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Showing posts from March, 2009

Wikipedia Defeats Microsoft's Encarta

In a shocking revelation this morning, Reuters reported that Microsoft will stop providing its online and offline encyclopedia, Encarta, a rich authentic resource.

The decision, which Microsoft described as "People today seek and consume information in considerably different ways than in years past", will strip us off one of the best student resources available.

Wikipedia's enormous popularity as a free resource, and the ability to search and find any kind of information from the Web using search engines like Google has made MS take this tough decision.

Wikipedia, on the other hand is fully edited by people like you and I, and cannot be trusted more than a self-published book or blog. Though strict moderation is in place, it has way more to go to be regarded as a real encyclopedia. In a Twitter opinion poll we did recently, this was made explicit: Is Wikipedia authentic?

The Encarta service, except in Japan, will cease on October 31 this year, and the one on Japan will c…

The Beautiful Suit by H G Wells

Here is a short story by the famed SF writer, H G Wells. Please read and comment.


The Beautiful Suit
By H G Wells

There was once a little man whose mother made him a beautiful suit of clothes. It was green and gold, and woven so that I cannot describe how delicate and fine it was, and there was a tie of orange fluffiness that tied up under his chin. And the buttons in their newness shone like stars. He was proud and pleased by his suit beyond measure, and stood before the long looking-glass when first he put it on, so astonished and delighted with it that he could hardly turn himself away. He wanted to wear it everywhere, and show it to all sorts of people. He thought over all the places he had ever visited, and all the scenes he had ever heard described, and tried to imagine what the feel of it would be if he were to go now to those scenes and places wearing his shining suit, and he wanted to go out forthwith into the long grass and the hot sunshine of the meadow wearing it. Just to we…

What Is RSS? Avoid These RSS Feed Syndication Mistakes

Many blog publishers have put up RSS feeds to gain more readers. The importance of readers is that they are returning users of a blog. They read content, social-bookmark it, link to it, and tell their friends about it. They create the wagon for your blog to progress smoothly. But making mistakes with RSS feed delivery can alienate your readers. Here a few of them.


What Is RSS?

Thanks to my reader, Renee Lemley, who put in great effort to create the following presentation describing all aspects of RSS syndication. You can view her comment as the first below. Here is the presentation:

RSS SOS | A How To GuideView more presentations from Renee Lemley.

Here are the mistakes of RSS publishers:

1. Not Providing Full Feeds

Readers hate to read a summary and click on the link to reach your ad-rich slow-loading blog to read the full article. So, first step in alienating more than half of your readerbase is providing summary feeds.

2. No Email Subscription

Many readers don't know of RSS. They m…

Taking Control of Your Blog: Some Social Interaction Tips

Blogging doesn't involve writing and publishing a new post in your niche alone. It's far more than that. In essence, a blogger is a social person, with strong and valuable views in his topic. He has to update himself daily of whatever is happening in the niche, and post opinions. Also, the blogger has to have tight relationships with the readers and users. Let's see some of the social interaction tips for bloggers.

1. Create About Me Page With Credentials

Your readers, after looking at first few of your articles, want to know who wrote them. So, it is very convenient to display your personal information, with credentials. If you are blogging on behalf of a group or organization, you can make the blog more authentic this way.

2. Read and Embed News Aggregators

A blogger keeps current on the topic news. Also, most bloggers will find it beneficial to show the niche news on the blog itself as a widget. You can do this by showing most dugg posts, Google News widget, or any socia…

Freelancing At ODesk: A Global Opportunity

ODesk is a one of the fastest-growing freelance businesses today. Founded in California in 2003, it is perhaps the largest freelancing company that attracts providers and customers from worldwide. It is pretty easy to become a member at ODesk—you can become provider, buyer, or both. Another specialty of ODesk is that you can register a provider company, so that you can induct other independent contractors within ODesk or outside and do more higher-paying projects.

Independent contractors or providers at ODesk are from different parts of the world, and all are paid by the hour. The jobs posted at the site, by customers include writing (SEO copywriting, web content writing, blogging, and more), Web development, software development, graphic design, etc.

Each independent contractor is verified and tested of their competency in their respective fields, before they are allowed to undertake any project.

On signing up as a provider, you have to complete your profile with your experience, edu…

World's Most Affordable Hosting Offer Will End in Just a Few Days!

The best of the web hosting offers now is with 1&1 Hosting, one of the world's most popular hosting companies, with the monthly hosting charge of just 1.99 Dollars, and you can get five free domains! And this special offer is not gonna last many days.


Click this to claim this special offer.

