© Gaye Wilson 2010

image by fangolI’ve been frustrated recently with my lack of technical knowledge about downloading from the internet. I signed up for an online course that provided the lessons in streaming video and streaming audio. When I signed up, I understood that I would be getting downloadable files and transcripts. Not so. Everything is streaming.

I tend to work offline far more than online. I like to download stuff, copy it to my laptop, and deal with it wherever I happen to be, rather than be chained to my internet computer.

So it is exceptionally frustrating when I have paid for something that can’t be downloaded. A search of the internet to find a way to download streaming files didn’t find anything useful. I really wanted to download these particular files, because I paid a lot of money for the course and the presenter was not willing to change the format although he originally promised to do so (note to readers: if you offer anything, you MUST pay attention to your customers’ requirements and requests – this guy didn’t do that, and now I have a bad impression of him and his business).

I had downloaded a free program called Audacity before, for another project, but never could get it to work correctly (I told you I’m technically challenged in some areas!). Using Audacity, I could record the stream, but the recording was so soft that I couldn’t actually hear it, even with the volume as high as it will go.

So I started to search online for tutorials on how to set up and use Audacity to download streaming files (since the literature on this program says it will do that). One tutorial suggested a free recorder if you can’t get Audacity to work, so I checked it out.

It’s wonderful!

The program is called Freecorder, and it works as a toolbar in your browser, so I’m thinking it’s probably cross platform (although I’m not 100% sure of that).

The tutorial that mentioned Freecorder suggested that you download Freecorder 3, because it gives you choices about the file format you want to record to. So I downloaded and installed Freecorder 3, and immediately struck problems.

First, Firefox wouldn’t install it, because it doesn’t have valid updating files (or something like that).

So I tried it in Internet Explorer, which installed it just fine, and appeared after I closed IE and then opened it again.

But when I tried to record something, it threw me into an update page for Freecorder – every time. With a sigh, I downloaded Freecorder 4.

The sigh wasn’t justified. Within seconds, I had Freecorder 4 installed and recording streaming audio as an mp3 file. Who cares about whether the mp3 format is lossy or not? It did what I needed it to do!

Freecorder doesn’t seem to have a lot of tweaks available: the Settings panel doesn’t have a lot to it. But it’s easy to use, and it works. Apparently you can also use it to record videos, although I haven’t tried it for that.

Freecorder will record whatever is audible from the computer, so if you talk while the Record button is pressed, it records your voice. That’s handy when you want to make a short note to yourself, or if you have trouble writing and can speak it easier than write it. Or you could record yourself singing a song, or whatever. I saw a YouTube video that showed how it will also record two things at once: I haven’t tried that with Freecorder 4, and I suspect the YouTube video is talking about Freecorder 3, but it probably still does it – cool, huh?

Of course, the program has limitations. As I said above, the settings are minimal (made to be idiot-proof, perhaps?). You don’t get a chance to say where you want the resulting mp3 files to go for each download: in the Settings panel you nominate where to put them and that’s it. If you wanted to change the destination folder, you’d have to go into the Settings panel each time. There are probably other limitations of which I am not yet aware: I only discovered it this morning.

Disclaimers

  1. Please note that I am not advocating downloading copyrighted streaming audio or video if you do not have a right to do so. If you do, that’s piracy and it’s illegal worldwide. I downloaded these files because I had paid for them.
  2. I have no affiliation with this program or its creators. I am posting this simply because I found something that gave me a solution to a problem. Your mileage may vary.
  3. I have no idea what else is out there that will do this job. I found this one, it works, I like it.

If you know of something similar, please let us know with a comment.

© Gaye Wilson 2009

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I’ve joined many internet giveaways in the past few years. The opportunity to download products for the price of being put on someone’s mailing list is too good to pass up.

Or so I thought.

But I’ve discovered that, every time I join a giveaway and download “free” products, two things happen:

  1. I get put on more mailing lists, which I then have to either allow to clutter up my hard drive or spend time unsubscribing to them all; and/or
  2. Along with the “free” products, I download viruses, trojans and other electronic threats.

