Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category
Posted in Tech
by Shawn Knight
on January 8, 2013
Men and Poker Nights
For some men, knowing how to play poker is a basic requirement of being a guy. Anything can happen during a poker night. It is the best time for guys to just be care-free; a time to be themselves. It is not all about the money. It is not also about the food and drink. Well, okay, it may be a little about money, but not at all times. Poker nights can be a chance for men to celebrate manhood. Despite losing some amount of money when playing, many men still enjoy playing the game. As a matter of fact, spending time at poker nights is all about enjoying the company of your best buddies.
There are some men who love playing at online poker sites such as partypoker, especially after work just to relax their minds. But some men organize a “Poker Night” because they love the thrill that live poker games give. It’s best to set a date and place on when and where to hold the event and it is also necessary to set cash limits for betting to make sure that no one goes overboard on spending.
It is always important to establish the rules before each game starts. Make sure that everyone understands the rules of the game to avoid complaints from losing players. Most often than not, losing players will complain about not having clear rules. Make sure that each player gets the chance to play the game that they are good at. If at some point, a player or two does not know how to play a certain game, a practice hand can be played to make sure that everyone understands how the new game works. Keeping a rulebook nearby to minimize confusion while playing can help. Keep your cool and keep the atmosphere light by starting simple ice-breakers with other players.
If you have time, learn other poker games other than Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha and Stud are some of the fun variations of poker and keeping a wide selection of poker games up your sleeves ensure that you will have variety for each poker night. Learning the different poker games can be fun when you do it online as it gives you basic instructions and tutorials if you’re unfamiliar with the rules. Repeating games is quite annoying; hence playing other poker games will make your night more enjoyable for everyone.
Above all, be man enough to take a bad beating. Remember that poker is a game which is full of great life experiences. Learn something from it when you lose a game. After every game, announce at the table that you had a great night with your buddies and make it a regular thing.
Posted in Tech
by Shawn Knight
on May 29, 2010
As an entrepreneur and avid follower of John Chow, I knew I wanted to read his book when it was released a few weeks ago. I had read his free eBook and wondered if it would be the same recycled content in print version. I’m glad to report that it isn’t.
John and I have a lot in common. We both got our start online around the same time by creating websites to show off our custom built computers. John went on to find huge success with his site before shifting gears and morphing into a blogging icon. I shadowed John and built a successful tech site that I still run today. I even created and authored this self-titled blog just like John. The stark difference between us is that he found great success with his blog and this blog ultimately failed for many of the reasons he lists in his book. Had I known then what I know now after reading this book, I certainly would have taken a different approach with my blog from the beginning and odds are, it would be making more money than ever.
In addition to just blogging, this book offers a lot of good general information on writing as well as networking and marketing. The two latter categories are just as, if not more important than writing skills. John details how to set up a Wordpress blog, which plug-ins to install and how to monetize your blog using several different revenue streams. Once you start making money, you can use techniques discussed in the book to optimize you advertising for maximum revenue.
The book isn’t limited to the Internet, however. John discusses several offline methods that you can use to promote your blog in the real-world. One key to a successful blog is using every tool available to you.
Some of the information in the book may seem like common sense but speaking as a failed blogger, methods and techniques only seem obvious once you know the proper way to do something.
John continues to be an inspiration and fuels the entrepreneurial fire within me. In fact, I registered a new domain name while reading the book and plan to get started on this new project very soon. If he can do it, why can’t anyone else?
If you are new to blogging or just want to make a little extra money with a blog you already run, I would certainly recommend you give Make Money Online a read.
for now, at least.
I’ve had a lot of fun updating this blog since I started it nearly three years ago, but the time has come (at least, for now) to move on.
I started this blog back in January 2007 after returning from my first ever trip to CES. As lame as it sounds, that trip literally changed my life and ultimately the direction I wanted to take it. I met some amazing people during and shortly after that trip that showed me anything was possible and I could make one of my dreams a reality.
This blog has been online and active for 2 1/2 years which is an eternity in the blogsphere. So why am I deciding to end it now?
The first reason is time, or lack of. I don’t seem to have as much free time as I did when I started this adventure. I have since moved backed closer to all of my friends and have taken on additional review opportunities online. This gives me less time to devote to the blog, which needs a lot of attention and dedication to be successful. Not only do you have to update your blog frequently, it is also important that you read other blogs and comment there as well. Stuff like this helps to drive traffic to your own site.
In what seems to make very little sense, now that I have moved closer to my friends, I tend to do less “exciting” things and thus, there really isn’t as much interesting stuff for me to post here. Blog posts used to come naturally and I always had something to talk about or an opinion to voice, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. I guess you can say I got boring!
