While you are searching for the right company to install your home security system, ask potential dealers about their support policy. First and foremost, your installer should educate your thoroughly on how to operate your home security system. Not knowing the basics can lead to expensive false alarm fees depending upon where you live. The second most important thing to know about your home security system is that you cannot report a false alarm or make any changes to your account without your unique password.
Once your home security system is installed, have your installer walk you through and show you where the main components are placed. If you have any questions at all, make sure you ask. You need to know how your alarm system communicates. You need to know that if a potential thief cuts your phone line and that is how your system communicates, the Central Station will not receive the signal and you may potentially be in danger. Some installers can set up a fake phone line so if an alarm savvy thief cuts this line, it sends a trouble signal to the Central Station.
Home security systems are expensive and installation isn’t cheap. Your installer should be up front with you about all the costs involved in your installation. Ask for an itemized list. Your installer should make sure that you understand how your system works. Most home security systems are powered by electricity with a battery backup. If you lose power, your home should still be protected by your alarm. You should be provided with three contact numbers: one to your installer, one for after hours, and one for the Central Station.
You have the option of having your home security system set up so that it tests itself one a day, week, or month. If your system fails this periodic test, you will be notified by the Central Station to contact your installer to have your system checked. Your installer should provide you a list of zones. Zones are specific areas of your home protected by your alarm system. They should have a description indicating where they are such as: front door, bedroom window, motion, kitchen smoke, living room glass break, etc.
Learn what the specific components of your home security system do. Things like a motion or smoke detector are obvious. However, a glass break sensor or tamper might be less clear. For example, a glass break sensor picks up the high-pitched sound of glass breaking rather than vibration or the parting of two contacts such as may happen with a door. Make sure you know the steps for troubleshooting your system. Your installer should make themselves readily available should you have a problem. There’s nothing much more frustrating than a beeping alarm system in the middle of the night when you are unable to contact a technician. Odds are, the Central Station will be able to do very little to help. Be proactive, a problem during the day is likely to still be a problem during the night.
Your installer is a busy person. They install keypads and run wires day in and day out. They will be in your home for a few hours installing and testing your system to make sure it works properly. They should also take the time to tell you the basics on operating your system and provide you with documentation to educate yourself. Don’t let them get away without taking the time within reason to tell you what you need to know.
Home alarm system installations are on the rise. With the increase in burglaries and home invasions, many are finding that their peace-of-mind has been compromised. There are a lot of options for buyers who are looking for the right home alarm system. As a homeowner, you will find a large number of security companies to choose from. If you rent your home, you’ll find suitable options in wireless home alarm systems that move with you when you change homes. If you are a do-it-yourself kind of person, you’ll even find systems that you can buy and install yourself without difficult wiring or programming. It’s as simple as setting up your cell phone voice mail.
Your home alarm system communicates a number of signals 24 hours a day to a Central Station where operators monitor your system year around. The Central Station verifies your identity with a unique password or code that you specify. Without this code, Police will be dispatched immediately to your residence. When you go on vacation, you can rest assured that your home and belongings are being protected by your home alarm system. The benefits don’t stop there. Installing a home alarm system can reduce your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance rates, as well as increase the value of your home.
Having a home alarm system also gives you the benefit of having access to a number of reports like receiving an email or text when someone arms or disarms the system. This is a nice feature if you are traveling out of town and have a pet sitter or if you own a vacation home that you rent out when you are not using it. The bottom line is that your home alarm system is a service that you can customize to suit your needs any number of ways. Your installer will be qualified to put together the best system for you while considering any special needs you might have.
Your home alarm system offers you the peace of knowing that your home is protected whether you are there or not. Your local responding authority is only minutes away as soon as that alarm sounds. No matter what emergency you might face, help is on the way.
A Message From the Author:
Hello, my name is Ava. I wear many hats as I am also the owner and primary author of ProWebWriter.com. I’ve written this series of articles based on my “real job” experience as a Security Dispatcher and Operator. I hope this information will help you in your decision should you choose to install a security system in your home or business.
Well, you may notice that there are no Days 1 through 3 posts. I’m playing catch up because I didn’t even know about #napowrimo until yesterday! So, I crafted 4 poems to catch up in about an hour and a half. Definitely not my best work, but then, that’s not what #napowrimo is all about. So, you get 4 poems today, and then I will assume the proper position tomorrow. Enjoy.
# 1. Spring Comes. 4-4-13
#2. Gradients 4-4-13
#3. #napowrimo 4-4-13
#4. Incorrect Haiku 4-4-13
Today, I learned that…
Are hard to write right.
And this…is not one.
The time is finally here! As of right….NOW…you can buy Population Miniscule Episode 1 by Yours Truly, and you don’t have to go far to do it.
First a Little Housekeeping
Make sure you purchase the right file for your device! I’ve tried to be descriptive, but your device may not be listed. For example, you need the file that will work in the Kindle app on your Android phone, you need the one on the far right above…the mobi file. If you are buying the file for the Alkido reader on your Android phone, you need the one on the far left. I can certainly understand where this might get confusing.
If You Purchased the Wrong File
You can Contact Me and I will email you the correct version for your device. Be sure to include the name of your device in the message!
If You Can’t Get the Book Into Your E-Reader or E-Reader App
Contact Me, and I will do my best to help you.
Without Further Ado
I submitted Population Miniscule to Amazon for their Kindle Serials program? Or whatever it is. After not hearing back from them for a couple months, I decided that I was done waiting. I’m not a very patient person when your two months is restricting my forward motion. It just dawned on me, last Friday to be exact, that I could do this myself. I have a website, I’ve self-published before, have all the tools, and so why not distribute the book in serial format myself right here on ProWebWriter.com?
About Serial Format
Just in case you’re wondering…serial fiction is basically a normal length novel that is released in “episodes” like a TV show. It’s a forgotten genre that Amazon is seeking to revive. Charles Dickens wrote some of his works in serial format.
