Category Archives: Internet

Customize Your Google Page; There’s A Caveat Though…

Last week I heard the news that Google was going to allow people the opportunity to customize their main page. What they were going to do was to have certain images already set, but if you wanted to you could use your own image for the page.

I have to admit that I was excited. Though I have my Google page already altered thusly, there to the left (right click to see it bigger), via Stylish and Firefox, and I have that stupid sidebar shut down through a script on Greasemonkey, the idea of adding my own image was kind of appealing. And all we had to do was wait until, one day, the link to the bottom left of the Google screen popped up.

Mine popped up Sunday evening, and I thought that was pretty cool. I went to look to see what I had to do, and saw some choices already there. I saw that you also had to log in to your Google account, and for the first time I was sort of hesitant, and I wasn’t sure why. Then I realized why. The thing is if you want to use your own image, you must set up a Picasa account, which is their photo sharing site. Then you can upload your image and attach it to your page, and go on with your business. If you didn’t want to do that, you could upload one of their pictures, but you still have to have a Google account to use it, so that when you sign in it knows it’s you. Otherwise, you can stick with your white background, or do something like what I’ve done.

Here’s the thing about a Picasa account. If you have one, it pretty much means other people can go through your images. That’s what the user agreement says. I don’t have an account, so if there’s a way to make it private I don’t know about it. Still, the idea of someone being able to go through my personal pictures and use them for whatever reason they wish to bothers me somewhat. Yeah, I have some pictures on Facebook, but I knew that I’d be sharing those pictures with people I allow into my Facebook life, since that’s the kind of privacy I put on my account there. Anything beyond that, I’m not sure I want to deal with.

For me, I can do without it. Truthfully, if I wanted to tinker with it, I think, because I use Firefox, I could figure out a way to alter one of the scripts to use my own picture if I wanted to badly enough. However, overall, unless you really know what you’re doing, it’s not a great thing to go messing around with these scripts. That’s why my background is black instead of my favorite color, which is red.

Anyway, if you’re not quite as skittish as I am about sharing some of your images with the world, and you want to customize your Google page, go for it. It’s not a bad deal overall, and gets rid of the boring white. Lucky for me, I’ve already taken care of that on my favorite browser.

Sounds True, Inc.

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How To Subscribe To RSS Feeds

You know, it’s possible that this is one of those posts I really don’t have to do, but something is telling me that I need to make sure. What’s prompting it is that lately more than half of the spam I get asks the question “how do I subscribe to your feed.” As simple as it seems, after a meeting I had last Friday I realized that many people really aren’t all that internet savvy, and they might not even know what a feed is to know how to subscribe to it, or even where. Hence, this post. For the rest of you who already know this… y’all don’t have to read this, unless you want to see if I miss something.

You see that symbol to the right? Any time you see that symbol it means that particular website or post has what’s known as RSS, or Really Simple Syndication (sometimes known as Rich Site Summary) feed. In essence, it means you can follow certain websites or blogs that have new content with some kind of regularity in a place other than having to visit that website. You can subscribe to the feed by clicking on that orange button whenever you see it and read it whenever you want to somewhere else. I use a program called Feedreader, which is independent of a browser, and a lot of people use Google Reader, which uses the browser, but groups all the feeds in one place. There are plenty of other options as well.

On websites, you might see that orange symbol in many different places, and sometimes it depends on the browser you’re using. On Firefox, you’ll see that little symbol to the far right of the address bar. On IE 8, you’ll see that symbol on the right next to the home button on the toolbar. On some sites you’ll see that symbol elsewhere, and it might not be the orange symbol. Seems that some sites will change the color of the symbol. If you look on my blog, you see that symbol in the far right column, and underneath that you can decide to subscribe by email, which other sites also. This means you’ll get any blog posts from me through email instead of a reader; many people like that instead. Other sites will do this as well.

That’s pretty much all it takes for RSS subscriptions. And those of us who blog love when people subscribe, as we want more people to read what we have to say. I subscribe to many blogs and news sites, more than 200, although I think it might be time to pare down my list some. We’ll see if I get to that. Any questions?


