Posts Tagged ‘Google’

101 Ways The Internet Can Save You Time And Money

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
Shawn Ramsey asked:


View the original article with intact links at BlueFAQs.com

Imagine life without email, instant messaging, Facebook, Myspace, Google, Yahoo Answers, Twitter, Craigslist…. the list is endless. The internet has increasingly made our lives more efficient in its relatively short existence. Because of the new products, software and services that are consistently popping up, the majority of people adapt their lives around the web. Look over this list and make sure that you are getting the most out of your internet.

1. Cancel your satellite or cable service and start using internet TV. Internet TV is in its early days but growing in popularity, this is beginning to make the Satellite and Cable providers a bit nervous. Internet TV is cheap and in many cases can be free. Stream Hulu to your TV or computer monitor and you’ve got free television.

2. Drop your satellite radio subscription and start streaming internet radio to your car. If you own an iPhone, there are a few apps out there that allow you to stream free internet radio. Just hook it up to your car through a FM transmitter or direct and you’ve just saved $120 a year.

3. Pay your bills online. Stamps are expensive $.42 at the time this article was written. Most companies offer the option to pay online. Paying online saves you money and the company money as well.

4. Take advantage of coupon and promo codes when buying online. We’ve all seen that box to enter a promo code in when we make purchases online, but the problem is we never have that code. There are plenty of online coupon websites out there to help save you money.

5. SKYPE your calls and drop your land line. Do people still have land lines? SKYPE offers free calls, video calls and instant messaging over the internet.

6. IM your friends instead of texting when at home. Text messages are expensive and cost both parties when being sent. Yahoo, AIM, Myspace, Twitter…etc all offer free ways to instantly contact your friends.

7. Use free social networking apps on your phone to send texts. This is similar to the last tip, but can be used on the go. I keep track of all my friends on my iPhone using a app that acts exactly like instant messaging on my computer.

8. Work at home. Do you really have to be in the office? Many companies are allowing employees to work at home at least part of the week and stay in touch via emails or company websites. Ask your boss if this is an option for you. This will save tons of money on gas, restaurant lunches etc…

9. Compare prices online before buying at the store. One day about a year ago without doing any research, I purchased something at Best Buy for what I thought was a decent deal. I saw the same product at Wal-Mart three days later for 30% less.

10. Say goodbye to the paperboy. In addition to print, most newspapers offer an online version as well.

11. Rent movies from the internet. iTunes has the option to rent movies online at the same cost as BlockBuster. Oh and there is no late fee. Netflix offers similar services.

12. Save a trip to the photo center. Most photo development stores allow you to upload your pictures online. This way you can pick them up at your convenience and not make the double trip. Walgreen’s has a pretty good online system in place.

13. Use a free antivirus protection. I’ve used AVG for years and it has helped me stay safe online, there are several free ones out there. A paid service could cost you around $60 a year.

14. Forget garage sales. Do you really want 200 strangers roaming around in your front yard? Let people bid on your Eiffel Tower wine glasses through ebay and make twice the money.

15. Sell your skills. Are you really good at something? Advertise your personal skills online and start picking up some extra cash.

16. Get a better job. Post your resume online so that employers can check you out. It’s free to do and honestly, what do you have to lose?

17. Store all of your pics online for free and save on hard drive space. Some websites give you the option to tag, organize your photos, and share them with friends. Storing off site is always a good idea. You can save on disk space and if there is ever a fire, you wont have to say bye bye to that picture of you dancing on the table at Fred’s Beer Lounge.

18. Make free calls on your cell phone. Use VOIP applications on your cell to make free calls. Fring is one I recommend.

19. Fill out forms online. I saved a trip to the courthouse when applying for my passport by downloading the application from the .gov site first. If you are applying for anything, check to make sure that there isn’t an online form that you can fill out at home beforehand.

20. Use an online travel service to save big. These services are great at finding cheap flights, hotels, and anything in between when it comes to traveling. After trying to book my own honeymoon online, I ended up on Travelocity where they offered much better deals than what I could dig up myself.

21. Check traffic cams before heading out. Traffic cams are increasingly being installed across the country. Check out the cams first to help you choose the best route. Your local news website may offer this service as well.

22. Find cheap gas online. This website tells you where to find the cheapest gas in your area.

23. Get free computer support. Are you having computer problems? If BlueFAQs.com cant answer your question (sorry for the self-promoting) there are plenty of online forums and sites where people love to answer computer related questions.

24. Take online classes. Towards the end of my college career there was a growing trend in online classes. While I don’t recommend taking them all online, sign up for some of the easy ones so that you can take tests in your PJ’s.

