Connect To The Desktop Of Your Home Computer Via The Internet

We live in the age of global communication and connectivity. Could you imagine 10 years ago if you had told someone you’d be sitting in a coffee shop, connected to a worldwide network, with no wires connected to your laptop, reading the latest news or even playing a game with your friends?

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They would have suggested that you are mad! Fortunately, that is not the case and we do live in a world where global communications are standard and almost everyone has their own permanent connection to the internet via broadband.

What if, via this worldwide communications network, you could not only read the latest news or do your grocery shopping online; you could actually remotely control your PC at home! Think about this for a minute, what would this allow you to do? Would it allow you to remotely use any applications you may have installed at homes, such as accountancy applications, spreadsheets or documents? Allow you to check any downloads you may have progressing at home? Check on emails that only come into your email client? The possibilities really are endless. There is a solution at hand, and in this article, I will focus on using the inbuilt features of Microsoft Windows XP Professional, namely, Remote Desktop.

If you have never used remote desktop before, don’t be worried. It’s a simple feature that does what is says, presents you with your desktop via a client. If you look in Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> Communications, you will see a Remote Desktop Client application.

Using this application, you can enter a computer name or IP address to connect to. You can even map your home computers hard drives as well so that they appear in windows explorer, and even print to the printer beside you, from your home computer, over the internet!

Try it at home if you have two computers. You need to make sure that Remote Desktop is enabled first, and this can be done by selecting System from Control Panel, selecting the remote tab, and ensuring that “Allow users to connect remotely to this computer” is enabled. If you plan to do this at home, take note of the “Full computer name”, as this is what you will need to enter into the remote desktop client to connect to this computer.

I know you are worried about security at this point, but don’t worry – we’ll address that later.

Now, if you do have two computers at home, try it and see what happens! You should be presented with the familiar login box, and once logged in – ta-da! You are now on the desktop of the other computer, using the remote desktop application on your local computer!

Now – what if this functionality could be extended; so that you can connect to your home PC from anywhere in the world provided you are connected to the internet? Fortunately, this can be done! There are seven steps that we need to do in order to achieve this.

1. Ensure that your computer will accept remote desktop requests

2. Make sure your password is strong!

3. Note down your IP addresses

4. Change the port number that remote desktop responds on (this will aid with security)

5. Ensure any local firewalls are not blocking the Remote Desktop Port.

6. Create the necessary port forwarding rules on your home router

7. Sign up to a Dynamic DNS service (ignore if you have a static IP address from your ISP)

Let me explain these steps and how to perform each one.

1. Ensure your computer will accept remote desktop requests. As above, you need to select the System icon from Control Panel, and, from the remote tab, ensure that “Allow users to connect remotely to this computer” is enabled.

2. Make sure your password is strong! If your password is not very secure, make sure you change it so that it has at least 8 characters, at least one uppercase character and at least one symbol. One way to do this is to use symbols/numbers as a substitute for letters. For example, say I wanted my password to be the name of my son, Benjamin. Instead of using Benjamin as my password, which as you can see, is a lot more secure than Benjamin.

3. Note down your IP addresses. We need to make a note of your internal and external IP addresses. To do this, go to Start -> Run and type cmd. Then click OK. Type config and look for the IP address entry. In this example, we will use 192.168.01. This is your internal IP address. Take a note of your IP address, in this example, we will use 1.2.3.4. This is your external IP address.

Things will get a bit techy from this point on. The tasks we need to perform are pretty straight forward, however, if you have any questions, please ask a technical friend first or consult online help from the internet as an error in the below steps could cause your computer to malfunction or cause you internet connectivity problems.

4. Change the port number that remote desktop responds on. This will require you editing the registry. Go to Start -> Run and type regedit. Then click OK and you will be presented with the Windows Registry. I won’t get into detail about the registry now, there are books as thick as encyclopedias written on the windows registry, suffice to say, if you don’t know what you are doing, don’t mess around with it!

Now, if you browse through the tree to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlTerminal ServerWinstationsRDP-TCP. Once there, look for an entry in the right-hand pane called “PortNumber”. Double click this entry and select decimal. Now, this will be 3389 by default. Make sure you change this to a number of your choosing, above 1024 and below 65534. In this case, lets you 23456. I highly recommend making this number as obscure as possible to avoid people discovering an open port via portscan! Click OK, and close down Registry Editor.

One caveat to this, what port you decide to use, may affect the usability of this feature. Some companies will block ports that are not in common use, so 23456 will be blocked. Other companies allow all ports, as do most home users. If you choose a common port, such as port 80 or 443, it may allow you more access from secure networks, however, will allow hackers to more easily see your PC on the internet.

Even using a higher port number will still render you vulnerable to certain attacks, however, the risk is severely minimised when using a higher port number. I and a number of colleagues have used this technology for a number of years without incident; however remember when allowing any connectivity over the internet, there is always a risk! This choice in functionality is up to you.

5. Ensure any local firewalls are not blocking the Remote Desktop Port. This step will most likely require you to check the instructions with your particular desktop firewall product. What you will need to do here is ensure that anyone is allowed to connect to the port number used above. This is usually in the form of a firewall rule and looks similar to the below:

Allow Anyone using protocol TCP 23456 in both directions to connect to My computer. Once again, this will require consulting your desktop firewall instructions.

Now, before we go any further we need to make sure this change has taken effect. Reboot your computer, and, if you have another computer on your LAN, try and remote desktop to your computer with the “: you port number” at the end, for example. My computer:23456, or your IP address, 192.168.0.1:23456. Make sure this works before continuing or else the next steps will not work.

6. Create the necessary port forwarding rules on your home router. This step will depend on your particular home router. You will need to connect to this and define a port forwarding rule similar to the following:

Allow anyone -> Using Port TCP 23456 (substitute for your port number above) to connect to 192.168.0.1 (substitute for your internal IP address). You may need to consult the manual for your router regarding port forwarding for this. You may need to define a particular protocol or server for TCP 23456 (substitute for your particular port number above). This is the hardest step of all so it may take you a while to achieve.

7. Sign up to a Dynamic DNS service (ignore if you have a static IP address from your ISP). If you know your external IP address will never change, ignore this step. If however, you have a dynamic IP from your ISP, you will need to perform this step.

This step is to ensure that your external IP address changes, it will be registered on the internet so you can still connect to your PC. The best service.

Sign up here and enter a hostname that you would like to use, ie, myname.dyndns.com. Follow the instructions here to ensure that your external IP address is always updated on the internet.

8. Finally, you are ready to go. If you have completed all the steps above successfully, you’ll want to test this out. The best choice will be to go to a friend’s house with home broadband, and test connecting in. Once connected to the internet, load up your remote desktop client, and enter either you external IP address or DNS name, eg 1.2.3.4:23456 or myname.dyndns.com:23456.

Chances are this may not work the first time, so, I have included below tests that you can perform at each stage to determine where the problem may be.

1. Ensure that your computer will accept remote desktops requests. The best way to check this is to go to Start -> Run and type cmd . Then type “telnet 127.0.0.1 portnumber” ie, “telnet 127.0.0.1 23456”. This should return a blank cmd window if successful, and an error if unsuccessful. If this is successful, move on to the next step. If this is unsuccessful, make sure Remote Desktop Connections to you PC are enabled and the port number is correct. You can do this by typing “telnet 127.0.0.1 3389” in the same cmd window as before, and if this is successful, your remote desktop port number has not yet changed. You may need to reboot your PC or check the above registry entry.

2. Make sure your password is strong! This test I will leave to you to ensure your password is correct.

3. Note down your IP addresses. Make sure that all your IP addresses are correct!

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4. Change the port number that remote desktop responds on. You can check this has been set successfully by going to Start -> Run and type cmd . Then type “telnet 127.0.0.1 portnumber” ie, “telnet 127.0.0.1 23456”. This should return a blank cmd window if successful, and an error if unsuccessful. If this is successful, move on to the next step. If this is unsuccessful, make sure Remote Desktop Connections to you PC are enabled and the port number is correct. You can do this by typing “telnet 127.0.0.1 3389” in the same cmd window as before, and if this is successful, your remote desktop port number has not yet changed. You may need to reboot your PC or check the above registry entry.

5. Ensure any local firewalls are not blocking the Remote Desktop Port. The best way to test this functionality, if you can, is to use a PC on your LAN. From a PC on the same network as yours, type “telnet “, ie “telnet 192.168.0.1 23456”. If you receive a blank cmd window, then this is working OK. If you receive an error, and all the above tests are successful, then this indicates that something on your PC is blocking this connection. You will need to look at any local firewalls that may be preventing this access (including the inbuilt Microsoft Firewall).

If this step works, also ensure that your local firewall is not just allowing computer on your local network and nothing else to connect. I stress again, make sure you read the instructions that came with your desktop firewall.

6. Create the necessary port forwarding rules on your home router. This is the most problematic part of the process. To check this, you will need to be on another broadband connection. Once connected, navigate to Start -> Run and type cmd . Then type “telnet ” ie, “telnet 1.2.3.4 23456”. Once again, this should return a blank cmd window if successful and an error if unsuccessful. If all the tests above have been successful, and this command is unsuccessful, then this problem indicates there is an issue on the router port forwarding the Remote Desktop request. Ensure that you have read the manual and port forwarded this successfully.

7. Sign up to a Dynamic DNS service. You can test this simply by performing the same command as above. If “telnet externalip portnumber” works, and “telnet myname.dyndns.com portnumber” does not, then there is a problem with this service. From a cmd window, type ping myname.dyndns.com and see if it returns a reply. If not, then you will need to check the online help with regards to this service.

That should be it; you should now be able to connect to your home PC from almost any internet connection. Remember you can use advanced features of the remote desktop client such as connecting your local drives, printers etc.

The Future of Internet TV

We are already beginning to see what the future holds for Internet TV. If you miss your favorite television program you can go to the network’s website and watch the episode in its entirety that you missed. In fact, many networks are promoting the fact that you can catch up on all the episodes that you may have missed in order to be caught up on popular serial dramas such as Lost and 24. Missing one or two episodes of those programs can leave a viewer confused as to what is happening in the series and can alienate the viewer.

