technician that I retired from a career as a network security analyst for a Fortune 100 company with a global network reaching into 225 countries.  I spent 25 years analyzing the bits and bytes that choke a network. I asked them to throttle down the streaming video and audio media “on the wire” so the rest of us could have some bandwidth. They refused.

I’m sure that they thought that I was crazy. Even with my daily calls and detailed explanations of what was happening, they still didn’t get it.

CenturyLink promised to add more bandwidth at some future date by running more copper phone lines to our community. At times our Internet service would return to normal only to crap out again once the weekend arrived. One week, I was doing some work on the computer in the morning and the Internet light on the DSL modem turned from green to red. No service at all. That was strange. It was the middle of the week. The weekends were the worst. I called CenturyLink support once again to find out what the problem was this time. A small tornado had passed through Mercer during the night and damaged the local CenturyLink building that pushes Internet service out to us. They expected my service to return around 9:30 A.M. the following day. Again, I was painfully reminded of our life-threatening dependence on Internet access. It was depressing. How did this happen? Why was I not aware of this uncanny Internet dependence until service was taken away?

As I pointed out earlier, I HAVE back-up equipment for when the power goes out. Do I need a back-up plan for Internet service as well? If we depend on Internet access like we depend on electricity, maybe we should have a back-up system; like both a land line and a satellite connection.

Am I Alone? How Dependent Are You on Internet Service? 

Have you ever lost Internet connectivity for any length of time? I can assure you that you don’t know what it really feels like to be “disconnected” from the rest of the world until it actually happens. After researching my own pathetic Internet service problems, I realized that the service denials that affected my access could happen to just about anyone. The fact of the matter is that the Internet access that we take for granted is in a very fragile state, and getting worse each day.

I think that, in the back of our minds, we all knew that once the Internet “went commercial” that this would happen someday.  Corporations and companies use the Internet as if it belongs to them. Sure, they pay a nominal fee for the access; but the infrastructure of the Internet does not belong to them. For that matter, remember the days when government assured us that the information highway, as it was called then, would always be free and be available equally to everyone? That didn’t happen. Business stepped in and gobbled up the majority of the bandwidth. Remember when Al Gore, then Vice-President to Bill Clinton, said that he would push Internet services out to all rural communities of the USA? That didn’t happen either. Again, if creating the new infrastructure to make that happen is not profitable for business, they won’t do it.

So Who Ate the Internet!

Why is Internet service so fragile? What could possibly prevent you from having reliable Internet access? Take a look at the illustration below.

Illustration of Internet bandwidth usage 2013

The answer to the question that I asked at the beginning of this post is, streaming video (primarily Netflix) ate the Internet. This diagram would not have looked the same last year at this time. Last year there would have been plenty of bandwidth available for browsing and other applications. Netflix talked about abandoning their use of ”snail mail” to send movies to subscribers, and replacing that business model by streaming 99% of subscriber videos over the Internet.  They replaced last year’s chatter with action this year. What is truly amazing about this whole thing is that Netflix gobbled up the majority of Internet bandwidth as if it belonged to them. And no one said a word. They didn’t bother to check with me. Did they check with you?

I’m not opposed to Netflix or streaming video over the Internet. Well… let’s just say I’m neutral on this subject. I realize that many folks love the Netflix service. They like to download and watch movies on their computers or whatever it is that they do. And that’s OK. Each to his own. My concern is – where do we go from here? If one solitary business in the world is able to grab that much bandwidth, then what do we do about the next company that wants to do the same?

I should mention that Netflix didn’t have to build any new data centers to distribute its 3.14 petabytes of video around the world (can anyone define a petabyte?). They rent Amazon’s distributed data centers. In fact, Netflix is Amazon’s biggest customer for data services. And they didn’t have to build any network infrastructure to get movies into 36 million households around the world either. The Internet was already there. It’s free. So why not use it?