25. Are you selling your car? Make sure you sell it for the right price by checking Kelley Blue Book first.

26. Find a partner. Tired of bad dates? Dating can be costly and time-consuming. There are actually some quality online dating sights .

27. Get free software the legal way. There is some great freeware and shareware on the market these days. My favorite place to get it is here.

28. Keep track of your credit. Identity theft is more prevalent than ever. Check your credit report for free to make sure someone isn’t taking advantage of you.

29. Your pocket is singing. There are plenty of ways to get free ringtones. Don’t sign up for the ones you see on the commercials, there’s usually a catch to them. If you have the iPhone, there is a way to make your own ringtones for free in iTunes.

30. Find great deals from locals. Craigslist is a great resource to for scouring the local classifieds, among other things.

31. Forget something from work? Don’t drive all the way back to the office. Remotely log on to retrieve the files you left behind. Here is a free service to get this done.

32. Shop online. Online companies can offer better deals even when shipping is added in. Just make sure you check the shipping costs before hitting the “confirm” button.

33. Birthday cards get thrown away. You might as well just send a free e-card or print one yourself, there are actually some good ones out there. Save the ridiculous $5 they wont for greeting cards at Hallmark.

34. Give up magazine subscriptions. Odds are your favorite magazine can be found online for free or much cheaper.

35. If you insist on keeping your satellite/cable and phone, bundle it with your internet and save some cash.

36. Get a free operating system for your computer. Ubuntu is a community developed, Linux-based operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers… oh and it’s FREE.

37. Listen to free music online. There are a lot of internet radio stations across the web and then there is Pandora.

38. Are you in a band? Promoting a garage band was at one time a time-consuming costly venture. Thanks to the internet you can advertise for free and charge $1 a song on Myspace Music.

39. Free College? No not the online colleges you keep seeing on TV. Depending on your income level, your entire college education could be paid for through a Government grant. Apply here and see for yourself.

40. Buy singles. Remember when you had to buy the whole album and only 2 of the songs were any good? The internet solved that problem. Buy single songs for a $1 at iTunes and preview before you purchase.

41. Cook at home for free. There are some great free recipes online that can make cooking simple. There is always 30-minute meals too, if you’re in a hurry. Okay, you still have to buy the ingredients.

42. Find a sugar daddy online and have him pay your bills. I can’t believe these sights exist… wait it’s the internet, of course these sights exist.

43. Find a sugar momma online. Hmm…?

44. Make sure your plumber is a plumber by checking them out online. Here is a great resource for accomplishing this.

45. Have an essay due tomorrow? If you’re cool with PLAGIARISM, then you’re covered. Professors know about these sights, I would advise against using them.

46. Speaking of professors, if you get a bad one then prepare for a long time-intensive semester. Check this out to make sure they’ve got a good rating before you sign up for the class.

47. The Government might owe you money. Check and see here .(it’s a .gov site)

48. Get your vehicle insurance from a caveman or a lizard online. Some companies will give you free quotes.

49. Network the computers in your house to make transferring files from one to another a breeze. You don’t have to have the internet for this, just a router.

50. Get the internet for free. Limited to 10 hours a month. Get it here. I should mention that it’s dial-up and ad-supported. But it is FREE.

51. Filing your taxes is not that difficult. Don’t pay for these services, fill them out and file them on a .gov site.

52. Free email. There are lots of options for free email, my favorite is Gmail.

53. Have your neighbors split the bill. If you’re broadcasting an unsecured network, chances are your neighbors (this is especially true at apartments) are stealing your internet. Find out if they are and ask them if they want to split the bill. If they refuse, you can block them. I’m not sure about the legality of this one.

54. Get a bunch of free stuff online. Including free posters, software, t-shirts, mouse pads, clothing, hats,.. Here is the link.

55. Look for used items on Amazon before buying new. You would be surprised how new a refurbished cell phone actually is.

56. Don’t spend hours making your resume perfect. There are free templates to simplify the process.

57. Kick off your Sunday shoes. Many churches stream live video of sermons online.

58. Play the lotto online. The Florida Lottery ( Lotto 6/53) is open to anyone over the age of 18 who wishes to play there are no restrictions on who plays or who wins.

59. Legal advice is expensive, unless you get it online here.

60. Make sure you’re not on your roof the next time it rains. Check to see if you are in a flood zone. (.gov site)

61. Picking the right college can be time consuming. Here is one way to save time and simplify things a little.

62. Lost your library card? Most college and local libraries offer an online version of their material. You can find lots of free info this way without leaving the house.

63. Sell yourself for free. Create and print your own business cards. If you can operate word-processing software you can do this.

