If you ever get tired of the radio programming that corporate America is trying its best to force down your musical throat, just check out the various independent artists that can be found online.
MP3.com has been acquired by C-Net and offers an unique perspective of what great music can be found by directly locating amateur and professional artists, labels, and music projects that more than likely program directors will miss unless they receive a memo otherwise.
You can search by your favorite musical genre, location, and even receive referrals on other artists that you might like. You can even try out music without risking the $10 to $15 needed to buy CDs offline.
Who knows, if you wet your musical palate strong enough, you may be inspired to add a few compositions of your own for the world to enjoy.
Through our own recording label Seed Of Life Records, several of my own musical compositions (nicknamed fishnets) were on the MP3.com before the acquisition years ago.
Previous fishnets and new compositions will be added in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. The songs were remixed and we never got around to re-recording everything with the births of my daughters Rachel and Hailey.
We will probably add a link for a separate blog to focus on the music created in-house.
In the meantime, you can really find some nice diamonds for your ears on the MP3.com website.
Lest I forget, the songs are made available for free and you can purchase CDs as well.
Saturday, April 30, 2005
If you ever get tired of the radio programming that corporate America is trying its best to force down your musical throat, just check out the various independent artists that can be found online.
Posted by Roney Smith at 11:36 PM
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
My brother-in-law Omar mentioned to my wife and I a website that has unedited video footage.
I have not checked this site out yet, but if it is like other unedited footage you are bound to see things that would not make the evening news or any other broadcast.
Kill Some Time.com is the website and if you have an opinion on the website, please let me know.
I will check it out soon and provide any commentary of my own on it.
Posted by Roney Smith at 4:16 PM
We arrived back home after 7 days of being very low tech. I returned calls made to my cell home and checked the latest news daily, but it was a very low tech vacation to SC.
We were in the Pee Dee area and made a trip to Huntington Beach State Park in Georgetown County, SC. We were actually looking for Myrtle Beach State Park and it was a very pleasant surprise.
Photos to come!
Posted by Roney Smith at 4:12 PM
Monday, April 18, 2005
Want to get rid of something that you probably could not sell?
Then try to Freecycle it!
You can definitely help another individual or family with an item that has served its purpose in your household.
Whether you are upgrading your computer system, entertainment system, or anything else, you will definitely get a positive response when using the system.
One suggestion is that you use a free online e-mail account just to protect your privacy. I have not heard of any spamming being generated as a result of joining the mailing list for your immediate community, but you can never be too sure.
Posted by Roney Smith at 8:13 PM
I have yet to travel to India or Southern Asia although I can get my grub on with Chicken Marsala, Tandoori, and Pad Thai with the best of them;)
There was a local television program that had an Entertainment Tonight vibe but with an Indian twist.
It reviewed the latest Bollywood movies, music, and other entertainment.
People of color enjoy color worldwide and I am no different.
I have seen a shade of red that is on my watchlist for a shirt whenever I discover where to get one.
I know that hip hop and Indian music makes a great combination and there is an online radio station that plays such grooves.
Rediff Radio is worth a try.
In the meantime, do not be afraid to check out a local Indian restaurant during lunch time and expand your worldwide culinary horizons;)
Better yet, pick up one of the frozen dinners to inexpensively sample some of the foods mentioned above and more at your nearest Kroger or Publix supermarkets.
Posted by Roney Smith at 8:01 PM
Just when you think that the world of technology was about to get maxed out, there is another log thrown onto the fire!
There is a service that supposedly works as close to TiVo as possible, but instead of recording television programs it records radio broadcasts from around the world.
RadioTime is a cool service if you normally listen to various radio stations on the internet.
It takes the internet radio to another level in going offline.
Since MP3 files can be burned onto a CD or saved within an iPod, RadioTime is just what the doctor ordered for anyone who has had enough of local radio killing time and brain cells.
I searched through the database and it appeared as if many of the worldwide radio stations also appear within the Microsoft Media Player roster of stations.
Choose your favorite genre and it's there. Choose your city or country, and it is there.