When I started this site, social networking was still relatively new. Now that Twitter and Facebook have changed the way we communicate and share information online, I can simply share my experiences through these mediums instead. Feel free to follow me on Twitter or add me as a friend on Facebook and I will do the same.
I still have a lot of things I want to accomplish and unfortunately this blog is at the bottom of the list. I toyed with the idea of monetizing this blog and changing its focus or even starting a new niche blog altogether, but as I have said in the past, that just didn’t feel right. There are a lot of things about blog marketing and such that I would have to research beforehand and again, I don’t have the time for that right now.
For now, however, I am just going to keep on keeping on and doing the things I love. I still love photography and will continue to post pictures on Facebook and Flickr. I’m still a big Dave Ramsey fan and hard at working paying off all of my old debt. Heck, I might even change my outlook on being single LOL.
All kidding aside, I want to thank everyone who has stopped by, read a post and commented on something here. I am certain the site wouldn’t have lasted this long had it not been for the reader participation during some of the blog’s more active times. I will be leaving the site online as I feel there are some valuable posts that others could learn from.
Final blog stats:
769 total posts
Posted in Tech
by Shawn Knight
on May 25, 2009
Analyzing Traffic Trends
Once you have built a quality website and have a decent amount of content, it’s time to drive traffic to it. I put this post together to share some tips that I have learned over the years in regards to how to analyze traffic trends, find what works and what doesn’t, when to post new content and how to generate a solid and reliable traffic source.
Looking at the general scope of traffic trends, websites tend to generate more visitors in the winter months. Because it is so cold outside, most people stay indoors and thus, get on the computer more than they might in the spring, summer and fall seasons when the weather is nicer and it is more appealing to do outdoor activities. Advertising firms are well aware of this trend as well and some tend to only start new campaigns at the onset of these cooler months.
Moving in closer, there are also some weekly, daily and even hourly trends that you should be aware of to maximize the potential of your articles / reviews. I have noticed that traffic is the strongest on Monday and remains pretty steady throughout the traditional work week. Monday is a high traffic day because people are coming back to work from the weekend and are catching up on everything they may have missed over the weekend.
Traffic remains pretty constant throughout the week, again, simply because people are at work surfing the web rather than doing their jobs. This theory is further solidified by looking at the hourly traffic stats. Without fail, there is a sharp curve around 10:00 a.m. which remains elevated until 5:00 p.m which is roughly the time that most people are at work.
One would think that weekends would bring more traffic since people are off work and free to play on the computer, but that is not true. Weekends tend to be reserved for family time, gaming or other activities not associated with the computer and the Internet. Also, holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas are other times when traffic tends to dip down for the same reasons - people simply aren’t spending time at the computer.
How To Generate More Traffic To Your Site
The tips listed here are just a few that I recommend based on my findings with my product review website, but many of these same techniques can be applied to blogging as well.
Before trying to generate some serious traffic, you need to have a solid foundation. This means a well-designed and easy to navigate website and more importantly, some solid content. I will leave it up to you to decide how much content to start with before trying to drive traffic, but I would recommend at least a full month’s worth. This will give new readers something to keep them busy on their first visit and hopefully entice them enough to return.
Depending on the type of website you are running, you will want to check out other similar websites and see if they have a news e-mail address. This is extremely valuable for me, as every time I publish a new review / article, I send out a press release to my news contact list, which has close to 150 addresses on it. These sites receive my press release and then post a news blurb about it in their daily news section. This drives a lot of traffic to the review and can easily double or triple the amount of traffic I would get on a normal day so it is important to build your contact list with as many sites as you can.
This leads me into my next pointer, which is to have some type of daily news update in addition to your original content. Many sites on my contact list will only post news if you return the favor. Also, having a news section gives your readers a reason to check back daily, and sometimes multiple times a day depending on how many times per day you update this news list. For bloggers, the news listed here could be links to posts from some of your favorite blogs.
For bloggers specifically, one of the keys to generating traffic and participation on your blog is to visit and comment on as many other sites as you can make time for. Most sites provide a spot for you to post your site address which will certainly generate traffic from the site owner as well as other readers of said site. Participation and community involvement is absolutely key for bloggers.
Another good idea to generate traffic and more participation is to host a contest or giveaway. I have found that it is best to have a few prizes to give away, as this gives each reader a better chance at winning something. Cold hard cash works well, but if you don’t have any extra money to spend, you can try getting sponsors to donate some prizes in exchange for advertising. If this isn’t an option, perhaps you could give away a service like designing a logo or doing some HTML coding for free. The options here are pretty limitless, just make sure you are actually giving away something with value that your target audience would be interested in. If you do a giveaway, one idea is to have participants submit their e-mail address for inclusion in a newsletter. A weekly newsletter is a great way to drive targeted traffic to your site.