64. Don’t pay for video games. There are tons of free video games online from the classics to the new releases.

65. Creating a new website? Get some attractive templates for free.

66. Complete projects yourself professionally. Here you can get step-by-step tutorials on home improvement projects. We all know how much it can cost to hire a contractor.

67. Do you frequent speed traps? Speeding tickets…OUCH, talk about expensive. Avoid speed traps, or at least locate them.

68. Plot out your trips. Find the quickest route from point A to point B.

69. There are a lot of free wallpaper sites, but navigating through the sea of them can be difficult. This is my go to site for free wallpapers, it has wallpapers for triple monitors, mobile devices, HDTV etc…

70. Put your money in 1 and 0’s. Do you’re banking online, its quick convenient and free. I bet you’re bank already offers it.

71. Get a smart phone with the 3G network. Just having quick internet in your pocket will save you both time and money.

72. Use Google Analytics if you own a website. This is a must-have for anyone who wants to increase traffic and sales on their websites.

73. Trade your own stocks. I **** the idea of a middle-man in some cases. If you feel confident enough, trade stocks yourself online.

74. Avoid health bills. Feeling sick? Maybe you can find out whats wrong with you at WebMD.

75. Is that a tornado or a train? Have The Weather Channel contact you via text message or email when a storm is heading your way.

76. Make your own cold beverage. Cut costs in half by brewing your own, this site will get you started.

77. Do you fish? Most states offer the ability to purchase licenses online. Check your local Parks and Wildlife website.

78. Save on vet bills. Adopt a pet on Facebook and save money on food and pet supplies.

79. Start an online blog. If you’re a good writer, and know a little about coding, you have the opportunity to make decent money online.

80. Create an online store front. If you already have an established business, don’t miss out on online sales. Once the website is set-up, it can usually be put on autopilot. You can create an easy free store at ebay stores.

81. Having a party this weekend? Use Twitter to announce it to all of your friends in one simple Tweet.

82. Turning 28 soon? Find all of your old classmates quickly in order to prepare for the 10 year class reunion. Myspace has something similar.

83. Are you heading down to Sudan any time soon? Take care of passport pictures from the comfort of your home.

84. Hungry? You’re already online, go ahead and order a pizza.

85. Find a better deal on your health insurance. Here is a place to get affordable health insurance quotes and compare individual health insurance plans side by side.

86. Have Captain Kirk find you a great deal on a hotel, car or flight. (I kind of hit on this idea earlier)

87. Divorced? Don’t waste time in the dating pool, order a new wife from the internet. Okay, it would be in my best interest not to put a link in this one.

88. RSS your favorite sites. RSS allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. You save time by not needing to visit each site individually.

89. Get an answer for any question usually within minutes.

90. Get a virtual assistant. When you hire a virtual assistant, costs like employee insurance benefits, paid vacation, and sick time are a thing of the past.

91. Make sure your new lover isn’t wanted by the FBI. Check out there background.

92. Was that a bill collector that just called? Type in any number into Google including the area code to get a free listing.

93. We’re currently in a recession. Make sure you can retire.

94. Make sure you’re not talking too much. For AT&T customers.

95. Speak to your Foreign friends without learning the language.

96. Convert your MPG’s to AVI’s. There comes a time in everyone’s life when they just don’t have the right extension.

97. Send photos to Grandma’s picture frame and cut down on visits.

98. Don’t get off the couch to change songs, use your phone to change tracks, playlists and volume. There is an app for that.

99. Never leave the house. Live a virtual life.

100. Visit an online garage sale.

101. Continue to visit BlueFAQs.com regularly for great tips and news.

Wow, you’re still reading? Thanks for sticking with me. I hope this helps someone out there.



IJango - how to network market Google

Saturday, November 7th, 2009
Ijango Ijango asked:


Ijango USA

Friday night saw the debut from another exoteric declaration from Jay-Z: “You rappers singing a bit much/ return to rap, you T-Pain-ing too much/ I’m a multi-millionaire/ So how am I the most backbreaking n—a here?”

Upon New York’s Hot 97 radio post, Jay premiered afresh song from his approaching Blueprint 3 LP called, “D.O.A.,” or “The Death of Auto-Tune.”

“This is anti-Auto-Tune, demise of the Ringtone,” Hov starts rapping over a track co-produced through Kanye West and No I.D. Hard beats and horns glare as Jay arouses figures of a black John Dillinger holding a fuming Tommy Gun, making a chump ignorant enough to stand in his way. Jay is back to shoot down biting MCs.

“This ain’t for iTunes, this ain’t for singalongs,” he raps afterward in the song. “This is Frank Sinatra at the opera, get a blonde … My raps don’t bear melodies/ It should make jackers commit felonies/ This ain’t a #1 record, this is practically assault with a deadly weapon.”