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That, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. Technology is changing at warp speed and part of the allure of internet television is that the viewers can decide when they choose to watch the programming. They no longer have to be in front of the television for “Must See TV” as they once did. That is why network executives are trying to come up with ways to make Internet TV an interactive experience for viewers and figure out how they can reap the rewards of such efforts.

Most households outfitted with cable or satellite television services are familiar with video on demand. Users can select from a list of available movies, documentaries, and cartoons what they would like to view and the time that they want to watch the program. A fee is added to the service for each program that is selected. The interactive TV model would build upon the popularity of video on demand and enhance the service.

The latest advance in Internet TV is called IPTV or Internet Protocol TV, also known as interactive personalized TV. It is attempting to bring television viewing to home watchers in a way that has been personalized just for the viewer. IPTV is taking advantage of mash-up technology so there are various layers of music, graphics, video, and text on a screen. As a viewer, you can select what information you want to be displayed.

For example, there might be scrolling text shown to the viewer as he positions the remote control in a certain way that would be hooked into an entertainment database such as IMDB. The text will give the viewer an actor’s name and past movie and television credits. If the viewer was watching sports, he would be able to get access to the player’s stats. With another remote control button, the viewer could find out what outfit the actor is wearing and order it for himself right from the comfort of his own recliner or sofa. Users will be able to interact with their television the way that they currently do with their computer. This functionality adds a new dimension to voting polls that so many reality television shows use today.

IPTV is currently being tested now to work out the delivery system. The programming will be delivered by network infrastructure such as a broadband device. In order for the product to become a success, there will need to be sufficient infrastructure to handle the demands of the users. No one will be happy if the feeds are slow or if the picture pixilated or breaks up during the transmission. The ongoing testing will also be trying to determine the average user interest in such a service. How much would people be willing to pay in order to have the interactive television?

Streaming video and live video feeds are becoming more popular, but users currently can only get this type of entertainment from the internet. After watching an episode of the reality show Big Brother, wouldn’t it be great to opt – in and buy the live video feeds to continue watching what happens in the house right from your television? The same technology will also make it possible to chat with other viewers of the video feeds. A separate device like a Sidekick that is attached wirelessly to your television would enable the viewer to chat and text each other while watching the streaming videos.

You can get a taste of online TV by putting “online TV” into any search engine. The results will be lists of online TV aggregators. The aggregators gather television programming from all over the world and allow users to watch the programs online. All videos require Windows Media Player or Quick Time real Player to be installed on your computer in order to watch the programs. If you were curious to see what a news programming from Vietnam or Italy looks like, you can watch it from your computer.

Online TV allows you to choose which programs you are interested in from a variety of different ways. You can select programming by country of interest or genre. Genres consist of cartoons, children’s shows, games, drama, comedies, humor, news, and adult programming. Big players in online movie programming are Hula. Hula is a joint venture of NBC and News Corp. Full-length prime time television shows are available to watch for free as are full-length major motion pictures. The site generates revenue by the advertising it runs. It is free to all viewers who live in the United States.

Television networks are embracing the Internet. The CBS network signed an agreement with YouTube to show various clips of their programs on the popular social network site and have reported an increase in network television viewing since the clips have hit YouTube. The network is reaching viewers that they have not been able to reach before.

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Television is starting to embrace the model of operation similar to the music industry. A recording artist releases his album and all of the songs are available to the public should they decide to listen to the music whenever they wanted to hear it. Television networks have been operating on the network’s programming schedule and not the television viewers schedule. That is about to change with the advances that are being made with IPTV. You won’t have to wait a whole week to see the next installment of The Office. The series will be out in there as video on demand is now for viewers to decide to watch whenever they choose.

Internet Marketing – Computer Information

When you need to get a contact phone number for a company, sometimes it takes a while to get to the right page. Bing will give you the number right on the search results page. No need to even visit the website.

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If you want a preview of a web page without having to visit the website, Bing shows you the information, just scrolled over the desired search result and a preview box will appear. The text will give a short description of the web page, and shows what other links appear on the page.

GOOGLE ADVANCED NEWS SEARCHES

Google offers Advanced News Search, allows a visitor to scour headlines by date, location, exact phrases or publication. People can use it retrieve articles from more than 4,500 news outlets publishing on the Web.
Check out Google’s official guidelines for quality listings. They offer a re-inclusion request option that will give your business an opportunity to appeal if a listing is removed too.

In some other Google-related news that online businesses and business with websites might be interested in, they have introduced a new Sitemap Generator.

Google is planning to include website load time as one of the Ranking factors in an algorithm in 2010. This is not a done deal, but it could be a good idea to check your load speed.

WEB PAGE TRANSLATION

This feature is particularly helpful if your search has non-English results. Google offers a facility to auto-martially translate a page for you in English. Currently, Google supports Italian, French, Spanish, German, and Portuguese.

For the best information on your site or to check your competitors for persons who use Google AdWords, try out the Google AdWords Keyword Tool.

False and Misleading Advertising What’s truthful? The FTC has attempted to deal with this question by establishing the following standards:

The intention to deceive is not what matters. What matters is the perception of the public. The test of whether or not an ad is misleading will be based on the effect on the average or unsophisticated person. Your advertising may also be deemed deceptive through omission or misleading implications. The bottom-line, just the facts.

SCREEN SAVERS

If you are looking for something different remember Windows has a great choice. Don’t unload any free ones from anywhere, could have bugs, and almost impossible to delete.

For windows screen savers, right-click on a blank area of the desktop. Click “properties”, “screen savers”. Click the arrow to the right of “screen savers” just below the monitor. Pick the one you want.

LIGHTSIDE

A teacher was getting to know the kids in her class by asking them what their father did for a living. The first kid she asked said: ” My name is John and my dad is a truck driver.” The next child she asked said: “My name is Bill and my dad is a striptease dancer.” The teacher quickly changed the subject.

Later, the teacher approached Bill privately and asked him if it was true that his father was a strip tease dancer and danced in the nude. Bill blushed and said: “No, he really is Information Director at Microsoft, but I am too embarrassed to tell anyone”.

COMPUTER WARNING, INTERNET MARKETING INFORMATION

Security company McAfee has prepared its predictions for hacker threats in 2010. It forecasts a troubling year for Adobe software, which McAfee believes will be heavily targeted in 2010.Nearly every PC and Mac in the world seems to have a copy of Adobe Reader, a necessary tool for reading portable document format files.

The prediction is not particularly surprising. Adobe itself admitted in early 2009 that it had seen attacks on its applications climb steadily in recent years.

Still, it’s not just Adobe and its many users that will need to be wary in 2010. Also steadily rising in popularity are social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.

The tip on unplugging your computer from the wall outlet during a thunderstorm was sound advice. And we’re coming to the season when thunderstorms become more frequent. But let’s take that advice one small step further. Take the time to also unplug your modem from the telephone line! Surges can also pass through the telephone lines and even a small surge of static electricity can fry the delicate circuitry in your modem.

Your Clipboard can be seen by any hacker. For your protection, you should not copy passwords, credit card numbers or other sensitive information. To prevent this from happening to go to Internet Explorer: Click Tools, Internet Options, Security tab, Internet section. Go down to the Security level box, and click the Custom Level button. Scroll down to Scripting, and find the entry, “Allow Programmatic clipboard access” or “Allow paste operations via script”.
Click Disable or Prompt. Click OK.

Protecting your computer against malicious software is an ongoing activity and, at the minimum, all computer systems need to be regularly patched, have up to date anti-virus software, and a personal firewall installed.

Within the last several months, the FBI has seen a significant increase in fraud involving the exploitation of valid online banking credentials belonging to small and medium businesses, municipal governments, and school districts.

In a typical scenario, the targeted entity receives a phishing” email, which either contains an infected attachment or directs the recipient to an infected website. Once the recipient opens the attachment or visits the web site, malware is installed on their computer. The malware contains a key logger, which will harvest the recipient’s business or corporate bank account login information. Shortly thereafter, the perpetrator either creates another user account with the stolen login information or directly initiates funds transfers by masquerading as the legitimate user.

You can make a difference and help protect your own systems at home and at the office by taking these basic steps: Change your security passwords regularly, have a firewall in place on your computer, get the latest anti-virus software, and install current security patches for your computer’s operating system.

Also, take a time to visit the FBI’s cyber web page to learn more about how our cyber action teams, computer crimes task forces, Innocent Images program, and Internet Crime Complaint Centre are playing vital roles in protecting cyberspace. Can you avoid getting caught by a scam artist working the web? Not always. But prudence pays.

The FTC offers these tips to help you avoid getting caught by an offer that just may not click:

Read the fine print and all relevant links. Fraudulent promoters sometimes bury the disclosures they’re not anxious to share by putting them in teeny-tiny type or in a place where you’re unlikely to see them.

Look for a privacy policy. If you don’t see one – or if you can’t understand it – consider taking your business elsewhere.

Be skeptical of any company that doesn’t clearly state its name, street address, and telephone number.

The FTC has publicly Announced Its Newly Developed Cross-Border Fraud Guidelines. The FTC has joined with Hundreds of International Law Enforcement agencies around the world to form a combined force and aggressively combat what they see as the growing problem of Cross-Border Fraud.

This combined force has vowed to enforce the FTC”s Rules and Regulations on a world wide basis. They have really cracked down on Internet marketers, and actively going after those that don’t rigidly adhere to all their rules about disclosures disclaimers, terms of use, privacy and other legal documentation! They filed 45 criminal and civil law enforcement actions against Internet Marketers, in a single day.

Government agencies do not send unsolicited e-mails of this nature. The FBI, Department of Justice, and other United States government executives are briefed on numerous investigations but do not personally contact consumers regarding such matters. In addition, United States government agencies use the legal process to contact individuals. These agencies do not send threatening letters/e-mails to consumers demanding payments for Internet crimes.

Fake eCards.
You get a message with a link to an online greeting card but, when you click it, you end up with a virus on your PC. A couple of simple rules here. Delete any messages that come from someone you don’t know or that don’t address you by name. If they come from someone you know, email that person to check that they sent it before clicking the link.

Holiday rentals. 2009 has seen a surge in ads offering bogus vacation rentals. You pay a deposit or even in full to get a key and that’s the last you hear of them.

