How to Start a Blog

Starting a blog can be tough. There is so much information and mis information on the web it can make your head spin. Fortunately I have been working on a project to help you learn how to start a blog over at Art of Blog. You should definitely check it out.

This resource is perfect for beginners and medium users alike. Sometimes you just need your hand held a bit, it can be hard to do the things you need in order to get your blog started. This guide will help you out. If you have any questions or comments on how to start a blog you should definitely drop them in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

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Honest Tech Reviews

Over the past few months, I have been trying a ton of new tech stuff. I’ve decided to start recording most of my adventures so that they may be of use to other people. If you are interested in following them check out my honest tech review’s site.

I essentially just took an old domain that was lying around. Its a pretty good name, that I’ve had for a few years. Figure I’d finally put it to good use. Check it out!

So far I’ve written a couple comparisons. The first two where on SugarSync versus Dropbox and Carbonite vs. Mozy. Hope you enjoy them.

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Fiber For All

So anyone who knows anything about broadband communications understands how important fiber optics are to the whole system. The closer your connection is to a fiber connection typically the faster your speed. This is great and what else rocks it that Fiber For All has put out a contest running most of august until labor day. They encouraged bloggers and twitter users to help get the word out about the need for fiber. They also offered a sweet FiOS Triple Play package to the winner.

The contest went well and brought a lot of attention to the need. Yesterday I pinged the people of Fiber for All to find out how many entries there were. It turns out there was nearly 30. Outstanding for the first contest. I have a feeling they will be doing more in the future.

Luckily the people at Fiber for All also included the links to all of the people who submitted to the contest. So here is some link love for them.

I would love to see more people supporting the Fiber for All movement, I think it is a great project to bring attention to the need for consumer education regarding fiber.

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Only Old Blogs Die Young

So as you may have guessed I have several other blogs which have been neglected over the years. My WordPress blog was one of them. I also neglected my Arowana Care guide and even sometimes forgot to update my Slim Fit Dress Shirt website, due to how busy I was.

I am now beginning to pull down old content and swap them for generic pages which point to a new more frequently updated blog. I don’t really feel bad about closing these down, because they marked an important time in my life, when I was learning internet marketing.

Any how, I will still probably update this blog with random, sometimes useless updates. Enjoy :)

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For those of you who haven’t been living under a rock, you know data backup is important. For those of you who have. This post is for you.

Have you ever accidentally deleted or over written a file? Sure who hasn’t! Don’t you wish you could go back and undo that mistake to get that term paper you lost? Now you can, thanks to SugarSync.

Essentially what this program does is backup your files to a secure server and syncs them with other computers. You might be thinking well I don’t have another computer. Well that is fine! SugarSync allows you to access your backed up files anywhere in the world with an internet connection! The best part is that it works in the background to back up your files when you aren’t using internet connection.

Another great feature SugarSync has is its ability to offer file revisions. This is simply wonderful. Never again worry about over writing a file. If you’ve backed it up you can always swap it out for the old file!

These are just a few of the features, but if you haven’t tried SugarSync, take a second to register for a free trial account! SugarSync will give you 2gb free FOREVER. So you really don’t have a reason NOT to try the product! Imagine the time you will save the next time you accidentally lose a file! It takes 5 minutes to get setup and will save you tons of time! (and the hassle of carrying your flash drive with you too). Sign up now!

If you are looking for full reviews check out these great links:
SugarSync Review: Online Backup Solution
How PC Backup Software Saved My Vacation
SugarSync VS Dropbox

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List of Thesis Theme Resources

Over the past few months. I have come to love Thesis for WordPress. I haven’t upgraded this blog in some time, but I should probably switch it to thesis considering I love it so much. Until I do check out these Thesis Resources especially this Thesis Skin:

Thesis WordPress Theme Review
Thesis Theme Review: A WordPress Premium Theme

Till next time :)

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High Speed Internet

Since moving to Austin I have had a fascination with how internet service providers work. Not only is most of their pricing insanely confusing but most of the companies don’t disclose all the information they need to. To make a long story short I originally signed up with Time Warner Cable which has an extremely confusing website. When I order I was told I was getting their main HD tv package along with high speed internet through their RoadRunner package. I was told it was going to be around $80 monthly. I was cool with that.

