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Why I'm Moving I Moved My Blog To Google+

In my last article, I shared with you that I'm in the process of moving my blog over to this Google+ page full time, and exclusively. I wanted to devote an entire article as to the why behind it, because there's a lot that went into this decision.

It's not like my blog is that big of a deal to begin with. I joked that I have like 3 readers of my blog and that anything I write pretty much gets ignored and undiscovered in the vastness that is the blogosphere anyway.

However, if you'll bear with me, I'd be happy to share with you the major reasons behind moving my blog over to Google+ exclusively.

1. I'm Lazy. Yeah, I figured I'd start off with a huge doze of reality right off the bat. I'm not lazy in the negative sense, I'm lazy in the I don't have time to mess with stuff sense. I have a life. I've got a wife and kids, I've got interests outside of blogging (like my beautiful roadster), and I'd much rather spend my precious little time doing stuff I enjoy instead of doing stuff I dread.

My blog is currently on Wordpress. It's self-hosted on a shared hosting account. The server is plenty fast, I've optimized the server for some pretty fast load times, and I've done all I can to tweak and compress the crap out of Wordpress so it loads fast.

 However, as with any self-hosted solution, it requires care and feeding. It requires updates to new versions, patches, etc. These are things I'm not interested in doing for my blog any longer.

My blog is an aside, it's an outlet for what I really like to do, which is write. However, I'm spending more time securing and updating Wordpress than I am actually writing. Moving to Google+ takes away all distraction and allows me to do what I enjoy doing, writing. It also allows me to have a life.

So, in that I'm lazy, I prefer to have stuff that just works, with minimal intervention or maintenance. With Google+ as my blog, it just works, and I'm not the one having to drop what I'm doing to update, upgrade, or maintain. Done. Easy.

2. It's Secure. Yes, it really is. I have two-factor authentication enabled, and as far as I know, that's pretty hard to bypass. I wrote articles about two-factor authentication on my personal Google+ page sharing the benefits of enabling such a feature.

Right now, my Wordpress site gets attacked several hundred times a day. I have security software running on it that tells me whenever someone is trying to guess my password or use some sneaky method to trick my Wordpress site into sending them the change password link. While it doesn't work, my fear is that one day it might.

With Google+, my content is protected by the same security measures as my email, my cloud services, and all my other Google services.  While some doubters and naysayers may say that's not very secure, and that's not a 100% guaranteed solution, I would say that I feel better knowing my content is stored on Google's ecosystem.

Call me silly or shortsighted, but hey, I can live with it. The best thing is, that it's all there and taken care of for me. Two-factor authentication is pretty hard to beat, and well, see number 1 above. It sure beats me having to install plugins, monitor the alerts, then drop everything to make sure they're not chipping away at the gates that protect the castle.

3. It's Minimal. I touched on this briefly in item 1 as well, but the minimal interface offers ease, and speed. I can format text, but only a few different ways. That's a good thing. I can get my point across without fussing with typefaces and code that can get messed up, making the text on my blog look funky.

Then, when that happens, I'd have to find the offending code or plugin that's causing it and fix it. Why have to do all that when all I want to do is write?

Add to that pictures and text, forget it, it's an all day affair just posting one article. With Google+, writing an article is just about the writing. I can share a photo and/or a link to a website and I'm done.

If you were to go to my blog at www.helpfuladvisor.com, you'd notice that the blog hasn't been updated in a year. Yet, if you go to my Google+ personal profile page, my Twitter feed, even my Facebook page, you'd see I'm way more active on there.

Reason is, with social media, I can just write and share stuff, without a lot of time needed to futz over how it looks. With Google+ as my blog, I can write, and attach a photo, even attach a photo album if I want, link to an article or some web content, and share it out. Easy. Done.

Plus, I can truly write anywhere and on any device. I have Google+ on my browser, my phone, and my tablets. I can write from anywhere.

Now, to be fair, if I went all in and really tricked out my Wordpress site, I'm sure I could blog while mobile, and I'm sure my formatting times could be cut down if I spent some time tweaking the code that formats the site... but the thing with Google+ is that I don't have to.

I can link, write, post. Or, I can write, link, post. Or, I can share content from Internet, add thoughts or comments, post. Too easy.

