Technology

When we say technology, we mean anything that gets us going. Technology is all around us, has been for thousands of years, and barring a nuclear holocaust, will be here for thousands more. This is the category of categories.

Guide: How do I Get a Server?

Ten years ago, no one asked that question, “how do i get a server”, simply because you didn’t need one. Storage requirements back then were limited to music files, maybe a few pictures, and that DVD you ripped that your wife can’t find out about. Other than that, Hotmail or some other e-mail storage sufficed. Fast forward to today; the age of megapixel images, HD video, and a few more of those special DVDs.

How do I get a server for file storage?

Let’s say you have a solid amount of random files that you just want stored somewhere else than your increasingly fragile laptop. DropBox is the way to go. Here’s the short of what DropBox does:

Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. This means that any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computersphones and even the Dropbox website.

I think one of the coolest things about DropBox is the collaboration feature. Sure, these are your files, no one else needs to see them. But when you’re starting a project at the coffee house, and need to leave and pick it back up again at home, DropBox has you covered. Edit files from anywhere!

How do I get a server for blog hosting?

So you’re interested in letting the world know your thoughts? Bravo. One of the first steps you’ll need to do is get hosting. Here, you’re best bet will probably be shared-hosting. Here at SelfwareSource, we use InMotionHosting. They’re affordable, reliable, and have all the features a blogger would ever need.

  1. Go to InMotionHosting’s WordPress Hosting
  2. Choose from the available packages. **Newbies: all you need is the “Launch” package. The main difference between the three is e-commerce. Seeing as you suck at blogging still, you won’t be selling anything anytime soon.
  3. Next you will be asked whether you want to register a domain or add an existing one. For domain help, see previous post.
  4. After filling in your billing information, you will most likely be redirected to your cPanel
  5. Start Googling everything you don’t know about. That’s how we started. Click buttons, fill in fields; there’s very little you could do to critically damage a server when just starting out.
Questions? Post them in the comment box below and we’ll do our best to help you out.

 

How to Search Google Efficiently

Search Google EfficientlyOver the past decade, many companies have become household names. Many have even left a sizable impression on modern culture as a whole; see Coke, McDonald’s, Nike. Few companies, however, achieve the status of becoming a verb.

For many, Google is a way of life. It’s become THE portal for the world’s information. You don’t Bing something, or Yahoo something (though with a certain amount of creativity…), you only can Google something. Here’s a few tips, in a new series of Google tips, for understanding how to search Google efficiently :

Search Google Efficiently: filtype

Say for example you’re looking for a template, but Microsoft Word/Excel/PPT doesn’t quite have what you’re looking for. Google it

“budget template” filetype:xls

This will search for the exact phrase “budget template”, and only return items that are of the .xls format. XLS=Excel Spreadsheet

Perhaps you’re in school, and want to find an essay to compare notes with while struggling to finish a term paper. Google it

inflation and micronesia filetype:doc

Google will return Word Documents it knows of that have BOTH the keywords inflation and micronesia.

Search Google Efficiently: Specific URL

Not too long ago, I was reminded by something of an article I saw on Lifehacker. Though, I couldn’t remember the article’s title. I knew a few keywords that were associated with it and the Lifehacker domain it was on. I journeyed to Google.

“rear deltoid workout” site:lifehacker.com

Search Google Efficiently: Related URLs

This can be exceptionally valuable for those of us concerned with SEO. This can often give you a good understanding of how Google sees your site. You can then adjust accordingly depending on your goal.

related:wegotworms.org

 Using the rPhoneBook operator within Google

This can be especially useful when looking for a specific person, or even networking while on the job hunt. Google wil return it’s index of people with that name and location.

rphonebook:erik schneider los angeles

rphonebook:harry dunn rhode island

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks in Google…

Get a Blog and Get Hired: How To Create Your Own Website Resume

Besides ‘get a job’, the main purpose of a resume is to have it represent the best of you.

What’s the best way to showcase that?

Resume: sure…in 1995

Cover Letter: sure…in 1965 

Facebook: ehhh, little worried about the underage drinking photos and that mysterious water pipe you tagged as ‘The Little Giant

LinkedIn: moving in the right direction, just as long as the companies you’re pursuing have a LinkedIn presence

What can combine these 4 options, and do so in a creative, unique and memorable way?

Your own website resume.

All you need is $50 and a few hours before you’ve got something to be proud of. Here’s a step by step.

Pick a web hosting provider

Someone needs to support the website you will eventually build from an infrastructure perspective, and you don’t want that person to be you. Search for deals, you’ll likely find something under $6 per month, especially if you’re willing to purchase a plan for more than 1 year.

Recommendations: I use JustHost and InMotion

Pick your domain.

This is your www.domain.com

Advice: Choose something simple, perhaps just your name or a small variation on it. Think long term, something your kids or grandkids will refer to if they want to understand your life. Stay away from the 1990’s AIM screen names or anything that will be stupid over time

Recommendations: I use GoDaddy

Point your domain to your web host

Most domain management companies (ie: GoDaddy) will prompt you for your server information before you complete your order and checkout. Some companies provide all in one hosting and domain management. Or you can choose to have separate companies for hosting and domain management.