When ordering I asked what DVR they were using and I would be provided with, because frankly the Scientific Atlantic DVR plan sucks. I was told they were not using any Scientific Atlantic products by the phone rep but when the installer got here, what do you know? He brings the Scientific Atlantic DVR that I hate. Now I have a good friend who has AT&T U-Verse and loves his DVR. The main thing that I like about his is the fact that it can skip forward instead of forwarding.

So when the installer got here I sent him back and canceled the TV service. Now I wish we had FiOS in our area because they are running some great Verizon FiOS deals but I don’t. That said I was left with the option of AT&T U-verse. It was time to really compare AT&T U-verse Vs Time Warner Cable and there wasn’t an easy solution until I stumbled on consumerbroadband.org. They have done the heavy lifting and compared the major internet service providers and made it easy for consumers to look at their options on one page. To me, this is epic.

As it currently stands I am still up in the air as to which service provider I am going to go with. There is a new WiMAX provider entering the area here in Austin. I think it is called “Clear” who knows, maybe I’ll give that a spin. Right now I am just using Netflix via xbox live.

Also check out this Comparison of Time Warner Cable and ATT Uverse along with a disgruntled former user of AT&T Uverse.

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T-Shaped and Dangerious – Step 1 Learn PHP

Just do it! – (yea I know its cliché.) If you don’t have at least some understanding of PHP and its syntax, you really need to get your act together.

After several months of asking other people of help with my PHP problems I finally realized that PHP wasn’t the problem, it was my Lack of PHP knowledge. So finally I broke down and cried decided to learn it. I’ve never programmed before, if I can do it, You can do it!

- Get a Jump Start

If there is any advice I can offer to learning PHP, its gotta be find a good book / tutorial to learn from. There are a lot of free tutorials (some of which are quite good) to learn php, but it just won’t cut it if you really want to get down and dirty.

Some excellent Video tutorials can be found here:

Notes:
PHPVideoTutorials, is awesome, the guy is a bit of a kook but its well worth a visit, just to hear him say URL. (earl – its gotta be the accent.)

KillerPHP, is a bit slow to begin with, I would suggest watching the basics at PHPVideoTutorials and get into the heavy stuff with KillerPHP. It looks like they have a great OOP (Object Oriented Programming) section, but I have yet to look at it, still a lil bit over my head.

- Get a Book

If your serious about learning PHP, pick up a book at Barns and Noble, it will be well worth it, just in the time you will save by using it as a quick reference.

Story time:

So I was in Barns and Noble standing in the programming isle, in awe of the vast amount of PHP & MySQL books they have. When this European guy (older) standing next to me picks up “PHP for Teens” book sitting on the shelve right in front of me. I snicker, he snickers, we exchange wise comments about the books’ title.

Then he looks at the book I was holding, “PHP and MySQL something or other”, and says “You might as well be reading ‘PHP for Teens’ what your really looking for is it.” He hands me a book. After about 15 minutes of talking to him I find out he is the Head of the Computer Science Department at Oxford. (he was visiting UCF) At this point I am in awe, and need to pick my jaw up off the floor.

The book turns out to be exactly what I was looking for it is “Beginning PHP and MySQL 5” published by Apress. Link. (non aff)

- How this Makes you Dangerous

Since .php is free and it is the most widely used server side language, its nearly a must to know a little something about it. After all, many great applications such as wordpress are written using it. If you ever want to modify your layout you need to at least be able to understand its syntax. Even if you are just a web designer and primarily work with HTML and CSS, the day is going to come (or already has) when someone is going to need you to design a layout around a .php framework. Just cut the excuses and do it, it is at least one more thing that you will know a little bit about. After all don’t forget, we aren’t striving to be the best at .php we are looking to at least understand how it works and what can be accomplished with it. This is one more thing that we can add to the breadth of our knowledge base.

- Conclusion

After about 2 days of messing with PHP, I’m working on my first lil script. It has a little to do with RSS parsing, I’ll keep you updated on how its going!

Ps. Professor, if you reading this. Thanks Again!

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And We're Back!… T-Shaped and Dangerous

So after a short break from blogging, which turned into a little more than a 1/2 of a year, I’m back.

Time Management

Time management is everything in life. All to often we focus to closely on the trees and miss the forest. – This was my case, I needed to take a step back and get my priorities reorganized. (College, Work, Social Life, Blogging) more less in that order. I haven’t been totally out of the loop, I been keeping up on my reading on whats happening in the SEO community. However the RSS feed list has been cut back to nearly 1/10 of what it was several months ago (too much to keep up with and not enough time for my own projects). I have a feeling a lot of us are guilty of reading blogs when you should(could) be executing your own projects.

