Thursday, December 10, 2009

Phil Montero 2.0 – Why 2 heads are better than one!

Phil Montero 2.0 – Why 2 heads are better than one!: "

I recently entered a fun video contest sponsored by and Viddler where they asked you to upload a short video telling them about your personal hardware or tech gear and why it enhances your world. The prize was a Flip UltraHD Camcorder. These amazing video cameras shoot in HD and are small enough to fit in your pocket (a perfect addition to The Anywhere Office). I’ve been wanting one for a while so when I saw the contest I just had to enter! After some brainstorming with Jason we came up with a fun idea that not only highlighted some great tech but also explained the productivity boost I get from using it. There were some very creative entries to the contest but happily about a week ago they announced me as the winner (waaahoo)! Here is my winning entry:

If you’re not familiar with their website, features computing/hardware news and reviews f0r technology enthusiasts and IT professionals. They have a wonderful active community and I highly recommend you sign up for free and join in the discussions.

In a recent post I talked about the importance of “sandbox time” and play when learning new technology. This contest entry is a perfect example. I’ve been wanting to learn more about editing video with Sony Vegas for some time. Instead of diving into a work project where I would be under a deadline and worried about making mistakes, I used this contest entry as a way to do something light and fun. I learned a lot of great editing tricks in order to quad myself and get the timing right on the various shots.

Well, I got my Flip camera in the mail yesterday (I was very excited when the UPS guy came to my door – I love getting my hands on new technology) so I thought I would post one of my first videos with it here so you can see how it plays! still has uploading HD video in beta and my account hasn’t been granted that feature yet – so what you are seeing above doesn’t do the Flip it’s full justice – once they enable HD on my account I’ll repost this video in full 720 HD glory!

You can look forward to a lot more videos coming soon – the Flip makes it fun and easy – the way technology is supposed to be!

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sandbox Time – The Importance of Play When Learning New Technology

Sandbox Time – The Importance of Play When Learning New Technology: "

Put in sandbox time to master your technologyOne challenge many teams and organizations face is getting their people to use and embrace much of the amazing collaboration software and technology that is available. In working with virtual teams, we find that many people tend to fall back on email rather than shared online work spaces – or opt for traditional conference calls rather than using web meeting or conferencing services.

Find Their Comfort Zone

The biggest stumbling block is getting your team comfortable with the new software or service and truly understanding the benefits it provides.

In short, why would it make my life or job easier?

Far too few companies provide training on these technologies – so you and your colleagues are forced to figure it out as you go along or after a very brief tutorial. This sink-or-swim mentality causes many of these powerful tools to go untouched and impedes productivity.

The secret to turn this all around is simple . . . play!

The Power of Play

Play is a non-threatening way to remove stress from learning and encourage exploration of the features of new technology. Create some type of project for your team that’s fun and everyone will be excited about using the new tool.

Want your team to start using SharePoint or some other type of web-based discussion board or collaboration space? Why not setup a place where they can share recipes, bios, and information about their hobbies and families?

Want them to use WebEx or some other meeting service? Create time to have a regular virtual water cooler where they can share photos, create a poll about which books or movies are their favorites, or pass control of the desktop around to write a story together (with each person typing their paragraph into Word) or give a tour of favorite useful websites.

Play Let’s People Succeed and Fail – Safely

Let’s face it, no one wants to explore using a new technology or tool with the pressure of a project deadline; or the possibility of looking foolish in front of peers and co-workers if you are not using it correctly. I’m extremely comfortable with technology, always have been, and I attribute that mostly to the fact that I play with it and explore it’s features before trying to use it for something important.

When trying to learn Sony Vegas for video editing I didn’t create some critical video for my business website – instead I took some family footage and created something fun to share with friends. When looking to learn more about desktop publishing I didn’t immediately create a company newsletter – I created a mock CD cover for my band.

The only limit is your imagination!

Ask the people on your team, they may have some great ideas for fun projects. This is extremely useful for virtual teams: using a fun, playful approach to learning new technology not only leads to greater technology adoption and increased productivity, but also encourages informal communication and team building, which in turn increases trust and accountability.

