Monday, February 28, 2011

A Temporary Absence

Alright guys, sorry I haven't posted in a while. I have a massively important test coming up this Thursday in one of my classes that I was way behind in. I really need to just focus on that, since I don't have time for much else. I'll be back to regular posting on Friday though, or at least, that's the plan.

Thanks for reading, sorry I left ya hanging.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Writing For Me vs. Writing For Others, and the Basics of SEO

Strictly business over at his blog commented on my last post:

"well hopefully you get it man!! but you could also take those same articles that you would write for them and write them for your own blog and just do more marketing and networking for your blog, how about opening a few blogs along different lines of interest to expand your money net."

He has a valid point, but it's one that really is true to any other line of work. If you work on your own, and build up your own "business" (in a sense), you do stand to make more money, as you receive any and all profits. But, it's also much
more difficult to build up. Which brings up the important subject of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. When you start on your own, you have a very low page rank, no backlinks, and all sorts of other issues that frankly, make it difficult to build up your site. Search Engines control the web. Completely. In reality, if you want to start your own successful site, you need a good understanding of all of the SEO techniques, or you'll be buried so far in the results of searches you'll find it very difficult to get noticed, no matter how good your content is. There are entire books written about how to do this perfectly.

On the flip side, if you start with already established websites, you don't have to worry about this nearly as much. You still want to do keyword research, and in the case of Demand Media, you have to if you expect the article to get accepted, but you don't have to worry about page rank so much, as you already have a high page rank. Also, with Demand Media, you're seeing an upfront payment, so you don't really give a shit how much traffic the article receives (unless you use their revenue share option). It's a different business model, and one that provides more upfront benefits.

Now, here's the real trick. If you couple writing for Demand Studios with your own blog, or better yet, a website like Hubpages, then if you get articles rejected for Demand Studios (only allowed one rejection, get rejected again, tough luck), you can simply post your article up on Hubpages. Hubpages does take a cut out of your profits, but it's a modest one. And otherwise, your writing is wasted. This is legit passive income, and there are people making a sizable amount of money every month off the large amount of "hubs" they've written. Of course, for every one guy making money, there are 10 that aren't. But hey, that's life.

So, what do you guys think? Is this interesting at all? Would you want me to maybe explain SEO better? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Me? A Freelance Writer?

Yep, never would have considered writing my thing, but I can't wait to apply to Demand Studios. What do they do you ask? They pay. Pretty well. Demand Media (the parent company) owns ehow, and an assortment of other websites. You can write articles which are then posted to these sites. The pay rate is $7.50 for a fact sheet, or $15 for a complete article. (for an idea of what an article encompasses, you can just look at ehow) As a guy looking at long hours of probably minimum wage or damn near, this looks nice. Really nice. And far more legit than any other online money making schemes I've seen.

Even better, this is the sort of work that appeals to me, as you're doing it on your own time, as much or as little as you'd like. On top of that, the hourly rate essentially scales with your skill level. Instead of sitting around, waiting for a raise, the "raise" is dependent on how quickly you can complete articles. Hourly income is kind of all over the place from various user accounts online, but it seems a reasonable expectation that you can finish 2 articles an hour, unless you're particularly slow. Even if I was only finishing one an hour, it still beats the hell out of minimum wage.

The catch of course, is whether you can get accepted. I'm a college student, with no professional writing experience, and no official job experience in any fields. When applying, you submit both a resume and a writing sample, so hopefully the writing sample can show I'm capable of the job, and make up for the lacking resume. I haven't applied yet, and I'm not sure exactly when I'll get around to it, but I'd like to do it as soon as possible. If I get accepted, you guys will definitely be hearing about it.

Image related. It's the dream.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pirates, and the Sad Truth That Rich != Smart

As a preface to this post, a friend of mine just started blogging a little while ago, and it would be great if you guys would take a look at his blog. He's sure to do the same, especially if you have some music posted he may not have heard. Check him out right here. (and no, the below picture is not him. He wishes.)


So, the Somali pirates strike again, this time killing 4 American hostages as american troops close on on the Yacht they'd hijacked. Full story here if you're interested.

