Finishing Up Those Projects This Weekend


Ha ha. So I’ve really been trying to put the final screws into these projects and I think I’ll finally be able to do that this weekend. *fingers crossed*

Even though I’m not quite ready to unveil either of them at this moment…

I thought that I could at least put out a little blurb about them up today so I can buy a little more time from all of you. (#):)

And of course when I finish them, I’ll unveil them in all their glory and you guys can let me know what you think so I can make some improvements as necessary.

So a friend of mine in California contacted me a little while ago about making a website for a business of sorts that he’s trying to get off the ground. Basically you can send in your pictures, and an artist that he knows will take your photos and make oil paintings out of them. Obviously there are other services currently available that can do the same thing, but I don’t think at the rate he’s going to charge. For me, it’s a neat little project since I’m handling the upload process with a little php and Flash. Stay tuned on that one.

As I’ve said before, I’m putting a lot of effort in getting this site to where it needs to be so I can start doing some serious marketing to bring in clients. Even though I don’t fancy myself a designer, I now have one that I can work with (who I met at previous employer’s) who’s capable of putting out some quality stuff. (Thus taking the burden off me). The thing with BWD is basically when I get going and I get one client, I’ll have more than paid for my monthly hosting costs. Which is one of the reasons why I’ve made this project a big priority for myself.

More To Come
I am DESPERATELY hoping that I have this stuff wrapped up by Monday. It is KILLING me that I haven’t been able to get any posts up in a while, but I’m praying that in the end this little sabbatical will be worth it. Thanks again for the patience everyone!

Busy Week N'est-ce Pas?

Yikes this has been a busy week!

My apologies that I haven’t gotten any posts up lately, but I’ve kinda taken a step back from blogging this week so I could put some serious effort into getting my web design project off the ground.

Don’t be misled though by my use of the word “project”. I really should call refer to it as my business since well…

It literally is that.

I’ll of course give some more information on the whole process when I can, but I will say that over the past two weeks or so, I was kinda inspired by NBC’s The Apprentice to redesign its homepage, mission statement (as it were) and also my plan of attack (marketing) on the whole thing.

And while I absolutely hate to have had to backoff blogging, there’s really only so much I can do in a week with the new job and unfortunately, I really had to make the web design stuff a priority. It’s one of those things (and I think I’ve mentioned this before) where the initial ramp up takes a lot of effort but after that, the whole thing isn’t too bad. In my case, I pretty much started from scratch this past week – Redesigning the website, complicating my design, and just making a lot of work for myself.

But in any event, things are getting done that need to get done so I’m obviously very happy about that, and hopefully all this work I’m putting into the business will pay off really soon. Thanks for always being patient with me guys!

Red Ring of Death Pt 2 – Salvation!

If you remember in part one of this epic mini-series, I related the woeful tale of a boy – his XBox – and the red ring of death.

And even though at the time it was unfathomable, I was able to find Salvation that night from the most unlikeliest of places – Best Buy.

I say unlikely because as time has gone on, I really have started to dislike Best Buy which is a complete 180 from my initial opinions of the place.

And perhaps it was because of my opinions that I was afforded such a great outcome! Though I wonder what you kids would’ve done in my situation…

XBox No Worky
So at this point in the story, I have a busted 360 with the infamous Red Ring of Death. Thankfully though, when I first bought the 360 I pretty much knew this would happen despite forums telling me they had fixed “the problem” in the newest boards so I bought one of the Product Replacement Plans which ensured that when my XBox went bad, I could just go and swap it for a new one. Sure it cost $60, but I thought it was well worth it because I couldn’t be without my system for more than a day. I mean, let’s be honest.

The Trek to Best Buy
So after destroying my house looking for my warranty, I finally found it and made my way with my neatly packed system and cables to my local Best Buy not knowing really what to expect. Luckily when I got there, I was the only person in the customer service line so I got “help” pretty fast. The guy who helped me looked everything over and said “No problem” to the whole thing but that unfortunately they didn’t have any more 360s in stock. BUT he said I could upgrade my system to the Elite and pay the difference… OH and of course I had to get a new warranty since my current one wouldn’t transfer. *rolling eyes*

At this point I’m pretty distraught and I leave the broken Box at customer service so I can walk around the video game section and go over my options. On one hand I could buy an Elite and get a lot more storage space, and get a cool lookin’ Black XBox but have to pay $100 difference PLUS $60 in another warranty. OR..

I could pick up one of the freakin’ XBoxs they had in the store that the customer service guy had just told me they were out of!!!

