Archive for March 2009

The Conficker (Configure) Worm April Fool's Day

I'm sure many of you have heard about the  worm, which is supposed to be unleashed on April 1st.  It's believed to have infected between 5-10 million computers.

Whereas past worms were used to create havoc, tech gurus are saying this worm's activity will be different.  The Conficker C worm's creator/controller is more likely to use it as a way to make profits (by encouraging computer users to buy fake software, etc).

There's apparently a 250,000 bounty on for anyone who can catch the creator of Conficker C:

The anti-worm researchers have banded together in a group they call the Conficker Cabal. Members are searching for the malicious software program's author and for ways to do damage control if he or she can't be stopped.

They're motivated in part by a $250,000 bounty from Microsoft and also by what seems to be a sort of Dick Tracy ethic.
Quoted from CNN.

Whatever the day, it is foolish to operate a PC without keeping your antivirus software current! 

As far as I know, conficker is not some "super worm"--I'm sure any decent, updated antivirus software is able to handle it.  Symantec actually referenced it back on March 6th.  Speaking of Symantec, you can find a removal tool on their website

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Increasing Your Blog Traffic: Creating Multiple "Roads"


All roads lead to Rome.

This cliche is based on a historical truth.  The ancient Roman Empire had a well developed system of roads, making it easy to travel to Rome.  It is one of the reasons Christianity spread so rapidly.

This little history lesson has application for bloggers:  one key to building traffic is creating multiple ways for people to find your blogs.  Like real roads, it takes time to build links back to your website.  But the more you can make, the more traffic you will receive. 

See Also:  Four Free Ways to Bring Traffic to Your Blog

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Paying for FaceBook?

I saw this group today:



This really cracks me up.  I've been using social networking sites (MySpace, Friendster, etc) for several years now.  Rumors of the site shutting down, running out of room, or charging for use always seem to circulate.

Guess what?  All the sites are still here.  All of them are still free. All of them are still profitable.

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Think Like a Blogger

Bloggable Moments


You’ll hopefully develop a skill as you practice your blogging—you’ll find some of your life experiences make for good posts. 

Some of my posts on my main blog, for example, are cultural observations (I’m an American who now lives in the Philippines).  My Filipino friends usually get a kick out of these posts.  I also love posting pictures from ministry events, etc.

You may ask if this can be taken too far.  Sure—anything we do can become an unbalanced, all-consuming part of our lives.  But blogging is not unique in this regard.

Let me give you a low-tech example.  I started preaching and writing years before I started blogging.  As a preacher/writer, I’m always on the lookout for stories, illustrations, and examples.  Another author/pastor called this being a “student of life.” 

Blogging is about expressing yourself and sharing your life.  The more you do it, the better you’ll become at learning what you want to share. 

Cartoon compliments of Joyoftech.com

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Entrecard: More Thoughts on the Changes

Here's another good thing that could come out of the Entrecard changes:  inflation control.

As you know, 75% of your credits just "disappear" when you buy an ad spot.  Let's say someone buys your ad slot for 64 credits.  48 of those credits just vanish--you get the remaining 16.  EC does this to control "credit inflation."

Maybe they won't have to do this after the system changes.  I like the idea of keeping more credits, and I think it could happen.  Let's say only 50% of the credits disappear--or what if none of them disappear?

I'm not sure this will happen, but it is a possibility.  

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Making Money Online: The Irony

My former mentor has a joke.  It goes something like this:  "The best way to make money is to write a book about making money." 

He has a point.  I wonder if some of these guys who write books actually made any money before their "how to get rich" books came out.

There's a similar phenomenon online.  Seems like one of the best ways to make money online is to have a blog about . . . well . . . making money.

Anyone else notice this?

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Entrecard Update

I just happened to read the Entrecard Blog today.  Here are a few things I noticed. 

1.  They will not allow ads for gambling, adult websites, etc.
2.  They will not charge a credit fee for rejecting ads (they've responded to feedback from the bloggers).
3.  They are not requiring all bloggers to put their ad "above the fold."  The rule has been changed to "one page down," meaning within one stroke of the page down key.

This is good news for me--my greatest concern was paying credits for rejecting ads.  I'll be as flexible as I can with allowing ads, provided they don't go against my conscience.

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Big Changes with Entrecard

I'm sure everyone has received the email:  Entrecard will begin accepting third party paid advertisements and make part of their system money based (vs purely credit based).  Here's a summary from their mass email:

You can boil this down to the following 4 bullet points:

  1. In a week, we're launching an ad network where anyone can advertise through Entrecard widgets for CPM rates. This can be run of network advertising, or targeted by category. We are making available 50% of our inventory, or approximately 40 million monthly impressions.
  2. With the money we make, we are going to buy credits back from you. You will be allowed to sell credits via your dashboard, and we will devote 75% of daily sales to buying credits back.
  3. The economy will no longer be in a state of inflation, but rather in deflation which means your credits will gradually start becoming more valuable.
  4. For all this to work, we must institute an above-the-fold rule, which goes into effect in a weeks.

