Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Direct Mail

From a survey conducted by Pitney Bowes:

"Tuesday is straight in at number one as far as direct mail campaigns are concerned. By Tuesday the weekend has quickly become a distant memory and minds are focused. By aiming for Tuesday, marketers can ensure that they are not bombarding people as soon as the week begins, nor are they waiting too late to encourage same week response.

Monday is a bad day for DM arrival. For communications arriving from Wednesday onwards, the mindset may well be – 'I’ll deal with it next week'."

Also, according to more than one source, you also want your e-mail newsletters to arrive Tuesday through Thursday (and in any case, never on Monday).


Monday, July 30, 2007

Empire Zone/Qualified Empire Zone Enterprise Credits - 2003 & 2004 Tax Years

The Empire Zone/Qualified Empire Zone Enterprise Credits (EZ/QEZE) annual statistical report results from a legislative mandate. The report includes selected data from the mandated study for EZ/QEZE credits for corporate taxpayers, S-corporations, and personal income taxpayers. This edition of the report provides final information for liability year 2003 corporate tax credits allowed, preliminary information for liability year 2004 corporate tax credits claimed, and final information for tax year 2004 personal income tax credits allowed.

To download the entire publication and statistical tables, please visit here.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Another GAO report on the 2010 Census

2010 Census: Diversity in Human Capital, Outreach Efforts Can Benefit the 2010 Census, by Mathew J. Scire, director, strategic issues, before the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-07-1132T, July 26.


Editorial Cartoons

Purloined from BUSLIB:

Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoonists Index. Also here.

Editorial Cartoons.

Editorial Cartoons (from Yahoo). Also has links to over 60 comic strips.

AAEC - Today's Political Cartoonists, National and International, from the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.

USA Today Editorial Cartoons.

Also there are sites for individual cartoonists, for individual publications and for subject/topic collections of editorial cartoons.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Win a SPARKY Award and $1000!

Contest details.

"The Internet gives new meaning to the notion that, by sharing ideas, we build a better understanding of the world around us. If you use YouTube or Wikipedia, exchange gaming tips on the Internet, or have a blog, you probably well understand the value of sharing information, ideas, and knowledge.

Sharing can also be a vital tool in helping to address complex problems that challenge society - like disease, hunger, global warming, and economic disparity. The sharing of ideas gives us ways to discover, collaborate, and create in unprecedented ways.

The SPARC Discovery Awards challenges you to illustrate in a short video presentation what you see as the value of sharing information. Use your imagination to suggest what good comes from bringing down barriers to the free exchange of information."

Spread the Word!

Sports Wikis and Social Networking Sites

SEARCHER magazine is "the Magazine for Database Professionals". Our NYS SBDC library has a subscription. Most of the articles are available online for a fee, but usually one or two pieces are free. For June 2007, the freebie is Sports Wikis: Who's on First? by by Lark Birdsong of Birdsong Research. For May 2007, it's Social Networking and Video Web Sites: MySpace and YouTube Meet the Copyright Cops by Stephanie C. Ardito, Principal, Ardito Information & Research, Inc. Since we're all dealing with new technologies, both are suggested reading, especially the latter one.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hispanics Subgroups Differ by Age

From Hispanic Business, July 2005:

Distinct age differences emerge among Hispanic subgroups. More than 20 percent of Cubans are 65 or older, while a scant 4 percent of Mexicans are in that age bracket. On the other hand, 37 percent of Mexicans and 31 percent of Puerto Ricans are younger than 18, compared with just 20 percent of Cubans.

Similarly, Mexicans have a lower median age of 24.7, while Cubans have a median age of 42.7, much higher than the median age of 35.9 of the total U.S. population.

The link will provide an opportunity to buy the full 110-page PDF for $185.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Business.gov Website Expands With New Features

WASHINGTON – Business.gov continues to expand its offerings of resources and tools to help small businesses comply with federal government regulations.

Responding to feedback from its business community users, Business.gov has developed a tool that helps businesses determine their license and permit requirements. The site, at www.business.gov , also has expanded the content and context of the information contained in its Compliance Guides and developed relationships with other government and non-governmental organizations to provide more in-depth compliance resources.

