Thursday, July 31, 2008

Are you on Autopilot?

Take this opportunity to break away from your daily drugery with a little bit of unscheduled fun.

You'll be glad you did.

And while you are there, take a look around at what is a marvelous blog of "mind blowing" things.

http://www.dansmind.com/?p=170

Saturday, July 26, 2008

How can I make an ad or logo image for my blog if I have no talent?

Created at free125cards.com
You have set up a blog and have been posting to it for a bit.

You have decided to monetize your blog with some ads, like Project Wonderful.

After earning money for awhile, you begin to realize that you could earn even more if you had more traffic. You could have more traffic if you advertised.

After all...

He who has a thing to sell
and goes and whispers in a well,
is not apt to get the dollars
as he who climbs the hill and hollers.

So you have decided to place your own ads on other sites and now need a 125 square image.

The problem is, you are just not that skilled, have no art talent, and you don't want to have to buy or learn something expensive and complicated like Photoshop, just to make a little square ad.

So what can you do? How can you have an attractive ad that doesn't look like a five year old created it in Microsoft Paint?

Well, you could head over to Free 125 Cards and make one with their generator.

No talent or expensive software needed and it only takes a few minutes.

Just select a background from their collection, type in the text you want, choose the font, pick the text size, drag to position it, and click the save button when you are done.

It's that easy. And did I mention that it's free?

Don't just sit there...go make that ad image and get some more traffic!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My #1 Reason for Hating Digg

AHHHHHHH!! DIGG SUCKS!!
Aside from all that infects Digg and makes it such trash, such as the Super Digger cartels that bury the good stuff and digg the crappy stuff without even reading it, the fact anything with "Google", "Digg", "iPhone", or "Linux" in the headline automatically makes it to the front page (even if it isn't news worthy), and the comments that seem like they were written by a gang of uneducated pre-teen delinquents that live under a bridge...there is one thing above all that really aggrivates me to no end.

THE BLOAT!

The site is the most unusable piece of trash that has ever been coded. Worse than AOL webmail, the latest version of GMail, Yahoo webmail, Neopets, and FeedBurner, combined.

It should not take 20 minutes to log into a site. One should not receive a billion "unresponsive script" warnings per page. It should not take an hour to switch tabs. Someone needs to dig a hole and bury that site before I lose my mind. I am so aggrivated right now that all the Kitaro in the world could not calm me down.

Every time I think about giving Digg another chance, I end up regretting it and shaking with frustration. I am a very patient person, but I am not THAT patient.

I seriously hope that if Google does buy Digg, that they don't turn their search engine into a bloated mess while they add Digg buttons to all their search results. My poor little computer and I wouldn't be able to handle it, and in my opinion, we shouldn't have to.

GIVE ME SOMETHING GOOD TO READ!
I have had it! Enough is enough! I will never load another page from Digg in any browser, on any PC, for as long as I live...unless someone can direct me to a Digg Lite that isn't loaded with all the bloated crap.

I don't care if I can vote or comment on stuff, or not. I really am not feeling in a very social mood right now, any way.

I just want a list of the headlines, descriptions, and direct links to all the articles that have been submitted in the upcoming stories section. I would like to find some interesting stuff to read that isn't already plastered all over every blog & splog in creation.

I don't want the front page crap. I would rather have all the hidden gems that never have a fair shot of making it to the front page.

Does such a thing even exist?

If it does, give me a link, please!

UPDATE 08-04-2008:
I have found not one, but two alternatives to the main bloated Digg site. Please see my article titled "Digg, Digg Lite, Digg Ultra Lite" on my Snailware blog.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

PRODUCT RECALL: Dirt Devil Vacuum Accessory Tools

Recalled Dirt Devil Power Tools (click to view larger image)
If you own a Dirt Devel vacuum with "Power Brush" attachment tools, please stop using them until you check below to see if yours is on the recall list.

TTI Floor Care North America, of Glenwillow, Ohio has recalled about 987,000 Dirt Devil power tools, after receiving 140 reports of incidents involving the recalled vacuum tool, including 12 reports of injuries. Those consumers reported minor eye or skin injuries and one thumb injury.

Plastic pieces inside the vacuum tool can break apart and be ejected, posing a laceration hazard to consumers.

The recalled Dirt Devil Turbo Tool/Power Brush attachment was sold as an accessory with the following Dirt Devil vacuum models.

Only the accessories with date codes J7060 through J7365 and have a C-clip connector are affected by this recall. The date code is located on the underside of the accessory tool.

The Turbo Tool/Power Brush tools are about 6.5 inches long by about 5 inches wide and come in assorted colors that match the color of the vacuum. The housing of the tool was made in clear, red, green, or light blue with clear, light blue, dark blue, red, purple, or black turbine fans with matching brush rolls.

