Choosing the Best Browser

My definition of a good browser is: A browser that works well for me.
Man is a funny creature. At times he loves change, be it for better or for worse. However, a wise man is one who does not change things too often.

After about 5 years of using Mozilla Firefox I decided to check out other browsers. Firefox was too good and therefore there wasn't any need to use another browser. That's quite a compliment for Firefox.

Changing My Browser
Lately, my Firefox browser had been getting very sluggish. I tried to disable all the add-ons, but it did not solve the problem. A friend told me that Google Chrome 3 enables fast browsing, and so I decided to try it. Alas, my experience with Google Chrome wasn't very positive. However, it was a good endeavor, since my quest for a quicker browser made me check out some other browsers such as Opera, SlimBrowser and Safari.

I finally settled down for Safari 4 (at least for the moment), after test driving the others. Why Safari? I'll discuss this a little later.

Every browser is better than the other just by a margin of a few milliseconds.

If you ever want to choose a browser, here are some things you must keep in mind:

Don't Use Technical Benchmarks but Judge by Your Preferences
In order to test various browsers, I did not use the technical benchmarks such as cold starting and warm starting time, RSS rendering, multiple image loading, etc. Every browser is better than the other just by a margin of a few milliseconds. A few milliseconds more or less do not make much of a difference to me.

Silly as it may sound, I was getting bugged by the slow startup and the sluggish scrolling of Firefox. So I decided to try something new. I did not go by what the developers or reviewers said. I chose Safari because it felt right. I was looking for a browser that makes life easier, and I found everything (almost) I needed in Safari.

Dispel the Browser Speed Myths
Browsing speed does not entirely depend on your browser. It depends on various other factors such as the host of the website you are opening, the content of the web page you are loading, your system configuration and your browser configuration. Every browser claims to be the fastest. However, just getting a "fast browser" may not be the solution.

Don't Leave Security up to Your Browser
It is foolishness to shop your heart out and then expect your browser to protect your credit card number. Security was not a big concern for me since I keep my online transactions to a minimum. Furthermore, every browser developer tries to provide maximum security possible. However, there are many smart hackers out there. So rather than relying on your browser, take precaution and don't flash your credit card too often.

The Best Browser in the Market May Not Be the Best Browser for You
Every browser claims to be the best. My definition of a good browser is: A browser that works well for me. All the other technicalities and features do not primarily matter. So if you want to choose a good browser, don't go after the hype. Check it out yourself, because the browsers that were touted as the best in the market may not work best for you or your computer system.

...the final straw came when it crashed and gave me a bX-59cppw error

Now here are some reasons why some popular browsers did not work for me:

Why Google Chrome 3 did not work for me
Google Chrome crashed too often. It could not bear the burden of multiple tabs. I loved the way it saved space by consolidating the title bar and the tabs bar into one. However, it froze at times, and crashed too often. The final straw came when it crashed and gave me a  bX-59cppw error. I could not access my blog for at least an hour after that. I immediately uninstalled it. 

Why Opera 10 did not work for me
Opera 10 had a few bugs and did not comply with certain JavaScript scripts. Even the drop down menus on certain sites did not work. Furthermore, I saw a furor over this issue on the internet. That's it. That was enough reason for me to uninstall Opera.

In Opera, I loved the quick dial page and the thumbnails shown while cycling between tabs. The feature in Opera that I loved the most is the Progress Bar. As seen below, my blog took 7 seconds to load at the speed of 6.3 Kbps. Also, out of the 45 elements, the 44th element (the Social Vibe gadget)  is slowing the loading time of my blog.

Cool feature, isn't it? However, it did not keep me from uninstalling Opera.

Why Safari 4 Worked for Me
Safari is as smooth as silk. Everything from the startup to the cycling of tabs to the scrolling is perfect. Everything from the fonts to the drop down menus to the dialogue boxes is quite stylish. The best thing was that it was not sluggish, and never crashed.

I loved the Top Sites page which is similar to the Speed Dial page in Opera. The difference is that it can display 12 of your favorite sites in an attractive manner as compared to 9 sites in Opera. Furthermore, everything on the Top Sites page is animated and has a Vista-like zoom and transparency.

Below is a screenshot of the cover-flow effect of the browser History.

Safari Limitations
Once you close Safari, you lose all your tabs (or sites). When you restart it, you cannot find the tabs you last opened. You can only find these sites in the browser History. I found this quite frustrating. Also, you cannot reopen a tab you have accidentally closed. You've got to go to the browser History and find it. Apart from all these limitations, I found the sailing to be indescribably smooth with Safari. So I'm sticking to Safari for a while.

So, which one is the best browser? After all my research, I have found  no browser to be perfect. Every browser has its own strengths and limitations.


How to Write a Good Blog Post Title

Whether you are into blogging, article writing or email marketing, writing a good title cannot be underestimated. No matter what the purpose of your write up is, writing a good title gets half the job done.

"Title", "headline" or "subject line"...whatever you call it, you must put as much thought into it as you put into writing your article. If you are a blogger, the fate of your blog post depends on the title to a great extent.

So let's consider the importance of a title to a blog post.

The Benefits of Writing a Good Title

  • More Readers
  • Site Credibility
  • More Followers
  • More Traffic
  • Successful Blogging

Types and Styles

I regularly come across various emails and blog posts where the titles are overused cliches:
  • For free traffic this works like crazy!
  • Use Your Traffic to Make Money
  • Some Good News!
  • Don't Know How to Make Money?
  • The #1 Secret Revealed!
Then there are titles that are soft and yet subtle:
  • Your Membership
  • You Would Love This
Some titles are ambiguous:
  • Choose Now! This One or That One!
  • Would You Do This to Your Blog?
Others are straight forward (like the title of this post):
  • How to Write a Good Blog Post
  • Learn to Blog in 3 Minutes
Some of the above mentioned titles are questions while others are exclamatory sentences. Regardless of the type, style and wording of the title, many of these titles are just irresistible, while others make you balk. However, If you are a writer, you must have resorted to these approaches at some time or the other.

