Online Marketing Inside Out

Review: by Gregory West
prospector16@gmail.com
Member of Sarnia Computer Users’ GroupOnline Marketing Inside Out
Member of Port Huron, MI Computer Group
Blog: gregorywest.wordpress.com

Online Marketing Inside Out

by Brandon Eley & Shayne Tilley

Published by SitePoint Pty. Ltd.
ISBN-978-0-9805768-2-5
Pages: 184
USA: $29.95 / CDA: $29.95
http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780980576825

Nine dynamic chapters that guide you through your next “modern marketing campaign”. Chapter one explains how marketing is changing pointing out things you need to know before you begin planning your next promotion or campaign. You will learn how to make money from a website by page views, optimize the values within search engines (SEO) and how the main players in social media can help you go deeper inside the communities spreading the word of your company or product.

Even though email marketing has been around forever, it seems, this book sparks a new interest showing “many advantages” and the authors “walk you through every step towards a successful email marketing strategy”.

Having your own sales people working for you online is easy when you create an “affiliate marketing program” that is covered in Chapter seven. The advantages of having an “army of salesmen all over the world” promoting for you is explained in easy to understand terms in this chapter. This is followed in sequence with Chapter eight wherein you learn about the world of “online advertising” as you will be able to “plan, implement, test, and optimize” what you setup with your online advertising.

I really like the way this book is set out. The Table of Contents leaves nothing to imagination. The Preface wand Chapters have extensive headings that guide you through the various topics so that you can easily look something up and jump right in on that subject. For example, in Chapter two’s listing you will find headings such as: Press Releases. Then followed with sub-headings: Press Releases in the 21st Century, When to Write a Press Release, Stand Out From the Crowd and so on.

Every chapter tags your interest and keeps you coming back as a reference point for helping you develop your own online marketing campaign. This book is for those who “have a web site and…want to promote it”, or anyone else who wants and/or needs to learn this amazing subject of online marketing.

Even if you are already doing online marketing and feel fairly successful, this book will take you to the next level of expertise and guide you in directions you may have possibly passed by.

BEST iPAD APPS – a review

Review: by Gregory West
prospector16(at)gmail.com
Member of Computer Groups
bwcomp.orgscug.caapcug.net

ipad apps book review Best iPad Apps

The Guide for Discriminating
Downloaders

by Peter Meyers

Published by OReilly Media Inc.

ISBN- 9781449392475
Pages: 230
USA: $21.99 / CDA: $25.99
oreilly.com

Everyone now owns an iPad. Well maybe not everyone, however the number of sales are far reaching into the millions. If you look at a graph depicting the sales of Apple’s iPad you will see a line that looks like the path of the Space Shuttle taking off. The iPad has taken off with an huge explosion of sales. There is a good reason: Apps.

Apple announces the iPad has “thousands of apps…available in every category”, which is mind numbing to say the least. How does one sift through such numbers to find the top notch apps and not get stuck with one that, well let’s just say stuck with an app that is not the best? How does one find the best of the best in iPad apps?

Well you need to look no further. Peter Meyers’ book offers the easy solution to such a complex issue of sorting through thousands of iPad apps to make sense, with precise reviews on each one.

Meyers says that “this book helps do some serious chaff snuffing” in that he has gone through the thousands of apps to bring us the best. The book is sequenced with seven  color coded chapters, making referencing easy. Each chapter takes us to a new use for the iPad: At Work – At Leisure – Creative Corner – At Play – At Home – Out and About – For Your Health. Browsing through these chapters is fun to see what you can really do with your iPad.

For instance, in Chapter 6, “Out and About”, you will find numerous apps that cover “Finding (and booking) a Restaurant”, “Finding Cheap Airfares”, to “Driving Instructions in Your Car”. For the more serious users you can get one for your “Health” such as: “Portable First Aid Reference”, “Dieting and Weight Loss”, and even “Bird Watching”. Games were not left behind, not at all. Meyers offers Chapter 6: “At Play”. Here you get to read about the best apps for “Arcade Games”, “Puzzles”, “Racing”, “Combat” and many more.

