For Gold, Peace, and Freedom


Target Your Gift with a Regional Gift Basket

March 21st, 2011

gift-basket.jpgLocal foods, once only available to people in a particular culinary region, can be packaged, shipped, and eaten anywhere now. The flavors of a favorite place can make the perfect gift. Online, there is a gift basket for every palate.

For some unfathomable reason, gift baskets seem to have a bit of a bad reputation. There is no good reason for this. How many things are better than opening your front door to a delivery of delicious treats, chosen just for you? When trying to find the perfect gift for a homesick friend or frustrated traveler, consider a gift basket that evokes memories of home or a favorite destination.

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How to Use Web Hosting Reviews

April 5th, 2010

Let’s face it — just about everyone has a web page these days. And the few who don’t probably need one. Whether for a large business or a personal hobby site, there is no easier, faster, or more economical way to get your message or product out to the entire world than by a Web site. But whether personal or business, building or buying a Web site is an investment in time, money, or both. So the one thing you don’t want to do is put your site out there on a host that is unstable, unreliable, or has bad customer support.

But what do you do? All web hosts have great looking sites, full of facts about how great they are and touting a flawless uptime and fantastic customer support. The reality is often another story and that is why you need to check out some good articles and reviews. Web hosting reviews can make all the difference between launching a successful site and a site that people can’t get to, is too slow, or that you can’t change quickly and easily. Reading what other people experienced with the host you are considering will let you see real life results of that experience.

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Save Money and Make It Fun with SmartyPig

March 26th, 2010

smartypig-review-logo.jpgSmartyPig is an online piggy bank dedicated to making purchases on credit a thing of the past. It allows you to set up savings goals, earn interest, interact with other members of the site, and even earn an extra cash “boost” when you purchase products from their online retail partners. SmartyPig is fun to use and helps take the sting out of those credit card interest payments that too often stick around long after the joy of the purchases has faded.

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Web of Trust: Internet Safety Advisor

March 20th, 2010

web-of-trust-site-logo.jpgBrowsing the Internet can be a scary thing, not only because of the risk of running into spyware, adware, and malware which can cause major issues for your computer, but also because of child safety issues. Sites that display adult or inappropriate content can make the journey through the Internet stressful and traumatic for both parents and children. Thankfully, developers have created programs that will assess the possible danger in each site and notify the Internet visitor of potential issues. Many of these programs can be found free of charge on the Internet, including the Internet safety advisor, WOT or Web of Trust, which can be found at MyWot.com.

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The Pros and Cons of Freelance Bidding Websites

March 3rd, 2010

freelance-writing-websites.jpgIf you have recently become a freelancer, you may have considered using freelance bidding websites to find work. As the name suggests, a freelance bidding website involves freelancers bidding to win work. Job descriptions are posted, and candidates can name the price that they are willing to complete the project for if they are hired. Naturally, this concept will not appeal to everyone as there are some definite flaws, but it can be a way for new freelancers to start building a portfolio of work. This article looks at some of the pros and cons of using freelance bidding websites to make money from your writing.

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Brief Guide to Successfully Selling Items On Craigslist

April 6th, 2009

how-to-sell-on-craigslist.jpgIn this article our cryptically named author newfnshow715 provides a brief overview of how to sell items on the increasingly popular classified site craigslist.org. This is another one of those advertising venues that I encounter references to quite frequently but never seem to get around to actually using. If I can find the right category, I might be able to generate some referral traffic to this site from here or perhaps even attract some much-needed article submissions. Otherwise I can always use the Craigslist local listings to run an ad or two for my brother’s computer repair business.

If you have never heard of Craigslist then you have probably been under a rock somewhere for the last few years. I have been using this website for some time and I enjoy using it for any items that are around my house. Whenever I need to get rid of something I head to Craigslist and see if anyone is interested in the item.

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ThisNext.com: What Will They Think of Next?

December 11th, 2008

thisnext-website-review.jpgThis article by Ashley Ludwig is a review of ThisNext.com, an online product search and shopping portal that may be useful for people who are looking for holiday gift ideas. Meanwhile, if you find some products at the site that you think might sell well, this guide called Info Product Killer can show you how to make big money by selling things through Amazon or other affiliate programs. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s much more fun to actually make money during the holiday season instead of spending it on a bunch of frivolous trinkets that will probably be forgotten about by the time next year rolls around. But then again, maybe it’s just me…

What is an Air Zooka, and how can I buy one? How would I find the world’s coolest fishbowl? Even more to the point, how does one find the most strange, unusual, perfect gift for your “difficult to shop for” friends and family? Log in to ThisNext.com, and your holiday gift nightmare will vanish before you can say Uncle Scrooge!

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KeyForCash.com Review

May 14th, 2008

Earlier this morning, I made another serendipitous find of an apparently legitimate work-at-home program called KeyForCash when I discovered this article by Shanna Coon. Normally I am rather skeptical of programs in the data entry category because this is one of those areas where there has been a significant amount of deceptive advertising. Many such programs are sold as ebooks or home study courses but are not what most of us would think of as data entry jobs. In reality, most of them are actually instructions for how to advertise on AdWords and make money as an affiliate or publisher; the “data entry” part comes in when you type the relatively small amount of text that goes into creating the ads.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with trying to make money with AdWords, being successful with it generally requires a substantial amount of knowledge and experience with marketing, not to mention the fact that there are initial costs involved in paying for the clicks. Real data entry jobs are not supposed to work like that — there are no up-front costs to get started, and you are actually paid for the typing, not for advertising products.