So what is the secret (another cliche) of writing a good title?

A Good Title

A good title must have the following ingredients:

1) It must Grab Attention: The least a title must do is to attract the attention of the reader. This is the first step to getting your readers to read your blog post.

2) It must give the Gist: One look at the title, and it should tell the reader what your post is all about.

3) It must be Genuine: A title that seems promising, but slyly leads to a bunch of marketing waffles will immediately result in the reader hitting the "x" button.

4) It must portray Generosity: Your title must have an air of generosity. The reader must get a feeling that he or she is going to gain something. The blog post that follows must share some information and dispense some relevant knowledge that will be helpful to the reader.

5) It must give some Guarantee: A promising title will always make the reader stop over and read the entire article. You must offer solutions that guarantee results, and not just some hype.

The above mentioned guidelines are applicable not only to blog posts but also to email messages, articles, sales letters (let's not look down on marketers), and tweets.

None of us are born bloggers. We are all learning. I remember writing some crappy blog posts with some pathetic titles. We all have been there. However, in my opinion, even if your blog title has three out of the above five elements, you can consider the job well done.

Happy Blogging!

Cranking Out those Visitors! Twitter Popularity!

Twitter is no longer just a microblogging platform for friends to hang around online. It has become popular among corporate businesses and the entertainment industry as well. Corporates and celebrities are using Twitter to build their brand names and market values.

Gauging Twitter by its unique visitors, it has grown by 1,382 percent from February 2008 to February 2009, according to Nielsen. In comparison, Zimbio has grown by 240 percent and Facebook has grown by 228 percent during the same period. The report also reveals that the biggest chunk of visitors come from the age group of 35-49, out of which 62 percent access their Twitter accounts from work, and only 35 percent access their Twitter accounts from home. 

I just came across the Twitter page of a popular lady, and noticed that she had 3,548,295 "followers" but just 27 "following." The following to followers ratio works out to be 1:131,418. This means that she has 131,418 followers for every friend she is following. This is the Twitter page of Ellen DeGeneres.

When I checked the page of one of my recent followers, his first tweet said, "Just joined Twitter for the heck of it." Needless to say, that wasn't enough reason for me to follow back. However, most people from all walks of life are using Twitter to kick some goals in life.

Happy Tweeting!

What's Your Twitter Follow Philosophy?

You can also "Block" stalkers
if you notice any unusual interactions.

There are various trains of thoughts and philosophies regarding whom to follow and whom not to follow on Twitter. These are called "Follow Philosophies."

Here are just a few FPs (Follow Philosophies):
  • Follow people and wait for a few weeks to see if they follow you back. If they don't, unfollow them.
  • Follow everyone who follows you out of sheer courtesy.
  • Follow those people who belong to your niche.
  • Follow them if you like their faces.
  • Follow them if you like their bios.
  • Follow them if you like their sites.
  • Follow them if you like their tweets.
...and the list goes on.

Twellow is a cool application that lets you put into practice your FP. It taps into your Twitter account and neatly lays out all your Twitter associations by category. You can see the people linked to you through twitter. You can see their pictures, their profiles, their twitter page links, their followers, their URLs, their locations, their social links and their latest tweets.

Follow Indicator

There is one feature that I love on Twellow. It is the follow status indicator (that's what I call it). This little indicator will show you a rounded rectangular loop made by two arrows. If you are following someone and they aren't following you (non-mutuals), only half of the loop will be green. The remaining half will be red, indicating a one way association. If the entire loop is green it indicates a two way association (mutuals), meaning that the person you are following is following you back. This is an important visual cue that helps you sort out those who are not following you back and put your FP into practice.

Above this loop is a green "Remove" button, which you can use to remove someone from your following list with one click. The result will be reflected on your twitter page.

Cleaning the Clutter
I recently began to sort out my following. I logged into Twellow with my Twitter username and ID and began to look at the follow status indicator. I saw a bunch of one sided associations. I clicked on the "More Info" button to see some more details, and removed many from my list accordingly. Yes, I kept some important people who did not follow me back such as Dr. Wayne Dyer, and some other prominent personalities. However, I removed most celebrities without any hesitation. After all, they may have hired some ghostwriter to write their tweets.

I'm not done yet. It may take some time before I sort out all my following. Those whom I can't unfollow...what's the harm in letting them hang around?

What's the harm? This brings me to an important issue- Security. You can "Protect" your tweets if you do not want anyone to read them, except for the ones you approve. Just go to the "Settings" option on the top right of your Twitter page and the rest is self explanatory. You can also "Block" stalkers if you notice any unusual interactions. Just go to your followers list and do the needful.

Another cool feature of Twellow is that you can browse through different categories and follow people from your niche. However, I must warn you about one of the side effects of doing this- Spam! But then, off course, you can block them by going to your Twitter follower list.

So, whatever your FP may be, it is much convenient to implement it at Twellow than at Twitter.

Happy Following!

This Could Happen to You!

We have become so dependent on our pointing devices that should they disappear one day, we may be left high and dry.
No Mouse?
What if you were to wake up one fine day and find your computer pointing device gone or rendered inoperable? Imagine starting up your desktop or laptop without your mouse. Not a difficult task, is it? Most of us would be able to do this. But what next? How about reading your emails or checking out your social networking sites. Would that be an easy task for most of us? I guess not!

How would life be without your computer trackpads, trackballs, joysticks, light pens and mice? Would you have to go back to the early MS DOS days, when you had to learn certain commands in order to go to a particular directory, open a program, change a directory or print some matter?