It’s not just about choosing the right tool – it’s how you thoughtfully apply it. So find ways for your team to play with the tools you want them to adopt and you’ll be amazed at how quickly they find new ways to apply them to their work process and teamwork.

Have you used “play” in your work environment? Post a comment below and tell us about it!

(Thanks to Webex for featuring this as a Guest Post on their Ideas in Motion blog. I highly recommend this blog where they share ideas and tips for innovation and working smarter)

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Amazon Delivers Kindle for PC — Works Great on a Netbook

Amazon Delivers Kindle for PC — Works Great on a Netbook: "
Amazon’s Kindle for PC beta application arrives this morning. The software supports Windows XP, Vista and 7 machines, while Amazon says that a Mac version is coming soon. What’s ingenious about this app — as well as the iPhone app before it — is that you can read Amazon Kindle books without buying the Kindle hardware. With a Windows version, Amazon is expanding their potential customer base to 85% or more of computer users. Reading books on a computer certainly isn’t the same experience as reading them on a light eInk device or a handheld, but I could see this swaying more money into Amazon’s bank account. Fortunately the application is NOW AVAILABLE IN CANADA as of November  17, 2009.

I downloaded and installed the beta app on the Windows 7 partition of my Toshiba NB205 netbook this morning. Once I signed in to my Amazon account, I was able to see all 44 of my archived book purchases with full color covers. Books can be sorted by Title or Author. A double-tap downloads the book and you’re off and running. Page navigation can be done by mouse, arrow keys or Page Up/Down keys. There are 10 font sizes to choose from and you can modify the page width using a “Words per line” slider. Kindle for PC does support Whispersync, so the software will pick up from the last read position if you were reading on a Kindle. Or you can read on your PC and your Kindle will synchronize to that point when you move from PC to Kindle.

Notes, highlights and bookmarks also sync to the PC, but with this version of the software, there’s no way to make notes or highlight text on the PC — you can bookmark pages, however. Amazon is also planning to add search and zoom / image rotation to Kindle for PC in a future version. Of course, you shop directly for Kindle books, but not within the application. Clicking the “Shop in Kindle store” button opens your default browser where you can then send samples to or purchase full titles. Now that my software is registered, I see a “Kevin’s Kindle for PC” delivery option for content. It’s worth noting that Windows 7 users with touch supported hardware gain one bonus now and one in the future. The current app supports touch zooming with a two-fingered pinch. In an upcoming release, Amazon will add page turning with finger swipes.

Since I have a Kindle, I’ll still rely on it for my daily reading. I generally take the Kindle everywhere, but on the off-chance I don’t bring it, I usually have my netbook with me, which will make for decent backup reading device. I’ll still likely use Kindle for iPhone as well, but that would be for a different scenario. When I have five or ten minutes of just standing around, the iPhone does the trick. If I can sit somewhere and I’ll want to read for a longer period of time, the netbook will be my tool of choice. And if I have my Kindle with me, it will likely trump both options, provided I have enough light to read the eInk display. The only exception might be a graphic novel of some type as the PC app supports reading color.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Global Tools and Downloads

Global Tools and Downloads: "

Thanks for following along in this global series. The last part I would like to share with you are some of the Global Tools I use to keep this all going smoothly. If it weren’t for the following tools, I would not be able to live the fun nomadic life that I do. Take some time to review the list and implement any of the downloads that fit for your business!

Recommended Global Tools & Downloads

  • WordPress- This is who I use for my blog. I highly recommend it because it is easy, even for first time users. Just having WP is ok, but knowing how to make it function so you get a greater audience is why you pay a professional.

  • Skype- I use Skype for my weekly client coaching calls, and also to communicate with my family. If the other users are signed up with skype, your calls are free. You can also purchase Skype credit to make calls to landlines and cell phones. I use this to check in with my friends and family, or to call potential clients that do not have Skype already. The calls are only two cents a minute to any country so consider setting it up even if you just want to stay connected with international friends!

  • Firefox- I have saved a ton of time since changing my browser to Firefox. I can save my pages without having to re-open them later. This, alone, has saved me hours of research time and redundant opening of windows. Use it. Love it.