Population Miniscule has gone through a minor evolution with the title. When I was naming the story, I wanted something cooler than The Tiny People. I love Latin, so I had initially selected a Latin title: Populous Minisculum which means “Tiny People”. My beta readers (that’s you, Tina and Lisa) decided that this title was ineffective since the average reader wouldn’t know what it meant and they don’t care if I like Latin or not. Consequently, I chose the English equivalent: Population Miniscule which may or may not be cooler than The Tiny People.
I was at a loss when it came to what the cover should be. Even though I’m a dabbling artist (actually studied Art in college), I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to creatively and effectively illustrate this book in a single cover image. It was Lisa (yes, beta reader Lisa) who suggested making the cover a photo of a room that would be in the tiny peoples’ home inside the wall.
Which Brings Me Behind the Scenes…
…of the home of a tiny people. The cover would have to be a photograph, and it would have to depict tiny things. Did you ever build a diorama as a project when you were in school? Who says you wouldn’t use those skills as an adult. Thus began a day’s work. I gathered my materials:
- A cardboard box to build in
- A pocket watch for a wall clock
- An image for a magazine suitable to become a framed picture for the wall above the couch
- Maxi pads – No, this post didn’t take a turn for the worst. I actually made the couch out of maxi pads wrapped with leather. Laughing is cool.
- A nightlight for a lamp
- My cell phone as a TV
- Tacky wrapping paper
I painted the “floor” of the box to look like wood since the tiny people live inside the walls of our homes. I glued the wrapping paper to the “walls” since it talks about them using wrapping paper as wallpaper in the book. It all came together and I shot some still photographs…several actually using different filters and lighting.
Putting a New Idea Behind “Trailer Trash”
I’d read quite a while back that creating a trailer for your book to promote it with video isn’t a bad idea. Yeah, a trailer like a movie! Go figure. I watched a few examples on YouTube…just a few. They were professionally acted, and well, that’s not going to happen here. I can’t afford to outsource any aspect of this project, so everything is kind of limited by my skill set. I don’t feel this is bad…it’s been a fun experience.
You can see the trailer I created in THIS POST.
Sorry, no bloopers.
So This is How It’s Going Down
My next post will be announcing the official release. There will be a new Page on this site where you can purchase your copy of Episode 1 in the following digital formats:
- .mobi for Kindle and Kindle Apps for Android
- .ePub for Nook and iPad
ONE price will include ALL future episodes to THIS book. If I choose to write a sequel, this purchase will NOT include that content. A new episode will be released every two weeks until the story is completed. I’m using you all as my motivators to finish this novel.
Once it’s completed, I will compile all of the episodes into one book and publish it through Amazon in both digital AND paperback.
So, stay tuned. IT’S STILL COMING.
Got a little visual candy for you. Book cover at the end.
That’s what I’ve been telling everyone on Facebook all day. I spent the entire evening working on the cover for my book. Yeah, I’m doing it ALL. I don’t have a dime to hire anyone, and why should I if I have the skills?
I’m actually writing this post at almost 2am, but I’m scheduling it to post automatically. Oh, the joys of WordPress.
I’m Such a Tease…
So, here goes…I’m looking for a response. So, comment below or “like” my post if you arrived from Facebook, so I know you want to read it. Without further ado…
Name, as promised, is in the title of this post. It’s coming…The Population Miniscule.
Dragons, wizards, zombies, and vampires, oh my! You’ll find none of them here. The concepts behind Population Miniscule are a little less traveled. Sure, this story has the usual dysfunction, as well as sufficient drama, but there’s a twist. Catherine is an average high school English teacher. She lives a comfortable single life with her cat in an average apartment in the city. Kendon is your basic office suit, well, minus the suit. He’s a Historian and his job is one of great responsibility. He’s got a wife and a few kids.
The problems between Kendon and Catherine are ones of race. It’s not just about skin color anymore. Look around. You are surrounded…they…surround you. In every wall lives a tiny population, a miniature city. Dodge the dangers with them. Enjoy this one of a kind episodic epic and fly white-knuckled through the titanic world of a multitude of tiny people…the Population, Miniscule.
Next, I will release the cover of the book with some behind the scenes stuff as well. There’s no better time to bookmark PWW and come back.
I run several websites besides ProWebWriter. Some are for clients, and some are mine; all WordPress. What else is there? I wanted to throw up a quick post about a recent change here at PWW. For YEARS, I have used the All in One SEO Pack plug in for Search Engine Optimization of this site. It was THE best. Was.
Last week, I migrated this site over to the Yoast WordPress SEO plug in. I tried it on another site and really liked the results. It makes do-it-yourself SEO on par with hiring an SEO firm which I think is a huge waste of money. If your SEO needs tweaking, Yoast lets you know and suggests the changes you need to make.
Can You Say Traffic?
The thing I had no idea would happen, is why I’m writing about it now. When I tested on another site, it wasn’t one that I monitored traffic on very closely. Since I implemented it here on PWW (LAST WEEK!), I’ve noticed a significant jump in my traffic. Check it…
Yeah…significant as in more than 1,000 visitors, and the month isn’t over yet.
Was the Migration Difficult?
Not at all. I will have to touch EVERY post and do some minor updating, but Yoast imported much of the data from All in One SEO. Since PWW is still a relatively small site (only around 160 articles), it’s not too huge of an undertaking. Larger sites might be a bit of a chore, but they can probably afford to hire someone to update all the posts for SEO. If the content is well-written, it’s no biggie.
Yes, I Will…
…be writing a How To on Yoast. I’ll include the migration information. I just wanted to share and have a post to link to when that’s done. Hit me up if you can’t wait.
I know I am. I’ve been talking about my debut novel here at PWW for probably 2 years now. There’s a few problems…
- It’s not complete
- Kindle Serials never responded to my submission
- It’s not complete
I have found that writing a novel is EXTREMELY difficult. When Amazon started talking about Kindle Serials, I thought this might be a solution to my motivation and attention (read ADD) issues. I’m done waiting to hear back from them.
The Bottom of the Barrel Self-Publishing
More than a decade ago, I “self-published” a book of poetry as a Christmas gift for my family. It was…primitive to say the least. I printed off copies on my home printer, and bought those clear report covers from Walmart. Voila! My first book. It was called By Heart, and it’s something I might consider releasing in the future, but I will probably instead distribute a mutated and updated version under a new name through Amazon.