Not really. Microsoft Windows enables you to use a number of shortcuts to work with your Operating System, Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Browser and Email Client without using the mouse. However, very few of us know these shortcuts. We have become so dependent on our pointing devices that should they disappear one day, we may be left high and dry.

It Happened to Me!
One morning this is exactly what happened to me. My computer refused to co-operate with my mouse. Actually, there was some problem with the driver. I had a freelance assignment to complete, and I couldn’t wait. Fortunately I knew some keyboard shortcuts as I had been using the Windows operating system for the last 10 years (used MS DOS and Win 3.1 before that...yuck!).

Shortcuts Came to the Rescue
How did I get about? I used some Operating System shortcuts; so I could open "Windows Explorer" by using "Windows+E." Then I used the Tab and Arrow keys to navigate around, and finally hit Enter to open my Microsoft Word document.

I knew how to close Microsoft Word using the "Alt+F4" keyboard shortcut. There are other ways to close a Word document, but I loved the "Alt+F4" shortcut, and rarely use the mouse for this action even today.

Another favorite shortcut that I always use even today is "Alt+Tab." It is so convenient to switch between all my open “windows” using this combination, rather than pointing my mouse to the taskbar and clicking on the required window.

Being able to navigate through the Start Menu without using the mouse is also very important, since most of the programs and documents can be accessed through the Start Menu. You can also Shut Down your computer using “Turn Off Computer…” on the Start Menu. However, I love to use "Alt+F4" to shut down my PC.

Once I open a Word or an Excel Document, I can get around without using the mouse for some basic operations. However, I’m not an expert at Word Keyboard Shortcuts or Excel Keyboard Shortcuts. Therefore I end up using the mouse for selecting text color, aligning text, copy formatting, inserting header and footer and other actions.

There are a whole range of Firefox Keyboard Shortcuts too. I just use the basic ones for navigating around a page and for switching tabs. My favorite ones here are F5 for refreshing a page and "Ctrl/Shift+Tab" for changing browser tabs.

What about Blogger Keyboard Shortcuts? Blogger has them too, although very few. Despite the fact that the blogger posts get autosaved, I frequently find myself using the Ctrl+S to save my posts.

The Indispensable Mouse
No matter how well you know your shortcuts, computer pointing and tracking devices have become indispensable. If you don't believe me, try doing the following without a mouse or a trackpad:
- Opening a link on a website
- Opening your Blogger or WordPress Dashboard
- Dragging and Dropping

...don’t work yourself up trying to learn all the keyboard shortcuts. It’s not worth it.

If you think about it, there are tons of things that a mouse can do with ease, and therefore we do not bother to use shortcuts. If you are good at touch typing, like me, you will appreciate some keyboard shortcuts. However, don’t work yourself up trying to learn all the keyboard shortcuts. It’s not worth it. The highly versatile computer trackpads and mice are here to stay till touch screen technology takes over. Until then, don't let your mouse go away :)


Beware! The Web is Haunted!

...there are innumerable ghostwriters hovering around the World Wide Web.
Have you ever heard of a ghostwriter? Spooky as it sounds, there are innumerable ghostwriters hovering around the World Wide Web. They are difficult to spot, and yet they write most of the content you read. Now, before this get's bizarre, let's try to do some explaining.

Who is a Ghostwriter?
A ghostwriter is a commercial writer who writes on behalf of another person. You pay the ghostwriter and the copyrights become yours.

Whom do Ghostwriters write for?
Ghostwriters write for celebrities, online marketers and even for bloggers. Most celebrities have their personal blogs. However, they do not write for these blogs. They hire ghostwriters to write their blog posts on their behalf. Fans respond to these blog posts knowing little that the celebrity rarely glances at the blog.

So, if you are following that well known personality, guess who's writing the tweets.

Why do people hire Ghostwriters?
Some people have great ideas, but the lack writing skill. Others are good at writing but lack the time. Hiring a ghostwriter can help you add new content to your blog or website, and maintain your readers' interest.This means more visitors, and ultimately, more income. No wonder some people invoke the services of ghosts, I mean ghostwriters.

What else do Ghostwriters write?
Ghostwriters write web content, autobiographies, marketing newsletters, ezines,books, novels, forums,reviews, social networking posts and yes, even tweets. So, if you are following that well known personality, guess who's writing the tweets.

Is it ethical to hire a Ghostwriter?
Ghostwriting is one type of outsourcing, and no industry can do without outsourcing. Therefore ghostwriting is a perfectly acceptable practice.

At the moment, I don't see the need for hiring a ghostwriter. I love to write my blog posts, even though I don't write frequently. I'll think about hiring a ghostwriter the day I make tons of money from my blog and the day I'm too busy to write.

Would you hire a Ghostwriter to write your blog?
Let's discuss...



How Useful is Your Site Traffic?

You spend hours trying to drive traffic to your site.

Think about this: 
How useful is your site traffic?
Does voluminous traffic really matter?
Do your visitors bring in the business?
Do they serve the purpose of your blog?

Please leave your valuable comments.


3 Questions to Ask When Your Blog Puts You to Sleep

I believe that blogging should come naturally.

The In Thing
Blogging seems to be the in thing. Everyone wants to own a blog, whether they are students, entrepreneurs, parents or grandparents. Why not? Blogging has become as easy and entertaining as picking up your guitar and strumming on it. It can be a hobby- something that keeps you occupied for hours (beware though!).

The Rut
No matter how much on the blogging edge you are, there are times you fall off the edge and into a rut. You may begin to be in need of new things to write. At times such as these, your own blog posts may put you to sleep.

If you are pushing yourself too hard to write your blog posts,
you will soon tire yourself and your readers.

