Category Archives: Tech

The Federal Trade Commission Injects Itself into the Blogosphere

People have been blogging for close to a decade, but never before have we seen something that attracted so many people so quickly before than the amount of people who have flocked to blogging and who have created internet-based spaces for themselves. People are very resourceful and it was only a matter of time before people realized they could make a nominal, or in some rare cases, could earn their sole household income from their blogs. In fact, the biggest blogging niche where bloggers are making the most money is by running blogs on how to make money blogging. And whenever people are making an income from doing what they love, it’s only a matter of time before the government turns its nose up at it and finds a way to discipline the people who have the nerve to not work a society-approved 9-5.

If you haven’t yet seen the Federal Trade Commission’s new 81-page document (or if you don’t have access to someone with the eccentric skill set needed to decipher the language) it basically means that starting December 1, 2009 if you are compensated in any way for a blog post you write (or info you share on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any other new media outlet,) you must disclose that you have been compensated by the company that provided you either with cash, a free product, or any other type of compensation you received from the company.

If you bought the product or service you are reviewing or sharing your opinion on with your own money, then you are not required to disclose any information whatsoever. If you received a product for free from a company, you are now mandated to write a little blurb on the bottom of your blog post that goes something like ‘I received this product for free from X company and all information in this blog post regarding said product is is the sole opinion of myself and do not represent the thoughts of X company.’ Or you could be a little less-professional, which is what most bloggers will be doing come December 1, and just add a short and sweet ‘I received this product for free from X company.’ The only hole in this legislation is if you did buy a product you decided to review on your blog with your own money and you fall under siege of the FTC, how do you prove that you bought any products you reviewed on your website? How many of you actually keep the receipts of gifts you buy for your children and loved ones or apparel that you absolutely love after wearing and want to share a brand with your readers? No, in most cases you don’t and how else would you prove that you did buy a product that appeared on your site that could cost you up to $11,000 per post if you don’t disclose any business relationship.

However, semantics really does play a part in this conversation and not just because I am a blogger who is really not very happy with the new FTC mandates. For instance, Woman Tribune currently has a site-wide disclosure in place that distinctly states that I receive forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. Granted, it also states that you, my readers, do not know which posts are sponsored by any company in most cases, but the policy of Woman Tribune that I am adamant about because it is my own, personal and ethical belief, is that whether or not a post is sponsored by a company, service, website, and so on, my blog posts are always honest and if I don’t like a product or service that I was asked if I would try, or I find anything misleading about a sponsor, I won’t think twice about reporting my findings; note the ‘ethical blogger’ badge in the footer of Woman Tribune. As far as I’ve seen, most bloggers who accept sponsorship of any kind feel the same, exact way.

I think the media, especially when targeting “mommy bloggers” who blog for profit or are often sponsored by companies or services, have blown blogging sponsorship way out of proportion and have basically represented women bloggers, who make up most bloggers who review products and are sponsored in any way by any company as people who sell their souls for freebies, which is completely not the case and is probably why the FTC felt the pressure to amend their legislation and place mandates on bloggers.

The FTC’s new mandates on bloggers are only subject to US bloggers, so those who live outside of the US who don’t have strict mandates over media or any other niche that free-thinkers and free-speakers thrive in, do not have anything to worry about. If you’re a blogger whose web host is located outside of the US I don’t believe should be subject to the new mandate, although I’m not a lawyer or a member of the FTC, so I could be mistakes and it’s always wise to double check. The bottom line is that bloggers who are endorsed by any company, service, etc. and whodo not disclose the relationship they have with the company are subject to fines equaling up to $11,000 per post.

Are you a blogger who feels under siege by the FTC? What are your thoughts on the new blogger mandates?

The Ultimate Music Player for You and Your Many Moods

When you work from home and you’re in front of a computer all day, it becomes second nature to have music playing pretty much all the time. Before you know it, your hard drive is completely full and you’re sitting there wondering how it’s possible that there is no space left on your computer as you’re simultaneously listening to a few hundred different albums playing on shuffle. Not only do we find ourselves absolutely needing music to function in our internet lives, our minds also crave music while we’re driving, walking around the block to stretch our limbs, working out, getting ready for the day ahead of us, music plays a very big role in our every day lives. That is precisely why mp3 players and iPods have exceeded popularity and become a social necessity. As we continue to become a very technological society, more and more people are hopping on the mp3 player bandwagon, but there are still a lot of people out there who don’t necessarily understand how to work the average mp3 player–how to load music onto it from our computers, how to even get music downloaded onto our computers in the first place, and so on. There are also a great deal of people thinking to themselves “Why can’t there be a simpler way to enjoy music while on the go? Well now there is.