As for my novel…I am considering releasing it in serialized format for my friends right here at ProWebWriter. Once it is a completed work, then I will self-publish it through Amazon as well for the masses. Why self-publish? Why not go for the gusto and submit it to traditional publishers? Simply because I want it read…now. I’m not into putting in my time and effort for rejection letters. Everyone in the world who matters will read my work because *I* wrote it…not because I managed the New York Times Bestseller list. That is for the world. I write for myself and those close to me….or those who wander onto ProWebWriter.com and something I said struck a nerve with them.
I’m gonna do this my way instead of the way the world says I must. I’ll receive my acceptance or rejection my way.
That’s what I’m doing here. This image/quote showed up in my News Feed on Facebook, and while it is a positive message, I have negative feelings about it. I’ve been opening doors left and right trying to create my own opportunities for the better part of 5 years now, and they keep slamming in my face.
Opening the wrong doors? Maybe, but I’m opening up doors nonetheless. It doesn’t say which ones, so I’m going to open them ALL. I’m done waiting for me to finish my novel, or for Amazon to like it. There are people waiting to read it! I know because they ask me about it from time to time. Even people who aren’t avid readers. Why? Because *I* wrote it, and they want to read something I’ve written. Probably because I talk about writing all the time, and claim to *be* a writer, so they want to know what I got….if I’m any good.
So, it’s coming. This weekend, I will be working on this. Check back here at PWW, too, because I will post a sneak peek…a teaser, if you will. Then I will release the first Episode of my novel in Serial format. I’ll save the name, pricing, and other such info, for that post, but know…IT IS COMING.
As I was putting together this post, I realized that this “pick three” thing might be useful to others out there. So, let’s flesh it out a bit. There are a few things that I like to remember here at ProWebWriter:
- I like FREE.
- I’m not into selling helpful information.
- People are pressed for time.
Thus begins my new Unguru series. This method is not unlike something a guru might wrap up and sell to you at 7 bucks a pop. Internet Marketers get rich doing that kinda thing every single day. It can be easy money if you know what you’re doing, but I’m not into a quick and easy buck that rips off someone trying to earn a living.
Another thing I like to emphasize is keeping things simple. This isn’t Congress, and I’m not trying to release a new bill into law that is so many pages long, no one person could read it all in this lifetime. That’s not how my mind works, and I’d venture to say it’s the same for you. Therefore, I present:
Time is tight…for everyone. You don’t have time for big detailed lists of everything, but you do have time most any time to pick 3 things to work on. Am I right?
On the flip side, people don’t have a lot of time to invest in reading your endless yammering (kind of like I”m doing right now). Pick 3 main points and stick to them.
In my latest endeavor which led to the invention of the method for me, I chose 3 places to jumpstart my side job freelancing, and it worked beautifully.
What was great about it:
- By only choosing 3 places, I didn’t invest TONS of time.
- Because of the small time investment, the rewards were that much greater.
- It didn’t waste others’ time.
The Results are Dually Beneficial
The Pick Three Method works as well on the receiving end. It’s much easier to make a decision with three options rather than five or ten, etc. If you’re offering a service, the Pick Three Method can help you keep things concise. Provide three packages, three types, three lengths, buy two get one FREE, three whatever. It doesn’t matter, because three is a manageable number.
Use It, Love It
Try it. Use the Pick Three Method in various areas of your life. Make 3 goals for the week, do 3 chores a day, write 3 paragraphs per day, etc., and see if you don’t become more productive and successful in all areas. If you adopted this method and it helped you, leave a comment. I’d love to hear about it!
Enter the Banter
I don’t do a lot of personal writing here at PWW other than to relate personal stories and and experience here an there. In November of 2012, I decided on a career change in my “real” job based solely on compensation. More money, and more than that, some much needed health benefits. This proved to be a seemingly giant mistake that cost me a full-time job, a schedule that I enjoyed, a cut in pay, and 17 months of seniority…not to mention paid vacation and the other things I’d worked hard to obtain. I say “seemingly” because I think there was an underlying reason for all of this, and it hasn’t become fully apparent just yet.
I worked at this “new” job for just over a month before I caved. It nearly cost me my sanity. Not because it was a bad job, but because it was a terrible fit for me. My old job took me back on a part-time basis. For this, I am so grateful. I’m “getting by” on half a paycheck…meaning that I’m making about half what I was making before this debacle. So, I put out some feelers for freelance work.
What Does Not Work
PWW is working on what I can only call an anti-guru campaign. If you’ve looked into freelancing at all, you’ve read what the gurus have to say. It goes something like this:
- Choose a niche
- Charge what you’re worth
- Buy my methods
Honestly, NONE of the above has ever worked for me…and I know for a fact it hasn’t worked for a good number of others…maybe even you. I decided that I was going to run PWW MY way. I don’t listen to all that guru crap anymore, and I certainly don’t pay for any of it. That’s how the gurus become gurus. They find something that works for them and then they sell you their “method” which they’ve also sold to dozens of other people. They get some money behind their statements and suddenly, they have everyone’s attention….but what do they really have? What do they have to offer you…to help you meet YOUR goals? Nothing.
So, in light of my situation as described above, I decided to light a fire under my “side gig”. I mixed it up by using social media, some new sites, and some old sites to drum up some business. I ended up with nearly more than I can do. What I did:
- I appealed to my Facebook friends. I posted a status on Facebook outlining in short what I said in the first section of this post. In return for the first 3 “likes”, I offered a choice of three free services they could choose from.
- I posted a brief, but detailed outline of my services in an obscure place on the ‘net. By obscure, I mean NOT a widely known job board.
- I created 4 listings on a gig site called Tenrr.com. Here, users are able to create listings for small jobs they would be willing to complete for $10.
I received one job from Facebook that’ll pay about 80 bucks. From the “obscure” site, I received 3 jobs. One of them is a weekly writing gig. From Tenrr…I’ve gotten one gig in less than a week. These will not only compensate for the time I am not working, but also financially. The results were surprising.