How to Get Out of the Rut
How do you go about maintaining your enthusiasm to keep on writing? Well, the truth is that YOU DON'T HAVE TO! I believe that blogging should come naturally. If you are pushing yourself too hard to write your blog posts, you will soon tire yourself and your readers.

Anyway, we are all human! So, should you find yourself gasping for new content, here are 3 QUESTIONS you can ask yourself:

Your talent must dictate your niche

Question #1: What is the Aim of My Blog?
If you are blogging aimlessly, and just for the heck of it, you will soon fall asleep on your laptop.

Here are some things that your blog (or your blog posts) can do;
- Inspire (I love to do this)
- Entertain (I use my cartoons to entertain)
- Educate
- Provide solutions
- Share what you have learned
- Earn an income (I believe that this is a bye product of blogging)

If you think you do not possess that gift,
you have not yet explored your inner self.

Question #2: What am I good at?
Your blog is a good platform to display your talents. Everyone has that unique gift that they can show to the world. Your talent must dictate your niche. If you think you do not possess that gift, you have not yet explored your inner self.

Here are some talents that your blog can reflect:
- Writing (that's my gift)
- Photography
- Blogging
- Marketing
- Cartooning (that's my gift)
- Parenting
- Educating (that's my gift and my main source of income)
(This list can go on...)

Note: I did not mention "making money" in the talent list. This is because if you are doing what you do best, you WILL make money.

Question #3: How Can I Benefit from Blogging?
Draw your zeal from the benefits of blogging. Realizing the benefits will keep you in a positive frame of mind and prevent you from snoozing over your blog posts.

Three main benefits for blogging are:
- Being able to express yourself (this definitely is a stress buster)
- Gaining online exposure to what you have to say or sell
- Building a community of like minded people from around the world

So gear up! Allow your readers to enjoy some lighter moments! Brighten up someone's day; give someone some answers; make someone smile! 

- ContentScoop

The Joy of Reconnecting with Old Friends!

What a joy it is
to reconnect with your long lost friends
after you've meandered around life's uncertain turns

The Journey Called Life
Life is a journey, and everyone would agree to it. You embark on this journey as soon as you realize that you've got to be doing something with your life, lest you are left staring back in time wondering, "What have I done with my life?"

Life's All About People
As you journey through life, you come in contact with innumerable people, some whom you are unreasonably stuck with, and others whom you couldn't help but let go. Be it because of ambition, or your quest for your daily bread- you may have had to part with your best friends. The void remained for long- in fact, it may linger on even today.

The Joy of Reconnecting
What a joy it is to reconnect with your long lost friends after you've meandered around life's uncertain turns. How interesting it is to learn about all that they've been up to, and to find out about what they've learned and achieved so far. This reunion has been made possible by many social networking sites. No wonder these social networking sites are ruling the online roost!

My Social Networking Reunion
I experienced the same reunion when I joined Facebook last year. I suddenly found my friends whom I had left behind as long as 20 years ago. It was great to see how they looked; how their homes looked; how many children they had and how they lives their lives. What an experience!

Life is all about relationships-
the less self seeking the better.

Some friends amazingly maintained their youth, whereas others were getting older. Nevertheless, the response that I got from them made me feel that time may outwardly beat upon you, but it's your inward resilience that matters.

What You Can Do on Facebook
Facebook is a social networking site that allows you to search for friends using their names or email addresses. You can send invitations to them. Once they accept your invitation, you can view their "Wall posts," their photos, their notes, their links and videos. You can chat, create groups and join other groups. You can also throw up a party and request a R.S.V.P.

Some connect for pleasure;
some for friendship;
others, for companionship
and still others, for business.

The Purpose Of a Relationship
Life is all about relationships- the less self seeking the better. Relationships are the treasures you collect on your way to your destination. However, every relationship has a purpose, or it would fade.

What's your purpose for linking up with others?

Some connect for pleasure; some for friendship; others, for companionship and still others, for business.

No matter what your reason may be, every once in a while
- tell someone how much you appreciate them
- ask them if you could do something for them
- find out how you could work together to make a difference to the world around

Ponder on this: 
Are your online friendships the end in themselves, or are they just means to a moneymaking end?


The Power of a Few Words- My Take on Microblogging and Micro URLs

Everything's going micro,
from handhelds to laptops,
and now blogs and URLs have joined the trend.

Just when I began to enjoy blogging on my blogger account, someone introduced me to microblogging. The world's getting faster, I tell you,...and smaller.

Everything's going micro, from handhelds to laptops, and now blogs and URLs have joined the trend.

(For those quick readers, it's fine to scroll down to the last few paragraphs of this article)

I'm a writer. I  love to write long and well organized blog posts. However, with microblogging, my words are restricted to just 140 to 150 characters.

"140 characters?" I thought to myself. What in the world can I write using just 140 characters! All my inhibitions faded away once I started using Twitter- the name that  has become synonymous with microblogging and social networking.

Just a few days into Twitter
and I figured out
the power of those 140 characters.

Micro Social Networking
Facebook allows you a lot of activity on its turf. You can be a part of as many "stories" as you like. Your posts are not very much restricted and you can write volumes on your "notes." You can upload your pictures directly from your camera onto the site, and you can comment on your friend's pictures. You can create your own group and invite all your friends to join it, or you can join another group. That's a lot of disk space allotted to you! However, you've got to be disciplined about whom you invite, and cannot add a "friend" unless they confirm you. This restricts the stray marketer and the intruding moneymaker.

Twitter does not make friendship conditional. You can "follow" anyone you like, unless they block you or "protect" their "tweets." At the same time anyone can be your "follower." It's an open platform for moneymakers and marketers alike, and the same goes for the one who is seeking friends and fans.

Just a few days into Twitter and  I figured out the power of those 140 characters. Almost every day I have "followers" pouring in without much action on my part. Yes, many of them are marketers and do not hesitate to say, "Hello."