And since I don't have any grand SEO aspirations and I know I'm not going to make any money blogging, I just don't need all the hassle that goes into creating even one post on a self-hosted content management system. Again, see item 1 above. ;-)

4. I was inspired. As I was researching on the Internet to see if anyone had done this before, I came across this ComputerWorld article from +Mike Elganhttp://www.computerworld.com/article/2492324/social-media/why-i-blog-on-google---and-how-.html

Mike has been a longtime Google+ evangelist, and he took the plunge. I've read several of his articles about how flexible Google+ is as a social platform, and after reading his article about moving his blog to Google+ I was all in.

5. It Was Time.  Sometimes something just feels right, and moving my blog to Google+ felt right the moment I thought about doing it.

Sadly, my blog had become this unused old toy that just sits in the closet neglected. The content is old, and every time I went to the site to update it, I kept thinking, "You know I should write some new content for it." Then I'd tell myself that this Saturday morning (any Saturday for that matter), I'm going to sit down with a cup of coffee and write.

The thing is, writing in a blog is so deliberate, and so wrapped in process for formatting, adding photos, keywords, etc., that it's more than just a Saturday morning ritual... it's a few hours at least.

Again, as I'm not out to set the world on fire with SEO magic, or make my living from blogging, I can just share what I want and write whenever I want as a spontaneous act when everything is on social media.

 I'm not the kind of guy that snaps photos and shares them the instant I take them, but I'm also not the kind of guy that has 2 to 4 hours on a Saturday to spend getting out one article. I have to feel like I can write, share, opine, rant, do whatever, at the moment I'm feeling it.

Again, the volume of my social media contributions outweighs my blog contributions by an immeasurable amount. So, yeah, it's time to just make the move and embrace what works for me.

Don't get me wrong, I have a couple of articles that are first page of Google searches, but that wasn't because of my SEO acumen, or even because I set out to do that.

My "About" page that nobody reads on my blog even says I was deliberately doing it all the hard way as an experiment to see if my blog would get noticed. I wasn't going to sprinkle any SEO magic dust on my articles, and wanted them the be found truly organically and by word of mouth.

So, to a large degree, my experiment worked and good content bubbled to the surface. However, as someone who likes to write, I'd like to contribute more often than once in a blue moon.

And, therefore, this is the way to get that done without feeling like it's a chore.

A Final Thought

So, I hope this shed some light on my rationale behind this, and while I'm not trying to convince anyone, I wonder if my sharing my reasons for doing this echo anyone else's sentiments when it comes to writing/blogging.

The origin of the word "blog" comes from weblog, which was meant to journal or chronicle a project, an initiative, or even a period of time. To me, taking my blog to social media full time bring back the purpose and meaning of "blogging" back to it's roots. At least for me.

So, have you done something similar? Share in the comments below. Would you not do something like this ever? Please do share below, I'd love to hear your perspective on this as well.

Thanks!

image credit: Pete O'Shea/Flickr

#blogging #wordpress #googleplus
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Google Inbox Team Promises Support For Google Apps Accounts, Says User Demand Sped Up Efforts
Every single time I write about Google Inbox, I see the same two comments on repeat: a good chunk of readers saying "Meh. Tried Inbox, wasn't into it", and..
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Getting to work can be a drag. Let Google Maps help you beat the traffic with these quick tips → http://goo.gl/c5yNzw
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The best cheap tablet you can buy | The Verge

And interestingly enough, the maker of this tablet is also the maker of the Google Nexus 7 tablet, which is one of the best Android tablets on the market (I own one, so I may be biased, but several technology publications tend to agree with me on this). 

But, if you're looking for an affordable tablet for yourself or for a holiday gift, you may want to check this out and see what this great device can do, and for cheap!

Hope this helps!
There are two kinds of tablets. On one side, you have the expensive ones, the iPads and Galaxy Notes designed to either replace your computer or at least be a really awesome sidekick. If you want...
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The best cheap tablet you can buy | The Verge

And interestingly enough, the maker of this tablet is also the maker of the Google Nexus 7 tablet, which is one of the best Android tablets on the market (I own one, so I may be biased, but several technology publications tend to agree with me on this). 

But, if you're looking for an affordable tablet for yourself or for a holiday gift, you may want to check this out and see what this great device can do, and for cheap!

