Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Music Downloads Will Now Be Blogged

In the past, I have added my music finds to my playlist and embedded that in a player on the sidebar. Everything that I added could be downloaded, full songs, for free.

To cut the time it takes for my blog's pages to load, and because's player has issues, I am going to start making posts for my music finds and get rid of the player.

If you have never bothered to listen to my playlist before, don't worry, you won't miss out on past music finds, as I'll be tossing in posts of past finds here & there till I am all caught up and everything has been blogged.

My taste in music is primarily instrumental. I can't stand songs with stupid lyrics. And for the most part, I like music that creates a mood, and doesn't interfere with my thought processes.

Most of the stuff I listen to is progressive rock, post-rock, ambient, or new age. Of course there are exceptions, and that applies to the 'no lyrics' rule, as well.

To kick things off, I refer you to my post on about the gazillion Kitaro tunes I found, that are all downloadable.

For those not familiar with Kitaro, he is a famous Japanese artist that plays some very pretty, relaxing, new age, instrumental, synthesizer stuff. It's some great coding & studying music that won't break your concentration. What I like best about his music is the calming effect it has on me. It is so soothing, that I find that I do not become frustrated, as easily.

And with close to 50 downloadable tracks, that should keep your ears & your bandwidth busy for awhile. Just click the song links on my post to go to each song's page and download them from there. The download links will be beneath the players.

And don't worry if you do not have a account. One is not needed for the free music I will be referring you to.

Relax & enjoy!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Finding Inspiration in a Billionaire Without a Home

Nicolas Berggruen is a multi-billionaire that doesn't own his own home...or a car...or not much else, for that matter.

He lost interest in acquiring and owning material things. At some point, he realized that you can't buy happiness, nor can you find it in possessions...and then he sold off everything he had.

According to Mr Berggruen, “Living in a grand environment to show myself and others that I have wealth has zero appeal. Whatever I own is temporary, since we’re only here for a short period of time. It’s what we do and produce, it’s our actions, that will last forever. That’s real value.”

As a hopeless packrat, I am starting to really feel the burden of possessions and have recently embarked on a whole house de-junking adventure. While I am not too sure why I own most of what I have, I do understand why I can't just toss it away. My frugal nature prevents me. Some of it could be useful to someone else. But I can't locate the someone else that would provide a home for my unwanted things.

I had considered placing an ad somewhere, promising a 'gift' to anyone and everyone that shows up at my house on a particular weekend. If the turnout is good, I should have a lot more breathing space on the following Monday.

Just imagine the look on the face of the person that shows up and gets an Encyclopedia Britannica set, originally worth over $2000. I have been trying to get rid of that, unsucessfully, for the last 5 years!

There are other things that I can't part with, not because I need them, but because of the symbolic nature of the objects. They have a sentimental value to me. It's my feelings for the person they remind me of, that prevents me from discarding them.

Why do humans place such a high value on silly objects that were owned by deceased loved ones & friends, and people they will probably never see again? Is it a thought that by keeping these things that you are keeping a part of them alive? Keeping the good times of the past by keeping the objects of the past? Can the memory live without the objects? How much of a long term impact will it truly have on your life, your memories, and your feelings, if you part with grandma's old worn out sewing box? Or a bracelet that your deceased brother made for you back when you were 9 years old? Or baby clothes that were worn by your child, who is now all grown up?

I am going to use Nicolas Berggruen as my inspiration, and try to learn to let go of "stuff". At the very least, it will make it much easier to pack, the next time I have to move.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Silver Buttons

Another batch of blank buttons for you to have some fun with.

The zip file contains a variety of sizes from 23x23, to 600x23.

Included is a number of formats: .bmp, .gif, .jpg, and .png.

These buttons may be used for both non-commercial and commercial purposes.

You may use them on your website, in your applications, or whatever you wish.

You may alter these buttons to suit your needs in any way you desire.

Download link can be found on my art site.

Rank Spanked

I have had a few of those freebie .tk domain names for quite awhile pointing to a few sites of mine, that back when I started those sites, the hosting of them was quite unstable.

I acquired them so that visitors would always be able to find my sites, even if the hosting and real url changed frequently. Those sites were originally hosted on free servers or in the case of one of them, a single page on my ISP's server. I couldn't afford anything better at the time and those sites weren't created to make money, so they weren't going to pay for themselves.

Much to my surprise, the single page site hosted on my ISP's server became quite popular, quite quickly, making it to the front page of digg. This was followed by people linking to it all over the place, using the .tk domain name in their links.

I have been investing a lot of time & work into that site lately, transforming it from a single page into something much better.

Last year I discovered that the freebie .tk domain name for that site had a Google PR of 4. In light of that, I actually considered purchasing that domain name so that it would behave like a real one rather than just loading my site in a frame. Search engines would actually be able to spider the content of the site and associate it with that domain name. Visitors would be able to direct link to the pages properly and they would no longer see the .tk ad frame at the top. It would become a real domain name.