Now, there are also ways to add a 100 followers a day; however, I'm still a bit slow at blogging (oops...microblogging), and would not like to delve into that at full steam. I'm not a full time blogger; so whether it is blogs or microblogs, you will see a little activity on my part every now and then.

Note: You may soon see third party contextual ads on Twitter, just like the ones you see on Facebook.

Microblogging has created another need:
the need to shorten URLs.

Micro URLs
Microblogging has created another need: the need to shorten URLs. Most tweeters would like to save on character space, and this is where URL shorteners come in.

Tinyurl has been in business for many years now, helping one to shorten URLs mainly for masking the actual URL. and have gone a few steps further by shortening the URLs even more. That's not all; you can even post your URLs directly to Twitter with just the click of a mouse. Furthermore, you can get detailed statistics as to how many people have clicked on your newly shortened URL and how it is  performing throughout.

Lessons from Microblogging
That 140 word restriction can teach you a lot:
- to be concise
- to write to the point and not ramble around
- to get the maximum impact from minimum words
- to be restrained in your phraseology and get cracking with business
Here's the bottom line:
Twitter has fewer features as compared to facebook, and yet the impact it has been having proves that if you've got to make a point, words need not be many.

So, don't waste your words! There is power in a few words!

September 10, 2009

What Just A Click Can Do!

The most shattering effect of war
is when innocent children get caught up in its ruthless mechanisms.

War is one of the most horrendous activities that man has ever transacted. It's devastating effects not only last a lifetime, but for generations to come. The most shattering effect of war is when innocent children  get caught up in its ruthless mechanisms.

How many of us can stomach the sight
of a mother being brutally murdered
and her infant being buried alive?

One of the longest running wars in Africa- the unending 21 year old war between the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan government- has left millions of innocent children caught in the crossfire- killed, abandoned, separated from their parents and forced to fight!

How many of us can stomach the sight of a mother being brutally murdered and her infant being buried alive?...young children carrying heavy guns and being trained to kill? ...the spate of brutality continues.

Now you don't have to be a helpless spectator!

Here's what you can do:
-Click on the SocialVibe gadget on my blog sidebar
-Rate a video or perform the required action

When the sponsors get advertising exposure, they will donate towards Invisible Children, a movement that helps rescue and educate such ill-fated children.

Kudos to Blogger for introducing the SocialVibe gadget as a part of its 10th Anniversary.

Also, thanks to my friend who made me aware of this. Here's his blog:

Just click on the SocialVibe gadget and spend a few minutes on it. It would cost you nothing! So please do it!

September 04, 2009

Jack of All Niches, Master of...?

The Information Highway
The Internet is an information highway. Just when you think you are gaining speed, someone whizzes by you at break neck speed, giving you a complex about how slow you are. Just when you think you are getting there, you are given to understand that you are far from your destination.

If you are not organized at how to get your information,
you may get tossed around like a ping pong ball.

The Place To Be
Nevertheless, the internet is the place to be. Be careful though; there is bucket loads of information being shoved down your throat; more than you can ever swallow or digest. If you are not organized at how to get your information, you may get tossed around like a ping pong ball. So, what niche are you targeting?

There are tons of people teaching you how to do things; many of them selling their wares. Why not? The internet is a place for everyone- the occasional surfer, the online addict, the marketomonger, the moneymaniac, the tecnofreak and the bloggogeek.  

what is the use if I am the jack of all niches
but a master of none?

Where do I stand?
Where do I stand amidst all this online brouhaha? What niche am I targeting? I want to be a blogger, a writer, a marketeer, a money maker, an adviser, a cartoonist, a journalist and a SEO expert. I could possible work myself up to be a jack of all the above mentioned niches. However, what is the use if I am the jack of all niches but a master of none?


What niche am I targeting? Here are some questions that helped me decide on my niche:

1. What do I enjoy doing?
I am a writer, and this is what I do the best. So I will stick to being a writer whether I successfully manage to promote my blog or not; whether I make money or not; whether my blog and social networks are followed or not.

So whichever niche you choose, choose one that you enjoy going about, be it blogging or making money or writing; something that you will enjoy doing a few years from now.

2. What can I offer to the world?
I believe that I have the ability to give people what they want to read. Now, yes, my posts span a wide range of topics. However, I see to it that what I write is useful to others.

Now most people would love to read about making money. Sorry, I'm not an expert at that right now. I can pretend to be a money making guru, but I'm comfortable with what I genuinely have to offer to the world.

Think of what you have to offer to the world. It could be something as simple as sharing about your daily experiences.

3. Who will my friends be?
I have just begun to "tweet." Now, there are people who follow me (thankfully) on twitter everyday. However, I do not follow all of them (regretfully; I hope they understand), unless they are writers or bloggers (I need them).

Once you choose your niche, you must build your network wisely. It would do you good to choose friends associated with your particular niche.

What niche am I targeting? If you ever have to answer that question, ask yourself the above 3 questions first. 

September 03, 2009

Why do I Hate My Life?

"I hate my life!"

This is something everyone has said once in a while. Well, there are others who say it all the time!
Remember the time
when dreams were young
and spirits were high!
As the years roll on, it suddenly hits you that life has turned out to be different from what you had dreamed of. You suddenly wake up to the realization that you are lagging behind. A sense of frustration may try to creep in, but you somehow keep the flame burning in the hope that your dream may come to pass some day.

You say to yourself, "It has not happened yet, but it will happen." You put on the better-late-than-never attitude and talk yourself into thinking positive. That's all nice and fine; however, you must never lose touch of reality.

There's something inside you saying, "I hate my life!" but you stifle that voice and try to put up a bold front.

How Life Turned Out To Be 
Yeah, all you guys would love to be tall and muscular; have more money in your pockets and more hair on your heads. Girls wish they'd never have to cross 17 and would love to freeze into timeless beauties (a little exaggeration here).