  • Gmail- Outlook isn’t global, gmail is. I have switched out and never felt better. Global is better. I can check email from anywhere, forward several accounts to one, share documents, have a calendar, and store my contacts. They *of course* have better search tools for your email, as well. Save time, get gmail.

  • Twitter tools- There are several tools that integrate with social media and make your life easier. I use a few that integrate well with Twitter because that is my main tool. Currently, I use to track my posts and shorten my address. is great if you want to simultaneously update facebook, twitter and linkedin (plus a variety of other tools). For checking in on updates, I use Twhirl. It is easiest to do multiple Retweets, or to thank people that are saying great things about you. Another twitter tool you might want to check out is Destroy Twitter. This is another integration tool and you can manage your tweets through your dashboard.

Play around with these tools and see which combination work best for you. The ease of use and time saving should help you to better manage your global tools so that you can spend your time more efficiently. I’d rather you be seeing the world and enjoying your life, so get to downloading!!

Thanks so much for participating in this blog series. It is my hope that you now feel more equipped to take your business online and go global. There are many other tips and tricks you can find my visiting my website. Feel free to be in touch, leave a comment, and let me know future posts you would like to see on this sight.

If you’ve got a question, I’ve got an answer! Leave ‘em below! Also, if you have other tools you would recommend, please add them here so we can all benefit!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Life Lesson By Rick Butts

Hi and welcome back

In the book "The Leader In You" the writers devote a whole chapter to attitude.

The saying goes "change your attitude and you can change your life".

Rick reviews one story from the book "The Four Hour Work Week" that helps us to see the importance of our attitude.

Have a look...

As Rick says "it's all about FREEDOM"

for more of what I like:

check out my site.

and/or join my NETFRIENDS

email me anytime @ garydotgray

Till next post.

Smiles :o)


Friday, October 23, 2009

Learn How to Create Your Own Membership Site - Free Report

Learn How to Create Your Own Membership Site - Free Report: "

msm_logo.pngIf there was one emerging trend spoken about more than anything else in the Make Money Blogging track at Blog World Expo it was ‘membership sites’. A number of sessions were directly on the topic while quite a few others touched on the topic (including the ones I spoke on).

It seems more and more bloggers are looking to expand in this way - whether it be by setting up teaching courses, starting paid forums or setting up areas where they offer subscribers exclusive content to paying subscribers.

By no means is it the only model to make money online - but it is one that more and more bloggers are looking towards and one that we’re even seeing more mainstream media doing also.

Yaro has this week relaunched a free report on the topic of Membership Sites - The Membership Site Mastermind Report.

The reports shares how Yaro uses membership sites to make a six figure income, how he runs the technology side of things, gives insights on how he gets members to stick on his sites and more. It’s a free report to anyone who gives an email address.

Yaro will be relaunching his Membership Site Mastermind course in the next week or so - but this report is free and contains useful information even if you go no further than downloading it and not going on with the full course.

PS: Get more free teaching on Membership Sites from Yaro in these two videos here and here. Also check out an interview Yaro did with Daniel Scocco on his $10,000 a month membership site.

Post from: Blog Tips at ProBlogger.


Learn How to Create Your Own Membership Site - Free Report

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Wordpress 2.8.5 Upgrade

Wordpress 2.8.5 Upgrade: "

* Wordpress 2.8.5 Upgrade
Content powered by Maria Reyes-McDavis Social Media Marketing Blog *

Wordpress has released the latest version of it’s popular blogging platform that increases security and provides necessary fixes within its coding. All bloggers who are able (figure that out below), should upgrade to ensure your blog is not vulnerable to security risks.

Why Upgrade?

The version is considered a security upgrade and is mandatory for all Wordpress blogs run on self-hosted servers. The developers are calling this released a hardening release because it tightens up your blogs security. According to the release addresses these key problems:

  • A fix for the Trackback Denial-of-Service attack that is currently being seen.

  • Removal of areas within the code where php code in variables was evaluated.

  • Switched the file upload functionality to be whitelisted for all users including Admins.

  • Retiring of the two importers of Tag data from old plugins.

