Play a Game that Begins With…

From Facebook this morning:

Let’s play a game. I have been given the letter “D” by Name not included

Something I hate: Dumbasses

Something I love: Dreams

Some where I have been: Detroit

Somewhere I’d like to go: Dubai

Someone I know: Dianne Bushell Best film: Devils wears Pradha

Like my status and I’ll give you a letter.

The idea is you are given a letter by the person who had this posted on their Facebook page. Then you find answers for each of the topics but they must start with the letter you were given.

Something I hate: rudeness

Something I love: red

Some where I have been: Revelstoke, BC

Somewhere I’d like to go: Russia

Someone I know: (I can’t think of anyone with an R name. Will probably come up with something an hour after I post this).

Best film: (I’m not that into film).

Only One Way to Read

“There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag — and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are 20 or 30 will open doors for you when you are 40 or 50 — and vise versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you.” –Doris Lessing

Via Jade Walker on Facebook.

Words Hurt More

578136_500152220102241_289578109_nThis comes from Facebook:Sarcasm. Because beating the hell out of people is illegal. :c( This group has been in trouble over personal attacks before. There is a huge warning up at the top of the group page now, basically a sign saying don’t take it personally. But, it is personal when it’s about you, isn’t it?

I don’t agree with this (see the image above) at all. Words hurt deeply and cause long lasting damage. Sarcasm can be funny and it has it’s place but it should not be directed at someone, an individual or group/ type of people, with the purpose of belittling them, or harming them in any way.

Humour should be used well, not bitterly. Laughter is the best medicine, but everyone should be laughing and no one should feel cut up and left to cry in the moment or later on. Humour should not make people defensive.

If you really want to hurt someone stop and think about why you want to hurt them. In the long run it is yourself who needs to deal with your own problem, not them. You can only make your own choices – you can not make someone else change or see things your way. Change yourself first. Get over your anger, move on from it or realize it was never that important to your own life. One last thing to consider, if you are THAT angry at someone then you must have strong feelings of love/ caring for them, other wise you would just not care at all. Even if you are right, you can’t have communication until you get past your anger and your angry words.

Sarcasm can be wonderfully funny, when it is done without the intent to harm. Take some time and come up with a great idea for a sarcastic essay about something important to you. Afterwards read it over and see it from an outside perspective. Is it still funny?

How Did the Human Race Appear?

A little girl asked her mother, “How did the human race appear?”

The mother answered, “God made Adam and Eve and they had children, and so was all mankind made..”

Two days later the girl asked her father the same question. The father answered, “Many years ago there were monkeys from which the human race evolved.”

The confused girl returned to her mother and said, “Mom, how is it possible that you told me the human race was created by God, and Dad said they developed from monkeys?”

The mother answered, “Well, dear, it is very simple. I told you about my side of the family and your father told you about his.”

Found on Facebook: The Husband Chronicles.

You are in a Halloween Horror Movie…

This came from one of my nephew’s friends on Facebook.

You are in a horror movie on Halloween, the first ten people in your chat are: (No cheating!!)

Cries like a baby:
The one who trips while running in the woods:
First to go missing:
Murdered saving you:
Survives by faking death:
Has a solid survival plan nobody listens to:
Spends all the time looking for Twinkies:
Turns into a zombie:
Everyone suspects is the killer:
Is really the killer:

Think of peopel you have read or written (characters of your own creation) where would each fit on the options provided?

Why Should you Take a Digital Sabbatical?

digitalsabbaticalWhen did you last have a day without the Internet? Can you take a day offline, no email, no phone, no TV? Take the time for a digital sabbatical – give yourself a break.

Have you been feeling a little jaded, restless or bored with everything online? Has it all gotten to seem like more of the same, every day the same stuff, the same people, the same stuff to read about?

Or, have you become addicted to the Internet? Do you spend way too much time playing online games? Do you check email and then not get anything else done until you chance to notice how much time flew by? Do you get started with social networks and then feel drained before you have even started on the work or the research you actually planned on doing when you sat down in front of the computer?

If you have landed in a rut with everything online, everything Internet related, everything computer and online shopping and social chatting and web gaming and all the rest….

Take a digital sabbatical.

Take a sabbatical (a vacation) and give yourself fresh perspective. See the bigger picture and find your interest in everything online again by taking a big step back from it all. Being away from it will help you refresh your interest and enthusiasm. Being away will give you the chance to miss it all and want it back again, or not. You may find yourself having time for a lot of other things you’ve been putting off and liking that instead.