There is another website that lists television broadcasts available through the internet.
But since RadioTime frees you from being a couch potato, it is probably one of the better services around.
There is a cost, but it does cost less than the satellite radio services at $39 per year.
Posted by Roney Smith at 7:51 PM
Saturday, April 16, 2005
I was having lunch in a restaurant recently that was playing country music nonstop.
I enjoy all music styles and genres while having written a song for every style of music I have probably heard.
But what caught my ear most of all was the high level of songwriting that I heard being played.
Many people who grew up listening to Motown and R&B cannot stand the R&B that is often played now or found within videos.
There are a few bright lights of real music found in artists such as John Legend, Smokey Norville, and India.Arie to name a few.
I even like and appreciate the artistry of Alicia Keys but her second album/CD totally eclipsed for the better her first CD which won several Grammys. I believe that the Clive Davis machinery really kicked into overdrive and India.Arie got shut out while having a better album.
The neosoul movement leaves me at the bus stop for the most part. The wannabe eclectic but eccentric passion is just a little too phony for me.
Live performances really provide the measurement system for me these days.
But what I heard from the country music being played indicated that the real passion these days is to be found within country music.
Sure there are few syrupy songs that made me wonder if Babyface was now writing country music along with Brian McKnight, Lionel Ritchie, and Stevie Wonder, but all in all, I will be turning on a country music station if I am ever within an area that is killing my ears otherwise.
I really like Tim McGraw after hearing a few of his songs. I will admit that he never really appeared on my radar screen until I understood his duet and video with Nelly. I thought that it was actually Nelly singing in a spoken style;)
The new passion of country music is the real why I selected Tim McGraw and a few other country artists for my online radio station at:
Posted by Roney Smith at 10:54 PM
Recently I have had a few flashbacks from my childhood that I normally do not remember or associate my current activities with. But all of our adult lives are primarily dictated by the way we have spent our childhood.
The memories that I will be sharing in greater detail are funny now but did produce some pain back then.
After my days of collecting comic books were over, I starting collecting records and I have the vast majority of my vinyl collection still.
I would DJ at various family parties and events and even did one event before two turntables became popular with a turntable and 8-track tape player;)
I could not even drive to this party that I remember doing this!!
I spent many summers later with my cousins in our own pretend world of radio broadcasting and we even did an all nighter playing music which was tough.
Many of my friends in junior high and high school did not get my mixtapes which would always have one fast uptempo side and a side of slow jams.
Or I should say that the slow jams side was not understood when I had my tape player on the bus while everyone else mostly had their girls for the bus ride home;)
The comments during or after such bus rides were probably the most painful although no one ever said "turn that off". It was more like "where's your girl?"
But I absolutely had the best, hottest, and newest music for any moment.
Our station was entitled WEFUNK and we played our "national anthem" at every sign on of Parliament's "P-Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up) which had a radio-styled entry to the song.
When a toy electronic device came out entitled Mr. Microphone that allowed you to hear yourself through a FM radio, we went crazy and knew that we hit the big time then!
One of our neighbors eventually became a real, on-the-air DJ for the local R&B station and we lived vicariously through him. What's up Youngblood, The Teenage Legend on WCIG-FM 107.1 in Mullins, SC!!!!
We kept a serious music chart just like Billboard for at least 4 years that ranged from the top 10 songs and expanded it to the top 100.
One recent memory of it all brought back the memories of how we came to operate our radio station.
We started out actually as a small club of my first two cousins Mike and Adrian and myself. The club was called "The Smokey The Bear Club" and we would help control the seasonal fires from a southern ritual called "burning off".
We kept the fires from getting too close to the houses and one season our experience was truly tested as my mom started burning off while the wind was too strong and suddenly picked up;))
I do not exactly remember what was the recent trigger that brought back all of these memories, but I did enjoy the flashback itself!!!
We collected dues as well and I was the treasurer. It is now funny to remember that my cousin Adrian fell behind in paying his dues since he was visiting so often one summer. We collected dues whenever we all got together from 5 cents to 25 cents to $1 per get together.