Last month, Kanye West told MTV News about Jay-Z’s stance against Auto-Tune, the vocal effect used extensively by T-Pain and by West himself on his latest album, 808s and Heartbreak.

“We actually removed all the songs with Auto-Tune off of his album,” West said, “to make the point that this is an anti-Auto-Tune album, even though I released an album that has all Auto-Tune!”

Later on Friday night, Jay called into Funkmaster Flex and Mister Cee at Hot 97’s studios to explain that he’s taking aim at artists who use Auto-Tune as a crutch. He also compared the vocal enhancement usage by rappers to wearing throwback sports jerseys back in the day: Everybody started to wear them and they got played out.

“I think I said something important,” he said, adding that he spoke out “only on the aspect of moving [the conversation] forward,” and elaborated about who he was not going at.

“The guys who did it, did it great,” he explained. “T-Pain, he does great melodies. If you listen to Kanye, great melodies. If you listen to [West's] ‘Say You Will’ or ‘Heartless,’ great melodies. [Lil Wayne and T-Pain's] ‘Lollipop’ was a fantastic melody. Everybody can’t do it. Let them guys do it. They got their little niche, let’s move on. That’s just my opinion. I don’t know if everybody feels the same way.”

The Brooklyn MC said his intention with the record was to “draw [a] line in the sand.”

The Jiggaman confirmed that his long-awaited Blueprint 3 is coming out via a new partnership with Atlantic Records; the album is expected to be released on September 11. They will handle the distribution for the album, which is housed on Hova’s Roc Nation.

“I got the foundation and I’m ready to blast off,” he said.

“I bought my album back — I overpaid for it,” he added about recently ending his long stint with Def Jam Records. “I believe at this point in my career, I wanted to be totally independent and free in what I wanted to do. Def Jam and Universal, they did a beautiful thing in letting me pay. They overcharged me a little bit, but I appreciate all the years they put into my career … I could never have a [traditional] record deal. I’m working with Atlantic, they gonna distribute the album and they’re doing a fantastic job. I get a chance to connect with the people I started my career with. It’s almost like poetic justice.”

Expect more from Jay soon. DJ Skee took to Twitter to say that the first official single from Blueprint 3 will be “On That,” featuring Drake. Jay wasn’t asked and didn’t speak on that song, but he did talk a little bit about the album’s feel.

“The vibe I’m on is, stripping it down and bringing it back classic,” Jay said. “I hear people, I gotta get back in my square and really let people know what time it is really quick.”

Even as the third incarnation of Black Sabbath - now doing business as Heaven & Hell - prepares to tour to promote its new album, “The Devil You Know,” a battle is raging over who should own the Sabbath name.

Frontman Ozzy Osbourne, who left the band in 1979 and returned in 1997 for periodic touring and a live album, is suing guitarist Tony Iommi, accusing him of falsely assuming ownership of the Sabbath name in a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The suit contends that Osbourne’s “signature vocals” were responsible for the band’s “extraordinary success,” noting its decline in popularity after he left the first time. Osbourne is demanding a 50 percent share of the name for himself as well as a split of monies earned while he was not in the band.

Iommi has not yet responded to the suit, but prior to that he acknowledged to Billboard.com that a desire to avoid “legal issues” was behind adopting the name Heaven & Hell for the currently active lineup that includes himself, original bassist Terry “Geezer” Butler, singer Ronnie James Dio (who replaced Osbourne in 1979) and drummer Vinnie Appice. And whole he acknowledged that having another name for a band that had recorded as Black Sabbath “does get confusing,” he maintained that it portrays the current group’s repertoire more accurately.

“I think if we went under the Black Sabbath label it would cause problems along the line,” Iommi said. “People would expect us to be playing ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Paranoid’ and other stuff from (the Osbourne era), and that wasn’t the idea with this lineup. The idea was to play all the stuff we’ve done with Ronnie, and that’s why we’re using the different name.”

Heaven & Hell, which reunited in 2007, is currently on tour in Europe and begins a 15-show North American swing on Aug. 7 in Vancouver.

