Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, November 3, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 13



 Mountain Views News Saturday, November 3, 2012


The latest on Business News, Trends and Techniques


By La Quetta M. Shamblee, MBA

 Predicting the future is hard enough under even the most mundane of circumstances but trying 
to guess how a particular technology or product will be received in an increasingly competitive 
marketplace has to rank high on the difficulty scale. Though there have been plenty of accurate 
predictions of technology market share, development and adoption rates but the predictions 
that tend to stick in the minds of technophiles most steadfastly are those that demonstrate 
spectacular misjudgment, misunderstanding, hype, delusion or just plain wishful thinking. It 
often takes the viewing of the big bloopers through the backward-looking lens of time to put 
in perspective just how laughable some of these predictions actually were. To be fair in our 
judgments we must consider that often when these pronouncements were made there was no 
much of what we would recognize as a technical backdrop to make these predictions against and 
many of these predictions were made by people and groups considered pioneers in a field where 
there may have not been anything like a field to begin with. 

Here are just a few of the top “Not Quite Right” entries on our list:

“I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically 
collapse.” -- Robert Metcalfe, founder of 3Com, inventor of Ethernet, 1995.

Mr. Metcalf was trying to make the point that the Internet of the time was growing like an 
unregulated and undisciplined weed and that the controls developed to keep it in check were 
weak in comparison to the job they were created to do. It was a bad prediction in that the 
internet didn’t stop working and doesn’t appear to be on the verge of breaking down in that 
fashion any time soon.

“Apple is already dead.” -- Nathan Myhrvold, former Microsoft CTO, 1997

For the undead, Apple is doing well. It now practically owns the tablet market and holds a huge 
chunk of the highly competitive smartphone market. In August 2012, Apple became the most 
valuable company in history with a market capitalization of more than $620 billion, nipping 
previous record holder Microsoft, which hit its peak in 1999 and is now worth about $260 billion. 

“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” -- Ken Olsen, founder, 
Digital Equipment Corp., 1977, in a speech to the World Future Society Computer? Nope, not 

Tablet, smartphone, smart appliances with embedded operating systems, connected TVs and 
multimedia centers? Sure. 

Computers? Not so much anymore. 


As Americans, we expect a certain standard of integrity and truthfulness in advertising messages that 
bombard us in all forms of media broadcasted or distributed to the public. We understand the nuances 
of humor, satire and creative “play on words” that dot the advertising landscape of businesses 
as they promote their goods and services. Two government agencies with jurisdiction over activities 
related to business advertising and related activities are the Federal Communications Commission 
(FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The role of the FCC is to regulate interstate and international communications by radio, television, 
wire, satellite and cable. The FTC serves as the nation's consumer protection agency that collects 
complaints about companies, business practices, identity theft and episodes of violence in the media.

( and

Businesses of all sizes can be held accountable for making false claims about the goods and services 
they offer to the public. Accountability for messages hurled into the public arena? Under the Federal 
Trade Commission Act, businesses must adhere to some basic guidelines, including three key pillars: 
1) Advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive, 2) Advertisers must have evidence to back up 
their claims and 3) Advertisements cannot be unfair. Additional rules apply to other categories of 
products and services (i.e. toll-free telephone service, mail order, consumer credit). Each state has its 
own overlay of laws as well.

In comparison to standards and accountability for the business sector, the terrain for political advertising 
appears to be one giant cesspool of “anything goes.” The current presidential campaign and 
accompanying state and local campaigns seem to adhere to no standards at all. What is the standard? 
Where is the accountability?

Of course, it’s natural to place the blame on individual candidates, special interest groups and the 
deep-pocketed, financially bloated PAC’s. What about the media outlets who are first in line to benefit 
from the mega millions spent to promote blatant untruths concocted to confuse and deceive the 
voting public? 

Although the FCC applies to communications transmitted via specifically-defined means, it does not 
appear to require that political advertising adhere to guidelines that would alleviate the confusion 
caused by messages and claims that are untrue. Let’s use the following questions to illustrate the laxity 
in accountability under current FTC standards. What will happen if one candidate makes a claim 
that an opposing candidate is running an ad that makes a false claim? Can the media outlet cease to 
run the ad?. Not surprisingly, the answer is, “No.” Perhaps it’s time to add political advertising to the 
“To Do” list for reform. How about starting with the template that works for our toothpaste, weight 
loss products, autos and every other industry that engages in commerce? 


