Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to wish all my visitors a very happy Thanksgiving and I hope you’re spending quality time with your friends and family. However, I know a lot of you are probably getting ready to go wait in line at your favorite retail store to get your hands on those crazy Black Friday deals! While thinking about that, I decided to look into how this whole craze got started. This is consumerism at its best!

Black Friday

Why Black Friday? Shouldn’t it be called Green Friday because of all the money these stores make? While that does sound logical, the real reason for the color black is due to the old traditional way of keeping books. When a business was calculating expenses and profits in their financial books, they used red ink for any loses or expenses and used black ink for all the income and profits.

Black Friday
Crowds gather in front of a retail store

In today’s retail world, prices are extremely competitive and just to stay afloat (especially when competing with online vendors), stores often lower their prices below cost and this causes the company to lose money. In fact, most of the year, all those sales you see will usually force a company to take a hit on profit in hopes that they win you as a customer. What this means is that it’s not uncommon for a company to be “in the red” through most of the year.

It’s the holiday shopping period that is responsible for bringing these companies back “in the black” in order to make a profit for the year. And thus we have Black Friday! Other explanations have explained Black Friday to mean a day of catastrophe. This isn’t far from the truth given the great lengths that people will go to in order to get the sale items. People have been seriously injured and even killed during these “rushes”.


So why the day after Thanksgiving?

Christmas Shopping Season

During the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s, there were a plethora of Christmas parades that happened on Thanksgiving. These parades were put on (or sponsored by) department stores of the time and used as a method of advertising for the store. Year after year, more and more people turned out to see Santa Claus coming down the street all while the parade’s sponsor was spewing ads right in your face. In time, the day after Thanksgiving became the official start of the Christmas shopping season. The idea of Santa being at the end of the parade was simply to convey the image that Santa was just around the corner.

This led to stores following a rule of tradition that wouldn’t allow them to start advertising until the parade was over (essentially the next day). A little known fact involves the changing of Thanksgiving to allow for a longer shopping season.


President Lincoln started the official Thanksgiving in 1963. While it is true that Thanksgiving originated with the Pilgrims, it wasn’t an official holliday and it didn’t even have an official date. It was simply celebrated randomly over the centuries and in many years, didn’t even occur. Lincoln established that Thanksgiving was to take place on the last Thursday in November. This all changed in 1939.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt

There was a time when it was considered bad form to display Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving and it was thought that due to the timing of Thanksgiving, retail sales were adversely affected. Franklin D. Roosevelt decided that Thanksgiving should be moved to the second-to-last Thursday that year, putting an extra week of Christmas shopping into the season and Franksgiving was born.

This change caused a major upset with many U.S. citizens due to the changing of holiday plans among other things. Throughout the next 17 years, Thanksgiving was celebrated on either the original date or the new one or in some cases, both! In 1956, Texas was the last state to change their Thanksgiving date back to the last Thursday of November. After all was said and done, no statistics have ever shown that the date change increased retail sales as intended.

What are you thankful for?

The whole point of this day is to be thankful for the things you have in your life. Whether this be simply that you’re alive or that you have a great group of family and friends that love you, it’s nice to have a holiday to reflect on how great a country we live in.

I’m thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had so far in life and in regards to this website, I’m thankful for the many people that join me each day by reading my articles and helping to further the success of Ledfrog.com.

Have a great day,

Is the AT&T Unlimited Data Plan Coming Back?

UPDATED AT THE BOTTOM :: Verizon will be getting the iPhone and offering unlimited data plans to all customers. Will AT&T keep up??

We all know what a disaster it was when AT&T pulled the plug on the unlimited data plan for iPhone on June 7th, 2010. Then they slapped us in the face by launching the tethering feature AFTER the fact, so they would ensure that nobody could possibly tether their iPhone while on the unlimited plan unless they felt like jailbreaking their device…but that’s another story!

From a business standpoint, this made perfect sense. I mean, ever since the iPhone launched, AT&T has taken quite a beating from both consumers and critics for their QoS problems (that’s quality of service for those non tech-savvy readers!), but who could have predicted the popularity of the phone? I think everyone was skeptical of another computer company releasing a phone–look how the first Microsoft-powered phones fared.

Lack of sufficient data

When the $30 unlimited plan was pulled, we were left with two limited options: 200MB for $15 per month or 2GB for $25 per month. The fear was that we now had to vigilantly watch our usage so as not to be hit with per MB overages. On iPhone (or any smartphone for that matter), it’s hard to put a ‘mental’ cap on something like data because practically the entire phone is using data for everything! However, the truth of the matter is that when you looked at your actual data usage and compared it to what you thought you used, most people were very surprised–myself included.