Hope this helps!
There are two kinds of tablets. On one side, you have the expensive ones, the iPads and Galaxy Notes designed to either replace your computer or at least be a really awesome sidekick. If you want...
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Google+ Can Now Fix Up Home Videos for You


I've really enjoyed the "Auto Awesome" experience for Google+ (formerly Picasaweb) photos, and now G+ is taking it a step further with doing the same for videos. This is great, but I just hope it doesn't ruin the videos like YouTube tends to when you select that service's auto-stabilization feature.


YouTube's auto-stabilization, for some reason, tends to make you more nauseous than if you just left it alone. But, in the case of G+ auto awesome for videos, let's hope Google is taking it a step further and allowing us to share some truly enhanced videos.


Have you tried it yet? If so, let me know in the comments what you think of it. Thanks!
In May 2013, Google announced new photo features for Google+ including "auto-backup," "auto enhance," and something perplexingly called "auto awesome." Now, the Google + team is extending some of these abilities to your videos as well.
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A REAL Explanation On Why Chrome Uses So Much RAM

I love Chrome. It's my favorite browser. Mostly because Google has taken the time to create a usable and productive ecosystem within their browser. Via extensions, I can do a ton of things that help me stay efficient in my everyday life.

This is not to say Firefox and Internet Explorer, or even Opera, don't do a lot of that. However, my personal life is very much Google. I use Gmail, and I absolutely love Google+. I also use Google Voice extensively for making calls from my laptop that look like it's coming from my cell phone, and for SMS and MMS messaging.

Google's Chrome is a great companion for their services, and because I use them all, Chrome fits my like a glove. EXCEPT for one thing.

Chrome really chews away at my RAM. After a while, it will use a ton of memory, and I need to reboot my laptop just about every other day. However, I must take responsibility for some of that.

It's not Google's fault, and they're actually helping us, not hurting us by trying to load a majority of Chrome's processes into memory.

First off, RAM is very fast, and more processes that get loaded into RAM, the faster you can access them when you need them.

Database servers do this all the time. They "cache" as many functions and process into RAM as possible. Some might think the servers are being overworked because RAM utilization is always so high on database systems.

However, it's by design. The trick is to cache as much as you can into RAM so applications load faster, and processes run quicker.

So, with Chrome, they're doing the same thing. When things start to bog down is when nearly all of the available RAM is used, and the laptop (or server, or desktop, too) has so much RAM utilized, it has to convert available hard drive space into "virtual" RAM.

Because virtual RAM uses hard drive space that's converted to temporary RAM, it's much, much slower.

Another reason I take responsibility for how much RAM Chrome uses on my laptop and/or desktop is that I use a  ton of extensions. I have extensions loaded into Chrome that do everything from notify me when I have a new email, to being able to open Google Talk from my browser, to filtering out any mention of my favorite shows on social media.

Oh, and when I research a topic or a technology, I open tons of tabs. Like TONS!  I don't like to lose my original spot that led me to a new site or search result, so I leave tabs open like breadcrumbs so I can find my way back to the original referring site for the main topic I was researching.

However, each tab also uses RAM.

So, in essence, the fact that Chrome eats up RAM is totally on me, and my horrible browsing habits and my lack of regard for only using the bare minimum of extensions.

If you're anything like me at all, you feel my pain. You know the struggle. You've had to reboot your PC way sooner than you thought you'd need to or even wanted to, just to breathe some speed back into your machine.

Well, I have good news!  The article below show you what you can do to alleviate Chrome from bogging down your PC. I found one great tip in there that has totally turned it around for me!

Now, instead of my needing to reboot every other day, I can now reboot every third day. So, given that my laptop takes about 30 minutes to fully boot and load all of the services and background apps properly, I've saved myself at least a couple hours each week!

Now, what to spend that extra time doing? That's another post for another day. ;-)

Thanks for reading. 
Chrome may be the best browser around, but it eats up your PC’s RAM like turkey on Thanksgiving. If you’ve ever looked at your task manager, you’ve probably flipped out at the sheer number of Chrome processes and the memory they hog. Here’s why Chrome uses so much RAM, and how to curb its gluttony.
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Here's some great advice from acting legend, Michael Caine. I've often just "let things go", because it would take more time to track something down, only to discover it's actually correct, than to instead choose to focus on more important things.

