May 292007
 

One option for posting content on the internet is to use the web space offered by your ISP. (Internet Service Provider)

Ten years ago when the internet was shiney and new- at least to us AOL subscribers, I learned AOL would host web pages for free. AOL had a built-in FTP (File Transfer Protocol) tool and enough guides for me to figure out how to set it up.

I put up a family page with photos, news and some humor. AOL offered five screen names. Each could host a web site. I put up web pages for other family members and one for our company. This was great, now I could explain about Effective Concepts, what we do and why. I wrote short biographies of Ray and I. I talked about lighting products we sold and services we provided. I even made an order page using forms for customers to fill out and email to us.

AOL was fine for a little while but I was concerned no one could find us unless I told them exactly where to look. http://members.aol.com/effectivec is not easy to remember!
I solved this problem by registering a domain name from Dotster.com and pointed the domain to my AOL.com pages.

I grew tired of hosting my web pages on AOL. I ran into limitations for capacity, control, posting, and flexiblity. I moved my personal and company sites to paid hosting. And yet, for small sites free hosting on AOL or other ISPs is fine. Many ISPs not only host content but have templates and packages that take much of the hassle out of creating a web page. If the domain name is funky you can always pick up a better domain name at Dotster.com or Goddy.com and use that to direct traffic to your ISP hosted web site.

Owning your own domain name also comes in handy when and if you have to leave your ISP. I grew tired of AOL for a number of reasons and left them in 2003. Because I owned my own domain names I could move my web sites and not lose my customers or viewers. I simply pointed my domain name to the new host.

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This is part two of a multipart series on posting content to the internet. It uses my personal history on the web as a guide.

 Posted by at 8:26 am
May 232007
 

In addition to Blogs there are a few other online tools a person can use to share written content. The content can be permanent or temporary, private or public, important or not.

Each tool has it’s place; its pros and cons. Much depends on the content you’re writing and your comfort level with the technology each tools uses.

I plan to write about each one of these in further detail. The order is based on when I discovered the site/tool/technology.

  1. ISP Hosting
  2. Free Hosting
  3. Paid Hosting
  4. Blogs
  5. The Wiki
  6. Google Page Creator
  7. Google Docs and Spreadsheets

Many of these sites/tools/technologies can be mixed and matched.

If you want a simple answer right now, I have to say I’m impressed by Google Page Creator. The resulting web pages look nice thanks to the use of templates. It’s easy to use thanks to the Word Processor like toolbar. It’s free if you have a gmail account. Gmail accounts are free for the asking. It appears for now anyway there are no ads to deal with either. It’s easy to add pages, add outside content and link your pages into a nice site. Throw in a $9/year domain name from Godaddy.com and you have a nice professional web site with little work and little cost.

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Note: although my focus here is written content all these technologies can support photos and multimedia. This is part one of a nine-part series, which will follow my history on the web using various web technologies for posting content cheaply and easily.

 Posted by at 8:20 am
May 092007
 

I hate desktop shortcuts. I don’t even like the Quicklaunch Toolbar. When I was on the Mac (OS9) I had pallets I could launch with the Home key. I had all my favorite programs on these pallets- that could be launched with the corresponding number. On WindowXP I’ve been programing shortcut keys, but this only works with my favorite programs. I soon ran out of letters and I ran out of memory even quicker. (My memory; not the computer’s.) I tried Launchy, which I liked but it didn’t work on my laptop computer and it brought up Thunderbird even when I started typing iTunes. Odd behavior if you ask me.

Last week I was looking for a new way of launching applications quickly that did not involve using the mouse or memorizing keystrokes. After some quick research during American Idol, I found what I was looking for, and it’s built into Windows XP. Any program can be launched if it’s in the Start Menu (Classic View). The only problem is it launches with the letter the shortcut starts with. In most cases this isn’t a problem but if you have a lot of programs that start with the letter ‘P’ like I do- it can be. I made some folders that start with numbers, and I retitled some shortcuts to get around this problem. I made folders for little used programs (`), files (1), and Internet Application (2). So a program like the Opera browser can be accessed quickly by pressing Windows-key 2 O. I don’t have to hunt down the Opera.exe file, or clutter my desktop with shortcuts, or memorize the keystrokes as they come up one after another- nothing to remember.

I used this experience as a chance to review my programs. I made a list of all the programs on both computers. I took the opportunity to delete some programs I don’t like or will never use. Then I sorted the list and thought about what folder the short cut could go into. The completed List.

