Friday, February 29, 2008

Mainstream Media and Censorship

This is not a post about Ron Paul, although it could be seen as one. This more about bias in the media and how it can affect an entire country, more than anything else. Read through to the end and take a look at the rest of the censorship, that has nothing to do with Ron Paul, to understand the full effect of what is going on.

The American people have been deprived of the truth by the mainstream media.

Because they see Ron Paul is a threat to their corporate interests, the mainstream media has gone out of their way to bury anything positive about Ron Paul, misrepresent the facts, deprive him of equal treatment in media coverage, exclude him from debates, polls, and reporting.

They have gone out of their way to silence Ron Paul's supporters by deleting their comments from news sites, misrepresenting the number of supporters present in official news photos of various political events.

The list of their biased atrocities goes on & on.

The following videos will show you exactly what has been going on.

Are you angry yet? Why not? What makes this fair treatment of a Presidential candidate?

Even if you don't agree with Ron Paul's message and what he stands for, you should agree with his right to be heard. You should agree with equal treatment of candidates. You should agree with unbiased news reporting.

The American people have the right to know the truth. They have the right to have each candidate treated fairly and equally by the media. It should be left up to the citizens to decide the results of the next election...not the mainstream media companies.

If they have done this with Ron Paul, what else have they done this with?

Let's see...

How about this for starters: Project Censored's 2008 Top 25 Censored News Stories

That's one hell of a scary list!

It really makes you wonder who exactly is in charge of this country and what plans they have for YOU.

YouTube Video Ad Units - The Party Might Be Over

I have placed YouTube ad units on most of my websites & blogs, primarily because up until now, it was a great way to sneak ads into pages when visitors are using ad blocking software. Because they didn't block YouTube content, the units would load, ads and all. Pretty crafty trick, huh?

I have made a decent amount by doing this, but I think those days might be over. While viewing this blog today with AdMuncher turned on, I noticed that not only did the ad not appear on the video units, but the videos themselves didn't load either.

video units

I am going to have to keep an eye on what I am earning off the video units for a bit and see if they are still as profitable. If not, I will probably remove them from most of my sites. They are rather large and difficult to integrate into most site templates, in a way where they don't look out of place.

I had thought that they were a great idea when I heard about them, because they don't just put ads on your pages...they enhance your content by adding to it. Of course you don't get a lot of control over what videos are shown, but the ones that get shown by default on some pages are quite good, and depending on the content of your site, they can be quite relevant.

To see how the individual units are performing can be a bit of work, though, as they don't allow you to have channels like they do with the regular Adsense ads. All reporting is lumped together as "Video Units" in your Adsense account. If you want to know what sites are actually getting viewers for the units, you will have to perform a little "Google-fu" and do a specialized search for each your sites.

For example, if I want to see just how many viewers are watching on my ebook site, and see just what they are watching, I would have to perform a Google search for site:youtube.com "clicks from http://www.appsapps.info/ebooks/" which is the path to the site I want to check on. Then in the results, click each one and on the YouTube pages for the videos, click the link that says "Links" under the video. You will see a list of referring sites and yours should be there. It will also tell you how many visitors you referred from your site to that specific video.

While you won't be able to tell what sites are generating the ad clicks from the ad units on them, you will be able to tell which ones are being watched, what pages they are being watched from, what your visitors are seeing, and how many total referrals are coming from your site. This will give you some idea which sites they are doing well on and which sites are pointless to keep them.

Now I am not sure if there is any SEO benefit in these links to your site showing up on YouTube and I am not sure if the links themselves will generate any new traffic to your site, but those are possible factors you might want to consider or investigate while exploring this whole video units concept...as long as this new ad blocking of them doesn't affect it too badly.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Top 25 Ways to Pull a Dollar Out of Your Ass

  1. US dollar coin Hunt in the usual places for change: check the pockets and lining in your coats and jackets, check your couch cushions, your desk drawers, under the bed, your car, etc. I know this is obvious, but most people never think of looking in all those places when they need quick small cash. They will usually look in most of them, but forget one or more.

  2. Check the rebate sites and match products against receipts of recent purchases. If you don't check you will never know what money you have thrown away, that you were entitled to get back.

  3. Put some ads on your site or blog. Adsense is easy to set up and you will eventually make something from it. And there are other programs that will pay off even sooner, since they have lower minimum payout thresholds. So shop around and see what is agreeable with your conscience and can fit in well with your site and not scare your visitors away.

  4. Give away something for free on your site, and put a donate button right under it...and ASK for a donation! If you have any kind of art software like Photoshop, Paintshop Pro, Paint.net, etc...and you know how to use it...make some blank buttons or something, that people can use for their websites and post it in your blog. Release it under a Creative Commons license, require a link back to your site if they use it, and even if people don't donate, it will drive some traffic your way, which you just might make some money off the ads they may click.