The Oatmeal

I have no idea how I learned about this site, but it’s so unique that I just had to share it with you.


It’s called The Oatmeal, and it’s a collection of articles, cartoons, quizzes and news that’s presented in a unique way. What I’m stunned about is that it’s ranked really high, yet I’m just hearing about it, and I’m betting it’s fairly new to most of you as well.

A good example of an article on this site that’s also educational is called How To Use A Semicolon, something I use often, but see very few other people using. It’s a training article with images, and very simply teaches people how to use semicolons. There’s even dinosaurs in the article; when’s the last time you saw talking dinosaurs teaching you anything (don’t even go the Barney route)?

As you’ll see, the articles are also presented in a totally different style, with cartoon headers rather than text. Frankly, if I had an artistic bone in my body, I have just the type of warped humor to be able to pull the same type of thing off.

Me being me, I wondered how they made any money off the site, since I can’t find any advertising. They have an online store, where they sell items with their logo on it and other stuff associated with their brand. I’m betting they do well; heck, I’ve been tempted to buy something myself, but keep wondering where I’d put it and how long it would last before my wife snatched it and hid it on me. Also, some of the articles end up being products themselves, being created into posters.

What else is there to say? Check the site out, and obviously this isn’t a paid review, since how the heck could they pay me when they don’t know me? The Oatmeal is a lot of fun; give it a shot.

Morgan Avery 5911 Home Radiance Home Sweet Home Candle Collection - Oatmeal Cookie and #44; Apple Pie and #44; Strawberry

Morgan Avery 5911 Home Radiance Home Sweet Home Candle Collection – Oatmeal Cookie and #44; Apple Pie and #44; Strawberry

Price – $46.13






Sometimes You Should Read The Terms Of Use

Okay, stay with me for a minute. I was going through Kristi’s weekly Fetching Friday listing, where this week one of my posts was mentioned (thanks Kristi), and came upon an article she was highlighting called 10 Firefox Addons For Affiliate Marketers from the blog Ace Affiliates.

Always someone who’s looking for the next big thing, I went to read that article, and one of the Firefox addons it recommended was something called Ghostery. It seems to do two things for you. One, it lets you know how safe a website is that you’re visiting. Two, it allows you to block sites from tracking your IP address and the like.

That second one is very intriguing to me. I was talking to my friend Kelvin about it and saying how freaked out I was when I go to websites, such as MSNBC, and see all the ads that are targeted for me knowing that I live in the Syracuse, NY area. He said he didn’t know of anything that could block that, so I thought this might be the plugin for me.

When I went to the page where the addon is, it looked different than what I’m used to seeing. There’s no description of what the addon is about, and there’s this big block in the middle with only one line: Ghostery requires that you accept the following End-User License Agreement before installation can proceed. And in the box there’s only one thing: http://www.ghostery.com/terms. Now, maybe it looks that way because I’m running Adblock, but it looked strange.

This tasked me (a line from Star Trek II; Wrath of Khan), so I decided I wanted to read the terms of service for using this particular addon. Overall, it was the same standard stuff you see everywhere else, but suddenly I came upon a line I didn’t like, under privacy: You acknowledge that the Software will contact GHOSTERY and send limited information about the websites you visit to GHOSTERY’s databases.

Come on now; y’all know me! I’m the guy who has a problem with Google Toolbar tracking our movements, to the point that I won’t use it anymore once I learned it did that. I’m certainly not letting some other group of folks track where I go; wasn’t the point of using their software so you could go to websites without them knowing where you were coming from, as in “tracking” you? I’m going to give up my privacy to these guys who I don’t know to get privacy from sites that I at least have some idea of who they are?

Many times I don’t read terms of service, just like most people don’t when we want to use something. However, the way this was segregated looked, well, suspicious. They might have specific reasons for wanting to track people, as in making sure the software works. And, of course we all have the right to use or not use something.

I’m choosing not to use it; that doesn’t sound surprising, does it? So, I’m still on a quest to find something that will aid me in my privacy efforts. Sure, I know that there’s no real privacy online, but I’d still like to find a way to decide when I want to give up information about myself and when I don’t.