Sansa slotRadio The Sansa slotRadio from SanDisk is the ultimate no hassle music player. There’s no transferring your music from your computer to your music device; no trying to figure out how to get music transferred if you’re not completely comfortable with music downloading or music playing gadgets, no waiting for all of your files to transfer or wondering how much space you have left on your mp3 player and if all of your files will fit, because if you’re as big of a music freak as I am, they can continue making mp3 players with more and more space, but you will always have more music needed to be loaded onto it and chances are, you’re going to run out of that space real quick. The slotRadio comes pre-loaded with 1,000 full-length songs featuring artists from the Billboard charts, professionally arranged into genres that you can flip through. It also has an FM radio integrated into it so if you listen to the morning radio shows you won’t miss them while listening to your slotRadio. Additional slotRadio cards are available for purchase if you want to mix things up a little. You can purchase additional cards for a variety of genres, including health and fitness for all of those great songs to work out to, rock, country, R&B/hip hop, oldies, 80’s and 90’s, daily mix and the slotRadio mix. However, even if you listen to your slotRadio constantly, it will take you quite some time to get through all 1,000 songs that are loaded onto the Billboard charts card that you receive with the player; I have had my slotRadio for a little over a month now and still haven’t made my way through all of the songs. It definitely has something for everyone and something for everyone’s many moods.

You may be apprehensive about the idea of a pre-loaded music player; what if you don’t enjoy any of the songs that are on the card that comes with it? I had the same apprehension and so did my partner who, when I initially told him about the slotRadio told me ‘You should just get a regular mp3 player since you’re guaranteed to like all the music on it.’ But after we both had our time with it, we found that there were many, many songs on the card that we both loved. A misconception that we picked up on from looking at the slotRadio website and actually using it ourselves is that the Billboard card is not full of songs that are currently on the Billboard charts; it encompasses a great deal of songs from years. I was very pleasantly surprised to get reacquainted with a great deal of songs that I had forgotten about completely that took me right back to those good times from the past that gave me that incredible warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you reminisce on past memories that are attached to the songs you heard on the radio or the bands you loved at that time.

All in all, I absolutely love the Sansa slotRadio; I listen to it when I’m working on my laptop from bed and have even used it quite a few times while sitting at my desktop, even with my ample supply of music at my fingertips that I have on my desktop. If you’re looking for a quality music player that involves no work or hassle whatsoever, I would definitely recommend you check out the Sansa slotRadio.

If you would like to purchase the Sansa slotRadio, it is available for purchase on the official website as well as to Radio Shack stores nationwide.

Grow Delicious Crops and Raise Adorable Animals on Your Own Farm…On Facebook

Farmville Facebook has an absolute plethora of applications; they easily have hundreds of applications, if not more, that appeal to pretty much everyone. I have noticed an application frenzy around Facebook as of late. While applications have always been very popular on Facebook, it seems as of the number of people visiting their Facebook applications has grown exponentially and seem to only be rising as time goes by. From personality and ‘What character from this television show/movie are you most like?’ quizzes to games you can play with and against your friends Facebook applications have been growing to meet the rising demand for them.

The reason why Facebook applications have done so well and are continuing to pick up the pace is because frankly, they are addicting and one game that has been the source of a great entertainment and procrastination for all is Farmville–an application that lets you be a farmer and grow crops and raise animals living on your own, virtual farm.

Farmville

Farmville lets you grow numerous crops like strawberries, eggplant, soybeans, peppers, and numerous others and lets you raise animals like cows, pigs, horses, and ducks. It is incredibly cute and very, very addicting, especially when you get into the awards you can get from achieving small milestones like harvesting a certain number of trees or the amount of times you visit and help out on your friend’s farm and start purchasing decorations like whitewash fences (to keep your animals all fenced in while they are getting ready for their feathers, wool, milk, and eggs to be collected!) and haybales, carts, outhouses, and garden gnomes. And of course, a farm is not complete without a barn, tool shed, and of course a farm house for your farmer to live in.

Over 7 million people are playing Farmville daily, but if you’re one of the few people to actually have never heard of this game, it’s time to start your own farm and get in on Farmville. However, you may want to clear your schedule for the next week or so because that’s how long you’ll be staring at your farm, waiting for crops to go, and decorate your space.

And if that sounds a little like what your life has looked like over the past few weeks, be sure to follow Farmville on Twitter @zfarmville where they announce all of the new crops, decorations, buildings, and more that are put into the game and announce all the cool stuff going on within the Farmville community, like one person who made an entire farm that looks like Super Mario.

Charter is Giving Away a Laptop a Day

Charter has become a household name not only in their internet and television serviceable areas, but also outside of those areas merely because of the amount of buzz they attract when they run promotions. Charter is the only internet and television provider I have ever seen that gives their customers something so valuable and exciting, such as their HDTV-A-Day sweepstakes from last April, just for choosing Charter as their provider. And because that sweepstakes was so successful, Charter is yet again launching a great promotion sure to excite anyone living in a Charter-serviceable area; and just in time for back to school shopping!

