Best Home Theater System Set Up

Talking with Pete so much about HD audio formats the other day made me start to think about home theater systems and set up and what exactly makes the best home theater set up

You see, between the first time that I put together by home theater system and now, technology has just changed so much. TV’s have changed, DVD players have changed, receivers and speakers, have changed…

So I’m wondering if I had to start it all now, as in – If I was just getting my feet wet this the home theater game, what would be the first piece to start with in a quest to building the best home theater system set up I could.

I know this is a weird post, and perhaps unlike me, but it’s late so cut me a break. (#);D

Real Rank – Don't Be Hatin'

If you’re a blogger who does sponsored posts, chances are you’re very familiar with Pay Per Post.

And you’re probably also familiar with Google and how they have been pummeling the Page Rank of sites that “sell PR”, by using specific anchor text to link to sites.

Obviously this site has already been hit which is why (as of this writing) your Google toolbar says this site has a PR of 0.

Thanks Google!

How I Feel About PR
Well as I’ve said before, I’m not mad with Google. All they’re doing is trying to make their search engine the best it can be and selling links using specific anchor text we are undermining their efforts is we don’t use nofollow in our tags. But as I’ve said before, the big problem I have with all of this is that Google has not officially ever said, “you can do this, you can’t do that” and with their Webmaster Tools, I don’t think they have a good excuse to not give an official word to all the webmasters who WOULD play by the rules if they knew what they were.

Introducing Real Rank
So getting back to Pay Per Post, they issue posting opportunities to its members based largely on Page Rank and Alexa Rank. When all of their members’ sites started going to PR 0, they (thankfully) did not change the Page Rank of their members’ stats, (likely because they would’ve had a freakin’ hard time trying to fill all their opportunities). So after all of this, it was really only a matter of time before a new ranking system appeared, and it looks like Real Rank is the first one to get its head above water. Here’s a snippet of the description from IZEA (parent company of PPP) :

…gathers REAL traffic information, much like your analytics platform and ranks users based on their standing within the network. The formula is relatively simple.

70% weighted towards visitors per day
20% weighted towards amount of ACTIVE inbound links per day
10% weighted towards pageviews per day…

Does Real Rank Fix the Problem?
I guess it depends on what you think the problem is and what side of the ball you’re on. The reason why I felt obliged to make this post was because of Court’s post on the subject, where for him it came down to the question,

Can You Survive Without Google?

In his opinion he said that “[.01% of bloggers don’t care about Google]”. I would argue that it is probably much higher than that. I think there are a TON of people who have turned away from Google for whatever reason… AdSense doesn’t yield anything for them, and they’re not getting anything for G’s Serps. And I think for these people, Real Rank may provide what they need to make a buck from their site. Now I’m not saying that it will help them make 13K a month, but maybe the “few bucks” they’re looking for that helps them in their everyday lives.

What About For Me?
I don’t know. I’m kind of in the middle of all these things… I’m always working to improve my AdSense earnings, but while that’s going on, I love making some side cash with Pay Per Post. And as Courtney points out, I think it’s a fair bet that Google won’t stop on these penalties and will start banning/de-indexing sites all together. If THAT happens, there will obviously be a drop off for me on visitors, which of course impacts every other stat including my new Real Rank. Maybe this is a time that I should consider changing MY business plan for this site. Of course that would I’d have to have one first…

What about you? Do you care about Real Rank? Is it making you consider doing things differently with your sites?

Need an Office?

Do you remember my post on the great book, The 4 Hour Workweek?

If you don’t, the book was a how to guide of sorts on how you can quit your 9-5, live anywhere, and live the dream of the “new rich”. (I think I might’ve nailed it’s tagline perfectly!)

Well one of the things that the book was a big advocate of was out sourcing that is – Getting others to do those small little tasks so you could worry yourself with things of much more importance (like living life).

Introducing 1-800 We Answer Answering Service
If you have a small business (like myself) that you’re trying to get off the ground, it may make sense to look into an Answering Service like 1-800 We Answer Answering Service. The reason being that obviously, businesses need to look legit. And part of that is being able to have someone answer a phone call during business hours while (I dunno) you’re still at your 9-5!!!

