Should You Social Network? Part One

November 30, 2009

It is basically a given today to social network. Almost everyone these days is on Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Social Networking certainly has it’s advantages: It’s easy to do, it’s free, you can connect with your friends, you can make new friends, you can keep up with the lives of your favorite stars, and, most importantly for bloggers, slyly market their blog(s)/website(s).

However, it has always been a big question for me whether or not to be on these sites.

I run this blog for one reason: To teach you about electronics. If I wanted to gain something from this, then I would charge you for it. In fact, 3% of my subscribers will get my book on building a better blog for free. I really care about you, and I’m not sure whether I’m going to add adds or not, but if I do, they certainly don’t hurt you.

Being on these sites is different. Unless you are trying to market something, it is basically a fun thing to do, but in the grand scheme of the world, a waste.

Now, I am not saying that is a bad thing; if you enjoy it, then by all means, do it. However, just be sure to follow these guidelines.

Note: Marketers should be on those sites, and I will be soon, but you should try to keep it related to your blog. Sure, I make tweets about when I’m leaving, my personal life, etc. But I think that a good rule of thumb for you to use is to spend about as much time being personal on these sites as it would take you to make a post, or write an article, etc. Of course, if you’re also on there for fun and you meet my guidelines, then there’s nothing wrong with spending more time then you need to on them.

However, for those of you who aren’t looking to market, social networking has the purpose of people having fun. I know you love to have fun; we all do, but here’s my guide to know whether or not to be on social networking sites, which is broken down into a number of posts:

  1. Do you have enough time?

I know that many people say that there’s always time for fun, but you have to remember that you didn’t have this before. If you find that you are having trouble finding time or getting things done, then it might be a smart idea to cut out some time or eliminate it completely. If you don’t have any other fun in your life, then maybe you should continue with the same time.

If you are always struggling to find time, then find out where your time really goes (insert link to Henrik Edberg’s post). If you find that if you simply cut out some time networking, you would have more than enough time, then it might be a smart idea to do it. However, if you play video games, then cut out that instead; cut out the least important things until you have enough time.

Remember, having fun is one thing; getting your work done is another.

Part two of series in two days.


Choosing What E-Mail Server to Use

November 29, 2009

These days, barely anyone mails each other anymore. The mindset has switched to technology. Almost everyone and their mother has e-mail. And e-mails now are starting to become obsolete. Almost everyone has a blog these now (don’t feel badly if you don’t have one!). It is practically impossible to live without e-mail, but most people don’t really think about which e-mail server to use.

Considering that people people will spend so much time on their e-mail, you would think that they would really think about it.

Many people just pick what seems to ‘come’ to them, whether it’s what their friends or family use or what you see first.

It’s seems to me like it’s too big of a decision to leave to chance, so here are the e-mail servers and the advantages and disadvantages:

Microsoft Outlook Express: It may be one of the most commonly used e-mail services, mainly because it is normally placed right into your start menu. It is easy to use, and also has easy access on the internet. The only downfall is that it can be difficult to setup, and you may need some help, but I would highly recommend it. Eventually, I will make a post explaining it in more detail.

G-Mail: This is probably the most commonly used, and the one that I have recently switched to. It is certainly easy, since most people use Google as their default search engine, for reader, etc… It is, in my experience, the most easy to access, since it’s right there on Google.

Yahoo-Mail: If you use Yahoo instead of Google, then Yahoo-Mail is probably the one to go with.

Hot Mail: Not as easy to access, but fine if you don’t mind the extra work of changing websites!

Servers to avoid:

  • Ones in other countries. Until I switched to G-Mail recently, I had been using Bravenet Webmail, where I have created literally hundreds of websites. The only problem was that it was stationed in Canada. For three years, I had to go through lost e-mails, hours to send and receive e-mail, and all kinds of problems. I don’t know why I kept using it, but I sure would’ve been much better off had I not.
  • Ones that cost money. That’s a given; there is nothing more available now that is better than the free services I have already stated.

