21
Jun

Going From Non-Tech To Tech Guy

Blogging With My MacBook AirIn the past I haven’t been much of a techie sort of person. It’s not that I have a phobic fear of the latest gadgets, it’s mainly that I’m not interested. I have a cell phone because I want to talk to people when I need to, I don’t need it to check the latest stock reports while in the grocery line or see in the sports news that a NASCAR driver decided to do something innovative, like take a right turn (yea, I know, that would put them into the wall), it’s a freaking phone.

That is changing a bit since I received all the prizes in the Webmaster Talk contest. I am totally digging using my new Macbook Air and the iPod Touch is a thing of beauty and it is near nirvana to have all of my favorite tunes right on something the size of a small pad of paper. I’ve been using the MacBook Air to sit in the living room and work while my wife is in our shared office or I’ve taken it out a few times to the local coffee shop to blog or work on a BANS site in a different atmosphere than being at home all day.

The Flip video camera is another great little gadget from the Webmaster Talk prize cache that I haven’t had that much time to work with lately, but plan on doing some more YouTube videos soon. I’m looking over iMove video editing software on the Mac which looks to be pretty comprehensive for a free program.

So I’m slowly moving from a non-tech person to a tech guy. After only a couple of weeks of owning these new gadgets I can see how one would get attached to them. It’s not that I have to have my iPod with me every second of the day, but it is nice to sit down on the couch and be able to listen to a few Pink Floyd tunes without having to put a CD in the stereo. It’s also great to take it to band practice on Thursday nights or church on Sunday and be able to listen to the song we’re working on instead of just listening to someone talk through the parts of it.

Maybe having some of the more useful gadgets isn’t such a bad thing after all. The Dot Com lifestyle, even on a scale much smaller than John Chow, is a wonderful thing. I might get use to this.

Popularity: 5% [?]

Tags: , , ,

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed or you can have posts send directly to your inbox if you subscribe by email.

Bookmarks: | del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | StumbleUpon

7
Jun

iPod Touch Completes Webmaster Talk Prize Winnings

iPod TouchI fired off a pretty direct email around 11:00 am this morning wanting to know what was up with my iPod Touch, the only prize not so far received from the Webmaster Talk contest that ended on May 13th. It had been 10 days since I last heard from Clickbooth, the company who sponsored the prize. Not more than 2 minutes later, the lady that delivers our mail stopped at our mailbox and when I went to check the mail, there it was. Funny how that happens sometimes. All the prizes in the contest have now been received and accounted for and a big thanks goes out to all the sponsors that I will mention in an upcoming post.

Now, I’ve never even seen an iPod Touch until yesterday evening when I told a friend about the contest winnings and he let me check out his iPod Touch. All I can say is this thing is very cool and I hope to get to play with it a bit more this evening. It’s been a fairly busy day and all I had the chance to do was turn it on and have it tell me to plug it into my computer, which unfortunately I didn’t have time to do.

I’m not normally a techie sort of person and I usually get just what I need as far a gadgets go, but this contest has been great because it’s made me check into things quite a bit more than I normally would. I’ve been messing around with the Nintendo DS Lite, which I will be giving away in an upcoming contest, checking out the Flip camera, reading up on the iPod and of course going through the hassle of trying to get the Macbook Air working and then setting it up and playing around with that.

Who knows, all this cool gadgetry may inspire me to set up another Build A Niche Store based on tech stuff and fun electronic toys. There’s an advantage and opportunity in every learning experience.

Popularity: 9% [?]

Tags: , , , ,

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed or you can have posts send directly to your inbox if you subscribe by email.

Bookmarks: | del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | StumbleUpon

6
Jun

Free MacBook Air – Safe At Home And Working

MacBook AirFinally, the MacBook Air I won in the Webmaster Talk forum contest is at home and working. I had previously reported when the Mac Air first showed up it was dead on arrival, but thankfully I was able to get in touch with AppleCare Support and the tech I talked with was able to locate an authorized service center about 15 minute from our house. The computer had to eventually be shipped back to Apple to replace the hard drive, but all is well now.

I just got through setting it up, creating a user, hooking up to our home network and my initial reaction is that it is awesome! The design is very cool and yes, it is thin enough to put in a manila envelope. The computer feels very sturdy and the display is bright and even though I don’t like glossy screens, this one doesn’t seem to produce as much glare as I though it would.