What They Can Do for You
It’s always hard to try and build something up when you don’t quite have the time and this service can certainly help out no matter what size your business. The feature I would be most interested in is their Virtual Office Answering Service, which has them answering calls in my business name for $49.95 per month which I think is all I would need to start out. But of course they offer many more including medical telephone answering services, call centers, and voicemail to name a few.

So if you have a business, why not take a little strain off of yourself while adding a little more professionalism to boot? Check out 1-800 We Answer Answering Service for yourself. (#):)

The preceding was a sponsored post.

Dave and Busters Sucks – I Miss Arcades

Last night, a friend of mine called me saying he was in town visiting and that a bunch of people were going to head over to Dave & Buster’s for some fun.

Now even though I don’t particularly care for Dave & Buster’s, I hadn’t seen this particular friend in a while and the kid was asleep so I figured, “Why not make an appearance?” And I did.

After getting turned around a couple times on the way, I finally made it to D&B and said hello to everyone.

Dave and Buster’s
After we all spent a little while catching up, I took a little tour of the joint since it had been a while from the last time I was there.

OH – For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dave & Buster’s feel free to check out their website, but it’s basically a more adult version of Chuck E Cheese’s. While there MAY be no ball pit, there’s a bunch of ticket games, (basketball, skeeball and the like), and also interactive arcade games and sims.

So as I made my way around the place, it quickly became apparent that THIS – The closest thing to what we old timers called an “arcade” um…how can I say this… SUCKED.

Why Dave and Buster’s Sucks
(Don’t you just love these bolded topics? Next up is probably “Why Dave and Buster’s Sucks Ass” but hey, I digress…) So maybe I shouldn’t be saying flat out that “Dave and Buster’s sucks” but moreso that “I miss arcades and I wish Dave and Buster’s WAS one with all the arcade games they have”. Hm. Re-reading that it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense… “If they have a lot of arcade games, doesn’t that make them an arcade?” Maybe. I guess. But I would argue that an arcade is more than just having a lot of arcade games. It’s about having the right arcade games.

Why I Had a Blast at Dave & Buster’s
(Didn’t see that coming did you?) Well halfway into the night after I had poured a ton of credits into some horrible gun game, I started wandering around D&B’s pretty defeated and depressed looking (aside from being really disheveled looking since I’m sorely im need of a shave and haircut) and found my savior. The one game that has been there for me more than any other and more than most people. That’s right, the king of kings, my favourite game, the one and only – Street Fighter II.

Me and a friend of mine entered the mix with about 3 others that were already there and it was awesome. I’m talking we had the rotation, the one joystick that sucked, comradery… Everything arcade games should be, and everything that arcade games now are missing. I’m talking about the days where games would be a quarter or fifty cents and you would gladly pump more in to get another chance at dethroning the current king (or queen) of the game. I’m talking about the days where pinball machines like Batman were king and when you died in an arcade game, it was because of your lack of skill, not the game taking every incredibly cheap chance it could to deduct lives and health (cue that bad gun game again).

In Conclusion
Look, I don’t pretend to know why you really can’t find arcade machines anymore in the US. But the fact that you can’t sucks. And the fact that there are establishments like Dave & Buster’s that COULD have a little section of their huge place house decent arcade games and choose to not, that sucks too and makes me sad. But at least on one night in late November I managed to find some warmth with an old friend stuck in a dusty corner with other classic games.

…And even if I did get my a$$ handed to me over and over again ’cause there was no air blocks, techs, or two good working joysticks, at least I could find some solace in pulling off a spinning pile driver. (#);)

State of the Union

I don’t remember exactly when, but sometime recently I said that one of things I wanted to do was get myself from point A to point B with my online endeavors.

Obviously, most of us want to do the same in that we all start with projects at point A, and we want them to succeed (get them to point B).

Up until now I’ve been talking a good game on here, but I think it’s high time to take things to the next level.

“What in the Devil Are You Talking About?”
Like most of us out there, I have my hands in a couple different pots. And also like most of us, I’m not doing enough to get myself and these projects to where I want them and need them to be so that I can declare them successful. So what I’m proposing here and now is a magical mystery tour of sorts… You, me and my projects. From point A to point B.

I want to share with you everything that I’m thinking with all of them, set some concrete goals, and work hard as sin to get my sites/projects to “that point” as quickly and intelligently as I can.