I can’t really think of anymore problems, but usually just using common sense will steer you away from anything bad.

Basically, it all comes down to just using what is most accessible.

So, what e-mail server do you use?


Why It’s a Money Saver to Buy High-End (or Fairly High End) Technology Rather Than Low or Medium Ones

November 28, 2009

I know that this is getting out of my normal posts which I said I would make, and I will, but things have been happening to me that I’ve been discussing with people, and I got the idea that it would be helpful to my readers to write a blog post about it. Let me explain.

It all started back in 1998, when I was just one year old. Once I was born, my parents knew that they would need a bigger house to hold all of us.

They went and looked at a lot of houses. One of them was owned by a man who owned a pet rat who pooped all over the floor so there were dirty carpets, had bad credit, didn’t pay his bills, and the mortgage company was auctioning his home away.

Despite this, my parents still wanted the house. They knew that it would take a lot of repairs, and they certainly did them.

The guy certainly made it very difficult; he basically wrecked the whole house! We moved in anyways, and one of the many things that they had to fix was the furnace.

There was a nice guy that they knew who was a plumber. For the purposes of this post we’ll call him Jim.

Jim advised them to buy an inexpensive furnace, and, since he was trusted, my next of kin bought the furnace.

For a year, we had problems with it. They had numerous people come in to try to tell them what was wrong with the furnace, and to try and fix it. One day, my dad had found the right guy. He was an honest person who didn’t take any nonsense. He told my dad exactly what he didn’t want to hear, but what he needed to hear: “As long as you buy low end products, they’ll break. You’re better off just getting a higher end product.”

Once, he said it, it became obvious that this was true. They installed more furnaces, and my mom and dad had lost a big chunk of money.

Lesson Learned. Right?

It’s funny how people always vow that this time they learned their lesson. That next time was going to be different. I have heard numerous accounts of how people made internet mistakes in the 1990’s and yet still make the same mistake today.

Well, guess what? My dad and I have been making that same mistake for five years.

Usually, when you make the same mistake twice, they come in different faces. Well, we have been listening to our computer person, Max, advice on what to buy for years. For years, we’ve wondered why our technology always seemed to break down more than other people? Why we had all these problems? Why? Why? Why?

Lesson Learned: For Real

The day before Thanksgiving, we went over to a local computer store to buy the Net Book that I am working on right now for school because write slowly and badly. The owner works as one of the employees, as well, and we informed him of our problems. Immediately, he told us that the reason my laptop wasn’t working was because it had a manufacturing problem; one that caused it to overheat. And then it clicked; we had gotten the laptop on sale. It was then apparent that we had bought a dis-functional laptop.

You Get What You Pay For

Now, Max is not a bad guy.  In fact, it’s just the opposite;  he didn’t want us to buy expensive computers because he didn’t want to spend our money. He also has a philosophy: “All technology breaks down, so you might as well buy low-end products and just fix them.”

That may have been true once upon a time, but not anymore. In fact, quite the opposite: “If you buy low-end products, they’ll break down and you’ll have to fix them. If you buy relatively good products they won’t break down as much.”

In the end, it all really boils down to this: You get what you pay for.

Applying This to Technology

Therefore, if you buy a low priced computer that seems too good to be true, then you should expect some problems. Even if you’re on a tight budget where you can’t spend the extra money for decent technology (this isn’t just for technology), then either spend the extra money or don’t buy the technology, because I will guarantee you that if you buy something at a low price, you’re going to have to repair, spend time agonizing over, stressing yourself out, which, in the end, will amount to a payment of a lot more than a few hundred bucks.

Update: I made a YouTube video on this:


How Do You Turn Your Computer On?

November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving has come and gone. The holiday’s are fast approaching. You may get a new computer. This is for people, mainly, who either don’t have a computer or are completely out of it when it comes to their computer.

