Friday, August 31, 2007

Updated the store

The Meteos-themed tee shirt has been removed from my Cafepress store for a long time now. I don't feel comfortable selling it because even though the shirt design is mine, the Meteos Geolyte character in the design is not. That and the design itself needs some serious revisions before being submitted for sale again. I bought a test shirt, and the design as it is now looked horrible on the dark (black) t-shirt.

For some reason, Cafepress decided to let members with basic stores sell framed art prints. So now I get to sell my paintings, the few I have that are worthy for sale. I only have one painting ready for print at this time. Click here to see it at the shop, or click the "store" link in the web site menu. I would like to find a better way to make the painting more affordable, though I feel the price is standard for oil art prints. If anyone knows a better place than Cafepress to use for art prints, post a comment.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Things are looking up

I won the Self-Study Cover Design Contest held by St. Louis Community College. Yay! Peace Sign Now I'm just hovering around my mailbox for the nice $250 check I should be receiving soon. I'll also be posting my concept design here. Too bad the colors will be changing to complement other recent printed material being sent out by the college. The package being sent out has some nice rich colors, so I'll be looking forward to the changes my design will be going through for the final production.

A friend of mine sent me an email containing a freelance opportunity here in the city. It's a web design job, and according to the email, they may or may not be looking for the designer to do any real coding. I'm pretty good with HTML/XHTML, and I've been researching CSS more extensively nowadays, but I can't do a lick of javascript. Crying The lack of coding may be a relief, but we'll see. There weren't many details in the email, but I should know for sure once I email the person in charge of hiring at the agency.

Speaking of coding, it's time that I learn Javascript. It's been a standard language to create many useful tools in not only web sites but weblogs. Bloggers use javascript to hack their blog's layouts in order to create a more individual look and add better funcionality to their blogs. And I'm not talking about adding some cutesy analog clock to your site; I'm talking adding a fully functioning calendar hack that links to all of your blogs current and past entries. I've picked up a javascript book from the library. It's pretty big, and I may not get through all of it. I plan to find better working examples on the web that will help when I can't understand something in the book.

I've been looking at CSS more and more lately. I want to improve on the little bit of what I already know. I'm going to challenge myself by implementing a CSS-styled no-tables layout in my next site revamp. It intimidates me a bit. I love having very graphical web design, and I didn't mind using tables to create image borders for my content. But if there's a better way of presenting my site without all the nested html, then I'm all for it. As simple as my current layout is, it's all a bunch of manhandled mess. That and it's beginning to load slower, and that's a no-no. It's time that I catch up with everyone else who's been doing web design for as long as I have. Frankly I don't want to remain ignorant when there's so much to learn, so it's time I change my attitude and habits.

I also want to use Flash again for my web site. My copy of Koolmoves has been sitting idle for far too long. I've just now started using it to create a digital portfolio I can present to prospective employers. It feels good to play with Koolmoves again. Now there's a slide show tool that I'm using to create separate slides for my work (design, photography, etc.). The portfolio flash site itself will be simple, because I plan on turning the swf file into a projector file that I can email to employers as a demo reel so they can save it locally. it's also been time that I separate my opinions from my work.

Before I go, I want to share a site that provides free hosting of MySQL databases. FreeMySQL.net is totally free, and the admins don't restrict your use as long as it doesn't violate anyone's rights or break laws. You can give them donations to help keep the service free. There are sites that offer free PHP and MySQL hosting, but if you've met your database quota (should there be one), then FreeMySQL.net is a good place to host the rest of your databases.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Making your Google Group strictly a mailing list

Though it's much known around the web, you can use a Google Group (or Yahoo! Group, whatever you like best) to create a mailing list for your web site visitors or blog readers. I don't know about other blogging platforms, but it works very well for Blogger. If you don't know how to make a Group mailing list, Blog*Star Rat has a straight-to-the-point post about it. Basically, you'll use your newly created group's email address as your BlogSend addy in your Blogger settings. That way, posts are received by everyone who is invited or signs up to your group.

You can also use the Group's email address for blog comment notifications. However, there's one problem to solve. Let's say you've set your Group's access settings so that only Group managers can post messages. That means only you control what's posted via email to the Group. This makes your Group a mailing-list-only type of Group. So you're getting your Blogger blog posts in your Group, and everyone who's a member is getting email versions of your blog posts. Most excellent! But wait! What about your comments?