Coming Up
In the next couple of days, I’m hoping to share with you all the projects that I have and furthermore discuss them all in detail in terms of :

  • What they are : Currently and My Original Vision
  • Where they are now : Stats/Income
  • Where I want them to be : Income
  • How I see them getting there : Plans

And of course since I’m hoping you’ll all come along for the ride, I hope you will also take this whole thing as an opportunity to discuss in detail all the things that go into these kinds of online businesses… Web development, marketing, seo, link building, affiliate marketing, and anything else that comes up. I’ve never claimed that I was an expert on any of this, but hopefully at the “end” we’ll all be much more knowledgeable in these kinds of things.

So will you join me?

My 5 Strengths as a Writer and Artist

I was tagged by Mike some time ago in this meme, and thankfully I’ve found 5 minutes this Sunday evening to actually getting around to doing it!

Admittedly, I should’ve and could’ve taken care of this a while ago, but I think I thought it would be hard to come up with 5 Strengths.

(I still don’t know how this is going to play out). If this was a “5 Weaknesses” post, we’d probably be in business. (#);) \

Well let’s see how this goes…

  • Like Mike, I can tell a good story. – If you heard me tell a story live, it’d be much better but I’d like to think that when I sit down and go for it that I can translate it into writing as well.
  • I can be organized to a fault. – This could easily go into the weaknesses column, but depending on the subject matter, being organized is certainly a good thing from a reader’s point of view.
  • I put my personality in my writing. – I’ve been told this by a couple of people, and it’s definietely one of those things I’m proudest of. If I was writing anything and it didn’t seem like it came from me… I wouldn’t know what the point of writing in the first place would’ve been.
  • I can draw pretty good stick figures – And I’m not talking about just you know… Um… Stick figures. But the ones that comic artists start with. With ovals for heads and torsos and pipes for arms.. You know, all that good stuff! Now putting in the rest is often a bit difficult…
  • Pointillism – Not sure if this would really qualify as a strength of my artistry, but I do enjoy drawing pictures using ink and just points from time to time. People really seem to like the quick things that I can do w/ it too. *nod*

HolidayLEDS are Here! Time for Joy and Cheer!

Anyone catch the Charlie Brown reference? Anyone? No?

Well in any event – Now that the holiday season is upon us, many will be going to the attic to get those same old tangled holiday bulbs that are used year after year. But now with, we all have plenty of reasons to try something new.

“Why are HolidayLEDs Right for Me?”
HolidayLEDs are Christmas lights that use 1/10th the energy and will last for more than 50,000 hours compared to less than 2000 for standard bulbs. What that means for you is saved money and more sensible behavior towards the environment. See? Obviously worth a second look. If you’re still not convinced, you should know that the company certainly practices what it preaches and strives to reduce waste and help the environment even at the office which is certainly an effort I can applaud.

So hey if you someone who likes to be up on all that’s new and cool, want to help the environment, or justs likes Christmas lights, certainly give HolidayLEDs a look.

The preceding was a sponsored post.

Black Friday Gameplan (Part 2)

I had hoped that I wasn’t going down to the wire here with the second part to the Black Friday Gameplan but that’s fine.

Sometimes, that’s just what happens. (#):)

So let’s recap what we’ve done so far… In part 1 we…

  1. Figured out the things we wanted to get.
  2. Checked out the sales
  3. Researched
  4. Wrote down specific models and locations
  5. Scope out the store layout

Today we’re going to focus on basically one thing : EXECUTION. It will be the difference between how long you have to stay in line.

1. Check Online Sales
As Sassy reminded me the other day in a comment, you gotta check online to see if you can get any of the deals you want online. This could really be a time saver as you may be able to avoid going all around a store getting a bunch of little things.

2. Dress Smart
We’re not planning to be in the stores for long, but we are probably going to be standing outside the store in lines for a while. That means you gotta dress appropriately. For me, that means dressing WARM. There’s nothing worse than having to stand somewhere for hours and you’re horribly cold. Think about hats, gloves, and a good coat and socks.

3. WHEN YOU’RE IN LINE – Ask employees questions!
The biggest question you should be asking is, “Where is product X located”. The worst thing that can happen is the doors to your store open and you don’t know where you’re going. If you’re able to get your objects fast and efficiently, you’ll be out the store in no time. But other questions may be important to such as, “Do you really have these in stock?” or “Where are ALL the available registers?”