Now granted, this is a sad story. Innocent people died while vacationing around the world in their yacht. With that were they thinking?! Pirates are practically nonexistant, except for in that puny little area on the globe. Yet, these two geniuses decide it would be a great place for a cruise in their private Yacht. That would be like if I planned a family vacation to rural Afghanistan. You know, just to add some variety. I suppose there really isn't a whole lot else to say, but since nobody in the news is calling them out, I might as well. It's a sad story, but they were dumb. And highly deserving of this immortal image:

Monday, February 21, 2011

The US Debt, and Just How Insignificant Budget Cuts Are

So, if you live in the US, you've undoubtedly heard all about these budget cuts, as it's a big thing in our government right now. There are various plans kicking around, since apparently our government finally woke up and realized they'd have been bankrupt a long time ago if they couldn't cheat. (printing money, running a ponzi scheme, etc)

A lot of the number thrown around sound very large and impressive. Wow! 61 billion saved by the Republican plan!? That's a ton! There's a great video kicking around that really puts all of this in perspective. Unfortunately, it's a year old, so the exact demonstration isn't perfect. But a bit of visualization on your part keeps it relevant.

So, as you can see in that video, one stack of 5 pennies represents 2 billion. So in the exact demonstration, he removes 1/4 of one penny to represent 100 million in cuts. Well, cutting 61 billion using "draconian" methods, you would remove 30.5 of those stacks of pennies. Certainly, a good amount, but still a long ways from what is needed if we're serious about this budget.

So, what can be done? After all, we're cutting important programs using draconian methods as it is, just to cut this much. The impact to quality of life is already too high according to a lot of Democrats. We're cutting Pell Grants, Planned Parenthood, the Peace Corps, even Net Neutrality gets the axe. All this, to make it so we lose a little bit less. The 2011 deficit is projected to be 1.27 trillion. So all these cuts are providing ~4% less of a deficit. Wow! Sure sounds impressive, doesn't it? Oh yeah, and lets not mention the projected Social Security and Medicare unfunded liabilities (meaning money we've promised but don't have), that number was up to 107 TRILLION dollars as of 2009! That's 7 times(!) the size of the entire US economy.

So what's the fix? sure sounds like we're screwed. Totally and completely. It's a good question, and I don't claim to have the answer. Although, my thoughts are that the US is in for some really really rough years. Cuts aren't cutting it. It's going to take much higher taxes, many more cuts, and likely, an axing of the great Ponzi Scheme we Americans like to call Social Security. When I pay my FICA taxes, I just assume that to be money lost, because I'll be truly amazed if I ever see it.

Put this on top of us pissing away our manufacturing, failing in some other areas...the US is sick. And I don't see the government health care bill coming along to save it. That's disappointing to me, because I love my country. It really did start off as a great idea, and it is a good place to live, no doubt in my mind. And eh, maybe I'm just worrying more than I should. But it does seem to me that we have a few very large elephants in the room which are being ignored, and it can't be doing us any good.

So, apologies for the wall of text, and I guess I did swerve slightly off topic...but this is a topic I can really run with. Maybe you guys can too? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Privacy, Or the Lack Of It

So, I was cruising through Wikipedia trying to get some background for a paper I need to write, trolling for ideas like I always do. (really wish I could use it as a source...) Anyways, I found myself reading about Google, and then some criticisms of the company itself. Most of them are centered around privacy, as Google has taken a lot of flak for that. I stumbled across this quote by their CEO from December, 2009:

"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

This is a stance that seems pretty popular, and its one that really bothers me. I'm far from a scaremonger, and you won't catch me posting Illuminati spam all over Youtube vids, but I do think that if I'm to lose privacy, I should be gaining something out of it. I can see a cookie lifetime of 18 months. But their former 32 years I question a little more, as I really doubt that my searches at 10 years old are still useful, relevant data to Google when I'm 42.

On a smaller scale, I was a bit annoyed to see that the town I live near will be installing security cameras all over, to "prevent crime". Maybe I could see it if we were a high crime area, but we aren't. So we're spending large amounts of money on a camera system, then paying police to sit there and watch various video feeds, all so there's a nice recording of me in case I do something they aren't fond of.

To clarify, I guess it feels like a presumption of guilt. It's ok that we have surveillance on you, as you might do something wrong! Sure, maybe I will do something wrong, but until I do, what's the justification? I know, I know, it's a public place, how can I really expect privacy? And after all, if I'm not doing anything wrong, what do I have to be afraid of?

In order for me to support something like that, there can't be a person sitting behind the monitors watching. People aren't infallible, and I expect perfection from anyone who's going to be in a position like that.

Anyways, this got to be a bit of a mini rant, so likely it could have been worded much better, but oh well. What do you guys think? I tend to think I have hardly any privacy, but man, I sure wouldn't complain if I had more of it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Coin Values, Inflation, and Zimbabwe

I recently stumbled across a blog talking about how the value of pennies in copper is well over it's actual denominated 1 cent value. Very interesting. But before you get visions of riches, it's also illegal to melt them down as of 2006. That law however does not apply to foreign coins, so I'm looking around right now actually to see whether any other nations have a similar problem, as my money making sense is tingling a bit.