We played baseball and all other sports primarily as a team as well. We were great baseball players but got beat virtually every Sunday just like Charlie Brown and his team;))
Our main opponents had a home run hitter that kept our inventory of baseballs low. We had to buy new baseballs just like athletes buy tennis and golf balls;)
The only time that I really remember finally beating them was when the home run king was absent.
Before I forget, playing baseball was a whole lot easier after a recent burning off because there would not be any tall grass in the outfield which caused more balls to be lost than anything:))
All of us have not gotten together at the same time since my mom's funeral in 2000 and it was a short moment then.
But I do plan on bringing these memories up when I travel to SC soon and hopefully they will have a new perspective and angle that I may have not been aware of.
I do see how all of these experiences have help to shape all activities and endeavors undertaken since then.
Pretty much anything I have done and hope to do on the internet has its roots in WEFUNK and The Smokey the Bear Club.
I just hope to expand our childhood experiences into greater adult fruit and pull on the hours spent just like David out in the fields with the flock of sheep and witness it all coming together in a greater, positive, perfect storm.
I will never forget my years as a bedroom DJ;)
Posted by Roney Smith at 10:23 PM
Check out my own personal radio station via Yahoo! and LaunchCast at:
The genres range from R&B, Gospel, hip hop, jazz, and even a little country music just to keep you honest;))
I thoroughly enjoyed hearing a song from Amy Grant as a nice surprise as well as an unheard song from Nate Dogg!
I'm currently listening to it and there has been one song by G-Unit that I would not have included myself, but the rest has pretty much matched music programming I have done in my childhood and early adult life on personal mix tapes.
So enjoy it and please provide any feedback on the music that you hear!
Posted by Roney Smith at 10:16 PM
I discovered this video this afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed the locations where the video was shot.
The idea was ingenious for this world traveler truly.
Meet Matt Harding in his video entitled "Dancing" at:
Posted by Roney Smith at 10:13 PM
I remember the days when my grandparents kept the tv turned to one station.
My grandma eventually allowed her grandkids to change to one of the 3 other stations we could receive back in the 70s (on good days when it was not raining).
But my granddaddy would always talk about how the reception would be degraded if the channels were changed.
Relatives would always call in the children to find out what was wrong with the tv, the vcr, the microwave oven, the cd, the computer, and the video gaming system.
Now that I have children of my own, I thought that I knew technology in and out.
But today's youth have LeapPad and actually more electronics built into their toys than we ever had. I find this amazing.
I remember holding a simple calculator that had LED screen and thinking that it was da bomb!!!
But it could not perform any scientific calculations and did not have any storage memory that I can remember.
I was so fascinated in seeing numbers being added or multiplied repeatedly until I eventually majored in mathematics just to probably find more patterns being repeated.
Within the past 2 months, our 4 year old daughter Rachel has discovered the remote control and my wife Wyteria said that her coworkers' children discovered it earlier.
We had TiVo working then and this probably slowed her down just a little.
But now she can turn the tv on and off, change channels from any current station, and channel surf with the best of anyone.
From time to time, we still get a request that comes from a TiVo-minded person from her but it is cool.
The youth of today naturally expect technology to be modern and built into their everyday lives.
Even the most popular music has the sounds of electronic pulses, beeps, and tones reflecting technology versus the wind-blown instruments of earlier generations.
Marching bands within high schools and colleges use more technology than we ever could imagine growing up.
It has been said that a significant percentage of adults are considered video gamers but I believe that without the youth still comprising the bulk of the buying market, most electronics sales would steeply decline.
I cannot wait to see what today's youth will be able to create within the next 10 to 20 years.
Posted by Roney Smith at 11:27 AM
Within 3 minutes of the last post, I was able to locate the cause of the problem.
The settings were set not to allow access to secure sites.
But I was able to change the settings.
I wonder why the settings could not be changed more easily though.
Most users would not have found how to make the change since it was placed under an advanced firewall setting.
