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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??

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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.

Content Generation Continued April 9, 2010

Posted by regan222 in Computer and Technology.
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As promised, here is a step by step guide to content creation using Cam Studio to create a “how-to” video.  I would do this using Cam Studio but you can’t look at the program and run it at the same time.  The program is free.  You will need to download and install it first.  Go to www.camstudio.org and scroll to the bottom of the page.  You will find two links.  Download the application first and then download the loss-less codec.  Install the app by double-clicking on the file you have downloaded and click yes, next, or continue until you have the application downloaded.  Install the codec by either running the install application (if you chose to download it) or by unzipping the archive, right-clicking on the .inf file, and selecting INSTALL from the context menu.  Either way will get the files copied to the correct location.  You are now ready to begin

As previously stated, you need to have a plan.  It should already by prepared at this point.  You should know exactly what you are going to do.  We will assume that you have created a script and gone through it a few times.  Be sure that you have your microphone hooked up and are ready to record.

Step One: Open the Cam Studio Program.  We need to make some setting adjustments before we begin.  When the program opens you should see a small window appear that looks like this…

View of cam studio interface

Click on the OPTIONS menu and select VIDEO OPTIONS.  You should see a dialog box similar to the following image.

Fill the boxes in your options box with the same settings you see above.  If you do not have the DivX codec then you can substitute the MPEG3 codec and it will work just as well.  The reason for using these settings is so that you will not have lag between your video and audio.  Once the settings are in place, click OK.  You will find yourself looking at the main interface for Cam Studio.  At the top right of the window you will see a button that says “SWF”.  This setting allows you to save in either .avi or flash .swf file format.  Select the .avi format.  It will save the video in a much higher resolution mode.  If you plan to upload to youtube.com (and you should), you will be able to easily upload and convert the .avi file.

In order to begin the recording process, click on the red recording button as pictured below.  Once you have started the recorder, speak clearly and slowly.  Don’t read the script but do follow it.  Don’t try to impress with your vocabulary.  The average reading level in the USA is 6th grade.  Just present your ideas as clearly and concisely as you can.  As you describe parts of the program interface, make sure you indicate what you are talking about with the cursor.  Do everything you can to make your tutorial as easy to follow and understand as possible.

When you have completed recording, click the STOP button and you will see a dialog box to facilitate saving your movie file.  Name the file and select “SAVE”.  DO NOT CLOSE THE PROGRAM IMMEDIATELY.  Wait until the file is completely saved or you will loose all your hard work and have to start again.  Once the file is saved, close Cam Studio and open Windows Movie Maker to polish your video.

Import your video using the “Capture Video” section of the menu.  You can add titles and text using the “Edit Video” section.  Click “Add Titles or Credits” and you can add your URL or business name to the movie.  Once you have polished your movie it’s time to export.  Be sure you export as DV-AVI with the best possible quality.  When you convert to a lossy format like .flv you will need as much resolution as possible.

Once you have exported your video you can upload to youtube.com.  Remember that youtube will only accept movies shorter than 10 minutes.  You need to consider this when you are building your tutorial.  If the movie runs longer than 10 minutes you can use Movie Maker to break it into sections.  Be sure to provide a good transition between movies and also be sure to include the section number when you are setting the video title in youtube.

The path to success on the Internet is content creation.  You will be surprised how fast you can build a collection of tutorials.  Watch other people’s work and learn from them but don’t copy them.  When editing your video, remember that if the scene does not directly enhance your tutorial, it does not belong.  Be sure to track your hits and see if you can tie anything in your content to an increase or decrease in hits.  If you do something that increases your traffic, keep doing it.  Once you have a steady traffic flow there are many ways to market it.

