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Twiggs and Associates Inc.
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Just sharing...
A review of online literature and a few ideas of our own.

Indoor Urban Farming
The Garden of Eden is a commercial indoor urban farming concept that provides a sustainable engine for job growth, food security and community revitalization, by moving traditional farming activities into cities for year round harvesting of high quality, low cost, fresh-cut, and locally grown produce.

Our goal is to perfect the commercial indoor farm for the production of 2 to 6 million pounds of produce per year to benefit local community residents and enhance their quality of life anywhere in the world.

For more information...

Inter-Generational Mentoring Model
"Say what you mean. Mean what you say, and do what you say you'll do."

A new model for mentoring African American youth is presented here for your review and consideration. Will the same model work for other youth as well? Absolutely!

I strongly believe that an inter-generational model that "intentionally" brings seniors and youth together would be effective in addressing many of the challenges facing today's families. The model presented here is rooted in integrity, based in faith, and designed to intentionally engage the "indigenous genius in every child".

Historic migration of youth and young adults away from traditional family homes and structures has had numerous consequences that manifest as anger, violence, disconnectedness, and imprisonment of younger and younger kids. Babies having babies, babies killing babies, drugs and alcohol, gang violence, and the use of prison as a "rite of passage" are all too commonplace.

In many cases youth are being abused, drugged, and often are caring for younger siblings without benefit of adult supervision. Often one or both parents are incarcerated, or on drugs, leaving the youth to fend for themselves. Some say, they don't know their history. And I say, whose fault is that?

The family unit is under attack by a society gone wild with greed and profit motives. The integrity of families and households nationwide is being compromised daily. Whether it is a lack of medical care, poorly equipped schools, inferior education, an overly aggressive juvenile justice system, homelessness, unemployment, or denial of access to needed human services, as a society we have not fulfilled the promises and hope of the next generation. Zero Tolerance in our schools is simply madness!

The Inter-Generational Mentoring Model is designed to bring seniors and youth in our communities together - deliberately, intentionally, and on purpose. They have much to learn from each other. The seniors are the glue that's missing in our attempts to mentor our youth and young adults. Instead of a steady hand and the wisdom of age at life's many decision points, we see our kids making decisions without choices. They simply don't understand that without choices, there's no decision to be made. They are simply reacting, and that's always a bad idea. How would they know?

Our beloved President Obama and Michelle were wise enough to bring the grandmother along to the White House to care for and keep the kids grounded. She's the glue that connects the kids to reality, while mom and dad try to solve the world's problems. All kids want and need the grounding rooted in the love, nurturing and acceptance that come from older and wiser adults. The seniors have one foot in the past and one foot in the present. The youth have one foot in the present and one foot in the future.

Together they meet the challenges of the present, by sharing the benefits of the past and future.
Computer Tune-Up...
It's that time again... The "new" computer you bought "a while back" doesn't seem as fast as it once did. And the CD player is making noises it never did before. And it's time to renew the anti-virus subscription - again.

The issues I've described are quite common to all computer users. If we take care of business right away, these issues never grow into real problems. Ignoring them guarantees there's trouble ahead.

Here are a few things you may want to consider.

First - the "renew your anti-virus subscription" message that appears every time you start your computer and log onto the Internet. Whether you use McAfee or Norton or one of the less known anti-virus programs - Do not ignore this warning!

It means that the subscription that came with your system - usually as part of the package - has expired. You are unprotected as you surf the Internet and your system and all its files are at risk.

BULLETIN! MacIntosh and Apple Computers don't have this problem!

Second - Bill and the Boys (Microsoft) are constantly patching their operating systems. These are the programs that control how your computer operates - Windows XP and Windows Vista are the latest systems on the market.

Both Windows XP and Windows Vista should be configured to automatically download and update itself on a regular basis. Ignoring requests for updates is not a good idea. You've already paid for the software, the updates are free and critical to the operation of your computer.

Other common problems include:

Why doesn't my printer work anymore? It used to work just fine with my other computer.

Should I get the Comcast service bundle - Cable, phone and Internet?

Should I upgrade the computer I have or buy a new one? How much should I pay, and what should I buy? Where should I buy it?

What's this wireless stuff all about? Do I really need it in my home or office?