Most people in IT make things more complicated than necessary just to justify their own employment;)
Posted by Roney Smith at 11:21 AM
I installed Norton Internet Security after our DSL service was connected.
People will attempt to hack into your computer if you are using a high speed connection without a firewall.
You may think "How can they find me?" but you will be amazed at what the human mind can think of when it wants to.
In adding the extra level of computer security (if ever that is really possible), I temporarily have to disable the program whenever I want to use Gmail or Google today.
This was not the case yesterday and I hope that it resolves itself somehow.
If it does not, it will be ok since the program wants to know how long I want it to be disabled.
If you do not have a firewall, antivirus, and antispam program in place, you are having an unprotected internet experience;)
You will be definitely infected and it is a matter of time and not if you will be.
So get protected as soon as possible!
Posted by Roney Smith at 11:08 AM
As mentioned before, I considered some other upgrades in technology but decided to wait and allow the year itself to provide the financing instead of going out of pocket.
The DSL service has been refreshing and quite funny in that you really
do not know what you're missing until you lose it and get it back.
The faster speeds seen in libraries and other places are usually taken
for granted at home.
Faster speeds usually mean for me that I can find what I want quickly
without possibly forgetting it while multitasking between multiple
windows while a slow connection finally uploads the page;)
But with the larger monitor bought last year, new external hard drive
picked up last week, and a better desk and chair, I am content to grow
and move further into the year.
Posted by Roney Smith at 11:00 AM
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Monday, April 11, 2005
This morning provided some decent fireworks in my finally successful efforts to get an electronic chokehold off my money from Wal-Mart.com.
Yeah, I said it and I'm calling them out for making me spend over 1 hour and 10 minutes to get them to finally break down and do the right thing.
The problem is not confined to Wal-Mart.com since there are more than enough people within corporate America, mom-and-pop shops, and other legitimate and fly-by-night businesses that fail to realize that you cannot hide behind your so-called "policies" if you expect the customer to patronize your business at some point in the future.
When I first graduated college at Francis Marion College in Florence, SC, I worked for a family restaurant named Quincy's as an assistant manager. The closest modern competitor to Quincy's would be Golden Corral.
There were many times when a steak may not have been cooked to the customer's expectations no matter how well it was cooked to our own internal standards.
At the point of hearing the customer's concern, there was no way in time and eternity that I could have said, "Well, you requested a medium rare steak and by our standards, this is cooked medium rare".
What I was initially told by the first customer service rep is that the billing department would be sending a release on my funds to my financial institution and that it would 2 to 5 business days.
He already experienced the situation before and I let him know that I was well acquainted with all of the theory behind the process and I wanted to speak with someone within the billing department that HAD MADE THE ACTUAL CALL to release my funds.
The rep placed me on hold, contacted the billing department, and came back to tell me the same story. Though I persisted and insisted on speaking with someone within the billing department, I was not being forwarded to the billing department.
Then I requested to speak with a manager who must have been just a supervisor instead and she proceeded to give me the same company line of theory that I once again replied that I already knew what was going to happen "in theory". I wanted to speak with someone that had made "THE ACTUAL CALL".
The supervisor placed me on hold and returned to give me the same corporate line of theory.
She even told me that a person named Carolina within the billing and finance department had explained the process that is known all-to-well within Wal-Mart.
But Carolina was not making herself available and was still depending upon Wal-Mart's and corporate America's second-line-of-defense in this situation: the supervisor.
When I had to once firmly and clearly state my original request to speak with someone within the billing and finance department, I was forwarded to Michelle who clearly was a member of management.
I knew that Michelle had her management card by the polished way she repeated the same corporate line that everyone else had roughly stated.
I had to eventually pull over and park in front of a local branch of my bank to see if I needed to verify any changes.
Michelle and I jousted round for round and she really passed MANAGEMENT 404 with the statement, "But we have other customers as well" as if my experience better or worse was going to infringe upon the toes of anyone else.