My Best Suggestions
- The Pick 3 Method. Pick three places or ways to promote your service at a time and implement them
- Use places off the beaten path to promote yourself. I decided not to be a snob, and share my obscure place from above where I landed the 3 gigs: http://reddit.com/r/forhire/
Another place…check job profiles on Twitter and follow them.
- Keep your eyes and ears open. There are always opportunities out there. Pay attention.
- Tweet and Facebook your skills in a non-self-promotional sort of way. Post useful information. Post often enough that you’re not forgotten, but not so often everyone hates you. People just naturally began to ask me questions.
- Never quit.
For those who don’t know, I have a background in Graphic Design. A huge part of the Graphic Design community is obsessed with typography. I LOVE typography! What the heck is typography? Well…
- The art or process of setting and arranging types and printing from them.
- The style and appearance of printed matter.
There you have it.
Some Blah, Blah, Blah About Creating Fonts and Selling Them
(Scroll down to skip it)
Naturally, I have looked into creating my own fonts. That’s as far as I got because in order to do so, you have to purchase some pricey software in the neighborhood of $700. Sure, there are some free alternatives, but I like to keep things simple, and these alternatives aren’t. One I found is an open source program (I do love open source!) that required users to download a Linux environment to run. The other is an in-browser option that’s not too shabby, but a little tedious. Check the source box at the end of this post for both if you’d like to try them out.
Fonts can be lucrative. If you’re good, you can require a paid license to use your fonts. Fonts are sold through online services called foundries. Of course, you can always sell your fonts through your own e-commerce store if you’d like. I might know someone who could set that up for you. *looks around innocently*
*/sarcasm — Man, I love me some Android apps. Is it obvious? Oh, PWW is starting to look like an Android blog? Hmmm. What do you mean is my ADD acting up? I’m supposed to be writing about creating your own fonts…oh yeah. Uh, I am. So check it.
I came across this awesome app. It makes creating your own fonts so simple it’s crazy.
Font.My Font Maker they call it. Yes! There’s a free version! The paid version is on sale as of the time of this writing, so I went ahead and sank $2.99 into this. A small price to pay for making my handwriting into a custom font for my exclusive use. Not to mention I can also create additional fonts with a few swipes. The app allows you to email the font to yourself (or someone else) where you can download and install it on your computer.
That’s not all. You can also type messages, quotes, etc. into various backgrounds and share them in all the ways available on your Android device. Yeah, I don’t love this app at all. How about some logistics:
Please click the images for a larger view.
<<– This is the load screen. THAT’S MY FONT! Once you create your font, the app uses it!
From here you can do everything. Pick a background, create you font, choose a picture, etc. This app does a lot.
<<– Ready to draw? Choose you function. Font.My does fonts in different languages, punctuation, numbers, and symbols. Create as many as you like. Save them, use them, and load them on your computer.
<<– Choose your settings. Tap and check all that apply. The app will load them up in the creator and you’ll be able to custom create each letter, number, punctuation, and symbol. I went for all the ones you see checked here so when I loaded the font into my computer, I didn’t have issues with not being able to use if for nearly anything I wanted from graphics to documents.
<<– Start drawing! The app will take you through the entire alphabet, upper and lower case, and also all the selections you made for symbols and punctuation. Simply draw the letters with your finger. You can choose from 3 brush sizes. You can also undo and redo so everything looks perfect.
<<– That’s my font! Once you’ve drawn all the characters, Font.My generates your font for your view. You can then adjust the thickness of the letters and the spacing between them. Once you click OK, your font is available for use. You can use it in the app or you can email it and install it on a computer.
You know I love an app when it gets a post all to itself. This is actually the first one!
I Ain’t Got Time to Read All That
*/Southern twang and slang — Logistics for the time and attention impaired:
A couple free tools to make fonts on your computer:
“Need”" is a strong word, but I guarantee you can use Tumblr as part of your web presence. I liken it to a marriage between WordPress and Twitter. In brief, Tumblr is a feature-packed blogging platform that is socially driven. You can “follow” people as you would on Twitter and your posts are fed to your followers via an interactive Dashboard. Even if you don’t use the platform to blog, you can use it to stay on the up and up with your interests or to promote others by reblogging their content.
Let’s Talk About Tags
Check out that “Search tags” box in the upper right corner of the Tumblr Dashboard. Let’s talk about it for a minute.
Many users tag their posts to send them out to various content seekers and followers. You can search nearly any keyword and get user posts regarding the topic. It’s a unique feature because you get such a variety of content surrounding the subject. It also allows you to find new people to follow and reblog. As much as I believe in WordPress, it can’t do this. So, what’s up with that track button?
If you click the track button, you can then track that tag. You can view an endless feed of posts about a certain topic. It’s ideal for research, finding content to reblog, and just to learn more about something you’re interested in. These are the features unique to Tumblr that keep me coming back. I can find images and content to reblog, pin to Pinterest and share on Facebook all in one convenient spot. It’s kind of like StumbleUpon all wrapped up in one website.
Use Tumblr to Promote Your Other Interests
You can also use Tumblr to your advantage. You can use it to promote your other websites or social media profiles. Check out the types of posts:
- Text: Write about anything. This is mainly for posts where writing is the focus; however, you can still add images!
- Photo: This post focuses on the image. You can also upload multiple images, and Tumblr will arrange them in a nice, neat collage. Write a caption, add a link, and post!
- Quote: Quotes focus on what is being said by formatting quotes to draw attention with bold text.
- Link: Simply post a link! Promote yourself or others.
- Chat: Post some chatter and stimulate the discussion right on y our blog!
- Audio: Upload some audio, Podcasters!
- Video: If a vlog is more your style, there’s a post for that as well.
My Ulterior Motive
Today, I’m reverse promoting, if you will. Instead of using my Tumblr to promote ProWebWriter.com, I want to tell you about my new Tumblr blog.
I’ve been following some tags for quite a while like #abandoned, #derelict, #urbanexploration, etc. The images in these posts often depict abandoned places and things across the globe and they always intrigue me. I find myself inspired by the decay, so I began a new blog where I reblog the images that speak to me and add in some original writing of my own.