The Tables Turn at Customer Service
Back at customer service, I give them the new XBox and the guy basically says, “Oh, they must’ve just got some in”. *sigh* He starts to really go through the Xbox Box I just brought in and then pipes up with “So I you didn’t bring your controller, your headset…” I couldn’t believe it. And with work, there was NO CHANCE I’d find time to come up to do this again. So I just say, “Do I really have to go home and get that stuff?” And thankfully he said he’d just take it from the new box.

This is where things get interesting.

It’s now 8:30, 8:45pm and the store is closing in 15 minutes. Obviously the last thing that this guy probably wants is people in his line. So what happens? 4 more people jump in behind me, one or two of which has an XBox also. I can see him getting a bit twitchy and trying to hurry things up so long story short he completes the transaction and starts to send me on my way. At this point it donned on me,

He never removed the new controller and headset from the box.

What just happened here? Did he hook me up? Or did he just make a mistake. Honestly, I didn’t stick around long enough to find out as I basically ran out the store! So not only did I get a brand new working Xbox, but an extra controller and an extra headset.

Would you have honestly said something?
That’s my question. With me, I have a lot of history with Best Buy. My family has shopped there for years and especially now they do everything in there power to nickel and dime you on purchases by offering up “Geek Squad” services which they charge the computer illiterate an arm and a leg for. Plus – I worked for the store on two different occasions, was stiffed on my employee discount for the majority of my second and was rep remanded for helping customers out of my section. Obviously, I have more than enough ways to rationalize the decision I took.

So I’ve been straight with you – What would you have done?

My First 12 of 12

I don’t know how I did this, but apparently I did my 12 of 12 on the 11th. *ugh* As my mom would say, “I can’t win for losing”.

But you know what, screw it! I did it after trying to get it done for countless months so I’m very happy.

BTW, if you don’t know what 12 of 12 is, I saw the idea on Pete‘s site but the idea originally came from Chad Darnell. You take 12 pictures on the 12th of a month, effectively chronicalling a day in your life.

Looking back at the pictures I shot, I’m content with what I got. I didn’t know until I got out there how uncomfortable it can be trying to take good pictures of what you’re doing since a lot of that stuff involves other people. Oh well, no where to go but up right?

Everyday of mine usually starts with my kid and this was no exception. He’s standing and beginning to walk now and yesterday he seemed very happy to take some pictures for me.

After I got down to where I work I needed to grab some breakfast so I went into the Old Town Alexandira, VA to grab something at Bruegger’s Bagels. Can’t see it? It’s right behind the bus. (Good pic I know)

And this is the building where I work. A couple of weeks ago we had a big ice storm and a fell down the steps leaving the office. It hurt a lot.

Sometime at about 1 I moseyed back into Old Town to get some food at my new favourite place down here, Bugsy’s! Everyday, they have an unlimited Pizza and Salad bar which actually serves decent pizza.

Here I am taking a shot where I eat, upstairs at the bar. Yesterday being Tuesday, I had the Club Sandwich special and did some computer work on the laptop since they have WiFi. I also made some small talk with the bartenders, one of which is just returning from back surgery.

So after I went back to work for a while it was time to go home but before I did, I had to go to Pacers (a running store) to pick up some new shoes I had special ordered a while back.

These are the Brooks Addiction Walkers. I fell in love with the Addiction runners and when I tried on a pair of the Walkers, I had to have them. They have the same fit as the running shoes which is great for my overpronating flat feet, but have thicker soles making them great for standing and walking!

And here’s the guy who called me to tell them they were ready. Boy was it awkward explaining why I was taking the picture. I asked him if he wanted to smile and he says, “Na man, I don’t smile” so instead I got him while he was talking. (#):)

This is what I have to look forward to on the way home – Traffic. Thankfully my wife told me about a way to get around all this junk so I don’t have to deal with it for long. Still, a 45 minute commute is a 45 minute commute.

Welcoming me back home is the wife and little guy who seemed to go from waving to pounding on the window screen.

And shortly after I got back home it was time for dinner. First step is strapping the little guy in his chair. Look at that smile! For some reason, he was just loving to take pictures!

The last picture of the day has me doing what I do best with Little Mac – Bonding over video games. Of course he wasn’t playing them as much as he was trying to break my new 360 equipment but whatchya gonna do?

Hope you enjoyed the pics and I promise I’ll get some more exciting ones next month!

Red Ring of Death Pt 1 – Despair!

Lately it seems that my life has been following one cruel irony after the other.

The first shoe dropped a week or two ago when I asked my wife over dinner, “Why is that I never get sick? I mean, don’t ever get sick right? Why is my health so MONEY?”

Sure enough the next day it looked like a caught a strain of the flu (that my flu shot didn’t protect me from) which broke me (Ivan Drago style) for a good number of days.

NoobTastic – The Other Shoe
He just HAD to send me that video the other day… I think in literary terms that video would be declared an example of foreshadowing. It shows a baby sitting in a baby chair crying his head off with a onesie that says, “Achievement Unlocked”. As the ominous music builds, the camera pulls out revealing the root of his evil,

The Red Ring of Death.