Anyways, this had me reading into all sorts of foreign currencies, and I stumbled across the wonderful story of Zimbabwe. For those of you not in the know, Zimbabwe is a prime example of rampant hyperinflation, or put another way; It's what happens when a government decides they can just print more money if they want to pay for something. The levels this reached really are rather unbelievable, as this picture may demonstrate:

That picture right there shows a 100 billion dollar zimbabwean note, along with how many eggs it could buy you at the time of printing. I recall seeing a story on BBC about this when it was at its height, and they showed a man walking around with a wheelbarrow full of trillions of zimbabwean dollars. My Dad cracked: "The funny thing is, that wheelbarrow is worth more than the money it's carrying. Anyone stealing it would dump the money on the ground and run off with just the wheelbarrow." I laughed at the time, but it was pretty much true.

So yeah, just an amusing story of sorts, although I can only imagine the hell it wreaked on Zimbabwe as a country. I believe they stopped printing money after releasing some 100 trillion dollar bills...

Unfortunately, from a money making perspective, they essentially switched completely to a paper currency, and the availability of the coins is low, as well as their metal value. Oh well.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Live Performances

This is kind of a spur of the moment posting, as I'm listening to some Youtube vids right now of Seether playing live. They're good. Very good. And yet, some bands are so utterly terrible live, I'm amazed they don't pay the audience to show up. That Superbowl performance comes to mind. Granted, I don't consider the Black Eyed Peas to be exactly talented, but that performance was absolutely horrible. He even sounded wrong autotuned(!) How do you do that? And Fergie was especially horrible, although this doesn't exactly surprise me. And that butchering of Sweet Child o' There really are no words...

The few live performances I've been to were good, but I live kind of in the middle of nowhere, so haven't seen as many as I'd like. Rise Against has a US tour coming up that I'd love to see, but it doesn't look like I'll be able to make it...

So, on to the question: What bands have you guys seen live that were absolutely amazing, and which bands were a huge disappointment? I'm curious which bands are "must see" live, as well as which bands I should never, ever see live if I value my money and hearing. hahah So yeah, as always, let me know in the comments.

An example of how a live (and unplugged) performance should sound:

And a favorite of mine:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Crysis 2 Leaked

Some of you may have already heard this, but here it is anyways.

"Crytek has been alerted that an early incomplete, unfinished build of Crysis 2 has appeared on Torrent sites. Crytek and EA are deeply disappointed by the news. We encourage fans to support the game and the development team by waiting and purchasing the final, polished game on March 22. Crysis 2 is still in development and promises to be the ultimate action blockbuster as the series’ signature Nanosuit lets you be the weapon as you defend NYC from an alien invasion. Piracy continues to damage the PC packaged goods market and the PC development community."

I have split feelings about this news, as it stands a good chance of hurting Crytek, but at the same time, I'm happy to see info on performance (much improved over the original). The leaked copy is DX9 only, and you're locked into I believe "high" settings, but it still looks fantastic, and I'm hearing very good things about how well it runs on peoples hardware.

Here's a little vid showing it, don't watch if you hate spoilers:

I'm very curious how the modding will be in this game, as one of the things I loved most about the original Crysis were the amazing mods. Here's one that I particularly enjoyed, just to give you guys an idea:

Anyways, I'd like to hear any thoughts you guys have on this leak, or the game in general. I won't be playing this version at all, as I can wait for release, and don't really want to deal with it in an inferior form. I've heard it's essentially a late alpha, but of course, I can't say from personal experience.


Just thought I'd mention this, as to me, it's a big accomplishment. I've also broken 1k total page views now, which is still amazing to me. So this post is mainly just to thank all of my followers, and everyone who continues to visit my blog! Loving you guys right now! ;D

(I'll have an "actual" post put up sometime later today, just couldn't help but mention this)

Monday, February 14, 2011

VERY Important for Fellow Bloggers Using Adsense!

Alright guys, I recently found something that had me a bit concerned, and realized that it was putting my adsense account at risk. That something is a privacy policy. I hadn't realized I needed to make one of these, but it's listed clearly in the program policies.