  5. Sell off your unwanted junk at a yard/garage sale, flea market, ebay craigslist, etc. Why throw away something other people want and would be willing to pay for?

  6. Turn your trash into treasure by getting crafty, then sell your creations. I once took a bucket of water, some glass bottles & jars, and old nail polish and made some really cool looking stuff by filling the bucket with water, dripping the nail polish on top of the water, and dipping the glass into the bucket. The effect was like a swirly Easter egg, and since some of the nail polish had glitter in it, it looked even better. I painted the rims with some crappy quality silver nail polish that I didn't like and sold them for $0.50 each at a flea market. I made quite a bit by cleaning out my recycle bin and selling the stuff, rather than letting it all go to the curb. Tall narrow jars, like the kind from olives, make nice bud vases and sell even faster with an old silk flower you would have thrown away, stuck inside it. Wash the flowers first, if they look a bit grimy.

  7. Return bottles for deposit. In some states, you are required to pay a deposit on bottles, which is included in the purchase price of the product and will be refunded upon the return of the empty bottles. If you live in such a state, go get your money back.

  8. Find a coupon for $2 or more off on some brand of cigarettes, purchase the cigarettes, then sell them to someone else for $1 off the regular price. It helps if you know a smoker that smokes that brand before you buy, though.

  9. Sell your old cd's that you don't listen to any more to a second hand cd store. Tastes change, and there is no reason why you should keep something you aren't going to listen to any more, just to let it take up space and collect dust. You can get cash for it and someone else won't have to pay full price.

  10. Sell your old unwanted fiction books to a used book store. Keep reference books, and in the future, get your fiction from the library instead of buying it. There is no reason to pay for something you will read only once. The library has so much in the way of good works of fiction that you will never run out of stuff to read. And you can read it all for free.

  11. Check your state's unclaimed funds list for your name. I have found quite a few people I know on the list for my state, including my uncle, and an ex-employer.

  12. That recent purchase you haven't opened, used, or worn that you really don't need, take it back for a refund. Impulse spending can be a serious drain on your wallet. Learn to control it.

  13. Sign up with mysurvey.com and take surveys. The more people you have in your family, the more surveys you will be asked to take. You will make at least 10 points per survey, more if they ask you to take a long one. I have taken surveys worth 250 points each. When you have 1000 points you can cash them in for a $10 check.

  14. Sign up with memolink.com and click links in emails and take surveys. You don't have to buy anything to make cash from them. Use some free email account to do it separate from your regular one. They will send you emails that if you visit the site you earn points. When you earn enough points you can redeem them for money. I have received quite a few $10 checks from them doing that.

  15. Do some paid consumer product testing with ACOP. They are one of the few companies I know that will pay you for product testing. It's not a scam. It can be tough to qualify for a product test, but when you do, you usually can make a few bucks and get a free product out of the deal, too. I have tested all kinds of things from toothbrushes, to shampoo, to feminine hygiene products. I have been paid from $2 to $7 per test. I have also taken paid surveys with them. They don't run on a points system and they don't make you wait till you have accumulated a certain amount in rewards before sending you the cash. They pay for each thing you qualify and participate in, and mail out the money soon after you complete it.

  16. Check your junk mail to see if it has cash included. I once received a letter from some magazine company asking me to go to their website and take a survey. The letter came with a $1 bill as compensation for my time and trouble, that I could keep even if I declined to take the survey. Now I never throw away junk mail without checking it for cash first.

  17. Keep an eye on your neighborhood trash for sellable furniture. Grab it, clean it and sell it. (see #4) I once had a neighbor that was moving and threw away some beautiful glass tables that I grabbed & cleaned and hid in my basement till the following month's yard sale. I then sold them to another neighbor for $50. She never knew she had bought someone else's trash.

  18. Write an easy to follow guide or how-to book and self publish it on lulu.com. Everybody knows how to do something that not everyone else knows how to do. All you have to do is explain it well. Put some time & thought into it and write something worth buying. Then upload the .pdf and charge a reasonable price for it.

  19. Think up witty sayings to put on T-shirts and start a cafepress shop and sell the stuff on your site. Ask your site visitors to send you photos of them wearing the shirts, for publication on your site. Start your visitor gallery page off with a photo of yourself or your pet wearing one of the shirts. It's a great way to connect with your site visitors and a great incentive to get them to buy a shirt.

  20. Sell your broken jewelry as scrap metal. If you can't wear it, and it's not fixable, it's as good as trash. But it's trash with a monetary value, if you sell it to a jewelry store.

