© 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

blogbuddycircleI belong to a Blogging Buddy circle. It’s a great way to get comments and internet exposure for you and your business.

What is a Blogging Buddy Circle?

A Blogging Buddy Circle is a number of people who visits your blog on a regular basis, and make constructive, useful comments on it.

Why do you need a Blogging Buddy Circle?

If you need traffic, a Blogging Buddy Circle can help you get some.

If you want to know that someone is reading your blog, having Blogging Buddies reassures you that your writing will not go totally unnoticed.

If you want to tailor your blog posts to what people want to read, comments and feedback from your Blogging Buddies can steer you in the right direction.

If you want to create or be part of an online community that helps its members to grow, Blogging Buddies are a good way to start.

What are the benefits of Blogging Buddy Circles?

All of the above, plus more traffic to your websites/blogs if you comment consistently. There’s no point in being a Blogging Buddy if you only receive comments – you have to make them too.

How does it work?

It’s an agreement between bloggers to visit and comment on each others’ blogs on a regular basis. You sign up, and then you start commenting on each others’ blogs. Simple as that. You can set up a one-on-one Blogging Buddy relationship, or you can set up what I call a Blogging Buddy Circle, which has more than two members.

How do I set up a Blogging Buddy Circle?

If you don’t know anyone online, you could start by leaving comments on blogs you like. You might get a reply! Use that first contact, if appropriate, to ask for a Blogging Buddy relationship.

Contact everyone you know who has a blog that has some sort of connection with your blog, your business or your hobbies. Say that you are setting up a Blogging Buddy circle, and ask if they would like to participate.

If you belong to a discussion group that is relevant to your blog, your business or your hobbies, send out a request for Blogging Buddies.

How to make it work

You need to decide realistically how many blogs you are willing to visit and comment on regularly.

Decide how regular is regular: once a week, once a fortnight, once a month? What will fit into your regular schedule?

Decide, on the basis of your answers to those two questions, how many people/blogs you can comfortably handle in your Blogging Buddy circle.

It might help to have one person being the Keeper of the Blog Addresses if you have a fairly large circle. In my Blogging Buddy Circle there is a wonderful lady who has the list of blogs on a page of her website, and regularly posts changes. It makes it really easy to visit all the blogs on your designated Blogging Buddy day(s), because you can simply go to one web page for all the links. Bookmark the webpage, and you’ve got it made.

Best practice for blog commenting

Today I found a very helpful blog post from Noel Lyons about how to comment on blogs to get the best return. It’s http://www.noellyons.com/blog/5-simple-steps-to-branding-yourself-online/ . It talks about how to comment on blogs and what to include. For instance, when you make a comment, you’re always asked for your name. Noel suggests that you put something else after your name – a short description of who you are or what your business or blog is. This sounds like a really useful idea to me, and I’m going to start implementing it.

Introducing My Blogging Buddy Circle

Here are my Blogging Buddies in no particular order. All of these people are professional coaches. Some of them have a couple of blogs. How they manage to keep two blogs updated as well as run a coaching business is beyond me: I have enough trouble keeping five websites and a blog updated regularly as well as run my coaching and editing business!

Build Your Coaching Business by Melody Campbell

Teaching you to build your coaching business is the most important thing I do!

Healthy Body Healthy Brain by Suzanne Holman

New Path For Life by Elaine Lockard

Success in life and business while living with chronic pain

So Baby Boomer by John Agno

Life coaching tips for confident and independent baby boomers

Right Line Blog by Renée Barnow

Words that work at work

ECI Learning Systems blog by Dave Meyer

Developing teams and leaders to energize and engage your workplace

Webmaster Tool Center by Tammy Barbee

Webmaster resources

Mend Your Money by Cindy Morus

Offers simple, practical advice to people looking to improve their finances

The Web Lady by Tammy Barbee

Computer Resources for small businesses and solopreneurs

Coaching By Doris by Doris Helge

It’s all about you!

Coaching Biz Tips by Kathy Mallary

Getting into high gear about the stuff that matters most

Get Hired NowTM America by Judith Auslander

A 28-Day program for landing the job you want

Wise Heart Coaching by Judith Auslander

More resources on Blogging Buddies

There’s a lot more to Blogging Buddies than this post mentions. For instance, lots of people have only one buddy at a time, and use them as a sounding board, a proofreader or a co-author. A quick search on your favourite search engine will bring up several mentions of Blogging Buddies. Here are some excellent ones.

It’s all about the conversation

Find a Blog Buddy

10 Reasons to Find a Blog Buddy

Comments?

If you’d like to add your experiences to this discussion, tell us how commenting on blogs has helped your business and whether you belong to a Blogging Buddy Circle or have a single Blogging Buddy, or none at all. Read more

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?

© 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.

 

I’m evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they’re letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.   

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I’ll let you know what I think once I’ve had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it’s still free.