Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all those readers of Whizzbangsblog a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I would also like to say thank you to all those companies that have sponsored my blog over the last twelve months. Your continued support has inspired me to keep on writing about domains and business on the Internet.

In particular, I would like to highlight:

It’s with a sense of sadness and loss in my heart that I approach Christmas this year. A few days ago, Pepper, my feline friend of 16 years, passed away. She was a great friend that was the subject of many Saturday Musings over the years.

When I was working late at night she would come and curl up on the carpet next to me. At some point she would nudge me with her nose, hoping for a scratch behind the ears and to let me know it was time to stop working.

Whenever I went away on business my wife told me Pepper would sit in my study and look out the window waiting for my return. When I finally arrived back home she would scold me in a very cat-like fashion until she allowed me to give her a bit of a pat again….after all, I didn’t get her permission to leave the house.

We normally wrap a present for Pepper and stick it under the tree….typically, it’s her turkey dinner. Sadly, this year we’re not going to be doing that. Although there is a sense of loss I know she is lazing away in the sun in cat heaven.

So in memory of Pepper I would like to highlight a number of past blogs where she featured:

What a CATastrophe

Saturday Musings – Why My Cat Is a Genius!

Saturday Musings – Why Cats Are Geniuses

Saturday Musings – Being Obedient To Our Masters

Saturday Musings – When Someone Spoils Your Week….

I hope you enjoy reading those articles as much as I did writing them.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Michael Gilmour

PS. I will be taking until the new year off writing.....so see you in 2017.

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Personal Musings - Being Generous...

Personal Musings - Being Generous...

It’s that time of year, where the tree is trimmed and Christmas is in every shop window enticing us to buy, Buy, BUY! Despite the commercialisation of Christmas there is an underpinning of good-will and generosity that permeates the air. So what is generosity and why is it so important?

For a start, people often view generosity as something that involves money. This is only one of the facets of generosity and depending upon your circumstances it is often the easiest one to enact. There is no reason you can’t be generous with your time, your attention, or your love. Generosity is more of an attitude of life rather than doing something at a point in time.

Escrow.com

For example, there is nothing worse than talking to someone that is constantly looking at their phone. They are being a miser with their attention as they constantly tell you that someone else is more important than you are. It’s also just plain rude.

If a person is to be generous then it must be an act of free will. This seems obvious but have you ever been to a restaurant with someone where they’ve waited for you to pick up the tab? They’ve essentially stolen the joy of being generous by manipulating the situation for you to pay…..not cool.

A generous person also needs to be wealthy in what they are being generous with. If you’re time poor then you’re unlikely to be generous with your time…..you just can’t afford it. You may need to ask yourself why you are a pauper in that area of your life and work on how you can bring some flexibility to your schedule that allows you to become time rich.

So many people claim to be time poor but after a few minutes of talking with them you quickly realise they are this way because they consume their time on themselves rather than being generous to others. For example, how much time do you spend watching television, youtube or play games on your phone? Could you cut out just one of these activities and suddenly be in a position to bless others with your time?

For me, there is no faster way to destroy an evening out then when someone pulls out a calculator app to work out how much they should pay. It gets even worse when they ask the waiter for a menu so they can get their numbers down to the cent. But isn’t this fair? What’s the problem with that?

The real enemy of being generous is people who live a life of being fair. Being fair sounds so good until you realise that it removes all generosity. You see, generosity isn’t about being fair, in fact, it’s the polar opposite. Being generous is going above and beyond fair just because you want to bless someone else.

True generosity also means there are no strings attached. I know some people who act like they are being generous but carry a mental ledger of whom owes what to whom. This isn’t about being generous at all…..it’s about balancing the scales so everything is fair…..it’s also a lot how politicians behave.

I knew a couple that would literally keep track of who spent what amount of money on themselves so they could balance everything up. The wife bought some new clothes so the husband could then spend money on some technical gadget. Rather than being happy for the other person’s purchases they had a desire to balance the ledger…..sadly, the relationship broke apart.