Business.gov’s new "Permit Me" feature provides a single source for obtaining federal, state, and local permits and professional licenses for businesses. While every business in the United States is required to obtain a permit, professional license, or identification number to operate, finding the right license can be a major challenge for potential business owners. Although some states offer assistance to help individuals understand their local permit and license requirements, not all provide federal information.

This information gap results in an additional burden to business owners as they must locate, research and understand federal, state, and local government resources separately and then compile the information to gain a comprehensive understanding of their regulatory requirements. "Permit Me" allows businesses to navigate to a single destination and presents a list of licensing and permit resources across all the federal, state and local domains.

Sounds impressive! Unfortunately, it's, at least at this point, VERY limited, with only about a dozen business categories. If you're dealing with NEW York State entrepreneurs, I'd still direct them to the Online Permit Assistance and Licensing website or have them contact the Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Less Than 500 Days Left Before Election Day 2008

There's a website that lists all the major candidates and their stands on the issues; at least, the issues as designated by whoever created the site. It's interesting (to me) that the person with whom I am most in agreement hasn't a snowball's chance in Hades of winning.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Trimming the Fat from Government

Well, this would be one way to reduce the size of government...ahem...


Prison Populations and Legislative Redistricting

Recently there was an AP article from an advocacy group arguing that State prison populations should not be included as part of local population counts, especially when it comes to redistricting.


The basic premise of the group is that these populations should be counted where they COME from, not where they are being housed. Since they are currently counted among group quarters populations, the argument goes, they unfairly provide overrepresentation to places that typically house them (usually more rural areas) when it comes to legislative redistricting.

Several issues arise from this position that I wonder about.

First, on the federal and state level, the flexibility of local officials to choose to either include these special group quarters populations in their counts is ZERO. Federal and state laws specify that these populations (state prisoners) WILL be included in all counts, including those for redistricting purposes for federal and state districts.

Local governments in NY apparently have an OPTION to count them, based on a court case in Jefferson County in the early 1990s. My best understanding of the decision is that the counties may choose whether or not to include them when they draw LOCAL legislative districts. In some counties, such as Oneida County, local laws have been passed addressing this issue - in Oneida County the local law mandates the inclusion of all group quarters populations. Others may choose NOT to use them for redistricting. But in either case, it should ONLY impact local legislative boundaries.

Second, the issue of whether it is appropriate to include prisoners in population counts for redistricting purposes places us, as census professionals, in a precarious position. If we don't include this group quarter, what about others, such as nursing home occupants, mental health facilities, or alcohol treatment centers ? Where do we stop in terms of deciding who IS and ISN'T a TRUE local person ? Many occupants of the above group quarters may actually be placed in those facilities not by there own choosing. So it is more appropriate to count them where they came from or where they are ?

Third, how would we determine where our prisoners are ACTUALLY from ? Is it where they were arrested ? Is it where they lived at the time they were convicted ? Obviously many of those in trouble with the law are very transient. How would anyone confirm a true address which would assign the person in question to a locality ? Is it simply a matter of where they tell you they last lived ?

Fourth, to reassign prison populations back to wherever they came from (assuming that could be done) would deny the rights of the local municipalities that provide support services to our State prisons to adequate representation. Who bears the costs associated with maintaining the water and sewer services, the costs of road maintenance, etc., which service the prisons ? The local municipalities, of course. To deny them the right to count the prisoners would be to deny them the right to population based funds from the federal and state governments which help maintain the areas around the prisons.

Lastly, if the prisons were to fall into disrepair, or start to endanger local communities because they followed unsafe practices, who would bring this issue to task before the state ? If a local water source were to become contaminated and the water at the prison facility were to become undrinkable, who's job would it be to work with the DEC and other water quality personnel to fix the problem ? A representative in some urban district hundreds of miles away, meaning the district from which the prisoner originated ? Not likely...the representative in whose district the prison is located would be much more apt to make an issue of such things. So in some ways, local legislators DO, in fact, represent the interests of the prisoner, as well as the local community.

According to our local Board of Elections, state prisoners have no voting rights. They may, upon release from prison, regain some right to vote. However this is usually something done with assistance from their parole officer.

Local jails have a slightly different angle on democracy. If you are in the local county lockup as a pretrial inmate, you can vote via absentee ballot. Once convicted, regardless of what the conviction is for, you can no longer vote while you are imprisoned. Once released, you are back on the voting rolls, assuming you ever were.