While this may seem minor or trivial, Mr. Caine brings up a very good point why it would matter to just stop  obsessing over your bill. Read the article to find out why he'd recommend such a thing.
No one likes getting ripped off. It’s natural to want to double and triple check the paper work every time money changes hands. As Michael Caine suggests, sometimes it’s okay to just let the small things go.
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Google Inbox Team Promises Support For Google Apps Accounts, Says User Demand Sped Up Efforts
Every single time I write about Google Inbox, I see the same two comments on repeat: a good chunk of readers saying "Meh. Tried Inbox, wasn't into it", and..
7 comments on original post
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Cell Phone Charging Myths Busted

Here's a quick but cool video that explains the 5 top cell phone charging myths and why they're false.
When it comes to battery life, there are many little rules for what you can and can't do with your smartphone.
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The best cheap tablet you can buy | The Verge

And interestingly enough, the maker of this tablet is also the maker of the Google Nexus 7 tablet, which is one of the best Android tablets on the market (I own one, so I may be biased, but several technology publications tend to agree with me on this). 

But, if you're looking for an affordable tablet for yourself or for a holiday gift, you may want to check this out and see what this great device can do, and for cheap!

Hope this helps!
There are two kinds of tablets. On one side, you have the expensive ones, the iPads and Galaxy Notes designed to either replace your computer or at least be a really awesome sidekick. If you want...
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Why I Gave Up On Plaxo

Plaxo is an addressbook synchronizing service that was great back in the day. And now, it’s nothing short of tragic.  Read more about my experience with Plaxo and how you can avoid the same pain I went through while using their service (I use the term “service” loosely).

The Wonder Years

Back in 2005, Plaxo was a godsend.  It was the only service back then that would allow you to keep your addressbook up to date, automatically.  What that meant was that you could download and install a cool little tool for your Outlook and from there, you could perform magic!

The magic was by way of you initiating addressbook updates.  You could configure a message that all your addressbook contacts would receive.  It would let them know you’re trying to keep your addressbook up to date, and it would request them to change any incorrect information right then and there.  They would be taken to a site that would allow them to correct any wrong info, and then those changes would be saved and synchronized back to your Outlook.

This was a huge time saver, especially if you used Outlook for business, or even had a lot of personal contacts.  But wait, there’s more!  Plaxo would also keep your calendars and tasks in sync, too!

What’s the big deal, you ask?  Keeping Outlook in sync with a web site, so what, right?  Ok, there are two additional very cool things about Plaxo, especially back in 2005.  Ok, here’s the big deal:

1. From Outlook, or the website, you could make any changes to contacts, tasks, or calendar entries, and it would sync back and forth between Outlook and the website.

This was an awesome feature because if you weren’t somewhere where you had your own Outlook open, you could make changes on any Internet connected computer.  If you wanted to add an email address to a contact, you could do that on the web.  

Say you were on the computer in the lobby of a hotel you were staying at, you could log in to Plaxo and add a task or a calendar entry.  The next time you open Outlook, any and all changes you made would sync back to Outlook.

2. The other thing it did was it would keep your contacts, calendars, and tasks synchronized across multiple instances of Outlook, or even between Outlook and other email programs like Thunderbird.

This was huge because most professionals back then didn’t have laptops.  Instead they had desktop computers at work, and another desktop computer at home.  So, with Plaxo, you could keep all your contacts, calendars, and tasks in sync between the computers… automatically.

Let’s remember, back in 2005, the iPhone, Blackberry, and Android smart phones hadn’t made their way to the mass market yet.  So, in terms of keeping your contacts in sync wherever you were, Plaxo was a major tool to have in your arsenal.

As smart phones made their way on to the scene, Plaxo made syncing between them and your Outlook a breeze!  As well, Plaxo also synchronized between your Outlook and your online email services, too!  AOL mail, Yahoo, and even later on, Gmail.  So, thanks to Plaxo, your email and calendar world was one nice big happy synchronized family!

But then, the dark times came…

In 2007, Plaxo decided it wanted to enter the social media game. A game that was already getting crowded.  Facebook had already emerged, MySpace was the king of social media at that time, and Twitter was making lots of buzz; and so Plaxo wanted a piece of the pie.  However, like many companies do, they take the one thing they do absolutely great, and then they decide to focus on something else.