One of the sad things about Christmas is it can dissolve into a time of obligations. I must buy a present for so-and-so because that’s what’s expected. The levels of expectations rise up and is one of the contributing factors for why Christmas is not very “merry” for many people.

The fastest way to put a smile on your face is to decide to be generous with your giving…..this doesn’t necessarily mean more money. It could be you spend the time making something. I’ve kept every birthday, Christmas and Father’s Day card that my kids have ever made for me.…..they are more precious than anything Hallmark could have produced. Maybe it’s time you dusted off your artistic skills?

If you ever want to do a “generosity health check” then do something for someone else where there is no possible way you can get anything in return. Don’t be a miser, go way over the top. Buy the groceries of the person in front of you at the store, give your favourite coat to a homeless person, pay for the McDonald’s of the car behind you in the drive through, anonymously donate money to a worthy cause, help a stranger with a broken down car or spend an afternoon with a nephew or niece.

One of the most amazing things about being generous is when you do so you will actually get more from the act then the person you are being generous to. It’s like magic! The feelings of well-being and happiness that envelopes you are worth every penny, second or effort the deed required. It’s only a few weeks until Christmas, decide to bring joy into the lives of those around you by being generous and receive a great gift in return……love.

We can all be a littler more generous.....we just need to practice harder.

Greenberg and Lieberman

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Being Grateful At Christmas Time

Being Grateful At Christmas Time

I love Christmas! It’s a time where my family comes together and we celebrate with great amounts of joy, laughter and of course, food. It’s a wonderful season that is full of love.

A couple of weeks later we throw a Christmas party where the house is filled with both our kids and our own friends. It’s a bit crazy in the rush leading up to the event but everyone has a great time with way too much food on offer!

For about the last twenty years the whole family heads into the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne on the 23rd December for the Carols by Candlelight practice. When we first started going there was about a hundred people camped out on the lawn listening to famous singers rehearse for the big event that is nationally televised the following night. The practice has now grown to around 20,000 people who have a great time with their families singing along to the various carols.

Escrow.com

After the carols Rosleyn and I put together the ginger bread house that was cooked earlier in the day so that it’s ready to decorate the next morning. Since the kids were little they’ve had the joy of decorating the house with candies….I think more go into their mouths then on the house. LOL! Now that Tim’s nearly 23 nothing’s changed other than his girlfriend is pitching in to help out.

Today we head across to my parents for lunch, who live not far away, for a traditional Canadian Christmas meal in honour of the nine years that we spent in that great country. So as well as being Australian I have a fair slice of Canadian in me that makes me want to put some ice skates on and sing “Oh Canada”! The whole wider family will be at my parent’s house so I expect it’s going to be bedlam at present time. All good!

We all roll back home and for dinner for some good wine, fruit, cheese, crackers and a slice of ham. Each year, as a family, we always read the Bible’s account of the first Christmas to help remind ourselves of the true meaning of Christmas. It’s not “happy holidays” but “Merry Christ’s mass”.

After this special family time, we all put our individual sacks around the tree, one for each member and anyone else that is staying with us for Christmas. Each of the kids have had the same uniquely decorated sacks for Christmas since they were born. We all then stuff the sacks full of presents to one another….the rules are that you can’t touch any presents in your own sack until the next morning.

I must admit that I’m like a big kid on Christmas Eve and I get so excited that the next morning I’m the first to get up (around 7am). The first thing I do is make a cup of tea for Roselyn in a cup that is only used on Christmas morning each year. The second thing I do is put on Frank Sinatra singing Jingle Bells and other carols. We only play that on Christmas mornings as well.

Now that they are older I end up waking up the kids for a great time of gift giving, laugher and fun. Afterwards we have a special Christmas breakfast that involves a magnificent parfait made by Tim and then we head off to Roselyn’s parents for Christmas lunch and more presents…..we don’t even want to think about the calories of all these meals!

Boxing day is more family activities, relaxation and this year we may even head down to the beach for some sun…one of the nice things about living in the southern hemisphere is that it’s hot at Christmas.