Scammers are experts at creating phony look-alike sites where you land after mistyping an address or by clicking on a link supplied in the email or ad. Always type in the URL and don’t just click on the link.

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DROP SHIPPERS
You can get products to sell via eBay or/and your website by using the services of a drop shipper. A reliable drop shipper will not ask you for a fee. They will allow you to copy pictures of the products they sell. Prices are about half you would pay for retail. If you have a website they will allow you to move any listing on their site to yours. You set your price on the product/s you transfer. When an order comes in place the order they will ship it out for you under your shipping label and not include any of their material.

A good way to promote is to join as an affiliate, transfer a couple specials onto your site, with a link back to your affiliate page. The cost of setting up a website is minimum. Check out my website archive for drop ship firms.

Disclaimer: The Author of this article is not responsible for accuracy or completeness nor shall he be held liable for any damage or loss arising out of or in any way related to the information or utilization of it.

 

Why Amateurs Encounter Crooks and Frauds Instead of Money in Internet Marketing

Almost everyone who gets into internet marketing wants only one thing -“Money!” And the mindset most feel is “the quicker they get it, the better.” Most people fail to realize that internet marketing is like any other offline business: You need to have something to sell, and to sell “that thing,” you need to market your business.

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You also need to have some form of the payment processor to bill your customers for your service. People make money by either working for a business or starting their own business. In the online world, you do the same thing. If you need to make money online, then you need to start delivering products or services that add value to your customers. If you are not delivering value, you will not make a living online (or in a business offline, either)!

There is no “get rich quick scheme”

If you are new to Internet Marketing, then you will see a lot of “bright, shiny objects.” This is the name veteran marketers give to the latest fads that claim to help you make a lot of money, very fast. These are scams run almost totally by fraudsters. Their only intention is to extort money from those who do not know better. Their target market is the new people venturing into Internet Marketing. Namely, you!

The e-books or the videos these guys supply is information that is available for free online. These books will do you no good, no matter how good they claim to be. Avoid purchasing e-books and guides without getting your feet wet in the Internet Marketing world. If you will just take a little bit of time to do your own research, you will be able to save a lot of money.

My adage, that I continue to harp to my clients in my membership training classes, is to “never purchase any product (other than the basics to get set up) until you make the money through your business to actually purchase it.” In other words, get your website and business up and running BEFORE you buy an of the “latest gadgets and software” that claim you can make millions of dollars by this time next week!

The Good News

You need to start learning what works and what does not work by learning from people who actually make money online. Search for Internet Marketing forums and blogs by other Internet Marketers. You can meet a lot of professional marketers as well as a lot of like-minded amateur Internet Marketers in these forums. Go and read through the pages. Look for free resources and tools which can enable you to set up your own website. Never shy away from searching and learning about something that you do not know. You will be amazed at the information that is readily available online – for FREE!

The first website that I started was a ministry website. But I stumbled around and finally found someone who was able and willing to answer my questions and help me in the setup. The only cost associated was the hosting fee and the domain name. I finally got the website to where I liked the “feel” of it – and began to advertise it. I never went in for the “fads” of the time. I did it all myself. The results? I began to receive some orders for the products (books and CD’s) where were offered for sale through the website. I could have wasted thousands of dollars using “the next best thing” when the old-fashioned way saved me money (and made some money)in the process.

About three years ago, I decided to enter the Internet Marketing business for myself (separate from the ministry, which continues to operate – but is a “not for profit” ministry. This business venture was set up as if I had a traditional “business” for the intent to “make money in exchange for services or products”).

The most important lesson I learned quickly about online business was the need to reinvest the money you make online in order to make more money. There is risk involved. But it is a business and Internet Marketing is a very serious business. I spent thousands of dollars chasing “the latest fad” (the bright, shiny objects) before I learned the main lesson I now live by and teach. “Start with the basics and when the money comes in – then and only then – decide on what product will help your business grow.”

I purchased a “done for you” website done by a “guru.” I did not know how to add to the content, change the content or even how to operate it. I had to “go through them” for everything. After about two months of no sales at all – I canceled. Guess what, after I cancelled, I had “zero” customer support! I basically dumped the website and started over. Once I learned how to set up a website, I discovered I had more control over it. I was able to get professional designs to suit my website and style.

Having your own website, though, is just the beginning. There is a lot of work involved to make your website a success. My definition of a successful online business is “having a website that makes money for you by providing valuable service to the customers who use the website.” The websites maintenance cost comes from the income of the website itself.

Growing your online business

Once I had found that I was achieving a small level of success, I stopped writing content for the website. I was making money through “Ad Sense” advertisements (you can search for what it is and how it works on YouTube) and I became lazy and unmotivated. My income started dwindling because my regular readers left the blog due to the lack of fresh content. By the time I realized the mistake I was making – I had not updated the site in almost three months! I was adding more advertisements on my website trying to make more income from the traffic coming from the search engines. This was another big mistake (and it lost my search engine rankings in the process as well). In other words, I lost all the way around!

From studying my mistakes, I discovered that you need to keep growing your business at all times. It is a never-ending process. So I started writing regular content again. I slowly changed from strictly selling products to a membership program. I also introduced a newsletter for my free members. The newsletter enables me to send emails to my subscriber’s with ease. The membership program is designed to provide information on how to start and grow your business while avoiding the traps that I (and others) encountered.

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Believe me when I say that making money online is possible – if you play the game right and put in a lot of hard work and creativity. Do what is necessary to grow your business instead of looking for an e-book or “latest and greatest” gadget that claims to provide you with an “overnight” success story.

Slow and steady will win just about every time! The membership program started small. It took a little while to catch on. But I continued to manage it as if it had 100 members. This “practice” identifies the bumps and things that you must do to work better. Don’t try to get rich overnight – you will lose almost every time. Less than 1% actually make the overnight success story.

Activity Internet Online Marketing Information, Computer, Fraud Tips

NETWORKING

You didn’t learn it at school, or at the office. Would you believe your mother?

Networking is more than shaking hands and giving out business cards. Forget about the endless networking skills you may have learned at the office. We just have to put the few lessons mother taught us into practice. As a kid, we were always in a hurry to find something better. Our mothers taught us patience.

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If you are in a hurry you miss the value that can be built taking time with building relations in networking. Establishing a relationship by taking time, gives you a solid framework in networking building.

Your mother worked hard as an example. This is one of the better examples in networking she gave you. That’s why it is called networking, not sit work. For networking to be successful you have to work hard and put out the effort.

Remember her telling you to share your things with others? Some of our best resources are time, money, and information we are willing to give to the relationship. They appreciate us when we are willing to give to the relationship.

She always made you clean up after yourself. In networking, follow-up is required. Whether it’s a promise to meet someone, or just a thank you is one of the most important lessons of networking. These life lessons we learned from the mother during childhood are solid bases for strong networking skills.
Thank you, mother, for all your help.

The biggest time spend in selling, more so in mail order or on the Internet is developing a relationship with your customer and building trust. If you did a good job in the first two, closing a sale will take the smallest of your time spend with your customer.

CARD TRANSACTIONS REPORT TO IRS

Starting in 2011, banks or other companies that process credit cards must report the amount of the payments a merchant receives on card transactions to the IRS. The law will not apply to merchants doing less than 200 transactions totaling less than $20,000.

SCREENSAVERS

If you are looking for something different remember Windows has a great choice. Don’t unload any free ones from anywhere, could have bugs, and almost impossible to delete.

For windows screen savers, right-click on a blank area of the desktop. Click “properties”, “screen savers”. Click the arrow to the right of “screen savers” just below the monitor. Pick the one you want.
For the best information on your site or to check your competitors for persons who use Google AdWords, try out the Google AdWords Keyword Tool.

ADVANCED NEWS SEARCHES

A new offering from Google – Advanced News Search, allows visitors to scour headlines by date, location, exact phrases or publication. People can use it retrieve articles from more than 4,500 news outlets publishing on the Web.

WEB PAGE TRANSLATION
This feature is particularly helpful if your search has non-English results. Google offers a facility to auto-martially translate a page for you in English. Currently, Google supports Italian, French, Spanish, German, and Portuguese languages.

LIGHTSIDE

A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP

All the rooms were taken when the soldier got into town. After pleading with the desk clerk, the clerk remarked. “Well, I do have a double room with only one occupant, but to tell you the truth he snores so loudly that people in an adjoining room have complained. I am not sure it would be worth it to you”. “No problem.” The tired army guy assured him, “I will take it’.

When he came down for breakfast the next morning the clerk asked, “How did you sleep?” “Never better”, replied the soldier. The desk clerk was impressed. “No problem with the other guy snoring”, the clerk asked?” “No I shut him up in no time”, explained the soldier. “How did you manage that?” asked the clerk.

“Well, he was already in bed, snoring away, when I walked into the room, so I gave him a kiss on the cheek”, explained the soldier”. “Then, I whispered in his ear Good night beautiful, and he sat up all night watching me.

COMPUTER WARNING

The tip on unplugging your computer from the wall outlet during a thunderstorm was sound advice. And we’re coming to the season when thunderstorms become more frequent. But let’s take that advice one small step further. Take the time to also unplug your modem from the telephone line! Surges can also pass through the telephone lines and even a small surge of static electricity can fry the delicate circuitry in your modem.

Your Clipboard can be seen by any hacker. For your protection, you should not copy passwords, credit card numbers or other sensitive information. To prevent this from happening go to Internet Explorer: Click Tools, Internet Options, Security tab, Internet section. Go down to the Security level box, and click the Custom Level button. Scroll down to Scripting, and find the entry, “Allow Programmatic clipboard access” or “Allow paste operations via script”.
Click Disable or Prompt. Click OK.

The American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is warning that hitman scam is back in a big way. The hacker behind it is sending out a flood of emails threatening to kill the recipient if he does not receive several thousand dollars.

This scam first popped up in December 2006, then again this last February. Some personal info is included in the emails, to make it look like the crook knows all about you.
The FBI advises that you just ignore the email. Report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

ONLINE RENTAL FRAUD

June, August, September, January is competitive months for rental suites.