The last time I joined a giveaway, I ended up having to get my hard drive reformatted to get rid of all the malware it had in it. Then I had to take valuable time to reinstall all my programs and settings. Then I had to scan my backups for viruses.

Lucky I had a backup.

I joined another giveaway yesterday. The day before, my computer was clean. Now it’s not.

So that’s it. Joining giveaways is not worth it. The free products are not free. Their price is too high.

There’s only one giveaway that I trust, and that is Mark Hendrick’s 12 Days of Christmas giveaway. Even there, I have to be careful.

So the lesson for today is this:

  1. Don’t join giveaways, either as a contributor or as a member. It’s not worth the potential damage to your reputation (if you are a contributor) or your computer (if you are a member).
  2. Keep your computer anti-virus software up to date, and check your computer regularly.
  3. Keep your essential files backed up at all times.

I’ve learned my lesson.

I first met the work of Gary Ryan Blair when I was in the middle of my PhD candidature. He has some cool gadgets and suggestions for achievement.

Now he’s running a 100 Day Challenge to finish the year with a Big Bang.  Have a look at this video:

Here’s some more about Gary Ryan Blair’s 100 Day Challenge:

Change Your Life in 100 Days

What if I were to follow you with a camera crew 24 hours a day 7 days a week for the next 100 days while you went for your goals?

I bet three things would happen…

1. You would START doing the things you say you need to do.

2. You would STOP doing the things you know you shouldn’t be doing.

3. You would MAKE monumental performance gains and change your life.

This is ALL possible through the discipline of accountability. Accountability serves and protects your character, credibility and commitments. It ensures that what you want to accomplish gets accomplished. (That’s what personal coaching is all about: accountability.)

Throughout every area of your life it’s important to understand that ALL unfinished goals, projects and relationships are the result of broken promises, unfulfilled commitments, and lack of accountability.

With that in mind, I wanted to share with you an exciting opportunity to achieve every goal you set, to enforce ultimate accountability into your life, and show you how you can make monumental performance gains. I’ve signed up, and I’m excited to get started.

Gary Ryan Blair, otherwise known as The Goals Guy, has put together a fantastic comprehensive approach to goal setting and performance enhancement.

It’s called the 100 Day Finish Strong Challenge and it begins on September 23rd, which happens to be the final 100 days of the year.

The 100 Day Finish Strong Challenge is a structured 14-week performance improvement program where challengers compete against themselves to achieve a number of challenging goals and finish the year strong.

Free Special Report and Video

Gary is offering a powerful special report for free which is titled: How to Create Your Own Big Bang!

This report is worth its weight in gold as it shows you how to create huge performance gains quickly. I encourage you to get your copy right now.

So what are you waiting for? The clock is ticking and if you want to seriously improve your life and corresponding results, I encourage you to check out the 100 Day Finish Strong Challenge today as it will be one of the smartest decisions you’ll make all year.

I’m in it. How about you?

© Gaye Wilson 2009

Image © Gaye Wilson 2009

Image © Gaye Wilson 2009

In my editing business, I work with a lot of huge word processing files, some as large as 20 Mb. Since a lot of ISPs only allow a small amount of mailbox space, often only 2 Mb, emailing such files can be a problem.

One of my clients pointed me towards a solution. It’s MailBigFile.com. It’s a website that allows you upload your files, designate to whom it should be sent, and then sends an email to that person telling them where they can access the file. There’s a paid version and a free version.

Other sites that offer similar facilities are:

This one seems to be totally free: BigFileSwapper.com.

There are other companies out there that offer this type of service. A quick Google search will find several of them, with varying prices and features.

Please note that I have no affiliation with any of these companies, and I have not used any of them except MailBigFile.

Alternative solution if you have your own website
Another solution is to upload the files to your own website, to a folder that has no external links (use a robot no follow file in the directory), then tell the recipient where to find it. This solution, however, does not allow the recipient to send it back to you (unless you give them all your passwords).

Gmail storage
Gmail now has huge storage capabilities. You could email the files to a gmail account. For this to work, both parties would need to have a gmail account.

Hope this helps someone out there. What others have you used?

best-coaching-blogs-20091This blog is entered in the Best Coaching Blogs of 2009 competition, and has lasted for the first two rounds. Of 45 blogs that started the competition, only 20 are left.