I thank God that the following statement came out of my mouth:
"I know that this process is going to clear itself within a week. If the situation was not compounded and the amount of money so high, it would not be a problem. But what I am to think about Wal-Mart tomorrow?"
At this point some the light of day came through and she said, "We cannot confirm that your credit card company is going to release the funds immediately. We normally have to send a fax requesting that the money is released. We call the credit card company and make the request, and everything else is left up to them".
I said "that is all I can request from Wal-Mart. I just want to speak with someone who has made the call versus hearing from you that the call WILL BE MADE. From the time that we have spent on the phone, someone could have made the call already or you could have placed me on hold to make the call".
At this point, we were on the phone for at least 50 minutes. She once came back on the line and said that my bank had placed someone on hold and Wal-Mart was waiting to obtain the person's name.
I do remember within the conversation saying something to the effect that if personnel within the billing and finance department do not have the capability of talking with the customer, then I don't know what to think of Wal-Mart.
Here my friends is the essence of the problem.
Too many people, regardless of their socio-economic status or background are placing more faith within the corporate policy than their own sense of right and wrong. Failing to empathize with the customer if you were in the same situation means that you believe that it is better to give the customer to a competitor than to solve the problem ON THE FIRST CALL or CONTACT.
The manager Michelle finally did the right thing, but the first two people could have done the same thing.
If a corporate policy was needed, then the policy should have stated that if a hold over a certain X number of dollars was reached, then the call should be immediately made upon the company first being notified of the situation.
A better policy would be that the first customer service rep that I spoke with Friday night around 10 or 11 p.m. should not have told me that I could have corrected the situation myself.
I should have been told to wait until Monday morning for the billing and finance department to open or risk having the pending hold doubled on my account.
Nevertheless, I have learned a brand-new lesson about e-commerce.
Again, it does not matter if the website is available 25 hours a day, 8 days a week, 370 days a year: DO NOT PLACE AN ONLINE ORDER IF THE BILLING AND FINANCE DEPARTMENT IS NOT GOING TO BE ACCESSIBLE WITHIN 12 HOURS!!!!
I never did get to speak with anyone billing and finance. I found out that the billing and finance department is located in Arkansas and Wal-Mart.com is located elsewhere.
I am not sure if Arkansas is considered the south or mid-central United States, but someone somewhere within Wal-Mart has to take responsibility for the financial gag order that their online payment process makes everyday.
Any amount under $500 can justify the day-to-day wait, but when a customer is billed twice or the amount exceeds $500 (mine transaction tripled and still exceeded this amount) Wal-Mart should bring out their own SWAT team to correct the error in the customer's favor REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE FINANCIAL INSTITUTION DOES.
At least clear your own name in the game I say.
I was told too often what policies my financial institution might have and it did not simply matter.
I was not going to switch financial institutions over this event, but I might think twice about shopping at Wal-Mart offline and online.
In the heat of the moment, I would have gladly accepted being lied to versus being told that it was not possible for someone to make the call;))
If the first person had said, "I just finished speaking with your bank and the funds will be released", I could hold Wal-Mart harmless.
When Michelle eventually told me that my financial institution said that they were not going to release the funds, all I said was "That is all I could ask of Wal-Mart".
I did not run to my bank to find out the status and called many hours later within the day to hear that the funds were released and my account was intact (I knew that there were a few checks written prior to the weekend that were on their way to the bank).
By no means am I afraid of writing a rubber check and as an entrepreneur, it has to be done willingly at times.
I am not sure whether I can regain the time spent on the phone in this situation, but I do know that someone else can benefit from this experience.
Please, please, please drop me a line or comment if you remember at any point in the future to bail out of the online shopping cart during a late night pre-weekend or weekend purchase online:))
The gray hairs and funds you save may be your own;)
I am not afraid to go to bat with anyone on any issue especially when the school of customer service is on my side!!! Being a Christian does not mean that we have to let the lions attack and eat us when we have the strength to lock their jaws ourselves!
Thank you Quincy's, UPS, AT&T, Wilson High School, Crystal Springs, and any place else that I have worked and had to deal with the general public.