Osbourne has also reached out to Iommi in a public statement released by his publicist, which reads:

“Since 1997 when Geezer, Bill (Ward, the group’s original drummer) and myself rejoined the band, Black Sabbath has returned to its former glory as we headlined sold-out arenas and amphitheatres playing to upwards of 50,000 people at each show around the world. We worked collectively to restore credibility and bring dignity back to the name ‘Black Sabbath,’ which lead to the band being inducted into the UK and US Rock & Roll Hall of Fames in 2005 and 2006, respectively…Tony, I am so sorry it’s had to get to this point by me having to take this action against you. I don’t have the right to speak for Geezer and Bill, but I feel that morally and ethically the trademark should be owned by the four of us equally. I hope that by me taking this first step that it will ultimately end up that way. We’ve all worked too hard and long in our careers to allow you to sell merchandise that features all our faces, old Black Sabbath album covers and band logos, and then you tell us that you own the copyright. We’re all in our 60s now. The Black Sabbath legacy should live on long after we have all gone. Please do the right thing.”

ijango:

Who says clothes don’t make the girl?

Miley Cyrus has just landed a deal with Wal-Mart to produce a clothing line with designer Max Azria of Hervé Léger, BCBG and Max Azria fame. And thanks to the the megastore, tweens can sport their Mileyware at her fall tour.

Hot on the heels of Taylor Swift’s Wal-Mart line of l.e.i. sundresses and the Jonas Brothers’ sweatervests, the “Miley Cyrus & Max Azria” label will include tops, pants, graphic tees, shoes and accessories all priced allowance-friendly and under $20. The goods will hit shelves, as well as Walmart.com, just in time for back-to-school shopping in early August—and her tour kickoff a few weeks later.

Wal-Mart is sponsoring the Miley Cyrus Live in Concert tour, launching Sept. 14 in Portland, Ore., and winding up 45 stops later in Miami.

As for those duds…

“We’re really excited,” BCBG Max Azria Group rep Patrick McGregor tells E! News.

“I love creating looks that are all about personal expression and individuality,” the recently reupped Hannah Montana said in a statement. “Collaborating with Max Azria has been an amazing experience, and I’m really excited about launching this line with Wal-Mart. There’s even more to come!”

In case the idea of Cyrus coming together with the designer sounds familiar, the pair shared a segment during the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards this year that had the starlet and Duane “The Rock” Johnson donning the same red frock. Miley also wore Hervé Léger to the Grammys in February and the London premiere of her movie last month. (Get a better sense of the Disney diva’s style in our Fashion Spotlight: Miley Cyrus gallery.)

“Miley Cyrus is talented and approachable, so working with her sparked a line that is authentic and vibrant,” the demure fashionisto said in a statement.



Susan Boyle, who became a global star after appearing on a British television talent contest, has left the London clinic where she was being treated for exhaustion, her brother said on Friday. The 48-year-old amateur singer from Scotland, whose performance on “Britain’s Got Talent” in April was downloaded nearly 200 million times on the Internet, was admitted to the Priory clinic on Sunday amid concerns for her mental health.

“She’s much happier,” her brother Gerry told GMTV.

“She seems a lot more like herself. I think things are becoming clearer now and she’s much more content. I believe she’s in the middle of London, in a flat in London.”

Dowdy and unglamorous, the unemployed church volunteer challenged viewers’ notion of what a star should be.

Boyle was thrust into the media limelight with camera crews camping outside her home and Larry King and Oprah Winfrey inviting her to appear on their U.S. chat shows.

But as Saturday’s final of the popular talent show approached, Boyle, who was starved of oxygen at birth leading to minor brain damage, began to show signs of strain, bursting into tears regularly and threatening to leave the show.

When she failed to win the final, despite overwhelming odds in her favor, she was admitted to the private clinic suffering from emotional exhaustion.

Boyle’s financial future is seen as secure despite coming second to dance troupe Diversity, as Britain’s Got Talent creator Simon Cowell and his Syco music label are expected to sign her up for an album.

There has also been talk of a Hollywood movie.

“The way forward now is to talk about where her career goes from here,” Boyle’s brother said.

“She’s absorbing the fact that America has a huge appetite for her and she’s now beginning to believe that yes, indeed, I will be a singer and there will be a recording career beyond it. It’s all she ever wanted to do.”

He backed Cowell to manage Boyle’s recording career.

“Simon Cowell — he’s been around the dance floor a few times hasn’t he? I’m sure that he knows that he’s got someone who has broken down the barriers in America before she even gets there and I’m sure Simon will do a good job for her.”

Boyle’s brother also confirmed reports that Boyle was expecting to perform in front of U.S. President Barack Obama.



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For nine weeks now, I’ve been meaning to write this column, but I kept getting distracted by stuff like the Keyboard Cat and Pretty Ricky’s latest round of furniture-humping histrionics. And that’s somewhat fitting, given that this column is about Cobra Starship, a band that has turned messing around on the Internet into an absolute art form.