Install WordPress

Find a theme. You can search and try out thousands of free themes.

I used zeeBizCard for my website resume. It’s got a myriad of social icons that can direct traffic to your various online presences.

Setup Google Analytics

Hopefully you have a gmail address. If not, get one and then sign up for Google Analytics. It’s relatively intuitive, so once you get your site added they’ll spit you a Google Analytics ID. Take that and paste it into one of the critical quickstart WP plugins and then you’ll have some data to play around with once people start visiting your site.

Beef up your SEO

Using your same Google login, you can also create a Google Adwords account. Adwords let’s you pay for your site’s advertisements to pop up all over relevant Google searches. You can specify locations you want to target, budget per day to spend on your ads, or even congressional districts to pinpoint.

 You shouldn’t engage in proactive ads until you’ve really filled out your site and already have a reasonable flow of visitors. Otherwise Google will ‘devalue’ you if you’re trying to throw ads up before people have started visiting your website resume.

Link to your site through social media, particularly LinkedIn where you’ll stand out more by having a Personal Website. Keep yourself in the news feeds by making small updates here and there, and as always keep expanding that network.


 

Quickstart Plugin Guide for WordPress

Assuming you’ve got your web host and your domain set up, it’s time to install wordpress and get rolling with essential WordPress plugins. If you haven’t gotten your web host or domain yet, check out this post for an overview.

This are the bare-bones, most efficient way to get up and running with your blog with the most essential WordPress plugins.

1. Yoast WordPress SEO

Probably the best feature of Yoast WordPress SEO is that you can import all of your titles, descriptions, and keywords from some of the other popular SEO plugins. Very visual in it’s layout, it makes a great beginners–>advanced SEO tool for WordPress.

2. Akismet

Get yourself a configuration key and activate it. This plugin blocks spam and is the universal choice of most WP’ers, mainly since it’s built in with current versions of WP.

3. All In One Favicon

A favicon is the little icon you see in your web browsers tab. This plugin lets you upload any size picture and in multiple formats (ICO, PNG, GIF). Another fun feature is that you can select a separate favicon for the backend part of your website too, so you don’t always have the WordPress icon on the site you spend most of your time on.

4. Simple Contact Form

It is what it is. Throws a small contact form wherever you want (pages, posts, homepage, etc…) and it’ll shoot you an email when someone has contacted you. Safer than throwing an email address on your site, and much friendlier than comments.

5. Twitter Tools 

Integrate your blog with Twitter and vice versa. Quick and easy ways to configure content dissemination.

These are the first 5 essential wordpress plugins I download/activate that help me suit up and look presentable. Hopefully this list will grow as we learn more.

Tim Ferris has a more in-depth look at WP plugins, which may be useful once your site is more legitimized and optimized. Check here for his article.

Please submit any recommendations by commenting below, contacting us or following us on the tweet machine.

How To Own Your Technology (and not the other way around)

Choose the Right Technology for You

Warren Buffet has a very simple way of picking the right investments: understand them first.

You may be shocked to hear that even as a good friend of Bill Gates, and being the savvy and prolific investor he is, Warren has never invested in Microsoft because he says he does not understand how the company works.

Just because you grew up with a smartphone, or get 10+ Likes for every picture you post on Facebook doesn’t mean you understand technology. I bet Warren has used Microsoft products for 3 decades, and still he has the humility to stay away from it, despite the potential gains he might have accumulated.

Photo courtesy of the wonderful Fortune Magazine (please don’t sue us)

If you understand how each piece of technology fits in to your life, then you’re halfway to every tech company’s dream – being a customer! But what’s more important is to understand why technology works for you, and whether it’s actually worth your time.

Establish your Limitations

If you ‘need’ any aspect of technology, then you’re already in the deep end. Try removing yourself from the grid for a few hours at a time – maybe even days if you’re crazy. The point is to own your technology. You be the master. Be cognizant of the real effects it has on you. Do you rely on technology so much you feel like you’re missing out? Are you accomplishing more during the day? Are you unhappy?

These seem like silly questions, but most of us are scared to admit what type of separation anxiety kicks in when we don’t get push alerts or have Words With Friends moves to play.

If you consciously attempt to control the time you spend on a connected device, you will help separate yourself from your virtual self, and heck, maybe go for a run or read a book. Try these tips  from Dave Boehi on how to establish your technology limitations.

Alert Your Friends

This is more of a courtesy rather than a rule, but it could save your mother  a heart attack when all of your closest friends text your mom ‘haven’t heard from Lloyd in like 7 minutes…is he ok?!?!’. This is not how to own your technology, this is technology owning you.

User Your Time Well

Drop the phone, the laptop and the tablet, and make sure to occupy your time with something relatively useful. You can proceed with your normal day, but do it 21st century Thoreau style – with no connectivity.