Knowing this, I searched around, and got to finding some instructions and making a privacy policy, which you can all now see linked in the upper right corner of my blog. If you're using adsense, you *must* also have a privacy policy on your site, or risk getting a nice lifetime ban from the program. So, without further ado, here are those instructions:

1. Open my adsense policy from here.
2. Copy and paste it into notepad.
3. Search and replce my url and replace it with yours.
4. Create a new post on your blog and paste it in.
5. Go to the post options at the bottom of the post window.
6. Set the date and time to before your first post date - i went for 01/01/01 00:00.
7. Add a tag(label) called Privacy Policy (if you'd like...not 100% necessary)
8. Submit the post.
9. Navigate to your Privacy Policy and copy the URL

Now, you need to add a gadget on your blog, like you can see I did.

1. Go to the design tab on your dashboard
2. Edit Layout
3. Click "Add a Gadget" where you would like to place the box
4. Scroll down and select the "HTML/Javascript" Gadget
5. Give it an appropriate title
6. Link your privacy policy using the URL you copied earlier

Add the gadget, and you're done!

Hopefully this post will be helpful to many of you guys, as I can't imagine the frustration I'd feel if I got banned for not doing something as simple as this. The reason Google requires us to post this is because it actually violates US law if we don't, and that can turn around and bite them in the ass. They aren't willing to risk problems with the law just because us small fish don't bother posting a privacy policy. I hadn't known I needed one, but as should be apparent by now, I've added one. Adsense is a great program, that allows us bloggers to receive compensation for doing the writing we all enjoy. The least we can do is abide by the rules, and at the same time, insure our continued use of the program.

I hope this post helped you guys out. If you have any questions/comments, as always, let me know in the comments.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

And On The Seventh Day...

He apparently rested. Idk about resting, but man, Sundays sure go slow. What do you guys do to fill up time on Sundays? This man could use some ideas...

Anyways...not much of a post today. Here's a song that makes me feel like a bit of a hypocrite for liking, as I'm not exactly religious, but oh well.

And here's another version of it, remixed over the godly Californication instrumental by Red Hot Chili Peppers:

And that's about all I've got for you guys today, as it's another lazy Sunday. Feel free to start a religious flame war in the comments, or voice your thoughts on religion in general. This is the internet after all, just wouldn't be the same without overzealous religious rants! ;P

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Bit More On Winter Carnival

As you guys seemed to enjoy the pictures yesterday, I decided to address a few comments, as well as share with you some more pictures. (much better ones imo) It was a bit ironic that the actual university website had some of the worst pictures out there, but regardless, I've been able to find some better pictures with a bit more searching. (although a couple do have an annoying watermark) Anyways, enough introduction, time to address a few comments, then show you guys those pictures I'm rambling on about.

Zepdragon, over at The Pool of Life, comments:

"Very cool. I've seen some others before way back. Where are you from Erasmus? I have a friend in Switzerland that has told me a lot about what they have called "Carnival". Was wondering if it's the same thing lol."

Well Zep, afraid not. While this tradition might have originated from something over in Europe (heavy Finnish influences around here), it has no relation to a Swiss "Carnival" afaik. As to where I'm from, this picture should best explain.

Yep. Right at that little point. It's a prime areas for snow, meaning a prime area for these snow statues. If you're a numbers guy; We average 220 inches of snow a year, and the record is 355.90 inches. That's a lot of snow.

Meisefelix over at Enhance Your Life ponders:

"wonder how long it took to make those sculptures"

Well, that depends. I don't know exact amount of hours, but there are two different competitions. One is the month long build, and that's where the largest and most elaborate sculptures originate. The simpler ones are made in the "all nighter", so they're literally built in I believe 12 hours at most.

Enough talk, here's some more impressive ones to look at:

(damn trademarks)

Hope you guys enjoyed, let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Winter Carnival Time

All right guys, I'm currently out of school for a thing called Winter Carnival. There's all sorts of things that go on during this, but the biggest and most interesting is the snow statue contest. So this posting is mainly just going to be me showcasing some of the statues from this year and last. Hope you guys enjoy.

And finally; Why don't you take a seat over there?

Unfortunately, I couldn't find pictures of some of the best ones I've seen, but I hope you enjoyed the ones I did post. As always, let me know what you think in the comments!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bit More Comments, Bit More Music

Once again, I'd like to thank all my followers, visitors, and commenters. This blog is growing fast, and it's all thanks to you guys! You guys really seemed to enjoy the two songs I linked yesterday, and I'll try to keep linking things you may or may not have heard before.