Each App review page lists the price, the version, and short synopsis about the App. The review page also includes a graphic and an explanation of how it works. From reading sheet music to drawing to gaming to buying online, Meyers book has it all covered and then some.

Gregory West is a Mac Computer Instructor at Lambton College, Ontario. He is also a crew member for TVCogeco. In his spare time he runs a free computer “drop-in” centre that assists people who want to learn about technology. He can be reached at prospector1(at)gmail.com

Review: Journalismnext – A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing

Journalismnext - A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing

 

Review: by Gregory West
prospector16@gmail.com

Member of Sarnia Computer Users’ Group
BLOG


Journalism Next: A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing

by Mark Briggs

Published by CQ Press
ISBN-978-1-604-560-6
Pages: 359
USA: $34.99 / CDA: $45.99
journalism20.com/blog/

I was a journalism student in the early 1970’s. I have been working with computers since 1972. I have been on the Internet since the very early 1990’s. I currently teach computers courses at a local college. I write technology columns for magazines, and I review technology and software books for O’Reilly Publishing. I have been blogging since 2005. However, I must say, that this is the most precise book on how to be in tune with today’s journalist culture I have ever come across. After reading this book you will not wonder why this book is so widely used in colleges throughout North America.

Briggs states at the onset that “Journalism is about people, not technology.” In this book you will learn the inner secrets of how to connect with your readers. You will see how this connection spreads to more and then more readers. Of course you will learn the why and the how that technology is involved so deeply in today’s journalist’s work. You will learn how technology and the Internet are utilized in a career in Journalism.

Briggs covers all the bases, from the importance of advanced and micro blogging, making audio reporting visual, to the techie equipment you will need for the job. In this book he teaches how to “build an audience”; how to maintain that audience. Briggs demonstrates details of why setting up a Facebook or Twitter account is a must.

The book is filled with references and articles by several top bloggers and online editors. Many innovative companies open yet other doors to peek in and learn more interesting tips and tricks. The contents of this book cover every aspect of journalism today, information that would take years of experience and study to learn otherwise.

If you are at all interested in writing or becoming a journalist, especially writing for an online publication, or even if you are a seasoned journalist and need to get up to speed with what is out there today, this book is a necessity. Don’t forget to purchase a yellow highlighter for this read due to the many topic points where you will find yourself saying, “I didn’t know that”.

 

“The technician set up my laptop, now what do I do?”

NOTE: THIS ARTICLE CAN BE REPRODUCED

BY GIVING ACKNOWLEDGMENT TO THE AUTHOR.

“The technician set up my laptop, now what do I do?”

By Gregory Westdionsaur and kid in costume

Ah, the wonderment of getting a new computer. No more having to watch others show off their computer skills as they demonstrate their new digital slide show, or listen about how they talk with relatives across three oceans for hours at no cost. With your new computer you are ready to join the online communities around the globe.

Three gigabytes of random access memory, five hundred gigs of hard drive, a one year subscription to some antivirus / malware protection software utility and you are “good to go,” says the clerk in the computer store.

“But does it come with a manual,” you ask?

“The manual is in the OS software,” the clerk says as he gets you to sign his copy of the credit card slip. “Have a nice day,” he hollers as you lug computer through the doors towards home.

“Ya right,” you mutter under your breath.

So many choices, too many decisions, but at least you finally got it home. Once you open the lid and go to turn on the new computer you realize that you have no idea what you are doing. In fact, you don’t know a gigabyte from a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and you couldn’t care less. All you want is to on the Internet and check your email, surf some websites and maybe learn how to get those 265 photos from your digital camera.

“So now what,” you say aloud to yourself? “Where do I begin, you ask your dog in desperation as she gives you that puzzled look?

There is an easy way to learn the various computer functions you need to catch up with your computer geek of a neighbour. First, you can take a formal course at your local college. These courses usually range from beginner to advanced. You can also take online courses (courses offered over the Internet), but this takes a special skill, as many people are not used to working alone and need to get out into a classroom setup with real humans. You can also join a local computer group. Here you will find people with similar interests who provide various seminars on tech-related issues.