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 Posted by at 2:20 pm
May 022007
 

The problem with using Categories as Technorati tags is you end up with way too many Categories. This defeats the purpose of having categories in the first place. One could argue that tags are more important than categories. But what if you want both. It’s not hard to do but you do have to write HTML code. Not the easiest solution even for those of use who know how. It turns out there is a better way. (See #4) I did some research using the Forums and FAQ on WordPress.com. Here are my notes.

  1. Embedding Technorati Code into a Widget
  2. How Do I embed Technorati Code?
  3. Tagging Bookmarklet for Firefox (IE 7 ?)
  4. Technorati Tags Bookmarklet Version 0.3
  5. * Use built-in Tag Generator in Windows Live Writer

My goal was adding Technorati tags in addition to WP Categories without doing a lot of hand coding. Item #4 above is what I’m using here.

  • I created a bookmark for the page (#4). Update see #5
  • Then right click the bookmark to get its properties.
  • I replaced the URL with the code. (I moved the URL to the Description field in case I need it later)

To use in an entry
When I’m finish writing my entry, I switch to the Code tab in the editor and launch the bookmark, which opens a small window.
Follow the directions to create the a list of tags.
When done copy the generated HTML code (Ctrl-C) and paste (Ctrl-V) into your entry and save.

Update 5/31/2007, I found out from Joe Cheng of Microsoft that Windows Live Writer has an ‘Insert Tag’ function built in that not only supports Technorati Tags, but can also be customized. The more I use this program, the more I like it. It has to be the best way of writing blog entries. (I hope to write a review of the new update of Live Writer, so check back.)

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 Posted by at 1:41 pm
Sep 202006
 

This doesn’t fit into my plans to get rich slowly, but it is interesting.

The other day I was reading Digg and read about a Blogger who was disposed in a defamation law suit. One of his blog commenter’s was defamed by another commenter. I followed the link to his web site, but he didn’t have any details- on advice from his lawyer.
His blog Shoemoney ranks in the top 100 Blogs- quite a feat. The blog was about how to make money blogging. He mades money hosting Google Ad Sense, Yahoo, and now EBay Ads.
At this point my interest was about zero. I saw he hosted photos, so I looked at that. I liked what he did, but I couldn’t see what he was using. I think it’s something he wrote himself, but I could be wrong. While looking at the photos I ran across his most popular photo. It’s of him holding a check from Google for $132,994.97. I doubt Google writes annual checks, and he didn’t see to make much of it:

“This was the biggest paper check I have ever received. It was way back in August of 2005 and since I have moved to wire transfers so don’t look for anything bigger from me.”

I wonder how often he gets paid! I started thinking about this. First it’s not that much money in the scheme of things- that is advertising. It is a lot of money if you’re just sitting around in your pajamas writing a blog. But Shoemaker put together a popular blog, which isn’t easy, on a topic that seems would have a very high click through rate on the types of ads, which Google would feed on to his site. This means more payments. I’m also guessing the topic would generate search terms, which Google could get a premium price for- again more money for Shoemoney.

I thought, “is this something I could replicate?” It would have to be a topic I know something about, am interested in, and has the same set of features that make Shoemoney successful.

At first I looked at the Search Term rates. I know that some terms have extremely high rates. The highest rate terms deal with personal injury law suits. See List (This may be an urban myth)
So how about creating a blog about all these law practices. First I don’t know anything about it. Second I’m sure I’ll open my big mouth and get sued.

The next topic I thought about was photography. I know a little about it, and it seems to be a popular topic on many blogs about other topics. It’s also true that most people know little about photography or their cameras. It would be a good topic to blog about. You could write an entry about every menu item on a certain digital camera(s). There’s a year worth of topics. You could write about how to take better photos. You could feature favorite photographers- relating this back to your topic. There seems to be much material and a waiting audience. I would think the topics/entries would generate some good Google Ad sense terms. The audience would have a pretty high click through rate.

I talked this over with my photographer friend the next day. He didn’t seem interested.
He is always buying camera gear on EBay. Shoemoney is now hosting EBay Ads because of their better payment rate.
“Image if there was a topic about.. teleconvertors. EBay would generate ads featuring teleconverter ads. I image the click through rate would be really good, so you get paid with every click. Hell, you could check eBay photo auctions for your daily topic/entry ideas.”
He still didn’t have any interest. I already have a full time job, and you would have to treat this as a serious job to be successful. (It doesn’t have to be about photograph, but it would need to have the same set of features: high interest, high click through, and high value search terms.)

Still I thought it was a cool idea.

Aug 262006
 

I set up this blog as a test. One of the items I’m testing is Windows Live Writer, which is a beta program Microsoft has set up. This is a Word like program designed to directly interact with their own blog space and other blog spaces such as WordPress and Blogger. It seems to work pretty well once you get it downloaded and set up.