Pursue things you enjoy doing, and if the desire comes for any types of technology, you can be the judge on whether or not it’s worth it (I cannot get away from Evernote).

Most of the time technology speeds up our lives or makes them more efficient, but sometimes we need life to slow down to human pace to keep us happy.

 

Mind-Mapping Tool : Creativity in the 21st Century

An example of mind-mapping toolI’ve always been one that has had a hard time transferring thoughts to paper. It seems as though everything I have upstairs follows it’s very own indexing algorithm that my conscious knows nothing about. None the less, it’s been a battle to wrestle ideas onto paper that seem so plausible in my head, only to have them look so-so in a notebook. A possible answer to this problem is mind-mapping tools.

As Law Librarian Diane Murley defines it, mind mapping

[…] is one of several similar techniques developed by learning researchers in the 1960s. Mind maps are a nonlinear visual outline of complex information that can aid creativity, organization, productivity, and memory. Mind maps graphically show ideas in a relational context, with the main topic at the center of the map, major subtopics on branches radiating from the main topic, and sub-subtopics around each subtopic, etc.

Old School Mind-Mapping Tools

Take out a sheet of paper. Probably best to use the landscape orientation. Write down your main idea in the middle, and put a circle, square, rectangle, or whatever shape tickles your fancy. From there, branch out sub-topics. These sub-topics can be the three main points in an essay…or the five most important features a new product design must include. Anything. This is the kind of mind-mapping tool that is entirely subjective. So from there, it’s literally up to you. Be creative. Let your mind wander. This isn’t a final draft, so don’t be afraid to suck the marrow out of that sponge sitting in your dome. Use different colored pens, stencils, shapes, lines, or whatever else sounds tasty at the time. At the very least, if your idea behind the map turns into a turd, make sure it’s something you see as art. The end of using a mind-mapping tool should be rewarding, regardless of what comes out on paper.

Here’s a few to tantalize:

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New School Mind-Mapping Tool

If you’re like me, the whole pen-and-paper deal isn’t going to cut it. I need technology. Where are my web apps at!?

mind-mapping tool MindMeister

MindMeister touts four main features to their web app: ability to share and collaborate, history playback, access anywhere, and it’s easy-safe-secure.

Go mobile with this mind-mapping tool!

Access your mind-maps anywhere with mobile MindMeister!

I’ve looked at MindMeister as being sort of a personal mind mapping tool as opposed to an enterprise planning one. Though I’m sure their opportunity to monetize lay in ‘corporate brainstorming’, they’ve managed to keep an image about themselves that makes this an intimate experience. One of the coolest parts about that is this share and collaborate stuff. Lloyd and I are constantly trying to brainstorm topics for this blog, and with the help of MindMeister’s collaboration, we can do it a lot easier. We don’t need to be in our man cave every time we have brainstorming sessions.   Also, the history playback function comes in handy when you need to re-energize your creativity during some grueling mind mapping. Look back and regain the spark that brought you to the next point; only this time, go in a different direction.

Click here for some examples on MindMeister’s site. After that, get your mind-map on.

Tomorrow: The Future & Speed of Technology & Fitness

 

I like trends.

And It almost seems like the pace of technology is relentless, doesn’t it? Well, according to Moore’s Law, it is, and the world of fitness technology is not immune to this phenomenon.

NextWeb‘s Courtney Boyd Meyers broke it down when she wrote,

“The path to the future of fitness relies on massive data aggregation, social elements and convenience.”

Data Aggregation and Fitness

Imagine a world of real-time feedback for personal health. Our own “health dashboard” displaying heart rate, blood pressure, most recent blood panel…all relative to various metrics (like, the weather, for example). Well, we aren’t quite there yet.

We have a problem similar to solar energy. With the advent of products like FitBit, Nike Fuel Band, among others, we’re gathering that massive amount of data that NextWeb’s article talked about. The problem is we don’t quite know where to put it; in the solar panels situation, battery tech isn’t as efficient.

I personally have used a FitBit and found that the web-based dashboard left me wanting. It didn’t quite have the in depth analysis of data that I’d assume FitBit’s technology is capable of capturing.

Social Networks and Technology

If you follow news about Google, you may have heard of some pretty interesting changes to their search algorithm. It basically means that social networks will play a more influential role in Google’s content delivery. And again, fitness technology is not immune to this. Fitocracy aims to take this head on. With it’s game-based exercise programs, you can compete with others. Cheers to 21st century jogging groups!

Convenience and Technology

Convenience is the name of the game for technology. And once again, fitness technology plays by the same rules. A cool example of a site not related to fitness technology but makes life more efficient: http://secure.motherknows.com. It basically stores your child’s medical information in an easy-to-access manner so that emergencies while away from home can be dealt with. That’s a great way to make people’s lives easier, relatively easily. The backend of MotherKnows isn’t powered by Watson, and yet it can provide peace of mind, one of the most valuable commodities.

Moral of the story, technology is speeding up. We don’t necessarily have to accept all technology hook, line, and sinker…but if it has the potential to make us all healthier, might be worth a look? What do you think?

 

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