Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Internet Marketing - Don't Get Banned

One major worry in internet marketing is getting banned. Getting banned from a site means that you are no longer allowed to post on that site. The scariest ban of all means that your site is removed from the Google search results. If this happens, then all of your hard internet marketing work was for nothing.

But just like you don't get a speeding ticket if you never speed, if you follow some simple internet marketing rules, you won't get banned. Here are some of the most common ones.

Forums and Blogs

You don’t want to get banned from the major forums and blogs in your industry as these are good sources for authorities backlinks to your site (an important part of internet marketing) as well as traffic. They also are good for keeping up with the trends of your industry and networking with others.

But this one is easy. First, actually respond on topic. If the entry or thread is on one topic, post about that topic. Second, put your url in the right spot. For blogs, there is a url field when you post a comment. Don’t put it in the comment itself. For forums, set up your signature with your url and some text about you. Never put your url in the body of the post.


It is super easy to get banned on Facebook. If you have a profile for your business that’s enough to get you banned (although you should have a profile, just make it your company’s leader’s profile, not directly your business's profile). The key here is moderation. Never request more than 30 people to be your friend in a week and limit the number of messages you send out. If you do get banned, ask them to unban you. Sometimes, they will.


Google is the most important service related to internet marketing these days. You can get banned from Google if they think you are faking your site’s authority. You can do this through various "Black Hat" techniques. For one, never use auto-blogging software on your main site. If Google detects this, you will get banned. Second, if you pay for automated backlinks, make sure these are balanced with real backlinks created by a human. Too many computer generated backlinks and Google will figure it out.

If you do get banned, don’t panic, try contacting the site or service that you are banned from and ask what you can do to correct the situation, many times they will tell you. In general, read the terms of service and follow that and you won't have any problems.

Visit Space Heater Studios to learn more about Internet Marketing

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Winchester Commemoratives

Winchester Commemoratives are very popular to gun collectors as these collector items are rare to find and possess unique features compared to regular firearms.  Winchester Commemoratives collector’s craze started when the Winchester Repeating Arms Company started producing very limited number of 'Commemorative' firearms in 1964.  The company made these highly valued rifles and carbines to commemorate and give significance to important events and personalities in the United States and Canada.  The firearms of Winchester Repeating Arms Company made the firearms more special by engraving images of the event or personality being commemorated, putting embellishments on the rifles, and using rare materials and wood handles. 

Winchester Commemorative firearms come enclosed in commemorative  boxes with a colorful sleeve.  To get the highest value, the guns should still be in the box and unfired, known as NIB or “new in box” in collector’s terminology.  Some sellers also keep the shipping documents and factory receipts as proof of origin.

Some of the most popular Winchester commemoratives are as follows:

1988 Statue of Liberty Centennial – This firearm have  hand engraving by Giovanelly of Italy, the engravings have gold inlays, French walnut stock, and comes with a 24” wood carving of the Statue of Liberty.

1981 Annie Oakley – 22 Long Rifle. This firearm has shooting scenes, is engraved in matte gold receiver, and has 20” round barrel bands.

1985 Boy Scouts of America – 22 Long Rifle. Engraved with a Boy Scout Salute image, receiver plated in pewter, plus the lever, bands and medallion in stock, with 20” round barrel.

President’s Edition –  Three level engraving with selected overlays in gold on a high polished blue, including the lever and barrel bands.  Model 94 Big Bore Frame, wood with beautiful medallion in stock, 20” round barrel.

1984 Winchester Colt Matched Set –  This set of firearms include the Winchester rifle and Colt Single Action Army revolver, with serial numbers.  Both firearms have engravings and a blue high polished overlay covering the body of each gun.

You can find a complete list of these in the book Winchester Commemoratives Vol 1 and 2

Since Winchester Commemoratives were born, these highly valued firearms have been very popular to gun collectors, as Winchester Commemoratives are not only unique and rare, but these guns also give significance to a historical event or personality in the United States and in Canada.  And possessing these Winchester Commemoratives is a pride to every collector.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Apple iPhone and Ajax? Is there something more?

So, I watched the Keynote that Steve Jobs gave at the Developer's Conference and I, as well as many others, was slightly disappointed with Apple's apparent solution to the 3rd party apps problem. Although I was excited to finally get AJAX support on a small device, this announcement isn't very nice to programmers. Programmers well versed in Objective-C would have to learn a whole new system of programming. And we still have the problem of what happens when the phone connection is offline, as it would be on an airplane. What if I wanted to play a game? It is not a good solution.

But.. What if Apple has something up its sleeves that is bigger then all of this? And what if that would require programmers to know about the web 2.0 standards?