It’s a little more complex than what I stated above. But we don’t want to get too technical in this post. Suffice it to say that there’s this throttle application that all large networks use called QOS  (quality of service). That application allows large networks to assign a specific priority (bandwidth) to specific applications and traffic on the network. That way, networks can guarantee that steaming video traffic will never push browsing traffic out of the equation. Because they have indicated, via the QOS application, that browsing will always get 5% (an estimate) of the total available bandwidth on the network.

A Tidbit of Background

In the 80’s the Internet used to be primarily for connecting educational institutions together; like colleges, universities, think tanks, libraries and such. The idea was to give everyone access to the world’s collected sources of knowledge. The Internet user base caught on and began developing applications and websites of their own; still for the primary purpose of sharing knowledge. In the 90’s blogging came on the scene and its primary purpose was, again, for the purpose of sharing new ideas and knowledge.  Commercial use of the Internet did not really blossom until the early 2,000’s. In the past thirteen years, commercial use of the Internet is poised to displace every other category of Internet use (see the illustration above).

So What Do We Do Now!

But you say, there’s a simple solution to this whole issue. Just build more Internet capacity as you require it and the problem is solved. Right? And the obvious answer is, it’s not that easy. Internet infrastructure is very expensive; about $27,000/kilometer for cables that span oceans. The whole world is connected via Internet infrastructure. You can imagine what the total bill must be to lay new fiber optic cables across oceans. Take a look at the illustration below, which will give you a clearer picture of how continents are currently inter-connected via Internet infrastructure.

Internet infrastructure for Africa, Asia, Europe

 

Why not use satellite and satellite dishes to transmit data between continents? Isn’t that easier and less expensive than laying cables on the ocean floor? No. Nothing carries data faster than fiber optic cable. Data on a fiber optic cable moves at the speed of light or 186,000 kps. There is no resistance on fiber optic cable. Data IS light on fiber optic cable.

Cables that cross the oceans in order to connect continents via the Internet have their own problems. We never hear about them. But there have been instances where entire continents have been totally disconnected from the rest of the world. In 2008, Europe was disconnected from Africa when a ship’s anchor cut through cables. Last March, the Egyptian Navy arrested three divers accused of purposely cutting a cable that provides data services to a billion people in Indonesia. Sharks are attracted to pulsating cables that carry Internet traffic across the oceans. How long do you think it will take for a terrorist organization to figure out that the best way to bring a country to its knees is to cut the cables that connect that country to the rest of the world?

The dotted yellow line in the illustration above maps out the plan for laying a new data cable on the ocean floor. If the plan is actually implemented, the new cable will be called the “freedom cable”. Freedom from what? Actually, freedom from Somalia where data cables sit on an active underwater volcano zone. And freedom from Singapore where no less than twelve data cables cross each other. If damaged, half the world could be disconnected from the other half.

Summing it all Up

The point of this discussion has been to answer the questions, who ate the Internet? Why is my computer getting slower? Why does my browser get slower and slower in the evening? Where is all the bandwidth going? And why am I so dependent on the Internet?

The illustration above tells the whole story. What will happen when commercial interests want more bandwidth in order to expand their reach into your home? I wish I had an answer to that question; but I don’t. I was incredulous when I first laid eyes on the illustration above. I still can’t believe that Netflix managed to acquire that much bandwidth without anyone expressing concern.

How fragile is your Internet service, your connection to the rest of the world which you take for granted? Very fragile. My personal opinion is that, barring unforeseen disasters, you will always have the necessary bandwidth that you need.  The fact of the matter is that if you are not on the other end of that wire, commercial interests have lost you as a customer. You are no longer a consumer of goods and services. And big business is not about to let that happen, despite their bandwidth needs. You may not have the speed in your browser that you cherish so much. But you’ll have connectivity.

As far as being connected to the rest of the world? Experts say that you don’t really need to cut one of the data cables that span the oceans in order to disconnect Internet service to a particular continent. Just applying pressure to one of those cables is enough to disrupt service. Now that is a really, really, scary thought. Give that some thought and you’ll understand how fragile your Internet service really is.

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