However, since I’ve been a Windows person from day one and have never really used a laptop without a mouse for any length of time, much less a Mac laptop, it is a little awkward trying to find everything. For me nothing on the interface is familiar and all the usual tools and apps I would be using on my Windows machine are obviously not there. I did use a Mac briefly back at school while working on my graphic design degree and also used a Mac for 6 months back 10 years ago when I was a graphic artist for BellSouth, but I remember about zero from those experiences, so this is all pretty much new territory.

After using the MacBook Air for 30 minutes or so it did get a little easier to find my way around so even though it will take a while to get used to, it shouldn’t take too long. One thing I don’t like so far is the HUGE icon bar at the bottom of the display. It takes up way too much screen real estate. I’m sure there’s a way to hide it, but I haven’t figured that one out yet.

Overall though, I’m very pleased and hey, you can’t beat the price, completely free.

Popularity: 6% [?]

Tags: , , ,

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed or you can have posts send directly to your inbox if you subscribe by email.

Bookmarks: | del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | StumbleUpon

3
Jun

MacBook Air – Dead On Arrival

Dead MacBook AirThe doorbell rang around 11:00am yesterday and I immediately thought, ‘Could it be?’ As I answered, the red and orange clad DHL driver held a rectangular package that a MacBook Air would fit in nicely and as I clumsily scrawled my signature, which turned to unintelligible scribbles on the driver’s touch pad, I could feel the anticipation rising.

It had finally arrived. The MacBook Air won in the Webmaster-Talk.com contest was now just two packing boxes away from actually resting in my hands. The dull kitchen knife cut through the plastic shipping tape and revealed the inner box that contained the prize. Even the packaging on a MacBook Air is a thing of beauty. It’s hard to believe there could really be a full size laptop computer, with all the accessories, in this box not much larger than a dictionary.

I removed the cellophane wrap from around the sleek black box with the familiar logo and fixed my eyes upon the prize. My initial reaction was almost of unbelief that such a nice prize, when I had not previously won anything of such value, was sitting before me. The MacBook Air’s amazing thinness also caused me to pick it up and turn it in every direction, viewing it from all angles to verify it was actually as thin as it looked.

The next step was to turn it on, run through a normal set up procedure and connect to the web through our wireless home network. Rather than hastily fumbling through hooking up what appeared to be the the power cord and turning on the new laptop only to come across something I didn’t understand (I’m not a Mac person), I sat down and meticulously read through the documentation so no one could throw the RTFM acronym at me.

Done. Read. Time to boot this puppy up and get down to business. Power cords in place, open up the Mac Air, press the start button and wait…and wait…and finally I see a flashing file folder icon with a question mark on a white background and…nothing. Hmm, ‘I’ll just reboot and all will be well.’ Waiting…waiting…same icon with the flashing question mark, indicating all is not well. Read and attempted the troubleshooting procedures to return the computer to factory settings…nothing. Additional troubleshooting procedures only tended to confirm the obvious, my new MacBook Air, that I had waited 6 weeks for, was dead!

Even spending an hour on the phone with a more than helpful AppleCare Support rep and trying additional tricks not in the manual were not enough to bring the Mac Air back from a computer afterlife. Only a hard drive transplant and complete system software reinstall would bring a full recovery.

The only solution was to place my sleek and beautifully brand new MacBook Air, which I had just peeled the protective plastic off of, into the hands of a computer tech who had been working on boxes all day. In his examination of my baby, he immediately smudged it with computer grime from systems that lay in heaps in the back room, filled with cold test equipment and probably colder coffee.

I left the black product box with the tech so as to give my first Mac computer at least some sense of comfort while away from home for a few days.

The anticipation continues…

Popularity: 6% [?]

Tags: , , ,

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed or you can have posts send directly to your inbox if you subscribe by email.

Bookmarks: | del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | StumbleUpon

20
May

How I Won A Macbook Air And $3,200 Worth Of Other Prizes

Yesterday I found out that I was one of the 5 winners in the Webmaster Talk contest where each one received a prize package valued at $5,000 that included an Apple Macbook Air. In this post I’ll explain my strategy and the steps I took to end up placing in spot number 5 with 8,548 points, only 36 points ahead of the 6th place finisher.