Sometimes, I write from a general point of view. Other times, I choose an element in the photo to speak for. This is a completely non-profit creative writing exercise that I’ve invented for myself, and I wanted to make sure that I plugged it here at PWW.
If you Tumble, give me a follow or put a link to your own blog in the comments! I’d love to follow you!
These are Android tips based on my personal experience with both an Android phone and tablet:
- DO NOT buy an app for grabbing screen shots from your phone like this:
UNTIL you do some intense Googling to ensure there’s not a shortcut built into the version of Android loaded on your phone.
- Learn how to utilize widgets. Learn how they work, how they are sized and how to get them on your screen. With most devices if you long-press to add an app to the screen, you are offered the option of viewing what widgets are available. Any given app may have an available widget, so if you’ve added a bunch of apps, see what you’ve got. Sometimes the widgets are better than the actual app icon.
- Take time to peruse App Stores. Whether it’s the Google Play Store or another lesser known store, browse around. This is the only way to find lesser known apps that may actually rock. I’ve found some great tools this way.
- Trade phones with a trusted friend and see what apps they have loaded. This is another great way to find new apps you may find useful.
- Before installing an app, check the permissions. My brother’s job released an app for his work email that seemingly made things more convenient for him. However, when he checked the permissions, the app basically granted permission to render his phone a useless brick if the employer felt it was necessary. He opted out of the convenience. All the more reason to check the permissions included with an app created by complete strangers who may sell your personal information or that of your contacts.
- If you find a developer you really like, search for them exclusively by typing their name in the Play Store. Google uses those famous algorithms EVERYWHERE and the odds are that developer has other great apps.
- Make your email address and passwords short (but strong). Typing it 8 million times on a tiny virtual keyboard is going to get old. You might as well make it as easy on yourself as possible.
- Use Dropbox. This app is multi-faceted awesome. It makes sharing between your Android devices and your computer seamless. It automatically backs up all the images from the gallery on my phone. That means that I can snap a screen shot for a blog post like this one, and it’s uploaded automatically to Dropbox and synced with my computer while I’m writing the copy for the image. Dropbox adds a sharing option to many other apps too where you can instantly upload images, audio, or video to access from other devices. You can easily share files with friends from your Dropbox Public folder. I simply can’t say enough how useful this app is.
- In fact, use all the storage apps. They’re all useful in their own way. I know this isn’t an app review post, but apps are often tips in and of themselves. Box has 50GB free and works much like Dropbox. Google Drive gives you 5GB and holds all of your Google files from Google Docs and the like.
- Avoid power management apps. I haven’t found one that actually helps and I’ve tried more than a few. Mankind’s downfall with all of these awesome portable devices is our lacking in battery technology. Batteries suck, and there’s not much you can do about it. An app that constantly runs in the background will NOT help. Learn to optimize components on your phone so that you get the best battery life. Don’t have wifi on when there’s none available, optimize your screen brightness, optimize how long your screen stays on once your put your phone down, etc. Many of this is can be done with aforementioned widgets.
- Don’t leave home without your charger…in light of the above.
- Use optimizing apps for RAM and cache. Any one will do. I like Gemini App Manager for RAM, and I use an all-in-one app to keep other things cleaned out and running smooth.
- Definitely invest in the highest capacity SD card. Many devices come with the option to expand the file space via a micro SD card. As of this writing, the max is running at 32 and 64GB I think. Get the largest amount your device can handle. This is usually specified in the specs somewhere. If you can’t find it, ask someone. You’ll want the space for your music, files, apps, etc.
Android is HOT. Yes, I am a master at stating the obvious. The few articles that I’ve written about it on this site garner quite a bit of attention. So, let’s give the people what they want! Check it, I FINALLY got an Android phone. Woo! I got the HTC Evo 4G LTE. All of those fancy letters and numbers don’t mean much on Sprint’s network unfortunately. Alas, that is another post altogether. The point is that I now have a tablet AND a phone, so nearly every app out there is MINE! So, here we go…
The Amazon App Store – This one is a must have. Some devices may come with it pre-installed, but if yours doesn’t, you will want to grab it. Why? Because the Amazon App Store offers you one FREE paid app EVERYDAY, and as you know, we LOVE free at PWW. The link above will take you to the instructions on how to get it because you won’t find this in the Google Play Store. The TLTR (too long to read) version is: navigate to Amazon.com in the browser on your device. It will automatically show you a list of all of the available apps for Amazon. Download to your hearts content.
TeslaLED — You will find variants of this app all over the Play Store. It’s your basic Android flashlight with the basic settings. I like this one because it’s simple and clean. If you have ever used your cell phone screen as a flashlight, this app takes that concept to the next level. Not only can you use your screen, but you can also use the flash LED associated with the camera. The light is just enough to illuminate a small area in the dark so that you find whatever you dropped, see where you need to go, or untangle your headphone cord. There’s a lot more to this app than meets the eye. I just discovered one of my favorite things about it, and that is the 1×1 widget that is a simple on/off switch. It just doesn’t get much better. Perhaps these pictures will convince you…
CamScanner — This app will turn your phone into a portable hand-held scanner. CamScanner uses your phone’s camera to snap a picture of documents, business cards, restaurant menus, or anything you’d like a digital copy of and saves it. This allows you to have important documents and information a couple taps away. In addition, you can also convert the images to PDF and export it to other apps like Dropbox to print later. The fact that you can turn nearly anything you can snap a picture of into an instant PDF makes this a useful app. You can also get a paid version equipped with HD features.
Mirror — Mirror, mirror, on my phone, who has the best ringtone? This app turns the rear-facing camera on your device (if equipped) into a mirror. Touch up your makeup, pop a zit, check your hair…you can do it all with this nifty app and make your purse a little lighter. Now you won’t have to wrench your rearview mirror around to check your teeth anymore. However, beware. Since this app uses your camera, the “adds 10 pounds” rule also applies. Bummer.