So now we have two caps and a new feature: tethering. It adds $30 or $35 to your data cost depending on whether you get the Enterprise plan or not. The problem here isn’t the price because you could easily spend $60+ on a 3G plan from any major provider. The issue is simply that a limited data plan my be fine for a phone, but not a laptop! How many YouTube videos or Netflix movies can you stream until you hit your cap?!

Unlimited plan coming back??

Due to my recent ramblings about how the iPad compares to the new MacBook Air, I have put serious thought into selling my iPad and getting an Air, but my main problem was the lack of wireless 3G Internet access for the Air–and considering the fact that almost every other netbook has 3G services built in, this is a big deal.

I began searching for other options. I was looking into how much more cost I would incur by adding a 3G/4G Internet device to my tech arsenal. The logical first step was to check out AT&T since I’m already a customer. All I ended up finding was the same limited data plan at a high cost. I figured if I was going down this road, I might as well just add the tethering to my phone.

That’s when I discovered this:

Current iPhone data plans from AT&T
Current iPhone data plans from AT&T

What you’re seeing here is a current screenshot from my AT&T Wireless account. While looking at my options for adding tethering to my account, I discovered that the original unlimited data plan is now on the list of features I can change! Also, a new Enterprise data plan has seemed to appeared although I’m not sure why it’s there and more importantly why it’s cheaper. When clicked on, both plans show almost identical product descriptions except the cheaper one talks about “savings”.

What does this mean?

I can’t really say. It could be that because I’m a grandfathered customer, I still have access (at least visually) to the original unlimited plan. The second Enterprise plan may have just shown up because they changed the price. Who knows, but what I can say is that until I learn more about the above screenshot, I’m not changing a thing! I don’t feel like running the risk of losing my current unlimited plan!

If someone from AT&T is out there, please look into this matter and see what you can find because the few AT&T reps I’ve spoken to don’t seem to have a clue.

New Verizon iPhone

UPDATE: Jan 12, 2011 — I’m posting this update because as everyone is aware, Verizon is now getting the iPhone on February 10th. Verizon has also stated that they will be offering the same unlimited data plans enjoyed by their current customers to all iPhone customers as well.

If AT&T is smart, they’ll want to reinstate their unlimited plans on the iPhone, but only time will tell. It looks like the flood gates just got opened!

International Domain Speculation

As any domain owner will tell you, domain speculation is a rough game. In fact, it’s very similar to the stock market in some sense. No, the value of a domain doesn’t fluctuate with rising and falling markets, per se, but the risk of “guessing” which domains will have resell value now or later is just as high as it is on Wall Street.

When thinking about this topic, I was browsing around the Internet and came across a few articles about International domains and with the few new TLDs that have been launching auctions for previously reserved domains, it’s hard not to want to dive in head first and buy all the good domains available.

The problem? Nobody can accurately predict the value of such names and the reason for this is because there are so many factors that play into what they might actually be worth with the worst part being that these factors vary depending on who you talk to!

International Domains (ccTLD)

ccTLD is short for Country Code Top-Level Domain. These are the 2-character TLDs that were assigned to each country in the world. There were a few reasons to do this, one of which was to increase the amount of domains available for registration and also to provide each country with a domain that pertains specifically to them.

However, what this also did was allow domain speculators and other individuals who felt they missed out on the booming domain industry to start registering the same domain names that were selling for hundreds of thousands, but in a new TLD. While this sounds like a master plan, one must be reminded that every TLD is valued differently and in an industry where value is extremely subjective, this is troubling to hear.

So how does one value an International TLD?

Digital Gold Rush

The best domains aren’t always the obvious ones. For example, you might be tempted to register Business.de because Business.com sold for $7 million at one point, but you might be better off registering Geschäft.de (business in German).

Other valuable domains might be really short ones that can be used for URL shortening services like the one I got, xi.io for example. You might even be considering a “domain hack” like te.am, assu.me, ballga.me or fres.co. Whatever the case may be, you could be sitting on a gold mine or bust out like so many others who jumped on a bandwagon.

No matter the case, every time a new TLD is launched, a frenzy ensues and all over the Internet, you can see articles and postings about launch dates, sunrise periods, pre-registrations, trademark reservations, general registration, premium auctions and domain valuations. It seems that the latest trend is the premium auction feature. This is where the country or (registrar acting on behalf of the country) has decided to place a series of “premium” domains on reserved lists, generate some buzz and then release them in specialized blocks in hopes to squeeze the most value out of a domain.