With 1&1 in this special offer, the higher hosting plans are also in the best prices possible. Here are they:

Beginner plan: 1.99 dollars (limited resources; good for starting websites)
Home plan: 2.49 dollars (better space and bandwidth; best for medium traffic sites)
Business plan: 4.99 dollars (for small and medium businesses with high bandwidth and storage). Normal web hosting companies charge this much for their lowest plans.
Developers' plan: 9.99 dollars (for large developer businesses).

Normally, all these plans will cost you 3.89, 4.99, 9.99, 19.99 dollars respectively. So this is the best time to get hold of your hosting package.

Click here to claim the special offer!

Besides th…

Use Google Trends for Instant Traffic

Quite a while back, I had three occasions with extraordinary surge of traffic. On those occasions, I found almost three times more traffic a day than that I would normally get. The reason was pretty straightforward, I had written about something hot at the time.

If you are a starting blogger, with somewhat good amount of search engine optimization done on your blog, so that your new posts are picked up by the search engines pretty much overnight, then you are in for a decent amount of traffic with the help of Google Trends.

This Google service is just right for the news buffs. You are to get the hottest keywords of the time. Here is what you need to do.

Go to Google Trends website, look for the keywords at the 'Today's Hot Trends' section. They are updated daily with the most searched keywords from your particular geographical area. Which means, if you write an article about any of the hottest trends listed, you are sure to get a surge of traffic.

Now, your particular nich…

The Benefits of Popular Posts Widget for Blogs

[A Guest post by Bishal Adhikari from Tech Tips and Tricks]

If you run a blog, you must have used analytics to track your visitors. While using analytics, you may have noticed that some of the posts on your blog are popular than the others. So, many of you must have inserted a popular posts widget in your blog, showing the ones that get a good amount of traffic.

For WordPress blogs, these posts can displayed via the Popular Posts plugin. For Blogger blogs, you need to manually customize your template to insert some codes which in turn will show up the popular posts.

Showing popular posts on your blog has many advantages.

As popular posts widget includes the posts that the users prefer to read, you'll gain more traffic for them and new visitors will tend to spend more time on such posts.If you have social bookmarking link embedded to each of your posts, such as the "digg it" button, it will be more fruitful. Your visitors who are into social bookmarking will possibly bo…

Former Convicts as Friends in Facebook: Jail Officer Loses Job

The Telegraph reported this story today: After investigating the misconduct of a jail officer in Leicester jail, the residential landing officer, Nathan Singh was relieved of the position for befriending thirteen former convicts through Facebook.

Nathan was suspected of giving cell phones and other items to inmates, but the investigation failed to prove it, though it got evidence of Nathan's Facebook contacts.

His friends have been jailed for various crimes from murder, fraud, theft, to drug offences.

Nathan explained that most of these friends were known to him over many years, either from school or football team. He also defended him saying that he accepted the friend requests from people without looking at their profiles.

The operation, codenamed Operation Earlgrey to pin down Nathan was initiated five months after he joined the prison service in January 2008.

This story is an indication of how important the social networking and bookmarking sites are becoming in the real world…

Thesis: The Best Professional WordPress Theme

If you are starting out professional blogging with a registered domain and hosting account, with a WordPress blog set up, then the next thing you need is a professional template. And Thesis WordPress theme from DIY Themes is the best and most popular WordPress theme out there [Look below to see professional bloggers talking].

There are many professional WordPress themes available, but none carries the benefits Thesis does.

With Thesis, search engine optimization is virtually non-existent. It has all the features and requirements of SEO pre-built in it. So, all you need to do is install this theme and customize it to your requirements.

Thesis is completely customizable. From Brian Clark's CopyBlogger to Chris Brogan's blog run on Thesis, and each of these blogs look distinctly different.

With Thesis, tweaking and fine-tuning each and every page of your website is pretty easy. Also, with its layout generator, you can test various different layouts, font choices, etc., without af…

Five Unavoidable Firefox Add-ons for Search Engine Optimization

Mozilla Firefox is my favorite browser. It is pretty fast and convenient, even after loading it up with many important add-ons. But for even faster browsing, you may prefer Google Chrome. I use Chrome only when I do light browsing, not when I do power-browsing, using online applications, for which nothing matches up with Firefox. Today let me discuss some indispensable SEO add-ons for Firefox.

SEOQuake [Get it here]: This is a very advanced SEO extension that gives you various pieces of information about the pages you are visiting, such as PageRank, backlinks, social bookmark details, Whois info, and many more. Perhaps this one complete extension is all you need for your SEO needs in Firefox.

SEOpen [Get it here]: This add-on gives you information about backlinks, PageRank of pages, header information, robots.txt file, whois information, etc.