Supposedly this Key For Cash program is more like actual data entry, but since I have only recently discovered the site, I have not had the chance to put it through a full vetting process yet. If any of you have previous experience with this program, please share any relevant information with our readers. If the operation is indeed legitimate, it could be a good way to make some extra money without having to actually write articles, maintain a website, or do any advertising, which at this point would be a welcome relief for this particular webmaster.


Earning money at home is a big craze these days, especially with gas prices hovering above $3 per gallon. Low wages, decreased by the cost of fuel and day care, steer many to search for opportunities allowing them to stay home while earning a living. One of the harder markets to gain reputable work in is data entry. The pickings are slim; however, legitimate work-at-home positions do exist. KeyForCash is one of the honest, paying sites offering data entry work for good typists.

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LibraryThing.com Review

March 25th, 2008

library-thing.gifThis article by Ashley Ludwig is a review of the website LibraryThing.com, an open source book sharing platform that allows readers and collectors of books to share their personal favorites with other literary enthusiasts.

The Thing is no longer just the infamous billboards that grace I-10 between the Arizona and New Mexico borders, but a craze that is sweeping the nation’s bibliophiles.

Created by Tim Spalding, who keeps an interesting and informative blog on the site, LibraryThing.com is a phenomenon in its own right. LibraryThing.com is a unique open access website that allows its members to catalog, review, share, and discuss their personal library shelves with the world at large. The novice user can upload 200 titles for free, unlimited titles for $10 a year, or for a $25 investment, users can register an unlimited number of texts in their online library for life. The question remains, how does this website benefit the average book lover?

Through the magic of a highly functional online application, users simply copy the ISBN (International Book Serial Number), or Title/Author combination of the books within the collection, and LibraryThing.com searches out the matching bibliographic data that is available from libraries worldwide. A savvy user can determine which libraries or websites to draw from, limiting your choices to your top three selections. Your online library and profile is created and then the fun really starts.

According to the site, users can enter books they’re reading or their whole library in an easy, library quality catalog to connect users with people who read the same things. With the novel use of tagging and word-clouds, site users and visitors can find out which topics, titles and authors are all the rage across the globe. Titles are matched to cover images, and if no image is provided, users are encouraged to scan in and post their own cover images to share with the general LibraryThing population.

LibraryThing.com encourages users to generate their own reviews and even acknowledges well-written or starred reviews for other users to read. The user friendly platform allows users to easily tag their titles with keywords. The tags then allow you to search comparative titles within their growing database of books and can be viewed in the general Zeitgeist section of the site, which needs to be viewed for its wealth of information. Users can also rate the books in their collection and arrange bibliographic information in predetermined formats or in a unique manner. In the spirit of the open source movement, users can also share titles with other members, and ultimately join forums of discussion on an array of topics.

Whether for personal or professional use, LibraryThing.com is a tool that is changing the way that people interact with books and fellow book lovers online. It’s definitely worth the trip.

BT.com Offers IT, Computer Repair Services

February 14th, 2008

bt-logo.gifToday I have the opportunity to review one of the most popular IT sites on the Internet, BT.com. BT stands for British Telecommunications, a UK-based company entirely owned by BT Group, a PLC (Public Limited Company) that is traded on both the London and New York stock exchanges. The company’s activities primarily encompass the fields of IT (Information Technology) networks, broadband Internet access, and worldwide telecommunications services that include operations in some 170 countries.

After looking deeper into their site, however, I discovered that in addition to servicing large corporations and small business, BT.com also offers various pc help solutions for individual home users as well. According to their Home IT Support page, they offer technical support over the telephone for issues related to computers and some peripheral devices such as printers, webcams, or iPods. This service can be purchased on a subscription basis for a 3-month period for less than £10 per month (approximately 20 USD at current exchange rates), or you can save a little by subscribing for 12 months at a rate of £8.99 per month. For those who do not want to be locked into recurring payments, there is also an option to pay a one-time fee of £25 if you just need to get help for one particular problem.

In addition to phone support, BT now offers home visits for the technically challenged. In this scenario, one of their IT engineers can come to your residence and perform various computer repair and setup services such as installing new operating systems or software, setting up wireless Internet access, or performing a “health check” on your PC to detect and remove viruses, spyware, adware, and other assorted nasties. Prices for these services normally range from £90-120, but from now until March 31, 2008 they are offering a discount of £30 for all categories. Interested customers can make an appointment with one of the BT technicians through their simple online ordering process.