B2sbanner

From now until September 15 Charter is running a Laptop-a-Day Sweepstakes! This contest is for the student who is heading back to school in September (or August, as I know is the case here) who needs a laptop for homework, projects, research papers, and of course, being able to work on your schoolwork on the go! It’s also perfect for businesspeople who are attending meetings, conferences, or just need to get out of the house for a little while to work in peace at a local coffee shop or restaurant. Having a laptop makes it easy for you to get through your workload on the go and even produces a more efficient businessperson or student out of you.

The winner of Charter’s Laptop-a-Day Sweepstakes will receive an HP 550 Notebook 15-inch with Windows Vista and a NeoTec Compu Backpack. In addition, you will also have the chance to receive a gift card ranging in value from $25-$100 with special online deals from major retailers in clothing, home and accessories, restaurants, and more!

This sweepstakes runs from now until September 15 and don’t forget to keep up with all Charter news by visiting Charter on Facebook and following Charter on Twitter.

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Astronaut Mike Massimino Becomes First Person to Tweet From Space

On Tuesday at 4:30pm EST astronaut Mike Massimino upated his Twitter with:

“From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!”

The only thing that separates him from millions of other people who tweet several times a day, every day, is that Massimino tweeted from space, making him the first person to ever tweet from space. He began tweeting in April as he prepared for the mission and with more than 241,000 followers, he kept his promise to file updates from the space shuttle Atlantis as it reasies to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. Atlantis is NASA’s fifth and final repair visit to the Hubble Space Telescope.

You can follow astronaut Mike Massimino on Twitter @Astro_Mike and also Mark Polansky, the commander of the mission @astro_127.

UK Schools to Begin Teaching Twitter & Blogging

Anyone who uses the internet on a regular, or even semi-regular basis knows that the blogosphere and social networking sites have exploded. No matter what channel you get your news from, the anchor will often mention that they had people responding to the subject matter via Facebook and/or Twitter; major publications’ websites have options to connect via Facebook and every single person, organization or company that has a name going for themselves utilize Twitter as a way to connect with their audiences.

Online Marketing 101 will tell you that in order to be successful as a person, organization, or business, you need to open up your online market and to do that, you need to start a blog for your website, ensuring you always have fresh content for your website, and sign up for Twitter to connect with people even further and to spread the word about your brand. Online marketers have and will continue to give their colleagues and friends tips and tricks on how to utilize an online market, but the UK is taking it a step further and teaching young people early on about online marketing by implementing classes on Twitter, Wikipedia, podcasting, and blogging.

While many people are voicing their outrage over this decision for UK schools, I think it’s a pretty good idea. Perhaps I wouldn’t go as far as to teach classes specifically on particular social networking sites, but I would teach young people about the internet, given the technologically-driven world we live in today. When I was in middle school, sixth to eighth grade, my school taught us classes on how to use a computer and in seventh grade, we took a class on typing that was taught on an old-fashioned typewriter. It was because of those classes that I first got introduced to computers and how to work my way around one and also the fact that I can currently type around 80 words per minute. I currently work as a professional web designer and copywriter, so those skills have definitely paid off and I think they will also pay off in this case for UK children taught how important social networking websites and services are.

Any other thoughts? I’m quite interested in hearing from people who don’t think these classes are beneficial at all.

Gyminee, the Social Network for Fitness

Gyminee

Social networking may not be new, we’ve been utilizing social networking tools like MySpace for way too long and then came along it’s (far superior) nemesis, Facebook, and we’ve been addicted to Twitter for who knows how long! It feels like ages, really, when I think back to when I created my first MySpace account (because I’ve had several, trying to dodge people I went to high school that I couldn’t stand then and really don’t want to “reconnect” with now.) We’ve made groups, fan pages, and so on on these social networking platforms, but now there is a social network specifically for staying fit and healthy.

Gyminee helps you keep track of your workouts, monitor your diet, reach your fitness and health goals, and for good measure, gives you yet another social networking base to utilize in order to make new friends. And who doesn’t like new friends? What makes this site so much different than any other social networking platform out there, besides the obvious “this one is for health and fitness!” is that if you’re really serious about using a website to monitor your health and fitness regimen, you are going to log in regularly and in the process, not lose track of the friends you made or let your account go dead.

According to their website, most Gyminee users lose 6.2lbs of fat and gain 5.75lbs of muscle and to help you meet your goals, they also provide you with workout programs. If you’re a person who is serious about their fitness, you can only benefit from Gyminee, and if you’re the type of person who thinks about getting fit and staying healthy, Gyminee can help motivate you to go after your goals.