Amongst all of the frivolity I like to stop and be grateful for all of the blessings that life has brought me. For all of the team at ParkLogic who have put in so much work over the last year, my wonderful wife, children, wider family and friends. For the many friends around the world that I’ve made through the domain industry and the ones that I’m yet to make. I’m going to be particularly blessed this year as Roselyn is coming to NamesCon.

I’m also blessed to have had such great sponsors of Whizzbangsblog this year. Companies such as escrow.com, .club, Karen Bernstein, Namejet, The Domain Conference, Stevan Lieberman and others have made it possible for me to continue to write articles that endeavour to dig out the nuggets of gold that help improve all of our businesses.

I am very fortunate to know so many great people and to be blessed by their friendship. We mustn’t forget that there are also many people that are less fortunate and look on Christmas as a time of sadness as it brings back memories of lost loved ones or other such traumas. If you are one of these then my heart and prayers go out to you.

Lastly, I would like to thank the many readers of whizzbangsblog. Throughout the year you have continued to inspire me to write with your comments, emails and many skypes. I look forward to catching up with many of you at NamesCon and online in the coming year ahead. In the meantime, have a very Merry Christmas and a safe New Year!

Michael Gilmour

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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Personal Musings - What's Special About Christmas to You?

Personal Musings - What's Special About Christmas to You?

Christmas means many things to different people. For some it's a time of presents, family and holidays while for many others it a time of really feeling the loss of a loved one.

For me, Christmas means many things but tradition would have to be right up there. My family begins the festive season with the getting of the Christmas tree which is celebrated with an American BBQ ribs dinner.....it reminds us all of the great times that our family has spent in the USA.

We attend our churches Carols by Candlelight and normally have an after-party with a lot of our friends. The kids also invite their friends around so the house is normally filled with people.

We typically build a ginger bread house on the 23rd. When the kids were younger, more candy went in their mouths than on the house but not that our eldest is 21 things aren't really that different.

For the last 30 years we've attended the practice of the Carols by Candlelight at the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne. About 10,000 people attend the practice and it's a great time with friends as we munch on some great food and enjoy each others company.

Lunchtime on the 24th heads us off to my parents house where we have a traditional Canadian Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. I grew up in northern Ontario so the dinner is a bit of a celebration of our time in that great country.

The evening of the 24th my own family sit around the coffee table with bits of nibbles to eat (we're normally stuffed from lunch) and we just talk about the year. I normally read the story of Christmas from the Bible to remind us all what Christmas is all about. After dinner, we rush around getting the house ready for the next day as we listen to the actual performance of the Carols by Candlelight broadcast on national television.

The next day I wake up at 7am (as I'm a big kid I'm always the first up ) and put on a Frank Sinatra Christmas album. We only listen to this album on Christmas day so it's a signal to everyone that Christmas present opening is about to begin!

For lunch we have Roselyn's parents and brother around for Christmas lunch.....which is a BIG turkey dinner. I love it! We normally then head off to my parents for Christmas day dinner but they're not home this year so we'll be home.....most likely topple into bed!

The next day is a day of rest.....plus seeing a movie. This year the whole family is heading off to see "The Hobbit - part 3". I love those movies.

That's a rough run through of my Christmas.....lots of friends, family, fun and of course eating! What I'd love to hear about is what you do for Christmas? Feel free to share it with everyone here in the comments.

In the meantime, I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year!

Cheers!

Michael

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Saturday musings - What's an Australian Christmas?

Saturday musings - What's an Australian Christmas?

For those you that don’t know I’m actually from Melbourne, Australia. If you have no idea where that is (and downunder doesn’t count) then find China and go a long way south. If you can’t find China, then look for South America and head west. If you can’t find South America then I give up….!