To make it plain and simple, it fixes what needs to be fixed for your own good :-)

Before the Upgrade

You should never just upgrade your Worpdress blog without doing due diligence before the upgrade, regardless of how large or small the upgrade is. Here’s a checklist I tell clients to follow before you begin your upgrade to help avoid any unnecessary drama:

Make sure all plugins are compatible with the upgrade. While you really only have to do this with major upgrades, like going from 2.6 to 2.8 — I say, why not just do it all the time to avoid issues. Complicated plugins can break with the smallest upgrades (like WP-Forum, WP Wishlist and WP eCommerce).

  • Head on over to the plugin page and see if anyone has reported issues;

  • and, search for any reported issues.

Make sure your theme is compatible with the upgrade. Same issue as with plugins, not all themes are created equal. An upgrade can cause your theme to lose structure and cause custom coding to malfunction.

  • Head on over to your theme designers main page and search for reported issues;

  • and, search for reported issues.

Always backup your blog database first. Always. If you own a Wordpress blog and do not know how to do this, you are a sitting duck. Take the time to learn it, now. If you’re using a hosting service like GoDaddy, you can easily backup any database with a click and if you don’t know how, call them — now. Wordpress also provides manual backup instructions that are fairly easy to follow.

Deactivate all plugins while upgrading. This will ensure that if you have missed potential conflicts in your due diligence, you won’t cause any serious problems. The key here is to then reactivate them one-by-one to ensure everything is groovy. You can simply “select all” and deactivate in one full swoop.

Deactivating All Plugins in Wordpress

Do the Upgrade

You have three choices when deciding to upgrade:

  1. Do an automatic upgrade through your hosting provider;

  2. Complete the manual upgrade, detailed instructions here;

  3. or, use the automatic upgrade feature within your blog dashboard.

Automatic Wordpress UpgradeOur team always completes the manual upgrade. It gives us more control over the process and ensures the upgrade is not hung up through the blog itself.

Get on with life…

That’s it! Now go and do something groovy for yourself :-)


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Barnes & Noble Nook is Official — Knocks the Kindle to the Curb

Barnes & Noble Nook is Official — Knocks the Kindle to the Curb: "

The much ballyhooed e-book reader from Barnes & Noble is now officially announced. The Nook is smaller and thinner than I originally thought and from the photos and promotional video is pretty darn nice. The 6-inch E-Ink screen is indeed augmented with a small color LCD touchscreen at the bottom. This screen is used to interact easily with the Nook, making it simpler to operate than other readers.

NookThe Nook has free 3G via AT&T which is used to shop for and download books to the reader. The Nook can be synced with other Barnes & Noble readers and devices, making it as versatile as the Amazon Kindle. Nook owners can lend e-books to friends for 14 days by “squirting” them to the friend’s reader, cell phone or computer. B&N is also touting the availability of free content available while in B&N stores.

The Nook can be pre-ordered now, but a firm shipping date has not been specified by B&N. The Nook is $259 with free shipping.


  • Height: 7.7 inches

  • Width: 4.9 inches

  • Depth: 0.5 inches

  • Weight: 11.2 ounces (317 grams)

  • Wi-Fi

  • 3G – AT&T

  • 2GB internal storage, microSD slot

  • MP3 player

  • 3.5mm headphone jack

  • internal mono speaker

  • USB charging, 3.5 hour charge time

  • Android OS

Growing mobile data use turned up heat on carriers in Q3. Read the, 'Mobile Q3 Wrap-up.'


Google Analytics Becomes More Powerful, Flexible and Intelligent

Google Analytics Becomes More Powerful, Flexible and Intelligent: "

Google is rolling out some useful enhancements to its already useful and powerful Google Analytics tool. These new features give the Analytics tools more power, flexibility and intelligence.

Here are the highlights of the new features of Google Analytics:

  • Addition of two new goal types for measuring user engagement and branding success that allows webmasters to set thresholds for Time on Site and Pages per visit. Up to 20 goals can now be defined.