You indeed have taught me well;)
Posted by Roney Smith at 5:28 PM
Saturday, April 09, 2005
We got a TiVo last summer right after my hours away from home insanely skyrocketed with American Express Financial Advisors.
Television viewing has never been the same.
The only way to explain TiVo is that you are creating your own television viewing network that is ready for you on demand.
You watch what you want to watch when you want to watch it and even record other programs and broadcasts at the same time.
A VCR could never do this. You can essentially have 3 programs working at once. A VCR would not allow you to record one show while you were looking at a program already saved.
You can even watch live tv although if you change channels while a program is being recorded, you will receive a warning that the recording of the first program (that is being aired live) will be stopped.
You can freeze, replay, and fast forward as well.
Our daughter Rachel is from a TiVo generation. She turned 4 years old after we got the TiVo. Rachel would say "freeze it" or "stop it" whenever she needed a bathroom break.
But technology is not perfect and our TiVo has been in a coma for some time now.
The TiVo we purchased was a first-generation unit and the internal modem died within it.
The second generation TiVo products now have a network card that uses broadband/DSL service in order to receive the updates (which are better than TV Guide by the way)
We had the TiVo still working until I reset it due to the unit needing to receive the daily updates. The daily updates were available for at least 15 days after the modem died.
Without the daily updates, we could not record and save live broadcasts. This made the TiVo work just like an analog VCR.
This situation actually was escalated since we have DirecTV service.
But without the TiVo working as it should, we cancelled the service and disconnected it from the satellite set up.
The TiVo's remote control (shaped like a dog bone) had everything working through it versus the satellite remote control.
There is a replacement network card available for the first generation TiVo units, but another situation is revealed in that you must have the local telephone company (BellSouth in our area) provide local calling versus any other company that provides local telephone service.
We are team trainers and independent representatives (local calling, long distance, and internet service) for a competitor to BellSouth.
Our technological exploits are being shared to make things easier for you. Our losses should be your gain and they provide for great laughs as well.
We could not laugh about any of this before, but now we can;))
Unfortunately, we will have to eventually return to BellSouth to obtain local calling service before being able to use the same TiVo unit. We have refused to buy a new TiVo unit since our current, nonworking one could save 140 hours of programs.
We will eventually obtain the replacement networking card after rejoining BellSouth and return to being happily entertained by DirecTV.
Right now without TiVo, we channel surf more than we ever did or needed to with TiVo.
Posted by Roney Smith at 3:33 PM
If you are tired of experiencing a long-time watching websites appear with MS Internet Explorer (MSIE), then give Firefox a try.
The best thing that I like about Firefox is that it provides tabs just like a filing cabinet versus opening new windows if you want to look at multiple websites at the same time.
The time for a full page to appear is faster than MSIE too.
You will not want to remove MSIE from your computer yet though. Some companies have not upgraded their websites to be accessible to any other browser than MSIE.
There are several add-ons available for Firefox that will make using it a first option more and more.
I seldom use MSIE unless whenever I click on a link from within MS Outlook which defaults to opening MSIE.
Microsoft has made more money for me than any other technology company to date, but they seem like a fort or a city from the movie "Lord of The Rings" that is being attacked on every side.
Posted by Roney Smith at 3:24 PM
I was in the process of obtaining a Blackberry until the funny question popped up that asked:
What is so special about a Blackberry and the Blackberry service?
When I asked several people on various mailing lists, their answers were centering around the issue of whether I was working within a corporate setting or an internal e-mail server.
Since most of my mails sent and received are either entrepreneurial focused (ABBC is entrepreneurial Christianity at its finest) with senders and recipients external to our operations, a Blackberry would not be fully used by myself.
I have been using Handspring (now PalmOne) since shortly after my mother's homegoing in 2000 with the Visor Prism, Treo 270 (which I lost on MARTA of all places), and now the Treo 180 (I miss the color screens from the Treo 270).