But recently I have seen the page rank drop to 1 and it no longer holds the top spot for certain search terms that it once did for a very long time. The true url of the site now holds the top spot for those search terms. Google took away with one hand and gave with the other.

But now I lost the benefit in page rank of all those one way inbound links that are all over the place, and I haven't seen a rise in actual page rank on the links that Google has replaced with the true URL's. They also are a PR1.

I am assuming that all freebie .tk domain names took a hit, but did the paid ones get hit as well? Does anyone have a paid .tk domain name that is a PR4 or higher that didn't get rank spanked this time around?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Google Trends Fiction

I have often wondered how popular of a site you could have if you took the list of the day's top 100 searches from Google Trends and concocted a wild crazy humorous well written story, incorporating as many of the search terms from the list as you possibly could.

Of course the story would have to make sense, and that would take a fair amount of writing skills. And it would take a fair amount of time, as well. And a site like that would be a lot of work, because you would have to do it every day.

Does anyone know if there already exists such a site? I would be more than interested in checking it out.

Drop me a link in the comments of you know of such a site. (or if you create one from this idea)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Creative Commons and Author's True Intentions Creates Copy Confusion

You see it every day on blogs all over the web: content posted with a Creative Commons license.

The Creative Commons license, for his own original works, is the choice of the author. He is not forced to do this (unless it's a derivative work based on another Creative Commons work, or he is publishing someone else's CC licensed work). He does it willingly. He makes the conscious decision to make his work copyable under certain restrictions, whether they be giving him credit, not making derivative works, derivative works allowed, restrictions on commercial use, no restrictions on commercial use, etc.

But he is giving you the right to copy it, nonetheless.

I spotted this one at the bottom of the page on a blog today:

According to the Creative Commons license for that site, in which the author links to, I CAN copy his content. According to the little Copyscape banner above it, I may not.

So which is it? Can I or can't I?

I wish authors would think about it seriously and make up their minds before they put the banners on their sites. They can't have it both ways. They can't say out of one side of their mouths you can copy their work, and out of the other that you can't. They are conflicting statements and ideas.

If you don't want to give people the legal right to copy your work, don't release it under any type of Creative Commons license. Retain full copyright and priviledges for yourself. And get the Creative Commons badges off your site!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Haiku News

I was thinking about starting my own news site, where all the news is reported in haiku.

I'd just have to take the top news stories for the day, write a haiku for each, and then post them with links to the articles.

I tried to give away the idea to a friend, but he's not all that fond of 5-7-5. He's more into 4-2-0.

The only thing I am worried about is that a project like this would consume way too much time for one person. I think it would be better done by a group.

It would be great to have a group of at least 10 people to do one haiku each, every day. That would work.

If you are interested, post a comment.

What does a 13 year old boy from Texas do with hookers?

He plays Halo with them, of course!

And then grows up to be a politician.

This is one of the most hilarious news articles that I have read in awhile.

"13 Year Old Steals Dad's Credit Card to Buy Hookers"

Friday, May 09, 2008

5 Tips for Studying with All Your Senses

Most students need to study if they want to do well. There is no denying this fact. But for each student, and for each subject, the method of studying that is most effective will vary. One thing that is for sure, is that they will be using one or more of their 5 senses to accomplish it:

  • taste
  • touch
  • smell
  • sight
  • hearing
Which one works best is an individual thing. And most traditional study methods miss some of your senses.

For the next few weeks, try these and see if you get better results from the time you invest in studying:

Taste: Hey, Mom! Did you know candy can help your kids get better grades? And I don't mean as a bribe or reward for a job well done. I am referring to using candy as a study tool.

Lifesavers or any type of hard candy that comes in a variety of fruit flavors will work for this. Pick a different flavor for each subject and don't change flavors for it. (math = raspberry, english = pineapple, etc)

Whenever you are studying that subject, suck on a candy of the flavor selected for that subject. When it is time to take the test, tuck that subject's flavor in your mouth. This will help you recall info you learned while experiencing that flavor in the past.

TIP: Try not to eat any when you are not actively participating in something to do with that subject, as you don't want to associate other memories with the flavors.

Touch: While studying, drape a piece of fabric of a particular texture on your lap. Pick a different one for each subject. (velvet, satin, corduroy, flannel, denim, etc) Keep one hand on your lap in contact with that fabric, while studying, moving it around so you get the feeling of it and can associate it with the subject you are studying.

When it comes time to take the test, wear pants or a skirt made of the fabric that matches the subject. (lucky history pants, you might call it) This works the same way as the candies, associating your sense of touch with memory of the info learned while feeling it.

Female students can use this study tip a bit more easily than the guys, since they can get away with wearing more textures than the guys can. Unfortunately, if you are a guy you may be limited in the number of choices for textures that you can wear and you certainly wouldn't want to be laughed at for bringing your 'blankie' to class.