So, while Plaxo was a fantastic ahead-of-its-time addressbook service, it made absolutely no sense why they would want to devote any time and energy to trying to build their own social media network.  It was called Pulse, and it allowed you to post updates just like any other social media service, but it also allowed you to interact and connect with other Plaxo Pulse users.

There was just one problem… no one really used it. So, in 2011, Plaxo finally ditched Pulse. However, by this time, Plaxo became a paid service.  I’m not against paid services, I mean, how else will businesses keep their doors open?  However, Plaxo has always had a free option of some kind.  While the free option capabilities have varied over the years, it’s always been pretty useful.

One thing Plaxo has always done throughout the years is to notify you when you have a birthday coming up for any of your contacts.  The reminder service, which is free, has always been a tremendous value.  

What’s more, Plaxo gives you the notification a week ahead of time.  It also gives you the option to send a free e-card to your contact.  This has always been a really nice, personal touch that enables you to remember all the birthdays of all the people you associate with.

However, the free service never really let you sync anything worthwhile, and de-duplicating your contacts was a paid feature. By this time, many other automatic addressbook and calendar syncing services that let you deduplicate your contacts have popped up.  So, by comparison to other services, like Memotoo and Soocial, Plaxo was always the more expensive option.

So, while Plaxo had awesome abilities back in the day, today, it’s the more expensive option, and their biggest feature, automated requests to your contacts to update their details, had been retired for several years already.  Which brings us to present day.

I’d only been using the Plaxo free service for several years now. I was using other services to sync my contacts, but not really a way to sync my Outlook calendar, which I use exclusively for work, with my Google Calendar that I use as part of my Google Apps suite for personal use.  

So, I use a third-party syncing tool to sync my two calendars, and for contacts, I used Soocial for a while.  I tried Memotoo for a while, but it really added a lot of extra stuff to my contact entries that I didn’t really want.  So, it made things pretty messy.

Lately, I decided to give the Plaxo paid service a try.  While the automated requests for your contacts to update their details is still a thing of the past, I thought that by syncing my contacts and calendar between Outlook and Google, I could eliminate the third-party calendar sync tool I was using, and free up a bit of overhead on my laptop.  

Plus, if I sync things between Outlook and Google, any updates and changes synced to Google mean that my Android phone also gets the newest updates automatically as well.  The plan was diabolical, it was perfect, and it was SIMPLE!

Now the Kick in the Head

So, as I signed up for Plaxo, I was reminded why I was right to abandon the service long ago.  First off, the site constantly times out whenever I click a button or a link to do anything on the site.  
Timeouts like that usually mean they have an overloaded or inefficient DNS on their end.  DNS translates website URLs to IP addresses on a server along with which location on the server your desired content resides.

There’s really no excuse for a professional service that takes people’s money to have DNS timeout issues of any kind.  Next, I found out that Plaxo won’t sync to Google Calendar any more.  Reading their support entry on the problem, they indicated that it was Google’s fault as Google changed the codebase needed to sync with their calendars.  

Plaxo explained it was WAY more involved than just changed the part of Plaxo’s code that connects to Google’s calendars.  Bottom line, don’t hold your breath on syncing between Plaxo and Google.

I find that part to be quite interesting as services like Memotoo, for HALF the price of Plaxo, can sync all day long with Google.

So, when I did the math, I discovered the following:

• Plaxo is the most expensive of all syncing services.

• It leaves out one of the most important features it used to have: automatic requests to update contact information. Without this, it’s just like any other service, with nothing new to add.

• It won’t sync with Google Calendar, which I might add, is a pretty popular calendar with all the cool kids these days.

• The site times out constantly, making navigation to any settings, any contacts, any calendar entries, anything at all, really… a total chore.  In fact, when canceling Plaxo altogether, it took over 4 tries to do as the site kept timing out.

• Heck, the supposed feature to update your contact photos by importing them from Facebook, doesn’t even work!

Honestly, I don’t see Plaxo lasting too much longer.  Issues like these do more than just show bad service.  When you take into account the fact that they took their eye off the ball altogether when they wanted to go “Social 2.0″, and killed some of the most amazing features it offered, Plaxo just has the look and feel of a company that just stopped caring a very long time ago.

How to Avoid My Mistake

I guess what I’m trying to say through all this is that I think you should avoid Plaxo altogether.  Avoid the issues, avoid the frustration, and most of all avoid paying a very high premium for services you can get elsewhere for much, much cheaper.