Thanks to all who have visited and voted and commented.

But this blog currently has only 13 votes and 5 comments, compared to the winning blog, which has 297 votes and 38 comments.

This makes me wonder what the top-voted blogs have that this one doesn’t.

Is it the look of the blog? All Paths To Victory is very plain, but it’s not cluttered. Nor does it have bright colours, lots of pictures, or a banner heading. Maybe the appearance of the blog has an effect on the readers.

Is it the number of blog entries? Mine has only 32 entries. One blog in the competition has over 50 categories alone!

Is it the content? Many of the blogs in this competition talk about the Law of Attraction, or how to make money, or how to become a coach, or how to be a successful business owner. Mine doesn’t. My blog talks about a variety of subjects, all loosely connected with goal setting and achievement, and productivity, which are the major pillars of my coaching business.

Is it the lack of social bookmarking? The lack of a subscription list? The lack of readers because the blog is not updated regularly enough or because I don’t market it widely enough? Is it the lack of freebies offered on the blog? (Watch this space!)

Or is it a lack of focus? What does the reader want to read? I’m having a hard time getting people to comment on the blog (and that’s a topic for another post), so I’m blogging away in the dark, not knowing what people want to read.

These are the questions that a blog owner, or a website owner, continually asks when the blog/website isn’t producing the desired results.

Whatever the reasons, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be in this competition. I’m also grateful for the votes and comments I’ve received so far. This whole exercise has been wonderful in many ways.

Please go to the Best Coaching Blogs of 2009 page, and vote for the blogs that float your boat. Then subscribe to those that appeal to you. It might help you, and it will certainly give the blog owners a boost. And isn’t that what blogging is about?

© Gaye Wilson 2009
Internet marketers are a persistent lot. Once you’re on their mailing list, they send you offer after offer of stuff you can’t live without.

Or can you?

New products and systems are launched with great hype, and the aforementioned internet marketers all jump on the affiliate bandwagon and, again, send you offers you can’t resist.

Or can you?

Supposedly, all this makes the marketers tons of money. In reality, it leaves you with tons of electronic garbage cluttering up your hard drive.

Each internet marketer and each new product claims to give you what you need to become a success, to make money, to become slimmer, more attractive, a better time manager and all around good sort. There are hundreds of products available on the internet that claim to have the best system for making money on the internet.

A case in point is niche marketing. There’s a new product on the internet that has been met with great acclaim and fanfare. It is a system of making thousands of dollars per month on obscure niches. The price of the system is nearly $500 in US currency.

What bugs me about the marketing copy for this particular product is that the producers of the system don’t care about what they are selling, as long as they are making money. They say upfront on their website that they have used this system in several obscure niches that they know nothing about and don’t care about.

In fact, thinking about it, that seems to be the norm for internet marketers. As long as they are making money, who cares if what they are selling is crap?

So where’s the victory here?

I suppose there’s a victory of a sort for the internet marketer who actually makes money doing this. But is it a victory for the buyer if the product doesn’t do what it promises, or stays on the hard drive without being used, or costs money the buyer doesn’t have or can’t spare, or, worse still, gives incorrect or incomplete information?

Where’s the moral victory for the marketer if they don’t care about the products or the buyers, as long as they make money? Where’s the sense of achievement (apart from having tricked the buyers into thinking there’s something special about the product and its marketer)? Where’s the pride in the marketer’s work?

And don’t get me started on the high prices for these products. $97 for an ebook? $497 for a one hour teleseminar?

Why would you do it? Is it just about the money?

I don’t make any money online. I haven’t actually set myself up for it. I intend to, sometime, but under strict guidelines. These are:

  • the products I promote MUST be connected with my core business
  • the products I promote MUST have value
  • the products I promote must have good information
  • I must be interested in the topic
  • I must agree with what is said
  • if I buy resell rights, I will check grammar, punctuation and spelling etc (after all, I AM an editor) before I put the product up for sale

So many internet marketers get free or low cost products to sell and simply offer them “as is” to their customers without checking that the writing makes sense, there is good information, or that there are no grammatical or spelling errors. They simply don’t care what they sell, as long as they are making money.