I already had access to any e-mails sent through the various Treos owned by using the SMS text message notice provided by T-Mobile.
When I receive an e-mail to my main account, a short text message is sent to my Treo. If an immediate full reading and response are needed, I will go online with the Treo and respond. Otherwise, things wait until I am near a desktop again.
However since I am satisfied T-Mobile customer, I was looking at the Blackberry 7100t very closely. It was then determined that the Bluetooth technology is and was going to be very hot and more products would be using and adding Bluetooth capabilities.
So I took a step back and looked at the Treo 600 and Treo 650. The 650 has Bluetooth and the 600 does not.
The prices on the 600 have been dropping like flies on eBay lately and the same was happening for the 650 until PalmOne increased their prices on the 650 (almost exactly when I was entering the buying market).
One theory on the price increase is that foreign customers have discovered that there is a greater discount to buy items from the US directly versus buying the same item locally due to the foreign currency exchange rates.
I already knew this to be true and saw the negative impact affect my own buying decisions.
So as the Treo 650 was skyrocketing, the thought occurred to me that they are almost as much as a laptop. So I did the research and got in line to buy a laptop instead. This is how I arrived at the doorstep of another lesson shared earlier.
Blackberries are cool, but determine how many messages are sent within your office first. If you receive more messages from people outside your office (with different e-mail domains--everything after the @ in the e-mail address) than internally, then a Treo will suit your needs much better.
Regardless, make sure that Bluetooth is a part of the technology purchase as much as possible.
Posted by Roney Smith at 2:50 PM
If you do not have a Gmail account from Google already, just let me know and I will send you an invitation to obtain one if you desire.
I have fallen in Google as a company over and over again lately (just I fell in love with Microsoft, Yahoo, and eBay--in that order too I might add).
Each new Google service and feature has made my online life much easier (and profitable too) and it seems that I am either receiving less spam or have a better way to manage it.
Since they appear to be committed to continuously increasing the storage space for users, I have been using MS Outlook less and less and have used Gmail as a filter for messages before they are received within MS Outlook for several e-mail addresses that I have (for the various domains that we own).
Gmail has been easier to use and search for various messages as well.
I know that they are selling advertising and offering users to get a little piece of the action.
We have joined Google's AdSense program as well, but have not capitalized on the opportunity as we should have and will be the necessary changes to do so.
I originally thought that Yahoo! Mail was the best free online mail service to use and had paid for extra space on several occasions. Hotmail is okay, but don't fail to use the service for 30 days or your saved messages will be deleted.
But now that Gmail is working so well for me and is making the competition step up with free additions also, I am wondering when will Bill Gates wake up and realize that Google is in the process of eating their lunch for them.
But with the billions in cash Microsoft has, I guess that they have the luxury many other companies don't.
Hooray for Gmail!
Posted by Roney Smith at 2:34 PM
The time delay in creating a blog entry from my cell phone has improved today although I did not take note of the exact time.
One thing that sending a blog entry from my cell phone has allowed me to do is to create very short blog entries and modify them later on the website directly.
Before I just created the blog entry on the website or did not create it at all.
The very short entries are sent from my phone and the longer entries started on my phone and were expanded while being online.
To create longer entries directly, just add your other e-mail addresses to your blog's settings (under members within Blogger.com) and send the messages from whatever e-mail software or website that you normally use.
Remember to add the links for any websites as you edit the untitled blog entries and give the blog entry a name or subject header.
Posted by Roney Smith at 2:27 PM
Pluck.com allows you to use your favorites/bookmarks links from any computer as well as save and visit your favorite blogs and news feeds (XML & RSS) remotely.
I am now saving, exporting, and uploading my favorite links monthly as a back up in case of a computer failure etc. (just like I do for my e-mails within MS Outlook although more work is required in that case).
I guess that this makes me an official, card carrying Digital Packrat;)
But at least you will know where to find the information whenever and wherever you want it!!
Posted by Roney Smith at 1:10 PM
Avoid pre-weekend ecommerce large purchase amount ordering!!! Billing & finance depts are not available to correct errors such as a pending holds on your money.