SearchStatus [Get it here]: This plugin gives you quick view of Google PageRank, Alexa Rank, Compete rank, keyword density, and Nofollow link highl…

About Conjunctive Adverbs

Here are a few words:
Accordingly
Also
Henceforth
Indeed
In fact
As a result
However
Therefore
Hence
Moreover
Meanwhile
Certainly
Nonetheless
Otherwise
Finally
Incidentally
Likewise
Meanwhile
All of these are adverbs, which can function also as conjunctions. Hence, they are called conjunctive adverbs. An adverb is any term that modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb, and a conjunction is a term that connects two clauses.

When using conjunctive adverbs, you should follow punctuation rules carefully.

When a conjunctive adverb connects two independent clauses, it is actually like two different sentences. But the second sentence is made to factually depend on the first with the conjunctive adverb. Therefore, the first sentence should end in a semicolon or a period, and the conjunctive adverb should be followed by a comma. Here are examples:

Alan is only a chiropractor; naturally, he has never had the respect of an actual doctor.
James is no longer with the club. Therefore, he didn…

Important! Read About My Twitter Password Hijacker

A few days ago, while I was checking my Twitter mentors, I found an account that I obviously didn't follow. I stopped following him at that time. Then the next day, when I logged back in, I found the same guy's updates. I was surprised and thought I might not have stopped following anyway, and removed him again. The next day, he reappeared. I didn't give it much thought as I don't use Twitter for any kind of promotion or don't deem it as anything comparable to my email, so as to give a strong password.

The guy who continued to reappear is Gary Vaynerchuk, a wine blogger and vendor. He goes by the Twitter user ID @Garyvee.

For all weak services, I use a common password (which is changed now). The same password was used on my Facebook account. A few days ago, I found that I was following a page created by Gary Vaynerchuk in Facebook. I never had any recollection of joining that page.

This is possibly a Twitter password hijacking. This person has somehow got my passwo…

No Sooner…Than Vs. Hardly…When

These two constructions always make me confused. Could you just explain them to me, please?– James Vaughn

James is not the only person that has this doubt. These two are complex constructions, and are frowned upon by many native and foreign speakers of English. So, let's have a look at them today.

Both 'No Sooner…Than' and 'Hardly…When' are used to mean exactly the same. It is when something has happened just before something else. The first of the actions, expressed with 'no sooner' or 'hardly', has happened right before the part after 'than' or 'when'.

One thing to remember with these constructions is never to use 'when' with 'no sooner' or 'than' with 'hardly'. No sooner is clearly a comparative construction and has to be followed by 'than' as in any comparative form.

You can replace 'hardly' with 'scarcely'.

Examples:

Here are a few examples for you to understand them better.…

How to Guest-post in Professional Blogs?

Guest-posting is a mutually beneficial way of blogging. The guest-blogger provides content to the blog, thereby giving the blog owner some freedom and relaxation, while in turn driving traffic to his own site in the order unimaginable.

Guest-blogging in high traffic blogs can drive crazy traffic to your blog. For instance, if you get to publish in ProBlogger, which gets an average 20,000 visits daily, you will be able to draw in quite a decent traffic after you publish the post. In this article, let's see some guidelines of how to publish a guest post.

1. Read the Contribution Guidelines

Always the first step is reading and understanding the contribution guidelines of the blog you want to pitch. There are specific requirements every blogger is looking for.

The quality guidelines, formatting guidelines, and various other things may be found in the contribution guidelines of the blog. In order to sell your article (figuratively of course, as no payment is involved), you definitely h…

Another Tiny List of Confusables

Earlier, you may remember we published a list of confusable words. Here we are again, with such a list of words.

Abjure/Adjure: Abjure means "to formally renounce (give up) something" such as a position. Adjure on the other hand means 'to appeal to' or 'solemnly order'.

The governor decided to abjure his position due to political pressure.
Normally, adjuring to the subordinates doesn't give many results.
Amount/Number: Use amount when you have uncountable subject. Use number when it is countable.

The amount of love one gets depends on the number of friends one has.
Appraise/Apprise: Appraise is the word applied to quantitative evaluation of something. Apprise means 'communicate' or 'inform'.

Appraising diamonds is the work of an expert.
Joe apprised me of the schedule of events.
Attorney/Lawyer/Solicitor: These terms are highly misinterpreted and confused by many people. Let me clarify. In the US, an attorney is any member of legal profession lic…

Google, Facebook, and User Data: Some Thoughts

I happened to read this article in Mormon Times about finding family history with Google's image search. It's only the tip of the iceberg of how people can use Google for finding various things. Today, Google is not just a search engine. It's an inevitable global service. Through it, we can find, or rather we hope to, almost everything anyone ever shared online.

