Saturday, December 26, 2009

Affiliate Marketing For Recent College Graduates

Many people have found themselves unable to obtain unemployment directly after graduating from college. So without a job, what do you do?

I remember it well, and it wasn't even a recession back when I graduated. Four years of college and a Bachelor's Degree later I had interviews where I competed against at least twenty other candidates.

It took a couple of years for me to find part time work, which eventually became full time. In the meantime, I worked several jobs at all hours just to make my bills. Had I known about Affiliate Marketing back then, I certainly would have preferred it to working as hard as I did.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Best Bang for Your Entertainment Buck!

You may choose DirecTV, while your neighbor chooses Satellite Direct. A block over, someone chooses Dish Network while their neighbor opts for cable.

What's the commonality in this group of neighbors? Choice. And that they're all happy with their choice. The reason for this is that all these people have individual needs or desires that relate directly to their programming. As an example, I'm not a sports guy so I'd like to forgo any packages with my provider that offer year round sports. My friend John, however, is a football fanatic and would turn his nose up at any service that didn't provide regular access to his favorite team's games.

Content is important, but so is price- if you're willing to go through a little bit of trouble, you can watch most of your shows on Hulu or Satellite Direct, watch your movies with a Netflix subscription and be very happy, all with the perks of digital video recorders and all the goodies available from cable or satellite.

The bottom line is, once again, do your research. Know what you want and what you're willing to pay for it and see which company will meet your needs most efficaciously.

Best Programming Provider?

Today, we have cable, satellite and Fios among other televised entertainment providers. Many people use Satellite Direct, and Netflix to round out their entertainment without breaking the bank. But what are your options?

Let's start simple. That would be the old style antennas that plucked Jackie Gleason out of the air and introduced America to eating while watching television in their own homes. Then came cable, with "limited commercial interruption (unless you count self promotion, very true), which dominated from the late 70's to early 90's. Attempts in the 80's to utilize enormous satellite dishes eventually fell by the wayside.

Once question that comes up frequently is "Between Dish Network and DirecTV, what service is best?". As with any other arena of endeavor with regard to entertainment, the factors are varied and too many to reach one simple decision. Again, do your research, write down what is best for you as far as equipment (DVR's,etc.) and programming and make your best deal. Either way, you will be choosing a winning option.

High Definition: Cable Box or DTV Tuner?

You really can't go wrong either way, to be honest. What you will need to do is consider is what your provider actually provides (ie; do they provide all true high definition programming or are signals compressed? Almost all companies compress at least some programming).

As with all other applications, your results may vary, although only slightly. Individual component choice will come into play and will affect the final result greatly. What helps is to make a list and keep track of what you change and/or modify. This can be something as simple as upgrading a cable. Keep diligent records and be sure to note any favorable or unfavorable results.

Wait, wait, wait, I thought you couldn't get a tv signal over the air anymore.

Not so very long ago, the public was told that they could no longer use an antenna to obtain our television broadcasts. The truth of the matter is that we can no longer receive analog signals in the traditional manner. But we can receive digital signals.

Yes, this means you can use an antenna. But what about high definition channels? How might we obtain those with an antenna? The quick answer is that you can't. The long version is you can't, at least not without an upgraded antenna.

A high definition antenna will deliver high definition programming over the air (OTA). If you'd like an even better option, get one that's meant to go outside, a la the old style roof mounted television antennas.

Are You Limited To Cable or Satellite for Your Television Programming?

The short answer to the question in this post is: "No". You can use your internet connection to access
and watch television series with minimal commercial interruption (typically commercials are at the beginning of segments and you cannot fast forward through them as with a Tivo type service.

Options such as Satellite Direct can provide you with over 3500 channels (including high definition programming) that are streamed directly to your home computer. There are drawbacks to all programming services, not the least of which being price, so diligent research is tantamount to finding the service that works best for your needs.

Connecting Home Theater Equipment

I recently connected an Xbox360 to a high definition television and noticed that there was not an option for using component cables. I've often wondered what the deal is with these different connection types; why not go to an industry standard and leave it be?

Well, if you'd like to start a nice argument, talk to your favorite techie and ask the difference between HDMI and Component cables. You'll get an in depth explanation for both, assuredly, but each person will have their own opinion on which is better. People don't realize that, while not infinitely complex, the subject is a bit too broad to simply ask what will work best without regard for individual components and user preferences.

In short, most people won't notice a difference, but if you will then make sure you try both to make an informed decision.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Do it Yourself Home Automation

I've always wanted to have a house like Tony Stark (and if you haven't seen the brand new trailer for Iron Man 2, go here: Iron Man 2 Trailer on I don't have the money for something as elaborate as Stark has, but I do have 14 dollars to spare to read an e-book on the subject of Home Automation.

Most people already have a network, either wired or wireless, in their house for use with the internet. What you need to have in place to control a house set up for automation is a network and if you have one already set up for surfing the web, you are ready for the next step.