The nation's biggest retailer has taught me this lesson today after ordering an "online only" special for a laptop last night. The first order was cancelled by the Big Blue Boy's order processing after they claimed that my bank said that my mailing address did not match the address I was using (but I was using my home address in both cases).
The error has been compounded as I was told by their customer service that I could correct the error myself by entering the same information that my bank has. I did this and now the charges have been doubled. Ouch!!!
I cancelled the second order on my own after finding a better price elsewhere (Amazon). But now Amazon is having a problem processing the payment due to Big Blue Boy's huge error (who is not having a problem at this point).
Big Blue Boy's customer service said that their billing department would not be open until 8:30 a.m. central time on Monday, but that my account would be noted and the request sent to them electronically:(
Bottom line, I will not be placing any significant orders like this ever again without knowing that the billing and finance department will be immediately available to contact my 24-hour bank to correct such processes.
Good thing I am not traveling internationally this weekend;)
Posted by Roney Smith at 12:01 PM
Friday, April 08, 2005
As many of you know, I find it very attractive to stay on the cutting edge when it comes to using technology. My ministry and other endeavors have witnessed phenomenal growth and recognition after actively using the internet was implemented.
There has been a slight, critical difference breakthrough witnessed this evening within the capability of having a blog.
A blog is an online journal in which you and other people can post ideas, thoughts, and other publicly accessible information without requiring everyone to join a mailing list.
There are benefits and potential downsides, but the benefits outweigh the minuses.
The biggest challenge that I have experienced firsthand and I know that it is a larger issue is making the behavioral adjustment in creating a blog entry.
If creating a blog entry requires a lot of time and effort, then it is not going to happen.
I have been in a similar season with my mailing list Online Christian Soldiers (OCS) and this breakthrough may be expanded there as well via a blog.
The breakthrough is this: you can actually create blog entries from any cell phone by sending a text message (via SMS).
The entry is limited to 160 characters including spaces and the thought (blog entry) will more than likely be very concise and straight to the point.
If you have changed the blog's permissions, readers can post comments as well using web access, XML, or RSS reader software which is freely available.
I felt that this breakthrough was possible when I noticed that a blog entry could be sent to an e-mail address without doing anything else.
This evening I experimented further with the idea and found the way to change the settings to allow my cell phone's e-mail address to become a recognized and acceptable sender.
Adding the cell phone's e-mail address did not work because a confirmation was sent to the cell phone and the entire message could not be read due to the 160 character SMS limitation and there was a link that had to be clicked on as well.
What made the difference was changing my own user profile to use my cell phone e-mail address versus the standard e-mail address I created the account with.
Once my cell phone's e-mail address was recognized as my address and no further confirmation was needed, creating blog posts remotely became a definite reality.
The only possible downside experienced thus far is that there was a significant time delay between the time the post was sent and when it was added to the blog.
The time delay was 2 hours and 24 minutes. This delay could be considered too long in most cases, but blogs are not required to be tools for real-time communication although real-time communication is a huge advantage.
Blogs function as any other type of newswire with real-time access.
For our usage, the mailing list will suffice for real-time distribution and the blog will be used to distribute information to the entire world.
Blogs are also heavily weighted within search engines as well. So the original post and subsequent comments can be picked up by anyone searching Google or any other search engine.
There are many experiences of blogs being used to "scoop" major news outlets.
What I would like to see is the usage of blogs by more Christians and Christian organizations as well as any other organization.
Start a blog for your church, business, and any other endeavor as well as for your own family.
Now that you can create blogs from your cell phone, there is no reason to avoid having a blog for whatever endeavor you enjoy being a participant within.
I will be sending invitations for anyone to become a contributor of blogs that I have created and hopefully you will be able to change your profile to your cell phone's e-mail address.
If you do not know your cell phone's e-mail address, just send a text message to your own e-mail address and you will find your cell phone's address as the sender's e-mail address.
Yours in the Bond,
Posted by Roney Smith at 9:42 PM