4. When the doors open, walk fast and grab the important stuff.
Walk fast, get what you need and get out. Smaller items like CDs and DVDs will probably be there all day so don’t bother wasting time early in the day for this stuff. Avoiding them now and coming back for them later could save you A LOT of time in long morning lines.

And um, I think that’s about it. Have a good time and get some good deals!

Black Friday Gameplan (Part 1)

As you all know, one of my favorite days of the year, Black Friday is just about upon us.

Now that we’re going into the final stretch, it’s important that all of us nail down a final gameplan so that once the big shopping day arrives, we’re not caught with our pants down.

Here’s how your plans should go so that you can make sure you can what you want as fast as you can so that you’re in and out of stores in the quickest time possible. You don’t want to be standing in lines for a minute longer than you have to…

1. Figure out the things you want to get.
Obviously, you should figure out what things you wanna buy before you do anything else. Since the prices are usually so good, you should think about XMas gifts for others and of course yourself.

2. Once you have a list, check out the sales.
Now is where you go to a Black Friday site and actually check out the adscans so that you can start to see who is selling what and at what price. At this point, you may not be necessarily nailing your items down to specific ones, but getting a ball park figure of Store A selling a digital camera at price X vs Store B selling a similar camera at price Y.

3. Research.
If the products you’re looking at aren’t “specific one version items” (like a specific game for a specific system) you need to do some research. This means that if you’re looking at cameras TVs or GPS units, you’re looking on the net for specs and reviews. Can’t stress that last part enough especially if you’re not too familiar with what you’re buying. Ask friends in the know or tech savvy co-workers for help if need be.

4. Write down specific models and locations
After the research you did in step 3, you need to write down the specific locations and models of things that you’re after. Not only is it crucial in figuring out which stores you’re going to hit in what order, but the model information may prove critical on Black Friday as you may have to relate it to store employees to get what you need fast.

5. Scope out the store layout
If you’re not familiar with where your target items are normally located in the store, you need to figure that out fast. Depending on whether your items are just “on sale” or “doorbuster items”, you will either find your items in their respective areas or usually on the floor in a big pile ready to be picked off by the eager consumer.

Tomorrow we’ll look what you do ON Black Friday so that you get what you want faster than everyone else!

Nintendo Wii – XMas Video Game Console Buying Guide

As I’ve said before, my favorite part (and probably only likable part) of working at Best Buy was helping customers. And never was my help more needed than about this time of the year when anxious parents had to make a decision as to what video game console they were going to buy their children.

Unlike previous years where decisions were a bit easier, we again find ourselves in a good ol’ console slobber knocker between the Wii, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 vying for your heard earned money. Read on to learn about the first system up for inspection, the Nintendo Wii!

The Nintendo Wii
Pronounced “WEE”, this is the system whose buzz you just can’t get away from. If you didn’t know, what makes the Wii so spectacular is its control scheme which allows you to control games by actually making motions with the controllers! So if instead of pushing a button to perform an in game action, you would actually swing your arm to say… hit a tennis ball. Sure it may sound like a simple premise but it actually adds a great deal towards an engaging video game experience and has done a lot to bring non video game players to the TV.

The Games
You have all kinds of games on the Wii from platformers to shooters and sports games to car simulators. Plus, you have a great emphasis on games that the whole family can get behind and really have fun with like Mario Party 8 and Cooking Mama. Depending on the type of gamer you’re buying for you’ll really have your veritable “pick of the litter” but you can’t go wrong with The Legend of Zelda : Twilight Princess, Metroid Prime 3 : Corruption or Super Mario Galaxy to name a few.If you happen to find yourself in the position of buying games for the older player, you might find yourself in a bind as the more mature video games don’t find themselves on the Wii. So if you’re looking for the best first person shooter or role playing game, you’re probably going to have to look elsewhere.

Kids will naturally be attracted to the Wii because of it’s innovative control scheme and are sure to love this system for years to come. For your older game veterans, the Wii’s luster will probably start to fade in time as the lack of a robust online system and more “hardcore” games just aren’t there – Likely leading them to the XBox 360 which is being showcasing manana!