Death Did Not Pass Over Me That Night
I guess I should’ve put some lamb blood on my door last night for I was indeed visited by the red ring of death. And as sad as I am to admit it, I haven’t been that crestfallen in quite sometime.

My eyes grew large, welled up, and after a lifetime of staring into oblivion I suddenly started shaking my head in disbelief. I looked to the left, I looked to the right, I looked everywhere hoping that someone someplace could help me in this, my most desperate hour. But I come to you today to tell you there was no help to be found in my media room. Not from my kid, not from my wife, not from anyone.

In fact, when I finally found an idiom of strength to crawl up the stairs to my wife and relate the sad tale she only responded with a shrug and “Sorry?”

My friends – That is who I married.

Hey Bush fans! If you’re curious as to see how this harrowing tale of peril and misfortune concludes, check back later this week when you can read the amazing ending, Salvation – Red Ring of Death Pt 2!

The Intent – LSO (Part 2)

Last week I introduced you to the project of mine that is probably nearest and dearest to my heart, Learn Stuff Online.

Before I had this blog, before I kinda started with web design solutions, I had LSO. It was AND remains to be a pretty ambitious project – But I think the good ones often are right? (#):)

So before we go into all the problems that came up for LSO, I’ll get into the nitty gritty of what I originally envisioned for the site so you can get a glimpse into the mind of a madman.

Why I Made Learn Stuff Online
Now I’m not talking about why I created a website… Most of that reason was to create residual income for myself. But as I mentioned before, I love teaching people about things that I enjoy. And at some level we probably all like doing that. Lots of times when we talk to our friends we’re just sharing are various passions with them. That’s kind of where LSO came from I guess. It gave me the flexibility to talk about whatever I wanted to, and hopefully have a place where it would all kinda fit. For instance, I couldn’t really talk about song composition on here because for one, it doesn’t really fit with the theme of this site and for two, you guys probably wouldn’t want to hear about it.

Anything About Everything
And THAT would be the tagline of the site that even now I really like. Not only is it pretty catchy, but it’s pretty true to the point as to what I envison/ed for the site. My first section on Learn Stuff Online was home theater setup. You know that it’s definitely one of my passions so it made a great place to start from. After that, I continued with other subjects but didn’t cover really more than 3. The thinking there was I didn’t want to extend myself too far before I knew if it was going to work or not. Recently, I just started the first new section in a while, iPod Help and iPod Information. More on that later…

Money Making Goal
Admittedly, I naively came up with various formulas that would net me Y amount of money based on X traffic. And while I don’t think I ever had a concrete goal in mind (say like $500/mo), I expected the site to… work out. But you know the more I think about, the more I realize now how doomed I was during my first go around.

And if you wanna see what I’m talking about, stay tuned while I cover *drumroll*… “The Problems – LSO (Part 3).

iPhone SDK Revealed!

It was only recently that I got to see an iPhone in action as a new co-worker of mine is apparently iPhone crazy. Gotta say,

I’m impressed.

There was a time where I was really into cell phones, but after a little bit they just became something else people could use to find me.

As time has gone on, I really wish my phone, (the LG Chocolate), had more features that could easily be used…

Which is naturally why the iPhone is starting to look very attractive to me.

Verizon = No iPhone
And I’m on Verizon so I guess you could simplify the above to Bush = No iPhone. Of course I could switch carriers but I’m on a family plan, then I’d have to buy the $300 phone blah blah blah… So until the iPhone comes to Verizon, I’m probably outta luck. And even when it does, I’d probably still have to convince the wife to let me spend $300 bucks on a cell phone. *nod*

When I heard that the SDK was out, I thought that it’d still be cool to develop for the device even though I didn’t have an iPhone because they’d probably have an emulator built into it right? Well unfortunately I didn’t think very hard about the whole thing because I neglected to think about how much the SK would cost. $99. bleh. I think that pretty much pushes me out of the iPhone development game for the time being, especially since I DON’T HAVE AN iPHONE!

But for those of you who do, it looks like there are a ton of cool things you’d be able to accomplish using the SDK including using the iPhone’s OpenGL for 3D games, building “standard” applications helped by code they provide and I guess plethora of other things too. I didn’t look at the whole keynote on Apple’s website, but it’s pretty long and has a lot of info about the whole thing including (I THINK) the ability to download the SDK for free? I’m not exactly sure on that one.

Anyone else have any interest with the iPhone or the SDK? Better question – Anyone planning on doing any development on the iPhone recreationally or professionally?

All Wii Are is Dust in the Wind

Zuma, Burnout Revenge, Rock Band… THESE are games that I’m playing.

