Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is Google TV worth it?

As of this writing, Google TV is only available on a limited number of devices. Aside from Netflix and Hulu capabilities, it is essentially a chrome browser for your TV.

Generic devices are starting to pop up, which are essentially an android device with HDMI ports. This basically equates to playing angry birds on your TV.

There are many televisions available with web support, and plenty at lower prices. For the around the same price, you can get a low end PC box that will let you do everything your desktop can do.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Recommended Free Software

These recommendations are what I typically either install or suggest to anyone who is less than proficient with computers, and also use myself.

 Browser: Mozilla Firefox

Really the main reason I suggest this browser is the Adblock Plus addon. Now I know that websites need ads in order to be profitable, which is why they exist in the first place, but a great deal of these ads are very misleading. In many cases they are setup to look like a download button ( CNET is a prime offender ) on pages where users are searching for legitimate software ( such as free anti virus ) and cause the less than skilled to download adware. Until ad companies phase out these misleading ads, this will remain my preferred settings.

In one case I suggested a free anti virus to a friend, and he ended up downloading some horrible malware instead because he could not recognize the difference between an ad and the actual download location. Who got the Blame? Me of course.

Another addon I highly recommend is WOT or Web of Trust. This allows a user to rate any website based upon how trustworthy it is. There are many similar tools available, but this particular one is the most highly used. Keep in mind that many websites are unfairly ranked poorly due to advertising techniques, but that is another issue. In my personal opinion, the pros in this case greatly outweigh the cons.

AntiVirus: Avast or AVG

Either of these will be effective, and there is very little difference between the two. It is imperative to have an antivirus program installed, and the free ones provide almost as much protection as the paid versions.

Paid versions typically do more to monitor your network security more than anything else, and is really only essential for advanced users. In a rural area such as where I live, you would have to be so close to my house ( and trespassing ) to hack my network that you are likely to be shot.


Now these programs are more suited to repairing damage already done from NOT using my recommendations, but will end up being important at one time or another.

Spywarebot: Search and Destroy


You can save a great deal of money using these programs by not having to take your computer to a grossly overpriced repair shop. Call any computer shop and describe just about any problem. The very first thing they will almost always say is "Sounds like a virus". This is why it is much better to be proactive, and these programs are essential.

As always, be vigilant and read user reviews from third party sites before installing anything. And NEVER click on a link from your email in order to log into ebay/google/paypal/any site at all.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tips on how to get started as a freelance writer

There are many very capable people out there who have thought about becoming a freelance writer at some point in their life. Most of these people have no idea just how to get started. The purpose of this article is to to help those aspiring writers find the proper avenue to take in getting started.

Step 1: Consider why you want to be a writer.

This is a crucial and often overlooked step in the path to becoming a writer. Doing this as a hobby and writing as a source of income are two very different things. As a hobby, or perhaps to create that novel you have always wanted to, allows you to take a lot more time in developing your works.

Creating content for profit however, will mean that you will have to take certain steps to not only be recognized, but get positive feedback from your employers.  This article will be geared more towards those who are looking for a supplemental or primary source of income.

Step 2: Write something.

In order to get hired you are going to need some examples of your talent. With document creation services offered free from both Google and Microsoft, this has become easier than ever. Be sure that you write about a topic you are highly informed about, and perhaps have a little bit of passion for. This will help to ensure that you create something that is pleasing to the eyes, as well as showcases your talents at their best.

You could perhaps create a blog about a particular subject that interests you. Just follow current trends and news on the subject, and write about it with your own views and opinions.

Step 3: Advertise your services.

When first starting out, you are going to have to accept very low wages for your created content. The typically low end starting point is about 1 cent per word or half that at times. While this might seem like slave wages at first, it is about the only way you are going to get hired without any professional experience. After you build a reputation for yourself, you will then be able to get the price your work is worth.

Forums such as Digital Point or Daniweb are frequently visited by SEO companies needing content in order to help build backlinks. You can check for requests for writers or simply create a post yourself. Keep in mind that these employers typically pay via Paypal, and are looking to hire for long term work. Hiring a new writer can be a nerve wracking experience, as you never know what the quality of articles will be until they are turned in. In my experience, I have always been paid in a timely manner, and never been refused payment. You might however, have to correct or edit your work at times in order to conform to requirements.

Step 4: Don't give up.

You may be discouraged at times, and find that creativity isn't as easy as sitting behind a keyboard. Getting started will bring you work that takes a lot of time and concentration with sometimes less than stellar wages. Just remember that you are working towards the larger goal of becoming recognized and sought after by high paying companies.  Always work hard to meet and exceed your deadlines, and NEVER plagiarize the work of someone else. This will earn you a bad reputation faster than you can copy and paste from wikipedia.

Keep in mind there are many sites out there who are hiring writers, but those often want people with the proper education, and a lot more experience. Writing as a freelancer for awhile will help build a solid background which will circumvent any lack of schooling.

Android is Essential for Freelance Writers

Anyone who has aspirations to be a writer will want to consider purchasing an Android smartphone. Coupled with Google services, this can be an invaluable tool to create articles while on the go. Google Documents can be accessed as an app, or straight through the website.

You can use this service along with or without the applicatio to create documents which you can access from anywhere with an Internet connection. These documents are saved under your Google profile and can be accessed from any computer around the world with internet access.
You can even download the files in PDF, HTML, TEXT, DOC, and ODT format to make them available for offline viewing. This is a great way to keep notes or store information that you might need while on the go.  Used in conjunction with googles very own voice to text services you can create an application documents without ever typing a word.

You might be surprised to find out that this entire article was written without ever having to type other than a few minor edits using my smartphone keyboard. ( I am using a very low end android phone, powered by verizon wireless and a home wifi network )

Just be certain to edit any documents you make using this feature as there will certainly be an occasional misinterpretation. These can usually be attributed to an accent or just you starting to talk too fast and being a bit too natural. This service works so well that sometimes you will forget that you're talking to a computer that has to translate your voice.

This is probably one of the easiest ways to take notes. If your smartphone camera is powerful enough Google documents will even let you upload a picture of a document and essentially scan the picture into text for you. While this does create some piracy concerns, for the most part it is a very effective way to quickly save snippets of important documents.

If your printer is wifi enabled you can even select the option to have the document printed straight from your phone.

Keep in mind that this is just a small sampling of the many very powerful features of your android phone.

The more that this service is used, the more that Google will improve its accuracy. So please experiment and learn to use the Google system so that you can help create a better experience for everyone.