Whether you are a new or existing client, I can help with the kinds of issues mentioned in this message - and many more. If you need assistance with computers and related technologies - digital cameras - video - webcams - PDAs - cellphones, etc.
Keep in Touch: A Guide to Crafting Web Site Newsletters
Like some huge universe expanding away from itself after a big bang, the Internet is continually growing and shifting. Internet shoppers travel between the sites, one after another, searching for the best information and the most attractive deals. The fluidity and ease of their motion brings a disturbing consequence for online merchants: no longer are shoppers bound by the concept of \"customer loyalty.\" Even if your site is remarkably well designed, useful, and popular, there is no guarantee that your customers will remember you and check back with you later. After all, they can always find what they need somewhere else.

So what can you do to ingrain your URL in the minds of your visitors/customers? How can you encourage repeat business and announce site news to an interested audience?

Write a Newsletter!

First of all, you have to build a readership base by collecting as many interested email addresses as you can. Notice the use of the word \"interested.\" Unless you want to alienate lots of potential customers and waste valuable email resources, you can\'t just randomly sign people up for your newsletter.

The simplest way to gather names is by simply asking your site visitors to sign up for updates. However, the more casual or merely curious shoppers will most likely not be encouraged to give their information to you.

To sweeten the deal, add a contest or sweepstakes to your site, and devise an entry form which contains an area for registrants to sign up for your newsletter. If you want to risk it, you can automatically place your registrants on the newsletter subscription list; in this case, you had better make sure that there is a statement on the entry form informing registrants of this policy and reminding them that they can cancel the subscription at any time. Display an \"unsubscribe\" email address for their convenience, both on your entry page and on your actual newsletter. After all, why would you want to waste time and money sending newsletters to uninterested and/or annoyed parties?

Now, you have to devise content for the newsletter. Of course, you could make your newsletter a mess of extensive advertisements, mindless hype, and self-serving promotion, but this approach ignores the fact that you are trying to draw your visitor\'s loyalty.

Through your newsletter, you are trying to express a sense of community, of shared interests, of an accessible, customer-oriented company. Instead, try to think like your visitors. Wouldn\'t they like to read something a little more useful, a little more fun, a
little more attuned to their lifestyles? If you give them the content that they want to read, they will remember your company\'s name. They will remember that you care about entertaining and informing them.

  • Announcements: There are ways to announce new web site content, sales, and upcoming contests without sounding like a pushy ad. Emphasize the benefits of promotions by naming prizes that can be won from your site. Subtly highlight discounts and new product lines without resorting to a hard-sell.
  • News: Find interesting tidbits or news regarding your retailing sector. For example, if you have a skiing newsletter, you could include a short, fun history of the sport. Make it informative and different.
  • Links: Give links to helpful and/or site-related information, or choose a \"Link of the Month.\" For extra exposure, trade newsletter links with another partner site!
  • Polls: Ask your readers a question, and then print the results in the next newsletter. For best results, pick a well-known topic and allow your readers to send in simple responses. If you want deeper insights, make a contest out of it and give a prize to the most interesting and/or well-stated opinion.
  • Various fun stuff: Anything goes, as long as it is entertaining, cool, and has at least a tenuous relationship to your site. Recipes, famous quotes, funny anecdotes, jokes, and riddles are all good ideas.

Now you've got a web site newsletter chock full of fascinating information that your visitors will actually want to read. Be creative, be informative, and above all, be remembered.
A website is...
If you grew up in the 1950s or '60s like I did, you may have viewed the whole computer takeover of our lives with skepticism and reservation. I resisted using a PC for a long time, then I learned Word Perfect and I haven't even blinked, let alone looked back. When the Internet showed up, I was eager and excited. I dove right in, immediately sure this grand new application was the truth we were all searching for. The great equalizer. The advent of the Information Age. The stuff of science fiction novels come to life.

I'm happy to say I was right. Fast-forward 10 years and here we are -- at a crossroads. You are either part of the Internet generation, or you are being left behind. If you have a Web site, you are part of us. If you don't, you're being left behind.

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Traffic is not users
How many times have you heard a competitor, a co-worker or a friend state that they have twice as many hits on their Web site as you do? How many times have you said that yourself to someone else? I have a better boast than that. I had one-third the amount of traffic that you did, but I made three times more money. Now, that's worth boasting about.

Traffic without income or results is like having four university degrees and no job; the framed degrees look pretty but they are only for show and not for dough. If you have any traffic to your site you have to ensure that you are taking advantage of it as much as possible. There are vital points to understand about your traffic and Internet browsing habits that will help you take better control of your own money flow and make you more successful. These points are vital to understand when you not only design your site but also your revenue model.