There are a lot of fraudulence ads being placed free on Craigslist etc. Crooks ply on the shortage of apartments by placing ads on these sites. When someone answers they are informed owner had to go out of the country for a funeral or whatever. They had no one that they could have left the keys with so the apartment could be checked.

Now comes the kicker. If you’re interested in renting the apartment, send $900.00 as damage deposit, and $1200.00 for the first month’s rent and the key would be courier to them.

There is a limited supply of apartments on the market, so this is a huge target for scammers.

Don’t fall for this scam. People need to do their homework, physically see the apartment, talk to the owners’ and have a written contract.

WARNING, CAR JACKERS IN MALL

CST. Eric Doran #656 Chatham – Kent Police Court Services
Here’s the latest tactic by car thieves.

Heads up, everyone! Please keep this circulating. You walk across the parking lot, unlock your car and get inside. You start the engine and shift into reverse when you look into the rear-view mirror to back out of your parking space. You notice a piece of paper stuck to the middle of the rear window. So, you shift into Park, unlock your doors and jump out of your car to remove that paper (or whatever it is) that is obstructing your view.

When you reach the back of your car, that is when the car-jackers appear out of nowhere, jumps into your car and take off. They practically mow you down as they speed off in your car. And guess what, ladies? I bet your purse is still in the car. So now the carjacker has your car, your home address, your money, and your keys. Your home and your whole identity are now compromised!

Men, you too are at risk. You can say good bye to your briefcase, and if you’re like many guys, who keep their wallet in the glove compartment, with your driver’s licence, credit cards, plus.

If you see a piece of paper stuck to your back window, just drive away, remove the paper later and be thankful that you read this e-mail. I hope you will forward this to friends and family, especially to women. A purse contains all kinds of personal information and identification documents, and you certainly do NOT want this to fall into the wrong hands.

Phishing still catches millions of persons who give out their personal information, believing the e-mail they received was from a bank, PayPal, taxation branch, or some other Government
Department. Further, instead of typing in the URL supplied by the Phisher, they just clink on it. Just because the URL has the proper heading doesn’t mean it is going to a legit URL. In phishing they have it redirected if you click on the URL and they get your personal information.

We trust our Government to safeguard the information we give them. But did you know that the government is among the biggest sources of ID leaks and that penalties for ID theft are rarely imposed on those who are negligent.

For more information on how to protect your computer and ID theft check out the website below.

NEW WEBSITE FIGHTING CRIME

The B.C. Crime Prevention Association has just launched a new website last week. Originally set up to support law enforcement, now available to everyone.

Information on cyber bullying, resource guides, blogs, printed materials including copyright law, stalking, fraud awareness, I.D.theft, senior safety, and crime-proofing property.

PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR COMPUTER TOO.

Internet Explorer sports websites for you, the Internet, local Internet, trusted sites, restricted sites.

If you don’t see the slider in any zone, click the default button. For Restricted sites zones, I would suggest the slider be at the very top, on high. It is the safest way to browse. It also is the most restricted. But with all the sites that could have harmful content that may damage your computer, necessary.
Don’t forget to click OK to exit.

COMPUTER SECURITY TERMS

Adware is software that causes advertising to pop up on your computer display; without your permission.

Malware is malicious software that includes viruses, spyware, and other types of harmful programs.

Badware is adware or spyware that tracks your online activities and provides that information to others without your knowledge.

Spyware is software that’s installed on your PC via downloaded programs. It transmits data to others about your business, behavior on line.

A virus is typically a small, malicious program that can infect programs and replicate itself.

Spam, Virus, Spyware, Phishing, is still big headaches for people online.
Consumers have lost over $9 billion; more than 3 million computers have had to be replaced because of viruses.

DROP SHIP, WHOLESALE

SaleHoo makes importing easy. SaleHoo is a leading directory of drop ship, wholesale, liquidation and manufacturing distributors, and presents a constant and reliable supply of wanted items. Start your importing adventure with SaleHoo, and then spread your wings over the world.

news

ADVANCED NEWS SEARCHES

A new offering from Google – Advanced News Search, allows visitors to scour headlines by date, location, exact phrases or publication. People can use it retrieve articles from more than 4,500 news outlets publishing on the Web.

WEB PAGE TRANSLATION

This feature is particularly helpful if your search has non-English results. Google offers a facility to auto-martially translate a page for you in English. Currently, Google supports Italian, French, Spanish, German, and Portuguese languages.

 

It Isn’t News – It’s Theft

Those who unplugged to go somewhere remote for the Labor Day holiday weekend missed the news of dozens of famous women falling victim to a crime. The rest of us couldn’t escape it, as news of the flagrant violation of their privacy quickly spread – outpaced only by the stolen images themselves.

internet news

Celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, Kirsten Dunst, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and many others were the targets of an effort to leak their private images onto the Internet. The nude and intimate photos and videos were initially posted to 4chan, which quickly removed them, but then resurfaced on various websites across the Internet.

In reporting on the story, The New York Times chose the headline, “Nude Photos of Jennifer Lawrence Are Latest Front in Online Privacy Debate.” (1) But characterizing the fallout of this incident as a “debate” is ludicrous.

There is no gray area here, no debate worthy of the word. It is not a question of editorial judgment or taste, as was the case in showing pictures of murdered journalists in their last moments, a parallel drawn in the Times article. There is no news value in these celebrity images. Everyone has a body; the display and image of that body, in private, is the private property of the body’s owner unless she agrees otherwise. I don’t know how anyone could be a stronger proponent of First Amendment protections of expression than I am, but there is just no First Amendment issue in play here.

This incident is a clear instance trafficking in stolen property, plain and simple. CNN reports that some of the victims have engaged with the FBI; in a similar case a few years ago, a Florida man received 10 years in federal prison for hacking the email accounts of 50 entertainers, an incident that also resulted in the spread of private photos. (2)

Culpability for this crime does not run only to the people who initially stole the images, however. It also runs to those who maintain a marketplace in which such goods are valued and traded. This is a concept we readily recognize in connection with child pornography, for example. The images in question belonged to people whose computers were electronically burglarized. And unlike the loss of, say, an heirloom watch, these women are repeatedly victimized by each new exposure of the stolen images.

Sites that use these images to generate traffic, and purveyors of gossip like celebrity blogger Perez Hilton who use them for the same reasons, are as guilty of an offense against the victims as Amazon would be if it maintained a market in stolen Toyotas.

Granted, it is impractical for websites like Twitter to intercept media such as the stolen images in every case when they are first posted. And it is certainly true that once something is on the Internet, it is there forever. But that does not in any way justify reputable businesses allowing their users to disseminate these images freely. The absence of child pornography on these sites demonstrates that they have ways to shut down such abuse of their services.

Note, too, the response from sites such as Reddit when the discussion shifts from exploiting adult women to running afoul of laws protecting minors. McKayla Maroney, the Olympic gold medalist, is currently 18 years old and was among the leak’s alleged victims; her legal team has contacted a variety of websites that have hosted the images, demanding they be removed on the grounds that she was a minor when the images were taken. (Maroney herself initially denied that the photos of her were authentic.) Reddit moderators warned that all images allegedly of Maroney would be immediately removed, as they qualified as child pornography under the site’s rules. As of this writing, the adult women’s images reportedly remain up. (I am not going to further assault the victims by checking for myself, and I certainly never would ask my associate Amy Laburda to subject herself or the hacking victims to such “research.”)

I see two circumstances in which this sort of corporate misconduct will stop for good. The first is a situation in which a highly placed employee at a big-name website – say, Yishan Wong, Reddit’s current CEO, for example – ends up the victim of this type of crime. If Wong found nude pictures on Reddit of himself, or of his wife (more likely, since this sort of behavior is blatantly gendered), it is hard to imagine that such exploitation would not stop immediately.

The alternative is a victim, such as Jennifer Lawrence, choosing to go to court and winning a judgment that costs a major website a lot of money. The legal and publicity teams of several of the alleged victims, including Lawrence, Kate Upton, and Victoria Justice, have expressed an intention to prosecute not only those who stole the images but those who have disseminated or duplicated them too. They may sue for infringement of intellectual property or the intentional infliction of emotional distress. And let’s not grant even a shred of doubt that such exploitation by Reddit and other offenders is intentional. I am sure the lawyers for the victims will find other grounds for legal action as well.

internet news

There is no controversy, notwithstanding the Times’ thoughtless headline. All decent people will refuse to look at or traffic in these pictures. Respectable businesses, online or off, will not take part either. Those who do should not be surprised when the rest of us, quite possibly including the courts, conclude that they have ventured beyond the pale of journalism.

 

Internet Marketing 101: Online Marketing for Small Business

Introduction

You own a small business. Do you need a website? An Internet presence can be a necessity or a resource-draining boondoggle, depending on your business and your target audience. You shouldn’t build or maintain a website simply because “everyone else has one.” However, even if you own a one-person services company and get all the business you can handle through word of mouth, you can still create an online presence with a minimum of time and expense.

news

If and when you do develop a business website, you’ll need to make some kind of investment in Internet-based marketing. Consumers increasingly and overwhelmingly use the Internet to research and buy goods and services. This means the competition is robust, and if your site doesn’t announce its presence it will simply sit and gather (virtual) dust in some computer’s memory.

If you’ve convinced yourself that you need to enter the web marketing arena, the following report provides a fundamental primer on the most widely used tactics for both paid and free Internet advertising. Just remember that each of the topics introduced here is complex enough that there are entire books written about them, so if something appeals to you do some additional research before jumping in.

Before You Start

There are two main questions you must ask yourself before starting any marketing efforts, whether on- or offline: “Who is my audience?” and “What are my objectives?”

Audience

The audience for most business marketing activities is obviously past, present, and future customers. However, as in traditional advertising and marketing, it helps to narrow down who you are trying to reach, segmenting your market by age, geography, gender, interests, occupation. Certain methods of Internet marketing, such as pay-per-click ads, allow you to target your customers based on this type of segmentation.

Objectives

We can assume that the overall objective of most marketing is to sell products and/or services, but you may have additional objectives for online marketing. These related objectives will hopefully end up driving increased sales, but they can be more subtle than simply asking customers to buy right now. For example, your online marketing plan might include goals such as these:

  • Support and increase visibility of your company’s brand.
  • Improve search engine rankings.
  • Offer reference information related to your business sector.
  • Increase number of registered users or newsletter subscribers.
  • Drive traffic to your company website.

