Backup is Your Friend

Do it.
Do it now.
Do not pass Go.
Do not collect $200.

I’ve been meaning to back everything up for a while now. And then last week I had to reinstall Windows because my computer wouldn’t boot properly, and it was too late.

Luckily, I had moved some things to my D: drive recently, so I didn’t lose everything. Just the stuff that was still on C: – which was bad enough. The photos that hadn’t been backed up to DVD are still on the SD cards, so I didn’t lose those. It could have been much worse.

I plan to back my files up on a more regular basis now. I want to use a combination of online storage like MyBloop and Windows Skydrive as well as backing up to CD or DVD.

In addition, documents can be stored, edited, and shared with Google Docs. Actually, I’ve had some problems sharing documents with Google Docs, but I love that I can create and edit online, and the docments are available from any computer. Some of the documents I had stored there came in really handy when my computer was down. I just need to get busy and upload the rest of them I want to save.

I just signed up for Evernote, too. It’s supposed to be a good way to keep track of everything and sync it between the internet and different computers. I wish I had been using this earlier because I lost some important information I had in my email – all the email I had on my computer is gone.

So, taking my own advice, I’m backing up everything as I go now.

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Templates and Tools

This looks like the most comprehensive list of Blogger template sources I’ve ever seen. I’d heard of some of them, but there are a whole lot I hadn’t, so I’ll want to check them out. Do I need a new template? Well, I don’t think so, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look!

If you’re looking for a new template, I’d say this is the place to start.

Find Bloggers in Your Neck of the Woods

I just signed up for and added two of my blogs to a new directory. It’s called Loaded Web, and they call it the first fully geo-based blog directory. When you add your blog, you also choose your country, state/province, and city. Add a description and some tags and submit your blog for approval. They don’t allow sites that feature adult content (nudity included), promote gambling, promote illegal activities, promote hate, feature warez, and/or are not blogs, so your blog has to be approved before it can be listed. It was really quick though. I just submitted mine this evening, and they’re already approved and listed.

Now comes the fun part – searching the directory to find blogs in your neighborhood! I already found one from a neighboring town. Of course, you can also search to find blogs in other areas, too. It’s fairly new, so there aren’t a lot of blogs there, yet, but I think it will be fun to see where blogs are coming from.

Loaded Web is currently available for blogs from Canada, United States and United Kingdom.

Me2Everyone – Free Shares for Joining

I just became a shareholder in me2everyone and I never had to pay a single penny for the shares! It can only be described as the gold-rush for 2009. This company is going to be huge and shares will soar in value over the coming months! You can register for free and it never has to cost you a single penny!

me2everyone is going to be a cool new virtual world where you can meet friends, chat, shop, play, watch videos, create an art gallery, open a virtual newspaper, play the free inworld lottery and make money from your own online store! You and everyone you know make the decisions, shape the world, create real incomes and share in the profits. It’s a new place where you meet new people or invite your friends. Learn new skills or expand your business. Find the love of your life or help the planet.

Membership is free and every member automatically becomes a shareholder in me2everyone Limited. I got 1000 shares just for signing up, and I am going going to increase my shares very soon. This is an excellent chance for all of us to make some real progress in 2009 and beyond! Please do not miss it. By 2012 they are predicting these shares to be worth real money.

If you are looking for something really good in 2009: something that changes your view on the world, then you really have to spend just one minute and look at this website. Sign up for free and get your own shares.

Advanced System Care

Probably because of the recent virus that installed itself on my computer, I noticed a link on Giveaway of the Day I hadn’t noticed before. It says that Giveaway of the day is adware/spyware free, and if you want to check that for yourself they recommend – Advanced System Care – both free and pro versions are available.

It’s supposed to prevent spyware, hackers and hijackers from installing malicious items on your computer and scan and remove any that are already on there. Besides that, Advanced System Care has a whole lot of other tools that are supposed to make your computer run better, and it’s supposed to be really easy to use.

I haven’t tried it yet. First I’ll be reading the user reviews. The ones I’ve read so far are really positive. Have any of you tried this? What do you think? Good? Bad? The best thing since sliced bread?

Leave My Computer Alone!

I left my computer alone for a few minutes last night and came back to find a mess. It’s not like I’ve never left it alone before. I thought I could trust it!

My brother left a comment saying he had a similar problem recently. He downloaded a program called Malwarebytes, and that took care of his problem. So, I tried it. I downloaded the free version, installed, and attempted a scan. My computer shut down before the scan could complete.

Luckily, I had recently downloaded a program called WinUtilities from Giveaway of the Day. It has a tool to manage the startup files on your computer, so I looked through those and found something called prunnet.exe. That was the culprit, as well as some kind of advertising service that had installed itself. I couldn’t just delete the file because it was running, but by disabling it in the startup files and then restarting my computer, I think I kept it from starting. Then I browsed to the file (in Windows/system32) and deleted it. I also selected all other files there that had been created at the same time, and by right-clicking them, I could scan just those files with Malwarebytes. It found the bad files and removed them. I also used Add/Remove Programs to uninstall the advertising ‘service’ that had placed itself on my computer.