Someone wrote to me and said: "Thank you for doing this (blog). I will be happy to contribute. Wondering if in addition to a blog and MySpace we shouldn't also be on YouTube and have a music video?" Well, yes, if you think it would help expand the message of the NY SDC.

Meanwhile, one of my colleagues posted this about blogging. I could do all of those things for this blog (or my work blog or my personal blog), but then I wouldn't get ANY work done.

GAO report on 2010 Census

"2010 Census: Preparations for the 2010 Census Underway, but Continued Oversight and Risk Management Are Critical," by Mathew J. Scire, director, strategic issues, and David A. Powner, director, information technology, before the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. GAO-07-1106T, July 17.

Highlights (PDF).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Transportation Trends, Surveys & Statistics

Frequently requested reports, publications and statistics about various aspects of transportation in New York State.

Monday, July 16, 2007

E-mail: out of control

Perhaps you remember the Internet guru who declared e-mail bankruptcy in the last month or so. here's a couple suggestions for your burgeoning e-mail problem. (You know you have one.)

How to Get and Stay on Top of Your Email

Spend Less Time on Email and Get More Done

Keep Emails Short

Finally, just how DOES one spell e-mail? I find one ancient (1995) reference to e-mail and a British reference to email. So, I have no idea.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Technorati Score

This blog here has a Technorati score! Of course, the score is 1, but it's better than nothing, which some nascent blogs have.

What AM I talking about? "Currently tracking 90.9 million blogs and over 250 million pieces of tagged social media, Technorati is the recognized authority on what's happening on the World Live Web, right now." By comparison, the #1 blog, Engadget, has an authority of 30,364, the 100th most popular blog, Online Marketing Blog has an authority of 3,471, and my personal blog, Ramblin' with Roger, which in the top 250,000 (wow), has an authority of 27.

And while I'm talking technobabble, I get this weekly report about who's coming to the blog. For the first five weeks:
Week ending June 8: 75 people for an average of 4 minutes, 19 seconds each
Week ending June 15: 82 people for an average of 4:07
Week ending June 22: 87 people for an average of 5:58
Week ending June 29: 39 people for an average of 3:39
Week ending July 6: 51 people for an average of 3:14
You may have noticed there was only one post for the week ending June 29, because I was on vacation.

I'm fascinated to note that other people find this blog. For instance, last time I checked, 13 of the last 100 visitors to this site were from outside of the United States.

In any case, I'm always looking for MORE CONTENT; you know who you are. If you're feeling technologically uncomfortable with creating hyperlinks or whatnot, e-mail the data to me. I'll credit you (or not, if you prefer).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Miscellaneous Subjects

Are you familiar with the term "Easter egg" when it comes to DVDs? It means that there is some hidden feature that is not immediately apparent. I feel the same way about the Miscellaneous Subjects in the 2002 Economic Census. Unlike the Product Lines, and Establishment and Firm Size, you don't know what you're going to get until you get there. Other Services (NAICS 81), for instances, has Grants and Other Payments for Religious/Grantmaking/Civic/Professional Groups, plus Transferred Contributions for the same groups. In Administrative (NAICS 56), there are numbers for employee leasing. In the massive Professional section (NAICS 54), you'll find, among other things, gross billings for ad agencies.

The ones I use most often are under Accommodations and Food Service (NAICS 72). On the food side: average cost per meal, seating capacity, menu type, day-part sales and franchises. For accommodations: number and size of guest rooms.

What obscure facts will YOU find?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tech Salary Survey Results

The continued tightening of the technology job market is evident in the 2006 edition
of Dice's Annual Tech Salary Survey. The survey of nearly 20,000 technology professionals found that average Tech salaries in the U.S. increased 5.2 percent in 2006.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Square footage

From an e-mail I received:

I was collecting statistics about the university where I have been working since early August. The Physical Plant people sent me "gross floor area" and "net floor area." OK, so I showed my ignorance and asked what the difference was. The lady was kind enough to write:

(Taken right from my construction dictionary (bet you didn't know there was one of those!) :) Anyway...

Gross floor area - "The total area of all the floors of a building, including intermediately floored tiers, mezzanine, basements, etc., as measured from the exterior surfaces of the outside walls of the buildings".