By Carl Davis, CIMA


A phrase that has found its way into our daily lexicon this year is “fiscal cliff.” It refers to a combination 
of Federal government spending cuts and expiring tax cuts that many fear could be a serious drag 
on the U.S. economy beginning at the start of 2013. These scheduled spending cuts and tax increases 
have many economists concerned that if nothing is done legislatively to change current plans and 
avoid the cliff, a recession could result due to consumers having less to spend just as government 
reduces its own spending.

Changes on the docket

The estimated impact on the economy comes from a combination of expiring tax cuts, new taxes 
and automatic spending cuts. The most direct effect on individuals has to do with tax changes. They 

• The expiration of the “Bush era” tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. Most notably, this would raise 
income tax rates for most people to levels that were in place prior to 2001. It would also change other 
tax provisions, including an increase in taxes on dividends and capital gains, a decrease in the child 
tax credit, and a reinstatement of phasing out some itemized deductions and personal exemptions for 
higher income individuals.

• The end of the “payroll tax holiday” that reduced an individuals’ Social Security taxes by two 

• Less benefit from the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provided up to $2,500 per 
student in credits (a dollar-for-dollar reduction in taxes) to offset qualified higher education expenses. 
In 2013, income limits to qualify for the credit – which will revert back to its prior name, the Hope 
Scholarship Credit – are lowered and the maximum credit is reduced to a projected $1,950.

• The loss of the “patch” that allowed many middle income Americans to avoid exposure to the 
Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).

• A drastic reduction in the exclusion amount for the estate tax from $5.12 million per person 
to $1 million, and an upturn in the highest maximum estate tax rate, from 35 percent to 55 percent.

• The implementation of a higher income threshold to qualify to deduct out-of-pocket medical 
costs as an itemized deduction. Currently, expenses valued at more than 7.5 percent of Adjusted 
Gross Income (AGI) can be deducted. The threshold rises to 10 percent in 2013 for most taxpayers. 
For those at least age 65, the higher threshold phases in through 2016.

• The addition of new taxes that will apply to individuals earning higher incomes as part of the 
new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The effect these changes would have on individuals over the next year could be dramatic, anywhere 
from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars or more in increased taxes for 2013 
depending on individual circumstances.

The other aspect of the fiscal cliff is scheduled federal government spending cuts that are due to take 
hold in 2013 – another potential blow to the economy. These include:

• $110 billion in spending cuts agreed to in the Budget Control Act of 2011

• $26 billion from the expiration of emergency unemployment benefits

• $11 billion in reduced Medicare reimbursements for physicians

• $105 billion in other scheduled changes to revenue or spending.

What should you plan for?

Nobody can be certain what policymakers in Washington may choose to do – or not do – to limit 
the potential economic shock created by the confluence of events that have led to the fiscal cliff. They 
could vote to alter the planned changes to tax laws and government outlays in order to temper the 
impact. However, any action in that regard may not occur before late this year or into 2013.

In the meantime, be prepared for what may come. It appears likely that the amount of taxes you pay 
in 2013 will be higher than what you paid in 2012. Whether it will be as severe as what exists under 
the currently scheduled changes remains to be seen. Despite this, changes to the national economy or 
your personal financial circumstances will not occur overnight.

The tax changes would take place all at once, but from a personal perspective, they would have a 
gradual effect. It could be dramatic over a year’s time, but it will be applied in smaller increments such 
as through wage withholding. Even the government’s spending cuts will be implemented gradually 
over the year. The situation will create challenges and should not be taken lightly. But it also offers the 
opportunity to carefully review your finances, everything from day-to-day spending to investment 
strategies and tax planning, to determine the best way to limit the impact on your own bottom line 
and move forward with your best financial strategies.

Carl Davis, CIMA is a Financial Advisor and Vice President with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. 
in Los Angeles, CA). (He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies 
and has been in practice for 36 years. He can be reached at Ameriprise Financial, 10880 Wilshire 
Blvd,ste 1000, Los Angeles, CA 90024. 310-954-2566, or via email:

Ameriprise Financial and its representatives do not provide tax or legal advice. Consult with your tax 
advisor or attorney regarding specific tax issues.

Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise 
Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. 

© 2012 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved. 
File # 146690 


Using good images (eye candy) is important in social media and email marketing. 
Images get more play on Facebook and rank higher in the news feed. If you use 
Pinterest, it is all about images and sharing them. 

If you are not a Photoshop guru, you might enjoy using a simple yet sassy tool called PicMonkey 
( to enhance your photos/graphics. It allows you to edit an image, add cool frames, 
take out wrinkles, fix red eye, change exposures, add text, crop, give spray tans, add texture etc. Who 
needs a plastic surgeon any more? PicMonkey is basically a simplified version of Photoshop and it’s a 
lot of fun to play with.