After defining your audience and marketing goals, you can begin to formulate an Internet marketing strategy and tactics. When getting into online marketing, it is important that you maintain brand consistency. Build on the reputation that you have already established. Your on-line presence should mirror that of your “brick and mortar” presence. Use the same logo and tagline so that people will understand that you are the same company. Having an online presence is a way to build on what you have already accomplished.

In the remainder of this report we’ll look at the most common ways you can use the Internet to deliver your message and start increasing your sales.

Table of Contents

websites

E-Mail

Newsletters

Other Announcements

Search Engine Marketing and Display Advertising

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Pay-per-Click (PPC)

Display Advertising

Social Media and Networking

Decide: Who, What, Where, When, and Why?

YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Etc.

Twitter

Blogs

Forums & Discussion Groups

Article Placement / E-Zines

Other Internet Marketing Outlets

Wikipedia

Directories

websites

We won’t get into the vast topic of how to build and manage a website, but if you aim to use the techniques described below, it is nearly essential to have one. Most of your marketing efforts will have a “call to action” that involves your audience visiting your website to research products or services, find contact information, sign up for a newsletter, or place an online order. Whatever you are asking people to do in your online promotions, make sure the website allows them to easily complete that task. One other vital component of any business website is an analytics program (Google offers a fairly robust application free of charge), so you can track how well your marketing efforts are working and calculate the return on your advertising investment (ROI).

How can you develop an online presence at little or no cost? There are several companies that offer free site building tools and hosting services. If you go this route, select a company that has a proven track record, so your hard work isn’t wasted when the company goes out of business or suspends the service. A couple of reliable options are Google Sites and Yola. If you have any money in your budget at all, you should probably just spend the less than $100 per year it takes to buy a personalized domain name (for example, “mybusiness.com”) and a Web hosting service. Another potential option, depending on your business and marketing goals, is to create a free blog (see below for more details). The most popular free blogging services as of this writing are WordPress and Blogger.

E-Mail Newsletters

E-mail newsletters provide one of the most highly performing avenues for marketing. You can collect customer e-mail addresses by asking visitors that come to your website to subscribe, by requesting e-mail addresses from anyone who visits your physical location, or by purchasing an e-mail list. To generate a higher rate of readership, make sure the audience is narrowly targeted and has some vested interest in your product. By sending out your newsletter on a regular schedule (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) you can counteract the transient and temporary nature of Internet users by continually reminding them of your company’s existence. Affordable services like Constant Contact can be used to manage mailing lists, statistics, and opt-in/out functions.

Caveat: Sending commercial e-mail messages to people who have not agreed to receive your mailings can result in severe fines and penalties from the federal government per terms of the CAN-SPAM Act.

Newsletter content should appeal to your defined audiences, with industry- or product-related news and events, company-specific news and events, practical reference information, and interesting statistical and demographic information. The newsletter copy should publicize links to appropriate pages within your website.

You will need to maintain one or more separate lists for the purpose of sending targeted messages to particular audiences (see Other Announcements below). You might combine all your lists to send a monthly newsletter, and send other bulletins to past or potential customers as appropriate.

Other Announcements

Other announcements are e-mailings that can consist of press releases, coupons, special notices, or anything you want to communicate specifically to members of one or more e-mail lists.

Search Engine Marketing, Pay-per-Click and Display Advertising

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization means constructing a website that is easily crawled by search engine spiders, and it encompasses a variety of techniques designed to improve your site’s (or page’s) ranking in the search engine results page. The goal is for your site to be found by searchers who are looking for sites related to a certain keyword or phrase, for example “little red wagon” if you are in the business of selling toy wagons. SEO can be divided into on-page activities (e.g., amount of content, metadata, links, programming methods and structural issues) and off-page activities (most importantly, obtaining links from other websites to your site).

Pay-per-Click (PPC)

Pay-per-click advertising refers to text ads displayed on search engine results pages (versus “organic” results achieved by SEO) and other sites, usually in the margins. In the case of Google AdWords and Microsoft’s adCenter, you can open an account and specify the keyword(s) that, when searched for, will generate an ad that links to your website. You pay only when a searcher clicks an ad and is directed to your site. In the example below, the key phrase is “little red wagon,” and pay-per-click ads are located at top (in yellow) and in the right-hand column (subtitled “Sponsored Links”). The first organic listing is “Little Red Wagon Foundation.”

A few of the benefits of PPC advertising are that you know exactly how many people view your ads, how many of those viewers click through to your website, and (if you are using a site analytics tool) what they do once they reach your site. You can also start and stop running ads at a moment’s notice, experiment with any number of ads you like, and fund your campaign with as little as $10 to start.

Display Advertising

Display advertising, also called banner advertising, means purchasing ad space on another website and placing a text and/or graphic ad with a link to your site. This technique is generally more complex and expensive than pay-per-click, but can be very powerful if the right message is shown to a tightly focused audience. To achieve optimal click-through rate (CTR), advertise on websites where you assume your target audience is visiting, rather than a general interest website. Most marketers don’t purchase ad space directly from another website, but use a banner ad network to automatically place ads on appropriate websites. A couple of the biggest names in display ad serving are DoubleClick and BurstMedia.

Social Media and Networking

Social networking is the latest buzz in the modern marketing arsenal. If you have any doubt about its impact, especially on the under-40 population, read this list. Small businesses with limited resources should weigh their time spent and the potential benefits carefully, however. It can also be difficult to measure the return on your investment for some of these tactics.

The general principle of “marketing” on social networking outlets is that people who have similar interests will virtually congregate around Web content that discusses that interest. They may be interested in product information in the form of reviews or personal opinion, but hard sale approaches are mostly discouraged and unproductive. Your goal is to become a trusted advisor-which usually means revealing your identity and at least some part of your personality. If that premise makes you uncomfortable, you might still find social networking sites valuable for market research purposes. Find out what people are buying and why, then use that information to help shape your other marketing activities.

The following section describes the more popular social media outlets and sites, but keep your eyes open for new virtual spaces where you might get more attention by getting in on the ground floor.

YouTube, Facebook, Etc.

YouTube allows you to post videos on your own “channel,” a distinct Web page that can be customized and allows for posting links back to your own website. A major positive aspect of this venue is that the number of views is posted and viewers can submit comments, so you know whether your videos are popular and why.

Facebook is considered the model for modern social networking sites. Facebook allows you (individual, corporate, non-profit, etc.) to create a page, attract “likes” and reviews, communicate with followers by posting status updates, photos and videos, and so on.

Although the previously named sites are the most popular in terms of visitors, there are a couple of business-oriented networking sites that may be more useful for making business connections. LinkedIn helps you develop a network of clients, service providers, and subject experts; find business opportunities and partners; post job openings; and more. More detailed advice on best practices for using LinkedIn can be found in many online articles and blogs.

Twitter

Think of Twitter as a mini-blog (see below) that allows you to broadcast messages of 140 characters or less. The messages appear to your “followers” on their phones or computers, as well as on Twitter.com. The biggest challenges are to gain a useful number of followers and to think of something engaging to write to them. If you are a speaker, writer, or performer Twitter can be used to let your fans know what you’re doing and when. If you have a retail store you might let your followers know that you’re offering a discounted item or running a special sale. You should post a Twitter sign-up link on your website, and within your signature line in outgoing e-mail messages. You can also gain followers by following people who work in or comment on your industry, as some Twitter users will follow those who follow them.

Blogs

The word blog originally came from the term “Web log.” There’s no real standard for what a blog is, but most commonly authors use them to comment on (and link to) other online news items, websites, or other Internet content. For the most part, direct selling on a blog is frowned upon and is probably a recipe for driving away potential readers. What do you write about, then? Well, if you run an Internet marketing firm you write about trends in Web marketing, what the search engines are up to, tips for do-it-yourselfers, or what you thought of the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Seriously, read some blogs and you will find all sorts of personal opinion mixed in with professional advice and commentary. The goal of your blog, however, should most likely be to establish yourself as an expert and trusted advisor in your chosen field.

You might also pursue getting your products, services, or website mentioned in related blogs by other industry experts. When a high-visibility blogger mentions a website on his or her blog, the site is exposed to a potential audience of new viewers. Often, blog postings are simply press releases that are picked up by sites that discuss topics related to a particular product or industry. More opportunities (and traffic) in this arena can be realized by developing relationships with individual bloggers.

Additional Tips:

    • Post an article that was written by someone else, just be sure to provide a link to the original article and give credit to the person wrote it. You can then give your commentary on the topic of the article or find a way to relate the information to local trends or challenges.

 

    • Ask colleagues to be “guest bloggers” by writing articles for you to post, again giving them credit and adding their byline and a link to their website. Using links is a good way to drive additional traffic to their sites so it’s a good trade-off for both parties.

 

  • Nick Francesco of AskNick.com said, “A blog gets people’s attention and Twitter keeps it.” Consider using these two outlets together.

Forums & Discussion Groups

A forum (also known as discussion group, message board or bulletin board) is a component of a website where users can ask questions, offer advice, or share experiences with others about a certain topic or topics. Nearly every hobby on earth has a number of popular forums wherein members offer their thoughts and feelings on all aspects of their favorite pastime. Contributing a comment (with a link to your website) in discussion groups related to your products or services can create a small surge or spike in traffic, but usually has little long-lasting effect. To maximize effectiveness, target forums on high-traffic sites that have 1,000+ users, and reply to topics with larger numbers of views (relative to other posted topics).

You can easily build your own bulletin board/forum component on your site with free or low-cost software. User forums have the potential to greatly increase the “stickiness” of a site, given a critical mass of traffic required to generate new discussions and keep participants interested in returning. You can start by “seeding” topics on your own, but there won’t be any results until traffic is directed to the forums. The conundrum for small businesses may be the time required to moderate a forum once it becomes successful. One solution is to seek out a volunteer moderator who exhibits a keen interest in your field. A sample of a baseball trading card forum is shown in the screen shot below.

