Avatar-Making for your Online Profile

avatar makingAn avatar gives you a face when you fill out a profile online. There are endless places you can use an avatar on the web: email signatures, blog comments, forum profiles, HubPages or any other site you create an account on.

For this post I am focusing on sites which let you create the avatar online, from start to finish. You may need a screen capture software to save your finished avatar in an image file on your own computer. Go to the home site for your web browser and look up the add-ons. I use Chrome and Firefox (at different times) both of those have simple add-ons which let you use screen capture right from your web browser.

Many online game sites will give you an avatar when you sign up to play their game. This is another way to create an avatar, but it requires you to register for the site and have an account first. If you are not interested in playing the game you can still create an avatar and save it on your own computer, but you will have to take the time to register for the site, first.

Creating an Avatar with Your Own Art

The avatar can be an image of your own choosing. Use a photo you have taken. Your own art/ drawings in an image file (png, jpg or gif files) are great as avatars too.

Modify the image to fit the size you need. Most profiles will have a size limit. Some will have a limit for the pixels/ bandwidth of the image as well. There are web graphic programs which can resize an image. Some have features which let you add text, change colours and change the shape of the image, give it a different background and so on. You can use software such as Gimp, for image editing.

Globally Recognized Avatar

Once you have your avatar go to Gravatar and set up an account. This is a free online service which gives you a globally recognized avatar which will automatically show up when you comment on WordPress blogs or use various comment services and forums online.

Try Making Your Own Web Avatar (last updated on March 18, 2012).

Good Bye iGoogle Start Page

I like having a start page when I open my web browser. I’ve been using iGoogle from the start because I liked it. I didn’t really need or use much of the features. Mainly, it was a welcome each time I started up the Internet. I could check the weather, I could use the bookmarks I had created to quickly get onto whatever I was planning to do. Or, I could search for anything on Google and open a new window to check Gmail at the same time.

I will miss iGoogle, not because it was especially useful but just because it was there.

Someone has started a petition to keep iGoogle, if you want to get in on that. I won’t. It’s progress of some sort for Google I guess. But, I think they have under used the start page aspect of iGoogle and now it’s being abandoned entirely.

Stop Wasting Your Time… on Titles that Don’t Say Enough

Are you losing potential readers because you don’t post enough information when you try to lure them into your posts?

We read so many leading titles that have promise and then don’t deliver. As writers, we need to give people enough information that they can connect to something we have written about and want to read more. Skipping details might bring curiosity but if the connection is lacking, or not there at all, it just won’t work.

Last night on Twitter I read a Twitter post promoting an article. It sparked my interest but, there wasn’t enough information to make me actually want to click it. In trying to catch my attention the writer was trying to be mysterious and (I guess) provoke my curiousity. It did, but not enough for me to open another window on my web browser.

So I posted back to her on Twitter for more detail. She replied back and said I’d have to click/ read the article to find out.

But, the fact is that I don’t have to. Not at all.

The fact is that her article is just one more in the pack. I didn’t click the link and read it. If she had said it was about surviving cancer, or surviving a plane crash, or surviving a two-year-old temper tantrum… one of those would have been that bit of extra information that would have given me enough reason to read her article. By choosing to keep the mystery she lost my interest.

Even more importantly, I didn’t connect to her article. I didn’t feel it applied to me enough that I needed to read it. That bit of missing information made all the difference.

Is Your Computer Running Like Glue?

Sitting here, waiting to have my computer back from whatever crappy script some site is forcing it to run, I’ve been thinking how long it’s been since I saw the stores selling computer RAM. We’ve come to the point where it is cheaper to just replace the whole computer rather than trying to speed it up with adding hardware. Seems pretty backwards, wasteful too. No wonder outdated computers are such an issue. They way software grows so easily and so quickly and hardware (the stuff we have to buy ourselves) can’t keep pace.

Why don’t sites use less software, less scripts and crap that make them not just slow to load but freeze up and even crash? After all the years we’ve had the Internet isn’t it time they brightened up about this issue? Or, do they only make sites to be seen and used by people who just bought their computer a month ago and the rest of us are too far out of it to be of any consequence?