Dirt Devil Vacuum Models affected:

Reaction: M110000, M110000HD, M110001B, M110002, M110003, M110006, M110008, M110008CA, M110009
Purpose for Pets: M140000, M140000CA
Ultra Swivel Glide: M086020
Envision Wide Glide: M086700WCA, M086710
Swerve: M086030, M086030CA
Action Upright: M110020CAB
Royal Commercial: RY6100

Model and Date Code Location:

They were sold at mass merchandisers, home improvement stores, and other retail stores nationwide in the US, from April 2007 through April 2008, for between $60 and $170 for the vacuum cleaner, which included the accessory tools.

If you own one of these, you should stop using the recalled Dirt Devil accessory tool immediately and contact the company to receive a free repair kit.

For additional information, contact TTI Floor Care at (800) 245-2296 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, or visit the company's website at www.dirtdevilturbotool.com

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Procrastinators: Beware of magical mops


Some of what makes anti-procrastination tools work, is their novelty. Once that novelty wears off, you are right back where you started, procrastinating again.

A hypothetical example:

Let's say I hate mopping my floor and I always procrastinate about doing it. Then I see an ad on TV for a wonder mop, with a handle that twinkles when you push it. You stop pushing, it stops twinkling. You push it faster, it twinkles more. And even more amazing, is that it also sings! I order this mop, because it seems like it could make mopping fun.

So the mop arrives, and I can't wait to get it out of it's packaging and try it. I fill my bucket with soapy water and begin mopping. The singing & twinkling is pretty cool, and before I know it, the whole floor is clean. Great! Wonderful! Terriffic! It's working. I didn't procrastinate and I got the job done.

I like this mop so much, I am having no problem mopping my floor and keeping it clean. I am not even procrastinating about it any more. This is the best mop ever! It's like magic!

But a few months later, after the novelty of the twinkling & singing mop begins to wear off, I find myself beginning to procrastinate about mopping the floor again. What happened? This was supposed to be the best mop ever. What went wrong?

Nothing went wrong. I just had an unrealistic expectation that some wonder tool was going to make me like doing a task I hate.

The truth is that nothing can make me like mopping floors, not even a magical, singing, twinkling wonder mop.

So if you try an anti-procrastination tool and it works for awhile, but then stops working...the problem isn't the tool. It's you and how you feel about the task...your real feelings.

Instead of looking for a new tool to trick yourself into thinking that you like what you hate, work on the real problem: the task itself, how you feel about it, and why.

If you can be honest with yourself, you can begin to look for a real solution instead of tricks. If you fix the root problem, you won't need a singing, twinkling mop to get things done.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bloggers With Comment Forms That Suck a Chunk of Your Life Into a Black Hole

Black Hole
Listen up, John Chow, Jack Humphrey, Matthew Henrickson, Andy Beard, and the rest of you lazy and/or inept bloggers out there:

I am tired of wasting my time on broken comment forms, screwball captchas, lazy moderation, and bad site design.

Too many times in the past 2 weeks, I have tried to make comments on blogs that ended up sucked into cyberspace and never making it to its destination, which is the post in which I was commenting on.

On three blogs, after taking the time to formulate an informative, relevant, quality comment (one of them was at least an hour of work), it was just sucked away after clicking the submit button, with no indication that it made it to where it was supposed to go, or it being held for moderation, or anything else. Will I ever grace those blogs with another comment again? No!

On another blog, after almost the same amount of work and hitting the submit button, I was informed that commenting on that post was closed. Why was there a comment form then? And why was there no visible indication that commenting was closed that I could see, before I wasted my time putting together a comment? Will I ever grace that blog with another comment? No!

On another blog, after I took the time to make a comment thanking the blogger for his post and tell him how useful it was to me and why, and how I was going to send him some traffic because it was that damn good, his captcha informs me that I must have flunked math in school because 4+3 does not equal 7. Don't insult me like that. I try to compliment you and thank you, and this is the thanks I get? A screwball captcha that calls me an idiot? Will I ever comment on your blog again? No!

On another two blogs, my comment was being held for moderation. Now I can understand the need to do that in order to keep spammers at bay, but don't you think you should check your queue to see if any comments were made, at least once a week, if not more often? Maybe even check it when you are making a new post, at least. Will I be commenting on those blogs again? No!

I am tired of wasting chunks of my life trying to comment unsucessfully on your blogs.

So to all you bloggers out there, please check to make sure your comment forms and captchas work, when commenting is closed that it is visibly closed to your visitors before they waste their time (remove the form if possible), if comments are being held for moderation that commentors are told this, and process your comment moderation queues on a regular basis!