And I’m not saying that to be dismissive of their success or because hyperkinetic party machine/ frontman Gabe Saporta sort of dresses like a blog, but rather, because, well … it’s true. Cobra Starship are a musical meme, the band equivalent of every groin shot, epic fail and outrageous bit of bodily harm you’ve ever watched YouTube or e-mailed to a million co-workers. Theirs is a brilliance reserved for the zeitgeist-grabbing Tay Zondays or Chris Crockers of the world. It’s stupid smart. Genius dumb. And this is something to be proud of.

Witness CobraCam.tv, an episodic site they launched nine weeks ago to promote their upcoming Hot Mess album (due August 11). This is a very clinical description of it, however, as it is “promotional” only inasmuch as it features the members of Cobra Starship. More correctly, it’s a sort of sketch-comedy showcase/ pop-culture blender/ “WTF is going on?” bonanza. It’s the kind of thing a million bands (and a billion kids on YouTube) try to do but always fail miserably at, because they are simply not funny — or stupid or clever or dedicated — enough to pull it off. Cobra Starship are all those things, and then some.

Over the course of nine sublimely silly installments, they’ve spilled gallons of blood, poked fun at Lil Wayne’s prodigious face tattoos, grown fake beards, harassed their merch guy, assaulted steaks with axes, attempted to grow ******* (keytarist Vicky Asher won that one by default), hawked cleaning products and cologne, performed surgery, rode a jackalope and wore more costumes than Lady Gaga. They’ve poked fun at the industry, British people, their fellow bands and, most importantly, themselves. None of it makes very much sense, and lord knows how we’re supposed to be gleaning any information about Hot Mess, but none of that matters. Because it’s all hilarious. And because, well, it’s Cobra Starship. The music is almost secondary.

And if that last line comes off as harsh, well, I’d be willing to bet the guys (and gal) in CS would agree with me. With Cobra, the comedy is the thing. And that’s more than evident on CobraCam.

There’s a deft comic touch on display here — truly some of the funniest moments come in the throwaway lines or the odd cutaway shot — and a fondness for the bizarre that recalls stuff like “The Kids in the Hall” or the British version of “The Office” (or even, to blaspheme a bit more, “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”). There are smart, subtle references to stuff like “The Big Lebowski” and Vince Offer and “St. Elsewhere” and Wes Anderson’s slo-mo tracking shots (there’s even a nod to “Goodfellas” in episode six, though I’m not sure the band even realizes it). And, of course, a collegiate dedication to getting wasted: Cobra Starship are, at the end of a day, a party band.

But here’s another one to throw at you: Cobra Starship are also a comedy troupe. Each member has a role (Saporta is the boozing lout, Asher the silent straight-woman, etc.), and as is the case with all great troupes, there is one breakout star. In Cobra’s case, it’s guitarist Ryland Blackington, a gangly, rubber-faced combination of “SNL”-era Chevy Chase and “Kids in the Hall”-era Kevin McDonald who positively carries the majority of the CobraCam stuff (check episodes two, six and nine for proof). Of course, bassist Alex Suarez and drummer Nate Novarro are pretty good too. Say what you will about Cobra Starship, but they definitely have the funniest rhythm section in the business.

And that’s sort of the point of all this, I suppose. As a band, Cobra Starship are a really great sketch-comedy troupe, and CobraCam is the proof. Their dedication — and, make no bones about it, to keep churning out episodes of quality stuff takes dedication — to the stupid, the insane and the subtle is what sets them apart from their contemporaries, and it’s all on display here. I’m not sure how any of this will help Hot Mess (do “funny” bands sell records? We Are Scientists sure didn’t), though that probably doesn’t matter. Love them or **** them, CS have always been fun-first, music-second, and that’s why kids pack their shows and throw the fangs in the air. In fact, it’s a sort of brilliant niche they’ve carved out, if you think about it. They’ve quietly become the court jesters of pop music. More proof that you’ve got to be pretty smart to be this stupid.

It’s one of the darkest, goriest songs on an album positively oozing with dark and gory songs. That’s why Travis Barker knew he had to record a version of Eminem’s “3 A.M.”

“I first heard it on some blogs, and right away, I was like, ‘Oh, damn, this is demonic,’ and I love stuff like that.” Barker laughed. “So I spoke to [Blink-182 and Eminem manager] Paul Rosenberg and said I wanted to do a remix of it, then Em and I spoke and discussed putting a rock twist on the song, and I got to it.”

So, over the course of four very short days — during breaks from rehearsals for Blink’s upcoming tour — Barker and a pair of his engineer pals laid down live guitar and bass tracks (and, of course, a healthy dose of his patented precise-yet-pounding drums). He sent them to Em for some tweaking, then put the finished product up on YouTube, and the rest is history.