Now, I’m crossing my fingers that it all worked. So far so good – no more annoying popups. Still, I’m irritated that people do these kinds of things. Don’t they have better things to do with their lives? Thank you to the creators of Malwarebytes – I’m thankful you chose to use your powers for good. The rest of you – leave my computer alone!

Web Page Analysis

My poor brother mentioned yesterday that it takes forever for my blog to load. He is still using dial-up. Who knew there were people still doing that?

Anyway, I thought I’d check to see how long it takes for the page to load. I found this free Web Page Analyzer, typed my url in and got these results:

Connection Rate Download Time
14.4K 1118.46 seconds
28.8K 568.23 seconds
33.6K 489.62 seconds
56K 300.97 seconds
ISDN 128K 104.66 seconds
T1 1.44Mbps 25.52 seconds

I’m hoping no one is actually still connecting to the Internet at 14.4K!

Anyway, besides giving me the overall download times, it also listed everything on my page and what size it was. Some of the scripts could supposedly be compressed to save bytes, but I really have no control over those, besides evaluating whether I really need them and perhaps removing them. For now, I’m keeping most of them. What I did notice was that images were the biggest source of the problem. I’m not going to stop adding pictures to my posts, but I did limit the posts on the main page, and I removed some images from the sidebar and some extra unnecessary stuff from the bottom of the page. Now my results look better:

Connection Rate Download Time
14.4K 517.48 seconds
28.8K 265.84 seconds
33.6K 229.89 seconds
56K 143.61 seconds
ISDN 128K 53.83 seconds
T1 1.44Mbps 17.64 seconds

Hopefully that will help a little. If you’d like to know how long your page takes to load, give the free Web Page Analyzer a try.

More Free Blogger Templates

I’ve noticed that a lot of people who visit this blog are looking for new Blogger backgrounds and layouts. I’m always on the lookout, too – even when I find one I really like, you never know if an even better one is out there somewhere waiting for me.

I just recently found a new site full of great looking Blogger templates, so of course I had to share. It’s called Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates, and I haven’t looked at all of them, but the templates I’ve seen are really nice. There are also some nice tutorials to help you change your template, add and configure your widgets, and add custom text to your header.

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I’m Cleaning Out My Inbox

This is something that I should have done ages ago, something I should do on a regular basis, but I don’t. Now I have to. I’ve been using an email address from AOL that let me pick my own domain. I hadn’t really thought about it until now, but they actually registered the domain I chose and allowed me to use it for my email. Well, now they’re releasing those domains. They’ve given me until the end of the month to transfer the domain if I want to continue using it. Otherwise all my email goes away. At least it looks that way. I can’t find any way to just convert that email address to a regular AOL or aim.com address.

I really don’t need to keep that domain because I’ve really only given that email out to a couple people. I can easily notify them that it’s going to change. The problem I have is that one of those people is a big time email forwarder. Since he’s practically the only person who emails me there, I have practically every email he’s ever forwarded sitting there in my inbox. Do I just leave it there, let it go, and figure I’ll get plenty of forwards in the future? Some people could probably do that, but not me. Luckily, I just found out about a new service called ForwardOn, and I’m forwarding all the emails in my inbox there. At least, as many as I can get to before the end of the month.

ForwardOn is a free and easy alternative to all those email forwards. When you get an email, instead of forwarding it to all your friends, you know you’ve been guilty of this, simply forward it to ForwardOn. You can send all kinds of attachments, photos, video, Powerpoint, etc. ForwardOn will host the email and send you a link. Then, if you just have to share with all your friends, simply send them the ForwardOn link – like this one. No more cluttered inboxes or email messages that take forever to download. Your friends who still have dial-up will thank you! No more worry about viruses in email attachments.

You earn points when people view your emails, and points can be redeemed for rewards or donated to charity. I haven’t really checked into the points and rewards yet. I’m more interested in cleaning out my inbox, and maybe convincing my email forwarding friends to start using ForwardOn so I can keep it cleaned out.

Add a Favicon to Your Site

Are you tired of that bright orange B (if you’re using a Blogger blog) in the address bar and on the tab? You can display your own icon on the browser address bar when visitors view or bookmark your web page instead. It’s really simple, too.

  • Choose an image you like – ideally it will be very simple because a favicon (short for favorites icon) is pretty small, and complicated pictures don’t translate well. It should be an image you want people to associate with your blog.
  • Upload your image to this Free Favicon Generator, and it will create your favicon for you.
  • Then you can either download it so you can upload it somewhere else, or just host it there. They even give you the code to copy.
  • Once you’ve copied the code simply go to your Blogger Dashboard, select Layout, and edit HTML. Paste the code into the head of your page, right before the tag and save it.
  • Now, you should have your very own, personal favicon.

I actually used this Favicons from Pics generator to make the favicon for this blog. If you use this one, you will have to download and unzip the file and then find somewhere to upload it so that you can link to it and use it. Since you can’t directly upload the favicon to Blogger, and many photo hosting sites don’t accept .ico files, it’s a little more complicated.

Here’s a great tutorial on adding a favicon to your Blogger blog.