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Pot Odds In Internet Marketing

Many of you know how much I love going to play poker. I get a lot of enjoyment out of it because I love the camaraderie that eventually is created by spending just a few hours with a bunch of people you’ve never met before, commiserating with everyone else who’s either won a big hand or gotten beaten in a big hand. We’ve all been there, and we all have stories to share.

One thing I like to believe I’m good at is figuring out what the odds are that my hand is good or not. Of course, having a good hand doesn’t always mean it’s a winning hand, but more often than not it works out just fine. What I’m not good at is figuring out the numbers, as in what the actual percentage is that favors my hand.

I was reading a blog post called Easiest Way To Understand Math In Poker, where the writer, named Mitchell Cogart (knew I liked him for some reason) was giving some formulas for how to calculate it fairly quickly. It’s still somewhat beyond me, mainly because it takes time to do those calculations, and unless I was playing in a tournament, I don’t like taking that kind of time figuring out anything.

However, it’s the other thing he was talking about that starts to get me into the point of this post. There’s something called pot odds that, to poker players, is very important and very intriguing. In essence, it’s figuring out how much the pot is worth to you in odds versus the odds of you having a winning hand. Just to throw out numbers, if you only have a 30% chance of winning a hand, but the dollars in the pot come out to you having a 55% chance of winning the pot, many poker players will take a chance on the money rather than their hand because they perceive the dollars are so high that you can’t afford NOT to play the hand.

I hear this on poker commentary sometimes on TV. The guy will say “there’s so much money in the pot that so-and-so absolutely has to call the hand, even though he’s going to lose.” On TV, you always know what the players hands are, so you know who’s going to win or lose. But the players don’t know that, so you see them taking time, running through all the calculations in their minds, and then they’ll pull the trigger on hands that most of us would say we know better than to play because we have no idea on how to calculate pot odds.

In a way, you can relate that to trying to learn more about internet marketing. There are a lot of products out there that will teach you something about it. Some are very good and some aren’t all that good. However, what most of us believe is that the more expensive something is, the more we should be getting out of it. Truthfully, that may or may not be true. The “pot odds” are in your favor; after all, why would someone put a $500 product out there that wasn’t going to deliver on what’s been promised, right?

Here’s the thing. Just like everything else in life, nothing works for everyone. It’s possible that the $500 product might tell you everything you need to know to make money, or it may not. It may tell you things to do that your morality won’t allow you to do. For instance, if it said that in order to make lots of money you have to kill a lot of puppies, would you do it? If it said that you had to do what’s known as black hat principles, would you do it?

While I was at my mother’s house on Friday, she was watching this network that was advertising a program called Kell On Earth, about this fashion designer who’s very successful. However, she’s a terror; there’s no way I’d ever want to deal with that type of person on a yearly basis, let alone a daily basis. She berates her employees and other people around her, but justifies it by saying she has to do what she has to do to stay at the top. I’m sorry, but if you have to treat people as if they’re inferior to you then I don’t want to be successful. It’s not my style, and I couldn’t live with myself. Yet there are thousands of people who subscribe to that and believe it’s the way to go. Notice how some are successful, but others aren’t? Once again, no one size fits all.

Some folks thought I was being too lenient when I reviewed Six Figure Blogger Blueprint. The thing is, the book wasn’t really for those of you who have been doing this for awhile. It was also free, not a full course on internet marketing. It got me thinking about things, and any book that does that for me works for me. We all judge things differently. We have to know ourselves, and what we might respond to. Like that book to the right side there, 20 Ways To Make $100 A Day Online. I bought that book, and I think it was perfect for me because I was able to take just one of its principles and turn it into a way to make money. It wasn’t overly expensive, but turned out to be just what I needed. I calculated my odds for finding something I thought I could use, and I turned out to be right.

How do you determine whether something might work well for you or not? Do you even try anymore? I say that at the risk of jumping into Sire’s response, because I know he’s said more than once that he won’t pay for anything anymore, after being burned many times early on. Has that happened to some of you as well? I’d really like to know.

14K Yellow Gold Diamond Heart Bracelet

14K Yellow Gold Diamond Heart Bracelet

Price – $404.08


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