A newer but very important marketing tool that you should be taking advantage of is social networking sites, the “Big 3″ as I call them: Facebook MySpace and Twitter. Amass as many friends / followers as you can on each of these networks then use it to your advantage. Create a fan page for your site on Facebook and post updates to it each time you release a new post / article / review. Do the same with MySpace and Twitter, creating a bulletin post / Tweet with each new post. The possibilities here are only limited to how many friends you have, so the more the better!
It is important to remember that offline marketing can be just as lucrative as online promotion. Ideas here can range from promotional pens to custom t-shirts. I probably have close to 10 company promotional t-shirts in my closet that I wear on a regular basis. This is free advertising for the company and a free shirt for me; a win-win situation!
The last bit of information I will offer here today is to print up some business cards. This is vital, especially if you offer some type of service on your site. Business cards are great for networking at trade shows and other social gatherings of like-minded people. Often they are a requirement for admission as well.
These are just a few tips for analyzing traffic sources and generating some more traffic to your site. Let me know if you have any others that I should add to the list!
I finally caved in and signed up for Twitter, something I said I would never do! Why did I finally give in and do this?
Unlike most people, I plan to primarily use it as a business tool. Social networks are very powerful and as I have said many times before, the majority of business (especially online) is based on who you know. It is this exact reason that I am a member of sites like LinkedIn.
My first day with Twitter was frustrating, as it appeared their service was having technical issues and I couldn’t do simple tasks like update my profile picture… or at times, even refresh my page. But that has all been cleared up now and I am starting to get the hang of things. I haven’t had a whole lot of time to mess around with it just yet but I do have a handful of followers already. With some more dedication, I am sure I can get a lot more followers in the near future and really harness the power of this social networking tool.
Feel free to follow me and check out what goes on in my daily life, and of course I will return the favor
Posted in General
by Shawn Knight
on April 8, 2009
Yay, I just got my TV back from the repair shop a few minutes ago. Props to the shop for getting the unit back to me in a timely fashion and having excellent communication. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for Sanyo. They gave me the run-around for nearly three weeks, didn’t return my calls as promised on more than one occasion and just seemed to take their time with things.
I tried searching Google for the model number of the part replaced, but I couldn’t find an exact match. It appears as though they replaced the power supply or some other control board inside the unit.
The good thing is I now have my TV back as good as new and since it was still under warranty, it didn’t cost me anything. Hopefully it will last more than 8 months this time!
Posted in General
by Shawn Knight
on March 30, 2009
One of the best ways to stay productive is to be organized. I know this can be a challenge for many people, especially if you are pressed for free time. But, having everything nice and neat makes your overall work area that much more enjoyable.
Up until recently, my work area had always been kinda tidy, but underneath the desk was a total rat’s nest! This wasn’t a huge issue as I had my recliner on the backside of the desk blocking most of the mess, but it still bothered me when I looked under the desk from the front. Something had to be done.
Keith and I took a trip to Office Depot about a month ago in search of a solution. I had an idea of what I wanted, but of course the moment I get there, I find two other workstation desks that I really liked. I was looking at over $200 for a nice L-shaped desk, but really, that wouldn’t solve my problems. Plus, I didn’t want to spend near that much money for what I had in mind. I stuck to the Dave Ramsey philosophy and ended up with a simple $40 adjustable wire shelving system.
It was exactly what I had in mind before going shopping and as you can see, it worked out great! My desk is only large enough to hold my two monitors, and since I need the computer and virtually everything else level with me, the shelf works great. The bottom shelf holds my printer and Western Digital My Book. The second shelf houses my APC battery backup, cable modem, router, camera battery charger, mouse battery charger and an additional surge protector. My PC sits on the top shelf. All of the cables are zip-tied and kept nice and neat.
Since my TV is still broken, I moved my cable box and Xbox over to the workstation as well. Each of the computer monitors I am using has an HDMI port, so I have the cable box connected to one and the Xbox connected to the other. It’s a bit cluttered with everything, but it’s really not as bad as I anticipated (watching TV and gaming on the monitors).
I think this was a very wise investment as my workstation looks much better without a ton of wires dangling everywhere. I can now easily reach everything, where as before it was on the floor under my desk. A win-win situation!
