Joe:SkypeIn numbers are on sale for $30/yr. Get one. People can call you as if they were calling a regular telephone and not know the call comes directly to your computer. You can choose the state of your area code. People will think they are calling you in that state even if you’re poolside in Rio or in your hotel room in Gnome. (If you’re not at your computer, you can set it to forward to your cell or else take a message.) They will be charged for a local call, and you’ll be charged nothing at all. You can also make free unlimited calls easily almost anywhere in the world.”

☞ Or choose a number in 21 countries, just as if you really had an office in Australia or Chile. You can try it out for $12 for 3 months.


My friend Doug Rediker has just published an article examining how the current financial meltdown may affect our place in the financial world. It begins . . .

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called [January 20] “a special day for billions of people all over the world” while French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced “we are eager for him to get to work so that with him we can change the world.” In most quarters of the globe, there appears to be a common belief that President Obama will preside over an American government that is ready, willing and able to engage the rest of the world and re-assert its leadership on the most important issues facing the world today and in years to come. Unilateral actions are out, we are told, and multi-lateral cooperation is back on the table.

The first real test of this more global approach is likely to be on display in April, when leaders of the world’s twenty largest economies come together in London to discuss possible solutions to the global financial crisis. This will be the first G-20 meeting at which the Obama administration will be a full-fledged participant . . .

☞ . . . and goes on to imagine how the meeting might go.


Alan Wenker: “Reading this article in the New York Times got me thinking it’s time for you to update your book, Getting by on $100,000 A Year (AND Other Sad Tales).

☞ Indeed. I wrote that in 1978. It seemed laughable that people could have trouble on $100,000 a year back then – but to many NEW YORK MAGAZINE readers the laugh was that anyone could possibly get by on so little.

The Times has raised the bar to $500,000. (Yet, for all the inflation adjustments, it’s a very old story. When someone suggested to Herbert Hoover’s Treasury Secretary, Ogden Mills, that you could live comfortably on $50,000 a year – a huge sum back then – he replied: “On $50,000 a year you can’t even keep clean.”)


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