And if you have no clue what you are doing or how to fix things, ask someone to help you!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Picking Up Where George Carlin Left Off


I found a brand new blog today called "What a Crock of Monkey Snot". It's a rant blog, written by a guy from the UK that goes by the name of "Crock".

And while he doesn't have very many posts yet, he is off to a great start. From ranting about stupid blog comments, to stupid Vista updates, to the increasing amount of bandwidth it takes to load your ISP's homepage, he does it with an amusing style that will bring a sympathetic smile to your face, as you chuckle and nod with agreement.

I am adding him to my sidebar of site feeds, because this blog is definitely one to keep your eyes on.

Crock, you are doing great. Just keep posting and don't fizzle out.

Monday, July 07, 2008

U Comment = I Comment - Exchange Your 2 Cents Here


UPDATE 03-11-2009: I am no longer exchanging comments with everyone that posts one on my blog.

I have tried this and it has failed, mainly because of people taking advantage of my good nature by

  • leaving comments linking back to splogs and pure crap
  • leaving half a dozen dumb comments and expecting just as many good ones in return
  • placing rules upon my return comments with rediculous minimum length requirements
  • the plethora of just plain stupid comments left just to boost their own page rank and get both a nofollow link and a comment back from me

I don't have the time to play games any more. While I will still return comments with good blogs on occasion, and I still will post about great sites I find this way, please don't depend on it.

There are a number of people that read my blog and will contact me in private or elsewhere to share their thoughts, rather than leaving comments here.

They raise interesting points and we get into great discussions.

This is why I have very few comments on my blog and so many long IRC & private message chatlogs, instead.

Then there are others that read and wander off...with me never knowing what their thoughts are, never knowing who they are, where they came from, or if they have a blog of their own.

So, inspired by an article on John Chow's blog discussing evil ways to get more comments, and since I don't feel like talking to myself or being "evil", I have decided that anyone that comments on one of my posts (not this one) will receive a comment from me, somewhere on their blog. (not so evil)

The quality will be reciprocated. Leave a great comment and I'll leave a great one too. Leave a crappy "interesting post" comment and you will get a crappy comment from me, that you probably won't want showing on your blog.

I love free stuff. And I love giving away free stuff. And what is the one thing that I have in abundance that is free? My words. I always have a thought to share, and I share them freely when and where I can.

As any blogger that has had the honor of having me comment on their blog knows, I leave great comments that add value to a page. Sometimes I put more work into my comments than I do on my own blog posts.

I also write about and link to sites that I like, and leaving a comment on my blog is a great way to introduce your site to me and possibly end up with an honest, enthusiastic review on my blog, if I like it. But please don't spam, make the comment relevant to the post or you could find it deleted and yourself disqualified.

So, if you want one of my comments, leave one for me on a post other than this one.

Oh, and if you want to display my graphic on your blog and link to this post (or your own message) and do the same kind of comment exchanging, I won't mind. And if you make a better graphic than mine, let me know...I might want to use yours instead.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Freedom Sandwich


Yesterday, on the anniversary of America's indepencence, I wanted to write a piece on freedom, but kind of got stuck.

At first I wanted to write about the countries that still are not free, like China, where bloggers are now resorting to writing backwards in order to beat censorship and report about what is really going on behind the Great Firewall.

Or perhaps focusing on who is and isn't totally free yet.

Then thinking about the US, the myth of freedom here, and the reality that we aren't totally free as some may believe, maybe focusing on why we are not free, as this report may explain.

Or go more in depth about the freedom of the press, and what responsibilities come along with it in relation to self-censorship and its ethical and moral implications, focusing on the list of censored news stories.

Or perhaps a piece on economic freedom and what organizations like The Green Children Foundation are doing to help people living in third world countries overcome poverty, while still keeping their dignity, in the form of microcredit loans.

Or perhaps how the price of oil can threaten democracy in places where the whole concept of freedom is still fairly new and still on shakey ground. The article is from 2006, when the price of oil was much lower than it is now, so most likely the situation is much worse today than it was at the time the article was written.

Or artistic and educational freedom, and focus on books that have been banned throughout history, for one reason or another.

Or psychological freedom, and how the fear of failure holds so many people back and prevents them from living up to their full potential. (Unfortunately, something I have first-hand experience with)

Or the desire for financial freedom, and the rising number of "get rich on the internet by blogging about how to make money blogging" websites that are popping up every day.

Or freedom of information, and the threat of censorship from ISP's and their desire to do away with net neutrality to boost profits, cut costs, and control what you see and do on the internet, and decide who can and will be able to profit online.

Since I couldn't make up my mind as to what direction I wanted to go with this freedom piece, I decided to give you a little slice of everything I was thinking about yesterday, just in time for lunch.

Enjoy your "freedom sandwich".

Take it slow, one bite at a time, don't eat too fast...it's ok to save some for later.