New Interests

During this time away I have grown a lot as a web designer/SEO. My interests have expanded to encompass everything it takes to become a successful web entrepreneur. These interests include more than SEO, because in nearly all cases, successful websites are functional and user friendly, after all it takes a functional site to get any search engine traffic at all.

Be T-Shaped

I’m sure many of you have encountered the term T-shaped people somewhere in your internet travels, it was coined by Tim Brown CEO of IDEO. It refers to the breadth and depth of a person’s knowledge base. Someone is considered to be T-shaped if they know a lot about a little and a little about a lot. This should be the goal of every web entrepreneur. By knowing a lot about a little, you have become specialized, but if you take this a step further and learn a little about a lot you become dangerous (in a good way).

Future Oriented

One of my main future goals, is to become T-Shaped and Dangerous(this is the main one), though I will continue to focus on SEO and Internet Marketing, expect to see more topics in the realms of Web Design and Programming included in this blog.

To keep me future oriented I created this motivational background:
Create Your Future

You can download the .psd file , if you wish to add your own motivational quotes.

T Shaped Challenge

In closing I offer you this challenge:

  1. Take 30 seconds and write down a list of things that would make you a better X (SEO, Internet Marketer, Designer, Etc). Everything that comes to your mind.
  2. Now during this next week figure out you need to do to become more well versed in that field and make a plan to accomplish it.
  3. Don’t stop there, take this plan and execute it over the next month.

Imagine if each of us did this once a quarter, we would be a pretty dangerous bunch eh?

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TapeFailure Logo
Thanks to Allen over at Center Networks. I got an invite to the closed beta of TapeFailure.

TapeFailure is a service that allows you to visualize what your users are doing. As Allen alludes to it will be a great addition to services like CrazyEgg and Google Analytics once TapeFailure gets a few kinks worked out.

Recording – When TapeFailure is “recording” a user on your site, you get this constant “Waiting for www.TapeFailure.com…” which seems to make your site look like it has problems. (See Below). As you may have it, (thats right I’m recording You!)
This must be fixed, I’m no javascript Guru but if anything it should be showing, “Waiting for www.AddedTraffic.com…” not some other site, that has Failure in the name, this just doesn’t portray what I am trying to get my audience to think of my site.

To Record or Not to Record- they need to be able to implement a way to allow / disallow IP’s from being recorded. I really don’t want to see what I’m doing on my own site, I only want to see my users. As I type this, I am being recorded, this should be interesting to review.

I may post a link to it.

It just wasn’t worth watching

Fix the Statistics Page – there also seems to be an issue with the Statistics Page. I understand this is closed beta but this definitely needs to be fixed, if they wish to compete, or compliment the establish brands out there. e.g. (Crazy Egg)

Playback Tools – Playback of recorded videos seem to be lacking a lot, from what I had expected. Its a very unique feature, but some sort of speeding up of playback is necessary, other wise you will be sitting there watching some of your users videos for quite some time. Also playback speed seems to be slower than real time, this has its pros and its cons, but I think being able to switch up the speed is a huge value added feature.

Replay Screen Size – Currently the TapeFailure beta product shows videos in a small screen, so when the mouse moves the screen follows it, not allowing you to see the whole screen. This is a minor detail but it should be fixed in the final product.

Record Entire Visit – Allen at Center Networks stated:

“they can do multi-page tests. I was incorrect in the review.”

I have yet to find this feature but I truly hope this is added in the final product.

Pricing – According to Joshua the founder of TapeFailure:

“Pricing per month starts at 3.95, but there is a discount when more months are purchased.”

In my opinion, this is low, so fix up the features and raise the price a buck or two, and you get the best of both worlds. I have always been the fan of offering a quality service for a bit extra, giving the user the best possible experience. This is the approach my hosting company (DreamHost) should take, but thats a completely different story.

Creepiness – During all of my recordings, I always had feeling that I was stalking someone. It really is strange to think that someone is watching the way you browse their page (isn’t it). To me this seems like a small invasion of privacy. It will be interesting to see how this aspect is dealt with when TapeFailure goes live.

Overall – I think TapeFailure’s greatest use will be in optimizing forms, you will actually be able to see where users decided to quit going through with the form as well as where they hesitated. The ability to streamline your forms in this fashion will be a great advantage, as it takes simple a/b testing to the next level.

I look forward to seeing the final product as I am sure many of you are.

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