If you went on strike against the sites that cause your computer to slow down and freeze how many would you stop visiting, how many would be big and popular sites like Facebook (one major pain in the butt with all the bloated apps). You could easily find out which are the main culprits of your slowdowns. Just get rid of some plugins on your web browser, or set them off for a day. It would be a revealing experience. Browsers come pre-plugged now. That wasn’t always the case. I remember having to install and upgrade plugins regularly. Now they just become part of the browser update and people who are new online likely don’t even know about all the background plugins they are running. Or not running, or not running very well, as the case may be.

Any thoughts on this? Are you getting tired of having your computer, just a year old, seem to be running like an old race horse, ready to be retired into glue?

Time and Space and Promotion Pollution

With any ad you run on your site consider the time you put into working on the ad, the space and place it takes up on your site and the results you get from it. Think of the amount of space which shows when your blog first loads on your web browser. That is your ‘real estate’. Are you getting enough back for the space you are giving up. Keep in mind that the space closer to the top of your page is more valuable, just as location, location, location, matters in real estate too. Most ads are not worth the time and space they consume.

Also, if you run a lot of ads you will also lose a lot of readers. Not everyone is eager to hunt and peck for content through a forest of ads. Is your site worth reading or are you just creating a site full of promotion and ad pollution? There is also the problem of having ads which need to be clicked upon. People are becoming so used to ads they no longer see them. That means you won’t be getting clicks.

Wanted: Spam Killer Web Browser

I’ve been thinking about blog ads lately. They really do annoy me. I understand someone wanting to make a buck, enough to pay for their web host. Seems that is how a lot of it started, just making enough to pay for the Internet connection and web domain/ host if you have one. That was a nice plan if you could do it.

Now I think more than two thirds of the blogs and sites existing are about money making, SEO, monetizing and so on. It amazes me that people still keep making more. How much of the same information does the world need? It is choking the Internet.

I still understand running an ad or two. If you are hosted on Blogger it is nice to run their AdSense, as thanks for the free site and hosting. You might run an ad to see what all the fuss is about or try to make a bit to pay for your Internet connection, etc. There are some blogs which are trying to make money to pay for college, surgery, a car or other things they need and hope to find charity from others online.

But, that is the cut off for me. I feel I am in an ad farm and it is becoming the whole Internet. It’s like watching TV and wishing the ads would pause long enough for the show to come on. But they don’t. There is no end to the ads and it is just getting worse.

Sites are writing about products and posting them as if they were regular personal blog posts. As if they just love denture cream, credit cards or having a bigger penis. Who do they think they are fooling? I’m sure a lot of people are confused by these fake posts, likely some assume they are sincere. There must even be people who do buy the stuff. If there were no sales the stuff would stop but it’s not stopping it’s growing.

I’m not against people who spam (and I am going to call it spam no matter what you protest). I’m against having it shoved down my throat. I want a break! I want to be on the Internet and enjoy it, unplagued by ads. I want a web browser, call it Spam Killer, that will stop web abuse. I want it to give me the option of not loading a spam infested blog or site. I want a little note to come up before the sites loads and tell me how many ads are running on the site. Five or more ads, YUCK! I won’t waste my time. Two or fewer ads, ok, I’ll have a look.

I am tired of being abused. Yes, I am a consumer. I am someone who could choose to shop online. However, that does not mean I want to be a captive audience. I’m tired of being abused by those who call themselves business people online. Run your business, great. Just get it away from me. I don’t want to see beauty product ads when I am reading a blog about business women. If I want to know about beauty products I can choose to go to a site about them. Business women are not about beauty supplies. Find your correct niche and stay there. If I want to find you I will.

I’m at the point where I will not buy anything online cause I am just sick of being a victim to the ad mongers.

That’s my rant for now. I will be watching for that Spam Killer though. Anyone who remembers the days of pop up ads knows it can be done!