Article Placement / E-Zines

Another avenue for generating incoming links and traffic to your site is the free article market. Article submission (or e-zine) websites allow you to publish articles on a variety of topics. Examples include EzineArticles and ArticleCity.com.

Depending on terms of use, these articles may be used as content on other websites, or collected on the site where submitted. The main objective of most article contributors is to increase their search engine rankings with the placement of backlinks on other reputable sites. Providing reliable and accurate reference information is secondary, and the traffic potential from article readers is questionable.

Obtaining links from article submission sites isn’t likely to improve your site’s search engine rankings much. However, existing content from a print newsletter or other written material can be re-purposed with a relatively small time investment. Be aware that creating articles from your website’s content verbatim may cause search engines to penalize your site, as the search engines take a dim view of text that is republished multiple times (“duplicate content” in search engine optimization terms). Submitting articles to sites with the most traffic will give your site the best chance to be discovered by new readers.

internet news

Caveat: Once an article is submitted, you have little or no control over who uses your content and for what purpose, depending on the copyright policies of the site on which the article is posted.

How to Work With Different Types of News Feeds

Here are other options on the web for RSS feeds that are integrated within social networking sites. Facebook, for example, has its own version of that with a news page that puts in all kinds of information on what people in your circle of friends are doing online. This can be exploited to post links to your site, talk about your latest venture, and generally hog the limelight. So, while the majority of people are referring to RSS feeds when they talk about news feeds, there are other ways that term is used in different social networking sites.

internet news

As we discussed earlier, the two ways of using RSS feeds is to get subscribers or to use them to provide fresh content to your site. The first way involves an action that has to be taken by the person visiting your site. It isn’t something automatic so that you have encouraged people visiting your site to subscribe. Since the mechanics of RSS feeds are still not that well known by the average Internet user, you have to educate your visitors on how to get the latest content using your RSS feeds. The truth is that they may actually be using a news outlet like Yahoo! but not even realize that the content is coming through an RSS feed. So, to get subscribers you must first educate them on what’s available.
Educate

You don’t have to get too technical about it, but you do want to give them a brief overview of why they want to become a subscriber to your RSS feed. They can get updates more quickly and be notified of when new content is up on the site. They can even set up email to receive it in a format that is easy for them to access. However, you have to educate them on how to do that, otherwise, they will take the path of least resistance, which is to ignore your RSS feed.
Create Buttons

There are a number of ways to make it easy for them to sign up. You can provide buttons for numerous news reader outlets, like Yahoo! Or Bloglines. You will have to get the URL for your news feed and use that to create a button that allows people who are familiar with these larger online news feeds to subscribe to your content. For that, you have to have the RSS feed module installed and have it available. Some places like WordPress automatically install RSS feeds and you can use the address provided to create those subscriber buttons.
Offer A Targetedbie With Your Feed

If you’re still having problems getting subscribers, try offering a small targeted big to get them to sign up. It can be a report of some fantastic tips to save or make money, or it can be a targeted video download. Try to make it something you can deliver instantaneously over the web with autoresponders. That makes this feature very easy. Of course, realize that they may sign up and get your product and leave easily too. So, you want to continue to provide content that will keep them interested and subscribed.
Package Your Own RSS feed

If you have various websites and content and you want to get the word out fast with minimal duplication, you want to package your own RSS feed and promote that with other website owners. You will want to split up your content by categories that others may want to subscribe to. You wouldn’t put any recipes on a site you have along with how to get hired on another site, even if they are both blog posts. You have to be clear that whatever you package in the RSS feed package is one topic or focal point of interest for specific news outlets. A way to do that is to separate the categories into feeds for the mainstream media, a feed for your customers, some of the potential customers, and even your competition. Or, you can split up the feeds into discrete industries that you can market to specific news outlets.
Promote It To Various Outlets

After you’ve packaged your own feed, you want to make sure it is available for others to use. Whether that is by agreement to purchase the feed or whether you merely post it on website newsreaders, it’s up to you. You can submit your feeds to search engines and directories, just like they were their own pages. They are actually web pages, but they are in XML format which needs the newsreader to decipher and read. Once you’re syndicated on a variety of other sites, traffic will pour in non-stop as long as you keep providing content.
Featured Aggregators

To view the RSS feeds, people use aggregators. Some are programs you add to your browser or install on your desktop. Others are websites that allow you to set up an account and use them to read news feeds. Some you can even integrate into your email to get RSS feeds through email format. It doesn’t matter what you use, but here are a few that you can find online that you can check out.
My.Yahoo.com

This is a great way to see how easy it is to use an RSS reader through a website. Many people set up a page here and have no clue they are actually using an RSS reader because it’s not that technical. You just search for categories of news that area available as RSS feeds and then choose to see them. They put in all the headlines in the various choices you made and you can easily check multiple sites and headlines in the category that you want.
Newsgator.com

This aggregator works with Microsoft Outlook. The Newsgator Online RSS feed is a software package that is targeted to download and use on your desktop. The Newsgator database claims over 1.5 million feed available. There is even a mobile version available for cell phones.

internet news
Yahoo Pipes

This aggregator helps you compile RSS feeds from other RSS feeds. You have the option to search for feeds, combine them any way you like, even filter them, and this is called a pipe. This pipe can then be outputted as another RSS feed that you can use to deliver fresh content to your readers. They have a list of hot pipes that you can see and the ability to put widgets on your website pointing to the pipes you create. You can even geocode the pipe and see it displayed on a map.

Seniors Guide to the Internet

What is the Internet?

The Internet, also known as “the net,” is a worldwide system of computer networks in which users at any one computer can get data from any other computer. The original aim was to create a network that would allow users of a computer at one university to be able to communicate with computers at other universities. A side benefit of this design was that, because information is sent along different routes that always change, the Internet could continue to function even if parts of it were destroyed in the event of a military attack or another disaster. Luckily, we’ve never had to test if it works.

internet news

Today, the Internet is self-sustaining and is used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. The most widely used part of the Internet is called the World Wide Web (“the Web”). On the web, you have access to billions of pages of information. Web browsing is done with a software program called a web browser (catchy name!). Currently, the most popular web browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome. By the way, all of these browsers are absolutely free. Depending on your connection speed, browsers can support such advanced features as animation, video, sound, and music.

How Do I Connect to the Internet?

The best type of connection to the Internet is a broadband connection. It offers the highest transmission speed which is essential if you want the best Internet experience. Cable and DSL service both provide broadband speeds. Cable provides speed twice that of DSL but DSL is more secure.

Broadband service provides high-speed data transmission. It also allows more content to be carried through the transmission pathway. Broadband provides access to the highest quality Internet services: streaming media, Internet phone, gaming, and interactive services. Many of these services require the transfer of large amounts of data that may not be technically feasible with telephone dial-up service. Today, broadband service is necessary to access the full range of services and opportunities that the Internet can offer. Broadband service is always on. It does not block telephone lines and there is no need to disconnect from the Internet network when not in use.

Wireless broadband, also known as “Wi-Fi”, is the ability to connect to the Internet without the use of wires or cables. The most common way of accessing wireless broadband is via a wireless router attached to an ISP’s (Internet Service Provider) modem.

1. Using a cable modem

A cable modem is a device that connects your computer to the Internet via a local cable TV line so you can send and receive data at high speeds also referred to as broadband speeds. Cable modems are usually included as part of the cable access service.

a. Sign up with an Internet Service Provider (ISP), usually your local cable TV company. The cable company will dispatch a field technician to come to your home to install a cable modem.

b. The technician will connect a cable from a cable TV jack to the cable modem.

c. Then the technician will connect an “Ethernet” cable from the cable modem to the “Ethernet” port on your computer. “Ethernet” is the most popular type of local area network (LAN) technology.

d. Power on the cable modem and computer.

e. A cable connection is less secure than other broadband connections, such as DSL, because you are sharing your cable connection with others in your community. In addition, the cable connection is always on. The Windows Firewall will help prevent intruders from accessing your computer.

f. Open your Internet browser to begin browsing the Internet.

2. Using a DSL modem

A Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) uses technology that provides digital data transmission over the wires of a local telephone network. DSL does not interfere with the use of your standard telephone service. Once you log on to your DSL service, it will stay on until you shut down or restart your computer.

a. Subscribe to a high-speed, or broadband, DSL service. A technician will connect a modem to your phone line. This connection is what allows the DSL signal to be received by the modem, and transmitted to your computer.

b. The other end of the cable will be connected to your computer.

c. Power on the DSL modem and computer.

d. Open your Internet browser to begin browsing the Internet.

3. Using a Router (hardware firewall)

A hardware firewall is a device that is connected to the Internet and your cable or DSL modem, protecting your computer from dangerous intruders. In other words, your computer is connected to the router (hardware firewall) instead of your cable or DSL modem.

The best protection available from Internet attacks is a hardware firewall. They are inexpensive so I strongly recommend installing one. Broadband routers serve as powerful hardware firewalls. They should be considered an important part of your system and network set-up, especially for anyone with a broadband connection.

A router is a device that provides access to the Internet for multiple computers, printers, and other devices. It typically includes four or more Ethernet ports for wired connections to desktop and laptop computers. They can also be configured to transmit signals for wireless (“Wi-Fi”) devices.

A router acts as a firewall by masking the true internet address of your computer from the outside world. Only those web pages that you specifically request are allowed to pass through the router to your computer. Data that you did not request is blocked which helps to keep your system safe from intruders. Think of it as your front door with that little peephole. Somebody knocks and you look through the peephole to see who it is. If it’s your friend who you invited over, you open the door and let him in (“Wassup dude!”). If it’s someone who’s arriving uninvited, they are turned away. (I wonder if a router would block my mother-in-law).

4. Standard telephone line modem

Not recommended at all. The slowest of all Internet connections. It will not deliver the full potential of what the Internet has to offer.

What’s a Link?

On all websites, certain words or phrases appear in the text of a different color than the rest and sometimes also underlined. When you point to one of these words or phrases by clicking the left button of your mouse, you will be transferred to the page that is associated with this word or phrase. These are called hyperlinks or links. Sometimes there are buttons, images, or portions of images that can be “clicked”. If you move the pointer over a spot on a website and the pointer changes into a hand, this indicates that you can click on it and be transferred to another site.

What’s a Web Browser?

