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How Smart Can A Board Really Be February 4, 2014

Posted by regan222 in Uncategorized.
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Smart boad content creation is the subject today.  Hopefully it will be as useful as yesteday’s offering.  I really feel that this technology will make education much easier if I can just get the kids to use it.

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Syndication for the Really Simple May 3, 2012

Posted by regan222 in Books, Computer and Technology, Computers and Internet, General Ranting, News and politics.
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The family gathers around the wireless

           The Internet is rapidly transitioning from a text-based to a media based venue.  One of the most popular methods today to share information on the Internet is to establish an RSS feed to share your message with the world. 

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.  It is a set of Internet protocols (or rules) for spreading information in the form of audio and video media.  It allows for devices other than PCs to download and save the content of the feed in question and allow it to be viewed/listened to.  Things like iPads, iPods, tablets, PCs, and even newer model car and home radios can access the information, most commonly through the Apple iStore.  The feed files are downloaded behind the scenes and stored on board the device until it is accessed.  The  feed is easy to set up, the media is easy to generate, and the  connection is completely reliable.  Along with social media outlets like twitter.com and facebook.com, the RSS feed is a perfect way to present information, promote a business or site, and generate steam over an issue.

The heart of an RSS feed is a document written in a format called Extensible Markup Language or XML.  This markup language allows for the entering of text that can be described like an entry in a database.  The layout is similar to HTML in that it uses tags and brackets to designate your tags.  Instead of using tags like <bold> and <center> todemark text, XML uses tags to describe what the text stands for.  If you are making a list of books, for example, you might create a tag called <author> to describe who wrote the book.  When viewed in a browser, the tab is not visible but the text is.  More importantly you can then use various database operations on the text file to search and analyze the data without having to create a database of the information.  The tags let you manipulate the data. In creating a syndication feed, only a few tags are needed in a very simple layout.  No special software of any type is needed.  I do most of mine in notepad.  XML documents must have  a proper header.  I am not going into the creation of every tag in a document but I will show you the most important ones.  You can download the example I am using, it is the XML document that feeds the news tag embedded in this page.  Right-click HERE and select “Save target as…”  Tell it to save on your desktop and you can open it in notepad and examine it at your leisure.  You can also use it as a template to make your own feeds.

The tags determine if the feed is of proper format.  If not, the browsers and devices will not be able to read the feed.  That is why it is called a protocol.  The word means rule or procedure.  If you don’t follow the rules, the feed won’t work.  Since this feed concerns audio mp3 files, we need to create tags that associate with that kind of media.  The first thing we need is a tag to designate the title fo the file.  We use the really imaginative tag <title> to designate the title of the file.  When we read the feed in a browser, the tag won’t show up but the title will be there and it will act as a link to the file.  On a PC you can click and listen.  On an iPad or iPod the file will automatically download if it has not already downloaded.  That is the great thing about RSS.  The feed only gets things you don’t already have. 

Each file needs a text description that is visible in the feed so that we know if we want to listen to it or not.  The tag we use is (once again very descriptive and imaginatively)  called <description>.  Remember, each tag must have a closing tag that relates to it.  For each <title> there must be a </title> and so on.

Download and use the file above as a template for your own RSS feed.  You will need an Internet server to host with.  Godaddy.com is a combination of best, easiest, and cheapest and I use it exclusively.  You don’t have to establish a web site but you need a directory that is accessible to the Internet.  Put your XML file and all your media into this folder and use the folder/domain name to acces it via the Internet.  If you are not familiar with registering a domain or setting up directories and links google something like “setting up a domain and web site” and you will get everything you need.  Once you have the feed set up and connected, be sure to set up an account with Apple’s iTunes so you can use it to distribute your feed.  You can also put links into every page you own or can talk to owner into.

If you own a business or publicize via social media or have any message to present to the world, you would be hard press to find an easier way to reach more people.  The iTunes app does all the promotion for you.  Just remember to get the tags right and be sure you have an iTunes account and you are on the way.  If you choose, you can forgo the iTunes completely and just publish and promote the feed yourself but iTunes is free and it is a shame not to take advantage of it.  You will need some special tags for the feed to be iTunes compatible but they are already in place in the template I have provided you.  Happy Podcasting – nite all.

And Now…The Rest of the Story April 15, 2012

Posted by regan222 in Books, Computers and Internet, Film and Television, General Ranting, Generate Wealth, Movie Madness.
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When last we met, gentle reader, I promised you a moderately smooth path to wealth and fame (or at least some spending money) made online.  Today I will share my revelations with you.  The process is simple.  Generate content.  Create media.  Write something, film something, or play something on an instrument.  The Internet is a big hungry place and if you can create something that no one else has a claim to, you can sell it.  It does not have to be a work of art.  Allow me an example.