The address that sends the Blogger comment notifications to your email address is "noreply-comment@blogger.com". That address is not an address of one of your members, nor should it be. If you do subscribe that "noreply" email address in order to post blog comments to your Group, you're going to get EVERYONE'S blog comment notifications. So, what can you do? If you don't already, it's time to put your personal or blog-designated email account's filter/rule feature to good use.

First of all, go to your Blogger blog's Comments settings. Scroll down to the email notification box. If you still have your personal email address in the box, you're good. If not, then type it (or an address made for receiving blog notifications) in the box and save your settings. No need to republish if you're a FTP user. Now go to your email address' account settings page. Go to your filter/rule settings page and click the link or button that opens the "create new filter" page. Once there select the "From" and "contains" options as the filter's conditions and paste "noreply-comment@blogger.com" in the input box. Then select or add the action "forward to this address" and paste the email address of your Group into the address box. Save your new filter. Test the new settings by posting a comment on your blog.

If all goes well, you will receive two new blog comment notifications: one from the "noreply" email address and the other from your Group's email address. You can create a new email filter to auto-delete one of the two emails unless you don't mind. Now you have a Group-turned-mailing list that sends email versions of both your blog posts and comments. That way your readership can keep up with the news and discussions even if they're not at your blog site. It would be nice if your readers could discuss things on your Group, but you didn't add the comment feature to your blog just so it would sit and look useless. Until that time when your blog is so popular that the discussion simply can't be contained in the commenting system, it's my opinion that the Group remains strictly a mailing list.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Blogvertise paid me!

Not only did I finally get paid for my opportunity on Blogvertise, I got two more payments from PayPerPost.

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Image hosted at Shareapic.

Altogether my paid to blog payouts total out to $39.50. Not bad for some extra money. It certainly does help when you're between jobs, looking to get back into college, and need gas in your car. Oh yeah, and paying off that credit card bill too. Crying

Blogging for cash isn't hard, but it's not something that everyone can make a living off of or get rich from. I'm certainly not making enough to make it out of my mom's house, and no one will ever become wealthy doing this. Nonetheless, this is something that everyone can do. It's good for companies, individuals, and the bloggers who are willing and able to blog about them.

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Alright...Who sprayed the Bolt-B-Gone?!

Looks like I came to the party a whole day late. Yesterday, the once much loved, much fun community named Bolt, has ceased to be. Affective as of Aug. 14th of 2007, Bolt, Inc. and Friends filed for bankruptcy. I don't know if I should laugh, shed a tear, or play the world's smallest violin.

Perhaps I'll do all of those things. First of all, fuck you, Bolt, Inc. You just had to try to "keep up" with the competing social networks, but instead made Bolt into something far less desired: Yet Another Myspace Clone. While every Bolt veteran appreciated that the original community was not dumped completely for the sake of the Boltfolio mash up, it remained a stain in the minds of all of us who loved Bolt for what it was. Change is only good when there is a need for it.

An addition of a video channel and music channel for aspiring film makers and musical artists was a lovely idea, but if it was integrated into the existing Bolt [pre-Pornfolio/IP Theft-Gate], there wouldn't have been such a backlash coming from the community that you pissed on. Yes, you said "Fuck you guys, we like money more." to us, and went after MySpace when you clearly didn't have to. In my opinion, MySpace clearly did not surpass the greatness that was Bolt 1. It already had craploads of content that MySpace doesn't even have YET, and the community was far more involved.

Sure, I joined the new community site, thinking it was something that would co-exist with Original. Luckily other Bolt members saw the end coming and chewed out Bolt Inc. for it. Others followed, others were noobs, but the day did come. The day Bolt Inc. closed the original Bolt site (along with its other sister communities) was the day that Bolt died for thousands of loyal members. So at that point, I did shed a tear. Bolt was my first and favorite social network, and it was the coolest one I have ever gotten the chance to be a part of.

Now I laugh at the social network companies that made the dumbest moves possible. Going all Web 2.0 wasn't very profitable for you guys. I can sympathize with that. 2.0 is the way to go, but making a social network a Swiss Army knife of sorts isn't exactly my idea of making a web site great. Afterall, being greedy is what got you, Bolt Inc., into trouble in the first place. You did not take responsibility for the actions of the idiot users who exploited Boltfolio, causing you to sell out in the end, and yet getting almost bought out by GoFish (wow, even GF didn't want you) still didn't help you with your money woes. And so I play the world's small air violin for you.