Net floor area - "The occupied area of a building not including hallways, elevator shafts, stairways, toilets and wall thicknesses". >>

Maybe this is old hat to the rest of you (especially those involved in discussions about space planning and utilization at your own universities!), but I had no idea about this distinction. Here's hoping that it might be useful to somebody else.

This got me to thinking about how Census does this. So I went to the retail trade segment of the 2002 Economic Census, and went to the aptly named Miscellaneous Subjects. What does Census track? Why, it's "under-roof floor space". But the good folks at the Bureau do differentiate "total" space from "selling" space".

Monday, July 9, 2007

Veteran Entrepreneurs and Their Businesses

Veterans tend to be better educated before starting or acquiring their businesses and older than other business owners, according to new reports released this month by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Characteristics of Veteran-Owned Businesses: 2002 and Characteristics of Veteran Business Owners: 2002 show veteran business owners comprised about 3 million or 14.5 percent of the estimated 20.5 million owners of all firms that responded to the 2002 Survey of Business Owners (SBO).

The first-ever reports examining veterans in business show that prior to establishing, purchasing or acquiring their firms, veteran owners were somewhat better educated compared to other business owners. In 2002, veterans were about as likely to have either bachelor or postgraduate degrees as all owners of respondent business firms (40.7 percent vs. 40.1 percent). But they were more likely to have postgraduate degrees (19.2 percent vs. 17.3 percent) and less likely not to have graduated high school (4.3 percent vs. 6 percent).

Sixty-eight percent of veteran owners were age 55 or over, and 32 percent were 65 or older. By contrast, among all business owners of firms completing the survey, 31 percent were 55 or older.

Otherwise, businesses owned by veterans tended to be virtually identical to all respondent businesses in receipts and employment size of firm. (Figure 1 shows the distribution by receipts size category; Figure 2 by employment size category.) Moreover, the largest percent of shares of veteran-owned and all respondent businesses (totaling about 60 percent of the businesses in each group) were concentrated in the same five business sectors: professional, scientific, and technical services; construction; other services; retail trade; and real estate and rental and leasing. (See Figure 3 on the distribution of firms by kind of business.)

The report can be accessed here.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Sweet Melissa

I find the oddest stuff at Melissa Data. Stuff such as income tax statistics by ZIP Code or info on number of fatal vehicle accidents by county and state. They want you to sign up so you can make 50 inquiries per day, rather than 20 for an unregistered user, but the registration is free.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Look, Up In the Sky

From DC:

If you find astronomy to be of any interest, then this is a pretty cool site: Sky and Telescope.com.

Scroll down to see a section called "Interactive Observing Tools". The "Moon Phases" option has a utility where you can see the phase of the moon for any date between 4000 B.C. and 8000 A.D.

Other stuff, too.

As someone once told me: Hey, if you're going to stare aimlessly out the window, you might as well know what you're looking at.

[Pic (c) Marvel Comics Group]

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

ZIP Code to MSA name

This is an Excel file from the U.S. Department Of Labor, listing all of the ZIP codes and indicating what MSA, if any, it's located in. Quite good.

EDIT: Above is not working so well, but as of 8/7/09, this is.

The Final JEOPARDY! Answer for June 21, 2007

The category: State Populations
The answer is: Between July 2005 & July 2006, this state gained nearly 500,000 people, more than any other state.

The question is: Well, do I just tell you? OK, it's the 28th state, achieving statehood in 1845.

Here it is. Really.
What is TEXAS? After Hurricane Katrina, a plurality of the victims moved to the Lone Star State.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Jefferson County says census numbers are off

From Mr. Brown:

Here is a link to a story that ran last week on North Country Public Radio regarding Jefferson County's intent to challenge Census Estimates for July 1, 2006.

Man, Woman, Life, Death, Infinity

If youu used to watch Ben Casey on TV, that title actually makes sense. Where have you gone, Vince Edwards?
Anyway, as one of the affiliates noted, Vital Statistics for the state of New York, which deals with births, deaths, marriages, divorces and profiles.

The champagne was Canadian

Since yesterday was Canada Day, I thought I'd show the characteristics of international travellers to and from Canada, especially because NYS ranks highly on both lists.