It’s great to see a local firm taking on the big guns of the internet. Ok, they haven’t really invented their own search engine – they are tacking extra features on to search results provided by Yahoo. Even so they will be competing against billion dollar firms like Google – and are striving for growth amidst the awful recession. For that, they should be wished the best of luck!
If you were one of the lucky ones who managed to grab a Nintendo Wii for the kids (or yourself) this Christmas, you probably spent the best part of the festivities furiously waggling, shaking and doing all sorts of other strange things with the fantastic Wii Remote controller. But if you are are getting a bit tired of all that now, instead of splashing out on a new game or two, why not use the machine to watch BBC repeats?
You will need:
500 Wii points (you can buy them in games shops, HMV etc.)
A Wii which you have successfully connected to the internet.
Step One: Visit the Wii Shopping Channel, buy the Wii Internet Channel. This means you can visit basic internet websites by selecting that channel from the Wii menu.
Step Two: Select WWW and type in www.bbc.co.uk/iPlayer. Chose a show and zoom in or out using the plus or minus buttons on your Wii Remote. The video quality isn’t great, for technical reasons on the part of the Wii. But the audio fine which makes it much more paletable. Give it a try!
Here’s a few of the best full albums I’ve found on Deezer.
Can you do any better than those?
Quidco and it’s cash back website brethren are just about the best things ever. Yes, even better than Deezer, which gives you free music – Quidco gives you free money for buying stuff off the Internet.
Here’s one example. You want to sort yourself out with a new phone contract and you’ve narrowed it down to one on the Orange network. You quickly log on to Quidco to check if Orange are offering any deals, and oh look – they are currently offering an incredible £150 back per contract!
Of course, it’s not uncommon for mobile phone websites to offer cashback but it doesn’t stop there. Any time you are thinking about ordering off a website, it’s always worth tapping the retailer’s name into Quidco to see what they are offering. Sometimes it’s a small percentage, other times it’s a fixed sum – but it’s always worth having.
All you need to do now is click the link to the Orange website and purchase the contract in the normal way. Now you won’t get your cash back immediately and it can take months to appear. But as soon as the cash back has been validated by Quidco (using a clever tracking system) you can rest easy that the money is coming at some point. And hey – it’s free cash, why complain?
Most people will be wary about signing up to one of these websites because they are rightly suspicious when things seem too good to be true. You will ask yourself why anyone would want to give you money for something you were going to buy anyway!
But it starts to make sense when you look at it from the retailer’s perspective. Cash back websites are just another form of advertising and when you consider the huge amounts of money spent on marketing by the big firms, you will see that it actually makes sense for everyone.
Quidco charge a yearly admin fee of £5 – but if you don’t earn £5 (very unlikely if you use it regularly) you pay less. You can send your earnings to your bank account through BACS or Paypal, and there’s no minimum earning requirement. Simple.
Give it a try by visiting www.quidco.com
Other top cashback sites that I haven’t used but might give you a better deal than Quidco include:
The beauty of the internet is that new, exciting technologies or ways of doing things come along all the time. For a while now websites like Last.fm, Imeem and Pandora have offered users the chance to listen to their favourite artists legally — and crucially, for free.
But French website Deezer blows them all out of the water because it lets the user pick any song they want to listen to, and hear it straight away. That’s right — if you want to listen to a whole album by your favourite artist, as long as it’s in the catalogue, there’s nothing stopping you.
Of course, you can’t actually download the tracks to listen to on your Ipod and you need to stay logged on to the internet — not ideal for those with pay-as-you-go broadband. But if you are browsing the internet anyway it does not take long to get into the habit of loading up Deezer in another window and with today’s internet speeds, you will barely notice you aren’t listening to a CD or part of your MP3 collection. Give it a try.
Click here to visit www.deezer.com
Ok, so hopefully you have been blogging away after taking inspiration from the previous post. Now it’s time to make a few improvements to make your blog entries a bit more interesting and to get a few more people heading in the direction of your posts.