If you use Constant Contact, PicMonkey is part of their editing tools. As you add images to your email 
campaigns, you can easily edit right in Constant Contact. 

There is also a trend toward using more infographics. These types of images present complex 
information quickly and clearly. They illustrate information that would be cumbersome in text form. 
If you want to see what these are, just Google infographics and lots of samples will come up. 

Most people have a digital camera or use their smart phones to take pictures. Try your hand at taking 
“behind the scenes” photos and share them on your social media sites. Let people know what you do. 
People also love “before” and “after” photos whether they are looking at wrinkled skin or a remodeled 

Images help tell your story. We are quickly becoming a society relies more on visual images, and as 
a consequence, reading lesss. Icons are the new shorthand, contemporary eye candy. If you’ve been 
telling your story with lots of words, you might try mixing it up a bit with more eye candy to sweeten 
the experience for your readers.

Note: MJ’s readers are eligible for a free Constant Contact trial, sign up at: http://hutdogs. 

About MJ: MJ and her brother David own HUTdogs, a creative services business that specializes in 
Social Media Education for business owners. Join their conversation on Facebook and get good tips 
and tricks about social media,

Sign up for their upcoming classes and presentations at: 

KNOW…………….. By Patricia Richardson, M.B.A

The IRS has announced the 
availability of additional 
information for taxpayers 
caught by identity theft as part of a larger, 
comprehensive identity theft strategy focused on 
fraud protection and victim assistance.

Identity theft occurs when someone uses 
another’s personal information without their 
permission to commit fraud or other crimes 
using the victim’s name, Social Security number 
or other identifying information. When it comes 
to federal taxes, taxpayers may not be aware they 
have become victims of identity theft until they 
receive a letter from the Internal Revenue Service 
stating more than one tax return was filed with 
their information or that IRS records show wages 
from an employer the taxpayer has not worked 
for in the past.

The IRS has created a special section at www. dedicated to identity theft matters, 
including tips for taxpayers and a special guide 
to assistance ranging from contacting the IRS 
Identity Protection Specialized Unit to tips to 
protect against “phishing” schemes. The IRS also 
is taking a number of additional steps this tax 
season to prevent identity theft and detect refund 
fraud before it occurs.

Fighting identity theft will be an ongoing battle, 
as identity thieves continue to create new ways 
of stealing personal information and using it 
for their gain. Identity theft cases are among the 
most complex handled by the IRS. The IRS is 
continually reviewing processes and policies to 
minimize the incidence of identity theft and to 
help those who find themselves victimized by it.

If a taxpayer receives a notice from the IRS 
indicating identity theft, it is imperative to follow 
the instructions in that notice. Taxpayer who 
believe they are at risk of identity theft due to lost 
or stolen personal information should contact the 
IRS immediately so the agency can take action to 
secure their tax account(s). The taxpayer 

should contact the IRS Identity Protection 
Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490 begin_of_the_
skype_highlighting FREEend_of_the_skype_
highlighting. The taxpayer will be asked to 
complete the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 
14039, and follow the instructions on the back of 
the form based on their situation.

Over the past year, the IRS has developed a 
comprehensive identity theft strategy that is 
focused on preventing, detecting and resolving 
identity theft cases as soon as possible. This 
occurs as the IRS continues to balance delivering 
tax refunds in the intended timeframe, while 
ensuring that appropriate compliance controls 
are in place to minimize errors and fraud.

The IRS is taking a number of steps to prevent 
identity theft, and detect and stop identity theft 
attempts. This includes designing new identity 
theft screening filters that will improve the 
IRS’s ability to spot false returns before they are 
processed and before a refund is issued. They are 
also placing identity theft indicators on taxpayer 
accounts to track and manage incidents of identity 
theft. IRS Criminal Investigation, in partnership 
with other law enforcement agencies, is diligent 
in investigating criminals who perpetrate these 

A pilot program launched in 2010 to mark 
the accounts of deceased taxpayers to prevent 
misuse by identity thieves is being expanded. The 
IRS has also expanded an initiative this year to 
protect victims with previously confirmed cases 
of identity theft. In late 2011, a group of taxpayers 
received a special Identity Protection Personal 
Identification Number, or IP PIN, for use in filing 
their tax returns for this filing season. The IRS is 
additionally working to speed up case resolution, 
provide more training for employees who assist 
victims of identity theft, and step up outreach to 

Patricia Richardson the owner of Monrovia Computerized 
Business Service. For additional information, patti@ or