Here are the facts:

  • Just last week, Jobs mentions that Apple should have a solution to the 3rd party app problem by the end of the year.
  • Safari now runs on windows. Does Apple really just care about market-share?
  • The iphone runs Ajax... and at this point not much else. This will force many programmers to begin to learn the web 2.0 programming language (everything from HTML to Ruby on Rails and more).
  • They mentioned at these AJAX apps will actually be able to interact with the other built in apps on the phone.
My theory:
I think Apple has something grand hidden in the future. This hidden gem is the ability to program web apps that are completely compatible (and work) with Mac OS X Programs, like Mail, iCal, Pages, and all of the other great Cocoa based apps.

Up to now, I have had to make some big decisions relating to Web 2.0 programs. Do I use a web program or a local-based computer program? What if I can use both? What if I can have all of my iCal information presented in the web 2.0 calendar app of my choice without having to go through the trouble of exporting/importing my calendar. What if it synced automatically? What if my address book was accessable by gmail or another webmail app? What if Mail and a non-.mac email account could stay in sync? And this includes gmail with its conversation message grouping. What if my online photo album could connect with iPhoto (without an annoying plug-in or seperate app). What if there were actually versions of these programs online?

See the power? What if Apple is taking the jump into cyberspace, bridging the gap between the desktop and the web? Web apps offline and desktop apps online. All managed through Safari.

It may be a learning curve for programmers though. They might have to know at least some of both desktop programming and web programming. What better way to get developers going but with iPhone apps built to the web 2.0 standard? And if these phone apps can interact with the phone. Why can't regular AJAX apps interact with the computer?

And once programmers get going on web apps, they will announce that the iPhone can run real 3rd party apps. But all that learning you've done? No that wasn't wasted time....

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

20,000 ft Review: Responsibilities

A part of the GTD system at the 20,000 ft level is the areas of responsibility review.

I have been trying different ways to get my head around all of the areas of my life. I originally tried just a list on a 4 x 6 index card, but that wasn't visual enough and it didn't really allow me to organise it how I wanted. So I decided that I would try a MindMap. I used Mindjet MindManager to create a mindmap with just "My Life" in the middle. Then I filled in the large areas, such as school, work, and personal. I listed each area of responsibility in its appropriate category and used the Callout bubble to fill in details. Lastly, I used the relationship lines to connect things that were related.

Here is my completed Map:

Now, in order to do my responsibility review:

  1. I fire up my Mindmap
  2. Add any new / edit any old areas of responsibility
  3. Make sure that all of my areas of responsibility are being covered by the projects that I have on my projects list.
How easy is that!

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Living on $900 a month

I just finished reading an article about Surviving (and Thriving) on $12,000 a Year. It was an article about someone who went back to school at the age of 48 and has to be extra-frugal to get by. The article caught my eye because I am currently living in a similar situation. I am a student and my monthly income is $900. The honest truth is that I don't live that frugally.

So how can I do this? Well first let's look at some expenses that I don't have to cover:

  • Tuition - I am on a nearly full grant and the rest is taken care of by loans and my parents.
  • Insurance - Health is tied in with school costs. And I don't have rental insurance.
  • Car - I don't have to pay for my car except for gas. Although, to me this is a slight non-issue because I would be perfectly fine without a car. I just would not have one if I had to pay for it.
So what do I pay?
  • I pay $530 per month in rent. It is a one bedroom 700 sq-ft apartment that I don't share.
  • I pay for Internet. This is $25 per month.
  • I pay for my electricity and gas. This varies per month but it is usually around $45 for both. (Although during November and December, I paid $27 per month for both)
  • I have a cell phone bill of $40 per month. It is the unlimited data/voice/txt plan for my Treo 700p.
So where does that leave me?
After rent, Internet, phone and utilities, I have $260 left over for a month of food, entertainment and other living expenses. At the end of the month, what money I have left over, I put in saving. I have built up a savings of over $1000 in about a year.