May I recommend instead of Plaxo, that you try these alternatives instead:

• Memotoo
• Soocial
• Rainmaker.cc
• Contact Gorilla

While some of these services don’t do all that Plaxo once did back in it’s heyday, the point is, neither does Plaxo.  Some of the services mentioned only focus on your contacts, while the service, Memotoo, does contacts, calendar, and tasks.  

Now, I think you can see why I’ve given up on Plaxo.  I figured I’d give them a shot once again after all these years, and somehow, they just managed to get worse.

Do you sync your contacts between your online mail service, your smartphone, and Outlook?  If so, what do you use?  Share your tool of choice in the comments below.  Thanks for reading!

#plaxo   #email   #opinion  
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Learn how to use everyday technology to make your life easier
Introduction
Hi and welcome to my blog! Yup, I said blog. I'm using Google+ exclusively as my blogging platform, and I'm loving the simplicity and ease at which I can focus on writing. 

My name is Jay Medina, and I’m a lifelong technology professional.  I’ve been in the IT world for all of my adult life, and I’m absolutely in love with what I do.  I’m also passionate about technology and addicted to it at the same time.

I’m hoping that perhaps my passion for technology and my lifelong learning can translate into something helpful and useful for you, my dear reader.  This blog is kind of my way of giving back, but it’s also a sort of a message in a bottle.  In other words, I’m glad to impart knowledge, ideas, and even opinions, the question is, is anyone actually reading it?

My new blog is both an outlet and an experiment to find out if anyone is out there.  In fact, to add a little spice to things, I’m going to make it even harder on myself by ignoring all the rules, complications, tweaks, and tricks that are supposed to take place when trying to get a blog noticed.

Yeah, it’s called SEO and I plan to ignore all the rules regarding it - hence my move to Google+.  Instead, I prefer to focus on my writing, and to helping you, should you be one who reads my blog.  I’m not going to employ any tricks or tactics to get people to find me on the web.  My feeling is that if my content is good, entertaining, helpful, and solid, people will find me somehow.

So, as I’m not deliberately trying to get people to my site, that doesn’t mean I don’t want anyone to actually read my blog.  In fact, the opposite is true.  I plan to write from the heart, about topics that are somewhat technical, but helpful to the average reader, across varying skill levels.  From the complete novice to the seasoned expert.

Hopefully there’s something for everybody here, and if there is, that is how my readership will grow.  I’m counting on someone just like you to let others know about this blog.

So now, in an effort to be completely open and up front, let’s talk about links and products and recommendations.  This blog is not a fake marketing piece for some company or entrepreneur posing as some guy who just wants to write.  Well, the some guy who just wants to write part is true, but the fake marketing thing just isn’t the focus of this blog.

With that said, there may be instances where I’ll recommend a product, will mention a product, or even suggest that you have a look at a product yourself and see if it meets your needs.  If I do that, there may be some products that are free, and some that you pay for.  Some times, I may have an affiliation with that organization and some times I may not.

For the times that I do have an affiliation with the company or product I’m writing about, I’ll be sure to place a link to that product with the words “My Affiliate Link Is Here:” for you to see clearly.  The reason I do that is because if you do click an affiliate link of mine, I’ll get some sort of compensation from that company or person with whom I’m affiliated.

See, I told you, I’m breaking all the rules here by not hiding my affiliations.  The reason I’m doing that is because even if I have an affiliation with that company, I don’t want to hide that because if I am recommending something or making you aware of it, I may or may not have used that product.  So, I want you to decide for yourself if it is worth it to you to click a link and investigate for yourself.

My recommendation or mentioning of a product is not driven by the few cents I would make on a commission if the product is actually purchased, it’s recommended by whether or not that product, whatever it is, would actually be useful to you in some way.

It has to have context, it has to have meaning, it has to solve a problem and it has to be useful.  It can’t be and won’t be some random product that has nothing to do with the discussion taking place on this blog.

Well, as I’ve said before, usually this is the least read page of any blog.  Hopefully you’ve taken the time to read it, so that you can get to know me a little better, and I can perhaps inspire you to look around, read some postings, and engage in some discussion.

Thank you for taking the time to read, and if my message in a bottle has been received, let others know, engage in discussion, and most of all, just say hi.

Best regards,

-Jay