Instant Buttons — This one is for fun. There are a lot of imitators beginning to pop up for this app, but this one from CremaGames is the best. There are HUNDREDS of sounds, more than 260 at this writing. They update the app with new ones ALL the time. If you’re the type of person who has a soundtrack to your life or you hear pop culture in normal things, then this is an app you will enjoy. Some may find it useful for podcasting or in other situations where various sounds are needed. Mainly, it’s just a fun app to play with. Enjoy!
As Always…A BONUS!
URLtoPDF — I like to collect information. Is it obvious? PDF’s are small and a great way to save information on your computer OR your Android device. This app will save all of the information on a webpage as a PDF so you can access it on your device or transfer the file to your computer for saving or to read later. This is an excellent way to conduct and collect research about any topic. It also makes the results of your research portable. Were you to combine this app with CamScanner, you could save large chunks of information at the library or bookstore and take it home or back to the office.
My Other App Lists
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From time to time I get questions that have been submitted through this website. It’s not a quick way to get an answer to a question, but it’s a great way to pay it forward since I answer these questions with a post that might help a future info seeker.
Most recently, a passer-by asked:
How do I check my Kindle sales?
It’s quite simple in fact.
Step 1. Click: http://kdp.amazon.com and sign into your account. If you can’t remember your log in details, you will need to run through the steps to retrieve them or reset your password. Your Kindle Direct Publishing Dashboard will open.
Step 2. Make sure you are on the Reports tab.
Step 3. Click one of the three links to view your sales for the stated amount of time.
You can even download the reports from your prior months’ royalties for your records. So, there you have it. Thanks to the anonymous reader who submitted this question. If you found it helpful, leave a comment.
Greetings. I know…long time, no write. I’m not really in a position to drop life and blog all the time, so I do it when I do it. It’s not working out that great from an Internet Marketing standpoint, but hey, I have a job.
I decided to release my debut novel as a Kindle Serial (or at least apply). Yes, I’m talking about the one I’ve written about here at PWW on occasion. See, I figure if I’m choking at 10,000 words, maybe writing the story in chunks would help. I’ve since written well past that mark, but still find it difficult to focus on the story when I’m in the mood to write.
What You’ll Need
If you decide you’d like to give Serials a try, their submission guidelines aren’t too terrible. As of this writing, you’ll need the following:
- A “Brief” Pitch
- At Least 2 Episodes of the Story
- One-page Synopsis
- One-page Biography
With a good bit of the writing done, it took me about a day to put this package together. I then had it edited and proofread. (No, I don’t hire people. I have friends and family do this part for me.)
Get more information here: Submission Guidelines
This is where I am. I sent off the email with all of the above attached 2 days ago. After some minor Googling, I’ve been unable to find any information on how long this wait might be. I’ve read some opinions on how long each episode should be, how often a new one should be released, and how to “serialize” your story. As with most things, people try to make it complicated. I just wrote it, and now I’m just going to wait and see what happens.
Since Serials are by submission only, there is always the possibility that mine won’t be accepted. If this happens, I still have several options for releasing my debut novel. I can self-publish it as a regular Kindle book and even put together a hard copy through CreateSpace. I can distribute it myself as well amongst friends and family. So, the “what ifs” of self-publishing are much easier to take.
I’ll keep you posted on what’s up next as I travel along this road. There’s some new ideas in the cooker here at PWW, so I hope you’ll bookmark us or add us to your Reader and check back from time to time. Thanks for stopping by.
As I said in my intro article, this was the first year that we rented our own house. It was a leap in the dark, really, you never know these days what you’re getting into when you rent vacation accommodations. Will it be a dump? Will it have bedbugs? Will it smell funny? Will it be clean? One spends a lot of time hoping for perfection. We spent a lot of time looking at pictures and flying by in Google Earth…dreaming and hoping.
We Have Arrived
The moment the key turned in the lock, it was love at first sight. We were charmed by the simplicity, decor, and casual comfort of our new home away from home. We were immediately at home. I’ll let the video and images speak for themselves.
What We Needed
- A large and comfortable porch
- Kitchen with cooking utensils
Our small cottage met us at every turn with pleasant surprises…like a fireplace. Not to mention the 3rd room and 2nd bathroom downstairs. The more the merrier. For me, it’s the small things that excite me most. Some genius had installed a bottle opener on the wall beside the door. It was a week of bliss.
ProWebWriter.com is a repository on many subjects. This week, it is a travel journal. This is my 3rd year coming to Holden Beach, NC on vacation, and it gets sweeter every time. It’s like a well-kept secret. Sure, there are people who come each year just like me…thousands even, but it isn’t a place of 5-star resorts, hotels, or an endless nightlife commercial. Holden Beach is complete relaxation with all of the above within driving distance…if you MUST have it.
This is how we do…
Holden Beach is a mere 4-hour drive from home of complete anticipation. The drill goes arrive, unpack the car, and go buy the week’s groceries at the local Food Lion. Once bags and grocery bags are unpacked, the first evening begins. For me, it always a night filled with gratitude just to be here facing a week of this bliss.
This year of firsts…
This year was the first time my partner and I didn’t take advantage of a free family-owned house. We rented a place on our own and came down by ourselves like big girls. hehe It sounds silly, but it feels great. I think I appreciate it more this way.
The culmination of a longness…
I think part of the reason this year feels so amazing too is that it wrapped up a long summer of work and change for both of us. We massively cleaned our home and got rid of a lot of junk. I transitioned in my job from 3rd to 2nd Shift. Whereas some hard work was involved, the summer held good, good changes and Holden is the culmination and close to this time.
The Kindle Fire hit the market with projections by analysts that it would be a direct competitor for the Apple iPad. There are even rumors that Apple plans to answer with a smaller iPad of comparable price. The Kindle Fire as a tablet does offer competition to more expensive Android tablets especially. While the price of the Fire is hard to beat, there is one area where the Kindle Fire falls horribly short.
Connectivity. When the first generation Kindles hit the scene as e-readers, one of the main selling points was free 3G service through AT&T. You bought the Kindle and had the ability to surf Amazon’s e-book store from anywhere you could pick up AT&T service which is most areas throughout the United States. Earlier Kindles also shipped with a cable that connected the device to your computer, so you could download books and transfer them manually.