I do pretty good for $900 a month. How do I do it without being ultra-frugal?
  • I take pride in helping to save the environment by not wasting electricity.
    • I unplug my appliances when they are not in use. (Sleep mode is a killer). The only appliance plugged in and on at all time is my fridge.
    • I don't leave lights on in rooms that I am not in.
    • I don't use central AC. (Window units are easier to control).
    • I have my modem and wireless router on a surge protector that I switch off when I am not using the Internet. (This one also helps control the web procrastination tendency).
  • I don't like gas. So I try not to use it as much as possible. I actually have had the gas disconnected from my stove and I have a separate electric burner sitting on top of it.
  • I don't pig out.
    • I don't regularly go out to eat at places I have to stay and sit awhile to eat my meal. These places usually charge more. (I think they are charging me rent).
    • Dollar menus are awesome!! Don't Super size anything.
    • I try to keep every meal under $3. Most meals are a lot less.
    • I also try to eat frozen dinners often. There are actually some very good ones that can give you a good meal for around 60 to 80 cents.
    • For example, I spent about $5.50 on food today and included a breakfast shake, a 6" pizza for lunch and Deli Spirals for dinner. If I keep up that rate, that is $170 for a month of food.
    • I check the price per unit on items from the grocery. You would be amazed the number of times that I have found that 2 small things of one item is cheaper then buying 1 large one despite them both being the same amount of that item. Most people expect it to be the other way around and not pay close attention.
  • I take the bus or walk most places. Even though I don't have to pay for most of my car expenses, I do pay for gas.
    • Walk is cheaper and much better for the environment.
    • I only drive if I am in a big hurry to get from one place to another (about 5 miles a week).
Beyond those things, I really don't actively try to save money on things. I usually break down and get sushi for lunch at least once a month. I have learned that saving in certain areas can really add up and let you spend more on other areas and still put some away each month.

When I get out of college, I hope to keep up this same life-style for a while. Adding in the Health Insurance and Car maintenance that I currently don't pay, I should be able to easily live for $1200 per month ($14,400 per year).

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Kung Fu, Meditation, and Sexual Intercourse - What's Wrong with My Life.

I spend too much time blog reading and not enough time on the work that actually gets me closer to completing my actual work. So what is my blog topic of choice? (And what is this here blog about?) - Productivity

But Alas, I procrastinate by reading about ways to be more productive. And then I had Merlin Mann point it out in a recent podcast. This podcast is called "Kung Fu, Meditation, and Sexual Intercourse" and is about how reading about these things is anlagous to reading about Productivity. You can read everything you can about them, but until you actually do them, you don't really know them. Unless you do the stuff on your list, reading about productivity and even making list to stay organised is pointless.

But I love doing this. I love writing this blog and letting other know about my latest productivity and organization schemes. I have been doing this sense I was little! I remember in elementary school wondering how my classmates could let their parents shop for their school supplies. I didn't understand that not all kids set up organization systems for themselves every year.

So even if it sounds odd, I am going to keep on using productivity as a procrastination tool. I will keep updating this blog and share my organization schemes with the world!!

I am a religion major. I also spend a good bit of time reading about meditation.
Number of hours I have meditated in the past year: 2

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What's Worth Doing?

I have recently discovered David Seah's blog and was really impressed with his Printable CEO. He creates forms the we can print out that help us plan our day and stay organized. I plan to post a post on various aspects of the system soon, but for now I want to touch on just one aspect. The original form in the system is called the Concrete Goal Tracker, which is based around the concept of giving tasks a point value based whether it will more a company forward or whether there is networking value to it. He gives a point system to work from:

When is something worth doing?

10. It's life-sustaining billable work!
10. It's signing new business!

5. It's publishable code! Ship it!
5. It's sharp visual design! Show it!
5. It's concrete planning or accounting!

2. It's new self-promotion!
2. It's a new article for the blog!
2. It's social or business development!

1. It's maintaining an old relationship!
1. It's making a new relationship.

This is a great list for a CEO (who the system was designed for). But it doesn't apply very well to me (a student). Therefore, I decided to write a personalised version of the list to fit my situation. This is based on my responsibilities and what will help move my goals forward.

What is worth doing?

10. It's gradable schoolwork!
I pay this much to go to school, I better work at it!!!

10. It's directly related to Marion's Ledge!
Marion's Ledge is a major project that I am involved with and is probably one of the most important things in my life right now! If I had my choice, this is all I would be doing. But it gets pushed aside way to much because of school work. :-/

5. It's studying for school!
This is the non-gradable stuff that is still important, but I wanted to make it less important than Marion's Ledge. And there is a lot in this category that could be skipped if I got into a pinch.

5. It's concrete planning and organization!
This category is for stuff like GTD reviews and printing out my Hipster PDA!

5. It's billable or extra-curricular work!
I am in a bunch of extra-curricular activities that are just as important to me as a real job would be. So this category contains both!

2. It's furthering swing dance!
This is either personal dancing development (aka. practice) or furthering Swing in Houston such as demoing at a middle school or a mall in order to get more people involved with our swing scene.

2. It's concrete self- development!
This includes such things as personal writing and other types of activities that I do in order to work on something about me personally.