Here are the major problems I'm concerned about:

1.  You have to pay a credit fee to reject paid advertisers:


We will continue to allow you to reject any ad you wish. However, to reject ads from paying advertisers, you will need to pay a credit fee for each ad you wish to reject. We don't know how much this will be just yet.

This REALLY stinks as far as I'm concerned.  I'm very particular about who advertises on my websites, and this might be a deal-breaker for me.

2.  You'll have to share your ad impressions with those who have paid money to advertise. 

Whereas before, when you purchased an ad, you were buying a minimum of 100% of the impressions, you are now buying a minimum of 50%. However, the maximum is still 100% of the impressions, because if we have no ads booked for that category, or for the network, for any given day, you will still get all of the impressions.

You'll be sharing as much as 50% of your ad time with third parties who have paid for advertising.

I do see one advantage to the typical entrecard user:  the ability to trade credits for money.  Entrecard plans to buy back some of the users' credits:

With the money we make selling as much as 50% of our network impressions, we will purchase your credits from you, and delete them from the system. This means we're going to let you sell credits for cash, right from your dashboard! 

I'm not going to jump to any conclusions--I'll wait and see how this works out.

What do you think?  Is this a new birth or the death of Entrecard?

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Adgitize

I joined Adgitize yesterday. I read about this program a few weeks ago, but there was one thing I didn't like: you couldn't control who advertised on your blog. Note the past tense--that has changed now, and you have the option of rejecting certain ads.

Adgitize is kind of like Entrecard, except you can earn money through it (not just credits).  You can also put more than one ad on your blog, which allows you to double (or triple, or quadruple) your credits earned--very helpful for lower traffic blogs. 

I went ahead and paid for a month's worth of advertising for one of my blogs.  It gave me results pretty quickly.  Here's a picture of my statcounter stats:

Awesome! 

I'm really interested to see how this turns out.  I'll write a more thorough review after a few weeks, but so far, so good!  It was really simple to sign up and get their codes. 

If you're interested in joining, please use this link and put a few pennies in my pocket:

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Bill Gate is #1 Billionaire

According to yahoo finance, Bill Gates is 2009's top billionaire. The Microsoft founder has lost 18 billion over the past year, but still has a net worth of 40 billion dollars.

Warren Buffet (last year's richest man) came in at a close second with a net worth of 37 billion.  He's lost 25 billion over the past year.

Did I mention my adsense earned $1.05 today?  Lookout billionaires, here I come!

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Beware of FaceBook Worms

Facebook users beware--Facebook can be used to spread viruses/worms. Here's how it works:


1. An infected account sends you a message with a video link.


2. The link takes you a video and then tells you to update your flash player (screen shot below).


3. You proceed with the download, which is actually a form of malware.  You are now infected and you'll pass along the cyber-germs to other facebook users.

There's also another problem I've seen:  rogue applications.   These apps get you to sign in, giving access to your FB account info.

Here's an example:  I kept getting messages from contacts stating my profile was in violation of FB's terms of service.  I ignored these, but I assume this was come kind of rouge application designed to trick me to signing in.

I'd advise you to do the following:

1.  Keep your AV software current.

2.  Never download something if you are not sure what site it is coming from.  If a website tells you to download the flash player, just leave it and check for software updates on a trusted website (like flash.com).

3. Never let your guard down.  Messages you receive may not be from your friends.  If it seems fishy (like a friend sending a weird video link or reporting you for violating TOS), ignore it or send your friend a message and ask if he/she actually sent the message (or app invitation).  

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Government Grant Website Scams

Apparently there are a lot of websites offering government grant money if you pay some kind of application fee.

Don't fall for this! Keep a few things in mind:

1. Official government websites end in .gov (unlike the scam sites).

2. There is no fee for applying for a genuine government grant.

3. A list of real grants can be found here: http://grants.gov (note the .gov domain). 
But don't get your hopes up on finding one that gives you (an individual) free money.  Remember--the government is much better at taking your money than giving money to you.  

4. If you are foolish enough to buy an application on one of these sites, expect some nasty surprises on your credit card bill (even if your initial payment was only a couple of dollars).  Most of these scams sites will start adding monthly charges to your credit card.

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8 Reasons to Start Blogging NOW


 1.  Practice makes perfect: the more you blog, the better you’ll become.  Best to go ahead and start practicing—the quality of your posts will only improve with time.

2. You may never make any money blogging.  But you definitely won’t make money blogging if you don’t have a blog.

3.  Search engines tend to put more value (in terms of page rank) on older blogs.  It’s almost impossible to get ranked if your blog is under six months old.  The sooner you start, the sooner you can build your page rank.

4.  Quality is key, but quantity is also important (as I’ve mentioned before).  The sooner you start, the more posts you’ll have to be found by readers (through search engines, etc).   

5. All you need is a computer, and internet connection, and a brain (I assume you have at least two out of three).

6. All joking/sarcasm aside, you’re probably just as smart (if not smarter) than half the guys who are making money through blogs.  What’s the difference between you and them?  They’ve seized the opportunity and invested the time needed to learn about blogging.

7.  You have nothing to lose except time.  And you apparently have some to waste spend if you are reading this post (oops, there goes my sarcasm again).  

8.  Your blog may lead to other successful projects, like a book or business (or another revenue-generating blog).

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