You are probably laughing, and I would advise most of you to click to one of my previous posts. However, if you sometimes have trouble turning your computer on or don’t know whether it’s on or off (you know who you are), then read on!

My Dad’s secretary is not what one would call computer savvy. She works from home because she and my dad are connected within a cloud that links their work together.

You may not imagine all the trouble she gets herself in. One day she may be confused about why the printer won’t work, only to discover that she had accidentally pulled the plug, the next she won’t know why her computer won’t work, when she learns that it would not turn on.

It used to be fine, when she and my Dad worked in the same building. Between patients (he’s a psychologist), the secretary would call him in, and he would help. Now, our computer person, Max has to be sent out.

Max has always helped us with our computer problems, and we are grateful to have him. If we did not, the business would never be able to live within a cloud. He lives close to her, and works with her husband, so it’s not a big deal, but here’s the way, for those of you who don’t know, to turn on your computer:

  1. Make sure that all of the connections are plugged in.

This may be the most common reason that people can’t turn on their computer; the connections aren’t plugged in. Make sure that all of the lines are stable. Often, you will be able to find a plug loose and fix the problems without any further pain.

2. Did you press the button?

This is probably alien to you, but some people don’t realize that people have to press a button to turn their computer on. Either that or they it doesn’t click that they haven’t pressed the button. If you press the button and the computer doesn’t turn on, hold it. If it still doesn’t go on, then refer to tips 1 and 3. Also, if you think that your computer is already on but won’t work, be sure to look at the button, if it is not lite up, then the computer is not on. If it is  lite up, then the computer is on.

3.That’s it!

If after trying those two tips and it doesn’t work, then there is something wrong with your computer. At that point, it’s time to contact a professional. If you don’t know any, they are easy to find. You can ask your friends or do a google search or look in the phone book, but there are plenty of them out there, and they are eager to be helpful and take your business. You can also go to local computer stores, but they are often big corporations and not as helpful.


What’s the Deal with the New Google Chrome OS?

November 26, 2009

You may have heard of the new Google Chrome web browser. In fact, it is what I am using right now. The funny thing is that I didn’t learn about from the internet, but from Luke Laprasi, who is maybe even more of a computer nerd than me, who always tells everyone his favorite products. I was skeptical at first, I admit. Then, we were using our school’s brand new mini-computers (I just got my own yesterday!) on our Social Studies Wiki, when I decided to try it out. Immediately, I knew that I had found something that was amazing, and something that was going to improve my internet experience. It was simple, easy, and best of all, super fast. When I got home, I logged on to my laptop and downloaded it. I spent hours playing with it and figuring out all of it’s new features.

I don’t know for sure, but I assume that Google Chrome must’ve been pretty popular, because, as you probably know, they are making a computer, called the Google Chrome OS.

The OS is built around the same thing as Google Chrome is: It’s easy to use, and it’s super fast. As John Chow points out in this video, people spend most of their time on the internet.

However, the internet used to be slow, and the computers were designed accordingly. Now it’s fast, though, so Google decided to make a new computer which reflected that change.

Most people, when they turn on the computer, just want to get onto the internet, but the computer has to do other things, which take time to load.

The Google Chrome OS is different in that it is not stored on your computer, but instead the internet. That means that as long as you have internet access, you can access your computer, even from your phone.

Google has said that this isn’t intended to be people’s main computer, and it certainly shouldn’t be; there are important documents that only you should be able to have access to. Because, while it is secure, there are some things that you simply don’t risk.

For example, my dad, a psychologist, wouldn’t be aloud to use it because it has to be 100% secure.

I think that it could be a good addition if you have enough money to search the internet. In other words, you would search the internet on your OS, and do everything else on your regular computer.

So, what do you think of the OS (coming in 2010!)?