Have you ever heard of a movie with the pretentious title of Awaken the Dead?  How about a little gem called The Zombie Apocalypse?  Both of these films were shot in a few hours on a low-end pro-sumer video camera with minimal production values for next to no budget.  In a word…They are AWFUL.  However,  they are also available on Netflix for rental or instant streaming.  Someone is getting paid royalties every time a Netflix customer gets drawn in by the cool cover art and clicks to rent or clicks to instantly stream on of these two cinematic enemas.  It doesn’t matter that 3 minutes into the movie the viewer violently vomits and clicks over to a different movie and never returns to finish what they so foolishly started.  Someone gets MONEY every time one of these monstrosities even partially plays.

One more example…Drop by your local Hastings or Half Price Books or any other chain book store.  Walk down the “teen interest” aisle and stop at a random spot.  Close your eyes and take any book off the shelf.  There’s an 85% chance that you are holding a cheesy, over dramatic, and badly written vampire novel.  (The other 15% is divided up into werewolves and something by J.K. Rowling).  Now put the book down before someone sees you.  Close your eyes and get another one.  It is very likely you are holding a book with exactly the same story line, characters so similar that only the names have been changed to protect the guilty, and yet BOTH books will set you back about $10 each.  You could legally buy one, go home and change the names of characters, settings, and a few other details, and offer that baby up for publishing and it is very possible that you could get a best seller out of the deal.  Everything today is derivative (go over to google and look the word up if you don’t know what it means).  Everything is the same because the people who control what gets published and what does not, are bound by the idea of formula.  What has worked before will work again without much risk.  Anything new or original or different is risky.  It does not require talent to write something like that, just a decent memory and a thesaurus.

Want to be a rock and roll star?  Ever heard of sampling?  Today all music is made of music that was written yesterday.  Hip Hop artists sample other people’s songs and edit them together with canned drum beats to create a generic background noise for their latest rap.  Once again, originality is NOT a requirement.

Are you seeing a pattern here?  Is the path becoming visible.  Wanna make a movie?  You can buy a Canon XM-1 video camera on Craig’s list for next to nothing.  Pirate a copy of Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premier and you have the tools needed to create a movie that will pass muster and get a distribution deal.  Get some of your neighbors to play zombies or better yet, a slasher film that does not even require makeup.  Production values are not a requirement.  All you need to do is be fast and get the lighting half-way decent.  If you can get in touch with the right people and show them that you know the formula, you are well on your way to having a movie of your very own premier on Netflix and the Direct-To-Video section of Best Buy.  The really cool thing is that once you have a movie in production, the royalties come in every time it runs.  It doesn’t matter if the viewer hates it and shuts it off thirty seconds into the opening credits.  You get paid.  Do it again and follow the same formula.  You can get rich like this with a little luck.  Just ask Uwe Boll?  (You get LOTS of geek cred if you know who Uwe Boll is).  He finances his own movies and bases them on video games.  (Anyone remember House of the Dead)?  He is considered one of the all-time WORST directors and yet he has several motion pictures in rental and streaming distributions and yes, he makes WAY more money than you.  He knows the formula.

Books, movies, video games, music: if you know the formula and have a vague idea of how to put them together you can get rich.  The Internet is starving for material.  It does not judge on the basis of good or bad, it grades on how well you follow the formula.

Now if you want to do something good or original or worthwhile…THAT is MUCH harder…

Night all.

Some Helpful Advice for those who want attention… April 13, 2012

Posted by regan222 in Computer and Technology, Computers and Internet, General Ranting.
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Seems like everyone today has an online presence.  Grandmothers are monetizing home video of their precious little poo-poos on youtube.  Housewives are selling crafts, kitchen products, and uh…whatever through web sites.  Toddlers are sending out social commentary on twitter.  Good Heavens!!  Who has time to read it all?  No one, that’s who.

If you are one of the millions who are running madly across the virtual landscape in some kind of cyber land-rush frenzy to stake your claim on a piece of binary property and communicate your way to millions in easy riches, I have some advice for you.  In a word, CONTENT.  Fresh stuff…(oops that’s two words).  It doesn’t really matter what you are producing.  It doesn’t really matter if its worth watching/listening to/viewing.  What matters is that you create new stuff and post it regularly.  (Yes I AM a hypocrite, now pay attention). 