I have been on a computer since 1972 where an IBM System/360 Operating System was the popular system in data processing centres. Over the years I have received computer training from all methods mentioned about. In fact, today I am taking two computer courses from books that came with DVD training programs.

However, if you simply need to know one certain function on the computer, learn a software program, or how to troubleshoot a problem in your computer, I suggest Google’s YouTube videos. Computer instructors, tech companies, libraries, schools and many knowledgable individuals upload training videos to YouTube. Here you not only get free training, but targeted training. For instance, if you need to know how to install a USB flash drive in Windows 7, you simply go to youtube.com on the Internet and there will be many videos to help you through this process.

One tip for searching within YouTube for help, try using the term: “tutorials” with your search. Sometimes this will give you a full training course on the particular subject you are interested in learning. I use YouTube all the time when I need help with a particular computer program. But it doesn’t stop there either. I wanted to learn how to winterize my RV and save the hundred dollar fee, so I searched for videos on YouTube and have winterized my own trailer ever since for only the cost of antifreeze.

You can get free training from the best of both worlds. If you are new to the computer, YouTube videos will help you get an idea what you are up against, but what if you still need the help of a human. Central United Church operates a free computer drop-in training centre where you can get free help on any computer-related issue. Since September 2010 over two-hundred people have found this training centre an excellent way to learn at one’s own speed. The only cost is a food item to donate to the Food Bank. For more info: go to the website ( http://central-united-church.org/training ) or phone: 519 344-4561.

[bi-line]

Gregory West is a Mac Instructor for Lambton College.
He is also Webmaster at Central United Church, the home of Sarnia’s new
Community Computer Training Centre at: http://goo.gl/76H15.
This is free and open to the public as a community service.

Learn at your own speed.

Gregory can be reached at: prospector16(at)gmail.com

Windows FREE Office 2010

Microsoft Rolls Out “SkyDrive” Online Office Apps and Storage

by Ira Wilsker

WEBSITES:

http://explore.live.com/windows-live-skydrive

http://docs.google.com

 

It is obvious that there is some heavy competition between Microsoft and Google in  the online document market.  About a year ago I wrote about the services offered by Google Docs (docs.google.com), which includes free online document creation and editing, along with online storage and collaboration.  Microsoft has also been providing a somewhat similar service, originally with its Office Live Workspace (beta), but now with its enhanced and upgraded SkyDrive service, which is also free (explore.live.com/windows-live-skydrive).  While the office components in Google Docs are generally compatible with Microsoft Office, Microsoft’s SkyDrive provides a free online version of Office.  Since SkyDrive is online, it is accessible from anywhere there is an internet connection, and works with most browsers; I tried it on Firefox and Internet Explorer, and it worked flawlessly on both browsers. SkyDrive is platform independent, and works equally well on a PC and a MAC, or any other operating system with a compatible browser and internet access.  Documents can be “collaborated” and edited or shared with others, even if the other users do not have Microsoft Office.  Microsoft SkyDrive offers 25MB of free storage, an adequate if not generous amount of storage space for almost all users.  SkyDrive requires registration, which is free; registered users of most other online Microsoft products, such as the other Microsoft Live services, Hotmail or Messenger can use their existing usernames and passwords on the SkyDrive service.

One of the primary features is the “Office Web Apps for SkyDrive”, which includes online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Clicking on the “Office” link will open up the basic Office App page, where the desired application can be opened.  The first window for all of the apps is very simple, where the user is asked to enter the name of the document.  I started typing this column on the online Office Word App, and the screen was almost identical to the desktop version of Word.  Anyone who can use Word, or another similar word processor, will find the online Word app familiar and easy to use; almost all of the features, commands, controls, and features of the desktop version are available in the free online version of Word.  In terms of functionality, I could not find any significant differences between the web and desktop versions of Word.  The user can choose to save the file on the SkyDrive servers (the default), print, and share the document.  Under the “Share” option, others can be invited to view or edit the document, all under the control of the original user.