  21. Sell the collections (coins, stamps, toy cars, comic books, baseball cards, dolls, etc). You are probably keeping them thinking that some day they will be worth something. Today is someday. You should check and see if it is true. If it hasn't gone up in value after 5 years, sell it for whatever you can get for it and cut your losses. There are better ways to invest your money than in "stuff". If you have fallen in love with the stuff and can't bear to part with it, you have reduced its value to $0. Never fall in love with an investment. Sentimental value can't put food on the table.

  22. Sell your old vinyl records. If you don't have a turntable any more, what good are they to you? You probably will never listen to them again. You might as well turn them into cash and let someone else enjoy them before they get warped or damaged and become worthless.

  23. Sell those textbooks you don't need any more. Next time buy used books and you might even make a profit when you sell them.

  24. Stand by a pay phone, holding the phone to your ear, and ask people that pass by if they have a quarter. People will assume you need it for the phone and usually give it to you if they don't mind wasting the time it takes to dig in their pocket for it.

  25. Check the ground in the parking lot outside a convenience store for change. You would be amazed at how many people don't like change and will just throw it on the ground. There is a store in my neighborhood that is always good for finding at least $1 in nickels, dimes, and pennies.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My experiences with Project Wonderful

Project Wonderful
I can't remember which blog I was on, but they had ads from Project Wonderful.

I have been looking for other ways to make money on my blogs and websites besides Adsense. I decided to give it a try.

It has been 16 days since I signed up and I figured I would let everyone know about my experiences with it so far, and some other thoughts I have had about the whole program.

Free Programming Ebooks
Since one of my sites is an educational site that is accessed by a number of schools, I have to be careful about other sites I link to and what kinds of ads appear on it. Project Wonderful allows me to check each site and decide if I want to approve or reject it. I like this. I won't have to worry as much about who or what is advertising on my site. I can go see myself before the ad ever appears.

So how much money have I made? A big $0.44. That isn't very much for 16 days.

There is something that I have been thinking about though...

Are people clicking the ads that are appearing on my sites? No, not really, but I am clicking them all to check them before approving them. So I am being paid a tiny amount to look at other people's sites. And I look at their site even if they aren't the winning bid. Just the act of bidding, win or lose, will bring in some extra traffic.

Since I am checking all ads before they appear on my site, I have discovered quite a few really nice blogs and a lot of web comic sites, which I have sent the links to my daughter. She is nuts about web comics and is always looking for new ones she can get into, so it seemed like the logical thing to do.

Would I pay for placing an ad to one of my sites with Project Wonderful? Probably not, since the traffic it would generate would most likely be miniscule and not really boosting the traffic enough to make more off the ads that are already on my sites.

But you are allowed to bid and decide how much you are willing to pay per day for placement. And believe this is where the beauty of placing ads with them is. I think if you were to bid on every site where the ads are going for $0, you could do quite well generating some traffic without any cost involved. And at the very least, if you bid on a site that is run by someone that checks all ads, like I do, if you have a decent site you may win traffic from the 'secret traffic source' of Project Wonderful...the webmasters themselves.

If they like your site, it's all worth the no-cost effort. Advertising on a blogger's site and the webmaster liking your site, could turn into even better advertising if they like your site enough to tell their readers about it and give you a nice honest review and send their readers to you. At the very least, even if they don't write about it and you never get a click on your ad, you will have them as a fan, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Would I write about some of the sites that have bid on my ad box? Certainly, if the site excites me enough, and some have.

A few are about to get a bit more advertising than they had anticipated when they placed their bid. Rather than a day or so in a box on my ebook site, they are going to have a permanent spot here in this post.

Here is what I have discovered in the last 16 days that I found quite appealing:

Living on Adsense
Living on Adsense - A blog by a beginning blogger meant for beginning bloggers, sharing the knowledge he acquires with others, as he learns it, in a style that isn't boring or dry. This isn't the 'How to Get Rich Step-by-Step, Now Buy My Book' that you will find in other blogs of the sort. This guy is for real, and struggling with it, like the rest of us.

If you want to read about real experiences with trying to make money from blogging, this is a good one to read. If you are a little ahead in this game, a bit farther than this guy, maybe you would like to share some info with him and help him out. He wants to make a living from blogging and isn't doing too well at the moment. I think he could use a little advice and encouragement from his fellow "I am still broke & blogging" peers.

High T3ch
High T3ch - How do I describe this one? All I can say is that it is quite visually appealing and interesting. Lots of stuff from the world of science & technology, presented in a way that will appeal to the common person. Don't be afraid or think you aren't smart enough to understand. Dive in and learn a little something new.

impNERD
impNERD - Nice blog if you are a blogger. Lots of stuff about social bookmarking, blogging, SEO, Wordpress, writing articles, marketing your blog, etc. Hopefully, Chris (from at Living on Adsense) is reading this and checking this one out. ;-)

Calamities of Nature
Calamities of Nature - This is a rather well drawn and appealing web comic. One of the few that I have come across in the last 16 days that I would actually read. It's quite professional. And it seems the artist is starting to get some good exposure. Consider this little blurb of mine, approval, and a bit more publicity to help him out. He deserves it.