You know what I’m NOT playing? ANYTHING on the Wii!

One of the biggest questions I had when I first got a Wii was whether or not it would be a serious console for me, or turn into something more of a gimmick.

Now while I don’t exactly have an answer, I do know that I can’t remember the last time I played it.

I Close My Eyes…
I remember when I first got the Wii. It was sooooo cool. I could play Tennis, go Bowling, and all from the comfort of my bedroom. And add to that – I could immediately download new games from the net since the Wii automatically detected my Wireless network. I loved it. And my wife ACTUALLY loved it.

After that, it wasn’t too long before the Wii was all over the TV and Radio, heralded as the system that no one could get, and that could make you healthier for playing it.

Only For a Moment, Now the Moment’s Gone…
Now all my Wii does it sit in my TV stand collecting dust. Smash Bros doesn’t come out for another couple of days, I’ve played Zelda and Super Mario Galaxy, and well… What else is there to play? Looking at my current gaming situation, this is how I feel about the Wii…

  • I’m not excited about anything coming out for the system.
  • Great multiplayer games are being severely hampered by horrible online functionality

As far as the games go, I think I read somewhere that developers have a hard choice when it comes to the Wii… They can A) Take the time to develop and create games for the Wii that are freakin’ hard to transfer to other systems and cater to only a fraction of the gaming population or B) Take the time to develop a game that will be played by a huger portion of the gaming population and can much easily be transferred to other platforms.

And as far as online goes, I am still MYSTIFIED of just how bad the online experience of Wii and PS3 is when they could’ve just stolen all the ideas of Live. *shrugs*

So how about you kids? Still enjoying the Wii so long after you got it? Maybe it’d be different if my kid was old enough to play. *shrugs*

Fixing Up – Learn Stuff Online (Part 1)

I told you that I was coming back and HERE I AM!

Part of the time I haven’t been “around” much is because I’ve been busy getting some other projects out the gate.

One of these projects is Learn Stuff Online.

This is the first part in this mini-series which we’ll look at where LSO has come from, its previous problems, and how I hope to fix them all to finally make it successful.

The Premise
Like I said, I started Learn Stuff Online years ago. As I write this I’m not at home, so I don’t have the bevy of LSO paperwork ahead of me where I documented potential AdSense formulas, and topics I was going to cover on the site. And for the life of me I can’t remember how I came up with the idea of LSO.

I’m guessing that shortly after I learned about AdSense, (this terrific thing that could make you “money for nothing” on the web), I just HAD to come up with a website that could harness this PPC advertising for my own nefarious schemes. I might have tossed around a couple of ideas, but I knew that one thing about myself that I love is teaching people how to do things they don’t already know how to do. And at the time, there weren’t many good sites that could do that, so I came up with Learn Stuff Online.

Learn Stuff Online

The Problems
Looking back, LSO had a lot of problems. And because I was the one at the center of it, I think it was really my fault that so many cropped up. Most of them probably came from me not being honest about things or more to the point, deciding to overlook some things desperately hoping it’d all come together in the end.

Looking at things now, I think the biggest problem I now know how to handle and have already taken steps to that end. Still – There are other issues that I don’t think I’ve quite addressed but will surely have to do so if this project is ever going to hit that $500/mo goal I setup for it a little while back.

Unlike other series I’ve done on here, this isn’t one that I’ve necessarily given a lot of thought to. So buckle up if you want to come along for the journey as I continue to BREAK DOWN everything with Learn Stuff Online and sincerely hope you kids will give me some pointers so everyone can benefit! (#):D

Thanks again for the reminders to fix my RSS footer guys!

Study of Blog Earnings Report February 2008 (MyBlogEarnings)

I guess you could say February was a busy month.

I wrote some posts (and I mean SOME posts), got sick for a good little bit, and started a fantastic new job. So all in a all a pretty good month! (Even though I am MIGHTY dissapointed w/ my current blogosphere presence.

I really didn’t count on the new job taking up so much of my time, but no worries. Just gotta use my time a bit differently. (#):)

Revenue Name Alexa Rank Page Rank Revenue Source
$204.85 Bush Mackel 275,597 0 Private Ad Sales

As you can imagine, I am very glad I started focusing on private ad sales for this site whenever I did. And though I’m not positive, I think monetarily, Feb was the month ever for this site! Now even though I can’t know what I’m going to be making from month to month since I no longer rely on PPP and such, not having to always be writing paid posts for this that and the other thing is def worth it.

Now for March, I’m not sure how things are going to end up, but I’m finally going to be getting back to the blogosphere I so love and so neglected in Feb. A lot of good posts are on the way and a lot of good comments will surely find their way to your sites too. (#):) Hope you missed me and talk to you all soon!