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Build your email contact list
E-mail marketing works, there's no denying it. Its key advantage over other Internet marketing methods is that it enables you to contact the customer instead of forcing the customer to contact you. This ability is especially useful when something that your customers need to know as soon as possible has happened. Whether you've just released a new product or decided to cut your prices by 10%, the fastest way to spread the word is via E-mail.

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Using 'e-zines' to build customer relationships
Every 24 hours, there are an average of 30,000 new Internet users. This is in addition to the hundreds of millions of Internet junkies and fortune-seekers that already spend their precious time glued to a PC monitor.

The No. 1 reason that people are using the Internet is information. If you are attempting to create and manage a successful Internet business then you must distribute your information to these Internet users. The odds are in your favor that you will find people who are looking for what you have to offer.

By far the best way to reach these people with your information is by publishing your own e-zine. An e-zine can involve a lot of work, and one of the biggest hurdles for many is simply not knowing where to start. The best place to start is always the beginning. And that means that you need to understand exactly what an e-zine is and why you need one.

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Closing the gap
I recently took on a challenge that’s given new purpose and meaning to my life - the education of our kids via the Internet, or "distance learning". In an effort to find practical applications for the technology we have available in our community, I learned of curricula in math, science, history, reading and writing for K-8th graders that was available over the Internet. Educational curricula, that is approved by the state of Washington and supported by Seattle Public Schools, is now available through the Louise Jones McKinney Ethnic Learning Center.

For kids that don’t have computers at home, we loan Sony PlayStation equipment and curricula on CDROMs in the same subject areas. Enrollment in the program includes online assessment of each student and the development of individualized training plans. For example: a student may be reading at the 5th grade level, have a 7th grade level in math, and a 6th grade level in science. The individual training plan for this student can be tailored to meet their specific learning objectives in each subject area. What a novel idea!

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New tools for the new millenium
Unless you've been vacationing on another planet, you've been hearing lately about something called the Internet. Politicians claim that children must be protected from "it", at the same time that schools must be wired up for "it". Business leaders are concerned that their companies have a "presence" on "it".

A great deal of money is changing hands in the stock market, propelled by excitement about any new company that might have a handle on where "it" is going. Microsoft and Amazon.com are the local favorites. Well, if any of these people have a good grasp of what "it" actually is, they've been doing a poor job of sharing their wisdom with the rest of us.

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Welcome to Tech Tips!
In speaking with many of my clients, I have learned that there are many things that can make life easier when using computers, that are not common knowledge. Over the next three months, I will be publishing and sharing information with you that will hopefully help to make using computers and the Internet a safe and enjoyable experience.

In this article, I will cover three items: (1) use of passwords, (2) safe use of email, and (3) a new high-speed Internet service - ClearWire.

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How to promote your website effectively
So you've got your website up and running. You've spent some time and effort getting to this stage, so it's crucial that you optimize your efforts and success by spreading the word about your website.

Remember, simply having a Web site doesn't mean that people will automatically see it. You need to promote your site. Here's how:

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A celebration of differences
A celebration of differences is a celebration of life. We must learn to celebrate our differences, although distracted by the need to belong to an immediate circle of friends and people of like mind. We are all similar, but different; equal, but not the same; unique, expressions of life. We have value. These truths endure our ignorance, eventually making fools of those who fail to accept them, and empowering all who are able to discern that mankind is more alike than different. By focusing on similarities rather than differences, we discover common ground on which to build relationships that facilitate communication, trust and mutual respect.

A Celebration of Differences challenges our most cherished opinions of how we relate to those around us.

A Celebration of Differences requires that we open ourselves to new ideas, customs, traditions and values without abandoning our own.

A Celebration of Differences helps us to recognize that what we may have learned about others may not be true - but simply what we have learned. The truth is - we all count. We matter. We can make a difference if we dare to give ourselves permission to consider new possibilities, and new ways of doing familiar things.

A Celebration of Differences demands that we abandon the preoccupation with skin-color as an indicator of individual character. Greatness doesn't come in colors. Neither does honesty, loyalty nor kindness - all desirable traits in most cultures. Yet, if you look closely, these traits share a common attribute. The fact that I am great, honest, loyal and kind does not keep you, or anyone else from being just as great, honest, loyal and kind. There will always be enough of these qualities to go around, as long as we value those individuals who exhibit them.

A Celebration of Differences is truly a celebration of life.

Michael E. Twiggs - June 29, 1995 - All Rights Reserved.