Microsoft Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer is the most widely used web browser. That isn’t because it’s the best (which it isn’t). It’s because it comes already installed with every version of Windows and most people don’t bother to change it. Internet Explorer version 7.0 suffered more malware attacks than any other browser. Internet Explorer uses a technology known as ActiveX Controls which continues to make it extremely vulnerable to attacks.

An ActiveX control is a web-based program using certain Microsoft technologies. They are controversial because they are downloaded automatically and executed by the web browser.

This is the major reason that Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, which do not support ActiveX controls, are more secure browsers. In addition, Internet Explorer has page rendering problems that cause some web pages to display incorrectly. Performance is faster in the most recent version (9.0) than past versions but is still slower than the other browsers.

Keep Internet Explorer installed on your computer (certain Microsoft services, like Windows Update, require Internet Explorer to function correctly) but use Firefox or Chrome.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox keeps you more secure when you’re browsing the web, protecting against spyware, worms, and viruses. As mentioned earlier, it does not support ActiveX controls because ActiveX controls are vulnerable to viruses and spyware. Firefox delivers easier navigation, including those who are visually or motor-impaired. Firefox is the first browser to meet U.S. federal government requirements that software is easily accessible to users with physical impairments.

You can select new controls for your toolbars and change the look of your browser with themes. There are also hundreds of free extensions you can install to add features such as ad blocking, extended tab controls, pop-up blockers, text resizers, and password managers. Firefox is my favorite web browser.

Google Chrome

The Google Chrome web browser is the third most popular browser used today right behind Internet Explorer (#1) and Firefox (#2).

a. Chrome is designed to be fast. It’s quick to start up, loads web pages quickly, and runs web applications fast.

b. Chrome’s browser window is streamlined, clean, and simple.

c. Chrome also includes features that are designed for ease of use. For example, you can search and navigate from the same box, and arrange tabs however you wish.

d. Chrome is designed to keep you secure on the web with built-in malware protection, and automatic updates to make sure the browser is current with the latest security updates, and more.

e. Chrome has many useful features built in, including translation in the browser, extensions, themes, and more.

Chrome is an excellent web browser. I highly recommend it.

Bookmarks and Favorites

Internet Explorer calls them “favorites” (just to be different from everybody else). Favorites are links to your favorite websites that you wish to save for future use. Creating a favorite in Internet Explorer can be done several in different ways.

1. Right-click on a blank portion of the page and click “Add to Favorites”.

2. Browse to the website you wish to add to your Favorites. At the top of the browser window click “Favorites”. Click “Add to Favorites”.

When one of these steps has been completed an “Add Favorite” window will appear and then you can add your favorite to your favorites list. You can even create different folders (highly recommended) for your Favorites.

Firefox and Chrome

Creating bookmarks in Firefox and Chrome are similar and can also be done in several different ways.

1. In the address bar, there is a star on the right side. If you click on it, you can bookmark the page.

2. Right-click on a blank portion of the page you wish to bookmark and click “Bookmark This Page” or press Ctrl + D. This only applies to Firefox.

3. Browse to the website you wish to bookmark. At the top of the browser window click “Bookmarks”. Click “Bookmark This Page”. This only applies to Firefox.

When these steps have been completed an “Add Bookmark” window will appear. Specify the location where you want to save the bookmark. To create a new folder, click the “New Folder” button. I use a lot of folders such as Shopping, Music, Movies, Computers, Finance, Health, Food, Travel, etc. on my browser. I have over 3,000 bookmarks and I can find any one of them quickly and easily (I know – I should get a life!).

What’s a Search Engine?

A search engine is a computer program that searches documents, specifically on the World Wide Web, for a specified word or words and provides links to these documents to where they can be found.

Google

There are literally hundreds of search engines on the internet. However, there is only one that I use and that you will ever need….Google. Most other search engines operate in a similar manner but are not as sophisticated or efficient as Google. Google is a crawler-based search engine, meaning that it has software designed to “crawl” the information on the Internet and add it to its database. Google has the best reputation for relevant and thorough search results. Google’s home page is clean and simple. There is more than one option on Google’s home page.

Search topics include:

Web – The default search engine.

Images – Searches for images, graphics, photos, or drawings.

Video – Searches for video files on the Internet.

News – Searches for information gathered from thousands of news sources worldwide.

Maps – An interactive map tool featuring driving directions.

Shopping – Searches for products for sale online.

More – Additional search tools including:

Books – If you’re looking for text from a specific book, type in the name of the book (in quotes), or if you’re looking for books about a particular subject, type in “books about xxx”. Google will return results that can contain content in the book itself, or will offer links to Book Results at the top of the search page.

Discussions – Searches for information, opinions, and recommendations from user groups.

Blogs, Recipes, Patents, Flights and more.

“I’m Feeling Lucky” – This button takes you instantly to the first search result returned for any query. For instance, if I type in peanut butter I go straight to the Wikipedia entry for peanut butter. It’s basically a shortcut so you can bypass the search engine results page.

There’s even a Google Accessible Web Search for the Visually Impaired.

How to Google Search

Go to http://www.google.com. Enter a word, multiple words or a phrase and hit “enter”. Google will come up with results that contain the words in the search bar. Google doesn’t care about capitalization and will even suggest correct spellings of words or phrases. Google excludes common words such as “the” and “is”, and since Google returns results that include all of the words you enter, there’s no need to include the word “and”, as in “milk and cookies”. You can just enter “milk cookies” (without the quotation marks).

If you want to look for web sites that contain “milk” or “cookies” you can use “OR” as in “milk or cookies”. If you’re searching for the exact phrase you would enter “milk and cookies” including the quotation marks.

Try to be as specific as possible – instead of “cars”, try “Chevrolet Impala”. If you’re searching for an exact phrase, type in “give me liberty or give me death” with the quotation marks for example. Google will search for the entire phrase just how it appears in between the quotes.

You can also exclude unwanted results. If you want to narrow down your searches, place “NOT” in front of words you want to avoid. For example, if you’re searching for information about The Three Stooges but don’t want any articles about Shemp, you would search for “three stooges NOT sheep” (nyuck-nyuck!).

Other Google Tools

Google Calculator – Use Google’s calculator by just typing in whatever calculation you’d like in the search bar. For example: a “gallon in pints” or 112.3 + 55.6.

Google Definitions – There are two ways to get definitions from Google. If you type “define:asteroid” (with the colon), you’ll get a page full of definitions. If you type “define asteroid” (without the colon), you’ll get a list of web sites that contain definitions of the word.

Google Catalogs – Search online catalogs.

Google Finance – Business info, news, and interactive charts.

Other search shortcuts:

Phone number:(enter name and location) – “phonebook: John Smith NJ”

Movie:(search for showtimes – enter title and zip code) – “movie:Matrix 08902”

Stocks:(get a stock quote) – “stocks:IBM”

Weather:(get local weather – enter zip code) – “weather:08902”

What is Webmail?

Webmail is a term for web-based email accounts. These are usually free email accounts that are operated from a website. Examples include Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Windows Live Mail, and AOL Mail. Webmail allows users to access their emails as long as they have access to an Internet connection and a web browser. Gmail, by Google, has many advanced features but most webmail providers have similar features.

With that in mind, the following webmail features are limited to Gmail:

Registration for Gmail is free to anyone who signs up on the Google website.

Approximately two gigabytes of email storage is available to all users and the amount of storage increases over time.

Rather than organizing messages only by date received, Gmail groups messages by subject name and groups them as Conversations. Also, you can assign labels to any message, creating cross-connected groups of message

Gmail always uses an HTTPS connection.

The standard way to access your Gmail account is with your web browser. However, you can view your Gmail messages on your computer’s regular email program.

Gmail has a very aggressive spam blocking system.

Gmail gives you access to Google’s chat network which lets you send and receive instant messages with friends and family.

Is it Safe to Shop Online?

Shopping on the Internet has never been easier or safer if you just follow a few simple safety rules. The vast majority of online vendors are reputable and secure. If you don’t feel comfortable with a vendor, just take your business elsewhere. Also, you can shop whenever you feel like. Can’t sleep? Where else could you have a cup of tea and shop in your pajamas?

Here are a few tips to help make your online shopping experience free of headaches:

Do not visit shady looking web sites. You’ll know them when you see them. For example, would you shop at “Uncle Bruno’s Fell Off the Truck Discount House of Electronics”?

Shop from reputable companies only.

It’s safe to use your credit card to pay for purchases online at any store as long as when you check out, you see a picture of a lock in the lower left or right corner of your browser. This means that the transaction is secure. If you don’t see this lock — DO NOT CONTINUE WITH THE PURCHASE! The lock is not just a picture. Click on it to see details of the site’s security. This is important because some fraudulent web sites will imitate the lock icon of your browser.

It’s also a good idea to use the same credit card for all of your online shopping. If there is ever a problem, all you have to do is cancel that one card. It is actually safer to shop online with a credit card than at a real store. Here’s why: when you use your credit card at a secure site and you see the little lock in the lower corner, it means that your credit card information is scrambled and sent to the store using really powerful encryption.

Encryption is the process of scrambling information to make it unreadable.

Think about what happens when you use your credit card at an actual store:

You give your credit card to a complete stranger.

They scan it or enter the number into a computer and it may be displayed on a screen for all to see.

You sign the receipt with your credit card number on it and then there is a paper copy lying around.

Pretty scary, huh?

Web browsers make comparison shopping simple. Use a different tab on your browser for each store. Then you can easily switch back and forth to compare similar items.

Be aware of shipping charges. They can be different for every vendor. Very often, you can even find free shipping. The search for bargains is part of the fun!

DO NOT GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION LIKE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS, BANK ACCOUNT NUMBERS OR CREDIT CARD NUMBERS (unless you’re making a secure purchase) ON THE INTERNET!

Always, always, always use a credit card to pay for your purchases! Never, never, never use a debit card! If there’s a problem with a debit card purchase, you can kiss that money goodbye! It’s a good idea to use the same credit card for all online purchases and not to use that particular card for anything else. That way you’ll always know where to look if there’s a problem. Never allow direct transfers of funds from your checking or savings accounts unless an escrow service is involved.

eBay and Online Auctions

What is eBay? Simply put, eBay is the largest of the online auctions. eBay is a safe online marketplace where anyone can buy and sell goods and services. Sellers pay a small fee plus a percentage to eBay. Buyers use eBay free of charge. There are rules and penalties in place to protect users from anyone who abuses the system.