So what is all this automation stuff? Well, imagine being able to integrate your audio and video sources and send them to whatever room you like. How about turning the lights on and off remotely without the use of bulky timers? Concerned about going out of town and not being able to check on your house? Well, integrate video surveillance equipment such as cameras and digital video recorders to store data and you can access that information anywhere and at any time.

I personally think it would be a great idea to buy this book just to be able to control heating and cooling remotely. And e-books are instantly available via password. This particular e-book even comes with a 90 day money back guarantee. Everybody wins.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Being unemployed means I have less money coming in than I'd like. Even so, I do like to contribute a portion of my income to The Smile Train Charity.

My mother was born with cleft lip/palate, so I chose my charity based on that. Most people choose something near and dear, which might be something like Alzheimer's Research. Whichever charity you're giving to, give yourself a pat on the back because helping others is sadly not something everyone does.

It feels good to help others. Remember all that stuff in your childhood about it being better to give than to receive? Ever tried it?

I don't think there's anything at all wrong with charity. Of course, just as with anything else where people are involved there's an opportunity for the unscrupulous among us to exploit the others. There certainly has been skepticism about whether all your money is used to it's fullest when donating to some charities. So it pays to do your research and know where your money is actually going. This is a good reason to check out The Smile Train because they have a way of streamlining their process to maximize every donated dollar.

They actually have something called "Virtual Surgery Videos" to train doctors to repair cleft lip/palate. Rather than fly our doctors overseas to perform surgeries every few months, they can learn how to do it themselves remotely. Innovation in charity, I guess you'd call that.

In sum, if you'd like to donate a few dollars to children born with a condition that interferes with the simple acts of eating and speaking, please head on over to The Smile Train and/or check out my Lens on The Smile Train Charity.

Affiliate Marketing

OK, so you keep hearing people talk about making money as an "affiliate". What does that even mean? What's an affiliate?

When I was in school preparing to be a teacher, I developed research skills and had to become confident in my ability to interpret this research in order to reach my students.

Basically, a company will pay for online advertising. One of the places that money goes is to what's known as an Affiliate Network. The Network hires Affiliates (you and I) to promote the product in various ways such as reviews and article writing. You then share in the profit of each sale.

The short answer to the question most people are asking right now is that Yes, this is a real thing. But it's not something you just pick up and do. It's not a get rich scheme. If you believe in those, please read the following truth: there is no way to easily make money online. I say no way because the ways that are out there are either immoral or illegal. Anything I tell you will be what's called "whitehat". "Blackhat" is the opposite- those shady fly by night things I won't even provide information on (I know that 99% of people my age (37 so far) are making Good Side/ Dark Side of The Force connections right now- works for me).

There are skills you will need to develop or learn outright- as my Grandfather always said: "There's no royal road to learning". That applies here too. Be prepared to fail and learn from your mistakes. Be prepared to put in real time to learn this and even more time to implement it correctly. Be prepared to do research and be prepared for the *lightbulb* moments when it all starts to just "click".

Beyond that, all I can say is the longest journey begins with the first step. Unemployment checks don't last forever, so don't dawdle. Learn and grow your knowledge- be prepared to look for answers on your own. Others may not help you because guess what? They're busy working on this too- so make Google your homepage (your computer is now more than just a source of entertainment- it's turning into a source of income.

So do some maintenance on your computer if need be. If it's been a while, reformat your machine. If you've done that in the last 6-12 months, go through and do some cursory checks like virus scanning (use AVG Free), Registry repair (Eusing Free Registry Cleaner) and defrag while you're at it. Restart and make sure your machine is running in tip top shape before you begin this. Your computer now should be ready for some heavy duty usage while you do your affiliate research (you could check out my Lens on the subject for a decent start).

Feel free to post comments. I'll be glad to help people along.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Powerbar Club Platinum Review

I really like the idea of working from home. If you don't know me well yet, I'm an unemployed teacher. I've taught the most challenging students for the last nine years. Becoming one of the over ten percent of the US population currently looking for work was a real eye opener for me. I'm always on the lookout for something I can either exploit financially or for something I can at least learn from; this post will be about a new toolbar I found online calledthe Powerbar. If you look below, you'll see an example of their sensationalistic promotional tactics- the first thing to get my spider-sense tingling.

Due to the intensity of working with such a challenging demographic and a lack of confidence in a system that couldn't hang onto a longtime teacher I've decided to make my own luck. I'm proud of my career, but I don't intend on going back to it, at least not right away. I have an entrepreneurial bent which has called me all my life. Now, much like the people in this article, I feel the pull of new opportunities.

I'm no stranger to web design, affiliate marketing and other virtual centered endeavors. I have no doubt that I can make money online because I have. It's never about being easy though. Few businesses can boast about being easy to set up and low maintenance. Making money on the web isn't any different. You have to work hard at it.

We'll see what the Powerbar brings me. I predict it will be either a significant amount of extra income or a complete flop, which I'd learn from (I'll report either way). I doubt there will be much in the way of shades of gray with this.