No other TLD was more successful at this process than dotME.

dotME Domains

The dotME TLD comes from the country of Montenegro. Their site, Domain.me will have you believe (in short time) that dotME domains are the greatest thing since sliced bread! Their ability to promote and market their cause is unparalleled in the business.

The first thing they did was reserve thousands of domain names, marked them as premium and put them up for auction. Back in April, they auctioned off a ton of first names like Michael.me, Jack.me, Chris.me and so on. I was able to acquire Brandon.me and that’s all I needed.

On November 17th, Sedo auctioned off another large block that netted about $400,000. TheDomains.com posted a list of the top selling dotME domains if you want to check it out. While you’re at it, head on over to Domain.me and check out some of their upcoming premium auctions.

Here’s the top five from that list:

  1. Like.me: $26,500
  2. contacts.me: $15,600
  3. game.me: $13,100
  4. poker.me: $12,099
  5. friend.me: $10,099

What’s interesting about this list is that the domain Business.me was far down it having sold for $4010. This goes to show that not only is dotME simply not dotCOM and never will be. But another interesting point is that Business.me doesn’t seem to make sense in the dotME spectrum. The reason for this is because dotME forces the word “me” when you see it. This makes dotME perfectly suitable for personal blogs and other domains that use words that work with the word “me”.

My Two Cents

The point to this post was that International domains can be great additions to any portfolio and they might hold some value to someone somewhere, but generally speaking, the TLD will make a huge difference in the value of a domain. So when you’re out there speculating your next purchase, make note of how others might relate to your domain choices.

Out With AssociatedContent and In With Yahoo! Contributor Network

I loved the idea of Associated Content because of your ability to become your own writer, contribute something of value to the Internet community and make some money for it–that is until I realized I didn’t need this platform because I already had my own blog!

However, I joined anyway and decided to use the site as a platform for publicizing myself, which included the site you’re on now. It works really well too! I write a few exclusive articles for their site and it naturally points back to other related articles here. I make a few dollars from them and everyone is happy.

AssociatedContent.com Bought by Yahoo!

Back in May of 2010, Yahoo! announced that it was buying AssociatedContent for about $100 million and they did. That’s right around the time I joined, so I don’t really know what the site was like before, but I do know that Yahoo!’s presence at that time was very minimal. In fact, I believe the only real trace of Yahoo! besides a few mastheads here and there was the fact that you could log in using your Yahoo! username.

Anyway, as of recently, AssociatedContent has now been fully integrated into the Yahoo! Contributor Network which contains the following sites:

Yahoo! Contributor Network
Yahoo! Contributor Network

One site that I was sure would be part of that group was Yahoo! Answers considering that’s another HUGE contribution site from regular web users, but oh well.

How does this change things?

It doesn’t really change anything except that it probably outdates my previous article about AssociatedContent! Thanks Yahoo!! But, generally you can still join the Yahoo! Contributor network, write to your heart’s content and make money doing it.

My recommendation is to continue using the site even if you run your own blog. One of the ways you can publish content to Yahoo! is to publish it as non-exclusive in order to be able to “legally” have it in both sites.

I think one of the only downsides to having a site like this opened up to everyone and anyone with little or no oversight (and probably less now) over the content, you tend to get a lot of inexperienced writers/bloggers out there that either don’t have the proper knowledge of a subject or simply don’t have proper command of the English language to make the content worth reading. That and you have 1000 people writing about the same topic. In fact, Slate technical writer Farhad Manjoo said:

Associated Content stands as a cautionary tale for anyone looking to do news by the numbers. It is a wasteland of bad writing, uninformed commentary, and the sort of comically dull recitation of the news you’d get from a second grader.

Get Involved

Still want to be a part of Associated Content? Great!! Let’s prove the skeptics wrong by producing quality and unique content all while building up your professional image and portfolio no matter what career path you may be on.

Here are some things you should check out if you’re still interested:

MacBook Air (2010) vs iPad vs MacBook Pro

I know it’s been awhile since my last post, but I’ve been working heavily on my other site and just trying to maintain sanity throughout my life due to some unexpected changes not too long ago. At any rate, this post comes after my in-depth look at the new MacBook Air that came out less than a month ago. For all of you that feel Apple is just releasing the same old products in different packaging, understand this…you’re right.