One of the peculiar aspects of our lovely planet is that it’s tilted at 23.5 degrees and this is what gives us our four seasons. This is very unlike Uranus which is slanted at 97.77 degrees, which means the planet basically has two seasons.

escrow.com

So why am I giving you both an astronomy and geography lesson? It’s really simple, when the northern hemisphere is in the midst of winter, Australia is experiencing summer. In fact, it’s not uncommon for us to be having 40 degree days (that’s Celsius). For those of you that have no idea what’s Celsius, Google provides a cool little converter that will allow you to quickly work out that 40 degrees Celsius is 104 Fahrenheit (click here for the calculator). Why anyone would want to use Fahrenheit is still a mystery to me…..but I digress.

Strangely, we still sing “Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh” even though there isn’t any of the white stuff around. Many Australians have actually never seen snow and presume that it’s just a myth. For heaven’s sake, frozen ice falling from the sky in summer! The first thing we would do is scoop it up and chill some beer.

As a bit of an aside, the kings in the carol “We three Kings” were most likely from Iran not China. It just so happens that “We Three Kings of Iran We Are” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.....and it would probably be a bit politically incorrect for the wisemen from a modern Muslim nation to bow down to the founder of Christianity (yes, I know that Islam wasn't around at the birth of Christ so let's just agree to not go there.....)

So back to my Australian Christmas. After we’re all sung out with carols, we then proceed to dig into a nice hot turkey and ham for Christmas dinner. I only have one thing to say about a hot dinner on a hot day……thank goodness for air conditioners.

I remember fondly the day when we bought our air conditioner. The salesman told us we needed a unit of a certain size….I immediately bought the one that was three times his recommendation. So when I say that we don’t have snow in Australia during our summer my living room could possibly be the one exception.

And then there’s the family Christmas party. For many people just reading that last sentence sends a chill down their spine (not due to my AC). The family Christmas party is where you are forced to catch up with relatives you haven’t seen in the last twelve months. There is a really good reason why you haven’t seen them in that long……it’s because most of them are a bit strange.

The party is the place where aunties plant slobbering kisses on your cheek, little nephews terrorise the dog, grandparents smell kind of funny and you’re introduced to a sibling’s new partner. In Australia we’ve solved the dilemma of how to escape this travesty of injustice…..it’s called the BBQ.

The “men” seize a cold beverage, retire to cooking the meat and talk about the cricket (this can take a long time). Cricket bores me to tears but it’s better than the option inside.

The problem with you northern hemisphere sufferers is that you don’t have a BBQ to escape to when the hordes descend. You’re stuck inside with all and sundry with no place to go as you’re surrounded by all that white stuff. BTW, I don’t count going to the bathroom multiple times for twenty minutes each a serious “Great Escape” attempt.

At the end of the day when some well-meaning relative offers you yet another serve of Christmas pudding you let out a little groan and casually slip a notch out in your belt. It’s at this time that the little ones end up behaving more like an orc pack from the movie “The Lord of the Rings”. You see, it’s present time and the darlings are salivating for their preciouses (said with a Golumn like voice).

Paper goes flying every which way and then you end up unwrapping your gift. It’s quite disturbing when you have the thought, “please may it be socks” run through your mind. I’ve had friends receive a very special spice rack from the same person three years in a row and another present with someone else’s name on the bottom of it (got to love regifting). The best one I heard about was a gift of wire coat hangers…..haven’t you always wanted wire coat hangers?

I’m pretty easy to please, I’d be happy with almost anything edible but I think that it will be my lot in life to receive something like a book that the giver has always wanted. Before the wrapping paper has hit the floor they’ve got their clutches on the present and promise to return it one day. I’m still waiting.

When I look around the room, despite all of the painfulness of the day there is a sense of reckless joy. Let’s face it, my auntie’s kisses weren’t really that bad and I’ll ending up smelling like my grandparents one day so I’d better get used to it. The talk about the cricket was inane but also kind of pleasant.

I’ve come to a really big conclusion. If you want a really good Christmas then my advice is to come to my house in Australia…..remember that it’s just to the left of South America. It’s got to be a lot more fun than shivering half to death in all that white stuff.

Merry Christmas!

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face.
Click here to arrange time with Michael
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