I'm now using MySpace (*sigh*) to network and keep up with a few family members of mine. I'm a new member at Yuwie, which is a newer community that should prove popular and profitable to both the creators and users. I never really did like MySpace, so Yuwie may turn out to be much more fun. Heck I might even give Facebook a try due to PayPerPost linking opportunities there. So goodbye, Bolt. Who knows if you'll ever come back. Just know that no one will be holding the door open for you when or if you do.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Las Vegas just took over your Mac

Ahh, poker. It's a game of skill, bluffs, and battling to keep your cool. It's a game that has a big payoff, and it definitely has a lot more to do with being brilliant than being lucky.

And just when you've finally started scaring your poker buddies into avoiding poker night, ya get all depressed instead of being proud of your achievement. "Well now who am I going to play poker with?", you sulk. Oh, stop your blubbering. Online card games have been around for quite some time. "But I have a Mac, not a PC!", you sob even more. I told you to stop your belly-aching. PokerStars, the hottest game for online Poker playing (not to mention playing to qualify for some of the biggest poker tourneys around) is about to hit the Mac harder than Fat Joe hitting the Vegas strip.

PokerStars has the largest poker room available than any other online poker game. There are more people to play which means more chances to win, which means more changes at world wide recognition, which means more chances to line your pockets with that popular green stuff.

PokerStars for Mac has its own site to tell you guys more. It's updated frequently, so if you want your poker fix, make sure to bookmark it. Perhaps in time you'll be showing the PC poker boys what you and your precious dual core Mac are made of. Hopefully it's cojones of steel, and then gold after all of your wins.Dancing

Mac PokerStars

This is a Sponsored Post.

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I need your praise! (and possibly your rejection --;;)

Picture.com is a web site for people to submit photos that they take and get recognition for it. The staff there hold monthly contest, and my photo was picked to be a finalist in one of them. Yay. I'm waiting to hear on the progress; the contest I'm in is supposed to announce the winners this summer. While that's going on, the Picture.com staff has added another aspect to their site: visitors can rate other people's photos. I got the link to my photos rating page the other day, but I'm posting it now (because I didn't check my email until today o.o;;).

Click here to vote at Picture.com.

Click that link and rate my photo using the vote thingy above the photo. You can rate it good, mediocre, or just bad. Just please be honest with how you feel about it.

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

ReviewMe paid me! :D

Looks like I missed a payment. I thought I read that ReviewMe had a minimum amount of $25 before payout. I'm wrong apparently, as I've been paid by the company yesterday.

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Screenshot is hosted by Shareapic.

According to ReviewMe's FAQ page, payments are done monthly, and there's no indication of a minimum amount. I suppose the minimum amount may be for the check payment method. It doesn't look like it though. I recommend ReviewMe to people who aren't able to use PayPal. If you would like to get your web site reviewed at ReviewMe, click here to sign up.

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First payment from Opinion Outpost

Have you ever thought about how annoying those old hags and meddling college students would be when they walked around trying to get people to participate in their surveys? Well, now it's not so annoying. Nowadays people can get cash for doing paid surveys. It's usually quick, easy, and done at any time of the day. When you want to do it. That's how it is with a paid survey site like Opinion Outpost.

In my first couple of days there I made $5.50. I'm an impatient wench; I decided to withdraw my $5.50 since the minimum payout is $5. I just received my check today.

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Screenshot hosted by Shareapic.

It's awesome to get cash for REAL surveys, not email submissions that merely offer you deals on stuff at other people's web sites and stores. I don't mind completing email submissions; money is money. That and that's what junk email accounts are for. :P But with email submissions, you get at the most $1.00 per submission. Yay. Sure it all adds up, but Opinion Outpost provides authentic marketing surveys that help with product and service analysis. It pays much more than doing email submission surveys.

Even though Opinion Outpost's payout is only $5, I'm going to try my best to just let the money build up in my account and then withdraw it. I want to see a nice fat check instead of a $5 check. Who knows. The money all adds up in the end anyway, regardless of where it sits. Thumbs-up 

That all said, if you don't mind getting paid to complete surveys, Opinion Outpost is a good program to sign up for. And no, I'm not getting paid by O.O. to blog this. I'm not a member of their affiliate program....yet. I just thought I'd throw that out there. Winking

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