July 2013 – Stay N Alive

Ok.com – The Perfect Movie Resource for Parents (Read This for a Free Kindle Fire!)

My friends at Ok.com have given me a Kindle Fire to give away to one of my readers in the Staymates community on Facebook. All you need to do is join Ok.com, share this article with your friends, and join the Staymates Facebook group. I’ll take it from there! See below for details…

As a parent it is impossible for me to stay on top of what’s ok, and what’s not ok for my children to watch when it comes to movies. I love movies – they teach creativity and culture and history and get my mind thinking in ways it is not used to. However, some of these movies, while great for me may not be good for my 13 year old. And what may be good for my 13 year old may not be good for my 8 year old. That’s where Ok.com comes in – it’s a resource for families to know, and contribute to what ages are most appropriate for each film you watch. It’s a crowd-sourced age-engine (yes, I invented that term) for your family.

The site is extremely simple. Visiting the site at first, you can see the most popular movies at the time, and what the average age appropriateness for that movie is. Immediately you can start making decisions on the movies you want to go see as a family, or which ones you might just want to save for that date with a loved one later in the week.

You can contribute yourself as well. To get started, just click the sign in or join buttons, and log in with your Facebook profile (they also support a native login, but I think the experience is better through Facebook). Click on the movie you want to rate, and select the age range for what you think is appropriate. It also gives you the ability to add your own review, and see the reviews of your Facebook friends if you’ve attached a Facebook account.

In the upper-right, there is a “recommendations” button that will give suggestions based on the movies your friends have rated favorably. This is a great place to, at a glance, find out which movies will be best for you and your family.

I’ve found that, at a glance Ok.com is a terrific resource for when I want to know which of my kids can watch a movie. At the same time, there are times I want to know if I really should be watching it as well – if it’s rated for adults, I can quickly check the reviews and see if it meets my own standards for movie watching or not. If you have a family like me, or just want to make sure the movies you watch are living up to your own standards, this site is the best site out there for an all-in-one rating on the movies you watch. Go check it out now!

One more thing: Ok.com has offered a Kindle Fire for me to give away to one lucky reader! Between now and this Saturday at 11:59pm MDT, just follow these steps to be entered:

  • Join Ok.com
  • Share this post (the URL to this blog post must be in your post!) on Facebook or Twitter or Google+
  • Request to join my StayMates Facebook Group at http://facebook.com/groups/staymates – I’ll approve each request as soon as I’m available!
I’ll do a post asking for everyone to post their Ok.com profile IDs and the URL for the post they shared in the StayMates Facebook group shortly – once you’ve completed the tasks you’re entered for the prize! Feel free to use the image above as you share online!

Disclosure: I am receiving no compensation for this post – just free stuff for my readers! I did work for the owners of Ok.com for a brief time, but currently have no relationship with the company. I’m doing this just to help them out and because I think it’s a really cool product!

SEO Link Farmers/Scammers are a Fraud – Don’t Take Their Money

This is the response I get when questioning an “SEO Expert” wanting me to get paid $50 per link for posting links on my Google+ profile. Seriously, who, of any klout takes these guys’ money? These guys are the scum of the earth – don’t take their business:

I’ll give him some SEO…

Here’s how you get traffic for your business – build a social profile on Google+, build a genuine audience, and play a part in the conversation. Purchasing links will give you no long-time ranking, reduces your credibility, and kills your authenticity.

Be real people – don’t be fake, and your search engine ranking will go up naturally, and long-term. The fact that this guy is trying to sell to me (instead of using the network he has built up on his own) shows that I at least know something about this.

Don’t fall for it.

Why I Returned My New Macbook Air and Replaced it With a Chromebook

As we enter the era of the server in your pocket, our habits of computer use are going to change. They already are. As I’m buying new products (I don’t get free stuff like some bloggers ;-)), I’m finding the things that used to be important in products just aren’t any more. The elements of the hardware ecosystem we each live in are constantly changing, and so are their importance in our lives. Yesterday I packed up the Macbook Air I bought last week and was so excited about, headed over to Best Buy, and returned it.

The thing is, I don’t hate my Macbook Air. I still love Mac products. They’re solid. They’re beautiful. The experience is smooth. The problem I kept coming back to however was for the price I paid (about $1300 with tax), the experience I was getting just wasn’t worth it. For that price I got the ability to run desktop apps like Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite, but the experience was sub-par for what I paid.

As I visited the store, I actually tried out numerous other notebooks and tablet hybrids. The Macbook Pro – a little more expensive, better specs, but not much better, and from my past experience it still is no workhorse machine compared to the standalone desktop workstation I have at home. It’s also a bit heavy for my preferences.

I looked at the Microsoft Surface Pro (I didn’t like the RT, per my earlier review) – I was closest to buying this one. I also looked at a few other tablet/laptop hybrids, including the Lenovo Yoga and another one from Dell. The thing I kept coming back to though was that the only thing I really gained from a traditional desktop OS like Windows 8 or OS X was Microsoft Office, and the ability to record my Youtube movies and edit my photography.

I thought long and hard about those positives. For Microsoft Office, if I really need to do any editing that I can’t do in Google Docs (my publishers, including Pluralsight, all use Microsoft products for their templates), or even if I need to use Exchange and Outlook for some reason, Microsoft now has online products for that which support what I need fairly well. Even without that, I have a Windows 8 desktop at home that already has significant power to it (I built it myself), and I can run all of those at home, as well as do all my editing.

Trying to edit on a notebook or tablet, no matter what experience, I’ve never had a good experience, and that includes my Retina Macbook Pro that I had in a previous life. Notebooks just weren’t built for heavy publishing, video, photo, or audio editing capabilities. Heavily fortified workstations were built for this, and I’m willing to take that work home when it needs to be done. In fact, I may even switch to the new MacPro at some point to do this.

Which brings me to the Chromebook decision. For $250 (I got the Samsung model 303C12), I get a decent machine with almost the same specs as my old Macbook Air. It focuses solely on the web, allows me to add a SIM card for constant internet connection if I want to (I just use my cell phone connection for that), and comes with a 3 year warranty if anything ever goes wrong. Apple only gives me 1 year! Oh, and did I mention the $250 price tag? I’ll also add that so far, the battery life on this thing, even with the newest Macbook Air model, far out-paces my previous Macbook Air before dying (that’s because it only needs to connect to the web!).

Will Chromebook be for everyone? Remember, I also have a workstation at home that I’ll be using for my recording, editing and publishing tasks that the Chromebook can’t cover. It doesn’t solve everything. Also, my wife still has her Macbook Air if I ever need a Mac for something. So I have a fallback unlike others.

However, if you don’t need to do serious photo editing, don’t need to do serious video editing (Google has solutions for both of these through Youtube and Google+ if you’re more amateur), and don’t have specific publishing needs (remember, even Microsoft has online versions of Office as well as Exchange, so even this isn’t necessary), this machine is just perfect. And for someone like me that just needs a machine “that works” as I go out on the road, this Chromebook is amazing, and only 1/20 the cost of the Macbook Air! I can proudly say so far that this is the best notebook I’ve ever owned. And for only $250 you should try it too.