Remember the time when dreams were young and spirits were high! You had dreamed to reach the skies. However, time and tide have left their unsightly marks. Life has taken its coarse, making you submit to its devices.

If life did not turn out the way it did,
you would be half the person you are today
and twice the weakling you were yesterday.

When Dreams Don't Turn Into Reality
When dreams don't turn into reality, don't say, "I hate my life!"

Rather ask yourself the following questions:
  • Was I a realistic dreamer, or just a mellow eyed dreamer?
  • Did I have a game plan?
  • How hard did I work towards my goals?
  • Am I willing to continue working hard?
When Life's not going Your Way
When life's not going your way, there are a few things that you must realize:
  • You've tried your best
  • It's not your fault
  • You cannot reverse the course of life
  • You may be standing at the TURNING POINT OF YOUR LIFE
So don't say, "I hate my life!"

Remember that if life did not turn out the way it did, you would be half the person you are today and twice the weakling you were yesterday.

You will soon see that
the things you can control
far outweigh the things you can't.

What to Do
So what must one do? Worry about it? If worrying would make an inkling of a difference, it would be time to start a worry club. However, there are better things to do.

First let's accept it: You cannot control everything!!!

If you think that you can control every aspect of your life just as you have read in those self help books, it's time to get real. The truth is that you can't !

Rather, focus on things that you can control. Take a piece of paper and write down just 10 things that are in your control- simple and straightforward things. You will soon see that the things you can control far outweigh the things you can't.

10 Things That I Can Control
  1. Sleep on time and wake up early
  2. Make time to exercise
  3. Buy a new set of clothes
  4. Visit the beauty parlor
  5. Look for a new job
  6. Don't delay things for tomorrow
  7. Make a phone call to someone special
  8. Strive to be the best spouse you can be
  9. Say "Sorry", "Thank You", "I Love You"
  10. Add to this list...
Some of us need to keep pursuing our dreams while some of us need to start afresh! Do whatever it takes to stop saying, "I hate my life," and you will realize that there's much more to life than what you can perceive.

August 31, 2009

    How I Added the "Tweet this!" Button

    Just joined Twitter! Better late than never!

    Still learning the ropes :-)

    Well, I thought one thing that would be cool is to give my readers an opportunity to add my blog posts to their twitter page. So I decided to add this cute little "tweet this!" button below my posts. It's kind of tiny and sits at the bottom without interfering with my posts. So it does not steal the show.

    The very first thing I did
    was to take a backup of my template
    I contacted one of my blogger expert friends, and he helped me to get it done.

    How I did it:
    Step #1
    I went to my Blogger Dashboard>Layout>Edit HTML.

    The very first thing I did was to take a backup of my template, just in case I did something wrong and all the cute little tweaks I managed on my template would disappear. I would no way be able to get my blog to look the same again.  

    Step #2
    Next, I checked the "Expand Widget Templates" Box and then began my tinkering.

    I searched for this code:

    Note: The above code appears only after checking the "Expand Widget Templates" Box. 

    Step #3

    Once I located the above code, i pasted the following code below it:

    Step #4
    Before saving my newly tweaked template, I clicked on "Preview." This step is just to check for errors. If you see the preview of your blog, your code is correct. If you do not see the preview, something is wrong with the code and your new template will not be saved.

    Note: You will not see your "tweet this!" button in the preview. So don't be disheartened.

    Step #5
    Next, click on "Save Template" and then on "View Blog."


    The button looks like this:

    If you cannot see it at the bottom of my post, click on the post header or title and you will see it. Got some fine tuning to do...

    So dear friends, countrymen, readers,...! Please click on the button if you find my posts worth the time spent on my blog. If not, I look forward to learning from you.

    August 29, 2009

    What Happened to My Nav Bar?

    Well, nothing happened; I removed it!
    Honestly, the only relevant word in that piece of HTML code
    that I understand
    is "navbar."
    Now, although I am not a programmer, and my knowledge of HTML is almost zilch, I somehow managed to get it done. Ask me how I did it, and wouldn't be explain matters more than a child could explain how the toys were all scattered. I somehow managed to do it!

    Now all you blogging geeks would laugh at me. That's OK! After all, I learned this from one of you.

    How I did it:
    I went to my blogger dashboard>Layout>Edit HTML and just inserted the following piece of HTML code in my blogger template between the head-head tags:

    #navbar-iframe {
       display: none !important;

    Don't I sound like an expert? Honestly, the only relevant word in that piece of HTML code that I understand is "navbar."

    One of you expert bloggers told me that there is nothing explicitly mentioned in the Google terms against hiding the Nav Bar. Should you point out to me that Google would get angry, I'll put the Nav Bar back on right away. After all, no one wants to be on the wrong side of the terms framed by the mighty search engine giant Google.

    August 27, 2009

    Lessons from Moonwalker Jackson

    Michael Jackson glittering comment from
    Moonwalker Jackson stands as an example of both extremes -
    what to do and what not to do!
    King of Pop, Moonwalker Jackson, Jacko, Jacko Wacko; he was known by many a name. An era and a life span full of roaring fame that cannot be matched up to. He lived a lifestyle that many would look down upon, and yet he was a star that many would look up to. A lovable icon; a man riddled by controversies and a character that looked far from human, he made news everywhere he went. No matter how people viewed him, he was a pop star who is known to give a new definition to music and dance.

    Moonwalker Jackson stands as an example of both extremes - what to do and what not to do!

    What to Do
    His talent got noticed at the tender age of six. He shot to fame when he gifted the world with the lilting beats of Beat It, the thrill of Thriller and the full-fledged bass of Billy Jean, as he moon walked on a glittering dance floor back in 1983. He was passionate, creative and different. No wonder every performance was euphoric. He gave more than a 100 percent in whatever he did, and he skyrocketed to the epitome of success in half his life span, something that takes a lifetime for many, if at all.