Smell: If you are using the candies from the taste method, you will get the benefits of smell as well, since those two senses are tied together. I could suggest candles or something similar, but the smell would be very difficult to take with you and duplicate at test time.

Sight: This is the one sense that is used most while studying, but most students don't use it to its fullest potential. Sure you are using your eyes when you study, but you probably aren't using them effectively.

Try writing out the material you need to learn in different colors, changing colors with each point. Decorate with a small related doodle for each. Try organizing it like a web page, with header and footer sections, where you write all the way across the page at the top and bottom, and at least 2 columns for the body of it. You might also want to break up the center section with an additional section where you write all the way across the page like at the top & bottom. It doesn't matter what goes in each section, just important that there is a lot visual variety to the page.

When it comes time to take the test, you might not be able to recall the info at first, but if you can visualize the page you wrote, remembering the position, the color, or the doodle may help you remember the words you wrote before.

I am a visual learner and never had to study for a test because I took my original notes in the way I just described.

Many years ago I had a history teacher that used to tease me in class, in front of everyone, for writing with a huge 10 color pen. Then one day he collected everyone's notebooks (because note taking was part of your grade) and saw what I had been doing with that big fat pen all this time.

He publicly appologized, passed my notebook around the class for all to see, suggested that everyone learn from my method, and promised never to tease me for writing with a "log" again.

Hearing: Turn off the radio, tv, etc. and go where it is quiet and nobody will be adding any distracting noise to your environment. (no, a library isn't good for this one)

Record yourself reading your notes, and play it back a few times. Yes, I know you hate the sound of your own voice, everyone does...but that is one of the keys to why this works.

While you are absorbing the material by hearing it, you are also making mental notes criticizing your own voice at various points, either consciously or unconsciously. They will help later when you take the test, to be able to stop, and then play back the audio in your head to recall the information again.

If you incorporate all of these methods of studying, within a few months you will know which ones you are relying on most for recalling information. Some subjects you are studying may require different methods, so keep the ones that work for that subject and stop using the ones that don't.

Good luck on your next big test. Let me know how it works out for you.

EntreCard Needs Bigger Better Whips

What is the deal with EntreCard's signup form?

I have been trying to create an account for at least a week. Every time I hit the submit button on the signup page, I get this error:

Is there some trick to getting an account that I do not know about? Is this some sort of exclusive club and "certain people" are not welcome to register?

This is not a problem affecting a certain particular browser, as I have tried with more than one, my usual K-Meleon and I even brushed the dust off of IE and tried. No luck.

Checking through their forums to see if the problem has been reported (and what the official word on when it will be fixed) doesn't help. The only issues reported are from people that have accounts already. And there is no way for me to report the issue without having an account...and I can't get one! If I could get one, there would be no issue to report.

Maybe one of you guys that has an EntreCard account could post on their support forum and bring some attention to my post here.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Some day I am going to _____.

Too many times I hear friends make statements about things they want to do and then make stupid excuses on why they can't.

For instance, they see a restaurant they would like to try, but then make the excuse that they don't have a girlfriend or boyfriend, so they can't.

But when they do have one, they sit around banging their head against the wall coming up with ideas on what to do, where to go, etc...forgetting all those things they wanted to do that they previously made excuses on why they couldn't.

The end result is seeing movies they don't really want to see, going places they don't really want to go, doing things they really don't enjoy...or sitting at home on the couch with their date and watching TV shows they don't really like.

They never get to do those things they really wanted to do. They get into the habit of denying themselves and it causes them to miss opportunities to do interesting things.

Why does one have to wait till they have a boyfriend or girlfriend to enjoy life? Why can't you enjoy it now, doing everything you want?

If there is something you want to do, find a way to do it and don't make excuses. Just do it. Don't wait.

You don't need a boyfriend or girlfriend to share the experience with. A friend or family member will do, if you absolutely can't do it alone. You will get into the habit of seizing the opportunities every day to enjoy life, and then when you have someone else to share it with, it will come naturally.

Life should be an adventure, and you should live it, experience it, enjoy it. No more excuses.

Now, what is it that you want to do today?

I am going to _______ today. Fill in the blank while I am out having a picnic and playing my recorder in the park, all by myself. I always wanted to do that, but never did. (I hope the birds don't mind my bad playing. I am more than a bit rusty)

Monday, May 05, 2008

If I could read someone's mind for just one day

I have an online friend that I am crazy about. I don't know if it's love. I am not sure I even know what love is, any more, or if I still believe in love. But there is some kind of feelings there, I can't deny that, even if I can't define what is.

I know plenty about him, without really knowing anything at all. It all seems so superficial, and kind of empty, and leaves me craving something deeper. He intrigues me.

I don't know what he thinks and feels about me, not really. I know he cares. He has shown that much and made it quite obvious in ways that have touched me very deeply. But his genuine thoughts about me that he doesn't express...and other thoughts about other things. What makes him tick?

I would just want to know what is going on in his head...for just one day.

How about you? Is there someone that you would want to be able to read their mind, for just one day?