Sorry to harp on about it but It’s so important not to underestimate the importance of tagging. It might seem like a bit of a chore after you’ve gone to all the effort to write out your blog, but you can’t cut corners if you really want people to read what you write. Think hard about how you use search engines like google, and which words orphrases you use to get you to the websites you want quickly. That’s the sort of thing you should use as a tag.
There’s no reason to go overboard with pictures, youtube style videos or music clips but they are all very easy to add your post. Simple click one of the buttons show below, which appear when you are writing your blog – hover over them if you aren’t sure what they mean.
Just don’t forget to write something decent that is going to make your blog stand out from the thousands of others showing the video of Kerry Katona’s disastrous This Morning interview (click here for that one)
To kick off the Chad’s new technology blog and my Why You Should Love… series of tutorials, I thought it made sense to start with blogs themselves.
All you need to know is:
1. Saying interesting things is fun. There’s something very satisfying about getting support for your opinions, and even having someone disagree with you is recognition that what you are writing is interesting (unless you are writing something stupid for the sake of it).
And if people feel strongly about what you are saying, it’s likely they will use your blog’s comment system to leave a message. Then someone else might come along and decide to comment on both what the previous commenter said and what you said, and so on. Everyone knows how much fun a chat about a controversial issue at the pub can be. Blogging is just an extension of that.
Don’t forget, another advantage of blogging (that is especially enviable for us reporters) is that no one cares how you write. There’s no style to keep to, or word limit. Just write. What you write is far more important to the success of your blog.
2. Blogging is easy. It’s no more complicated than you sitting down and writing about your opinions on ANYTHING. Whether that your opinion on how to revitalise Mansfield’s flagging music scene or your answer to the Obama vs McCain? question is entirely up to you.
Of course, internet users have been posting their opinions on websites for years – long before someone decided to call that blogging. But now we have websites like WordPress (the site that looks after this blog) which make things much more exciting by channelling other people who are interested in what you are writing towards your blog (more on tags another time).
Obviously, the number of people attracted to your blog depends on how interesting the subject you picked to blog about is. But the beauty of the internet is that even if your topic is as niche as, say, stereoscopic photography – there’s bound to be someone else out there who likes that too.
3. The software used to create blogs is easy, and free. WordPress is a fantastic tool. To get started, visit www.wordpress.com and hit the Sign Up Now! button. Enter a few details and you are up and away. Beware, the username you pick will also form the address of your blog. For example, Chadtechnology is our user name, so the blog’s address is chadtechnology.wordpress.com
Once you receive a confirmation email from WordPress, you are ready to blog.
You will be taken to your Dashboard, which is a fancy name for the bit where you design and manage your blog. Imagine the sort of features you would want if had your own website (and how much time and money that would cost). The Dashboard can do most of it for you in seconds.
To make things bit prettier than the standard template and set yourself out from the crowd, first choose a theme. If you hit design, you will be presented with lots of beautifully designed themes and a variety of layouts. If you decide you don’t like it, don’t worry – you can change it at any time.
Change the picture and wording at the top of your blog as soon as you can, it makes all the difference. Hit Design again, then custom image header to change the image. You can use your own or just change the colour of what’s there already. Change the text (which will say something like Just another WordPress Blog) by hitting the Settings button, and change the Tagline. You can also rename your blog here if you wish.
Add a small picture of yourself, or something that represents your blog, by clicking on the Users button. You will be the only user, so click on the name and from there, you can upload your pic. It’s such a very small picture so if you want it to be of you, just use a headshot.
4. Get blogging ASAP. Hit Write, write something, spell check it, then publish it. It’s that easy! But you’re not quite done yet. Think of words that relate to your blog, then add them as Tags, using the Tags box at the bottom of the bit where you wrote your blog. For example, if you were talking about Mansfield music, you might want to include the names of the relevant venues (Black Market, Town Mill, Intake etc) It just means that more people will pointed in the right direction, towards your blog.
That’s it for now. More on blogs soon.
Any questions or suggestions, leave a comment!