    What Not to Do
    The latter half of his life, however, saw many episodes of controversy, including child abuse. He lived a private life that most people seemed to loathe. When success came, they say, he could not contain it. Moonwalker Jackson began to assume an image that his fame had created for him- an image that was larger than life. He tried to rise above the tenets of humanity and conventional confines of society. Having altered his natural nose structure and the color of his skin, he attempted to put on a profile that he thought would go well with the masses. Sadly, his new powdered look and his tired voice, displayed a sense of waning as he became “Bad” and “Dangerous.” The downward spiral had begun.
    If you had the gift of song and dance,
    and yet had to deal with the trauma
    of being physically and emotionally abused as a child,
    how different would you be from the King of Pop?
    In conclusion, let’s not judge Moonwalker Jackson, but learn from him. If you had the gift of song and dance, and yet had to deal with the trauma of being physically and emotionally abused as a child, how different would you be from the King of Pop? There was mystery in the way Moonwalker Jackson lived and died- something that every human being can take home a lesson from, about what to do and what not to do.

    August 24, 2009

    How to Read the Mind of a Person from an Email Message

    Emails have become the norm for communication and interaction. They are lightning fast (or at least they seem to be) and everyone prefers them to snail mail.

    ‘You can actually read the mind of a person
    by reading his or her email.’
    Everyone, young and old, has an email ID. At the dawn of the Internet age, my foremost activity was to get an email ID, and I know it’s the same for many. Those were the days! You could write to anyone across the miles, and get a quick response. Nowadays, social networking and chat are ruling the roost. However, email is just indispensable.

    Have you ever wondered
    how the person on the other side
    knew what you were thinking
    just by reading your email?

    Email has ever since become a medium of expression for many. You can actually read the mind of a person by reading his or her email.

    I usually express more on an email message than I would do in person. This is not because I’m a techie freak. It’s just that I can express myself better because (slow that I am) I know that an email need not be written in a hurry. Also, I have the advantage of writing out my heart without any interruption. Writing is an overflow of the heart for most people, and I am one of them.

    Have you ever wondered how the person on the other side knew what you were thinking just by reading your email? That’s probably because the person knows the secret of how to read the mind of the person behind the email.

    Find out what they are not saying,
    what they are implying;
    their intentions and contentions.

    You can not only read the mind of the email sender but also judge the thoughts and attitudes. Find out what they are not saying, what they are implying; their intentions and contentions. Now, although what I write is not rocket science, it does carry a lot of weight. Do some research and you will see…

    So how do you read the mind of a person from an email message? Here’s how:

    Yes, there are some who are very cold and
    yet can write a warm salutation.

    1. Read the Mind from the Salutation
    You can tell a lot about how the person feels about you from the salutation. You can feel the affection in “My dear Amanda” or “Dear Sean.” You will feel well greeted by a “Hello Stephanie” or a “Hey Carl.” You can feel a strong bond when you read, “Dearest Doug.”

    The message that “Dearest Sugar” or “Honey bunch” conveys reaches straight to the heart of the gooey eyed reader.

    Yes, there are some who are very cold and yet can write a warm salutation. You will soon be able to read right through them as you read the message body.

    You can tell when someone is indirectly asking a question,
    pushing you to approve a deal or
    implying something.

    2. Read the Mind from the Message Body
    A friend of mine would spell check his email message twice, just in case there was a typo or a grammatical error. Or maybe a comma needs to be placed somewhere. Introducing…the perfectionist!

    Another friend in her teens would write, “hey how r u. I’m wid ma friends n enjoying d party. Cud u pls tell Jason Im sry I missd hs bday.” Shall we call her Miss Cool Girl? I must admit that it took me quite a while to decipher that.

    Then there’s another friend who writes thus, “Hey thanks for your email I enjoyed reading it I hope to get back in touch.” How could anyone fail to notice the absence of punctuation? No, this is not a proofreader’s nightmare. I feel such individuals have a sense of confidence about themselves and do not believe in putting up false faces. Surely enough, this friend of mine is the most honest guy I know. (And yes, such writing can even come from a bloke who’s never been through high school)

    Then there are those cheeky chums who would write, “Should I consider it done?” or “I was wondering what your salary is.” You can tell when someone is indirectly asking a question, pushing you to approve a deal or implying something. Yes, you read the mind of that marketer right!

    3. Read the Mind from the Complimentary Close
    “With Love”, “God bless”, “Take care”, will tell you that the person is quite close to you (or at least pretending to be).

    There is a business associate who just writes –Timothy (hyphen Timothy). How very cold and business like…

    “Cheers” is the byline of a happy go lucky person; or what would you say about, “luv”, “kisses”…? Hey, hey, let your mind not drift...I’m not done yet.

    ...whether you receive a reply or not,
    you can still read the mind of the person

    4. Read the Mind from the Time Taken to Reply
    A quick reply tells you that the person loved to hear from you. A reply after a few days indicates deliberation and obligation. If you are being made to wait longer, it shows apathy, a lack of interest, reluctance to continue on the topic or rejection.

    I have had those no reply waits from employers, business associates, friends and relatives. It kind of breaks your heart. Well, it’s best to allow people to make their own choices.

    So whether you receive a reply or not, you can still read the mind of the person and gain some insight into an imminent solution.

    August 21, 2009

    Self Confidence Building Tips

    The world around us dictates to us about how we should think and act. The media influences us to a great extent, and to add to all this, our friends and relatives lay out the commandments which we must abide by. As a result there is a war raging within us- a war between what we want to be and what others want us to be. This takes its toll on our self image and ultimately on our self confidence.