Posted in General
by Shawn Knight
on March 24, 2009
As my luck would have it, I am watching TV three weeks ago when all of the sudden, it turns off as if I had pressed the power button. Odd, because I didn’t. Maybe Jacinta did on accident? I tried turning it back on. The unit clicked on like normal, the green LED light lit up like normal… but there was no picture. After about 10 seconds, the TV turns itself back off. Yay, now I have a new black mirror in my living room!
The TV is only 8 months old and was manufactured in the same month I purchased it. I had the TV connected to my APC Battery Backup so there is little chance it was an electrical issue with the power it was being fed.
On the bright side, the TV is only 8 months old which means it is still under the 1 year manufacturer’s warranty!
The Warranty Process
I called Sanyo tech support the same day it broke and was told that I wouldn’t have to pay for anything and it would be fixed under warranty. He told me that a technician would call me the next day. He did, but he needed the serial number which I didn’t have access to at the time. Two days later, I called back with the serial number and again was told that a technician would return my call (I was calling “after hours” apparently and was getting a foreign phone rep).
The technician called the next day, I explained that I had called previously but didn’t have the S/N at the time. He tried to look up my information but couldn’t find it. So, I gave him all of my info. again along with the S/N and explained that if possible, it would be great if someone could do an in-home repair as it would be difficult for me to take the TV somewhere myself. He said he would check around and call me back the very next day. Of course, he never did.
A few days later, I call back and speak to the same guy. They had no record of me in their system, nice. After repeating my story for the third time, he said he would print out the info. and put it on his boss’ desk and that there shouldn’t be any problems getting this taken care of. He assured me someone would call me the next day. Guess what - they didn’t.
I was busy the next few days and never got around to making the return call. Last Friday, however, I finally called them back and talked to the same guy once again. He said he couldn’t find my info. at first, put me on hold then magically returned with it. He gave me the number to a local shop and told me to call them in an hour to schedule the in-home repair. Now we are making progress!
I did as I was told an hour later but Sanyo still had not contacted them. The lady at the repair shop said she would call me when they got the info. from Sanyo, which she did about 30 minutes later.
I explained what had happened and she said they couldn’t fix it in-home but would come and pick the TV up and take it back to their shop. That’s fine, I suppose and everything was scheduled for today. I was told they would call before they came to verify someone was at home.
Today rolls around and still no call around 3pm, so I call the local shop. She said they tried to call me earlier - nope! Turns out, Sanyo gave them the wrong number for me and now, they can’t make it back out until Thursday.
Gah, what a headache! Three weeks in and the TV is still sitting here staring at me. If only all companies were as good as Apple about replacing broken equipment. Their 3 day turnaround was mind blowing!
Fortunately, I have still been able to watch television and play Xbox using a 24″ computer monitor with HDMI that I reviewed earlier this month. Strangely enough, I really haven’t missed not having the big TV all that much.
Have any of you had nightmare stories trying to get work done under warranty?
Online communities like MySpace, Facebook and Friendster have totally revolutionized the way we keep in touch with friends and family members online. While this is great and all for leisure and entertainment, these sites don’t really offer any benefits for business-minded people. Its this void that sites like LinkedIn aim to fill.
LinkedIn is an online community for business professionals to meet, share ideas and keep in contact with each other. Networking in any business setting is essential if you plan to grow and expand your company. As I have said before, its all about “who you know”, especially in the tech industry. You really do need to know as many people as you can and get your name out there. You never know when having the right contact will benefit you.
The site is free to join and once you have created an account, you can begin to set up your profile. If you have worked with any online communities, you should already be familiar with most everything.
Your profile page is more or less an online resume. You can list previous jobs and your education background, as well as provide as little or as much detail about each as you wish. You can even receive recommendations from others on your connections list, like a business reference or a letter of recommendation. Stuff like this goes a long way when job hunting!
The meat and potatoes of LinkedIn, however, is the networking. A powerful search tool is provided which makes it pretty easy to find contacts you have worked with. Once you have established a contact, you can look at their connections list to find others you might know or have done business with. You can request that a friend introduce you to a new contact or elect to initiate contact yourself.
LinkedIn also offers a ton of other features, like job searches and a very neat question and answer section where you can post questions to your contacts or the community in general.
I joined LinkedIn last year but just recently started making a heavy push for new contacts and it is already starting to pay off as a few new business opportunities have developed. If you are already on LinkedIn, feel free to add me as a connection. See you there!
Today marks the two year anniversary of this blog! It was on January 20, 2007 that I made my very first post to this blog. I started this blog just after attending the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show where I met some really beneficial people, like Bob Buskirk, a fellow tech site owner.
Since that time, this blog has seen 745 posts and 1940 comments over the past two years, which is pretty decent for a non-niche blog. I have really enjoyed updating the blog, sharing aspects of my tech site and personal life with my readers.