The latest word from the Bureau of Nosy Statistics is that if you don’t have fresh content at least daily, your online presence will fizzle.  People visit a web site, if they like it they book mark it, and if, on their second or third visit, they don’t see fresh material, they never come back.  Some simple math for the simple among us… No People = No Money.  The Internet has been described as an information super highway.  It is more accurate to say it is a huge information vacuum.  Try this experiment.  Go to a major news portal like Fox or Yahoo or MSN or some other big-time page.  Read an article.  Take some text from that article, search for that exact text in google and see how many other sites are using the exact same article, word for word.  Sometimes they acknowledge the source and sometimes not.  Everyone wants fresh content but no one has time to write it.  If you can come up with something fresh, even a little original, and interesting/entertaining/useful/controversial then you CAN make money on the Internet.  When I have time to write again (after counting all my online millions that I make working for google as an unwed mother) I will give you a fairly clear path to follow to online promotion success.  Til then…Have you heard the latest about Lindsey Lohan??

A Brief Word from Our Sponsor May 3, 2010

Posted by regan222 in Computer and Technology.
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Good Evening.  I just have time for a short entry tonight.  This is more of a status report than a real blog entry or tutorial.  In previous entries I have talked about the importance of writing valid code and sticking to standards even when it seems like an inordinate amount of excess work.  In keeping with my convictions I have finally gotten HauntedRadio.net validated correctly.  It is validated as xHTML transitional and the CSS also checks out according to W3C standards.  (If you don’t know who the W3C is, hang around and you will.  My next entry will probably be a history lesson about them.)  Essentially validation says that I care enough about my web page to make sure that everyone who sees it gets exactly the view that I want them to have and sees all the elements of the page as they were meant to be seen.  I use conditional comments so that Internet Explorer and Firefox users all get the same view, and I validate my code with the W3C validation application so that every browser knows what to expect.

OK Where was I?? Oh Yes, that Horrible Growth on Your PC April 24, 2010

Posted by regan222 in Computer and Technology.
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Well, having dealt harshly with the evil foe I return to my original task with frightening singleness of purpose.  We were talking about making sure that your PC was clean before I was so rudely interrupted.  We just zapped the evil box using Task Manager (if you don’t remember, make sure and read the last two posts before you continue).

It is likely that you caught the bug and zapped its setup application before it had a chance to infect you.  You will know if we failed by the little box that pops back up and asks for your credit card numbers.  Either way, this method will fix what ails us.

Step 1: Get the Tools You Need.  Everyone should have a shortcut in their web browser to http://www.malwarebytes.org  (this is the best in the business at cleaning and removing this sort of bug).  Click on the link and, once the page loads, click on the large download button.  You will be taken to C-Net  and you will need to click on another download button.  It looks like the following:

malwarebytes download button

Click the green image or the “download now” link and you will receive the setup file.  Remember where you save it.  Once you have the file saved to your drive, close all programs including Internet Explorer.  Find the install file and double click the application.  The setup process is short and simple.  Click “yes”, “next”, or “continue” until the program tells you it has successfully installed.  The last window will ask if you want to update the program and run.  Uncheck BOTH BOXES.  DON’T DO IT YET.

Step 2: Time to Clean.  You need to reboot your PC at this point and you need to bring it up in safe mode.  To do this, wait until the screen goes dark and start tapping the F8 key on your keyboard about once every 3 seconds until you see a screen similar to an MS-DOS screen that gives you several boot options.  The first should be “safe mode”.  The second should be “Safe Mode with Networking”.  Select the second one and let the PC boot.  It may give you another screen that asks what operating system you wish to boot.  Make sure it say whatever flavor of Windows you are running and hit the “Enter” key on your keyboard.  (This will happen if you are using Windows XP).

Once you have booted up in safe mode (I know the screen looks funny, ignore it)  you will need to run the malwarebytes application you recently installed.  Find the large red “M” icon on your desktop and double-click.  It should load the application.  You will see a window with tabs across the top that look like this…

Select the UPDATE tab and click the update button.  Let the process run until you receive the message that the update was successful.  If something does not work, skip the step and move on.  It will still work.

Select the SCANNER tab and be sure the dot is next to “Full Scan”.  This takes longer but you don’t want to take any chances.  Click the “Scan” button and let it run.  It should take about 30 minutes or so.  When complete you will see a button that says continue and likely a text file will open.  Close the text file and click the “Next” button.  You should then see a button that says “Remove All Selected”.  Click the button and the program does the rest.  It will likely ask you to reboot.  This time, let it come up in normal mode. 

Step 3: Finish The Job.  Once you have completed the scan process you need to make sure all the trash is cleaned up.  Close Malware Bytes and click your “START” button.  Select “Accessories”, “System Tools” and “Disk Cleanup”  When the program opens it should look like this…

If you should see a box that asks what drive you wish to clean, select your boot drive and the above box will show up.  It make take 10 minutes to scan.  Once it does you will be presented with many options, each with its own check box.  Select all check boxes and click to continue.  The clean process may take up to 15 minutes or so.  Don’t panic.  Once the process is over, the drive will be clean.  This process will clean the recycle bin, the Internet cache, and all temp files.  This process will make sure that even if you stopped the install process you also deleted the installation files of the bug. 

