Monday, November 30, 2009

Cyber Monday: Online Holiday Shopping Strategy Guide

While Friday marked the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, known by many as "Black Friday", many online retailers have their sights (and sites) set on a rush of web shoppers today-- "Cyber Monday".

The term "Cyber Monday" is only a few years old, dating back to the 2005 shopping season. The National Retail Foundation's website coined the term in 2005 to describe a bump in sales among online retailers as shoppers return to their high-speed Internet connections at work.

However, while nearly 100 million shopppers plan to shop on Cyber Monday, according to the survey conducted by BIGresearch, only 13.5% of those shoppers will do so at work. The decline from previous years can be attributed to more widespread availability of broadband at home and on mobile devices.

If you're looking for deals, start with the NRF's own website: -- participating retailers are linked and offers featured.

Other great sites to bookmark this CyberMonday: -- the king of online e-tailing makes cyber shopping easy with a Universal Wishlist feature. Link to anything on the web, even if it's not sold on, and those buying gifts for you can find and buy it. -- This Portland-based site makes it easy to save shopping receipts and confirmation pages.

Keeping yourself secure online is especially important. While the volume of shoppers increasing, you can bet those seeking to steal your personal information will be working as well. Here, then, some tips:

  1. Use unique, complicated passwords for each account -- don't be lazy!!
  2. Be careful when clicking links, visiting random websites
  3. Keep your security software updated
  4. Save your receipts-- use to save complete webpages
  5. Look for the https -- secure padlock for encrypted sites
  6. Consider your own card-reader: SmartSwipe is dubbed as the "World’s first truly secure personal credit card reader" and transfers your card details directly to online sites

Happy Cyber Monday!

Hear this report, as originally broadcast on Newsradio 750 KXL (MP3).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's Turkey Day and there are likely two things on your mind: shopping and shoveling your face with more food than one person should be capable of consuming.

First, the deals.

Start with, there are others-- but I've found to be a good place to start. Look online at retailer's websites for special deals that don't require getting up at ridiculous hours. Many of the deals, if they're not already, will be posted at midnight Eastern time (9pm here on the West Coast).

And if you're not up for cooking?

Check out a Portland-based project where you can enjoy Thanksgiving in the comfort of your own web browser. Turkey Tracker is a great peek at Turky prep, without getting your hands dirty...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Portland Blogger Seeks Olympics Gig: Help Her Win!

It's no secret Portland loves blogging.

Blogging about food carts, beer, heck-- there's even a weekly event called Beer & Blog. For one Portland, the love of blogging may send her to Vancouver, B.C. as an official blogger for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.

And you can help her get there.

Meet Laurie Matthews, a "historical landscape architect, photographer, writer, recovering graphic designer and journalist, pop culture enthusiast, and unabashed sports fan," according to --duh-- her blog. This ambitious woman is one of five semifinalists who’s in the running to win a trip to B.C. and credentials to blog right "alongside members of the credentialed press corps," as stated in a Microsoft release. (Microsoft is sponsoring the contest to send one student and one female blogger to the Olympics games to use Microsoft technology to file daily reports.)

Check out Laurie Miller's blog here: vote for her at the Microsoft Winter Games Blogging Contest site.

You can vote daily until voting ends on Sunday, Nov. 29.

Make us proud Laurie!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Microsoft Store meets Johnny Rockets -- Awful Dancing Ensues

If you've been following Microsoft's launch of retail stores, you'll know they're taking a page out of the Apple playbook and opening locations in shopping malls across the country. This one, at Mission Viejo, apparently has a thing for Black Eyed Peas.

Note the customers apparent apathy. Also, at 2:14 (from one of the YouTube commenters), check out the girl in the white shirt shoplifting.

And we thought the Windows Launch Party videos made Microsoft look bad. Doh!!


(H/T CrunchGear via. TechFlash)