I have toyed with the idea of monetizing this blog or perhaps starting a niche blog (probably personal finance), but thus far, I haven’t acted on either of those ideas. We shall see what happens in 2009.
Updates as of late have been few and far between, which haven’t been on purpose. It just seems that I have less and less time to devote to the blog, but I will look to change that from this point forward. So, what’s been going on since my last update?
A CES 2009 No-Show
This was the first year since I started going to CES that I didn’t make it to Vegas for the annual technology trade show. I tossed around the idea of attending late last year but ultimately decided against it, mostly for financial reasons. CES is such a blast and equally as beneficial for my tech site, as I get to network and make new contacts with potential sponsors and other site owners which is invaluable. But, I didn’t let that get me down and did what I could from home and managed to secure a relationship with Intel, which is absolutely huge!
CES 2010 is definitely in my future, granted the show doesn’t go the way of COMDEX and cease to exist next year. Attendance was down this year but let’s hope they give it a few more years to rebound.
Ole Miss Wins 2009 Cotton Bowl
Ole Miss shocked the country and took Texas Tech to the woodshed in the 2009 Cotton Bowl on January 2, coming away with a 47-34 victory and proving once again that the Big 12 is overrated. The Rebs finished the season very strong, with a 31-13 win over LSU in the 1st annual Magnolia Bowl and absolutely dismantled Mississippi State 45-0 in the Egg Bowl. Ole Miss finished 15th nationally and is already being ranked as high as 5th in preseason polls for next year.
These accolades are well earned. After all, Ole Miss was the only team to beat Florida, the eventual National Champion. 2009 will be a great year for sure. Can you say SEC Champions?
I told myself I would probably never buy another gaming console, especially a current-generation unit. They are just too expensive and I don’t play games enough to warrant the expense. But here I am, with a 360!
I ended up buying a Pro model from Josh after our last LAN party. He purchased two additional units for use at the party but turns out, we didn’t need them. I got a heck of a deal which is really the reason I bought it. And thanks to Left 4 Dead, I have actually been playing it quite a bit, as a group of about 5-6 of us play multiplayer almost nightly. If you are on Live and want to add me, just leave a comment with your Gamertag or e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paying Off Debt
Since I started following Dave Ramsey about a year ago, I have cut out a ton of useless spending in my budget and have been working very hard to pay off debt that I have accumulated over the years. About 85% of my debt is student loans and I have been paying those off as fast as I can. I have only a single payment left on the one loan I have been attacking which is pretty exciting. My focus after that is the one remaining credit card balance I am carrying, then it is full steam ahead on my large student loan.
At first, it was really tough to cut back on unnecessary spending and trying to save money, but now that I have been doing it for almost a year, it is actually fun. I enjoy seeing how frugal I can be each month and how little I can get by on. Odd, yes, but it is very motivating.
Keeping Busy With Work
Many people wish they could work for themselves at home, create their own schedules and be their own boss. The reality is, it is tough. The reason I say this is because you are never “off work”. With a traditional job, once you leave the office, you are free. You don’t have to worry with work until the next day or after the weekend. When you work for yourself, you are always thinking about work and what needs to be done and when you are going to do it. I love what I do but it is pretty stressful and there is a lot of responsibility. I don’t think most people could do it.
Anyway, things with OCIA.net are still going strong. I have been focusing on attaining more sponsorships for the site, which means sharing the latest and greatest hardware with our readers. Things look bright for 2009 and I can’t wait to see what the year brings!
I have been looking to hire an additional reviewer and have taken a chance on two people in the past several months, both of which have screwed me over and basically stole the review items without doing any work. Its frustrating when someone with no morals comes along and throws a monkey wrench into what you have worked hard to do just for a free product. Its even more frustrating when you see these people move on to the next site they plan to scam.
On that note, if you are into the tech scene and think you might be interested in writing for my site, shoot me an email and we can talk.
I have also been doing some freelance writing for another tech site based in Mexico, Techspot. Things with this site have been going really well and I have had a good time reviewing for them and look forward to continue our relationship in 2009.
I had never heard of a Texas Pickle until just recently. Adam had been telling me about then for a while and finally decided to make a batch.
Basically, you take jalapenos, remove the insides, fill with cheese then wrap the entire thing in bacon. Bake in the oven or cook on the grill and you end up with what you see above!
I love trying new foods and the Texas Pickle was no exception and in fact, it was very good. I am not a huge fan of spicy foods but once gutted and cooked, the jalapeno was not spicy at all. I would recommend you give them a try sometime for sure.
And with that, I’m off to go make dinner…