7 Guidelines For An Amazon Book Review

October 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Blogging, Book Reviews, How To 

You don't need to assassinate an author to disagree with his or her ideas.

Reviews Are
The Lifeblood
Of Book Sales

Amazon’s online review portal provides a great benefit for anyone looking to buy books but only because people say what they think.

And anyone can write a review. Anyone! The only qualifications are you bought – or borrowed – the book and read it.

But as with anything in life, there are Do’s and Don’ts that every reviewer should keep in mind, especially when it comes to books. Several are listed below.

These guidelines apply mostly to non-fiction but can be modified for fiction. Read more

SiteGround – A Great Hosting Option

April 29, 2014 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Blogging, Computing 

Web Hosting

SiteGround Is Breaking
Support Records

For years I hosted with HostGator and they were great up until recently. Down town started to increase and support was difficult to connect with.

The last straw was waiting 45 minutes for a chat and almost an hour for a phone connection.

I began looking around for a replacement host and discovered one I think will be good for at least another five years, SiteGround.

They received positive mention from Chris Lema, a WordPress guru of sorts. WP Site Care did several tests over a number of months which convinced them to move their accounts over to SiteGround.

That convinced me too, so I moved. What I’ve found so far is: Read more

Edit Photos Online With PicMonkey

February 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Blogging, Computing, How To 

PicMonkey's free account offers everything I need.

PicMonkey Does
Everything You Need

If a picture is worth a thousand words then it only follows that blogging is improved manyfold by the inclusion of a few images.

And because that is true smart bloggers will do everything they can to reinforce their blogging points with pics.

It also makes sense to use your own photos or screenshots. The pics you buy or borrow from online portals usually come with conditions, which make me nervous. Take your own pics or borrow them from friends without condition. That works.

The problem is pictures aren’t always internet friendly, even the good ones. They’re often too big and occasionally the exposure or clarity isn’t the best. Solution? Edit the pic online. Read more

Comment Savvy – Be Nice!

August 5, 2011 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Blogging 

Because many websites are designed to elicit responses, people feel quite free to say what they think and many brave souls do. But after reading through various comments it is obvious that the skills for communicating respectfully, rather than down or slightingly, are not apparent.

And to make it worse, some, in an expression of contempt, will sprinkle their remarks with all kinds of unwanted language, usually aimed at other people. More like a diatribe than a dialogue.

Feeding this tendency is the fact that we don’t see the other parties and will probably never meet them so why worry about the rage our comments provoke. Let it rip. Say what you really think. Fire off a response with no regard for the person at the other end.

And if anyone doesn’t like it, who cares! Haven’t we fought for the right to speak freely.

Yes, the first amendment protects the right to speak freely but those who wrote that principle into law were well experienced in making and responding to arguments respectfully. They sometimes spoke heatedly in the process of carving out constitutional rights but they remained focused on the issue not the respondents.

And they made the assumption that we, the constituents, would understand that insulting, hateful, dismissive, contradictory, vindictive and threatening remarks aimed at individuals were not fundamentals of free speech.

We have proven them wrong on that account and that is why recent laws have been written to curb our vicious free speaking tendencies.

Yes, it is a great privilege not only to think but also to share our thoughts but remember the following rules before and as you write. Read more

Add Google Map Images To Your Posts

December 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Blogging, Computing 

I started writing travel posts for interesting destinations in South Africa and thought it would be great to include a map image of the location. When giving directions a picture really is worth a thousand words.

But, I wasn’t sure how to add these say-it-with-a-picture images to my post. Dutifully, I scoured the plugins for my platform, WordPress, and got more than I bargained for. Most of the plugins wanted to install the whole Google maps search feature on the blogging site. That has its uses but was overkill for what I was trying to do.

I kept searching (and thinking) and, finally, it dawned on me (an epiphany of sorts).

All I want is a picture, so why not do a screenshot of a Google map?

That’s what I did and it worked great as you can see from the example above.

If you are interested in doing the same thing and you inhabit the low end of the techie-know-how range like I do here are the steps to follow:

  • Locate the area on Google maps you want to feature. Make sure to scale in or out depending on how much detail you want.
  • On a Mac press command-shift-4 simultaneously and the cursor changes from an arrow to crosshairs.

Note: For PC users you can press PrtScn on the keyboard to copy the entire screen. Pressing Alt+PrtScn copies the active window. Once copied, paste the image to MS Paint and edit. You can also save the image and use Picnik to edit.

  • Move the corsshairs to where you want the top left or right corner to be, left click and hold while dragging the cursor diagonally to where you want the opposite bottom corner to be. Release the mouse click and the area you dragged will be saved to your desktop.
  • Open Picnik (online photo editor) and upload your image. Resize it and add any graphics or text you want (I added “X” and “The Farmhouse” using the Picnik edit tab).
  • Follow the Picnik instructions to save image to your computer and then add it to your post like any other image.
  • If you want your image centered just include aligncenter in the class portion of the image code.

Its simple and easy and it adds an extra informational dimension to your post.


Blogging All-in-One For Dummies includes 8 books in 1 and covers topics such as: Joining the Blogosphere, Niche Blogging, Choosing a Blogging Application, Making Money from Your Blog and more. Both new and used copies are offered at reduced prices on Amazon.

Awesome South Africa: The Best, Greatest, Craziest, Biggest and Funniest. South Africa has navigated more political, cultural and social changes in one generation, peacefully and for the most part successfully, than just about any other nation and Awesome South Africa captures the background, image and emotion of those changes. An interesting read for anyone wanting to see this great country from a human perspective.

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Tim Pepper: Beautiful Frustration

Tim Pepper - Beautiful Frustration

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