Gyminee is not only a social network in itself, they also utilize other social networks. Follow them on Twitter!

Never Forget an Item at the Store Again

I don’t know about you, but every single time I go the grocery store, I end up forgetting either one or several items I went to the store for in the first place. That doesn’t stop me from buying up the whole store, of course and thus making me completely oblivious to what I forgot until I get home, put the groceries away and suddenly it dawns on me that what I wanted to make for dinner that night is still sitting at the store. Luckily, I’m not even close to being the only person who does this and not only can several other primary grocery shoppers of the household can empathize, an awesome gadget came out to eliminate this from happening ever again.

SmartShopper is a gadget with state-of-the-art voice recognition that makes a grocery list by speaking into the device and printing your list out to take with you to the store. With over 2500 different items including food and even errands and anything else you find yourself doing regularly, you are sure to get what you need done every single time you go to run your errands. No more forgetting to pick up dinner or depositing a check or anything else you need to get done and if the SmartShopper does not have the item you need listed in their database, you can enter your own errand and add voice recognition for the item for later use.

SmartShopper is more than appropriately named, it really is the smartest gadget you will ever pick up and you will find yourself benefiting from the organization this gadget introduces into your lives from the first time you pick it up.

This gadget is extremely easy to use, perfect for busy moms, anyone who loves a cool gadget, teachers, anyone who needs a little organization in their lives and in my opinion, it would be perfect for elderly people living on their own. The SmartShopper is extremely easy to use, has a clear, easy-to-read LED screen display, requires no ink cartridges to print, and has a very strong magnet making it easy to just stick on the fridge without having to worry about it getting lost.

The SmartShopper is an ideal gadget for anyone who, like me, finds themselves constantly forgetting to run errands as well as finding out that dinner is still at the store when you go to prepare it.

Receive $5 off of your purchase of SmartShopper with promo code EU87937.

Smart Shopper

Receive $5 off of your purchase of SmartShopper with promo code EU87937.

Blogging Basics: Time isn’t Always Money

We have all heard the phrase “time is money” when it comes to the business world, but in the blog world, to expect compensation for the exact amount of time you put into your blog is almost unheard of, especially when you’re new to blogging.

Whether you started your blog for personal use or to market your business, it is wise to think about your website as an additional relationship with a partner who is insanely jealous. It will need tender loving care, especially during the first three to four months and if you even think of giving something else your attention, even for a little while, your blog is going to be very upset with you, sitting there with no one paying attention to it.

With the amount of time you will spend writing your posts, advertising them as well as your blog as a whole, your blog will definitely take up a great deal of your time. If you started a blog to make money, give up your dream of making a living from blogging because it will firstly take a great deal of time to build your blog and start attracting loyal readers. While there are very few bloggers who can afford to quit their jobs and live freely collecting income from their blogs, such as Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, he tends to give people the illusion that it is easy if they just read his blog and follow what he teaches you. Even if you have been reading and following the advice Darren has given since ProBlogger’s conception, you may still be sitting there with a pagerank 0 blog (especially if you started doing paid posts or selling direct advertising on your blog, Google tends to hate when people start making money from their blogs) and an Alexa rank up in the millions. There is no such thing as overnight success in the blogging world and even if you worked diligently for months, or even years, your blog still may not go anywhere and that is a reality that all bloggers looking for some sort of payoff face and agree to when starting their blogs.

Although it seems like everyone already has a blog, it isn’t as easy as people elude to. Reading internet marketing blogs, taking professional blogger’s advice and buying books giving you the illusion that it is easy to earn a six-figure income from blogging alone isn’t going to work overnight and in some cases, not at all. Most importantly, you must remember the key points to blogging–You must have patience, don’t be afraid to spend time on it even if you’re not seeing any money from it and most importantly, love what you do because that is the only way you’re going to be able to spend so much time on something without any sort of payoff besides the sense of pride you have in yourself every time you hit ‘publish.’

Register to Vote Using Your Xbox

I Voted The 2008 election is almost upon us and many people still aren’t aware of the impact they have when they vote. Voting, especially for women, had become a well-deserved and well fought for privilege 88 years ago and since then, has become our responsibility; not just as women, but as Americans. This election is the most historic and crucial election perhaps in all of history and to let this election go by and staying silent would be a travesty. So while you’re playing video games, even if you’re unable to get yourself away for the amount of time it takes to download, print out, sign and mail out a voter registration form, Xbox has you covered!

You can now register to vote using your Xbox who have recently partnered up with Rock the Vote. As long as you have an Xbox Live membership it is completely free to sign up to vote; not only that, but it is pretty easy to do, too! With over 12 million members currently on Xbox Live, what they are doing is absolutely amazing to get more people out to the polls.

Not only can you register to vote, but Xbox has made voting fun with online polls and downloadable gamer pics of the candidates to show your support!