2. It's an entry for a blog!
This one is self-explanatory.

1. It's furthering computer work!
For me this includes both blog reading and going through PHP, Cocoa, and Objective C tutorial books. At some point in the future, this category may rise up the list to become a 2 or a 5, but for right now...

1. It's building a relationship!
Networking and relationships are important and take work!

So there you have it. Those are my categories for what is important to me. When I write more about the Printable CEO system, I will be writing more about how these play into my personal organization system. And I also plan on trying to find alternate wording for one of the times that I use "concrete" and "furthering". Any suggestions?

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Project Organization - Part 1 - My House

I have made it a resolution to get my life under control. Things are just completely out of whack!! My house is a disaster and I have way too much stuff. My schedule is chaotic. I am always forgetting to do really important things!!!

Join me as I begin Project Organization. Starting with my bedroom and kitchen, I am going to gain some peace in my life and chronicling the whole experience online. I will be searching for systems, life-hacks, and ways of organizing that will let me get, and then stay, organized.

I challenge anyone who feels the chaos building around them to join me. I will share my story and struggles here at Fearful Symmetry. Feel free to join the conversation and leave comments.

Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life
I started my journey towards organization by taking everything out of my bedroom.I was going to start by focusing on two areas: my kitchen and my bedroom. Every item that was in my room that wasn't too large, I put into my living room which I am using as a holding area for all my unsorted stuff. Then I took the time to reorganize my bedroom furniture to a layout that was a little more useful and fresh.

Then I tackled my kitchen. With the help of a friend, the kitchen got clean and trash/recycle got sorted. For the first time in months, I now have a perfectly clean kitchen!! I highly recommend getting a friend to help you clean. It is funner and easier to clean with a partner. (And it goes faster!) My cleaning friend and I made a deal to help each other clean our apartments.

So now my room looks bare and my kitchen is usable. Now onto the heftier stuff...

Before I could start bringing stuff back into my room, I had to set up a couple systems in order to contain my stuff. For this, I turned to David Allen's book Getting Things Done. The first is a reference system. David Allen suggests using a simple alphabetical filing system. He recommended using manila folders without the hanging folders, but since I own a large deep file cabinet made for hanging folders, I decided to just not use manila folders and just use the hanging ones. I bought 50 hanging folders to start. (David suggests starting with 100 in the book). I also bought a new cartridge for my labeler so that I could have very neat folder tabs. I only put tabs on the center of the folders so that they would be neat in my drawer and I would not have to worry about placing a new folder in between two existing ones and messing with the tabs.

Another system that I set up is my tickler file. I use a 4 X 6 index card box for my tickler with Jan-Dec dividers and 1-31 dividers. I set them up so that there is a spot for every day. And the numbers already used for this month, just go after the next month's divider. Here is a picture of how the dividers are suppose to look:

I also bought myself 4X6 index cards that I can make lists on. Each card is a context for Next Actions or a category list (such as Projects and Waiting on). Now I am ready to begin the sorting.

I started with the drawers to my Elfa cabinet (which I had taken out of the frame and put in the living room), so that I could get the drawers free to hold other stuff. I began by taking out one item from the first drawer. For each item, I would go through the GTD workflow diagram (From How to Save the World) with one modification. I added "Memory Box" to the list of things to do with a non-actionable item. I have a lot of souvenirs that I don't want to get rid of but which are cluttering my life. I don't want to trash them, or do anything about them in the future, or have them cluttering my reference cabinet, so they get a sturdy plastic box to be put in. In the end, this box will be going into my living room closet.

Most of the stuff that I got through today was reference material that didn't need an action and therefore got filed away. But I did find one thing to do in less then two minutes (I did it) and a couple things to put as next actions. My friend that I mentioned earlier sorted through my living room, so now even that looks doable. In the week to come, I will be sorting through more and more and running everything through the workflow diagram. Soon enough my house will be under my control once again. That will be a fine thing indeed. :-)

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

I'm back

ok, I think that I have most of the kinks worked out of the blog layout enough to start posting again. :-) I sure have enough to post about. A quick preview of future articles:

- The Sony Vaio UX
- The Cult of Apple (I'm going even deeper)
- Much more.

So check back soon.

Also, from now on this blog will be related only to Apple, Lifehacking, Productivity, and general inspiration. All of the personal entries will now be posted at My Life 2.0. So all of you that don't actually know me don't have to keep reading about me rant about my life.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

*** Work Zone ***

This blog is about to get a facelift, so if you see some odd things here over the next week or so, those are just un-finished sections. I hope that you like the new design. It is my first real attempt at designing a website that is not done with tables. :-)

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