These steps will absolutely sure that your drive is clean and that whatever you ran into will not trouble you any further.  Hopefully this will take care of the problems.  Should there be other issues, you may need to reboot into safe mode and run the scan again.  Make sure you get the program to update before doing this.  If I can be of further help, please let me know.  Nity Nite.

I’m Gonna Hijack this Bus To Cuba!! April 23, 2010

Posted by regan222 in Computer and Technology.
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Help Help!! I’ve been hijacked.  I know I promised to get the other part of cleaning up rogue spyware apps from a PC up and running but this evening has been too disturbing for me to create a new tutorial.  I have been hijacked!!  I noticed that one of my tutorials about Dreamweaver sites only had 19 hits while the second part of the video had over 300 hits in one month.  Why would you watch the back half of a tutorial and not the front?  Well I discovered that the hits were being referred from a site called dreamweavertutorial.net.  I dropped by and discovere that they had embedded my tutorial that I posted on youtube.com into their page.  I would not ordinarily mind but they gave NO credit to the author at all.  They put my video up as if they had posted it themselves with no mention of me or my site.  How RUDE!!!

Sooo what to do?  I might have seized the moral high ground,  removed my video from Youtube and sent a scathing letter to the admin of the site.  I have never been a big fan of heights so I did not seize the high ground.  Instead I went back in to Youtube and edited my video slightly and added some captions.  I will let you decide if you want to go the dreamweavertutorial.net site and see what I did.  I also found that every video tutorial on their site had been hijacked from Youtube and no one had been credited so I notified all the Youtube account holders of what was going on.  Hopefully everyone will add comments and subtitles and captions to these videos and let them keep playing.  I will do my BEST to get the other half of my spyware article up tomorrow night.

How To REALLY Get Rich on the Internet. April 19, 2010

Posted by regan222 in Generate Wealth.
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Do All Those Unwed Mothers REALLY Make $4543.00 per Week From Google?

In a word, No, they don’t.  If you’ve seen the ads scattered across your favorite web portals concerning some average person off the street making an incredible salary working for Google, you are not alone.  Remember what I said a few posts back about content.  The path to making money on the Internet is creating content of some kind.  The people responsible for that ad campaign need content to attract traffic to their site in order to sell their “get rich quick” scheme.  The money isn’t being made by the unwed mother of 4 working for google.  The money is being made by google selling ad sense or some other tool or service to “help” people make money.  Today what makes money is not the scheme itself, but selling the scheme.  In order to get people interested you need some sort of content.  Blogs and forums and social networking sites were created in order to make money, not for the people using the site, but for the people selling the scheme.

A similar phenomenon can be seen in the recent proliferation of classes offering training in everything from buying and selling Real Estate and stocks to finding riches  trading old toys on eBay.  The people teaching the class may very well have made money flipping a house or selling options but what makes them successful is that they also learned very quickly that it is MUCH easier to make more money selling expensive classes and training materials to that section of the American populace that is eternally optimistic.  Face it folks, the scheme they are selling does not work as advtertised.  If it did, the stock market, which operates on volume, would be pushing 20,000 now instead of fighting its way back to 10,000.  SELLING the scheme, however, is making a bundle because people have an almost innate desire to believe that they can get something for nothing.  Couple that with how easy it is to reach the entire world through the Internet and you have a perfect market place.  Add a little interesting content to pull people to your site and POW!!  Dinner is served.

Please be aware that I am not being cynical in my observation.  I am stating fact.  People want to find a way to succeed in life by some other means than hard work.  It takes a loonng time to make money that way.  If you can find some way to generate income that does not require your direct participation or constant attention then you are very far along the road to success.  Content creation and promotion is the key here.  If the content on Facebook and MySpace were not so fascinating you can be sure that all the little ads along the borders of the pages would not be there.  If YouTube.com were not so popular (because of its content) they would not have any of the huge marketing deals that they have been able to put together.  People don’t get rich selling on eBay but eBay is REALLY getting rich from all the auction fees, add-ons, and training classes they offer.

Here is the short and simple…If you want to make money on the Internet, or anywhere in life for that matter, then you need to do two things.  1) Find a simple way to lead other people to believe that they can make money doing something.  It must come close to making logical sense and it must be easy to follow.  It does NOT have to work.  2)Find a way to tell MANY people about it.  If you tell 100 people, the odds that even one will buy in are very small.  If you can tell 1 million people, and only 3% buy in and you can sell your scheme to them for $10 you have made $30,000.  Almost everyone has $10 that they are willing to part with and an ad campaign that only gets a 3% return is pretty common and getting a million hits on any Internet site is not hard if you have some kind of content to draw them.  I would be interested to see what people think about this idea.  Please, if you read this, leave a comment.  Have a great night.