I think that’s wrong.

Call me stupid, call me idealistic, but I think that’s wrong. We should be helping each other in this world. If people were more interested in helping other people than in making money, the world wouldn’t be in the global financial crisis that exists today.

I think the internet marketer who tries to make money from products they haven’t tried and don’t care about are making money simply for the sake of making money.

So let’s start a discussion about this. Is it moral for internet marketers to sell stuff, any old stuff, just to make money?

© Gaye Wilson 2009
I’ve just discovered a really wonderful online tool if you’re a writer who gets easily distracted. I found it through Ankesh Kothari’s blog: http://www.blogclout.com/blog/cool-tool-writing-without-distraction/ .

The tool is called Writer. When you enter the site, you are faced with a black page with green writing. You simply start to type, and you will see your words appear on the screen, just as if you were in a word processing document.

Ankesh’s suggestion of using it as your home page is an interesting one. If you do that, he suggests that you will then get the impetus to actually write something. He might be right. When I went there, it was impossible not to try it out.

This page allows you to start and save as many documents as you like. It will also print your writing, or send it to you by email. It was actually quite fun to play around with it.

It has a pdf button, which didn’t work when I tried it. It also has a Download button (I didn’t try that one), and a Send button, where you have a choice of sending it as an email, or to a blog or other places.

How can the use of this online tool help you?

  • If you use it as your home page, you will always get the reminder to write.
  • You can use it to jot down notes while you’re online, without having to open your text editor.
  • You can make to do lists, and email them to yourself.
  • You can write a book, or an article, or notes to yourself.
  • You can copy and paste interesting URLs.

You can change some options, such as the colour of the writing, the font type, and the spacing. You can create an account, although you don’t have to. You can delete your writing. You can even get a word count. 

It also seems to remember you when you close the page and come back in again.

Use is free, but there is a donation button at the bottom of the screen. I think it would be well worth a donation if you find it useful. 

As with all online tools, there may be privacy issues. Read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy to decide whether it is for you.

As a fun way of getting yourself writing, I think this is a good one. If you are having trouble getting to writing, it might be worth checking it out. Here it is again:

 Writer at http://writer.bighugelabs.com/.

 

© Gaye Wilson 2008
It is indeed the silly season. Or the giving season. Or maybe both.

For those of you who don’t know, one of the biggest methods of getting traffic on the internet, expanding your list, getting your name known and earning money is to participate in giveaways. Basically, these are events (often linked to holidays) that combine a varying number and quality of products together on the one site that offers terrific “gifts” for download for free. Typically, you have to sign up for every gift, that is, plug in your name and email address in a sign up form, which usually gets you signed up also to the vendor’s email list. Most of the vendors don’t bother to say that up front, so when you get the confirmation email you find that you’ve not only received the download link, but also a (usually unwanted) email subscription as well. That’s okay, you can always get the free download and then unsubscribe to the list if it doesn’t look like it will be useful.

What does this have to do with All Paths To Victory, you ask?

Everything.

These giveaways offer all sorts of goodies, ranging from internet marketing primers to software to ebooks to courses. Some of them are junk, some of them are rehashed stuff under a different name. Some of them, however, are pure gold.

In the spirit of making sure you take all paths to your victory, these giveaways are worth a look. You might just find that software you’ve been looking for, or the piece of information you need.

Here are some current ones (they don’t last forever):

Happy Holidays Giveaway – this one is due to close soon

Massive Monthly Giveaway for January 2008 – this is a seriously huge and outstanding giveaway, but it’s available for this week only. Not to be missed!

New Year’s Giveaway finishes at the end of January

Some giveaways are better than others. Your mileage may vary. All the usual disclaimers. But it might be worth taking this path if it will help you achieve your victory.

Oh, the other important item to know about giveaways is that you usually land on a One Time Offer page after you have signed up for your gift. This is the payoff for a vendor to participate in a giveaway. They need to make you aware of other products they offer in order to make it worth their time to participate. If you want to investigate or invest in the One Time Offer, that’s great – presumably both parties benefit. If you don’t, the vendor has still managed to be known and you’ve still received a product.