Now, to address a few comments: (probably going to be a theme here)

Zephyr, over at his gaming blog says:

"Love that dubstep, you into DnB at all? "

I haven't really listened to much dnb to be honest, but mainly because it's not very big where I come from, and neither is dubstep. Because of that, both of these are pretty new to me, and I'm just "discovering" them now. If any of you guys have anything you particularly think I should check out, let me know in the comments!

Then, Zoe!, over at this blog says:

Have you heard the song for the trailer to A Serbian Film? Look it up, it's really good.

Well Zoe, I went to check this out, and listened to a soundtrack vid that was up on youtube. Good stuff, but then I found myself listening to a review of the movie itself. Apparently it's an extremely messed up movie, not quite sure how I hadn't heard of it. Perhaps some of my readers would enjoy it? ;)

Finally we have this..gem of a comment from the man over at Fascist for Fasion:

"Do you listen to raw satanic antikosmic black metals? "

Can't say that I do Fascist, sorry to disappoint. But you did get an honorable mention, so guys, be sure to head on over to his blog for some studly pics of him. In his words: "contain your orgasms".

Check out his site for more.

Now, as a last word. I noticed several of the commenters caught onto a bit about Country music in my last post. To explain a little, I have to say, I dislike probably 99.9% of country. But there are a few songs that just happen to hit so hard when I'm in the right mood, or sitting alone in a room. This is one of them:

Some of you may prefer the heavier and more ominous original by Nine Inch Nails, seen here:

And that's all for today guys, feel free to drop me a comment, and possibly be featured in future blog posts.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Addressing Comments and Other Things

Hey guys, thanks for all the comments and support, it's definitely appreciated.

Now, to answer a comment I received in my introduction post from prelude1221 over at MasterSwindle:

"What are you going for at M tech and what kind of music do you listen too? Dubstep, electronica, Im just now getting into infected mushroom."

These are both good questions, the second of which I can really ramble on about. To answer the first one; I'm currently a freshman here at Michigan Technological University, with an undeclared major. I'm not entirely sure what I want to do with my life, or how exactly I'm going to reach a decision. I've put serious thought into dual majors, with an MBA coupled with likely some sort of engineering degree(leaning towards aerospace, ironically the only engineering not offered at this school). Of course, I'm not completely sure how viable that is, but it seems like a solid foundation to work off of.

Now to music... :D

As I said in my first post, I like to listen to a bit of pretty much everything. My musical tastes are very broad. I just plain love music, to the extent that I've been dabbling in Mixcraft lately, trying my hand at making some remixes. I think it's going along well, but I don't have anything release ready quite yet, but when I do, I'll likely link it on this blog for your critique. I've tried at various points to actually learn how to play some instruments, but it just doesn't hold my interest long enough...I suppose I burn out after realizing how bad I am.

On a typical day, I jump from listening to rock, then to perhaps some piano, to rap, then to alternative,then maybe even some country depending on the mood. I've just now started to listen to a bit of dubstep/electronic type stuff, and if you guys have any suggestions on where to start out, and who to listen to, drop me a link in the comments!

Perhaps you dubstep guys would enjoy this song, which is the first real dubstep I've heard:

If dubstep isn't your thing, and you're more into maybe metal or rock, check out this video by an excellent piano player who covers all sorts of rock songs. Who knows? Maybe you'll enjoy the twist on some of your favorite music. At the very least, the girls got talent, even if it isn't "your cup of tea" ;)

So yeah, as I said, drop a comment and let me know what you guys think! (And give this guy some music suggestions!)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My First Step Into the Blogosphere...

As this is my first post, I don't have any brilliant words of wisdom. But! I do have an introduction of sorts.

This blog will primarily be a place for me to toss out my thoughts on whatever happens to be occupying my mind as I coast lazily through this world we live in. Not exactly original, but if anyone else enjoys what I post, then in my mind, this will have been worth the time.

As to me as a person, I'm a younger guy, currently attending college at Michigan Tech, located in the middle-of-nowhere area I grew up in. I guess I haven't really grown up with the love of nature this area seems to impart on people, and instead my interests lie in music(all kinds), technology, and the "big world" outside this little town. Because of that, you'll see a lot more posts about these things than you'll see about how the weather happens to be today. (snow is always a safe guess)

So yeah, hopefully any readers I get enjoy the blog. My dream for this would be to get a good number of followers, and a dedicated base of readers. I'll be checking out plenty of other blogs, getting some following going and trying to establish myself a bit around here. Any followers would be great, as well as views. Hope you'll all join me for the ride!

I'll leave you with this remix I've been enjoying. I even downloaded the instrumental, as I like to do a bit of hobby mixing, and I think I could do something pretty nice with this.