“There’s not many songs I hear and trip out on, but this was one of them. The song is really dark and moody, and so that’s what I wanted the remix to be,” Barker said. “And it was cool, because I got to work with Eminem the producer, which is something that I don’t think a lot of people get to do. He listened to it, made some tweaks and gave it the OK.”

And for Barker, it was a welcome return to the world of remixing — a world he’s dominated over the past years with his takes on Flo Rida’s “Low” and Soulja Boy’s “Crank That.” He had to take a break from remixing while recovering from the dozens of surgeries he endured after walking away from a fiery South Carolina plane crash last year.

“I hadn’t done one since I was out of the hospital, so it was time, you know?” Barker said. “This was a dope-ass song, and when things come at me that I love, I pursue them. I was due for one, and it won’t be the last.”



Sell Downloads: Why it Works

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
Lisa Cremer asked:


There has been a lot of buzz about the freeconomy. As a results, you might wonder whether it still makes sense to sell downloads or other kinds of digital content. I feel it does, here are some arguments.

Why online content can be sold

The free philosophy is based on the idea that somewhere at the end of the line, you are going to sell something. This can be premium content just as well.

Micropayments are becoming more popular.

Today, people more often buy digital goods. Such as iTunes music, H&M clothing in the Sims game, or Radiohead’s latest album In Rainbows.

Google Adwords doesn’t work so well for smaller, specialized sites. However, it’s harder to get a free version of specialized content than of popular music, so buying this kind of content makes more sense.

Many people are starting to **** advertising more than paying a small fee.

People who like your work won’t mind supporting you a little.



Selling content does not mean a subscription based model



Maybe you’re thinking: selling content, is that not something The Wall Street Journal once tried (and failed)?

Well, yes and no. They used a subscription based model. I feel this probably isn’t the easiest way to sell content.

A subscription model creates quite a high barrier for a consumer to give buying content a try (lets say $30 a month).

That is why I feel that it is very important to try and make this barrier considerably lower. A consumer pays per post, I suggest a model where a blog posts about eigth articles for free and sells two special articles for a small amount, such as $0.50.

The barriers to buy content then are:



Do I get value for my money?

Since there are eight free articles available, a consumer can alreay see if he values the blog’s expertise.

Do I waste my money?

Since the purchase price is low (in our example $0.50 instead of $30) this risk is not so great.



Is buying content easy?

Credit card purchases are often experienced as quite difficult. However, buying content is quite easy with PayPal and Checkout, and it’s very easy with the Oronjo wallet.

How easy is it to find a new alternative?

This greatly depends of the (specialized) expertise of the blog and is correlated with the costs of content / ease of transaction (meaning: the lower the fee and the easier the transaction, the less likely a customer is to start searching for a free alternative).

 

In short

It is not a question whether  it makes sense to sell downloads or other kinds of digital content. It is a question of how. Experiments in the future we either too soon or did not use the right approach.

Fortunately, new services are arriving, which will prove that selling downloads makes a lot of sense, even in the freeconomy.

 

Lisa Cremer is marketing manager at Oronjo.com, a free service to sell downloads.



Basic, Better and Brilliant Ways to Sell a Product Online

Thursday, June 4th, 2009
Bjorn Brands asked:


One of the easiest types of products to sell online is an informational product.

Just about anything you have expert knowledge on can be developed into a guide and sold online. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people selling informational products online do so in the wrong way.

Let’s take a look at 3 ways of selling an informational product. The basic way, the better way, and what we call the brilliant way. This last way of selling your product allows you to build a multi-million dollar business out of your product.

The Basic Way

As an active user of online dating sites, Sheryl notices that many men struggle to write a decent introduction and profile to post on a dating site. As a consequence, they get hardly any responses from prospective dates. Sensing a market opportunity, Sheryl writes a 50 page ebook targeted to men on how to market themselves better in the dating market.

She prices the book at $6 and sells it on Amazon.com. She makes $3 per sale as the distributing site, Amazon.com, takes 50%. Selling 100 copies a month, she makes only $300 a month. Later Sheryl also decides to advertise the book herself on Google and Yahoo!. To afford pay per click advertising rates in the busy online dating market she has to increase the price of her book to $15.

At the higher price, Sheryl now sells only 50 copies a month but by selling them on her own and not on Amazon.com she now makes $750 a month. After paying her advertising bills on Google and Yahoo!, she earns an income of around $500 a month. This is good….but far from great. Sheryl could have been a lot more innovative.

The Better Way

Marge writes a book on dating, just like Sheryl, but she knows that selling it online will not bring her much more than $500 a month so she tries something different.