Even if you just take some time off, you will give yourself some perspective on how much Internet use is really a good thing. You will also have more to talk about (or write about) once you are back again.

How far can you stay offline? A week long stay-cation, a weekend, or just a few hours with the mobile phone and the Internet powered down?

If you can’t even last a few hours consider yourself addicted to the Internet. This could be a problem. Nothing is good when it’s not in some moderation.

Plan Your Digital Sabbatical

Decide just what your digital sabbatical will be.

Are you going to disconnect for the day or longer? Are you keeping your phone on or is that going to get a break too? What about television? Maybe your sabbatical will just be work or blog related but you will keep in touch with family and friends? Or you may use the time to find new ways to use the Internet – or take up a project which you haven’t had time for in the regular routine where you focus on checking email and other routines.

Plan the time for your sabbatical.

Will you need time off work? Make sure you don’t have appointments where you will need to have access to the Internet. If you have an ongoing project which requires on-call attention see if you can find someone else to be on-call for that day, or those hours. Or give notice that the service may be interrupted during the time you have planned for your digital sabbatical, leave a date and time you expect to return.

Let everyone know you are taking a digital sabbatical.

People may forget and still phone or email you, but at least you did what you could to let everyone know ahead of time. Many people will be amazed by the idea. We have gotten so used to having the Internet, people don’t consider what life was like without it. Leave a note on your site, Twitter account, Facebook page and so on. Give a time and date you plan to return.

Try to stick with it.

I know you will find it difficult not to have the Internet to look up this or that. I do. It can be frustrating not having the things we get so used to, right at our fingertips. But, do your best to stick with the time offline. Give yourself a break. Get away from all that glut of information. Get away from all the people who expect instant gratification from you, as if you really do live connected to your phone and computer 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Unplugging: Try a Digital Sabbatical

Digital Camera: Zoom, Focus, Pixels and Batteries

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ3I take photos of buildings, abandoned sites and the odd wild flowers in the landscape. Sometimes I get talked into family photos too. I don’t mind family photos but they always require more uploading via email, Facebook and other places so family can share them. It’s odd how the personal stuff takes up more time than the photos I really love to take.

One thing you should do right away is get a decent camera bag. Take the time to find one which has a hard outer shell so your camera bag can take some abuse without harming the camera inside of it.

Zoom and Focus for Macro and Long Distance Photographs

One thing I look for in a camera is a lot of optical zoom. Most people don’t need a lot of zoom. Step closer rather than zoom in. However, I photograph abandoned places – often on the other side of a barrier, like a ‘No Trespassing” sign. So, I don’t have the option of getting closer myself. Instead I use the zoom to bring the picture to me. I love zoom!

Someone else might want a camera with a faster speed, for action photography. In my case, things are pretty much staying right where they are.

Other photos I like to take are called macro. This means I get as close up as I can and fill my viewable screen with the entire image I am looking at. Macro photography gives you a new look at very small things. I use it for taking photos of wild flowers and insects usually. I push the camera lens as close to the subject as I can. I have to be careful not to get so close I touch it with the camera.

The camera I have right now isn’t the best one for giving a sharp focus when I use the full 10X optical zoom. I’ve also noticed it loses focus, or is hard to focus, when I am up close for macro photos. In the case of taking a macro photo I need to pull back in order to get a sharp, clear focus. When using the zoom I’ve learned to pull back then too in order not to lose the sharpness which I need to bring all the finer details into the long range photograph.

I have learned that the focus range needs to start with a small number, the smaller the better, in order for the camera to be able to get a clear focus when the subject is near your camera. I also know that the only zoom that keeps a sharp focus is the optical zoom. If you break into the range of digital zoom you lose your sharp focus and the photo framing can get out of whack too.

So camera focus depends on a few extra things but the focus range is an important feature to watch for when you look at getting a new camera.

FujiFilm FinePix SL300

Resolution: It’s in the Pixels

The resolution is the amount, or density, of pixels in the image. Pixels are tiny dots of colour which build up the photo as a whole. A high amount of megapixels lets you use the photos you take for larger sizes in processed images. But, for most people 3 MP (MegaPixels) will be all you need.

Images which are used online, for websites require less pixels than an image which you want to print as a photograph. Keep that in mind when looking for a new camera. Unless you are selling your photos professionally or printing them up for poster sized images, you don’t need high resolution images.