This service flew out the window when the Fire came out. Providing 3G to the Fire would mean data overload for AT&T. Not to mention, 3G speeds wouldn’t begin to support the capability of the Kindle Fire’s dual core processor. So, users are stuck with wi-fi service only on the Kindle Fire. That means that in order to use the Internet on the device at all, you must have access to a wi-fi hotspot, your home wi-fi, or permission to use a secured connection.
The Kindle Fire on Lockdown
It seems that Amazon is so worried that users might gain access to an app market other than their own, that they’ve left out any other source of connectivity with the Kindle Fire. The Fire has two ports. One is a standard headphone jack and the other is the micro USB to charge the device. Amazon doesn’t even include the USB cable to connect the Fire to your computer like with their other Kindle devices. In order to connect the Kindle Fire to your computer, you must purchase the cable separately; only a standard charging cable is included.
Why the Kindle Fire Might Not Stand Up to the Competition
Even cheaper budget tablets ship with more connectivity than the Kindle Fire. These devices are often loaded with options including an SD card slot, a USB port, and an HDMI jack. Adding in this connectivity would make the Kindle Fire unstoppable. With a USB port, users would have the option of using a mobile broadband service to increase connectivity. A USB port also allows expansion of the 8GB memory available on the Fire as would an SD card slot.
Solutions to the connectivity issue are extremely limited. The only way to gain full access to the Kindle Fire’s whole potential is to root the device. A process that is not for the novice and is a bit of a gamble that will void your warranty. Once the device is rooted, you then have the option of adding in more app markets and expanding the ways the Fire can be used. Other than that, there’s no way currently to expand the ability to connect the device to the Internet. Most apps are useless without it save for downloaded games and standalone productivity apps and tools.
If rooting is out of the question, then users can purchase the connector cable and sideload apps onto the device. It’s not too difficult to find app files, download them to your computer, and then drag and drop the file onto your Kindle Fire. The Fire will do the rest.
With new tablets hitting the market everyday targeting the cheaper prices, the Kindle Fire will quickly lose its edge. There are already tablets out there that are only $30 or so more than the Fire with all the features plus the connectivity options listed above. Don’t forget Bluetooth. Bluetooth adds a whole new dimension of connectivity to a device. Imagine a Kindle Fire with a keyboard, and not of the virtual onscreen variety. It’s a waiting game to see if Amazon will step up with a tablet that actually has the user in mind instead of their wallet.
In order to use your Kindle Fire to its full potential as a tablet would require that you root it. Rooting is a tedious process that can make your Fire a useless “brick”. However, rooting gives you administrative access to the Fire that you can’t get without going through the process.
When you remove the focus from your Kindle as an e-reader, you can really begin to look at it as an Android tablet. A tablet is basically a netbook without a keyboard. Tablets put the emphasis on the content and allow users to interact physically with that content. The Kindle Fire as a tablet is no different. It’s multi-touch screen allows users to input commands through touch. This makes the Kindle Fire a highly personal experience. Instead of clicking an web links with your mouse cursor, you simply touch it lightly with your finger.
Tablets vary widely in price. Lower end models start out well below $100 while the higher end models exceed $500. The Kindle Fire offers a high-end experience at a price tag under $200. Competitors are finding it difficult to compete with the cost. Using the Kindle Fire as a tablet means that you can create the focus as the user. Whether you are into games or productivity, there’s an app or a two hundred for that.
The Kindle Fire’s screen is brilliant for games and videos. The brightness is completely adjustable and it’s stereo speakers will bring the content to life. There’s a headphone jack if you need to keep it on the down low. The Fire lacks some of the benefits of Android tablets such as ports, SD card slots, and on board storage. Amazon makes up for the shortcoming with its 5GB of free cloud storage.
The Kindle Fire has what it takes to multi-task with 512MB of RAM and a dual-core processor. It will run your favorite music app in the background while you browse the web. Switch easily between productivity and game apps. With tons of apps made to sync information between your Android device and your computer, all of your most important information is at your fingertips.
Conclusively, the Kindle Fire makes a great personal tablet that you can use to digest any type of content available on the Internet. Save your favorites to the cloud and access it any time you have a Wi-Fi connection. The Kindle Fire as a tablet is the most cost-effective product currently on the market.
DISCLAIMER: Remember, attempting to root your Kindle Fire may render your device useless. ProWebWriter isn’t responsible for damage incurred in attempting this process.
What is Rooting?
Rooting is a term used for gaining administrative access to the “root” of the Linux system which Android and the custom Android Operating System of the Kindle Fire run on. Rooting is a tedious process that is not recommended for the casual user. Rooting entails loading user-created software called ROM’s and manipulating the factory-installed software and programs included with the Kindle. Some users will find that the benefits of this process outweigh the risks.
The Dangers of Rooting
Rooting your Kindle Fire will not only void your warranty, but you run the risk of rendering your Kindle useless; also called “bricking”. There are no guarantees that any given rooting method will work successfully. In order to root the Kindle Fire, one must choose a method and follow all the steps to the letter. Should one of the steps go awry, you need to have enough computer knowledge to fix the problem before moving on in the process. There are procedures for fixing a bricked Kindle, but they are often just as tedious as the rooting process.
DISCLAIMER: You should not attempt to root your Kindle Fire if you aren’t savvy with computers. ProWebWriter are in NO way responsible for damage incurred by attempting to root your Kindle Fire. Rooting your Kindle may render your device unusable. You do so at YOUR OWN RISK.
The Benefits of Rooting
The main benefit of rooting the Kindle is to gain access to the Google Android Market…now known as the Google Play Store. Amazon has blocked access to the Market to focus users on their own app store. The Amazon App Store has thousands of apps, but the Market has millions. Gaining root access to your Kindle Fire allows you all of the potential of the device as a tablet. Once your Fire is rooted, you can install a number of other user-created ROM’s to mimic the look of various operating systems and devices. The customization of the device is no longer limited to Amazon’s Carousel.