She gives away the contents of her book for free online. She sets up a website dedicated to dating tips. The 50 page book is broken into sections and she designs the site according to search engine optimization rules so she gets a steady stream of traffic from Google, Yahoo!, bloggers and fellow site owners who link to her site.

How does she make money? By giving away her book for free she now has traffic coming to her site. Better yet, this traffic is highly targeted and consists of people looking for dating tips and advice. Marge makes money by reviewing and recommending various dating sites to her audience.

Since the online dating industry is ultra-competitive, many websites will pay Marge affiliate fees between $10 and $50 for every customer she sends to them.

By offering free advice, her audience comes to trust her and to appreciate her honest reviews. She in turn makes money every time a visitor signs up for a site she reviews.

The Brilliant Way

Quincy’s idea was to help people learn to play their favorite songs on an acoustic guitar in a fun, simple, and intuitive way.

Quincy told us that he had never seen any product online that made learning to play guitar fun and easy. He said, “Every guitar instruction book and DVD on the market is not teaching people how to start playing their favorite songs, they all focus on music theories and practice lessons!”

That’s when he decided to launch iPlayMusic.

He decided to completely change his approach. He realized that if his beginner book and DVD was so successful, why not give some of it away for free? As a small business, it is very hard to get people to trust us and buy from us.

However, it is far easier to give them something for free, earn their trust and then convert them into paying customers later. Plus, giving away some lessons would cost us next to nothing since ebooks and videos could be formatted into easy downloads.

He added free demos and created a free online course that customers received over two week span. He also made our instructional videos available through iTunes, which got him a lot of publicity.

He then went back to creating more content and started working on the next volume of lessons to help beginning guitar players take it to the next level!

In addition to expanding his instructional “Learn to Play Guitar” lessons he also created detailed how-to videos teaching people how to play some popular guitar songs.

Lastly, he came up with the idea to create a “Beginner Guitar Bundle” that combined his lessons with an acoustic guitar.

Since he doesn’t make guitars, he contacted a leading guitar manufacturer and struck a deal where he was able to source guitars at over 65% less than retail price.

He now had a $129 product with a profit margin of over $65 per order. This time, all the changes he made worked and iPlayMusic soon reached sales of over $1,000 per day. He hasn’t looked back since.

So as you can see, there are 3 very different ways to market an informational product online. The last thing you want to do is follow the crowd and sell your product on Amazon.com. Although Amazon.com is the easy way out, it’s not very effective and you won’t make the money you’re hoping for.



Watch Music Videos Online That Have Been Created By “You”!

Friday, May 29th, 2009
Brooke Hayles asked:


For anyone living in the civilized world, must have by now seen the newest fad to hit the Internet. Google is among the first to offer this newest tool, and in doing it has come with a huge price tag. This newest fad allows you to watch music videos online and short videos as well.

A music video is basically as the name states. It can be a short or full-length video that is set to music. The subject of your music video can be anything from a band playing or practical joke or stunts done in front of a camera.

What you can do with a music video is limited only by your own imagination. With this newest tool, you can watch a music video online that you have created.

If you have merchandise that you want to sell online you can also create a music video to promote it in a creative manner for everyone to watch.

If you ever had the desire to learn how to play an instrument, it is now possible to watch music video on the Internet and receive step by step instructions on how to play any instrument you desire. For some having a visual aide is more productive than just reading or listening to the instructions.

There are many places to watch music video online, doing a simple Google search will yield thousands of links including itunes where you can buy or share music videos. Napster.com is another very popular site for music videos.

If you want to have others to a watch music video online that you created, you can research google video or myspace.com both have an extremely large online community.

Another site that has gained popularity is YouTube.com. This site has become such a huge success that even though Google paid an outrageous price of over one billion dollars, they feel they can still make a profit by offering the service allowing the consumer to watch a video online.

Of course MTV, the people who brought music videos to television, and created music awards is also involved in online music videos. These sites offer you the choice to upload or watch a video online.

Although you can watch videos online and even upload your own for others to view, there are still certain things you cannot do.

You cannot take your favorite movies and videos and upload them on a free share site for all to view. This is highly illegal and most likely you will be prosecuted. Also, you cannot take your favorite CD and share it on a free site. These are considered to be copyright infringement and it is illegal.

When you want to purchase movies or videos, visit reputable online stores or conventional stores. Downloading movies video and software is illegal.

If you want to watch music video online that you create yourself, there are plenty of places where you can upload them. This is legal because you own the rights to the videos you create. You can do what you want with them. Sites like Amazon and Ebay are companies that are established and have reputations of excellence.

Summary:

Living in today’s technology-based world has the advantage of being able to try the newest, latest, and coolest new tools and devices. You can watch music video online that you create and share with your family and friends.