Battery Life for your Digital Camera

Digital camera batteries are either lithium or AA batteries. Use rechargeable batteries to save money and having more stuff to throw away. Lithium batteries last longer and are lighter but, they are hard to replace once they finally stop working. I’ve had a camera more than 3 years and have not needed to replace the lithium battery it came with. So replacing the battery is not something to worry about very much. Just take care of whatever batteries you use.

Things that ask more from your battery:

  • LCD screen
  • flash
  • zoom

Tips for saving and conserving battery power.

  • Don’t leave your camera on when you aren’t using it. Why rely on power saving when you could just turn it off.
  • Don’t leave your camera on long after your photos are uploaded. When it’s done, it’s done.
  • Don’t leave your camera battery out in sunlight. It likes cool, dark places.
  • Don’t use the flash when you can do without it. Low light can be good for photos.
  • Don’t use the zoom when you can move your camera (or yourself) closer instead.
  • Don’t spend time viewing the photos you have already taken. Upload them and then take your time reviewing them.

Wrist Straps and Camera Bags

A camera may come with a strap and a camera bag. The best thing about the camera bag that comes with your camera is that it fits your camera size. It may not be the best choice for keeping and carrying around your camera. Also, I very much prefer using a wrist strap versus a longer strap that goes over your shoulders (around your neck). A long strap leaves your camera dangling in front of you.

I like the wrist strap so I can keep the camera in my hand while knowing I have the strap around my wrist so I can’t drop the camera on the ground. My wrist strap has saved my camera from dropping twice so far. I’m careful but I still tend to be walking over uneven ground, watching for animals flying above me and hiding below my feet. I’ve had something startle me or I’ve just plain lost my footing and stumbled, countless times. I’m glad my camera strap was looped over my wrist then and not banging into my chest.

In the case of the camera bag, I took time to find one which was firm on the outside. I knew my camera was going to be bumped around in my backpack, my purse and so on. So a firm case was essential to protect it. I didn’t keep the case the camera came with for very long. It was soft and easily squished.

Quantity and Quality for Traffic and Readers

Originally posted to HubPages, March, 2013.

It seems I’m going to be one of those HubPages writers who does things the long, hard way. The way that takes it’s own, sweet time getting here.

I don’t know why I like giving myself hard goals to reach. But, it seems that I do. I set myself the HubPages writing goal to have my traffic badge for the 100K by (or closely after) the end of this year, 2012. But, I’m not getting any flash in the pan wonder traffic posts. So, it seems I am just going to have to keep making my own steady, slow progress.

I might not get 100K by the end of the year and that will be ok too. As long as I feel I am still making progress I will stick with it. It’s only when something seems to have stalled out completely that I begin to think I should be reconsidering the plan. I do tend to stick with things long after the flogging a dead horse idea though.

Don’t think I’m some doddering newbie type. I have paid attention to SEO schemes and even the scams. Most of them are not for me. I have a line drawn where my ethics kick in. If I cross it I just don’t see the point of continuing on. Once you cross your boundaries you’ve lost your original feeling of value in the project and accomplishing your original goal loses it’s worth too.

You Can’t Write for Traffic

What you may not know; there is a difference between traffic and readers.

Readers are the real people who visit your posts, sometimes read right to the end and occasionally leave a comment. Real readers are the people who want you to know they were there. Then there are general readers who maybe didn’t find what they were looking for, thought you could have had a better post or just didn’t quite catch on and stick with you through to the end of your topic.

All kinds of readers are good. Even those who just lurk and don’t let you know they are out there.

Then there is traffic. Traffic is just a number. That’s how I see it. Traffic doesn’t have a face, it may not have a home with a family and goldfish named Henry. Traffic can be something less than human, more likely traffic is a machine, or software and does not have a face at all.

By now you may have realized that traffic doesn’t read your content. Traffic doesn’t care that you spent extra time to pick just the right word. Traffic doesn’t care that your photo illustration was your own photo or that you waited all day for conditions to be just right for that photo. Traffic doesn’t care that you checked all your spelling, grammar and then proofread your post again.

Traffic just cares about keywords and how they can use yours.Traffic is Google, traffic is people looking for content to claim, traffic is a feed reader that no one may actually read… and so on.

You can’t write for traffic. Or, you shouldn’t be writing for traffic.

Build Your Readership by Finding Readers

If you want to build readers you need to go looking for them. Don’t wait and hope Google will come to you. Google is big, like a mountain. The mountain is not likely to come to you.