Overall, BT.com has a well-designed site that is devoid of unnecessary clutter, loads very quickly, and is streamlined for e-commerce and rapid communication. It also has an impressive PageRank of 8 and two-letter domain name, features that are surely the envy of every webmaster out there who hopes to turn their website into a lucrative business. I haven’t even bothered to check the number of backlinks yet, as it would only remind me of how far this site has to go in order to catch up with the big guys. But if you happen to live in the UK, or live elsewhere but desperately need help with an IT-related issue, you can always tap into BT.com’s ample resources to alleviate your technically induced headaches.

Flash Flash Revolution Game Review

February 13th, 2008

flashflashrevolution.gifThis article by Carole-Anne Franco is a review of a website and online game called Flash Flash Revolution. While proofreading the text, I noticed that the basic mechanics of the game (using the numpad to time key presses with the game’s musical rhythm) reminded me of the little dancing sequences in Sid Meyer’s recent remake of Pirates! Gold. Although these dance scenes seemed too girlish for some players, they provided a nice distraction from what eventually became a rather boring (and sadly unmoddable) pirate game.

With a sudden rise in rhythm based games out there (Rock Band, Guitar hero, Dance Dance Revolution, Bust-a-move, etc…), when you can find a good free online rhythm game it’s a joy. Flash Flash Revolution is a website that offers two games: Flash Flash Revolution and Spin it up!. The games are completely free and always will be - so they claim.

Flash Flash Revolution is a reincarnation of Dance Dance Revolution, except you don’t play it with your feet. You play it with your fingers. The concept is to match the arrow keys on your keypad or numpad with the arrow keys in the game. You have to press them at the right time though. If you hit them exactly at the right time, you get a “perfect”; If you’re slightly off, you get “good”; if you’re a little more off and you get “average’; if you completely missed it you get “missed”; if you missed it by a lot you get “boo”. When you hit the arrow keys in a timely manner, you get life points added to you life bar. If you miss, you get life points deducted from your life bar. To win a level all one has to do is have a bit of life left in the life bar. Once you lose it all, you lose the game.

Beginners of the game don’t have to worry; there are skill levels for all. Usually songs are listed on order of difficulty. When you win a level, you earn credits. Those can be used to purchase more songs at the FFR shop. Once you beat certain songs you also become eligible for the Skill section. These are songs based on the skill levels you were able to beat. Sometimes you earn tokens or secret songs. Those are much harder to get but not impossible.

Other than these categories, you can also choose songs from certain genres. There are 2 sections for dance (it’s just too popular). There’s are also sections for rock, hip hop, classical, arcade and funk music.

The game also features multiplayer. While you can’t tag team with other players (unless you share a keypad), you can face off other players. You can either find enemies in the multiplayer room or challenge specific players in the Challenge room. Be careful of challenging though - you could lose money.

Unfortunately, since the game is online, having a bad connection could cause problems. Thankfully there is a low resolution version of the game if you don’t mind having to squint your eyes a bit.

Then there are two in-progress versions of Flash Flash Revolution, R2 and Resonance. Resonance isn’t an official game technically because these are songs whose arrows were designed by users. You can upload your own song and arrows for it by making a Sim file or you can play other people’s Sim files. Unlike the regular game where each song has only one skill level, these songs will have 4 skill levels each. You choose your level prior to picking a song.

Meanwhile, R2 is meant to resemble more its ancestor Dance Dance Revolution. Once again, you choose your skill level prior to choosing a song. However, the way this is setup it doesn’t really matter as you can easily choose a song beyond your abilities. Of course that is because this game is still being worked on.

For those who play R2 now, it can be noticed that the game seems harder to play. If you come in late or early on a key, you’re supposed to get a “good” or “average” rating. However, often the game won’t recognize slightly off entries and just categorize them as misses. Since the game is more like Dance Dance Revolution, it features its harsher grading system. You earn far less for each right entry and lose far more for each wrong one. Add that with unrecognized keys and you have one of the hardest rhythm games of all time. If you can’t hit at the exact time, you might as well not even bother.

Now it’s time for Spin it Up!. This is a completely different game. Spin it Up! is a game where you have a circle. You are given an arc as a playing field. (For those who don’t remember geometry, an arc is a section of the edge of a circle). In this game your arc is a quarter of the full circle length. You try to match up your arc with incoming arcs at the right time. In other words, you see a wave coming out of the center and you have to swing your mouse (but not the keypad) around in order to catch it before it leaves the circle.

As you go up in levels, you will need to move a lot faster and have odd movements. This will require some thinking because sometimes it will look as though it releases two or more waves at the same time, but they’ll actually have a small time difference. You have to figure out which one hits the circle first in order to get to them all in order. The game has a rather high learning curve and is pretty difficult. The easy levels are more adapted but also are far more boring. Once again, multiplayer is available.

If you look at the end of the navigation bar on the website, you’ll also see a link to another game called MeTrivia. This game is actually not held on the FlashFlashRevolution website and has nothing to do with rhythm based games. It’s a trivia game. Since it’s not on the same site, you’ll have to make an account on metrivia.com to play it; you can’t use your FFR account.

However, you are not required to make accounts to play on either website. Accounts are good if you want a profile and for the website to keep a ranking. Otherwise you can just play without an account as a guest user. Whether you’re in for a numpad game or a mouse game, this site offers some interesting choices.

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