As with Word, the online Excel App has the same look and feel as the desktop version of Excel.  To open a new workbook, the clean opening screen asks the user for a file name, and then the workbook opens.  Once data is entered, there is no “Save” button, as the Excel App continuously saves the workbook as it is produced.  The user also has the option to “Save As” and save the workbook under another name.  Unless explicitly downloaded to the computer, all of the workbooks are saved to the SkyDrive servers.  Workbooks can be selectively shared with others, while the others can be granted access only to view the workbook, or edit it; this is the heart of online document collaboration.

I frequently do PowerPoint presentations, and the SkyDrive PowerPoint app offers the ability to create, edit, store, and show a PowerPoint presentation from anywhere there is internet access.  When opened, the PowerPoint app has the same look and feel of the desktop version, and uses the same command set.  As with Excel, there is no “Save” button, as the presentations are automatically saved as they are created.  One interesting feature is that when a PowerPoint presentation is shown (“View – Slide Show”) it opens in a browser pop-up window, so the user must allow browser pop-ups from the application in order for the slide show to be viewed.  If connected to a projector, the output looks the same as if it was from a desktop version of PowerPoint.  As with all of the other Office online apps, the user can choose to share the file with others, and selectively allow others to edit the file.  Since Microsoft provides 25MB of free storage, SkyDrive is a practical place to store presentations; if for some reason the presentation must be shown from a computer lacking Office, the SkyDrive file can be shown, as long as there is internet access.

Microsoft OneNote is hard to explain, but basically both the desktop and SkyDrive App versions are both note-taking utilities.  OneNote can easily organize any notes that are taken, and would be useful in a classroom, organizational, or professional environment where notes are taken.  OneNote looks like a simplified version of Word, but allows the user to “flag” important points, or quickly search for desired terms or phrases.  OneNote can incorporate images, web pages, and video, and can itself be incorporated into Word or PowerPoint.  A few of my students use OneNote to share class notes during my lectures, ensuring that each of them has a comprehensive set of notes for test reviews.  As with the other Office apps, it can be selectively shared with and edited by others.  As with some of the other apps, there is no “Save” button as the information is saved to SkyDrive in real-time.

I have several students who do not have Microsoft Office on their personal computers, but need to be able to access Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote; SkyDrive is a free alternative to Microsoft Office, provided that the student has internet access.  For the frequent times when several of us must work together (there is that “collaboration” term again) on an Office file, SkyDrive could be the appropriate utility that we could all share, giving us secure and controlled access to our files.  For those who have the desktop version of Office 2010, there is a direct and transparent online connection with SkyDrive, allowing files to be saved on SkyDrive directly from the desktop Office. The SkyDrive files can be selectively shared with anyone on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, AOL Mail, Hyves, Gmail, Outlook, other Windows Live users, and anyone else with an email address.  For security and privacy reasons, access is limited to only those authorized by the user, and that degree of access is also under the control of the original user.

I found SkyDrive and its Office Apps to be every bit as useful as their desktop counterparts, with the bonus of secure online storage of files.  Some of us have used SkyDrive and its apps to work together on producing Word documents and PowerPoint presentations, without the need to physically swap files between us.  SkyDrive and its Office Apps would be very worthwhile for any computer user with internet access.

 

Don’t Forget to VOTE

Brian White for Sarnia City Council

GOOGLE 411 is NO MORE!

If you never used Google’s FREE 411 service you really do not know what you missed. You missed a lot.

It must be said, traveling with my GPS Garmin Nuvi on the dashboard is a huge advantage while navigating the roads and highways of North America. The Garmin can find me Walmarts or gas stations when needed, and many more places of interest etc.

However, the Garmin DOES NOT give me any information about the place I want to go and visit. For instance, while driving up HWY 400 on a recent canoe trip, we needed to find out if the Canadian Tire store in Parry Sound  had a gas bar. Thus, Google 411 free service.

Dialing up Google 411 not only got me the phone number of the store but connected me directly to a human who informed they did have a gas bar, and that there were two stores so I told to take the first exit not the second one that shows with any GPS.

Bingo…We had success, thanks to Google 411 free information service from my cell phone.

As Paul Harvey used to say, “And now for the rest of the story.” Plain and simple, Google is opting out of the 411 program. For the complete details check this site out:

Google Shuttering GOOG-411

Directory Service Nov. 12