How It Happened:

I read the complete rules – This seems like a no-brainer, but unlike many random winner contests on the web, the rules stated that winners would be determined by the number of points they could earn. I didn’t read this until the second or third day of the contest and when I did, a switch went off in my head my thoughts were, “I can do this and I am going to do this.”

Maximum effort went towards maximizing points – The contest was based on performing certain actions that would earn you points and the maximum points earned for any single action were to be 200 for each article written. I ended up writing 37 articles in 33 days. Some people put a lot of effort into referring new members to the forums earning them only 50 points each. My strategy was to work on what would earn the most points.

I set a goal – This is where things got weird, because after every goal I set for the contest, when I reached it, it still didn’t feel like it was enough. I had originally thought 10 articles would be enough, then 15, then I thought I needed to double that, then I said, “Okay 33 articles, one for each day of the contest, that surely ought to be enough.” Once I got to 32, I had one last burst of creative energy and the day before the end of the contest I ended up doing 4 articles before 11:00 am in the morning and the last article on the last day of the contest. I can only attribute this to the good Lord prompting me to continue to exceed the goals I had set. I was completely unsettled about the number of articles I had written until I finished number 37 and then a total sense of relief came over me.

I made a plan – Finding specific topics for writing 37 articles took a little brainstorming and planning. Initially, just off the top of my head, I came up with 10 ideas for articles and when I needed more, I went through Aaron Wall’s SEOBook ebook and looked at the chapter and section headings to come up with 22 more ideas never thinking I would need that many. When I was again prompted to write even more on the Sunday before contest end I went through the Webmaster Talk forums and looked for good questions or threads and got my last 5 article ideas nearly at the last minute. Sunday evening I had no idea what to write for the 33rd article much less numbers 34 – 37. By early Monday morning I had a renewed sense of what I needed to do to finish out the project.

I focused on the project at hand –  Okay, this is my weak spot. I don’t focus that well at all, but for this contest I was more than determined to be in one of the top 5 places so I set a lot of other things aside. I didn’t end up writing a lot during the beginning of the contest, but again, something just told me I needed to do a lot more than I had originally planned if I were to win. The last week of the contest I was writing 3 to 4 articles a day. I didn’t answer the phone, watch tv in the evenings, check email more than twice a day and changed my habits on many things so as to focus on the contest. If I wasn’t writing, I was thinking of ideas to write about.

I kept my planner close at all times – Many times I already had a title for an article, but not much else. Keeping my planner close allowed me to write a sentence or two under article ideas and titles that were already there when an idea would pop into my head.

I made contact with the forum administrator – This had no bearing on the amount of work that needed to be done, but it was nice to ask a few questions and get my name in front of the people who would be deciding the winners. Lee at Webmaster Talk promptly answered every question I had and it was nice not to have to wait several days for an answer so I could proceed on with my work.

I celebrated when the project was completed – Are you kidding? I was so glad to be finished with that 37th article, Jean and I went out that night, had dinner and bought a bottle of wine. Again, no bearing on the the outcome of the contest, but we both needed a little break after it was over.

Hmm, that looks like a fairly good formula for an affiliate marketer to follow in his or her business. It’s also a formula that is now burned into my head after 33 days of working towards the goal of a new Macbook Air and a bunch of other very cool prizes.

I am immensely thankful I was able to come in at the number 5 slot and would not have continued past article 15 had I not been prompted by the Lord of my life to do so. There just isn’t any other explanation for it. I simply would not have gone on because I thought 15 articles would be plenty. No audible voice here, just a completely unsettled feeling until I finished article number 37.

What I’ve learned from this is that if you really want something, you can do it. You may crash and burn along the way a few times, but when it’s your time, it will happen. But if you aren’t prepared, haven’t made a plan and haven’t acted on the plan by doing the work, then it certainly won’t happen. I don’t believe in luck. Luck is opportunity that comes to your door, dressed in overalls and it looks like work. Unfortunately, many don’t answer the door.

Popularity: 6% [?]

Tags: , , , ,

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed or you can have posts send directly to your inbox if you subscribe by email.

Bookmarks: | del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | StumbleUpon