To give you an idea of what can be done, I am including one of my early tutorials.  This is a two-part tutorial showing how to set up a static HTML site using Adobe Dreamweaver CS3.  It is posted on youtube.com

Adobe Dreamweaver at a Glance April 8, 2010

Posted by regan222 in Computer and Technology.
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Howdy friends and neighbors.  Boredom has overtaken me so I decided to generate some content.  Almost everyone today is interested in making their fortune on the Internet.  The one common thread that all the successful money-making plans have is the generation of content.  The Internet is driven by text, audio, video, and images created by people like you.  If you allow a website or blog to sit for a week without updating it will die.  Generating content is the key to bringing people to you.  Once you have the people you can find a way to convince them to pay you.

One popular method of content generation is creating “How To” tutorials for popular software packages.  This is a great method because 1) it generates content that holds interest and generates traffic and 2) it perpetuates content generation by teaching people how to create on the web.  This keeps the Internet at large churning.  My blog today is a tutorial on content generation.  I would like to show you how to show other people how.

First, you need a few pieces of free software.  The first and most important is a freeware program called Cam Studio.  This program allows you to record video screen captures and record audio for your tutorial.  You can download it at the Cam Studio Web Site.  The next piece of software you need is already on your PC.  Windows XP comes with a very primitive but effective movie editing program called Windows Movie Maker.  You can use it to add titles, URLs, and other text to your movie.  You can clip frames, order sections of the movie, or do just about anything you need to create your own “how-to” video.  Certainly there are more expensive tools you can use but these programs will do nicely to start with.  You will also need a microphone attached to your PC’s sound card.  You will use this to record your script.

Next, and possibly the most important phase, is to PLAN PLAN PLAN exactly what you are going to do.  Write a script.  Don’t just think that you will be able to start working in a program and then ad lib a great script while you work.  It won’t happen.  How often do you start working on a project and not mess up.  You do not want to waste your viewer’s time with “do-overs” and you don’t want to confuse them with jump cuts and abrupt edits to fix errors.  Run through the project that you are basing your tutorial on and then run through it again.  Make sure you have it down so well that you can go through it without error.  When you are recording you will not want to read the script word for word but you will want to be so familiar with it that you don’t have to consult your notes every few words.  Don’t try new things as a tutorial.  Do things that you are VERY familiar with.

Find a quiet place to work.  It is very annoying to view a tutorial trying to learn a new technique and be forced to listen to some bizarre TV show soundtrack in the background.  You can add music before or after the tutorial but not during.  It is a distraction.  Likewise, be sure your sinuses are clear.  Speak clearly and enunciate carefully.  If your voice is not pleasant consider having someone else record the audio.  Do everything you can to make watching your tutorial a pleasant experience.

Don’t try to do too much.  A tutorial that is more than 20 minutes long will not hold your listener’s attention.  10 to 20 minutes is optimal.  Also, if you make your tutorial too long they will not be viewable on Youtube.    This is where you want to put your tutorial.  Even if you host a web site somewhere else, upload the tutorials to youtube.  The bandwidth available to you on youtube is much better than anything you can come up with and you can easily embed the video into any site or blog.

Be sure to use a fairly recent version of whatever software you are teaching.  Notice I don’t say latest and greatest.  Most people don’t have the most recent version unless it has been out for a while.  You will not, however, want to use some ancient technology that is not relevent in today’s software market.  Stay within the 2 or 3 most recent versions. 

While you are creating your tutorial, don’t forget to promote your self.  You need to have your website, email address, or company name plastered all over the screen while you are teaching.  As long as the graphics are not a distraction for your viewers, make sure that your information is on the screen the entire time.  This is your purpose after all.  You are selling, not just teaching.

Finally, try to do something original.  There are 20 million versions of “Hello World in Visual Basic.net” currently on the Internet.  You should watch several of them but don’t base your work on any one of them.  Do your own thing, especially if is something that you are known for and is something you came up with that no one else does.  This kind of tutorial will get you noticed.  Start slow and short and build up from there.

Well that’s it for another edition of Regan222.  (I really need to come up with a cool name)  Tomorrow night I will go through the step by step process of using Cam Studio to create a tutorial video.  Til then, good night all.