With Web expanding at its extreme pace now and people from everywhere sharing text and multimedia in the public sector, finding any type of information from anywhere should be pretty easy through Google. The book, Google Your Family Tree goes through this extreme usefulness of the search engine.

However, social networks like Facebook, MySpace, and Orkut of Google itself are also highly pervasive, and are used by millions of people for the sole purpose of sharing multimedia data. But any of those data is not accessible through a search engine, which is entirely an external entity that cant't access or view deta…

Adsense Comes Up With Interest-based Advertising; Update Your Privacy Policy!

Recently, Google announced the launch of Interest-based advertising, a form of advertising in which visitor's "previous interaction" with the advertisers is counted to display ads to them. Google groups users into categories based on their interests. In connection with that, however, you need to update your privacy policy on your blog for Adsense by April 10th.

If you wish to view ads based on your interests, you can set your preferences here.

The advantage it has to bloggers and publishers is that the ads will be more user-friendly from now on. There is a chance for better click through rates.

However, you are expected to update your Adsense privacy policy on all your sites before the tenth of next month. If you don't know what this means, you may perhaps want to read my complete Adsense policy guidelines post.

In order to modify the privacy policy of your blog, please find the necessary information here. Please write to us what you think of this new form of ads.

How to Alienate Your First Reader?

Let's say you started your blog today. After setting it up basically, you did some search engine submissions, some social media work, and emailed your contacts. Let's see what can alienate your readers from your first blog.

1. Theme Vs. Loading Time

There are already coolest looking blogs in the blogosphere. The readers are no longer looking for really a great design. All they want now is content that loads really faster. The era of Flash and design gimmicks is long gone. So, make sure your blog loads within the first four seconds.

2. Advertisements

Readers know of Adsense and various other forms of ads. They frown now upon links with tiny descriptions and a URL at the end, as they have already on banners. It is always best to wait until your blog starts getting at least fifty daily search engine visits before adding advertisements.

3. Widgets

Don't think readers love it if you spice your blog up with widgets like the fancy clock, social network profile pics, etc. Add only as…

Kontera + Pluck on Demand: Possibility for Better Earning Potential

Pluck on Demand is a service used to add contextually relevant content from external sites to your site, similar to but newer than BlogBurst. I still remember reading about it in TechCrunch. You can see my comment right in that article (look for Lenin Nair). Well, the latest news from Kontera may interest you. It is partnering with Pluck to provide contextual content ads in the Pluck widget. This is definitely a good step toward maximizing Kontera revenue.

Though Kontera lost my love as a potential money-maker due to reasons including lower number of advertisers, publishers, and extremely low commission rates, partnership with Pluck may make it more lovable to people.

Also due to the TechCrunch's calling Pluck as a way of adding free content legally, it may pretty much create a moneymaking blog with virtually no work at all. But the money will still remain lukewarm.

If you decide to check out both, please let us know how they are doing together through comments here.

CuteWriting Turns One Year Old!

This blog was born on the March 12th of 2008. Today, we are celebrating the first birthday of the blog.

So far, CuteWriting has gone through several landmarks. Within the first few months, it was regarded to be one of the best writing-related blogs out there. Now, CW also deals with several different topics and answers reader questions. The diversification was necessary as we found out that most of the readers of this blog originally wanted posts on Blogging tips and search engine optimization.

Creative writing can only make a tiny part of the blog now.

Initial work on creating quality content has proved successful as CW got several hundreds of incoming links to various posts and testimonials and positive reviews from several websites. Now, the blog ranks high in search engines for many of its posts.

We are vowed to publish only useful entries for our readers (don't take care of the sponsored entries, which are separately labeled and are maintained only for monetization).

If you h…

Five Orange Pips: A Terrifying Sherlock Holmes Story

Today, let's go through a greatly puzzling and even more frightening story of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the legendary detective of Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes. Five Orange Pips is among the stories that most frightened me, surpassed (perhaps) only by the Adventure of the Devil's Foot.


Five Orange Pips
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

When I glance over my notes and records of the Sherlock Holmes cases between the years '82 and '90, I am faced by so many which present strange and interesting features that it is no easy matter to know which to choose and which to leave. Some, however, have already gained publicity through the papers, and others have not offered a field for those peculiar qualities which my friend possessed in so high a degree, and which it is the object of these papers to illustrate. Some, too, have baffled his analytical skill, and would be, as narratives, beginnings without an ending, while others have been but partially cleared up, and have their expl…