Technically Easy
Technically Easy - An interesting blog that presents technical stuff in an easy to understand manner that even non-geeks can understand. He also does free website reviews, so if you want him to take a look at your site and write about it, ask him. He's an honest guy that will tell you and the world, the truth...the good, the bad, and the ugly. He scores +100 bonus internet points from me. I like a person with integrity.

So even though I have only made a measly $0.44, I think it was still worth it just to find some cool new sites. Once I have hit the minimum amount needed to place a bid, I'll be making some $0 bids and see if it has the same effect on other publishers as it has had on me.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A few more new websites

Flash Game of the Day I decided to start that flash game site I wanted to do.I figured lots of people love flash games, and if giveawayoftheday can make money off of ads by giving away a program a day then I could probably make money by giving everyone a new flash game every day. So now I have Flash Game of the Day.

For now, I am going to focus on games where the developers give you a code and host the games for you. Once I see how it goes with that, I may move the site to it's own domain and actually host games myself.

I don't want to do that yet because I am afraid of the amount of bandwidth something like that can use and I need to make sure all my other sites don't suffer.

appstrapps.com The other site is my App's Trapps site. I have had the domain name for awhile but never could figure out exactly what to put on it. It was Menchi's idea for the domain name. Kind of a joke, when I would drop a link in the chatroom, about it being a trap.

I wanted to put up a site with things that would 'trap' visitors into an endless need to waste time...lots of time. Yes, I know, it's rather ironic that the same person that codes desktop productivity tools to keep you from wasting time would create a site to effectively make you waste tons of time.

I used to have 'fridge magnets of doom' and a chatroom for visitors to talk to each other while they interacted with the letter board, but the site that hosted the letter board kept screwing it up and it would stop working after awhile.

I finally came to the decision to make it a site of random randomness...random pics, random links, random news, random blogs, random quotes, random stories...just random stuff where you keep getting more every time you refresh the page...and you keep refreshing because you just can't get enough.

So far I have half of my wtf folder posted...funny pics to keep you clicking for more.

I haven't finished with the page yet and I haven't put any ads on it yet, but I do have plans on doing that when it's ready for it.

There is some serious hotlinking protection added for now. I am very worried about the amount of bandwidth something like this can use if it becomes popular so this is the way it will have to be until I can see how things go.

So that now brings the total to 20 websites & blogs.

wtfcat.com I still have a long way to go till I hit my $2000/month goal, but I am getting there, one site at a time. I am building my empire.

Now...what the hell should I do with wtfcat.com?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Children of the CPU

Children of the CPU - Back to BASIC Hailing from Vancouver BC, Children of the CPU is the electro-pop duo of Cameron Shay and Veronica Rossos.

What is there not to love about this artist?

First of all, great name...but it gets better...

Their first album is called Back to BASIC, as in the programming language, of course.

And the album cover is awesome, featuring a drawing of 2 children playing Q*bert on an Atari 2600!

Their music is pretty cool too. It's kind of like funky game music combined with Poe.

And just when you think they couldn't get any better, I have saved the best part for last...

You can download the entire album for free, in (DRM free) VBR MP3 format!

All 12 tracks!

Why?

In Cameron Shay's own words:

"Some people have questioned the wisdom of giving away our entire album for free on our website, but don't worry Mom and Dad, we are still eating well and making rent every month! They got me wondering, though, where my desire to share our music comes from and I realised that it is a direct result of my parents having bought me my first computer, a VIC-20, and then later a Commodore 64 in the mid-80s. Having a C-64 in particular triggered a couple of things: it fostered a DIY attitude because I was able to teach myself how to program games (Lawnmower for the VIC-20 and Tricycle Derby for the C-64 ;) and make electronic music (albeit rudimentary), and it opened the door to a vast community of sharing and trading and making friends. In a way this website and album are simply the extension of those times and attitudes. I spent hundreds of hours on this album over the past couple of years learning how to program the synths and record the midi and live instruments and vocals and mix the tracks and improve the sound and master it all, and then I spent many more hours designing and building cover-art and the website, and it was just like all the hours I spent figuring out how to draw sprites and get them to move around in a game on the C-64 with music and sound effects, and now that it's done I just want to share it with people, just like we used to do back in the day through BBS networks and with our friends. So thanks Mom and Dad for starting me off with those computers, I know you were worried about all the time I spent in my room on those things and I guess that hasn't changed much, but it's all a learning process and that's fun and it makes me happy and now it is making a whole bunch of our new friends/fans happy too!"

Like I said before...what is there not to love?

http://www.childrenofthecpu.com