Some facts about eBay:

eBay is international.

The variety and quantity of items is staggering. There are more than 16 million items for sale.

Items can be sold at auction (buyers bid against each other), or at a fixed price. You can purchase an item without bidding if it is marked “Buy It Now”. The sellers decide how they want to sell an item.

eBay runs various applications to reduce electronic dishonesty.

There is a full time staff dedicated to promoting fairness and impartiality.

There is a system called “feedback” used to protect both buyers and sellers. Usually, the more dependable buyers and sellers will have more positive feedback than negative. Also, the more successful transactions a seller has, the more likely that seller is to be reputable.

eBay offers a professional escrow payment service called PayPal in to ensure safe payment between parties. See the section on PayPal for more information.

A Safety Guide to eBay

Always carefully read the details of the auction before placing a bid to make sure you know exactly what you’re bidding on.

Guidelines and things to be aware of:

Payment method

Shipping and handling costs. Some sellers deliberately list an expensive item for a cheap price to fool the new buyer. Overpriced shipping and handling charges is where they make up the difference. This trick is within eBay policy.

When item will be shipped

Other costs or conditions

For clothing, make sure to note the size, color, fabric, or damage especially if the item is marked “used” or “vintage”.

If there is anything you are not quite sure of, get more information from the eBay seller before you bid. You can do that by clicking “Ask seller a question”.

For a comprehensive list of what can, or cannot, be listed on eBay visit the “prohibited items” page. Remember, if the item is confiscated by customs, you are not entitled to a refund.

Leave positive feedback whenever you are satisfied with the transaction. Always think hard before leaving negative feedback. Feedback is forever!

Don’t engage in bidding wars. Bidding wars are only good for the seller. New eBay users often get caught up in bidding wars because they have yet to learn when to keep bidding, and when to stop. An experienced user will often outbid the novices by mere pennies a seconds before the auction closes. You need to show restraint and patience and bid near the end of the auction. There is a legitimate trick calling “sniping”. Sniping is the practice of bidding in the last few seconds of an auction in order to prevent other bidders from outbidding you. Many smart bidders simply bid the maximum amount they are willing to spend on an item and don´t worry about it. You can snipe manually but experienced bidders use automatic sniping software. One such free program is Prospector Lite.

Don’t bid over your head. Bidding can become addictive. Be aware of how much money you can afford to spend.

PayPal

PayPal is a popular payment service owned by eBay and is used for online purchasing. 95% of eBay purchases are paid by PayPal.

PayPal allows buyers to send money to sellers using their email addresses. The parties involved in the transaction NEVER see each other’s credit card or bank information. PayPal acts as the middleman to hold the money. There are many safeguards and procedures that allow buyers and sellers to trust PayPal with their credit card and bank information. PayPal keeps that information secret.

The only requirements for a PayPal account are a valid email address and a valid credit card or bank account. PayPal is free for buyers. Once a buyer sets up a PayPal account it costs nothing to send money to other PayPal users. The funds can be withdrawn from the user’s credit card or directly from a bank account. Pop Quiz: Which method would you use? Find the answer below.

If you want to shop on eBay, it is necessary that you have a PayPal account because most eBay sellers choose PayPal as their method of choice for taking payments. Since eBay owns PayPal, eBay has a stake in keeping PayPal stable and reliable.

A Safety Guide to PayPal

PayPal has designed its system so errors and fraud are kept to a bare minimum.

PayPal guarantees 100% protection against unauthorized payments from your account.

Every transaction is confirmed by email.

eBay purchases can be insured up to $1,000 through PayPal.

NEVER allow PayPal to transfer funds directly from your bank account as a method of payment. Even though the transaction itself is secure, if you have a problem with the purchased item it will be very difficult to get your bank to void the transaction.

ALWAYS have PayPal use the credit card you signed up with as the method of payment. It is much easier to have your credit card company dispute a charge.

Is it Safe to Bank Online?

Online banking is more popular than ever. It’s available from any Internet connection, 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week. You can even pay your bills online which is actually more secure than paper bills. Paper bills list your account numbers and other financial information that could be used for illegal activities. With no paper statements available, only someone with access to your online bank account can access that personal information.

Most shopping and banking websites use a transmission method called Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, or HTTPS. The regular HTTP method is normally used for day-to-day web browsing. Just like online shopping, HTTPS adds data encryption.

You can tell if HTTPS is active in two ways:

1. There will be a locked padlock at the bottom of your web browser, usually on the right side.

2. The web address of a secure website will begin with “https://” instead of “HTTP://”.

Stealing information that is encrypted at the level currently used by most banks and shops is virtually impossible. Those geeks you see in the movies hacking into the Pentagon while sipping Red Bull and eating Hot Pockets don’t exist in the real world.

In addition, online banking uses passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs) that you create. Your PIN must be entered every time you make a transaction, and you can change your PIN whenever you want. Any transaction that you would undertake in person at your bank, you can complete online with at least the same level of security, maybe more. Any transaction except for the withdrawal of cash. But who knows what’s next? Maybe engineers will someday find a way to teleport cash to your CD (“Cash Delivery?”) drive.

Can I Share My Photos Online?

You can post your photos to several photo-sharing sites for free. Posting photos to the web is a good solution if you have many photos or want to share your photos with many people.

Flickr is the most popular photo sharing sites. Flickr is owned by Yahoo and offers a limited free account and a Pro account. When you have a free Flickr account, you can upload two videos and 300MB worth of photos each calendar month.

internet news

The Pro account costs $24.95 a year and features:

Unlimited photo uploads (20MB per photo)

Unlimited video uploads (500MB per video)

Unlimited storage

Unlimited bandwidth

Archiving of high-resolution original images

Photobucket is another free service for photo sharing online. You can store unlimited photos and up to 500 videos in your account. Share your photos and videos by email with family and friends. Follow the albums of the people you know, and get notified whenever they add new stuff. Create prints, mugs, and other customizable gifts.

Another option for sharing your photos online is built into a program called Picasa which is free from Google and is called a Web Album. Picasa is also a superior program for organizing all of your photos. Picasa is free to download, and Picasa Web Albums provides one gigabyte of free storage which is the equivalent of 4,000 large photos.

With Picasa, you can easily publish your photos online. You can create private online photo albums to share with friends and family, or public albums for the world to see.

Keeping Up With the News Via Google Reader

Keeping up with internet news sources

What’s your favorite website where you go to catch up with what’s happening in the world? Maybe you’ve got more than one. Maybe like me, you have several.What if you could gather all the news from all those locations and have it fed into one list of articles that you can read in one place?

internet news

What is Google Reader?

Many websites that publish news or regular updates, use a feature called “Really Simple Syndication” (RSS). This is a list of links to all the articles that have been published on that site.

Google Reader is an online RSS Reader. You tell Google Reader the website that you’re interested in and it fetches the article headings. You can then choose to click on the articles that interest you. When finished, click a button that marks them all as “read” and you’re can come back and read the next lot when you’re ready.

You’re not limited to reading every article that’s published on a particular site; if you have an interest in, say, the Sydney Morning Herald, you can subscribe to the entire site or just a subsection that interests you.

Sounds good, how do I set it up?

Firstly, you’ll need a Gmail account, if you don’t already have one. It’s possible to set up Reader without Gmail but the steps are much simpler if you do use Gmail. To sign up, go to the Google homepage and click on Gmail at the top. Click on the Create An Account button to get started. (You can also sign into Google with an email account from somewhere else eg Hotmail, Yahoo etc).

Once you have a Gmail account, you can then sign into Google Reader. There’s a link to Reader at the top of your Gmail Inbox screen, or you can go to the Google homepage, click on More, then click on Reader, and sign in with your new Google account. You’ll see a Welcome screen.

From here, the next step is to add some subscriptions (websites) to your reading list. The latest articles from those websites will be automatically fetched every time you log into Reader.

There are several ways to add subscriptions:

    1. Click on Recommended items in the left panel, then review the list of suggestions from Google and add some that you like. This is really just a random sampling of really safe (and not very exciting) sites from the web.

 

  1. The real deal is when you add your sites that really interest you. Go to a site that has news you want to read, copy its address from the address bar to the clipboard and then paste it into a new subscription in Google Reader. All new articles that are published on that site will then appear in your Google Reader list.

For example, if I want to read the Life & Style section of the Sydney Morning Herald, the easiest way to set it up is:

    • Go to The Sydney Morning Herald website and click on Life & Style.
  • Now go back to Google Reader, click on Add A Subscription at the top left, and paste the address that you copied previously, using CTRL-V (Command-V on a Mac). Press ENTER to continue and your new subscription will be added.

But wait, it tells me “Your search did not match any feeds”!

This serves to illustrate my next point – not all sites are able to be set up just by copying their www address into Reader. The SMH is one example. If you come across a site like this, go to the site’s homepage, and look for the text “RSS” – that will generally give you a link or list of links that comprise the site’s true news feed. In this example, the SMH site has a tiny text ‘RSS’ link at the bottom of the home page, which takes us to a list of sections that we can subscribe to. This page then lists the different sections.

Most sites will work just by copying and pasting the address of the site’s home page into Reader.

What happens after I’ve set it up?

internet news

Once you have a list of Subscriptions set up, you can click on All Items at the top left of the Reader screen, and you’ll see a list of all new items across all your Subscriptions. (My own interests may be very different from yours as you can see from the diagram!)

Click on a particular subscription at bottom-left to see only the articles from that news source.

How do I clean up my reading list?

What I personally do, is read all the articles I’m interested in, then I click Mark All As Read. If you’re on the All Items list, this will clear your entire reading list until new articles come in. If you’re looking at only a particular subscription, only articles from that subscription will be marked as reading.

What if I want to remove a subscription?

  • Click on Manage Subscriptions, at the very bottom left of your Subscription list. (you may need to scroll the window down, as in my example above.)
  • Click the small rubbish bin on the line that corresponds to the subscription that you want to remove.