Finding a Rooting Method
There is no way to find a surefire method to root your Kindle Fire. Finding a reliable rooting method will take some initial research. Good sources can be found on YouTube and of course, Google Search. Read as much as you can including YouTube comments and see what others are saying about the process. Watch any procedure you are considering multiple times before going through the actual steps on your Kindle Fire. Search and bookmark the fixes before you start.
NOTE: You will also need a specific cord that doesn’t ship with the Kindle Fire. If you have an older e-ink Kindle, you may already have one. Otherwise:
Your Rooted Kindle Fire
Installing the Google Android Market on your Kindle Fire is a separate process from rooting, so you’ll want to look up that process as well. The initial rooting of your device will not destroy the integrity of the Amazon experience. The Carousel and all of the elements of your stock Kindle Fire will still be accessible. You will be able to install a multitude of apps that you either couldn’t get from the Amazon App Store or weren’t compatible with your Kindle before. If you were happy with your Kindle Fire before rooting it, you will be surprised by the flexibility of the Fire as a tablet.
Rooting Isn’t for Everyone
If you find that the Kindle Fire is perfect the way that it is and the Amazon App Store has more apps than you could use in a lifetime, it’s probably a wise choice not to take the risk. The Kindle Fire is a decent device on its own and there’s no shame in using it the way Amazon intended.
I rooted my Kindle Fire using the Kindle Fire Utility. Some savvy developers have made it an easy point and click task to root and install Google vending apps like the Google Play Store. This forum is an absolute authority for development regarding rooting and the Kindle Fire.
This is the video I used. Be aware of what software version your Kindle is using. You can find it by tapping the Gear icon, tap Device and find the version under the System Version heading.
In the past, Amazon shipped its Kindle e-readers with half-baked, “experimental” elements such as their web browser and music player. These elements worked, but were cumbersome at best. Prior to the Kindle Fire, the focus of Kindle devices was really on reading. The essence of the device revolved around that fact that it was built to read. The E-Ink screen sans a back light was easy on the eyes, and the device was light in the hand with a month of battery life.
Amazon shipped the Kindle Fire with custom elements that are anything but half-baked. Take a look:
The Kindle Fire’s home screen is interactive simplicity. Coined the Carousel, all of your most recent apps, books, web pages, etc. are visible with a swipe of your finger. The Carousel consists of two “shelves”. The top shelf is your recent items while the lower shelf has your Favorites; the items you use most often can be placed here. Across the top of the Carousel are links to the Newsstand, Books, Music, Video, Docs, Apps, and the Web. Each of these launches their corresponding feature. Each section is split between the items on your device and the items saved in the Cloud on your Amazon account. Of course, there’s also a convenient link to the Amazon online store for each section as well.
The Kindle Fire’s browser is a far cry from the “experimental” browser older Kindles have. Another custom build for the Fire and it’s Android Operating System, Silk is a fully functional web browser complete with the features you love about your computer browser including tabs, bookmarks, speed, history, and a customizable back end. Yes, you can clear you cache and history just like on your computer. Silk supports Flash and displays any web content with ease. The Kindle Fire’s multi-touch screen allows you to Zoom with easy gestures.
The Kindle Fire ships with 8GB of storage. Some users may find that amount of space lacking. Grant it, it’s not a lot. If you break it down, Amazon says that’s enough for 80 applications plus 10 movies, 800 songs, OR 6000 books. You can chop it up however you please. When you run out of space, that’s where Amazon’s Cloud Drive comes in. Amazon’s Cloud Drive isn’t exclusive to the Kindle Fire. Anyone with an Amazon account automatically gets 5GB of storage absolutely free. This service gives users secure access to all types of files; anything they upload to the space. Still not enough space? Well, Amazon has some fairly reasonable yearly rates to expand up to 1000GB or 1TB of room.
Amazon pulled out a lot of stops with the Kindle Fire. It really offers a lot of value for the money with a lot of freebies on the side. If you’re looking for a high performance device, Kindle Fire may not be your best choice, but if quality for price is your main concern, you really can’t go wrong with the Fire.
The printed book has many die-hard fans. Let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like turning the pages of a book, the smell, or thumbing through to the most interesting parts. Many people feel that these things cannot be sacrificed for mere convenience. It will more than likely be many years before print books fall out of vogue. Before they die out completely, they will become items for collectors and novelty conversation pieces.
In the interim, the world has welcomed the e-reader. An e-reader is an electronic device used to display the text of digital content, namely books. Some e-readers can also display images, content in different formats, and even video. E-readers that focus mainly on reading and books are equipped with a black and white screen. More sophisticated devices have full color screens capable of displaying almost any type of digital content.
The main selling point of e-readers would have to be convenience. Standard e-readers are about the size of a medium paperback and can hold an entire personal library of books. E-readers can download entire books in a matter of seconds via the Internet. In addition, books formatted for e-readers have significantly reduced prices since there’s no paper, ink, or other materials to pay for. This matter of convenience has brought many hardcore book fans to the side of the very device that may eventually replace hard copy books.
The e-reader experience is quite different from reading a book. If you like to thumb through your books, this will be difficult when you are forced to page through using the e-reader’s navigation and waiting through page refreshes. The upside, however; is that it is easier to get lost in the story without reference to how far you have read or how much you have left. E-books have aspects that print books could never fathom. E-books can include live web links. E-readers can define a word by simply placing your cursor in front of it. E-readers can save all of your bookmarks and notations in one easy location.
E-readers make finding books simple since most of them are linked to a proprietary bookseller. Many classics have been adapted for e-readers and are available as free downloads. You can’t buy a hard copy of the classics for free. E-readers are light and easy to hold. They have a long battery life and the battery is rechargeable. Many e-readers offer additional features to reading such as games, video, and web browsing. A well-equipped e-reader is likely to become your constant companion when at home, the doctor’s office, or doing some summer reading on vacation.
For the price of a large bookshelf, a user could own an e-reader with the capacity to hold twenty of the same bookshelves full of books, and have room to spare. It’s a cost effective solution to obtaining the personal library you have always wanted.