  • Improved tracking of mobile websites and mobile apps on mobile devices even if the device is running Javascript or not. This was made possible through the addition of a server side code snippet on mobile websites using Google Analytics

  • Addition of Advanced Table Filtering feature for advance data analysis and for filtering rows in a table based on different metric conditions

  • Creation of Custom Report with the option to select Unique Visitors as a measurement against any Google Analytics dimension

  • Multiple custom variables, sharing segments and custom report templates for enterprise adaptation of Google Analytics. These tools provide customization options for enterprise Google Analytics usage

These are the highlights of the enhancements that were done to Google Analytics but the most interesting new feature is perhaps the Analytics Intelligence. This new feature provides automatic alerts when there are significant changes in the data patterns of site metrics and dimensions on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Analytics Intelligence will prompt you on the most significant indicator that you should pay attention to. This will give you more time on doing corrective action to the issues highlighted by Google Analytics.

Check out the SEO Tools guide at Search Engine Journal.

Google Analytics Becomes More Powerful, Flexible and Intelligent


Monday, October 19, 2009

Top 4 Takeaways from Blogworld Expo - #BWE09

Top 4 Takeaways from Blogworld Expo - #BWE09: "

The last two days, I attended BlogWorld Expo, held in Las Vegas. The show covered a wide range of topics interesting to bloggers and podcasters, including topics for bloggers who want to turn their new media efforts into commercial successes, newbies wanting to get started and companies trying to develop strategies and processes for working with social media. I focused my time on the tracks relating to turning your blog or podcast into a commercial success.

From those tracks, I came away with four key takeaways for bloggers and podcasters who are trying to become commercial successes at what they do.

1. You have to be willing to work hard. Whether you’re trying to break through or already well known, you need to put in the hours to make it work. The evidence suggests that the most successful bloggers 3-5 times every day. Whether it’s blogging, podcasting, video, or micro-blogging, consistently producing lots of content is a key component of success.

2. You need to be the expert, or a least perceived as the expert. And you need to put in the time to stay ahead of others in your field. Expertise leads to credibilty which can lead to trust and conversion.

3. You need to develop and follow a process for successful new media marketing, capturing attention, engaging your audience, building influence and ultimately getting your audience to take action. I saw a great presentation on the topic from Jason Van Orden and will be providing detailed notes in a later post, so stay tuned.

4. Most of us need produce a signature product to be commercially successful. Making money via advertising just doesn’t seem to pay enough to make it work unless you have a huge audience. Whether it be an ebook, a coaching class or a continuity program, product seems to be the way people make good money. If you can develop a successful continuity program, that seems to be the most lucrative product.


Windows 7: A Graphics Powerhouse

Windows 7: A Graphics Powerhouse: "Microsoft's new operating system takes a step towards the dream of GPU computing."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Lost Art of Focus: Multi-tasking vs. Mono-tasking

The Lost Art of Focus: Multi-tasking vs. Mono-tasking: "


Further research continues to indicate that focusing on more than one task at a time actually decreases productivity and may jeopardize the fundamental quality of our work and communication. But this data seems to contradict what many people hold as the vision of a fully engaged and adapted 21st century worker.

The people who engage in media “multitasking” are those least able to do so well, according to researchers. This recent BBC article examines the results of a study done at Stanford University.

And this NPR radio segment also highlights some enlightening research into multi-tasking.

But in today’s workplace, and even just in our day to day lives in the information age, a certain amount of multi-tasking is unavoidable. So it seems the skill to develop is knowing when, where, and what to multi-task. Ali Hale weighs in with what I feel is a reasonable and well thought out opinion in her article ‘Multi-Tasking vs. Mono-Tasking’:

So how do you know when you should “multi-task” and when you should “mono-task”? And how do you manage to do the latter? Some things lend themselves brilliantly to multi-tasking. These tend to be activities which are purely physical, or which by their nature take a set amount of time to complete – however well you focus.

All of this has given me food for thought – as I am a person who is prone to multi-tasking and have convinced myself that I am pretty good at the juggling routine. In fact, I half-jokingly said to my brother just the other day, ‘I’ve got to focus, no more multi-tasking, from now on I’m only going to do two or three things at a time.’

So, here’s a little eye-opening challenge if you feel the same way: try this online game called MULTITASK and see if it might start to change your opinion.

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