    'there is a war raging within us-
    a war between what we want to be
    and what others want us to be'
    The following self confidence building tips will help you in five ways:
    1) To rediscover yourself
    2) To develop a deep sense of self respect
    3) To stop feeling guilty about who you are
    4) To express to the world who you truly are
    5) To make the right choices in keeping with your character

    Redefine Your Self Image
    You can’t make everyone happy. If you try to please your friends, partner and family, you may end up getting frustrated. You can’t hold yourself responsible for the way everyone feels about you. So stop defining your self image by what others say, and define it according to what pleases you. Self confidence building begins with being what you want to be, and not what others want you to be.

    Redefine your Public Image
    Your self image is how you view yourself, but your public image is how you want others to view you. If you build an artificial public image based on the expectations and ideals of others, you will struggle to live up to it. This will lead to unhappiness and low self esteem. Self confidence building involves giving up the artificial image and being real. Show the world what you really are, whether they like it or not.

    Know and Develop Your Gift
    If you have suppressed any talent so far, it’s time to develop it. It need not be something great and glorious, but something as simple as the art of cartooning or writing. That’s your gift to the world. Use your strengths to excel in your personal and your professional relationships. Your gift can contribute to a great extent in the self confidence building process.

    Focus on Your Strengths
    Once you are no longer afraid to be real, people will see your weaknesses. That’s OK. Everyone has their weakness. Don’t focus on your weaknesses, but rather focus on your strengths. You will see that your strengths far outweigh your weaknesses, bringing in a positive frame of mind and increasing your self confidence.

    Redefine Your Idea of Success
    If becoming the President of America meant success for Obama, success could mean something entirely different to you. This does not mean that you must not think big. It just means that you must not compare your definition of success to that of others. Success could mean achieving something that makes you and your loved ones happy. Self confidence building involves redefining what success means to you.
    'It does not come naturally.
    You must make it happen!'
    In conclusion, self confidence building has a lot to do with being happy. Also, it does not come naturally. You must make it happen. If you follow the above mentioned tips, you will find yourself being a happy and confident person.

    How to Rewrite an Article

    Let me begin by saying that you must rewrite only your own copyrighted articles. Rewriting someone else’s articles amounts to plagiarism, and writers are known to be original dudes.

    Now, why would someone want to rewrite an article? Doesn’t that sound silly? Once upon a time articles were written only to correct flaws and inconsistencies. Nowadays the reasons can be different.

    Here are some reasons for rewriting your articles:
    1) To post a different version of your original work on newsletters and other websites
    2) To incorporate hot keywords into your existing articles and make them search engine friendly
    3) To give your web content a new look
    4) To improvise on your original article
    'Don’t lose the message,
    purpose and
    the call for action'
    Now a few tips on how to rewrite an article:
    Read the entire article and make a note of the key points and important keywords.
    Don’t lose the message, the purpose and the call for action.

    1) Retain
    a) The central idea
    b) The essence and feel of the article
    c) Important keywords

    2) Recreate
    a) The heading
    b) The sub heading
    c) The Illustrations, metaphors and analogies
    d) The action lines

    3) Rewrite
    Now that you have the entire article in your mind, begin to rewrite the ideas paragraph by paragraph.

    If you create new ideas see to it that they blend with the central idea without overpowering it. Feel free to change the style to suit a different clique of readers. It’s your article after all. Look for ways to improvise your original article

    Each paragraph must contain no more than 3 to 5 sentences. Each paragraph must emphasize on only a single point. Every consecutive paragraph must follow in logical order and must build momentum.
    'Emphasize on the message or
    purpose of the original article'
    Conclude by summarizing the entire article and providing information or solutions, whatever the purpose of the article may be. Emphasize on the message or purpose of the original article.

    4 Keys to Writing Mesmerizing Content

    Writing content is more than just putting down your thoughts on paper, or publishing it onto a website. Just cranking up an article for the heck of it will create no momentum.
    'there are times
    when you sit there like a dumb duck,
    staring into thin air'
    No matter how quick you are at conjuring up some lip smacking writing ideas, you will have to admit that there are times when you sit there like a dumb duck, staring into thin air.

    What is to be done when you face the writer’s mind block?

    1) Create a Thought Bank
    A thought bank is nothing but a diary where you write down every noteworthy thought that comes to your mind. Remember that thousands of ideas cross your mind every hour- writing ideas that could serve as solutions, information and inspiration. If you don’t stop and write them down right then, they will escape the confines of your mind in no time.

    So write them down. You don’t have to elaborate on them right away. Keep them handy and save them for a rainy day. If nothing else works, think about what drives you. What makes you tick? What are you passionate about? Get going with your writing ideas…
    'what makes you tick?'
    2) Create an Ambiance
    Choose the time and place where you will write. Early mornings and late nights are the best. That’s the time when there are no phone calls, no chores and no kids to take care of.

    Find an outdoor location where nature will stimulate your creative juices. If you write on your computer, keep your room free of all disturbances and distractions. Stay focused!

    3) Choose a Direction
    Brainstorm and write down everything that comes to your mind concerning that particular idea you want to write about.

    Now, don’t let yourself stray. Give your article direction and purpose by thinking about what your readers want to read. Think of what will meet needs; what will provide solutions; what will bring happiness; what will uplift; what will give purpose; what will send them on their way satisfied.
    'See it!
    Feel it!
    Write about it!'
    4) Chisel Out Your Masterpiece
    Now that you have a deposit of original writing ideas, you must rely on your ability to mold them into something worthwhile. Remember that you’ve done it before, and you’re going to do it again. You are Michelangelo and already have the statue of David to your credit. What’s next?

    Write to create pictures in the minds of your readers. Use your creativity. See it! Feel it! Write about it! It will create the same effect on your readers.
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