Today, while writing a post about women and friendship, I found a very interesting site, Finding Dulcinea. It calls itself an online library. Why is this interesting? Look at the site yourself. Chances are you will find something there to read, to find out more about, to spark your interest in some way. It’s a site with information and ideas. Not a web directory, like the ODP, but a gathering of ideas and information, like HubPages itself.

At Finding Dulcinea you can find articles to link to in your own posts. You can find new ideas to write about. You can find more information to add to posts you are writing, plan to write or have already published on HubPages. You can also find the people who wrote those posts!

Finding the person who wrote a post that interests you is a start to finding readers for your own posts. People tend to be interested in the same things, related ideas and information. Follow your writer, track down other sites he or she writes for. Can you find them on Twitter, Facebook or do they have their own blog? Who do they follow? Chances are you will find a lot of great resources.

Keep track of the resources you find. Use them for your own posts. Use them to continue on and find more resources and people. All of the people you find are perspective readers. You just have to help them find you.

Look at the list of resources you have created.

How many are Twitter accounts you could follow?

Don’t just quietly follow someone on Twitter. Announce yourself! This is so important and yet almost no one actually does it! Why not? I get a lot of new Twitter followers and I have to spend my own time to find out who they are and decide if I want to follow them back. How silly. How often do you really think I spend time doing this? Not too often.

If you decide to follow someone on Twitter send them a Twitter post and tell them how you found them, why you are following them, etc. Announce yourself, tell them who you are and give them a reason to choose to follow you back.

How simple was that?!

You can use the Twitter example for any of the social networks. Just adjust as necessary. The concept is the same.

Don’t be spammy. Make sure the note you send is catered to the person you are sending it to. See it from their side/ angle. Why should THEY want to follow YOU? What do you have to offer them?

Be a Realistic Joiner

It’s a good idea to give yourself an established Internet presence. Join things. Join the main social networks like Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and StumbleUpon. Even Facebook, though it’s lost a lot of it’s usefulness due to overtraffic (too much useless stuff).

Try a few others. Try Scoop.it where you build collections of content and share them with other people on the site and through your Twitter feed. Snip.it, and sites like it, let you branch out. You need the original account on Twitter and etc but you can post through Snip.it. It saves some steps and keeps your other social accounts from running dry. Less maintenance is a good thing.

Don’t be a joiner on sites that require a lot of participation, unless you really can give that kind of time and energy. Pace yourself. Don’t become just another dead account. If you can’t be active at least weekly, or a few times a month, don’t keep the account. Or, leave a note in your profile with links people can follow. You may be back some day.

Don’t Forget the Less Than Virtual and Digital World

Con’t forget, the Internet isn’t everything. It’s not the world.

Look around you offline, in the less virtual world. Are there local groups you can join right in your own town? Or, could you be bold, brave and daring… offer a workshop, start a group yourself and bring people together (in the real world) yourself?

People who have actually met you are very likely to take an interest in your work online. They are more likely to go to read your stuff and they are more likely to want you to know they were there. So, you will get readers who comment.

What can you do in a real, local way to find readers?

Sell your arts or goodies at a flea market, a farmer’s market and have business cards available? Hold a garage sale one weekend and put up a display about your topics and see how many people will take away a sheet with information they can read at home? Talk about your hobby/ interest at the local library and offer people a bookmark with your link printed on it?

Find out more about marketing your content offline. Also look up the phrase guerrilla marketing. Keep in mind your own ethics when you read about how far others have gone. But, you can get a lot of ideas that just might work from the crazy ideas of others.

Web (Online) Games for Writers

Games of Destruction Inspire Me to Write

I admit I’m a procrastinating web writer. There should be a club or group for us – but we’d all be playing games or claim to be writing.

If I were all good and noble and proper, I’d play word games. Games that might put me in the writing mood, get me thinking along the lines of words and using those words to form sentences. Well, I do play some word games, you can’t take the words out of the writer, but I really enjoy city building sort of games. I like the type of games where you can build things up and then destroy them on a whim. It’s the evil in me.

Of course, some of the games I especially like are all about destruction, right from the start you begin as the destroyer. I haven’t analyzed why I like these games, it’s better not to know I think.

Online Word Games

Online Scrabble Games

Introducing… The Games of Destruction and Zombies

The following are my favourite games of online destruction. They are simple to play as far as the actual game play. You don’t need to jump around the screen or use a lot of keys to create the action. These games happen in your own mind – these are games you have to think about.

Infectionator is deceptively simple. You need some planning to get a great score.Or you can play without caring about your score – it’s fun that way too.

Pandemic

Rebuild

Infectionator