Ok so I’m an Apple fan boy and I love to see what’s next and yes, I’ve been known to drop more shiny pennies on their products than I do on more important things in life, but rather than try to explain myself, let me at least justify my purchases! Actually, I already did that when I went over the various reasons about why I own an iPhone, an MacBook and an iPad. Of course there are plenty of other devices out there that could have done almost exactly the same things (if not, more) for a LOT less, but Apple has me sucked in!

So I buy an iPad because I wanted to take the mobility of the iPhone to a new level and I must tell you, I succeeded. Everything was going fine until I saw the new MacBook Air. And so it begins–the never-ending quest to have the perfect combination of technology to ensure that no matter where you’re at, you’re always connected and functional.

MacBook Air (2010 model)

When the first MacBook Air came out, it was “revolutionary”, it was “sleek” but most importantly, it could fit in a standard size manilla envelope. The problem with it was that it cost way too much money! In fact, I think the only good thing that came out of it was that it set a new standard for future MacBook designs.

Today, we have a new pair of MacBook Airs that look better than ever, are more powerful than ever and…still cost way too much money. Here’s the break down:

2010 MacBook Air models
2010 MacBook Air models

From this comparison, you can see that there is really only two models: the 11-inch screen and the 13-inch screen. Within those two models you can choose the size of your hard drive, but that’s it.

Now I already own a 13-inch MacBook (2008 model–before they all went to MacBook Pros), so the only real excitement I got from these is the fact that one of them is 11-inches. The other attractive feature here is the solid-state flash memory. If you get a chance to check out one of these in the store, you’ll notice quite a difference between the boot up and running speed of a MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro. The Air will beat the Pro almost every time and it can do so with almost half the processor speed!

Pros and Cons


  • Small, portable and lightweight
  • Fast, flash memory
  • Full keyboard, full OSX
  • Built-in SD card reader
  • 5+ hours of battery life


  • No ROM drive
  • Small screens
  • Not upgradable
  • Onboard memory
  • No backlit keyboard
  • No built-in 3G service

iPad (1st Gen)

Apple iPad 1st generation
Apple iPad 1st generation

The iPad is great, but it’s only as great as the iPhone with a slightly better advantage of having a larger screen. The reason I bought one was to go more portable than my MacBook, but to have a larger screen than my iPhone and so far the results have been…ehhh. Granted, I love using the iPad and it comes in handy when you want to write something down, check your email while in the car or even just play some games when you’re bored.

The problem I keep running into is the fact that I want to use it like my MacBook, but because it doesn’t have an actual file system, I’m still stuck with the same limitations as the iPhone. So where before, I was looking for a mid-point between smartphone and laptop, it looks like now I’m looking for a mid-point between iPad and desktop computer. So far, all signs point to MacBook Air.

UPDATED: Now that the iPad 2 is coming out this month (March 11, 2011), take a look at the direct comparison and find out if you think you should upgrade! After reviewing its specs, I’ve decided that aside from a slightly faster processor and the addition of two new cameras, it’s practically the same as the first iPad.

MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook aluminum unibody (2008)
Apple MacBook aluminum unibody (2008)

As I mentioned, I don’t officially have a MacBook Pro because my model came out with there was still just MacBooks, but since my system specs are the same as the new Pros (albeit no SD card reader), I can speak on this. My original setup consisted of a desktop PC and an HP laptop. I sold the HP and got the MacBook for two reasons: new computer and to become more portable. That’s why I chose the 13-inch model.

As time went on, I noticed I was using the MacBook more and more and the desktop less and less. The problem with this was that the laptop became my desktop replacement, but now I was stuck with a 13-in screen!


While each of these devices serves different purposes and not everyone will find the same use in them, my opinion is that owning a MacBook Pro and an iPad or a MacBook Air and an iPad are great additions to the smartphone you probably already own. Each of them allows you to be portable in different ways and depending on the situation, you will find that they complement your life very well. Now, if you own all three, you just have nothing better to spend your money on!

As for me, I’m almost at the point where I want to change my tech setup once again. This is what I foresee:

  1. Sell my current desktop PC
  2. Sell my iPad
  3. Sell my MacBook
  4. Buy a Mac Mini to replace my desktop
  5. Buy a MacBook Air (11-inch) to replace my MacBook and iPad
  6. Keep my iPhone 4 as my extremely portable device

Now if only Apple would put some built-in 3G capabilities on the MacBook Air–or any MacBook for that matter, then we’d be sittin’ pretty!