Update: I made a video about this:


The Problem with Apple Products

November 25, 2009

Hey guys, I know that I’m probably going to get I lot of grief from angry Apple lovers who read this, and I know that you are probably one of them, and I know that also probably makes it not such a smart idea for a first real post, but I’m going to inform you right away about my dislike  for their products, just so you’ll know that as I talk about products in the near future, so let’s go into it:

I understand that Apple works for many people, and if it works for you; that’s great; I’m not trying to stop that. The products are (I admit) easy, simple, smooth, and fast. I have always had a ton of computer problems; it seems like something is always going wrong, as a PC user. For example, as we speak, I have no laptop because of a problem with the motherboard causing  it to overheat. I have had it for a little under one year, and it has been broken the whole time. About a month ago, it started to get so bad that I couldn’t use. I am writing this on my NetBook, which can not run my complicated chess programs, doesn’t watch videos, etc. Sure, I can use my regular computer, but it is not very easy to access. Now, I am not complaining; I just want to show you what goes on with PC’s, because I have heard that Apple does not have any of those terrible problems.

Those are the reasons that most people like it, along with the fact that they have 100,000’s of Apps. I actually use ITunes, but I don’t really know who doesn’t anymore. Even my 54 year old dad has an IPhone.

Those, however, are exactly why I DON’t like Apple products. Apple gears them for simplicity, not business use. They simply do not have the tools that one needs need to get into complicated things. For example, it will not run chess engines. Apples are made for the casual user, not heavy duty computer users like me and you.

Did you ever notice that business owners often use Blackberry’s? Blackberry’s, unlike IPhone’s, have the tools that one needs to run a business.

Of course, the problem with Blackberry’s, PC’s, etc. is that they sometimes simply don’t work. That is the main complaint behind Microsoft, and the reason that everyday, people are converting to Apple’s products.

Since I am a lifetime Microsoft user, I’m used to all the problems, so they don’t really strike me as anything out of the ordinary, but I think that if Apple added all these complicated programs, unless you used a very expensive computer, there would be the same problem..

So, what do you use, Microsoft, Apple, or something different?


Hello World!

November 24, 2009

Hello world, my name is Daniel Johnston, and this is my brand new blog which will give you easy advice on technology. I am not going to try to overtake guru’s like Darren Rowse and Brian Clark. Instead, I will not get as involved, but will still try to reach the same goal; helping you with technology, and, to be more specific, blogs. I will still cover other things, as well, though, and the topics can range from how to turn on your computer to search engine optimization. I’m sorry if some of the beginning posts are a little dull. I’m sure some of you will enjoy them and will be able to save you a lot of time and money. I am a 12 year old kid, but have been working with technology for years and have lately started to get more involved. However, I have been maintaining websites for five years, and have been running active blogs for four years. Two of those websites happened to become quite popular, but I have now abandoned them for new and (in my mind) more productive blogs and websites. Aside from this one, I will also soon be running a website for a writing and reading blog and a personal development blog. I hope that this will allow me to make bi-daily posts on each blog, as well as videos, which I can not guarantee how often, because things always seem to go wrong when making them. Here are some topics that I will be covering in the near future:

  • What I don’t like about Apple products
  • What’s the deal with the new Google Chrome OS?
  • How do you turn your computer on?
  • Choosing what e-mail server to use
  • Social networking series
  • Digg
  • Wikis series
  • Flickr
  • RSS Feed series
  • Bookmarking
  • Cloud Computing
  • Podcasting
  • Internet Explorer
  • Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • RSS Feed or E-mail Feed?
  • What is a blog?
  • What is the difference between a blog and a website?
  • Which should you have, a blog or a website?
  • The benefits of a blog
  • The benefits of a website
  • Bravenet review
  • Viviti review
  • Blogger review
  • WordPress review
  • The beauty of free bravenet web tools
  • Should you advertise?
  • How much money should you spend on advertising?
  • Widgets series
  • Adsense serires
  • “Spamsites”

Have a good day and have a good time using technology!